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Member Since 25 Oct 2006
Offline Last Active Apr 24 2017 08:03 AM

#97069 The Happy Birthday Thread

Posted by Balgin on 14 September 2015 - 10:26 PM

Happy dwarfy birthday, @Balgin! Congratulations on being 3.5 months younger than Star Wars: A New Hope. ;)



Ironically I spent a few hours of the day recording session 1 of a new game. It hasn't got a decent intro yet 'though :).

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#96485 Protocol: Five Broken Swords One Off

Posted by Balgin on 10 July 2015 - 06:43 PM


File Name: Protocol: Five Broken Swords One Off

File Submitter: Balgin

File Submitted: 11 Jul 2015

File Category: One Offs and Shorts

Genre: Fantasy
Profanity Level: Jolly Sweary Indeed

Alex, Balgin & Michael Pigoni play another Protocol scenario. This time we play Five Broken Swords, the tale of a group of ageing adventurers on a long and fruitless quest. Will they survive? Will they manage to keep it together or will their fractured partnership shatter under the strain of the years?

Click here to download this file

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#96484 Protocol: Home One Off

Posted by Balgin on 10 July 2015 - 06:37 PM


File Name: Protocol: Home One Off

File Submitter: Balgin

File Submitted: 11 Jul 2015

File Category: One Offs and Shorts

Genre: Historical
Profanity Level: Jolly Sweary Indeed

Alex & Balgin play Home, a short one off scenario featuring the Protocol System in which a pair of disillusioned soldiers try to make their way home through the war torn land that has suffered the ravages of a horrific civil war.

Click here to download this file

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#94853 Do you play multiple systems? Why?

Posted by Balgin on 22 February 2015 - 12:37 PM

As with many others I play multiple systems. The problem is that most of the people I play with just want to play Pathfinder :(. Now Pathfinder's good, don't get me wrong. But the whole "armour doesn't make you harder to hurt, it actually makes you harder to hit" nonsense doesn't wash with me. It also has the same problem that many other level based games has in that things that were once dangerous and challenging become redundant. You're left seeking ways to constantly escalate things when you could be enjoying the same things that you used to. One afternoon you might just want to kick back and enjoy the good old days but the challenge isn't there any more. Those ogres were a walk over. What happened to the days when they were big and scary?


While I generally prefer skill based systems over level based systems the level based ones have a more defined structure. It's easy to tell what's a level appropriate challenge for players rather than estimating based on experience. I've also found that, while some of the rules might be a little off, they're so well meshed in with everything else that changing any one thing typically breaks the system.


So... I play Pathfinder when I want a mainstream rules heavy clunky game that's very popular and always easy to persuade people to play.


Sometimes I want to sit back and relax. Play something without too many rules that's going to be fun for everyone without them needing to go and learn an encyclopaedia you could concuss a burglar with before they can begin. For games like that I'll play Dragon Age, Shadows of Esteren, Fighting Fantasy, Maelstrom Domesday edition or something of that ilk.


Then again sometimes I want to play a complicated game that doesn't have a whole load of "levels" to scale everything. Something with less of an artificial feel to the structure and more actual rules than many of the rules light games that I enjoy. You know. Serious but not level based. For that I'd opt for something like Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay or Runequest (I've only got 3rd or 4th edition). Those two really grab me. For WFRP I love the old "we don't get high level characters" thing. It's like playing AD&D 1st edition with 1st level characters where monsters are actually dangerous again. For RQ I like the simplicity of the skill system. I don't like the assumed high magic setting where every single living creature is a spell caster but you can get around that by adjusting your mindset regarding what magic actually is. Once you realise that in RQ, most of the times it's just some guy clutching his lucky talisman praying for that rare streak of good luck, then it's not as high magic as it seems. Just a rather magic heavy way of handling things. When you stop thinking "everyone's a wizard" and start thinking "it's folk traditions" then it sort of works.


I really "like" Cursed Empire. I also "hate" it. It's an unfulfilled rules nightmare (a mishmash of Rune Quest, Ars Magica, the spell creation system from the Elder Scrolls computer games & the levelling system from AD&D 1st edition shoe horned in with possibly a little bit of the WFRP & Rolemaster character creations included as well). So the rules are a nightmare. The setting is okay. It's innovative. It's got good potential. The scenarios that have been written for it are really good. Good adventures. Unfortunately while the guy who wrote it is a really great GM he couldn't write a rules system to save his life. Cursed Empire 2nd edition includes two starter adventures that both basically say "if you need combat stats for this bear/these merchants go and look them up in chapter 13" when there's only 9 chapters in the book. It's obviously a revision of the 1st edition more than a standalone piece. Yet somehow the clunkiness of the combat system actually appeals to me (6 different dice rolls and 3 sets of book keeping to resolve a single attack). It's a crumbly clunky archaic system with a setting that's basically the fall of the Byzantine empire set to "the movie 300 for Goths". Yeah. I don't know. Don't ask me why. Fortunately the whole piercings and tattoos thing prevalent in the artwork is apparently mainly there because their main artist is "really into that scene" and does the art at mates' rates.


So to sum it all up. Sometimes I like to play complex systems as a mental work out. Sometimes I like to relax and play something relatively simple that won't require me to think. Sometimes I enjoy the structure of level based systems. Sometimes I enjoy the freedom of skill based systems.

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#94283 Lost Mine of Phandelver Session 13

Posted by Balgin on 06 January 2015 - 04:36 PM

The Explorers record and upload pretty much session by session, so unfortunately there's nothing lurking on my hard drive! I've uploaded session 13, so that's in the Vault. You shall just have to be patient on our part, Monkey! ;)


Now, see, back in the old days when recording software was somewhat unreliable I'd frequently have to stop and restart it mid session to prevent loss of audio or corruption. Sessions would be in 3 or 4 sections which I'd have to merge back together. Recently things have been more stable so I have the more recent sessions in a single piece each.


I still have to listen through each one prior to uploading it to work out what to put in the description. That takes time (especially when I'm piecing together old fragments and listening to check they belong together etc). At least the fragments were all sorted into sub folders as they were recorded to avoid confusing sessions with other ones but when I reassemble one of the fragmented ones I need to listen through to check there's nothing missing or segments in the wrong order or anything like that.


Given the size of the backlog it's quite a lot of work.

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#93537 Thought's on PDF add ons?

Posted by Balgin on 31 October 2014 - 05:49 AM

I'm being very careful what I say about the current Paranoia kickstarter as Mongoose publishing owe me a refund and I've been kept waiting by the lying buggers for about two years now.


That aside, pdf add ons are an interesting subject. The people making the product will probably need to create them anyway if they're going to be printing physical copies. Sure it'd take them some time (and in business terms, time is money) and effort to distribute pdfs to backers but a lot less than it would to send the physical stuff.


If it's a later stretch goal with an add on then I respectfully don't pledge for an add on before it's unlocked. They needed that much money just to be able to start asking for money for this extra product so I'd wait for it to unlock before paying for it. Otherwise it's almost like stealing from them. If it's a free add on that's getting unlocked as a stretch goal then there's no shady moral quandary about it whatsoever.


As Big Jack Brass says, often pdfs are included in later tiers anyway so it's not a major issue.

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#93482 Spotted at Fighting Fantasy Fest: Fighting Fantasy miniatures by Pure Evil Mi...

Posted by Balgin on 22 October 2014 - 11:49 AM

Oh, that's easy: use several 'phones.


I'm reluctant to try the app versions. I doubt it will be the same - how will I mark multiple pages with my fingers to keep my options open when choosing between dungeon corridors?




Actually they've thought of that too. The Tin Man Games adaptations use a bookmark system which allows you to mark pages you'd like to return to. Interestingly you get a limited number of bookmarks so you really need to choose when you want to use them. At the beginning of a playthrough you'll select a difficulty setting which won't affect anything other than the amount of bookmarks you can use. I think the easiest one is "unlimited bookmarks" :).

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#93299 Kings of War

Posted by Balgin on 02 October 2014 - 01:12 PM

you're normally quite hot on that sort of thing.


Well Mantic did some space ratmen for their game that's definitely not Space Hulk. (It blatantly is). They've steered well clear for doing fantasy ones 'though. If you're looking for alternative ratmen you're pretty much out of luck. I think Alternative Armies did some around the turn of the century. Either them or someone like Heartbreaker Miniatures (a very short lived company).

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#93279 Kings of War

Posted by Balgin on 30 September 2014 - 06:35 PM


Also, I'm curious, is the Warhammer/40k clone business really that big these days?  Taking a look at the ever worsening state of GW's prices and rules-range -- what happened to Epic 40k and Blood Bowl, those games were ace?



Well back around 1992 some new chap called Tom Kirby turned up and performed a hostile takeover. This happened not long before Ian Livingstone left the company to run Eidos while Steve Jackson left to run Lionshead Studios (among other things, they've both kept pretty busy and been fairly successful since).


Within a week of becoming executive company chairman Tom Kirby floated the company on the stockmarket so that suddenly, instead of being a private company, Games Workshop now had to appease the shareholders. Within a handful of years the big GWuh had brought in a bunch of accountants to do a survey to work out how they could run the company more effectively (read "cheap") and, unsurprisingly, the accountants recommended firing all the creative talent because that's where all the high wages were.


So lots of the creative folks from Games Workshop left to start up companies you might have heard of such as Mantic (run by former GW staff member Ronnie Renton who used to be in charge of GW's accounts & finances devision). More than a few of the Privateer Press big wigs used to be major GW staff too. Then there's Rick Priestly doing Hail Caesar (among other things), Allessio Cavatorre doing all manner of stuff, that pretty popular WW2 game's being done by some GW old hands etc....


Games Workshop basically scrapped anything that wasn't "the big three" (Warhammer, 40k and Lord of the Rings) because it "wasn't making enough money". Then they put their prices up. Every years. Like clockwork. Unfortunately what they did not consider was that the lesser side games they were scrapping were good gateways into the larger games. I would never have got into Warhammer if it had not been for the lieks of Heroquest. One great thing about the various Dungeon Crawler games out there is that they encourage the gm to get hold of a broad range of miniatures for monsters which, in turn, can entice players to get more kinds of stuff. A fantasy battle game where you only own one army is fine. One where you own lots of monsters from different armies for use in roleplaying games and dungeon crawlers gives you more reasons to start looking at figures you own and going "I'd like to have some more of them. Maybe even a new army."


Games Workshop have been missing a trick there.

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#93220 Spotted at Fighting Fantasy Fest: Fighting Fantasy miniatures by Pure Evil Mi...

Posted by Balgin on 24 September 2014 - 05:08 AM

Is his "crown" detachable, so you can attach the mind-controlling critter... err, beautiful piece of regalia, to the head of another mini? :)


You mean the Gonchong? I avoided noting it in the description to avoid spoilers :P. You know, I didn't ask if it was separate or not. The Lizard King is massive 'though. About two normal miniatures tall. I suspect the Gonchong is separate but might not all be in one piece.




Any chance of a miniature of the Snow Witch, herself, do you think? Or at least a crystal ball with her vampiric visage inside it? 


Shareela the Snow Witch is a great character (and sadly undeveloped). Interestingly she keeps getting new art. It's almost as fi she has an identity crisis and keeps needing to reinvent herself while the other iconic villains are much more secure about their body image :). The original fur clad woman with the short blonde hair and the nose ring got replaced with a sultry raven haired temptress who's mane flowed about her shoulders. She also wore a very tight fitting sleeveless scarlet dress beneath her fur mantle (which was now lacking it's distinctive hood and headband).


Recently she gained new art (as depicted on the back cover of You Are the Hero, the new "history of Fighting Fantasy books" book - a very good read by the way). It was similar to her second incarnation but more stylised. I would be very interested in seeing a Shareela miniature at some point in the future but Kickstarter's a big gamble and 7 miniatures will be hard enough to fund without asking for more.


At FFF Steve Jackson & Ian Livingstone asked the audience to shout out suggestions for miniatures they would like to see. The diminutive Jib Jib was quite popular but has been officially ruled out due to how tiny it would be. That and it's so simply it wouldn't feel right in a range of high quality sculpts with lots of details since it's basically a tribble on legs.


I suggested Throm the Barbarian from Deathtrap Dungeon although I'd quite like a Shareela miniature too. Especially if it could be based on her original art.


Some French company (with a name like the libram or something like that) have been translating the Advanced Fighting Fantasy game from Arion Games into french with a more cartoony art style. They've produced a Yaztromo miniature that's quite faithful. He's even got the raven/crow sitting on top of his staff.  A good sculpt but not up to the Pure Evil Miniatures level. But it was Gereth Yaztromo so I had to have him. I'll see about taking a photo some time later.

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#93215 Spotted at Fighting Fantasy Fest: Fighting Fantasy miniatures by Pure Evil Mi...

Posted by Balgin on 24 September 2014 - 01:41 AM

Just a handful of photographs that I snapped at Fighting Fantasy Fest. These should be going to kickstarter some time in 2015 (hopefully the earlier end of the year).
The figures themselves will be produced in high quality resin. Ian Livingstone has insisted quality over quantity. So we can expect premium resin prices (which is fair enough if they're going to look this good). They are being produced by Pure Evil Miniatures & the sculptor takes great pride in pointing out that he's made all the bubbles and lumps on the bloodbeast match the original artwork exactly down to the last detail :).
Top row: the Shapechanger from Forest of Doom, the Bloodbeast from Deathtrap Dungeon and the Lizard King from Island of the Lizard King complete with his "black lion".
Bottom row: The Brainflayer from Caverns of the Snow Witch (it's different to a  mindflayer due to having a differtn number of fingers and twice as many tentacles), the Creature of Havoc from Creature of Havoc, Zagor the Warlock of Firetop Mountain (from at least four of the gamebooks) and Zanbar Bone from City of Thieves.
Hope you folks like the pictures. The bottom shelf on the cabinet contained some of Pure Evil Miniatures in house range which you can find pictures of on their site so I didn't take any pictures of them :).

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#93029 Interview: Robert Kendzie (Wolfsnap)

Posted by Balgin on 09 September 2014 - 03:33 PM

Whoa! You mean, this cool thing right here? :O


Did you get any kewl lewt? Autographs from the esteemed authors themselves, perchance? :)


Yes and yes again :). I had a lovely time, met lots of people, spent literally hours on public transport and arrived home too excited to actually sleep 'til around 4 or 5 in the morning. I got to meet Steve Jackson & Ian Livingston (a few brief chats at assorted times throughout the day), met the guys from Otherworld Miniatures, Arion Games, Tin Man Games, Inkle etc......


I somehow missed out on the chance to have a chat with John Blanche, Chris Achileos or any of the other artists in attendance (I don't think Martin McKenna was able to make it, probably too busy working on the new Star Wars films). I got to chat with the guy who runs Pure Evil Miniatures (definitely look out for some 32mm scale sculpts of classic Fighting Fantasy monsters & villains on Kickstarter next year including the Shapeshifter & the fabled Blood Beast).....


I took a few photos and some brief footage of the miniatures with my camera but haven't checked them for quality yet. Coming three days before my birthday, Fighting Fantasy Fest was like a dream come true :). I've kind of been too blissed out to focus on much these last few days.

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#90041 Shadows of Esteren

Posted by Balgin on 05 April 2014 - 09:29 AM

re: Intro


I bought the pdf set from the SoE guys at UKGamesExpo a couple of years ago (not played it yet to my shame).  If I remember correctly it came with a soundtrack that had been composed along with the (beautiful) concept artwork.  You could have a word with them and ask if you can use their music perhaps...


Yep. Guess what...... One of the reasons for the delay in releasing the recordings was me asking them for permission to use some of that music in the intro and them getting back in touch and saying yes :). Once I had their permission I had to ask Hal if he would be okay hosting a recording that featured copywrite music (used with permission) and waiting for a response from him (he is fine with it and even offered some helpful suggestions). Now the only barrier for me is learning how to layer voice over music which I'll probably be asking about soon in the Contributor's section if I don't work it out for myself soon.

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#90035 Shadows of Esteren

Posted by Balgin on 04 April 2014 - 04:42 PM

Played a game of Shadows of Esteren with Balgin several months ago psst we should do that again :P


You know I really should release those recordings. Why have I not done so yet? Well, because I'm trying to make a nice intro to slap on the front first. That's why :).

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#88590 Reaper Minis

Posted by Balgin on 06 February 2014 - 06:01 PM

Sorry, @Balgin, I literally only just saw your post.  Chuck me a PM, including postage and a fiver, as a small apology.  I'll get the funds transferred next week.


I had honestly completely forgotten about this. 


What? After the way you treated me do you expect me to be nice to you?


I'll have a rummage and see if I can find them (pretty sure I can). When I've unearthed them from the unpainted lead mountain I'll get back in touch. It might take a while 'though.

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