Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Repairing an old building

Roughly 30 years ago, I bought the "Warhammer Townscape" set from Games Workshop. It had a set of cardboard buildings, very usable for a beginning wargamer. I still have all the buildings in that set (you might see them in some of the photographs on this blog), and still use them. Although there are many more high-quality buildings available these days, the Townscape set is still a favourite of mine, tapping in the nostalgia of my early wargaming days.

Anyway, the set also has a windmill, which is very fragile. The sails (or blades) regularly snapped off and I had to repair them many times. But I never did it in a good way, but with the clearing up of Lowenheim, I finally made a decent repair, with the sails detachable for easy storage.

The windmill, roof detached, sails all loose.

The separate sails. The idea is to make a more sturdy axle (using a nail), and some paint brush protectors as a shaft.

Gluing the sails on a piece of balsa wood.

Sails put together.

Nail attached.

Nail and shaft together.

Gluing the shaft inside the windmill.

Test 1.

Test 2, now all that remains is to glue the roof back together. Ready for another 30 years of service.

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

More car mayhem

The local 2nd hand/recycling store is always a good source for cheap toys for new wargaming projects.

Two-and-half euro for a bunch of 9 cars is not too bad for my upcoming car wars games ...



Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Chronicles of Lowenheim (10)

It took a while before I found the time to wrote a new installment of my ongoing narrative fantasy campaign, but as usual, real life intervened. January is exam time at my university, February sees the start of a new semester with new courses, and before you know it, we're at the end of March!

But anyway, let's continue!
Last Post: http://snv-ttm.blogspot.com/2021/01/chronicles-of-lowenheim-9.html
Campaign page: http://snv-ttm.blogspot.com/p/chronicles-of-lowenheim.html

The last event we rolled for was the following: "A fire is erupting in the city. Which building is affected? Was the building set on fire deliberately? Who could have done it?"

So we need to decide on various things: location of the fire, was it deliberate, what's the effect on the city, etc.

First, let's roll for a random location. Our overview map already laid out the city in various quarters, so we can easily attribute some probabilities and roll a die. I assigned some higher probabilities to denser populated areas.

  • 1-2 Slums
  • 3-4 Merchants Quarter
  • 5-6 Middle Class
  • 7-8 Government & Wealthy Quarter
  • 9 Scholar's Quarter
  • 10 Guard Barracks
  • 11 Trigonometros Area
  • 12 Wall & Towers

Let's roll a D12: 11! A fire in the area of the Wizard's tower. This is certainly unexpected. If the fire would have happened in one of the other areas, it could well have been the wizard's themselves trying to raise more unrest in the city against Lamoraal van Egmont. But now the plot thickens. Who could have done it. Let's list a few possibilities ...

  • 1 The Trigonometros started the fire themselves, so they could blame the Scholars in their struggle for influence with Lamoraal van Egmont.
  • 2 The Scholars (or someone hired by them) started the fire, in an effort to eliminate the Trigonometros.
  • 3, 4 The fire was a mere accident, caused by lighting.
  • 5 The fire was an accident, caused by a magical experiment gone wrong in the tower.
  • 6 Hans De Jonghe, the demagogue and agitator from the slums, started the fire, in his effort to cause more chaos in the city. After all, the wizards are still seen as the counselors of the Landvoogd by the bigger population.

Let's roll ... a 5! A fire in a tower populated by wizards? That must have involved summoning a fire elemental! So let's say one of the wizards tried to summon an elemental, it went horribly wrong. It would be fun having one of the other wizards (or the same wizrds?) put out the fire with a water elemental. We also need to decide how much damage the fire has caused.

  • 1-2 Only superficial damage to the tower.
  • 3 The tower is burnt to the ground.
  • 4 The adjoining area (garden of Ents) is destroyed.
  • 5 The adjoining area (magical garden with beasts and plants) is destroyed.
  • 6 Only superficial damage to the wizard's area, but the fire spreads to the guards barracks (1-2) or the graveyard. (3-4) or the middle class area (5-6).

 Let's roll our D6 again. A 2 ... only superficial damage to the tower.

As a last random event, let's roll to see if one of the wizards died. 1-3: yes; 4-6: no. We roll a 4, so yes. And a further random roll indicates it is Verdal Balok ...

So now we have enough elements to continue our story ...

==========

The Trigonometros is looking for ways to stop the rising influence of the Scholars. Those guys are getting too much influence on the Landvoogd, a role that has for ages belonged to the Trigonometros! But what to do ... ?

Verdal Balok - who has long dabbled in the magical arts of summoning elemental powers - is brooding on a plan. Using his arcane knowledge of the fire spirit creation, he will summon a fire elemental and send it to the Scholars' quarter. Given the recent riots, it will be easy to put the blame on Hans De Jonghe, the demagogue from the slums. The citizens will be too easy convinced the resulting damage will be due to his anarchistic tendencies ...

A Creo Ignem spell of sufficient power is needed to summon a fire spirit, followed by a Rego Ignem spell to control the spirit and send him on a path of destruction ...

Verdal Balok summons the fire elemental Udûn on the roof of the Wizards' Tower.

But alas! The Rego Ignem spell, needed to control Udûn, fails horribly and the elemental escapes the magical bond of Verdal Balok. Soon, the tower is erupting in flames.

Verdal Balok fails to control Udûn.

Fire spreads along the tower ...

As seen from below ...

Kerwyn Mandragora is aware of the mistake made by Verdal Balok, and rushes to the river to summon an elemental himself. A succesful Creo and Rego Aquam spell, and Lycorias rises from the river. 

Lycorias, a water elemental, rises from the river flowing through Lowenheim.

 

Soon, Lycorias and Udûn are battling it out ... Udûn is not powerful enoguh against the watery might of Lycorias and the fire is extuingished.

The fight between Lycorias and Udûn.

Luckily, only minor fire damage is caused overall, but Verdal Balok has paid dearly for his mistake ...

========== 

Let's roll our event for week 7. As usual, I have amended our list of events based on the story so far.

  1. The Trigonometros wants to regain their influence, and start looking for allies. They try to make contact with Hans De Jonghe, the leader of the riots. Will they succeed? How can both parties benefit from this unlikely alliance? [6]
    Did people witness the battle of the elementals? Can the city still trust the Trigonometros? Does this mean the end for the wizard's influence? [7]
  2. A trade caravan arrives. Who is the trader? What does he or she hope to sell or trade in Lowenheim? What news does the caravan bring? Are there any strange creatures part of the caravan? [1]
  3. Grombo SuykerByck still feels he should be rewarded for his efforts in putting down a revolt in the city. What would be a proper reward? Will he become an influential friend of the Landvoogd? Will he get more money and/or influence? [4]
  4. The guards (along with the tax collector) go out collecting the new taxes, but a fight ensues. In what quarter of the city? Why is there a fight? (==> skirmish wargame) [1]
  5. The Trigonometros plans an attack on Mercator's tower. How will they do this? Night or day? Ground, air, tunnels, spells? Using their magical creatures, or do it more stealthily? Who will come to the help of Johannes Mercator? (==> skirmish wargame) [3] 
  6. A fire is erupting in the city. Which building is affected? Was the building set on fire deliberately? Who could have done it? [6]
    What happens to the physical remains of Verdal Balok? He is a wizard, after all. Does he come back as a lich? Another form of undead? Something else entirely?
    [7]
  7. There are 4 statues at the crossroads (and a few more in the city). What is their meaning? What do they tell about the history of Lowenheim? [4]
  8. A murder takes place in Lowenheim. Who is the (important?) victim? Will there be a trial? What's the judicial system in Lowenheim? [1]
  9. The recent riots around De Groene Draak and the fire in the wizards' tower lead to heightened patrols by the city guards. What will they do to restore order? Impose a curfew? How will they do it? By force or not? (==> skirmish wargame?) [4]
  10. There's a coven of cultists hiding in the city somewhere. Who are they? What do they want? What is their secret temple? Is there an important figure part of the cult? [5]

A 7! "There are 4 statues at the crossroads (and a few more in the city). What is their meaning? What do they tell about the history of Lowenheim?

So, still not another game. Perhaps I should increase the odds of rolling a skirmish game (now at 3/10) somewht. But anyway, the city layout still has a snow cloth underneath, and it has been like that since Christmas. With spring now coming, it's perhaps time to give my table lay-out a little overhaul.

To be continued ...

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Blast from the Past (3)

Here's an article recovered by Eddy S from our fanzine Eddy and I put together during our high school days (80s).

The article below (in Dutch) is written by me, but typed by Eddy. I owned Tactics 2 (still have that same copy), and so coming up with scenarios for Tactics 2 seemed like a given.

The first scenario, "Beachhead" was supposed to be an amphibious invasion. Only half of the map was used (the homecountry to be invaded). 10 infantry units were upgraded to marine units. Units could land anywhere on a coastal square. I see that we were very bloodthirsty at the time. Units had to roll for survival after landing (section 2). We also proposed the use of mulberries (the blank counters in the box). Nukes were not allowed, otherwise the mulberries could be destroyed immediately. We also had a special rule for amphibuous tank units!

The second scenario is similar, but was an airborne invasion.

I can't remember we play-tested these scenarios. But that's ok. We were aspiring professional wargames designers after all!

 



 

Monday, 22 March 2021

Blast from the Past (2)

A few years ago, I reported that when I was in high school, we (that's me and my long-term wargamer friend Eddy S.) had the grand ambition of launching a wargaming magazine.

Thanks to Eddy's excellent archival skills, a cover of issue 1 of that magazine has resurfaced.

Oh, the glory days of our innocent teenage years! This was still pre-computer, pre-printer, pre-anything, but we had enthusiasm, hand-drawing skills, and Letraset!

I have no recollection of making this cover, but since I recognize my own handwriting, it must have been done by me.

 

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

So I got a resin 3D printer too

Before a few weeks ago I had two 3D printers, both of the FDM type. I mostly print terrain items on them but have recently used the printers to test print some figures (the dwarves in this post). This did not turn out particularly well, as I needed to replace most of the weapons with plastic ones from my bits box because they broke off by just looking at them.

The general consensus on 3D printing for actual miniatures is to use a resin printer (i.e. an SLA one). So, when an ad popped up for a discounted Anycubic Photon S printer, I decided to take the plunge and expand my 3D printing factory with this printer.

Without further ado, because that's what most readers will be interested in, here's the first results out of it:

 
There's two versions of Ferdy Hogglefoot, my character for a possible Adventures in Middle Earth RPG campaign, and a print of one of the same dwarves that featured in the earlier post. The left most figure is printed in a new resin I just bought (a water washable one, to avoid having to dick around with various alcohols), the other two are printed in the standard resin that comes with the printer. The leftmost figure is generated on Heroforge, the central one is one I bought of a designer on MyMiniFactory and the dwarf is from a free pack by Kyoushuneko Miniatures. And yes, the leftmost figure appears to be overexposed (evidenced by the 'mushy' level of detail) - I'm still dialing in settings for the new resin :)

So, what are my first impressions of printing with a resin printer?

  • They're less fiddly than an FDM printer. My experience is that prints either fail completely or succeed, and the number of slicer settings you have to tweak to get from failing to successful print is mercifully less than on an FDM printer
  • They are messier than an FDM printer. Getting the excess resin of the figures (whether with alcohol or water) and draining the resin tank is just messy.
  • The resin is a lot less toxic than I had thought before reading the internet. Yes, it smells, and yes, they give you gloves, but the resin bottles do not have a single hazard icon (the flammable or toxic icons) nor any P-sentence (like 'Dangerous if ingested') so they are a lot more benign than I thought. I'm not going to be drinking the resin, but I don't need to be paranoid about handling it
  • The results are sturdier than an FDM printed figure. This depends a bit on your settings and orientation when printing using an FDM printer, but the axe hafts of the dwarf are a lot stronger than his FDM printed cousin (though probably not as strong as said cousin's plastic weapons)
I look forward to printing a lot more figures on (although 'in' is a more appropriate preposition) this printer. Or at least, spending a lot more money on STL Kickstarters and Patreons :D .

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Duke Seifried in Chaldea

I've always been a gamer both interested in wargames and creating worlds, so over the years, I've gone from pure wargaming to roleplaying and back, but more often, I try to find hybrid games that blend both wargaming and creating (fantasy) worlds. See our series on the Chronicles of Lowenheim, or the Antares 2401 campaign.

So I was very much intrigued when I heard about Chaldea in Henry Hyde's interview with Peter Adkinson,in which the fantasy world of Chaldea is presented through a series of films (and much more ...). Episode 3, called "The War Room", features live action scenes around a huge wargaming table featuring Duke Seifried. Definitely worth a look!

You can also watch all videos on the Chaldea Youtube channel.

Saturday, 30 January 2021

Brexit Woes

So the Brexit has been in full effect for a month now. I don't want to start a discussion about the politics involved here (follow my twitter account :-)), but I can say a thing or two how it will influence my wargaming purchases.

 (Addendum: As I said, I don't want to start a political discussion here. Comments regarding experiences ordering wargaming products from/to the UK are welcome, but other Brexit-related comments - especially if politics-oriented - are not. Such comments will be deleted. And yes, I already deleted a couple ..)

There have been reports in the press about small businesses hit hard, especially when sending orders across the channel. VAT should (or should not?) be added, custom duties are in order, carriers charge more because of extra paperwork. This creates confusion with the customer. After all, nobody likes to pay an additional sum that comes as a surprise, or that you weren't aware of before.

I am old enough to remember what it was like to buy wargaming items from the UK before the single market. During the early 90s, I made regular trips to London to go shopping (often combined with some other visits). Many products (I was heavily into Games Workshop and into roleplaying at the time) simply weren't available here in Belgium. Mail order was something that was not always easy in the pre-internet days. I still remember going to the local post office, and transfer money using postal money orders in the hope that the full amount would be transferred to the seller some days (more often weeks) later. Ordering from the UK was considered carefully, often trying to group several orders with friends.

Since the single market, but also thanks to the internet, that all changed. Ordering from abroad (or in my case for wargaming, the UK), was made very easy. But it has been made a bit more difficult now.

So, what's the effect on my personal shopping habits?

Since long, I have ordered many books through Amazon UK. An update was probably long due, but I switched to Amazon DE and NL. Now, in practice, this might not make much of a difference, since Amazon's processes were probably already optimized, but for me as a customer, it's a psychological shift.

For wargaming, I tended to order quite regularly from smaller UK companies. But I have put all my UK orders on hold for the time being, and I am going to wait till the dust has settled before ordering again. I have enough wargaming stuff lying around to keep myself busy, so that's not the problem. But I will also take a more active look towards manufacturers and companies this side of the channel, and that might be business lost to the UK wargaming companies permanently. Sure, one customer might mot make a difference, but if more people act like me, it might become a problem.

I might even consider postponing all my purchases till CRISIS 2021 (if it will happen). With the cancellation of CRISIS 2020, CRISIS 2021 might even become a huge shopping spree. Not only for me, but for many wargamers this side of the channel. We'll see. Hopefully, all the wargaming companies present during past years will still make the trip to Antwerp. Brexit has all sorts of weird and unforeseen consequences after all ...

Friday, 22 January 2021

Chronicles of Lowenheim (9)

Last episode: http://snv-ttm.blogspot.com/2021/01/chronicles-of-lowenheim-8.html

Full overview: http://snv-ttm.blogspot.com/p/chronicles-of-lowenheim.html

The event rolled for week 5 was the following: The Landvoogd makes an important announcement as a result of the planetary conjuction seen in the sky and the subsequent riots. What is it? What is the result on the morale of the inhabitants of the city?

So this is an important event - it involves the ruler of the city, the Landvoogd, and his announcement might set the course for the next couple of game weeks. But first, let's summarize what events have transpired so far:

    It seems obvious the Landvoogd wants to restore order to the city and serve his own interests. But what kind of character is he? Let's roll the dice and use our system explained before: 3D6 per stat, and the most important stat of the character rolls 4D6 and drops the lowest die. Political aptitude seems like the defining trait for a city boss. 

    • Social aptitude: 10
    • Political aptitude: 12
    • Activity: 11
    • Morals: 11
    • Physical Stamina: 5
    • Age (10D10): 52 years old.

    Hmm, this seems like an average character in all aspects. He probably got the job of Landvoogd because of his father had the same post before him. He's also not in very good health, and is possibly very ill. This might seem a bit disappointing at first (I might have preferred a stronger character), but it means there's great potential for all sorts of of factions in the city plotting to overthrow such a weak figure. This is what I like about using all sorts of randomizers to seed the story. You never know what comes out.

    But anyway, we still need a name for the Landvoogd, that should reflect both his status but perhaps also a bit his average personality. I like using names that have some connection to local history, books I've read, etc., these always are a good source of inspiration. Let's settle on a famous statesmen in the Low Countries during the 16th century, the Count of Egmont. So we have Lamoraal van Egmont, Landvoogd van Lowenheim. Remember I like to use Dutch/Flemish names. There's already too much English with silly puns in wargaming ;-)

    Lamoraal van Egmont, in front of the Town Hall.

    I now realize I don't yet have women as characters in Lowenheim. So let's fix that immediately. Since our Landvoogd seems a somewhat weak figure, we'll put a strong women next to his side, the real "power behind the throne". Let's call her Sabina (the real count's wife was also named Sabina). We'll also give her a defining stat in political aptitude (rolling 4d6 and discarding the lowest die).

    • Social aptitude: 7
    • Political aptitude: 13
    • Activity: 11
    • Morals: 10
    • Physical Stamina: 12
    • Age (8D10): 57 years old.

    Ok, perhaps not the most sophisticated plotter in political intrigues, but it perhaps adds to the notion that the Landvoogd is somewhat weak. I also tried to make her a bit younger than her husband (rolling 8D10 instead of 10D10), but she ended up older anyway :-) Let's see how these characters develop further during the next epsiodes ...

    Lamoraal and Sabina van Egmont in the private chambers of the Landvoogd.

    So, now we will have to decide what the big announcement is. Given that there have been riots, it might have to do with suppressing the population. Or given that there was the planetary conjunction as an omen, he might revoke the taxes. So it might be something good or bad for the population. Let's roll a D20 against Lamoraal's Morals score (11): A 14, so the test has failed. It means something bad for the population, so perhaps the taxes remain in place, AND there will be a curfew in the city AND perhaps there will be an arrest warrant for the troublemaker Hans De Jonghe? Perhaps he should calm the population by involving the popular Johannes Mercator? Let's list these possibilities, each with a probability on a D10. I can play around with these probabilities a bit so I give some more chance to events I will think might lead to more interesting storylines.

    • Taxes remain in place, but there will be something to keep the poplation somewhat under control, e.g. a fair or joust or so ... (1)
    • Taxes remain firmly in place, but the (popular) Johannes Mercator (who has predicted the conjunction) will be given a more formal role (2-4)
    • Taxes remain frmly in place AND a curfew is announced (5-6)
    • Taxes remain firmly in place AND there is an arrest warrant for Hans De Jonghe (7-8-9)
    • Taxes remain firmly in place AND a curfew AND an arrest warrant (10)

    Let's roll the D10, ... a 3!

    ==========

    After the riots near De Groene Draak, Lamoraal van Egmont feels resolute action is needed to restore order. He decides to call on Johannes Mercator, who has gained some popularity after predicting the planetary conjunction.

    Lamoraal van Egmont listens to the advice of Johannes Mercator.

    "Yes, Sire, how can be of help?" asks Mercator.

    "You have heard about the riots. And I want to restore order. You seem to have gained some respect among the population after your succesful prediction. And quite rightly, you predicted that troubles would come.So how should I proceed?"

    "Sire, you should either revoke the taxes, or do something useful with the money such that the people will feel that their sacrifices are for the greater good."

    "The taxes will remain in place! I like spending money for the glory of Lowenheim!"

    "Hmmm, ok. Perhaps I can suggest the new invention of my friend, Pascal Stevin. He has invented a quite wonderful calculating machine, that could bring Lowenheim into a new era, the era of science."

    "Will it generate more riches?"

    "Yes, I think it will ... "

    "Good, good! Let's make a proclamation in front of the town hall."

    "One more thing, Sire. What about the Trigonometros? Shouldn't you consult them as well ... the traditions of the city?"

    "As you said yourself Mercator: the era of science has begun. Perhaps the era of magic will come to an end."

    Johannes Mercator feels excited, but is also worried. This could mean open conflict with the Trigonometros.

    "Citizens of Lowenheim! The era of science has begun!
    We will develop a calculating machine that will bring new riches to the city!"

    ==========

    So, what do we have for game week 6?

    Here's our list of events, with any modifications in colour. Number in brackets list the game week in which the event was first listed (although it might have been modified since).

    1. The Landvoogd makes an important announcement as a result of the planetary conjuction seen in the sky and the subsequent riots. What is it? What is the result on the morale of the inhabitants of the city? [1]
      The Trigonometros wants to regain their influence, and start looking for allies. They try to make contact with Hans De Jonghe, the leader of the riots. Will they succeed? How can both parties benefit from this unlikely alliance? [6]
    2. A trade caravan arrives. Who is the trader? What does he or she hope to sell or trade in Lowenheim? What news does the caravan bring? Are there any strange creatures part of the caravan? [1]
    3. Grombo SuykerByck still feels he should be rewarded for his efforts in putting down a revolt in the city. What would be a proper reward? Will he become an influential friend of the Landvoogd? Will he get more money and/or influence? [4]
    4. The guards (along with the tax collector) go out collecting the new taxes, but a fight ensues. In what quarter of the city? Why is there a fight? (==> skirmish wargame) [1]
    5. The Magicians Trigonometros plans an attack on Mercator's tower. How will they do this? Night or day? Ground, air, tunnels, spells? Using their magical creatures, or do it more stealthily? Who will come to the help of Johannes Mercator? (==> skirmish wargame) [3]
    6. Mercator and Stevin want to see the Landvoogd and tell him about the new dawning Age of Science. Will they have the Landvoogd's ear? How will he react, and what effect will it have on the developments in the city? [5]
      A fire is erupting in the city. Which building is affected? Was the building set on fire deliberately? Who could have done it? [6]
    7. There are 4 statues at the crossroads (and a few more in the city). What is their meaning? What do they tell about the history of Lowenheim? [4]
    8. A murder takes place in Lowenheim. Who is the (important?) victim? Will there be a trial? What's the judicial system in Lowenheim? [1]
    9. The recent riots around De Groene Draak lead to heightened patrols by the city guards. What will they do to restore order? Impose a curfew? How will they do it? By force or not? (==> skirmish wargame?) [4]
    10. There's a coven of cultists hiding in the city somewhere. Who are they? What do they want? What is their secret temple? Is there an important figure part of the cult? [5]

    Let's roll our D10 again ... a 6! "A fire is erupting in the city. Which building is affected? Was the building set on fire deliberately? Who could have done it?"

    To be continued ...