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)

And it targeted LGBT+ people specifically. Because starving people's unwanted kids to death on the street wasn't killing them fast enough, I guess.

Please get me out of this country, and especially this state. I don't want to be here anymore. I renounce all claims to American identity. I want to be with [tumblr.com profile] spinecrawlerrush in Canada and never, ever come back.

FAKE EDIT: Also, I sold off / am selling all of my 40k stuff, after being harassed by an IRL xenophobe / transphobe. "Suffer not the alien to live" isn't funny anymore.

REAL EDIT: In hindsight, this probably wasn't anywhere near as big as the mass killings that took place in the genocide of Native Americans.

Real, True, Godly, White Christian Americans have always been for this kind of thing.

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)

Wouldn't that be an interesting weapon in 40k, or another miniatures game? You shoot someone with it (rolling To Hit as needed), and suddenly they can't do anything self-serving. Like fleeing from a hopeless fight, or going to ground in order to keep from being shot at.

There actually is a special rule in Warhammer 40,000 which does that, though. It's called Zealot.

Thoughts on negating the self )

At any rate, Alias has been over here for three days now, and so far we've played three games of 40k. It's rekindled my interest in this game, and reminded me what I love about it.

I keep going out of my way to make sure that Alias is having fun, though, and compulsively asking if it is okay. I'm scared that I'm being a bad hostess, that having it play one of my favourite games with me is selfish, and that I should be letting it dictate everything.

Aside from that, though, it's been really nice having it over. In many ways. ^^;

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)

There's a danger in getting overly concerned with tropes, and the real point is to be free to draw inspiration from where you like while creating something that means something to you.

That's from the Yaruki Zero book, where Ewen talks about anime, but I feel like it addresses a problem we have been having with trying to make the erotic rpg we mentioned awhile back. Or any of our other attempts to make "universal" games, like [community profile] fursonarpg, and try to create stuff that we don't fully understand the appeal of on the basis that someone will want to play as it.

I think there's something to be said for opening up a game's rules or a setting's canon, to allow for something new to fit in. Sort of like how halfway through the game's run Games Workshop took the unusual step of creating an idealist faction, with clean lines and anime-inspired mecha, in Warhammer 40,000.

But I feel like this stuff is maybe best done gradually, and custom-made on a case-by-case basis. The Cleric and Monk classes in Dungeons and Dragons, for instance, came about because Gary Gygax's friends wanted to play a vampire hunter and a martial artist respectively. Meanwhile, I've been doing an ongoing freeform 40k RP, that started with ideas for my Tau characters and grew to encompass [personal profile] burning_ground's Chaos Daemons and Alias / [tumblr.com profile] spinecrawlerrush's Necrons.

Sometimes we think about game design. This is one of those times. >_>b

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)

Sometimes we toy with a headcanon where the 40k galaxy is actually a super-benign place where most sapients rarely resort to violence, sort of like in Alan Dean Foster's The Damned trilogy. And all the playable factions are those rare creatures that relish it, or see it as a legitimate means to an end.

Here's our take on each of the 40k factions (except chaos), based on the actual fluff when viewed from the right angle.

Read more... )

So is this just heresy, or are we on to something here?

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)

This is the Phoenix-class heavy myrmidon we just finished constructing, next to the box for reference. With its completion, we now have the minimum two heavies to run Kaelyssa's Force Wall theme list.

A gray plastic model of a robot or walking statue, carrying a sword. It is standing next to a box which shows it painted in cream-white and steel.

In the background, you can see plastic hell the squad of Tau Pathfinders we still have to work on. It took half of forever last time, and we aren't really looking forward to it again. Once we're finished, though, we should have enough Pathfinders / markerlights for any list or formation that we want to run.

... I haven't posted pics of the last squad, have I? Maybe in tomorrow's entry.

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)

I can't help but feel that Flowey the Flower pretty much embodies the whole ethos of Warhammer 40,000.

"You FOOL. In this galaxy, THERE IS ONLY WAR! >D "

I can't tell you how satisfying it's been to watch anime mecha kick the crap out of the "Morbid Ones" in the recent books. Not even the Ruinous Powers of Chaos can quench the hope of making the galaxy a better place.

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)

That “but” poisons the whole phrase, because it neatly proves that whoever is saying it? They don’t love you at all. They might like you, but they don’t love you. They might love what you can do for them (or perhaps to them), but they don’t love you. That’s because love is uncontrollable; it is accepting of flaws, because it has no choice. Love is tolerant of mistakes, because it can’t do otherwise. To love someone, truly love them, is to be unable to let anything else in the way.

Maybe they did love you once, but the moment you hear that “but…” it’s a sign: it’s over. Whatever feelings they had for you are gone, and now they’re using your feelings to their advantage.

Because that “but” always leads to a request. Cut your hair. Change your clothes. Stop hanging out with your friends.

Change yourself into what I want you to be.

Because I’m the one who’s important.

-- Why Does He Stay With Her? by YorkNecromancer

The linked article is actually about the Ruinous Powers of Chaos in the Warhammer 40,000 setting. ^^; But as you can see, the author is pretty committed to making them work narratively ... and in the process, wrote the most frightening depiction of them that I've ever seen. Because the author put into words very well what causes abuse, and what the nature of evil is.

Content note: A couple of questionable (but non-explicit) visual metaphors that could be considered sexual harassment, detailed descriptions of intimate partner abuse, and dudebro(s) being dudebro(s) down in the comments.

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! )

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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