The current big Fantasy Flight Game of Thrones board game is just OK, definitely not my favorite area control/war game engine. It could and should have just been a direct heir to Avalon Hill’s Dune board game with the dials and treachery cards, unfortunately, FF wasted that on their derivative space kitty sci fi setting with Rex, complaining the whole time that they couldn’t get the Dune license to remake the classic while to GOT one was right there!
I suspected the new GOT board game may be that Dune remake we’ve been waiting for, but it looks just like Cosmic Encounter, which is not a bad thing since Cosmic is the best board game ever made. Should be out by end of the year, and may have a demo at gencon.
It’s been 2 years since our last HORROR ON THE HILL session with the famed Ashtel Lumberton, Snachus Maximus 2, Nerdlinger and Tor Horst (and Ulug and Glug the Mongoloids). So I bring you, in as little detail as possible to not put you immediately to sleep, part 2 of our sad story of murder, robbery and death.
I want to preface this with the following few statements. Old School D20 games are not great for combat, focused more on getting through combats fairly quickly and having MORE rather than having few, but meaningful combats (like, say, Runequest) and yet, many of the old school modules involved nearly only combat throughout. Things have changed since 1981, and while the occurrence and ability in combat is still an important thing in OSR games, in most systems, fighting a lot means you are doing very, very badly and your party is likely to get wiped out. In many cases in the description of play below, the only way through certain obstacles is to fight through. This module began to feel like playing Advanced Heroquest and that’s because that’s what it is. So this is not indicative of what a normal Lamentations of the Flame Princess adventure is like- if indeed there is such a thing.
In addition, unlike 4E, 5E and 13th Age, there is no concept of short or long rests, recoveries or anything like that in LotFP or Labyrinth Lord. Any time heavy damage is dealt to characters, and especially with the brutal healing rules in Lamentations of the Flame Princess, it requires multiple, multiple-week trips back to town to recover from injuries rather than fighting onward deeper into the dungeon. Remember, unless the characters find a polder, they cannot rest in the dungeon at all. Since the play is so brutal (most players had multiple characters die), play is naturally conservative, so even the M-U being out of spells may require a trip back to town. This seemed to frustrate the GM, but what choice do the players have really? 13th Age and 5E added recoveries and rests in to keep it in the dungeon and not back at the tavern after every fight.
Lastly, we were not high enough level for this adventure, and it became painfully obvious! Now let’s go!
Snachus Maximus 2: Fighter level 2
Ashtel Lumberton: MU (with sleep) level 2
Tor Horst: Fighter level 2
Nerdlinger: Cleric (bless most of the time) level 1
Mcunty Ruffbottom (not his real name): Fighter level 1
Colon Defiltch: rescued thief
Grul and Uleg: rescued Mongoloids
Ashtel’s dog (the last one remaining from last session)
Another VERY fighter heavy group, with no Specialists of any kind, we were bound to have problems. Clerics at level 1 are nearly useless, and MU’s can be based on their random spells.
This was about the third time we hit this dungeon, and it got restocked repeatedly. Exploring slightly beyond the areas we’d been in before, we found a pile of human bodies with some gibberish hobgoblin words of warning written in blood. Shortly after a fight with two Bugbears ensued. Ulug, bravely, took the brunt of the attacks and went down and out before the bugbears were disposed of. Tor Horst broke his axe.
This took Ulug and Grul out of the story a bit as Grul dragged the limp body of Ulug back to his people.
After a fortuitous secret door check, we found what I feel is one of the most terrible magical items in D&D: the invisibility ring. The cleric grabbed it and put it on. Since we didn’t have a specialist and he was level one, no one minded much, but if you want a character to take center stage and do everything, give the adventurers an invisibility ring with no drawbacks at all to use. It’s pretty much a “I’ll survive the adventure no matter what” card.
After a fight with some glowing birds (?!), we were on to the final fight of this level with the Hobgoblin King, or so we thought. Using the invisibility, we were able to draw out a barracks of hobgoblins into a fork in the passageway and a massive fight ensued. Colin the thief was decapitated, Ashtel’s dog was also nearly killed and Snatchus Maximus 2 was dropped to zero HP before Sleep was cast to end the encounter. We opted not to go on to the now more vulnerable Hobgoblin king fight, instead running back to town to heal– for five full days.
This caused some GM frustration who wanted to get to the next part of the dungeon (it being 2 years and all in the same area). Given the number of fights this module presents (pretty much constant fighting) you can see why recoveries, short rests and long rests made it into the D&D’s design with 4th Edition and beyond, to try to keep players in the dungeon! Lamentations has no such niceties, so if you are going to fight fight fight, best to be running multiple characters.
After the rest up, we were back in the dungeon ready to face the Hobgoblin King, who, for simplicity sake, looks like he just waited in his throne room for us. Rather than rush in and fight, or sneak in and fight, we challenged the Hobking to a duel, which he accepted readily. He was to fight the first level character: McCunty Ruffbottom. The plan was that McCunty was to fire off his brace of pistols, then we would all rush in, cast sleep, and start killing hobgoblins in earnest. Since the barracks was all cleaned out, there weren’t that many left anyway.
The plan didn’t work out too well. Mcunty did fire his pistols, but missed and was struck down by the Hobgoblin King forever. While the multiple sleep spells from Ashtel helped cut the hobgoblin numbers down, that couldn’t save poor Grul, the last of the Mongoloids, nor Ashtel’s “lumberdog” who was crushed underfoot by the Hobgoblin king. Eventually, the 20 AC fighters wore down the King and he was eventually dispatched.
That wasn’t the end to the killing, as another well found secret door revealed a couple of trapped chests, and Tor Horst failed his saving throw vs poison and instantly died.
The treasure was bountiful, and since we had a Portable Hole at this point (as well as the invisible ring) it was off to town to collect experience for the three survivors: Nerdlinger, Ashtel Lumberton and Snatchus Maximus.
Stay tuned for part three! Where more characters die and there aren’t any mongoloids…
After a pretty long wait, backers got an email from CMON about the OTHERS, which is a game by the design team that brought you such games as BLOOD RAGE (my pick for 2015’s best board game by FAR). It’s a big game with a lot of miniatures as is CMON’s purview. It’s been a bit late, but like Blood Rage, not terribly so. The game is apparently on the boats from the China manufacturers as we sit here. With Blood Rage, I actually TRACKED the boats coming in as I was peeved that I did not pick up a second copy at GENCON and had to wait months to actually play it. I was overly excited and Blood Rage, as many of you know because I’ve made nearly everyone play it, was worth the wait.
The Others I just can’t tell yet how great it will be, but fuck…while I was amazed at the Blood Rage kickstarter and vast amount of stuff you get– the OTHERS is ridiculous. I couldn’t afford to get all the add ons either. And where would I put them? The boxes do look great though…
I’m a huge sucker for Adrian Smith’s art. Look at that shit!
I spent part of the day looking for BLACK PAINT. The GW store was closed, and none of the other gaming stores had it in stock. I’m not even looking for Vallejo game color here and even would have settled for P3 black which I’m sketchy about until I’ve tried it. There was no black paint anywhere at all. I guess there was some new game out and people in the area are painting. A LOT. I should have called first right? Fuck…
I had four Legends of the Old west guys to finish up and I almost did until my Vallejo BUFF exploded (my fault, as I squeezed the tube too hard) across the backs of two of them. No terrible damage, but they had to be rinsed off with water which ruined the sand/PVA glue bases and touched up. It was one of those moments that I’ve had before where you just want to throw in the towel and quit painting for a time, but unfortunately this can last YEARS. I pushed through and the other two are done and the splatted cowboys are all touched up just waiting for the bases to be finished. I dropped a miniature and chipped the paint a few years back and quit painting for a year or so after that. Fixing would have taken about 30 minutes of work, but I was EMOTIONALLY MAIMED from frustration and couldn’t bear to do it. I won’t let that happen again.
Otherwise it’s been a weekend of children birthday party with today the first day I can do stuff. I played a lot of Mount and Blade: Warbands and must say, that is an addicting game. While I like the campaign and collecting guys, I really enjoy riding around with my massive meat cleaver — cleaving. This is why I can’t get into FIRE AND SWORD because it has guns and you just can’t do that… cleaving …any more. I took my first castle with my new guy today, so that’s progress.
I’ve got two more days left of vacation before it’s over (effectively due to a camping trip) so we’ll see what sort of painting I can get done. It sorta sucks to be off when no one else is off, but them’s the breaks.
Otherwise I’ve been working on a design for a miniature focused RPG. Sounds insane? Maybe. It’s something I’ll experiment with probably on Roll20 for a bit before posting about it more. The core thing is it will strip down the stat line compared to all but the most OSR-based games and the fights will be unapologetically for many, many miniatures.
I tried to spend as little as possible, knowing that I have so very little time to play games that many games I get can never be played. There were some that I bit on and need to give the college try. I probably should have picked up Far Cry 4 in retrospect, but that can wait a bit. This is what I picked up.
This is like a turn based Mount and Blade where you go from city to city getting quests and fighting in order to build up a group of mercenaries. It does not have the visceral excitement of mount and blade where slaughtering enemies from horseback is one of the greatest things ever programmed. However, for those mouse and keyboard challenged, Battle Brothers is an interesting take on it. Jury is still out as I’ve played so far only 3 hours.
This was an impulse buy. Looks a bit like LOADED (from PS1) but with some RPG/ Tower Defense elements. I haven’t installed this one yet. Looks neat, could suck.
Was cheap, will play this eventually. Looks real silly.
Hand of Fate
I’ve been looking a this for months now but it was never low enough in cost to get. This is an RPG deckbuilder along the lines of DreamQuest for the iOS. Haven’t played it yet, but going to get in on this action.
Graham gifted me this and I need to install it. It’s a SHARKS vs Divers multiplayer game. Looks fantastic!
Salt and Sanctuary
I’ve been suffering helping my childes play Terraria and while I recognize it as a good game, I fucking hate it. Salt and Sanctuary will burn away all those shitty Terraria memories as the essential 2D dark souls clone. Installed and ready to go, but have to finish dark souls 2 first. Fuck…
Wolfenstein the new Order
I just need to play this and it was finally cheap enough to pick up.
Holy shit. I was about a year out of college and ‘adjusting’ crappily to a sorta new city and a bunch of shitty jobs. I remember one job where I finished ALL of my work by 9:30 AM. I walked around and asked for work. There wasn’t any. I had to sit and wait for calls and had nothing to do from about 10AM until 5 most days. So I played single player Quake shareware (and jagged alliance) and would tab out of it whenever someone would come around. I had pretty good hearing…
I supposed I got caught a few times (once by the drunk guy with the grey scales on his back(!?)) but then I would start bothering, bothering, bothering people for work which they didn’t have for me and they didn’t care any more since they just wanted to be left alone and everything I needed to do was always done, checked and double checked every day by mid-morning. I got about half way through the game sp at that time, but then started playing Multiplayer due to Keneda– so much multiplayer.
Without Quake I wouldn’t have taught myself web development or .asp and sql. So that sorta means without Quake, I probably wouldn’t have the job I do which– it’s insane to me to say this— but I actually like 90% of the time.
My favorite version was the Verite quake (built for a single video card). It just was sooo smooth and awesome looking, even better than the OpenGL stuff that came later.
Now though, I am enjoying (for single player only) the SUPER8 Mod. Get it here.
Valve’s summer sale on steam starts tomorrow (at least so the leaks say) and your wallet needs to be prepared, cause it’s going to get pilloried and then beat with a hairbrush and then full on bented.
Now, I don’t want to hear all these excuses about how bad your game backlog is and that you shouldn’t buy any new games until you ‘finish’ the old ones. Of fucking COURSE you shouldn’t. Frankly we should all just be playing CIV4 or Dominions 4 or DOTA2 and not anything else. Total cost today: about 16$. Instead we’re going to buy Witcher 3 at 20% off and Far Cry 4 and LISA and Crimzon Clover and Eschelon 2 and (for those that don’t have them yet) Darkest Dungeon, Dungeon of the Endless and Dark Souls 1, 2, 3 and they may sit in our steam library uninstalled for YEARS before we play them. So what? Do it anyway. There are just some games, no matter how long it takes to even get them installed, that you fucking NEED to have. Do it.
Again, if I see that LISA is missing from your library, I’m buyin it for you. And Sensless has a birthday and needs to have some games applied to his account.
Other than stuff listed above, I’m looking for Blood Bowl 2, Vermintide, Mordheim, BFG and shit all the Games Workshop IP stuff that I haven’t got around to buying to go on sale (slightly). If I was going to ask one game peeps should buy together it would be Vermintide and then we can play like friends again. Like we did in 1998.