Thursday, August 30, 2012

SWN-like skills for fantasy settings.

As much as I dislike d20 skills, I actually have enjoyed using the skill system from Stars Without Number. I've been contemplating for some time adapting that system for use with fantasy games. Even though the OSR community has a general share and share-alike policy, I went ahead and asked Kevin Crawford if it was okay to borrow from his systems and he gave an emphatic yes.

Here are my initial thoughts on what this should like:

Skills should never remove exploration or discovery from the game.

Skills should not be skill taxes or remove game play.

Skills should not be useless.

Since I will be using SWN as my baseline I will avoid the linear-skill roll problem and some of the difficulty with modifiers, character creation, and the like. I intend to rewrite the list of skills and packages pretty much from scratch for obvious reasons.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Magic Realm - Acquired!

I've been hoping to acquire a copy of Magic Realm for quite some time and a friend brought me back a copy from GenCon. Beat up box, heavily marked up rulebook, but it appears to be complete and all of the components are in good condition. In fact, many of the counters were unpunched. So tonight I did the unthinkable and punched them all out. The finicky collector in me is appalled, but I don't collect games to look at them. Expect a series of posts about me trying to figure this out.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Reaper Bones review part 3

So as I posted originally, I've been curious about the Reaper Bones line for some time now. I decided to go ahead and buy one because of the Reaper Bones Kickstarter. I wanted to at least check one out before dropping $100+ on a big bag o' minis. To be very conservative I only bought one, and did not go for the free shipping (perhaps my only regret as I ended up really liking the model).

Because of other reviews I read here and here I did not bother trying to remove mold lines and I did not use a guide coat (a light paint wash on the white model). The mold lines weren't bad - a bit on the helmet and on the legs, might be more of an issue on a different model.

As mentioned before the model was a bit bent, but very hot water allowed me to reshape it.

Now for painting and some pictures! I've never photographed my miniatures before so it was a bit of an experiment, I think the pictures turned out okay though.

Here is the unpainted model:

I painted on three base colors  and then added a brown wash. I found that if the paint was thinned at all that it slid around a lot on the plastic so I had to keep my brushes and paints quite dry. The only issue was that it meant I had to be extra careful not to fill in details - on the finished model there are a few places where the paint on the chainmail is a little too thick.

Because of the paint slipping on the plastic I had to do some evening out of the base layer, mostly accomplished with dry-brushing. I followed that with detailing and dry brushing, along with some additional washing, brown or black depending on the area. I think it turned out looking pretty decent, and the model is definitely a value at $2.

These models are definitely intended for play. They are cheap and durable (I did a lot of bending of it trying to straighten out the sword before I was successful). If you want perfect control, go for more expensive metal models. I don't know about other people, but I don't like other people handling my metal models, whereas this I will not be fussy about.

It looks like many of the bones line also come in prepainted versions, but frankly mine looks a lot better than the prepainted version and I'm by no means an expert painter. Also, the unpainted models are a good bit cheaper (even counting the paint).

So the upshot is that I am totally satisfied and I will by buying more of these and I can't wait to use them.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Reaper Bones review part 2

Read the final review here.

Quick update:

Over the last few days I've corresponded with someone at Reaper who gave me a number of suggestions for fixing the bentness of the warrior's sword. Finally hit upon one that worked very well: soak briefly in hot water then reform, hold until cool. I tried first with just using water hot from the tap, didn't work, but then microwaved the water until nearly boiling and just dipped in the sword arm - the sword basically straightened itself. It is not totally perfect looking but weapons on metal miniatures rarely end up being perfectly straight either so I'm not going to fuss. As I said, I don't think being terribly finicky is worth it for a $2 miniature. That being said, now that I know I can fix bent weapons I am much more likely to buy more of the line and will likely wind up contributing to the kickstarter campaign.

Once I put some paint on it I'll update again.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Reaper Bones review part 1

Read the final review here.

I like miniatures.

I've been curious about the Reaper Bones line since it was launched and with the associated Kickstarter campaign going on I thought it was a good chance to check them out. At this point the deal at the $100 level especially is really very good.  So I resisted the temptation to go for free shipping and I ordered just one miniature: the "male human warrior" or as the box tells me "Garrick the Bold."

First off, the detail is really excellent. Much better than any other soft plastic miniatures I have seen before. There are a few mold lines but they are pretty minimal. I have read in other reviews that the mold lines are difficult to remove cleanly so I might just live with them. I think a few mold lines may be better than spending a ton of effort on a $2 mini with the chance of making it look messier.

The plastic is pretty soft however and my figure is suffering from a modest case of bent-sword. My guess is that is something that may be inevitable with this type of plastic. I'd like to fix that if possible. If anyone has any tips they'd be appreciated.

They claim it is paintable right out of the box without priming - which I might test for a part 2 of this review. However, I have read in other reviews that washes don't stick well to the bare plastic, so I am tempted to at least dull-coat it first. Also, I usually prime my models black so I might end up priming it anyways for the look I am accustomed to (the model is white).

I'll post more if I am able to fix the bent sword and when I have painted it.