Sunday 29 January 2023

Chess Set


I have employed my 3d printers recently to put together a chess set for myself. I'm not a very good chess player, but I do enjoy a game from time to time.

The pieces are assembled from a variety of STLs I've found about the place. The king and queen are scans of archaic Greek statues, a kouros and kore, from the Smithsonian I think. The bishops and knights are files I found on Thingiverse. The rooks were originally also from a Thingiverse file, but I've edited it quite a bit. The pawns are Goblinoid Warriors from Fat Dragon Games. And everything has been put on to decorative bases that I whipped up in Blender. I've glued 32mm (1¼") steel washers underneath to lower the centre of gravity and make them less tippy; I'd like to add some thin felt as well, but we shall see.

The black pieces are in the process of being painted right now. They'll be dark red rather than pure black, so that a bit of the detail can be made out.


I have an extra pawn for each side, because they were printed in batches of three. So I'm taking those extras and gluing crowns on their heads, so that when a pawn is advanced to queendom, it can be replaced with one of these Uber-pawns.

I made the crown in Blender and printed them on my Mars Pro.

And later still...

Now the black pieces are all painted as well.

I'll give everything two or three spray coats of satin polyurethane to protect the paint from filthy grubby greasy fingers, and I think I might glue some felt to the bottoms of all of them as well.

And oh, bugger...

I made this little side-table some years ago.

I thought that I could just unscrew the top from the carcass, and have it as a free-floating chessboard, which would really have been more convenient for actual chess-playing purposes.

However, it appears that I glued it as well as screwing it together. I guess I thought that would be a good idea at the time. Turns out, that was not a good idea.

So, bugger. I suppose I'll just have to make another board now.

Some time later


We found, in practise, that telling the kings and queens apart at a glance was not all that easy, in spite of their height disparity. So I crowned the queens so they can't be mistaken again.

Hopefully the crowns will be sturdy enough, but they're just resin which can be a bit breakable in the hands of the ham-fisted. The queens themselves are FDM printed in PLA+, so they should be able to take a fair battering.

Friday 27 January 2023

Dice Tower


I downloaded bainite's Three Path Dice Tower from Thingiverse. It comes in five parts: three sections for the tower, and the two side stairs, all held together by magnets (though you could just glue it all together I suppose).

In general, I find dice towers more a novelty than a necessity, though they can be handy if you're dealing with massive handfuls of dice. They do take up a bit of space on the game table, and I doubt that I'll use it very much, but what the heck. What's the point of having a 3d printer if you don't use it to make pointless crap for yourself?

The original design has a very shallow parapet, and I was finding that unless a degree of care was taken with putting the dice into it, they had a tendency to skip out. So I whipped up an add-on crenelated parapet to deepen the loading well and glued it on top.

I also remixed the whole top floor of the original model, adding the deeper parapet and larger funnel-mouths at the entry of each chute, so there's less flat space on top for dice to inadvertently rest on.

That's also now on Thingiverse at

Tuesday 17 January 2023

Char 2C update


I've updated my 1:100 model of the Char 2C to include a second version of the rear MG turret with a short ventilator stack. Either can be used, as no two of the dozen or so Char 2C that were built were manufactured exactly identically.

Monday 16 January 2023

OGL Shenanigans

 I don't really know anything about the internal goings-on around Wizards of the Coast's and Hasbro's push to do away with the Open Gaming Licence as it currently exists, and I don't know enough about contract law to know if they have a leg to stand on. However, I am in no way surprised that they're having a go.

A couple of things have to be borne in mind when something like this occurs.

  • First, capitalists are, as a general rule, selfish and greedy, and they don't care about you at all. The only thing about you that is important to them is the amount of your money you're prepared to give them. In most cases, the amount of money that goes into the pockets of a CEO and the other senior officials of a company is directly proportional to the money they get out of you, and capitalists being the way they are, they will prioritize their own wallets over the desires and best interests of their customers.
  • Second, in a public company (i.e. one that has issued shares and has shareholders) the management of that company has a legal requirement to maximise returns to their shareholders, and the shareholders can sue if they feel that those requirements are not being adequately addressed. 

I don't think that the fact that there is nothing unusual or unexpected about this behaviour means that people shouldn't express their outrage at it, but I have little sympathy with those who feel that they've been betrayed by their kindly roleplaying game production company.

I do think that expressions of hurt and outrage are unlikely to be enough to effect any change in WotC's intentions, because capitalists don't care about your hurt feelings. The only thing that will do that is an impact on their bottom line, and that means cancelling subscriptions and refusing to buy their products until they make a firm commitment to keep the current status quo, vis-a-vis the OGL.

There's a (slim) possibility that this might occur, if the public response has sufficient effect on the company's income. However, even if it does in the short term, always remember that a standard corporate tactic in cases like this is to appear to withdraw, wait for the kerfuffle to die down and for people to become complacent again, and then try it all again. Be vigilant.

Update: 2023-02-05

It would appear that WotC have surrendered entirely (for now) on their plans to gut the OGL 1.0a, and they've said that they're leaving it in place, unchanged. They've also said that the 5e SRD is going to be covered by a Creative Commons licence.

All this sounds very nice, but I'm sure that it will last only until they get some other bright spark MBA graduate on the board who thinks they can squeeze their fanbase without consequence. Memories are short.

Sunday 15 January 2023



Once upon a time, many years ago, there was a roleplaying game called Runequest. It was very popular, probably second only to AD&D at the time. Somewhere I have a copy of Runequest II but I haven't looked at it for years and years.

It went through several iterations, the latest of which is (I believe) Runequest 6. Mythras, as far as I know, is pretty much RQ6 renamed — there may well be some minor differences; I haven't kept up with the changes in Runequest through the ages.

I just ordered a copy of Mythras, though whether I'll ever actually use it to play a game is uncertain. There were elements of the Runequest milieu that I didn't much like, the heavy emphasis on cults and their relationships being one of them, and I think that when played straight, Mythras carries that on. But I don't know for sure to what extent — I shall have to read the system in more detail.

There's a freebie quickstart PDF version available from from DTRPG called Mythras Imperative.

In common with others of its ilk, it's intended to allow you a "try before you buy" experience. It contains enough information to get into character creation, and to run the beginnings of a campaign.

I guess, if you were willing to put in the work yourself, you could use it as the basis to create your own fully-fledged game, but I think that would be a lot of work to save a few dollars on the complete rules.

There's a companion volume called Classic Fantasy which is basically intended to enable those who want to play AD&D with the Mythras mechanics.

I also ordered a copy of that, because I've found in the past that I tend to end up trying to force whatever fantasy game I'm running into a D&D mould. And that's why I've been running an AD&D campaign for the last few years — because I figured that I might as well just use AD&D to play AD&D.

However, something I don't much like about D&D in any of its manifestations is the way that characters fairly rapidly become enormously overpowered. If you want to play a game in which characters can mow their way through armies of mooks without breaking a sweat, and completely ignore the perils of curses or disease or what-not it's fine, but I prefer a less superheroic campaign style. Unless I'm playing a superheroic campaign, of course.

There's a possibility that a Mythras-based AD&D-style campaign might be a solution. Maybe.

Chaosium, the owners of the Runequest brand, appear to have republished the d100 engine used for Runequest and Call of Cthulhu et. al. into a sort of universal, non-genre-specific game they've just called Basic Roleplaying. It looks interesting to me, a lot simpler than games like GURPS or the Hero System, both of which are phenomenally accounting-heavy when it comes to character creation and maintenance.

I nabbed the PDF of it from DTRPG because it was on sale for 99 cents, but I really prefer physical books when it comes to RPG manuals. It's available in hard-copy from Chaosium, but they want to charge an additional $US85 for postage, and though I'd like a copy of my own, I don't want it that much. It doesn't seem to be available in print anywhere else: Amazon lists it, but as usual when they're listing a book they can't actually get but don't want to delist, they show it at a massively inflated price, in this case about $350. Absurd.