Thursday, February 12, 2015

Heroes of the Sword Coast Campaign Open

"No, Dave.  Just no." - Dungeon Master
Reverend Greg (in his Golden Years).
Wondering what has been happening on the RPG front here at the Wargate??  Where is all the cool stuff??  Well, you know we've been playing Dungeons & Dragons, 5th Edition for a while now.  This season began January 1st, of we've got a few weeks to catch you up on.

First off, the new system is fun.  There, I said it.  I like it, and I think most of us do.  If there's one thing about it that's bothering us is that it's not as complex as we're used to these games being.  That's alright - but when we're used to something being a certain way, it can be hard to not want to try to find out how the rules are changed.

We'll be posting the session updates in the next few weeks until we're caught up, as we've got a backlog of session notes.

For this campaign, Reverend Greg is taking us for a ride in the newly published dungeons for the newly published editions.  We're quite excited, and it's been a fun ride.

Come on out to the Forgotten Realms, guys!  Wrestle Owlbears with Betsy the Dragonborn!  Be reckless and bold, adventurer...and climb up in a tree if all else fails.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Reaper Bones Day!!

It's been a while since our Reaper Bones Day - and I'm ashamed to admit that I'm just NOW getting around to posting this since it was done in September, 2013.  Yeah, more than a year sitting in the vault...but, it's here now - and with Reaper Bones II coming up we're set to have more than one more of these little sit ins.   Better late than never, I suppose - in most cases.

We picked a good cross-section of sci-fi and fantasy miniatures to paint, of varying sizes.  For this project, we'd be using the Army Painter system.  Sprays, paints and Quickshade would all be applied, and we would show everyone how it worked.  Yeah, this was a while back.

Leather BrownDragon RedGreenskin and Crystal Blue were chosen as the colors.  Each color would would be used on three miniatures:  1 fantasy, 1 non-fantasy, and 1 large model.  After getting spray primed, the miniatures would be painted by some of our members for a project day.  It was great fun getting it all together, and getting to paint with a larger group all at once.

Turanil, Elf Paladin;  Eldritch Demon;  Ellen Stone
Crystal Blue is an interesting color.  It's quite bright, especially going on over the white of the Bones miniatures.  This was nice - the even coat given by the spray does away with a lot of the issues you can get by trying to paint up from white if white is used as a base primer.  No brush strokes to deal with is just one of the fantastic reasons to use these products.

Army Painter Crystal Blue
We realized a portion of the way though that some of these would not need bases.  That was an easy problem to take care of, though.  Definitely learned a lot about how certain things interacted with one another, especially different types of inks and even Quickshade.

Marsh Troll;  Horace Action;  Dita, Steampunk Witch
From this point we've been all about Warpaints.  Hands down, this is one of the best ranges of model paints on the market.  Whether or not you are going to use Quickshade, the sprays and the matched color bottle are still one of the best ways to go about getting a basecoat on your models quickly.

Army Painter Greenskin
Greenskin is another great color, a bright green easily coating the models in a smooth, even coat.  I can see where it would be easy to get really creative just by lining up the colors.  Army Painter has a lot of different colors available as both spray primer and Warpaint, and you can check those out at their site here.  If you're not already familiar with their products, take it from me - our club has moved to using this line almost exclusively.

Ape-X;  Khael Stonekindle, Dwarf Wizard;  Rosie, Chronotechnician
Now that we've broken free of the mold that demands all games to have miniatures specific to them, a lot of cool stuff we've previously pulled away from have potential here at the Wargate.  Since Bones on Kickstarter, we've been in all of the Reaper Miniatures projects they've put on that site, including CAV.  We've already received part of that Kickstarter, but Bones II  is still on the way.

Army Painter Dragon Red
Dragon Red is a slightly darker red than some of the other reds in the range.  Still, it's pretty bright compared to what we're used to for basecoating sprays.  It's nice to have a few of these lighter colors in spray form like this.  It's a boon to those of us that hate those pesky brush strokes and tedious layering when painting up a smooth, bright coat.

I've prepared a number of projects using these materials, and they are ready for the club to tackle as a group project.  We'll be able to paint up units in short order like this.  Those projects will have their own entries eventually.  Note, that the models featured in this article aren't really related to each other, only in that they are Reaper Bones.  

Owlbear;  Valeros, Iconic Fighter;  Deadeye Slim
In the future, these will be grouped together by genre, game or unit.  We'd like to get to the point where we paint entire boxed sets at once, but we've got a lot of unpainted models already.  The tools are there, however.

Army Painter Leather Brown
Leather Brown is a nice brown that's not too dark, like most primers.  It's more of a natural tone, and lends itself well to inks or Quickshade.  It looks great applied to both fur and leathers, and is probably the deepest and most opaque tone we used for this project.

The Bones miniatures are fantastic.  They may lack a little in detail, but by and large this is not an issue.  The larger models don't suffer from this as much as some of the faces on certain sculpts.

Painted by:  Foley, Captain Video and Jerry Wargate
Once again, Quickshade proves it's worth.  Although we had misgivings about the details on some of the faces, once the shade and Anti-Shine were applied they look fantastic.  Definitely not an issue putting these on the table.

We actually had an incident with these models involving Anti-Shine.  A botched coat required a few of these models to have to be stripped - most notably Turanil, Elven Paladin, painted by Jerry Wargate.  We are happy to inform you that these minis can take the Super Clean bath and not be damaged at all.  After a quick bath to get the most of the botched Anti-Shine coat off, it was touched up and completed normally.

Painted by Foley, Joe Kool and Dave Bone
Reaper has really pushed us to expand the scope of the Wargate's collection.  We've got a few different scales now, across several genres.  I can't really praise these Bones enough.  Along with a few other companies and their products, they have given gamers enough inexpensive models to actually begin to build that epic collection they have always wanted.

Painted by Reverend Greg, Dave Bone and Foley
We also got a chance to experiment with all those cool basing materials we've collected from Army Painter, Gale Force 9 and other companies.  We mixed and matched from the various tufts, flocks and other bits and bobs in the basing bin to get a good look for each model.  We soon learned how to make the rather large bases on the Bones blend better with our game standard bases.

As stated before, it became apparent that some of these models wouldn't need an extra base, as the size of their own was sufficient to hold them on the table.  Our own suggestion is if the base is circular and at least 20mm in size, let it stand on it's own.  If it's irregular or needs extra support on the table, place it on a suitable base prior to basecoating.

Painted by Dave Bone and Captain Video.
Definitely fun to paint and very easy on the wallet, I recommend every gamer find a few of these Bones to fit into their gaming paradigm.  It's certain that the Kickstarter was worth every penny.  We are quite happy with the CAV stuff, and are eagerly watching the Bones II updates waiting to hear they've begun to ship it.

Thanks to everyone who came out and helped paint these models.  You guys are the bomb - sorry we made you wait so long to see the fruits of your labors here on the site.  It will never be this long again - I promise!   In addition, we'll be getting more sessions like this ready for the group and presented on certain Sundays, so come on in and learn those paint techniques and show off your skills for the next Bones Day!!

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Decos' Wretched Plight Campaign Log

Welcome to our new Schedule 2 RPG game!

King Arthur has taken the mantle of Dungeon Master, and presents us with a romp across the Known World!  Right in line with our Basic Dungeons & Dragons bent that the club is on right now, this will fit seamlessly into our narrative with no other consideration.  This is King Arthur's first campaign at the helm of the Wargate, but there's no pressure!  What better spot to begin, than at the beginning with Basic!  

We're going to enjoy this campaign, and explore the Known World a little more at the same time!

The Grand Duchy of Kerendas 1012 A.C.

Ever been to the little tavern nestled in the cluster of raft shacks of Bayville's dreary port?  The strong smell of cheap booze and hits you as you open the door, strangely complimented by the pleasant aroma carried in on the coastal winds.  The wind whisles thru the cracks, adding to the dreary Ambiance permeating from the quiet hinterlanders, worn and haggard looking, but still such a presence with their brightly colored red and gold hair. These weary souls have many stories to tell of an Ancient clan of people who once resided in the fertile plains of Kerendas.

They all speak of Arbora, and the ruins that have recently been discovered there. Drawn across the Sea of Dread by an unexplained force, a mental pull, the hinterlanders have overtaken the small populace of Bayville.  There they have stayed, awaiting a call that is a mystery even to them.

A party of Adventurers arrived just the other night, strolling into the lil' tavern with a fresh confidence that clashed with the bleak attitudes of the usually fiery umph of the hinterlands barbaric nature.  Driven by the mysterious tales of the bar-folk and the strange man who sung them an irresistible opportunity for adventure, fighting, and a whole bunch of treasure, the party quickly buys up supplies and sets off to the town of Arbora.  There, a small grasp at glory awaits, buried behind a strange group of Thyatians, and the malignant forces massing in the ruins surrounding the town!

Quite exciting, this will be my first time running Dungeons & Dragons.  I'm quite eager to see how my players develop into my expanded universe of the Known World.  I'm keen to see my own personal development as well and what I can learn from the players, with their years of experience, that will be gracing my lil' adventures with their presence!

                                                                                                   - King Arthur

Current Player Characters
Total Party Levels: 10
  • Fnu Mohammad - Magic-User: 2 (N)
  • Thorgrim - Fighter: 2 (L)
  • Asmodius - Magic User: 2 (L)
  • Olaf - Fighter: 2 (L)
  • Johann - Thief: 2 (N)
Deceased Player Characters
  • Herek Uthbar - Cleric: 1 (N)

Campaign Log
Total Game Time: 10 hrs

(10.21.14 to 10.30.14)
Total Session Time: 2 hrs

Gustav Schmidt has taken over the abandoned outpost on Arbora's northwestern edge.  If any progress into the tunnels is to be made, this runaway slave and his band of cutthroats must be taken care of.
The party of stoic northmen stand ready to crush the enemies of the folk of Arbora after a (mostly) successful show of force.  Making acquaintance of the townspeople during a few brief days of rest, the party finds it's much better off than when they arrived in Arbora.  After seeing their swift results, the town (Decos) wishes to retain the services of the northmen - it seems much more adventure awaits!

Mischievous Runts
Total Session Time: 5 hrs

Progress on the excavation of the old tunnel entrance beneath the Thyatian outpost was slow and tedious due to the damage from the flames, but a full week later an entryway has at last been made passable.  The job done, this occasion should have been a joyous one,  though no time for celebration is allowed as the event was suddenly interrupted by a terrible incident.

Kobolds!  As Arbora's miners removed the last of the impeding debris, the lil' snakes suddenly sprung from the shadows and delivered their ambush! Four workers down , the miners rush this ill news to Decos. Vexed by yet another delay, Caius quickly enlist the services of the audacious northerners in ridding the tunnels of these crafty lil' sadist.
As the sun rose, the night after Herek's funeral, the now bloodthirsty northerners prepare for their assault on the kobolds.  As they leave Viaskoda's Hearth, the local inn, they are suddenly halted by Tabotaku.  He informs the party that Caius Decos has fallen ill with a strange sickness, one that has stricken over half the townsfolk overnight.  A magical illness, an infection!  Having already pinpointed the source of this vile curse, Tabotaku pleads with the party to delve into the tunnels to the west, and stop whatever it is producing this disease!

Revenge!/A Strange Infection
Total Session Time: 3 hrs

Still desiring their revenge, the northerners are torn in the request to aid the people of Arbora.  Coincidentally, fate takes the needs of both the town, and the northerner's vengeance, into it's hands.  Slavi Teak, a shady character, arrives in town with news of the Kobolds that the party seeks, informing the party of a band of kobolds that he spied leaving the old Thyatian outpost.  He followed them up until they entered the very tunnels that Tabotaku had been speaking of.  The suspicious character does carry one request, that the party allows him to accompany them into the tunnels.
Arbora is host to a festival, one celebrating their northern heroes.  The festivities commence for days and the bold northerners enjoy a well earned rest.  Fnu spends his time educating his new demi-human companions, 

Campaign Resolution

The northerners and their foreign mages collect their loot, and move off into the unknown wilds of Mystara in search of adventure.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Tyranny of Dragons Campaign Open!

Huzzah for the return of battle games!  It's been a while since we broke up with the game / company that had been our longtime love (and who will no longer be mentioned here), but now that we're past all of that we can look ahead.  Enthusiasm is high, and that's a quite welcome change of pace after the doldrums hit during our "breakup".

We have begun our new campaign, yes...and it's ambitious.  Entitled Tyranny of Dragons, the overall campaign is based on the new story arc from Wizards of the Coast / WizKids for D&D 5th Edition and D&D Attack Wing.  This is our first campaign using what we call nested rulesets to join every level of the conflict, from Skirmish and Battle games using 28mm models to Attack Wing's specialized game pieces.

Each game played for Tyranny of Dragons has the potential to influence our Schedule 1 RPG as well.  Look for an update on that later this week.  In the mean time, ready your forces and check out the Tyranny campaign page to figure out where you stand.  We'll be following Attack Wing's development closely and adding new figures to the dragon's forces as the season progresses, so make sure you're in the right spot now.

A new paradigm has dawned here at the club, after many months of suffering, despair and unease.  It's up to us to not allow a single company to hold so much sway over our club.  We're returning to an older time with our gaming style that doesn't rely on some company that doesn't care what we do (as long as we buy their material) pressing shoddy rules and unbalanced lists into the hands of the masses.  We are very competitive, and as such we are able to gauge what is and isn't poor competition design.

Game Masters will now preside over many wargame scenarios, including this season and next.  This is a big change for us, but letting them decide most of the scenario's parameters will remove a lot of the trepidation we used to have about the fantasy and sci-fi battle games we used to play.  It also allows us to introduce new concepts to our normal battle games as well, such as battlefield events, special units, cross-system bonuses, and even having neutral / unaffiliated parties to battle as well.

We support the gaming industry - the elements we support should support us.  I think Wizards (and WizKids) know that...and the support for events is fantastic.  We'll not have to worry about this, now that we understand that WE are empowered.

That said, with all the new stuff arriving for the brand D&D is set to be a MAJOR fixture over the next several years.  We've always loved it as a property, so we've decided to go ahead and move to the current generation to help support it, rather than tarry in the older editions.  We'll still be doing all the editions, but 5th is here now.

It looks good, feels good...and dog-gone it, people like it.