Friday, May 26, 2017

Dark Day in Felstad

On April 29th I attended my final game as part of the ongoing Maryland campaign I'd been playing in. The scenario was Run of the Rangifer scenario, combined with a custom Eric’s Rune Stones scenario.

Eric's scenario involved runestones represented by scrabble tiles. The tiles would be handed out facedown to the players, and placed on the table, like treasure, still facedown. The players would then try to collect the tiles, and at the end of the game would get Experience Points and Gold Coins for the number of tiles they collected. If your wizard could "decipher" the runes and make a word from the Scrabble tiles they retrieved, they would get extra EP and GC. Each tile was worth 5 EP and 10 GC, but if you could make a word from them you would then square the number of tiles you used in the word, and multiply that times the 5 EP or 10 GC. Each figure could carry 2 "runestones" unencumbered, but carrying 3 or 4 would count like a treasure. Four was the maximum a figure could carry, and for combining load purposes, all regular treasure was said to equal 3 runestones. Each player started the game with 5 tiles and one regular treasure to place on the table.

Quail's Report

"I have a war to stop... No. I have a war to end, to win. And he's keeping us here, looking for a weapon that will help, because he can't remember where it is. Or so he says. He's keeping something from me." The Warrior complains.

"An apprentice shouldn't talk about their master like that." Gnolly growls.

"I'm not his apprentice!"

Bouncing down the stairs the Doctor grins at both of them. "I've found something!"

"About time!"

"What are we waiting for? Daylight's burning."

The day was clear as the Doctors approached where they’d seen the Rangifiers in the ruins. Figuring that if anyone knew the secrets of Fellstand, they would Now if only they could find some way to talk to them…

Turn 1
An unnatural Darkness falls upon the city...

"Hey, who turned out the lights?" One of the players at the other end of the table dropped a Bottle of Darkness, reducing line of sight to a mere 12"!!

Doctor Ecclescake tries to mind control the closest Rangifier, but the creature’s alien mind resists.
Doctor Payne fails to Fleet Feet the Templar, while the thief charges forward and grabs a tile.

Turn 2
Dr. E fails to Mind Control the Rangifier, and moves forward to keep it from attacking anyone else. The Ranger charges in to protect the Doctor, and injures the Rangifier.
Dr. P again fails to Fleet Feet anyone.
From behind a ruin a Zombie Troll lumbers out, drawn toward the sounds of combat. The Rangifer hurts Dr. E.
Harad gets into combat with Lucy.
The Wraith Knight appears!

Turn 3
The Ranger attacks the Rangifier, trying again to protect Dr. E, but gets injured in the process. Dr. E knocks out the Rangifer.
Dr. P finally succeeds in Fleet Footing the Templar, who charges in and “kills” the illusionary Lucy.

The zombie troll charges Dr. E, and knocks him flat.

Princess rushes behind the temple to tie up some minions, but doesn't survive against the strange yellow things...

In the temple, the Rangifier and Wraith Knight fight, the knight killing the beast. It then charges down the stairs and slays Elfie! Lady Elf hides (for the rest of the game)

The Ranger shoots and kills Bob the Thug.

Turn 4
Dr. P uses his sonic screwdriver to Blind the Wraith Knight!
As the Templar begins his charge toward the blinded Wraith Knight he takes a bold and an arrow to the chast and falls bleeding into the snow. Harad grabs a treasure, and the Thief runs off the board. Dunadain grabs a token.

Turn 5
Dr. P Fleets Harad
The Wraith Knight shakes off the blindness. And 2 armored skeletons shamble toward the party.

Turn 6
Dr. P tries to Blind the Wraith Knight, fails, and runs.
Gnolly and the Wraith Knight flail ineffectively at each other. The Treasure Hunter takes down 1 of the skeletons, but is stabbed by the other, dropping. Dunadain runs off the board with the token.

Turn 7
Dr. P again tries to blind the Wraith Knight, gets the setting right, but the WK resists.

The treasure wasn’t nearly as bountiful as last excursion, with a mere 110 gold recovered. However the Grimoire of Brew Potion was a nice addition to the the TARDIS’ library!

The Survivors! (Lady Elf not shown, as she was still hiding, forgotten by all)

Doctor Ecclescake survived with a minor bump on his head.
The Templar and Treasure Hunter make a full recovery, while Princess is badly wounded. Elfie and Harad didn’t survive their injuries.

And as this was my final game with the group before moving, the guys got me a going away present!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sunday Inspirational Image: Demon Queen

Part of me looks at a picture like this and thinks "this is an ancient demon who is, quite frankly, bored with the whole "Queen of Darkness" shtick. Not that she's looking to be an angel or anything, but something different..."

The other part of my brain thinks, "No, she's perfectly content being a demon, powerful, beautiful, and terrifying. The whole redemptive story arc is for losers!"

By Chris Cold

Friday, May 19, 2017

A Tale of Two New Treks

A Tale of Two Treks
Star Trek Discovery’s first real trailer premiered Wednesday, and I watched it, repeatedly, with cautious optimism. There’s a lot going on, some things I don’t like, some things that I do. Keep in mind, this is based on the trailer alone, and I reserve the right to change my mind.

Initial Likes:
Diverse Cast: Just gonna get this out of the way, but the two lead characters are female? And neither of them is white? Plus the rest of the cast appears to be just as diverse? Excellent.
The Feel: While definitely taking ques from the JJ-Verse, this still, mostly, feels like Star Trek. Starfleet, Vulcans, Klingons, etc.
10 Years before Kirk: There’s a lot of potentially interesting storytelling to be done in this era. On the other hand, it also puts it about 15 years (give or take) after the split in the timelines between the Alpha universe and the JJ-Verse.
Klingons: Excellent. Classic villains of the era. And they aren’t the swarthy TOS Klingons either!
Uniforms: As much as I like the PJs in Space look, these look good.

Initial Dislikes:
My people were biologically determined for one purpose alone, to sense the coming of death. I sense I coming now.” There had better be a *really* good backstory for this…
The Ships: Granted, we haven’t gotten a good look at them yet, but my initial feel is unimpressed. Like many, I did not care for the teaser of the Discovery that was shown a while back, and was glad when the studio said that it wasn’t the final version, just a teaser…
Another Half Vulcan? Really? We’ve already had this story with Spock. Twice now.
Uniforms: I am a little sad that the Enterprise’s chevron seems to have been adopted fleet wide at this point.
Klingons: Crap, they’re the JJ-Verse Klingons. Please be more interesting than what we’ve seen, and please don’t dump on everything shown in TNG/DS9/Voy…
Lens Flairs

Classic Aliens: Let’s see some Andorians and Telerites! We got them in Enterprise, let’s see them here!
Stay Away from TOS: It’s a big universe. I don’t need to see young Spock, young Kirk, etc. Wait, Sarek and Harry Mudd are in it? Oh… well… Don’t screw it up?
Universe: Wait, which universe is this set in?

On the flip side of things, there’s Seth MacFarlane’s new show The Orville, which visually feels much closer to classic Trek than Discovery does, but... fails on so many other levels. And it isn’t because there can’t be humor in Star Trek. In fact some of the best moments in Trek are because of the humor! Hell, Galaxy Quest did an amazing job spoofing Star Trek, while at the same time managing to make one of the best Trek films ever made.

Yet this? In the trailer we get bathroom humor, sexist gender stereotyped humor that feels like it’s from the 80’s or 90’s… It just doesn’t come across as funny. Okay, the bit with the blob was cute, but is there going to be enough here to sustain a TV show? To make it a show worth watching? I have my doubts.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Sunday Inspirational Image: Sapphire Knight

When I first saw it I thought it might have been another set of 3D printed armor, but this is actually crafted from leather!

By Azmal

Saturday, May 13, 2017


Convention season is upon us!

For those in the greater Baltimore/DC metro area, next weekend (5/20) is Charm City Game Day. There are a whole host of RPGs to choose from, no matter what your preferences are. From D&D (4th & 5th) to Ghostbusters and Gamma World, Lady Blackbird, and Shadowrun, there's something to enjoy. There are still seats available, so get going and sign up for me, since I can't go...

The weekend after is Balticon! And for once, they've got their schedule online early, with an app!! Crazy... I'm not sure what I'll be going to yet, but I'll be there!

And if you've never been to a Con, I'd like to direct you to Speculative Chic: Convention Life: Con Prep, Con Crud, Con Drop. It's a great read about how to prep for a con, how to survive a con with nearly your full health, and how to recover after the adventure.

Recover from a con? I know, sounds crazy, why would you need to recover from a weekend of fun? Well, because it's stressful, even when it's fun.
So go read and then get ready for some fun!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Stonehell: Blindly Wandering

Session 34(b) was played on 4/28

Eiric, wizard 3 (Kat)
Orpheus, Human Fighter 2 (Henchman)
- torch bearers (A A Ron, JJ Swats)
- men at arms (C, D)
- Namish (dog)
Matthias, Dwarf 4 (Julia)
- men at arms (M&M, Nnnn)
- Herrick (dog)
Daryll (NPC Cleric 1, Prisoner)

Stayed in town
Bisimwa, Human Fighter 1 (Jordan)
Sarin the Ugly, Human Fighter 1 (Josh)
Menchi, Human Cleric 1 (Laural)
Kili, Dwarf Cleric (Matt)
Leroy, human fighter 3 (Mike)
Unnamed, Elf 1 (Nicole)
Karlaih, Human Thief 5 (Mollie)
Tink, a pretentious Elf (but I repeat myself) and former barkeep (Hanna)
Shelly, a vegetarian recovering alcoholic halfling Thief 3 (Nadia)
Frank, halfling 1 (Emily)
Yaqen, elf 1 (Shaun)

After nearly a week of rest and recovery the party is ready to head back into Stonehell! Matthias hires two men at arms (M&M and Nnnnn) and buys a wardog Herrick.

Returning to the baboon’s room, they double check it for anything they missed the first time, but find nothing… not even the bodies. Further along the hall they avoid the broken spear trap, though it looks like the kobolds haven’t gotten around to fixing it yet. The next door open into a room covered in patches of grey mold. Being careful not to disturb the mold, the party moves to the door at the far end of the room. Matthias opens the door, and there’s a bright flash of light! With a critical fumble on his saving throw, he’s blind! Beyond the mold room is an old kitchen, and then a wash room. The only thing of value found is an old corpse of a priest.

Back into the hall, they pause at the old pharmacy, then check out the short hallway that has “Secret Room” written in chalk at the end of it. Matthias, still blind, decides to go at the wall with his pickaxe when yet again no door is found. This draws the attention of a hobgoblin scouting party that just watches from the shadows. After a solid 10 minutes the party stops Matthias, and they move on, yet again failing to find the secret room.

Moving on, they pass through some previously explored rooms, fill in some hallway on the maps they’d missed before, find a pile of shoes and boots, all in perfect condition, but only the left of the pair. They head back to fill in more of the map, and catch sight of the hobgoblins lurking behind them. No one seems to want to fight or talk.

Passing by an old store room, the party heads into the Reptile House and turn north. Thre first chamber is hexagonal with a 4 headed snake statue on it. The pedestal the statue rests on has 2 holes on it about an inch in diameter. Carefully avoiding the statute, the party continues along the hall, finding a pair of old bed chambers. The second chamber had the bloated body of a hobgoblin on the bed being eaten by a pair of giant flies.

Matthias charges in blindly swinging with his battle axe, cleaving one in half. The other lands on his back and bites him, but it is smashed moments later. Searching the hobgoblin they find a pair of gems. Deciding they’ve had enough, the party heads back to the stairs and up to the Antechamber, passing some Ghost Beggars and then a troop of kobolds on their way out.

Back in town, Eiric pays 400gp and turns over the holy symbol from the dead priest to cure Matthias’ blindness.

Gains: 3gp, 2 gems (25 & 50gp value)
Kills: 2 giant flies
Losses: 400gp for healing

Per the book, the blindness was only supposed to last 2d6 rounds, but a critical fumble, followed by 2 more failed saving throws, and I decided the spell had been boosted by the Nixthisis.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Stonehell: Monkey Business

Session 34(a) was played on 4/28

Eiric, wizard 3 (Kat)
Orpheus, Human Fighter 2 (Henchman)
- torch bearers (A A Ron, JJ Swats)
- men at arms (A, B, C, D)
- Namish (dog)
Matthias, Dwarf 4 (Julia)
Daryll (NPC Cleric 1, Prisoner)

Stayed in town
Bisimwa, Human Fighter 1 (Jordan)
Sarin the Ugly, Human Fighter 1 (Josh)
Menchi, Human Cleric 1 (Laural)
Kili, Dwarf Cleric (Matt)
Leroy, human fighter 3 (Mike)
Unnamed, Elf 1 (Nicole)
Karlaih, Human Thief 5 (Mollie)
Tink, a pretentious Elf (but I repeat myself) and former barkeep (Hanna)
Shelly, a vegetarian recovering alcoholic halfling Thief 3 (Nadia)
Frank, halfling 1 (Emily)
Yaqen, elf 1 (Shaun)

Eiric gathered up everyone she could, and headed off into Stonehell. The stated goal is to get to the elevator, down to level 4 and get some of the good quartz for Rocky… The Antechamber was quiet, and they made their way down the stairs to the Asylum without incident. They passed the skeleton whose mother never loved it, and headed north to check the room marked “bones”. A opens the door, and quickly “Nope’s!” out of the way. Within was a ritualistically arranged assortment of bones. Circles within circles of bones of all shapes and sizes from a variety of different creatures.

“Wilhelm wrote about this, and said he’d destroyed the arrangement…” Matthias said with a frown. “Like this!” and taking his 10’ pole, he sends the bones clattering around the room.

That taken care of, they continue up the hall. The next door they come to has low animal noises coming from within. When they knock, the noises become much louder and more simian. The door is yanked open from within, and 5 large baboons come leaping out into the hall! The initial attack hurt several members of the party and dropped A completely! Luckily for the party they outnumbered the apes, and were better armed and armored, and the beasts were quickly eliminated.

A survived, but his knee was shattered. While he was bandaged up, the baboon’s room was checked, as was the room beyond. Aside from a few coppers, there was nothing of value. A short discussion on what to do with A left him begging not to be left alone. With a sigh, the party bundled him up as best they could, and hauled him back up the stairs and heading to town.

Back in the Antechamber, near the Contested Corridors, a revengeful band of orcs set upon the burdened party. It doesn’t go well for them, and the few survivors run. As they catch their breath, they notice that B is down on the ground next to A with a shattered arm. They get him up on his feet, and together everyone leaves the dungeon back to town.

A and B are let go from their contracts, and given a small AD&D payout.

Gains: 35cp
Kills: 6 Orcs, 5 Higher Baboons
Losses: A & B retire from adventuring

Friday, May 5, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 Review

Last night I made it to the earliest showing I could for the newest installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2. Here is your spoiler free review!

I remember when the first one came out just about everyone I knew (including me) were saying how this could be Marvel's first flop. When they first announced it, my reaction was... well... this:

Of all the characters and teams that Marvel has access to, they picked these losers to make a movie with? A talking racoon? A walking tree? And the guy from Parks and Rec as the lead? Really?!?

And yet, they pulled it off, and it was Awesome. It was colorful, and it was fun, and it just took the goofiness of the comics and ran with it. I loved it. (I'd link to my glowing review, but I didn't write one.) So much so that I saw it in the theaters 3 times.

So it was with some trepidation and a lot of hope that I watched the first trailers for volume 2, and then avoided any and all spoilers as best I could, and I'm glad I did. They set a high bar, and I wasn't sure if, lacking the element of surprise the first one had, they could even match it, let alone try to top it. I lowered the bar a little because of this. Sequels are almost never better than the original...

So what do you get with GotGv2? Much of the same as in the first movie. Same cast, including Yondu and the Ravagers, Nebula, and a few delightful cameos from the first movie. You get (sometimes jarring) color, radio classics from the 70s and early 80s (maybe not quite as tight a mix as volume 1), fun ridiculous fights in outlandishly bizarre locations.

You also get a lot of daddy/family issues, and not just from Peter/Star Lord. Gamora and Nebula have their share they need to work out. Rocket's working through some shit. Drax still suffers from the loss of his family. And of course you have the whole team working everything out with their own intertwined relationships. Never easy with a band of misfits used to working alone like these guys.

Added to the mix are a few new characters, including Mantis, played by Pom Klementieff who is a delightful addition to the cast. I really enjoyed watching her and Drax play off each other. I also like that Kraglin Obfonteri, played by the highly entertaining Sean Gunn got a fair bit more screen time this time around. I'm pretty sure he's still just playing Kirk from Gilmore Girls, but... that works for me in the same way Jeff Goldblum always basically plays himself in everything.

Overall I really liked Vol. 2. After one viewing I can say it at least hit the bar I'd hoped for. As to whether it is better than the original... Hard to say. I will say that I'm going to see it again next weekend, if only to catch the lines that I missed because of people laughing and clapping!!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

May the Fourth be with you!


by Drawnblud

Also, do you like the Beetles? And Star Wars? Then do yourself a favor and watch this!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Defenders

Okay, normally I don't just post trailers...

August 18th...

Tire snake

The small caravan rumbled noisily along the old mountain road. Exhaust from the old fuel burners billowed black into the air along side vehicles rigged with both solar panels and wind turbines. Ahead outriders on a mix of zebroids and oink-oxen. They spotted the cast off bits of vulcanized hide littering the way, shredded black strips over the cracked black surface.

"Keep your lookers open" the headman warned. "They'll likely be somewhere sunny or warm..."

Unfortunately that warm spot was behind the outriders, which they realized as the first of the serpents rolled down the side of the mountain and toward the lead vehicle. The driver was a little too slow to react, swerving too late. The serpent slammed hard into the side panel of the truck, cracking the reinforced windows. Shots were fired at the following serpents coming down the mountain, the misses telegraphed by the small puffs of dirt and the mini explosions of rock shards.

Tire Snakes developed their thick hides as a response to the increased radiation following the end of the world. Whether this was with the assistance of some mad scientist or a naturally occurring mutation, no one seems to know, and few care. While they can move like the snakes of old, they've also developed a method of locomotion that helps explain their name, but biting down on their own tail and rolling like a wheel. Of necessity, they're highly aggressive hunters, though not the best at hiding their presence as they constantly shed slivers of their hide.

No. Enc.: (1d8) 1d8
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 90' (30')
Armor Class: 4
Hit Dice: 3
Attacks: 1 (Bite or slam)
Damage: 1d6 or 2d6
Save: F4
Morale: 7
Hoard Class: IV
XP: 65

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Stonehell: Conflicts in the Contested Corridors

Session 33 was played on 4/14

Eiric, wizard 3 (Kat)
Orpheus, Human Fighter 1 (Henchman)
- torch bearers (Z, JJ)
- men at arms (EE, GG, HH)
Bisimwa, Human Fighter 1 (Jordan)
Sarin the Ugly, Human Fighter 1 (Josh)
Menchi, Human Cleric 1 (Laural)
Kili, Dwarf Cleric (Matt)
Matthias, Dwarf 4 (Julia)
Daryll (NPC Cleric 1, Prisoner)

Stayed in town
Leroy, human fighter 3 (Mike)
Unnamed, Elf 1 (Nicole)
Karlaih, Human Thief 5 (Mollie)
Tink, a pretentious Elf (but I repeat myself) and former barkeep (Hanna)
Shelly, a vegetarian recovering alcoholic halfling Thief 3 (Nadia)
Frank, halfling 1 (Emily)
Yaqen, elf 1 (Shaun)

Eiric gathers the party together, and heads to the dungeon. Just outside of town a cloaked dwarf joins the troop, claiming to be Wilhelm’s cousin. As the grief over his passing was still so raw, Eiric allowed him to join the party, in spite of his snarky comments.

Once in the dungeon, they headed for the contested corridors, checking out the old orc encampment. The rooms had been looted since the party had last been here, and there was little to be found, until they found the orc chief’s chamber. A large rough bed filled most of the chamber, and as the door opened, letting torchlight sign in, half a dozen naked goblins dove off and crawled under the bed.

“Disturb not the she-wizard’s lair!” one squeaky voice called out.

“I’m the she-wizard!” Eiric called out.

“Uh… Disturb not the… the… sheet-wizard!” From the far side of the room, the blanket was pulled off the bed.

“If you’re a wizard, tell us where the magic school is!”

“Did we say wizard? Disturb not the sheet-priest!”

Eiric sighed and questioned the goblins briefly about the area. The goblins told her that with the orcs defeat, they’d taken over the area, but they didn’t seem to know much else. Leaving the goblins to their own devices, the party moved on.

Deciding to fill in some of the map, they took a corridor they hadn’t explored, and came across some caves, and a group of kobold mushroom farmers heading back to the Korners. The parties greeted each other, and passed without incident, though they did warn the party about the magic wall, so of course they headed for it immediately.

Halfway across the cave they felt the tingling, and their suspicions were confirmed when Matthais approached it and felt the magnetic pull. He slid toward it, the pull on his armor making it hard for him to get away. Sarin tossed him a rope, and helped him get away. They then stripped out of their armor and collected several chips and chunks of the wall.

Exploring further into the caves they came to the kobolds’ mushroom garden, and spotted several Ghost Beggars poaching! The 4 of them were killed very quickly, with only one giant mushroom destroyed in the process. After the battle, the large bucket hanging down through a natural chimney showed how they got into the cave. Matthias got into the bucket, and it started to rise. About 20 feet up in the air, the light from above was blocked, and a voice called out. The Ghost Beggars realized that that wasn’t one of their own, and they didn’t take the news well. Whether it was the bodies of their fellows gutted below, or the talk of Matthias’ other cousin ____, they kept the bucket suspended above the farm, and dropped oil down toward it. Matthias spotted it, and jumped free, crushing more mushrooms, but avoiding being soaked in oil. The torch that followed the oil was more concerning, and the party ran.

Back in the regular halls the party came to the octagonal desert room with the broken sphinx statue. They continued deeper into the hall and came next to an octagonal seashore room. They noticed a couple of small holes on one wall and checked it out. Beady eyes glared out of the holes, and Matthias decided to poke them with the 10’ pole. In response, 10 pissed off giant rats swarmed out and attacked. They managed to do some damage, but were all killed rather swiftly.

Past the ocean room, the party encounters a group of Berzerkers! They misidentify Matthias as Wilhelm, and invite the party into their chamber for a drink. The party accepts, and Matthias sings the song of his people… but it’s a different song than Wilhelm used to sing. The mood of the room turned quickly, and the berzerkers not so subtly reached for their weapons…

The fight was vicious and bloody, but the magical ability of the party helped tipped the balance. Eiric’s snake staff kept one berserker immobilized, but not before Orpheus took a broadsword to the side of the head. A touch of magical healing kept him from death. Unfortunately, they had little treasure to be looted.

Returning to their exploration, the party came to a room with a rough statue carved of salt, seemingly guarding the interior door. As expected, the statue animated when they reached for the door. Sarin wildly swung his sword, missing the statue, and impaled EE, who bleed out as soon as the sword was pulled from his gut. The room beyond was an old and dusty study, but at least had a stash of hidden gold.

Further back along the hall the party opened the door onto a massive machine. Pipes, gears, chains, and levers were arranged in a baroque web of steel, brass, and other unidentifiable metals.

“That looks like a deathtrap” Eiric says.

“I’m gonna touch it.” Matthias replies, and enters the room. The first lever pulled causes the machine to shake violently and make a variety of noises as the belts spin and steam leaks out of various cracked pipes. Next he twists some random knobs, which change the noises, adding a clunking sound, followed by a rattle of stones on metal, as several organic crystals fall out of a shoot and into a small bin. Pushing a big button causes the noises to get even louder and more constant, before a chunk of the machine breaks, spraying the room with a mist of oil, and filling the air with greasy steam.

“Are you happy now?” Eiric asks.

Matthias grins and says “Yes!”

Feeling they’d accomplished enough, and not wanting to stick around after all that noise, the party returns to the Kobold Korners for some rest.

Gains: Organic Crystals, 1000gp, 20pp
Kills: 6 Berzerkers, 10 Giant Rats, 4 Ghost Beggars, Rocksalt Golem
Losses: EE

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Sunday Inspirational Image: Cyberpunk Swords

Pretty sure these are available from some chinese company on the web for (according to what I saw on reddit) $30/set, so not exactly high quality. Still look good for game inspiration!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sunday Inspirational Image: 3D Printed Armor

Cosplay armor has usually been either incredibly expensive, bulky, and/or unconvincing to the barest of scrutiny, but advances in 3D printing have made some amazing things possible!

This is the way that I imagine that magical armors would look.

Friday, April 21, 2017

What to bring?

I'm getting ready to make a big move to a smaller space, from my nice colonial house into a small city apartment. This means that a lot of stuff is getting sorted through and packed up/recycled/junked/given away... It's never an easy process, especially after you've been in one location for nearly a decade.

A big part of this process has been dealing with my gaming stuff, both the minis and the RPGs. Since I can't bring everything, I’ve had to go through everything. This took a lot of time and effort that I felt like I could have spent doing more productive things, like actually packing, but it was unfortunately a necessary step to actually be able to pack the things I wanted to pack.



Given the limited space, I had to be fairly brutal about what I was bringing, so if I haven’t even thought about touching it in the last year or so, I didn’t even consider bringing it. For example, the 40K and Warhammer Fantasy stuff. None of the Star Trek models I’ve gotten over the last couple of years to go with the giant DS9 model I’ve had for about as long as I’ve had the house and still haven’t built. Then there’s the terrain… Even the stuff I’ve built recently takes up a lot of space, so it’s staying too. Same for the Hirst Arts stuff. Not only is it space intensive, it’s also messy. I’m also leaving behind my bin of prepainted minis since I’d rather have minis I painted myself, and my big glass display case.

What I am bringing with me is my Bones minis, all the minis I’ve painted up for Frostgrave, a selection of assorted random fantasy and sci-fi (both painted and not). I’m also bringing a box of bases and basing material, and of course paint. Lots of paint, really, and the tools that go with it. I’ll be adding to that the Bones 3 shipment, due any time now, and the Base Boss kickstarter, also due anytime now… Honestly, I could probably bring half these minis and not run out of things to paint for a couple of years. This just gives me a lot of options.

As far as my RPG collection goes, the shelves of printed out PDFs in binders all neatly organized have all been tossed into the recycling bin. It just doesn’t seem worth it to pack them up. All my 2e, 3.x, 4E books are packed up, along with all the Alternity, Star Trek, and most of the Star Wars RPG books. All boxed sets are packed up too.

Picking what to bring was a little easier. The Rules Cyclopedia was a must, as were the DCC core book, and the 5e core books. I also decided to bring the WEG Star Wars core book. It’s a great system! I also decided to bring Tales from the Floating Vagabond and Starships and Spacemen 2e. As I’m giving myself a paper box worth of space, I had some room to play, so Creature Companion and Stonehell were easy picks, as were A Red and Pleasant Land, Vornheim, Lusus Naturae, Petty Gods, World of the Lost, Slumbering Ursine Dunes, The Doom-Cave of the Crystal Headed Children, and SLUGS! I’m also bringing a stack of DCC adventure modules.

It’s an impressive stack that fits shockingly well into a relatively small space. And even with all that in the box, there’s still room for my Frostgrave books and Rogue Stars, not to mention my dice and tape measures and stuff.

All in all, I’m finding the experience to be only a little painful. We’ll see how I’m feeling once I’m actually moved! But I think it’ll be fine. I will certainly not be lacking for games to play or minis to paint! Now I just need to find some regular gamers to game with!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Ill Met in Lankhmar

After picking up and reviewing Through Ningauble's Cave, the first DCC sourcebook for Lankhmar, I decided that I really needed to actually read some of Fritz Leiber's tales, and as I owned Ill Met in Lankhmar, I did. And it was good stuff!

Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar series established the sword-swinging, maiden-rescuing, chivalrous, high adventure that has been the mainstay of the fantasy genre ever since. White Wolf presents the entire seven-novelette Lankhmar series in four volumes.The two greatest heroes ever are back, proving why Fritz Leiber is a literary legend. Join Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser as they take you on unforgettable adventures. Includes Swords and Deviltry and Swords Against Death.

Now it's been over a year since I actually finished reading this volume, but what really sticks with me are the characters of Fafhrd, the Grey Mouser, and Lankhmar. All three are amazingly familiar to me, in large part because they are such archetypes that have been copied and tweaked over the decades since Leiber coined the term "Sword and Sorcery." Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser are vibrant characters full of skill, luck, and flaws, and astonishingly human. They make stupid choices, keep secrets, and have each others' backs all while adventuring their was in and around Lankhmar itself.

And speaking of Lankhmar itself, what a city! Sprawling, congested, twisting streets barely concealing the crime and corruption that infests it. It's either insanely decadent and crushingly poor, depending on what section of the city you're in. The streets are evocatively (and usually aptly) named, and the locations are straight out of a D&D game. One story, The Bazaar of the Bizarre features a marketplace that feels like it was inspired by the poem Goblin Market and served as the template for the troll market in Hellboy 2!

At the same time, because this is one of the cornerstones of modern fantasy, it sometimes feels overly familiar. Yet reading the original prose is most definitely worth it. Of course what brings me back to it now is the fact that Goodman Games is running a kickstarter for the big release of the Lankhmar box set for DCC. Might be worth checking out if you're a fan of Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Stonehell: Blood, Bad Gas, and Lizards

Session 32 was played on 4/7.

Wilhelm, drunk Dwarf 5 (Julia)
-Helmut, war dog
-Xerxes, Human Fighter 2 (Henchman)
-Yolanda, Human Fighter 2 (Henchman)
Orphious, Human Fighter 1 (Henchman)
-3 torch bearers (Z, A.A.Ron, JJ)
-6 men at arms (U, CC, DD, EE, FF, GG, HH, Aye-Aye)
Eiric, wizard 2 (Kat)
Bisimwa, Human Fighter 1 (Jordan)
Prior Varial (NPC)

Stayed in town
Leroy, human fighter 3 (Mike)
Unnamed, Elf 1 (Nicole)
Sarin the Ugly, Human Fighter 2 (Josh)
Menchi, Human Cleric 1 (Laural)
Karlaih, Human Thief 5 (Mollie)
Tink, a pretentious Elf (but I repeat myself) and former barkeep (Hanna)
Shelly, a vegetarian recovering alcoholic halfling Thief 3 (Nadia)
Frank, halfling 1 (Emily)
Yaqen, elf 1 (Shaun)

Over drinks, Wilhelm discussed what to do next with his friends; either returning again to Stonehll, or following up on what was going on at the jewelers. Eventually it was decided that hitting the jewelers would wait till they had someone a little more experienced with the more subtle ways of B&E, so off to the city square to recruit some more meatshields. FF, GG,HH the Dwarf, Aye-Aye the Elf, and JJ the torch bearer joined up for the usual forking over of gold.

Once in the dungeon, they headed right for Rocky, but spied a group of Ghost Beggars coming out of Rocky’s room. They backed carefully away from the party avoiding a confrontation. They then entered the Quiet Halls and moved directly south toward the Kobold Korners. The way is barred however… literally. And chained.

Wilhelm borrowed Orpheus’ magic hammer and smashed the lock. It was loud, and as they moved along to the next room, the barracks of kobolds were ready for something… but not the party. While they weren’t happy to have something come in through the back door, that it was Wilhelm and crew did relax them some. Not enough to let them pass, however. One ran off to get… Trustee Sniv? Reinforcements? Who knows, as the party turned around and reentered the Quiet Halls.

Taking the stairs just before the entrance to the Kobold Korners, the party descended to the second level of Stonehell. With a variety of options, they picked a corridor at random and came upon a low stone plinth with the shattered remains of a stone snake on it’s flat surface. This tickled something at the back of Wilhelm's memory, and he flipped through his various maps, and realized how close they were to the elevator! Opting to fill in the map, they headed back to the stairs, and then down a different hall.

The hall split and the party continued to the right, which opened into a large chamber with a chain hanging from the ceiling. A fairly fresh leg of a humanoid dangled from a hook on the end of the chain. Wilhelm noticed the pit trap under the meat right away, and safely triggered it. The glistening spikes were the only thing in the pit

With no other apparent exits, the party returned to the split, and went down the left hand path. This slightly smaller room had a large wooden table running down it’s length covered in gold and silver coins. It was quickly discovered that they were glued to the table. As the party debated what to do, there was a yell from the rear of the group still in the hallway! 4 big lizards had decided that the party was worth snacking on! With most of the heavy hitters in the room, it fell to Yolanda to rally the henchman, but it was a bloody fight. U and CC were dropped by the lizards almost instantly. Orpheus smashes one of the drakes in the skull with a well placed crit with his magic hammer, but FF ends up in the jaws of another, desperately trying not to be swallowed. Wilhelm starts pushing his way forward, but it’s almost 4 rounds before he arrives, and none too soon, as the hirelings were taking heavy damage. In the end FF was beyond recovery, and CC lost her arm at the elbow. 2 of the lizards were skinned.

Resting for a minute, Wilhelm assigned a few hirelings to work to get the coins off the table, while the rest of the party continued on. The short hall off the table room Eiric found a slicing blade trap, which was easily disabled. Beyond was a large room with 4 big toads happily eating away at the fist sized beetles covering the ceiling. Wilhelm decided that they’d be easy picking, and the party attacked! Unfortunately for them, the toads, and their long tongues were hardier than expected, and poisonous! Aye-Aye and DD both were poisoned, and badly hurt. DD’s arm was shattered, and Aye-Aye had some suspected internal bleeding.

Since the party was down 2, with 3 others injured, Wilhelm sent them back to town with a fat purse.

Of the 2 exits from the room, one had a spike with a skull on it blocking the way. The skull had some carving on it, but no one could read it. The other passage turned after a relatively short distance offering 2 different doors. The closest was checked and no traps were found, and no one responded to the knocking. The door was a little stiff, but Wilhelm shoved it open, and a great gust of noxious air blew out. Taking the brunt of it, Wilhelm keeled over, along with GG, Z, A-A-Ron, Xerxes, Orpheus, the Prior, and Helmut. Everyone else coughed and gagged at the smell, but didn’t pass out.

Checking over those unconscious, Wilhelm, Xerxes, the Prior, A-A-Ron, and Helmut all suffered from respiratory arrest and never regained consciousness!

The remaining party all turned to Eiric for direction. She looked back at them and said “I didn’t ask for this!” No one cared. She ordered the bodies looted, and then they ran for it! Luckily the only thing they encountered on the way out was a great bloody smear and Aye-Aye’s lifeless head and shredded neck stump.

Gains: 300gp
Kills: 4 giant toads, 4 draco lizards
Losses: 100gp, Wilhelm, Xerxes, Prior Varial, A-A-Ron, Helmut, DD, CC, Aye-Aye, FF, and U

Friday, April 7, 2017

Stonehell: What About Bob?

Session 31 was played on 3/31.

Wilhelm, drunk Dwarf 5 (Julia)
-Helmut, war dog
-Xerxes, Human Fighter 1 (Henchman)
-Yolanda, Human Fighter 1 (Henchman)
-2 torch bearers (Z, A.A.Ron)
-6 men at arms (O, T, U, BB8, CC, DD, EE)
Eiric, wizard 2 (Kat)

Stayed in town
Leroy, human fighter 3 (Mike)
Unnamed, Elf 1 (Nicole)
Sarin the Ugly, Human Fighter 1 (Josh)
Bisimwa, Human Fighter 1 (Jordan)
Menchi, Human Cleric 1 (Laural)
Karlaih, Human Thief 5 (Mollie)
Tink, a pretentious Elf (but I repeat myself) and former barkeep (Hanna)
Shelly, a vegetarian recovering alcoholic halfling Thief 3 (Nadia)
Frank, halfling 1 (Emily)
Yaqen, elf 1 (Shaun)

After properly disposing of Nilbog’s body and getting a good night’s rest, Wilhelm rounded up those who he could. Sadly his more experienced companions were all too hungover to get out of their beds, let alone into the dungeon. Checking in on the temple district, he managed to recruit Prior Vari’al of Kilooloogung the Lord of Arising Smoke.

As before, the jeweler was still closed, and per the info provided by a helpful passer by, has been closed for a while now, though it was an open secret that the thieves guild had been watching the store. After some poking around, Wilhelm finally decided that trying to break in at 10am was probably not the best choice, so off they went to the dungeon.

The party headed to visit Rocky first, again apologised for their lack of quartz, and asked their questions:

Q: Is the Wizard’s School in the Quiet Halls?
A: Yes (4)

Q: Where’s Bob?
A: In the shadow of the Lady Sorcha’s temple (6)

Q: Where is her shadow?
A: South of the temple (2)

THanking Rocky, they head out to the Quiet Halls, aiming for the room with the giant snake skeleton, labeled “snake nope” on the map. Prior Vari’al turned the regular skeletons that rose to meet them, but the snake skeleton was unimpressed, and with startling speed wrapped itself around BB8 and sunk its fangs into his skull. Wilhelm’s flaming dagger quickly ended the threat, but there was no saving BB8.

Double checking the map, WIlhelm remembered the lady statue with the 2 flails, and the party changed directions, going through the northern hall of crypts. With the prior’s help, the undead will little threat, and a few treasures were discovered, including a potion of levitation!

The temple chamber was pretty much as the party had left it all those weeks/months ago. The statue still stood at the far end of the room, shattered dusty skeletons littering the floor. Wilhelm located the secret door that he’d marked previously on the map, and opened it, revealing a short crooked hallway. There was another secret door at the end, and beyond, Bob and the rest of the remaining cultists!

Much to the shock of the party, the cultists were ready for them, not that it did them any good. Wilhelm and Eiric rushed straight for Bob, hitting him upside the head, and he dropped to the floor. Most of the rest of the cultists fell right after, and the last one in the back dropped his mace and begged for mercy. Bob and Daryl were both tied up. Eiric took Bob’s snake staff, and the 2 potions he had on him, and a clerical scroll was found tucked inside the altar.

Heading back to Malfreces Nul’s chamber, they check a few of the rooms they hadn’t explored before, collecting some herbs and liquids from an embalming chamber, and find a room with a giant iron furnace with shelves lined with urns. Wilhelm decides that the best thing to do here is smash the urns, but the furnace’s doors open after the first couple of urns are smashed, and shoots a blast of flame at Wilhelm, who bravely runs away. Another room held 3 ghouls who were feasting on what once was maybe human. Whoever it was had a fancy 2 handed warhammer that was given to O, now named Orpheus.

Moving on, they drop Bob and Daryl off in one of the empty crypts with Yolanda and a couple of hirelings, making sure they’re both secure. The rest of the party heads down to Nul’s room. They knock on his door, and let him know that they have Bob. Nul wanted him, but Wilhelm wanted to go over what they’d agreed first, so Nul told them that he’d tell them all he’d found out from his dead friends about the school once he had Bob. Wilhelm went and got Bob, and Nul told them all he knew!

The main points were:
The school was entered through a secret door in a chamber with a sacrificial pit
There are numerous secret doors within the school
Beware the mirrors, they magnify damage
There is a shrine to the god of magic within the school
The school is NOT within the Quiet Halls

Was Rocky wrong?

Checking over the map, the party decided that maybe the best place to check next would be the hall heading out from the Quiet Halls that they believe heads toward the area of the Korners that the kobolds wouldn’t let them visit.

Bob’s screams echoed down the hall as the party gathers Daryl and departs….

Another hall of crypts needed to be passed through before reaching their destination, and it looked like Nul had been busy repopulating his friends, and their treasures. More zombies, ghouls, and skeletons, but more importantly, more treasures! An amulet, ring, finger bone wand, and a potion.

After fighting their way down the hall, they decided that actually heading back to town now might be a good idea. They talk to the priests, who discover that the scroll will cause blindness to anyone that reads it.

Eiric tries to get the wizard’s guild to help, but they want nothing to do with him (bad reaction roll) because he’s not a member. Membership is 1,000gp, which he doesn’t have. They go visit the apothecary next to get the potions identified. 2 healing potions, 1 potion of longevity, and 1 potion of flight (actually swapped out for a potion of Luck that the apothecary decided to keep for himself). They decide to sell the potion of longevity, and Eiric eventually finds a rich old woman in the market who offers to buy it for 1,000gp. And when Eiric next goes to the guild to hand over the entrance fee, the rich old woman looks about a decade younger. Turns out she runs the local wizard’s guild!

With her dues paid up, the wizards are happy to identify the items. The amulet is one of hope, and the ring was a ring of swimming, the staff is a Snake Staff (shock) and the wand is a wand of light (red) which is donated to the guild in thanks.

Gains: Snake Staff, Amulet of Hope, Ring of Swimming, various potions,
Kills: Giant Snake Skeleton, 13 skeletons, 5 zombies, 2 ghouls
Losses: BB8

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Stonehell: Finding Malfreces

Session 30 was played on 3/17.

Wilhelm, drunk Dwarf 5 (Julia)
-Helmut, war dog
-Xerxes, Human Fighter 1 (Henchman)
-Yolanda, Human Fighter 1 (Henchman)
-2 torch bearers (Z, A.A.Ron)
-6 men at arms (O, T, U, BB8, CC, DD, EE)
Nilbog Dracon, human wizard 2 (Matt)
Eiric, wizard 1 (Kat)
Sarin the Ugly, Human Fighter 1 (Josh)
Bisimwa, Human Fighter 1 (Jordan)
Menchi, Human Cleric 1 (Laural)
Loris Jim’Bo, Cleric 2 (NPC)

Stayed in town
Tink, a pretentious Elf (but I repeat myself) and former barkeep (Hanna)
Shelly, a vegetarian recovering alcoholic halfling Thief 3 (Nadia)
Frank, halfling 1 (Emily)
Yaqen, elf 1 (Shaun)
Leroy, human fighter 3 (Mike)
Unnamed, Elf 1 (Nicole)
Karlaih, Human Thief 5 (Mollie)

After resting up, the party heads back to the Quiet Halls, returning to the tied off room. On the way a pair of shades attempted to attack the party, but Jim’Bo turned them, and they rushed away, passing through the wall.

The rope was no longer holding the doors shut. As they approached the room, a scraggly man in black leather pants, and a red leather jacket busts out of the room and says “Booga-booga-boo!” which scares half the party straight out of the dungeon.

“That was not as effective as I’d hoped.” he then rushes back into his room, and slams the door.

Wilhelm sighs, and the man looks at the rest of the party that didn’t run away. With a shrug he approaches the door, and begins to talk. Eventually the man on the other side admits that he is Malfreces Nul.

Before the conversation could progress very far Jim’Bo, Nilbog, and Bisimwa along with the rest of the hirelings made it back into the dungeon, and into the Quiet Halls.

Malfreces mostly tells the party he wants to be left alone, but people keep bothering him since he can talk to the dead, killing his friends, and trying to take him from the dungeon. Bob and his cultists were the worst about it. Like obsessed fangirls….

Nilbog tells Malreces that he just wants to find the Wizard’s School. Malreces says several of his friends, that the party killed, talked about it, but he didn’t really know anything about it. But if they brought him Bob, he could ask…He doesn’t care about the rest of the cultists.

The party agrees, and heads off to find Bob!

As they head toward where Bob and Co. were holed up last time, the hallways began to fill with fog, and the hall and walls seemed to just fade away. As they did, a ghostly skiff began to approach the party. Kinda freaked, they all just held their place, which allowed the skiff to get close, and the skeletons on board to grab and drag several of the lead party members on board! The fight was joined!

Bisimwa covered himself with the red dye he brought with him trying to make himself look like the zombies. Nilbog focused on casting magic missile on the robed figure steering the skiff, while everyone else attached the skeletal figures dragging and trapping the party on the boat. The fight was quick and fierce, and the party jumped off the skiff as quickly as they could, which was fortunate as it faded away just as quickly as it appeared.

The party collectively caught its breath, and continued on through rooms they’d previously explored, arriving at the cultist’s previous lair, but finding it abandoned. Not being exactly sure where they’d go, they head toward the rooms on the map that the cultists told them about, but hadn’t visited. The first room was a gallery of devils with hooked chains hanging from the ceiling. The next room they visited was full of stone sarcophagi leaning up against the walls. Wilhelm grabs one and pulls it open, and the lid falls to the ground, shattering into several large chunks.

While the rest of the party plays with the sarcphagi, Nilbog returns to the devil room, and starts to hop around, hoping that this is the sacrificial chamber that Rocky was talking about. It wasn’t. And unfortunately for him, the sound of the shattering sarcophagus lid woke up a nest of stirges that found him first. Of the 9 in the nest, 5 of them focused on him, and he ran screaming!

Wilhelm and company run toward Nilbog, but have to fight off the stirges first, and by the time they find Nilbog, the stirges were draining the last of his blood. They killed the remaining stirges, bundled Nilbog’s body (and stuff) and headed toward the exit. They didn’t quite make it before another 3 stirges attacked, but another can of PowerThirst and a torch ended that threat, and the party emerged from the dungeon without any other issues.

Kills: 12 Stirges, Ghost Skiff Skeletons & Zombies
Losses: Nilbog

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Bones Goblins

To accompany the Goblin Shaman I've been working on, I also pulled out some of the goblin warriors that I've got, and decided to work on them at the same time. They were washed at the same time as the shaman, and like him, glued to the top of a cork for ease of handling.
Then primed with brown liner...

And pumpkin orange for the skin

Mostly I worked on these guys as I was testing out colors for the shaman.

Below on the left is one of the goblins I painted right after the first Bones delivered. He's very shiny, as I used... probably GW's flesh wash on him without then going back and doing more work. It was a goblin, so I didn't really care

And here's a group shot of the old goblins with the new ones.

Still not gonna win any awards, but I'm happy with how they turned out.