Friday, January 5, 2024

40K Friday - End of Year Tyranids


I spent some time leading up to the new year getting more big bugs built and feel pretty good about the progress here  - adding 4 Tyrannofexes and a Tervigon to the swam makes it playable now - granted with a pretty weird force composition - but that's just how it is when you're building the force. 

On these models specifically these are:

  • A Tervigon with crushing claws because I figure it will be surrounded by gaunts most of the time but having some heavy-hitting punch in the middle of that could be useful against another monster or a tank that wades into things.
    Now with 5 of this kit you might ask why I didn't build a second one instead of a 4th 'fex and the answer is that I don't really see myself playing this army for swarms of little bugs, especially to the point that a second Tervigon becomes useful. I'm more Nidzilla-inclined so while I can see taking one to babysit some Termagants I'm not particularly interested in more.
  • 3 Tyrannofexes with rupture cannons because it's the biggest gun in the 'nid army and while points may rise and fall over the course of the edition there will always be some use for a really big gun, probably several really big guns - so I built 3 of them to be sure. 
  • The 4th T-fex has the acid spray because I think a giant flamethrower type weapon could be useful at times too. I did consider magnetizing some of these guys but I decided to just commit to this mix and get them built for now. 
The goal for now is to get the rest of the army built while it's cold out, then spray them once it warms up and start painting them after that. I do have a paint scheme in mind - still needs a test run but I think it will be solid. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Savage Worlds - Deadlands as a Game Setting


I wanted to make one more point after wrapping up our campaign and that was to discuss Deadlands as a setting for an RPG because after running these 30+ sessions I am  somewhat unexpectedly - not tired of it. I've thought about why so let's talk about that.

I've been picking up Deadlands books since the game was released in the late 90's - 1st edition, 2nd edition, and multiple Savage Worlds editions. There are a lot of Deadlands books out there with campaign material in them but each edition has done a pretty good job of presenting the whole setting in just one of the core books. It was "The Quick and the Dead" first, then the Marshal's Guide, Then Deadlands Reloaded covered it and added some updates, and now the current "Weird West" book paints a nice broad picture with some more timeline updates and some changes to the past as well. 

The early material had a healthy dose of that popular 90's thing "The Metaplot". In this case the Reckoner's machinations to turn the world into a deadland by upping the fear level everywhere over time. This would enable them to enter the world and do even worse things to it directly. 

One of the fun parts of the Deadlands settings is that the Deadlnads: Hell on Earth campaign is a depiction of what happens if they succeed and it's rare to see a game company put that kind of thing out as a real product. 

The general direction in a Deadlands campaign is the idea that the PC's will become aware of this larger scheme at some point and take an interest in opposing these plans. That's the big picture, anyway. In the meantime your PC's can do pretty much whatever they want. 

  • Want to do classic western things? There's a campaign built around a cattle drive (Blood Drive). There's a big adventure built around figuring out what's going on in one town and solving their problem (Trouble at Headstone Hill). Plus there are various shorter adventures that involve tracking down criminals and getting into gunfights.
  • Want to focus on particular parts of the west? The four big plot point campaigns from Reloaded edition each focus on a different region of the U.S. with various complications tied to both the power groups in the area and the particular reckoner casing the most trouble. The Great Maze is awesome but classic Tombstone, Deadwood, and Dodge City are all pretty amazing too. 
  • Looking for a particular type of adventure? Gunfights are certainly easily available but there are creepy horror encounters, political intrigue, and chases/hunts out there too. A little bit of online research can guide you to an adventure that will likely cover a variety of opportunities for any determined posse out there.
Just as an example in our Flood campaign we opened with a gunfight, then got involved in a train derailment and robbery, tangled with some religious fanatics, did a prison break, defended a ranch from raiders & rustlers, spent a fair amount of time involved in Shan Fan triad politics, snuck into a pirate city and blew up an ironclad, came in 2nd place in a martial arts tournament, helped defend an area during a local warlord's invasion of a city, and helped set up and run fair elections for mayor in a new and growing town on the coast of the maze! Note that this is outside of the main plot of traveling Deadlands California to set up the conditions for the Flood that will wipe out a major evil - these were the things that were happening "along the way".

To me a good setting should get a GM excited about the opportunities they see and Deadlands does this every time I dig into it thinking about running a new campaign.  A lot of what I have listed above is tied to published adventure material but that's not a limiting factor. Just looking at the general setting notes followed by a flip through the critters section has me jotting down notes for future runs and it has been this way for years This last campaign let me finally pay off some of my notes like this from years ago.

The last point I will share is that I ran this game for about two years and there is still probably a third of the "Flood" book that I didn't even touch. It's full of cool stuff and I ended up not having a good place to use some of it as the campaign developed - but I still want to. That, to me, is a sign of a strong adventure. I think of all of these creatures, locations, and NPC's I didn't use and I can't help but think that we need to revisit this one at some point, even if we wait a while in between.

So there's my ringing endorsement of Savage Worlds as a system, Deadlands as a setting, and The Flood as an adventure. I normally am tired of a setting and a campaign by the time I wrap them up and ready to move on but this time I was not and it's a very welcome surprise and I am looking forward to my next walk through this world.

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Wrapping up 2023 and Looking Forward to the New Year


It was a good year. I read more books and played more games than I did the year before. The family is good and the apprentices are operating on their own. The animals are thriving and the house and yard are in good shape so a lot is going right here. 

One new wrinkle is that since the wife tracks her books read over the course of the year I started doing that too and hit 50-something for the year. I figure over 1/week is a pretty good baseline but now I have to see if I can go higher. painting mini's, running games, and computer time all cut into this effort of course so balance is the key.

Kind of obligatory here

I only played a few games of 40K this year, one of my lower-effort years in a very long time, but I did get a lot of painting done. Maybe I can get more playing time in this year. Much of this year's painting effort will be going into the Tyranids and then probably my Imperial Guard as we delve into the mysteries of Speedpaint 2.0 and airbrushes.

Blaster and I did manage to finish up our eternal ongoing tour of Command and Colors Ancients finished. I have now played every scenario in that initial set at least twice - once from each side. Now on to the next of 5 expansions ... we probably need to pick up the pace here if we are going to finish while I am still alive.

RPG's I ran this year:

  • Star Wars (FFG)
  • The new Marvel RPG
  • The Sentinels of the Multiverse RPG
  • ICONS 
  • Warhammer Fantasy RPG (2nd Edition)
  • Savage Worlds Deadlands - lots of this one. 
I didn't really play much as the GM-ing seems to be my normal role these days but maybe this year that will change up some.

Going into this year we have -no- commitments. with the main campaign completed we could go in any direction and that's a good feeling for the start of a new year. I have some ideas for some smaller games and for at least one big one but right now I'm sorting through them and figuring out what order top present them in and thinking through some details on how to make them work. More to come on those for sure. 

Other-games-wise we played some Battletech, King of Tokyo, and Scrabble - of all things! As it turns out the wife is a very good Scrabble player and I have lost more games of that this year than I can remember. A new goal for '24 is to beat her at least once now.

So - things are going well here, I feel good about 2023 and I am really looking forward to 2024. Happy new year!