Tuesday, May 9, 2017

And now for something completely different...

I mentioned at the beginning of this blog page about adding some roleplaying material, and here it is.

I'm a big geek, and Ive played tabletop RPGs since I was 12.  In fact, come June, Ill be celebrating 25 years of rolling dice and being a hero on paper.

As one of our adventures wind down, the group is gearing up for another.  Specifically, Strange Aeons!  This is a Pathfinder Adventure Path with a lot of Lovecraftian elements, and I dont have to tell you, Ive liked what I read from Lovecraft.

Now that all of that is out of the way, Im going to share how I go about creating a character in Pathfinder.  This is a rare glimpse into my creative process, so buckle up!

First, Im going to eliminate any role in the party that Im playing in any other game.  Im playing a healer in one other, and a wizard in yet another.  (Yes, I have two other bi-monthly games, essentially one a week.)

Second, Im going to disregard any classes, or variations there of, that I dislike or dont feel comfortable with.  Instead of listing these out, Ill just make a mental note and nix the optiins as they come up.  After all, Ill be playing this game for around 4-5 years, I want to be comfortable with it down the road.  (Thats not to say I dont challenge myself with new rules, I just save those for shorter games.)

Now comes step 3, which is a necessary evil, and thats finding and reading the players guide.  Most Adventure Paths have one for free online, and it helps me understand the setting and gives advice on building your characters.  I wont make you suffer through it here, but Ill break down the key points.

A)  There's an option for us players to use the Occult classes and archetypes.  Im not going to take that option because Im not comfortable with those rules yet.

2)  There is a fair amount of suggested Urban choices, and part of the description mentions a big city.  Im intrigued by this, Ive not played in an urban enviroment much, but I know a lot of good rules about it.  I will try to include some urban options, but nothing super focused.

D)  The guide mentions a lot of Aberration (makes sense with Lovecraft monsters) and Human enemies.  Humans are easy to kill, but Aberrations worry me.  So Ill try to look at some way to include a variety of weaponry and alternate ways to hurt them.

One thing about this path worried me when I read the players guide.  There is talk of starting off without gear, and possibly recovering it later.  Im never a fan of this, for personal reasons I wont go into.  In order to mitigate this issue, Im going to try to buy/use as lottle gear as possible.

And thats my starting point to go look at options out there.  Heres where I decide to do a mechanics build, as opposed to an organic build.

"Mechanics build" is where you lay out your character from start to finish and work out the details ahead of time, so theres little effort as it levels.

"Organic build" is where you play the character without preplanning every level, and instead, adjust your character during the course of the game, in response to the adventure itself.

When I do a mechanics build, I like to start with the higher levels first.  I look at Prestige Classes first, to see if anything really appeals to my notes from the Players Guide.  At first glance, there is one or two that jump out at me.  The Assassin, and the Rose Warden.

Ive always wanted to play an assassin, and Im very familiar with their rules.  Sneak Attack is key, and useful in putting down enemies quickly.  I used to play Rogues, an almost required class to get into Assassin, a lot back in the Dungeons & Dragons era (2nd ed Advanced through 3.5), so I would also be well versed in the rules for Rogues as well.

Rose Warden is new to me, but has some familiar rules mixed in.  It also has Sneak Attack, spiffy.  And its got some options for Urban areas as it grows in power too.  I like options.  The big selling point though is the bonuses and eventual immunity to fear.

Its a Lovecraft themed game.  Its going to be scary in there.  Fear saves will happen people.

So I'll put that down as the Prestige class I want to go into.  And getting into the class is a breeze.  It requires 5 ranks in two skills, and a feat that will benefit me right out of the gate.  Alright. I can get into the class at 6th level, which means I need a good build to set the Prestige Class on.  Since there's no big racial or class feature requirements, I have a blank slate to work with.

Now I want to look at races.  Since I dont have any requirement for races from the Rose Warden, but I do need a feat, Ill go for Human.  The bonus feat takes care of Iron Will, and I get a boost to my saves vs fear.

At this point, I want to talk to some of the other players, and see what they want to play.  Yes, Ive done some work, but if someone else wants to play a build similar to mine, Ill just start over after step three.  A few of us talk, and its decided that I will cover the Skill Disable Device, and play some build that can do a lot of damage.

Now back to building.  Im thinking Rogue as a base class here.  Its got Sneak Attack from the start, and covers Disable Device.  But I need a way to do damage without a weapon, and Rogue doesnt cover that by itself.

With a bit more research, I find a class archetype that gives me a cool weapon no one can take off my body. 

The class is Vigilante.  The archetype is Warlock.

This gives me the ability to make mystical bolts of energy with my bare hands, and I really like that.  Also, as energy damage, it bypasses the dreaded Damage Reduction on nastier enemies.  Bonus.

The downside is that I wont get Disable Device as a class skill, but Im lucky enough to get it from a trait instead.  I wont be better than a Rogue, but I can make that up later.

That is it for tonight.  Later, I go over ability scores, feats, and level dips.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Presents Tense

I haven't posted since the Storm of Silence back in April, and mostly that's due to my son needing adult supervision and care, but what can you expect from a now 1 year old?

I missed the Harvester of Souls this year, which makes it twice in a row.  I'm sad about that, but responsibility always has to come first.  I'm going to vow to make it in 2017!

Khuster's Cav has always been close to my heart, and well known in local circles.  Since the Storm, I really haven't done anything this year.  I did, however, get an airbrush for my birthday in August, and I'm looking forward to repainting my knight with it.  By the way, transitioning from brush to airbrush is a bit intimidating.

Despite lack of time for the hobby, I've managed to come into possession of the Battle for Vedross box set, and a few boxes of Ork expansions, along with a friends entire IG army.  I played with the Orks this last Sunday, and I really like how they handled!  Does this mean I'm switching armies?  Hardly.  I have about 500 points of them in total, and I'm playing with a theme idea that my mind says I can do, but my skill says "no way in hell!"

I really want to practice my layering, as that has continually kept me from competing in the appearance awards at the Gamer's Haven.  Unfortunately, once I nail it, that means I have to repaint my bikes.  ALL of my bikes.  Which, if you remember, unburdened with a tiny human to raise, it took me a year to do the last time.  Probably two years this time, which means not in time for the Storm in six months.

So, I had better get to work learning.  Deadline set in 6 months.  I need new paints too...

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Storm of Silence 4

Well, here I sit repairing one of only two broken models from this year's event.  As a local player, I try to make a showing at the events nearby, and I almost exclusively shop at the Gamer's Haven to support what they bring to our gaming community.

I'm going to start with Khuster's Cav.  Last post I mentioned my Libbie's, and I kept them in the mix.  I also added a Knight Warden to give me some firepower and a target everyone wants to shoot at.

White Scars CAD -
HQ Khuster's (Khan) on Moondrakkan
EL Command Squad on bikes, Apothecary, Storm Shields, Gravguns, Meltabombs
TR Bike Sqaud of 6(x4), Meltagun, Gravgun, Meltabombs
Librarius Conclave - White Scars
Librarian ML 2(x3), bikes, Force Axes, Meltabombs, The Hunters Eye

Oathsworn Detachment -
Imperial Knight Warden, TL Icarus Autocannon, Thunderstorms Gauntlet

Going into the Storm I had two goals - win a single game, and throw something with the Gauntlet.

I'll post lists later, right now I'll just put up my thoughts and results from each game.

Game 1 was against Necrons.
I was tabled in turn 4.  0 points awarded
My dice really let me down.  I couldn't make a save or land a wound for trying.  The opponent had a good list, with two Pylons and a Void Shield Generator.  Tough nuts to crack all around.

Game 2 was against Space Marines
I tabled him in Turn 6.  1011 points awarded.
This was a tough list.  Triple Landraiders with Iron Hands.  My Knight did its job, and hurled two of the three, and glanced the last one to death.  I played very well tactically, and would have won even without tabling him.  Best opponent of the tourney.

Game 3 was against a Riptide Wing with Shadowsun and Crisis Suits.
I was tabled in turn 5.  0 points awarded.
This game should have been mine in turn two.  But I lost my Force power in a Perils of the Warp roll, and had to peel the wounds off those Riptides one at a time.  That cost me too much time, and with the amount of fire being laid out, it was only a matter of time until I was wiped from the board.

Game 4 was against Tyranids
I lost, but managed to get a few points.  3 points awarded.
Rachel is a player I've gone against in every tourney we've been in.  She always stomps me into the ground, but this was a very close game.  My Knight also held his own against two Flyrants for 4 turns (which we ended on due to the time limit).  No mistakes in this game, she just had better rolls, and that's saying something considering my dice were hot again!

Game 5 was against a vehicle heavy Chaos Marine army.
I lost again, but grabbed a couple bonus points.  2 points awarded.
Another two hurls as well, a Mauler Fiends and his Helldrake!  This was another close game, and my Knight (with 1 HP left) kept my army on the table, earning him a name!

All in all I ended up with 1016 points, both goals accomplished, and a decent appearance score too.  I placed 52nd of 58.  That's about par for me.  I'm tired and happy!

There are some things I want to do in the next 6 months with KC.  First, Rachel helped me name the different squads in my army.

Let me explain.

I painted the bases different colors to help my opponents see units better in a sea of bikes.  Red, blue, Green, and Black for the bike squads.  White for libbies, steel for the command squad, and gold for Khuster.

So we've come up with the following squad names:
Green - Goblin Squad
Black - Shadow Squad
Red - Demon Squad
Blue - Kraken Squad
White - Angel Squad
Steel - Brotherhood of Steel

She also suggested each Sergeant fly a banner with squad colors and a symbol.  So that's one of the tasks I'm going to tackle.

Second is just to remove the squad markers from 2012, since the bases are doing that anyway.

Lastly is to get some micropens and do some better details on my models, as well as some freehand practice so I can mock up my Knight better.

Oh, and I guess the Knight is also another project.

Lists I faced up soon!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Test Battle #1

Last night I took a smaller version of Khuster's Cav out to test the potency of the Libbies, and my death star command squad.  It was a 1500 list, so I only took 3 ML 2 Libbies, and the core of KC. 

My friend Dave brought his Tau, which included a buffy commander, a unit of Crisis suits, couple units of Fire Warriors (each with the new support drone), three Broadsides, and a Riptide.  Not a bad force.  He had enough marker drones to make me sweat, but I knew my death star unit would give everything he had some hassle.

I ended up learning a few things from the inevitable defeat.  First, I am still struggling with my deployment.  He had no template weapons, so I should have stacked everything at the line to rush forward.  But I didn't, and ended up turbo-boosting half my army in the first round to get in range.  I have to work on that.

I also have to work on playing to the end game.  I get caught up in the battle the first few rounds, and then have to play catch up to try and win, while Dave knew what needed to be done from the get go, and won the game because of it.

I love my psykers.  Before now, I didn't even touch them, because I thought they weren't worth the points.  But now I love them.  Especially this Librarius Enclave!  I stacked them with Iron Hands chapter tactics, and put all three in with Khuster and the Command Squad.  The Iron Hands get to add 1 to their FNP rolls, so with the Apothecary, they get FNP 4+ and have IWND!  Not bad to stuff into a squad carrying Storm Shields.  All said, he only managed to peel off one veteran and put a single wound on a Libby (who gained it back the next round).  It helped that they also had Invisibility each round.

Dave played his cards very well, pushing instakill hits like my Orbital Strike to the drones through Look Out Sir, and soaking a good amount of damage to Invulnerable saves and FNP from his stims.  I have to play better to my strengths and his weaknesses.  I felt scattered and confused for most of the battle, and only killed most of his drones, when I should have racked up more destruction on the table.

In the end, I conceded when our time ran out in turn three.  I had too few bikes to tie for objectives, and he already had me 0-3 in KPs.  So it was a hard loss, but I can only really blame myself. 

I need more time with this army, and I need to learn from my lessons and start winning.  This army has the potential to be competitive, but not if I keep making big mistakes.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Storm 2016 - 7 months and Counting...

Long time, no see my friends!

Life is slowing down now again (we have a newborn this year, our first) and it's time to start planning for the next Storm of Silence in Spokane, WA.  In 2016 it will be held in May, so I have a bit over 7 months to get things ready. 

Here's where I stand now:

First, I have a fully painted 1850 point Khuster's Cav list, but it's been a long time since I've used it, and it has never been truly competitive.  So I am going to piece it out, trying to stay with the theme, but make it more of a challenge for folks.  It needs a new list.

Second, I love the horse scheme on some of the bikes, but not all of them.  So a lot are getting repainted.  I also have a lot of mold lines on a couple of them, so some of them are getting a second (or third) go around with some filing.

Third, I have to buy, build, and paint some new units.  Well, that's not entirely true.  I don't intend on buying anything new, I want to use what I have now.  Might have to buy new paints though.  But I do have to build and paint some models.

So what am I doing with the list?  Well, first off, I have a core group of units that I don't want to mess with.  They are the heart and soul of the army, and I just can't bring myself to change them (aside from required codex changes):

HQ - Khuster (Chapter Master, SM Bike, Artificer Armor, Storm Shield, Thunder Hammer)
EL - Command Squad (5x Veterans on bikes, Apothecary, Storm Shields, Grav/Meltas, Company Standard)
TR - Red Squad (6 bikers, Grav pistol Sergeant, Melta/Grav gun)
TR - Blue Squad (6 bikers, Grav pistol Sergeant, Melta/Grav gun)
TR - Green Squad (6 bikers, Grav pistol Sergeant, Melta/Grav gun)
TR - Violet Squad (6 bikers, Grav pistol Sergeant, Melta/Grav gun)

That's about 1150 points, with some options left out incase my opponents think they can get one over on me.

So I have 700 points to play around with.  In the past, The Storm and The Harvester have been limited to two detatchments total, but with changes to the ITC from earlier this year, it's now up to three detatchments, which gives me some room to play.

My biggest weakness in this army is firepower.  I've tried the Tau Firesupport Cadre, but with the amount of bikes I have, and the Allies rules, it becomes a logistical nightmare.  Don't get me wrong, I love being able to pound my opponents with artillery before charging the bikes into the fray, but I'm not at the level to command that list yet.

I've played around with some Skitarii units, and I love the Ironstrider Cavaliers formation.  So I put one into the list.  There's a lot of mods to the model to get it more of the theme than Skitarii.  Right now, it's just 3 models, with one built, one opened, and one still in the celophane.  Lots of work there, but it only eats up 185 points (I picked all the fun options), leaving about 515 to add more.

So what to do with the 515 left over?  I know I need some more firepower, and I'd also like to have some more points for a couple more Sydonian Dragoons, if possible.

My ideas, and what I am thinking -

Classic Khuster - 3 Landspeeders, Scouts, more bikes, etc.  This is fun (my Conestoga style Landspeeders are awesome looking) but not really a solution.  Scouts give me another Objective Secured unit, and Landspeeders give me some mobile firepower platforms, but both are pretty crunchy, and I've tried it before.  Best for appearance, not gameplay.

Artillery - Thunderfire Cannons.  Loads of firepower, and I can trick them out to look like US Cavalry field artillery.  Also leaves me with enough points to get more Dragoons.  I like this option, I will have to play with it some more.  But I would have to hand make the cannons and techmarines.  Doable, but lots of work.  Also, TFCs are not very mobile, and I like the mobility of my army.  Good for gameplay, good for appearance (I hope).

Heavy Air Cav - 2x Stormravens.  This would answer my firepower problems, eventually.  Let me be very honest here, I hate using reserves.  I do not like having part of my army sitting around for a few turns, and I've never had much success with it either.  The only reason I want the Dragoons is because I can roll on turn 1, that I'm okay with.  So I'm rating this Bad for gameplay, bad for appearance (Can't think of a Khuster themed aircraft to save my life).

Knight - I can fit a Knight in here as a Lord of War, as well as enough points for another Ironstrider Ballistarii with Lascannons.  I'm not sold on the Knights as units.  I faced a couple in the last Storm, and it went down pretty fast.  But I see a lot of them, so maybe it's time to hop on the band wagon.  The downside is that I'd have to buy a Knight and another Ballistarii kit, or make them.  More work than the cannons option.  I'm going to say Okay for gameplay, okay for appearance.

I'll have to decide soon, and get a few test games in as well.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Of Swords and Silicone

Last night was my day off, and I managed to get in some painting and a new project.

Alas, not a new army theme, but a way to cast molds of those hard to come by bits.

A quick trip to one of the local craft stores to get some plasticard (styrene) sheets to build my drop pod with, and I quickly found out two interesting things.

1)  There appears to be a lack of styrene in pretty much every hobby store in town.

2)  The big local game store had a mold and resin kit for sale.

I've seen the kits online before, but they are not present when I go to buy in the store.  So I grabbed it while I had the chance, and went home to cast some molds.

I figured I'd cast two halves of each othe special weapons I wanted to have, and a couple bitz I'm running short of.  I'm also going to cast any sprues I get in the mean time.  The mold finally cured this morning, and I made a couple test grav guns, which were kinda of flimsy but okay.  Seems my mix was off because they took almost an hour to set.  I'll have to work on that.

I also managed to finish my D&D 5th edition dragonborn model, Whipthorn Icescale.  I also attempted my first freehand on his shield, and I think it turned out well!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas List!

Well, after fiddling with my list for a long time, I've finally come down to the hard draft.  This is what I am going to be taking to the Storm of Silence in 2015.

1750 Points
CAD - Space Marines (White Scars)
HQ - Khan on Moondrakken
NS - Command Squad on bikes, 4 Storm Shields, Apothecary, 4 meltaguns
TR - Red Bike Squad Bikers x6, 2 Meltaguns
TR - Blue Bike Squad Bikers x6, 2 Meltaguns
TR - Green Bike Squad Bikers x6, 2 Meltaguns
TR - Yellow Bike Squad Bikers x6, 2 Meltaguns
TR - Violet Bike Squad Bikers x6, 2 Meltaguns
TR - Tactical Squad Marines x5, Drop Pod, Grav-gun

Formation - Dark Angels Librarian Enclave
Librarian on bike w/Force Axe, ML 2
Librarian on bike w/Force Axe, ML 2
Librarian on foot w/Force Axe, Power Field Generator, ML 2

So there it is.  This is the tool box I'm taking with me next year.  I know, you have complaints and questions.  Let me handle the most obvious.

First, what's the game plan?  Easy.  First, we stick Ezekiel and the foot libby in with the Tac Squad, and have them drop to hold an objective or get Line breaker.  With the Power Field, every model should be getting a 4++ save, and with Ezekiel nearby, Mindworm now has a 24" range, making that a dangerous drop pod squad.  Next, we stick the two libby bikers in with Khan to create a Bikestar.  Now the opponent has to worry about that unit as well, giving them two tough nuts to crack on the field.  On top of that, there's also more bikes than they cna shake a stick at.  With 3+ armor and cover saves (with Jink and Skilled Rider), along with the Scout ability, the regular bikes can be very scary indeed.

If my opponents list needs something special, I can also stick the libbies into normal squads to boost them, and I'll have 9 powers to generate on the field.  In addition, the formation special rules also give me the ability to cast powers from any model within 12" also from the formation.  And 9+d6 psychic dice is comparable to Elder spam too. 

Oh, and did I mention the Psychic Hoods?  Deny the Witch rolls for units within range?  Pretty sweet.

Next Question.

Why no anti-air? Well, I can always snap shot the meltas and grav at the fliers.  But really, my secret weapon here is Mindworm and Prescience against FMC, and Prescience against normal flyers.  Rerolls are damned good in this game, and my dice love em.  It is a risk, but I feel confident in being able to hide my bikers in close combat, and roll the right psychic powers.  Worst case scenario, It'll take my opponent a few rounds to table the regular bike squads, and can't normally come in until turn 2, so I could still pull out a win by numbers depending on the scenario.  It's a risk, yes, but if it plays out right, I will have a tremendous win!

Next Question.

Why only a single Grav-gun?  Shouldn't there be more?

Look, I get that Space Marines get an awesome unique weapon.  It's pretty cool, and can toast vehicles and MC pretty quickly.  But here's the thing.  Sometimes it just doesn't work.  There are cases where the Grav-gun just won't get the job done.  And I don't like that.  When I take weapons, it's because they are either forced on me, or they can be used in any situation.  This is why I stack Melta like crazy.  In a meta where triple Knight lists and Lords of war are common, I need a weapon that can penetrate the toughest armor, and has a better chance of destroying things in one hit than the Grav guns.  So the only Grav-gun in the army goes onto the squad where I can ensure the best chance for it to be useful.  I know a lot of players who swear by them, but my loyalty lies with the tried and trusted melta weapons.  Remember, range isn't an issue with this extremely mobile army.

Alright, enough questions.  Down to my to do list:

1)  Assemble and paint a command squad.  I need more meltaguns for this.
2)  Assemble and paint the Tac Squad.  I have enough bits, but need a drop pod.
3)  Assemble and paint the Dark Angels Librarian Enclave.  I have enough bits for the two bikes.  Maybe enough for the two foot models too.  Need bits for the Force weapons on all of them though.

So I have a little shopping to do, and a bit of painting.  After Christmas, I get to work!

I'll keep you guys updated!