Occupational outlook: Lantern bearer & related trades

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, sadly, covers only real-world occupations. This disappointed me once before, in 7th grade, when we had to research a profession for Social Studies. I couldn’t find anything about becoming an alchemist, assassin, or sword for hire, and had to content myself with writing up a mercenary’s occupational outlook (which my teacher, Abraham Stein, did think was pretty interesting). Fortunately I’ve been able to pick up the slack and humbly offer this prospectus for aspiring hirelings.

(left to right: a Heritage Dwarf, a Grenadier Halfling, a Grenadier human, a Citadel Dwarf, and a plastic Citadel Dwarf. More of these guys in a later post.)

Lantern bearer, torch bearer, etc. (more…)

Published in: on May 12, 2010 at 12:54 pm  Comments (5)  
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Forgotten old school minis

If someone asked me when the first fantasy miniatures were produced and by whom, I’d have guessed it was the Grenadier Wizzards & Warriors line (1975), Der Kreigspielers’ Fantastiques (1974), or perhaps the Minifigs Sword & Sorcery line (1975).

But a recent discussion on a Yahoo group devoted to Heritage Models brought up the forgotten figures made by Scruby. These were first produced in 1975 (and so are not the oldest), but they were cast in the 30mm scale recommended by Gygax & Perrin’s Chainmail rules. 30mm was a popular war gaming scale for a while (and, ironically, with scale creep is back for RPG type figures).

This image is swiped from Table Top Talk, which has more information on the line.

Jack Scruby is one of the pioneers of modern war gaming. He began casting minis in 1955 (!), edited several important war games newsletters, wrote several books, and ran one of, if not the, first gaming conventions, where 14 people attended and played war games with 54mm figures (the size of the “green army men” we all played with).

Astonishingly, some of the fantasy figures are still being cast; you can buy them here.

Published in: on May 10, 2010 at 12:57 pm  Comments (3)  
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The OSR’s newest 1ee7 beardo

…is me.

(image swiped from Eiglophian Press. Will take take down if/when asked)

I just realized that

  • I’m on the blogrolls of three of the OSR bloggers I admire most (Eiglophian Press, Jeff’s Game Blog, and Playing D&D with Pornstars)
  • I’ve had a couple of mentions on Grognardia (granted, I did send James an email both times, but hey, I’ll take what I can get)
  • I’ve been getting over 100 a hits a day, even on days I post nothing new (so it is probably a small niche of readers, some regular)
  • I’ve tried to help a few other blogs get attention by posting about them or adding them to my blogroll (and both Old School Rant and Middenmurk quickly eclipsed me, but hey, they are doing good stuff)
  • I’ve put some free pdfs out there (I should move some/all from Scribd to the blog some time)
  • I’ve tried 4e D&D and said publicly what I do & don’t like about it, and why I like an older style game

These all seem like bona fide Old School Renaissance activities.  I’m pretty sure one becomes an elitist beardo by self-appointment.  So I think I’m now obligated to grow a beard and my initiation will be complete. Unfortunately, I have just enough Native American blood to make anything more than an Amish Chinstrap unfeasible.  Oh well.

Published in: on April 30, 2010 at 8:58 pm  Comments (4)  
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The care and feeding of hirelings

In the Castles & Crusades game my group is playing, our last session involved hiring several men-at-arms and a lantern bearer.  One player was unable to make it and although we have a fairly reliable ranger henchman, I thought we needed a little extra manpower to face the thouls we knew were lurking in the dungeon.  (Thouls, if you haven’t heard of ’em, are part troll, part ghoul, part hobgoblin aberrations first described, as far as I know, in the D&D Basic “red book” rules.  I can’t find a picture from that but there is a nice picture at Curmugeons & Dragons.)

So at some considerable expense we managed to hire three men-at-arms (Jimmo, Jakko, and Jonno) and a lanternbearer (Torchy Flamer, esq., who we also equipped with a 10′ pole since he is not a fighting-man!).   Hirelings are a fairly new concept for our party.  I never used to hire them back in old days, because I worried about giving up precious XP and because we used to always have a ton of players.  This time there were three PCs so we were feeling cautious. (more…)

Published in: on January 29, 2010 at 2:16 am  Comments (9)  
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Games I’ve played & not played, RPG

(In no particular order)

RPGs I’ve played.  Those in bold I played regularly at various times, at least long enough to have a character die, retire, or otherwise be memorable.  The ones in regular type I may have only played once, or a few times:

D&D (Basic, AD&D 1st ed., 2nd ed. D&D 3rd ed., 3.5, 4th ed.) Gamma World 1st ed. Star Frontiers. James Bond 007.  Palladium RPG. Rolemaster. MERP. Talislanta 1st ed. Star Wars (WEG 1st ed). Paranoia. Villains & Vigilantes. Champions (1st & 2nd ed.). Marvel Superheros. Fantasy Wargaming. WHFRP. GURPS (Fantasy, Horror, Supers, Riverworld, Swashbucklers, Autoduel, Conan, Rome, Cyberpunk, and many, many homebrew worlds involving some combination of historical settings, sci-fi/fantasy/horror, alternate time-lines and realities, etc.)  Shadowrun. Cyberpunk 2010. Over the Edge. Call of Cthulhu. Castles & Crusaders. TSR’s Conan RPG. Psi World. TORG. All Flesh Must Be Eaten. Buffy the vampire slayer. Generic d6. Toon. Dragonquest. Battlelords of the 25th Century. Amazing Engine. Underground.

RPGs I’ve never played. The ones in bold I’d like to try if I get the opportunity:

Runequest. Tunnels & Trolls. Empire of the Petal Throne. Harn. Chill. Chivalry & Sorcery. Pendragon. Kult. Swordbearer. Aftermath. Nephilim. Stormbringer. Amber Diceless. World of Darkness.

For the last two, it’s always been the people playing them that have turned me off.  Maybe they are decent games, but I’ll never know.

Reviewing the list, I’m sure there are others I played but can’t quite recall the names for — a supers game back in the very early 1980s that probably had a year in the title; a number of sci-fi games; and a number of home-brewed games devised by my brother, played at conventions, and so on.

Published in: on January 24, 2010 at 7:56 pm  Comments (1)  
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