Friday, May 31, 2024

Random Thoughts & Links for 5/31/2024

- Want the Battle of Five Armies in 15mm?

The price keeps dropping. From $7995 in 2/23 to $5995 now.

Where is the floor for that thing? It started at almost $13K.

- This Death Race game makes me want to play Car Wars. Not enough to deal with my loophole-loving friends, though.

- Permanent monster paralysis in D&D?

- I made a ruling for my DF game by email, which I'll post about tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Away from Blog

Very busy . . . don't expect posts this week until the end, if then.

Friday, May 24, 2024

Random Thoughts and Links for 5/24/24

- Grognardia talks Greyhawk Wars. I had it and sold it . . . that should sum up how good I thought it was. So very vanilla and uninteresting. A mediocre wargame executed without anything to really hook me in. And I like Greyhawk a lot and love wargames.

- Not much love for VTT token packs, I see.

- I did some more writing for the Olympus Gate - it's done, but a little color never hurt.

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Felltower GURPS Magic Rulings: Shield

I'll keep all of the oddball FAQs that come up about the Shield spell in DF Felltower.

Shield and Attacks on Weapons - Defenses against an attack on the subject's weapon do not benefit from Shield.

Shield and Arcs - Frontal attacks specially only includes the front arc; it does not help againt flank or rear attacks, even if those attacks are part of a runaround attack.

Shield and Meteoric Weapons - DB from Shield doesn't help against meteoric weapons; this is true for both Wizardly and Clerical Shield spells.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Forge Bazaar sale - recommended token or scenery packs?

Anyone have an suggestions?

I'm thinking I'd like to have a token pack for weapons, furniture, and basic dungeon decor without having to take all the pictures and making them into tokens.

A pack of walls and floors I can use to build dungeons might be nice, too.

So if you have any you like, let me know!


Monday, May 20, 2024

More Notes on DF Session 193

Here are some more notes on last session.

- I have a lot of fun with The Oracle. Here he is, stunned that these barbarians can't speak the Tongue of the Gods.

- I enjoy the fact that Hannari refers to the "Annals of Vryce" for information - the summaries. The best part is that Vryce didn't write them, and wouldn't even if you'd paid him to. Vryce was a here-and-now kind of a guy.

- The dragontooth warriors were straight out of Harryhausen special effects. I won't fully reveal their stats, but suffice it to say are glass snipers. Very skilled, reasonably good damage, excellent defenses, not a lot of DR or HP. They aren't - as the PCs found to their dismay - especially vulnerable to crushing attacks. Or cutting. They went down with high damage hits and a few from accumulated damage from lower-damage hits.

I was dismayed that they couldn't score a crit to save their lives. The Guardian made up for that, though!

- The Guadian mini is one I've had for years. In fact, this encounter (although not the map I used) was originally written for my 3rd edition GURPS campaign that ran from roughly 1999-2010 or so. So is Agar's Wand, which, spoiler alert, is in DFT3. If the PCs can retrieve it, they can already know what it does. They didn't in my previous campaign, never having followed up on its location. If they can't, well, it'll sit unused for another campaign! It's got some limits, as it's less of a neutral but driven item like Gram / Balmung /Sigurd's Sword or Shieldslayer, and not the typical nasty weapon like Frenzy, Malice, or Grimslaughter. We'll see what happens.

- I have to check where I wrote our rulings on Shield. I have to write them in their own post. One thing is that it protects you, but doesn't extend to protect your weapon against disarms and breakage.

- Meteoric is anti-magic, not anti-supernatural, and Cosmic is Cosmic. It would have made a difference for the duel if it did!

- The GURPS VTT nicely does Control Points. Sadly, I'm not sure it'll give the numbers I actually use for CP with my stupidly simplified grappling system (and yes, it's more simple than Doug's.)

- The Olympus world isn't a "real" world. It's nonsensical in a lot of ways, with only what needs to be there to facilitate the challenges the world offers. It has its own internal logic, though, and some connections to the rest of the campaign besides just being a place for loot and fun. Mostly, though, it's a multi-delve capable series of one-shot attempts to do the stuff there.

- XP is per session in a gate world, not per delve.

- I suspect the players will likely frantically Google the names I used. They're lifted from Greek myth, of course, and used, generally, as-is. But I don't think they'll help much. Knowing the names of Brontes's brothers will help if they meet them, I suppose. But most of this is a mix of what I liked from the Odyssey, random collections of Greek myths I've read over the years, the Aeneid, bits of Clash of the Titans and Jason and the Argonauts, the odd Hercules movies, and minis I happen to own.

Sunday, May 19, 2024

DF Session 193, Felltower 131 - Olympus Gate II, Part I

Date: May 19th, 2024

Weather: Sunny, warm.

Chop, human cleric (301 points)
Duncan Tesadic, human wizard (300 points)
Hannari Ironhand, dwarf martial artist (316 points)
Persistance Montgomery, human barbarian (300 points)
Thor Halfskepna, human knight (306 points)
Vladimir Luchnick, dwarf martial artist (266 points)

We started off in town, with the group gathering rumors before heading into the dungeon. They briefly debated a different destination, as Thor was nowhere to be found, but he came rolling up late and they were able to head to the Olympus Gate.

Their trip to the gate was uneventful, except for the close air of the "apartment level" causing Percy some trouble. They also smelled a sulfurous smell as they neared one intersection, which they chalked up to a nearby gate.

They reached the gate, cancelled their spells - recalling what they'd read of previous trips - and headed in.

Sure enough, all of their spells - light stones, Walk on Air, etc. were cancelled. They found themselves in on a tiled floor, surrounded by columns, with a fountain in the center. Light came from somewhere centered on the fountain, perhaps the unseen but implied ceiling. Next to the fountain was an older man with a short grey beard, holding a wineskin. He spoke to them in a language they didn't understand.

Hanari gestured to him to give them a drink. Instead the old man spoke louder and slower, and only after seeing that didn't work he offered them a drink. They drank - and Vlad (Gluttony (6)) and Thor - (Impulsiveness and Curiousity) both drank enough to become Tipsy. The oracle - as he describe himself, drew them a map on papyrus and told them of the locations of most interest in this land. They quickly broke out into discussion about what to do while oracle waited impatiently. Finally, they calmed down and he told them there were only three ages - the Age of Myth, which had passed, the Age of Heroes, which is now, and the War of the Gods, which will come.

Armed with a list, the PCs decided to take the areas of interest in what seemed like a logical order.

First up, was the "Field of Teeth," where dragontooth warriors waited for them. They were more and less than men, and more and less than they appeared, they were warned. Once the PCs left the Home of the Oracle, it disappeared behind them.

The PCs headed West, hoping to encounter some locals to get more information. After a few hours they found some well-tended grape vines and an olive grove. The footprints around it were from an enourmous single being with sandled feet. They kept heading west and soon found that being - a 12' cyclops tending a flock of giant sheep. They greeted him. He asked their names, most of whom gave theirs, but Vlad decided to be clever and called himself "Noman." The cyclops, Brontes, warned them off of the Mountain of Chronos, where some of his too-tough-for-them brothers live. He laughed at Vlad's question about the warriors of the field of teeth being either long-toothed or dragonborn (which aren't even a thing in my world, because I think they'll powergamey nonsense.) He did provide some more details. He then asked for a gift for welcoming him to his lands and offering information. Duncan pulled out a pack of wolfsbane he scrounged up between sessions, and said this would help keep wolves away from Brontes's sheep. The cyclops declared it a "wise" gift, and sent them on their way.

They reached the Field of Teeth, which proved to be a stone-edged, long, fallow field. They formed up in an excellent order to avoid getting flanked, but then only a few yards ahead a dozen skeletons rose from the dirt as they stood unable to react. The skeletons attacked with shields and falchions.

The skeletons were very, very quick, and extremely skilled with their falchions. They made quick work of Hanari, who was hacked down into unconsciousness in a few seconds. Thor fended off a number, as Vlad ran back and Duncan walked up out of reach. Percy slew one quickly, only to see it fall to dust along with its weapons. They fired blunt arrows and Stone Missile spells, but the skeletons didn't seem especially vulnerable to anything. In the end, though, the PCs defeated all 12 of them, with only minor wounds to anyone except Hanari.

They found 12 dragon's teeth where the skeletons fell, and determined they were powerful supernatural items but not wizardly magic nor clerical magic. They moved off the field to find a place to camp. Night fell quickly as they sought a place to sleep. They found a place near some trees. They were relieved to see stars and a moon above at night.

The next morning, they checked out the nearby shoreline - it was cliffs, with no clear place to beach a ship.

Next they headed to the Temple of Victory, where they were told a wand awaited those who could defeat the champion.

They found a beautiful temple with a female figure - a goddess of some kind, with a sword in one hand and an owl on the other. The temple was decorated with pillars and statues of horses. Guarding it was a stern looking 6' tall black-haired woman wearing a Corinthian-style helm, a white cloak, a spear, and a shield - and nothing else. Behind her was a pool, with a bronze sword floating in midair over it.

She told them they could challenge her for Agar's Wand. Naturally, there were demands of "Who is Agar?" "What kind of challenge?" and so on, which she ignored except to say that Agar was the first wielder of the wand.

They saw she was protected by some kind of shimmering force once she pulled down her helmet. So they went to buff up Thor, their chosen champion. Chop put Shield +6 on him . . . and to their dismay the Guardian of the Wand got Shield +6, too. So they bailed on giving him +2 HT, as well, a fateful choice.

Thor edged forward, and engaged with the Guardian. They exchanged blows - he used Rapid Strike to strike twice per second with his sword; she, three times per second with her spear. In short order she got a critical hit which not only ignored his defenses but also her spear parted his armor like air and wounded him badly. She didn't strike too hard, but her weapon gave her an offensive edge that negated Thor's defensive edge of heavy armor (he's DR 10 or so normally.) They fenced, with Thor unable to land much of anything, and she tagged him another time. He dropped his sword on a critically failed parry, and went for a slam. She dodged aside. He pulled his meteoric long knife, and - since it ignored her Shield spell, and went to work. But still, she landed a third strike. He managed to cut her once badly, despite some kind of resistance from a shimmering field around her that didn't get ignored by Meteoric.

Thor pushed her back, and then she dropped her spear on a critical miss thanks to his critical parry. He stood in her hex and slashed away, hitting her several times but for very little damage, rolling quite poorly. She kept grabbing for her spear, first failing a kick-up, and then crouching down and spending a few seconds trying to make the DX roll for ready in Close Combat. In the end, she got her spear and stood up . . . just as Thor finally passed out from his wounds.

She let them drag the defeated away, and immediately healed up and retook her position.

They looked around for another champion . . . and are trying to decide between Duncan (going in with a maxed-out Stone Missile) or Percy (buffed like crazy with spells that can be ignored with Thor's meteoric long knife.)

That's where we left it.


Not much time tonight, so I'll do notes tomorrow and back link here.

Thor's player was really frustrated with his rolling, but also with the fact that the guardian was able to ready her spear and he couldn't just stomp it back down to the ground and pin it. I'm sympathetic, but he had plenty of chances to do that before she did her Ready. Once a person has executed a Ready, it's over - GURPS doesn't allow for interrupting an action partly through except in a few cases involving Wait. It was a good idea but thought of too late. I do like the visual idea of stomping a spear down as someone tries to ready it, but it was already Ready. So, sympathetic, but there was an automatic success for Thor waiting for several turns and then it was too late as there was a rolled sucess for the guardian.

XP was 4 each. MVP was Duncan for some nice damage inflicted in the skeleton fight and the wolfsbane gift. Percy's player wasn't around, be knowing it was a 2-3 session delve, he asked if we could bring his guy along as he was stuck unable to play. I allowed it.

Friday, May 17, 2024

Random links for 5/17/2024

- I like posts about gladiators.

- Gamma World, baby.

Retrospective: TSR's Gamma World

I really liked 2nd edition when I was a kid, but I started with 1st edition. 2nd edition was a much better toolkit for running the game, but also made the world feel safer, more developed, and tech more like general equipment. 1st edition scared me a bit when I was a kid, and I love it to this day. I'd mine the hell out of 2nd edition if I ran a game there, though. The ruins of Pitz Burke are a great sandbox.

- There is a draft of the newest edition of Labyrinth Lord available.

- We're set to game Sunday, into the Olympus Gate. It's 100% assured to be a multi-session delve.

- Medieval art inspiration for Spelljammer? Apparantly yes.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

The Brotherhood Complex, organized opposition, and the DMG

The Brotherhood Complex was the site of a full TPK in my Felltower campaign. Literally no one escaped that fight. The PCs ran into organized foes, beat them up a bit, and then lost against a regrouped foe.

Part of this I can credit to Gary Gygax. I was hugely influenced by the DMG as a young gamer. It's one of the two first books I owned - the Fiend Folio and The Dungeonmasters Guide. One section I read over and over was MONSTERS AND ORGANIZATION, DMG p. 104-105.

That outlines a number of scenarios - PCs versus undead in a dungeon crypt, against giant ants in a lair, against humanoids, against a town, against a bandit camp, and against a fortress.

They're all great stuff. Let me quote extensively to show you what I mean:

SITUATION 1 (Sl) is where encounter occurs for the first time, and while the party inflicts casualties upon the monsters, victory is denied; the party then leaves with its wounded, regroups, and returns one full week later to finish the job. SITUATION 2 (S2) is where the party, rested, healed, and ready for action, has now re-encountered the monsters in question. In both situations the response of the monsters concerned will be detailed so you can use the examples in handling actual play.


EXAMPLE VI: The party discovers a fortress and attacks.

s1. Guards will instantly sound a warning to alert the place. Alarms will be sounded from several places within the fortress. Leaders will move to hold the place, or expel invaders, with great vigor. Spell casters will be likely to have specific stations and assigned duties - such as casting fireballs, lighting bolts, flame strikes, cloudkills, dispel magics, and like spells. Defenders are out to KILL, not deal stupidly or gently with, attackers, and they will typically ask no quarter, nor give any. In like fashion, traps within the fortress will be lethal. As action continues, commanders will assess the party's strengths, weaknesses, defense, and attack modes and counter appropriately. If the party is within the fortress, possible entry points and escape routes will be sealed off. When the attackers pull back, it is very likely that they will be counterattacked, or at least harassed. Additionally, members of the force of the stronghold will track the party continually as long as they are within striking distance of the fortress.

S2. The fortress will most likely have replaced all losses and have rein- forcements in addition. An ambush might be laid for the attackers when they approach. A sally force will be ready to fall upon the attackers (preferably when engaged in front so as to strike the flank or rear). Siege machinery, oil, missiles, etc. will be ready and in good supply. Repairs to defenses will be made as thoroughly as time and materials permitted. Weak areas will have been blocked off, isolated, and trapped as well as possible under the circumstances. Leaders will be nearby to take immediate charge. Spell casters might be disguised as guards, or hidden near guard posts, in order to surprise attackers. Any retreat by the attackers will be followed up by a hot pursuit.

How to Defend Your Lair is a good, modern version of the same.

I absolutely run my foes this way, with the bit about S2 from the bandit camp as well - sometimes, they're just gone. But if they're there, they act like the above. They are fighting hard and intelligently. They won't sit in clumps and let you clear them room by room. They won't let you just rest, recoup, and attack again without a response.

The Brotherhood Complex is such a place. The deeper levels of Felltower - with the "Gith," are the same. The orcs, same. They want to fight and win, and you can't gobble them up little by little without risk. It might take a decisive win and immediately followup; what makes that win decisive depends on their center of gravity and their interests.

The PCs can absolutely smash the place . . . but it's not a "beginner" dungeon anymore. It's not a quick side trip. If it will be done it will take something more than a series of tentative delves. It's not that kind of place anymore.

Monday, May 13, 2024

Painting glasses?

I'm thinking of getting back into painting minis. I stopped a while back - maybe a couple years ago, maybe longer - whenever my last WIP post was, in all likelihood. I stopped for a few reasons, but a big one is vision. I wear glasses for vision correction, but painted without them. Now, though, my close-in vision is sufficiently poor that holding a 28mm mini in close is still not enough to see details and is very tiring on my eyes, as well.

I cannot paint with an external magnifying glass. I have a rig for such, but I just can't handle the different levels of magification between my hand, the brush, the glass, and what's magnified in the glass. I tried and failed.

So I'm thinking I need something like this:

Painting like Joubert

Or a pair of magnifying glasses I can wear. I don't know if it's possible for me to paint even with such a setup, but I'm going to try.

Does anyone have a recommendation from experience? I've done some random searching, but actual use experience would be helpful so I'm not just guessing and spending.

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Brotherhood Complex: Scouting Results

Vladimir Luchnik, dwarf scout, decided to spend his downtime camped out near the so-called Brotherhood Complex where a previous party had died.

Here is what the results of his Observation roll turned up.

Vlad's scouting reveals:

- the Brotherhood Complex near Arras is in active use.

- it's clearly occupied by a fairly sizeable amount of residents. Based on the food going in and direct observation, maybe 20-30 men and 20-30 gnolls.

- they've brought a big shipment of scrap metal and iron ingots in.

- the area outside the complex isn't guarded and they don't seem to pay attention to perimeter security at all.

- one group of down-on-their luck types went in, guarded by cultists, but seemingly willingly entered. There were about 12 of the new guys and six cultists.

The place seems potentially well guarded and has a clearly active population of intelligent residents.

I am not sure what the PCs will do about this - but if the reaction to "let's camp in a dead end in the dungeon" last time wasn't sufficiently clear, this should reinforce that last point. This is an actively held fortress underground, not a clear-as-you-please level of dungeons.

Friday, May 10, 2024

Random Notes & Thoughts for 5/10/2024

End of the weekdays means random stuff!

- So, this comic was exactly how I was running Handsome. Well, except for spending money on bow-related stuff, he literally looted everything else combat-related after character generation.

The Weekly Roll #150

- I like this line of thought - making traps totally obvious and force you to engage with traps. I may need to do more of this.

Don't Hide Traps

I'm not sure how I'd implement it to makes Traps a still-useful skill, but still.

And I do like hidden traps enough to keep them around.

And it does mean it's pitting my knowledge of engineering vs. my players that include folks who are actually engineers, one architect, a guy with a degree in materials science . . . which is extremely challenging vs. just putting a Link spell with an offensive spell on it. Because honestly I suck at the very things they're good at, and pitting my knowledge vs. theirs in a way sure to consume time and then bitching about turning dungeon exploration into physics and engineering problems . . . well, it seems like a poor choice for me.

Still, I like "the more dangerous it is, the more obvious it needs to be." And I do find the hazards I put in the dungeon - and the "trap here, beware!" encounters - generally create the most fun.

- Why the weird wizard garb?

I like this a lot.

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Prepping for Olympus

I haven't posted this week because I've been spending all of my gaming-related time working on the Olympus Gate.

I won't lie; I didn't have this one prepped. I knew what I wanted to do for repeat visits, but I didn't write it all out. I had a few sketch notes and a lot going on in my head.

So this week I spent my time combing through my notes and rapidly filling out the framework in my head with more details.

I can promise it is a Danger Pocket. It will be potentially deadly, with foes I'm not sure the PCs can take or not. But it has loot that will significantly improve the PCs who do survive. And like the previous visit, it's all or nothing, one shot. You can't take nibbles of this gate; if you leave and come back, what you find will be different than before. It's a gate to another world, not a door to a mini-dungeon.

I'm excited for this one.

Monday, May 6, 2024

Call off the search - James Bond game found

On Friday I mentioned not being able to locate a box of my game books.

It turns out I did bring them to a relative's house and store them in a closet. Probably I was just clearing space to help the move, as a few other large items ended up all in that one spot.

Now it's back - MSH, Top Secret, T2K, Star Frontiers, Star Ace, Gangbusters, James Bond 007, and a few other things - like my Car Wars sets and Ogre - were there with it.


Sunday, May 5, 2024

The Fates Say Olympus

The PCs have decided - the current core four players have all decided to go for the Olympus Gate.

I will be prepping that for the VTT and getting ready to go. It should be dangerous, but fun . . .

Saturday, May 4, 2024

I didn't even know I hit 'em - Situational Awarness rule spinoff

Doug posted a very interesting idea over on Gaming Ballistic.

Randomly Aware – Fast Situational Awareness

It occasioned a thought or two.

What if you needed a Per roll - or perhaps a Per-based weapon roll, even better - to know what you did to the target? It would fit. Only experienced or observant fighters would know how well their blow landed.

You could apply the same to allies and enemies, too. You'd need a roll to spot what happened to a foe. "Thor swung at that guy and then the guy fell" might be "Guy critically failed Dodge and was hit but undamaged" or "was knocked flat" or "did Dodge and Drop" or something in between. You don't really know.

This is especially true in ranged combat, where "I totally hit that guy!" and "He did Dodge and Drop and then tried to Play Dead" should often look very much alike.

You could restrict this to allies and enemies. You know what you did. Your enemy does, too. But everyone else? PER roll. Modify it for distraction (like being enagaged yourself, probably a -5) and distance (S&SRT).

It could be clunky in numbers, but I think the general idea - you don't automatically know what you, the player, can see, given the incredible situational awareness you get from a battle map.

Friday, May 3, 2024

Links & Thoughts for 5/3/2024

Just a little today - my workload increased a lot, so not so much gaming writing/reading/prepping this week.

- Gone?

I moved last year. As far as I know, I unpacked everything. But this week I was reminded about James Bond: 007 by Victory Games, and I wanted to put it on my "re-read" pile. I can't find it. Nor do I see any sign of the things I kept on the same shelf with it - Gangbusters, Top Secret, Marvel Super Heroes, Star Frontiers, Space Opera . . . I'm a little concerned. I am absolutely sure the last place was broom clean empty, and I thought I did a truck walkthrough to make sure nothing was left on the mover's truck . . . but there is no sign of this. Maybe I stuck it in storage at someone's house, so I'll check that. I'll be really bummed if I lost that grab bag of stuff. It was in a different spot than my other gaming gear when I had less room for bookshelves, but the things above and below seem to have made the trip to the new place. It was many months ago I only hope I find it, because if it was forgotten on the truck it's gone now.

- Eight page S&W Light.

- Looks like the Olympus Gate might be the destination next Felltower game.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...