|The Tharks and Thoats - a work in progress|
We had a tech from our ISP in today, and after he upgraded the firmware on the modem and the antenna that feeds it, we have a lot better connection to the Internet. I'll be trying to load photos tomorrow morning; there's a backlog of them, and I may have better luck in an 'off-peak' period. The basic problem is that we have both a large condominium building and several apartment buildings that use the same ISP node that we do, and you can sure tell when everybody is on NetFlix.
Worst comes to worst, I'll load everything up to my Photobucket page, and provide links to the pictures. Not the most efficient use of the system, but it might work better.
I spent most of last week recovering from a lower back injury of some sort. I think I picked something up wrong at work, a week ago Friday, and while I got through the shift I was not in the best of shape on the weekend. I did get through that, but The Missus put her foot down and told me to stop trying to be everywhere and doing everything at once, and to stop - and take a vacation!!!
So, I did.
It turned in into a pretty quiet week of staying flat on my back; I was too stiff and sore to do much more then short takes at the computer, so not a lot of writing got done. I am much, much better this week, so I will be back at the keyboard and plugging away in Malchiran for everybody.
I have gotten the thoats built, and both tharks - 'Green Martians', to be more accurate - and thoats are on the workbench at the moment getting painted. The mounted warriors are huge 'miniatures'; about ten inches long, four inches wide, and with lances about six inches tall. Scary stuff, if you happen to be 28mm tall. I am very, very happy with the way that they are turning out, and I think they'll be lots of fun in games.
Since I was feeling better this past weekend, I went to two reunions. Not college or high school, but one for the old Conflict Simulation Association group that I used to go to at the University back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and one for the original Blackmoor group of Dave Arneson's. I wasn't one of the original players, but I was invited on the connection with Captain Harchar in Phil's campaign.
The CSA reunion was a lot of fun; I haven't seen most of these folks in thirty years, and we swapped information on all our kids (!) and what we'd been up to for all those decades. I have been invited to play the bandit chieftain that they are fighting - they are all still gaming with each other - as a 'live opponent' for them to have to deal with. The group's GM is delighted to be able to do this; the players not so delighted, as my reputation as a fearsome and wily adversary goes before me, and the players expect that things will not go as easily as they have in the past.
Heh. This old cobra still has fangs, people, and knows how to use them. If you're reading this, look to your defenses. :)
I also got out to the Blackmoor event, which was very private and by invitation only. They were running a D&D game, set in Blackmoor, and it was something really and truly special; I did not play, and if you understand my reasons you may get some insight into me and the way I think. Everybody was there, except for Pete (in the ICU) and John (in hospice), and it was a roll call of the early days of the hobby; the Great Svenny had come in from out of town, Dave Megarry was there, and Dave Wesely was actually playing - which is pretty awesome, as he's not an RPG player. When I got there, the game was in full swing, and I did not want to interrupt the flow of play so I took lots of photos and soaked up the sheer fun that the room was full of.
"Why didn't I play?" I hear you asking...
Because, gentle readers, they'd gotten Malia to come, along with her husband and daughter, and they put her in charge of this huge party of some twenty guys. They weren't playing the game for themselves; they were playing for her. You got it - the Twin Cities founders of this hobby, all around Dave Megarry's huge map of Blackmoor, and all doing their best for her - Dave Arneson's daughter. I was not, for anything, going to interrupt this. So, I shot my photos for the archives, and had the little plastic guy of Dave's slipped to her. She didn't know what it was, so I had to tell her. And that, gentle readers, was when Yours Truly had one of those utterly stunning moments in his long and all too-exciting life - to see her light up like that made it all quite worth it.
And then came the icing on the cake. I got to be the 'expert' / 'explainer' to her daughter and the daughter's friend (who was interested in D&D, but had no idea what was going on) about who all us old guys were and are, and showed them all of the 1970s figures I had with me. Telling her and her friend all about that rascal, Captain Harchar of the Clan of the Blazoned Sail. Another moment - not of my personal glory or prestige, but of the awakening of wonder and the imaginations of the two young ladies. Dave Arneson's granddaughter. Contemplate that, my gentle readers...
It was what I live for, and continue to live for.
Got back to the CSA reunion, and talked until 3:30 in the morning, telling the kids of all my old friends just what sort of gaming antics their parents had gotten up to, back in the day. More wonder. More laughter. More blossoming of imagination. And I even got to shout "KAOR, MY PRINCESS! HELIUM, NOW AND FOREVER!" and had the utter joy of seeing all their heads nod in understanding; I seem to have sold a lot of copies of "A Princess of Mars" to a lot of young people, this weekend.
It's what I do. And why I'm writing this massive tome, the size of the telephone directory. To tell everyone and anyone that once upon a time, dragons spread their wings, brave deeds were done, and little girls grew up to be pirate princesses.