The Secret DM's old-timey-feel, OGL playable Contest

Write and submit a dungeon crawl dungeon -- without backstory, the dungeon itself will drive the narrative and old school feel-- and possibly win the 1st ed. AD&D core books from Wizards of the Coast, plus have it turned into a professional quality .pdf!  See Link below:
All I play is original edition D&D, so "old" I can do.  OGL I'll have study some.  Playtesting D&D Next will help that learning curve hopefully!

From the Secret DM: PLEASE NOTE: This contest, while designed to honor the memory of Gary Gygax, is not officially supported by either Wizards of the Coast or the Gygax estate, so please base any items, monsters, encounters, etc on the OGL (Open Gaming License.)


40K Traitor Guard Progress Pics

I've posted a few times about kit bashing a traitor Guard force/army for Warhammer 40K.   This is to show that I was not posting lightly.  My son & I have been been working the Chaos loving traitors for a while now,  we just paused for other projects, summer stuff, etc. Not everything is painted, or even cleaned of flash/mold lines, but we're having a good time doing it and here's some of our progress:
"plucky" -- so named for his missing eye -- leads his cultists into battle
A little chopping & Defiler Autocannons make for a GREAT Leman Russ Extrerminator!

I FINALLY have somewhere to put that old spikey searchlight!
Well balanced squadron for Chaos unbalanced minds
The General & his Bodyguards. Total sleeper...
Chaos rough riders in a hurry drape det-tape over their lances
Clear Coat over black primer = instant weathering for a great neglected look


Aged Gamer and the Box of Love

"They say you can't buy love... yet here is a box full of love" -- My friend Cain.  What my friend was wisely referring to was the 25th Anniversary box set of Battletech.  Truly, a box of love!

The game turned 25 in '09, having begun life as "BattleDroids"  in 1984 (until Lucas/Lucasfilm quickly got irritated with the use of  the word "Droid" -- and yes, Verizon pays to use the term.)  But the 25th Anniversary set hit the shelves in Feb of 2012.  I thought Catalyst Games Lab had done a spectcular job with their compilation of the original rules sets and expansions in Total Warfare which is to this game what the Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia was to OD&D -- i.e.: the only book you'd ever need.  Catalyst Games have really hit on a great visual layout and styling artistically for the rules and books, publishing them in what I perceive as an old school way.  They're streamlined, not overbearing, and not dumbed down.  Even the quickstart rulesin the box set need some study, but are totally solid. 

This 25th Anniversary set is so piled high with gaming goodness, you can't help but love the contents:

  • 24 unpainted, ready-to-play plastic BattleMech minis
  • 2 unpainted, premium-quality plastic BattleMech minis
  • One 12-page full-color quick-start rulebook will have players into the action in minutes
  • 36-page book of pre-generated BattleMech Record Sheets
  • One 80-page full-color rulebook
  • Inner Sphere at a Glance, a 56-page full-color book of universe
          background and BattleMech technical data
  • One 16-page full-color Painting and Tactics Guide
  • Two heavy-duty cards of compiled tables
  • Two 18″ x 24″ game-board quality maps

  •  True to it's roots as a board game, this (Heavy) box is a totally complete game with enough miniatures included that you'd literally never have to make another purchase for the product line again... but you will.  You will buy more because the collected 1000+ plus game-world history that Battletech lore covers is fantasticlly detailed, interesting and supported.  Unlike a Warhammer 40K or World of Warcraft timeline where additions of new models or races or incidents are retro-crammed into a tight period of time so the backstory sort of "evolves", but also becomes cluttered as it is altered, the Battletech timeline has been handled in such a way these snags are avoided.  Solid!

    We've always had these...
    ...trust us... we're Pariahs...

    SURE I was there when you could walk through Thousand Needles!

    I played Battleforce in the late 80's -- being a FASA addict in general -- but never got into Battletech.  Any regret that might have spawned has entirely evaporated with the purchase of this set.  Well worth the price!


    6th Edition already? My Rant & What I'd like to see!

    2004 for 4th edition, 2008 for 5th... so yeah, following that trend, I guess Games Workshop is due for another revision of Warhammer 40K.  Break out the administratum's best and brightest to tweak it yet again!
    Yea!!  C'mon lads! Let's do something about inflation besides raising our prices!  Let's tweak the core rules!

    Speculation and sleuthing and sifting through real and imagined hints is quickly becoming rampant.  Me?  I'm still looking up rules as I play.  By no means do I have razor sharp mental acumen when it comes to the rules; I still like 3rd edition frankly... I make no apologies or excuses for that.  3rd edition was a radical departure from the tangle that was 2nd ed. Everything since then has been built off that 3rd ed. streamlining, tweaking it here and there.  Well, and the "fluff" has become increasingly depressing.  Chronically so. 

    From the Age of Imperium to "The Time of Ending?"  How do I go on? 
    Still, the new rules are coming and I'm a sucker for the awesomeness of the 40K Universe and always have been!  And because I have fun collecting, painting and converting GW's peerless, ever improving, excellent models, I'm relaxed in the notion that for another 4 or 5 years, I'll be leafing through another rulebook to lose properly to my opponents.
    Wow...this is almost as big as the 8th edition Warhammer rules!

    So truthfully, I care less about the rule changes (since all real innovation happened in '98) and want to present my wish list for a 6th edition:

    First off, f--k Necrons.  Seriously.  I broke my own rule recently for a friend and played against Necrons (And when I say "played" I mean "got tabled by") Necrons -- an army whose capacity for shear nonsense and hip-deep bullshit knows no bounds.  If this game has a joy vacuum, it's the Sci-Fi version of the undead: the Necrons.  They ought to go away.

    Shoot me again, I don't mind standing up a third time!

    The real kick in the ass though, is this should be the one of the easiest of all 40K armies to defeat, permanently.  Here's 2 ways how via the fluff.  On a forgotten agro world, somewhere in the old halo stars at the edges of the galaxy, some local hick falls into a hole and finds the Necrons master off switch.  That's it, just a switch.  Like the Borg in Star Trek, the Necrons are told to go back to sleep...galaxy wide. Ni-night, sleepy time!
    Huh huh, when I press this one it sounds like a fart, huh huh huh...

    OR while on a smoke break, one of Mars' finest Adeptus realizes he left out his Mango Guacamole near his mercury test kit... and inadvertently he's created a virus that attacks and kills living metal -- (See Professor Kettlewell in Doctor Who: Robot 1975)  -- in a graphic, hyper rusty way. 

    Yeah, they WERE pretty dangerous, till the Adeptus there hit them with the spray bottle!
    I'm a Duro, not a pinko Tau, actually.

    Next on the list, the Tau.  Get lost. You've had your 15 minutes, now go back in the time tunnel to the Cantina where you belong! 

    These guys have what...a couple dozen planets and no real way to use the warp except like Buck Rogers did in the 70's?  And the Orks are knocking on their back door?  Later Space Commies.

    As George Carlin used to say, and I paraphrase: It's thoughts like these that kept me out of the really good schools...


    40K Traitor Guard Fast Attack entry: Hellhound Squadron

    I first posted about a decent Traitor Guard Army list in November of '10, coming up with a master list the following February. In the next few weeks I'll endeavor to flesh that list out entirely.  Today, we get a Fast Attack choice for those lost souls who have turned from the Emperor's Light: A Traitor Hellhound Squadron. While it goes without saying this entry is in no way tournament legal, endorsed or approved officially, it's strictly for fun -- which is what the hobby should be -- both for modeling and gaming!

    This entry was compiled largely from the current Imperial Guard Codex, Chaos Space Marine Codex, Eye of Terror Codex and the Imperial Armour Renegades and Heretics...Defenders of Vraks list from Forgeworld.  Again, as no true models exist for these choices, they represent a great kit bashing modeling opportunity and extend the tabletop threat of the Traitor Guard.

    Any opinions, feedback or playtesting results are welcome!


    Hellhound Squadron    

    Composition: Vehicle squadron composed of 1-3 of the following tanks in any combination:

    Hellhound          130points
    Plague Wolf       140points
    Howler              135points

    BS F S R
    Hellhound 3 12 12 10
    Plague Wolf 3 12 12 11
    Howler 3 12 12 10

    Unit Type:
    Vehicle (tank, fast)

    Wargear (all):
    -Heavy Bolter

    Wargear Hellhound:
    -Inferno Cannon

    Wargear Plague Wolf:
    -Plague Cannon*

    Wargear Howler:

    •Any Model may replace heavy bolter with:
     -heavy flamer                                       Free
    •Any Model may take any of the following:
     -Searchlight                                         +1point
     -pintle mounted heavy stubber               +10
     -pintle mounted combi weapon               +10
     -hunter killer missile                              +10
     -DozerBlade                                        +10
     -Extra Armor                                       +15
     -Dirge Caster+                                     +5
    •The entire squad may take:
     -smoke launchers                                   +5
     -Camo Netting                                       +20

    *Plague Cannon: Belches out a noxious, acidic cloud of hyper toxic bacteria so violently poisoness, it renders iteself inert, but not before inflicting horrific casualties.

    Range: Template  Strength:AP:Type: Heavy 1/Poisoned 2+
    (Targets with a toughness rating are wounded on a roll of 2+)

    **Blastmaster: Focuses a basal note into an explosive crescendo that can burst eyeballs, rupture organs and warp armor. Varying the frequency changes the effects.  Announce which frequency is employed when nominating the enemy unit targeted.

                       Range     Strength     AP      Type
    Varied         36"              5            4         Assault 2, pinning
    Single          48"             8             3         Heavy 1, Blast, pinning

    +The dirge caster is automatically included with the Howler.  This is reflected in its point cost.



    40K Traitor Guard Troop entry: Chaos Cultists

    I first posted about a decent Traitor Guard army list in November of '10, so this is a little overdue...  While it goes without saying this entry is in no way tournament legal, endorsed or approved officially, it's strictly for fun -- which is what the hobby should be -- both for modeling and gaming!

    To get this unit right, I pulled & married material from as many sources as I could to keep it as game balanced and fluff rooted as possible.  Without presenting an actual bibliography I read and compared entries for: Chaos Cultists from the 2nd Ed Chaos Codex, the Eye of Terror Mutants, the Forgeworld Seige of Vraks Workers Rabble, Chaos Cultists from the 2001 Chapter Approved volume and the Conscripts from The Imperial Guard Codex.  The result makes a unit that should be interesting and dynamic to model and field in service of the Chaos gods.

    Any opinions, feedback or playtesting results are welcome!

    Cultists as seen in the Dawn of War PC videogames


    Chaos Cultists:  80points

    WS BS S T W I A Ld Sv
    Chaos Cultist 2 2 3 3 1 3 1 7** 6+
    Agitator 3 3 3 3 1 3 2 8 5+

    20 Cultists

    Unit Type:

    *Close Combat Weapon (Knives, pointed sticks, clubs, maces, swords, machetes, claws, etc)
    (Though the pistols may be used in shooting phase, the wargear still only counts as one weapon for CC)

    *One Cultist may be upgraded to an Agitator for +10
    *The Agitator may exchange his pistol or close combat weapon for a mutation or power weapon +10  (Both count as a power weapon. No. of Attacks remains as listed)
    *Unit may include up to 30 addtional Chaos Cultists for +4 per model.
    *One Cultist per 10 may take one of the following instead of close combat weapon and pistol:
         -Flamer, shotgun or grenade launcher +5
         -Heavy Stubbber +10

    Attention of the Warp:  Cultist units numbering 40 or more models may attract more attention from their chaotic patrons then was originally intended. Starting in turn two, before the player's movement phase, make a leadership check for the unit.  If passed, nothing happens. If the check fails, 5 of the models are removed and replaced by a Chaos Spawn. This model immediately acts independantly of the Cultist unit and may not capture territory or objectives.  These checks go on until the unit numbers less than 40 models.

    ** Without an Agitator, Chaos Cultists morale becomes 1d6+4.  This is rolled at the beginning of the game before deployment and is used as their morale for the rest of the game.

     Chaos cultists are the useful idiots, willingly or unwittingly opening a door they can't close, behind which lies damnation.  Following the lies and deceits of a disgruntled or power mad agitator, or gathering as a group apart, they delve, dig and probe the limits of societal decency and norms, until, maddened by their vile craft, they burst from their hiding places in a wave of violence at the forefront of a rebellion or full on Chaos incursion. Hunted by the Inquisition, shunned by the Imperial masses and despised by their own Chaos masters and patrons, they are utterly damned for embracing the path of Chaos.



    I Have NOT been idle...

    ...neglectful to the blog maybe. But not idle.

    Actually, the year 2012's started out very well for gaming. I have no official New Year's resolutions per se, but so far this year, I've made good on past (and usually broken) promises to myself I would paint and model what I have in stock before taking on more, and expand my gaming horizons in general. To that end:

    The year began with several sessions of Z-Man's Agricola
    A very easily learned tabletop version of... well, farmville I guess. Different everytime it's laid out and playable in around 90 minutes to 2 hours, it's worth it's price tag!

    Our D&D group is still at it as well. As WotC reels from the success of Pathfinder and contorts to redo/undo 4th edition D&D into a more palatable 5th edition, we persist with the original and best (in our opinion) from the Rules Cyclopedia:

    Don't let the 4th ed. book in the pic fool you, we needed something to write on.
    40K's back on the menu as well with a Saturday 6000 point Orks vs. Guard Ambush scenario from the 40K Battle Missions Book:
    As far as painting, I've finished my recently acquired Dwarf Blood Bowl team:
    Got my fleets and accessories done Dreadfleet, started painting Chaos Cultists for a LONG planned Traitor Guard list for 40K that I will publish here soon; working on my new Dwarf Miners for Warhammer. Hell, after that last disaster I've got to give them SOME kind of help; Finally putting the brush to the Blood Angel Terminators in Space Hulk; and back on the WoW-crack with an account renewal and the purchase of Warcraft III battle chest. I know it's 10 years old now, but it holds its own as an RTS and as great narrative for WoW. Whew... so that's why I haven't blogged at all until deep into 2012's second month. Lots to do! Why isn't there more time? That I can't answer. But as a gamer, if you ever find yourself bored or with time on your hands, you're doing-it-wrong!