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!

Fire Prisms... Major Disappointment

I just added two fire prisms to my eldar forces, and after two games, I'm pretty disappointed. They do fine against infantry... it's tough to miss with the big pie plate. But against tanks, I'm struggling to hit anything.

Both of my last two games have been against my brother's tau, and I never seem able to pop his hammerhead until turn three or four. And I really hate that hammerhead. It is growing to be a huge pain in the rear. In the first of our last two games, I never did kill the stupid thing, but I did manage to destroy the rail gun around turn 3 and ignore it the rest of the game. In the second game, my prisms wasted a squad of fire warriors on turn one and then fired at the hammerhead three turns in a row with no better than a glancing hit (shaken). I was finally able to take it out with a flurry of singing spears from the seer council when they got close enough. But in both cases, the prisms have disappointed.

I realize that this has a lot to do with the dice hating me. Dice usually spend the majority of the game working in my favor, but they have certainly liked my brother's hammerhead better than they've liked my prisms of late. I'll give the fire prisms a few more runs before I put the trusty old wraithlord back in their place.

This is my current list:
HQ
Farseer (Jetbike, Fortune, Singing Spear) 118
3x Warlocks (Jetbikes, Singing Spears, 1x Embolden) 149
Farseer (Fortune) 85 [joins the dire avengers in the wave serpent]

Troops
10x Dire Avengers 120 [in wave serpent]
8x Dire Avengers 96

Elites
5x Fire Dragons 80 [in falcon]

Fast Attack
5x Warp Spiders (Exarch, Powerblades, Extra Death Spinner) 137

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

Dedicated Transport
Wave Serpent (Twin-Linked Shuriken Cannons) 100

Total: 1250

Side Note: I really need another wave serpent. That second set of dire avengers just kind of sits back in cover most of the game. Marching them across the field is just handing my brother another kill point. In all honesty, I think I'd rather be running rangers, though. If something is going to sit around in cover, I might as well be running something that gets bonuses from sitting there. My budget will be the deciding factor...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Gash, Kankoran Scout

Continuing the series of characters that I brainstormed and Quim statted out, allow me to introduce Gash. Again, thanks Quim!


Name: Gash
AlignmentAnarchist (Selfish)
BackgroundA second generation D-bee whose parents once lived in the Northern Wilderness, Gash's parents left him with friends when they went out in search of a way home. Unfortunately, they never returned. Many of his peers mocked his misery, claiming that his parents really did find a way home and just didn't care enough to take him along. It didn't take long for Gash to seek out new peers...
Attributes: I.Q.: 15, M.E.: 8, M.A.: 11, P.S.: 18, P.P.: 16, P.E.: 18, P.B.: 11, Spd. 19 (95 yd-m/melee). Carry180 pd (81 kg) Lift: 360 pd (162 kg) (during 54 sec. almost 4 melee rounds)
H.P19S.D.C59
Size: 4’4” tall (1.3 m) and 100 lbs (45 kg).
Age: 12 years.
Experience level: First level Kankoran Wilderness Scout.
Natural Abilities: Natural Armor Rating: 6, only applicable in S.D.C. combat; Nightvision 40 feet (12.2 m), keen color vision, a keen sense of smell (30% to track blood scent up to 1000 feet (305 m) away, recognize common/known smells 50%, and 20% recognize the scent of others up to 50 feet (15.2 m) away, and keen hearing (same as dog boy).
Horror/Awe Factor: 12, at least when he is in combat or when angry or threatening.
Magic KnowledgeNone. Hates magic.
PPE12
Psionic Powers: None. I.S.P.: 8
Combat SkillsHand to Hand Combat: BasicBite does 1D6 S.D.C. damage and claws do 1D6+3 S.D.C. damage.
Bonuses+4 on initiative+1 strike, +2 to parry, +2 to dodge, +4 to pull punch+5 to roll with impact, +3 on Perception Rolls, Bows: +2 to strike/+3 to parry – RoF: 2 per melle, Vibro-saber: +2 to strike/+2 to parry, Knife: +1 to strike/+3 to parry/+2 to strike when thrown, Energy pistol: +1 to strike, +1 to save vs. Horror Factor, +2 to save vs. magic, +4 to save vs. poison and disease, +16% to save vs. Coma & Death.
Weapons of NoteNA-LB1 Laser Bow (2D6 MD), Wilk’s 227 Pulse Pistol (2D6-4D6 MDC. +2 to strike on aimed shot).
Attacks Per MeleeFive (5) hand to hand attacks per melee.
OCC AbilitiesTrail Blazing 20%, Cross-Country Pacing 35%, Cartography40% (Math: Basics 50%)
OCC Skills: Language: Kankoran 94%, Language: American 65%, Language Shoshone 65%Athletics (General), Cooking 50%, Climbing 60/50%Fishing 55%, Horsemanship: General 60/40%, Identify Fruits and Plants 50%Hovercycle 80%, Prowl 40%, Radio: Basic 55%, Track Animals 40%, Wilderness Survival 55%, WP Archery, WP SwordWP Energy Pistol, WP Knife.
OCC Related SkillsForced march, Outdoorsmanship, Land Navigation 56%, Horsemanship: Exotic 35/25%First Aid 55%, Tailing 35%Dosing 30%Fasting 45%, Computer operation 45%.
Secondary SkillsSign Language 25%, Computer repair 30%, Gambling 30%, Astronomy & Navigation 30%
EquipmentHuntsman armor (45 MDC), NA-LB1 Laser Bow, Wilk’s 227 Pulse Pistol, 4 E-Clips, survival knife and hand axe (both 1D6 SDC), Vibro-saber (2D4 MDC), wilderness clothing, extra pair of boots, hat, tinted visor, air filter, first-aid kit, knapsack, backpack, utility/ammo belt, a couple sacks, several short pieces of cord for tying things, 100 feet (30 m) of lightweight rope, 6 iron spikes, 6 wooden spikes, wooden cross (8 inches/20 cm), a hammer and a mallet, utility knife, animal skinning knife, fishing line and hooks, animal snares, two canteens, six flares, infrared binoculars with digital distancing readout, a pair of passive nightvision goggles, telescopic sight for a gun, Computer: Portable Field UnitBronco Scooter (99 MDC).
Money: 1400 Cr. 7500 Cr. In Black Marked items.
Cybernetics: none.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lieutenant Samuel Perkins (Sammy)


Last week, I posted a few character ideas for Rifts but didn't have the time to actually stat them out. Quim, of Escamot Featherfall, was kind enough to whip up stats for each one. This is the first of the characters, a CS commando who has left the Coalition military and now spends time with not-quite-human companions... but he secretly maintains many of his old Coalitions beliefs.

Name: Lieutenant Samuel Perkins (Sammy)
Alignment: Unprincipled (Selfish)
Background: After leaving the Coalition military and setting out on his own, Sammy hasn't even tried to hide his previous affiliation from his new nonhuman companions. He has proven his loyalty to his new companions and trusts them with his life. However, although he wouldn't admit it to them, he considers them exceptions to the rule... and still believes that most D-bees should be eradicated.
Attributes: I.Q.: 10, M.E.: 15, M.A.: 11, P.S.: 13, P.P.: 14, P.E.: 14, P.B.: 14, Spd. 20 (100 yd-m/melee). Carry: 130 pd (58.5 kg) Lift: 260 pd (117 kg) (during 42 sec. almost 3 melee rounds)
H.P: 18, S.D.C: 30
Size: 6 feet tall (1.8 m) and 182 lbs (82 kg).
Age: 32 years.
Experience level: First level CS Commando (from WB11 Coalition War Campaign)
Natural Abilities: None.
Magic Knowledge: None.
PPE: 7
Psionic Powers: None. I.S.P.: 15
Combat Skills: Hand to Hand Combat: Commando, WP paired weapons, body flip/throw, body block/tackle.
Bonuses: +1 to parry with knife, +1 to strike with energy pistol, +2 to save vs. Horror Factor.
Weapons of Note: C-12 Heavy Assault Laser Rifle (4D6 or 2D6 MDC - +1 to strike on aimed shot), C-20 Laser Pistol (2D6 MD).
Attacks Per Melee: Four (4) hand to hand attacks per melee.
OCC Skills: Math: Basic 65%, Radio: Basic 60%, Radio: Scrambler 40%, Language: American 98%, Language: Canadian French 70%, Land Navigation 46%, Intelligence 42%, Parachuting 60%, Pilot: Hovercraft 60%, Pilot: Robots & Power Armor 66%, Recognize Weapon Quality 37%, Wilderness Survival 45%, Climbing 50/40%, Running, WP Energy Pistol, WP Energy Rifle, WP Knife, WP. Heavy MD Weapons.
OCC Related Skills: Espionage MOS: Detect ambush 40%, Detect concealment 35%, Intelligence 42%, Undercover Ops 40%.
Secondary Skills: Basic electronics 30%, Basic Mechanics 30%.
Equipment: Standard Coalition “Dead Boy” body armor (CA-4 – 100 MDC), C-12 Heavy Assault Laser Rifle, C-20 Laser Pistol, 4 extra E-clips for each, four explosive grenades (2D6 MDC /6m radius), two smoke grenades, two flares, vibro-knife (1D6 MDC), survival knife, distancing binoculars, robot medical kit, pocket computer, utility belt, air filter & gas mask, walkie-talkie, uniform, dress uniform, combat boots, canteen, Hunting rifle (5D6 SDC), CS combat car.
Money: 2000 Cr.
Cybernetics: none.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rifts Character Ideas... Just Because...

I've had the strange urge to play Rifts all day today. Unfortunately, it won't happen anytime soon. I'm the only one in my play group who knows the system well enough to run it and it seems like I don't have the time to GM at all these days. Despite the slim chance that any of these guys will ever see play, I'm going to spend a few minutes brainstorming some Rifts character concepts I'd like to try out. Why? Just because I feel like it...

UPDATE: Quim, who runs the Escamot Featherfall blog, has generated stats for these guys. As he posts them, I'll link to them here. Thanks Quim!

Lieutenant Samuel Perkins (Sammy)
Human CS Commando
After leaving the Coalition military and setting out on his own, Sammy hasn't even tried to hide his previous affiliation from his new nonhuman companions. He has proven his loyalty to his new companions and trusts them with his life. However, although he wouldn't admit it to them, he considers them exceptions to the rule... and still believes that most D-bees should be eradicated.

Gash
Kankoran Wilderness Scout
A second generation D-bee whose parents once lived in the Northern Wilderness, Gash's parents left him with friends when they went out in search of a way home. Unfortunately, they never returned. Many of his peers mocked his misery, claiming that his parents really did find a way home and just didn't care enough to take him along. It didn't take long for Gash to seek out new peers...

Malaggar
Silhouette
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.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Just a Few Blue Falcon Pics

The eldar falcon seems to have fallen out of favor with 5th edition Warhammer 40K. I keep reading tactics articles that proclaim the awesomeness of the falcon only to realize that they are years old and most current articles claim that they aren't worth the points investment.

I've liked mine so far, though. Here are a few pics:


Although the paint job isn't quite finished, it is (as I've mentioned in the past) close enough that it probably won't see much more effort. Yes, I painted over the cockpits on purpose. I like tinted windows!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Spectrum Shock: Campaign Log #4 (with pics)

Note: This was in my drafts and is getting posted months late. I could have sworn I posted this back in July...

In our last Spectrum Shock session (which was several weeks ago but I'm just now getting around to writing about it), the party had its "final" showdown with the orks. The plan: find the prisoners, plant a bomb in the main building, and then escape before said bomb explodes. As with all plans, this one didn't last very long on the actual battlefield. This was the initial setup:

(Click for larger images.)

The group split in two, with Eric's character and his new cohort attacking from one side while Matt's character and the DC scout attacked from the other. The idea was for the first group to draw fire and distract the main force while the second charged the main building to rescue the prisoners and plant the bomb. In practice, the DC scout went down quickly, which left Matt's character (Korbynn) struggling to complete his mission without support. He was eventually overwhelmed.

I had deliberately put more adversaries on the board than I thought the party could handle. I wanted to make sure this wasn't a "clear out the base and take all of their stuff" type of mission. With more enemies than usual but with a kill switch that would end the fight in the PCs' favor (and destroy most of the loot at the same time), I thought this would be an interesting change of pace. Somehow, they managed to take out the whole base anyway...

There were a few interesting twists, though. First of all, the last prisoner was never rescued. He was actually killed by one of the PCs! When it looked as though the orks would lose the battle, their leader used the prisoner as a human shield as he retreated. Eric decided to take his chances even after I warned him that if he missed because of the cover, he would hit the prisoner. And as luck would have it, he pinged the prisoner on the first shot.

When all was said and done, they killed the remaining orks, grabbed as much loot as they could carry, and set the bomb to detonate after they left the scene.
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