Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Weekly Update - Sunday, October 30th, 2016 - WARNING! Philosophy Ahead!

The Ladies of the Court
A question came up about why I support the three (and maybe four) world-settings that I do - and right off the bat, I should note that I think there's a very real difference between 'rules' and 'worlds'. I am, not to make too fine a point about it, not very interested in 'rules'. I've seen a lot go by in my time, and a lot of them just don't excite much interest in me. I was in the FLGS yesterday, picking up two more chariots - more on this anon - and I looked over the racks of RPGs and miniatures rules.

None of them really appealed to me, through no fault of their authors. All good stuff, from what I could tell, and very nicely produced. It was just that none of what I was looking at had any real 'spark' for me; the world-settings that each had on offer just didn't 'click' for me.

This, by the way, is also true of my reading material; I much prefer a series of books, set in the same universe, to 'one-off' / 'standalone' works. I've picked up a lot of series, over the years, ranging from Asimov's "Foundation" series through Gordy's "Childe Cycle" and Cussler's NUMA collections to Burroughs' Barsoom and the 'Lord Meren' mysteries. I just like well-developed worlds, and love to adventure in them.

So, my 'supported world-settings'. This is where the Missus and I choose to spend our gaming budget; the kind of thing we enjoy, and what we like to see on the game table. Phil's Tekumel, of course, which I've been adventuring in for the past four decades; Burroughs' Barsoom, which Phil first introduced me to; and - in what I've been told is a curious thing - Ancient Egypt, specifically of the Eighteenth Dynasty and of the Technicolor 'Hollywood Aegyptus' of the big- and small-budget epics. These used to be all the rage in the 1950s and 1960s, and the tradition has been nobly carried on by the first two 'Mummy' movies. There are a lot of possible adventures, both in the historical record and in the legends oft he time, and I enjoy painting up the people and places I've read about and seen.

I enjoy history, and I enjoy gaming in historical settings just as much as I do in fictional ones. Back in Ye Olden Dayes, the difference between the two was a lot more 'porous', and we enjoyed making up fictional scenarios from history just as much as we did making up historical scenarios from fiction.

It also made doing the figures a lot easier. We regularly crossed between genres, using historical figures for fictional games, and the other way around. Yes, I do love getting specific figures for specific settings, but the kind of games that I play do require that we hire a lot of extras for the big crowd and battle scenes - no CGI on the game table.

The 'Lord Meren' series, for example; the players will need chariots to get around our miniature Thebes or Memphis, so I have obtained a half-dozen for their use. The FLGS happened to be having a sale - 25mm / 28mm Ancient Egyptians are not a hot seller, I gather - so the new transport is now on the Workbench. It also so happens that the Missus is a big horse person, so I have been getting 'advice' (read 'commands', there) on how I will need to paint the horses.

Will these chariots get used in Tekumel or Barsoom? Not really, but all the other Egyptians, Sea Peoples, and Philistines I picked up at the same time as I got the chariots will - we'll always need lots of 'extras' in our productions, and you never know when you need a horde of raiders to man that new trireme...

So, that's what's going on. More to come, as I slap on the paint...


  1. I'm the same way regarding miniatures--they will serve in multiple games and multiple settings, so while I may buy minis with a certain game in mind, I have no qualms about repurposing them for other settings and systems.

    Oh, and your mention of Lord Meren prompted me to look that up: A series of mystery novels set in Ancient Egypt during the reign of Tutankhamun and featuring Lord Meren, "the Eyes and Ears of Pharaoh" sounds interesting! I've heard of a similar series by another author set in the pre-Colombian Aztec civilization.

  2. Oh, yes, very much so! I lost count of the number of times that Phil's Assyrians stood in for Salarvyani and chased us around the table. While there are a lot of very good miniatures in the 'brand' lines, I'll use them for whatever just as much as I'll use the 'generics'...

    I have it; I have the compiled "Obsidian and Blood" volume, which has all three books in the series as well as access to the short stories. Aliette de Bodard is the author, and the series is very, very good at evoking the time and place where the mysteries occur. Acatl and Meren would be a great team of sleuths...

  3. Personally, I am a huge fan of the Ancient Egyptian setting...while I understand you're not much interested in rules, do you have a preferred rule set for use with such a setting?

    Or (perhaps a better question), which rule sets have you used in the past to facilitate the exploration of such a world...with satisfactory results?

    1. What a great question!

      I use EPT for role-playing, with the different gods, of course, as it works nicely for this; Phil was a huge fan of Ancient Egypt, and there are a lot of similarities between the two settngs. For mass combat, I use either "Chainmail" or my own "Qadardalikoi" - I have to whip up chariot rules for the latter, of course - mostly because the two have similar game mechanics and play quickly on the table. It works, at least with how I run games. If you've looked at the four-part series on my You Tube channel, it may help. (I hope.)

      I do own a copy of Crocodile Games' "Wargods of Aegyptus", but I've never found anyone to play a game of it with me. Nobody here in the Twin Cities seemed interested in the game or the figures - which I thought was too bad, really.

      Does this help?

    2. @ CbK:

      Well, it certainly answers my question. Thank you!

      (BTW: I've seen some of your play videos, but never any that involved mounted or chariot battles. Any links?)

    3. You're right - I need to shoot some new videos!

      About the only 'odd' thing I do for chariots is use circular plastic templates for turning circles, which I do for any kind of moving object that does not have null gravity generators. I use commercial templates:

      Walk - 1.5" radius - 'Tight turn'
      Trot - 2.5" radius - 'Medium turn'
      Gallop - 5" radius - 'Wide turn'

      Movement is as specified in whatever set of rules that I'm using. I tell players that they need to slow to the proper speed to make the appropriate turn, otherwise they run the chance of a crash.

      Of course, they never listen, at least until the first player spills it all over the street. Much amusement is usually had by all, and people slow right down to prudent speeds.

      Chariots are best suited to flat open terrain, as they're more weapons carriers then anything else; using them as transport as certainly fine - it's a high-status thing - but a dignified pace in town will get you there while a break-neck pace usually won't.

      Must shoot some new video! :)

  4. So maybe the title should be changed to say WARNING! "Phil"-osophy Ahead! LOL

    1. Quite probably! "A guy in a kilt is a guy in a kilt is a guy in a kilt." - M. A. R. Barker