Friday, February 4, 2011

In the minority...

Hello all! I survived the Great Chicago Blizzard of 2011, although I made myself very sick by too much exertion at the snow removal. I was already with a cold and I pushed myself too hard. Go figure, me do that? Heh.

Anyway, back for a moment and I wanted to mention something that's an unexpected item that I have to take care of due to the nature of my campaign being "drop in/drop out" ... player/character maintenance.

Judging from a recent thread I participated in on K&KA, I'm apparently in the minority when it comes to gaming. Most of the people I chatted with seem to game with mainly an already established group of social friends, and that doesn't lead to much new blood? Me? I have had close to 30 people participate in the campaign since it started two years ago. About half of those stay in touch or continue to game, most have been onsie-twosies. That's OK! That was something I brought into the West Marches game and while it has given me grief a couple of times (in the form of players who didn't match the social/campaign style/flow that we have going) on the whole it's been a positive, rewarding thing.

Still, I'm in the unusual position today of "doing maintenance" in the form of contacting long silent players to see if they ever plan on returning or if I should retire their characters. I've already heard back from a couple, which is a nice surprise - it's always nice to hear from the original players who've had to break away for life reasons. It's probably something that is particular to my style of campaign - the people with established gamer/social circles probably don't have to do this.

Another thing that I seem to be in the minority of, when it comes to "old/original gaming" is using email to conduct business or "in between games" activities. I do have a limit on what I can do/accomplish between games, usually subject to my ever-shrinking amount of free-time. I usually also limit this to transactional type of things or the results of stuff done off-table, like making scrolls, carousing, etc. To me, if I can limit the amount of "paperwork" like activities on game day, it's a benefit. And sometimes we have some great discussions/RP via email. Maybe it's because I'm comfortable with the medium, or maybe it's an aspect that my campaign group isn't a social friends group, although there are some overlaps between the two?

A couple of quick minis notes...

- Painting with a Winsor/Newton Series 7 brush is like moving from a demolition derby car to a NASCAR Sprint Cup series Late Model. Holy crap! I may have made the vast majority of my other brushes obsolete!

- JB Weld is going to become my friend. I love Otherworlds Miniatures, but some of the figures are decidedly difficult to pin/glue and one particular arm on one particular skeleton is giving me fits. I'm up to attempt #5.

- I also attempted serious sculpting with green stuff by making an orc shield! We'll see how it goes, I had to make the hand as well. It's going on one of the Otherworlds pig-nosed orcs, so I'm feeling "meh" about doing such a radical modification. If it works, I'm going to be thrilled!


JoeGKushner said...

1. Brushes: Yes, W&N are solid brushes. However, take care of them. Make sure to properly wash them and treat them correctly. It pays off in the long run.

2. Skeleton arm bit. Get the drying accelerant for superglue. Army Painter has one, they sell 'em at Games Plus and Black Sun. It drys the crap really quick and bonds it almost instantly. The grip isn't as firm as pinning but for shit like that, it's a mind saver.

Rick Krebs said...

Michael, I have always been a fan of the fresh faces in a RPG campaign . And, through the decades have been lucky enough to have experienced a 50-50 mix for in store gaming. But, it seems real life events makes it even harder, these days, to achieve this. Though having a GM with your enthusiasm and energy makes it more likely to work. OK Chicagoland gaming stores here's a guy who can help drive your RPG sales.

TopKat said...

Wiz, I hear you about brushes. When I finally caved in and picked up my da Vinci set (2, 0, 000) I had the same reaction as you. Totally worth the money! And like Joe said, take care of them. I use W&N Brush Cleaner & Restorer. And to think I used to leave my old brushes just sitting in the jar of water...

Badmike said...

I admire your game style, but could never do it myself. Face to face game time is too precious to take the chance on a one-shotter screwing things up for everyone else. I game with a well-vetted group of buddies or those that come highly recommended. Hopefully someday I'll have the extra time to be able to take a flier on walk-ins and more inexperienced individuals to shake things up a bit.

Justin Alexander said...

@BadMike: I, of course, don't know the particulars of your schedule. But I've recently discovered that when you loosen upon the idea of playing with a regular, hand-picked group of players you can be amazed at how much more time you can find to game in.

Check out Opening Your Game Table.

Peter Darley said...

I also agree with you on the brushes, but something that made even a greater difference to me was switching to a wet pallette. I use a comercial one with special paper that stays damp when put on top of a sponge, tho it's also prety easy to make your own. I can mix paint and come back a week later and it's still usable. Also putting the paint on the pallette and then painting from there keeps it always a good consistancy.

ChicagoWiz said...

Lots of great comments, thanks!

@JoeGK - I'm going to make a quick post about my skellie failure, but it was originally bad pinning that did it in for me. :(

@Rick - thank you sir! It's great to sit and have people come watch us play the old way. I've started bringing the old 1e books as well as the OSRIC and they never fail to get a comment or two. :)

@TopKat - I was amazed! I can't wait to get my #2. I've been using the Brush "soap cake" for years and I love it. I have started licking my brushes too... I'm ... uuuh... kinda amazed how spit seems to solve quite a few minis problems. :P

@BadMike - nothing has ever been so bad as to kill my group completely although it's caused some friction from time to time. It's a bane and boon, but my players also (come to) trust me that I can manage the campaign so that a glitch now and then is taken care of.

@Justin - thanks for the link.

@Bradford - I cheap on my wet palette - I will soak a small bit of paper towel, put it over the well on my palette then put a pill bottle cap over the paper towel, forming a "seal" of sorts. I've kept paint fresh all day that way.