Warfare 2018

Last Saturday saw my annual visit to our local wargaming show here in Reading – Warfare, run by the Wargames Association of Reading.

Even before I started attending Salute (which has now become my other gaming show), I would always attend this one, as it’s really close, gives me the opportunity to see the models up close and, as it occurs just after my birthday, I usually have a few spare pennies to spend.

Now, Warfare takes place in the Rivermead leisure centre, spread over four separate rooms. There’s plenty of space in the competition/club demonstration room, which takes place in the indoor bowling green, but traders hall always seems rather cramped, as the aisles are fairly narrow and some attendees are less considerate than others.

As I arrived rather later than usual and the trader shall was heaving, I headed straight into the competition hall, as sometimes the table are worth looking at. Now, there are usually a few nice-ish tables on display, but nothing that usually makes me want to take out my camera. However, this year, there was, so I did actually take some photos.

First, a rather nice 28mm Pegasus Bridge set-up for Bolt Action, which wasn’t actually being played upon, but I felt warranted a picture because it was so nice.

Not sure where the kid with the 70’s haircut came from…possibly from off the set of The Omen remake…

Next up, one of several 28mm full-size galleons for a (probably) pirate-themed game.

This one was the biggest and loaded to the gunnels with British seamen. The fort they were attacking was okay, but the ships themselves were lovely.

The final table was probably another Bolt Action table, as it appears to be a war-torn city.  An absolutely HUGE amount of detail – trains, planes, a crane, plumes of smoke, etc. Just click on the picture and enjoy.

After wandering up and down the aisles for a while, I decided to brave the traders hall. And found it somewhat…lacking. It would appear that some of the standard traders that usually attend had decided to forego this year. And the traders who were there didn’t appear to have very much in the way of new stuff.

A couple of manufacturers did – Sally 4th being one (as noted by Simon over at Fantorical) and Warbases, who have extended their range of laser-cut MDF buildings into several areas that I wasn’t aware of such as sci-fi, ancient Rome and soon to be the Orient. Worth a look on their website if you haven’t visited in a while, as their range has expanded a fair bit, their prices are reasonable and they have a good range of 28mm animals, should you need to populate your British countryside with both farm and wildlife.

And it was Warbases who manged to part me from some of my cash, as they had a set of two MDF handcarts, complete with metal ‘loads’ and attendants. Ideal for adding to colour to your street-scenes and reasonably generic clothing-wise to be used from Victorian up to Post-war, as shown below.

Two metal figures, two loads and two MDF handcarts…for £7.00. Bargain! Unsurprisingly, the handcarts don’t come with instructions, but it’s pretty obvious how they go together, with the T-shaped part being the stand which prevents it from tipping over – which will be used for the vegetable seller.

So, a couple of likely lads ready and waiting to be purvey their wares on the streets of Blackwell.

My only other purchase was the main reason for attending. Earlier in the year, Crooked Dice launched a Kickstarter for their ‘Children of the Fields’ range of figures and programme guide. Obviously, as this is Crooked Dice and 7TV, this was a range of creepy villagers, sinister Morris Men, devious Huntsmen, possibly possessed scarecrows and all the other various accoutrements of a 70’s British village that welcomes strangers, but doesn’t let them leave. I was almost tempted by this KS, but felt that for the models I did want, I’d end up with some models I didn’t.

However, there was one model I knew I had to have. Now, I could have taken advantage of the ‘pledge a £1’ option that allowed you to just select an add-on, but I worked out that if I did this, the model I wanted would actually cost me more, taking into account the postage, than waiting until it was released and picking it up at Warfare.

So that’s what I did…and here ‘he’ is.

This is The Straw Man, an 80mm tall corn/wheat golem and he’s rather bloody cool. A nice three-part model which looks like it will go together with no issues, with nice, crisp detailing. Basically, it does look like it’s made of bundles of hay…or possibly “Shredded Wheat”. And, not being period specific, I can use this for Age of Unreason, Tales of the Black Museum, Ghostbusters, Scooby-Doo and even Doctor Who games should I wish.

Now, it’s not cheap – being £15.00, but I do feel it’s worth it, as there is literally nothing else like it on the market. And if you want lesser minions for your giant Straw Man, Crooked Dice do a Straw Bear (which is a Morris Man dressed in sheafs of straw, rather than an actual bear), as part of the same range.

Mummers Procession

So, whilst not as good a show as previous year’s, was still worthwhile me going…and I did get to have a nice long chat with Karl from Crooked Dice, where I suggest stuff I want him to make and he laughs at me or says “funny you should mention that…”

Until next time.

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View from the Crow’s Nest – November

Regular visitors to this blog come expecting certain things, be it cunning scratch-building using inexpensive materials, mini-projects revolving around life-long passions, creative after-action reports combining atmospheric photography and unusual participants or free rules to download and play. Of late, there hasn’t been much of what attracted YOU, my gentle readers, to this blog in the first place.

Unfortunately, due to employment issues, my free time has been spent attempting to secure regular employment of a level that not only keeps the wolves from my door, but also stops my wife from accusing me of “wasting my time” on hobby-related pursuits, instead of looking for a “decent job.” Understandably, when you have this hanging over your head, hobby mojo does tend to get stifled and you find yourself unable to concentrate properly on any particular hobby project – hence the sporadic and somewhat lacklustre nature of the last few posts.

However, after much scampering back and forth to London for various interviews, I have now been offered a new contract, at a decent daily rate, working in central London, which will be starting in a couple of weeks.

As this will result in becoming a commuter from Reading to “that London”, this may result in not as much free time to do hobby-stuff, but the relief in finally getting a “decent job” has revitalised my mojo and my mind has started lining up projects in my head for me to do within whatever free time I find myself with.

Image result for murder of crows

So, this will hopefully signal the end of my fallow patch and see more regular and better postings than you have seen of late.

As for what exactly you’ll see, well…I’m pretty certain they’ll be Ghostbusters, maybe some Scooby Doo, probably some Doctor Who and potentially a return to Blackwell, although my cobbled streets need replacing as they’ve warped during storage, so that might have to wait until I come up with a cunning alternative.

Until next time, “Never backwards, always forward”.

Jez

Theatre Studies

So, as it’s my birthday weekend and I’m usually gallivanting around the country at this time of year, this weekend doesn’t usually see much in the way of hobby-related activities being completed. However, what with the reduction in overall salary coming in, a jaunt to far-flung places couldn’t really be justified this year – so I was treated to a surprise lunch at an Ascot restaurant, followed by a trip to the cinema. And because my family like to surprise me, it wasn’t until the title card came up on the screen that I knew which movie I was about to see…

It was the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, which, for a long-term Queen fan such as myself, was a treat in itself. Not strictly 100% historically accurate, but an enjoyable celebration of Messrs Mercury, May, Taylor and Deacon, with some spot-on performances by the actors concerned. And plenty of cracking music.

Anyway, birthing-day stuff aside, I found my modelling talents called upon this weekend to assist my daughter, who is studying Drama at A Level. She was required to produce a model of a theatre set to show to her teacher how she would stage a specific play.

There she was, sitting in the middle of the lounge, surrounded by cardboard boxes, mouth turned down at the corners and getting stressed due to the fact that she had a few rough sketches of what she wanted to achieve, but no real idea of how to go about it.

My wife turned to me and said, “Jeremy, Can you help her?”

I, of course, being a responsible parent, immediately said “Yes, of course,” whilst rubbing my hands together inside my head with glee.  So, I cried havoc and let slip the dogs of war…gaming.

She needed the ‘black box theatre’ main building, the set – which must have two working doors and a large picture window – and a variety of scale furniture, including a filing cabinet, desk, two chairs, a coat-stand and what she described as an ‘old telephone’, i.e. a rotary dial ‘phone.

So, having talked it back and forward with her, we began work and it was finally completed about 10.30pm last night. And this is the result;

To give a sense of size, it’s approximately 1: 24 scale, so 1 inch equals roughly 2 feet. This is a bit of a departure for me, as I usually work at 28mm, which is approximately 1:56-ish.

I was responsible for the all the furniture and have to say I’m pretty pleased with how it came out, as everything is immediately identifiable as what it was intended to be. Whilst not obvious in the picture above, the filing cabinet does have individual handles on each drawer.

So, a weekend where I was treated to lunch out, a visit to the cinema and actively encouraged by my wife to unleash my inner geek for the benefit of my daughter.

Can’t really complain now, can I?

Until next time…

Corvuscope – A New Place to Visit

After my last post, The Doctor and the Crow, it occurred to me that whilst I did want to post reviews of tv shows, movies and books, this blog wasn’t really the ideal platform to do so.

So rather than interrupt the regular (or semi-regular) posts regarding my exploits in the wargaming hobby arena, I’ve decided that a separate blog should be created that will just feature the content noted above.

It’s called Corvuscope – which roughly means “What the Crow saw”. I know it’s not 100% grammatically or linguistically correct, but Corvuscope sounds a bit cooler than “Visum Corvus”.

Just an introductory post on there at present, explaining the purpose of the blog and not currently searchable via Google – it takes a while for it to pop up on the search engine – but once it does, it will probably be the first choice, as my previous search on this name only came up with two results.

So, if you are at all interested in my views on those fictional worlds that are created on the big or small screen or within the pages of a book, join me over there, where I will give my considered and honest opinion of them, in my own inimitable style.

You may agree, you may disagree, but hopefully you’ll find it entertaining and it just might point you in the direction of something you haven’t heard of and encourage you to give it a try.

The Doctor and the Crow

Something a little different for this post…

As long-term readers will know, I am a big fan of the BBC television series Doctor Who. Unlike other fans out there, I do not differentiate between what they refer to as “Classic Who” and “Nu-Who” – as far as I’m concerned, it’s all one series, which had a bit of a break in transmission between 1987 and 2005.

And long-term readers will also know that that I’m not afraid to express my considered opinion, even if it is variance with the general consensus of the nation.

For example, whilst I did thoroughly enjoy the Black Panther film, unlike other films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it seemed a little…familiar. Basically, in my opinion, Black Panther is The Lion King with a big dollop of James Bond.

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And now I’ve probably ruined it for everyone…

Anyway, let’s get back to Doctor Who.

Once again, unlike the polarised views of the viewing public, I don’t give a monkey’s that the Doctor is now female. When selecting an actor to portray the Doctor, you choose the best person for the role and gender isn’t an issue. Was there a big outcry when Michelle Gomez was revealed as the Master? Of course not, because she was so bloody good in the role.

Having now watched the first two episodes of the new series with Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor and Chris Chibnall as lead writer and showrunner, I feel that I can give a considered opinion on the new series.

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The first episode introducing the new incarnation of the Doctor should give you a pretty good idea of what to expect from this version – we knew what sort of Doctor we were getting with Eccleston, Tennant and Smith from the off, as we did with all the previous incarnations. Capaldi took a while to develop fully, so I didn’t immediately warm to him and it appears that Whittaker may follow a similar path…which brings me to my issue with the series so far.

Chris Chibnall is probably best known as the creator and writer of Broadchurch, which has been rightly hailed as a decent bit of television. And he is no stranger to the Whoniverse, having written five episodes of the main series, as well as eight episodes of the Torchwood spin-off.

But, whilst his particular brand of deep characterisation may work well over a complete series such as Broadchurch, it doesn’t fare so well in a series such as Doctor Who. His previous episodes for Doctor Who were the tenth Doctor episode “42”, and the eleventh Doctor episodes “The Hungry Earth”, “Cold Blood”, “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” and “The Power of Three.” I think we can safely discount his Torchwood writing credits, as he was responsible for the most godawful episode ever -“Cyberwoman.” Trust me, if you haven’t seen this episode, count yourself very fortunate.

The thing that all these episodes share is that the focus is on the other characters in the episode, rather than “Who” it should be. The order of importance should be: The Doctor, the threat/aliens and then the companions. Chibnall puts the peripheral characters first, followed by the Doctor and the plot of the episode is almost an afterthought.

Given that his last work on Who was back in 2012 with “The Power of Three”, an episode that was all about the Ponds with a particular daft plot and nonsensical ‘villain’, and he’d been doing sterling work on Broadchurch in-between, I thought I’d give him the benefit of the doubt and approached the new series with an open-ish mind. But having watched the first two episodes, they fall into the same category as his previous ones.

In “The Woman Who Fell to Earth” we get introduced to a bunch of characters that we know are going to end up as the Doctor’s travelling companions and don’t actually see the new incarnation of the Doctor until at least ten minutes in. Lots of backstory for these characters, but not much for us to get to know the new Doctor, who initially comes across as a slightly hyperactive Victoria Wood.

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“By ‘eck, did someone say Eccles Cakes?!”

Then we get our ‘villain’ – a knock-off Predator in a rather cool suit, who disappointingly doesn’t turn out to be a multi-eyed bug under the helmet, but an intergalactic blue tooth-fairy. Called ‘Tim Shaw’…

It’s the first episode of the new series and it should have been…bigger. Louder, more dangerous, with a truly memorable villain. This felt like a mid-season episode, a filler, after the grand opening and before the big finale.

Perhaps we’ve just been spoiled over the previous years, but it was like an indoor firework – it promised so much, but the packaging didn’t match the product.

The second episode “The Ghost Monument” was an improvement, but again the characterisation of the tertiary characters seemed more important than cementing in who this Doctor actually is or the video-game like plot of the episode.

It just doesn’t feel like Doctor Who yet, which is not a good thing. Even Class, the teen spin-off that aired on BBC3 and is available on Netflix, felt more like Doctor Who after it’s first episode – and the monsters were a damn sight more imaginative, dangerous and scary than what we’ve seen so far on the new series. If you’ve got Netflix, go and watch it – it’s pretty cool.

So, currently no overly enamoured by “Chibi-Who”, and rumour has it that we shall not be seeing any of the Doctor’s classic foes. This does not bode well.

We shall have to hope it improves.

Carrion Crow – The Return

Since my last post on 19th August, there has been speculation in certain quarters as to the reason for my absence in the blogosphere – both posting and commenting.

I can categorically state that I was not spirited away to the Red Planet, fighting four-armed green warriors in the company of pneumatic scantily-clad natives, nor was I ensconced in an Arctic crystalline fastness, brooding in solitude. I was also not trapped in a either a Welsh coastal Village or digitised virtual world, with or without a spoon.

However, I may have been on a sun-kissed Mediterranean island…

I may have followed directions found hastily scribbled on a flyer in a hotel lobby to a certain ecclesiastical building…

And I may have found myself wandering subterranean passages, hewn from Limestone, where I encountered something that frightened me quite badly…

However, being made of somewhat sterner stuff that an Investigator with a low SAN score, I was not reduced to a gibbering wreck and returned relatively unscathed to the shores of good ol’ Blighty.

However, you don’t visit my blog to hear about my trials and tribulations – you’re here for the gaming stuff.

So, whilst the next instalment of The §ingularity War, which will feature two quartets of Cosmic adventurers battling to secure a valuable prize, still remains unfought, I thought it might be time to introduce the instigator of this war – Kronus.

Now, a fair old while ago, I was outbid on some Colossal scale Heroclix figures on eBay. However, I really fancied owning the DC Heroclix Anti-Monitor figure (which was part of the auction), but couldn’t find it at a price I was willing to pay. So, remembering that Eaglemoss did a range of statuettes of various Marvel and DC characters, I searched for this character from them instead and managed to get the figure for less than the original retail price – including postage.

And this is what it looks like in its original format:

Image result for eaglemoss anti monitor

Suitably imposing and an ideal character to be re-purposed, as it’s not quite as well-known as some of the other characters produced by Eaglemoss. Obviously, it would need re-painting to match my vision of Kronus, Rewriter of Reality, Destroyer of Universes and ALL-Round Bad Egg, so the first step was to give it a thorough undercoating of white, like so;

Having decided that my colour scheme would echo both Dr. Doom AND would follow the time-honoured tradition of villains wearing costumes that featured both purple and green…because villains apparently have very little in the way of fashion sense, I block-painted the various parts of Kronus in the colours I had chosen.

And this was the result;

Not bad, although it does look like he’s wearing green wellies (Wellington boots for our non-UK audience).

So, the GW Worm Purple parts were highlighted with GW Purple Ink, the GW Chainmail parts with a wash of Docrafts Noir and the GW Woodland Green with a wash of this mixed with more Noir. The base was also painted with Chainmail, then given a generous wash with GW Brown Ink, to give a oily metallic look. The eyes were my own “Pumpkin Orange” blend and the mouth was painted in Docrafts linen, then given a wash of Docrafts Burnt Umber.

And the finished article looks like this;

The actual shading is more noticeable on the real thing and my camera is playing up a bit, so it might not look quite a detailed as it actually is.

And to give a sense of scale, here he is with a Warlord Games plastic Cyberman fawning about his ankles, like some kind of tin-plated cat…

If you have a villain with a ridiculously convoluted and sinister plan, he should be a bit more impressive than a bald guy in a suit…

Now, that I’ve got my hand back in, expect posts on a more frequent basis.

The Crow has returned to it’s nest…

The Singularity War – Episode 1: Hell and High Water

Since the events of December 23rd 1944, Tarmagant Island has garnered a sinister reputation and it, and the waters surrounding it, are avoided by those living nearby.

However, it is carefully monitored for signs of preternatural activity, and when lights and strangely garbed forms were spotted on the island, the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defence were immediately notified. Given the importance this locale in his own history, it was inevitable that Hellboy himself would be sent to investigate.

However, his arrival is not only expected, but has been planned for…

I appreciate that is has been a fair old while since I’ve posted anything on the Buffet, but real life threw me a series of curve balls and I’ve been attempting to restore a little bit of normality. As such, I haven’t really had any spare time in which to do anything hobby-related and, to be frank, haven’t really had any motivation either.

But having now secured some temporary employment, my thoughts have returned to my beloved gaming and I’ve finally got around to playing the first episode of The §ingularity War.

Now, I decided to play the first episode using the Clobberin’ Time rules developed by Alan aka Kaptain Kobold, which are available to download from his blog here, which are specifically designed for small-scale superhero skirmish gaming and are relatively straight-forward. These were chosen, as I’ve not yet had a crack at using them and wanted to see how they played out.

So, on with the AAR. I decided to utilise my Heroscape hexes once more, to provide the terrain upon which this conflict would take place. As Tarmagant Island is off the coast of Scotland and has ruined buildings upon it, I think it does do a good job of representing it on the table, like so;

So, the forces of good are represented by Hellboy and two B.P.R.D. agents, Agent Collins at the back and Agent Brown at the front. Under the Clobberin’ Time rules, Hellboy is a Level 3 Hero, whereas the agents are Level 2 Sidekicks. This means that each character gets their level in d6’s to roll for both attack and defence, with a 4+ being considered a success.

In addition, Hellboy has a Medium (6″) Ranged attack, which I decided was ‘weak’, meaning he only got a success if he rolled 5+, as Hellboy is renowned for being a rubbish shot, and both Strength and Resilient. For the agents, I gave them standard Medium Ranged attacks for their pistols and Accuracy, meaning they get a single die re-roll on any ranged attacks per turn.

And these are the forces of easily swayed and/or bought evil – Powerfist, Flashpoint and Count Zero.

These are all characters from my own superhero universe and are currently working on behalf of Kronus, as there is something on Tarmagant Island he needs.

They are all three Level 3 Villains, with Powerfist having the abilities Martial Arts and Strength, Flashpoint having Power Blast Medium and Teleport, and Count Zero having Block, Flight and Hinder.

As you can see from the first picture, each group started at opposite ends of the “island” and the intervening terrain prevented them from seeing each other for a while.

Initiative is determined by dealing each model in play a card from a standard deck of cards, with the characters acting when their assigned card comes up – from Aces down to twos. When activated, each character can move and perform an action. So, a character can move, then shoot or shoot then move. However, it appears that if there are no additional actions you can perform, all the model can do that turn is move. All models have a standard move of 6″, which for the purposes of this game, I’m assuming is the equivalent of 3 hexes, as the hexes are 1 3/4 inches across.

The first two turns saw both groups just moving forward, as the terrain prevented them from seeing each other, so they couldn’t actually do anything else. The actual cards dealt didn’t actually mean anything at this point, as they were just creeping forward, so whether one character or another went first was irrelevant.

At the end of Turn 2, the villains had moved close to the central ruins from one side…

…whilst the heroes had moved to the exterior wall of the ruins from the other side.

At the beginning of Turn 3, Count Zero, being a somewhat hot-headed Russian, (which is strange given his control of ice and snow) got fed up with all this creeping about and launched himself into the air using his Flight ability,so he could get an idea of where their opponents were.Flying up and over the ruined building, he spotted both Agent Brown and Hellboy of the ground below him and decided to freeze Agent Brown is his tracks (Hinder 6″ range). Whilst the Count rolled a single success, Agent Brown managed two successes and dodged the icy blast.

Hellboy moved forward and lined up a shot at Count Zero, hoping that on this occasion his aim would be true and although rolling Weak dice (5+ for a success), managed to get a single success. Count Zero attempted to Block this with an ice shield and failed, taking a wound.

Agent Brown also moved forward and fired his pistol at the Count, and only managed to get a hit from the re-roll allowed by his Accuracy. However, the Count was more successful this time, managing to get an ice shield in the way to prevent further damage.

Flashpoint, who’d been skulking behind the wall, moved into the central part of the ruins and aimed his flame pistol at Agent Brown, unleashing a 4 dice Power Blast at him. He managed to get two successes and therefore two potential hits – Agent Brown managed to block one of them and took a point of damage, reducing him to only one point (the number of Health points equals the character’s level).

Powerfist moved next, but as he was further away, he can hear the sounds of battle on the other side of the wall, but can’t see anyone yet and therefore cannot do anything.

Agent Collins moved around the other wall and can now see Flashpoint, who has just torched his friend, so he shoots at Flashpoint, scoring 2 successes, once of which is blocked, so Flashpoint takes a point of damage.

At the end of Turn 3, Agent Brown, Count Zero and Flashpoint have sustained wounds.

Turn 4 saw Agent Collins up first, who shot at Flashpoint again, causing another wound, then diving into cover behind the wall.

Powerfist finally moved into battle, charging into hand-to-hand combat with Hellboy and scoring a massive 4 successes due to his Martial Arts and Strength. And even though Hellboy is Resilient, he only managed to block two of these, taking two wounds and reducing him to single point of health!

Being slightly annoyed with this turns of events, Hellboy gives Powerfist the smackdown with the ‘Right Hand of Doom’ scoring 3 successes. However, Powerfist’s Martial Arts training allows him to dodge the majority of these, but Hellboy clips him for one.

Count Zero descends to the ground and, as per their plan, attempts to freeze Hellboy in his tracks. However, Hellboy nimbly jumps out of the way, and the wall behind him is covered in rime.

Agent Collins runs down behind the wall and, once in the open, opens fire on Count Zero, whose hastily summoned ice shield manages to block his shot.

Flashpoint, being somewhat of a sadistic bastard, fires his flame gun once more at Agent Brown, and manages to incinerate him. His smoking corpse drops to the ground.

Turn 5 saw both Count Zero and Powerfist attempting to freeze Hellboy in place and then pummel him into submission. However, the World’s Greatest Paranormal Investigator managed to avoid both villains. However, Flashpoint moved forward and unleashed a Power Blast from his flame gun, scoring a single hit on Hellboy, which unfortunately he failed to block. As this was his last point, Hellboy dropped to the ground unconscious.

Realising that he was now alone against three super-powered individuals, one of which had effectively taken down both his fellow agents, Agent Collins decided to take a shot at Flashpoint – and took him down! Collins then retreated, desperately trying to radio for back-up.

Turn 6 saw Agent Collins win the initiative, and he turned and fired at Count Zero, scoring two successes. Unfortunately, both were blocked by the Count.

Powerfist then leaped forward and punched out Agent Collins (4 successes, only one block, 3 hits taken and only 2 wounds).

Count Zero approached the unconscious form of Hellboy and was soon joined by Powerfist, his gauntlets humming with power.

“Our employer will be pleased, comrade.” said the Count, “We have secured the ‘Right Hand of Doom’ as tasked, with only the loss of one of our number.”

Powerfist reached down, lifted and hefted the recumbent form of Hellboy across his back. “Best get back to the portal, then.” he grunted, then paused sniffing.

“Can you smell dry-roasted peanuts?”

Next – Episode 2…

The Singularity War

After millenia of monitoring, analysing and cataloguing every known alternate reality in existence, the Primal being known as Kronus has had enough.

The constant revisions of existing universes as they experience ‘events’ that rewrite their history and reality, the almost infinite variations caused by the tiniest variance from the ‘Prime’ reality, the endless costume changes…it has become TOO much.

Order needs to be restored.

Utilising his vast intellect and extensive knowledge of quantum mechanics, Kronus has designed a machine – The Singularity Engine – which will compress every reality currently in existence into a single cohesive whole.

Billions will die, but Kronus believes the end justifies the means.

However, to complete the Engine, he requires artifacts of power from across the Multiverse.

As he cannot act directly in each reality, he plans to recruit a variety of catspaws to retrieve them for him. The promise of wealth or power will be enough in most cases, but those who think of themselves as ‘heroes’ may require subtle manipulation to unknowingly act on his behalf.

And there exists the risk that those who consider themselves guardians of their respective realities may discover his plans and try to stop him, so they will need to be targeted and removed from the equation.

The countdown has begun...

Turn and Face the Strange…

As what ‘free’ time I’ve had over the past few weeks has been dedicated to securing future employment, with a few side treks into the Land of Mists, I’ve not really had the opportunity to spend any time on ‘proper’ hobby-related pursuits. Which explains the lack of posted content.

However, it has given me time to consider the future direction of the Buffet.

It has become clear that the false starts and changes of direction regarding the proposed Age of Unreason project mean that, as they used to say in the Grolsch adverts, “It’s not ready yet!”

So, rather than continuing half-arsed and without everything I need to fully realise this project (due to lack of resources at present), the Age of Unreason is being shelved for the time being.

But if there’s not going to be any Age of Unreason content, what can you expect instead?

Well, having reviewed my collection of terrain and miniatures, it occurred to me that the majority of it relates to superhero gaming…yet I’ve never published a superhero AAR.

My Way of the Crow rules were specifically designed and play-tested with this type of gaming in mind. But whilst the Clown Gang did surprisingly defeat the nefarious forces of Doktor Reich and his super-Nazis, stuffing Aryan head-first in a dumpster and the Black Pharaoh proved to be more than a match for the original line-up of the Liberty Force on his own, only myself and my play-testers were witness to these battles.

I have approximately 150 costumed heroes and villains, most of which are unique characters to my own superhero universe and most of which ARE fully painted. Add a good handful of Marvel, DC  and Eternian heroes, and a few ‘Forgotten Heroes’, and I have rather a large roster of characters who could take part in a dimension-hopping, multiversal crossover ‘event’ on an epic scale…

Something like this:

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Or maybe this;

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Or even this:

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But obviously waaaaay cooler and more Jez.

So, that’s what I’m going to do.

Join me next time, as the countdown to The §ingularity War begins…

Age of Unreason – Fun with Flags

The problem with the Ravenloft campaign setting, from a wargaming perspective, is that whilst it provides a wealth of detail to enable a DM to craft suitably chilling adventures to challenge a group of role-players, if you want to engage in a skirmish between the soldiers of Falkovnia and one of the neighbouring Domains you run into a few issues.

Wargaming is both a physical and visual medium, wherein the opposing forces usually have a distinctive look or uniform to differentiate the troops on either side. Vague references to ‘the crest of the von Zarovich’s’ or militia wearing ‘the Dilisnya colours’ are all well and good, but without a physical description or definition of what these actually are means that the budding wargamet doesn’t know what colour to paint their uniforms or what banner they fight beneath.

So, in order to field military forces for what are, effectively, ‘Imagi-Nations’, you have to resort to some in-depth research…and a bit of creative licence.

In other words, you make it up.

Now, as I have a smattering of knowledge regarding heraldic design, I do have a slight advantage in knowing the ‘correct’ colours, metals and furs to use, along with the official terminology for the objects and creatures that are commonly used.

However, whilst my artistic skills aren’t too bad, the prospect of coming up with and illustrating twenty individual coats of arms for the nations of the Core, along with uniforms for the dozen or so Domains that have standing armies, was somewhat daunting.

So I decided to cheat.

After a bit of Internet searching, I found an online coat of arms generator that not only has the correct tinctures of traditional heraldry, but also has a library of the majority of the divisions and charges commonly used. For a glossary of heraldic terms, I recommend http://www.heraldsnet.org/saitou/parker/Jpglossa.htm which should provide nearly everything you need to know about heraldry in an easily searchable format.

However, to actually create your coat of arms, go to the ‘Uplink Heraldry Creator’, which can be found here.

Click on the button “Create Coat of Arms” and away you go. It’s pretty intuitive and selecting specific ‘charges’ (i.e. objects or creatures) does give you multiple options, such as whether the lion is rampant or passant.

Once you’ve finished, you can save the completed coat of arms as a PNG file or a PDF and then do with it as you wish, such as uploading it to your blog, like so;

So, above is the coat of arms of the nation of Falkovnia, the official ‘blazon’ (i.e. description) of which is;

Argent, an eagle displayed sable armed and crowned or.

And now I have the coat of arms, I know that the uniform of the Falkovnian army will be black, yellow and white and can paint my troops appropriately.

So, should you wish to provide a coat of arms for a particular lord, an Imagi-nation or even yourself, why not give the online generator a try. It’s easy to use, makes professional looking designs and is a lot of fun.

Until next time…