Thursday, March 3, 2016

A 'Collections Management' Follow-up: Captain Harchar And His Merry Buccaneers

Plain 25mm rounds, my standard RPG base
Detailed 25mm rounds from TRE Games

I've pointed out a number of times, to a number of people, that my collection of miniatures is not a 'static one'; it was, from the very first, to be used in games. Over time, I've had to replace bases and such, mostly because the cheap card stock that I was prone to us back in the day just didn't hold up well in the rough and tumble of gaming. I also started using round bases to indicate individual people, as opposed to units of troops, and this has worked out very well in my RPG games for the past decade. Back in the day, the idea of round bases was laughable; cutting them out was next to impossible, given the technology available to us at the time.

Laser-cutting has changed all that, and when I saw the TRE etched bases, I instantly thought of this little group of five figures. Yes, indeed, that is Captain Harchar and his officers: 1st Mate Staffswinger, 2nd Mate Swordswinger, 3rd Mate Fishface, and Purser Hardtack.

So, we're about to head off to help the Livyani - see the last chapter of "Man of Gold" - and I tell Phil that we're going to need a ship as we have no intention of walking to Tsamra. Phil allows that a sea voyage would be fun, and I get told - as usual - to come up with a drawing of the ship we're hiring so we can use it for gaming; this was the days of "Bireme and Galley" and"Sea Steeds and Wave Riders", which had deck plans of ships in 25mm for use in games. (I still have all of mine; I mounted them on foam-core to make them easier to move around with figures on them.) I also pointed out that we're going to need a captain and crew, and Phil tells me to deal with it - not his problem, he says.

My usual refrain at these moments was: "Gee, thanks, Phil."

So I go into work at AGI the next day, and ask Dave Arneson about ship types, and explain the problems. He loans me a couple of books from his library, and I drew up the ship that weekend. Next Thursday rolls around, and we get to Phil's and he's acting all mysterious. We finally get down to the basement, and there's Dave Arneson with his dice and a copy of EPT, rolling up his new PC and his officers.

Yes, that's right; Dave and Phil have conspired, and we're going to have Dave in our gaming group.

Wow. Just wow.

And, as usual, I get told to come up with figures for all of them by next week. Harchar is from the old Garrison 'Swords and Sorcery' line - I think; it's been a while - and the officers are all Ral Partha spares that I had in the lead pile; I used to buy their blister pack sets to get the one or two figures that I really needed, and so I had - and still have! - heaps of spare figures in the hopper waiting for them to find a role.

Staffswinger and Swordswinger got their names from their figures; Hardtack from his job of swindling the players with the food supply, and poor Fishface got her name from Dave rolling an '01' for her Charisma.

When I saw the planking bases from TRE Games, I wanted them for these figures; it just seemed more appropriate for them then the blanks that they were on, or better then the cardboard squares painted green that they'd had originally - Green? Green bases? On a ship? What was I thinking???

So, there we are. I think that they look a lot better on the planking, and I'll touch up their bases to match the wood when I have the chance. And then we're off, on yet another voyage... :)


There is, I am sorry to have to say, a very sad little postscript to this story; it's one of the reasons why I'm keeping the modern gaming scene at arm's length, these days.

I took these figures down to Gary Con, this past March, to show to people who might want to see the good captain in all his original glory. he was duly show off, and people had a lot of fun - as I did. However, after I got back home, I was accused of 'selling out to the big money', by selling the Captain and his officers to a wealthy collector at the convention; as this was all news to me, I asked what the origins of this story was, and was told that it was on the Internet on a Facebook page, posted by somebody who had been at the convention. I supposedly had gotten a $1,000 check for the miniatures.

Um, no, sorry; didn't happen, and the notion really upset both me and The Missus; we'd scrimped and saved so that we could do the trip, last year, and this rumor really hurt us in a number of ways. yes, we could have really used the money to pay for the trip, but not at the cost of losing these original figures that mean so much to the both of us. We knew and like Dave, and what little we have left of his sense of fun and adventure means a lot to us.

No. Harchar and his merry minions are not for sale. Please try elsewhere.