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Barbarian invasion!

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Just had a fantastic game from the Frostgrave: forgotten pacts expansion. 6 barbarians are placed  at the start next to a treasure token each. Whenever one of them are killed, two new enter the board!

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Suspecting we would quickly run out of barbarian minis I dug out these two old friends as well.

There were many epic moments such as this one:

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The barbarian evaded the effect of my horn of destruction (crumble). I leaped Fafnir the treasure hunter up there so he could possibly win the combat and push the barbarian down the manhole. The plan backfired and Fafnir was pushed to his death instead.

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Epic bridge duel between Shamrock the apprentice and a barbarian. Shamrock was eventually crushed to death!

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Then there was a massive slugfest between my imps, javelineer and man at arms and three barbarians. The combat lasted for a while, but eventually my minions were defeated.

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The barbarians swarmed this ruin where my marksman had actually teamed up with my opponents barbarian. They fought back to back for a while…

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In tandem with my marksman, the goblin barbarian slayed three or four berserkers, but eventually they were wiped out.

I lost all my guys save for the apprentice that managed to get out with a treasure. My opponent fared better with three treasures, but also many casualties. Not a single blow fell between the warbands as they were too busy fighting the berserkers. The professor lost his apprentice, shamrock, and I lost my halfling ranger who has had an amazing track record so far with a number of epic kills. Including this time as he jumped a three inch gap and fired a critical arrow at a berserker upon landing. RIP!

 

 

 

 

 

Dungeon crawlers

Alright! Vacation over. The days are getting darker. Let the games begin!

So, I will probably get the new rulebook from Osprey, Ghost archipelago, as I love Frostgrave and the creativity it sparks in regards to the crafting and painting aspect of the hobby.  It is not a big initial investment either as it is just a book (not considering the countless guilt-ridden orders of miniatures following this initial investment).

Lately, though, there is that itch…the dungeon crawler itch as one might call it. I want to immerse into a deeper gaming experience, RPG-style, where the world and story is laid out for me, paired with lots of randomness. I also want a deep coop campaign with a strong story and backdrop, but without the use of a DM. I’ve been checking out some videos and reviews for the latest dc games out there. There is a few that are up for retail already or soon to come.

I’ve been eyeing the following games: Massive Darkness, Sword & Sorcery, and Gloomhaven. I have also been looking at Darklight: Memento Mori.

I compare all such games to the original Warhammer Quest, obviously, as I consider it the holy grail of dungeon crawlers. The problem here is that I know it so well, I know all the adventures, all the monsters, all the events, all the character upgrades….I want something new and unfamiliar, but with the same feeling as WHQ.

Initially I had high hopes for Massive Darkness. It looks very well done, lots of content in the box, there are crossover possibilities to Zombicide which possibly makes for an even larger universe. Looking at some reviews it seems they level up in-dungeon. The travelling aspect of whq, visiting villages and cities to train and purchase stuff is simply not there? Getting out of the dungeon is important so this is a BIG con for me.

Sword & Sorcery I had not paid attention to before recently when I saw some videos and reviews. This is thematically closer to the style I like. Artwork is not as “cartoony” as CMON’s games, it looks more classic. I was a bit put off after seeing a playthrough video, though…because MEIN GOTT, does it look fiddly! The amount of cards and tokens is just out of this world! Although I do think games in this category should not be too simple, it is important that this is balanced.

Gloomhaven seems to have slightly less of the fiddliness. The setting looks great, there is less miniatures in the box, which is good for me as I have a ton to proxy for enemies. The campaign seems to have a depth to it that I suspect Massive Darkness is lacking of…but, and there is a big but: NO DICE?!?! ….NO DICE?!?!?!?! This does not compute. Maybe this is not a problem for those with Magic the gathering backgrounds and other deck building games, but for me it just seems like a calculated strategy in order to separate the product from the other crawlers. Perhaps I need to broaden my horizon a bit.

Finally there is the long awaited Darklight: memento mori. This is probably the closest to WHQ, and the creators does not try to hide that they are heavily influenced by it. I love the look, the board sections and the minis and they have between dungeon activities which is very important. But then there is the issue of getting a game that is too similar to WHQ.

So these are my thoughts. I will probably let myself marinate for a while on this. I might just settle with my trusty old WHQ, tggitw (the greatest game in the world), but I also feel like I want to explore a new game. Any thoughts on this is welcome!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cruel summer

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Latest addition to my warband: the barbarian man-at-arms. I wanted an allround barbarian with several weapons (axe and sword) and shield so he can double as a barbarian for warhammer quest. (Hence the square base). The rope was added to give him an adventuring feel.

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Lots of browns there, a bit boring perhaps. Might go in and touch up later…

Also managed to squeeze in some terrain from the Ulterior motive pack.

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It’s my first time trying oxidation on bronze. Turned out better than I thought.

I wanted to review the latest frostgrave magazine expansion- Spellcaster! It’s like what Deathblow was for Warhammer quest. I loved the rules in it, but the author could have put a little more effort in the design. We have not had time to play with the new rules because, “sadly”, the weather was extremely nice last week. Not easy to sit inside with the hobby when its like that!

I’ll be entering a three week hiatus as I go on a summer vacation. Need to charge up so I can last through the long dark winter here. A nice thing about that is more time for the hobby:)

Wish you all a great summer and take care!

The mummy cow

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It’s alive! And it wants hugs! I’ve created another abomination: the mummy cow. That was the working title anyway…not sure what to use it for. A construct, a demon…

Here’s how I did it

Hotglue, wire and orc legs

Head was from an orc banner. The jawbones were hanging from the horns. Cut those off and glued them to the skull. Used greenstuff to close the gap.

Dabbed on the air dry clay, made a pattern and strenghtened it with pva and water mix.

The mummy cow….it kind of grows on you, doesn’t it?

 

 

Playtesting and ulterior motives

Didn’t Mark Twain say “…all ideas are second-hand” or something like “everything is plagiarism”? He was probably right.

When I made the Big Null I thought it was a pretty creative design, mostly from my own imagination, perhaps just a tad influenced by the thin man character. Even the blue color scheme was pretty original for a nullman, I thought. Then yesterday I came over this artwork from the frostgrave folio and realized I had subcounciously soaked it up, much like the nullmen soaks up/drains magic from their victims.

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I usually only read the Sellsword expansion on my phone when playing and this contains no artwork, only the description of nullmen which reads “….nearly featureless humans who glow slightly with an unearthly grey light” I have the folio and have casually flipped through it on several occasions, but I have not studied the artwork carefully yet, and I could not remember having seen this before so it did not occur to me that this image was the inspiration of my craft! I was not disappointed in the lack of my own genius, mind you, but rather fascinated with the subconsciousness of the mind.

Small digression there, on to the item/s of the day: playtesting of the homemade scenario, “The Big Null cometh…” and using the Ulterior motive expansion cards. First, the scenario worked very well! This brings me back to Twain of course since it is basically a  modified version of “the Worm Hunts” scenario by author Joe McCullough. The Big Null represented a stalking unpleasant precense which was what I wanted. It started on my side, of course, and it caused me to focus on keeping a certain distance between it and my spellcasters.

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The Big Null starts in my corner. It will move towards the highest level spellcaster within 18″.

IMG_3633When using ulterior motives the warband has to start within 1″ of the board edge. This combined with the Big Null set up in my corner caused this intimate, shoulder-to-shoulder deployment.

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This was my motive for the game. A friend’s lost child had to be retrieved. That was a bit out of character for the egotistical summoner Sabellicus, who does not bother with friends. It was more suitable with a lost demon snake that had to be retrieved for a price.

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This was my opponents motive. He chose my bear hunter as the insulting party. This suits our narrative well since the bear hunter has had great success despite being the weakest and cheapest member of my warband. Surely a source of irritation for my opponent.

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The table. Goblins gets the initiative and start out with telekinesis and some tactical placements.

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I try to move my guys away from the Big Null with the help of the leap spell.

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These guys go for the rescue and a treasure. I managed to bring the child..erm..demon snake off the board.

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Some rounds in and the Nullman is almost close enough for a charge.

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This is how close it got before the apprentice had to leap herself out of harms way.

Luckily, there was no actual contact with the nullman. I achieved my ulterior motive, but my opponent did not. The cheeky bear hunter escaped without a scratch! He even managed to damage a few enemies on his way. Something tells me the “payback” motive will continue…There were some pretty hairy situations, my opponent lost both wizard and apprentice, but luckily they survived the post game injury rolls. I had more luck, only having to roll for my ranger.

After my 2nd game of using UM I must say I like most of the motives we’ve had so far vengeance, rescue, hunt down a hidden demon….I’ve decided not to read all the cards and take it as it comes from now on. We will re-draw motives that we’ve had already. I don’t think UM overcomplicates things as might be some peoples concerns, but this might depend on the complexity level of the scenario.

 

 

Ulterior motives

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It is probably a bit early for me to review this expansion as I have only played one game with it, but what the hell.

Ulterior motives is an expansion for Frostgrave which introduces a bit of depth to your wizards motivation besides treasure hunting. (For those who play/ed oldschool warhammer quest it is the equivalent of “dark secrets”.)

The expansion set consists of 40 cards with small missions that is to be played within the mission with a few modifications. The rules on how to use ulterior motives are printed on two of the cards. Basically there is some difference in warband placement, number of treasures placed and gained experience by adding ulterior motives to a regular scenario. I don’t really see the point why it should change, but as I said I’m still a noob.

The expansion arrived in the mail the day before we were going to play a scenario called the “coming of ambronnax” from the forgotten pacts expansion. I thought this would complicate the scenario, but it actually ended up adding to its atmosphere, or at least one of the motive cards did. I got a card called “hidden demon” I think. It suited my summoner warband perfectly! A failed summoning had caused a major demon to escape and hide among the opposing warband, posing as a soldier. It would reveal itself after 2 turns and by killing this I would gain an extra 80 xp. Because of the original scenario this meant that we would have 2 major demons on the board by the end of turn 2 + at least 2 failing wretches at any given time. My opponent got a motive which was a bit difficult to understand; to reach a given terrain piece and spend one action would heal him and the wizard would gain 50 xp. This also came with red herrings to throw me off his actual goal, but I couldn’t really care less if he reached that so it was a bit of an anti climax to be honest. There was enough to worry about on the table already! I was able to kill the hidden demon with a critical shot so that was nice as it “knew my true name” which is apparently a big deal for demons.

All in all, it worked out fine with the cards, but I have some annoyances with the actual battle itself! I’ll pick out the worst example:

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Ambronnax materializes. My soldiers get in a real hurry to carry the treasure out.

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We try to damage the demon from a distance and succeeed. Eventually he is actually down to 2 wounds (1 crit from my ranger and one sweet roll on a spell called planar tear). One more spell takes him down to 1 wound!

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…In comes the randomly generated bile hound. This lil’ fella is bound by the goblin witch warband, makes its way to Ambronnax who, after all my efforts, is on his heels with 1 wound left and it goddamn kills him in the final round (Bile hound +1 fight, Ambronnax+8 fight). This gives the goblins 100 xp. …..You’re welcome!

 

The Big Null cometh…

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The big null cometh (PDF) is my version of “The Worm Hunts” scenario from the official Frostgrave book.

This one is probably more suitable for higher level Wizards, maybe 14+? I seriously don’t know since it has not been playtested yet, but I think the Big Null statline and special rules is pretty tough to deal with. We will test it later. Now we are busy with introducing “ulterior motives” to our games…more on that later.

 

 

The Big Null

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Sooo…I’m making minis now, how bout that? I don’t think Reaper or GW have to worry just yet, but it went better than I thought! Using the same technique as with the weirdwood I made a frame with wire and hotglue

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Main frame is thicker than the arms which I made using three strands of more flexible wire “twined” together. Sorry I did not get a pic of that. I added hotglue for strenght and girth. Made a head of greenstuff and added airdry clay to the body, shaping with a tool and some water to smooth out.

Smooth design is more difficult since flaws are more visible. Paintjob came after I had based it with matt black paint mixed with pva.

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Not super happy with the drybrushing, but overall not that bad for this kind of monster I think. It is a large version of the Frostgrave nullman (sellsword expansion), a strange creature that is immune to magic, and will always go after magic users. I have already made a Frostgrave scenario for it:)

Frostgrave House Rules: The Weirdwood

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I usually prefer to play official stuff, and Frostgrave with all its expansions certainly have enough scenarios to go around for a while yet. Still, since I made a weird terrain piece it felt natural to make a simple scenario where it would get some attention by us players as something more than terrain. We playtested it the other day and it went sursprisingly smooth and ended up as a very entertaining game. It’s a simple scenario based partly on “the mausoleum” scenario and the “bones of the earth” spell. There was also some inspiration from the Sellsword expansion with the concept of “null”. The tree can easily be replaced with any other terrain piece like a statue, or a slime pit or something.

Without further ado (pdf file): The weirdwood

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Pandemonium in the forest!

 

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