Wednesday 20 June 2012

Thee Pyramids ov Marz

  • pyramids
  • hats that are actually planetoids cybernetically grafted onto peoples heads
  • mopey bug eyed women
  • floating multicoloured egg beings
  • green faced humanoids with phallic hats
  • huge crowds of aliens muttering around
  • improbable spacecraft

Where do I sign up?

Cover image by John Blanche. Thanks John for the inspiring stuff!

Lots of lovely scans of this cattalogue at The Pitch & Putt Blog Full of retro goodness, except that Andrew-Lloyd Webber game about "international high risk insurance", I think the 80s can keep that.

Saturday 16 June 2012

Top 10 Citadel List

Following the lists of Orlygg, Thantsants, Gaj, here I put down my current out-of-production obsessions list whilst ignoring the ranges I tell myself I'm trying to complete (80's Lord of the Rings and Talisman). Hope this doesn't inspire a collectors feeding frenzy and push up the price before I get my mitts on them. These are my top 10 OOP RARE "my wife is gonna kill me" Citadel wants list.

10. SS3. Night Elf Patrol

Night Elves. Yeah, not the World of Warcraft pin-ups, but these dimunitive predecessors of the Dark Elves hit all the right notes, they speak of an earlier age, stranger, more folksy and weirder fantasy. Although they are earlier, they remind me of Frouds Gelflings from the Dark Crystal and conjour a lot of the early era TSR vibe for me, whilst also being the poster children for  Warhammer 1st edition.

The box would make a nice warband but Citadel did not make enough of them for an army. These really are short - more halfling sized than typical Citadel Elves. I think the original Dark Elf Cold One Riders should match up size-wise (they're certainly too small for normal Dark Elves). Also might consider having a go at shortening some of the 3rd Ed plastic regiments Dark Elves to expand the force.

9. DL2 - Ally Morrison's Hobgoblin Warriors

I love me a bit of eastern exoticism in my minis. These are hugely characterful sculpts by Aly Morrison.

8. LW1 - Giak Attack Adventure Set

The combination of Gary Chalks design and the Perrys sculpting is absolutely superb. Unfortunately my painting skills probably won't do them justice.  Mint condition please. Then another junk set for conversion so I can make a semi-decent sized Giak warband. Hmm... wonder if they mix well size-wise with Otherworld goblins.

 7. LWx - All the other Lone Wolf Figures

I'm drooling now. Every single one of those minis is awesome.

6. Pan Tang Infantry

I got this idea to use Pan Tang as Hadirim and Easterlings for my retro Lord of the Rings project (building the armies for LoTR using 80's and comparibly styled modern miniatures). Their vaguely middle-eastern design is fantastic - although to be honest that static waving sword and shield in the air pose is a bit shit, so I thought  have a go at converting them, cutting their arms of and reposing them. Then I saw what they can fetch on eBay...

  5. C30 Amazons

Tekumel flavoured sci-fantasy warrioresses. Along with the Night Elves, these represent the essense of Warhammer to me. Never seen any for sale on eBay that look as crisp as the ones in this photo (3rd Compendium), so have always been a bit put off actually buying them. So as this is my wish list, I'll have the master castings please.

 4. White Dwarf Personalities

Who can resist a half naked Ian Livingstone waving his truncheon? But no, there are 4 miniatures that hit the sweet spot. Zlargh and Azaroth, based on Trev Hammonds characters, suitably derranged additions to any chaos warband. And  Gobbeldigook and Nibble based on BiL Sedgwicks comic strip. Thing is someone, somewhere, needs to be sculpting the rest of the 'gook crew. The wizard, the gobbo with the top-knot, a hapless hobbit and a dwarf or two.

3. BC4 Mighty Ugezod's Death Commandos

The design of Nick Lunds orcs are phenomenal, but it's not often the sculpting lives up to the concept. These do, pure orcy goodness. 

2. DG6 Tom Meier's Zombie Dragon

4 words. Tom. Meier. Zombie. Dragon. Oh Actually,  can I have a poster of the John Blanche box cover, and a black t-shirt with the logo on it too? Thank you!

1. The Citadel Giant

no comment.

Wednesday 13 June 2012

Wired 8-Bit 3d6 Beeb D&D

DEADMEDIA XIII Teletext art has been featured in Wired UK magazine. web version here and there will be a forthcoming broadcast on German TV channel ARD, with a small launch event in Berlin.

DEADMEDIA XIII in Wired [UK] Magazine,
in your newsagents, near the out-of-date-milk and the Mars bars

Much respect to Juha at the ITAF for his continuing efforts on the international Teletext scene. Awesome stuff. The signal has now been turned off on the London area, so that's it, no more Teletext for me, and there goes a piece of Britains post-industrial heritage.

Teletext is roughly equivalent to Mode 7 on the BBC Micro. It's not the same format as braodcast, but it is   very similar. If you've never heard of the BBC Micro, it was a British 8-bit home computer of the 1980s, and was introduced into many schools for educational purposes. The guy who invented it was played by that bloke from The Office (and who is the new Bilbo Baggins) in a documentary. here. It was also the platform of origin for David Braben and Ian Bells Elite, the epic space combat trading game loosely based on Mark Millars Traveller RPG.

As far as I know, no D&D character generator was ever published for the BBC Micro. Judging by the classified ads in old White Dwarf mags, there were a good few homebrew versions for the ZX Spectrum. Notably the D&D Character Generator by Triffid Software Research which includes the White Dwarf Houri class (oo-er missus!), but I haven't managed to get it running past the first 2 levels of character selection before the emulator crashes or something, possibly about tapes. Here's a screenshot of a Dwarven Fighter :

Triffid Software Research AD&D Character generator
ZX Spectrum

And the SSI Dungeon Masters Assistant  (C64 and DOS) is also very cool, and official AD&D software, which is what I currently use to create insta-matic dungeon fodder.

DOS version of DMA

Both Triffid and SSI kind of miss the point of a character generator - the user is still 'designing' the character - deciding whether a Dwarven Fighter or a Half-Elf Fighter/Magic-User/Cleric would be a better option, and the SSI lets you fudge stats and ignore the dice. As most people who advocate low-level deadly type D&D know, players who get overly invested in their characters begin with making character design choices, and dreaming up the wonderful heroic adventures they might have playing this idealised, self-designed character, instead of developing a character concept by actually playing the game.

What I want (aka "primary design goal") is to facilitate strict 3D6 in order, random character generation. Reducing chargen time, sticking to the constraints of the rules, and getting into the game as quickly as possible, using old-school technology... type RUN, get a character, that's it. No player input or decisions, zero time spent in character generation. "But I don't want to play a half-orc thief chick..." then give her an honorable (or amusing) death, and type RUN again. Think Nethack, not World of Warcraft, and definitely not 'my Drizzt fanfic'.

So I wrote 17 lines of code in BBC BASIC to roll 3D6, in order, and output as stats. BBC BASIC (the programming language) was designed to be the Fighting Fantasy Introductory Role-Playing Game of programming, It took me 10 minutes with a bit of help from the user guide. Here is a video of it running on an emulator.

Anyone who knows anything about programming will tell you this isn't very efficient code, and what it is doing is mind-bogglingly simple - but the idea is there, and it's starting to produce something...

Friday 8 June 2012


Only 4 days left of the Barrowmaze II crowd-funding campaign.

Here's an illo I did of a Mechanical Scorpion, which I think appears in BM1 as well. Nasty little critter!
Mechanical Scorption
Go to say it's been really fun ride, as well as doing some monsters and drop-in pieces for the game itself, I'm been invovled in several of the stretch goals including custom dice (with skulls on), a character sheet, and A Tomb of Horrors style illustration booklet depicting various places in the dungeon.

Anyway, yeah only 4 days left so go and take a look if you haven't done so already!