Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Brief Intermission

Hello faithful reader,

Though I haven't been updating, things have been moving along nicely with Inquisitor and 40k. Our yearly Necromunda campaign is nearly upon us and I have loads to share.

What sucks the big balls is that grad school is destroying my free time. It all ends for the semester in about a week.

I'll be back soon I love you stay safe.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Everything Old Is New Again

Working on Inquisitor models has had an unexpected side effect. While digging through old boxes for bits, I came face to face with old 40k armies. As work progressed on background and story, it was difficult not to find links to larger forces and conflicts. Eventually, the pull was too strong and models I'd hid away years ago were finally seeing paint and table time.

This occurred at possibly the most opportune time. Jason, the creative blogger of Headwound Minis, just finished up a beautiful Nurgle Chaos Daemons army he played at Adepticon. With a long weekend on the horizon, we made plans to meet up and fight with man dolls!

I make the drive to his place tomorrow afternoon, with my Nurgle Renegades and Heretics in tow. A maelstrom of puss, toxic waste, and pestilence is guaranteed. Who will walk out of it, none can say!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Creating a Setting

The cast of our Inquisitor game is coming into focus more each day. We have puritanical defenders of mankind, pirates with little care beyond their next raid, and those who lost themselves in forbidden lore. The creation of a character is exciting and rewarding. With the hours spent modeling and painting them, there's an attachment and ease of development that surprised me. 

Creating a setting is a very different challenge. The area a single inquisitorial conclave covers is staggering and figuring out where to start is difficult. I found starting from the macroscopic and working my way down made the most sense.

I needed to figure out what this story should be about. Every story has a fundamental conflict at its core, otherwise there wouldn't be anything worth talking about. While the driving force behind any storytelling is optimally going to be our warbands, having something in the background to provide context lends a bit of direction, purpose, and theme. The obvious threats of Chaos, Tyranid/Genestealer Cult invasion, or Ork WAAAGH! are difficult to ignore; each offer something interesting to explore with cool opportunities for player involvement. They didn't feel right for inquisitor, though. These overwhelmingly powerful forces. The threat they present is what keeps humanity united and submissive. The conflict almost always moves toward open war at a scale that this project is doing its best to move away from. What fun would having all of our warbands putting their differences aside actually be? Can you really interact with an Ork? Would an inquisitor even bother? 

Inquisitor is at its best when its about humanity. Deliberately scaling back the conflict gives people the opportunity to do what they're best at: being shitty to each other. There's more nuance there, more subterfuge. When the enemies are your peers, things go from a boil to a slow simmer. It also puts the relationships characters create with one another at center stage. The Imperium is structured in a way that pretty much promotes infighting in the absence of a large threat. The Ecclesiarchy, Inquisition, and Adeptus Mechanicus are all autonomous organizations with wildly differing agendas that intersect. Their philosophies are at times completely at odds even within their ranks. The tug of war between these entities would make for the best context. 

Great, theme was taken care of and now we needed a space for everything to play out within. The first place to start narrowing from was the Segmentums. To eliminate the temptation of involving any sizable Chaos elements, the segmentums containing the Eye of Terror and Maelstorm were tossed out. They have too much canon development and there's no way to ignore the impending feeling of doom fleets of 10,000 year old genetically engineered madmen who consort with horrors we cannot comprehend inspires. Fortunately for us, systems in Segmentum Tempestus are a good distance away from both tears in reality. It also has a much lower density of high profile worlds, fleets, and events. Its strong Ecclesiarchy presence played right into out theme, too. Perfect! Our empty sector had a home and filling it is where the real work begins. 

This is a mock-up of the Cetis Sector, home to our Conclave. The name was a placeholder, but has been used enough that it has stuck.

Each sub-sector is a host to multiple star systems. Each star system potentially has multiple inhabited worlds. Each of those has a purpose, a cast of characters, a story. That's more than any one of us can do on our own. Ideally, each sub-sector will be a sandbox for a player to create their own worlds, personas, and plot for everyone else to interact with culminating in a series of scenarios when we meet. This division of labor has the beneficial side effect of preventing one poor soul from being dedicated GM, leaving their warband on the sidelines.

I've been working on Sub-sector Cetis; home to the seat of the conclave among other things. Another time, I'll go over some of the major features of the sector (and my sub-sector) that will shape things. This is certainly long enough already.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Ordo Malleus Inquisitor

Last week, my friend Rich and I split a set of Tempestus Scions. I'm not a big fan of the models the kit creates, but it is filled with some really great parts. The armor is kind of out of place on guardsmen, but it makes really fantastic carapace armor for an inquisitor or some other individual that doesn't have that kind of military background. I had bought it with the intention of mainly using a few of the cool masked heads and some of the techy bits, but after spending some time with the parts I tossed together what I think will be an Ordo Malleus inquisitor. He has nothing to do with my warband, but I needed a break.

I know I'm going to need to have models for important people in the conclave who aren't the players, but I'm not entirely sure what he'll be. Maybe the head of our cabal? The pointing arm gives him a great look of authority, while the powerfist shows that he's a man who intends to do a job himself. He looks disciplined, confident, and determined. We'll see. There's still a lot of work to do on the model. 

Excuse the poor cell phone images, I'll be using a nicer digital camera in the future. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015


I created this because I have lot less free time than I did when I started the hobby. So do most of the people I play with. Babies, careers, and marriages have left my nerd impulses with less outlets. The next best thing to actually getting together to play or paint is to talk about it and share progress over the internet.

These time constraints actually led to the second reason I created a blog. I wanted a project that had a definite goal but flexible timeline. That way, as our group worked on models there was a sense of progress and camaraderie despite seeing each other less often. After some conversations, the idea manifested itself as an Inquisitor campaign in 28mm. We'd spend several months modeling and painting before meeting in May for a weekend of scenarios. It's been a great experience so far, establishing background for our characters and the sector the drama will unfold in. I'll talk more about that in future posts. There's a lot to document and share already.

My painting has also progressed to a point where I'm excited to share what I do. I had felt like I was stumbling around for the last few years, learning new things but never hitting my stride. Late this summer, I started to experiment a lot with some Necromunda models and things sort of fell into place stylistically. I'm not painting much better than I was; in fact, I'm probably developing some new bad habits. What's changed is I have developed a coherent painting style. Its certainly nothing unique and my influences are pretty obvious, but when I finish something the sum is greater than the parts. Its a good feeling and makes me more comfortable putting my work out there.

The scale of Necromunda and Inquisitor made me fall in love with the 40k universe. So much of what makes the setting interesting to explore is lost when things are viewed macroscopically; when Astartes are commonplace and the conflict with the Ruinous Powers is your baseline for peril. Inquisitor and Necromunda show us the conflicts with aliens and daemons simply provide context for exploring what it means to be human in an uncaring, brutal world. 

I'll be posting pictures of retinues, background on characters, and anything else that seems remotely interesting. There's already been some great stuff and it can only get better.