Friday, January 4, 2013

40K Friday: Planning for 2013 - The Tranicos Campaign

One of the things I aim to change this year is the irregularity of our miniatures gaming. Our RPG's have been on a somewhat predictable schedule, even if it has been hammered by conflicts with kid events and holiday changes. Our miniatures gaming has been even more ad-hoc than our RPG's and while that's fine in a lot of ways it makes it difficult to look back and justify the amount of money spent and space taken up by these things if we don't use them regularly. So this year I'm going to put some structure around it.

The structure for 2013 is the Tranicos Campaign. Tranicos is a largely undeveloped fief world in the Loki sector that is one of the few temperate, hospitable, and largely untouched planets in that sector of space and was used by the Crimson Fists as a training world with minimal exploitation of its natural resources. During Waaagh Snagrod, it was invaded (like so many other worlds) by Orks from the Empire of Charadon.

From the Wiki:

989.M41 - Invasion of Rynn's World Snagrod the Arch-Arsonist invaded Rynn's World after Crimson Fists' failed attempt to slow Waaagh! Snagrod on planet of Badlanding. In a freak accident, the Crimson Fist's fortress-monastery was destroyed in the initial invasion by a rogue missile from the planet's own defence system and the chapter all but wiped out. Without the protection of the Crimson Fists, the humans were quickly slain, and their settlements, with the exception of New Rynn City, the planet's capital, completely overrun. Remains of Crimson Fists' forces defended New Rynn City until Imperial reinforcements arrived. With help of the imperial forces, including Space Marines from 6 different Chapters Rynn's World was eventually liberated.

So ... after the reclamation of Rynn's World the Crimson Fists began the long, difficult task of reclaiming their other worlds from the Orks and other factions which had seized on the opportunity granted by the Fists bad fortune. Tranicos is one of the first worlds targeted for this reclamation. Aided by some of those other marine chapters and  a regiment of the imperial guard the campaign begins now.

All of this stuff on Tranicos is completely non-canon and is simply my background coloring for the campaign, The stuff on the Fists and the invasion and the sector and all of that is canon, so it fits in nicely. I chose it because I have a Crimson Fists army pretty much ready to go. It's my "mechanized" marine army and one I have been reworking over the last few months to get into 6th edition shape as it was built for 3rd Edition and needed to be reorganized (whaddya mean 6-man las-plas squads aren't allowed anymore?). I also have a fairly sizable old-school ork army so I can provide the core of both of the main "sides" for this campaign. I have a lot of temperate/ruins type scenery and I didn't want to have to go making up a bunch of new terrain boards either - that might be next year's project.

Apprentice Red has a main force of Orks and is building a Necron army so he should be pretty well set to take one core side with a neutral raiding force as another option.

Apprentice Blaster has a main force of Space Wolves with a newly developing Eldar army as well so he too can take an opposing core force and a neutral raiding or allied force, just like Red.

Lady Blacksteel has somehow acquired a Dark Eldar army that will no doubt make an appearance at some point during the year.

My other armies include some Eldar, an Imperial Guard regiment that is under development and several other Marine chapters that may be participating in the campaign as well. Throw in a few friends to make guest appearances with their own armies over the next 12 months and it should be a pretty lively place.

The plan is to play once a month - maybe more in the summer when they're out of school but we will see - so that by the end of 2013 we have 12 connected, themed battles to look back on. I'm also planing to make it an escalation campaign to force encourage the Apprentices to finish painting their armies before playing with them, as they have slacked off mightily in the latter part of 2012. It will help me focus too as I find my attention spread too thinly at times as well. I've told the boys to pick one army as their "main" for this campaign and to concentrate on getting the units they want to use painted up and ready to go. I'm not really concerned with building terrain or a pre-planned, detailed narrative - the main idea here is to have a regular game scheduled to ensure we get some table-time in with a game we love to play. I expect the story and the personalities will develop on their own, especially with the trash-talking you get with teenage boys exchanging virtual fire - it may not quite reach xbox live call of duty levels, but it should be entertaining.

Updates, plans, and battle reports will follow on the blog.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Savage Swords of Impiltur - Session 2

This session is from early 2012 but I decided it was time to put together the session summaries for this campaign so we're starting at the beginning - or at least where we left off right after the setup and the first session.

The Party:

  • Lieutenant Gravis, a genasi Warlord and refugee from Thay in service to House Reinhardt. Interestingly, he has a young owlbear pet.
  • Isenheim, a dwarven Cleric of Moradin, is Chaplian for the dwarf members of the city watch. He is tied to Clan Stormbull
  • Gartok, a dwarf warden of earth and stone, also from Clan Stormbull
  • Dar Bloodmane, a paladin of Tempus;
  •  An unnamed elven ranger who wields a nasty greatbow; 
  • Zara, the mysterious exotic agent of House Bauer

Our heroes board the flying ship along with the less enthusiastic Marko the Halfling. The ships' figurehead speaks again, ordering them to row as it guides them to the Winter King. As they begin to pull the oars, the ship rises into the cold gray sky. Soon enough the weather closes in and things get rough and the party is severely tested by the cold and the winds, but they pull through and eventually sight the presumed destination - a pillar of ice 40' tall filled with skulls.

Landing near the pillar the crew spots a tunnel into the mountain. Marko start babbling about being here before and never wanting to see this place again and freaking out in general. Gravis and Isenheim strongarm him along into the tunnel. Everyone gathers in front of a pair of big double doors, the party muscle pushes them open to find ...

... warm air, firelight, and the smell of cooking food. At a huge table sits a bearded man in furs, along with a woman and some hunting dogs. The man rises, greets them, and introduces himself as the Winter King - "I believe you have something for me."

Suspicious, the party does not partake and does not hand over the Ice Scepter. Marko does not remember any of this being here on his prior visit, and soon enough suspicions prove true and a fight breaks out.

The man goes into some kind of battle chant and whips out a greataxe, the woman begins casting spells, and as the illusions fall away around the room the dogs turn out to be dire wolves. Combat swirls all over the room. Things are dicey at first but Dar Bloodmane finally slays the barbaric would-be king, the rest begin to fall, and eventually Zara finishes off the last wolf.

Pausing to recover the party notes two sets of double doors on the north wall and begins discussing how to proceed...

DM Notes: This one was a lot of fun as we worked through our first skill challenge with this party in the skyship journey, then a bit of NPC interaction with the halfling and the barbarian host, and then a nice big fight to finish up. The party was still finding its feet but it only took 5 rounds to plow through these guys once the fight started. The 2 Defender, 2 Leader, 2 Striker mix does some interesting things to combat. Aside from the mechanics, personalities continue to develop amongst the characters and will only get better in the future.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Zebulon Space - Session 3

Picking up where we left off, our heroes are following a tribe of Ul-Mor through the desert, hoping to get somewhere more hospitable and figure out some options for getting off the planet. Soon enough they come to a mountainous area and find out that the clan intends to travel through some caverns to avoid the nastier parts of the desert.

Because they were not tribe members the group was forced to remain apart from the main body of the Ul-Mor. This had not been a problem but it was a major inconvenience once they went underground, even more  so once a cave-in cut them off from their guides.Firing up their glowrods, the party pressed on.

In a two day journey through the caverns the three encountered Womp Ratsies (dispatched via sabers and blasters), a sleeping Volturnian Cave Bear (dispatched in its sleep by the Rodian Scoundrel using a coup-de-grace), some fresh water (consumed), a lake of fire (crossed via mushroom bridges and force powers), a crazed Ul-Mor with fungus growing on his body (politely ignored), a large underground lake (crossed via giant mushroom cap turned upside down), a carnivorous water monster shark thing (dispatched via saber and blaster), and finally, a way out!

High points here were the boys figuring out how to cross the fire lake and then later figuring out how to cross the water lake. They were pretty happy with their mushroom boats. The shark fight was spectacular as it attacked Who's Rodian's raft, but Red's Jedi force-gripped it to keep it from attacking again while Blaster's Jedi leapt onto the beast itself, attacking with his saber as the Scoundrel shot it at point blank range. Once dealt with he leapt back off of it and Red released his grip, allowing it to sink beneath the surface. There was also some fun with fungus and the crazy Ul-Mor hermit.

Emerging back into the world they discovered the Ul-Mor tribe nearby, joined back up, and headed for the ritual site. After another day they made camp and informed the heroes to prepare. The tribe also loaned them some spears to help make up for their lack of limbs. Not surprisingly the Jedi decided to stick with their sabers and trust in the force. The Scoundrel had no intention of getting close enough to a wild beast to need one and kept his blaster handy. The next day the human, the rodian, and the kel-dor took on a strange-looking local predator and eventually slew it, Proving their manhood and becoming members of the tribe.

After beating the quickdeath (a lightly modified Corellian Sand Panther from Threats of the Galaxy) the boys were very happy to have completed this part of the adventure, to be part of the tribe, and to have reached 2nd level. This wrapped up SF-0 as well. Next time, we begin SF-1.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Dawn Breaks Over 2013 and it is Super

Dawn breaks over the city - well, not THAT city, but other cities

New toy for Xmas: I got an iPad, and I have discovered that the highest and best use of an iPad is to read comic books. I've been enjoying the heck out of it in this way and have already re-read the entire Marvel Civil War. Since I had been reading the game book it seemed like a good opportunity to go back to the source, so I did. Next up: Annihilation and some of the other big events I either skipped or haven't read in years.

Pwned by the Prince of Power

I have also been reading DC's new 52 - it's nice to be able to catch up on a year's worth of material in a week. It seemed like a good starting point since I haven;t followed DC at all since that Death of Superman mess in the 90's. Early opinions:

  • Justice League: I like it, especially the first few issues where everyone is meeting for the first time. I like Green Lantern more now.
  • Action Comics - not sure but it's a little different at least
  • Superman - more what I expected but the nano-weather monsters thing dragged a bit I thought

This also led me to decide that 2013 is the year I catch up on DC. My Marvel knowledge is solid enough but most of my DC knowledge comes form the cartoons and movies and not much from the original comic books. Now that I have a toy tailor-made for reading bunches of them, it's time to change that. I'm mainly a Justice League guy, and probably a Superman/Batman guy after that, so that's where I will be starting. High fives all around and let me know if there's a particular high point I should investigate early on - "so and so's run on JLA 100-150" - that kind of thing.

Happy New Year!

Starting the year off right!

Monday, December 31, 2012

Looking back at 2012

Apocalypse Prediction FAIL!
Also, Shadowrun: where are my elves and dragons?

I've been enjoying time away from the keyboard during the holiday off-time but I'm trying to get back in the swing of things now. Let's start with something easy - the year-end wrapup!

2012 in Books
I read a lot of crap. I read less of it this year. That alone is an improvement. The 40k books I read were decent and I read far fewer D&D novels. Next year I plan to dig into the Horus Heresy books for 40K and the Dresden Files books because people keep telling me they're good. I also pretty much ignored new comics in 2012, though that is likely to change in 2013 as well.

The movie I had been waiting for since I was 6

2012 in Movies
For me I would say it was Avengers - Dark Knight Rises - Hobbit for the top. That's a pretty strong year in the "stuff I like" category and the fact that they all did really well makes it even better. We live in the golden age of superhero movies. Sure, we had Superman in the 70's - 80's and Batman in the 90's, but beginning in 2000 with the first X-Men movie we have had a series of amazing superhero movies, pretty much at least one every year, and the majority of them do not suck! They even seem to be getting better! Kids today have it so good ... how awesome would it be to be about 6-9 right now and have all of this going on?

Next year? It already looks ridiculous, from Man of Steel, Star Trek New 2, Iron Man 3 - heck, even Lone Ranger looks interesting. Also: Pacific Rim - wow! It's going to be another good year.

Not exactly the Avengers, but OK

2012 in TV 
Unlike my out-there movie tastes our big show of 2012 was Mad Men - all 5 seasons of it. Who knew a show about work and family could be so great? A close second was Walking Dead which has a more interesting/exotic premise but far less interesting characters. We covered all 3 seasons of this one this year too. Game of Thrones was good, True Blood was good, Boardwalk Empire was good. Most of these don;t have much crossover with my gaming tastes but Lady Blacksteel is constantly amazed/annoyed by my strong opinions on the actions of the Walking Dead crew - look, I've played Twilight 2000 and Gamma World for a long time, I KNOW when people are making bad decisions in a post-apocalyptic environment, and they make a lot of bad decisions on that show. 

For next year, well, we've just started watching Homeland during this break and we're liking it so far. More of that and more of the shows we really like.

Been a long time since I spent money on cards

2012 in Board & Card Games
We didn't hit a lot of new ground here - a few sessions of Munchkin, Memoir 44, Command and Colors, held over from last year. We did play more Battletech and the boys got pretty interested so I expect we will play more. Heroscape was a big player this year as the boys all like it and even though the game is out of production now they still somehow get expansion sets every Xmas. The other thing that made a strong finish was Magic - Apprentice Red has been interested for a few years now but he got into it this year and dragged Blaster with him. The opening of a new LGS near us and a shiny new drivers license meant that they could go play with buddies at a store whenever they wanted for the last couple of months and they have done exactly that. I'm sure we will see more MtG next year too.

Look! - More Expensive books for 40k!
2012 in Miniatures
I added some D&D mini's here and there (thanks Garage Sale Jeremy!) but it really centers around one game: Warhammer 40,000 6th edition. After letting it lie for a lot of 2011, the anticipation and the release of the new edition fired things back up for us and it's right up there with D&D as far as time spent planning, if not quite as much with time spent playing. Red and Blaster each started on a second army, having a fair amount of paint on their first armies, and Who started making noise about wanting his own army. We played enough to keep the interest up and I am planning to try a once-a-month in-house campaign for 2013 - more on that later.

MHR is easily my favorite new RPG of 2012
2012 in RPG's
I ran around 25 sessions of D&D 4E this year - not bad, though it was split between two groups. I ran about 5 sessions of ICONS. I ran a few sessions of Mutants and Masterminds, Star Wars Saga, new Marvel, a session or two of D&D Next,, and Savage Worlds, and a session of Warhammer FRP. Our move in August really killed things for a solid month plus, and ICONS really suffered there. With D&D I started up a new main campaign while continuing the Apprentice game we started in 2011.

My goal for 2013 is to have less single-session gaming and try to have a short arc/dungeon planned out for any new game we start up so that we can play a complete "run" even if we let it go after that. Even the typical starter adventures found in the backs of core rulebooks would suffice. I just need to plan it better. The outline is pretty much 1) D&D, 2) Supers, 3)Whatever else I can fit in

Motivational Monday

Wrapping the year up right: