Sunday, January 31, 2016

(Gnome Wars) Gnomish Creation Myth

Outside the Four Immortals of Gnomekind, and strange cults like Urinitas, there's very little mythology in the world of Gnome Wars.  All good mythologies come with a creation story, so from the e-mail archives, here's one interpretation of gnomish creation by our ever-overthinking Mike Lung.

Gnomish Creation Myth
      by Mike Lung

There are many different stories of how gnomes came to be.  No one knows for sure.  It is known that gnomes have existed for a very long time.  One popular myths is often told around campfires goes back to when the globe was very young.   It tells the tale of one of the Old Gods, Gnarm, who was known as a great builder and inventor.  He created many wondrous things, and he was exulted among the Old Gods for achievements.  However, although there was respect, praise, and even envy from the other gods, there was no love for Gnarm, for it was well know that the earth gods had hearts of stone with no feelings of companionship or love  But Gnarm was somehow different .

He craved something. In a most basic way he felt empty  So Gnarm in his frustration began to create many small statues in his image out of rock and clay  Gnarm gave the statues the power to move and the ability to understand and carryout tasks. But like the material they were made of, they did not live. No matter how hard he tried, he could not create life, for life was the domain of the nature gods, and not the gods of the earth.  The gods of nature and those of the earth were never on friendly terms.  At best they ignored one another, often they were openly hostile. 

One day, as Gnarm drew deeper in despair and surrounded himself with his creations, he was spied on by a curious goddess of nature called Ome.  At first Ome was repulsed by Gnarm's cold and sterile appearance, but as  she watched, she could not help feel pity for him.  Her curiosity grew as she saw his wonderful creations and the beautiful  crastmanship of his works.  Surprisingly, Ome found an unsuspected  hidden warmth in Gnarms's creations and in Gnarm himself.  Her previous disdain rapidly turned into attraction.   On the other hand, Gnarm was immediately smitten by Ome.  Her beauty and her vitality made him immediately forget their differences.  For a short blissful period, Gnarm was unbelievably happy.  He dreamed of their future together.  Yet, the gods of nature were known to be capricious and so it was with Ome.  She knew that such a relationship could not last.  The other gods would not approve, nor could she allow herself to be tied down to a creature of stone.  So she attempted to leave him.

Gnarm was devastated by her actions.  In his despair  he drew  his knife and took his own life rather than return to his former loneliness without Ome.  His immortality  flowed out in the shape of blood red rubies which poured into the ground.  Ome, immediately regretted  her own actions, fell weeping onto Gnarm's body.  Her tears mixed with the rbuties giving them an inner glow.  Knowing that the other gods would covet these rubies if they found them, Ome hid them inside Gnarm's creation.  Immediately, the creations sprang to life!  They were, thereafter called Gnomes in remembrance of the joing of the earth and nature gods.  Fearing that the offspring of her and Gnarm's love would be destroyed by the other gods out of malice and envy, she bade them to scatter and flee in all directions of the earth.  That was why gnomes can be found anywhere across the earth!

(Mike also has some notes on the Gnomish "Age of Heroes"  where gnomish legends fought against and alongside the Old Gods.  I'll let him work on that at his own pace.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

A Plan for Painting

Whether it's a random blog or personal correspondence,  I'm amazed when someone can radically change gears from the middle of one massive project and dive into a new one with nary a care in the world.  Perhaps my self imposed deadlines and needs for figures to be used in a scheduled con game curtails that.  Maybe it's my snail's pace that allows me change projects when I realize the current one is superfluous to my needs.  Regardless, with 500+ figures sorted out in my basement, and more coming in, I've got to keep myself interested in what I'm painting, both stylistically and to suit my play needs.

Here's my current list of projects, in different categories to keep my attention.

A -  Scenery (aka Those freakin' trees)
  • Tall Palm Trees, pinning and sealing 
  • Double Palms.  First batch are finished, but I just uncovered another three, plus a pile of plastic  rocks that need to be painted.
  • Necromunda terrain.
B -  Units (non gnome)
  • Askaris (East Africa and a new faction for the Pulp Game)
  • Mouslings (for secret project X)
  • Gnome Teams for the Treasure Hunt.
C - Individuals
  • Grenadier Fantasy  (There's four more to finish them off.  It's a good sized adventuring party)
  • German MG Team  (For episode five of Savage Showdown)
  • Dangerous Dames 2
  • Tramp Freighter Crew
  • More Chupacabras 
  • More random fantasy
D - Refurbish/Complete
  • Swiss Engineers
  • German Flying Monkeys
E  Battletech

This should be written in stone for the next 15 minutes or so, especially since my RAFM CoC figures are slated to ship this months *fingers triple crossed*

Friday, January 29, 2016

(Gnome Wars) An Aggressive Disembarkation

Swiss, Highlanders, Irish, and Pirates race off their ships and charge into God knows what.

 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

RIP Alien Dungeon

With one final post on the All Quiet on the Martian Front Kickstarter Update, Robot Peanut, parent company of Architects of War and Alien Dungeon have permanently closed their doors.

Unfortunately, it was not a complete surprise.  When you figure that the delivery date for All Quiet was December 2013 and there were still rumblings before the holidays of wave 3 of the Kickstarter finally getting delivered, they well behind the eight-ball.  They may have had great plans and projections, but it was simply a case that they needed realistic plans and projections instead. 

They went overboard on the free items, there were too many products, not enough of a profit margin to foster a sales inventory beyond the Kickstarter fulfillment, AND they paid for shipping... for two waves!

The sad part of this isn't the waves of pledges who didn't get all the promised items, it's the idea that a company with popular products could not take advantage of their Kickstarter's enthusiasm to become a beyond-a-doubt legitimate player in the miniatures market. 

I'm also a bit worried for Cold Wars.  After all the Host on the auction block nonsense, to have such a large vendor disappear off the face of the earth should throw off some numbers, and creates a huge vacuum in the dealer hall.

 

What Could I Run at Mepacon Spring 2016?

Our local con, Mepacon in Scranton is coming up, and they have the audacity of running it on my "birthday weekend".  This also means that I should have a little more leeway with attending it than I've had in years prior.
The theme this time is Steampunk in all of it's corsetty and goggle-wearing glory.  I haven't been an active fan of the genre since Castle Falkenstein was awaiting its second printing,  so the questions arises again, "What could I/should I run at Mepacon?"

The poll is up on the right hand side.  Polls aren't available in mobile view, so you will need to select desktop view at  the bottom of the page to vote using your mobile device. Multiple options can be selected before you complete your voting.

Toon: Cthulhu Comes to Springfield 2:   The TOON Simpsons game, with a few new "episodes."

Burning Plastic: The Secret Base:   Usually I run BP as a fun, slaughterama type game that appeals to most con goers, but I can't help but think that the system should work tactically in a "realistic" military game. The shoebox houses come back, but the play style might be altered a little bit

KAMB: Kobolds Go to College!:  I love the ridiculousness of Kobolds At My Baby.  I worship the zany absurdity of Illuminati University (IOU).   A few unconnected plot hooks should keep a four hour session going.

Contemptible Little Armies:  Samoa:  Historicals don't go over well at the local con, but with all the extra trees I've finished, it should look good on the table.

Contemptible Little Armies:  Pago-Pago:  Colonial era pirate hunting, without the respectability of historical accuracy.

Gnome Wars:  Treasure Hunt:  The treasure hunt model for a small kid-friendly game seems to work, plus it's an excuse to get at least two of every nationality painted up.

Hackmaster 4th: Pirate Raid:  I am two or three con themes behind on this one, but a few Halfling sailors sacking a pirate hideout sounds like fun to me.

Basic D&D: Home:  My Polynesian game is always available to play... someday.

Spirit of '77:  One Bad *Shut Yo Mouth":  Everything great with the 70's in a easy-to-learn RPG system.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

(Stat Crunch) Cthulhu Invictus Companion

After finishing up the stat crunch for De Horrore Cosmico, it only made sense to tackle the three scenarios in the Cthulhu Invictus Companion.

With the typical 1920's Investigator, many players simply prep their characters with Library Use, Spot Hidden, Dodge, and Shotgun to survive many different types of encounters.   Ancient Rome is a different, shotgun-free environment.  With Golden Goblin's product focusing on Persuade, Spot Hidden, Listen, Natural World, and probably a bunch of weapon skills, let's see what the authors of Invictus considered to be preferred skills in the setting

Chuma Invictus
Climb x1
Hide x1
Insight x2
Library Use x1
Listen x9
Natural World x2
Other Language Meriotic x1
Persuade x2
Repair/Devise x2
Sneak x5
Spot Hidden x14
Tactics x2

Min/Max SAN Loss:  4- 5
Min/Max SAN Gain:   1d6
Cthulhu Mythos Gain: 8%

Morituri Te Salutamus
Civics x3
Dodge x1
Empire  x3
Fast Talk x5
Insight x8
Library Use  x3
Listen x5
Persuade x5
Repair/Devise x1
Sneak x1
Spot Hidden x7
Status x1
Track x1

Min/Max SAN Loss:   5 - 34
Min/Max SAN Gain:  2  - 18
Cthulhu Mythos Gain    5%

Bacchanalia
Cthulhu Mythos x1
Insight x2
Listen x2
Medicine x2
Natural World x1
Navigate x1
Occult x1
Persuade x6
Pilot Boat x1
Sneak x2
Spot Hidden x8
Status x3
Swim x1
Tactics x1

Min/Max SAN Loss:  2-19
Min/Max SAN Gain:  1-8
Cthulhu Mythos Gain   0%

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Gnomes Destroyed in Nazi Vandal Attack at Keilor



A few quick thoughts.

A) First they came for the Garden Gnomes, and I did not speak out— Because I did not like Garden Gnomes.   Then they came for the Pink Flamingos, and I did not speak out—
Because I did not link Pink Flamingos, etc...

B) I hate Australian Nazis almost as much as Illinois Nazis.

C)  #gnomelivesmatter

The good news is the community has come together to not only clean up the remnants of the gnome village, but have begun rebuilding it.  Here's hoping they catch the creeps who did this.

Might be time for some gratuitous gnome ambushing Nazis action on the tabletop.


(Savage Showdown) #5 A Complicated Arrangement

Ah, snowy weekend.  Unlike everyone else on the east coast, we only got a "manageable" eight inches, but it was enough to keep us home, save a late afternoon jaunt of errands for my wife on Sunday.

The rest of the weekend was a healthy mixture of cleaning, laundry, snuggling under electric blankets, painting, and games.  Lots of dice games and way too many games of Life filled the afternoon, and a over the top painting session of everything from birdhouses to rocks to minis capped off Saturday evening. 

When my wife left on Sunday, we rolled out the minis and buildings and ran a follow-up game to  A Simple Trade using Savage Showdown. 

When we last left our heroes, noted archaeologist Maja Millie and her travelling companion "Bob" Njano had fallen victim of a double cross by Captain Skippy McBoatswain.  If not for the intervention of a bow-wielding mousling with a pink hood, who knows what evil would befall the duo.

The trio had eluded the sailors (Maja Millie stabbing Captain Skippy in the heart) and were holed up in the local watering hole.  They could hear the sailors screaming and shooting at something.  When they finally got to the second floor for a better look, they couldn't believe their eyes.

Zombies!


The town square.  The priest on the shoebox is not supposed to be there.  Captain Skippy and the bag of cash he dropped are still lying on the ground.
For the first few rounds, our heroes got into position in the building.  Only the pink mouse was firing at the initial "horde" of six, silently hiding their position.  The zombies were very "fresh" and despite the best efforts of the sailors, their shots could not drop the living dead. 

For a few rounds, more zombies slowly emerged from the same table edge.  They were incredibly slow, and equally incompetent fighting the sailors, at least 1-on-1.  A few well placed arrows in the head and some tagteaming by the sailors dropped the initial wave, but everyone released that they were fighting a losing battle. 
 
To top things off, Maja drew a joker, allowing her to go first, make a roll on the Fortune and Calamity table (with negligible results), and initiate the first event:  the appearance of another Chupacabra!
My name Chupacabra.  You killed my brother two sessions ago.  Prepare to die!
Maja Millie usually does her archaeological adventuring armed with merely a knife, so the zombie onslaught made her search the tavern for better weaponry.    Throw in three aces on her trait role for searching, and she uncovered a working cannon being used as mere barroom decoration. 
 
They definitely didn't hide in a T.G.I Fridays!

With the sailors running interference, Maja loaded the cannon and push it out the front door.    Bob had finally found a spot with decent line of sight to fire his rifle, but some more zombies came from behind the building and he barely got away.  Shots from the second floor would be safer. 
 
It's not potato skins and warm beer, but it will do...
Without leadership, the sailors were smart enough to line up to fight the zombies, but stupid enough not to run away.  More zombies shambled out of other alleys.  Even the Chupacabra leaping down to push back a zombie didn't seem to stem the tide.  Something needed to be....
*BOOM!*
 
The powder for the cannon must have been good, for it tore into the sailors, zombies, and Chupacabra with horrifying effect.  Everything in the blast's path was destroyed, including the warehouse across the square, save the Chupacabra, who wandered away from the melee intact, but with significant scarring. 
Maja is discovered by the zombies.
Zombies, attracted by the noise, came around both sides of the bar, ready to envelope Maja.    Another timely Joker allowed Bob to race downstairs to blast the nearest undead and pull Maja back inside.  An arrow from the pink mouse gave Bob enough time to shut the door and brace it with a large table. 
 
The joker also activated the next event.  With the sailors turned to face the horde descending on the bar, Captain Skippy turned into a zombie and attacked his closest crew member, devouring most of him!
Zombie Captain Skippy latches on to his crew
The surviving crew members passed their morale check, but decided getting the heck out of dodge was the better part of valor.  They raced to a nearby delivery truck, aced their driving and hot wiring rolls and managed to peel off just as five more zombies appeared out of nowhere!

Running for their lives...

Driving for their lives.
Our heroes in the bar were getting desperate.  The undead horde had climbed over the cannon and was beating down on the door and Bob had run out of ammo for his rifle. 
 
Maja (my daughter) decided the only way to escape was to go up to the roof and make a running leap to the balcony of an adjacent building.  One of them would need to make the long jump holding the artifact!  To complicate things, Bob and the mouse each had one Bennie left to reroll the attempt, should it fail, but Maja had exhausted all of hers, and if she failed, the fall damage, if it didn't kill her outright, would incapacitate her right next to the zombie horde.
 
The mouse went first, sailing over to the balcony with ease (15,  d8 roll with one ace)
Bob went second, holding the artifact (21, d6 roll with THREE aces)
Then it was Maja's turn...
 
*shooka shooka shooka goes the die*....
 
6
 
Millie just made it over the balcony railing, into the arms of her friends.   Not a single zombie noticed.
 
For the two sailors, escape would require them to drive around the edge of town  and then head north.  They had no supplies and no direction left in their lives. 
 
Then a native man stepped out from a building with a rifle pointed square at the truck's radiator.    They slammed on the brakes.  Bob had a simple demand:  get us out of town and we can unload the artifact somewhere else and split the profits five ways.... 
 
...And if they weren't doing anything, they were going to a camp full of government soldiers  to free a wrongly imprisoned friend.  If no one shot each other, they were welcome to tag along.

This was a game of extremes.  On one hand we had sailors who couldn't shoot and then we had a character roll so well on a search for a pistol, or maybe a shotgun, that she uncovered a working cannon in a bar. 

The events that were generated from the jokers for initiative were based off a chart that ranged from a new hero appearing to government troops arriving to contain the situation by any means necessary.  If this had been a game run for anyone but my kids, Captain Skippy turning into a zombie and devouring his crew should always be the first and fixed event. 

Maja had two major worries during the game:  Keeping Bob hidden from the Chupacabra, since he had killed his "brother" two games ago and trying to befriend the sailors that survived. "Captain Skippy was the evil guy, not the sailors," although they were about to kill the Maja Millie and Bob in the last game and she just happened to unload a cannon into their backs in this game.    Lucky for her the sailors didn't know Bob had run out of ammo. 

Next:  Some kind of team has been assembled to rescue Nils Lingonberry. from the clutches of the corrupt government troops.   "Escape from Kisi Rushwa"

Monday, January 25, 2016

Apathy of the New Releases (Feb '16)

Another month, another book of soliciations in Alliance Distribution's Game Trade Magazine.  Despite the name of my monthly post, there have actually been a few items that tickled my fancy in recent months.  Of course, just about none of it has arrived at my local FLGS, so I'll leave most of the items on my secondary wish list and perhaps rename it my "Things I Want to Physically Salivate Over in Person Before I Purchase Them" list


My Must Have Want List
Osprey Publishing
Tiny Games for Kids ......................................................................................... $8.00
Tiny Games for Trips ......................................................................................... $8.00

My Things I Want to Physically Salivate Over in Person Before I Purchase Them List
Modiphius
Space 1889 RPG .................................................................................................   $49.99
Space 1889 GM Screen .......................................................................................  $24.99
English versions of the German edition with all the glitches edited out (I hope).

Osprey Publishing
The Barrett Rifle ...............................................................................................    $20.00
Horizon Wars:  6mm Hard Sci-Fi Wargames ...................................................   $30.00
Nazi Moonbase ..................................................................................................   $19.00

Osprey just unleashes a plethora of interesting books.  None are special order worthy, but I'd bet five bucks I would snag any of these if I saw them on the shelf in a store.

My Imaginary Store List (The Pegleg Gnome)

Alderac Entertainment Group
Twilight Squabble .......................................................................................... $19.99

Asmodee Games
Zombies vs Cheerleaders ................................................................................ $19.99
I'll admit that have a bias against Asmodee.  So many games that 'somebody' finds cool, yet they're not within my demographic of friends.  Perhaps the recent purchase of Settlers of Catan will change things.  Regardless, I usually wouldn't want to stock anything distributed from Diamond/Alliance with the word cheerleader in the title, but this one looks fun and humorous.

Atlas Games
Fast and Fhtagn ............................................................................................... $29.95

Avalanche Press
Great War at Sea:  Central Powers ................................................................. $29.99

Bully Pulpit Games
Fiasco 10-1, 11-2, 12-3 ................................................................................... $20.00 each

Catalyst Game Labs
Shadowrun RPG:  Boundless Mercy ............................................................... $19.99
Shadowrun RPG:  Rigger 5.0 HC .................................................................... $49.99

Cheapass Games
I know, I know, the definition and economics of things that are "Cheapass" changes every decade and I owned most of the originals of most of the games.   I guess ten bucks is the new definition of cheapass, the fancy anniversary edition of Kill Doctor Lucky being the notable exception.

Decision Games
Folio Series: El-Alamein ................................................................................ $19.95
Folio Series: Germantown .............................................................................. $ 9.95
Folio Series: Saratoga ..................................................................................... $ 9.95
Folio Series: Mortain Counterattack ............................................................... $19.95

Fantasy Flight Games
Elder Sign:  Omens of Ice Expansion .............................................................. $24.95
Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Special Modifications HC .............................. $29.95
Star Wars: X-Wing Minis:  Imperial Veterans Expansion Pack ...................... $29.95
Talisman:  Cataclysm ....................................................................................... $49.95

FASA
Demonworld Miniatures Core Rulebook .......................................................... $29.95
Demonworld:  Dwarf Army Book .................................................................... $19.95
Demonworld: Thain Army Book ...................................................................... $19.95
Earthdawn:  Gamemaster's Guide ..................................................................... $44.95
Earthdawn:  Gamemaster's Screen .................................................................... $29.95
Earthdawn:  Travar - The Merchant City .......................................................... $34.95
Fading Suns - Criticorum Discord .................................................................... $34.95
Long live the new FASA, the exact opposite of the old FASA of days past.    In the 20th Century, Battletech and Shadowrun had a solid base of players you could rely on to purchase the latest releases.  Nowadays, it appears that 21st Century FASA is where  cool, mediocre games go to die.  I remember Alliance pushing Demonworld pretty hard back in '99-2000.   They may even have backstop from that release way back....


Games Workshop
As the kids were saying a few months ago, " I can't even..."    If I wanted to see shelves of $200 MSRP products and tiny $30 accessories I'd go to an electronics store.   

Modiphius
Mutant Chronicles RPG:  Player's Guide ............................................................   $19.99

Mongoose Publishing
Traveller RPG:  Core Rulebook ...........................................................................   $49.99
Traveller RPG:   Referee Screen .........................................................................    $19.99
Really?  ANOTHER iteration of Traveller?  Sweet baby die-during-character-creation Jesus!

Osprey Publishing
Finland at War: The Continuation and Lapland Wars 1941-45 ............................   $40.00
Imperial Chinese Armies  1840-1911 ....................................................................  $18.00
The Imperial Japanese Navy of the Russo-Japanese War ......................................  $18.00
US Army Green Beret in Afghanistan 2001-02 ......................................................  $19.00
US Marine in World War 1 ...................................................................................... $19.00

Paizo Publishing
PATHFINDER AP:  HELL’S VENGEANCE PART 3 - THE INFERNO GATE ...  $24.99
PATHFINDER CAMPAIGN SETTING: HEAVEN UNLEASHED .......................   $22.99
PATHFINDER MAP PACK: ROAD SYSTEM .......................................................   $14.99
PATHFINDER: ULTIMATE INTRIGUE HC .........................................................    $44.99
PATHFINDER MODULE: IRE OF THE STORM ....................................................  $24.99
PATHFINDER PLAYER COMPANION: ARMOR MASTER’S HANDBOOK .....  $14.99

Palladium Books
Rifter #73 .................................................................................................... $13.95
Rifts RPG:  Coalition States:  Heroes of Humanity ................................... $16.95
Rifts RPG:  Coalition States:  The Disavowed ........................................... $16.95

Pinnacle Entertainment Group
Savage Worlds RPG:  Necessary Evil - Breakout Ltd Ed ........................... $24.99
Savage Worlds RPG:  The Sixth Gun .......................................................... $19.99

Pokemon USA
Pokemon TCG:  Mega Scizor and Shiny Mega Gyardaos 3 Pk Pin ............ PI

Reaper Miniatures
Old West Kids (2) .......................................................................................... $6.79

Rand Daingerfield .......................................................................................... $6.29
Retro-Sci-Fi Weapons .................................................................................... $6.79
Tess McFadden ............................................................................................... $5.99
Halfling Farmers   ........................................................................................... $7.49
Pumpkin Minions    ........................................................................................$15.49
I usually don't list individual Reaper figures, but the Old West Kids and the Pumpkin Minions look great.  I may need to move a few items over the 2nd wish list, but for now, they stay here.
Rogue Games
Colonial Gothic RPG:  Adventure ................................................................. $15.95

Steve Jackson Games
Chez Geek: Spring Break Expansion ............................................................. $10.95
Munchkin: Puppies Blister Pack .................................................................... $ 9.95
Munchkin 6.5:  Terrible Tombs ..................................................................... $11.95
Munchkin Legends: Deluxe. .......................................................................... $29.95

Strat-o-Matic Media
Baseball Championship 2015 Edition ............................................................. $19.99

Triple Ace Games
Halfling Feast Card Game ................................................................................ $24.99
Rocket Race Card Game .................................................................................. $24.99

Troll Lord Games
Castles & Crusades RPG:  Falls the Divide ...................................................... $ 9.99
Castles & Crusades RPG:  Harvest of Oaths .................................................... $ 9.99


Ultra-Pro
Fun fact about Ultra-Pro.  Despite having a slew of cool CCG accessories (including metal life counters!), everything they have listed doesn't have a price.  We don't know if it's $5 or $25 and that more than likely will dissuade someone from even asking about it, much less special ordering.

USAopoly
Munchkin Marvel Universe ................................................................................ $24.95
Of the many times Munchkin could have jumped the shark, this might be the longest, highest jump yet.

Zveda
Tiger I ...................................................................................................................  $11.50
T-60 Soviet Light Tank ........................................................................................  $ 4.95
 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Gnome "Versus" Dragon Lawn Ornament

There are few people with "gnomes" as a setting on my Google News feed, but what can I say?  I'm sexy like that.

Although that feed is full of unimaginative garden gnome thefts and conspiracy theorists citing the Gnomes of Zurich,  one thing finally caught my eye: 

Dragon Attack Lawn Ornament is an outdoor-friendly resin piece a fun playdate between some gnomes and the neighborhood dragon.



  • Dimensions: 14" wide x 11 1/2" tall x 8" deep 
  • Weight: 5 1/4 lbs.
  • $39.99
And my favorite part of the description:
  • We suggest you put it next to the gazebo and let them go head-to-head


 

Friday, January 22, 2016

More Palm Trees, Martian Spiders, and More!

With a few early nights for the kids, plus a week of paralyzing fear of snow hitting the east coast of the entire Western Hemisphere,  I got to venture down into the basement again. 

After a long eternity, I cranked out the five Pegasus Hobbies Small Palm Trees "A" plus a random piece of terrain from a plastic army men/dinosaur playset.


On this episode of Big Trees, Little People...
The original link I used to help paint my first batch is gone, but it looks as if Brookhurst Hobbies will  save it for future generations.
 
I was going to finish up a set of the "large" palm trees from Pegasus, but upon issues.  As the palm leaves are inserted on the dowel atop the trunk, the dowel snapped off on every .... single ... one. It's bad enough the larger palm leaves are particularly fragile, but the thicker top should not be falling off, especially since I widened out the holes of each piece.   Drilling and pinning ahoy!
 
I've been trying to fool around with a paint scheme for some goblin spider rider mount for my "Martian" scheme.  I figured the initial tests should be done cheaply, so I used a pack of black plastic spiders I picked up at Michael's  for a dollar or two.  They're not very detailed, which didn't create the impact I expected with an Ultramarine wash, but it should pop beautifully with the Warhammer figs.

 
Finally is the fighter from the Grenadier Dungeoneers pack.
 
Will have to touch up on the eye.  It's just a biiiiiiit outside.
You waited 25 years to paint us up and we get eaten by spiders the first night?  Yeesh!

 Next:  I have four more bases of palm trees to finish up, three palm trees that need to be drilled and pinned, and some more Grenadier fantasy to finish up.   From there  I see Pulp Figures, the return to refurbishing the gnomes, and perhaps a Battlemech or two.
This week's painting is brought to you by Troegs Mad Elf Ale.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

(Stat Crunch) De Horrore Cosmico

While a review of De Horrore Cosmico is forthcoming, as well of reviews for Cthulhu Invictus and its Companion, I realized that it had been some time since I compiled a "stat crunch" of a CoC scenario book, and such an analysis would help with said review.

What is a stat crunch? As I've mentioned in previous postings,  it's my way of determining if a scenario is appropriate/inappropriate for a group of investigators.  It falls under four sets of data.
  1. Skills:  I will list each skill that is called in each scenario, as well as how many times it is specifically called in it.  If the scenario calls for the potential of skill checks, I will end it with a "+".  Seven Library Use rolls for seven different items is, of course, seven times.  (Library Use x7)  A vague reference to Persuade being useful in a bar counts as one (Persuade 1+).  I've found too many scenarios have "hidden skills" that can kill a scenario in mid-stride if the investigators aren't well-versed (Of course we carry an Egyptologist around in our gang during a turf war, just in case we fall into a sewer full of hieroglyphics.)  In a game was cosmic horrors can overwhelm mere mortals in seconds, I'd like to give the investigators as many chances to succeed/flee as possible.  The inevitable will happen soon enough.   I also don't include any weapon or combat stats unless specifically mentioned.
  2. Potential SAN Loss- If the investigator experiences every encounter that triggers a SAN check, the first number is the minimum sanity loss if they pass every check, and the second number is the maximum SAN loss if they fail every check.  Although it should be common sense, if you're planning on a filler scenario between campaigns, you might not want that scenario that has a range of 5 to 200 in SAN loss.
  3. Potential San Gain - If you succeed in every major objective, this would be your maximum SAN reward at the end of the session.  Perhaps I'm being too kind, but I do compare gain versus loss for a campaign. 
  4. Cthulhu Mythos (and more):  If you read all the tomes and experience all the special circumstances, this is the max Cthulhu Mythos % your investigator can learn.  This does not include the free CM points for experiencing a Mythos creature for the first time (if you do that sort of thing at your table).  Again, CoC is a lot more risk than reward (and earning CM can be more risk than reward), but I like to know what can happen to the group I'm running.  I'll also include any possible automatic skill increases or rewards, such as Occult and Credit (Status in Invictus), where applicable.
Check out my other Stat Crunch attemps here.

The Vetting of Marius Asina
Cthulhu Mythos  x3
Fast Talk x2
Natural History x2
Occult x3
Persuade x20+
Spot Hidden x4
Write Greek x1
Write Latin  x1
Write Oparian x1

Min/Max SAN loss range  5-35
Min/Max SAN reward    4-28
Cthulhu Mythos  +8
Auto Skill Checks in Occult, Navigation, Other Language Oparian, Other Kingdom: Opar

Doom
Boating x1
Civics x2
Cthulhu Mythos x2
Fast Talk x6
First Aid x1
Insight x1
Library use x1
Medicine x1
Natural History x1
Natural World x2
Occult x2
Persuade x6
Stealth x1
Tracking x1
Write Ancient Egyptian x1
Write Greek x2
Write Latin x1

Min/Max SAN loss range 8-98
Min/Max SAN reward    2-30
Cthulhu Mythos +13%


Murmillo
Climb x1
Listen x1
Occult x1
Persuade x3+
Repair/Devise x1
Sneak x4
Spot Hidden x7

Min/Max SAN loss range 6-52
Min/Max SAN reward     12-54
Cthulhu Mythos  0%

Kith and Kine
Listen x4
Natural World x5
Navigation x1+
Other Language: Brythonic x1+
Other Language:  Punic x1+
Repair/Devise x3
Sneak x1
Spot Hidden x6
Tracking x1

Min/Max SAN loss range   6-71
Min/Max SAN reward    3-16
Cthulhu Mythos  0%



The Devil's Mouth
Craft: Cooking x2
First Aid x1+
Insight x1
Listen x3
Medicine x2
Natural World x1
Other Kingdom:  Caledonian x1+
Other Language: Pictish x1+
Persuade x2
Ride x1
Science: Metallurgy x1
Science:  Astronomy x1
Spot Hidden x5
Tracking x4

Min/Max SAN loss range  6-48
Min/Max SAN reward    3-13
Cthulhu Mythos  +5%

The Case Tertius Orestius Sedonius
Civics x6
Climb x1
Empire x1
First Aid x1
Insight x2
Listen x4
Medicine x6
Natural World x3
Persuade x3
Potions x2
Repair/Devise x1
Sneak x1
Spot Hidden x5
Status x3
Tracking x1
Write:  Greek x1

Min/Max SAN loss range   8-43
Min/Max SAN reward    3-22
Cthulhu Mythos  +8%

 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

(Hackmaster) Burning Trogs Rule! #23 Slaughterhouse Indigo

Our Roster, en route to Barthey for some "interesting" jobs

Zorin Redrock - Gnome Titan Fighter.  Veteran of the Barbarian Wars, and hero of Marakeikos due to the retaking of Frandor's Keep.
Janus Redrock - Gnome Titan Priest of Pangrus.  Cousin of  Zorin Gnome Titan of loose morals and  a hero of Marakeikos.
Gwendalyn Lorax  - Half Elf Druid.
Turvel Sit - Half-Elf Mage
Godfrey the Great - Human Charlatan
"Whitey"  - Albino Halfling Priest of Yondalla.   Zorin's sidekick.
Coreena - 9 year old halfling torchbeare.
Ramsa - Mute Halfling Fighter - Gwen's Protege.

15th HepDec 1135, Mirros
Looking for adventure the Trogs decide to take a long land route to Barthey to get a job scouting and fighting Yarbay raiders.  They leave three days later.

28th of HepDec, 1135, Grubal, Barthey Empire
The Trogs have little troubling finding a long route from Mirros to Celsior to Verge to the Jerred and along the Danaan border that would ultimately loop to the far western border of the Barthey Empire.

After a leisurely travel from Verge, the Trogs decided to be on the look out for a quick caravan job, and they encountered Leonald.  Leonald was a gnome merchant looking at making a delivery to the south entrance of the Dwarven City of Jerred.

31st of HepDec, 1135, On the Road in Barthey
They had previously seen roadmarkers for House Indigo, and this excited Leonald.  "They'll give us fabulous hospitality"   The four wagon caravan gets ambushed by orcs.  Leonald badly wounded, one wagon set aflame, and a rockslide damaging the rear wagon.  Orcs are all dispatched  even a few watching at a distance, and it looks best to head to House Indigo. 

The eight foot high walls unguarded walls hid an vacant looking, but very sturdy main house of the estate, outside of the burned ruins of a church, little seemed problematic on the grounds.  The front door was unlocked, so they decided to seek shelter in the entrance to the great hall. 

32nd of HepDec, 1135, House Indigo, Barthey
When the Trogs awoke, they found Leonald dead, despite the first aid and magical healing he had received the night before.  They wrapped in up in a blanket and laid him inside the main doors before searching the building.   

It appeared that the gnomes of House Indigo had not been here in quite some time, yet there was little dust, and the structure of the building was far stronger than Dwarven/Elven construction combined.  The windows presented their second worry, after Leonald's demise.  They were barely opaque and made of a near stone-like substance.

33rd of HepDec, 1135, House Indigo, Barthey
Despite their best intentions, they could not escape the house.  Something was controlling it and making things extremely durable, if not unbreakable.  Undead and grudge beasts created by wizards littered the corridors.  Even thesimple act touching flesh to the floor (taking off boots) stuck the Trogs with feelings of ennui.  Most decided to sleep on their gear that night.

34th of HepDec, 1135, House Indigo, Barthey
That morning, they found Godfrey dead on the floor, having rolled off his gear and sleeping face first against the floor.  He appeared to be drained of life.

Time passes....


10th of SepDec, 1135, the ruins of House Indigo, Barthey
It took many weeks, rations ran out, and things looked grim,but The Burning Trogs discovered that the power of their once uber clingy, naive druid Gwen, was unmatched.

Upon the death of Godfrey, the Trogs observed that his face had been absorbed into the floor.   A another day or four  of searching confirmed things, the manor house itself was alive in some way and feed off of other life forms.  Windows were sealed shut and rock hard and the doors themselves could move to different locations.  They barricaded themselves in one or two "safe" rooms.  With enough time, with enough treasure obtained throughout the manor, Gwen managed to discover the 'curse' of the house and a long, drawn out solution to kill it.  With the clerics full of healing  and warding spells, the druid managed to reverse poison the Undead Living Tree that created the foundation of the building.  With the creature crippled, Zorin saw fit to burn the whole thing to the ground.  The Trogs stayed on the property for awhile, the clerics consecrating the land and Gwen restoring the health of the area.

Have a party full of Gnomes/Gnome Titans?   K1 Slaughterhouse Indigo might be a great option for you.   For the Burning Trogs, they showed an uncanny ability to get around most of the scenario.  Having a druid two levels higher than the module's 4 to 6 created a few outs.  Having a small army of clerics against the undead helps as well.

This was one of the "lost" adventures that somehow didn't make it into the journal.  With the composition of the group and the climax of the campaign nearing, this was the only logical space it could occur.  To be honest, the next episode in the journal starts "already in progress."

Next:  #24 Against the Desert Nomads

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Stout Smurf: Back to painting.....

As I mentioned with the release of the  PEL for Cold Wars 2016, there are no "official" Gnome Wars games run by the Jim Stanton and the Stout Gnomes.

Nothing is written in stone, and there's a chance that this may be a game that won't be official, simply between friends in the corner of a room, but Jim is painting... something....

The Stout Smurf: Back to painting.....:

I find it doubtful that it has something to do with this:

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Deep Ones Sculpts from Bob Murch's Workbench

Bob Murch of Pulp Figures dropped a teaser on his Facebook page of what he's been working on. 

Ten different Deep One poses in 28mm is a very entertaining thought.

Although other details were sketchy, one little tidbit did come out.  These will NOT be released through Pulp Figures, rather they'll be released as a new yet-to-have-an official title,  "Cthulhu 28mm" line through Crucible Crush

Saturday, January 16, 2016

(Kickstarter) Global Conflict

The New Year has arrived, and with it, Kickstarter has begun to awake from its holiday slumber.

Outside of a few 5e scenarios and the like, I get a bit worried when the big minis projects are coming from mysterious entities.  However, Global Conflict looks like something to dip a toe or two feet into.

Labelled a 28mm Modern game, the game should actually be considered Ultra Modern.   The future history provided in the descriptions pits European Union against Russia (the New USSR) and a backstabbing North American Confederacy of the US, Canada, and Northern Mexico.     The figures look decent, they have a terrain system to urban warfare, and shipping is included worldwide!


The figure sculpts have a step above modern dollar store soldier sharpness to them, but they're still quite nice. The vehicles could use considerable trimming to be up to snuff, but at the prices their pledge levels, it's tempting.

Friday, January 15, 2016

From Russia With Blog

I like my little blog.  It's a fun place to keep a record of my gaming, my idea, my kids, and my evolving likes and dislikes.   I've never attempted to monetize it or get any more attention to it other than a link on my personal Facebook page or maybe on TMP.  I've watched the blogstats grow over time like a proud father,  each new blog post usually netting more views than earlier ones, although some of my posts are on the top ten of some Google search results. Sometime this year, I planned on the blog finally reaching 200,000 pageviews.

And then the Italians came.

Back in August, I was happy that I'd finally get 5,000 page views for a month.  We were inching closer and closer, and if the last few days  kept a predictable pace, I would finally reach that milestone.

Then, over the course of twenty minutes or so one morning, I received 8,9999 hits from Italy.  I did reach 5K views that month, sans Italy, but some odd person/system essentially pinging the crap off of my insignifcant page was rather annoying.

This month, I've been subject to a rash of hits from Russia, ammounting  to 150% of my normal US traffic!   For those looking over at my popular posts for the month (as this is posted) , you'll see a number of random posts listed from 2014 that  don't belong there.

Thanks Putin!   Now I'm not buying your shirtless calendar, so there!


Captain Skippy, Dungeoneers, and Strange Moustached Men

While last week was a good dose of family gaming, this week the kids went to bed earlier and I visited the basement to get some painting done!  

Not much to account for, as I'm still in the midst of the tedious process of drybrushing a million palm leaves and still figuring out the detail on the Martian Spider test subjects.

While this figure made his first appearance as a base coat figure in last week's A Simple Trade, Captain Skippy McBoatswain is making a second appearance in the game, so it was fitting to finish him up.
From PSS 01 Tramp Steamer Sailors from Pulp Figures
Before my mother in law's health took center stage and eliminated any recent chance at playing in my buddy Hoyce's 2nd Edition AD&D game, I planned on painting up my character.  I now have a half dozen old Grenadier figs up in the queue and two got finished.
From Grenadier Fantasy Personalities  Dungeoneers (715) 
Fun fact:  these are two out of three of the Dungeoneers pack, the very first pack of minis I bought way back in the early 90's from Hobby Hangout in Easton.  Second fun fact: the third figure in the pack, a fighter, is the only one of the figures that previously had a drop of paint on it.  He's cleaned up and base coated, but it's amazing the difference of painting detail on 25mm versus 28/30mm.
These new fangled minis are HUGE compared to old school figs.
My wife gave me a cryptic message in the afternoon.  "You have mail from Canadian today."  Knowing I wasn't on the list of people who miraculously got mail from the RAFM CoC Kickstarter, I was pleased to find the last three years worth of Movember special figures from Pulp Figures.  I had planned on placing an order to attach them to to spend more on shipping, but it's slipped my mind, so I assumed Bob Murch simply set them to clear out more room for the five million other projects he's always working on.
Captain Krustach of Kashgar, Lord Lippenbrush, and Stache Gable
NEXT:  Trees and Spiders, oh God!   Four more Grenadier figs, and after that? Probably will need to reorganize the table again...

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Mike Lung Gallery #39: More Gnome Racing

Back in July, Mike sent pictures of his initial projects for his Gnome Racing game using 200mph.   He also sent updates, that I never bothered to post... UNTIL NOW!

A Southern Nurse Conversion.

Taking the corners a little tight.




Oh my!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

(Savage Showdown) #4 A Simple Trade


For Maja Millie, famed archaeologist, her latest expedition had been a swirling mess.  After an innocent treasure hunt with her associates that resulted in awakening an evil undead presence and the death of a colleague, they narrowly escaped Lieutenant Colonel Thaddeus Ovaltine and his Rough 'n Ready Riders from the local village, losing their friends Vasily and "The Mexican" in the process.  As they raced across the desolate land to get their antiquities back to a museum in the city, they were attacked by Ovaltine's men and corrupt government soldiers, who captured all the mule handlers and Maja's good friend, longtime Swedish adventurer, Nils Lingonberry.
 
Maja had only one though going through her head as she entered the city:  Sell the antiquities, find a few friends/allies, hire a couple mercenaries, and pray that Nils and the hired hands were still alive to rescue.
 
The only friend she had in the city followed her there.  Njano was an native hired mule handler, who Maja Millie called "Bob."  Although she hadn't seen him do it, she believed his story that he had killed the mythical Chupacabre before fleeing the government soldiers to catch up to her.   His scattergun was a fine complement to her quick wits and sharp knife.
 
Selling the artifact has proving to be a challenge.  Museums normally took days to authenticate and authorize payments and the "reputable" back alley black market contacts were all missing, like they all decided to skip town for some reason. 
 
Her last hope for a quick payday was smuggle Captain Skippy McBoatswain of the SS Scoundrel.   His offer wasn't the expected goldmine, but it was sufficient to get the men and supplies to rescue her friends.
 
Maja Millie and Bob Njano met the Captain in an eerily quiet marketplace.  Maja showed the antiquities, the Captain pulled some cash out of a sack.  But the Captain pulled a gun and decided it was best to have the treasure and the money all to himself.
Captain Skippy had other ideas....
Bob tentatively pointed the scattergun at the smuggler.  Gunshots would alert the police, or worse yet more government soldiers who would more than likely kill everyone involved and take everything for themselves.

Then the Captain escalated the situation, calling out his crew from a nearby building.
"Men, seize deeze landlubbers."
The five may have looked intimidating, with their matching uniforms, but upon closer inspection, the guns were rusty, and from their faces one could tell most were still suffering from hangovers from the night before.

Bob screamed at Maja Millie to run, levelled the scattergun and fired at Captain Skippy.  It took all of the Captain's power to dodge most of the lead balls flying at him.    He was wounded and had dropped the sack of cash on the ground, but alive. 

In response to the attack on their leader, the sailors opened fired on our heroes.  All the shots at Bob went high, breaking second story windows in the building behind them.  The two shots at Maja forced her to drop the heavy antiquity and run around the corner.   

Bob attempted to bash in the closest door but it was locked tight.   Maja cowered around the side of the building, feeling foolish to bring a knife to a gunfight.   Captain Skippy crawled to one knee to get a shot off at Maja, but missed horribly. 

Finally, the sailors finally rushed our duo, dragged them back together,  and held them up against the wall.   The Captain brushed himself off and decided that a shot to the head for each of them would be suitable punishment for their insolence.  The next sound was meaty "thunk" as an arrow lodged into his shoulder.

Standing in the second-story window, was a strange person with a pink hood.
The mysterious "person" in pink.
This person received the full attention from two of the sailors, who discovered that they could indeed shot the broad side of a building, if not a real barn, but couldn't intentionally shoot through a broken window.  Our heroes turned on their captors, Bob kicking his two sailors so hard they landed on their backs, and Maja biting and squirming her way to freedom. 

The mysterious mouse(!?!?) in quick leapt through the window deftly landing the ground and grabbing the artifact.

Realizing their chance to escape was with the rodent, Maja tried to their way to the cover off an adjacent building, but Captain Skippy would have none of it, tackling her to the ground.

The sailors just proved to be the bumbling fools. 
While the heroes (and villain) scramble, the henchman stare blankly around... almost zombie-like
Maja managed to wrestle her way to be face-to-face with Captain, pull out her knife, and stab the scoundrel square in the heart!

The sailors were still confused, almost distracted by something, as Maja seized the initiative, grabbed Bob's hand, and the trio ran into the short-term safety of a nearby building. 

The Captain lays bleeding (dead!?) and his sailors are still oblivious.
Inside the building, the three could not see what was distracting the sailors from what should have been a simple job of finishing them off, but a few moments later they could hear disturbing moaning entering the square, followed by screams and gunshots from the sailors.
Some new guests appear... 
The threat of government soldiers would be a welcome relief to what had actually arrived.

Although my girls (now ages 5 [Millie] and 6 [Maja]) and I have played a lot of games this Fall and into the holidays, crazy schedules had prevented us from taking our time and playing a 'real" miniatures game since September.  After a morning of basketball and play practice, we took some time to break out the battlemat and resume our Fantastic Pulp Egyptian Campaign... with a few elves and mouslings to boot.

With such apparently overwhelming opposition, the girls were either tentative or deadly serious in their intentions.  "Bob's" shot on the Captain forced him to use all his Bennies to soak the damage, but he was still seriously hurt.  Lucky for them, the sailors d4 Shooting stat meant they missed alot, although Maja Millie's running around the corner represented a Bennie used to avoid the one lucky shot. 

The mysterious Mouse in Pink was a planned addition to the party, given their weak position. Come on, Maja Millie doesn't use guns, and Bob was a regular schlub/henchman turned into a wildcard/hero due to a roll on the fortune and calamity table the previous session.  They needed an extra friend. 

In the final two rounds, Maja (the player) finally seized control of her fate.  Even though she was initially stopped leading the escape from the square by Captain Skippy, she drew a King the next round, she said with a calculated coolness that may come to worry me some day, "Daddy, I stab him in the heart,"  and the dice blew up.

The next round she pulled a Joker, which also allowed her to give another character (Millie's Bob) the same chance to go first (I'm picturing Rey/Finn hand grabbing from Star Wars).  With the Mouse drawing a King, all three could run away before the sailors knew what had happened.

Of course, most scenarios are inspired by other sources, so it wouldn't be fair not to mention Preacher By Day  for the initial idea and set-up, but a largely different result.

NEXT:  With our heroes holed up inside a building and the sailors in the street, will they survive the zombie attack?  Will they ever make it to rescue Nils and company?  Can Dad find time this Saturday to run the second act of the scenario?  All this and more as we await the next episode, "Complicated Arrangement.... with Zombies"

(Hackmaster) Burning Trogs Rule! #22: The Redrock Cohort

When we last left our gnome titan posse, they were en route to the gnome titan legions ready to assault the orc-held Frandor's Keep.  How did they end up in their favorite bar in Mirros to run into Gwen.  Let's go back a bit, shall we?

Zorin Redrock - Gnome Titan fighter, veteran of the Legions of the Gnomish City States.  Leader of the Burning Trogs.
Janus Redrock - Gnome Titan priest of Pangrus, cousin of Zorin.
"Whitey" Smallfoot - Badly maimed and deformed Halfling Cleric of Yondalla.  Sidekick of Zorin.  Coreena Ruddledater - Nine year old halfling torchbearer.  She had been given to the Trogs by her parents the last time they were in Frandor's Keep.

29th of Undec, 1134, Celsior
A few more drinks into the night, Zorin admits that he, Coreena, and Whitey decided to join the Gnome Titan Legions heading to Frandor's Keep. Control of the Trogs was transferred to Cecelia Darkspruce.

30th of Undec, 1134, Celsior
Zorin and Company bid farewell to the other Trogs.

2nd of DuoDec, 1134, east of Califon
Zorin had been told that the staging area for the gnome titans had been Eltan Spring, a druidic grove that the Trogs had visited early on in their career.  With the stream of refugees heading east towards Celsior, it was no surprise that gnome titan military camps were set up about two miles east of Califon.    The Karameikan military that had been sent to retake the Fort had been routed, and the only thing keeping the orc hordes from descending out of the mountains was a thick coating of ice and snow, and an utter lack of supply lines that were making the orcs more cannibalistic than normal. Even if they could reach the Keep, there would be no survivors to rescue.

The Legator of the gnome titans was Lanicor Thunderhammer, aged warrior-priest, one arm wielding the legendary Endless Warhammer, the other arm ripped from it's socket by a barbarian decades before on the Plains of Galmar.  His military organization was oppressive even to the gnome titans, but he organized the volunteers into a single Legion, and procured enough supplies from Baron Sherlane of Califon, and the assistance of ten of the King's finest humans, the Order of the Griffon that resided in the region.

3rd of DuoDec, 1134 Gnome Titan Base Camp
Zorin was given a rank of left sergeant of his cohort.    Whitey returned to his old job as a cook in the army, and although Zorin was pushing to make Coreena the standard bearer of the unit, cooler heads prevailed, and she was assigned to help Whitey.

5th of DuoDec, 1134 Celsior
Janus leaves the Trogs in Celsior, heading up to join Zorin and Company.

6th of DuoDec, 1134 Califon
The bravest, the luckiest, and the most frost-bitten of the Marakeikan 1st Army reach the Gnome Titan scouts on the western outskirts of Califon.  They are exhausted, but still conducting a fighting withdrawal against an ever-growing orcish advance party.  Half the scouts shored up the line.  While the others pushed the humans out of the way and into the town to rest their fragile bodies.    The scouts hold the orcish scouts, but the main legion is called up to prepare for battle outside the makeshift walls that had protected Califon for decades.    The orc scouts are overwhelmed by such a disciplined force of gnome titans and are slaughtered to the creature.    The Legions do not not take refuge in the town, rather setting up an advance camp two miles west of Califon.  Since the base camp wasn't broken up, soldiers when relieved for the rare hot meal, required a three mile march through a foot of snow.

9th of DuoDec, 1134 - Gnome-Titan Advance Camp
The scouts caught the orcs unprepared and the legion jumped upon the unsuspecting humanoid mob.  Zorin's Cohort Captain, the aptly named Zedridge Quickbolt, dashed forward of his men and was cut down in seconds.  With Fromm Tyre in hand (the only one in the entire Legion), Zorin rallied the men and they made quick work of the orcs.

11th of DuoDec, 1134 - Gnome-Titan Advance Camp
Zorin is promoted to Captain of his Cohort within the Legion, one of ten reporting directly to Lanicor.  The Legions begins its march north to Frandor's Keep in the midst of a raging blizzard

14th of DuoDec, 1134 Gnome-Titan Base Camp
Janus and a few other stragglers reach the main camp and are quickly integrated into the medical corps attached to Zorin's cohort.

32nd of DuoDec, 1134 Western Marakeikos
After a week and a half in the Marakeikan frontier, slaying orcs and foraging for food, the Legion was nearing Frandor's Keep.  Constant skirmishing was the norm.  Zorin was a merciless commander of the enemy and his own men.  He relished having completely competent men to order around, compared to the Trogs and made them exceed their abilities as young men back in the real Legions.

The walls of Frandor's Keep had a few breaches, but an ungodly number of orcs where holed up in there, desperately avoiding the harshness of the winter.

For Legator Thunderhammer, it was time to build siege weapons and eradicate the orcs either by starvation or devastation.   The Knights of the Griffon disagreed with this strategy and promptly headed back to Califon.

13th of TriDec 1134, Frandor's Keep
The orcs had tried to breakout numerous times, but the Legion had kept them in the confines around the keep.    With the Fort on the high ground, atop a waterfall, with a icy deathtrap of a road.  Two Cohort Captains offered to lead the initial charge up the hill after a siege barrage had ended.  Vignus Lavamattock came back on his shield.  Macleod Bonjaw was last seen face down in the icy river.

18th of TriDec, 1134, Frandor's Keep
Without even prepping his men, Zorin volunteered his cohort to lead the charge up the hill and take the fort.  A short trip back to the base camp in the rear (which had finally made it near the front) netted him some glass bottles, oil, and cloth.   Janus used all her spellcasting for the day on blessings and wards.    With Fromm Tyre in one hand, a Dagger of Flesh Reaving in the other, and a backpack full of Redrock Specials already lit (!), he marched up the hill towards Frandor's Keep... alone.   Arrows, slings, and even rocks thrown by trolls had no effect.  The orcs formed a defensive formation around the nearest breach, just as they had before.  Within seconds,the front two lines had been gruesomely murdered, and Zorin was scaling the wall to a portion of the surviving parapet.  The flammable bottles were tossed at anything burnable, and while Zorin viewed the pyromaniac display with his usual catatonic glee, his men saw the flames and began to charge the Keep.

20th of TriDec, 1134 Frandor's Keep
Let us not be boastful, Zorin and his men were ultimately repulsed from the Fort, but a repeated attacks led by the Redrocks would gain them access

The ruins of Frandor's Keep were in gnome titan control.


In fact, it was in far better shape than previously thought, and it's defenses were shored up over a few quick days.

It was rumored that Ahk-Tang was stuck in the Keep with his men, but he was never seen in combat, and must have retreated with a small group of survivors. .

25th of TriDec, 1134, Frandor's Keep
The base camp was finally moved up to the Legion.  The Trogs were happy to see everyone was still alive.  The first onion sprouts of Spring were seen peaking through the snow.

1st of QuaDec, 1134
Zorin Redrock is formally named Prefect of the Gnome Titan Volunteer Legion of Marakeikos, third in command to only Lanicor and his assistant.


20th of QuaDec, 1134 Frandor's Keep
When word reached Califon, Baron Sherlane sent his youngest member of the militia, and the lieutenant of the Marakeikan 1st Army who tried to hold back the orc horde to formerly secure the Fort in the name of the King.  Control of the keep had been formerly turned over a few days later. The Legion was dissolved a few days later, as most planned on returning to the homes in this adopted land.  A day into their march from the fort, they encountered the first elements of the Marakeikan Army, infantry and engineers, to garrison and repair the keep.  Pleasantries were exchanged, but plenty of trash talking from gnome titans was intermixed.

31 of QuaDec, 1134 Celsior.
The Trog Quartet arrived to find the headquarters nearly empty, only Nina, Mutumbo, and their child residing in a step up from squalor.  Mutumbo explained that Cecelia and the rest left for a fancy festival in Linnard shortly after the gnome titan side of the Trogs had left to join the legion.  No word had been heard

3rd of HepDec, 1134  Mirros.
Run into Gwen at Debbie's Mighty Singing Keg!   Gwen did her best to catch the rest of the crew up with their tale of slavers and woe. The group was very sad to see Brother Thomas pass, pretty much all agreed that the Marek character was a total jerk, and all were concerned that Cecelia was still unaccounted for.  Godfrey and Terval were welcomed as friends of Gwen/friends of the Trogs.

15th of HepDec, 1134, Still in Mirros...
After a week to get a new banner, a new signet ring for Gwen, and matching cloaks for the current Trogs,   After the chaos of the battles with the Ahk-Tang's Orc League, it was nice to have found rumors of opportunities in foreign countries.  In Vlachia, north of Marakeikos were some dungeon clearing adventures, and south, in the Barthey Empire, they were hiring mercenaries and adventurers to solve a problem with Yarbay raiders on land... and some possible piracy along the coastline.

Given Gwen stress level, they decided an overland trip to Barthey was in order, rather than a ship voyage.

Truth be told, none of this up until the 3rd of HepDec was actually role-played.  My players have great trust and faith in my ability as a GM to make something exciting happen while their characters are force to go on hiatus.  Orc legions, gnome titan units, and a winter counterattack sounded like a great reason for the Redrocks and company to not stick around Celsior.    The gnome titan benefits or attacking at a level higher, plus the +1 bonus for attacking beside another gnome titan meant that the orcs and other humanoids barely stood a chance.  

The gnome titan penalty of earning half-xp meant that most of retirees from the Gnomish City-States military that resettled in Marakeikos were still 2nd or 3rd level.    Zorin's skills and enthusiasm meant he easily advanced the ranks to replace his fallen commanders.  The Redrock Brigade would hold a particularly heartfelt place in the grateful citizenry of Marakeikos, and a legendary place in gnome titan lore.    And ultimately, is wasn't even close to his greatest military victory against overwhelming odds.

Fromm Tyre would be pleased, nevertheless.

Next:  #23 Slaughterhouse Indigo