Monthly Archives: September 2012

RPG’ing at the Hod – winter 2012/13 II – tempting the wargamers

Taken me a little longer than I’d hoped after my last post of 2 weeks ago to post again. Wanted to continue with potential games for later in the year that we may like to try at the Hod.

There is a lot of enthusiasm for the Saga game at the club at present, a game set in Dark Ages Britain where can battle it out as Vikings, Anglo Danes etc.  So given that…

Yggdrasill

 

As with Qin, Yggdrasill is a game written by the French company, 7th Circle, and translated and published by Cubicle 7.  As mentioned in the previous post, whereas Qin is set in a mythic historical China, Yggdrasill is set in 4th to 6th century Scandia, the Norse gods, the Aesier and Vanir, are real, the lives of the characters are immersed in tradition and their clan and family.  Destiny for each PC is determind by the casting of runes and broad concepts for character generation include nobles, warriors, sages, craftsmen, and travellers.  Magic is based upon bardic skaldic magic, runes, and sorcery.

All in all, I think it is a superb game and beautifully produced.

Here’s a link to C7’s page and includes an embedded video

http://www.cubicle7.co.uk/our-games/yggdrasill/

All For One: Regime Diabolique

Continuing on the quasi-historical RPG theme, All For One is a game by the excellent Triple Ace Games and was released to great acclaim at the UK Games Expo in 2011.  Originally, it used the Ubiquity system but has now also been released for the Savage Worlds system.

All For One is sort of World of Darkness meets Dumas – the PC’s are members of the King’s Musketeers but in a France where dark and occult forces are active in the shadows.  The setting is fantastic and some great adventures have been released.  Great rules for subtle magic and alchemy, as well as fencing and fencing schools.

Gentleman Gamer on All For One

Game Geek on All For One

So two potential games to interest my lead -obsessed friends… but finally…

Iron Kingdoms RPG

So this is the setting of the very popular Warmachine and Hordes games, and unlike the previous d20 incarnation, uses its own system.  The book is gorgeous and on a preliminary flick through seems to draw on miniature combat too within the game.  PC’s come from the major races and nations from the setting and are broadly grouped into mighty, intellectual, gifted, or skilled, with 2 career choices being chosen.

Beasts of War review Iron Kingdoms RPG

 

There is a free intro adventure on the Privateer Press site so if people want to try it out as one shot, please give me a shout.

 

Next time I think a bit of horror – Trail of Cthulhu and the Laundry Files

Super Dungeon Explorer

Super Dungeon Explore

Super Dungeon Explore

Had an intro to Soda Pop Miniatures dungeon crawler games Super Dungeon Explore tonight thanks to Nathan, Mark and Paul.

The game is a table top version of the old school classic dungeon crawl/RPG computer games of the 80s/90s. Your band of explorers face off against hordes of gribblies, collecting loot and treasure until you generate the mid-level boss and then finally the end of level dragon. The collectables buff your characters and potions allow you to trigger special abilities. It plays exactly like you remember those classic 8bit adventure games used to. Kills the hordes, grab the buffs and then take on the big bosses. All that’s missing is a great synth track, Chocobo and bad american voice acting.

The game is helped by what is best described as supercutemangastylepopspangle miniatures. The hordes are almost too cute to hack. Almost. The good guys are dynamic and inventive.

So for my first game Mark, Nathan and I took on a mage, paladin and barbarian respectively, Paul had the bad guys.

Mark had played before and suggested we hit the spawn points hard in an attempt to restrict the potential actions of the inevitable appearance of the dragon. We quickly saw off the first and then got bogged down by a horde blocking a doorway. Whilst the paladin (ahem) bravely hunted treasure the barbarian launched the awesome special ability and walloped the horde, smashing through to the next room.

The arrival of the mid-level boss caused some nerves until we just decided to throw caution to the wind and have a crack. Again the barbarian did the damage and took out the monster.

By this time the dragon was nearing and having taken out two spawn points we sent the mage after the last and prepared the barbarian for combat. The paladin bravely stood about healing stuff and blocking doors.

The dragon showed up and caused a moment of terror whilst we tried to figure out how to deal with this monster. By now the barbarian was pretty buffed with a tasty number of attack dice to play with thanks to some treasure which doubled slots for loot. The mage took out the last spawn point restricting the options for the dragon. The combination of serious buffage on the barbarian and restricted actions sealed the fate of the dragon. Unable to get more than one series of actions off per turn the combat awesomeness of the barbarian was able to knock off the hit points and deal with the resulting spawns. The final blow came when the barbarian launched her special ability allowing her to hit back when defense dice beat attack dice. Two saved dragon attacks generated the necessary final two wounds and defeated the top boss!

SDE is pretty good fun for a quick paced game that captures the essence of the dungeon crawl style of gaming. The teams decisions on actions to set up the right combos at the right time feel very 8-bit gamey. The right items can tip the balance firmly in the favour of the heroes and you can see how you might need expansion packs to keep the game lively in the long run.

Regardless, good fun for a hack and slash night. And certainly the cutest damn miniatures I’ve played with this year.

Point blank vs Disposable heroes

A few of us at the club are big Iron Ivan fans. We’ve played quite a bit of DH for ww2 and it’s been a solid set of rules for us.

Phil got hold of the new Point Blank rules from the Iron Ivan stable and I reckon it’s the game I thought DH was! So far it’s been an excellent set of rules to play.

Point Blank operates at a smaller squad level than DH and works on actions assigned to individual figures rather than to whole squads. The game seems to be structured around a truer sense of fire and move, with suppressive fire proving the core mechanic of the game. Indeed casualties are tough to get, unlike with DH which can be somewhat bloody.

This is the big difference for me. I never really managed to get the fire and move tactic working effectively in DH. Sqauds would usually get stuck into a firefight with casualties quickly racking up on either side. MGs would hack down sqauds and buildings could be a nightmare to assault.

PB seems to nail it. The suppression mechanic and actions approach really delivers the fire and move tactic. Limited actions means you have to think hard about where you send your troops, but you can establish those important pins and take out the opposition. Pinning fire and flanking pay off.

That said, you go wondering in front of an MG in a prepared position and you are in for trouble. Volume of fire counts here to get the supressions and casualties. To take out a prepared position you need a lot of fire to gain the important pin, and once you have it you better be able to exploit it.

The games so far have been far more fluid than DH with both sides shifting and adjusting to the flow of the game.

We also now have the new Bolt Action rules from warlord, so it will be interesting to see how they compare. Some reports on all these systems up soon.

28mm, 15mm or others?

There’s been a lot of 28mm stuff on my painting table of late. I’ve had the 28mm celts, ECW and Tommies from Warlord plus artizan commandos, WFB skaven and Saga warbands.

This is all great and makes for fab tables, but everytime I look over my shoulder at the pile of unpainted stuff my heart sinks. So does my bank balance when the next thing comes along. Currently considering some 28mm sci fi and eyeing up the recent greens of the Brits in africa for WW2.

I do have some 15mm for Vietnam (peter pig) and some 6mm brits and japs for a BKC far east campaign.

Those smaller scales do shift off the table faster but perhaps can lack a little something on the table, esp at 6mm where things tend to abstract out more. That’s not to say the games at 6mm are poor – rather the opposite, they have been some of the most enjoyable games I’ve played. I guess the promise of glorious tables keeps 28mm exciting.

Dunno – random wibbles anyhoo.

RPG’ing at the Hod – Winter 2012/13

We have paused ‘The One Ring’ at present due to real life demands meaning two of the regular players can’t make Monday evenings at the moment – but I do hope to finish ‘Tales from Wilderland’ over the Christmas break.

 

Moe has kindly offered to run some Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 1st edition (and I’ve found my old rulebook from 1986!) so looking forward to that!  I want to run another 1-2 sessions of Dungeon Crawl Classics as had an awesome session playing ‘sailors on a starless sea’ and we have now some level 1 PC’s!  Finally, to let the wargamers get their Shadowrun fix, need to find a non-club night for more fun in LA with Horizon.


There are a few (well almost a dozen!) games I’d like to try at the club – either for just a couple of weeks, or longer, if people enjoy them.  So, if any of the games below appeal to you, let me know.

Fantasy

Perhaps this may not be anyone’s favourite genre at present given that have been playing ‘The One Ring’, prior to that DnD4e, and next WFRP1st ed, but would like to try GM’ingPathfinderDragon AgeArs Magica, or one of the fantasy settings for Savage Worlds.

Paizo produce some beautiful books for Pathfinder, and lots of support for the game in terms of excellent adventures and a well detailed fantasy setting.  Also, fairly familiar rules for most RPG’ers as is referred to as DnD v3.75 – so d20, classes, feats, levels, skills, etc. The temptation to run this comes from the release of the new anniversary edition of the acclaimed ‘Rise of the Runelords’ campaign. Review here: http://www.enworld.org/forum/en-world-official-reviews/327525-pathfinder-review-rise-runelords-anniversary-edition.html

 

Dragon Age is a boxed set, from Green Ronin, and serves as an excellent entry to RPG’ing and is set in the world of the popular computer games.

http://drakesflames.blogspot.co.uk/2010/12/rpg-review-dragon-age.html

I’ve played some Savage Worlds – have run both pulp games (Daring Tales of Adventure) and Deadlands, but am keen to try a fantasy setting, either Hellfrost or 50 Fathoms.  Hellfrost is a scandinavian-inspired setting with the world being progressively frozen, and magic failing.

Hellfrost Review

50Fathoms is often referred to as the best Savage Worlds campaign and combines fantasy with swashbuckling in the world of Caribdus.


Ars Magica may not strictly be fantasy – an alternate history mediaeval Europe where magi band together in the Order of Hermes. I’ve played this game on and off for a long time, but thought about a brief game with the PC’s as apprentices at a major covenant.

Review of current edition here:  http://www.rpg.net/reviews/archive/10/10968.phtml

Others

Books I’ve been reading over the summer, that I’d like to run, include Bulldogs!Qin, and Marvel Heroic Roleplaying.

Bulldogs! is a FATE (like Dresden Files) Sci-fi game, but allows you to play Space Opera with good for nothing sci-fi heroes – so think Serenity/Firefly, Han and Chewie before they met that strange old man in a Tatooine cantina.

Review of FATE sci-fi games

Qin is a wuxia game set in historical ancient china.  So martial arts, wise men, soldiers, taoists.  Was lucky enough to play at the UK Games expo and had a superb time – session run by the Gentleman Gamer who reviews the game here:

Qin review

 

Marvel Heroic Roleplaying is the newest version of a RPG based on the Marvel Universe and uses the Cortex system (as in Serenity RPG).  The game focuses on playing out set pieces from the Marvel timeline using heroes from the comics.

Review here

I think that’s enough for now…. others on my list I may post about next week include Trail of Cthulhu, Wu Xing, the Laundry RPG (based on Charles Stross’ books), Yggdrasil (Scandinavian RPG – fit in with Saga?) and All For One (alternate history musketeers and 17thC France).  And of course, for the Warmachine and Hordes fans, the Iron Kingdoms RPG out soon too….

 

So if any of these grab your attention, let me know – either via the club or the forum

 

 

 

RPG Update

Dungeon Crawl Classics

We had an excellent one shot of this new ‘retro’ game.

The game is marketed as a classic dungeon crawl: monsters, traps, and treasure.  One of the nice features is that of the ‘funnel': players start with a few level 0 peasants, some of whom die in the first adventure, leaving the rest to take on a class and enter level 1.

We used the fantastic char gen tool from Purple Sorcerer http://purplesorcerer.com/tools.htm and had 6 players each with 3 PC’s.

I ran ‘Sailors on the starless sea’, a level 0 adventure from Goodman Games.  The peasants seek out those who are abducting their fellow townsfolk, leading them to an ancient fortress and beastmen…

The adventure suggested that 1/2 to a 1/3 of the PC’s would perish and this was bang on – from our 18 peasants, 11 adventurers returned.

Level 1 heroes:

Halstead, Ropemaker
Stobbie, Beggar
Striker, Mercenary
Henery, Animal Trainer
Spotty, Hunter
Pierre St John, Confidence Artist
Grot, Grave digger
Magical Burt, Alchemist
Lucy Whitefoot, Halfling Glovemaker
Maurice, Halfling Haberdasher
Nobby, Halfling Gypsy

Our fallen comrades:

Hal Ironbark, Elven Barrister (brave leader of the band)
Brian, Radish Farmer
Greybeard, Caravan Guard
‘Arold, Herbalist
Cameron, Cheesemaker
Monotov of the Mountains, Dwarven Mushroom Farmer
Grant, Astrologer

As we all remember from D+D Basic, Halfling, Dwarf and Elf are classes with the humans able to pick from Magic User, Fighter, Thief and Cleric, and DCC works the same with the Halflings all becoming Level 1 Halflings, and humans picking from Cleric, Thief, Warrior, and Wizard.

I really enjoyed running this and hope to do so again: simple rules, well written and fun to read, very much like the Patron and Magic rules, and the quality of published adventures is v high.  These are produced not only by Goodman Games, but also Purple Sorcerer and the excellent Thick Skull Adventures http://www.thickskulladventures.com/

 

The One Ring: Tales from Wilderland

 

We have also finished ‘kinstrife and dark tidings’, from Tales from Wilderland, now just released in hard copy.  This is a brilliant series of adventures and we have four more to play through.

Youtube preview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=NtFTpXJ4d0A#!

We’ve run 9 sessions, and the Fellowship each have had 18XP’s and 30 AP’s thus far, and have Lake Town, Woodmen Hall, Easterly Hall as sanctuaries, and Radagast and Beorn as patrons.

Very much looking forward to running more of this, and future releases from Cubicle 7