13 November 2011

The Quest begins

Evening Blog-readers! I've been very busy, geek-wise (as my wonderful and long-suffering wife will attest), over the last few weeks, but I will plead guilty to neglecting this blog. I have been keeping track of my progress in this thread over on the Lead Adventure Forum which is a great forum for those of you not yet members.

The main focus has been my high-medieval, low-fantasy project, Quest. The basic idea is a sort of Arthurian take on a modular 'dungeon crawl', although that dungeon may sometimes be a forest if you see what I mean. My rules have now had their first ever playtest, and much fun was had by all.

The quest the four squires had to undertake was the simple task of escorting Lady Eleanor, along with her two faithful hounds and her maidservant Ceridwin, to her wedding. The sun glinted through the trees, warming their backs and their spirits as they talked of love and honour, walking to spare their horses and to prolong the pleasure of the journey... Then the brigands ambushed them, slaying the groom and whisking their horses away into the forest and then trying to steal away the ladies as well:

The squires hurled themselves against the cowardly ruffians...

... and made reasonably short work of them, suffering only a few flesh wounds (and some embarrassment at their comically bad swordplay).

Horseless and tired they set off into the woods to find somewhere they could stay for the night to rest, only to encounter a knight undertaking a pas d'armes - "None shall pass". Desperate to prove himself, squire Barnabus (responsible for the best one-liners of the evening, including some genuinely witty running jokes about the likely political affiliations of the bandits) took up the challenge to fight until one was knocked down. If he won, the pas d'armes knight would guide them to a nearby castle. Barnabus was promptly killed outright in a freak dice result that made me wonder if I should have some kind of divine intervention. I chose not to, partly because it seemed so Mallory-esque, but mainly to give the rules a proper test before tweaking them.

Ashamed, the knight showed them the way where they were welcomed by a beautiful woman in red and feasted before retiring a little drunk to their chambers. Awoken by screams, and finding the door of them chamber locked they armed themselves, the door was opened by Ceridwin; Eleanor had been taken. They followed the dogs who were on her scent, encountered the lady in red (cue for a song?) who explained that the castle had fallen under the control of a giant who would take any noble woman who stayed there. These women were never seen again.

Hurrying after the frantic dogs, they came face to face with the giant. Squire Eridor charged the giant, increasing his chivalry as he did so, and with astonishing dice knocked the monster off his feet with his first attack. Squire Eenit kept on after the dogs and went to break down the door that they were howling at:

Sadly for the game, the parent who was giving them lifts arrived at this point and we had to break off.

Thoughts on the game
For a first test it went really well. The combat system in particular went just as I hoped, with each fight bringing the risk of ignominious death, but the heroes having the slight upper hand. I found I was horribly rusty as a DM, and made the storyline so linear as not to give much opportunity for them to wander off into the forest etc, but they hugely enjoyed themselves and want to make it a weekly event. While I can't spare the time for that, I took it as an endorsement.

17 September 2011

Everything is better with lasers...

... right? I was admiring the laser-cut buildings from the likes of Sarissa when I had a thought (it happens occasionally) - we have a laser-plotter in the technology department at my school. So, a little playing with 2d Designer later, and I had a virtual copy of an earlier building I'd made (very slowly!) from foam-core and balsa splints.
Then I wandered over to the technology dept. and, ten minutes later (okay, thirty - I screwed up the measurements for the joints on the first trial) I had this in my excited little paws:
It went together pretty well:
The best bit about the whole thing was my Cunning Plan (TM) 8) I run the science/tech club so I'm going to get the kids to build lots more (for their own good, you understand) so that they build a whole town. This will allow me to indulge in a bit of geek-design, and a little bit of subtle evangelising about gaming.

And if they don't want to keep their creations, I'll look after them. It would be rude not to, eh?

29 August 2011

Note to self...

... strong alcohol plus failing light does NOT make for well-painted miniatures.

Now, where did I leave that bottle of nitromors?

28 August 2011

A spot of DIY

As the long summer holidays drift into their final week, I'm getting round to a couple of niggly little jobs that have been cluttering up my painting/modelling corner.

For the few of you who don't know, 'Sharp Practice' is a Too Fat Lardies game that allows one to play out the adventures of small groups of men and their charismatic or nefarious officers during the Napoleonic era. I really like the hinterland they occupy between skirmish gaming and roleplaying, and the game mechanics are satisfying. There is a strong card-driven mechanic which provides 'friction' in that your Groups may be able to act exactly as you wish, or, if the Turn ends before you get to them, they only have limited actions available. Do give them a try if you haven't yet. They're cheap, too! I've only played solo with chits so far, but hope to correct that at some point in the next eighteen months; the locals seem more interested than in Impetus, so I'm hopeful.

Anyway, this thread on TMP reminded me I had bought some printable perforated cards from plaincards.com to make my own Sharp Practice and Bonus Card decks.

The sheets are a good thickness of card, very close to standard playing cards, and are US letter size. They fed through my Canon Inkjet MP800 with absolutely problems at all, but I did take care to print just one side at a time, then feed them back through as I thought them being bent over for duplex printing might make the cards pop out.

plaincards have their own design software on their site, but I was too stingy for that (the demos don't allow you print) so made my own template in MS Publisher, filled it in with the text I needed, and Robert's your mother's brother!

The printed cards popped out very easily with a little back-and-forth bending along the perforations:

I was very pleased, but then realised I should go the whole hog and make boxes for each deck. So I did! I found this nifty site which allows you to enter the dimensions of your deck of cards and then print off a pdf of the 'net' to make an appropriately sized box. Simply cut, fold and stick, and taa-daa!

I may yet make some stickers to go on the outside of the boxes to label them up. Finisher-completer characteristics to the fore! I also made a box to hold my fan-made BloodBowl cards, which are in the completed box above.

Hope that's of use to someone.

8 August 2011

Elfball - Bedford 2011

Summer holidays are here again... :)

I've been mostly (geek-wise) tidying up, flogging off some of the lead-pile on eBay, and mulling over the rules for the chivalric quest game I'm slowly writing.

I did also go to the Elfball tournament organised by Chris last Saturday. I had a whale of a time, but only managed two draws and two losses. I'd like to blame the fact I've not played elfball for about three months, but I suspect it's just as much that I'm not that good at the game, even though I really like it.

There are photos taken by Steven at this link.

..and here's the terribly unflattering one of yours truly:

5 July 2011

First foes finished

A very quick update to show you the first batches of goblins (from Rhoninstorm Miniatures) and skeletons (from Mantic Games) that I've tested colour schemes on. I'm pretty pleased with them and will be continuing the theme through the remaining ones in my plasti-lead pile.

19 June 2011

MORE gaming with #1 Son

#1 Son - "Daddy, can we play with knights in a dungeon?"
Me (pleasantly surprised) - "Of course!"

Now, it turns out that Sophie the cat had got lost in the dungeons under King Dougal's castle and the knight and guards had to go looking for her, especially as the king had already been looking for ages:

Some of the doors in the dungeon were closed, and creaked heavily when opened (he did the noises unprompted):

You'll be pleased to know that both cat and king were found safely in time to get back to the kitchen for marzipan cake.

Stay tuned for more exciting adventures, derring do... and cake!

13 June 2011

Gaming with #1 Son

Well, I finally did it - #1 Son and I had our first 'geek game' last night, and repeated it this evening. He's a mean dice-roller, far luckier than I am; I may have to take him with me to roll my dice on future geek-days!

I've made some custom dice with either swords or shields on them (to help with his numeracy, you understand - he has to count up the totals and we're working on subtracting). I placed the two knights in May's posts toe-to-toe in the middle of a large dungeon room tile and we both rolled attack and defence dice, the loser being pushed back the resultant number of spaces. You won the 'tournament' if you pushed the other fellow to the back wall. He loved it, and forewent a story tonight to play again, but this time with his knights that go with his huge wooden castle:

30 May 2011

Giant and knight

On a roll! A couple more fantasy figs to continue my project; a Metal Magic giant and another 5th Ed. Bretonnian knight:

24 May 2011

Knight and Dragon

Not dead and not given up gaming, but having two little 'uns is proving fairly all consuming...

Anyway, here's the first painting I managed this year (!) - I've been drawn irresistably towards 'old skool' medieval fantasy figures of late so I'm painting what I want. So there!

The knight is actually a conversion - the head of an old Bretonnian knight on a Black Tree Design figure from their early HYW range. The dragon is a lovely old Citadel figure marked 1984, and by the wonderful Tom Meier. Nostalgic goodness :)