Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 is dead...

So this is it... the end of the year. There's a lot to celebrate, especially as compared to where I was last year. Life is much improved due in no small part to this beautiful woman!
Karrie in Central Park
The other ladies in my life
And while life tends to go off in odd and unexpected directions, I'm enjoying the path I'm on right now, and looking forward to seeing where it's going to go.

Things on the blog front are also doing pretty well. This post makes 235 posts for the year, which is a little down from previous years, but I'd like to think that the quality continues to improve. If nothing else, the writing is getting a little better, and that's something worth celebrating! It's also something worth building on!

Game-wise I wrapped up my Weird New World D&D 5e campaign, started my d6 Star Wars game, dropped my Wednesday Adventure League game, and am still playing my Sunday night Castles and Crusades game. I haven't run Stonehell in a while, and I want to get back to it, especially since book 2 finally came out! I've also played a bunch of games at Cons that I wouldn't have otherwise gotten the chance to play, and while none have really grabbed me, it's always great to be able to play something new.

I've also gotten some minis painted, built a fair bit of terrain, and gotten sucked into Frostgrave. I'm looking forward to continuing all of that. I'd really like to focus on getting more minis painted and I'm tempted to see if I can't paint one mini a week... Given my schedule, I know that's a stretch, but I really want to try. Especially as I've got around 300 more minis coming with Bones III sometime in 2016...

Reading-wise, I succeeded in my goal of 60 books, due in no small part to the many audio books I listen to on my commute. If you're interested in seeing what I'm reading, you can follow me over at Goodreads. Because I get a lot of the audio books from the library, it tends to be a rather odd mix of books.

So as usual for everyone, there's much to accomplish, and a mere 366 days to do it in! Best get started!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Scribe

The velvet robe of scarlet stood out starkly among the brown of the monks hard at work in the scriptorium, each of them hunched over their work, their quill pens scratching softly over parchment, and all chanting softly together. Young lord Saren watched their small precise movements as each worked on their individual pages for his mothers new prayer book. The sunlight streaming in through the glazed windows warmed the still air, and all worked with their hoods down, and sleeves tied up... all but the scarlet robed figure. From behind, it was impossible to see anything of the figure, but the chains locked to his wrists were plain enough.

"I hardly believed it to be true when I first heard the stories. The monks keeping an ancient monster chained up, forever drafting heretical texts..." Saren whispered to Prior Lemmy. "Is that truly the Undying Brother?"

"We call him The Scribe." The prior rubs his beard, then hitches his thumbs in his belt. "He was here when I was first brought here, and nothing has changed in all that time."

"And the chains?"

"For our protection, though they would do little in the long run. The monks around him are what truly protect us. As long as there are at least six of them here and chanting the canticle of binding, he will continue to write."

They stood in silence, contemplating the scarlet robe. "He's not working on my mother's gift, is he?"

The prior chuckled. "No. His works are all original. And contrary to children's tales, nothing he writes has anything to do with heresy, or even the gods. Mostly they're astrological treatises... sometimes histories... For 6 months back 200 or so years ago it was poetry! It's all very random, but it's all carefully reviewed for anything dangerous. and in the last 1200 years, nothing has been. Though the notes from the inquisitor who had to read the poetry weren't flattering."

"If he's so harmless, why the chains and the chanting?"

The prior sighs. "Because if he isn't allowed to write, constantly, he becomes very violent. If the chanting ends, he becomes very violent. And long ago, he was one of ours, cursed to this existence, so we must do all we can to allow him to work through his curse." 

After the sun had set, and oil lamps dimly lit the chamber only the Scribe still scribbled away, endlessly inking pages with his own blood while six monks chanted softly around him.

"Was it wise to tell the boy?" Brother Jaro, Keeper of Keys, asked the Prior.

"That 'boy' will soon be a man, and will then have dominion over these lands."

"Not ours."

"No, but our lands are within and completely surrounded. Better that he knows a little truth, and does not seek deeper."

The Scribe writes constantly, but produces grimoires, spell books, and arcane treatises, usually at a pace of about 1 or 2 a year. Each is carefully studied and bound before being locked away below the crypts of the monastery.  Should he be interrupted from his writings or the soothing chanting, he will fly into a berzerker rage, and attempt to kill anyone within sight.

Note to DMs - Use whatever nasty undead stats are appropriate, but it can never be killed in combat or destroyed by turning.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Barbarian Princess and the Eye of the North

The rain had fallen steadily for the last week. Never a torrential downpour, but constant. The fields and hills beyond the fort's walls were saturated with the moisture, making travel into the wilderness all but impossible. The few patrols sent out had quickly bogged down and returned home exhausted, covered in mud, and soaked to the bone. Not that things were much better within the wooden walls. Even the walkways along the walls were slick, and dangerous. The constant grey clouds made telling the hour impossible.

Yet there they were. On the appointed day, at the appointed time... and somehow they'd arrived at the gate without being completely covered in mud. Gaius stood at the top of the gatehouse, looking down at the small party. "Open the gate" he ordered the guards as he took the ladder down to meet them.

Sinking into the sucking mud at the bottom of the ladder he sighed, and continued around to the now open gate. The barbarians remained in place, looking into the fort with ill-disguised distaste. As Gaius stepped into the gateway, their eyes all swept quickly over him. Most returned to watching the rest of the fort, but the young woman in the center of the group locked her eyes with his.

While lacking the hulking forms of the more northern barbarians, the local tribes were no less ferocious in battle, making up for what they lacked in size with guile. This princess was no exception. Her pale eyes bore into his. Unnervingly the circlet she wore held a stone the same pale blue as her eyes, and all three orbs seemed to stare unblinkingly at him.

Sniffing the runny nose the gods-forsaken weather gifted him with he raised his hand in greeting. "Welcome to Fort Artok. I am Gaius, son of Geldar and Philena, commander of this troop." He hoped they spoke a civilized tongue.

"On behalf of the Tribe of the Grey Spirit and the Tribe of the Morning's Dawn I have come to treat with you, and bring warning that further encroachments into our territory will be met with deadly force." Her voice was strong, clear, and spoke his language with barely an accent.

The barbarians around her gripped their spears a little tighter, their backs straightening. Behind and above him, Gaius knew his troops were doing the same. "You come to treat, then please enter in peace" he said 'and get out of the rain' he thought to himself. 

She held his gaze, and only the ever present rain and dripping of his own nose punctuated the long silent moment.'There's a fire and hot spiced wine inside... please...'

Finally she nodded her ascent and the whole group stepped forward toward the gate.

Barbarian Princess
AC 5; HD 4+4**; #AT 1 spear or 1 spell; Dmg 1d6+1 or by spell; MV 120' (40'); Save Elf 4; ML 10; TT Vx3; AL Neutral, XP 275
The barbarian princess casts spells from the Druid Spell list with 3 first level slots and 2 second level slots. She wears the Eye of the North.

Eye of the North
This pale blue zircon stone, set into a simple circlet, grants the wearer the ability to find paths in dark places, both physical and metaphorical. The most notable power is to reduce the chance of becoming lost in the wilderness by half. In addition, it can provide an insight bonus when dealing with strangers. This can manifest in a +1 bonus to reaction rolls.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Star Wars: Pirates, Smugglers, Tramp Freighters & Murderers

This session was held on 12/4. Yup, more than a month since the previous session...

Teyla, Minor Jedi, daughter of a moderately influential crime lord (Hanna)
21B-Em-Dee, medical droid, tasked to monitor Teyla by the crime lord (Allison)
Takata, Smuggler, owner of the Decade Pigeon (YT-1300) in debt to the crime lord (Erik)
TeeTee'ee, ship's engineer/tinkerer (Nadia)
Mal, Bounty Hunter (Julia)
Davessi Frey, Space Pirate (Mollie)
Cass, Rich Guy (NPC)

Back at the Decade Pigeon, Takata explains the plan to the rest of the crew, disabling the ship's engine that Jabba's spice is going out on, the DP swoops in takes the spice and sells it/gives it to Teyla's dad. Teyla wants to know who's going to fly the Pigeon? TeeTee'ee says zee's got it. Zee's the ship's engineer, so who better?

As Takata is leaving the ship, Cass stumbles into the docking bay bleeding and bruised. Em-Dee takes him back into the ship and works its magic while Teyla awkwardly tries to avoid looking at or talking to him.

Takata heads to docking bay 47. There's a large hairy alien standing in the door. It grunts at her. She explains what she's doing there. It grunts again. Takata nods, waits, and they look at each other. Finally Takata sidles past and into the bay. A Ghtroc class tramp freighter takes up the whole of the bay. The stars of the outer rim sparkle above. The Devaronian waiting by the ramp gestures at her, and orders her aboard. Takata heads right for the engineering compartment, and begins to try to take over, pissing off the Gamorian engineer that was already in there. He snorts in anger and stomps out, giving Takata a chance to muck about. The captain returns, explains Takata's position on board (bottom).

Meanwhile, back on the Pigeon, TeeTee'ee gets things warmed up and ready to go. Zee grins at Teyla "You know she's never actually let me fly the Pigeon before!" and pulls back on the flight control, promptly backing the ship into the side of the docking bay. After the various things knocked loose from the crash stop rolling around, TeeTee'ee says "oops" and pushes the flight control forward, only remembering to adjust the altitude control at the very last nano-second, preventing them from crashing into the opposite wall. Unfortunately the forward landing strut didn't survive the takeoff, nor did the 3 buildings that were clipped on the way out.

Back in space, Jabba's spice ship runs into engine problems, and drops out of hyperspace in the middle of nowhere. Takata makes repairing the ship as difficult as possible for the Gamorian, until he gets so frustrated that he just tosses her out of the engine compartment. The Decade Pigeon shows up, and opens fire with the turrets on the ship, and then Mal fires the BFG. The spice ship begins to break apart! The crew rushes to the 2 escape pods. They're swept up by The Pigeon, and the first pod opened. The single occupant cowers in terror. Mal and Davessi blast him, then close the hatch and toss it back into space. The next pod is opened up, and with numerous blasters pointed into they call out demanding they give up the girl. Takata is pushed out, and again Mal, Davessi, and TeeTee'ee blast them away before closing the hatch and jettisons that pod too. Teyla's objections to the needless violence are overruled by Davessi. She points out (as an experienced pirate) that you never let them see your faces and live. Especially when part of a large criminal organization!

Teyla goes down to the cargo hold to capture the various boxes of cargo the other ship had, however the lack of a tractor beam and/or grappling hook proves a problem. Sighing, she puts her hand to her head, and uses the force to bring the boxes aboard. Meanwhile, the pirate Davessi drops down into the lower turret and blasts the two escape pods.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Force Awakens

I know that countless reviews have been posted already. That lists of the awesome moments, and biggest faults are all over the internet. That interviews, the trailers, the books, the toys... You really can't escape it.

And you know what? I'm okay with that.

Because I saw it, and it was good.

JJ Abrams did a good job bringing Star Wars back to the big screen, and restoring balance to the force after the Dark Times of the prequels. And I say this as a Star Trek fan who grudgingly got through Star Trek (2009) and really hated Into Darkness. And it's interesting how many of the things I liked about The Force Awakens I hated in Abrams' Star Trek. Mainly, the callbacks and references to what came before. In Star Trek they felt pandering. Like he put them in because he had to, to cater to the fans. In The Force Awakens, it felt right. I mean, if you're going to focus on the Skywalker family, then everything has to come around again.

I also really appreciated the return to practical effects. Not only does it give the actors something to work with, and avoids situations where, for instance, you've got Sir Ian Mckellen breaking down crying on a green screen set, but it also looks more real to the audience. It has actual weight, and that comes across.

No one wants this!
I liked the new characters, from Rey and Finn to Poe and Maz. I'm less sure about the Supreme Leader, and I think Kylo Ren has the potential to develop into a very interesting character. Really, it would be fascinating if this trilogy was really his story more than Finn and Rey's, but I think that'll be better served as a book, rather than the focus of the movies.

On the other hand, I'm really excited that it does seem to be more focused on Rey. She's interesting... a hard scrabble scavenger who's had to scratch out a life on a desert world... clearly force sensitive...
And clearly able to take care of herself! 
I have my own theories about where they'll take the story, but I'm happy to go along for the ride at this point.

Also, can I just say how much I enjoyed the YT-1300's getting crashed about??

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Sunday Inspirational Image: Fireside

This last Sunday before xmas, I invite you to relax for a bit. Sit with Nick, enjoy a drink, and just... be.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Sunday Inspirational Image: Krampus

Have you been good this year? For your sake I hope so...

This really is a good year for holiday horror...

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Old Friends

"Commander Jerald!" The smooth faced General Kevron called out across the courtyard. The heads of the city guardsmen milling about during the change of shift turned to look at either the general or the commander, and an opening in the crowd formed between the men.

Jerald took a deep breath. "Yes sir!" he replied as he walked to his *superior* officer.

"Commander Jerald, we've received numerous reports that the goblins have been harassing the good citizens of the city."

"According to the Duke, the goblins *are* good citizens of the city."

"The Duke say's they're citizens, but they're in no way the good citizens of our fair city. They smell, they're dirty, they can barely speak..." The general spit dramatically to the side. "They need to be kept in their place if they're to be allowed to live within the walls."

Jerald looked impassively at the general without reply.

After a too long pause, the general continued "As I said, there have been complaints, and you seem to be able to communicate with them, so I'm assigning you to deal with it."

"Very well sir, I'll speak with them."

"I don't want you to speak with them, I want you to tell them. And when they don't listen, and continue to harass our good citizens, I want you to deal with them."

"I understand sir."

"Good. Dismissed."

"I'm sorry Bugits. I'd hoped when the Duke made his declaration that things would go more smoothly."

"We're different than you. It will take time my friend. Probably time that neither of us will see the end of, but it'll happen."

"Not if the general and his ilk have their way."

"We were able to slay the Warlock of the Stormcrow Peaks, break up the Sisterhood of Blood, and drive off Vithorax The Red. Together. Human and Goblin, together."

"And how often did we get run out of villages and towns between our adventures?"

"Too often. Yet we're here now. Your Duke has allowed us to live here, because of you."

"I couldn't have done it alone."

"No, but if you hadn't told the truth, you might be general."

"And you and yours wouldn't be able to life here."

"This is truth. You're good at that, truth telling. Come, have dinner. Grilka would love to have you in."

"Another time. I'm on duty tonight."

"Another time then. Be well Jerald."

"Be well Bugits."


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

#nerdy9th Christmas

While Halloween is my favorite holiday, Christmas comes in a close 2nd. There's just something so joyous about it, and I find that irresistible. I'm not religious, but there is such beauty in the rituals of the season. Candle lit caroling, gift giving, tales of love and family and friendship. Movies and music, food and drink, lights and garland... it all combines to make things just seem, even if for brief moments, magical.

Now, I'm not one of those who'll start playing Bing Crosby in September, but anytime after Thanksgiving dinner is fair game. And because it's hard to share the flavor of eggnog, the taste of a christmas day roast, and the smell of a freshly cut christmas tree, I'm going to share a few of my favorite, but less common, songs of the season.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Star Wars Session 4: Shopping for Trouble

This session was held on 10/30.

Teyla, Minor Jedi, daughter of a moderately influential crime lord (Hanna, absent)
21B-Em-Dee, medical droid, tasked to monitor Teyla by the crime lord (Allison)
Takata, Smuggler, owner of the Decade Pigeon (YT-1300) in debt to the crime lord (Erik, absent)
TeeTee'ee, ship's engineer/tinkerer (Nadia)
Mal, Bounty Hunter (Julia, absent)
Davessi Frey, Space Pirate (Mollie)
Cass, Rich Guy (NPC)

"Welcome aboard!" Takata says. Teyla and Cass turn shocked expressions toward Takata.

"Well, we really do need a lift off planet." Davessi begins.

"Welcome aboard!" Takata repeats.

Davessi and Mal limp aboard with everyone else. Just up the ramp, TeeTee'ee comes out of the engine compartment "The ship will fly, but-WHAT ARE THEY DOING HERE?!?"

Explanations are made while Takata heads to the cockpit, fires up the engines, and sets course for the outer rim. The com system comes on. "Uhh... Decade Pigeon, you don't have clearance to take off..."

"Well, I'm leaving." Takata replies.

"We don't have a flight plan on file."

"It's there. I'm leaving."

"Please stand by. We're sending a ship to escort you-"

"Gotta go."

"Decade Pigeon, please return to your docking berth until we can get this straightened out."

"Bye!" Flipping the com switch, then the hyperdrive, the stars streak past.

"Well, what can you do to pay your way on my ship?" Teyla asks.

The ship's intercom clicks on. "My ship" Takata chimes in. "If you've got a problem with that, the airlock is on the left."

Davessi looked from the intercom to Teyla. "I'm a pretty good shot with ships guns."

"Okay... that'll work. And you?" Teyla asks Mal.

"I can... do stuff. I'm pretty good with a mop... And I'll keep your bed warm." She finishes with a grin at Teyla.

"We'll figure... something out." Teyla sighs. "Now go see to that leg. You're oozing all over my deck."

"My ship" Takata chimes in. "If you've got a problem with that, the airlock is on the left."

In the medbay, Davessi is checked over by Em-Dee, who keenly feels the "do no harm" bit of it's programming as its abductor lays before it. Sadly the extensive burning made the leg a total loss.

TeeTee'ee fumed in the back, refusing to speak to anyone.

"No! Go away!" Takata yelled at Mal as TeeTee'ee made her way to the cockpit. TeeTee'ee glared at Mal as she passed. "So where are we headed?"

"Some sandball called Tatooine."

"Never heard of it."

"No reason you should have. There's nothing there. According to the computer the major industry is moisture farming!"

Teyla followed into the room then. "Moisture what?"

"We're apparently going to visit the moisture farms of Tatooine." TeeTee'ee snarked. "Isn't that exciting?"

"That's Jabba the Hut's home! Why are we going there?" Teyla demanded.

"Who's Jabba the Hut?"

"Cause you said you wanted to get away."

"Jabba is a crime boss, and a particularly cruel and nasty one."

"Oh, like your dad?"

Teyla smacked the back of Takata's head. "Not even close."

"Decade Pigeon, please follow the signal for docking bay 47."

"You got it Mos Eisley Control" Takata replied.

"TeeTee'ee, see if you can't finish fixing the ship while we're here?"

"I'll need to get some power converters."

"Fine, but try to keep a low profile, okay?"

Walking the streets, the heat was blistering. "Let's get some shade. There's a cantina over there."

The party turned and went into the bar. A light flashed as Em-Dee passed the doorway, and the bartender looked toward them. "We don't serve their kind here."

"But this is my medical droid!" Teyla argued.

"Don't care, send it outside."

"Sir, as a droid, I require no service from this establishment."

"Get out!" Teyla and Em-Dee turn and stomp out of the cantina. Cass looks ready to follow her, but she asks him to keep an eye on Takata. Turning around Takata is already sitting with a Devaronian, as thick as thieves. Cass started to walk over to him when a large burly alien steps in front of him, and utters something unintelligible. Cass tries to step around it, but another porcine alien saddles up to him. "My friend doesn't like you."

"Sorry to have bothered him"

"I don't like you much either! We're wanted in over 6 systems!"

"Maybe... I can buy you a drink?"

Over at the table with the Devaronian and Takata...

"No, see, I totally owe Jabba, and I was told to talk to you about working the next spice run."

"You want to help on the next spice run?"

"Absolutely." Takta paused. "Hold on, we need drinks." He stepped over to the bar and tapped his com unit. "TeeTee'ee? I need you to hack Jabba's computers and make it look like I owe him some big money."

Over at Advanced Spaceship Parts

"Okay, let me see what you've got in power converters for YT-1300's." TeeTee'ee says to the clerk as zer com beeps. "Yeah? You want me to what? Now? Fine... I'll see what I can do. Hold on." Ze then steps behind the counter and starts using the shop's computer.

"Excuse me, you can't do that."

"Shhh. Busy."

The teenage clerk sighs. "This is supposed to be my day off." and he taps the emergency button under the counter.

"Okay, I'm in... I can auto-approve a loan for you? 25k credits?"

"Do it." Takata answers, picking up the drinks.

"What should I do with the money?"

"Stick it in my account. Gotta go."

"Me too." TeeTee'ee clicked off.

Takata turned and walked back to the table. "Here you go. So, I'm a pretty good engineer, and have worked a ships gun a time or two."

The alien sampled the drink. "Very well. Meet me at docking bay 47 at midnight tonight." He then stood, leaning over Takata. "Don't be late."

TeeTee'ee clicked off her com unit as the sound of sirens got closer. "Thanks" zee snarked at the kid as she ran for the back door. Bursting through the door, zee turned hard, and crashed head first into a large metal dumpster, and the world went black.

"Welcome, welcome! Come in, come in!" the four-eyed alien grinned at Teyla, Davessi, and Em-Dee as they entered his Discount Medical Supply Depot. All around the shop floor were a mixed racks of tools, equipment, and most importantly to the party, prosthetics. Glancing at the one-legged Davessi leaning heavily on Em-Dee, it asked "Is there anything I can help you with?"

"We're looking for a prosthetic for her." Teyla nods at Davessi.

"I have everthing you might be looking for, from prosthetic forheads to wear on your real forehead, to replacement limbs. I've had a rush on tentacle style tails, but still have a few in the back."

"I need a leg!" Davessi snapped.

"One that is medically safe to attach" Em-Dee added, looking at the various things hanging in clear plastic bags. "Very little of this looks new..."

"New? Eh... some of it has been gently used, some acquired in fire sales, or overstock clearout..."

"Or out of the back of a transport?" Davessi asked.

"What?! No!!" the alien's eyes we're all wide with innocence and indignant insult.

"Of course, this is all completely legal merchandise. No one is suggesting otherwise."

The alien's body relaxed, and it grunted, cleared it's throat, and said "Of course not. Of course... Though, none of the items are currently covered by manufacturer's warranty, you understand. The nature of their acquisition..."

"Of course" Teyla nodded in agreement.

"Lower limbs are this way." the alien waved at a section of wall. "There are a large variety of styles to choose from. Everything from simple unpowered mechanical limbs to fully articulated neural interfaced varieties with embedded power cores and an array of add-on options."

After looking at various options, Davessi settled on a mechanical cerami-steel blade style with stiletto heel.

TeeTee'ee's voice was tinny over the com "I've been arrested."

"What? For what?" Takata

"For going behind the counter and using the computer at Advanced Spaceship Parts to... for you. So come get me." Ze then gave the lockup location.

After paying the desk officer a bribe, TeeTee'ee was released into her custody. "Come on, we need to get back to the ship and ready for tonight."

Monday, December 7, 2015

Gingerbread Golem (small) for DCC

A warm breeze gently picked up, blowing toward the party creeping down the dungeon corridor. "Do you smell cinnamon?" Nimble asked over his shoulder.

Everyone paused and sniffed the air. "Yeah, I do" Allianora nodded.

"Makes me want some hot cider." Feris said with a smile.

"I'll make sure you get a mug when we get back." Rathgar clapped Feris on the shoulder. "Come on. Let's find that warlock and be on our way."

The dusty dry walls of the hall stretched on with doors to either side spaced out along it's length. After clearing and passing several without finding anything, Nimble grumbled "Where is he?"

From knee level a sweet voice called out "Closer than you know!" followed by Nimble howling in pain as a wooden roller slammed into his kneecap. The flat humanoid form stepped away from the wall and swung at him again, but Nimble jumped away.

"What in the nine hells?!" He asked, kicking at the brown thing.

Feris pointed at the figure, and it lifted inches off the ground. It swung the rolling pin again, turning to face the wall, and used the pin to push off right toward Nimble. The bludgeon continued to spin in the grip of the figure, aiming right at Nimble's gut.

"Got it" Rathgar called out, pulling the release on his crossbow. The bolt skewered the figure dead center, passing cleanly though. It cried out in pain, chunks of the thing's chest crumbled but continued to float with it.

Nimble, having recovered a measure of his sense, smashed it with the flat of his short sword's blade, breaking it into spinning chunks.  

Gingerbread Golem (small)
Init +2; Atk slam +2 melee (1d4); AC 12; HD 2d8; MV 30'; Act 1d20; SP Hide in Shadows +3; SV Fort - 2, Ref +2, Will +0; AL As Creator

These small constructs are of little danger by themselves, but tend to be created in batches of 2d6. They are obnoxiously cunning, and often speak in a manner similar to that of their creators. It is unclear if they themselves possess intelligence, or if it is merely a drop of the creator being mixed into the batch. They become stale after about a week, causing their action die to drop to a d16. After a second week, they crumble away.

Image Source: Reaper golem painted by Malzowowper

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Sunday Inspirational Image: Christmas Horror Story

There's something about the season that just lends itself to horror...

And while I'm not a big horror fan, there's just something about a Christmas horror story that chills the cockles of my heart.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

DCC Dire Turkey

"This isn't a joke!" The farmer's face contorted as embarrassment, fear, and desperation flashed rapidly across it.

"Where did it come from?"

"A druid came through a couple of weeks ago. When he demanded I let him sleep in my barn I asked for something in return... he offered to bless my harvest feast bird... to make it the biggest bird the hamlet had ever seen and to make its flesh rich and wonderful." He paused. "In hindsight I should probably have just let him stay without bother."

"That would have been wiser." Rathgar sighed. "So where is this overgrown turkey?"

"Its been in the pumpkin field since yesterday." He said pointing off to the north. "Blake's boy went out to shoot it last evening. He only riled it up, and..." He gulped. "His body is still out in the field."

Dire Turkey: Init +2; Atk bite +9 melee (2d6) or claw +9 melee (2d6); AC17; HD 7d10; MV 30', fly 15'; Act 1d20; SV Fort+7, Ref +8, Will +0; AL N.

The dire turkey is a stupid and overly territorial bird. It's primary attack is pecking the target and flinging it into the air. On a successful attack that is 4+ over the target's AC, a medium sized opponent will be thrown in a random direction 1d12 feet and take an additional 1d6 damage. Small opponents will be thrown 3d6 feet and take an addition 2d4 damage.

A Dire Turkey may also perform a kick attack. Opponents hit with the feet must make a saving throw vs petrification or be stunned for 1d4 rounds. Opponents wearing a helm get a +2 to the saving throw.

Dire Turkey meat is highly prized and will fetch a good price if the market is available for it. A full grown dire turkey can easily fetch in excess of 75gp in a large village.

Image Source: Monster Turkey by Tenshi3D

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

#6MMRPC Painting DDS Terrain!

I'm trying really hard to get my Dragons Don't Share set painted by the end of the year. 5 weeks left... Seems like plenty of time, but there's a lot going on during those weeks. We'll see how it goes.

So I built a mausoleum, or most of one. Still needs a roof and some decorations.

But mostly, I worked on the DDS terrain...

 Lucy wasn't much help.

I'm pretty happy with how it's turned out. I need to add some more snow in the corners, and bit of water effects for the wet spots... and the treasure on the dragon's base. But aside from that, the major painting is done!!

And if you look closely, you can see one piece of Frostgrave scatter terrain in the bottom right of the corner that's gotten some paint too. I wanted to see how well the foam takes craft paint. Answer: okay, but not great. Needs multiple coats.

The paints I used.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Playing Frostgrave

As I said in my last post, this weekend I got together with some local-ish gamers to build terrain and play Frostgrave. Now, i've had the rulebook for about a month and a half now, but I hadn't yet played a game.

And because I'd been totally focused on building terrain, I hadn't spent much of any time thinking about a warband, or even more importantly a wizard! But I've got a lot of minis. I made a quick look the night before at what I can buy for the starting 500 gold, and settled on:
1 Apprentice (200)
1 Knight (100)
2 Crossbowmen (50 each)
2 Thugs (20 each)
2 Thieves (20 each)
1 Warhound (10)

I had a small group of empire militia that worked for the thieves, thugs, and x-bowmen, and snagged one of the old Hounds of Orion (wood elves) that I'd used as a Khorne Dog for my World Eaters army for the warhound.

I also tossed a mantic zombie in the mix, figuring I'd play a necromancer. I've got a lot of necromancer type minis... In the end, I used Satheras as my wizard, and the undertaker as the aprentice. The knight was Mangu Timur.

This is the board at the start of the game. My necromancer set up at the bottom of the board. Chris' necromancer was over on the right, and Rob's illusionist was on the left.

Funny enough, Chris used the same mini as his necromancer! Rob's warband was mostly made of minis that were made before I was born...

My hound got the first kill of the game, Chris' tracker, while the bowman watches and my knight follows close behind.

My poor thug trying to stop a knight and footman (thug?) from taking the treasure. Off to the right, Chris' wizard lurks in the ruin.

Looking pensive...

Didn't go so well for the thug, but the hound and knight were quick to arrive. Chris' wizard lurks in the ruins, hiding from my crossbowmen.

My thief dead after having slain Rob's apprentice, then trying to take on the knight and another dude with treasure.  My knight and hound chasing another of Rob's guys with treasure, but stopped and both killed by the spearman! Chris' zombie almost stops the treasure from being taken off the table by Rob.

Chris' wizard got greedy, snagged a treasure and made a run for it. My wizard, his apprentice, and the useless zombie (seriously, the guy shuffled around the board being completely ineffective...) went after him, along with the 2 crossbowmen. It didn't work so well for Chris' wizard... or his apprentice who tried to help, or the knight that tried... to snag the treasure from her fallen employers.

Low point of the game was my wizard trying to cast Wall 3 times, and failing so badly that he hurt himself each time!!

In the end we each got 3 treasures off the board, but Rob was down an apprentice, Chris had lost both his apprentice and wizard, whereas I still had both my spellcasters! So I was declared winner. My losses included the knight, warhound, a thief and a thug. The crossbowmen were extremely effective, especially once they hid themselves behind a neck high wall that had a decent field of view.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Building Frostgrave Together!

I got together with a couple of local gamers who are joining me on the $25 terrain challenge to work on terrain and then actually play some Frostgrave. Today is about what we all built!

I built the mausoleum. It will have a roof eventually... And maybe some pillars to help dress it up a bit.

Greg built a pillar for this dollar store statue

And these pieces of scatter terrain.

Chris built this fountain and courtyard. You can see more of his efforts at this thread on the Reaper forum. And you definitely do, because he built in a LED light effect into it!

And Rob, finding out that Dave Graffam models on DriveThruRPG were on sale for $0.95 each, opted to build some crosspiece wall ruins. Not sure if it was from kit # 1, 2, 3, or low ruins though...

It's been a long long time since I spent a good part of a day working on terrain with someone other than my dogs for company. Actually having people working on the same sort of thing, at the same time? A blast!

Tomorrow I'll post about the game we played after lunch.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

#6MMRPC More Frostgrave Terrain

Lots more progress on the terrain. No painting though...

Teleport pads. They're actually primed black now, so I guess I did a little painting this week...
Testing out a bookshelf concept. I liked it, but it needed a little tweaking. 
Floor of the raised ruin. I added texture to it after scribing in the tiles and symbols.
I made a measuring jig for the popsicle sticks. 
Making sure the stick is in flat.
Drawing lines

And cutting. 
And cutting... Works well on the foam too. 
Sides of the ruin.
Side of the ruin scribed. 
Beginning to glue the ruin together. Note the 4 corner columns being glued together.
Scatter terrain based. 
And the statues with magnet installed.