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.        

Monday, August 21, 2017

A.F.F.S. Davion Guard company. Battletech Battalion project.

I've started the 2nd force of our Battletech Battalion project with this company of A.F.F.S. Davion Guards.  These are entirely made from the Alpha Strike lance packs.  I have the two other companies base coated and a lance of Crucis Lancers finished.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Battletech D.C.M.S. Battalion

We finally finished the first Battalion for our Battletech Battalions project.  Our plan is to start with the major forces of the Inner Sphere then expand to other forces in the Battletech Universe as time goes on.  This is our first finished Mech Battalion a Draconis Combine Mustered Soldiery force.  It is of course not a complete force since we plan to add more vehicles and infantry support as well as some air support but the mech battalion is done.  It consist of one company of Legion of Vega, one company of Sword of Light, and one generic company in urban camo.

We have collected a Free Worlds League force and a Federated Suns force as well and I started to paint the Fed Suns mechs.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Caves of Chaos Part 01 "The Lair of the Kobolds"

I've recently started a D&D 5th edition game set in "The Keep on the Borderlands".  In previous adventures the party explored "The Cave of the Unknown" where they made a pact with a Bugbear and cleared an ancient monastery which was the final resting place of a Wight and several skeletons.  After that they fought animated armors and giant spiders in "The Tomb of Ballanor".  They then set out of the "Caves of Chaos" to rescue two citizens of the keep who had been kidnapped by Kobolds.

The heroes belong to a mercenary company named "The White Stag Keep Irregulars".  Their company specializes in dealing with monstrous threats in their own lairs.  Basically they are a company of dungeoneers.  

 After tracking the kobolds who abducted the beggar Old Gregori and the prostitute Sasha to an area near the Cave of the Unknown before loosing the trail they consulted with their Bugbear contact Thrack who told them where they could find the Kobold's lair.  They entered the lair cautiously but unfortunately Anton managed to fall into a carefully concealed pit trap.

 The Kobolds sprung their trap attacking the party from an alcove near the trap.  Anton fought the entire engagement from the pit while Brigga the dwarf and their Lawbringer cleric Dannika tried to cover the fighter.  Although they killed most of their attackers one kobold managed to flee and raise the alarm.

 Instead of following the fleeing Kobold the party decided to head down a short hallway where it looked like their might be an empty room to recuperate in.  Unfortunately the rubble in the room was infested by rats.  Brigga suffered several bites but her stout dwarven constitution saved her from getting sick.  Strangely the found one of the rats was wearing an expensive looking necklace as a collar.

When they returned to the main corridor they discovered even more Kobolds waiting for them.  This time they even had a couple of archers.

 Many of the Kobolds rushed around the edges of the pit to engage the party while their archers supported them.  The fight was brief and the party dispatched all the creatures with minimal injury.

As they pressed on the party found a large common room with several sleeping pallets laid out on the floor.  There were over a dozen Kobolds in the room who were ready and waiting for them.

 Anton eventually managed to break free from the main melee to attack the archers in the back on the room who had dealt a lot of damage to he and his friends.  With one sweeping attack he caved in both of the creatures skulls.

 Unfortunately however Dannika was knocked unconscious during the fighting after healing Brigga so she could continue fighting.  Fortunately Anton and Brigga were able to dispatch the remaining Kobolds.  The party barricaded the entry to the large room and rested as long as they could.

Searching the Kobold's food storage room they found Old Gregori and Sasha locked in a large crate.  Anton pried the crate open with a crowbar and they decided to escort the prisoners back to the Keep before returning to finish off the remaining Kobolds.

Back at the Keep they ran into Hedge Ironfist a Dwarf they had freed while exploring the Cave of the Unknown.  Hedge agreed to accompany them back to the Kobolds lair for a share of the loot.  When they got their they began to make their way down a corridor they had not yet explored when they were attacked by four Kobold archers hiding behind a barrel barricade.  Brigga and Anton quickly dispatched two of them with crossbow and hatchets and then closed on the others.  They managed to kill the remaining creatures easily.

Finally they came across the chambers of the Kobold chief.  The door was locked by Brigga managed to kick it in with a mighty display of strength.  The chief and his two mistresses were ready for them.  Anton took an bolt as they entered the room and the chief sprung out of the corner and attacked Brigga.

Anton rushed the chief's mistresses while the others attacked the chief.  Although he managed to dispatch them one of the Kobolds managed to give him a nasty wound.  

 Even after being wounded badly Anton managed to deliver the killing blow to the chief caving his skull in with a powerful strike.
The party managed to save the kidnapped prisoners and walk away with a modest treasure.

Notes:  Well this adventure went pretty well.  The party had some tough fights but they succeeded in all of their objectives.  I'm using "The Keep on the Borderlands" module as a guideline for this campaign but it is taking a lot of adjustment.  5E definitely makes low level monsters more potent.  Of course the Caves of Chaos are all about old school dungeon crawling but I've managed to plant some interesting plot hooks with a couple of introductory sessions.  The sandbox nature of the module really lends itself to injecting your own story onto the setting.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Venturing back into Dungeons & Dragons

Like a lot of table top gaming nerds I started out playing Dungeons & Dragons.  I was 11 years old the first time I tried to run "The Keep on the Borderlands" using the basic D&D rules.  I was the DM and as what happens to most DMs I have been a DM/GM pretty much most of my gaming career.  Now 31 years later I am taking a much more experienced crew back to the Castellan's Keep on the Borderlands to explore the Caves of Chaos and the surrounding ares using the D&D 5E rules which seem to be the best set of rules since 2nd Edition AD&D.

I've already ran one session where my party ventured to the Borderlands and scouted out The Cave of the Unknown but were forced back to the Keep after being attacked by a Wolf pack at the cave entrance.

I've started working on a set of miniatures for the party.  Hopefully I'll have them ready to go for the next session.    

Monday, January 9, 2017

Giant Killer Robots!

I just stumbled across "Giant Killer Robots" a new game from Weta Workshop and it looks amazing!  I'm probably going to go broke.