Remote Controlled Land Raider

I've seen various lighting projects since I started playing 40K, including lots of different models that you can flip a switch and turn on LED lights in the model... but this is nothing short of amazing. I stumbled across this video as I was searching for ways to magnetize my new land raider, and I just had to share...

Lessons from Randy Maxwell #3: Friendly Monsters

This is part of a series of posts about what I learned from my first issue of Dungeon Magazine. For the whole series, click here.
"Monsters in the dungeon that aren't evil? You've gotta be kidding me! Everything in the dungeon is supposed to be evil! If it isn't evil, it should at least be mindless and want to eat my character!"
In my early days of DMing, everything in the Monster Manual was an opponent for the PCs. Sure, I knew that there were monsters in the Monster Manual that had good and neutral alignments, but I never really roleplayed any of that out. If a monster was considered "good," and the PCs entered its lair, it would still defend its lair by attacking. I'm sure the PCs probably killed their fair share of good guys, but they didn't know any better. They were exploring, and every time something moved, they needed to roll for initiative.

Mental Exercise: Assault Cannons Glancing AV12?

Every once in a while, it is important to challenge the mind. This, for some reason, feels like a good time to do it. So I'm posting a little mental exercise today... how well do you know the 40K rules and codices? Personally, I've only read Space Marines, Blood Angels, Tau, Orks, and Eldar, so I'll bet my readers will come up with more answers to this question than I can. Here's the challenge:

For some reason, it dawned on me the other day that assault cannons can't normally glance AV12. If you're shooting an AV12 vehicle with assault cannons, a five doesn't do anything, and a six prompts you to add another d3, making an actual result of "12" seemingly impossible. It's not always impossible, though. I know there's at least one exception to this rule. How many can you come up with?

Lessons From Randy Maxwell #2: Magic Items Don't Have to Be Powerful

This is part of a series of posts about what I learned from my first issue of Dungeon Magazine. For the whole series, click here.

For the players in my group, the most important thing about any magic item they found was its power. Is it +2 or +4? That's all that really mattered, and I fully understand why it was all that mattered. It was all I gave them. That new sword you just found? It's +2, so it's better than the +1 sword you've been carrying around all this time. It's better, so sell the old one and move on. You'll do a little more damage now.

Holy Crap... Funny Stuff... "Dice Control"

In real life, I'd want to punch this guy... but on YouTube I can make him shut up whenever I want. This is so off the wall that I can't stop laughing. I think I'm going to have to do my best "dice control" impression the next time we have game night. If nothing else, it will drive my brother insane. Here's the video:

Blood Angel Progress

I finally made the time to work on my Blood Angels a bit this weekend. I've been working on these guys for almost a year now, and I'm just now getting close to my 1500 point fully painted goal. By fully painted, I mean the commonly accepted three color tabletop standard. So far, I've completed:

  • Librarian
  • Honor Guard
  • Sanguinary Priest
  • 2 Assault Squads
That means I still have the following left on my list:
  • 1 Assault Squad (finished except for the marine with the meltagun)
  • Sanguinary Priest in Terminator Armor (just primed)
  • Terminator Assault Squad (just primed)
  • 4 Razorbacks (just red and black... need details)
  • Land Raider (just red and black, plus I want to magnetize the sponsons)
  • Devastator Squad (just red and black)

Click the pic for full army list.
Just a few notes on the list:

  • I've got a feeling that the Land Raider Crusader would be a better choice, but I don't want to steal Matt's thunder... his Crusader is the centerpiece of his army, and I don't want to be a copycat (especially not in a group of four... it might be different if I played with a larger group of people).
  • I ended up going with a Devastator Squad because the votes were tied in the poll I ran a while back and they just seemed like the more interesting choice. Actually, I take that back... the Honour Guard actually seemed more interesting, but I couldn't get the points to work out at 1500 without dropping something else.
  • I feel like people critiquing my list are immediately going to say, "You don't have enough anti-tank." I probably don't... except that in my group there are a total of 16 vehicles, and 11 of those are mine. Against Space Marines, I face two Dreadnoughts and a Land Raider. Against Tau, I face two Hammerheads tops. I need it, but most of the time it's overkill in my group.
Sometime in the next few weeks, I intend to get a few army pics up (even if I haven't finished everything). I haven't taken pics of them in quite some time, and a lot has changed since I took these

The good news is that, except for the Land Raider sponsons that don't stay on at the moment, the army is at least assembled and can be played if I want. Now it's just a matter of carving out the time in my schedule to get a game or three in. Can't wait to actually get all of these guys on the table at the same time...

Firing Your GM, Mythic Style

I just read this article on Risus Monkey. It's about a solo game the author played on a flight, and it's pretty interesting. The best part is that it pointed to the Mythic GME (that's Game Master Emulator). Yep, it's a system at least partially designed to eliminate the very need for the GM.

I'm usually the GM around here, and I don't want to lose my "job." But if you're a GM with an itch to see the other side of the screen and nobody wants to take up the task, this might be the product for you. I just purchased it and I'm reading it right now (or at least, I will be when I finish writing this).

The best part is that there's a bit of irony here. On DriveThruRPG, this "replace your GM" product is on sale. Why is it on sale? To celebrate GM's day, that's why! The little GM's Day advertisement even says, "With no GM, there's no game!"

It really isn't that funny, but for some reason, I'm really amused. Go check this product out. It's only five bucks. Seriously... go check it out.

Lessons From Randy Maxwell #1: Subtly Complex Quests

This is part of a series of posts about what I learned from my first issue of Dungeon Magazine. For the whole series, click here.

Prior to reading Shards of the Day and incorporating what I learned into my own DMing style, the vast majority of the quests I created were very one dimensional. Almost every single quest my PCs pursued was one of the following:
  • Go kill something dangerous
  • Go retrieve something or rescue someone from something dangerous (that you'll have to kill)
  • Protect something/someone important from something dangerous (that you'll have to kill)
Except for the "protect" quests, the majority of the settings were classic dungeons like the sample dungeon in the old 1E DM's guide. And that was pretty much it. Things were very one dimensional and, other than the actual monster being fought, quite repetitive. Don't get me wrong... these missions were a ton of fun. I guess you'd call them the old "beer and pretzels" style games, or as close to that as we could get to that as 12/13 year old kids. As the first adventure I ever read, as opposed to one that I made up myself, Shards of the Day completely opened up the door for me as far as mission complexity.

In Shards of the Day, the original quest seemed pretty straightforward. There's a ruined dwarven city and the heroes are supposed to go retrieve several magic items that were originally a set. However, once the PCs enter the city, they soon find that there is much more to finding all of the item's parts than just searching:
  • The svirfneblin know a lot, but will only help if the PCs help them first.
  • The myconids can be helpful but appear threatening, and not-so-savvy PCs can easily get killed if they attack instead of trying to communicate.
  • The Shards of the Day are not just swords... there's another item that their employer doesn't mention.
These aren't major plot twists. The point of the adventure is still to track down a set of magic items and bring it back to the quest giver, and the adventure doesn't stray from that goal. However, each part of the quest is more complicated than just killing something, finding what you were looking for in its loot, and taking it back home. Granted, the PCs could just go through the ruined city just killing everything they see, but they'll probably run out of resources quite quickly.

The big revelation for me was the subtle complexity of these additions to the quest. The PCs were still primarily searching for items that were guarded by dangerous monsters. However, the multiple layers were a huge step. Gone were the days of the treasure being found in the last room in the bottom level guarded by the strongest monster. It is truly amazing how interesting a quest can become when it involves more than just making your way to the bottom of the dungeon. Shards of the Day taught me to make my players jump through hoops and clear all kinds of red tape before they got what they wanted... and my adventures improved because of it. I didn't need a new quest every single session anymore. I could create one or two big goals and then string them along with dozens of min-quests before they ever got what they wanted.

Finding the treasure at the end of the "adventure" would never be the same for us again. Suddenly, things were much more difficult... and much more rewarding at the same time.

Lessons Learned:
  • Incorporate quests with multiple steps
  • Reveal new goals mid-quest instead of presenting all of the information up front

Lessons From Randy Maxwell (Intro)

This is the beginning of a new series here at Outsyder Gaming, a tribute of sorts to an old Dungeon Magazine adventure that has become a staple of my gaming library. Way back in 1996, TSR publish Dungeon Magazine #60, and it happened to come early in the second D&D campaign I ever ran. It was the first Dungeon Magazine I ever read, and it had a profound impact on the way I ran my games.

Although I pored over this issue of Dungeon Magazine and enjoyed all of the content, the adventure that really caught and kept my attention was Shards of the Day, by Randy Maxwell. Through this module, he introduced me to nuances of dungeon mastering that I had never encountered before, and that would stay with me throughout my pursuit of the hobby.

This series will be more than a little nostalgic for me, as I look back to my first campaigns, some of the mistakes I made, and some of the things that this particular adventure taught me about adventure design. I've mentioned this particular adventure here on Outsyder Gaming several times in the past, most notably in this post, but this series will focus on what one can learn from this module. As of right now, it's a six part series (not including this post), but that might change as things go. Lessons From Randy Maxwell #1 will be posted Monday morning, March 7th.

#1: Subtly Complex Quests
#2: Magic Items Don't Have to Be Powerful
#3: Friendly Monsters
#4: Monsters & Mistaken Identity
#5: Mass Mapping
#6: Interesting Random Encounters
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