Saturday, 30 June 2012

Been Playing With Magic Set Editor

Which is a really easy to use tool for faking up Magic cards and creating tokens (of which you can never have enough). Whatever art you want on tokens? Well, it was always going to be Brit-Art wasn't it?

(Adeptus Titanicus cover)

(Chaos Marauders)

(Eeza Ugezod's Black Orc Death Commandos)

(Myrs are like little silvery-white robots. So I went for other silvery white robots)

(Not pictured - Brother Scarface relaxing post-battle with heroic quantities of Bolivian Army Imperial Guard marching powder)

(House of Hell)

(Pedantry corner - Skeletons not Zombies)

(Pedantry corner - Skeletons not Zombies)

(Pedantry corner - Skeletons not Zombies)
(Pedantry corner - GHOUL not Zombie)

(Pedantry corner - Very sick man not Zombie)


(Face it - when you have a token generator that produces BRIAN BLESSED!!!!!! tokens, shit is suddenly going to get NOISY)

Magic Set Editor can be downloaded for Wintel platforms here I printed mine out on El Cheapo colour inkjet, laminated them and inserted them in clear card sleeves with spare MtG cards shoved down the back to stiffen them up and give them the magic logo on their rear. Since they don't have to be shuffled and there is no need for them to be indistinguishable from real cards when face down this is all perfectly adequate for my needs.

Click the pics to get them at 100% size which is scaled perfectly for printing.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Blood of the Zombies Cover

New FF book, by Ian Livingstone, green spine (yay!), better cover than the stuff Wizard was previously using.

It's by Greg Staples and I quite like it even though I'm not particularly excited by the modern zombies theme (didn't GW's Black Library actually do a zombie gamebook not too long ago?). Release date is first week of August, at least for the UK I guess.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Mantic Trolling Again No. 476 of an Occasional Series

I don't really like the line that some miniatures companies take with tournaments, the "you can only use our product ranges". I understand why they say this and respect their right to do so but I don't have to like it so I don't. Because Coop does not do soft opinions.

The rules for the forthcoming Mantic Kings of War tournament in early 2013 say this about which figures you can use;

In addition, 75% of your points must be Mantic miniatures The remaining 25% of your points can be models from other manufacturers.

Which is actually slightly more generous than most manufacturers. Now they also have an army list for humans but don't make any, so the line they take is slightly different here and presumably you'd expect them to allow any human figures of suitable cod-medieval type.

But, this is Mantic arch-trollers of Nottingham and beloved of the blog we are talking about here. The people who's sci-fi wargame of "fantasy in space" goes up past 40,000.

So we get this;

Note on Kingdom of Men
Players who want to take a Kingdom of Men army lists are permitted to use models from the following manufacturers to count towards their 75% - Perry Miniatures, Warlord Games, Conquest Miniatures, Fireforge Games and Victrix.

Which is not only saying "75% of human forces must come from our mates who are manufacturers" but can of course be read from the other end to say "75% of human forces cannot come from the other Nottinghamshire-based manufacturer who we won't mention".

I love these guys. Even their tournament rules troll.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Phighting Phantasy Philanthropy

My gaming mate Webby of hailofdepravity gave me these last night...

...which are destined for the Not-Really-A-Nephew-Nephew. I know that he has a few of these already so am hoping that he will pick up on the hint that it might be an idea to distribute the duplicates amongst his friends thus laying the seeds of a new generation of gamers.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Steal This Book

Specifically this one;

that  Orlygg at Realm of Chaos has scanned for us all. The photo history of the 1988 Golden Demon painting contest. Beautiful.

What's refreshing about this book, viewed through jaundiced 2012 eyes that is, is the way the hobby of modelling Citadel Miniatures was so much one of your imagination where the toys were just raw materials to match your inner vision of a fantasy or science-fiction. You did what you wanted, rather than what some codex or GW-approved image of what Warhammer is told you to do. As I sarcastically said in Orlygg's comments (and I meant it) this was when GW's customers were "allowed" to have an imagination.

How did we end up in this place where people have to ask about whether they will be allowed to play in tournaments with converted models or what the "official" company distinctions for the 3rd company of Space Buttfuckers is or whether neckbeards will refuse to play against them if they paint their Space Marines in camouflage?

Fucking spoonfeeding that's how.

Yes Mommy, more official colour schemes please!

 Chapter fucking Approved indeed.

(On a happier note, as the neckbeard who ripped off Full Thrust only with post-apoc cars rather than spacecraft wrote Axles and Alloys I am as pleased as punch to be reminded of the year when, inspired by the presence of Dark Future in the GW lineup, Golden Demon had a category for converted Matchbox cars. Get in.)

LATER EDIT - In the interests of fairness towards and even-handed treatment of a younger generation I feel I should admit that not five minutes after posting this screed I came across this in Chapter Approved - The Book of the Astronomican from 1988. Oh well.

(To be fair cut the words "in the uniforms shown on the box" from the question, along with "Is it permitted to use a Marine Chapter of my own invention. I ask because" and I can't disagree with the sentiments, Warmahordes players.)

Monday, 11 June 2012

Trans-Atlantic Fault Line In Action

I'm sure if you are west of The Pond this might sound wonderfully Arthurian and authentic and a good title for a Pendragon scenario. If you are east of The Pond it is quite possibly the most hilariously bad thing you have ever seen.

Follow-ups included The Antagonistic Amazons of Aldershot and The Deadly Damsels of Darlaston.

(I am reminded of the truly dreadful Battletech background that throws British provincial placenames around like confetti leading to unintentional hilarity like the St. Ives Armoured Cavalry, 17th Donegal Guards and the Battle of Coventry. Only Alfie Bester gets away with this sort of stuff.)

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

WFRP - Not Syphilitic, Not Knee-Deep In Shit

Jack at Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque (kudos points for 1980s Citadel flyer "Moria" font banner) has an excellent post here about how, in his experience, WFRP 1e never seemed to equate to the traditional view held by TEH INTERNETS that all WFRP scenarios involve drowning in an alleyway flooded neck-high with Chaos Hound shit.

It's an excellent post and one that chimes in with something I've been thinking lately. Jack is right, WFRP in it's original form is not an roleplaying game of drowning in an alleyway flooded neck-high with Chaos Hound shit. So why do we hold the view? Here's my reasoning.

1 - For a long, long time WFRP was defined by what it was not.

And that not was that it was not AD&D during the dark early to mid 1990s when TSR's public stock was at it's lowest ebb. AD&D was about powergaming and slaughtering things and 2E-era American Bible Belt Bowdlerisation was it not? Well, simply, WFRP will not be those things. Guilty party - the WFRP mailing list we all gloried in this. Including yrs truly.

(An aside - James Wallis once told me over a fry-up late breakfast at GW World Domination Underground Lair Hollowed Out From An Extinct Volcano Shaped Like Tom Kirby's Head Headquarters in Nottingham (I point out that James ate veggie being a full time veggie, your correspondent only practises semi-vegetarianism in the privacy of His Own Home) that he'd considered having a Hogshead t-shirt run up for a late 90s Gencon declaring that some Hogshead game was, almost verbatim quote, "the funniest thing in gaming since TSR went bankrupt". That he should even, if briefly, think this was A Good Idea sums up UK attitudes of the time.)

(Second aside - due to the presence of the huge double-headed eagle on the front of the factory, Nottingham taxi drivers know the building as "The Reichstag". If I ever visit the place again I intend to catch the train and then ask the first guy on the cab rank to proceed to the Reichstag.)

What kept this hoity-toity snobby attitude going was that...


It had legs with people who heard of the game during either of the three post-GW periods of WFRP 1e, that is Pre-Hogshead (out of print), Hogshead (in print) and Post-Hogshead (out of print). So a new generation of gamers grew up having heard that this WFRP game was the game in which syphilitic PCs drowned in alleyways flooded neck-high with Chaos Hound shit. Even/particularly when they hadn't seen or played it.

One of the reasons for the incompatibility between the two views is that...

3 - The rulebook pre-dates The Enemy Within.

It's as if WFRP, the rulebook, doesn't really know what it is going to be but along comes the big campaign for it and changes it's direction.

According to Graeme Davis (somebody please stop me from all this name-dropping...), in an unlikely and rare instance of YOUR DOING IT RIGHT Bryan Ansell walked into the WFRP area of the GW Studio one day and said "Write a Call of Cthulhu scenario but do it for WFRP".

This is why Shadows over Bogenhafen  is a Call of Cthulhu scenario but done for WFRP.

This is why nearly every scenario that post-dates Shadows over Bogenhafen is a Call of Cthulhu scenario but done for WFRP. There's an interesting parallel here in the OSR D&D world in that tournament adventures that got published were influential upon people's home adventures even though those tournament adventures were not really suitable for campaign play because it appeared that the company that printed the game - who really should know - were saying that this is what an AD&D scenario looks like. Case in point - Tomb of Horrors.

Grim and Perilous was therefore retro-fitted to WFRP as a result of the Enemy Within.

(Yes, I know it said Grim and Perilous on the back of the book from day one. That's called foreshadowing).

4 - The rulebook isn't really Warhammer - The Roleplaying Game.

It's chargen sample PC is called Clem Shirestock. Good German name that. I imagine plenty of syphilitic Rat-catchers in the city-states of the Hanseatic League were called that or, if they weren't personally called Clem Shirestock, their small-but-vicious dogs were. The pre-gens in it's scenario are called Mellory, Soho, Bianca and Jodri and they face up against an BBEG called Jonas Whitespore (that dog-shit thing again). Nobody appears to be thinking "Fantasy Germany But Worse!" at this point.

So if it's not Warhammer - The Roleplaying Game, then what is it?

Well, it's Pelinore II.

What? Pelinore was TSR UK's campaign that serialised in IMAGINE which was an attempt to produce a campaign setting more suited to UK tastes. IMAGINE was TSR UK's magazine that got shitcanned by TSR Inc. for the twin sins of cannibalising sales of Dragon in the UK and an attitude that if TSR produced something that was shit then IMAGINE would tell people it was shit. And Uncle Gary could fuck off basically.

When IMAGINE got closed down, TSR UK's disgruntled staff went over to Nottingham and handily there was a great big gaping vacancy for a creative team to produce GW's competitor to AD&D. So effectively they carried on as before.

Ever wondered why WFRP is full of so many stupid punning names? Because Pelinore did that. That's why The Empire went all tits up in it's one thousand nine hundred and seventy ninth year when the electoral system was abandoned following the election of the Empress Magrathe.

Ever wondered what the point of Appendix 1 : Typical Buildings of the Old World was? It's there because Pelinore was built around floorplans of buildings and descriptions of the NPCs therein. WFRP even goes out of it's way to copy the style of Paul Ruiz who did the original floorplans for IMAGINE.

(There's a lot more to be said here - i.e. WFRP being the spiritual successor of Pelinore - but I'd rather expand upon it in a future post as it requires some considerable research and image grabbing. More later hopefully).


5 - Stock artwork.

WFRP has John Blanche pictures of flying galleons (p352 and p353). These do not appear in any part of the WFRP imaginarium, nor indeed Warhammer Fantasy Battle. Much of 1e's atmosphere that leeches out of the illustrations is stuff that simply does not exist in WFRP, like the armoured Mona Lisa standard banner with moon-faced (literally) friend (p357). This is because so much stock artwork was used that GW had commissioned for other projects. If you are bored on a rainy Sunday afternoon try and count how many times bits of the box cover from The Tragedy of McDeath turn up scattered amongst WFRP's page furniture.

WFB 3 is an even worse offender in this respect as it's rulebook appears to be a reference manual to GW's art assets with a fantasy wargame sneaking in wherever white space can be found.

So a picture of flying galleons was shoved in because it looked cool without any real thought as to whether it fitted in with the game.

(COOPS INTERNET COROLLARY - Somebody, who is unique amongst the internet-connected demographic of Planet Earth will now comment to the effect that all their WFRP games involved flying galleons therefore Coop you are as wrong as fuck).

This means that, surprisingly for GW, there isn't a huge amount of art direction in the WFRP project other than that if Blanche or Ackland drew it, it's fine and it doesn't cost us anything. (40K Rogue Trader seems to extend this attitude to cover anything Pete Knifton drew).

This means that the look and feel of WFRP The Rulebook Only version is something of an accident, The Enemy Within was something else. Nobody shoved a picture of a John Blanche flying galleon into Mistaken Identity because it looked cool.

Also, finally

6 - 1990s tastes darker than late 1980s tastes.

WFRP mailing list heyday, early to mid 1990s. WFRP copyright date, 1986.

And really finally this time

7 - It might be time for a WFRP OSR

All the cool kids have gone back to WFB3 played exclusively with 1980s vintage Citadel Miniatures. Perhaps we should have a pre-Enemy Within scene with flying galleons.