Monday, March 31, 2008
Ratik (RPGA version)
Well, I've kick started the Castles and Crusades campaign (set in the World of Greyhawk) once again. I love this stuff. I am starting out, as I did last August, in the country of Ratik. Ratik is a great little state, set on the northeastern portion of the Flanaess (the subcontinent of Oerth, commonly referred to as the World of Greyhawk - the 1979 TSR D&D gaming world written by Gary Gygax).
In the current RPGA Living Greyhawk, it is about 20 years in the timeline past when I like to host my games. I really like the World of Greyhawk right up until the time of the Greyhawk Wars. Everything that occurred in the "From the Ashes" campaign setting, and after, is great source material for me, but I don't like my games to follow that time line. Too depressing. I just want a very interesting, complex, world in which to drop adventures. The histories and backstory that my players and I come up with together makes up the plot for our campaigns.
The player characters signed on in the city of Marner to escort a large caravan of empty wagons back south and then through Loegrimm, up the valley to a small barony called Vanehold. Upon reaching Vanehold (after several adventures along the way), the players find that Baron Ridalcar Vane has been murdered, and the long-standing pact he has with the Ukamanini Dwarves is in grave danger. The seal of the treaty between the Vane household and the Ukamanini Dwarves at Kreftheim is an ancient magical object called the Kreftring. It has been stolen, and the Dwarves suspected the humans of foul play. Probably this is because of the prejudice shown to the Demi-Humans (Dwarves, Gnomes and Elves) by the new stock of visitors from Aerdy and the North.
The new baron of Vanehold is the son of Ridalcar, Ridalcan. Unfortunately, he is off on some quest (he fancies himself a Knight Errant), and Ridalcan's younger sister is left to take over. She pleads with the players to go off into the Rakers mountains, to seek and retrieve the Kreftring. Secrecy (especially from their feudal lords, the Loegrimm family, and also the ArchBaron Lexnol at Marner) is of the greatest importance on this mission, but also diplomacy (with the Dwarves at Kreftheim) and speed.
The game should be good. Currently looking to increase the number of regular players. We had 8 at the inaugural game in August, but these days it might be hard to get more than 3 or 4 for a regular Thursday night.
Tags: role playing game, greyhawk, castles and crusades
One Monk Miniatures has a great selection of paper figures. About a third of what he has on the website is available for free. These guys look great. I especially like the look he has done for the Deep Ones. Yummy!
One of the other things he offers on the website are cut out, paste together figure bases for paper figs. These aren't too bad, but I really like either a paper-tent style figure (out of card stock), or if it is a true paper figure, then I like a heavier bases (such as a penny, or a plastic stand). I guess I should try the One Monk method before I really disregard it.
Tags: miniatures, role playing games
Monday, March 24, 2008
Dungeoneering Dungeon Tiles
These are great free dungeon tiles in a very nice assortment of texture and color varieties. They are available as pdf's and jpg's, and look really good. Since I'm working on a set of dungeon tiles, these might be worth printing out and playing with.
Tags: rpg, dungeon tiles,
Saturday, March 22, 2008
I'm working on a project with Egyptoid to take the old (1988, 1995) Task Force Games supplement for generating background for your fantasy roleplaying game characters. It was called Central Casting: Heroes of Legend. It was followed up by a version for Sci-Fi characters and also for modern day characters.
The goal? Use it for World of Greyhawk characters, for Castles and Crusades. But don't tell anyone.
Friday, March 21, 2008
The three heroes (Sandor the Mystic, Element Master, and Strongarm) were investigating the source of the high-tech smuggling operation going on in Neptune City's underworld, and traced it to the villain, The Squid, whom everyone thought was long since retired.
Element Master did some detective work, and quickly found that The Squid was using an abandoned waterfront factory as a hideout. They zoomed off to investigate, when they realized that some missing children were tracked to that building.
Upon investigating, the heroes did not find The Squid, but rather a micro-robot who set a trap for them. They were teleported to a domed city on the Moon.
The inhabitants of the domed city - the Moon Apes - attacked the "intruders" from Earth. A fight ensued, and it was only the Moon Ape Mentalist, 'Green Humanoid', who read the mind of Strongarm, and determined that the heroes were not foes. They were sent back to Earth, a little wiser, and a little more educated about the strange inhabitants of the Solar System, but no closer to tracking down The Squid, or whoever was behind the smuggling of the High Technology!
Tags: champions, superhero RPG, roleplaying, moon ape
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Here is a picture of my desk at work. Note the following items:
Retractable internet cable
Napoleon Dynamite Soundbite Toy
Removable 3.5 floppy drive
Just for fun, here is one of my favorite starting Melee Characters:
Name: Berkin the Archer
DX: 13 adjDX: 11
MA: 10 adjMA: 8
Armor: leather (-2)
Ready Weapon(s): longbow (1d6+2)
Slung Weapon(s): small shield (-1), mace (2d6-1), dagger (1d6-1)
Tags: metagaming, wizard, melee, boardgame,
I love barbarians. I have always loved barbarians. Not individually, mind you, but for wargaming. I think that the time is long past due that I build a barbarian army for Warhammer Historical Ancients.
But what to build? Britains? Germans? Dacians? Or something later?
Some of the fantasy barbarian figures look great, these days. Especially from Reaper, etc.
In 15mm I have long been able to run Gauls, Britons, and Germans for Might of Arms. Also Vikings (do they count?) and Danes. Maybe its time to take the plunge into some 25mm project that is not colonials, pirates, or cowboys.
But first, a little inspiration - Red Army Choir does Sweet Home Alabama with the Leningrad Cowboys. I'm not kidding.
On to the wargaming discussion. I really like Memoir 44. A lot. I am hoping to play some more real soon. I can't wait to try my Russians.
But after playing both Memoir and Battlelore, I think that I am ready to try some kit bashing of the rules to form a new variant. I need to order some plastic figures to do it, but I think I am going to tackle an interesting 20th century era using the rules. RCW.
Jackson Gamers RCW
Tags: boardgames, Memoir 44, Battlelore, Historical Miniatures
Monday, March 17, 2008
I love Oasis - there is just enough planning, and enough "stick it to your neighbor" that it is more of a thinking game than a drinking game. You could play it as a mindless reactionary drinking game - which we have - but it really has some nice strategy involved. And you don't have to be a card counter like John S to make it count.
While over at the Hangar, we discussed Peter Pig, and the prospects of further Peter Pig imports to Brookhurst Hobbies (the US source for the Pig). Probably not, with the weak dollar. And it looks as if the fine folks at the Pig (more Oink for your Buck) are looking to distribute directly more often. Sigh. That means I may have to go to UK with my Russian Civil War business. So be it.
Tags: oasis, boardgames, historical miniatures, Russian Civil War
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
This past weekend was a great time. I got to attend Cold Wars, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
This gaming convention is one of the oldest in the country, this being its 25th year. I haven't been going since the first one, but pretty close. I began attending the HMGS conventions (which now include Cold Wars in March, Historicon in July, and Fall In in November) sometime around 1985, and have been going ever since.
The convention is a great time for me. First, it is a sort of vacation for me from all the responsibilities of life. I get to go and hang out with friends and indulge my hobby almost completely, if just for a weekend. This includes gaming, talking about gaming, hosting games, playing games, shopping for games, and buying games.
Miniatures, of course, are the focus of these conventions - appropriate as they are sponsored by the Historical Miniature Gaming Society. These conventions were once almost purely historical miniatures, but over the years more and more non-historical games have crept in. For me, and my friends (both in and out of ODMS), these conventions have always been about playing games together in the evening. These evening games have long been, as often as not, card and board games, rather than miniatures games.
This year was no exception. Having gotten to the convention on Thursday afternoon, I spent Thursday Evening playing a couple of games of Memoir 44, followed up by a long game of the new Struggle for Rome (a Settlers of Catan-based historical game). The Memoir games were with Chris - we played the scenario Ste. Mère-Église a couple of times. Good scenario. The first game, Chris clobbered me. This is pretty true-to-form for this scenario, as the Allies have a win-ratio over the Axis of approx 593 to 367 (according to the Days of Wonder scenario ranking page). The second run-through of the game, we were joined by a friend of the Designer, Richard Borg, who was at the show. This fellow, who was quite friendly and helpful, gave me key information and tactical tips when I was using my German Armor against Chris, and it lead me to victory. Groovy. Without the assistance, I never would have won.
Friday was a busy day. First, there was the traditional breakfast at the Lancaster Host Resort - the hotel that has hosted Cold Wars and Historicon for many-a-year (since it left the Penn-Harris in Camp Hill, PA). We used to eat breakfast at the Lapps restaurant next door, but have been in the Hotel for a long time. Then, there was some shopping in the flea market, which officially opened at Noon - no, wait, there was a screw up (typical) - One o'clock. This gave me just enough time to buy used copies of Heroquest and Medina. Then I had to rush off to the New Holland room.
At 2:00pm on Friday, I was hosting a game of The Sword and the Flame. The game was called the "Heights of Jasani", and is based on a scenario that is due for publication (hopefully soon) from a to-be-announced publisher (just as soon as we find a cartographer to finish up the maps for the scenarios...). The game was excellent, and featured six really fine players - five of them being long-time veterans of TSATF (including Tom Anderson, Nigel Clarke, Rick Norton, and Steve Winter - all of the ColonialWars group). All of the gamers were gentlemen. I have been running TSATF games like this with Chris Borucki (I am his co-GM) at the HMGS conventions since 1999. Almost every one of our games have been quite successful with good gamers and good games. The scenarios aren't always balanced, and sometimes (doh! - Historicon 2007 comes to mind) I try some knuckle-headed new rules that don't always work - but the games almost always turn out to be quite fun anyway.
Friday night was no less excellent than Thursday night. More board games, including more Memoir 44 - this time with me losing to Odin Bazely. I played the French Resistance and got trounced. I really like this game. So much so, that I purchased the Eastern Front expansion, and the Terrain Pack expansion at the convention. Cool - now I can do loads more maps and scenarios (there are something like 1200 - yes, one thousand and two hundred - scenarios posted on the Days of Wonder web page).
Saturday came. More breakfast. This time, I loaded up on some rather explosive combinations of food - more about that later. The day was spent shopping and also catching up on some homework(!) - grad school is never off limits. The evening drew nigh, and I wandered down to the Dealers hall with Jon Krigbaum. We walked around (what a wonderful thing the dealers hall is at an HMGS convention) for about an hour, and all of a sudden a storm blew through and knocked out the power at the hotel convention center. We were in the dark! Thousands of product-starved gamers, and a few measly dealers who had nothing to stop the hordes but their own measly bodies. Luckily the forces of justice prevailed, and there wasn't a riot. Good thing too, cause we were guarding the treasures to be found at the Miniatures of Chesepeake booth, run by fellow ODMS member Carl Sciscio. Chris, Odin and I left and went to get some Chinese food for dinner, and afterwards realized that the power still was not turned on, so we journeyed to the nearby town of New Holland (named for the room that the Colonial Gamers inhabit at the convention), to visit one of the best game stores I have ever been in - Six Feet Under Games. Wow, what a cool place.
After a while (the group couldn't take the nasty effusions that were bubbling out of me from my explosive breakfast), we returned to the hotel. I voided my defiled bowels, which left a stain in that corner of Pennsylvania, and we left for the open gaming area.
During the day Chris played in a singles tournament of Warhammer Ancient Battles. He did well in his first game - against a Crusades army - but fared quite poorly against some really tough Norman Armies in his second and third games. We got to the dealers hall just ahead of my own noxious cloud, and proceeded to play some games of Battlelore - wow, what a game! I played first Odin and then Chris in Battlelore - we played the battle of Agincourt, and I got to be (lucky me - this is a wet dream for me and I bet those guys didn't even know - one of my favorite battles, and me playing my favorite side) the English. We few, we happy few! Well, I lost and then I won. This was too much for Chris, who had already been slaughtered by Normans. Too much was too much, and he took a break as we progressed to more refined gaming fare.
We next played (Jim Russell joining Jon Krigbaum, Odin Bazely and myself) Family Business. Dead Gangsters Everywhere! Dead, Dead, they're all Dead!!
Finally, late Saturday night, Chris rejoined us and we played (oh boy) a five player round of Web of Power. This was awesome, with me and Chris tying for first place.
A great convention. I shopped for some new miniatures (but didn't buy any). I played lots of great miniature and board games. I bought some classic used gaming stuff. I hung out with the best friends a gamer ever had, and it was a really fun time. Mission Accomplished.
ps- I know I didn't mention the Pirate theme that the convention had this year. Suffice it to say that after about 10 minutes of watching paunchy balding white guys dressed in bad pirate costumes and hosting bad pirate skirmish games all the while ranting "arrgh" and "shiver me timbers" and "that it be, Jim me lad!" was too much for me, and I pretended it wasn't happening.
Tags: miniatures, board games, hmgs, cold wars, memoir 44, battlelore, web of power, the sword and the flame, wargaming,
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Legends of the Ancient World Figures
Fantasy Trip Figures
Free Runequest Adventure, with paper characters
These days, reimagined under the Castles and Crusades line from Troll Lord Games, or even (if you are stalwart of heart) the Hackmaster system.
When I was in High School (79-83), every new fantasy book or movie that came out just gave us more fodder for our games. One of the best (don't laugh) is still Excalibur (1981).
Now watch this video, and let me know if it doesn't get you weak in the knees. I know, I know, and the dialog (all six words) are in spanish. But still, it makes me want to roll up a good old fashioned single classed fighter, and go out and start hacking up orcs. Or something like that.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Dungeons and Dragons was the big icebreaker. I had played wargames before then, but it was the game that really opened up everything for me in gaming. One of these days I'll post my boring personal history of gaming, but for now, let me say that other my Religious Faith, gaming (and the friends it has brought me) has had the biggest effect on all of the different aspects of my life.
I owe almost all of this to Gary Gygax for making it happen.
I tip my great helm to you Zagyg, fare thee well. May we meet again.
The above from http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080304/ap_en_ot/obit_gygax
Dungeons & Dragons co-creator dies at 69
By EMILY FREDRIX, Associated Press Writer
Gary Gygax, who co-created the fantasy game Dungeons & Dragons and helped start the role-playing phenomenon, died Tuesday morning at his home in Lake Geneva. He was 69.
He had been suffering from health problems for several years, including an abdominal aneurysm, said his wife, Gail Gygax.
Gygax and Dave Arneson developed Dungeons & Dragons in 1974 using medieval characters and mythical creatures. The game known for its oddly shaped dice became a hit, particularly among teenage boys, and eventually was turned into video games, books and movies.
Gygax always enjoyed hearing from the game's legion of devoted fans, many of whom would stop by the family's home in Lake Geneva, about 55 miles southwest of Milwaukee, his wife said. Despite his declining health, he hosted weekly games of Dungeons & Dragons as recently as January, she said.
"It really meant a lot to him to hear from people from over the years about how he helped them become a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman, what he gave them," Gygax said. "He really enjoyed that."
Dungeons & Dragons players create fictional characters and carry out their adventures with the help of complicated rules. The quintessential geek pastime, it spawned a wealth of copycat games and later inspired a whole genre of computer games that's still growing in popularity.
Funeral arrangements are pending. Besides his wife, Gygax is survived by six children.
Enter the ICHC online Poker Cats Contest!
What can I say - any game that features Dwarves riding on Shaggy Cattle has got to be alright with me.
I am really excited about playing Battlelore with Chris. This is one of the two player games that we want to give a try, so hopefully we will be able to find the time to fit it in.
The game looks really good, and I've seen Richard Borg hanging out in the open gaming area of the HMGS Conventions, showing off his games based on "the system".
The system is used in Battle Cry, Memoir 44, Battlelore, C&C: Ancients, and (one of my favorites) Queen's Gambit.
I will be bringing El Grande to Cold Wars.
This is still one of my favorite games. It is an area control game, something that I also like about Andromeda. The mechanics are a little clunky, and the rhythm of the game is ENTIRELY apparent until after you've played a half a game or so - but with experienced gamers, it sure is awesome. I also like it with an almost full house of players 4 or 5 is perfect.
Memoir 44 at Cold Wars
One of the things I am really looking forward to playing at Cold Wars is Memoir 44, with Chris Borucki.
I have heard that the best way to play this is with 8 players, but we'll have to see about that.
I like the rules, have played some of the scenarios out of the book, and am looking forward to playing more.
One of the add-ons is the Eastern Front, which includes a Russian Army. Definitely on my list.
The first is Warhammer Historical Battles. I will be playing in a doubles tournament with Chris Borucki - I will be bringing my Early Imperial Romans.
The second is a game of The Sword and the Flame. This is an actual Con game, in the Preliminary Event Listing, taking place on Friday. It will be a Northwest Frontier Game, with the British against the Pathans. This game will be held Friday, March 7, at 2pm in the Colonials Room at the convention. Here is the write up.
F-441 The Heights At Jasani Colonial; 2 PM; Length: 4 hrs; Location: New Holland; Table: NH-1; Hosted by: Chuck Turnitsa; Scale: 25mm; Sponsored by: Old Dominion Military Society; Rules: TSATF/20; No. of Players: 6.
The Jasani Pass is the only way to get from the British Cantonment to the old Mughal fortress at Dhivalgar. Keeping the Pass open and free from marauding Pathan raiders is a daunting challenge but one the Colonel from the Cantonment must face. The local Pathan tribes have been brought together in a rare moment of cooperation by the local Mulla in an effort to rid the mountains of the hated Ferengi. The struggle for this small, insignificant mountain pass crescendos as the players try to best each other.
I hope to see you there!
Monday, March 3, 2008
Began running a semi-regular Champions game, set in Neptune City.
Worked more on the Neptune City campaign setting stuff for publication.
Worked on the neptunecity blog - initially in wetpaint but possibly changing to google presentations.
Updated my Boardgamegeek profile, and posted some articles.
Played some boardgames with Anita and Heidi.
Got ready for Cold Wars (due to scheduling snafu on my part, almost had to cancel).