Saturday, 29 February 2020

Thaw of the Lich Lord ~ Game 1

Last night 8 players at our club embarked on the Frostgrave campaign: Thaw of the Lich Lord. I was one of those and here is my tale...

My wizard is The Magus Mandrax and he is of the Summoner School of magic. Being an ambitious fellow of high intellect and superior skill, Mandrax has recruited a band of trusty, if not altogether trustworthy, souls to aid him in his quest for treasure and power in the haunted precincts of Frostgrave.
From left: Mandrax the Magus, Apprentice Joquettes, the wily ranger Thursten, Ned Undersack a skilled tracker, two thieves Maximus Stinkfoot and Goz and four hulking thugs of dubious quality and even more dubious hygiene.
The Scenario:

On this, the magus's first excursion into the ruins it so happens that a solar eclipse is underway - an auspicious and magically charged conjuncture. Indeed, the very atmosphere is pulsating with potency and latent power. Surely there will be other practitioners out amongst the ruins at this time of heavenly convergence.

There were 6 treasure tokens on the table and, due to the eclipse effect, line of sight was reduced to 16" (reduced by 1" every turn until turn 5"). At turn 5 the eclipse is in full swing and all spell casting gains a +5 bonus. Monsters were randomly rolled for whenever a treasure token was claimed.

And so there was. In the same precinct lurked Balthazar Zvezda the Chonomancer and his gang of cutthroats. A worthy adversary aye, but hardly a serious threat to our hero. So, as an opening gambit, both bands moved in and spread out, with each searching for age old, abandoned treasure and keeping a weary eye open for deadly lurking creatures...

Balthazar leads his cutthroats into the maze of old stone.
Lead by Thursten the ranger, Apprentice Joquettes and some hired muscle move into the ancient city.
 Luck! Goz the thief finds something of obvious value.
Balthazar's gang of ruffians and thugs move in to loot the ruins to appease
their paymaster's greed for mystical treasure.
So both parties began exploring... Balthazar cast a Wizard Eye spell onto a tall section of wall in the center of the table which extended his line of sight and thus, his spell range. This proved to be problematic. Mandrax, perceiving a hidden treasure but unable to see it clearly moved closer with the aim of using telekinesis to pull it closer, but he still couldn't quite see it clear enough (out of LOS - now 14"). Instead, he cast a Leap spell onto the thief Maximus Stinkfoot who leaped to where he could clearly identify the loot.
 Eye spy... Is that treasure? Stinkfoot! Go and invistigate. Dh'zz%^# LEAP*#@!!!
That's magic talk folks!
 Aye, boss. It is treasure. Shall I go in and retrieve it?
 Uh oh! 
Some of Balthazar's goons, creeping around in the gloom,  made their presence felt with one archer loosing an arrow at & Stinkfoot severely wounding him. On the left Joquettes had also recovered some treasure and tasked one of his hired thugs to take it back to safety whilst he and ranger Thursten advanced further into the gloom. Some of the Chronomancers' people were lurking, and where they were sneaking there was bound to be more treasure.
Whose that lurking in there. Have an arrow for your troubles, sunshine.
I shall cast a Wall o' Fog to blind mine enemies!... >#*&-FOG-^<>!!
The ranger, a thug and the apprentice tried to sneek around one ruin but the chronomancer's apprentice threw up a wall of fog. Joquettes and one thug moved towards the center, Thursten posted himself at a window and another thug began to move through the magical fog. A pincer maneuver! Arrows flew but no hits were scored.

In the center Mandrax cast a Leap spell again to pull the wounded thief out of danger where he landed behind a solid &safe stone wall. Unfortunately, Balthazar descried these actions through the Wizard Eye and cast a Bone Dart spell at the wounded halfling knocking him down and out of commission.

There's that Wizard Eye, overlooking everything below.
The other halfling, the tracker Ned Undersack, was close by but was too busy dealing with a couple of enemy thugs. Arrows were shot by both parties but none hit their mark. But then more treasures were claimed and...

An ice toad appeared right behind Balthazar. He managed run and keep a distance between himself and the ferocious beast but he was distracted for a while before he managed to cast a devastating Bone Dart spell. The shard of bone hit the beast right in the eye and entered it brain causing it to drop down dead as a door-nail. 
But another treasure was claimed and another wandering beast appeared. This time a bear and it launched a brutal attack on the distracted Ned Undersack.
Mandrax, ever vigilant towards his own safety, cast a Wall of Ice to limit the bears' LOS. Expecting the bear to totally maul the halfling to shreads he hoped that the ice wall would channel it into his enemies' men who stood watching nearby.

While this was happening and whilst Balthazar was dealing with his own monster problems, Joquettes took the opportunity to move up under the gaze of the Wizard Eye and cast a spell of his own - A Bone Dart which caught one of the Chronomancer's men in the throat knocking him to the ground in a gurgling heap.
On the apprentices side of the table, the Wall of Fog failed and dissipated revealing one of Joquettes' thugs who was preparing for a sneak attack. Unfortunately there was an archer waiting on the other side and as the fog lifted he put an arrow into the lurking brute, felling him like a tree.

Miraculously, Undersack regrouped and attacked the bear inflicting a great wound. It wasn't dead but it did give him the breathing space to escape, bloody but still standing.
The eclipse was now at it's zenith and power was fizzing in the air. Mandrax used his summoning skill and brought forth an entity of the infernal planes - a minor demon - to destroy the crazed bear (the enemy skulkers had withdrawn leaving the magus the only possible target for its killing lust).
A great battle of immense ferocity ensued. The bear tore at the demon and the demon tore at the bear. The bear, in it's wounded frenzy tore into the unearthly creature causing damage that would have killed a human, but the creature of the outer planes took the bear and rent it asunder in a welter of blood and gore. (both down to 1 Health point after a couple of rounds).

Both parties began to withdraw to count their treasure. Mandrax summoned another creature from he infernal realms - an imp to help cover his withdrawal and to inflict any other mischief on Balthazar's group that it could. Joquettes was badly wounded by a Bone Dart via the Wizard Eye once Balthazar regained his composure following his fight with the ice toad. However, it was Undersack who loosed a final arrow that felled one of the enemy before departing the field.

The Outcome...

Balthazar won on the experience stakes. Mandrax won out on treasure with 500 gold crowns and 3 - that's 3 Grimoirs (I rolled 19, 19 & 20). One grimoir was particularly useful as it had the Bind Demon spell. I didn't have that. But now, I can afford a Summoning Circle in my lair and Bind Demon combined with Summon Demon means that I can attempt to summon a demon before the start of each game.

It was a great game yet again. My opponent was Neil. He's far more experienced than I (only my second game) and I totally expected him to have a better grasp of the nuances - like casting the Wizard Eye spell which had far more reaching effects than appears in the write up because I'm trying to remember as much as I can and I recall my own actions far better.

Many thanks to Neil and Piotr at NWA who organized this campaign. Neil supplied all the great looking terrain used in this game and I feel very lucky to have played on it. I can see that I'm going to have to make some of my own.

What awaits The Magus Mandrax in the next scenario? We'll just have to wait and see.
I'm really looking forward to it.

Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Spooky and Hairy... A Bit of a Mix

To those who have been looking at this blog recently it may seem like I've slowed down a bit. I sort of have but part of that was due to putting together plastic elves. I'll get on to painting them soon but, in the meantime, I've continued painting and getting a few different things done for a few different games.

First is some cavalry (the Hairy). Well sort of cavalry. Centaurs from Eureka Miniatures. These guys came out nicely. The unit of 6 will work okay for Dragon Rampant but I'm thinking that I'll have to add another half a dozen to their numbers to make up a good sized unit for larger games.
And now for the spooky... Some fantasy zombies (note that I emphasize fantasy as opposed to my other dozens of post-apocalypse zed's). These are initially for Rangers of Shadow Deep. I intend to start the first scenarios in the next few days. Nothing special here. They're basic and will do the job okay. These are Reaper Bones. 
And continuing on the spooky theme... This little lady is for a Frostgrave campaign that I'm taking part in and is due to start tomorrow. I intend to play a Summoner character, so I'm going to need a few demons to summon. This is a really nice figure. I bought the same figure several years back and only half painted it. Then I lost one wing and the half paint job looked awful so I got a new one and started again. This is a metal Reaper figure. I thought I ordered the Bones version but I made a mistake. In my opinion, she came out very nicely.
So there you go. A variety of figures for a variety of games.

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Thinking About Vanilla and Satyrs

If you follow this blog you'd probably realise that I've been looking at various fantasy rules recently. I've found several skirmish level / RPG types of games that I like the look of and (in some cases) have played & I'm looking forward to playing more of these during the year.

However, I can't seem to find any sort of large battle game that suits me. I've looked at a few and, when it comes down to the very basics, they're all the same. They all have similar concepts, tropes, assumptions etc... For instance: anything having to do with woodlands have to have elves and they have to have lots of archers. Because that's what elves do. Dwarfs are the same regardless of the set of rules ~ Short Vikings who make stuff! No fantasy races mix with others. It's all very Vanilla Fantasy.

(I blame D&D for this homogenization even though I played it for years & years and still have very fond memories).

I'm not sure what to do about this. I want to make a huge army consisting of everything I can think of all mixed together. I'd like to have mixed warbands of whatever I can fit on a base: faeries, dwarves, gnomes, pixies, ogres... Whatever! Some different types of cavalry: knights, centaurs, unicorns... But no rules seem to accommodate this type of army. You have to pick a fantasy race and that's all you get.

I can make this army for Dragon Rampant easily. But while DR isn't limited in scope, it is pretty limited in size so I'd be limited to small or mid ranged battles. Nothing truly epic in scale. What I would like is something like Hail Caesar, big, big games and a simple flexible system. There is a fan made fantasy version of HC, but it too suffers from VFS (Vanilla Fantasy Syndrome). Another system that I like is Dux Bellorum. I think this could work well as a basic system.

Maybe I should just make up my rules. Or try and Fantasize Dux Bellorum.

Okay, enough of my whinging. 

I made a bunch of satyrs. I always thought the name was pronounced: Sat-Ears but I recently heard someone pronounce it Sate-Ers. I asked my wife who is Greek and she said it a bit differently, but pretty much said it should be Sate-Ers. So I've been saying it wrong for the past 40 odd years.

I'm just going to call them Fauns.

Anyway, these Faun figures are from Eureka Miniatures andI'll be doing some conversion work on them because they want a bit more variety. Part of the conversion work is to make detachable alternative "Certain Parts" as seen on the leader of this little band. I'll also be doing some other poses and I'll do one with a flute and one with panpipes too.
Apparently the thing on the right is a weird standard.
The thing on the left is a massive willy as depicted on numerous pieces of Ancient Greek art.
 A nice group shot of the lads ready to give the enemies of the forest a bit of "What For!"

Sunday, 16 February 2020

A Buggle of Goblins

What's a buggle I hear you ask?
Well I initially wrote Bunch but I thought Gaggle sounded better. A Gaggle of Goblins! Sounds good but it's just plain wrong. However, if you combine the two words... We then we get a Buggle. And that's how I decided to describe them.

A Buggle of Goblins!

I initially had a single Artizan Goblin figure that I acquired by accident. I think he was added to a larger order a few years back as a "thank you," gesture. Anyway, I painted him and posted the figure on here a couple of months back. After that I saw a bunch of them posted by Michal at DwarfCrypt and I got more of them. They took a while to arrive but they did and here they are:

King Yeochee and his (un)trusty folk.
King Yeochee & Hellebore Sheildmaid
Sir Frogwart & Spadger Three Teeth
Mox Mosseater & Hugo Greenears
Tolly Bloodnut & Blue Eye Meg
Varney Pigsticker & Red Legged Rolf
Egol the Badger Knight & Sir Hal of the Stony Dell
I got 11 of them to make up an even dozen. Like everything else I'm doing at the moment, I'm not really sure how they will fit into the big picture (ie: The Army of Faerie). All I know is that I saw them. I liked them. So I bought them and painted them.

I hope you like them too.