A Quest into the Bad Land Part 2

November 11, 2019

Continuing from part 1.  Bertie had made his escape.   The rest of the party would follow up.

Things were getting hot. 13 new minions were reinforcing the enemy. They all seemed to be coming from one tribe now. This would be a tight escape.

Drastic measures he said. Roll three dice he said. And this is how a second reinforcement card was drawn…with another 15 minions, this time blocking the path ahead.

Maynard gets his act together and throws a well aimed fireball despite the -2 manaflux.

A couple of arrows from Jack’s bow, another fireball and Sir John had mop-up duty.

Stepping over the chard and hacked remains, the rest of the party made it to safety.

The party escaped a surprisingly tough fight.  One member was knocked down but his wounds proved superficial.  In the end, with some loot from bodies and the treasure cache, the party ended 97 coins and a total of 5 XP, 1 from finding an item of interest and 4 for completing the mission.

A Quest into the Bad Land Part 1

October 25, 2019

I’ve been working on a random scenario generator for Sellswords and Spellslingers.  It’s really a series of tables with some scenario ideas for each aspect of a scenario.  In this scenario, I rolled a “recovery” mission.   Of these types of scenarios, it could be a single item or as many items as the party can find.  I gave it a 50-50 and ended up with recovery of 1 item.  There are D3+1 search locations.  I ended up with 3.  When a character searches the first location there is a 1-2 on a D6 chance of finding the item.  For the second location searched, there is a 50-50 chance.  If it is not in the first 2, then it is in the last one, of course.  I rolled hilly terrain and for a special location I ended up with ruins.  So there are 3 major ruined buildings the party must search.  The character spends an action.  The die is rolled.  Regardless of whether the item is found or not, D3 minions jump out and attack.  The party entered via the road that lead directly into the city.  As they advanced, Maynard the Wise (Wizard) noticed something of value on the statue near the main road.  Sir John and Bertie Wainwright moved ahead to scout out the first building.  Hordes immediatly spotted the advancing party and attacked Maynard and Jack the Swift.  Jack was equal to the task and easily dispatched all three hordlings.  He also spotted the Orc brute in the town and put 2 arrows into him.  5 consecutive hits!  At this point, the scenario event was pulled which revealed a rival Orc faction.   2 Hordes and 1 brute.  3 hordlings have bows and immediatly fired at Bertie scoring 1 hit.


The scenario event occurred already. Rival faction including 3 Orc archers. Bertie is hit once.

Sir John had already gone into the first ruin and fell on his face tripping over a trip wire (Trap).  The wounded brute charged after him.  His trusty squire Bertie jumped in and over Sir John delivering a knife throw to the Orc Brute’s throat.  Outside, Maynard causes some mayhem of his own.

Maynard uses his trusty fireball and kills 4 hordlings and badly wounds the brute.

Despite the successes, Maynard is ambushed.  He dispatches this foe.  He is then beset upon by 3 more (They are at our back!) and dispatches those in turn.  This guy is pretty good!  Jack the swift is also ambushed and fairs worse taking 1 wound.  The wounded Orc brute advances and knocks Jack down!   Things are not looking good!

PCs keep failing activation and the hordes advance.

Finally the Orc brute advances on Maynard but Maynard is not impressed and finishes the Brute off.  Maynard moves back toward Jack and finds he was only unconscious and had only 1 wound.  (At this point I found an error in the book.  18 on the out of action table is not covered.  I made the best result an 18-20 but maybe I should have made the next lower result 15-18 instead.  Whatever)

Back in the ruined temple, Bertie and Sir John managed to get there act together.  As Bertie finished off the last hordling, Sir John found something.  3 Orcs.  A wild melee ensued.  Bertie took his second wound as Sir John finished off 2 of the Orcs.  The last one fell to Bertie’s short sword.   Not a moment sooner the party heard the blast of Orc war horns.

More hordes appear on the horizon. 13 to be exact!

At this point, I called it for the night.  Tomorrow shall be the conclusion of the Search for the Lost Treasure.

The Stolen Gold

December 17, 2018

My son and I recently tested out a scenario for Sellswords and Spellslingers.  It is an adaptation of the fantasy scenario from Don Featherstones Skirmish Wargaming book.  I was originally going to use one group and we would take a couple of characters each but he, instead made a “super” ranger of 40 points so we played as 2 players and upped the firepower a bit.  The game is played on a map that has a road going north south.  There is a goblin raiding party on the road with the stolen gold.  The object?  To recapture the gold and move it off the map along the road north.  The player may split the party, entering half from the south map on the road while the balance remain on the road to the north.  The goblins are setup with a goblin hero (we used the stats for the orc brute but hobgoblin might be better) a horde of 3 goblin archers and a horde of 3 goblins carrying the treasure.  Below is an overview of the map with the setup.

Looking from the North end of the road.

The goblins may move when the appropriate card is drawn.  The treasure bearers will move directly toward the Southeast corner which is the direction of Goblintown.  Peter Jackson made me name it!    There is a scenario event.  If the event card is drawn, a troll appears in the ruins.  He is a rather intelligent troll and moves like most other monsters, not randomly moving about when characters are near.

The game played well enough despite some bad luck on my part.

The Northern group

The enemy battle line. I seem to have cut off the treasure bearers.

The ranger in the south. Not a great shot. This guy was 3D printed.

The ranger was beset upon by a couple of goblin groups including one 5 member group.  Jack had to move away and then start sniping.  The northern group, my characters seemed to roll either 0 or 1 action on 2 dice which meant that I started the game with a prolonged melee.

Cleaning up, this was the last of about 6 goblins in 3 groups.

The last of Jack’s goblins. These were a horde but one had 2 hit points (a random event) so split off from the main body.

While Jack was finishing off the southern horde, I sent my barbarian to finish the treasure bearers. The barbarian had a penalty of 1 on movement for being laden with treasure.

The troll emerged from the ruins (scenario event card drawn) and the chase was on. I decided to roll all 3 dice.

4 actions! That makes up for all those failures I rolled early on. The barbarian RUNS for safety!

It wasn’t all that simple.  There was at least one ambush and 2 other reinforcements that had to be dealt with.  Jack hit a teleportation trap that ended up moving him up the road a small amount.  Essentially it provided his ranger with an extra move.  Lucky us.  In the end…

Home sweet home!

JTT trees.  Hills are from some old company who made GW style hills.  The tower was purchased from Michael’s.  The ruins are Microtactix card stock buildings.  The roads were made by a gent selling these at the flea market at Cold Wars.  The troll is GW.  The game figures in the north are mostly Caesar with the goth archer from New Line designs 1/72 scale Goth range.   The ranger is a scaled down 3D print of Dutchmogul’s 28mm ranger on thingiverse.  The goblins are from Goblin factory, now carried by an Australian company (I think).


3D Printing 20mm Figures

February 25, 2018

I’ve been experimenting with some figures created by “Duchmogul” on thingiverse.  The figures are billed as 18mm but after fiddling with scaling, I have found that they match 1/72 scale figures perfectly as is.  There are some older models that he has done that are more in line with 20mm figures but that is neither here nor there.  They all do work without modification to scale.  I’ve printed them perpendicularly with mixed results.  The lines are rather pronounced and as they are fairly detailed, sanding is not really an option.  Painting these figures requires an old school mentality.  Much of the detail has to be painted in by hand not unlike painting in the belts and straps on some of the very old figures out there.  The figure I tested with is called “Hollow Soldier.”  He sort of screams “Barrow Wight” or “Ghost” so some sort of dull gray paint scheme will be in order.  here is the finished rough along side of a Viking Huscarl.  The cloak on the Huscarl shows off the print lines.  At 3 feet away, they are hardly noticeable, especially to the Grognard’s eyes.

How a 45 degree print looks fresh off the printer. The cloak of the Huscarl to show off the print lines.

Front view with all supports removed.

Rear views. It does look like a fair bit of scraping will be in order.

And there you have it.  It is rainy today so there is no chance this fine fellow will be primed.  I’ll post another WIP pic or two when the time comes.

Sellswords and Spellslingers: First Impressions

January 22, 2018

Sellswords and Spellslingers is a new cooperative game by Ganesha Games.  The idea behind the game is that a player makes several characters with various abilities and go on adventures (scenarios) gaining loot and and experience to become more powerful.  The game can be played cooperatively or solo.  The scenarios are scaled up based on the number of participating players.

Characters start with 3 hit points each.  Lesser monsters do one hit of damage while greater ones can deal out 2 hits.  A player has 60 experience points to spend among his characters.   He might spend 25 on one and 10 on another and so forth until all 60 are used.  He can not spend more than 40 and less than 5 on a character.  There are also disadvantages which will allow you to gain a few extra experience points.  They do incur game penalties, some quite severe.  My hobbits, for example, had “good shot”, “stealth” and “forester.”  This allowed a +1 to hit with throwing weapons, the ability to hide from shooters who were shooting at longer range than 4″ and the ability to move freely through thick vegetation.  I took the “slow move” disadvantage which makes a character move at 3″ per move instead of the 4″ standard move.

The game works on individual activation as there is no traditional game sequence.  A player moves all of his characters once.  In a solo game, you must move everyone before you can move another character a second time.  In a multiplayer cooperative game, play passes to the next player and so forth.  Like in his previous game series, Song of Blades and Heroes, a player will roll 1, 2 or 3 20 sided dice (D20) to gain actions.  The score is 8+ to get one action.  If a die fails, (7-) an event card is drawn.  Most cards drawn govern how the monsters behave.  Usually it will be something like a horde activates or a loner activates and occasionally a monster frenzy card where all monsters go.  So, like SoBaH, there is a risk and reward to how many dice you roll.  On a side note, for each natural 20 you roll, you may take one extra action or reduce the event cards about to be drawn by 1.

Combat, be it missile or melee, is performed the same way.  The player rolls a D20 and tries to meet or exceed the target monster’s Danger Level.  Danger level is the relative strength of an enemy.  If he succeeds, the monster takes damage.  If he fails in melee, the character takes damage.  Missile fire is just a miss.  Similarly, if the monster attacks, the player rolls a die just like he was attacking.  In melee, if he succeeds, the monster takes damage and if he fails the player character takes damage.  When being attacked by missile fire, the player is rolling to dodge for one of his characters.  A success will avoid damage.

Hordes are a special grouping of low level monsters.  Each of these minions still has a DL rating but for each minion in the group, the DL rating goes up by one.  As monsters are slain, the group strength lessens.  So large hordes (I think the max size is 6) can be quite dangerous.  That is where you will want lots of shooters.  They are not affected by group size.  You target hordes member individually with missile fire.

There are activities between scenarios that players can do like repairing armor, creating spells or potions and so forth.

I managed to get a solo game of Sellswords and Spellslingers in this weekend.  While I did get a couple of minor things wrong, I think I have a pretty good handle on how the game works.  I started play with the first scenario which is quite basic in nature.  The object is to get the party of heroes from one side of the map to the other.  It’s only 3 feet.  How hard can that be?

One green Troll. 4 dead Hobbits.

The scenario called for a 3X3 board covered in about 1/3 brush.  I chose to add some other terrain items including a bridge at the other side which needed to be crossed in order to get to Bree.  I used 4 Hobbits.  You know their names!  I did use the monsters in the scenario.  My hobbits had no melee weapons.  In retrospect, I should have had them as fighting barefisted incurs a -4 penalty.  That will result in a lot of damage to the player character in melee.  They did have a bonus to missile weapons and were always armed since you can always find a rock out doors.  I also used stealth which proved useless since none of the enemies had missile weapons.

My plan was simple.  Move as quickly as I can to the other side.  That meant rolling 3 dice for actions every time.  I rolled an inordinate amount of 7s and lower.  Each failure results in an event card being drawn.  So, that means the monsters would potentially move twice.  Frodo made it up the road pretty fair and discovered a short blade in the hollow of a tree (random event).  Alas, the event deck is not always kind.  While one character did spot something valuable the Troll was wearing, that just enticed my to do something stupid like try to defeat the troll!   I got close, scoring 5 hits, 3 with missile shots and 2 with that fancy new blade Frodo found.  The others tried to fight it as well and were dispatched one by one.  Eventually, it ended in defeat for the Hobbits.  I guess Middle Earth was plunged into darkness after all.

I do like the game.  In some ways it is everything Frostgrave should have been.  It leaves the player with the ability to play any sort of characters they want.  The event deck is a very clever idea.  There are reshuffle cards in the deck so that you never run out of cards in a game.  There are also one-off cards that you remove after the first time you draw them.  I suspect the game will lend itself very well to those that wat to design their own scenarios.  Each scenario has sets of instructions so that the more generic “one-off” cards have some different meanings.

On the downside, there is a relative dearth of concrete magic items.  There are opportunities to find scrolls and potions but not so much magic weapons, armor, staves and the like.  There also is no treasure tables.  The treasures are written into the scenarios.  I am hoping the author will expand on this in future supplements.

As I play more, I shall write more about my impressions.  Until next time, may your adventures end better than mine! 😉

The Journey Begins…Again

October 26, 2017

And now for the exciting conclusion.

To sumarize, we fought a variety of monsters.  The goblins and orcs came in fast and furious on the form of wargs and small bands of goblins.  There was even an Nazgul that we had to dispatch.  Fortunately, Gandalf temporarily enchanted the party members’ weapons.  Unfortunately, the rear guard was overhwelmed as we rolled something like 13 Orcs over the course of the last turn which kept us from moving several of the main characters off board.

The day started well enough with the Fellowship defeating the odd monster including a Nazgul..

We decided it wise to move the hobbits off board with 2 treasures. Boromir and Aragorn held the bridge in case of attack. This proved fatal.

The rear guard on the road included Gandalf, Legolas and Gimli. They couldn’t catch a break and the Orcs overwhelmed them from all sides.

In the end,  Aragorn joined the fight while Boromir eventually moved over the bridge.  Legolas fell.  Then Gandalf as he retreated over the bridge.  Then Gimli.  Finally, it was Boromir who was swarmed by five goblinoids.  In the after match, Gandalf lost some fingers, Legolas was hurt badly enough that he would spend the next adventure on the sidelines but Gimli recovered quickly.  Aragorn, however, died of his wounds.

With that last death, we decided to start again.  We will tone down the goblins to 1-2 and Orcs we will leave at 1 per spawn.  I think we could have made it through that adventure unscathed if we did not walk straight through the treasure area but rather skirted it with our characters.

Frostgrave LotR: The Journey Begins

October 25, 2017

My son and I started a cooperative game tonight.  I think this may just do the trick.  We setup a fairly wooded board with a ruin and a hobbit hole.  There is also a river which, ultimately, needs to be crossed to  end the game.  There are 6 treasure locations which, incidentally, are also spawn points.  As per the solo rules, a monster spawns every turn.  Our wandering monster table is 1-5 Goblin (Thug) 6-10 Orc Warrior (Infantry) 11-15 Warg with Rider (Infantry that moves 10″) 16-19 Nazgul on foot (Wraith) 20 mounted Nazgul (Wraith with a 10″ move).

The 4 hobbits are based  on the thug with only a +1 fight and a +2 shoot.  They are unarmed except they can throw rocks out to 12″.  Gandalf is a Wizard but you knew that, right?  Boromir is a barbarian with a 1 handed weapon and a shield (11 armor instead of 10).  Legolas is a tracker with a +3 shoot since he is supposed to be a crack shot.  Gimli is a templar.  Aragorn is a treasure hunter.  I suggested to my son that Aragorn have a bow but he nixed that idea.  Aragorn behaves like an apprentice without spells.  That is he can activate up to 3 figures within 3″ as well as move himself during the apprentice phase.  I setup the board and my son setup the figures.  I was originally going with everyone starting at the hobbit hole but he setup Aragorn, Gimli, Legolas and Boromir on the opposite side of the board.  They have to meet up and escape over the bridge.

This scenario is something of a test game to see how powerful we need to make the encounters.  We both agreed so far that the encounters have been easy, probably because of the piecemeal attacks.

We’ve played 5-6 turns so far on a 4X4 board.

A general overview of the board. Our first creature was a Warg with rider.

Gandalf uses blinding light to blind the warg and the hobbits make short work of him with rocks.

Aragorn and company hear the fighting in the distance and make haste. They are attacked by a warg with rider. That is the second one encountered.

Bilbo and Sam sneak along the flank to grab a treasure. I warned Jack that this might end badly…

You shall not pass! Two of the hobbits hide in the trees, an in game rules add. We also decided that if a Nazgul is within 10″ of Frodo, the Nazgul will go after him no matter who is the closest character.

So far, 4 wargs with riders and 1 Nazgul have appeared.  The Nazgul is wandering in the hills and that suits us fine.  3  of the Wargs have been killed and another appeared on the last turn of the night.

To be continued….

A Little Show-and-Tell

October 23, 2017

Here are a few photos from my work over the past few months.  They were some quick shots so the photo quality is not so great.

A few Orcs from Dark Alliance set 3. This mix is one of each figure from a single spru.

My first Union Cavalry. I have 18 bases in all. This represents 1 Union Brigade.

Some dismounted Union cavalry.

A Confederate firing line of dismounted cavalry. ACW figures by Good Ground and by Old North State. The latter is out of print.

Friday Grab Bag #7: The Smeagol Edition

October 20, 2017

After finally scoring some suitable models for Nazgul, I still am looking for a Smeagol figure.  I suppose a 15mm something would do.  My son thought a toad looking figure would work.  At that point he’d only seen the Rankin and Bass hobbit and Return of the King.  As well, a goblin figure would work nicely.  Whatever I decide on, the figure should be hobbit sized or perhaps slightly larger, should be relatively unarmed and should have minimal, raggedy clothing.

I need to make some more terrain bits.  Mostly card models of ruins will do, but maybe some dungeon models too.  I have EZ Dungeons and the Halls of the Mountain King from Fat Dragon.  Both work well for LotR but are also can be used for just about any fantasy or even pulp setting.

I’ve found a few old GW Fellowship of the Ring scenarios online.  These will be ideal for Frostgrave or any other low level skirmish game for that matter as they are solid “chase” scenarios.  One thing I am looking for is scenarios that follow the path from the book, The Hobbit.   I think that a Smaug scenario would probably not be terribly interesting.  In the halls, the scenario would play out with literally just 2 figures: a dragon and a hobbit.  Sounds kind of dull.  The spider encounter would probably be pretty fun. Maybe Bilbo has to kill a certain number of spiders before he can free his companions.  My son and I played out the Troll encounter.  A battle report was in a previous post.  I’m not sure what to do about the Elf encounter either.  It involves the Dwarves and Bilbo escaping the Wood Elf stronghold.  I suppose I can change it up a bit and make it a little more high adventure.

I think the end-game will be the Battle of Five Armies.  From the book if you please!  This would be a scenario where the enemy keeps coming until certain events happen and ultimately ends when the Eagles arrive.  I think Dragon Rampant will make an excellent set to play the battle out with.

I’m planning on doing a little show and tell session.  I only need to get some time to actually take some pictures.  I finished up all my ACW cavalry and also have a slew of Orcs that I just finished painting.  Hopefully this weekend.  Until then…

Well, That Didn’t Take Long

September 28, 2017

In just two days, maybe 4 hours of work, the Nazgul are done.  I painted them in shifts, the foot first, the mounted second and the fell beast with rider third.  All were primed black followed by a coat of black paint and a light dry brushing of shadow gray.  Te metal parts are iron silver and the bones are bleached bone.


Nazgul mounted give chase. The front figure is a Witch King figure.

Frankie the Frank is going to have a tough time with this guy.

A scene from Weathertop? Nazgul attack the Hobbits near an old ruin.

It was an excellent find for me really and I am quite pleased with the figures.  $30 or so is not “cheap” but these figures fill a necessary niche for LotR battles.