Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Ten Games, Ten Times Challenge Results

I heard about this idea after nearly half the year had gone, but threw my hat in the ring anyway it seemed to me that there might be something to the idea of playing a game ten times.

As I've noted previously, it has absolutely been a worthwhile experience. I have found, for instance, once and for all, that Nuts! is not for me with respect to multi-squad per side engagements, but the Chocolate & Cigarette rules in 3.0 are fantastic and just what I want them to be. And I have found Blitzkrieg Commander to be among my all time favorite commercial rule sets (joining G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. as a go-to game) - it has seen action far beyond the initial 10 games.

In total, I played 62 of 100 games for the challenge (I played more games than that total), but given my late start, I'm happy with it.

The 6 games that received 10 plays were:
Adventure Maximus was played 2x and while I think there is potential there to make an interesting solo game, I found it hard to muster the enthusiasm to play a 3rd game. I haven't given up on it though and will try it again at some point.

I've already mentioned Nuts! and BKC, so what of the others?

S&W White Box - There is a great deal of freedom owing to the lack of actual rules here - the trick is to not just fall back on B/X but try to imagine how someone in 1974 might approach the situation (not how I would have done it in '74. I was 2.) I will continue to use these for a little while longer for the the Ever Expanding Dungeon. I am on the hunt for an actual D&D White Box, so that may replace these, or I may try Seven Voyages of Zylarthen which I have downloaded and like enough to consider purchasing the paperback copies.

Song of Blades and Heroes - Initially I was put off by all the special rules and having to use the online war band builder to figure out points easily, but the former was resolved by copying and pasting the necessary rules for a given war band into a word doc to print as a QRS for use at the table. The latter isn't that terrible, because you can just reuse forces over and over again after their initial creation. It successfully scratched my fantasy war game itch, and  got me to paint up some of my Reaper Bones.

Urbion - I really like this card game. It took me several plays to win - a result of luck and skill- and that was just the basic version. I have only scratched the surface of the advanced games and look forward to playing them at some point in the future.

Battle Over Britain - This is a fast play game (less than 15 minutes a game, usually much less) and loads of fun, which is surprising when you see how sparse the set up is. Maybe it helped that I watched Angels One Five, Blue Max and Aces High before I played the final 8 games but I felt immersed in the games as I played. I stuck to the basic rules for all but one game, where i pitted my loan Spitfire against two ME-109s and had to figure out how to handle 3 planes in play (it was surprisingly simple). There are still a load of optional rules and I also have the Solitaire pack  to try, which expands the solitaire rules further.

I will absolutely be participating in the challenge again in 2015.

Did I Do What I Said? 2014 Review

If I were to provide an executive level summary of my gaming related activity in 2014, it would be that, although I don't have accurate accounting, I believe I played more games than I have ever before. Although thoroughly enjoyable, it was not without some cost - this very blog has seen a decline in posts. I felt I was becoming stretched too thin with demands on my limited free time and when given the choice between writing up a game session or playing a game, I chose the latter more often than not.

But how did I fair with my goals for 2014 (half-year review here )?

Great Northern War - This was a lot of wishful thinking at the end of 2013. As I noted in the 1/2 year review, I had to accept that this would be a long term project, which was my way of saying, this just wasn't gong to happen as planned. The figures just take too long for me to paint to really knock them out with any kind of volume. Still, my Swedish infantry are now at 48 figures, which is just how many I need to start basing them.

Fantasy gaming - I call this one completed successfully (although slightly modified from the original).
  • My Japantasy social game never realized but I did play a solo Japantasy adventure using Swords & Wizardry: White Box that was a good bit of fun. I took notes as I played, so I could write it up if you need proof, but note that it gets a little weird.
  • I ran 3 sessions at DragonCon.
  • My campaign at the FLGS has had 15 sessions. Even better, most of the players seem really into the campaign and happy to take advantage of its sandbox nature (despite being centered around a mini-mega dungeon).  I have a core group of regulars and although technically I am still running an open table, I'm not advertising our sessions anymore.
  • I managed to play the following Guadalcanal scenarios: The Goettge Patrol , The Brush Patrol, The First Battle of Matanikau, Battle of Bloody Ridge, Koli Point. That's more than half of the 8 I listed originally and I played some of these multiple times and with different rule sets. I certainly got my money's worth from the Britton Publishers scenario book.
  • As mentioned in the half year review, I am short some Soviet riflemen. It turns out, it wasn't just slothful painting, but that I don't have the figures to even paint. The Airfix sets feature primarily SMGs (which is great if you want to build SMG squads), but the scenarios very explicitly are centered around rifle squads in July, 1943. 
Helvetica - Well, you would't know it from my blog (save for one picture), but I am four turns into a Featherstone style "domestic" campaign. I cobbled together some campaign rules from issues of Lone Warrior, Featherstone and Bath, and I use my own Generic Skirmish Rules for Colonial-ish Games: Celebrating the Exploits of Heroes, Military and Otherwise, in Lands Foreign and Fantastic While Glossing Over the Role of the Ordinary Person for combat resolution. All encounters so far have been patrols being ambushed by lizard folk. Keeping the tribes in line is bloody and dangerous work.

So, despite the big goose egg that is the GNW project, I am happy with what I accomplished. Having these goals didn't entirely limit my gamer ADD, but they did help focus me on areas of the hobby I wanted to spend time on.

Plus, there were other hobby related accomplishments to make up for not entirely hitting every goal as laid out:

I put out issue two of 6 Iron Spikes & a Small Hammer and to my shock, it sold out. It wasn't immediate, but still. Issue 1 is still in print - because it's far cheaper and easier to reproduce and still sells.

I released not one but two free sets of rules this year, World War Risus and Featherstone's Nuts. The latter was quick to make (it is maybe a page long), but World War Risus was more involved. Never the less, it went from idea to a living document in a short time, provided a number of enjoyable games, and got me listed as a Risus SuperFan. My feelings about the rules vary depending on the day, but the experience was enjoyable and I don't regret the time spent. 

The b/x campaign with Ariale that features her violence prone, self-interested elf, Fjorgyn, began this year, and continues even now. Although I have stopped doing write ups for these games, or the Trelleborg games for that matter, take my word that Fjorgyn isn't as totally evil as she seemed, and recently took action that might even be deemed heroic.

I played dozens of games that received nary a mention; my WWII collection is almost always out on the table, I have played several solo RPG one-shots, and even did some figure painting.

And, of course, there was the 10 Games, 10 Times challenge that I took up in June, but that will get its own post.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Obligatory Christmas Loot Post

I hope all those who celebrate Christmas had a merry one. And for those who don't, I hope you had a great Thursday.

My list was void of any RPG related items (I just got Barbarians of Lemuria during the 50% off sale at back in November and picked up my pre-ordered copy of the 5e DMG). So, Santa indulged the wargamer in me this year:

I haven't built a scale model in 30 years or so - that King Tiger and the ZiS have a dizzying array of parts. Coupled with the fact that I've never built scale model armor, only cars and planes, starting with the F4F-4 Wildcat is a no brainer!

All of these will see use on the table as they are completed.

I am debating painting the tanks and truck. Currently only 3 of my vehicles are painted and they were factory painted at that; the rest are the plastic color they came in. If I start painting a few, I feel I'm going to have to go crazy and paint EVERYTHING. On the other hand they might all look a good deal better painted.

Speaking of paint:

This is for the WWI project in plastic 1/72. I've got the Italians and Austrians - or rather the starting forces for both sides. Now, it's time to acquire uniform references and paint and such. Oh and to learn more about this aspect of WWI, since all I know is from Wikipedia.

In addition there were gift cards and some cash that will, at least in part, be put to use on my too many projects.

The Osprey Austrian companion volume to the Italian Osprey above is a definite. Neil Thomas's One Hour Wargames seems to be the rage right now, despite its limitations, so I'll probably pick that up, along with Table Top Battles by Mike and Joyce Smith.

I am doing my best to avoid picking up any more figures or vehicles just yet, but it's almost inevitable that I will. GHQs 1/285 WWII stuff is looking really tempting right about now and they do have that sale going. Never mind that Classic Toy Soldiers is doing a 15% off after Christmas sale on just about everything.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

It's All Done with Mirrors and Painted Smiles

Last week, I had some time off, and since the nanny was here during the day to take care of the Young Lord, I spent much of those two days painting:

Fearless Men Who Jump and Die!

The Flames of War Open Fire! box is a heck of a value, whether or not you plan to play FoW. Of course, it's only a value if you actually do something with the included bits. I started this platoon of US Airborne last year, put it aside and then, suddenly felt the urge to complete them.

This is my first time ever using static grass. I don't know if I did it right or not, but i love it!

It Was Just My Imagi-nation Running Away from Me

I got a Risk set (the AWI looking bits) a few years ago, thinking I'd use the map for a campaign. But it sat in my closet. Lately, I've been reading about Imagi-nations and getting excited again by the idea. And so, inspired by Kaptain Kobold's Great Northern War project with Risk figures I pondered whether or not I could do something similar. And then it hit me, Riseling vs Sauvignon-Blanc 100 years before the current conflict.

Here are 40 Risk figures painted as the Saintonge Regiment of France, which participated in the AWI.  

There are four bases of line infantry, 2 bases of light infantry. 

I speed painted these to look decent as a group, at wargaming distance. Up close, not so much. (it doesn't help that the figures themselves are terrible. Misshapen heads, missing feet, etc). 

Leader of the PAK

1 1/32 Italeri PAK 40 - nice, easy to build model, it took 3 attempts at priming to get it to stick.

It fits nicely into the 6" grid I use for the 1/32 toys.

Itsy-bitsy Teenie Weeny

Sometime last year I picked up 2 sample packs from GHQ just to see what 6mm looked like in person (yes yes, I can look at a ruler but that didn't tell me what I needed to know).

Here are 3 GHQ 6mm US Army Infantry - painted the same way I paint my 1/32 stuff - this was a test to see 1)if i could paint 6mm, 2)if i would like the results. 

Oh. My. God! This may be my second favorite scale after 54mm (what can i say? I am a man of extremes). They painted up super easily - the details are easy to hit with a brush without painting over previously completed kit. I suspect could knock out a 1:1 company in in a few hours. It's just about all I can do to restrain myself from taking advantage of their holiday 15% off orders over $50.00 deal. 

This may not look like much, but some regular readers might know what's afoot.

On their way to a Slitherin village, two Riesling platoons, led by Feldwebels Feuerbach and Handel, are ambushed by lizard warriors.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Ever Expanding Dungeon: Session 37

Scene 1: Down Time
The party returned to town to rest up and buy a 10’ pole. After 3 days and resupplying, the party returns to the dungeon.

[Chaos 5, 1 = Alter Scene
Are they able to acquire the 10’ pole? 08, yes
3 days? yes 18
I decide the most logical thing is:]

Meanwhile, the innkeeper at the Zealous Dagger collects on their outstanding debts (5 gp each for food and board).

Scene 2: Traveling to the Dungeon

[Wandering monster check on way to dungeon: 1
Roll on wilderness encounter table for forest:1 = dragon. Good lord.
roll d10, 7= Wyvern, well it could be worse.

Wyvern(AC 16, Mv 6/24, bite or sting. Sting 60%, poisonous)
Reaction or Does it Attack?: 
 1 yes, and it surprises the party
2-3 Yes, but roll for surprise
4- 5 No but check again, if not, then it flies away
6 = no and it flies away ]

A dark reptilian shaped shadow fell across the party. 

[6! WOO!!!!]

High above a large flying lizard like thing let out a scream, circled, and then flew away, northward.

The party let out a collective sigh of relief and proceeded to the recently discovered entrance.

Scene 3: Obstacle

Maglom and Runolf led the party past the intersection to their right, to the door to the Gnoll Shrine (see map room 31) at which point the party assumed door opening order. Eomond took the torch from Lykidas so Leegand could get to work.

[Detect traps: 8 (no) - but given that they exited this way before, we’ll assume it isn’t.
Hear noise: 4 (yes)
Is the door locked? 80, no, and easy to open

What does he hear? 57, moaning (DMG 1e)]

The party assumed door opening order, with Runolf and Maglom in front, the torch passed back to Lykidas. Everyone prepared for the worst.

The fighters forced the door open and...

Scene 4:  Room 31
The room appeared exactly as they left it. Tapping with the 10’ pole, Maglom hoped to trip any trap that might be set. Finding it safe, the party moved in.

They spread out a bit - with  four ways into the room they had a lot to cover - while Ygg spiked the the North and South door. Both doors on the East wall, which includes the one they came in, were left alone, in case they needed to beat a hasty retreat.

[Wandering monster check: 4, no]

The party formed a semi circle around Leegand and Eomond, who again, holds the torch.  Maglom dropped the 10’ pole in favor of her weapon.

[Does he find any traps? 1, yes (if there is one he finds it), is there any? He does find a trap - the door is the trigger.
Can he remove it? 16, no, he is unable to disable it. Does it trigger?

1 yes and it efffects this side of the door
2 yes but whatever it does is on the otherside
4 no but roll for wandering monsters again
6 no and all is clear

6 WOOO!!!]

The party resumed door opening mode and

Scene 5: The Discovery

The door opens into a 10’x30’ room with one exit in the middle of the south wall.

[I rolled 3 story cubes and got the following contents: Empty, but Shovel, Sad, Empty Fuel Gauge]

On the ground, three more dead orcs, obviously wounded and somewhat emaciated.

Runolf, Ygg, Zilliny and Maglom covered the doors, while Lykidas Eomond and Leegand searched the bodies.

[Do they find anything?
yes but it’s not much - just their weapons and that one of the bodies has a crossbow bolt stuck in it.

Dead awhile? 28, yes

Leegand checks the door:
Traps: 2, is it trapped? (60, door is stuck, 78, lock is not the trap, 37 door is not a trap trigger either)
Eomond gives it a try? 1, yes, 66 Rustlng

Wandering enconter: 2, nothing]

Door opening order and...

Scene 6: Another Discovery

The hallway ends in a door.

[Wandering Monster 4, nope. Change torches

Check door:
Leegand: 8, does not detect a trap,
Listens: 16
Is the door locked? 62, stuck not locked
Door is a trigger

Eomond listens:6, nothing

The door opens and...
1 yes and it triggers on this side of the door
2-3 yes but whatever it does is on the otherside, check to see who sets it off
4-5 no but check to see who sets it off on the other side
6 no and all is clear

5. Damn.

10’ POLE: 1!! ]

Scene 7: Obstacle
The 10’ pole triggered a hidden pit trap on the other side of the door.

Beyond the trap, a set of stairs led down. They opted not to try to get around it for now.

[Wandering monster: 2, no]

Scene 8: RP to decide what to do

The party debated:
Ygg and Zil. wanted to try any one of the stairways down, arguing it’s time for the party to be first for once, with all deference to the memory of the great parties that have gone before.

Eomond and Leegand argued that there are two doors remaining on this level on the existing map and it would forever nag at them if they didn't check them out.

Ygg suggested that they haven’t ever explored that part of the dungeon and so, in effect, it is unknown to them despite the few notes scribbled on the map about a mad king and evil priest.

[Does this sway the rest?25 yes.] 

With Lykidas, Runolf and Maglom agreeing that it might be more rewarding to explore an area untouched by the previous delves, the party chose to carefully work their way past the pit trip to take this new flight of stairs down to wherever it may lead.

Lykidas lit a new torch and they proceeded to the pit.

Scene 9: Crossing the Pit (obstacle)

To be continued....

Friday, December 5, 2014

Portable Wargame : Modern aka 1/32 WWII Antics on a Grid

I decided to play the same Escort the StuG scenario I played with Blitzkrieg Commander, but using Bob Cordery's Portable Wargame : Modern. All of his Portable Wargame rules can be found at this site.

My table is 4' x 4', divided into a grid of 6" squares and thus, 8 x 8.

Orders of Battle:
9 infantry units (3 platoons) 6 infantry units (2 platoons)
3 platoon leaders 2 platoon leaders
1 ATG 1 StuG
1 mortar1 Company Commander
1 Company Commander

German mission: Get the StuG across the table. Infantry are expendable.
USA mission: Destroy the StuG.

I diced for each side's approach. As fate would have it, the US would send 2 platoons around to their left while the center right platoon would fall back to hold the woods. The Germans would sweep to their own left, to cross the road south of the village.

Here's the setup, the US has quite an advantage of numbers, firepower and position.

The German infantry move slowly to avoid outpacing the StuG, which is stuck in the woods (movement reduced from 2 squares to 1). The US left platoon advances to the village, the right falls back to form a defensive line, per their orders.

Yes, the rubble pile in lower third of the picture moved from the 1st to 2nd turn. I had it in the wrong place!
I got too caught up in the action that followed to accurately record when the next two pictures were taken.

Below, US troops await the coming German force.

And here they come!

The battle was fast and furious; the US lost 4 or 5 squads, while the Germans lost two, with the StuG being hit repeatedly by mortar, ATG fire, and infantry close assault, but escaping destruction each time. 

(The StuG always rolled 5s and 6s to see what the result of a hit would be, and fell back 1 square each time, rather than be destroyed).

A brave squad made a last ditch close assault on the armored sides of the StuG but alas it was not to be. 

On the next German activation, the StuG made it off the table. German Victory. From set up to victory in 1 hour.

Of 3 games played, this was the first German success. In both the BKC game, and in the Big Board Portable Wargame, the StuG was destroyed.

Here's a picture I rather like, from the Big Board Portable Wargame played earlier in the day:

The layout I used was much more in line with my aesthetic preferences this time, and would have worked just as well with BKC. Note to self: if adapting a Crossfire scenario, go easy on the terrain and scenery.

Figures for the US are a mix of W. Britains and Toy Soldiers of San Diego. The exception being the ATG which is from Classic Toy Soldiers.

Figures for the Germans are a mix of Matchbox, Airfix and Classic Toy Soldiers.The StuG is 21st Century Toys.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Blitzkrieg Commander : Escort the StuG

Yesterday, I started having uncontrollable urges to play Blitzkrieg Commander again. 

After clicking around the Internet, I found a bunch of scenarios for company-level actions and came upon a number of Crossfire scenarios over on Lloydian Aspects.  (which I had bookmarked already, funny that). I liked the simplicity of the  "StuG smuggling" scenario, so that's what you see here, albeit shrunk down to a 3 x 4 playing surface, and with my 1/32 toys.

Unfortunately, as is often the case, it was too late to start gaming by the time I had the table setup. Luck was on my side though, and Pumpkin didn't launch the attack without me.

The mission for the Germans is to get the StuG off the opposite side of the table; infantry are entirely expendable. The US is there to try and stop them.

I got two turns in at lunch today. Here's the cluttered table after turn 2:

This is way more stuff than I usually put on the table - I tried to stick to the fact that the scenario was for Crossfire, which has tons of terrain and scenery. In retrospect, I probably should have used the whole 4 x 4 space, but as you can see peeking out the top of the frame, there's a pile of junk I would have to move.

It isn't pretty, but, still, I think it looks like playing toy soldiers.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Ever Expanding Dungeon : Session 36

Having disposed of their prisoner, and come up empty handed after looting the pile of orc corpses, the party turned their attention to the door in the west wall. It had gone quiet on the other side sometime during their skirmish.

With caution to the wind the party barreled into the room. (ie. i forgot about my door procedure!)

[This room had been mapped before, so i don't need to check to see its size or shape For contents, I rolled 1d6 per Moldvay, and got a 2, Monster. I then checked on my Is the Monster Here? Table and got No ,and Roll on the Signs table: half-eaten meal/prey/victim.

I turned to Rory's Story Cubes and got a guy doing pull ups.]

Dangling from chains bolted to the ceiling, the remains of a dwarf dripped and oozed into a puddle of red-black gore that grew beneath it.

The party covered the doors, and Maglom and Ygg freed the corpse from the shackles. Ygg performed a simple prayer for the soul of the dwarf to enter into a weekend bender with the Hedonistic Lumberjack.

The door in the North wall of this room had been their objective, and after forcing open the door, they found steps going down.

Eomond, hunter and slayer of rats, looked for foot prints leading from the room down the stairs. 

[Does he find any?1d6, 1. Yes and they appear to be orc.

The question about whether or not the party would go down the steps was made based on the results of the survey of the characters' creators I conducted awhile back. Of those that responded, the split was 50/50, so my own preference to explore the level further was the swing vote.]

"Orc prints" said Eomond, pointing out a faint set of prints heading out of the room and down the stairs.

None the less, much of the party was intent on finishing their exploration of the 1st level.

Despite being in the mood for a fight to avenge the killing of the dungeon's dwarves, Maglom, the lone holdout, conceded to explore the remainder of the 1st level and attempt to complete the map - a decision made possible because Ygg, himself in no mood for fighting again, sided with Eomond and Leegand to finish exploring up here.

As a precaution, Ygg spiked the door to the steps, hoping to at least annoy the orcs a bit.

The natural next stop was the door in the north east corner of the East wall.

[I really should provide a map so you can see what I'm talking about. Oh wait, here's one.

They are in room 45. Room's 46 and 47 haven't been found at this point.
  • At the door, Eomond listened :3, and heard nothing nothing. Leegand checked the door for traps: 6 nope.
  • Using my Solo Traps table - I roll 67, 16, 68, which tells me that the door is unlocked,the lock is not trapped, and the door itself is not a trigger for a trap.
  • The door swung open and (using version 3.0 of my low budget dungeon generator, I rolled a d12, and got 9- an empty room). 
  • Version 3,0 used d10 for all dimensions which resulted in some seriously massive rooms and long corridors. I decided to take after version 4.1, but instead of card suits, I used 1d4 1= d4, 2=d6, 3=d8, 4=d10. The result would be used for the dimensions.
  • I rolled a 3 and used d8 for dimensions and applied the same rules I use in version 4.1. 6 and 3 = 3x3
  • 1d4-1, 2 = 1 additional exit - since the room abuts the door in the north wall of 32, well that's the door
  • Treasure- I used Moldvay's dungoen stocking table to check this - 5, nope
  • Few rooms are truly empty, so I turned to Rory's Story Cubes: apple, yelling stick figure, cauldron/pot]
The room was largely empty save for an old rusty cauldron and dozens of rotted apples. A curious thing to find in the dungeon for sure.

Checking their map, they could see that the door in the south wall should take them back to where they started, so Eomond pressed his ear to the door again and then Leegand checked for traps.

[At the door that led to 32, Eomond listened: 4, nope
Leegand checked for traps: 8, nope
Solo traps: 64, 93, 02 Door appears stuck not locked, the lock is not trapped, the door triggers a trap.]

Believing the door to be trap-free the party forced it open

[1-2 = front rank, 3-4 = middle, 5-6 = rear. I rolled a 2 and it sprang on front rank.
I rolled a story cube and got a flame.
flame jet trap (thanks story cubes)- 1d8 to front rank, save for half]

An unnoticed trip wire unleashed a jet of flame from the ceiling, briefly engulfing Maglom and Runolf.

[Maglom makes her save with a 14, I rolled 3 for damage, so she takes 1 point of damage. Runolf saved with a 16, I rolled 6 for damage, and he takes 3.
Wandering monster check: 3, nope]

With a general admonition for more caution, the party prepared to take the door in the north east corner.

[Eomond listened: 3, no
Leegand checked if locked and if trapped: 16 doesn't notice anything
54, door is stuck, 16 lock not trapped, 56, no trap on door]

Leegand suggested the party to open door and then probe ahead, but alas, no one had a 10' pole or even a spear.

Necessity is the mother of invention; the party forced open the door a and hurled an orc body through. It landed with a thud.

Satisfied the area wasn't trapped, the party peered through to spy a short hall ending in a dead end.

[Determined by a roll of 12 on the dungeon generator.]

[Zilliniy checked for secret doors (she can find one on a 1-3. I rolled a three, so she will find one if there.
I rolled a d6 and on a 1 there is one present. I rolled a 1. Version 3.0 of the random dungeon generator includes a 2nd roll to determine the whether or not the secret door allows passage in both directions or just one. I rolled a 3 and and it's bi-directional.]

The party assumed door formation and began their usual routine.

[Eomond listened: 3, no.
Leegand checked if the panel was trapped: 7, doesn't find any]

They find the mechanism ad try to open the door.

[It occurred to me that a secret door doesn't have a key hole that can be picked, so that's not an issue. I roll to see if opening the door triggers a trap. 02. Sure enough.

I rolled on some table or other and generated a pit trap. Again it was triggered by the 1st rank. Maglom and Runolf each fell 10’. Maglom took 1 damage, and Runolf took 3]

After fishing out Maglom and Runolf from the 10' deep pit, they noticed 3 dead orcs in the smallish room.

Wandering monster check: 2, nope

A quick examination of the bodies showed they bore several wounds each.

[Mythic, 50/50, were they wounded in battle?13. yes.]

It appeared to the group that the orcs sought sanctuary here, but died of their wounds. Looting of the dead commenced, but yielded nothing

[I used Moldvay's Treasure roll - 1-3 = treasure when a room holds a monster, but I rolled a 5.

I rolled for additional exits, 1d4 - 1 and got a 2, so 1 additional]

Ready to press onward, the party took their usual door opening positions. '

[Eomond: 5, Hears nothing]

And as usual, Eomond heard nothing. Leegand dutifully checked the door.

[Door procedure: Leegand checked for traps: 18, nope
Is door locked? 10, yes
Tries to pick lock: 3, SUCCESS!! WOOOO!!!!
Is the lock trapped? 100, nope]

Elated over Leegand's successful lock picking, the party remained cautious as they moved through the doorway.

Is the door a trigger for a trap?: 56, no door trap
I rolled on the dungeon generator and the result was 70’ and a t-intersection ]

As the party moved down they hall and approached a T-intersection, it was clear that to their right was the door to the former gnoll shrine room (31).  To their left, they found a previously unmapped entrance to the dungeon [thank you random generator]

This seemed a good time to get back to town with Runolf down to 9 HP and Maglom and Zilliniy minorly injured with 2 HP.

In the end, a rather quiet session and given the danger faced in some of the recent sessions, a welcome change. No one swung a weapon and no treasure, but, everyone survived and will get some XP to boot (using my home brew XP rules).

I discovered (or remembered as the case may be) I rather like the Is the Monster Here table, and i don't know why I had stopped using it, except out of forgetfulness. 

The total playing time was about an hour, and that included gathering my materials.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Picture, 1000 Words, Yadda Yadda

Although my postings here are a bit slow of late, I've been posting more elsewhere: G+ and especially on Instagram. 

I really like the latter, as I don't feel compelled to say more than a few words about what's pictured. 

Sometimes, i don't want to slow the game down to take a dozen pictures, and then type and edit a summary, especially when I'm learning to play (like Song of Blades and Heroes presently - and which I'm really enjoying. There's something about fantasy skirmish that brings out the kid in me. More than usual, that is.) but I still want something for posterity. 

I find it's also a great way to share painting progress. A picture or two is all it takes, and since I'm using my phone anyway, a few finger taps later and it's posted. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Current Painting Table

Seriously, it must be the change in weather.

Here's what's currently in my painting queue:

I'm rather pleased with how the horses are coming along. I'm using this tutorial from Ken of All the Kings Men Toy Soldiers and despite being written for 54s, it works quite well on the 1/72 figures. These figures are Zvezda mounts for Russian Dragoons.

I am trying something new with this batch of Swedes (the guys in blue and yellow) - a white base coat for one (which I hate), and blacklining after the fact, rather than leaving a gap between colors (can't do that with a white base coat). After this group is finished, I will be focusing more on dragoons for both sides. And not just because i really like painting the horsies.

The Soviet riflemen may not look it, but they are primed; I use PVA. This has been my method of choice for most of this year for the big figures - so far, it seems to work. I will follow this up with a second coat of PVA once the figures are finished.

The buildings are birdhouses from Jo-ann's and Michael's that will be pressed into service for my 54mm games. The cabins, with a little work, will serve on the Eastern Front, primarily.

Another fantasy figure? (well several, if you count the rodents of unusual size)

What can I say, Song of Blades and Heroes is rather enjoyable and it's a great motivator for painting up some of my Bones minis. I have to say, they really don't take primer well at all, and still feel tacky a week later. A base coat of black acrylic seems to resolve that issue, however.

Oh, yeah. This guy., Skeletor, the Wraith Lord!! 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Paint Table Friday

I started in on Song of Blades and Heroes (part of my 10 games, 10 times challenge) and it's done two things: got me psyched about paper figures again but also, maybe I should try to paint some of the Reaper Bones figures I've got taking up space.

Shields need some touching up and the swords aren't finished yet.
And here's a blurry picture of a portion of my paper goblin warband (led by the red chaos knight):

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Ever Expanding Dungeon: Session 35 and My 500th Post!

This post is the 500th here on Tabletop Diversions, and so it made sense to feature a session summary for the Ever Expanding Dungeon.

'tween story (using Mythic Variations)

The party returns the Dagger for 4 weeks of rest and relaxation, armor repair, and healing, as well as some sparring and tactics practice. The Sheriff is a little concerned about the activity, particularly as a magic-using type seems to be involved, but otherwise allows it to continue. After two weeks of rest, they are ready to return the dungeon in the hills.

Is that what happens? 50/50, Chaos 5, 63. No

For 'tween stories, if you get an ordinary no, then just choose the next most logical thing:

After 2 weeks of rest, the party opts to head into the dungeon again, seeking fame and fortune. 

It isn't fancy or terribly interesting but it gets the job done.

Return to the dungeon

Utilizing the survey that some of the players filled out, plus my own preference as Ygg, it was a sure thing the party would return to the scene of the last battle, but in terms of where to go from there, there was a difference of opinion.

Having agreed to return to the scene of their most recent encounter, Zilliniy and Ygg wanted to venture East towards the unknown, while Leegand and Eomond wanted to head north to see if it connected to area 17 on the map. Runolf, Maglom and Lykidas saw little difference in the choices.

Utilizing my Intra-party Decision Making system:

Does the party go East?

Ygg -11 + 1
Zilliniy - 7 +1
Eomond - 12 +1
Leegand - 8 +1

Ygg and Zilliniy = 20 yes
Eomond and Leegand = 22 no

The difference is 2 in favor of no.

Treat as a 50/50 roll in Mythic, Chaos 5: 53 + 2 = 55, No

After brief debate, the party decided that, once in that room, they would check out the north door.

They moved quickly through the dungeon to the Gnoll Shrine room (they don't know it's called that) 

Anything here? I chose to use the b/x stocking die roll of 1d6. 5, Empty, Treasure? 4, no treasure

Wandering monster ? 1, nope

Checking the secret door from the hallway into the room of their final stand against the orcs, Eomond and Leegand listened for anything on the other side.

I based this on the survey responses.

Does Eomond hear anything? I can't find in S&W:Whitebox a roll for hearing noises, so I posed it to Mythic - 80, no

For Leegand, I am using the thief class from Whitebox Heroes (since S&W: Whitebox has no thief class). I roll a 4 (on a d20), which means he does hear something.

Although Eomond could hear nothing, Leegand, possessing that ability to hear even the faintest hint of potential trouble or income common to all those who engage in questionable activity outside the limits of the law, overheard the murmuring of voices in a heated exchange.

I turned to Mythic, What does he hear? Negligence of the Public. Which i figured would be some kind of argument about something - I don't know why.

Rather than enter through the secret door, which might reveal its existence to creatures who might not know of it, Ygg suggested they check the door to the room where they and the Dwarves started their battle against the orcs last time.

Ziliniy and Runolf coverd the steps, while Eomond and Leegand again listened.

I used the same method as before:
Eomond - 02, he hears something
Leegand - 14, nothing

Eomond hears "Punish good" according to Mythic.

The sound of a whip cracking and muffled screams was all to clear to Eomond.
Thinking it could be someone in need of help, or someone who might be happy to be helped and return the favor, the party prepared to enter.

Leegand checked door for traps, found one, and was able to remove it.

I decided I would treat traps this way: If the PC detects a trap, they can then try to disarm it if it turns out one exists, but if they don't, and one exists, then they automatically trip the trap.

Using the Whitebox Heroes thief class again, I roll a d20 and get a 3, which is a yes

I check with Mythic, is the door trapped? 42, yes
Can he disarm it? I roll a d20 and get a 3, he succeeds in disarming it

Next, I checked to see if the door is locked.

Again, I as Mythic, Is the door locked? 46, yes
Can he pick the lock?  I roll a d20 and get 9. I turn to the table in Whitebox Heroes, and find he fails to pick it.

The door, however, was locked, and his attempt to pick it, failed.

Wandering monster check? 5, nope

The party arranged into Door Smashing Order.

Maglom     Runolf
Zilliniy       Ygg
Leegand    Lykidas
The door flew open and ....

Scene setup: 
The door flew open to reveal some orcs beating a dwarf who is shackled to several others of his kind, who are deceased.
Does it hold? Chaos 5, 8, yes
How many orcs? I turned to the d30 DM Companion and found 5 orcs present. Just five? AHAHHA. Piece of cake

Using the S&W:WB method of testing surprise with 1d6:
Are they surprised? 4, no
Is the party 3, no
Initiative: Party: 5, Orcs 1

Maglom moved into the room and yelled for them to unhand the dwarf.

Zilliniy's bow aimed steadily at one of the orcs, while Runolf glared threatingly, the flicker of flame from the party's torch dancing off the honed blade of his trusty axe.

Mythic: Do the orcs stop? This seems unlikely, given they hate dwarves and one just told them to stop.  42, No

Somewhere, I read that in S&W, each PC can take only 1 action per round of combat, which seems absurd, but on the other hand, I rather like as it feels very wargame-y and reminds me of GASLIGHT.

  • Zilliniy let her arrow fly: 17+1 = 18, hits for 4 points of damage and drops an orc where he stood
  • Runolf charged the nearest orc with Ygg following close behind
  • Leegand attempted to sneak into the room to flank and attack the one with the whip.
  • Lykidas held his ground, prepared to cast Sleep at the first sign of its necessity.
  • Eomond covered the party's rear - the last time they failed to do so, they were surprised by orcs coming up behind them.
With one dead immediatey, I had the orcs check morale. There's no mechanism for this in S&W: WB, the intent is that the GM will decide. I decided to keep the wargaming theme going and rolled a d6, if i rolled more than their number, they would fail - rolled d6, 3, they passedDoes anyone see Leegand? First I rolled to see if Leegand was successful in sneaking, he was not. Then I asked Mythic if anyone noticed 10, yes.
  • The orc nearest Runolf attacked him, but failed to cause any damage (it rolled 14)
  • The whip orc charged towards Leegand
  • The other two charged Maglom (determined by die roll: 1-2 Maglom, 3-4 Zilliniy and 5-6 Ygg) yelling "Kill the dwarf!"
Fighting continued for 3 more rounds, with orcs dropping and some party members minorly injured (save for Zilliniy who took 6 damage)

With 2 orcs left... 

Does the part give them a chance to surrender? Based on responses to the survey, I deem this Unlikely but then roll 33, yes

Maglom ordered the orcs to drop their weapons
Do the orcs comply? 81, nope

Runolf gets 3 attacks each round and hacks up one of the remaining orcs. The other find's this line of argument persuasive.

The orc dropped his sword and surrendered.

Does anyone from the adjacent room enter? 50/50 68, no
Anyone from the hallway?(Wandering monster check 2, nope)

Maglom interrogated the orc for the party.

I used Mythic to learn something about the orc's personality: Open for Food

The orc told Maglom that he and his people are starving, that the dwarves have cut them off from their food supplies and that they are desperate.

Ygg tried to persuade Eomond to give up some of his rations to get the orc to talk more.

Does Eomond agree? Very Unlikely 69, nope.

Will Maglom? Very unlikely- these dudes have been slaying dwarves, even if not her own 07 but Ygg pulled a guilt trip, mentioning tales of Gutzom's kindness.(truth or not it worked)

Maglom offered the orc some food and he became downright chatty.

Can he show them where the orc lair is on the map? 50/50, no.
Is it on this level? 81, no
Further down? likely. 40, yes

He notes that it isn't on the map, but further down into the dungeon.

How many of his people are there?

She asks how many of his kind there are,and he answers [Mythic replied Abuse of Weapons] that with the in fighting, and the battles with the dwarves, and the lack of food, their numbers dwindle daily.

Ygg felt a bit sympathetic - afterall, the Hedonistic Lumber Jack wants everyone to party.

Ygg had Maglom ask the orc if his people could pay for food to be delivered to them? 

Mythic: 50/50 33, yes

He nodded yes, although he seemed a bit confused by the question.

Ygg proposed to the party that they return to town, gather food and such, and then sell it to the orcs for a profit.

I turned to Mythic, and asked Does anyone disagree? 
Based on the survey replies to how much gold should be spent on negotiating with NPCs, I decided that the odds are high someone will disagree. Likely, 12, yes. 

Who? After looking at it, I saw that Ygg might be alone in this plan.

  • Zilliniy has a deep seated racial hatred for orcs. 
  • RUnolf wants adventure, which playing delivery boy isn't
  • Maglom still isnt happy these dudes were beating the dwarf
Speaking of, Leegand checked the dwarf. is he alive? 50/50  91, no

Does anyone agree with Ygg? 50/50, no

Lykidas could go either way, as could Leegand, Eomond wants adventure but a supply of easy gold isn’t terrible either.

Party conflict:
Ygg - 11 + 4 = 15

Zilliniy - 7+5 = 12
Runolf 11+1 = 12
Maglom 15 + 2 = 17
That's 39 opposed to Ygg's 15.

It wouldn't have mattered, as I rolled a 93 anyway, for an exceptional no.

Not only did they disagree with Ygg, much of the party was for killing the orc - seeing him as a liability and not to be trusted, plus there's that whole "I hate orcs" from Zilliniy and Maglom pointing out the pile of dead dwarves shackled together.

Ygg conceded that the party was right and noted that it is an opportunity lost but that this is just how things are.

In typical fashion, the party looted the bodies. [Anything? 1d6, 5, no] but found nothing.

They readied themselves to try and enter the adjacent the room, despite the heated exchange Leegand had heard before, and which had now gone silent.