Demise of the Liche King

From the first confrontation with Gnoll raiders at the Seer’s Farmstead, to Orc warbands on deep forest trails, swarms of mutated vermin, a Giant’s lair, vampires, werewolves, ruthless mercenaries, waves of hideous rotting minions spawned by the evil magics of Necromancers, our heroes have waded through carnage, sorrow, and trials to finally confront Dal’Kosh the Undying.

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Skeletons, Barrow Knights, Undead Lords, a reanimated Giant, the Liche King’s force stood ready to destroy any who opposed him.

The two original parties were reinforced in the final portion of the quest by a third band of valiant warriors led by Thaumaturge, Malik ‘D’Orr.

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The party prepares for battle.
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Latecomers but vital to the campaigns’s triumph.
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Tried, tested, battle-scarred, yet resolute, these clerics carried the day against the Undying Triumvirate.
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This warband hacked and hewed a way through the relentless tide of skeleton warriors, carving the path to victory.

Though  every one of the adventurers persevered against great odds and prevailed over the most dreadful, unholy creatures, standing when any other mortal would fall, let it be known that one name will echo in the halls of royal power for decades. One name will be on the lips of kings, priests, lords, and ladies for generations. It shall ring in the streets, hailed by grateful crowds. This man –  a first among equals –  will be woven as the golden thread in the epic tales of seers and hallowed throughout history, immortalized in statue, the historian’s tome, and in the songs of bards for generations to come. That man is…

NORBERT THE NOVICE! 

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Norbert brings the pain down on the Liche King

Occasionally a plan does survive contact with the enemy.

Our intrepid heroes squared off against the Liche King, advancing cautiously in the face of a rushing tide of death. Skirmishes broke out on the left and right as clerics and fighters battled skeleton warriors, Barrow Knights, and the Skeleton Giant. The Liche King’s lieutenants advanced their army across a broad front, supremely confident they would soon hoist the corpses of the meddlers as trophies before their liege lord. But alas…

Steeled by a holy fury, aflame with righteous indignation, guided by the hand of his God, Norbert sprinted across the battlefield on the path cleared by his fellow warriors. He shrugged off multiple attacks from the left and right, and climbed onto the Dias of the Black Moon.

Seeing this impudent mortal approach, the Liche King’s cruel, mocking laughter sounded over the din of battle. He stood and loosed a powerful blast of foul magic. But to his astonishment, Norbert stood steadfast.

Battle swirled all around. Friends fell under the wicked blades of the undead horde. Resolute in the face of ancient and arcane terror, Norbert raised his blessed mace, charged the Corpse Throne, and swung with every fiber of his being.

Ever hear a 300-year old skull shatter?

Sounds like a clay beer jug hitting the floor; an oddly homey noise to signal the end of a centuries-long reign of evil.

And thus did the Liche King fall.

***

Turns out Derek had been saving up every ward, holy anointing oil, potion, amulet, and talisman he looted in treasure caches for the past three sessions and  put them all on Norbert. All his eggs were in the Norbert Basket. 

+ 11 against Undead. WHACK! Gruesome Kill. Game over. 

 

“Raven 4 is down!”

Derek blew off our regular Tuesday game night to celebrate his birthday with his wife. *sheesh* So Matt, John, and I did another ‘one-of’ Rogue Stars game. Each of us controlled two characters. Each crew was secretly tasked with a mission goal regarding a downed recon drone. (variations on a theme: secure intact, destroy, or salvage black box)

Here are the crews. (Stats down below)

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Drago Jaxx and EssenTok

 

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Vrak-ta and Eno Grundi

 

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Cl1nt 3astw00d and D3ad 3y3

 

Simple layout with crews coming in from corners.

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War-Torn Battleground
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Raven4 Recon drone

Straight up battle as crews converged on the center of the table. Shooting started once folks got in range which ended the game quickly with John’s Robots and Matt’s Salvagers in a short, sharp exchange of fire. My less than stellar Action/Reaction rolls actually helped in that both my characters lagged behind and arrived on the scene to find three opponents bleeding out and Matt’s big guy, Vrak’to, reluctant to tangle with two fresh hostiles. So a win for me by default. Which was nice.

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Have to admit we’re still on the fence about Rogue Stars. Advance Song of Blades and Heroes is a favorite here. I think we all hoped RS would be that in Space. Perhaps we need to get more familiar with the mechanics and the RPG-level of detail, but even streamlining the Combat by designating all shots as Torso hits, the fighting still felt slow. Don’t get me wrong, the character creation, the mission tables, the traits, gear, and sheer amount of stuff is great. Time will tell if we can adjust our expectations to this new level of crunchiness or if we House Rule the official ranged combat. Perhaps keeping the ‘only Torso’ hit location unless Called will help. Guess we’ll have to play more games, eh?

In the meantime, here are some potential characters for one of my Rogue Stars crews.

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CREW STATS

ESSEN TOK – Bounty Hunter (68)

TRAITS (35)

Agile 2 = + 2 to Terrain Rolls

Marksman 3 = +3 to Shoot

Danger Sense = Cannot be targeted by Surprise Attacks

Perceptive 3 = +3 to Spot Rolls

Reactive = +1 to Reaction Rolls

ARMOR (14)

Light Combat Dress

Legs = 2   Arms = 2   Torso = 3   Head = 3

WEAPONS (13)

Laser Rifle = Damage 5 (Blind, 2 Hand, Energy Weapon)

Variable Frequency Laser = No -1 Penalty when firing through smoke or fog

Accurate Weapon = +1 to Called or Aimed Shots

GEAR (6)

Stun Grenade x1

Cost 2 Actions to Use: 1 to Prime, 1 to Throw. TN 10 up to 12″ range.

3″ Blast Radius. Targets must pass TN 10 roll or receive 1 Stress and 2 Pin Markers.  (Sealed Armor may roll for Defense) Does not affect Artificial or Mineral targets.

Motion Detector = +2 to Spot Rolls.

 

DRAGO JAXX – Privateer for Hire (69)

TRAITS (48)

Alert 2 = No Sitting Duck Condition

Fast Draw = Drawing Weapon does not Cost action or cause Stress. Priming a grenade still costs 1 action.

Danger Sense = Immune to Surprise Attacks

Difficult Target = Ranged Attacks against model are at -2 unless bound or shackled. Does not apply to Psionic attacks

Marksman 2 = +2 to Shoot

Reactive = +1 to Reaction Rolls

Stealth 2 = -2 penalty to any attempt to Spot this model

Tough 1 = +1 to Endue Rolls

ARMOR (9)

Kevlar Trenchcoat

Legs = 1   Arms= 1   Torso = 2   Head = 0

WEAPONS (12)

SMG = Damage 4, Automatic (2 Attacks/Action at -2 Penalty) Cannot Call Shots.

1 or 2 targets within 4″

Monowire Blade = Damage 3, Armor Piercing (-1 to target Armor Rating)

 

CL1NT 3ASTW00D – Robot Gunslinger (70)

TRAITS:

Ambidexterity = Model may use two One-handed weapons at the same time for single action. Each roll at -1. Same or different targets.

Artificial = Immune to Toxins, Respiratory agents, and mental Psionics.

Marksman 2 = +2 to Shoot

Fast Draw = Drawing Weapon does not Cost action or cause Stress. Priming a grenade still costs 1 action.

ARMOR

Armor 3 on all locations.

GEAR

Slug Pistols (2) Dam 5 Short Range Weapon

Zap Rifle = Dam 4 Electrical, Two-Handed, Energy.

Combat Computer = Model may spend 1 Action to Analyze opponent. Model makes Tech Lvl 10 Roll, If successful, next attack against that target is +2. Critical Success = +3 Critical Failure = -2 for remainder of the game.

Refraction Field Harness = Only for Direct Fire Weapon Ranged Attacks. RollD20 for every Hit. On a 1 Harness goes offline. 2-14: Regular Damage. 15: Dam -1. 16+: No Damage.

 

D3AD-3Y3 – Sniperbot (65)

TRAITS:

Artificial = Immune to Toxins, Respiratory agents, and mental Psionics.

Marksman 2 = +2 to Shoot

Fire Into Melee = May Fire into Melee with no chance of hitting wrong target.

Nonreactive = -2 to all Reaction Rolls

Stealth 1= -1 penalty to any attempt to Spot this model

ARMOR

Armor 3 on all locations

GEAR

Accurate Battle Rifle = Dam 5 +1 to Called or Aimed Shots

Self-Accelerating Projectile = Ignores -1 Penalty for Hi-Grav situations.

Entangle Grenade = Cost 2 Actions to Use: 1 to Prime, 1 to Throw. TN 10 up to 12″ range.

3″ Blast Radius. Targets must roll TN 10 (TN15 if Critical Success) Failure = Entangle/Prone.

Force Sword = Damage 4, Energy Weapon

Night Visor = Ignore Darkness Penalties to Shoot or Terrain. However, Laser Blindness Roll at -2

Combat Computer = Model may spend 1 Action to Analyze opponent. Model makes Tech Lvl 10 Roll, If successful, next attack against that target is +2. Critical Success = +3 Critical Failure = -2 for remainder of the game.

Motion Detector = +2 to Spot Rolls.

 

ENO GRUNDI – Salvage and Recovery Expert (70)

TRAITS

Diminutive = Ranged attacks at -1. Movements -1”

Difficult Target 2 = All regular Ranged Attacks at -2.

Leadership 2 = +2 Bonus to Squad’s Initiative Rolls. +2 Morale to Friendlies in LOS

ARMOR

Light Combat Dress =  Legs: 2  Arms: 2  Torso: 3  Head: 3

GEAR

Refraction Field Harness= Only for Direct Fire Weapon Ranged Attacks. RollD20 for every Hit. On a 1 Harness goes offline. 2-14: Regular Damage. 15: Dam -1. 16+: No Damage.

Accurate Slug Pistol= Dam 4 Short Range Weapon. +1 to Called and Aimed Shots

Chain sword = Dam 3.

Bionic Eye = +1 to Spot, Ignore Blind and Visibility Modifiers, Halve Range Mods for Aimed Shot.

 

VRAK’TO – Salvage and Recovery Security (65)

TRAITS

Big = Ranged Attacks at +1 but +1 Bonus to model’s Melee attacks

Free Disengage = No Free Hacks when leaving Melee.

Heavy Worlder = Immune to Hi-Grav Movement penalties

Weapon Master 2 = +2 to Melee Attacks, – 2 to all Melee rolls against him.

Tough 2 = +2 to Endure Rolls.

ARMOR

Combat Dress = Legs: 3   Arms: 3  Torso: 4  Head: 4

GEAR

Power Maul= Dam 3 Stun (Endure Roll TN 10 or +1 Stress, +1 Pin Marker)

Plasma Blaster = Dam 5, Short Range, Scorching (use target’s lowest armor value)  Energy.

 

Free Mil SF Fiction: Zombie 6

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For those of you that aren’t aware, I write spec fiction. I’ve been serializing a Mil-SF piece over at my writing blog. Sort of a mistress project while I finish up my next novel.

Titled ZOMBIE 6, it follows a small Spec Ops team tasked with eliminating insurgent leadership on a war-torn colony planet. It’s up to Chapter 8 now, some 13K words, and hitting its stride. If you’re interested, the link will start you at the beginning.

I should have it finished Q3 this year, then I’ll commission a cover, hire a copy editor, and kick it out the door where it’ll join my other titles at Amazon.  Until then though, it’ll be free.

Enjoy.

P.S. Rogue Stars game slated for this Tuesday night. Three crews scour a deserted military outpost in search of the last of the deadly, autonomous war machines.

Ranta Cravis – the Right Hand of the Liche

Our Song of Blades and Heroes campaign is coming to an end.

This past Tuesday eve, our intrepid adventurers were reinforced by an additional party led by Thematurge Malik D’Orr. Together, the combined force squared off against Ranta Cravis, a cruel Necromancer and chief lieutenant to the Liche. Cravis had bolstered his zombie horde with a Spectral Warrior and a Ghast champion, Sorik the Undying.

The trail to the Liche led through the ruins of an ancient monastery in the foothills of the Stormcrag mountains. It was there, the Necromancer planned his ambush.

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Ancient Monastery with graveyard.

Entering through the main gate, our adventurers wisely opted to advance together, supporting one another while individuals split off to check the treasure caches  on either side of the road.

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Malik D’Orr and his companions (led by newcomer, John)
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Matt fielding three of the Elf Exiles
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Derek’s clerics armed, armored, and anointed for battle. 
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Cravis and the horde
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Ghast, Spectral Warrior, and a swarm of locally sourced, corpse-fed, free-range rats.

As expected, the battle turned into a straight up brawl in the middle with our heroes slugging it out with the Undead. Thankfully, the two treasure caches yielded some holy salves and ointments that proved a bane to the Necromancer’s shambling mass. (at one point, Norbert the Novice was wading into zombie swarms with a +6 C bonus against the undead. He was unstoppable)

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Alas, the victory was not without cost. Two of the elf exiles fell to the Necromancer’s foul minions. (Not that Matt cared; he only played elves this game to avoid casualties to his regular crew prior to the big showdown)

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Elf rogue confronts rats while moving on last treasure cache

Final game scheduled two weeks from now. Our heroes may have defeated the evil Necromancer and routed his force, but can they stand against the Liche himself in the ruins of Stormcrag Keep?

Lo, the spirit of Leeroy Jenkins was heavy upon them.

Getting back in the regular gaming schedule, we re-ignited our ASoBH campaign last night with Matt and Derek’s parties supported by additional adventurers under John’s command. The three of them created a 7-person party with characters from their own teams, and together braved the outer ring of the Lich King’s domain.

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Facing them were Ebramon Hex, the dreaded Necromancer, with his legion of zombies, Imor, the Dark Sentinel, (Ghast champion) a nameless spectral warrior, and a swarm of vicious Plague Rats.

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Things started well, with the intrepid adventurers advancing through the ancient gateway, boldly striding to meet the forces of decay and death.

But alas, whom the gods destroy, they first make mad, and lo, the spirit of Leeroy Jenkins did come heavily upon them, much to their eternal loss and shame.

The bards will wonder if it was Matt’s bravado that led to their demise, charging forward heedlessly as rats, a ghost, and a ghast spilled from the ruined church. Or perhaps it was Derek’s decision to separate his two clerics from their comrades and angle toward the zombie-infested graveyard by their lonesome. Or was it John’s misplaced confidence in his Elf Spellcaster, evidenced by placing him directly out in front of the party without a fighter bodyguard?

Who knows what fantastical delusions, what insidious deceptions, devil-spawned hubris prompted the adventurers to reckless abandon and death? (Perhaps the zombies who ate their brains) No one will ever say for certain.

Next week, the survivors will face the Lich King himself.

If you’re not familiar with Leeroy Jenkins…

“You’ve got dead on you.”

Finally got to run through a trial game of Rogue Stars last night. One character each to get the basic mechanics down. Cyber-Ninja and Tank against a Bounty Hunter and Pirate (he prefers the term ‘Privateer’)

Rolls for Mission, Objective, Environment, Complications will come after we have Activation/Reaction, Movement and Combat down. Besides, some of us haven’t worked up a full crew yet.

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3′ x 4 Game area. An old military outpost built around the ruins of an ancient warp gate. Attacker’s Objective was to take a quantum flux reading at the center of the ruin then skedaddle back to their base line with the info.

Our Cyber-Ninja and Tank were the attackers while the Pirate and Bounty Hunter found their mutual interests momentarily aligned enough to team together to thwart them.

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Turn One saw both sides spend Actions/Reactions advancing and jockeying for position. Derek’s Tank Quantum Harnessed its big self a mere three inches from the objective right away. John’s Alien Bounty hunter rushed forward hoping to bring his Laser Rifle to bear.

Cyber-Ninja aka “Sneaky Death-Borg” sidled up the left by the bunker and through the trees while our dashing Privateer sauntered forward, ostensibly in support of his (temporary) ally.

The next turn saw Derek’s Tank move forward and blaze away with his Plasma Cannon, inflicting a world of pain on the Bounty Hunter. First volley sizzled through the torso armor, knocked him flat with two Pins and a Serious Wound. Threat dispatched, he then grabbed the objective.

The Pirate, shocked by the violent display, rushed forward and unloaded his SMG on the Tank. Two rounds of Automatic FIre (four shots) and the Tank crumbled. Huzzah Team Pirate!

Thinking the tables are turning, the Bounty Hunter successfully activates, removes two pins, staggers to his feet, only to be charged by the SDB and decapitated in a devastating flurry of Monowire Sword blows. Oops. The cyber-ninja wiped his blade clean and ran off behind a hill before the Pirate could turn around with his trusty SMG.

All that by Turn 3.

The Pirate – who couldn’t help but notice the keenness of the Cyber-Ninja’s blade and his prowess –  decided the wiser course of action was to camp out at the old Warp Gate and force the SDB to cross the open ground to him. (rather than chase after him) So… we called  it and sat back to discuss our first encounter with Rogue Stars.

IMMEDIATE CONCLUSIONS:

  1. A QRS would really help. First game sure, but flipping back and forth in the book got tedious. (which is not what we want in a game) For the love of all the miniature gods, I’m imploring you, Osprey.
  2. Range for 2-Hand Weapons. 8″ Base Range for pistols and such makes sense, I guess. But for Long Guns? 12″ at least. Might House Rule that. We’ll see.
  3. Character Creation is Fun. Yes, there are Pre-Gen Characters and Crews in the back of the book but you really can slot in any SF fig in your collection and make it work. All of us enjoyed making our characters and are looking forward to making full crews.
  4. A QRS would really help.

Again, this was a one-of game to learn the core Movement and Combat mechanics, so our impression is limited. The Mission Tables, Environments, Settings, Complications, and Campaign Rules all look great, but we’ll cross those bridges when we come to them. Rogue Stars might be a bit crunchy for some, but I’m confident once we familiarize ourselves with the basics, we’ll move onto a full-blown campaign. At this point, we’re all very much looking forward to that.

Below are a couple pictures of more recent brushwork. They may or may not get some Rogue Star action.

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Infinity fig doing it STALKER-style.
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Nice Cyber-punk fig.