Monday, February 12, 2018

The Blackbarrow Chronicles, Episode 2, The Gauntlet Part 1 - Preview

The Blackbarrow Chronicles,  Episode 2, The Gauntlet  Part 1 - Preview

Blackbarrow Chronicles is a series of reports on the  fantasy games played on my Village of Blackbarrow table. A long term project that I have been working on in large and small parts for just about a decade.   The rules for Episode 2 are again a “hacked” version of the OSR “The Black Hack” ruleset  designed with specifically miniature gaming in mind. 

Blackbarrow -from a longview from far above the Dungeon section
I spent the last month and then some of my hobby time getting ready for this post and I’m happy to report as I write this I have painted about dozen miniatures since last post and have four more to do before we start rolling dice. This first part of Episode 2, is going to explain the set up,  the factions and involved and cover some the general improvements I made in town since last post. I fear that If I left this all for one post its be far too long and that would just delay me getting the whole episode posted but the end of the month.

The Gauntlet run, the caravan will start just around the corner from where you see it here, its about 40 inches to the Bridge..

"The Gauntlet" , at face value is a pretty stereo typical skirmish game type mission, The defenders must transport the caravan from point A to point B, the attackers must make of with the goods, while delivering as much damage as possible . The Defenders or protagonists in this case are the Merchants Guild. The antagonists or attackers are the local band of thieves, the curveballs to make this interesting are the corrupt Sheriff of Blackbarrow and his men are working as double agents paid off by the Thieves to slow down and distract the Merchant Caravan, but order by the Towns Castellan to protect it. To add another layer to the mix, the Merchants is sending three chests in the caravan but only one contains the loot, the other two are decoys . Even the Merchants themselves purposely don’t know which of the chests contains the prize, we will roll off after the mission to find out which one.

This public market area is a work in progress , I have a few tables and one stall so far, it wont get too much larger, The bandits arent painted yet, but here is Rob Roys wanted poster..
The objective is to transport all three chests to from the Merchant House and Moneylenders to the Castle once the Caravan reaches the bridge (being physically on it, ) It is considered “safe” as its in range of the Castle Guards heavy crossbows.

The Sheriff and his men will intercede at the Bottom of Turn one and at the Top of Turn 4, if  involved in combat they will withdraw, but they main goal is to “inspect” the caravan while “escorting it” in order to hopefully make off with on of the chests.As the Distance traveled is just about 40 inches and the movement of the slow moving caravan is 6 inches..we should be running about 7 full turns not counting combat delays.

The town blacksmith finally made it onto the table!

The Story:
With local coffers dwindling due to Banditry and Corruption , attracting new recruits for a life of soldiering at Blackbarrow Castle has become difficult. With the disappearance of his Sergeant at Arms and 4 good men whose daytrip to investigate strange glowing lights seen at night from the Castle at nearby Fellcross Ruins has left the Castle Garrison woefully understaffed. The Castellan has been forced to sell off some his heirloom jewelry  in order to pay for the hire of the esteemed Iron Tower Mercenary Company. 

    The Merchants Guild was quite willing to come to his aid and and knows it can fetch a great price for the jewels at the regional port city. Already in possession of the jewels (which were discretely passed off days ago to the Guildmaster- Zilchus while at the local market.) All that’s left to do is move a large chest of gold crowns from the very secure Merchant House to the Castle so the Castellan can pay his mercenaries when they arrive.
Zilchus and the Merchants Guild, with the three Chests they will marching down the street, The three in the middle are just henchmen, the buff fellow on the end is a Warrior
      Zilchus is no fool he knows any number of local groups will be on the lookout for   opportunity to steal the loot. The Castellan,  not being able to spare any men at the moment,  orders the local sheriff to make sure his gold gets to the Castle "or else".  The Merchants wisely assume its worth the extra gold to hire some protection of their own out of the pool of  transient adventurers..

Thrum , a Barbarian half breed of some long forgottern giant race and his cohort- Reynard , a Wizard who probably should have retired already, a hires by the Merchants Guild this time around.
The notorious local Bandit Rob Roy, and his gang, called “the Lowlanders” picked up word of the cash caravan from Zilchus’s own henchman , overheard talking about it while drinking at the Wayside Inn, they have conspired with the Sheriff to slow down the Caravan as much as possible so they can swoop in and steal the gold, Rob Roy isn’t stupid there a price on his and all his gangs heads. Despite promises to the Sheriff for "his cut"  Rob Roy knows the sheriff will betray him at first chance if things dont go perfect , So the bandits plan to let the Sheriff grab the gold himself, - then steal it from him- which if successful will kill two birds with one stone, With the Castellans wrath getting the Sheriff locked up in the Castles Dungeon..

The Sheriff of Blackbarrow and his men.
 The Sheriff looks out for himself, he’s been working with the bandits looking “ the other way” for a 20% cut for some time. He’s much better off with the Castellan’s power somewhat destabilized as it allows him much more freedom to operate. The Castellan recently upped Rob Roys Bounty to 250 crowns and 50 a head for his gang. The Sheriff and his men while too far to be seen at the end of turn one from the Castle will take any cheap shot they can on the Merchant Caravan, on turn 4 they will be much more careful looking opportunity’s hidden from view or looking for easy money  with “Out of Action”  Bandits to snatch up or better yet  loose chests from the Merchants Caravan to “safeguard.”

Blackbarrow and its current environs, Keyed, with a view from the large tower.
As far working on the Town itself -I haven’t bit the bullet on digging into the next project yet, I haven’t decided whether I want to build the Mill or finish up the Caverns in the Dungeon. I did do a little town maintenance, I cleaned a few transitions that sometime appear unsightly in some of the photos, I added a sewer grate over what makes sense to be a drainage ditch running from the Inn, past the Merchant House, Under the Hall of Tyr to the river, I cast some reduced profile stone work done and some odds and ends for the beginning of  the Market area, added a small bridge for the transition from the main table to the castle, more varying bushes and landscaping and probably some more I have forgotten about by now.
Something is always going on at The Inn, This time we have a couple of new visitors - a pair of elves from the Dungeon Decor Kickstarter a couple years back, I gave one them a hat from an old GW kit and the other Lute from the same KS.
  The next steps are getting started onwhatever the next large project is going to be which probably dictate where we go with Episode 3, and what ever models are getting painted up.I still need to finish painting the Bandits this week for this scenario and the we are rolling dice. Which I am hoping will happen this coming weekend, putting this preview together has got me ready to go.

Our new Travelers in the Ox Cart, the Cart and the Ox from those Wizkids D&D pre-primed line, way more work than I anticipated,    I often overlook that most D&D players are NOT remotely in anyway miniatures hobbyists, reviews I read on these are VERY kind and overlook ALOT of flaws, in the end I think it came out fine, it just was more of  a "project" than I expected.

Friday, January 5, 2018

The Blackbarrow Chronicles, Episode 1,

Blackbarrow Chronicles  - Episode I,  A Grave Occasion ( Battle On Blackbarrow Bridge)

Blackbarrow Chronicles is a series of reports  on fantasy games played on my Village of Blackbarrow table that I have been working on in bits and parts for just about a decade.   The rules for Episode 1 are a test of a “hacked” version of the OSR “The Black Hack” ruleset  designed with specifically miniature gaming in mind.  Overall it doesn’t matter what rules we use, be it these, Otherworld Skirmish, Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes, or the several others I’ve talked about the games flavor and Campaign Narrative will continue. The are a lot of Characters in Blackbarrow, From  Heroic Adventures and their Henchman, the Townsfolk and the Royal Authority that rule them from Blackbarrow Castle, to various power groups both good and bad , like Merchants guild, the town sheriff and his guards,  Mercenary groups for hire, Evil Cultists and of course the local Dungeon chock full of monsters.. Future posts will  be new stories or focus on the overview of its town and its inhabitants

 Basic Rules Notes-
  Everyone gets a move action and an action, you can sacrifice your action for additional movement but not vice versa.
Dice Mechanic-
   D20  All rolls to hit , avoid, save or cast spells are tests against individual character stats
 (STR, DEX, INT , ect)
  Advantage- if some has the Advantage they roll 2 dice and pick the higher, if they are Disadvantaged the roll 2 dice and take the lower..

I've reposted the scale chart to explain distances, HTML reads my typed version of this chart as code.

  Armor Points- Some Characters have Armor, unlike traditional Armor Classes,  Armor Points used as Damaged Reduction with a static total per battle when they are gone, they are gone. In scenarios with multiple battles, there is an opportunity to repair.
Spells may be repeatedly cast as long as a Spellcheck is made testing INT with a penalty of the Spell Level, failing this the spell slot  is temporarily lost.
 Statistic Tests-
  Target number for Stat test is ascending . “ i.e you need a 11 to hit”…penalties increase that number so you will see “ +1 Penalty” making the target number harder or “-1 Bonus” making it easier. Often times we state the reverse (-1 Penalty) but mean the same thing. I’ve kept the notations linear in hope of keeping things as clear as possible.

Special Rules Episode 1-

This scenario takes place at NIGHT a light surce is required or line of the sight will be limited

Darkness Rules-
 Close- No Penalty
  Nearby -with Light Source (Torch, Lantern, Spell, Item) – No Penalty
  Nearby with No Light Source – Penalty
  Over There, with Light Source- Penalty
  Over There-  No Light Source- No Ranged Attack is possible

 Hall of Tyr
  Arturus, Paladin Level 2
  His Lv 1 Henchman -  Cristoffe his Squire and Holger his Man at Arms
  Harald the Cleric Lv 1
  Killian, Ranger for Hire Lv 1
 The Necromancer.
    The Necromancer level 3
    His Undead Servant HD 3
    Beleg, Cult of Orcus Leader Level 1

The Scene-
 Heroes of the Hall of Tyr, are alerted by the local gravedigger that a Necromancer is raising the dead at the local cemetery and proceed to intervene.
The leader of Cult of Orcus has arranged a clandestine meet with a Mercenary Necromancer to convince him to side with their cause, The Necromancer is currently indifferent to needs of the Cult of Orcus and really just wants  to raise some minions for his Cabal.

Experience to be earned-

  Hall of Tyr
+1 for surviving the battle (individual)
+1 knocking  out opposing team leader(s)OOA
+1 team if no one is knocked OOA
+1 for Survive
+1 for each undead raised and off the board

Beleg, Cult of Orcus
+1 Survive
+1 for any Heroes knocked OoA

All the heroes test against their dexterity those that fail act after their opponents, here  I arrange the main participants in Dice Order, summoned creatures add to end of the order.
1.       Arturus
2.       Killian
3.       Holger
4.       Undead Servant
5.       Necromancer
6.       Beleg, Cultist leader
7.       Cristoff
8.       Harald

Turn 1

Arturus,  moves once then sacrifices his action to also move for a total of 12 inches across the bridge
Killian, wants to jump from the hill to the bridge and needs to make a difficult terrain move check, since he is a Ranger  he is not disadvantaged testing his Dex and easily passes he then moves again scanning  as far the lanterns light will let him as he thinks he sees shadowy figures moving in the graveyard
Holger, Arturus’s Henchman  follows the Paladin a step behind (12 inches) Carry Lamp, no darkness penalty within 6 inches

The Undead Servant under orders from the Necromancers  shuffles quickly toward the road to intercept the incoming adventurers.

The Necromancer casts Lesser Animate Undead….he summons 3 Zombies and a Skeleton that rise up from the Earth, he then must spell check if he retains the spell and 2 level slot , with a 15 INT,   he only needs a 6 but it’s a 2nd level spell so it raise to an 8, he rolls a 12 and keeps the spell in memory for now.
Beleg the Cult Leader- moves behind Tree, waiting for opportunity to attack
Cristoff, the Squire  move twice to  following Arturus and Holger
Harald, The Cleric – brings up the rear (moves  x2)
Summoned Undead move to end of Imitative order
Skeleton moves
2 Zombies move toward Graveyard Gate..
One Zombie stays with Necromancer

End Turn

Usage Die Checks,
Kilian D10 Quiver – pass
Holger D6 Lantern- Pass
*Usage Die* are for disposable items..if a 1 or 2 is rolled the die drops to the next lower tier (D10>D8>D6>D4) a 1or 2 on a D4 the item is depleted.

Turn 2

Arturus – Moves 6 hedging his distance with the oncoming Undead Servant

Killian The Ranger  -eyeing the darkness he can just barely make out the shape of a freshly risen zombie at 12”” (“over there” range) the darkness penalty is +2 and the  Zombie also has soft cover for +1 in addition the zombie is 2 HD so an additional +1  for being a level  higher than the ranger .  Killian dexterity is very high 17 needing only a “4” to hit  and despite + 4  to the roll pushing him to an 8.. He rolls a “17” – the Arrow finding it mark no problem  damaging the Zombie for 5 Dam.

Holger – moves next to Arturus

The Undead Servant -Charges Arturus the Paladin

*Charge Rule*- clear unobstructed straight line of sight of more then 6 but no more than 12” to target attacker may move in to base contact 12” as a charge  following with an single attack at  +2  penalty to hit but also adding +2 to any damage total.
The Undead Servant uses the Necromancers INT as its Fight Stat its needs  a “8” to charge into Arturus with the Penalty , however since  this charge also forces him into base contact with Holger he suffers the additional +1 penalty for fighting more than one opponent.. The Undead Servant needs a 9 and rolls a 12 hitting the Paladin for 7 damage total with lowering his Armor points to 5 ….

The Necromancer- casts Lesser Animate Dead again this time summoning a Single Skeleton- with roll of 12 on the Spellcheck his 2nd level spell slot still memorized…

Beleg the Cult Leader remains hidden waiting to an opportunity to strike..

Cristoff moves into combat melee along side Arturus and Holger but must use both his move and his action to do so.

Harald moves to the rear to support his allies

Remaining undead shuffle toward the heroes..

1 zombie remains with the Necromancer so he can use it as a shield.

Turn End.

Usage Die Checks
Kilian Quiver – Pass
Holger Lantern-  Pass

Turn 3

Arturus - attacks the undead servant, he is a level 2 Paladin he has 2 attacks
His “to hit” is based on his STR of 13  and the base to hit is an 8+,  but gets a +1 penalty as the Undead Servant is 3HD..pushing it to  9, However Arturus has 2 allies in the fight  each giving him -1  bonus for a total to hit of  “7” he Rolls a “9”- a hit resulting in 6 damage. On his Second attack he rolls a “20”! a Critical hit equaling double damage  he rolls a “3” for 6 more plus there is a D6 critical hit table, but the result of a “1” yields no extra effect. The Undead Servant has no Armor so 12 of his 17hp are gone a lucky blow could put it down!

Killian -Fires an Arrow at the same Zombie as last turn  rolling a “2” missing.

Holger- attacks the Undead Servant missing it.

The Undead Servant- Pummels Holger hitting him with a"16"…The man at arms has a large shield but isn’t using it, as he’s holding the lantern so the 5 Damage punches a hole in his Gambeson  wiping out his 2 Armor and doing 3 damage…he has 5 Hp  left.

The Necromancer –  Seeing his servant is in trouble  moves to the top of the Gravemound and within Nearby distance casts “Protection from Good” upon his creature…He needs a 7 on the Spellcheck as it’s a 1st level spell, rolls a 7…

*Protection from Good* gives the Undead Servant  protection for incoming attacks from good players.  Those attacks directed at him all now have a disadvantage.

Now his three attackers must roll two dice for each attack picking the worst one..

Beleg, the Cultist Leader- isn’t interested in exposing himself to harm unless he can make an easy kill. If undead start dying..he will flee- in the meantime he stays put.

Cristoff the Squire -attacks the Undead Servant his base to is an 11 (10 STR) He gets a -2 bonus for his allies…but  +2  penalty  because the Servant to 2 levels higher that he(Powerful Opponent)    after the Die Modifierts he still needs a 11 but with the Disadvantage from the Spell rolls 2 dice roll a 12 and “2” so he misses.

Harald the Cleric -wants to try to banish some Undead but they aren’t close enough (must be Nearby) and the Undead Servant is too powerful (Harald would need to be 4th level to try to Banish (rebuke) it.)

He’s out of the fight for the moment until something breaks..

Turn End

Usage Die
Killian Pass
Holger FAIL.  Lantern , Oil in lantern drops to D4

Turn 4

Arturus The Paladin -Atacks the Undead Servant. We roll 2 dice the results are another "20” and a “14”As the Protection from Good spell is in effect we must take the “14” which is still a hit, the resulting 4 damage is not enough to kill it, but Arturus gets a second attack, the  rolls  are “16” and “5”  we must take the 5 as a miss no doubt this spell has kept Undead Servant in play ,as its almost dead and another hit will surely kill it.

Killian-  Now has a “over there” shot at 11 inches with the Necromancer  standing on the hill.
Although  his base to hit with his very high (17 Dex = “4”) but we have darkness ( +2) and multiple “ in the way’ and cover issues (+4) so he looking at a 10.
he rolls a “16” to hit so they don’t matter the Necromancer taking a big 7 damage from the Arrow which has the Necromancer reconsidering his strategy.

Holger -desperately ties to take down the Undead servant  but again misses,

The Necromancer really wants The Undead Servant to put Holger down, as he is carrying their teams light taking it out will limit LoS against ranged attacked and buy his team some time as someone else will need to pick the light up to use it.

The Undead Servant -easily smashes him with a but the 4 damage leaves Holger wobbling but standing with 1 HP!

The Necromancer -has offensive has more options but doing so will leave him exposed to Killians arrows He decides to move twice to a position of relative safety

Beleg , Cultist Leader- really wants to kill a weak hero in the name of Orcus preferably Harald but must bide his time..he passes

Cristoff- no luck for the squire against the undead servant missing.

Harald - Finds himself “Nearby” the zombie who is just on the otherside of the Graveyard walll and attempts to banish it!.  He only needs a 7 with his Holy Symbol (-2 to roll)  that’s now a “ 5” he rolls a 15 and the Zombie feels for 5 turns (2d4) and we surely run off the board. (fleeing Undead do count for Necromancer XP here so its best to try to kill them)

Zombies advance to attack and delay Heroes

Zombie flees toward Board Edge

The Necromancer Commands both Skeletons to hold after on move where they can engage advancing heroes if need be or escape depending on what comes next.As the turn ends the Necromancer plans to summon more undead…

Usage die
Killian D10-pass
Holger D4 - Fail the light burns out and hell to use a new flask of oil (he has 3)on his action to relight it!
End turn

Turn 5

Holgers light is out so the battle at this moment is happening in complete darkness

Arturus-   His first attack rolls are a “14” and “1” being disadvantaged we must take the “1” which is a fumble!(in the dark no less!) .which leads to him ending up being “Dazed” . as a result he loses his second attack and suffers further disadvantage next round.

Killian-  Climbs up on the bridge wall giving a clear 6” LoS to the Zombies in the rear , its dark but the Zombie at 6” is nearby so he can fire with the +2 penalty  he rolls  a 14 hits sticking the zombie with a whopping 8 damage ( I should mention here that shooting (not throwing) ranged weapons at less that 6 inches normally gives a disadvantage to the shooter , Rangers do not have this penalty as a class bonus.

Holger-  Takes  a big gamble and withdraw from the combat, he risks a free strike from the Undead Servant,  but staying put is riskier . The Servant would need a base 6 but needs a 8 due the penalty of being engage with 3 opponents…he rolls a 6 so Holger escapes relighting the Lantern! Luck!
The Darkness, recedes as Light in his lantern blossoms.

The Undead Servant,  is badly wounded  the Necromancer knows its time is numbered so he has it attack the s\Squire Cristoff, before he gets a chance to go this round…he rolls a “4” missing

The Necromancer cast another “Lesser Animate Dead” Spell ..This time he raises 2 more Zombies.
His spell check is an 18 so the spells again remains in his memory

Beleg, Cult Leader again does nothing, hiding waiting for a chance to strike- this is getting old

Cristoff  attacks the Undead Servant rolling a a ‘15” and “19” being disadvantaged we must take the 15.. He rolls 7 points of Damage destroying the Undead Servant.

Harald - moves up into the gap where Holger once was and attempts to banish the oncoming undead but fails rolling a “1”

The 1st Zombie he banished leaves the board scoring for the Necromancer

The second pair of Zombies now engage the heroes, one attacking Arturus and the Other  attacking Harald, its base touching both Harald and Cristoff for a 2 vs 1

The Necromancer- Orders his new Zombies to Attack,  and his Skeletons to Hold.

Usage Die Killian Pass
Usage Die Holger pass

Turn End

Turn 7

Arturus- is still disadvantaged . Even thou the Protection from Good  on  Undead Servant stopped when the Undead Servant died.  He's dazed from his fumble last round .  He attacks the Zombie  in his face and  He rolls an  "18”  but  roll again and rolls a “10” which is good enough to hit but only does “1” damage  AND being Dazed he only gets one attack.

Killian - Moves  again  off the bridge wall and to his right up onto the hillside, giving him LoS on the opponents at the Graveyard entrance. They just barely on the edge of Holgers light so he can still shoot “over there” with penalties of +6 darkness , powerful opponent, and hard cover..(+2 each) . This turns his easy 4 into a 10…or a 50/50 shot he rolls a 14 sticking the Necromancer for 4 more points of damage leaving him 2 HP which dictating what comes next..

Holger moves up right behind allies to extend the Nearby Light a bit further. He uses his action to swap his weapon out for his large shield, so should he be hit again, he’ll at least have 4 armor points

The Necromancer doesn’t really have any healing options, he’ll have to keep that mind next time, this time he orders his Zombies to attack and His Skeletons to follow him off the board  and he escapes the battlefield leaving down the road off the table..

Beleg -decides he will wait one more turn and see if the Zombies can break anything open hes’ not getting any additional XP unless he claim a victim for Orcus…

Cristoff in battle with a Zombie Misses

Harald again tries to Banish all Nearby Undead and rolls a 2! Failing…

Skeletons exit board

Zombie engaged with Arturus  attacks…strangely enough this is the 1st time in this melee that a standard HD creature has attacked the Undead Servant being a counted as a “character”  standard creatures attacks are rolled defensively by the Character in this case Arturus must test against his own STR to avoid the blow.  HD levels above character level are added as a negative modifier, which isn’t an issue here are we have a level 2 character and 2 HD creature..base roll is an “8” or better to defend I roll a “7” so The Paladin is hit, the damage is 4 and the Zombie rips off a piece of his plate armor (The last of his Armor points) but does no physical damage..

Zombie engaged with Cristoff and Harald , attacks Harald..who also has a 13 STR and needs a “8” he has an ally in combat but the Zombie is a higher level , the die modifers  cancel each out.  He rolls a “10” successfully defending the blow

Other 2 Zombies move 6 inches forward to the road

Usage Killian Pass
Usage Holger Fail drops to D4

Turn 7

Arturus  unleashes two attacks rolling a 5 and 11, the 11 striking the Zombue but leaving it standing with 1 hp..frustrating

Killian -fires an arrow down the zombies coming down the road and it misses

Holger- passes any move or action, he stands remaining the light source, and trying to survive with 1 hp..

Beleg the Cultist moves out toward the road, looking for an opportunity or an easy exit..

Cristoff attacks and misses

Harlad attempts to banish the undead again this rolling a 12, the Zombies turn and flee for 4 turns BUT.doing so gives The Heroes of the Hall of Tyr free strikes as the zombies disengage from combat.
The resulting rolls cut them dwon,  both of are destroyed!

The Remaining two Zombie both -uninjured shuffle down the road but are short of engaging the heroes.

Usage Die

Killian FAIL quiver drops to D8
Holger PASS..whew…didn’t want to go dark right now.

Turn 8

Arturus- charges the nearest Zombie with two attacks his impressive rolls of 16 and 19 and damage of 8 then  4 outright kill it..

Killian- now with eyes on Beleg fires an arrow at him rolling a “18” the arrow knocks away his shield and pushes through his light armor (no damage but 6 takes out his armor points)

Holger , again pass, no actions

Beleg,  knows he’s done for if he sticks around…he flees unfortunately only getting  1 XP for the battle.

Cristoff wants to charge the second zombie all undead cause fear (which the Paladin is immune too) so he must pass a Fear test that is check against his WIS and he needs an “11”  he rolls a 12 and charges in hitting the Zombie and doing 7 damage..

Harlad again tries to banish the remaining zombie time with a “19” it turn to flee for but for only 3 turns but Cristoff free strike is good for 5 damage just enough to kill it…

The battle ends.

Arturus- now lays hands on Holger healing him 5 points….the group continues to graveyard to look around.


Hall of Tyr-
1 XP for each Team member for Surviving the Battle
1 XP for each team member for no one being knocked out of action.

This is bring both Harald and Killian to level 2,  The Henchman can’t reach level 2 until Arturus reaches
Level 3 so they still get the experience its just held in reserve for the time being.  Arturus needs 1 more XP for level 3 so the next mission

The Necromancer

+1 for Surviving the Battle
+3 for each Undead raised safely off the board.

The Necromancer must spend an 1 XP to create a new Undead Servant…so he only banks 3 XP,  he too will need one more to reach Level 4, 
But he now has  2 Skeletons, 1 Zombie and his Undead Servant at his disposal

Beleg, Cult leader, a bad day for him be he saw no point in risking himself any alliance with the Necromancer went  nowhere  1XP..

After the battle, the less conservative members from the Hall of Tyr celebrate after their victory.

Sunrise over the town, from the back wall of Blackbarrow Castle

So that's it for Episode one, I realize the battle was somewhat uneventful, alot to this was just getting a feel for the played pretty smoothly without alot of head scratching and rule look up, definitely doing the next one with this ruleset,  While the Necromancer will surely be back at some point, Next time well look at some of the other factions in Blackbarrow, More terrain spotlight and painted models to come as well.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Godzilla Facepalm

Let's start the New Year out right with a Godzilla sized facepalm, Mea Cupla . I got a text from my friend Tim out in AZ about the last blog post and the comments. mentioning to check about notifications for publishing them. I did ,and found a couple things. First of all blogger seems to changed the way it notified me about pending comments, I was used to an alert posting in my main feed where you see the overview of your blogposts. that seems to have changed and I missed the memo on said changes. Coincidentally-this must of happened in fall of last year right when my reader comments stopped. when I clicked on the "awaiting moderation" sub menu of  "Comments"...I found 35 unpublished comments since the fall of 2016!, Wait you ask! what about email notifications for comments ?? yes, but it had my old comcast email address, (which is long long dead) in there that I swear to god I freaking changed!!

So, I am a moron. However its been corrected..And if you commented in the last year, or didnt and just read the blog. I want you to know That I appreciate it thank you!.  having that said, it doesnt change my commentary from the last post although from a personal standpoint, I'll roll back the bleakness just a bit.

Currently working on Blackbarrow Chronicles Episode 1, we had a great game , figuring things out  and I got a ton of great pictures. It's a longish post and its taking some time , plus all the photo sorting so hopefully up by the weekend , worst case sunday night...

Thanks again!

Friday, December 29, 2017

And those new days will dawn......

I am wrapping up my 11th year at Plastic Legions with not some toothless resolutions but just some obvious facts that will hopefully lead to a new direction here.  This blogs been around a long time now, long past the heyday of gaming blogs. These days its clear most people go to social media for their gaming fix. Blogs originally were the now boring successor to the much maligned public forum. Now its just quick snap shots on social media, be it Facebook groups, Twitter feeds, Instagram or Pinterest. (I am sure there is some new one I don't even now about) and yes, I have succumb to these things just like you have. My own interest in my own blog roll is few and far between these day only occasionally catching a snappy title or good photo in the feed. I cant begrudge anyone no longer coming by here either.

For instance I haven’t had a reader comment here since October of 2016! I still seem to hang on to same number of followers , picking up new ones  at the same rate I lose them, the result being stagnant at slightly under 400 for at least 4 years now. Of course my content is severely lacking and basically if you are not interested in my projects I haven’t had a lot to say. The same goes for the forums. Most forums are graveyards  even the big ones that are isolated communities of old timers see alot less traffic .I'll still cross post my big projects over at LAF or Hirst forums barely get a comment where even 2 years ago, I'd get 30 and a good traffic spike here..  I dont think its that people suddenly don’t care for it, its just they aren’t looking for that type of content at those places anymore, or if so, not enough so  to comment, they are getting their fix immediately thru the bigger gaming websites , Twitter or Facebook. 

I belong to a whole bunch of Facebook groups, they are all very busy but I never post in them- I dont like them as conversation places . To me they are just like like the old public forums you ran away from.  I just check them out to see whats going on and maybe see what someone I know is doing or most importantly get updates from the company who have mostly shut down all their own forums in favor of FB groups. While Facebook has some value for me its not for gaming , Its for keeping up with old friends, their lives, their kids , their real life experiences…I don’t  want to see the doodlings of whatever hobby their into any more than I want to see  whatever political junk their posting , so its too bad  Social Media has taken over gaming, I don’t really like the one stop shop format, (as in Facebook, because  I don’t do Twitter) there is so much crap in my Facebook feed even with filters that I recently missed out on important things in peoples  lives that I actually care about!

 I used to like spending an afternoon checking out peoples weird hobby blogs in my own quite corner of digital space. These days the blogs are mostly dead, in fact of all the old guys I used to game all had blogs and currently I think I am the only one who still even remotely posts, theirs have just been deleted or have been DOA for years., even other old blogs Ive read frequently have fallen away like mine .--So RIP to the Hobby Blogs,  I'll raise a glass to ye days of old! 

Having said all that-  why I am still limping along here averaging a post a month? Trust me  I have been thinking about about making changes here for sometime, even packing it in completely .. I really just do this for myself anyway.

My life has changed a bunch since I got public with my Hobby back in 2005, I don’t  have nearly the time I did for playing games in the basement or painting miniatures sure I’ve gotten some big  terrain projects done this year  but that is basically all I did, I painted maybe a dozen or so miniatures.  I didn’t play a game with another human that wasn’t my kid in 2017. I've spent most of my hobby time selling off  the tons of stuff I collected in the last decade, including all kinds of recent  things from  Kickstarters that I buy and  realize ill never play and then end up selling, (at least I am making money on it,)  I had even started talking about the adventures of selling off my bloated collections and gaming secondary markets on a separate blog but quickly realized I was the only one interested.

So what’s new at Plastic Legions for 2018?,  well, I still plan on posting at least once a month (maybe more,) Content will be pretty focused, since I now have this really cool massive fantasy table / diorama, I am going to start putting it to use.  One of the more popular things I have done the last couple years where these lengthy blow by blow game write ups specifically Otherworld Skirmish, (thou I did do some Frostgrave and  Sci Fi ones) .  I’ll be focusing on those as a ongoing narrative campaign, called " The Blackbarrow Chronicles " using a simpler streamlined ruleset  (more on that in a sec) we are going to run at least a dozen linked scenarios using tons of different models and hopefully create a cool narrative as these characters live, die, succeed, fail, find glory and find horrible deaths. I have  no idea hows it going to play out but it looks good on paper and we are even going to keep an updated role call of the dead, like some sinster old school RPG.

Logo and Header for the new project , Art courtesy of the great William McAusland.

And that’s it - The Blackbarrow Chronicles for 2018- the game reports and any projects that arise from them may get spotlighted but thats pretty much it, I may even change the blog title and move it over to Word Press leaving Plastic Legions up as a tombstone (no decision has been made there at all just a thought) Anyway outside my huge all collection of  generic fantasy gaming figures and terrain,  look for A LOT of items from me on eBay -if you want some nicely painted figures and terrain on the cheap. !

So- Speaking of that ruleset for the coming year, I am afraid I have been Hacked!
 As in “The Black Hack” . If you follow OSR RPGs at all as I do, (not that I actually play but more as an interest in nostalgia from wayback when I did.)  You might have heard of “The Black Hack” (TBH) which is basically a very simple RPG system inspired by  B/X D&D it uses bits from various rulesets  over the years to create very simple modern fantasy role playing ruleset, thats dripping with  “back in the day”old school feel  Last year it succeed getting going from blog to published product on Kickstarter  and you can pick it up for like $2 from the usual digital places. The core document is really bare bones at a measly 20 pages  However a quick google search will find you a lot of free fan made content that fills in a lot of the gaps and well as the authors updates and additional docs..

For use with Blackbarrow I have re-framed TBH as a miniatures gaming rule-set,  let’s call it the “Mini Hack”. I originally read about the TBH  on some forums, I checked it out and a lightbulb immediately went off.- I thought this could be the “RPG light” ruleset I was looking for , It has got all the standard Fantasy tropes , a D20 mechanic (which I want -as I am so tired of D6 games) and I felt it was pretty intuitive for a RPG campaign type system based on miniature battles.  I made a couple quick hacks of my own based my personal preferences.  First off all  I swapped the dice around so you roll to hit by “more than a target number” versus the TBH which uses “less than the target number”, in the RPG -all rolls are based on testing vs your attribute stats as in: I have a 14 strength, I need to a less than 14 to “hit”…, I have a 9 Dexterity I need to roll less than a 8 to avoid that ranged attacked.  It was pretty easy to swap around and say my 14 = needing a 7 or better on a D20..this works with the standard mechanic we are familiar with from RPGs or games like Frostgrave.

My converted D20 dice chart

Another Hack on my end was movement and distance.. TBH uses a very abstract range/distance system of “Close, Nearby, Far Away and Distant great for tale tales with Pen and Paper but not quite precise enough for miniatures battles- but by simply adding a 5th range of “Over There” we have 5  standard distances, I have used in many a miniatures game : base to base or touching 2. up to 6 inches, 3. 6-12 inches, 4. 12-24 inches and 5. 24+ inches, pretty simple.

scale chart.
 I wont  ramble on here about every detail-  if you have played fantasy RPGs or Fantasy miniature games , I think the rules  will all be pretty self explanatory and I’ll save that for the first write up for the Blackbarrow Chronicles which should be showing up year right after the New Year flips to 2018 , 12 years a blogging, crazy.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Village of Blackbarrow, Blacksmiths Forge and Cottage

Back again with a few year ending  posts!  I’ll start with following up on last months post.  With the snow and cold I’ve been extra motivated  to dig  in on my fantasy table and  I have finished 2! buildings in the last month.  A blacksmiths Forge and a small cottage, that   I am using as a bandits hideout.

 The blacksmiths forge is on the Hirst Arts Project Page and uses just 3 molds, 2 if you want to do your own roof.  Its medium level build just due to getting all the pieces to line up right and assembly but even a novice builder shouldn’t have too much trouble with some trial and error.  The bandit hide uses the same molds, thou I used plastic card scrap on the roof to save time and the floors are old casts from several woods molds I had extra.

Overall there is still a bunch to in the Village of Blackbarrow, the next project is a Mill, I’ll be bastardizing Bruce Hirst awesome new Watermill plans, but using some different molds, and its not going to be as fancy. So bit more grimy and more in vein of rest of buildings on the table , I ended up doing  different layout of the town and decided to use those old armorcast I have on the table since like 2006? And created line of workman rowhouse and a “backalley section of town.  There are few quick odds and ends like some markets stalls and some walkways, I am throwing together in the next few days

I’ll surely be fiddling along with the Mill and remainder of the Dungeon into the Spring, I normally get a sizeable project out by that time of year  that I start over the winter  (last year it was the Castle)
The main goal right now is to get some gaming in we have two weeks off school and snow in forecast so looking forward some fun with kids, next up Ill be talking about some of rules we are using, I know I have talked about many different rulesets here, especially this year and of course I have another one, I want to try out, its works with the classic fantasy arch types we want to use and isn’t too fiddly  so more on that soon.

Make sure you check out the updated Village of Blackbarrow Gallery. It has all the photos, over 100 as I type this while some pieces do  have their own thread,  if you are interested in the projects development over the last decade its good place for an overview...

Merry Christmas or any holiday you celebrate this time of year to you!.I’ll be back before years end.


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