Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Day of Sloth 2015

Saturday was our annual Day of Sloth picnic, an excuse to grill meat, play games, and drink copious amounts of beer.  For a lot of people, it was also the first showing of our new house.

For a number of years, the day was capped off with an Illuminati University game using Risus, but alas, real life and changes to the schedule (the last two years were Saturday instead of the traditional Sunday) have netted fewer gamers in attendance.   In fact, my buddy Steve was the only representative of the group in attendance.  We drank beer, shot the you know what, and critiqued D&D 5e.    I even broke out the recent minis, much to the oohs and ahhs of the mundanes.  I keep forgetting that most people wouldn't even know what to do with the figures if they tried.

The only amusing thing that transpired was me breaking out my tomato case full of army guys (a la Burning Plastic) and letting the kids go wild.  As I wandered out front later in the day, army guys littered the driveway like the Road of Death from the First Gulf War.  Mission Accomplished.

I also may have a new endeavour:  teaching kids to paint.  I got than one request from the kids and the mundane parents asking how, and with the backlog of those requests, I might as well do a simple version using some spare gnomes or some army men.  

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Aztexican Troopers in the California Imperial Guard

First off, let me introduce the temporary guest to ViscountEric's Kriget Rum. 

Faithful readers may remember my wife volunteers for a Pit Bull Rescue charity and has made my fat butt run a 5K in support of it.  Clarkie here has a big tale of woe.  He was probably a bait dog for some dog fighting ring, where he became blind in one eye,  until he got loose and was found wandering the streets of Philly.  The last foster home for him caught fire and he was the last animal rescued, so he suffered some pretty nasty burns and required a number of stitches.  We're hosting him for what I hope is a short time frame until another foster home or a permanent home can be found. 

The communication coming from the other sources about this guy was mixed.  He didn't like other dogs, might not be good for kids, full of anxiety.   Now I don't know much about dogs, but Clarkie immediately snuggled up against my 3-year old daughter Millie,  coexisted happily with my other two dogs when to got the basement door open, and the only time I heard him growl was when he was half asleep in the basement and I tried to go up the stairs, and that was more of a "Hey, where are you going?"  noise, than a hostile one.

For a dog who's been through the mill more times than a 30-year steel worker, I almost want to trade my other two high strung ones to this guy. 

His future is not written in stone yet, so any interest, inquiries, or donations should be directed to www.apostivepromisepitbullrescue.org .  Please use the email or "contact us" options, as I know we had issues with the phone number listed. 

(Edit: Actually, we do have someone lined up to foster him long-term, possibly more.  They're getting their house in order, so it should be 10-17 days with this fella.)

Anyway, this guy kept me company, and vice versa, while I got some painting done.   Slowly but surely, parts of the California Imperial Guard are getting finished.  Today, I present the Hispanic (Aztexican) portion of the guard, along with the unit's white officer and NCO.

As I wrote in my history of the Imperial Republic of California, the Imperial Guard is one of the mot diverse military organizations in the world.   With numerous ethnic groups flocking to California, Native Americans always living there, and a need to defend the borders against numerous threats, Emperor Norton I established mixed units early on to conquer challenges that crippled the flailing California Republic.  While the vast majority of officers and NCOs are still "American," it is not unusual to see other ethnicities hold leadership positions. 

I still have about five "surfer dude" Guardsmen to paint, one Indian scout, and the flag bearer and drummer to finish in this batch, but tonight's quiet time with Clarkie may alternate between them, some LOS nightmares, and cleaning out a few boxes in the garage.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Hungry Like the Ral Partha Wolves

With everything else that I babble about painting up on this blog, out of nowhere, a bunch of wolves are painted up?  
25mm Ral Partha wolves with GW Gretchin for size comparison

And their opposite profiles
 #1 - It looks like most of my gaming friends will be no-shows for my Day of Sloth picnic this year, so Risus: IOU goes on the shelf till next year (perhaps SATLOF?)  To fill the gaming void of things bigger than Apples to Apples and Fluxx, I may commandeer some of the kids for session four of Dungeons and Ponies.  If I'm going to play with people outside the family, I will need painted figures and *spoiler alert* the goblin caves maaaaayy have some wolves in them.

#2 - I pulled my fantasy mini case out of the garage with another box o' stuff, and lo' and behold, grey primed wolves with some horrible shading.  I had to start them over from scratch, but in two nights I got these Ral Partha wolves finished ('89-94 sculpt dates), four of  my Gnomish California Imperial Guard ready for detailing, and four Legions of Steel nightmares primed over two, all the while, correcting a flea infestation.

I think there are two more wolves hiding in another box, but I'll be good for now.  I was tempted to paint up a Hackmaster Ogre to represent the *spoiler* bugbear in the caves, but I think the old ettin will do the trick.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Dungeons and Ponies 5e #3: Into the Caves

When we last left our brave ponies, Twilight Sparkle, Apple Jack, and Spike had (temporarily) befriended a goblin who was willing to lead them to his cave, where Princess Cadence had been kept prisoner.

Upon being reminded that the friendship spell wasn't going to last long, my daughter Maja had the goblin lead them to the cave entrance and then hid from him.  The goblin called our their names, trying to find them, but they had rolled too well.  Soon, all this yelling attracted two other goblins that had been hiding out in the woods!  They were very confused by their pony-loving friend and dragged him into the caves.  The ponies soon followed. 

Twilight Sparkle cast light and they entered the caves.  They skipped the cave stairs and continued to follow the path.  They save a bridge crossing over the stream and path, but Apple Jack noticed the rocky path climbing out from the other side of the stream.  TS and Spike managed to get across unscathed, but Apple Jack managed to loosen the rocks when she landed, and ended up pretty battered by the mini-rockslide.

Princess Cadence (Candyland piece) awaits a rescue that never came...
Climbing up the path, they found the three goblins they saw enter the caves, five more goblins, an obvious leader, and Princess Cadence.   The ponies took the upper hand and tried to rescue the Princess!  Apple Jack couldn't hit the broad side of a barn.   Twilight Sparkle used her Horn of Cold, but only one goblin was affected by that.  The other goblins, deftly dodged Spike's breath weapon.  

Then it was the goblins' turn.

Lucky for the ponies, the friendly goblin hadn't changed back yet, plus he had slapped around by the goblin leader for acting as silly as he was.    He fell off the small cliff, but immediately pounced on another goblins.  The rest assaulted the ponies with fury and everyone took significant damage.  The goblin leader hammered Apple Jack so hard she fell off the cliff as well and landed in the rocky passage. 

My daughter tried one heroic charge with Twilight Sparkle, rushing the goblin leader in pony-y-goblin mortal combat.  Twilight needed two good hits to take out the leader, and hopefully scramble the rest. 

She only got one in before the goblin leader landed true.  Twilight Sparkle fell... 

The others (goblin included) decided to run away down the hallway that led to the bridge.  A quick look below saw the brisk stream had turned into a raging river.  (The goblins guarding the bridge saw Twilight Sparkle's light spell and unleashed the dam above.  Apple Jack still spied the rocky path downstream.  Maybe this time the jump could be made and she could circle around the goblins, rescue the Princess and save the day.

Again, the dice failed my girls.

Apple Jack was swept up in the river and taken outside.  Spike decided the only safe(!) thing to do was follow her. 

The ponies needed severe healing and rest, but getting new friends to avenge Twilight Sparkle and rescue the Princess was already on their agenda. 

This session I got a chance to fool around with the -10 hp rule.  Apple Jack got hammered pretty early, but so long as she didn't fail any Con rolls, I let her do non-combat actions, rather than fall unconscious.  We can assume for the storyline that Spike may have needed to drag her out of raging stream before she could regain consciousness and stagger back to Ponyville.  Teaching the girls when to run away from a battle is a vital lesson in D&D, no matter what recent editions taught.

Twilight Sparkle was near-death (2hp) when she challenged the leader and failed two Con rolls.  I didn't roll the third one for some "dramatic effect." 

Next Up:  Looks like I'm painting up some goblins this week to match the Gretchin.  Although I love the shade of green I started painting them, I'm converting all goblins to "Martian Blue."  I'll probably knock out the *spoilers*  wolves first tonight, and if I'm motivated, paint up the big baddy.   If we get rain during our Day of Sloth picnic on Saturday, we may break out ponies (and allies) to play the next session, tentatively titled, "Revenge for the Fallen."

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

(Review) Tales of the Crescent City

For months I've been harping on the Tales of the Crescent City Kickstarter from Golden Goblin Press, from stretch goals, to communication, to the free pdf, to the extra freebies they threw in when they shipped the book to my door. 

But now that I have a physical copy of the book, what do I think of it?

 In reviewing each scenario, I'm also including my Stat Crunch breakdown.   This breakdown lists the skill checks that are mentioned in the text, total possible SAN loss, total SAN reward, and any other possible bonuses, such as max Cthulhu Mythos gain.

Tell Me, Have You Seen the Yellow Sign?
Anthropology x1
Bargain x2
Biology x1
Chemistry x1
Climb x1
Conceal x1
Credit Rating x7
Cthulhu Mythos x11
Dodge x1
Fast-Talk x2
Hide x1
Law x4
Library Use x3
Listen x1
Lockpicking x2
Natural History x1
Navigate x2
Occult x3
Other Lang: French x2
Persuade x1
Psychology x7
Spot Hidden x2
Track x1

Max SAN loss:  8-156
Max SAN reward: 4-27
Bonus:  +6% to Cthulhu Mythos
             +1d6% to Credit Rating.

Originally published in Great Old Ones, Kevin Ross updated and revised it for this collection.  It's the classic "Reporter dies by mysterious causes.  Ready?  Investigate!"  scenarios, only set in Mardi Gras.    This one could very well be a campaign ender, under even experience players/characters, but you may not even discover what you need to with ELEVEN Cthulhu Mythos checks.   Still, there are multiple avenues to get to the end, and the end is not a complete disaster.  If your running a New Orleans campaign, this is more a subtle finale that a good opening.

Bloodlines
Bargain x1
Credit Rating x5
Cthulhu Mythos x2
Fast Talk x5
French x3
History x1
Library Use x2
Navigation x5
Occult
Persuade x4
Pilot: Boat
Psychology x2
Spot Hidden x3
Track

Max SAN loss: 2-18
Max SAN reward: 0
Bonus:  +2 Cthulhu Mythos
Credit Rating Loss: -10% 

Bloodlines covers the scenario of what happens when the first investigators perish and the second group find all their stuff.  There's little actual research involved here, as the information is handed to them in spades and the the investigators just need to know when to tread carefully.  The second part's ending is anti-climatic, as all clues head to a location where nothing can truly happen.   The third act does make an interesting moral quandry for the party, which helps explain no SAN reward being offered.  Still, most non-idiotic investigators should be able to stay alive, avoid angering dark Gods, and be hapy to get out alive, and Bloodlines offers a fairly easy filler scenario, with just enough leads to connect to other scenarios in this book.

Needles
Archaeolgy x1
Bargain x1
Biology x2
Chemistry x2
Credit Rating x2
Cthulhu Mythos x5
Fast Talking x5
First Aid x1
Grapple x1
History x2
Hypnosis x1
Law x2
Library Use x11
Medicine x3
Natural History x2
Occult x5
Other Lang: French x1
Persuade x4
Pharmacy x2
Psychoanalysis x3
Psychology x5
Sneak x1
Spot Hidden x4

Max SAN loss: 10-82

Max SAN reward: 6-31
Bonus: +1 Cthulhu Mythos

The Investigators befriend a doctor that's been attacked, and then are forced to deal with an Egyptian diety.  Mutliple character types get to shine in one of the three parts of the scenario:  Con men in the first, Researchers in the second, and Scientists in the third.  While the max SAN loss would only result in truly catastrophic events, the possible SAN reward appears to be way to high for the challenge faced.

The Quickening Spiral
Credit Rating x2
Fast Talk x4
Library Use x4
Navigation
Occult x1
Pilot Boat x2
Psychology x2
Persuade x5
Spot Hidden x4

Max SAN loss: 3-31

Max SAN reward: 0(!)
Bonus: +4 Cthulhu Mythos
Bonus: +10% Credit Rating
A mysterious plague hits New Orleans and only the investigators can solve it!  Very straightforward with few rolls to obtain information.  The information is just doled out like a family style dinner.   Worse yet, they can save New Orleans from a deadly plague, but don't get the chance to earn any reward.  It's got the opposite problem as with Needles.

Song and Dance
Art: Music x1
Art: Dance x1
Climb x1
Credit Rating x8
Cthulhu Mythos x1
Fast Talk x10
Jump x1
Library Use x6
Locksmith x2
Medicine x1
Occult x3
Other Lang: French x1
Persuade x11
Pilot Boat x1
Spot Hidden

Max SAN loss: 3-31
Max SAN reward: 0(!)
Bonus: +4 Cthulhu Mythos
Bonus: +10% Credit Rating

This is one of better layered scenarios in the book.  Greek Mythology.  Pre-Mardi-Gras festivities.  Worldwide events. Dance Contests.  What more do you need.  There are plenty of allies to help the investigators' cause, as well as plenty of enemies to hinder.  There is a very heavy reliance on the social skills, but that and Credit Rating are king in New Orleans high society.  Again, we see no particular SAN rewards for successfully completing the scenario, although  the physical gifts may well make up for it.

Five Lights at the Crossroads
Credit Rating x2
Cthulhu Mythos x2
Fast Talk x4
Library Use x1
Listen x1
Locksmith x1
Medicine x1
Occult x7
Other Lang: French x1
Persuade x3
Psychoanalysis x1
Psychology x1
Sneak x1
Spot Hidden x2

Max SAN loss: 8-152
Max SAN reward:  2-12
Bonus: +1% Cthulhu Mythos
Bonus: +1% Occult
A mysterious, gruesome death leads the investigators on a wild goose chase towards a potentially  cataclysmic end.   The notes state the this scenario could serve as a coda to a New Orleans campaign.  I'm leary to use it for anything but that.

Asylum: The Return of the Yellow Sign
Accounting x1
Archeology x1
Art (Literature) x1
Credit Rating x11
Cthulhu Mythos x3
Disguise x1
Hide x2
Law x3
Library Use x5
Listen x7
Locksmith x1
Occult x5
Persuade x5
Spot Hidden x9

Max SAN loss: 19-158
Max SAN reward 8-44
Bonus: 2-7% Credit Rating

The second of Kevin Ross' selections, this one returns to the same subject matter "Have you Seen,"  although it's got a heavy dose of Mythos inevitability at the end.  Still, if the investigators choose wisely, they do have a decent chase of survival.  Although the Cthulhu Mythos checks have calmed down a bit (and bit more reliance on NPC occultists), the ELEVEN Credit Rating checks may hamper the investigation.

All in all, Tales of the Crescent City is a fantastic book.  Most of the scenarios allow terrible horror with some narrow chances of redemption... and that's just dealing with New Orleans high society.  My only quibbles are on the Keeper side, as some scenarios give Monty Haul scale rewards while in others, death is the only reward you can earn.  Still, I'm incredibly satisfied with this product from Kickstarter campaign to hard copy in my hands.   I may need to run a one shot or two for the group, since the current CoC campaign is engaged far from New Orleans.

On the Gaming with the Gnomies Five Gnome Rating System, I give Tales of the Crescent City four gnomes.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Wee Blokes: Freddy vs Scooby

It's nice to see these figures painted up and played with.  There's so many "unofficial" figures around, but rarely do we see them on the table.

Wee Blokes: Freddy vs Scooby: MacSver and I played our first ever game of Faith and Fear last week. I've had the rules (both Faith and Fear and the expansion Kooky Te...

Monday, August 25, 2014

Apathy of the New Releases (Sept '14)

GenCon is over!  The big releases have hopefully trickled down to the stores and made some money.  Does anybody have any big plans for the end of the year?  Let's find out.

My Want List
Nuttin'

My Money is No Object List
Osprey Publishing
ARMIES OF THE RUSSO-POLISH WAR 1919-21 ........................................................ $17.95

My Imaginary Game Store List (The Pegleg Gnome)
This is essentially the last big pre-order before the Christmas holiday.  While smart companies released things earlier, anything solicitations later this year will get lost in the shopping hubbub, guaranteed.

Alderac Entertainment Group
DOOMTOWN: RELOADED ECG: EXPANSION 1 - NEW TOWN, NEW RULES
Oh joy, another ECG, this time to support the RPG. 

LEGEND OF THE FIVE RINGS CCG: IVORY EDITION: THE NEW ORDER BOOSTERS

Burning Wheel
BURNING WHEEL: TORCHBEARER GAMEMASTER’S SCREEN ................................... $15.00

Catalyst Game Labs
BATTLETECH: HISTORICAL FIRST SUCCESSION WAR ................................................. $34.99
BATTLETECH: SUPPORT LANCE PACK ............................................................................ $19.99
SHADOWRUN RPG: RUN FASTER HC ................................................................................ $49.99
THE DUKE: REINFORCEMENTS CITY TROOPS ................................................................ $14.99
VALIANT UNIVERSE RPG CORE RULEBOOK ................................................................... $49.99
Valiant Universe RPG?  I didn't realize that there was a demand for this.  I love X-O Manowar like every other "buy-everything" comic collector from the 90's, but c'mon!

The Design Mechanism
O/A RUNEQUEST RPG: SHIPS & SHIELD WALLS .............................................................  $7.95
Yes it violates my No Offered Again policy, but this looks too cool to pass up for minimal shelf filler.  It's only eight bucks!

Enterplay
MY LITTLE PONY CCG: ROCK N RAVE 2-PLAYER STARTER SET

Gale Force Nine
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: HILL GIANT ......................................................................$30.00
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: SUNDERING 6 - ELMINSTER  STORM SILVERHAND. $25.00
FIREFLY: THE GAME - SHIP DICE ................................................................................ $15.00
FIREFLY: THE GAME - SHIP SET .................................................................................. $50.00

Games Workshop
As usual, all the items listed have been on the shelves at my FLGS for about a month.  I do find it a bit sad that a "starter set" with 49 plastic minis retails for $110.00!  Part of that is my old age skewing the prices.  Part of it is Codexs for fifty bucks and single figures in a boxed set for $26 creating a lot of negativity.  But as the owner of the FLGS has told me.  "Eric, I don't know why they buy all this stuff, but it's like printing money." 

Looney Labs
Holiday Fluxx ....................................................................................................................  $16.00
Finally, something to hawk during the holidays.  Thank you Looney Labs.

Modiphius
ACHTUNG! CTHULHU RPG: ZERO POINT - THREE KINGS 1939 ........................... $23.99

Mongoose Publishing
TRAVELLER: COWBOYS VS. XENOMORPHS ........................................................... $14.99
TRAVELLER: SUPPLEMENT 16 - ADVENTURE SEEDS ............................................. $24.99
TRAVELLER: MINOR ALIEN MODULE 1 - LURIANI ................................................. $14.99

One Small Step
MASTERS HUZZAH! FOUR BATTLES OF THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR VOLUME 1.. $59.95

Osprey Publishing
ACROSS A DEADLY FIELD: THE WAR IN THE EAST ................................................ $34.95

Paizo Publishing
PATHFINDER ACG: ISLAND OF EMPTY EYES ADVENTURE DECK ....................... $19.99
PATHFINDER AP: IRON GODS PART 4 - VALLEY OF THE BRAIN COLLECTORS. $22.99
PATHFINDER CAMPAIGN SETTING: LOST TREASURES .......................................... $19.99
PATHFINDER FLIP-MAT: RED LIGHT DISTRICT ......................................................... $13.99
PATHFINDER LEGENDS: RISE OF THE RUNELORDS -
SINS OF THE SAVIORS (AUDIO CD) ............................................................................. $15.99
PATHFINDER CARDS: TECH DECK ITEM CARDS ....................................................... $10.99
PATHFINDER MODULE: DAUGHTERS OF FURY ......................................................... $24.99
PATHFINDER PLAYER COMPANION: RANGED TACTICS TOOLBOX ..................... $12.99

Rio Grande Games
Colonial Gothic:  The Landlord's Daughter ............................................................................... $13.99
Colonial Gothic:  The Lost Colony ........................................................................................... $14.99

Spartan Games
While my Imaginary Store has decided not to pursue any of the Spartan Games lines, I was impressed to see an Indian (Raj) army and naval group for Dystopian Wars.  That's a niche group in the realm of western gamers.  I hope it sells well for them

Steve Jackson Games
Munchkin: Game Changers ..................................................................................................... $19.99
Munckkin: Holidazed .............................................................................................................. $14.99
Woo-hoo, a second one!

Troll Lord Games
CASTLES & CRUSADES RPG:A DRUID’S LAMENT ........................................................$ 6.99
CASTLES & CRUSADES RPG: CASTLE KEEPER’S GUIDE HARDCOVER ....................$39.99
CASTLES & CRUSADES RPG: CODEX OF AIHRDE HARDCOVER ...............................$34.99
CASTLES & CRUSADES RPG: MONSTERS AND TREASURES HARDCOVER .............$24.99
CASTLES & CRUSADES RPG: HEL RISING ......................................................................$ 7.99
CASTLES & CRUSADES RPG: REAPING BONES ............................................................$ 6.99
CASTLES & CRUSADES RPG: ODIN’S FURY .................................................................. $7.99
CASTLES & CRUSADES RPG: STAINS UPON THE GREEN ............................................$7.99

WizKids
ATTACK WING: DUNGEONS & DRAGONS TEMPLATE SET ........................................$24.99
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS FANTASY MINIATURES:  ICONS OF THE REALMS - DRAGONS
                                                                                                       ...................................$59.99 each
ATTACK WING: DUNGEONS & DRAGONS BASES AND PEGS .............................$19.99 each
PATHFINDER BATTLES: THE LOST COAST STANDARD BOOSTER BRICK
STAR TREK ATTACK WING: EXPANSION PACKS ..................................................$14.99+
STAR TREK ATTACK WING: OVERSIZED BORG CUBE EXPANSION PACK .......$99.99


Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Poll Results are in! (August 2014)

Last month I set up a poll to help me determine who November con to attend and what game to run. 

Of the small group of people who did vote (thank you!) the overwhelming majority wanted me to (a) attend Fall-In! and (b) run an early Great War (1914) game involving a village. 

And that's exactly what I'm NOT doing!

My wife's work schedule makes a weekend in Lancaster, with or without the family, a logistical nightmare.

So, looking down at the Mepacon votes, it looks as if I can run my Attack of the Fifty Foot Princess as an afternoon kids game with one other potential games.  Lost City?  Toon?  Ponies using 5e?  I really don't know.

I went down to the FLGS to hang out and possibly play some Magic.  While I spent most of the time sizing up the other players and figuring out which ones weren't db's (hint: it's not decibels) I did peruse the new 5e Player's Handbook.  Unlike the starter kit, I get a toned down 4th Edition vibe from it and the lackluster artwork makes me long for the days of 2nd Edition Elmore art on every other page.   Ponies would still work, but if I need to convert that much material for my Lost City of Kadath or "Home" games, I'm better off building the social  and  skill engines off of Basic D&D/1st Edition.

Heck, if the Labor Day game goes right, I just may copy that into a RISUS-IOU evening game.  That should cover three hours or so.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Gnome Wars Alternatives by Essex Miniatures

It's a slow day at work, so I'm cleaning up my personal email between conference calls, which means I'm mining ideas from Mike's emails for this blog. 

One thing Mike mentioned was the gnome-like look of a number of Essex Miniatures fantasy line. 


Above is a comparison of the Essex Samurai with the Brigade Games Japanese and a Dark Sword Miniatures Guinea Pig Samurai.  Not much discrepancy between all of the them.  They also stock Japanese spearmen and archers, to flesh out those Japanese armies.

Ninja!

Nice Alternative Gnome Wizard

I'm certainly not telling anyone to not use Brigade Games, or to pay for oversees shipping for a special figure or two, but it is worth checking them out for a little variety.  Be forewarned, the skeletons may look right, but in reality they're somewhere between the Brigade skeleton pirates and the skeletons with Super Dungeon Exlpore.

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Moment of Gnomish Zen

I rarely mention general gnome memorabilia, but  if you're lacking center in your life, you might want to try a Gnome Zen Garden...
$29.95 is a bit much for it, but if your interested, you can check it out here.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Mike Lung Gallery #28 - Presenting Barbed Wire!

No, no, not the bad Pamela Anderson movie. 

Mike's been busy pefecting Swiss barbed wire.

Why Swiss barbed wire, or black thorn? I'll let Mike explain it....

The gnomes of the Swiss Confederation were caught completely unprepared for the harsh realities of the grinding trench warfare that had developed along the entire length of the front.  The Swiss were desperate to find a solution to help protect their exposed trenches from sudden attacks.  The Germans were beginning to line their front lines with barbed wire.  However, the Swiss did not have the industry to support production of the enormous quantities of wire required to line their front.  Besides the machine made wire was an ecological eyesore which no gnome of good morals and taste would willingly submit to using.  The Swiss looked for a more natural solution and found it within the normally shunned Whisperwoods.  There, deep within the forest, patches of a thick, tangle briar known as die Schwartze Dornen or Black Thornes grew in abundance.  Normally, gnomes would not willing cultivate this invasive, evil looking plant.  But desperate times, call for desperate measures.  

Here’s an excerpt from the journal of a young French officer serving as a liaison to the Confederation staff: “Under the cover of darkness, in small units the Swiss quietly crawl out of their trenches into No Gnomes Land.  They tie down with string their traditional red pointy hats so that their silhouette is less disconcernable against the horizon.  Some of the members carry shovels and water cans.   Others very carefully carry the small thorny seedlings of the Black Thorne plant.  In front of their lines in rows the seedlings are quietly planted and then watered.  The water contains a special ingredient known as GMG or “Gnomish Miracle Grow”.  Then, with a bit of luck, the gnomes are able to creep back to the safety of their trenches without loss or interference from the enemy.  By morning, to my great surprise, the entire front is covered by row upon row of lethal thorns.  Their twisted black forms and their long wicked needles send an obvious message to the Bosche that they will not be able to safely pass through such a barrier without great care and personal risk.”




Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The First Box

This week, I started going through more boxes in the garage and finding the stuff a permanent home.  One was an diaper box full of random books, magazines, and papers, so with the new bookcase with drawers to hide stuff, it was the obvious choice to drag up to the office first.

Of course upon realizing some of the stuff I haven't seen since we moved into the last house, the whole process probably took three times as long.
    Deceptively Small
  • A number of old D&D modules including S3, N1,and A2
  • Some random City-State of the Invincible Overlord products from the 70s/80s.  This (and the fact that I owned the 3e version) is why I only pledged a dollar to the Kickstarter.
  • TWERPS counters and character sheets
  • Bizaud, a halfling thief my friend Scott made for either high school or my "army" game a few years later.  Vintage AD&D 2nd Edition official character sheet!
  • Zerrex a Ferran thief made by Scott forTalislanta 2nd edition
  • The original map of "modern" Eastern Crosedes for my Georic Campaign. I actually used the random terrain generator out of the 1st Ed DMG inch by inch. Eding, the starting point of three of my campaigns, is located just upriver from the northernmost lake.


Like an episode of Antiques Roadshow, what that map was drawn on made me more amazed.


  • Whatcon was the attempt some of the regular con-going crew did to run a con "the right way" and correct the apparent slights they felt.  It was an outright disaster, particularly financially.   There was a nice Battlemasters game and a fantastic Paranoia game, but due to the lack of attendees none of the other games went off.  It is nice to see Burning Plastic listed on there, though.
  • The character sheets of the ill-fated Hackmaster campaign from the mid '00s.  It had two drow fill slots over it's lifetime:  one named Strom Thurmond and another named White Thunder Gomez
  • Another HM character: Cefus Bloodletter, a half-ogre barbarian with 70 hp at 1st level. I dint know who made this but upon review of some other sheets attached to it, it must be my friend Dalcin.
  • A GURPS character sheet of Exmar McAngus.  My little sister rarely played with us, but Exmar was a pre-gen of a cleric that she ran and turned him into a 90's college radio garbed, cast iron skillet waving madman.  Good times.
  • One of the AEG pocket dungeon modules for 3e.  If the Trogs ever get back together, this would be the module that kicks it off.
  • Maps of Georic 3.0.   The Hackmaster version of Georic was a  Fantasy version of Earth, modelled after Dangerous Journey's Epic of Aerth.  With the wars and political unrest that's coming up *sorry, spoilers!* The borders change and evolve.  There is one map with the Duchy of Sworin smack dab in the middle of Crosedes.
  • Another Cthulhu print to add to my office wall at work
  • Mike Lung's mythical creation legends for Gnome Wars and my first draft of the gnome history, circa 2011.  This should get at least one long-neglected placeholder post completed.
  • Some character sheets of the Burning Trogs!  Zonin, Whitey, as well as future characters Ramsah and Coreena the Torchbearer.  As an added bonus, I found Norm Dingleberry as his 7th level character, converted to HM, as well as his "current" 12th level King of Mercadia version.
  • Plus a Hackmaster Adventure Company Log, listing statuses of members and the shares they own in the venture!
Can't wait to open up the next one!

(Hackmaster) Burning Trogs Rule! #9: Fort Vakhund!

24 Tridec, 1133 - Frandor's Keep, Marakeikos
The Burning Trogs weathered the winter in relative comfort.  The only excitement was the birth of Nina and Mutumbo's child, Takem.  But even the joys of motherhood could not hold down Nina and soon the whole group was preparing a journey back up to Frandor's Keep to find caravan work at the first sign of thawing.

They hired a wet nurse for Takem to stay in Celsior, and set out to the Keep.  The Trogs set up shop at the Tilted Keg and quickly found work, travelling up to Fort Vakhund, a cesspool of humanity outside the borders of Marakeikos on the Milosic frontier, to escort a merchant, his daughter, and staff back to civilization.

When the group neared the makeshift fort town, they were ambushed by goblins!  The attack was surprsingly coordinated, slaying Marek within seconds,  almost defeating the Trogs before retreating, some carrying the unconscious body of Nina!

The Trogs persued, found theess outpost fort of Vakhund nearly burned completely to the ground.    They continued out the other end of the ruins and only found a bleak semi-frozen wastleland, with the random pike alongside the road with a head on it.

They did encounter a group of orcs and a lone human While a bit stand-offish, they did let the party know of a nearby village on the Orcish steppe.  The village was much larger than Vakhund ever was, and after a few drinks and "getting to know the locals," they discover a group possibly matching the people they were initially hired to escort were outside of town in a slavers pen. A grizzled dwarf named Tobias offered to aid them to free the slaves and the Trogs agreed

The slavers ran away at the first sight of the Burning Trogs, and the they stormed the slave pens, freeing Nina, as well as their escorts.  With news of the goblin attack on Vakhund, the merchant decided to head back into the safety of the Southern Orc League.  Between pints and shots, Milfer the Merchant tells of a local legend on a secret treasury of Dzeebagd.  Tobias informs them that the goblins have build a fort over the ruins, but with Marakeikos paying 5sp an ear for goblins, it might make up for the loss in escort income.

That night, Janus Redrock and Tobias made sweet passionate gnome titan/dwarf love.  Janus tried to use a potion and a spell to get information from him, but it backfire beautfiully and both became smitten with each other for eight hours.

36th of Tridec, Nearing Fort Dzeebagd, Milosic, Southern Orc League.
They encountered a lone Troll with surprsing ease.  Tobias performed admirably, but only Cecelia appears to trust him.  The following day the encounter a fresh carcass of a giant elk.  Whitey made sure it was still good and prepared it for more rations.

2nd of Quadec,Nearing Fort Dzeebagd, Milosic, Southern Orc League
The Trogs wandered into some sulfur fields and encountered a herd of Woolly Mammoths.

"Mutumbo decides he wants to talk to them for some reason.  The mammoths go  nuts and a bull goes after the dwarf and Mutumbo. The dwarf gets mauled. "  - Cecelia Darkspruce

Cecelia cast light at the mammoth to save Mutumbo from certain death.  After a long battle the Trogs finally found a way to escape the herd, but everyone was badly hurt.  Even with all the prepped healing, the group was not well off as they neared Dzeebagd.

GM Notes:  And with that we started the Treklant trilogy from Troll Lord Games.  Although it was originally written for 1st-2nd level characters, placing the modules in the humanoid lands of Milosic immediately tripled the forces.  The ongoing encroachment of humans into the territory has angered the goblins, but no other races.  Overall, the modules were thin, cheap, and used different types of monsters just of sake of variety.

NEXT:  Fort Dzeebagd, goblins, and lizard power!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Gnome Wars at Guns of August This Weekend.

The Guns of August is this weekend, August 21-24 in Williamsburg, VA.  It's a great local con with plenty of variety, and adding to all that variety are two Gnome Wars games!

GnomeWar's for Kids

GM: Erin Crouch (erinmur1@gmail.com) Saturday @ 1pm
Description: The rats and their friends are at the gates of Candyland again. They were made to retreat back into the woods but are trying again to take over the candy factory. The town's people and the teddy bears are ready to protect their town. Come and join the battle of the gnomes, rats, and teddy bears.    
Scale: 28mm  Max Players: 15  Playing Time (Hours): 4 Rules: Gnome Wars 
Comments: This is a Kids Only game with adult supervision.   Gnome Wars (Adult)
GM: Richard Crouch (rrcgame@aol.com) Saturday @ 7pm
Description: Get rid of the Scales Rocks Ann coalition has been sent out to clear some land for a new location. There is a small problem and the fact that the land is inhabited. The old owners do not want to leave and they have help from People Insuring Scales Survival. There are the Scales there to who
do what they want. Come in join in the fun of Gnome Wars. Pick a side and have fun.
Scale: 28mm   Max Players: 15  Playing Time (Hours): 4 Rules: gnome wars  Comments: This is not a kids game. There will be a kids Gnome wars game at 1pm Sat.

I love the child/adult games. I know we try (unsuccessfully) to segregate tables by age, but let's be honest, some of kids should be generals of the armies give orders to the adults.

Monday, August 18, 2014

GenCon Recap

No, no, no... I didn't leave my family in a lurch and go to GenCon over the weekend.  As I've said before, it's just too big for my sensibilities.  If Gnome Wars would ever do, say, Kickstarter, and someone was providing badges, rooms, and transportation, I would be an idiot not to go, but it's not on my gaming bucket list.

There are a few GenCon related things that took my interest.

The once highly anticipated turned "Is it ever coming out?" Robotech Tactics was supposed to arrive with a few units at GenCon, while the slaves, er, employess at Palladium slogged through shipping all the Kickstarter orders.  Alas, the container shipping over from China was pegged for a US customs inspection, destroying any hope of that occuring. Of course the mere idea that product is on US soil  might be confused with a Sasquatch sighting at this point.

I spent a good ammount of time just following the twitter feed of friends, associates, and semi-famous people who attended the con.  LOTS of 5th Edition D&D, in hour, two hour, and four hour timeslot.  Lots of comments on how FUN everything was, and little in the way of mechanics, except for the comment, "This is what my group expected 4e to be."

I also had friend shoot me this picture, with the caption, "Thought of Gaming with the Gnomies."
Super Dungeon Explore
Not much in the avenue of future announcements.  Steve Jackson Games announced THREE different versions of Munchkin. While Munchkin Gloom elicited a 'oooh' for its reverse Munchkin idea, the big one to make me go "Homminahomminahommina" was Munchkin: Kobolds Ate My Baby.   What evil blackmail does John Kovalic have on SJG that he'll stay employed forever?

The biggest announcement for me didn't even happen to someone who was at the con! Bob Olley announced a new Kickstarter and gave a tempting picture of a Victorian Steampunk Prussian solider.  The concept artwork for the non-steampunk Prussian soldiers  made me do a little dance.


Although it orginates from the UK, it makes me wish we had pursued Lon at Brigade Games to launch his own KS for Gnome Wars to expand the line.

(Edit: The Kickstarter went live late this morning:  link  The 8-figure Steampunk unit are about $52 with S&H to America.  The 15-figure regular Prussian unit runs about $95.  Brigade is waaaayy cheaper, but they're beautiful sculpts.)

My biggest highlight of the con happened a week prior, when Steve Jackson Games posted a fairly innocuous tweet.
Of course, I misread this as one of the events SJG was sponsporing was a Food Truck game.

SJG +Trucks = Car Wars

Squeeeeeee!

Now, I realized the error of my ways, but I  have now a new mission in life.  In celebration of Car Wars Classic becoming available, I will begin building a Car Wars scale map of the Indianapolis Downtown around the convention center, and run an entire game of Food Truck Wars.

Large vehicles, massive weaponry, explosive propane tanks on board, what's not there to love?

As I posted this through social media, I had five instant players, so this is going to become my new project. Of course, once we find the scale map we're using, we'll need to find a location for this shin-ding, maybe.. some assistance from the SJ MiBs to run other games, and we have the makings of ViscountCon II.  More to come, hopefully.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

(Gnome Wars) #1 Battle of Veliki Leptir

July 29, 1914 GC (Gnome Calendar)  Veliki Leptir, Surfia

In response to the assassination of Crown Prince Otto Von Buckvitz by a Surfian miner's pick, and the relative indifference of the Surfian government to their demands, the Principality of Oesteria declared war on its smaller neighbor.  Prepared for a strictly punitive campaign, the Oesterian military crossed the border into Surfia with its first mission:  Capture/kill the local wizard, Milo, crush the resistance, and come back home for a drink.  

Things would not be so easy.

Oesterian Army
Objectives, in order of preference: (1) Capture the Wizard Milo  (2) Steal the Purple Butterfly Artifact (3) Kill the Wizard Milo
Deployment:  one unit sets up a anywhere along the tree line.  Each turn roll for reinforcement.  On turn 1 a 6 on 1d6 would deploy no more than one unit.  Each subsequent turn the chance to deploy would be reduced by one, but no lower than 3+ and no more than one unit a turn.

3 Oesertian Infantry Units, only one medic in the primary unit.

The Wizard Milo, with the Purple Butterfly artifact, and a personal cannon
The Surfian Army
Objective:  (1) Save the wizard, Milo (2) Drive off the attackers.
Deployment:  The Surfian leadership was expecting an attack on the area and was well-prepared to handle it.    The Wizard and the artifact would start the game by his barn.  A unit of Surfian Militia was patrolling the area and would enter down the road by the cottage.  Three additional units of would be deployed following the same rules as the Oesterrians.

Wizard, Milo (no animals)
1 unit , Sufrian Militia
2 units, Surfian Infantry
1 units, Sufrian Lynch mob (treat all units as hand-to-hand troops with d6 in melee). 

Veliki Leptir, from a shaky hand in an observation balloon
From the historical perspective, the Oesterrians came to Surfian wholly unprepared, while the Surfians came loaded to bear. 

The battle began with the lone German unit rushing to the defenses at the crossroads.  The Surfian militia followed suit and no shots were fired until the second turn.  No reinforcements were rolled on either turn.

Turn 3:  The Surfian Lynch Mob emerged on the far end of the table from the Germans.  Their mission:  save the wizard at all costs.  One of the Surfian Infantry units also emerged from other far corner. 

The villagers come to aid the wizard!
The rifle exhanges were particularly brutal at such a close range, but the medics on each side performed admirably.  Still, the lone Oesterrian unit kept looking over their shoulder, praying for reinforcements that never seemed to come. 

Turn 4:  The Oesterrians tried to seize and day and their melee troops charged the dual line of Surfian Militia.  Despite killing the invaders to the man, the Surfians took heavily casualties as well and were forced to fall back to the second stone wall. 
The Surf Militia repells the assault and tries to regroup
Those eyes staring back for help caught the Oesterrians awares of the charging Lynch Mob!
Moments before the villagers violent end
Turn 5:  Finally, reinforcements for the Oesterrians!  Later military investigators determined that the other two Oesterrian infantry units had just arrived from a forced march and did not receive orders to advance.  Their officers assumed an assault at dawn would be more productive than one at dusk.  When word of the lone unit finally reached the camp, a recon team was dispatched to confirm the report.  They reached the treeline, fired some successful shots the surprised militia, and sunk back into the forest. 

The Surfians got their final reinforcement and the Lynch Mob charged the battered Germans.  Despite being outnumbered, the better disciplined Germans slew all of the villagers and the Oesterrian captain decided withdrawal was a better course of action. 

To fight the first battles of the Great Gnome War, the little known Oester-Surfian Campaign, I decided to fiddle around the Four Enemies campaign generator on TMP.  While it's much better suited for Fantasy/Medieval/Ancients, the maps are generic enough to tweak for some early 20th Century style warfare.  Plus my daughter Maja set up most of the terrain, including the Purple Butterfly artifact objective.   The variables of the campaign were set pretty high, so I wasn't too surprised when the defenders (Surfia) got more than 15% more troops than the attackers!  Add the horrible reinforcement rolls and the campaign has the Oesterrians realing back to the border, and the Surfians on a surprise offensive.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

War is Declared!

August, 1914
In response to the assassination of Crown Prince Otto von Buckvitz, the Duchy of Oesterria and the Kingdom of Germany at large has declared war on the Kingdom of Surfia. 


In the official statement from the German Foreign Ministry, the declaration of war was essential to "safeguard Germany's rights and position within the world theatre."  The death of the Crown Prince on foreign soil and the nation's inattentiveness to the crisis, as well as no arrests made in crime, has prompted the Germans to launch a punitive campaign against the Surfians. 

Surfian leaders attempted to apologize again for the heinous act which occurred on their soil, as well as the apparent lack of investigation, but the little hard evidence has been uncovered.  All the while, Surfia pledged to defend her borders against all threats, and pleaded with the other world powers to aid her in this endeavour.

The German army is regarded as the largest and most technologically advanced army in the world.  Beyond their well-disciplined infantry and cavalry corps, the Germans have experimental military aircraft and mechanical cavalry in development.

In comparison, the Surfian army is very small, heavily supported by local armed militias.  The militias have been know to be supported by roving bands of poorly armed peasant mobs. 

The International Response has been varied:

Swiss:  The Swiss have pledged their support of the Surfian gnomes, although no details to the extend of this support have been made.    The Swiss most recently had a disastrous campaign against Germany in the Wishing Well War of 1909-1910, which resulted in German annexation of the Holy Shrine of Chucaquatre.

French:  No response, although most anticipate their snarky form letter missive with no doubt provoke the Germans.

Russia:  The Russians treat the Surfians as a big brother would a younger sibling.   This would be the first military action the fractured Russians would be fighting since the ill-advised Russo-Japanese War.  Russian officers are still picking rice out of their uniforms from that.

Holy Gnoman Empire:  The Holy Gnoman Empire sends his condolences and demands that hostilities end even before they begin, less the might of the Gnoman Legion come down on all parties.

British:  The British pledge neutrality in the matter, although they have a number of trade agreements with all parties. 

Highlanders:  Rumors of Highlander Mercenaries heading to ports to fight for any side that pays best have been confirmed.

Sikhs:  Sikhs are enemies of both the Germans and the Surfians.  However, alliances with the Swiss may come into play.

United States-  The Union of American Gnomes pledges full neutrality in this foreign matter.

Confederate States - The Southern Gnomes declare their support of the weaker Surfians against their oversized industrialized oppressor.  Little support can be provided, although CSA warships have been spotted leaving Charleston harbor to points unknown.

Republic of Texas - "Where's Surfia" was the only response provided by Secretary of State Waldo Emerson.

Deseret - "The Mormon Theocracy wishes a curse on all houses involved in this heretical war."

The Imperial Republic of California - "Can't we all just get along?"

Republic of Columbia - "Too busy hunting caribou to care"

Canada - "As Britain goes, so do the Canadians"

Quebec - "As France goes, we do as well, mes armies"

Nova Scotland - "Who can we fight on North American soil?"

Irish - The Irish leaders have been too drunk for comment.  They did assist the Swiss in a mercenary capacity during the Wishing Well War and actually hijacked a train to escape the war zone.

Japan - The Emperor of Japan has pledged full support to the Kaiser of Germany.  What this means for such a faraway nation has not yet been determined.

Please add the reaction of any nationalities/groups that I missed in the comments below.

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Preview of Olley's Armies' Upcoming Kickstarter

While all eyes are focused on GenCon this weekend, it's easy to forget that not everyone is there. (Steve Jackson is at LonCon in London this weekend).

Olley's Armies have begun heavily hinting at a new Kickstarter campaign.  No specifics yet, but they have provided two pictures via Twitter/Facebook:



Those are some very Prussian-looking gnomes, er... I mean Scrunts.  Not a huge fan of the steampunk heavy weapon/riot police greens, but the concept art for the regular infantry is great.  Heck, I just want the officer with a sword!

Lucky for Brigade Games Olley's still has to deal with international shipping to get things to the States, or else that is some direct competition to the Gnome Wars line.

A Respite Between Storms

The first half of August has been crazy for me on the blog-side and the personal one.    My mother-in-law is completing the carousel of moving by moving from her mother's place back to her original house (the one we moved out of).  Despite saying 'I got it covered.' every step of the way, we spent this past week packing up boxes and saving antiques from the trash hauler.  It's been a long couple of months for her, so I'll give her a continued pass.

Monday, my co-worker I came over to move the couch from the house and take back to the new house.  Of course, no one let us know that the couch had been delivered years ago before the door frames of this old mining house had been replaced by small doors and weatherstripping on all four sides that was two inches thick! We're a bit beaten up, but I do finally have a comfy couch in the pet-free living room.Of course, we're trying to figure out what to do with the Futon we had in its place previously.

With more stuff coming in, the final act, cleaning out the garage has been at a standstill.  Hopefully this weekend I can get some furniture cleaned up and moved in.  

Outside of finishing up the California IG Officer and NCO, painting has only been done on the bench by the girls.  The purple Japanese Samurai Gnome Infantry are a bit purple, but I'm honing their skills.

This post, typed on the 13th, finally appears in the first open date on my blog since July 27th. I'm not used to double posting in the same day, but sometimes it's been necessary.  If I can complete entry #9 from the Hackmaster campaign, I'm already filled up through Tuesday, and that includes a little ditty about Gencon.  There's a very good reason I may be taking a full vacation from live blogging in December.  Of course the idea that I can use the #RPGaDay listing for August and use it for December, and I'm already done with four of those entries that won't change makes things a little better.

I'm also getting a hand on this whole Twitter thing.  Follow me @viscounteric, if you dare.

We did get most of the office set up, which allows me to bring up another box from the garage.

Hopefully, the old Hackmaster Character sheets of the Burning Trogs are in here and I can finally post stats of the beloved Whitey.

As I try to take full advantage of my few Sundays I'm off this Fall, I'm already scheming about the next campaign after the Gnomes of August, after Tanga II, after Rommel the Gnome in action.  I dug out a twenty year old copy of Wargames Illustrated, and outisde of drooling at the Geo-Hex ads, I realize I want to play gnome versions of all the scenarios they printed that month.  While we will still accept AARs from players fighting the major fronts of the Great Gnome War, these games might be wild cards for future campaign implications, or perhaps nothing at all.

It also looks like we'll be ramping up Call of Cthulhu after a loooong hiatus for two weekends in September.

And I won't even mention the cluttered mess in my mind of my Risus IOU game I'm running at our Annual Day of  Sloth Picnic.

Woooooo!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Crown Prince is Assassinated!

Headline - Sarajevo, Kingdom of Surfia 

News continued to come out of Germany at a crawl, but it appears that Crown Prince Otto von Buckvitz was brutaly gunned down by angered Franz Ferdinand fans from the Kingdom of Surfia. 

The Crown Prince, eight in line for succession to the German crown and direct heir to the Duchy of Oesterria, was in Sarajevo for an armed forces review.  Contacts close to the Crown suggest he may have been using his royal clout to gain access to a music fans and other fans grew agitated. 

Otto is known for his playboy lifestyle and his lack of personal security in most instances.  His elderly father, Duke Claude, issued a vitriol-filled attack on the people of Surfia, demanding compensation for Otto's death.  The Kingdom of Surfia was only provided a token gesture of condolence to the Oesterria and the German people as a whole. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Dungeons and Ponies 5e #2 - Friendship IS Magic!

After a fairly successful first game of the new Dungeons and Dragons RPG using My Little Ponies as the characters, I decided into another foray with my daughter Maja, age 5.

We also recruited her younger sister, Millie, to take the role of Spike the dragon, and throw a little more chaos into the encounter. 

Recap:  Apple Jack rescued Twilight Sparkle and Spike from goblins, but the Princess Cadence was missing, as well as all the gifts for the big festival in Canterlot. 

(I can't believe I just typed that.)

So, the trio licked their wounds and continued on, hoping to find a clue where the Princess had been taken.  Soon, they entered a magical  mushroom forest and discovered the wagon, bereft of gifts. 

Although Maja had changed from Apple Jack to Twilight Sparkle, her rolls were horrible and again the group was surprised by not two, but THREE goblins!

Apple Jack was just as erratic as our first session, missing the goblins with terrible rolls.  Spike, run by a three year old, just wanted to breath fire, and did so with even worse rolls!

It was up to Twilight Sparkle to save the day, and she did!  First she cast a Sleep spell, which knocked out two of them.  Then, as the third goblin knocked out Apple Jack, she cast Charm Person on it and the it failed its saving throw.  A very friendly goblin was confused by the sleeping goblins and pony, but was very forthcoming about the goblin cave holding a princess pony.  In fact, he offered to show her where it was!

Our battlemat, courtesy of Millie, age 3.
This session we worked on the adding tracking more numbers on the character sheets for the kids, missile combat (in the form of treating the pistols of the goblins as crossbows and Spike's breath weapon), and the wizard side of magic use.  Since Maja is just starting Kindergarten in three weeks, I gave her spell cards to help her out.  Most had a picture to tell her what spell it was (A light bulb for Light, a firefly for Dancing Lights), although my ability to make  a snowflake are non-existent, so she learned the word "Cold" for Ray of Cold.  She knew the pink cards could be used over and over (cantrips), while the big spells needed to be turned into to me when she used them (1st level).  She picked out her two 1st level spells all by herself (z-z-z-z-z-z for Sleep and a smiley face for Charm Person).    When playing with My Little Ponies, I can't imagine a better way to end the session with a making a new friend (at least until the spell wears off, somewhere within the goblin caves.  Dad treats everyone equally behind the screen, even if they have trouble tying their shoes.

I've realized that at least the twenty sider in the boxed set is badly flawed, because between all of us a 3 has been rolled more than a third of the time between two sessions. 

Next:  Onto the caves

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

(Hackmaster) Burning Trogs Rule! #8: My Kingdom for a Dingleberry

Our Cast
Zorin Redrock, Gnome Titan Fighter. Veteran of the Barbarian Wars against the Gnomish City-States, Zorin had retired and has honing his skills for future glory in Markakeikos. Unfortunately, his near bloodthirsty disdain for humans was putting a crimp in his plans.
Mutumbo: Nubian warrior wandering around strange world where, if the gods weren't crazy, their believers were. While not the most talented in the party, he obviously demonstrated the most experience, thus his continuing ability to take a pummeling and not complain about it made Zorin give his begrudging respect.
Cecelia Darkspruce, Half-Elf Fighter Cleric of Sif, Valkyrie of Pre-Ragnarock Battles, Hero of the Barony of Celsior.
Gwendylyn Lorax, Half-Elf Druid. Even a Druid of the native Rifflani Elves needed a moment or two in the dirty city for supplies and information.
Janus Redrock, Gnome Titan Priest of Pangrus. Zorin's cousin. Looking for brawling and booty (both financial and otherwise).
Marek the Mage, some claim this bookish human magic-user acted like a prick when he was drunk, but his true friends knew the truth: unless you dealt with him in the matters of magic, he was a jerk regardless of sobriety.
Brother Thomas, Human Monk. It was never ascertained exactly which monastic order Thomas originated from, only that he could indeed kick ass.
"Whitey":  War buddy of Zorin's.  Pitiful albino halfling cook.
Nina, a quiet, unassuming human thief, pregnant with Mutumbo's child.

4th of Decdec, 1132 - Califon, Kingdom of Marakeikos
The group trekked out in the morning to an odd grey snow, and were quickly surrounded by a large warband of orcs and goblins.  Despite being severely outnumbered, the Trogs soldiered on the defeated them, with no significant wounds on their part!  Very late that night, they ventured into Celsior.  The taxes on the house had been minimal, and the Trogs proceeded to buy some furniture for the house and find *gulp* jobs over the next few days.

11th of Decdec, 1132 - Celsior
Despite finding no jobs, and their cook Whitey having a proclivity to falling into the fireplace, the group was settled.  That afternoon, an magical flying airship appeared outside the town gates.  After an hour or two of hovering there, it flew over the the Baron's castle and disembarked some of its passengers.  Cecelia attempted to seek an audience with Baron Desmond, but was turned away. 

12th of Decdec, 1132 - Celsior
Cecelia was finally granted a quick audience with the Baron.  Baron Desmond explained that he was "acting king" for awhile and had many problems to deal with, especially to the west, where a large comet had hit the halfling shires, killing thousands and now the area was overrun with kobolds.  Magical messages had confirmed that Drow had poured into Agenmoor as well.  He dismissed Cecelia, put called her back with the other party members later that afternoon with an important mission.    The party was entrusted with the safety of a group of diplomats back to the Emron.  The Trogs were given Royal papers, properly equipped, and told to come back at dawn for the  journey.

Per Cecelia, "That night a large fire broke out at the Baron's castle.  There was a large explosion that levelled half of the castle and killed many in the diplomatic group."

13th of Decdec, 1132 - Celsior
The grey snows continued to fall from the sky, but it did little to cool the smoldering ash of the castle.  All but one of diplomats were killed, so the Trogs effectively became his bodyguard.   

15th of Decdec, 1132 - Somewhere over Milosic
It was discovered the the diplomat was actually King Norm I of the distant kingdom of Mercadia.  He acted a bit awkward, standing on the bow of the ship and yelling, "I'm Emperor of the World!"  There was little other interaction with the king, but luckily, no attacks on the airship as well.

20th of Decdec, 1132 - Emron City, Emron
The airship finally arrived in Emron City, the capital of the Wizards of Emron.  This magistracy was at war with neighboring Ispatlia, and it was not going well for either side.  The recent comet hitting the halfling lands across the narrow Mer Adros was enough to convince each side the talks were needed.

The Trogs escorted King Norm to the negotiations.  The room was essentially packed to the gills with powerful wizards with little "diplomatic" experience.  The king attempted to keep things civil, but soon numerous insults and accusations began to fly and soon fireballs and lightning bolts erupted within the halls.  The Trogs wisely took whatever cover they could find, but Norm took a chair and began knocking over some wizards of their wands, others he knocked their legs out so the group had clean getaway on the airship. 

25th of Decdec, 1132 - Celsior
There were many tense moments escaping the city, but soon it had arrived safely back in Celsior. 

The Trogs were given proper payment and thanks by King Norm and the airship departed back to Mercadia.

1st of Undec, 1133 - Celsior
Outside of aiding the Baron with some local assignments, the Trogs decided to stop operations until the Spring and enjoy the winter in Cecelia's house.  One strange thing happened on the first of the year, however.    Marek couldn't memorize spells, Cecelia and Janus felt no connected to their gods when they prayed.   Minor enchantments that people wouldn't notice around town failed to work.  Later, tales of other towns having riots and other having calamities occur when magical fail safes no longer worked.

2nd of Undec, 1133 - Celsior
The magic returned, but the Trogs shuttered themselves in for the remainder of the winter, just as a precaution.

DM Notes:  I'm notorious to running a "living campaign" where things constantly occur with or without the party's involvement.  The Ispatlians City-States and Emron had let trade disputes erupt into open warfare and the firepower of the two were quite devastating.    Massive airship battles had levelled some major cities, including portions of the Isptalian capital of Remus.   When an Ispatlian plot to vaporize Emron City went awry (and landed into the halfling lands across the sea), they pleaded for peace, but even a famous adventurer as the lead negotiator could not make any headway, ultimately, the wizards of Emron came together and tried to joint cast a powerful ancient spell to destroy Ispatlia.  But even the mightiest wizards of the continent were no match for the dark secrets of the distant past and the spell backfire.  Part of it's result was the "Day with No Magic" that happened to occur on the first day of the next year.  Yes, this is directly stolen for the Known World setting, with barely the serial numbers filed off.  Both Emron and Ispatlia would be crippled for the coming years, dreadfully impacting the magic research and mundane trade on the continent and overseas. 

King Norm of Mercadia was a much older (60 years?) version of a PC in the AD&D 2nd Edition College Game.  Norm Dingleberry was a nose-picking Dwarf fighter with a wisdom of 5 (maybe 6) that simply refused to die.  He survived adventures that decimated his friends, travelled to the far off world of Talislanta in a blue outhouse (don't ask), saved the whole village the party had adopted three times, and made Yule the true holiday of giving. 

His highest moment in game was during the finale of the campaign.  When all the good guys were routed, when his friends were dropping like flies,  when the prophesied chosen one returned, only to be struck down by a stray goblin arrow,  who was able to lift the legendary Bloodbrand, the sword that would reunite the known world of Georic under one banner, and lead the good guys to a narrow victory.

Norm Dingleberry, Temporary Emperor of the Known World. 

He bequeath the sword to the proper human heir and their was peace for one human generation.  Norm had been given a Duchy in the Kingdom of Crosedes as part of his reward.  He named the territory Mercadia, in honor of the fake country one of aliases was from, and he settled into a life of nobility.  When Rurik V, Emperor of the Known World,  died, the kingdoms fractured back to their original borders and Norm decided to turn his duchy into a kingdom.  No one was powerful enough to say no to him. 

Without going through the journal, I think this is the only time he appears as an NPC in the campaign.  All of his human friends had died in either the quests leading up to the finale, or in the decades since, so there is a chance that he's a lonely mad dwarf, succumbing to that low wisdom affecting his decision making.  Only time will tell...

Or perhaps he'll just buy all the pudding manufacturers on the continent.  Makes sense to me.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Buck's Blog: Toy Soldiers

One of the blogs I follow is written by a gentleman named Buck Surdu.  He's one of the Harford Area Weekly Kriegspeilers (HAWKS) that have a dominant presence at the HMGS con, as well as the author of the Tanga 1914 campaign book that I've used for my GnomeWars Tanga game.

The normal perusing of Buck's Blog is collection of con reports, club games, and some pretty kick-ass vacations with the family.  One of his more recent posts covered his painting up some Eureka Toy Soldiers.  I haven't gotten any yet, but I'm strongly encourage to paint them up to complement my Britains, with enough lacquer to give them an extra 2mm in height.



The Astounding Tales of the Campaigns of General William Augustus Pettygree

Just another quick post shouting some love to a blogger that does a waaaaay better job than me. 

Behold!

Campaigns of General William Augustus Pettygree  is a great blog.  I originally wanted to post about it since I saw another use of the Melanesian Spearmen from  Pulp Figures.  The fact that this entry contains a lot of terrain I already own is quite inspiring. Plus they make mention of using Project Bricks, available at Michael's, for the lost ruins, so a long overdue trip is in order this week. 

I don't know the actual format he's using but the staged scenes of General Pettyrgree are fabulous.  Chapter 69 makes we want to drop everything, sell plasma to buy MBA buildings, and scrap the gnomes to set up some fabulous colonial adventures.  Toy soldiers meet storytelling meet wargaming potential.  Sign me up!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

(Kickstarter) Chibi Pony Adventurers Miniatures

Impact Miniatures has always tried their best to separate me from my money, but I have resisted.   With the recent forays into Dungeons and Ponies, this Kickstarter is slightly tempting. 


Not a huge fan of the "X level of pledges nets you Y number of points," but the pledge levels seem fair, you can add more points for a dollar apiece, and stretch goal benefits kick in at the $50 level. 

The good news is the campaign runs through the 23rd of August, so my little girls may tire of the concept and go on to something even more annoying. 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

#RPGaDay

Yesterday I finally discovered #RPGaDay.  Someone has set up a series of 31 daily topics to celebrate role-playing during August, the month of GenCon.  People have been linking their blog posts on Twitter with the above mentioned hashtag, and there have been some pretty prominent individuals in the industry participating.  

Given that they're already up to day 9 on this, I won't reorganize my entire month (and five day backlog of posts) to add this to my retinue, even if the daily links on the Tweets will increase traffic.  I will give the "short-short" answer each day under @viscounteric.  

I have decided that this list would make a great replacement for my #12Days shindig I've done the last couple years for Christmas.  The main reason I did #12days was to just keep blogging during a slow time gaming for myself and the hobby. 

For December, I won't entirely supplant my normal eccentric blogging with this gimmick.  I guess I'll make this the morning post, and any other random stuff.  


Hinterland Miniatures

While researching miniatures to use for a Marvelous Land of Oz game, I gleefully stumbled upon Hinterland Miniatures








Outside of some Oz work, I can't see where I would use these.  Heck, who am I kidding, I'd allow these in a personal gnome game just on principle!

If I procure any of these, it will start with Princess Cecilie (see below).  You guys can keep your Waffen SS T&A figures I see everywhere, this figure (and it's paint job) convey a kickass mentality.  If she were a real person, I would follow her anywhere, and not just because I don't want to be beaten by a bigass stick.