Man. Whats goin’ on in here. It’s all quiet, and echoes when I talk. I guess that’s what happens when I take slightly over four months without an update! It’s likely not my last absence, but it is worth a look at whats goin’ on around the ol’ Gingers world. I’ll get us updated on WoW, Warmachine, Painting, MTG, and that which has consumed me the most, my Coldforged Campaigns setting.
I’ll get this out of the way up front; this is not going to be some long, rambly, 3000-word post about what’s going on. It will be fairly short a quick update on what I have been doing and where I am in a variety of hobbies. Since I’ve stopped blogging twice a week, I’ve not been listless.
First up is my painting, a hobby I love and used to zen me out, calming me and enabling me to take on the world for another week. There was a time where I punched out over a hundred models a year, year after year. Sadly, that time is either long past or, more upbeat, soon to come again. With everything that has been going on, I’ve knowingly put aside painting miniatures in order to make room, and time, for other things. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, and how we allocate those hours is important, both for our mental health and for the continued enjoyment of our hobbies. I, for one, have too many hobbies, and I cannot keep up with all of them. Painting, it is sad to say, was one that had to be placed on hold in order to allow others to flourish.
That said, however, I have not been completely negligent in my miniatures purchases! Growing from a few giant miniatures, my collection has grown massively, and I now own over 50 different giants! Many of these are unpainted, some have been painted for half a decade or more, but in time, this is where I am going to make my first return to painting. I have Giants of all types, Frost, Fire, Storm, Hill, and more, taking up a huge area in my one minis display cabinet. This, along with video games, is the hobby I am most looking forward to getting back into, but all of that in its own due time.
Continuing on the vein of miniatures, I am reasonably convinced that my time as a miniatures game hobbyist is over. This has been something that I’ve grappled with for a long time, wondering if I could give up more than 15 years in a hobby I loved deeply. I had long stated to myself that WARMACHINE would be the last miniatures game I played. I don’t know that it’s completely true ( I have fallout: Wasteland Warfare waiting for me) but it is very likely true. I’ve come to the conclusion that miniatures games themselves are the problem. They have a natural tipping point that, I believe, is inescapable – an inevitable end that they bring on themselves. A miniatures game is a strategic endeavor that is an enjoyable puzzle involving what is going on in list-building, on the table, in the mind of the opponent. They are innately enjoyable for those that enjoy that form of entertainment. Puzzles, however, are enjoyed most when you know all the parameters when the rules are laid out and you feel that you can solve them. This is where the tipping point comes in: A miniatures game companies goal is to create, and sell, miniatures. Each person has a load limit on the rules that they can sustain within their own head, and with enough work, follow. They also have a limit on the amount of time they wish to put into that work. This means that, inevitably, the game bloats beyond most people’s ability to enjoy the game. Between the amount of work I need to do to learn the game (I learn poorly by reading cards on a tablet or smartphone), and the amount of rules I can actually sustain, I think Warmachine is done for me. Knowing that this is the ultimate end for all miniatures games stings as well, as every game will eventually hit this point. (I’ll write a paragraph at the end about how GW does it and makes it work, though I can guess you know it if you have followed me this far.)
World of Warcraft Classic
Moving forward into more fantasy worlds, I have been putting in a bit of time into WoW. It’s not as much as I could, but not as much as I’d like, and definitely more than I should – all at once. Tonight, for instance, I’ll be taking on Gruul and Magtheridon, and Sunday night I’ll be fighting in Karazahan once again. They take some time and dedication, but it’s worth it, to me, to get to do what I was never able to as a player the first time around. I played my Warrior through all WoW Classic, and honestly, I miss and enjoy that version the most. TBC is proving enjoyable, but it’s not the absolute blast that Vanilla was. Getting to tank NAXX will always be a highlight in my video games. Yeah, it was the second time around, but I still did it, I even managed to kill every raid boss in the game, honestly, something I never assumed I’d do, even when starting. That character, ol’ Grimguts, is parked in Hellfire Peninsula, waiting for his turn to come out and level, but I am much, much more focused on getting my Paladin, Grimguard, where they need to be. I have loved returning to the Paladin class, and it feels so much more like home. I really wish there were vanilla alt-servers where we had TBC talents and spells squished down for the level 60 content. Wouldn’t that be a lark!
This one will be extra quick because while I really enjoy video games, I’ve not been able to set aside time to play them in any capacity. Alongside painting, this is a hobby I just had to set aside for a time. Three years is an eternity, but it is also just a short blip. I do need to sit down and at least knock out the story in Fallout 76, though. I’ve had that game forever, and it seems like it’s finally going places!
I bet you thought I would save it for last! Well, almost. The Coldforged project is almost complete. I have written, edited, proofread, and formated over 300 pages. I have to continue all three areas, as the first pass of each has turned up things I left out, we’re unable to complete, or didn’t have a solid idea on initiatives that have finally fully blossomed. I am excited to get this into my own hands and, one day maybe, into the hands of others. It’s not a setting for everyone, to be sure. It’s heavy with history, and light on character, but I believe that can be the draw for some people.
It does not mean that I will not continue to flesh out the game world as the years pass, but it does mean that the history, geography, and monsters mean more to my personal taste in setting than the individuals and cities.
The book has, I believe, 21 subclasses, 10 backgrounds, 100 elemental spells, and chapters of lore, geography, and history. It’s a book that I am proud of to my very core and will enjoy playing games in for years to come, regardless of if other people enjoy it. It is first and foremost a work for me, and then one for the rest of the world if it will have it.
The editing has taken the most time, re-reading the whole book, chapters, and sections being re-written wholly in order to make better sense, to flow better, and to convey their meaning more clearly. It is hard reading your own work, and looking back on how bad it reads, every time. Each pass it gets better, but it is never right. That is what editors are there for, though, so I’m not worried. As a one-person show, though, it does take a lot of time. I have essentially been working 50-65 hours a week, every week, for two and a half years. It’s a part-time job, now, and one that I do for the sheer joy of it. Every vacation I take is dedicated to writing more of this book, any spare hours I get or free time I get goes into this. It is a labor, but I love doing it more than words can express. If it works out, I’ll likely do more, and I would love to have been able to fit my monsters into the book, but currently, that doesn’t look like it can happen. (though, if it did, that would be 75 more monsters!)
When this is all over, when the book is written and in my hands, I’ll likely take a two-week vacation. Go somewhere new and different, and not write a single word, in the book or otherwise. Then, if I feel up to it, I’ll start writing something without a deadline, without a hard finish point, and maybe collect that information somewhere. Then, I’ll get back to a number of hobbies, maybe writing fantasy RPG books will be one of them, and maybe it won’t; We’ll see where it takes me.
I taught my wife how to play MTG during the lockdown, and it was one of the best things ever. It’s amazingly awesome to play games with her, have fun and laugh, and have a hobby in common. It’s hard, sometimes, when you live together and see each other 30000 hours a day, like during a pandemic, to remain positive, hopeful, and happy. We managed to do it, and I think that MTG was a big part of that. She loves cracking packs and seeing what is inside, building a deck, and playing it right away, but she also likes the variety and fun of a good commander deck. As I’ve been dedicating much of my time to other hobbies, I have leaned extremely hard on the pre-constructed commander decks for new and fun experiences, and I have purchased all of them during the lock down, and played with them against my wife, having an absolute blast. I managed to construct one deck during that time, a Noyan Dar Combo deck that makes infinite land creatures to overwhelm the board and kill everyone, but I don’t often play it 1v1 because it’s not the same in that style as it is in a pod.
I am always on the lookout for different versions of “Land Matters” decks to build and look forward to the options that exist when I do get back to brewing up decks. If you see any ones that aren’t “landfall value” then let me know, I’d love to hear of them!
And, now, that’s about it; a bit of a nerd roundup on what I’ve been up to for 1/3 of the year while I’ve gone dark. It’s not the end of Seething Ginger, not yet at least, though I do have to say that I don’t miss blogging like I thought I would, it could have something to do with the fact that I; ‘m writing so much anyway, that more writing simply doesn’t hold the appeal it did years ago.
Until next time – though when that is I don’t yet know –
GW has mostly avoided this tipping point by resetting their game every so often. Not simply with new editions, but with the re-setting of units and rules, changing how armies work, and obsoleting old units and armies. While we all rail against the forced obsolescence of some of our favorite models and units, the strategy of new, awesome models, new rules that make new models cooler, and a simplified central rule set that adapts to everything around it mean that the tipping point for that game further off than other games. Complexity in games is amazing and fun when it’s limited in scope, and GW has managed to limit the scope of their miniatures game to one which makes sense to most people, most of the time. That which we hate about the company is exactly what keeps it going in the first place, and what allows former players to return without too much of a hassle. It’s really ingenious.