Sunday, April 23, 2017

Steve the Platypus from Hasslefree

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

Introducing Steve:

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Ogre Miniatures Set 1 Samples

The Backerit has officially closed on the Ogre Miniatures Set 1 Kickstarter, my whopping two dollars shipping has been pulled from my credit card, and now we have almost-approved samples!

The Fall can't come fast enough for these....

Friday, April 21, 2017

(Painting) Leprechauns and Halflings

Light week.  Repainted and rebased two of the Irish Wolfhounds I have for Gnome Wars.

Whipped up the two halfling archers that came with the Song of Blades: Axe and Brimstone Kickstarter
Next: Still in clean-up mode, but the German Colonial Rifles are primed, based, and mounted on bottle caps for painting.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Encyclopedia Gnometanica

Doing a little clean-up on the blog.   Gone are the handy-dandy links of miscellaneous stuff "so you don't have to search for them."   To be honest, not many people were searching for them.

Instead, I've set up a page link for the Encyclopedia Gnometanica, where I've collected all the alternate gnome history, the optional Gnomish Air Support rules, and the write-ups of individual characters in gnome history.    If I'm missing anything from this blog, or anything particularly awesome on another site, let me know.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Teddy Bears and Friends from Northumbrian Tin Soldier

With Salute coming up again, it's not surprising those companies attending are hitting my radar as they do, once a year.

Two years ago, I mentioned a Teddy Bear from Northumbrian Tin Soldier.  This year, I'm looking at the whole line, plus a few gnome-esque characters.

The Snitch

The Burglar

The Dragon Rider

The Hood

The Battle Bear
Two years ago, I compalined that they were almost $7 apiece.  Thanks to Brexit, the exchange rate has dropped them to a more palatable $4.90.

And a few new items, assuming they'll be available for Salute:

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Ballad of the Pigeon God #2 - The Secret Crypt of Caldwell Manor

Our active players at the onset of our episode:
Rolf Wolfsblood:  Bald-headed barbarian from the Plains of Galmar
Kane: Student of Eastern mysticism
Maloran Alberhold - human fighter
Ashe - highly skilled elven ranger... previously sprayed by a skunk.

3 Hexdec 1069 - Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
It took a day to find Lady Christiana and lay claim that the manor was cleared, save a peculiar trap door that refused to open.  Lady Christiana told the crew to stay put at the Blue Wizard and she would hire someone to "fix" the stuck door.

5 Hexdec 1069 - Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
Lady Christiana finally got back to the group late on the 5th.  She was particularly grumpy since she spent considerable coin on a hedge wizard to magically unlock the manor.  It better be worth...

6 Hexdec 1069 - Caldwell Manor, Outside of Eding
Expecting a root cellar, Kane encountered a twisted dungeon basement. 

First off, upon descending the ladder from the trap door, the trap door just vanished!  But zombies came clamoring down the hall.  Rolf and Ashe went down from the small horde, and Maloran took a rusty short sword in the ribs, but he and Kane managed to finish them off.  A few quick healing potions and they were wounded but back in action.

They next room was chock full of gold and treasure, yet none of the four found it odd that the whole pile glowed a light green.  Upon two or three steps towards it, and they were all zapped to a different room, full of coffins.  The began pillaging the coffins of some gems and jewelry, but again, no one questioned where the bodies were.

Three more undead, much stronger, burst out of the covered coffins an crashed into Rolf and Ashe.  Fate was a bit kinder and they were dispatched with less injuries to the heroes. 

It took some time, particularly with only two heroes that could read, but they found ancient Ferasean writing detailing how to escape from the tomb.  A chant was conducted for a few minutes, and they again were magically transported to another room, filled with slimes and jellies, but also a way out. 

Clearing the basement of a few more undead, they discovered a secret door, that lead them down a passage filled with sunlight.  It seemed the secret door at the opposite end of the passage was already open to the outside!  They pushed the door further open and found themselves on the overgrown side of the manor, with a commotion near the front of the house.

Barely making through a narrow path, they arrived to find Lady Christiana fighting... another Lady Christina?

Unsure as what to do the four simply stood there, until one of the Christiana's pulled a dagger and jammed it into the other's neck.   The grievously wounded one fell to the ground and reverted back to its original form a claylike human body with no features. 

"You missing one of your pests you're supposed to get rid of?" Lady Christiana asked, sheathing the still bloody dagger in disgust.  Ashe and Maloran dumped the body into the woods off her land and when they came back, Rolf and the noblewoman were finishing a heated exchange.  Lady Christiana went back to her horse, grabbed a few small sacks and tossed their gold at their feet. 

"We're done with this cursed house.  I want no part of this land or that woman," Rolf yelled as the four walked back to town. 

The party got back late to Eding, found (individual) rooms at the Blue Wizard.

"We gambled and bought hookers." - Rolf.

23 Hexdec 1069 - Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
Over the next week and a half (remember the local calendar has 12-day weeks), the four men lived like kings in the little town, occasionally giving Torm a taste of luxury, for hope that goodwill would deter the thief from practicing his skills.

Two surprises came up over the next two weeks:  Everyone discovered that Maloran was a former armorer, as his repaired Kane's armor.... and everyone else discovered the monk had been wearing armor underneath his robes, all along!  It was ring mail, but it began a conversation that the Easterner explained he was not a fighting monk, rather a mystical student of the elements.  Apparently Kane had saved most of his healing magic for himself.

Lady Christiana never set foot in the Blue Wizard again, although rumors spread that the ghost still roamed the halls of the manor.  It was, fortunately, the only surprise left over in Caldwell Manor.

DM Notes: Therein lies the completion of "Castle Caldwell" from module B9: Castle Caldwell and Beyond.   It's a nice starter adventure, for new players, as well as new campaigns.  Just enough loot, just enough of a variety of different problems to get everyone warmed up. 

I've also run this numerous times within the border of Crosedes.   The ghost?  A paladin from an earlier campaign where Christiana's dad, Clifton, hired that group for the same task.  The paladin died in the basement... and for numerous reasons the party left the body in the room with the coffins.

The Caldwell family will neglect their "summer cottage" again in the future, I believe.  Some things never change.

NEXT #3 - New Friends... and the Temple of Alasku

Monday, April 17, 2017

More Things From the Jungle

In addition to the temple/sacrifical offer from Things from the Basement that I previously mentioned, they have recently released three new pieces evocative of a lost civilization or a great Inca/Aztec set.

The special introductory offer for the sentinel, the watchtower, and one wall section is $60. Individual wall sections go for $15 apiece.

Friendship is Magic, But Is Magic Heresy?

I'm patiently waiting for a release date from Ninja Division to send copies of the My Little Pony RPG out to distributors and vendors.  Knowing my luck, it will be my pre-order from Miniatures Market plus my Reaper Bones 3 Kickstarter PLUS my Psi-Paladin and Techno Barbarian Kickstarters will arrive while on vacation.   Here's hoping we stay on good terms with the neighbors until then.

That aside, my biggest thought of the weekend, "Are chapter seals from Warhammer 40K no more than Space Marine Cutie Marks?

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Nowhere to Go But Down

As long-time followers of my blog know, I oddly track my gaming year from October to September. Come the end of the September, I recap the things I feel were important over the previous twelve months and try to establish goals for the upcoming year, both reasonable and pipedreams.

Not going to change that anytime soon, but after coming upon Steve Jackson Games' annual Report to the Stakeholders, sometimes you need to unleash a big "YEAH!" and then try to find motivations for future projects.

This past week has been a fun one for the blog, content-wise:

  1. Episode One of the Actual Play write-up for my college 2nd Edition AD&D game, Ballad of the Pigeon God launched.  I've gotten 33 episodes transcribed from the journal to blog posts, most in need of some narrative editing and continuity checking.  The first five episodes are all finished and scheduled for Tuesday releases.
  2. The family Easter game with Gnome Wars went off without a hitch and posted to the fanfare it usually deserves.  Whether it's fun or slightly historical, my gaming world needs more Gnome Wars.
  3. With delay after delay finally behind me, I got a chance to crack open Lettow-Vorbeck 1914-18, play a solitaire game, and write a review of it.  The first mention of the game was in my Apathy column in December 2015, so I assume I picked up my copy at the FLGS by April. That's a year of the ziplock game sitting in my workbag, never even getting a second look.  I've lost the actual count of weeks I've pushed the placeholder draft for the review into the next week, lather, rinse repeat.  This monkey is finally off my back.
  4. I've finished two of my big painting projects that have been on my planning list for awhile, and less than two months on the live painting queue.  The South Pacific minis from Pulp Figures will be the big bad guys on the back end of my Lost World Pulp campaign I'm running with the girls.  Outside of maybe doing a few more "blue monkeymen,"   I'm pretty much set for the rest of the storyline.  I daresay I need to start pondering my list for Season Three of the campaign. 
I might as well retire from gaming.  I can't imagine being that productive ever again.  There's nowhere to go but down...

Ever since I snagged up a gnome themed journal for my blogging projects, I've managed to get my pie-in-the-sky plans under control (and has survived receiving the gaming journal for the Pigeon God project).  Between this successful week and trying to plan for the family cruise during the first week in May, my short-time plans has dried up to some wrap-up painting projects and my second longest blogging bugbear, a review of De Horrore Cosmico.

Over the next two and a half weeks, I anticipate a little painting (I'll be downstairs cleaning up the aftermath of the second basement flood anyway), a LOT of time dedicated to the Pigeon God, and a lot of hemming and hawing over what I should be taking on the cruise .  We have a giant balcony this time and I anticipate spending a lot of time out there, relaxing.  

And by relaxing, I mean, working on gaming:
  • Reading and reviewing Golden Goblin's Tales of the Caribbean.   
  • Writing and Statting up a series of One Sheets for Savage Rifts. 
  • Reviewing my source material for episode 2.6-2.12 of the pulp game.  
  • Run some Village on the Hill with the girls.  Dice, tokens, paper, and crayons are all getting packed up.  
  • Play a whole lotta Zombie Dice!!!
Fear not, dear reader, for I already have material posting during my week out of the country.  To be honest, episode four of the Pigeon God might be the only post of any great substance, but the first week of May is historically not substance filled.  You'll understand once the posts pop up.  

That gives me almost a full month to figure out exactly where things are going through the summer, and what projects, if any, I need to plan out for the Fall convention season.  I expect more Pulp, Gnomes, and Pigeons, with a chance of Mice and Ponies.  

Thus is the life of a gamer Dad.

Friday, April 14, 2017

(Painting) The Volcano Queen, Ape God Cultists, and a Full Polynesian Army

Put those air conditioners away and break out the plow this Easter weekend, cause it's gonna snow.  I actually completed an entire project! 

First off, the Volcano Queen  pack from Pulp Figures
Volcano Queen
Okay, the pack is missing the rather Caucasian damsel in distress, but for the current pulp game, only famed Swedish adventurer Nils Lingonberry is currently missing, and he's very male.

The Volcano Queen set are the leaders of the Cult of the Ape God, and they need some followers. Here are the Cultists of the Ape God, using two packs of Melanesian Island Warriors 3 from Pulp Figures.

Melanesian Island Warriors 3
The wood they use for their weapons is from a mystical origin.  Unless broken, the nearly whitewood never ages or discolors, even when soaked with the blood of their enemies.

I do have some touch-up to do and some of my earlier spearmen are sans spears for now, but now I have essentialy completed a Polynesian army for Colonial or maybe even Interwar/Pulp play!

All miniatuers are from Pulp Figures
Over 100 figures (over 110 if I include my Mata'alfa Elite Guard, which are really Brigade Games Nigerians)  one figure was left on my desk to the take the picture, and another is for still in the Pulp game box as a now-dead NPC guard.

Coming Soon:  After completing two different projects on the same night, I not promising a thing. In a perfect world I should be cleaning up the lingering projects before I get slammed with Reaper Bones 3 and Psi-Paladins and Techno Barbarians next.  That means finishing up the Das FleiderAffen German Gnomes for Gnome Wars, a few more Blue Martians/Goblins/Monkeymen. and some of the halfings from Ganesha's last Kickstarter.

Checking my Gnome Project Journal, I have the next big thing being some German Colonial Rifles (again, Pulp Figures).    My Polynesians do need an enemy (or in the case of Samoa, a hidden ally)....

Thursday, April 13, 2017

(Kickstarter) Aces and Eights Reloaded by Kenzer & Company

Ten years after it first came out, Kenzer & Company are releasing a 2nd Edition of their Western game Aces & Eights, by launching Aces & Eights: Reloaded on Kickstarter.
Aces & Eights had an innovative dice and card shot clock system for gunfire, and that's certainly staying.    It's the classless system that allows players focus on everything that happens in between gunfights that's a winner.

There's numerous pledge levels with lots of different aids and such available, but it boils down to following print options (S&H not included)

  • The Showdown Miniatures Rules ($25)
  • Aces and Eights Reloaded Softcover ($50)
  • Aces and Eights Reloaded Embossed Leather Hardcover ($70)
  •  Aces and Eights Limited Edition Leatherbound Hardcover, autographed and numbered ($100)

(Review) Lettow Vorbeck by Decision Games

It has been the bugbear of my blogging for months, but I'm happy to say that over this past weekend, I took some time to go over and play Lettow-Vorbeck: East Africa 1914-18, and gosh darn it, I'm disappointed in myself for not making time earlier.

Lettow-Vorbeck is a Mini-game Series game from Decision Games covering the Great War battles in East Africa from 1914 to 1918.  It's a mid-sized zip lock game with only four pages of rules, one sheet of chits and and 11" x 17" map to play on.

The rules system is from Decisions the Hand of Destiny series of rules and it looks ridiculously simple.  While the single stat on a unit's chit helps determine combat resolution, all other rules are affected by the campaign cards for each side.  Campaign cards are drawn each round an determine reinforcements, movement, and any other special situations which could completely screw up your plan of attack.

Combat focuses on two separate actions:  Tactical Advantage, then the combat resolution.  Tactical advantage is essentially an opposed die role, modified by troop status, terrain, etc.

Combat resolution is rolling a number of d6 equal to the units number.  Results of 4+ may panic some units (unable to attack if they had yet to go) or even eliminate them from the game.   As combat alternates between players one unit at a time, winning initiative allows the first player to attack with their more powerful units and knock the enemy out before they have a chance to counterattack.

With some actual time to sit back and relax, I broke out game and attempted a solitaire run through the scenario playing both the Germans, as well as the British and her Allies.  I had a little confusion as to the definition of turns (individual vs 2-player turns) and misread some pretty obvious rules, but that's player error, not writer/editor error.

In my solitaire run, halfway through the 14-turn game, the Germans were in control.  Most British units had been eliminated trying to take the coastal cities and I was wondering what went wrong.

Then the British finally drew back to back campaign cards bringing in their South African reinforcements, followed immediately by the Belgian Congo's introduction to the campaign.  By turn 12 the remaining Germans were surrounded on a mountain smack dab in the middle of the colony.

Overall I'm quite satisfied with the product.  I've never bought any Decision Games products before, and starting with a period piece I had decent familiarity with was a great way to go.

That being said, I would try other games in the Mini-games line.  There are two dozen of them, ranging in price from $9.95 to $12.95.
British reinforcements have finally arrived...
The alternative option I thought of was to use the game map to manage a miniatures campaign, moving the chits and resolving the combats with the miniatures ruleset of your choice.

I know, I'm not the first person in the world to think of that great crossover from chit-based wargames to historical miniatures, but easy to utilize maps of German East Africa aren't usually available in the same distributor catalog as Pathfinder books or Reaper minis.

Overall, in the Gaming with the Gnomies 5-Gnome Rating system, I'm going to give Lettow-Vorbeck 4.5 gnomes.
Plus a half....
Production and play value are exactly what I want in a thirteen dollar game,  My only wish is that a new generation of wargamers become editors of these lines because there are just certain things that a long-time chit wargamer just assumes as right and if I initially misinterpretted them, I worry what a gamer on an impulse buy does with them.  Yes, chit-based wargames aren't usually impulse buys at a FLGS, but $10-13 is pretty close to that demographic.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

(Gnome Wars) Return to Kisi Rushwa

With my wife working the weekend, it was time to play in our annual Easter wargame with the kids... and a return to Gnome Wars.

This year's Easter game took place on Kisi Rushwa, an island in the middle of a large river. Previously, our pulp game visited it to rescue a friend, but now a number of years had passed.  The military garrison had been abandoned and this land all but forgotten, until a gnomish flyover spotted some peculiar objects below.  It was time to send in some troops to figure it out.

14th Swiss Army (played by Maja)
Objective:  Seize the mysterious objects, for future study.

3rd MILLIE [Military Intelligence Logistics Liaison Irregular Escadrille]   (played by Millie)
Objective:  The MILLIE knew that Gnomes of Nefarious Occupations Military/Education had used the island as a satellite base for a short time, but no evidence of their work had been found.  All evidence of their work needed to be destroyed!
"It's the perfect time of year for Jelly Bean pickin'!"
Both sides decided to avoid a direct amphibious assault, although recon detected no one at the old garrison.  

This MILLIE madea mad dash out of the jungle and towards the strange devices.  They immediately went to work, with the Pie Grenadiers chucking their baked concoctions at the giant...eggs?  (Swiss Grenadiers are typically Limburger Cheese, but who am I to stop Millie's ideas?)

The pies cracked the dome of the device came to life with whizzes and buzzers and lights.  Soon, the top opened and the true vision of horror was revealed:  a giant, gnome eating-Peep!

The Swiss Army surprised by the appearance of the MILLIE and the giant Peep, opened fire on the sugary confection.

...but were caught unawares that the beast had companions already roaming the island.

More Peeps were coming out of both generators now. They were very slow to act, but extremely tough to kill. Both gnome squads began taking casualities

Just as the gnomes had figured out how to handle the Peeps and start focusing on their objective, the savage blue bunny Peeps descended upon them.  The bunnies were easier to kill, but quite fast,  A few gnomes never even knew what was occuring before they were taken out by the monsters.

The bunnies were inflicting some serious casualties (both gnome and my daughters, who were eating their kills).  Fearing more sweet reinforcements, each team worked their objective on a single generator.  The Army squad quickly deactivated the orange generator, while the MILLIE had trouble landing that final hit to destroy the yellow one.  Finally, in a moment of imagination I love my children for, Millie goes, "Daddy, my puppy will find a bucket of water and douse the machine."  A few dice rolls and the yellow generator exploded, leaving few survivors.  

Solid game, the kids had fun, and we didn't even get to break out the tiny chocolate bunnies (maybe if I had let them field full companies).

Like the first visit to the island, the return was inspired by Tim's Miniature Wargaming Blog , although the concepts certainly wander off in completely different directions.
Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Ballad of the Pigeon God #1 - Caldwell Manor

1 HexDec 1069 - Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
For a rural village in Crosedes, Eding was fairly welcoming of most strangers, save those with elvish blood.  One thing might cause more fear in the locals than the hatred of elves: Barbarians from the Plains of Galmar.  Much to their chagrin a lone, fair-skinned ravager from the distant steppes emerged into the Blue Wizard Inn, Rolf Wolfsblood
Rolf - Barbarian Warrior
The afternoon crowd pushed their stools back, awaiting the brute's action.  Rolf simply ordered a drink, left the coins atop the bar, and found an empty table to shed his furs and enjoy his mug.

In any other Crosedean hamlet, this would be enough to start a bloody brawl with some farmers full of liquid courage, but one of the younger afternoon imbibers dashed out the door.  A few moments a full blooded elf entered the establishment and directly walked upon the unwelcome brute!  The other patrons turned back to their ales.

"A bit lost, barbarian?"  the elf asked.

"Just as much as you, pointer," the barbarian quipped, eyes still focused on his drink.

"When you're stuck here for a decade, you're no longer what mothers scare their children, baldy", the elf remarked, removing his cloak.

From his ripped, sleeveless tunic, Rolf could see massive scarring from his neck and arms, it could be assumed the damage stretched across his entire back.

"Of course, they may need a reminder why.  Torm Touchberry, Sergeant-in-Arms for the Village of Eding, in service to Lord Athelstane himself."

The elf sat down at the table uninvited and hailed the barkeep for his own ale.

Torm proceeded to tell his tale of cowardice and redemption.  Rolf did not care, finishing his mug and standing up to order another. 

Another large figure, cloak hood up and smelling of the pine barrens, approached Torm, "Ten years is a blink of the eye for elves, for others it's a bit longer than we'd like,"  the man, pulled down his hood, revealing pointed ears with a fuller face unaccustomed to elves.  "Half-breeds don't always have that luxury."

Ashe - Half Elf Ranger

His compatriots, fresh from a successful caravan guard duty entered the bar.  The half elf, Ashe, made full introductions to the Sergeant:  Kane, from the Eastern lands beyond Parthia.
Kane - Eastern Mystical Monk

and Maloran Alberhold, a human spying ale and the wenches with an equally lecherous eye.

Maloran Alberhold
"Elf!!!! Where is my coin???" the barbarian bellowed. 

Torm tossed the coin purse onto the table.  "Quiet, Rolf.  Let the girls serve you and your new friends.  There's protection in numbers."

The Easterner inquired with Touchberry, "A decade?  Did you know of Markoos?"

The elf's congenial temperament vanished, his eyes focused squarely on the monk.  Another moment passed and he launched himself over the table, grabbing Kane by the robe.

"Do... Not... Mention his name again, understand."

The matter was quickly dropped with a round for everyone.

After a few more ales and some useless small talk, a "lusty wench in nice clothes" (Rolf's words) entered the Blue Wizard, escorted by the patron who originally darted out. 

She introduced herself as Lady Chistiana Caldwell.  Her father recently passed away and one of his possessions, a long-ignored summer manor house had been given to her.  Upon initial inspection, it was full of creatures, vagabonds, and possibly even a ghost.  For a healthy 75 gold for each of them, she wondered if they were willing to clean out the manor, including said ghost.  Proof would be required.
Outside some unwelcome advances towards the Lady by Maloran, the group's bellies full of ale made them not only accept the job, but leave for the manor right that second.

The road south of Eding was peasant fields as far as the eyes could see.  With a few hours of daylight left, they reached the manor.  A cursory search of the grounds uncovered little, save a short tower at the each corner of the building, and a desperate need for landscaping. 

Exploring the manor found a number of creatures that didn't take kindly to being evicted: spiders, lizards, and a few goblins that seemed dumber than the animals.  The vagabonds that Lady Christiana claimed to have squatted in the manor were never seen, perhaps they caught a glimpse of the fur-clad barbarian, a ranger, a swordsman, and a strange foreigner with a giant hat and thought it better to find different refuge down near the river.

2 HexDec 1069 - Caldwell Manor, Outside Eding
After a quiet night barricaded in one of the towers, the group finished their duties, a worm-like creature (carrion crawler) surprised them in the study and paralyzed Ashe for a while.  It was killed with fire, which Rolf unceremoniously decided to urinate on to put out. 

Lady Christina showed up to check on their progress, Rolf tossed the crawler's carcass at her.  "We're still working..."

She promptly left. 

In the pantry. The ranger tried to flush out a creature hiding in the wall, only to be sprayed by a skunk.

With Ashe now guarding the rear downwind of the group, they all could hear a strange chant in a strange Ferasean dialect that roughly repeated "Akana is full of shit."  They could not find the origin of the chant. 

A few more doors were opened, animals encountered, and even a nice cleric on pilgrimage apologized for her intrusion and promptly left. 

Later, the ghost actually materialized in front of them, a bearded fellow in ragged armor, screaming,  "Release me, or die!" then dissipating.
In the last six rooms, they needed to vanquish some other squatters who had turned into maggot-riddled undead quite some time in the past.
Soon, the all the rooms in the manor were clear, save a trap door in the floor of one of the rooms that wouldn't budge... Of anonly to find a maggot eaten body attacking me.

Searched last few rooms, found trap door that wouldn't budge....

Time to schmooze the lovely Lady Christiana....  Where's that Carrion Crawler....?

The Adventure Begins.... Here!
DM Notes: There you have it, the first ever session of my final AD&D 2nd Edition Campaign (Circa '99)  A barbarian, a half-elf ranger, a straight fighter, and a cleric with the trappings of a mystical monk drink heavily at a bar, and when dared to find adventure do the 90's equivalent of "Wench, hold by ale." 

One note that should be mentioned:  The one truly meta moment in the game was when Kane asked Torm about Markoos.  Kane's player Wooly had played in the previous campaign, "The Army Game," where Torm Touchberry was an actual PC as well as Markoos.  As the campaign collapsed, the group deserted their stations prior to a major goblin attack.  Markoos, a obnoxious wood elf, tried to make his name in the village, only to dart out like the rest at the last second, never to return, Torm actually came back to accept his fate, suffered greatly under dozens of lashings at numerous times, and was essentially a slave for a few years while the town was rebuilt.  His dedication to the village actually turned the villagers opinion of him... not all elvinkind, just him, and he was granted his freedom and performed admirably in the village militia.  Lord Athelstane has ruled over the land for Torm's entire residence and knows he may be the most capable fighter in all of Eding... even though he's a thief.   Regardless, nothing was in Kane's limited backstory that would allow him to even be aware of Markoos, but 18 years have softened my opinion, I have a rewrite waiting for a later episode.

There are even more to the stories of their first adventure, but I'll save that for the finale in the next episode....

Next #2 - The Secret Crypt of Caldwell Manor

Monday, April 10, 2017

(Kickstarter) Old Salt 28mm Dwarf Pirates

April must be the month of the pirate dwarf, as a second themed Kickstarter has been launched

Macrocosm has already reached it's goal for their Old Salt 28mm Pirate Dwarves.
Pricing is roughly comparable to the Ral Partha Europe pirate campaign I linked to this past weekend.  The one this that made me raise an eyebrow is the recently reached stretch goal of a halfling pirate crew available as a a unit, or broken down into one of four packs.

(Kickstarter) Invasion of the Garden Gnomes

Asmadi Games has launched a Kickstarter for Invasion of the Garden Gnomes by Reiner Knizia.

Pledges start as low as $15 (+$5 S&H) for a copy of the game (MSRP is $25).

Sunday, April 9, 2017

(Kickstarter) Star Eagles by Ganesha Games

Ganesha Games has recently launched their Kickstarter for Star Eagles, a futuristic space fighter combat game in 1/285th scale.

There are numerous pledge levels from full squadrons of minis, to two-player starter sets to just pdfs, to .STL files for those who wish to 3-D print the ships at home.  

Saturday, April 8, 2017

(Kickstarter) Captain Redbeard's Pirate Dwarfs

Ral Partha Europe has launched a Kickstarter for Captain Redbeard's Pirate Dwarfs in 28mm. 

The single  £30 pledge level nets you nine figures of the set, plus any stretch goals. 

Friday, April 7, 2017

(Painting) The Incredible Impenetrable Egg

Things have calmed down.  The basement is dry, although some items are still drying out.  The new pump is resting nicely where it belongs, and with the nice weather for a day or two, I got some much-need yardwork done.

That doesn't mean I didn't spend time on the workbench, although more time was spent with the kids painting at the dining room table.

First off is some Easter Egg Terrain.
Maja was off at a hockey game with Mom, so I got Millie to paint up the gold one.  I had a heckuva time gluing the bottle cap and the bottom of the egg together.   No superglue would work, so I ended up using Elmer's, prayer, and a few layers of primer, paint, and sealant.  So far, so good.

Despite their suggestion for using liquid latex for rivets, I found an alternative using tiny sprinkles, just didn't have the time to find them in a supermarket.

These two items (plus a third if Maja finds the time) will play a prominent part in our annual Easter game.

Finally, a quick sample of what I should be finishing up over the weekend.  Here's the head chief of the Cult of the Ape God for our upcoming Pulp game.
I hope to have the entire cult finished up shortly, and then I can take a nice picture of my "Polynesian Army"  with everything else I've painted up from Bob Murch. 

Thursday, April 6, 2017


You would think that with the explosion of the internet since its inception, that there would be more surveys, quizzes, and gimmicks that would actually be FUN.  I guess the lowest-common demoninator always wins, and that's usually an uninspiring place to be.

On my weekly perusal of all things Twitter (@viscounteric), I came upon on the simplest gimmicks of all:  the list.

#Fav7Roleplaying Games was the hastag, and the ability to simply list them proved too tempting.  I did a shorter version with #FourRPGs two years ago, so in more than 140 characters, here's my current list of preferred games:

1.  Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (1st or 2nd Edition)

The Grand-daddy of them all might have lost some steam over the years, but the discovery of the college AD&D game journal that I'm required to mention at least two times each week has rekindled the permanent romance for the system.  So much occurred in the game that we didn't have rules for and we simply made it up on the fly.  No perception checks, no diplomacy.  Hack, slash, and hours of role-playing in between, seasoned to taste

It may benefit a later selection, but I've just barely begun writing up some material to fill in some holes from the old campaign.  It's not completely system-specific, but it will be formatted best towards the high-Gygaxian standards.

#2. Call of Cthulhu (1st-6th Edition)
Dagon, please don't rend me limb from limb, for I've brough fresh sacrifices.... It has been six months since we finished Masks of Nylarathotep and put the CoC Campaign on long-term hiatus.   I do want to play something else for a bit before returning to Cthulhu, but I am jonesing to start researching again.

And with all the material I already own, I have zero need to pick up anything 7th Edition, a supplement's material interests me.  The rules updates do nothing for for me, and I'm already trained in "reverse math" for skill difficulty.

#3. Hackmaster 4th Edition
One day, I shall get the band back together to run "The Burning Trogs Redux," the long awaited continuation of the old Hackmaster Burning Trog games of the 00's (which in turn are descendents of the AD&D college game mentioned above).   The crunchiness fits the gamestyle we want and have forced me the expand my creativity as a GM.

#4. Talislanta 
I have a sweet spot for my second Fantasy RPG I ever played.  Got to play it enough to know I love it, but not enough to fully appreciate it.  Here's hoping the new Talislanta: The Savage Land will keep that spirit going with a lot magic turned down and the Conan-esque play style turned brutally up.

#5. Recon
The true soft spot on this list.  Haven't played it since '94, don't really have the right group for it, but I have a couple short campaigns I'd love to run.

#6. Risus
"The Anything RPG" with basic cliches for stats, six-sided dice, and a world of opportunity.  RISUS-IOU is on permanent hiatus, but perhaps I can get the group to play Toast of the Town as our palette cleanser.

#7. Savage Worlds
It's taken awhile, and it's certainly not as perfect as some of the hardcore fanboys declare, by I enjoy the pacing of the rules system, and the flexibility into as many settings as you can muster.  While the girls may shortly deviate from their Pulp Game, it's simple enough to start (my own T.IA.R.A system mirrored many portions by sheer ignorant accident) and I've been able to layer on cooler things as they come up.