Friday, February 22, 2019

(Kickstarter) Terrain Crate 2 by Mantic

After some hullabaloo, Mantic has launched their second TerrainCrate, TerrainCrate 2: Crate Expectations

Some of the sample sets that tickled my fancy.





Sets include 90+ pieces at $85 a set.  S&H will be paid and processed in the BackerKit.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

A Pittsburgh Reprieve

Last  weekend, Mrs ViscountEric and I achieved a relationship level unheard of in the last decade.

We spent an entire weekend away, together, without kids.

That's right, from Friday morning to late Sunday night, without kiddos, and actually out of the house.

I heartily recommend it to everyone.

Right after the kids jumped on the bus, the Missus and me jumped in the car and headed out to Pittsburgh to meet up with friends, attend two Penguin games, and hide in a hotel room without interruptions from kids until our nervous giggling went away.

The Penguins split with the weekend, but between our awesome seats and and a flurry of offense, we couldn't complain.
They did move the Zamboni before play started....
 We ate meals without distraction, and were content, instead of bloated or still starving.

My wife may have had one or three too many and attempted to kidnap the Penguin's knitting lady (yes that's a thing).  I gotta check out the statute of limitation before admitting to knowing anything.

After the Saturday afternoon game, we met the infamous Wooly and his wife for dinner at Burgatory (I could find no fault with the place, since we made reservations) and an evening of normal gaming at Rivers Casino.  Wooly has gotten bit by the Battletech bug, but lack of players in Johnstown and a childless over-scheduling of their weekend is keeping him from meeting groups further away.

I will say, I will put a 20% chance that he might show for Cold Wars.
ViscountEric and Wooly surrounding the finest fake plant on the 3rd floor of the Rivers Casino
So, filling in the other stuff I usually mention:

*Basketball is finally winding down.  The kids were off at a different location with relatives, so they missed last weekend's games.  For Millie it was the last game of the season, but for Maja, I already talked about how her playoffs started.  Two more players couldn't make it on Saturday, so her team was down to five players, still a feat, even against the worst team in the league.   We kept in contact with one of the parents on-site, and although it was a struggle, the Fierce Five pulled off a 10-6 win against the Cavs.  A most advantageous win for us, while we will now play a team that outscored its opponents 62-23 in its first two games, the Cavs were trounced 27-11 in their loser's bracket game, which I assume would be the Fierce Five's as well.

*I am pre-registered for Cold Wars, with a local hotel pre-paid.  Probably hitting the dealers, flea market, and whatever gnome games might show up.

*No train show this year.  The afternoon start times for basketball on Saturday, plus a Women in Sports camp on Sunday morning have forced me to scratch the annual trip, a visit to my Mom, and perhaps some face-to-face gaming with my friends.

*Scrapping Mepacon,too:  Non-kid family issues have made me give up on attempting to attend the local Scranton con.

*My annual post-tax return big minis order goes to Reviresco/tin-soldier.com.  Add my shopping list for Cold Wars and my future Colonial games will have a lot of simple figures to paint up.

*Blogging-wise, I have an ever-growing list of games, projects, ideas, and cool stuff to review, but there is some progress, albeit long-term.  I continue to keep a two-month buffer for Lost Dispatches of Feraso entries, and all twelve of my BECMI D&D actual play posts for Adventures in Gulluvia are scheduled to go once Lost Dispatches ends.

*Other than the bulk Colonials minis, the next month still looks to be role-playing with a smattering of news.  Season three, episode six of the Pulp Game is raring to go.  

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

(Kickstarter) Life of the Party Volume 3 by Travis Hanson

February.  The evil month where aspiring creators prey on the unassuming fans who have already submitted their tax return and are awaiting their refunds.

Travis Hanson is at it again with his Kickstarter for his gaming cartoon collection, Life of the Party Volume 3.


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Lost Dispatches of Feraso #15 - The Temple of Elemental Evil

The Village of Nulb, Viscounty of Verbobonc

To His Lordship, the Viscount Wilfrick of Verbobonc,

After stabling our horses with only the basest of assurances by the Smith, that they would be taken care of (and my previous letter get dispatched to Griffon's Cove for further delivery), The Order of Merit tried their best to stealthily leave the village without anyone noticing.  Given the encroaching waters from the flash floods compromising parts of town, I believe we succeeded at that.  

We stayed a few yards off the barely used southern trail, but it almost proved too much.  The further south we traveled, the vegetation proved more disconcerting, sickened and dying trees with skeletal appearances, twisted scrubs, and rank weeds that pulled at any clothing you had.  Leaving the horses at the Smith proved wise.

Nearing evening, we were surrounded by wolves.  I feared the worst from this pack, but with Morya and Murag barking orders, we managed to slay all of them!   Rogrim showed some skilled skinning them, and we secured the wolf pelts in a safe location before waking in the middle of the night to continue on.

And there, standing beyond a copse of dead trees in the pre-dawn light was the shattered remains of a disgusting place of evil.  The walls around it had been battered, but behind them was a place serving something more sinister than humans could succumb to.
After investigating the courtyard, we brazenly walked up to the main doors of the temple itself.  The doors were secured with chains, soft lead, and numerous sigils and runes scrawled across it.  It did not seem wise to got through the doors, but for Morya and Rolgrim, their simple presence near the door was mortifying and they refused to get any closer.

We discovered one of the towers guarding the walls hadn't succumbed to ancient attack, or the overgrown vines, and offered access from a door.

I believe Rolgrim Snakecloud would be a completely despicable man in another life, but for now his skills in stealth and subterfuge allowed us to waylay the skeleton crew of guards inside.

While we weren't certainly neat during the melee, the tower showed signs of a fantastic struggle erupting throughout the structure.  Pools of still-congealing blood soaked through the floorboards.  But there were no bodies, other than the ones we created.

After some searching, we found  a secret entrance in the floor that led down to a series of tunnels.  One led directly away from this place to the west, the other seemed to lead beneath the temple itself.

We tried to follow a basic path which the carnage seemed to follow and that navigated this short tunnel to some deep dungeon of doom beneath the temple.  At some point they attempted to work their ways up, away from the bugbear and gnoll guards, to an area that had been largely left with skeletons, zombies, and other undead to protect the area from intruders.

Many of the undead lay shattered and broken on the stone floors, but in the time between this attack and our appearance, someone dastardly had discovered the mayhem and attempted to correct it, for the purposes of the maintenance of evil.

The stench of death everywhere.  In some sub-levels, someone had released small packs of ghouls to handle the clean-up.  In other spots we experienced the reinforcement of the undead.  Alwin Warmark is granted some protection against these cursed wretches.  We had arranged a simple system were he would lure the abominations to a location, before he used Akana's holy light to turn them away from him, and into the rest of our able weapons.  Against undead of roughly human sized skeletons and zombies, this was no problem, but someone truly heinous created zombies from the bodies of the slain bugbears and gnolls.  Not only did Alwin have almost no influence over the creatures, but their constitution seemed to transfer into the afterlife.  After downing three of them, we wisely decided flee, seek shelter, and rest up.

We kept in tight formation, let our scoundrel work his making avoid traps, and kept our presence largely unknown to the living creatures. 

I can ascertain two things from this complex.  It may be a Temple of worship to the Rock Cults of Galmar, as well has Vihula of the Flame and some lesser known, elemental gods.  It is vast, and in some places, far more secure than our simple abilities could overcome.

Secondly, the rampage that Talanth Blackash and his crew conducted on the temple was severe, with even worse repercussions.  Most memorable was young hill giant carcass impaled with a bardiche through the back.

Who backstabs anyone with a bardiche?

We discovered two more sets of giant iron doors, similar to the ones that prevented us access at the front of the temple, except that these two sets of doors had recently been breached.  Our collective knowledge on this subject is lacking, but if something required three locked and heavily enchanted doors to keep something in, opening two of them might result in catastrophic events.  Upon that realization, we headed back for the tunnels and came back up into the tower.

Everything was how we had left it, but as soon as we left the tower, we immediately encountered more tower guards, returning from somewhere, led by an officer on horseback.

We dashed into the dead woods to avoid the crossbow bolts, but between a few well placed hand axes, and a few holy commands from Brother Alwin, we stymied their attack, blocked their chance to gather reinforcements, and allowed us to plot a counterattack.   While all the general guards were slain, the commander turned his horse around and sped off down the path.

We trudged our way back to Nulb, dodging a minor patrol looking for us.  We circled part of the village before entering, and it was lucky we did.  The Commander had finally managed to muster significant forces to hunt us down.  Some headed south, some guarded the bridge heading north.

We ventured into the village to get our horses, and the Smith proved true to his word, taking only payment for shoeing the horses, and even waylaying a nosy troublemaker to allow our escape.

Murag and his giant dwarf nose smelled dwarven construction back a mile or two on the Old Gnarley Road, and, with a little clearing, we were able to access the stone block road.  Going was slow, and often we dismounted to lead our steeds through the overgrowth, but we traveled unmolested from the agents of the temple, or anyone else seeking us out.

And parts of the road appeared to have been used recently!

Low on supplies and spirit, we have found ourselves somehow arriving in the caravan town of Betend in the Principality of Fürstentum.  The town seems to have been hit by the same storms that struck Nulb, but first we are getting a room at the Silver Plains Inn, I'm getting a much needed bath, and someone shall be paid to pull each and every briar and sticker attached to my clothing.

THEN we shall see what's a foot in Fürstentum.

Your humble servant

Elsderth Greyhawk
Sellsword, Sage of the Order of Merit, and Foe Against the Galmar Temple

DM Notes:  Finally, the first ever adventure I ever ran as a Dungeon Master, T1-4: Temple of Elemental Evil!  Fun Fact, my group ignored the moat house and headed straight for Nulb back in the day, and dove head first into the Temple.  It took most of the Summer, but they cleared out a good portion of it.  And then, they wandered off.  

For years I thought it was something I had done, but reading through the module to try to document their effort, I remembered that (a) half of them had the antipathy effect from the doors so they didn't want to navigate further, but (b) when the other got the doors open, things began to hit the fan faster and more consistent.  

By the time the Order of Merit arrives, certain entities have escaped, most of the surviving temple are hunting down Talanth, and the survivors are rebuilding their forces the old fashioned way: through necromancy.  

For Elsderth and his compatriots, Talanth and company didn't leave much treasure left.   They scrounged up a decent amount of coin and miscellaneous treasure, but nothing magical to add to their repertoire.  

For the Blackash Crew:
Talanth - Cloak of Elvinkind, shortsword +1, leather +1, and a bardiche (in addition to the one left in the hill giant's back)
Drunken Warrior - Shield +2
Stupid Ranger - Chain Mail +1
Busty Mage - Bracers AC3 and a sweet spellbook with fireball!

They also got magical mace, for when they ever need a cleric!

Finally, the backstab with the bardiche thing.  The first printing of the 2nd Edition PHB had a few errors in it.  The most obvious was the omission of broadsword from every equipment/weapons list.  Second was a well rules-lawyered plea from Charles that the rules for thieves said they could backstab with ANY weapon.  So, in the moment, I let him backstab the giant with one.  

I will say that it was the only time I allowed that interpretation and it was used on a 1st Edition Hill Giant.  That becomes important later on down the road.  

Next: #16  Schattendorf

Monday, February 18, 2019

(IOU) Art "Maitre'D" Dowling

Oh, the ideas I find on Instagram...

Art "Maitre'D" Dowling
Midget Urban "Entrepreneur"  (4)
Big Gun Aficionado... Proportionally (3)
Eager Future Restauranteur (2)
Back Alley Barbershop Quartet Singer (1)

The IOU group does have a penchant for guns, getting into trouble, getting into trouble in restaurants, and possibly Pitch Perfect-style sing offs.  Art fills in a much needed space that would go to a halfling or space dwarf transfer student. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

All Set for Cold Wars....

The Cold Wars checklist is slowly getting completed.

The big personal announcement for this is that I will be staying overnight Friday AND Saturday, but not at the newly renamed Wyndham Lancaster Resort and Convention Center.  The Budget Host was clean enough for my daughter at Fall-In, and with a hefty discount from hotels.com, I can afford two nights  (plus two night of post-game festivities). 

Hotel is booked, convention registered for (plus a t-shirt!).

All I need to do is officially assemble my shopping list and my online order to tin-soldier.com for some bulk Colonials, and I might actually feel productive!