Monthly Archives: June 2012

The biggest change in 6E

If you’re still making noises about Allies: stop.  I’m tired of hearing people complain about/try to break the rules.

Much more significantly, it’s not the biggest rule change in the new book.

“Bigger Games”, page 110:
This being the case, if you’re playing a game of 2,000 points or more, you can take an additional primary detachment. This gives you access to up to six choices each from elites, fast attack and heavy support, up to four HQ choices, a massive potential of up to twelve troops choices, and additional allied detachment and an additional fortification.

This is huge.  It means 2,000 point games are explicitly not in the range of default game sizes.  It means crazy shit like 8 HQ choices in a 2,000 Space Wolf army.  It means I could drop over 50% of my points on HQs in my Daemon army.

New Edition – Acquired!

40K 6E’s here!

As planned, Casey, Ashley, blogless Bart and I drove out to the Bowie Bunker for the midnight release.

Unfortunately, a severe thunderstorm hit both us and the Bunker on the way up.  The drive up was crazy: we saw thee wind blow one of those giant “<--" signs across a lane of traffic and into the side of a truck.  We had to dodge a orange traffic barrel as it blew across our lane.  It was crazy.

It also knocked out power at the Bunker, which was kind of a drag.

Instead of being able to check out the Bunker’s new digs, take pictures with the space marine, and maybe/maybe not buy random Warhammer 40,000 swag … we couldn’t actually go into the bunker to look around, much less buy anything.  Totally, utterly understandable, but it was kind of a long, dangerous drive in the middle of the night to just collect a box and go.

I suppose I should be thankful that they handed out preorders; there would have been Problems if they hadn’t, but still, I appreciate it.

Haven’t gotten anywhere with the book yet: Friday was a long day for me, but on an initial casual flip-through it’s the most beautiful book Games Workshop’s published yet… and given how gorgeous Warhammer Fantasy 8E was, that says a lot.

Great job, GW!

On Battlefoam’s Customer Service – Results

So, you might remember my kinda nuts order into Battlefoam earlier this month.

Well, it showed up this afternoon, I’m ecstatic about it, and figured I’d share the results.

Just about a week after my order, they got back to me with a layout.

I suggested collapsing a few of the filler shapes into each other.  The result:

Well, as I said the trays just showed up in the mail.

The filler for the Demigryph shapes were included: I’ll shave them down after I’ve glued the riders on (when they’ll be needed).

So, as you can see, Battlefoam did an amazing job of taking my heap of requirements and cobbling them together into into some trays that do exactly what I need them to do.  As I said, they’ve got exemplary customer service.

Also, since I was taking pictures and I don’t think I’ve posted it here: this foam topper was a last-minute upsell when I placed my Black Friday order back in November.  It’s based on the display sign I knocked together for the NoVA Open and run through some filters in Gimp. I’m really happy with how it came out, and as I’m working on more display signs, I’m keeping foam toppers in mind.

Firearms

I’m not entirely pleased with the way WFRP 2E handles firearms.

For the Old World, it’s fine, but for Thirty Years’ War, they’re too advanced and reliable. There’s even a few paragraphs in the Old World Armoury that talks about the evolution of firearms in the Old World from hand gonnes to matchlocks to wheellocks and flintlocks and on to the “modern” handgun.  Those wheellocks and matchlocks, though, saw use in addition to flintlocks.

Unfortunately OWA doesn’t do anything with them mechanically.  So, I’m going to cobble something together on my own.  At the same time, one thing I very much appreciate about WFRP is how it just says, “Whatever man, it’s a Hand Weapon,” and doesn’t get too persnickety about details beyond that.  Weighing things down with details for details’ sake isn’t going to do me any favors.


Pistols and Firearms are either Matchlock, Wheellock, or Firelock (Flintlock).

  • Matchlocks – as Firearm/Pistol, but Unreliable range is 15% larger (attack rolls of 81-98 mean a roll on the Misfire Chart) and is Rare.
  • Wheellock – as Firearm/Pistol, but Unreliable range is 10% larger (attack rolls of 86-98 mean a roll on the Misfire Chart).
  • Firelock – as Firearm/Pistol, but 5% more difficult to acquire.

Type Misfire Explodes Rarity
Matchlock 81-98 99-00 Rare
Wheellock 86-98 99-00 Very Rare
Firelock 96-98 99-00 Very Rare (-5%)


When firing an Unreliable weapon, if the roll falls within the Misfire range, regardless if the roll would have been successful, there will be a secret roll on the Misfire Chart.  Experimental weapons will roll on the Advanced Misfire Chart in Old World Armoury.

Misfire Chart
Roll Result
01-20 Partial burn. Not all the powder catches; range and effective strength are halved (rounding fractions up) for this shot only.
21-50 Charge fails to ignite; try again next round.
51-70 Chage fails to ignite; reload and try again.
71-80 Slow burn, or ‘hang fire.’ The priming goes off, but nothing else seems to happen. However the weapon will fire in the following round, with potentially dangerous consequences. Anyone who is stupid enough to look down the barrel of a gun which has hung firetakes an automatic point blank head hit.
81-90 Flash in the pan. The powder around the touchhole ignites in a bright flash, but the gun does not go off. The gun must be reprimed before it can be fired again; this takes one round. The firer suffers a BS-10% on the reprimed shot, due to an understandable degree of nervousness about what is to happen next…
91-98 Burn-round. The powder catches, but the shot is either insufficiently wadded or a little too small for the barrel. The net result is that the heat of the burning powder welds the shot into the barrel. The weapon is now useless and has a 50% chance of exploding if anyone tries to use it again. A successful Challenging Trade (Gunsmith) Skill Test will repair it.
99-00 Weapon explodes, inflicting normal damage on the wielder and is destroyed.


Musket-Rest: Allows for a an Aim (Full Action) action.  If the following action is a Standard Attack, gain BS+20%.


The Misfire Chart in the core book is boring (it jams! it blows up!) and unrealistic (if it jams, you need a Trade roll to fix it).  The Advanced Misfire Chart in Old World Armoury is kinda brutal (40-50% chance of it blowing up); though I’m okay with it for Experimental weapons.  The above chart is effectively the Advanced Misfires Chart from WFRP 1E’s Warhammer Companion.

Also: the musket-rest is key.  I love them. Gotta be there.

Harkenwold: Reaved

This past Friday’s session was, as I’d hoped was the last session of the Reavers of Harkenwold campaign. As I’d expected, it ended in a TPK.

In the penultimate session, the heroes had headed to Iron Keep to kill/arrest Nazin Redthorn and cripple the Iron Circle’s ambitions in the area.  They’d scouted around the keep, located the keep’s sally port, and broke in.  I was pleased and surprised by this: the writer certainly hadn’t accounted for the PCs avoiding the front door entirely and the sally port was on the first floor of what’s effectively the final building (side-stepping a lot of fighting).

They’re going to end this thing, yeah.

The folks on the other sally port put up more of a fight than the heroes expected, though, and the battle frightened several servants who ran away.  This made the party too nervous… so they hoofed it.

In the aftermath, the keep was on high alert, and sent out some patrols to find the group that snuck in, stabbed some people and left.  A plan was formed to ambush one of those patrols, murder them, and sneak into the Keep disguised as members of the Iron Circle.  (As I’d recast the Iron Circle as human supremacists, the party’s dwarf and goliath would be “prisoners.)

So, at this point, they’d (effectively) done it the easy way, decided it was too hard, and then decided to go back and do it the hard way.

In the final session, they made contact with another patrol, Bluffed them convincingly, and then accompanied them to the keep’s gate.

Bluff rolls were extremely good, for the record.  Too good for the party’s own good, really; they let the heroes dig themselves a deeper and deeper hole before things hit the fan.

They’d convinced the gate commander they were legitimate.  The portcullis was coming up… and one of the members of the patrol they’d bamboozled noticed something wrong with the rope “restraining” the party’s dwarven cleric.

“He’s getting loose!”

At this point, I expected one the other PCs to punch him in and “subdue” him.

Instead, they basically did this:

So, that happened.  The thief, tumbled under the half-raised portcullis, ran into a nearby tower, and was engaged by a clanking iron dog.  The goliath jumped high and scrambled over the rampart over the gate.

The rest of the party stuck together outside of the keep and fought the rest of the patrol they’d tricked.

To be clear, the party’s now split: one guy in full view of half the keep’s sentries (and their crossbows), another locked in a tower with a robot dog, and three guys sticking together but blowing their rolls and standing in front of some murderholes.

I low-balled a few things (the gatehouse door was suspiciously easy to break down, for example), but the combat started off grim and only got grimmer.  There was a whole group of sentinels, for example, in full view of the combat completely unmolested by the PCs over entirely too many turns for them not to have called for help.

So, just as they’re finally getting a grip on their enemies… another wave showed up and, well, yeah.

There was a great deal of laudable, “I can get to your corpse in time!” that sadly proved untrue.  And, of course, once one PC drops, it’s downhill from there.


I’m not sorry for it, though.  As I’ve said, I was ready to be done with the campaign, and I think the players were, too.  I’m ready for the next thing, clearly.  And, really: it was the only way things could have reasonably worked out.  I didn’t go out of my way for the TPK… it was inevitable.

Warhammer 40,006!

Finally!  Sixth Edition’s up for preorder!

I ordered mine last night; I’m really looking forward to playing 40K again (I basically stopped after Grey Knights came out).

Casey, Ashley, blogless Bart, and I will be hitting the GW Bowie Bunker‘s midnight release event to pick up our copies.  If you’re planning to be there, too, give me a shout so I know to say hi!

"Do you the Devil’s work"

Ulric von Bek by Rufus-Jr
Back in high school, when I first encountered Michael Moorcock, Graf Ulric von Bek was my favorite incarnation of The Eternal Champion… even more than Elric.
I keep making passes at getting into his Jerry Cornelius; this time I’m warming up to Moorcock’s style by rereading The War Hound and the World’s Pain.  It’s also not an accident that War Hound begins in the aftermath of Magdeburg… as does my upcoming WFRP game. 
Putting aside the whole “Prince of Darkness business,” the opening section really sets the stage for the game. And, since I transcribed it, I might as well share it here.

It was in that year when the fashion in cruelty demanded not only the crucifixion of peasant children, but a similar fate for their household animals, that I first met Lucifer and was transported into Hell: for the Prince of Darkness wished to strike a bargain with me.

Until May of 1631 I had commanded a troop of irregular infantry, mainly Poles Swedes and Scots. We had taken part in the destruction and looting of the city of Megdeburg, having somehow found ourselves in the army of the Catholic forces under Count Johann Tzerclaes Tilly. Wind-borne gunpowder had turned the city into one huge keg and she had gone up all of a piece, driving us out with little booty to show for our hard work.

Disappointed and belligerent, wearied by the business of rapine and slaughter, quarreling over what pathetic bits of goods they had managed to pull from the blazing houses, my men elected to split away from Tilly’s forces. His had been a singularly ill-fed and badly equipped army, victim to the pride of bickering allies. It was a relief to leave it behind us.

We struck south into the foothills of the Hartz Mountains, intending to rest. However, it soon became evident to me that some of my men had contracted the Plague and I deemed it wise, therefore, to saddle my horse quietly one night and, taking what food there was, continue my journey alone.

Having deserted my men, I was not free from the presences of death or desolation. The world was in agony and shrieked its pain.

By noon I had passed seven gallows on which men and women had been hanged and four wheels on which three men and one boy had been broken. I passed the remains of a stake which some poor wretch (witch or heretic) had been burned: whitened bone peering through charred wood and flesh.

No field was untouched by fire; the very forests stank of decay. Soot lay deep upon the road, borne by the black smoke which spread from innumerable burning bodies, from sacked villages, from castles ruined by cannonade and siege; and at night my passage was often lit by fires from burning monasteries and abbeys. Day was black and grey, whether the sun shone or no; night was red as blood and white from a moon pale as a cadaver. All was dead or dying all was despair.

Life was leaving Germany and perhaps the whole world; I saw nothing by corpses. Once I observed a ragged creature stirring on the road ahead of me, fluttering and flooping like a wounded crow, but the old woman had expired before I reached her.

Even the ravens of the battlegrounds had fallen dead upon the remains of their carrion, bits of rotting flesh still in their beaks, their bodies stiff, their eyes dull as they stared into the meaningless void, neither Heaven, Hell nor yet Limbo (which there is, after all, still a little hope).

I began to believe that my horse and myself were the only creatures allowed, by some whim of Our Lord, to remain as witnesses to the doom of His Creation.

The War Hound and the World’s Pain, Michael Moorcock

Adventure Log

So, I’ve been following along with Jim Pacek’s DM Prep Page posts, mostly because the first one caught my attention.

I normally scribble notes on some scratch paper as we play and they’re maybe legible an hour later (never mind by the time the next session rolls around).  Stuff like, “How much XP do we have,” always comes up (not throwing stones, I suck at tracking it as a player, too).

So, some structure & format to notes can only be a good thing.  They’ll help make session recap (the next time, or here) simpler viable.   Jim’s got a neat little sheet, so I stole (the idea of) it.

(His other prep stuff so far is pretty OSR specific.  While the pregenerated hit dice rolls are inspired, they’re not especially useful to a WFRP game; though they did motivate me to throw together a spreadsheet of random d10 rolls.  We’ll see if that speeds anything up.)

Anyway, here’s what I’ve got so far.

Adventure Log v1.0

It’s intended to be printed, double-sided on 11″x17″ and folded along and with the center line on the inside.  That leaves a space to hole-punch to keep it in a binder.

I’m hoping that some additional structure emerges, but currently it’s some session notes on the outside and space on the inside to track stuff that happens during combat or whatever.  I’m kinda doing what Jim does with the hit dice over there on the right with blocking off rows for NPCs and such.

Like I said, there’s still room for structure to emerge.

I’ll be giving it a spin on Friday (with the last session of the 4E game), so we’ll see if it’s useful (or turns out to a waste of an afternoon).

Thoughts? Questions? Suggestions?

The Metamorphica is neat!

I picked up The Metamorphica the other week; it’s a lengthy collection of (as far as I can tell) totally system agnostic random tables, as well as some notes on how to leverage them.  I’d be leery of calling them “random mutation” tables: they cover that, but also insanities, super powers and psionics.

Anyway, the PDF is free, but I ordered the book because I’m a sucker for random tables, books in A5, system agnostic stuff (and it was easy to add to a Lulu order I was going to place anyway).

This thing is great.  When I say these tables are all over the place: I’m not kidding.  Entries look like this:

I could get into the specific contents (there are 104 body: form entries, 164 body: function entries, etc), but I’m not sure how useful those sorts of metrics are… and it’s free, so I’m sure you can figure that stuff out.

At a high level, though: it’s mostly mutations/psychoses/powers sorted into groups.  Appendix #1 is a bunch of tables for random stuff (plants! colors! animals! body parts!), #2 provides alternate arrangements of mutations & powers, #3 provides instructions for theming those mutations & powers to different settings and #4 provides instructions for creating specific types of creatures (like beastmen, demons, and plants).  Again, all of it system agnostic.

Really though, let’s do stuff with it.

Here’s a mutant: d6 mutations gave me 4.

Roll Description
780 Lights nearby are brighter and more violet
325 Photosynthetic
004 Amorphous
775 Crystalline Body

So, it’s a medium-sized crystalline blob that draws power from the sun, sucking away entire spectrums of light as it refracts through its hideous form.  That’ll do.

I’ve got WFRP on the mind, with its myriad and enthusiastic chaos/mutation systems, so I rolled up a few chaos characters.  Fortunately, Realms of Chaos is in Metzger’s bibliography, so there’s a page in Appendix 3 about creating chaos-y characters.

First, a  Chaos  Sorcerer:

Item Roll Description
Gift of Chaos 3 Demonic Weapon
Telltale 61 Turns to stone in sunlight
Mutation 671 Psychic Detection

Nothing mind shattering here, but definitely kinda creepy.  I can’t find a “demonic weapon” table anywhere, which feels like an omission, but at the same time, even though Slaves to Darkness has something like 18 pages on creating Daemonic Weapons, “has a weapon that’s a demon” is kind of enough, you know?

And now, a Chaos Lord:

Item Roll Description
Demonic Phenomenon 61 Food and drink spoils
Telltale 27 Plants move and try to grab the mutant
Gift of Chaos 1 Blood Rage
Gift of Chaos 8 Wings
Gift of Chaos 7 Pallid Siphon
Mutation 505 ADD
Mutation 661 Pain Broadcast

The Chaos Lord is more evocative: food spoils in its presence, nature itself attempts to strike at it.  It’s fickle, and reacts with a violent tantrum when injured.  It’s got wings and a pallid, colorless siphon, so I guess that makes it a loathsome mothman.  
So, this stuff is pretty cool.  The doc is great, and Lulu prints high quality books.  Definitely check it out.  This is one of the neatest supplements I’ve run into in a while.