Tuesday, September 30, 2014

2014 Gaming Year in Review

Due to the weird way I kept tracking of what I gamed in high school, I’ve always ended my “gaming year” in September.

Here go my recollections:

The Blog 
A combination of steady blogging, years of built up content, and this fun new technology called Twitter, I had record year for posting and page views on my blog!  I believe the combination of factors that shattered all my previous records was My Little Pony and Steve Jackson Games (although not together).  Two columns of pages dedicated to my actual play collections, yard sale items, and other stuff doesn’t hurt either.

#1  The biggest news on my front is the opening of a game store halfway between work and home!  Emerald Vale Games has gotten more of my money since May than the last eight years of other game stores combined! Haven't gotten a chance to game in store yet, but after crazy time at work this Fall, we'll give it a go. 

#2  Only a game store on a gaming blog would trump the purchase of a new house.  My painting area is well established, although it will take a bit of time to set up a permanent gaming spot in the basement.  More important things (like heating oil) will delay the tables and chairs. 

#3  I am a sex, er,  painting machine:  I painted up a whopping 161 pieces this past year, many in preparation of my Samoan Civil War game at Cold Wars.  To put this into the proper prospective, I painted up 60 Provisional Island Fighters by Pulp Figures this year, which is one fewer figure than all the items I've painted over the LAST THREE YEARS!   No big 10+ figure lots are in my painting queue right, and I have a lot of gnome touch ups to do that won't count, but I think I can keep this pace going. It's only 3 a week, right?

#4  Kickstarter:  I bit the bullet and jumped into a number of campaigns.  I'm quite certain I may never do another minis KS again, but the role playing and comic ones seems ok.

#5  My Birthday Con:  Best gift I could have gotten from my wife for my 40th Birthday: the rental of a fire hall, and inviting a everybody to come over and play games.  I got to play Basic D&D and Battletech AND run my Samoa game AND drink all the white birch beer I could?  Paradise!

#6 Maja Goes to Her First Con!  I took my five year old daughter, Maja, to the Spring Mepacon and she had a blast! 

Gnome Wars:  Got just about the same number of games in as last year (re: not enough).  We did start up a Eastern Europe Great War Campaign, as well as a great Father's Day game, played on the hardwood floor of our new house!

D&D:  Not only did I get a game of Basic D&D in this year,  I snagged up a copy of the 5th Edition Starter Set and ran some "Dungeons and Ponies" games with the girls to test it out.  

TIARA:  The girls and I played a few games with our ever evolving rules before switching over the D& D with ponies.

Contemptible Little Armies:  My Samoa game at Cold Wars wasn't an award winner, but it looked great and I can't wait to paint up more "real" minis.

The Race Game:  Racing my antique racecars on a racetrack made from graph paper was all the rage for the first two months in the new house, then it died off.

Call of Cthulhu: Good news, I actually played in a Delta Green playtest, which ends a decade-long drought as a mere player.  Bad news, getting better:  our ongoing campaign was in hiatus this year due to scheduling BUT we did jump start it in September with two whiz bang sessions.  

Conventions  I stayed at Cold Wars solo this year, but Maja did attend her first Mepacon, and now wants the whole family to come to the next one!

Purchases:  eBay has given way to Kickstarter, with five projects supported.  The new FLGS has also meant I've added a record FIVE CoC books to the library.  Heck, don't tell my wife, but I've purchased Magic booster packs and singles at the store to make sure I buy something each week

Best Kickstarter:  Easily goes to Golden Goblin's Tales of the Crescent City.  It was affordable, on time,and it's the only one I've received thus far!

Best Game: My much ballyhooed Samoa game was great, my Cthulhu session in early September was awesome, and I guess I could count the Birthday Con as a whole, but really enjoyed our impromptu Siege of Apia game using Gnome Wars at Cold Wars.  That was cobbled together in two or three days with Mike Lung, and it turned out to be far more enjoyable than the mega game the following day.

Best RPG Buy: Tales of the Sleepless City by Miskatonic River Press.  May have grabbed the last copy retailer distribution channels.

Best Minis Buy: I bought a lot of awesome minis (including most of the Pulp Figures I used in Samoa), but the biggest surprise purchase for me was a new 40K Gretchin boxed set, which I've painted up as Blue Martians.  

Best "Other" Purchase:  The two copies of Pocket OGRE I picked up have rekindled my love of all things Steve Jackson.  I can't wait for the reprint of Car Wars!  .  

Monday, September 29, 2014

I found Jack Brady!

I don't know why I'm so annoyed by a the minis Kickstarters I pledged to.  It's not as if they're behind schedule.. yet.

While Reaper's Bones II has hit production, but nowhere near distribution, RAFM's Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition campaign is still getting a slow trickle of sculpts.  Overall status is largely unknown, but I'm sure I'll appreciate them when they arrive, as evidence by the green for Jack Brady from Masks of Nylarahotep.

For what's essentially a civilian with a pistol, that's actually a great sculpt with a plethora of uses. 

Guess I should finish off more in my painting queue to make room for these when they show up in another 3-4 months *fingers crossed*.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Empress Miniatures North West Frontier Carden Loyd Carriers

That title is a mouthful, but it covers a neat little new release from Empress Miniatures.

Apparently these little runabouts saw action in the North West Frontier as well as China.  I've only seen something remotely similar in action Dalauppror's A Very Moderate Swedish Conflict AARs.

Price is £10.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Ravings of a Kindergartener's Parent

My daughter Maja is almost done with her first month of Kindergarten.  No, they'll be no fanfare over this milestone.  I can't even tell you what date she started on.

My wife and I have always gotten the moniker of the cool parents, not for our fashionable tastes, but rather that delicate balance between helicopter parents and the negligent ones.  We let the staff do their job, we expect and encourage bumps and bruises, and inthe rare occasion the kids get in trouble we want the swiftest and most effective punishment.   

While she nows her letters and numbers, working with a 5 year old left hander's writing at home was slow and cumbersome.  At school, she has embraced everything and her writing and reading have skyrocketed.

Perhaps the worst writing was when I had her scribble a sentence onto her coloring: 

She'll hate me for this stuff soon enough.  For now I'll take what I can get.

Friday, September 26, 2014

(AD&D) Norm Dingleberry, Failed Mushroom Farmer

I've mentioned Norm Dingleberry a few time, most recently the session where the Burning Trogs escorted an aged and powerful version to a peace negotiation.  That wasn't always Norm we grew to love.

Norm was an incomptent mushroom farmer who had been kicked off his land for not sustaining his crop.  Grabbing a neighbor's battle axe, he wandered around Georic.  When I offered to expand the college campaign in college I ran The Shattered Circle, and Norm debuted in it.  He was God awful.  Ultimately, he managed to sneak off to Talislanta by questionable conveyance, rocked that world, and was the sole surviving member of the heroes of destiny who were to recover the ancient artifacts of White Plume Mountain.  Mind you , Echellon came back, but for a while, the saviour of the universe was a nose picking uneducated failed Mushroom farmer.

Norm Dingleberry, 7th level Mountain Dwarf Fighter,  circa 1065
STR 12
DEX 11
CON 17
CHA  11

AC 1   HP  73

Battle Axe  +1/+2   d8
Shortsword            d6
Dagger                   d4
Spear                     d6
Warhammer           d4

Overslayer   +5/+5 inside a mountain or dungeons, +3/+3 outside
Throw and return 150 ft, 3x per day, can illuminate upon command, talks to wielder telepathically, increases wielders fearof open spaces, plus two to damage to goblins, giants, trolls, orcs.

Armor:  Ceremonial Field Plate,
leather boots, leather pants, helmet, nice tunic, beaten brown belt, large belt pouch, leather gloves, windship pilot hat (stuck on top of helmet), fire retardant cape/pants/vest, 100ft rope, 1 ceremonial sword with runes from the king, 2 bottles of holy water

Animal Companions
riding pony (My Lyl),
qual  (Nawy)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Brendlar "Whitey" Smallfoot

Within the Burning Trogs, the only thing that rivalled Zorin Redrock's antipathy towards humans was his love and brotherhood toward his soldier in arms, Whitey.    When the two reunited, the old friends were an inseperable pair, the only thing keeping Whitey from greater success being his numerous debilitating ailments...

Here for reference in the Burning Trogs Rule! stories, is Brendlar Smallfoot, at the end of the campaign.

Brendlar "Whitey" Smallfoot
6th level Hairfoot Halfling Cleric of Yondalla
EP;  31,613    Next 60,001
Honor:  47 (d6+1)

Fame : 10
Age 33            Sex:  Male     Alignment:  Lawful Good       Social Class  UMC
Height 3'1"  Weight 61 lbs  Hair Light Blond  Eyes:  Light blue/red

STR  11/42
CON 14/54
INT 13/47
WIS 17/68
DEX 15/50
CHA 8/70
COM 4/58  (Shaving/Grooming in effect)

HP  48
Armor Class 4 (Scale plus Dex)

Quirks and Flaws
Blind (right eye)
No Depth Perception
Accident Prone
Male Pattern Baldness
Maimed (sever facial burn)
Missing left pinkie finger
Sleep Chatter
Trick Knee
Animal Antipathy
Nervous Tic
Sound Sleeper
Acute Allergy (dust)

Spells per level (bonuses included)
7, 5, 3

Skills Talents
Lang: Common 100%
Lang  Halfling 100%
RW Common  32%
RW Halfling 21%
Religion General 74%
Religion Akana 29%
Religion Pangrus 29%
Religion yondalla 39%
Agriculture 27%
Anatomy Basic 2%
Berate 14%
Botany 55%
Brewing 45% (Talent applied)
Carpentry Tools 20%
Clever Packer 25%
Coin Pile Approx 18%
Culinary Arts 20%
Dig Proper Grave 34%
Diplomacy 13%
Divine Lore 39%
First Aid Skill Suite 74%
Healing 25%
Heraldry 25%
Herbalism 19%
Joke Telling 14%
Plant ID  18%
Rousing Speech 19%
Rules of Fair Play 23%
Shaving Grooming 100%
Surgery Tools/Suture Kit  34%
Swimming Dog Paddle 23%

Brewing Talent
Expert Haggler
Reaction Bonus
Astute Observation
Acute Alertness

Ring of Invisibility
holy symbol iron
surgeons kit
corn dodgers

42,662 gp
200 ep
1958 sp
3 cp
6 gems worth 500 gp each

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Free Swag is Free Swag, Especially When it's Free!

I've been prone to harp upon the new FLGS, Emerald Vale Games from time to time.  A formal review to update my incomplete I gave when they just opened will be ready in November with the good, the bad, and the ugly, but for now, I have a few items on preorder, I snag up a Magic pack or Arizona iced tea when nothing else looks interesting, and I've yet to physically game inside the store.

This week begins hell season at work... Sixty to Seventy hour weeks, lots of babysitting the new employees which interferes with me getting actual work done.  I did manage to get over to the store after one late night, and boy was the place booming.  I even ran into James Burns, fellow Mepacon attendee and board game guru.  The place was packed, I bought my usual Arnold Palmer and wandered the store, looking at the 40k, WFB, Magic, and other boardgames getting played throughout.   Ultimately I ended end paging through Magic binders of cards I have no idea what they do.

Joe, one of the owners, was working on buying some cards, so I didn't bother him.  All of a sudden, he asked me "Do your girls like Harry Potter?"

I said I hadn't introduced them to him yet, and suddenly a small box went flying through the air.  It was a starter set for the WotC Harry Potter card game.  The box smelt like it had been printed inside Phillip Morris, but the cards were still in shrinkwrap.   Looks like we'll have something to do... in about 3 more years.

In addition to thanking him, I reviewed my outstanding orders with them and added Dagger RPG from Brave Halfling to it.  Barring a meth lab forming inside (although I did see a large amount of "crack") I think November's review will be a cakewalk for them.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Weekend Spoils of eBay

My latest eBay deal arrived on Saturday.  Even with the exorbitant shipping price, it still amounted to less than fifty cents per figure!

I had bid on the auction for the Legions of Steel UNE Plasma Projectors.  Recent auctions for them had been $9 alone with shipping, so few bucks more for figures to kickstart the Gnomish Space Marines was an obvious steal.  The breakdown:

  • 3 "true 25mm" near future/cyberpunk soldiers.  One is missing an arm, but I may have bits to make some sort of oversized cyborg arm with a weapon.
  • 2 Battletech minis.  A Stinger from the old Battltech boxed set that came with plastic minis, and an old Partha sculpt for '87.  A Panther?  It does have jump jets.
  • 8 Legions of Steel figures.  7 UNE Commandos (one short of a unit), and another Machine Mark I Assault Fiend, or  as Maja still calls him, "The Angry Gnome."  When I went through my first wave of LOS nostalgia in the 21st Century, I had grabbed an Assault Fiend for seven bucks with shipping.  
  • 4 Aliens looking creatures that must be Kryomek?  Only one has any marks on the base and it looks like some letters I can't make out, followed by "92"
  • 1 Cybertronic figure from Warzone
  • 9 Bauhaus figures from Warzone.  Great sci fi SWAT or basic marines if I file off the symbol on the shoulder pad.
  • 9 Dark Legion from Warzone.  Only ones I needed to wiki to remember their name.  My first thought before doing any research was to the paint them in the style of the Necromongers from Chronicles of Riddick.  The one fellow has a bit of Egyptian fellow has a bit of a Necron vibe going, but I'm not finding anything him either way.  (Edit, I did finally find  Valpurgius Nepharite of Alakhai here. Another bargain.)
The one nice thing is if I want a few more blisters to add numbers to my Warzone figures, there's usually plenty of blisters for sale at the flea market at Cold Wars.  Perhaps a Big Bob Watts.

It takes a lot more patience and a lot more searching, but it's nice to see that eBay still has a few great deals out there, among the stores selling excess inventory to people for a dollar less than retail.

In the "When it rains, it pours" department, we got together on Sunday for our second Cthulhu session of not just the month, but the entire year.  Four sessions into Masks and the casualties are light, although the battered and bruised investigators vastly outnumber the dead and insane ones.  Due to some complications with our respective spawn, only four of us got together, but it was quick (under four hours) and very productive.  Each player had at least one brush with death, one old timer met his demise, and they connected a LOT of the dots, but still have no clue how to proceed.  Elias wasn't crazy, he just knew too many of the secrets man was not meant to know.  Shooting for the next tentative game sometime in November.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

(Kickstarter) The Green Alliance

After my complaints about the new 40k orks looking so plain in the new edition, I'm happy to see someone doing something different.

Welcome to The Green Alliance,  a series of WW2 style orcs for your sci-fi wargaming needs.

Everything about these equates a cooler, slightly cheaper alternative to GW.  The bullets on the side equate to dollars, so $25 for a Willys that will need some obvious junk, I mean customization, is not too bad.  Forty bucks for a small tank harkens back to earlier GW prices, but not too early.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Apathy of the New Releases (Oct '14)

My Want List

My Money-Is-No-Object List
Russia's Wars in Chechnya .................................................................................................... $20.95

Imaginary Store List
MUNCHKIN LOOT LETTER ............................................................................................... $10.99

STAR WARS RPG: AGE OF  REBELLION - STAY ON TARGET ..................................... $29.95
STAR WARS X-WING MINIATURES GAME: M3-A INTERCEPTOR ............................  $14.95
STAR WARS X-WING MINIATURES GAME:  MOST WANTED ...................................  $39.95
STAR WARS X-WING MINIATURES GAME: STARVIPER ............................................  $19.95

Gale Force 9
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS:  HEROES OF NEVERWINTER .................................... $30.00
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS:  REMORHAZ ................................................................  $50.00

Games Workshop
40K Grey Knights Codex ......................................................................................................  $49.50
Fifty bucks for a codex?  I'm used to seeing worthless overpriced books over the last decade.  I still can't wrap around my head the idea of $33-50 for five figs!

Goodman Games
DUNGEON CRAWL CLASSICS  #82.5: DRAGORA’S DUNGEON ................................  $9.99
DUNGEON CRAWL CLASSICS #83: THE CHAINED COFFIN ...................................... $49.99
DUNGEON CRAWL CLASSICS #84:  PERIL ON THE PURPLE PLANET .....................  $19.99
FIFTH EDITION FANTASY #1:  GLITTERDOOM ............................................................  $9.99
FIFTH EDITION FANTASY #2:  THE FEY SISTERS FATE ..............................................  $9.99
PATHFINDER RPG: MAXIMUM XCRAWL CORE RULEBOOK HC .............................. $39.99


FIREFLY RPG: ECHOES OF WAR -  THRILLIN’ HEROICS ...................................... $29.99
FIREFLY RPG:  THINGS DON’T GO SMOOTH .........................................................  $34.99

TRAVELLER: ADVENTURE 4 -  INTO THE UNKNOWN ......................................... $24.99

ACROSS A DEADLY FIELD: THE WAR IN THE EAST ............................................. $34.95
  ....................................................................................................................................... $19.99
 ........................................................................................................................................ $22.99
PATHFINDER PAWNS INNER SEA PAWN BOX .......................................................$39.99
PATHFINDER MAP PACK: BOARDING ACTION ...................................................... $13.99
PATHFINDER TALES: PIRATES PROMISE NOVEL .................................................... $ 9.99

DEAD REIGN RPG: SOURCEBOOK 5 GRAVEYARD EARTH ..................................... $12.95

FEAR ITSELF RPG: THE SEVENTH CIRCLE ................................................................ $11.95
TRAIL OF CTHULHU RPG: THE MYTHOS EXPEDITIONS......................................... $39.95
TRAIL OF CTHULHU RPG: SOLDIERS OF PEN AND INK ........................................ $17.95

Zombies!!!: 13- Defcon Z ................................................................................................... $24.99

Bolt Action: Tank Wars .......................................................................................................  PI

DUNGEONS & DRAGONS ATTACK WING: DICE SET  .............................................. $ 9.99
STAR TREK ATTACK WING DEEP SPACE 9 EXPANSION PACK ............................. $99.99
CARDASSIAN UNION REKLAR WZK 71798................................................. $14.99

FEDERATION ATTACK FIGHTER SQUADRON WZK 71753............................PI
FEDERATION I.S.S ENTERPRISE WZK 71796............................................ ... $14.99
GORN WZK 71797.............................................................................................. $14.99
HIROGEN WARSHIP WZK 71808.........................................................................PI
ROMULAN DRONE SHIP WZK 71536.................................................................PI

Friday, September 19, 2014

Dark Sword Miniatures

In the early days of the blog, I mentioned Guinea Pig Samurai from Dark Sword Miniatures.   The figures were beautiful but very pricey.  At the mention of my friend, Mike Lung, I took a look at the expanded collection of Anthromorphic Animal Minis.  The minis are still expenseive ($10 to $13 per figure), but the quality might have actually improved.

Still out of my price range, but great figures for heroes for wargaming, or a great collection for RPGs.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Grekwood Miniatures: Hannibal the Space Dwarf

It's probably just a coincidence with the impending arrival of the my LOS figures and other random sci fi stuff, but I'm seeing Gnomish Space Marine inspiration everywhere!  Take Grekwood Miniatures new future dwarf, Hannibal.

Like you can't see this fellow mixing it up with the motley group of squats available.  A bit by the book, yes, but nothing I can't overlook in an army of rednecks, bikers, and drunks.

This last month confirms that I need to either go to England or insure their American distributors are within an hour's drive. Between the conversion rate and shipping, I'm in the wrong country for sci fi little people.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

ADHD Like a Muppet on Speed

After a weekend where I signed up for a Kickstarter for a scenario book for a campaign I own nothing for, dropped another one to $1, worked on my "Home", pondered attending the Khans of Tarkir pre-release event, confirmed our next CoC session, and broke out the gnomes for some Great War fun, you could say that that I'm lacking focus.

Well, here's another shrimp on the Barbie!

I snagged these up off of eBay over the weekend.  Shipping was a little steep, but even after that it was under fifty cents a fig!

It's an eclectic collection of GW, Warzone, and two Battletech, with maybe some Vor or Void mixed in, but the high point for me is the complete squad of UNE Troopers, including two plasma projectors for Legions of Steel.  Considering packs of those keep showing up in eBay starting at $8-10 after shipping, it's an even better steal than I thought. 

But, to make this post go full circle, these other figures are enough to refute the engines of the Gnomish Space Marines.  God, I need a hobby,

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

NYC CoC #20: The Secret of Knossos

August, 1924
The investigators might not be able to determine if love was in the air, but an all-expenses paid trip to Crete to celebrate the wedding of a client's son was good enough for them. Upon rescuing his son, a grateful Alexander Powell provided each of the investigator's with an invitation to his wedding, provided his son recovered from his ordeal, which he did with flying colors.

But first a few affairs at home needed to be tended to.

Dr. Millheim returned from his secret mission in Maine, still unexpectedly refreshed, still a best selling author. Hearing of Dr. Bob Wintermute's acceptance to all things Mythos, he provided him with some light reading on loan, the copy of Thaumaturgical Prodigies in the New-England Canaan and the Fuller diaries from the Maine cabin. A few new notes were scribbled on the back pages by Dr. Millheim.

His writing prowess complicating his schedule, both Millheim and Brian Nichols were too swamped with travelling, meetings, and counting stacks of cash to attend the distant wedding.

The trip via steamship was anti-climatic.  Dr Bob got some "light reading"  done, Dresden worked the shuffleboard court and the trap shooting off the back of the ship, and Jessica got as much sun as her mythos inspired modesty would allow. 

Upon reaching the village, they became an acquaintance of Matthew Piccolo , Canadian Syrup Salesman, and college friend of William Powell.

Once they finally arrived at Crete, they were bused out to the village, where the festivities were already in full swing.  The small winery of family patriarch Grigorios Spazegottos was decorated for such a joyous occasion, and if that didn't raise spirits, the freely flowing wine would ensure it.

The wedding was a solemn ritual as everyone had been warned about, but the reception was a wild, dance filled event that anyone could enjoy.  In the midst of the dancing, however, a disheveled man grabs  hold of the bride, shouts, "She belongs to me!  I am taking her back!  WE WILL ALL BE TAKEN BACK!   FIRE, WALK WITH ME!"  and everything surrounding them burst into flames, setting many of the buildings on fire.  The Investigators did their best to put out the fire near the barn and the gasoline tank, but in the end, dozens were killed, including the bride, groom, and Mr Powell.

Stupid me googled greek dancing fire and was suprised to find this. 

Winning the family's trust with their help containing the fire, Grigorios pleaded for the investigator's help.  The man was Nikolas Eflantinos, a former workhand from a remote fishing village.  At one time he had a relationship with his daughter, but that was years before, yet a week before the wedding, he reappeared to ask her hand in marriage.  Grigorios kicked him off of the property amid most screaming by the man, assuming it was the rantings of a drunk than crazed threats.

Grigorios' wife, Maria, later encountered them in one of the building and gave a darker tale.  Nikolas' village, Pasedaros, was rumored to have sold their soul to the devil hundreds, if not thousands of years ago. Legend had it that fisherman in the village who died while visiting other towns would burst into flame for no reason.

The investigators, along with local archaeologist and translator Arianna Mestopolos, decided to hire a boat to drop them off just east of this mysterious village.  After hiking over the hills, they descended into Pasedaros, a collection of twenty or so decrepit fisherman's huts, and an only slightly better looking inn.  At the inn, they met the proprietor, Tolos.  Tolos warned them not to interfere with the affairs of the town, that outsiders were barely tolerated, if welcomed at all.  He promised safe refuge if they stayed in their rooms until morning. All agreed, some even honored that request.

The investigators noticed a procession of villagers holding leading into the northern mountains, but they lost them somehow.  When they returned they staked out were the packages had emerged from, village elder Setho Kaipholas.  While it appeared that the rest of the village was deserted, Setho's was guarded by one of the larger and stronger villagers.  Jessica tried to distract them while Dresden snuck in.  The guard quickly figured out what was going on, but not before he had been knocked out.  They quickly went through the hut, grabbing some books and scrolls, but the villagers were returning from the mountains and things escalated quickly.  Armed with pistols, the duo was chased around the village by inept villagers before easily escaping into the hills.

Back at the inn, Bob and Arianna attempted to leave, but were met by Tolos, armed with an ancient musket. Matthew decided to escape from his second story room, so he jumped out the window onto the shoddy roof of the hut next to it.  The roof collapsed and he badly hurt himself so badly, that he could no escape.  No one knows his true fate.   Bob distracted Tolos before pulling out his own gun, shooting at Tolos, and also easily escaping into the hills.

The group met up and discovered that the villagers were still attempting to find them, so they continued up the hills, until they reached a fertile plateau with numerous farmers who didn't speak English (and no one asked Arianna to translate).

With no sign of the villagers, the investigators reach a monastary.  Suffering from hunger,thirst, and exhaustion, they plead their case with the Metropolitan, and he provides nourishment and access to the library.  Between reading the scrolls in the library and the ones they stole from the village, they uncover a fire dangerous fire cult that may have been in existence since before King Minos, possibly inspiring the legend of Theseus.  As they are wont to do, the villagers/cultists attack the monastery and set the library ablaze.  However, with a bit of luck, everyone escaped unscathed.

Finally returning to the winery, Grigorios was convinced that this Setho had something to with the calamity.  For the rest, it was a trip to Heraklion for some research, a visit to a dig, and and a desperate search to find where these cultists were, besides that village.

Upon returning to her work at a dig sight, Arianna discovered that five of her diggers stopped showing up a few days ago, and that they had been talking to a crazed old goat herder (Setho?)   Arianna equipped the other investigators with some equipment and they ventured into a portion of the catacombs the diggers were working at.

After some time, they discovered the cultists and their leader digging at an emblem embedded into the stone floor, although the cultists got it loose, the party made quick work of them.  However, the entire enviroment seemed to change.  Any sense of direction underground disappeared as even familiar passageways were corrupted by some alien geometry.  Up was down, Down was left, and Left was diaganol.  Worse yet, something was stirring in the distance... and it was looking for them.

In what felt like an eternity, the entity got closer and closer to the investigators.  Even whiffs of brimstone and waves of heat could be felt  as it went down the wrong corridor mere feet from them.  With the dark, empty entity of fire closing in, and the only option to run or delay,  Dresden pulled out his .45, aimed it straight into the enveloping blackness, and fired.

The single bullet stalled the creature for mere seconds, until it ripped the police detective from limb to limb.

But that sacrifice gave Wintermute and Carson enough time to find an escape of the labyinth.  Carson mourned the loss of her friend to the Minotaur(?), while Wintermute coped with the intimate skills of one Arianna Metopolos before departing back to the States

The Secret of Knossos was the very first adventure in issue #1 of Worlds of Cthulhu Magazine.  It's a bit railroady, but I wanted something that would help ensure the investigators would obtain a legal passport for future endeavours.  Dr Bob continued his quest to be a dirty old man, but a gentleman about it, Dresden died a heroic, but unnecessary death, and the widow Carson would make her last known appearance.    As for the Canadian Syrup Salesman, his demise might not be documented, but his player, Aaron, was already famed for the Turkish Librarian Debacle.  Can't wait to see what he rolls up next.

This concludes the NEPA Coal Cracker tag on these blogs posts.  Next we move onto far bigger fish with our good friend, Jackson Elias.  Time for Masks of Nylarahotep.

Monday, September 15, 2014

(Kickstarter) De Horrore Cosmico from Golden Goblin

Weeks ago, when Tales of the Crescent City was finally in my hands, it seemed like that next Golden Goblin Kickstarter in September was so far off.  And here we are, already a few days into De Horrore Cosmico, a collection of six scenarios for Cthulhu Invictus.

Before the KS, I had zero interest in Cthulhu in ancient Rome, but I understood the appeal.  Like Cthulhu Dark Ages, all players are in a foreign enviroment and can't rely on technology that a Modern game, or even the 20's and Gaslight offer.  Unlike Dark Ages, Invictus seems to offer more areas of refuge from the hostile environment of European wilderness.

Of course, with Golden Goblin's previous track record, I've already pledged at the $35 level of the book, pdf, and any add ons.  Which also means I'll need to add a copy of Cthulhu Invictus to my want list.

I am slowly considering dropping my pledge for Horrors of War from Pagan.  I suspect more dissension between the principals of the project than even they are leading on, and I may join the throngs of people who are far more particular with which companies they support.  Then again, a large group of this demographic fall under the "Fool me once, shame on me, fool me on a dozen Kickstarters with poor organization and a fly by night approach to the project, it's everybody's fault but their own."   The last twelve months could be labelled as the "Year of the Kickstarter" for me, and with my pledges for respectable miniatures companies still not here, I'm quite certain I'm tiring of it.  Perhaps I should start my own for gnomes or potato salad.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

New Zombie Survivors from Hasslefree

It's been awhile since I've seen new Hasslefree Minis that aren't over muscular goons or scantily clad ladies.

I think the Daytona Duo changes that. 

I think it's (Jan) Hammertime!

£6.67 + VAT where applicable.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Zorin Redrock, Gnome Titan Fighter

Zorin Redrock, 7th Level Gnome Titan Fighter

Homeland;  Stronghome
Brown hair, blue eyes, 3'2", 82 lbs.  Right handed, worships Pangrus

Quirks and Flaws: Self Absorbed, Psychotic Aversion to Basilisks, Animal Antipathy: Birds, Sleep Chatter, Enmity to Giant Horseflies, Pyromaniac, Enmity to Humans, Tone Deaf, Near Sighted

Abilities:  Attacks as one level higher, Infravision, +1 against Goblins and Kobolds, Large opponents get -4 to hit.

STR: 19/11                            XP  77,204
DEX: 10/10                           Next Level:  125,000
CON: 17/01
INT:  14/59
WIS:  10/58
CHA:   8/95
COM:  11/28
HON:  85
FAME:  54
HP: 7
AC:  0  (Gnomish Field Plate, open faced helm, medium shield

Weapon Proficiencies:  Short Sword (Master), Club, Dagger, Battle Axe
Short Sword Bonus, Opportunist
Languages:  Gnomish (100%), Common, R/W Trade Prythax

Skills:  Muster Resolve 31%, Mortal Combat 43%, Fire Building 35%,  Military Operations 45% (one check mark), Military Leadership 19% (15% from Fromm Tyre), First Aid Skill Suite 38%, Sew Own Wounds 59%,  Parlay 19%, Leadership Basic, Rope Use 0%(one check mark), Heraldry 23%, Military Small Unit Tactics 51%, Military Battle Sense 65% (+15% Fromm Tyre, one check mark), Engineering Fortifications 24%, Swimming Dog Paddle 20%, Appraising 20% (four check marks), Weapon Maintenance, Armor Maintenance, Tracking 0% (one check mark)

1)  Fromm Tyre #479 (Short Sword +4 of Gnomish Battle Sense)
(spd -6, #att  5/2,  dam  1d6+13/1d6+14/1d8+14)
+4/+4.  If used by gnomekind, grants +15% to Military Battle Sense, Military Leadership, Leadership Maintain Self Discipline, and Recruit Army
2) Dagger of Flesh Reaving +2 (Can leave in wound to cause 1d4 per round)
3) Standard Club
4) Two Daggers
5) Battle Axe

Magic Items:
Ring of Regeneration
Potion of Healing
Potion of Extra Healing
Potion of Water Breathing
Super Candle
Ring of Martyrdom
Weird magical crystal blade thingey from Green Dragon's lair in Stronghome

Stuff of Interest:
Mercadian Diplomatic Corps Uniform (blue)
2 Grunge Elf Ears
Orc Skin Maps
Berserker's Index  Finger
Beholder Tooth
War Pony 'Discretionary Fund V'
Burning Trogs  Signet Ring
Trogs Cloak and Trogs Banner
Scolls with Info on Pass and Temple of Death
List of Master's Army and Spies
Tin Ring from Arab C***Sucker
3 letters by the hand of the Master
Full Map of mountain passes
Ceremonial Tourney Sword (on display in home)
Bargle Letter
Brass Ring
Evar Letters
Corn Dodgers

PP  99
GP  19,505
EP  3,754
SP  5,587
CP  10,468
Bank:  22,252

Misc Notes
Family Grudge  1/2 elf
Family Enemy:  Elemental Cult of Galmar
10% Discount and Personal instruction at Fort Titanicus
Beachfront property in Trebeizond, generates 10,000 GP per year.

Arrow scar on top of left shoulder.
Bite to Right Shin
Right index finger nearly severed, but sewed back on and healed
Claw to right elbow
sword scar to out right upper arm.

Friday, September 12, 2014

(Kickstarter) Salvage Crew 28mm Humans

After my growing complaints about Kickstarters for miniatures and long delays and their pricing, finally someone gets it right.

The Salvage Crew Kickstarter seeks to re-release a series of minis that may have been previously available under Mega Minis.

The figures are metal with plastic bases and are ridiculously affordable ($30 pledge for 20 minis), plus at the rate it's going, all five of the robot stretch goals will probably be reached.

I like the figures, which are a nice mixture of standard post-apoc Judge Dredd, and Necromunda vibes (And do the security guards look like Paranoia Vulture Warriors.  Perhaps it's the red.)  I've got nothing going on for a late October KS, so this might be it.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Apothecary: WotC's Oldest Item? (Throwback Thursday)

Winter 1992, I was a few scant months short of graduating high school, and with the completion of my 30 page paper on Anton Chekhov for AP English, I was showing up to school for a few quick games of Wrestlerama with my friend Scott during Senior Study Hall, biding the time for track practice to work on my hurdling.

Yes, once upon a time, this fat due was a skinny dude who hurdled.  Won half of my races that year, and got second in all but two.  Not a schlub, and only an occasional mope (There is a difference).

Anyway, it the midst of winter THIS showed up in the mail.

I had signed up for Bard Games Black Savant newsletter and maybe got one stock issue.  This was the biggest news of the year (And Gary Gygax was coming back with Dangerous Journeys that August).  Talislanta and the Atlantis books had a new home by some upstart jackwads who called themselves Wizards of the Coast.  Can West Coast people sound anymore pretentious?

But Talislanta had a new home, and one where the first Cyclopedia was still available!  And a third edition, which in hindsight was the best of the editions.  Just the right amount of everything in the book, even if it didn't work perfectly.

Wizards (definitely NOT WotC) was also releasing their own book, The Primal Order, which, to the layman D&D player, was a crunchier more logical system to creating gods and pantheons compared to, say, the D&D Immortals Boxed Set.  I fiddled around with my copy for a while and it just wasn't my tastes. Ultimately they ran foul by touting it's universal system, by statting out deities in other game system, specifically the litigation happy folks at Palladium.

Despite the articles touting their RPG products, the writing was on the wall, er, second page, of the newsletter.

Three words:  Robot Board Game

One more word:  Garfield

Now, perusing the Internet, sources are  telling me that subsequent issues all appeared as part of Cryptch Magazine, although I swear possessing a paper catalog later on down the line that mentioned Richard Garfield's second game, a card game called Manaburn, which was collectible(?)   As Manaburn evolved into Magic: The Gathering and took the world by storm, WotC ironically enough, shelved their entire role-playing division in 1994.  Even more ironic, Jonathan Tweet, one of the Tal 3 authors, was part of the team that wrote D&D 3.0 after the now juggernaut WotC bought TSR.  I knew there was a reason I didn't despise 3.0!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Olley's Armies Dwarven Prussian Army Scrunts a Success!

Olley's Armies latest Kickstarter for Dwarven Prussian Scrunts easily made base funding and blew threw a number of stretch goals for add-ons, ultimately reaching £6,963.

Alas, I did not pledge towards anything (First paycheck of September pays EVERYTHING).  Plus I have dozen of Brigade Games Prussian Gnomes that need to be finished past base coats. 

The only figures I wished I could have gotten separately are the dachshunds and the the Kickstarter exclusive Kaiser Wilhelm scrunt.

Now that's a hunk of metal becoming of a leader of an army.   The officer Brigade produces is a mere staff officer in comparison. 

The good news for me is that the dachshunds (and dog carts) are still available Olley's website.

If I'm going for them, I might as well snag up of the Palace Royal Guard (very akin to Oz Troops, even with the ratio of officers to privates considered) and maybe some other miscellaneous packs.  I mean, there is a crazy part of me that wants to hit the lottery and go wild on a squat/scrunt IG army, and a few vehicle crew  packs will help me start the Forge World gunships before Olley's full dream order comes over the pond.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Gnome Profile: Robert McHope, Infamous Golfer

From an early age, Robert McHope loved what all boys in Scotland love, sassy lasses, well-aged scotch, and golf.  Unfortunately, like most young lads, the scotch made him an intolerable boor with the ladies, and sliced his hooks and hooked his slices.    That last portion made him an excellent golfer!

He hit the local golf circuit and became a instant sensation.  While he rarely won, his booming tee shots had the ability to stand against the mightiest of gales blowing off the ocean.  His tendency to introduce his fellow golfers to some concept known as an "afterparty" were whispered in hushed, but ultimately, legendary tones.

McHope, back in his glory days....
Soon the desire for scotch overcame his talent, and his booming shots would veer into the crowd, careening off a dozen spectators before finally coming to a rest.   After a morning on the front nine killed five, wounded ten, and seriously mauled the visiting the British Duke of Chestercheltinghamfordshire, the King of Scotland levied the harshest punishment:  a lifetime ban from all golf courses in Scotland.

After his ban, Robert disappeared off the map.   As wandered the world, looking for the perfect woman, scotch, and links, he discovered his drive could be used on objects heavier than a golf ball.  Soon his wandering transformed into a travelling roadshow where he would hit common household objects to the delight of crowds.  Soon, he added fireworks and other explosives at his show for dramatic effect. 

While performing in the colonial port of St. Pachydermus, he was trapped by a Civil War amongst the locals and their Swiss overlords.  Befriending a bunch of Scottish mercenaries, Robert acquired a large amount of mortar shells and dynamite, and in a drunken stupor climbed to the highest building in town and began to tee them off into the fighting below.  His actions trickled back to Scotland and became even more legendary than his drives.  The King of Scotland demanded he return to Scotland, gave him a military commission, and requested that he teach mobile artillery techniques at the Royal Military Academy in Glasgow. 
An alleged picture of McHope on a rooftop party with anarchists, St Pachydermus
All Highlander units with mobile artillery attached to them sing praises to McHope in drunken revelry.  He's a celebrity and a hero of the nation now, although the lifetime ban is still effect.  McHope worries not a second, for he has installed two 18-hole golf courses within the confines of the artillery ranges.  No one is the wiser, and even better, the course is constantly changing with each new class.

It's a Beautiful Day

After a week of oppressive heat, the thunderstorms rolled in Saturday night and I could finally breathe again.

Our temporary houseguest, Clarkie, also went to his new home.  It almost makes two dogs feel manageable.

Today, we finally had a babysitter so my wife could go to a baby shower, and I ventured down to Allentown to rekindle our year long dormant Call of Cthulhu campaign.  

While we waited for an open day I thought it was short term nostalgia that made me miss CoC. 

Nope, right now CoC is the greatest game ever.  

I did manage to voice record my thoughts on the game on the drive home,   but I should be able to remember this for a long time.  A good dose of paranoia, a impromptu cultist attack, bad dreams, an evil mastermind monologuing (and no one dared to stop him), tuning up an ocean liner in the middle of the ocean, and the destruction of so many living room chairs that the president of La-Z Boy is filing a formal complaint.  Despite moments when a TPK felt imminent, or where an impale was proof of certain doom to an investigator, every investigator survived, and most have their sanity intact.

There's some serious book learning being attempted now, so stay tuned for a change in the sanity situation.

Anyway, they finally made it to London, and they might have this thing known as a plan (ooh and two handguns smuggled into England!)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

(Kickstarter) Stuff and Nonsense by Cheapass Games

Nostalgia reigns supreme when I think of the golden age of Cheapass.  All their games came in a printed envelope, playing pieces needed to be provided, and most games were five bucks.

Flash forward 15 years and inflation has taken over.  Cheapass still makes great games, but the "deluxe" versions of their classics are still better and more affordable than FFG or Asmodee, but they might only be borderline "cheap."
Their next Kickstarter, Stuff and Nonsense proves to me that they still haven't lost that irreverence that made me fall in love with them years ago (not that there was ever proof of that, the irreverence or my unrequited love.)

Sounds like a traditional Cheapass Game, to be manufactured in their new not so Cheapass format.  But then you throw in Professor Elemental?

For those of you who don't know the real life Professor Elemental, please click here.  I'll be happy to wait.


*checks pocketwatch* 

I know, it's beyond awesome.

The stretch goals are simply more add-ons from Professor Elemental Meeples to previous Kickstarters being available for $5 cheaper than retail.

With Horrors of War ending soon, and a giant tank of oil to be filled for the winter, I think I'll just snag up the $5 pdf.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Lego OGRE? For Real?

Where do they come up with this stuff?

Apparently Lego has a site where people can suggest new lines of product.  If they get 10,000 likes, the LegoMasters (Masters of Lego?) will review the suggestion and possibly put it in line for possible production. 
Why do I bring this up?  Only because Lego OGRE might be a stopgap for the lack of OGRE miniatures out there.  

Click on the link and vote, please!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Legions of Steel G1 Nightmares

With the Imperial Guard done, I'm moving through a few smaller groups of minis before I start refurbishing my other Gnome Wars units.  First on the block are five Nightmares from the Legions of Steel minis game.

I didn't have my LOS books handy, but at some point they mentioned the AI of the Machines would redesign the nightmares to better represent the nightmares of the Aliens they were fighting.  While the "Terminator" scheme is pretty popular, other attempts to make them "real" skeletons, demons, or even just coloring them differently for camouflage or to distract the enemy are encouraged.

A golden Nightmare, much nicer in person

I don't like the skeleton work, but I won't change it until I reference the suggestions in the book.

Pretty much your stock Nightmare

Electric Blue Strikes Again!

A Stealth Nightmare.  Just slightly darker.
 I do have a bunch of UNE stuff way down in the pipeline, but it would be nice to research a palatte for them.  Nightmares are cake compared to the humans.

NEXT UP:  More robots... and some golfing accessories.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

(Kickstarter) CAV Strike Operations

I take a long weekend off from thumbing through Kickstarter and Reaper, of all companies, launches another campaign, this time for their CAV game and line of mecha minis.

Thirty five models for a hundred bucks, plus a pdf copy of the new rules, is a great bargain.  And add-on minis for five bucks or less has already made this campaign a success.

Alas, I must skip another one as (a) my mecha gaming time is non-existant and (b) I'm still waiting for Bones II and (c) at this point, I'd rather pay full-price for the few minis I actually need from Reaper than get drug around by a carrort on a stick.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

(Gnome Wars) The California Imperial Guard

After much painting and gnashing of teeth, the 16 core figures of my California Imperial Guard unit for Gnome Wars are finally painted.


Sister Rosalie of the Rosary supports the advancing Guardsmen
Without looking at my Gnome Wars book, this unit is either two figures short or 10 points over the 320-point limit.  Our trustworthy Catholic nun, Sister Rosalie of the Rosary will be treated as a full-blown doctor.   I do have one artillery detachment to paint up, but at this point, they're far down on the painting queue.
The multi-cultural firing line.
Flagbearer excluded, I'll be using these guys in the short term as extra infantry/militia for non-German armies in the Great Gnome War.  They've already made an appearance as Surfians, but I may use them as early French or Belgian gnomes.

Of course, I need to convince my buddy Brian to paint up his Confederate gnomes in an Aztexican or Mormon Theocracy of Deseret scheme.   Or I'll just add them to my want list.

While California is not its own entity in the current Gnome Wars setting, it's easy to see how the "Northern" gnomes can be used to represent other nations, both real, and wholly imagined.

To create the California Imperial Guard (All Hail Emperor Norton!  May he rest in peace!), I used the following paints (all are Americana unless otherwise noted).

Uniform - Base: Evergreen   Wash: Hauser Dark Green  Drybrush: Celery
Highlights - Tuscan Red, Lamp Black, Gold, Lt Cinnamon, Sable,  Raw Sienna
Skin:  (Howard Hues all) Ruddy Flesh for the Whites,  Suntan for the Aztexicans, and Native American for...err.. the lone Native American scout.

Next up in the Painting Queue:  Birdhouses for the kids, robots for Dad.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Dungeons & Ponies 5e #4: Squeaky and Goliath

A battered Apple Jack and Spike staggered back to Ponyville for reinforcements to rescue not only Princess Cadence, but their friend Twilight Sparkle as well.  Many of their friends were already in Canterlot for the festival, but they managed to coerce two more to the mission:

Pinkie Pie:  Had run back to Ponyville for more party supplies.  Since her job of planning parties makes people feel good she is a cleric of partying.  We kept the spells simple as before, a few light cantrips, and some healing.

Squeaky:  Squeaky was a Rainbow Mouse, not very strong, but very, very sneaky.

The group was careful reaching the entrance to the goblin caves.  Squeaky scouted out front with some success until they found a body of a large bunny in the clearing,  Squeaky tried to pull it back to cover so the others could check it out, but it alerted the three goblins.   Squeaky fled into the caves, and the others charged forward to handle the goblins.  This time, combat went much smoother for my girls and two goblins fell and the third ran away as fast as possible.

Squeaky came back to let them know that the goblins on the bridge saw him, so, Pinkie Pie used one healing spell and the went in.

Meandering alongside the washed out creek bed, they fell upon three more goblins.  Again, they took one with flair, but one proved stubborn for Apple Jack, and the other escape to the next room to warn their leader.
Oh boy....
The leader was a "giant" to the girls, an ettin as a figure, but only a bugbear statwise.  The stand in for his wolf was a Rainbow Tiger.   With a word of warning to my girls about the size of the giant's giant club, they positioned themselves away from the giant.  Squeaky finally made a sneak roll when it counted, but his scent attracted the Rainbow Tiger, who began hunting for him.  Pinkie Pie kept one eye on the giant, and the other on the tattletale goblin.  Apple Jack kept trading glancing blows with the goblin, and Spike started chucking rocks at the giant.

Squeaky aced another sneak roll and attempted to backstab the unaware giant...

WITH A 20.

My three year old daughter rolls her first crit backstabbing a giant!

The attack weakened the giant, and the rainbow tiger had pounced on the mouse.

A few more well thrown rocks, and the giant was down, Pinkie Pie saved Squeaky, and the others fled.

Alas, there was no sign of the Princess and Twilight Sparkle, but they did find the presents for the festival, 2 potions of healing, and a talking frog statuette. What does THAT do praytell?

After getting through the first dungeon in the D&D Starter Set, I'm not too enthused.    The good news is that it feels like D&D.  The bad news is it still feels like portionos of 3rd and 4th.

Even with our cliffhanger, we'll probably be shelving D&D for something a bit more streamline, such as Dagger, or with a few more options, like my own TIARA.   For now, I've got CoC to prep for next weekend, plus a new pile of stuff on Viscount Eric Yard Sale page to process and ultimately put on eBay.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Happy Labor Day

After the Day of Sloth, do something today for the day of labor.  Only try to push out a kid, if you are indeed, eight or nine months pregnant.