Sunday, 30 June 2013

Gaming App Fun

   So recently I have been painting furiously as I wanted to get my Warmachine battle groups ready for some gaming. I already have the Cygnar battle group, and now with the two boxed set of Warmachine, I have a Khador and Menoth battle group. I am also almost done painting the contents of the box. Just have the Exemplar Cinerators to paint. Man am I done with painting white!
   The next purchases for my armies are on their way, a new heavy warjack for my Cygnar, a new war caster for them too - Allistair Caine, and Alexia and her unit of Risen skeletons. Because who doesn't like the option of semi good guy undead in your army! Next up after them will be gun mages and Black 13th Gun Mage Strike Team. Yeah gun mage army. So I should soon have 25 point armies. Which then gives me a number of variations, and also the choice of a 30 point Cygnar army (I'm trying to build themed armies). So then I can start of Hordes (I want the two player boxed game, and then to focus on getting 25 point armies for Troll Bloods, for which I already have a battle group). Of course this means I have quite a few models for use in the Iron Kingdoms RPG (like undead, trolls, ogrun etc).
   So staying on topic I recently got my rpg group into playing Warmachine. So I spent the best part of the evening teaching them how to play the game. And it was a great opportunity, what with all the smartphones and tablets, to use the Privateer Press app, War Room. War Room is a digital way in which to create and store army lists for the game. Furthermore it allows for the referencing of the entire rules for the minis, and also through the game track damage of your men and warjacks. If you spend some money you can get the full army cards for each force (you buy individual sets, or whole sets for Hordes and Warmachine - and if you buy one you get access to all the wargame rules!). The app also allows for the linking of accounts, so that players can check the health of the opponents units on their own device, rather than having to ask their opponent.
   Overall the app is quite great, and a really good example of how gaming apps should be. Great art, good UI, and also useful. I really hope to see this type of thing expanded to included the Iron Kingdoms rpg.

   Next up on the gaming app list is the new Magic the Gathering: Duel of the Planeswalkers 2014. Now I haven't collected Magic cards in something like 15 years. It became too much about who had the biggest wallet. So I have generally stayed away from ccgs. But this app (Playstation, Steam, Xbox, Android, iOS) has got me back into Magic. It gives me all the fun and challenge of the game without having to do more than buy the game. Now of course you do have micro transactions to unlock stuff faster, but meh, I will stick with the challenge. Playing can either take the form of challenges, designed to teach you how to think in Magic, campaign mode, were you play against theme opponents and Planeswalkers in order to unlock new decks and cards, or you can play against the computer or online, using either the decks or sealed draft. It's a great game and really give me back what I wanted from Magic.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

[actual play] Iron Kingdoms - Adamantine Will

Episode 2 : Witchfire - The Longest Night - Part 2

Hurst woke up in time to dive for cover as the shot splintered wood and tore through books and papers. He drew his gun and fired back at his assailant, the bullet shearing through the oak bookcase that the assassin used for cover. The cloaked figure sprinted to the other end of the book case to get a better shot, but missed again, his shot tearing through a chair leg. Hurst fired again, hitting the assassin in the leg. The man ran back, ducking behind a glass case of curiosities, before firing back again and clipping Hurst. There was the sound of a pin dropping and hitting the stone floor as Hurst threw a grenade. The intense light and loud sound knocked the gunman to the ground, but they kept running and fled the library.

In the corridor Hurst gave chase, pushing people aside. But in the gaggle of students the assassin was lost. Hurst was left to explain to the university guards. He headed back to the library and looked around. He found all the bullets, which were clearly from a repeater pistol, and he found some coins where the man had fallen due to the grenade. They were weird. 2 gold crowns of Cygnar, strangely corroded, and with a strange year printed upon them. They were for a year that was 2 years from now.

The others returned from the Northern Graveyard, and details were exchanged and compared. Darcey was to stay with Hurst to act as bodyguard, while Brother Eckert and Gregore would go to other graves.

In the Eastern Boneyard, in the swampy funeral grounds, two more of the grave were found, again disturbed. Eckert attempted to bribe a beggar, Egger, to find out if he had seen anything. But the beggar feared the law, and his price was steep. Gregore, seeing things going nowhere, grabbed the man and demanded answers. The beggar cried, that he did not want to flung in jail. He told them that “not more than twelthty days ago” that a girl in white, with black hair was here. Eckert gave the frightened old man gold coins for his troubles and bid him to take care and find a warm inn for the festival.

At the Gadock farm they spoke to Bern about his grandfather, and how he had passed on. He had no idea of how the body was taken. But Bern’s son, Hagger, named for his great grandfather, insisted that he knew. The 3 year old spoke of how his great grandfather had walked from his own grave.

At the Sunbright estate, within the city limits, Gregore and Eckert had a tense conversation with Elger Sunbright, head of the household. He explain how his father’s body was removed from the family graveyard. And that the tomb, a marble tomb, was opened, but with no damage. Elger though forbid them from going to the tomb, as there had been enough disturbances already, and that more would bring more notoriety to his family.

Hurst still had no luck searching through the university library, and so Darcey and he travelled across the city to the city hall to look there. In the city archives they found the case file of the witchcraft, and the details of the events, the executions and the names of those killed. One name popped out. It was Lexaria Ciannor, mother of Alexia, and sister-in-law of Father Dumas. Of course the question was if the witches were ever guilty, as they found that the Magistrate Borloch rapidly rose from power, both just before and after the trial. The name of the executioner was unknown, but they had the name for the judge, who still lived. The location of the witches tomb was unknown, other than that Father Dumas was noted as the one who ritually sealed the tomb. The rest of the entry was missing, and noted as destroyed.

The troupe regrouped, it being late at night. Darcey and Gregore were to go to the local inns to ascertain the general opinion of Borloch. Eckert and Hurst would go see Father Dumas and speak about the trial.

At the Silver Goose inn many of the upper class of Corvis were gathered, enjoying the party atmosphere of the coming festival. After much questioning, carousing, and bribery it became clear that many feared Borloch, and that much of his wealth was that recovered from those he had sentenced to death or life imprisonment.

With Father Dumas, they found him praying in a small chapel of the cathedral. He lifted himself off his knees to sit and listen to the priest and investigator. They explained what they had found, the fear of necromancy, and that it was linked to the witch trial. Dumas explained his part and more about Lexaria. Dumas explains where the tomb lies, and that it was once a Orgoth fortress, and so a place of dread. But if there is a necromancer, then they are after something tied to the witches. Dumas also reveals that the executioner of the witches seemed to take some glee in their deaths, and strangely was struck down when Lexaria, the last of them, was beheaded. Both Eckert and Hurst could tell that Dumas was hiding something more.

Walking back from the inn Gregore and Darcey noticed someone was watching them from above, their gun levelled at them....

Thursday, 13 June 2013

[actual play] Iron Kingdoms - Adamantine Will

Episode 2 : Witchfire - The Longest Night - Part 1

It was Ashtoven, and a week before the Longest Night. The city of Corvis was cold and blanketed with fog, but there was a carnival atmosphere as the Longest Night approached. Mulled wine, sweets and masks and costumes were on sale ready for this night of decadence.

In the month since the events in Gedon, the troupe of witch hunters, led by Brother Eckert, had been acting for the Cathedral of Morrow in Corvis. Under the orders of Father Dumas they had been sent to hamlets and villages and towns in the Widower's Woods - the deep forest that rings Corvis - and they had been tasked with investigating cases of witchcraft, hunting Swamp Shambler zombies, or performing exorcisms. Darcey, being of the Dimiani family had been attending a number of masked balls, and had chosen to wear a Servetta Muta mask, a type of mask where it is held in place by biting down on a bit, and so rendering the wearing mute. Gregore had bought some fine clothes for the festival.

The group were walking back from one of the towns, after an evening of performing a rather standard exorcism. The were following the winding road through the woods, with had a constant air of the supernatural due to the thick mist the penetrated the deep forest. There was the sound of people screaming, calling for mercy and help.

Brother Eckert sprinted down the road and around the corner came upon a scene of carnage. Two hulking trolls were had attacked two wagons, and turned them over. People were cowering under the wagons and a number of people lay dead in the dirt. Some of the victims even had limbs torn off. One of the trolls, seeing Eckert, threw one of it's massive spears. The huge weapon slammed into the dirt next to Eckert. Gregore ran to the priest side to prepare for the inevitable charge. The other troll hefted it's massive axe, bellowed and charged at Gregore, its huge blade cutting deep into Gregore's armour. Darcey and Hurst ran up to aid the others. Darcey levelled her hunting rifle and fired. The shot hit home, and blasted a hole through the skull of the troll with the spears. But the beast still walked. Hurst levelled his pistol at beast, but the shot did little. The troll roared and charged forward, looking to skewer Hurst.

Eckert charged the other troll, seeking to help out Gregore. The priest called upon the power of Morrow, runes glowing and swirling about him, and empowering the others. He then brought down his holy staff on the skull of the troll axer, and caved in the beast's skull. Gregore took another crunching blow, numbing his arm. But he fought back, chopping at the beast with his great sword. Hurst tumbled away from the troll fighting him, opening up a shot for Darcey. The shot rang out and exploded a large hole in the troll's chest. The trolls were dead.

The leader of the caravan thanked the group, and asked for them to help them to the city of Corvis, and with performing last rites for the dead. He also offered remuneration, but Eckert refused.

Back in Corvis, and at the cathedral, the injured and dead of the caravan were tended to, and Gregore was treated for injuries and provided new armour from within the church collection. Father Dumas sat the group down and offered them hot wine and herbal liqueur, and explained to them that there had been a series of grave robberies. As he did so they were briefly joined by his niece, Alexia, who then ran off, told by her uncle to have fun and not to get in trouble. The city watch had not dealt with it because they were too busy with keeping the peace what with the festival coming up. Dumas gave them a list of names and locations where the graves had been exhumed.

At the Fullet Farm to the north of the city, they found the well kept farm and misty apple orchards. The trees looked like groaning spirits. At the farm the met Lorna, a tough and broad shoulder woman, with a dirty apron and grim look. She directed them to the family graves, and mentioned numerous times it must be the work of witches. She dusted the open grave with herbs to ward of evil, and explained that her husband died five years ago, surely due to a hex. She went on to tell the group about the witches trial 10 years ago when a magistrate discovered the coven and had them tried and beheaded. Her husband, Chander, was one of the jurors. She also recognized the other names on the list as Chander's fellow jurors, and was not surprised that they were all dead. She again blamed witches, and made the mark of Morrow.

Hurst rode back to the university to read up on the story, which he remembered since he lived in Corvis almost all his life. The others went on to the northern graveyard. There they found the graveyard groundskeeper, who told them of the execution, and how he found the two graves of the Sylva and Monsonata family, disturbed. The bodies had been taken 2 weeks ago. This tied in with when the Fuller body had been taken.

At the university, in the library pouring over the record books, Hurst had fallen asleep. There was a click of a pistol being cocked...

Monday, 10 June 2013

[review] Werewolf the Apocalypse 20th Anniversary

Werewolf the Apocalypse 20th Anniversary Edition - Review

This is a hard review to write. Hard, because it may come as me being overly critical of the product. But the thing that is important to point out, is that I am approaching this product as someone that never played Werewolf the Apocalypse (WtA). When I got into World of Darkness games in 1996, I of course was a bit of a proto-goth. I was into vampire films, listening to Marilyn Manson and Atari Teenage Riot. So of course I was running Vampire the Masquerade for the first time. I also eventually picked up Mage the Ascension, and of course some of the most influential films at the time for me would be Fight Club, The Matrix, and Blade. So a lot of things would classify me more towards the goth/cyber goth side of things, rather than metalhead. And in some ways, this is perhaps why at the time WtA didn’t appeal to me. It seemed all a bit too gung-ho and rather superficial.

So given the above and the fact I have never played WtA, yet I know plenty about the setting due to where Mage and Vampire crossed over with it, I am approaching this review blind.

Let’s start with the easy bit. Layout and art. Generally the book is excellent looking, but I feel that there is not a unified look to the book. I understand that much of the artwork is from the original books, or is new work by the same artists, and that in itself is a good thing as it means the product taps into the nostalgia of the fans of the game. But, as a new reader, I find the mixing up of full colour art, greyscale, and black and white line art, a bit jarring. Now some of the art work I do like, especially some of the more rough, dreamy pieces. I have to admit to not being a Ron Spencer fan. Sorry guys. But it's just all guts and guns, and rather flat and boring. But then I am a big Christopher Shy fan so you can make your mind up on that front.

So onto the text. There is a lot. This is a big book. All the tribes are there. Even the extinct ones - yes even White Howlers. Plus every Changing Breed is in there. I have also been told on good authority that every gift, rite and fetish is in the book, plus with a few mechanical changes to reflect adjustments in the rules (so Athletics and Dodge skills now are one thing), and of course changes to accommodate how our world has changed (so gifts that influence technology).

Speaking of changes, of course the setting has taken into account events around the world that have occurred since WtA was in print. We have a brief insight into the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, fracking, the tsunami and nuclear power plant explosion in Japan, the more recent wars and conflicts in the Middle East, and of course the continuing degradation of the environment. All of these events have been looked at through the lens of WtA, and have been used to highlight the ongoing war of the Garou against the Wyrm and the Weaver.

So how would I sum up this book? I can easily see that this product has everything anyone would want for a WtA game. It would be difficult to exhaust all the content within. There are plenty of antagonists and examples. But then I feel I should also give my opinion as someone who has fresh eyes on the product. I think that while the Changing Breeds are an interesting addition in the book, I think they could have waited to have been released in a different book. I found their addition diluted the core theme of the game - the horror of being a werewolf that walks two worlds. To me they add an unnecessary distraction to new readers. I also have to admit that some of the Changing Breeds come across as a bit silly. Furthermore I have mixed feelings about the Tribes. Some of the tribes I like, since they represent a theme. A core concept, that you feel more free to manipulate and play with in order to fit the setting for your own game. Which is why I find the tribes based on ethnic groups less useful, and perhaps feel a little shallow and have a sense of cultural appropriation. Finally the scope of the game is a bit weird. There is a big, global scale theme to the game - that you and your pack will be fighting the manifestation of the Wyrm and Weaver, as they stretch out over the globe. The premise is that all the Garou who will fight in the final battles are already born. But, by knowing that, the core game makes personal horror, which I think really grabs the attention of players, pointless. It makes more mundane concerns, such as the safety of family, friends, your workplace, seem rather inconsequential. Which comes across strange, since the game is about the real world and the spiritual reflection, and so surely even the small battles on your doorstep should be made to feel important.

But as I have said, if you are an old fan I am sure this book won’t disappoint. Maybe this is all just me being rather post-millennial and all that shit.

Darker Days Radio Video Review - Warmachine Boxed 2 Player Boxed Game

[MINIS] Iron Kingdoms troupe miniatures

So I am basically done with painting the minis to represent the player characters of the group.

We have the following going from left to right;

Warmachine Orin Midwinter - to represent a Priest of Morrow ex-Military Captain, Brother Eckert
Warmachine Taryn da li Rovissi - for my wife's IKRPG character, a Aristocrat Bounty Hunter, Darcey Dimiani
FMF Royal Guard Stryker - to represent a Knight Duelist, Gregore
Hordes Dr Arkadius - to represent a Alchemist Investigator (also I might use him in Hordes if I get some Farrow beasts), Hurst.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Darker Days Radio video review - Iron Kingdoms RPG

So I'm getting more and more advanced with the video editing, and things just begin to look more professional all the time. So here is the new video. Enjoy

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Iron Kingdoms - Paint, Lots of Paint

So running Iron Kingdoms RPG has meant a big return to something in my life - painting minis. Now for those of you new to these parts I used to paint on a very regular basis. Starting from the age of 12 I have painted;

Epic Eldar
Epic Space Marine - Space Wolves
Epic Tyranids
Necromunda - Spyre Hunters
Necromunda - House Van Saar Gang
Gorka Morka - Gorkas
40K Tyranids
40K Tau
40K Nurgle Plague Marines
Warhammer Chaos Warriors
Warhammer Tomb Kings
Warmaster Tomb Kings
Warmaster Empire
And various other stuff.

I say stuff, because for 3 years I worked at a Games Workshop store and painted whatever they gave me. So I had a lot of practice. Of course I also got into Warmachine during that time and Confrontation (which may be coming back!).

So the Iron Kingdoms RPG has renewed my interest both in painting minis and in the wargames - which since I had a stab at Warmachine back during it's first edition, we now have Hordes and a hell of a lot of minis to choose from. Now I have bought in the past Cygnar and Khador battle groups (yeah the old metal versions now less!). So I got my Cygnar group back after handing off my Warmachine minis before my move to Germany, and have retouched the Cygnar group. I also picked up last year at Essen Spiel, Trollbloods. And now I have finally finished painting them.

What's next I hear you ask.

Warmachine Boxed Set - Khador and Protectorate of Menoth
Cygnar Long Gunners
Cygnar Gun Mage solo
Cygnar Mechanik and Gobber Bodgers
Hordes Dr Arkadius - to represent a Alchemist Investigator (also I might use him in Hordes if I get some Farrow beasts)
FMF Royal Guard Stryker - to represent a Knight Duelist
Warmachine Orin Midwinter - to represent a Priest of Morrow ex-Military Captain
Warmachine Taryn da li Rovissi - for my wife's IKRPG character, a Aristocrat Bounty Hunter