About Me

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My name is Gavin McClements. I am a wargamer and family man, living in Los Gatos, which is a suburb of San Jose, CA. Building terrain is one of my favorite aspects of the wargaming hobby - in fact, lately I've become more interested in making my battlefields "pop" than in actually playing.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Roleplaying and 15mm

I havent posted anything in a while, I know. I dont tend to paint much on my own as I get cramped backs and cricked necks, so I wait for friends to join me. The holidays being what they are, most of us were too busy to game, let alone get creative.

However, I able to get most of my Khurasan minis MOSTLY finished last night. A few more details, then I can gloss coat them, which will allow my Secret Weapon weathering pigments to go on, and the dull coat after that will enable me to take the guys off the popsickle sticks and play a proper game of Tomorrow's War and Gruntz.

However, this isnt the reason I am writing today.

I think I've mentioned in the past that I wanted to start roleplaying again, but I think I was in love with the fantasy of playing a character in a game; the actual act of "roleplaying" isnt as fun to me as it used to be.  I know this because I finally got back into a D&D v3.5 game with some of my old gaming buddies, and I just really let everyone else talk to the NPCs or do their thing. Being a miniatues gamer, I just live for the combat. it may be limiting, but its true.

Now, I had actually gotten so tired of 3.5 that I sold all my books but kept my 4e books. I still havent played 4e, but was still interested. However, as I toyed with buying more books, I had a first-hand chance to see how WotC has messed 4e all up. Three Players Handbooks. 2 DM guides. No more PHB1, because it was screwed up, so now you get to buy Essentials Rules Compendium. After looking at THIS book and THAT book, I realized, I just dont really want to spend all that money on book after book. A good RPG doesnt need all that!  Sure, Players Options are HUGELY important to a success of a game, I believe, but heck, HERO/Champions does all that in just ONE book (well, 6th Ed has 2 core books, but big deal).

SO once again I was on the hunt for a new RPG. Alpha Omega by Mindstorm Labs is still a really good Sci-Fi game in the vein of Shadowrun, and has at least one unique combat mechanic (the dice pool) that I felt was really refreshing.  I have a penchant for games that dont use classes, so AO is still a keeper (I played it a few times with a fun group, but we had too many rookies to make it really work that time).

After much looking, I came upon Arcanis by Paradigm Concepts thanks to a thread over at ENWorld. Arcanis USED to be a 3.5 OGL product, but when 4e came, the people at PC made it into a game of their own. The influence of D&D is there, which is nice, but it also doesnt use classes (it uses Archetypes and Backgrounds, which are mostly interchangeable) and has a neat combat shtick that reminds me of AD&D's initiative system).  Anyway, I purchased it and have been enjoying its layout, presentation, flavor and mechanics.

When my group's D&D game wraps up this spring, I will be presenting Alpha Omega and Arcanis as my options for our next game. HERO 5th or 6th will be a backup. After all, playing D&D isnt bad and doesnt make you a bad person, but if its all you ever play, you're limiting yourself from experiencing that yes, there can be LADD ("Life After D&D").


  1. Hi,
    Great read and I have to say I feel very much the same with RPGs. I was once big it to it then I found TTGs. What I have come to love that bridges the game between the two, are games like Modheim, Gorkamorka. Aslo there are games llike SBH that can be played out with the chars gaining in skills and such.

    So thanks for the post.
    Also the RPG you talked about Arcanis is on sale at Drive Through RPG.


  2. I love skirmish games with a campaign/advancement system in them, like Mordheim, Legends of the Old West, etc....and am excited that Tomorrow's War has it also!

  3. I struck LADD several years ago and have never looked back :-). As far as RPG systems go, I have found myself gravitating towards Unisystem and FATE based games. For Unisystem SF, I use All Flesh Must Be Eaten (AFMBE) with the All Tomorrow's Zombies (AtZ) expansion. For FATE SF I use Starblazer Adventures or Bulldogs. Since I live in South Africa I find DriveThruRpg (and WargameVault) an invaluable resource.