Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Deep Dark Dungeons Version 1.1

I've had a few months to play around with my Deep Dark Dungeons rules and hammer out a few kinks. I've cleaned up grid movement a little, suggested lower points levels for campaign games to make things easier and added custom traps!

You can download the latest version of the rules HERE.

Remember that you will need both A Song of Blades & Heroes and A Song of Gold & Darkness from Ganesha Games to use these rules.

So, give them a test drive and let me know what you think. I'm still playing with things and maybe soon I can add another appendix say...magic items?

Happy gaming!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Son of the Great White North

I haven't had much time for hobby projects lately, and posting the bloggings even less, so yeah. Recently, however, I was invited into a new roleplaying group for a Pathfinder campaign. Well I say new, but Jay, our GM, is a close friend of mine. Jay and I have been through many a campaign before, both run by him and as battle-brothers in quests run my others in our old RPG group. Most of that group is scattered to the winds these days, so it was a real privilege to get to adventure with him again.

This image was both awesomer and sadder before I got married.
I have always loved playing in Jay's campaigns because he has an impressive attention to detail, especially so in his Luth setting. He has run games for others in this setting, but I have never been involved in one, though I have heard the stories. I'm very excited to finally get to experience the world. So excited that I resolved to paint up a whole new character mini for the campaign.

Luth has a land filled with Viking-esque people called Oebriens, and the people of the Great White North stood out to me because some of them could talk to their dead ancestors. In game this manifests as being able to cast Augury a few times a week. I wanted to take it a bit further and make my character a barbarian so devoted to his ancestors that he gained divine magic. Thus Boros the Redhand was born.

Of course I went to my gigantic pile of Bones minis immediately. I found an amazing muscle-bound figure with a huge axe and a tiny head that was perfect.

I was able to get a surprising amount of detail out of the figure. I chose a red/brass scheme as a cue from the name Redhand and because the demon-faced axe reminded me of something and old school Khornate Chaos Warrior would carry. Overall I am very happy with the result.

I also couldn't resist writing up a short character history.

Boros Mikkelson, The Redhand (Barbarian 2/Cleric 1)

The Great White North is a harsh and unforgiving place. None know this more than the Oebrien barbarians who live there. Villages are small, food scarce and warmth scarcer still. However, this harshness binds the Northerners together, sharing everything they have with each other and inducing a friendliness that, while overbearing at times, can make outsiders feel welcome. Northerners enjoy life to its fullest, with feasts and celebrations all year long. Ancestors are praised, mead is drunk and everyone lives each day as if it could be their last. In the Great White North, this could well be true.

Because farming and raising livestock are so hard in the North, many Northerners turn to raiding southern villages to feed their families. This does little to endear them to the peoples they raid, but the Northerners try to take as little as possible to survive, knowing well how it feels to have nothing. Only the wealthiest towns and villages are chosen, with poorer families spared if possible. Of course violence is inevitable and the Northerners have become renowned as fierce and savage warriors. Many towns work out a system of tribute to avoid bloodshed and some even hire Northerners as mercenaries to protect them against other would-be raiders.

It is into this world that Boros, son of Mikkel was born, in a tiny fishing village called Sutvarsk. Boros was huge, growing to almost six feet by his fourteenth birthday. His father was an accomplished raider, teaching Boros the way of the axe and it was something the boy excelled at. It was not long before Boros joined the raids himself, earning his own name next to his fathers as the Redhand. His berserk fury on the battlefield soon caught the eye of a small band of mercenaries called the Blackblades and he quickly found himself roaming far from home to the southern lands.

Boros has developed a taste for the foods of the south and enjoys cooking in that style, even having gone as far as carrying cooking tools and spices with him. The Blackblades have no objection to this, of course, and enjoy many of the Northern dishes he prepares as well.

Boros is particulary reverent to his ancestors, and communes with them often in the way of his people. So strong is his connection to the dead that some say he occasionally converses with the Great Father himself, the one common ancestor that those from the Great White North claim all men are descended from. Only Boros himself can say whether this is true for certain, but lately he has shown the ability to call on divine powers to bolster his allies and heal the wounded. Boros claims none of this power for himself, saying it is his ancestors guiding and protecting him and his allies.

For now Boros travels with the Blackblades, but his visions seem to have him troubled of late. Who knows where is ancestors will guide him next?

Boros in Deep Dark Dungeons

Of course Boros will probably find himself in my own dungeon crawling games. The following stats will work for both Song of Blades & Heroes and my own Deep Dark Dungeons supplement to those rules.

Boros, the Redhand.....76 Points
Quality 3+  Combat 4
Cleric, Dashing

That's all for now. I hope you have enjoyed hearing about Boros and maybe soon I will be able to tell more of his adventures.

Happy gaming!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Boston Comic Con 2014-Day Three

Life has been a little hectic over the last month. Moving a whole house, including about 3 times as many games as I thought I had, has kept me busy the last few weeks. But I'm glad I'm finally getting to sit down and type up the last day of Comic-Con. It has been almost exactly a month now, so hopefully I can remember everything. I'm also going to use this as a space to house the best cosplays we managed to get pics of. There were hundreds of great costumes but we sucked at getting pics.

Anyway, on to....

Day Three

Day Two was a fairly crazy affair, so we were looking forward to a much easier Day Three. We only had three goals that day: An autograph from Jewel Staite, John Barrowman's personal panel and the walk-on costume contest, which Brigid had signed up for.

Easy, however, was not on the agenda.

The con was starting a little later in the day, so we were able to sleep in a little bit. We made our way over and immediately made our way to the autograph area. We were significantly early, so we were third in line! We felt very proud of ourselves for making it early so we would have plenty of cushion time before Barrwman's panel, considering the Torchwood fiasco the day before.

This turned out to be a futile endeavor. Jewel ended up being about an hour late, which made us panic immensely. Not only did we question our time frame, but after her being so elusive the day before, we were worried she might skip out altogether. Eventually, though she did appear and I got my pic signed.

I had her write "Stay Shiny!" on it, which probably made her want to kill me with a hatchet. Scrawling the same word over and over in some variation on thousands of pictures of her own face probably was starting to wear a little thin. Whatever. Screw her sanity, I got my commemorative item.

I don't want to sound ungrateful, but Jewel Staite was probably my least favorite celebrity interaction. It was wonderful to get to meet her, but it just didn't come off as warm or friendly as the others we'd had. That's not to say she was rude. She was perfectly pleasant and I was still thrilled to be near her and shake her hand. But the same energy just wasn't there. I like to think that maybe she was just exhausted or feeling ill (hence being late) and that the fun, quirky, happy woman we had seen in the panel earlier was still in there, just taking a small nap.

We made a mad dash for the panel area, getting there a scant 2 hours early. People were already lined up for Barrowman and had been for at least an hour. In order to mitigate the possibility of a situation like the day before, no one was allowed up the escalators/stairs unless they were going to another panel or entering the costume contests. Anyone done with their business had to go back downstairs immediately. A pre-line of 125 people had been allowed and there would be an announcement when the second pre-line would be formed.

Of course the same problem persisted: the area at the end of the stairs was big and soon began filling up with nerds waiting to be in the second pre-line. And yes, we were in that group of nerds. So we were part of/witness to the shenanigans that followed.

As soon as the first line began to move and the second line announced, the wave of geeks surged forward. The mighty Linemaster, blocking the end of the stairs, raised his arms and shouted, "Anyone within 10 feet of me is not getting in!"

Dorks scattered like cockroaches away from him, to sit perched at the perimeter of his ultimatum like hyenas around a lion's kill. Every attempt to form a second line ended in a similar result, even with threats to cancel the panel. Once again there were a good thousand people who didn't realize that they weren't getting in, as if some miracle was going to add seats to this wondrous, extra dimensional amphitheater. Somehow they managed another 125 people up the stairs without an act of savagery. Only 100 people remained but the natives were getting restless

The final solution is that everyone was forced out of the lower area and past the 5 sets of double doors, people streaming out into the general convention area. It was then announced that they would take 20 people from each door. We rejoiced because we were easily within the first 15 of our door. In case you doubt the mass of people that was there, I did manage to get a few quick snaps of the crowd this time.

Yes, those are all people waiting to see John Barrowman. Soon our door (slightly right of the center doors) opened and the lady said she would start by taking four people, two couples. Our hands shot up and we and a pair of boys were let through and instructed to see the lady in the very tactical looking vest by the stairs. As we made our way over, the center doors burst open and a column of nerds surged through, heading for the stairs. We hustled over and were given our numbers as the staff yelled at each other about ignoring the plan. Apparently the even promoter told them to open the center doors. They were very lucky no one got trampled. We took our ink (I was number 200; I don't pretend to understand their numbering system) and headed upstairs, the worst over.

Once again, the John Barrowman panel was amazing. Easily the best time by far. The only picture that can sum it up is this one:

However if you require a more in-depth account, Brigid has several videos on her YouTube account. If you have to watch just one though, it has to be this one.

After the panel Brigid attempted to get to her costume contest, but three days of stress and exhaustion finally caught up with us. We cut our losses and made our way back to the hotel to gather our things.

We did, however, happen to have one last celebrity interaction before we left. It turns out that Jason Momoa was staying in our hotel and he walked through the lobby while we were waiting for our cab!

We feared decapitation, so we didn't say hi.
Soon, though we were on a bus and on our way home, happy and exhausted. The whole thing was an amazing experience. In fact, Brigid had so much fun that she has signed up up for Vermont Comic Con in October. I'm not sure it'll be as fun, but it might be less stressful.

That's all for the con adventures. Now I will just leave you with pictures of amazing cosplays!

Cosplay Critters

We managed a ton of pics of Doctor Who related pics with some lovely people:

Brigid also made Con-friends with an Ianto and Jack couple (also seen above):

We also got a nice variety of other characters from various sources:

Steampunk Tony Stark
A very Bale-esque Batman
An incredibly impressive Predator
Piracy is alive in Boston
Who ya gonna call?
A Rosie The Riveter themed Wonder Woman

One bad-ass Mr. Freeze
A very horny Loki-lady and the whitest of Power Rangers
The best at what he does and what he does is cosplay.
They certainly put a smile on our face.
The god of thunder demands to check out!
This Planet Express crew has a shiny metal ass you can bite.
I have no idea what this is supposed to be.

This is just plain insanely awesome. The Imperium is definitely safe with these guys around.
And that's it for cosplays! I hope you enjoyed the report even if it was insanely long. And if you missed out on the other parts, you can find them here and here!

Have fun!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Birthday Gaming Extravaganza 2014

As I did last year, I threw another gaming weekend in celebration of my birthday. I don't have anything too special to say about it, but  I have a few pictures of the fun.

Saturday night was a few games of Epic Spell Wars, then a long roleplaying session with our home-brewed Marvel Superheroes rules. Pizza was interspersed throughout. I would have taken pictures but it was all theater of the mind and I'M NOT LETTING YOU SEE MY IMAGINATION. So there.

The lazy bastards slept in so I got a game of Marvel Dice Masters in against myself. I need to play more of this. No one else agreed that morning so they missed out on a great game. I shouldn't have made them breakfast but I did.

Then we played more Epic Spell Wars. We really love this game. Like LOVE it, love it.

And then I forced everyone to play HeroQuest. I don't know why everyone puts up a fight when I break this out. A fantastic time is always had by all, especially since we have no problem interjecting roleplaying into the mix. This adventure was actually a continuation of last year's quest, with the heroes hired by Prince Magnus to hunt down the true leader of the sinister cult encountered last time.

Madness inducing fishmen are encountered. Heroes in the room had a chance to lose their turn, based on Mind points.
Some culty cultists, who were having a nice meal until the heroes showed up.
The Elf and Wizard find an evil idol...
While the Dwarf and Barbarian clear out the rest of the monsters.
The cult leader and his Chaos Warrior bodyguards, one of which was murdered by a Genie, courtesy of the Elf.
The Barbarian joins the fray while the Dwarf struggles to even get in the camera shot with his stumpy legs.
After slaying the Barbarian, the cult leader is shanked by the Wizard while the elf distracts him.

All in all a fun quest. My favorite moment was when the Elf tried to search for the dead Barbarian's loot:

Elf- "I grab the Barbarian's coin purse."

Zargon- "As you lean down to grab it, a rat runs by and snatches it, scampering down the hall and disappearing."

Elf- "Shit. Well, I'll take the Barbarian's broadsword then."

Zargon- "As you turn to reach for the sword, you find a much, MUCH larger rat with its paws wrapped around it, growling at you."

Elf- "You know what? Fuck it. He can keep it."

After that it was burgers and everyone went home. It was a fantastic time and I can't wait until next year's BGE! Happy gaming!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Boston Comic Con 2014-Day Two

After crashing hard following Day One, we woke early the next morning to continue the Comic Con madness. Hereafter follows the account of...

Day Two

This being only our first con, Brigid did an extremely brave thing and decided to cosplay. She worked up a full costume for Doctor Who/Torchwood's Captain Jack Harkness, complete with awesomely badass (and extremely expensive) coat.

The day before had been about taking in the sights and checking the lay of the land. Today was to be all business. With a jam packed schedule of autographs, photo ops and panels, this was going to be the true test of our con mettle.

The first thing we did upon entering was head straight to the signing area. We waited in line about an hour for John Barrowman, who was a tiny bit late since he had come straight from shooting and I'm sure was exhausted. However, John was extremely friendly and accommodating to his fans and had great energy at the table. Not only did he sign a picture for us, but he also signed Brigid's Captain Jack coat while she was wearing it!

Then we stopped at Sean Astin's table and he was very friendly. I got him to sign my mini Lord of the Rings SBG book, right over Samwise's profile.


We also spotted James Marsters at a distance:

And Jason Momoa, who did a walkthrough of the signing area. Dude is fucking huge. I took a video and the thing looks like a damn sasquatch film:


After getting our signatures, we went to the Star Wars comics panel. We let shortly after it began. We didn't recognize the artists, the room was small, it was hard to hear and generally bored us to death. So we snuck out and went back to get Eve Myles signature.

Eve was awesome. She was super friendly, and even though we had to pay $20 for table pictures, she let us do multiple for that amount and was fun and silly. The whole thing was a riot.

We tried to hunt down Jewel Staite, but she seemed to have disappeared. She didn't seem to be around much on Saturday at all. Oh well, we would catch her on Sunday

Giving up on Jewel, we hurried over to the amphitheater because the Torchwood Reunion panel was going to start in an hour and a half. Now, this might seem excessive to try and line up that early, but people had already been lining up for an hour before this. Try as they might to keep the area clear and send people away, a mass of about 1000 people eventually congregated at the bottom of the stairs to the auditorium. Brigid and I managed to sneak in the side near the front, but that was about the time shit hit the fan.

You see, at the bottom of these stairs was a foyer surround by a semicircle of glass with 5 doors situated at even points in this semicircle. The foyer held about 500 of these rabid fans, who were packed like sardines. I wanted to take a picture of the crowd, but I literally couldn't get my phone out of my pocket. Now, only two of the 5 door were open and the other 500+ people waiting were streaming out these doors into the convention center. The nutty part of all this?

The amphitheater only holds 350 people.

This mass of writhing nerds was composed of people who had been waiting 2 hours (while breaking the rules about where to wait as much as possible), people who had been waiting an hour or less (while following the rules) and a small war was beginning to break out as to who could get in first. Some of the 2 hour people had been pushed further back and were pleading to be let in first. The hour people were trying their best to keep them back and wanted only the front of the crowd let in. There was yelling, pushing, and some people who tried to climb the sides of the escalators and run past the crowd control people.

At this point they threatened to cancel the panel and a deafening silence fell over the crowd. The organizers asked everyone to move back, so the crowd started to move. But then, the rear of the crowd past the doors (who couldn't hear the announcement) began to push forward to keep their spot. This meant the people at the back near closed doors had nowhere to go, so were being squished and also pushed forward. People not at the edges of the crowd (Brigid and I included) began to be ground together and generally mushed. It was a miracle nobody actually got hurt.

Finally the organizers made everyone stop and began taking people 10 at a time from the front of the crowd to get in, under threat of cancellation if we made a fuss. Luckily Brigid and I got in and the panel was fantastic. Nothing I post here will be able to do it justice, so I am just going to direct you to Brigid's YouTube Channel, where several videos reside.

We went home and crashed shortly thereafter with a dinner of various snacks acquired from the nearby 
7-11. Not the best of plans, but we could barely move and that was the easiest, closest thing.

That's Day Two! If you haven't checked out Day One, go here and stay tuned for Day Three!