jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

So I'm on vacation in Calgary with [tumblr.com profile] alias-pseudonym for all of next week, and at one of the smaller games stores we found a set of Frostgrave treasure tokens! These represent the valuables which the players must try to recover.

We picked up some paints, brushes, and non-spray primer, and these are the results so far:

Picture! )

So that's the story of how I went to Canada, and my partner gave me Frostbite. \ ^^ /

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

So, if you've read my access-locked posts the conflict is still going on. ^^; Someone important in my partner and friends' lives keeps saying and doing things that unintentionally hurt everyone, and dealing with the fallout -- and helping people defend themselves -- has been a full-time job these past few weeks.

On the plus side, I just got my hardcover copy of War of Ashes: Fate of Agaptus, by Sophie Lagacé! And for a limited time, you can get a pay-what-you-want (as low as $0) PDF version on DriveThruRPG.

A book cover which shows a variety of Muppet-like, furry creatures, brandishing weapons to defend themselves against hostile creatures, in a grim fantasy world where the sky is grey. The caption reads 'Roleplaying in a Grimsical World of Fantasy.'

"Grimsical" is the best word.

It's a rather grim fantasy RPG, which stars cute furry characters. I love it. ^^; It has very good production values, and the author does a really good job of porting the best parts of miniatures-based RPGs into Fate Accelerated, with stunts and manoeuvres that affect and are affected by positioning.

Why does it have optional minis rules? Because it's based on the War of Ashes miniatures game(s) by Zombiesmith, the makers of Kami Tale! So you can get cute, monstrous furry miniatures for your grimdark roleplaying game.

... I want all of them.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

So I was flipping through my Warhammer 40,000 and Warmachine books, trying to decide what to keep and what to discard. And despite the messy cover art of robots abusing performance-enhancing drugs, the Warmachine books also had the following:

  • POV female characters who are competent and sympathetic
  • Short stories where civilian lives and homes were important, and the "warcasters" relate to them as equals
  • People from different backgrounds (and even opposing armies) working together
  • People with very different reasons to be a career soldier, few or none of which were "rabid xenophobia"
  • Photos of towns, workplaces, and homes

Whereas the 40k books are ONLY WAR (TM) to the point where you'd think "faux-Gothic ruins" are the only ecosystem in the galaxy, and there are never any people living in them. Seriously, the artwork in some of the Tau books was nice, but the unremitting violence made me uneasy, and 40k characters in general have the emotional range of a brick.

So yeah, that's something we're keeping in mind as we rearrange our collection. We're also starting to look at potential additions in terms of "is this something I want to display?" and "what can I use this for in other games?" rather than just "does this have good stats?"

... also we keep thinking that we want to sculpt 40mm scale Steven Universe models. Starting with a whole army of Watermelon Stevens.

A screencap from the Steven Universe episode "Super Watermelon Island," showing a small army of watermelons shaped like Steven -- including his hair -- waving their spears and cheering and hugging, on a sandy beach. One of them is a cute dog instead of a Steven. In the background are jungle ferns and trees, and enormous sparkling blue and violet geodes.

Maybe we could even get some real geodes for a diorama.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

The fanfic is Diamond in the Sky (NSFW for mature themes), but it's not related to the Dead Space crossover from earlier! It's actually the next part of the Pearlapis fic series, this time a bit action-y as well as emotional, and it marks a breakthrough in their relationship. It also features illustrations by my partner [tumblr.com profile] spinecrawlerrush, of course, and you'll definitely want to see the concept art for this one. <3

Meanwhile, in the world of miniatures gaming we've been sidelining and selling off our 40k and Warmahordes things, to make room for the extremely cute Endless Fantasy Tactics and Kami Tale miniatures lines!

WIP photos behind cut! )

Finally, check out this interview with Emily Whitehouse on PinkFae! It's a trans-inclusive games website, and the co-designer of Endless Fantasy Tactics has a story our readers may find interesting. ^^

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

We finally finished painting our Arcantrik Force Generator. This is the model that first made us sit up and notice that miniatures games were a thing, and now it's ready to eff some shit up on the battlefield ... and look pretty on our shelves.

A spindly white model with blue power glow, which looks sort of like a robotic space flea perched on the snow. It has a turbine in the centre, behind a large armour plate, and three long, upraised appendages with have metal tips that point towards a convergence in the air above it.

Click here to view on DeviantArt.

It's supposed to have three doods standing on the base controlling it, but we decided to use them in other projects.

Yes, it is on our blanket. We took it with us when we curled up on our bed with our laptop. We're such a dork.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

So, we read an excerpt from the intro to a history book on the First Succession War, which was a mad scramble for land and resources after a political upheaval.

It reminded us of how much we love BattleTech sometimes, and why:

It was a week before my nineteenth birthday when we learned that Amaris had been captured and the [coup] was over. Naïvely, we thought things would get back to how they were before, in our parents’ day. How quickly we were disabused of that notion. The dukes knew things would only get worse and all the patriotic noise Kenyon had made was soon supplanted by something more authoritarian. We were just the wrong age, the perfect age to serve.

My boyfriend, Joe, was one of those called up that autumn, thrown into a boot-camp and then shipped off-world to fill out a line unit. I never saw him again—he died on Anegasaki when the Capellans killed the Fourth Militia. I was luckier I suppose, drafted into the planetary militia, so at least I was near home where it was safe and quiet. At least at first.

Then Kenyon got a mind to take over all the Star League facilities, following up on the rumors that Kerensky had left vast stockpiles on-world. That may have been true, but after four years spent on that wild goose, with little more than field rations, toilet paper, and SLDF recruitment pamphlets to show for it, the FWLM shifted their attention elsewhere. That didn’t save me from a grilling by SAFE—several in fact—because of who Gramps was, and his involvement with the Engineering Sub-Command. He died when I was nine, but even so, SAFE struggled to accept that a pre-teen knew nothing about SLDF activity. Dad got it much worse, and was held at the facility in Freeport for three weeks before they decided that the English teacher from Durandel High wasn’t going to give them much help either.

In those days, the years before the start of the Succession War, I did wonder: if this is how badly we treat our own people, how are things going to go when we start shooting at people we don’t like?

Compare and contrast, with how 40k portrays warfare. And authority, and nationalism. Even if you read 40k as a dystopian satire, where the Imperium is meant to be seen as brutal, you rarely get such a personal look, at the price that ordinary people pay for you to dress up in armour and play as a "hero." To satisfy your vain ambition, for power or wealth or heroics.

40k isn't alone in erasing civilians and glamourizing warfare, of course. Don't get me started on dudebro shooters. >_>; With the extremely subversive exception of Spec Ops: The Line.

Click here if you can't see the video.

For another good take (IMO) on how BattleTech portrays conflict, check out the short story at the start of the Alpha Strike Quick-Start rules (PDF link). A private military contractor called Wolf's Dragoons catches a desperate foe completely off-guard, and an enemy MechWarrior has an obvious mental breakdown, but there's no guarantee that she won't recover once they've gone past. So Natasha just shoots her mech's legs out and moves on. Even though she has TEH RAEG because of something the other side's employer did to Dragoon dependents.

Finally, if you want to support a PC / tabletop game that tells the story of people who live in the ruins that "heroes" and generals fight over, check out This War of Mine:

Click here if you can't see the video.

Armed conflict is a terrific backdrop for drama. But it isn't a playground or theme park, and it shouldn't be treated as one.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

We got to try out a game of Endless Fantasy Tactics with Alias, a day or two ago. It was pretty fun!

Alias' hand picking up a miniature, on top of a hand-drawn isometric 3d map that looks like it came from Final Fantasy Tactics. Various Warhammer 40,000 and Pathfinder miniatures are being used as proxies, and a lot of dice are being used as counters. To one side, there are print-out lists of each model's stats. To the other, there is a magnetic Pathfinder initiative tracking board, with magnets for each mini arranged in initiative order. It also has little red hearts and blue circles for each model's HP and MP.

Those unpainted models are totally beastmen, not XV8 Crisis battlesuits.

It's basically Final Fantasy Tactics: the minis game. Which means we had to draw an isometric map, and HP/MP counters for everyone. Oh, and it uses stat cards normally, so we printed out lists with our models' stats on them instead.

Technically you don't have to go to these lengths. They sell decks of cards for all of the models and items, plus a beginner set with a reconfigurable 3d board. But we wanted to start with the core rulebook, and we figured it wouldn't take that long to make our own play aids.

Turns out, it did ^^; partly because we had to learn how to do layout in Pages first. And then when we actually started playing, our large-sized models took a hit for each square they stand on, every time Alias' Lunarian bunnies AOE'd.

But the Lunarians are just so cute! As are gels, beastmen, and the dreaded Black Kiwi.

(The gels all want to be heroes, or something. It's awesome.)

Anyway, we'll probably be playing this more in the future. And here are some more pics of the play aids we created / used, behind the cut:

Read more... )

Did we mention that [personal profile] aliaspseudonym / [tumblr.com profile] spinecrawlerrush has been visiting? ^^;;;

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Okay, so last night we kind of had a meltdown over stuff on Twitter. >_>; We've deleted our account, since it didn't seem to be doing anyone any good.

On the plus side, we lined up all our Warhammer 40,000 Tau models and took a picture of them. Here it is, in case anyone wanted to see:

A photo of dozens of tiny space infantry models, vehicles, and mecha, somewhat carefully arranged on a table. About half of them are painted green.

View options: DeviantArt

Was it worth it? )

Anyway ... we're looking into broadening our gaming horizons, with more accessible minis games like Endless Fantasy Tactics and Frostgrave. [tumblr.com profile] spinecrawlerrush is coming over in just a couple of days (!!!), so hopefully we'll get a chance to try them out.

And cheer up a bit.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

So, first we had spehss mureen fans tell us that Tau players shouldn't exist, on the 40k forum we frequent.

Then this happened (don't read the comments).

I need better ways of destressing.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Despite our disenchantment with Microsoft, we still use and rely on OneNote. It's a free cross-platform app, with free online syncing and no ads, and it takes pictures and formatted text and automatically cites stuff that we copy and paste from online.

Anyway, we've collected a lot of quotes about how it's not surprising to find ourself as a hikikomori / part of the underclass, all things considered. And how we still contribute to society despite being devalued economically. And how society's requirements are unreasonable to begin with, especially when it plays favourites so blatantly.

It's actually kind of a source of hope and encouragement to read them. Sort of like 15 years ago, when we were first starting to come to terms with the idea that we're fundamentally "a writer" and couldn't be happy doing the jobs that the people around us were pressuring us to do. Which led to our taking it seriously and getting a lot of practice, and eventually led to us supporting ourself and another person through writing things that were important to us.

They also note that Apple stuff's been getting cheaper, while housing, education, and health care are all priced for the upper class. Which kind of puts things in perspective, and makes us feel better about owning an iPod and wanting a Mac.

I mean. There are billboards here in the States that advertise schools and hospitals. Srsly. Like, a lot of them.

In the past few weeks, a lot of the hurdles to obtaining health care and such here have been worked out. More than that, [personal profile] burning_ground has proven to be a very good friend and supportive Internet Family Member, and [personal profile] aliaspseudonym / [tumblr.com profile] spinecrawlerrush is now talking about planning a future with us and visiting late next month.

We've gotten out of the habit of checking on Dreamwidth, and have set our fanfiction aside temporarily. But in other spheres of our life -- Final Fantasy XI, miniatures, and earning spending money on Mechanical Turk -- we've actually been Getting Stuff Done. Like, a lot more than usual, and a lot more regularly than usual. A day where we could do anything but read depressing stuff used to be rare, but now we can count on at least a couple hours of work every day. And save up for things, and have dreams and ambitions, even if they don't resemble most people's.

I feel like accepting our place in the underclass, as someone who's not valued enough by society to even be exploited as a labourer, is actually part of that. Because we've gone from seeing ourself as a failed member of the working class, whose struggles are all her fault, to seeing ourself as someone who's lost a lot of life's lotteries but has people who love and support her.

Knowing that, and having that support, has given us a lot of strength lately. It's not something that we're used to.

We can share some of the quotes that we've found if anyone's interested. Today we just wanted to talk about how we're feeling, lately.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Warmachine, and its companion game, Hordes, were made in the United States. Warhammer 40,000 was made in Great Britain.

The more I think about it, the more I feel like this explains a lot of the differences between the two games.

Read more... )

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

"Grimdark" means different things to different people. To some (but definitely not all) 40k players it's a realization of their fantasies ... of being the Defender Of All That Is Normal and getting to shoot up those icky, scary outsiders.

For us, it's like an allegory of the world that we live in. Where we have a small bubble of safety and interestingness surrounded by people who want to make us disappear.

See, the great thing about the Tau isn't just their anime mecha.

A model of a large Tau battlesuit, on our desk surrounded by pieces of work-in-progress miniatures.

Its name is "Cat." Short for "Cataclysm."

It's that despite being small and "insignificant," they keep winning. Against the fascist, blood-and-skulls-loving Imperium. Not because they are better at dealing death, or because their technology is more advanced, but because they value diversity. They make friends out of their enemies, and work together to make things better for everyone.

Also, we like acting out fantasy lazor battles with our miniatures. Battles which are about as far removed from actual warfare and gun fetishism as magical girl anime is.

Now if only there were a magical girl minis game.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Check out this mech:

A collage of photos, which depict a miniature model of a streamlined white mecha in action. One caption uses a female pronoun for its pilot, and another confirms that a female head is included for the pilot figurine.

This is the XV95 Ghostkeel battlesuit, the latest in Tau stealth technology. And the one that Games Workshop's weekly magazine is doing action shots of, decloaking inside the Cadian lines, has a female pilot. Plus, the model has a feature where you can pop open the cockpit and put a pilot figure inside, and it includes a female head for her (with a Y-shaped nasal opening instead of an I-shaped one).

Even better? This week's issue confirms that a female head is included in the new box of Fire Warriors. The one that also comes with the new pulse shotgun weapons, the MV36 Guardian Drone, and the DS8 Tactical Support Turret, plus pieces for markerlight drones. <3

A photograph of the Fire Warrior boxed set, taken from Games Workshop's website. The box shows ten alien soldiers in white armour, along with a gun turret and two hovering drones.

These are our most basic troops, the ones pretty much every Tau player will buy when they're just starting out. And you can model one helmetless soldier as a woman, one who wears the same beat-up armour as everyone else and is doing the same dangerous jobs.

Our faction's fluff already said we had gender equality. But in practice we rarely saw female representation in models, Shadowsun notwithstanding. I once had an opponent put up a fuss about being corrected on my models' pronouns, despite the fact that he also played Tau and he knew that we fielded Fire Caste troops of all genders.

Obviously, there's still a long way to go before women can be considered "equal" in 40k, both at the gaming table and on its imagined battlefield. But this is an amazing first step. I'm so proud of them :')

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

A box of Fire Warriors would come with the following:

  • Six, instead of twelve, Fire Warriors. (Gun drones are sold separately.)
  • Twelve cards with artwork and rules text.
  • One "SERGEANT" token for the Shas'ui.
  • Six "WOUND" tokens.
  • One "PINNED" token.
  • One "FEAR" token.
  • One "CHALLENGE" token.
  • One "GO TO GROUND" token.
  • One "PHOTON GRENADE" token, double-sided to show if you've thrown it this turn.
  • One "EMP GRENADE" token, also double-sided.
  • Four "BLIND" tokens to put on the targets you hit with the photon grenade.
  • One token to show that they're inside a transport.
  • And one last token, to show that they're in reserve.

You would not be able to use it unless you had bought the WARHAMMER 40,000 STARTER SET for $99, which includes one Space Marine Dreadnought and three Chaos bikers. Along with blast templates, cardboard range rulers, two decks of cards in different sizes, twelve six-sided dice with weird symbols on them, an insert that says where to download the dice-roller app, and enough different kinds of tokens that only fishers and jewelry hobbyists already have an appropriate box for them on hand.

A large plastic box divided into three rows of compartments, each one filled with a different colour of 5 millimetre beads.
"WTF are these beads doing in my token box?!" Source

On the plus side, at least their points cost would be balanced.

(Fantasy Flight Games produces Twilight Imperium, the XCOM board game, the X-Wing miniatures game, and a whole bunch of other board games. They are notorious for their token fetish.)




Image credit: JT Custom Tackle, used without permission.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

We're still feeling kind of icky and stuff, partly because our hormones have decided to change up our temperature tolerances >_o

Aaand we flip-flopped between Linux and Windows 8.1 a few times before settling on the latter, and finding ways to block a lot of the annoying commercialism, like Skype ads and "Upgrade to Windows 10!" banners.

But we're feeling better and less stressed now, and while we still have things to sort out we should be able to have a DW site up for the RP (along with the players' finalized character sheets) within a week or so.

We wanted to let everyone know, and also to know that we haven't forgotten to work on our fanfic or anything. Also, we somehow got three Malifaux models assembled, and are eagerly (and somewhat anxiously) awaiting next month's long-rumoured Tau releases.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Check out these miniatures!

A photo of Companion Cube, Turret, and test subject miniatures made of low-quality plastic, as used in the Portal board game. Cardboard counters of GLaDOS, a blue portal, and a test chamber are also present.

Photo (c) Vox Media, used without permission.

You can see more photos and read the full writeup on Polygon. I'm just thinking of all the uses for Portal minis now:

  • Give one of our Shas'uis a portal gun

  • Make the companion cube an objective marker

  • Surprise RPG players by changing the "dungeon" into a test chamber

Just imagine teaching someone to play Fate, Dungeon World, or Pathfinder by throwing their character into the Enrichment Centre. ^^ Or using the slices of cake (not pictured above) as victory points in 40k or another game.

... did I mention I am apparently good at impersonating GLaDOS?

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Can't sleep. Preoccupied with stuff.

Content note: Swearing, and way too much talk about miniatures, sexism, and messed-up unethical companies.

Read more... )

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

The following is from me rambling at [personal profile] aliaspseudonym on Skype, after spending hours trying to untangle this cursed mind knot of how I actually feel about different miniatures games. I'm copy-and-pasting it here because it reads like the draft of an essay, which I just wrote extemporaneously.

* * *

‎9‎:‎21‎ ‎PM Jewelfox feels like 40k's story is actually one of its big selling points, but not in the way you'd expect >_>‏

Read more... )

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Life events have kind of thrown us for a loop lately, with a romantic relationship ending under extremely unfortunate circumstances and sudden housing insecurity to worry about. ^^; We've been talking to [personal profile] aliaspseudonym and [personal profile] burning_ground about what we can do to avoid eviction ... in the meantime, offers of help or support are very much appreciated, especially with the housing situation.

EDIT: We're still reeling from the breakup, but I think we've worked out the housing thing. So no worries ...

In the meantime, here are some photos and recollections of the more positive side of our life. We've gotten into several games at the store, and our myrmidons are now basically finished:

Kaelyssa's Warmachine battlegroup, comprising a Manticore, Griffin, and Chimera. A group of four models sitting on Jewelfox's desk, hand-painted by her to resemble the studio scheme, and messily based using white glue and snowy flock.

We've cleaned up the stray snow on their bases since taking this picture.

Lots of Malifaux and 40k pics behind cut! )

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Yesterday, after a harrowing trip into the next city over to refill our prescription, we met up with the woman we ran into last week to play Warmachine versus her Hordes list.

A zoomed-out view of the snowy, rocky battlefield, with Ret forges spread out and preparing to converge on the clumped-up Legion warbeasts and troops.

The games store has some awesome terrain tables.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the game(s), Warmachine and Hordes are sort of like playing a tag-team fighting game. You each pick a warcaster (or warlock, in Hordes) and a small group of either robots or monsters that character can control, and you win by defeating your opponent's character. There are things like infantry units and siege engines, the same as in large-scale games like 40k, but those are all optional add-ons.

She was using the Legion of Everblight half of the Hordes two-player boxed set, while we brought the Retribution of Scyrah starter battlegroup plus our Arcantrik Force Generator (the big model on the right in the pic up there). So basically, she had a squad of Ogrun spear-throwers to go with her monsters, while we had a big lazor gun and our myrmidons. Both of our lists had 21 points' worth of models.

Kaelyssa and two of her myrmidons square off against a Carnivean heavy warbeast, with the rest of the Legion battlegroup looking on.

WARNING: Getting this close to a Carnivean is hazardous to your health.

We made a newb mistake early on when we moved our warcaster, Kaelyssa, up into the threat range of pretty much every one of our opponent's models. She had her warlock, Lylyth, nail Kae with a couple of arrows, and that brought her health bar down by like 4/5.

We managed to pull back though, and had our myrmidons do most of the up-close fighting like they're supposed to. The three of them finished off the big warbeast in one turn of blade-swinging, while our battle engine kept blowing craters in the battlefield from long range. I think that it taught our opponent not to leave her models clumped together!

Just for fun

It was really a fun, casual game though, and we both strategized out loud while reminding each other of the rules. The best part was right towards the end, when our forces had made short work of most of hers but she had a single lesser warbeast close enough to charge Kaelyssa. We both spent like 10 minutes trying to figure out how to improve its chances of making a last-ditch warcaster assassination. One of our myrmidons ended up killing it as it ran past, but I think if it'd made it then she would have won!

So, we had a lot of fun on this outing. But the best part was that she used the correct pronouns for us without our even telling her. ^^; She didn't give us any trouble about our models' pronouns, either.

Stay tuned for next week, when our Tau secure some objectives for the Greater Good ~

About us

~ Fox | Gem | Rei ~

We tell stories, paint minis, collect identity words, and share them all with our readers. If something we write helps you, let us know.

~ She / her ~

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