Saturday, May 20, 2017

Hafling Rogue

Just a quick shot this week of another mini I finished painting. Still need to mount onto a clear acrylic base.
His feet got a little maimed when I cut him off his integral base.
Don't look too close. : )

This is my friend's son's halfling rogue for our D&D game. No great highs or lows, but I'm satisfied with a solid figure for gaming.

That's it for this week. Until next time, carry on!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Farmer Brown Comes Home

I've decided to begin an All Things Zombie: Final Fade Out campaign. I wanted to keep it relatively simple so I'm beginning with one character, Farmer Brown. I've also decided to begin on Day 30, since I've already played several Day One and early outbreak campaigns. We will see how it goes...

Farmer Brown

REP 4; Survivor; Male; Right Handed; People 2; Savvy 3
Attributes: Rage (+1d6 in melee, +1d6 for Charge into Melee); Mr. Fix-It (+1d6 to repair all)
Assault Rifle (Range 48, Target 1 or 3, Impact 3)

Mr. Brown has been a loner for most of his life and especially since his wife died 4 years ago. He’s smart, fit, good with a rifle, and has a no-nonsense attitude about life. His age is catching up with him somewhat, but he’s still hard working and fiercely independent. He has no children and no real friends to speak of, though he has a few acquaintances from the local cafe. He is a Vietnam Vet, having earned a Purple Heart by being shot through the left shoulder. He was an army Ranger and still has nightmares about being in ‘Nam during Tet in 1968. He loves dogs of all sorts. He has a knack for fixing things.

Up to now, Mr. Brown has been hunkering down on his farm. He watched the news until the TV station went offline, so he’s aware that something terrible has happened, but he is not clear of the extent of it. He’s been spending his time following his usual Springtime routines - prepping his equipment, cultivating the soil and starting to seed his fields.

His farmhouse sits well back from the main road - a little over a mile. The entrance to his lane from the road is overgrown and appears abandoned. He rarely has left the farm in the last 4 years and no one comes to visit. The house and other buildings are obscured from the road by several large stands of trees. A casual passer by would never know a functioning farm was up the lane.

He has plenty of food and water, enough to last one person several years at least. He has a fair amount of fuel for his truck and for his tractor and other farm machines. He really has no reason to leave and, left undisturbed, he could likely survive here for a long time.

The Scenario: Defend the Farm

For the opening scenario I decided that a "herd" (ref. The Walking Dead) has wandered onto Mr. Brown's property while he has been walking down to the main road and back. He always walks out to the main road in the evening and has done so for years. Since all the trouble began he's taken to carrying his assault rifle and machete on these daily walks, just in case. On this particular Spring evening, he will be grateful he took this precaution.

The Brown Farmstead.
Mr. Brown will enter on the dirt road at the left side of the map.
The mission will begin with Mr. Brown moving onto the map. I will generate zombies normally, but decided that for this scenario the farm, a rural location, will count as being suburban (i.e. zombies will generate on a 5-6 on a d6).

A peaceful evening for a stroll.
Need a better backdrop for my photos...yikes.
I preloaded my PEFs, deciding that I would make them all zombies. I created a little chart that I will roll on whenever a PEF resolves into something:

PEFs (roll d6 - result is number of zombies to generate in the normal fashion centered on Mr. Brown)
1 - 2d6+3
2 - 2d6+2
3-4  - 2d6
5 - 2d6-2 (minimum 2)
6 - 2d6-3 (minimum 1)

Obviously this could be a deadly scenario for our intrepid farmer.

PEFs deployed - 2 behind the shed, 1 at the edge of the field.
Once the PEFs were in place, I moved Farmer Brown onto the map and generated 6 initial zombies.

As Mr. Brown walked casually up the lane he spotted 3 figures moving around his pickup. He paused, unslinging his rifle, not sure who, or what, these folks might be.
"Whoever they are, they aren't welcome here," Brown thought to himself. He shouldered his rifle and squeezed off 3 quick shots.
One of the figures fell back and lay still. The others let out low moans and started moving towards him. To his left and right he could hear movement in the woods. "Not good," Mr. Brown muttered, glancing around, "not good at all."
On turn 2 the zeds activated first and closed within Charge into Melee range. Mr. Brown was quickly surrounded and I thought sure the game would end in moments...

Crashing through the woods, zombies were suddenly all around Mr. Brown. With no other options, he fired again and then, slinging his rifle, he readied his machete for some close quarters action.

Mr. Brown managed to win the Charge into Melee test and fired 3 times, again killing only one zed. The rest moved into melee with him and a desperate 4 vs. 1 fight ensued.

It was like the years dropped away and, in an instant, he was again the 19 year old who had fought for his life in a jungle far from home. He lashed out with a vicious kick and knocked one of the zeds back on it's ass. Then, spinning, he shoved another one hard and it stumble back and fell as well. Two others lunged at him from behind. But he was too quick, his machete decapitating both with one powerful, back handed swing as he rotated through 360 degrees and ended facing the others coming at him. Despite his obviously superior skills, they showed no fear. 
Mr. Brown had a sinking feeling as he realized  he would not win this fight by scaring them off.  He'd killed four of them and knocked two others down but still they were coming. Judging from the noise in the woods, others were closing in on him from all around.
The melee in the road was close but Mr. Brown managed to do very well. I was surprised, honestly, and wondered if I might have messed up the rules. After reviewing everything though it seems I did it correctly. Mr. Brown had just gotten lucky. Even more luckily, the next turn the zeds did not activate so Mr. Brown had a chance to move away. I considered standing my ground and letting them come, but didn't want to tempt fate.

The zeds stumbling towards him got entangled with the two trying to stand back up. Taking advantage of  the confusion, Mr. Brown leapt the fence and ran along the edge of the woods. He brought his rifle out again, deciding it was best to deal with these monsters from a distance. He'd been lucky and he knew it.
Circling around the woods and taking position at the rock wall, Mr. Brown fired.  One of the zeds went down, it's head exploding in a spray of gore. The woods were alive with movement. "Seems like every time I kill one, another pops up!", he mumbled to himself.
I was getting kills with the rifle, but I was also generating z's from noise on nearly a 1 for 1 basis. This wasn't going to work for long.

Managing to clamber over the fence, the zeds  moved along the stone wall.
Mr. Brown fired, dropping one in it's tracks. Then, switching back to machete, he charged and killed another.
For the next several turns, I managed to close into melee, kill a zed, and then fall back again before the rest could catch me. It was a game of cat and mouse and it worked pretty well as long as the activation rolls went my way. Again, I was lucky and was able to thin the ranks enough that a mass melee didn't seem so overwhelming.

Mr. Brown settled into a tactic he'd learned in jungle fighting: let the enemy come to you, destroy the lead elements with overwhelming firepower, fall back, repeat. It worked easier on these zombie-things than he'd ever seen in 'Nam. These dumb creatures just kept coming, never tried a flanking maneuver, and died easily.
Mr. Brown repeated the mantra:
"Let them come to you...
Destroy the lead elements with overwhelming firepower.
Fall back...Repeat."
In the span of a few turns all the zeds were killed. Fortunately the activation rolls continued to be in my favor and Mr. Brown seemed to be making a breeze of it. By this point only 1 PEF remained on the board. The other two had been revealed early on but only increased the Encounter Rating by 1 point each. I ruled that the final PEF had to be revealed before the scenario would end. So Mr. Brown began circling the house to get eyes on it. At this point I was kind of hoping for more zombies as I'd made pretty short work of the others.

The last zed dropped at Mr. Brown's feet, the side of it's head caved in. Suddenly, everything seemed very quiet. Mr. Brown stood for a minute, breathing hard, trying to control his racing heartbeat. Crouching, he strained his senses for any perception of the enemy. On the evening breeze he thought he heard a low moan from beyond the house, out towards the fields.
Moving in a low, fast crouch he went to the corner of the house, hoping for a better view. He thought he saw movement just beyond the hedge behind the tractor, but he couldn't be sure.
Still running low, he moved to the fence at the edge of the lane, gun held ready at his hip. When he reached the fence he raised the rifle, scanning for any movement or sign of the enemy. A red fox darted from behind the hedge and ran into the fields. Mr. Brown took a deep breath and waited another minute. Slowly he stood upright, looking all around and listening intently. Nothing seemed amiss.
The last PEF turned out to be nothing but a case of nerves. Mr. Brown had been very fortunate indeed as none of the PEFs turned out to be anything.

Mr. Brown sat on his porch as the sun was setting. He rubbed the rifle with the greased rag he kept for gun cleaning. His machete lay on the wooden porch floor next to his chair, the edge gleaming where it had been freshly ground to a sharp, honed edge. He was relaxed but highly alert.
"Well," he said to no one in particular, "I guess this trouble is gonna come find me even if I stay here to avoid it." He turned his plan over in his mind: tomorrow he'd start exploring the other farms in the area and see what he could scrounge. He was content for now, but he knew he'd need to fortify his position if he was going to stay here. He'd need supplies, building materials mostly, and maybe another vehicle he could stow for an emergency bug-out. He felt certain there'd be more of those things coming, and maybe something else too. He knew all too well the depths of depravity to which humanity could sink, given the right conditions. He was determined to defend his land to the last. Only time would tell if hunkering down and fortressing up would be the right course.
In all a very successful game, despite a couple of hairy moments. I hope you enjoyed the read. This campaign is shaping up to be a bit different as Mr. Brown is not interested in exploration and movement. His plan is to fortify and remain in place.

My next scenarios will have him searching nearby farmsteads to gather materials to fortify his own home. We will see what happens after that.

Until next time, carry on!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

The Toddler Has Game

This is my youngest, Liam. He is three years old.

Vanilla ice cream cones are one of his favorites.
This is his first game.

Candy Land, the game that has dominated the toddler gamer market for decades.
This is Liam on a recent rainy Saturday afternoon.

Double red! Nice move. I didn't see that coming.
Getting that in situ view of the Ginger Bread Man  mini.
Here he contemplates his next critical move.
In the end, he managed to draw the Ice Cream cone card, leap far ahead of his opponent, and win.
We all started somewhere, sometime, with some game. This proud daddy is pleased to be raising another gamer.

Until next time, carry on!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

D&D Dwarfs WIP

Been working on D&D character minis. Here are two of my son's dwarf characters.

First up is Max Heal, the party's cleric...

I like the shade of red on his beard.
I should have made the gem on his helmet a different color though. (shrugs)
This is one of the best jobs I've ever done on a model's eyes.
His fur cloak turned out ok.
Still need to develop the technique to get more realistic looking animal fur.
The hammer and horns are pretty sweet.
The embossed shield.
I'm not sure which god it represents, but, as one friend said,
"that's a coat of arms I can get behind!"
Next up is Gardian, brother and protector to Max Heal...

I'm particularly proud of how his beard turned out.
The red scale mail was an experiment.
I think it turned out pretty good.
The white bases are just temporary for painting. I will mount them on clear acrylic bases, which is my standard base for D&D figures.

These guys accompany Vainglorian, the High Elf Paladin I posted a while back. The rest of the party consists of a male halfling rogue, a female human wizard, and a male tiefling sorcerer. You can just make them out in the fuzzy background of these photos. I will post finished pics of them soon.

Until next time, carry on!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

A Little Zombie Gaming

Played some All Things Zombie: Final Fade Out a couple weeks ago. It was a simple Search scenario in an urban setting. The players were all new to the game so I kept it simple and did not use PEFs. I played as the referee and ran the zombies while they each took a character. It was a fun game and my friends enjoyed it.

My urban board.
I need to get some MDF buildings to replace those card stock ones.
Here you can see the character cards I use.
I've made one for each of my survivor/ganger models.
The zombie kills are piling up!
They did pretty well, for noobs. Only one of them got killed.
Drone view.
That's all I've got for today. We had a great weekend and I'm looking forward to when we can do it again.

I've been doing a fair bit of painting lately. Since I have such a nice space for painting now, I'm trying to develop a more regular habit. I borrowed an idea from the running world and have committed to 30 minutes everyday for 30 days. It's the best way to start a new habit of anything. It's felt great to get back into the hobby with more consistency.

My goal is to finish all the character models for my other D&D game. One of my friends is the DM and my 12 year old son, his 12 year old son, and I are the players. We each run two characters, so there are six character models. I've finished three. Once the six are completed, I'll start slogging through my lead pile. Clearing out several half-finished projects will be the first priority. Next week I'll have some minis to show you.

Until next time, carry on!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Dads And Daughters D&D

Last weekend I hosted our Dads and Daughters D&D group in my new game space. I'm probably beating a dead horse hear, but allow me to say once more how much I LOVE my new house and game room!

As I think I've shared before, Dads and Daughters D&D started back in 2014 when, on a lark, I invited some of my old high school buddies to get together for a weekend and play the new 5th Edition D&D. We played through an adventure I had written, drank beer, relived the glory days, and had a fine weekend together. We enjoyed the game so much in fact, that we decided to do it again. Schedules being what they are and us living several hours drive apart meant that it was a few months before we could get together.

At our second gathering, one of my friends asked if he could bring his high school senior daughter along. Considering these friends are like family, we were glad to have her join the game and once again we had such fun we decided to set another date. For the 3rd gathering we decided we would all bring a daughter, step-daughter, or niece along and, BOOM, Dads and Daughters D&D was born.

It has been such a cool thing to introduce these young women to a game (and a gaming hobby) that typically includes only about 30% women and girls. In what is too often a sexist, misogynist gaming culture, we have taken great delight in empowering these young women to "take a place at the table", literally and figuratively, and enjoy the game as equals. It gets a little crazy with 9 (!) player characters, but it has been well worth the effort. It has been amazing to see these young people go from shy, sometimes skeptical, hesitant players to full on, sword wielding, spell casting, monster bashing, bad asses. We dads (and uncles) couldn't be more proud of how our "girls" have taken to the game.

One of the young adventurers went off to college this year. We expected her interest would decline, but she has consistently made arrangements to travel long hours by bus just to make it to the quarterly games. She's also started bringing a boyfriend (insert eye roll here). But, I have to admit, he's a great young man. After all, any guy willing to give up his weekend to play D&D with his girlfriend's father and his old high school buddies must be a stellar individual! Besides, he's pretty good at the game too...for a noob.

The college kids and their Yorkie-Poo familiar.
(that's my little dog, Charlotte. She was there for the snacks.)
Massive battle in the keep as the party is besieged.
Grognards and their offspring.
Thanks to my wife, you also get a shot of me, DMing at the head of the table.
So, the break-in game session in the new space was a complete success. A truly spectacular day was had by all. I'm so grateful for these friends, for the time and space to do this, and for you all for caring to read about it.

Until next time, carry on!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Gameroom Taking Shape

Between moving, fixing up our old house for sale, and trying to settle into our new house, I haven't had much time for gaming. Still, I've managed to set up my hobby space/painting table and game room.

A cozy, well lit space.
My wife and I love IKEA products so we made a  run to our "local" store an hour or so drive away. I have been doing some research on display cabinets and settled on the BILLY cabinet with OXBERG doors.

This is only part of my collection.
I will be getting at least one more of these; maybe as many as 5. I like the idea of an entire wall of cabinets for my figures, games, books, and supplies.

Still need to install the lights.
I'm also planning to build a permanent gaming table. I want to make one with a well like I've seen others have online. I'm thinking I might use our old dining room table once we replace it. My thought is to build a table with leaves that can be taken out or added in depending on how much gaming space is needed. My old dining room table would be perfect for that as all the hardware for expanding/contracting the table is already there.

Wouldn't a wall of cabinets back there look great?
I set up some portable tables to get an idea of space and discovered I have room for a 5'x10' table! That would allow for a 4'x8' well with a 6" edge all around. Positively huge! Considering that my Dads and Daughters D&D group is composed of 9 players and the DM, that should about do it.

Yes, that's a mini-frig there by the door.
Who wants to walk up the stairs to the kitchen for a frosty beverage?
The DM's view...
Things are coming along nicely. I've been exhausted for most of the last 6 weeks, but it is well worth it. Moving is never easy but is a great opportunity to take stock, sort through, and reconfigure one's hobby. What a gift this space is to me for that!

Until next time, carry on!