Thursday, January 31, 2013

Real Life intrudes

As to be expected, real life intrudes into our gaming hobby and stalls everything out periodically. Last weekend I attended the Rythmn City mess around (RCMA), a weekend long set of social dances and day time work shops. It was pretty amazing seeing all the great dancers, but it was also totally draining. I was a bit of a zombie through all this week.

I managed to get some videos of the the event. While the review videos might be of interest to those who do swing dance, the Jack and Jill competition videos are of much more entertainment value. Particularly the solos.

In other news, the Napoleonics online campaign I've been involved with has been on pause for just over a week now. There's a battle that needs to be gamed out. Many of us aren't in a position either with opponents or figs to play it. Gavin is planning to, but has started a new job so he's been a bit delayed as well. Apparently on Wednesday they managed to get a game in, but it was more of a rules refresher. They should be gaming it out within a week and we can resume the game. It's a good thing I keep extensive notes on what I'm doing....hopefully my marshals will be able to manage the break as well.

I've been inspired to resume the painting of my 15mm napoleonic french. It's terribly involved trying to get the uniforms correct. I remember being slightly at a loss when I first started painting ww2.....the pageantry of the napoleonic uniforms crushes the drab of later wars. It's a pain in the ass to create on figs though. More on that some other post.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Osric: Escape from the Crypt of Kas the bloody (5)

Well, this adventure log is finally up to speed with the start of my blog. I'm trying to spread out the posts to get regular updates but we played recently on a saturday morning via google hangouts.

Our party was recovering from being zapped by a goblin shaman and having an extended dungeon (re)clearing adventure. Dan, Renault, Jenks, Scabs and Chester had all survived but were in pretty sorry shape. Even after resting and burning through the few cure light wounds spells Jenks had we decided we needed to rest some more. Alas it was not to be.....

(It probably didn't help when I said no one can come through the wizard locked door unless they have the key, and what are the chances of that? *ahem*).

*Click* The door starts opening, Renault slams is shut on a goblins nose, thereby de-nosing him. The amusement of this act loses it's glow after a moment as the goblin is heard screaming and running to the west. Towards the (presumptive) orc hall. We skedaddle out of this deadend section of the dungeon and proceed to lock doors behind us. We hear clashing and alarms and yelling behind us, followed shortly by splintering doors.

We quickly reach the great hall with the massive table that the golbin tribe used to eat at. We dodge under the table and hide. We dont' wait long before we see two small sets of goblin legs leading a group of about a dozen... hobgoblins!

 They pass us by for about 10 or 15 minutes before a reduced group returns. Just as they are about to leave the room one stops, lays his shield down and stoops down to look under the table. Scabs stabs him to death through the eye (surprise backstab). The fight starts under the table, but their leader (of great strength) tosses the stone table aside and the fight continues till our victory.

After catching our breath we hear the rest of the group returning and we manage to ambush them entering the room. After some quick looting we hurry back to the staircase and head to level one. Right by the staircase there is a trapped room of crushing pillars (on a checkerboard pattern). We manage to jam one pillar so that the way to the stairs is blocked (later revealed to us by the GM as a party saving measure). We camp again and strangely find a mouse skull in the centre of our camp with a goblin symbol on it. We decide the cheeky goblin chief we left here is threatening us. 

As we move back to their throne room we find all our trap deactivation work has been undone. As well the doors are smeared with contact poison and dammit, it's pretty lethal around here. As we bash into the throne room (with Renault and Dan using a stone column as a battering ram) we find the chief is with a scary looking goblin assassin type.

After some near poisoning blows we manage to charm him and stop the fight. The chief is pissed that his demon deck of cards (a ply from a previous adventure) doesn't work. We manage to pump the two for information about downstairs and what's going on. Apparantly the skull was a safe passage token. And the traps are reactivated to try and prevent the level 2'ers from coming up. An unexplored room on this floor (the wax sealed one with the dead adventuring party and cleric outside of it) actually contains a liche that 'usually keeps the dueregar downstairs' by some sort of agreement. Man, has our group ever 'stepped in it'. We manage to negotiate a safe passage agreement for the future (to avoid the mistakes of last session) and pay off the chief and assassin (slay-gur). They plan on abducting goblin women and children to start the notched ear tribe. We are pretty okay with that. 

We head back to the Village of compliments, with the intention of improving the town a bit. The largest issues are shortage of housing and no skilled tradesmen. Scabs knows a dwarven blacksmith in shadowdeep which we plan to speak to. A shopping expedition is probably in order as well.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Blightstone Keep: Base coating the stonework (1)

I'm pretty happy with the amount of crafting nerdery I've been doing already this year. It's classic for me (and I assume other folks with lead mountains in their closets) to plan and buy and just not DO. I've been pretty decent about assembly and prepping, but actually pulling it together to get some painting's a hard start and it's a habit that easily gets broken. Things are looking positive this year so far though (Jan 24 hahahah).

The GW paintjob
Anyway, I've been working on this semi destroyed tower I bought about a year ago during boxing week (2011 Dec). Truth be known it's for a gaming project that may never see the light of day, so I will only talk about it as it gets more realized.

I like this piece because it's got hints of what disaster befell it. There is some sort of ritual magic circle (with all the colours of magic on it) and clockwork. Perhaps the user was attempting to combine the winds to create some sort of high magic? Or perhaps something more malevolent....there are hints of chaos in there too. I must saw that there are far too many skulls (grumble grumble GW). I can handle some architectural skulls, even ones in the walls (which I imagine might be carved stone, similar to the many gargoyles of various european cathedrals), but the scores of skulls in the foundation..BAH!. I meant to fill them in with some putty, but forgot before I had made some progress. Oh least they are mostly hidden in shadow and I didn't pick them out in white, so they are hard to see.

Basic grey craft paint over black primer
Another angle
Post highlights after a black wash
another angle

Apparently I forgot to take photos of the tower after the black ink (I think it was 3 separate sessions to base coat, ink, and highlight). I ended up buying some new ink for was plain artist black ink (Downer and Roley? Decent quality) and after inking it I think I was a bit worried it went too dark. It's possible not too clear in these photos, but it does definitely give more depth and grubbiness to the stone work.  I think it's a bit more obvious on the wood work (which I gave a layer of one of the brown GW inks).

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

CinC Lefebvre: Phase 2

The campaign kicked off on Saturday morning. True to form for these things there were some initial hiccups as we found a variety of bugs. Troops not moving due to missing paragraph marks in the code, headquarter units able to start sieges by themselves, a failure to mention what the movement rates for different units actually were, etc.

It seems to be running somewhat smoothly. Already on day 2 my fellow commanders have failed to write me about where they are. I can only hope they are roughly where I think they are supposed to be *SIGH*. I've requested updates from them, and I've been sending 3 of them daily updates of my own, so hopefully it catches on.

There really isn't much to report, but I thought that I'd post up the PHASE 2 map I made. All of the preplanning was essentially done on a single, long, night. I needed to send out briefs to all 8 other french players with detailed lines of march, which supply line is theirs, who is allowed to edit that supply line, whom they should be in daily communication with, as well as specify towns to avoid (as their neighbour will be using it).

It was a bit of a whirlwind. Considering the plan never survives contact with the enemy it's probably a bit useless too. Currently it gives me a vague idea where everyone is though, which is handy. More importantly I think supply and traffic issues would have been a disaster for us. There are minor and major roads with limits on men travelling down them, already it's a tight fit and corp are strung out over a few nodes (towns/cities/fortresses). I imagine if there wasn't a good plan everyone would have piled up on each other. A nice feature is more priority that sets which unit will have access to road space before another. I've assigned default priorities to corp to help with the elbow rubbing phenomena.

Phase 2: (IN THEORY)
Red/Rust takes Vallodid and prepares for the arrival of the British from Portugal. It's likely a bit of a foot race so Vallodid may not be captured.

Yellow, the reserve/me, moves to Burgos to wait and be helpful

Light blue, Ney pivots west as zaragoz falls and moves West to hit Madrid from the North......or as more likely will face the Brits as well.

Medium Blue, Augereu, will continue a straight drive on madrid. The Roads totally suck here so he could be stopped cold on the march.

Dark Blue, Moncey, has a tough job to do; swing deep south through the mountains and emerge on the plain south of madrid. I'm hoping that I'm totally prescient and he gets to hit something in the flank as

Augereu pins it in his drive on madrid. Otherwise he has a wide latitude in operations. i suggested he capture the approaches to Ciudad Real to help control the center and East of spain.

Pink, Bessieries, has the widest latitude of all. I basically won't hear anything from him due to communication lags. He is to Capture Catalonia and move toward Valencia. I've instructed him and Moncey to be read to assist one another in case there is a field army West of Valencia (They would need to guard each others flanks in some way.

More updates as they happen....

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Lamenters: The story so far... (1)

The lamenters have been an on again off again project (like most of my projects).  I've had warhammer 40k marines for a while now, but was stumped on what chapter to do. I was going to do the mortifactors....

I planned on using bits from the legion of the damned, and plastic skeletons but finally decided against it when the price went through the sky and Bell of Lost souls did their Horus Heresy supplement. I divested myself of a lot of the bits and moved on...

I then thought I'd work a heresy force. I was tempted by the Luna wolves...but they switch paint schemes over to the sons of horus later. Also the difficulty in sourcing the beaky helmets and studded shoulder pads or the sheer amount of time to scratch build the amount you needed was a bit overwhelming. The moment passed. I divested myself of more bits....

Finally with the arrival of space hulk I decided on lamenters.
I hope my forces look even a fraction as good...
I remember staring at this pic and it didn't grab me, not until I saw some painted models did I fall in love with the Lamenters.

They are a successor chapter of the blood angels and I figured there wouldn't be many people who painted their space hulk figs this way. Well....not many but there are a few now.

Still, the lamenters are pretty cool in a doomed way. I first encountered them when I had advanced space crusade and they are one of the two chapters (the other the scythes of the emperor) to first encounter the galactic invasion (and almost totally wiped out).
While the Scythes were pretty cool the fluff has them reduced to a handful (literally less than 10 guys) of troops and some rescued gene seed fleeing ahead of the hive fleet to warn the imperium. I'd prefer something with a bit more numbers.....and more fluff. The lamenters are also participants (and villains of a type) in the Badab war. Bell of lost souls did a pretty wicked mini codex on the same (back when they were churning out original content rather then endless netlist analysis). I might even paint up my BFG ships someday for the lamenters. 

I've decided there are a number of miniatures an individual HAS to paint in this life. Marines are one of them (Orcs, dwarves, a dragon, elves, an a figure to represent a rpg character are a number of other ones I've come up with). This will be the start of a series documenting the growth of the lamenters.

Osric: The story so far pt 4 (Return to the dark crypt of kas the bloody)

We decide to return to the original dungeon of Kas the bloody. We decide to take some extra henchmen and cleverly clear out the town of the most bloody thirsty and sociopathic bandits at the same time (Compliments was another bandit village that we are cleaning up. Dungeons are a great way to thin the herd per Jenks reasoning). Scabs (Gnome Thief), Chester (Thief, son of chester but is dwarf sized), Renault (fighter henchman of scabs), Dan (fighter henchman of Jenks), Donna (Fighter 1 rescuee from the goblin tribe), Jenks (human druid) and his charmed jackals (killer and slaughter) and some random bandits head out. A week of snowy travel with a heavily burdened horse gets us back to the dungeon.

The tone was set early when the horse wasn't supported by the floor over the pit trap and his dying whinnies summoned some repopulating goblins. In the bandits old room we faced a tough fight and lost a bandit or two. Overall our second trip was less lethal, but we did need to contend with the henchmens evil stupid ways, and some repopulated areas (of goblins mostly) with the first and second level. The GM played the NPCs well and we needed to micromanage them and specifically mention traps that we knew about to not lose them to idiotic acts. There was also some obvious looting of bodies that the bandits would report as 'nothing of value'. We finally managed to clear out the second floor tribe, including their fungus farms.

The last room we found had a magically bound door. We were unable to pick the lock nor break it down, even after we removed the hinges. Using stone shape Jenks managed to open a hole in the wall and we immediately enter combat with a small group of goblins. The one of the surviving jackals that Jenks had races off to the east in the dark. As our group is slaughtering the goblins there is some chanting and a arch of lightning blasts through the room....and our group. Donna, Killer, the final bandits are all killed. Renault is nearly dead as well. The goblin fungus shaman from our previous visit has been rediscovered. We manage to down him, but our party is sorely hurt. Dan is saddened by the passing of Donna (who he had given a magic ring to earlier in the session). We decide it is fitting that she passed in wiping out the tribe that imprisoned her and ate her friends.

We decide to end our adventure here with resting, but we still have 4 major areas to investigate. 2 doors leading to a room with deeper more guttural voices in them (we think orcs). A cooridor with a floating skull that demands a magic item to pass. The door where a fireball trap was that leads to a dueregar area. A incredibly long corridor leading to the south that we suspect may lead to the dueregar area as well.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

CinC Lefebvre

Sweet god what have I done. In the spirit of continually taking on things until it's too much I've volunteered to be CinC of the french forces in Gavin's campaign. I spent the last couple of hours planning out which corp/player starts where and giving them detailed directions.

It's all front loaded of course, with the fog of war, numerous days for couriers to race back and forth and the caveat 'no plan survives contact with the enemy' I won't have too much influence after the game progresses. The front loading is a bit intense though....

Here is the map I made up to help my fellow marshals:

 We can see there are 4 depots and a fairly broad advance. There are discreet task forces though. Pink should have fun with an highly independent command. I'm yellow so the chance of communication are slim.... couriers only run along supply lines and can 'see' three legs away from them to find their target.

Blue is tasked with moving through zaragoz and pivoting to hit madrid (I'll do up a phase 2 map soon),. Red/rust need to take vallodid. They also can expect the british to show up around the time they arrive at vallodid. Whoo hoo. I (yellow/reserve) am going to stay close to red/rust. Light blue picots west and comes at madrid from the north so we can expect some help there.

I actually ended up with the weakest/lamest corp of them all. Smallest and with 50% Militia I'm a bit hooped. Luckily Red, Rust and light blue are the largest corp i have. I really do hope I'm right and the brits come racing onto the teeth of my marshals.

Here is the intelligence we've been given for the entire operation:

Marshals of France,
You have been given the task of conquering Spain and Portugal. In their defence, the enemy can muster over 70k men in field armies. Additionally, you can expect every Fortress and regional capital to be strongly held by Garrisons.

Our spies have reported that the British army landed in Lisbon some days ago obviously in response to news of our own preparations. It is highly unlikely that they have moved from that area, although not impossible. We have had no word that they have entered Spain however.

The Spanish Army is in a state of disarray, and is unlikely to provide a long lived resistance. Its field armies whereabouts are unknown but we are pretty certain that the border regions of Aragon and Catalonia are undefended except for troops already mentioned.

Osric: The story so far (pt 3: A yuletide adventure

We played this game early on christmas day, so there was an obvious theme.

It is winter in compliments and yuletide has arrived. While eating breakfast prepared by Mrs Garrity at the manor the group sees peasants by the edge of town/the forest in a small group that eventually retreats back to town. Jenks the druid is familiar with the practice of making an offering to the Yuletide Ents of a christmas cake (made of the blood of the the last slaughtered animal and other significant ingredients). He goes over to investigate and when returning back to the manor he looks back and notices the cake is gone and a hole has developed where it was. The yuletide ents are known to take their due in way or another on the yuletide eve.

Assembling the usual suspects the group investigates the hole which promptly develops into a sinkhole sucking in most of the party. Donna and chester manage to avoid the hole and are sent back to town to find rope. Dan, Renault, Scabs, and Jenks proceed to investigate the large chamber. A small hole/burrow is found to the south, as well as a large gate with an archway. The gate is closed with stone doors and the archway decorated with carved elvish figures holding a jade/ruby mistletoe at the arch. It is an odd style with writing we don't understand and obviously very old. I was a bit concerned about trying to blast through (or even walk past) the archway, so Jenks stone shaped a tunnel to the side of the archway into the next area.

Jenks has a brainstorm and casts detect plant on a rare plant ingredient present in the yule cake. He can now detect the cake moving to the south but angling a bit eastward. The group moves into a dark massive hall. It is terribly cold in this hall, although glittering decorations, faceted gems and bunting adorn everything and large tables are set up with frozen food. All amongst the darkened hall are elves that are dressed in their finery and as the group advances they can tell the elves eyes are following them.

Through this disquieting setting the group moves to the East on the trail of the  cake. In the centre of the chamber there is a massive bronze cube with one wall opened (flat on the ground). All along the cube there are strange arcane etchings and a massive buildup of ice inside. A monstrous belly, and a query in some strange language echoes through the chamber. We pick up the pace. We find another archway at the far eastern wall with a totally iced up with bronze doors. Jenks casts heat metal on the doorway and the ice starts breaking away.

The monstrous sound gets closer and jenks summons up a heavy mist (obscurement) as Dan and Renault batter at the door. We suddenly turn and find the source of the bellows, a horribly rotted and frozen beholder floats into sight. With but a single eyestalk still intact and a grey milky blind central eye we are still lucky not to be destroyed immediately. The icey temperatures have obviously halted the decomposition of the beast. In the mad fight that follows Dan and Renault are quickly frozen solid, while Scabs manages to strike deep with some arrows. Jenks cleverly casts heat metal on one of the arrowheads buried inside the monsterous which begins to thaw it and allow the course of centuries to take their toll. At the height of the battle scabs lops off an eyestalk with a perfect shot, but the beast smashes into Jenks for grievous damage. As he is fleeing the charging beholder with but a few hp he sings out 'dashing through the snow' in an attempt to lure it towards the magic bronze box. Luckily a clever and risky ploy at the box is not necessary as the heat and battle damage finally cause the monster to turn to putrifying goop.

The frozen, including Dan and Renault stay immobile. Reassuring their friends they will return (and scabs sets some candles on them for company) they move down the hallway revealed. A music room is found near the far end, and within it a mole family is tracked down with the yuletide cake. Scabs attempts to bargain away moonshine as a trade but the moles will have nothing of it and proceed to gobble down the cake. Jenks casts charm animal and they rescue half the cake, the moles are bundled up in a bag and given moonshine (2 mated moles and a number of babies).

Further exploration finds a hallway with a double doorway carved with demons on it (didn't care to touch it) and a round contemplation room with a starry ceiling (on a black onyx dome) and many murals. Inside a pile of robes a warm piece of coal is found which is found to be magic by Jenks (whose spell list is basically exhausted at this point). Scabs and Jenks return the the grand hall and explore. They find a dog sized frozen spider on a clutch of eggs (it's a christmas spider thinks myself) and a cold furnace. We consider whether to burn the piece of coal in the furnace or not and eventually try touch dan and renault with it. Poof! They can move again. Eventually we decide not to mess with the elves until we are not so hurt and we head back to the initial room and, after a bit of a cave in of snow, escape to the surface.

Many hours have passed and the treeline itself has advanced halfway to the village. It is growing dark. We quickly leave the yuletide cake and the mole family at the edge of the woods and head to the village in to shower the villagers with all our copper wealth.

The hole is revealed as filled in the next morning once the treeline has retreated. GM revelations include the fact that the 'elves' were drow and the yule ents keep access to them bottled up for centuries.

Sorry for the poor quality, I won't be using pencil again to map. Also the large celebration room was ambiguously described (lower left ish) and we were not in a position to carefully map it (get the hell out of here is what was generally the driving thought).

Monday, January 14, 2013

Gavin's Penninsular campaign - Marshal Lefebre

Very exciting news! I've been accepted into Gavin's napoleonics campaign. A number of years ago I had the fortune to participate in a game run by Malcom Mccallum War of the Fifth Coalition. He has programmed a web based campaign system that crunches all the boring parts for the GM and is largely used to set up interesting table top games. Gavin and I were fobbed off into Italy and faced each other (as neither of us were set up to play games on the table and were out of town (Malcolm in Victoria, I'm in Vancouver, and Gavin in the UK somewhere). Gavin liked it sufficiently that he was able to get a bunch of back end data from Malcolm, and used his maps/database to create his own variant of the system. Very ambitious, and I'm excited to see what he has done.

The system
First off, take a look at the beautiful maps that Malcolm created himself (MAPS!). A number of internet presences have discovered these maps as great things to use, including Murdoch, for their own naps campaigns.
The system is largely based around units being present at a given node. These nodes (towns, cities, fortresses) are linked by connections/roads that vary in their carrying capacity (minor +/- river crossing, major +/- river crossing). From the players hq (which is a unit as well) couriers are sent with orders to the units, the couriers move at a set speed (3 legs a day). Cavalry moves at 2, infantry at 1 (unless force marching).
The great thing about the system is the fog of war. Messages to your allies move at 3 legs per day. Reports from your troops regarding things they encounter also move at 3 per day. You orders will often take a day plus to reach the troops, who then begin to follow them the following day (typically). It becomes very tough to understand what is going on and we start to get real friction, and tough decisions.

So far it appears that Gavin has chosen to work with troop numbers (men) as the road carrying capacity. Malcolm used units instead. Also Gavin has made the operative unit a brigade, although it appears that numbers of troops are tracked by battalion. This is likely due to how he plans to do table top battles, but I will have to see.

Malcolms system was a point buy for each division, supply leg, depot, reinforcement, hq, spy, fleet, etc. Gavin seems to be based purely on numbers. Reinforcements occur based on proximity to a supply line and are opposed by attrition (with all it's various modifiers). Malcolm had columns of reinforcements that marched along the supply line to the front. Formations/divisions that encountered them would eat them if under strength.

Gavin has chosen to enact a garrison/guerilla value into areas (provinces perhaps? Maybe individual nodes?) which will affect the likelyhood of loosing a courier. As far as I know Malcolm's system had the courier get through unless blocked by troops. Also his insurgents/rebels were units raised by players that were uncontrolled (run by a computer algorithm) that couldn't be disbanded.

The campaign itself is a french invasion of spain. Right now the fellow marshals and I are bashing heads together trying to come up with a plan and elect a CinC (oh the democratic traditions!). I am marshal Francois Joseph Lefebvre and have a pretty piss poor corp. 50% militia, no cavalry. I'm thinking pinning corp while someone does something exciting to save me. We shall see though....

Saturday, January 12, 2013

GZG xmas 2012 order

This year, as in the last two, I managed to sneak in a GZG order right near the end of the offer. It was actually me 2 years ago which prompted Jon to clarify the offer expires at midnight GMT. I had some challenges making an order right before I was leaving the country and it ended up being pre midnight pacific but post midnight in the UK. Jon very kindly honoured the order....and clarified the position for the following year.

As always, most of the fun for the xmas orders is the goodie bag that you receive. Based on what you order (and how much) you get some freebies from Jon/GZG that help complement what you ordered.

This year I ordered up some of the pre-fab buildings, a bunch of shipping packages and containers to use for scatter terrain, and an air raft (I have recently picked up a copy of the mongoose traveller and have hopes of running this at some point. I figure air rafts have such utility that they are likely ubiquitous for explorer types).

For my surprise gifts I received:
1/. another air raft (sweet!)
2/. some additional scatter terrain (a bunch of barrels and more conical power/liquid containers plus one large crate)
3/. a set of heads to customize figs
4/. The cleverest addition: a ground mount of missles to help defend the base. I'm imagining these would be anti air missiles no doubt tied into the data generated from the large dish pre-fab. Another pre fab has an automated turret, for short range anti aircraft and anti missile (HARM missiles perhaps?) defense.

I'm hoping to get this cleaned and assembled shortly, although they may end up fairly far back on the painting queue. The queue tends to reshuffle often, so they might get lucky!

Here is the picture as lifted from the GZG site itself.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Osric: The story so far (pt 2)

After the first dungeon expedition Jenks, Dan, Scabs, Chester and Renault (and the rescued Donna) all return to the village of Compliments from where Scabs came from. He has recently become the second in command of this village which is really just a bandit lair. On the way into town we encounter a wounded fighter named Terren who escaped an ambush. Healing him we find out that the bandits North of compliments are killers rather than extortionists....Renault looks particularly upset that Scabs has gotten involved in this. Jenks sends Terren off with some gold pieces and he tells us to look him up at the Shadowdeep (the nearest city) "splintered shield academy".

The group finds a campsite of bandits and Scabs sneaks forward to speak with them. They are a bit dubious about scabs claims of cleaning out the bandit lair that he was sent to fix (they were poaching compliments traffic). He returns to the group and we decide to thin out this group of idiotic bandits. A pyrotechics spell on the fire (a favorite technique of jenks) blinds the bandits for a few rounds allowing us to make serious inroads on balancing the numbers. We camp the evening and adopt the horses for the trip back.

The next day while in a forest we detect something flying and smashing into the ground a ways off the road. Scabs investigates and finds a gynosphinx who is hunting deer. She forces him to entertain him upon (implicit) threat of harm. He proceeds to do a gnomish dance. Jenks investigates after a while and speaks with the gynosphinx about his need for the gnome to come with him. Eventually the gynosphinx tires of the group and flies off to the north.

Closer to compliments the group hides out in a farm of a murdered village family. Scabs and Chester head into town and renew their knowledge of the town. At scabs townhouse a find meal is put on by Mrs. Garrity the house keeper. The ogre leader (forgot the name) is revealed to be somewhat cunning by placing the idiot bandits to the north in the hope they are killed by the rival gang (that we cleared out). Scabs notes that we did encounter some slain bandits. The conversation takes a worsening tone, but before a fight breaks out (the two bandit guards, terrence and phillip, are looking pretty grim about a fight breaking out before finishing the fantastic meal) everyone slumps to the table asleep. Mrs Garrity has taken exception to her fine meal being ruined, and blessed old Mr Scabs getting hurt.

Scabs, after chaining the ogre, fetches the group and we proceed to tie up the bandits and euthanize the ogre just as he's waking up. In the morning, we send out the pliant guards to spread word that Scabs is the new leader. Thinking quickly we head to the tavern and go to the ogres room just in time to find a bandit 'assembling his loot for you, your lordship'. A speech is made, and a christmas bonus handed out to help cement the loyalty of the remaining bandits.

Investigating the village of compliments wielded some interesting information:
1/. In the 2 floor manor house that scabs had adopted there was a basement for storage....and a secret door to a troll lair (based on keen gnome smelling). We decided we didn't really want to screw around with a troll so left it alone. After having left a blood bath in the dining room from the ogre, the characters were dining on lunch when the troll rolls upstairs spouting out about how he can smell the blood of his good friend the ogre. We are faced with a tough fight against a troll that seriously injures out fighters. Inside the troll lair we find a large sum of cash (the town treasury apparantly) as well as a secret passage way with a trap that leads to a tree near the manor house.

2/. In the temple, which has a lightning bolt blasted tree beside it (an omen of poor favor) it becomes quickly obvious that it is a temple to no one in particular. There are generic decorations and the few villagers who worship are only able to identify the temple is to honor 'the gods'. The priests study has a variety of goods on general religious information including a basic primer. A secret trapdoor is found beneath the flooring of the acolytes room which leads to a well appointed meeting room. Here we find more loot, as well as books on slavery and human trafficking and a map showing what we believe are locations of various bandit lairs in the area. Also a sketch book is found here showing pictures of the town as well as notable individuals. Once again a trapped secret tunnel is found (although this one is freshly dug) leading to the tree nearby.

At this point scabs comes clean that he didn't actually assassinate the previous leader of the village. He was going to....but it appears someone beat him to it. A man whom the local priest was on reasonably good terms with and met often....his picture figures in the sketch book. Feldrik, the priest, disappeared immediately around the time of the time the leader was killed.

3/. A man known only as 'the cannibal' lives in a one room hut. He had some agreement with the previous leader, and those who mess with him end up dead.  He appears fairly wildman, wearing only dirty britches and gnawing on a bone with meat on it, and has two hyena's as pets (killer and slaughter). We speak with him about what the deal was and it is merely to leave him alone. Renault takes exception with our plan to do just that....briefly considering we do think this man represents a threat. Jenks casts animal charm on his animals by espying into the hut from the outside. Immediately diving what has happened the cannibal goes hostile and reveals himself to be a were-hyena. Already hurt from the battle with the troll it's a fairly touch and go fight. Jenks is bitten and hopefully unaffected by a curse of lycanthrope. A search of the hut shows many copper pieces as well as the bodies of some humans and children.

The town has about 32 villagers in outlying farms and 14 bandits. We plan to convert the bandits depredations into a tolling system with 'insurance' for safe passage. We can turn compliments into a safe hostelry/caravanaservi to service the travel on this road. We face a problem of disruptive followers, as well as a lack of housing (the bandits stay in the tavern and in the farms of killed villagers) and no amenities. It is late fall/early winter and we have our work cut out for us. Jenks adopts the church and begins to transform it into a temple to the druidic faith and to teach worshipers how to live lightly on the land. He can also ensure there is proper waste disposal and a green belt around the town.

Osric: The story so far (pt 1)

Preamble: My good friend Jay moved across the country at the end of the summer. He is the best GM I know and it was a sad loss for a local gaming situation. Luckily we have started to play some games via skype/google hangouts. Due to our work schedules and the time shift it typically ends up with my jumping out of bed early in the morning for a few hours of gaming...pretty fantastic really.

I joined a game he was running for his girlfriend in early December, and it has been convenient to play when the 3 of us are all available.

My character Jenks (a druid) was frustrated by the local ecological damage done by some bandits (poop in the spring water, etc). He impressed (as in press ganged) some travellers on the road and went hunting for the bandits lair. He met Alyssa's PC Scabs (a gnomish 'business man' [thief]) and his enormous son Chester in an abandoned village. They managed to find the bandits lair in the tumble down temple and cleared it out. It happened to reside within a dungeon now known as the dark crypt of Kas the bloody. The first floor contained a goblin tribe (the notched ear tribe) and the bandits (with a truce/specific areas) as well a dark temple with animated congregants, a strange picture room where the eyes follow you, the well of stars (drinking the water makes people disappear according to the goblins), a crypt of a powerful warrior (which yielded some henchmen corpses and a powerful magic sword), a room full of corpses caused by a lightning fast animated dagger, and numerous room and door traps. An old NPC friend of scabs was restored to life by a genie and the impressive fighter Renault joined our party.

Other notable events included charming one of the bandits (Quisling) who helped us trick their sentries and set up an ambush before clearing out the main living quarters. He was encouraged to 'get his revenge' on his buddies and ended up dying in a 1:1 knife fight with the last bandit. A clever fight was engineered between the notched ear goblins and the bandits as well, both suspected the other had broken truce (although it was just us blundering around). We gave the goblin a might magic item (a stack of ivory playing cards which he acted as though had great power) in a bribe to allow us in the goblin area. We told them of the duplicity of the bandits who had thrown us out because we wanted to honor the truce. We managed to time our attack to help clear out the bandits and which seriously thinned the goblin numbers. The truce was re-established.

Our initial foray cleared the first floor, but we had to turn back shortly after entering the second level. Some dueregar, a fireball trap, and another tribe of goblins (with a mage and fungi allies) were a bit too much for us. A torture chamber was opened and the half orc killed, although he raised the alarm that caused the deuregar to show up. They slaughtered our rescued human prisoners (Fargus and Sarah) whom were slightly ahead of us when they broke their invisibility. Jenks longtime henchman and torch bearer Doug was blown up by the fireball trap.

The map of level 1 of the dark crypt of kass the bloody. Entrance is in the top right, stairs down in the top left. One unmapped area between the goblins room and the storage hall (just north of the well of stars) that we couldn't access due to the goblin treaty. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 Resolutions

Choosing resolutions for the year , if one is to do it "right", can be a challenging task. It's far to easy to either make them unachievable, or too easy. To some degree I figure if you are getting all of your resolutions met (I can't imagine anyone who actually does) you are low balling your targets. One the other hand, it's nice to have some successes.

Following last years resolutions, I break things into domains: Money matters, Hobby, Health/Excercise, and Family. I figure these are the areas of grief for most people so are good ones to have targets for improvement

Money Matters
1/. Save the same as last year
2/. max rrsp contribution for the year
3/. Get a roommate to minimize rent

The 3rd will certainly enable the first two. I'm looking at a more ambitious saving target this year simply because of the rrsp thing. It may be overally ambitious however, it seems like everything is getting more expensive this year. I suppose the only advantage is that our work week has lengthened by 1.5 hours per week starting in april, so that will help generate some extra income.

- Complete the February fab ab final day at some point in the year (100 sit ups, 25 pushups, 2min plank).

Obviously the situps are the hard part.

- Continue with art deco project
- Play a game with my brother
My brother who is 4 years older than me was how I was exposed to d&d, warhammer 40k, and car wars. Although his interest was mostly in painting mini's and waned eventually I think he still finds the stuff cool to look at. It'd be cool to get him to play some sort of game with him (at the minimum I know he wants to play Illuminati) 
-paint a skirmish force
-play 6 board games, play 6 wargames
-No net increase in bookshelf space of nerdery
-Half nerd costs from last year
The skirmish force is an failed target for 2012
6 boards games, 6 wargames will help ensure I get in some real miniature play. I think I cheated a bit in 2012 when my intention was to play with minis more and I filled my required mostly with boardgames. 
The no net increase resolution is because I'm a sucker for new rules sets. I have, at least, been reducing what I buy to rules for minis I own (but aren't painted/assembled). I'd like to reduce my acquisition rate for all nerdery this year....
...which leads to the last resolution. Half my costs. This is gross costs, so even if I sell stuff it doesn't increase what I get to buy. I'm going to hedge a bit and move my costs from today to last year (as it was a deferred purchase) but I still think this might be a challenging one. Working within a budget will probably be good for me and force me to pre-plan my purchases a bit better. I'm hoping to get a castle as some point which would be a large hit to the budget as well.

Possible but didn't make the cut:
-1 in 1 out. Must either paint or sell something before getting more figs. ......This one is highly ambitious I think. I'm working up towards it I hope. Having divested myself of a dark elf army, epic imperial guard and orcs and some other small stuff I'm hoping I'm turning the corner on acquisitions and heading in this way. Perhaps next year.

-Some sort of specific project resolution. I've got a number of ideas that I'd like to do, but the priority and passion is often fluctuating. Hopefully I can move towards finishing a specific paint/hobby project this year without a resolution.

-Some sort of blog resolution. Erm.....unlikely to be met. I'm hoping to use the blog to post about all sorts of hobby nonsense including rpg logs etc, but I think blogs are notorious for going silent at times.

Cop out resolutions that were rejected
-Continue swing dancing. (this is too easy)
-Take a butchery class (already booked for February! Stay tuned for pictures)
-Bike to work 1/week. (I think it's a habit now, and I'm probably going to get rid of my transit pass....didn't use it enough to make it worthwhile)

2012 Year in Review

I had 7 resolution for 2012. I decided to break them up into domains of life (as I figured these are usually the areas that cause people grief, and health/exercise is a traditional resolution area). As 3 of the 7 are game/hobby related I'm going to get side tracked and hit them all.

-Save and couple of grand and max rrsp.
2 for 2. 
Successes - This was a bit of a cop out as my RRSP max was only 800$ this year. I got a hose job on a rental property the previous year which reduced my apparent income (thankfully I got out from under that albatross. I doubt I'll ever own a rental property away from where I live again)

Failures. I didn't bother to find a new roommate after my last one moved out with his girlfriend in May. I could have done better with savings (and buffed the frivilous spending) with a rent helper.

-Inventory figs
-paint 1 skirmish gang
-play 6 board/tabletop games
#1 killteamx2
#2 operation squad forward
#3 ticket to ride-multiple times
#4 trumpeter salute - westras panzer game
#5 unhappy king charles
#6 too fat lardies ww2 game
#7 descent
#8 mansions of madness
#9 descent
#10 Runequest
#11 kids game and zombiecide

1 for 3.
Successes. I managed to get in a fair number of games which I'm pleased about. I think I missed a few games over the year. 
Unsung hero.  I've been playing a TON of rpg's this year. Everything from DCC, Osric, savage 1889, dark heresy, gamma world, darksun, and star wars. I was pretty burnt out as a GM coming into 2012 after running a highly convoluted dark heresy campaign that was well received by my players so I barely GM'd this year. I think I'd like that to change for 2013.

The inventory has had major progress....but it's certainly not complete. I've also been trying to reduce the collection some, so hopefully that will help as well. Probably an item to carry forward. 

Painting a skirmish gang. I honestly don't think I've completed painting ANYTHING this year. I've made good progress in assembling and cleaning many things, I've partially painted a lot, but I've not actually finished anything. It didn't help that our mordheim games stopped after the winter of 2011. I have a partially finished gang, so I will carry this one forward as well.

Bike to work 1 per week.
1 for 1
Successes. I'm going to give myself this one....averaged over the year. Certain weeks with snow were impossible as were holiday weeks. I'm sure I fell off the wagon a few times, but I've been making the occasional ride in november and december. 
Unsung hero.  I started to swing dance with my gf in the early summer (weekly classes). It's been amazing. I'm sorta hoping that swing will take off again in popularity and we get to be early adopters and 'cool' for a bit. I remember being jealous of the swing dancers back during the last surge and wishing I knew how to do it.
Learn about art deco
0 for 1
Failures. This is a code named project. It was a fairly ambitious project which required, at the minimum, a lot of learning on my part. I sorta doubt it will happen as I envisioned it originally, which is a shame, I'm hoping money I've invested into the project won't go to waste and can be co-opted into something new and cool. 

4 for 7!  Not half bad (scraping by though). I could probably give myself some partial credits here but I'll be virtuous and call failures failures.