Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dissatisfied With Previous Eldar List... Revamping

Okay, so I was running the list you'll find not too far down the page on this post. I haven't been satisfied at all, so I'm revamping. These are the changes I'll be making soon (along with my reasoning). Feel free to point out any flaws in my logic and/or leave me advice.

HQ Revisions:
  • I'm dropping spirit stones and doom from the farseer in the seer council. There just isn't that much synergy between doom and witchblades. They always wound on a 2+... why do I need to reroll? Alternately, I could doom a unit that I'm not intending to assault with the council, but I'm not usually close enough to two must-kill units. Doom's real use in this squad should come in when I'm playing against high toughness opponents (like orks) and I need to reroll wounds with the destructor templates... but against Tau (which is what I face 90% of the time) it just isn't necessary.
  • I'm also dropping the farseer that usually joins the dire avengers. That particular wave serpent attracts a ton of fire, and dropping the farseer will remedy that situation in one of two ways: either it will attract less attention and actually be useful (because foot-slogging avengers never seem to survive) or it will continue to get shot down every game and I'll just lose less when it happens. Either way, it's better than what I'm experiencing now.
Troops Revisions:
  • Guardian defenders suck... not only because of their general uselessness but because I keep forgetting about them during my shooting phase. Yes, this is player error at its finest, but I've got to figure out a way to make every unit useful. Since my brother has such a fear of template weapons, I'm going to trade these in for storm guardians with a couple of flamers. It also means I have an excuse to buy another wave serpent... and a chance to show off the guardian conversions I've got in mind (pics will come soon).
Heavy Support Revisions:
  • Goodbye, holo-fields. I've been running them just as a point filler, but now I'll need those points to improve my wave serpents.
Dedicated Transport Revisions:
  • Shuriken cannons are great, but I'll be upgrading to scatter lasers next time. While the extra shot is nice, the real kicker is the extra 12" of range, which has bothered me recently because I've seen more immobilized results than usual. As I mentioned earlier, I'm also grabbing a third serpent for the storm guardians.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Eldar vs. Tau 1500

Once again, the Eldar and Tau forces clashed. This match-up was getting pretty stale around here until this game.  My brother and I only have one army apiece, so battles are always Eldar vs. Tau. However, new lists, a higher point total, and a nonstandard mission (courtesy of DLT's Alternate 40K Missions) breathed new life into the battle.

Objective: Gain Ground (p5; basically, each table quarter is an objective)
Deployment: Corridor of Fire (p9; basically, you can deploy on either the right or left side of the board, all the way up to midway as long as you aren't within 18" of an enemy model)

The Eldar:
HQ
Farseer (Jetbike, Doom, Fortune, Spirit Stones) 165
6x Warlocks (Jetbikes, 1x Embolden, 3x Destructor) 305
Farseer (Fortune) 85 [with avengers in wave serpent]


Troops
10x Dire Avengers 120 [in wave serpent]

5x Dire Avengers 60 [in falcon]
10x Guardians (Scatter Laser) 95

Elites
5x Fire Dragons 80 [in wave serpent]

Heavy Support
Falcon (shuriken cannon) 120
Fire Prism 125 (shuriken cannon)
Fire Prism 125 (shuriken cannon)

Dedicated Transport
Wave Serpent (Shuriken Cannons, Spirit Stones) 110

Wave Serpent (Shuriken Cannons, Spirit Stones) 110

Total: 1500



The Tau
HQ



Crisis Battlesuit Commander

Troops
6 Fire Warriors

6 Fire Warriors

Elites
3 Crisis Suits

3 Crisis Suits
3 Crisis Suits


Fast Attack
5 Vespids


Heavy Support
3 Broadsides

Hammerhead
Hammerhead

Total: 1500ish



(I really need to get a real list of his army on the blog... it isn't like we keep anything a secret... I just don't know the Tau codex well enough to name all of his upgrades.)


Turn One:

  • The squad of broadsides immobilizes my dire avenger-carrying wave serpent, which effectively wrecks it because nothing ever gets in range of my shuriken cannons for the remainder of the game.
  • One hammerhead manages to stun my falcon. The other hammerhead misses.
  • Things look dire for the Eldar... one transport that won't be transporting anything and one tank that can't shoot or move... not a good sign.
Turn Two:


  • A unit of crisis suits and the vespids come in via deep strike. Both arrive out in the open, which I initially think is a mistake until I realize that I really don't have anything that can hit them there except for the fire prisms. 
  • The falcon explodes from broadside bombardment, and between the explosion and subsequent fire I lose all but one dire avenger, who breaks and runs for my table edge. He does manage to shoot and kill a pair of vespids on his way off of the board though.
  • The wave serpent that can still move (the one carrying fire dragons) gets hit by a hammerhead but is only shaken, so it moves to drop fire dragons to blow up said hammerhead. Unfortunately, the hammerhead in question explodes and kills a fire dragon in return.
  • The seer council wipes out the unit of crisis suits it assaulted the previous turn.
Turn Three:

  • The other set of crisis suits deepstrikes onto the board. This group throws flamers at the guardians inside the caves, which kills all but two, and they immediately run off of the table.
  • The Tau commander almost annihilates the remaining fire dragons but leaves one brave soul still standing.
  • The broadsides destroy the remaining wave serpent, so the remaining fire dragon has no hope of scooting across the board and popping the other hammerhead.
  • Lots of guys shoot at the seer council, but fortune saves the day and no models are removed (the farseer suffered two wounds).
  • The seer council burns away a unit of fire warriors and moves to avoid getting assaulted by the opposing HQ.
  • The fire dragon attacks the Tau commander but fails to slow him down.
  • Fire prisms combine beams to deal some damage to the crisis suits in mid-field.
Turn Four:

The Tau commander moves, runs, and assaults the seer council. He does no damage but prevents them from decimating the last group of fire warriors on the board.
Broadsides destroy one of the fire prisms. The other prism manages to put a few wounds on a squad of crisis suits.


Turns Five Through Seven:



These are pretty uneventful. At this point, we realize that the Eldar cannot win. The best they can hope for is a tactical draw, and even this depends on the HQ vs HQ assault ending so that the council can turbo boost and contest the table quarter claimed by the fire warriors. Due to the clash of tough-to-kill units, the game ends with the two HQs still locked in close combat and the small group of fire warriors easily claiming their objective.


Results:
Tau: One objective controlled
Eldar: No objectives controlled


And thus, my not-losing streak with the Eldar has come to an end. I've found myself stuck in tactical draws, but until this battle I had not actually lost.


In the end, I found myself wishing I didn't change my list around at the last minute. Up until about 30 minutes prior to the game, I wasn't running the second farseer and had brightlances on the wave serpents as well as enhance on one of the warlocks. The enhance I could have done without, but the extra 12" of range on the immobilized wave serpent would have been much more useful than a farseer that did almost nothing the entire game. Perhaps I could have popped his HQ with a strength 8 instant kill...


All in all, I did enjoy the game. The new mission and deployment options were fun and a great break from the norm. I just hope I can get the Eldar back onto that not-losing streak that I was on previously.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Getting Back to Rifts (Soon, I Hope)


After several months of playing nothing but Warhammer 40K, I'm looking forward to beginning our Rifts game through Google Wave, but the setup is slow going. The last time I started a Rifts campaign, I used pregenerated characters so we just picked them up and played. This time, just getting the ball rolling has been a challenge in and of itself.

First of all, everyone is creating characters from scratch, and one of the quirks of the Palladium RPG system is really shining through: very involved and very time consuming (for new players, at least) character generation. The detail is nice in actual play, but seems tedious when you're setting up. Second, Google Wave is still in beta for a reason. One of my players has had difficulties getting it to work correctly, and it seemed to take forever just to get the invites to go through. Once we get all of the characters rolled up and sort out the software issues, we'll actually get to play a bit!

In the meantime, I'm reading more and more of MercTown... which I'm beginning to believe will be a commonly recurring location in my future Rifts campaigns. I love this book... so much that I might try to get my hands on a copy of Merc Ops as well. With literally hundreds of locations, MercTown is the best fantasy (well, sci-fi) setting book I think I've ever had the pleasure of reading. The best part, though, is that it doesn't go overboard on the detail. There's a sweet spot somewhere between leaving the GM with so much empty space that the PCs test his improvisational skills on a regular basis and providing so much detail that the GM is overwhelmed with setting info. The location descriptions in MercTown have just enough detail to fuel a plot hook but not so much that a creative GM can't spin the story into something interesting... just the way I like it.

Here's hoping I get to write about the beginning of our Rifts campaign soon...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Alternate Missions for 40K

I followed a link from The Back 40k a few moments ago and found a gold mine. Apparently, Dice Like Thunder has an excellent collection of alternate missions for Warhammer 40K. You can find it by clicking on the image below:




Like Sandwyrm (of The Back 40K), I haven't played any of these either. Come to think of it, I haven't played at all in several weeks... I need to remedy that soon. Reading the document, however, has left me highly impressed. These are just as simple as the standard missions in the 5th edition rulebook (except for Objective Two: Recovery, but it might be a lot simpler in practice than it seems on paper). However, there are twice as many mission objectives, twice as many deployment options, and a bunch of army-specific missions in the back.

The new options are great, but the part about this pdf that intrigues me the most is its subtle tweak to the kill points rule. Not only do you get KPs for killing your opponent's units... this tweak gives you KPs for protecting your own units as well. I'm not completely sure I like it, in part because I'm already dreaming of ways to exploit it, but it might be a viable option for people who aren't satisfied with the current system.

As I said before, I'm impressed. I would encourage anyone who plays 40K to check it out. I'm looking forward to giving it a spin.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Gaming Fail

I couldn't help but notice this post on failblog.org (which is well worth visiting, by the way). The rule on the sign is an understood house rule where my group gathers (in my house). Notice that the sign is posted right next to a Shards of Alara poster... Magic: The Gathering players, we're looking at you. :-)

epic fail pictures
see more Epic Fails

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Who the Flock has Time for This?

Ever since I started playing wargames, I've always shied away from any sort of flocking. My first real purchase was a ton of used Eldar stuff on eBay, and that box was full of green grit that got everywhere. After that bad experience, I swore that I would never waste my time with fake grass on miniatures... and I still probably won't.

However, what I have started working on is flocking my Citadel Realm of Battle Gameboard... and it is insanely time consuming. I finally got around to painting and drybrushing the rest of the rocks, but the majority of the board still looked like crap, so I broke down and gave flocking a try. I started with the top of the hill and it took me the better part of a day to finish. Granted, much of that time was actually spent doing other things while glue dried... it still seemed like it took forever. And I only have the top of the hill finished. That's only about a fifth (maybe less) of the total space on the board.

The rest will probably have to wait until January when I have more time... that is a huge amount of space to be flocking. Until then, I could use some help trying to figure out the best way to make the grass around the patches of skulls look dead. I'm currently using burnt grass by Woodland Scenics for the regular grass... should I use yellow flock? or a mix of yellow and brown? or something else?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

200 Posts and Counting... Over a Year of Blogging

Well, I've been at it for over a year now and just broke the two hundred post mark. In the past year (and part of 2008), this humble little blog has evolved from a way to burn time while bored... to a way to gather and record my experiences as a gamer and hobbyist... to a fairly time consuming (but enjoyable) hobby in and of itself. To say the least, I've enjoyed the experience and plan to continue as long as the mental exercise amuses me and my readers stay entertained.

I want to take the time to thank my readers, whether you've found me through the Bell of Lost Souls Alliance, the From the Warp Bloggers Group, the RPG Bloggers Network, or just by chance through a random link or search. I've genuinely appreciated the feedback, advice, and encouragement you've all freely given.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Rifts Class Descriptions

We'll be starting an online Rifts campaign soon (using Google Wave!), but some of my players aren't all that familiar with the system. This post is to help my players choose what types of characters they'll want to play.


Men-at-Arms

  • Crazy - augmented warriors who trade their sanity for superhuman strength, speed, reflexes, endurance, etc. 
  • Cyber-Knight - perhaps the only men and women left on Earth who truly uphold the ideals of chivalry, these cybernetic (and sometimes psionic) warriors fight for purity and righteousness
  • Headhunter - warriors who use bionics to gain an edge in combat
  • Juicer - warriors who use various chemicals to enhance their physical abilities; they live fast and die young (either in combat or because no one can withstand such high doses of drugs forever)
  • Merc Soldier - mercenaries who rely on battlefield experience and their natural abilities

Scholars and Adventurers

  • Body Fixer - the doctors of Rifts Earth
  • City Rat - rogues from the big city
  • Cyber-Doc - doctors and scientists who specialize in cybernetics/bionics
  • Operator - mechanical geniuses and repairmen
  • Rogue Scholar - educated wanderers who often teach anti-Coalition ideas
  • Rogue Scientist - similar to rogue scholars, but with more emphasis on technical knowledge... to use an example from modern schools, rogue scholars are probably English or history teachers while rogue scientists are science or math teachers
  • Vagabond - the ordinary guy (or gal) who got caught up in the adventuring life without any specialized training
  • Wilderness Scout - as their name implies, these adventurers specialize in surviving and thriving outside of civilization

Practitioners of Magic

  • Elemental Fusionist - instinctive wielders of magic from opposing elements, such as fire/water or air/earth
  • Ley Line Walker - wizards so in tune with magic that they can see and sense magical energy in all its forms
  • Ley Line Rifter - a line walker who specializes in dimensional and rift magic
  • Mystic - wizards who can naturally use both magic and psionics
  • Shifter - wizards who specialize in rifts and summoning magic
  • Techno-Wizard - wizards who specialize in blending magic with technology
  • Warlock - wizards who draw their powers from elemental supernatural beings (Rifts Conversion Book)

Psychics

  • Burster - psychics who can control fire with their minds
  • Dog Boy - mutant dogs with heightened psychic senses
  • Mind-Melter - powerful psychics with access to all types of powers
  • Psi-Stalker - human mutants with abilities that help them fight the supernatural
Omitted OCCs/RCCs: Combat Cyborg, Glitter Boy, Robot Pilot, Dragon Hatchling

As we get further into the campaign preparation, more options will likely be added. As of right now, I want to remain as generic as possible.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Horde Has Arrived!

I just got my ork horde in the mail today. Unfortunately, I won't have much time at all over the next few days to even assemble them. I'm excited, though.



The main problem is that I keep getting models faster than I can paint them, even at my version of tabletop standard... which isn't a very high standard, to say the least. Oh well... since this one's just for craps and giggles (and variety), I'll probably prime them and then ignore them until I at least finish working on my Realm of Battle Gameboard.

I did start working on the warboss and the weirdboy already, but I doubt I'll finish them until the gameboard looks decent. I'll post work-in-progress pics of the HQs whenever I get the time to take them.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Myrna, Horizon Walker


In all honesty, I haven't messed with my Spectrum Shock campaign in months. However, while digging through some old folders on the laptop this week, I stumbled upon a few NPC spotlights that were almost finished, so I finished them up. All of these were exercises in mixing and matching different D20 resources to come up with interesting characters for a post-apocalyptic campaign. This particular NPC, Myrna, uses material from D20 Modern, D&D 3.5, and a supplement from RPGObjects called Supers20.

At times one of Aron Illarion's travelling companions, Myrna is on the run from the DC military for entirely different reasons. She worked for DC emergency services for years before discovering that she had superhuman abilities. While on a seek and rescue mission, she found herself unable to reach her target... but after visualizing herself by his side, she found herself actually by his side without moving an inch... she had teleported! She immediately assumed that she had awakened some sort of latent psionic ability within herself, but testing proved her theory false. In fact, testing couldn't pinpoint the origin of her ability at all. Unable to define the source of the power, DC scientists began making subtle accusations that she might have been tainted by the supernatural. Myrna knew the eventual results of that line of thinking, so she gathered what she could carry and left as quietly as possible. Of course, the DC officials interpreted her fleeing as an admission of guilt, and added her to their list of wanted criminals.

Myrna now drifts around the wilderness, searching for someone knowledgeable enough to explain how she ended up with her special talent. In the meantime, she is immensely enjoying both the opportunity to see the world and the ability to pop up wherever she pleases. Still, a nagging feeling of uncertainty plagues her thoughts... what if the scientists were right? What if she has been corrupted somehow?

Myrna (Dedicated Hero 3 / Explorer 3 / Horizon Walker 2): CR 8; Medium humanoid (human); HD 3d6+6 plus 3d8+6 plus 2d8+4; hp 51; Mas 14; Init +2; Spd 6; Defense 16 (+4 class, +2 Dex, +0 natural armor), touch 16, flat-footed 14; BAB +6; Grap +6; Atk +6 melee (1d4, dagger) or +8 ranged (2d8, laser pistol); Full Atk +6/+1 melee (1d4, dagger) or +8/+3 ranged (2d8, laser pistol); SQ none; AL CG; Fort +9, Ref +5, Will +6; AP 4; Str 10, Dex 15, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 12
Occupation: Emergency Services (Search, Treat Injury)
Skills: Hide +8, Knowledge (earth/life sciences) +9, Knowledge (history) +9, Listen +11, Search +9, Spot +7, Survival +13, Treat Injury +15
Feats: Archaic Weapon Proficiency, Endurance, Guide, Personal Firearms Proficiency, Power Level x2, Simple Weapon Proficiency, Teleport (20' move action), Track
Talents (Dedicated Hero): Skill Emphasis (Treat Injury), Aware (+6 on listen/spot checks to avoid surprise)
Class Features (Explorer): Explorer Lore +5, Resolve (+1 vs fear/intimidate), Skilled Searcher (+1 to find secret doors/traps)
Class Features (Horizon Walker): Terrain Mastery (Forest, Hills)
Possessions (Wealth +4): In addition to her combat gear, Myrna carries a full backpack with her that is full of knickknacks and random items that she thinks she might need. Although she struggles to carry it long distances in the conventional fashion, she generally doesn't travel very far conventionally. She has far too much fun traveling by "hopping" short distances with her teleport ability.

Books Used: D20 Modern Core Rulebook, D20 Future, Dungeon Masters Guide v3.5, Supers20

Monday, November 30, 2009

Krazy Fun Ork Army

Okay, so I want to start an ork horde on the side (Eldar will still be my focus most of the time). I'm not really trying to be competitive with this one. I just want some variety for games at home. Playing Eldar vs. Tau every single week does get old after a while, even when we tweak lists between games each time. I'll start with a core of AoBR troops... 80 boyz, 20 nobz, 9 deffkoptas, and a warboss. I'll hit something like 1200 points with those.

Lots of boyz is always good. Nobz are cool, although I'm tempted to grab a set of "real" nobz so I can have some upgraded ones sprinkled in. Deffkoptas will give me mobility, as well as the Eldaresque tactic of turbo-boosting on turn five to contest objectives.

What I'm looking for to fill in the other 300 or so points are some fun units. The first will be a weirdboy. The random powers sound interesting. If I like them enough, I might even run two weirdboyz eventually. The best part about the weirdboy is that his model includes three goblins. They don't actually do anything, but for some reason I really like the goblins... errr... gretchin... err... grots... whatever you call them. I want to field as many of them as I can. I want them hanging off of every vehicle. I want them following around every squad that can take one as an upgrade.

Come to think of it, I kind of want gretchin as my troops rather than boyz. But AoBR boyz are sooo cheap and I've got a bunch already. I guess now comes the interesting process of trying to figure out how to include as many grots as possible without actually running gretchin as troops...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Tanksgiving

Thank you, Thanksgiving break! I've finally had some time to relax and paint a little. I spent much of the afternoon yesterday working on my Eldar tanks, and I thought I'd share my progress. These aren't complete yet. The most noticeable areas that need attention are the weapons, but these are at least decent enough to field without looking funny alongside one another. Up until yesterday, my five tanks were in various stages, from plain base coat to the current standard. At least now they're all at a relatively equal level of progress.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Quick 'n Easy Ork Skin

I've been toying with the idea of turning the orks I got with the Black Reach set into a real army, but before I spend any money on the idea, I want to make sure I'll be able to paint my horde decently. My first attempts were pretty amateurish. After some experimenting with colors, I finally settled on this process for the skin:

  1. Base black
  2. Solid coat of Iyanden Darksun
  3. Quick highlight of Sunburst Yellow
  4. Two washes of Thraka Green

After these steps, I ended up with this result, which I'm happy with:


It is extremely quick and doesn't require much attention to detail. Also, the green wash over yellow paint makes the recesses stand out quite well.

Now, the only question is... when will I have the time and money to start building my ork horde?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Eldar vs. Tau 1250

Eric just got most of his crisis suits in last week, so we were eager to play a game with his new army. He was able to add two more broadsides, four crisis suits, and another hammerhead to his list. I just dropped some upgrades and ran an extra wave serpent.

Unfortunately, the game was a pretty clean sweep. The mission was annihilation and the deployment was dawn of war. I didn't realize how badly dawn of war might be for tau until I realized how quickly my seer council could get to him when I could deploy it in mid-field. I started everything at the center of my table edge except for the seer council, which I deployed on the far right and as close to his table edge as possible. I used the first turn to turbo boost my council and wave serpents as close to his forces as I could. As usual, forcing Tau into assaults went quite well for the Eldar.



My deployment... note the partially painted Realm of Battle board. One of these days I'll get around to finishing it.






On his first turn, Eric managed to miss my wave serpent with all three broadsides. "Good thing they're twin-linked!" Well, maybe not... check out his re-rolls:



The seer council swings around the edge of the table to hit from the right flank.




I managed to take out both hammerheads on turn two and tie up the broadsides in close combat by turn three. At that point, Eric conceded. He realized that I still had five tanks on the board and I had taken out all of his anti-tank squads except for a few S6 or S7 guns on a some of the crisis suits. When all three broadsides missed my wave serpents on the first turn and then only managed a shaken result on the second turn, things went south quickly for him.

The next time we play, he'll be running a squad of vespids and two more crisis suits (all nine next time). I, on the other hand, will just be adding upgrades to catch up. I've got a feeling my luck will change soon.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hit Point Hobbies... Apparently, Still Running After All

I went to Southern Pines this weekend and was dismayed to find that the hobby shop I used to frequent was no longer there. It is always a shame to see great hobby shops go out of business, and I feared that the slowing economy had forced John to close up shop. After a quick Google search, I breathed a sigh of relief. Apparently, they're still around... they just moved.

The next time I make it to Southern Pines, I'll be sure to stop by. I was never really a regular, and it has been three years now, so I doubt anyone will even remember me. Back then, I was a fiercely competitive Magic: The Gathering player, I managed to get in one or two games of D&D per year, and I was still scoffing at Warhammer because it was too expensive to get into. Nowadays, my gaming interests have made a huge shift: Warhammer 40K at least once a week, D&D as often as weekly but usually more like monthly, and I can probably count on one hand how many games of Magic I've played in the last six months. Even if I started going regularly (which I wouldn't, because now it's three hours away), I'd probably be running with a completely different crowd. But alas, I do have some good memories there.

Hit Point Hobbies does have a much better website now, with lots of pics and an online store. I would encourage anyone in or around Southern Pines to check them out. There are always good folks running all kinds of games there: RPGs, CCGs, wargames, and probably other stuff that even I don't play... take your pick.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

More Eldar List Changes - Shuriken Cannon Spam

Well, my seer council has performed much better since I changed its configuration. It has only had the opportunity to assault twice in the last two games, but this has had much more to do with the deadliness of multiple destructor templates than a failure to get within range. Apparently, fire warriors in cover have a tough time dealing with AP 4 templates.

Although I won the last two, I'm still finding that the fire prisms are just... somehow... not performing as well as I expected. Going back for more of Revuk's advice, I'm switching the twin-linked shuriken catapults for a single shuriken cannon. I took note each time during the last game that I could have fired a 24" range gun, and it was often enough to make the 10 point upgrade well worth it. Having recently purchased another wave serpent, which conveniently has the shuriken cannon upgrade sprue, I'll make the switch as soon as the serpent arrives. I'm hoping that the extra range will allow me to rely less on the prism cannons and they'll no longer be one-shot-wonders (except beyond 24"). Adding a trio of S6 shots to the mix should make my crappy luck with scatter dice a little less painful. I wonder if the dice are hating me because the models aren't painted yet? Hmmmmm...

Looking toward the future, I'm going to need to upgrade to a 1500+ list soon. My brother is getting six crisis suits as an early Christmas present, so he will more than catch up with me. I'm not sure how high he'll want to go, but I'm going to aim for 1500 for the moment and I'll add on an upgrade or two if he wants to go higher. This list is still in the works, but it's what I'll probably be running unless I have a major strategic breakthrough between now and next week.

HQ
Farseer (Jetbike, Doom, Fortune, Spirit Stones) 165
6x Warlocks (Jetbikes, 1x Embolden, 1x Enhance, 3x Destructor) 320

Troops
10x Dire Avengers 120 [in BL wave serpent]

5x Dire Avengers 60 [in falcon]
10x Guardians (Scatter Laser) 95

Elites
5x Fire Dragons 80 [in SC wave serpent]

Heavy Support
Falcon (shuriken cannon, holo-fields) 155
Fire Prism 125 (shuriken cannon)
Fire Prism 125 (shuriken cannon)

Dedicated Transport
Wave Serpent (Brightlances, Spirit Stones) 145

Wave Serpent (Shuriken Cannons, Spirit Stones) 110

Total: 1500



Notes: And now you see why shuriken cannon spam is in the title of the post! In rearranging everything, I looked back at my list and realized that I had shuriken cannons on... whoah... almost everything. I'm also trying out the DAVU strategy with the falcon because we've actually started trying out some objective-based games. And I can't wait to replace those guardians with rangers...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Outsyder Gaming Store

I've added a store to the blog with some bits and stuff I have sitting around the game room. This isn't an attempt to get rich, obviously. There isn't much in the store (yet), I don't know whether the prices I set are anywhere close to competitive, and any money I do make off of this stuff will get recycled right back into the hobby.

I've tried running an ebay store before, but they just charge too many fees for someone like me to really benefit from their services on the selling end. This store is set up through ecrater, which is sort of like having an ebay store but without the cost and without the traffic. I don't have to pay for anything, but I don't get the exposure either. I guess you get what you pay for, eh?

Whether successful or not, I'm planning to leave this store running even if I don't make anything from it. It isn't costing anything... so it can't hurt. For anyone who stumbles onto this post, feel free to check it out.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sigh... Revuk Was Right...

I've been putting singing spears on all of the warlocks in my seer council since I started converting models for the unit, and on this previous post, Revuk left me some advice about my fire prisms (the help I really wanted) and my seer council (help I thought I didn't need). I liked the idea of singing spears turning my council into mobile fire dragon wannabes. I could pop a tank from 12" away and then hop back 6" during my assault phase! Awesome!

When I assembled the last set of three warlocks, though, I realized that I didn't have enough dire avenger bits for the singing spears and glued swords on instead. Now, after two games with a half-sword-half-spear squad, I'm spending the day popping spears off of my older models and adding witchblades instead. While I didn't have a problem with the spears at all, now I've actually used both... and I like the witchblades better. The ranged tank killing ability is so not worth the extra points and loss of an attack in close combat.

Revuk, I didn't believe you before... but I do now.

Current List:
HQ
Farseer (Jetbike, Fortune) 115
6x Warlocks (Jetbikes, 1x Embolden, 1x Enhance, 3x Destructor) 320

Troops
10x Dire Avengers 120 [in wave serpent]
10x Guardians (Scatter Laser) 95

Elites
5x Fire Dragons 80 [in falcon]

Heavy Support
Falcon (EML) 135
Fire Prism 115
Fire Prism 115

Dedicated Transport
Wave Serpent (Twin-Linked Bright Lances, Spirit Stones) 145

Total: 1248



Recent List Changes: I dropped the warp spiders and the footslogging farseer altogether. They just didn't seem to be carrying their weight in points. In their place, I now have a more dangerous seer council (with more members and destructors) and a better equipped wave serpent. I also swapped the dire avengers unit for a squad of guardians. Neither unit does much, but the scatter laser at least has the range to hit opposing units across the field and has (so far) been largely ignored by my opponents.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

4500 Point Games... Not Meant for 6x4 Tables

Eric and I headed down to Hobbytown USA of Hickory last weekend for our first taste of playing Warhammer 40K outside of the family... and it was an interesting experience. We got a game going pretty quickly... my Eldar and my brother's Tau were allied with the space marines of a kid whose name I can't remember. We each had 1500 points.

Our opponents were Kevin and Chad, both commanding hordes of Necrons. I'm not sure exactly how their points were split, but they had 4500 points between them. Having never played against Necrons, I had absolutely no clue what I was up against. I started getting worried during setup. (Please excuse the blurry pics. These were made with my cell phone.)



It didn't take long to tell that we were pretty much doomed. Tau need to keep decent range. Eldar need room to maneuver. With the board so packed full of infantry, neither of us had any room to play to our strengths. I was running two fire prisms, so I was hoping to even the odds a bit by clearing some room with large blasts. Unfortunately, before I got the chance to shoot, one went down to opposing fire. The other didn't manage to kill as many troops as I'd hoped.

I ran my seer council out front to throw some templates into the infantry and tie up some guys in close combat. Unfortunately, they ran up against a unit of guys that could ignore invulnerable saves. Needless to say, my council didn't last long.


We actually ended the game early because the store was closing, but it was quite clear who won. We got completely overrun by necrons.


I've learned my lesson... if the numbers go too high, politely decline to play. I'm all for playing big games, but huge point totals need huge playing surfaces. My bikes and skimmers need to fly around the board a bit, and an eight inch deep wave of infantry that stretches across the whole length of the table and advances each turn isn't really a fair fight for me. That many troops on such a small table just gave assault-oriented troops too much of an advantage... in the same way that deploying on the short table ends with no terrain in between would have given us an unfair advantage.

So far, this is the only loss I've experienced with my Eldar, and I'm going to count it as such. I guess I should have known better than to accept the game.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Playing D&D Again... After Months of Warhammer 40K

We haven't played D&D in a while, but we got the opportunity again this week when Matt took the DMing seat. His first DMing experience with more than one player ended with an interesting twist of fate... but I'll get to that in a bit.

The party consisted of the following:

  • Alagos, a half-elf bard (me)
  • Raziel, a revenant assassin (Eric)

We began with a simple mission: travel to Winterhaven, see if a death cult exists there, and kick some tail if you find it. On the way, we were ambushed by a pack of kobolds.

Kobolds! Ha! Easy XP! Right?

Wrong...

We fought a good fight, but ultimately fell to a pair of little buggers that we just couldn't seem to put down. One was even bloodied already. We were... so... close... but failed.

What kind of pathetic moron players lose to kobolds in the first encounter of the adventure, anyway? Apparently, Eric and me. While we were casually making fun of ourselves for getting beaten by kobolds, Matt seemed to be suffering from a mixture of shock and disappointment. "I ran it straight out of the book," he commented, referring to the Keep on the Shadowfell adventure.

That's when the lightbulb went on in my head. Whoah... we almost won a fight that was intended for five PCs. Perhaps we weren't as pathetic as we thought. Once I explained to Matt what had happened, he used a healthy dose of deus ex machina to put the adventure back on track. Dead? Of course not! We were rescued by a good Samaritan and dropped off at the tavern in Winterhaven.

By the end of the session, we still hadn't found the death cult, but we did manage to secure a contract to kill some kobolds. Revenge is coming next session... oh yes, revenge is on its way.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Gamer Pet Peeves

I love gaming as a hobby and almost everything that comes with it, but there are some things that I wish I could get away from. These are things that others might point out as wrong or slightly annoying... but they really get to me. It isn't that they make my blood boil or anything. I'm actually pretty laid back and don't get angry over much of anything, but these get under my skin a little:
  • People who can't figure out that "rouge" and "rogue" are entirely different things - This error runs rampant all over message boards that I browse and peoples' blogs I read. I've seen it corrected over and over again on message boards and people still do it quite often. This isn't a rare monster or anything. It isn't like "duergar" and "deurgar." The rogue has been a core class for a loooong time. This should be basic vocabulary to us by now.
  • That guy at the FLGS who walked up to me as I was skimming through Open Grave and told me not to buy anything from 4th Edition because it is crap - Seriously?! If folks want to have editions wars, let the battlefields be on their websites or in discussions with their friends. If I don't know you, don't bother me with that crap. Post it on your blog or on a message board somewhere so I can choose not to read it. And even more important than that, don't make it harder for your FLGS to make a sale!
  • People who claim to have done everything you've done, but just a little better - This little habit is one that is all too common everywhere, not just in RPG circles. "Oh, you took on a juvenile white dragon at 4th level and won? Well, we took one on at level two, my character only took three points of damage, and I rolled two critical hits back to back!" Sometimes the stories are true, but once I've noticed that someone has the one upmanship storytelling habit, I tend to develop a little habit of my own: avoiding conversations. Am I the only one who keeps stories to myself from time to time just to avoid being so irritating?
  • People who won't (or can't) have a conversation about non-gaming subjects - Gaming takes up a lot of my time, too, but my hobby is only a part of my life. I don't care how great your awesome new Magic deck is. Actually, I might... but do not interrupt my conversation about ACC basketball to tell me about it.
  • People who let the competitive aspect of the game turn them into bad sports - I am extremely competitive, especially in Magic: The Gathering tournaments, and I beat myself up (mentally) over careless errors and poor plays. Unfortunately, I've played against some real jerks in my time who I would never want to play against again... and I've also played against some otherwise decent folks who just have bad tempers and curse excessively when they make mistakes. Both examples are annoying to encounter.
  • Older (or just more experienced) players who think it is okay to take advantage of those who don't know the rules well - At the Mirrodin prerelease, I sat beside a grown man who played a Reiver Demon against a young kid and didn't destroy any of his own (nonblack) creatures. When I pointed out the error, he acted like I was somehow cheating him by interfering. I absolutely despise that mindset.
What about you, my dear readers? Any gamer behaviors that get on your nerves?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Insanely Cool

I just noticed this post on Defending Humanity. Surfacescapes is by far one of the coolest gaming aids I've ever seen. Check it out:


Surfacescapes Demo Walkthrough from Surfacescapes on Vimeo.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pseudo Seer Council

I noticed this post over on Way of Saim-Hann about seer councils getting banned in some places. His suggestion was to replace the council with a normal jetbike squadron with a warlock upgrade and a farseer, and this made me want to explore that option just for the heck of it. I'm still in the process of building my Eldar forces at the moment, so I'm constantly fiddling with lists and this is one unit that I hadn't considered. I've got a strange feeling that this might be a more cost-effective option than a true seer council.

Quick Comparisons
Damage Output: The real seer council clearly wins here, with templates, higher strength, and a better AP value.

Range: Shuriken cannons on the guardian jetbikes grant the pseudo seer council the ability to reach out and touch someone twice as far away even if only a third of the squad can fire at that range. This seems like a pretty significant advantage.

Durability: The regular armor save is identical, but invulnerable saves help a ton, and guardian jetbikes don't get them. Warlocks win hands down.

Perks: Other than the shuriken cannon option, the guardian jetbikes don't have much they can take. The warlocks get all kinds of cool options, which makes them more versatile but also more expensive. The one perk the guardians have that the warlocks don't is that little "Hey, we're scoring units!" line.

Point Cost: A warlock with a jetbike ranges from 45 to 69 points depending on upgrades. A guardian jetbike ranges from 22 to 32. That's a pretty significant difference. For the same number of points, I should be able to field twice as many models... and that changes some of the above assumptions. Twice as many shots and twice as many wounds to destroy makes me think that the pseudo seer council might be a more efficient buy.

Minimal Squads
Farseer (Jetbike, Fortune) 115
3x Warlocks 135
Total: 250

Farseer (Jetbike, Fortune) 115
Warlock (Jetbike) 45
3x Guardian Jetbikes 66
Total: 226

I don't know if anyone would want to field either squad this way. I certainly wouldn't recommend it, but I wanted to run the numbers just for the sake of knowing the cost difference. At this point, there really isn't much difference in point totals.

Maximum Squads (within reason; taking 10 conceals would be dumb)
Farseer (Jetbike, Doom, Fortune, Spirit Stones, Singing Spear) 163
10x Warlocks (1x Enhance & Singing Spear, 1x Embolden & Singing Spear, 8x Destructor) 556
Total: 719

Farseer (Jetbike, Doom, Fortune, Spirit Stones, Singing Spear) 163
Warlock (Conceal, Singing Spear) 63
12x Guardian Jetbikes (4x Shuriken Cannons) 304
Total: 530

At this point, there are much more striking differences. The most obvious is that the pseudo seer council costs almost 200 points less. That's a whole extra unit you could field (maybe two if you skimp on upgrades). The difference in saves is not quite as drastic when the pseudo council gets a 5+ cover save from conceal (although the real council still wins here, obviously). The real council is still the king of templates, but the pseudo council can unload twelve S6 shots at 24", an option the real council doesn't have.

I'm really not all that great at the math aspect of this hobby, but I'd be willing to bet that a pseudo seer council plus another unit can dish out more pain than the real seer council. I've spent too much time and money collecting bits for my real seer council to make the switch anytime soon, but I have to admit that I'm tempted.

Any thoughts? Is it more cost effective? Or are all of the templates really worth it?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Malaggar, Silhouette Naruni Renegade

The last of the three characters that I brainstormed and Quim statted out, Malaggar is a silhouette on the run from Naruni agents.


Name: Malaggar
Alignment: Anarchist (Selfish)
Background: Although he once worked for Naruni Enterprises, Malaggar has fallen out of favor with his former employers. When a pair of repo-bots were sent out to collect a debt from a powerful lizard mage, Malaggar wisely stepped aside before the angry mage returned to settle the score. Naruni Enterprises wasn't happy about the loss of an agent, but they were absolutely furious when they discovered how much equipment Malaggar took with him when he left! These days, Malaggar spends much of his time searching for a way back to Phaseworld, but every time he feels close, the presence of Naruni agents keeps him at bay. Eventually, he hopes to grow strong enough in his own magical abilities to just open a portal himself, but that day seems a long way off.
Attributes: I.Q.: 14, M.E.: 12, M.A.: 23*, P.S.: 13 (Supernatural), P.P.: 20, P.E.: 18, P.B.: 15, Spd. 28 (140 yd-m/melee). Carry: 260 pd (117 kg) Lift: 520 pd (234 kg) (during 54 sec. almost 4 melee rounds)
*Trust/Intimidate 75%
M.D.C: 33
Size: 6 feet tall (1.8 m) and 150 lbs (68 kg).
Age: 6 years.
Experience level: First level Silhoutte RCC (from RDB2: Phase world).
Natural Abilities: Shadow powers (see pg 81 RDB2: Phase world), Ley Line powers, Supernatural Strength.
Vulnerabilities: In normal light, loses all his special powers. In bright sunlight or under intense spotlights, he is at -2 to strike, parry, dodge, loses half his melle attacks, and is at -10 MDC.
Horror Factor: 11
Magic Knowledge: Magical being. Sense Evil (2), See the Invisible (4), Cloak of Darkness (6), Extinguish Fire (4), Armor of Ithan (10), Paralysis: Lesser (5).
PPE: 300
Psionic PowersMinor psionic: Mask PPE (4), Sense Dimensional Anomaly (4). I.S.P.: 20
Combat Skills: Hand to Hand Combat: Basic.
Bonuses+2 on initiative, +5 strike, +5 to parry, +5 to dodge, +2 to pull punch, +6 to roll with impact (only when in shadows), Energy pistol: +1 to strike, +4 to save vs. Horror Factor, +2 to save vs. magic, +2 to save vs. poison and disease, +6% to save vs. Coma & Death.
Weapons of NoteNE-3·Slim-Line “Gambler” Revolver (3D6 MD. +20% conceal).
Attacks Per Melee: Five (5) hand to hand attacks per melee.
RCC Skills: Language: Silhouette 98%, Language: Trade One 75%, Language: Trade Four 45%, Barter 40%, Literacy: Trade One 50%Performance 45%, Public speaking 40%, Radio: Basics 55%, Sensory Equipment 40%, Wardrobe & Grooming 55%, Basic Electronics 30%Undercover Ops 40%, Recognize Weapon Quality 25%, Robots & Power Armor 56%, Find contraband 36%, Seduction 33%, Math: Basics 45%, Appraise Goods 40% (includes military goods), Computer Op 50%WP Energy Pistol.
Secondary SkillsHousekeeping 35%, Computer repair 30%, Hand to Hand: Basic, Running, Lore: Galactic/Alien 25%, Lore: Magic 25%
EquipmentNE-F40A Heavy Force Field (110 MDC), 4 E-Clips, NE-3·Slim-Line “Gambler” Revolver, 100 light plasma cartridge, NE-05GP Grav Pack.
MoneyHidden in a safe place 5 milion Cr. In Naruni equipment.
Cybernetics: none.


Again, thanks Quim!
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