Friday, April 28, 2017

Historicon 2017 PEL is Up!

If I got anything out of reading the debates of the pro and cons of British wargaming after Salute this past weekend, it was that the PEL for Historicon 2017 is up and running!

As usual, I'm not going, but here are some "ViscountEric's Picks" to mull over.

T-155 The Hsiku Arsenal 1900 
Colonial; 10 AM; Length: 4 hrs; Hosted by: Cliff Brunken; Scale: 28mm; Rules: The Men who would be Kings; No. of Players: 4.
Admiral Seymour’s assault on the Chinese Arsenal. An International force of British, Americans, French and Germans attack the Imperial Chinese Army. 

T-103 Battletech- Solaris King of the Hill
SciFi; 12 PM; Length: 5 hrs; Hosted by: Mark Yingling; Scale: 1/285; Rules: Total Warfare; No. of Players: 10.
The Word of Blake Jihad has recently ended and Solaris VII is trying to recover from the devastation of the war. The King of the Hill event will bring together fighters from each of the Inner Sphere nations and the new Republic of the Sphere. They will fight to see who is the new king of Solaris Arena’s. All materials, miniatures and dice will be provided. Intermediate to experienced players and no Players under 15 years old.

T-323 Chariot Race at Circus Maximus 
Ancients; 1 PM; Length: 3 hrs; Hosted by: Robert Varga; Scale: 15mm; Rules: Modified Circus Maximus and Avalon Hill; No. of Players: 12.
Recall the Chariot race from Ben Hur then you have an idea of what this game it like. You as the Charioteer predefine your chariots weight, its speed and the driver endurance. The race could involve up to twelve chariots all racing around the eight segmented lanes of the Arena Spina for three laps. You need to be ever mindful of the other chariots positions and intentions, because anything goes when it comes to winning, and you surviving to race another day. Kids 10 to 12 please have adult supervision while playing.

T-352 Something Fishy on the Yangtze – Session 1
Pulp; 1 PM; Length: 4 hrs; Hosted by: Joshua Mcgary; Scale: 28mm; Rules: Pulp Alley; No. of Players: 6.
The opium trade in China has given way to smuggling of all kinds. Yangtze City’s water front has become the hub of the illicit trade. Rumor has it that there is a shipment of “something big” coming through. Along with your trusty side-kick you will have to scour the docks for clues; bribe, badger or cajole the locals into giving you information. And if all else fails brute force is always an option. Collect enough information and claim the valuable cargo for yourself. Pulp Alley is fast paced skirmish game in a 1930s-pulp universe. Rules taught and easy to learn. Please no players under 14 unless with playing adult.

T-268 Action off Trezibond May 1916
World War I; 2 PM; Length: 4 hrs; Hosted by: Michael Mcknight; Scale: 1/2400; Rules: Fleet Action Iminent; No. of Players: 6.
Summer 1916 and the Turkish army is under pressure from Russian amphibious raids on the Black Sea. The Turkish fleet is ordered to sortie ad drive off the Russians, Led by their powerful battlecruiser Goeben which has been the most feared vessel in the theatre. Though as the Turks approach the elderly Russian pre-dreadnoughts seem prepared to fight it out. Rules taught , accompanied minors welcome

T-390 The Treasure of Makoko Mbe
Colonial; 7 PM; Length: 4 hrs; Hosted by: Kim Allman; Scale: 28mm; Rules: Congo; No. of Players: 4.
In the depth of the Congo lay the ruins of the jungle kingdom of Teke. Its last ruler Makoko Mbe, buried his wealth near these ruins and legend tells it is still there guarded by fanatical warriors and the spirits of the jungle. German ethnologist Dr. Julia Hershberger has gathered an expedition to find out if the legend is true. However, other factions also covet the treasure or will fight to protect their sacred lands from desecration by invaders. This fast paced, fun easy to learn game system has that right mix of historical re-creation with a nice dash of pulp adventure. Game will be taught.

T-517 Battle at Hartebeestmund (German South-West Africa, 1905) 
Colonial; 7 PM; Length: 4 hrs; Hosted by: Roy Jones; Scale: 25mm; Rules: Sword and the Flame (modified); No. of Players: 6.
Hartebeestmund, October 24, 1905: Oberstleutnant von Semmern believes he is in pursuit of retreating Nama. He is wrong – it’s an ambush! Nama riflemen have been waiting for the Germans all along. And now the Germans are trapped between the hills and the river. It’s German Mausers, machine guns and cannon against concealed Nama rifles and Nama guile, in a brutal fight at Hartebeestmund. Whether German or Nama, no one’s coming out of this fight unscathed! 

T-425 Gnome Wars: Gnomistan Blues
World War I; 7 PM; Length: 4 hrs; Hosted by: Erin Crouch; Scale: 40mm; Rules: Gnome Wars by Brigade Games; Sponsor: Brigade Games; Prize: Prizes; No. of Players: 12.
The Glorious Gnoman Empire is in decline. Can you help fend the end off for a few centuries or will you help to speed it along. No need to pre-reg if you bring a 320 pt Unit from Brigade Games. Parent/Child teams encouraged. 

T-206 Operation Tremendous Walls Goes Bad
Modern; 9 PM; Length: 3 hrs; Hosted by: John Hodson; Scale: 28mm; Rules: Future Wars; Sponsor: Brigade Games; No. of Players: 10.
This game is going to be great, you’ll love it, believe me. The Trump wall was supposed to secure our borders, but who knew it would be the last wall of defense against the walking dead. Mexico has fallen! the dead walk the land, rumors of the cure and gaps in the wall have shaken the foundation of our country Trump himself will lead a team to investigate the gaps in the wall. Make America great again lead your highly trained units with multiple objectives and enter the city of the dead, do you 

F-162 Congo – Exploring the Dark Continent 
Colonial; 9 AM; Length: 3 hrs; Hosted by: Don Hogge; Scale: 28mm; Rules: Congo; No. of Players: 6.
Africa, the dark and mysterious continent; what adventures await those bold enough to venture into the vast jungle? Come and lead a column in search of fame and fortune, or to defend your homeland from bumbling European explorers. Gamers under the age of 14 are welcome with an adult. 

F-279 Attack the Heliograph! Colonial; 9 AM; Length: 4 hrs; Hosted by: Nancy Ott; Scale: 25mm; Rules: Home rules based on The Sword And The Flame; No. of Players: 6.
Things are quiet at the British heliograph station deep in the Sudan ... maybe a little too quiet. A force of Dervishes has cut us off, you say? Send for help at once!

F-253 Pennsylvania Pete and the Eye of the Serpent – Tomb Adventure
Pulp; 9 AM; Length: 4 hrs; Hosted by: Annemarie D’Amato; Scale: 25mm; Rules: Audacious Adventures; No. of Players: 6.
Our famous adventurer Pennsylvania Pete is at it again. He has found the entrance to the tomb that holds the precious Eye of the Serpent. But he is not the only one searching for the Eye. See if PA Pete can make his way thru all the denizens of the tomb and find the Eye of the Serpent. What chills and thrills await our hero. 

F-271 Battle of the Yellow Sea August 10 1904
Early 20th Century; 10 AM; Length: 4 hrs; Hosted by: Michael McKnight; Scale: 1/2400; Rules: Fleet Action Iminent Variant; No. of Players: 6.
After repairing the damage caused by the initial Japanese attack on Port Arthur and the tragic loss of their charismatic admiral Makarov the Russian admiral has decide on a breakout that will take the fleet to the secure base of Vladivastok. The Japanese are caught by surprise and a pursuit ensues. Rules taught , accompanied minors welcome

F-287 The Foreign Legion Crosses the Border (by GASLIGHT) 
Victorian Science Fiction; 1 PM; Length: 3 hrs; Hosted by: Tom Vielott; Scale: 28mm; Rules: GASLIGHT modified; No. of Players: 6. It is 1873.
The long running civil war between the forces of Emperor Maximilian and President Juarez is spilling over the border. The steam mechanized French Foreign Legion is in hot pursuit of republican guerrillas and cross the US border into a small town to chase them down and destroy them. Meanwhile, the small US garrison has other problems on its hands as bandits, preachers, Frenchmen and Mexicans converge in a little spot out west. Join us for a crazy scuffle in the steamy wild west 

F-571 Panzer Kids Battle
World War II; 1 PM; Length: 2 hrs; Hosted by: William Reynolds; Scale: 28mm; Rules: Panzer Kids; No. of Players: 8.
Bring the kids by for a big tank rumble in the desert. Simple fast rules will get the kids moving and shooting.

F-256 Battle at Hartebeestmund (German South-West Africa, 1905) 
Colonial; 7 PM; Length: 4 hrs; Hosted by: Roy Jones; Scale: 25mm; Rules: Sword and the Flame (modified); No. of Players: 6.
It’s a trap! Jakob Morenga, son of a Herero father and a Nama mother, and his Nama riflemen have been waiting for the Germans all along. And now the Germans are trapped between the hills and the river. It’s German Mausers, machine guns and cannon against concealed Nama rifles and Jakob Morenga’s guile, in a brutal struggle at Hartebeestmund. Whether German or Nama, no one’s coming out of this fight unscathed! From the forthcoming scenario book ‘The Nama Wars’. More at: www.hererowars.com. 

F-203 Gnome Wars:.. Into the Lion’s mouth 
Fantasy; 7 PM; Length: 3 hrs; Hosted by: James Stanton; Scale: 28mm; Rules: Gnome Wars; Sponsor: Miniature Building Authority; Prize: Gnomes!; No. of Players: 6.
It was a year ago in this same desert outpost that Havildar Ishar Singh and the 36th Sikhs kept the world safe by defending the local biochemical plant from any robot, alien, or zombie that desired to use the viruses and poisons created there for their evil ends. Today, scanning the sky as he has done each day since the event, Singh sees three exhaust trails heading his way. He knows his gnomes don’t need any stirring words and simply turns to them and says, Players bringing 9 figures from Brigade Games do not have to preregister. No one under 13 without playing adult with parent/ child teams encouraged.

F-295 1941: Liberation of St Pierre and Miquelon 
Pulp; 7 PM; Length: 2 hrs; Hosted by: Kon Gojnycz; Scale: 28mm; Rules: Dr Who Miniatures Game; Sponsor: Miniature Building Authority; No. of Players: 4.
St Pierre, last remnant of the French Colonial Empire in Canada, has a Vichy prefect. De Gaulle sends Free-French destroyers and a submarine to ‘liberate’ the islands and capture the German trade delegation. But Will the Vichy ‘loyalists’ give up without a fight? Will the Germans escape to their waiting submarine and - Hey! - Why do the Germans have an octopus on that flag?! Extra victory points for witty banter. Pretzels provided.

S-291 The Sand Pebble
Colonial; 9 AM; Length: 4 hrs; Hosted by: Scott Landis; Scale: 28mm; Rules: Home Brew; No. of Players: 6.
The American ship the San Pablo is on river duty in an increasingly hostile Chinese Village. The Captain wants to get underway but there are many obstacles in his path. You choice of Sailor or Chinese Warlord and fight for your destiny or for the those of your country. 

S-201 The Wicked Witch Rules! Again!
Horror; 9 AM; Length: 2 hrs; Hosted by: Peter Panzeri; Scale: 28mm; Rules: WICKED WITCH RULES! BY PETE PANZERI; Sponsor: MILITARY BUILDING AUTHORITY (MBA); Prize: From MILITARY BUILDING AUTHORITY; No. of Players: 24. Wait!? Didn’t we like MELT that witch already? And dropped a house on her sister? Well? Just when Dorothy & the gang thought it was safe to re-decorate the Castle? A new Witch is Invading Oz with a new Army of Flying Monkeys, Spooks and Winky-Guard du Corpse! Can the Wizard’s Balloon Corps, Oz Green-Dragoons, Munchkins, all help the Lion, Tin-Man, and Scarecrow? Or is it REALLY always up to Dorothy do believe in spooks! I do believe in spooks!’ (Songs & Witch Laughs are not optional LOCATION: MBA CASTLE TABLE AREA For Pdf of CLASSIC HORROR FICTION -- WICKED WITCH RULES email peterpanzeri@yahoo. com

S-427 Something Sinister in Salamanca – Dr. Who Special 
Theme SciFi; 9 AM; Length: 4 hrs; Hosted by: Brian Robinette; Scale: 28mm; Rules: Savage BBC; Sponsor: Bad Wolf Corporation; Prize: yes; No. of Players: 12.
While headed to the 2031 World Cup, The Doctor arrives in 13th Cent. Spain. Something is not right, Princess Blanca has a sinister new advisor, Ezekiel’s Wheel has been spotted, & strangely helmeted knights have been seen in the city. Will you choose to help save mankind or enslave the lesser beings inhabiting the dismal backwater. HCon 2027 theme game presented early to avoid scale creep. 

S-183 Skirmish at Schlegel’s Farm (Kids’ Game)
American Civil War; 11 AM; Length: 2 hrs; Hosted by: Eric Schlegel; Scale: 25mm; Rules: Home; No. of Players: 6.
The Yanks and the Rebs are all hungry and looking for dinner. Foraging parties from both armies arrive at Schlegel’s Farm at the same time. Who will control the farm? The winners will eat, the losers will go hungry. Adults welcome with a playing child.

S-187 Armies for Kids Giveaway; Franco Prussian War
19th Century; 1 PM; Length: 2 hrs; Hosted by: Duncan Adams; Scale: 15mm; Rules: Milk and Cookies Rules; No. of Players: 6.
The HAWKs annual Historicon Armies for Kids giveaway game, this time it’s Franco Prussian War. After playing this game, all the kids in the game take home two armies and some extra goodies to play with their friends. Gamers 10 and under only. The HAWKs wish to thank the gamers whose donations made this game possible and the The Miniature Building Authority for their sponsorship.

S-195 Gnome Wars: The Assault at Prince Stiofan’s... 
Fantasy; 2 PM; Length: 4 hrs; Hosted by: Steven Stanton; Scale: 28mm; Rules: Gnome Wars; Sponsor: MBA; Prize: MBA Swag!!! (and gnomes); No. of Players: 7.
The Germans, Russians, and Japanese launch a surprise attack on Prince Stiofan’s country estate, hoping to take the young prince captive. It is rumored that one of the four treasures of the Tuatha De Danann, the Cauldron of the Dagda, has been moved to the estate and Lon would love to get his hands on it. Luckily Stiofan was hosting a dinner for the leaders from other gnome tribes! Anyone with painted Gnomes at War unit from Brigade Games does not have to preregister. No one under 14 without a playing adult with parent/child team

S-159 Plastic Pirates Poopdeck Party 
Age of Piracy; 3 PM; Length: 2 hrs; Hosted by: Geoff Graff; Scale: 40mm; Rules: Plastic Pirates; No. of Players: 8.
Those Little Lego Looters are at it again! While celebrating their latest capture, a ship-rigged merchantman, ON the captured ship, a Minor fight breaks out. Was there EVER a Minor fight with these guys? Who will win the fight? Who will own the ship? The HAWKs present this game for younger players. Adults are welcome with a player kid. 

S-308 Argh!: Navies for Kids Theme 
Age of Piracy; 6 PM; Length: 2 hrs; Hosted by: Buck Surdu; Scale: Other; Rules: Navies for Kids Home Rules; No. of Players: 6.
This is a HAWKs Armies for Kids game, or perhaps Navies for Kids. Youngsters decorate their own pirate ships and then engage in a rousing pirate epic to rival Errol Flynn. The game features simplified house rules that cover the very basic aspects of sailing ship combat without any charts or complications. When the game is over, the kids take home four pirate ships, rules, dice, and everything they will need to introduce their buddies to gaming. Children 10 and under please. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

(Kickstarter) Button Men: Beat People Up

As a surprise for me, Cheapass Games has launched a Kickstarter for a relaunch of their legendary Button Men game.
The buttons are gone, replaced by trading cards, and the $35 Starter Set pledge level with 48 character cards has my some of my favorite words:  30 polyhedral dice!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

(Kickstarter) TerrainCrate by Mantic

After much buzz on the Internet, Mantic has finally launched their confusingly titled Terrain Crate Kickstarter campaign.

When I think "crate" I immediately go to one of the services that deliver a box of appropriate stuff to you door each month for a subscription fee.  This is not that type of service.  Rather, it's a collections of hard-wearing, plastic terrain perfect for Fantasy gaming and many other types of games.

$75US gets you one of three possible sets: Dungeon, Battlefield, or Town.  $140 nets you two sets, and the first 2,000 pledging at the $180 level get three sets of their choice (2,001+ can get the same reward for $195.)

Couple issues for me, personally.  For starters, the $75 dollar pledge level is a bargain, but it concludes right after my vacation.   Second, shipping is affordable, but not added on until after the campaign concludes.  Third, I don't want half of the stuff the each set offers. I may be interested in the higher priced individual packages of terrain being offered at my FLGS once it hits distribution channels, but that bring my final concern.

Fulfillment Date: May 2018.

Perhaps I'm a little gun-shy with some of my already overdue Kickstarters crawling to completion. Perhaps a box of Reaper Bones on my doorstep when I get home.   Perhaps my gaming needs will wildly change for the better, but waiting a year (let's be honest, a year-plus) for these crates, when I could cherry-pick the items I'm interested in, get them in metal/plastic/resin, and still end up under the pledge amounts.

Don't get me wrong.  My friends can't stop raving about the larger terrain pieces Mantic has put out previously, both for their quality and their cost.  I have not a worry in the world about the quality of the product backers will receive.    I'll just be happy to see if it piques my interest in Summer of 2018.

Edit: Forty-Five minutes into the campaign, and there's mention in the comments that the themed sets that make up the Crate sets will eventually be made available as optional extras/add-ons, if you will.Very practical, as the mine set in the Dungeon crate could see some instant demand for expansion.  Same for the fences and walls under the Battlefield crate.

Apathy of the New Releases (May '17)

My Want List 
Ninja Division Games
My Little Pony: Tails of Equestria RPG - Tokens of Friendship ............................ $ 6.95

WizKids
Deep Cuts Unpainted Miniatures:  Chests .............................................................. $ 3.99


My Money-Is-No-Option Want List
Chaosium
Call of Cthulhu: The Grand Grimoire of Cthulhu Mythos Magic HC ..................... $39.95


My Imaginary Store List (The Pegleg Gnome)
ArcKnight
Flat Plastic Miniatures:  Animals and Familiars ...................................................... $30.00
Flat Plastic Miniatures: Hero ................................................................................... $30.00
Flat Plastic Miniatures: Skeleton Horde .................................................................. $20.00
Flat Plastic Miniatures: Supers ................................................................................ $30.00
Spell Effects: 5e Wizard .......................................................................................... $50.00

Asmodee
Conan: Norheim Expansion .................................................................................... $59.99
Oh Captain! ............................................................................................................. $29.99

Catalyst Game Labs
Shadowrun RPG:  Toxic Alley ................................................................................ $19.99

Cheapass Games
Pairs: Deluxe Edition .............................................................................................. $17.00

Cryptozoic Entertainment
Rick and Morty:  Anatomy Park, The Game! ....................................................... $30.00
Walking Dead: No Sanctuary (TV Version w/ Plastic Minis) .............................. $80.00
Walking Dead: No Sanctuary (TV Version w/ Cardboard Standups) .................. $40.00
Walking Dead: No Sanctuary: Killer Within(TV Version) ................................... $35.00
Walking Dead: No Sanctuary: What Lies Ahead  (TV Version) .......................... $35.00

Cubicle 7
Call of Cthulhu: World War Cthulhu - Covert Actions .......................................... $24.99

Fantasy Flight Games
Star Wars Armada: Hammerhead Corvette ........................................................... $39.95
Star Wars Armada: Imperial Light Carrier ............................................................ $29.95
Star Wars RPG:  Age of Rebellion - Fully Operational HC .................................. $29.95

Ferti
Taluva ................................................................................................................... $59.99

FASA Games
Fading Suns: Noble Armada ................................................................................ $39.99

Firelock Games
Firelock Games is releasing Blood and Plunder, which appears to be a 25-30+mm historical pirate wargame.  The minis look great (and historically accurate), the ships are outstanding, even the dice look fun.  Unfortunately, I have no idea as to the prices.    Oh well, next company...

Games Workshop
Okay, I take my comment about Firelock back. Not much this month.  Lots of high point value figures = $60 box sets for 5 figures.  Plus the new paint schemes for the Blood Bowl minis are like bad arena football colors.

Hawk Wargames
Dropfleet Commander: Class Cloudfliers  (6) ....................................................... $30.00
Dropfleet Commander: Echo Class Corvette (6) ................................................... $30.00
Dropfleet Commander: Nickar Class Hunter-Killer (6) ........................................ $30.00
Dropfleet Commander: Santiago Class Corvette (6) ............................................. $30.00

Konami Digital Entertainment
Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG:  Pendulum Evolution Boosters

Looney Labs
Drinking Fluxx ............................................................................................... $25.00
Nanofictionary ............................................................................................... $16.00

Mantic Enterainment
Dungeon Saga:  Dungeon Critters ................................................................ $17.99
Lots of Kings of War releases.  Army Sets for $85 and full-blown Megaforces for $150 seem way too reasonable, when compared to just about every other company.  The personal favorite item in the whole solicitation this month comes from Walking Dead: All Out War:
Dale's RV ....................................................................................................... $24.99
Every game needs a Recreational Vehicle (OF DOOM!)

Modiphius
Conan (2d20) Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of ..................................... $49.99
Conan (2d20) Jeweled Thrones of the Earth .................................................. $23.99

Mongoose Publishing
Traveller RPG:  Vehicle Handbook ................................................................. $49.99

Osprey Publishing
Allied Intelligence Handbook to the German Army 1939-1945 ..................... $15.00
Frostgrave: Ulterior Motives ........................................................................... $26.00
Lost Expedition:  A Game of Survival in the Amazon .................................... $30.00
Mad Dogs with Guns - Wargaming in the Gangster Era ................................. $25.00

Paizo Publishing
Pathfinder RPG: AP Ironfang Invision Part 6 - Vault of the Iron Citadel ...... $24.99
Pathfinder RPG: Campaign Setting Ironfang Invasion Poster Map ............... $19.99
Pathfinder RPG: Flip-Mat - Arcane Library ................................................... $14.99
Pathfinder RPG: Player Companion - Blood of the Sea ................................. $14.99
Pathfinder RPG: Pawns - Heroes and Villains Pawn Collection .................... $24.99

Pinnacle Entertainment Group
Savage Worlds RPG:  Lankhmar City of Thieves Collectors Boxed Set ....... $79.99

Pokemon USA
Pokemon TCG Battle Arena Decks Black Kyurem vs White Kyurem
Pokemon TCG:  Bewear GX Box

Prodos Games
Alien Versus Predator:  The Hunt Begins 2nd Edition ................................... $59.95
Sixty bucks?  Very Tempting.
Renegade Game Studios
Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Card Game ....................................................... $45.00

Role 4 Initiative 
Even more sets of dice on display cards.  

Steve Jackson Games
Munchkin: Halloween Monster Box .................................................................. $29.95
Zombie Dice: Horde Edition .............................................................................  $24.95

Troll Lord Games
Castles and Crusades:  Monsters and Treasures of Aihrde ............................... $29.95

USAopoly
Munchkin: Marvel Edition - Just Deadpool Expansion .................................... $ 9.95

Wizkids/NECA
D&D Nolzurs Marvelous Unpainted Minis....................................................... $3.99 each
The Expanse ...................................................................................................... $49.99
Fantasy Realms ................................................................................................. $19.99
Marvel Heroclix - Thor Ragnarok Gravity Feed Display
Star Trek Attack Wing Card Packs ................................................................... $ 9.99 each
Star Trek Heroclix Tactics Series IV Starter and Boosters
Pathfinder Deep Cuts Unpainted Miniatures .................................................... $ 3.99 each
Wizkids Deep Cuts Unpainted Minis:  Keg Barrels (2) .................................... $ 3.99

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Ballad of the Pigeon God #3 - The Temple of Alasku

Our active players at the onset of our episode:
Rolf Wolfsblood:  Bald-headed barbarian from the Plains of Galmar
Kane: Student of Eastern mysticism
Maloran Alberhold - human fighter, skeevey ladies man
Ashe - highly skilled elven ranger...  no longer smells like a skunk

24 HexDec 1069 - Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
Our heroes didn't spend every moment feasting like kings each day and night after their visit to Caldwell Manor.  Rolf and Kane relegated themselves to a pick up a new hobby.  Fishing seemed combine their favorite activity of drinking without the need for drunken rowdiness at the Blue Wizard.  There would be time for fighting after the sun set.
Maloran picked up training sessions with the local militia.  His quick wit and quick blade seemed to win the men over, although his repeated advances towards Jenny, one of their leaders, brought fisticuffs he couldn't overcome.

Ashe tried to follow the route of Torm, without the years of forced hard labor.  He offered his services to anyone willing to pay.  Most caravans weren't hiring a "pointer" for guard duty, but they were less prejudiced against hiring elves to load and unload cargo.  It received little coin for his efforts, but it kept him busy,  as well as earning him first crack at any wares the merchants offered.  One such man offered a pile of torn maps and books as payment, and Ashe obliged.  Of course, he needed someone who could actually read to help him.

Enter our new adventurers.
Echelon - an odd sort, he seemed like some sage or scholar, but with a decidedly earthy smell about him.  The idea that he would leave the bar early to tend to his assortment of animal companions confused most in town, but he was spending coin on lots of animal feed, so most locals didn't mind.
People were confused as to why he used a trident as a walking stick, but no one wanted to ask him directly.
Echelon
Talis Makolin - a rakish young man who seemed to follow the same god as Maloran, if either could find a god of drinking and womanizing.  The only difference between the two was that Talis was more effective with the ladies.... and he had a much bigger hat.
Talis Makolin
Echelon and Talis ascertained that the most of the books were useless.  However, both were intrigued by an older map of Crosedes.  The capital city, Hydincall was listed, as were most rivers.  However, the village of Eding was missing, replaced by something called Alasku, miles to the south!

Velandro  -  a pious priest of Akana, overheared the name Alasku and interjected.  "Alasku was a temple to Akana, as well as the name of the nearby village, but that was during the days of the old Prythax Empire.  According to the map, it's location was in the hills just before the lizardman marshes begin."
Velandro
With Rolf and Kane preoccupied with fishing, the group decided to pick up two more individuals for their expedition:

Aiko -  a young female adventurer.  She didn't seem too eager to surround herself with lecherous, unprofessional men, but for an equal share, she would be willing to try and be tolerant.
Aiko
They rounded out the group with one of the local orphans, a seven-year old boy named Timmy.  He was already familiar with the land around Eding going out for miles, so for a few coppers and some good food, the boy was willing to weather any danger.
TIMMY!
25 HexDec 1069 - Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
The party had spent the better part of the previous afternoon picking up spare equipment and rations and soon after the breakfast the next morning, they met outside of the Blue Wizard to leave for the ruins of Alasku.

Then Echelon showed up, leading a menagerie of animals.  Two sheep, a cow, and three mules transporting crates of... pigeons and chickens.  With no one to watch his collection, it would come with them.  For some strange reason, the party agreed to the terms.

With no true trails into the southern hills, going was quite slow, hampered even more by Echelon's animals.  Night began to fall and they still hadn't reached the temple.

Timmy did have some milk and an egg for dinner, compliments of Echelon.

26 HexDec 1069 - The Temple of Alasku
Less than an hour after breakfast, the party arrived at what remained of the ancient village of Alasku. A few foundation stones could be found if you ripped out the underbrush.

Only one notable structure was stilling standing, a small stone hovel.  Its entrance was only blocked by a small (3-foot high) boulder.

Echelon hesitated.  "Everything said temple, not dungeon!  I can't leave my animals unattended while we're down there for who only knows how long!"

"Have Timmy watch the animals."

"Timmy?  Nice kid, but he knows nothing of pigeons.  How about you guys go down there, and when you get injured, come back up and I'll heal you."

"Waitaminute, you're a cleric?  Of a pigeon god?"

"Heheh, oh no.  Pigeons are my passion, by the life is dedicated to Tshang Kai Shing, Eastern God of the Sea.  It's a long story."

Amazingly, the others agreed to the conditions, and they all descended the stairs, save Timmy.

While the above ground levels had all but vanished for the temple, It's single lower level was superior stonework throughout and quite intact.  The party first found a natural cavern with a concealed entrance from the man-made passageways. It had access to an underground stream  and had space for everyone to hide.  Leading monsters out to a veritable feast of Echelon's mobile farm was not a good plan, no matter how annoying the "cleric" was acting.

They spent the better part of the day in a harassing series of maneuvers with a troop of bugbears that appeared to have taken over  a series of rooms.   They finally vanquished them, plus a small cohort of humans until they uncovered a row of jail cells.  The humans had the keys on them.  The party opened all the cells, finding a smattering of coins, an animated skeleton, and two prisoners!    The first, a half-elf named Xambi, begged for freedom.  The party unlocked his shackles and she dashed out the of the cell, up the stairs, running right past Echelon, heading towards Eding.

The second prisoner, a man by the name of Carthon, asked for the same charity, and received it.  He carefully navigated the hallways until reaching the stairs.  When he got to the top and saw Echelon, he quietly begged for food and water.  It took awhile to win over any response from Echelon, but when he offered to tend to the animals while he and Timmy slept, the drowsy eyes of Echelon could not protest the decision.

27 HexDec 1069 - The Temple of Alasku
No one had come up from the dungeon overnight, so Echelon woke to discover Carthon having already tending to the animals, and cooking up breakfast for the cleric in gratitude for his group's rescue.

Later in the afternoon, Timmy was quietly playing, digging up rocks and stacking them further around the hovel, when he froze in terror.  Three wolves were working their way to the camp!!! Echelon quickly drank two random potions that the group had left and tried to beguile the creatures with divine blessings. One of them stopped in its tracks, glanced at the cleric, stared at the other two wolves, and decided to attack the wolves until they ran off.

The lone, almost friendly wolf, stepped slowly towards the human, circled twice and laid down at Echelon's feet.  From that moment forward, Echelon called his latest animal to his menagerie, Pathfinder.

Timmy and Carthon were most impressed and began to willingly tolerate his eccentric behavior a bit more.

Down below, the party ventured into portions of the temple which had been sealed off for years.  Mobs of undead would pour out of each opened door, but with the blades of Ashe, Maloran, and Talis, and the Turning ability of Velandro, the hordes were whittled down.   Mid-day, they began encountering rooms that had been occupied recently, with storehouses and even a kitchen with a large fireplace with fresh soot.

Things culminated with one final door.  As they fumbled between picking the lock and bashing it down, someone from the other side of door unlocked and opened it.  She was a lovely women in her early twenties, dressed in a gown better suited for a ducal court than a ghoul-infested temple.

She introduced herself as Celeste and told a strange tale.  Her father was always frightened for her safety and had locked her down here for her own protection.  The room she resided in was painted floor to ceiling in a soft pink, and all the accoutrements expected in a bedroom of a young woman from a wealthy family was in it.

She refused to be "rescued" yet she proved no threat to the group.  She even offered some of the supplies in the storerooms, if they needed them.

Confused and unable to find other rooms or levels to search, the group took they spoils and headed back up to sunlight... and their new compatriots, Carthon and Pathfinder.

DM Notes: I don't remember the actual process which created Echelon's loyal companion, Pathfinder the wolf.  It had to be something involving a Charm Animal spell with some sort of permanence effect from the mixed potions, and I think the wolf completely botched its save.  Perhaps a little wild magic was thrown into the area around the temple for effect.  

Outside of the xp for befriending the wolf, Echelon didn't earn much this game, while the others cleaned up.  

The dungeon used was the sample one provided in the 1st Edition AD&D DMG.
As for our oddball NPCs?  Carthon, Pathfinder, Timmy, and even Jenny will find a place in the campaign.  Even the odd Celeste may appear again, answering the age-old question of who does lock their child up in a tower... er, dungeon.

NEXT #4 - The Castle in the Moors

Monday, April 24, 2017

(Kickstarter) Halfling Adventurers by Midlam

Midlam Miniatures has launched a Kickstarter for a small group of halfling adventurers.

There's been a tsunami of recent crowdfunding for fantasy minis, but this one has an interesting quirk.   Each pledge level doesn't just include the appropriate halfling adventurer(s), but also include a dead/sleeping mini of the same figure!
Given how classic the late night random encounter still is in Fantasy RPGs, why not have the figures for it?

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Steve the Platypus from Hasslefree

It's been a long time since a platypus graced a post on this blog, but luckily, Hasslefree Miniatures has helped me change that:

Introducing Steve: