MYTHODROME

Dressing Up D&D Minis

Mythodrome D&D Minis Hill Giant

The convenience of pre-painted, soft plastic minis is great.  No hours at the workbench required, and no concerns about carfeul handling of your masterpieces at the game table.  The only problem I have with them is that they are a little too plasticky and toy-like with their black, soapy bases and primary color paint jobs.

I thought I would try a compromise measure of sprucing these minis up some so they look a little bit cooler, but still don’t take a lot of time.  I stuck some epoxy putty on the base and dimpled it up as a means of giving the base texture without the fragility of talus.  I then crudely highlighted the minis, gave them a Minwax dip (Mission Oak), and hit them with a matte coat spray.

I’m pretty happy with the results, with the exception of the graininess of the matte coat.  I used Rustoleum Painter’s Touch 2X Matte Clear, which apparently has given other people problems too.  I’ll go back to Testors Dull Cote as soon as this can is gone.  I should mention that I was able to avoid the whole oil-based clean-up on the Minwax dip process by simply drying out the brush thoroughly with a paper towel when I was done.  I kind of mashed the bristles around against the paper towel to make sure they were separated before putting the brush away.  It won’t be suitable for detail work again, but I’ll be able to dip with it many more times to come with no need for special solvents.

Weapon Card – Nordland Axe

Arms & Armor Nordland Axe CardWeapon Cards are the core of combat resolution in the Mythodrome Game System.  Read more about how to use them in the posts “Calculating Melee Index,” “Damage and Hit Points” and “MGS Weapon Cards Explained.”

The Nordland Axe from Arms & Armor is meant to embody the standard Viking single-handed axe that was used both in battle and in everyday chores.

With its Weapon Index of 1.0 (for a STR 5 character), this hand axe represents a “typical” weapon in terms of its speed and handling.  It delivers nasty cut wounds, and if stopped by maile, still delivers a hearty blunt impact.  The blade’s extended “beard” gives length to the cutting edge while saving on weight and allows the wielder to hook his opponent’s neck, ankle, weapon or shield.

 

 

 

A History of D&D in Twelve Treasures


Jon Peterson, author of the prodigious D&D history book Playing at the World, created this twelve-minute synopsis of the origins of Dungeons & Dragons.  The story starts with “Braunstein,” a strange, hybrid Napoleonic miniatures wargame from 1969 that incorporates character roleplaying.  Peterson takes us from there along a fascinating path of concepts and relationships that eventually lead to the OD&D box game.

Definitly worth watching… it’s like the old James Burke series Connections but for RPG nerds.

Weapon Physics – AT 1508

Mythodrome Angus Trim Model 1508 longsword

Weapon Physics is a series of informational posts geared towards gamers and HEMA enthusiasts who are interested in the actual performance of hand weapons.  The numbers are derived from algorithms based on published academic papers.

The following stats are for the Model 1508 longsword made by swordsmith Angus “Gus” Trim.

Overall Length               :  47.5” (120.7 cm)
Weight                              :  46 oz (1.31 kg)
Axis of Rotation             :  8.9” (22.7 cm)
Center of Mass                :  6.2” (15.7 cm)
Center of Percussion     :  25” (63.4 cm)
Moment of Inertia         :  7107 oz*in^2 (.13 kg*m^2)
Swing Weight                 :  20 oz (.57 kg)
Effective Mass at COP  :  11.4 oz (.32 kg)
Velocity at COP              :  55 mph (24.6 m/s)
Velocity at Tip                :  79 mph (35.3 m/s)
Peak Striking Force      :  3083 lbs (13702 N)

Despite its much different shape and handling, you can see that this weapon delivers a similar impact to the Hersir Viking sword.  The Hersir cuts slightly better, though, due to its thinner blade.

Explanation of Terms

Overall Length – The length of the weapon from the base of the handle end to the tip of the striking end.

Weight – Self-explanatory.

Axis of Rotation – The distance from the base of the handle end to the point about which the weapon theoretically pivots when it is swung.  In calculating the properties of baseball bats, officials use a point corresponding to the center of the top hand gripping the bat.  In the case of a one-handed implement, I’ll use the point at the center of the one swinging hand.  Studies have shown that when a bat is swung, the arms are still in motion for a fraction of a second before ball impact even after the wrists have fully extended, meaning that the true Axis of Rotation is some inches beyond the handle end of the bat.  Since it is impractical to calculate the bat’s (or the weapon’s) Center of Percussion and Moment of Inertia about such an axis, the “mid-hand” location seems to be the best reasonable substitute.

Center of Mass – The distance from the Axis of Rotation to the “Balance Point” of the weapon.

Center of Percussion – The distance from the Axis of Rotation to the point on the weapon that strikes with the greatest impact.

Moment of Inertia – A number that reflects the weapon’s resistance to rotation about the Axis of Rotation (i.e. how hard the weapon is to accelerate and decelerate in combat).

Swing Weight – If the weapon were a baseball bat with the same Moment of Inertia, this is how heavy that theoretical bat would be.

Effective Mass at COP – The amount of mass that is effectively impacting the target when the weapon strikes at its Center of Percussion.

Velocity at COP – The velocity of the weapon at its Center of Percussion just before impact.  I derived this based on algorithms used in the calculation a bat speed for players using bats of varying Moments of Inertia.

Velocity at Tip – The velocity of the very tip of the striking end of the weapon.  People often confuse tip velocity and COP velocity in baseball.  Major League power hitters generate bats speeds of ~70mph at the COP, but radar guns will usually register the tip velocity of ~90mph or the batted ball velocity which can be ~110mph or more.

Peak Striking Force – The peak force of the weapon’s impact on the target.  To estimate peak force for the impact, I doubled the average force as calculated.

Cleric Addiction

Mythodrome Dice and Cleric Spells

Pictured above are my ubiquitous granite green dice and clerical spell list from our ongoing 3.5 campaign.  I’m not sure why I keep going back to clerics… it’s almost like an abusive relationship.  It’s a romantic idea – the image of the holy warrior clad in armor and crushing evil things with his mace – but it rarely turns out that way.

As the adventures grow more perilous with increasing level, the combat skills of clerics quickly fall behind.  By fifth or sixth level, my character usually has become a second-rate sword stopper and is relegated to spell duty.

Mythodrome DnD Adventure Party

This is a shot of one of our delves.  As you can see, we use a mix of D&D Minis, Dwarven Forge pre-painted figures and some 32mm metals (along with all of my old “true twenty-fives”).  That’s me in the back with the green robes and my impotent mace.  The big lizard man is actually one of our party – a barbarian who rolled the dice on a reincarnation after he bit the dust on a previous adventure.

So what should be next for me?  A thief?  Or is it my dice that are the problem?  I’m just tired of whiffing with the mace.

A Badass Beowulf

This audiobook of Beowulf is awesome!  There are other versions around, but this one features Seamus Heaney, a Nobel Prize-winning poet from Ireland who is reading his own translation of the work.  While other audiobook readers often perform robotically or get too “story timey” with their interpretations, Heaney, with his manly affect, really tells the story as is might have been told centuries ago in firelit meadhalls.

Check it out next time you find yourself on a long drive or at your workbench painting minis.  It’ll really get your juices flowing.

Weapon Physics – Hersir Sword

Albion Swords Viking Hersir

Weapon Physics is a series of informational posts geared towards gamers and HEMA enthusiasts who are interested in the actual performance of hand weapons.  The numbers are derived from algorithms based on published academic papers.

Here are some interesting stats on the Hersir Viking Sword made by Albion Swords.

Overall Length               :  37” (94.3 cm)
Weight                              :  41.4 oz (1.19 kg)
Axis of Rotation             :  3.6” (9.2 cm)
Center of Mass                :  7.6” (19.3 cm)
Center of Percussion     :  21.7” (55 cm)
Moment of Inertia         :  6943 oz*in^2 (.127 kg*m^2)
Swing Weight                 :  19.5 oz (.55 kg)
Effective Mass at COP  :  14.8 oz (.42 kg)
Velocity at COP              :  39.4 mph (17.6.1 m/s)
Velocity at Tip                :  56 mph (25 m/s)
Peak Striking Force      :  2823 lbs (12546 N)

To give you a frame of reference, a heavy nightstick (24″ and 24 oz) hits with about 2300 lbs of force.  So this sword is a bruiser with some capacity to cause blunt force injury when its cut is stopped by flexible armor such as maile.

Explanation of Terms

Overall Length – The length of the weapon from the base of the handle end to the tip of the striking end. 

Weight – Self-explanatory.

Axis of Rotation – The distance from the base of the handle end to the point about which the weapon theoretically pivots when it is swung.  In calculating the properties of baseball bats, officials use a point corresponding to the center of the top hand gripping the bat.  In the case of a one-handed implement, I’ll use the point at the center of the one swinging hand.  Studies have shown that when a bat is swung, the arms are still in motion for a fraction of a second before ball impact even after the wrists have fully extended, meaning that the true Axis of Rotation is some inches beyond the handle end of the bat.  Since it is impractical to calculate the bat’s (or the weapon’s) Center of Percussion and Moment of Inertia about such an axis, the “mid-hand” location seems to be the best reasonable substitute.

Center of Mass – The distance from the Axis of Rotation to the “Balance Point” of the weapon.

Center of Percussion – The distance from the Axis of Rotation to the point on the weapon that strikes with the greatest impact.

Moment of Inertia – A number that reflects the weapon’s resistance to rotation about the Axis of Rotation (i.e. how hard the weapon is to accelerate and decelerate in combat).

Swing Weight – If the weapon were a baseball bat with the same Moment of Inertia, this is how heavy that theoretical bat would be.

Effective Mass at COP – The amount of mass that is effectively impacting the target when the weapon strikes at its Center of Percussion.

Velocity at COP – The velocity of the weapon at its Center of Percussion just before impact.  I derived this based on algorithms used in the calculation a bat speed for players using bats of varying Moments of Inertia.

Velocity at Tip – The velocity of the very tip of the striking end of the weapon.  People often confuse tip velocity and COP velocity in baseball.  Major League power hitters generate bats speeds of ~70mph at the COP, but radar guns will usually register the tip velocity of ~90mph or the batted ball velocity which can be ~110mph or more.

Peak Striking Force – The peak force of the weapon’s impact on the target.  To estimate peak force for the impact, I doubled the average force as calculated.

Weapon Card – AT 1508

Weapon Cards are the core of combat resolution in the Mythodrome Game System.  Read more about how to use them in the posts “Calculating Melee Index,” “Damage and Hit Points” and “MGS Weapon Cards Explained.”

This longsword by swordsmith Angus Trim is one of the first weapons I ran the numbers on due to its use in this series of test cuts against armor.

Mythodrome Angus Trim Model 1508 Sword

Angus Trim Model 1508 Longsword

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With a sword like this that is a true cut and thrust weapon, a succesful roll that is even numbered will mean it was a cut that scored, while an odd number will indicate it was a thrust.  After rolling a hit, you may also opt to spend three points of your Attack Surplus to switch the blow from a cut to a thrust or vice-versa.

Take a look at the Weapon Index on this one; it’s a 2.0 even in the hands of a man of average strength – double the index of orcish clubs and axes.  That’s in part due to the sword’s blade length and long grip which allows you to leverage it with your bottom hand to change directions quickly.  Notice also that the armor penetration on the thrust is triple what it is with the cut.  If you’re facing armored ogres, thrusting will be the order of the day, not only for armor penetration, but for the deep soft tissue penetration (SPEN) that will be necessary to get at their vital organs.

The HPEN column of the thrust card maxes out quickly at 29 points; that’s because when that much force is applied, the blade flexes instead of giving further penetration (and for those of you who are wondering, that 29 points assumes that the sword is being wielded in the “half-sword” grip).

Much Love to DM Scotty

DM Scotty of "The DM's Craft"

If you haven’t seen Scotty “DM Scotty” McFarland’s YouTube channel, you really should.  Entitled “The DM’s Craft,” it features hundreds of instructional videos on the creation of cool, inexpensive RPG terrain and set pieces.  The guy should have his own PBS show with his pleasant, enthusiastic demeanor.  He’s the Bob Ross and Bob Vila of the terrain-building workbench.  I watch his channel when I’m working out, or when I’m about to go to bed and want to get my mind off of the rat race.

There are so many fun ones to choose from, I didn’t know which one to post as a sample, but below is his episode on making working 32mm-scale dungeon doors out of cardboard and toothpicks.

Check it out if you have a chance… it’ll really make you want to get out your glue gun!