Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Short Update

Busy busy busy. I haven't been getting enough sleep lately, but I think I'll survive. I've started writing a series of modules titled "The Lawful Good, The Bad and The Ugly." They are western themed adventures that follow a single story arc. They are intended for my second Pathfinder group in our home made campaign setting, however I am writing them in a way to be adapted for any game.

The current module I'm working on is titled "A Fist Full of Gold." It is actually Part II, as I didn't think of anything for Part I until today. The adventure takes place in the dusty town of Scorpion Gulch, where the players will have to seek out and destroy Bort Blacklungs' gang of outlaws known as The Brown Bottom Boys, a nasty group of goblins, gnolls, hobgoblins and orcs.

The modules are slightly tongue-in-cheek and are intended as beginner-level adventures for new GMs. They include plenty of hints, tips and extra info to help guide players who are new to the game. The difficulty will increase for the players and Game Master with each new module, as they learn new tactics and role play methods.

If I am satisfied with the play-tests, I am considering selling the modules for a dollar or two. But we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

That's it for now!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Original Title of this Post was "Short Update." Ha!

The weekends just seem to fly by anymore. It feels like I got a ton of work finished but now that I look back it seems like almost nothing. I've been working on getting my campaign setting written down into a user friendly format so my players can go to it as a resource just like any other rulebook. I've managed to get through the introduction and a few of the race descriptions and rules. Here is a brief excerpt from the section on Lepidons, a race that replaces lizard folk in the world of Korr. They are still lizard folk, but built as a character race instead of a monster race.

Physical Description: Lepidons stand 6 to 7 feet tall and weigh 200 to 250 pounds although their slightly hunched posture makes them appear shorter. Their scale covered bodies span a range of colors similar to chromatic dragons and some breeds even feature short spikes, colorful fins or spotted color patterns. They occasionally run into problems while traveling outside of their rainforest homes, as most furniture is not made to accommodate their 4 foot tails. Female lepidons are more slender and smaller than their male counterparts, but just as deadly.
While lepidons have fairly simple lifestyles, they love colorful and gaudy clothing and gear. Much of their wardrobe is accessorized with large colorful feathers, animal skins and bulky gold jewelry. In lepidon culture a victorious warrior is entitled to the spoils of war and successful soldiers are often covered in the baubles of their vanquished foes.
Race Relations: Many races are uncomfortable around lepidons, viewing them as savages and only slightly more tolerable than some intelligent monsters. On the other hand those who are fortunate enough to befriend a member of this honor-bound race have gained an ally for life. Lepidons have a hard time relating to others outside of their society. Their straightforward attitude and blunt honesty are often interpreted as aggression or insults. This becomes more problematic as they view the social mannerisms of more civilized cultures to be frivolous and deceptive without much real substance.

In more exciting news, my blog was featured in a post on The DM's Screen by Mark, the EvilDM! When it comes to describing a setting Mark is no mere writer, he is an artist and words are his paint. I openly admit that descriptive scenes are probably the weakest link in my GM chain, so it is nice to see some true inspiration. To illustrate what I mean here is an example from a recent adventure I authored. In it, the party ventured deep into the Prindepth Catacombs, a long forgotten tomb located beneath the looted remains of a master illusionist's workshop.

Passing through the narrow corridor you step into a spacious, well lit burial chamber. The room is lined with stone coffins, mostly open, with skeletal remains within. Near the room's center is a stone throne - a pile of bones lay in a heap at it's base wearing little more than rags and a dented suit of armor.

While it's not bad, I would rate it as okay at best. I have written way better stuff in the past but for the most part that's par for the course.

On the other hand, here is a brief excerpt from Mark's continuing story: A Matter of the Heart.

Within the chill gloom of a seldom travelled corridor, stands an archway of hand-chiselled granite, dimly illuminated by the glow of wall-mounted torches.  At odds with the rest of its surroundings, the archway, and everything contained beyond its portcullised door, had been in existence long before the castle surrounding it had been erected, so many generations ago.

Boom! With a few descriptive sentences Mark's simple hallway is easily ten times more interesting than my ancient burial chamber! This is a great example of descriptive storytelling and I suggest anyone with an interest in GMing to take a look at Mark's work over at The DM's Screen. 

Oh, and on a final note, the domain names are all set up! Now you can go to! Pretty exciting stuff.


A Weekend Haul!

It doesn't happen often, but occasionally things seem to fall together in perfect harmony. Among my friends it is usually followed by a phrase from a certain popular television show: Everything's coming up Milhouse!

This Friday was definitely a Milhouse moment. After work I had to stop by the post office to pick up a package that missed delivery the day before. Upon opening it, I discovered it to be the Ultimate Magic guide from Paizo. My wife ordered it as a surprise gift for me, hooray! Pleased with my new tome, I picked her up from work and took her to our favorite Indian restaurant in West Philly. I swear I could eat that stuff every day of the week.

After leaving the eatery, we decided to seek out a local game shop in the hopes of finding a new board game to try and to buy a tub of brown wash. Since our last visit the store had changed locations - but after a little searching we managed to find it. It wasn't the largest or most well stocked store but it did have a thriving room full of MTG players. None of the games on hand jumped out at me, although my wife was extremely interested in the card game Kittens in a Blender. Which I must say I might pick up after reading the reviews.

Moving on from the games, I wandered over to the wall of Reaper miniatures. Perusing the selection I noticed a large cardboard box sitting on the floor and inside of it? Classic minis! While excited, I restrained myself to only a few. I've already unboxed them and taken a few photos. Here's the haul...

Ral Partha Anti-Hero 1987

Ral Partha Dwarves 1995 (reissues from 1976-79)

AD&D/Ral Partha Sligs 1990

RAFM Warrior Ghoul (date unknown)

RAFM The Ghost 1995

I'm a bit of a fanatic. I love painting and using miniatures in-game. There's nothing like pulling out a new figure and plopping it on the grid. The look on players faces when they say 'What is THAT!?" never loses it's charm. I can't wait to get these guys primed and ready to go! Unfortunately I still have about 30 figures in front of them already primed and with adventure writing, work and lets not forget real life, it may be a while before these guys even see a brush.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Got My Own Domain!

Well, soon anyway. I signed up for my own domain name. Unfortunately the domain I wanted wasn't available but I got two others that are close! Just need to wait until tomorrow for it to clear and then I'll put it up!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Get Out of that Book! Player vs Character Knowledge.

I have decided to skip on posting our campaign history in favor of writing a more comprehensive background and adding it as it's own page. After reading my post from last night I have realized that it's just too much text to cram in here.

The topic for today will be player vs. character knowledge; a difficult and sometimes unavoidable problem. Just to make sure we're all on the same page, lets get a better understanding of what I'm talking about.

With most rpg's, the players in the group control one or more characters- choosing their appearance, race, occupation, mannerisms, abilities and so on. Every player has their own vision of what a 'cool' character is. Some imagine themselves as an expert assassin, hiding in shadows and striking only when the enemy is most vulnerable. Others may see their characters as savage barbarians, stalwart knights, bumbling wizards or elven archers - the possibilities are endless! As brand new adventurers in a hostile fantasy world, these characters have yet to experience the wonders and horrors that await them. Dark crypts hide shambling skeletons and living shadows. Crumbling wizard towers await, crammed full of animated furniture, emotionless golems and let us not forget the mightiest of the mighty - immense dragons soaring through the skies, raining death and fire upon all in their path.

These are all things that players love about role playing games. They wait eagerly in anticipation of these new and alien experiences, yet that is exactly where the problem lies.

You see, while at level one Gorgmaul the Dim has never seen a dragon or skeleton warrior, his player Paul the Accountant has seen plenty of movies, played other games and read all of the monster books cover to cover. Paul knows that skeletons are weak against bludgeoning weapons and that they can see even in pitch blackness; the fact that Paul knows this could lead to a potential problem because Gorgmaul would have no knowledge of skeletons this early in his career.

Whats a GM to do? Do you forbid the players from reading sensitive material? Do you swap a monsters stats for those of another? Maybe just let them roll with it following the time tested theory that ,'It's a fantasy world, I'm sure they heard about it somewhere...'

Here's my take on a few of these ideas as well as a few gems of my own.

1. Let Them Read the Books!
They are going to do it anyway. It's not a matter of them being cheaters or dishonest. It's just human (gamer?) nature to want to look at monster manuals. The pictures, stats and descriptions are too cool to keep away from avid players. To be honest I find that making the monster books available helps the game, as players get excited or even scared when a formidable enemy appears.

On the other side of that coin, the monster books always stay in my possession during the game. It's one thing to have a passing knowledge of a creatures abilities, but to have a point for point write up of the enemy is just unfair to the GM and to the other players at the table.

2. Let Them Validate Their Knowledge.
A player who can role play a valid and creative reason that they may know something deserves to know it. After all, it is a role playing game. If your great uncle Torvald the Bold once crossed the barren wastes in search of the Amulet of Gilmar, only to be blinded by 'the great iron basidracocus' and tells the story at every Feast Day, I would be willing to let you know a bit about the creature. Of course 'I heard it in a tavern.' or 'I read it in a book.' won't earn you anything but a stern gaze.

Players are also encouraged to use skills such as knowledge and even craft or profession if it would provide the proper insight. Skills are a great way for players to use knowledge they may or may not know outside of the game world.

3. The Bait and Switch.
I use this technique VERY SPARINGLY and I urge other GM's to do the same. Switching stats or monster abilities is a cheap and dirty way to throw players off balance and turn their knowledge into a weapon against them. You can only swap so many creature stats before your gamers feel like you are toying with them. While players shouldn't use outside knowledge to gain an upper hand, neither should game masters use their powers to abuse the very mechanics of the game. Many players pride themselves on learning about enemies, items and objects. Changing the fundamentals of them makes all the effort on the players behalf worthless.

I find the bait and switch technique works best for unique and boss characters. This past Christmas we had an encounter with a demonic Santa lookalike, who kidnapped children in his giant bag and summoned evil snowmen to fight alongside him. The Evil Santa was basically a re-skinned bearded devil with a magical spiked candy cane (aptly named CandyPain) rather than a glaive. He was a wild success, but only because the character was memorable and fit the bill. On the other hand, having players encounter a dragon with the stats of a wyvern would only cheapen the effect or worse -leave them unprepared- when they finally meet the real thing.

4. A Fish Out of Water
Nothing throws a wrench in the works like messing with the status quo. I'm not referring to the bait and switch again either. What I'm saying is: Use your imagination! There are plenty of ways to keep your players on their feet without messing with built in game mechanics. As a Gm, you are the narrator of an epic tale and it is up to you to set the stage in unique and interesting ways.

Even the most mundane monsters have the potential to shine if presented in the right way. I've had armored skeletons whose chests were glowing with unnatural light. Assured of their evil, the party assaulted them full-blast only to discover that some mad necromancer had filled their chest cavities with vials of alchemist fire...kaboom! Paul the Accountant never counted on that! Or how about a mobile guard tower full of gnoll archers thanks to a wily animate object spell? Even a lowly goblin could eradicate a party with an appropriately powerful bomb strapped to his back. It is completely possible to alter and change a creature without having to change its internal mechanics. It might take a bit more effort, but the payoff is well worth it.

5. When in Doubt: Rule 0.
Normally a last ditch effort when a player doesn't want to cooperate, a GM should never have a problem using the power of rule 0. Just tell the player 'Your character doesn't know that, try something else.' If they refuse to cooperate, you have all the tools you need to fix the problem right at your fingertips!

Say your party discovers they are going to encounter a troll - a creature none of them knows anything about - yet one creative player stocks up on vials of acid anyway. He claims that he has heard stories that they can regenerate and has deduced (arguing his 17 Int score) that acid would prevent it. Don't argue, get creative.

When the players reach the troll lair they find it already dead and the place being looted by a group of not so nice adventurers! Protective of their loot and generally nasty to begin with, the troll slayers engage your party in combat. Who is to say that an enemy bard or wizard doesn't cast shout at the party? It may do minimal damage, but all those shattered acid vials won't feel too good, let alone the condition the other equipment will be left in.

I'm not suggesting that GM's out there bully their players, but I am suggesting that you not let yourself be pushed around or rule jockeyed so that PCs get an unfair advantage. Use every weapon in your arsenal, but only if you have to. Remember, this is a game to create epic tales and memorable experiences, not fight against your players because they know more than their characters should.

In closing, I guess my final advice on the topic would be to use your best judgment. If something smells fishy, it probably is.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Wish I Could Cast "Summon Guy to do Paperwork"

Between work, researching and playing games, I'm finding myself with very little time to actually write the games. I guess you could categorize it under the 'Game Master Problems that Others don't Understand' file.

I would like to take some time to acknowledge the players in our current campaigns and their abilities to drive the story ever forward, sacrificing (fictional) life and limb. Without their efforts, our game would be little more than a series of people saying "I hit, I miss."

I will be adding a "Story thus far" link at some point, but until then I will give you the very brief history of our main campaign...

Two of our PC's had managed to get themselves incarcerated within the walls of Atkinson Prison. The first, a dim witted orc barbarian by the name of Ong and the other was a bard by the name of Kraven. While Ong's main problem was crippling stupidity, Kraven had a more serious dilemma; he was the unfortunate host to a split personality. When the opportunity for malicious crime or mischief arose, a sociopath alter ego would attempt to wrest control.

The mini I painted for Ong (Reaper Minis), including a small diorama base I made for him.

The two unlikely companions used a botched escape attempt by another inmate to get away. During their exit they made an ally in Marie Voluer, a mousefolk rogue who was mysteriously absent after their liberation.

Making their way far from the penitentiary, Ong and Kraven joined forces with another PC - Edward; the aristocratic Marquess and son of a local Duke. (Ironically, the Duke who had Kraven put in the slammer!) Edward was looking to prove himself as a true warrior and bring glory to his family name. In order to do so, he disguised his true identity and was 'slumming it' with regular adventurers.

The trio were hired by a group of elven emissaries to retrieve the Scrolls of Accord, which were stolen from the elves by a group of bandits. The scrolls were to be used to forge an alliance between a nearby elf settlement and the human city of Enchester.

The mission was a less than stellar success. The party would have been killed had it not been for the intervention of Marie Voluer. The mousefolk rogue maintained a romantic relationship with the bandit leader and pleaded that he release the party, as they had helper her escape prison.The bugbear bandit agreed and so the party left the tower solemnly, yet victorious. Unbeknownst to the bandits - the group had managed to pilfer the Scrolls of Accord.

The group agreed to escort the elves for the rest of their trip to Enchester. Upon their arrival the party was lured into a back alley and attacked by a group of thugs. They were assisted by a cloaked and masked rogue by the name of Gertrude. She informed the party that they were being followed long before they entered the city, and that the bandits belonged to a gang run by a psychotic leader known as The Jester (yes sir, it is a Batman reference! What better plot for urban adventures?).

Our Gertrude figure, also from Reaper!

The party, now numbering four, set off to investigate this nefarious criminal. In their sleuthing they managed to uncover an elaborate bomb making facility and interrupt a planned terrorist attack on the human capital city of Sessovir! After their victory they were rewarded by Reginald Slawter, captain of the Enchester guards and future ally.

Having some down time, the companions approached the Enchester Arena in the hope of retrieving Ong's former belongings. He claimed to have a magical map which he required for his mystic quest. Ong's owner however, was not so willing to give. The group agreed to participate in one fight on behalf of the owner. In exchange, Ong would earn his freedom and have his belongings returned to him. The party agreed and bet heavily on themselves.

The arena battle was fierce. The companions were lumped in with a group of slaves and prisoners to do battle against an ogre and two elven archers. The slaves were quickly disposed of but the heroes did not lose courage. They fought valiantly until the ogre struck a mighty hit against Edward, ending his brief career as an warrior in one crushing blow. The rest of the party fought on, eventually defeating the beast and winning Ong's freedom at the greatest of costs.

Saddened by their loss, the three discovered Edwards signet ring and discerned his true identity. They rushed him back to the castle and presented him to the Duke, the Duchess and his younger brother, who were all mortified. Not content with losing his eldest son, the Duke reached deep into his pockets and arranged for Edward to be reincarnated (while wealthy, the Duke of Enchester did not have unlimited funds and paid for a service he could afford.). Edward survived the spell and returnedto life; transformed into a hideous gnoll. Seeing himself in the mirror, Edward's psyche cracked and he ran off into the wild, never to be seen again...

---Jeeez, on a side note, maybe I'll break this up into a few posts. This campaign has been incredibly fun and what I'm giving you here are the bare bone details. Each of these characters are fleshed out with elaborate histories and intricate personalities. We like to focus as much on character as we do on action.

In addition to the tale of our campaign, I have been looking into the summoner class more. Using the synthesist archetype, I managed to create a ridiculously powerful beast. I find myself more than skeptical at this point and am leaning heavily towards eliminating it from our game. Just to put it in perspective, I managed to create a character at level 6 that deals out this kind of punishment.

FULL ATTACK: Claw+11 (1d4+7+1d6 acid) Claw+11 (1d4+7+1d6 acid) Bite+10 (1d6+5+1d6 acid)

Until next time, cya!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Late Night Gaming

Well we played well into the night last night. We didn't wrap up until around 2:30 am but everyone had fun.

We had a player try the summoner character class for the first time. I don't think I like it and am considering removing the class from our world. I'd like to spend some time here going over it. I would like to start by saying that I have read a bit about summoners but I don't have the kind of time to know every in and out about new classes. (well, new to us.)

Our current party is made up of of level four and five characters, all single classed. Last nights game consisted of a fighter, a wizard, a rogue, a cleric, a summoner(with the synthesist archetype) and a lower level fighter NPC.

Of those players, the summoner sythesist seemed to outshine them all. With 4 attacks per round at full attack bonus, an AC to rival the fighters, the ability to fly (perfect) at will with no duration, cast plenty of buffs and heals on itself. To be honest, the class itself feels greedy. One look at it's spell list and you can see a pile of spells that benefit only the summoner or his eidolon with a few offensive spells thrown in the mix and almost nothing that helps a team mate.

I am trying my hardest not to pass judgment too early, as I haven't read enough into it but that will have to wait until later. Now- I'm taking my younger siblings out to see Star Wars in 3d!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

To Prindepth We Shall Go!

The adventure is due to begin shortly! (and a certain GM is running late!) Today the players find themselves venturing to Prindepth Keep, an ancient dwarf stronghold that was converted to a mad gnome illusionists lair. They are in search of an NPC's heirloom sword and perhaps a spellbook or two.

Will they be able to outwit the tricks and traps of the master of illusion? Only time and a few lucky dice rolls will tell!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hate the player, not the game.

Well that title isn't exactly fair but I wanted to make a point. I've been lurking around reading various reviews and concerns over the upcoming Fifth Edition of Dungeons and Dragons and have come to a realization.

I am (was?) a total jerk.

I started playing RPGs with AD&D Second Edition. My group continued to play it well after 3rd and 3.5 rolled out, resorting to places like ebay and amazon whenever a new player started or a book needed replacing. After years of time and hundreds of dollars spent, the very thought of permanently shelving all that great stuff seemed out of the question. It had value besides monetary. It was nostalgic, we were used to it and it's simple black and white art (sometimes black BLUE and white!) was just our style.

To an avid tabletop gamer; changing a long-use game system is like changing your lifestyle or social scene. Imagine being a disco fan in the late 70's. (admittedly a bit before my time.) Clubs were drying up and the radio going to rock or even country. It would be scary for any die hard fan of the genre. Do you keep haunting the near empty clubs and playing records at home, or join in the new scene and be part of something fresh? It's a hard pill to swallow.

A pill that my group and I have swallowed a few times now. After years of sticking with 2e we had finally made the switch over to 3.5 right before 4th edition came out and to be honest, we liked it! Gone were pesky Thac0 scores and negative armor classes. Weapon and non-weapon proficiencies replaced with skills and feats. There were quite a few useful rules that replaced years-old house rules and grappling still sucked.

We played 3.5 for about a year and took a brief hiatus for a few months. A few of us got new jobs, two of us bought new homes, etc. During the time off I looked into 4e and slammed it, referring to it as a 'tabletop MMO.' On our return to gaming we moved from 3.5 to Pathfinder. It took the system we liked and turned it into a system we loved! It cleaned up a lot of stuff -auto success spells, combat maneuvers, skill point distribution and more. To date it is still what we play and I don't anticipate switching any time in the near future.

Just because we've found something that we enjoy is no reason to bash the current or even next edition of D&D. I was being stupid to bitch and moan about 4e being like an MMO. WotC is taking their product in a direction that they feel will be more profitable and draw new gamers to the table. You can't knock them for that. There are plenty of other games out there to play, old and new alike. Just because you don't like what a publisher is putting out doesn't mean it's complete garbage - maybe it's just not the right game for you. Just because I don't play 4e doesn't mean I want to see it die. I want it to thrive and continue to introduce new players to the hobby. You never know, maybe one day they'll be sitting at my table playing a different game.

If he had legs his jeans would be so tight.

Don't get me wrong here, I have nothing against being a grognard or single-system gamer. What I do see as a problem is veteran gamers smashing and down-talking new or different games when they've never ventured out of the comfort zone. Tons of sites out there are already slamming 5e when it hasn't even been released yet. WotC says "We're going to try and make the players happy by asking for feedback," and many reviewers respond with "Oh god, how unprofessional, it's gonna suck extra hard if they talk to all these new/young/opinionated/etc players." Yet if they said nothing about it besides "Hey we're making a new edition. We'll let you know how its going." Players would get angry for not feeling involved, they would be upset that their opinion didn't count.

I think WotC is doing the right thing. They are (in their own way) acknowledging the failure of 4th edition and are trying to work with the community to make a better game. Backed by a parent like Hasbro, they really have the ability and cash to push pen and paper gaming back out into the spotlight, to revamp a culture that is being consumed by CCGs and MMOs and no one should hate them for that.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Ugh late nights and sickness.

So I've been sick pretty much all week. Not just run of the mill sick either, I'm talking bed ridden, medicine chugging, sleeping all day sick.

Nothing sucks more than using sick time when you're actually sick.

Anyway, having spent most of the week between the sheets I didn't even begin preparing this weeks Goblin Adventures until today (yesterday at this point?). While kinda crammed together, I'm pretty positive it will be a success.

This new game takes place in Korr, the same game world as our other games with a decidedly different angle. The players all play as goblins or hobgoblins. In this case, belonging to the Borgheb clan. (goblinoids work a little differently in the world of Korr than in traditional Pathfinder or D&D) The Borgheb were a clan renowned for their abilities as scouts and explorers. Here is a small excerpt from the introduction...

Two generations ago a group of your ancestors were exploring unknown tunnels far from home. During their expedition they fled from a massive cave-in, only to find themselves trapped inside a surface cave.

Making the best of their situation, the Borgheb set up camp, working in shifts to dig out the rubble. Days turned into weeks and weeks into years. Eventually the prospects of returning home were forgotten, the Borgheb had turned into what every true goblin loathes – Gerbelgaar – surface dwellers.

In addition to adding a bit of history, having the players start as members of the same clan eliminates any need to explain how they know each other and gives them common goals.

The goal of this game is simple, the goblins warren comes under attack by a party of low level adventurers! After defeating the hapless heroes, the clan will inevitably have to move before more humans show up looking for their friends. It falls on the players shoulders to seek out and empty a nearby kobold lair, creating a new and more secluded home for their people.

Within this campaign I hope to send the goblin party on a variety of crazy and hair-brained adventures culminating in the discovery and liberation of the mythical 'Goblin King'. I look forward to watching the players solve new problems that come with the greenskin territory such as "How do I sell loot if I cant go into town?" and "How do I make reasonable trades when the counting system of my race is limited to 'one, a couple, some, a bunch, a whole bunch and all of em?'"

After the game we're going to see if we can't get in a quick match of Paranoia as well.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


As I said in my last post, I was working on a small project which was just completed a few minutes ago. You see, I display my painted mini's in shadowboxes hung in various locations throughout our house. Some are purpose made while others are re-used letter trays from the days of the printing press. I was bothered that I couldn't display the 'Tomb of Spells' box that my wife bought for me but it was just too large. Staring at one of the trays I suddenly had an idea: display my figures with a miniature box!

Still have a few to paint.

The process is simple, just photo the box, cut it up in your favorite image editor and re-assemble! Here's a look at the micro box up against his big brother.

The outer boxes.

The open boxes, including insert! ( I yellowed it to make it look old)

All together it was a pretty fun little project. I was going to go ahead and post the layouts for download but to be honest, I worry a bit about the legality of distributing something like that.

Something Old, Something New.

Unfortunately my Paranoia plans for last weekend fell through. It was a little too-late notice for most folks. But not to worry, I've got an RPG double header coming up this weekend with a game of Pathfinder (Goblin PC party!) and our first test run of Paranoia.

Finding ourselves with some free time, my better half and I sat down for an evening of crafting, painting and watching a bunch on Star Trek. In addition to painting a slew of goblins and hobgoblins for the upcoming adventure, I made it a point to paint up some of the figures from Grenadier Models "5004:Tomb of Spells." I've gone ahead and taken a few pictures with them next to more modern figures to give you an idea of how things in the miniatures world have changed since 1980.

A classic Grenadier Mind Flayer against a relatively modern model from Reaper Miniatures.

A classic Grenadier skeleton warrior next to a similar monster from the Kings of War line. (An excellent source of inexpensive bulk figures!)

A modern monstrous spider from Reaper mini's (in the vermin pack i think...) and the 1980 Grenadier version - the thing is heavy!

In addition to painting, I have also started working on a special little project for displaying my classic minis. I hope to finish it tomorrow with pictures included!

Friday, February 3, 2012

8 Hardness/90 HP/35 Break DC my ass!

Well, in non gaming good news we just had our 28 year old heater replaced and central air installed! In non gaming bad news we discovered that part of our chimney is collapsed and it will be very expensive to replace. In the words of my elderly friend Jeff, "weak-nessss!"

You can't spell 'slaughter' without 'laughter'!

Money pit issues aside. I am still hoping to run my first game of PARANOIA this weekend. If you've never heard of it [click here] to learn a bit about it. To add to the fun I've decided to use a text to speech program on a laptop for the voice of Friend Computer. I've also created plenty of handy-dandy handouts for use in the game because lets face it: Everyone LOVES handouts!

Paranoia is a tabletop rpg which takes place in a futuristic city(?) deep below the earth known as Alpha Complex. The entire place is run by a maniacal and totalitarian benevolent and super-friendly entity known only as 'The Computer.' When trouble brews in Alpha Complex the Computer calls upon the players who are known as 'Troubleshooters.' Hapless, ill-equipped and most of all expendable; Troubleshooters have one primary function: to find the source of the trouble and shoot it.

While the premise seems simple, it quickly becomes a complicated and bloody mess. You see, Alpha Complex is infested with all manner of enemies who have their own agendas (typically trying to avoid or even destroy the Computer and it's systems). These enemies include secret societies, genetic mutants and worst of all - the dreaded commies. It is the responsibility of a Troubleshooter team to weed out and eliminate these threats and to secure the dominance of the ever vigilant Computer.

In a perfect world, crack teams of players would descend upon treasonous citizens, secret society members and super-powered mutants with extreme prejudice, using lasers and plasma guns to transform them into little more than clouds of fine red mist. Unfortunately for the players, Alpha Complex is not a perfect world. In addition to being a Troubleshooter, just about every player also happens to be a member of a secret society, a mutant, a double agent or (in most cases) all of the above!

Friends, enemies, passers-by: Every one of em is a stinkin commie!

The constant drive for promotion fame and wealth drives most Troubleshooters to backstab each other through whatever means possible. Be it through accusations of treason, unfortunate 'accidents' or flat out murder! Paranoia is a game where every player shares the same goal: complete the mission and be the last one alive to claim the spoils!

I look forward to giving this game a shot as a change of pace from the regular fantasy settings we play. Don't get me wrong here, traditional sword and sorcery is still my bread and butter, but a game like Paranoia can be an excellent dessert.