Friday, July 31, 2009

I Want To Paint

I am quite psyched to paint. My orks are looking rather nice, and I am really really into painting my Black Templar and all I've done is basecoat the armor, skulls, metal bits, and the maltese crosses, which sounds like more work than it really is. I think I over-watered the Boltgun Metal when I was working on the metal stuff though. I am really developing an eye for thinning my paints, I started out at a 2:1 paint to water ratio and I've sort of gotten good enough to just eyeball the amount of paint and put the appropriate amount of water into the puddle to thin it. The only problem with the Boltgun situation is that the Vallejo eye dropper bottle I use for water has a split in the nipple end of it which isn't too much of a problem, it just slipped a little extra water in this time.

The orks look really good to me and I can only imagine the details with tighten up nicely as I apply more paint to the mix to build up the colors. As I kind of expected, the Devlan Mud wash had no effect whatsoever on the Tin Bitz colored metals. I'm not sure what effect the Games Workshop guys were going for, but we'll see what Badab Black adds in.

I like going by these guides I have. They offer a nice starting point and allow me to have a concrete example of what happens when I do something with a wash or a certain paint on a certain basecoat or primer. If I want to, I can also change up the paints to see if I can get my own specific effect. I'd like to play around with colors and see what I can come up on my own without the guides, but the paint is too expensive to waste in that fashion too often.

In other news, I am having a crisis of faith in my DnD campaign. 4th Edition is pissing me off. I like the system and it works and its very solid, if all you want to ever run is high fantasy campaigns. My kitchen sink monstrosity is having a hard time being hammered into the weirdly shaped hole of 4th Edition. The problem at its core can be related to lasers. That is correct, lasers. I want to throw lasers in to my campaign world, and not steampunk lasers either. Like fucking Weird West lasers. I have ideas about heat dissipation malfunctions and misfires that melt your fucking face, but I cannot work them (the lasers) into 4th Edition. What is the point of using your class granted powers if the powers you can use with your laser top those, and what's the point of using a laser if its power is not comparable to your powers granted to you at your current level. The other option is this: It does fire damage, and that is boring as fuck. If I do a laser or a lightning gun, I want it to be slightly more snazzy than a sword that does fire damage or lightning damage. I don't know. I want to do so much awesome shit and it just ends up seeming like 3.5 Edition would have been an easier place to do this shit, despite the nice things about 4th Edition. I can't just change editions on everyone and be like "Oh well, bummer about the money you spent, now go buy some more." That's just plain a dick move. Plus, I really like 4th Edition. I really really do. It is so much more fun to be able to have neat tricks to perform as a fighter, rather than just swing a weapon every round.

The more I ponder this topic the more I consider d20 Modern/Past/Future/Apocalypse/Etc to be the ideal setting for my campaign. Magic is present, but toned down and could work in sync with my initial conception of the screwball random ass system. There are rules and such already in place for medicine, explosives (and the creation thereof), car (or steam wagon) chases, firearms, etc, etc, etc. All the gadgetry I want to put into my campaign already has rules in d20 Modern, or one of its expansions. It has the prestige class system I like Plus, Fell-Humans won't be tieflings, I can just make them fucking humans with mutations like I want to and make magic radioactive like I want to. It has oodles of skills and skill points, which I like.

The problem is that I made everyone buy books this time around and d20 Modern books are going to be a lot harder to find than 4th Edition books. I can't justify making them purchase or obtain another book just because I want to have my setting work better though. We'll play 4th Edition, and I'll ask the die hards like Jeremy and Eric what they think and we'll go from there. 4th Edition works perfectly fine for ninety percent of what I want to do in my campaign. Unfortunately, that last ten percent is one of the more delicious parts.

I wonder if there is a way to hybridize the two systems or if there is a Modern ruleset in the works for the current edition of DnD.

Fuck. This hurts my brain.

Music: Deep Inside - Incubus

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Mother Effing Post (It's Long, You'll Be Fine)

I played 40k with Shawn this past weekend, it was a...480 point battle I believe. He fielded a Tau Crisis Commander, Kroot Carnivore squad, Stealth Suit squad, Pirahna with Gun Drones, and a Fire Warrior squad with attached drones. I fielded a Chaos Lord, and three Chaos Space Marine squads. He outnumbered me slightly. Heh. Things went as expected for most of the game, his range and weight of fire were matched by my very solid armour save and good toughness units. This battle was pretty evenly matched, the dice didn't seem to favor or spite either of us. I did completely fuck myself when i forgot the rules about shooting at vehicles and penetrating hits, which led to a squad of chaos space marines getting pretty heavily chewed up by his commander. We played annihilation but towards the end I got confused and thought we had a draw because neither of us had totally destroyed the other. Each squad is worth one victory point in annihilation, I had four (three squads plus my commanders) and Shawn had five (four squads plus his commander). I had my commander and the remnants of one squad at the end of the sixth turn (you roll to get a fifth and sixth turn in the game and we rolled high). I can't positively remember whether or not I took out any of his squads. I know his commander and fire warriors were still around and perhaps some of his stealth suits. I kind of recall killing his kroot, but cannot be sure, so it looks like he won. We are now 1 to 1 as far as wins, though I hate to call my previous game a win with the way his luck was that time.

I've found that my troops are durable, but they lack punch. Bolters and bolt pistols cannot compete with his pulse weapons, and meltaguns are too short range of a weapon to rely on for tankbusting and crisis suit popping. The point is, my list is too basic. Even an obliterator would have made the battle easier. A seventy-five point model is a bit much for a low point game, but I think I can swing it if we up the points to six hundred or so (which I just suggested to Shawn earlier today). I guess that is the plan for the next enhancements to my army. I want to have two full squads of Iron Warriors done and then at least be able to proxy rhinos or an obliterator. I need to be either more mobile or pack more heat. With my oblit deep striking with perfect accuracy near an icon I can somewhat negate the maneuverability of Shawn's crisis commander. That tactic relies on one hit with a lasgun or multi-melta and I think oblits have twin-linked versions of the multi-melta. They both penetrate the 3+ armour save of the suit, and I believe they are both instant death for the commander because they are double the toughness of the unit. On the other hand I could choose rhinos as my next augmentation (for about the same mother effing price as an oblit) and increase my mobility and just negate the issue of range by being right up in his face on turn three instead of turn four or five. I dunno, we'll see. I'll have to see what I can cobble together as a counts as obliterator and perhaps get the dimensions of a rhino to use something blocky as a counts as rhino while I paint up another squad of Iron Warriors. I'll probably try the obliterator first since that is the easier one to do.

Interestingly enough, one of the things I had the most fun doing was talking to Shawn about his tactics and units in an attempt to get them to perform better against mine. I really enjoyed the hypothetical discussion on how to fuck my guys up. It was just fun to kind of pick apart units and figure out different ways to use them and ways to counter them.

I bought myself a Black Templars upgrade sprue and assembled and primed it at Shawn's. Unfortunately I put the Gesso on too thickly and it did obscure some of the detail. Well, not obscure, but further paint would have. When I got home I kind of cleaned the dried Gesso off and reapplied it. The Gesso went on kind of lumpy and not smooth looking, which would only have been exacerbated by more paint. I'll be dunking the fucker in Simple Green here and completely removing all remnants of Gesso, then I'm going to try thinning the Gesso with water, which some people do and it might not be a bad idea to get a look at the results. We'll see. I really look forward to painting up a Black Templar, I have two pretty in-depth guides for them and both look rather nice so I'm hoping to have a nice model when I finish.

My orks are working out rather nicely. I think I've got all the basecoating done, except I need to touch up some spots of metal with Tin Bitz. I am going to have to play around with some different browns or tans or something because black pants are just not working for me, but I have brown boots so I'm not sure how that will work. I may just paint the boots black and the pants brown and just do all the leather straps on the pants in Imperial Blue like I've been doing with their gloves and armbands and will eventually do up their lucky tattoos in. They're orks, so if they're a bit of a mishmash of colors, its not a terribly big deal. They're fun to paint though, I do very much like the mess of colors I have collected to paint them with.

I think I'll spend a couple hours painting tomorrow while I catch up on the shows I haven't watched yet. Eureka is back on the air after a year break in the middle of a season (wtf?) and there are a few new episodes out, along with Burn Notice, and the first four or five episodes of the seventh season of Penn & Teller: Bullshit.

Brewed beer while I was down visiting Shawn as well, except that I fell asleep for a portion of it, so I don't exactly know what we were doing. I know there was some milling, and some heating, and some transfering. I just don't know all the details, other than the fact that the cooler where all the hops were stored smelled delicious, as did the milled malt (?) that we were milling. It is possible I need to get a book or two on beer brewing and read up. I almost did when we went to a bookstore, but I really didn't know exactly which one to get.

Speaking of books. I've got a stack of nine or so fantasy/fiction books at home, including two I'm borrowing, plus some stuff Eric loaned me for no real reason other than he wanted to. Even with this hefty amount at home, and my seeming inability to make progress on my exceedingly interesting Nikola Tesla biography, there is a pile of books I want to pick up. Oddly enough, they are primarily non-fiction.

As I said, I would like to find a book on beer brewing, if only because financially speaking it is a wise decision to brew my own beer rather than purchase it from stores (forty to fifty beers for twenty dollars was the math I could get behind FYI). I would also like to peruse something that would teach me how to identify flavors and qualities in the beers I like and how to achieve those effects through brewing procedures. I would like to find a book about the "wild west" and the whole era, perhaps more specifically something about the lawmen. Someday I would like to read up on World War 2 because of my family's involvement in it and I'd also like to learn a bit about the whole Nazi obsession with mystical relics and stuff. Not because I am exactly interested in Nazis, but more because I am interested in magic artifacts and enjoy the Indiana Jones films and Hellboy comics. I also just honestly don't know much about shit like that, I'm not a history buff of any kind but I think I'd find information about stuff like the Civil War and World Wars interesting. I think I'd like to read one of those "history of guns" type books. I've always been fascinated by firearms and their evolution. I even did a report about how the invention of firearms was responsible for the death of knighthood and chivalry and whatnot. I think something I should definitely pick up is some kind of book about the modern political parties of the United States and their tenets and goals and stuff like that, I know how I feel about issues, but I don't know what political parties, if any, feel the same way. I can watch the news and elections and debates and get information that way, but so much of those have been hacked up by television folks to be sound bites (bytes?) that tell me nothing, or they center on pandering to interest groups and religion and shit like that. I don't give a fuck about your religion and your relationship with Xenu or the Morningstar or Odin and how that relates to your views on abortion and the driving of your enemies before you. That shit has no place in politics, I want to know your politics and those of your party, tell me those and keep the prosletyzing to yourself. I guess a citizen should be aware of the agendas of the people who are "in charge" of his country (Spoiler Alert: The people in charge are the citizens, that's why I used quotes. Governments are supposed to fear the people, because the people outnumber those in goverment and have the right to bear arms and generally have something worth fighting for other than a paycheck.), at least as much as he or she can without going to a politician's house and saying "What the fuck are you about?" Finally, I want to get a book about the basics of the English language. It has literally been over a decade since I had any real education on basic crap like sentence structure and grammar and things of that nature and I think it would be extremely prudent for me to revisit the basics if I'm going to continue with my writing and such.

On the fiction side of the equation is the series known as the Saga of the Pliocene Exile. Its an older series from the late eighties I think. It is basically the Celtic cycle of myths turned into a Sci-Fi setting. Its a pretty cool idea, alien races invade and conquer early humans in the Pliocene epoch and are what Celtic myths refer to as Firbolgs and Fomorians and Tuatha De Dannan. Not sure on the exact plot of it but the setting alone seems like a pretty interesting read to me. I've read bits and pieces of the Wikipedia article about the series and it really does sound quite nifty. It looks like I'll only be able to pick it up on something like eBay or Amazon or used from Barnes and Noble used book sellers.

Music 1.0: Love On The Rocks - The (Mother Effing ) Darkness
Music 2.0: Australopithicus - Intronaut

Thursday, July 23, 2009

That's Math I Can Get Behind!

Work progresses on my Orks, except anything involving green paint because my GW order from early last week still has not arrived in the mail, nor has my order. This is somewhat vexing. I have most of the first stages of painting for them done and I really like the blue that is the base of the Death Skulls clothing and tattoos. I'm really glad I chose Death (Deff?) Skulls as my clan. I like the Snakebites as well, but I have no desire to try converting the orcs and boars from the Warhammer Fantasy line of models into orks riding cyboars to be counts as warbikers. I mean, it would be cool as Hell, but fuck that. Those boars are metal and I don't hate myself enough to try my hand at making them cyboars. (I secretly do though, because boars are awesome, bioniks are awesome, and putting the two together is exponentially more awesome.)

The ay key on this laptop is effed up, so that is why one or two may be missing from this post. For some reason I enjoy spelling letters out phonetically. Ay, ee, eye, oh, yoo. See? Fun.

DnD has totally stalled out at the moment. This is ok though, I have a real good framework for the fourth scenario and as I have previously stated, the third is done and our next session will be run by Eric so there is bit of a buffer. I do need to make Walthuler's Missive for it (the third scenario) though and figure out how they get it in the wilderness. I think a dirigible will be involved. Anyway, Jeremy (beautiful glorious bastard that he is,) has decided he wants to pull off a heist in Kusseth. (If there is a van involved I think I can get Tony back into the game for at least one session) He in fact wants to finish the heist that got his character sent to Beltan eight years prior to the first scenrio of this campaign. Three years ago I would have shit myself if he had said he wants to do that in a campaign. Today all I can say is that he gets another Dogdamn gold star of awesomesauce.

I'm going to Shawn's this weekend and we pln on engaging in a variety of activities, possibly including laundry. One thing we will be doing is brewing some beer, another is some 40k GAMING. Not painting or blogging or scraping away at shit with the flat end of an exacto knife. We will gaming. We're only working with 500 points and whtever we have on hand that kind of looks like scenery and we won't have a regulation 6' x 4' table, but we will be rolling dice nd our manz will definitely be pew pewing at each other. That is not a dick joke.

Hopefully we can get two games in. I hve enough stuff put together and partially painted to field an ork list and a chaos space marine list, as long as Shwn doesn't mind proxying. I remember a time when all I ws missing was a counts-as Kharn for my HQ and I would hve had 1000 points of Khornate Chaos Space marines. But now I have Iron Warriors and they are a wee bit cooler. I plan on trying to play a real game this time , we'll roll for deployment and mission type and everything, then maybe I'll post battle reports.

Oh, yeah, if they have it, I intend on buying a Black Templars upgrade sprue from the hobby shop by Shwn's, and some Mordian Blue paint as well. I've given up on Eric and Tony painting anything and Shawn seems to have no desire to go beyond 500 points in the foreseeable future, so I'm just going to play with 500 point lists for the foreseeable future, and occasionally purchase a model that looks fun to paint. That is what this hobby has become to me, more painting than anything else. (In case you didn't notice, that was n admission that I will be canning my Lamenters and plying Blck Templrs as my loyalist space marines.)

Eric kind of freaks out every time I switch paint schemes. I'm not sure why. This is only the second time I've bought any paints this year and the cost for the paints I bought last time was under ten dollars and maybe slightly more this time. I also bought Simple Green, which is like 3 bucks for a jug that we did some household cleaning with in addition to stripping 1000 points of Khorne. Did I "waste" cash? Yes. Do I feel I got my money's worth out of the cash wasting? Yes, because I got more hours of enjoyment out of painting my models than I do out of most of my video games. Meanwhile, Eric blew money all over eBay for paints, models for Spce Marines and Tau, and brushes and now it all sits in a corner somewhere collecting dust and any skill he had with painting has atrophied because he hasn't put a brush to a model in like half a year.

Apparently I was agitated about that issue.

To return to the topic of gaming, its looking bleak for August as well. Tony and I are trying to get our schedules switched round at work and this makes changes to Josh's schedule, and he apprently has all his weekends in August filled up with shit, since he didn't run any of those plans by me I can only assume none of them are gaming related. Since he and Jeff are like peas in a pod I can also infer that Jeff may possibly be involved in some of those plans. I could handle gaming with one less person than usual, that is part of why I force NPCs down the group's collective throat, but losing two guys just makes the group too small. More people usually equals more fun in my book. We'll see though, I remain tentatively optimistic about August. If anything, its more of a buffer for work on scenarios and that is in no way a bad thing.

Music: I Fought Pirahnas - The White Stripes

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Submitted For Your Approval

The Nel
The Nel are an ancient and powerful race of mostly humanoid creatures created by Keroen Skathos and his children Aubernach, Lord of Light and Illusion, and Merobel, Lady of Winter Storms. The masters of the Nel had the power to create life and brought various races to life around them. The creatures that were brought into being were nowhere near as powerful as their masters, but they still possessed a bit of the power of their creators and if they have the will for it they are able to use those energies to reshape the world around them.

The Beginning of the Nel
When Keroen Skathos first gifted the bodiless creatures he found in the heart of The Grey Wastes a taste of his Gifts he created the primordials, though he did not realize it at the time. As the phantoms swarmed him, hoping for a taste of his power, he created the mountain-kin, the forest-kin, the cave-kin, the drake-kin, and finally the lastborn. He did not know them by those names then, but those were what they came to be called. It would be days before he encountered the lastborn, and decades before he found the primordials and mountain-kin of his court and their perpetual war upon west end of The Grey Wastes. It would be longer still before he gave life to Aubernach and Merobel and The Sleeping Kings.

The Sleeping Kings and the Sokarnel
When Keroen discovered the primordials and mountain-kin of his court, they had their own names and their own feuds, and their own kings. He cared nothing for any of it, he knew only of war and conquest and the bloodthirstiness of his own people. He saw raging armies of beasts built in the shape of his people and of giants carved of rock and knew they would be worthy foes, he also knew their warring armies outnumbered his warriors. He and they had been raging across The Grey Wastes happily slaughtering each other in droves, for that was their nature. No creature of the Nel could truly die though, and Keroen could feel each of them cease to be as their bodies were destroyed, he could still feel their presence somewhere nearby though. Marshalling his Gift he stood atop a mound and roared and cursed until his hordes of warriors stilled their blades, then he sought out the dead of his people with his power and dragged them back into the world of the living. A great mass appeared above the heads of his people, like a great cloud of smog. From this mass of black Keroen began to drag things away, creatures of rot, creatures of insect chitin and bug eyes and leathery wings. These creatures were dubbed the Sokarnel and they were the dead of the Feronel forced back into the semblance of life to wage war as undying specters for their king. From the blackest pits of the mass of dead Nel he pulled nine warriors, creatures so potent with the power of death and war and the Gifts of Keroen that their flesh ran like candle wax. These creatures were dubbed The Sleeping Kings and they ruled the Sokarnel as Keroen ruled the Feronel.

Aubernach and Merobel
In the aftermath of his conquest of those creatures that would someday be referred to as primordials and mountain-kin of the Feronel, Keroen Skathos grew bored. None of his warriors could stay his hand for more than a few moments, and his people were nothing but warriors. His queen, Loria, told him that there was more to life than slaying, that even though his people could not truly be destroyed their lives should have value. Keroen was a thing of impulse, but also a cunning creature and his queen was the wisest of his warriors and her word was of much value to him, so the mighty king sat upon Braldenon’s old throne and brooded, knowing that he could not change the nature of his people. It was while the king was distracted that one of The Sleeping Kings descended from The Nightmare Lands. The Kings were twins and none of them bore names to differentiate them from the others. The King cried out to Keroen demanding a return to life, demanding that after his eons of service he should be rewarded with living flesh and a life spent in the sun. The other Kings came roaring out of the dark sky, seeking their brother’s blood, but a single word forestalled their rage and felled the arrogant King. The Kings could not truly die though, only lie dormant, and so the brothers returned to their homes in the sky and the fallen one lay like a corpse before the iron throne. Mad melee swirled around the throne of the silent king, and he was unmoved by the maelstrom of bloodshed or the cries of the Sokarnel and their kings above him. Rain pelted him and lightning struck the earth and he did not flinch. After forty days of silence and stillness the king of the Feronel rose from his throne and stormed through the battle before till he found his blood-streaked queen, for she was as bloodthirsty and violent as her king, though her nature was tempered by the value she placed upon the lives of their people. Keroen shouldered warriors of every shape aside and carved out a circle in the plain of battle and bellowed for his people put aside their blades for a moment. To his queen he spoke whispered words and when they finished their conference he roared into the dark sky above them and called The Sleeping Kings from their world to his, and those screeching nightmares came. The eight silent sentinels stared at the one creature that could command them and he returned that gaze, as only he could. Their fallen brother rose from his slumber before the throne and met the others before Keroen. Two Kings were taken aside and with his potent Gifts Keroen Skathos hollowed them out, returning the power they had held to the other Sleeping Kings and to the Sokarnel still dwelling within The Nightmare Lands above. With his power Keroen raised a gleaming sphere of fire from the deep places of the earth and from the sky he pulled an incandescent orb of light. Like two miniature suns they hung in the sky, one blinding in its radiance and the other savage in its flaming fury. He dragged those elemental orbs of power into one of the hollowed out Kings, and Aubernach was born. The body was no longer a misshapen and rotted corpse, now it was that of a young boy of pale flesh and blonde hair. Keroen turned his attention to the other unliving body, and from the far north he pulled the blistering wind from the heart of winter and he tore lightning and thunder from the heavens themselves and those he filled the other King with. When the smoke and fury of his Gifts cleared this time, there was a girl child as pale as the boy but with hair of raven black lying upon the earth. Then the children awoke and the Feronel learned something of fear, for there were no children among them and they knew nothing of the raising of them. The Feronel had been born as fully grown warriors and though there were creatures that called themselves man and woman among them, and even some that called themselves neither, no such pairing had every birthed a child into their midst.

The Birth of Nostathon and the Breaking of the King and Queen
[Outlined in The Last Blade]

The Aubernel and Utenel
The Feronel had no way to care for children, nor did they have anything to teach them, or even knowledge of what it meant to be a child. They only knew that the small things before them we fragile in the physical world, but burned from within with Gifts that rivaled Keroen’s own. The children that had once been Sleeping Kings had no knowledge of their former lives, just as the Sokarnel had no knowledge of what or who they had been when they were living, the children only knew that a mob of bloodied warriors surrounded them. They knew Keroen for their creator and called him grandfather, a term he strangely seemed to take delight in. Just as they knew Keroen, they knew Loria and called her grandmother, for she among the Feronel possessed the softest heart. Keroen dubbed the boy child Aubernach and called him the first of the Aubernel, Nel of summer and fire and light. The girl was called Merobel and named as the first of the Utenel, Nel of storms and winter. After giving his grandchildren names Keroen landed a blow against each of them. They were light blows, for he was no fool, but the children were nearly slain outright and only their mighty Gifts allowed them to survive the crushing strength of Keroen Skathos. Keroen’s only response to their plight was to nod and then confer with his queen, after their discussion he roared for the attention of the Feronel. He then decreed that no man of the Feronel would raise a hand or weapon to Aubernach and Merobel till they could hold their own blades. Every creature among the Feronel that could hold a blade was equal and until such a time as the children could defend themselves they were to be left to their own devices and protected from any of the Feronel that dared attempt to strike them.

The Feronel understood the passage of time only in the vaguest sense, they marked the changing of days but to a race unchanged by the passing of decades, time was a concept they had little use for. When Aubernach and Merobel came of age they might have been twenty, or perhaps several hundred years old. Regardless, they came of age and by that time both were competent warriors and wielders of the Gifts of Keroen. It was at this time that they decided they should be allowed to rule their own courts of Nel. This was not unheard of, many Nel had asked Keroen for this boon, but almost none had the power to create true courts of Nel and most only produced abominations that were slain outright or fled from the Feronel. Aubernach and Merobel however, were two Nel that had power enough to create full courts under the guidance of Keroen. Unable to refuse his grandchildren, Keroen took them to the ancient place where he had first bound his Gifts into the Nel. Loria followed, her bright blade clenched in her hand ready and waiting for Bloody Head to split Keroen’s brow and seek the life of the young Merobel and Aubernach. Just as Keroen had been, his grandchildren were approached by strange phantoms that sought their Gifts, the youths obliged and the Aubernel and Utenel were given life, though just as with the Feronel, the masters of those people would not encounter them for some time. It was then that Keroen and Loria spoke, for a thought had occurred to Keroen. If the Aubernel and Utenel formed their court upon the soil of The Grey Wastes, they would certainly clash with the Feronel, and this would assure the destruction of the young courts. Keroen could not keep his warriors from defending their land any more than he could keep them from their constant, although admittedly less bloody than in the past, battles with each other. Loria agreed with her former husband, and they journeyed to the western shore of The Grey Wastes. Keroen called up his power and sunk it deep into the ocean, seeking the earth laying at the bottom. With great effort he raised a tremendous mass of land from beneath the seas and with blood and his Gifts bound it into place to sit upon the waves. Keroen could not conceive of races that did not wage constant war and so he made the landmass more than twice the size of The Grey Wastes, believing that he could keep the young courts from annihilating each other by placing long stretches of land between their kingdoms.

Aubernach and Merobel called the land Grenaldeen and they made their way to it across the short stretch of sea, Keroen, Loria, and several hundred of the Feronel followed them. As they explored they encountered the newly born creatures of the Aubernel and Utenel, Aubernach and Merobel soon had warriors and retainers in number such as Keroen and Loria had trailing after them. All was not peace upon Grenaldeen though, for there were creatures from beneath the waves still inhabiting it and they took poorly to the displacement of their homes and Aubernach’s use of Keroen’s Gifts to turn the mud and coral of the once sunken landmass to forests and mountains. War was waged by the Aubernel, Utenel, and Feronel upon these sea-folk and they were slaughtered or driven from what had once been their homes. The lands of the young courts were soon freed from the remnants of the sea born warriors and Aubernach and Merobel began to organize their nations, Aubernach’s far to the south of Grenaldeen and Merobel’s far to the north, as was befitting their respective natures. Satisfied that all was in order with his grandchildren, Keroen and his former queen returned to The Grey Wastes and their people.

The Union of Merobel and Aubernach and the Birth of Herowen
The courts of the young ones prospered and their lands became ones of civilization and bounty. The Gifts of Keroen provided everything for these kingdoms from construction to waste elimination. Everywhere there were Nel there was a blanket of the silvery strands of Gifts as it provided everything the young courts needed or wanted in their lives. There was no hardship for these people and nor was there the lust for battle that so plagued the Feronel. Grenaldeen was an almost idyllic place, peaceful and merry and plagued only by incessant tranquility. The island had been bathed in its share of blood when it had been cleared of sea-folk, but the rush of battle held no hold over the Aubernel and Utenel. This surprised Keroen, but did not dismay him. When he and Loria had conceived of creating Aubernach and Merobel they had thought to create creatures that would not spill the blood of their people senselessly, and that had been achieved. Keroen had also sought to bring a level of civility and culture to the Nel, and he had achieved that too. The castles and cities of the Aubernel and Utenel were filled with artisans and poets of every kind who worked in every medium that could be conceived of.

Aubernach and Merobel had been close since their creation and that was only fitting since they were alone as children among the Feronel. Their long youth and seemingly endless adulthood had only brought them closer and despite the placement of their kingdoms on Grenaldeen they remained in close contact as their kingdoms flourished. Their close bond allowed their courts to work together and live in peace with each other, despite the contradictory natures of their leaders. Aubernach was a creature of impulse, loud and bright, living his life with great vigor. Merobel was a quiet creature that preferred contemplation and peaceful environments. Despite their natures, they found themselves in love. Keroen saw this happening and made his displeasure known to his young, by his standards at least, wards. It was his belief that Aubernach and Merobel were too different, their opposite natures made each of them exotic and mysterious to the other, but he believed that in the end it would drive them apart. Keroen had never had the gift of prophecy, that was one of Nostathon’s Gifts, but in this instance his prediction was accurate.

Aubernach and Merobel’s union was shattered apart upon the anvil of their disparate natures. Those same natures made such an agonizing separation bearable. Aubernach’s manic nature allowed him to bury his grief in the flesh of the women and drink of the Aubernel while Merobel retreated to the bleak confines of her own mind. Under the weight of her own Gifts, Merobel’s mind split asunder like a rotten fruit stepped on by an armored boot. Merobel, and her court to a lesser extent, sank into dark despair as her mind, and Gifts crafted a fantasy for her to heal her heart within. It was in the dark dreams and fantasies spun within her mind that she found a friend, and she called that friend Herowen. The fantasy world within Merobel’s mind was made for her by her own Gifts, which were second only to Aubernach’s in strength. As Merbobel’s fantasy progressed her Gifts strove to enforce her will on reality, and so another court of Nel was created. The creature Herowen was birthed in Merobel’s mind and he was a creature of unrestrained violence and destruction. At his birth he cut a swath of destruction through Merobel’s lands, called the Lands of Winter’s Heart, and made his home in the western edge of Grenaldeen.

Herowen’s Nel came to be called the Sarownel and his court was called the Court of Ruin and Woe, his lands called the Kingdom of Ash and Dust. His home came to be called this because his lands soon became a blasted wasteland under his care. Grenaldeen was covered in forests of every kind and filled with beasts and birds of as much variety. Herowen called himself a hunter, but he and his Nel knew no restraint. His lands were burned and the beasts that roamed them were hunted to near extinction and when his lands were emptied he once more journeyed north to Merobel’s lands. It was then that Keroen Skathos and his people intervened.

Keroen and his most trusted battle brother of the Feronel, Callifay, crossed the expanse of Grenaldeen in the blink of an eye with Keroen’s Gifts. They waited for the Sokarnel on the border of the lands of the Utenel and when Herowen’s people came upon the two warriors they mobbed them, thinking only of the joy they could wreak from the shedding of blood. They died by the dozens and could not understand why; they had never encountered Keroen of the Feronel and could not comprehend the battle skill and Gifts these two creatures could command. When Herowen met Keroen, the lord of the Feronel recognized that his foe was a Nel and his people possessed the Gifts of Keroen and this confused him. He had no idea how they possessed power akin to what he had granted Aubenach and Merobel and their people. His knowledge of his own power was intimate though and he was able to trail the threads of Herowen’s power back to Merobel, and being his treasured granddaughter he was not inclined to slay the creature outright. Keroen paralyzed an entire court of Nel in one instant and blasted his way into Merobel’s underground fortress with his power. There he discovered what had befallen Merobel and discerned the nature of Herowen’s birth. He returned to Callifay and released the Sarownel from their bondage and decreed that he would not destroy them outright for pillaging and burning western Grenaldeen. He further said that Herowen and his people would be allowed to continue their existence, so long as they confined their depredations to what lands they had already taken as their kingdom. Herowen scoffed at the decrees of the creature before him and Keroen’s only response was to set the Sokarnel upon the Sarownel. They could not fight creatures that were beyond life and death and they were chased back to their dens in the lands Keroen had granted them, the Sokarnel did not relent. For half a year the Sokarnel plagued the Sarownel and finally Keroen decided to recall them, believing that he had fully displayed his power to the ignorant creature that called itself Herowen.

After he put Herowen in his place Keroen did not leave Grenaldeen, he stayed on the isle and Loria soon joined him and Callifay. Though Loria was no longer Keroen’s queen and her words for him were never kind, she was still his most trusted warrior and he was still her lord and neither would forsake that lightly. The three were each joined by a small band of their followers and the small group of Feronel walked Grenaldeen, often cloaked in illusionary Gifts and observed the young courts of Nel. What they saw in their travels displeased them. There were artists and savants among the young Nel, but for every brilliant one among the Aubernel there were four or five who could not resist the lures of the flesh and sought that above everything else. The same was the case among the Utenel, save that most of them could not resist the strength of the bleak despondency they felt. Among the Sarownel there was no art or literature, only slobbering creatures more akin to hounds than Nel that reveled in their savagery. Savagery was found among the Feronel, but there was also something akin to honor or the code of the warrior, there was none of this among the young courts of Nel. Their codes of honor revolved around hidden verbal jabs and snide comments said in secret or the respectful code of conduct of a slave to its master, their honor was a false, tinny thing.

In the passing of years Keroen had calmed, he still lost himself in times of battle when his brow split open, but no longer did he run amok seeking the death of anything he chose. Between his restraint and the arcane shackles Nostathon had placed upon Bloody Head, Keroen's will could not be subverted easily by the blood thirsty creature within his skull. As the pride he felt for the young Nel dissipated Keroen hurled himself through time and space and found himself in Aubernach's citadel, there he howled his rage and anger at the Aubernel, it was there that he took control of the kingdoms of the young Nel. The power of Keroen's Gifts was endless and unstoppable and with it he tore the citadel he'd built with it from the ground and transplanted it to the center of Grenaldeen where he could oversee all three courts. After the citadel settled into place he called Loria, Callifay, and their warriors to him and they set to the work of instilling strength in the Aubernel, Utenel, and Sarownel. Nel died in droves and towns burned as Keroen attempted to kill away the weakness he saw in the Nel. No children died, just the layabouts, the drunkards, those chained to addictions and weaknesses of the flesh and mind. When the blood dried and the fires died a quarter of the Nel of the young courts had been sent to Nostathon's halls in The Nightmare Lands. Those that survived were put to work training for battle, hunting, and whatever else Keroen and Loria felt they needed to learn or do to pass the time.

Events progressed in this fashion for several millennia, every century or two Keroen would come among the young Nel seeking their vices and then he would exterminate those he felt were weak or unsavory, killing hundreds or thousands in a single day's rampage. After his rage dimmed he would return to the Aubernach's citadel to rule over them.

The Passing of the Feronel
Keroen drifted from one end of Grenaldeen to the other, constantly filled with fury and unable to reconcile what the Aubernel and Utenel were with what he had desired them to be. As he went among them, perhaps even without his notice, he found himself obeying their laws and taboos, wearing chain or plate in lieu of sweat and blood-stained leather. The time he had spent among the young Nel was changing him from warrior lord to stately king, though his rages were still legendary and still bloody. It was at this time that he began to sleep upon Braldenon's throne, a throne he had taken from The Grey Wastes and placed in Aubernach's citadel so that he could rule from it. Just as he had before, every century or two Keroen awoke from his slumber and brought his blade to the Nel of Grenaldeen.

The Birth of the Loronel
The Nel of each court were tied to the ruler of that court. Just as Keroen had bestowed his Gifts upon the Feronel and Sokarnel, Aubernach and Merobel had bestowed a portion of their own power on the Aubernel and Utenel. The Feronel and Sokarnel embodied aspects of their master Keroen, and that was true of the young Nel and their masters and it was believed that those bonds could not be shaken off. The vices of Aubernach and Merobel were well known to their people and though they were loyal to their creators, some Nel could not abide their own natures and could not stand the weaknesses granted them by the Gifts their masters had given to them. These creatures were able to throw off the shackles of their masters, the cost was almost too steep though, for they were forced to sacrifice a portion of their Gifts. These Nel left the lands of their masters and met in the thick forests of Grenaldeen between the lands of Aubernach, Merobel, and Herowen and they made themselves a small kingdom. Their meager Gifts were unable to sustain them and they were forced to live off the land and forests around them and build a society with their own bare hands.

The Reaping of Grenaldeen and The Taking of a Vow
[Outlined in The Last Blade]

Keroen's Long Walk
His throne, sword, and Wytchstave cast aside, Keroen had nothing left to him, not even the comfort of his people, for they too were gone or in hiding. His power was such that no creature could harm him unless he willed it. There was nothing for him in this world, for he could take no part in it and it had no desire for him to do so, so he left. It was then that he wandered into the depths of his hill, his ancient fortress that was as much a part of him as the flesh of his body. In this place he found his way to ancient portals that he used to traverse the long stretches of the universe, wandering from world to world growing ever more bored. Finally, unable to bear the crushing weight of his boredom and unable to strike a blow in anger he called on his power and returned to his underground fortress and crafted a tomb for himself. He called warriors up out of the depths of The Nightmare Lands and clothed them in the flesh of the living, ordering them to guard him until time itself wore them away to nothing but bone and rusted metal, then he slept.

The Awakening of Keroen
[Outlined in The Last Blade]

The Return of The Grey Wastes and the Passing of Keroen Skathos
[Outlined in The Last Blade]

The Scouring of Grenaldeen
After Keroen Skathos stripped the Nel of most of his Gifts and passed out of The Grey Wastes the Aubernel, Utenel, and Sarownel soon returned to the lives they had led, they found that they could not though. As Keroen had said, their Gifts were not potent enough to allow them to lead lives of hedonism and idleness as they had previously. Not even Aubernach and Merobel had the power to infuse their kingdoms with the peace and prosperity they had previously enjoyed. The kingdoms of the Utenel and Aubenel became as ruined as those of the Sarownel. Keroen had stripped power from the young Nel and even the still living Feronel, even the Sokarnel had been stripped of a portion of their power, though it was not as much as what was taken from the other Nel. Led by Nostathon and his brothers, the Sokarnel poured The Nightmare Lands out over Grenaldeen and released the Sokarnel into the world of the living. They went among the shadows of Grenaldeen hiding in the shadows and letting their presence be felt by their kin among the living. The Sokarnel hunted the living Nel, always hiding and striking from the shadows and teaching their cousins to fear the night.

Monday, July 13, 2009

In My Campaign: Kusseth Edition, Part 2

Hell, once the strongpoint of the Fell Peaks border and the capital of that nation, now a city under siege from within. Whatever Hell's original name was has been erased from history, at least from the Kusseth standpoint. Nonetheless, it is still a symbol of the power of the Fell-Humans and over the years since its conquering it has become apparent that the Fell-Humans would at one time pay nearly any cost to take their capital back from Kusseth. For decades after its taking, the city was kept under near constant siege by hordes of goblins and Fell-Humans. Cenn the Reaver had no true master, other than war, but the lords of Kusseth paid him well and once more brought him before the gates of the city he'd broken. It was there that he faced the goblin hordes and their masters once more, and once more he was triumphant. In the aftermath of that battle he swore that any nation seeking to take Hell from Kusseth by waging siege upon it would find him its enemy forever. He further swore that he and his entire army would abandon their base of operations deep within the Beast Lands and would drown the Peaks in the blood of the hell-kin should they try to take his city back with their armies. No true army has come against the now mundane gates of Hell since that battle. Despite Cenn's vow, malcontents within the black walls of Hell wage a constant war upon the Kussethian rulers of that place, and the reavers that ensure their rule. The reavers still within the walls are some of Cenn's most experienced troops, many of them Children of Volung that journeyed south with Volung himself when he left the North. The Kussethian politicians die by the dozens within the Hell but the reavers however have not suffered a single casualty since the day of Cenn's vow, but the revolutionaries dare not slay a reaver lest they invoke Cenn's wrath. Though the insurgents work to take back Hell, they work from within and do not use an army, thus they work within the tenets set down by Cenn in his vow and hope to forestall his rage if they should manage to finally wrest control back form Kusseth. The revolutionaries, despite their quest to take back their ancient capital, are something of an outcast sect among the greater Fell-Human population. After it was made apparent that Cenn would keep the city under Kusseth control as a matter of honor the rulers of the Fell Peaks decided that they had no use for Hell or the pointless attempts to take it back from Kusseth. The rebels working from within Hell differ in their ideology, obviously. Those Fell-Humans believe that something within the bowels of Hell fuels the taint flowing within their veins. When Hell was first built its foundations were laid down using black slabs of stone mined from the depths of the Necropolis in the east, stones that hummed with the tainted power of The Bleak Tyrant. The revolutionaries believe that the true destiny of their race can only be discovered by plumbing the depths of Hell and harnessing the power waiting for them in those ancient stones. Whether or not there is truth to this belief remains to be seen.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

'Ere Comes Da Waaagh!!!

I like orks. I like the models, the fluff, and a lot of their rules. They are a very assaulty army that favors the horde (because the basic troop unit costs 6 points per model). I tend to like assaulty armies, so to combine that with my love of things orkish, it makes sense that at some point I would field an ork army. That point is now. I was looking at my Lamenters yesterday as I began to paint them, and I cannot muster any interest in the models, paint scheme, or fluff anymore. This happened with my Khorne guys, which is why I use Iron Warriors now. I was all into my Khorne guys for a while but I was just starting out the hobby and I was into a lot of things. One of which was the Iron Warriors. When I got bored with my Khorne guys I thought about it and realized I was still into Iron Warriors, so if after all that time and painting I still dug the scheme and the fluff, it seemed more prudent to field them as my chaos army. Same thing with orks, I liked them, bought some, painted one, set them aside, I'm still into them so now might be a good time to work on them and set my Lamenters aside due to lack of interest. The problem with the Lamenters is that I can't seem to get the precise yellow I'm going for, and at this point my freehanding skills (which are about nil) are not up to making decent looking checks and the checks are a big part of what I like about the Lamenters. I only have 8.37 of them painted up, so now might be a good time to put them on pause and see where my loyalist interests truly lie before putting more effort into them.

Somewhat on this topic, Space Wolves are getting a new codex and there are rumors of Black Templar and Blood Angels codices coming out in the sometime nearish future, and I have a slight interest in all three of those chapters. I'm not terribly keen on the Space Wolves paint scheme, but I do like the pre-Heresy dark gray that their lost 13th company still uses. Also, the Space Wolves are Norse werewolves in space and that is the kind of B-movie inspired background fluff that cannot be overlooked because of sheer awesomeness. Blood Angels, I am not so keen on, but they have a successor chapter called the Flesh Tearers that have a black and red paint scheme and heap of fluff that I dig. They are also vampires in space, some of whom have gone bat-shit crazy with bloodlust, I like this for the same reasons I like Norse werewolves in space. The Black Templars have a killer black, red, and white color scheme and an upgrade sprue that is amazing. One thing I like about chaos is the diversity of their bitz and the details on their armor, I would almost have to say that the Black Templars upgrade sprue bitz are superior to those possessed by chaos. There is a lot of neat shit on them, and I do enjoy the painting of the detail work on the models. So the upgrade sprue coupled with the nice paint scheme are definitely selling points for the Templars.

As I was saying, orks might be the way to go right now. I think I really do better work if I alternate between what type of models I paint. It slows both armies down, but its more fun for me to have some variation in what I'm painting, and right now I'm not exactly in need of a 100% put together and painted 1500 point army.

I've been playing with list building for a bit and I've settled on a Death Skulls army. My first gut instinct was to try an Evil Sunz speed freekz army. I do love the warbike models, and the whole very mobile, very fast moving theme of a speed freekz army. There is a problem with this, trukks only hold like 12 guys in them. Eleven boyz plus a nob is decent in assault, as long as they have the charge, but they lack survivability under heavy shooting. Ork boyz come standard with a 5+ save, and that is not remotely good. The trukk adds to their survivability with its speed and ramshackle rule (trukks are so rickity that if they get hit hard enough they can just go careening around the battlefield out of control and actually deliver the orks faster to their desired location), but I'm not convinced twelve orks in a lightly armored trukk can survive all the pulse rifle shots Shawn's Tau will be able to hit them with. I think twenty or thirty boys, a nob with a bosspole, a lot of running, and a well timed Waaagh!!! have a better chance of getting my boys where they're going than a trukk with its armor of 10.

Death Skulls allow me to take a more varied army. I can't really justify a place for lootas or burna boyz, or kommandos in a speed freekz army. There just aren't enough transport options. A Death Skulls themed army allows me to throw whatever I feel like throwing in, as long as their gear looks looted and they have blue facepaint on. That is the Death Skulls fluff, they steal shit and wear blue because it is the orkish lucky color, just like red is the fast color. Orks even have a vehicle upgrade called Red Wunz Go Fasta that adds an inch to a vehicles movement range, obviously you have to paint the trukk or wagon red to get this. That's what I like about orks, they have a bunch of neat rules and mechanics like that. Fun stuff.

I'm picturing this list in my head and I kind of see three big squads of boys, maybe one is 'Ard Boys with 'Eavy Armour. Probably some Lootas because they are pretty fluffy for Death Skulls, probably some Burnas as well because I love the idea of cigar smoking orks with flamethrowers that double as power weapons (they use them as cutting torches to burn through enemy armor), and some Kommandos as well. Unfortunately that makes my list very top heavy and fills up al three elite spots and three of the six troop spots. I'll probably throw a nobz squad in as a troops choice, normally they are elites but having a warboss as an HQ allows you to take one squad of nobz as troops. Then I'll probably have two fast attack slots as warbikers. I may toss the lootas if I need to. I haven't got a handle on unit costs like I do for chaos space marines so I've no idea what the total for this army is. But yeah, Lootas, the fluffiest unit of the bunch would be the first I toss. If I have any room left I'll likely throw in some stormboyz because they are both hilarious and awesome.

Obviously I have no idea how any of this stuff will play out because I've never played a single game with orks and have only played one with chaos. I may actually go back a few months on 40k radio and download the ork codex podcasts again and give them a listen to bone up on orks.

Music: Naked Burn - Mastodon

Thursday, July 9, 2009

What The Fuck? Wednesdays

Yesterday was my second day off this week and I am somewhat astounded by my level of productivity. I did some banking type stuff and some dish washing related type stuff which is I suppose productive, but mostly I spent the day bumming around the house watching shows and playing with my hobbies. I managed to finally finish up my squad of Iron Warriors. Seven chaos marines, one aspiring champion, one icon bearer, a flamer guy, and a meltagun guy. I also cleaned up a sergeant, missile launcher guy, and flamer guy for my Lamenters. What cleaned up means is that I took my files and exacto knife to the models and removed all the mold lines and imperfections in them. Its tedious as Hell and really the thing I dislike the most about the hobby, but it needs to be done and I'm starting to get the hang of it. Its really something you have to concentrate on because it is real easy to inadvertently hack off a bit or shave a chunk out of the plastic with the files. Someday I hope to develop a bit of proficiency in the use of greenstuff so I can fill in all the cracks and whatnot. I had a total idiot moment and glued the business end of the missile launcher onto the body of it wrong, twice. Then I slopped some Gesso on the three models and they are awaiting paint, which I will possibly start on tonight or Friday after laundry. Playing with Gesso has got to be my favorite part of painting, its just a lot of fun to slop the goop on and come back an hour later and see how cleanly it dries to show details. Paint adheres to it very nicely as well, which is the point of the whole process. Once I get into some orks, I will likely switch back to black spray primer because there are a lot more orks in ork armies than there are marines in marine armies (basic ork costs 6 points, whereas a basic chaos or loyalist marine costs 15 points). My eventual ork army will consist of a lot of bikes and trukks, which could limit the number of models and might make the use of Gesso not a total pain in the ass time consuming event. We'll see.

I did some work on the Nel, mostly names and a little bit of history. The document I'm writing up is basically a companion to any game material I produce for them and also kind of a prologue type story. Its kind of a history of their origins I guess you could say. Some spots of it are spoken of and described during The Last Blade (now referred to as Keroen's story and not Cromm's) but a large chunk of it is only referred to or hinted at. Mostly I'm writing this out to get used to the names and the typing of them and to kind of give any future stories I write about the Nel a sort of starting point, or at least a concrete past. That was something of a problem when writing Keroen's (pronounced Care-oh-en) story, there were only certain past events that I could talk about or refer to because I had no real clue what the beginnings of the people were. The picture of their creation and rise to power developed as I wrote, but a lot of time was spent staring at a blinking cursor trying to figure out what was what. This thing I'm writing now will come in handy in the future I am sure.

Josh raised an issue today that I am aware of. His problem was that Glamour (no name for it yet) was too powerful. The Nel just did shit with it whenever they wanted. That is the point. When I conceived of Glamour in game and story terms (and not in terms of illusionary magic wielded by Earth faeries) I decided it would be a way for Nel, if they had the power and will for it, to alter reality around them. It was designed to be the classic "magic did it" mechanic that changes rules or provides a way out of impossible situations. Need a way through a wall? Glamour makes a door. Although, if Josh was referring to the door I think he was, it was not really Keroen just punching a hole through a wall with a door shaped bit of Glamour. It was more like his Glamour called a door that existed in that spot into existence from a hidden place deep in the hill. The door is always there, someplace in the hill, its just that Keroen knows precisely where it is at all times and can bring it to where it is supposed to be whenever he wants. Or he just created a door, which is not a big deal for him at that point. He can fling himself around through space (and technically time because he does not spend any time crossing those distances when he teleports) fairly regularly, breaking down the matter of a stone wall and converting it into wood and metal hinges and a doorknob is not a big deal in terms of energy usage. Anyway, I expressed my agreement with Josh that yes, Glamour is fucking ridiculously powerful and is always the thing the Nel fall back on when they can't get their way. Which is why part of the point of the story is Keroen's distaste for the Young Courts and their lack of spine (as he sees it), and also how he forces them to rely on themselves and not their magic so much. Read it, you'll see, or you won't, which seems to be the more common occurrence. Kudos to Josh for making it to chapter five (there are only twelve chapters) though.

Work on DnD was done as well yesterday, not a lot though. I have a rough outline made up for the fourth scenario I will run and I just put down specifics for an encounter that would occur at some point during that scenario. That's how Kusseth City is going to play out, some cool descriptions and some encounters that happen depending on when the PCs want them to. If they're walking through the city and following Spineplate home and they want to see if there is a shop to buy weapons in POOF! around the next corner they'll find a mall or some equivalent. If they want to check out a tavern for info POOF! I'll basically break down all the components of the scenario and plug them in as needed. I've never run a scenario like that, so we'll see how it works out. Hopefully well.

Music: Freya - The Sword

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

40k Related

I finished my icon bearer for my Iron Warriors squad, and I remembered (I think) how I did the scorched barrel on my meltagun so my flamer wielding Iron Warrior should be finished up quickly enough. My icon turned out a lot better than I thought it would. Originally I was going to make it old and worn and use Bleached Bone and a Devlan Mud wash to dirty it up with a dark red or something for the eight pointed star of chaos on it, then I kind of thought it might be better to do like hazard stripes on the banner portion, but there isn't really enough flat clear space to do that easily. I finally settled on a black banner with a yellow star symbol and I think it works pretty decently.

Maybe Wednesday or Friday I can put the pedal to the metal so to speak and bang out the warsmith and the flamer guy in one go. Then maybe I can take some pictures with Heather's camera and post them here. It would be nice to feel a sense of completion or achievement in 40k, it has been a while. I wish the guys would get their butts in gear because even if I do get an army together (finally) I have no one to play against so it really doesn't make much sense to work hard or with any degree of regularity. I mean, I want to develop my painting and modeling skills because I get a lot of neat ideas (I think) for conversions and such, but I don't have the skillset necessary to actually implement them and I'm left holding a bit in one hand, a model in the other, and a confused look on my face. Like right now, I have some possessed chaos space marine weapon limbs where the hands have morphed into large pincers with like teeth and spikes growing out of them and I think it would be awesome to hack off the grabber on a servo-harness and stick a crab claw arm on in its place to represent the daemon weapon of my chaos lord. Now, I can hack pieces off easily enough, and gluing is easy too, I just don't know how to get it to look like it belongs there. I have an idea to use greenstuff maybe to represent muscle tissue growing out of the metal servo-arm and going for a techno-organic feel with the backpack, but I would need to do some heavy searching on the net for some idea on how to make it look right. I also decided I will not be using a full techmarine harness for the leader of my Iron Warriors. Those things are loaded down with too much crap, they're too busy of a bit for my tastes. I think with the conversion on a regular Iron Warriors backpack would look nice. I think I'll probably use a metal chaos lord model with the backpacks switched out, I've always had a fondness for the model I'm thinking of.

Back on topic. My friends haven't really painted anything in the past six months as far as I know, and this bums me out quite a bit. Shawn has like 500 points of Tau put together. Neat. I want to hurl 2k points of chaos at a like number of fishheads. Troops and HQs are cool, but there is also shit in my army list like oblits, vindies, and dreads. Those are what I think are cool and I want to field the suckers. I aso want to do enormous hazard stripes (and possibly pieces of bodies) on the dozer blade of my vindie.

Interlude: For those of you not immersed in the hobby: Oblits are daemonic fusions of armor, marine, and warp energy that can grow energy-based projectile weapons out of their arms. Vindies are big tanks with dozer blades and a big fat gun barrel the size of my thumb jutting from their front end. Dreads are monstrous metal walkers with half-dead space marines that have gone bat-shit crazy inside.

Like I said, troops and HQs are cool, they are the core of any list, and Chaos Space Marines have some damn neat stuff in it for both slots in the list, but the elites and other slots are where you find the really neat stuff. Same thing with my loyalist army. I have dreads and vindies there too, plus drop pods and vanguard vets and sternguard vets. I'd like to paint and field all of this "neat" shit someday. I'd be ok with just painting it all, because up to a certain point painting is very relaxing and kind of nice thing to do while watching a movie or tv show. That said, it seems stupid to have fifteen hundred points (roughly 37 models) of Iron Warriors and a similar number and point total of Lamenters if nobody will be engaging in epic battles with them. Maybe I can teach Heather to play the game and fight me, heh.

I think I have a plan forming in my head. I'll build my chaos and loyalist space marine lists to about the 500 or 750 point mark, then see where everyone is. If nobody is above that mark I think I'll work on my orks up to the 500 point limit (I should only have to spend another 60 bucks or so to get to the point after having bought the Assault on Black Reach set when it came out many months ago and a box of boyz). Then, once again, check and see where everyone is with their armies. If that's a no go, maybe, maybe, I'll toy around with a 500 point guard list. I like this hobby and I like painting and I only put five or ten bucks aside a paycheck for it, so its not like my three armies are draining the coffers or anything.

The ork army in my head is basically a speed freaks army. Lots of red paint and lots of ramshackle ork vehicles. LOTS of bikes. I think the space marine (loyalist and chaos) bikes look stupid. The ork ones look fantastic, all kinds of jagged metal and an overall jury-rigged appearance that gives the models a lot of character. Throw fifteen or so of those guys down with some trukks and a Wazdakka counts as and you're set to turbo-boost your way into a 3+ invulnerable save and assault. I'd probably throw in some Kommandos and Burna Boyz as well, because they're both kind of awesome and there is an ork kommando model that I really love. Apparently ork nobz on bikes are one of the most hated armies out there currently, that and double lash PN/KB/oblit spam chaos lists.

The guard army I'm not so sure about. I have a theme idea, but I'm not as knowledgeable about guard tactics as I am about space marine and ork tactics (not that I am beacon of tactical brilliance). The theme would be penal legionnaires, conscripts, and commissars. Basically a penal legion full of some rugged looking models with kind of a gritty look and a lot of browns, dark greens, and blacks. I like the fluff about commissars and penal legions, and I like ninety percent of the commissar models, and I like the rules of the penal legionnaires in the Guard codex. I dunno, this is just the glimmer of an idea right now. I like a lot of things and that is part of the problem. Vostroyans would be pretty cool too, except their models, though I love them, are all metal and fuck that. Metal is a pain in the ass to work with. Someday GW will go all plastic and that will be glorious.

Music: Immigrant Song - The Sword

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Progress (OMEGA Condition Downgraded to EPSILON)

To be honest, I just really like writing Greek letter/words out in all capitals.

Moving along. I have had a degree of success with my retconning project. I think I have settled on the name "The Nel" as a replacement for "The Fey." It is odd enough to sound definitely foreign and it keeps the one syllable three-letter word look that Fey had. Free writing is definitely the way to go with this project, I was focusing on stuff like "The Timeless" and "The Eternal" and playing the synonym game for the past few days and finally I just started ramming consonants together and I just typed out en ee el and I looked at it for a minute and went, "Huh." and kind of decided I liked it and that my creatures would forevermore be known as the Nel. In the internal logic of the universe the proper name of each Court will end in Nel because the names of the Courts will basically mean "Court of Blah Blah Blah Nel." I dunno what it is, but the name really sticks to something in my brain, so Nel it is.

Next up, I think I have "Cromm's" name down. How does everyone (or no one) feel about Keroen Skathos? I think the Keroen part is finalized, it has that hard kay sound like Cromm that I like, as does Skathos. Skathos may change though, depending on whether or not anything else nifty sounding pops into my skull.

Oberon = Aubernach (still toying around with this one, the Auber part is pretty certain though)
Death = Nostathon
Seelie Court = Aubernel
Sluagh = Sokarnel
Shadow Court = Sarownel

So that's my progress on the names so far. Its not terribly much, but as certain things become finalized everything will begin to fall into place. I tend to work that way, I start slow but begin to pick up speed as I write and finalize and refine ideas.

I'm starting to get some good ideas for the mechanics of the Nel in game terms as well. The danger with this is that I might start to pine to play them. I have a history of doing that in the past. We'll be mid-campaign and I see or read something and get and idea and kind of start work on it on the side of what I'm doing for the current campaign. A few scenarios will pass,and by that time I'm totally about the side campaign ideas and what I'm working on with them and decide we're going to stop the current campaign and switch to the new one. It is annoying for the guys and just as annoying for me. I'm thinking that because I like this current campaign world so much I won't have that problem this time.

What would be neat is if Eric would shut his campaign down (which we've only done like half a scenario in) and help me work on the Nel and then run it. I may have to mention that idea to him and the group to see how everyone feels about it. Ah well, we'll see.

Music: Lament for the Aurochs - The Sword

Friday, July 3, 2009

Operation: Thunder Clap/Fist OMEGA Condition

Also known as Operation: Oh Fuck Me.

So, I have decided to go along with the previously mentioned idea of cutting out all the Celtic mythology from my The Last Blade story. The past two days have been spent coming up with new names for all the main players and places and such and I am in no way close to done. I have a drafted email in Gmail with a bunch of shit just written in there, kind of like a free writing exercise with names and it is messy. Basically this should be easy, just plop a bunch of consonants down, then intersperse them with vowels and y once in a while and its all done. My problem is that I like all of the names I already have, I've grown attached to them and they have meaning. When I think of the Seelie Court, I think of Fey with personalities as shallow as a pool of light and natures as changeable as a flickering flame. That's the Seelie. I want the new name for the Seelie to have meaning as well, but without doing some tie in or using pseudo-Latin names I'm basically creating my own words and that just seems...I dunno what it seems like but I don't like just making up words. The wordsmith in me goes "That is made up and everyone knows it, you look like an ass every time someone reads the word Sokar."

Although, doing a quick Google of Sokar tells me that Seker (Sokar is a variant of that name) has to do with Egypt and death and Sokar is a character on Stargate that has masqueraded as a god of death on many worlds for millenia. Fuck them, I'm keeping the name.

I think I've settled on an idea for the shape of the Courts (I'll be keeping that term at least, although the names of the Courts will undergo some changes). Giant-type Fey will be known as mountain-kin or something along those lines, but instead of breaking it down into Trolls, Jack-In-Irons, Ogres, etc, it will just be Mountain-Kin with the new name of the Court on it. So, instead of Spriggan from the Sluagh, they will be called Sokar Mountain-Kin, or Sokarian Mountain-Kin, something in that vein. (Anyone even remember Sokar? I thought not.) Ancients, which were once called Hags, Gruagache, Hobgoblins, Fomorians (or Firbolgs, I can never remember), etc will now be called Firstborn and the Sidhe will be called the Secondborn (because each Ruler made the Firstborn first and the Secondborn second, the Secondborn consider themselves a refinement of the Firstborn and there is some rivalry between the two races).

Looking back on the early stuff for the Fey has been an interesting trip down memory lane. Some of the choices of Court were odd. Like I put the Phooka (shapeshifters that could transform into a bird of prey or a horse) into the Sluagh (undead Fey), even though the Phooka make more sense as Common Fey, or even Court of Blades Fey. Seeing all the broken ass mechanics I introduced in each version of the races has been interesting as well. There is feat based Glamour, schools of Glamour that you could automaticall use that were just spells taken from spell lists, skill based Glamour that required a check to use, and Glamour that had no mechanic except vague outlines arbitrated on a case by case basis. Glamour never really had a final form, I was alway refining it or trying some other concept to make it work like I envision.

Looking back, it is shocking how oblivious I was to the concept of game balance and fairness. I wonder if it negatively impacted anyone's enjoyment of the game and they just never told me. Oh well, I'm a better DM now and that is something at least. Heck, if you want to get ridiculous, we invented free actions in 2nd Edition and basically ruled that anything you could innately do could be done without taking up any real time. So, Jason could attack like 16 times, lob a fireball, then transform into his mist form to avoid damage from the enemies when they attacked, all in one turn. Eric was able to scare a gelatinous cube to death by transforming himself into Bill Cosby. Later he was able to summon the rabbit from Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail. In 2nd Edition AD&D balance of any remote kind was not exactly our forte. I think at one point the group played what I guess could be called dragonborn, but we called them spawn (anyone remember spawn from Dragonlance?) and they were platinum spawn that served Bahamut and could breathe disintegration rays. Thank you 40k forums for teaching me of things like codex creep and balance.

The Spellscarred powers and paragon path seems like the closest thing to what I want to achieve with Glamour this time around so that is cool if I do decide to take a go at hashing them out 4th Edition style. I'm too new to the edition to go my own way, I'd like something vaguely reminiscent of a template to work with, and Spellscarred stuff is certainly wonky enough to fit in with the powers at the command of the "Fey." I need some new names, anyone have any ideas? I wonder if they'll add stuff into the DMG 2 about creating new classes and powers and the like, that would be pretty nifty and a bit helpful.

I am suddenly really liking the idea of making whatever the Fey are renamed as my own. It allows me to bring back the draconic "Fey" and the psionic ones without trying to hammer them into Celtic myth as well. Although, I'm not even really sure psionic "Fey" would fit here in this collection of inhuman creatures. I think I'm also going to remove the specific physical features of the "Fey." I've always envisioned this collective race as somewhat malleable as far as physical form. I think just some general guidelines like: mountain-kin are big and burly, forest-kin are small and agile, firstborn are human-like but clearly not and tend to be agile. Things like that. Like a mountain-kin from the "Seelie" Court could be all big and stony but have patches of moss for eyebrows and hair with gold ore for eyes while an "Unseelie" mountain-kin could be all big and rocky and have a beard of icicles and eyes like chips of mountain ice, while a Sokarian mountain-kin could...I dunno have fucking fossils visible in his rocky flesh or something to indicate that he is a piece of undead rock. Or he could extrude the fossils to form weapons and armor. Or he could just be a hacked apart and bleeding version of a "Seelie" mountain-kin, that would actually make more sense (despite the awesomeness of being able to see a living rock with fossils in its very flesh) becasause the Sokar are a kind of afterlife for "Fey" and they only end up as Sokarians if their bodies die.

The more I think, the more I like this thing I am doing here. I'm no longer bound by the constraints of the myths I was taking inspiration from, not that I realized they were constraining me. I think the idea of what the "Fey" were and where they came from evolved over the years and I just forgot to evolve them along with it. Oh man, what if I remove the weakness to iron? Now we've really gone off the reservation kiddies.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Huzzah For Liver Damage And Paranoia!

I have ADHD, it is a problem. My focus can suddenly shit to something completely different with almost no warning. I imagine this makes it difficult to have lengthy conversations with me at times. Oh well.

Right now I should be focusing on the next scenario of the campaign and working on writing about Traith Harris. Instead, because of maybe three sentences Eric said last night, I am working my brain into a frenzy about converting the Fey to 4th Edition. This is not necessarily a bad thing, since technically the Fey are part of my current campaign and Avalon/The Grey Wastes are west of The Known World. (Side Note: I really need to work on a globe-sized map.) Its just a distraction from what I am currently working on, and between WoW and Prototype, I don't need another distraction pulling me away from writing and DnDing.

The Fey are basically the antithesis of my current campaign. They are a society that relies upon magic, having the cliched technological level of every pseudo-European medieval high fantasy setting out there. Swords and castles and everything they need is produced by magic, called Glamour. They are fun, there is no doubt of that, but a lot of their fun stems from the sense of superiority people feel when they play them I think. When something has roughly +12 to stats, resistance to fire and ice, is immortal, can see in the dark, regenerate, and turn invisible at 3rd level, that something is overpowered. People never really understood that, and if they did they certainly did not say anything about it.

I know the Fey are broken, I know they always have been. They were designed to be overpowered because they were designed to be a superior race to everything else out there (even though in my cosmology their power is dwarfed by that of the Eldarine). So when Eric says stuff like "The Fey were so much fun to play." I can only respond with "Duh, they are like three or four times as powerful as any other character of equal level." There is no way to balance them and still maintain their innate Feyness. You can try and get something approaching semi-balance between the races themselves, but there is no way to truly balance them and keep their flavor. Their flavor is their power, and arrogance. You strip their power away and they are a collection of funky looking humanoids.

The Fey were basically copy & pasted from Celtic myth, and that was intentional. If I had known they were going to be part of my little world beforehand, I would not have borrowed so heavily from myth and instead would have tried to create my own (mythology that is). In theory I could come up with new names for them and use the search and replace functions in Word to alter it, but I like the names. Balor, that is a good name. Cromm, good name, just ask Conan. These are good names, and I like them. Of course, there is always the option of playing the alternate spelling game and adding in apostrophes and producing stuff like Bail'Hor. I think I've reached a point though where I am too attached to the name Cromm Cruach and Bloody Head to easily give those up, and if I'm going to keep them I might as well keep the rest of it.

At this point, why bother worrying about names? The personalities I've attributed to the characters are my own. The story is my own, it wasn't lifted from Encyclopedia Mythica (good website!). Cromm isn't even really an elf, he/it is a giant mound for the sacrificing of shit. in like Scotland or somewhere across the pond. In myth the Sluagh are the restless human dead, not the undead servants of Cromm.

I think I will definitely change Oberon's name and perhaps Titania's as well. I'd have to do some research but I believe their connections to Celtic myth are somewhat tenuous. I vaguely remember reading that titania was a catch all term for daughters of titans or something. Oberon was a version of some knight by the name of Auberch or something along those lines. I can't remember, it has been a while since I spent any time looking at Celtic myth and legend. It might be prudent to look into it though.

Side Note: I just ate an entire bag of cola flavored gummi candies (shaped like old school glass Coke bottles), I feel funny.

I guess this issue of names has been bothering me lately because I started the story of Cromm with the intent of ripping off Celtic myth, and now the story of Cromm and the Fey has stepped away from that original intention. My writing style has evolved and changed just as my personality and likes and dislikes have, so I guess it is no surprise that something I started writing half a decade ago is not necessarily turning into what I had intended to turn it into back then.

Time to get ready for work here, perhaps more writing on this topic will occur, perhaps not.

Music: Ultimate - Gogol Bordello