Wednesday, June 28, 2017

(Kickstarter) Top Secret: New World Order

I was quite confused last night as I looked through the newest campaigns on Kickstarter and saw the terms TSR and TOP SECRET on a new campaign. 

I checked my time machine to ensure I was home at the correct time and giggled at the prospect of TSR Games launching Top Secret: New World Order.
It appears TSR Games are the old-school fellows behind Gygax Magazine. 

Despite the head twisting, Top Secret: NWO is a brand new RPG system from Merle Rasmussen,  author of the original Top Secret.

Ten bucks nets you the pdf of the core rulebook and module.  Fifty ($60 with S&H) gets you the print copy and all the accouterments.  Sixty-five snags you all the above (pre-shipping) PLUS ORIGINAL TSR TOP SECRET MINIS FROM THE 80's.

I didn't even know these existed! 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Ballad of the Pigeon God #12: The Horror in the Hill

21 HepDec 1070 - Monastery of Akana Outside of Lansluck
Our heroes, barricaded in an odd octagonal rooms with as many doors as walls, located on the 2nd Dungeon level beneath the monastery:
Rolf Wolfsblood:  Bald-headed barbarian from the Plains of Galmar
Kane: Student of Eastern mysticism, controller of water.
Ashe - highly skilled elven ranger
Maloran Alberhold - human fighter, ladies man sans charisma.
Talis Makolin - a rakish bard avec charisma
Echelon - a pigeon loving priest of an eastern god of the sea, escorted by his charmed wolf, Pathfinder.(CURRENTLY UNCONSCIOUS - Wolf wounded but OK)
Velandro - a pious priest of Akana with a kobold congregation
Kannex of Cymril (NPC) - Mysterious sorcerer from parts unknown (CURRENTLY UNCONSCIOUS)
Wrath - Young Holy Warrior with an ego bigger than his ability. (CURRENTLY UNCONSCIOUS)

The party's quick respite re-energized Velandro, who was able to revive our knocked out heroes. Things were still pretty close to grim, and there was no other clerical healing available for the rest of the day.

Nevertheless, they pushed on.

Each door opened to tunnels that wandered underground so randomly they must have been carved by madmen.  And madmen were much of what they found, unkempt, babbling berserkers wandering the tunnels for something to eat, kill, perhaps both.

A few more random slimes and rats later, and the they discovered and shallow underground stream, and tempted fate by walking down it's tunnel into the unknown.

When stream opened up a few hundred yards downstream into a cavern, the party began to break up. Velandro and a wounded Wrath took off a side tunnel, and the rest encountered the stalwart defenses... of kobolds.  Dozens of kobolds, however, couldn't keep up with the battle-hardened crew and soon the same group fell upon...SPIDER-PEOPLE!!!! That combat was far worse, but they still prevailed and discovered a vast cavern and large cocoons.  Slicing open the cocoons the party discovered people sleeping in them.  They awoke as soon as exposed to air, very confused.  It appeared that a large number of them were peasants from Eding!  Many that had been assumed dead during the wedding debacle!   Lady Iris was included in the group!  A few more spoke peculiar dialects, but seemed equally pleased of their new found freedom.

As Rolf, Echelon, Talis, and Kannex attempted to organize their newly acquired mob,  Ashe, Kane, and Maloran explored further.    They found scorched corpses of kobolds, and after a few clumsy steps, were just a few feet away from a Red Dragon!

Sure, it was a young adult dragon by sage's claims, but they were young adult adventurers who nearly peed themselves.  Ashe tried to sneak off to the passageway on the other side of the dragon's cavern, smelling the fresh air of freedom, but the dragon awoke.
By the time the other heroes reinforced Ashe's scouting party, it was chaos.  Brimstone and blood, both man and dragon, chocked the air.   Rolf watched his friend Ashe get eaten in one bite.  Blows were landing on the dragon, but not enough damage to kill it before it readied another blast of its fiery breath.  Doom was the thought in every one's minds.

Everyone, save Velandro and his new-found friends.

The cleric and three very boisterous kobolds charged down the tunnel towards the dragon, hold small casks of something wretchedly alcoholic in smell.  The dog men boldly bounded up the dragon, until shoving one in each nostril, and the other down the monsters throat.

The confused dragon stopped, burped, and exploded.

Somewhere in the wreckage, a quite unconscious Ashe revealed that he was still alive, his elven cloak still immaculate.

When Velandro and Wrath took off in a random direction, they didn't realize the rest of the party was following, and surprisingly quickly, they became lost.  While the party was surviving an assault on the kobold lair, Velandro used his newly acquired basic Kobold to talk to three kobolds who were trying to leave the caves... and the evil tribe.  All they wanted to do was make horribly potent (and horribly explosive) kobold liquor.   Velandro took a short time to convert them to Akana, and a much longer time celebrating their conversion with their booze.    Drunk kobolds are wildly brave, and develop amazing tactics in defeating the dragon their old tribe had feared for so long.

With a moment to rest, Maloran and Talis discovered where the exit emptied out on the side of the hill, they heaped together the dragon's horde and started taking bags of it back to the boats.   The peasants were offered as many coppers as they could carry to help speed up the operation. Surprsingly, everyone pitched in.

22 HepDec 1070 - Village of Lansluck, Kingdom of Crosedes
The boats were ferried across the river numerous time to bring the party's loot, and rescued companions back to Lansluck.   After buying provisions for the long march back, Echelon said goodbye to Mohammad and raised his trident for the group to head back home, heroes triumphant.

DM Notes: Part Two of B5 - Horror on the Hill is complete.   It took a little yes-anding (and some very combustible kobold tequila) but the heroes have slain the dragon, killed all the spider-people they could find, and negated the hobgoblin kings chances for a damaging raid on Lansluck for a long-long time.  

Oh yeah, rescuing what appears to be Lady Iris and the townsfolk who had been spider-people for the wedding was aces too.  No sign of Archbishop Adolphus, and hopefully they inquire with the people with weird dialects before they get to Eding. 

Was the Dragon's pile a magic haul of legend?  Tons of gold and gems, but only a +2 Shortsword for Maloran, and a Ring of Protection for Echelon. 

The kobolds went across the river with them, got some supplies out of the group's grateful charity, and headed off to the northwest, into the lowhills and pine barrens, singing a lively song of success!


NEXT #13 - To Eding, then finallly Hydincall!

Monday, June 26, 2017

The WEEKEND Review

With strains of Loverboy jamming in my boss' car as we drove to the corporate offices on Monday, I was constantly reminded that this week, I was indeed working the The Weekend.

The Weekend is a small annual convention at the Continental Inn in Lancaster, PA, born out of the fiery chaos which was Historicon moving out of Lancaster.  Preferring a con in the heart of Amish country, and without the masses of volunteers and politics that keep HMGS cons afloat (or adrift, depending on your interpretation), organizer Otto Schmidt keeps it simple: a $20 donation to the cause gets you in, or simply stay at the Continental over the weekend, and get in for free.  It's a weekend of fun, camaraderie, and old dudes telling stories around the munchies pit.

No actual dealers, no memberships, no con t-shirts, no frills, and that's the way most con attendees like it, dagnabbit!

Thursday, we loaded the whole family in the van, and despite Construction Season being in full swing, arrived at the Continental in perfect time to grab my badge (and one for my eight-year old daughter Maja) and hit the pool.  Wednesday and Thursday, the early birds get to game in the "Card Room" and boardgames are usually broken out and general shenanigans occur.  However, with a wife and two little girls (6 and 8) with me, fatherhood trumps all.  In fact Thursday was pretty much a wash, as we swam, hit Golden Corral before all the buses arrived, and went back to the indoor pool until close.

Friday I let the other comatose bodies lie, grabbed the always solid breakfast buffet at The Continental's restaurant, and went downstairs.

I immediately gravitated towards Bob and Cleo Liebl's "And The Ladies Come Marching Home Again, Hurrah, Hurrah!" for two reasons.  For starters, it's a great set-up, but more importantly, it was the first time I could see and hold the Hinterland female figures I've had on my want list for some time.

I took command of the women, who were moments away from being beset upon my bandits, savages, slavers.  My relief was on the far side of the board looked like they were going to have an equally bad go with it.
Most con games are 10% strategy, 10% tactics, and 80% outrageous dice rolls, and for me, this was no exception. Insufficient buffers between my scouts and the main units, mixed with dervishes and wooly-bullies who were "wildly enthusiastic" to meet the British women led to me falling into square far too late to be effective.
The ladies, trying to maintain square before attempting to break out.
I would like to say for the sake of the AAR that my female cavalry remembered that they had horses to shatter the bandit flank and have a few survivors ride off into the desert "to be continued" but with my die rolling, it probably would have failed anyway.  Regardless, a great game, and I've never argued about free cookies at a game.

WW2
After my game, I ventured back to the room to get the whole run down from the girl's trip to "The Farm."  Their trip to see domesticated animals (and for Millie, age 6, 'Where Bacon Came From') was diverted as the site had a "Please Touch"  museum and the girls were quite occupied with that for 3+ hours.
ACW
Sandwiches from Wawa properly devoured, Maja said those words that melt a father's heart.

"Daddy, I want to go game."

Now, I believe The Weekend is not designed to be your child's first con experience.  The men are old, the conversation many times is blue, and the rules can vary from daunting to "anything but a six".  However, Otto has printed off a very conversational wargaming FAQ towards parents whose children wandered down to the ballroom and marveled at the toy soldiers.

The good news for the con attendees was that my eight-year old is an old pro at cons (she technically was at Historicon in Valley Forge, but her first badge-wearing event was Fall-In! 2015), so we fell into the Blood and Plunder pirate game getting set up by Mack Tuck and Ken Hall.
The pirates fare poorly in game one.
Two things I like about Blood and Plunder, from a Dad with a gamer in-training.  Another version of playing card initiative from how we use it was great, and as someone trying to introduce Song of Blades & Heroes into our household to try to use all the fantasy figures, she definitely picked using multiple activations/actions, as her Spanish militia stayed in their fortification and picked off pirates.
Maja's militia (lower left) 
After that, I took the kids to the pool, a late bite at IHOP/Sonic, I made a quick walk-through for late-night boardgaming, and like frat boys on the weekend, no one remembers when we really passed out.


The Hatfields vs the McCoys
Saturday was going to be  travel day for us, as the girls leave with relatives for the shore on Sunday.  A quick breakfast with Maja, a jaunt down to ballroom to show her the Hinterland figures (and cookies!), and some high-risk tetherball action by the playground and we were ready to go.
The L'Art de la Guerre Mid-Atlantic Regionals were held Saturday and Sunday
I consider the weekend to be a success, play some games, shoot the breeze, and perform fatherly duties in gaming and non-gaming capacities. Great games, no swag (the bring 'n buy table was filled with a lot of near retail items, or items meant for a real flea market or auction), and Maja learned she like Strawberry Kiwi Snapple.

If there's another Weekend next June, we shall be there!


(Edit:  For more commentary on the Weekend, and better yet, more pictures, check out Colonel Bill Gray's article here.)

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Apathy of the New Releases (Jul '17)

My Want List 
Flying Buffalo
Pizza Dice ........................................................................................................ $2.00
Fast Food Die ................................................................................................... $1.50
Grimtooth Die .................................................................................................. $1.50
Adventure Dice Pack (7)  ................................................................................. $7.50
All these are forthcoming from the Kickstarter, hopefully before they hit stores.

My Money-Is-No-Object Want List
Toy Vault 
The Princess Bride RPG ................................................................................... $unknown
Wouldn't it make more sense to label it a storytelling game?
My Imaginary Store (The Pegleg Gnome) List
Arcane Wonders 
Sheriff of Nottingham - Merry Men Expansion ..................................................... $24.99

Asmodee
Conan: Stygia Expansion ....................................................................................... $59.99
Loony Quest: The Lost City Expansion ................................................................. $19.99
Secrets ..................................................................................................................... $24.99

Battlfield Press
Savage Worlds RPG:  Ben Dunn's Ninja High School RPG .................................. $19.99
Not a big fan of the multiple system options for the same game.  The d6 version was just listed two months ago and at first glance I thought it was a re-solicit.

Bully Pulpit Games
Ghost Court:  Role Playing Party Game .................................................................. $25.00

Cakebread and Walton
Clockwork & Chivalry:  Clockwork and Cthulhu ................................................... $44.99
Onedice: Cyberpunk ................................................................................................ $14.99
Onedice: Pirates & Dragons .................................................................................... $24.99
Onedice: Universal Revised .................................................................................... $14.99

Catalyst Game Labs
D&D: Dragonfire DBG Adventures:  Dragonspear Castle ..................................... $19.99

Catan Studio
Catan: Legend of the Sea Robbers Expansion ......................................................... $37.00

Chaosium
Runequest RPG:  Quick Start .................................................................................. $ 9.95

Cheapass Games
Kill Doctor Lucky's Mansion That is Not Haunted Expansion Board ..................... $16.00

Cubicle 7 
D&D RPG: Adventures in Middle-Earth Loremaster's Screen ................................ $29.99
Doctor Who: Card Game 2nd Edition - 12th Doctor Expansion 2 ........................... $19.99

Czech Games Editions
Codenames: Duets .................................................................................................... $19.95

Dyskami Publishing
Sailor Moon Crytal:  Dice Challenge ....................................................................... $29.99

Fantasy Flight Games
Star Wars Imperial Assault: Heart of the Empire Campaigan Expansion ................ $59.95
Star Wars Imperial Assault: Ahsoka Tano Ally Pack ............................................... $ 9.95
Star Wars Imperial Assault: Emporer Palpatine Villain Pack ..................................  $ 9.95
Star Wars Imperial Assault: Darth Maul Villain Pack .............................................  $9.95
Star Wars Rebellion:  Rise of the Empire Expansion .............................................. $39.95

Games Workshop
Death Zone - Season Two ........................................................................................ $32.00
Blood Bowl - Scarcrag Snivellers ............................................................................ $35.00
Goblin Team Booster ............................................................................................... $15.00
Skirmish Rulebook ................................................................................................... $10.00
I though Age of Sigmar was supposed to be skirmish?  If they break it down in even smaller units it will be gladiator combat and slap fights.

Goodman Games
Dungeon Crawl Classics: Quick Start Rules ............................................................ $ 5.00
Dungeon Crawl Classics: #91.2 Lairs of Lost Asharta ............................................ $ 9.99
Mutant Crawl Classics: #0 Judge's Screen ............................................................... $ 9.99
Mutant Crawl Classics: #1 Hive of the Overmind .................................................... $ 9.99
Mutant Crawl Classics: #2 A Fallen Star for All ...................................................... $ 9.99
Mutant Crawl Classics: #3 Incursion of the Ultradimension .................................... $ 9.99
Mutant Crawl Classics: #4 Warlords of Atoz ........................................................... $ 9.99
Mutant Crawl Classics: #5 Blessings of the Vile Brotherhood ................................ $ 9.99
Mutant Crawl Classics: #6 The Apocalyptic Arc ..................................................... $ 9.99

Grail Games
Medici: The Card Game ........................................................................................... $21.99

Greater Than Games
Sentinel Comics RPG Start Kit ................................................................................. $19.95

Iello 
Mountains of Madness ............................................................................................. $39.99

John Wick Presents
7th Sea RPG 2nd Edition - The Crescent Empire HC .............................................. $39.99

Konami Digital Entertainment
Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Legendary Duelists Boosters

Mantic Entertainment
Walking Dead:  Michonne Booster ........................................................................ $19.99
Walking Dead:  Rick Prison Advisor Booster ....................................................... $19.99

Modiphius 
Space: 1899 Revised Edition ..............................................................................  $49.99
Tales from the Loop RPG ...................................................................................  $45.99
Tales from the Loop RPG Map ...........................................................................  $19.99
Tales from the Loop Dice Set ............................................................................... $19.99
Tales from the Loop GM Screen .......................................................................... $24.99

Mongoose Publishing
Paranoia RPG:  More Redacted Societies ............................................................ $14.99
Paranoia RPG:  Mutant Explosion ........................................................................ $14.99
Traveller RPG:  Last Flight of the Amuar ............................................................ $19.99

Paizo
Pathfinder ACG:  Pathfinder Tales Character Deck ............................................ $19.99
Pathfinder RPG: AP Ruins of Azlant Part 2 Into the Shattered Continent ......... $24.99
Pathfinder RPG: Book of the Damned HC ......................................................... $44.99
Pathfinder RPG:  Pawns Traps and Treasures Pawn Collection ......................... $24.99
Pathfinder RPG: Flip Mat Cavernous Lair ......................................................... $14.99
Pathfinder RPG: Flip Mat Haunted House ......................................................... $14.99
Pathfinder RPG: Player Companion Anti-Hero's HB ........................................  $14.99
Starfinder RPG:  Condition Cards ...................................................................... $12.99

Pinnacle Entertainment Group
Savage Worlds RPG:  The Last Parsec Collector's Boxe Set ............................. $99.99

Plastic Soldier Company
Hmmm.... 15mm WW2 getting solicited as a nice option for Flames of War

Pokemon USA
Pokemon TCG:  Tsareena Gx Box

Role 4 Initiative 
Even more sets of carded dice, from $5 and up... 

Steve Jackson Games
Munchkin: Shakespeare Deluxe. .......................................................................... $29.95
Munchkin: Shakespeare Staged Demo Blister Pack ............................................ $ 5.95

Troll Lord Games
5th Edition Adventures: A5 The Shattered Horn .................................................. $ 9.99
5th Edition Adventures: A7 Beneath the Despairing Stone .................................. $ 9.99
Castle and Crusades RPG: By Shadow of Night ................................................ $19.99
Castle and Crusades RPG: Codex Germania ...................................................... $19.99
Castle and Crusades RPG: Monsters and Treasure of Aihrde ............................ $29.99
Castle and Crusades RPG: Codex Classicum ..................................................... $19.99
Castle and Crusades RPG: Codex Slavorum ...................................................... $19.99
Castle and Crusades RPG: Players Handbook (7th Printing) ............................. $29.99

Twilight Creations 
Zombies!!!! Ultimate Collector's Box ............................................................... $275.00

Ultra-Pro 
D&D Owlbear Gamer Pouch ............................................................................ $unknown

Wizards of the Coast
Magic: The Gathering:  Ixalan Boosters

WizKids
Marvel Dice Masters : The Might Thor
DC Heroclix: Harley Quinn and Gotham Girls
Star Trek Heroclix:  Away Team

Zvezda
SD.KFZ 186 Jadgtiger Heavy Tank Destroyer ................................................... $ 4.95


Saturday, June 24, 2017

(Kickstarter) The Yellow King RPG by Pelgrane Press

Pelgrane Press has recently launched their Kickstarter campaign for The Yellow King RPG by Robin D Laws.

Using the GUMSHOE engine, players navigate their characters through multiple settings while navigating a certain King of Carcosa and his deranged family.

I love the concept, I love the new settings provided, and it might be the dumb American viewing Pounds Sterling as the default currency for this project, but there are a ton of options and accessories on multiple pledge levels.  It appears that the core RPG is the four setting books (rules are part of the Paris book) and the set will run $76, with S&H charged after the campaign.  

Friday, June 23, 2017

RIP: Stewart Wieck

It appears that White Wolf co-founder and now Kickstarter enthusiast Stewart Wieck has passed away.    He was only 49.

(Painting) Blue Martians and Some Ramblings

Lots of moving parts on the painting bench this week.  Between a busy week and family mini-vacation at "The Weekend" in Lancaster, not much got finished.

The last of my wave of "Blue Martians" I've been working on since  the Wednesday before the Big Bang are finally finished!
Pathfinder Goblin Pyros (89002) with one random spearman from Pathfinder Goblin Warriors (89003)

More Notes (non-painting):  We did manage to procure a very adequate laptop this week, so not only will I use less of my lunch hour to type up blog posts at work, it's finally powerful enough to let me venture into the world of online gaming with the crew.

Speaking of the crew and role-playing, the  Pigeon God the next 23 actual plays are finalized and scheduled for Tuesday releases through the week after Thanksgiving.  The laptop helps my quest to get these finished, but my quest is to get the year done before my busy season in September and the last twenty or so episodes by early Winter.

Just as I inch under 350 blog posts at various stages behind the scenes (plot ideas/scenarios/scheduled posts) comes the announcement that #RPGaDAy is coming back in August.   I've been an active participant the last three years and it's been a hoot.  It just means another 31 placeholder blog posts behind the scenes.  More on that when the information becomes available.

And it should be noted I had "The Talk" with my daughter Maja this past weekend..  No, not THAT talk.

As we drove around doing errands on Free RPG Day, we covered the options for games.  It's not like a kept a draft board in the car, but I believe the final consensus was:

  1. Mousling Fantasy Role-Play
  2. Stuff with Gnomes, big and small
  3. Continue the Pulp game:  More Egypt, fewer dinosaurs.
  4. PONIES! 
  5. General family games off our nook in the dining room.  
  6. Learn to play Munchkin

Things that didn't make the cut:  Anything sci-f and/or fantasy skirmish related.  I'll have to introduce Song of Blades and Heroes/Mutants and Death Rays to the group at large and see if she picks up on it.

NEXT:  My queue is cluttered again and time limited.  The Mous-a-geddon/Rat-na-rock figures are primed and the big are gravitating towards me.  

Thursday, June 22, 2017

(Kickstarter) Ill-Tempered Tikis

The Wild East Game Company has launched a Kickstarter for their Ill-Tempered Tikis card game, and for good and honest reasons.

The game cards are printed and sitting in shipping boxes on a pallet.  They need funding for printing up the actual game boxes, so for $9 (plus S&H) they're offering their game.  The best part? They've already met their goal, there will be no stretch goals, and the only way you can spend money is either getting more copies of the game, or a few offers coupling other existing products with your pledge.

I'll put a nickel down that this should fulfill with little or no fuss.

(Kickstarter) Dwarven Forge Dungeon of Doom!

It must have been a few weeks since the last gaming Kickstarter impoverish all of gamerdom.

Dwarven Forge believes that gamerw worldwide must have a few dollar hiding, as they've launched Dungeon of Doom.
As always, it's a gigantic project with mind-numbing pledge levels, but there are hundreds, nay, thousands of interested backers.

Coming to a convention game near you, sometime in 2018. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

(Savage Lost) #2.10 Against the Ape God

After rescuing their friend Nils Lingonberry from the horrible Ahdo tribe, our heroes were themselves rescued by one of the Akala tribesmen, who warned them that the rest of the tribe wanted them dead for the death of the Akala tribal elder. To make matters worse, the Ahdo had successfully summoned their Ape God from wherever he was slumbering and he was now rampaging across the valley.  If the  heroes ever wanted time to get home from where ever they were, they would have to deal with these crazy predicaments.

At the same time, Blauen was leading the heroes to the Ape God, the Akala  were attempting a preemptive strike on the Ahdo and Atil-a-Kong. The nature of the sacrifice didn't allow their high priestess to control the Ape God.  The Ahdo were desperate not having their God under their sway, for he would cause havoc, starvation,  and even more general chaos, more so than the high priestess was willing to except

Set up:

The lair of Atil-a-Kong was an ancient ruin.  Through his various incarnations that appeared over thousands of years,  the Ape God had dug out and torn apart the surrounding ruins, so treasures were strewn across the area.  When the war parties couldn't engage in combat against Atil-a-Kong or a rival party, they could investigate an area (the blue chips) and draw a chit out of a cup.  Sometimes it would be the lost treasures, other times a monster attack, killing a party member, or quicksand, forcing them to lose a turn.   Each treasure was worth between five and twenty victory points. landing the killing/subduing blow on Atil-a-Kong was thirty.

Rules are Valley of the Ape, and the war parties have the following special rules.

The War Parties - 
The Akala (10) - By using the trees, they may retreat though the Ape-God, rathing than fleeing away from him.

The Ahdo (10) - They are able to go through rough terrain that other characters must move around.

The Heroes (Nils Ligonberry, Kacey Barbara, Lord Jon-Smythe Cuppenbrush, Maja Millie, and the Akala Blauen) - Allowed to shoot up to 18 inches.  All heroes, save Blauen, have two hits.

Turn One-Three:
The Akala dashed out and yet another disorganized formation, and after a lone warrior threw a spear at the Ape-God, Atil-a-Kong moved over and turned the monkey-man into a fine blue and red paste. The others fled in terror and somehow regrouped.

Atil-a-Kong on the move. 

The Ahdo tried a flanking attack, only landed one spear, and all five tribesmen were crushed by an ape backhand.  To make matter worse, the remaining Ahdo, fell into quicksand, but Atil-a-Kong was distracted by the Heroes nearing the ruins.  .
Turn: 4-6
The Ahdo escaped from the quicksand and found a strange treasure, an infernal contraption which whirled to life, cut off a man's head, and went dead again.  Even the treasures in the area were deadly.
The heroes managed to hide from the Ape-God, find a treasure...
and also got trapped in a quicksand bog right next to where the Ahdo had been trapped.

The Ahdo continue to flee...
The Akala continued to spread out, uncovering treasures, but also failing prey to the Deep Ones!
Gahhhh!
Turns 7-9
A portion of the Akala flanked the Ape-God, and another quick wave of the arm, eliminated them from existence.    The heroes superior range allowed them to fire on the monster and retreat far enough to keep him out of range, until, of course, they backed into a table edge!
Oh no!  Not poor Blauen!
When Atil-a-Kong managed to reach the heroes, the beast was too winded to properly attack, and he could only step on Blauen.

Turns 10+

The Ahdo regrouped and attacked beast from the rear, significantly  wounding/subduing the Ape God on back-to-back turns.   That grabbed the giant primate's attention, and the result was not pretty....
The Ahdo get knocked out...
The Akala lost more men to exploration and when it came time to attack, the Ape-God brushed aside the first wave.

Oooh!  A surprise under the tree!
With the Akala down to two, the heroes decided to join forces to take out the beast in hand-to-hand combat
The Joint Akala-Hero Task Force
Together, the die rolls were high enough to wound the monster significantly, while it's counter attack was weakened, spreading wound among all of the heroes.

Kornblum, one of the two final Akala, delivered the killing blow on the beast.
It wasn't beauty that killed the beast, it was short spears and gunfire.
With this incarnation of the Ape God dead, and the Ahdo weakened, the Akala and the Heroes made up.  Kornblum would challenge Cyan for Warchief of the Akala and a giant ape was worth more prestige than a measly dinosaur.

Returning to the Akala village, Kornblum accosted Cyan, and quickly dropped his challenge.  The Elder Mettiaus was alive and forcing stampedes of dinosaurs were quite disconcerting.  Even more so was the direction the shaman was heading... towards "Yetekelekele Ketema."

The forbidden city.

GM Note:  Valley of the Ape is a quick and easy game.  I do plan on using it for some of the kid's games this Fall on the con circuit.   Even with the fall of the Ahdo (20 victory points), we needed to kill the Ape to get enough victory points to win.  The heroes will get to use the Crytal Skull and the Crown of Kamula on the adventurers (if they do anything).  The Akala recovered an ancient scepter from a long-dead Akala elder.  They might need that to combat the apparent madness that Mettiaus succumbed to.

RIP:  Blauen

Next: #2.11 We Have to Do What?

Gnome Bikinis at the Ready


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Ballad of the Pigeon God #11: The Hobgoblin King

20 HepDec 1070 - Abandoned Monastery of Akana Outside of Lansluck
Rolf Wolfsblood:  Bald-headed barbarian from the Plains of Galmar
Kane: Student of Eastern mysticism, controller of water.
Ashe - highly skilled elven ranger
Maloran Alberhold - human fighter, ladies man sans charisma.
Talis Makolin - a rakish bard avec charisma
Echelon - a pigeon loving priest of an eastern god of the sea, escorted by his charmed wolf, Pathfinder.
Velandro - a pious priest of Akana with a kobold following (The Dag family is currently back at home.)
Kannex of Cymril (NPC) - Mysterious sorcerer from parts unknown with a penchant for fire.
Wrath - Young Holy Warrior with a an ego bigger than his ability.

The party successfully navigated their two boats across the river towards the base of the monastery's hill.  The initial scounting done by Velandro and the Dag family's allowed to group to avoid some of the issues that infested the hill, but they still needed to make one fighting retreat from new digging around a giant ant hill.

They were surprised to find "friendlies" on this side of the river, as they came upon a small cottage, inhabited by two women, Rosabelle and Rosalina.  They provided delicious lemonade and quicker directions to the ruins of the monastery.  No one really thought that strange.

Right before the monastery, they encounter two large ogres that had curtailed Velandro's initial expedition, but with the help of his fellow adventurers, they were slain.  Much of the monastery was in total ruins, with either undead or "wildmen" hiding in the crevasses and piles.

Working their way into the first sub-level of the ruins, they immediately encountered a stiff resistance of organized hobgoblins and bugbears!  They continued to persist, freeing a few prisoners, including one foul individual, Cullen DeFinch who to party armed to fight back, then proceeded to run out of the dungeon... with Talis' back-up parrying dagger no less!  The nerve!

The party pushed through the level, meeting and slaughtering wave after wave of hobgoblins, but it was a lone cleric, worshipping some eyeless statue of Akana that unnerved everyone, especially Velandro.  Hobgoblins were inherently evil.  Men worshipping desecrated statues of Akana.. and pulling immense evil magicks from it were far more terrifying

The further then ventured, the tougher and better organized the hobgoblins were, until they finally reached their great hall, where their King held court!
Quick!  All of you charge the intruders and get yourselves killed, before my lackey triggers the trap door in the floor.
Dozens were slain in the room, possibly even the king himself.  Wrath, Kannex, and Echelon fell from wounds. The rest of the party quickly fell as well, as something dropped the floor out from under them and they tumbled down a wide chute, until they were all deposited in a strange octagonal room, with a door on each wall.   They did their best to barricade the doors, posted a guard at the bottom of the chute, and most passed out from exhaustion.

DM Notes: And there you have the first half of module B5: Horror on the Hill, or as the whole scenario is titled in B1-9: In Search of Adventure, "The Hobgoblin King."  Looking to avenge the deaths of civilians in Eding by killing Spider-People in their secret lair isn't working out as well as they thought it would.   They didn't add two and two together that the strange evil cleric might be a go-between between the spider-people and the hobgoblins, but they were having too much "fun" hacking and slashing.  

With the party constantly engaged while on the floor, so they did little in searching rooms/bodies. The major magic item obtained in this episode was an Elven Cloak to Ashe the Ranger.


Many of the towns in the campaign world have randomly generated names.  Lansluck  is one of those that's changed over the years.  For the first three campaigns, this was a never-visited spot known as Rurik's Fort.  


In my fourth campaign in the World of Georic (the same one that generated the ghost in the basement of Caldwell Manor), that party managed to make it to Rurik's Fort, but took no action on the obvious news of hobgoblins mobilizing across the river.   They left as soon as they could without investigating anything.  When the next session came, a new player with a new character, Lan the Ranger, appeared in Eding, claiming to be the lone survivor of the hobgoblin attack that otherwise wiped out Rurik's Fort.  My newbie players became quite wise, and decided to inform the King of the attack and get actual military forces to take back the town.  


Lan's story was embellished quite a bit, and once the army kicked the hobgoblins back across the river, the new town was renamed Lan's Luck.  Not bad for a 1st level ranger.


NEXT #12 - The Horror in the Hill

Monday, June 19, 2017

Father's Day Recap

Another mid-June weekend done, another Father's Day complete. However this year was different than every year since the birth of my eldest daughter.  For once, my wife did not work the weekend of Father's Day.  God help us.

My weekend started with a trip to Michael's Friday night.   I received a gift card for my birthday and figured after two months it was time to restock on paints and brushes and whatever else I could find. Unfortunately,  the store I went to was in the middle of a mass re-organization.  There were no half decent paint brushes, much less the ones are usually use.  The paints were wiped out and the best I could do was restock a couple of colors, a new minis case, some discount craft stuff for the kids and some more scrapbooking paper for a few more poor man's  shadowboxes

Saturday started with the problems at the garage with the inspection of my wife's van.  No way I was wiping out more than my entire budget for The Weekend in Lancaster to take care of the car repair which according to the rest of the world should cost me $150 and hopefully that part shows up Tuesday and we can get that fixed for a pleasant drive down there.

Saturday afternoon I grabbed  Maja to run a few errands and we ended up at Evolution Games for Free RPG Day.   Despite knowing what selections were available and coming in about two hours after the store opens I wasn't too impressed with the offerings this year compared to others.  However, I did manage to grab a copy of the Runequest Quickstart and with very little nudge convinced Maja to pick up the DCC Quickstart rules and adventure.  I'm quite impressed by Goodman Games' effort. They released a very solid, usable product which could be used as is, and I personally have grown to love the concept of zero level characters going out en masse.  In fact, I hate to say this, but I may retool my "Home" campaign idea to use Dungeon Crawl Classics.

Unfortunately for my FLGS, they didn't really run any promotions other than announcing that we would run different games throughout the day.  It appeared that there was no additional product purchased for sale, and no sales or promotions of the meager existing stock.  Maja and myself were forced to be happy with the free offerings, some Heroclix.  (Gamorra and Wonder Woman make the girls happy), and two stuffed animals out of the skill crane on one shot.

The best game in wise that we could get together on Saturday was just a quick game of Uno and then Dad got everybody together to watch Doctor Strange on Netflix.

With a late night for the girls, I was able to get up and run over to the store and pick up all the necessary staples that we need for Father's Day. So, as Mom ran a few errands, we broke out a nice tablecloth and the good China and had ourselves the annual tea party of grape juice, Tastycakes, and barbeque potato chips.  It's not wild and crazy, but it's what we've always done, and quite frankly,  if we can do some version  of that over the next 20 years during Father's Day I'm going to remain the happy father that I am.
I didn't get any painting done with the girls nor did we break out any of the smaller games but we focused on an afternoon and Season 3 of The Flash.

After my wife's classic Father's Day dinner of chicken, potatoes, cheese, and bacon smothered in hot sauce and baked in the oven for ridiculous long period of time, we did manage to run episode ten  of the Savage Worlds/Showdown Lost World campaign. So we SW aside for one game and ran Valley of the Ape (available on Wargame Vault).  It's a fun, simple system and it's a perfect excuse to use Beanie Babies as raging killer apes. The write-up of the game should appear later this week.

Friday, June 16, 2017

20th Century Train Station from Things From the Basement

Have a little over $300 and enough table space for a huge urban train station?

Things From the Basement Have just the thing:  20th Century Train Station


If you're looking for something smaller, the 15mm version is available for under $100.

(Kickstarter) Pizza and Pugs

I'm not one for Kickstarters out the Games category, but Crazy Bricks'  latest Pizza and Pugs is worth a look.
It's not exactly Peanut Butter Jelly Time, but I can picture these guys running a non-quite-Lego Zombie game...

Thursday, June 15, 2017

(Savage Lost) #2.9 "Who Could Have Foreseen It"

After rescuing Nils and reuniting with Kacey Barbara, our heroes tried to work their way back the treehouse village of the blue monkey men (Akala).  Thunderous roars could be heard across the valley. The priestess of the rival Ahdo tribe had successfully pulled off some type of ritual and something large and terrifying was out there.

Just within the outskirts of the Akala's territory, they heard a very human "Pssst.... pssst" coming from the bushes.  It was Blauen, the very first Akala they had encountered in the Lost Valley.   Maja Millie and Lord Cuppenbrush rolled their eyes at another opportunity to showcase their pitiful charade skills, but Nils pushed them aside and with some crack linguistic skills, got the following information out of the scared little blue creature:
*Defensive scouts watching the rescue saw the death of Mettiaus and the Akala he commanded
*The war party leaders believe the pale ones (our hereos) are responsible for their deaths.
*Revenge on the pale ones is more important that fighting the Ahdo or fighting Atil-a-Kong
*The heroes must leave the Akala's domain immediately, under penalty.
*Blauen was willing to escort them to a "safe house"  (safe tree?) from both the Akala and Ahdo.

Set-Up
Three random encounter minor objectives are on the board.  The major objective is for the heroes to escape off the opposite side of the boar/prevent the escape.

Our Heroes (* = Wild Card)
Maja Millie* - Crack Archeologist - Large knife and throwing knives.
Nils Lingonberry* - Famed Swedish Adventurer and linguist.  - Pistol
Kacey Barbara* - Regionally famous photojournalist - Large Knife
Lord Jon-Smythe Cuppenbrush* - ex-British adventurer, full-time British gentleman
Blauen - Rogue Akala

The Akala
Akala x8 - Short spears

Turn 1:  The Heroes sneak towards better cover, fail their roll for the objective and awaken a sabretooth tiger!
Another sabre-tooth tiger?
Turn 2 - The Akala continue to move up, not seeing anything.  Then a terrified Kacey Barbara dashed past them and dove into the underbrush.  The Akala were quite confused, but had no chance to react.

Turn 3 -The sabretooth tiger was surrounded and could do little than stun one of the heroes each turn. With the men acting as giant cat toys, Maja Millie stepped back to look around for Kacey.

Half the Akala  war party reached one of the minor objective (hoping for reinforcements) but a completely botched roll allowed a drunk Ankylosaurus to stumble onto the board.
Oh, this is not good at all!
The second half of the war party spotted Maja Millie and threw some of their short spears at her. Most futilely missed but one seemed to hit her in her side doing tremendous damage.  Through an inspiring act of courage, Maja pulled the spear out of her, wounded but determined to get out of there alive.
Maja Millie goes down... for now!
Turn 4 - Maja Millie drew a Joker and charged the Akala, two knives in hand.  The Akala fumbled for more spears, but realized they must have dropped/lost them somewhere in the jungle! (Enemy runs out of ammo). 

Maja Millie flung herself at one of the monkey men, stabbing them in heart, then chucking her other knife at his ally, taking him out.
Maja Millie gets Medieval in the Lost World
The remaining Akala trained on the archeologist were ready to pull bone knives, but a confused dinosaur came crashing through the trees, having already taken out the other four war party members.

Turn 5 - Maja Millie reaches Kacey Barbara at the main objective.   The two surviving Akala Make one last attack on the rampaging dino, and one manages to muster enough courage to aim true and enough strength to piece the beast's hide and kill it!!!!!!   A great amount of Ankylosaur soup would be made back at the Akala village... and perhaps a new War Chief named....


And somewhere off in the distance, an occasional gun shot rang out as two Humans and an Akala tried to outrun a still sleepy sabretooth tiger.

A quick game with either tremendous rolls (such as the Akala's 5 wound on Maja Millie.. and her subsequent 4 wound recovery) or horrible botches which distracted each party from the tasks at hand.
The surviving monkey men may have let the hated pale men escape, but only the strongest can slay a dinosaur... and become a leader of the tribe.

And where is the grievously wounded Mettiaus?   Or the the terrifying Atil-a-Kong?

Next:  Episode #2.10 - "The Valley of the Ape God"

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

(Painting) The Mystic Circle and Egg Pods

A few nights at the painting table and I have... progress.

First, the centerpiece of my Reaper Bones 3 Kickstarter a la carte order, the Mystic Circle. 
A bargain for $15
The circle comes with four base pieces, with most of the monolith as separate pieces.  Storing this thing might be my biggest concern, but it does kick off my primer-pa-looza of the other Bones items.

Maja finally completed her "Egg Generator" using clear plastic Easter eggs and bottle caps.  That gives us three total to use in sci-fi or fantasy games.
Next Up:  The Blue Martians did get more paint on them, so they're almost done.    German gnomes and some summer projects for the girls...   And hopefully before they're done, I can pick a color palatte for the giants.

They're kinda big.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Ballad of the Pigeon God #10: Wedding Crashers

Our active heroes trying to finish a long term quest of returning the Bell of Chardastes:
Rolf Wolfsblood:  Bald-headed barbarian from the Plains of Galmar
Kane: Student of Eastern mysticism, controller of water.
Ashe - highly skilled elven ranger
Maloran Alberhold - human fighter, ladies man sans charisma.
Talis Makolin - a rakish bard avec charisma
Echelon - a pigeon loving priest of an eastern god of the sea, escorted by his charmed wolf, Pathfinder.  He recently discovered that his henchman sold all his stuff and bought a house for the young orphan in town (per his instructions).
Velandro - a pious priest of Akana with a kobold following.
Kannex of Cymril (NPC) - Mysterious sorcerer from parts unknown with a penchant for fire.

13 HepDec 1070 - Chateau d'Echelon, Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
With the group reunited, it was time to finally deliver the Bell of Chardastes to the Archbishop Adolphus in Hydincall, and drop off Kannex to the Magic Lyceum to help him get home.  Pathfinder and Dag & Family were left at the Chateau, much to the amusement of Timmy. They did add a strapping young man named Wrath to the cohort.  He was a self-proclaimed holy warrior of Akana, who everyone knew only as a part-time farmhand for the estate. He seemed tough, reliable, and best of all, had his own sword.
Wrath
15 HepDec 1070 - On the road north to Hydincall
Without Echelon's menagerie, the party was making great progress to the capital.  Unfortunately for their mission, a lone rider in fine armor approached from the north.   He hailed the heroes and requested a moment of their time.

He introduced himself as William, knight from the Kingdom of Aragain.   He had been invited to the wedding of Athelstane and Iris, but instead he was rushing there to stop it.

"A great evil has befallen the couple.  For the security of your kingdom, we must stop the wedding."

"I guess the Archbishop can wait awhile longer." - Velandro.

To shave time off the return journey to Eding (and to have a chance to keep up with William's warhorse), the party acquired a motley group of horses on their way to Eding.

16 HepDec 1070 -  Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
The day of the wedding was upon them, as they pushed their animals to get home before noon. William's warhorse was already near exhaustion when they first met, so despite the great lead William could extend on the party, they discovered the dying horse just before the Chateau. Assuming the knight continued on foot, Echelon quickly rallied Carthon, Jenny, and Pathfinder to the cause (Dag was instructed to guard the Chateau, alongside Timmy).

As the remaining adventurers reached the village green, where the cermony was taking place, they realized that they were almost too late.  William had just arrived and was slaying militia and baronial guard alike that were between him and the soon-to-be wedded.  The heroes tried to maintain some order, evacuating the townsfolk in attendance, healing the wounded, and trying to reach William before more chaos erupted.

It seemed all for naught,  Barrak, the commander of the militia, knocked back Talis and his swordplay kept most at bay.    Holy Warriors of Akana who were escorting Archbishop Adolphus blocked Velandro's group.

(This immediately seemed odd to the cleric of Akana.  Outside of ridiculously expensive magical travel, the only way from Hydincall to Eding was the road they had travelled on. They should have passed the Archbishop's ensemble, or at least knew about their prior arrival in Eding.  How did they get to town?)

Nothing stopped William, until he finally was in front of Lady Iris. Before Athelstane could do anything to stop him, the knight slew the fair bride.  Her body transformed into a hairy, twisted, arachnoid mess.

Three of the guests still standing around began to shudder, then convulse, finally transforming into living compatriots of the imposter Iris.

The spider-people of the stone dimension of Baraxus the Destroyer had arrived in Eding.
Now, a smaller contingent of the party had stopped the spider-people in Baraxus' dimension back at the Brimming Stein.  Amongst the chaos, and discovering that at least some of the "innocents" could be doppelgangers, this was going to be far more difficult.

Then Kannex cast a Fireball.

Few had actually seen a fireball cast by a wizard, but even the stories and legends of old described them as balls of flame streaking towards a dragon, a giant, or even an opposing wizard, until the exploded upon impact.

Kannex's version seemed to combust every breath of air within the entire village green.  Dozens died, a few more converting into spider-people before their crackling carcasses hit the ground.

The fireball also hit most of the surrounding buildings, including completely engulfing the Blue Wizard Inn.  Maloran and Ashe ran into the burning buildings, rescuing a number of people surprised and trapped by, the flames.

Velandro, Rolf, and Talis waded through the holy warriors, who had all reverted back to spider-people, defending an Archbishop Adolphus, who was far more arachnid than before.
"I don't think we should give him the Bell of Chardastes"

Over an hour later, the few surviving spider-people fled south towards the hafling dales and Lansluck, most of the fires in town were either put out, or a complete loss that they let burn.  Over a hundred corpses littered the Green, including Lord Athelstane... who remained quite human in death.  

William surveyed the carnage.  He announced as a Paladin of Akana, a Knight of the Spiral Hawk, and most surprisingly, the Crown Prince of  the Kingdom of Aragain, that the village of Eding must be rebuilt, for the glory of King Nevin.  The party as a whole was not going to argue, although they rightfully questioned if William was a spider-person.  He accepted their concern and could do nothing but swear on his holy symbol to the God of Law and Order that he was not.  

William explained that he had encountered these creatures in Aragain, trying to usurp smaller baronies and duchies on Aragain's border with the Senzar Empire.  A full-blown manhunt had been declared and near the end of the bloody purge, it was discovered that a similar plot was taking place in Crosedes, Eding being the center of activity.  

The one weakness these creatures had, besides vulnerability to giant napalm explosions, was that the people they copied needed to stay alive for the charade to continue.  They were usually kidnapped and secured away until they were no longer of use.  The majority of these locations were near a dimensional portal that they used to travel from their own far-off home, planet, or magical realm.  

Realizing that the closest portal was recently sealed in Lansluck, and that the catacombs of an old abandoned monastery was perfect for hiding bodies, the party realized they needed to visit Mohammad again.  After running their plan to return to Lansluck and search out this hiding spot by the Prince, William gave his blessing, and focused his attention on working with Torm, Jenny, Carthon, and a contrite Barrak to start burying the dead and rebuilding Eding.  

Dag offered his services to visit the monastery, in the name of Akana.  His family would stay safe at the Chateau.   Velandro ordered him to stay at the Chateau and protect everyone.

19 HepDec 1070 -  Village of Lansluck, Kingdom of Crosedes
Now with better horses, the group arrived back in Lansluck in record time.  They met with Mohammad.  The portal was still sealed.  Nothing unusual had occurred during the short time they were gone.

20 HepDec 1070 -  Village of Lansluck, Kingdom of Crosedes
Two boats was purchased outright from some of the fishermen, and the party crossed the river. Thanks to Velandro (and Dag's) previous scouting, most potential problems were either previously eliminated or avoided outright.  

GM Notes: As you may have heard people say, when one door closes, another one opens.   We've established some characters in the first few episodes  The Bell of Chardastes has been the MacGuffin for the last four episodes, so it made sense to have the party return it to retire to the chateau with all their wealth.

Like that was going to happen. 

Knowing that Athelstane was indifferent, at best, of this group of amorous hooligans, he assumed that they had skipped town (no one mentioned the Bell to him).  

Lady Iris had been a peasant heroine from my "Georic 2" campaign (circa '93) turned knight and was beloved by the village.  A marriage to Athelstane was unexpected, but celebrated by the community.  Certainly a marriage of two knights would elevate Athelstane to a Baron, maybe even a Count! 

What's the deal with this Kannex guy, you ask?  Is he some sort of tide-turning Mary Sue NPC? The truth, for those not picking up on some clues, is coming soon enough.  For the second question, I'm 90% sure the answer is no.  For those familiar only D&D terminology, let's consider him a mid-level wild mage, heavy on the wild.  The airburst explosion right over the wedding was not in his plans (nor initially mine, as the DM).  It created a logistical nightmare for me.  

The heroics of Maloran aren't close to what his actions actually were.   I don't believe his player, Scott, understood the gravitas of the situation, or the extent of the fire, which is odd, because Ashe specifically noted he was dousing his cloak in a rain barrel before entering the burning building.  

With flames going up the walls, he found a fair damsel trapped in her room, and proceeded to, as politely as I can put it as possible, "forcibly seduce" her.  It took the entire table of players to reinforce the situation (including me telling him the girl was saying, "No, just save me" multiple times.    It was a very awkward situation that I've never seen duplicated again.  I'm still thinking Scott just zoned out during the whole "Stop the wedding," scene, and pushed his persona towards a swashbuckling sexual conquest.  

It should also be noted, that the girl was eventually tossed out a window and caught by Talis.  After witnessing the disconnect with Maloran, he didn't even try a classic Talis wink on her.

And yes, I did pattern the spider-people directly from X-O Manowar.

NEXT #11 - The Abandoned Monastery of Akana.