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, however...it 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 

(03/15)


6:26

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.

7:05

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.

(03/22)

5:30

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.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Hand of the Empire Campaign Log

This week we'll be catching up on all this blogging stuff - or at least we'll try.  Last weekend we finished our latest campaign, and though we didn't do well at recording it in real time we do have a log!  We're back in the pit again!


Tales of the Alliance
 Part I

Hand 
of the
Empire


Deathwind Corridor, the Outer Rim

The battle for the galaxy is in full swing!  In the Outer Rim, there are many secrets held by the folk that live there, and one of those secrets is the existence of a planet called Roon.  Long the subject of spacer and smuggler legend, the planet does exist...and shortly before the Battle of Yavin, the Empire became aware of it as well.

Enveloped in a near un-navigable cloud of space gas and debris called the Cloak of the Sith, Roon has enjoyed a fair bit of obscurity - but all that is changing.  Sparsely populated, Roon has much in the way of mineral wealth...but getting through the Cloak is no easy endeavor.  The route to nearby Ryloth is called Deathwind Corridor - a clear path through the Cloak.  Roon is encircled by a ring of asteroids as well...making it an unpleasant journey for those who are unprepared.

In the starlit skies and over the blood-soaked ground all across the Empire, the Alliance will clash with it's hated enemy.  Roon holds many secrets indeed...including a Rebel staging point that is set to liberate this portion of the Fringe from the Empire's grasp once and for all.  In the sky, on the ground...in small groups and in large armies the fate of the Outer Rim will be decided in deadly combat.


Umboo Province, Planet Roon

It is four months after the Battle of Yavin.

The Rebel Alliance has had an outpouring of support from across the galaxy, but the Galactic Civil War has just begun.  The Alliance now tries to consolidate it's victory, in precarious position as the tide of public sentiment turns against the enemy.  As one, many worlds under the sway of the New Order publicly rally against the tyrannical rule of the Emperor.

On the Outer Rim planet of Roon, the Rebellion has secretly been building a force capable of challenging the Empire on the Fringe.  This fleet of starships is the only thing protecting the people of this region who have supported the Alliance, and the time quickly approaches where it will be tested in the fires of battle.  The secrecy of the fleet headquarters is paramount to an Alliance victory.

Into this simmering warzone come a band of freedom fighters, who do not yet have any idea just how important this seemingly irrelevant and remote place will change all of their lives and affect the course of the Galactic Civil War.



Hand of the Empire is a Star Wars Roleplaying Game D20 Revised campaign.  Every campaign day will contain two battle scenarios linked with the RPG campaign.  An X-Wing scenario will showcase the Rebel's battle against the Imperial fleet.  The scenarios will tell a story of bloody man-to-man-to-alien fighting.

Each weekend event will focus different victory conditions and will grant Campaign Points for various achievements, such as destroying a TIE fighter, or repelling an assault by a Stormtrooper platoon.  The rules, scenario, victory conditions and rewards for each scenario will be dictated on the very day of the battle for maximum surprise, but a record will be kept here.    Man your ships and grab your blasters - it's time to join the Galactic Civil War, already in progress...

Campaign points earned in X-Wing will affect the outcome of each scenario in the RPG.  We like nested campaigns, and Star Wars is truly satisfying to explore with the idea that the Galactic Civil War is our playground, much like other worlds we visit through the Wargate.  Plenty of surprises are in store at every level of this campaign!


Current Player Characters
Total Party Levels: 15
  • Jeth Kleen - Human Tech Specialist [3]
  • Velious Solearn - Duros Outlaw Tech [3]
  • Leeroy McBeeny - Human Fringer [3]
  • Dax Vorland - Devaronian Shipjacker [3]
  • Landos Caribean - Human Noble [3]
  • Ibain Korothi - Human Soldier [3]
Deceased Player Characters
  • None (ARE YOU FOR REAL BRO?)

Campaign Log
Total Game Time: 16.5 hrs

Hand of the Empire
(04.12.15 to 06.28.15)
Total Session Time: 16.5 hrs

Our group of dissidents have had enough of the Imperial encroachment on Roon.  They have reached out to the Alliance...and were answered.  Now, to get involved in this here effort to restore the Republic...

The rebels latch on to the Alliance fairly quickly.  They locate a Rebel operator, and get down to business with a fairly important mission:  knock out a listening post by a certain time, and deliver a crate of arms to rebel operatives.  Easy enough...but it took some doing.

After securing a vehicle, the rebels head for the station.  After overpowering a scout trooper left to effect modifications on the outpost, the group sabotages the station and heads for the rendezvous.  There, they meet a rebel troop transport and gain passage to the rebel fleet.

Once back in Quor, the battle begins in earnest as the Imperials move from their hidden bases on the night side.  Alliance command is cut off from the rest of the city, but our intrepid rebels manage to gain entry and aid the embattled command staff to safety.  This earns the trust of the Alliance commanders on Roon, but it almost costs the group their lives as they flee the bombardment of the starport seconds ahead of it's annihilation by Screed's star destroyer.

After that, the rebels turn their attention to rebuilding Quor.



Campaign Resolution

The murder of a top Alliance official on Roon sparks an investigation into her death.  The two competing Ryloth cartels are at each other's throats, and one might be in league with the Imperials.  Our heroes attempt to salvage bits from the ruin of Quor...but can't seem to find a car, a ship or any droids.

The battle for Roon will continue.  Screed's fleet grows as a number of capital escorts join the Imperial Fleet on the Night Side.  In the midst of this are our rebel heroes...stubbornly digging through the rubble of their home looking for spare parts.



Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Heroes of the Sword Coast (Session 7)

This session was orignally recorded 3/8/2015.



From the Journal of Lydia the Halfling





8:05

After defeating the dragon, we decide to go to our home and rest for the night before we head to the Cragmaw Keep.  On our way, we stop at Neverwinter.  After purchasing several supplies and other things, we head back to our houses to stay the night.  

The next day we head to Cragmaw Keep and reach the outer walls of the keep at nightfall.  We just walk up to the door and attempt to go in.

As soon as we enter, a goblin attacks us.  We make an unsuccessful attempt to drag it outside and keep it quiet.  Soon after that, we find ourselves fighting with a whole horde of other goblins inside the keep.  Half the goblins are killed and three of them put to sleep.

Just then we hear another group run up outside.  

The half-orc shouts at them "Stop!  We've killed all your friends!" but they pay no heed.

After a short fight with the goblins outside, we manage to capture two of the them.

So, now we have two hobgoblins and three goblins tied up.