Sunday, 8 January 2017

Everyone Looks Smart And Wears A Tie - Christmas 2016

OK, so we have passed the Epiphany and thus Christmas is over.... but better late than never, right?

This blog has lain rather dormant for a while because Sister Superior and I have been continuing work on the new house.  Since I last wrote we have painted, floored and assembled furniture for the dining room/study.  Into this room and it’s many bookshelves have gone most of our novels, dictionaries, graphic novels, DVDs, computer games and CDs. 

Rather than assembling tanks I’ve been assembling IKEA furniture, which tends to be less fiddly than Warhammer figures and with fewer skulls.

Alas despite this progress the Nerd Room remains a Nerd Room only in potentia.  It’s next on the to do list – and no reflooring or DIY work is required bar a fresh lick of paint, so it should be quick going.  Once the nerd room is done not only can I finally unpack all my RPG and wargaming stuff but I’ll be able to finally get some more miniature painting done and thusly have something worth talking about on this blog.  For now, however, it remains home to many cardboard boxes and not much else

I could really use the Constructions about now.

The other reason why I haven’t posted much lately is that it has been Christmas, which inevitably means I have been stuffing my face and sleeping inbetween family shindigs.  In anticipation of the return to geeky normality, though, Hobby Santa even brought me a couple of treats… and it seemed to me the epiphany was as good a day as any to update you on these.

On the RPG front I have The Time Traveller’s Companion, a supplement for the Doctor Who RPG that focuses on Time Lords, TARDISes and time travel phenomenon.  A hardback book with both player and GM material it seems a no-brainer for any group who have a fairly traditional Doctor Who set-up, i.e. 1+ Time Lord using a TARDIS to explore.

Expanded lists for character creation give you lots of mechanical do-dads to take as a Time Lord including traits that affect regeneration and special trait packages for the major Time Lord Chapters.  (Essentially Harry Potter-style houses - the Doctor is a Prydonian, and his house produces many of the more devious and shonky Time Lords.)

The background material expands on Time Lord history and culture, doing a fair bit of canon-welding to flesh out their history and explain stages of the Time War based on what we saw on telly.  Its inventions and expansions feel logical, without getting too fanwanky.

Released in mid-2013, it's interpretation of the Time War Time Lords is more the "Crazed War Criminals" of Russel T. Davies rather than the "THINK OF THE POOR CHILDREN" of Steven Moffat.

There's also a system for statting up TARDISes including specifying how old they are, how much damage they are, what personality traits they have acquired etc - I'll probably use this to stat up The Reader's TARDIS, especially since after our Christmas special (which I'll post about in my next RPG summary post) it acquired a new, erm, problem...

This system comes in two forms, a more detailed method that includes a TARDIS console-shaped character sheet to track individual system damage as well as a more rough and ready system if you don't want that level of granularity. 

The Reader's TARDIS is steampunkish in style, but a bit less gothic than this and a bit more brass-and-bookshelves.

The temporal phenomena section includes some rules to help cover things like "what happens if someone goes back in time and punches themselves in the fact" or "how do you use a TARDIS to ram another TARDIS".  There's also stat blocks for some major Time Lord enemies, albeit a somewhat abbreviated list.  You'll need to consult the Doctor-specific supplements for the rest.

Now the choices you make in this abbreviated list are always going to be awkward but I found myself a bit miffed at some of them.  The Valeyard, a Villain who appeared in every episode of a whole series (i.e. about half of the Sixth Doctor's television appearances) and whom is mentioned several times in the book, gets absolutely no stat blocks here and you need to get the 6th Doctor Book for him.... but the War Chief gets a full bio, even though he has half as many episode appearances and is so blandly bearded-and-evil that fans have routinely wondered if he's just The Master in a previous regeneration.

Remember all about that super memorable guy from seven episodes in 196?  No, me neither.

This is a comparatively minor complaint, however.  Overall it's an enjoyable book to read and one I am confident I will get use out of in 2017.  Returning to Doctor Who is the plan, and not only does the game feature a Time Lady PC it also has an enemy time-travelling group whose goal is creating paradoxes.  I think almost any Doctor Who group would benefit from this, the most useful of the books since the monster manual-like Aliens and Creatures.

Yes, those are 28mm figures in the pictures - It's a big boy
Next up let's talk about the biggest present that Sister Superior got me - a piece of laser-cut MDF scenary from Wargames Tournaments imaginately entitled "Massive Crane".  I have yet to assemble a piece of MDF scenery so this is perhaps a bit excessive as a first project, but it doesn't actually look too hard.  Anyone here got any experience with these sorts of models?

This is something that's been on my to-do list for a while.  To go with my previous Glasgow based terrain I figured a big crane would give a nod to our ship-building history - you can't show a shot of the clyde wihout one.

We don't call it Titan for nothing.
I had actually thought about getting it for myself but was put off because until the nerd room was ready I couldn't assemble it.  Sister Superior took pity on me and bought me it so that the moment the room is done I can christen it with a heck of a project.  It stands a mighty 26 inches tall - so over two feet - and has multiple levels on which figures can rest so it can be fought over as well as around.  Even the Knight Titan will have to get a piggy-back off a fellow super-heavy to touch the top.

She also got me a figure - one which can go with Fulgrim, her Christmas gift from a couple of years back (and blog-starting paint project.)
Obviously I'm never going to get it as pretty as this.
Now I do not follow the Horus Heresy novels - I prefer older style 40K fluff and a more mysterious Heresy personally - but I gather this here is Lord Command Eidolon and he is a notable character of the Emperor's Children.  He is certainly a pretty figure, with some nice detail and standing astride a wrecked Contemptor dreadnought on his scenic base.  He comes with two head options - bare and helmed - and wields a very bling hammer.

The Horus Heresy books give him some special rules for him - and if I play the Horus Heresy rules again I'll try him out - but he will probably see more use as a Chaos Lord swinging a Power Maul while flying on a jetbike.  Just the thing to lead an angry unit of Raptors or come bearing down on Saint Celestine.

Tick Tick Tick Tick BOOM
Not everything was hardcore nerdy.  There was some more casual arrivals to the household too, like party games Exploding Kittens and Sushi Go! which have seen a few goes.  The former I had played before and is a quick and dirty game with pretty funny artwork.  The latter was new but I'd looked at it in stores before and had even downloaded the print & play version for future use. 

Neither are tactially deep or anything but if you have two to five people and need to kill some time both are a lot of fun.
...God I love sushi so much.

Anyway, hopefully this is the first of a new run of blog posts.  I need to update you the recent RPGing in my life which included the Starfleet Academy game's first season and a few one-offs; I need to tell you about 2017s first Warhammer games in which I played 40K Dave three times in 24 hours; and I need to talk about how lovely Sister Superior is, because she's vain and laps that up.

See you soon, my friends!

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