Wednesday, November 24, 2010

RotFS - The Darkness in the Mines

Last night Baronet Lavindra and her companions DD and Leah went into the dungeon and mines underneath the keep which they are renovating for war against the Nightlord and his factions.  As they descended past the Kobold tribe and into the third level of the mines they encountered a strange inky darkness that they could not penetrate with even the light of their celestial companion Ezekiel.   They were warned that there may be immature purple worms and other creatures of the darkness below including an opening to the underdark.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Turkey Day Gaming

Turkey - check, Ham - check, sodas - check, yams - check, family and friends - check, minis and dice... I don't know about you but I am hoping to get some gaming in over the Thanksgiving weekend. Since my bud Ray will be over I am hoping maybe Friday to do some Warengine and over the weekend maybe some VSF using WTNW.  If I have time I wouldn't mind trying out some of the new playtest rules for Tomorrow's War!  If nothing else though I'd like to get the insulation up in my game room and get it ready for the mini-split to be installed so that we can game out there in the summer!

So is anyone else gaming over Turkey Day weekend?  If so are you checking out Tomorrow's War or some other new game or playing an old standby?  What are your plans?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

CoTS - Drow Abbey

The Abby
The party makes it to Bell and the new member of the party, Whisper makes a deal with Harkon Lucas to get his son Casimar to go back to Harmonia for a Meistersinger contest.  The next day Ariadine is awoken by the flutter of wings which she quickly realizes as the feathers on the wings begin to shimmer and shine and the snake-like head and neck of the Couytl comes into view that it is Aobean.  The wizard runs to her friend Quia who was able to speak with the magical spirit before they entered the Caves of Lost Souls in the Nightmare realm.  After a quick conversation Aobean takes Ariadine and Quia on a fly-by of a nearby Abby Manorhouse where they are greeted by Drow and a Drow Spider High Cleric of Lolth.  They return and are told that the bell needs to ring before the sun(son) can fall and then the darkness will recede.  What this means they do not know..

At breakfast Marcus is poisoned by the wine sold to the bartender of Sundered Heart which the party learns is made by the Drow and is indeed poisoned with dark magics.  The party begin to make plans to attack the Abby.

Friday, November 19, 2010

You Scored a Crit!

Christopher over at A Rust Monster Ate my Sword posted this in his blog.  He did a good review of a really cool D20 that actually has a LED inside it that flashes red when someone rolls a 20.  He says that the D20 actually rolls accurately and does as advertised!  It currently sells for $9.99 US and is available at Think Geek.

He also reviewed that nifty wi-fi shirt that has an LED inside it that shows the 802.11 wifi signal strength.  The problem with it he says is that it is bulky and stands out over the shirt itself which is useless without the LED patch.  The other thing he says is that the battery pack is not at all small.  I told him that it would be cool to see a Big Bang Theory Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock shirt that flashed the images on the shirt but having to carry a Star Trek the Original Series sized tricorder around to power the thing wouldn't at all be fun.

Christopher also has other interesting articles over on his blog so check it out!

In all it's glory...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ereaders for Gaming or “How I learned how to get from behind my Laptop and join the action!”

OK I admit I use my laptop as a DM/GM/Keeper/Storyteller whatever all the time in games.  Let’s face it, my trusty lappy360 helps me keep track of initiative, npcs, combat, notes, character sheets and allows me to check references in rules at the touch of a few buttons.  I also use my laptop to podcast some sessions as well as to play music and surf the internet for names and other roleplaying goodies.  Without lappy I would be back to keeping notes on a pad with pen and paper (gasp!) I absolutely love my laptop and even though I am considering additional game aids which we will get to in just a moment, I believe that my lappy360 will always sit next to me on the separate table area someone nicely marked DM only!

Ok so time to get what this article is all about – ereaders!  If you have not been living under a rock or deep in the bowels of Shubnigaroth you’ve no doubt heard that ereaders are all the rage.  Now there are quite a number of these little bad boys on the market among them the giant Kindle and the ereader-but-not-really-an-ereader ipad.   
In case you do not already know what an ereader is it is basically a very skinny version of  the Nintendo gameboy that has been expanded in size to roughly a novel or a little bigger and allows for eye-friendly reading of novels, magazines and periodicals.  The concept of an ereader is that you can read a book without having to actually own it (a novel concept thank you public library) and you can have multiple books all in one nifty little device (much like a laptop or pc).

I saw this ereader at Barnes and Nobels a few months ago called the Nook and it got me to wondering if they would ever make a color version of the ereader other than the ipod?  Well guys guess what?  The Nookcolor has just been released!  This little gizmo is really cool but it unfortunately does not have the 3g capability of nook but it does have wireless. 

The ipod is really super cool and something I have considered awhile now but at the heart of myself I am really against the whole apple cult phenomenon.  While I did play on it with my friend Byron to play Small World and messed around with it to get some game updates.  It is kind of like paying money to Heaven’s Gate but not actually getting to ride the comet…  Now if Asus came out with an ipad type I’d be all over it.

The Kindle is also really cool but when I heard they pulled all Orwellian books even after people had already purchased them it sent up a red flag that said to me “IT’S INGSOC!” and well who really likes thought control?  You do not do you.  I knew you were thinking that.

So, I am leaning towards the nook color. Tell me has anyone else here used an ereader for gaming purposes?  What I want/need it to do is to be able to quickly scroll through pdfs during a session but also allow for some quiet down-time reading in between sessions.

The really cool capability about the nook is that it will read any pdf up to a certain file size.  The tech guy did not tell me what the file size maximums are for the nook.  He did say that files can be transferred to and from the nook.  So yes I can copy my Pathfinder books to the nook and back and forth.  Of course, I know that you probably already have the book in printed form so why not just use it right?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

WTNW Core II Layout Nearing Completion!

Our layout artist has earned himself a permanent position here at ArmChairGeneral!  What a magnificent job he's done setting this book up to be printed.  Now all we have to do is update the new army lists and add some of the really wonderful artwork and we're there!  I have already sent the CSA and Italian armies off to Joey and now we're just waiting for the rest of the lists to make their way back.

With the addition of the original artwork from Arsenale Shipworks and Eli Arndt this book really pops!

My personal thanks to all who really helped get this off the ground and make it what it is including the reviewers who pointing out what the book lacked.

Look for the updated print on demand version to be available before Christmas this year!  As always, if you purchased this product before just email me the receipt and I'll update you for free!  As a new company we did have some growing pains to work out before the final product and my personal thanks goes out to all who supported the indy efforts by purchasing the early releases.

WTNW: Conflict on Mars looks to be a really good supplement!  It is in playtest stages now.  If you want to be part of the playtest please email me. I am looking for honest feedback from people after they play the game a few times. All playtesters will get their names mentioned in the CoM book.

Calling all DMS and Players!

It's the Dungeon Master!  Calling all DMS and Players!  The ArmchairGeneral forum is now open for play by post games for DMs and GMs who wish to use the forum as a means for running their adventures. Do you want to run an adventure on ACG?  Contact me at cronickain. As a kickoff I will be starting the sandbox style Kingmaker from Pathfinder's Adventure path.

The world of Golarion is full of unexplored regions and the River Kingdoms are among some of the most fierce! The forbidden kingdoms of the Stolen Lands are a land steeped in mystery and lost treasure a wilderness claimed by nobles, bandits, and beasts alike. The people on the outskirts of the kingdom take refuge in small settlements. Now the Swords of Restov have hired your party to explore the lands to the south.

Beyond the last rugged frontier stretches the home of voracious monsters, capricious fey, wily natives, and bandits who bow to the rule of a merciless lord none dare defy. Can the PCs survive the Stolen Lands, bring their dangers to heel, and lay the foundations of a new kingdom? Or will they just be one more fateful band, lost forever to the ravenous wilds?

To get to the forum just click on the steampunk goggles!  As a warning to the players who are wanting in on this game while it will be a sandbox adventure I will be adding elements of other adventures into the game so that we keep the momentum going!  The kingmaker series will be used but will only be a basis for the game as I will be running my own version of this adventure for those who would be king.

Monday, November 15, 2010

4th Edition DnD - New and Shiny

Over the weekend we went to the mall to allow the kiddos to play and while I was in the mall I checked out Barnes and Nobles.  As I perused my normal Christian, Computer Geek, Graphic Anime Novel-Sci Fi stuff, RPG aisles looking for my favorite books I came to the realization (rather suddenly) that there is a LOT of content out there for D&D4.0!  I mean there's a lot of content out there for something that's really only been out for about two years now.  It got me to thinking and I started to look at the DarkSun campaign book.  As I read the pages my mind began to drift back to the olden days of AD&D when I first played a Thri-kreen and did battle with the Sorcer King armies.  Looking at the new stuff combined with the old stuff made me giddy.

Then something funny happened - I started to flip through the other books including the DMG and the Monster Manual.  While looking in the Monster Manual I saw something that I thought was really cool and it is something that is almost right out of Hackmaster - Monster Lore.  That's right.  Even Goblins have a Monster Lore number and what this means is that the player has to roll their Monster Lore each time they first encounter a monster to see what they know about it's abilities.  Sort of like the scene in How to Train Your Dragon when the little Viking, Hiccup was going through the Book of Dragons and learning about their abilities.

This got me to thinking what's really so bad with D&D4.0 and I continued to read. The game is setup in three tiers that's right the main book goes to level 30! With 1-10 being Heroic, 11-20 being Paragon and 21-30 being Epic.  I had to learn more.

So.. I went home and started to really read the Players Handbook that a buddy gave me and right from the instant I opened it I could see the similarities to the MMORPG but not in a bad way.  I am going to take my time and read the entire Players Handbook and then the DMG before I give this edition the thumbs up for my group but so far I am very excited about the changes in how powers work (At Will, Encounter, Daily, Utility) and how the game allows for flexibility and allows for retraining if you want to change up as you level or if something is not working for you.  You remember retraining from 3.5 PHB2.

Take it or leave it 4.0 has some very nice new features.

I really liked the Eladrin race myself.  What do you think about the game?  Care to compare it to 3.5?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Victorian Science Fiction Skipray Battles

Here are some pictures of battles using WTNW and the Arsenale Shipwork's Skipray.  The British Skipray versus the German Buccaneer and the British Skiprays and Egyptian Guard versus the Arabian Crescent Army.

DM Advice - Rules Lawyers - Turning Questions into Answers

Today I start a new topic entitled DM Help.  These articles will focus on helping the DM/GM to run their games and will help players with interaction and rulings.  I attempt to explain situations that I have encountered in the past and how I dealt with these situations.  In addition, I may present adventures, magic items, tidbits, NPCs and other useful DM/GM bits.  This topic will focus on Roleplaying but not any specific system or genre and indeed multiple systems and genres maybe used.  This will be a somewhat regular topic featured on my blog. Feel free to comment.

“Hey, I know you’re the DM but it says right here on page 35 under Combat Effects that I can do it!” As a veteran gamer of many sessions, I have heard this question many times.  Rules Lawyers - almost every group has one, but what is considered by some to be a rules lawyer question others may consider the question necessary or even more important than the GMs call.  Oftentimes their questions can and do interrupt the flow of the game and have even been known to bring a session to a standstill.  What can we do about it?  What should we do about it? 

If you are like me then you probably find a bit of rules lawyer inside yourself but do not despair for I believe that there is a fair balance between being a rules lawyer and being a helpful player or DM.  Yes, even DM’s can become rules lawyers – just ask some of my players.  The trick is as a GM to be sure to give the rules lawyer adequate feedback when they are presenting rules.  Now if you are the rules lawyer we all know deep down inside it is more important to be part of the group than to be correct, right?  What if you presented your findings to the group instead of demanded that they listened?  How would you want something presented to you if you were running a game? 

I find that by gently reminding the GM that a rule may directly affect my character this tends to go over much better.   In the end, it is always the GMs call as to a particular rule but if you follow the below guidelines they might help you to keep the rules lawyer in your group happy and to keep yourself sane if you are a rules lawyer.

Be sure to set up front if you are going to allow any feedback on rulings you make.   What I mean by this is you can either tell your group that it’s your way or the highway (does not make for a very fun time for all) or you can establish the whens and wheres that a ruling may be questioned.  For instance, you may not allow the questioning of a monster’s abilities but you may allow a rogue to question why they are unable to use their sneak attack on a particular foe.  Generally, I find that for most rules lawyers if a GM sets the boundaries up front the game runs much more smoothly.

Establish when rulings can be questioned.  This is partly already discussed above but it bears mentioning a second time because I cannot stress enough how important it is to set these guidelines.  Maybe all rulings have to be discussed after a game with the exception of any ruling that would result in the death of a character.

What books are you allowing?  Are all the associated new books automatically allowed in the game as they are published or do you have to give them a read through and clear them before you let your players use them?  Make sure this is also stated up front.  No GM likes to be blind-sided by a player who wants to try a new ability from a new book that they have not been able to read yet.

Finally set the platform for discussions.  It is your job as the GM to facilitate the game and part of this includes the tone of any questions that arise in the game.  If you insist that all players address you as “Lord Master On High” each time they question a ruling they may be less prone to ask although I find that just by asking players to be more specific in their questions and more friendly when a disagreement occurs works much better than lofty titles. 

Also, and this one take a special kind of party to not run roughshod over the GM afterwards, admit when you made a mistake.  I know, I know this breaks DM/GM etiquette  but it works believe me.  When a group of players really knows you are trying to work hard on your understanding of the rules they really do appreciate the effort you put into the game on making sure that all has a good time at the table.

Finally, make sure that once you make a ruling it remains consistent throughout the campaign.  Even if you disagree with a rule in the book and decide to make your own house rule on the spot, write the house rule down so that you and all the players now know the change.  I cannot stress enough how important this really is.  I have been guilty of making a house rule in the past (charging for 3.0 comes to mind) and I actually forgot the house ruling in between sessions – my players didn’t though.  I have learned from my mistakes as a GM and very much value my rules lawyers in my game.  Rules lawyers really are not all that bad for they tend to be very helpful during conflicts and other odd rulings but always make sure that your players know that at the end of the day you are the GM and that you will and you reserve final ruling.

For the rules lawyers let me give you my own personal thank you for the challenge you present GMs everywhere and also a personal thank you on behalf of all the GMs who failed to tell you and show you their appreciation for helping them through the sometimes arduous rules that come with any Role Playing Game.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Nightlord Saga - Rise of the Fallen Stars & Against the Heroes

This last Tuesday DD learned of her heritage with the Minovar Dungeon and Stoneheel Keep as the keys were handed to her and the keep was granted in a title and rite of land to Lavindra N'Toth.  The party got to start working on some ideas for their keep and delved into the mines to find the kobolds not entirely unplesant.  After a brief skirmish and some heated negotiations they secured a deal with V'llel the lead dragonwrought kobold magic user that the kobolds would guard and maybe mine the gold and silver from the mines.  The party also learned that purple worms and illithids lived in the lower levels of the mines but the mines were cleared about ten years ago by some adventurers hired by Anita Black who defeated a Necromancer and his cultists.
Kobolds Defending their home

The workshop and the portal
The Against the heroes party continued their attack on Goat Island and the tower of Gnarl the Dark the evil Arcmagic Mage Gnome and his metal creations.  A steam titan begins to churn in the workshop as the party watches as Galin's blood is given over to feed the machines.  A battle was waged between two forces of darkness, one of the night and one of steel.  In the end the titan and Gnarl escaped but Galin was rescued and the party was heavily rewarded.  Sadly, Ruby left the group to find other avenues of employement.

Steambots, Thayan Mages and Zhents

Animated Mulhurandi statues of Anubis guard the enterance to the workshop

We're French... Why do you think we have this outragous accent!

Thanks to all of our supporters and feedback from the inital launch of WTNW we have decided to add several army lists to the final Core II book.  Among those added will be the French, Turks, Russians, Italians, Chinese, Japanese, CSA and USA.  We will not be adding elements of Earthin or Mars into the core version but they will be in the supplements. We understand that this game will become great only with your feedback and participation in the developmental process so keep the suggestions coming!  Again thank you all!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Play-By-Post Pathfinder - King Maker Saga

I plan on running a play-by-post game of the King Maker adventures. The game starts adventurers at level 1 and goes to level 20 and is set in the world of Pathfinder. This will be ran on the forum that connects to this website.  Right now I am considering players.  If you are interested click on the Steampunk Goggles to the left of this website and register in the forum and post under the King Maker thread.  The only requirements will be that you are able to make a post about once per week.  Actions will be emailed to me and then I will post the events as they occur in the game.  There will be guidelines for color and font for the different types of posts in the game IE: Actions, speech, etc.  I encourage anyone interested to sign up. This will be a continuation of the old site I used to run called Heldensage (Heroic Stories).  In addition, I am interested in getting other GMs/DMs on the forum to run their own play-by-post games.  Let me know!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Great Garage/Man-Cave Wargaming Paradise Conversion Project

With the addition of our new daughter Bailey I have given up the office where I used to keep all of my rpg and rule books and where I used to paint.  The painting desk has been moved to our master bedroom and combined with the computer desk and it actually works pretty well.  The books and all gaming stuff with the exception of the paints have been moved out to the garage.  You may have seen my posts in the past with pictures of my 6x12 foot awesome gaming table and the many bookshelves that lines the garage walls.  When I moved in a few years ago I had already planned on using the garage as a gaming room.  With the addition of our daughter this has become more of a reality for me and so I pose to you all my dilemma in how I am able to take my garage and insulate it without making major modifications as I am a renter, albeit I will be a long-term renter.

Here's what I would ideally like to do.
- Insulate the garage walls as they are currently not insulated but do so without adding the actual rolls.  I was thinking maybe I could use the foam board in lieu of the actual insulation.
- Add a mini-split unit to keep the new super gaming room at a constant 80 degrees while I am not in there and 75 or lower when I am in there gaming.
- It has been suggested that I add a dehumidifier or two to the room as Florida heat is horrible but the humidity is what actually kills books.
- Indoor/Outdoor carpet.  I already have a few area rugs in there.
- Add stools as the gaming table is a standing table.

What I am looking for is comments and suggestions as to how you think I might be able to go about doing this.  I am not what you would call a construction guy or super handy but I can swing a hammer and I know a few tricks.  I welcome any thoughts you guys have.  I also welcome the help in converting it.


Friday, November 5, 2010

ArmchairGeneral will be at Siege of Augusta

Hurray!  It's official, we will be at Siege of Augusta 2011 next year January 21-23rd and we will have our very own table!  We will be demoing our game When the Navy Walked and hope to have copies available for sale!  Come on down to a great little gaming convention in Augusta Georgia.  They have historical gaming as well as some science fiction and Victorian Science Fiction.  We may also have a sneak peek at the upcoming Conflict on Mars! to peruse.

In addition, I will be running some Vietnam demos using the Ambush Valley game rules and might have Pulp Alley in tow provided that I can get with David Phipps in enough time to discuss the arrangements.  Also if you are reading this blog James and want me to carry some Scrying Eye stuff with me up to the con to sell let me know!  The same goes for you Jim as I'd love to have some Airships, etc to sell to the crowd at Siege if you want and/or pirate ships to people as I know there are usually pirate games going on there too!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

QRS Update

Just uploaded some updates to WtNW (not a new version) that includes a blank army roster, optional rules and the Quick Reference Sheet and original artwork by Arsanale Shipworks.  The Edges and Flaws have been reorganized in alphabetical order.  We are in the process of finalizing the border art and layout. If you are a previous customer that purchased either WtNW Core I or Core II please contact me for a free upgade.

Wargamevault has been updated to include the newest updates.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Size Matters?

Eli over at ISLP brings up a good point as he is considering what scales to use for his Alcovia projects.

Let's face it, we love our toys! We love our toys to come in multiple sizes and have lots of them.  Many of us enjoy various scales for different gaming periods.  As gamers we will fill tables with anything from 2mm tiny models to 32mm behemoths.  Some of us prefer plastics while some others prefer lead (now mostly made of pewter).  Some of us even break out the plastic toys like Forces of Valor for Ambush Alley style games and plastic dinosaurs to play games like When the Navy Walked, Rugged Adventures or Pulp Alley (coming soon!).

For me I enjoy gaming in a scale that best represents the period I am attempting to recreate or portray.  I enjoy 28mm games for skirmish and small rank and file battles such as Sword and the Flame or Battlesystems.  For my pure pulp games, westerns and small Civil War games I also enjoy 28mm.  In addition, when it comes to using miniatures in my roleplaying games I vastly prefer 28mm to the other scales out there.

In WWII, Vietnam and Modern and Future platoon level games I like to use my tried and true 20mm scale.  With the availability of plastic model kids and the massive amounts of 20mm figures available this scale seems ideal.  As an added bonus you get to use Matchbox cars for civilians.  Need a technical?  No problem.  Just get a Stan Johansen crew and pick up a matchbox pickup and you're ready to go!

With larger games such as massive battles of colonial or American Civil War, Napoleonics or even Vietnam conflicts I prefer 15mm.  I also do my WTNW games in 15mm as well using a massed combination of colonial, ACW and pulpish figures with some sci fi and historical ranges to add that level of steampunk.  The benefits of 15mm are that the figures are still relatively big enough to get detail with but still small enough to really be able to do large battles.

For the truly huge games of WWII and Modem tank battles featuring entire companies or larger of troops I enjoy microarmor the 1/285 scale of gamers where you really can set up huge conflicts.  Just take a look at some of my vietnam and modern microarmor games posted in this blog and you'll see entire table layouts of massive microarmor battles!

So as you can see I utilize a variety of scales for my gaming.  What do you use?

Monday, November 1, 2010

WTNW New Layout!

Joey Caso, our layout guy for WTNW and Armchairgeneral products has recently sent me a really cool template for the layout featuring a steam,cog contraption border that is spot on Victorian science fiction!  Also we are in the process of making a few slight changes to help clarify the rules and adding a few pictures of art.  These changes will not change how game play works but it will help clarify some of the more vague points in the rules.  As always, because we care about our members and because it's what I'd want if I were a customer, if you email me at with your confirmation of purchase of the original WTNW Core II rules or earlier versions I will be more than happy to send you a free upgrade at no additional cost!

In addition, we are feverishly working on WtnW: Conflict on Mars! and there are lots of new developments in the rules coming out of this supplement! If you have not checked out Core Rules II yet and are interested in doing massive combat Victorian Science Fiction I encourage you to check out the game.  Although the $10.00 sale at wargamevault has ended we have priced the pdf for only $12!  We are also working on getting the books ready for print on demand so that you will have the ability to purchase printed copy versions of the book!

We will also be doing a Skirmish game that does not utilize the system from WTNW and will have its own mechanics but will use the same setting.  The RPG is still in the works but has been put on the very back burner for now.