Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hackmaster: The Journey of Mutumbo #4: Sitooterie Park

After getting mixed up in a crooked magic exchange and solving a cleric's curse, the group finally got around to heading to Anon-Maxis to return the hourglass (if Arbeow picked the right road.) On the road, they noticed a low-flying sky-ship hover over them, and drop a barrel....on top of the Dalmar! Inside was a dwarf, apparently a stowaway, with one helluva hangover. After introductions (and massive healing efforts for Dalmar) Sabu Tablesmasher staggered along with the group.

In Lansluck, the final village before Anon-Maxis (Arbeow: Honest!!!), as Dalmar was sipping his wine in the tavern, Cecelia was being hit on by the captain of the militia. The captain decided to be fresh and pinch Cecelia...Well, Low Threshold of Pain, Temper Tantrum, and a host of personality quirks kicked in, an Angawa Battle Cry was emitted after a yelp, and the captain was soon on his back, thanks to a lucky knockout punch and subsequent pummeling from Cecelia. She then proceeded to force the other patrons to give directions to the captains home, dragged his unconscious body there, crowd in tow, and had a nice conversation with the captain's wife. Rolling pins do how much damage in Hackmaster???

Finally, the group arrives in Anon-Maxis. Dalmar delivered the hourglass to the Red Mage, and took his 80% cut of the reward, while Sabu took Mutumbo to the docks to learn the multiple uses for the word profit....or was that booty? Even though the group was living high off the hog of their reward and the magic items they sold in town, Cecelia found them a job. They were hired by the Town Guard to investigate some gruesome murders in Sitooterie Park. All sorts of horrible acts (decapitations, severed limbs, etc..) had been committed and the even the town guard was leary of going into the park at night.

The group cleared out the remaining visitors in the park well before dusk and set up a sting operation. Well, Dalmar told them to and proceeded to fall asleep underneath the bushes. The remaining members decided to place someone staring at the stars in a prominently placed gazebo. All went well, before the gazebo attacked! With the gnomeling in the gazebo's clutches, the others attacked. With some speed, and only minor scarring the "killer gazebo" was dead. ...then Dalmar woke up.

The reward they received for stopping the (Dalmar: Dopple-something they called it. The idiots obviously don't know a yellow cephlapod when they see it!) was sufficient for resupplying the group and get them horses. Dalmar offered to pay his "mercenaries, Mutumbo included now" to escort him to Hydincal to live the high life! The group celebrates, Arbeow drinks too much, wanders from the group, and pukes/passes out at the feet of some ornery mercenaries. His unconscious body is used for gnome bowling and the group finds him in an alleyway the next morning.

GM Moral: Never drink heavily, and never drink alone.

The group leaves Anon-Maxis for a 10-15 day trek back to the city of Hydincal, capital of the Kingdom of Crosedes. Arbeow's 7-10 splitting headache helps his guiding, as they successfully make it back through Lansluck, Nobquin's Keep, and Nodhaven. However, the group makes a right instead of a left at a fork in the road, and as the music strikes up, they head into Yelden, capital of the Duchy of Alois. *Group stares at Arbeow*: Where are we now?Arbeow: Let's find out...*Group rides into town*

GM Notes: After going through the Hacklopedias, I was delighted to find out that I could pay homage to the classic KODT strips, but with a little more firepower. Just blame those "news" monitors that some McDonald's have on constant repeat. The word of the day (for a week) was "Sitooterie"(sp) which they claimed was French for "Gazebo" For those of you who figured out the creature type, it was toned down (it was only a small gazebo), but it was immune to missle attacks. As the Journey was completed I didn't know what lay ahead for the group, and after making yet another wrong turn, I broke out the store bought modules, both old and new. Still under the chronic lying machinations of Dalmar Sworin, the group continued as an unofficial adventuring group, and the lack of organization will show in the next steps of The Journey of Mutumbo.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Weekend Update... with ViscountEric

On Saturday, Mrs ViscountEric had a fun day of shopping down in Philly with her friend, which translates to I've got kids. I shot out a quick email to friends, got one maybe, and said screw it, one way or another, we're playing with gnomes.

The kids are old enought to entertain themselves for short periods of time, so over the course of an hour, I could wrangle all of the terrain from the garage and set it up on the dining room table without any reportable casualties.

When my lone maybe formally called to bail, I again said screw it, the kids will chuck the dice. So they did.

I can formally announce that the final battle in the Longido Mountain portion of Tanga:1914 is complete. My eldest daughter Maja did an awesome job chucking dice, and Amelia, my youngest did a good job pointing from her high chair and telling Daddy which way to move figure, who to fire at, etc. We did so good, that we got everything cleaned up, a light dinner in their bellies, and a quick cat nap before Mommy got home with her treasures. A good day all around.

Other news/follow-ups of note:
*The AAR for Saturday's game will show up on Wednesday. I have an automatic post coming on Tuesday for my old Hackmaster campaign and I want Tanga up as the latest post for awhile. Pics are shot with a camera phone, but they do the trick.
*Still waiting on my ship and marines to paint for the Gnome Wars extravaganza at Cold Wars. Jim has great step by step instructions on his blog: http://gnomewarsstanton.blogspot.com/ . I need to make a quick run to Michael's for some paint. I had a cool alternate uniform for the British Marines, but I realized I would be painting them like formal Army officers. I'll send if I can blend the two uniforms together. Time is of the essence.
*I also have floor space ready for the con for Friday night. I'll play Saturday by ear.
* I will be attending Mepacon Spring 2012 this year. The con runs April20-22, and I'll be running a game Saturday afternoon, with my wife in attendance. It is indeed a strange world! Event description will be posted after the Tanga AAR is posted.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

(eBay) My treasures have arrived.

I continued the tradition I started last year of going on eBay in January, buying stuff when funds are low. Last year, I was at the hospital every other night staying up with my little 3 week old daughter Amelia, as she was fighting RSV. As it began to clear, I would spend sometime on the computers in the lounge area. Ultimately, I arrived at eBay, and a nostalgia for Legions of Steel kicked in. A couple of Black Empire chariots and some random figs later, I could throw together a quick game of LOS upon command. Winning that game, well, that's another story.

This year, outside of a nasty stomach bug that the family's sharing, we're healthier and equally without extra. But I present to you my finds:
The LOS Tabletop Preview was the playtest version of Planetstorm, and to be honest, it played better than the actual rules that were presented in the more "professional" format. I'm anticipating one more snowstorm this winter and a nice comparison read between the two books on my to-do list for that day.

Up until I looked through this guys eBay listing, I had completely forgotten about Global's failed foray into historicals. I was disappointed to see how thin the book was, however, I almost needed a magnifying glass to read the tiny print they used! The system is based on LOS and the random scenario table, even more random secondary objectives, and decent campaign rules might force me to forgo some gnome love for some WW2 action. It'll take some time to determine what scale in figs and investment to do and try it out. Worst case, I believe Steve has enough A&A infantry that we can make some nice door-to-door fighting.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Sayonara Blue!

Sad news from a couple of weeks ago. I have to inform the world of the demise one of my old school convention companions.

Blue has gone to the scrapyard in the sky. Well, more like a scrapyard outside of Johnstown, PA.

That would be Blue, my buddy Wooly's Jeep.

In our hierarchy of convention vehicles, there are only four of note.

#4: An honorable mention to our buddy George's brand new Dodge Avenger. Technically it was only our first pilgrimage to Crazy Egor's in Rochester, New York. It was truly the last hurrah for the high school gaming group and it involved me going over 110 mph and a 6'8" black New York statie who was pulling speeding cars over with his bare hands. And no, those two actions weren't associated with one another.

#3: Wooly's first car, I believe, was a Chevy Cavalier (or Corsica, they were kinda interchangable). It was the first con-mobile to go up to Buffalo for UBCon. It was the first vehicle to have a giant Elmo stick it's head out the window and terrorize other motorists on the Southern Tier Expressway (Rt 17).

#1: The Duster, as in my '86 Plymouth Duster of legend. Dammit, not only does my car deserve it's own post, there are enough stories to warrant its own blog! When Phil isn't shaking, I may tell them.

So that make Blue #2 on the list. Wooly's Jeep was his second car purchase, and right off the bat it was going to special, especially when the dealer sticker on the back can be altered to read Murray Motors, Hell, PA.

Blue was our main mode of transportation to cons. Not the comfiest ride for 4+ hour road trips, but there was plenty of room.

This is a vehicle we left our friend Scott to a biker gang at a rest stop.

Hell, the guys drove off-road across the campus of the University of Buffalo at night with no lights on, only to emerge out of brush, right along side a New York State Police cruiser, whose occupant must have been either asleep or oblivious. They crept away, with no one being the wiser of their actions.

Heck, this is the vehicle that Wooly and I drove to Toronto to visit the guys at Global Games. At Canadian Customs we were nearly detained because (a) we couldn't decide if the trip was business or pleasure and (b) Wooly had a "Violator" action figure of Spawn fame dangling from the rear view mirror, and the customs official either thought it was alive or it was so cool he wanted more time to look at it.

This is only one of two vehicles I ever slept in, instead of paying for a room at a conn.(Dexcon '96 in Edison). One sweaty night with Wooly was enough for me!

Blue is the only vehicle I know of to be blown up as a result of a LARP. Some of the bombs from my Illuminati University LARP at the Garden State Games Faire somehow ended up inside the front wheel wells of his Jeep and forgotten. When Wooly tried to leave Sunday morning, he turned the wheel to pull out of his parking spot and heard multiple loud pops as the tires crushed the fake bombs. Oddly enough it was the next Games Faire where his front axel, or tie rods, or something snapped in the parking lot. Eerie conicidence, or cosmic fate, you decide.

In the years since, Wooly did what any Jeep enthusiast does: lift the Hell out of it and take it on trail runs, which he and his wife Jenny have been doing on a regular basis. Earlier this year they took the old girl out, ran a few obstacle tests, and one of the Jeep's tires blew. Ultimately Blue flipped backwards and landed on it's roof. With a driveway full of other Jeeps, plus a Willy's project in the garage, they decided the time was right to salvage as many parts and profits from it and scrap her.

Rest well in scrap heaven, old buddy. Thanks for the memories.

Friday, January 27, 2012

(Gnome Wars) Keptin Bilge Rat?

Lon (or one of his twisted minions) at Brigade Games is updating their website, so it's been a little wonky this afternoon, but this little gem appeared out of nowhere:

As if Captain Alvarado wasn't bad enough, now we have a Bilge Rat Captain? I'm seeing a bit more Muppet Treasure Island than I want to admit with this, but can't wait to see the a bag of them in the Gnome Wars bins at Cold Wars. $2.00

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Apathy of New Releases (February 2012)

Ah, here we are, finally emerging from the winter doldrums, at least when it comes to Spring solicitations. Game Trade Magazine #144 is out and here are the items pending release for March 2012 or later.

Want list: The French say le sigh, the Germans, das sigh, the Japanese say something I can't type. To me, it's just sigh. There is nothing this month that I need to put on my list.

The Money's No Option List

Fortress Freakin' America, baby! Yeah, it's ridiculously expensive ($79.99) , but back in the day it was even more ridiculously expensive for someone with paper route and lawn mowing money.

And if I saw it on the shelf and had a twenty burning a hole in my pocket, Osprey's The Browning Automatic Rifle would be mine.

It's not in this issue GTM, and it sounds like it should be going through distribution channels soon, but WotC's reprinting of the 1st Edition Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide and Monster manual is too good not to list here. Plus every other gamer in the blogosphere has posted about it already (I checked). Different cover art (boo!), but some portion of the proceeds will be donated to erect a statue of Gary Gygax in Lake Geneva. If that doesn't say road trip for future generations, I don't know what does!

Store list: The imaginary store now will have a name. The Pegleg Gnome. Months from now, someone will look at a future Apathy and then google the term for a store. Ah, to sow the seeds of confusion!

The Army Painter is now going through Alliance for an additional distribution channel. Their 18ml bottles are still smaller than the Ral Partha 3/4 oz (21-22ml) bottles of yore, but the price is okay when adjusted for inflation. A couple things I'm interested at: flesh inks and I'm hoping their Greenskin is a nice orc green.

Battlefront: Just a few support weapons and a lot of terrain (barbed wire, trenches, etc) for Flames of War. At $40 a box, I just want to know how much is in each box to determine if it would be a good deal for the customer, and more importantly, a good deal for the store.

Ares: Wings of Glory for World War II

Dream Pod 9: I still comment on Heavy Gear simply because the continued solicitation of vast amounts of product astounds and terrifies me at the same time. I haven't pulled up old issues of GTM yet, but I have a sneaking suspiscion that a number of the items in this months deluge are resolicits, meaning the first wave didn't go over well in the pre-order front, or they couldn't get the items out in time. The Pegleg Gnome would rather support a line that has some customer awareness both old and new school, like Battletech, rather than it's glitzy cousin.

Fantasy Flight Games:
*Arkham Horror Dice Sets $9.95 each.
*Cosmic Encounter: Cosmic Alliance Expansion $24.95

Gale Force 9 D&D Invisibility Tokens $12.99 each for sets of 9. And they will sell. P.T. Barnum obviously sold D&D accessories. Litko also has a pile of game tokens being solicited as well, as I believe they make more money off of 4e gamers than wargamers. If 5e emerging from the shadows is still mini-centric, we're in for a world full of tokens.

Yu-Gi-Oh - Another new set. If it sells with a minimum of headaches, why not?

Mongoose: Between A Call to Arms Starfleet and Armadillo Design Bureau releasing a pile of new Star Fleet Battles material, somebody SOMEWHERE is playing it. Here in Pennsylvania I haven't seen anything since '89, although when I worked at Dreamscape Comics in the mid-90's, one dude bought every new SFB item that came out. Never sold another copy, so a handful of restocks sat.

Margaret Weiss: Marvel RPG Ciivil War Fifty States Initiative: If their sales are half as good as their release schedule is ambitious, this version of the game might be around awhile.

from Open Design: Midgaard Bestiary and The Whispering Homunculus
Paizo: Advanced Race Guide, Skulls and Shackles part 3, Giants Revisted, City of the Fallen Sky, Blood of Fiends

Pinnacle: Beast and Barbarians and the Horror Companion, each for Savage Worlds

Reaper: some nice zombies and miscellaneous characters, and is that a singular WWI Dough boy I see solicited? Intriguing.

SJG: The Good, the Bad, and the Munchkin 2: Beating a Dead Horse, Munchkin The Guild, and Zombie Dice 2

I remember these being mentioned during Gamma World's release. A deck of cards built from booster packs that can affect gameplay? It makes scratch off lotery tickets look like a solid investment deal. Yet, as a store, I would probably sell of case of them. It's so crazy, it'll probably work.
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: HALLS OF UNDERMOUNTAIN BOXED SET: An Undermountain boxed set? 20 years after the original? For map heavy 4th edition? And it's only $30.00? Something is either wrong with that price, or this will be a bigger rip off than the cards.

Wizkids: A good pile of Marvel Hero Clix: Galactic Guardians, Colossal X-Men 2, and the annihilators pack.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Hackmaster: Journey of Mutumbo #3: The Ettin's Riddle

The Journey continued on to Nobquin's Keep, only encountering an underpowered Grel Raiding Party, and monks from the Cult of Apotheoisis, an apocalyptic cult the gives the PLAYERS the hee-bee geebies everytime I mention them.

They learned a great deal from the cult and scared off the Grel using low-level magicks. GM Note: This cult was a huge part of the finale of my last 2nd Ed AD&D campaign. They were tricked by an evil spider god that he was their "God of Goodness and Light Returned." The few PCs that managed to survive did so thanks soley to the NPC relationships they created over the years.

As they arrived in Nobquin's Keep, they spotted a two-headed giant terrorizing the village. After making some connections (and healing the wounded), the group was hired by the town to hunt the Ettin. Early the next morning, while Cecelia was doing her morning jog GM: Gotta work off those gluttony attacks when you're a hot half-elf valkyrie , she spotted the Ettin, one head asleep, sneaking into town and praying behind the Church of Akana.

The party quickly deduced that the Ettin was once a former cleric who had been cursed, and the writing they noticed behind the church was a riddle the Ettin must solve to get his old life back. They met up with the 'good head' and began helping him, but he was still obstinate in his current state, so it was taking awhile....then the villagers showed up with torches and pitchforks, waking up the "evil head" All Hades broke loose, villager's bodies flew everywhere and the mage blacked out (multiple personality of an old lady). After much carnage, Cecelia prayed to Sif that the curse could be broken * bzzztt...2nd wish off the lucksword* The ettin changed back to Kyrin, the formerly full-of-himself cleric of Akana.

Kyrin eventually helped rebuild the bridge he had destroyed as an ettin and became a productive member of the community. The group got paid, and sent on their way (between Dalmar being the a-hole he is, Cecelia's jiggly morning jogs straining a few marriages, and the Arbeow's drunken tomfoolery at the beer pavillion, the town was happy to see them leave).

This was a conversion of The Ettin's Riddle (duh ), one of the original free adventures WOTC put on the website for 3E. I used this scenario for the only game of 3E I ever GMed. One good player turned a two hour game into an hour, by asking the right questionns and emphatic role-playing with the ettin. Since my group had no members so caring, I upped the stubborness factor of the cleric/ettin and agitated the townsfolk a bit more. The only reason I ran this adventure in the opening of my campaign was that I had finished painting an ettin, a cleric of Akana, and a bunch of Ravenloft Townsfolk minis and wanted to use them

Next Stop: The first part of the Journey of Mutumbo ends in Anon-Maxis, and a tip of the hat towards the genius that is KODT.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

(Hackmaster) The Journey of Mutumbo #2 - The Scepter of Amun-Ra

Journey of Mutumbo #2 -- The Scepter of Amun-Ra

The party arrives in Nodhaven and spends the night drinking telling yarns, and teaching Arbeow the difference between right and left. As they drank, a young woman approached them, explaining how a band of men had killed her husband and now were looking for her….

Just then, five men burst through the door and chased her out the the back, but not before one stopped to warn the party to stay of their business. (Dalmar's Journal, “I thought it a good idea, and I did”.) Later that night the different men broke into the party’s room searching for a scepter. (Dalmar: “When I said I didn’t know what they were talking about, they just spouted some religious mumbo-jumbo and attacked.”)

Cecelia, warrior-priestess of Sif, chased her attacker out of the inn and into the woods, only to see him struck down by a dwarf and the five fellows she had seen chasing the girl. The dwarf threatened the half-elf to return ‘the artifact’ or else. The party slept uneasy the rest of the night, weapons in hand….

The next morning things finally cleared up for the confused party. The girl showed up at breakfast. She said her name was Katerine and that she and her husband had received a magical scepter by total accident. She was trying to return it to its rightful owner, a Khemet priest of Thoth named Kamen-Non. The rest of the party pressured Dalmar to help her make the delivery that night.

The exchange was your classic FUBAR combat. Katerine and the party at one edge of the clearing, Kamen-non and his cronies on the other side. Of course, the dwarf and his men appeared on a third side and all hell broke lose….[GM Notes: The combats in the rooms were versus Kamen-Non’s underpowered cronies, who quickly ran away. This was the first extended combat of the campaign. Cecilia, lucksword in hand (which she was unaware of its powers, beyond the saving throw bonus), said something to the effect of “I wish you guys would slow down and think about things…” All NPCs were then slowed for a number of rounds…. *one charge burned* Otherwise the combat was incredibly uneventful. Mutumbo dealing the only critical of the session]

Soon, dwarf and his men had either fled or were killed, Katerine disappeared, but Kamen-Non had possession of the Scepter. He healed the party, and was kind enough to explain the Scepter was a holy relic of Thoth and it had been stolen months before….

[More GM Notes: I had converted “The Sceptre of Amun-Ra” from Journeys #1. Katerine was actually a low-level assassin who had acquired the Scepter and planned on selling it to the highest bidder between the Priest and the Dwarven merchant. She killed her partner “husband” out of greed, and conned the party into being her back-up. I planned on using Kamen-Non as a connection when the party was high enough level to run the Mythus version of Necropolis]

Next stop on the Journey …..Nobquin’s Keep.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Adios Facebook Games!

As someone who's one Facebook with more people than my immediate family and my 7th grade gym teacher as friends, I get a ton of requests for whatever up-and-coming popular Facebook game is out there. The majority of them I quickly press "ignore app", but I openly admit to playing some games, some of those fervently.

I've done Pirates, i've been over level 500 in Mafia Wars, I even looked at Farm/Frontier/Balloon/GangstaPimp-ville before laughing at it and doing something else. Don't get me wrong, these games are a lot of fun, and can take up a ton of your time, but at the time they've been my salvation for someone who hates a lot of what's on TV, has two young children who required tremendous amounts of snuggling, and access to a laptop.

With the latest security patch for xp, most of my games went dead. Zombie Lane won't load. Gnome Town (of course) is just a blank screenl. Even stuff that I've lost interest in months ago and just stay on to help out my friends who still play? Won't fully load. So I figured it would be a good time to just cut the ties clean and focus on other things, like painting.

Adios, Zombie Lane: I fell in love with the premise, it's application, and the fact that most tasks just involve time, rather than needing 500 friends. A dozen active/inactives work great.

Sayonara, Gnome Town: I should have run away when "Disney" appeared on the screen, but it was amusing. Way too many tasks involve large groups of friends or you spending real money to buy game cash to complete things.

Indiana Jones, Castleville, and other stuff I've answered once or twice: To my friends, you shouldn't be surprised when I don't respond to your requests.

Now I do have special places in my gaming heart for MyTown and FarmTown, the unloved cousins of similar games. For starters, most of the game can be played solo, they weren't time intensive, and I was able to customize my game without a huge cash outlay. My MyTown is a replica of town of Wellsboro, PA... with a few personal modifications. Farm Town is actually my uncle's Vermont farmhouse, complete with outbuildings and lazy stream.

Anything else, don't send me anymore crap. I need to get some painting done.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

(Hackmaster) The Journey of Mutumbo #1 Backstory

I've been spending an inoridinate amount of time trying to put together the Actual Play report for my last Call of Cthulhu game. It's outlined and day one of three is finished, but I'm just having a problem keeping the narrative tone of the session consistent. One day, it will be done, hopefully before the next session, but that's not even on the horizon.

So, for the time being, I'm stealing back my actual play reports of my original '01 Hackmaster game I had posted on rpg.net.

I figured it would be good to recollect the damage the Burning Trogs did to the world. But like every good story it has to deal with a girl, er, scratch that… You have to go years before and hundreds of miles away from the Trog’s first adventure, back to the steaming savannahs of Kufrik, to witness the Journey of Mutumbo. (I'll throw GM notes in green)
Mutumbo was not the finest warrior of the tribe. In fact, he was way closer to the bottom rung than the top rung. A portion of his family being slaughtered by berserkers nurtured his martial enthusiasm. Luckily he was not there when a large portion of the tribe’s warriors were slaughtered while hunting. All that was left of the attacker were strange tracks, a body of someone who looked like a beserker, and a strange object [A large indestructible hour-glass] When the object was brought to the elders, they decided that the object must be thrown off the edge of the world to appease the spirits. Mutumbo was given the quest by default.[Gotta love a player who wants to base his PC off The Gods Must be Crazy]
So Mutumbo traveled north, running like a scared gazelle from the beasts, avoiding the unscrupulous dwarves and feral Halflings , until he met “Prince” Clarence the gnome [NPC] . Clarence was a merchant from the far north. He befriended Mutumbo and invited him to join the caravan north. Upon examining the hourglass he found (a) it was magical and (b) it was property of the Red Mage of Anon-Maxis (it said so on a brass plate on the bottom). Clarence changed his caravan’s focus to far Anon-Maxis…for a supposed substantial reward. On the journey Clarence convinced Mutumbo that Anon-Maxis was the edge of the world (situated on three jagged cliffs above the ocean, it looked the part), while teaching him the Trade Khemet (desert tongue), and Trade Prythax (imperial tongue).
When they arrived on the southern coast of Crosedes, a tavern brawl erupted and Mutumbo was separated from the group [Clarence & Co were all in jail] Mutumbo then met Dalmar Sworin, Magus Extraordinaire (Human Magic-User), who was even less scrupulous than Clarence. He saw the gullible, misguided bushman as a quick way to incredible wealth, hot chicks, and eventually magical power! Convincing Mutumbo of the same things Clarence did, he assembled a team.
*Dalmar Sworin, chronic lying, misguided, a-hole Human Magic-User.
*Mutumo gullible bushman with spear (and hourglass) Human Fighter
And the “hirelings”
*Arbeow Geniped Gnomeling Thief: hired as the guide through Crosedes and the duchy of Alois to Anon-Maxis. He had no clue about tracking, survival, or even about his own homeland (Alois) needless to say, they got lost often.
*Cecelia Darkspruce: Half-Elf Fighter/Cleric of Sif: hot half-elf chick with an eye patch who acted like a sorority girl! Sif had responded to her prayers when orcs attacked her father’s estate in the elven lands. [One great big boo-boo on my part: The campaign started BEFORE the GMG was released. When he rolled family weapon on the starting wealth chart I gave the player a chance to get a magic weapon on 99-100 percentile. He rolled a 99. I rolled up….a lucksword (using old magic item tables) with three wishes.]

So this is the group upon the first session, September, 2001. Arbeow had gotten the group lost for a week (12 days) before he found a ramshackle no-name town on the main road to Anon-Maxis….

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

More Gaming with Daddy's Special Case

We had another go round with the girls and my D&D minis. Maja seems excited about it and little Amelia is a bit too squirmy to control, although she would like to eat the little people more than look at them at her age. Best of all it keeps them in one spot as my wife can take a shower in peace before everyone goes to bed.

Last week, we had "The Bad Guys" chasing wolves to put them into cages, only for the wolves to be saved by a friendly group of kobolds.

This week, play started with Maja declaring that the head bad guy got caught, put in the corner, and said he was sorry for chasing the wolves last time. He was relegated back in the minis case for the night.

Maja discovered new figures, most importantly an old metal Mage Knight figure I snagged up cheap years ago.

She was a bit perplexed when she picked it up. When I asked her who this guy was, she pondered it a good long while, and her eyes lit up when she said, "The Wicked Witch!" As more figs came out, she had the Wicked Witch and a few goblin henchmen chasing Snow White (a female thief). Maja is a harsh GM, as she did not appreciate me trying to accumulate seven dwarves to save her. It would have been the first good use of a 15 year old box of Warhammer plastic dwarves, but no dice.

One of the horses ran in to save Snow White and they rode off together.

I think she's watched just enough Tangled for a 2 1/2 year old to handle.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Gnome Wars Want List

I was asked earlier I, the world famous and ridiculously sexy ViscountEric, would want for Gnome Wars new releases. This is a tough one, since I am won who subscribes to the "I'll-take-what-I-can-get" school of gaming and will work with what's available. I'll start with practicality and go to a super-duper wish list.

A gnomeling superpack - the heck with four, I would just like a pack of 20 random gnomelings with a slight discount so I have them at the ready. With talk of civil wars and subversion, the more small, easily forgotten explosive devices, the better

German Flamethrower

Flame Thrower and Cheese Thrower templates

Aussie Foot, maybe a slightly different look for the Kiwis too.

More British nautical figs (marines, sailors, etc) - This leans more to my version of the Gnome World where the British are a mercantile giant, rather than a colonial empire.

Russian Officer fig: The regular infantry would be nice too, but a distinct Russian leader for the sentries would be enough. Worst case, we'll use the German NCO fig

Canadians.... lumberjacks in tooks, hockey players, Canadian Mounties on moose/caribou (yeah, those might get a bit pricey)

Banana Republics.... straw hats, striped pants, grenadiers throw boomarang bananas. That way I could use them as Spanish irregulars, instead of plotting a big German-American War "what-if".


Gingerbread Men Army... more Mike Lung love.

Polynesian natives/cannibals.... more Mike Lung projects that I haven't posted yet.

And since I'm probably picking up a team at Cold War.... a Gnome Hockey team for Fantasy Hockey.

Sorry no love for the French expansion (they're UN "observers" in my world, and just about as useless)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Lessons from Maja #8-10

Over the weekend, I broke out the mini case for my 2-year old Maja to play with. It's been awhile since we did "The Box", and I figured with the storage spots for each fig I could control the chaos.

She started by identifying the minis she knew, then asking Daddy (me), "Who's this", over and over again. I threw a curveball back at her when I asked her what each guy did, or if he was a good guy or a bad guy. She responded tremendously and soon the sides were drawn in an epic struggle on the bed:

Yeah, the camera phone was bad, and the lighting shoddy, but here's the play by play.

Lesson from Maja #8: The big bad guy (far left) and his skeleton henchman want to chase the wolves into cages. No explanation what they would do with said wolves if they got into the cages. A few other mean and nasty looking figs were added to help them.

Lesson from Maja #9: Kobolds are friends to wolves everywhere. Just when things seemed lost, Maja pulled out some Reaper kobolds, who surrounded the wolves to protect them from the bad guys. The bad guys were quickly put away. Somewhere in Ireland, one of my former players is shedding a tear in pride, since his old PC is the patron saint of lawful good kobolds everywhere.

Lesson from Maja #10: If a kobold pushes over a wolf, the kobold goes to the corner. This discipline thing might be working. Maja declared one of the kobolds was naughty. When I asked why, she simply stated, "He was naughty, he pushed over the wolf, He goes in the corner," and proceeded to put the mini on the far corner of the bed, which in adult terms must be kobold exile.

I'm probably insulting people who don't read my blog, but I've played in convention games with GMs that couldn't tell a story as well as my daughter, and that was pretty stock adventuring stuff. After we paint her bedroom this weekend, I might break out "the Box" and have some more fun, and maybe a little warm-up painting.

Gnome Wars Cold Wars Coverage From the Man Himself

I was hestitant to post about super-secret-double-special probation things afoot in regards to the Mega Gnome Wars games at Cold Wars, because I didn't know what was super-secret and what should be common knowledge to psych the masses.

My worries have disappeared.


Jim is back with a vengeance covering everything for the 59 days leading up to Cold Wars.

59 days? Eeep!!! I've got some painting to do...

Monday, January 9, 2012

What'cha Reading? The Blogs I Follow

I was going to do a little recap of what I've been reading recently. The problem is, outside of a few of the same gamer books I always peruse, and a pledge to find the short amount of time needed to read a chapter a day of The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey , I'm primarily reading blogs. Of the twenty-five or so blogs that I'm following, these are the ones I'm actually reading on a consistent basis:

First the friend's blogs:
Adventurous Endeavors: My friend Phil stab at the blogosphere. Actual Play posts, tabletop and video game reviews, and general geekery (including Legos now!). No explanation as to why certain people call him Monongahela.

Where There had Been Darkness :Fellow Dreamscape Expatriate Josh Wanisko's blog on the writings of Roger Zelazny. Gamer moment of shame, I actually haven't read of of Zelazny's work, even with Josh's excellent reviews. I do enjoy his other posts, which include reviews of each episode of the Legion of Superheroes cartoon, general geekery, and the wacky adventures of his little girl Lily.

And the rest
Der Alte Fritz - Primarily does Seven Years War, which is not my cup of tea, but he has posted the exploits of he and his daughter's games using the Eureka teddy bears. Plus his work is fantastic.

Frozen Gamer AK - This dude came to my attention when he blogged about his pilgrimage from Alaska to Historicon this past summer. Again, he covers stuff that doesn't interest me too much (Flames of War), but he doesn't do the run of the mill stuff I've seen over and over again.

New Byzantium : What if Olde Byzantium had revolted against the Turks in the 18th Century, plus follow-ups developing New Byzantine armies for 1848 and 1920.

Tim's Miniature Wargaming Blog: If all other blogs disappeared off the face of the Earth, I would mourn this one the most. The dude paints prodigious numbers of figs of all different genres armies, he plays a ton of different games, and he's gotten his wife and kids to occasionally game to make it a family activity. And he bikes in the middle of winter in Saskatoon. The dude is impressively crazy.

Savage Timmy's Playhouse - The above Tim's blog for Savage Saturday nights, where he plays Savage Worlds with his friends, as well as his kids. The last two "campaigns" were a gladiator campaign and a Dragonlance one. More miniature eye candy as well.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Fantasy Hockey Update

As I posted on my 1st day of the 12 Days of Blogging here, the Fantasy Hockey figs from Brigade were not on their website as of yet.

This has been corrected.

Orcs, Dwarves, and Ratmen, oh my!


Saturday, January 7, 2012

(Gnome Wars) More American Gnomes in the queue!

Ah January, where holiday exhaustion meets the early doldrums of winter. The world is just blah, and if reading the other blogs i'm a fan of is any indication, i'm not the only one. My tank is empty, the next Game Trade is weeks away, TMP has had some interesting announcements, but nothing up my alley. Heck, I was almost tempted at work to tackle the last Call of Cthulhu session's write-up, and that should require a snowstorm with the wife and kids under heavy sedation...

Then, lo and behold, info and ideas come overnight:

From the Gnome Wars yahoo! group that Lon at Brigade runs:
The greens have arrived for the following GW figs
ACW artillery
North Artillery Crew
South Artillery Crew
North Doctor
North Nurse
South Doctor
South Nurse

This should fill out the American Gnomes nicely, and force my buddy Brian to finally pick up his Southerners. Can't wait for the actual pics. Lon said these figs should be ready by late January/early February, so there should be plenty for Cold Wars.

To keep on topic, the Americans have me pretty excited. I'm still working very slowly on an unofficial Gnome Gnazetter to cover the Americas, justify my California Imperial Guard, and expand on the idea of the German-American War, to correct the abscense of incompetent Spanish gnomes (The napping gnomes you see in people's yards? Siesta Gnomes. They're the only harmless ones.)

As the true believers know well, I still haven't finish our second big campaign, so visions of Rough Rider gnomes and ViscountEric purchasing vast quanities of little tiny ships to play out the essential naval portion of the campaign may never come to fruition. But hey, a man can dream.

More cool stuff to follow, one post at a time....

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Contemptible Little Armies Review

I had picked up a copy of this at Fall-in!, and after much consideration, here's my review of Contemptible Little Armies with two disclaimers.
  1. I am a Brigade Games homer. Most of their products are awesome and this book is a joint venture between Brigade and Rattrap Productions. That being said, if I order something on their website, I pay the same price everyone else does.
  2. I have not actually played these rules! I know that's a big sticking point for some people. I do have it in my top 5 things I'd like to do in January, but as I've alluded to in previous posts, the last few months have been crazy.
Contemptable Little Armies, 3rd Edition. $25.00 48 pages

First off, I picked up my copy from Brigade at a show special of twenty bucks. It must be the grumpy old man wanting to come out, but despite all its glossy pages and color pictures, even $20 seems steep for 48 pages of rules. I'm still happy with mimeographed pages with an oak tag cover that had been stolen from an elementary school's supply closet, but that's just me.

The rules focus on 25/28mm figures, although most scales could be played with some conversion. The majority of the information covers Western Front fighting, although basic stats are given to Russian, Turkish, and Chinese forces.
  • Initiative/Movement : The rules have the "attacker" going first by moving one unit and alternating with the defender until all units are moved. This does allow some flexibility and adjustment of tactics, although orders will be covered later. With movement each unit rolls dice to determine their maximum move for the turn. Regular infantry move 2d6 inches in good going, and only 1d6 in difficult. This makes those mad charges across No-Man's Land even more deadly. The good news for the stalled chargers is that normal weapon ranges rarely exceed 24 inches, so there is some room for maneuvering, cover, etc.
  • Firing: Firing continues the tradition of "I-go-you-go" that started with Movement. Firing is resolved in a particular order starting with all anti-aircraft fire "I-go-you-go", followed by aircraft, heavy machine guns, all the way through the list to flamethrowers. All firing is simultaneous for that segment of the fire phase, so if your infantryman was hit by artillery fire, he can't fire back, since that goes before he does, but if he's hit during the infantry weapon segment, he does get one final shot. Coming from the school of Legions of Steel, Gnome Wars, and *gasp* Games Workshop, it took me a second to grasp a unit Tactial Rating. It's definitely not a weapon skill. The higher the Tactial Rating, the more spread out your unit can deploy, and the harder it is to be hit and killed by others! This does make considerable sense: even with modern weapons, it's easier to hit guys forced to march shoulder to shoulder to keep morale than it is a highly trained group of independent soldiers, or even irregulars moving with no predictability. Casualties are determined using the same Tactical Rating, although modifiers are used for the attacking player's weapons, terrain, etc.
  • Close Combat: is a simple dice-off, with minimal bonuses. The only change that threw me off from my Gnome Wars experience is if a figure is outnumbered (max is 2:1), they choose the first figure to fight at regular modifiers. If they survive, they then fight the second fig, that fig getting a +2. Sort of the reverse to the Gnome Wars rules.
  • Morale: Ridiculously easy, as it should be. Outside of a short list of exceptions, if your unit takes so many casualties in a turn, they'll need to make a morale check based on that units Morale Rating. Pass and everything's peachy. First failure, they get a marker and nothing else happens, a second failure and they can't advance towards the enemy. A third and they rout. Again, there are exceptions to rolling morale and ways to remove the morale failure tokens, which leads us to....

  • Officers (Command and Control) - Each unit is given specific orders in the beginning of the game. A unit is assumed to fulfil there duties (raid the convoy, hold the pass, attack the enemy's right flank until they hit a trench) unless discussed otherwise. The author claims the "I-go-you-go" system should counteract some meta-gaming when orders omit specific movement or attack instructions. A few games should prove that right or wrong. Commanders can fight as normal men, but also change orders of the units, call in defensive artillery fire, or rally one morale marker off of a unit during the turn. Staff officers may also rally units, but also be used as a "pass" during initiative, forcing your opponent to move an additional unit before your move. Neat concepts that force enrich your tactics.
  • On-Table Units - They do go over each troop type and the weapons they can carry, Grenades. Snipers, Field Artillery, Specialized Artillery, Ammo Types (gas!), Vehicles, ranging from cars with light machines guns mounted on it to a healthy selection of tanks. I do like the fact that there is a remote chance that light weapons fire could disable a tank
  • Aircraft and Anti-aircraft: As in the war, the use of aircraft, even ground attack planes, is high-risk, but questionable reward, depending on the situation.
  • Point Values: While there are lists of troop types with the Tactical and Morale Rating, you can customize your units towards your scenario and still make it work. The system does allow for a lot of flexibility with stock point cost (tactical rating + morale rating) plus per-figure upgrades (lewis gun, flamethrower, cavalry, etc).
  • Scenarios and Deployment: The rules cover scenarios in mass generalities: The Prepared Attack, Meeting Engagement, and Fighting Retreat. It does a nice job in further detailing the use of orders for each unit and goes over recommended point totals for "balanced" play. To be honest, I'm more entranced by the color pictures in this section than the rules.
In spite of my grumbling about the price, I'm very satisfied with CLA. This has been my reading companion during breakfast and lunch, and I'm itching to give it a try... just after the other *must do* games get completed.

Outside of my initial enlightenment about Tactical Rating, everything was easy to comprehend. I did notice some sections were written a bit of awkward language, but nothing that requires hair-pulling or legal translator.

For more specific regional fighting, they have released three sourcebooks: Part I: Main European Fronts 1914-18, Part 2: East Africa and the Middle East, and Part 3: Back of Beyond (Army Lists for Central Asia: 1919-26)