Sunday, June 20, 2021

Starting with Stargrave (or: How to Get Space-Money)

Dave's copy of Stargrave

Stargrave is a new game from Osprey Games, and is one of the latest offerings from the prolific Joseph A. McCullough.  I was lucky enough to get my copy several weeks back, and I've been from one cover to the other checking out the sci-fi goodness.  I am a big fan of all of Joseph's games, which include Frostgrave, Rangers of Shadowdeep, Oathmark and Ghost Archipelago.  The rulesets are elegant, but with plenty of room to expand.  It also helps it's based on a D20, which helps the D&D crowd relate.

Stargrave follows the same vein as Frostgrave and Ghost Archipelago.  You choose a Captain and First Mate, then recruit a crew of up to 8 other models.  The rules of the game and the stats of the models are the same as those games, and you choose Powers for your character models based on sci-fi abilities and technology rather than spells or magic.  The game itself is heavily scenario-based, and like it's brethren-in-print is designed for campaign play.  The campaign systems in these games alone make it worth the buy, just to see how it was done.

I was very excited to get ahold of this one.  In anticipation, I really scoured the model range for Stargrave, as three new plastic sets from North Star Military Figures hit with the release.  All three of these - Crew, Mercenaries and Troopers - are fantastic sets, especially if you are just starting a sci-fi miniatures collection.  If you're not familiar with North Star, get that way.  They have tons of awesome plastic box sets for all kinds of troops and / or kitbashes.

One thing I noticed was that Stargrave pretty much takes the ball from Rogue Stars as Osprey's go-to sci-fi game.  It's not that Rogue Stars is an inferior system at all, but Stargrave has more content right from the start.  In addition, the systems are very different beasts and serve different audiences.  Stargrave's system is easier for casual gamers to pick up, as Rogue Stars has some advanced wargame conventions that can confuse new players pretty easily.  I pretty much confirmed this when I saw the few metal minis North Star had released under the Rogue Stars line had been moved to Stargrave.

My problem with Stargrave is that I wasn't sure where it was going to fit in my gaming curriculum.  I am making a move back to narrative gaming mostly, and with my player groups I want to make sure I don't provide too jarring of an experience moving between systems, settings and games.  Unlike Frostgrave, to me, Stargrave didn't stand well enough on it's own considering my sci-fi settings are Star Wars and Warhammer 40,000.  It didn't have a distinct setting, the minis are great but kind of generic (as they are supposed to be - that's a good thing).

The fantastic campaign system begs to be used in just about any sci-fi milieu, however.  We can easily approximate any number of settings with this game, and I can report there has been interest in both a 40k-themed and Star Wars-themed campaigns of Stargrave.  Therefore, instead of embarking on a new project entirely like I did with Frostgrave, with Stargrave we'll be using the campaign system in other settings, with all kinds of different models.

One thing this is prompting me to do is sort out all my random sci-fi minis according to their setting.  Right now I have several cases of miniatures that have no defined system as home. These are random minis I've picked up, made, converted and been gifted I had no place in any army or game schema - until now.  It's finally time to sort them into "40k-style" or "Star Wars-style".  They are currently scattered among several cases, labeled things like "Sci-Fi Heroes", "Sci-Fi Future Wars", "Antares - Concord"...and even one labeled "Stargrave I" with nothing inside it.

Nothing like being able to find the exact mini you're looking for and only having to dig through five to ten cases because your miniature storage filing system is working.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Dungeons & Dragons Portal

Iron Seer's Dungeons & Dragons
Welcome to the D&D Portal, folks!

This link portal lists all things related to the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game for Iron Seer.

As with all these portal entries, this will be continually updated to reflect ongoing gaming.  Never will the adventure party be unable to find their spot after a break!

It's about time RAW RPG got enough links on one game line to get it's own portal.  There was a lot of links to check and dates to look up.  From now on, link portals will start taking their places on the appropriate portal page sooner, rather than later.

Last Entry: 02/04/22

Game logs are presented in ascending order (earliest first).

Dungeons & Dragons (by Edition)

What's next?

Friday, June 11, 2021

Howl of Oblivion: Becoming Established

** Howl of Oblivion Campaign Page **

After ensuring the safety of Gesherem and Sul Dhan Ared by scattering the war-camp, the party returns to Yecha.  Servants of the Slaughtergod follow the party and attempt an attack at night as they approach the city.  The leader, a flind, was murdered quickly by missile fire.  Most of the other attackers, also gnolls, simply fled after this.

Delivering the priests to the council, the party finds they are in high favor not just by the clergy.  They are given gifts by Lyzandhan as well for their services with a gift of the Khan's gold.  The priests quickly begin conferring with one another, and retire to the conference room to question the newcomers.

After taking a well deserved rest, the party finds the streets of the city are more bustling and busy than when the party left.  Fasha and the servants of Mouqol have struck many deals and approached Khaine with the deal he'd been asking about.  An investor spot in Dhamikan's caravan has opened up.  All told, a roughly three month turnaround will net a 25% profit for any investments - barring any loss to raiders or spoilage. 

Fasha however, is uncomfortable with guarding the party's treasure with his caravan.  It is too great a hoard, he claims, to not be guarded somewhere safe, instead of secreted in the market.  And so, the party undertakes an effort unprecedented for them - find an effective and reliable way to guard the treasure they keep acquiring.

Yecha Countryside Map Markers
Places of note to the party in Yecha.

The party is surprised to learn what this will actually entail.  To this end, they determine they will incorporate as an adventuring company. As they begin to look for suitable properties to keep as a base of operations, they also begin thinking of whom they might hire to look after their property and valuables as they travel.  The grounds of the organization - a foundation to keep their treasure safe and pay for itself - is laid.

Mention is made that such an organization might have a hyena upon the crest, since the party has slain many of the creatures since arriving in the West.

Messages are sent to far-off Perrenland as Walkul thinks some of his family and friends from back home could be trustworthy enough.  Anverth also makes effort to contact his gnomish kin as well.  Other workers are surveyed as the party searches for a suitable property.  They begin to carve out what their adventuring company's organization will look like, and decide responsibilities for themselves.

As the party establishes itself and chooses an identity, the priests of the Western cults have a council that has not been convened in many centuries...and soon they will emerge from their consultations.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Gone Lookin' For Goblins

The Mythic World of Urd
** Mythic World Campaign Page **

The following is from GameDoc's session log in our private social media recapping our last session.  You can also listen to the Dungeon Master himself discuss the session at the Arcane Alienist Podcast right here!

The party returns to the foresters’ camp and picks up the trail of the goblins leading further into the woods. A mile or so, they are ambushed by a patrol of three goblins and a bugbear. However, they are not taken by surprise and Celestina uses her sleep spell to knock them all out. The party kills the bugbear and one goblin and ties the others up for questioning.

Gone Lookin' for Goblins 1

Urgash and Dolly are the only ones who speak goblin. Urgash interrogates them while Harald makes threats in common (which Urgash translates). The goblins agree to lead them to their lair if they are spared. They lead the party a short distance to a large outcropping of tumbled stone and boulders and show them the mouth of a cave. A powerful sour stench emanates form inside.

Gone Lookin' for Goblins - Fantasy Grounds Desktop
When a character speaks a different language...

The goblins begin “arguing” among themselves about how much to help the party. One offers to lead them to their remaining captives and their treasure while the other suggest taking them to parlay with the goblin’s leaders. It’s unclear if they are truly arguing or if it’s an act to confuse their captors. 

Harald decides to build a bonfire in the cave entrance and smoke out any goblins laying in wait. As he begins to pile up branches, one of the goblins yells “Bree-yark!” and an ogre emerges from the cave. Harald snatches up his pole-arm and strikes the ogre and Dolly finishes it off with her spear.

Gone Lookin' for Goblins 3

Dolly inspects the cave and finds no other entrances or passages. Khaine kills the goblin that cried out and the remaining one please for its life, promising to show them a hidden door at the back of the cave. Once it is pointed out, Durgash opens it to reveal a room full of more goblins. A battle breaks out. The captive goblin tries to sneak away but Harald cuts him down. 

Gone Lookin' for Goblins 4
"Where'd everyone go all sudden-like?"

The party manages to defeat this new group (mostly due to Dolly’s battleaxe), but one slips further down a side passage. They party gives chase and comes upon another chamber filled with goblins. They manage to defeat those as well but not before the fleeing goblin exits the other side of the room and disappears around the corner.

Gone Lookin' for Goblins 5