janewilliams20: (Kallyr)
At my sister's recommendation, I asked for a SAD lamp for Xmas, and got it. Since today was a particularly bad one for general inertia and lack of interest in anything I'd normally find interesting, I tried it out, while pulling out the box of Lego that I'd been staring at aimlessly and occasionally shuffling for weeks.
SAD works. I have been down the "to-do" list, Doing. And so, I now have two playable HOTT armies and a stronghold, in 40mm frontage, made from Lego minifigs. I have photographed them, and the part-armies in progress, and arranged suitable storage for them. Time to document them.

This all started when I saw some minifigs on Biggleswade market, and did a double take. OK, the hair was blonde not red, but armour, sword, blue clothing, star on forehead..... I had to have her. Then I wanted to give her red hair, so started looking at Ebay for minifigs, and realised just how many there were out there. One who was the spitting image of Vega Goldbreath, to start with. A Celtic warrior woman - again, no red hair, but that could be altered. I started bidding..... I visited the Lego shop in MK, I shuffled bits...

So, here's the result. A Flickr set of photos, with detailed explanation in each one.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/janewilliams/sets/72157649570300100


janewilliams20: (Default)
Yesterday was full of them!

Browsing the Lego site and online shop, I discovered that if you have the product code of any kit, the area for "there's a part missing" will list every part in that kit, with their code numbers. What's more, I discovered how much it costs to get a replacement part (nothing), how much they charge for postage (nothing), and how much proof they require that you really did buy a kit with a part missing (none). I'm going to assume they have mechanisms in place to stop this being abused, but I was impressed.

More browsing found me the "pick a brick" area, which was much more use once I'd figured out how to get those codes. Once you've found something vaguely like what you're after, you can look for the same thing in all colours, or everything else in that colour. Prices are usually a few pence per brick, and the postage is lower than most Ebay lego. OK, you can only get things that are currently being made (hardly surprising), so I won't get getting my Romans or Spartans here, but it's still an excellent service.

We'd decided to have a day out in Milton Keynes, and visit the Lego store there. They have a pick'n'mix wall that's potentially quite useful if the random assortment of items there matches what you want. They also have another area for making your own minifig - and on asking, no, it doesn't have to be one each of head, body, legs, headgear, accessory. The price for one minifig means five bits - any bits. If there's something you're after and can't find, they'll go and search the stockroom for you. So, my Lunar army is now fully equipped with red cloaks, the Vingans all have auburn hair, and there are scimitars and flagpoles, plus arrows and quivers for when I decide that Shooters would be a good idea.

T.G.I. Fridays for lunch. Starter was surprisingly delicious as well as virtuous, and something I may try to reproduce. Wedge Salad:
"Crisp iceberg wedge with Bleu cheese dressing, diced tomatoes, crispy bacon pieces and Bleu cheese crumbles", to quote their menu.
Mains: note for future reference, their ribs are wonderful! Loads of meat that falls off the bone.

On the way home, dropped into a farm shop I hadn't visited for ages: Summerhill, in Cardington. The plan was to investigate what they did in the way of turkeys, but we were picking up meat before we got that far. No, their list did not include a stuffed turkey leg, which is what we wanted: but they could do one, no problem. Discussion of number of people to be fed, and suitable sizes, followed. What we're after is four people, but more than just the turkey as a roast: beef and gammon as well. Did they do beef? The butcher started listed the breeds of cattle he could supply. I think I know where we're going for our Xmas meat - and from the look of what was there, also the veg.

I "need" to go back, anyway - if you have a recipe for sausage (who, me?) they'll give it a try, and if it works, you not only get a discount on buying some, you get some sort of claim to fame when it becomes a regular product. I'll have to look back to that sausage-making frenzy of a few years ago, it sounds as if some of my low-fat chicken ideas will be new to them.
 
After all that walking, today has consisted mostly of sitting down with my feet up, assembling and basing two Lego HOTT armies. There's a few minor details still to sort out, two of which are in the post from Ebay, but I very nearly have a Gloranthan matched pair ready to go.

janewilliams20: (Default)
But proof if it were needed that while I've improved, I'm nowhere near right yet.
We drove up to Coventry for the HOTT GBnU tournament: theme, children's books, films, etc. I had my Ivor the Engine army, Dave took his Stingray matched pair.
Managed to forget the rule books, the cheat sheets, and the measuring sticks :( There were road works in the last mile meaning diversions, and I don't know if it was stress or blood sugar, but I had shaky hands so bad I could barely set up the figures by the time we got there.
Three games, all fun, marred by terrible dice, an army that was designed to be true to the source rather than winning ability, and severe fuzzy-headedness leading to some really stupid mistakes. I didn't get the prize for loser, Dave did (out of 16 players), but it was close.

In happier news, Sue Barker was there, and we'd been discussing me acquiring one of her armies - 6mm Amazons. I hadn't been all that bothered (don't do 6mm) until I saw them and realised that she'd painted the lot with red hair, and I was looking at about 40 points-worth of Vingans. A lot of other "spare" 6mm had red cloaks.... they'll need a few details modifying, but basically I now have a Gloranthan matched pair in 6mm, to go with the ones in 25mm, the ones in 10mm, and the almost-there ones in Lego Minifigs.

Also, the library venue had, as last year, a lot of books for sale at 20p each. Well, it's only right to support them, isn't it? Good job we'd taken the big car....

Dave drove both ways, and despite the event finishing at 3, I was asleep for a lot of the journey home. Tired and headachey today.

I may have a Cunning Plan for dealing with the sleepiness. My brilliant pharmacist niece suggests that if I take them at bedtime rather than during the day, the anti-depressant effect will still work, as it's long-term, but the drowsiness is shorter-term, and will simply help me sleep. So I'm trying that tonight;
janewilliams20: (Default)
Still looking, planning, picking up cheap ones, but one thing has me puzzled. Look at the pictures of them with sword/spear and shield. They're mostly holding the shield in their right hand, weapon in the left. Why?

I'm also noticing that the cloaks, now I have a few, are simple pieces of paper/plastic/stiffened fabric, in quite a simple shape. I'll have to pick the material carefully, but I should be able to make those myself. Shield "transfers", for the Lunars, are on order - a pack of 13mm circular paper stickers, in red.

Just need some more red hair and a flying stand to turn up in the post.... Orlanthi and Lunar armies sorted, Undead well on the way, Praxian, Mostali and Troll got the first few...
janewilliams20: (Default)
Drum and beaters
And a few other bits. Spent Saturday in a yurt near WGC, learning how to make a drum. We'd done a walk to meet the deer the hide would be coming from earlier in the year, then my actual workshop had been delayed due to the leg.

I'd chosen a 13" cedar frame (my main drum is 16", the big one 30", I wanted something a bit smaller). It's called a "Messenger" size, and that fitted in rather well with one of my reasons for wanting to make it. You may remember that a few years back, I set myself a story challenge - a story of each of the days of Xmas. The final one "Twelve drummers drumming" was about a storyteller making the drum he would use when he became a journeyman rather than an apprentice.
This drum frame was cedar, not ash, and pre-made, I didn't kill my own deer, and I used rawhide thong, not rope, but otherwise, the process was pretty much as he describes it.

Read more... )

Here's the end result:
Back of drum

That needs to dry for a week or so before being seriously used, but initial tentative taps are sounding good.

janewilliams20: (Default)
I'm making armies again, preparing for an event in the autumn, and currently working on the last bits of the Denizens of the Zola Fel in 40mm frontage, 10mm scale figures. The next part is the Temple Barge, to be the Stronghold - a large boat, moored at the side of the river.

So I start with a clear acrylic coaster intended for mounting embroidery (I no longer do that sort of embroidery, but I've got all the bits).

In the space for embroidery, I put some of my nice textured hand-made paper from the card-making stash - that looks like the river bottom, and has a layer of thick clear acrylic over it to represent the water. The paper isn't quite flat, so we have some undulations on the river bed.
Above that, where the coffee-cup would normally go, I cut out some cork tile from a completely different project to be riverbank - the thickness of the tile is just about perfect for the height of the bank, and the cork visible looks about right for the soil there with no extra work needed. A waterline model boat (intended as a 25mm canoe for two, but in this smaller scale, a large ship) also sits where the mug would go, on the "water". I've painted the top of the cork in sand, and will push in some plastic model palm trees, glue on some fine gravel/sand from the garden and add a few spare figures. Well, when I say spare figures... there's some giant dragonflies going in. They're from the bead-working stash (little silver charms). They're on flying stands made from dressmaking pins. So that's four different unrelated crafts providing bits for my wargaming here, plus DIY scraps.

While that's drying, I get my Water Elemental models and give them their first coat of paint. I get their bases, glue the same textured paper to that, and then a layer of clear plastic that came as part of the packaging from a cutting die. I'll be sealing the edges with clear varnish, I think, to be sure it all stays together. 

There will be pictures later, yes.

Next after that is the Watchdog of Corflu, and I think I may have to scratch-build it - or perhaps find a suitable cheap plastic toy and take a knife to it. There's a car boot fair down the road. I wonder if my leg is up to it?
janewilliams20: (Kallyr)
 I love my players, I really do. They're facing a terrible foe, a Recurring Villain, who has huge enchanted lead teeth and an ability of Combat Eating. He's beating them up, eating their magic, paralysing them with his Aura of Terror, blinding them with a Shade, So what does Our Hero decide to do? He's going to disarm him. No, not "destroy weapon" - disarm. He's trying to take the teeth away. "Combat dentistry" was my phrase, not his, but what else could you call it?
HQ has no such thing as "impossible", so I set up aims, consequences of different victory levels. Complete victory, he gets those teeth as a souvenir. Major victory, teeth destroyed to the point of being unusable. Complete defeat, the teeth eat the Hero's prized ultra-magical weapon, since it's being shoved in the Villain's mouth. We worked out resistances, and lead abilities ("blind-fighting 15W" is a good start), and augments. He spent a hero point, We rolled dice (well, a spreadsheet).

No more teeth.

I can't help it, I'm just going to have to give him an ability of "combat dentistry".

janewilliams20: (Default)
 Coding for home use, that is.
This is all a rather silly little addition to my Gloranthan output. Glorantha is the place with Ducks, and while we all know that they speak the local human language with a silly accent, it occurred to me that they probably speak their own language as well. Then I wondered what that would sound like, and how I'd represent it in writing, and I got chatting to some friends on Facebook about the subject. At the same time, another friend was bemoaning the shortage of articles for his magazine (I'm the proof-reader, and I had a very easy job this issue). So a few hours later, he had an article (it'll be out in Issue 15), and I had a little Google Doc spreadsheet that would translate English to Duck.

Or rather, I had a Google Doc that would do a rather messy job of the second part of the translation: translating English to Polish is still "here's a link to an online translator, paste the result in here". So to start with, I wanted it less messy. I tried exporting the thing to Excel, and it still looked messy. Time to pull out the big(ger) guns - I set up a page on my own website, and started writing HTML and ColdFusion code. Nothing very complex, just an input form and a bit of text manipulation, though Dreamweaver has expired, and Eclipse wouldn't start up for some reason, so I was editing in Notepad.

Next.... it's all very well saying "paste the output from a translation utility here", but I rather fancied automating that, too. I wonder if the online translators have APIs? Yes, they do! I can go for either Google or what was Babel Fish and is now Bing i.e. Microsoft.

Starting off with the Microsoft product, they explain the various interfaces I can use, and that to do so, I'll need a key. I can apply for one of these easily, just log in with my Microsoft account. I'm pretty sure I had one of those, once, but of course I can't remember the password. No problem, hit the password reset link, and an email arrives so I can change it. I change it. I make a note of the new password. I log in - no, it seems my password is wrong. I don't think so, I'd been copy-pasting. OK, use the reset link again. It's expired/used - fair enough, ask for another. I try to use the same password I have a note of, and it says I've used that before. True, I have, but in that case why can't I log in using it? I change again, make a note again. Still can't log in. Wander around their help system for a while looking for a suitable place to contact and administrator, and give up.

On to Google. Yes, looks like a nice API. I need to register for a key, but my Google account is something I use all the time, so no trouble logging in. Pick the API I want to activate - ah. Use of the Translate API isn't free. "$20 per 1 M characters of text, where the charges are adjusted in proportion to the number of characters actually provided." This probably isn't going to cost me much, and I can cap it anyway, but I may stop and think about this.

Poppies

Nov. 11th, 2012 12:06 am
janewilliams20: (Default)
Nothing new written for the day, but a FB discussion of the current emotional blackmail to wear a poppy, and/or the assumption that if you do, you approve of war, reminded me that I once wrote this.
janewilliams20: (Kallyr)
 While I can still just about remember what I did.

I'd promised myself that I would take it easy this year - only just done my first full (nearly!) week back at work after over 2 months off sick, so I'd need to allow for getting tired easily. So, minimise prep. activities, think of myself as a consumer not a producer, chill.... yeah, right. The pre-Continuum to-do list posted Wednesday night shows how well that went.
Read more... )So, during that weekend, I've been Lunars in three events, Sundomer in one,  non-Gloranthan in one, and Sartarite only for a few songs. There's something wrong here. 
janewilliams20: (Kallyr)
Finished on the netbook, with 15 min to go before the Storytelling. "The three Sundomers and the Big Bad Orlanthi". So, who's going to want it - Newt? RR, for Rule 1? Nobody in their right mind? It's a fun little story, anyway, and at only 650-odd words, I do mean "little".

Later on, Oliver read us "The Lady of Alone", and I am reminded that when he first wrote it, I wanted to tell Kallyr's side of that story. I should look into that.

Yes, the Storytelling went well. I thought at first it was going to be just me and Malk before Oliver, but lots of other people joined in, including one who was being born at the same time as the first Continuum/Convulsions, and is 20 today.

janewilliams20: (Default)
There was this suggestion that some new songs for the Singalong at Continuum might be nice. I heard about this while in Wales, having been listening to Bryn Terfel singing Welsh songs in the car, and remembered that I'd produced a version of "Land of my Fathers" years ago. Well, when I say a version, I'd taken the English translation, noted that it fitted Glorantha pretty well anyway, and changed a few words.

I offered it, and was told that it didn't seem all that Gloranthan. OK, tastes differ... so I went back and had a look, it had been ten years after all.

Yes. Rather stilted Victorian English. I was listening to Bryn in Welsh. I'd heard that the "translation" was more a case of putting some words or other to the same tune, in any case...

So, I tracked down the real meaning of the Welsh. I tracked down the Welsh lyrics. What I've almost produced is a closer translation (despite adaptation for a different universe), and retains the same rhyming pattern as the Welsh. It's pretty close to done, and has much more punch than what I had before. I'm pretty pleased with it - but I'm also stuck on a few lines.

But, "almost" done, and it's gone 22:00, and I got four hours sleep last night, and... maybe time to drop it, and do some simpler and more basic things that also need doing before I leave tomorrow morning? Two army lists, print out the scenario I'm running Saturday morning, and maybe finish writing the new story I'm telling Friday night?


janewilliams20: (Kallyr)
 I've had a copy of "Storm Tribe" since it came out in 2001. I got the PDF version as soon as that was available. Vinga is one of my favourite goddesses, and I've read her write-up in there till the pages are starting to fall out (not of the PDF, it's OK). So how did I miss this?

"When Jiril tried to flee, she cut him down like a cowardly Vadrudi. She honorably [sic] spared him when he surrendered, but forced him to relinquish his powers....  Vinga then showed the powers that she had taken from Jiril. Her Defender Wind howled around the stead and flew into the face of the god. The snows and cold winds locked in combat with her gentle rain and warm breezes..."

Vinga didn't get her Wind powers from Orlanth at all, she took them from Jiril - a Vadrudi. Why he was wielding "gentle rain and warm breezes" is beyond me, he must have been a very odd Vadrudi, but that's where they came from.

Yet another very strong hint that she's the daughter of Ernalda, but probably not of Orlanth - why would there be so many stories where she proves herself to be Orlanth's daughter unless there was some doubt?

It also means that come Fimbulwinter, when Orlanth's magic and Ernalda's is "dead"/inaccessible, Vinga's wind will be fine.

janewilliams20: (Default)
 On the assumption that I am in fact going to get there, Id' better start planning what I'm going to run, and therefore what I'm going to write. I'm stuck at home for a bit, this is a good time to try to get at least some prep done. So, O fellow Continuum-goers, here are the possible things I could do some work on. Yes, all are Gloranthan.

1) The Great Duck Point Boat Race. I've run it before, I had requests last time to run it again. I could do it straight out of the bag, but I'd like to get the rules written up better, some sample boats and crews written up ready to go, and a few more "enemy" models painted up. I'm considering providing models rather than cards with numbers on for the player boats, too, but this may cause bias towards the sample boats rather than those created by the players.
Samples:
Dragon boat as "normally" used for the Boat Race, with duck crew (several)
Raft
Mostali hovercraft
any other ideas?

edit: much more detailed description of the game in the comments

2) "In Pavis Fair City" - a HQ 1.5 lite scenario I've got half-written. Detective work in Pavis, involving free beer (for PCs, not players, sorry)

3) Miniatures gaming - HOTT. I'd supply the armies, the 3*3 playing areas, a simplified writeup of the rules, and scenarios for each army to fight each other army. Games last about an hour. Each scenario would score runes (Storm, Moon, etc.)  to add up to a total at the end. Given enough participants, we could probably end up with a Big Battle if we wanted to. Ideally, though, I'd need help from another experienced HOTT player to help run this.

4) In keeping with the "end of everything" theme, a scenario for which I currently have only vague ideas, set in the fall of Whitewall. I already intend to run the Swords campaign through this from the Orlanthi point of view, this would be done from the Lunar side. The final major magical attack is underway, and somehow, the Orlanthi are resisting. Your job is to get inside and sabotage whatever and whoever is organising those unexpected defences (getting out again alive, as the city collapses around you, is optional).

5) Since I'm hosting the Storytelling, I'd better come up with a story. Anyone got any prompts for me, or suggested themes? Things you'd like to hear more of, older stories you'd like to hear again?

janewilliams20: (Kallyr)
A memory just came back... many years ago, I was starting up a play-by-post RPG, set in Glorantha (of course). Yes, snail-mail, it was that long ago. I said at the time that ideally, I'd want to have an over-riding plot arc like a novel, and to do all the writing to the standard of commercial fiction. We all laughed at this obvious impossibility.

Today, as I read the feedback from the last post I did in the Swords campaign, and prepare to do the next one that shifts us to the next bit of plot, I realise that that's exactly what I've done. The current turning point of the plot is one I planned about six years ago: it's one of the minor peaks on the way to the big one that we might hit by the end of the year (fall of Whitewall). The writing standard probably is up to that of commercial fiction - I don't produce the quantity of a pro or at the right speed, but the quality, yes, I think so.

OK, one impossible dream ticked off the list. What's next?
janewilliams20: (Kallyr)
Tudor Arms, HOTT annual competition, for those who are looking blank. Wargaming.

Richard has shown us pics of his rather lovely new Wolf Pirates. They're going to need an opponent, so I'd better adapt Kallyr's army to be a 1630 version, ready to (fail to) defend Boldhome. Also so that his army and mine aren't too much the same troop types - he's also hero general plus paladin and a lot of warbands. I differ in having flyers,and my paladin is a new addition in any case: I'll happily drop him when not facing magicians. So I take a quick look at who Kallyr had as allies at this period, and note that in 1625 at least, she had Telmori, and Argrath White Bull. I've got a half-painted Kostajor Wolf Champion base anyway, that woold give me an extra Hero, or I could do AWB - maybe as a Magician? Some sort of Praxian... I've got a couple of spare Bison Riders somewhere?

I also need Boldhome as a stronghold. This is going to be tricky. I'm not short of reference material, "Home of the Bold" has detailed maps and descriptions. My problem is a city in a mountain valley, and scale. I may try to use layers of cork tile to do a contour map of the area, and then dress that up a bit: put in the final cliff and Eastern Wall, with winding road up to the gate. Evenif I use the idea of having only a strnghold-sized area on-table and the rest behind, though, it's going to be BIG, especially front to back., I may have to do fore-shortening tricks..

Under the circumstances, it would be completely silly to try to produce a complete new 25mm "classic fantasy" (as per theme) army as well, wouldn't it? So how come I'm watching Ebay for bids, and what are all those bases and figures doing all over the painting table?
janewilliams20: (Kallyr)

I'd intended to get further than this tonight, but had trouble finding files.

Broken links (in some browsers) on writing page and Gloranthan stories page fixed

"New" stories added to that Gloranthan page. They'd been hard-copy published in Newt's "Hearts in Glorantha", and I don't put things on-line for free when a friend is trying to recoup his printing costs by selling them. He tells me the main sales drive is now over, though, so you get:

1) An article I wrote about how to use the little mythlets in the Dragon Pass gazeteer as scenarios
2) A Kallyr story that demonstrates the principles in that article in detail (assuming you have Kallyr as your PC) - "Lookout Hill", set in 1610, when she's still a disreputable adventurer. It's never been on-line before, and I think it's possibly my best so far.
3) "When the snow lay round about" - an early version of this had been on-line before, but this is expanded, clarified, and generally improved (thanks, Donald!)

Enjoy!
janewilliams20: (Default)
Nothing very exciting, from anyone else's point of view, but I thought I'd better let you all know I'm still around.

Read more... )
janewilliams20: (Kallyr)
It didn't work quite as well as I'd hoped, but well enough.

The Swords group are in Pavis in Fire Season, a little split up, but with the current action in the Rubble, at the end of a fight.

9:30 on Friday, I posted this:
As they examine the body, they're aware that it's getting a little cooler, and
not quite as dazzling - a welcome cloud blocking Yelm from view, perhaps? A
breeze starts up - probably Dori playing with the icy North Wind again. She
doesn't usually cause shadows, though... and the first person to look up will
realise that what's blocking Yelm's rays isn't a cloud. Not unless clouds have
huge, slowly-flapping wings, anyway. There's some very big flying creature
approaching from the north-west, and while at the moment the silhouette makes it
look black, the edges of those wings are a reddish colour - crimson?

 
shortly followed by this:
Should have said - this is visible from anywhere in Pavis, so all PCs can
respond. Anyone who was in Whitewall will recognise it. The mega-aura of fear it
projects hasn't quite got here yet.
 

And then, after a long and rather disappointed pause, at 12:00, this:
(sigh) - don't you people read your email on a Friday morning?

It gets closer, it gets more and more obvious that it's Bat-shaped. And then
there's a loud POP!!!!! and it explodes. Little bits of cloth fall out of the
sky - not much, but some. Somewhere to your west - probably a long way to the
west, but loud, and carried by the wind, someone's giggling - but even that is
cut off short, with what might have been an "ouch!".

 
But it had worked, it seems: at 15:23 this came in:
Cruel cruel woman! I read the mail but didn't have time to reply, but you
totally had me.....I never even considered today's date.

Swine!
 

As I then pointed out (after punching the air and yelling "WIN!", to the slight startlement of the rest of the office):
And it really can have happened, in-game. Somewhere over there, there's a
Trickster who's pretty good at illusion magic, and whose boss is now annoyed
with them.
 

janewilliams20: (Default)
It is now 2011, and that means the '11 plates are available - assuming of course that you buy a new car to put one on. Or maybe not? Maybe I could buy one and save it? Or something?
The attraction here is the fact I noticed when buying the current car - the KA prefix is a local one. So, KA11YRS would spell... yes, I'm sure my Gloranthan friends can see where this is going.
So, I went over to the DVLA site and found out. Yes, I can indeed buy it, for £400. I can save it for when I have a car new enough to put it on (you can make a car look older than it is, but not younger). £400 is quite a lot of money, without also replacing the current car earlier than I need to, or waiting several years before I get to use it.

Are there alternatives? I looked up common substitutions of numbers for letters, and did some more searching. Too many theoretically possible options aren't available, and some prices are incredible (1 ALL will cost you £90K!), but I could, if I wanted, get V7NGA for £326 - and that could go straight on the current car. K666LYR is available for £185, but that isn't really all that close.

No, I haven't even bothered looking for variations on "Jane". I suspect that's a common enough name that others will have been there before me.

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