Friday, August 28, 2015

Dread Tide!

This season has been kind of slow.  Armies are being built, and the tournaments are restructuring.  That doesn't mean that we've been utterly idle - in fact, new forces are about to clash as the last month of our 2015 season begins!

So where are we at now, with Western Immoren?

For us, the factions are solidifying together nicely.  We've got a large collection of models, and despite our best attempts at marshaling the growth and keeping it in check, it's gotten away from us a bit.  Gatekeepers just like the models.  It's a no-brainer.

So, like our other games, we'll be focusing on specific conflicts as we grow and develop our armies. The Cygnar Royal Army, the Northern Crusade Army and the Nightmare Army will be the "big three" each made up of , and Retribution will gain the Mercenary forces of the Highborn Covenant as part of the Vindication Army.  These armies will form the focus for our club for the next few years as we explore two major skirmishes along the Cygnar border.

Marked on the map above are the incursion zones.

The green area marks increased Cryxian activity.  Something horrific is no doubt brooding on the horizon for this area, and rumor has it trencher units are being directed to the westmost terminus of the Twelve Day Road.  The proximity of the nearby Garlghast Island has always been a concern, but the goings-on of late have been full of sinister omens.

The purple area marks the area where the Northern Crusade Army finds itself under attack by Retribution forces.  These highly disciplined and motivated forces are augmented by Mercenary companies from the Iron Kingdoms - an interesting development indeed.  The Protectorate has ordered these supply caravans to be defended at all cost, as they are critical to continued activity further north.

At the outset, the Vindication Army has a foothold in the north - but the Protectorate has yet to mount a meaningful attack on this position.  Cryx's outward feeling tendrils have been clipped, but Nightmare Army forces fester all over the countryside, waiting for the right time to attack.  It is a time of tense skirmishes, but very soon the entire region will be embroiled in dire warfare.

This season is therefore preparatory time for next year's hardcore tournaments.  With painted warriors and a nice terrain set, we will make the Iron Kingdoms just as realized as any other game we've played.  It's almost Season 4, though...and the Wargate waits.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Heroes of the Sword Coast (Sessions 10, 11 & 12)

These sessions were orignally recorded 07/12, 07/19 and 08/02/2015.

From the Journal of Lydia the Halfling 


Day 1

As we make our way through the mines, a door ahead of us opens and several ghouls come out to greet us.  Just as we finish them, another group wanders up ehind us.  They manage to hurt us all pretty badly but we manage to dispose of them.

We huddle in a room and try to mend our wounds.  We aren't doing so well, but after resting a few hours we patch up as much as we can.  We head deeper into the mines.

After traveling a short time we come upon a room that contained a flaming skull that hovered in the center above a floor littered with bones.  We fight the skull and win, but not without injuries.  We're not sure what it was.  We have to rest again.


Day 2

The next day we start out down a path that we have not been down.  We find a room that is covered in moss and fungus.  After much deliberation on if we are going into the cave, Betsy the dragon decides to enter the room iwth a wet cloth on his face.  He falls but manages to cross the room unharmed.  

The wizard burns a path across the room and makes it across unharmed as well.  When the rest of us try to follow, I get sick and start to retch and vomit.  So does the cleric.  We are slightly injured before we manage to make it out of the room.

After a few minutes we seem to be ok but the druid cast some spell on us to be sure.  We continue to the next room and stumble across a wraith.  We defeat the monster, and find a chest full of gems and books.  We take the things in the chest with us and rest for a while.

We find a room that has a beholder-like monster in it.  We defeat it.

We head further into the mine and find a room containing three bugbears and a doppelganger.  There is an attempt made to charm the doppelganger but it runs off.  The sorcerer Zinge goes after it, and we get ready to fight the bugbears.

The halfling throws some ball bearings on the floor in an attempt to throw our enemies off their footing, but after they throw some javelins at us we run up to them and try to hit them and put a rope over their head.

We defeat the bears, but there is no trace of Zinge.



We head off to see if we can find Zinge.  We find a room with two dark elves.  They have a dwarf sitting against a wall.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Age of Smegma

Pictured:  Your financial investment in GW.
Last March, we enacted an Embargo on Games Workshop.  This was our Spring of Discontent.  The club has a strong Anti-GW bent, 16 months later.  Today's long-winded and pompous rant speaks (for the first time) about the Wargate's stance on GW, why we have decided on this course of action, and where it has taken us.

In the beginning (for me), GW games were the holy grail of sci-fi / fantasy miniature gaming.  It was a graduation to GW from non-miniature table games such as Dungeons & Dragons.  I made this transition together with many of you that are with us today as Gatekeepers, and I'll treasure the memories of our adventures through the Imperium and the Old World forever.

It was truly a golden age...but 21+ years later, GW has become a three-headed monster that believes it is king of all gamers.  Now, one of those games / settings has literally been destroyed by the company itself.  This is completely unforgivable.

GW Sales Rep / Game Designer
The beginning of the end came early for us, but now even the fanbois that hated on us two years ago are starting to get the idea that GW is taking a huge piss on you.

I am happy to say that our club was one of the first ones I know of to move AWAY from GW.  it was painful, expensive and it drove some people to quit gaming, period.  We caught a lot of flak, but eventually everyone saw the light.

Seemingly happy to vindicate all we've done, GW publishes Age of Sigmar.  This isn't our game and I'm so glad we have no part of this.  Yet we're not the only ones in the community.  GW should see where we are now.  You have seen the insanity and resentment toward GW on the internet.  It's not just a couple of guys now, but this doesn't matter to the manufacturer of "the worlds' greatest miniatures".  No - they still have a lot of folks over the barrel.

Pictured:  Top Hedge Fund Shareholder of GW
GW Apologists are out there.  Of course you're going to want to defend your investment - we all used to love hearing stories about Space Marines and Witch Hunters.  The apologists' think that GW has some sort of master plan, and that it will all turn around.  This is all claimed while they watch the communities deteriorate or simply switch to a new game based on the level of investiture they have with GW products and the IP association - and that's why GW knows that they have you.  The apologists will buy everything until they wisen up.

We hear that the game is "so cool" but how many of these are shills, I'm not sure.  The one demo we watched of the new game featured guys having to invent rules because the ones in the box were stupid and didn't make sense.  Thanks for the broken piece of manure, GW.  Glad you've not gotten any of my money in a long time.

GW got rid of all the guys we grew up with.  Andy Chambers, Alessio Cavatore, Fat Bloke.  None of those guys really want to comment on GW's practices these days, but read the subtext of Tuomas Pirinen's view on the subject.  Tuomas was with us for a long time in the '90's and '00's, and left GW many years ago along with all the other good developers.

The general vibe seems to be that the hedge funds that run GW are insistent upon strategies that other toy companies use instead of the traditional "game company" model that has to actually provide a good product.  GW worked hard and made something of themselves, then they sold out.  Plain and simple.  And now the faceless financial institutions that are the primary shareholders have turned it into a toy company.  There are no more games.

Instead, they've replaced it with watered down and "simplified" versions of the game to appeal to milennials...and to an extent I understand this.  For us loyalists, was very obvious that we'd been put on a treadmill of buying re-written textbooks that are only useful for about 1 season.  The expense to an individual is incredible, nevermind a collective like ours - and the necessity of owning the material to playing the game showed us that GW considered us to be literal cash cattle.  We were in a pen of our own devising - infatuation with GW's IP, which they have latched onto as the only thing that binds their customers to them.  So began a campaign by GW to tighten that grip.

The last straw came last year, when we realized that there is no justice and that they only want our money.  I had a similar experience with the U.S. Justice system.  Call me Mr. Disillusionment, and mail me some hate mail.

So, our final stance on GW is this:

We had thousands of dollars of GW models, both painted and unpainted.  There WILL be GW models featured on the website here, but mostly these are models that have been painted already or were bought and thrown into the Hoard.  These will be models that we have deemed usable in other milieu, and since we already own them there was an easy leap to make.  This mostly applies to old fantasy models, since the 40k models are so heavily IP'd they are completely worthless as anything but what they are.

No matter what models our members choose to paint, we do not support GW.  Our chapters can decide to promote whatever they like, and will probably continue to support GW - at least in the form of playing games, because we are making it possible for them to get what they need from the Hoard without giving GW a nickel more.  We will support our clubs in whatever they wish.

As for GW...we will not be mentioning them or naming their products - whether or not we choose to feature the models on the site.  For us, Attack Wing, X-Wing, Warmachine and Flames of War has taken the hallowed place in our gamer hearts that was once exclusively occupied by GW - and we're very happy.

It's like talking about an ex-girlfriend.  It was good for a while...but we were unhappy.  We had to break up with GW.

Yet, like Pirinen says - we have never had more choice.  And that's the crux of the matter.  When GW was good, they were the only kid on the block.  It's been a long time, honey.  We are never, ever getting back together.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Heroes of the Sword Coast (Sessions 8 & 9)

These sessions were orignally recorded 03/15 and 03/22/2015.

From the Journal of Lydia the Halfling 



Betsy slaps one of the hobgoblins to wake him.  We ask him if he has seen Gundran.  He says that he saw him here, alive, yesterday.  We tell the two to run away and not return with friends.


We head into the hold and once more we fight a group of goblins.  After beating them, we are attacked by a group of two humanoids and a wolf.  Lydia tries to be clever and runs through a door to another room, but gets mauled by the wolf.

We manage to defeat the group, and hole up to rest for the night.



The next day we start to search the keep.  We find several golden objects anda  bloody suit of chain mail.  We also found a cask of exceptional Dwarven brandy.

Betsy finds a spear that he says fits very well in his hands.  Zinge finds a few weapons (swords) and we take them as well.  We continue to search.

In one of the rooms we hear growling and decide to check that one last.  

In a room that is close by, we find Gundran Rockseeker.  We heal him a little and then go to check what is in the "growling" room.

Most of the party waits outside and Betsy and Boris go to let the growling thing out.  It turned out to be an owlbear.  It fled the keep when they moved out of it's way.