DnD characters and New Terrain

Our 5E DnD adventure began last Tuesday night with four intrepid comrades heading off to investigate the death of a mysterious stranger.


We have an Arab-flavored Paladin undergoing a crisis of faith, a Goblin Bard with a hording problem, an Fighter/Archer with a grudge, and a Halfling Rogue with a conscience. The evening’s shenanigans ended with the Rogue at the top of a dry well in need of a healing potion, the Bard at the bottom of said dry well, gnawing on a ham and ignoring the Rogue, while the Paladin and the Archer just loudly announced their presence inside the spooky farm house. Tune in next week…


Meanwhile, here is the Seer’s Hut for the upcoming SOBH mini campaign, The Fall of House Navratola. Scratch built from insulation foam scraps, foam core, coffee stirrers, and cardboard. Ranger shown for scale.



I’m having fun gaming and making terrain. All things considered, that’s pretty good.

All for now.  Have a great day.



The Fall of House Navratola

Our gaming group is arranging mini-campaigns for our Fall game night schedule. John is currently hammering out the details on one, possibly two Dungeon Crawl RPG sessions. Derek is perusing the Pathfinder version of Interface Zero for some cyberpunk adventures, and Matt ordered the Blood Rage 5th player expansion so newcomer Anti-Patrick can join in the frenzy for glory as the worlds crumble and burn. (We all decided Blood Rage will be our go-to pick up game on those nights when no one has had time to prep.)

For my part, I’m currently writing up a three-game ASoBH campaign titled “Fall of House Navratola”, where a secret brotherhood of ‘Dusk Watchers’ – men and women sworn to hunt down the evil that preys on humankind – investigates arcane and bloody rumors in a remote province  of Trastaya.    

To that end, the Dusk Watcher party recently received some reinforcements. The Dusk Warden and Dusk Hunter are joined by a Dusk Medicae and a Dusk Quarreler. A Dusk Skean is in the queue.


While the Dusk Watchers are formidable, here are some of the ruinous powers that will oppose them:


Lastly, speaking of cyberpunk not only have I been leafing through the gorgeous Eclipse Phase rule book during lunch, I wanted to make sure I had suitable figs for whatever Derek cooked up. So here are a couple potentials I fished out of my c-punk storage case.


My workshop’s main table is filled with a commission for a large-ish memorial window at the moment, but outlining the third and final House Navratola game last night, I see a terrain project in my future. More on that as it happens.

Til then, have a great day.


The hunt for perfect rules

It’s more an epic quest, actually.

You know, your peculiar holy grail table top rules. For me, it’s fast-play, skirmish combat with RPG-lite elements. Call me finicky but don’t want a lot of bookkeeping or no chit-clutter. (spoils the effect, IMO) I don’t want a dozen stats/model, page after page of tables, hundreds of modifiers, errata and exceptions. No unbalanced points system that can be exploited by troglodyte, min/max power gamers. And please no convoluted gimmick mechanics to reinvent the wheel simply because you couldn’t borrow an existing elegant solution. Oh yes, and I’d like to be able to slot in figs from different game companies.

Now there are lots of games out there, some of them good, several of them great, most of them passable. But none of them quite trip my trigger. I guess that’s why I’m sifting other game systems – stealing, sorting, simplifying in an effort to forge yet another set of home-brew rules. I want both veteran and new gamers to grasp streamlined mechanics and concentrate on the game, on the 28mm story that’s unfolding on the table, rather than constantly flipping through pages.

I’ve narrowed it down to several key elements:

Alternating Activation.
Ye Gods! Nothing is more tedious, not to mention unrealistic, than one entire side moving, shooting, charging into melee while the other sits there and endures in stoic, static stupidity. In game terms, it’s called IGO-UGO, but I call it BOHICA. (Bend Over, Here It Comes Again)
Alternating Activation at least mimics the ebb and flow of combat, keeps both players engaged during a game turn, and allows them to react to unfolding battlefield conditions. When activated, units (single figs or multiple model squads) can perform up to two different ACTIONS before game play passes to their opponent.

Four Stats.
Movement, Combat Ability, Armor, Morale. That’s it. How many do I need? This isn’t a hyper-detailed RPG where I have to track ammo by the individual round, wound location, fatigue, mental state, and load burden. How fast can they run in a tactical situation? How well trained are they with weapons, either range or melee? How resistant are they to damage? How focused, motivated are they to stay in the fight? Just Basic Soldier Info for any battlespace.

Weapons are also divided into general classes (Do I really need to differentiate between species of Assault Rifle?) each with three stats: Range, (how far the hurt?) Firepower, (How many the hurt?) and Damage. (How much the hurt?)

Skills and Equipment.
Here’s where I can differentiate characters and specialty troops. Close Combat Crazies? No problem. This bunch has +1 to their Combat Ability when in Melee. Infiltrator/Scout? Sure. They can deploy up to 18″ off their table edge. Mimetic Camouflage? No problem. Note the fig/figs have Obfu Gear on their Stat sheet. All attacks are suffer -1 Obscured Shot Penalty.

Command and Control.
Here’s where leaders and tactical decisions come into play. Leader figs have a Command Stat and Control Radius. Command Stat grants them a limited number of orders per turn, the Control Radius dictates the distance and number of orders required to Activate a friendly model. Proximity confers other benefits as well, so not only does the player have to think and choose how and where to spend orders, but also consider how close they keep valuable leader figs to troops and danger.

Mission Objectives.
Toughest one so far. The idea is to keep objectives secret from your opponent. This adds tension and dimension of simultaneously trying to achieve your own goals while frustrating your opponent. I’ve stolen the idea of an Objective deck with different but generic goals. (Fortify particular terrain feature, exit x number of figs off opposite edge, kidnap one of your opponent’s models (defeat in melee) and bring him back to your deployment edge… That sort of thing) It’s next up in the play-test queue.

So far, our test games have gone well. Now our scenarios have all been straightforward, concentrating on core mechanics, but we’ve encountered very few snags. I think the basic framework is reliable. Simplicity is the greatest genius, someone smart once said. Now if I can add distinctions without freighting the game engine so that it loses simplicity and flexibility, I’ll be happy.

Working titles include Dead Run, Cleared to Engage, and Free Fire Zone. I’ll post updates as we progress and figure out how to make them a free DL once they’re polished.

Good Gaming.