Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Protective Samurai - Christmas Gift 2011

I know it has been a few weeks since I got a gaming post put up here. Our group took a couple of weeks off due to the holidays and I have been focusing my time on holiday things myself a long with getting some models painted and terrain built.

The video below is a model I painted and a small diorama I put together as a gift for my cousin this year. He seemed to really like it. Honestly several people seemed to love it and it looks like I will be doing similar projects for gifts next year for other family members.

The model itself is a Reaper Samurai model which turned out even better than I had hoped. The creases in the cloth and the pose made this model extremely enjoyable to paint.

The base is foam which I carved with my hot wire foam cutter. The tree is one of many I have laying around here from the Woodland Scenics line. The ground flock on the top of the base and under the tree, along with the bushes around the base of the tree were also from Woodland Scenics. The slate stone looking pieces that the model is perched on is actually cheap plaster o paris from the hardware store. I simply poured some into a storage lid lined with aluminum foil and let it dry. Once it was try I simply broke out junks with my fingers and then layered white glue over it several times to make it more durable.

All in all it was a fun little project and I got a chance to try out several ideas and techniques for the first time.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

DM Rotation & King Minos' Labyrinth

Our gaming group did not gather last week due to several reasons that kept us from our weekly R&R session. All but one (Marc is out for awhile as his boys are playing sports this winter - we patiently await his return) of us returned last night though for the first rotation to our 2nd DM to run his session. Tom who was playing Mr. Magic took the reins as our next DM and he didn't like a few of our originally created or proposed rules so made a few changes.

  1. Action or Hero Points were going to be drastically reduced because he feels it over powers the player characters. We would all start with 3 but have only those to use for his entire adventure which could be from 2 to 4 sessions.
  2. Healing per day was changed from BtB (By The Book) to be 1 full HD per day. So my barbarian would heal 12 hit points per day.
  3. Encumberence wasn't new but we finally finished hashing it out which I believe was built off of the Lamentations of the Flame Princess. This uses slots which break down to approximately 5 normal size items per tier of point. There were modifiers that included type of armor worn, over-sized objects carried and whether you had a STR and/or CON prime attribute. These were all added up to find out how your base movement is ultimately affected.
  4. There was also a magical item awarded to the party from our first adventure with John that Tom felt was too high of level and removed it. In John's defense he simply rolled on the loot table and that was what was given. Tom had him roll again at the beginning of the night and we ended up with a Girdle of Strength (21 STR) which my barbarian ended up with. No complaints with me on that one!
The story at the beginning of the night started with the party's boat being pushed off course and destroyed on a reef. They waved down a passing fishing vessel who offered to give em a ride. The party of course rewarded the crew with payment but didn't know what happened to Mr. Magic (Tom's character) or Bradford (Marc's character). They only hope their fellow adventurers are alive and found passage to safety.

The party arrived on an island and as the ship pulled in to port they found out that it was controlled by sea elves and that lesser races were confined to the slums of the of dock area. This suited Volrath (Chad) just fine as the city in general made him uncomfortable but the slums were a little more tolerable for him. The party spent several days selling and purchasing equipment and almost everyone upgraded their equipment or filling out things that may have been missing from the last adventure.

During the days spent mingling in the slums the party heard about a Labyrinth of death that King Minos of the Sea Elves uses to entertain his masses and dispose of trouble makers (aka adventurers). They met an old man who claimed to know a way out of this Labyrinth and paid him well for the information. It turns out there is an alter on the other side of the island where crushed bloodstones can be used to enchant silver rings which will allow an adventurer or party to be teleported out of the Labyrinth. The party purchased several bloodstones and silver rings, purchased another ship, hired another crew and set off to the other side of the island. As they approached the area where the old man described that he and his old sea elf friend had discovered the alter, the crew said they didn't feel safe going any closer to the cliff face. Half way up there was what appeared to be a castle carved out of the rock itself.

The party discussed possible solutions and decided with Volrath's new found super human strength he would drink a flying potion and carry the rest of the party up the cliff face with him. As they approached the castle they spotted dozens of orcs scattered across the perimeter in defensive positions. Of course the orcs spotted the flying adventurers as well. The party decided to float on down and try to hug the cliff face more so they weren't flying right at the orcs in bow shot range. As the party got close to the cliff though they noticed a small cave near the base and unfortunately were not quick enough in making out the siren before she began to sing. The entire party but Grimm were charmed and set down at the cave entrance. Grimm (Mike) knew immediately the danger of this creature and took to the offensive. However the siren demanded the rest of us protect her from his advance. Lews (Matt) grappled him and began dragging him toward the water. Due to the aspect connection between Volrath, Lews and Grimm his mind was torn and attempted to break Lews hold on Grimm so that no harm would come of him. Unfortunately, he failed miserably and this wouldn't be the only time in this encounter.

After some time Grimm finally broke the grip of several mer-folk and entered the cave in search of the now invisible siren. The creature threw some kind of lightening bolt spear that hit everyone and snapped them out of the charm spell. The halfling druid illusionist (John's character which I have forgotten his name) was felled. Fortunately this left the siren visible and the party pounced on her. After she shape shifted once the rogue Lackland (Richard) downed her. The party found the remains of what they assumed was the old man's sea elf friend who had fallen victim to the siren's powers and a few bits of treasure.

Our adventurers again downed another flying potion and made their way up the cliff face again. This time they kept out of view from the orcs on watch and find an entrance just above the guarded areas and entered to find a spiraling staircase heading down. At the base they found a rather large orc sitting in a throne and decided to regroup and attack. As they entered the room they found the orc leader was actually accompanied by a score of orc archers. Lews, Volrath and Grimm charged the archers and tore through the first 18 or more as blood and orc parts went flying. Lackland snuck around to attack the leader from the flank and luckily the boss fell as another score of orcs approached his blind side. The remaining orcs surrendered and were released as the party found the altar they were seeking and prepared their now enchanted silver rings.

The night ended with the party making its way back to the slums and volunteering to enter the Labyrinth. A spectacle was made as the adventurers were lowered into the labyrinth from within a coliseum type structure...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ancient Island Saved (5 DM Campaign)

Volrath Kromlaw painted and upon his winter themed base.

 Unfortunately, I didn't get a post out summarizing last weeks session which was our first to kick off the 5 DM campaign so I will start there. After our custom character and background generation process we found ourselves heading to an island from ancient history. We were immediately approached by the village elder who informed us that he was to perform an ancient ritual that keeps the lands here safe and fertile. However the scrolls with the ritual script were missing as well as his son. The village had sent search parties up a large hill on the island and nobody has returned. He of course asked our adventuring party for help and we accepted. There was a brief mention of seeing a dragon or something similar terrorizing the village a couple of nights before. But the elder wasn't sure what it was exactly because he was cowering in fear when it was present.

Our party set up the hill consisting of a Fighter (Lews - played by Matt), a magic-user (Mr. Magic played by Tom), a thief (Lakeland - played by Richard), a ranger (Grimm - played by Mike), a cleric (Bradford - played by Marc), and a barbarian (Volrath - played by me). The first thing we notice is that this hill is rather large and there are old ruins and debris scattered everywhere creating walking paths between 10 foot high piles of the previously mentioned. The first encounter were several (I think around 10 or so) wild boars which my barbarian took a pounding from but everyone survived. Mr. Magic asked to borrow 10 feet of rope from Volrath (who it appears was the only one that brought rope and torches) and cast rope trick giving us a safe place to heal and memorize spells again.

The second encounter was with some strange living tree on top of one of the piles of ruins and rubble. It had roots coming out of the sides though that kept ensnaring and attacking us as we got close. Again the group prevailed though.

The third encounter was the first one to really scare me. We came upon a nest of 8 Harpies. Mr. Magic's web spell worked wonders and we ultimately vanquished this foe as well.

The final encounter of our first session pitted our adventurers against 8 gargoyles. The first round showed the gargoyles tearing most of us to shreds so Mr. Magic quickly cast his rope trick and we scampered up the rope and hid there for awhile and discussed our retreat. We utilized the invisibility spell and some clever tricks to distract the gargoyles giving us a chance to retreat to town to lick our wounds and discuss how to get past this encounter.

Volrath's Shield

Last night we continued our efforts up the hill but without our most valuable cleric. We knew from the beginning we were going to have to use our heads to survive this one. Our first task was to devise a plan on how to deal with the deadly gargoyles. We talked about using nets and maybe a boat to barricade ourselves into a choke point area in an attempt to deal with a minimum number of opponents at once. We decided to use the handy web spell again and it worked well. We took some bumps and bruises but we managed to dispatch our foes and moved further up the hill.

The next obstacle were a couple of thugs and a half dozen or so of zombies. Our scouts made quick work of the two thugs and the group finished off the zombies fairly quickly. Not far from this location we ran into more zombies, thugs, skeletons and some kind of grey robed mystic. The group confronted the undead and thugs while Volrath circled around and noticed the mystic in the back. Once he got an opportunity he charged and eventually subdued his opponent. Things got really weird during this fight as a thug surrended and Lews attempted to accept his surrender and move him toward the back of the fray where Volrath, Mr. Magic and the captured mystic were. During this time our thief became confused and kept firing arrows past Lews trying to kill the surrendering thug. When things were all said and done we got what information and loot from the mystic and Lakeland befriended the thug we came to find out was named Bob. He even offered him a percentage of loot as he agreed to travel along with us.

Nightfall was upon us and we knew we only had a day left to complete our mission so we decided to just move on. It turned out we were not far from the top of the hill finally. Grimm scouted ahead with his darkvision and found a large pit that looked like an old temple had caved into the hill. At the bottom of the pit there was a young blue dragon. The party other than Bob who was terrified made a plan to sneak in and see what they could investigate using invisibility. After we regrouped and made our way back to the pit which was approximately three hours later the dragon was no where in sight. Half of the party made its way down into the pit and found the scrolls scattered around the floor. Some of the party succumbed to their greed and started looking for dragon loot and the dragon returned before we could make our escape. A deadly battle ensued which seen both the wizard and the ranger fall. Blood was everywhere when the old battle brothers Lews and Volrath felled the beast on two final swings of their weapons. The scrolls and loot were gathered up and the party returned to the village to report to the elder what had transpired. That concluded our first adventure. We actually played quite a bit later than we usually do simply because we suspected we were close and things were going well and fun was being had.

Volrath's Wolfskin Cloak

John was the first of the five to DM this adventure. John, Tom and I are all out next week so Mike is planning on running a one shot horror game he found recently for the remainder of the group if they get together. We will spend the next week or two figuring out if John will run another shorter adventure or if one of the other four of us will pick up the torch. We had originally envisioned each DM would get to run 3 to 4 sessions before switching and John only got to put in 2 for this one as we learned what was and wasn't working for the system we put together.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Beginnings of Volrath Kronlaw

Our new 5 DM campaign finally kicked off this past Wednesday night. We began the session figuring out brief backgrounds and using those to determine what our Aspects were going to be. The Aspects would in turn give us points of how our player characters were connected and give us points to earn addition hero points to use throughout the campaign. The characters player began the aspect backgrounds and then the sheets were passed around twice to different players to add how they were connected to that character. Below are the three stories that helped shape my barbarian characters background.

My Bit:
Volrath Kronlaw was the youngest of 4 sons to the Lord of Kronheim. His family has lead and protected his tribe for generations until recently. There has been an ever growing force on the island of Sigkara and many bad things have been happening. What once was a simple yet wild land, has been increasingly rampant with war. Volrath was tasked to train the defenders on the eastern range in preparation of war from invading armies located in the south. These armies were men but none like he had ever seen before. They were scrawny looking but they were tricky and wielded powerful dark mystic powers. His people have since called them the Warped Mystics. The message was received to begin the march southwest where his and his father's forces would meet to repel the Warped Mystics. Unfortunately, when he arrived the only thing he found was a single robe wearing mystic and miles of ice in all directions. They mystic began to chant something. There was a blinding light and a deafening roar of thunder. Then everything went black...

Matt's Addition:
Lews Therin met Volrath years past, and was linked somehow by fate. When Kronheim's army vanished Lews had to lend his support. But he must first meet Ilyena at the palace... (This is how Lews the fighter, Matt's character are connected)

Mike's Addition:
When Volrath arrived in Sosaria, he found the "civilized" kingdom difficult to understand. One of the first people he befriended was a feral woodsman with a hideous face and teaming with hordes of lice. They fought the Ugluk tribe of ogres together. (This is how Mike's character Grimm was connected to mine)

I do not have my character sheet in front of me but here are the aspects that I remember adding to it: Big & Strong, Enemies: Warped Mystics and Ugluk Ogres, Champion of Kronheim, fascinated by weaponry, good judge of other defenders and champions, weakness for brewery. These will give any of the DM's some good aspects to twist into their stories and adventures.

The first image at the top of this post is the miniatures that I still need to paint up but hope to work on it if not finish it this weekend. I will finish the post with the make of Sigkara which is Volrath's homeland.

Five Wishes for 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons : Critical Hits

Five Wishes for 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons : Critical Hits

One of the things I have begun doing is adding interesting and entertaining blog subscriptions to my Google reader. Today I read the above article and thought it was interesting as everyone continues to speculate what 5e will be. From what little experience I have with 4e I really don't have a lot of things that I don't like. I wouldn't mind a quicker combat only to easily offset the combat and role playing aspects. What would you you like to see added, removed or changed in the next version?
I apologize for errors in this post. It is the first from my mobile device while traveling.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Iron Chef Adventure Challenge: D&D Style

As I previously mentioned Mike over at Swords & Dorkery has begun a little contest using the old TSR Collector Cards. You can go to his blog to see the full details. Basically we are to open a pack of TSR Collector Cards which contain 16 cards each. Our task is to design an adventure using at least half (8) of the cards in the pack we open up.

I was torn between participating in the contest and helping to judge since Mike said he may try to enlist some of our gaming group to help in picking the winner. My only real concern was whether or not Mike planned on using any of the entries in our new Campaign starting soon. Since he informed me that he did not plan on doing any such thing it left me free to decide how I wanted to participate. I decided to enter the contest and opened my pack Wednesday night. I ended up with 4 Spelljammer and a couple of Greyhawk cards. I figured between the generic cards, the couple of Greyhawk and a Forgotten Realms card I should be able to pick 8 to use for my adventure.

Here are the cards I ended up with:

Magical Quill
Human Barbarian
Magical Canoe
Magical Potion
Magical Chariot
Pyros Silverbane
Ferret Familiar

All in all I think I ended up with some good luck. Very quickly I had an idea of what the adventure would consist of. Now I just need to decide the details, weave it all together and figure out the layout of how to present my adventure.

This sounds like a very fun and interesting contest and I would highly suggest checking out Mikes blog if you are interested in taking part. I don't know how many entries are available or how many have already been spoken for but the end products are certainly going to be interesting!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

5 GM Rotating Campaign Update and more.

Well it appears that we are still moving forward with our grand idea of starting a new campaign using 5 separate DM/GM/CK (Game Runner). We have had two sessions simply trying to hash out the details with a third to follow tonight. We should end up with a summary of what we want to do as well as possible briefly play test a thing or two. The question was posed today via email if anyone had a list of what we had decided on. It turns out we only had some notes from our initial discussion session but forgot to get anything from the last one.

Luckily Mike had some notes and Tom and John recall some of the things we successfully hashed out. There are a ton of emails that could be rifled through looking for answers if it comes down to that. The discussions for this campaign have definitely been the most email activity our yahoo group has seen since I joined. There have been a couple of times several of us have felt simply overwhelmed and decided to hold off topics until face to face discussions.

The only things that I know for sure that has been decided are we are:

Core System - Castles & Crusades
Campaign Geography - Multiple islands controlled by each DM with a central common island for HQ
PC Starting Experience - 6006 which is 3rd level for most if not all classes.
C&C Primes - ALL races get 3 prime attributes of +5 and +1 to non prime. Humans get +6 for the 3 primes.
Demi-Humans are allowed
No planar travel
Demons & Devils are considered "Monsters" so they may appear in the campaign.
No physical manifestations of Gods
Death & Dismemberment table created and agreed upon

There are still a lot of things up in the air but should fall into place tonight hopefully. Some things we are still tweaking or working out details of are:

Age for weapons and armor - this is either going to be medieval or roman
Campaign settings of each island
Gold & Encumbrance - Working out tweaks to use Lamentation of the Flame Princess chart
Religion yet to be decided
Aspects or Allegiances used in place of alignments for hooks and to encourage stories and RP.
Hero Points system which will be connected to the above mentioned Aspects.

As you can easily see there is a lot to take care of still but once decided on and typed up I think we will end up with a great campaign that we will all enjoy. Either that will happen or we will all end up hating it due to everyone making compromises along the way!

I also wanted to point out two other things.

1.  Mike is running a really fun contest over at his blog Swords & Dorkery using TSR CCG packs to design an adventure. Go check it out here:

2. As if I have free time on my hands I have created another blog which will showcase my new Malifaux gaming addiction. I was going to post them here but I wanted to keep my d20 and skirmisher gaming systems separate. If you are interested in those types of game though, please check out my new blog Table Top Breach here:

Monday, September 19, 2011

Eye on Ashenclaw: Which version of D&D do you play?

Just a quick post here to share a great article that hits home for me at the moment. I am always hearing a lot of edition bashing these days as I surf the net and listen to various podcast shows. With that being said, I don't truly have a preference on which version I like at this time. I have not written off 4e, I haven't played 2e since the mid to late 90's and I have mixed feelings about the old school basic and 1e systems.

Be sure to swing on over to Gary's article and chime in with a post of which you prefer and maybe why.

Eye on Ashenclaw: Which version of D&D do you play?: I was going to do a post about different gaming attractions and such, but then I decided to break it down into different versions of Dung...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

D&D 4e: Top 12 Ways to Stop Sounding So Damn Metagamey

This was an interesting blog post regarding "role playing vs. meta-gaming". The article itself made me think about some of my own play styles. I have always loved role-playing games but have never been a HUGE role player. I have my moments at the table but I've never been the "act" it out type.

I think the responses to the article added even more to the entire topic! After reading the article and responses I think one of the reasons I don't role play as much is I find myself worrying too much about the environment and fights. I spend more time and energy on wondering how to get my character and party through situations alive than actually role playing. I am trying to make a conscious effort to increase the frequency of my role playing during sessions but it will definitely take time.

D&D 4e: Top 12 Ways to Stop Sounding So Damn Metagamey

Check out the article and let us know your thoughts. Do you and your group role play more or meta-game more?

5 DM's, 7 Players... LOTS of ideas!

Let me first explain that we have a total of 7 players going into our new campaign. Of those 7 players 5 of us are going to rotate being DM. This will hopefully ease the burnout effect of constantly DM'ing. It should also create new environments as you transition from one DM's game to the next.

Six of the seven players met on our usual gaming night last night to start hashing out ideas and issues. The only player not able to make it was on a cruise but our planning will continue through next week so he should have time to put his input in yet as well.

The first thing we did was decide on which gaming system we wanted to start with and build from there. Some of those mentioned were AD&D 2e, AD&D 3e, AD&D 3.5, 6E and Castles & Crusades. There was also the possibility of creating a complete mix and match of various system features we liked. We ultimately decided on using Castles & Crusades as our base system.

From there we began listing topics we wanted to address and figure out how our campaign would handle them. These ranged from religion, magic, survivability, treasure, money sinks and action points. There were many more but you should be able to get the general idea of our process from that. We quickly discovered our views and opinions varied on almost every subject. However, it was a great brainstorming session with much accomplished in the hours spent together.

At this moment we have decided that each DM will have a large island mass to build their world on. This is approximately the size of England. We wanted there to be enough space to have different areas but not so large that it would take you months to travel from point to point. There will more than likely be a sixth landmass that will be the common area or base of operations for the adventurers.

The next thing we decided were some ways to increase the survivability of our heroes. This was a hot topic in our emails last week. Our group of gamers range from thinking death should always be present around every corner to the thought our characters should not be average folk but heroes just starting out. We came up with the solution of getting max hit points each time you level rather than rolling the hit dice to see what you end up with that level. We also decided that raise dead would be available but not everywhere in the world. By having the max hit points we are assuming the heroes will be wise enough and durable enough to retreat from battle if necessary and in a timely manner. Lastly, Mike is working on a couple of options for a death and dismemberment table for what happens at zero hit points or below.

We decided religion would exist but I think we are leaning more toward many gods rather than an all encompassing church throughout the world. This may yet change. We also figured we will more than likely do away with the traditional alignments and do an allegiance or aspect system which John is working on some options to present to the group. We definitely want there to be repercussions for doing evil acts but we want there to be more option to role play among the party without straight up arguments and someone needing to have their character removed from the party.

We discussed several possible ways to increase the enjoyment of magic user players as well. If I recall correctly we decided to give magic users the ability to scribe scrolls right from the start. I don't remember what the cost per scroll will be but this will also help us add a money sink aspect to our campaign as well. The choice was made to have all characters begin with approximately 6000 experience making any character rolled up be level 3. This will hopefully get rid of some of the previously mentioned non-heroic characters as well as increase the enjoyment and usefulness of magic users and other classes that start out slow.

This brings us to the subject of experience. We wanted to actually slow the experience gain process so that when your turn came around to DM it wasn't 5 or 6 levels later. What we came up with was a simple solution. Each DM will get 3 to 4 sessions to run an adventure. By the end of that adventure all characters in the party would get the average level of the party X 1000 experience. We originally discussed using the fighter's experience as the base but I simply stated average level of the party in case we happen to not have a fighter. So an example would be a 3rd level Fighter in group would give everyone in the party 3,000 experience points. The first couple of levels may go fairly quickly but by around level 5 or 6 the speed at which characters level up with slow down considerably.

Tom is always a fanatic about weapons and armor so he is working up some options for that. We also want magical items available in the world but not over populated. This was more of an agreement rather than any set method of measurement.

In addition to the allegiance and aspect system that John is working on, he is also coming up with a couple of possible action, hero, awesome points possibilities. This stems from our awesome Old School Hack session a couple of weeks ago. It would need to be tweaked to be used in a traditional d20 system like we are running but I think we can come up with something.

As far as the setting of the campaign goes, we decided on a lower magical fantasy setting without gunpowder and laser beams. There will also be no physical manifestations of gods. However, we decided to leave demons and devils in the world but they are not considered monsters rather than gods.

All in all we accomplished a lot last night even if we didn't work on much of the world building itself. Mike found a game of sorts to use to build a world but I don't know if we are going to use that method or just draw up our own islands. I have found a few island maps to use as guidance if we end up designing them on our own but if not, I am definitely up for giving the world building game a shot too!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Gaming Miniatures - Art or Tool?

I have finally picked up my paint brushes again after more than six months off from painting miniatures. I was really wondering how rusty I would be since this was my first long term break from the hobby since starting last year. Now let me first say that I am by no means a professional or do I ever plan to be. I got into miniature wargaming last year as an alternative to table top roleplaying simply due to the fact it only took one other player and I thought it would be easier to get games in with my crazy work schedule. That lasted for about 6 months and then I wasn't finding time or desire to either play or paint. I really enjoyed the two parts to the hobby though. I liked gaming and I found that I really liked painting and building miniatures and terrain.

If you have read any of my previous posts, you already know that I have recently gotten back in touch with my roleplaying group and have been having a great time. Seeing the mass amounts of miniatures that our host Mike has always gets me wanting to do some more work on mine at home.

This lead me to finally get my work bench cleaned up and break out the paints and brushes and get to work. Now I was definitely rusty with the first couple hundred strokes and still have a way to go before I get back to the skill level and confidence that I was previously at. However, I was surprised at how quickly the feel and knowledge is coming back to me. I have about 20 unpainted (now stripped clean of previous paint or primered) ready to be worked on. I have two going right now. One is a D&D looking knight or similarly armored adventurer which I am practicing my brush control due to the intricate details in the armor and on the shield. The other is a lowly skeletal warrior from Reaper that I took a shot at simply base coat colors and attempted to use the Army Painter Quickshade I have had since last year. I am not too happy with the current results. It appeared to leave a bit too much of the Quickshade on the miniature than I wanted. This may be due to the fact of me not shaking enough off or it might be the intended effect. As I said this was the first time I have used it. I also think I will change up the base colors more on the next attempt. I have not written this miniature off to be put into the Dettol bath just yet. I have some weathering effects I am going to use to practice and see how he comes out.

Once I get my stroke back and the few miniatures I have at home to paint (This does not count the hundreds of unpainted WH40K or Malifaux minis) I offered to help Mike get some of his vintage D&D minis painted up.

The question I have for others in the Table Top Gaming community is how much time and detail do you put into your miniatures? I know when I was doing the wargaming it was a big deal because many tournaments scored not only on your gaming points but also your painting and army composition. I am sure the detail put forth in Table Top Gaming varies drastically but I am just curious as I paint away on my own. Are you striving for effects such as Massive Voodoo, Awesome Paint Job or Laszlo from the Hot Lead DVD series? Or are you happy just to have a decently painted and based miniature to push around a grid on top of the table?

Some Samples of the three mentioned above. Some tremendous artists to say the least!

Massive Voodoo

Les Burley - Awesome Paint Job

Laszlo - Hot Lead DVD

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Old School Hack Shenanigans

Well our usually scheduled D&D gaming session was canceled due to a last minute family emergency with our GM. I am told everything is all right now thankfully. The rest of us that were already at our host's house discussed what we should do. Most of us seemed up for just about anything and one of our players (John) actually had a couple of gaming system print offs in his bag and volunteered to run an Old School Hack game for us all.

After a few minutes of gathering paper, creating characters (which were left up to chance with a roll of a dice just to make things interesting) and a brief run down of some rules we were off and running. Our adventure began with our party members (An Elf, Fighter, Goblin and Monk) drinking it up in a tavern. We immediately heard a commotion outside and all but the Elf rushed out the door to see what the trouble was. We quickly got accustomed to the fight mechanics with the use of "awesome points", which I will get to in just a moment. We did use a grid sheet that is almost always on the table but the system uses "arenas" to determine movement and proximity for fighting and shooting. It really didn't take much more than the first fight for us all to start getting the hang of things. Our Fighter (played by Mike) quickly dispatched the zombie dog type creature as I arrived at his side. Further down the alley a well dressed merchant fellow was creeping around and our night watchman feeling Goblin sneaked down that way in the shadows to investigate. The Goblin (played by Marc) was very civil yet authoritative in his attempt to question the merchant as the merchant tried to flee. I on the other hand used my blessed rod of LeeBruce to the head to knock him unconscious. The Elf (played by Matt) was somewhere still near the tavern wondering if he should pay the tab or join the party.

Seriously though this game was a lot of fun. We really got into the "awesome points" just having fun and laughing for about 3 and a half hours last night. I really enjoyed using these points to attempt crazy Kung Fu type moves as well as making way too many innuendos regarding my blessed rod. I was performing somersaults and cart wheels while doing attacks and just having a blast!

Our fellow gamer/blogger/host Mike actually mentioned Old School Hack won an ENnie this year and I had forgotten all about that. You check out Mike's blog (Swords & Dorkery) through the links to the right here where the blogs I follow are located, or by clicking here:

I would also suggest checking out Old School Hack for yourself if you haven't already. You can find their website here:

Lastly, don't forget to check out the list of ENnie winners and nominations list here:

Monday, August 29, 2011

Podcast Traveling Companion Issue #1

Let me first say that I do a lot of traveling. It is not out of the ordinary for me to spend 3 to 8 hours driving in a single day. Last year I was listening to some Podcast episodes while I would drive. Let's keep in mind that I only put one earpiece in so I can still hear what is going on around me. It wouldn't do much good if I enjoy listening to some Podcast fun but don't end up making it to my destination in one piece.

To make a long story short, I forgot about this entertaining past time until I recently seen a tweet about an overly long six hour plus Podcast about Gencon. I had a trip planned to Greensboro, NC last week which is about a 7 hour drive once way so I quickly did some searching for D&D and RPG Podcasts to download and toss on the Ipod. I ended up finding 3 that sounded interesting and was very pleased at what I heard.

I made it through episodes 1 through 10 of the Dungeon Master Guys and it kept me entertained for almost the entire drive down. It was a great mix of various different RPG table top games. I really enjoyed the interviews while at conventions as well as the answering of questions sent in by other readers and listeners. If you happen to have been as clueless to this fantastic Podcast you can find it here:

I also was able to listen to a single episode of Chronicles Pathfinder Podcast which happened to be number 9 in that series. It was considerably longer and was extremely informative and entertaining as I am just beginning to find out about Pathfinder. There was a ton of different topics covered including a min-max build for a Barbarian that sounded amazingly fun to play. If I ever get a chance to get into a Pathfinder game here I just may try to make it and see how it turns out. You can find the Chronicles Pathfinder Podcast here:

I have already downloaded several more episodes of Chronicles: Pathfinder and several Flagons and Dragons. If anyone knows of some other D&D or RPG style Podcast I should check out, please drop me a line here or on twitter @cfallsgamer

Sunday, August 21, 2011

More Gaming Fix Needed

So last month I got back in touch with my old gaming group and have been working my way back into their sessions. The last time I played was late last year and we were using a slightly modified house ruled Castles & Crusades system. It turns out I missed the entire time span that our GM/DM had changed to one of the other guys. I attended his last session (mostly to create a character when that campaign gets picked back up in a couple of months). I have also attended two more sessions and we are back to our usual GM and now running AD&D which it sounds like there might be a few house rules coming very soon to this as well. There are two new guys to the group and both seem cool and level headed which makes for great additions to the games.

However, I find myself constantly wanting to get more games in. The above mentioned group meets every Wednesday and I try to make as many as I can but sometimes work has me traveling and I have no choice but to miss a session or two. With that being said, most of my work travels happen during the week so I am thinking of trying to find some more gaming action to add to my weekends.

I do belong to an online group and decided to see what has been happening there lately. It seems that Pathfinder has become the predominant system in this group and is actually one of the systems I have been researching anyways. I looked at the group calender and it seen there were two Pathfinder games and a D&D 2e game being hosted in the town I live in. I mapped it and to my surprise the games are being hosted about six blocks from me own house! I contact the host/organizer and it turns out that his games are full for the foreseeable future but will let me know if a seat opens up so I can get a sample of Pathfinder.

Another thing I find interesting is the Pathfinder Society which from what I can see is some type of worldwide organized campaign. I just started reading up on this today so don't have a firm grasp on it just yet.

Now I have also had an urge lately to possible try my hand at hosting/running a campaign myself. I have purchased some Pathfinder core materials and own quite a bit of Castles & Crusades and D&D 4e. I am just not sure I have the confidence in knowing the rules or in my own creativity to give this a shot just yet.

I tend to really throw myself into whatever it is I do. This means over the next few weeks I plan to research hosting/running games as much as I can. If anyone knows where I can find some good tips or advice in GM'ing, please let me know.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Badur's Journal 8-17-11

The following text was translated from dwarvish to common…

     I was woken by the sound of heavy footfalls outside of my tavern room. There was a quiet knock on the door and then someone whispering that they needed to speak to me in my native language. I began to gather myself and walk to the door as I recalled my mission to find the missing young Hammerdown clansman warrior. I was hoping this may be further information to help me on my way.
     As the door swung open I noticed a fellow dwarf slightly older than myself standing there dressed as a traveler and a look of urgency on his face. He quickly asked me if we could go somewhere more private to discuss news regarding my mission. We left the inn and as we walked the ambassador from Harkwood informed me that the importance was not so much the return or confirmation of the whereabouts of the missing young warrior but the retrieval of a necklace and pendant he carried around his neck. It turns out the pendant held the key to the history of the Hammerdown clan. The old dwarf continued to inform me that if I could retrieve the pendant, my reward would be a thousand silver pieces on top of what was already offered me. I told the fella to rest assured I would do what I could.
     I returned to the Inn a short time later to find out my traveling companions had vanished. I didn’t think much of it and went to the bar for a drink or two before falling asleep.
     Once again I was woken from a deep sleep as two of my companions burst into my room acting hysterically. Morax finally calmed himself long enough to inform me that everyone had left to head for the orc lands without me when they couldn’t find me last night. The other three adventurers had been either killed or captured. I gathered my gear as the other two ran about town trying to enlist the help of some men at arms.
     The three of us and our newly hired help set off as quickly as possible in search for our friends. Not far from the Keep on the Borderlands we came across an approaching kobold patrol. We quickly got off the road in hopes to surprise our opponents but did not succeed and the battle ensued. The six kobolds were quickly dispatched and we continued on toward the valley my companions said they had previously run into trouble. As we approached cautiously we came to find the valley looking rather deserted during the daylight hours. We did some investigating to find several cave entrances. We picked one in hopes it may lead us to our friends or at the very least some answers.
     Our shady magic-user (I believe he has been practicing his thieving skills lately) led the way searching for trouble. Not far from the entrance he found another small group of kobolds guarding a hallway which he quickly cast sleep on. As he walked toward them the floor gave out below him and he fell into a pit trap. We then were quickly overtaken by about a dozen large rats as I and two of our hired hands made our way to the kobold alcove. My new friends held off the rats long enough for me to dispatch the sleeping kobolds before they woke. Unfortunately by the end of the fight the only survivors were Morax, myself and two companions stuck in the pit. We healed the wounded and headed back out to a hermit’s house in the woods to prepare for the night and try to make another attempt the following morning.
     The next morning we attempted to cautiously approach the valley clearing again but with much less desired results. Five orcs had positioned themselves behind a defensive wall and noticed our magic-user at the same time he noticed them. He was quickly felled by a volley of arrows. The rest of us quickly ran to cover not far from our fallen friend. Half of the party rushed the now rushing orcs and delayed them long enough for us to heal the fallen and head into the fray. Once again the group prevailed with several new scars and help from magic. This time we took a captive and returned to the Keep. We didn’t learn much from our interrogation other than what some of various races of foes we could expect to face in the future. After turning over our captive to the keep guard they quickly strung him up and let him hang from the outer wall.
     We returned to the same cave and this time our scout did not fall into the pit trap but did find another set of kobold guards in the same alcove. He dispatched them and dumped their bodies into the trap which triggered the secondary trap again. This time a giant rat appeared but our hired companions used their range weapons and killed it before it could reach our magic-user. We slowly made our way deeper into the cave and found a large common room full of several dozen of kobolds and our captive companions held nearly naked in cages on the far side of the room. Once again, to my disdain, magic served us well in putting all of the warrior type kobolds asleep. Our party quickly filed into the room and began a quick battle that seen kobolds die and flee in terror as their chieftain fell to the floor dead. The missing companions were freed, more kobolds were found and released and lots of treasure was found.
     The last area we explored was where the rats had been coming from where we found a large pile of feces lay. Quickly investigating the room and the pile revealed a chain and pendant with the Hammerdown clan insignia on it. I asked the group if I may keep it safe to return it to the clan. They did not have a problem with that. Once the group returned to town I returned the chain and pendant and received my reward. I have taken my first steps in becoming a hero in the eyes of my kinsmen.