Saturday, July 22, 2017

The #RPGaDay 2017 List is Up...

After waiting and waiting, the infographic for #RPGaDay 2017 is up!

What is #RPGaDay?  Dave Chapman, founder of the concept explains it well over at Autocratik, but in a nutshell, it's an RPG Question-a-Day for the month of August that you can answer and share with the gaming community as a whole via social media.

Want to do short answers under 140 characters?  Just tweet your answers!

Want to just share it with your gaming friends you already know? Facebook!

Want to answer and have no one see it?  That's what Google+ and Tumblr are for.

If you have a long answer, well, that's why the internet gods invented blogs.  A blog entry a day is great practice to see if you enjoy it.  Avoid all the graphics and fancy stuff. For most of us, we simply want a good answer, maybe a story associated with it.  If your talking about obscure stuff from the mid-80's that even I don't remember, that's when posting a jpg of the cover or a link to the game's fandom page might be appropriate.

Feel like a question doesn't make sense?  There should be an alternate set of questions available shortly.  Worst case, pull up one of the last three years of questions and answer one of those.  This is not some marching band competition where everything needs to be regimented. We're gamers, we all march to the beat of a different drummer. Some to trumpets, maybe an oboe or a xylophone from time to time.

Of course, you can post links to your blog to your Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and even Tumblr if you are so inclined.  Just make sure to use the hashtag #RPGaDay on the posts and sit back, relax, and read everyone else's entries.

Friday, July 21, 2017

(Painting) German Bier Medics and Smoke Markers

My "Home-storicon" was pretty much was relegated to painting, and I had no problem with that. 

First off, I'm proud to say, after nearly eight years "Die FleiderAffes" are finally finished!

This unit should be 320 points and includes a Commander, Officer, and NCO.  I picture this as essentially the headquarters unit. 

The final two figures to finish off the unit were perhaps the most important: "Herr Bier Doktor" and his lovely Bier Nurse Assistant. 

I'm not painting red crosses on the steins.  White should be enough.

Of course, as I gingerly packed up this fully painted unit, I went through a second box of unpainted gnomes and found the German Sausage Mortar Team with unpainted figures, and a lone unbased German rifleman, all with this unit's paint scheme. I'll hopefully finish up the mortar team this month and the rifleman will get reassigned to my undermanned third German unit, "Die Yuenglings."

No schedule as to when my 2nd unit, the 31st "Die Leinenkugels" will hit the table to be finished.

I also fooled around with steel wool possibly older than my wife to play with some smoke markers.

Not fantastic, but I've had this project in my blog queue for awhile now, and when I recently went through the garage, I found a bag of steel wool that was from my wife's grandmother's house when we clean it out a few years ago.  From the price tags, the unopened bag may have been from the late 70's.  No rust, but some pieces were extremely brittle. 

The original markers were initially inspired by Armored Ink, although I avoided the bad flames and may have been influenced by other blogs.

Next:  My 25 Pulp Figures German Colonials are completely base coated.  I anticipate them getting finished much quicker than the gnomes.  From there, frost giants and treasure chests! 
On the RPG front, I'm happy that I finished episode #46 of the Ballad of the Pigeon God, although, I've been forced to split two episodes into four, to maintain size and consistency.  Thanks to that, I've gone from behind on my other writing to WAAAAY behind.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

(Savage Lost) #2.12 Finale "THOSE WERE THE REAL CONQUESTS"

Lost in some mysterious valley for days, our heroes had just eluded danger to enter the "Forbidden City" of the native Akala. 

While most of the city was a mixture of ancient architecture, one tower did defy explanation.  It was a gleaming metal structure, ascending into the fog.

Upon reaching it's front door, the heroes were confronted with a keypad and touchscreen, a strange apparatus for our folks from the 1920's, much more so for primitive monkey people.

Entering the Metal Citadel
Our Heroes:
Maja Millie - Noted archeologist and currently cradling a strange Crystal Skull, obtained from the wicked Ape God, Atil-a-Kong
Nils Lingonberry - Swedish Adventurer.  Holding the Crown of Kamula from the encounter with Atil-a-Kong.
Lord Jon-Smythe Cuppenbrush - British Gentlemen, Big Game Hunter, and ex-soldier. 
Barbara Kacey:  Newspaper photographer out of film and her element.

But Maja Millie notice a strange light coming from her satchel.  The crystal skull she had discovered during their fight with Atil-A-Kong, the Ape God, was now glowing brightly.  She positioned it closer to the controls o the wall and doors opened with an effortless *swoosh*. 

Looking at the countless buttons with strange symbols inside the elevator car, Maja looked for a pattern on them and guessed the highest "number" in the pattern.

The elevator shot up like a rocket, cycling through all the symbols until finally slowly down, hopefully at the top. 

The doors opened up to a hallway with concrete floors and metal walls.  Stepping out of the car, small fluorescent lights came to life along the edges of the floor and ceiling. 

Nils walked up to door, pistol in hand, and hit the electronic panel besides it.  As the door *swooshed* to the side lights came to life, and a lone figure stood in the back of the room.  A robot head looked up and was immediately hit by a bullet, exploding in a fireball. 

"What was that!"  Lord Cuppenbrush inquired.
"I don't know, but eet blows up gut!"

Nils incinerates the first encounter.
Not seeing any exits or loot, Maja Millie shut to the door to block off the fire and smoke and chose a different direction.

A short trip down a different hall and they got a full view of cousins of the first encounter.  Again, the lights flickered on and two robotic creatures with some form of gun attached to their arms slowly came to life. 

Lord John slid over to allow the rest to move in and get a shot at the robots.  He missed with his revolver and Maja Millie attempted to use the Crystal Skull to shoot energy bolts.  She couldn't hit the broadside of a barn, and each shot make the Skull glow brighter. 

More robots...
Lord Cuppebrush managed to disable the further robot, but another emerged from the walls!  Nils then boldly charged into room, shooting the near 'bot in the head before kicking it away! 
Nils to the Rescue!
Deciding to save his limited ammunition, Lord Cuppenbrush drew his cavalry saber and charged the mechanical construct.  It could only defend itself by parrying the blow with its gun, but upon impact, the saber snapped off the hilt. 

A quick energy bolt from Maja Millie dispatched the final robot.

The next room was huge, taking a full ten seconds for all the lights lining it to come to life, revealing a huge mechanical spider! 
Oh boy!!!
Lord John and Maja Millie managed to hit the horror, knocking out some of its mechanical eyes and some sort of weapon mounted on its head.  When Nils had the chance, he could only aim his pistol and answer with a resounding *click*.

Completely out of ammo, the Swede chucked the pistol at the creature, and the spider returned fire with some form of energy blast.  Nils, barely got of the way from getting vaporized. 

A Close Call By Nils
Kacey Barbara had already bolted towards the only other door in the room.  Lord Cuppenbrush grabbed the Swede and stumbled towards the door, a few of shot hitting something essential on the beast. 
Maja Millie tried to create some sort of covering fire using the Crystal Skull, but each shot missed and the skull grew to a blinding light... and began to vibrate. She threw to the artifact and the spider-robot seconds before it exploded. 

The Crystal Skull Explodes!
As the boom from the explosion finally subsided, Lord John crouched in the doorway, trying to shield his comrades with great futility.  Both Maja Millie and Nils were knocked out and bleeding badly, he was holding on my true grit and the photographer was at her wits end.  Most of the lights had been knocked out, and the few that remained showed the mechanical "spider" was still alive, albeit with only five of it's six legs.  But something  was on top of the creature, almost riding it. 

"Good Lord, that mad shaman Mettiaus is on the spider!  Quick, Barbara, grab Maja."  We must  leave immediately." 

The photographer grabbed her friend and they stumbled down the hallway.   The Akala shaman had difficulty controlling the machine, its lone weapon firing wildly into walls and collapsing parts of the ceiling.    The hallway was a long run which terminated into another door.  Lord Cuppenbrush hit the panel with his elbow and the door slowly *swooooooshed* open, revealing warm fetid jungle air, but the outside blocked with rocks and vines.  The gentleman and photographer slashed the vines and pushed their compatriots over the rocks, all the while dodging the explosive blasts of the spider.  Lord Jon rolled over the rocks last, as a shot hit the entrance, forcing things to collapse on themselves. 
Back in the African Jungle, but Still Lost!
Lord Cuppenbrush took a moment to rest and proceeded to patch up his friends.   The odds didn't look too good for four injured Westerners, lost in the jungle with barely any food, no clean water, and three bullets for a single revolver, but they persisted in finding a way out of the jungle and back to civilization. 
A little more than two days into their trek, they heard human voices coming closer.  Throwing caution to the wind, they made as much noise as they could muster, and soon were surrounded by a well-armed party of natives.... led by their good friend Bob Njano! 

Bob Njano had travelled back with the Shield of Ma-Nu-Fa and the Jade Heifer of Hathor from their earlier expedition, secured them in the Royal Museum, and immediately headed back with extra native hirelings to look for his friends.  It took three days, but they arrived back at the river and quickly met up with the gunboat to take them back home. 

The Shield, Jade Statue, and Crown of Kamula, earned them enough to rest in peace and tranquility as long as they wished. 

There your have it, Season Two of the Pulp Campaign is in the books.   This season was a lot more consistent than Season One, but it also may have been it's downfall.  The girls loved the Akala, hated the Ahdo, and simply could not understand why the dinosaurs got frightened by their over-eagerness to pet them.  Upon further review with the cast, we will return for Season Three, although it will be (a) back in Egypt and (b) probably in the January 2018.  Our attention will be turned to Mousling Fantasy Role-Play and the My Little Pony RPG (with some playtesting for Rat-na-Rock).  Most of the palm trees need a break (and thorough refurbishment) before we go further. 

Campaign Pros:  The jungle cloth from Jo-Ann Fabrics worked great.  The "Blue Martians" got some use plus I got to use the weird bug mini Mike got for me back during Cold Wars.  Using a Beanie Baby monkey for the "Ape God" scenario was genius and guarantees I use that scenario for conventions.

Campaign Cons:  The jungle cloth was a big dark for some of the pictures.  Kacey Barbara was a one-trick pony with little use except extra dice for lucky rolls.

The finale was inspired by part of a scenario from The Land of Counterpane.

And finally, most of the scenario titles (and basic plotting) for the second season were derived from chapters from The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Mike Lung Gallery #49: Nomepoleonic Action!

It's been awhile, but Mike has a few more delectable things up his sleve.

First off, a Brigade Games Gnome Wars' Nomepoleon mounted, leading his Italian Todoroni allies from Alternative Armies.

The Action of Wurstburg (Ostarian Dogs vs Ferach)
And finally an Ostarian cannon and limber.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Ballad of the Pigeon God #15: A Trip to Hydincall... and BEYOND!!!

5 HexDec 1070 - Hydincall, Kingdom of Crosedes
The expedition from Eding had traveled up to the capital.  Lady Iris tagged along, as promised.

Rolf Wolfsblood:  Bald-headed barbarian from the Plains of Galmar
Ashe - highly skilled elven ranger, still recovering from being half-eaten by a dragon.
Maloran Alberhold - human fighter, ladies man sans charisma.
Talis Makolin - a rakish bard avec charisma
Velandro - pious priest of Akana w/ his kobold acolytes left at home. Possesses Bell of Chardastes
Wrath - Young Holy Warrior with a an ego bigger than his ability.
Kannex (NPC):  Mysterious Fire Sorceror from an even more mystrious land.
Lady Iris(NPC): A Red Knight of Crosedes, and recently rescued from the clutches of the spider-people

Rolf was nearly giddy as he got his first view of the city.  The King's castle was larger than any town he had ever stepped foot in, and that was dwarfed by the sprawling urban mass spilling out of the city gates.  As they crossed Main Bridge, an architectural wonder of multiple stone arches that was wide enough for fifty men to stand without touching shoulders, Rolf would peer over the side, and drop a copper piece down to the river below.

Nearing the city, Ashe raised his hood to cover his heritage.   The party proceeded to a bar where they met a friendly drunk man who resembled the barbarian in stature, but for a full head of greasy locks of hair.  Brutus, a struggling gladiator, welcomed them with open arms (and the hope for cheap booze), recommending the crew try attend the gladiator games in the city.  Despite a propensity to mispronounce every one's names, the party found him clueless, but non-threatening.

Heading towards an inn for the night, a young thief attempted to steal from Rolf!  She was easily caught, yet his looks and charm won the party over somehow, and Babette was taken in, much to the barbarian's chagrin.  He was no long enamored by the sparkling civilization, now noticing the filth and disease in every corner.

The Thief Babette
6 HexDec 1070 - Hydincall, Kingdom of Crosedes
Rolf, still clutching his papers from William, and the rest made their way to the castle and their audience with King Nevin.

Seated right beside the king was... Archbishop Adolphus???  It appeared that Archbishop never left the city, and would send body doubles to oversee events.

Velandro gave to the Bell of Chardastes and Adolphus was quite please, rewarding each member in attendance one thousand gold pieces (including Babette!)

The Bell of Chardastes will finally be returned!
Upon reading the scrolls from William, King Nevin announced that William would be granted the title of Baron of Eding, until such time as the King could find a viable candidate of Crosedean blood to oversee that small corner of the Kingdom.   Despite the needs of the newly established barony, Lady Iris would stay in Hydincall to assist the king and the Knights of Crosedes to investigate and eliminate both the Spider-Person problem, and a growing sect of Akana worshippers claiming the return of the King of Light was nigh.

The trip back to the inn was filled with many stops, as everyone stopped to spend some of their earnings and random magical devices, potions, or just luxury items.

Talis noted that Maloran's luck with ladies seemed to improve in the city, almost rivaling his own consistent streak.  Upon the compliment, Maloran paused a moment and declared the group was moving to another inn for the following night. Everything but the drinks would be free!

7 HexDec 1070 - Hydincall, Kingdom of Crosedes
Everyone traveled to the Hydincall Magic University in the morning.  Kannex immediately gained credentials on the spot and was invited to study in the library.  The others spent a few gold to get magic items identified by the students.  They left Kannex at the University and crossed town to the coliseum to watch the gladiators fight.

That night, they picked up a pleased Kannex from the University, and proceeded to move their belongings from the inn to a different inn Maloran simply called "My Cousin's Place."   Indeed, the inn was actually owned by Duane Alberhold, one of Maloran's cousin.

It was also a brothel, as a very pious acting Wrath physically escorted one the employees out of his room.

Talis determined getting chicks at the brothel was too easy, so he went out to a different bar. The bard didn't score with any ladies, but did get a date with a girl who seemed awfully familiar....

8 HexDec 1070 - Hydincall, Kingdom of Crosedes
The party secured their valuables at the brothel and everyone except Kannex went back to the coliseum for a day of amateur fighting.   Ashe did not fare well, but Rolf won his group.    Wrath was disqualified due to Talis trying to impress his date.  Seated in one of the nobleman's boxes, he tried to cast spells to aid Wrath, but the magical detection installed around the arena caught his act.  He was immediately detained and escorted away...  The rest of the party was in general seating, and Velandro spied Talis' female companion...

"Isn't that the girl from the Temple of Alasku?  With the bright pink bedroom in the middle of a dungeon full of undead?  What was her name... Celeste? What in the battlerage of Farmesk is she doing here?"

Talis was immediately labelled a magic cheat and branded on the forehead with a magical rune that only appeared within the limits of the city.  He was released outside the arena to hail of curses, sputum, and rotten vegetables.  Hydincall liked their gladiators fighting clean.

He was greeted back at the brothel by the cheering chorus of the Dag Family.  The kobolds, along with Kane, had traveled down to the capital to reunite with Velandro.  Kane filled the rest in on the growing spider-person problem.

9 HexDec 1070 - Hydincall, Kingdom of Crosedes
Wrath announced that he received an offer to train with a gladiator school in the city, despite Talis' actions.  He packed up his belongings and bid them all farewell.

10 HexDec 1070 - Hydincall, Kingdom of Crosedes
Velandro announced that he received permission to take the Dag Family to a monastery in Ispatlia for formal training.  A much more tearful parting took place and they left.

Talis continued to try and get magic spells or training, but the magic rune forced most sages and wizards to shun him.

11 HexDec 1070 - Hydincall, Kingdom of Crosedes
The remaining group, save Kannex, decided to attend an auction.   A small part of the mission to the capital was to pick up some more, or nicer items for the chateau and whatever those bungalows were.  
Ashe convinced the others to put together some of their earnings to buy things for the greater good of the party.
  • 50g  -6 full length woolen cloaks
  • 50g - 2 crimson robes
  • 10g - 2 pair boots
  • 500g - china dishes
  • 50g - crystal goblets
  • 150g - 3 floor rugs
  • 40g - vase
  • 15 - casks of white wine
  • 50  - casks of red wine
  • 50  -  brewing supplies

Most of the pooled money went towards a fantastic painting.  It was a huge oil painting of adventurers looking a map and pointing to some mist covered mountain off into the distance.  Sure it was 5,000 gold, but it would look awesome over the mantle in the Chateau's great room.
A poor rendition of the fancy oil painting.
They also bought a wagon and a team of horses to haul everything back to Eding.  They may have lost Lady Iris, Wrath, and Velandro's clan, but they had earned Brutus and the very clingy Babette.

12 HexDec 1070 - Hydincall, Kingdom of Crosedes
In the early morning, the wagon half-packed to leave for Eding, no one could find Talis anywhere. Heading back in for more personal items, everyone was startled by explosions down the block.  They staggered out to the street to find Talis nonchalantly walking back from the origin of the flames.

It's uncertain why Rolf became so enraged with the philandering bard but a chase ensued.  The pair dashed through alleys, over walls, and back into the brothel.  The group ran back into the brothel, to (a) catch Talis and (b) prevent Rolf from beating him into a pulp.  They only managed to detain the barbarian, as Talis jumped out a window and onto the wagon.

As he turned around, hoping to see an irate barbarian, he saw the building enveloped by a strange green mist, and in an instant, the entire building was gone, only the foundation of the building remained...  and a very confused Brutus coming out of the outhouse that had been behind it.

DM Notes:  There you have it folks, the completion of the second story (That infernal holy bell), the launch of the spider-people storyline, and an entire brothel of adventurers (and employees) simply vanishing in one of the biggest cities on the continent.  

This session ended our "big game" for the semester.   Players would be heading back home for the summer, but there were still some people available The arc of episodes will cover the adventures of our Summer adventurers, a brothel, a bright blue outhouse, and a strange creature named Qually.

Two other little notes:  I'll mention him in the notes of later episodes, but I love the stupid simplicity of Brutus the ex-Gladiator.   He's barely mentioned in the journal, but he's a loyal meat-shield who can almost remember names.  I'm sure he'll call Talis: Ballast, Callus, Dallas, and Talcum, if they travel back together to Eding.   Picture him as professional wrestler Razor Ramon.
Give him some chain mail and a bastard sword, and you have Brutus.
I also have a very crude map of everything that's transpired thus far, and a few hints for the future. You may notice a bulge in the river north of Eding.  That's a lake and quarry that I know I made passing mentions in-game, but not one noted it.  That will change after the summer story arc.

NEXT #16 - "O Brothel, Where Art Thou?"

Monday, July 17, 2017

Scrum in Miniature: Historicon 2017 My First Gaming Con

I've already posted the pictures of the wacky Gnome Wars games from Friday, and TMP is currently only allowing Supporting Members to posts, so the Historicon recaps are a little thin.

This post, from Scrum in Miniature is an absolutely perfect recap, especially from the first-time attendee perspective.  Plus there's a picture of one of the Gnome Wars games on the MBA Castle table.
Picture via Scrum in Miniature

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Historicon 2017 Friday Gnome Action

As has been tradition, I avoid Historicon in Fredericksburg (a springtime drive to a gymnastics competition in Williamsburg confirmed that). However, we've been blessed again with intrepid Gaming with the Gnomies intrepid reporter Mike Lung sending pics back... and a concise battle report from Friday's game.

"CrazyGnome Wars game. An eclectic group of regular gnome units try to gather cheese, fuel, power cells, and nukes while ducking it out with invading killer robots, space gnomes, and mice. But in the end, Bill's Radon Zombies won the day by tricking some gullible Swiss Gomes into aiding them in capturing an aircraft to spread toxic Radon gas across the planet!"

Saturday, July 15, 2017

#RPGaDay 2017: Oh Where oh where is the list?

It's the middle of July, which means just about two weeks to go until #RPGaDay 2017 launches.  I've participated in every years thus far, and since I post the answers on the blog, I do like to have a little bit of a head start to at least set up 31 different posts. 
And yes, I do like some lead-in time to start some of the topics early, but I guarantee you with my work schedule escalating throughout the month that I'm scrambling for time to write up the 29th-31st.

Friday, July 14, 2017

(Painting) German Gnome Leadership

With tons of stuff on the table right getting a dab or two of paint, things are getting colorful, but not much is close to completion.

At least my German Gnomes are two steps closer to finally getting complete.   My Officer and NCO are finished!
The Officer is not the usual Kaiser figure, rather he's the spotter from the German Gnome Heavy Machine Gun, given a much more active role on the battlefield.

The Doktor and Bier Nurse are the only gnomes left to finish the unit.

In the Queue:  Everything, Although between still base coating the German Schutztruppe and the Reaper Frost Giants, there are some very simple treasure chests from the recent Lion-Men Kickstarter that scream "We're easy! Do us!"

As Historicon is currently happening in Virginia, I should be able to slap together some "HOME-storicon" games this weekend. 

To be honest, this week's big focus has been the infernal Pigeon God.  Episode #15, the end of the first overall story arc of the campaign, drops next Tuesday, but ViscountEric is desperately trying to finish as many episodes as possible before work overwhelms my life.    I'm well into the 40s (scheduled to post in FEBRUARY), and I never thought embellishing journal entries into a semi-prose style would be psychologically tiring.  I don't think dropping spoiler seven months out would be a bad thing, even for a series as popular as Pigeon God has become, but I'll hold back to vague terms regardless.

After thirty-plus episodes of trying to balance threat/reward levels, and instilling some underlying conspiracies, I went all George R. R. Martin on my players in the 40s.  I've had to break up journal entries into multiple blog posts to lessen the overwhelming sense of dread.  Heck, I've even written an entire post simply to dress up a roster of "Who is left?"  

And looking further into the later 40s of the journal entries, it's going to get worse.

The God of Light is coming.... the apocalypse shall be upon us soon enough. (Probably late May 2018!)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

RPGs: Art and Craft by S. John Ross

So author S. John Ross (GURPS: Warehouse 23, Risus) has a blog!

While I'm happy to catch his rantings and ravings over his Google Plus page (Yes, I just mentioned G+, bite me), RPGs: Art and Craft looks to be a extrapolation on the themes he already covers from time to time.

And how can you not, when the man expresses his love for "Escape from Poughkeepsie" from AADA Road Atlas Volume 1?  His description alone makes me want to (a) play anything post-apocalyptic using that scenario (b) play GURPS and (c) wax nostalgic for Car Wars and break out the old maps.

Those are three things I had no intention of even thinking about this year, much less doing.

That's the power of positive writing (with a cooking-grade bottle of nostalgia poured into it.)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Historicon Releases for Brigade Games

Historicon is running July 12-16 down in Fredericksburg.  Now, I've already discussed my hatred for the Eisenhower Interstate System in Virginia, as well as surrounding roads, but that doesn't mean there won't be a ton of cool games to play and thing to buy from the dealer hall.

Brigade Games recently announced their new releases for Historicon, and beyond their Napoleonics, Vikings, and Frostgrave stuff, I guess there's two announcements pertaining to this blog

1) No New Gnomes... again.
2) But there are plenty of new fun characters added to their Post-Apoc line:
Cowboy Ronnie
Zombie Hill
All figures are $5.00 each.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Ballad of the Pigeon God #14: The Shattered Circle

33 HepDec 1070 - The Chateau d'Echelon, Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
A day after Rolf and Company had departed for the capital, nine-year old Timmy alerted the household of a halfling riding a pony up from main road, with a very tired and grungy looking dwarf desperately trying to keep.  The halfling was A. Warren Corkbarrel, a former halfling sheriff that they had recently rescued from the spider-people.  The dwarf just looked disgusting.

Corkbarrel greeted his rescuers warmly and told of a problem in the halfling villages, specifically in Lowdale.    Halfling farmers were disappearing in the fields and no one had any clue what was happening. A simple dwarven mushroom farmer, Norm Dingleberry, came into town babbling incoherently and nearly incited a riot, before Corkbarrel could find Kyril Stonehammer, a dwarven caravan guard, to step in and translate.

Norm wasn't a smart dwarf, but he had discovered an ancient set of pillars, well-known to locals, had half-sunk into the ground and were covered in spider webs.

The halfling farmers were far too timid to investigate, and Corkbarrel felt it a job for true adventurers (plus a simpleton dwarf with a battle axe).

Our adventurers:
Echelon - a pigeon loving priest of an eastern god of the sea.  His charmed wolf, Pathfinder, stayed at the Chateau.
Kane: Student of Eastern mysticism, controller of water.
Norm Dingleberry:  Failed Dwarf Mushroom Farmer with a Battle Axe. He "wanted to help."
Kyril Stonehammer: Dwarven caravan guard in between jobs.
Dag: Kobold and his family were rescued and befriended by Velandro in the Palace of the Silver Princess.  He decided it was time to "earn his keep."
Aiko:  female thief from the early days of the party was at the general store when they came in for supplies, so she joined them.
A. Warren Corkbarrel: The Halfling sheriff of Corkbarrel, along the Masgoth border.  Last he remembered before getting rescued, the year was 1053.

Surprisingly, Echelon did not ask any of the other rescuees from the spider-people's lair to help, despite some of them claiming combat training.

Heading out late in the afternoon, the group tried to get to know the strange dwarf who was simply mystified by simple things.  Kane used his Eastern magic to make his hand glow as a show of friendship.  Norm dug deep... into his nose, pulled out a great nasal treasure, and smeared it across the monk's glowing hand.

It was going to be a long adventure.

34 HepDec 1070 - Village of Lowdale, Kingdom of Crosedes
Interviewing the villagers did nothing.  Every farmer was alone when they disappeared.  They decided investigating the ancient pillars.

Upon seeing the rocks, the group was brazenly ambushed by spider-people!
In one-on-one combat, spider-people were not that hard to defeat, but the group never had experienced the martial prowess of Norm Dingleberry.

The dwarf looked the part of the dwarf, but his low social caste must have made his dexterity curse-based.  Upon the the initial counter-attack, he was able to lock his battle axe with Kyril's, subsequently disarming Echelon of his trident and finally tripping up Corkbarrel with the handle of the flying trident.  As they descended into a crypt under the piles of rocks, Norm's fumbles far exceeded the glancing blows.

Ultimately, they reached the lower levels, where they discovered an entire outpost of spider-people, almost a town!  Facing overwhelming numbers, they decided a fiery retreat full of collapsing tunnels was the proper way to go.  They took out dozens of spider-people and managed to rescue a few kidnapped halflings along the way.

Mission: Accomplished.. for now.

As a token of their appreciation (and the fact that he fought better using the "Echelon School of Battle Tactics ... i.e. "retreating") the party invited Norm back to visit the Chateau.  He dined with them, the kobolds taught him how to take a bath, and they outfitted him with slightly better equipment, but if you ask Norm, he will tell you the only thing he remembers from that visit is that it was the first time he ever laid eyes on the lovely Dew Xyclone, the big, bold, and beautiful housekeeper of the Chateau. That story is for another time.

DM Notes:  This was one of the previously "lost" adventures that didn't get written up in the Journal.  I had  assumed a few of our regulars in the "B" game run by Velandro's player TOWN (The Other White Nate) during the week jumped in the game.  It was confirmed when Talis' player, the indomitable Hoyce, corrected me by saying his character Kyril was from the "B" game and had fallen victim to Norm's cursed combat maneuvers.

There's some debate if Norm Dingleberry actually made a first appearance in Episode #4: Castle in the Moors.   I vividly remember his encounter with Kane, and others remember his numerous critical misses in combat.  However, there is no mention of him in the journal until  few more sessions down the road, but it's written as if everyone already knew who he was.  Let's call it GM Fiat, 18 years later.

The adventure "The Shattered Circle" was a 2nd Edition AD&D module in the last few great days of TSR that I believe I snatched off the shelf of Griffon Games for a filler module.  Having spider-races in it just aged the paranoia already brewing up perfectly.

NEXT #15 - Onward to Hydincall... and BEYOND!

Monday, July 10, 2017

(Kickstarter) Vikings: Great Hall Burning

Acheson Creations has launched a new Kickstarter for their Vikings: Great Hall Burning line of rules, terrain, and 28mm figures.
Viking Set #2 - $100 Pledge without the Rulebook
If I managed to find $100 in the street, it would immediately go to Set #2.  It would be a great deal at the MSRP of $125, plus Acheson has stretch goals that are a reasonable reward and reasonable to obtain. 

Individual Add-On Items are available through Set pledges (which already provide free shipping)  or the a la carte option at the $10 level for US customers and $30 for the rest of the world. 

(Painting) Stormwing by Reaper Miniatures (Bones 3)

Somehow, the first two big items from my Reaper Bone 3 Kickstarter are actually finished!

Stormwing is complete!
I'm not building a bigger shadowbox for one figure.
Assembly for this bad boy was pretty simple, although a perfectionist might want a little green stuff where the wings attaché to the body and a dab or two behind the head. 
What type of dragon is this, beyond a fill-in for the Norse dragon for my Rat-Na-Rock/Mousageddon game? 

The base color Americana Marigold.  Yep, Marigold with a double douse of GW Seraphim Sepia and some various shades of orange from highlighting.
Dragon vs Mousling
Next:  Frost Giants and Mushrooms and Schutztruppe, oh my!  And a write-up for the Season 2 finale for the Pulp Game!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Joyful Chaos Begins Again This August!

Here's hoping the pledge manager is as awesome as Bones 3.  I don't mind a later shipping schedule in exchange for an a la carte option. 

I'll skip on the zombie dragon, though.

And for those who are whining and complaining that the Bones 3 orders haven't hit every remote part of the world, Bones 4 couldn't possibly ship until January 2019. I hope your stuff arrives in Bhutan by then.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

(Kickstarter) The Winter Adventurers by Midlam Miniatures

It's been a relatively nice Summer here in Pennsylvania, but for those of you suffering under oppressive heat, enjoy the thoughts of a frozen paradise with Midlam Miniatures' The Winter Adventurers on Kickstarter.
The one great thing Frostgrave has done for the hobby is put a realistic dampener on part of the chain mail bikini mentality.  Definitely not all of it, but enough. 

(Kickstarter) DCC Scratch-Off Character Sheets

For every Kickstarter launched for a known quantity, there are dozens of projects done either on a whim, a dream, or the pure novelty of the idea.  Goodman Games  Dungeon Crawl Classics Scratch Off Character Sheets is on of the latter.

For use in their unique 0-level character funnel concept, each character sheet requires a coin or sturdy fingernail to reveal it just prior to play. 

Two interesting things to note: 
  1. The size of each pack is base on economies of scale.  The more packs order, the more character sheets each one will contain.
  2. They've generated 50,000 unique 0-level characters, so the likelihood of pulling a duplicate character is quite rare, even if you order dozens of packs.

Friday, July 7, 2017

(Painting) German Bier Grenadiers

The painting bench in the Kriget Rum has been aflutter with activity.. and a much needed box fan.

However, finished results have been hard to come by.  Not surprising as my rewards from the Reaper Bones 3 Kickstarter have jumped to the front of the queue and when they're dragon's and 75+mm  frost giants, they're a wee bit time consuming. 

Still, the next great national nightmare is inching closer to ending with two German Bier Mug Grenadiers from Brigade Games

Only a few more special figures to go, and the legendary Der FleiderAffes will be finally complete! 
Over the July 4th holiday I got in less gaming than planned, but still made headway on projects.  The penultimate episode of season two of my Pulp game with the kids got finished with lackluster gameplay, but solid development going into the finale. 

I also had an out of the blue visit by my friend Mr Nichols.  He got to sing the praises of the new 40k boxed set and show off his Carthaginian army for Triumph!  We got to play Tanks! and some Car Wars the Card Game before he was forced to leave before an impeding storm. 

I was very satisfied with Tanks!  The attack/defense numbers never change, just the number of dice you roll, the tanks are solid models, and the accessories/terrain are primo.  Now that I've had a chance to play (a huge factor for many FLGS owners) I may have to review my opinions on it from previous Apathy of New Releases posts.

Panther vs Sherman on the dining room table.

The new laptop is making life easier for everyone and my constant correspondence with my players from the Pigeon God campaign seem to have made Skype/Roll20 gaming a reality sooner than later. 

In the Queue:  Stormwing the Dragon is in drybrushing and detailing, but that is going to be intense.  The final German Gnomes taunt me, the German Schutztruppe are begging for paint, and a silly terrain project finally gets finished up... all the lack of black paint (!)

I'm hoping this weekend to run the finale of the Pulp Game, play some Burning Plastic, and dip my toes into the abyss which is the My Little Pony RPG. 

Prayers are gratefully accepted.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

2017 Ennies Nominees Announced

If the Origins Awards kick off the Summer convention season, the Ennies, presented at GenCon, close them out.  Each are wildly subjective for their nominees and winners, despite pleas to the contrary.

Actual voting will take place from July 11th through the 21st.
(Edit: Voting is now open: )

I've been way out of the classic Gamer demographic for 20+ years, but my choices are marked.

Judges’ Spotlight Winners
Rippers Resurrected (Pinnacle Entertainment Group)– Stacy Muth
The Ninja Crusade 2e (Third Eye Games)– Jakub Nowosad
Tales from the Yawning Portal (Wizards of the Coast)– Kayra Keri Küpçü
Coriolis - The Third Horizon (Free League Publishing)– Kurt Wiegel
Broodmother Skyfortress (Lamentations of the Flame Princess)- Reece Carter
Yawning Portal could be used to describe my countenance from reviewing the Spotlight Winners. Slick packaging and one trick ponies weren't my thing in the last century, much less now.

Best Adventure
Dragon's Hoard (Green Ronin)
Doors to Darkness (Chaosium)
The Edom Files (Pelgrane Press)**
The Things We Leave Behind (Stygian Fox Publishing)
Blood in the Chocolate (Lamentations of the Flame Princess)

Best Aid/Accessory

13th Age Icon Tokens (Campaign Coins)
Kobold Guide to Plots & Campaigns (Kobold Press)**
Zombies!!! Official Board Game Soundtack(Midnight Syndicate)
Call of Cthulhu - Keeper's Screen Pack(Chaosium)
Pirate Coins (Norse Foundry, LLC)

Best Art, Cover

7th Sea: Pirate Nations (John Wick Presents)
Call of Cthulhu - Investigator Handbook(Chaosium)
Rifts®: Savage Foes of North America (PEG)**
Blue Rose: The AGE RPG of Romantic Fantasy(Green Ronin)
Torment: Tides of Numenera -- The Explorer's Guide (Monte Cook Games)
I barely give me vote to the Savage Rifts cover because a)it's so tiny on the cover it might as well be some Palladium interior stock art and b) none of those covers would make me want to pick them up off the shelf at an FLGS, or even click a link on a webstore.  

Best Art, Interior
Baby Bestiary Handbook Vol 2 (Metal Weave Games)**
Tales from the Loop - Roleplaying in the '80s That Never Was (Free League Publishing)
S. Petersen's Field Guide to Lovecraftian Horrors (Chaosium)
Gods of the Fall (Monte Cook Games)
Polaris RPG - Core Rulebooks 1 & 2 Deluxe Edition (Black Book Editions)

Best Blog
Loot the Room
Age of Ravens
Gnome Stew: The Gaming Blog
Despite sharing Gnome in the title, I've grown unamused by the varying writers and topics.  Age of Ravens pleasantly shocked me by it's clean format and well-structured posts, even if I didn't have an initial interest in the topic.

Best Cartography
7th Sea: Map of Théah (John Wick Presents)
Rifts®: North America + Castle Refuge Poster Map (Pinnacle Entertainment Group)
Torment: Tides of Numenera -- The Explorer's Guide (Monte Cook Games)
Call of Cthulhu - Keeper's Screen Pack(Chaosium)
The Cursed Chateau (Lamentations of the Flame Princess)
Thanks, but no thanks

Best Electronic Book
The Things We Leave Behind (Stygian Fox Publishing)
Spirit of 77 -- A Very Special Episode: Masterpiece 77 (Monkeyfun)**
The Cthulhu Hack: The Haunter of the Dark (All Rolled Up)
Hubris: A World of Visceral Adventure (DIY RPG Productions)
Fragment (Imaginary Empire)

Best Family Game
Bubblegumshoe (Evil Hat)**
Masks: A New Generation (Magpie Games)
Epyllion: A Dragon Epic (Magpie Games)
Space Pirates the Musical (Orcs Unlimited)
Little Heroes (Mystical Throne Entertainment)

Best Free Product
7th Sea: Basic Rules (John Wick Presents)
City of Mist - Free PDF Starter Set (Son of Oak Game Studio)
Santa is Dead(In Search of Games)
Free RPG Day Flipbook - Swords Against the Dead and The Van Helsing Letter (Pelgrane Press)
Rockerboys & Vending Machines (Encoded Designs)**
I'll give 7th Sea some props for exactly what people want for a free Basic Rules pdf, clean and simple.  However, Rockerboys & Vending Machines is the greatest free RPG I've seen since Risus... and everything you probably ever need is on two whole pages.  

Best Game
Tales from the Loop - Roleplaying in the '80s That Never Was (Free League Publishing)**
7th Sea: Core Rulebook (John Wick Presents)
Timewatch (Pelgrane Press)
Bubblegumshoe (Evil Hat)
Sins of the Father (Third Eye Games)

Best Miniature Product
D&D Icons of the Realms: Adventurers' Campsite Premium Set (WizKids)
Achtung! Cthulhu Skirmish: Servitors of Nyarlathotep (Modiphius Entertainment)
Gen Con Legends Miniature Series - Ranger(Games & Gears)
Pathfinder Pawns: Villain Codex Box (Paizo Publishing)
Dungeons & Dragons: Molzur's Marvelous Miniatures (WizKids)
Here's the perfect example of the judge's only being to nominate what was submitted for review. There's a reason I usually buy historicals from small publishers at half the cost of these.

Best Monster/Adversary
Atlas of Earth-Prime (Green Ronin)
Eclipse Phase: X-Risks (Posthumans Studio)
S. Petersen's Field Guide to Lovecraftian Horrors (Chaosium)**
Veins of the Earth (Lamentations of the Flame Princess)
Fantasy AGE Bestiary (Green Ronin)

Best Podcast
Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff**
RPG Academy
Ken and Robin are the Gold Standard of gaming podcasts, although I will now venture further forward once more into +1 Forward's backlog.

Best Production Values
Faith: A Garden in Hell - Starter Set (Burning Games)
Call of Cthulhu - 7th Edition Slipcase Set(Chaosium)
Polaris RPG - Core Rulebooks 1 & 2 Deluxe Edition (Black Book Editions)
Unknown Armies Deluxe Set (Atlas Games)
Baby Bestiary, Collector's Edition (Metal Weave Games)
This category is like "Largest Explosion in a Transformers Movie."  Unnecessary category.  I'll pass.

Best RPG Related Product
Call of Cthulhu: The Coloring Book (Chaosium)**
The ABCs of RPGs (Hunter Books)
Cinema + Sorcery (Green Ronin)
Dark Deeds (Games & Gears)
Kaiju Incorporated Card Game (Evil Hat)

Best Rules
7th Sea: Core Rulebook (John Wick Presents)
Rifts®: Game Master Handbook (Pinnacle Entertainment Group)
Adventures in Middle-Earth Player's Guide(Cubicle 7 Entertainment)
Veins of the Earth (Lamentations of the Flame Princess)
Bubblegumshoe (Evil Hat)**

Best Setting
Tales from the Loop - Roleplaying in the '80s That Never Was (Free League Publishing)**
Torment: Tides of Numenera -- The Explorer's Guide (Monte Cook Games)
Atlas of Earth-Prime (Green Ronin)
The Dark Eye: Aventuria Almanac (Ulisses North America)
Polaris RPG - Core Rulebooks 1 & 2 Deluxe Edition (Black Book Editions)

Best Supplement
The One Ring - Horse-Lords of Rohan(Cubicle 7 Entertainment)
Pulp Cthulhu (Chaosium)
Symbaroum - Advanced Player's Guide(Järnringen)
Cosmic Handbook (Green Ronin)
7th Sea: Pirate Nations (John Wick Presents)
No horse in this race for me.

Best Website
Tabletop Audio
Elven Tower, RPG articles and cartography website
Dungeon Channel
Not voting here.  I already have a huge backlog of useful stuff from websites from five years ago, some of which are no longer active.

Best Writing
The Book of Changing Years (Pelgrane Press)
Tales from the Loop - Roleplaying in the '80s That Never Was (Free League Publishing)**
Unknown Armies Deluxe Set (Atlas Games)
Veins of the Earth (Lamentations of the Flame Princess)
The One Ring - Horse-Lords of Rohan (Cubicle 7 Entertainment)

Product of the Year
Tales from the Loop - Roleplaying in the '80s That Never Was (Free League Publishing)**
Veins of the Earth (Lamentations of the Flame Princess)
Bubblegumshoe (Evil Hat)
Polaris RPG - Core Rulebooks 1 & 2 Deluxe Edition (Black Book Editions)
7th Sea: Core Rulebook (John Wick Presents)
Rifts®: Game Master Handbook (Pinnacle Entertainment Group)
Doors to Darkness (Chaosium)
Torment: Tides of Numenera -- The Explorer's Guide (Monte Cook Games)
Timewatch (Pelgrane Press)
Atlas of Earth-Prime (Green Ronin)

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Pulp Figures Price Increase, and Special Offer

After years of holding the line, Pulp Figures will be increasing the price of the their packs to $17 as of July 22nd.

That gives us a little over two weeks to save a dollar a pack with the old prices, and during that time there's a special promotion!

Purchase two or more packs before the deadline and receive an unreleased version of Marlena (from the Dangerous Dames 2 PHP-19) FREE!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Ballad of the Pigeon God #13: The Heroes' Triumphant Return

23 HepDec 1070 - En Route from Lansluck, Kingdom of Crosedes
After crawling from the catacombs beneath the lost monastery of Akana, the party made it back to town, battered, burnt, and rich!

Rolf Wolfsblood - Bald-headed barbarian from the Plains of Galmar
Kane - Student of Eastern mysticism, controller of water.
Ashe - Highly skilled elven ranger, still recovering from being half-eaten by a dragon.
Maloran Alberhold - Human fighter, ladies man sans charisma.
Talis Makolin -  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 congregation
Kannex of Cymril (NPC) - Mysterious sorcerer from parts unknown
Wrath - Young Holy Warrior with a an ego bigger than his ability.

Along with them, they escorted the following people from the webs of the spider-people:

  • Lady Iris:, A Red Knight of Crosedes, she had been knocked out and kidnapped during the strange lizardman raid the year prior.  The spider-person doppelganger was the one that had become betrowed to the now dead Lord Athelstane.

Lady Iris

  • Count Zabty of Halfwater: A half orc fallen paladin of Akana. Once the head of the warrior arm of the faith and a personal friend of King Leif VII of the Ferasean Empire over 250 years.
  • Sir Felix:  Baron of Homsburg during the reign of Fiame I of Feraso, 340 years ago.
  • A. Warren Corkbarrel: The Halfling sheriff of Corkbarrel, along the Masgoth border.  Last he remembered. the year was 1053.
  • Aetex: Ferasean infantryman, last remembered fighting the barbarian invasions 250 years ago.
  • Cilito - An armed attache of the Senzar Empire, escorting a noblewoman and disappeared 9 Hexdec, 827.
  • Dew Xyclone: noblewoman from the Estate of Ipan, now in Southwestern Crosedes.  Was guarded by Cilito.
  • Heirylat: A rather shifty (and greasy) fellow.  He was an enforcer for a crime boss that disappeared 20 years ago.  It was realized on the second night back, that he was the father of Lady Iris, long thought lost years ago.

They also brought back a number of peasants who had been recently kidnapped in Eding and replaced with spider-people.

After watching, Heirylat and Iris reunite, and Talis trying to "unite" with Iris, they continued on.

They parted ways with Corkbarrel at the halfling village of Lowdale, He promised a great reward once he got to the village of Corkbarrel, but no one held their breath.

30 HepDec 1070 - Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
They returned to the Blue Wizard Inn, which was now just a ramshackle collection of tents and shacks serving as a tavern and toasted our good fortune.  Barrak, the militia commander and owner of the Blue Wizard, gave ownership over to his daughters Emeretta and Fayette (with strict orders to stay away from Talis and Maloran).  Everyone toasted to their good luck

Maloran discovered that he was an father of a child born 23 Quadec.  Everyone toasted to his poor judgment.

Again Talis tried to "unite" with Iris and she quickly suggested they visit the Prince William, the acting baron, in the morning

31 HepDec 1070 - Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
The following morning they met up and went over en masse to Prince William's residence. He was surprised by Iris and immediately rewarded them with 100 gold apiece.

Not much had changed in Eding since the firey wedding catastrophe. Prince William did let them know that the Archbishop (real or spider, he did not know) had hired a second group of adventurers to clear out Elwyn's Sanctuary in the Nightwood Forest, and despite slaying Elwyn's lieutenant and the black dragon, came up empty-handed with the Bell of Chardastes... and for good reason.

Rolf the Barbarian, was given a scroll to deliver to the king along with credentials to received an immediate audience with King Nevin.

"We prepared to travel to Hydincall by getting better clothes than the rags we had had been wearing.  On a positive note, the barbarian finally dressed himself."  - Talis Makolin

They then travelled to Echelon's "Chateau," which was abustle with activity.  Carthon and Jenny seemed to be building "bungalows" away from the main building, so everyone had a small place to call their own. They could only roll their eyes as the party returned with even more swollen numbers.   The kobolds (and Timmy) rejoiced in seeing everyone and they settled in for some short relaxation before heading to the capital.
After many adventurous exploits, sans pigeon, Echelon began to lapse into his old way, shopping for new livestock and finding jobs for everyone as help around the estate.
  • Iris declined and declared she was joining the group heading to Hydincall.
  • County Zabty accepted shelter at the estate, but planned on spending his days help Prince William rebuild Eding.
  • Felix accepted shelter and any work he could find on the estate.  
  • Aetex and Cilito agreed to work as farm hands, with dreams of joining the "modern" Crosedean army.
  • Heirylat was given the title of estate foreman and put in charge of the others.
  • Despite her noble heritage, Dew was quite adept in household matters and offered her skills in the kitchen and maintaining the chateau. In the few short days before part of the group left for the capital, her singing, her dancing (so delicate and dainty for such a plump woman) and her cooking won the crowded estate over.
31 HepDec 1070 - Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
Rolf departed with Ashe, Velandro, Maloran, Talis, Wrath, Kannex, and Lady Iris to Hydincall.  The kobolds were very sad to see their master go again.

DM Notes:  Episodes #13 and #15 were to be one large combined episode, but upon reviewing some info missing from the Journal, I discovered that there was an entire adventure that took place after Rolf & Company left for the capital.  It's not my favorite adventure, it wasn't documented at the time, but it did have plot significance and introduced a new character.