Tuesday, August 23, 2016

More Gimmicky dice... another sign that tabletop gaming has "peaked" ?

I have commented before about the fact that ornate dice is possibly signalling that our tabletop gaming hobby may be at it's peak, as discussed here and here.

Decadence is the word that comes into mind. One doesn't need ornate stuff to maintain interest and could be a sign of a beginning ennui in the hobby among us old farts, or gimmicks to keep app-obsessed millenials interested in old school play. 

Well, a buddy just sent me this link.. Self rolling dice..

I kid you not.. Clap your hands, and they roll themselves.

That's how lazy we're getting..

I'll just leave this video here...


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Frostgrave cooperative Dark Alchemy campaign.. Part the First & Part the Second.

Despite my disastrous first tryout of Frostgrave (as discussed here), I was still game to play.

I recreated my warband a couple of weeks ago, this time making him a warlock and adding more thugs to absorb what cannon-fodder do best..

I setup my Frostgrave Logbook (see the Logbook page or the appendix below)






My friend Jeff suggested we retry it first with official cooperative scenarios in order to get our feet wet and level  up. We thus played today scenario 1 and 2 of the 3 scenario Dark Alchemy cooperative campaign, which is available by ebook.


The potion rules were revamped in Dark Alchemy, so we decided to roll on the new potion tables even when we go back to competitive.

Scenario 1 was called the Alchemical Monstrosity and my warband teamed up with Jeff's warband to go in and grab some treasure, but in a part of the city where an Alchemical Monstrosity, a leftover from some horrible experiment had gone wrong (I believe) was still roaming the streets.




That and giant rats as well who spawn every turn.. 

I teamed up with Jeff's warband, and we were each allowed to bring 3 troopers total (including your wizard) to the table. I brought my wizard, my crossbowman Crawford, and my treasure hunter Samson, along..



The scenario called for nabbing 6 treasure tokens, and getting points for killing rats and the monstrosity if you can, then exit by one of two magical doors. One of the doors is the correct one, the other is not. You need to make a roll when you get to the door to see if it's the right one.

The rats and monstrosities, if not in sight and range of anyone, will gravitate toward those doors and defend them.


Scenarios 1, 2 and 3 were supposed to happen one after the other, so I couldn't go back and buy stuff until after scenario 3. Any pre-game spell rolls I made will have to be for all three scenarios.

I successfully rolled on my Brew Potion spell, and concocted an Explosive Cocktail, which acts like the grenade spell. I gave it to my treasure hunter, Samson.

I failed my Animal Companion spell, but made my Animate Construct spell, I could thus bring in my Book Golum sculpt, which I decided will do for scenario 2.

It wasn't clear to us in the campaign if we needed to roll for additional monsters whenever you nabbed treasure, but we said yes for scenario 1 but then changed our minds for scenario 2 (and 3 I guess).

It wasn't until we got to the middle of the table that things got interesting..

The Monstrosity and rats retreated toward the doors as they didn't see us, so we were untouched until the middle. My crossbowman picked up my first treasure, and we rolled a Werewolf encounter who showed up in our rear and could see us. He made a beeline right for us, threatening Crawford.


I had to get my treasure hunter to cover him and used my Explosive Cocktail on the big bad wolf, damaging him severely (10 hit points) but not killing him.


When he engaged Crawford, it was a tense roll as these werewolves are tough, but my guy killed him. I used an action to extract a werewolf pelt that I can later on sell for 20 gold.


We continued on north and then I made a slight tactical mistake. My wizard entered the ruined building greedily going after some treasure... I was a bit isolated from everyone though when I did it...




 
The Monstrosity went after him..



In HTH combat, I couldn't use my bone dart spell (or any magic), and the thing inflicted 12 points of damage on me. My wizard only had 14 health, so I was in trouble.

Even worse, a rat that spawned nearby got beside my wizard as well. I only had 2 health remaining and it would not take much anymore with all this D20 swinginess to knock me out of the scenario.

Both me and Jeff immediately ran to cover my wizard with everything we got and everybody piled on to the monstrosity, luckily killing it and the rat.

I had my guys put a protective shield at the entrance to cover my hurting Wizard..



Jeff's Wizard came up and successfully used a healing spell of his (has be to be touching) to give me back five health points.


My wizard went over the wall to avoid that rat spawn point near by.


We found out the door we were all near was not the door needed, so we wasted some time around there with a rat spawn point near by. My guys headed to the other door along the north edge of that ruined building..

We still had a hard time breaking off to go to the other door as we were right beside the rat spawn point, so every turn we were in HTH with rats..My treasure hunter killed something like five rats in five turns and took some damage..


However, my crossbowman was knocked out of the scenario by those dirty rats, but my wizard and treasure hunter made it through the door.

Jeff, who took up the rear, had some difficulty breaking off around that spawn point...



but he eventually managed to make it through..

The scenario was kinda okay, and did not pose too much of a tactical challenge. It was okay to get one's feet wet with Frostgrave, but after my baptism of fire the first time I played it, it was not necessary. It was still alright though.

Post-scenario, I got 170 points of experience, which means I leveled up so I decided to lower my Bone Dart Skill roll requirement to 9.

I rolled successfully on the injury and death table and revived my crossbowman without a scratch.

On the treasure table, I rolled the spell eater scroll, some gold and 3 potions: The Potion of Preservation, Elixir of the Chameleon and the Bottle of Darkness.

We soldiered on to the second scenario, the Skeleton Run, which I later on found a lot tougher.

This time, I volunteered my Wizard again, but one of my thugs, Stuggo and my small construct, the Book Golum.



Jeff had these D&D fire skeletons (on the left)  that we used this time. These things were a lot more tough than the rats in scenario 1. In scenario 3, we plan to use even the tougher fire-flinging skeletons (on the right in yellow).


Even tougher were these slow-moving Zombies as well that spawned.

The scenario called for us to exit on the north side and nab treasure along the way. Like scenario 1, there were points for killing the monsters and for your wizard to escape.

Scenario 2 was a bit harder than scenario 1 and a bit see-saw as there were a lot more of the skeletons respawning every turn.

We made it through the middle again before we encountered the skeletons and man, they were like wave after wave coming after my guys.

I again had to do an undignified (for a Wizard) climb over walls to hide in a building as my guys covered for him and fought off the skeletons continously.





My construct was pretty soon surrounded by 2 skeletons, and a Zombie to his rear. He went down pretty quick.



I was near two spawn points and found myself getting overwhelmed while Jeff on the other side seemed to have a cakewalk, nabbing treasure.

Gondor calls for aid Jeff!


Jeff came, but had a Zombie hot on his trail..



Pretty soon, my thug was taken out as well and my Wizard was all alone. Great, just great.. my Wizard was surrounded in a building by lots of skeletons and a zombie.

Jeff helped killing one of the skeletons at the door, and I climbed up on to the wall to bone dart the other one, with the treasure token right below me.


My erstwhile ally Jeff, his work done, then headed into the ruin in the centre as there was treasure there, leaving me to my own devices to handle that one remaining skeleton and that slow moving Zombie to the West.


All I had to do was kill that Skeleton, jump down and nab my first treasure..


No problem I thought, but the spawning rolls again found me overwhelmed the very next turn.


The Skeleton went right on top of the treasure token, denying me it.. so I immediately got out of sight of him by jumping back into the building.


The Skeleton couldn't see me, but the Zombie could, so he climbed over to get after my poor wizard.



Luckily, the Zombie burned a lot of movement points climbing that wall, so he was just out of the 1 inch automatic combat rule.

I exited through the door and hid behind a wall near the statue with 2 tantalizing treasures nearby. Meanwhile, Jeff nabbed all 3 of the treasures on his side, while I had nothing to show for it apart from 2 knocked-out guys. Luckily, in cooperative play, we decided earlier to splt the points on treasure taken (but not for spells and killed monsters of course).


The Zombie couldn't see me and one of the skeletons was behind some ice, so he also couldn't see me either..



I climbed over the wall again to nab that treasure greedily enough (hey, it's for the team!) but soon found myself surrounded by skeletons and a persistent Zombie.


When monsters can't see you and out of range, we rolled a d12 to see which o'clock direction they would go.. I found the Zombie somehow always getting near me despite the random direction. The Zombie could have easily stayed in the building but noooo, he randomly gets behind me.

I fought them off, nabbed the treasure and again, undignified for  a wizard, climbed over the wall just as the skeleton from the northern spawn point made it into the ruins I was just in.


The Zombie couldn't see me, so we rolled randomly and by a bit of damn luck, went toward my direction. Since he was within an inch of me, we had to enter combat.


The Zombie and I traded blows and we damaged each other in HTH.

Meanwhile, Jeff, who seemed to be having a vacation and a cakewalk with little opposition, had to come back to help.


I fought off the Zombie, and Jeff killed that Skeleton in the ruin, so I greedily went back to get that treasure in the ruin corner that was denied to me earlier on.


Jeff went to get the last treasure token, up in the Northern corner just as another skeleton spawned near him (again on my side of the board).




Jeff killed it, but I found myself again surrounded by Skeletons spawning near me.


Jeff meanwhile said he was exiting off the board, ending his part in the scenario since there was no more treasure to take.

He said later on that I said okay with him leaving, but if so, I quickly regretted it, as again, I found all the spawning rolls were happening near me.

It felt like half the spawning army was hot on my tail and this time, Jeff and his band were long gone...



I killed some but for something like the fifth or sixth time, I found myself climbing walls to hide in buildings. If only my fellow classmates at the Warlock School of Magic could see me now.


I headed north to the building, hiding out of sight and then exited the board on the northern edge per the rules and made it.


Scenario 2 was a lot tougher than scenario 1.

Post game, I earned 235 points, bringing my wizard up to Level 4 at 405 points. I improved my health and fight stats, and lowered my bone dart skill to 8.

I got the usual gold rolls and five more potions, though no grimoire yet to learn new skills; another Elixir of the Chameleon, the Elixir of Speed, some Poison, the Cordial of Clearsight and the Philtre of Fury.

On the injury table, my construct was damaged and out the next scenario, but my thug Stuggo was dead. He served me well, the gutter rat thug that he was.

We set up scenario 3 and called it a night. For Scenario 3, I decided to use my apprentice on that one.

All in all, this session of Frostgrave was much more enjoyable. Cooperative is not bad.

Looking forward to scenario 3. 

Appendix














Monday, August 15, 2016

My workbench: The Ophidian Archway terrain

I put together some fantasy terrain over the weekend, namely Games Workshop Ophidian Archway..



GW terrain is pretty good, but a lot of times, I had to fill in the gaps with milliput, like I did here.


Primed it black and put on the stone grey colour first, with the initial idea to copy the paint job on the cover...



But then I decided to try out the aged copper patina look given this is a ruin... I painted up a kit-bashed statue in a similar fashion, as discussed here.

Copper, if you recall, turns green over time, as you can see with the Statue of Liberty..


So, that light blue-green look is what I went after..


For the back part, it was mostly grey, with some dirty parts on a tan coloured plaster that has remained.


It's only when I painted this, that I saw detail I didn't notice before.

GW must have tons of guys with B.A. in Clasical History or Fine Art in stuff.. They are copying and mixing mythologies from different ages.

The Front Gate as you can see has a St. George-type figure fighting, not a dragon, nor an ophidian (a snake), but a four headed Hydra-like creature.  A mix of medieval and ancient there.


Little things too.. Little people huddling behind the hero as you would see in the Middle Ages..


People building a bonfire.. I wonder why that would be etched into a gateway where someone is fighing a four-headed snake...


They even have the Vitruvian Man-ish symbol tucked away that I only noticed when I painted it.  Very Renaissance-ish..





Some Eagle imagery as well...



 Eagle fighting the snake, with a baby in the middle..


This looks like a winged creature with the head smashed, but snakes coming out of it's behind?..Not sure what I just painted..



A captured and collared Dragon





Anyways, please feel free to vote on this on Coolmini (here), with 1 being the lowest, 10 the highest, and 5 good enough for tabletop play. Thanks.

http://www.coolminiornot.com/402492