One of God's own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.” -Hunter S. Thompson

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Tyranny of Dragons: Actual Play Session 6

Session 6: Welcome to Undermountain Bitches!

Zibo, Undermountain's goblin guide.
The Tyranny of Dragons campaign continues. This Monday night the campaign continues after last week’s cliffhanger. You can read about sessions 4-5 here. Now onto the latest events in the campaign!

Last week the characters while exploring the “Dragon Hatchery” found a room with a room that had an archway and arcane runes chiseled into it. On touching the wall, the members of the group disappeared and found themselves transported into a another dungeon type environment.

Here they encountered a lone goblin decked out in armor made of pots and pans and armed with a spatula who introduced himself as Zibo. He explained that they must have been sent here via a one-way portal, because there was no return portal that they could find.

The group spent the night in Zibo’s hidden lair and the next morning he sent the off with a rough guide of how to make their way to the Yawing Portal, which was the nearest exit to the surface that Zibo knew of. He warned them to be careful in the dungeon region they needed to pass through because a pair of wereboars named Tooth and Nailz had been terrorizing the area and looting treasure.

Unfortunately, the characters were unable to sneak past the lair of the wereboars without alerting them and a chase ensued. Raven dropped some ball bearings causing Nails to slip and fall and Godric tried to buy the group some time to make their escape facing off with them in combat. This lead to a band of goblins being attracted to the fight. Variel managed to cast hold person on Tooth keeping him out of the fight.

Eventually the group managed in a running battle to defeat the lycanthropes and the goblins with some well placed spells and hit and run combat tactics. The group decided to loot the bodies and drag the wereboars back to their lair. In the lair, hidden behind a curtain of magical darkness the group has holed up for the time being. Far from being safe they’ve regrouped as they make plans on how to escape from the dangerous depths of Undermountain…

Tooth and Nailz, when wereboars attack.

DM Notes
So I took things off the rails. Undermountain is not featured at all in the Tyranny of Dragons campaign. But I was ready to flex my DM muscles and make this campaign mine. I do plan on continuing the battle against Tiamat, but I’m going to do it my way and use the rest of the campaign books as inspiration.

Because I'm the DM thats why!
For this session I used the stuff from the first Undermountain boxed set as inspiration. The stuff with the wereboars came from an encounter in that book and eventually the group should make it to the Yawning Portal were I plan to launch other expeditions in the infamous dungeon as well as in Waterdeep.

The other thing I tried to do this session was use the chase rules from the 5e DM’s Guide. Things didn’t work out exactly as I planned, and as one of my players suggested, it probably would have worked better if I had had them chase something, instead of the other way around. In addition, I made the mistake of trying to coerce them into running instead of letting it happen naturally.

Otherwise the session went great. Everyone seemed to have fun and I’m glad I made the decision about switching things up in the campaign the way I did. And as I said, the party has not seen the last of the Cult of the Dragon, Tiamat and of course that blue Dragon Lennithon that they made a deal with not so long ago…

Sunday, March 19, 2017

State of the Blog

It's raining dice over here!
It seems that my gaming drought is over! The flood has come and I find myself inundated in gaming of all types. Magic: the Gathering, D&D 5e, and a plethora of Games Workshop stuff is being played on a regular basis.

As I’m sure many game bloggers can attest to there is something about actually playing the games we love that reinvigorates us and instills the desire to write about the hobby more than ever. At least for me at any rate. This year alone I’ve already written more posts than in the past two years combined!

It feels good to be playing and writing again. My life has seen a lot of changes over the past few years as I transition into a new career. In a couple of months, I should be starting my new job and I’m sure that will impact this blog and the gaming. But one thing is certain, I will always be back.

Another thing that’s become clear to me is that while I love sharing stuff about what’s going on in my life about games I play or stuff about gaming in general, I still have the desire to create something of my own. Something to share with the gaming community. The DIY crowd has (and continues to) put out amazing products. At some point in the future I need to add my own opus to this great body of work. When I do, I plan on previewing my work here first.

Till then expect to see more of my game reports and the rest of my Temple of Elemental Evil posts and anything else that comes up along the way!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Review: Lost Patrol

This is NOT Space Hulk in the jungle!
Here’s another one of those Games Workshop board games that I was really keen on getting. Due to the fact that these games all need to be assembled it took a while before I actually got it together and had the chance to play.

The Premise
A drop ship with important surveillance files has crashed on the deadly jungle world of Moraz III. A squad of space marine scouts has been dispatched to retrieve the files and escape the planet with missing the drop ship.

In the box you get a squad of space marine scouts and 12 what I believe are purestrain genestealers. You also get some 6 siders and a bunch of jungle hexes about the same size as the ones from the Settler of Catan board game, and a bunch of genestealer infestation markers.
The quality of the miniatures is excellent and on par if they were bought separately.

Game Play
This is only a two player game. This is one of my biggest frustration with Games Workshops board games. While there are a few multiplayer games out there most seem to be of the two player variety. I suppose this can work well for people with limited player pools, but it does limit the amount of times I will bust this out.  

Ok rant over. On to the game itself. Holy shit this game is fast and deadly! It is virtually impossible for the space marine scouts to win. We played quite a few games and my buddy only came close to winning once, and even then he was down to one dude and it was unlikely he would be able to get pass the swarm of genestealers coming his way.

Each side has a certain number of action points they can spend moving and attacking. The jungle is created randomly with the exception of the drop pod which is always the last tile in the stack. As play continues the jungle can move cutting off space marines which is a neat part of the game. All in all everything is stacked against the space marine scouts.

The nice thing is that the game is so fast that you can switch back and forth between playing the genestealers and scouts.

The Verdict

I still really like this game, but I do think the rules need to be tweaked somehow. Otherwise after awhile the game becomes frustrating and pointless. Its one thing to make it hard for the scouts to win, but when you lose more games than you win (which will be almost all the time) what the point? From a purely miniatures perspective this box is worth buying just for the contents. Especially if you have both a space marine or genestealers army. My LGS told me that a lot of people just buy these boxed games for the minis inside because the price point is so good for what you get. With the exception of Blood Bowl, I think everything GW is putting out is useable in the 40K or AoS table top battles.