Monday, September 30, 2013

Star Wars - A New Boat - Pt II

We finished the Star Wars - A New Boat game yesterday.  Faelan's ATAT proved to be a massive beast as it slowly lumbered its way over the board. The game was neck and neck as Madison raced her Rebel Commandos all over the town trying to find the final repulsor so as to fix the broken ones on the A-Wing.

The battle heated up on turn seven with Roxxy being taken out in hand to hand combat with the HQ ATST and fire support from the ATAT. The Acklay charged another ATST and did little to harm it's armor. The ATST made mince meat of the beast but not before the Reek charged in on turn eight taking out the ATST and following up with an ineffective charge into the ATAT's feet! The beast had balls you had to give it to him! Madison played him well. I told her that the Reek was very stubborn and liked to have his space. She kept telling everyone "This is my space!" and moving the Reek around the table.

Turns nine and ten had the ATAT taking out two buildings including the one where Faelan sent his scout biker completely destroying the factory and the Tuskin Raiders on top. The final Bothan made a last ditch attempt to sabotage the HQ ATST but his efforts were rewarded with a parting shot from the ATST that was taken out by Roxxy.

At the very end of turn eleven (you can't plan this) Madison rolled and found the repuslor just as the lead stormtrooper ATST closed in on the base having sent his scout biker into the factory to find the A-Wing. Just as Faelan found it the rebel commando snuck past and handed the repulsor to Luke with his dying words telling them to score one for Aaldarran.

It was down to the last roll of Initative and Madison won just in time as the three stormtroopers from the HQ ATST closed down on Luke just as he left hangar.  The ATAT got a parting shot but Luke junked out of the way! The Rebels scored a victory - but at a great cost. Both of my kids played very well.

Unknown to them I had hidden tiles under the buildings for their floor plans. They really liked the floor plans and I got lots of Daddy that's cools from them.

Tonight we played two rousing games - Shoots and Ladders and Princess and the Pea. The first game was won by my son Faelan who snuck in at the last minute to take the large ladder to victory! The second game was won by my youngest daughter Bailey who built up 10 matresses to my measly 5 and my kids 8 each. Great fun! I highly recommend playing games with your kids!

Faelan's Victory Smile!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Star Wars - A New Boat - PT 1

Kiddos all ready for Star Wars!

 The kiddos and I played the Star Wars D20 Miniatures game this weekend. My eldest and youngest daughters Madison and Bailey played the Rebels and my son Faelan played the Empire. The game took place during the Rebellion Era between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back. The setting was Tatoonie, Mos Eisley where the Rebels were constructing a new and improved A-Wing which was to be more maneuverable and faster in the trenches of the Death Star and up against the Star Destroyers.

Bailey plotting

Rebel Mission - Find two repuslors to replace those that blew out during your most recent test run of the A-Wing. Look to get supplied by the local merchants before the Empire locates your A-Wing. You are to try to work with the  natives including the pod racers to find what you need. Be careful and watch out for Gangsters who may be in the vicinity working for Jabba the Hutt.

Faelan Moves in blasting!
Empire Mission - Find and capture or destroy the A-Wing. You will have minimal support from the Star Destroyer battle group Omega which is orbiting overhead. Should you confirm a Rebel location send for backup and you will be well supplied.

Setup - I allowed Madison and Bailey to setup the town. We use those corrugated cardboard contianers and drink containers you can find almost anywhere. The containers do a good job representing shops, bars, bases etc. If you have not already seen my previous Hoth post you can see where I used the containers and some texture paint to make Echo Base.  The Rebels setup in the buildings with Madison and Bailey deciding which building housed the A-Wing and the Empire came in from the side with their three ATSTs groups.

The Rebel's Forces - Unit Tuskin Raiders, Unit Jawas (in Sandcrawler), two Bothian Spies, two Commandos, Roxxy the Rancor,  and Luke Skywalker Jedi Apprentice.

Initial Empire Setup.

The Empire's Forces -Three ATSTs each with driver and gunner, two scout bikes and one Imperial Stormtrooper Officer. Reinforcements - Anything from another ATST to an ATAT depending on supply roll.

"Have you seen any Rebels?"

The first turn had Rebel Commandos who were the only ones who were able to get the Repulsors moving quickly out of a building (the one that housed the A-Wing actually) and to the next shop to try to barter with the local Gamorian to get a repuslor. He was successful but not before the ATST saw and shot him, wounding him. The Commando made it to the pod racer upgrade store where he fired back on the ATST and scored a hit on a rear stabilizer.  Not wanting to take on the walker the Command remained in the shope for a few turns.

The second turn had the Bothan Spies setup bomb and thermal detonator attacks on the ATSTs which caused some damage but ended up attracting the attention of a scout bike and the double cannons of an ATST which destroyed one Bothan and took out the entire level of the building. The other Bothan, mourning the loss of his companion tossed a bomb at the walker and scored a hit causing it to lose a primary weapon and to suffer serious battle damage.

Tuskin Raiders!
Turn three and four had the main walker moved to the center to take up position between the two and sent his scout bike to investigate where the commando had moved. The scout biker was shot by another commando and a Rancor popped out on turn three and attacked the bike and the ATST! The Tuskin moved to a better position near the landspeeder factory across from the Cantina to get better shots at the Empire

Daddy plays Roxxy the Rancor!

Turn five the Jawas decided to move toward the building and trade with the Rebels but Luke was not able to negotiate a fair price and besides all the Jawas had was junk.  He said "What a piece of junk!" and the Jawas were attacked by the ATST! They fired back, however, dealing damage to the walker and causing the driver to be teased merciless about being beat up by a two footer! Bailey, who was playing the Jawas said "We beat you up. We beat you up!" I encouraged it telling him that he was the bad guy but would soon get those little guys!


Turn six had the biker crash into a building when it was knocked out by the Rancor. The Tuskins continued to fire upon the poor Empire Walkers (who let's be honest were really just doing their jobs). At this time the Empire had enough of knock and talk and began requesting additional support. He rolled a 20 on his supply roll! Within a few moments a massive drop ship landed a full sized ATAT! The Rebel alliance now scrambled to find the final repuslor before the massive behemoth made it into the secret base. It was then that an Ackalay and Reek were released into the main streets by a well meaning vendor. We will continue tonight.

Support has arrived!

As night wears on the ATAT prepares to assault Mos Eisley.

Monday, September 23, 2013

DM Advice - Pleasedness System of NPCs

In a recent thread over on OSG Julian my friend and compatriot (Can USA and OZ ever really be apart?) he asked if we used a system of tracking NPC loyalty.  To date there are many systems for doing such. I am allowing the players to keep track of the NPCs in the Skulls and Shackles game for instance whereas sometimes I go with tried and true. What's tried and true? Well it's simple and easy to remember.

I make crap up depending on my level of pleasedness (it's a word look it up) with my players. If my pleasedness is high then the loyalty of the henchmen is high, if my pleasedness is low then the loyalty of the henchmen is low. It's a very easy to remember system.

Today's DM help is basically do what works for you. If the system seems complicated and overdrawn it probably is.

Hydra Update - Basecoat Completed

Now with a shiny new basecoat it's time to start painting consummate V's on her big beefy hide.. maybe she needs a Trogdor arm?

Coats - Dark Green x2, Woodland Green x1, Leafy Green x1, Soft Apple Green to highlight the fins and sharp bits. Next it is onto painting the white bits and some more drybrushing!

Skulls and Shackles - Days 5-7

More of the same as the crew continued to do the pirate ship thing of rigging, swabbing and dealing with the unpleasantness of Mr. Plugg and his associates. The crew continued to show indifference to the players as they attempted to gather allies among those in the crew that they felt were trustworthy.

 Spoiler Alert!!!!

I won't say which day but one of the days the players are confronted by Mr. Plugg and associates and challenged to fight Owlbear Hartshorn, Mr. Plugg's pet simpleton.  He is a nasty hand to hand opponent but the players can get an advantage if they pay attention. Jess' character Andrick was chosen to fight the brute.

The coins were tossed with a nice chattering noise and applause by both groups.  Once the bag hit the ground the fight was on and after only a few seconds of being pummeled by the brute Andrick was quickly able to see his weakness and kept to one side without him causing further damage. This so enraged Mr. Plugg that even though he said no weapons in a very show of his true colors kind of manner he tossed a club to his champion.  Still the players did not take the bait and continued to fight with gusto and fairly against the brute. The battle was over within a few short rounds with the players winning the respect and friendship of Owlbear when they opted to stop fighting after he was down.  This further infuriated Mr. Plugg who now is firmly in the PC enemy camp along with Fipps Chumlett and several others.

The players gained both more respect and enmity from various crew members after that fight.

Highlights of the evening included a sea sick gnome, no rat duty for Andrick (that was a first!), bilge duty for Chompsky, an averted close encounter for Chandra and more time up in the rigging for Alliah.

The watchful eyes of the players caught the feel of the change of wind as the Wormwood left Jeopardy Bay and proceeded toward the known shipping lanes. Plunder, it seems was not far off, unfortunately as the rains get ever heavier it seems neither is one nasty storm.

We used the projector setup with miniatures and playmobil ships and once again I have to give it to my crew! What a great game by the players! I am very much enjoying this AP!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Al Qadim - Welcome to Crab Island

After battling sharks and the dangers of the sea the Tiger's Eye finally makes port in Jazirat al-Qraidis and land in the small fishing village of Sams Bandar where they meet the local magistrate, an enlightened man named Najib. They spend the day there discussing hiring a boat and finally get Najib to offer them an older boat and a seasoned shrimper to take them to the the lagoon where ships never return.

The players ask around and learn that some say that the lagoon is inhabited by a great crab monster, a sea monster, a sea dragon, angry mermaids or that there is a mad wizard who casts flaming death from the mountains at any who enter his lagoon.

The players prepare to confront the natives but quickly learn that the intentions of the Hafami are not hostile. In fact, the chief Shafyia has come seeking aid to appease Kaaraka the crab god. He believes that he has been angered by the Garum, a group of ogres and orcs who live on a nearby island. The chief asks the party for help and threatens to burn the village if aid is not given.Luckily, the party determined to get the Great Treasure decided to help. So beings another part of their quest.

We are playing Golden Voyages.

I used the projector once again and some MBA buildings along with the Playmobil pirate ships.  The entire party leveled because they could have all been defeated by the fifty + raiding party of Chief Shafyia but instead took the better part of valor and decided to try diplomacy first.

Bones Painting

Picked up Gurps for 3.99 at my FLGS yesterday. I also picked up a rust monster, shaggoth, some nasty cthulhu beastie and a perfect figure for my wife's character in Skulls and Shackles - Alliah Morningtide.  I base coated my hydra green, three cthulhu beasties flesh, and Alliah brown. I gave both coc beasts a brown wash to bring out the flesh tones. Now I need to wait as they dry before I give them a second coat. I gotta say I am impressed with Bones in the way they hold paint without having to primer first.

Update: I have added a few details to the miniatures. Mel's archer character is coming along nicely. I used various shades of greens and browns to highlight using the lining technique. For the Cthulhu like miniatures I used the above mentioned wash along with browns, greens, reds, and white to bring out the eyes and mouths.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Water Animation

I used this water animation with my pirate ships. The effect is very cool. This was used for the Al Qadim - Golden Voyages game though I will likely save it and use it for other games. The effect is from expanding the size of an animated gift through a projector mounted on the ceiling.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

DM Help - Mouse Trap with Family

We played a rousing game of Mouse Trap today. I told the kids before they started that this would be their first experience with disappointment. I was not disappointed. The problem with games like this is that we are teaching kids that there can only be one winner and everyone else is  a loser. Kind of a metaphor for how thing turns out in the adult world sometimes I suppose but anyway maybe I'm just going too deep into a fricken kids game so I'll stop getting all existential about it.

You guys remember that game right? It's that crazy build a trap game. I thought. OK Great! Time to play mouse trap with the kids. It'll be their first time. I haven't played in years. I hope it works as described "Hit the thing and put the man into the can.. that's mouse trap." instead of what I remember "fight with the board, get your fingers cut, put them man into the can.. slam the thing into the thing, watch the cat chase the dog, watch the dog chew up the piece.. and that's mouse trap!"

Today my daughter won our first ever game of Mouse Trap. Let's backup though. From the moment I unwrapped that silicon wrapping around the boardgame box I knew we'd be in for some family memories. What did my kids learn today? Well they learned how to wait their turn and how to properly roll dice. They learned how to be good sports. Faelen my son is still working on that as he cried when he was first to be captured but then seemed to be over it when I was captured next. It was I who captured him and my daughter captured me. Then to end the game Madison caught Mel and Bailey in the trap (Mel and Bailey were playing together). So my daughter won. The game actually worked. Everyone had a good time.

What does this have to do with DnD? Well a lot. I am teaching our kids how to use problem solving skills, how to use the board to their advantage, how to socialize, and how to avoid traps. I for one think mouse trap is an excellent teaching aid with exploring a dungeon (the maze) and avoiding danger (cat, dog, trap, etc) and trying to get out of the dungeon in one piece!

What's my advice? Play games with your kids when they are young. Hopefully they will want to play with you in the future when they are older and have learned magic missile.

Some quick tips:
1. Skip some of the rules if they seem to cumbersome so that the kids have fun.
2. Make sure that everyone gets a turn to shine!
3. Ham it up. Play the mouse! Be the cheese!
4. Try to console your kids as much as possible when they lose but do not baby them
5. Laugh. Laughter is always good.
6. When they get caught tell them that you'll probably be next.
7. Be next to get caught.
8. Celebrate the win.
9. Tell everyone what a great job they did!
10. Laugh some more!