Sunday, December 16, 2012

Canoe WIP

Canoe Prow - WIP

Andrew sent me this work in progress picture of the prow of one of the war canoes. Some progress at last...Yay! :-)

Unfortunately the paddlers and fighting crew, and the crews for the galleys, are pushed back. The unfortunate negative side-effects of Kickstarter... :-(

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

More progress on the galleys...

Just a small update: today I learned that 1) Andrew has received the Galleys and War Canoes I sent him and will be fitting them into his schedule, and 2) Jeff has mailed out additional copies to go to sculptors to have crews done.

Friday, August 17, 2012


So the galley and war canoe are on their way to the UK to be customized.

I've asked for additional copies to send to a sculptor to get the crews started on.

Also, currently looking into the possibility of doing other variants some time down the road. In particular: Dong Son (bronze age Vietnamese, essentially)

Of course, we need to translate this into some concept art first!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

War Galleys and Canoes...some progress!

Khmer War Galley (top) and Canoe (bottom) - cast by JTFM

Jeff Trnka of JTFM sent me these pictures today of the Khmer War Galley and War Canoe models. He has cut the prow and stern off about five of the plain versions. The bits will be sent to Andrew May in the UK for him to add some funky Khmer detailing similar to the examples below:

The idea is that the prows, body and stern will all be interchangeable to allow for maximum customization. Once that is done, I'll start thinking about crews. These are intended for the Garden of Kama setting so there will be Kamjola (Khmer), Champakou (Cham) and the Amazon nations of Ologog and Aoa.

The galleys were sculpted by Tony Harwood. The galley is about 12" long, and the canoe about 8".

Oh, yeah, almost forgot - the Mara are going off for molding and casting tomorrow. :-)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Daughters of Mara - group picture...

The Daughters of Mara

To be honest, I don't think this is a finished pic but it is the only one I could find on the fly showing all six of the Daughters of Mara. Sculpted by Andrew May.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

O is for Olicanalad

An Epic Battle...

Olicanalad's Games is a blog I follow on occasion. James Roach is a wargamer and a superb painter, whose output in sheer quantity of figures alone is amazing but when paired with epic battles like the one shown above is awe inspiring!

Check out his blog for more great pics of other battles. The way wargaming was meant to be! :-)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Saturday, May 19, 2012

N is for Nunavut

Canada's newest, largest and northernmost territory, Nunavut came into being on April 1st, 1999 when the North West Territories was split into two parts. Largest, but also the least populated. Way up at the northernmost tip of Ellesmere island is Alert, the northernmost continuously inhabited place on the planet.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

M is for Manticore

The Manticore is one of my favourite mythological beasts. Sometimes they are attributed with tails that can fling barbed spikes, but I think I prefer the version with a scorpion tail. In some settings, notably Games Workshop's Old Worlde (Warhammer Fantasy), they are treated as Chaos Beasts, but I prefer to classify them merely as creatures of the wild. Along with Minotaurs, they are just another form of the so-called "Beastmen."

Saturday, April 21, 2012

L is for Lohwand

Lohwand is an anagram of "Howland" which comes from my own name; it is a name I have often used in the past for wargaming or role-playing. Whenever I needed a fictitious nation or world, sometimes pure fantasy, others vaguely historical.  Others have Ruritania, I use Lohwand (though I'm not knocking Ruritania!) In it's current incarnation it is both the name of this blog, and a nation in my Garden of Kama setting.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

K is for Kalidah

Illustration by W.W. Denslow

With the heads of a tiger and the body of a bear, I think the Kalidah would be a great creature for the Garden of Kama setting, even though it doesn't come from any eastern mythology. Instead it comes from Frank Baum's "The Wizard of Oz", from whence this illustration comes.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J is for Jasoom

The view from Barsoom
(NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona)

When Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote his tales about John Carter and the incomparable Dejah Thoris (see "D is for Dejah Thoris") he went to some trouble to do more than just set out the plot. While he didn't develop entire languages in the way linguists such as JRR Tolkien did for Middle Earth and MAR Barker did for Tékumel, he did work out the martian names for people, places and things. Barsoom, of course, was the name for Mars itself. Jasoom was their name for Earth, and Cosoom was the planet Venus.

I is for Iaijutsu

Historically, Iaijutsu is the Japanese art of fast sword drawing first developed in the 15th century. In modern times, it is known as Iaido which translates roughly as "the way of mental presence and immediate reaction", or so wiki tells me. I first encountered the term in the old Bushido RPG, where IIRC it was a skill one could take to strike first in the first round of combat.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

H is for Hanuman

Hanuman is a character from the Hindu epic the Ramayana. He is one of the Vanara, a race of ape-like half-men who dwell in the forests. In the Garden of Kama, he is a hero of the Vanara, who are one of the non-human factions.

Monday, April 9, 2012

G is for Garuda

Common Representations of the Garuda

The Garuda is a creature that is half-man, half-eagle. Often identified as the King of the Birds, Garuda is sometimes referred to as a singular entity and at other times as a race of beings. The Garuda feature in both Hindu and Buddhist traditions all across south-east asia from Tibet, to India, to Thailand and beyond. The Garuda is the traditional enemy of the Naga.

In the Garden of Kama setting, the Garuda are a race. The intent is to produce miniatures with both male and female versions. They aid Solar Dynasty of the Kshatriya and war with the Serpent Dynasty.

Friday, April 6, 2012

F is for Flash Gordon

One of my all-time favourite movies!

Locally we have a retro-Sci/fi game that is very much inspired by the campy goodness of Flash Gordon.

"Dispatch War Rocket Ajax!" :-)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

E is for Elephant

Sketches by Stephen May

Here are some sketches of War Elephant designs for the Garden of Kama factions.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

C is for Conan

Or for "cop out" as I couldn't think of anything else from the top of my head!

Overall I thought that Jason Momoa made a good Conan, but I think the script-writer and director really let everybody down. The opening scene with Conan as a lad was near-perfect but the movie quickly moves on to rolling foam rocks down a hill like in so many bad Hollywood movies from the 60's and 70's. Was that all they could come up with? Why are so many movies filmed in what looks to be a quarry? What's up with the boat the bad guy is hauling around? (Except to splinter nicely when Conan hurls a rock at it!) And what is up with that stupid mask?!

The ingredients were there but the director (and co.) made a mess of it. It was better than Pathfinder, but not by much!

Monday, April 2, 2012

B is for Barsetshire

Barsetshire is located somewhere in southern England, south-west of London, north of Portsmouth and east of Stonehenge - but not really, seeing as it is actually a fictional county created by Anthony Trollope. Several later writers also set their novels in Barsetshire, including Angella Thirkell. In addition, in the original St. Trinian's movies, the school was located in Barchester.

My interest in the county comes from the relatively recent "Very British Civil War" craze - or the "Third English Civil War." Over the years several artists have made some rather good maps of the area, and one of these I am misappropriating for my "Very British Civil War" games.

What is the Very British Civil War, or VBCW? See here.

Eh, Wot! Wot?!

The intent is to divvy up the stately homes and manors between Royalists, Libertarians, Anglican League supporters and Fascists. Going by the names of the various towns (Winter Overcotes, Worsted, etc) there is a strong contingent of woolen mills and garment manufacturers whose factories workers will fill the ranks of the Communists and Trade Unions. There is at least one school shown which could have a unit of cadets. Then there are the Anarchists!

The naming of the main watercourse - the River - brings a nice little bit of overlap with "Wind in the Willows", which is perfect as Mutton Chop Miniatures now has a line of quirky character types and ne'er-do-wells inspired by the characters in that novel; for example: the "Windy Chaps", representing Toad, Badger, Ratty and Mole, and the "Weasley Wretches", representing the weasels, in the form of a gang of smugglers and brigands.

Angella Thirkell's novels appear to be set around the same general time and there seems to be a good bunch of online reference material. I am hoping to borrow names and minor details from these online sources to help flesh out the county. I can always modify the bits I don't like and throw in characters from other sources - such as the Mutton Chop lads mentioned above!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

New Galley Pic...

Finished Galley, by Tony Harwood

The finished basic galley with a figure for scale. This will be cast in resin before the bow and stern posts are cut in order to make the whole thing modular. The bits will then be sent to one of sculptors to get the various carvings done. In addition to the plain variants, the plan is for 2 different bow, stern and hull pieces. Some examples can be seen in previous posts: here and here.

The crew will consist of a steersman sitting on a chair in the stern, ten oarsmen down each side, a captain and some fighting crew. There will be Khmer, Cham and Amazon (Aoan and Ologogi) variants for the crew. Note that the oars will be relatively short compared to the longer oars found on the more familiar Greek galley.

A is for Aoa

The two Amazon nations in the Garden of Kama, Aoa and Ologog, are alike in many ways but are bitter rivals, often being found on opposite sides of any conflict. Both are ruled by a Rani of the Kshatriya warrior caste and both revere the Goddess Kali. The Kshatriya of Aoa are of the Fire Dynasty, however, while the Kshatriya of Ologog are of the Solar Dynasty and this is the source of their great rivalry.

More information about the Kshatriya can be found here.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Galley Pics

Scans from the "Armies of Angkor" book, used as a basis for the galleys. There are other illustrations, but I am just uploading these as an example.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Galley - almost done...

Basic Khmer War Galley, by Tony Harwood

Here are some not-quite-finished pics of the basic war galley. There is some rattan wickerwork that runs down each side, offering the oarsman a little bit of protection, that still needs to be added. This will be a separate piece on the model.

The plan is to send this off to be cast in resin. The prow and stern posts will be cut and made so they slot together to allow for modularization. There will be a couple of versions of the hull, which often had Makara heads carved at the front; of the prow, which featured various Naga or Garuda heads; and the stern which was often fashioned into a Naga tail.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Khmer Galley WIP...

Crafted by Tony Harwood

Tony sent me a few WIP pics, including the one shown above. The stern is upper left, the prow lower right. There are going to be a few modifications but this is the basic look. It is just under 12" long.

Pretty Sweet, eh?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Khmer Galleys...

Khmer and Cham Galleys

And Again...

WIP pics of a basic galley, by Tony Harwood

Inspired by the drawings of the Khmer navies in The Armies of Angkor, I've commissioned Tony to make some models for the Garden of Kama setting. The intent is that the prow and stern pieces should be modular in order that a variety of designs can be used. The carved prows typically feature Naga, Makara and Garuda head designs. The galleys are going to be about 300 mm long by 46 mm wide. The figurehead is going to be slightly taller than they probably were historically, but that is OK as the Garden in primarily a fantasy setting anyway.

In addition to the galleys I am planning on getting some slightly smaller war canoes made as well.

It should be noted that while the artists impressions shown above are great for action, their depiction of the vessels is a little off. For one thing, they are too high out of the water - especially in the first painting - and they are not quite wide enough either. The galleys were apparently carved from a single log but then the sides were spread wide apart. A row of oarsmen with fairly short oars ran down each side; their only protection being a sort of wicker fence. The galleys were large enogh for warriors to stand in the prow and between the oarsmen. In the stern sat a single steersman.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


Revised Armour and Shield Protection Chart for Barbarians of Lemuria.

I find I am always tinkering with rules; I don't think there is a rule set that I own that I haven't at least tried to tinker with at one time or other.

In this case, I didn't like that shields were only worth 1 point of protection. I wanted to add different sizes of shields and make larger shields better against missile fire. As far as armour goes, while I liked the variable protection values, I didn't like that the heavier armour could provide so little protection at times.

Barbarians of Lemuria

I've added "Barbarians of Lemuria" to my list of projects for 2012. This comes from a desire to use my Dwarven Forge terrain for some "Dungeon Crawl" expeditions. I've been pondering what rules to use for a while - we tried modifying Broadsword Adventures/Fantastic Worlds from Rattrap Productions. These are good rules - really good rules actually - but the magic in Broadsword Adventures was a little too vague as I recall. Then I tried converting D&D magic - in sort of a D&D-BA Mash-up, with limited success. It wasn't that it didn't work, it's just I wasn't too inspired by it all in the end.

I've tried the Song of Blades and Heroes from Ganesha Games, but some aspects of it were a little too loosey-goosey for my tastes. Two Hour Wargames has some good ideas, and my "Band of Joyous Heroes" rules is based on that system, but those rules are still being developed. Why not use this as part of the development process? Well, maybe I will - but right now I have set those aside. Maybe I'll come back to them, maybe not.

Barbarians of Lemuria is more an RPG than tabletop skirmish game, but it offers a certain flavour that makes it attractive to me. For one, it emphasizes the Conan-style Sword & Sorcery - lightly armoured barbarians over plate armoured knights. It isn't medieval Europe or Tolkien's Middle Earth, which is a good thing. The rules are simple, but I have yet to determine if they actually work in the role I intend. I was up in North Bay last weekend, and on the 5 hour drive back we worked out the stats for a party of adventurers:

ST 3
AG 1
MD 0
AP 0
Combat Abilities:
Brawl 0
Melee 2
Ranged 1
Defense 1
Life Blood: 13
Barbarian 2
Blacksmith 1
Hunter 1
Gladiator 0
Hero Points: 6
Homeland: Valgard
Marked by the Gods
Valgardian Blade
Country Bumpkin
Broken Lemurian
- this a fudge to allow him to communicate with the rest of the party. In game terms it means the character has to talk with a thick Austrian accent and I (as GM) get to roll to see if the others [mis-]understood from time to time. You know what that means...


Athanaseus (or Anatheus)*
ST 0
AG 0
MD 3
AP 1
Combat Abilities:
Brawl 0
Melee 1
Ranged 0
Defense 3
Life Blood: 10
Magician 3
Scholar 1
Noble 0
Minstral/Poet 0
Hero Points: 5
Homeland: Sartala
Great Wealth
Arrogant, City Dweller
Old Tongue of Man


ST -1
AG 3
MD 1
AP 1
Combat Abilities:
Brawl 0
Melee 1
Ranged 1
Defense 2
Life Blood: 9
Assassin 1
Beggar 1
Merchant 0
Thief 2
Hero Points: 5
Homeland: Halakh
Escape Artist
Fighting Knife (Kir)


Valeria (or Venusia)*
ST 1
AG 1
MD 0
AP 2
Combat Abilities:
Brawl 1
Melee 2
Ranged 0
Defense 1
Life Blood: 11
Dancer 1
Gladiator 1
Soldier 1
Mariner 1
Hero Points: 5
Homeland: Parsool
War Cry


Hestia (or Rolla)*
ST 1
AG 1
MD 1
AP 1
Combat Abilities:
Brawl 1
Melee 1
Ranged 0
Defense 2
Life Blood: 9
Priest 2
Farmer/Peasant 0
Physician/Healer 1
Scribe/Scholar 1
Hero Points: 5
Homeland: Lysor
Disease Immunity
Learned: Flora & Fauna

* In the car we couldn't remember the names used in the Broadsword Adventures/D&D Mash-up. Not sure which names Bruce has decided on for this...

Note: All the above pictures are of Reaper Miniatures from their website. Head on over there, and use their Figure Finder utility to find your perfect character miniature!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Daughters of Mara

The Armatures...

"During seven days while the Buddha was experiencing of the bliss of deliverance under the banyan tree, the three daughters of Mara came and tried in vain to lure the Lord to worldly pleasure."

In the Garden of Kama, the Daughters are demons: both seductive and deadly. Those that resist their temptations they attack in a vindictive rage. They are spiteful, sadistic and bloodthirsty.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Kshatriya - the Warrior Caste

The Kshatriya are the warrior caste in the Garden of Kama, as they are in India of old. They are the ruling caste of all nations except Champakou, the Land of the Black Lotus, where the priest-kings hold sway, raising the priestly caste above that of the warrior.

There are several recognized dynasties within the Kshatriya, as the various clans claim descent from different deities or ancient heroes. The four most prominent are:

1) The Suryavanshi or Solar dynasty, claiming descent from Surya, the God of the Sun;

2) The Chandravanshi or Lunar dynasty, claiming descent from Chandra, the God of the Moon;

3) The Agnivanshi or Fire dynasty, claiming descent from Agni, the God of Fire;

4) The Nāgvanshi or Serpent dynasty is a sub-clan of Suryavanshi kshatriyas. These two dynasties are often friendly towards each other.

There are also several "lost" dynasties, so-called because they are rarely found or have thought to have died out completely. These are the dynasties of Water, Air, Earth and Darkness. The Water dynasty still exists in isolated pockets along the coasts or the southern islands. It is said that the only Air dynasty left are in the mountains to the north and on the Terrible Plateau. The Earth dynasty is said to exist in deep forests and the remote parts of the western desert. The Darkness dynasty is held by many to be extinct.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Some Background to the Garden of Kama

The North
To the north lies the mighty Shan Shan [name may change] mountains and the Terrifying Plateau where dwells Mara, the Lord of Evil and his demonic minions, the chief among whom are known simply as the Mara and the Daughters of Mara. There also lies the Kingdom of Jong Yu [name may change], the last realm of man in the North.

The East
From the plateau several rivers descend onto the lush central plains. To the east, the Pirya river [name may change] flows into a series of large lakes, of which the Tara Ji, is the largest; the others being the Gong Hu, Tara Ki and Gong My. [all these names subject to change]

Here lie the amazon realms of Aoa and Ologog, and the great Kingdom of Kamjola. From the lakes the river flows into a wide delta, the Mu Jan [name may change], at the mouth of which is the island Kingdom of Kana Ko. The river Xa [name may change] flows into the Mu Jan from the north-east forming the border of the realm of the Priest-Kings of Champakou, also called the "Land of the Black Lotus."

During the wet season these rivers overflow their banks, inundating much of the land from the lakes all the way to the delta. As a result all these lands have large inland navies of war canoes and galleys.

The West
Two other large rivers descend from the plateau, flowing west and south. The Xir takes the westernmost path, meandering through dry hills and the Desert of Xi [name may change] before emptying into the Bay of Xang [name may change]. This river forms the western border of the Kingdom of Panam. [name may change]

The river Koranga [name may change] flows more directly south across the central plains before winding its way through the highlands and forests of the South; it is the longest river, skirting the Padmanak Plateau [name may change] before reaching the sea almost at the southernmost head of land. There are many small kingdoms and principalities along the banks of this river and along the seacoast it runs parallel to for most of it's length. The mighty Kingdom of Lohwand rules the plateau and the seacoast that runs along its eastern edge.

The South
The Koranga finally empties into the sea after flowing through the great southern forests. Many small kingdoms continually war for control of these lush landscapes and the fertile island of Kasyan La [name may change] which lies merely 100km off the coast.

1) As noted, many of the names are subject to change, having mostly been made up on the fly as I typed this out. Those shown in bold are the primary factions;
2) I have changed some of the countries from my first draft. Aoa and Ologog are both Amazon nations – bitter rivals who are none too friendly with their other neighbours either;
3) The Kingdom of Kamjola has become the “Khmer inspired” faction;
4) For the Kingdom of Jong Yu I am intending to use the Perry Miniatures Koreans, or at least the ones in the cool heavy armour!
5) For the Kingdom of Panam I will be using a combination of Games Workshop Easterlings and Warriors of Khand;
6) Champakou has been developed slightly, to be ruled by the “priest-kings” rather than a warrior dynasty as the balance of the kingdoms are. I am styling it as the “Land of the Black Lotus” because of their “lotus patterned” headdresses, inspired by the Cham;
7) There are kingdoms of Naga and Rakshasa interspersed between these human nations. There are Rakshasa who fight for the human nations as well as those who oppose them;
8) There are also tribes of Hanuman, monkey-men, living in the forest. In fact, many types of beast men exist;
9) There are wild tribes of humans living in the forests, mountains and desert as well.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Garden of Kama

Who? Hmmm, not sure if that applies in this case..."me", I guess, or Andrew May, as he has done the sculpting so far; and others, who haven't yet done any for it, but shall...

What? A sort of Fantasy India and South-East Asia with elements of Hindu and Buddhist Mythology; Thai, Burmese, Cambodian folklore; and Tibetan Sacred Art. Plus some inspiration from the Hari Siri komix.

When? It's set in a mythical "Time of Heroes" when gods and men walked together and fought demons and each other. Before the events in the Ramayana or the Mahabharata, or perhaps around the same time. Who knows? Time sorta tends to flow together in Myths anyway!

Where? Good question! On the back a turtle swimming in the World Ocean, or was it the back of an elephant? Or tucked in next to Venhya, maybe? Who knows - go through that pass in the mountains to the north and you might end up on the Hyrkanian plains, or on the shores of an inland sea...

I think the Hari Ragat setting is just off the map to the east.

Why? Because, Cletus, I'm bored! Ok, not really. What really happened is that I have liked the frontispiece to an old book of pseudo-Indian love poems called "The Garden of Kama" since I first saw it - that's it pictured above. And over the holidays the local rag published a Tibetan folklore story which was illustrated by these and I thought - hmm, "wouldn't those be cool!"

And then Andrew got me hooked on Tibetan sacred art and it sort of went from there!

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Mara Completed!

Sculpted by Andrew May

Here are the completed figures. Don't they look great?! They are multi-part figures with separate heads and hands, so Andrew has used blu-tack to hold them together.

Next up: their sisters, the Daughters of Mara!

(Can't wait!) :-)