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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

OwlCon XXX - This Weekend!


  No, you perverts. OwlCon 30. As in thirty years of OwlCons.

  If you don't know, OwlCon is an annual gaming convention held on the campus of Rice University, in downtown Houston. The mascot for Rice is the owl, hence the name. Up to speed now?

  For a pretty much local con, it's a good one. They do get some good vendors, if not many of them. And the game selection is okay, with historicals, role-playing, board games, and fantasy / sci-fi gaming. For the last few years, they have even had BattleTech MechForce pods brought in to the con. these are self-enclosed video game cockpits for driving mechs. Four of them are linked together, and you compete head to head. Pretty cool. And, last year, the nine-year-old son of a friend of mine wiped the floor with one of the guys running the booth.

  The highlight for my family is the Gutshot! game we always play with Mike Mitchell. Mike is one of the nicest guys I know, for a demented sadistic GM. My sons both love playing in his game. I have terrible luck at Gutshot! In four years, I have yet to actually kill a person - only zombies. Last year's sad tale of woe was chronicled here. Look for another tall tale next week.

  Anyway, see you on the other side, and if you're in the Houston area, come check it out!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Started Painting

I started painting my 15mm 30YW Germans this past weekend. I am trying something new on them, a brown primer. I was hoping it would give a nice line of definition like some folks do with black primer between base colour blocks. Not too harsh like black, but still delineated. I'm not too sure how it is working. When I get a few finished, I'll post pictures.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Whispering Cairn, Part 5

Episode V: The Necromancer Strikes Back

  It is a time of great trouble for the Rebellion. The Empire has chased the Rebel forces across the galaxy, to the ice planet Hot... oh, sorry. Wrong Episode V.

  In our Episode V, things go nearly as badly for Our Heroes as they did for poor Han and Luke. Well, worse, actually. Since Degar the Dwarf Knight and Sarmek the Ranger were both killed. "WHAT!?! HOW?!?!?" I can hear you screaming those burning questions. No, really. Or is that just the kids fighting again?

  Anyway, the adventuring day starts off swell. They travel the short distance to the old observatory in the morning. Just a short walk (or cart ride) from the center of town, really. Maybe a mile. Anyway, up the hill, to discover the doors are locked, and they've forgotten the lockpicks! And the rogue to use them! Degar offers to batter down the door, but the other party members convince him that perhaps the element of surprise may be a good thing.

  So, up on the roof, and over to the (not locked) windows of the attached observatory tower. Into the necromancer's bedroom. Naturally, it is fitted with the finest in red linens, giant self-glorifying marble stautes, wax-crusted candlesticks, and mummified goblin statues bearing severed heads on silver platters. You know, the usual. Plus a desk covered in papers. "Papers? How interesting..." thinks our warmage, Wren. At the same time, Degar, never the subtle one, pokes the goblin. Which sets off the alarm, of course. Cries of alarm come from upstairs and an ominous cry of "Arise, my beautiful monstrosities, and defend your master!"

  Upstairs the heroes slowly and carefully approach. Making sure, of course, to give the necromancer ample time to cast several spells, and for his worst creations to break out of their embalming tanks. And crowd the stairwell. Then we try shooting them with arrows. Which don't do much to zombies, especially big zombies like these four.

  What followed over the next hour or so is a list of every bad thing that can happen to a party. First, the magic user goes down early, paralyzed. Then the cleric is critically wounded. Saved by a potion, he is almost immediately knocked unconscious again. The fighters split up. then manage to step into the gap between three enemies, so that all three can attack them simultaneously, flanking. the ranger keeps shooting arrows at zombies, which are nigh impervious to the things, and doesn't think to ask about his Knowledge skills that might help (like dungeoneering) him to realize what the monster's weakness is. A critical hit which could do a massive 36 points of damage, instead does all of 12. The mage recovers from being paralyzed (yes, the fight was still going on that long), and gets caught in a melee with a zombie. Loses a couple of spells - his better ones, too. Just... everything went wrong.

  Add in that I made some fairly fundamental GM mistakes (like not reading the turning rules better), and you get the result. So, I told them as the mage limped away carrying the unconscious priest of Heironeous, leaving their two dying companions, that they suddenly woke from their terrible dream!

  We're going to go back and revisit the tower, from the point at which the alarm was set off. I'm nice, and I want the boys to learn, but they don't get a total re-do. Maybe next time (a week from Friday, I think) they won't make such a total mess of the fight.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Thirty Years War Army Arrives

  So I got my Old Glory 15s order of Early Thirty Years War German Catholics in. Lotta lead for my $100, I have to say. It includes:
  • 3x Commanders
  • 2x BGs of Kurassiere
  • 1x BG of Bandellier Reiter
  • 1x BG of Crabaten (Croat Irreg. Cavalry)
  • 4x BGs of Infantry Regiments
  • 1x BG of Musketkompanien
  • 1x BG of Field Artillery
  • 1x BG of Schutzenkompanien
  • 1x BG of Heavy Artillery
  • 2x BG of Dragoner (dragoons)
  • Plus additional Armored Pikemen, so that I can make either Catholic League (Old Tercio) or Imperial (Late Tercio)
So, lots and lots of lead. Good stuff, huh? Now, just got to get it all painted.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Well, I survived. What did you get?

  London, that is. We had a great time, and I took lots of photos, especially in the museums. Heck, the buildings for the museums there are spectacular, much less the collections within them! I especially liked the National Army Museum, in which I was sadly NOT allowed to take photos. I suggest you visit yourself if you are ever in London and have a half a day to kill.

  One other thing I did gaming related in London was that I - quite by accident - ran into one of the good gentlemen responsible for A Very British Civil War. At the Imperial War Museum. WHile looking at the British Fascist Union uniforms they have there. I overheard him talking to his companion about it, and rudely (well, maybe not that rudely, but still) interjected myself into their conversation. Bad American Tourist, that's me. So that is kind of gaming related.

  So, the holiday season is once again behind us. Time to look back and reflect on the goodies we received. This year was astonishing: I got absolutely nothing gaming related. Not a single mini, rulebook, supplement, painting guide, history book, movie, die, paintbrush, model tree, or anything in my stocking this year. Not that I was naughty - except for neglecting my blogs for the last few months, and sorry about that! - just that we spent the family's holiday money on other things. Namely, traveling to London!

  I would love to hear about any cool new toys that you received over the holidays. After all, I have a birthday coming up in a few weeks...

  Tonight we have another installment of the Whispering Cairn on tap. Perhaps the intrepid adventuring team will finally penetrate into the True Tomb of the Wind Duke!

  Finally, I did get in a quick game of Battles by GASLIGHT over the holiday. I thought about doing an AAR, but to amke a long story short, the battle was a draw. We literally traded off killing units, etc. So the good news is, that it seemed to be a balanced scenario. The bad news is that neither of us could overcome our equality and do something clever. Might have been due to stress. Let's go with that for an excuse. Yeah, I like that...