Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I'M OFF TO THE CONVENTION

Well, in something like 3  hours I will be going to Origins to begin my indentured servitude as security. So, if you are coming by be sure to break a rule and we'll meet as I throw you out :)

I am looking forward to the convention though. I don't usually have much time for events but it looks like I might slip into a 750 warband tournament for Warhammer Fantasy Battles and I might dig into something called "monster mash", we shall see.

I will try to take pictures and post a blog, but no promises.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons

Ah, I can still remember the early days of my role playing experience(s). It was a wonder to discover such an imaginative game and it fit my nature very well. Today I still make strong daily use of my imagination and my vocabulary and reading skills are strong and while I'm not so geeky as to attribute it all to AD&D I do feel it was a strong contributor. There are several aspects of that game that caught my mind and I felt like blogging a little about that.
I still wonder how much that gem stone eye is worth...
I first played with the "Red Box" and I could have easily put up a picture of it but it's elsewhere on the blog. This player's handbook though is really where I took off. I started refereeing my own games as Dungeon Master (giggle snort) and my group grew from two (including me) to nine (including me again) and we had such amazing adventures! I wish now that I had kept a journal of the sessions more for short story material than anything else. I still have a manila folder with character sketches of the player's characters one of the players had made. They are wonderful to dig out every now and then, sure they are totally and COMPLETELY geeky but the essence of role playing is just geeky and to see the vague references within those drawings of the people who played those characters is a sweet bit of history.

Another aspect of those early days was the art. Today's fantasy art is, well, fantastic stuff. Wayne Reynolds is one of my favorites, his work is just full of action although it is wildly unreal (which is wildly awesome imho) but it and the others lack the simple evocation of artist like Jeff Easily and Larry Elmore. Hell, Larry Elmore basically defined what a beautiful woman looks like and I married a woman who is such an Elmorian beauty you wouldn't believe it. Work's like the cover of the AD&D game cartridge for the Intellivision (right) has something in it. Something that captures the sense of exploration and adventure and I think this is because it was such a new field for many people and there is a quality to it that makes it possible to believe the giant snake could be real even though logic tells you it isn't. When playing the game artwork like this makes it easy to craft what a beholder would 'really' look like in your imagination. I wish I was rich so I could obtain some of these originals and build a museum to them, HA!

The toys was another large part of the over all experience. I didn't have many, I didn't have much money and I grew out of toy age kind of fast but even now I've collected a few (including a Dragonne unopened in box) but the toys have that same quality the earlier art work did. They were crude, rough hewn, natural in their own way. The minotaur looked feral and brutal, the orcs weasily and threatening and the heroes like those who had risen to the challenge when they could have been a black smith or farmer. Miniatures are prominent in my life now and though I no longer play RPGs I still look at these toy soldiers in a similar light I looked at those old toys. The pre-painted plastics that have grown up through the years are weak next to these old toys even though they are better made and better looking, they look manufactured in a way the old AD&D toys didn't.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

14 and 40K

I see a 14th follower has slipped into a seat at the round table, which pleases me greatly! My power grows daily MUAHAHAHAHAHA!

Anyway, recently I obtained the most excellent Assault on Black Reach box set which is the introduction to Warhammer 40K.
Shameless Picture Theft HUZZAH!
Which is just packed full of good models, a nice rule book a great introductory book and everything yummy you need to play. The "task force" and "war band" are unbalanced to be sure but I'm just as interested in asymmetric battle as well as balance combats so it seems fine to me. There's been dozens of reviews on this product from others so I'm not going to drop one.

I have played 40K before, actually started playing it during 2nd edition (oh that was a hard edition) and really dug in during 3rd edition where I played Dark Eldar and really tore up the battle field. At one point I had an Ultramarines army that I STUPIDLY parted with and to this day regret. My group fell out of love with 40K because a lot was going on in their lives and I didn't have a 40K army. I'm back though and see the AOBR box as my official re-entry. We did not play 4th edition so there appears to me to be many changes from 3rd to 5th but others will probably see more of an evolution than I do. The 5th edition rules are nice, but I digress. the real reason for this post is to announce my plan for constructing a space marine army. I'd added a page to this blog and it should have the army list plan. I'll post pictures of each unit as it gets done and comments about how I painted it.

Also, I've not forgotten the Magic & Monsters list, I've just been to busy to finish compiling it.

Warbands Collide

My friend Ron came over on Tuesday night to pit his High Elf war band against my Lizardmen war band. There is a 750 point tournament this year at Origins and I'm pretty excited about playing in it. So far no one BUT me has signed up but I'm hoping that changes in the next few weeks.

Sigh...

ANYWAY I wanted to get some practice with such a small force so I invited/challenged Ron's elves. I brought to bear the army list given last post, but the skink priest is now carrying the Ironcurse Icon, seems like a more likely to be used item for a tournament. Ron fielded Caradryan, 10 phoenix guard, a reaper bolt thrower and 23 sea guard. Quite a dangerous 750 points. Caradryan's magic resistance of 3 completely screwed my skink priest if he got any magic missile spells, which he did; both Uranon's Thunderbolts and Chainlightning. I elected to drop chain lightning for Iceshard Blizzard, two casting costs of 10 or higher may be a little much for a level 2 wizard.

We lined up our forces and rolled for first turn, which he won. Not knowing what scenario will be played at the tournament (if it happens) we went for a straight forward pitched battle of 4 turns.
Deployment at the beginning of the game.

Turn 1: The phoenix guard marched towards my stegadon, the sea guard moved (and fired) and the bolt thrower predictably just waited to fire. The elf shooting was only so so with the skink unit suffering a total of 3 losses. As he had no wizard and no remains in play spells were in play we skipped the magic phase. I marched my saurus, moved my skinks and held back the stegadon since it was a roll of 8 to charge and I wanted to try the great bow which is something I don't use very often. I was hoping his phoenix guard would try a failed charge next turn or just march forward. My magic phase was... interesting... as I had 10 power dice and threw six to cast thunderbolt on his bolt thrower and even threw the total power/miscast so he couldn't dispel it. I nailed the unit with five hits out of a possible six, all of which hit the war machine and all failed to wound it. Then I rolled on miscast and BLASTED my own unit with a large template wounding my priest, killing several skinks and almost killing a kroxigor. What a mess, but I did get to throw blizzard on his guard giving me some advantage if I get the charge next turn.
End of Turn One
Turn 2: He held ground with all units, which is not what I wanted at all. His missile fire was pretty solid and reduced the skink unit to only a single kroxigor and a handful of skinks. On my turn I charged his sea guard successfully and his phoenix guard (a roll of 7 and 8 respectively to be successful). My magic was a failure as he dispelled my thunderbolt but again cast blizzard on his guard which he failed to dispel. Close combat was brutal, my saurus warriors chopped up some of his sea guard and they fled but I failed to catch them by 1 inch (ugh). The stegadon smashed into his phoenix guard, they slew all the skinks in the howdah when I failed a ton of saving throws, and I won the fight by one but he did not flee. As an aside, his bolt thrower made their panic roll so they didn't run either!
End of Turn Two
Turn 3: The sea guard rallied, the bolt thrower blasted my skink unit again but didn't do much damage (he rolled badly). His close combat phase was bad for me, the stegadon was beaten only because he had a standard and I failed my leadership roll causing it to flee which he ran down. They ran right by the skink priest that made his panic roll. My turn saw a charge on the sea guard again and the bolt thrower with my skink spinning on the spot to look at the backs of the remaining phoenix guard with magic in his mind. The thunderbolt did successfully slay two of the remaining four models, which was quite an accomplishment considering Caradryan's magic resistance but they didn't flee either which sucked. close combat saw the sea guard beaten and flee off the table and only one of the two bolt thrower crew being slain, as well as me loosing a skink! Neither ran though.
End of Turn Three
Turn 4: Not much happened so to sum it up: I killed the last crew man and he spun his last phoenix guard around with Caradryan leaving the unit (of one). This was so he could align the two getting a better aim on the wizard for a charge, which was pretty solid tactics if there was another turn. I ran by them of course, didn't really want to get him charged.
End of Turn Four
At the end of the game I had scored 305 points from the sea guard and he had scored 235 from the stegadon so it was a near victory for me. Another couple of turns I'm fairly confident I could have killed the last phoenix guard... and PROBABLY Caradryan but I can't guarantee that he is a tough bugger. Ron played really well except he forgot his re-rolls with ASF. I really shouldn't have threw the stegadon into the hero led heavy infantry with a ward save, but I was really just wanting to test its power. I've not lost my stegadon often and I didn't mind loosing it this time. 

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