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Everything posted by Dr.Bedlam

  1. Stirges are HANDY, durnit. ANY level of party is threatened by stirges; the difference is that at first level, they're life and death, and at seventh level, they're nuisance critters. And throwing a vampire down there on top of stirges is downright evil, Megan.
  2. I've watched the first couple episodes of the new Dark Crystal series on Netflix. I am still pondering my opinion about the quality of the series. Story is still unfolding, although it's better than I'd thought it was going to be; I usually find prequels to be a foregone conclusion, since I know how the story ends from seeing the original. Still, they're doing a great job; the visuals are RICH, rich, rich! Although seeing the series sort of spoils some of the plot points of the original movie, if you haven't seen it yet. And seeing the original movie spoils the miniseries. Hence my problem with prequels. But I'd recommend that any fantasy artists.... even a Sunday painter like myself... watch it, simply for the design, the use of color, the RICHNESS of all the visuals.
  3. The fact that I cannot get a six pack of unpainted stirges is proof to me that the suits, not the gamers, are in charge of what's being produced. Because the suits would put beholders and Drizz't well ahead of stirges. It'd never occur to them that a working DM would cheerfully buy three or four packs of the things. Further reinforcing that belief is the fact that I can buy a hardback adventure book... I can buy a Map And Handout Pack that goes with that adventure book... I can buy a Special Dice Set that goes with that adventure book.... and in some of the newer cases, I can buy a full sized pirate ship and a sort of Mad Max Hell Car Vehicle, even.... (for hundreds of dollars each!) ...but for some reason, I have to go out and buy all the minis separate, if I can find them, and if they actually MAKE the dratted beasts. The stirges are available on the secondary market -- the collectible prepaints have several variants -- but where the hell are the damn blistered, unpainted STIRGES? EDIT: It occurs to me that I had this same durn problem with Umber Hulks a while back.
  4. The fridge is festooned with Reapercon magnets from years gone by. Several Reapercon posters are framed on the wall of the bedroom; I'm particularly attached to the Space Mouselings poster from Artistcon that one year. I have a bad habit of thoroughly cleaning old cat litter buckets and using them for waterproof weatherproof sealable storage vessels for other things. Stickers generally wind up on those; it helps me identify what is in what bucket. And there are many buckets.
  5. Found at a used bookstore today: five bucks. It's a trifle, but it's so nice to find a nice trifle at a trifle PRICE, durnit. We celebrated our finds by stopping at a local joint I'd heard about, but had not yet investigated. Could it be true that there was a D&D themed donut stand that'd let you roll for a discount... or even free donuts? ....... yups.
  6. A splendid birthday is hereby wished at'cha.
  7. The oven, the stovetop, or PingosHusband? And before the day is out: Today makes fifty years. Fifty years ago, September 13, 1969, the first episode of "Scooby Doo, Where Are You?" was broadcast. That's well over two hundred in dog years, y'know.
  8. Well, yeah, but I was younger then. Today, my preferred method is simply to bellow "EXCUSE ME! EXCUSE ME!" while wearing a deranged grin that would hopefully make some people think twice about taking offense. But then, I was young, and tenderhearted, and disinclined to kick small children out of the way. Weirdly enough, this doesn't HAPPEN to me on escalators. At least, not since. I'm not sure if it's because Dad was just an idiot, or if it's because there aren't many malls to visit any more, or what. Still happens in doors, though. Particularly at work, where I am hesitant to scream "GET THE @&**#$& OUT OF THE WAY, YOU @E\#*$&!"
  9. I was thinking about a thing today that happened a while back. It was in a MALL, so you know it was back around the time the oceans drank Atlantis. I was on the downstairs portion of the mall, and upon determining I wanted to go upstairs, hunted around until I found the escalator, and stepped aboard. In the process of ascending, I noted that the entire middle of the escalator was clotted with people. Judging from their familiarity and lack of interest in personal space, I concluded that these folks were all members of a family... Mom, Dad, Grandma, Teen Boy, Eldest Girl, Middle Boy, Middle Girl, Pink Bow Toddler, and Tiny Nose Miner. I paid them no heed. They weren’t bothering me. Until they arrived at the top of the escalator. Because that was where they stopped. All of them. They all dismounted the escalator, and stood right there, at the top of the escalator, in a tight clot of humanity, apparently to discuss where they would go next, perhaps intending to split up and do their shopping and then meet later at the food court or whatever. I really don’t know. I wasn’t listening to their conversation so much as I was wondering if they were going to get out of the WAY. They did not get out of the way. They stood there, a foot off the escalator steps, completely blocking the exit to the escalator. Dad had begun talking, and everyone was listening raptly to whatever it was he was saying. I pondered how I would deal with this. My arrival would put me right behind Mom, who was holding Pink Bow Toddler. It occurred to me that perhaps the sudden arrival of a stranger less than a foot behind her might discomfit and alarm her. I certainly didn’t want to do that. What to do? Perhaps I would run back down the escalator. I glanced behind me. No luck. There was some guy three feet behind me, and others behind HIM. For a moment, I pondered simply leaping the thirty feet back down to the lower floor, but quickly discarded that idea. I simply shrugged, and was disgorged by the escalator directly behind Mom. Mom reacted about the way I thought she would, with an “Oh!” and a brisk step forward. Dad looked at me like I’d showed up uninvited for Thanksgiving. Grandma looked at me like I’d yanked open my dirty trenchcoat to expose my naughty bits. The kids stared at me like I’d descended from a flying saucer. Dad gave me an indignant look. I smiled at him. Mom frantically nudged through her children to get away from me. “Ex-CUSE me?” Dad snapped. I kept smiling. “Yes, exactly. Excuse me,” I beamed at him, following Mom’s path through the children. Mom glanced over her shoulder at me, and was apparently shocked that I was still there, and skittered forward, opening me a path. I strode briskly through the opening. Dad looked like he was starting to get angry, and I hoped to put some distance between us before he could work through being surprised. Plus, I felt the presence behind me of another body, and I really didn’t want Guy Behind Me in my back pocket. As I strode briskly forward, Dad noticed Guy Behind Me, and shifted into High Indignance. Here he was, just trying to marshal his family, and these COMPLETE STRANGERS insisted on barging through their PERSONAL SPACE! Behind me, Dad apparently noticed Guy Behind Me, and said loudly, “PARDON ME? What are you people DOING?” Guy Behind Me said, “I’m WALKING here,” in a tone of voice that dared Dad to do something about it. I did not respond or turn back. I figured if a fight was going to happen, well, perhaps Dad would rather wrassle Guy Behind Me than myself, since I’d already put some distance on. And at that point, this entire vignette fades from my memory. I don’t remember where I went after that, what I did in the mall, or whether or not Dad ever actually realized that he had stopped for a family conference in the one place in the mall where complete strangers really had no choice but to shove him and his family aside, or simply leap off a thirty foot drop for the sake of politeness. But weirdly enough? This entire thing springs to mind, whole and unedited, every time I try to walk through a doorway in which someone has taken up permanent residence for the sake of a conversation....
  10. Heritage; Lost Minis sez they were Heritage LOTR Misty Mountain Orcs. And this one's sculpted sharper than the ones I had; I recognize him largely by the pose.
  11. I'd completely forgotten about Minifigs. They were still available when I discovered minis, but they were indeed inferior to what Ral Partha was doing at the time. I do remember being a little confused when I entered that first hobby shop, and I saw that Minifigs did official D&D minis, because right next to them in the shop were official D&D minis from Grenadier. At the time, it never occurred to me that perhaps the stock had simply BEEN there for a few years. Sigh. I also remember pondering whether or not to buy a White Box D&D set while I was there... and deciding against it, as I already had the three main hardbacks and the Holmes set. Among my purchases there were the Infamous Orcs... a blister of three figures that claimed to be orcs, and were sculpted so weird that even after they were painted, it was difficult to dope out exactly what they LOOKED like...
  12. ....I stand corrected. I retain my previous opinion of this sales move, however. It really wasn't a bad game at all, and was as expandable as you wanted it to be... and if you bought in big, yer screwed, now. Fantasy Flight Games ain't what it used to be.
  13. Mmmmyeah. Fire up interest in the game by releasing a new starter set based on the new movie, and follow it up by killing the game, releasing a second edition, and then trying to get your old customers to reup by buying THREE DIFFERENT CONVERSION KITS so they can use their old stuff in the new edition? That's absolute (expletive deleted) genius, right there. In other news, this is Charlie Chan. He's a fictional character, a legendarily clever detective of Chinese descent. He started out as a character in pulp stories, and made the jump to films. In this picture, this Chinese-American Hawaiian detective is being played by Warner Oland, an actor of Swedish descent. Don't ask me why. Films featuring Charlie Chan were quite popular, but for some reason, he always seemed to be played by Caucasian actors (although his bumbling "Number One Son" sidekick was sometimes played by Asian actors, notably Keye Luke) Nowadays, due to the stereotyping of Chan's Asian characteristics (calm and subservient nature, inability to speak English idiomatically, and so on) the character ain't so popular. I guess I can sorta see why. It surprised me to find that Charlie Chan has ONLY ONCE been portrayed by an actor of Asian descent... in the Saturday morning cartoon, The Amazing Chan And The Chan Clan, a sort of Scooby Doo clone, but with way too many teenagers and children, and with Charlie Chan instead of a talking dog. Charlie Chan (who was largely a supporting character while his kids solved the mysteries) was voiced by Keye Luke.
  14. This'z Sarah Jessica Parker. You might have heard of her. She is well known for many splendid acting roles, notably Sex And The City, and for being married to Ferris Bueller. She has had a long and distinguished acting career. A notable role back toward the other end of it was her well known turn in the Disney cult film Hocus Pocus, where, along with Bette Midler and Kathy Najimy, she played a witch. A Salem witch, what was executed in Salem, Massachusetts, for performing witchcrafty witchery and evil in general; she is one of the film's villains. This was back in 1993. The film, that is, not the Salem witchcraft stuff. Now here's the fun part: More than ten years later, Parker was researching her ancestry in preparation for this TV show, Who Do You Think You Are? And in so doing, discovered that her tenth great-grandmother, one Esther Elwell, was in fact arrested in Salem, Massachusetts, for the practice of witchcraft in the late 1600s (among other things, Elwell was accused of choking a neighbor to death with BLACK MAGIC!). Elwell, unlike several other women, managed to escape and flee town, and her case was never prosecuted, and the Salem witch trials sorta petered out afterwards as the locals began to ponder the wisdom of stringing each other up on flimsy evidence. Ms. Parker remarked that she found the revelation fairly shaking, and that it "changed everything about who I thought I was."
  15. I will not quote Mr. Dean because you saw all his pictures already, but his opinions and statements coincide with my own. He is, therefore, a genius, in addition to being specifically correct. Because "genius" is "an admirable quality corresponding to another's opinions coinciding with one's own," according to Ambrose Bierce. The early Grenadier stuff that was pretty good coincided with the late seventies, when D&D was starting to take off but hadn't really gotten noted by the mainstream yet. By '79, though, the chunky sculpts were in. By about '84, they were starting to get good again; their lizardmen and sahuagin from one boxed set in particular were things of beauty. But yeah, you could literally see the fall and rise simply by comparing boxed sets from different time frames. Ral Partha, on the other hand, was better proportioned, better detailed, and all around BETTER in that period around 1980. There were other outfits as well, notably Superior, Citadel, Martian Metals, and others... but I was a kid in a little bitty cow town out in the middle of nowhere, and if it wasn't in The Dragon or the Dungeon Hobby Shop catalog, I didn't KNOW about it. At least until I visited that first hobby shop in DFW. Around then, I got my first car and began making extended road trips to actual civilization, and things changed. But before that, I dealt blind by mail. And the official D&D stuff was the official D&D stuff. And I suspect that even as we speak, there are kids out there making similar decisions. I personally think most Reaper miniatures, including Bones, are superior to the unpainted D&D character minis in particular, but unless you're there to compare the minis hangin' on the pegs....
  16. Not exactly. Fact is, Grenadier did some fine minis. But there were better ones out there. I just didn't KNOW about them. I was a gamer before I was a Miniatures Guy, and the introduction for me was Dungeons and Dragons. I laid hands on D&D locally, learned to play, and started a group... but there were no hobby shops literally within hundreds of miles. But the game specifically said that it might be enhanced by the use of miniature figures. So I got in touch with The Dungeon Hobby Shop in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin (from my home in deep south Texas) and got their catalog. The catalog was a xeroxed thing with way more text than pics, and the pics were of the quality one expects when one xeroxes photographs with a 1970s xerox machine. Lacking any clear picture of anything, I just ordered boxed sets of Grenadier's official D&D minis, and hoped for the best. And when they arrived... weeks later... I learned to paint them. Using ancient Testors enamel paints. Because that's what you painted models with, back then. And for a year that's how it went. This changed when a member of our group visited relatives in College Station, where there was a hobby shop, and he saw COLLEGE GUYS playing D&D with these amazing superior miniatures with amazing superior paint jobs! He learned that these minis were made by some straaange foreign sounding outfit called "Ral Partha," and painted with acrylic potions named "Polly S." And lo, our experiences leveled up, so to speak. I began to order Ral Partha products from the faraway land of Lake Geneva, some of which were even sculpted by the renowned sorceress Julie Guthrie! Not quite a year after THAT, I found myself in the Dallas Fort Worth area, and wangled a side trip to a hobby shop in Bedford... the first I'd ever seen... and saw blistered minis on the rack, for the first time, and many other wonders.... ...the point being that in all honesty, the early Grenadier product wasn't the best on the market. It WAS the OFFICIAL D&D product, though, and sold largely on that basis. As time went on, though, I learned that there was better stuff to be had. I'm still sentimental about the old Grenadier... you never forget your first car, your first girl, or your first million... but it's way behind the curve, today.
  17. Surprises me not in the least. D&D miniatures have always been all about the GAME, not about presentation. They are intended for moving around on maps and tabletops, not for artistic expression. Hell, I'm almost surprised they actually released a line of PAINTS, except that they're counting on the idea of "Official D&D Paint For Official D&D Miniatures" to call out to the game players, the ones who want the D&D experience, and aren't familiar with the greater scope of the hobby. Back in the day, only reason I bought Grenadier minis is because they were the official D&D minis at the time. Said so on the box. I'd have bought official D&D paints, if there'd been such a thing. But paints are necessary. At this point, they ain't GOT as far as basing. And might not EVER, considering they're using colored renders to push the product, instead of actual painted examples of product. Basing is for ARTISTS. Y'know, people who paint minis professionally, or even semi profesionally. Who's going to think of adding digital basing to a digital paint job?
  18. Star Wars has returned from the dead more than once. On the other hand, that might make it more of a zombie than a miracle. I wasn't crazy about The Force Awakens; pretty much everything to do with Han Solo was depressing as all hell. Harrison Ford simply can't do the things he used to do, and I winced every time Chewbacca did anything, because I knew Peter Mayhew was, at the time, a rather creaky fellow as well. Frankly, I enjoyed the parts of the movie WITHOUT the original cast more than I did the parts WITH. The Last Jedi did not excite me. Again, it was more depressing than exciting, on multiple levels; partly due to the plot direction, and partly due to the cast members either dying off or being hounded on social media for some reason, any reason, or no reason. Altogether, I ain't gonna bother seeing the third one in a theatre at all; it'll be on demand soon enough.... in that I'll check it out to satisfy idle curiosity, but I'm not real interested in it. Frankly, there have been other things that I felt were way more true to the Star Wars I grew up with (Star Wars Rebels, for example). I am also thinking of an article I read. In this article, Dad takes Little Girl to ... whatever that Disney Star Wars Land thing is. The one where they sell Coca Cola in spheres, and you can build your own lightsaber. That one. And he discussed the attraction at some length. And as he is describing it, I am struck with a thing that perhaps he did not completely notice.... The attraction has two rides at the moment. Two. We have here a theme park (or part of one) that has all of TWO RIDES in it. Literally EVERYTHING ELSE in Star Wars Land is... shopping. Shopping and taking pictures. You can take pictures of Stormtroopers, aliens, and droids, of which there are apparently plenty wandering around, pictures of the Millenium Falcon, pictures of this wonderful immersive experience.... .... in which you can ride two rides, take pictures, and then wander around shopping for the rest of your visit. Shopping. Literally, almost everything about this whole thing is about buying the merch. Even the "build your own lightsaber" experience revolves around purchasing a $200 collectible prop. I dunno. Perhaps it is magical to those younger than I. But in my case, it feels much more like the extension of a cash cow to the point where they charge you to get in, and then once you're in, they charge you for everything except the air you're breathing, and if they figure out how to take you into space, they'll charge you for the air, too. Cash cow. Perhaps I am too old or too poor, but Star Wars does not hold for me the appeal it once did. Ed, on the other hand, still looks good. Hey, Ed! How ya doin'?
  19. Heavy storms in Denver area RIGHT before rush hour. If either of those two cars... or anyone behind them... had a dashcam, I might end up on the news tonight. If so, and you're watching? Mine's the car right ahead of the collision. You'll recognize it by the REAPER sticker across the back window.
  20. Grump, yer startin' to irritate me. Not because you're particularly irritating, and not because I disagree with you, but because your reasoning is entirely too plausible, despite the fact that you don't attract a new audience by burning down the old theatre. Particularly the ones who LIKED the old supporting cast and the Old Mage. Or as a preacher of my acquaintance put it, "You don't get the dog to get rid of the old bone by yanking it away from him. You get him to drop the old bone by offering him a nice fresh juicy steak bone, something BETTER. Yanking it away from him is a good way to get bit." Grrr.
  21. There is a word... several words, actually... for "attempting to sell a thing that I cannot actually provide to you upon payment of funds." The kindest of these words is "fraud."
  22. I will rephrase myself for accuracy's sake. "Bad enough they threatened to hire someone else to write Drizz't novels if Bob Salvatore wouldn't play ball, and that much WORSE that they said, 'we're doing a time skip to introduce Fourth Edition, so you have to kill your entire supporting cast except Drizz't, because he's the one who sells the books, and we own the character and we say so,' but I can only imagine what it must be like to be told "Find a way to bring the supporting cast back to life, the fans are rioting." I felt bad for Ed Greenwood, too; they really put Elminster through the wringer for Fourth Edition, as well. It's almost like someone upstairs felt that making these characters suffer horribly would somehow improve sales. And for the sake of dragging us back to the topic, I wonder when we'll get a new Elminster miniature? I sure didn't expect Ezmerelda and Van Richten, and they've done two different Minsc and Boo figures by now...
  23. Picked up the giant octopus and some sprites this afternoon. Was glad to see that the FLGS has cut back on the D*D stuff to make room for Reaper Bones Black. Frankly, there's more Bones that I want than there is D&D unpainted.
  24. Today, in my own living room, Sheldon the Marmalade Cat is trotting from the front door sun puddle to the back door. Pocky notices this, and moves for a perpendicular intercept from the dining table, using the loveseat and a cardboard box for cover. As Sheldon is trotting through the room, Pocky wiggles his butt and launches forward, leaping through the air over the cardboard box. He misunderestimates, and instead lands IN the cardboard box with a loud thump, startling Sheldon, who rockets past towards the back door. At that point, taken by surprise, I said, "BLAAAAHAHAHA*gak*HAHAHA*coughcoughcough*HAAHAA HAAAAAAA!" This startled the crap out of the discombobulated Pocky who erupts from the cardboard box and runs AWAY from me, up the stairs, and rockets down the upstairs hallway. Realizing the hobby room door is shut, he slams on the brakes. Too late. He is on one of the Ruglets, which carries him forward as he backscrabbles frantically. He pancakes into the door. "BLAAAAHAHAHAHAHA*gakcoughcoughcough*HAHAHAHA!" Pocky gives me a dirty look. And both Sheldon and She Who Dances With Mouselings come into the living room to see what has possessed me, while an irritated Pocky trots down the stairs, hops on the loveseat, and begins frantically washing his butt. Yes, I actually hurt myself, laughing at the cat.
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