Sunday, September 27, 2020

Rogue Stars Post-Game Sequence

Make Fine.
Inspirobot knows what to do in
 ANY given situation.
Howdy folks!

The Rogue Stars campaign has been interesting.  We've really been putting Rogue Stars through it's paces.  In that amount of time, some items cropped up we need to clarify for our campaign players.  Some of this is 'house-ruled' using the best resources we had at the time (which, in this case, includes the Facebook group where the author lurks) and perhaps some modifications for the way we play.
  1. The campaign is primarily team based.  Gains you make will apply to all your teammate's games as well.
  2. Experience earned by teams applies to the faction's overall score.  In other words, if the Imperial XP monitor is sitting at +48, and you elect to create a new team for a battle, you'll have 248 XP to spend.
  3. You do not have to play the pre-made teams.  You can use any Star Wars figure that's appropriate to your faction and stat them out before the battle.
  4. Medikits are 3 XP and function exactly how you think they do:  +2 to Medic rolls.
  5. Out of Action and survival at the end of the game doesn't really matter in the context of our campaigns.  You do not lose XP since you will not 'really' lose soldiers, and you can swap soldiers / figures at any time before a battle.
  6. Ambiguous hits automatically affect the torso.
I think that pretty much sets us for the remainder of this campaign, and probably a good many more unless we change the structure.  Any further questions should be asked right here on this post, and we'll be able to keep any disambiguation right here in one spot.  That's all for now, but you better keep those blaster packs warm.  Rebels, pirates and Imperialists are all marching and wreaking havoc and terror right outside your door...  

Friday, September 25, 2020

Keeping Time with the Common Year

 "You can not have a meaningful campaign if strict time records are not kept" - Gygax


Well, ok.  That only goes for what it's worth, but I for one think he was right.

If you will not become somebody else, someone else will.
Inspirobot knows how to
defeat your greatest fear.
So we're going to talk briefly about the Greyhawk calendar, and in a later post I'll talk about the Forgotten Realms calendar to go along with both the campaigns I'll be running.  This post is for my players, so they can get a feel for the timeline as we slide along editions and various products.  

I should also state that this is my particular canon and does not advance past a certain year without an actual campaign.
  1. 576 Common Year (C.Y.) - 1st Edition
  2. 576-585 Common Year - 2nd Edition (Greyhawk Wars)
  3. 585-591 Common Year - 3rd Edition
  4. 591-598 Common Year - 3rd Edition (Living Greyhawk)
That should clarify 'when' things happen.  As for the calendar itself, it's much like many other fantasy calendars in that it has festival weeks between each season.  Otherwise, it's very easy to line up with the Gregorian calendar everyone knows.  If you want more familiarity with how it works, here's a link to the Scruffy Grognard's calendar file, and it provides all the details.

I'd like to note that the Greyhawk Wars only happen at a specific time - that is, partway through the 2nd Edition run.  Even though From the Ashes begins at 585 CY, some of the 2nd Edition modules occur before that (Five Will Be One and such).  It may make a difference later, so consider the major landmark of the setting's timeline to be the Greyhawk Wars of 582-584 CY.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

HeroQuest Furniture!

So, Heroquest was a board game published by Milton-Bradley way back in 1989, and was one of my first forays into fantasy gaming.  It was a collaboration with Games Workshop, and is still one of the best adventure games out there regarding dungeons and monsters.

Heroquest Bookcases & Tables
"Lady, I already told you not to do that kind of stuff in here 
Alas, so many years later and I do not actually have a copy of Heroquest (I had at least two growing up).  However, somehow - I've managed to grab every piece from the game I could when I ran across them.  As a result, I have lots of the miniatures and furniture - but not the board or any of the cards from the game.

Heroquest Dungeon Library
A quiet place amidst the dark of the dungeon.  Noice.
The furniture that I have has been used in countless dungeons and wargame setups.  However, they aren't fully painted.  Some might argue they don't really need painting and for thirty years I've put it off.  However, I wanted to get this done so I could say I have painted Heroquest kit.

Heroquest Cozy Dungeon
All of these are fairly simple, but the card portions are intact!  So, naturally those are part of the display...even though there's a clear crease on the fireplace it still resonates with me.  That might be because it's been with me so long...

Friday, September 18, 2020

Traveller: Research and Rescue [Part 2]

Welcome, Traveller!

The space adventure continues!  Check out the hub right here!

The following is GameDoc's session notes:

Session Summary:

Faced with the encroachment of the strange soldiers, the rest of Travellers elect to descend into the central shaft of the ziggurat while JC sneaks back to their downed transport. He leaves a drone with the group so he can monitor their progress and communicate with them.

Fantasy Grounds Traveller Ziggurat Interior

At the bottom of the shaft, the Travellers discover a dead humanoid, similar to the soldiers seen outside. It appears to have starved to death. A quick medical exam by Hernando indicates it is a synthetic organism with computer implanted in its brain. The work is like that seen in the flying creature that attacked them in the forest.

Fantasy Grounds Traveller Ziggurat Interior

Further exploring the ruins, they deduce that the structure has been abandoned for thousands of years. They also discover a cache of small metallic tokens with unknown symbols stamped into them and a small sphere that begins to shed dim light when approached.

Fantasy Grounds Traveller Ziggurat Down the Shaft

Finding a fissure in the floor, the Travellers make their way to a lower level and discover a central control room filled with computer terminals of alien design. They also discover a troop of the synthetic soldiers. Amadeus hurls a frag grenade into their midst, killing them all, but also killing their human prisoner, who appears to be one of the research lost team initially sent by the Baroness.

Fantasy Grounds Traveller Ziggurat Lower

The glowing sphere begins to vibrate and glow brighter. Hernando attempts to communicate with it in binary using his equipment. The object begins to scan the data files in his device and soon begins to audibly mimic Hernando’s speech. But before he can experiment further, more synthetic soldiers storm the room.

Fantasy Grounds Traveller

A gun battle ensues and the Travellers take some minor wounds before defeating this newest round of foes. The sphere is then able to explain that it is an artificial intelligence design to asssit in scientific research. It absorbs heat to power itself. It does not know of its precise origins but it is apparent that it was created or at least brought here by wherever alien civilization built the structure.

Fantasy Grounds Traveller Ziggurat Combat
"Careful with those explosives.  Please."

JC informs the group that he has made basic repairs to the transport for when it is needed and that he will continue to monitor and offer technical assistance via his drone.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Warzone Studios' Double-Sided Mat

Warzone Studio Double-Sided Mat Box

I've got a lot of miniatures.  If you get a LOT of miniatures, you'll want lots of terrain for them to chillax and party on.  Just kidding, they are going to die horrifically, but you still want it to look nice.  Cue the wave of neoprene mats we've seen in the last few years!

Warzone Studio Double-Sided Mat in the Bag

The wonders never cease.  Warzone Studio has double-sided neoprene mats available, so I was eager to see what they had going on.  I had two different terrain sets I was looking to secure new mats for.    Lucky me, I could put a 'green' and a 'brown' mat down for the price of just one.  It was exactly what I was looking for, since at present I only have space for one table at a time. 

Warzone Studio Double-Sided Mat

The mats, 'Deserted Heart' and 'Homeland', replace two of our old club mats which have gone on to fight fights at another member's home.  I hadn't had a mat for the old terrain sets in a while, and now I'll be able to show them off here...and maybe the restoration of a few pieces.

Warzone Studio Double-Sided Mat Deserted Heart
Side A - Deserted Heart
Sand.  It gets everywhere.  You hate it.

Warzone Studio Double-Sided Mat Homeland
Side B - Homeland
Every time I get one of these, I'm stunned at the detail.  Each one seems more detailed and higher resolution than the last.  Glorious.

Warzone Studio Double-Sided Mat Lich-Gettin'
"I came all the way out here and you STILL won't let me be?" sayeth the lich.
Having a look at some of the other mats available these days makes me a little more confident to try some seriously weird bases on miniatures.  I'm looking at making purple a viable and good-looking terrain set...and I think it's going to work.  Standing on a mat that compliments those bases makes even cheap miniatures look great.

Warzone Studio Double-Sided Mat Pegasus-ry.
Technically these miniatures have bases.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Traveller: Research & Rescue

Welcome, Traveller.

Our campaign continues...check out the hub here!

Traveller Character Sheet in Fantasy Grounds

The following are GameDoc's actual session notes:

Session Summary:
(Wow! A lot more happened tonight that I realized!)

Having returned to Tinath Spaceport, the Travellers make their way into Serson Province, passing by the Oracle, an ancient temple-palace built by an unknown alien civilization millennia before khan colonists arrived on the planet.

They deliver the recovered research data to Baroness Edda and file the necessary salvage claims for their ship, the Kingfisher. As promised, the Baroness agrees to pay for needed repairs and maintenance on the ship.

Pleased with the Travellers’ work so far, she offers to keep them on retainer as a bonded mercenary company while they remain on the planet and offers them a new job. An archaeological expedition to the largely unsettled continent of Valeive has lost contact. The expedition was sent by the Baroness to study ancient ruins there, assumed to be built by the same ancient aliens that built the Oracle. The Baroness directs the Travellers to locate the missing researchers and rescue them if necessary.

J. C. negotiates a fee for the group, as well as ensuring that they are allowed to secure their own repairs and bill the Baroness rather than having her own staff snooping around the ship. The Travellers are provided survival gear, weapons, and  transport and set off for Valeive.

As they approach the archaeological site, they are suddenly intercepted by three fighter craft identical to those that attacked the Kingfisher during their recovery mission.  Riley is able to evade them by dropping the transport into the forest and maneuvering through the trees. However this also leads them right into a violent sleet storm with near zero visibility.

Dr. Contreras rolls Sensors and fails.
Try not to botch the sensors check.  Again.

Their transport suddenly shudders and begins to dive towards the ground. They Travellers emerge from the crash injured, but alive. Inspection suggests that the transport wasn’t struck by a projectile, but grounded by some sort of gravity weapon. Before it’s power is drained completely, the Travellers send out a message to notify the Baroness of their situation and then set off for the ruins.

Hiking through the forest, they are attacked by a flock of winged, bat-like creatures. After shooting them down, Hernando discovers the creatures have some sort of cybernetic implants, including data ports leading to their brains. He and Sally May attempt to retrieve data from the implants but the programming language is gibberish. Hernado collects specimens for later examination and the group sets off again.

Finally arriving at their destination, they find no overt signs of the research team. Closer inspection reveals a few remains of a campsite and scattered bullet casings. It appears there was a gun battle of some kind, but there were no bodies or equipment left behind.

The ruins consist of a large stone plaza flanked by two ziggurats on the east and west sides. Scaling the eastern one, the Travellers discover a door at the top that appears to have been recently damaged. Prying it open, they find a shaft leading down into the ziggurat, apparently for a gravity lift. But the lift platform is gone.

Outside, from atop the ziggurat, Sally May sees a group humanoid creatures armed with rifles emerge from the forest. Half head for the western structure while the other male to scale up their one the Travellers now occupy. Amadeus attempts to make psionic contact with one of them, but is unable to. The creatures seem unaware of the Travellers for now, but it won’t take long. They are left with a decision: Engage the creatures directly, or escape down the shaft into the alien structure.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Why Don't Historicals Take Off?

You can arrange it so that an expert feels ashamed.
Inspirobot knows what you really want.
A few years back when Flames of War 3rd Edition came out, we decided to take the plunge as a club.  We were looking for a new frontier, and most of us were thirty-something at the time.  When we went in, we spent a LARGE sum of money for four of us to get complete armies.

When we did, we went through our FLGS.  The store didn't carry Flames of War at the time, so our buy-in was the store's buy-in for Battlefront.  Alas, only a few months after our club was able to demo the game to the wider community, the few folks who decided to pick it up were trying to sell their models second-hand.  Eventually, much of it went to Ebay with very few games ever being played - and most likely not a "full" game but more along the lines of the starter forces and scenarios.

The demo games I saw that weren't given by our club lacked a basic overview of the game.  A lot of things veterans would take into account, such as the combined arms nature of the game, were simply ignored.  This made the scenario, and thus the game, a bore to slog through.

Yet, I don't think it was because the folks trying to demo the game or to collect and get into it were dumb.  When our club first decided to step off into Flames of War, we had absolutely no frame of reference.  I did almost two solid years of research before we even drew up the lists we would be starting off with.  I found that this research was essential to getting the game up off the ground in the group, as I could more properly craft the campaigns we were about to embark on.

In so doing, I learned all the differences between the units.  Since historical games rely on actual real-life material, all the units are labeled how they would be in the time period.  Know the difference between Sd Kfz 250/1C and a  250/8?  Or a 251 from a 250/9??  I didn't.

I wasn't really a WWII enthusiast per se at the time.  I had to study both the Flames of War rulebooks as well as actual historical documents to get comfortable enough to make the presentation of the game.  I scoured the internet, learning about the war in general and specifically the Eastern Front.  I found it fascinating how much I didn't know.

Yet there's the rub.

I found I was genuinely interested in the history.  For Flames of War, that's what you get for "fluff".  There's no make-believe stories in a lot of historical rulebooks - they might be what you would call "fluff-thin", most of the time.  Fact is, they don't really need to be anything else.  The "fluff" is literally all over the place, being that it's actual history.

You'll find that a lot of folk don't have the same passion for historical games as they do for robots and dragons.  A lot of that has to do with what folks are interested in...for example, WWII won't appeal to most younger people, just because it's like...history, man.  Without that WANT to learn about the history connected to a game, it just won't take root in a player.  They aren't motivated to learn the game or collect the models.

Maybe it comes with age.  As we get older, our tastes change and become more refined.  For some, historical games have an air of 'legitimacy' to them.  For others, it's fuddy-duddy neckbearding of the highest order.

How many of you have tried to get a historical wargame going in your community?  Did it take root to form an active community?  How many folks out of your group jumped in?

For us, we had several games going during the last club that were historical.  They took root pretty well, and there are WWII and Wild West posses somewhere here in the vault.  Overall though, less than 20% of our group joined each game with an investment.

Maybe it's all about presentation.  It's gotta be exciting - people will game whatever game is being played in the community if there are organized events and a welcoming atmosphere.  Don't forget to pre-pack your historical demo with all sorts of relevant facts and cool asides about the period and belligerents.  Yeah, it's basically a term paper - but you'll have fun and so will your group.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Welcome, Traveller

Mongoose Traveller Logo
Welcome, Traveller!

A Mongoose Traveller campaign run on Fantasy Grounds by my good friend GameDoc, this post will serve as our campaign reference hub.  Here, I'll keep the sessions from our private social media group in a format we can easily access from any point in the future.

This reference point will be frequently updated until the close of the campaign.

*Last Updated 04/30/2021*

Player Characters

  • J.C. Khaine
  • Amadeus Khaine
  • Riley
  • Sally May
  • Dr. Contreras
  • Klaes Ashford

Session Log