Monday, January 8, 2018

Turning Back Time, As It Were - The Weekly Update - Monday, January 9th, 2018

One of the fights we had out at Phil's - Castle Tilketl
All sorts of things happening hereabouts, as we have a short thaw in the weather, and this will be a bit brief. Lots of questions have come in about what I'm heading into with this blog and my gaming, and I'll have a lot more answers as we go along.

The really simple answer is that I am going back to what I like in gaming, and enjoying that. I've been 'out and about' in modern gaming for a while now, and I have not been all that enthused with the direction I have been seeing the hobby / industry going. I don't feel particularly comfortable - or even welcome, as I've noted in previous posts - in the local gaming scene, and I've really been drawing back from doing things that I don't find particularly entertaining, enjoyable, or just plain fun.

What I have found really enjoyable and encouraging is that I have met a few people - both locally and on-line - who do enjoy the kind of gaming that I find fun and which we had out at Phil's when I was out there working for and with him. So, I am this year making a pretty straightforward effort to stop reinforcing failure and instead reinforce success. I will most likely continue playing in the 5e campaign, as I just found the perfect figures for each of the other players' PCs, so I'll be doing what I love to do - painting figures of the people in the campaign for the people playing in the campaign.

I got started doing this back in early 1976, when I was first invited out to Prof. Barker's to paint figures for him, and would up playing in his Tekumel campaign for over a decade. Our group, the original Thursday Night Group, was always very enthusiastic about using miniatures as our version of a 'tactical display'; we never really worried much about having the absolutely correct figure, and used our imaginations quite a bit as we played. Phil and I enjoyed a bit of a friendly rivalry with miniatures, as he also loved to make and paint them - the people in the group were always amused and amazed when he and I would plop stuff down on the table for games, 'just because'. We were having fun, and it didn't seem to 'ruin the immersion' for anyone in the group.

Over the coming weeks, we're going to turn back time a bit and go back to the summer of 1976 when I first started doing Tekumel miniatures, both for myself and for Phil. Back then, 'fantasy gaming' here in the Twin Cities consisted of big 'wargames' with lots and lots of figures based in units. When RPGs proper came along, we started using more and more figures for our PCs, which - I think - was an outgrowth of our wargaming use of 'personality figures' to represent our commanders. From there, it was a very short step to using them to represent our role-playing characters, and from there another short step to using them in our RPG sessions.

The fight for that small and squalid little mud-brick fort up in Milumaniya was a very good example of this; we had several months' worth of game sessions in Phil's campaign leading up to the actual assault and defence of the place, and we had a grand time doing it. Decades later, when my model-building skills caught up with Phil's ability to tell spell-binding stories, I finally built the place and we re-fought the battle several times. The game is now one of my 'pre-built events', and I can run it any time we get the urge.

So, what's going to be happening is that I'm going to walk you through the years of model-building and painting I did with Phil; my job was, in effect, to make things to put on the table for our games. I'll be starting at the beginning, 'way back when', and I hope you'll enjoy our journey.