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Monday, December 31, 2012

Projects for 2013


I always joke that my goal is to one day have goals, but I think that now is the time to really think about where I want to go in the coming year and develop an action plan to achieve that. So I think I need to break it down it to areas of focus.

Bloggery: I feel like I have made some inroads into having a successful blog, ie one that people actually want to read. I want to broaden its reach by joining more blog networks and posting to more forums. Of course it still has to be relevant content. The blog also needs a revamp to make it easier to look at posts. I will change the format to flip card as per Phil B at the Wargaming Site (here) and see if that improves page views. I will keep track of projects, unpainted figures and games played on their own pages.

Projects: Fantasy, which right now encompasses RRtK and WHAA. Finish painting Tereken (Saxon) and Mirholme (Viking) figures. Revisit and finish Naz-Goth (Orcs) and Treyine (HYW English) figures. Terrain refurbish. Water feature terrain. Heraldry and Banners. Card stock buildings and Dungeon?

Ancient/ Fantasy Naval. Play War Galley. Build Roman Seas Paper ships. Read & Play Roman Seas. Go through other Naval rule sets.

18th century Imagi-nation. Create map and back story. Read Muskets & Mohawks, Long Rifle. Assess terrain needs, paint up figures.

ACW. Paint up 10 each Confederate and Union figs. Continue working through Rifles & Rebels. Add figures and terrain as necessary.

Wild West. Finish reading Six Gun Sound (almost done). Build western card terrain. Paint up Cowboys and Indians.

Pulp. Continue researching Lovecraft and Cthulhu. Source more figures. Assess terrain and build.

WWII. Finish reading NUTS!, Paint up those Billy V Americans and Germans. Also look through Not Quite Mechanized for operational level. And revisit Squad Leader In Miniature (SLIM).

Sci-Fi. Read 5150. Source figures. Play the damn game!

When I write it all down it seems like an awful lot. Well, nothing for it but to start making that project page on the blog and get cracking. (I cheated and put up the project page yesterday.)


After reading Big Lee's broken promises post I realize that I need to add cleaning and temperature controlling the garage to turn it into a multipurpose game/ exercise area. This one has been plaguing me for years. We'll see if writing it here will spur me into action.

I've already welcomed Kris Marquardt to the blog, but I now have his blog address which is Wargames and Railroads. A lot of good stuff. Of late the posts are about laser cut mdf models. I have to say that ship looks pretty impressive.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 Year in review


January saw the start of a new project, the Blod Orn campaign which was to be a WHAA and RRtK linked campaign. I did some prep using random tables and mythic but never got beyond the planning stage.

February was slow, not much progress. I turned off captcha for blog comments. I still think it was a good move.

March was a high point in terms of posting. After winning Lord of the Rings rules from Ray I did my own prize give away of THW rules. I wrote one of my top posts “Another Post Apocalypse err.. Post” and I went down the rabbit hole of Cthulhu with a game of Arkham Horror. I also did my first tutorial on making a ripple effect for flags.

April was another slow month. For me the high point was making the 80's fanzine of my blog. I also bought THW's Civil War title Rifles & Rebels. I still need to play that.

May saw me get a Kindle Fire and Elder Sign. Still love the Kindle and use it every day. I like Elder Sign but it is very difficult.

In June I joined the Talomir Tales campaign and started playing RRtK in earnest. I had hoped to game some WHAA, linking my Blod Orn campaign to it, but that still hasn't happened. I also did a step by step tutorial of the flag ripples because the video was too long and not as helpful as I would have liked. June is also the month of my bloggiversary so I set some rather nebulous goals. They were basically to double my stats, 180 more posts, 12,000 more views, and 86 more followers. So if we take that to mean I had 90 posts, 6,000 views and 43 followers how am I doing? In 6 months I've written 57 posts, had 9,900 views and added 35 followers. So the views a above target while the posts and followers are below.

July was card stock month, I still haven't built all those models. I produced another, actually better flag ripple tutorial and a giveaway for my 100th post. I also dabbled in rules adaptation for a MOMBAT game using Lord of the Rings Risk. Bob Cordery's original post, and my take here.

August saw my hard drive begin to fail and difficulties in managing my projects. Posted about mixing and thinning paint and participated in the 20 questions post.

September was a busy month. Two games of RRtK and a big push to paint a little over 100 figures, which are still only partially painted.

October was a water shed month as I received 1600+ page views. I passed the 10K views milestone and  gave away a copy of THW's ATZ-FFO. I also went down the rabbit hole of 18th century imaginations, another project that is on the back burner. I also seemed to be feeling a little poorly, perhaps a fore shadowing of the illness to come.

November was way down in progress. I contracted Valley Fever but didn't know it until the end of the month, or was it December? The pneumonia, however, got my attention. Played another game of RRtK. I also purchased a copy of the board game Age of Conan.

December has been a very busy month. Two games of RRtK, the Boobs post experiment which saw me garner almost 900 hits in one day, my series on Fantasy Heraldry and  7 games of Joust to determine my champion for the Talomir Winter Tournament. Cthulhu by Christmas was the only bust of the month.

Hazard a guess when the boobs post occurred?

I like the trend.

So there seems to be a definite uptick, besides the illness, on the hobby and blogging front. I hope to carry this forward into 2013 and set myself some goals to try and reduce project creep and reduce the plastic and lead pile of shame.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Talomir Tales post and Xmas swag

I finally finished my battle report for Talomir tales here.

I'll also share some of the Christmas swag I received.


Really for my son.

The back of the box.

Funny cookie cutters.

The Football Dice Game.
So not too bad. I also finally took the plunge and bought myself a Nikon D5100. After the initial "what have i done" feeling has worn off, I'm getting into taking some pictures. Hopefully I will abandon my reliance on my cell phone for pictures.

I will also be preparing a Year in Review and Goals for 2013 in some upcoming posts.

Champion of the Lists of Tereken - Round Two and Championship

After playing the first round of the tournament our four winners tried to improve their stats and were paired up for the semi final.

The two semi final matches would be Sir Bedevere the Wise vs Sir Robin the Not Quite So Brave as Sir Lancelot, and Sir Not Appering in this Film vs The Knight who says Ni. Sir Bedevere imprved his Martial Skill and Prowess while Sir Not Appearing improved his horsemanship. Sir Robin and Ni were unable to raise any attributes with their Fame points.

Sir Bedevere 8 vs Sir Robin 10


Both knights seemed anxious as they both raced into the first pass. Sir Bedevere at a run and Sir Robin at a sprint. Both knights brought their lances to bear, but it was Sir Bedevere who scored the first point of the match by breaking his lance on Sir Robin's shield. 1pt. Bedevere.

In the second pass Sir Bedevere came on at a run while Sir Robin steadily galloped forth. During the charge Sir Bedevere set up a sweeping attack but was too jostled by his mount to bring the blow home. Sir Robin was able to score a hit to the Chest, breaking his lance. Bedevere 1pt, Robin 1pt.

In the third pass, fearing that he may have been too aggressive and cost himself a hit, Sir Bedevere chose to come out at a gallop as did Sir Robin. Sir Robin's superior horsemanship helped him to line up a straight attack. He then achieved a solid blow to the chest, breaking his lance and unhorsing Sir Bedevere causing him to become battered and lose 2 prowess. Sir Bedevere 1pt, Sir Robin 7pts. Sir Robin received 800 Talos and 4 Fame points for his victory.


Sir Not Appearing 10 vs Knight who says Ni 10


In the first pass Sir N/A came out very conservatively at a trot while Ni threw caution t the wind and came out at a run. Sir N/A was rewarded for his efforts and achieved a solid blow to the chest which broke his lance and left Ni battered and reduced by 2 in his Prowess attribute. Sir N/A 1pt, Ni 0pts.

The second pass saw both knights come out at a gallop. Sir N/A set up a sweeping attack and achieved a solid blow to the shield, breaking his lance and further reducing Ni's Prowess by 1. N/A 2pts, Ni 0pts.

In the third pass both knight s came out at a gallop. At this point Ni appeared to be playing for pride. Ni was able to line up a straight attack in the charge, but it was Sir N/A who came away with a solid blow to the shield, breaking his final lance and reducing Ni's Prowess by one more point. Sir N/A 3pts, Ni 0 pts. Sir N/A won 1000 Talos and gained 10 Fame points.

Both Sir Robin and Sir N/A had enough points to raise one attribute each, to a total of 11. They both now had exactly the same stats.

Sir Not Appearing 11 vs Sir Robin 11

My son started this game as Sir Robin but became disinterested after the first pass. From then on Sir Robin became the NPK.

In the first pass Sir N/A came out at a gallop while Sir Robin came out at a run. Sir N/A set up a sweeping attack, but it was Sir Robin who achieved a hit to the shield, breaking his lance and battering Sir N/A with a loss of 1 to his prowess. Sir N/A 0pts, Sir Robin 1pt.

The second pass saw both knights come out at a gallop. Sir N/A's hopes were up when he scored a hit to Sir Robin's chest, but he only managed to break his lance. Sir Robin, on the other hand, scored another blow to the shield, breaking his lance and further reducing Sir N/A's prowess by 1. Sir N/A 1pt, Sir Robin 2pts.

In the third pass Sir N/A went for broke and came out at a sprint. It would be harder to hit, but if he did the damage would be potentially greater. Sir Robin came out at a gallop. Sir N/A's plan was all for naught as Sir Robin lined up a good angle of attack and achieved another solid blow to the shield of Sir N/A, breaking the lance and reducing his prowess by another 2 points. Sir N/A 1 pt, Sir Robin 3pts. So Sir Robin gained 1100 Talos and 11 more Fame points. 

He was only able to raise himself up to 12 points so I went to the NPK table for Kingdom level tournaments and rolled that he had one lower than the average score in one attribute. So I added one point to another attribute and now have my 15 point champion.


Wish me luck in the tournament.


Also if you care to learn more about competitive Jousting (yes people actually do this) there were two reality series about it Knights of Mayhem and Full Metal Jousting.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Champion of the Lists of Tereken - Round One

In order to pick a champion to send to the Jousting tournament in Treyine, hosted by Ruarigh of Talomir Tales, I decided to run a few rounds to learn the Joust: Heroes of the Lists by THW.


Since I am ostensibly the Saxon player, I defeated myself as the Vikings, I needed to come up with some Saxon Knights. So I went with Sir Bedevere the Wise, Sir Lancelot the Brave, Sir Robin the Not Quite So Brave as Sir Lancelot, Sir Galahad the Pure, The Black Knight, Sir Not Appearing in this Film, The Knight who says Ni, and Sir Reynard of Caerbannog.


My idea was to have a single elimination tournament and then whittle down the brackets, giving Fame Points after each round and allowing the Knights to increase abilities. For the Talomir joust we will be using National level Knights with 15 attribute points. So I decided to start them up as Fair and Market level jousters and rolled them up on that table. This gives a range of 6 - 12 point Knights.

On to the Lists.

So we begin at the market in Æscesdun with the Joust sponsored by Pantsygawn-Caerphilly, cheese merchants. The Number following the Knights name is his total attribute points.

Sir Bedevere the Wise 7 vs. Sir Lancelot the Brave 8

Paper figures from Alex on the THW yahoo group, field from Joust rule book.

Sir Bedevere had the signature "Joyous Knight" which gave him an automatic recovery of one bonus die per pass. In this first joust I really bunged up the rules so it was very slow going. I think I ended up with the right result but I had to go back and change some things. In the first pass both Knights very conservatively trotted out. Sir Bedevere leveled his lance and made a straight attack delivering a solid blow to Sir Lancelot's shield, shattering his Lance and battering Sir Lancelot. 1 point to Bedevere.

In the second pass Sir Bedevere came out at a gallop, Sir Lancelot at a run. They both scored hits, Sir Bedevere was hit in the helmet, Sir Lancelot in the shield. Both Knights broke lances. Bedevere 2 pts, Lancelot 1 pt.

In the third pass both Knights came out at a gallop. Sir Bedevere struck Lancelot in the helm and recieved a blow to the shield for his trouble. Both Knights broke their lances and Lancelot returned the favor by battering Sir Bedevere. But it was too little too late, Bedevere won 3pts to 2pts and received 800 Talos and 8 Fame points. He suffered some lingering effects from his injuries and sustained -1 to his Prowess.


Sir Robin the Not Quite So Brave as Sir Lancelot 10 vs. Sir Galahad the Pure 10


In the first pass Sir Robin opens at a gallop while Sir Galahad breaks into a run. Both Knights succeed in hitting each other, but only shatter lances. Robin 1pt, Galahad 1pt.

The second pass sees Sir Robin break into a run while Sir Galahad gets conservative and trots into the engagement. Sir Robin hits Galahad in the right arm, shattering his lance. Robin 2pts, Galahad 1pt.

The third pass sees both knights urging their horses to run but something startles Galahad's horse and he can only manage a gallop. In the charge Sir Galahad steadied his lance for a straight attack and managed a solid blow to Sir Robin's shield, breaking his lance for another point. Robin 2pts, Galahad 2pts.

As of this writing I see now that I added the point totals wrong and gave the match to Sir Robin 2pts to 1pt.

Messieurs Pantysgawn and Caerphilly, drunk on mulled wine and distracted by serving wenches, award the match to Sir Robin. He receives 1000 Talos and 10 Fame Points.


The Black Night 8 vs. Sir Not Appearing in this Film 9


In the first pass both knights came out very aggressively, the Black Knight at a run and Sir NA at a sprint. The Black Knight lined up a sweeping attack, but both knights failed to couch their lances. No points were scored.

In the second pass they both came out aggressively again but Sir NA had difficulty controlling his mount and his intended sprint was only a run. Both knights managed a hit, The Black Knight breaking his lance on Sir NA's right arm while receiving a broken lance to the helm which left him battered and -1 each from martial skill and prowess. Black Knight 0pts, Sir NA 1pt.

In the third pass an addled Black Knight came out at a trot while Sir NA, smelling blood, came out at a sprint. The Black Knight was able to line up his lance at a good angle, but then failed to hit. Sir NA managed to break his lance with a solid blow on his opponents shield, battering him again and further reducing his prowess by 1. Black Knight 0pts, Sir NA 2pts for the win. He received 800 Talos and 8 Fame points. I had forgotten that the Black Knight had the signature of "Born Lancer". I did, however, use at least 1 bonus die in the Clash phase in every pass except the third. This was also the first match where the Non Player Knight (NPK) had won.


The Knight Who Says Ni 10 vs. Sir Reynard of Caerbannog 8

I had totally forgotten that Ni had a signature of "Unsteady" which should have given him -1d6 in the charge. Oh well.

Both Knights came out at a gallop. Ni scored a hit to Sir Reynard's shield, breaking his lance and battering Reynard, reducing his prowess by 1. Ni 1pt, Reynard 0pts.

In the second pass Ni came out at a gallop, while Reynard desperately came out at a run. Ni's superior skill came to bear as he leveled his lance at a good angle and achieved a solid blow to Reynard's shield, Breaking his lance and battering him again. Ni 2pts, Reynard 0pts.

In the third pass Ni came out at a gallop while Reynard, trying to ensure a hit, came out at a trot. Reynard successfully set up a sweeping attack with his lance and both knights managed to hit breaking their lances. However Ni's hit was to the helm of Reynard who received a further battering and 1 point losses to both martial skill and prowess. Ni 3pts, Reynard 1pt. Ni received 800 Talos and 4 fame points fro defeating a less skilled opponent.


In the interim Sir Bedevere used his fame points to increase his martial skill and prowess while Sir NA raised his horsemanship. Sir Robin and Ni did not have enough Fame Points to raise any attributes.

So that was the first round, played out yesterday. I also played the the next round and started the final yesterday as well, but I'll detail them in a separate post. Joust is a fun little game and I found myself not really using the figures to play as it seemed fiddly in a solo setting.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Paper Counter v2.0

Hi All,

  Well since time change + insomnia = time to do projects, I've finished the counters v 2.0 using the new heraldry.


  I'm going to have some breakfast and then clear off the table and bang this one out. Could be short with the  Cavalry heavy Capalan Army.

PS - I've been informed that I need to assist with last minute grocery shopping, so it may take a little while longer.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Further fun with Android Apps

Hi All,

 More fun with apps, but first let me wish you a joyous holiday season and a happy new year just in case I don't get to it in the following days and weeks.

From howtobeadad.com
After the last post The Convenient Skill (CS from now on), from here (sorry your blog title is too long for me to want to type it), had mentioned two apps in the comments which looked intriguing. Namely Dungeon Sketch and Tales of Mobile Entertainment (ToME).

I duly went to the Amazon app store and no luck. I then tried the Google Play store from my phone and found ToME but not Dungeon Sketch. A web search on the computer found Dungeon sketch but it said it was incompatible with my phone, I was able to download the apk file from the developers site because I really wanted to put it on the Kindle anyway.

I then spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out how to side load apps onto the Kindle Fire. There are some tutorials out there, I'll show you how I did it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Games and Apps for Android - Review

I had been reading several engrossing battle reports here, here and here, when I decided to look up Hex Map Pro to see if they had an Android version. They didn't.

In the midst of that search I found three apps that I did download:

The first is 3D Virtual Tabletop. This looked so cool that I actually jumped right in and paid the $0.99 to purchase it. Right now it has pretty limited use for me but the figures are interesting and being able to completely turn it around etc is pretty cool. So if your doing a solo dungeon crawl and want something portable, it's not  bad little app. Give me the ability to add my own figures, you can already add your own map, and this app would be really awesome.



Populus Romanus, I'm running the free version right now and have played the expansion of Rome scenario. It's pretty simplistic and plays in a Civilization style. Cities produce gold and you can buy different units. Units have Attack - Defend - Move stats and some units have the ability to skirmish which holds enemies in place. It passed the "one more turn" test for me in that I just kept on going till the game concluded. Fun and not too cerebral. This one is free with limited scenarios. You can purchase the full version.

Wargame 1st Bull Run 1861 by DK Simulations (Sorry about the Google Play store link but the developer website is crap). This is s neat little game with nice graphics. It feels more like a proper wargame with strength  and morale levels. My only complaints were that I would have liked to be able to have a back button as I made a lot of mistaken moves by not knowing how to de-select troops. There is also an interesting feature where you can remain in column in the center of the hex or form a line along a hex face. Needless to say inaccurate finger taps led to selecting the exact opposite of what was intended on several occasions. Perhaps a more liberal use of the zoom feature would have helped. The Last thing I'll say is that I found the scenario frustrating as the Union player. I destroyed many Confederate units but could not seem to keep control of the objectives. This one is also free, the Gettysburg game is $1.99. They also have several WWII and Napoleonic titles.

If I had an iPad I would definitely buy Hex Map Pro. Andy over at Halfway Station has been using it in his ATZ campaigns and Justin of Wargaming Addict has been using it in a NUTS! campaign.

I contacted the developer of Hex Map Pro to see if there was a possibility of an Android version and he nicely replied no. So I've started down the path of learning how to program for Android http://developer.android.com/sdk/index.html#download we shall see.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Fantasy Heraldry update

Just a quick update. I knocked out the Capalan and Tereken stuff today.

Resta, Cosimo, Bertolli, Bellisima and Orso of Capalan followed by Tereken.
I went to town coloring the last three, I thought it added interest. Not sure I'm totally happy with the base for the Capalan shield, but it will do the job for now.

I'll get on a tutorial for how I did this in a day or two. We are gearing up for the holidays and i can only get away with so much time away from those tasks.

I've also got another project now, since we are doing a Joust tournament I need to come up with a feeder competition to learn the game and choose my champion. Ruarigh had suggested that I do Saxon knights in the Arthurian tradition so my Knight will be:


  1. Sir Bedevere the Wise
  2. Sir Lancelot the Brave
  3. Sir Robin the Not quite so brave as Sir Lancelot
  4. Sir Galahad the Pure
  5. Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe (The Black Knight)
  6. Sir Not Appearing in this Film
  7. The Knight who says Ni
  8. Sir Reynard of Caerbannog (his emblem is the Rabbit)


Should be fun.

Still plowing through fluff for the Cthulhu game and trying to shoe horn Elder Sign stats into THW.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Fantasy Heraldry pt 3 - Tracing gifs tutorial

Hi All,

  As you can see I am starting to suffer from ooh shinitis. So to keep on track here is how you convert those pesky gif files into lovely SVG and PNG formats using Inkscape.

First, if you haven't already done so, download the latest version of Inkscape from here. I'm using 0.48 and it looks like I'm a little behind. As always this should be FREE. Never pay anyone for Inkscape.

Step 1: Open your copy of Inscape.

Open Inkscape

Step 2: Open your desired gif image it will pop up asking you to link or embed, choose embed.


You now opened gif image.

Step 3: Make sure the image is selected by mouse clicking on it. You will see the little black arrows.

Arrows show that it has been selected

Step 4: Go to the Path dialog and select Trace Bitmap.


 This window will pop up. I hit update in the picture, but all it did was give me the white rectangle in the preview. I just left all the values at their defaults and hit okay.


It will be hard to tell, the black lines may look thicker.

Step 5: Drag the tracing off of the gif. It should be on top so you can select it with the mouse and then drag it where you like. It is possible that you could just hit delete at this point, since your original bitmap should still be selected. I didn't do that just to give myself visual proof of the two different layers.

Trace on the left, original on the right.
 Step 5a: I now have to go back and select the gif image again.


Step 6: Delete the gif. We don't need it any more.


Step 7: Move our tracing back into the image area.


Final step is to "Save As". It will default to SVG you can select PNG or whatever you'd like. You now have a clean scalable image to use in your heraldry projects.

As always, let me know if you have any questions or if you need me to do a video to help you understand the process more readily.

Cheers.

I've also just noticed that I've passed 15,000 views and this is my 151st post. Since I wasn't paying attention I'll have to figure out something to do for 20,000 views and my 200th post. 

Cthulhu by Christmas

Just to add to the many projects I have going I've decided to run a Larger Than Life (LTL) adventure set in the HP Lovecraft setting used in Arkham Horror and Elder Sign games.
From http://irolleda1splat.blogspot.com/2010/12/have-merry-cthulhu-christmas.html
So I'll have more on that as I get it under way.

Then it looks like we will have a joust by email with the players from the Talomir Campaign over at Talomir Tales. Perhaps I will need to make up some heraldry for the gang.

Before I realized this is what we were doing I made an impulse buy of the Italeri Medieval Tournament #6108


And of course  three boxes of Gladiators from the Italeri, Orion and Pegasus sets




just in case we want to also have a gladiator campaign.

And then a total impulse buy for my son


Says it comes with 52 players, a referee, two goal posts and a 24" x 36" washable felt field. So it could be Blood Bowl or maybe some homebrew rules using THW principles.

I better get started.

Welcome to:

Mateusz Staszek, sorry no blog link. If you have a blog please let me know and I'll post a link.

Hank Esslinger, I think. Blogger said I had two new but I only see one at the top. At the beginning of my list are several with no avatar. I'm guessing Hank is new. And if you have a blog please send me a link and I'll post it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Party over here - more heraldry sketching

Okay so I phoned it in the other day with the heraldry for Ekra. I mean come on, a yellow Fleur-de-lis on a blue field, lame!

So here is something a little better.

A little rough, but you get the idea.

The re-sizing of the gifs was quick and dirty so they are quite bad, but you get the idea. The shield is Party Sinister. Three FdL yellow on blue, Dolphin Hauriant Red on white.

That seems a tad more interesting. Wikimedia Commons category Coats of Arms by Blazon reminded me of the Party division of the shield and is a good resource if you have a vague idea and some notion of the terminology.

I also stumbled upon a link from TMP when I did a search for heraldry. It is Free Heraldry Clipart which appears to be where I got all of my stuff from. As with so many things I collect from the internet it is eventually lost in the sands of time as to where I actually found it. A great resource and even more stuff than I have on hand at present. They're all gifs, but I'll be showing you my method of tracing to turn them into beautiful vector graphics or png format.

That's all for now.

Review - Bernard Cornwell, Saxon Chronicles

Having recently finished Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Chronicles series I can highly recommend them. You can find a link with a quick synopsis and series order on wikipedia here.

Your book cover may be different.
Overall I thought the series was good. I like Uhtred and the action made for good reading. For me the series peaked at Lords of the North, dipped slightly at Sword Song, went back up at The Burning Land and then leveled off for Death of Kings.

Lots of action, intrigue and of course Shield Walls. One reviewer on Amazon mentioned that Death of Kings felt formulaic to them but I didn't really have a problem with that. It reminds me of a quote from an interview with Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon about screen writing. "What people need to embrace and accept, if you're going to be a writer in Hollywood, is that every single movie has the exact same structure, exactly, whether it's "Die Hard" or "Night at the Museum." - Ben Garant (full interview here). So my take is, if you're going to have an Uhtred novel, certain things are going to happen. Deal with it.

I would highly recommend this series if you like Dark Age stuff, a lot of period flavor and raucous battle. I thought that Paul of The Man Cave had reviewed this series, but all I could find was a mention of it in his review here. So it looks like I might need to give Robert Low's Oathsworn series a try.

After I read the H.P. Lovecraft collection that is.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Fantasy Heraldry pt. 2 - Specific design

Now we move on to the Fantasy Heraldry specific for the project I have in mind. Namely the invasion of Capalan by Tereken in the ongoing RRtK campaign over at Talomir Tales. So, just in case you're new to Talomir, Tereken are essentially Anglo-Saxons and Capalan are Italian city states around the 15th century.

As such I have to come up with one symbol for Tereken and then as many as five, one for each original province, for Capalan. Capalan also has Brethren Mercenaries so I'll have to make a Symbol for them. Tereken seems pretty straight forward. I've already identified the colors Green and Yellow and some kind of Dragon.

Dragon or Wyvern?

Capalan...hmm. Okay we know we want some kind of Italian wars theme. Looking here (particularly Mazzacane and Palma) gave me the idea to try a base scheme to tie them together with different emblems added to differentiate. So we have Resta, who is the leader, so I'm thinking skeleton or bones since google translate tells me Resta means remains. Cosimo was one of the Medici's so I will use the six circle configuration similar to that shown here. Bertolli definitely gets an olive branch if not an outright lift of the Olive Oil companies logo, probably not since that is a bad thing to do. But I'll riff off of it. Bellissima, I had thought of making her a proxy for princess peach, but then I saw a Mermaid in my collection so I think I'll go with that. And lastly Orso, the Bear. Seems like he should have a bear on his heraldry. The only question is what kind? Rampant? I wonder if there is a sleeping bear, I'll have to investigate. As far as color scheme goes I'll have to ask Ruarigh what the hex number or name is for the border highlight on his map. It appears to be some shade of violet. Could be a problem as I'm not sure what colors complement that.

From Wikimedia Commons

The bits and pieces for Capalan

Ruarigh told me what the hex # for the CC3 color was. I'm still not sure what color to pair with the purple, I'm leaning towards yellow.

Lastly the Brethren. From the RRtK rule book we read that "The Brethren have numerous holdings in Talomir called Red Castles and are found in Ekra, Altengard and Treyine."(RRtK, p66) Now as we know from reading Talomir Tales, Ekra and the Brethren have been defeated and absorbed by Treyine. So the only independent source of Brethren left is in Altengard. That being said one could make a case for the Treyine and Ekran branches hiring out as mercenaries since they have been disbanded, and their wealth reverted to the crown, by Treyine. My original thoughts were to have a central theme for the brethren, with a device to differentiate the three nations of origin. Since Ruarigh gave them the Teutonic black cross already I may stick with that, however red is the brethrens color of choice being devotees of the Red Sun. I think a cross, with a red sun in the upper left quadrant and then a device in the middle for the country. This of course may mean that I now need to make them for Ekra, Altengard and Treyine. Oh bother.

Altengard, Ekra, Treyine and a non aligned Brethren

So I did this after more correspondence with Raurigh and Javier. Okay so I phoned in Ekra, but these are all just concept drawings.

Also thanks to Iain from the THW Yahoo group for adding a link to the meaning of Heraldry symbols, aptly named Symbolism of Heraldry. I'm not sure I like it as much as at least one of the others I found, but the information looks good. Perhaps I'll do a comparison of these symbolism sites in another post.

Also as a postscript (since it's taken me days to work out this silly post) to more links of use. Color Wiki where I searched for hex codes for these oddball colors (yes I mean you Murrey).


And looking for Plantagenet herldry I stumbled upon the gold mine that is Early Blazon.

Enjoy and if you have constructive feedback I'd love to hear it.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Fantasy Heraldry - one man's approach

When playing a fantasy campaign I like to make little heraldic icons for each nation/player. Sometimes I just go with something stock other times I try to create something new. The beauty of fantasy heraldry is that you aren't bound by convention. What follows is a walk through (or ramble) of my process and some resources I have found along the way.

I will also say that when I say heraldry I am conflating it with banners for wargaming purposes. So you want to make a banner/ heraldic symbol? What better way than to reference actual symbols. My first stop is usually Wikimedia Commons, search term Heraldry. Heraldry.ws is another good resource. For banners I like Warflag, Fanaticus, Grimsby Wargamers Society,and of course Dansk Figursspilsforening. I could go on but here are the basics.

So I now have culled through a bunch of stuff and have plenty of ideas of real or speculative designs. Next I need to think about the back ground of my Lord or nation and start throwing around the various bits that make up a heraldic device. One thing I found in researching this article is something I don't recall encountering before. There are a few sites that describe the individual meaning of the various parts of a coat of arms. The aptly named Heraldry Symbols and The Meaning Behind the Symbols - Fleur-de-lis Designs. So now I can also think about what I want to say about the individual that this CoA represents.

My method usually involves a rough sketch with colored pencils. (Please forgive my drawing, I'm a terrible artist.)

These were for my Linlandia map project.
So the since this was originally based off of a Mighty Empires campaign I was heavily influenced by Warhammer. So the Empire proxy uses the black eagle on a yellow field. The Bretonia proxy uses a yellow fleur-de-lis on a blue field. Orcs have lots of skulls, Chaos some kind of Chaos symbol. For the dwarves you need some kind of blacksmith reference and a rune, for the elves something suitably elven.

My method was to take some heraldic gifs I found out on the interwebs and use inkskape to trace them and convert them to vector images. I think I mostly made pngs because my svg file associations were weird. So by way of example, I came up with this for one of the Chaos coastal cities. I assembled the parts in GIMP, although I could have continued with Inkscape.

I kept it clear for the project

So as you can see it is chaosy with a ship to show it's status as a port. Maybe they are pirates? I don't know.

The final product made to look hand painted.
So as you can see I basically re-created the elements from my sketches using clip art. I think in this case I already had the clip art and just finagled it around.

Does this differ much from your workflow? Anyhow in the next installment I will show how I am working out  using these methods for the Talomir Tales campaign.

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