Sunday, December 31, 2017

Mandatory Holiday Swag Post for 2017

After three months of craziness, I present to you, a lone figure!
Party Tonight Like It's Nineteen Gnomie-Nine!
Seriously, after a never-ending barrage of work and home dilemmas, I've spent some time at the painting bench.  Nothing to report, but I hope my Friday reveals will reappear soon.

Previous years I've posted the random holiday swag I've garnered.  They have been gaming boons for me, but borderline disasters.  Wishlists to my wife have resulted in either 5pm pick-ups on Christmas Eve at the FLGS or an excessive Amazon order that have been great reads and scheming sessions, but not much actual utility.  My wife wouldn't let me add a bookshelf to my Christmas list this year, so I think that's a hint that I should start using what I got.

With no guidance for my wife, she got me the bare necessities I always want.  Underwear, undershirts, all the sweets I only like... and a hockey sweater so I match with the family as we go to games this season.

Because she was worried about the quantity of my gifts after seeing me walk into the house with her gifts (thanks oversized Amazon shipping boxes), I pulled out some aces that I had acquired.

For stocking stuffers, a large bottle of Zap-a-Gap and two peasants in Reaper Bones.  And to offset the Kickstarter pledge for Series 2, I held my OGRE Plastic Minis Series 1 pledge to be opened on Christmas morning.

I also got the disco dancing gnome previously shown on this post.

The only person tougher to shop for than me is my sister, but a delayed message to her husband allowed me to get a copy of Terraforming Mars  up to Boston before they left for vacation.  In return they sent me a copy of  New Bedford, a Game of Historic Whaling and Town Building.

From my youngest Millie, I got a keychain tape measure.  Well done.

The rest of my ill-gotten gains are pending.  My mother-in-law and her boyfriend went completely overboard with cash this year, and I've taken care of a few items on my want and need lists.
  • I finally added a few figures to my Reaper Bones 4 pledge manager.  After some weird politicizing regarding the campaign, I simply kept by $1 pledge for Wave 1 for things to blow over, for better or for worse.  Even with some time with separation and my recent windfall, I could only add a few giants, the adorable little dragons, and some villagers for my pending order, scheduled to ship in February 2019.  
  • I also decided to expand my small "Egypt" town, as my daughter Maja calls it, especially since the third season of our Pulp game is scheduled to kick off sometime in January.  But what to buy?  I like my MBA buildings, but I'd like a little of my Christmas money to go to contractors for house repairs.  I was eyeing up some Crescent Root buildings over this past year, but apparently some of the accessories are out of production and the design for the market stalls changed, not to my liking.  I finally ordered four 28mm Middle Eastern buildings and a set of walls from Gamecraft.  The cherry on top is that I added a 6mm Taco Bell along with the order, an item that's been on the blog's wish list since I constructed it.  Big praise to them, as my order is already in transit and should be here by Tuesday.
Guess I have a lot of little tanks and large buildings to work on in January.

Friday, December 29, 2017

The Teddy Bears Return!

While his interests and mine rarely cross over, I do enjoy reading Der Alte Fritz Journal.

And when our interests do cross, like the return of  Lady Emma Cuddleston-Smythe and the Teddy Bear Armies, I am simply ecstatic!
From Der Alte Fritz
If we can't have the bears in production, at least we have another AAR featuring them.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

(Kickstarter) Pelegian Sapper - Sci-Fi Rat Trooper

Not much is launching in between the holidays, but Gydran Miniatures has launched a small campaign for Jhorka, the Pelegian Sapper 
Simple campaign for this figure, with the four original Space Critters availabe for discounted add-ons.  For an extra ten Pounds ($12US), they do allow to pick up the figure and any stretch goals they might reach. 

I regret skipping the Elsor-Varo Space Dwarves Kickstarter (save my $1 pledge), and these guys look like they hit my sci-fi non-dwarf wheelhouse.

(Kickstarter) Fourth Quarter Football - Gridiron Miniatures Game

The games section of Kickstarter is full of "Fantasy Football" teams that you can use in a big bowl of blood, but rarely do you see traditional sports figures.

Impact! Miniatures ran a campaign for hockey figs awhile back, and now, with Fourth Quarter Football's Fourth Quarter Football - Gridiron Miniatures Game, a game a pigskin can be played without using the steed of an Ork Boar Rider.

Pledge levels involve the seven figures for each team needed for their rules system, a playing surface, and rules, but they are smart enough to offer a "fantasy draft" version giving you enough players to face-off against Reikland or Orkland. 

Spikey bits available elsewhere.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Apathy of the New Releases (Jan '18)

It's time for another review of the releases solicited in Alliance Games Distributors Game Trade Magazine #215.  As always, I point out the items that tickle my non-demographic funny bone and mention some core and choice items I would stock if I was still in the retail side of the business.  The list I make is never comprehensive and I avoid a number of items that either (a) don't provide pricing, (b) don't provide details, and/or (c) might be a cost prohibitive investment.

ViscountEric's Want List
Mantic Entertainment
Dragon's Hoard (MGE  MGTC111) ..................................................... $9.99

Monkeyfun Studios
Spirit of 77 RPG (S2P MFS77101)  .................................................... $30.00
Spirit of 77 RPG: Wide World of 77 (S2P MFS77102) ...................... $20.00
Monkeyfun through normal distribution channels?  I'm a happy camper.

ViscountEric's Money-Is-No-Issue Want List
Reaper Miniatures
Bones Viking Mouslings (2) ................................................................... $ 2.79
At $2.79 a pair, my dream of Mous-a-geddon is still alive.  These and the Hyperborean Mouslings would make great warriors/Valkyries.

The Imaginary Store (The Pegleg Gnome) List
Arc Dream Publishing
Delta Green RPG: Music from a Darkened Room .................................... $19.99
Delta Green RPG: The Star Chamber ........................................................ $19.99

Asmodee Editions
Blank .......................................................................................... $14.99
Spot It!: Smile Edition ................................................................ $12.99
Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective: Carlton House and Queen's Park .... $49.99

Bully Pulpit Games
The Skeletons ............................................................................. $15.00

Cheapass Games
Tak: A Beautiful Game University Edition ................................ $40.00

Compass Games
The African Campaign ............................................................... $57.00
Brezhnev's War: NATO vs the Warsaw Pact in Germany 1980.. $69.00
South China Sea ......................................................................... $79.00

Creative Goods Company
Catan: Adult Long-Sleeved T-Shirt "Don't Settle For Less" ..... $24.00 ea
Catan: Adult T-Shirt "Let's Settle This" Blue ............................ $24.00 ea
Catan: Adult T-Shirt "Lord of Catan" Burgundy ....................... $24.00 ea
Catan: Ladies T-Shirt "Lady of Catan" Black ............................ $24.00 ea
Catan: Ladies T-Shirt "Lady of Catan" Yellow .......................... $24.00 ea
Sizes S-XXXL

Catan: White Wine Goblet 10.5 oz, "I Wouldn't Trade Ewe for Anyone" .... $32.00

Cubicle 7
Call of Cthulhu - World War Cthulhu Cold War - Out American Cousins
..................................... $24.99
Don't know how this works out, since Cubicle 7 no longer has a license from Chaosium.
Doctor Who RPG:  Gamemaster's Screen ..................................... $14.99
Adventures in Middle-Earth - Loremaster's Screen ...................... $29.99
Adventures in Middle-Earth - The Road Goes On Ever On ......... $29.99

Daily Magic Games
Food Truck Champion ................................................................... $25.00

The Design Mechansim
Mythras RPG:  After the Vampire Wars ........................................ $24.99

Dynamite
Reanimator Board Game ................................................................  PI

Evil Hat Productions
Fate Core RPG: Fate Dice (4) ......................................................... $6.00
Fire and Midnight Colors

Fantasy Flight Games
Elder Sign:  Omens of the Pharaoh Expansion ............................... $24.95
Star Wars: Legion - 74-Z Speeder Bike .......................................... $24.95
Star Wars: Legions - AT-RT ............................................................ $24.95
Star Wars: Legions - AT-ST ............................................................ $49.95
Star Wars: Legions - Rebel Troopers .............................................. $24.95
Star Wars: Legions - Stormtroopers ............................................... $24.95
Star Wars: Legions - Movement Tools and Range Ruler ..............  $14.95
Star Wars: Legions - Dice Pack ...................................................... $14.95
Star Wars: Legions - T-47 Airspeeder ............................................ $24.95

Gale Force Nine
D&D RPG:  Tomb of Annihilation Map Set ................................... $40.00

Games Workshop
Black Library: Calendar 2018 ......................................................... $15.00
If it's a full-sized calendar, it's the greatest bargain GW has ever created.
Green Tape Measure (3-Pack) ......................................................... $24.00
Painting Handle (6 pack) ................................................................. $48.00
Painting Mat .................................................................................... $25.00
Water Pot ......................................................................................... $ 8.00\
Holy Crap, simply ridiculously priced stuff.

Necromunda: Underhive ................................................................. $125.00
Necromunda: Bases (25mm or 32mm) ........................................... $ 6.50
Necromunda: Barricades and Objectives ........................................ $35.00
Necromunda: Bulkhead Doors ........................................................ $35.00
Necromunda: Gang War .................................................................. $30.00
Necromunda: Escher Gang ............................................................. $40.00
Necromunda: Escher Gang Cards ................................................... $15.00
Necromunda: Escher Gang Dice Set ............................................... $12.50
Necromunda: Goliath Gang ............................................................ $40.00
Necromunda: Goliath Gang Cards .................................................. $15.00
Necromunda: Goliath Gang Dice Set .............................................. $12.50
Having seen the new Necromunda, it's not surprising to say, I'm not impressed.  Blocky, unimpressive, and oversized.

40K: Tyranids Codex ....................................................................... $40.00

Goodman Games
Dungeon Crawl Classics: Holiday Module - New Year's Evil ....... $ 9.99

IDW Games
Atari's Missile Command ................................................................. $39.99

Konami Entertainment
Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG: Legendary Duelists Ancient Millennium Boosters

Mantic Entertainment
The Terraincrate stuff is getting released, huzzah!

Walking Dead - Chain Link Fence MDF Kit ..................................... $19.99
Walking Dead - The Prison Tower MDF Kit ...................................... $29.99
Walking Dead - The Prison MDF Kit ................................................. $84.99
Walking Dead - Deluxe Gaming Mat - Woodbury ............................. $19.99

Modiphius
Space 1889:  London Bridge Has Fallen Down - Savage World Ed .... $ 9.99

Monkeyfun Studios
Bedlam Hall RPG ................................................................................. $25.00
Gruel Truck RPG .................................................................................. $20.00

Monte Cook Games
No Thank You, Evil! RPG:  I'm a Guide .............................................. $24.99

Paizo Publishing
Pathfinder ACG: Ultimate Combat Add-On Deck ................................ $19.99
Pathfinder RPG: AP - War forthe Crown Pt2 - Songbird Scion Saboteur .... $24.99
Pathfinder RPG: Flip-Mat - Forest Fire................................................ $14.99
Pathfinder RPG: Player Companion - Merchant's Manifest ................ $14.99
Starfinder RPG:  Pact Worlds HC ........................................................ $44.99
Starfinder RPG: Flip-Mat Space Station .............................................. $14.99

Pinnacle Entertainment Group
Fear Agent Ltd Ed HC (Savage Worlds) .............................................. $39.99
Fear Agent GM Screen w/ Adventure .................................................. $19.99
The Goon Ltd Ed HC (Savage Worlds) ................................................ $39.99
The Goon GM Screen w/ Adventure .................................................... $19.99

Pokemon USA
Pokemon TCG: Sun & Moon Ultra Prism Boosters
Pokemon TCG: Sun & Moon Ultra Prism Theme Decks
Pokemon TCG: Sun & Moon Ultra Prism 3-Booster Blisters
Pokemon TCG: Sun & Moon Ultra Prism Elite Trainer Box

Q-Workshop
Starfinder:  Dead Suns Dice Set (7) ................................................ PI

Reaper Miniatures
The Nativity Boxed Set ...................................................................... $49.99

It's a huge wave of Dark Heaven metals, mixed with the an even bigger release from the Bone 3 Kickstarter.  The mouslings seem to have been a minor deal getting theme from the Kickstarter, but the Frost Giants were a steal ($10 add-on for two vs. $12.99 for one)

Of course the Reaper Sci-Fi Corsairs and Space Mouslings also appear in this solicitation.  At $3 a figure, you too can field an army of Ultra-Cheesy Marines.
Steve Jackson Games
Munchkin: Clowns .............................................................................. $5.95
Munchkin Gift Pack ............................................................................ $54.95

Ultra-Pro
Magic the Gathering: Abacus Life Counters ....................................... PI
Available in all five colors.  Never any prices in Game Trade Magazine for Ultra-Pro, but the abacus life counter have been around almost as long as the Reaper Scrye Counters.

Magic the Gathering: Unstable Play Mats ............................................ PI
Available for all five basic lands.

Wizards of the Coast
D&D RPG:  Dungeon Tiles Reincarnated ............................................ $24.99 each
City, Dungeon, and Wilderness

WizKids
Marvel Heroclix:  Avengers Infinity Boosters
Marvel Heroclix:  Avengers Infinity Dice and Token Pack ................... $ 9.99
Marvel Heroclix:  Avengers Infinity Fast Forces ................................... $19.99
Pathfinder Battles:  Jungles of Despair Booster Bricks
Star Trek Attack Wing: Faction Pack - The Animated Series ............... $29.99
Star Trek Attack Wing: Faction Pack - A Motley Fleet ........................ $29.99
Star Trek Attack Wing: Faction Pack - The Kelvin Timeline ............... $29.99
WizKids Minis:  Fantasy Terrain - Painted Pools and Pillars ............... $39.99

The first inklings of WizKids' deal with Games Workshop  appear in this issue of Game Trade, with the initial solicitation of Fury of Dracula, Relic, and the 40k Dice Game. No descriptions and no pricing, however.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Ballad of the Pigeon God #38 The Less Than Sterling Life

The Less Than Sterling Life of a Less Than Sterling Individual Named Sterling

Where does one begin the fabled life of a hero that spans countless glorious battles, honors won in combat, rewards of gold, magic items, and the kisses of fair maidens?  Not in this story about Sterling's life, 'cause them things ain't here.  However, you will find drunken debauchery, mindless butchery, and people screwing each other over for a piece of the action while trying to maintain a semblance of order, so it will probably be a good tale anyway.
  • Sterling's father was a roving tradesman and rake.  Scratch that.
  • Sterling's father was a wandering gypsy.  Well, not really.
  • Sterling's father was a bard.  Who am I kidding?
Sterling's father was a horrible thief and an insatiable alcoholic with an eye for the ladies.  Of course, one of his eyes was bad, so he could either buy good booze or good women, but never both in the same night.

And definitely not the night Sterling was conceived.

Sterling's father, Cornelious Riverbend, met his mother Allegra, at an inn.  Sterling, after downing about a river's worth of Gornheim's Dwarven Spirits, spotted Allegra waiting tables.  He immediately turn on the charm (which had drowned in the previously mentioned river) and proceeded to talk Allegra into a night of bliss.  Well, it was more like six minutes of bliss.  Dwarven liquor can do that to a human, but I digress.

The next morning, both people awoke to look at each other.  Allegra, not having had a drop, saw a devilishly handsome human with the bad eye she first encountered the night before.  Cornelious should have been so lucky.  He looked over and saw a 6'3" 320lbs greasy-haired half-ogre.  Remarkably, Cornelious did not scream.  He did, however, faint. 

When he awoke, he found a note by his bedside that read.

Deer Korny,
Kom to the blksmit place
sos us kan meet Dadie n we
kin git married
Lov,
Allegra

At this point, Cornelious screamed (partly from the fact that anything with ogre blood could write), got dressed, and jumped out the window.  That was a particularly bad move, as he fell into the arms of an ogre wearing a blacksmith's apron.

"Hi.  Da name's Gorg Horse-breaker.  Calls me Dad.  An iffn ya try ta run, I'll hunt ya down, kill ya, and eat ya."

Nine months later, Sterling Gorg Riverbend was born to the happy couple couple.  By the way, Allegra means "ogre-lady who smashes rocks" in ogre.

From the outset, Sterling had it bad.  Being a quarterogre didn't make him too handsome, nor was he a wise individual, and he certainly wasn't the most well-adjusted or well-liked person.  But he did have a few things going for him.  By the time he was sixteen, he was 6'4" and weighed nearly 275lbs.  Grandpa Gorg taught him to be a blacksmith, and from his mother, he learned to read and write.

From his father he learned to never, ever, ever drink.

When he was seventeen, Sterling went off to join the local militia group.  With a tearful goodbye from his family, Sterling was off.  He soon found a group of nasty, rowdy, surly, smelly, and down right lascivious men, all of whom had the right to enforce laws and basically beat people up as they saw fit in the name of the local baron.  Plus they got food, wine, women, and gold for it.  Sterling was in heaven.

He quickly rose in rank, and the by the time he retired, had risen to the rank of sergeant-in-arms.  This basically meant he was the biggest and strongest bastard in the company, plus he could actually read local laws.  He was the natural choice.  When that became boring, he decided on a career change.

One day Sterling heard a mercenary guild was operating in a near-by town.  Sure, it was his job to break up such unlawful behavior (or get them to fork over some hush money) but Sterling got an idea.  He had served more than fifteen years making next to nothing, but as a mercenary, he could finally make real (and legitimate) money.  One day, he turned his resignation paper to his captain (who couldn't read it anyway), gathered up his gear, and headed out...

Written by Douglas Robert Salvatore (1975-2011)

NEXT #39 - The Curse of Ruuna

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Gygax on Tom Snyder

I know half the world is already done with their egg nogging and wassailing, but here's my gift to you:  A 1979 interview between Tom Snyder and Gary Gygax, posted on Playing at the World

You can get probably get what you will out of the interview, but despite some huge softball questions from Snyder, I understand why I haven't seen too many Gygax interviews.  He's his own worst enemy.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

(12 Days) An Ode to Wooly

Back before #RPGaDay wiped me out of cool gaming stories, I was experimenting with #12Days, a test to cover stuff I normally didn't talk about, and back then, an experiment to post every day to the blog.

Nowadays, I'm a posting machine, for better or for worse.  If I don't post anything else for December, I'll have 435 posts for the year.  And despite a lack of painting or wargaming this quarter, Iegit pageviews haven't been higher, so somebody somewhere is interested. 

But one thing I haven't tackled in a while is a shoutout to my contemporary gamers who helped shape me to the gamer I am today.

This year, we write an Ode to Wooly.

Back in the early days of high school there were basically four people in the original game in group: Charles, Scott, George, and myself.

Wooly was number five .

I remember first meeting Wooly sophomore on the Easton Indoor Track.  He was a freshman who hung with my other friend Don, as well as his younger brother.  At some point the talk about gaming and D&D came up and he was invited to one of our sessions after a half-day of school.  The idea that I would need to introduce him to the group was allayed when I discovered that not only were he and George friends, but their parents played cards together each week!  Needless to say, growing from four to five players was a piece of cake.

His early D&D games were unimpressive, with his fighter, Ned Overland, catching up to the near-legendary characters remembered only as the Drunken Warrior, Stupid Fighter, and the Busty Mage. 

Then, one afternoon, Charles brought out BattleTech and his true passion for gaming was discovered.  Apparently heavily armed robots were his thing. 
Even with the learning curve of picking up strategy, tactics, and Inner Sphere lore from Charles,  Wooly was an avid learner as we ventured forth past high school, was accumulating a respectable collection of minis and books. 

Soon, games at the Casa de Viscount's Mom's house were moved to the Basement of Wooly.  Most of those pictures aren't on the internet (thank God), but a raucous nerdy mech-abounding time was had. 

As the Magic craze gripped gaming, Wooly stayed an ardent Battletech player, never wavering into collectible card games, save the obvious Battletech one released in the mid-90's.  For him, the Battletech community expanded his player base in directions we rarely went.  His progression with the hobby could no better be demonstrated with the numerous Bogglecon, a bi-annual one-day con usually held in a Legion hall in Wind Gap, PA.  The con normally hosted a large 3-D Battletech board on the small stage normally used for bingo.  Wooly started playing all three sessions each con, and as the years progressed, he assumed the role of gamemaster for some pretty ingenious scenarios far away from the "Battlerama" themes.  Proper city tactic one game, schooling "experts" with light vehicles a second, and introducing SRTs (Short Range Torpedoes) in a game with a giant lake filling up most of the 10' table. 

Wooly was also the primary driver for most of our convention wanderings.  Be it five hour drives to Buffalo, strange cons in Jersey,  trips to Origins in Philly and Columbus, or even a shopping pilgrimage to Crazy Egor's, Wooly's blue jeep was synonymous with gaming fun.

Of course this was all back in the day where 19 and 20-year old dudes from out of state could still snag a hotel room and pay in cash. Apparently it was also a time that no New York convenience stores checked ID, and State Police did not notice an vehicle off-roading in the dark on the campus of the University of Buffalo.   It was also a time where no one checked ID to cross the border into Niagra Falls, Canada... and the Canadian Dollar was so week, we snagged a room for 30$CAN, we paid 40$US, and got 25$US in change. 

Outside of Battletech, our claim to fame was being demonstrators for Global Games.  It was his idea to grab the boxed set during the Dreamscape Comics Christmas sale, and it was him who dialed the phone number on the back of rulebook and initiated a conversation with the designers of the game.  We even took another road trip to venture to Toronto to hang out with them.   That gig even netted him a trip to GenCon when it was still in Milwaukee, and the best review I hold close to my heart.  "GenCon is just too big with way too much stuff" (and that was back in the days for 25,000 attendees.)

Over the years, things evolved.  He was part of the most epic Star Wars campaign (d6), where he played an aspiring Wookie porn star.  Funny, he had a spot in the campaign, my girlfriend at the time was invited in, but I didn't...  Still, being an occasional spectator was worth it. 

When I pondered starting up a D&D campaign while I went back to college, Wooly was one of the three who kicked off the game I'm posting now as Ballad of the Pigeon God*Spoilers* , his character, Kane, took a hiatus or two over the course of the campaign, but he made it to the end. 

After college, he took part in my Hackmaster campaigns, one (The Journey of Mutumbo) bearing his character's name.  With his girlfriend/fiancee/wife, Jenny at his side, we moved out of gaming in Wooly's basement to playing in his attic in his house on the south side of town.  There, we did more RPG, more B'Tech, and even ventured into Call of Cthulhu under the tutelage of the infamous Dr Bob  Heck I was even the Best Man at his wedding (and got a half-keg of Guinness out of the deal. Best wedding present ever!)

Around the same time I decided to wrap up the Hackmaster campaign and move to Wellsboro, Wooly heeded to the desires of his wife and moved to her hometown of Johnstown.  There, his gaming went dormant, as money was funneled into remodeling a house, their Jeep off-roading hobby (not involving the police), and the problems of living in a place like Johnstown. 

There are legends of a huge stash of Battletech, 40k, and Legions of Steel deep within the dungeons of the Casa del Wooly.  Perhaps, one day, we can overwhelm it's master and set up a few games with the old crew, hopefully more than just one more time, for old time's sake.  

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Take on Me... (Take. On. Me!)

When the DMs sketch makes you think you're entering the land of A-Ha videos: #dnd.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Ballad of the Pigeon God #37: Crimes and Lesser Misdemeanors

14 TriDec 1071 - Chateau d'Echelon, Barony of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
Baronial scribe Mellandria was taking a few moments respite before leaving the Chateau to deliver the taxes to the King in Hydincall. The "bungalows" Carthon and Felix had constructed on the estate looked to be great for privacy in the Summer, but even with the early days of Spring just ahead, they were far too cold for anything but base shelter.  In the winter, the Chateau was packed full of people, and no one had any concept of privacy.  She could only sigh in resignation.

"Ain't no sunshine when she's gone..." 

Mellandria was confused by the sad song, but was relieved when it coming out of the broom closet. The Baron's poor deranged spiritual mentor, Mohammad, spent most of hours inside the tight confines, afraid of holy retribution from the sky descending onto him... again.  She had not yet arrived at the Chateau to serve Baron Echelon, but from the stories, funneling the divine spirit of your deity had its disadvantages.

"Who's there?"

"It's Mellandria, Mo.  You need anything?"

"Oh Melly, Hello!  I'm fine.  Communing with Tshang Kai Shing just makes me sing.  Is it cloudy outside?  I think I may be safe for a few moments of fresh air.  Dag's children need to empty my chamber pot, I fear."

"I'll tell Scrag and Daschelle to get right on that.  It should be okay out there for all of us.  I'm leaving with Ashe to deliver the rest of the taxes this afternoon."

"Oh, good, good.  Just get back safe.  Echelon needs your help.  You take care of the things he's easily tired of, and he'll make better decisions when it counts.  I've known him too long and he's not going to change."

"As for you, Melly, just keep your wits about you and your belly full and you'll be alright.  An empty stomach is the first sign of strife...  and get tell the kobold's children to wait a few minutes before coming up.  The pot might have some room..."

14 TriDec 1071 - Chateau d'Echelon, Barony of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
Ariel could get used to this lifestyle.

The young bard was used to wandering the countryside, earning coppers for songs and finding shelter where she could.

This morning, she woke up late, to the sound of the lovely housekeeper Dew Xyclone, singing something akin to opera as she served the last wave of breakfast downstairs.  Perfect time to wake up and do some minor chores before leaving for Hydincall with the Baronial taxes.
Ariel the Bard
With full bellies and Babette's children in Dew's capable hands (or perhaps bosom?  She was acting as wet nurse to little Yuri and Darius), they were ready to leave.

Mellandria:  Baronial scribe and closest thing to official authority on this trip.
Ashe:  Elven ranger with an Elven Cloak.  Might be part of a giant prophecy to get a legendary sword.
Binklen:  Ashe's long lost tree-hugging brother. Just happy to be with his brother.
Ariel: Bard who seemed to prefer the company of women and wine to actual adventuring.  Ashe and Blinken were non-threatening elves, and Dag was more like a semi-cute talking dog than anything.
Babette:  former street thief from Hydincall and recent dimensional traveller (and mother of twins).  A few or two away for her boys didn't seem to be as hard as she thought it would be.
Dag di Velandro:  Kobold whose family was rescued by the mercy of the party, specifically Velandro, priest of Akana.  Now serving a blood oath to become an acolyte of Akana, even he saw the opportunity to leave his wife and kids for awhile to go on some short adventures.

A few hours into their trip, they turned the sledge around and went back for a cart.  Spring was coming faster than even they had hoped.

22  TriDec 1071 - Hydincall, Kingdom of Crosedes
The group arrived in Hydincall, cleaned up, and requested an audience with King Nevin.  It was granted immediately.

For a second time, King Nevin appreciated the efforts of his newest Baron, but advised his staff that taxes can just be delivered directly to the royal treasury.  The King's advisors provided Melandria a letter for Baron Echelon, a notice of a 5% tax increase.

Since they were all back in civilization, everyone decided to go shopping!

Ashe and Binklen began to wander about the weaponsmiths and came across a tall, tallow-skinned, and greasy looking fellow.  They started up a conversation with him and ladies returned from their shopping moved towards them.  They introduced themselves and Sterling the quarter-ogre began making passes at Mellandria.  Babette and Ariel pulled out their daggers to defend her honor and Sterling stepped back. 

"I've invited Sterling back to the Chateau.  We need the muscle, and he's no worse than Talis.  He'll stay on my opposite for the trip back."

They ran into Dag and realized the  little kobold has run into some pals: a centaur, a minotaur, and a rather uncommonly large kobold in heavy armor holding a Rottweiler on a leash are. They attempted to recruit Ashe and Dag to their group but both refused.

The minotaur was angered by their refusal, pulled out a small knife, and took a swipe at Dag before his companions got hold of him.  Dag was cut, but the group's dog jumped up on him and and everything was healed! 

Dag attitude seemed to change after the magical canine healing, and after a quick discussion in Kobold with the kobold warrior, he decided to travel back to Eding with them. 

"Dag no like city.  Go back home.  Talk with Velandro. BYE!"

Dag left with the unusual party and the group was left in confusion.

23 TriDec 1071 - Hydincall, Kingdom of Crosedes

Mellandria told the others that an enchanted mansion is for sale in the city. 

"Who knows what fun could be inside?"

They travelled to the clerk's office to inquire about and see if they would allow a look inside. The clerk was monotone, humorless and brushed them off. 

Sometime in the process, Ashe got escorted out of the building for drawing his sword.

Later in the day, the girls (and Sterling, still not stabbed for being gross and creepy) found him dancing in the town theatre, apparently under some spell.  Ariel got an excellent sketching of the event to display at the Chateau.

They collected an exhausted Ashe, who remembered nothing of the encounter, and trotted off to seek the neighbors of the enchanted house.  The neighbors informed them that the house had been empty for a year, after the death the previous owner, the wizard Ottoluke.

After an afternoon of drinking, it was decided the best course of action was to distract the town guard patrolling the neighborhood and sneak inside.  Ashe and Sterling began a fake fight, while the ladies climbed in.  Ariel snuck the other ladies into a second story window and found little except a bloodstain on the rug near the staircase.  They then went downstairs to let the boys in.  An invisible force stabbed Babbette in the back and Mellandria through the shoulder.  They make a run for the staircase and all climb back out the same window which, since it was left open, was noticed by the city guards, who made a point to get reinforcements to meet them at street level.

The guard turned them over to the Clerics of Yotia (Mellandria informed the rest that Yotia was the god of magic and wizards, not to be confused with Yoshi, a spiritual avatar of a dinosaur god). 

They taken into the dungeon beneath the Magic Lyceum, separated, and thrown into some of the dankest, dingiest cells imaginable. 

24 TriDec 1071 - Hydincall, Kingdom of Crosedes
After intense interrogations, everyone was release, and everyone but Ariel fined.  They were escorted to the local livery where their cart and horses were, and escorted out of the city. 

31 TriDec 1071 - Camp of the Cult of Light, Lake Apotheosis, Kingdom of Crosedes
Nearing the Cult of Light's camp, the party was prepared for another ambush, only to find some of the cultists come out, empty-handed and requested the help in exchange for a meal.

The were escorted to the High Priest Igor's tent, where two out of place travelers where sitting with the cult's leader. 

"These gentlemen are part of an envoy from the Duchy of Ruuna, and they need your help."

DM Notes:  With this episode we wrap up the long winter where Echelon learns about being a Baron, and many of the characters forgetting that they represent him.  Still trying to figure out why they wanted to break into the wizard's mansion, but it fell apart quickly. 

Couple of points:
You're going to see more "Conversations with Mo" in future episodes.  Regardless of the chronology of the episode, these conversations will mostly occur between the 7th and 14th of Tridec.  Some are important, some are not.  I'll let you figure those out.

Upon further introspection, I realized Ariel the Bard was the first gay character in any of my games, and while I may not write the episodes to make it blatantly obvious, the few journal entries written by her player were quite... graphic, in a "I never thought it would happen to me in dungeon, but..." way.  And for the record, Ariel's player was female.

I believe this is the first time in the journal that we've named Dag's son and daughter.   His wife's name is Groeta.

We'll leave the Chateau for awhile as part of the group willingly leaves Crosedes for the first time. Don't worry, we will return... someday.

From the Baronial Journal of Baron Echelon of Eding
Employees:
Karthon - Cook, Loyal Companion
Jenny - His Wife, Ex-Guard, Bitch When Pissed
Timmy - 5 years old Takes care of animals
Mohammad - Good friend, mentor, high level priest, mixes great drinks
Heirylat - Manual Labor, fairly Dextrous, Assassins Guild
Dew Xyclone - Goodwife, raising kids, cooking, household chores
Brutus - Lifting, Bashing

Live-In Friends:
Talis: -  Bard, flamboyant, prone to exile
Norm - Dwarf, mushroom farmer, funny accent

NEXT:  #38:  The Less Than Sterling Life

Monday, December 18, 2017

The Gnomes of Casa del Millheim

With a week to go until the big day, Monday is the the last big day to finish my online shopping and one last plunge into local retail shopping.  

But with said holidays on the way, I have to get home on time for the last D&D session of the year.  

So with that, I meekly present the Christmas Gnomes guarding the ancient technology at Nate's house.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

(GURPS) Eric Jacobson, the Sixth Year of Gamefication

Six years ago, I admitted to the world of an interesting experiment that I had been conducting.   I admitted to a GURPS version of myself, an amalgam of a 100-point version of me I created for a Red Dawn game gone gonzo, and interspersed with various dream memories I've had since high school.  I've tried to regularly post an update with more skill points added from all the The last few years around Christmas I post an update of this character and venture a guess as to what happened to him game-wise, to add these somewhat random skill points.

It can't be all the amusement park and cruise ship dreams I've been having.

I openly admit that the stats essentially make me Tom Arnold's character in True Lies.

ST: 10 DX: 11 IQ: 13 HT: 12  (As usual, no change to my stats.)

Advantages: Charisma +2 (I am a helluva guy), Common Sense (I'm constantly warning people in dreams not to do stupid things), Luck , Voice, Light Hangover.


Disadvantages: Bloodlust, Nearsighted (corrected), Gluttony, Stubbornness, Sense of Duty (Friends). Enemy: The Mormons (earned "in-game" no points), Dependents: Family (earned "in-game" no points)

Skills: for skill checks, one rolls 3d6 and roll your skill level or less. These are the skills I've put points into, which means most simple actions are automatic. If I wanted to do something that's not on the list, like speak French or pick a lock, my default skill level is usually IQ or DX -5... or worse. A skill level of 10 is average, 12 rather skilled, 14 well-trained, 16+ expert.

The skills listed in bold means that character points have been added to the character, but a only "+#" after will denote those skills with enough point to earn an increase

Accounting 11
Acrobatics 8
Acting 13
Administration 18 (+2) 
Animal Handling 10
Anthropology 11   
Archaeology 10
Area Knowledge: Iceland 13
Area Knowledge: Lehigh Valley 14       
Area Knowledge: Michigan Upper Peninsula 11
Area Knowledge: New York City 13
Area Knowledge: South Africa 13
Bard 20   (+2)
Bicycling 11
Boating 9
Boxing 10
Brawling 13
Camouflage 14
Carousing 12
Climbing  11  (+1)
Club 11
Computer Ops   13  (+1)
Conspiracy Theory 11
Dancing 10
Diplomacy 13
Drive Tractor Trailer 11
Drive: motorcycle 9
Driving: Auto 14
Driving: Diesel Locomotive 11
Economics 11
Engineering 12
English 14
Fast Talk 13
First Aid 13
Forensics 10
Forgery 10
Geology 10
Guns: Pistol 14
Guns: Rifle 14
Guns: SMG 13
Hiking 10
History 17
Hobby Gaming. 14   (+1)
Hobby: Models 12
Intell Analysis 11
Interrogation 11
Judo 9
Language: French 12
Law 12
Leadership 12
Mathematics 10
Merchant 11
Naturalist 10
Navigate 11  (+1)
Occultism 14 (+1)
Politics 14  (+1)
Performance 14  (+1)
Psychology 10
Punning 11
Running 13
Savoir Faire 17  (+1)
Saxophone 12
Scrounging 13
Sex Appeal 14
Sport: Basketball 10
Sport: Football 9
Sport: Golf 11          
Sport:Volleyball 9
Stealth 11
Strategy 10
Survival: Mountains 12
Survival: NBC 13
Swimming 11  (+1)
Tactics 13              
Theology 10 (+1)
Wrestling 10

For the original skills, the huge jumps in Administration and Bard, and the regular increases in Performance and Savoir Faire can be interpreted that my cushy mid-management position has led to a job promotion, and one involving the public.

Looking at the new skills to see what new trails the position is taking me.
Area Knowledge: Baltimore 11
Electronics Operation: 11
Crytography   10
Knife    10
Mechanic  11
Meteorology 11
Streetwise 11
Sport: Ice Skating 8

Between points towards existing skills, plus these new ones, and I have a rough idea what's been going on.  I've been assigned to a number of odd situations for the agency, not investigating them per se, rather using my Administrative talents to allow the site operation to go smoothly, make a few statements with a the press I have feeding out of my hand, and wrap up the investigation and get out of the public eye as quickly as possible.

I'm part bureaucrat, part-Baghdad Bob, and part Damage Control.

An odd assortment for a 257.5 point character in GURPS 3rd Edition. .  Had this been a traditional character advancement, there would be a lot more points in Guns and Spy skills.  This is more organic.

I'm not a particularly powerful character at over 250+, but that might just be to my advantage.

Of course, the extra points into Occult and Theology mean I'm still focused on finding, exposing, and eliminating the secret Mormon cabal that controls the church, Utah, and a number of other things.  I lost a lot of friends they day we discovered them.  It might be time for revenge.

Or it might be time for a month-long series of dreams about going to clown college.

Friday, December 15, 2017

The Hoyce Returns to Emeron!

With the holidays encroaching on my already hectic life, I found a small ray of sunshine while perusing my blogs I follow.

My friend Hoyce (Zorin Redrock from the Burning Trogs and Talis Makolin from the Pigeon God campaigns) has launched a new campaign up in Boston and posted the first entry here.

There's a special place in my heart for Hoyce's campaigns, as he admitted himself that he took my Georic campaign, filed the serial numbers off, and crafted it into his own delirious creation.  His take on the the world (now called Goric) focuses on the Kingdom of Emeron, spot that I've only dabbled in.  (You will see my version of Emron in about three months when the Pigeon God hits episode #50).

As Hoyce has kept his games all within the same happy campaign timeline, only a few years/decades apart, I'm sure he won't mind if I steal a few ideas back, especially since his newest campaingn is set 11 years after The Burning Trogs Redux would occur.  

Thursday, December 14, 2017

(Kickstarter) Love Tove by Askfageln

*****EDIT: Despite the best of intentions, certain factors the camapign had violated the Kickstarter user agreement and Love Tove was cancelled as a result.  If you would like to support Tove and Anders, please use their Go Fund Me Page****

My weekly doses of Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff have me subconsciously memorizing the spoken ads they do between segments.

Although the Yellow King, Delta Green, and Unknown Armies pieces dominate recent episodes, I always appreciated the Best of Fenix Vol 1-2 available from Askfageln HB.

Now, publishers Tove and Anders Gillbring, not biologically related, but related by their love of role-playing games (and marriage) need your help.

It happens Tove Gillbring, who already beat back cancer once with fury, had it not only sneak back in, but it spread throughout her body.  Options are limited and, per her request, all they can do is buy time and write as much RPG material as they possibly could.

While I would lean towards the Swedish version of a GoFundMe account, they've decided to launch their campaign, Love Tove on Kickstarter.

Full disclosure:  you get nothing from this Kickstarter, other than the satisfaction that two people that love each other get to spend a few more moments together on this Earth.  And hopefully, Askfalgen will have a number of books and articles soon available for purchase with Tove in the credits as a designer, rather than an in memoriam

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

(IOU) The Ghost of Dirty Ben Franklin

The Ghost of Dirty Ben Franklin
Ben Franklin probably went to IOU as a youth, or at least he partied there enough that it felt like he was a student there. His death has somehow trapped him on campus an incarnation of his 1790's visage. His coat, waistcoat, breeches, this wire frames, and buckle shoes (if he wishes to walk no legs or shoes but a stereotype wispy tail for a ghost if he wishes to float) He floats around hitting on the college ladies, going to parties and looking for a good time. He is non corporeal most of the time, but can become solid when he tries. He does this to get with the ladies or go drinking. When he drinks he can get drunk and then has troubles with staying either corporal or non. He then has troubles passing through objects or picking up things. His started auditing classes in the political science department, but often doesn’t bother going to class.

Guess Who? (4)
Ben attempts to take over and possess another person. It takes a lot of effort for him. He can do so and make someone do his bidding, each action getting a 4D6 roll, but Ben cannot make a person harm themselves.

I Got This (3)
Ben attempts to pass through an object or pick something up. This is especially required when he has used it several times to get his drink on effecting his concentration.

I Invented Electricity, Bitches! (2)
Ben can invent items on the spot, just nothing very modern. Most things need to be pre-computer age items. He can attempt modern items, but the chances aren’t looking good unless you want a stove or water/web flippers.

Halloweenie (1)
Being a ghost Ben, but not a very frightening ghost, Ben has a chance to scare, terrify and stun a person or animal if he tries. Most times people just laugh at him though if he tries.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Ballad of the Pigeon God #36: Prophecy Fills the Air

28 DuoDec 1071  -  Chateau d'Echelon, Barony of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
An attack on his estate by fairies and the acquisition of a series of paintings full of too many coincidences concerned Baron Echelon. With the Cult of Apotheosis just outside his borders, talking about the return of some ancient king, and paintings telling of a past as well as a future yet to come, he needed guidance.

So like any novice noble he sought advice and wisdom.

In the broom closet.

His mentor, Mohammad had lived a traumatic life, one of slavery, shark attacks, guarding portals, and his psyche becoming overwhelmed with the divine spark of the gods themselves. Legless and mentally broken, he hid inside the close confines of closet to commune with Tshang Kai Shing, eastern god of the sea and sky and shield him from the sky itself from crashing down into his soul.

He didn't even raise a hand to knock on the door as an old, tired voice came from the other side:

"I too have seen the visions, Echelon. You must embrace them, but our lord Tshang Kai Shing in his wisdom knows you must get your house in order first."

"But what does this mean??? Why am I painted on a canvas from centuries ago?"

"It is simple. Those simpletons by the lake have nothing, so they can feel the upcoming war. They just don't know what will happen. They will be wholly unprepared. You, you, and your friends are obviously the chosen ones. Your friends can help you find out what that is, while you secure your family. Stability here, and abroad, will benefit all, when the time comes. Now go away. I am tired and Tshang Kai Shing will soon request commune with me soon."


Echelon left his mentor and travelled back downstairs.  He asked for volunteers to travel to Omsjik and even Hydincall to find experts to tell them about the paintings.  Sales of all of them were approved, however someone needed to make a sketch of the painting over the mantle.  That one would stay put. 

Mellandria volunteered for the trip. Ariel agreed to show her artistic talents by sketching the painting.

"I'll go."

The chiseled bald man known as Rolf Wolfsblood stood in the archway between the kitchen and dining room, his extravagant ill-gotten furs already on, ready to leave at a moments notice. 

31 DuoDec 1071 - Town of Omsjik, Kingdom of Crosedes
The town of Omsjik was large enough to actually have an art community, yet many could not identify the paintings.  Many were interested, but all suggested visit Basil LeCounture at the Royal (non-magic) Lyceum in Hydincall.

35 DuoDec 1071, Hydincall, Kingdom of Crosedes 
Arriving in the capital and encountering mundane university bureaucracy for the first time Rolf was simply exasperated that he could not put the female scribe in charge of LeCounture's affairs through a stone wall.

The meeting with the expert was far worse than the one with the assistant! He was condenscending, pretentious, and spoke in a tone only reserve when one needed to hold his nose when using the privy after Norm's turn. Fortunately, Mellandria and Ariel could speak portions of his dialect and this sad man poured forth knowledge. The paintings had been done by a painter named Bantern in 856, to celebrate King Cesmir's tenth anniversary as King of Crosedes.  Upon the death of Cervinal I in 897, Cesmir's progeny died off and the assigned regent, Odo of Hydincall gave the painting back  to Bantern while the nobles elected a new king, Celowin the Blood-Red, the first of the current House of Silvershields.
Basil LeCounture
The last known member of Bantern's family passed away early last year, in fact it was his estate auction where Ashe had procured infamous "White Plume Mountain."

"For a steal, I should add. Most of the auctioneer's postings had the event two days later. Needless to say, that incompetent boob is no longer welcome in any portion of the kingdom."
When pressed for more knowledge on the contents of the painting, Basil had little on "Haven" and "Higher Ground."

"Both were painted much later in his life. Haven isn't a real place and the brute of the man in the center of it is completely unrealis..... ," he stopped, staring at Rolf's visage which matched the painting's perfectly.

"The White Plume Mountain is a famous volcano on the border with Aragain. If the deadly steam, choking ash, and magma won't kill you, the guardians inside will. Inside is rumored to be three weapons, the Blood-Brand, a live stealing sword once wielded by the Sorcerer-Kings of Senzar, the immortals of Prythax, and the ancient Ferasean Kings. Over-Whelm, a battle-axe wielded by the warlords of the half-dwarves of Hyperborea, and a trident named Wave, deposited by parties unknown. While not the most powerful relics, there have been rumors for hundreds of years, that when mankind is in terrible peril, those three weapons will help turn the tide. If you three are looking to save the world, you're probably out of luck. Thousands have face the mountain and died, plus who in the blue blazes of Hades knows how to fight with a tri..."

"Let me guess, you have a friend that worships a fish god?"

Departing the lyceum, the girls decided to hit the tavern, while Rolf wandered. He had found an intriguing magic shop on his previous trips to Hydincall, only to discover that Talis may have blown the place up right before Kannex had transported most of them to Talislanta.

Upon retracing his steps, he found the shell of the familiar building, singe marks still marking the stonework around the windows. The interior had been completely rebuilt, and the offices of a mercenary company filled the rooms. Some tattoos and emblems seemed familiar, and as Rolf inquired about pay and possible adventure, it finally hit him.

Everything matched the brigand Leonid's band of misfits that they had encountered.

Immediately, Rolf's hand clasped around the interviewing mercenary captain's throat and he lifted the startled man as high as he could.

"Why did Leonid have the paintings?"

The captain soiled himself, and bravado of the other men that had pervaded the building completely vaporized.

"We were paid quite well up front to take those paintings from that damned Cult of Light! Job's still open if you know where they are. I don't want to refund the Lady Celeste."

"Lady Celeste? The daughter of the Dread Lord?"

Any thought of emitting another damning word escape the captain as terror filled his soul. The barbarian tossed the captain into a pile of his own men, turned towards the door and smacked two other mercs with the backsides of his hands, sending both flying. It was time to go home.

6 TriDec1071  -  Lake Apotheosis, Kingdom of Crosedes
Rolf had traded the cart for a sledge while on the outskirts of the capital. The snowpack still had a good week left before the thaw turned it into mud, and another cart with the gold could be obtained back in Eding. 

On the way back, they stopped at the camp of the Cult of Light. Their leader, a man who called himself Henri greeted them warmly and offered food and shelter. While Mellandria inquired about the missing paintings, Henri seemed quite open. He knew that they had been painted by Bantern and sometime after 897 they ended up in the tombs across the river. Members of Apotheosis were under strict orders to never remove any treasure, not matter how fancy, no matter how plain looking, from the tombs, yet a week and a half ago, when bandits raided the campsite, the paintings could be seen among the plunder getting carted off.

Rolf stood up, walked over the sledge, and pulled out "The Fall of Haven," handing it to Henri.

"This was the only one we found when we encountered them. Put it back where it belongs." 

The red flames of the bonfire allowed Henri to comprehend who his benefactor was.

"Rolf Wolfsblood, you are welcome here, and amongst all the noble tables of the world, I assure you." Henri declared, as he handed the painting off another cultist and they scurried across the ice to secure it in the tombs.

7 TriDec 1071 - Chateau d'Echelon, Barony of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
The trio arrived back at the Chateau with lots of knowledge, but minus one of the paintings.  Echelon barely heard of word, as he prepared the sledge to travel back to Hydincall with the remainder of the taxes owed.  Ashe, Mellandria, Ariel, Dag, and a recovered Babette volunteered.  Rolf advised them to make a wide berth of the Cult of Light.

After hiding the other two paintings behind a wall in the Chateau, the barbarian found his monk friend Kane, huddling by the fire. 

"Don't worry my friend, it will be warm sooner than you know."

"The cold air I do know mind, Mister Wolfsblood.  It is the dark nights that worry me, and there is much to worry about already."

"That's good Kane, for it is a time of trouble and trial.  And that's why I need you to watch over Mohammad.  Make sure he is safe and away from whatever trials await us here in the Chateau and in Eding,  His loss would crack Echelon for sure, and the pigeon lover and his man-whore companion are the only things guaranteed to keep the barony together." 

"I swear"

Next:  #37 - Crimes and Lesser Misdemeanors

Monday, December 11, 2017

Feline Kaiju Combat in 30mm

A day full of kid's basketball games, gymnastics practice, and Mrs Viscount and myself shopping and wrapping gifts was culminated with just enough snow to keep us all inside for the rest of the weekend.

... and laundry kept us occupied the rest of the time.

One silver lining was the procurement of one of ViscountEric's favorite beers:  Troeg's Mad Elf.
Yes, I'm drinking it as I assemble this blog post.  
We're still catching up with our TV (the kids do heartily approve all of the Earth-X shenanigans on the WB), but with a clean house and most Christmas shopping complete, we can go back to playing games upstairs and painting little men downstairs.


Saturday, December 9, 2017

(Review) My Little Pony: Tokens of Friendship

Getting in on the ground floor with the My Little Pony: Tails of Equestria Storytelling Game, I'm able to get each item as they come in rather than a backlog.  The good news is the first two products, the hardcover rulebook, and the Curse of the Statuettes boxed set were top notch.

The first stumble for River Horse Games/Ninja Division is their Tokens of Friendship game accessory.

The small box contains 12 purple Tokens of Friendship and a MLP: Tails of Equestria drawstring bag for a player to keep track.

The problem with the product, isn't the concept.  Plenty of pony fans will want everything to do with the game, and the idea of official Tokens will ring true to them.  The true problem is the size of the items for the $6.95 price tag.
The tiny Tokens of Friendship and pouch, with d20 from the boxed set and glass bead for scale. 
For ten clear purple plastic tokens and a small screen printed dice pouch, seven bucks seems a bit high.  Personally, I use glass beads, which you can pick up at any pet or craft store at half the price for at least double the quantity.

Despite loving the game, I have to give the Tokens of Friendship One and a half gnomes out of Five on the Gaming with the Gnomies Rating System.
There's plenty of better (and cheaper) alternatives.  Save your money for new MLP books coming down the pipeline.

Friday, December 8, 2017

A Big Sigh of Relief... Maybe

I write this post directly from my desk at work, blatantly ignoring the small pile of post-busy season work accumulating in my bin.

My three months of hell known as the busy season at work are officially over.  I've got tons of clean-up work to do (and voluntary overtime), but that's just part of my job description.

The kids activities have been overwhelming us (and our cars) this Fall.  It may reach critical mass tomorrow, with three basketball games PLUS gymnastics practice PLUS a trip to Grandma's so good ol' Mom and Dad can desperately get the Christmas shopping and wrapping finished.

Needless to say, our usual "unplanned" pick-up games have not been going off, even like they did this time last year.  If it's not one of the two conventions we attended, my Monday night online 5e group that shows up half the time, or the never completed family decathalon of games, nothing else was getting accomplished.

And we haven't even gotten to the meat of hockey season.

But once we get through all of that, I see hope.

  1. I managed to review my backlog of games/ideas from the Fall, and better spread out the ideas I dumped into early 2018.  I also conducted a meeting of the minds with my core players (my girls) and they're content with my current schedule with a new season of the Pulp Game.  I did get an overwhelming vote of support for more Mouslings.  My blog hits and kids can't lie.
  2. The kids were very interested in evil wizards taking over Christmas and girls on camels who like to gamble (not sure the girls or camels gambled).  Or a Russian super-star is the only hope for Russian Christmas.  But Russia is too nice, they're up to something...  Time to paint up the shirtless Putin.  
  3. The tree is up at home, and the decorations suffered minimal damage, but the restoration projects meant my painting bench is covered in holy and tinsel.  Snow days are coming... as well a good pile of Kickstarter deliveries I'm repurposing as my Christmas gifts.
  4. A quick trip to Michael's for some supplies and I think the gnomes and goblins can come out for a Christmas game.
  5. I've got a review of Pulp Alley's Lost World of Lemuria in the pipeline, plus a few other "holiday" projects. Project Zero is still in my sights...
  6. Hopefully we have two more weeks of our 5e game before Christmas and we can get together for a big completion of the first dungeon in our BECMI D&D game. 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

(Kickstarter) War in Christmas Village Sequels

Sometimes the seasonal items that appear on Kickstarter actually get made!

Last year I mentioned the small set for the War in Christmas Village.  The four figure set was funded and was actually successfully delivered.

This Christmas they're back with  War in Christmas Village Sequels, two separate boxed set.

Oh Christmas Treent, How Deadly Are Thy Branches?
She Ain't Havin' It!
Each set is availabe for $30 + $10 S&H to the US, or $55 +$15 S&H for both. 

Streets of Rome by Sarissa Precision

Sarissa Precision has recently announced Streets of Rome, a new range of laser-cut buildings designed for use with Footsore and War Banner's Gangs of Rome rules, but with plenty of utility in Ancient Rome and beyond.



Pre-orders are currently being taken, with a January delivery date. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

What to Run at Mepacon Spring 2018?

If I feel like Mepacon Fall 2017 was less than a month ago, the truth is, it was!

After twelve hours of running My Little Pony with some acclaim, it's time to mix things up a bit and try to run theme events at Mepacon Spring 2018.

With a theme of "Heroes and Villains," I'm going to let someone else try and run Champions or TSR Marvel.

TWERPS: Superdudes - Society of the Legion of Super-Dudes and Dudettes.  Two hour superheroics in the theme of Giffen and DeMatteis Justice League.  Perhaps I'll try another Jeff Dee creation, Pocket Universe.

Heroclix: Ka-POW.... with Feeling! - Kids game using Heroclix mechanics, but focusing on the narrative, both story and combat. 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/After the Bomb:  It would also work for the post-apoc theme a few cons ago, but this sounds like a nice 4-hour adult RPG session.

My Little Pony: Super-Heroes of Equestria 
It was a big hit last con, why not up the stats and have a whirl at super-heroes?

My Little Pony: Equestrian Adventures - Or I could just run more ponies the traditional way.

Savage Pulp: Pulp is the predecessor of the Comic Book/Super-Hero genre, and to run a few session of our Pulp Egypt game might be fun

Savage Mice:  Mousling running amok in fantasy.  Fun for all ages.

Pulp RPG: Warlord/Blackhawk - Perhaps the least thought through of the ideas, taking the non-spandex comics like Warlord and turning them into a four-color game.  

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Ballad of the Pigeon God #35: Gladestrom

27 DuoDec 1071 - Chateau d'Echelon, Barony of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
As our heroes were finally together again at the Chateau, and with Lady Iris the Royal Overseer back in Hydincall, which was essentially a nod of approval by the King, it was time to break out the smoked meats, preserves, and cheap liquor.  Some real heroes dashed out to town to snag a few extra bottles of wine from the Blue Wizard Inn, so the mood was appropriately festive.

With Talis and Ariel leading the dancing with their musical selections, Dag's children backed them up adequately on percussion.  There was dancing, there was singing, and attempted canoodling between everyone in the Chateau.

And definite canoodling between Dew Xyclone, voluptuous middle-aged housekeeper, and Norm Dingleberry, everyone's favorite dwarf.

Then the fairies showed up.

Not the fairies of legend, not the cute near-pixie like beings.  These were mischievous imps, with a sparkling gold glow around their bodies.  They caused a general ruckus throughout the Chateau, emptying serving bowls, smashing plates, throwing goblets, and terrorizing one and all.

Without weapons at the ready, chairs, banisters, and frying pans were the weapons to combat the fae creatures and alleviate the damage. Soon, the remaining fairies focused all their attention on the giant painting Ashe had purchased at Hydincall auction the Summer before.

By this time, some people were able to grab formal implements of death and the surviving fairies were driven off, but not before they phased through the walls, found the cart that our heroes had liberated from brigands outside of town, and magically levitated it off the ground and took it with them on their escape.

28 DuoDec 1071  -  Barony of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
The group was in no condition to follow them in the foot deep snow into the woods and the gods only knew where.   The following morning, those not suffering from a hangover prepared to track the creatures in daylight.
Baron Echelon - Baron of Eding, Cleric of Tshang Hai Ching, owner of the fairy-attacked Chateau
Ashe - White haired Elven Ranger
Rolf Wolfsblood - bald-head, facially-tattooed barbarian from the steppes of Galmar.
Kane - Monk studying Eastern elemental mysticism of water.
Velandro - Devout Priest of Akana
Dag di Velandro - NPC - Kobold acolyte of Akana
"Baron" Felix - NPC -  Farm foreman on the Chateau.

There were no tracks or dust from the fairies themselves, but stealing the cart proved their downfall. Under normal conditions, the levitated cart would have hovered ten inches or so above the actual ground, but the magicks did not take into consideration the foot of snow laying on top of it.  The fairies escape had created two obvious wheel ruts into the first few inches of snow, providing an easy trail to follow.

The trail led them off the estate, and into the sparse woods, finally ending at a long abandoned house, an empty cart sitting outside.

The fairies did not appear like they wanted to parlay and the party showed them no mercy.  Upon searching the house they found the paintings... and a gruesome sight.

Many men, some still with weapons in hand, had been killed and partially devoured.  They recognized some as the few of the brigand Leonid's band that they had fought off the day before (and obtained the paintings.)  With a little reconnoitering, they found the old path the former inhabitants used to reach the main road, and they dragged cart with the paintings back to the Chateau, reaching home just before nightfall.

After dinner everyone examined the oil paintings sought by fairy, brigand, and adventurer alike.  All of them appeared to have been painted by the same artist, or at least the same style.
  • Founding of Crosdes with King Cesmir  Gran Duke Cesmir Repitllius of Ferrand accepts the Crown of Draloite from the Archbiship of Hydincall in the Year 846.  Cesmir's skin is painted with a odd scaly technique.
  • The Fall of Haven - A bald headed barbarian in a chaotic overgrown castle stabs a giant ruby with a magical knife.  The red ruby light and shadows makes elaborate patterns over the barbarian's face. 
  • Taking the Higher Ground - A lone warrior in a tattered green cloak trudges up a steep embankment with a stream gurgling below him in the valley.  His eyes burn.  
The group was shocked to see the familiarity of the subjects.  King Cesmir was a known historical entity.  A bald barbarian with shadowy facial tattoos and a possible elf with battleworn Elven Cloak looked way too similar to Rolf and Ashe. 

Then little Timmy, all ten years of him, looked up at the huge painting hanging over the mantle in the Chateau and gasped.  What everyone remembered as three generic adventurers pointing at a mountain spewing a cloud of steam appeared to have transformed into something a bit more... realistic. 
The mountain was still spewing steam, but the surrounding mountains were quite distinguishable.  The generic adventurers were quite detailed.  Ashe, Norm, and a trident-holding Echelon were staring at the mountain, and what every though were trees near them now were other adventurers, including a man with an outrageously big hat (Talis actually blushed upon his realization).

This new discovery left many unsettled.  Rolf tried to find a quiet spot amongst the bedrooms to make sense of everything, when a closet door poked open and a brown-skinned man's head emerged.

It was Mohammad, Echelon's mentor, who was magically scarred by channeling divine energy from his god, Tshang Hai Ching.  He spent most of his time mumbling prayers inside cramped, safe spaces, like the few closets in the main Chateau.

"Rolf, what is of the matter?"

"Hey Mo, just more of the usual craziness.  The chateau got invaded by fairies and now all the old paintings have us painted in them."

"Hmmm... take me to the stairs so may peek at them."

The barbarian lifted the legless priest into his arms and allowed him to peer around the corner of the stairs at the painting over the fireplace.

"Oooooooooh, I see.  Take me back to my prayer room."  Rolf obliged.

"Rolf, the fae only show you what you are not willing to see normally.  You must figure out what this all means for you." 

DM Notes:  This week's adventure was Gladestrom from Underworld Publishing.  The details are lost to memory, but it did involve fairies, paintings, and the big reveal as to the importance of the painting Ashe bought in Hydincall and gifted to Echelon.   Like the other Underworld product I used previously, Harbinger of Darkness, no legal pdfs are available and copies on eBay are way too expensive for such a mediocre module for me to plot a more exact recollection.

While the conversation between Mohammad and Rolf may not have happened exactly at this place and time, the wise words of the legless, agoraphobic prophet of the eastern god of the sea and sky will become more important as time goes on...