Thursday, August 19, 2010

Armies of Greyhawk Have Begun

Please forgive the craptacular photo taken by my phone; the wife is off vacationing with our daughter while I'm stuck at work (ah, the carefree leisure-filled life of a public school teacher!) and took the good camera with her. And just how does a gamer take advantage of having a house all to himself for a week? Paint figures!

What you're seeing through the blur and poor lighting is the first base of Sunndi halberdiers, in 15mm. That's not the final base, but just a temporary one the figures are blue-tacked onto for painting. (It's hard to see, but they're sporting white leggings and shirts, with blue surcoats bearing the sun symbol of Sunndi.) The final bases were ordered this evening, along with a humongous number of figures to take advantage of Old Glory 15s absolutely spectacular sale; up to 40% off, and free shipping off orders $150 or more. If you have any interest in taking up Field of Glory as an adjunct to your other gaming, there has never been a better time to do it.

I dropped the cash on Feudal German and Feudal French Field of Glory starter armies, along with a bunch of peasant levies, a couple of supply camps, and the necessary steel bases. Those will form the core of my South Province, Medegia, Sunndi, and Idee armies. I've got some dwarves, undead, and orcs to round things out.

One thing I've noticed; having not painted a figure for the last 20+ years, it is not nearly as easy as I remember it being! For instance, those Sunndi "suns" on their chests are little more than yellow dots. I'm sure the fact that these are 15mm figures, rather than 25mm, isn't helping. Hopefully it will get easier, and my own efforts better, as I get back in practice.

Want to see the inspiration for this "little" project? Check out Grendelwulf's outstanding translation of those early-1980's Dragon magazine articles into FoG stats.

Oh, and that absolutely spiffy copy of the County of Sunndi coat of arms comes from Bryan Blumklotz's World of Greyhawk Heraldry site that has not, unfortunately, been updated lately. Here's hoping he takes back up his efforts; those things are gorgeous!

RPG Novels

I'm pretty sure I'm in the minority on this one, but I happen to really like novels set in RPG worlds, as a general concept.

That's not to say that I think all RPG novels are inherently good. Just look no further than the hated Rose Estes Greyhawk books from the mid-1980's, with all their explicit furry-sex, magic daggers killing demigods, and other inanities. But some novels are quite good, both as novels, sourcebooks for the settings in which they are set, and as guides for how some aspects of those settings can be used.

It should come as no surprise that I'm a huge fan of the Gary Gygax "Gord the Rogue" novels, although their utility as sources of information regarding the World of Greyhawk drops as you reach the last couple of books (mainly because Gygax had left TSR by that time, and the books depict the destruction of that setting). But I was also a fan of the Forgotten Realms books, at least the early ones, and, at the risk of really blowing my OSR cred, I liked the Icewind Dale trilogy when it first came out. The Dragonlance novels were excellent introductions to the setting as well, which should come as no surprise, as the whole setting was built around the fulfillment of novel-like story-arcs.

Where RPG novels don't work is as tools to "advance the setting", which is a practice with which I'm not happy no matter how it's done. But to flesh out a setting, I like 'em, as long as they're halfway well done.