Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Ghost Archipelago Campaign '18, Game 6: The Blood Totems

      This past weekend we got together for the sixth game in our Ghost Archipelago campaign.  We had  7 of our regular 8 players.  We continued to work on the scenarios in the rulebook, moving on to the fourth one: The Blood Totems.    We used an 8'x3' table, with three players on one side, and four on the other.  As per the scenario instructions, the 3 central treasures were replaced with Blood Totems, as were all the treasures placed by the players at the start of the game.
         I was relatively lucky in drawing for starting position, getting third choice; and selected a spot with three of the Blood Totems in apparent easy reach.  Unfortunately, Skorri Drakenburg and his Beast Warden, Agger, once again set up across from me and a little to the left.  I didn't look forward to the possibility of a repeat of last month's debacle.   Kragmar of the True Blood, and his Storm Warden, Samael Gale also set up across and further to my left, further down from Skorri.  The Heritor Gregorious and his Storm Warden, Missy, were directly on my left on my side of the table, and the strange Duckman Heritor, Robin Duck, and his Duckman Vine Warden, Friar Duck, were directly on my right.  Across to my right front were the Heritor Griffin and his Wave Warden, Ashalla. And far down on the opposite side of Gregorious was the Heritor Herndon, and his Warden Arwhine.

To read the report from the previous game, see: The Abandoned Watchtowers

A look at the table at the start of the game.

The Report:
     The Elven Heritor, Lord Fortrywn, was up early and was already on the deck of the Silver Sword when the watch in the crow's nest called "Land to Starboard!"  He had risen feeling better than he had in weeks, and some would say he was in a good mood; though few on the ship could remember ever having seen him in such a disposition and weren't sure it was possible.
     The island they headed towards was missing from most charts of the Archipelago, and the few explorers that knew of it's presence dared to go there; as it had a bad reputation for evil spirits and black magic.  Once the home to a blood thirsty tribe who reveled in arcane worship and blood sacrifice, it's mysteries were many and the legends  about it exaggerated.   But one thing the Elven Heritor knew for sure; besides their lust for blood, the tribe had also lusted for treasure. And it was said that many a valuable trinket had been striped from the unfortunate early explores, or more to the point: victims, who stumbled on the island, and the treasures were still hidden within it's misty hills.
     In  a short time, they had landed on the shore of the island, and gazed at the wall of green jungle and the rising green hills behind.  The air was unnaturally still and fetid.  Lord Fortrywn ignored the somber atmosphere, and ordered the crew to press on.  They found themselves passing over series of ridges; low hills at first than longer higher ridges as they went.
        Once they got further inland, the Elf Heritor began to sense that they were not alone; a small alarm in the back of his brain was telling him that other crews were there on the island as well.  So, he stopped and set the commands for his group.   Lord Fortrywn divided his crew into three groups.  With himself he took the new Hunter, Bindidell Gladeshadow; and the dependable Crew-woman, Arbyn; as well as the Crew-woman, Meriwyn.  He assigned to his Niece, Marny, who was also his Vine Warden; the new Archer, Tannin Softsing; the Crewman, Orinde; and Crew-woman, Bry.  Crewmen Finil and Sifinly were left to fill in where needed.
      The one thing the Elf Lord stressed as he gave his orders, was for everyone to stay close and be cautious.  If he had learned anything these past months in the Archipelago, it was that letting everyone wander off in their own direction, ending up badly.  They were stronger as a group, and he hoped to keep it that way.
Lord Fortrywn's starting set up.
     As the group moved cautiously up a valley between two low ridges, they came upon a large, primitively carved, stone statue of a giant horned head; with a scowling expression and its arms folded in front of it. They looked it over, but did not notice anything remarkable about it.  Then a little further away, on a hill to the left, Bindedell, the Hunter, spotted another, smaller, stone head along side of a patch of jungle on the hilltop.  Shortly after, another small stone head was seen next to a patch of jungle running down the center of the valley a little further away; followed by a third such head located on the ridge to the right.  They all formed a rough semi-circle around the large stone head.
     Lord Fortrywn puzzled at the meaning of it all; and having no answers, turned to his niece and said, "Girl, do you make anything of this?"  Marnilyne looked back wide-eyed, and shook her head.  In all her magical studies she had never come across anything similar.  But, she had ever been exposed to anything even remotely like Dark Magic in her training.
    Without warning, Bindidell took off and jogged up the hill to the left to inspect the smaller stone head.  Lord Fortrywn was coming to discover the young Elf had an annoying impetuous side.  How he wished Gwynwater, his former Hunter, always dependable, had not been taken from him. The big Heritor started to command, "Come ba..."  But it was too late; the Hunter was already halfway up the hill. He cursed, silently in his head, and followed the young woman.  Motioning to Arbyn (She was surely dependable, he thought.) and Meriwyn to come with him; the trio followed the Hunter up the hill towards the small totem.
      Lord Fortrywn still wasn't sure about this Hunter.  Bindidell seemed skilled enough, but her past was a bit of a mystery; orphaned at an early age, and raised in a Human-owned tavern, the young Elf girl had learned to drink and curse like a Human tavern patron.  Leaving there as soon as she was of age, she spent the intervening years alone in the woods and forests, learning her trade though hard experience.   He still wasn't sure how she ended up on the dock in Corlair; a far way form the forests of the Borderkeep; and she didn't seem inclined to want to discuss it.
Initial moves.
       Meanwhile, Lord Fortrywn's Niece and Warden, Marnilyne, also advanced with her group a short distance away along the valley.  The young Elf thought she saw movement further down the valley, where a third ridge split it into a Y shape, and paused a moment to cast her Plant Walk spell.  As she chanted, the patch of jungle running down the center of the valley, slowly began to move along the ground, the roots churning the soil as it went, until it had rotated it's position almost 90 degrees, and was now straddling the valley floor almost completely, mostly sealing it off from anyone down at the far end.
      Up on the hill to her left, her Uncle and his companions had reached the small head-shaped totem and studied it.  It was covered in strange runes, the likes of which none had ever seen; and at its base, a few inches in front of it,  there was a flattened, domed-topped, stone the size of a small shield with more carvings upon it. Meriwyn extended her hand and towards the totem, and could feel a strange heat radiating from it.  A sense of dread came over her.  Lord Fortrywn also could feel his Blood Burn prickling under his skin even though he was doing nothing but standing there gazing at the statue. 
    "Do you think that domed rock is covering something?" Arbyn ventured.
     Meriwyn looked at her and raised and eyebrow, "Lets see." And the Crew-woman knelt down, and fighting the sense of dread that emanated from the totem, reached her hand out to the domed rock. Meri felt around it for a place to get a grasp on it. The Elf could feel a sense of doom growing inside as she attempted to dislodge the rock.  The more she pulled, the greater the dread became, until it burst upon her in a full panic; suddenly recoiling, she pulled her hand from the rock and fell backwards breathing hard and in a cold sweat as if she had seen death itself.  (Meri attempts to free treasure and fails her Will roll.)  Arbyn, and Bindidell were both a little shaken by the sight of Meri, sitting in the tall grass, her chest heaving and her face buried in her hands.  Lord Fortrywn looked on merely curious, and looking at Arbyn, said, "Can you do it?"
      The tall Crew-woman, took one look back at Meriwyn and saw she was slowly recovering herself; then turned and faced the stone with her jaw set.  Already she could feel the dread building as she approached, but fought  it; and kneeling down, gripped the stone firmly with both hands near where Meri had.  Almost immediately the doom descended upon her, and closing her eyes she tried to fight it as she heaved at the rock.  Pulling with all her might, as she stared at a bloody death behind her shut eyes, she found the panic welling up inside and tried to concentrate on the ache in her arms and fingers rather than the images she saw.   The rock budged a little and she could feel a tingle of hope in her fingers.  It was what she need at that moment and she latched onto it.  Fighting the Darkness, before all her mental and physical energy were sapped, Arbyn gave a last pull with all she had left, and the stone came free. (Arbyn passes Will roll to free treasure.)  The Crew-woman fell back with the release of the stone, and like her companion, sat there on the ground for a time simply trying to regain herself.   Bindidell took the initiative, and moved forward to peer into a hole that had appeared beneath the rock.  There inside was a small chest, and the Hunter reached down and grabbed it.
Marny rotates the patch of jungle, and Orinde and Bry move forward and recover the treasure from the totem. 
     Back in the valley,  Marny worried about the gentle slope at the end of the ridge on the right, next to the jungle she had just moved, and decided to cast some Brambles upon it to aid in the deterrent of any trespassers on their activities.  As she did this, Tannin took up a firing position nearby, behind some tall grasses and readied his bow.  The two crew members,  Bry and Orinde, ran up to the totem on the valley floor.  Their experience was similar to that of their friends on the hill; a sense of dread simply being in the vicinity of the thing.  And, as Bry tried to dislodge the domed foot stone, she too was overcome with horrible visions and feelings of doom.  Like her sister-crewmember, Arbyn had done, Bry was able to push through the panic and freed the stone.  Reaching into the hole beneath, Orinde, likewise, recovered a small chest.
     Meanwhile, Sifinly and Finil had climbed the long slope of the ridge on the right to check out the totem there.  As they reached it, they saw that they had been beaten to the prize; two strange Duckmen had already recovered the hidden treasure and were about to make their getaway down a vine ladder on the cliff behind them at the ridge's edge.   Quickly the two Elves charged at the Duckmen with the treasure.  Finil sliced wildly with his sword, and missed; but Sifinly's sword connected and feathers flew as he put a deep gash in the creature.    Quickly, the Crewman tired to bring his blade around again with a backswing, but the Duck had his sword ready, and cut under the Elf, his blade sinking deep into Sifinly's leg.  The Elf Crewman's leg collapsed, and he pitched backwards, rolling back down the slope where he lay, unmoving.  (The duck Crewman rolled a 20!) Finil took the brief moment of the Duckman's sword being in his friend's leg, to strike at the creature himself, hacking the enemy Crewman again, and sending him tumbling backwards off the cliff, as the treasure chest he was holding fell from his hands. It fell right at the feet of the other Duckman, who scooped it up, and in a flash jumped over the cliff with it.   Finil thought to follow, but when he looked over the cliff, he could see there were more of the fowl creatures in the far valley, so decided to withdraw instead.
Sifinly and Finil battle the Duckmen for a treasure.
     Back on the other ridge, Bindidell, clutching the treasure, ran back down the slope towards their rendezvous point. With a sigh, Lord Fortrywn said to Arbyn, "Get her back. You take it. I need her bow." In a flash, Arbyn was running down the hill after the Hunter and shouted "Bindi! Wait!" Bindidell stopped as if she had hit a wall, she rounded on the Crew-woman and, dropping the treasure on the ground, shouted back, "Never! Never, call me 'Bindi!' I hate it! It's a dancing girl's name! I'm no tavern harlot! And I won't be called as one."   Fire burned in her fair cheeks as she started back up the hill fuming.  Arbyn halted, puzzled, and approached the Hunter cautiously.  The hunter merely pushed passed her under a personal dark cloud, both angry at the perceived insult, and embarrassed about the outburst.  Arbyn stood a moment still puzzling and watched the other Elf head back up the hill.  She then bent down and picked up the treasure, and turned for the rendezvous point.
     Back on the hill, Sir Fortrywn had heard all the shouting and had headed a short way down the slope to see what was wrong.  By the time he got near, it was all over, and he only saw the Hunter striding up towards him and Arbyn picking up the treasure.  "What was that?" he asked Bindidell as she approached.
     "Nothing, my Lord," she replied as she regained her composure. "You asked for me?"
      Meanwhile, seeing the Orinde safely had the other treasure and was well on his way to the rendezvous point, Tannin and Bry climbed the ridge to find Sir Fortrywn.  Marny went to make sure all was well with Finil and Sifinly.
       As Tannin  reached the top, on the far side of the patch of jungle where Lord Fortrywn and his companions had retrieved the first treasure,, he saw movement down at the far length of the ridge.  It was the Heritor Skorri Drakenburg and some of his crewmen, and they had just retrieved a treasure from a monkey shaped totem. (A Central Treasure.)  Despite Sir Fortrywn's stern order not to tangle with any of Skorri's crew if they were met, The Archer could not resist; notching an arrow he took a shot at the enemy Crewman with the treasure.  The shot went wide and actually struck the monkey totem, not far from where Skorri stood barking orders.  The enemy Heritor's keen senses instantly detected the arrow land, and where it had come from from.  In a snap he had unshouldered his own bow, and sent an arrow (Envenomed) back at the fool that had shot at him. The Heritor's aim was unfailing, and the arrow struck Tannin right below his right collar bone.  The Archer bent over with pain.  The wound burned like fire. Quickly he pulled the arrow, and did his best to bandage the wound.  As he did so, his stomach began to churn and a gagging bile grew in his throat.  Heaving over he convulsed as waves of nausea hit, and his stomach emptied on the jungle floor. (Poisoned from the Envenomed arrow.)
Bindidell and Lord Fortrywn deal with a Tribal Hunter
           Back on the other side of the jungle there on the ridgetop, Lord Fortrywn, Meriwyn, and Bindidell met up with Bry, and formulated a plan.  The Elf Heritor at this point had also spotted Skorri and his Crewman fleeing with the treasure from the monkey totem, and decided things were going so well, now wasn't the time to tangle with that foe.  As he scanned the surrounding area, he caught sight of another group of crewmen milling about in a valley just a ridge line away.  If his keen eyes weren't mistaken, it was some of the Heritor Gregorious' men; and they appeared to be dragging some chests with them.  That looked like a good target.
     As the four of them set of down the slope into the near valley, they sensed some movement in the tall grass off to their left, and a Tribal Hunter jogged into view.  Bindidell quickly ran down the slope to get a better shot, and let loose an arrow.  It hit the Tribal in the side and spun him around. (-8 HP)  Quickly the Tribal raised his own bow, but before he had time to notch an arrow, Lord Fortrywn was down the hill by his Hunter in a few long strides, with his own bow readied; and let fly an arrow of his own.  It hit the Tribal squarely and dropped him on the valley floor.
     In the meantime, Marny was still in the other valley with Finil.  She raised her hands to cast another Bramble spell, making sure the valley was well sealed off.   As the Warden finished, there was a sharp pain above her hip that quickly turned into a hot searing fire radiating up her back and down her right leg.  (-8 HP and Poisoned) She let out a cry as she stumbled forward  and fell to the ground.  Finil immediately saw the arrow sticking from her, and instinctively looked for the shooter.  There behind them, coming up near where they had entered the valley, was another Tribal Hunter.  Like Tannin earlier, Marny soon felt her stomach flipping over and the sourness rising in her throat.  Finil helped her pull the arrow.  "Some cover would be good now perhaps." he said through clenched teeth as he worked on her.  From her position on the ground, she weakly raised an arm towards the Tribal, and began the chant for the Brambles spell; but halfway through the spell her stomach inverted itself, the ground beneath her heaved, and turning her head, she vomited violently onto the valley floor. (Failed to cast Brambles)
Marny is abushed by another Tribal Warrior.
       "Stay here." Finil  said, and rushed off to face the Tribal Hunter himself.  Seeing the Elf charging him,  the Hunter quickly fired another arrow, hitting Finil in the shoulder (-5 HP and Poisoned).  The Tribal then dropped his bow, and drawing his own sword, raced headlong at the Elf.  Finil ignored the hot poker of pain in his shoulder, and the churning of his gut, and met his onrushing opponent with a clang of steel.    The Elf was by far the more experienced swordsman, and with a quick thrust, killed the Hunter with a single blow. (Rolled 20)
      Back at the far valley; Lord Fortrywn, the Crew-women Meriwyn and Bry, and Bindidell the Hunter were making their way to the next ridge, when there was another disturbance in the tall grass and a Snakeman appeared, apparently in pursuit of the Tribal Hunter. He was shocked to see the four Elves, and hesitated.  Bindidell, called out, "I've got this!", as she turned and headed for the new threat, and Meriwyn headed after her to help.   Confident the Snakeman would be handled by the Hunter and Crew-woman, Lord Fortrywn and Bry continued on over the next ridge.
     As the pair of Elf-women charged the Snakeman, the creature drew his sword, and prepared to meet their attack.  He was no match for the pair of seasoned Elven fighters though.  First Meri sliced low putting a gash in his soft belly scales; and then Bindi hit him high, cutting downward as the creature bent over in pain, almost severing his head from his neck.
Bindidell and Meriwyn attack the Snakeman, as Lord Fortrywn and Bry continue on and up over the next ridge.
     As Meri and Bindidell finished off the Snakeman,  Lord Fortrywn and Bry continued up the far ridge and reached the top.  Quickly the Heritor surveyed the situation.  The pair of Elves were shocked at what they saw.  There was not just a few of Gregorious's crew but most of them.  And not only Gregorious' but half of Kragmar of the True Blood's as well.  What's more, Gregorious and Kragmar themselves were there engaged in a sword fight.
   Lord Fortrywn, saw his opportunity.  Everyone was busy watching the two Heritors fight, but there was one lone Crewman dragging a treasure at the base of the ridge who no one was watching.  Quickly he charged down the slope as he drew his sword, and in a flash had killed the poor Crewman with a single blow.  Bry was right behind him and scooped up the treasure.  Everyone had noticed the commotion though, and now many eyes turned to look at the pair of Elves who just appeared.  Lord Fortrywn made a snap decision, and launched himself at the two Heritors standing there in order to buy Bry some time.  The three, formed a triangle each eyeing the other.
    As the trio of Heritors faced off, Kragmar's Storm Warden, Samael Gale, was not idle.  There was sudden gust of wind, and Gregorious's Warden, Missy, found herself blown directly from where she stood into Bry. (Samael Gale casts Wind Blast.)  Missy recovered from the shock first, and drew her sword, but she was right on top of the Elf and there was no room to swing, so pulling her arm back she thwacked the Elf on the side of the head with her fist wrapped firmly around the sword's grip. The Warden's powerful blow dropped the Elf like a stone.
Lord Fortrywn charges and dispatches one of Gregorious' Crewmen.
       The three Heritors circled around, no one daring to strike first.  With three of them there was a stalemate.  It was Gregorius who spoke first, "Brothers of the Blood Gift! Hear me!  There can be no winner here in this. Let us end this now and call truce this once"  Lord Fortrywn noticed there was blood dripping down on the Human's leg armor, and a rent in the metal on the side, and thought to himself, "He's badly wounded that's why he wants to end this."
     The Elf Lord considered his next step, and realized everything had gone his way so far; but now Bry was down, and he was virtually surrounded by two enemy crews.  He decided this once to side with Gregorious.   Lord Fortrywn declared, "I agree Brother!  It has been a long day, and all have fought hard.  Let us delay this fight until another meeting."
      Kragmar bristled.  He was now the odd man out.  He wanted to fight, knowing how bad off Gregorious was, and positive the Elf was no match for his skills; but with the two of them in agreement, that put the odds against him.  So, he grunted his agreement, and sheathed his sword; swearing silently to himself that he wound find these two cowards again.  Cautiously, the three backed off.  Lord Fortrywn gathered the unconscious Bry in his arms and departed quickly before anyone could change their mind.
Bry picks up the treasure as Missy is blown into her.  Meanwhile Lord Fortrywn faces off against two other Heritors.
     Later that evening, aboard the Silver Sword, spirits were high.   No one had been lost or badly injured on this expedition, and two treasures had been recovered.   Lord Fortrywn sat in his cabin, the day's spoils laid out on his desk in front of him; 70 gold coins, and a wax sealed vial that his Niece, who was in her own cabin recovering from the poison, had identified as a Potion of Free Fall.   He had played things cautious on the island, and it had paid off; but there was still room for improvement.  Perhaps his luck was turning.  It was time to rest, and start preparing for the next time. In the distance he could hear the crew singing a song of the seas. He smiled, and turned to retire for the evening.
The aftermath: Two treasures recovered, and two crewfolk fallen, though both made a full recovery.


Epilogue: 
   It was great to finally break the cycle of everybody getting "killed" and recovering only one treasure!  I looked back, and this is the first game of the campaign in which I managed to get more than one treasure. Finally!
      It was a tactically interesting game as well.  The hills running across the table added an interesting element, and managed to channel the crews a bit and provide some level of separation.
   Interestingly, this had to be the most Creature-heavy game we've played.  Not only did 90%-95% of the treasure rolls bring on creatures, but the scenario called for a roll each time someone was killed, and those too had a high result rate.   I was lucky with only having to face three. Some folks, like Herndon, got hammered with creatures entering in their area.  Griffin and Robin Duck also faced more than their share of wandering baddies.
     The Heritor stand off at the end would have been interesting to resolve, but unfortunately the game ended almost immediately afterwards, when Skorri and the last of his crew left the table.  I don't know if I'm sad I didn't get to see the fight, or happy that Lord Fortrywn was saved from a thrashing.  Either way, the treasure Bry was carrying that was dropped when she was knocked out, was not picked up by anyone before the game ended; so remained unclaimed.  A small amount of satisfaction there, as denying it to Gregorious was a small payback for his denying me the Dricheans' Prisoner in game 3.
 

Monday, June 18, 2018

Combat Patrol: Fantasy- A Historicon Playtest

     At our club's meeting last Friday I had the chance to playtest the game I will be running at Historicon next month in Lancaster, PA.  It's a fantasy battle using a upcoming Dark Ages/Fantasy supplement for the Combat Patrol skirmish rules.   The scenario involves a Dwarven treasure caravan camped in a small hamlet for the night, which is attacked at dawn's light by by a group of Orcs, Goblins. and Trolls. Oh, My!
       Though the game was designed for 6 players (three on a side), we only had four players, so split each side into two commands.    Things went slowly at first as we all familiarized ourselves with the rules, but by game's end the action was humming along.
An overview of the battlefield. On the right is the small village where the Dwarves start, and the Orcs and their allies enter from the woods along the table edge on the left.

With the sound of Orc war-drums approaching, a unit of Dwarf Miners, and one of Dwarf Axemen, are roused from their breakfast and prepare a defense.

The Dwarf commander, feeling a bit invincible, charges upon her trusty bear-mount directly at a unit of Orc longbows.  She almost made it; but the first volley wounded the bear, which threw her and stunned her.  The second volley killed the bear and wounded her; and the third finished her off, as she struggled to make it to the safety of the nearby row of bushes.

On the Orc right, Goblins with short bows, Orcs, and a Cave Troll all advance as fast as possible...

...While on the Dwarf right, the allied Stone Giant wades into a unit of Orc Warriors and starts smashing heads.  The Orcs manage to slightly wound the giant in the leg, but ultimately the Orc survivors fail morale and run away 

Back on the Orc right, a unit of Goblins harasses the Dwarven Miners, as a  unit of Orc Warriors (in the foreground) run by the Dwarves and head for the treasure wagons.

The Orc's Marsh Troll moves to intercept the Giant.  Both creatures swing their mighty clubs and connect with their opponent simultaneously: the already wounded Giant falls dead,  and the troll ends up severely wounded, and one Endurance Point from death himself. 

The Orcs and Cave Troll on the right break through, and despite a noble defense by the Dwarves' Stone Golem, and a Dwarven Leader, continue to make headway.  The townsfolk, the last line of defense, prepare to face them in the streets.
    It was a great game!  In the end, the Orc left had collapsed under the weight of the Dwarven Handgunners and the Giant's rampage; while the Dwarven left had likewise fallen.  Since the Orc's on the Dwarven left were just inches from the wagons at the end, with nothing to stop them, we declared the game an Orc victory.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Temple of the Sorceress of the Sea: A Ghost Archipelago Terrain Build

        Over the past few weeks I've slowly been assembling and painting a terrain piece made up of various toy and craft bits, that I call the Temple of the Sorceress of the Sea.
     It all started back at Cold Wars in March, where I found a large action figure of a unidentified female sorceress or superhero.  So I stacked some pieces together, not gluing anything, just getting a feel for how I like the arrangement.  The base is a sand mold form the Dollar Tree, and then figure is standing on an orange juice lid and a wooden base.

     I liked how it looked, so I began the assembly. I mounted the sorceress to the wood disc by putting screws up through her feet.  I then glued the wood disc to the juice lid.     After that, I superglued together the scepter, and added a little seashell to the top to help sell the sea soreceress theme.  I also superglued all her arm and leg joints to help hold them in place.

      I had ordered a pack of cheap sea creature charms on eBay for this project, and glued some as decorations onto the base .   At that point I decided I wanted to get some small conical seashells to top the crenelations on the four corners.
      They didn’t have the ideal size I was looking for, so I settled on something a little larger. I had to trim the bottoms down anyway so they’d sit flat, and that reduced their size.
I then glued them to the four crenellations, and put it all together to see how it looked.
  I then primed the top piece with Army Painter "Necrotic Flesh"  (It's my go to spray primer for unknown plastics), and I primed the temple with Rustoleum Paint and Primer "Flat Black".  With paint on it, I realized there were a couple problems I needed to correct on the statue; first there were noticeable gaps between her thigh joints and where they connect to her lower body which I needed to fill, and secondly I noticed the hinges on her elbows were very obvious now and needed to be covered over.  So I greenstuffed the elbows and thigh joints of the statue, as well as a large gap in one of the shell crenelations on the temple. I also applied a Mod Podge coat to the temple base to give the smooth surface some texture.
      Then, when the Mod Podge dried, I did the dry-brushing on the structure and the statue base.  Dark, medium, and light gray; followed by a last white highlight application.
     I then painted the statue, crenelations, and sea life decorations all with a verdigris bronze look. Then I did the doors as weathered wood, and the chains and hinges as weathered metal.
     Here is the final results.

      I always pictured in my mind, the temple standing above a cliff face with the giant statue looking out over the waves.  There's a door in the back for access, and another on the front which, drawbridge style, opens out over the sea providing a platform for the acolytes to stand on and do their magic.
     I'm really pleased with how this turned out.  I may add some vines or such to the walls, but I would hate to mess it up some way.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Dinosaur Nests for Ghost Archipelago.

   Knowing that we'll need some dinosaur nests for one of the scenarios in the Ghost Archipelago core rulebook, I deiced to devote some time to making some.
    To begin with, I  bought three craft birds nests that are approximately 3” across from my FLCS.
     With those in hand, I cut down 3 CDs, and then cut some foam core to fit on them.  I glued the first one (upper right in photo below) before I realized I wanted the nest to sit down more in the foam core, so they'd appear as if they were in depressions, rather than be tall and stick up; so I had to carve a hole in that one after the fact.  The other two I was able to cut a hole in the center of the foam core before I glued them to their CD bases.
 After gluing the foam core to the CD's I ran some Mod Podge around the exposed edges of the foam core.  When, dry, I primed the bases black.
      I then started gluing the nests to the bases when the primer was dry.
      These are the eggs I planned to use.  I've had these for forever (they were actually buried away with our Easter decorations), but thought they'd be ideal for dino eggs.   Best of all, I wouldn't have to paint them! 
       When the bases were all glued and the glue was dry,  I added an area of churned up mud on one side of each nest, figuring there would be a path where the mama dinosaur moved back and forth dragging the nest materials.     I used some texture paint I had, and sprinkled a little sand in it.
 I glued some fake fern fronds and sphagnum moss to the nests in an attempt to make them look a little less bird nest-y.  When dry, I base coated the bases with some brown paint.
   I then drybrushed the mud area, and flocked the bases.  Afterwards, I glued on an assortment of vegetation.   I decided to not glue the eggs in, so they could actually be removed during a game.


     I'm really pleased with how these turned out!  They're a little big, but I don't think unbelievably so; particularly when considering some of the big dinosaurs in Ghost Archipelago like the Monarch!

Monday, May 28, 2018

Recent Toy Conversion Additions to my Ghost Archipelago Bestiary

    Over the past several months I've slowly been gathering various inexpensive toys to help fill out the needed creatures for the Ghost Archipelago rules.    I thought I'd compile and share some of those efforts here.
   A while back I purchased a second hand tub of plastic toy dinosaurs off of eBay, and have used them to make my Talonjacks and Stalkers.



      I also picked up a set of cheap plastic Sea-life toys on eBay, and converted them to be waterlined Shark figures.

      Lastly, I got some plastic Cocktail Monkeys (used to hang-on and identify cocktail glasses), and repainted them to be Screamer Monkeys.

   

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Ghost Archipelago Campaign '18, Game 5: The Abandoned Watchtowers

     This past weekend we got together for the fifth game in our Ghost Archipelago campaign.  We had only 5 of our regular 8 players.  We continued to work on the scenarios in the rulebook, moving on to the third one: The Abandoned Watchtower.    We used a 6'x3' table and had two watchtowers with their Central Treasures on top.    With the odd number of players, we had to carefully place the watch towers so they were placed within equidistance of both the players on the two-player side of the table and the three player side of the table, so they were a little off from the centerline.
A look at the table before crews were deployed.
     Unfortunately, Skorri Drakenburg and his Beast Warden, Agger, set up directly across from me.  I didn't look forward to a repeat of last month's debacle.   Kragmar of the True Blood, and his Storm Warden, Samael Gale set up to my right, and diagonally to my front right was the Heritor, Herndon,  and his Wave Warden, Arwhine.     I was lucky with my chip draw for starting location, getting first choice.  I picked one of the corners, down by the dark grey tower (as seen in the picture above), as there seemed to be a good chance at getting at least a couple treasures there; including one that was easily within a single move away.  There were two in a pair of low ruins to the left of the tower, another in a patch of jungle between the ruins and the tower, and a fourth atop a rocky outcropping to my front right of the tower. And, of course there was the central treasure on top of the tower. 

To read my report from the previous game, see: The Floating Hulks


The Report

      The Elf Heritor, Lord Fortrywn, lay in his bed aboard his ship, the Silver Sword, bathed in a cold sweat; his mind going in and out of consciousness.   The past 6 weeks had been a disastrous series of events, the end result being him laying here in a poison-induced fever.  While his Elf constitution might have been enough in an ideal situation to overcome such toxins, this was not an ideal situation, as he was already a bit weak from his previous expedition, and had received  a nasty wound earlier in the day.  In his lucid moments he contemplated the path that had brought him here...
     It had all started last month when they had set off to explore an island of shipwrecks.  There, the Heritor had suffered a grievous wound at the hands of the Heritor, Molly Malone.  His life had hung in the balance, and the direness of his situation had brought about a trip back to the mainland for a healing potion to set him on the road to recovery, as well as the important replacement of their late Hunter and Archer.
     Lord Fortrywn never should have entrusted his Niece and Warden, Marnilyne, to purchase a dockside potion by herself; but then again, with his trusted Hunter, Gwynwater, gone (one of the casualties of the shipwreck island), who could he trust anymore. His reaction to some ingredient in the potion had been horrendous; vomiting, headache, chills... All ailments seldom suffered by Elves; and he had had to suffer through the indignity of them all. The Heritor had been rendered bedridden for two weeks. Yes, the wound had healed in a surprising short amount of time, but the side effects of the draught had almost been worse.
      There had been one other side effect; one he kept to himself.  Something about the potion and it's queer effect on his body had brought out an unknown ability in his Blood Gift.  He had discovered it by accident while laying in agony in his bed wishing he would just disappear into nothingness; suddenly, he had become immaterial, and passed straight through his bed, landing with a thunk on the dirty deck floor beneath.  (Developed Wraith Walk ability via a random roll upon reaching level 5)
     His Niece, Marny, had spent the long weeks of his convalescence teaching herself how to manipulate vines into all sort of intricate knots, loops, and patterns.   A charming novelty spell; who knew if it would ever prove useful.  (Learned Ladder upon reaching level 4).
Lord Fortrywn deploys his forces. On the left Marniyne the Warden, Randilas the Archer, Salin the Pearl Diver, and Crewman Vilkse.  On the right, Lord F himself,  Bindidell the Hunter, Tannin the Archer, and Crew-woman Arbyn.  In the center is Crew members Meriwyn and Dirkand.
     As the side effects passed, Lord Fortrywn had felt well enough after a few weeks to lead an expedition to investigate a pair of old watchtowers they spotted along the coast of a small island.  They looked like proper stone military structures, not some tribal building, so the old Elf general hoped there might be maps or navigational charts in them that could aid in their quest for the Crystal Pool. He ordered a landing party be gathered and they set off to investigate.
    In retrospect, he thought, he may still have not felt well enough to have been quite up to the task; his head had still ached and he had not been sleeping well.  But, as they say, after you have met your failure face to face, you can see the path on which it arrived with the eye of a a hawk.
   Everything had started out well enough.  They landed at first light, and made their way the short distance inland to one of the towers.    Lord Fortrywn divided his crew into three groups.  With himself he took the new Hunter, Bindidell Gladeshadow; the new Archer, Tannin Softsing, and the dependable Crew-woman, Arbyn.  He assigned to his Niece, Marny; the Archer, Randilas; Salin, the Pearl Diver, and the Crewman, Vilkse.  Crew members Meriwyn and Dirkand were left to fill in where needed.  He instructed his Niece and Warden, to get her group started on the path towards some small outbuildings on the left, then return quickly to assist him on the tower with the new vine intertwining spell, Ladder, that she had learned.
     Lord Fortrywn with his group, made his way to the right, towards the ruined tower.  As they neared, and circled around a small pond, they spotted a Large Snake curled up and sunning itself on the warm rocks at the base of the structure.  The new Hunter, Bindidell, fired at the big reptile, but missed.  Then the new Archer, Tannin, also shot, but had better luck; his arrow piecing the beast at the base of the head, killing it instantly.   The group continued forward, and when they were almost at the base of the rocky outcropping on which the tower sat, Arbyn split off to the right to investigate some old crates and jars she spotted nestled in a crevice in a secondary smaller outcropping nearby.
Lord Fortrywn, Bindidell, and Tannin head for the tower, as Arbyn investigates a cache of crates and jugs on a small outcropping.
     Marny led her group around a large patch of jungle towards a pair of old ruined stone huts on the left.   As she went, she spotted an enemy crew advancing through the underbrush in the distance, also moving towards the huts.  It was Skorri's gang.  Quickly she whipped up a Bramble spell, misspoke it, and had to use all her concentration and powers to make it work (Pushed for -4 HP) 
     The two crew, Meri and Dirkand, made their way up the middle keeping equidistance between the two groups, they spotted some crates and jugs nestled in some undergrowth, and moved to investigate.  As they did so a pair of arrows whizzed by Meri's head from a pair of Skorri's Archers who approached in the distance.  Figuring they didn't have a lot of time to investigate, Meriwyn grabbed the largest crate and turned to run for cover. Dirkand bravely put himself between his fellow crew member and the Archers firing upon them.  Nonetheless, and sharp point sliced through the Crew-woman's shirt cutting a long gash across her arm (-2 HP), and another again whizzed past her head.
     It had started to grow darker on the island, as thick clouds began to over the sun. (Kragmar's Warden had cast Cloud Cover.)  Back at the watchtower, Lord Fortrywn and Bindidell had reached the base of the large outcropping upon which it sat, and began to climb.  The Elf Lord could now see Skorri Drakenburg's crew further away in the jungle.   They seemed to be mostly concentrated around a pair of ruined huts a fair distance away in the direction his Niece and her party had set off.  In the back of his mind a concern began to grow as he realized there didn't seem to be anyone else heading for the tower. 
    Nearby, with the Archer, Tannin covering her, Arbyn recovered a treasure chest from the rocky crevise, and the pair began to make their way back towards safety.
Meriwyn leads her group to the left, around a large patch of jungle , heading for the pair of ruined huts.
     Over by the huts, Marny and her fellows had stumbled right into Skorri himself, his Hunter, and a fair number of his crew.  The Elves found themselves severely outnumbered.  Quickly, Marny chanted the Bramble spell to block some of them from advancing any further,  as an arrow from Skorri's Hunter struck Vilkse the crewman in the shoulder (-4 HP).  Pulling the shaft from the wound, Vilkse continued forward attempting to take cover behind the wall of one of the huts, he was joined by Salin, the Pearl Diver.
     They then heard the dreaded loud hum of a Giant Wasp, and the creature came flying through the jungle and appeared a short distance from the huts (Summoned by Skorri's Warden, Agger.) Marny's mind raced.  She knew she had to make a stand here, or Skorri's whole crew would be able to sweep around behind them.  The girl had no tactical training and tried frantically to devise a plan.  Then the first arrow hit her, fired by Skorri himself.  It hit her hard in the side just below her ribs, and spun her around (Reduced to 2 HP).  She fought against the pain, and tried to remain conscious. Then the second arrow hit her in the back, just above her waist, his one from Skorri's Hunter, and pitched her forward into the tall grass, where she lay unmoving.
    The Wasp made a direct line for Randilas the Archer.  As it maneuvered to attack,  the brave bowman sliced hard with his dagger cutting off part of one of the insect's legs (-1 HP).  It reeled back giving Randy enough time to bring his bow around, and he fired, but missed.  Shouldering his bow again, he drew his dagger and charged the Wasp. Vilkse joined him with his spear.  Distracted by this new threat, the Wasp turned from the Archer and in a flash grabbed the unfortunate Crewman with two of it's good legs, and swinging it's body forward thrust it's long saber like stinger into Vilkse, before he even knew what hit him. The Elf crumpled to the ground, a gaping wound in his chest.  Salin now came up to join the fight, and swung wildly at the insect, his sword hitting, but not cutting into the beast's chitinous body. As the Beast turned to face this new threat, Randy saw his chance, and plunged his dagger into the Wasp's side.  The creature spasmed, and dropped to the ground; it's wings fluttered weakly a couple times and then it was dead.
    With the beast dead, and realizing Vilkse and Marny were both out of action, Randy and Salin quickly ran for the cover of the nearby jungle patch before any other enemies could assail them.
Vilkse and Salin try to take cover by the hut's wall, as Randilas notices the Giant Wasp making a beeline for him. 

       Fifty yards away, Meri continued to haul her heavy crate back towards safety, with Drikand covering her rear.  Two more arrows sliced the thick air around them as the Archers drew ever closer. The first flew past harmlessly, but the second struck the Crew-woman in the thigh.   Meri cursed, and pausing just a moment, pulled the shaft from her leg. (-3 HP)  Stoically, the Elf continued to haul her heavy crate back towards safety, as two more arrows whizzed by.
     Over at the tower, Lord Fortrywn and Bindidiell had reached the base of the structure itself, and had began to scale the wall, when the Heritor had second thoughts.  From his perch, he tried to see what was going on in the jungle beyond, but the overcast gloom made seeing anything beyond the base of the outcropping impossible.  Marny should have been there by now.  Where was that girl?  And where was Skorri or any of his crew?  Something wasn't right.  He realized he had been out maneuvered, and that cursed Human, Skorri Drakenburg, was waiting for him to go to the effort of retrieving any treasure from the tower, so he could simply take it when Lord Fortrywn returned to the ground.  Meanwhile, he was probably cutting his way through the rest of the Elf Lord's crew.
    "Halt!" he ordered the Hunter, and she froze in place on the stone wall.  "We are heading back down.".
    Bindidell took the commnd in stride, and along with her employer, began to climb back down to the ground.
Meri and Dirkand trying to make their getaway with the treasure.
      Meriwyn and Dirkand were almost to the cover of the jungle now,  The Crew-woman looked at her fellow crew member and smiled despite her pair of wounds, they were going to make it.  Dirkand smiled back, then his face turned to one of shock as he was suddenly hit by an Arrow from the Human Heritor.  The Elf Crewman pitched forward into the undergrowth at the edge of the jungle patch.  As Meri reeled from the shock of seeing Dirkand fall, there was a crashing in the jungle behind her, and quickly she turned to face this new threat.  As Elf-woman drew her sword, Randilas the Archer, came bursting through a broad-leafed bush at the jungle's edge.  Meri gave a sign of relief and sheathed her sword, as the Pearl Diver, Salin, came slashing through the vegetation behind Randy.  She was so glad to have some help as the forces of the enemy were closing in.
As Meri meets up with Salin and Randilas, the forces of the enemy tighten the noose around them.
       Lord Fortrywn, reached the bottom of the outcropping, his feet touching the grassy ground.  Bindidell however, had spotted the pair of Archers plaguing Meriwyn, and, firing her bow, wounded one.  The Heritor turned to the Hunter, and with an urgent hushed command, called to her, "Get down here!" As he did so, an Arrow from Skorri's Hunter whizzed past him.
     The nearby enemy Archers were still focused on their original target.  They had see the new Elves appear with Meriwyn at the very limits of their sight.  They fired again; the first arrow, hitting Meri for a third time, and finally brought her down, along with the crate she was carrying.  The second arrow, found Randilas, striking him square in the chest.  He was dead before he hit the ground. Salin suddenly found himself alone with the treasure.
     Lord Fortrywn had had enough and drawing his sword he charged at the closest of Skorri's Archers, who had already been wounded by his Hunter.  His sword came down, and the man brought his bow up as a quick defense. The Heritor's sword sliced the bow in two, and sent the man staggering backward, but failed to hit the target itself.  (Lord Fortrywn wins the Fight roll but does no damage.)   Bindidell raced after her Heritor, and then paused a moment to raise her bow and fire an arrow, hitting the man as he staggered backwards, killing him.
    Skorri himself now charged towards Lord Fortrywn,  and was upon him before he could reposition after his strike against the Archer. One of the Human Heritor's Crewmen also ran up to support his master.   Skorri swung powerfully, and Lord Fortrywn tried his best to block, but failed.  The Human's blade cleaved the Elf's chest plate and cut a mighty gash.  (Lord Frotrywn reduced to 6 HP).  The enemy Heritor attempted to finish him with a Backswing, but was too unbalanced himself from his rushed attack, and failed.
      While Skorri repositioned, Lord Fortrywn skillfully Evaded around the enemy Crewman,  bringing his sword down upon the man, giving him a long cut on his arm.  (-2 HP)
Heritors do battle!
     As Lord Fortrywn prepared for another attack, he suddenly felt a burning sensation all over his body, that wasn't the Blood Burn he was all too familiar with.  The Heritor was then suddenly overcome with intense nausea. Involuntarily, he bent forward, and heaved the content of his stomach onto the jungle floor.  He looked up at the Human in shocked realization: the enemy's blade had been Envenomed: Lord Fortrywn was poisoned. He staggered, and fought to keep upright.  Skorri merely laughed at him, and hearing a call from his Hunter, turned his back on the Elf Lord, and jogged away.
     As Skorri and Lord Fortrywn had fought, the Human's Hunter, had charged at Salin, the Pearl Diver in an attempt to relieve him of his treasure.  The Hunter called for assistance and Skorri ran to help, knowing Lord Fortrywn was no longer a threat, and there was treasure to be had.  The Human Heritor ran up, and Surging ,swung his blade wildly at Salin, strking him on the side of the head with the flat of the blade.  For a second the Pearl Diver saw stars and then collapsed into the brush.
     Helplessly, his mind clouded with the poison, Lord Fortrywn hurled insults at the Human Heritor, challenging him to come back and finish the fight.   Skorri ignored the Elf Lord, and had his Hunter scoop up the treasure, and they melted away into the jungle.
Salin is overwhelmed by Skorri and his Hunter, as the enemy's Pearl Diver stands in support.
     As the sun set that night, Lord Fortrywn lay in his bed aboard the Silver Sword, bathed in a cold sweat, and passing in and out of consciousness from the effects of the poison.   In his more lucid moments, he pondered how the past 6 weeks had been a disastrous series of events, the end result being him laying here in a poison induced fever.  On this expedition alone, he had lost both Randilas the Archer, and the Crewman Vilkse.  Salin, the Pearl Diver, was severely concussed from the Heritor Skorri's mighty blow, and would be confined to bed for a long time. At least his Niece was safe, despite the wounds she received.  Their reward, from the one small chest Arbyn had been able to recover, was a mere 40 Gold Coins. (I rolled a 3 on the treasure table. :-(    )   He began to wonder if he was cut out for the life of seafaring adventurer.  He needed the Gods to favor him soon, or his trip the Archipelago would be a very short one. Five months and only one Map Stone to show for it. Hardly the results he had expected.  But he was smart enough to know not to make any decisions in his current state. He needed rest, he thought,...he needed rest...he needed...and slowly he once more drifted off into a fitful fevered sleep.
The fallen, and those who walked off the field.


Epilogue

     To read Skorri's report from this game, see: The Abandoned Watchtowers
   
   What a fiasco!  In my defense, I did really well about keeping my party in groups of four (Heritor +3 and Warden +3)  Plus my two extra Crewmen stuck together.  However, I never expected to run into a group of 8 with one of my group, which Skorri had done. (Actually 9 if you count the Wasp he summoned.)
   It was particularly aggravating also that Meri got within a move of exiting the table with her treasure when the Archer's finally brought her down.  Shades of the loss of the Drichean Prisoner all over again...
   Of course, it also didn't help that I couldn't roll to save myself at all the entire game.  Luckily, Kragmar and I had an informal truce for most of the game, brought about mainly by the simple fact that our start zones were rather far apart.
   I now find myself in the interesting situation that since my Heritor hasn't been getting treasures, or killing hardly anybody, but my Warden has been casting spells consistently each game, that she is almost equal in Experience points with my Heritor.  In fact, if she hadn't been taken out on the second turn this game, she would have surpassed her Uncle!
   As always, I can do nothing but set my eye on the next game.  I think I am going to have to just keep my entire 10 member party together in one big group, to be better able to face whatever comes my way.