“The Cats of Ulthar” is a short story written by American fantasy author H. P. Lovecraft in June 1920. In the tale, an unnamed narrator relates the story of how a law forbidding the killing of cats came to be in a town called Ulthar. As the narrative goes, the city is home to an old couple who enjoy capturing and killing the townspeople’s cats. When a caravan of wanderers passes through the city, the kitten of an orphan (Menes) traveling with the band disappears. Upon hearing of the couple’s violent acts towards cats, Menes invokes a prayer before leaving town that causes the local felines to swarm the cat-killers’ house and devour them. Upon witnessing the result, the local politicians pass a law forbidding the killing of cats.
It is said that in Ulthar, which lies beyond the river Skai, no man may kill a cat; and this I can verily believe as I gaze upon him who sitteth purring before the fire. For the cat is cryptic, and close to strange things which men cannot see. He is the soul of antique Aegyptus, and bearer of tales from forgotten cities in Meroe and Ophir. He is the kin of the jungle’s lords, and heir to the secrets of hoary and sinister Africa. The Sphinx is his cousin, and he speaks her language; but he is more ancient than the Sphinx, and remembers that which she hath forgotten.
I know that you are in your 11th or 12th year of making Army Transport cases for miniature Wargames. However, I believe that you have missed your true calling: Cat Beds.
I have found that since I started using your miniature cases that my cats love to sleep in and on them. I’m not sure if it’s the material that the cases are made of or if you line them with cat nip, but my cats will seek them out, fight over them, and ultimately end up using them as a bed.
You should really consider designing some kind of feline sleeping device to add to your products.
Rumor was that Asheth Magnus would be making a public statement about his involvement in Blasted Heath today, however Monkey T. Katt refused to allow our reporters to speak with the Warcaster himself. We apologize that there is no word on what Magnus’s Agenda may be during this conflict. More news as it becomes available!
On August 22 2009, Press Ganger Undead Dan will be running a GO WILD! tourament in York, PA at Comic Store West. Details are listed here. This is awsome. It’s keeping the idea behind GO WILD! alive.
Back in 2008, the tv and radio news started to chatter about funding and donations running low in the local area around DuBois, PA. I watched as two local no kill shelters shut down due to expenses and lack of funding. Then I heard on the radio that the Clearfield County SPCA was in trouble too. They were asking for donations because they had volunteered to take on the animals from the other two no kill shelters in order to stop the animals from being sent to facilities that terminate animals. I had just got done buying my Swamp Gobber shirt to help out with the charity collection going on after the big storms that affected so many people. And FOODMACHINE and Thrall Harvest is an event that everyone in the Privateer Press circles knows about. What if I could design some kind of PETFOODMACHINE event that would help collect donations for the Clearfield County SPCA? That might do a little to help. Besides, doing nothing was unacceptable. I started plotting. I contacted the guys that made FOODMACHINE and they gave me a green light to use their basic rules and idea to design an event that would be fun and hopefully aid the SPCA.
Our dog, Bob D. Beagle, is awesome. He’s about 9 years old, and the best dog I have ever met. He’s got a big personality. I first met Bob at Indiana SPCA. He was seized from his owner due to abuse. His hip had been broken. The previous owner was a hunter who raised hunting dogs. Bob is a lover, not a fighter. He rarely barks, and isn’t a good hunter. He was beaten and mistreated because he wouldn’t hunt. A final beating left the skinny Beagle with a broken hip. When the owner got the balls to take Bob to the vet, the real story came out. And that’s when Bob and I met. He’s been with us ever since, and our lives are forever changed. He’s an awesome dog. And hopefully you’ll get to meet him at TempleCon 2010 since Crowne Plaza allows pets with a security deposit.
I talked to the local crew, and to Privateer Press. Then I called the CCSPCA and set up a visit to talk to them about trying to help them but running PETFOODMACHINE. When I got there, I was saddened. There were abused, unwanted, and abandoned pets crammed into every safe space available. I spent about a hour and a half just walking around with the SPCA staff meeting the different animals and hearing their stories. I started to explain how I wasn’t sure if my charity event would make any impact at all, but I was willing to try. I suggested collecting pet food to donate, but they didn’t ned that at all. As it turns out, Wal-Mart donates pet food to the SPCA by contract. So I was at a loss. I asked what I could to to help.
They explained that they needed supplies. They needed basic stuff like newspapers (to line cages), towels for the animals, paper towels, cleaning supplies, garden hoses and nozzles, and other items. They said that if they could get people to donate supplies, they could use more of the organization’s money to provide services for pets and their soon-to-be owners. And so I had them write out a list of the top supplies they needed as donations, and GO WILD! was born.
The original post for the event is here. Information and pictures from the event can be located here on the old blog and here on photobucket.
I started posting about the idea seeking help within the Press Gang. Although the Gang was supportive, it didn’t generate much help. Many Press Gangers said it was a good idea, but I didn’t get many suggestions or help in making things work. Until Hugh Browne got involved. Thank goodness for Hugh. He not only helped to hammer out some of the ideas for the rules but he drove all the way from New England to help me run the event. Best of all, he gathered donations from his local crew out there and brought all of the stuff down to the event. That was awesome!
We came up with the name GO WILD! simply because it was a HORDES only event at that time. Players were encouraged to bring listed donation items in order to earn points towards winning a copy of the Limited Edition Apotheosis book kindly donated as prize support by Privateer Press. Each item on the list had been assigned a point value determined buy its general value to buy at a store. The higher something cost, the more points it was worth. Also, a lot of other businesses and online stores offered free prizes and gift certificates to give out as prizes for the event. Even the DuBois JoAnn Fabrics got involved giving us a cut rate on the 4×4 mats that we needed to properly facilitate the event. During the event, cheating was encouraged just like in FOODMACHINE and THRALL HARVEST. Players could purchase tokens that were $1 each. Each token could be used to cheat in some approved manner, like re-rolling a dice, for example. The signature cheat was to use an assigned amount of tokens to make your opponent’s Warbeasts GO WILD for one turn. (Do this at your own risk!) We also sold T-Shirts (If you want one, we still have some for $10 each and I will donate the money to the CCSPCA) and pirate cupcakes to help gather more money for the event. (We went out and bought more supplies from the list with the money that we gathered from these items.) In the end, I had my Chevy Blazer so full of donations that I could hardly fit into it. Plus, we had about $135 extra dollars to donate.
The staff at the CCSPCA went crazy. They were so happy. I had a lot of fun that day unloading supplies and handing over the check. They were so happy that they pulled up the Privateer Press website, and asked how they could call to thank the company for the help. I gave the praise to Privateer Press for helping their volunteers organize great events like this one.
If you want to help out and organize your own GO WILD! in your area … do it. Get in contact with me on the Privateer Press forums. I will email you the rules, and everything that you need to get it going. It’s worth it, man. Make a difference.
When planning for the future it is often important to reflect on the past.
When I discovered that Privateer Press was planning to release a book called Pirates of the Broken Coast, something went off in my brain that made me a little crazy. Maybe it was all those Pirates of the Caribbean movies I had watched the last few years. Or maybe all the days and nights I spent out fishing for salmon. Either way, I started to plan out a game board that would simulate a scenario for ship to ship dueling combat. I had an idea to take a 4×4 board and imagine it as being completely water. Then I could take two pieces of foam board and make two large sections of ships that would simulate two ships having completed a broadsides volley with their guns and now would begin the boarding assault.
I wanted to make a partial pirate ship featuring the poop deck opposing a larger supply ship. I figured that the pirate ship would have gotten the jump on the supply ship, moved close, and unleashed Hell. The pirate ship will have fired it’s broadsides of guns, or at least the main compliment, and damaged the supply ship. Naval combat back in the day was tricky business. Pulling off a successful “Broadsides” could win you a victory. But you had to be close, man, real close for it to work correctly. An 18th century man of war like the HMS Victory had cannons that were only accurate at short range. Plus, the penetrating power of naval guns was mediocre; which meant that the thick hull of a well-built wooden ship could only be pierced at short ranges. These wooden ships sailed closer and closer towards each other until cannon fire would be effective. Each tried to be the first to fire a broadside,s often giving one side a decisive head start in the battle when it crippled the other ship.
And so, in my crazified brain I started plotting. The pirate crew would be boarding the supply ship. Boarding, in its simplest sense, refers to the insertion onto a ship’s deck of people. However, when it is classified as an attack, in most contexts, it refers to the insertion of personnel that are not members of the crew by another party. Boarding may be carried out during wartime by naval infantry in an attempt to seize and possibly destroy the vessel, or it may occur in peacetime by pirates and other criminals, or as a means of inspection by a nation’s coast guard (or navy) to prevent piracy and smuggling. It is used in wartime as a way to seize a vessel without destroying it, or to remove its cargo (people or goods) before it is destroyed. It can also be used to aid in the collection of naval intelligence, as soldiers boarding a sinking, crippled, or surrendered vessel could possibly recover enemy plans, cipher code books or machines. For a boarding to be successful, it must occur without the knowledge of the crew of the defending ship, or the ship’s defenses must be suppressed. All that seemed like a cool chance for some fun gaming situations!
So you can see in the picture above that I have a piece of 4×4 plywood from Lowes and two sections of salvaged blue insulation foam board cut to size to represent sections of large ships. There will be a section of Deep Water between both ships. I decided to make boarding planks and cranes to allow movement from ship to ship. I hoped it will be cool when it is all finally finished. The next step was to playtest on the board to see if it would make sense to try to use it as a real game table. You can see from the pictures that the hulls of the ships are more than large enough for practical game play and cool scenarios. I was a little worried that the models would be al cluttered and clumped up and make game play uninteresting … but that was not the case. It was a lot of fun. I was hoping that when the Pirates of the Broken Coast book came out, it might include formal rules for ship to ship combat. (It didn’t but the Call to Arms event Broken Coast Raids did offer some cool rules that linked up well with my ideas.)
The next step was to start working on the hull and figure out ways to make it start looking like a section of a pirate ship. I glued the sections of blue and white foam board together using Elmer’s White Glue All. Then I used painter’s tape and wrapped the entire thing together to hold it in place and allow it to dry. I then started to smooth out the rougher places of the hull by adding tape to the sides.
You can see (below) a few of the odds and ends I had laying on the hull at the time I took the picture. There is a small post from one of my model docks, a toy crane I picked up from Goodwill for 99 cents, a superman toy which will serve as a twin steam engine and smoke stack. A wooden boat to mount on the side of the Poop Deck. A couple of pickle barrels for stowing blades and guns on deck. And Bosun Grogspar of course. If you look at the bottom right corner you will notice my cat (“Monkey”) who is “helping” me to build the hull.
I added a white foam Dwarvenforge container to serve as an elevated part of the ship’s poop deck. Here I placed three wooden shower curtain rings that I bought at Goodwill awhile back. I started to glue them down three at a time using Elmer’s Glue All. I found out the hard way that surface tension and the expanding glue didn’t allow me to stack more than three at a time unless I wanted the rings sliding apart and ending up all crooked. I would ultimately use them to anchor the mast for the Poop Deck to the Ship.
Then I cut out a small area in the top of the main deck in order to add a cargo space. I used styrene grating that I bought awhile back. I placed a lid from an air freshener (painted silver) on the foamboard of the deck to simulate a steam vent. Now came the tedious task of using glue to affix “wood planks” to the deck. I tried to stagger the sticks in length, and cut them at odd angles sometimes to give the planks a realistic look. I then planked around the “vent” with my wooden planking. I also glued the “steam engine” into place and started to plank around it as well.
Making the “steam engine” was easy. I used a Superman toy that I had bought at Goodwill several months ago. I took the toy and carefully cut off the “ball” with a sharp knife. I then sprayed painted the “steam engine” with bright copper floral spray paint. Looking it over, I was pleased with the look of the piece. Although it doesn’t look jut like a boiler or steam engine, it’s close enough for me. In any case, it’s got smoke stacks. I hoped that in the end it would look like part of a steam engine sticking up out of the deck.
It was fairly simple to use a utility knife to cut of the Daily Bugle globe off and reveal the “smoke stack” underneath.
At this point in the project, I found out that Broken Coast Raids was being moved up to June rather than going down in September. I knew that there was no way we were going to pull off a Broken Coast Themed event in June, so I gave up for a little while. I almost chucked the entire project. However, I decided to give it another go about a week later. My main problem was figuring out how to plank the sides of the ship without having to do the thing where you wet balsa wood and then bend it. I know I don’t have the skill or the patience to do that! I’ll discuss in another post what I ended up doing to make the side planking without having to use balsa wood.
At this point in the project, I found out that Broken Coast Raids was being moved up to June rather than going down in September. I knew that there was no way we were going to pull off a Broken Coast Themed event in June, so I gave up for a little while. I almost chucked the entire project. However, I decided to give it another go about a week later. My main problem was figuring out how to plank the sides of the ship without having to do the thing where you wet balsa wood and then bend it. I know I don’t have the skill or the patience to do that!
As you can see, I had made some decent progress by this point. It almost is starting to look like a ship, or rather a section of a ship. Never meant to be the whole ship, as you know. Just a part of it. Anyway, I finished planking the entire deck in a flurry of activity one Sunday.
New additions included:
Flags. I used think dowel rods shoved directly into the foam. The flags are plastic flags stolen from a Spiderman Daily Bugle Lego set.
Rear Vents: This series of three vents is simply a Sugar-Free Peeps container turned upside down and glued in place.
Reinforced Metal Grating on Deck: These are Lemax Plaza sections which come in squares. I glued a few of them into place and will paint them to simulate metal sheets.
Side Railing on Elevated deck: These are plastic toy ladders turned on end and glued into place. They look okay.
Gargoyles: These are LEMAX Halloween Graveyard Gargoyles. Nice decorations for eye candy.
The Mast: This is several of the aforementioned wooden shower curtain hooks glued in place. I them ran another thin dowel rod down through the center of them. I then cut a hole in a 1″ diameter wooden circle sign from Michaels Craft Store to act as a makeshift crows nest platform.
The Rigging: It’s plastic rigging from the Pirates of the Caribbean Deluxe Black Pearl set.
The Mast Boom is also from the Black Pearl set.
I added a hatch in the center of the deck. This is a Warhammer 40k Cities of Death building piece that has a hatch built into it.
I added walkways on the sides of the ship, and these are again pieces from the 40k Cities of Death building sets.
The ramps leading to the Poop Deck as from the Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors Battle Base which, by the way, has a bunch of great bits which can be used for making Steampunk terrain.
So like I reported recently, my cats had a duel on the pirate ship. The battle ended with the ship …. going down. I am taking the chance to rebuild some of the parts that broke off, along with some of the parts that I found out later were not so hot for game play. I am working on making the masts removable, and repainting the deck. I believe I will use magnets to make this work.
Monkey made sure to oversee the painting of the ship.
You can see the size of the ship in comparison to Monkey. Remember, this is supposed to only be the back half of the ship.
This is what the Broadsides Board looks like when it’s layed out. I intended the ships to have about two inches between them and boading planks made out of balsa wood. In this picture, I have the ships pushed together.