Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Tyranny of Dragons, Chapter 1.2

Having escorted a small band of villagers and much needed supplies into the safety of Greenest’s keep, our heroes could spare little time for rest.  Tarbau and Escobar, the ranking officials within the keep, expressed profuse thanks and offered a safe place for a short rest.  First, though, something had to be done about the scaly blue monster raining lightning death down on the gates of the keep.  Our heroes made Grim, their ace archer extraordinaire, as comfortable as possible the hustled up to the uppermost tower  [Ed. Note – Grim’s player couldn’t make it to the game.  Since his character ended last session at 0 hp, it made sense to leave him behind during the session.]

The big blue dragon seen earlier in the day had returned and was strafing the tower with its breath weapon. Keeping its distance, the only real option was to hop into the seat of a lone ballista pn the parapet and take a shot. Ever the bluffer, your humble storyteller cast a quick illusion to make the bolt look magic. Direct hit! Not enough to kill an old brute like the one overhead, the bolt scored enough damage to make the dragon think twice. Aramis followed up with a quick holy bolt of some sort, and that was enough to send the dragon headed for the countryside.

Finally, a chance to rest.  The whole party was depleted of its “until long rest” abilities, and this wouldn’t be the time.  A short rest to patch up the wounded gave the attacking cultists time to get some organization together – a peek from the keep revealed two main clusters of attackers and a tough choice.  Hit the overall commander over in the town square and end this madness?  Or mount a rescue mission to save the scores of folks holed up in the local chapel from the larger kobold and cultist besieging force?

First level with no spells left in the arsenal?   We’ll take the sneaky route and head for the Church, thank you very much.

So Escobar, rotund dwarf and apparent keymaster escorted the group down into the undercroft where a secret door and tunnel would allow the party to slip past the besiegers (almost) un-noticed.  A couple rusted-shut gates and a fight with two mobs of rats later, and the group stood just inside of a fake sewer pipe below the walls of the keep.  Just as they would have set out on their rescue, a kobold patrol blundered by.  With little time to discuss matters, the group ambushed the raiders slaughtering all but one cultist would escaped back into town.

Nothing to do but hustle up and hope to make it back before cult reinforcements. 

At the Church of Chakaal, three mobs block any hope of rescue.  The leader – an armor clad bruiser – had a mob battering the front doors with an improvised ram.  A bigger mob complete with large drakes stood milling about the side of the church, looking for weak spots.  The smallest mob, and the obvious weak link in the siege, was trying to burn down the large rear doors of the church.

I think the DM said Church of Chakaal.  I'm not really
up on my theology of Faerun, but in the campaign that goes
on in my head, the Church is totally dedicated to Chakaal.
Tally-ho. Our four heroes charged into the rear ranks of an enemy twice their number.  Surprise proved telling, as did the smokescreen the besiegers themselves were sending up.  Aramis and Karren, cleric and paladin respectively, swung for the fences, putting the two cultist leaders down on the ground with no time to sound a definitive alarm.  The half-elf quickly snatched up the cloak and scimitar of one of the two human leaders of the enemy mob and barked orders at the kobold ranks, thinning them by half. 

The following conversation demonstrated that comedy lives even in the midst of tragedy.  The party turned to the “face” of the party, Mr. Fast Talk Half-Elf, to convince the townies that rescue had arrived.  But first, Aramis pointed out, you might want to ditch the cultist disguise.
Oh.  Yeah.  So…

“Tell her Liane sent us.”
“Liane sent us.”
“Tell her Escobar sent us.”
 “Escobar sent us.”
“Tell her –“
“Hey!  Who’s got the 17 Charisma here?”
It’s hard to tell sometimes.”

The door cracked open, revealing a lovely half-elf priestess, a human cleric, and 22 other villagers including the priest and priestess, which the party hustled out the back and into the woods.  A half-hearted attempt to distract the remaining raiders turned into a full blown retreat when the front door collapsed in splinters.

The two dozen citizens might have been safely out of the chapel and into the woods, but they weren’t out of the woods yet. Remember the one that got away?  The cultist that survived the ambush at the back door of the keep?  The now much larger party arrived at the false drain just moments before a large raiding party.  The heroes took up position amid the brush and started to hustle the citizens into the dank tunnel, but it was clear the kobold raiders were going to cut them off before they could get everyone in.

So Raane, the illusionist, quickly hunkered down and cast a minor illusion – a dead kobold farther up the stream valley.  This bought the villagers a precious few rounds in which the aged, infirm, and young could escape.  The sally-port cum escape hatch safely locked and sealed behind them, the group still had no time for rest.  One more encountered loomed, but it was late and the boys (young and old) were too tired to see that one through to the end of Chapter One. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Three Brothers

Still prepping to run a game of "Five Parsecs From Home", a game that calls out for a bunch of random figures more than a coherent squad of uniformed types.  The failed experiment in tweaking 15mm figures left me with a couple of heavy armored alien types.  To split the difference between affiliated figures and one-offs, I painted up three brothers with very different color schemes, then tied them together with green stripes.  While they make for a nice little mini-squad, they can also be slotted into a trading vessel's crew as the muscle of the group.

Meanwhile, I've been slowly building up more interior terrain as well.  This control panel is a bit of a test piece.  The colors and paint look great...

...but I'm not exactly thrilled with the height of the unit.  Needs more elevation to really look the part of some decent cover.  The figures are supposed to be big, but a knee-high control panel doesn't cut the mustard.  Have to decide between adding a piece of square dowel to double the height, or finding a different material to use for the base.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Scatter Terrain Mix

In anticipation of a new terrain build - 15mm interiors something along the lines of Tiny Solitary Soldiers - here are a few pieces of scatter cover.  First up, three plastic trees.  These are repainted Toob Trees primed black and dry brushed up.  

The bases of the trees are fortification pieces from the old game, "Shogun" or "Samurai Swords".  They have been flipped over and filled with a sand/white glue mix.  The colored spots are supposed to be flowers.
The bottom row of pieces make great planters.

These boring old cylinders were free, but they have an interesting source.  They are small vented tubes that contain desiccants.  Pharmacists put them into packages of drugs to keep them moisture free.  I went down to Walgreen's, a major drugstore chain here in the US of A, and sweet talked the pharmacist into parting with a small handful for my son's "science project".  That seemed a lot more likely to work than having to go through the whole wargames-or-model-railroad song and dance.  It worked, too.  That nice ol' gal gave me a half dozen for free.

As always, the major dytsopian corporation that runs everything in my games is Buy N' Large.  They have a bright, recognizable logo that is easy to paint at almost any scale.  My interior terrain is likely going to be bright and airy with clean white walls and plenty of robots.

All figures in this post are figures with head swaps.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Berfday Case

My big birthday present this year turned out to be a new miniature carrying case.  The Almost Awesome Storage Case just wasn't cutting the proverbial mustard any more.  My collection is getting wider and more varied, so it was time for a change.  Behold the Plano 1362 2-by Rack System, a tackle box designed for the modern miniature wargamer.  Also for sci-fi and fantasy wargamers.  If you click on the link above you'll see the "Customers Who Bought This Also Bought" is dominated by X-Wing players.

So what's with the "Thick Grip" roll of cupboard lining paper?  That's my secret weapon.  The plastic trays/drawers that come with this bad boy are really, really slick.  Some people line them with magnetic paper to hold their washer mounted minis in place.  I don't always use washers for my minis, because some manufacturers use really thick bases on their miniatures.  (I'm looking at you, GZG.)   
This particular brand of shelf liner paper grips without adhesives, so while your figures don't slide, they don't get coated with adhesives.  It's also very soft - almost spongelike - so when the inevitable slips and spills happen, your figures lie down on a soft surface and still don't slide around.  With sheet magnets a figure that falls rattles all over in a fully hard lined case.

FYI for those of you shopping for one of these, the Plano 3700 4-By Rack System is similar.  It comes with four drawers, but I can't recommend it for two reasons.  For one thing, it's total footprint is smaller, so you don't have that much more storage room.  For another thing, the drawers are a lot shorter, so if you have any outsized figures (like my space dwarf battle-mechs - the purple guys in the second shot) they won't fit in the rack.

The top case would be great for vehicles or the big monster figures.  Mine holds separate cases for the armies with lots of figures - in this case my space dwarves (left) and my big green alien bug horde (right).

Hope this helps those of you looking for a great case.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

One Scale to Rule Them All

It's time for the 10mm sci-fi figures in my collection to shuffle out of the regular rotation.  For a variety of reasons, I'm abandoning the scale.  There are too many great looking 15mm figures out there for me to ever buy and paint them all.  The selection is broader. Ditching the 10mm terrain frees up more space in the limited storage box.  The list goes on...

That's not to say I'm getting rid off all of my 10mm figures, though.  Pendraken's line includes a fair few 10mm figures that work great in 15mm.  Their space minotaurs match up well, for example., two Pendraken 10mm, Khurasan
The other salvagable pieces are the green !aliens.  They are a little undersized, but for a mindless swarm army, they'll work fine in 15mm scale.  Yo check it:

Oh, and speaking of limited storage, wait'll you see my fancy-dancy new case...

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Song of Guns and Tedium

Man, I have got to find some decent scenarios for Flying Lead.  The boy and I lined up 450 points worth of evenly matched forces against each other and just did a shoot-em-til-they're-dead match.  This time it was his space mercs (GZG) attacking my police force.  After more than 2 hours, it was clear I was going to lose, but that it would take another couple of hours.


Alley firefight!
We really need to chase down some escort missions, or grab and runs, or something.  Maybe I'll peruse the Necormunda rules or make up a deck of mission cards for the next match.

The view from the winning side.
We also found that having lots of cool skills (me) is just as expensive as having decent activation, but doesn't do nearly as much good at the table.  His mooks outperformed my skill laden specialists dramatically.  Next fight we'll use a couple of heroes on each side supported by more easy to run mooks.