Monday, 19 December 2016

A few words

Whilst I am filled with carpaccio of beef, raw garlic and bloody good red wine, let me use it as an excuse to say that I love and respect all of you whom I have known since I was but a youth, and although some of you may think I hold you in disdain, I will say on the record that it is not the case, and that its my way of coping. You have all played your part in my life and I'm grateful and pleased to know you.

To my DS3 and latterly FB friends I will say that I do indeed think of you as friends. Coming from someone who only interacts with people whom I find interesting, please reflect and accept my hand.

And those of you who have got inside my defences since my forays into gaming in 1980 both as peers and GW 'untouchables' ( you know who you are) will probably know me well enough to know that you are as close as anyone in my blood family. Indeed some of you were regulars at the family manse in the 80s and are every bit my brothers and sisters. Some of you in SWS may also on reflection appreciate the part you played and play in my life, whether you realised it until now.

Thanks all, for being who you are. 2016 has been crappy, but 2017 looms large.

Sunday, 11 December 2016


If anyone has a copy of the old 'Encounter 2' sci-fi skirmish rules by Starfleet Studies or TTG, and would sell them to me for £10, please drop me a line.


Friday, 9 December 2016

A Change In Scales

As is now pretty obvious, I'm as addicted to railway modelling these days as I am wargaming, so it will come as no surprise to hear that I have this morning, just commissioned two new shelf layouts from my 'go to' builder, Steve Hornsey.

As usual I am looking for something different and so, this time I have decided on narrow gauge 009 scale, which in short is OO scale scenics but track which is, in all but the spacing of the sleepers (if you use 'proper' 009 stuff) N scale.

The first layout is going to be set inside the walls of a distillery, and the entire groundwork will be cobbled with the rails set into it - something that Steve portrays really well. It has a lot of potential for nice scenery and vignettes as materials, barrels to be filled and filled barrels being moved down to the road transport sheds.

The second layout will be set in the 1920s on the estate of a member of the gentry. It will feature his Lordship's private station, engine and carriage shed and then at the other end of the layout the loading dock for estate livestock as well as  small inbound goods shed for delivery of large goods from the local mainline station to the estate. The top right line will vanish behind the back scene representing the link out from the estate, to the local main line station.

Again, there's a lot os cope here for some nice vignettes and slices of 'Downton' and 'Wodehouse'.

Both are constrained to 6 feet by 1 foot to sit on my studio walls and will as always be fully automated and wired for digital control using my NCE Powercab system.

Also, as normal I'll be doing the bulk of the scenic work and I will of course post pics of it progressing.


Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Sheffield Wargames Society Committee Change

The AGM of SWS was held on 23 November 2016

An entirely new committee was elected as follows:

Chairman - Tim Gow

Secretary - John Armatys

Treasurer - Graham Northing

Show Secretary - Pete Scholey

Publicity Officer - Cy Harrison

It has been speculated that there is a high probability of  a show returning to Sheffield. My personal guess would be 2018 at a smaller venue, lasting one day. It can be seen that for the most part, this new committee could be seen as progressive and 'safe pairs of hands' and I for one, wish them well in their endeavours.

Monday, 5 December 2016

So Long To 2016... PLEASE!

I am really beginning to think that the sooner 2016 is out of the way the better.

Real life keeps rubbing up against my hobbies in a none to friendly manner, and I confess it's beginning to really piss me off.

Exactly a week ago now my wife's car was hit on the M1 between Leeds and Sheffield by a large articulated truck delivering to Aldi, which, carried her 100 or so yards along the motorway, spinning her sideways and depositing her into (and thankfully there was one) the hard shoulder.

The driver accepted responsibility at the scene, and the police informed my wife that they did not expect her to be found alive, but, thankfully she was saved by being in a Skoda Yeti. She spent the next day at the hospital and was not brain damaged, nor was she a 'walk talk, die' case, but she is internally battered about and quite severely whiplashed.

Let me tell you, relieved at her survival is not the world.

And so, as she was not fit to make it on Saturday and had to also deal with the paperwork for upcoming court case, I went to a wargames show on my own for the first time since I was 12, and made the journey to Pudsey by train on for Recon, a show I had thought long extinct. It was a nice parochial show with a good vibe, but I tell you, I was lonely. I had never quite fully realised just how much my wife's company contributed to the basic enjoyment of my hobby. I'll not voluntarily repeat that.

I was in low mood, still contemplative and certainly not conversational with the few people I conversed with. I left after 2 hours which is no reflection of the show.

I must state for the record that Recon is back on my radar. £6.30 got me in to the show, an excellent sausage sandwich and a large, fresh cup of coffee, so that even with my return train fares, I spent under £20.

My only critical comment would be that the organisers should cut down on the number of re-sellers peddling the same two or three ranges and trying to cute their profits to get a sale.

On a personal note, I have managed to contract a respiratory infection which was exacerbated by a day of travelling in the cold, when I was already a little frayed. Now, 10 days before I close for Christmas I am trying to work against the clock whilst being in rather severe discomfort.

To cap what was frankly a shitty week, I was informed the other day that an old gaming buddy had passed away. We wee both about the same age, band although we were pretty good mates in the mid 80s, the late 80s saw us go our own ways after an event which I could not forgive until about 2011. We last met whilst at the Christmas 2014 gig by former Marillion front man 'Fish', where we hugged, wished each other Merry Christmas and called each other names in good humour. Paul's last words to me were 'Merry Christmas you miserable old bastard.'

Those words I will always recall with a smile.

I wish that we could have undone the knot that was tied a quarter of a century earlier, because I think that things would have been so much different. A mutual friend told me at the weekend that Paul would have given anything for it to never have taken place. So would I.

It's funny how you just carry on with arguments and grudges so often, until something causes them to be put into actual context. I have focussed for so long on the dark part of what transpired, but on the up side, without that, I'd have not in a roundabout way have met my wife, raised a daughter or written a book.

Rest in peace Paul, and if we do meet again, let's talk more...


Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Screaming Mob Miniatures Goes Live


I am pleased to announce that Screaming Mob Miniatures has finally launched.

The original sculpts were done back in 2013, but the realisation has been a long process due to my other commitments as a writer and miniature painter.

Now, I am turning more of my time over to the manufacture of figures with the launch of the multi-genre Cultists range which in the initial release will allow you to field a theoretical 500+ variants, armed with everything from clubs to heavy support lasers.

What's more there's a brilliant Grand Master borne aloft on a palanquin by two of his devoted followers.

Heads are supplied at random with every pack, but we have also had two special head sprues created to allow you to portray your models with Plague Doctor masks or with the brazen features of followers of the tentacle-faced god.

Remember that the first 50 packs sold in each code are discounted by 30% in what is known as the 'Mobstarter' promotion.

And to top it off, Chris Nicholls over at Macrocosm, has produced a one-off limited edition which will go to everyone who orders £50 or more during the duration of the 'Mobstarter' promotion.

You can see a pic of the model over at the Dear Tony Blair blog, curated by the godlike David Wood, here:
We have given David the honour (no matter how dubious) of unveiling it, because frankly, we love his blog, here at Cult H.Q!

You can see the range and place an order at

Remember, once each code reaches 50 packs, the price will increase, so this is your chance to bag a real bargain.

Next planned releases are cultists carrying bows and crossbows, to round it all out very nicely.

Thank to all our supporters and especially to Chris Nicholls of Macrocosm Miniatures - - who has done sterling work to bring the project to fruition.


Tuesday, 15 November 2016

LARGE Dwarven Forge Collection

I am looking for a new home for my Dwarven Forge collection The best laid plans of mice and me, and all that.

Carrying them up and down two flights of stairs, with arthritis and the sheer time taken to put it all away means I am now looking at other ways of portraying sprawling dungeons.

The price is £2000 for the lot.

Alternatively I would part exchange for painted figures of any type or scale, as long as they are in army sized formations.

I'd also consider a part ex on a large collection of Traveller RPG suff (classic A5 books)

I'd certainly take a full set of Grenadier AD&D boxed mini sets as 50% in part exchange

I'd be a looking at 50% cash to goods for part exchange.

Classic Painted

2 x Catacombs set
1 x Catacombs Set 2
2 x Den Of Evil room set
1 x Den Of Evil expansion set
1 x Den Of Evil Additions set
 2 x Realm Of The Ancients set
2 x Realm Of The Ancients Set 2
1 Room & Passage Set
4 x Narrow straight passages1 x Traps set 2
2 x Torch walls
4 x wide dead ends
1 x wooden ramp with stone boulder
2 x sets of urns and pots
2 x walls with pits
2 x narrow right angled passages
4 x half wall passages
4 x medium flat cavern rocks

Dwarvenite Painted

5 x Dungeon Starter
2 x Narrow dungeon Passage sets
1 x Cavern set
1 x Cavern floor set
1 x Narrow cavern passages set
1 x Cavern wicked additions set
1 x Ice cavern set
1 x Ice Wyrm
1 x Diagonal passage set
1 x Chasm pack
1 Stair and dais pack
1 x Dungeon dressing pack
1 x Ancient TReasures set
1 x Dungeon floors pack
2 x Sewer sets
1 x Cavern lake set
1 x Mushroom set

Dwarvenite UNPAINTED

2 x Dungeon Starter
2 x Chamber of Sorrows sets
1 x cavern set

Friday, 4 November 2016

50,000 Visitors & Counting

Just a very quick message to say thank you to you all for taking the time to visit the blog.

Today I smashed the 50,000 visits mark.


Saturday, 29 October 2016

Of Family Connections & Their Influence On The Hobby

Before gaming there was comics, LEGO, Airfix plastic soldiers, model kits and trains.

Well, there was for me at least, but I suspect that those of us in this hobby of around shall we say 'mid century' in age pretty much followed similar if not identical roots.

The supply of comics was the domain of Dad and maternal Grandad, who between them pretty much filled my week with at least comic every day, including from memory; Whizzer & Chips, The Beano, The Dandy, The Eagle, Battle, Action, Starlord, 2000AD, Warlord and the Commando, War Picture Library / Battle Picture Library and Starblazer full length mini-comics.

Generally, Dad was the supplier of model kits with a simple system of calculation based on 'number of weeks without pocket money = kit purchase of higher value than the amount racked up between 1 and 3 weeks'. Dad also picked up the tab for my White Dwarf magazines from 1981, which was rather splendid and even got the local newsagent to source and deliver them, when no newsagents stocked them.

That said, I never owned a single Star Wars toy because my parents thought them a waste of money.

My paternal grandmother ('Grandma') did take me to see Star Wars though on one of her visits from Mordor where she had moved with my Grandad Hides because of his work as a draughtsman with G.E.C (he was involved earlier with the English Electric 'Lightning' b.t.w). It was Penwortham in Lancashire, but to me a good Yorkshire lad it was Mordor. They just didn't speak the Common Tongue and lived in barbarous isolation over there...

My Grandma did me wrong once when she bought me a football kit, well several actually, but I was a dreamer and sport was not for me. However, it was she who taught me to tie laces by making me learn to fasten my football boots, and the goalkeepers gloves she bought me, did allow me to walk downstairs using the walls, thus avoiding creaky stair boards at Easter, Christmas and on my birthday, so she can be forgiven.

A family rift (never discussed, but I have a bloody good idea through some investigation and deduction  - thank you Civil Service for training me to investigate and data sift ) meant thay I became estranged from my paternal grandparents until the late 80s, which I resent and mourn to this day. I was responsible for getting them back together but it was not long before my Grandma passed away. Today all I have of hers, is her bible. I am not religious, but I dare anyone to get me to part with that.

My Grandad Hides was a talented but somewhat cold individual. He was not really built for sociability and with the exception of a fishing rod (a turning point in our relationship, and not a good one, which is covered in my book 'Real Life's A Bu**er) and repairing some broken Subbuteo players, (yes despite not liking sport I loved table football) he was a minor figure in my toy infested childhood.

Grandad Hides passed away in the early 2000s, and as I have grown older I have understood his mannerisms a little better as I see them in myself to a degree.

My maternal grandfather 'Grandad' indulged me with toy soldiers - as did all my family with one exception and he told me stories. I paid him tribute in a previous post on this blog, because simply put I didn't show him how important he was in his last years, when running Dungeons & Starships became my sole focus, because , and I say this with candour - I was a proper wanker. I was such a wanker that I did not go to his funeral in the late 90s, because I could not be drawn from my failing store.

NEVER, put your games before your loved ones. It's not clever, it's not going to give you 'cred', but it will get you loathed by the rest of your family and will cause you trauma in later life. And you'll be as big a wanker as I was.

My maternal grandmother ,'Nan', was responsible for the majority of my OO railway stuff, lots of LEGO and plastic kits and soldiers.

It was she who could always be coaxed into Games Workshop (unlike my parents who thought it a waste of time, which would get me nowhere.. Who's laughing now eh?) and who bought me a lot of my early rule sets, most notably the 'Bodycount' Vietnam war rules for £3.95 from the selection that GW Sheffield stocked. What's more she put up with my youthful ramblings about Knights, claymore mines, dragons, hit points and all that jazz...

In recent years though, I have been somewhat estranged from her after an altercation over a dispute between her and my daughter about 3 or 4 years ago. I remained cordial, but after she called me 'evil', I vowed I'd never set foot in her house again. We talked on the phone or doorstep, but like the wanker I can be, I kept my word. I may be a wanker, but I am a wanker with principles.

Nearly 3 weeks ago, my Nan suffered multiple strokes, aged 94. When I visited her in hospital, I was shocked at how small and birdlike she looked. Surely this was not the woman who grounded me for a fortnight at 16, or who in a fit of rage almost knocked me off my feet with a flurry of slaps which raised my normally placid Grandad to absolute rage. This surely wasn't my Nan who did more than anyone to encourage my gaming during my youth? It was.

Last night, I sat at her bedside and apologised for being a poor Grandson, said the Lord's Prayer , held her hand and wished she would find the strength to simply 'let go'.

My Nan, my direct conduit to so many memories tied up with my hobby, passed away today.

Friday, 28 October 2016

I Failed My Spelling Test

Last weekend after a personally harrowing week, I needed to really kick back and so, attended the 'Out Of This World' event in Sheffield, wearing my Death Eater (Harry Potter) costume.

It was great to see families and kids in particular meeting their favourite heroes and villians and being able to interact with them.

The highlight for me, was when this young lady (see below) playing Ginny Weasley, saw me walking towards her across Sheffield Peace Gardens, detached herself from her puzzled Dad, surged down the steps they were descending and shouted 'EXPELLIARMUS!' before I could even draw my wand from my belt.

A Death Eater was taken down by a Hogwarts First Year.

Oh the Ignominy...

Her Dad took the following photo and apparently, she was talking about the encounter for the rest of the day.

Mission accomplished, I'd say.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Of Screaming Mobs & Cheap Figures

Screaming Mob Miniatures aims to bring fun, varied and affordable miniatures in traditional metal, to those of you who want to not just be able to play a skirmish game, but also field armies of 28mm warriors, thugs and ne'er-do-wells without selling a vital organ or making dark pacts with nameless gods. (Although, we would never discourage you from the latter!)

Screaming Mob may be new, but is built upon the firm foundations of it's sister businesses Conflict In Colour and S.N.A.F.U Scenics.

I am a veteran gamer of almost 4 decades at the time of writing and I'm also the author of the well received gaming memoir 'Real Life's A Bu**er - A Tale Of Sex, Dragons And Rock 'N' Roll'. In the 1990s I also ran the Sheffield branch of the Dungeons & Starships chain of stores, so I have 'seen the elephant' as it were.

I harken back to a time before blister packs and slotta bases, where  the models mattered more than the packaging. With that in mind, I am taking a very firm stance on the matter of 'frippery'.

Simply put, I am not going to waste your money on fancy packaging and graphics, because every penny I spend on such, will inevitably be passed on to you the customer, and that's not the way I play.

The initial releases will be a range of over 50 rabid Cultists, with weapon variants a-plenty and separate randomly supplied heads. This will mean that you can buy models armed to suit your tech level or game setting but, moreover you will be able to field potentially an army with hundreds of variations.

If these go down as well as I think they deserve to, I'll add some more packs as well as more head variants which may include some tongue in cheek pieces, 'just because'.

Beyond that, I have plans which are firmly rooted in the Old School camp which I don't want to disclose quite yet, but which I am sure will be of interest to most gamers who remember a time before spiky and gothic, became the norm.

And so, to 'MOBSTARTER'

The original  plan was to utilise the Kickstarter funding platform to launch the range with a 20% discount on the final RRP once the range was up and running.

But, wait a minute...

If I did that, I'd be paying them 10% and  you, the customer would see exactly the same product.

So, what seemed the best way to go forward was to use a pre-order sytem, selling direct, and ofering a 30% discount on the final RRP...


This will work very simply:

You place a pre order in the store, and, get rewarded with a nice discount by way of a thank you for helping to bring a pack of figures to production. Once the required figure is reached, the moulds go into production, you receive the first of the models from the moulds and then the pack goes on sale generally at the full price.

What's more, I'll put a 'Thank You' page up on the site where your name will be revered in all it's glory, so that all may see you were a backer.

I'll also put some deals up in very limited numbers for certain groupings of packs, bought in bulk. These will be even better value and in some cases, will be enough to launch aseveral packs on their own. If anyone selects one of these deals, the figures will go into production and anyone who has already pledged their support will get their models in the same way.

Watch this space for details of the website, coming soon...

Friday, 14 October 2016

It Was All The Fault Of A Frenchman...

Yesterday was a busy day....

I took delivery of two shipments of Dwarven Forge scenery. The first was all older stuff from those fine people at Spirit Games whilst the larger shipment was from Dwarven Forge Europe comprising 9 large sets including 7 limited edition sets, and a single smaller set.

Alas, as previously none of the 5 limited edition sets contained their numbered certificates, so I've had to get in touch with Dwarven Forge in the U.S to ask them to remedy this situation. I am now at the 41 large set mark and about 20 of the small peripheral extras, so I am most certainly at the level where I can get the display game up and running.

I couldn't get time to open them as straight after a hard day of painting 1/1200th aircraft, I had to get on a train in the afternoon to go to Leeds where I was to be entertained by one Mnsr. J M Jarre in person.

Now I have always loved Leeds. It used to have a branch of 'Games Of Liverpool' and I did a good bit of my carousing with friends there at the 'Phono' which was a subterranean nightclub for Goths and Cloggies and all of that stripe, slap bang in the middle of the Merrion Centre...

Alas, it is no more...

The patch of lighter tiles near the column mark the grave as it were.

Leeds, you are a lover and a bitch in equal measure!

Anyway, I met up with my wife who works in Leeds and we set off to be entertained by J-M.J. And entertained we were, with some bloody amazing sounds, complimented with a 3D light and laser show. This was not a 'gig' this was a piece of performance art!

We crawled into bed at 2:15 this morning, and as a result I finally got to open my Dwarven Forge goodies at 10AM - And it's all the fault of a (very talented) Frenchman.

Now I have 24 hours to recover before we are of to see Bad Company, again in Leeds. It's a gruelling thrash of a life...


Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Intervention May Really Be Required

I've just ordered some more Dwarven Forge dungeon sets, bringing my set total to 39.

I really believe that this is indeed an addiction, and I need to slow down. Lord only knows how large a layout I can build, but it must be over 40 square feet of 28mm dungeon.

And what's worse, I can still think of stuff to add.

Sunday, 2 October 2016


Ok, here's hoping that someone reading this blog, can help me in finding the old Grenadier Miniatures 'Solid Gold Line' of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons miniatures.

I will pay £25 - £60 depending on whether I'm buying a small or large box.

I'll pay via Paypal and will cover shipping from anywhere in the world to the U.K

These are the sets I am seeking:

Monday, 26 September 2016

Damn You, Games Workshop!

Alright, I know I was the first paying member of the public in Games Workshop, Sheffield, back when all was sun, fun and Thatcher, but over the years I drifted away, because - and let's be candid here - they became like the embarrassing uncle at the family party. They, knew the music, but the dance was all wrong...

No, let's be honest again, they started producing some shite.

I was never really comfortable with Warhammer 40,000 (it wasn't '40K' back then) and the later, even darker background felt like a tight collar at a Summer funeral. I id however love the Imperial Army, Harlequins and the Genestealer Cults.

The Genestealer Cults had a certain fascination, in that here were parasitic aliens, interbreeding with humans, and the human and hybrid offspring showing the same love and affection to these bug eyed monsters as they might a kindly human grandfather. Ok, I guess you'd have to think twice about the Werthers candies in the case of the bug eyed monster, but I reckon that you get my drift.

They were splendidly creepy.

And then, like the Squats, the futuristic take on the Dwarf (and pretty reasonable when you think about high gravity worlds) they vanished.

Until now...

This Saturday sees the proper return of the Genestealer Cults, with a more rounded background, but still it seems, all of the things that were good in the original, as well as some new troop types and what appear to be converted heavy plant and mining vehicles.

And so, drawn like a salmon to an angler's fly, this sad old man, took the bait and got hooked to the tune of £190, which I hope will take care of the majority of the army to be honest. I'm not in love with GW, it's more akin to metaphorically sleeping with an 'ex' for old time's sake. Yes GW, you have hurt me bad over the years, but you shook that booty and a spark took hold.

Only time will reveal if we can be friends again.

Anyway, I made my purchase with Element Games who offer great service and a sound discount on most products, and whilst I was there I also ordered a set of cave scenery (Caverns Of The Underdark) which is produced pre-painted by Gale Force 9 for the D&D game. But, I intend to use it to vary my Dwarven Forge terrain as it is studded with purple crystals and dank purple pools, which will do nicely for a mine.

Hey, and aren't the Genestealer Cultists miners too?

What a fortuitous purchase...


Sunday, 25 September 2016

Clerics For Warhammer 1st Edition

Clerics in WHFB 1st Ed

Clerics are essentially the militant priests of whatever benign or malignant god they serve.

Clerics Must always select WS as their primary skill and always have a BS 

Clerics may wear any armour, use shields but may not used weapons with a bladed edge or stabbing point in combat.

As Clerics draw their power direct from their deity, they do not expend energy to cast spells. They do however, need to test for fumbled spells. Failure has no other effect than the spell failing, primarily because their patron god is not watching them at the time, or is chasing a comely nymph whilst sipping draught ambrosia.

Clerics may use a mix of standard and necromantic spells.

The spells available to Clerics are as follows:

Level 1

Cure Light Injury
Bless Sword
Magic Light
Hold Undead

Level 2

Aura Of Steadfastness
Cure Severe Wound
Banish Undead (Necromantic)

Level 3

Banish Undead (Magic User)
Walk On Water

Level 4

Restore Life

In addition, Clerics may petition their god to perform a miracle. To do this roll 2d6 on any double apart from double 1 their request is granted, but loses all spell abilities for the rest of the day. On a roll of double 1, the Cleric loses one spell of their choice permanently.

Only one request may be made per day (game session if fighting a tabletop game). A miracle may be something such as:

‘Oh mighty Zoink, deliver me and my companions to a place of safety’

'Oh Greblord The Sarcastic, raise this corpse to life again’

'Oh mighty Arkwright…’ Well, you get the idea - something that’s miraculous.

Thieves In Warhammer 1st Edition

I've been looking at the use of first edition Warhammer Fantasy BAttle for dungeon skirmishing. The rules are basically sound, but you only have the choice of Fighters or MAgic Users.

With this in mind I've begun to work on additional classes to give variety and a more traditional feel to games.

First up, I offer you the Thief class.

You will see that I've split the skills into two groups. This is because a player has to choose whether they are primarily melee or ranged combat specialists, with one being higher. This also allows two distinct styles of thief class to be catered for.

Thieves for WHFB 1st ed

Thieves use WS to ‘roll to hit’ for successful use of the following thief skills:
Fade into background
Climb sheer surface

BS is used for the following skills:
Pick locks
Disarm or arm trap
Secure grapnel
Locate trap

Fade into background: The thief blends in with the surroundings and may make a single move without being seen or heard.

Back stab: The thief must be to the side or rear of the target, roll to hit  ONCE as normal and then roll again for the back stab attempt, If the backs stab is successful then damage is equal to the WS of the thief, with no saving throw.

Dodge: This skill is used to dodge an attack. If a successful attack is made, the thief may elect to attempt to dodge away at the last moment. If cornered, this may be a better option than relying on armour.

Climb sheer surface: A thief may climb a vertical or horizontal distance along a sheer surface at half normal movement rate. The test is required each turn or the thief will fall taking falling damage as per the main rules. A roll of 6 will negate the need to take a test on the following turn.

Pick locks: A thief may attempt to pick a lock. If they fail, they may try again in following turns but their BS is reduced by 1, on each consecutive attempt. No movement may be undertaken in the turn this ability is used.

Disarm or arm trap: This allows the thief to disarm a trap that they are aware of, or re-arm a trap already disarmed after the party has passed it safely. Nome movement may be undertaken in the turn this skill is used.

Locate trap: The thief will be able to locate any traps within 6 inches. No movement may be undertaken in the turn this skill is used.

Secure grapnel: This allows a thief to firmly set a rope and grapnel in place to allow other party members to climb a vertical surface, making a test as if they were a thief climbing a sheer surface. A thief using a grapnel may climb making a single test failing only on a 1 for the duration of the climb.

A thief may attempt any of the above once per turn but may not perform a normal melee or ranged attack (back stab is the exception as a normal attack is made, then a test to see if the back stab attempt is successful) . Test against weapon skill. Thief skills may be used at any point in a turn unless otherwise noted.

Thieves may only use light armour, and no shields.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Anybody Looking For 28mm Marlburian?

If anyone is interested I have a large, 28mm Spanish WSS army, using Ebor Miniatures...

£320.00 which is a heck of a saving...

Would consider trades for 'Grenadier Gold Line' AD&D miniature sets from the 80s.

12 x Infantry regiments (18 figs)

2 x Guard infantry regiments (18 each)

3 x Dragoon Regiments (12 horses and 12 riders each)

5 x Horse regiments (as above)

1 x Garde Du Corps regiment (as above)

2 x Guns each with 4 crew

12 12 Send me a message if interested
(1) Spanish Garde Du Corps Cavalry  £23.00 each

Surrounded By Good Things, But The Lurgy Has Me In It's Foul Grip

As I type, I am in the 49th hour of a severe dose of the lurgy which has laid me low with all the symptoms of flu' and, left me feeling like the inside of a Kobold's loincloth at the end of a 12 day forced march whilst under pursuit by the local Ranger's.

I feel like shit...

Two days in a row, I've promised myself I'd take the rest of the week off, and recuperate, but as I have only lost 3 working days to illness since 2011, it's not something I can do easily. Thus, I've slogged on when really I should have stayed tucked up in bed .

And to cap it all off, I just had the great idea of using my coffee machine to get some hot water fast, for my Beecham's Powder, only I forgot to take the previous coffee pod out first, and I am now drinking a remedy which tastes and looks like a urine sample from a Kenco coffee taster who spent last night lashed up on  bottles of 'Hooch'.

Actually, it's not too bad, so if anyone reading this is a coffee taster with a penchant for alcoholic lemonade - get in touch!

Anyway, following my little splurge on 29 sets of Dwarven Forge over the last ten days, I have turned my thoughts to rules and miniatures, with a definite intention to keep it old school where possible.

To this end, I have taken delivery of a pile of Rolemaster books, Warhammer 1st edition and today, a pile of AD&D 1st ed rulebooks with the intention of spending my weekend in a series of hot baths, quaffing Lemsip and hot Vimto, with a box of tissues (for the nose!) and a selection of old rule sets. Come to think of it the tissues are a really good idea, when you think about it.

So, if you will excuse me, I feel the need to sweat and swoon a little more...


Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Cocaine Is A Cheaper Habit - Really

Well, after my splurge on 21 sets of Dwarven Forge scenery last week, my kid brother and I messed about with 3 sets yesterday, and we were really impressed with the look of it...

 The layout below was  about 3 square feet in area:

Anyway, I am really impressed with it and you really can't tell between the older resin stuff and new 'Dwarvenite' stuff.

We also played with the LED lit parts too, and they brought forth 'OOOOOHHHs' and 'SQUEEEEEs' aplenty.

Anyway, this lunchtime, another 4 sets arrived and I'm planning on another 4 this week. Then I think another 6-9 will finish things nicely.

I can confirm for the record that in comparison, cocaine is cheaper and less addictive by an order of magnitude.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

At The Edge...

I am an unashamed lover of all things 80s as is probably, exceedingly, obvious by now.

After my recent epistle on the wonders of the toy and game stores we had in Sheffield, I was reflecting on what else I was being opened up to at the time I really got a handle on the whole gaming thing.

I think it was late ’79 to early ’81 where I started to musically awaken as well as exponentially broaden my mind with the possibilities of fantasy and science fiction beyond the Saturday morning TV cavalcade and the seeming mountain of sci-fi and action comics that I partook of every week.

I think it really all began with Adam & The Ants… OK, they looked pretty camp on reflection and with 35+ years of hindsight, but look, they were different and they had a sound which was different to most. There is a case, of course for drawing comparisons with  Bow Wow Wow, but given that both bands were Malcolm McLaren proteges, that’s hardly surprising.

One thing which has stood out during my musings is that I was from this point, no matter how much my parents tried to make me conform and control me, no matter how often the so called ‘popular kids’ made my life a misery (and they did. Not your modern idea of bullying, on no, some proper fucking kickings and what can only be described as physical torture) I had music and imaginary worlds to retreat into. Retreat, I did.

I was joined in my musical adventures by Stanny who also shared an interest in gaming once I’d made the decision to share my newly found secrets. His elder brother was a serious heavy rock fan and so we got our hands and ears on some top notch metal. He was also a talented professional artist and it was he who tok some of our first plastic Heritage fantasy miniatures and painted them. They were not a patch on the stuff that we later drooled over when Games Workshop opened, and the skills of Peter Armstrong and Andy Ritson were showcased. Pete was good, but I’m sorry, Andy Ritson took everyone to the cleaners when it came to brushmanship.

Anyway, as we found our feet at secondary school and met new friends from other schools, we fell in with Andy B and Stav. Andy B was the first new contact, and he shared our love of a rather peculiar mix of Peacock Punk (Toyah, BWW, The Ants etc), Rock (Maiden, Deep Purple,Saxon, and a whiff of Sabbath) and Post Punk (P.I.L, Stiff Little Fingers and Exploited). Andy B’s cousin was a few years older and he was a recovering punk, and was part of a group of similar aged hardcore punks who tore up the Thursday lunchtime discos at school.  Our teachers we found could be seriously liberal when not in the class room and with their left wing, anarcho-hippy tendencies we could be sure that amongst the usual sugary pop crap, there would be some cutting edge stuff.

Week after week, we 2nd form types watched from the sidelines as the older punks danced what can only be described as a kind of Redskin war dance backwards. It was called oddly enough and without irony the ‘backward run’ It was a kind of backwards running pogo, with serious spazzing out, but it was awesome to se these guys, dominating the dancefloor for 2 and a half minutes at a time, hurtling around and seeming to be on a collision course only to duck and weave away as if magnetic opposites at the very last second.

Then, one Thursday, Stanny, Andy and I kind of looked at each other, silently agreed upon a course of action and threw ourselves into the storm. Andy nodded to his cousin Sid, who nodded to his mates and we were allowed into the sacred Pow-Wow circle. Then we saw another kid also join in. I vaguely recognised him as being in my year and as one of the ‘In Crowd’ but here he was with the rest of us, as the hall watched on… This was Stav, more of whom, later.

The dance seemed to last for hours, but as ‘At The Edge’ by Stiff Little Fingers is a shake over two and a half minutes, it’s pretty obvious that exhilaration and fear were working their potent alchemy to make time stretch out forever.

Anyway, it ended and although we joined the older lads a couple more times in the coming weeks, it was never quite the same.

We did however start to dance to more stuff, and the popular kids did for a while give us a wide berth as they tried to work out if wisdom dictated a continuation of hostilities. Eventually it was business as usual.

But, Stav sidled up to Stanny and I one day and got talking. I can’t recall how he could have found out, but he said he'd heard we played D&D and did we want to go over to his parent’s house for lunch? We were suspicious of course, because it could be a trap, but Stav was a true closet gamer, it turned out. He was pretty safe from the hard kids as his older brother had ‘form’ and so that made Stav 'off limits' to all out bullying, and besides he could look after himself in a tight spot.

He had some games that we’d not heard of but had not played D&D. Thus it was, that we raced the 250 yards every day to his parents house and either gamed or talked about games whilst eating soup which I swear was like lava, but which could not have been in the pan for more than a minute. Stav was a through and through gamer like Stanny and I, but he made us swear that we would never tell anyone, nor indeed would we discuss our mutual interest at school, but every weekend, every holiday for about three years we got some gaming in, slowly drifting apart as I became more and more involved in the numerous clubs in Sheffield and widened my circle of acquaintances.

It was not just the gaming that Stav was into. He was a massive fan of The Clash, and it was during one of our daily lunchtime sessions that Stav first opened my ears to them when he played ‘London Calling’ and ‘London’s Burning’. At the time I was pretty impressed but I was starting to listen to other stuff such as Haysi Fantayzee (the only kid in the school who did) XTC and Tenpole Tudor, with a smattering of Lene Lovitch. Lord, I was weird… I still am. In later years though I really understood what The Clash were about and whilst I am not a hardcore fan, I confess to having the odd binge on their back catalogue. 

I could go on, but I am tiring tonight, but, it’s amazing how you remember stuff just by looking at a rule book or catalogue. Oh that reminds me ‘EXIT Books’ in Sheffield, a rather run down ‘underground’ book shop. But that will save for another day, I am sure…