Sunday, March 29, 2015

Solitaire "Memoir '44" Pegasus Bridge

Here's me playing Memoir '44 by myself and only making half a dozen mistakes.

I'm an author, I write adventure game books.

What would you do? Memoir 44

Here's a quick video asking a question about Memoir 44. What card would you play and which units would you activate?

I'm an author, I write adventure game books.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Basement 3: Son of Basement

Last night's game of Basic Dungeons and Dragons was the third installment of a scenario all about clearing the basement beneath the inn. Things did not go according to my plans.

Between sessions I had teased some events and answered a few in character questions. The PCs started by asking around the gathered populous about the daggers and the ladle they had recovered from the basement. Only the local blacksmith had something to say. He examined the rusty knife, and had nothing to say other than being surprised that a rusty knife was still so sharp. He looked over the dagger with the gold inlay, remarked that it was well made, but was not impressed with gold being inlaid. He is far too practical a man for that sort of nonsense. He knew nothing about the ladle. They asked if he thought they were magical, and he knew nothing but suggested they might visit the wizard across town, but to be careful as he was a cantankerous git.

The mayor of the town stuck his oar in too when the PCs emerged from the dungeon. Trying to play to the crowd saying that the fact that the PCs had come out again without clearing the dungeon proved how dangerous the place was, and that "he" who cared so much for the town should be given the Inn to keep it safe and to keep the people safe. It didn't go down to well. However it was the precursor to another play that would come up later.

The session proper started with the players visiting the wizard. They found him in an empty stable sitting on a trunk. After a wee bit of back a forth, which included him demanding presents, he set himself to looking over their daggers and of course the ladle.  The rusty knife he flicked away contemptuously simply saying "Silver dagger". Which left the PCs wondering how a silver dagger could be rusty. The ladle he again dismissed as a Cleric's or Healer's ladle (and indeed it later proved to restore a hit point when used to serve) but he had more to say about the fancy dagger. It was of Elvish origin made probably hundreds of  years ago. It was a made to kill lycanthropes and wouldn't kills elves. They gave the wizard a few coins and left him "reading" his invisible (or at least they couldn't see) book, with a promise to bring him any books they came across.

Back at the Inn They prepared to descend once more into the dungeon basement, when one of the Mayors thugs came over and demanded he come with them, and that they give him 10gp. They declined but he clearly told them that was not an option. Things started to get a bit fruity, words were thrown, and shoulders were pushed and it ended with a thinly veiled threat that they would regret it as "the boss" didn't like to be disobeyed.

Our heroes entered the basement and stayed quiet in order to hear if the thug was going to do any thing. It turned out he WAS doing something, he was nailing the blummin door shut! They set to the door and eventually smashed thorough and found the thug with hammer in hand and nails between his lips. Bish bash bosh they knocked him out and offered the innkeeper 10gp for the repair of his door and asked him to feed the brute when he woke. Very considerate I thought.

Back into the dark they went and consulting their map they found a door they hadn't previously opened. Listening at it they heard a burning fire. Quietly they opened the door onto a little room with a door opposite that had gaps and knot holes. The thief had a bit of a peek and saw four man sitting around a fire of burning barrel staves. They knocked. The door was opened and the men invited them in and to sit by their fire which they duly did. One of the men went to shut the door and as he turned back to them he and his comrades transformed into rat men and attacked the PCs. In the ensuing fight the magic daggers were put to use along with the fighter's silver headed, if jury rigged, spear. The cleric however turned into a crazed flame thrower and he sent bottle after bottle of flaming oil at the beasties. The thief also did that most dastardly of things the backstab!

With the monsters dead and the PCs not too well off, they started an exacting and detailed search of the room by firelight. After tripping over it, they discovered an invisible chest filled with coins. A merry and delightful happenstance that lead the PCs to considering the purchase of the Inn above them. Thus they promptly left my Dungeon Masterly rails and headed into the wild blue yonder (eek!).

Back at the Inn, they found the thug and the mayor were gone and tried to purchase the Inn by offering a thousand coins or so, and even offered the Innkeeper the chance to carry on running the place. He asked why if he had all that money he would continue to work as an innkeeper, to which no satisfactory answer could be given.

He was up for the idea but wanted to check that this horde of coin was not fools gold. They suggested he take a random coin or two and check, there was an assay in the town. The Innkeeper was suspicious and didn't want to wander over there with a couple of coins, as the remainder might be swapped in his absence. The PCs didn't want to let him go with the money either.

In the end one of the pot-boys was sent to bring the assay to the Inn. They waited, and waited and waited. Neither the boy nor the assay appeared. With another Inn-boy as guide they went out to the assay's abode and found the front door open, the fire burning down, but no assay and no boy.

As morning came they visited the missing boy's mother suspecting that the little tearaway had simply gone home. She was horrified and ran out to the assay's looking for her lad, then to the Inn but he was not to be found.

With people going missing our heroes decided it was time to visit the Mayor and see what he would do about this matter. The Mayor's house sat within its own hedged grounds and as they passed the hedge they were confronted by two of his guards. "You shall not pass" was their message but the heroes really wanted to pass and so it came to blows. Swords were draw and subduing damage done. In fact one of the guards was subdued to the floor in a bloody pulp. The other broke, and ran for the house. The Cleric whipped out is sling and promptly dropped the runner with a single shot.

They stepped over the runners body and knocked on the front door of the mayors house.A little rat of a man answered and they pushed their way in knocking him to the floor.

The mayor appeared in his dressing gown, was horrified to find armed men entering his house with violence. They asked him what he knew about the disappearances but he claimed not to know and to care less. "Peasants disappear all the time, how should I know what happens to them?"

He promptly shut and barricaded the door leaving our heroes in the hallway. They checked the rest of the house finding plenty of pies which they tried. Then they sent the little man with an armful of pies off to the Inn (and thereby setting the Mayors serf free).

With the door barricaded they went round the outside of the house looking for a window and they soon found the Mayors bedroom. With no Mayor to be found they suspected he'd done a runner via the open window. The thief jumped to the thatch for a looksee and spotted the brave Mayor running like a mad man beyond the hedge. They set out after him. The fighter was the only one able to keep up and out enduranced(CON) the Mayor. They manacled him and dragged him back to the Inn for some kind of trial.

There ended the session. What will happen next time? I haven't a clue, this train aint got no rails.

Edit: Our thief has reached second level!
I'm an author, I write adventure game books.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Actual Play of Lovecraftian Shorts

"The Redacted Files" podcast published an actual-play recording of themselves playing my game, Lovecraftian Shorts . I'm pretty pumped to hear strangers having such a good time with my game.

They nailed it.

Go to The Redacted Files

I'm an author, I write adventure game books.

Friday, March 20, 2015

I killed the Alien!

Today was truely my day of days! I played "Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building" game
and I won. Every other play of it up to this point had ended in bloody disaster, twice with the Nostromo blowing up killing everyone. But not today!

I was playing solitaire with four characters. Having tried previously with just two I can now say that four is better. Both times when I've played with four I've had much more control over the game.

I played slightly differently to previously, and let's face it that's how you beat these games. Is this a constantly winning strategy, who knows, but anecdotally it worked during this play.

In my previous plays I paid a lot of attention to trying to give each character matching symbols to unlock the extra abilities. During this game I didn't do this. Instead I tried to simply duplicate cards in a characters hand to do the same thing, and this worked at least three times.

The second difference was not filling my hand with new cards just because I had money to spend. Instead I wasted some money rather than grab 1-attack cards. This actually led to the row of available cards filling with what I considered "junk". This happened twice, but did lead me to get a couple of duplicate-card purchases which helped later.

The final tactic, was minor but made a huge difference. As I drew a new hand of cards I always sorted the "coordinate" cards and placed these face up. This made sure they were always front and center. These were critical to the win. I constantly used other avatar's cards to purchase or attack, there was no thought of reserving a "coordinate" card. If I could use it I did, except on one occasion where I had to leave one attack card to deal with a face-hugger. By always using these cards I increased each individuals purchasing power enabling me to get the better cards sooner.

It so happened that I never deliberately scanned a room, only doing this when I had spare attack value that I couldn't use to actually attack. I always scanned the most expensive room that the cards allowed.

So I have completed the first film. Next time I play it'll be the "Aliens" movie, and I'm looking forward to getting a close look at the cards for that film.

... and I've just heard that a Predator version is coming, I'd better hurry up and get through the next three films!

I'm an author, I write adventure game books.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Back to the Basement - Basic D&D session report

Last night was a return for the players to the basement beneath the Filter Inn. Their first port of call down there was to the undead zombie creature that they'd left trapped in a barrel last time. They came armed with flasks of oil. The young cleric however wanted give turning it another try. He powered up his holy symbol..PHUT. Nothing, again. So the barrel was dowsed in three, yes three, bottles of oil and lit on fire. Then just to be sure, the burnt remains were dismembered and scattered about the dungeon.

Then is was back to exploring. The first door opened found the Kobolds from last session in a new room hard at work. The floor of the room had been excavated (10 feet of course) except for a pillar in the center, on which stood a golden statue. the kobolds were trying to construct a bridge of planks and rope to reach the statue, but the PCs thought that they themselves should be the owners of said piece of artwork. After some deft rope work and an artful piece of rope-bridge-climbing by the team's Thief they soon recovered the heavy statue and somewhat miffed the kobolds. However! The fighter had brought pie. So he delivered pie unto the kobolds and thereby placated them.

Back to the basement entrance to deposit the statue and then on to explore further. The next door opened to reveal two angry giant fire beetles. These were quickly dispatched and their juices swept into the empty oil flasks for use later.

The next door revealed two more beetles hanging on the ceiling (wandering monster beetles in fact) and these were quickly dispatched.

Into the next room which turned out to be rather empty. A bundle of sticks, perhaps firewood, was in the middle of the floor, but buried in amongst it a well kept ladle. Odd. Perhaps lost/left by the previous heroes who tried to clear this basement.

The next encounter with was a small group of Kobolds bedding down (very sleepy wandering monsters these), the PCs backed slowly out of the room leaving them to their Zs. It seems the PCs wish to find a less violent way of dealing with Kobolds.

Two more corridors led them to another pair of Fire Beetles which were guarding a hole in the floor. They were quickly dispatched and a rusty dagger was found in the rubbish scattered around the room.

When they reached a room where a partial collapse had brought down some of the ceiling they were obviously wary of a collapsing roof trap, but braved the room anyway. A banging against one of the room's doors caught their attention. When they opened the door, a veritable force of nature burst in knocking a couple of PC's to the ground. It was a large wooden trunk running along on hundreds of dear little legs. It ignored the PCs, shot across the room through the opposite open door and disappeared beyond sight. (Farewell Terry).

With the new door open they nipped through it and along the corridor beyond opening a door into what can only be described as a chapel. Bench seating was in disarray  and a large symbol was carved into the end wall. Investigation of the symbol gave the poor Cleric a bad headache (-1 for 20 mins), as it's pure evil could be felt. He set to it with hammer and destroyed this evil manifestation.

After peeking into a frog infested well the final encounter of the night was with a group of Gnomes. Some discussion with the grumpy Gnomes led the PCs to understand that they were not welcome in what the Gnomes considered their home. The PCs backed out of the room and promptly pittoned the door shut.

The PCs left for the night, returning to the upper world and the Inn. They still have a challenge before them. They were tasked with clearing the basement, but now have two groups of Kobolds and a bunch of Gnomes that aren't quite monsters, yet still need to be dealt with, it is after all harder to kill a Kobold you've shared a pie with!

I'm an author, I write adventure game books.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

D&D - clearing the basement

Last night I DM'ed my first game of actual basic D&D in quite a few years. It was a good mixed
party of first level characters, Fighter, Cleric, Thief, Elf , and surprise of surprises there were no characters deaths. Unthinkable for 1st level adventuring!

In the town of Sift is the Filter Inn, which has an annual event of sorts where young adventurers put themselves forwards for a 100gp bounty. All they have to do is clear the Inn's extensive basement of the "things" that have moved in. There is great honour to be had in achieving this goal, as well as the money, hence our brave PCs volunteered (read that as rail-roaded by the DM).

The Inn-keeper lead them to the basement, cleared the barrels out of the way told them the secret knock (the only way he'd open the door to someone on the other side) and shoved them down the steps.

They lit a torch and examined the first room. There was the body of a man there with shield and sword and even a few gold coins which they promptly liberated. Then commenced a series of door listening rolls that carried on all evening.  With the fighter and cleric leading the way they started  the clearing operation.

After moving through a bunch of empty rooms the only things they'd found was a small chest containing a vial of unidentified liquid and a barrel filled with salted fish. Somewhat disappointing for them, but things were soon to get interesting. The next door revealed another body. When they approached, the obviously dead individual rose to its feet and tried to strangle them. The cleric boldly stood forth and proceeded to not turn the creature. They laid into the corpse with swords, maces, arrows, sling stones and daggers. They managed to knock it to the ground a couple of times but it just wouldn't die. The cleric took a serious hit and risked drinking the vial they'd found earlier which fortunately turned out to be a healing potion.

When they came to the conclusion that the monster just was not going to die the elf came up with plan 2b. Rushing back to the salt fish barrel, he emptied it and dragged it back to the fight. The fighter slammed the beastie to the ground and they stuffed the thrashing dead man head first into the barrel and sat on top, pinning it in place. The only problem being, someone needed to stay on top of the barrel!

Looking around they found the monster had been laying of a sack of copper coins, one thousand of them. So they hoofed that on top of the barrel to hold it in place. reluctantly they left the money to hold the undead thing and moved on.

Their next encounter was a pit-turned-pool that housed two giant frogs. The first arrow fired caused the frogs to leap to the attack, but it was a fly-less effort (that's frog speak for fruitless) as they were soon clobbered into a greasy paste,

The very next door was a wandering monster. HUZZAR! They found themselves facing a man who blinked at their torch light and begged them to lead him out of the dungeon. They offered to take him out but became suspicious when he insisted on wanting to be at the back of the party. Then when they questioned him, he became agitated, then angry and then violent. The man transformed into a man-rat and attacked. He ended up not being too much of a threat and he was soon downed. When dead he transformed into a simple big rat.

Suspicious of the dead end corridor they found themselves in, the elf did his elfy-searchy-thingy and revealed a hidden door. Listening at it told them there were many strange voices beyond. Carefully they opened the door and surprised a horde of kobolds setting up camp. The kobolds tightened their grip on their weapons but did not attack. There was no way to talk with them so the party made conciliatory noises and even offered them hunks of rat and frog meat. That settled it, although not friends they were at least not enemies. The PCs ducked back out of the room and heard the kobolds hammering the door shut.

They examined their map looking for another way round and headed for the next unopened door. What they found was a tiny room with another door and when they listened at that, they again heard kobold voices. When they carefully opened they door they discovered the same kobolds, so backed out of the room. Once again the kobolds started hammering and sealing that door.

Back to the map, back through a few rooms to the next door. Kobold voices again. Peek. yep, it's them again. Irate kobold remonstrations about the disturbance as the PCs backed out. Hammering sounds as the kobolds sealed yet another door.

Onto the next door. It revealed a large room with a raised stone platform at the far end with a coffin on it. Between the PCs and the coffin, eight armed and animate skeletons which turned to attack. Realising the enemy could outflank them the PCs pulled back to the doorway as the elf cast his magical shield spell. The cleric warmed up his magical symbol to turn the skeletons but alas he must have left the key at home as it failed again. The skeletons attacked. Swords proved rather poor for this work but the fighter made up for that by managing to clobber all of the weak enemies. The cleric did his macely duty and the elf and thief sent a hail of missile fire into the foes.

In next to no time the skeletons were dust, and they investigated the coffin. Fearing Dracular himself they opened the box and discovered it empty. When they moved the coffin however they found a recess below and inside that, 600gp and a gold-inlaid dagger.

Here ended the session. The basement was by no means clear of monsters. The kobolds were contained (by themselves), the undead thing was barrelled, the skeletons, frogs and rat-man disposed of. They decided to retire for the night back upstairs and lick their wounds.

Next time, the adventure continues...

I'm an author, I write adventure game books.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Wipers Salient

After what seems like forever I've finally released my card game ... WIPERS SALIENT.

During WWI, Ypres was the centre of intense and sustained battles between German and Allied forces. In the game of Wipers Salient you play the part of the Allies trying to hold back the massive forces of Germany during a series of incessant attacks.

Wipers Salient is a solitaire deck building game using a deck of 52 specialised cards. You have to gather your resources to maintain your Health and Morale, whilst attacking the enemy to avoid being overwhelmed.

Included in the zipped up package:
The rules in PDF format.
The cards in a printable PDF.
All of the individual card images in a high resolution, so that you can print them using a card printing service (but please refer to the readme.txt file before doing so for licensing information).

You can purchase Wipers Salient from WargameVault

I'm an author, I write adventure game books.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Dungeon Mapping for players

I've created a video to help players map a dungeon in a way that doesn't lead to arguments and mistakes!

I'm an author, I write adventure game books.