Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Books! The Mini Manor! Craigslist Loot!

I returned home from Buffalo, NY on Sunday night - the trip was fantastic: gaming, hanging out with friends (new and old), seeing family, and enjoying beautiful weather - but, barring the maelstrom that is work this time of year, it's great to be home.

One thing I made sure to do while I was on my trip was to visit one of my favorite used bookstores, Rust Belt Books. Many years ago, when I still lived in Buffalo, Rust Belt really defined for me what I expect from such places, and over the years it has only gotten better. I still haven't found a used book store in Atlanta that I like.

In any case, here's my small haul of appendix N/B62 authors for $6:

I use my laptop to prop up books for photos, hence the "chrome" in the background.
I had to refrain from buying more - I'm reading The Art of Warfare in the Age of Marlborough right now, and there are already several books in the queue behind it.

Upon returning home, I had an awesome surprise waiting for me from Tim Shorts of Gothridge Manor:

I can not wait to play this!

I have had great fun soloing Tim's adventures in the "regular size" issues of The Manor, so I'll be running this one solo, of course. It's designed for one character, too, thus eliminating the schizophrenia of playing a mutli-pc party.

Finally, just before the trip, I was poking around on Craigslist and managed to pick up these for $25 total:

The best part is that the Rules Cyclopedia accounted for just five of those dollars.

I'm unsure if I'm going to keep it or resell it. It looks interesting, and the bestiary has some fun looking stuff, but I have to give it a thorough going over to see if it's something I'll make use of regularly. It commands a decent price on eBay - one that could underwrite other hobby expenses - and that's very tempting.

And, for those waiting for, you know, actual gaming content, I hope to play the next session of The Ever Expanding Dungeon tonight, after I do some painting.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Travelling with Traveller

At Lady Shadowmoss's insistence, I'm on the road this week visiting my parents and some friends in Western New York. In addition to working during the day and much socializing in the evening, I've reserved some snippets of time to read and game (the 18th session of The Ever Expanding Dungeon took place on the 1st day of the trip). One game I have been looking forward to is Traveller.

I acquired the Starter Edition of Classic Traveller last year, and although I rolled up a character or two and generated a sub-sector, I never really played the game. So, as part of my Save a Dead Tree goal in which I make an effort to use those items I already have, I decided to pack it along on the trip.

Last night I managed to roll up two characters and both survived character creation. Since I'm not sure I understand what a Traveller game is supposed to be like, I really wanted to use a published module. I chose to send them on the Mission on Mithril module, as it looks well suited to solo gaming.

Essentially, it's a limited hex crawl set in a sci-fi world rather than a fantasy one. There are three sites, the PCs objectives, that I'll have to explore a bit and I'm not sure how I'll handle those at the moment, but I suspect Mythic will play a part in that.

As the module is structured, each day is broken down into 7 phases including randomly generating an Encounter for each hex crossed, as well as Temperature and Weather which can effect movement rates.

So far, it feels a lot like playing Adventures in Jimland, without miniatures, and set on a frozen planet instead of on a Lost World island. In fact, I've gone so far as to document journal style which probably explains the feeling of similarity:
 "Day 1, we set off for the location marked B on our map. The ATV is as warm as it is cramped, a blessing when the temperature outside hovers near freezing. Unfortunately, as the day passed, the temperature soared to 4 degrees above freezing and turned the snow to slush, the very ground giving way beneath the weight of the transport. We are, in a word, stuck."

The Ever Expanding Dungeon: Session 18

Back in the village to rest and recuperate, the party makes the acquaintance of a wandering magic-user, Manchiver Mugg (M-U: 1), most recently from Heretic's Garden. He had been keeping a low profile, given the fairly recent regional distrust of magic, but he heard of the party and approached them with an offer to lend his talents in exchange for an equal share of treasure and glory. When the risk of the venture was posed to him, he replied that he seeks to obtain the "Steel Thunder of the Crimson Claw" at whatever the cost, which led to some shrugged shoulders and confused looks, and an acceptance of his offer.

[After rolling up Manchiver the Magic User, I checked the result of the recruitment efforts by rolling 1d6 and I rolled a 2-Roll to see if applicants arrived, no further checks without advertising. I rolled 1d6 for my target number and rolled 1. As an odd number, I had to roll equal to or less than a 1 on 2d6-1. 

In other words, it wasn't very likely. 

And sure enough, not a single NPC arrived]

Given the lack of response, the party invested again in advertising and successfully hired the riders again.

Meanwhile, rather than wait for a result, the party decided to head to the dungeon to return to level A and continue exploring the area beyond the room where they met the Dwarves. At the door up to level A, they found a human skull and spinal column nailed to the door - covered in dried blood. What remained of the human's guts had been clearly eaten, at least in large part.

[I asked an online Mythic App, does the party encounter anything unusual? And got "disturbing violence, celebrating past victories". I decided at that point to stick with offline Mythic for the most part, primarily because it didn't offer me a clear Yes or No. 

At each door I came to, I checked to see if it was locked or not, followed with a check to see if it was trapped in the needle - which given all doors would be forced open, meant it didn't cause them harm - and finally I'd check to see if the door was a trigger using my traps method. ]

At one door, as Perceval forced the door open and was about to charge in, a scythe swooshed down inches from his face. 

[Prior to opening the door, I had determined it was a trap trigger. Then i checked to see what kind, and it was a Physical trap. I created a quick list of possible traps and got the ubiquitous scythe blade swinging down from the ceiling. I rolled that it would attack as F:2 and it missed. ]

The room was otherwise uninteresting other than a door opposite, which proved to be stuck, not locked. Given the location on the map, the party opted to check for a secret door to an adjacent room.

They failed to account for the possibility that something might find them and so, with clear hostility and malicious intent, the stuck door flew open and a grey skinned white haired beast with a mouth full of fangs, raged into the room. 

[Wandering monster. Ghoul. Initiative 5, party 1.]

Sister Linkat was closest to the ghoul and the object of the first attack. Raked by a claw [for 4 points of damage], Sister Linkat managed to avoid the paralysis often attendant in such instances [rolled a 19 for her save.].  

Perceval stepped up and felled the beast in a single blow! 

He suggested the party spike that door shut, but Sister Linkat argued that if there are more ghouls, she needed to destroy them to protect the village.

 [Here I used the party decision making method, and all were against Sister Linkat which lead to a modifier of -21 on the die roll. I figured that those in favor of spiking would win handily. Then, I rolled a 94. Even -21, it was a clear No. ]

Her argument was persuasive and the party agreed to explore beyond the door, which lead to the discovery of a stair well down 3 levels. The party was not ready for that ,and so ended up spiking the door anyway.

The threat from ghouls may not have come from that stair well, as later, farther from the steps and from a different direction, two more ghouls attacked the party  [again, wandering monsters]

[initiative was a tie and rather than re-roll as I often do, I decided to do it simultaneous, all attacks would be made and the results applied after]

A fierce clash of claws and steel and stone [war hammer] ensued. Dleggit was raked and bitten by one of the assailants, but as a hearty dwarf he easily avoided paralysis. Sister Linkat was able to bring the power of the Hedonistic Lumberjack to bear and drove the ghouls off.

She followed that act with healing Dleggit. It wasn't surprising when she then indicated she wanted to pursue the ghouls.

[Again, i used the group decision making method, but this time Manchiver and Dleggit persuade the party to explore further rather than chase them. Perceval spiked the door.]

On their way back to the door they wanted to check out, they encountered four dwarves coming from the direction of that room. [reaction: neutral. what are they doing: hungry/hunting]

Dleggit hails them and he and Perceval (who are both in front), throw the clan sign they learned last session [I give them a bonus of -2 on the reaction check and roll and 11, which yields a 9 and still isn't good.]

To the party's surprise, the dwarves became rather unfriendly and hollered back, "How have thieves come to be gifted the sign?" [The dialog was produced by rolling 3 Rory's Story Cubes - amulet, giving a gift, fish. The latter i interpreted as "something's fishy"]

Dleggit explained the story [Mythic: Have these dwarves heard this story?, 50/50, 95, Exceptional No]

Not only had they not been informed of this, they didn't believe it.

Dleggit continued to assert the truth of the story and that the party means no harm. In fact, he stated, the party was simply there to protect the nearby village from the foul undead that prowl these stone halls. That and to knock those pesky goblins down a peg or two.

[I checked reaction, giving a -1 bonus for the mention of the goblins, but fully expecting a battle. I rolled a 6, so a 5 which meant essentially a neutral reaction]

"You may pass this time, but we will verify your story. And if it be false, we will meet again, and you will pay for your lie."

That crisis resolved, the party proceeded to explore.

And then Manchiver fell in a 10' pit. [Fortunately he saved vs. his DEX for 1/2 damage. Which still ended up being 2 points of his total of 4.]

After hauling him out, Sister Linkat healed him back to full. And, as last time, with no more healing left, the party existed the dungeon to regroup in town.

[I decided to ask if the trip to down was uneventful. Mythic decided the answer was no.]

Some ghouls, perhaps the same turned earlier, had other ideas and attacked the party.

[Initiative: Ghouls 3, Party 6]

Perceval struck one ghoul for 3 points, while Dleggit struck the other dead in one crushing blow of his hammer.

[The ghouls failed on their attacks and the party won the next round 6 to 3]

With a thrust of his sword, Perceval dropped the second ghoul and the party quickly burned the bodies. 

The rest of the way back to town was, after that, especially uneventful.

The party explored 3 new rooms, found 2 stair wells and killed 3 ghouls - not bad for 90 or so minutes of play.

Everyone survived and Dleggit made his way to 2nd level. And then rolled poorly on his new HD.

The conversation with the dwarves was perhaps my favorite part. The Story Cubes (I use all three sets) really help it feel less like writing and more like a game.

I look forward to getting the party back into the dungeon - although I need to be more careful now that I don't have a thief to act as a scout.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Murder-Hoboing in Stonehell for Fun and Profit

Last night, I joined my 2nd session of the Thursday night sorties into Stonehell over on Google Hangouts.

Before we went in, I picked up a vial of holy water and some more darts - they don't do much damage, but they cost 5sp compared to throwing 5gp daggers all over the place.

We decided to return to the section we had found last time - which involved having to pass through a room which I guess is haunted. It isn't clear to me how often the ghostly apparition appears, but it seems to frighten one person, disappears, and then the rest can pass. Except no one wanted to go first.

Zorkon to the rescue.

That's right. My shuffling 1st level -old-man-2 hp-AC 8- magic-user "raced" through the room and made it unscathed to the other side. I would have taunted the "brave" warriors in the group, but such things can have negative consequences when you need them to stand between you and an undead horde.

We continued to explore the various crypts and, not unexpectedly, our first encounter was a ghoul. I bravely ran up to throw my holy water vial. Rolled an 8. And basically threw away 25gp. Urg!

I made up for it a short time later during an attack from a number of zombies by running up and dropping an already damaged zombie with a precisely targeted slash of my silver dagger.

Zorkon, the Zombie-slayer, has a nice ring to it, don't you think?

My general curiosity about Stonehell came in handy - I opted to search a room that seemed of little interest, and managed to find a treasure map (a treasure some 30 miles away and unlikely to be pursued anytime soon) and a secret door. The latter led to a scary encounter with a ton of skeletons, scattered around a giant snake skeleton (which fortunately was inanimate).

Zorkon bravely stayed out of it, but I also saw shades of the children of the hydra's teeth, from the Harryhausen Jason and the Argonauts movie, and so afterwards, pried the serpent's fang from its skull to try and sell back in town.

Speaking of, we did make it back (minus one cleric, the 1st casualty for the group), thanks to the power of fire and oil. This is why low-level party's tend to be pyromaniacs; the tactic is rewarded.

I had to sign off once we got back to town, and so next time, I'll make an effort to find a market for that fang and find out if they'd have any interest in any of the rest of the teeth/bones.

So, Zorkon has made it through two delves into Stonehell and is about 1/4 of the way to 2nd level.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

New Year, New (Social) Game: Wastelands Game Session 3

A brief bit of background: the PCs have opposing goals - Pa Ku had pledged to escort Jade to the city of Hakami and to deliver her to a woman there, but Jade had designs to go to Nekheb, a city rumored to have a school for those with "special gifts".

Hakami was farther, but a potentially safer route with opportunity to re-supply at  plenty of mapped villages/way stations, while Nekheb was closer, but required crossing the Plains of the Emperor's Undying Darkness, never mind that the map showed no villages along this route.

[Here I let the players have at it, role playing the discussion ]

It took a bit of convincing, but Pa Ku agreed to escort Jade to Nekheb, figuring the spirit of the request from Jade's father was more important than the letter - especially if following it to the letter meant Jade would be hostile or try to run again.

A few days into their journey, and needing water, they came upon the village of Meridian - a gloomy place where the people eek out a living as cattle herders - although the herds are quite small.

Pa Ku offered his healing services to the villagers in exchange for permission to take water from the village cisterns. The deal was struck, the healing performed and in the morning, their water skins full, they made their way towards the mountains that stood between them and Nekheb, rather than try to go north and around said mountains.

Days later, and low on water again, fate [me] provided a strange pool at the base of a mountain - the liquid was more viscous than water, and didn't stir even when a breeze blew. Jade bravely took a swig and found it had restorative properties, Pa Ku took a swig and found it tasted awful (and had to roll an attribute check to avoid becoming nauseous). Even with the threat of nausea, the party opted to fill up on the liquid. 

[The water is healing/normal/nauseating (with appropriate penalties). Which it is can't be determined until it's drunk, and the die is rolled each time for each person - Shrodinger's Water if you will.]

Jade discovered a dried stream bed leading up into the mountains and they decided to take that route, in hopes it would get them to their destination more quickly.

On the trek, they came to a scene of vicious slaughter - the rended bodies of miners outside the mines entrance. Many of the body parts bore burns as well. It wasn't long before the assailant returned - a mutant pterodactyl shooting laser beams from its eyes, ridden by a homunculus. [The players gave me a "WTF?" look]

There was a brief bit of combat in which the pterodactyl was hit with Jade's tazer, just before the party ran into the mine. It was driven off due to the creative use of Jade's cell phone [in play, Jade doesn't know it's a cell phone, just that it makes noise, has buttons and a display] and the party chose to spend the night in the mine.

The remainder of the journey was uneventful and the session ended with the party a short distance from the city of Nekheb, which towers out of the wasteland, built upon the ruins of an ancient city.

Getting in will be their next challenge.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Must...Resist...Temptation (aka Thinking Out Loud)

As anyone who follows the OSR blogosphere knows, today is Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day and with that comes a 25% discount coupon over at Frog God Games:

S&W has been on my "want list" for awhile - mostly for this awesome cover art:

Seriously. Awesome. Cover.
I wonder, though, how many rule books do I need? (I say books because, while PDFs are great, I don't have an e-reader and so I find them difficult to use for anything over 30 or so pages.)

I have B/X, Labyrinth Lord (plus AEC) and Basic Fantasy RPG. I also, after a short period without them, again have the 1e books. Oh, and then there's DCC

While I understand that S&W is more of a 0e game (and I don't have a any print 0e books, clone or otherwise), the fact is, if I'm honest with myself, there's only so many different rule systems I need to run essentially the same flavor of game. 

So, cool art aside, I think I have to pass.  Now, the Mythmere Adventure Design Desktop on the other hand, well, I might not be able to resist that.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Ever Expanding Dungeon: Session 17

[We rejoin our party in the dungeon, where we left off last session. ]

Kroyden, having regained his sight, scouted ahead to an intersection to his right ,a door, to his left, a 10' passage to a four way intersection, which he scouted as well. There, he found steps up to the north, and doors to the East and South.

The party started with the first door, and although Perceval heard a drumming sound emanating from within, the room turned out to be empty. There were no visible exits, but Dleggit thought the North wall might connect to a previously explored hallway. Hi search proved fruitless and he was unable to find any such door. 

At the "East" door from the four-way intersection, Perceval again heard something within: this time, footsteps. Kroyden searched for traps and found none, nor was he able to pick the lock. [I really wonder why I bother doing this except that it's his job in the party, and he gets XP for trying.] 

Perceval again forced the door open. The party was greated with the the smell of rotting and five giant centipedes swarming about eating whatever it was. [Since I rolled giant centipedes, when i checked the Is the Monster in Here? table, I rolled at -2. I rolled a 2.]. 

Again the room appeared to be a dead-end, and so, Perceval, remembering the disease brought to the late Feldspar by the bite of a centipede, told the party to turn back. 

They approached the "South" door and this time heard nothing behind the door. 

While Kroyden searched for traps, Sister Linkat - who was covering the party's rear during listening/lock picking - spotted a war band of 8 kobold's coming around the corner.

They were not overly hostile, but they were confident as they approached [I rolled that they were on patrol], and they seemed to be without fear. The apparent leader of the group hollered something in Kobold.

Dleggit, gifted with knowledge of the language, translated for the party "They want to know if we've seen a giant snake, covered with thick armor plates moving through here. It was headed this way and they lost it when it went around a corner."

He replied they had not and an exchange began between the party and kobolds, with Dleggit acting as translator:

[The kobold speech content was generated by Rory's Story Cubes]

"You seem to be far from home. This place is full of traps and disease. It would be best if you leave, " said the leader.

Sister Linkat put down her mace, and stepped toward the kobolds with an open hand and had Dleggit tell them the party meant them no harm and that if they needed healing, if her god ordained, she could provide. 

[Rolled reaction - they were indifferent]

"This place is our home, and you seek only to invade it and take what is ours."

It's hard to argue with the truth, so Perceval offered them 10 gp as a sign of good faith,and promised that the party would avoid the kobold's lair, provided that the leader would tell them its location.

The leader hesitated and then accepted the offer. He indicated on the party's map the region they kobold's use for their lair [in game terms, this means my party won't be mapping that section at least while Perceval is alive]

Kroyden meanwhile had found no traps, and began to pick the lock. He succeeded, but his success was accompanied by a small explosion which sent shrapnel of the lock through his eye and into his brain. 

He was dead on the spot. [It figures that I finally roll well for the pick locks check, and he becomes the 18th victim of the dungeon]

After Kroyden's body was loaded on the mule, Perceval argued that the party should return to town, while Dleggit and [to my surprise] Sister Linkat argued that Kroyden was dead and that forcing their way in could be an act of revenge in his honor. Perceval was convinced.

[I used my group decision mechanics to play out the discussion.]

Perceval forced the door open - [I rolled the room contents: Monster. I then rolled up Dwarves, followed by a check on my Is the Monster in Here table with a 1. ] in an instant he saw two dwarves tending to an injured third [I rolled a 12  for their reaction - hostile,to say the least] and then those first two were charging him, weapons drawn.

The two dwarves attacked Perceval [they won initiative and I then checked to determine if they could see Dleggit, in hopes that would stave off the attack. But Mythic was adamant that they could not ,I rolled exceptional No. In fact they were in a blind rage and it wouldn't matter anyway].

The attacks were useless, and Perceval moved aside for Dleggit to join him at the front and shout that they meant the dwarves no harm.

It fell on deaf ears.

[the party won initiative  6 to 5]

Without an alternative, Perceval struck the dwarf nearest him, cleanly killing the dwarf in one blow. Dleggit landed a solid hit on his target, and though he did not kill him, the fight was over [dwarves failed morale].

"I am too tired for this" uttered the dwarf.

The party forced their way in and then Sister Linkat, as she had done for the kobolds, had Dleggit translate her offer for healing. The dwarves refused but she was not satisfied with that and finally they conceded. She healed both to full HP.

And a long discussion began thereafter where the party [and I] learned the following:
  • The dwarves tunneled into this complex and don't live in the mountain/ridge but rather live down deeper.
  • The mural the party (well, Perceval) saw early on was a celebration of the unveiliing of a new observatory on top of the mountain.
  • The Dwarves are at war with the Goblins who lair in the dungeon.
  • The Goblins are powerful - they have a Bugbear contingent, wolf riders and are actively negotiating with other humanoids in the dungeon, the Orcs in particular.
  • The Goblins recently turned their attention to recruiting the Gnolls on the 1st level but so far it has not panned out.
  • The Kobolds keep to themselves mostly and the Goblins do not consider them a threat.
  • Some Gnomes have been exploring lately and that is sure to bring conflict with the Kobolds.
  • The Dwarves don't consider the Kobolds a threat but if the Gnomes sue for an alliance it's quite likely they'd have to go to war against the Kobolds.

Before they leave, the dwarves teach the party a hand-signal that identifies them as a friend of the clan, in order to prevent future "accidents".

With no healing spells left and Kroyden dead, the party opted to abandon the dungeon for the day. They returned to town where they built a funeral pyre for Kroyden and wished him well in the After.

Kroyden's death was disappointing. I thought for sure he'd make it to 2nd level. Oh well, such is life in the dungeon.

Perceval crossed over to 3rd level and Dleggit is within 27 XP of 2nd level.

The increased HP is a nice buffer - but I'm still looking to avoid combat encounters as much as possible. 

I was particularly happy to learn a bit about the factions in the dungeon. All of that was facilitated by asking Mythic questions and interpreting replies. This might help me build 9Q adventure sessions which follow a more story-oriented progress.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Recent Arrivals!

After a long day of staring at the screen all day, I start to get really excited when I hear the mail truck coming and I know I have packages on the way.

The book on the left arrived today, the one on the right arrived a few days ago:

The Art of Warfare in the Age of Marlborough will accompany on an upcoming trip. I'm hoping to learn more about the period to inform my future GNW games.

The Player's Handbook is 1e, but the 2nd cover. I used to have the 1st cover and got rid of it a few years ago. I decided if I was going to reacquire those books, they had to have different covers.

Consequently, I also acquired the special edition re-issue Monster Manual, and I've got a 1st cover (efreeti) DMG on the way.

My First Hangout/roll20 Game

art by Carl Nash
I had a chance to play in my first virtual game tonight - a session of Labyrinth Lord in the legendary Stonehell.

The game is being run "by the book", but players are allowed to roll 3d6 per stat and rearrange. I decided to simply roll 3d6 in order.

The result was Zorkon, a 1st level Magic User. I also rolled my HP and got a 2. I'm OK with that. As a fan of DCC's funnel, I really enjoy the challenges the low HP brings to the game.

So, how was the game?

From the standpoint of being able to play an old-school game and dungeon while on baby monitor duty and with my cat in my lap, it was pretty awesome.

We had a lot of players - 7  - which is great for survival, but not so much for having opportunities to contribute, especially when Sleep is your spell and undead  are the primary creature in the section we opted to explore. Of course, I'm probably more than a little spoiled thanks to my solo games.

Still, I got to interact with an "oracle" and i hurled a dart over a dwarf's head to take down a damaged skeleton. And Zorkon made it out of the dungeon, got some gold, and earned 325 xp, so, I think I did OK with my resources.

I had fun and I'll definitely be back - it's a laid back group, and if I have to duck out because my son starts crying, the GM is cool with it. Since it's a drop in/drop out kind of game, I also don't have to worry about leaving anyone in a lurch if my schedule doesn't allow it in a given week.

The whole experience made me realize how much I want to run a dungeon crawl, and also how I'd like to try and play in a game on other nights too.

Oh, and one thing I noticed, playing solo has given me near perfect recall about most of the common rules and some of the uncommon ones. Just another way in which solo gaming can inform social gaming.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

More Gunstorm!

Spacejacker clarified my rule question in the comments to my last post, so I wanted to play Gunstorm again. Plus, I wanted to start using the Stunts rules.

I grabbed a copy of In the Emperor's Name (ItEN) Campaign System and rolled up a mission: "No Stone Unturned"

My objective: 
The player must move at least one team member into contact with each marked doorway of each of the six objective buildings and remain in stationary contact for a whole turn in order to search the structure.
At the end of each search, roll 1d6. On a roll of 5-6, a piece of evidence is found that grants a victory point. Each building can only be searched once. On a roll of 1-3, deploy that number of enemy models just out of sight behind the nearest terrain piece or building to the building just searched. They will commence attacking in their next turn. Repeat until all buildings are searched.

There is a 10-turn limit on this scenario.

My force consisted of 5 figures, one had the Leader stunt and one had Medic (I'm slowly dipping my toe into the Stunt waters!). The enemy had 6 figures, no stunts.


My Intrepid Warriors

The Team moves out

Since there were no enemy deployed at the setup per the scenario, I drew phases as usual but ignored enemy results. The possibility existed each turn that I would draw Fortune before I drew Player Moves. If I drew Fortune, I still rolled to see who won the phase. If I lost, then my squad wouldn't move at all. In a turn-limit game that makes a big difference!

On turn 3 my force finishes searching the first building:

Which results in the first enemy on the table in Turn 4 (Enemy Shoots, Place on Table):

and they advance -Enemy Move (the scenario said "They will commence attacking in their next turn", which I took to mean they could still move):

and they win the Fortune phase and move again:

Turn 5, Player Move, I finish searching a 2nd building and a new enemy soldier appears on the board. Recognizing that I was half-way through my allotted turns, I opt to tap my Leader stunt.

I draw Fortune next and automatically win thanks to the Stunt. I choose Player Move to move into contact with another building on the left

Turn 6, while the 3rd and 4th buildings are being searched, the enemy moves up on the right and a brutal melee strikes up and lasts into Turn 7:

A shoot out on Turn 8 (Exchange Fire):

My leader is hit and fails his Guts Save. I pull a Wound marker! Phew!

He shoots one of the enemy and they aren't so lucky on their draw:

Meanwhile, on the left, my squad member is gunned down. There goes my Medic:

I draw Player Shoots to start turn 9 and my remaining squad member on the left fires at the enemy MG, and misses. Then I draw Exchange Fire:

Her number was up. 

Next, I pull Player Move. 

My squad leader, who had been freed up thanks to the death of a enemy bleeder, searches another building. I draw Fortune and finally win which allows me to un-tap my Leader stunt.

Turn 10, Player Moves: I tap my stunt but continue searching the building. 

Fortune is drawn next and I automatically win. My search of the building is complete. I roll and get a victory point. Finally! 

Unfortunately, it was too little, too late. I was out of turns, my entire squad was gone save the Leader and the enemy had figures on the board.

Still, in an ItEN campaign, that one point would be useful for recruiting my next squad. 

And, of course, now I have an itch to play an ItEN campaign with Gunstorm!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Playing Gunstorm Sci-Fi Skirmish and a Review

If you haven't heard/already seen it, Spacejacker has put up a set of solo small scale skirmish rules called Gunstorm, over on Tiny Solitary Soldiers. I believe they are technically still in Beta, but they are certainly playable.

It's been awhile since I broke out my 15mm sci-fi minis. This was the excuse I was waiting for.

For the first game, I sent a four-figure squad of Control Battalion against a 5 figure squad from the Resistance in a Extraction Scenario: both sides had the objective to get Master Shake off their side of the table.

The Control Battalion had fewer members because they had better armor. Both sides were led by a figure with a rating of Veteran, the rest were Regular. I did not use Stunts.

 The Setup

Between the number of times I drew Fortune, which were won by Control, and Move Enemy, Control moved unimpeded to within a move of Master Shake's HQ:

While my squad stood around scratching their butts:

"Hey, any of you catch the game last night?"
Then the momentum took a turn for the better:

We got there first!

Victory is mine!

Or not:

And it went down hill from there.

The pink stones are bleeders.
The last pic I took.
In the end, Control had Master Shake, and my squad was wiped out - mostly due to bleed outs.

I enjoyed the game enough that I decided to play a quick game today on a break (hence the less than evocative setup).

1 giant rampaging robot vs one squad

The squad started the game disembarked from their Labtec AFV. The robot is visible in the distance.

The phases went in my favor this time and we got up close fast before it had a chance to use its cannon:

I took a gamble upon winning a Fortune phase and moved out to get a combined shot at the robot (it had an 8+ armor rating and there was no way I would hit it without combining.) and crossed my fingers I wouldn't pull the Enemy Shoots phase next.

As luck would have it, I drew the Player Shoots phase and hit!

The robot rolled his Guts Save. He needed a 2 or higher:

Yeah! Take that Warmachine! I then drew the wound chip and drew a clear, which functions as the black wound markers since I don't have enough black stones, i.e. Out!

All in all a fun little system. I think the hardest part for me was figuring out what to use for phase chips and wound markers.

As I said, I think technically this is a Beta. There are some editing issues as of yet - primarily I couldn't find the base movement rate in v1.1 but I had downloaded v1.0 which showed it as 4", so that's what I used.

Also, there's no SMG on the ranged weapons table - not that it mattered in my games, and it's easy to extrapolate. Similarly, there are no vehicle rules, but again,extrapolating them shouldn't be difficult.

One rule I wasn't clear on was whether a model had to test for bleeding out if their side won the Fortune phase. The rules say: "Additionally, at the start of any of it's [sic] side's Phases, a model with Bleeder counters must make an unmodified Guts save for each counter."

 As I see it, neither the Fortune phase nor the Exchange Fire phase belong to either side, but that may not be the intent.

Much like FUBAR or USE ME, you can probably port these to just about any setting/genre.

The solo enemy control seems to work given the types of scenarios this is designed for: small numbers of figures with specific objectives engaged in gun fights.

In any case, they're free, so you can't beat the price. Download them and have a look if you haven't already!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Ever Expanding Dungeon: Session 16, Part 2

The party made their way into Room 1. Lo those many days ago, a giant gecko had lived here, the last time  they passed through the room, it wasn't there.

[Is the gecko here – 50/50 Extreme no. No, but something else is:

1-2 giant spider
3-4 zombies
5 –6 giant centipedes

5,  giant centipedes. Roll on my Is the Monster in Here table: 5 No but, roll warning – incidental

Next giant centipede encounter roll on the Is Monster in Here at -2]

The party notices dark brown chitinous shells, the molting of giant bugs of some sort. It also appears the door to the stairs leading up has been repaired.

[That was a Mythic decision. Has the door been repaired 50/50 Mythic, 37, yes]

Kroyden checked the door for traps and failed to find any. Lucky for him, there wasn't one and in fact, the door opened easily. [ I used the method I detailed in this post]

Perceval forced the door open and the party moved up steps into a long room with no other visible doors.

[Roll for room contents using Basic Fantasy RPG stocking table: 55 – monster
Rolled gnomes, then checked Is the Monster in Here: 6, then 5. Next time gnomes encountered  -1 on roll on Is the Monster in Here table]

Scattered about the room are several casks, and the remains of a fire pit. Someone or something used this space.  While Kroyden searched the casks, Perceval examined the fire pit and Dleggit searched the south wall for a secret door. Sister Linkat guarded the steps.

[is there anything in the casks? 50/50, yes. Is there writing on the casks? 50/50 Mythic, no.]

The casks had a reddish purple residue on them and smelled of wine -there was no writing on the casks to give away where they came from. 

[Has the fire pit been used recently. Mythic, 50/50, exceptional no.]

Perceval notices  the ashes are cold and probably have been for days, if not weeks, judging by the rat tracks through the ashes.

Unfortunately Dleggit also came up empty handed on the search for a secret door, The party opted to try to find one as it seemed odd there was a stairway up to one small room, but it was for naught. Disappointed, they descended back to Room 1.

[Here there was some debate on where to go. An adjacent room has stairs up and stairs down.

I used the group decision making method again, and rolled that the the party agreed to continue the attempt to search the level above this one.

I then checked to see if the door to the room leading to the other stairs had been repaired:

Is door to 3 repaired? 1-3 yes 4-6 no, 5, no

This room also housed a room trap previously.

Has the trap been reset ? Since door not repaired, unlikely. Mythic: No
Is there anything new in here? 50/50 Yes. Roll on Basic Fantasy RPG stocking table: Monster
I rolled Bandits . 
Is the Monster in Here? 5, No, I then rolled Tracks,]

Although the room was empty it was clear someone had made their way through here since the party last visited. Muddy boot prints suggested that someone made a thorough search of this room

Perceval suggested they probably came in from the entrance near the old ogre cave. [Which only Sister Linkat was there for.]

Perceval examined the tracks while the others stood guard. 

[Can he determine the direction they exited? Roll a test vs Int (his int is 9, he rolls a 6) 

Can he tell the age? Test Int again, this time I roll a 4. Yes. Are they recent? Mythic. 50/50 Yes,] 

He discerns that they went up the steps and they were made within the last few days or so.

[Has the door to stairs repaired? 1-3 yes, 4-6 no. No.

Do they still want to go up knowing they might encounter someone else? Group decision time.
Sister Linkat – Down
Perceval – 50/50, yes
Dleggit – up
Kroyden 50/50 exceptional yes, up

The modified result of the check was a 49. Just barely a yes, but  they will go up.]

Sister Linkat conceded and the party prepared to go up – Perceval listened at the door and he hears something [I rule that the party can't be surprised if is something is there]. They prepared themselves for combat, Waldu lit a new torch.

They force the door open and advance up the steps to see a 4 way intersection ahead.

[Are the tracks visible up here?No.]

Perceval noticed that the tracks seemed to have disappeared.

The party opted to hang back, while Kroyden scouted the four directions and then let the party know what their options were.

Kroyden lit another torch and moved cautiously towards the intersection.

He found a set of steps going down [I decided that I needed to allow for more than 1 level traversing. So:

1-3 1 level
4 - 5 2 levels
6 - 3+ levels

On a 6 roll 1d6
1-3 3 levels
4-5 4 levels
6 - 5+ levels

On a 6, roll 1d6, etc.

I rolled a 4.]

and they seem to go way down, not just down to the next level.

He also finds a door down one branch of the intersection, while the other proceeds to yet another intersection.

The party chose the door – Kroyden  listened first, but didn't hear anything and then he checked for traps.

[ Check for traps  04, he found one if it's there!
Per my trap post door is locked  - 14, lock is trapped  - 03, type Physical - 32.

Disarm it – 100 (nope) He in fact, sets off the lock trap.

Use Rory Store Action Cube to determine specific trap – I roll a person with blindfold feeling a face and decide that means the trap is explosive flash powder – Save vs Death Ray or go blind for 1d4 turns. He  rolls a 4 for his save and  then a 3 on the 1d4. Blind for three turns!]

Suddenly, there was a popping sound and a bright flash. Kroyden fell backwards, swearing up  a storm. He was blinded. 

Sister Linkat does her best to calm him down He was furious with himself and told them to go in, after all, there might be something good in there given the trap.

Perceval smashed the door open [Roll on dungeon stocking table in Basic Fantasy RPG: Monster with treasure.

Is the Monster in Here? 6, No, 1 – waste. Rolled monster: carrion climber (sounds a lot like the carrion crawler if you ask me). I decide the floor is littered with bones, dung, and slime.

I roll 1000 gold in treasure. Is it all in coins? Mythic: unlikely No.

Rolled a Rory story cube got magic wand, since no magic item was indicated I decide it's an ornate scepter of gold and silver, and roll a 1d10, 8. It's worth 800gp.

200 more gp to go.

I then roll a Voyages cube and get Music notes. I decided it's a gold decorated harp worth 100gp.

With still 100 gp left, I roll another Voyages cube: laser pistol.  I interpreted that to mean it's a presentation longbow (no string) of a kind sometimes given away in tournaments, worth 100gp]

After rummaging around in the debris and rubbish, the party decided the harp was too unwieldy and left it behind. But the scepter and bow were loaded up onto the mule.

[I also decided that the other door in this room is unlocked and easy to open since the carrion crawler needs to be able to come and go from here. It may still be trapped, but Kroyden is still blind (2nd turn of blindness) and can't check for them.]

Waiting here didn't seem like a good idea and the party moved back into the hallway.

[Unfortunately, it had grown very late and so, I did something I usually try to avoid: I left the characters in the middle of the dungeon. They aren't resting They are frozen in time until I can play again]

Hopefully the changes in tense in this post aren't too painful. I just copied and pasted my notes and edited them - the action I put in the past tense and the game mechanics in present, for the most part.

I'm very happy with how the Is Monster in Here? tables worked. I think they added interesting narrative possibilities and gave a feel not unlike playing with a GM. It made the environment more alive than it has been in most of my solo sessions. Continued use will determine whether or not they stand as is or if the need modification.

Oh, who am I kidding, continued use means I'll modify them!

The traps method seems to work but it also felt a little cumbersome. I may have to rethink it. 

I did like rolling to see what kind of trap, poison, physical or magic/other it was - it easily allowed me to move away from all poison all the time without feeling like I was munchkin-ing it. 

Using the Rory's Story Cubes: Actions made the specific trap generation extremely easy. It was just a matter of tying the image pictured to the damage type rolled.