Sunday, May 31, 2020

Looking for Clues - Blackstone Fortress

After completing the DEATHMAZE - the final Stronghold - I realized we needed four more clues to go after the Hidden Vaults... So, Sunday afternoon I set up a regular expedition into the Blackstone Fortress to LOOK for some more clues. (actually, the Ratlings had ONE Clue, squirrelled away amongst their stuff, so we really only NEEDed THREE more...).

As ever, Amanda took Amalyn Shadowguide, Aeldari Ranger and Pious Vorne, Missionary Zealot, I played Espern Locarno, Imperial Navigator, and the Ratling Twins, Rein and Raus. We also brought along Dorg "The Wall" Brogan as a Retinue Character.

Exploration Round One: Combat

Wow... it's like ALL the Traitor Guard... Good thing I finished up the Servants of the Abyss this week! Though the card said one Spindle Drone, we actually got two - because of the Heightened Threat Level!

It was an interesting set up... some nice corridors to bottleneck the enemy and let them come to us and take them down as they come.

Vorne went first...

So much for letting them come to us... Vorne charged out and started Burning Traitors!


Whoops! One survived...

Dorg went out the other way to block the other Traitor Guard from getting at us...

End of the First Round.

Starting off the second round, one of the Spindle Drones advanced on Vorne and caught on fire. The other, sensibly, decided to stay put!

GAH!!! The Traitor Guard overwhelmed Dorg and took him OUT OF ACTION!?

Shadowguide also took a few wounds and was looking like she might be overrun... and THEN two more Spindle Drones arrived as reinforcements right next to her! AT this point I think she had four wounds! But then spend a few actions recovering and managed to power blade these to death... or... to bits, if they're not really alive...?

We did clear out the Traitor Guard and searched all the discovery areas...

And made out way to the maglev exit - which had just showed up on its own as one of the events at the end of a turn... Unfortunately NO CLUES were found here - only Archaeotech...

Exploration Round Two: Challenge

Failures happened... cards were discarded... no one wanted to take their luck with the Blackstone die!

No Clues...

Exploration Round Three: Challenge 

The traitorous bastards attacked us.. just can't trust ANYONE in the Grim, Dark Future...

At least they were only regular wounds...

and No Clues...

Exploration Round Four: Combat

This looked like it'd be short and sweet... but only TWO hostile groups also meant only two discovery markers and two chances to possibly find a CLUE!

The Guard had all gone first, which, in some ways was handy, as they'd all charged up close and we didn't have to go far to start with he killing... On the other hand, they'd all spread out and weren't in convenient batches of three for Vorne to burn up in an efficient manner...

But burn them up she did, just the same...

Whew... that went so quickly, I barely even got to take any pictures..

Exploration Round Five: Combat

Another smallish encounter - at least there were three Hostile Groups/Discovery Locations.

Shadowguide charged out and started power-blading Traitor Guard!

I'm starting to wonder if she walked the Path of the Harlequin at some point - she is DEADLY in hand-to-hand with that Power Blade now!

Locarno Leap-frogged past here and dealt with most of the Spindle Drones. He has the Spindle Drone Amulet, so when they attack him they ALWAYS count as being Threat Level One and have to re-roll any SUCCESSFUL attacks!

Other ran around the other way and cleared that section and searched all the Discovery Locations.

A couple of Traitor Guard reinforcements came out of the portal just as the Maglev chamber doors were closing... they couldn't really do anything... but Rein and Raus were on overwatch and shot them down anyway, just for good measure. If they didn't take them out here, they'd probably just show up somewhere else...

Well... actually... they'll show up somewhere else, regardless... but I had Overwatch dice, so...

Exploration Round Six: Combat

Four Discovery Locations

On turned out to NOT be a Hostile Group, but added a Condition: Endless Hordes. When rolling for reinforcements, if any failed to turn up with the first roll, we had to re-roll!

The Nega-Volt Cultists went first - three charged forward... and one remained, guarding... whatever it was they had at their location.

Vorne then charged out and lit up the Ur-Ghuls.

Then parked on the discovery location (for searching in a future turn) and laid down some flames for he Traitor Guard to charge into!

Dorg moved up to be a big meatshield for everyone else... Because he only gets TWO actions each turn and can never use Destiny Dice to do extra moves or attacks or other activations, we generally just try to keep him moving to the exit and just him as... well... a meatshield!

The Ratlind shot past him and took out a Nega-Volt Cultist.

Ur-Ghul reinforcements arrived!

And the Traitor Guard - in the background - they have to be the cagiest lot of Traitor Guard EVER!? Not ONE of them charged - it was all Sneak or Advance or Hold... perhaps it was the dying wails of the Ur-GHuls or the wall of fire in the corridor... They're getting wise to our antics...

vorne Just charged them the following turn and burned them all up...

Making our way to the exit - MORE Nega-Volt Cultists arrived. For once the wall-of-flame-by-the-door trick worked - FOUR of them burned up as they cam out of the portal. The last one was shot down by Shadowguide, who was on Overwatch.

I think ONE Clue was finally found here... or maybe it was the one before... Things were looking grim - we knew the last two cards would be Challenge cards, and they don't always give up Discovery Cards!

Exploration Round Seven: Challenge (but kind of a Combat... but only because I didn't read the card...) 

Only just rereading this and now as I write the report have I realized I didn't totally read the instructions...

totally missed that there are to be NO ENCOUNTER CARDS drawn... and that it was a 6+ to search.... AND that there were two additional terrain bits that would have to have been maneuvered around...

As it turns out, we STILL would have beaten this without any problem... Shadowguide can run CRAZY fast and had, I think, two sixes... and there may have been another among the Destiny Dice... so...

We played it as an encounter, which was kind of fun and different - but I drew Rogue Psykers - WITH four Traitor Guard!!!

Vorne ran out first and used her Eviscerator to take out the lead Traitor Guard.... then burned the group of three with another action...

And then burned the Psykers with another... and then she used a Destiny die to run into the maglev chamber.

Amalyn Shadowguide then RAN to the discovery Marker and did her search action and then ran back to the Maglev chamber.

By the end of the FIRST Round everyone was in the chamber, just waiting for Dorg to catch up... so...

I think this is where we found our second Clue...?

Exploration Round Eight: Challenge

We've done this one before. The last time I just happened to roll 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 on the very first roll and just had to stack them. This time I think I rolled something like 2, 3, 4, 4, and 5 and had to keep re-rolling that second 4 until I got a 1... I ended up having to re-roll it a half-dozen times, or so, and then JUST barely got them stacked as Amanda said "TIME!"... and then they fell over... She said we could count it as a win, but I drew another Archaeotech card

GAH!? We only found two more clues!? The Ratling Twins started off with one, but we needed a fourth!

Back to Precipice 

Drawing our new Legacy card....

Wait... didn't we KILL this guy!? I mean, we HAVE his THRUNDER HAMMER!?

Uggggghhhh... These Black Legion Chaos dudes are just like a bad case of Herpes...

Locarno and the rAtlings grabbed some goodies from Traveller - and actually managed to FINALLY revive Janus Drake - the Rogue Trader... mostly just so they could taunt him and tell him that THEY all figured out the secrets of the Blackstone Fortress and were about to plunder the Hidden Vaults!

Vorne and Shadowguide both went back to their own ships. I think they did pick up one item each (through Shadowguide had to discard down to TEN cards!) the MAIN reason they went to their ships, however, was to try and get ONE MORE CLUE! And Vorne DID manage to get one!


Looks like we ARE heading to the Hidden Vaults after all!!!

Coming Soon to Tim's Miniature Wargaming Blog:

Tomorrow we are planning to take down the Hidden Vaults - thus ending this first Quest in the Blackstone Fortress!

After that...? I don't know... More Blackstone Fortress...? But which expansion quest do we do next!? I guess we could play them in order of release - The Dreaded Ambull, then Traitor Command, then Escalation. Doing Dreaded Ambull and Traitor Command will give me time to finish up painting the Excalation miniatures. I figure I'm about half done - and that does include the ADDITIONAL Cultists of the Abyss I picked up!

I was asking if Amanda was excited about trying out some new characters - figuring she might be interested in Rogue Trader Neyam Shai Murad or a Primaris Psyker Aradia Madellan... she does like playing the bad ass chicks... But she looked at me like I was some kind of idiot when I suggested it and wondered aloud why I would think she would give up Shadowguide and Vorne - especially now that they're all tooled up with so many cool resources!?

I guess she has a point...

Maybe I'LL play Murad and Madellan!!! Girl Power, yo!

May Games (and stuff) The End

Wrapping up the rest of May...

Not so many games this last week and a bit... and not nearly as many games played as in April...

Still... Not bad for the month. We played:

5x Warhammer Quest: Blackstone Fortress
4x Viticulture Essential Edition (3 with the Tuscany expansion)
3x Terraforming Mars
2x Carcassonne
2x Wrath & Glory
1x 7 Wonders Duel
1x The Castles of Burgundy
1x Power Grid Deluxe: Europe/North America
1x Splendor

Thursday, 21 May 2020 

I spent a good chunk of the day painting with Keira...

I actually finished up this painting I'd started AGES Ago...

Later in the afternoon we went for a ride together.

Originally we'd headed south of town, planning to ride out past Cranbarry Flats... but it was CRAZY. windy, so we circled back to town...

And rode along the river for a bit.

Spotted a bluejay.

Having finished up an Exploration to Blackstone Fortress the day before, Amanda was feeling inspired to have another go...

We had collected up enough Clues to do TWO Stronghold Assaults, so we played the Corridor of Death Stronghold mission...

One more Stronghold to go... then we can take a run at the Hidden Vaults!!

Friday, 22 May 2020 

I didn't get to play any games today... but I did go for a bit of a longer ride...

Maybe it's time I got some new tires... These weren't exactly new when I bought the bike off a friend and I've put over 3500Km on it since then...

I'd originally planned to head out of town to the South and West... but it turns out they've decided to do some major road repair along my usual route!? I wonder if they are FINALLY paving this section of road!?

So I went in the complete opposite direction - up to Chief Mistawasis Bridge at the north end of town.

Clouds. Chemical Plant.

More Clouds

Things starting to turn green!

Looks like an abandoned clutch of eggs on one of the sandbars under the South Bridge.

In the evening I had Finnegan show me the basics of Roll20. I had kind of helped him figure it out two months ago when he moved his D&D games online, but I'd forgotten everything we'd figured out, and he's learned so much since then... I spent the entire evening getting stuff ready for Saturday, knowing he'd be monopolizing the computer all afternoon.

Saturday, 23 May 2020 

I didn't get out anywhere on Saturday... I was busy getting ready for the evening...

Finnegan did play his regular D&D game in the afternoon.

In the evening I ran my first online role-playing game... It was... pretty awesome! I ran Blessings Unheralded - the Wrath & Glory Free RPG Day adventure from a few years back. We just used the pre-made characters to introduce the guys to the game as at least three of them hadn't played before.

What was especially rad about the experience what who I got to play with...

Woody I met... 33 years ago...?! I met him when I was in grade 10 and he'd just taken over the Wizard's Corner in Saskatoon - from the original owners Ken and Kathy. I played my first games of Warhammer (40K and Fantasy) with him and some role-playing games and lots of Blood Bowl. He moved to Calgary over 25 years ago and I mostly lost touch with him - but he came through town last summer and we played a game of 40K Apocalypse.  We'd talked then about getting together to play RPGs again online and... well... finally got around to it!

Christian I also met through the Wizard's Corner a few years later when I was working there for John who took over the store from Woody. I was running a lot of Warhammer games and campaigns and Blood Bowl Leagues. I played SO MANY games with Christian over then next couple years. But, again, we lost touch. I reconnected with him through Facebook about a decade ago - he was back living in Saskatoon at the time and had kids that were about the same age as my kids and we hung out. He played in a tonne of the Savage Worlds games I ran for a few years and been to a lot of my gaming weekends. He moved to Gagetown, New Brunswick - clear across the country - a year or so ago and I haven't seen him since. He was 3 hours ahead of the rest of us!

Chris I met... damn... it must be 15...? or maybe 20 years ago!? He was living in Saskatoon at the time while his then partner was attending the Western College of Veterinary Medicine. I met him through playing Mordhiem at the Dragon's Den. Though it was a miniatures game, Chris came from a background of role-playing and it really showed in his narrative-based miniature scenarios. I knew from the get-go that we were on the same page. He moved back to Edmonton, but has come to visit and play games a few times - or run MARATHONS (with Amanda, not me!)!?

Jonathan I kind of just met recently through his blog - and he came up from Regina to play in the  games I ran at ToonCon this year!

I just don't even have the words to express how fun it was to bring these guys from different parts of the country and different parts of my life to play in a game together.

That map, incidentally, is from GW's Judge Dredd RPG - it was from a boxed set called Slaughter Margin. I never played the game - but the box included SO MANY MAPS that were perfect for science-fi mini gaming - and had piles and piles of cardboard terrain counters. I laid out the encounter locations and took pictures of them from above and uploaded those to Roll20. I used these very same maps to play 40K Rogue Trader with Christian and Woody 30 years ago!?

Sunday, 24 May 2020 

Amanda and Keira finally sat down to do a puzzle they'd started a week or so ago... They've left it out and I was bored one afternoon... and I finished it... and they got annoyed and took it apart... and on Sunday they got it out and did it for themselves.

I went for a long ride, heading west initially.

then I did a long loop heading around the north end of the city.

Eventually I got back to the river and rode back south along the river. It was just over a 60Km loop.

I was tired. So I didn't play a game that evening. Just sat and watched the Jay and Silent Bob Reboot with Amanda and the kids.

Monday, 25 May 2020

In the afternoon, I finally got our garden planted... a bit late, but better late than never, right!?

Amanda actually asked ME if we could play Blackstone Fortress. I think she was getting pretty excited as we were getting so close to the end of the Quest for the Hidden Vault!

You can see way more pics and a full report of the ensuing action elsewhere on this blog:

The Deathmaze - Blackstone Fortress Stronghold Assault

Tuesday - Saturday.... 

Yeah... didn't get up to much...

No rides (other than for groceries) ...

No games....

Like, all week...

It was a rough week... let's leave it at that.

I DID get I a game of Wrath & Glory on Saturday evening. Well, less of a game and more just sorting out backgrounds for the characters and some background for the campaign itself. NEXT Saturday the adventuring begins in earnest!

Sunday, 31 May 2020

I did, finally, get out for a ride again. What a day to go...

The thing to take note of is the wind... it has said it was 50Km/h gusting to 70 when I left.... I rode south-east-ish for two hours... and rode home in an hour!

Heading out of town.

Forest of power lines just south of town.

I tried taking a new route to get to Township Road 350 - heading down Range Road 3053/Clarence Avenue... but despite what the map says... it doesn't really go through...

Lots of Barn Swallows around.

Hawk muting on it's lunch.

So much wind - and dust...

Unlike the previous road I used to try and get to Township Road 350, this one Range Road 3054, actually warned that there was "No Exit"... I had my doubts, and proceeded anyway.

Sure enough, it went straight through to 350...? I guess they put up the sign because it's a Summer Road and not maintained in the winter... or it stops at the Canadian Forces Base instead of continuing south...?

Iv'e been here before... about a month ago... but then mothers day (and PIES!) and Keira's birthday (CAKE!!) happened, in rapid succession and I gained back nearly 5Kg... And that's the story of this last year. A Year ago I was 114Kg, so I'm down 20Kg (Nearly 45lbs) but it's more like I've lost 50Kg... because for every gram I lost, if gained it back again and had to lose that and more to get lower... Ugh... I can't begin to tell you what a struggle it's been and how terrified I am that I'll slip and it'll all come back....

Because Jonathan was recently sharing pictures of his flowering crabapples in bloom - and mentioned his lilacs, I thought I'd share a picture of our own lilacs - which are now just blooming.  It's a huge, wild, out-of-control bush in our front yard, but I love it at this time of year.

After I got home and showered, Amanda and I played another game of Blackstone Fortress. I realized after the last game we needed a few more Clues to take a run at the Hidden Vaults. so, this was just a regular exploration to collect said required clues. We had originally planned to play two games today... but I got out later and, consequently, got home later than I'd expected.... so we'll play that last game tomorrow.

I should have a game report for this one up tomorrow...

(or... maybe later tonight...?)

(which will technically be TOMORROW, in most places...).

Coming Soon to Tim's Miniature Wargaming Blog:

Another Blackstone Fortress Game Report - Looking for Clues.

Then ANOTHER Blackstone Fortress Game Report - The Hidden Vaults!

Then...? I don't know... I can't really think that far ahead!