Monday, February 15, 2010

My Wish List for the Next Eldar Codex

A bit of hope may be shining through for an update to the Eldar and Dark Eldar codices in the near future. BOLS reported these rumors last Friday. If a new codex is in the works for the near future, this is what I hope to see...
  • Farseers get Spirit Stones for free. The reason for a farseer power boost has already been posted all over the place. We're supposedly the best psykers in the galaxy... but we're not. Fix it!
  • Eldritch storm needs better wording so that it doesn't cause confusion about scattering.
  • Guardians either need better range or a point drop. They suck horribly as is.
  • Storm Guardians could stand to get a better save or a higher initiative. Perhaps a warlock upgrade similar to Conceal could give them a 5+ Invulnerable save in close combat would do the trick (like the dire avenger exarch's shimmershields).
  • Haywire grenades need a power boost or Swooping Hawks need a point drop. They are such awesome looking models to be so pathetic.
  • A point drop on Holo-Fields: 20 points more for an ability that is only marginally better than Extra Armor? Gimme a break...
  • Decrease the point cost of all fast attack units. We're supposed to be the fast army, yet all of our fast attack options cost too much.
  • Warlocks should have Ld9.
Honestly, I'd love to see a point drop across the board but that's unlikely to happen. Our HQ options are pretty balanced as is, except that the psykers of other armies are starting to out-psyk us. Dire Avengers, Striking Scorpions, Howling Banshees, and Fire Dragons are all pretty balanced. Honestly, our heavy support and transport options are pretty balanced too, although many would disagree with me. People seem to be calling for reduced cost Wave Serpents, especially. While I wouldn't complain, I don't think it's necessary to stay competitive.

Some really wishful thinking...
  • Wave Serpents should be able to take holo-fields.
  • Farseers with Spirit Stones and two powers of the player's choice for less than 100 points.
  • Increase the range of all shuriken catapults by 6" (guardian range to 18", avenger range to 24").
  • Something that flies...

Friday, February 12, 2010

Fiona Florian

With a name that means "white flower," one might think that this young lady should be innocent and a bit dainty, but nothing could be further from the truth. Fiona is a real fireball, not only because her sarcasm and wit leave those who know her steaming with anger, but also because hurling real fireballs is one of her favorite pastimes. Yes, blowing things up in great fiery explosions ranks right up there with shopping, spas, and social life.

When not on the job, Fiona enjoys living the high social life. She is just as high strung and obnoxious as any spoiled rich girl in her late teens. However, unlike many of her friends, she doesn't survive on the exploits of a rich father or husband. After all, why should the guys get to have all of the fun?

Although not a common face among Merctown's mercenary population, she has managed to land two very lucrative contracts and completed each with ease. She doesn't plan on taking on the merc lifestyle full time, though. Fiona enjoys the high life too much for that. She wants just enough to keep her aim sharp and her purse filled. The rest of her time is filled with many of the things one might expect a rich young woman to enjoy.

Name: Fiona Florian
Alignment: Unprincipled (selfish)
Attributes: I.Q.: 12, M.E.: 17, M.A.: 14, P.S.: 12, P.P.: 13, P.E.: 10, P.B.: 15, Spd. 23
HP: 21 S.D.C: 27
Size: 5'5", 120 lbs
Age: 19
Experience level: 3rd Level Human Burster
Natural Abilities: Impervious to fire and heat, resistant to electricity (MD attacks do half damage, others do no damage), extinguish fires with a thought, Sense Fire
Magic Knowledge: none
PPE: 7
Psionic PowersMaster psionic: standard burster powers on p140-142 RUE plus Mind Block (4), Telepathy (4), and Psychic Body Field (30)  I.S.P.: 127
Combat Skills: Hand to Hand: Expert
Bonuses: +2 initiative, +1 perception, +1 save vs. psionics, +1 save vs. insanity, +3 save vs. horror factor, +3 strike, +2 disarm, +4 parry, +4 dodge, +5 pull punch, +5 roll with impact
Weapons of Note: Although she prefers to rely on her natural abilities for protection. She does carry an NG-56 light ion pistol for those pesky fire-resistant adversaries, and usually has one or more grenades handy when on the job.
Attacks Per Melee: Four
RCC Skills: Language: American 98%, Language: Spanish 86%, General Athletics, Land Navigation 44%, Basic Math 55%, Pilot: Automobile 64%, Pilot: Hovercycle 76%, Streetwise 28%, WP Knife, WP Sword, WP Energy Pistol
RCC Related Skills: Art 45%, Dance 50%, Literacy: American 60%, Literacy: Spanish 50%, Lore: Psychics and Psionics 45%, Wardrobe & Grooming 68%
Secondary Skills: Climbing, First Aid 55%, Gambling 40%, Running, Swimming, WP Energy Rifle, WP Handguns
Equipment: Fiona doesn't carry much equipment even in the field. However, she does own an N-F20A medium force field, and even wears it on vacation when she's able to conceal it under the latest fashion statement. 
Money: How much money Fiona has depends largely on how long it has been since her last job. She is good at making money in the mercenary field, but enjoys long vacations in between jobs in which she spends everything she earned.
Cybernetics: None.

Image created using HeroMachine.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Digital 40K - DoW2

Well, after failing to get in a real game of anything in over a month, I've started to get the gaming itch. I have played Mass Effect 2, but it's a lot more like watching a movie with bits of action here and there... I don't consider it a "real" game. And I prefer face to face games anyway. No D&D, no cards, no 40K... something's gotta give. So I succumbed to temptation and went for the next best thing to a game of 40K: Dawn of War II. I played the first one and wasn't all that impressed, but that may have had more to do with my late discovery of the game than with the game itself. By the time I played the original Dawn of War, it was already dated.

Hopefully #2 won't fail to impress me, considering it was just released last year. I'm eager to see how it plays... anxiously waiting for it to install as I'm writing this...

UPDATE: I managed to get a few hours of playing time in last night before the UNC-Dook game, and I'm somewhat impressed. The campaign mode feels more like a tactical RPG than real-time strategy. Of course, this doesn't bother me at all because I'm more of an RPG fan than an RTS fan (despite my statement about Mass Effect 2 above). This isn't a game that will suck hours and hours of my life away... but it is amusing enough to continue playing when there isn't anything else to do.

Congratulating an Overnight Gamer Geek Celebrity

One particular gamer has achieved overnight celebrity status in the world of gaming: Cassie (aka Zephri). You can find part one of her interview on Bell of Lost Souls and part two on I want to congratulate Cassie on the instant fame and encourage her to add Adsense to her site so that she can capitalize on the huge traffic spike she's experiencing right now! But that's not why I'm writing this. I want to take a moment to discuss what makes her so popular and how we should react...

Before we begin, let's get the obvious out of the way. She's female and she's cute. That makes her a minority in gaming culture, which obviously contributes to the attention that she's getting. Now that I've stated the obvious, let's move on, because I have other opinions to share.

First of all, let's address the presence of female gamers. They do exist. They are not a myth. I'm now following Cassie's blog... but I also follow A Girl's Guide to Gaming Geekery and Geek's Dream Girl, and I used to follow the d20blonde before her RSS feed went all wonky and started sending me to (a blank site, hence no link). Aside from blogs, though, let's not forget Shelly Mazzanoble's Confessions of a Full-Time Wizard series. I myself happened to be happily married to an expert Magic: The Gathering player before she passed away last year. Trust me. They are out there. We just have to practice good enough hygiene for them to find us attractive.

So what makes Cassie different? One could argue that it is because she's entered the larger gaming community on her own and not overshadowed by her significant other. It always drove me nuts when my wife did well at Magic tournaments and guys tried to retain their pride by claiming that she was only good because I taught her everything. I taught her how to play... but when she predicted your bait and saved the counterspell for the card that would have won you the game... sorry, buddy, but that was all her. Cassie doesn't have to fight the same assumptions. She has stepped onto the scene on her own credentials, which instantly gives her a quality that many of us wish we could find in women... she didn't have to be convinced to play. It is clear that she loves and enjoys gaming just as much (if not more) than we do.

However, while I think that her enthusiasm for gaming has a lot to do with her popularity, I personally find the most intriguing thing about Cassie to be her apparent normalcy. Yes, she's a gamer chick, and that makes her a bit of an oddity... but look at her pics and think about the female gamers you've encountered in the past. If your experiences have been anything like mine, you're probably picturing: oddly dyed hair, excessive tattoos and/or piercings, and either a very gothic or very "punk" sense of fashion. Cassie doesn't appear to fit these stereotypes. Instead, she looks like the girl next door. Normal hair? Check. Normal fashion sense? Aside from the party costumes... check. Appears to bathe regularly? Check.

In fact, she kind of looks like that girl in high school you had a crush on but you never asked out because you were scared she'd reject you. Admit it... you know she does. Except that Cassie is a gamer, so she's approachable. And she doesn't look like the female gamers you're used to seeing, so that makes her even more of an oddity. She's a minority within the minority.

So what point am I trying to make here?

Based on her comments here (which, admittedly, I read after I started writing this), it sounds like everyone has been cordial. Let's keep it that way. She appears to be flattered by all of the attention, but that might change if the real weirdos emerge.

Cassie, the internet and the various hobbies in which you participate need more like you. Here's hoping the creeps keep to themselves and your fame continues on without incident. Best of luck.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Why Mechdar > Ork Horde (At Least For Me)

Does it have anything to do with how competitive each army is? No.
Does it have to do with the difficulty of painting each army? Nope.
Is it the fluff? Well, yeah... but that isn't what I intended to talk about today.
Is it because I prefer speed and finesse over number advantage and close combat? Not at all.

What it really boils down to is the speed.

"What?" you say. "You just said it wasn't about the speed!"

Well it isn't. At least, it isn't about the speed of the army itself. The difference is in the turn taking speed...

I have a total model count of 43 in my Eldar army, but in the early turns of the game, I'm never moving more than 13 models. That's a farseer, his six warlock buddies, and six grav tanks.

My ork horde has a total model count of 111, and none of them are in transports. Assuming I reserve my deffkoptas like usual, I have 102 models to move from the very beginning of the game. Granted, they start dropping like flies as they start running across the board, but that's still a crapload of figures to move each turn... and frankly, I'm just too doggone lazy for that.

Add to that comparison the fact that my fire dragons always hop out, kill something, and die... plus the fact that my storm guardians never disembark until turn five when I'm trying to mop up small units or force someone off of an objective... and you see there's a huge difference in the amount of effort it takes to play each army.

And effort, of course, translates into time... which is sorely lacking in my life these days. I rarely ever even get to play the game, and the last few that I have played have been cut short for one reason or another. Because it takes me so much less time to take each turn with the Eldar, I prefer running them.

I also don't have to deal with the yawns from across the table as I move my 100+ guys.
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