Friday 9 January 2015

D&D Session 5.

SPOILERS AHEAD: Our merry band of PCs are working their way through the 5th edition starter set.

The Players:

Tholas Longfeather the Chosen, a barbarian outlander and unparalleled fighter. He searches for answers and the unnatural raiders who killed his tribe.

Stepano di Maturin, a former pirate turned fighter. He seeks revenge and a lost comrade.

Fugran Rocksplitter, a former mercenary looking to help out his cousins, the Rockseekers, in their hour of need.

Reed Alderleaf, a former member of the Redbrand gang who has returned to bring some frontier justice to those who tried to murder him.

Riardon Silverlight, an elven wizard and fellow of the Temple of Knowledge in Neverwinter. He has rededicated the lost altar of Oghma in Neverwinter Wood and a new candle of civilisation and reason, however small, burns brightly in the darkness once more thanks to him.

Burgem Gabriel, a cleric of Selune and shepherd to the flock of Phandalin. She seeks to establish a diocese that will bring healing and succour to the folk of the Twilit Lands.

Marker of Thundertree, an archer and folk hero. He seeks to drive out the dragon of Thundertree and thus bring peace and prosperity to his home once more.

Varis, an elven warlock. She seeks to earn the right to bear the mantle of adulthood.

Chamberlain the Druid. He has ventured forth from his hermitage to find a corner of the natural world to protect and nurture.

Such the Selunite, a human cleric of Selune. He has come to Phandalin hoping to find inner peace while ministering to the simple folk of the frontier.

Harravak Halfblood, a half-orc ranger. He has turned his life's misfortune into a life's quest, he tracks the growing horde of his hated enemy (King Obould of the Many-Arrows orc tribe) and sells the information to the Lord's Alliance. As the orcs have gathered to the north recently and seem content to stay put he has taken to a little adventuring on the side to make ends meet.

Session 4 begins with new PCs Harravak (with Grunaver the Wolf in tow), Chamberlain and Such locating Wave Echo Cave having been inspired to seek it by some drunken miner's stories back in the Stonehill inn in Phandalin. Drunken miners are obviously a worthy source of information on which to bet your life. Thanks to the occasional echoing crack of spell effects and Reed's careless placement of the party's pack donkey the cave is not actually too difficult to track down, despite it being quite hidden for a few centuries previously. Tharden's body has been stored away in some canvas by the rest and they don't see it.

Once inside the mines the wounded jelly sportingly elects not to wipe them out yet and they arrive swiftly and safely at the main party's location, just as they are emerging from a long rest. After much negotiation, interrogation, suspicion and finally acceptance the three newcomers narrowly avoid being murdered and are signed up to the as yet unnamed company. I told the wizard that the ink and quill would come in handy!

Official D&D artwork.

The party scout out a room to the south-east filled with a strange glowing fungus that gives them a distinctly uneasy feeling. They elect to backtrack and return to the large cavern in which they fought the tough ghoul pack. No sooner do they begin to file in than they are accosted by a large force of bugbears and goblins led by a deadly looking drow mercenary. He announces himself as a representative of the 'Black Spider' and offers the party a deal; they clear out the eastern half of the mine which is occupied by an undead force and then allow the Black Spider full access for a week before taking control of the mine upon his departure. There may even be a little gold as a sweetener. This is a tempting deal for some but for Tholas only blood will satisfy his craving for adventure and the negotiations break down as a melee erupts.

Credit to Anthony Francisco.

The large party are able to overcome their foes despite the level 1 newcomers performing badly against even the lowly goblins ('should have put them on half-shares' was the general consensus) and the wily ex-pirate Stepano was able to capture the drow. After a bit of a struggle the drow was tied up but when the party removed the cloak they had trapped him in they discovered to their shock that their prisoner was very much changed and was actually Fugran's missing dwarf cousin, Nundro. naturally all the PCs are very suspicious but Nundro is able to answer several intimate questions in detail and only becomes vague when asked questions about Fugran's clan, the Rocksplitters. Nundro claims he is half-starved and still groggy from the effects of an illusion spell designed by the Black Spider  to trick the party into killing an innocent which is why he might be a bit forgetful. Nundro remains a tied-up prisoner as a result but is dressed decently and afforded a suit of leather armour for protection.

"Hey, at least lend me some clothes will ya?"
Pathfinder artwork.

Perversely, the party then decide to clear out the undead from the western half of the mine next. They have had no problems against the skeletons they have faced so far but learn a new-found respect for zombies as they head west, especially zombies backed up by a flameskull.

Sony artwork.

The powerful undead entity casts a level three spell at Tholas, the most powerful fighter and the party are aghast when the unfortunate barbarian (actually a level 4 martial champion just out of interest) is dropped in one go with damage to spare! After the ghoul fight tested them so much the party has learned a few tricks in combat and get a bit more out of their abilities this encounter but it is still pretty hair-raising and one last zombie survives several rounds against the entire party which terrifies them about what could happen if a few rolls went awry in future.

Artwork from the Elder Dragon Highlander CCG.

Everyone trusts Nundro a bit more after he was targeted by the undead during the fight but not enough to untie him just yet.

The group moves on into a bone strewn cavern that leads north and back south to the bypassed fungus cavern. The PCs are paranoid about the way the zombies ambushed them earlier and spend some time smashing up complete skeletons and detecting magic etc. After a lengthy search turns up nothing interesting they smash into a nearby locked building to discover a dangerously mentally unbalanced spectator guarding a mysterious green flame that exudes from an ornate, brick-lined hole on the ground.

Originally hosted by the Forgotten Realms Wiki.

Tholas once again almost leads the party into a potentially lethal combat but is stopped short by the others who decide to negotiate with the aberration in their weakened state.

We shall have to see what the result of that is next time! I have warned the PCs that while I am thrilled with the popularity of my sessions the party is simply too big and I will have to split it into two if we are to continue. They will all be together at the start of the next session but by the end of session 6 I will have engineered a reason/opportunity for the company to split up.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday 5 January 2015

Epic Eldar.

I'm pretty terrible at remembering to take decent photos of the minis we use in games, concentrating instead on doing a bit of creative writing which is one of my favourite parts of blogging. However, in order to appease the unsatisfied hordes out there I will promise to try and rectify that in 2015! Here are a few posed shots of my 6mm/epic Eldar army, hopefully I will be able to organise some photos or links to photos of the other two armies in action on the 3rd (see previous post).

I use my epic stuff to play Future War Commander more than any other rules set (because if you are going to play in 6mm then it has to be 'go big or go home' and that means the slickest, funnest rules have the advantage. FWC requires you to have command stands, some examples of which are in this photo.

This is a closer view of my army general, Farseer P'aul.

I like my Eldar to be very mobile and tricky to pin down so I use loads of these old Falcon models as APCs in FWC. They are still useful in 'Space Marine' too.

Of course, the APCs require lots of guardian infantry, the backbone of my army, to be effective.

Though artillery and air support can be used effectively from off table it is considered a poor show amongst experienced FWC generals to not have the models painted up and displayed in a corner somewhere. Allowing opponents to use imaginary artillery pieces is a slippery slope and that way lies madness.

My air cover, Nightwing fighters. In FWC you use special command stands as Forward Air Controllers and Forward Artillery Observers and these guys call in the strikes based on what they can see.

It never hurts to have a fast, mobile reserve in any game so I use my Jetbikes often.

These scouts are usually my recce units in games of FWC but can easily operate as snipers if needed.

Swooping Hawks. This unit keeps in with the theme of mobility and speed and are unparalleled when it comes to capturing remote objectives.

Sometimes, even if you're Eldar,  you just have to dig in and weather the storm. These inexpensive anti-tank guns help the infantry do just that.

The hammer to the infantry's anvil, heavy tanks!

I have to choose my specialist infantry wisely as a Farseer because there are never enough points to get everything you want. I make sure to bring as many Wraithguard as possible as the heavy infantry are invaluable when spearheading an assault.

Death from afar. The Dark Reapers have broken up many an enemy thrust without ever endangering themselves which allows my own attack to be pressed home elsewhere.

One of my titans, the cherry on the cake. No game of epic is complete without one of these monsters pacing the battlefield with thundering footsteps!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday 3 January 2015

Oldhammer in York.

I headed over to York today for some gaming action with Thantsants of Somewhere the Tea's Getting Cold and Ollie our gracious host and author of The Second Founding.

This was actually the second session of gaming in 2015 already and the cause of much eye-rolling from SWMBO and a few demerits in the book of grudges too no doubt.

I GM'd a small but perfectly formed game of Warhammer 3e for the gents to kick off with. Thantsants' Druid had rustled up some local muscle to escort him to a mad wizard's cottage in order to stop a dangerous summoning ritual taking place while Ollie's Khorne boys were in town to ensure that said ritual went off smoothly and in good order. No doubt the protagonists themselves will tell their own tale on their respective blogs but suffice to say the Khorne general rolled up the rather tasty Bloodrage attribute and confounded all efforts to slow him down.

After lunch we moved forward in time and down in scale for some 'epic'.

We debated the way we wanted to approach the game and decided to run with the Future War Commander rules which were written by Peter Andrew Jones under the Specialist Military Publishing banner.

These rules give you a reasonably fast and free-flowing game which helps when there are three of you and bath-time is looming. We reached a satisfactory conclusion (well, Thantsants was satisfied) and got several game turns in and I honestly don't think we would have been able to say the same of a game one third this size using the Oldhammer Approved Space Marine rules (fond of them as I am).

Best of all all the minis were handsomely painted and fine sculpts while both games took place on beautiful tables. :)

As I intimated, Thantsants' Imperial Army won the laurels by seizing and holding two of the four objectives while Ollie's Tau and my own Eldar had to content themselves with a single objective apiece.

Thanks for stopping by!