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By Chris Palmer
@Rob Dean convinced me to give Rangers of Shadow Deep a try, and today we sat down to wrap our heads around the rules and play the first mission. Rob provided everything from his traveling Battle in a Box collection. As a change from our usual forays into the McCullough-verse, where we usually use stuff from our 28mm collections, the figures we used were ones selected from Rob's collection of beautifully painted 1/72 plastics.
Rob chose, besides the given Ranger (Marcus), an Archanist (Corvus), an Archer (Alana), and a Hound (Duke) for his companions. I selected, other than my Ranger (Churchill), a Rogue (Firefly) and a Guardsman (Cromwell).
The mission had us investigating the disappearance of a fellow Ranger in a nearby town. As we gathered in the town's center to discuss the fact that the town seemed abandoned and awfully quiet, a nearby moan made us aware of the approach of 4 zombies; one each from each table edge.
Quickly we jumped into action, and while some of us battled Zombies, others in our party attempted to tracked down the clues. Of course some of the clues, and the Random Events each turn, produced more Zombies, or Giant Rats. As the game went on, our wounds mounted, and we kept having to divert our clue-seeking in order to battle the creatures who kept getting in our way. Eventually though, one by one, we were able to uncover the clues within the 8 turn limit while only two Companions were brought down during the game (Alana and Cromwell). We never found the the missing Ranger, but we were able to determine what was going on and who was responsible for the apparent attack on the village and appearance of the Zombies. And, after the game, no one was found to be diseased, and all made a full recovery.
We really enjoyed the game; especially the narrative aspects of the small personal nature of only controlling a few figures, and the inclusion of Clues and random Events. We are looking forward to the next mission.
A look at our heroic band after the battle. From left to right: Firefly the Rogue, Churchill the Ranger, Cromwell the Guardsman, Corvus the Arcanist, Marcus the Ranger, Alana the Archer, and Duke the Hound.
We gather in the village's center to discuss our plan. Behind us is a house with a clue (as well as a pair of Giant Rats), another house with a clue can be seen just on the left edge of the photo. (Note the clues are inside the buildings, but the interiors of Rob's buildings can not be accessed)
We jump into action as the 4 starting Zombies approach. Alana the Archer releases an arrow at the one entering from the bottom of the photo, hitting it and doing 3 HP damage. My Ranger, Churchill, fires an arrow and kills one of the Giant Rats near the clue building at the top of the photo. Firefly the Rogue moves to the building with a clue on the left and picks the locked door, as Cromwell the Guardsman runs up to the other clue building and dispatches the second rat with his mighty two-handed axe. .
The fight continues as more Zombies appear. At the top of the photo, Cromwell the Guardsman has successfully found the clue in the house which, after busting down the locked door with his great-ax, turned out to be treasure(!) and he now moves to investigate a clue by some nearby rocks. But has he moves towards the rocks he is set upon by another Zombie. Alana and Churchill battle a Zombie near the other house, while Corvus faces off against a Zombie as well. Firefly the Rogue had in the meantime discovered tracks in the clue house he searched and was able to determine what caused them, but ended up battling a Zombie and being reduced to 1 HP, so he discreetly ran off to check a clue at the village's edge near some other rocks. Corvus also at this point had found a clue by a small stream, off the upper right corner of the photo, which was a mangled body with mysterious bite marks for which he was able to determine the source.
The badly wounded Firefly finds a lone survivor hiding behind the rock, who tells him what happened in the village. Having just 1 HP left, Firefly asks if she minds if he hides behind the rock with her.
Just when the sun shines brightest... the Guardsman Cromwell, having found the treasure in the first building he searched, subsequently went off, and after killing a couple zombies, found a cache of valuable herbs behind the rocks he had gone to search. Very content, with the treasure tucked under one arm, his great axe over his shoulder and the herbs stuffed in his pouch... he thought himself quite the hero as he passed by the house he had searched earlier. But, at that point in the turn, the next to last turn, we rolled for the random event and it turned out to be Building Collapse! Roll for random building, and it turns out to be the one he is standing next to. We suspect he hit the house a little too hard earlier to bust the door in; and according to the event table upon its collapse everyone inside and within 2" of it must take a +4 attack. Unfortunately, Cromwell rolled poorly and couldn't withstand having a building drop on him and he was reduced to 0 health points.. his treasure and herbs lost amongst the debris. Luckily, as I mentioned earlier he did roll to be Fully Recovered later that night, but when questioned about what happened he had no memory of the event. 🙂
"Starting with the latest expansion to the GURPS Action series (see Warehouse 23), your pledge of $3 secures you a PDF copy of GURPS Action 8 - Twists. This 10-page PDF, written by Sean Punch, aims to shake things up. "
10 PDFs for as little as $3 seems like a deal.
Like most people minus a few games here and there with my wife I haven't played a proper wargame or skirmish game in quite awhile. My wife and I did start a Frostgrave Ghost Archipelago campaign awhile back but instead of an ongoing campaign it halted after a single game. As she usually steamrolls me in most games I understand why she prefers to wait until our usual group finally starts getting together again. I guess she just knows me too well, making me an easy opponent. As for myself I'd rather be playing, even if I always lose, but I can see how always winning could get boring (Not that I'd actually know). The need to play finally brought me around to solo games which I'd never tried before and here we are. On many recommendations I ended up with Rangers of Shadow Deep, which makes sense as its only a modified Frostgrave system with a bit more meat to it.
Before writing up my first experiences with the game however there is one problem I've found. Its nothing to do with the system itself instead it has to do with my own shortcomings. Apparently my terrain and miniature collection (especially when it comes to monsters) is amazingly lacking. Up until playing this first game I thought I had a fairly decent collection but I guess I was just fooling myself. My warband didn't even escape this oversight and ended up being the most ramshackle bunch of any of my armies/squads. With that warning out of the way here is my first game...
The first mission begins just after the destruction of a neighboring kingdom and the appearance of the Shadow Deep itself. The book describes this as a realm permanently covered in black clouds and filled with evil creatures. With the entire kingdom on high alert you are tasked with locating a missing Ranger that was investigating attacks on a nearby village.
As you approach the village you feel that something is wrong. Everything is too quiet and the village itself smells of recent death. You pass bodies lying in the dirt as you move into the village proper. As your group reaches the village square and is beginning to form search parties you hear a horrible moaning sound surrounding you.
Seems like a great place to start the actual game right, but there are still a couple last pieces of bookkeeping. First up is introducing my actual warband (you were warned they were an odd lot).
Missing almost all of the necessary monsters I had to improvise.
The modern zombies are filling in for fantasy zombies.
The kobolds are filling in for giant rats.
The skeletons are filling in for giant spiders.
The three adventurers will be filling in for the village survivors.
As if that wasn't enough proxying I also had to proxy buildings with small wall sections. With the scenario needing houses with doors I selected center of the open area on each wall to act as the door.
Starting out your warband is deployed in the center of the village represented here with the well. There are six different points of interest that may act as clues to the missing rangers whereabouts. As you can see four zombies and two giant rats are deployed around the village. Clue 1 was moved 6" closer to my Ranger as he passed a perception check prior to the game.
With my first turn I started pairing my warband off attempting to reach all the clues. Going clockwise starting with my ranger (I'll be doing this going forward), he easily reached the first clue and managed to find a survivor (represented by the red wizard). Recruit 2 (The Ninja) managed to kill a zombie right off the bat. My arcanist (Oswald the overladen) started moving toward the clue inside the "house" while my knight (female half Orc) and hound (dog from a quarter machine) killed a giant rat. The archer (high elf archer) almost completely hidden by the well shot the zombie in front of him and brought it down to half health. Meanwhile my templar (old pikeman) and recruit 1 (villager with torch) were having trouble with their giant rat as the templar went down to only four health. That rat really did a number on him. Finally before the turn ended the event deck brought two more zombies onto the board.
On turn two my Ranger started working his way over to the other clue "house" and killed a zombie. The survivor made a beeline to the center of the village. Recruit 2 was knocked out fighting a zombie and the arcanist had to finish the job. The knight and the hound managed to defeat their first zombie while recruit 1 had to step in and save the archer after he was nearly killed. The templar slowly made his way closer to another clue. Then the event deck spawned another two zombies.
Turn three my ranger entered into his second combat. The survivor reached the well and the arcanist finally reached the door. The door requires either a Pick Lock or Strength roll (TN8) to enter, he tried to pick the lock but failed. Using a double move the knight went around the building getting closer to the second clue. Also using a double move recruit 2 started moving toward clue five. The archer shot at another zombie almost killing it but came up short. Meanwhile the hound tore across the board with it's double move and the templar reached the third clue. The third clue ended up being a mutilated body and with a very lucky survival roll he was able to determine the nature of the bite marks. Finally the event deck caused one of the buildings to collapse (Going forward it received a die on top of it), recruit 1 was too close and was nearly crushed. Fortunately he came away unscathed.
Turn four found my ranger and hound struggling to kill a zombie with my hound taking a hit. The survivor was content to hold his ground at the fountain while the arcanist continued to struggle with the door. The knight made it to the second clue but all she found was a zombie. The archer finally one shotted a zombie while recruit 1 finished off another. Recruit 1 also made it to clue five and found a potion of Wraithwalk. Try as he might the templar was still too far away to help the ranger and hound but he did close the distance. The event deck even spawned a zombie beside one of the clues inside a "house".
Turn five my ranger killed his second zombie with an assist from the hound. Again the survivor was content and the arcanist struggled with the door. Poor guy just couldn't get a decent roll. The knight began trading blows with a zombie and after just one turn they were both down to half health. Recruit 1 used a double move to start heading down to the arcanist hoping to put his +3 lockpicking skill to use. Obviously I should have sent him there in the first place but I really underestimated that simple TN8 roll. The archer like the survivor was content to stay where he was as he was very close to death. Last but not least the templar reached the "door" of the second clue "house", unfortunately he missed his strength roll. Finally thanks to the event deck my hound was struck with terror completely incapacitating him for a turn.
Turn six the ranger opened the door (after the templar failed during a group activation) and found strange tracks at the fourth clue. Using his tracking skill he was even able to determine their nature. The hound remained where it was frozen in fear while the survivor chose again to stay at the well. Recruit 1 used a double move again trying to get to the sixth clue. The arcanist continued to struggle with the door while the knight finished off her zombie and moved in to assist. The archer again stayed at the well. Then event deck then spawned four more zombies at the same location as the starting enemies.
Turn seven found my ranger, templar, and hound stuck fighting two zombies and managing to only kill one. The survivor and archer finally moved away from the well and closer to their allies. This didn't work out to well for the survivor as you see. The arcanist left the door and positioned himself between the archer and the incoming zombie. Recruit 1 killed another zombie and the knight opened the door. Instead of a clue as to the whereabouts of the missing ranger she found a treasure token (represented here by an old scatter die). The event deck had one more surprise in store for me however, it spawned two more giant rats.
As you can see in the picture I initially placed them incorrectly and forgot to take another picture after discovering my mistake. They are supposed to spawn out of line of sight beside a random building but if that's not possible they must spawn beside the building as close as they can to an enemy. In this case I could spawn only one out of line of sight (the one on the left) but the other one was clearly visible to my knight no matter where I placed him behind the building. The photo doesn't give this justice but believe me my laser pointer had the last word on the matter. So instead of spawning behind the building they spawned almost right on top of the survivor as the altered picture shows.
As you can imagine turn eight was quite a melee. The survivor was killed by the giant rats before I could intervene. I did however manage to kill one of them. My arcanist even got his hands dirty again at the end but only managed to lose two health for his trouble.
Things were a bit better with my ranger's group as they killed their last zombie.
They didn't exactly achieve their goal of finding the missing ranger but that wasn't due to lack of trying, that's just the way the dice rolled. Securing a treasure wasn't bad though as it turned out to be a Herb Pouch which in this system is a pretty good "magic item". The ranger received almost enough XP to level up while all his companions received two progression points, minus recruit 2 of course. As for recruit 2's injuries I'm happy to say he'll make a full recovery.
As far as a first game goes this actually went pretty smoothly, already knowing most of the system certainly helped though. I've got to say I really appreciate the way the scenario system handles monsters, knowing everything you need ahead of time for a mission is great. I know that comes at the sacrifice of a table of random encounters but it certainly makes it easier to plan for (even though I just proxied everything, you know what I mean). Also the number of each monster that it suggests was spot on, I really thought I'd have to grab some extra zombies or "rats" but I didn't. I really think this system might be the perfect fit for me. Even before lockdown and everything that came with it I had trouble finding anyone interested in playing Frostgrave or Ghost Archipelago (which I prefer). So a system that expands upon that and offers solo play is right up my alley.
With any luck I'd like to play this once a week for at least the foreseeable future. I'm a little rusty with writing battle reports and honestly I haven't written that may to begin with but with practice I hope to get better. I can already see that my notes need to be way better if for no other reason than to make writing the report quicker and less tedious. I had to look up so many things that could have been avoided had I just taken better notes.
Recently I started playing Frostgrave Ghost Archipelago so my need for terrain has increased. One particular scenario in the rulebook caught my creative attention. It calls for a watchtower, so I figured I'd try my hand at building one. For the record this will be my first piece of terrain.
I wasn't sure how I was going to build this piece and what exactly I was going to use. I remembered I had a leftover square "dowel" from when I built measurement sticks for Song of Blades and Heroes and I figured they would make pretty good supports for my tower. After deciding to use the dowel it didn't take much thought to realize I was going to make this piece out of toothpicks and popsicle sticks.
Now I had to make a decision, would I build a ladder or a series of ramps? If I understand the rules of the game carrying a treasure halves your movement, climbing also halves your movement, and they stack. So if there is a treasure at the top of the tower (which the scenario calls for) it'll take a couple turns to climb down. With this in mind I opted for a series of ramps and platforms instead (my failed attempt at making a siege ladder also reinforced this idea).
My watchtower so far.
My failed attempt at a ladder.
The platforms I decided to go with.
The first ramp.
I originally lumped this project in with my regular painting thread but I thought it deserved it's own thread (it is terrain after all), so here it is.
ATTENTION TABLE TOP RPGers!
It's been a while, so time to start up a group of gamers again.
I will be starting a Game Session ... once a month for 4, 6 or more hours at a session starting the week of my birth ... March's fourth week somewhere between the 19th and the 25th. So this is an open invitation to any within driving range of Seneca Falls/Waterloo, NY area who are interested in participating in a month-to-month campaign.
This will be a Roleplaying Game with emphasis on the story and roleplaying. Naturally there will be some fighting, adventuring, exploring, thieving, and the like depending on the system chosen. I have two systems that I would like to run .. the first is one I have been sitting on for sometime and features a much more reasonable method of gaming than any system I've played and the second I have just acquired that is also a new style of system for me.
Regardless of your rolls, the story moves forward ... it just might be more complicated than it was a moment before. Fantasy setting with D&D like characters.
Based on the comic/graphic novels of the same name. You are mice. Yup, standard size, like in the cover image of the book. But you are one of the Mouse Guard and sworn to protect Lockhaven and the Mouse Territories. The game uses a success dice (d6) system from Burning Wheel.
So, if you are interested in joining this gaming adventure, reply or message me to get an invite to the Facebook Group.