Monday, August 29, 2016

Terrain: Grand Stairs

The grand stairs for the large temple are a pretty solid piece all by themselves. I decided to play around with tiles on the steps themselves to make them look a little more interesting. I'm not really thrilled with the way the pattern came out.

And to give it a little more visual interest, I pried up one of the tiles.

Not sure the brown really works...

It isn't bad, but it does give me a better idea of what to do with the next one. And I might take this for a different building rather than using it for the temple. We'll see how ambitious I get.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Terrain: Mausoleum

Since I needed the mausoleum done for today's game, I decided to just knock it out. It isn't my best paint job, but it got the job done, and I'm happy with it.

When last I showed it off, I'd just primed it a mid-tone grey.

Too much of the original color was seeping through, so I gave it a coat of black, followed by dark blue over the main structure. The upper panels and framework around the doors just went right back to grey.

You can see my brushwork wasn't anything even approaching tidy.

After that it was a series of successively lighter dry brushing of mid-grey then light grey.

Unfortunately at this point, pretty close to done, that it just looked like a grey brick. So I decided to add some color.. and because why not, I decided that each side gets one color!

The Yellow Mythos side...

The Silly Red side...

Purple Death side...

And the...I don't even know. It's just the green side. Don't ask.

Oh, and the roof!

I'm really pleased with the roof.

We'll see how it looks on the table! 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Stonehell: Getting Their Rocks Off

Session 17 was played on 8/12

Wilhelm, drunk Dwarf 4 (Julia)
-Hammond, war dog
Tobias, Human-Cat, Cleric 2 of Persephone (Mollie)
Leroy, human fighter 2 (Mike)
9 Hirelings & 1 dog

Stayed in town
Tink, a pretentious Elf (but I repeat myself) and former barkeep (Hanna)
Shelly, a vegetarian recovering alcoholic halfling Thief 3 (Nadia)
Frank, halfling 1 (Emily)
Yaqen, elf 1 (Shaun)

With the return of the golden flail to the skeezy cleric, Tobias was returned to his human form... mostly. Some distinctly feline traits linger, including cat ears...

Full of piss and ale, they decide to get Rocky some tasty tasty quartz, and rather than just buy some in town, head into the dungeon to try to find some! The party makes its way to Rocky's room, and ask only where they can find quartz. Rocky tells them down in the 4th level. Knowing only one way down, they head for the dragon's caves and the well down to the 2nd level.

The sound of dwarves singing a working song rumbles through the caves, and the party finds a group of half a dozen dwarves gathering bat guano to make fire bombs with. Wine is shared with the stinky stout fellows, and in return they tell of a path down to the 4th level from the well.

Thanking the dwarves, and promising to return with fresh food to buy some bombs with, the party heads down the well, and makes their way along the mostly straight path described to them. The dungeon gets progressively warmer and more humid and the flagstone floor is soon lost to a layer of sandy dirt. The walls become more and more decorated with reptilian motifs. The passageway turns, and to either side are a pair of rooms full of some massive machinery. Belts, gears, fans, and all sorts of mechanical parts sit motionless. Each room also features a single large lever. Wilhelm and Leroy each grab a lever and pull. Leroy's lever shifts twice, and the machinery in his room rumbles to life, shaking the entire dungeon.

Minutes later the machine and the noise finally stop and the dust settles. Out in the hall, Tobias points out that the doorway at the far end of the hall has closed up, and now only shows solid stone. Wilhelm and Tobias switch rooms, and pull their levers. Again Leroy's lever moves two spots, and the machinery rumbles to life. Minutes later, the doorway slowly opens up from the bottom.Of course, they check it out.

The relatively spacious room is empty but for a lever set into the floor just like the ones on the machinery. Wilhelm yells that it's his turn to finally pull one that'll actually move, and he clicks it over 2 spots. The room descends...

Slowly the doorway closes, and then opens, and closes, and finally opens as the room finally comes to a rest. Beyond the room is a short hallway opening up on either end into natural caves. Hearing noises from one side, the head off to investigate. 2 large white apes are feasting on the body of... something. Wilhelm charges in, much to everyone's surprise, except the apes. One ape tosses an arm, which shakes the party out of their shock, and they follow their leader into the combat. The apes are hacked down, though they're a little tougher than anyone expected.

Deeper into the cave system is a massive chamber. Scattered about are the remains of several small fires with crude stone seats set up around them. Near the center of the chamber are 4 individuals. The first, sitting across from the other three is a pale elf in black leather and silk. Across from him is a woman covered head to toe in black. Black veil that completely covers her head, a black lace dress, and black gloves. At no point does she change positions during the entire encounter. Standing behind her are two large ogres. They do turn to the party, but their scarred faces have no eyes to see them.

The elf informs them that the chamber is neutral ground, and no combat is permitted within. Ever. Needing no further warning, they wisely shuffle past the 4 and even deeper into the caves. The next chamber they find sparkles in the torchlight brilliantly. Between the crystals and the veins of gold, it was a breathtaking sight! The hirelings all began to discuss the best way to mine out the gold. Wilhelm chipped off a bit, and after a quick taste test, informed them that it's pyrite, but that the crystals were quartz. The goal of the delve! Now to get it back to Rocky...

Carefully making their way around, they returned to the elevator room, and back to the 2nd floor, the well, and Rocky's chamber without incident! Rocky was thrilled with the stone, and said that the pyrite added just the right amount of spice to the treat.

Gains: Completed Quest!
Losses: None
Kills: 2 white apes

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Under the Blood Red Moon

If you're a huge C&C fan, and you missed this, I'll be happy to send you my copy. Just drop me a comment and it's yours.

Under the Blood Red Moon is the Free RPG Day adventure from Troll Lord Games for Castles & Crusades and Amazing Adventures, their pulp/modern RPG game.And it really is just the same adventure twice. It even uses the exact same 4 room dungeon map on page 5, and it isn't an interesting map either...

From the back cover:
A sword and sorcery adventure!

Matyas is an old man. A long life of adventure has left him satisfied and ready to pass to the Arc of Time and meet his patron, Toth, the Shadow of the All Father. Satisfied, but for one last task. It is in his mind to make a final sacrifice to Toth by placing a magical parchment, reputed to hold the cure for lycanthropy, beneath an Altar Stone of the Temple of Toth. But this is easier said than done, for the Temple is over-run with evil and he is too old to undertake the task. So he turns to his kin, asking one to gather their friends and make this sacrifice for him!

Across the Gulf of Space & Time

An adventure of modern design!

An ancient temple has been unearthed and rumors abound that beneath its Altar Stone is a parchment of amazing power. Reputed to cure lycanthropy, Richard Wilkins, a wealthy industrialist and humanitarian has hired a group of adventurers to bring it to him. He’ll spare no expense, for his need is pressing, Hilda, his daughter has the dread affliction, and without it she’ll be doomed to a nightmarish life. But the Temple is guarded and bringing the ancient parchment out won’t be as easy as they think!

This is very much a quick-start adventure that can be played in 1-2 hours, depending on how much explanation of the game the players need. There's some combat, a tiny bit of problem solving, and a lot of boxed text and no art aside from the cover.

Granted a quick-start adventure is going to have limitations, but this really fails to be anything other than painfully pedestrian, and worse, fails to take advantage of the fact that both adventures take place in the same dungeon years, eons, ages, maybe universes apart. There's really no excuse for that!

In short, if you've ever played an RPG... ever... skip this. It isn't worth your time.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


For Free RPG day, the one thing I really wanted was the Lamentations of the Flame Princess release SLÜGS!

Why? Primarily because their releases tend to be leaps and bounds better than anything else that's sold, let along given away. Not just in production quality, but in the writing and design. While SLÜGS! isn't quite up to the same high marks as Better Than Any Man or Doom Cave of the Crystal-Headed Children, it does show how LotFP is willing to push what is and isn't acceptable or expected, or even usable!

The other reason I wanted it? This ad, which I thought was going be the cover.

Why would I want that? Why wouldn't you!! Okay, so mostly I'd want it just for the shock value of people seeing it on my shelf.  Turns out though that this is the cover.

Not bad... But not nearly as exciting to see on the shelf. 

What is SLÜGS!? It's a monster guide focused on... slugs. Yes, shockingly, it's all about slugs. Slugs of all shapes, sizes, and descriptions. Why is that exciting? Because you get some really weird slugs in this book.To start with, you get the Acid Slug. No, it doesn't spit acid that burns you, it secretes acid that sends you on a groovy trip, man!

How about the Love Slug? There's some adult art in the back of the book that covers that one.

Slugatron, the giant transforming robot isn't really a slug, but he transforms into the shape of one.

That's just 3 of the dozen slugs in this thin volume, and each gets it's own bit of artwork. In fact, this book has more art than monsters, and it's all great!

How often are these slugs going to show up in my games? Rarely, but some of them absolutely will. More than that, is the inspiration to push the bounds of what is usual in my games. From the usual perspective, how interesting are slugs? Even giant ones? Not very. But with a little twisted imagination, you can make anything interesting.

Oh, and the introduction is a beautiful piece of work, and worth picking up just for that. But what I'm going to quote from the book is in the afterword:
"Be free in your fun, wild in your imagination, and fuck 'em if they can't take a joke." James Edward Raggi IV
Wise words to game by!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Suicide Squad

Suicide Squad was the first DC comics movie that I was actually interested in seeing in a long time. It looked, from the trailers, like it would be DC's answer to Guardians of the Galaxy, a wisecracking band of misfits and ne'er do wells thrust together mostly against their will to do something good.

And I suppose that's what it was... but it was a piss poor answer that felt crafted by a committee.

In so many ways it was almost good, and then it shot itself in the foot. Moments what clearly could have been great if they'd been built up better, rather than just being tossed out as if the director was saying "look how clever and sassy these characters are!"

The movie starts out by introducing the cast. Will Smith with guns, Harley Quinn, Killer Croc, Pyro the Peaceful Gangster, and a guy who throws boomerangs. Oh, and then, when the team's put together, they add a guy who climbs things and gets no back story. He's killed off pretty quickly to show that the military guys pulling the strings aren't afraid to off the team, in a move so telegraphed it was painful.

Will Smith's character Deadshot unfortunately plays as... Will Smith with guns. I never got the feeling he was doing anything different to give the character a personality distinct from his own, and the way he was used in the movie was very much "Look! It's Will Smith!"

Margot Robbie's Quinn suffered from her wardrobe. And I get that Quinn weaponized her sexuality, but there was some actual interesting acting going on from her. I wanted more of that, but it seemed like every time she started to really get into it they decided to pull her back, rather than letting her run with it. It could have been a much more interesting movie if the focus had been more on her, and less on her booty short clad ass. 

Boomerang guy had a thing for unicorns... which was explored much better (you know, at all) in Deadpool. Uh... aside from that, he was there? 

Killer Croc growled and looked impressive.

Joker is around too, mostly being crazy and trying to get Quinn back, and really being in the movie too much... and I like this Joker. Jared Leto does a solid job, and the laugh is pretty much perfect... but... this isn't his movie. Sure, being in the flashbacks worked, but the whole rest of his story line could have been cut. It would have made the narrative much tighter.

And Katana and her magical... katana... was in it for some reason. 

The villains... I mean antagonists? were the government agents, and their pet ancient goddess who runs amuck.

And in the end, I was very glad I went to see it during a matinee. I was glad I saw it, mostly cause I could then write this blog post, and complain about it with my friends. Beyond that? It really wasn't worth it.