Friday, June 14, 2024

40K Friday - A Complete Lack of Focus

 Besides the Orks that I mentioned last time a few other armies have crept on the painting table. Fortunately I have two! One of them is covered with Orks (still) while the other is a bit of a grab bag right now with Blood Angels, Tyranids, Crimson Fists, and World Eaters piling up in various stages of "painted" as I try to get a unit here and a unit there done regardless of army. 

The whole 'Nid army is still a work in progress. It's supposed to be my Official New Army for 10th Edition and I've made decent progress but it is not complete. Most of it is Leviathan set stuff + some big monsters + genestealers and I have spent most of my efforts on building and basecoating the big monsters part but the 'stealers are pretty much there as well. Playable, certainly, but not "finished" at all. Work will continue for a while but "finished in 2024" is still possible.

The Crimson Fists are a perpetual project and as long as new marine stuff is being made they will never be completed. I realized I never actually built intercessors for them so getting more Primaris units into the mix for my core marine army has been another effort this year. This is very much a unit here, unit there, kind of effort not a mass upgrade or rebuild.

The Blood Angels ... it's not that I deliberately start a big upgrade program with them but sometimes I run across a painted unit that would fit my army well so i kind of have to get it. Then it goes into the rebasing queue to make it match the rest of the force and, well, it does add to the backlog somewhat. I have been holding to a new standard though - avoid the "almost done" state. If something comes in and all it needs is for me to touch it up, redo the base, and clearcoat it, then it moves to the front of the line. So after the bikes earlier this year there are now some assault squads and a redemptor making their way through the process. These will be off the painting table and in the cabinet soon - and hopefully on the game table sometime soon after that.

The World Eaters have been a work in progress for some time now. I have managed to paint a lot of them - talking about berzerkers here - but they are not quite finished so they are still lingering around the table. I need to take a weekend and focus in on them to push them over the finish line but it hasn't happened yet. Soon!

So that's where things stand for now. In addition to these the Custodes codex came out but I managed to resist adding anything new. The Tau codex came out as well and ... I did not. More on that later.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Figuring Out the Next game - the Not-Fantasy Options


Despite it's length yesterday's post did not cover all of the possible games I might run. Indecision is a harsh mistress. The other leading contenders:

  • TORG Eternity - I finally picked this one up and I see a lot of potential. I'll post some kind of review soon but I think my crew could have fun with it. Doing a tryout in July before a big run afterwards makes a lot of sense with a new and different system - it uses even more cards now - so it does fit into the available windows. I need to read more of the supporting material and figure out what kind of campaign I want to run but something in the Nile Empire has always been attractive and some kind of Land of the Lost weirdness in North America looks pretty good too.
  • Savage Worlds Rifts - this one is always on the list but I think we're still letting Savage Worlds settle a bit before we dive back into it. Ideas are not a problem it's just committing to what I know will be a long campaign that brings a bit of reluctance. I know my players want to play it but they've also said let's wait a bit on another Savage Worlds game. And no, I'm not dusting off original flavor Rifts. 
  • Wrath & Glory the 40K RPG - There is potential but it is a very specific universe and needs a certain mindset to enjoy and I'm not sure my players really want to dive into that. With the new Xenos book in my hands the possibilities are certainly bubbling and I think I would lean towards "Inquisitor's Helpers" as far as structure and just use the published setting of the Gilead system to send them all over it on some kind of Rod of Seven parts type quest to give them a reason to explore and encounter different factions and locations. I have some vague ideas on an RPG campaign set on Armageddon in the aftermath of the first ork invasion but I'd like to get to know the system first.

  • Shadowrun - I want to run this for these guys one day but I'm not sure I'm feeling it right now. I spent some time reading through SR4th edition and that is one dense book. I still love the setting and usually like the rules but I would need to make sure my guys are interested as much as I am in working through all that. My comfort zone would be to start back with 2nd or 3rd edition - and probably in 2050 - but that's something I don't need to decide when it's a "maybe". I'd still start it as a pretty typical shadowrunning campaign set in Seattle to get the proper atmosphere established since most of them have never played it but there would be plenty of room to go off track after that. 

  • Post-Apocalyptic - There are some games here that I want to run someday but I'm not sure I want to run them now. The most recent Twilight 2000, some version of Gamma World, Crawling Under a Broken Moon's Umerican Survival Guide, Hell on Earth, Mutant Crawl Classics ... I know all of these would be fun but I'm thinking of them as more short term games rather than the big one and I'm probably not going to run them right now.
  • The "Without Number" games - I  have all 3 and even though they all cover a different genre they all have a similar approach to those genres as a wide-open sandbox kind of game. I've been sitting on some of them for a long time and this might be a good opportunity to run them. 

So ... yeah ... I have some homework to do and decisions to make. I'll narrow it down to some tryout candidates for July and then settle on something for the rest of the summer & fall. I will do my thinking out loud here though. 


Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Figuring Out the Next Game - Fantasy Options


So I have two problems to solve: 

  • What do I run for my reduced group of four in July while the Con Crew is busy?
  • What do I run for the full group as the new Main Game after July?
  • Is the bigger game a "next few months" kind of thing or an "into next year" kind of thing?
July might be a good time to test out a new system or refresh on an old one, especially if it's a candidate for the bigger game. The main issue there is that with only 4 players available it's fragile - one person cancelling means it starts getting tricky to run things in most systems. Not impossible but tricky. I pretty much consider 3 the minimum to run outside of some very specific games - usually superheroes of some sort. July might just turn into a month of board and card game nights if it leans this way. With July having holiday and vacation options built in attendance just may not be terribly reliable.

Beyond all that though I'm thinking it's time for some fantasy RPG options. Outside of one special D&D session in 2022 and a session of WFRP last year I haven't run or played anything fantasy since at least mid 2021 and that's a long break for our group. 

Considering the fantasy options I need to figure out system and setting. One easy option would be 5th Edition D&D. The top of the options list for 5E is this:
  • The Temple of Elemental Evil - I have the Goodman Games double hardback edition (brief run through here) and I think it's a great adventure and a great way to jump back into Greyhawk which has been another itch of mine lately. Plus it might eventually lead into the G-Series and then the D-Series and eventually Q1 - a classic run of adventure modules that would certainly put a capstone on 5th edition for us.

  • Dungeons of Drakkenheim - I need to do a writeup of this one here at some point but the short version is that it's a D&D-ification of the Mordheim game by Games Workshop from about 20 years ago. We have a fantasy city hit by a comet which is a pretty big disaster on its own but this comet also happens to be made of warpstone which is sort of solidified chaos and thus both very dangerous and very useful in casting and crafting magic. This draws all sorts to the smashed ruins of the city and exploring it for warpstone to become rich and powerful becomes the hot new thing.

    This was a great concept for a skirmishing miniatures campaign game - it was effectively a fantasy version of Necromunda if you know that one - and allowed for all kinds of weird factions and monsters and things. It should only work better for a D&D campaign and the thing seems to be fairly well-regarded online. I'm still working my way through it but I am very interested in seeing where it could go. There are some mechanics to the fog poisoning the ruins that mean the party cannot sleep "in the dungeon" and has to get out of the dangerous stuff which is very conducive to varying party configurations. There is a lot of potential here

  • Published 5E Campaigns: I have most of them and have run very few of them. High on the list here would be finishing Storm King's Thunder, the Undermountain one, maybe Tomb of Annihilation (dinosaurs, ya know?). Baldur's Gate Goes to Hell might be fun but looks like it needs a lot of work. I also have the 3rd party Odyssey of the Dragonlords where we got about a third of the way through and there might be some interest in finishing that. Honestly the first two items in this list (above) interest me more but I might need to look a few of these over again to be sure. 

  • As a kind of wild card here I've been struck lately by an interest in running the old Age of Worms campaign from Dungeon Magazine most of 20 years ago. It ends up traveling all across Greyhawk visting some iconic locations with some interesting opponents and an unusual major villain behind it all. It was written for 3.5 but I could fairly easily convert it to 5th and I know none of them have come anywhere close to it before. This one has a ton of potential too.

The biggest obstacle with 5th is that a lot of my players are tired of and bored with 5E D&D. They've played a bunch of it between me and other venues in the earlier years of the game and 5th alone is not going to get anyone too excited. There are other options though.

Besides 5th edition pure there are some variants. Kobold Press' Tales of the Valiant is out now and I did the Kickstarter so I have those rules. I also decided to look over ENP's Level Up Advanced 5th edition. More to come on those. There is also a Drakkenheim supplement that adds a lot of adventure-related character options that might liven up 5th for my players as well. I need to look some over and maybe try them out in July to make this work.

Beyond current D&D there are more options and this comes back to figuring out what kind of campaign I want to run and then figuring out which system I want to run.

Pathfinder 2nd Edition is one I'd like to spend more time with and it just got re-revised so why not? The goal a few years back was to run it set in Ptolus for a big fantasy city campaign (a non-comet-smacked city this time) and that's still a decent idea. I think that Age of Worms could be easily converted to this as well. I'm not terribly concerned with running PF2 published adventures with it but more using it to do my own thing.

I also might finally run some 13th Age both to try something different and as a warm up for the second edition and a possible campaign there. This would probably also be my own thing rather than published stuff.

There are some fantasy options for Savage Worlds as well but I don't think we are quite ready to jump back into that one just yet. 

There is of course a ton of OSR material out there and while it's fun for short runs I'm not sure I want to sign on for 6 months to a year of Labyrinth Lord or OSE or Dragonslayer etc. We could go megadungeon here but I think I'm more interested in one of the other options for now. 

As you can see I still have a lot of thinking to do but this is the start. More to come!