Monday, July 22, 2013

How to Host a Dungeon: Primordial through to the age ov monsters.

 I can't remember how I first found out about this game, How to host a dungeon, but it intrigued me.
 It's a free download (HERE) that guides you through the life cycle of a dungeon with various ages and hordes of creatures moving through. Writing down the history and reviewing it can be quite fun.
Watching the following video made me want to have a try myself and may similarly infect you.

I just finished a quick attempt at this fun little pdf this very evening and thought I'd drop some pics. My own artistic skills are fairly lacking, so excuse the rough drawing, and similarly the pics might not be too hot (using my cel phone as the best digital cam I have). It's not totally obvious, but you layer up tracing paper after ages to start the next one and allow some changes to be made.

We start off in the primordial age. Various caverns form, as well as an underground river, emitting from the lake to the east of the moutains. A great wyrm (purple) finds a sleeping hole deep in the earth with its hoard of gold (yellow). A strange gateway is present in a perfectly spherical room which will bring a strange fate to those who finally discover it. Finally, a seem of gold cools into existance along a fault towards the deepest depths (red line)
 I fail to take pictures of the development of the Civilization phase, as the dwarves of the area carve out their deep hold. Plunging a shaft from West of the mountains they finally encounter the gold they can positively smell. A barracks to control access down the shaft, and a mine are created. A season later, the dwarves expand their mine workings to the east, and create another barracks to host their growing population (B). As the mines continue to expand to the west (3) and more workers are hosted (C), a workshop is created in the depths. A great hall is built by the visionary dwarf Morseh. A new barracks to the west of the hall, the grand walk, continues a massive avenue and bridge to the marvellous hall. Mines continue to expand along the gold seem to the east.

Finally a new construction of housing breaks into the spherical room with the strange black gate. Before the workings are complete the gate flares open. No one knows what is discovered on the other side of the gate, nor if messengers came, but the dwarves gathered their belongings in a hurried, if organized manner, and disappeared through the gate and into mystery.

A great disaster befalls the area, and a volcanic eruption occurs in the western part of the mine. A lava chamber with a vent explode upward. The confluence of the underground river and the heat of the lava create a steady steam pillar that the locals eventually call 'The scald'.

Humans (orange) populate the area to the east of the mountains with a castle, and farms. Gnomes (blue) move into the spherical chamber, while earth devils populate the great hall. A massive elder Xorn (purple) moves into one of the Dwarven barracks, and 2 mimics and an anheg (pennies) populate other areas (the mimic with the dragon (button) obviously hiding *very well* amongst the hoard).
Over time the gnomes and earth devils expand and fight border wars. The Wyrm is driven off by the devils after attempting to shake them down for tribute. He relocates to the deep pool at the buttom of the river incline. The devils also manage to drive away the Xorn to a deep mine shaft after it attempts to burrown straight up into the great hall and accost them. One of the mimics dies to the gnomes. 

 Over time the humans (orange) expand their farms, and continue to grow their population in the city. An oublietter is constructed down 'the scald' to punish crime breakers, and represents the hardening attitudes of law amongst the humans, after barely surviving the attack by the wyrm which they drove off.

The earth devils expand into the wyrms rest chamber and level the floor and construct a small fort. Earthmen (red blood markers) arrive and exand through the lower dwarven workings. The other mimic is cleared out by the devils.

The humans are fruitful and multiply. The earth devils are beset by the gnomes and Xorn and are forced back by a series of bloody assaults into their recently constructed fort (now a dime). These constant attacks have stripped their wealth from them.

Tunnel Wyrds arrive in the great hall. The gnomes continue their relentless expansion in all directions (blue). The earth men face depredations of the gnomes and the Xorn. 

The deprived and maddened prisoners of the oubliette move towards the scald, hunting for food and sport. The humans harvest the power of the windswept moutains as they build a large mill on the mount. The wyrds have driven the gnomes back from the grand boulevard but the gnomes continue their steady expansion in other areas. The remaining earth devils finally abandon their colony in the wyrm chamber for richer opportunity in other lands.

ADVENTURERS!! Moving down the underground river the adventurers wipe out the  the wyrds in the grand boulevard and great hall. With their additional wealth they take the perfect xorn hole deeper into the chaotic earth men areas and manage to wipe them out as well. Their encounter with the gnomes (lawful) is more peaceful as the gnomes ask them (quest) to rid the depths of the horrible eldar Xorn. Alas for the adventurers a clever ambush slaughters the lot, leaving the Xorn with a legendary pile of treasure that many rumors spread about.

The lay of the land as the rumours of fantastic wealth usher us into the age of Villainy, and the arrival of......THE THOUGHTLORDS!!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Osric: The ice storm of death (17)

Dan (fighter), Jenks (druid), Jane (illusionist), and Scabs (gnome) are recovering from their aborted attempt to reach the village of compliments. A vicious battle with the renegade wizard magnus manson finds them again staying in a rented town house recovering from the battle. After a few days of recovery a vicious blizzard crashes into the city......very curious as it is spring. We head down to the inn beneath our place and try to exit.....but there is already a huge drift and we aren't clothed properly. About a dozen folks are crowded into the inn and make various nasty remarks as we let howling wind and cold enter we when open the door to look.

Attempting to relax in our rooms we hear shrieks and wails in the screaming winds......perhaps it's just the wind. Reassuringly it eventually gets softer.....then we hear the creaking above us. We try to open the shutters to look......but there is a thick ice shell. Scabbs melts an arm thickness (gnomish) with the magical glowing coal from the Xmas cave (LINK) but there's still ice. Sweet god, we're going to suffocate in an icy tomb. Something is obviously very amiss.

Jenks and Scabs head downstairs and find the fires have gone out. Scabs announces the imminent suffocation of everyone and suddenly pandemonium rages. While Jenks investigates the drops (toilets) and ponders crawling out through the poop drain, Scabs finds a trapdoor in the kitchen; the site of warfare of the strongest to control the food supplies.

Jenks heads upstairs, after being unable to locate Scabs in the mayhem, and finds the roof has been ripped off. The screaming storm faces hi, lashing him with howling winds and freezing snow.....Dan and Jane are missing....only a heavily damaged room is there. Suddenly Dan's body drops apparantly lifeless on the floor. Scabbs catches up at the top of the staircase just as Jenks dodges out to pull Dan's body in. A white dragon drops down and partially pins dan under his foot, while hissing murderously at Jenks.

Jenks attempts to parley with the beast, who reports his job is to destroy all casters of shadowdeep, and Jenks is the last. Jenks tries to brazen it out that he is not OF shadowdeep, but just visiting. He fails his Charisma check and the dragon savages him with his claws. Dan manages to use his vorpral sword to cut through the weakened flooring and drop through to the lower level. The dragon lifts off rather than risk the flooring and the other pair flees downstairs.

Dan is found trapped head first down in a toilet, ready to fall into the poop. Pulling him from a horrible fate (out of the pan...),  the trio busts through the bouncers into the kitchen just as the front door is ripped off and a blast of freezing hits the inn common room. The surviving villagers follow the group down into the cellar where scabbs found the smuggler cave. Scabbs leads off, but Jenks and Dan are forced to shuck their armour and all large items barring one weapon.

At the other end of a smugglers tunnel a guard dog is seriously injured by the gnome.  The group finds itself in a store room of black lotus root, a highly addictive hallucinogenic opioid....illegal and valuable. The tail end of the refuges in the smugglers tunnel are frozen into blocks of ice by more dragon breath, but we are now safe....ish.

Checking a trapdoor in the ceiling we find the warehouse above belongs to the 'seamstress' guild (the thieves guild no doubt). We attempt to trick the lurking flying dragons above by dressing up a dress doll as jenks, load it with black root (a narcotic/hallucinogen mix) and attach the dog to the frame underneath the doll. Everyone covers up in thick white clothing and agrees to try and be runners to the high temple of light and the sorcerers tower (Jenks doesn't bother sharing that they are likely destroyed at this point).

After being forced out the door, the dog is promptly swept off the ground .....but shortly thereafter is head being thrown away into the wind. The group sets fire to the warehouse and stokes it with blackroot hoping to gain some cover from the dragons via the thick smoke with the added hallucinogenic and narcotic effects. The groups split to opposite sides of the warehouse and head out in different directions in the snowstorm camouflaged in white.

Dan shortly thereafter notices himself being shadowed from above and stops and spins to face the dragon. As it coasts in to tail grab him he tries to pitch a bag of blackroot down it's throat (like a fantasy quarterback) and misses. Scabs deadly backstab shot to it's neck hits though. As the beast turns on the gnome, Dan is able to slay the monster.

The group hides under the wings of the beast as they hear more dragon cries above. The next dragon is poking around the battle site and Scabs makes a few terrible shots that fail to connect...which the dragon doesn't even notice. Finally the third connects and again Dan rushes forward to finish the beast off. This time the group hides in the mouths of the dead dragons and repeats the tactic against the third (and final) dragon, which forunately already looks heavily wounded along it's flank from magic attacks.

We quickly harvest some blood, scales, fangs and a heart before the city militia cautiously appears. The word of the temple and sorcerous tower ....destroyed.

We decide to check out the temple....we can hope to get some loot, find some refugee priests, or at least have the satisfaction of seeing the great priest dead. The temple, much like the town house, is encased in an ice block. Scabs melts through the front gates with the glowing coal and we do not find signs of dragons. Instead the slain priests have been cut down with blades. Scabs scouts ahead and encounters a frosty mummy.....a white walker. Armed with a smoking cold blade. Cautious due to their heavy injuries, the group manages to ambush the walker and cut him down.

As we search further we find mostly slain walkers and many dead priests. The body of the high priest can't be found. We suspect he must have a bolt hole somewhere and continue to search intensely. Jenks heads to the front of the temple to stall the militia from interrupting our own 'investigations' and Dan watches them closely and stops them from casually looting goods (as they did at the merchant Dabas' house in the past).

Eventually Scabs locates the high priests hidey hole. The group gets in an extended 'discussion' with the priest to attempt to get a raise dead spell or send a new cleric henchmen with them. The high priest attempts his typical evasive higher powers mumbo jumbo. Dan surprises the group by firmly insisting that they either send a cleric with the group or raise their old comrade (archon), he even goes as far as phyically blocking the way for the priest to leave before 'settling this matter'. The priest finally agrees to raise archon.

The group finally heads over to the univesity campus to check on the tower of sorcery. Before they as much as enter the campus grounds a billowing spirit appears, denying them entry. It seems more malevolent than the previous campus sercurity. It boasts that Magnus Manson is now the lord of the tower. We are so screwed.

We quickly beat a retreat and head to the Sage, Anadamus, to exchange info. We are forced to enter the second floor due to the snow drifts. The following information is gained over some delicious tea.
-Scorch the dragon does have an enmity to the ice dragons. The elder scorch pushed them north. The younger (current) one crawled into the dungeon and found the hoard....and didn't leave until he couldn't fit anymore (trapped it sounds like).
-The snow witch is obviously going to attack shadowdeep. The dragons and white walkers are the advance forces meant to destroy the magic of the city......which has been largely succesful.
- The silver mine was very profitable....until suddenly it wasn't worked anymore
-Dwarves are present in the ice finger mountains but deep, very deep
-Fang or Zhengus might be convinced to send help to the city if they thought the snow witch would attack them next.

We wind up the adventure trying to decide what to do. The city has been hit hard, with the temple largely depleted, and the mad wizard in charge of the riches of the university of magic. Blizzards are covering the nearby lands with snow. Our party is up one dwarven cleric, but Jane the illusionist is MIA and presumed dead. It would appear the league of Justice has been unsuccessful in trying to halt the snow witch.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Battletech: Painting for June (Sorensen's Sabres)

Having completed 2 games of battletech Sword and Dragon campaign (posts to follow) I attempted to meet my painting resolution: 'paint one mech per game I play". Shouldn't be too hard.....maybe.
I started with a batch of the plastic mechs that I came in the introductory box (pics and review here).

Panther, Witworth, Spider, and Trebuchet (and failed to remember to paint the Hermes I have as well). Having never painted all red figs, but reading about the PITA it can be I followed some of the direction the painting guide from the intro box suggested.

First up was a dry brush of white on the black. I rather liked the effect and it was noticeable when I did the next step with sufficiently thinned paint. I'm not sure it survives the multiple later steps though.

Followed by a darker (GW scab?) red in a watered down coating.

A bit of dry brushing of 'go fasta red' (I might be mistaken on this, I kinda forget now and will need to figure it out again....go fasta certainly has a bit of an orange tint to it though).

I then washed with a red/magenta ink of some sort by GW that is out of print (and also doesn't have the label as it is an ANCIENT ink [anyone remember the boxes of paints that had the golden demon on the front?).

After I let them sit around for days and days (dare I admit to a week or two?). I finally got up the gumption to attempt to do the accents. I used a vallejo gold to pick out some lines and details. Vents and some weapon bits were based in black before being drybrushed lightly in grey (vallejo). I was unhappy with some of the gold bits I did and thought it needed some more contrast, so I added a few bits of white here and there to pop.

The panther has had some highlighting in blood red, which is subtle but noticeable as well.

Things to do:
Finish highlighting in red.
Viewing ports with a horizon effect, or slash metallic reflection
Weather the mechs: dirty feet, some battle damage/scrapes, fouling near jump jets and possibly some weapon ports.