Friday, 15 August 2014

When shall we meet (sic) again? In thunder, lightning, or in rain? When the hurly-burly's done, When the battle's lost and won.

Aaaah, Bring Out Your Lead 2014. Good times. The title probably makes more sense for those who were there, so if you don't get it, why weren't you there? Hmm? Make sure you come next time!

It was wonderful to see the event grow so much in 12 short months. Thanks must go to everyone out there who make the scene what it is, a vibrant and exciting gathering of passionate gamers, painters and collectors, but especially to Orlygg, Gaj and the Ansells.

Let's look at a few photos then, not too many, just some you may not have already seen or those I need to illustrate a thought.

The Ansells set up a wonderful marquee for us complete with bar and display cooler. No doubt an acquisition for the Stoke Hall weddings side of the business. This gave us plenty of room to spread out and proved ideal in both hot and wet weather.

On the left as you entered was Whiskey Priest's excellent 'Ferrograd' table. Truly a sight to behold, positively teeming with beautiful scenery. Lots of fantastic games took place in Ferrograd over the weekend, check out the blogosphere, Facebook or the Oldhammer Plus G+ community for multiple reports.

The little details bring Ferrograd to life, such as posters, graffiti and store signs.

On the right as you entered, the classic table which seems to be everyone's favourite. This time it had an exquisite gothic village square set up on it, I was lucky enough to get a game in on this table later on which I'll come back to.

The madness that was the siege game! I despaired at the approach taken to this particular game (there was far too much emphasis placed on precision and slavish adherence to the rules and not enough good-humoured improvisation to speed things up) but despite my minor criticisms I have to say the happy faces plastered onto the participants for three straight days made this game virtually irreproachable!

The objective, an enormous walled city. The defences were pretty solid and well thought out and the 'Siege' book has walls and towers virtually indestructible to damage from petty catapults and bolt throwers (which was all the attackers seemed to have) but nobody on the bad guys side seemed to mind. Even the inclusion of some pretty beefy giants couldn't make a difference!

An attacker's eye view.

A nice shot of the city walls as the attacker's lines hit a high water mark. Note the excellent bar in the background which is where we were supplied with all our hot food and beer!

A great shot of the evil army with the classic giant at the head about to be met by a sally of elite knights from the city. There was action aplenty thanks to delaying tactics like this but I still think the evil army deployment was too far away to be considered fair (their artillery was well out of range of the walls and just sat there getting comprehensively flattened by an air cavalry brigade) and the game unfortunately lacked an independent GM who could have made such a difference to the pace of the game. A shocking oversight! If I sound critical remind yourself that this game was thoroughly enjoyed by all who took part, I only mention these things because this size of game is likely to be common as Oldhammer events take off around the world and there really was a lot to be learnt from this experience.

The main building itself was looking remarkably cosy considering the amount of time the Ansells have had to get prepared. There were four rooms filled with racks of Wargames Foundry blisters, three of which had gaming tables set up too. There are also very nice loos beyond the archway in this picture, important for a three-day event! The talented and charming Tony Yates set up in this room and delighted his public with dozens of sketches and anecdotes.

One of the Oldhammer founding fathers, the author of Warhammer for Adults, thrills a young crowd of enthralled newcomers with tales of yore.

The Goblinmaster himself was on hand with a sackful of greens to chat to anyone interested in the art of making a perfect gobbo. One more room beyond which I didn't photograph as it was just more blisters.

Another nook of a room, behind the marquee. A very suitable cubby-hole for a quiet game away from the crowds.

There follows a snap of each shelf of the display cabinets. All the minis from last year were rotated out for fresh ones from Bryan's 80,000 strong Citadel collection.

A shot of my 'army' (only two units) going into battle. I was up against a couple of Chaos warbands who struggled against the static combat resolution of my infantry block (I have written about this before) but fortunately we had an excellent GM on hand to keep the game balanced and free-flowing.

A cinematic high point of the game, my emerging hero and some followers leave the church only to be ambushed by sundry chaotics! After the game my 'champion' lost the use of his legs only to gain levitation. Most of his followers shrunk to a tiny size and he now keeps them in a bag and uses them to perform minor tasks on the battlefield. If I can find a suitable 'levitating knight' figure you may see him back again next year! Suggestions welcome.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, 8 August 2014

5th edition D&D. The Lost Mine, part one.

SPOILER ALERT. If you are at all likely to play any 5th edition D&D as a PC please stop reading and click away now!

We have decided to play through the new D&D starter set at the club, a return for the classic RPG after a two decade absence, and possibly the new adventures as they are released too. I'll put the outline of the ongoing adventure up here after each session, mainly as a reminder for myself and the players but also because anyone interested can read it too. We started last night.

The story so far...

The PCs meet in a queue for work outside the ruins of Neverwinter having travelled to the fallen city in hope of employment by the newly arrived Lord Neverember. All is not well inside however and access to the newly reclaimed city is tightly controlled, the PCs have been turned away at the gate and find themselves in a sprawling refugee camp full of folk desperate to escape the crippling poverty of the northern marches.

Undeterred, the PCs have sought out a caravan going south in the hope that the rumours of a developing town with plenty of opportunities down that way proves to be true. They gather and meet for the first time, engaging in small talk while they wait for their turn to sign up.

Human Cleric played by T.

Elven Cleric played by W.

Dwarven Fighter played by I.

Human Barbarian played by M.

Human Fighter played by D.

Elven Wizard starting as an NPC but later taken on as a henchman by I.

Halfling Rogue NPC.

Lord Corlynn (human fighter) and his faithful manservant, Mopsy (human commoner) NPCs.

Muleskinner (human commoner) NPC.

The job is for a 'Gundren Rockseeker', a dwarf mining boss who has a new claim down south somewhere. I's dwarf (himself a Rockseeker) recognises the name of his cousin and is pleased. The caravan will head to Barthen's general store in Phandalin and the party will provide security.

After taking advantage of the services of a couple of artisans in the refugee camp for things like quivers and rations the newly formed caravan heads south seeking the Triboar Trail and Phandalin. Two days of travel on the High Road are uneventful and they meet nobody except the occasional patrol of Mintarn mercenaries on Neverember's payroll. Both I's Dwarf and the NPC Lord Corlynn have some history working alongside Waterdeep's hirelings and they exchange pleasantries and news. They reach the left turn for the Triboar Trail late on the second day and make camp.

After breaking camp on the morning of the third day the caravan heads east, inland, along the trail. Not long into the morning they happen across a disturbing scene, a tree has been felled across the road and two dead horses lie on the ground just ahead of the rudimentary roadblock. They are peppered with black-fletched arrows.

I's dwarf immediately calls a halt and the caravan stops. W's Elven Cleric has a bit of history fighting the forces of evil and recognises the arrows as goblin-made. Four unfortunate goblins are then immediately spotted, despite their best efforts at hiding, and their ambush is rather spoiled. In the ensuing battle the goblins manage to wound D's human fighter and I's dwarf but D rolls at the very top end of the spectrum to swiftly kill two goblins with his longbow in return. M's barbarian reaches a goblin and kills him easily which breaks the morale of the final ambusher. After a bit of cat and mouse movement the PCs find a hidden trail, guess the goblin's intentions and trap him. The panicked goblin surrenders and is subsequently 'convinced' to talk despite some protestations from the squeamish clerics. A bit of investigation uncovers that the horses belonged to Gundren Rockseeker, their employer, and a human companion who have both been taken alive by the goblins. I's dwarf is deeply concerned for his cousin and the party decides to leave the caravan in the charge of Lord Corlynn, Mopsy and the muleskinner while they follow the goblin trail back to their hideout.

Along the goblin trail the party demonstrate wise caution and after narrowly avoiding a goblin snare trap the barbarian further 'convinces' their prisoner to give forth details about any more possible traps. They reach their destination safely and the goblin prisoner's reward is a cut throat from the barbarian, the two clerics are shocked but T's restrains W's from protesting. The hideout is a cave, which initially gives the barbarian the creeps, but despite this in their excitement the party forget themselves and rush in. A fight is triggered with two hidden goblin sentries and though they are easily dealt with a couple of people are nursing injuries. To add to the party's problems, T's human cleric finished off a fleeing sentry with a rather obvious fireworks display and upon moving inside the cave the PCs disturb a pack of chained wolves who begin going crazy, making lots more noise. With the element of surprise largely gone the party are lucky to kill off the wolves and stumble across a fissure in the rock at the back of the wolves cave. Using this rock 'chimney' gives them a slight advantage back and they are able to deal some damage to an isolated group of defenders. The leader, Klarg flees the upper chamber and rallies his remaining goblins, though not before T's human cleric wanders off to stumble into two goblins waiting to collapse a dam. T's cleric survives but the unfortunate Halfling NPC was washed away. Much hilarity at T's failure to get his cleric up the fissure turned into stunned disbelief as he failed five attempts at a 4+ on a D20.

The fighting degenerates into a bloody brawl as Klarg reenters the fray with his entire force. W's elf goes down, M's barbarian is badly injured and almost everyone else has a cut or two bar the wily elf wizard (now under I's control) who is performing very well and keeping the party in the fray.

Finally, the cowardly Klarg is reduced to his last hit point and surrenders with his goblins following suit. Restraining the prisoners (Klarg, his lieutenant Yeemik and a second goblin), the party joyfully loot the hideout at their leisure and rescue one 'Sildar Hallwinter' who informs them that I's cousin has been moved to Cragmaw Castle. M's barbarian patches up W's unconscious cleric and a bedraggled halfling stomps angrily back into the cave network.

To be continued...

The entire party leveled up to level 2 as a result of their efforts and though they were reckless in the Cragmaw hideout they rode their luck and came out on top. It won't be a good idea to rely on luck for too much longer though!

Watch out for a photo of T's D20 which after putting him on his backside by rolling 3 or less five times in a row will be appearing in the dice-shaming section of the Oldhammer G+ page very soon.

Thanks for stopping by!