Monday, January 22, 2018

(Painting) Shadowrun Combat Mage and a Dangerous Damsel

It wasn't the weekend I had hoped for, but it was the weekend I needed.  Rest and lots of grade school basketball.

I also continued my nightly forays into the basement for painting and the rust continues to get knocked off...  Two items done and tons with paint on many others.

First off, a completely random figure: A Combat Mage w/ Staff for Shadowrun by Iron Wind Metals.
DS-058 now from Iron Wind Metals
I had originally thought he was the lone survivor of a giant box of Ral Partha-era Shadowrun lead, but then I remembered that he was yet another one of the free minis offered by Hobby University at HMGS Inc cons.

Don't know when I'll get to use an Uzi-toting elf mage, but the Pulp game can get a little crazy.

Speaking of Pulp, my second entry is one of the figures out of Dangerous Dames 1 from Pulp Figures:
From PHP-04
I figure with some more practice I'll finally get away from painting the "Deep One Look," but for now she's eligible to be one of the heroes for season three.

IN THE QUEUE:  A pile of buildings (25mm) and OGRE minis (6mm), but first, an attempt at tiny camouflage.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Project 350 Week One

Last week I posted about my personal Project 350, getting my backlog of blog draft  and scheduled posts from 388 down to 350.  With less craziness than my work and holiday schedules inundated me, I was hoping to finish up a few lingering write-ups, play a game or two, and paint up some figures on the bench. 

So, after the first week, how many am I down from 287 drafts and 81 scheduled?
Sonuva....
After all my huff and puff about this project, my two scheduled posts went off with the usual fanfare, outside of a Rust Monster, nothing was completed painting-wise, and outside of the my review of Pulp Alley's The Lost World of Lemuria (posted yesterday) and writing up my Apathy of New Releases column (posting 1/25), all other writing projects are 70-80% done. 

To be honest, my most fatal flaw was that my fellow gamers in the blogosphere posted some awesome, I've got some Arab Revolt painting samples, a few scenarios, and a moment of weakness where I unwisely ventured into the Orcs in the Webbe archives

Outside of some early basketball games Saturday, I have an uninterrupted weekend with the girls.  A painting session and a game or two and I can see up to six coming off the total.  

Friday, January 19, 2018

(Review) Pulp Alley: The Lost World of Lemuria

The good folks at Pulp Alley recently completed their Kickstarter for their The Lost World of Lemuria  Expansion for their Pulp Alley (PA) game, and I happened to back it.  I've had it for awhile now and have read through it enough times to make an adequate review.

Huge Disclaimers first.  This is my first Pulp Alley product I've purchased.  Outside of the Quick Start pdf and dozens upon dozens of actual plays, I haven't had the pleasure of actually playing the game.  I love the mechanics, the multiple uses of the card decks.  I just happen to be satisfied with running my family's pulp campaign using Savage Showdown/Worlds, but that certainly doesn't mean Pulp Alley's material doesn't translate well.

New Rules: Lemuria covers Mounts, Skimmers, and Riders, with a nice list of special abilities.  The one thing that attracts me to Pulp Alley is that the base mechanics seem simple for everything, it's just the adjustments from the special abilities.

They then cover new Abilities for the characters, as well as special rules for Non-Player Characters and Spoilers.   PA is objective (plot point) based, so spoilers negate those plot points, or the Rewards, or even even prevent characters from taking the initiative.

While it's not active in all scenarios, the existence of spoilers teases a much tougher campaign than most PA, or at least with extra drama.

The next section covers Lemuria itself, the formation of this undersea realm, the politics of the people, places of interest, and even a way to randomly determine how you arrive in this place, complete with effects on certain scenarios in the campaign.

As cool as the setting is, the main draw that got me to support the Kickstarter was the chance at multiple scenarios, and this book has 11 of them, all intended for a 3' x 3' board.

To link these scenarios into campaigns, they focus on scenario cards.  Once the major plot is successfully obtained, that league (team of characters) earns the scenario's card, which may provide additional effects, allies, or bonuses.   Each card is also worth a different number of points toward Military, Politics, and Science objectives.  Once a league controls 10 points in any one category, the player become Champion of Lemuria, and the campaign ends.  This may make a problem for me, as my pulp campaigns are usually designed around 12 "issues" (scenarios), but it appears most scenarios can be run multiple times and there's only a finite number of scenario cards for points.

The last five pages are the various campaign cards for monsters, encounters, and NPC stats, as well as the above mentioned scenario cards.

Of course, PA is driven by plot points, as well as the fortune and reward decks of cards.  The cards have a dramatic influence on the competing leagues, and the game itself, so in my heretical desire to use this for a different system, I will need to work out system appropriate cards and perhaps a few random charts.

In all, I'm pleasantly pleased with my decision to back the Kickstarter for the physical copy of the book.  We're at least two or three "seasons" away from returning to an exotic lost world of ancient beasts and cultures, but I am adding Pulp Alley to my convention wish list to purchase, and hopefully, get a chance to play it.

Even with the extra conversion (or just manning up to try out a new system), The Lost World of Lemuria is a great expansion and campaign, with plenty of replay potential.

On the Gaming with the Gnomies 5-Gnome Rating System, I give The Lost World of Lemuria four gnomes.

The Lost World of Lemuria is a 44-page comic book-sized book with b/w glossy interiors and a full color cover.   Retail is $17.99.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

(Kickstarter) Life of the Party Vol 2: Roll for Initiative

Travis Hanson is at it again, launching a Kickstarter for a second volume of his collected webcomic: Life of the Party: Roll for Initiative.

Outside of a few instances where the book is called Role for Initiative (Travis is an artist, not an editor), I see this easily making its goal.  And with copies of Volume 1 being available as a $20 add-on, I see a reason to catch up on the books I've missed from him. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

(Hackmaster) Burning Trogs Redux #0.4 - Ambassador-General Fonzie Schlepprock Circa 1148

As the group creeps ever closer to doing something with Hackmaster, I bring up an interesting update to the Burning Trogs characters.  Despite the love and adoration for the Pigeon God series, seeing what's up with characters in more recent campaigns isn't hitting the gamer sweet spot that it should.  We'll see if anyone remembers once we get around to mentioning "Lord Fonz"

Ambassador-General Fonzy "The Fonz" Schlepprock
Lord of Neufonzstein, Circa 1148
8th Level Gnome Titan Fighter
Align:  NG,  Ht:  3'4"  Weight:  84 lbs   Class: UMC   Age87
Birth:  Legit, Mom:  Living, Loving.  Dad:  Living, Loving.  Heritage:  Honorable
Siblings:  1 illegitimate sibling, brother, younger (alive)  normal relationship, share Mom.
Ambidextrous
Base Movement:  9
XP:  125,365

STR:  16/19
INT:   16/97
WIS:  07/52
DEX: 13/97
CON: 12/49
CHA: 16/75
COM: 11/81
Honor:   Average

Hit Points:  46
AC:  1
Total Bonus:  +4/+7 (with +2 Short Sword)

PP:  481
GP:  24,043
EP:  2790
SP:  2470
CP:  8107

XP: 147.760

Weapon Prof:
Short Bow
Dagger
Short Sword Specialize (2/1 attacks, +1/+2 )

Talents:
Blind Fighting
Defensive Bonus (+1 Bonus to AC)
Short Sword Bonus (+1 Bonus to Hit)

Basic Gear:
Breeches, Tunic
Belt, Gloves,
Cloak
Large Belt Pouch
Backpack
Flint and Steel
Wineskin
Whistle
Rations (7 days/standard)
Rations (3 weeks, iron)
Winter blanket
rope.
1 Burning Trogs brass signet ring
Crowbar
Grappling Hook
War Pony with tack/bridle/saddle

Fine Silk Garments

Normal Weapons.
2 normal short swords
short bow
60 flight arrows
2 dagger


Armor
Medium Shield (+2 bonus to AC  -  4/3 damage remaining)
Studded Leather (  4/ 2/ 1  )
Ring Mail   (   6/  2/  1  )
Field Plate (24/12/10/8/6/4/2/1)

Magic Items
"Paingiver"  Shortsword +2  - if wounds another, must save vs spells or writhe in pain for 1d6 rounds.
Scale mail +1 (Human)
Dagger +2
Dagger +1
Peritapht of Health
Potion of Fire Resistance
Ring of Warmth

SKILLS:
First Aid Skill Suite   24%
         Cauterize Wounds
         Sew Own Wounds
         Sew Wounds
Street Cred               41%
Feign Toughness      30%
Liar, Skilled              51%
Flex Muscle              28%
Weapon Maint.          Auto (10gp/month)
Shaving/Grooming    Auto (25gp/month)
Groin Stomp              23%
Rousing Speech        47%
Mingling                     26 %
Culture and Etiquette (Barthey) 28%

Languages  
Gnomish                    100%
Common                     23%
R/W Gnome                27%
R/W Common             33%

Flaws:
Loss of eye (left)   -1 to hit
Self Absorbed
Enmity to Dwarves
Chronic Liar

Property:
Estate in Treibezond  (Neufonzstein), Duchy of Sarbonia, generates 10,000 gp/yr.

Neu-FONZ-stein (as in the German castle neuschwanstein)
He is also entrusted with general day-to-day operations of Balzmaca (Janus') in 1140 and Aiden Teppe (Cecelia's) 1143.

The Lord Fonz has built a museum/shrine of himself as an annex off the main building...similar to a british "adventurer's club" - think trophies adorning the walls and hallways of things he has acquired or "killed" (real or imagined):
  • Taxidermy animals or heads hanging from the walls 
  • Statues (from fictional heroes with a great back-story: i.e. mahogony carved "Brutis the Giant Slayer" found in the basement of the estate of the former 4th Baron of Cressida) 
  • Weapons: Numerous "magical" weapons, mostly named items without magical powers, usually just creative props to tell a story.
  • ​Paintings 
  • Relics 
  • Gifts acquired during his ambassadorship when he brokered great deals between warring heads of state 
​He is constantly acquiring new things to continually fill up his museum, and when he starts to run out of space, he contracts new workers to build another wing. On top of the museum stands a statue of himself, at least 3x his size, raising his sword in one hand and a giant "thumbs-up" on the other.

Twice per year, he holds a gala in the "Shrine of the Fonz" (FONZ-A-PALOOZA, baby!!!). There's  music (medieval rock-n-roll, cause he's still The Fonz), dancing, much drinking and eating, and after obligatory toasts to the Fonz by various guests, he then proceeds to regale his guests with all the stories of his latest exploits and how he acquired all his newest trophies, as well as a few "fan-favorites" when requested. It's a "can't-miss" event!

Awards, Medals
1 Phalera Tetracross (Giant medallion from Barthey Empire, to be inserted in armor)
2 Civic Crowns of Barthey (Gilded wreath of olive branches)
Obsidian Medal of Barthey (for heroism during the siege of Akorros)
A pile of ribbons and awards from Celsior and Marakeikos for actions during the civil war.
A pile of ribbons and honors from the Gnome Titan Legions picked up during random trips to bazaars.

Schlepprock Clan
Location:  Southern Gnomish City-States
Race:  Gnome Titan, some normal gnome mixed in
Social Class:  UMC
Alignment:  NG
Clan Religion:  Pangrus
Family Honor:  115
Notable Family Contacts:  None
Hereditary Grudges, Enemies, and Allies:
Dwarves of Ahzur Khai (grudge)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Ballad of the Pigeon God #41: The War in Ruuna

They were too late.  Fluchton, and probably the rest of the Duchy of Ruuna was either in flames or smoldering ruins.  It was time to try to stop this chaos from spreading... or at least get home in one piece.

21 HepDec 1071 - Town of Fluchton, Duchy of Ruuna, Ras-Prythax Empire
The group headed down from the mountains towards whatever remained of Fluchton. Once they reached a main road, they were stopped and questioned by a unit of dwarven infantry.
Baron Echelon - Baron of Eding, Cleric of the eastern god of the sea, pigeon aficionado, very poor independent diplomatic consul.
Mellandria - Mage and Baronial scribe.  Considering taking her cut of the treasure and finding new career opportunities
Talis Makolin - Knight of the Pigeon for the Barony of Eding, Bard, Ladies Man, Baronial Bodyguard
Velandro - Ardent Priest of Akana, proselytizer to kobolds.

Skyforge had seized control the duchy, banning all travel by non-dwarves. No one had heard of Norm Dingleberry.  Martial law had been declared.
With no hope of saving the human duchy, and fearing repercussions from Crosdes and Ras-Prythax, they turned around and headed south into Skyforge.

24 HepDec 1071 - On the Road to Skyforge, Duchy of Ruuna, Ras-Prythax Empire
The diplomatic mission continued to face resistance from every dwarven unit they encountered. Luckily, Echelon's credentials originated from Crosedes, less they suffer the same fate as the Duke of Ruuna (covered in diseased goat hair and forcibly stuffed into a small box, the opposite fate that he had imposed on the dwarves.)

Talis was dispatched back to Eding to inform Lady Iris, and thus King Nevin of the situation.  His voice finally changed back from that of a high-pitched kobold back to his chords of vocal silk, but it would be others who would try to negotiate with the Skyforge on behalf of the Emperor of Ras-Prythax, and a plead for peace with Crosedes.

26 HexDec 1071 - Kingdom of Crosedes
It took Talis a good month to travel through the mountains of Skyforge and the gnomish hills of Masgoth to get home, but he succeeded in returning to Crosedes.  He bought the first fast horse he could find, and instead of heading towards the capital to find Lady Iris, he rode back home to the Chateau.  He remembered that she had accepted the role of Baronial Magistrate from Baron Echelon, but she had yet to arrive when the diplomatic mission left for Ruuna. He rode hard, barely stopping, which was fortuitous based on the news that had transpired since he had been last been in Eding.

29 HexDec 1071 - Chateau d'Echelon, Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
When Talis arrived home, he first saw the remains of what had been decorations still tacked to the outside of the main house, a strange mixture of blues and whites on top of black.  There was no one inside the main house, so he ventured out to the barns, where a very shocked Felix and Brutus were delighted to see him.  They yelled to Dag the kobold to fetch Carthon.

Carthon's gaze upon the bard was one of disbelief and desperation.  He rushed Talis back into the Chateau itself, and escorted him down into the wine cellar.  The news would require secrecy and a good deal to drink.

After Talis confirmed Echelon's status as alive and well, Carthon shook his head and gave a nervous laugh.

"King Nevin died soon after you five left.  His brother Cervinal has assumed the throne.  You might remember him as the Dread Lord?"

Talis uncorked a second bottle, took a swig, and sat on the ground.

"Cervinal demanded all the nobles pledge allegiance to him.  Apparently, every noble did so, except Echelon, who was nowhere to be found."

"As if things weren't strange enough, King Cervinal *spits* had Echelon and Mellandria declared dead, killed while participating in unlawful diplomacy against King Nevin's wishes. I figured, if he didn't kill us all outright for revenge against his plans, he would at least appoint a new Baron."

"Funny thing, some court officials, knights, and generals, and a cleric of Akana came down from Hydincall and presented some very official looking papers to Lady Iris.  It seemed that the royal paperwork you guys had notarized at the estate of Poipon had a line of succession, or at least the paperwork they had in hand did.  The ink looked barely dry and since Poipon's death all the official papers are drawn right in the King's castle. Anyway, guess who he named Baron?"

Talis shrugged incredulously, "I don't know you?  Baron Felix?  Dag? What, me???"

Carthon closed his eyes and let out a big sigh.

"Timmy."

"WHHHAAAATTTT!!!!!!  The freakin' Dread Lord gave a Barony to a ten-year old boy???  He can't read, can't fight, and he spends more time smelling the farts of Dag's kids... FOR FUN!!!!"

"I know Talis, but I'm amazed it's not as bad as we thought.  Part of the announcement was the King appointing Lady Iris as regent to the Baron until he's fifteen.  "Baron Timoth" and Jenny were moved up to Athelstane's old manor house.  The baronial troops there got evicted and a unit of royal light cavalry made itself at home there, alternating between rumor mongering here and patrols out to the Ruuna border."

"The biggest surprise of all is that they've left us alone ever since.  Timmy and Jenny come by every prayer day for a big meal, with the king's men pacing outside the Chateau.  The rest of us can seem to moved about with harassment... or a tail.  But it's better than being evicted, or killed."

"You can't see Timmy, though.  He thinks you four died in Ruuna and if we let it slip to him that you're alive, the king's agents will find out for sure."

"Wait, Carthon.  What do you mean, by 'you four?'"

"Norm's here, he made it back from Skyforge last week.  Spending time with Babette and the twins in her bungalow.  He's.... changed."

"He stopped speaking with his outrageous accent for once?"

"No, that's not it.  His voice is still as annoying as ever.  The humans in Ruuna caught him... shaved off most of his beard and let him go before the dwarves arrived.  He was a mess when he made it back, but he got into a fight with Dew, and immediately left for the capital.  Mohammad heard the fight and saw him leave.  Dew just seems very distraught every time I brought up Norm's name."

"As if all this wasn't a twenty pound pile of crazy shoved into a five pound sack already, the Dread Lord didn't just let him live, he loves the sonuvabitch! Knighted him on the spot, and he's been awarded the rank of general and a freakin' army to command near Lansluck, just in case the dwarves get frisky!"

"He's General Dingleberry?"

"He prefers Sir Norm, or General Norm."

"Talis, go speak to Norm now.  I'll get some grub for you if I can find Dew. She hasn't been the same since Norm got back.  Those two lovebirds couldn't take their hands off of each other before he left. It was disgusting."

"We need more of that love right now."

DM Notes:  This is what happens when you take too long finishing an adventure with a time limit.  I know, the dwarves in X3: Curse of Xanathon only threatened war, they never would actually act on it. Well boo-hoo on that idea.  Skyforge needs a quick and successful war to keep the clans happy.  Ras-Prythax is weak and will not risk an full-fledged embarrassment of a war with the dwarves over a quite provincial territory. 

Yep, good King Nevin I has died, under unknown causes *Dum dum DUUUUUM*  His brother was next in line, and so far has acted more uneven than crazed or vengeful.  Somehow Cervinal learned that Echelon was the de facto guardian of Timmy before Carthon and Jenny adopted him.  

Norm becoming a Knight?  And a General?  Just chalk that up to his outrageous French accent and a solid presentation.... maybe a little je ne sais quois?

RIP:  His Majesty, King Nevin I of Crosedes.   Long Live the Dread Lord!!!!

14 HexDec 1071 - Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes *FLASHBACK*
Norm Dingleberry, dwarven warrior and Knight of the Pigeon had come a long way since his days as a failed mushroom farmer.  Great warrior, windship pilot, and slayer of mythical beasts were three titles he had earned in just the last year.

Competent negotiator was not one of them.

He arrived back at the Chateau a beaten dwarf.  After hitching his pony, My Lyl, he went into the kitchen and tried to surprise the love of his life, the plump and voluptuous Dew.  However, she caught him sneaking up on her, had one look at his half-shaven face, and shooed him away with a tear in her eye.   Shaken by the encounter, he ran up the stairs to his room for a change of clothes, some supplies, and decided to run out of the Chateau and head towards Hydincall before encountering anyone else.

Of course, upon leaving his room, Echelon's legless mentor blocked his way down the hallway, muttering a song.

"Rough Seas, High Winds,
                     When I step out I'm gonna do you in..."

"Mohamma-ahd," the dwarf declared.  

"Hello Norman, you are back!  And a mess?"

Norm stroked his hand across a mess of stumble and clumps of full dwarven beard.

"I tried to negotiate ze peace between ze dwarfs and humahns. I never got a chance.  Ze stinkin' humans shaved most of my beard and would have put me on ze rack if not for the dwarves attacking.  Ze dwarves would not even talk to Norm.  Zey sent me back in shame.  Even Dew won't look at her little man.  I am so ashamed."

"Norman, you are a good and loyal friend to everyone here at the Chateau.  You are held in the highest respect with everyone here.  I curse the humans that dishonored you, and the dwarves who did the same. It is not your fault.  Take their shame and convert it to pride you deserve to hold.  Do not let them determine your life, each time you stand upon a hill, act as the king of everything you see.  You are above such trifling things as beards and human ignorance.  Rule the day, each and every one of them."

Norm nodded at the crippled cleric, turned back into his room, and shoved one item into his pocket before dashing down the stairs and out the door unnoticed.

A straight razor.

Next #42 - The Trouble With Brothers?

Monday, January 15, 2018

(Painting) Rust Monster Away!

Even with the ice and cold returning, cancelling all of our plans, a family full of the sniffles reduced my time in the basement. I got lots of paint on lots of figures, but only one is sufficient enough to say finished. 

A lone Rust Monster, or should I say Oxidation Beast from Reaper Bones.
Oxidation Beast (77032)
This was the one of the last Reaper Bones that my local FLGS had from a restock from over a year ago.  No reason why they never reordered, but the space is taken up with the Pathfinder blind boxes and some of the Nolzur's D&D two-packs that don't seem to sell.  I did manage to find some Armory White Primer (!) and a weird shade of Vallejo green to round out my purchase, but I'm afraid there's nothing left for me to impulse buy at the store.  The FLGS is one of the topics on my Project 350, so I hope to get that done this week... as well as more minis. 

My current queue is a beautiful mess with OGRE minis in various shades, all my Gamecraft Miniatures buildings built and primed, plus a wild assortment of Pulp stuff.