Painting is, or at least was, one of the main reasons I’ve stayed playing miniatures games for so long, despite demand from a variety of sources on my time like a kid, a wife, video games, friends, and work. But, over the last three years my painting output has almost completely dried up, reaching drought territory and not recovering. I’m aiming, hopefully, to remedy that. 

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Happy New Year!

I know. I’m a bit late. Thats OK, though, because I took a bit of time to myself and just didn’t write any Tuesday articles for about 2 months. Its about to get back to it, though, because I think that I still have lots of work to do on my typing, and a ton of nerd shit to talk about, because I’m a pretty big nerd. So, whats the plan? Follow me. 

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A few weeks ago, as I was trying to place an order for my KR Multicase, I put up a review/Guide as to how to use their product. Mostly, It went over how I expected to use their foam, but I had no foam on hand to showcase what can be done with it.

Days afterward, I received the shipment, and spent quite a bit of additional time putting it all together. Now, in stunning full color for the very first time, I give to you the glory that is Cryx – KR Kaiser 3.

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This one is gonna be short. I’ve got fallout on the brain, but I still want to keep putting posts out there, keeping up with Warmachine, D&D and whatever else I’ve been up to. Recently, its just been the two and a little bit of painting, but Fallout has co-opted that, ruining my Iron Man streak of painting a Warcaster every month for the whole year. Sacrifices were made!

In Warmachine I’ve been examining my Skorne lists, pulling up Hexy 2 and In D&D I’ve been working on killing my players. Well, not actively killing, but making sure they know who’s boss.

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  1. Marathon


Marathon mode is the real deal. It displays a contempt at your enjoyment and a brutal dismissal of everything resembling kindess the game has to offer in such a a stunning way that I don’t think I’m every going to consider playing the game in any other mode. While I think the Long War Mode might take the game a little too far, this option really hits it on the head. It is, in a single word, all that XCOM and its series represents – Unforgiving.

And I’m enjoying every moment of it.

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Transfer of Power

I have yet to play enough games to really judge the power of Zaal, Ancestral Advocate, but I think I am starting to unlock him just a little bit. One of the most fun parts of both of Privateer Presses games, at least for me, is acclimating a new Warcaster or Warlock. I like putting each one on the table and seeing how they interact with the game what they do both for me mentally, and what they provide for the models on the board. I also enjoy the pains that they put my opponent through. Watching when and how an opponent reacts to how you’re playing the game and what your abilities are can in a general sense give you insight into how future opponents will react. All of those points, when added together, can give a really solid sense of how a ‘Caster is going to mesh with your style, your faction, and your temperament.

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Good Afternoon, and a tired one it will still be.

Over the past weekend, I had the honor and privilege to adjudicate and assist in running the East Coast Rumble in Clark NJ. It was a complete blast, and I was glad I stayed for every match.

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Man, I love RPGs, and 5th edition D&D is exactly what I want from an RPG, but didn’t know how to say it. Its got imbalance, it has player and DM Authority, it has nostalgic wonderous items, and it has tables and tables of stuff. If I don’t want to make a decision on something, there exists a table, I am sure, that can make the decision for me, and If I’ve made a decision on something, it seems that there is nothing stopping me from being the 100% authority on the subject, either.  I absolutely love 5th edition.

I’ve written about my steadily growing love affair with 5th edition before, but I know it now: This one is perfect for me. This is the edition that I thought we were going to get when D&D 3.0 was announced, and though its taken almost 15 years to show up and a huge disaster in between, I am happy its here.

D&D 5 has brought back a number of the staples that I enjoyed about the 2e that I didn’t even know I had missed. And imbalanced balancing one that, though I understood what it meant, I thought it needed to be sacrificed at the alter of perfect balance. See, when I started playing RPGs, I was drawn to the myriad of choices that existed in the world I was going to play in, and I could be any one of them. Death Priest, Bladesinger, Beastmaster. There were a hundred supplements with a hundred more options lurking around every corner. And each one, I would look at and take in on its merits as it represented the concept it was putting forward. Was the Bladesinger swift, deadly and vicious? Was the Sage smart and old, with unknowable depths of information? Was the Urban Ranger really Batman? The disparity between useful additions and worthless ones were a combination of being unfaithful to the concept and being unable to contribute to the parties goals. In 2e, though, this didn’t always mean combat, though there were plenty of rules for making sure that every, to a degree, could fight. There were obviously stronger options if you were a combat-character, but there was such a concept as a non-combat character. This idea of a character being exactly what they were supposed to be, instead of what the game wanted you to be, was something that I’d not grasped onto. When I lost the majority of those options in 3.0/3.5, I was not disappointed. A character could do whatever they wanted outside of combat, within the DM’s discretion, what they did in combat, when their life was on the line, was what really needed arbitration.

Now, coming back, I feel that I better appreciate the inherent imbalance in the classes. A great wizard is an immensely powerful and world shaping force, and should reflect that. A fighter, someone who places value and importance on his abilities to chop down his foes will probably be at a disadvantage when facing a person capable of tearing the very fabric of the world apart and bending it to his will. With all the balance and changes in the D&D game throughout 3rd and 4th edition, one character overshadowing the others has never ceased. The problem inherent in an RPG is that the system is there to represent as believable a world in which there are dragons, giants and elves. A world that fantastic and out of sync with ours is destined to have imbalance. For me, If I want a fair and balanced Fantasy game, I can go online and play a videogame. If I want to immerse myself in a fantasy world with my friends and create a story that will last in our memories for a very long time, I am going to pick up an RPG.

There is plenty of truth to the oft-mentioned statement that life isn’t fair. Its true. Neither should an RPG. That, my good friend, is for the DM to decide. The world is created and built upon the DM’s thoughts an ideas, but it should also be tempered by the concepts that the characters have for themselves as well. in 3.5/4 this was bound by the rulebook. There were rules for almost every conceivable thing you could do, and many of them were lengthy and detailed to ensure authenticity. This has been dropped in 5e. Many times all that is given is a vague but descriptive notation of what could happen, setting up the DM to be able to make ad-hoc rulings based on what the surroundings are. While this was always the case, it is easier to comprehend and adapt to when there are no specific rules governing what should happen, and it works both ways.

When a character attempts to run over and plow someone over, they simply say so. Instead of it being labeled (a Bull Rush) and driven by a set of rules based on target and initiator stats, modifiers and bonuses, it is instead a simple thought process by the DM based on the description of what the player wants to do. I have found that, unlike another game by the same company, the concept of restrictions breeding creativity does not hold weight in a fast-paced RPG. Instead, restrictions breed complacency and limit new concepts to within the bounds of the already established rule sets. In the heat of the moment, it is much harder to take a step back and think on the spot than it is to fall into the comfortable embrace of the written rules.

That same comfortable embrace of the rules is what brought us the era of identical magic items. Amulets of Strength with raising bonuses. Swords with abilities and powers that progressed in a formula. Items that have specific uses spelled out specifically in their texts, giving no flavor or style to the item. Each of the items is a specific cost and slated for a specific level and works only in a specific manner. 5e, however, culled tons and tons of magic items, trimming them down to some of the most recognizable throwbacks to 2nd. Gone are the stat boosters and all their iterations. Gone are the custom weapons and their strange mathematical formula to determine how awesome your weapon is. Instead, they have a pretty vague breakdown of the approximate level that the items are appropriate for and a general value of rarity. Common and Uncommon items are appropriate for all levels with Rare items for levels 5+, Very rare for levels 12+ and Legendary items for levels higher than 17. It also specifically calls out that the DM can do whatever he damn well pleases, and if you want to give that Staff of Power to a level 1 character, feel free.

While I enjoyed my time with 3.5, and 4e was a good rebound RPG, I am really in love with the feel and style and the nostalgia of playing the same game I used to play in my high school years, just with a little bit more experience, polish and shine. With only the three Core books, I am ready and willing to play for years on end, writing stories and creating games that my friends and I can enjoy and tell again and again.

I don’t think I’ve had this much fun DMing and RPG in years.