Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Thinning the Herd

Lately, more than usual, I had been contemplating the shelves of gaming related printed matter that I have gathered over the past few years, and, in particular, whether or not having these items in hand had, in fact, brought anything worthwhile to my gaming and whether any given item would continue to do so.

In three years, my collection of gaming related print material has grown some 400%. That this coincides with the birth of my son is no accident. Money I would have spent going to see bands, going to bars, etc. was instead funneled into this hobby. But, if I am honest, much of the material is unread or, at best, barely skimmed, and offers little to no value to me as a result. It seems obvious, but simply having something does not improve my gaming experience.

This isn't an unheard of situation in tabletop gaming related circles - indeed, it seems excess is the most common state of affairs. Never the less, what should bring enjoyment was becoming, or had already become, something I dreaded. When would I find time to read all of it, let alone use it? Making checklists and timelines of such things was impossible without feeling stress, the antithesis of what a hobby should bring.

Perhaps, with the clarity only a week at the beach can give, I drew a line in the sand (no pun intended!).

With a detached ruthlessness reserved for mothers tossing boxes of old baseball cards and comic books into the trash, I reviewed each and every item on my shelves. "I could mine this for ideas", "I paid a lot for this", "I might need it someday" or "someday I might play it" were not acceptable reasons for holding onto something.

For each item I asked one or more of the following:
  1. Do I use this?
  2. Have I had this item for more than 12 months without using it?
  3. Do I enjoy the game system?
  4. Do I really like it or am I just "meh" about i?
  5. Is there a sentimental reason to keep it?
  6. Do I own this in another form, i.e. ebook or PDF?
  7. Is this or similar information available online for free?
  8. If I don't use it, and think it's worthwhile to keep, how can I work it into my current gaming?
The only items that got free passes were items that were recently acquired: Adventure Maximus, Tremulus, Dungeon World and 5e on the RPG side, and various WWI rules on the wargaming side.

When all was said and done, about half of my collection was weeded away. 

Of those, a good 20 or so books are in the "hold for another 6 months" box, at which point they will be reevaluated, but the rest ended up in the donation pile (popular history stuff and some fiction that I think the library can easily sell at its book sales - why do i think that? Mostly because that's where I bought it) or the "for sale" pile.

The sale pile is a little larger than I expected and the thought of tens of ebay ads or tumblr posts brings me no joy, so I'm considering alternative ways of getting them into the hands of gamers who might enjoy them. Stay tuned to this blog for any announcements about that.

In any case, already, the results are palpable; I look at the gaming shelves and smile. 

I see the games I enjoy and the games I want to explore further. I see cherished books, like the TMNT RPG, next to often consulted reference sources, such as Condray's Swedish and Russian Armies of the Great Northern War. I see depth if not breadth, more signal, less noise. I see inspiration and exciting possibility, rather than the gluttony that produced the previous situation and the accompanying dread and guilt.

Other than outstanding Kickstarters which have yet to ship, going forward, with rare exception, I intend to stick to a "1 in, 1 out policy" with respect to gaming materials (at least the physical kind. I haven't yet gone about tackling the morass of PDF rules and such). I did this previously, but had let that rule slip during the last few years.

Meanwhile, my load has been lightened and I feel at ease.

Next stop, the lead and plastic mountain.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Adventure Maximus! : Reviewed and a Basic Idea for Solo Play

Adventure Maximus! got its first outing last week (it's part of my 10 games, 10x challenge). If you're not familiar with the game, it's a card based RPG, designed for kids. I backed the Kickstarter awhile back and only recently gave the rules the once over before deciding to bring it with me on vacation.

The whole thing comes in a nice approximately digest-sized box with character sheets, rulebook, Adventure Sheet, cards (lots of cards), 5 blank dice and the stickers to apply to them (rather than using pips, there are three symbols per die: 1 sword, 2 swords and what looks kind of like the "at" symbol).

Character creation is fairly simple: players draw 3 race cards (which detail any special abilities the PC has) and choose 1, then draw three class cards (additional special abilities, armor and weapons) and choose 1. Based on the class card, the player may draw one or more Equipment and Action cards, and, if applicable, Spell cards.

Adventures are Madlib generated (and can cross into the utterly nonsensical as a result - basically, it provides about as much motivation as required for the average dungeon crawl) and individual encounters feature a map card, an equipment card (the treasure) and a creature card. Three encounters make up the adventure, so the third creature is a boss creature encounter. The boss has its own equipment, spells and actions, just like the PCs, which makes them very dangerous.

This mirrors a typical video game pattern and, given the target audience, makes a lot of sense.

From a tabletop perspective though, it is, without a doubt, a complete railroad, no matter how much you improvise - if the players must go to a particular location, and must encounter a particular thing, it's a railroad. I think, for a kids' game, as a way to introduce role-playing, this probably isn't horrible as it makes life easy for the Maximus Master, who might also have no experience with gaming. 

I found thinking of the defined quests as markers to be hit, alleviated some of my aversion to the rails. Also, there is no reason that the Maximus Master can't insert additional locations/encounters along the way and in fact, the rulebook encourages this. Nor are there any scripted resolutions, so player's have at least limited agency.

Ariale, for example, made it past a giant bug simply by avoiding it. She didn't get the loot, but it was a trade off. When she encountered a were-weasel, rather than fight, she parleyed, gave him the wish from her genie lamp which cured him of his lycanthropy and got the treasure that way (plus a bonus XP). She recovered the object of her quest from the big boss in a similar creative fashion, without actually defeating the boss, which left the boss as a potential recurring enemy going forward (if we play again - it doesn't lend itself to chat gaming).

Each PC gets Action Points based on their race card that regenerate per combat round, and can presumably be spent out of combat as well, without restriction. The average for PCs seems to be 3 points. Special abilities, Action Cards, Equipment Cards and Spell Cards all require action points to use. Again, each round of combat, the PC earns their Action Points back, but they may not exceed the maximum allowable for their race.

All dice rolls count successes: a sword = 1 success, two swords = two successes and the "at" symbol thing means 2 successes + roll that die again and add those successes (so, an exploding dice mechanic I guess?). The 5 dice provided, in my limited experience, are more than enough to cover most situations.

Experience Points are given after each encounter, rather than at the end of the adventure. Everyone gets 1 for participating (kind of like those "participant" awards they give to kids just for being on a team) and the Maximus Master can pass out up to 1 additional point per player for roleplaying, creative ideas, etc. Spending the points improve the character in various ways, depending on how many you spend. 

I like this mechanism, as it encourages the player to weigh the risk/reward of saving their points for a bigger upgrade.

I also gave the game a try solo, which I am pretty sure the designers never intended. In fact, given that at least one card bases its duration on the amount of time the player air guitars, I'd have to say it didn't cross their minds.

However, this is why I went in on the Kickstarter: I love cards generally, and the art on these in particular, and I figured I could use the card draws to create scenes and then use various solo techniques to play them out.  Never the less, for the 10 game challenge, I decided that I would try to stick as close to the way the game is meant to be played (that is, rather than re-purposing the decks into my own game).

The big difference was that, while I had to reveal the Map, Equipment and Boss Creature card to generate the adventure,  I only revealed the Map and Creature cards for the first encounter and nothing of the 2nd, until necessary. This way, I could preserve the sense of discovery that I would have in a social game. I used Mythic to run the encounter - it's like second nature anymore to use it, and would allow me to get on with the gaming.

The setup worked well (I'll post a write up of the session as a follow up to this)- my Minotaur Officer clomped around in his full plate to good effect and despite the rails (which I couldn't entirely see thanks to the delayed card draws), with Mythic, it went typically off course each encounter - although i gave up on the third encounter because I ran out of time thanks to some issues with the combat system during the second encounter.

Similar to T&T combats without spite damage, I ended up in a combat that seemed to be interminable - neither side able to rack up damage in any meaningful way due to high armor on both sides. Only by running away from the combat and ducking into a tavern(an act that took 3 tries before I could escape the gargoyles thanks to Mythic and poor die rolls) was I able to end the encounter in an "in game" way. 

Obviously, if I was adjudicating this combat in a social game, the gargoyles would have given up when they realized they couldn't do any damage, but maybe to return later with more of their kind. Solo, it seemed a cheat just to rule that without dice to back it up.

Both sessions were enjoyable, although I think I stumbled with the rules more than I would normally find acceptable. i found more than one card that did not seem to fit the system as described in the rule book, but that's probably just a "me thing" and will be corrected with further experience with the game.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Vacation Getaway

I disappeared from here for a bit to spend a week in St. Augustine, Florida. Amidst surf and sun and playing on the beach, we took in the Castillo de San Marcos and the Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Museum (the 1st one of the now 80-strong chain) - both offered some gaming related images, and some games were played as well.


More posts to follow to address all of that. In the meantime, there's a 6 hour+ drive, with a 3-year old, waiting for me in the morning .

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Session 34: The Ever Expanding Dungeon

We rejoin our party on their way out of the dungeon. You will recall that last episode ended with the following

Do they encounter anything on their way out? 1, wandering monster ,

5 Dwarves.
Room 3 RED HERRING/RESOURCE DRAIN

The following was played on 9/5/14

Chaos 6
Are these the same dwarves from Session 29? LIkely, 13, exceptional yes

Setup: Approaching from the direction of room 31 came 5 dwarves marching two abreast, with one in the rear. As they entered the party’s torch light, one of the dwarves in the front rank immediately recognized the party and hollered out to the others. Although Maglom understood what they were saying, it was Eomond who understood their anger.

“It’s those dwarves Lykidas dropped with his Sleep spell!”
Dwarves surprised? No, Party? Yes
Does the setup hold? 1, No, Altered
Is it that the dwarves don’t recognize them? 69, No.
Is it that the dwarves have other issues?10, exceptional yes, Attainment information


New setup: Approaching from the direction of room 31 came 5 dwarves marching two abreast, with one in the rear. As they entered the party’s torch light, one of the dwarves in the front rank immediately recognized the party and hollered out to the party in Dwarvish.

Maglom translated, “He said they are hunting the green-skins, a band of them.” 

Upon noticing the bodies, the leader of the Dwarven warband added, "Where are the rest?”

After explaining that this is all the party had encountered, the Dwarven leader entreated the party to join them, and offered that all will be forgiven in the matter of the ring and their unknowing aid to the thieves.

Does the party want to go?
Leegand and Maglom are badly wounded  Both of them strongly want to go back to town to heal.
Zilliniy and Eomond are injured but less so
Runolf is all for going - he needs the money and perhaps there’s some to gain by joining with these fellows.
Maglom is torn between helping the dwarves and healing
Lykidas doesn't have a horse in this race. His remaining spell is Hold Portal.
Ygg can see reasons for both sides and is playing the classic fence sitter.

The values below are the Charisma plus the shift away from 50/50. If someone starts at 50/50, I rolled to see which side of the Yes/No divide they fell on.

Leegand- Impossible 12+5
Maglom - Very unlikely 15+2
Eomond - Unilikely 12 +1
Zilliniy - 50/50, yes. 7+1
Lykidas - 50/50, Yes 12+1
Runolf - Very Likely - 11+2
Ygg - Neutral

No- 47
Yes - 35
+12 to roll (to shift it towards No)

I rolled a 21 and then add the 12 = 33, which is a Yes result
.

Convinced that the added number of the Dwarves will offset their injuries, the party agreed to go with them.


Room 4: Big Bad , Chaos 5
Listen(Leegand and Eomond both fail with 3 and 4 respectively)

Setup: The party approached the door the dwarves suspected as the direction of the orcs, and after taking a listen, move out of the way for the dwarves to open the door. As they kicked in the door and the light from the party’s torch shone into the room, the eyes of many green skin orcs met theirs.

Does the setup hold? 5, Modified- altered

Setup: The door kicked open and the party’s light flooded a room empty save for some chains hanging on the wall [an owl bear was hear once i think]

The party and dwarves pressed onward. Listening to the various doors out of the room, noises were heard coming from the east door..

Do the orcs burst in?50/50, 43, Yes
How many? 14 orcs (2 abreast)!!!!!!!!!!



The door suddenly smashed open and 2 large orcs barreled into the room followed by more.

Party and dwarves are surprised (rollled a 1)

The front orcs attack the dwarves immediately in their way, swinging battle axes. One of the brutes liberated the head of a dwarf from the attached shoulders.

[Here all hell broke loose. This is a LONG combat - the longest I have ever played. It isn't the most prosaic thing I've ever written, but I don't think I could do it justice without the round by round summary. Names next to rounds are the initiative order.]

Round 1 - Orcs, Party + Dwarves
4 more orcs entered the room but their attacks were blocked and parried. Ditto for the Dwarves. Runolf was the first of the party to dive into the fray.

Round 2- Party + Dwarves, Orcs
Again the Dwarves managed to do nothing.
Runolf slashed an orc with his hand axe (4 HP), but it just sneered at him.
Ygg raced up to meet the orc tide.
Lykidas, Eomond and Zilliniy begin preparing an escape route and check the west door:and hear nothing

Round 3 - Party2 (Lykidas, Eomond, Zilliniy), Party 1(Runolf and Ygg)
+Dwarves, Orcs, Party 3(Maglom and Leegand)
Eomond kicked open the west door, and Zilliniy charged in to secure the space.
Ygg crashes his war hammer into an orc (5 hp) but it shakes off the blow.
The dwarves fare better this round and drop two orcs but more rushed in.

Round 4 - Party 3, Party 2, Party 1, Orcs
Confident it's unoccupied, Zilliniy signaled the all clear. Lykidas followed her in, and Eomond signaled to Maglom and Leegand. He held the door as the latter two dove into the room beyond.
Runolf crashed his axe into the orc in front of him again and this time it collapsed into a butchered heap
A dwarf near Ygg ganged up on the orc the cleric had wounded previously and sent it to the abyss.

More orcs spilled into the room. (It's like a freaking clown car of orcs!)

Round 5 - Party 2 (everyone but Runolf and Ygg), Party+Dwarves, Orcs
Eomond hollered for party and dwarves to fall back before ducking in the room
Zilliniy's elven senses go crazy and she detects a secret door (in S&W: Whitebox, elves auto-detect on a 1-2)
Lykidas runs to listen to the north door while Maglom runs to the east
Ygg falls back towards the door.

will the dwarves fall back? 50/50, 70, no
Will Runolf? unikely 43, NO (chaos is 5 remember)

Runolf attacked and wounded another orc (5 HP damage) but the injury is not enough to end its existence.
A nearby dwarven ally goes for the same target, and the orc succumbs to its wounds.
In the far corner of the room, a dwarf drops another orc.

Do the orcs keep fighting? 29, yes
Orcs move in (yes, more)
One of the dwarves in that far corner is skewered on an orc's sword.

Round 6 - Party 2, Orcs, Party 1+ Dwarves
Over the din of battle from the other room, neither Maglom nor Lykidas could hear anything.
Ygg called Zilliniy over to use her bow and hollered for Runolf and the dwarves to fall back.
Zilliniy ran over, knocking an arrow as she did.

Meanwhile, two more dwarves met their end at the hands of the green-skinned orcs. Only one dwarf remains.

Do runolf and dwarf fall back? Likely, 95, no
Runolf and the dwarf were in a blood-fueld rage and unleashed blow upon blow on the nearest orc, but to no avail.

Round 7 - Orcs, Party 2, Runolf/Dwarf
Do the orcs charge Ygg and Zilliniy? Very likely 41, yes
Several of the beastly horde rush toward the party in the adjacent room as the final dwarf meets his maker.

Runolf, in blood splattered armor amidst a sea of red and bodies, is now cut off from the party. Without missing a beat, he lopped the head off the orc in front of him.

Round 8 - Runolf, Party, Orcs
I realized I had misread the rules for fighters, and found that Runolf attacks TWICE per round because he's 2nd level and the orcs have only 1 HD.

Swinging both axes now, he hit two different orcs (scoring 4 and 5 damage) but both stand.

Finally the orcs have hit a log jam and can't press onward, their numbers having reached the doorway for the party 
Due to the close range, Zilliniy dropped her bow in favor of her sword.

Runolf's good fortune breaks for a moment, and he takes painful slash on his arm (3 HP, he's down to 8)
Ygg is nearly run through (5 HP damage, and dropped to 1). The amount of blood spraying from his side is sickening.

Round 9 - Runolf, Party, Orcs
Runolf swings but his blows are blocked.

Ygg fell back and Eomond, arguably in better shape, moved up to face the crushing horde.
Zilliniy let loose a warrior cry and the last thing the orc saw was the look of hate in her violet eyes.
Lykidas pulled out an oil flask and set about lighting in to throw.

Meanwhile, Runolf was struck again (3 HP, down to 5) and Eomond took a piercing wound to his thigh (down to 7 HP).

Round 10 - Runolf, Orcs, party
Runolf, hoping to survive a bit longer and to gain a tactical advantage (right now, he can be surrounded on all sides) crashes out into the hallway,hoping the use the doorway to limit the effectiveness of the orcs.

do any orcs pursue? likely 77, nope

The orcs facing Zilliniy snarl and roar as they each deliver terrible blows upon the party members (Zilliniy hit for 3, Eomond hit for 3 (down to 1))

Eomond fell back but Zilliniy chose to stand and fight. Unfortunately, in her rage she lodged the blade of her sword into the door frame. (she rolled a 1)
Nothing like hoping a one-eyed man hurling a flaming liquid is on target, but Lykidas took the chance (with a chance of hitting Z.) and his oil  landed true on the orc directly in front of Zilliniy, igniting the orc, though not killing him quite yet.





Round 11 - Orcs, Party, Runolf
The flaming orc fell backwards into the rest to die, while the one that had been in front of Eomond, rushed in to face Ygg.
Another pushed past the burning orc to take its place.

With all her might, Zilliniy succeeded in wrenching her sword free of the frame.
Lykidas ran to her side with plans to slam the door shut (but that can't happen until next round).

Runolf, seeing he wasn't followed, threw an axe at the mass of orcs, but the blood caused it to slip out of his hand, ruining his chance of hitting one.

Round 12 - Runolf, Party, Orcs
In no shape to rush back into the fray, Runolf pulled his dagger and threw it, piercing some vital organ of one of the orcs opposite. It dropped to the ground dead a few moments later.

Lykidas slamed the door shut and yelled at Zilliniy to hold it so that he could cast Hold Portal.
Ygg and Eomond and the orc engaged in a scrum, but no victor could be declared.

The orcs outside the door attempted to force it open again. Do they succeed?22 yes. Sigh. Of course, they do.

The door flew open and knocked both Zilliniy and Lykidas back.

Round 13 - Runolf, Orcs, Party
Knowing the party was in bad shape and that his chance of survival was dwindling, Runolf raced in swinging.

The orc facing Eomond and Ygg slipped under the force of his swing and crashed to the ground.
Two orcs charged Zilliniy and Lykidas.

Zilliniy (rolled a 20 and did 6 damage) - cleaves her attackers head in two, and then kicked his body back towards the throng of orcs trying to surge forward.

Do the orcs retreat (down over 50%)? 100, exceptional no, Nope, they’ll fight to the the death.

Round 14 Orcs, Party, Runolf
The orc on the ground struggled to his feet.
The orc attacking Lykidas hit the unarmored one-eyed man for 3 points of damage (not to belittle the orc's accomplishment, but come on. one eye? no armor? a freakin' dagger?)
Another orc moved up to attack Zilliniy.
Meanwhile, two ganged up on Runolf and he was gravely wounded (down to 1 hp).

Zilliniy, with orc blood streaming in rivulets down her blade and over her hands, lost her grip and her sword flew from her hand (another 1 rolled)
Before the orc in front of him could stand, Eomond struck downward with a mighty blow that ended the foul creature's life.
Lykidas, pissed off no doubt at being attacked, deftly sliced into his opponent with the blade of his dagger (for 2 hp)

Runolf has the heart of a fighter, and giving up was not an option; he struck and killed one of his attackers.

Round 15 - Party, Runolf, Orcs
Zilliniy grabbed her dagger and stabbed the orc in front of her (for 2 HP) but he still stood.
Eomond rushed over to assist.
Ygg joined Lykidas.
Meanwhile, Leegand, who had been severely injured (1 HP) by the orcs on the steps, mustered his strength to whip a sling stone at the orc attacking Lykidas but missed.
Maglom, sensing an imminent end to her recently found friends, charged into battle (she has 2 HP).

Runolf, meanwhile, dealt blow after blow to his opponent (5 HP) and it still stood.

Fortunately, the orcs were completely ineffective this round although Runolf would now face two.

Round 16- Runolf, Orcs, Party
An orc attacked Eomond but missed in his rage and managed to drive the sword into the stone floor (he rolled a 1)

Ygg's warhammer connected with the thick skull of the orc before him, but it just shook it off.
Eomond's blade cut into orc meat but it STILL stood.

Round 17 - Party, Runolf, Orcs
Eomond struck the orc again and this time sent it back to its maker.
Runolf, a whirl of blades and blood, mowed down another orc.



Another orc charged up to Eomond, this one was bigger and scarier than the rest.

Round 18 - Orcs, Party Runolf.
An orc attacked Runolf, and this time the fighter's defenses failed (He's at -1 and will die in 2 more rounds from bleeding out without someone to bandage his wounds)
Eomond suffered the same fate!
Leegand, seeing his comrade in danger, charged to grab Eomond and drag him away.

Round 19 - Orcs, Party
Zilliniy was struck with a devastating blow (for 5 hp she’s down to 2). She staggered as her own blood streamed down her face.

Leegand, despite his own injuries dragged Eomond out of harms way, the thick black red trail revealing the gravity of Eomond's woundsl
Zilliniy, with a fury like no other, impaled her assailant with her sword and wasted no time to look for her next target.
Lykidas, making a good show for a magic user, tries to stab an orc but trips on his own robe (rolled a 1)
The orc, distracted by the sight, meets his end as Ygg's warhammer crashs into the side of his face.

Runolf is down to -2, he dies next round without attending
Eomond is down to -2 he dies next round if leegand doesn't stabalize him

Round 20 - Party, Orcs, Runolf
[I held my breath rolling initiative]

Picture this in slow motion if you will. The floors are a river of blood. Not one member of the party is free of the red goop. It pours out of them and their opponents. The sounds of yelling, of weapons clanging drone and drown out even your own screaming.

Ygg saw Runolf's body on the ground and realized he must act; he charged to get past the orcs to reach Runolf and stop his bleed out.

[i rule he has to roll 2 successful attacks to force his way through AND HE DOES. I pretty much cheered outloud
BUT I also rule that Runolf will have to make a save to stay on longer though since technically Ygg is only allowed one action per round. I figure the save adjudicates whether Ygg is able to do enough this round or not. ]

Zilliniy sliced into the orc in front of her, but it only stopped for an instant (4 hp damage)
Maglom charged to face the head orc.
Lykidas taking advantage of Maglom's stature, threw a dart over her head at the orc but missed in the chaos of the moment.

Runolf rolls his save HE ROLLS 18!!!! HE SAVES!!!! And stabilizes at -2 HP.

Round 21 - Ygg, Party, Orcs
Ygg tended to Runolf's wounds, tying bandages and applying pressure.

Inside the room, Leegand did the same for Eomond.

Of course, all of this would be for naught if the defense at the door collapsed.

Speaking of which, Maglom was struck hard and flirted with a loss of consciousness (she's down to 1 hp)
Zilliniy hoping to end this madness, stabbed furiously for the orc's heart but, it was ready, (she rolled a 1) and her dagger jammed in the orc's wooden shield.

Round 22 - Party, Orcs
Picture if you will, amidst the spraying gore, the smell of death, the sounds of violence, a small, but solidly built elf with braids of white hair matted with blood, leaping up to throw her fist into the face of her large, brutish, green-skinned orc antagonist. 

And missing.

Meanwhile, despite the Crouching Tiger style action going on to his left, Lykidas lets loose another dart and his aim was true (3 HP). 
Maglom got in on the fun, and struck the orc (for 3HP), causing it to momentarily say a prayer to its deity of choice.

Laughing the hearty laugh of the evil, Zilliniy's orc attempted to run her through, but only managed to catch her side (still, she's down to 1)

I felt terrible that people might think I fudged to give Runolf a chance to live. I decide he needs to make another saving throw. He does!!! i stopped feeling guilty.

Round 23 - Party, Orcs
With unmitigated fury, the elf hauled back and unleashed a fist like iron into the face of the orc, collapsing its snout and driving the head back with such rapidity that its neck snapped. A BARE-HANDED KILL!

Round 24 (I thought it was 23, but i misnumbered this round) Orcs, Party
Maglom is struck and dropped unconscious (she’s unconscious at -1)

This is looking like a very close run thing indeed.

Zilliniy, feeling her oats, punched the leader, and sole remaining orc, repeatedly in the ribs until one of them cracked and pierced something vital (2 HP damage but combined with the Lykidas's dart and Maglom's sword it's enough)

After the last orc fell to the ground:

Lykidas quickly bound Maglom's wounds (she rulls 4 and is back up to 3.
Leegand bound Eomond's wounds, but he only recovers enough to still be unconscious at 0
Ygg finished binding Runolf’s wounds and he’s at 1 and conscious but badly wounded
Ygg bound his own wounds and is back up to 3
Lykidas does his own and back to full
Zilliniy bound her own and is up to 5 (gained 4)
Leegand isn’t elligible as he suffered no damage in this combat.

The party agreed to get the hell out but not before searching ALL of the bodies

Any coin on the orcs? Very likely since this could be seen 5 the treasure 47 yes
Using the S&W: Whitebox treasure rules, I roll a die, and get 6 for my multiplier.
210 xp * 6 = total value 1260 gp

Scene 5 TREASURE!!!! Chaos 6 [I ruled that it won't go up since the party was victorious but it certainly isn't going to go down with a near TPK]

Looting the dead dwarves and orcs, the party found ten 100 gp gems and four 60 gp gems, which made sense since the orcs were just wandering around.

party exits dungeon any encounters?no THANK HEAVENS!!!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Attention Heroes of the Ever Expanding Dungeon: Questionairre

This is for those who have characters in this "season" of my solo Ever Expanding Dungeon game (for those not following along, yes, you read that right - please feel free to read along and formulate the answers for yourself whether you have a character in the campaign or not. It's good fun.). 

I completed another session the other day - an insane combat that I don't even know how I'll write up and afterwards, I decided that I'd like to know how each character thinks, at least about some basic things and I thought it'd be fun if the creator of the character had something to say about it. 

The questionnaire is pretty short, and no obligation mind you, and no rush if you do decide to reply. If you do, please leave your answers in the comments.

The first set of questions pertain to the character directly, and are stolen more or less from Dungeon World. If you only answer a few questions, these might add the most narratively speaking.

Pick 2 or 3 of the following and fill in the blanks with a character name (other than your own. Ygg is not off limits!)

1. ____________ is misguided about the risks in the dungeon.

2. I have sworn an oath to protect  ____________.

3. I have known ____________ a long time, and they are honorable but reckless.

4. ___________ is a good person and can be trusted completely.

5. I owe ____________ my life.

6. _________ has insulted my (family/deity/choice of weapon/etc.) and I do not trust them.

7. _________ owes me their life, but they won't admit it.

8. _________ and I share a blood bond.

9. _________ needs to be protected from themselves.

10. _________ enjoys killing the denizens of the dungeon a little too much. I sometimes fear for my safety around them.


The following are as much about player preference as character:

1. The party is setting out for the dungeon, all things being equal, would you rather:
     1)Return to the section you last visited
     2)Explore a different section

2. you come to a junction, all things being equal would you:
     1)Go towards a section where you've explored previously to complete the map
     2)Go towards the unknown

3. You come to a door, what do YOU do?
     1)Listen
     2)Search for traps
     3)Force it open
     4)watch our backs
     5)Set it on fire
     6)Other _________________________

4. Generally speaking, who goes into a room first (name or class)?

5. Who carries the torch/lantern (generally, not particular character)?

6. You're pretty badly hurt (50% or less hit points), everyone else is in better shape and wants to continue, do you:
     1)Press on, but in the middle ranks
     2)Agree to explore one more room but then insist on returning to town
     3)Argue that you need healing and to return to town

7. One party member (not you) is badly wounded, everyone else is in decent shape, do you:
     1)Suggest the party press forward
     2)Suggest the party check out one more room then go back to town.
     3)Argue that the party should return to town so that other member can rest and heal

8. The majority of the party is badly wounded, do you:
     1)Suggest the party press forward
     2)Suggest "just one more room" and then return
     3)Suggest that the party return to town.

9. Your party comes across some humanoids that you outnumber and you posses the means to communicate, you:
     1)Attack!
     2)Parley, but only to distract them so we can gain the upper hand in combat
     3)Parley but send the thief around in the shadows to back stab
     4)Parley in good faith to just get past them
     5)Parley in good faith to get some information
     6)Threaten them for information
     7)Threaten them to let you past
     8)Other ________________________________

10. Your party comes across some humanoids that outnumber you but you posses the means to communicate, you:
     1)Attack!
     2)Parley, but only to distract them so we can gain the upper hand in combat
     3)Parley but send the thief around in the shadows to backstab
     4)Parley in good faith to just get past them
     5)Parley in good faith to get some information
     6)Threaten them for information
     7)Threaten them to let you past
     8)Other ________________________________

11. How much is a reasonable amount (in GP) to offer to an NPC/monster to get something from them? (passage, information, their silence, etc.)

I appreciate all the work everyone did to get me their characters in the first place, so I realize this is possibly pushing it. Thank you for even just reading this far!

This toes a line between solo and social gaming, and I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge that this idea comes from a post on the old SoloNexus site, and JF's use of the Press Gang idea from Donald Featherstone.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Blitzkrieg Commander and Grant's Advance Guard Action

I have a backlog of 8 posts in draft that I'm working on and I keep playing more games (first world problems). But, after the deluge of role-playing that was DragonCon (I still have one more post about the con among those drafts), I was really in the mood to get some miniatures on the table and have a go with Blitzkrieg Commander again, so that took precedence.

I set up the table based on one Grant's teasers, the advance guard action found at Steve the Wargamer's online repository . My table is square which doesn't lend itself well to the teasers but I was able to get something workable. The objective is for each side to not only hold their objective at game end, but if possible, capture the opponent's objective as well.

The Soviets had been sitting idly while I gamed a lot with my US troops, so I brought them out to face the nasty Huns.

Here's the setup - I rolled to determine who got which table edge.


Close ups of the belligerents:

That mortar team came prepainted with that horrid paint job. Eventually, I'll repaint it.

I used double length moves but kept ranges as written - this kind of confused me a bit when it came to command distance (to double or not? I went with yes) and it also brought the initiative phase into play a lot more.

To my surprise, Ivan beat back the huns quite handily. (Sadly, no pictures of the victory.)

Game 2, same setup, sides reversed:

The Germans got off to a fast start racing to their objective (the bridge) with only a small force fanning out to the village.

Meanwhile, the Soviets concentrated most of their force on the bridge as well!

With mortar and tank, the Red Army captured and defended the village (their objective).

The bridge was cleared of German troops and focus turned to the village. The Germans could not get reinforcements to the battle, but the Soviets received a second T-34, effectively sealing the German defeat.

Game 3, sides diced for - used measurements as written:

The Huns raced for the village, using their armor and mortar to keep the Russians from the bridge.

The Russians had TERRIBLE command rolls and rarely activated at all. When reinforcements arrived on turn 4, they had barely left the table edge! None the less they did manage to take out the Pz. IV with their mortar (or maybe it was the tank, I can't remember).
The Soviets make use of a captured Sd.Kfz. 251
In a desperate attempt to immobilize the Russian steam-roller, Wehrmacht troops close with the Red armor:

The game ended with  one T-34 still in action and the Russian Sdk. knocking on the village door. Since the Soviets held their objective, and the Germans had a tenuous grasp of theirs, I ruled it a Soviet victory.

Game 4 - sides diced for  (I really got my money's worth from this setup):

The Soviet commander looks on as his  armor scores a suppression against the German armor.

Unfortunately, again his sub-ordinate is TERRIBLE at activating and so the T-34 ends up without much support at all.

Meanwhile, the Germans commit wholeheartedly to capturing and holding village this time around.

The German mortar devastated the Russian infantry assaulting the village. When they did reach range, they could not come close to hitting the Germans. Reinforcements arrived for both sides, but too late to change the tide, and the PZ. IV (short barrel) took out the recently arrived T-34 shortly after it appeared.

The game was effectively over even before I checked for reinforcements - the loss of an entire platoon meant at best the Soviets could hope for was a draw. However, I decided to continue to play to see if that was possible.

Alas, it wasn't and the Germans claimed their first victory in this series!