Monday, April 28, 2008

In the beginning ...

Many years ago today ....

It was actually about 3 years ago, but I don't remember specific dates. It began with "The Underworld", a small comic store in Ann Arbor, MI. I had been visiting the store regularly for years (when F. started at the University of Michigan and I began making the pilgrimage across the blood red seas of I-94) and had witnessed what I considered the lowest of the low ... the tabletop miniature gamer.

They chortled and squealed in a high pitched mockery of the English language, often using phrases, or grunts, that meant nothing to the uninitiated. Like a tribe of radiated desert mutants they stalked and hunted any outsiders who mistakenly entered their darkened dens. Quick to poke and prod, to mock and howl at those who did not ... could not, understand their horrible world. They frightened me yet I was unable to ignore their enormous collections of tiny figures, each hand crafted and painted. Each with countless hours spent devoted entirely to their appearance, in stark contrast to the creators who owned them.

Time passed and many comics were purchased from "The Underworld". Each week I witnessed the same troll like creatures fighting over scraps of their dignity on a dingy table in the back of the store. I felt compelled to watch them. To study that which I did not, and could not, understand. Over time I began to associate some of their inhuman noises with their actions, and what those meant to one another. There was a system at work here, not the seemingly random actions I had first witnessed among them. Fascinating.

It was during this time that I met Brett. He was a mutual friend of a friend who had a strange and mysterious hobby. He never spoke of his activities but I knew he must be involved in some dark dealings at all hours of the day. And so it went like this until I saw him one day during a visit to "The Underworld". I assumed he was there, like myself, to purchase the newest shipment of comic euphoria. That was until one of the horrid trolls I had come to ignore approached Brett and spoke to him in a language I could understand.

What was this? Had I finally been infected with whatever ailment controlled these beasts allowing me to hear and understand them when they spoke? Could these hideous mutants actually be a form of humanity previously unknown to science? How was it that I was now speaking with this thing, and why was it acknowledging Brett as an equal, as one of it's own?

That day I discovered why Brett was often "too busy" to visit his friends. He was in fact one of them. A tabletop miniature gamer. He had extensive collections in both the Warhammer: Fantasy Battles and Warhammer: 40k settings. It was too late ... I had been infected.

Months later I was playing games with him and his freakish kin. I felt the very fabric of my humanity being rended, torn from my very soul. The corruption was deep and spreading fast. Soon after I bought my first miniature ... and painted it. It was only a matter of time before I had picked my poison and selected which Army I would begin collecting.

Warhammer: Fantasy Battles, the Ogre Kingdoms. I bought the Army book and wept.

Then I moved away to Austin, TX. Brett and his mutant kind were far away and the urge to play WHFB (Warhammer: Fantasy Battles) wained. I was far busier trying to secure a job in the Gaming Industry, paying off bills and debt, and keeping myself fed to be concerned with any hobbies. I returned to Ann Arbor a few times over the years to discover "The Underworld" had closed its doors and with it the steady stream of miniature corruption in the community. I felt both sad and relieved to know that maybe those once human could heal ... possibly becoming just regular nerds again. I left MI yet again secure in the knowledge that this part of my life had ended and a new chapter could begin.

But there it was ... the itch. A small spot in the bottom and back of my spine that I could never reach. The desire to play. To play tabletop RPGs. To purchase, construct, paint, and collect tiny armies of tiny Monsters and Men. To be like that I once shunned and viewed as abomination. To play Warhammer: Fantasy Battles.

And here we are. Two weeks ago I purchased "The Battle For Skull Pass" with a friend (who shall remain nameless for his sake). He had a desire to create and fight with tiny Dwarfs, and I had a desire to feed my nameless addiction. Since then we have played the game a total of 3 times and absorbed another helpless victim (who has begun collecting Orcs & Goblins). One week ago I purchased my first WHFB models in an eBay auction, the Ogre Kingdoms Battalion Box. I received these models on Saturday and spent the remainder of the next two days cutting, cleaning, gluing, and customizing Ogre models.

Today I started this blog to keep track of my new hobby modeling, which works nicely with my other hobby drinking. Here I will add pictures, posts, and other WHFB related nonsense. Here I will track my sickness. I hope you enjoy reading about my adventures in a miniature world and maybe one day you too will be part of this tribe.

So it begins ...

Completed assembly of 24 Gnoblar models, 6 Bull Ogre models, and 4 Ironguts Ogre models. I have 4 Leadbelcher Ogre models left to finish assembling (possibly this evening).

(My new lowest tier geek/nerd/dork is the Larper ... although I fully admit that tabletop wargamers are probably just a short step above it)

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