I had my whole day planned out. After work this morning (I work night shift) I took a nap. Slept about two and a half hours. I’m off tonight, so it’s all good. After waking up I took the Cutie Girl (my younger son’s dog) for a walk. I then settled down to work on my Sci-Fi Western-Police Procedural story. WRONG! Today I have had the worst case of writer’s block in the history of writing.
Normally, I would eat some vanilla bean ice cream or microwave a bag of popcorn to get my creative juices flowing. In regards to the ice cream, I’m trying to keep the weight I’ve recently lost from finding me again. As for the popcorn, our microwave is busted. CRAP! I’ve tried to listen to some inspirational music to no avail. I’ve stood outside in the cool breeze and even gone for a walk. My old tricks just aren’t working. This is beyond frustrating!
For those who know me and/or read my blog on a fairly regular basis, you already know I have a thing for tabletop war games. I became a fan of them back in the early to mid-1980s when I took Military History as an elective class my Sophomore year of high school. My teacher had us play a series of American Civil War tabletop war games every Friday afternoon. These were old-style ones that used cardstock chits to represent the factions’ units and the games were played on paper maps with grids printed over the terrain markings. I became pretty good at them; I was able to more often than not win regardless of whether I played Confederate or Union.
Fast forward 35 years. I have played various games from Games Workshop (GW) using metal, resin and plastic miniatures off and on for the past few years. Because they see fit to reinvent in the wheel every three years or so, I have finally decided I no longer wish to willingly give them my business. I have tinkered around with fan-written, free to download rules including Heralds of Ruin and Tor Megiddo. By and large, I like those rules, but I still felt there was something else out there that might appeal to me more. Enter Osprey Publishing.
Osprey Publishing is famous for its Military History research books. My sons used them when working on military and law enforcement-related projects for school. In recent years Osprey has turned some of their attention toward publishing game rulebooks. Rogue Stars is one of their endeavors. It allows players to run crews of between four to six fighters in skirmish games set in a fully customizable Sci-Fi universe. Because of how the rules are utilized, the game is a combination of a war game and a role-playing game.
I like the concept of Rogue Stars, especially from a story teller’s perspective. Because six characters are the maximum number allowed, it presents the player the opportunity to come up with a personality and background for each miniature. Another reason I stopped playing GW’s games is that, for a regular-sized game, it requires you to assemble and paint entire armies of miniatures. Even a smallish army would require 15 to 30 miniatures and possibly a vehicle or two. I just don’t have the time or patience to slap paint onto that many miniatures. Nor do I wish to spend the money on enough paint to do so, either. Half a dozen or fewer miniatures is much better for me to deal with. Considering that most crews/squads consist of four miniatures, even if I wanted to create two or three crews, that’s only eight to a dozen miniatures. MUCH more doable for me.
Finances for rulebooks is yet an additional reason I have switched horses. GW charges $40 to $50 for each faction’s codex in addition to whatever they’re charging for the latest core rulebook these days. With Rogue Stars, one only needs the single rulebook, which I was able to get for $14.
I have quite a few D6’s (traditional six-sided dice) in my collection. I think I may have one or two D20’s in my inventory. I’ll have to see if I can find them this weekend.
The revolver. Sometimes referred to as the wheel-gun or the six-shooter, was developed, as we know it today, by Samuel Colt in the 19th Century. It is considered obsolete by modern firearms standards. Although no longer used as a front line weapon in the real world, it seems to have earned a new lease on life in the realms of Science Fiction and Fantasy, especially in the video game industry.
In the Darksiders universe, the Horseman Strife uses a pair of revolvers which are referred to as Mercy and Redemption. Characters in the Destiny game gain access to revolver-like weapons called hand cannons. This could be due to the fact that the revolver, despite being limited on capacity of rounds, are usually more durable and sturdy. It could also be because the six-shooter has an old school coolness factory in regards to appearance. Whatever the reason, I, for one welcome the presence of the wheel-gun in the fictional universes of our time.
My wife and I attended Dallas Fan Days (formerly known as Dallas Comic Con), and we had an awesome time.
My wife has always like Stormtroopers and enjoyed meeting members of the 501st Legion, but she was even more impressed with the Mandalorian Mercs. They took time to visit with her about potential membership including how to make costumes/armor, painting Nerf guns to look Star Warsy and where to get a helmet. The women in the group were impressed with her interest in their organization and hoped she would join sooner rather than later.
I’ve always liked the Mandalorians, mainly because mercenaries have always appealed to me. Disney+’s Mandalorian series has helped with that appeal as of late too.
Hopefully, we’ll be able to join their group sometime in the near future.
OK, about a month ago I completed a submission to a publishing company across the pond. This was the fifth one in almost as many years. Like some of the previous ones, I went into this expecting to be rejected. I know that’s not very optimistic, but I feel it’s realistic. At the behest of my older son, I’ve decided this most recent submission for writing in someone else’s universe will be the last time I do that. My son said he feels the content I’ve written for my own original Science Fiction universe is much better anyway. So, I’ll heed his advice and do just that.
With that being said, I have returned full force to my old Iron Horn project. I’ve tinkered around with the idea of whether or not the main characters should be lawmen or bounty hunters. I’ve finally decided they should be peace officers. I am a strong proponent of writing what you know. I’ve been in law enforcement in general (corrections, patrol and investigations) for thirty-plus years. Being a lawman is what I know. Now, don’t get me wrong. I feel that bounty hunting is close enough to law enforcement that I can probably wing it pretty good. There will most likely be bounty hunters in the series, so if you were counting on them making an appearance, you’re in luck.
It feels good to be working on my own stuff again. It feels like I came home.
I realize it has been a while since I’ve posted a blog. It’s not that I haven’t had time. I was off work for almost a month with a broken foot. The truth of the matter is between doctor appointments and taking care of what I could do around the house with a broken foot, I have been working on yet another submission to the Black Library.
Another thing I’ve been doing is researching some of the various wargames out there. Yes, I’ve played Pirates of the Carribean (an RPG), Warhammer 40,000 (WH40K) and EPIC 40K, but in all honesty, I think I prefer skirmish games better. Why? Well, for starters, it’s about the time it takes to play the game. It took close to two hours to play games of WH40K and EPIC took three hours or more. I just do not have that kind of time on my hands. I want a game I can play in anywhere from thirty minutes to just under an hour and a half. From what I’ve learned, skirmish games give me that.
The other big reason I’m leaning more towards skirmish games is they allow a story to be told with characters. As you probably know, I am a storyteller first. You cannot get to know each and every character in a game with around 150 to 300 miniatures. I guess you could, but it would be quite time-consuming. It’s a lot easier to do with six to ten models.
As for the games I’m looking at, those include the 2017 edition of Necromunda (N17), Warcry and WH40K Skirmish. N17 is an updated version of the old Necromunda game from around 25 years ago. It’s basically Escape from New York on acid. The second one, Warcry, is actually not Science Fiction, but Fantasy; Sword and Sorcery-type stuff. The third one, WH40K Skirmish isn’t even official. It’s a game system developed by a group of WH40K fans that allows players to use individual squads instead of whole armies. It’s similar to Kill Team, but I like it better than Kill Team.
As far as factions for the aforementioned games? That’s a post for another day.
p.s. With some luck, I’ll eventually finish those stories I posted on here from before.
“I make grave mistakes all the time. Everything seems to work out…”–Thor