Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Modeling Advantage

Blood Angel Razorback conversion
Depending on your playing group you may have heard accusations of 'modelling for an advantage' before.
For those that haven't or those that don't know the meaning of the phrase I'll briefly explain.
The term is generally used to describe conversions and usually for larger models like vehicles or monsterous creatures.

Its meaning is rather clear, it is the suggestion or accusation that you converted the model in such a way that improves its abilities in play when compared to the standard/official model (if there is one).

I've seen several examples of this over the years, this can even be simply things such as:
* Modelling Chapter Master Gabriel Seth on a 40mm (terminator) base rather than his usual 25mm (standard) base so that he causes more hits when he uses his Whirldwind of Gore ability that strikes all models in base contact (maximum of eight rather than six).
* Extending the barrels of weapons to extend the range, since vehicle weapon range is measured from the end of the barrel.

More complicated ideas are more common as the base change above isn't likely to even be considered a conversion. It would still be considered 'modelling for an advantage' however.
Take the pictured example above, this conversion was done by a friend of mine to give his Blood Angel Razorbacks an unique feel when he changed his list from Rhino's to Razorbacks (not to mention wishing to avoid losing the work he put into painting the rear hatch).
Yet going by the model some may claim he is modelling for an advantage. The reasoning?
Unlike the official razorback model, his one can easily have more than 50% hidden behind a building and thus gain a cover save while firing the weapon and only having its front armour visible. For a standard Razorback you'd either need cover of the right height to hide the vehicle or have your front behind the building and your rear sticking out because of the guns position. In addition he would gain a few extra inches of range over the standard model when shooting in front.

There can be many solutions to this problem, depending on the model and the players. Since my friend wasn't actually after an advantage and it is still a standard rhino is size, we simply measure line of sight and range as if the weapon was in the normal official models position. Similarly you can house rule that the above Gabriel Seth idea has a cap of six hits no matter his base size.

Sometimes things are not as easy, especially with heavily done conversions. Here GW has thrown a bit of a curveball with the new releases coming up, primarily the fierce looking Tervigon.
Quite a few Tyranid players have converted themselves a Tervigon since they are so impressive in play and most of the conversions I've seen have been remodelled Carnifex's, yet now an official model is coming out we see the real thing is much larger, both in that it uses the larger base (one used by Valkyries, Storm Raven's, Razorwing Jetfighters etc) and is taller. So while they obviously can't be accused of modelling to an advantage since there was no official model to compare their conversions to at the time, these Tyranid players still have an advantage due to the smaller model (hiding from line of sight, gaining cover etc).
Similarly it seems that Fenrisian Wolves use 40mm bases and may be larger than expected, which may bother a friend of mine who has been using fantasy wolf models on fantasy cavalry bases (I'll agree these are likely less used than Tervigons but the point is there).
There are some solutions, such as rebasing old Tervigon/Wolf conversions on the larger base with some base scenery that ups their height near that of the official model etc, but will that do the job enough to appease everyone?
Do you think the average player would complain about the use of such old models now the official ones are out? What about tournament play where things like the Tervigon size may be highly important?
Personally I'd be hard pressed, as my main passion is for modelling and mild conversions I'd be reluctant to disallow something someone has worked hard for, yet unless they have redone and base etc I'd still feel somewhat cheated to have it in play since I'm also a bit of a stickler for rules...

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Rogue Trader

Chances are many of you have heard of, if not played, one of Fantasy Flight Games Warhammer 40,000 RPGs, whether Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader, Deathwatch or Black Crusade.

I'll avoid general introductions in that case and start by saying over the last week or so I've been delving through an array of Rogue Trader books preparing for a campaign.

In the past I have only ever ran a single Dark Heresy game and never actually played in any of the games. In truth my opinion at the time wasn't high.
Partly I simply wanted to get away from Dungeons and Dragons and found to rules too similar for my liking (I'm fairly sure this is intentional and a benefit to most players), partly I simply missed the excitement and wonderful atmosphere of combat in the old Inquisitor system and partly because, while Fantasy Flight Games are fantastic at background, settings and 40k accuracy they seem to lack something in rule writing..

Don't get me wrong, the games are good, fun to play and well worth writing!
Thing is, I'm most certainly above average when it comes to analysing system rules. I've organised and ran countless RPG campaigns as Games Masters, Arbitrators and whatever other titles systems give and have thus been heavily involved in figuring the workings of the rules. Moreso since unlike some DM's I tend to heavily plan scenarios and prepare for all possible outcomes, so that my notes end up being overly extreme and detailed. On top of that I write and design rules for a Live Action Roleplay system and have been doing so for years.
My point is, I know what to look for and have a good eye for detail, not to mention too much spare time to spend going through books figuring things out.

Now I'm returning to try Rogue Trader and while I've picked up a few peculiar factors in the books which I plan to house-rule my way around things look to be good.
Most of the group haven't done a forum based game before, so progress'll be slow but hopefully fun. Luckily as a forum based game, I can sort most of the rule parts myself sorting out ways around small rule bits, although I do plan to hold true to the main rules heavily as much as possible.

The main hiccup was sorting a way to run a group without a Rogue Trader, Navigator or Astropath without such NPC's taking power away from the players. It took a bit of time but we're there and ready to start!

Wish us luck and feel free to give us any advice on the game, or comment on my words here as always.

P.s. I know its been a week since I claimed to have returned, let us add 'major computer issues' near of my list as to why I way away and follow that with my buying an entirely new PC very recently.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

I'm Back

My apologies for being away for a number of months, things bounced from bad to bad for awhile and although things are still a fair distance from good I've decided I should still do things.

Why was I away?
Take your pick, they all applied at some point: Illness, depression, other things vying for my time, stress over xmas shopping, reduced interest in the game, foolishly putting off returning due to being behind etc.

What was I up to?
Aside from moping and hiding away from the world which seemed to be an on/off background activity at times I was caught up with sorting xmas (it was the first one I'd taken someone seriously in many years) and of course working on an evolution/update for a local LARP system I help organise and run. Believe me, such rule updates aren't as easy as some people think.

While my interest had dropped a bit as mentioned above, this is mostly due to friends cancelling games at the last minute, my inability/unwillingness to play local strangers much and other things acting as distractions.
I didn't totally pull from the hobby, just the gaming side (and blog too unfortunately). Hobby-wise I've been doing alright, I've started some ground-work on painting my Imperial Guard, picked up a few new models to work on (Coteaz, Stormlord, Crassus etc) as well as a number of bits for an array of projects.
I've also made a little work completing my Warhammer fantasy army and lastly, I've started preparation for GMing a forum-based game of Rogue Trader with a number of friends which should be fun.

What have I missed?
Quite a bit it seems, from a somewhat-anti-GW article in a foreign magazine to a great deal of rumours that have been bouncing around all over the place, but that last is no surprise although the 'leaked 6th edition rulebook' could be (depending on how legit you think it is). Plus more importantly a fair number of Forgeworld releases including books.
I'll try posting more soon, but for now.. I'm back.