Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Random miniature update.


I haven't really posted any painted miniatures lately so I thought I would post the last few miniature painting projects I have worked on. 

The three barrels are from WizKids new unpainted plastic miniature line.  They were very cheap and very nice to paint. 

The archer is from Reaper.  One of their army packs that have been around forever.  This is for my son's very first D&D game.  His character has leather armor so I painted the scale armor as leather scale.  I think it works pretty well.  He's got a bow, arrows, sword, and a shield.  The shield is an old GW shield from my bits box.  My son's favorite color is red so that is why he has a bright red tunic. 

The rat swarms are from Reaper bones line.  I basically dry brushed the entire swarm and base grey then used glazes of different colors to paint the rats.  I added flesh tone to the tails and a dot to their noses.  I think they turned out pretty nice.  I just need more of them. 

Monday, October 9, 2017

"Heroes of the Ghost Age" Book 1 The Reaving of Raven Hill: Chapter 1 To Catch a Rat. Part 1. A Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition Campaign


Hero's of the Ghost Age

Book 1: The Reaving of Raven Hill

Chapter 1: To Catch a Rat
(Part 1)


It was already late September and just a few short weeks away from leiunium Cereris the fasting day honoring the goddess Ceres.  Tragedy had fallen the town of Raven Hill.  Not only was the town overrun by rats again but someone had stolen the idol of Ceres from her shrine.  

There was no doubt among the townspeople as to who was to blame.  During the spring Lord Roufus Ravenhill hired the rat catcher Gunther of Fellberg to rid the town of it's rat problem. In an amazingly short period of time Gunther had managed to rid the town of rats but when he went to Lord Ravenhill to receive his fee Lord Ravenhill tossed him a single coin and told him to get out of town.  Infuriated by this Gunther vowed that he would have his revenge on the town.

To make matters worse a particularly powerful goblin tribe had been southern farms under the protection of the town.  Lord Ravenhill and the town guard had been hard pressed to keep them at bay.  Melvin the Magnificent, a wizard who lived just outside the town, suggested that Lord Ravenhill entrust the recovery of the statue to his student and Lord Ravenhill's ward Lady Lydia Lydell and some other individuals from the town.  Melvin suggested; Efisio Battiatus a recently arrived paladin of Minerva, Flint Frostbeard the towns dwarven smith, the halfling Petunia Thistledown, and Falkrune a dwarf mercenary.  Lord Ravenhill was uncertain about Melvin's suggestions but he didn't have much of a choice.

    
The meeting was held at the town's keep.  The keep had one floor of stone but the remaining levels were constructed of wood.  Lord Ravenhill was suppose to complete the keep in stone but never had citing shortfalls of money though the townspeople largely agreed that this was just another example of Lord Ravenhill being a cheapskate.  

The individuals Melvin had suggested met with Lord Ravenhill around mid day at the keep.  Petunia had brought a pie along for the occasion. Lord Ravenhill, flanked by his two hounds, stood and said "A Tragedy has befallen us.  As you know the rat infestation has gotten out of hand.  No doubt the work of that no good rat catch Gunther of Fellberg.  He has been seen lurking around the town at night.  Some say he's been releasing the rats including some monstrously large specimens.  That however is not the worst of his crimes.  Last night the idol of Ceres was stolen from her shrine and eyewitness accounts point to Gunther as the perpetrator."  Lord Raven hill paused for a moment eyeing the assembled group with doubt.  He shook his head.  "Melvin the Magnificent suggested I gather you lot to deal with this problem.  I don't know why but I'm not one to argue with the wizard..... I'd do it myself of course but the town guard and I have been tied up chasing rats and dealing with the goblins who have been raiding the southern farms.  I need help and I suppose you will have to do."

Lord Ravenhill got up and moved towards the door calling his hounds to heel.  Before exiting though he picked up Petunia's pie inhaling the aroma "Ah still warm" he said with a slight smile.  Without another word he left.


Without much else to go on the party decided to visit the shrine of Ceres which was located outside of town in the farm lands.  There they found that the idol was indeed missing.  Some of the offerings seems to have been disturbed as well.  After searching about the structure for a little while Efisio found a set of boot tracks heading off into a field of grain.  

The followed the tracks across the field to the edge of the Raven Wood.  Just inside the forest the tracks came to a shallow stream but seemed to end abruptly.  On the opposite bank a single large rat track could be seen in the mud.  It was large enough to be a man's foot print.  The rest of the bank was too rocky to pick up the immediate trail.  After searching for some time they managed to pick up a trail of man sized foot tracks.  Strangely the tracks seemed to have been left by an individual walking on two legs instead of all fours.  It was getting late.  "This looks like a good place to camp" Flint said.  They set up a camp and divided watches.  Petunia climbed a large oak tree because she did not feel safe on the ground.  

  
"We're under attack!" shouted Efisio.  Three goblins had rushed out of the brush and attacked the paladin of Minerva while he was on guard.  Lydia, Flint, and Faulkrune awoke with goblins attacking them.  Flint took a nasty hit before he was able to get to his feet.  


The battle was hard fought especially since neither Flint nor Faulkrune had their armor on.  Efisio battled three of the goblins but he had help from Petunia who fired her short bow from the three she was in.  Eventually the goblins were dispatched and the party drug their corpses further from the camp.  During Lydia's watch the mage sent her owl familiar Luna to get a better view of the area.  What she saw disturbed her.  A large two headed dog was dragging a pair of goblin corpses away from the pile the party had made and headed off to the north with them.  

The party continued to follow the rat man trail to the north until they came to another stream with a very overgrown bridge.  Across the bridge was an overgrown paved road which continued north.  Though they couldn't find any more tracks the party continued to follow the road until they came upon some runes.

A man stepped out from a ruined door way.  He had a large sack over his shoulder that seemed to be writhing with a dozen or more small creatures.  The man spoke "Well I guess that cheap bastard Lord Ravenhill sent his finest to find me.  You can tell Lord Tightpants that he can have the statue back from a mere 200 gold coins."    


Efisio attempted to parlay with the man "Gunther, what if we could pay you what Lord Ravenhill promised you in the first place.  Will you return the statue and remove the rat infestation?".  "No deal!" shouted Gunther then he tossed the bag onto the ground.  Rats came swarming out of the bag.  

The paladin charge through the swarm and pinned Gunther to the ground.  The rest of the party came to Efisio's aid and they managed to kill the rats and capture Gunther. 

"We're taking you back to face some justice!" Efisio snarled.  Gunther just laughed.  As they were dragging Gunther back to town suddenly the rope went slack.  On the ground was nothing more than a pile of clothing.  "What's that!" Flint shouted.  A large rat scurried off into the underbrush carrying a small pouch in it's mouth.  Gunther had escaped.  


Uncertain about what Gunther was and concerned about the two headed dog the party decided to visit the home of Melvin the Magnificent, Lydia's instructor, to see if he could had any knowledge that could help them.  

Melvin lived in a small house just outside of town in the Raven wood.  Oddly his home seemed larger on the inside that the outside.  "I believe you are dealing with a Wererat" Melvin explained.  "What's a Wererat?" Falkrune asked.  "Well it's rather like a Werewolf but not quite so powerful.  A wererat is a human infected by a strain Lycanthropy that turns one into a rat man".  "How do we kill it?" Lydia asked.  "Well I'm afraid normal weapons will have no effect on such a creature.  You must use magic or enchanted weapons" the old wizard explained.  "Can't you come with us to help us catch Gunther?" Efisio asked.  "Oh no.  No, no, no.  I'm not much for adventures.  They make one late for tea" Melvin chuckled.  "Well do you know where we can get some enchanted weapons?" Falkrune asked.  "I do know of a tale.  There was a Knight named Balin who had a tower no far to the North.  He died more than fifty years ago.  He as said to have owned several enchanted weapons that he used to drive the undead from Raven Hill.  He was also said to have been buried in his tower.  It was frequently visited by pilgrims for some time until the undead returned to area.  No one has ventured there in some time." the wizard explained.  

Melvin turned and rummaged through a chest near the table he was sitting at.  " I do have this small dagger.  It's enchanted but not terribly powerful".  He placed it on the table "You may borrow it".  Petunia snatched the dagger off the table quicker that anyone could see.  "Oh it's beautiful!  Can I have it?" she asked.  The mage nodded "Very well".  Petunia drew the small blade and raised it above her head triumphantly.  "I shall call you Aculeus!" she said with glee.  

End Part 1

Notes:  This is the first part of my new Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition campaign "Heroes of the Ghost Age" set in my group's home brew setting of Tellus.  We've finished the first adventure and the party is almost third level but there were so many images I decided to split the report up into three parts to make it easier.  Also the game took three sessions to complete so this is roughly where the first session left off.  



     

Saturday, September 30, 2017

So what should Bards sound like? Three songs by Ayreheart

So I found these guys when I searched for the traditional Scottish ballad Twa Corbies.  There is probably a version of this song for every day of the year but this is by far the best and most evocative version I have ever heard.  They also didn't shy away from singing it in Scots which makes it rime better. 

Anyway I thought this was also an excellent example of what a masterful bardic performance would be like and just a great inspiration for many fantasy and historic games. 




Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The World of Tellus: The Augustian Empire


The Augustian Empire

When the gods brought their followers to Tellus none were more successful and prosperous than the followers of the Roman Gods.  These gods settled followers from different regions of the Roman Empire in regions of Tellus that were similar to their home regions.  However as the Roman Empire was diverse and cosmopolitan people of different ethnicities were spread across the new land.  

Eventually these peoples merged into a cohesive empire absorbing local non-humans into their system.   Emperor Augustus was the first emperor of the new empire.  He brought all the divergent lands together from his capitol of Castrum on Minervia.  At the height of his reign Emperor Augustus created a land bridge between Aegyptus and Parthia by building massive dykes that connected the Augustia Islands to the main lands.  He then built the great city of Augustopolis which became the new capitol of the empire and a center for knowledge and the arts.  During the Witch King’s plague the dykes broke and most of Augustopolis was swept into the ocean.  

Several other emperors followed Augustus’s reign though none achieved his greatness.  Still the empire thrived until the coming of the Witch King’s plague.  The devastation wrought by the plague broke the empire into a myriad of lesser kingdoms and city states that for the most part adopted a feudal system to survive.  Many ruined cities and towns dot the landscape and most are still overrun by undead and monstrous creatures.  The people hope that one day the glory of the empire will be restored but that dream seems impossible to most.  Much knowledge was lost during the plague and most rulers lack the power to govern more than a few hundred square miles of territory.     

Monday, September 18, 2017

The World of Tellus: A sandbox world for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition


Tellus: A sandbox world for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition.

How things came to be......



The world of Tellus is connected to our own world through several hidden crossings.  It is a world where many of the the gods of Earth originated.  A world of fairies and monsters and magic.  It is also a desolate death world beset by undead abominations populated by the scattered remnants of broken empires.    


Humans, as we know them, are not native to Tellus.  Millennia ago humans were created on Tellus by the younger gods.  They lived a pampered life of plenty.  The younger gods doted on their children and the humans of Tellus grew decadent and lazy eventually dying out.  The elder gods banished the younger gods to Earth where they were told to try again at creating humanity in a land less fertile and comfortable.  


Having learned their lesson the younger gods set about to re-create the race of man on Earth.  Instead of pampering humanity they allowed their children to suffer or prosper largely by their own devices giving minor gifts only to those who sacrificed and prospered.  Civilizations rose and fell and for the most part the younger gods were content to observe from afar guiding these civilizations but never interceding on their behalf in a major way.  The younger gods eventually grew bored with their creations and completely negligent of humanity.


Realizing that their gods had abandoned them humans began to search for new paths to salvation and enlightenment.  New religions sprang up and took hold gaining followers by the thousands and millions.  Still the younger gods ignored mankind content to exist in their own demi plains and squabble among themselves.  That was until their powers started to diminish and they themselves began to die.


Turning their attention back to mankind they soon realized that they could not stop the spread of these new religions so they developed a plan.  Despite many centuries of neglect there were still a number of humans devoted to their worship.  The younger gods began to move their human worshipers back to their home world.  At first in secret but then openly.  Seeing that these humans were much stronger and more independent than than the original children of the younger gods the elder gods allowed this migration and even suggested lands where humanity could colonize and prosper.  The younger gods altered the memories of the humans making them believe they had lived on Tellus for their entire lives but allowing them to retain something of their own identity.  For over a thousand years the younger gods brought their followers from Earth to their homeland until very few of their followers remained on Earth.        


Humans settles Tellus and some of them became quite prosperous.  In particular the humans of the Roman Empire who created an empire of their own.  The Agustian Empire grew strong and their gods grew stronger along with them.  There was a problem however.  The elder gods had their own children who had lived on Tellus far longer than even the original humans.  Many of these “elder” races embraced the new humans and helped them prosper even allowing themselves to be absorbed into the human kingdoms and empires.  Others however resented the humans.  Of all the elder races that clashed with humanity none were as powerful nor malicious as the dark elves.  


The dark elves hated all the other races of Tellus but they hated humans most of all.  Eventually their Witch King decided that he could no longer ignore the human threat.  The exact date has been lost to time but approximately two centuries ago the Witch King developed a magical plague that would weaken all the other races of Tellus and allow the Darks Elves to dominate the world.  The Witch King gathered powerful members of every race to be sacrificed at a great volcano in the heart of the Dark Elf lands called “The Great Cauldron”.  As the Witch King was performing the sacrifices he approached the last sacrifice, a human priestess of Minerva known only as Laelia, he was surprised when she attacked him having broken free of her bonds during the ritual.  The two wrestles with their bare hands above the volcano.  Their struggle was brief and the they fell into the lava setting off the powerful magical energy of the ritual and causing a chain reaction.  The volcano erupted with such magnitude that nothing but a smoldering crater remained.  Tens of thousands of dark elves died on the spot and the ash from the eruption blacked out the skies.  A great darkness descended on the world as the Witch King’s plague spread.  For decades the combination of the Witch King’s plague and the great winter brought on by the volcanic ash devastated the world.  


Slowly however the lands and races of Tellus began to recover but the world is still plagued by wandering undead caused by the plague.  Civilizations are broken and scattered, trying to rebuild and recover lost knowledge.  This time has come to be called “The Ghost Age”.    

Notes: This is a "sandbox" world I am creating for my local gaming group. As we adventure my players will help me flesh out this world. Their actions will have direct impact on it's development. I will be posting game reports here as well as projects I am doing for my games.                 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Battletech Leopard Drop Ship on the Cheap

 I'm getting ready to run a Battletech RPG and I was wanting to include some Battletech wargame sessions as a part of my game.
 My group has a lance of mechs and a few support vehicles so a Leopard dropship will be an excellent for them as the game progresses.
Problem is that there isn't much available in the way of mech scale dropships.  Iron Wind Metals does have a Leopard dropship but it is expensive and kind of ugly looking.
So I did what any good wargamer would do in that situation and I asked my wife to make me one.  She went with a hybrid of the classic Leopard style and the Mechwarrior Online stile and I think it's coming along nicely.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Davion Guard vs Sword of Light an Alpha Strike company sized game.

 Well I set up a company sized Alpha strike game for my son this last weekend.  Unfortunately a company sized game was a little more than the attention span of an 8 year old could handle so it ended up being a game between my wife and I for the most part.

 I played a company of Davion Guard and my son and wife played a company of Sword of Light.  I had about an 80 point disadvantage.

 Early in the game I lost my Orion to concentrated fire.  Alpha strike is different from Battletech in that it is usually easier to hit so concentrated fire is even more effective.  There is also no spread to damage.  All damage is equally bad.  In Battletech you can soak damage that hits non essential areas but more basic damage model in Alpha strike is a lot less forgiving.

 Terrain bonus are more important in Alpha Strike because it's easier to hit with fewer modifiers.  Light mechs are particularly more vulnerable in Alpha Strike than Battletech.  You really have to consider where you position a light unit.  You need to hide until you have back shots where you don't expose yourself to any more enemy fire than you have to.

 Assaults are a bit more useful than in regular Battletech.  This is because you can use their full move without incurring a penalty unless you jump and the jump penalty is lower as well.  Assault can wreck exposed lights and mediums in a single turn.
 Knowing your mech's role is pretty key.  It's interesting how the damage and range mechanics in Alpha strike mimic the feel of Battletech.  You make one roll in Alpha strike for your mech's attacks instead of one rolls for each weapon in Battletech.  It's interesting how mechs still have the same feel however based on their roll.

 Here I lost a couple mediums to heavier mechs although I inflicted a lot of damage with a rear arc attack.  Both my lights survived until the end of the game but I had to be pretty careful how I committed them.

 The Sword of light Quick draw was one of the hardest mechs to deal with.  It's ability to jump into cover combined with it's decent fire power made it very effective.  Most of the game it had a +3 modifier and my rolls were pretty poor.
 I had pretty much lost an entire lance by the time I finally brought down the D.C.M.S. Cyclops.  
 My wolfhound was my most successful mech  I was able to use it to finish off two much heavier mechs that had retreated into cover.
 I recovered somewhat from my initial losses but it was too little too late.  Mechs that stand still in Alpha Strike get a -1 attack modifier and the D.C.M.S. Catapult really punished me.  Every time I made a move to deal with it I payed for it.
 The Panther was difficult to kill.  It took way too many resources due to my inability to roll a 7.  At one point I missed the Panther with five different mechs who all needed a 7 to hit.

 Again my Wolfhould was my most effective killer.  I really learned a lot from this game about how to manage lighter mechs in Alpha strike.  It's more about positioning and terrain than in Battletech where you can count on your light mech's speed to make up for it's lack of armor.

By the end of the game I only had about 4 mechs left and most of them were shot to pieces while the Sword of Light had a number of fresh mechs so I conceded after about 8-10 round of play.  That is really the big difference between Alpha Strike and Battletech.  This company sized game took a few hours and we played over 8 rounds.  We also are still not all that familiar with the rules.  A similar sized game of Battletech between experienced players takes a good deal longer.  Alpha strike is "dumbed down" compared to Battletech but that's it's strong point.  It still feels a lot like Battletech but it takes less than half the time to play it.  I'm really looking forward to playing an even bigger battle sometime in the near future with more combined arms instead of just mechs.  I've done some smaller games with vehicles and mechs and those were a lot of fun.