JP On Gaming

Friday, December 30, 2016

[Frostgrave Campaign] Thaw of the Lich Lord Day 4

You are no doubt wondering why there was no post yesterday. Simple: I was sick and have been all week: coughing and gacking. Yesterday, I could barely move. So we did not play, even though the kiddos asked for a game.

So this morning, we were back to the Frozen City to explore and see what the Lich Lord had in store.

As we were ready to play, Jojo decided to join us. She decided to play a Witch. Interesting, a different type of wizard! Here is the warband: her wizard is the witch pony with the hat, her apprentice is the druid (with the horns). She has a knight, two infantry men, a thief, and summons a boar.

This game was called Tide of Undeath. In an area in the center of the board, are a number of treasure and down skeletons and we played in a massive blizzard. At some point in the game, the Lich Lord would activate a ritual that would raise the skeletons. The trick? There were a vast number of treasures among the dead!

We converged on the center, taking shots at each other: I took out ActionMan's wizard because he was a thorn in my side. Jojo and Kitty fought on the other side, trading blows.

The Lich Lord finally activated his ritual, animating the skeletons in the center. After a furious battle, many were dead or down and the skeletons were partially defeated. I forgot that anyone who dies in the between the pillars returns as a revenant. There would have been quite a few more undead to go around. Already the amount of undead was quite challenging!

The Lich Lord dropped by with some of his horrible monsters looking over the battle. Kitty, ActionMan and Jojo.

I finished with six treasures, Kitty with five, ActionMan with four, and Jojo with three.

Another fun and surprise-filled scenario.


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

[Frostgrave Campaign] Thaw of the Lich Lord Day 3

Day Three saw Kitty with a new wizard join the fray! She was now an illusionist.

This was the first time we faced death cultists and more than a single minion of the Lich Lord! Here the Death Cultists guarded a wagon full of treasures. The table looked pretty good with the columns and the trees.

After the first turn, we all moved towards the wagon.

It wasn't long before we all moved against the wagon creating a massive choke point where got into a huge brawl.

One of the biggest things that happened during this game is that there was a HUGE number of random encounter. The scenario had six ghouls arrive, who were with the Death Cultists, AND then we had a bunch more creatures: a werewolf, an ice spider, and a boar. Most of the ghouls seemed to focus on my band, forcing me to move back from a more aggressive stance. They also slowed down Actionman and Kitty.

In the end, our mages all survived (for the first time). I and Actionman are now level 7 and Kitty is Level 3. We each walked away with three treasures and some gold. My apprentice lost an eye.

The kids want to play another one tomorrow...


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

[Frostgrave Campaign] Thaw of the Lich Lord Day 2

After having two warbands effectively destroyed by Kitty's band yesterday, ActionMan and I reset our bands and went at it again.

The Second Scenario features a battle on the frozen river that crosses the city. Basic setup has two thin strips of terrain on both sides, with a frozen river littered with ships stuck in there. Well... it just happened that I finished painting some ships I bought this past Gencon. Initially, these were painted "just because", and using them now was a great addition to this table. There was also a rule for running that meant that if someone tried to run on the ice, they could fall and hurt themselves. I was a little wary of the rule, but the kids got it super quick and it really made for a different game. A fun occasional rule that adds both flavor and a twist in the story. The setup had five ships, with the largest one roughly in the center of the table.

We "knew" that during the third turn, a wizard in the employ of the Lich Lord would come out of that central ship with a special double-treasure.

The game started fairly normally: Kitty moved her gang towards mine while ActionMan spread out across his entire side. I was not too sure why, but hey!

I used invisibility quite effectively throughout the game, with both my wizard and my apprentice moving around invisible while Kitty and the boy traded elemental balls and elemental bolts, weakening each other quite a lot, I must say.

Here is a picture of the fight, with the undead wizard fleeing towards my side of the table (roughly in the center of the pic).

In the end, Kitty lost most of her gang, ActionMan's wizard was defeated (by my wizard no less!) and I managed to leave with four of the treasures, including the special double treasure! Got some sweet loot from it too: a sword of undead slaying and a vial of power. ActionMan got an ivory scroll (a scroll that may not be destroyed when used).


Oroboros: Winter Argus

I won this Winter Argus in a random lot auction. I painted this guy very simply, but started with a dark base rather than a pale base. I like how he came out. I will sell this guy off in an upcoming army lot.

Monday, December 26, 2016

[Frostgrave Campaign] Thaw of the Lich Lord Day 1

Today, the kids and I started playing the Thaw of the Lich Lord campaign for Frostgrave. A fun campaign to play especially since I have a small band of players in the form of my kids. For those who do not know, the campaign is a number of linked wargamin scenarios. You can get the book here on DrivethruRpg.Com.

Normally, Frostgrave is set in a frozen metropolis, but my terrain is more conducive to jungle/ warm terrain. So Frostgrave at the house is set in an artificially warm section of town...

Another thing that I really find very interesting is that I use a wide variety of creatures to form the warbands. Thus the gangs you will see below are not "just" humans and elves, but a mixture of creatures I have in my collection. They are a mix of Reaper (Bones and non-Bones) and some bits and bobs I would be hard press to say what they were.

The Gangs

ActionMan has an elementalist (fire wizard). His wizard (the dude with the fire), apprentice (the fat dude), two infantrymen (the beastmen), an archer (the Pathfinder iconic), a knight (the guy with the spear and shield), a warhound (represented by the bear), and two thugs (the bugbears).

Kitty also had an elementalist (the Pathfinder iconic), an apprentice (the lady holding a potion next to her), a templar (the succubus), a barbarian (the half-orc she received for Christmas), two warhounds (the badger and the lion) and four thugs (the bugbears).

JP decided to try something different: an illusionist (the Gandalf), an apprentice (the shugenja), a thief (the ninja), a templar (the Crab samurai with a tetsubo), two infantrymen (the weresharks), four thugs (the dragons and the lizardman).

Game 1: Eclipse

Short recap, Kitty and ActionMan went at it right away, trading fireballs and beating each other up. Kitty managed to kill a large number of enemy combatants by rolling an amazing number of crits and high rolls (15+). As for me, I lurked on the edge and gathered treasure markers. Everything was going great for me until I decided to try something and go for one more treasure. Then my wizard got swarmed by some random encounters (skeletons) and killed!

In the end, Kitty left with the board with a new grimoire, a magic bow, and gold, lots of gold.

The results are bad enough for ActionMan that he too will start the next game with a brand new team as he only managed to cast two spells but did not score anything else.

More details next time!


[Commissions] Goodies from Santa

Santa sent my children a new mini each.

Oh who am I kidding? they all knew I painted the minis for them! Still they were very excited about receiving new minis. I asked them what they wanted.

Kitty: Shauta the Brute

Kitty wanted another big warrior. So she got a half-orc barbarian named after the character my wife played in Living Greyhawk: Shauta the Brute. I like how the skin came off with a nice orky glow. She is one of the models from the "Heroines in sensible shoes" by Oathsworn miniatures.

Actionman: Sir Patrik

Now Actionman wanted a warrior, a model just for his Adventure League character, Sir Patrik (which just a 'k'). Although he is a paladin, I liked the simple clothing the model had and the 'stache. I mean such a nice porn 'stache make him out to be a real stud!

Jojo: Zarina the Elf

Jojo wanted an elf warrior (as she usually plays elf casters). So I found her another model from Oathsworn to use. Though the model is not *technically* an elf, it will work as one. If you are wondering, yes, it is a piggy on her shield...


Friday, December 16, 2016

[Rhym] Cover Art

Irene keeps sending me this great work for the cover of Rhym. This cover is taking shape and is looking better and better. There are a few colors to retouch but it is coming together. So is the book by the way... which reminds me that I should tell you about some of the nations sometime soon. It is pretty cool.

(You can click upon it for a larger version)


Sunday, December 11, 2016

[Review] Modiphius' Star Trek sucks

For those of you who do not know, Modiphius has just put out their new playtest for their Star Trek RPG. Like so many others, I was excited about it. I mean Star Trek is America's Doctor Who: born in the 60s, still coming out with some new material, still awesome, and something that needs a good RPG.

Star Trek had so many different RPGs over the years, from the original Fasa, to Last Unicorn, to Decypher, and now to Modiphius. With the new movie franchise, it seems we've been without a good Trek RPG for a while...

My regular group playing Red Sands (Space 1889 using Savage Worlds) decided to give it a go. I was intrigued and looking forward to it very much.

Last week, I got the early version of the playtest. It included pregens, rules introduction, a mini setting supplement, and some cheat sheets. Let's look at each of these.

The Pregens provide a good spread of Star Trek characters. I'll be honest and say I would'be liked to see more Vulcans, but that's just a personal thing. I would've taken the Vulcan but someone already called him. I like the fact that they provide them with names as male or female.

One of my biggest peaves against LUG-Trek was that it was some involved and complex to create characters, but play was simple and quick. Looking over the character sheets, I expected a simple character creation and simple game flow. My excitement grew. I chose Doctor Madim Patel, a doctor of Indian descent who is impatient and who seeks to discover a variety of new and different species. Very basic but fully in-setting.

The mini-setting is the Shackleton Expanse. Simple, bare-bones stuff for now, a good place for exploration. Fine.

The rules read easy. I did not quite fully understand how momentum works, but I got the essentials, enough to start.

I won't go into the details of the adventure, but it quickly devolved into a series of endless dice rolls where my interest quickly waned. We were attacked by mooks, requiring two successes to hit them with out phasers. It took over 30 minutes of rolling to finally hit something. Now none of the three players had any security personel, but still we had to waste our pool of momentum to hit some mooks, and we generated so many complications (remember, we rolled an endless series of dice)...

Creativity quickly gave way to: arrow up, enter, repeat. After the first hour, I was already bored and turned off by the system. If our crew was to get and use our momentum, it should be towards the climax, when things became interesting.

Our second challenge was even more ridiculous, to force us to use our momentum and personal determination. I know this was to test out the rules, but when did Kirk ever had to look at a ravine at the start of the episode and go "wow, this is the toughest challenge I have to tackle, I will put in all my heart and focus on this."

Doctor Patel sure thought so.

Now after the two initial challenges, there was a bit of story, which I will admit, was both in-setting and with some interesting ramifications.

However, as soon as we began to seek a final remedy, it was again a series of dice rolls that ended up with more momentum spent, gathered, re-spent.

I was *SO* happy when my GM called it early.

So the basics: roll 2d20 and get below Attribute+Skill. Each roll under the TN gives you a success. Simple.

If you get a Natural '1', you get two. If you roll a natural '20' you generate a complication. You can offer to fail what would be automatic in return for some bonus and generate a complication.

Combat was fine, but damage just made no sense. A phaser deals 3d damage. Therefore, you roll 3d6. If you roll a 5-6 you get an "effect", a 3-4 is "ignore" and a 1-2 is "damage". WHAT? So when do I do something? Well I'm not sure.

Most crews have scores that gives them TNs between 10 and 12. For one success, you have 50% or 60%. But to get two successes, you have 25% chance of making it. And with a 12, you go up to 36%.

Oh and you can use your determination to get auto-successes too!

Meh you can read all that on your own. I'm sure their stuff is all over the internet.

During that first encounter, I quickly felt like I was playing a resource management board game where each player would add to the pool on their turn, then use it and generate more.

Creativity did not feel like it had any impact on some of these challenges. In the end, I just could not care if the people of the planet lived, died, or turned into purple ninjas. I just wanted to go an have an afternoon nap. It seemed more productive.

My verdict

This was the alpha version of the game.


When I read it, I thought it would play like Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space, but no... There are so many ways to ensure success and generate stuff that you begin to meta-play about how to get more momentum from useless/less important rolls for those you really want to make.

As is, my money is completely safe in my wallet and Modiphius will not see a penny of mine.

They have a few ideas that could be good. Lower the determination, don't make the game about momentum. In short, simplify and focus on a few things. Right now, this felt like a board game. And you know know what I say? There is the word bored in board game.

In the end, I told my GM, Mike, not to contact for the next game of this. Maybe when Beta comes out, but this is a piece of crap floating in space.

Pass until they come up with the Beta release.


Monday, December 5, 2016

New Art: Rhym is coming together

I have been way too quiet on this blog these past few weeks. A lot of that time has been spent on a mix of Star Wars: The Old Republic, playing adventure league, playing Legend of the Five Rings, playing Space 1889, playing a little PFS, mostly online, watching hockey in Smashville, doing dad stuff and more than my fair share of day job work. That is on top of working with JD, on Rhym.

Irene just sent me a sketch for the cover for Rhym and WOW I find it so much better than what I had in mind. I asked her for a Pathfinder-style cover. Yes, yes, I know Rhym is a setting written for 5e. It feels dynamic and full of action. I love it...