Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Lost Jewels of the Ancient Sorceress [Part 4]

Howl of Oblivion by Iron Seer
** Howl of Oblivion Campaign Page **

The party recuperates, though the caravan guards around the auto-yurts report lots of activity near the camp.  Jackals had been heard all through the night.  In the morning, the party is ready to move out at first light.  Fasha informs them that water is running low, and soon they will have to depart to Yecha.

The party finds the entrance to the tomb re-covered, and inside they are attacked from two directions nearly as soon as they step foot inside.  A pack of kobold-trained jackals attack along with their kobold packmasters.  The combat is savage, and a short sleep spell by Anverth sees all the jackals sleeping peacefully as the remaining kobolds retreat.  Peacefully, until Khaine cuts off their heads.

Lost Jewels of the Ancient Sorceress -  The Jackalpit
"Hmm...helpless dogs.  What to do with all these helpless animals?  Hm.  Hmmmm..."

The party heads deeper into the complex, and begin to hear what sounds like an unintelligible beratement.  The group finds a hobgoblin yelling at an skeleton, and approach cautiously.  The hobgoblin gestures to the skeleton, who signals his pack of skeletal jackals to spring forward and attack.

Iris then beheads the hobgoblin in a single stroke, claiming his shinging and singing scimitar for her own.  Walkul then turns the remaining skeletons, including the Houndmaster - all of whom are not destroyed in the rout flee to the south.  Meanwhile, the party pillages the hobgoblin's stuff (who was evidently named Mung Yung) and find several interesting items - such as a magic scroll.

The party also finds an alcove littered with the bodies of dead adventurers and crawling with giant centipedes.  When the party steps inside, several skeletons of small animals animate and crawl to attack alongside the massive arthopods.  Walkul invokes the power of Pelor and turns them back while the party cleans up the centipedes.  A gleaming suit of mail is found on one of the long-dead bodies, which Walkul intends to restore.

Lost Jewels of the Ancient Sorceress -  Critical Hit!
Next on One-Hit Wonders:  Mung Yung the Hob

In the last room, the party finds a bunch of furtive kobolds just kinda chillaxin', eating dinner made of what looks like jackal.  Anverth converses with them, and the old one agrees to tell them where they think the treasure is if the party will just leave.  In the corner of the kobold water-hole, the party finds all the skeletons huddled in a corner.

Lost Jewels of the Ancient Sorceress -  Kobold Waterhole
Believe it or not, those red tokens are only mildly hostile.

Evidently, that corner is where the jewels most likely are, according to the kobolds.  So the party begins to attack the skeletal houndmaster, but the old kobold speaks up.  She asks Anverth to tell the rest of the party to leave the skeleton be, who is beloved by the kobolds.  In return she will shoo them away.

After the skeletons are moved up the walkway, Borz discovers the hidden stone plate to an alcove, some 4 feet high and 3 feet off the ground.  Using Walkul as a step-ladder, the dwarf pries the stone free and pulls the alcove door free, exposing and damaging an ancient stone trap in the process.

Inside, they find a stone mannequin, upon which rests the complete regalia of A'ta Sevaaya.  The party leaves the tomb and joins again with Fasha outside.  Though the party briefly considers holding onto the regalia, they honor their bargain and turn it over to Fasha.  The trip was quite profitable - the magic alone worth more than the regalia.  After talking it over with Fasha, the party agrees to accept another job.  

Fasha began to tell them the tale of another sorceress...this one still very much alive...

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Warhammer 40,000 3rd Edition Ruins [Desert Edition]

Games Workshop 3rd Edition Ruins [Desert Edition]

In the far days of yore, there was the Warhammer 40,000 3rd Edition Box Set.  Many of my buddies wound up getting that box, so our club generated lots of these ruins around the year 2000 and 2001.  We didn't really have a club back then, just my living room.  So, all the terrain from all those sets were donated to our budding terrain collection.

Games Workshop 3rd Edition Ruins [Desert Edition]

These ruins are various ages, but the oldest are 20+ and this is the third or fourth time I've revisited this particular set.  I got my first set in '98 when 3rd Edition dropped, and I continued to acquire new ones from various sources over the next decade.

Games Workshop 3rd Edition Ruins [Desert Edition]

Admittedly, these ruin sections are not the finest examples of the terrain-maker's art, but they have certainly acquired character over the decades.  To that end, I find I can forgive their cosmetic shortcomings - many of these were done long before we ever even knew how to use much of the material we were trying to use.

Games Workshop 3rd Edition Ruins [Desert Edition]
"Enemy interceptor inbound!"

Many of us tend to neglect the terrain portion of the hobby for years, and these ruins are quite nostalgic for me.  They make up the mainstay of two of my tables, and much of it could honestly use a little more TLC.

Games Workshop 3rd Edition Ruins [Desert Edition]
"Go for the eyes!"

While my craft has certainly advanced over all this time, I probably won't ever have to 'start' over with these - but I can't say that for my other set of ruins.  Those are going to require some actual work to make presentable again - but again, like these...I probably won't start completely over.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

3D Printing the Hobby

Democracy is the reinterpretation of the power of ourselves.
Inspirobot knows about IP law.
A little over a year ago, I got my first 3D printer - an Anycubic Photon.  

It's taken that long for me to get used to it, and start getting great results.  Now mind you, this wasn't a constant process.  I've been very busy this year.  

After navigating through thousands of objects (I have a very minimal background in 3D development) I finally began to grasp how things are done, how to get good prints, how to calibrate the resin and all that stuff.  I might talk about my initial failings and how I overcame them, but today I want to talk about using the 3D printer in our hobbies.

I've been reading a lot of articles with opinions on this.  Some people think it's unethical to print models to represent game models.  Some people think it's illegal.  All of those people are wrong.

While I agree with almost all the points in that post, there's are some things that have really been bothering me.  Also, like I mentioned - I'm finally getting reliable results from the machine.  So, I decided to introduce the 3D printer to the blog and address these concerns here, and sort of clearly delimit my intent and practices.  

First of all, let's talk about the laws regarding IP Infringement.  There are different kinds of infringement and it's important that we differentiate.  I won't talk about any specific countries' laws because we the hobbyists are literally all over the world.  

Yet we can talk in general - and generally, it is illegal to sell a thing that has been copied.  This is known as copyright infringement.  In regards to a 3D printer, it would be directly copying a model and then offering it for sale.  However the method you accomplish this, this is the only 'copyright infringement' that can actually occur here.  If you're just printing it for yourself, however - well, that's not any infringement.  Whether you used photogrammetry or downloaded an .stl, no crime has been committed.

Trademark infringement is the other kind of IP infringement, and this is trickier.  Again, if you're not offering the item for sale then you are protected.  This is why you'll see a lot of similar models without any trademarked iconography or slogans.  You can create and sell an object of similar design without any sort of worry as long as you don't violate anyone's trademark - which is very easy not to do.

So that's pretty much it as far as the law goes.  You can do a lot of reading about it but this is what it ultimately boils down to in most cases.  The body of law still applies to us as hobbyists.  You can see, in almost every case, we are legally able to print anything we want to...if we are actually able to do that.

We've established now that it is perfectly lawful for us to use the 3D printer to do whatever we want for our own games.

I do not believe at all that there is any sort of ethical concern involved, ESPECIALLY AS FAR AS WARGAMING GOES.

I hear current day fanboys talk about 3D printing as if it's a sin and I want to slap them.  They weren't here in the days of deodorant tanks and converted WWII jams.  It makes me sick.  They think the galaxy is so small a place that every ork trukk looks the same.

This hobby is supposed to be creative.  Yet the cult-like mindset of so many fans of the hobby means that we are doomed to see the exact same set of 'official' models every single game.  This mentality is only a by-product of some larger companies co-opting the hobby and putting artificial restrictions on what we do in order to encourage spending on their specific product.  Commercially, this makes sense for shows/tournaments devoted to that specific game line by the company or it's partners.

I can agree.  I'll bring official Warmachine models when I hit the official Warmachine shows.  Lord knows that no matter what, I'll be able to bring official models to official shows.  For myself, the last time I was at an 'official' tournament in my area was 2003.  I missed the Privateer Press Gang when it was here, but that ended a few years back.  

We don't get much in what you'd call 'official support' out here.  Instead it just appears as a endless treadmill of pointless rule changes and adjustments.  Stop and think about it.  There's only one big-name company for which 3D printing seems to be an issue.  The 900lb gorilla.  Gorilla Watson.  Certainly the amount of DCMA's they are constantly issuing would seem to indicate it's a problem.

You can only speculate as to why that may be. 

I feel any lingering question of ethics is completely irrelevant here.  

You'll buy what you want and make / build / print the rest.  By playing the game at all you are actually adding value to the product - we can't play the game by ourselves after all.  The larger the player pool, the more value the game has for everyone.  No matter what, you're feeding into the hobby here.  Even if your entire army is 3D printed.

Friday, December 4, 2020

Lost Jewels of the Ancient Sorceress [Part 3]

Howl of Oblivion by Iron Seer
** Howl of Oblivion Campaign Page **

The party continues to explore the north section of the tomb.  A good portion of the outer walls are crumbling and make dangerous exploring, but our heroes avoid any trouble.  They take their time searching for traps, secret doors and where vandals smashed stonework decorations...

The party comes upon the central marker of the tomb, realizing that the ancient sorceress' name was A'ta Sevaaya...and the body wasn't buried at the marker and may not even still be in the complex.  This is a common way to deter grave robbers...but also are ancient runic spell-wards.  Walkul and Iris watched in horror as such a ward cursed Borz as they examined the central monument.

Lost Jewels of the Ancient Sorceress - Blursed Dwarf

As the party explored east of the central monument, a foul smell began to waft down the unexplored corridors.  Anverth quickly recognized the nasty scent as kobold slop, and the party pushed into a small section of intersecting corridors.  Not long after they discovered the resting places of the little creatures, they were swarmed with the little monsters.  

Lost Jewels of the Ancient Sorceress - Useless Crit on a Kobold
Critical Hit!

Khaine tries to block kobolds attacking from south corridor, but is hurt by flashing kobold blades and eventually pushed back toward the intersection.  At the same time, another group of tiny dog-men swarm appear from the north and attack Iris and Borz.  Iris was wounded and brought down by kobold knives, but Anverth and Kelil pushed into the kobold chambers and were able to get rid of the creatures swarming her.  Walkul takes a moment to heal her, and suggest the use of healing potions for the others.

Wounded but not out, the party resolves to continue forward...but a few of the kobolds managed to flee away down the winding corridors of the tomb complex.  The party can hear strange noises all around as they know the creatures have ran to tell their friends.  The advance brings the party back to the central stairs, but it's not until the barking of what sounds like a pack of dogs is heard coming from the southern chambers do they decide to retreat to the auto-yurts.

Lost Jewels of the Ancient Sorceress - Part 3 XP Log
Encounter XP awarded so far for Lost Jewels of the Ancient Sorceress [Part 1-3]