Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Under the radar - MONSTERPOCALYPSE!


It's been a while since I played the frankly amazing Monsterpocalypse, and attempts to get my gaming group to buy into it fizzled out because of the "collectible" random packing thing... which didn't stop me collecting two whole armies!

Having not thought about it for a year or so, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Privateer Press have not only released a compatible Voltron game - and PP are very good at maintaining balance in their games - but a whole new 2 player box set that gives you two (still random) armies without the crazy collectible buying...

Friday, 19 November 2010

Alignment: Blurring the lines

We didn't get to play in last night's gaming session, but I did get to thrash out some ideas for house rules with Dave - and he made a very valid point about the dullness of "Neutral" characters(1). With that in mind, I've been considering replacing the nine alignments with nine overlapping blocks of four:



Thursday, 28 October 2010

On Action Points and plot twists...


Image: Paizo.com online store
Well, my plans to use a Pathfindered version of Monte Cook's Hero Points have had mixed success... so it's time for a spot of tinkering!

Here's the original idea, straight from our campaign wiki:


“Joss” – An adaptation of what I read here on Monte Cook’s Hero Points, Pathfindered, and given a name players are familiar with already: Joss Points are gained through excellent roleplaying, creating memorable moments in game, contributing to this wiki – for example by posting to the Adventure Log in-character – and so on… They can be used for:

Friday, 8 October 2010

SpyCraft: Mission 1 - Annual training exercise

Our first mission in Codename: The Increment was standard training fare for our newly-created seasoned (5th level) characters.

We were tasked with infiltrating a Ministry of Agriculture laboratory near a sleepy rural town, and liberating some sensitive documentation stored in a safe. This was not a live fire exercise, but we were fully expecting the building to be a front, manned by other Secret Service employees. We had two days to get in, get the information, and get out...

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

World Creation - Gods

The valkyrie Sigrdrífa says a pagan Norse pray...Image via WikipediaJust a note to say that the Goddesses of Ond have been created and installed in their place over the lowly denizens - some of which have also been profiled.

Each Goddess is an aspect of the original Creator - she was consumed by conflicting desires and close to insanity (as beings of incredible power must surely often be) and divided her power between four aspects. These represent the classic LG, CG, LE and CE alignments, while the races are intentionally aligned along one axis or the other but not both, leaving the now Neutral Creator to oversee them...
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Spycraft 2.0 - first impressions

Icosahedron.Image via WikipediaWell - I have to say I'm impressed.

Spycraft is, along with Pathfinder, refuelling my love of the 3.5 rules system... the core mechanics are the same, but the variety that different publishers can squeeze out of a d20 is amazing.

CraftyGames have done an excellent job of bringing something fresh to the table, particularly in making INT and WIS still useful in a non-magical universe.

My favourite class?

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Starting Spycraft

Because I haven’t posted anything for a while I thought an update might be in order. Last games night the players took the time to generate some characters for the Spycraft 2.0 game that I am going to run as a filler game between our Pathfinder adventures. Well that was the idea anyway; however after reading the games substantial rules set and then spending considerable time to develop my own setting it’s clear that this is more than a causal game but a fully developed campaign in its own right.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Yarr! Free stuff, me hearties!

Yo ho ho!

Not only be Talk Like a Pirate Day a loomin' but I just got myself a message in an e-bottle sayin' they're givin' away free booty on the good ship DriveThruRPG...

(Posted a link above, YARR!)

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Pathfinder campaign planning

Бородатая змеяImage via WikipediaFirstly, Pathfinder is amazing. However, that's not what I'm blogging about today - campaign planning is.

Firstly, I don't have a lot of time. I've been looking for tools to help and frankly the NPC, settlement and campaign planning sheets from the Pathfinder GameMastery book are a great start - I'd recommend reading it to fantasy DMs using any system.

I've tried TiddlyWiki in the past with mixed success - for this campaign I'm moving on to Obsidian Portal as it offers worldbuilding, character profiling, session reporting and so much more straight off the bat. I'm toying with the idea of posting photos of character minis for those that have them, and making HeroMachine characters for those who don't.

With Obsidian Portal letting me wikify everything that'sgoing on in the world - please don't ask me to think in straight lines! - I was looking for some inspiration for building the world. Enter an amazing idea courtesy of welshpiper.com: quick and dirty map generation tools, with the ability to roll "encounters" for each major hex, let me approach the world from both top-down and bottom-up perspectives at once. Let's hope I can resist the urge to try to generate the whole world!

Using the welshpiper templates for Hexographer, I'm generating a simple map that can be whacked into Obsidian Portal's Google-Maps-powered map tool to put the locations in the right place when I get round to wikifying them. Now I just need to build, or find, an adventure/encounter to go with each location and I'm about set up. Enter the GameMastery Guide's acres of tables...

Once I get a system down, I'll give a more structured breakdown. Anyone interested, or got any tips??
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Monday, 16 August 2010

Back to the Table

Last week Tom started his Pathfinder campaign and it really is a superb game, it brings back that Dungeons and Dragons feel that I thought was lacking in 4e. Everything in the Pathfinder rules is to my liking starting with the obviously high production values of the book, its streamlined 3e rules and new rule additions, core races and classes make it feel like a continuation of the legacy of D&D not a new game.

As I have read the rules and we have played our fist game I am struck by my own enthusiasm to play and really hate that I am away on "Stupid Holiday" next week and can not play in the game session. Amazing how after all the years and all those games its D&D that I still love to play above all others.

I have made a Human Fighter for my first character and whilst I like him a lot I have the urge to play a Half Elf Druid in these rules as the Druid really rocks! We have a Dwarf Ranger played by Nathan and a Gnome Rogue made by Mark with an Npc Cleric to be added to the group. Our group is down on numbers and we really need to find some fresh blood to bring into the game or attract some past gamers back out of retirement and back to the table, I would like two more players but more the merrier really.

That's all I have got to say for a little while as I am on Holiday for the next week or two. And Nathan and Mark if you read this hope everything goes well in next weeks game and please, please look after my character.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

On crunch, fluff, and system necromancy

We're starting playing RPGs again this week - and I for one can't wait! It seems I've been handed the reins, although Dave has FantasyCraft ready to roll "whenever," but I've been struck by a thought:

My group likes crunch. We love rules, and stats, and rolling on tables. This may well be why the rules-light games (PDQ# etc) we've played have tailed off. I think this could also be why people don't seem too keen on Savage Worlds...

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Changing the way we play? - Mouse Guard and Burning Wheel

I can't help but be intrigued by what I've read about Mouse Guard. I dismissed it intitially - who wants to play mice? - and moved on, but then I read about the interesting mechanics involved over at WrathOfZombie's blog, and how they'd been applied to Pathfinder. And then I went in search of more info, and read through all of the Chatty DM's Mouse Guard experience over at CriticalHits...

Friday, 23 July 2010

In space, no one can hear you go BOOOOOOM!

First proper Starmada game last night - four-way free-for-all, 2000 points a piece - and it was immensely good fun!

The ACEF faced off against Dave's Russians, Mark's unnamed aliens, and Nath's from-the-back-of-the-quickstart-rules fleet 'cos his models haven't arrived yet. We had plenty of space as we were playing on 1" hexes, so Mark and I had the range advantage at the start. My plan was to hang back, pounding the enemy with rocks from a distance, while sending my minelayers and bombers forward to keep them at range...

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Is Your Games Life A Secret?

I have played for many years but if you were to ask some of the people that I have known for years they would have no idea of my gaming interest. For instance I currently work nights but I’ve arranged to have Thursdays off work each week for my regular RPG group, my co-workers know nothing about why I have this day off due to my strict if they don't ask then don't tell them, but why the secrecy?

Monday, 19 July 2010

Summer Projects

The main project for development over the summer is VIRUS (Variable Index Roll Under System) as an RPG system. I've found I like d% roll-under systems, but have always had a dislike for the arbitrary +/- modifiers - attributed to the fact that I'm terrible at mental arithmetic so it tends to make my head hurt, even under d20.

VIRUS is an expansion of THOGS that I developed... last year? It was fun to play, and worked the way I wanted it to, which was surprising! Sadly, it was overly complex and ruined by cheating, and VIRUS is being designed to counter those flaws. I'll be attempting to combine the (random) primary and secondary stats I loved from HarnMaster, DnD style "powers" or techniques, wound tracks as opposed to hit points, tiered skill trees and defaults for untrained skills, and intuitive difficulty scaling. Wish me luck!

Fantasyfish's First Post

Tom has asked us other members of our Games Group to chip in here on Plastic Polyhedra and so here goes. I thought that my first post should tell you something about myself and the games background that I have.

I consider myself as a veteran role player with something like twenty five years of gaming under my belt, having been both player and DM in various games through the years. I started out with AD&D way back and fell in love with the game instantly from the first die rolls playing mostly Fighters as I recall, then moving on to Clerics and Paladins. Around 1992 I was part of a new games group of six players that met weekly and it is this group that still exists in one form or another until today (sadly with only two original players). Our weekly games group now stands at four regular players and maybe two or three lapsed gamers, I would prefer another two players as five is much more stable group but really more the merrier in my book.

I have been the DM more than played in recent years and even went so far as to write a variation of 3rd Edition D&D, but now I have less time and we have Tom who seems to be a keen game runner so I've kind of been coasting as a player (man is that a lot less work or what?) Tom has run a few systems and although they haven't stuck with the players as yet I think all he just needs to do is find a system he loves and can infuse us with his infectious game style of his.

Making characters personality driven rather than by Stats is my aim in games and I have had some good ones and like most people and a couple of great ones that pop up in the odd round table story. In the past couple of months I've played a smelly camel driver, a goth girl, an evil scheming wizard, a fat Greek smuggler, and lately a foul mouthed female gunfighter.

My new campaign is going to be based on the shared world that we just stated originally for our ill fated 4e D&D game using the Fantasy Craft rules system that I really like. So I will mostly likely post about this system in the future or one of the many war games that I am into. As for war games I have forces for far too many games to mention, but Starmada is the current project that is sucking up my spare cash.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes...

Well, I've been playing around with the layout last night until I finally got one I liked (ish) and am hoping to do some tag-weeding later on as there are s few with only one post...

Have also signed up a couple of my gaming group as authors, hope to hear more from them too!

Return to RPG-dom?

Multipurpose purchase possibility: Battlestations!

Originally spotted when I was looking around for a board to play Starmada on, which it has, Battlestations is a pulp sci-fi RPG/boardgame hybrid that actually looks like it might fit our short-term filler-game needs as well...

Friday, 16 July 2010

The Vraaaken are coming.........

Sir, i've got something on the long range scanner. It's Firing! Brace for Impa....................

Monday, 12 July 2010

Starship design - doctrines and colour schemes...


Not my fleet - sadly - but some very nicely painted NSL ships from GZG's gallery pages. I'm still considering a red colour scheme, but possibly sticking to a more traditional wet-navy feel, and these are the best I've seen yet.

The ACEF (Aresian Colonial Expansion Force) has grown out of the old Colonial Defence Force after Mars won its independence from Earth. The combined Earth fleet was repelled by enormous surface-mounted mass drivers flinging red boulders into space - and now the ACEF ships utilise the same technology to decimate enemy fleets from afar. Each of the mid-size ships is essentially a spine-mounted accelerator with engines and a few defensive broadside guns, with the larger ones sporting multiple mass drivers, support facilities, and combat squads for boarding. Corvettes are currently being fitted up as minelayers to keep the enemy at range.

ACEF ships have low shield factors, but the gravitational fields generated by the mass drivers interfere with enemy sensors and the ACEF are keen to exploit this, boosting their disruptive effect. (In game terms, all ACEF ships with mass drivers have countermeasures and stealth, meaning they can't be hit at long range and only with two cumulative -1 modifiers closer than that. Ouch.)

In short, they're intended for long-range destruction - and will struggle to stay afloat if they're hit, as well as being susceptible to fighter attacks. My next fleet will likely be fighter heavy in contrast, as I've seen an amazing fighter carrier on Brigade Models' starship pages...

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Starmada: First Impressions

Not that this is a proper review or anything, but we had our first bash at Starmada this week, and I have to say I'm impressed. Dave's thoughts are here, if you're interested.

My fleet of GZG Neu Swabian League ships are offworlders in our universe, the Aresian Colonial Expansion Force (ACEF) from the rebel Martian colonies. My design doctrine for the ships was inspired by the models - they all sported powerful long-range spine mounted mass drivers firing in a narrow forward arc, and short-ranged tracer firing broadside batteries. I have to say that setting up these weapons - with all the special rules required - in Starmada was a breeze, and much more satisfying than designing ships in Full Thrust. See the image below for the auto-generated printable sheets for the Battleship:


Dave's fleet weren't fully statted - but he has painted his, at least! - so he used my designs too, although he has interesting plans: His American force are going to be more high tech, as befits the beautiful Brigade American Republic models, with configurable screens instead of shields, with his Russians (ESU ships from GZG again) being armour plated, and fast enough to get in close and swarm my ships with Spetsnatz boarding parties... All of which should be a doddle to set up under the rules - I'm impressed.

Movement rules take a while to get the hang of - but are much faster to play than Full Thrust's - and the combat involves throwing handfuls of d6s, which is awlways fun. Damage tracking is pretty easy, and the various options offered by the custom weapons actually made a difference too. Mass drivers need to be much more devastatingly powerful! Muhahaha!

Roll on next week!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

RPGs - What's in a system?

All the talk over on Thoughts on 4e has really got me thinking: How important is system when it comes to roleplaying games?

We're currently mid-way through games in FantasyCraft, Savage Worlds/Deadlands, GURPS, PDQ, HarnMaster, Castle Falkenstein, Warhammer Fantasy, and THOGS/VIRUS, I guess... and it's bloody frustrating! The only campaign that ever came to any kind of conclusion was in DnD 4e, and that only happened because players refused to help each other out and/or got bored - it was a TPK, by the way.

I'm fed up with starting again. We need something that everyone will love, but I really don't know what. I thought Deadlands would be great, but reception has been a bit damp. Warhammer was fun, but the DM gave up after one session. I loved Harn, but it didn't play like other people wanted it to - or rather they weren't happy rolling with what was dealt them in character generation, and went for fighters anyway. Falkenstein was a mistake, GURPS is the wrong system for the game, and you know our thoughts on 4e...

In the midst of all this, I'm trying to write a system that does what I want it to do - but if it isn't what the players want, then it seems the setting is going to be irrelevant.

Maybe I just need a setting that I can run with - the Adventure Path I got for 4e was a blast to run and let me splice a lot of my own ideas in, the sample adventure for GURPS (Caravan to Ein Arras) was really good fun to run - until everyone gave up at a cliffhanger moment.

I seems like things are unravelling at the moment, and we may end up getting Descent out every week unless we can get together and get behind somehing we can all have fun playing - but what??

Dresden files RPG



...very excited!

FATE was already drawing me in, and this sounds like the perfect world to play it in!

Monday, 7 June 2010

Getting it (back) together

It's been a while - sorry, but not much to report back on.

Plenty to be reading though - Tourq's got me thinking about modifying DnD to make it more like the epic fantasy we know and love, great ideas for zombies in Savage Worlds in Wrath Of Zombie by... um... WrathOfZombie, and this has got me all fired up for more Deadlands - when anyone turns up, that is...

Fleet's almost assembled, ready to play Starmada - just need to get some ships statted up.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Full Thrust vs Starmada vs Firestorm...

We had the opportunity to sit down and work out what we wanted to play, spacewise, this week, and it looks like we have a winner...

Firestorm: Armada is out because a) we're not keen on the ships, b) there're no quick start rules, and c) there seems to be no customisation.

Still put off by Full Thrust's relative unfriendliness, it looks like we're now going to be playing Starmada: Admiralty Edition. Hex-based movement should make things easier, custom fleets - and custom weapons - seem to be a doddle too. Still planning on using Full Thrust ships though...

Monday, 10 May 2010

15mm Infinity, and space warfare!

Just a quick projects update:

First, I'm still planning on going ahead with 15mm scale Infinity for sci-fi skirmish goodness. I'll probably be getting some minis from Ground Zero Games, as I'm UK based, so it's just a case of working out what to use for what!

The only 15mm terrain we've got is for WW2, so I'll have to get building; I'm currently thinking of something between Matakishi's amazing SF city, and this awesome modular Necromunda table - check out the concept for a better idea of what's going on!


I'd also like to play some space combat games. Full Thrust is good fun (and free) but clunky, so we may end up buying the Firestorm: Armada rules and using FT ships 'cos I think the NSL ones are about as cool as it gets...

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Filler games

We've had two weeks without a full complement of players, so we've been digging out the filler games!

A couple of weeks ago it was Dominion (actually, Dominion: Intrigue) which we're still getting the hang of. We played a few games, trying to get a strategy together - I'm still on the fence about this one; one of our group likes it, one seems disinterested, I get into it at the time but don't really get that much out of it...

This week, however, was regular filler game Descent! Taking into account what was said last time, we decided to take one hero each - and the balance seems to be restored. We lost.

I drew Varikas the Dead (yay!) and some interesting skills - I regained (another) fatigue point when Advancing, got +1 armour and a free Guard action when Battling, and exploded killing everything in 3 squares if I died. Dave got Steelhorns the minotaur, the ability to Cleave into another opponent if he killed someone in melee, and invigorating battle cry and something else...

We were kicking ass and taking names right up until the final battle, when our lack of decent magic items meant we really couldn't touch Nat's dragon, and we went down. We play that if all the heroes are dead at the end of a turn then it's Game Over Man, so the evil Overlord finally won!

To his credit, Nat had an interesting strategy going; burning - rather than playing - spawns and traps to get get Doom, Hordes of The Things, Brilliant Commander and something else all in play - meaning the most effective way for us to clear a room in the endgame was for me to die, and take as many with me as possible!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Your help needed!

I'm getting a few hits now, so I'd appreciate your input - regular reader or not - into the blog...

It's starting to feel a bit messy to me, with RPGs, boardgames and wargaming starting to creep in too - should I split the site? Are the filtered feeds actually any use?

Do people actually care about session reports? Not many other blogs have 'em, you see.

I'm considering starting up a blog list/aggregator as I generally come here to read my favourite blogs (see sidebar) so I thought hey, what the hell: why not set up some kind of community for all these niches I seem to be trying to squeeze into one blog? Is that all one sentence? Wow.

Please tell me what you think!!

Sunday, 18 April 2010

And the main reason...

...that there's been little activity: I've started making my own games properly - not just the ever-in-development VIRUS RPG, the first off the press is Loop. I'm building the site for my stuff now, so it's not going to pollute this page after this.

Next project: critical hit / failure cards for d20 / GURPS / Savage Worlds / and of course, VIRUS...

Finally: Deadlands!

"Rockin'horse" McTire's in big trouble because of that big mouth of hers...

Having struggled to get all the survivors off the train - due to in-party dithering - the posse ran into a swarm of prairie ticks while trying to get to a nearby town. These little things are pretty nasty; they crawl down your throat, suck out your blood, and eventually burst you from the inside - and they got into five of the ten survivors!

Leaving Big John and Obadiah to move the wounded on to civilisation, Mary-Lou (that's Rockin'horse to you) rode on ahead to get help.

However, being the ballsy gal she is, she ended up getting drunk and shooting her mouth off at the town's stand-in Sherrif - who's the Texas Ranger I was trying to slip in for a later plot hook. Damn. Managed to steer her away from a duel, at least...

Having left the town "to go send a telegram," the Sherrif left things wide open for a gang of outlaws to loot and pillage. Luckily, the posse gave them a good kicking - although John nearly took a dirt nap in the process - leaving the town safe. What will happen when the Ranger gets back, however, is anyone's guess...

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Tyranids - The end of an era?

I've been thinking about my 'nids lately, after seeing a game a couple of weeks ago using the new rules.

I've been well into tyranids since 2nd Ed Warhammer 40,000, and to me the last codex was pretty much what made them stand out from the crowd. Biomorphs and +/- Strength weaponry were cool, and gave the 'nids a completely different feel. The new codex destroys that for me, replacing our modified critters with a whole load of unnecessary new ones - maybe to stop people magnetising their 'fexes and get them buying more models?

So: maybe it's time to forget about 40k and start playing something else? My current thoughts on the matter are:

* Switch to Necrons, as we don't have a 'cron player and I Less-Than-Three converting plastics?

* Play Infinity instead - but probably 15mm as I can't afford the (admittedly gorgeous) miniatures?

* Play the awesome looking Heavy Gear instead, although I'm not sure I can afford it??

Anyone got any better ideas?

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Deadlands update - dream a little dream

The Deadlands campaign is starting to gather steam now - at least in my head! We've played a couple of trial games: one was a one-sheet from Pinnacle to help us learn the rules, the other was a modified Cray Canyon (for GURPS) to help settle the players in.

Currently, we're loving it!

The system adheres to its Fast Furious Fun promise, although some aspects can take a bit of getting used to. My players think they need more Guts - I did point out that they were essentially first level weaklings (nicely) and they had been facing undead, who get a toughness bonus and take half damage from guns...

Savage Worlds is a system that doesn't pull punches, and my lot are too used to encounters being balanced to their level. It's too easy to get into the Open Door Slay Minions Get Chest Open Door Slay Minions grind without thinking about the scenario - if you were really encountering a group of undead zombies you'd run like hell, not try to gun 'em down. And I have pointed out that XP gained goes on successfulness of the session, not kills!

It's going to be a fun learning curve!

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Thoughts on 4e

I've been reading through NewbieDM's thoughts on helping your players in 4e, and it ties in quite nicely with my thoughts for fleshing it out a bit.

My group went way off 4e, mainly because of perceived power creep, lack of "depth", the generic nature of powers and the counterintuitiveness of skill challenges. If that's a word.

Maybe we were playing it wrong - I think a lot of bad feeling bubbled up from the progressively weirder race/class combinations being thrown in by a couple of players, simply as ways to max damage. Powers had cool names, but were never described. Skill challenges went wrong because players either a) has no skills as they'd maxed out for combat, or b) declared "I'm using my History skill to..." which just feels weird.

It does sound like things have changed, and maybe we were too harsh on 4e. In addition to reminding players of the things NewbieDM mentions, I'm considering:

* Limiting PCs to a maximum of 16 in any stat before racial modifiers?

* Getting players to describe their powers. "My sword bursts into green flames as I strike down the closest bugbear," rather than, "I use my Green Flame Blade on bugbear 3 - it is number 3 that's bloodied, right?"

* Giving generic XP rewards for any successful skill check in a skill challenge - making it a less formal process?

4e was the first tabletop RPG I ran - or indeed played - so I guess with hindsight we could have done things a little differently... Any thoughts?

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Descent and balance

Descent's a great game, but our group's reaching the point where the Heroes are rapidly outclassing the Overlord player. We're only 4 or so missions in, so hopefully the balance will be shifted in the later missions.

Two of us took four heroes against the forces of darkness this week, and won by a margin of over a dozen conquest tokens!

We only used pretty basic strategies too:

* Open doors at the start of a turn, run in and collect chests/glyphs before slaughtering minions before they can react.

* Quaff fatigue potions with gay abandon to achieve the above - spend all money in ton on more fatigue potions!

* Position heroes to limit the areas the overlord can spawn in, as (s)he has to spawn out of LOS.

Now, either there're some equally basic Overlord tactics we're missing, or the game's balance is crazy... My thoughts on addressing this imbalance are:

* Start the heroes on zero conquest (or one, maybe) as the chances of getting slotted before activating a glyph are slim to none?

* Allow the Overlord to play multiple spawns when the boss room door has been opened - after all, the remaining minions would rush to the defence of their master, right?

* Give players fewer skills - maybe draw three as standard, but discard one?

* Maybe we should have just had one hero each, instead of two?

Any thoughts, or (better) advice? I'm aware that the expansions swing the balance back the other way, but we're only playing vanilla descent for now!

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Descent Ownage

Thursday's Deadlands session was put off as we were missing a member, so we cracked Descent out instead for some good ol' fashioned dungeon crawling.

Mark elected to be Overlord, which meant I got to play the Heroes, for once, with Dave. Random selection netted me Silhouette and Sir Whatsit, Dave got Landrec and Ronan. I was pretty happy with my two, decking Valadir? out as "tank" with decent armour and a sword & shield, and Silhouette as "runner" with a shield & crossbow. Landrec drew the cards that gave him Command and Sorcery 1, making him an unofficial "leader" type, while Ronan ended up with Marksman and some miscellaneous oddments that didn't really affect gameplay.

It soon transpired that Silhouette was grossly overpowered; I'd drawn Rapid Fire and Crack Shot for her, which was handy, but I also got the card that gives +2 fatigue - cranking her up to a game-breaker. With her 5 move and 7 fatigue, the original plan was to run her around and take glyphs / chests, using her shield to keep her alive and the crossbow in an emergency. Ronan and Landrec were going to be crowd control, while Valadir duked it out with whatever was trying to munch on the party.

This soon changed when we figured out that Rapid Fire can be used multiple times in a turn - Silhouette was clearing out rooms as we discovered them with 10+ attacks in a turn before nipping off to town for more potions. Even when Mark revealed a room full of master skellys and sorcerors, the only reason it took two turns for her to beat them all down was because he was incredibly lucky with his Undying rolls.

He conceded - we had over 15 conquest points and a couple of gold items each, and he really couldn't see it getting any tougher for us. Disappointing, but we're having a rematch next week!

We may have to houserule it, in hindsight - anyone else had a similar experience?

Monday, 8 February 2010

Why I'm running my next campaign in the Deadlands

Well, Thursday was a mixed bag.

Firstly, no gaming! As two of our group failed to turn up, there was a lack of Fantasycraft goodness.

However, I did get to talk to Dave about Deadlands, my next choice of setting under the Savage Worlds umbrella. In case you've not heard of it, Savage Worlds is a nice rules-light system that looks a blast to play; we made him a character, Lizzie-Lou McTire, but ran out of time to try the system out.

Deadlands itself grabbed me straight away - it's a mix of Wild West and Horror that somehow manages not to be hokey. I can see where and how I can get multiple story arcs in - I've got ideas for one or two already. After running a couple of PDQ# games, and trying to run Castle Falkenstein, I fancied something grittier which Deadlands serves up in spades.

The plan is to play the "Wild West" part in a more cinematic style, while toning down the "horror" to more Creeping Dread than Buckets Of Gore. Hopefully we'll end up somewhere Cthulhu-esque but with comic relief. Dreams will feature prominently.

Wish me luck, check back to see how we get on!

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Character: Gobsock

As this was our first foray back into fantasy since 4e D&D, I wanted my Goblin priest to be a little different - and Fantasycraft delivered!

Gobsock's concept was gutter-runner gone good - at some point, his life was spared or saved, and he changed his ways. He works at a mission in the poorest part of the city, and is slowly discovering his miraculous powers.

Firstly, I didn't really know the system, so I went for a reasonable mix stats-wise; taking high Wisdom & Strength (to wield the "good" alignment's broadsword) at the expense of Constitution and Charisma. I took "criminal" as a background, denying him the ubiquitous Turn Undead in favour of Cheap Shot, increased intimidation and thieving skills, and a crucial speed increase to match the humans in the party.

With a decent speed and Dexterity, coupled with is small size, Gobsock's defence is pretty good at 15. I figured I'd leave his Con low as he was happy to trust in his faith to keep him alive - this has since worked out pretty well, in that every time he's on the verge of death the GM seems to roll low..!

I took the "life" and "light" paths as a priest, the former to highlight his work as a healer, and the latter to overcome his aversion to bright light (immunity to flash damage). His main skills are healing, haggling, and intimidation.

He's ended up being a pretty nice support character with healing and debuffing powers, sneaky and hard to hit while still being able to dish it out with his broadsword. Taking 90% damage from a single hit then miraculously dodging another four or five - before taking down the attackers next round - never gets old!

Fantasycraft campaign, session two...

Following a trail of clues back to a now-desolated village, the party finds a horde of zombies lying in wait in the fog-shrouded churchyard.

Gobsock moves forward, searching for survivors and keeping a wary eye out for the minions of evil, the others spreading out and engaging the enemy in the tattered streets. With a roar, one of the trees bursts free of the woods outside the village and charges the party, intent on tearing them limb from limb, driving the fighters into the cover of one of the ravaged houses.

As they whittle down its flailing branches, Gobsock despatches a zombie ravener and sneaks round behind the rootwalker, before dazzling it with a flare of holy light. Our heroes finally begin to wear it down, becoming bolder as all four hack away at it in a spray of sap. With a scream, the creature falls through one of the villagers' hovels and is finally still.

As the priest patches up his companions they hear movement on the other side of the church - more raveners, a dozen of the foul beasts! As a man, they rush out to meet the enemy in a clash of steel against claw. Gobsock takes a vicious wound, almost dropping him, as Captain Kelwin falls under the weight of the onslaught. As the others rush to Kelwin's aid, Gobsock deftly dodges the attacks of a brace of raveners (his God be praised!) before decapitating the pair with a swing of his broadsword.

The others are slowly pushed back, leaving our heroes bloody but victorious!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Thursday's gaming session

This week was the first session this year with a full complement of the regulars - so we finally started playing Dave's FantasyCraft campaign.

The system seems pretty good, there's quite a bit of complexity in character generation but there are a few nice touches once the dice get rolling. We'll see how it goes...

Having not "played" for a while, but mainly GMed, I wanted a fun character. My original sketch from a few months ago was for a rootwalker mystic, but I fancied someone a bit more fighty. Eventually I settled on a broadsword-wielding goblin priest with a criminal past - to contrast Nath's musketeer captain and Mark's fighty dwarf.

Gobsock was sitting quietly in a mountain inn, minding his own business and nursing his ale, when a ragged figure collapsed through the door, bleeding badly and telling of an attack. Gobsock ran to his aid as a stout dwarf and a moustached human (we haven't been introduced) checked outside for his pursuers - the latter followed by a doe-eyed barmaid, despite his warnings to stay inside.

An eerie mist rolled in, full of shadowy figures. The dwarf returned to our table and began loading his blunderbuss as the musketeer strode outside to confront the horrors, saber drawn. He was badly bitten but took down three of the creatures with the help of his man-at-arms. Gobsock couldn't save the stricken messenger, so made him comfortable and turned his attentions to the creatures swarming the bar area.

One leapt at him as the dwarf unloaded his blunderbuss at another - missing and showering the room and patrons in plaster and bits of wood. Gobsock ducked the flailing zombie and cleaved it in half with a swing of his broadsword as the dwarf finished off the final attacker.

But where had they come from..?

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Wars of the Roses

Just found out via BGG that Z-Man games are releasing Wars of the Roses: Lancaster vs York soon - and it looks like my old favourite Kingmaker with the Play In Teams But Actually Be Out For Yourself element of Krakow thrown in to boot. Excellent!

Due "winter," which hopefully means the winter at the start of 2010, rather than the one at the end... [EDIT: Apparently due February...]

Rules & info here.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

10 Print "Hello World"

Hi. This is my new gaming blog - welcome! Here you'll find session reports, reviews, whatever gaming stuff goes through my mind or between my gaming group. Current favourites: Descent, Wings of War, GURPS time travel, Harn, Heroscape... We're currently waiting on Fantasycraft/Spycraft and a system to run my Steampunk campaign.

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