Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Daredevil Season 2

There will be spoilers in this post.

I didn't have a whole lot to say about the first season of Marvel's Daredevil. In fact this was it:
I got to this as soon as I got off the trail, and it was just about perfect. The funny thing is that the thing I like about the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that it isn’t stuck in that dark and gritty rut that DC’s in, yet Daredevil is probably the darkest grittiest part of the MCU.
Which is truly criminal, because more and more I realize just how fantastic it is. From the storytelling, to the choreography of the fights, to the acting... it's all fantastic. Over 13 episodes they manage to tell an amazing story full of vibrant characters that all fit into the greater MCU without needing to directly tie into the movies or Agents of Shield.

What really made it amazing though was the single most engaging villain I think I've ever encountered. The Kingpin, Mr. Wilson Fisk, played by Vincent D'Onofrio steals the show.

He's larger than life, and dominates the series. And he's engaging. You almost want him to win. He has a vision for Hell's Kitchen, a shining vision of what that neighborhood could be... He's sympathetic. He's... human. If you're going to make a bad guy, this is an amazing template to work from.

And season 2 suffers when he's not involved.

On the other hand, The Punisher and his storyline with Karen is nearly as strong.

Once again, we have a sympathetic villain... or perhaps anti-hero is the better descriptor. He isn't indiscriminate... and in a lot of ways, the only thing that separates Frank Castle from Fisk is that Castle is mono-focused on hunting down the 3 criminal gangs that he believes killed his family. The twists and turns of that are a lot of fun to watch.

The Elektra storyline wasn't bad, but resulted in the tiresome trope of the titular hero brooding over... everything. The weight and responsibility of saving the city/nation/world, having to cut ties with his friends, etc. etc. Murdock, Wane and Queen all need some serious therapy.

The return of Stick, and his war with the ninja clan The Hand proved that the Conservation of Ninjitsu is in full effect. I really wish it had been less ninjas, and more Madam Gao. I want more of her... Maybe in season 3?

Also, I could totally go for a spin off show involving all the lawyers who deal with these costumed weirdos. Froggy, Hogarth, Marci, and toss in Jen Walters (She-Hulk) for fun. With Karen at the newspaper, and Detective Hoffman with the police? I can just hear Dick Wolf's Law and Order theme playing.

While a little weaker than season 1, it's still a fantastic show, and I can't wait for whatever else the MCU brings to Netflix.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Painting Huts and Pillars

So I've actually finished painting some of my terrain (not counting snow effects).

The progression of paint was as follows:
Midnight Blue
Grey Flannel
Rainy Day Grey
Barely Blue

All are Anita's Acrylic Craft Paint.

Lots of dry brushing...
More dry brushing...
Yet more dry brushing...
So many layers of dry brushing...
Comparison shot.
A piece of scatter terrain, some sort of war monument or something.
So one set of stairs, 6 pillars, and 6 huts painted. Not too shabby.
My next bit is going to be the mausoleum. I still need to make a roof, and I'm thinking about decorations for the side. We'll see where that goes. I think from this point I'm going to focus on one or two pieces to completion, then move on, rather than the scattershot pattern so far. Having a goal helps, and these huts are slated to be used in the next game.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Sunday Inspirational Image: Swamp House

Either there is some serious flooding issues, or there are some serious creatures to be avoided down at ground level.

Creatures that don't do stairs...

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Stonehell: Revisiting Orcs and Dragons

Session 7 of Stonehell was played on 3/18

Tink, a pretentious Elf (but I repeat myself) and former barkeep (Hanna)
Wilhelm, drunk Dwarf 1 (Julia)
-Hammond, war dog
Shelly, a vegetarian recovering alcoholic halfling Thief 1 (Nadia)
Frank, halfling 1 (Emily)

Stayed in town
Tobias, Cleric 1 of Persephone (Molly)

Due to the weird magics of Stonehell, Tobias was magically replaced by Shelly and Frank.

The party packed up their few items and chatted with Rocky, and then asked their 3 questions of the day:
Are you magical? Long rambling answer...
Can you do other things than answering questions? I can turn gems into gold.
What does this key open? The pharmacy on the level you found it on.

They thanked him for his hospitality, and Tink scratched an itch he had behind his ear. They headed back up to where the kobolds were seen working on something, and discovered a room covered in 3' tall stone faces carved into the walls. All had their mouths open, as if yelling. Pressure plates were spotted, marked with wax, and avoided. The next chamber was similar, except that each face was 10' tall and had oversized eyes. A strong breeze blew from their open mouths. Shelly stuck her head into one of the mouths, and looked down. Unfortunately the tunnel stretched further than she could see with her darkvision, and the candle they tried to use blew out in the breeze.

Out of that chamber they followed a long corridor, and spotted a pit trap before falling prey to it. As it spanned the entire width of the hallway, they triggered the trap. A half decomposed body lay sprawled on the bottom. A rope was lowered and Tink dropped in, followed by Shelly. As their feet hit bottom the body on the ground spasmed, and it reached for Tink's ankle, and missed. Everyone screamed/yelled/gasped, and Tink brought her sword down on the zombie... just as the walls of the pit trap crumbled inward, and more zombies stumbled from the dirt. Shelly scrambled out of the pit, followed by Tink as the zombies brushed dirt out of their eyes and tried to keep them in the pit. Frank poured oil all over them, then tossed a match in. Black smoke and zombie moans filled the hall, and the party retreated back to the last chamber.

They decided to give the hall a chance to clear out, and headed back to visit the orcs. Once again, they tried to strike the gong with a sling, but missed. They hid, hoping the orcs didn't notice the sling stone hitting their barricade. After a couple of rounds Frank decided to peek through the doorway, and he and an orc mutually surprised each other. Frank recovered first, and felled the orc in a single blow. The orcs in the room decided to help the party out, and hit the gong for them. Sling stones and crossbow bolts came from the party, while arrows were fired by the orcs. The orcs took the worst of it, but were quickly reinforced. Wilhelm, lacking a ranged weapon decided to toss the dead orc at his fellows. The body landed ineffectively on the barricade.

The party retreated, and ran into a room full of skeletons, and they retreated again.

After catching their breath, drinking some wine, and reorienting themselves, they decided to check out the dragon's cave. They found the lizard in it's cave, once again on the ceiling. It's 'death from above' was less effective and the party piled on the damage. The dragon tried to swallow Frank, biting down on him repeatedly. If not for his plate mail, he'd most certainly have died. As it was, the armor was destroyed. They searched the dragon's nest and found several broken shells, some coins, and a tiara. They skinned the dragon, and took it's hide with them. Deciding that they'd had enough fun (and wanted some XP) the party headed to town.

Gains: Tiara, coins
Kills: 4 orcs, 5 zombies, 1 'dragon'
Losses: 10' pole

Monday, March 21, 2016

Cult-astic A-Z Challenge

I don't know what I was thinking...

In a moment of insanity, I signed up for the A to Z Challenge. Again. It's not like I've been pumping out daily posts... And I'm going to be away from the internet for the last week of April. Which means that I'm really gonna have to step up my game.

Add to the the fact that up until a couple of days ago, I didn't have a clue what I was going to blog about. Thankfully, inspiration struck.

Though I dare not delve too deeply into where the inspiration came from...At least not until April!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Frostgrave Terrain Stairs and Huts

A bit more progress with my $25 terrain challenge. I've built the stairs for the ruin. And by built, I mean I've cut out the pieces, and still need to scribe them before glueing them together.

Playing around with some scraps I came up with this. Also not glued together... I'm thinking about how to put it together... 3 independent pieces about an inch or so apart? Some sort of ring? A pillar? Or maybe a small gap that would provide line of sight, but block movement?

And finally I've started priming the huts. Next will be a midnight/navy blue. I've used up one bottle of Slate already... and well on the way to another. I'm going to need more once I start painting the bigger pieces.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Nephropid-mail Bio-Armor

Feris tossed another stick into the gentle surf as he sat on the rock jetty.

"She's still at it?" Rathgar asked, walking up behind him. Out in the water Princess swam quickly toward the stick.

"Over an hour now. If I couldn't throw the stick all over, I'd never be able to keep this up. As it is my shoulder is getting sore.

"They don't spend a lot of time on that sort if thing in wizard school hua?"

"Wand practice was worse." Princess splashed out of the sea, water slowing off of her. The stick in her mouth failing to hide the grin on her face. She shook the water out of the little bit of fur that poked out from under the rust brown shell covering most of her body. The eye-stalks swiveled around, mostly seeming to focus on the gulls squawking above.

"She's going to be so hungry tonight."

"Hope Nimble got a deer or a goat or something."

Princess trotted up to Feris, and he took the stick. One of the claws snapped out, grabbing the stick before he could pull it away. "Every time..." The stick snapped in half and the half Feris wasn't holding fell to the rocks. He threw the remaining half out into the water, and Princess jumped in after it.

Lucy in her lobster costume. She loves this thing so much!

Nephropid-mail Bio-Armor
Alternately described as a parasite, symbiote, and (of course) creation of a mad wizard, these creatures attach themselves to a host, providing various benefits until it outgrows the host. If a suitable new host is available, the transition is painful, but usually not fatal to the old host. Otherwise, the creature will kill and consume the host before going off to find another.

Potential Powers:
AC as Chain or Banded mail
Increased Stamina (bonus to Con checks, saves vs poison)
Swim speed equal to normal movement
2 claw attacks (damage varies by size)

Potential Drawbacks:
Major Charisma penalty
Difficult to get used to (combat penalty until proficient)
Will eventually kill you, or maybe just maim you.

This was a post I started writing back in August of 2011... Sometimes it takes me a while to get back to things.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Frostgrave Terrain Update

I haven't given a good update with where I am on my Frostgrave Terrain Challenge.

This is a rundown of each of the items needed, and where I am on them. Pictures and more details below.

Square Mausoleum Building, 6" per side with a door in each wall. - In progress
Ruined Wizards Tower - Brainstorming
Side buildings allowing access to the upper wizards tower. - Brainstorming
6 Statues - Ready to paint
12" square ruin. - In progress
Haunted Houses - Six small stone monks huts with no roof. - Ready to paint
A Well or Fountain. - I have an idea...
Four 2" diameter discs to act as teleport points. - Ready to paint
6 Columns or ruined columns. - Ready to paint
Underground Library - Prototype stage
Plus enough scatter terrain to cover the board - In progress

The Mausoleum still needs a roof, and I think some work around the doorways. Strongly debating opening at least one door and making the inside accessible.

Wizards Tower - I've had all sorts of thoughts about this, and have seen a wide variety of styles that others have done. I haven't settled on anything yet. Same for the side buildings. Debating the cost/benefit of keeping it simple or being really creative.

Statues and Pillars go together. I pushed the nails in a bit deep on a couple of them, so I need to fix that. Otherwise, they're ready to paint.

12" Square Ruin - Need to add some sort of cap piece around the top of at least some of it. Also need to build some stairs.

Haunted Houses - These are ready to paint, though I'm still thinking of adding removable roofs and maybe fireplaces.

Well/Fountain - I have an idea... I haven't started on it yet...

Teleport pads - These were so easy to make. Just need to paint them.

Library - I've put more effort into these... Still not perfect. But I think the end result is going to look nice. Eventually... Really glad I got a BIG box of craft sticks.It might be easier to skip the sticks on the top and bottom, and just have them on the side... Not sure yet...

Scatter Terrain - So far I've only made a few of these. Going to do some ruined wall bits, and maybe some Stonehenge type things.The Bones Mystic Circle piece is a good idea of what I might do.

Beyond that, I've been looking through the Thaw of the Lich Lord, and one scenario takes place on a frozen lake with ships frozen in the ice. Oh, the ideas.... But I'm going to finish the stuff above before I get involved in any of that.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Stonehell: Finding Friends?

Session 6 of Stonehell was played on 3/4

Tink, a pretentious Elf (but I repeat myself) and former barkeep (Hanna)
Wilhelm, drunk Dwarf 1 (Julia)
-Hammond, war dog
Tobias, Cleric 1 of Persephone (Molly)

Stayed in town
Shelly, a vegetarian recovering alcoholic halfling Thief 1 (Nadia)

The party decided to do a little more exploring of Stonehell's Antechamber. They quickly returned to the trash room with the snakes. Once again, the snakes were happy to allow the party to pass through as long as they stayed away from their piles. Beyond, in the sooty silhouettes room they spied a familiar glow coming from the hallway beyond the chamber: Fire Beetles! They were quickly dispatched, and their glands removed. The little that remained of the orc bodies the beetles were eating were carefully avoided.

Further down the hall they found a stuck door. Shoving it open, the cleric's lantern revealed a giant stone head! "Well hello there!" it rumbled.
It seemed a rather friendly head, and after a bit he revealed that he would answer 3 questions every day. The party conferred a but then asked where the Kobold market was "Head south, beyond the dwarves, and orcs, and past even the goblins, and there you shall find what you seek." Where the speaker with the dead could be found? "Death Rests uneasy here. Do not awaken that which cannot sleep!" and finally where the nearest treasure could be found "Dragons gather and hoard all they can!"

The party thanks the head "Rocky" for his help, and continues on. The next door they come to opens to a large dormitory lined with bunk beds. After that they spotted some kobolds resetting a trap, and avoided them. They next chamber they explored was cold, and had bodies laid out on the floor; a human, dwarf, and a couple of orcs. Also some large rats that had been snacking on the cold meat. Waving the tantern and yelling loudly, while Hammond barked, kept the rats at bay while Tink quickly checked the bodies for anything valuable, but they'd already been stripped of anything worth having. Backing out, they shut the rats back in with the bodies.

Further along, they smelled bacon, and followed it to a door, beyond which they could hear singing. Knocking, a massive burly human looked down at the party. "Ja?" Some quick talking got them invited in to share in the feast. Chunks of meat were cut off of the blackened leg over the fire, and earthy ale was shared around while the big guys sang. When the song was finally finished, they called for Wilhelm to "sing the song of his people!" He declined modestly, and the chamber suddenly felt much cooler as the hulking men's smiles all fell. Tink elbowed Wilhelm sharply, and he began to sing, and the berzerkers smiles returned. Tink offered them gifts in thanks for their hospitality (a handful of silvers) and they left before things got out of hand.

Continuing deeper into the dungeon they checked out a room full of lewd graffiti, then a chamber of pillars and cobwebs. Beyond that they found a chamber full of orcs! Hanging on the wall was a large bronze gong, and running through the middle of the room was a barricade. Tobias decided to hurl a stone from his tactical slingshot at the gong. He hit it, shocking the orcs into alertness. More voices could be heard from somewhere beyond the orc's chamber as well. The party beat a hasty retreat back to the pillar room, and waited to ambush any orcs that followed. After several long minutes, they could still hear voices, but none seemed to be heading their way.

With their heart rates returning to something close to normal, they headed back to Rocky's room, and asked to camp down. He was happy to have the company.

Gains: 6 fire beetle glands
Kills: 3 fire beetles
Losses: 5sp

Monday, March 7, 2016

Frostgrave: Beware the Bear!

On Saturday 3/5 I got together with 3 other players Chris, Greg, and Don to play my first game in Chris' Frostgrave campaign. This was their second session.

Chris wrote about the session over at his blog One More Gaming Project.

I brought a similar warband to my first game.
Necromancer (sword & dagger)
Apprentice (sword & dagger)
Thug x2
Thief x2
Crossbow x2

The board at deployment. My Necromancer started at the bottom right. Greg's Chronomancer (The Doctor) was on the bottom left. Chris' Illusionist (Kodak) top left, and Don's Druid/Witch top Right.

My force moved up the board toward the closest treasures. This lead to a repeated game of telekinetic tug of war over several treasures with the druid's apprentice.

My crossbowmen were well placed, but were unable to protect Fegan the thief who had run out to grab a treasure.

The melee by the Rat God bridge was deadly. Rex charged forward, ripping the throat out of the snowcat, while my thug Hook desperately tried to fend off the bear.

The bear just mauled everything that came within reach, taking down my zombie in a single swipe, kicking Rex the warhound to the ground, and only Rengar the Knight was able to withstand its mighty claws.

My Necromancer covers (black)Jack the thief's retreat with the treasure.

A minor demon and 2 ice spiders arrived together. The demon and one spider charged my knight and thug. The other spider went under the bridge and killed the druid's apprentice.

So many casualties! My dice rolling was generally atrocious this game...

Getting my first treasure off the board.

My apprentice and necromancer look at each other, cast one last spell each before fleeing off the board. The necromancer raises a zombie, while the apprentice bone darts River Song, the chronomancer's apprentice.

My casualties! Rex the warhound, Fagan the thief, and Bob the Crossbowman were all badly wounded and will miss the next game.

I earned a total of 170xp from spells cast and 2 treasures taken off the board. Combined the treasures contained  225 gold and a grimoire inscribed with Scatter Shot. Still need to decide what my base will be, but I'm thinking the Inn for the extra troop slot. I also need to decide if I should spend the gold to replace my troops, or wait it out for the next session? And what I want my first upgrade to be. I'm thinking making one of my spells easier to cast... but which one?

Friday, March 4, 2016

Happy GM's Day!

To all my fellow Gamemasters, Storytellers, Judges, Arbiters, Castle Keepers, Referees, Narrators and of course Dungeon Masters, I raise a tankard to us all!

And here's to the man who started it all!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

DDS & Frostgrave troops

Nathavarr is slowly coming along. As with the arm, I've basecoated everything with dusky skin. Making sure that the underside of each scale gets paint is probably the most time consuming part of the process.

I've stuck the arm on for the pictures, but currently nothing is glued together except for the rear leg. There's a bit of a gap that I'm debating what to do with... do I get some green stuff, and fill it on, or just... not worry about it. I think I'm gonna have to get some green stuff. I think there's gonna be gaps with the wings too... so... Might as well just do it.

And since I've got a game of Frostgrave coming up this weekend, I've decided that the troops need some paint. Once my warband advances these guys will be replaced with better troops, but until then, these old GW Empire Militia figures will serve.

Not the sort of gents you'd want to invite over for dinner at your mother's house, but just the sort you'll want to loot a ruined city.