Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Isle of Giant Lizards

Captain's log, 3/12/1715

Another set of strange occurrences this day...

We set upon an island, as is our normal way.  From The Skidmark, we could tell that it had a high plateau in its middle and we heard strange bellowing coming from its depths.  The landing party consisted of myself (Terry), Isabelle (Terry), the Bosun (Jon Mark), Mr. Pendleton (Jon Mark), Mr. Harrison (Bill) and seaman Jones (Bill).

We approached the plateau through thick jungle.  Of a sudden, it opened to a grande vista!  Then things began that I'm hard-pressed to tell...

There were giant lizards grazing on the flora!  We could see several ruins in slightly raised areas interspersed across the plain, but by the by it was a wide open area.  The creatures appeared innocent enough, huge as they were.  Frightening to behold, but docile in their own way.  Perhaps it was the sheer stupidity in their eyes that reminded me of cattle.

We started across the plateau in good order, heading toward the closest ruin.  One of the dumb animals gave us a careful examination before lumbering off to graze.

We scouted the ruin for anything that would guide us to Haworth's treasure.  While we were not lucky in that regard, we did find a peculiar statue.  It was about four feet tall and of a dense stone not found in this region.  It certainly seemed to be older than the ruins themselves.  The statue depicted an octopus-headed, spindly-limned creature hunkered in a crouch.  It gave off an evil aura I mistrusted.  I've never seen anything like it, not even amongst the natives in the Caribbean.  The Bosun wanted to take it back to the ship, but the size, weight and evilness of the thing made me say nay.  I've included a sketch of the thing...

As we continued to explore, a tremendous roar was heard from the east.  The two cattle-lizards brayed and started to lumber hurriedly away, but an even larger lizard emerged from the canopy and began attacking the poor creatures!  This one was definitely a predator.  Larger than the others, with vicious teeth and tiny arms...almost infant-like on such a large frame.

As it attacked the lizard, we ran around the far side of the ruin, only to discover our next surprise:  Eggs!  The largest eggs I've ever laid eyes on, with a hatchling that looked dreadfully similar to the large beast, heretofore called Beastie, even now doing harm to the peaceful lizard.   We guessed, as we ran by, that Beastie was a mother, protecting her spawn.

We ran toward the next ruin, but got strung out.  Mr. Harrison and seaman Jones either didn't hear my order to clear the area, or were having trouble keeping pace.  Either way, they were in a bad way when Beastie realized her eggs were near strangers.  Her attack was swift and terrifying!

In perhaps the bravest or luckiest moment of his life, Mr. Harrison calmly leveled his pistol at Beastie's head and waited until she was on top of him before firing.  When the smoke cleared, we were truly amazed at the sight!

Remind me to never get into a duel with Mr. Harrison!

Our good feelings were short-lived.  As Mr. Harrison was taking care of Beastie, we continued on to the next ruin.  What we found wasn't to our liking.

These lizards were smaller and faster, but evidently had the same bad temperament as Beastie!  There were three of them and when they saw us, they hissed menacingly.  I stepped up and fired upon one, felling it instantly.  The other two were upon us before we could react, their speed was so great.  Isabelle fell under the creature's onslaught, but I was able to slay the creature before it could sink its wicked-looking talons into her flesh.

Isabelle and I ran to the aid of Mr. Pendleton and the Bosun, as the third creature was giving as much as it got.  Isabelle was again knocked over, but we manage to dispatch the creature without injury.

A search of this ruin revealed nothing.  We did find another statue, but this one was of the typical variety found in the Caribbean and matched the stones of the ruins.  Who the indigenous people were that left these ruins, I cannot say.

As we headed toward the final ruin, we ran across more peaceful creatures.  These reminded me of animals I'd seen at a traveling menagerie as a child.  An oliphant and a rhinoceros, if memory serves.  They were grazing, but turned toward us as we approached.  I decided I wanted their horns and ordered Mr. Harrison to take them for a prize.

He did so in short order while Isabelle and I searched the final ruin.  Victory!  We found 60 gold coins, but even more importantly, a third piece of Haworth's treasure map!

There were sounds coming from the jungle of something large and mean headed our way, so we headed back to the ship in quick order....but not before pilfering the island of various curious artifacts.

We now have three...helmets?...from the small, quick lizards' heads, two horns and meat from the rhinoliphant, a new figurehead made from Beastie's skull as well as her eggs and spawn.  I'm not sure what we're going to do with "Spiddle", as the crew has started to call it.  We know how large it will become and how vile its temperament will be, so whatever decision I make will be made shortly.  Until that time, it's caged.  I wonder if it would taste like veal...


It was a very fun night for a Land of the Lost game, punctuated with tons of laughter and fantastic moments on the table.

Where will the crew of The Skidmark fare next?  Tune in for the next episode in this high adventure serial!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Guardians' Chronicles: Save Zurkovia!

We had a chance to give Guardian's Chronicles another try.  The Liberty Patrol consisted of Jon Mark (Sgt. Freedom), Bill (Goldenboy) and Terry (Adam Spell).  Chris was expected to play as Super Nova, but he never showed up...

Plot:  Doktor Skarov is wanting nuclear war.  In order to achieve his nefarious scheme, he is launching four missiles at the capitol of his own country, Zurkovia.  The Liberty Patrol must 1) stop the missiles from destroying their target and 2) stop Doktor Skarov in his lair.

Right off the bat, the heroes were attacked by androids and the robotic assassin lieutenants, Ki, Chi and Noi.   Chi could jump out of harm's way, Ki could roll an extra attack and Noi could attack two characters at once.  They each gave the heroes fits, which was pivotal later in the game.

I'm gonna knock you out!
Goldenboy was initially held back by several androids.  He had to punch his way out, but not before being wounded.  The rest of the squad slogged their way to the missile control station, destroying androids the entire way.

The lair is jumping with activity!

Sgt. Freedom went toe-to-toe with Chi and was eventually able to knock her out, achieving a personal mission.

Surrounded and under pressure!

Eventually, Adam Spell was able to get to a control station and began, with poor results, to deactivate the missiles.  He stopped one, but the rest were rumbling in their silos, eventually taking off into the air toward Zurkovia.

Get off me, you crazy robot!

Impeding his progress was Noi, who was inflicting terrible damage to both Adam Spell and Sgt. Freedom.  Would the Liberty Patrol be able to stop the missiles in time?!

Magic and technology don't mix...
Adam, with the aid of Sgt. Freedom, was finally able to stop the last missile at the very last second.  The last bomb splashed harmlessly into Zurkovia's bay.  A collective sigh of relief was heard from the Liberty Patrol.  Success!

Four down!!!
Adam and the rest of the Liberty Patrol then went after Doktor Skarov.  Standing in their way were several androids and one last robot assassin, the pesky Chi.  She took down Adam in a flurry of razor claws and then eyed Sgt. Freedom, who was running on fumes.

Spell down...
Sarge took down the lieutenant, but Goldenboy was the next to fall.  Surrounded and alone, Sgt. Freedom collected his friends' limp bodies and hightailed it out of Skarov's lair.  "Another day, Doktor.  We'll stop you yet!"  he cried as he left.

The headline of the next day's paper told the tale.  While the Liberty Patrol managed to stop the missiles and Sgt. Freedom was able to accomplish his personal goal, the group was ultimately unsuccessful in capturing Doktor Skarov.  

The Liberty Patrol will live to fight another day...and hopefully win! 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Axles and Alloys - Recruits 2015

Yeah, I'm a slacker.  I'll freely admit it.  It has been two months since Recruits convention and I'm just now getting around to posting this AAR.

I was approached by a friend of mine about running an A&A game at the convention.  He was in contact with a gentleman that was slated to arrive from the upper Midwest that was really jonesing to play, so I thought "Why not"?

I didn't have a particular scenario in mind, as I was focused on other things at the time.  The gaming group had discussed hosting a racing scenario for the convention, but it never really got off the the ground.  Then inspiration struck.

Ken had a bunch of HO scale buildings he'd thrifted.  They were the typical small town, 1950s-60s buildings that you'd find in places that still have town squares with the courthouse in the middle of a grassy knoll.  Exactly the sort of place I grew up in, actually.  The buildings were too beat up to resell on eBay, so he 'donated' them to the cause...if I "dirtied them up" first and made them available for group play.  Done deal!

After a few furious nights of cleaning, repairing and applying washes to the buildings, I felt they were acceptable for the gaming table.  The next step was configuring a track and creating a backstory.

The paraphrased "hook":  The Deadlands' gangs race in a neutral zone once a year.  The place they do this is a dilapidated town in the middle of what once was a rural community.  The buildings are vacant (except for the strip club, but that didn't come out until the convention), but that doesn't keep the gangs from strategically placing snipers in well-hidden locations.  So, pick your team of three and get ready to see who's the Deadlands champ this year!  One thing to note: There can only be ONE champion...and I mean ONE!

I had a full table.  12 players driving 12 cars.  I had four more people wanting to play, so I assigned snipers to each team.  That last bit proved to be somewhat overkill, but did provide one moment of hilarity and chaos.

With that many racers, the start line was broken into two locations with six cars randomly assigned to each.  This served to not only break up teams, but also open up the racing corridors.  The track itself was a modified figure 8 track that had, at points, vehicles racing head-on at each other.  In my mind's eye I envisioned incredible crashes and skullduggery.  What more could one want from a race like this?!

To top it all off, I had a trophy for the winner.  It was a beautiful thing to behold and real keepsake for the race.

Ironically, the gentleman from the upper Midwest that spurred on this whole thing couldn't make it.  However, I had an unexpected and pleasurable surprise, as a bunch of fine fellows and friends of mine came up from Arkansas and got a chance to play in the game. 

I want to extend a hearty "Thank you" to Terry for the pics, as my phone died right before the race started. I modified a few pics, but I'm going to let them do the talking...

The start of the race.

The Heavy trucks are making a mess of things...

Red team, working together.

Post-apocalyptic drafting!

The Dutch Oven is under fire!

Your winner: Jon Mark!  Look at that trophy!
The game was what one would expect.  There were horrible crashes, both bad and fantastic, by the seat of your pants maneuvers, hilarious dialogue and even a sniper head shot that instantly killed a player.  In another word: perfect.

We didn't actually finish the race.  Specifically, we made it through approximately 1/3 of one lap due to the sheer number of players and the chaos that ensued.  Jon Mark won, literally, by 1/2 car length.  Ken was gunning for him, but got spun out at the last second by someone's poor driving and resulting skidding collision.

Thank you to all who played.  I hope you enjoyed the game and look forward to playing again next yer!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Guardians' Chronicles

I've wanted a superhero game that I could throw on the table and play for quite some time.  While I absolutely love SuperSystem (the link is to the 2nd edition of this great title.  There's a third edition, but I've never played it), it doesn't make its way to the gaming table too often. 

I was at a book store, 50% off coupon in hand...uh...on phone.  When I saw a used (opened, but unplayed) copy of Guardians' Chronicles for $17.50, I decided to give it a try.

In short, this game features the superhero team, Liberty Patrol (LP for short), against the nefarious Doktor Skarov and his many minions.  It's basically a mission-based dungeon crawl for 2-5 players, with one person playing as the evil Doktor.

Tonight's crew was Bill (Goldenboy), Jon Mark (Sgt. Liberty) and a face from the past, Chris (Super Nova).  The mission?  Rescue the hostage and get out the far side of the board.  Sounds easy, but in the LP's way were nasty droids and a mean Lieutenant assassin. 

The LP came into the game swinging for the fences.  I managed to put a couple of dents on Goldenboy, but he still stood strong.  The good guys made quick work of the less robust androids, but the two lieutenants put some stink on Goldenboy and Sarge before being dispatched. 

Goldenboy got this 'bot.
Reinforcements are coming!
There's the ninja lieutenant, ready to gig someone.
In true superhero fashion, Goldenboy squares off against the ninja.
Super Nova refused to enter the rooms with guns.  Super Wimp!
 After Super Nova shot the doors off their hinges, Goldenboy rescued the hostage.  He and Sgt. Liberty took a substantial amount of defensive fire from the automated machine guns Skarov used as a trap, but not enough to KO them before they completed the mission.

The end result?  Only Super Nova completed her personal mission, while the team did win overall.  The newspaper looked like this afterwards (great component to the game, in my opinion).  That's a LOT of ads!

The team won, but only Super Nova fulfilled her mission.
As this was the introductory game and we were all new to playing, there were mistakes to be had.  We noted them for the next time we play.  Everyone said they'd give it another go.  We'll see when that happens.  It does take care of the itch I was wanting scratched, so maybe it'll happen sooner rather than later.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Attack on Eyrie Island

Captain Beefheart looked at his bedraggled crew as they boarded The Skidmark.  He wondered why some of his landing party seemed to be recovering from symptoms similar to being hungover.  He noticed that one crew member, “Mad” Andrew Stevens, was on a litter that had to be hoisted aboard.

“Bosun Jameson!  Wha' be yer report?”

“Birds, Cap’n.  Damnable birds.”

“Birds, Jameson?  Wha' do ye mean?”

“ 'Twas th' damnedest thin', Captain.  Big thin's, they were.  Like a scallywag, but wit' three arms, bird heads, 'n green feathers.  They didna speak, at least as far as we could tell, but they ran up on us quick-like 'n we scuttled em.  All o' them.  They were led by a brown female, I reckon.  Mad Stevens cut her down quick-like on his way t' th' ship.  

“When they hit ye, 'twas wit' these damnable wee…wands.  They didna cut ye, but yed feel light-headed 'n 'twas hard-like t' concentrate.  They dropped th' crewman in th' red shirt, as well as me, Isabelle 'n Ira.  'Twas fortunate-like that Stevens was thar.  He was a thrice-damned force o' nature.  He was cuttin' down birdmen, singin' chanties at th' top o' his lungs 'n savin' us from becomin' captives.  If it werena fer 'im, ye’d be sendin' a second landin' party t' find us, that’s fer sure!

“Anyway, we scuttled th' damned lot o' them 'n then ransacked thar village.  We found some gold, but also some eggs.  Well, those damned eggs hatched quick-like 'n th' wee buggers attacked us.  I guess they were starvin'.  They hurt Stevens pretty good, that’s why he‘s on th' litter.  'twill take 'im a while t' recover, Cap’n”

“I’m glad ye all made it back t' th' ship, Bosun.  Well done.  By th' by, wha's that large parcel bein' hoisted onto th' deck?”

“Meat, Cap’n.  Crazy-like thin's they were, but I be bettin’ they taste like chicken!”


Let me preface this account with a fact:  My basement mocked me all night.  I searched diligently, but never found my longboats, seed dice, or grass huts.  I think a total dismantling of the basement and labeling session is in order…but I digress.

It was a fun night of gaming.  My ‘crew’ was Jon Mark, Ken and Bill.  Bill brought some Moose Drool brown ale, so the night started with very good beer and easy banter.  I played my ‘secret’, the wonderful pirate metal band, Alestorm, in the background for mood music.  After re-familiarizing ourselves with the characters, their special abilities and how the game, Flashing Steel, is played, we were off.

My idea for this scenario is that the “birdmen” (Mage Knight Talon Warriors) were to capture the landing party and lock them in a cage that looked vaguely like a bird’s home.  To do this, the birdmen were given the Drain ability.  This skill doesn’t cause physical harm in combat.  Instead, the hit character finds it harder and harder to activate.  In this game, the party was getting drugged into submission.  

I purposefully made the odds 2:1 against the characters in order to trigger the second part of the island’s plot.  Alas, it wasn't to be, as I had three rounds where I rolled too boldly and managed to turn the game over to the pirates.  Ken also thought the birds were ducks in a shooting gallery, as he was able to kill several by night's end.  The birdmen did manage to drug four of the party, but Mad Stevens and Mr. Harrison were still on their feet when the last creature fled.

One note:  Never, ever pause in your sentence when it starts with "Do you want my seaman...".  I'm looking at you, Bill.

I also apologize for the blurriness of some of the photos.  I was trying to take the pics too quickly, I suppose.

A bird's eye view of the adventurers emerging from the jungle.

Starting to feel surrounded...

Look at it from our angle.


Friend or foe?  Just shoot it and ask later!

The noose tightens...


I'm gonna shoot it in the goose hole!

Out of action, but having happy dreams...

Ira making a break for the beach.

Mad Stevens aids a friend.
Again, a wonderful night, even if the plot didn't turn out like I'd imagined.  Thanks for looking!