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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Computer Trouble

My internet access will be intermittent at best for at least a little while because I have had a hardware failure at home and am now reliant on using either library computers or friends computers; so I won't be posting anything for a while. I am going on hiatus until I can either repair my 7 year old desktop system or replace it. I am hoping it won't be too long and I hope that you'll all still be here when I get back.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Helmets Part II

Or- "Damn, I hate speaking with authority and turning out to be wrong"

This just showed up in my comments overnight, and is most likely right.

"Not that I'm all that much into armour (yet) - but I just read that the earlier type of Bascinet did not have a visor, and was worn UNDER the great helm. Once you got knocked off your horse in a joust, you could throw the great helm away and still wear a helmet with less impaired vision. Could EGG have meant that type of Bascinet? It would explain the AD&D pricing a bit better. I imagine a fitting hinged visor is not easy to make - and is the hardest part of the later bascinet. But if there is none... it might be cheaper and easier to make.
By Jaap de Goede on Helmets at 3:10 AM"

For the most part anyway, the hinged visor certainly isn't child's play; but the multitude of curved surfaces of the later Bascinet and it's more fitted form are probably still the reason why they are so darned expensive.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Since I covered shields pretty much ad nauseum, I thought I'd move on to helmets. For most of the same reasons that the shield didn't get it's proper respect, the helmet got screwed over by D&D rules too; the designers of the game simply had no real experience of the helmet's importance in keeping combatants alive. I have said in the past that if I had to choose 2 out of 3 armor parts, Shield, any type of body armor and Helmet I would 100% of the time pick Shield and Helmet. You all know why I would pick the Shield from my series of Shield posts, this is for the poor Helmet. Here's a little known fact, most of the time in mêlée combat you get hit in the head. That's just where shot's get through. Here's another little known fact, even the crappiest helmet is still pretty darned good at stopping blows from killing you. Yet for some reason there are either no rules, or at best, very obscure rules, in ANY addition of D&D (that I am familiar with, I guess 4e might have some) regarding Helmets at all.

What's worse is that in 1st edition AD&D there are two types of helmet listed on the equipment list- Helmet, Great and Helmet, Small for 15 and 10 Gold Pieces respectively with absolutely no benefit listed for owning either of them, nor a description of either type of helmet. So why should any player waste his starting money on a Helmet? It takes a pretty sharp-eyed DM to find the rule about characters fighting without wearing helmets in the DM's Guide; I know I have seen it before and I went looking for it and couldn't find it to cite it here. Something about the head being AC10 with no helmet and intelligent monsters taking advantage of that. There was also a rule about a certain percentage of all shots in mêlée being head shots, 1 in 10 I think, but nobody ever used it because it slowed down combat and you had to remember your head's AC too. I think the Great Helm was AC 3 and the Small Helmet AC 5, but I may be mixing editions.

Checking the 2nd edition AD&D Player's Handbook equipment list shows the problem is exactly the same, only worse. There are still only two types of helmet listed, one of them is still the Great Helm which has increased in price to 30 Gold Pieces (inflation, what can you do?); the other though is, inexplicably, the Basinet (which, by the way is not the most common spelling for this helmet type, it is usually spelled Bascinet), and at the bargain price of 8 Gold Pieces, which makes no sense whatsoever to anyone who knows anything about helmets. Great Helms only SOUND more impressive, Bascinets are a vast improvement in the art and science of armoring; it takes way more time and skill to make a Bascinet than it does a Great Helm.

Which leads us to a little history lesson on the timeline of helmet types starting in antiquity and ending in the late middle ages. The earliest helmet types are usually in one of two styles, with a number of various options that can be applied, for simplicity's sake I am going to refer to them by the general term "Spangenhelm" which sounds German to me. I don't know where it comes from, probably archeology, and it probably is called other things when it's not found in a western European context, but I want this kept simple so that's the name I am using. Spangenhelms come in either the round-top or conical varieties. Some of the additions possible were longer backs and sides to protect more of the head than just the top, or a nasal guard, or oculars (circles that come down and protect the eyes, kind of look like glasses), or cheek guards or chainmail "veils" to protect the face, or a chainmail "scarf" to protect the neck*. This type of helmet was in use from the Roman legions to the Saxons that invaded Britain to the well dressed Viking. You can see them in use on the Bayeux tapestry on both sides of the Battle of Hastings.

The main purpose of the helmet is to keep the axe, sword, mace, club or whatever that you let slip past your shield from caving in your skull and making you dead. Trust me on this, most blows that make it past your shield WILL hit you in the head. The Spangenhelm mainly does this by deflecting the blow across it's rounded surface and absorbing the force of the blow across a greater area than just, say, the edge of a sword. Unfortunately for the Spangenhelm, unless this blow comes from above, it will find a relatively flat surface to bite into. This will be a recurring theme in helmet design as weapons get better, helmets (and body armor) begin to match pretty shortly.

The Spangenhelm had a good run as armor types go, but eventually weapons and tactics got better and it was replaced. The mighty Great Helm had arrived. That's just it's coolest name, it's also known as the Pot Helm, Bucket Helm and Barrel Helm; an even cooler looking late variant is known as the Sugarloaf Helm. These are the helmets that Crusader knights were wearing and what most of us think of when we think of a knight's helmet. I don't know what armorer had the neuron fire that made him decide to make a helmet that actually covered the face and mostly protected the eyes, but this was seriously brilliant thinking; and just in time since knights had really just started doing heavy cavalry charges at each other with lances. Sadly, despite it's vast improvement in overall protection, the Great Helm still has relatively few glancing surfaces, and in fact** you lose the rounded/conical top of the Spangenhelm, which was it's greatest feature.

In the SCA, the flat top of the Great Helm is known as the "Landing Strip". Seriously, I own 3 Great Helms, I have a love/hate relationship with them all. I always wind up going back to the ugly one, the one that was home made by a buddy of mine. It was his first helmet, it's heavy gauge steel (14 sides/12 top) and has a bar grill welded to the front for better ventilation and visibility. When he got rid of it I bought it off of him and it was my first helmet, aside from the Delftwood loaner gear. It's the one I am wearing in all of my fighting pictures. The others are prettier but don't fit my giant head as well with any padding at all and their visibility is less, although not as bad as you might think and their ventilation isn't great either, but that isn't so much a breathing thing as it is a cooling down thing. The landing strip isn't a real big deal for me because I am really tall and a Great Helm sits even higher on my head.

Now, the Bascinet, which is what all the cool knights are wearing from the 14th century on until the end of the classic D&D period. Since it comes along at roughly the same time as "Full Plate" and "Field Plate" more or less, maybe it should be excluded from discussion, but the absolute melange of periods in D&D is more or less the same as in the SCA, only the SCA has fewer elves***. Anyway, the Bascinet is, more or less, the epitome of the armorer's art in the making of helmets. It is designed with curves everywhere, meaning that the entire damned thing is one big glancing surface covering your melon. If you know how to move with a blow at all, to roll with it, nothing sticks to your head. Fine helmet. Wish I could afford one. Sadly, Bascinets are really all custom jobs. I do some metal work and have made some simple armor parts, this is WAY beyond my skill level. I know a good helmet guy that can do Spangenhelms and Great Helms, he would never attempt to make a Bascinet. So the Bascinet getting it's only mention in an AD&D book as the cheapest helmet of them all is basically ludicrous.

OK, here comes another caveat about the SCA: in the SCA we cheat on helmets, because of our safety features we can use bar grills instead of covering our faces for protection in sheet steel. As I mentioned above this provides better visibility and ventilation, it also makes the Spangenhelm a more viable choice of helmet, essentially the same as a Great Helm protection-wise because it now has a bar grill welded over the face, something it never had back in the day. We also open up the faces on our Bascinets and our Great Helms, although if you can afford a Bascinet you usually get the historical visor that can switch out, we have some tournaments that are exclusive for very period kits. Some guys that have pre-14th century personae in the SCA (that's like your character, except really it's just you), like say, Vikings, have Bascinet helmets retrofitted to look like a Spangenhelm, but actually perform like a Bascinet.

I was reading recently on one of the OSR blogs saying Gary meant for D&D to be early medieval, they had a link to the armor book he used for his source. It was old and outdated, but at least it's a bit of history telling us where EGG got his information from. I am pretty sure he intended that D&D be pretty early medieval anyway based on the AD&D "Gold Box" miniature line from Grenadier, looking at them sitting on the shelf above my computer as I write this I see pretty much all of the guys are wearing Spangenhelms and the weapons and shields are 11th century at the latest. It was his Swiss fixation on polearms that threw a monkey-wrench into the works. Other than that the aesthetic for AD&D seems to be circa turn of the 1st millennium, certain popular pieces of 1st edition AD&D artwork notwithstanding. I can only assume from the evidence of the official AD&D miniature line that the Small Helmet of the 1st edition AD&D Player's Handbook is actually a Spangenhelm

*There are actual technical terms for all of these things, but I am trying to keep things simple; please don't be insulted by this, I just don't know how much technical jargon will be OK here.

**With the exception of the Sugarloaf Great Helm, which is considered a "transitional" helmet to the Bascinet.

***None actually, not officially anyway, we are an educational organization after all, not a LARP; I have heard tales of people who refuse to play the game by the same rules as everyone else and decide that they are an elf, or a vampire or a member of a Starfleet away team or whatever. I have never seen them, but I have heard the tales. My guess would be that they realize they're at the wrong place and move along eventually.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I am Christian

Destination Unknown was one of the first gaming blogs I started reading, it inspired me to start my own. Even my wife likes Christian, and she isn't a fan of most gaming blogs. Christian- don't let that dick over at YDIS ruin your day man, one loser's opinion isn't worth it.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

200th Post

I don't really have anything to say here, I was just looking at my blogger stats (for some reason I seem to have a following in Iran, not a huge one, but bigger than the none I would have expected); anyway I noticed the my post count was at 199. I never figured I'd get very far with this blogging project. My wife kind of nagged me into writing when I started and it really took me about a year to start building up any head of steam on it. I wish I had something significant to say to mark this occasion, but I don't. Thanks for showing up and checking out my thoughts. Thanks for all the rest of you gamers out there that have inspired me to keep putting my thoughts together. It's all really more random philosophical musings about my 30+ years of gaming and life than ramblings of a Great Khan, but thanks for playing along!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Birthday USA

I just wanted to say Happy 4th of July to all of my fellow Americans; other than that I have a pretty busy schedule today of all the patriotic Independence Day stuff that we citizens of the USA do to celebrate throwing off the shackles of the British Empire, I'll be over-eating with friends and family. There will probably be illegal fireworks at some point.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Shield Wall Errata & General Mêlée Stuff

Pictured- Me challenging Sir Maynard into Crown Tourney, an unwise move for me, but a ballsy one that won me much renown. He, of course, went on to win the tourney.

Mêlée unit tactics. Aside from the "Charge straight through the enemy line" tactic that I apparently learned through genetic memory from my Scottish Highlander ancestors, which when it works, it works like gangbusters and when it doesn't, it gets you and all of your men killed; kind of an all or nothing, bet it all on one play, kind of a tactic; aside from that one; I have learned a few other tactics from a few better tacticians and battlefield commanders in my day.

Pulse charges. That's where you take a small team of guys and try to break the enemy line, do some damage and get back into your own ranks, they seem to work pretty well if you can send your better guys out to do the damage and get back, particularly if you can coordinate several of them at the same time along the line; that can lead to a more general break in the line.

Feigned retreats seem to work pretty well too. Once I was leading a small contingent of Aethelmearc fighters in an East kingdom war event and their Northern Army kept chewing us up with their feigned retreats, pretty much just like at Cannae their center fell back until we were completely flanked and destroyed; and you'd think we'd be once bitten, twice shy right? Nope, they kept doing it to us all day long. those guys were a whole lot better drilled in small unit tactics and maneuver than we were. Their units flanked us and ran away from us it was a tiring day of chasing the enemy around the field waiting for either their archers to get you or for a sudden tsunami of Eastie troops to wash you from the field from out of nowhere, after it was all over they told us it was all about endless hours of drill practice and the mantra of "superior numbers at the point of impact". Plus, despite their heavier armor and shields those guys could run backwards faster than we could charge forwards, which just seems wrong; how do you learn to sprint so fast in reverse.

Commanders vs. knights or kings for that matter; in the SCA we tend to follow the highest ranking guy's orders on the battlefield. That makes sense, we humans are primates and primates form hierarchical societies by and large, and usually this works pretty well. The problem in the SCA is two-fold; first- the guy that's highest ranking is doubtless an awesome fighter himself, that is how we choose our leaders in the SCA (in large part), but he may well suck at leading troops on the field; second command control is hard to maintain on the field if there are more than a couple of dozen troops, particularly if they are not well trained as units and those units are not accustomed to fighting together. I won't pretend to know what makes a good commander and I don't claim to be one, but I have seen a few things that good commanders do and a few things that bad commanders do and I try to emulate the former and not the latter when I have any type of command role. The single most important lesson I learned is that SOMEONE needs to be in command, if no one else is doing it, it is time to step up to the plate and do it yourself because even a bad commander is better than no commander. I have been on a field with knights and royal peers and watched everything go to hell because the wrong guy got killed and no one else stepped up and took command, maybe it was because they didn't want to step on any toes, maybe it was because they couldn't figure out who was supposed to be next in line, maybe it was because they were crap commanders, maybe it was because they didn't realize their leader was dead; who knows? When it hits the fan hard though, someone needs to take the reins.

This leads us to how the SCA organizes itself within it's kingdoms, we have, mainly, baronies, shires, colleges, strongholds, and a couple of subgroupings of those types of groups. The type of group is determined by the nature of it's primary inhabitants and how well populated it is, baronies and shires are the main "normal" SCA groups and are usually just based around a geographical area, my own Barony of Delftwood is most of central NY state, centered on the city of Syracuse, NY. The neighboring Shire of Coppertree is to the east and centered on the Utica/Rome, NY area. To our west we have the Barony of Thescorre centered on the city of Rochester, NY. Baronies mostly have more people than shires do. Strongholds are based around military bases, we have the Stronghold of Wyntersett based around the Watertown/Fort Drum area to the north of me. Colleges are based at colleges and universities and I don't think we have any in the kingdom of Aethelmearc at all, much less near me, although we do have the Dominion of Myrkfaelinn, which is for all intents and purposes a college, based out of the Cornell campus in Ithaca to the south of me. I mention this because it's important to know for the types of forces they field.

Baronies and Shires will field irregular forces of varying quality. Most knights or other peers within a barony (or shire) will have probably either formed their own household or joined a household belonging to someone of higher rank that they have a friendship or other attachment to, which leaves mostly newer fighters, the Baron, his Champion, their friends, their households if they have them, and maybe a few other people that didn't have any other commitment for that battle in the baronial unit. Note that Baron is an elected position, he may not even take the field; if he does he may not be much of a fighter, if this is the case he will hopefully leave commanding the troops to his Champion, but this may not be much better because the Champion is good at SINGLE combat, that's how he won his title.

Strongholds are actually worse in my experience, just because the people keep coming and going. Every time they get something good the key leadership members get transferred or deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq. This was probably easier during peacetime.

If the Dominion of Myrkfaelinn is any indicator for Colleges, I'd have to say they field some pretty good Mêlée units. That may be because college students have copious amounts of time to train in their unit tactics or it may just be that Master John the Pell is THE war master; I don't know.

Which brings us to the concept of Households in the SCA. Some Households are giant sprawling multi-kingdom affairs like the Great Dark Horde and it's spin-offs. I don't really have any experience with them, so I'll skip them. Most of the households in the SCA are formed around either a knight and his squires and men-at-arms and their families and maybe a few friends too, or a group of local fighters that banded together for the purposes of actually forming a Mêlée unit that doesn't suck (with maybe a couple of other ideas stuck to it too). I have been a member of the first type of common SCA household when I became a man-at-arms to Duke Sir James Ahearn. I probably joined his household too early, everyone tells you to wait a year before joining a household, but my buddy Kevin M. (AKA Ketil in the SCA) and I were both asked and we both were flattered by the offer and we went for it. That experience didn't end well for either of us, or for Duke James; his household dissolved and he pretty much quit doing SCA stuff for a while. I stayed away from joining households after that, although I fought pretty often with a couple of them, Earl Sir Yngvar's Hus Faerhaga and Boldo's Gladique Scoporum. Members of households that train together as mêlée units are usually pretty darned good at it and they have a good idea of who's orders to follow when their chief gets ganked.

Let me backtrack a bit here and explain that, in my experience, there is among most of the better fighters a general disdain for mêlée in the kingdom of Aethelmearc. I am pretty sure it's because deep down every fighter in the SCA wants to be a knight and you don't get knighted, not in Aethelmearc anyway, for being a great mêlée fighter. Maybe if you were a truly awesome, spectacular mêlée fighter, but not for being just a good or great mêlée fighter. You get knighted for a lot of reasons, time and service and dedication are vastly important; but the biggest reason, as far as I have seen is for being a great tournament fighter. Getting out there and fighting in lots of tournaments and winning or looking good and coming close, fighting in all of the important tournaments, traveling to tournaments out of your area of the kingdom to network and get your name out there. In order to make sure you will win or at least look good you need to practice, I used to do 30 minutes of pell work every day and during the height of my fighting career I was going to 3-5 fighter practices a week and a fighting event every weekend during the fighting season. I am not a knight in the SCA. My biggest claim to fame is either quarter-finaling in two consecutive Aethelmearc Crown Tourneys or having served as Delftwood's Baronial Heavy Weapons Champion for a year, point of view thing there really.

My point is, I guess, that we have a tendency towards the training of champions rather than training units of fighters around here. So when someone at fighter practice says "Hey, we have a bunch of people here today why don't we practice mêlée?" half of the people groan and bitch because they just want to practice getting better at single combat. Maybe they wanted to learn a new form or weapon or work on their endurance or just get matched off against all these new guys that showed up this one time that they have never fought before and may never get another chance to have a go at; and the knights are just as bad, because they need to keep their skills at a peak level*. So, unless the extra guys showed up from Myrkfaelinn or dropped in en masse from another kingdom, you either will have no mêlée at all or a half-hearted BS attempt at it just to give everyone some mêlée practice; the exception to this will be in the weeks leading up to war. The war of course is Pennsic War, which is the biggest SCA event on earth, where the Midrealm fights the East Kingdom for control of the Barony Marche of the Debatable Lands, which actually belongs to the Kingdom of Aethelmearc; but the war pre-dates Aethelmearc. War fever makes everyone mêlée mad, also siege crazy, but that's another entire post; when it's near time for war our singles tourneys (kind of, mostly) end and mêlée events begin and we all practice our mad mêlée skills for maybe six weeks leading up to war, although we often cheat and have singles tournaments at our mêlée events too, shh!

Which leads to some households working together at these mêlée events, which is a good thing. I like it when I know the caliber of the unit fighting to my flank, better if I know them both. Best yet if I know them well enough that I can drop into their unit if the rest (or just most) of my unit dies and have it be pretty seamless. Or if I just show up alone at an event I can fight with their unit because we know each other and we have the trust in each other and our skills. I would much rather fight with the Hus or Gladique Scoporum than any ad hoc unit thrown together at an event, I know them and their leaders, I don't train with them regularly but I am a decent fighter and I can follow orders pretty well.

That said, those warbands pale in comparison to truly well drilled units like those I mentioned above from the East Kingdom's Northern Army; credit where credit is due, those guys spent all day spanking us. Sure, it probably wouldn't have been so bad if I hadn't been with an ad hoc unit, but I am pretty sure it still would have been pretty brutal.

Applying this to D&D? I am not really sure how to do it without getting all 3e style with movements and bonuses and maneuvers and feats of leadership. I mean, other than losing your shield bonuses for being attacked on your off side or giving flankers to hit bonuses, maybe even increasing to hit bonuses based on the number of attackers?

*Snarky people say that you only get knighted in Aethelmearc as a lifetime achievement award, when you have already peaked and your skills are starting to deteriorate. I admit I have indulged in this kind of talk in the past, but I know it's not entirely true, even if there is a grain of truth; the grain being that a certain number of dedicated SCAdians that were deserving of the recognition of being raised to a peerage were overlooked until it became obvious and then they were elevated when they were clearly past their prime. Really this is the correction of a mistake more than anything else, but it does leave one with the impression that it is nigh impossible to get knighted in this kingdom. Sadly, the statistics also back up this impression as Aethelmearc has fewer knights per capita than any other kingdom.

2CELLOS (Sulic & Hauser) - Smooth Criminal

My wife thinks these guys look like the Winchester boys from Supernatural. They play some pretty bad-ass cello anyway.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Shield Walls

Pictured- What a Shield Wall looks like coming at you, only usually they are much, much bigger.

The thing about a shield wall is that it needs an anchor at either end or it becomes easy to flank and, therefore, irrelevant. If it can be anchored though it can be damnably formidable, like fighting against a real fortification almost. Almost because a shield wall has two key weaknesses.

The Shield Wall's first key weakness is that it is made of shields rather than actual walls. The fact that it is made of shields means that it is flexible rather than rigid, which is sometimes beneficial because a line can bend without breaking, but can be just as easily bad for the defenders because the flex can open gaps between shields. The fact that the wall is made of shields is also bad because anything that can destroy a shield can tear a hole through your wall.

The second key weakness is that people have to hold the wall up instead of being able to just stand behind it and fight from there (possibly while holding a shield), so anything that can take out a person can punch a hole in your wall.

Now the good news- It doesn't take a lot of training or experience to stand on the line in a shield wall and not get killed, just hold the line; probably the guy standing behind you is more experienced and will be doing your killing for you. You are the wall for him. He probably has a spear.

Because there are, essentially just a few different types of troops on a battlefield that has a shield wall. The guys on the wall holding shields and some type of mêlée weapon, they stand there and take shots at each other and mostly miss because they are so well protected.

Then there are the mêlée killers in the back. Mostly they have spears, some have other types of reach weapons or mass weapons. Usually they work alone, sometimes they come in teams, when they work in teams they are DEADLY; one guy will hook your shield with his Halberd and pull it down while the next guy simultaneously spears you in the throat and they have a buddy that's blocking anything coming over the wall at them.

Then come the Wall-Breakers, they usually come as units, although they may be pretty ad-hoc. They pretty much just look like an opposing section of the shield wall until they make their move, which can come when a gap opens up and they just take advantage of it or, much more likely, they destroy an opposing section of shield wall usually with a charge.

I freely admit this is my strength in shield wall combat, when advancing towards the enemy shield wall I take point with my men-at-arms behind me (in an unseen wedge) and charge the last five paces or so. I throw my shield up in front of me, so I get the protection of my shield AND their shield wall and just crash through them with my mass. Once I have pushed the first shieldsmen out of my way I quickly kill to my right and keep moving into their unprotected rear killing their spears and mass weapons and archers, my men-at-arms behind me, doing the same and spreading out. Usually this will open a big enough hole in their line that it will destroy the integrity of their wall entirely.

There may be a few people launching arrows into the fracas, but they are not terribly likely to be aiming for anyone on the shield wall, they are trying to hit the guys in the back that are doing the damage and they're having a hard time getting clear shots (unless there's a nearby hill with a clear view of the battlefield); they'll shoot you if you make an easy target by being too tall or by being wicked awesome or something, but mostly they're aiming for the killers.

So, if I were to put this in D&D terms I would leave them the awesome bonuses vs. missiles and give them all of the mêlée bonuses too I guess, then add an additional +2? maybe for can't be flanked, then they get to lose any Dexterity bonus because you just can't move that well in a shield wall. I'd give stabbing weapons like spears a bonus to hit though because you can really snake those into a shield wall, they're like magic on gaps and for hitting people in the face. Also, don't forget the optional shield killing rule. It couldn't hurt to have some sort of opposed role strength check for holding the wall too against big wall-breakers like me. I am 6'6" tall and I can do it nearly every time, you pretty much have to kill me to stop me, now imagine an Ogre trying to break your shield wall, or how about a Hill Giant? Cavalry traditionally only have had a hard time breaking a shield wall because horses don't like to run directly into walls of angry people with pointy things.

Next time- The importance of Helmets and how D&D screwed that up too.

Mail Call 02 JUL 2011

Picture from EBay.

I wonder how long it will be before I have all of the stuff for the older editions of Legend of the Five Rings RPG? I started getting it almost as an afterthought when I started grabbing all the Clan War miniatures I could get my hands on, both as a possible investment to paint and resell at a profit and to have as many Oriental Adventures (or Ruins & Ronin) miniatures as I could find. Then I started thinking maybe I'd been too hard on poor Rokugan, that I'd been too much of a Kara-Tur partisan; now here I am- hundreds of miniatures, a pretty tall stack of quite nice rule books, six novels. I draw the line at the CCG though. I have to draw it somewhere right?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Canada Day!

I figured I'd get that in for my neighbors to the nearby north before they were completely overshadowed by our own 4th of July celebrations. I almost skipped it because I have been holding a grudge against Canada for quite some time since they are the only country in the world that has ever denied me entry, but I can't stay mad forever; besides I have Canadian roots quite recently on both sides of my family. My mother's entire family is French-Canadian and my Father's Father's side of the family is of Scottish Highlander extraction but spent a couple of generations in Canada before they came across the lake.

So, despite our differences, I am officially making up with Canada today. I am also going to remember all the things I love about Canada. CKWS out of Kingston, Ontario gave me Star Trek every day after school from the time I was in kindergarten until I graduated, hell, it might still be on at 4:00PM; I don't know. They also ran Space:1999 right after Star Trek for a number of years. CKWS continued to expose me to both British and Canadian TV that most Americans would never see, making me slightly more culturally aware of the outside world than most Americans. Molson. Labatt. OV Splits. Being close enough that I could feel more like a seasoned traveler for having been to a "foreign" country, unlike most Americans that weren't born to wealthy families.