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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Big Game of A Fistful of Kung Fu

Had enough stuff done to roll it out for real tonight. We had a big turnout with six of us playing, and I knew the rules better thanks to the previous trial game and the one with Zach Walter who showed me the bits I was missing the first time.

6 players x 250 points and 3 Chi each. It played well except that six people is pushing it for this system in terms of time spent waiting. We started the second turn with a rules revision to have each player on a side activate one guy at the same time to move it along a bit faster, instead of card activation. But it happened that Eric's protagonist found the secret martial arts scroll in the shepherd's tent and whisked it offboard in his first activation of the second turn, ending the game, so that option did not get a full exercise. This time it was mostly my terrain, and a mix of my collection and Eric's, some painted by John, for the figures. 

We used two rules tweaks to make bruisers worth taking at 35 base points. They got Quality 3 instead of 4 and took one more effect point than a regular Extra to knock out (2) or kill (3). 

Aaron, who won our first outing, had a terrible time this game, with his protagonist getting knocked down several times in the first turn and burning all his Chi to keep the bad results down to that degree. He reacted several times, mostly just to stand back up. 

This is a good rules set, very cinematic in feel, and I recommend it highly. Just aim for games of 2 to 4 people.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Pirates Progress

Got in several hours of painting on the pirates batch for Fistful of Kung Fu Saturday. Maybe 1/3 done? Less, if I use them to learn to do non-metallic metals. Here's where I left off. Some were still wet with glazing for shading/highlighting, they looked much more matte the next day. Anyway, feels like they are moving along. Aiming somewhere between my usual tabletop quality and a fancier glazing style, for maybe a couple hours a figure overall. Sunday was an all day game of MMP's Angola, so didn't make any more progress this past weekend.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Pirates vs Ninjas in A Fistful of Kung Fu, Part 1: The Plan

A few months ago I picked up the Osprey rules "A Fistful of Kung Fu" by Andrea Sfiligoi, based on the skirmish system from "A Song of Blades and Heroes". Reading them through I liked them enough to gush a bit to a couple of my minis gaming friends. Aaron was intrigued enough to go off and order some ninjas to paint up for it. I figured to do a modern gang with some old Foundry Street Violence guys and a more traditional gang with some Chinese pirates, mostly from Eureka, with a few odd pieces from Foundry and Copplestone that might work their way in, if I want some that are semi-westernized in outfit and equipment.

Well, at DundraCon, Aaron said the ninjas were in and asked when I was pulling the trigger and wanted a least a month to paint the ninjas. I said "Okay, lets do it in a month." Then we backed off a bit and set it for two months. I got home and the immediate problem was where in all my storage the Chinese pirates had gotten off to. Last weekend I confirmed they were most definitely not on or near the shelf where I best remembered them being, but tonight I located them and took the starting picture. Fortunately they are primed and based from earlier efforts, so I should be able to get right to it.  Not exactly the most photogenic background, those are some of the boxes I was digging through.

So my plan is to get these guys done up, finish off the remaining partially assembled 4Ground Japanese house,  find the docks pieces or make some, and if there is time, scratchbuild a junk for my boats collection.  With some of the other accumulated Asian scenery, this will make a picturesque table. I'd like to do two table setups, one for a village and one for a dockyard.

Mid-April is the target.

If I stick with the traditional ones, I think the woman or maybe the guy in white primer will be the Protagonist and the guy with the two big maces the Bruiser. If I do include the Copplestone Chinese Bandit Chiefs third from left and way over at the right end of the back row, they are likely to be the Protagonist and Bruiser. Will probably work up both lists and see which I like better.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Catching back up

I've been in non-blogging mode for a couple months now. Some notes on what's going on with me, in another attempt to reboot.

My D&D 5e plan to build around module B10 took a big hit when the module and the maps I was drawing for the big first level disappeared. Not sure, but I think the cleaners my wife hired mistook the bag they were in for trash and dumped it. At least the big two page dungeon level map was scanned in first, but the stocking note and some other maps are gone. I can get a PDF of the module, but it isn't quite the same. Sigh.

I have another plan to build a 5e campaign in a campaign world I started for 3e and reused for a bit of 4e. Can't find all the notes, but I'll be reusing the concept and probably start in a different time period. A general outline of the situation: The ancient sorcerous empire fell apart in an apocalyptic demon incursion brought on by too many dabblers in thing man was not meant to know going too far, with the main remaining bastion of civilization being some island colonies. The ruined cities, forts, and towers of the main continent are occupied by various demonic, half demonic, and monstrous factions, with some tribal remnants of the former civilization wandering around in the wilderness that the former empire has become. It is about five hundred years later and the more puritanical islanders that resisted and retreated from the evils and kept civilization going have now grown in both numbers and confidence and are facing a resource crunch with their growing populations so they are readying efforts to take back at least part of the continent. The PCs will be part of the force that lands on the mainland to reconquer their ancestral homeland. It will be a sandbox wilderness for them to explore and discover the fate of legendary places, recruit or subdue the tribal remnants, and lots of monsters wandering about and ancient evils and horrific dangers lurking in the ruins. They'll have just a settlement or two on the coast as the initial home base, which will be under constant threat. Political machinations back home and from rival island factions will also make life interesting for the invaders.

I ran a game of D&D 5e with extensive Dwarven Forge and homebrew scenic trimmings and the scenic GM screen in the open gaming room Friday at Dundracon. Had a great time of it, but got pretty worn out and ended up resting Saturday, and playing mostly light boardgames Sunday. Need to upload some of the phone pics to make a proper post about it.

I'm still playing a lot of War Thunder. Getting into a lot of Realistic Battle action and starting to play at the Simulation Battle level, instead of just Arcade all the time. Here's a picture of an interesting graphical glitch that cropped up this week. My F2H-2 went all Wonder Woman on me.

Got the final PDF from the Barbarians of Lemuria Mythic Edition Kickstarter and intend to run some of it soon, maybe online.

The Bones II Kickstarter came in and I have started painting a bit of its addition to my mountain of unpainted metal and plastic. Very cool stuff.

I've had a card game "The Fires of Midway" from Clash of Arms, for awhile now, with a couple of abortive stabs at learning the rules. This morning I finally took the time to lay it out at the cafe and start to learn it. Played the Coral Sea scenario solitaire up to the Zuikaku making a first devastating air strike against the Lexington and Yorktown.

Things started well for the U.S. with the Lex's CAP Wildcats shooting down the lead Zeros.  The Vals behind won their dogfight with the Yorktown's CAP and made it in to attack undamaged and the other squadron of Vals got in unopposed against the Lexington. Both carriers lost their AA defense fights. The Lexington got mauled by a very lucky Val dive bombing attack, with bulkheads bursting, flooding, and a couple of inferno level fires going, and would likely have sunk had I played further. The Yorktown fared better, and had lesser fires going, but it looked bad for the U.S. at that point, so I stopped monopolizing one end of the big table at that point and packed it in. So far I like it and look forward to playing with an opponent.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Ring of Metempsychosis

Yesterday I came across the word metempsychosis. It's an ancient Greek concept of transmigration of the soul at death from one person or animal to another. It struck me immediately as a likely theme for a good magic item. A ring seems like the obvious candidate, but it might be an amulet or something else. I'm still mulling over how it ought to work mechanically, with an eye towards what makes for the most interesting situations. The wearer could be able to choose or it could be random. The pool of soul recipients could be in a radius around the wearer at time of death. Does the soul co-inhabit or replace the existing one (probably competing co-inhabitation is more interesting if the destination is a PC)? Does the ring move with the soul? Should it "Magic Jar" the soul and it moves to the next wearer or do an instant jump? And so on. There are a lot of possibilities to how the idea could play out.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Oxfam report on wealth concentration

Oxfam released a report on wealth inequality that is hitting the news sites today. It says that from 2009 to 2014 the percentage of world wealth owned by the richest one percent rose from 44% to 48%.

If those figures bear out and the trend continues, it is very troubling for world political health. That's 4% in five years. A simple linear extrapolation of what happens if this continues is the richest one percent owning everything by the year 2079, as 5/4 of 52 = 65.

Given that wealth ~= power, the natural tendency of such a trend unless intensely disrupted is positive feedback acceleration. We are looking at a pharaonic political landscape within this century unless things change drastically from business as usual.

 And we just elected the party that favors wealth concentration in its economic policies to control the U.S. Congress. Don't expect leadership towards balance from there.

 The scary thing is the kind of political action that swings things the other way tends to be nasty and violent and wanders off topic to concentrate as much or more power in somebody else's hands as often as not.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Home for the Holidays 3: Caves of the Unknown

Another run this morning in Eric Hoffman's  Keep on the Borderlands holiday mini-campaign using Labyrinth Lord basic, a pleasure as always.

This was the third expedition. I was in the first in which we fought bandits and captured a tower and orcs or hobgoblins that were in the woods pretty close to town.  The second run that I missed started to explore Eric's Caves of the Unknown, and encountered Myconids, Piercers, and a Shrieker. This time we were back to the caves and cleared out the Shrieker and quite a few Myconids and a fungally infested wizard.

I was Brother Duncan McTrews, a cleric who is stronger than he in wise, and he's been a pretty entertaining character. Graki the Dwarf and Sara the Elf were my partners in adventuring, two other Eds for players, and we had three hirelings, Morn (who we lost to the Myconids boiling out through a door), Morghild who did good execution with bow and sword, and one whose name I forget, that stayed back with the mule and a couple wardogs below the low cliff we climbed in the cave.

It got dicey but we managed to survive with the loss of just Morn, and we escaped with quite a bit of loot. Looks like Duncan might survive to 2nd, as he is over 2/3 of the way there.

Eric's trying for another run Friday but unfortunately, I'll be at work. (He's +Eric H in G+ gaming circles if you're interested in a bit of OSR action.)

Monday, December 29, 2014

Short Attention Span Theatre

Haven't posted for awhile. Here is a catch-all catch up post on what I've been up to.

Working on the other two panels of my deluxe DM screen that fits in with dungeon scenics. Post coming soon on the construction, hooking together the G+ posts about it.

Also did a trial mosaic floor tile and may make a few more floor/wall sections with mosaics of the seashell bits from the craft store.

There's always more minis to paint. Did a bit of basing and base terraining yesterday on a couple of zombie miners and a dwarf gambler rogue from Reaper.

I'm starting to collect a backlog of map drawings that need scanning. Thinking to populate them using a mix of edited Dungen output and actual writing.

 Worked a bit today on Dungen. Next rev will probably have two new features: A notes field that saves with the dungeon for putting in general notes, and a dialog for setting some additional parameters on generation, especially selecting monster tags from which to generate the main monsters for the level, to make for more thematic levels. Another pass will do the same for locations so you will be able to dial in mostly undead in a mostly crypts and tombs level or mostly goblinoids in a mostly caves level, etc. Probably with a D6 roll selector for each, so you can set a batch of tags and say how often to use them for narrowing the randomization from 1/6 to 6/6.  With this rev in place it will do what I want for populating a level, aside from a bit of rounding out some of the sparser tables and maybe the addition of a relations table between factions.

 Doc Grognard had a nice idea when I showed it to him about adding a control to adjust magic treasure levels up and down before generation. May implement that too.

 Another feature I am starting to work on is saving to a server, with a couple of UUIDs so you can give yourself a URL to use from another device to pick up the saved dungeon for additional work, or give out a public one that other people can see your level but not overwrite it. That will probably be awhile before it is done, since I will have to set up a server with a Rails or Node backend and a DB, and work through syncing. This is going on a bit independently, did the provisioning of a MySQL DB this morning, next up is beginning some server coding.

I need to get some more work in on both my D&D 5e and Barbarians of Lemuria campaigns. Lots of thinking lately, not much committed to paper or bits. Will put in to run a game at Dundracon if I get motivated enough. Have a few more holiday vacation days to cobble something together.

For a bit of real content, here is a magic item I came up with this morning:

The Flask of Issek
This slightly battered flask is inscribed with several prayers to Issek of the Jug. It will be found full of a Potion of Healing. When empty it glows faintly, showing the flask itself is magical. If water or other drinkable fluids are added to it, a day later the contents will be purified of poison, disease or taint and imbued with the effects of holy water. After another day it will have the effect of a weak healing potion curing 1D2 of damage, and this will increase each day for the rest of the week until it is a full healing potion. If holy water is put in, it will double the rate of becoming a healing potion. A bless spell cast upon it will make it become a potion of healing after a single day. Potions from the flask are unstable and will not last more than a day after decanting, so it cannot be used to accumulate a number of potions.

I've been rereading Leigh Brackett's The Ginger Star, first of the Skaith trilogy in the Eric John Stark series. It is '50s - '70s Sword and Planet stuff that feels midway between Edgar Rice Burroughs and such later worlds as the gaming worlds of Dark Sun and Carcosa. Good stuff, I recommend it, especially to GMs looking for a darkish setting.

When I'm not getting anything done on projects, as often as not it is because I am back to playing War Thunder on the PC, usually flying planes as Argg, sometimes driving tanks. Today I had one of those "yeah I'm getting the hang of this" games in which I accidentally went out into an arcade battle where I would usually have a series of six planes to fly with a single Spitfire IIb on a list I was using for duels last night. Had to play very carefully as everyone else had several lives and I had one. Ended the game with six kills and four assists before I finally died, the best performance I've had in that plane. I guess having one life had a nice focusing effect on not taking extra risks. It is quite an addictive game if you like WWII planes and tanks and slowly developing skills. Here's a replay screenshot of the first of those kills:

Had the graphics spazz out one day last week, and spent an entire bomber run looking like this:

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

DunGen - Hoards for the Hordes!

Big treasure update in DunGen released - most of the magic types are pretty filled in now, Jewelry and special items of value are in, gems have more value options. Scrolls and books are still basic and will get attention next. Yeah, some of it got a bit silly, but hey, that's the kind of thing the edit and reroll functionality is for.

Next time I'll work one one of these aspects: Make the Delete from Storage button work. Get some detail in on scrolls and books. Add some more layout options. Give the monsters some attitude.

The URL once again is:

Have fun!

Monday, December 1, 2014

New DunGen Release - Room editing that doesn't suck

Updated DunGen tonight and I'm very happy with the improvements.

It now has the dialog box room editor I've been meaning to get in there for awhile now. This will get expanded and improved now that it is basically in place. I anticipate adding name and contents re-rollers to the dialog box, and converting BR tags to line breaks in the textarea and back again for handier editing soon. With this editor in place as is, it rounds out the basic editability so that you can randomly generate a level and tweak the contents to your satisfaction, and save it for use later for another editing session or a game.

Other features hacked in yesterday for today's release include:

  •  A 1 in 6 chance of a room "oddity", a bit of color text. This will probably get a reformat from the idea sketch to real sentences next time around.
  • Expanded treasures - there can now be more than one kind of loot in a room, and more than one magic item, with more likelihood at higher dungeon levels and bigger treasures tending to have more magic items. This will get further tweaking, especially the addition of jewelry and other kinds of valuables to the basic coinage and gems currently in place.
  • The random monster list for the level starts out by rolling for one to three "common" monster types for the level. This list is used for approximately half of the monsters of the level. So you might get an orc dominated level or a spiders and goblins level, etc. This is my first pass at giving a level a bit more thematic unity.
  • Potions get real descriptions now, the first type of magic item to get a more detailed treatment. Some are ones I like from OD&D, others made up on the fly or dredged up from other memory. I left out some of the OD&D list, ending up with an idiosyncratic list of potions I think might be fun to use. Notably, I left out a lot of the control and recon potions, and added more bad potions that are more interesting than save or die poisons. I'll be working my way through the other types of items with a similar mix of standard and added items in each list.
  • Traps have a couple of experimental additions. One third get a spelled out disarm and one half have a trigger mentioned. Since all three tables are used randomly, some combinations will be inappropriate, as a simple floor pit for instance is unlikely to have a way to "disarm" it, but it would take a lot more sophistication in the code to evaluate sensible combinations so for now, this is one of those things where you edit out the silly combinations that you don't want to rationalize.
  • The dialog box plugin I used (bootbox) needed the Bootstrap CSS library, which meant some styling changes. It's a good foundation for improving the look of the page in general, when I start taking more time on that aspect later. And it will give me a bit of practice at using Bootstrap, something I've been meaning to do for awhile.
  • If you dig into the JavaScript, you'll come across the beginnings of wilderness node and edge randomization lists, currently lying fallow like the trap triggers and disarms were before. Eventually, I'll have a toggle to generate wilderness area maps. The next step is to do another set of tables for creatures and people encountered for the wilderness, which will add some things that I didn't include in the dungeon lists.  After that will come cities. Both will probably take some thought about structuring sensible combinations of nodes and edges, so cities get coherent "neighborhoods" and the wilderness gets ports with links by sea to islands and stuff like that.