Tuesday, January 29, 2013

20 (mostly) Wargaming Questions

I found these questions online a while ago, but didn't keep the link.

1. Favourite Wargaming period and why?
Fantasy. It always seemed cooler to be able to fight (with or against) giants, wizards, dragons, etc. Sci-fi is my second favorite.

2. Next period, money no object?
If money (and therefore time) were no object, I would do ancient Rome vs Celtic/Germanic tribes.

3. Favourite 5 films?
Disney’s Three Musketeers
Star Trek IV
The Hunt for Red October

4. Favourite 5 TV series?
Star Trek TNG/DS9
West Wing

5. Favourite book and author?
There is no way I can pick one favorite book.

6. Greatest General? Can’t count yourself!!

7. Favourite Wargames rules?
I really enjoy the LotR SBG rules, but I’d like something like the character growth & campaign rules from Mordheim.

8. Favourite Sport and team?
Hockey, Boston Bruins

9. If you had a only use once time machine, when and where would you go?
I’d go back to my 12 year old self, and give myself some advice.

10. Last meal on Death Row?
Roast beef, garlic mashed potatoes, caesar salad, hot rolls, stuffed mushrooms, Heavy Seas IPA, coffee, a hot fudge brownie w/ cookies & cream ice cream topped with caramel and a cherry.

11. Fantasy relationship and why?
I’m not entirely sure what this question is asking...

12. If your life were a movie, who would play you?
My bio-pic would be completely CGI.

13. Favourite Comic Superhero?

14. Favourite Military quote?

15. Historical destination to visit?

16. Biggest Wargaming regret?
Not playing more

17. Favourite Fantasy job?
Museum diorama/Hollywood set/prop maker

18. Favourite Song Top 5?
Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen
Feels So Good - Chuck Mangione
Bank of Bad Habits - Jimmy Buffett
King of Spain - Moxy Fruvus
Danse Macabre - Camille Saint-Saƫns

19. Favourite Wargaming Moment?
40K game, 750 points, I had a squad in a land raider, and demons in reserve. My eldar opponent pops the land raider, killing everyone inside. Fastest game ever. I laughed then, and it’s still the most memorable game I’ve played.

20. The miserable Git question, what upsets you?
Trigger warnings. Seriously, if you’re that bothered by things, stay off the internet.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday Inspirational Image: Pantomime Costumes 1890

Source: Victorian Era Fan Guide
Costume designs by William Charles Pitcher (also known as Wilhelm) for a production of the pantomime Dick Whittington which was performed at the Crystal Palace on 24th December 1890. Pantomime was a hugely popular form of entertainment throughout the Victorian period, especially during the Christmas season. Developing from the Italian Commedia dell’arte, pantomime combined drama, dance, singing, audience participation, slapstick and acrobatics with imaginative costumes, elaborate scenery and spectacular special effects. Pantomimes often included appearances by famous music hall performers of the day including Marie Lloyd and Dan Leno. Plots focused on traditional stories such as Sleeping Beauty, Aladdin, Jack and the Beanstalk, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast as well as specially written topical productions. They reached the height of their popularity in the late 19th century with some having a running time of over 5 hours and a cast of 600 performers. Pantomime remains an essential part of the festive season in Britain.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Movie Review: Mirror Mirror

There were 2 Snow White movies that came out last year. Snow White and the Huntsman with Kristen Stewart, Thor, and Charlize Theron, and Mirror Mirror with Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, and Armie Hammer. I still haven’t seen Snow White and the Huntsman (I’m waiting for the Special Effects Only edit) but I did catch Mirror Mirror on Netflix.

This is a fairly lighthearted retelling of Snow White. It’s a little bit silly, clearly aimed at a younger audience, and feeling that this takes place in the same sort of universe as Hercules and Xena (about 2,000 years or so further along the timeline) the actor’s enjoyment in their parts really shows. Julia Roberts savors her role as the Evil Queen, delightfully chewing the surprisingly well done scenery. While her usual role is the wholesome smiling American woman, seeing her play an evil character, and doing it with such relish, turning her famous smile to such nefarious purposes as seducing the Prince, was a lot of fun.

Lily Collins’ Snow is a no-nonsense princess, once she gets out from under the thumb of the Queen. And while the prince serves as love interest, Snow isn’t willing to let her feelings get in her way of her mission to oust the Queen from her kingdom. This goes to the extent that the Prince is used as a pawn by the Queen against Snow, and Snow has to fight him!

While Armie Hammer (The Prince) isn’t a name that rings any bells for me, he reminds me strongly of Brendan Fraser in his various roles from the early 90’s. At one point I closed my eyes, and he even sounded like Brendan Fraser!

There were a number of choices that I especially liked in this movie. The magic mirror as a reflection of the Queen, which tried to act as a conscious for her, warning her of the dangers of using and abusing magic.

The Beast in the Woods was really interesting looking (hence yesterday’s post). While not terribly frightening as compared to many other monsters out there, it was designed for children, and so in its roll was very effective. A more adult redesign could certainly bring out some of the potentially more horrific aspects of it.

The casting was phenomenal. Julia Roberts, as I've already said was delicious to watch. Nathan Lane as the simpering lackey was perfect. All of the dwarfs were individual characters, and in ways different from both the Disney cartoon dwarfs and Peter Jackson's dwarfs.

I was also very impressed by the set and costume design. Clearly the folks behind the cameras were having just as much fun as the actors. Little details like the nods to previous versions of Snow, the details on the columns in the Queen's throne room, and the hats of the game pieces show the thought and effort that went into the production.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

New Monster: Beast in the Woods

“Please master wizard, the woods are dangerous.” The innkeeper warned. “If you must go, go at dawn, and stick to the road. If you leave now, you won’t make it to the village.”

“We’ve traveled dangerous roads before, but thank you for your concern.”

“Please...” the innkeeper pleaded. “Heed my words. The King rode out to face the monster, and he never returned! People don’t make it through unscathed when they make it at all. Those who have made it tell of meeting with giants!”

“Giants?” Nimble asked, looking over the saddle of his horse.

“If you’re lucky it’s giants. It you encounter the monster, you’re doomed.”

“Has anyone ever seen the monster?” Rathgar grumbled.

“None that have lived to tell of it, but we’ve all heard it out in the woods, and everyone that’s gone hunting it has never been seen again.”

“Mount up” Rathgar called out. “Innkeeper, we’ll be back in 3 days, and if we see this 'monster' of yours, we’ll take care of it on the way.”

The Beast in the Woods
AC: 3
Hit Dice: 7* (L)
Move: 150’ (50’)
flying: 60’ (20’)
Attacks: claw/claw/tail
Damage: 1d6+2/1d6+2/2d4+special
No. Appearing: 1 (1)
Save As: F7
Morale: 11
Treasure Type: D
Intelligence: 7
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value: 850

Monster Type: Enchanted, Unique
The Beast is terrifying to behold. This chimera has a lion's head crowned with antlers, a furry snake's body, wings and skinny, gangly scaled claws, and causes fear (as per the spell) to all natural animals, and all creatures of 2HD or less that view it.

In combat it will use its bulk and speed to separate opponents. Any attack that causes minimum damage will throw the target 2d10 feet in the direction of the beast’s choosing. Anyone human sized or smaller hit by the tail must make a saving throw or be knocked prone.

Around the Beast’s neck is a magical silver necklace with a crescent moon pendant upon it. This cursed talisman transforms lawful individuals into the Beast, under the control of whoever possesses the matching necklace. It also allows the Beast to regenerate 1hp per round, and freezes the aging process.

Image Source: Nate Fredenburg

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Quick Movie Reviews: Les Mis, Reacher, Lincoln, Skyfall

Les Miserables

I’ve never seen the stage show, but I was familiar with the story and the music going into it. The scenes that worked best were either lifted straight from the stage production or those that took advantage of the fact that this is a movie with access to modern tech. The all too brief grand views of France were fantastic. Too much time was spent in extreme close-ups. Russell Crowe was seriously lacking. Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter stole every scene they were in, and they were perfect! Totally worth seeing just for their performance.
This review pretty much covers my thoughts on it, except for their opinion of Hugh Jackman.

Jack Reacher

Apparently based on a series of books, I found it a workable action flick. While I’m not a big fan of Tom Cruise, I thought he did a pretty good job of playing the ex-military cop, off the grid, believes in justice but not law type. The other actors did fairly serviceable jobs.

There was an odd mix of slapstick with serious action, which didn’t seem to mesh together well. I almost felt like there were 2 directors, and they didn’t completely agree what type of movie they were making.

It was enjoyable fluff, but unless you really liked the series you can wait for it on Netflix/DVD.


Wow... Seriously well done. Usually there’s something I can criticize a movie for, but everything here worked. Everything. A must see.


James Bond, awesome as always. I rather liked the new Q. Also, got some nifty ideas from the casino scene. I’d try to catch this while it’s still in the theater.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A long long adventure with The Hobbit

I went to see The Hobbit in 3-D 48fps again on Sunday. Loved it even more the second time around. I kind of want to see it again every weekend while I still can, because even when it comes out on DVD, it's not going to be in the format Peter Jackson made it.

A long long adventure with hobbit by breathing2004

Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Magic Item: Wand of Marking

"Which way?" Feris asked.

Rathgar lifted his torch above his head and looked booth ways at the intersection. The dungeon walls glistened with moisture and the flickering light. "Left" he said finally.

"Are you sure?" Feris asked.

"No, but we've got to find a place to hole up until Nimble and Allianora find us, and this corridor isn't it."

"Ok, left it is." Feris pulled a silver wand from his belt. In the air, about an inch from the wall, he made a glowing mark. "Let's go."

Wand of Marking
This magical stick will leave a glowing mark upon any surface, even water and air. When used on a solid surface, the mark is permanent. On air or liquid, it will dissipate based on the movement of the substances. Still water or stagnant air will hold the mark much longer than even a slowly flowing stream.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Looking Ahead - 2013

2013 is going to be an interesting year. I've been in college for the entire life of the blog, and in just a couple of months I'll finish my final class and earn my Masters degree. I expect that my free time is going to expand in ways that are hard to comprehend. Yet at exactly the same time a large box is going to arrive on my doorstep bringing me hundreds of new miniatures from the Reaper Bones kickstarter. I predict that when I look back in 12 months, 2013 will be the year of the mini. I'm hoping that I can make it as interesting for you as it will be for me. 

Another project I've been thinking about, and have been for a while, is my catalog of monsters and magic items. I've created 95 magic items, and 82 monsters. I find myself wanting to collect them as PDFs, but while I could just grab each page and slap it together, I want to do something... more.

Looking back over the last year I'd say the Tower is doing pretty well. I'm averaging over 16,000 page views a month, I'm up to 199 followers, and I posted 249 posts last year.

I plan on continuing my Monday monsters, Thursday Thaumaturgy, and Sunday Inspirational Image posts. I'll probably participate in the A to Z challenge again this year. Additionally I plan on getting in more gaming. Most likely it'll be on G+, though I wouldn't mind an in-person group.

May 2013 bring you good gaming!