Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Hobby Accomplishments

It's been awhile since I posted anything about my hobbying that didn't relate to the GMing of my Rogue Trader campaign. While GMing takes up a large part of my spare time, I do have a few other geeky events of note.

The Kickmaster

My Reaper Bones Kickstarter minis arrived. I have long enjoyed reaper's excellent range of metal minis. When I first heard about the bones Kickstarter I was very interested, a huge assortment of great sculpts for an unbelievable price. I instantly backed it at the Vampire level and eagerly awaited for the arrival of more RPG minis then I could ever use. At first I was overwhelmed with the sheer number of figures that were supplied. But when I had the chance to sit and check over each of the miniatures, I noticed some imperfections. Nothing serious just some warping of blades and barrels, and some loss of detail in the sculpts. I already had several metal Reaper miniatures and they were far superior to the bones versions of the miniatures. The warping bothered me a bit so I endeavored to see if I could straiten the new plastic material that Reaper used to produce the bones.  I used hot water to soften the plastic and as I held the plastic straight I dipped the figure into a bowl of chilled water. So far the miniatures have remained straight even when subjected the tropical North-Queensland summer. I am still a little concerned about the strength of some of the thinner bits like spear shafts and ankles on some minis.

some very nice sculpts
Kickstarter contents 
Another box of minis from a different Kickstarter also arrived. Wild West Exodus, I liked the idea of WWX as soon as I heard about it. The brain child of Romeo the owner and host of 40k Radio &  Battle Foam. I first heard about it on 40K Radio and The D6 Generation podcasts. A Weird Wild West setting consisting of an alternate history infused with SiFi technology. I think Romeo really liked the movie John Carpenter of Mars, there are a few similar themes and the WWX Dark Council bare some striking similarities to the Therns in the movie. Romeo regularly talks about some of the business practices that GW employ and why they mystify him. Outspoken criticism on how GW does things and how they should be done is one of the reasons I enjoy listening 40k Radio when Romeo is on. It's great to see him literally putting his money where his mouth is, employing modern plastic injection moulding and detailed resin casting practices to produce miniatures with as much detail and character as Games Workshop's. WWX also employs some nifty retail practices, $5 minis and neat a return policy for retailers. Unfortunately no one locally besides myself backed it. I hope in the future it gains a local following.

Role Play Shenanigans 

Beyond the Thunder-Dome
Attack on a hill top emplacement
Recently I GMed an extra long session of Rogue Trader. The plan was to bring the current story ark to a satisfactory conclusion, before two of the players moved away. It was a great day and I got to use a bunch of my old 40k Ork minis as they rampaged over the world of Damaris. Unfortunately we did not get to complete the final grand space battle that would sever the Ork Warlords control of his forces I did get to run a couple of other encounters that included some vehicles. An Ork junk fort full of looted equipment that had been re-purposed into Killa Kanz, and some high speed highway Madmax themed combat. The players pulled some shenanigans and circumvented my brutally hard combat challenges. First they requisitioned some mining explosives and jerry-rigged them to use in an airstrike. Second while being chased by speed crazed aliens on an assortment of ramshackle vehicles the party's navigator used his lidless warp infused third eye to melt the drivers faces. At first I was a little peeved that the players bypassed all my work, but the spectacle of the crashing Ork trucks still loaded with boys & the plume of a flame filled oily mushroom cloud rising from the ruins of the Ork fort were great role-playing events.

Print is a dying Medium

So I have previously talked about the fine people at Urban Laser Craft, and how they were nice enough the reward me monetarily for my CAD work with MDF & acrylic terrain. I was very pleased when the owner Will informed me that his product line would be featured in the Cool Mini Or Not magazine Ravage. So despite paper being a vestigial method of information dissemination I am still immensely proud that my designs will be immortalized in a physical medium. I do have a little pang of regret that I signed over my copyrights when I sold my designs, it would have been neat to see my name in the article. 

Monday, 20 January 2014

Comparative advantage and gains from trade.

Sholk sighed as he nestled in to the silken cushions at the edge of the holo-projector. Luther had furnished him with an incredible amount of additional and unnecessary data along with the documents he requested. As Luther departed he impressed upon Sholk the importance of the dynasty returning to profitability as soon as possible. When the Atticus first asked him to improve the efficiency of the Havlock trade caravans, It should have been easy, especially now that the Orks would soon cease to be a trade barrier. He was happy to except the task, all he wanted was the tonnage of cargo to be taken on and deposited at each point of stoppage. He sipped a chilled glass of the divine water from Vaporius, the delicious liquid quickly soothed his stress. With his mind cleared and his purpose renewed he began scrolling through the reams of data, manifests, logs consumption tallies, production forecasts, and trade agreements. All of it terribly dull suddenly a single name caught his eye, Vaporius. He depressed the rune of viewing on the control slate and the holographic icon resolved itself into a series of documents laid out before him. Sholk mused for a few moments then called up the trade ledges to view the current movements of the caravan. The Emperors Hand would depart Port Wander with its holds filled with foodstuffs and clean water purchased as considerable costs. The first trade stop was always Foot Fall that filth encrusted labyrinth of void born structures floating in the punishing radiation of the immense star Furibundus here a small shipment of exotic luxury items would be purchased far from the pointless rules and needless taxes of the more ‘civilised’ ports. Next the Hand would sail to Vaporius. He reviewed the terms of trade between House Havlock and the city of Lah’ndan. In exchange for small quantities of exotic goods, luxury items and other baubles the Priest King would allow the Havlock trade envoys to depart with two hundred large copper urns of the blessed water. Its third stop would be high orbit above Dross, the ship would wait at that storm wracked planet until its three small rocky moons aligned singling the time for the clouds to be parted. The heavy landers would hurriedly descend with a large portion of the food and water along with shipments of firearms, crude sluggers, stubbers, and shotguns. All to fuel High Priestess Asira’s Jihad of planetary conquest. They would return, clouds closing behind them, with holds full of Scrap metal from the mass of wreaked ships that lay strewn across Dross's surface. The Emperors Hand would then travel to Zayth system. Once in orbit above that desolate war world the remainder of the food and water, along with the salvaged metals from Dross would be transferred into the holds of the Land ship Indestructible. In exchange the Iron brotherhood would supply a battery of their finely crafted Macro weapons that were now so highly sought-after across the entire sub-sector. Finally the Emperors Hand would head for the fledging colony of Havlock's Haven. The crew would take shore leave and some aid would be distributed to the colonists. Havelock's Haven was still a long way away from producing any food stuff in sufficient quantities to be profitable but Captain Havlock was planning to build an empire and it took time to build strong foundations.

Sholk new his duty was to see how Damaris was going to fit into the new trade routes, but he could not believe the terms of trade with Vaporius. He couldn’t shake the term “Glass beads for the heathens” from his mind. He couldn’t fathom that his noble captain would be willing to exploit the kindness of the Ansai the Priest-King of Lah’ndan. Sholk would make sure that this oversight was corrected and Ansai was correctly compensated for the divine water from the city of Lah’ndan. Poring over the tables of projected exportable goods that Luther provided, Sholk smiled. Damaris was blessed with numerous valuable resources. Vast stretches of the equatorial regions were utilised for agriculture and the production of foodstuffs. The seas teemed with edible creatures, highly in demand throughout the Expanse as well as the Calixis sector, and many valuable ores and precious gems were ensconced in the world’s ancient, wind-worn mountains. The planet also boasted a remarkably modern infrastructure including a strong mining industry capable of producing millions of tons of raw and refined ores for export. There was also a small but respected ship-building industry centred at the Bulwark. Sholk layed out the new trade routes,  Damaris would export large quanties of ores, foodstuffs, livestock, and ship components. Theses would be shipped to Foot Fall so they could be distributed for a handsome profit. In exchange Damaris would receive luxuries, vehicles, construction materials, and durable manufactured goods from the greater Imperium. The terms of the trade agreement insured that all trade that Damaris conducted with parties other than House Havlock would be subject to heavy levies and tariffs on any products imported or exported. 

Sholk turned his attention to the Vaporius agreement and thought about the value of the water that the Priest-King Ansai so generously provided. He stared at the clear liquid swirling out of the crystal decanter as he poured himself another healthy glass. This substance had raised his clan of Navigators out of obscurity and insured not only the house's survival but a chance to surpass its former glory. Already Sholk had several Homozygous cousins that were now serving with respected shipping institutions including the Imperial Navy and Adeptus Mechanicus. He had also been informed that overtones of reacceptance to the Navis Nobilite have been made and negoiations for new reproduction treaties were progressing well. Yes as the fortunes of his family rose so to did the profits supplied to The Havlock dynasty. Yes Ansai must be richly compensated for the opportunity that his water had provided. In exchange for the copper vessels of water, the city coffers of Lah’ndan would now be buoyed with ingots of precious metals, jewellery crafted from fine gems, and Throne Gelt. Sholk also wanted to be sure that Priest-King understood Captans Havlock's personal appreciation. Ansai's court would now be dressed in the finest silks, served by the most beautiful domestic slaves, fed the rarest spices and finest wines. The extra costs would be astronomical but Sholk new it was still a good deal, he stared into the now empty glass, his mind free of burden. 
This blissful feeling was worth anything.... No everything!