Sunday, August 30, 2020

Frostgrave Portal

Iron Seer Presents Frostgrave
Feel the frost of the grave!
It's been a minute since we started this site and some of the articles in the Wargames Portal are starting to get long and hairy.  Rather than remove those links, this post will serve as our link portal directly to all our Frostgrave goodness.  

We'll do this for each game that gets enough coverage, and as we move each section into it's own portal we're going to add some additional information to each entry to make it easier to find exactly what you're looking for.

Last Entry: 1/19/2020

Friday, August 28, 2020

Rolemaster: The Adventure of Krat Merkin

We now join our regularly scheduled Rolemaster on Fantasy Grounds, already in progress:

So, I died last session.

That's ok, because I got to make a new character earlier in the week.  This character had much more magic available, so I felt good going into it.  Let me introduce you to Krat Merkin.

Krat is a High Man.  All the time.  He's also a professional magician.

Rolemaster on Fantasy Grounds
Our erstwhile party, forthwith.

He's not very good, though.  

At some point, Poor Krat (tm) became ensorcelled by some fell witchery and lost his senses.  During this time, he was apparently slave to the will of some wretched sorcerer who probably had Krat use his meager spell repertoire to boil water and/or act as a fan while he sleeps.

I (Krat, now in 1st person) was brought to my senses after being bludgeoned in the head to near death.  A dwarf stood in front of me, brandishing a blackjack.  Immediately I invoked lightning to destroy this wretched upstart, then realized that I can't do that.

I stood with several other villagers, who were in the process of standing off with a party of armed warriors, not just including my personal attacker (Blackjack the dwarf) but also a troll.  With no idea of who ANY of these people were nor what was happening, I decided to use my OTHER useful spell and RUN.

The dwarf called after me, something about coming back so he could beat me up.  I lurked around the edge of town before I saw the troll kill some guy on a horse who was trying to get away.  Once I realized I was in Nerit, I decided to RUN all the way back to where we started in Thelum.

Good news, though.  Level up!  Surprise!  Bet you didn't see that coming.

Krat Merkin levels up Stats in Rolemaster

Now I have ACTUAL spells, even though for some reason I've decided not to show those here.  Maybe next time we'll see what kind of shenanigans will occur as I highlight those.  I focused on Body Development, which more than doubled the amount of damage I am able to take from a meager 9 to a whopping (for me) 20!

Krat Merkin levels up Skills in Rolemaster

 Follow Krat's OnlyFans and donate a comment telling me if he should get SWOLE!  

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Foreboding Skeletons

So, in the bin there have been some painted items that I'm not entirely sure where they came from.  Miss Anthropy painted them, but I only recognize a few pieces from Mordheim.  Depicted above are these foreboding skeletons and the lamps they like to hang out under.  I decided to get these finished and ready for any sort of game involving the undead, since they were mostly finished.

The lamps are from Mordheim, or the Free Company box set from Games Workshop.  It looks like they were stuck on a base to act as lamp-posts for some little village in the Old World.  However, I'm not sure at all where this polite and informative lady came from.

Yep, I have no clear idea where any of this came from.  I would really like some help in identifying these pieces, especially these metal ones.  The lady is very creepy, and I stuck it on a base with a vulture (also metal) to create a sort of objective for ... something. 

Even though I don't really know exactly what these models are or where they came from, they are still cool painted up.   I have lots of models that I have little idea where they came from, and though I try to ID them all sometimes they slip through the dragnet.  If anyone out there recognizes any of these pieces, leave me a comment and let me know what they are so I can properly catalog them!

Friday, August 21, 2020

Mongoose Traveller: Jumping Home

Mongoose Traveller in Fantasy Grounds

Back again with our Travels, and you can visit the Campaign Hub here

I've really enjoyed the space opera so far, and we're having another session soon.  So, I thought I'd provide an update on the LAST session.  Again, our summary comes straight from our GameDoc!

Mongoose Traveller Ship Sheet
The Kingfisher's vital statistics.  NOICE.

The Travellers continue to explore their salvages ship, the “Kingfisher.” Finding it lacks enough fuel to make a jump, they descend to the unnamed planet and take in water to process into fuel, which will take approximately 48 hours. In the meantime they confirm to once other ships capabilities.

They also continue to review the research notes from the science lab and the ship’s computers. It is clear that the ship that rendezvoused with the Kingfisher had no transponder identification and did not exchange in any radio or electronic communication with the ship.

About 40 hours into their fuel processing, two small fighter craft appear from the far side of the plant and maneuver to attack. But the Kingfisher’s gun batteries are more than a match for the small craft and immediacy blast them apart.

The Travellers take the remains of the ships into the cargo bay. After a lengthy examination they determine the ships were designed to be operated by A.I. The circuitry is very similar the the type of A.I. designs in the late Professor Warwick’s notes, which does not appear to be based on any know principles of design for such technology.

The Travellers scan the planet but find no signs of intelligent life, technology, or artificial structures. They decide to jump back to Tinath. The jump is successful but almost immediately upon exiting jump space, the maneuver drive stalls out and the ship behind hurtling uncontrollably towards the planet. To make matters worse, a fire breaks out in one of the electrical conduits.

In a mad dash, the Travellers are able to extinguish the fire, reset the maneuver drive, and make a hard landing at the spaceport on Tinath.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Crystal Caste Combat Mats

Crystal Caste Combat Mats

In long days of yore, I had no miniatures for RPGs.  Nor did I have terrain for such, but it mattered little since most of what we did was 'mind's eye' type games in one buddy or another's house.  However, one of the first things I acquired when I decided to lean into the hobby was the Chessex Reversible Battlemat.  It was truly indispensable, and even in recent years these ancient scrolls have been unrolled quite a bit.

Crystal Caste Combat Mats Reversible

These are simply blank battlemats marked in 1-inch squares, and on the reversible side, in hexes.  They are usable with dry-erase markers, so really any terrain can be depicted simply by drawing on it with such a marker.  This is quite serviceable if you don't have anything else, and with pawns or other markers can really up your game.

Crystal Caste Combat Mats DIY Dungeon Tiles

One of my biggest campaigns made heavy use of the battlemat.  Miss Anthropy and I made some home-made dungeon walls to mark out areas rather than using dry-erase pens.  Not only was this easier and faster when building dungeon corridors, the 3d effect really helped with the verisimilitude.  The wall pieces themselves only took a few hours to build and draw in, and more than paid for that by being the main terrains of the entire 16-session campaign.

Crystal Caste Combat Mats with Tiles

Of course, they make special tiles just for this kind of thing, and there's nothing stopping you from using multiple terrain types together.  Using D&D miniatures tiles, or simply Dungeon Tiles, you can really set up a nice looking dungeon area.  This kind of setup can also be used to show transition areas too - such as from outside to inside a particular dungeon or location (and vice-versa).

Honestly, having these in the vault has been a great boon.  You never know when you're going to need to use them, and for a basic tactical setup you can't get any more potential.  In other words, you probably need one (or more) of these mats if you're a serious gamer of any kind.  It's just too useful, especially when space for gear (terrain / miniatures) is limited.

Friday, August 14, 2020


So at some point waaaay back in the early 90's, I got into Iron Crown Enterprises line of games.  I started with Middle-Earth Roleplaying (the 'red' box), but I learned that that was only part of the larger line of Rolemaster games by the time I was done reading it.

It was one of the first systems I owned, and by golly we enjoyed it.  Tales of fights against orcs, meetings with ents and such.  Elves and magic.  

One night while we were playing, something like 26 or 27 years ago, my buddies' dad happened to overhear our game.  He was listening to the conundrum, and then broke in with something I'll never forget:

"If it's just one orc, why don't you just kill it?"  

I had no idea he was a Tolkien fan until that moment, but I've lived by that maxim ever since.

Rolemaster has always had a spot in my heart, and a friend of mine started hunting down I.C.E.'s M.E.R.P. for his collection.  He found some great gems, but there was no big push from anyone to actually play the game (except for maybe me).  Anyway, it would be nearly 30 years until I actually got to play again.

We join our second session of Rolemaster, already in progress.  A playtest featuring playtest characters by my new friend GM Bobby.  GameDoc introduced us a few weeks back, and we've gotten to play a few sessions on Fantasy Grounds in the last months.

It all started with a vicious string of mysterious murders in the capital city of Thelum.  Strange events have been occurring all around the Kingdom, and it's time to put a stop to it.  It seems that chaos is breaking out all over, and more horrible events are sure to follow.

Troll tribes have been going berserk and killing everything they come in contact with.  In an isolated town, mania seized everyone and they lit everything on fire.  Following this horrible chain of events,  emissaries of the various portions of the Kingdom thus afflicted have arrived at the Regent's court.  

Our party consists of these Emissaries.  We are outsiders whom the old regent decided to trust instead of his own court, since he suspects rampant corruption therein.  He was not wrong, and very soon the Regent of the Kingdom had been assassinated.

Rolemaster on Fantasy Grounds
I get to be Demin, the Mentalist.

The assassin was brought to justice, but the murder of the Regent matched the modus operandi of the original string of murders.  

The new Regent, son of the recently assassinated, entreats the Emissaries to undertake a dangerous mission to stop a dangerous cult he believes is behind this.  The party must retrieve an ancient artifact buried with a long dead king and return it to the Regent.

Rolemaster on Fantasy Grounds
I can cast the level 2 spells if I strain my mind-muscles...but it hurts.

Rolemaster on Fantasy Grounds
Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills!

Our party is now en route to a town called Nerit.  The artifact is called the Last Flask of Tosem, and it lies in the tomb of the ancient king Elam.  The Regent believes the cult behind the murders needs the flask to awaken some ancient entity named Azimir.  Everyone believes this is something that should be stopped, so we set out to do so by getting there first.

Yet nothing is ever easy, and upon the road to nethir we were accosted by a group of peasants with farm tools standing in the crossroads.  They ask us to leave, but when we produce our papers and ask for theirs they suddenly don't want to talk and start using their shovels and hoes on us.  My companions don't take this well and start killing them.

Rolemaster on Fantasy Grounds:  Combat
Well, they wouldn't get out of the way when we asked nicely.

Rolemaster on Fantasy Grounds
Careful what you wish for, Demin.
Rolemaster on Fantasy Grounds:  Combat Critical

I used some magic to stun one, but attempted to flank them to help out.  I had a cool halberd.  Anyway, it didn't go so well since the place where I decided to flank was the place on the field enemy reinforcements arrived.  I decided there was no where to run, so tried to stand my ground.

Rolemaster on Fantasy Grounds
Sucks to be flanked.

Rolemaster on Fantasy Grounds
Probably should have ran.

Rolemaster on Fantasy Grounds
Not sure if dead, but still here anyway.

I (Demin the Mentalist) ended up watching most of that combat from my place in the mud, but it was still loads of fun.  I relearned Rolemaster stats pretty quickly, and it only took one dead mentalist.  Well, I'm not sure if he's actually dead but he's so cut up I'll be switching to a new character anyway in order to continue this adventure.

Once again, I am impressed with the versatility of Fantasy Grounds, but more so the near-seamless modular adaptability.  It makes a lot of the fiddly calculations Rolemaster asks for very, very easy.  After this second game in Fantasy Grounds, I'm actually quite interested in it for myself.  I've seen there's a fan-made Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd Edition module, and probably quite a few others.  Skillsets being what they are, I might go far enough into it to design my own.  Hmm.

We'll see...

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Sulfurous Fields Rock Spires

Sulfurous Wastes Spires A
Careful flying low when you head south over the ridge.
So, I totally spaced taking "in progress" pics for these.  I had a lot on my table at the time and got into a spot where I needed to photo several projects...and then I started doing this on the side as an experiment.  I neglected to take any photos of the work while I was doing it, but to make up for it I'll tell you how I made them.

Sulfurous Wastes Spires B
Tall and short spires dot the landscape near the fumaroles.
I had a few lengths of styrofoam that was about 3" wide square...but several feet long.  I cut one section out and decided to see if I could make some convincing "spires".  I wanted these to be as if they are forming out of the mineral deposits left by the surface geysers, and have some strata to them.  No doubt these formations are of interest to science-minded parties.

Sulfurous Wastes Spires for Battletech / Mechwarrior: Dark Age 2
VTOL support is almost a necessity among the tall, dense spire clusters.
Using my wire foam cutter, I simply cut the striations in the blocks after I chopped them down to even smaller sizes - about ten to twelve inches tall.  I decided to place them on foamcore bases, for the same reasons I've done most of this.  That is, I wasn't sure how it would turn out.

Sulfurous Wastes Spires for Battletech / Mechwarrior: Dark Age 3
Infantry and weapon systems will find the spire clusters favorable positions to get up to all sorts of mayhem.
I had some small styrofoam cube as well, and decided to sculpt them into smaller formations.  They were about the same dimensions, just cubed.  For the larger spires, I used toothpicks to anchor them to the foamcore while the pva attaching them dried.

Sulfurous Wastes Spires for Genies
Somewhere near Kadarasto...
After they were all attached, both the tall and short stacks got covered in a layer of PVA to help strengthen the surfaces and protect against spray propellant.  Some Krylon Flat Grey Primer was applied after it was dry, and that provided the basic texture and color.  I used the same concrete finish and Vallejo Black Lava as with all the Sulfur Fields stuff I've done.  Some Astronomican Grey highlights on the textures finished them off.

Sulfurous Wastes Spires for Necromancers
Evil magic gathers in dark and lonely places...
It helps that they can be used for pretty much any game set on the table, since they are natural features.  In many ways, they serve the same purpose as forests on other tables.  Certainly this was the feature I was missing on the feels more dense, more complete with everything down.

Sulfurous Wastes Spires for Adventurers
Watch where you step, there are wyvernroosts amidst these crags and spires...
These were done very quick, and definitely add to the new table.  In fact it was so quick, I was finished with them before I even remembered I was supposed to take pictures.  It's just one of those projects that went easy.  I was just happy I remembered to make it compatible with all the pieces I had made so far.

Sulfurous Wastes Spires for Battletech / Mechwarrior: Dark Age
Powered-down 'mechs can power-up quickly to surprise low-flying patrols.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Fantasy Grounds (and more Traveller)

Initially, I was going to talk about Fantasy Grounds itself.  The interface, how much easier it was as a player, and how much I like how each module changes the UI to a theme.  I could have done that, but I feel like it's already been done.

Rather I'd like to take a moment to show how after the Roll20 experience a while back, I was not interested in gaming online.  Even though over the last few sessions I had questions about the interface, it wasn't anything that couldn't be answered very quickly.  The automation of the rolls, all of that, was very easy.  Most of the time, all the hangups were questions about the system and none of this was outside normal operating parameters.  As far as tabletop games are concerned.

Anyway, the game is fantastic.  Our GM, GameDoc, has been putting together fantastic session summaries for the group.  I've been taking screenshots from the game sessions, so I thought I would share both of those now.  Check out the GameDoc's awesome backstory timeline created during the character creation session.  More sessions to come!

*Update 9/4/20: A Real Campaign Hub!*

The following is GameDoc's written session summary:

The Retaking of the S.S. MacGuffin

Session Summary

The crew is employed by Baroness Edda to recover data from a derelict ship in a largely unexplored section space. The ship was being used as research vessel by Professor Quentin Warwick, in the employ of the Baroness. They are given salvage rights to the ship, so long as they retrieve the data for her.

Fantasy Grounds Traveller: S.S. Macguffin

The Baroness arranges for scout ship to transport them to the location. There they find the ship in orbit of a small, water-covered planet with no signs of civilization or intelligent life below. The ship is largely intact, but completely powered down. Scans indicate that a section of the cargo hold has been converted to a middle deck.

Donning vacc-suits, the crew boards the ship and restores power, gravity, and atmosphere, but are then assaulted by a security droid. 

Fantasy Grounds Traveller: Droid Shot

They are able to hack into the ship’s security system and locate 3 other droids.

Fantasy Grounds Traveller: Bridge

Fantasy Grounds Traveller: The Kingfisher

The mysterious middle deck is not connected to the ship’s computer and security systems, but Amadeus is able to use his clairvoyant powers to determine it is a research lab and contains two more security droids.

Fantasy Grounds Traveller: Who let the droids out?

The crew systematically explores the ship and eliminates the security droids.
Fantasy Grounds Traveller: Droid Pain

 In the cryoberths, they find the body of Professor Warwick. 

Fantasy Grounds Traveller: Autopsy of Dr. Warwick

Between data from the ships computers, lab computers, and a medical autopsy of the Professor’s body, they are able to determine that the ship came to this location on purpose and rendezvoused with another ship, the crew and research assistants were either captured or killed and disposed of elsewhere, and the Professor activated the security droids then smashed the control mechanism to ensure the lab was not breached. He then appears to have poisoned himself and crawled into a cryoberth as he was dying.

Records from the lab indicate he was in the early stages of research on implanting computer control systems into organic constructs. It is clear he did not want his research falling into anyone’s hands.

Fantasy Grounds Traveller: The Kingfisher Deck Plan

Sunday, August 2, 2020

It's a Clone War

If you are too careful in the gang, you are not enjoying the gang.
Inspirobot reminds us not to squander what we have.
X-Wing 2.0 seems to have a lot of issues at the present.

I've read about how folks aren't happy with it (competitively speaking) after recent events.  I won't go into any of that now, it's irrelevant.  It is merely an aside that seems to reinforce my recalcitrance to replace all my X-Wing gear with the exact same stuff but different.

My unwillingness to attempt to liquidate all the cardboard and general recalcitrance to buy all new cardboard to replace the other cardboard doesn't mean I'm a fogey who wants to be stuck in the past.  Instead, I think I've come to a happy medium regarding X-Wing.

For me, the Galactic Civil War will be where most of my current gaming lies.  All those TIE fighters, X-Wings and such...I'm not going to try to update 75+ fighters per team.  By the time I'm done collecting all that, it would be time to trade in the chips for a 3rd asinine edition.  X-Wing 1.0 is a great game though, so we'll just leave that there.

For 2.0...I had thought, well, let's do the Clone Wars.  They didn't release any Clone Wars era ships in 1.0...not with "Republic" stamped on it, anyway.  Certainly, they didn't release and CIS droid ships.  So, it only makes sense to move forward with the new edition, in an entirely new theater.  Basically, it will be a totally different game to me.

For the same price it would take to upgrade one of my factions (maybe) I can pretty much pick up the rules and both faction starters for CIS and Republic.  That doesn't give me such willies, honestly...considering it will be a good handful of totally new ships.  That's kind of exciting.

Yeah...but I'm not going to do that.  

2.0 and Star Wars in general seems - dead.  At least in my part of the woods.  The move to 2.0 absolutely destroyed the 'scene'.  The last movies pretty much guaranteed that everyone has a bad taste in their mouth now, all by themselves.  Throw in a pointless change to a new system requiring everything to be bought again and...well, the worst part is this is well before COVID came along and shut everything else down.

What seemed so awesome a few years ago has lost it's lustre.  All the potential for returning Star Wars to a dominant setting used in games everywhere has been terminated.  I guess that's what happens when every company involved decides to metaphorically shoot themselves in the head.

For now, I'm hunting down the last few 1.0 ships I don't already have.  A TIE Defender and Shadow Caster is on the way here now, via some Ebay.  There's only about three more from the entire 1.0 run that has eluded me so far, so that's something.  Besides, if I really want some clone fighters and jedi ships I can always fire up Photoshop and make something nice for myself.