Sunday, August 28, 2016

More Updates For Today!

The vertical extender, reinforced - LED lights installed

Lighting tested; color scheme by Jon Pertwee

The result; the Cursed Pyramid of Phil-ho-tep awaits...
Every now and then I do manage to finish a project; this time around, I've added reinforcements to the underside of the solid deck of the vertical table extender. The problem was that the sheet of Masonite that forms the deck was bowing in the middle, creating an inadvertent crater in the middle of things. Not that it affected play, but it did look just a trifle odd.

So, digging around in the pile(s) of loose lumber, I glued some planking to the underside of the deck sheet, and added a strip down the middle to set up the central lighting strip to. Since the deck has to be removable so I can swap it out for the sheet of transparent Plexiglass that I use for the underwater game, the reinforces don;t extent all the way to the edges of the deck; I doubt that this will be an issue, as the deck sheet is stable enough over short spans. The Plexiglass sheet does not have this bowing problem, by the way; it's thicker and more rigid, and doesn't seem to need any reinforcement.

To help the LED lights out, I painted the bottom of the deck and the strips with white ceiling paint - every household seems to have a half-used can of this sitting around - and then reinstalled the lighting. I may vary the order of the colors; the final shot shows the finished result, and I think the rear of the lower level looks a little dim with just the two blue sections and a red one covering it. On the other hand, having the Underworld fade off into the darkness is, I think, kind of a nice touch and I may just leave things alone and get on with other projects - "good enough is good enough", as we used to say at the theater.

And with that, the Cursed Pyramid of Phil-ho-tep sits in the midst of the trackless jungles awaiting a party of adventurers brave enough, clever enough, strong enough, and foolhardy enough to plumb it's mysteries.

(It's a cursed pyramid because I used to curse every time I moved the thing around; the four levels kept sliding off each other and I used to have to juggle them to keep them off the floor. Self-adhesive magnetic pads were the answer, courtesy of Neal Cauley of Phoenix Games - the pads are actually magnetic basing material that he pointed me to.)

And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to shamble around chanting "Phil-ho-tep! Phil-ho-tep! Ya, Ya, Phil-ho-tep!"

The Weekly Update - Sunday, August 28th, 2016 - Essay On Events Running

There's 64 cubic feet of space, in there.

A comment came in on last week's post that I thought deserved a longer essay about:

It makes complete sense not to organize the event yourself; the payoff is rarely worth the amount of work involved and after a time, unlike earlier in one's life, organizing just for the "thrill" of it ceases to serve as a good reason. I suspect the guide you've created is primarily to sustain a level of relative comfort and security for your equipment. Doubtlessly you have much that you carry in to make these events work.

Very insightful, and very accurate!

I've been finding, over the past few years, that after my brain surgery I don't have the energy or stamina to both run an event and run games at it. Gary Con in 2015 was an example of this, and it's one of the big reasons why I have done my Events Guide. One of the things I keep running into, these days, is explaining to people that I do games that need a larger space then the usual RPG does; to work well, I need to be planted in a 10' x 10' space for the duration of the event - I simply can't pack up and move around the convention venue at the drop of a hat. While I have gotten all my gaming supplies separated into 'home' and 'away' games, there is still a lot of stuff in plastic tubs and boxes that needs to get hauled around.

Basically, if I'm doing 'administrative moves' around a venue, I am not running games; and that's neither fun or cost-effective.

Hence the Guide; I give table sizes, game running times, and short descriptions of each game. I do point out that I use tables of a certain size, and that mixing these up adds to the set-up and tear-down times needed between games. Most game conventions can be said to have three game periods a day - morning, afternoon, and evening - and so I can normally run three games per day during the event; I would run (say) the 60" x 60" table games on Day One, the 60" x 90" on Day Two, and the 60" x 120" events on Day Three. (I do have more options for a fourth day, if needed.)

The general idea is to move into the space the day before the event and get everything set up; run games during the 'open to the public' times, and then tear down the day after the event. I would have everything stored in the space I had, so that turn-arounds between games would be cut to the absolute minimum amount of time. One of the things that my friends noted about Gary Con in 2016 was that a lot of GMs / referees had to use game time for their set-ups; I don't think that that's really appropriate, as people come to events to play games and not to watch me fiddle around with terrain and scenery. So, my mantra is lots of games that look really good, run well, and with short gaps between them.

Photos on the Photobucket page; copy of the Guide on request... :)

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Weekly Update - Sunday, August 21st, 2016 - Clarifications

People from the past, eh? :)

I can say that this has been a very good week on The Workbench; I've been cleaning and sorting things out in the game room, and working on fixing the alarming dip in the deck of the vertical table extender - the sheet of Masonite I used has a concave bowl effect, at the moment, so I'm fixing that as well as remounting the LED lighting to get rid of the sharp points of the tiny wood screws that I used in the original installation.

I have also been slowly working my way through the piles of figures, getting the ones that I'll never use sorted out for shipment, and the ones that I will use into the stack for painting. I've also repainted some figures that never really found their place in my campaign; some Reaper figures that never got fully painted have finally been finished - oddly enough, I find myself needed some Elves from Blackmoor for the campaign.

Filing the archives also continues; I was delighted to find my little collection of Mughal paintings and documents, as well as the collection of Egyptian papyri, and these are now properly filed and indexed. I like stuff like this; like Phil, being able to hand players things in the course of the game is a delight, for everyone.

"To Serve The Petal Throne" continues to move ahead, and I am pleased with the progress I'm making.

I have also now finished my Events Guide; I am dithering about putting photos of the games in in, but the text and information is all done. The purpose of this Guide it to let events organizers know, in some detail, what I can and cannot do for them - my energy and stamina is limited, and so I thought that it would be a good idea to spell out what I am and am not able to do, these days.

The bottom line on this, purely and simply, is that I can either organize an event or run programming at it; I can't do both. I've been asked to come to events and run things, as well as run games, and I - as I've found out the hard way - can't. So, since I would much rather run games then anything else, I've provided a guide on how to do this.

To be clear, I will not organize an event; I will show up and run games, but the event organizers will have to do all the background work for things like providing hotel rooms, crafts services, badges, and the like. These are the same terms that I had in place when I had my own production company, doing show production, and I'm simply reusing the information. There are some pretty basic space and time requirements that I have, so as to make the event and games run well, but they are all spelt out in the Guide. E-mail me for a copy, if you'd like to see it.

Still catching up on e-mails; I'm slowly grinding away at the replies I owe all of you...

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Weekly Update - Tuesday, August 17th, 2016 - Whew! Busy Again!

A short post, for now; I had a 'double-header' this past weekend, with "The Fantasy Trip" on Saturday - I had a guest appearance as a bandit chieftain - and "Close Action" on Sunday. Both game sessions were a great time, due to the people running and participating, and I'll have longer reports this coming weekend; I have two full days off, with no appointments, so plenty of time.

Internet connectivity has also been very spotty, due to a combination of weather, time, and foliage, but I will be back to everyone as soon as I can. My Missus has gotten me a chainsaw, which should help.

One lesson learned this past weekend was that I really do have to pace myself; I got off my medication and eating schedule, and got pretty wiped out at about four on Sunday. I'm better now, but I will have to be more careful in the future.

Looking ahead into the future, I have two 'bookings' for events being put on by people; one this fall, and one this coming spring. In order to make sure that people are best informed as to what I can and cannot do for events, I have an 'Events Guide for Chirine' done, and I'll see if I can't get it posted here. It lists games that I like to run and have the resources to do, as well as what equipment and resources that I have available for events runners to use.

So, lots going on, and lots more to come!!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Weekly Update - Tuesday, August 9th - Much, Much Happening!!!

Mostly personal news, so a personal photo... :)

There's quite a lot happening at the moment, so this will be a very short post...

The BIG news is that my Fifth Daughter will be moving back to the United States this winter, to go back to school, and will be staying with us here at the little house. It'll be different; we'll once again have the pitter-patter of little feet about the place, and it'll be a lot of work to get her room ready - but that, when all is said and done, is what being a parent is all about.

Of lesser import, probably, but a big deal for me is that "To Serve The Petal Throne" has now broken through 125,000 words; some small additions to Books Three and Six moved us along nicely. I am getting more writing time in, and I am very pleased with how the book is going.

In gaming news, TRE Games has updated their website with more new kits. I have had a chance to look them over /in person', and I am hugely impressed. New 28mm buildings, new accessories, and some very - and I do mean very! - tempting skyships. Have a look; I think you'll be impressed.

I found an interesting little 'dungeon tile' set, the other day; very nice plywood with a stone finish and a 1" grid engraved on the faces. See it at:

And it's their catalog number BPN07070.

My brother has been off to Gen Con this past weekend, and has been sharing lots of photos on Facebook. He had a great time, and from the look of it the costuming has gotten a lot more sophisticated then back in my day. Wonderful stuff, and a joy to behold.

Mopre to come, with reports and photos, when I have a few moments. Be seeing you! :)