Monday, February 18, 2019

Wrath and Glory Gaming Weekend

This past weekend was my annual gaming weekend. The tradition started off, about 15 years ago, as Tim's Miniature Wargaming Birthday Bash - Basically, I invited a bunch of my closest wargaming buddies over, on my birthday, for an evening of miniature combat on a large-ish scale. I believe that first one was Operation Biting - A British Airborne Raid on the French Coast in February of 1942 - before I'd even started this blog! Around the fourth year it turned into a weekend long mini-convention with about five or six largish games being played over an entire weekend. After that, some years it was just a one night/one day affair, others it was all weekend long. For the 8th Annual Wargaming Birthday Bash/Winter Wargaming Weekend (as it, by then, was being called) I ran my first weekend-long DBA CAMPAIGN!! Since then, every other year, it seems, I've run skirmish campaign weekends - Ronin, Frostgrave, Shadow War: Armageddon...

This year, I had originally planned to run a Kill Team weekend campaign - along the lines of the Shadow War: Armageddon campaign I'd run last year... except with more of a narrative to the campaign, possibly with some custom scenarios written to carry the narrative forward... then Wrath & Glory happened... and I got this daft idea in my head that I'd try and run the Dark Tides adventures over a weekend for the same group of friends that had originally been planning to attend the Kill Team weekend.

Originally I'd planned to run all five adventures. This was a bit ambitious, I realized even then... but I haven't really played it and didn't get how fast it could play. I mean I ran Blessings Unheralded for one group and it took Two evening-long sessions... I ran if for a second group... and they blasted through the whole thing in just a couple hours!?

The Dark Tides book is interesting. It seems like more of a "series of linked adventures" than a "Campaign" per se... Each of the first four adventures are written to be played with imperial characters, each at different Tiers - and the fifth and final adventure requires the players use Eldar characters....? I felt the general idea was to run it as a series of one-shot adventures with players making a new character for each game - each at a different tier - giving all involved the opportunity to try out playing/running games at the different tiers - with the different sorts of character archetypes available at the different tiers.

(The game, Wrath and Glory is tiers to be played at "tiers" or power levels. Tier one archtypes are Imperial guard and ministorum priests and Inquisitional Acolytes. Tier three archetypes include Tactical Space Marines and Tech Priests. Tier Four are Inquisitors and Primaris Intercessors. The idea being that the sorts of foes that a Space marine can go toe-to-toe with, would utterly obliterate imperial guardsmen before they even got a shot off. So you can play at the power level of your choosing. Not that you are limited to playing ONLY the archetypes available at the campaigns Tier - archetypes available at lower Tiers can be "ascended"- mostly by giving them more build points, making them bad-ass veteran versions of their particular archetype - roughly equal to others of the Tier ascended to... Now "tier" is just supposed to be something you set out at the beginning of a campaign... It's not like a Tier One character ever levels up and suddenly BECOMES a Tier Two character. Sure by gaining experience through play a character might eventually - over a long period of campaigning - end up with as many build points as a character starting at a higher tier... but that doesn't mean they are suddenly now of that "tier"....)

But when I got reading the adventures there were passages that made me think that it was assumed some of the characters playing the later adventures MIGHT be the same characters that played the earlier ones...?! How the heck is that supposed to happen with the adventures are - narratively-speaking - suppose to take place one after the other...?! Are they supposed to do a training montage and suddenly "level up" to the next "Tier"....?

I told the players that it would probably work out best if they all played different characters at the different tires - but told them that, if they REALLY wanted to the COULD just play an ascended version of the same character they played for the lower level adventures.

I did get a chance to run part of the first adventure the week before with another group. They got through the first two - of three - acts of the first adventure - and finished that around 11 am, after arriving around 7pm and still having to make a character for one of the players.

I realized it was probably going to be tight... so, to save time on character generation I tried to get most of the players to make characters BEFOREHAND!

Earlier in the week I had The Kids make up their characters...

As I read, and re-read the rules and adventures I started to realize we weren't likely going to get through all five. The first I was to mentally drop off was the Eldar one...

Also as I announced the change I expected one or two of those that originally committed to playing in  the Kill Team campaign weekend might drop out - but rather the opposite happened. I had about six that I new were fully committed to the Kill Team campaign weekend, but when I changed it to Wrath & Glory I suddenly had nine... NINE! That'a a lot of people for a role-playing game. probably should have said "NOPE!" but some of the later committers are some of the better role-players I know... and I still expected some of them might bail at the last minute...

No one did...

Friday, 15 February 2019

In the morning I headed out to get some snacks and other foodstuffs to munch on throughout the weekend - it was still pretty cold, but not quite as cold as it had been the week before...

I had to go out to an appointment with Finnegan late afternoon and got him just after 5pm and Aaron was already waiting there. Shortly after we got in, Paul arrived (having driven from Winnipeg - 850km). They were the only two who didn't have any characters made, so I got them started on making some characters while cleaning the kitchen, baking pizzas, and preparing some of the other snax!

I think we got things under way around 8pm....?

I the end we had the following in the group:

John played Tryckn - Inquisitorial Adept
Amanda played Anesh - an Eldar Corsair (which went over really great...)
Finnegan played Jimmy the Hand - a Hive Ganger
Halston played Brother Koslev - a Ministorum Priest - who was secretly a 4th Generation Genestealer cultist.
Bruce Played Chewie - another Ganger from the same Hive World as Jimmy the Hand
Other Tim played Brother Morgan - a rather reluctant Ministorum Priest
Paul played Atiq - Imperial Guardsman from Tallarn
The Girl played Ravena - an Inquisitorial Acolyte who like to burn things - especially Heretics.
Aaron played Pte. O'Brien - another Imperial Guardsman

The Campaign takes place in the system of Gilead, in the Imperium Nihilus. Characters work for Rogue Trader Jakel Varonius, who braved the warp storms of the Great Rift to bring his fleet to Gilead. All of the adventures take place on the planet of Charybdion - in the capitol of Hive Aidon. The first adventure involves a number of murders among the upper hive elite and threatens to explode into an all out war between the noble houses. The characters are sent by Varonius to investigate the murders and make swift action to stop them and bring peace to the troubled hive!

I didn't take a lot of pictures - it was a lot just to keep all the balls in the air - NINE players is a lot to manage and not make it drag too much for anyone that isn't immediately in the action. It's also difficult to balance the encounters with a group that size - often they encounter would read like - there should be a mob of 5 for each of the player characters... well... If I were to do that, I'd have needed to throw FORTY-FIVE mooks into an encounter! That would have taken for-EVAR to play through!

I did take one picture of this spectacular roll that Other Tim made... I can't even remember what the hell he was rolling for... but he sure didn't pass!!! At least he didn't roll a one on the wrath die and end up with a complication on top of all that fail!

We decided to call it an evening just after midnight. They got to pretty much the same place the other group had by the end of Friday evening. The climactic event was when Amanda's Eldar character called upon her gods as she smiled one of the foes (completing an 'objective' and gaining her one point of wrath) - so impressed was Chewie by their ferocious action that he declared for the eldar gods when he made his attack (allowing him to use a campaign card - declaring faith in a new god and gaining some benefit) but then at the end of the action, Ravena, the inquisitorial Acolyte burned him alive for such blatant heresy (We knew Bruce wasn't going to be able to make it on Saturday, so it gave us a good, narrative explanation as to why he was no longer with the group...).

By the end of Friday I'd decided I'd probably drop adventure two... but I still hoped that we'd finish Adventure One Saturday morning and play through Adventure Three Saturday afternoon and evening, then get to play Adventure Four - which I was really looking forward to since I had spent some considerable time (and money!) acquiring and painting some minis specifically for this epic final adventure!!!

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Detritus left over from the evening before...

We made waffles in the morning and a few of the players joined us for breakfast. Got started a bit late...

The whole gang - Less Bruce, who wasn't available to play on Saturday.

Took us until just after 1pm to finish up the first Adventure. Everyone went out for lunch at Park Cafe - except me, I wasn't feeling all that hungry - still super full of waffle - and I wanted a chance to review the next adventure and get a few cards prepared... 

After lunch we launched into Adventure Three (skipping Adventure Two), wherein the Characters are called upon by their patron - Rogue Trader Jakel Varonius to intervene in the succession troubles and determine which of the two heirs apparent would be the new governor of Charybdion.

For this adventure we had the following characters...

John still played Tryckn - Inquisitorial Adept - but ascended to Tier Three
Amanda played Sister Superior Sunyora of the Adepts Sororitas
Finnegan played Commissar Markus D'var
Halston played Brother Gaius Bathory - a dour Adeptus Ministorum Crusader
Other Tim played Jax Flypyng - an "ex-Imperial Navy, Independent contractor" (Desperado)
Paul played Brother Ambryel Texus - a Tactical Space Marine
The Girl played Irewyn - a Tech Priest of the Adeptus Mechanicus
Aaron played Chryspus Rhuyd - an ascended Sanctioned Psyker clanking around in ancient, failing power armour...

When everybody got back from lunch we got underway and played for 5-6 hours and then decided to call it a day and went for supper at güd - it was my first time eating there - I've been wanting to go forever, but it's kind of on the other side of town, so we just never got around to it...

Again, we didn't finish the adventure... we got maybe halfway through Act Two (of three)... I still has a faint glimmer that MAYBE we might get to finish Adventure Three in the morning/early afternoon and plough on through into the evening on Sunday to play out Adventure Four!!!

Sunday, 17 February 2019

That totally didn't happen though...

We finished off Adventure Three - bringing it to a pretty satisfactory conclusion. I kind of glossed over the first part of act three, and even ignored the entire last scene.... Everyone - including me - was kind of running out of steam.

I did remember to take a few more pictures....

Aaron, Paul, Amanda

I do like this system.  Looking back I kind of wish I'd had a bit more experience with it before trying to run an entire weekend-long marathon/mini-campaign! Once I have a bit more experience with the system and get a better sense of what different levels/tiers and different types of can deal with, I'm hoping it will all run a little more smoothly. I would definitely do it again, but there are a lot of things I would definitely do differently.

Paul, Amanda

For one, I would do character creation together on Friday night. I would encourage players to work on character CONCEPTS before hand and have them bounce ideas off me and off each other via email or a group message through Facebook or whatever. But make the characters together - even if that takes the entire evening and we don't get to playing any adventures on Friday night.

Halsten, Aaron, Paul

Also, I would not try running a series of one-off adventures like this was set up for. One mini-campaign using the same characters - I think the players might have put more thought into their characters if they had only needed to make on, instead of four or five (two or three of which we never even got to play with!!!)

John, The Girl, Finnegan.

Wouldn't mind doing this more than once a year, too! Not sure if we'll be able to drag Paul out that often, but the local guys... Need to keep it under 6 players, though - which might mean the family doesn't play on the marathon game weekends - or I run separate game weekends just for them - maybe using the same adventure to test them out...?

I would still like to run a Kill Team campaign this year - whether it's an occasional narrative campaign I just play with the family - or somthing I organize with a larger group over a weekend... I'm not just sure yet... but I'd like to do SOMETHING!

I am going to continue to run the Dark Tides series of adventures for the group of guys I'd started running it for on Saturday evenings. Amanda and The Girl might even join in that group - at least to play the adventures we didn't get to this weekend.

When I'd originally sat down, I'd kind of intended to relay the narrative of the adventures they played through... but then... it kind of turned into this that you've just read... partly because I didn't want to let on any spoilers... partly because... well... once I got typing that suddenly seemed like a lot of work to narratively summarize over 20 hours of gaming and I'm really, REALLY tired... I guess if you really want to know what happened in the adventure, you can buy Dark Tides... Or maybe I'll post more narrative reports of the other groups adventures...

Coming Soon to Tim's Miniature Wargaming Blog:

I hope to get working on the Reaver Battle Titan - as the Battle for the Abyss is less than two weeks away now!!

Friday, February 15, 2019

The Cult of Redemption

On last batch of guys I finished up before the game weekend that starts this evening!!!

Necromunda Redemptionist Gangers! (or... cultists... depending on how you look at it...?)

Originally I'd thought of doing them in all red... but I have so many things that are all red and it's getting to be a bit much. One of the 'gangs' (really more of a secret society) in Dark Tides (the 'campaign' I'm running for the game weekend) dresses in purple and that gave me the idea to do red and purple for these guys. I think it works pretty good. I'd like to pick up a few more of these at some point - if I can find any more for not-too-unreasonable-prices!

Coming Soon to Tim's Miniature Wargaming Blog:

A report of the Gaming Weekend!!!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Gangers and Adepts and Daemons - Oh My!

It's been a busy week preparing for my annual gaming weekend. This year, rather than a wargaming weekend, I'm running a marathon role-playing adventure weekend using Warth & Glory! So I've been reading and re-reading the adventures and rules and painting like a mad bastard to try and finish up some minis I plan to use for assorted allies and adversaries - and even a couple of player characters!

A lot of these are old metal Necromunda figures I've been collecting up over the last little while - i thought they'd make great NPCs for Wrath & Glory - armed humans humans of the Dark Millennium that AREN'T Marines or Guard or Ministorum Priests or Battle Sisters! Some I thought might also double as Inquisitorial Acolytes (especially the Delaque gangers). And, heck, if ever I decided to play some Necromunda - I'd have a gang to use for that too!!! (I have to admit, I've been tempted to pick up the hardcover rulebook...)

Not a Necromunda Ganger... This is an old metal Fiend of Slaanesh. My FLGS had a couple still hanging on the wall... I think I might go back and grab eat second one - so I can have two of them flanking my Keeper of Secrets!

A trio of Daemonettes of Slaanesh that my friend Robin was kind enough to pass on to me to paint up for this campaign. Technically, there is supposed to be one for each player... and there could be as many as 9... but I think I'll just come up with some stats for the Fiend for that encounter and throw it in instead...

I am starting to amass a small host of Slaanesh daemons. Another Fiend and a handful more Daemonettes and we'd have quite the little party going on... Could be a war band for Dragon Rampant as well as a small patrol for 40K - or a really nasty encounter in Wrath & Glory!

Salamander Primaris Intercessor. The Girl is playing this in the Tier Four adventure this weekend.

Other side of said Salamander Primaris Intercessor.

Inquisitorial Adept. Probably be using this for my friend John's Character - Trykn: Librarian to the Stars

Just in case you thought he didn't have enough scrolls - there are more on the back...

This is a warp-beast known as a Khymerae. They are, literally, the stuff of nightmares. When someone with any sort of psychic ability has a nightmare, a shadow of it is cast into the warp and khymerae form around it like a pearl around a grain of sand... pleasant thought. I should have picked up two of them...

Here be the Gangers - a trio of old metal Necromunda Cawdor gangers. Two of them will be used as player characters over the weekend campaign.

MORE old metal Necromunda gangers - from the Delaque gang. These ones I think I might use as a unit of Inquisitorial Acolytes at some point.

Some Armageddon Steel Legion infantry - might use them as a Kill Team (if I pick up a few more...) otherwise they might see action as acolytes in an Inquisitorial force... or just Guardsmen allies or characters in Wrath & Glory.

Here's their backsides for a more detailed look at that camo - and the patches on their arms.

Random spacefarer from Lead Adventure Miniatures Astropolis line.

I might try to finish up a handful more this evening, not sure if I'll get to posting them before the weekend though...

Coming Soon to Tim's Miniature Wargaming Blog: 

I expect the next thing I'll be posting on here is a report of the gaming weekend.

After that...? More painting updates - including the finish Reaver Titan, some Rogue Trader and Blackstone Fortress figures, and I've got a bunch of new stuff I'm working on for my friend John - Space Rat Kill Team (chaos cultists), Frostgrave adventurers, MORE rats (fantasy pirate rats), and TWO more teams for Warhammer Underworlds!?

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Keeper of Secrets - Greater Daemon of Slaanesh

I did say in the previous post the next one was going tone big and it was a secret... a Keeper of Secrets!!

This is a Greater Daemon of Slaanesh from Games Workshop

Why on Earth am I painting a Greater Daemon of Slaanesh? Well that's a bit of a secret too... it TOTALLY HAS NOTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH THE WRATH & GLORY GAMES CAMPAIGN I'M RUNNING! (Shhhhh.... Nothing to see here, carry on!)

My Heretic Astartes Kill Team are pretty obvious Slaanesh disciples and if I were ever to expand that into a 40K Detachment - they're end up being Emperor's Children or something similar. Actually if I were to ever do a 40K Chaos force, I'd probably be more interested in a Daemon Host - with maybe a few Chaos Space Marines and Cultists... I've got the Greater Daemon now!

I did a bit of converting on this beastie... this is a close up of said conversions. The original model came with a loin cloth. I always wondered why a Greater Daemon of Slaanesh - the Chaos God of Excesses - would bother with a loin cloth...?

To give you a sense of how big this beastie is, here is a Daemonette of Slaanesh that I painted over the last week as well... The Daemonette is a normal 28mm figure. Maybe I should have taken a picture of it with a tank....

Close-up of Daemonette.

Coming Soon to Tim's Miniature Wargaming Blog:

The Wrath & Glory campaign I'm going to be running on alternating Saturday evenings starts tonight... perhaps I'll have a report of how that went down?

Otherwise, it will be more minis being painted up for the Wrath & Glory Weekend campaign next weekend (which will also be used in the Saturday evening campaign, later on...)

Friday, February 8, 2019

Titan Versus Tanks

I've never actually had a chance to play with my Warhound Titans. I've been thinking, since I'm going to be playing with them at an Team Apocalypse Tournament in a few weeks, I should actually get them on the table and try them out. I tried arranging a couple games with my partner for the Apocalypse event, but he's had to bail on me a couple times. So, this evening, I tried setting up a little battle on my own to play solo and suss out how good (or bad) they are.

Going into it I had a general feeling that they're just not worth the points. In the last two Chapter Approved books they actually INCREASED the points from what they originally were in the Forge World Index books. Luckily we're playing with Power Level and not points, but I was still not convinced they were worth it - at 75 Power Level for a Warhound Scout Titan - especially looking at the damage dealing some of those new Knights can do at half the power level!!

Set up one of the Warhounds on one side of the table (75PL)

Now there isn't an Codex: Adeptus Titanicus - at least not for Warhammer 40,000 (8th Edition), so I was really limited in terns of Warlord Traits - only the three basic ones in the main rulebook to choose from - and nothing like special Stratagems or Legion bonuses (like the Guard Regimental Doctrines and such). I ended up taking the Tenacious Survivor

and all my tanks on the other (78 PL) - including the Shadowsword, a Vanquisher tank commander, two regular battle tanks, Punisher and Demolisher.

I chose Tallarn as their Regiment - because... that's what they are.. but also because they have some great Regimental Doctrine rules for armour and Tank Orders and stuff like that. I gave the Warlord the "Old Grudges" trait (pick an enemy unit on the other side - guess which one I chose!? - friendlies within 6" of the warlord can re-roll failed wound rolls when targeting that enemy! OUCH!!

Come to think of it... I think this is the first time the Shadowsword, and, indeed, most of the Leman Russes have seen action!!!

I didn't really have any titan-sized LOS blocking terrain, so it was basically line-em-up and shoot. Gave the tanks the first shot (wanted to see worst-case-possible).

This seemed like an inauspicious start - the Tank Commander shot first and, despite having a BS 3+ (for having a bad-ass veteran guard crew) MISSED BOTH of her first shots with the vanquisher cannon... The secondary gunners totally made up for it though, the co-drivers lascannon blew through the void shields and knocked three wounds off and the Heavy bolsters even did two!! One tank and I was already down 5 Wounds!! 1/7 of my total... 5 more tanks to go - on one hand there rest of the Leman Russes only had a BS 4+... but there was also the Shadowsword!!!

The Shadowsword fired next and the Volcano Cannon carried off 17 wounds!! Half of my total!! It initially got 9 attacks (which was lucky - it was 3d3 and it all came up sixes!). it only hit with five (average) it wounded with four - after re-rolling one miss. I saved two of those with the invulnerable save (using a command point re-roll because initially I'd only saved one! and then it did 18 damage 2d6x2 - could have been a lot worse - probably SHOULD have been a lot worse. I did get my "Tenacious Survivor" rolls (d6 for each wound I would take, 6 means no wound) but that only reduced the total to 17... This damage alone knocked my void shields down to a 6+ save... the Lascannons did two more wounds and the three twin heavy bolsters did another three... leaving me with 7 wounds... and four more tanks to go...

Yeah... The tanks took out the Warhound in ONE TURN!!! But just barely... the last heavy bolder shot took out the last wound on the Warhound. And there were some insanely lucky rolls on the tanks part and some abysmally bad save rolls for the Warhound (four hits, 4+ invulnerable save = no saves whatsoever?!).

I pretended is had one wound left and tried shooting back - even with the reduction in BS. Dual-turbo laser vaporized the Shadowsword with ONE SHOT! It has 26 wounds... I did 44 to it... But that was about it...  the Titan Vulcan Mega-Bolter did NOTHING at all to the tanks...

This game did nothing to dissuade me of the feeling that Titans are totally not worth as many points/Power Level that they are!

Lessons Learned:

1) Find titan-sized LOS blocking terrain and hide behind it

2) Dual-turbo-laser just WRECKS titanic vehicles - find them and blow them the fü¢k up - especially any with titan-killing weapons (like Shadowswords! or those awful, awful knights)

3) be prepared to lose each match on Turn One or Two...

Ehhhhh... I'm not that worried about that, though. I knew going into this it was unlikely we'd win any games. (I mean, I'M playing!?) It's never really my motivation for playing. Painting cool toys and getting a chance to put them on the table and roll dice and make shoot noises and hang out with some fun people that share some of those interests is what I'm there for. It is entirely possible, that our turns will be short, our games will be short, and we'll have lots of time to hang out and watch all the other games... Which will be cool, because I'll get to take a lot of pictures for the game reports!!!

I did mention this all to my partner, and he said usually at these events, to cut down on the "alpha smite", whoever has the first turn often gets a -2 to hit... which would have really helped a LOT and given my titan a fighting chance... Perhaps I'll have another go at it on Sunday afternoon.

Coming Soon to Tim's Miniature Wargaming Blog:

It's a SECRET! but I can tell you it's BIG. And it will be coming very soon!!! I'm just going to go and paint some finish on it now...

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

It's Cold Outside

It's a little chilly in Saskatoon this morning...

So I probably won't be taking any pictures today... or... this week...

How is everybody else doing?

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Reaver Titan - Work in Progress

I was taking a picture of the progress I've made on the Reaver Titan to post of Facebook, and I thought I'd share it here as well...

Bit grainy - but what do you expect from spy footage collected by intelligence operatives the Great Enemy (actually it's just really dark downstairs and too freaking cold and snowy to take pics outside in better light!)

No, I'm not painting it fully assembled - I just put it together temporarily for the pic.

Together with its Titan Maniple mates.

Working on it in bits and pieces, I'd kind of forgotten how BIG it is!!! This apocalypse event is going to be an epic throwdown!

Coming Soon to Tim's Miniature Wargaming Blog:

My partner in the team apocalypse event is coming over tomorrow to throw 150 Power Level of stuff at the Warhounds to see how they do - I've never actually PLAYED with them and I thought it might be handy to do so BEFORE the event - which is just a month away!!

In the meantime I am also working on a number of minis I need for the Wrath & Glory RPG-Marathon Weekend! Hopefully when I finish a few of those up - and if it ever stops snowing - I'll get some pics of those posted up here.