Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Thanksgiving Kaika - A Heart-warming Tale Suitable For All Ages

Phil and Ambereen in Festive Attire

It's the holiday season, and I thought I would share Mrs. Ambereen Barker's Secret Recipe for The Thanksgiving Kaika (Pat. Pend.):

1) Listen to Chirine tell joke about having a Kaika for Thanksgiving dinner;

2) Listen to Distinguished Professor Husband tell Chirine that it can't be done; the Kaika has six legs, and a turkey has only two;

3) Inform Distinguished Professor Husband that he's full of it, and doesn't know what he's talking about;

4) Chase Distinguished Professor Husband and his disgustingly filthy gamers out of kitchen and send them packing into basement;

5) Obtain one each turkey large enough to feed Distinguished Professor Husband and his ravening horde of disgustingly filthy gamers;

6) Obtain four extra turkey legs;

7) Prepare turkey and additional legs in usual manner, using Khan Family blend of Pakistani spices;

8) Sew additional legs onto turkey when cooking is done, adding those little frilly paper hats to ends of legs;

9) Serve up to assembled ravening horde, watching their jaws drop to the floor;

10) Bask in glow of plaudits from assembled ravening horde.

A simple recipe, from a superb cook!

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

yours, chirine

Monday, November 25, 2013

Problems in Governing, or, Storming Hekellu So We have Someplace To Sleep Tonight

Phil's map of Hekellu;
the New Palace is the large building in the center of the city.

What with all the excitement over U-Con and the wonderful Google+ hangout I got to participate in (and the clogged laundry tub drain - oh, the joys of being a homeowner!) I clean forgot to tell everyone about the game I'm running this coming Saturday, November 30th, here at The Workbench...

This is a replay of one of the nastiest game sessions Phil ever threw at us; the background is that the Seal Imperium had appointed Lord Takodai hi Vriddi as the new Imperial Governor of Hekellu, with Yours Truly as his military commander. We got sent off with a whole two cohorts of the legion of Hnalla, Master of Light, which amounted to 800 heavy infantry - we figured that somebody in the legion had upset somebody in the Imperium. Lord Takodai also managed to persaude his clan-elders to send along 600 of his Vriddi clan-cousins as additional troops, which gave us 600 medium infantry. There was also the usual baggage train of carts, palanquins, and player-characters.

We arrived at the city to find it:
a) in turmoil, with a riot going on;
b) in flames, with the old palace in ruins and the new one in flame;
c) in revolt, with the previous Imperial Governor missing;
d) in penury, with the Provincial Treasury missing;
e) in dire peril, with the hordes of tribal warriors of the Young Master about to arrive;
f) in confusion, as most of the clans and Temples had their own agenda for how to rule the city.

Our job, like it or not, was to restore Imperial rule to the place.

First, though, we had to get in.

So, one player's job it to get into the city; another player's job is to keep them out; and all the rest of the players are wild cards, making and breaking deals and alliances with the first two.

Chirine: "Shall we?"
Narkhodlan: "Oh, yes, let's!"

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Weekly Update for Sunday, November 24, 2013 - I have seen the future...

Screen capture by Peter Robbins from Friday's U-Con
Google+ Hangout for the "Joyful Sitting Amongst Friends" event;
That's the Gold of Imperial Glory" I got for winning the Battle of Anch'ke.
My word!!! It has been a very busy week, here at The Workbench!

We got all of Amanda Dee's wonderful (and downloadable!) 'cardboard heroes' for Tekumel made, and sent off to U-Con in Ann Arbor with Mr. Slocum and Mr. Till for use in their Tekumel RPGs. Lovely stuff, and a o lot of fun to make. See also the posts on the Tekumel Yahoo group for these; I think they're in the 'Files' section.

We participated in a Google+ Hangout video teleconference on Friday with the folks at U-Con; they do a 'meet and greet' event called the "Joyful Sitting Amongst Friends" where Tekumel fans can sit and talk, and this year George Hammond and John Till figured out a way to use Google+ to allow people to come and participate remotely. I had a very good time, and enjoyed myself immensely; I'll look forward to more of these. Peter Robbins was kind enough to take a few snapshots while I was giving a very impromptu tour of the game room, and you can see these on his recent Google+ post. I have included one of these above, with his permission, to provide a teaser of what the future can be...

Along those lines, the new and upgraded computer we've gotten for doing live and interactive video is now here in the office, and is up and running. The Missus will be working on the software, and our goal is to allow us to do conferences and virtual gaming from here at The Workbench so folks can come and visit / play without all that driving or flying. I'll keep everyone posted on our progress, of course.

Today's excitement has been that the laundry room washtub drain is clogged, but I suspect you folks will not be too interested in that... :)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Weekly Update for Sunday, November 17th, 2013

My old TSR RPGA carrying case that that nice Mr. Gygax gave me,
with quite a few figures from the 1970s and 1980s;
this is what I used to carry out to Phil's, every Thursday night...

Well, I do declare!

It has been very busy, here at the Workbench; we have a new podcast up on our new You Tube Channel - link at the bottom of the left-hand column for you - and assorted projects well in hand:

The refurbishment of the game rooms is done, and has been approved by the Usual Suspects. I still have to do a little painting of the walls, but that's a snap compared to what I have been doing. Whew! I am very happy with the place - lots of room, lots of game space, and lots of access to all the stuff!

I have finished making up all the wonderful little 'cardboard heroes' done by Amanda Dee for Tekumel - these are going off to U-Con with Brett Slocum and John Till, and really look nice. I have them in bins with handles on the top for the gents' use, and I hope that they go over well with folks at the convention.

The scenery for the April 2014 David L. Arneson Memorial Maritime Miniatures Mayhem Game is well in hand; this will be, I think, my most spectacular miniatures game ever; it's going to take place in Lake Parunal, and feature Our Heroes in peril. (Again. You'd think we'd have learned, but noooo...) All I have to do to get this game ready to go on the road is book the date at Fantasy Flight Games' Event Center, and cut some wooded supports for the four 4' x 4' clear Plexiglass sheets I'll be using for the lake's surface. I have the poker chips we'll be using to indicate 'altitude' / 'depth', and painting the miniatures will be a snap. I also have the safety divers and the Priest of Thumis' submersible to hand...

Let's see, what else...

There will be another podcast - on life at Adventure Games - on December 14th, and one on the Annual Holiday Game on the 28th. And, of course, we'll have one from the scene of the action of the November 30th miiatures game for you to be amused by. It'll be live on Qik, and archived on both Qik and You Tube.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Good People, Bad People.

Good People

Two news stories came across my desk, this morning, and there are some good people as well as some bad people. I'll let you make the decision as to which is which...

Me, I can tell you where I'll be eating next time I'm in New Jersey, and I think some folks in San Francisco deserve a raise.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Weekly Update for Sunday, November 10th, 2013 - Logistics and Sustainability in the Domain Game

No, sorry; not a preview of the 11/30/13 game...

Lots of news, today; first, the dates of my next two podcasts using the 'Bloggie' will be this coming Satuday, November 16th and again on Saturday, November 30th. I will try to answer some of the questions you've been sending me on the 16th, and talk about playing Tekumel miniatures on the 30th. Live broadcasts at one, uploads to both Qik and You Tube will follow right away.


The 'scenario' for the 11/30/13 game will come from Prof. Barker's game sessions - the night we had to fight our way into Hekellu with 600 Vriddi and very little else. It got 'interesting'.


By and large, all of the changes - both major and minor! - to the game rooms have now been completed; I am now in the final throes of cleaning up my actual workbench, which has been sadly neglected for almost three years. I have to admit that the past three years have not been kind to us, here at The Workbench, but - like the plague victim in the cart - "I'm getting better!"


As part of the changes to way we do things, here at The Workbench, I have retired all of the 'disposable' things like cups, plates, napkins, and suchlike in favor of more permanent versions; the idea is to take the money I spend on the former and redirect it into the actual gaming. While it has certainly been easier on me personally to simply toss everything in the trash after game sessions as I clean up the game room, I think that for the long term - which I tend to think in, anyway - it's going to be better to use the plates, cups, mugs, and other things that can be simply tossed in the washer / dishwasher. And it makes for a nicer environment, too; back in the day in Phil's basement, we didn't have it so good; we 'roughed it', and we looked like the left-overs from an invading horde. No wonder Ambereen kept us in the basement! :)


As I type away on my book, "To Serve The Petal Throne", I realized that almost all of Book Five -"The Golden Seal" - is about what many people refer to as 'the domain game', from the earliest versions of D & D. One of the basic assumptions in the old games - I speak here of the ones run my such as Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax, amongst other such early innovators - was that we were all going 'adventuring' to get the money to start/buy/steal our own little fief or city-state and so make lots more money by extorting - er. that's 'taxing' - the locals. While I was doing a little editing on the book, I realized that we'd spent the better part of three whole real-time years trying to run the Imperial fiefs of the city and provence of Hekellu and the Chagari Protectorate - with varying degrees of success, I might add; we were always short of resources and long on 'adventure', so it got very 'interesting' at times.

Speaking as the Imperial official who had to do the practical work, I realized that I had spent a lot of time worrying - read 'obsessing' - over the care and feeding of what troops we had. This turned into, as it often did with Phil, a long and very fun excursion into how real-world logistics, economics, and viability influenced his world. I'll be writing a lot more about it in the book, and I'll try to cover it during the November 16th podcast.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Happy Birthday, Phil!

Phil and Ambereen at my twenty-fifth birthday party.

Happy Birthday, Phil. I'm sorry that I wasn't able to do this post a year ago; I was a little preoccupied.

Weekly Update for Sunday, November 3rd, 2013 - The End Of The 2013 Campaign Year Arrives

Just another day at the old clanhouse...

The Big News for today is that the game at the end of this month is being moved from Friday, November 29th to Saturday, November 30th; the game will be at the usual time, one p. m., with the door open at noon for guests. I've moved the date to make it easier for people to drop in, as Fridays are difficult for folks to schedule things. So, it's a Saturday game, here at The Workbench, in the newly redone game rooms.


As previously announced, I'll be running a light-hearted miniatures game for the New Year's holiday, on Saturday, December 28th; see my post of October 29th for further information.


My little pod-cast of several weeks ago seems to have gone over well; I'll do another before the next RPG session, on November 16th. I'll have more on this as we get closer to the actual date.