Archive for August, 2016

Winchester Mystery House

August 27, 2016 Leave a comment

So the heiress to the Winchester Rifles fortune bought an unfinished house and just kept expanding it for 38 years, adding rooms, reworking the existing ones, and generally making a Zak Sabbath bricolage out of the whole thing.

It makes no sense, it obeys no obvious rules, but it’s made entirely out of familiar American house elements.
You know what it looks like? The product of rolling repeatedly on a random table. Add a window – where? Roll a 1: in the floor. How many steps for this staircase? 33. That carries it right up to the ceiling! So be it.

Poppy Smoke Pokemon.

August 15, 2016 Leave a comment

Poppy Smoke Pokemon.
…like the Somme but candy coloured? Or like Saki’s Birds of the Western Front but without any relief from the exploitation?

Countercolonial Heistcrawl: some maps

August 2, 2016 2 comments

Over the past year or so I’ve concluded that the best way to make progress on CCH is to start a campaign, and for that I need some campaign materials – factions, equipment/units, characters… and maps.
…..for player-facing maps I like period productions a lot, with all their elisions and doubts:


Here’s the whole spice islands region, a couple of thousand miles across.

If you’re playing non-Europeans there are excellent reasons for not using these European charts. Still I think the style gain from using something more culturally appropriate…
is probably exceeded in usefulness by the gain in clarity of using something more recognisably map-like, with some pretensions to uniform scale.

…all that said, charts on a suitable scale for tactical encounters are really a recent development, and CCH’s landscape isn’t supposed to map precisely onto Earth’s (after all, I want players to contribute their own islands without fear of having Indonesians or Malaysians complaining that they’re misrepresenting their people), so I’m moving away from just using Google Maps co-ordinates.

Blah blah blah here’s an area map for the game, lifted and lightly toasted from some geographically-appropriate islandy bits – obviously, ignore text and (most) roads marked on it. Hexes are 6 (nautical) miles across, so this map is about 150 nm wide:

The game starts at 2 tiny islands that are rather dimly-outlined on this map – here, zoomed in and highlighted:
Here’s a tactical-scale map of those islands  – hexes are 100 yards (20 hexes to a nautical mile), per the last post’s ship combat rules:

Water depth in this last map is keyed to the draught of different ships – a big East Indiaman can sail safely in the darkest part, the lighter part would be deep enough for a size 3 cargo vessel, the lightest blue is for size 2, 1 and reed galleys only, and white is exposed beach sand.
No prize for identifying the islands I swiped for either of these – in fact, if you research them it’ll probably mislead you.

Counter-colonial Creature Compendium:* the invisible rail is like something out of Edward Gorey.

August 1, 2016 Leave a comment

Counter-colonial Creature Compendium:* the invisible rail is like something out of Edward Gorey.
German ornithologist Gerd Heinrich, who prepared for his Halmahera trip by rolling in stinging nettles, wrote of the [rail’s] sago swamp habitat in the 1930s: “I am solidly confident no European has ever seen this rail alive, for that requires such a degree of toughening and such demands on oneself as I cannot so easily attribute to others. [The rail] is shielded by the awful thorns of the sago swamps… In this thorn wilderness, I walked barefoot and half-naked for weeks.”