Sunday, September 23, 2012

Learning to Crawl...Part 3

Yorin and Dorek were in front as they approached the double doors at the end of the hallway...Yorin looked at Dorek and nodded...Dorek nodded back...they both knew that either glory or death lay in the room beyond.  So far the raid had gone well.  After a few initial fumbles Yorin and his crew had eliminated the guards from the front room...Dorek had assisted Florin in dispatching one of the goblins...and surprisingly the old mage had killed the other with his staff before shredding an Orc archer with a spray of magical bolts.  Yorin grinned in satisfaction when he thought of his own contribution to the the commander of the guard raised his sword to strike Yorin the dwarf had caught him in the chest with a powerful blow from his axe...killing him outright.

Yorin and Dorek each grasped a door handle...and the dwarf leader! On 3 they each flung their door open...revealing the large room behind.  The dwarfs had only a second to take in the room full of enemies in front of them before all hell broke loose...

Turn 6
Yorin and Dorek approach and open the doors.  The baddies on the other side move toward the door and prepare to "receive" their visitors.  As the doors open Drakenhoff unleashes the Rain of Svarog on the dwarves...catching all but Magnison in a powerful blast of magic.  Drakenhoff actually rolled a natural 20 with this spell and caused 2 wound to Yorin and Dorek...Florin avoided any serious harm by hiding behind his comrades in front of him.  Since Drakenhoff is wearing the Circlet of Incantation he is able to cast a second spell this turn and unleashes Forked Lighting on Dorek and Yorin...causing them each a third wound.

Turn 7
The Baddies win the initiative and charge in with the warriors up front, attempting to bottle up the dwarfs in the doorway.  Orc warrior 1 steps up and lands a vicious blow on Doreks shoulder causing 2 wounds...bring his total damage to 5 out of 6 vitality points!  Orc warrior 2 attacks Yorin and though he lands a blow fails to wound the dwarf leader.  In their half turn Dorek returns the favor by inflicting one wound on Orc Warrior 1 and Yorin bashes through the shield of Orc warrior 2 driving his war axe deep into the greenskin's shoulder killing him.

here is the situation at the end of Turn 7

Turn 8
The enemies win the initiative again and continue to keep our heroes pinned in the doorway.  Larlog charges forward to engage Yorin.  Fluffy and the Orc archer decide to back off toward the rear of the room to see how the action in the doorway plays out.  In the Orcs Melee phase Orc warrior 1 presses his attack on Dorek and over powers his defense driving his blade deep into the dwarf rangers throat, Dorek collapses in a gurgling heap of blood, beard, and chain-mail where he once stood. Larlog proves a good match for Yorin as well and causes one wound on the dwarf leader.

In the dwarf turn Florin steps over the still twitching body of his dying cousin, Dorek, and attacks Orc warrior 1 who is still attempting to recover his blade from dwarf rangers body...Florin brings his flail crashing down onto the Orc's head making a sickening thud and killing him instantly.  Magnison attempts to cast Silvery Barbs at Larlog but the mystical forces prove elusive and the spell fails.  Yorin steps back for a second and quaffs his healing potion before stepping forward and swatting Larlog on the side of the head with the flat of his axe.  This knocks what little sense the Orc leader had right out of  his head and he stumbles...stunned. 

Turn 9
The Dwarfs finally win initiative..Florin dashes (well dashing for a dwarf anyway..;))into the room toward Fluffy and the Orc archer.  Magnison steps through the doorway and casts Silvery Barbs at Drakenhoff...but once again the spell fails him.  Yorin presses his attack on the stunned Larlog causing a wound.

Drakenhoff steps forward and engages the Dwarf mage in a magical duel casting Forked Lightning at him but failing to make the bolt appear.  He then turns his attention to the captain of his guard and casts Touch of Belenos on him healing his 1 wound and unstunning him (is that a word?).  Fluffy charges forward into Florin and overwhelms him with a flurry of claws and fangs...causing 1 wound.

End of Turn 9

Turn 10
The dwarfs take the intiative again.  Magnison remebers the proper cadence for Silvery Barbs and directs it at Drakenhoff...this time the spell is successful and the Big Bad takes 2 wounds!  (not bad for an old codger!)  Yorin and Larlog trade blows but neither is able to land a strike.  Fluffy latches onto Florins leg with one of his mouth and sends the dwarf tumbling causing 1 wound.

As the Baddies begin their half turn the Orc archer fires an arrow at the the Dwarf Mage and misses.  In this phase Larlog dodges Yorin's axe strike and manages to find a chink in the dwarfs leg armor causing 1 wound.  On the other side of the room Florin tries to fend off Fluffy from his position on his back but the Beast grabs his other leg in its other mouth and causes yet another wound.

End of Turn 10

Turn 11
The dwarfs retain the momentum of the encounter...the Dwarf Mage tries Silvery barbs once again but after his last success is over confident and not able to make it work again.  In the doorway...enraged by the wound to his leg Yorin gives a mighty war cry "Chakka Shok Chakka Cor!" (Dwarven Axes Dwarven Might!) and battles through Larlog's defense to land a blow that nearly severs the Orcs Chieftain's left arm at the shoulder....but fails to put him out of the fight.  Across the room Fluffy is now standing on Florins chest and gnawing on various bits of the dwarf...luckily his chain mail seems to be taking most of the damage...though he does receive another wound.

Again the Orc archer misses the dwarf mage with his bow...(why did I bother to give orcs bows?)  Drakenhoff is also having a hard time with the mysical arts and fails to cast both Hand of Belenos and Forked Lightning...he must be too busy watching his favorite pet playing with his new chew toy!  Yes thats right Fluffy causes yet another wound to Florin...bringing his total to 5 wounds....things are not looking good for the Dwarf Barbarian.  In the doorway Larlog...staggered by the wound to his shoulder can not match the fury of the enraged Dwarf leader and Yorin dispatches him by removing his head from his shoulders with a single blow.

Turn 12
Enraged by the death of his Orc Captain, Drakenhoff and his minions take the initiative and the evil warlock manages to casts Forked Lightning at the Magnison and catches the dwarf wizard with a bolt of blue energy causing 1 wound.  Feeling powerful Drakenhoff also attempts Rain of Svarog but can't quite pull it off.  The Orc archer attempts to help his boss out with another arrow but might as well not have bothered.  Frustrated that he is not able to bite through Florin's armor, Fluffy backs off slightly and swats the dwarf across the face with one of his enormous paws...stunning him.

In their half of the turn Yorin charges forward toward Drakenhoff hoping to end the fight with his War Axe.  Magnison attempts to help him on his way by casting Fleet of Foot...but fails...again.  On the floor the stunned Florin somehow manages to keep Fluffy from disemboweling him...but does little else.

Turn 13
The dwarfs take the initiative.  Magnison strikes first by casting Silvery barbs at Drakenhoff and causing 2 more wounds!  The archmage now has lost 4 of his 5 vitality points! ...but he does have a double strength healing potion attached to his belt.  After his successful magical attack the dwarf mage moves left coming closer to Florin in hopes that he can pass a healing potion to the downed barbarian.  Seeing the evil mage staggered by the blast of magical bolts Yorin passes his Willpower test and successfully charges the fearsome wizard.  As he charges in Yorin thrusts forward with his axe haft catching the wizard in the chest and knocking the wind out of him.  The Big Bad is Stunned!!!  Across the room Florin still manages to fend off Fluffy and finally shakes off the daze he was in.

As the Baddies take their turn the Orc archer misses...yet again....sigh.  Fluffy pounces on the reviving Florin and chomps on his wounded leg again causing another wound...6 out of 7!  And though he was gasping for air and trying desperately to take the healing potion out of his belt pouch Drakenhoff was able to avoid a killing blow from Yorin....just barely.

Turn 14
The Evil side wins the initiative.  The Orc archer tries once more to fire an arrow at the Dwarf mage and misses...frustrated he throws down his bow, pulls out his sword and starts to move around Fluffy...hoping to come to grips with the dwarfs up close.  Drakenhoff is still stunned but manages to stay out of Yorin's way...but since he is stunned is unable to quaff his potion.

Though horribly mauled and bleeding from dozens of punctures and lacerations Florin summons enough strength for a desperate strike with his great weapon.  The end of his flail catches Fluffy right between the eyes (On his right head) causing the vicious beast to step backward and shake both his heads...trying to clear the flashing lights that suddenly fill his vision (stunned!). 

As the dwarfs take their half turn Florin struggles to his feet and raises his flail high above his head...he then brings it crashing down on Fluffy's left head...and something gives way in the hounds skull.  The slobbering animal is killed instantly and drops to the floor like a sack of potatoes!  The collapse of Fluffy allows Magnison to draw a line of sight on the Orc archer...the wizard once more calls on the mystical powers to send a flight of Silvery Barbs flying across the room.  They strike the Orc in the Chest and shoulder sending him spinning across the room where he collapses...never to rise again.

On the other side of the room Drakenhoff has recovered his breath and steps forward in hopes of finishing off the dwarf leader...but Yorin has been taken by the Bloodlust and lands several savage blows in a row dismembering the evil wizard where he stands.  For a moment the archmage's body remains standing...blood gushing from the newly open wounds...then it slumps to one side and falls to the ground....a sudden silence  fills the room...Only the panting of the exhausted warriors can be heard.

Yorin just stood there for a moment...stunned that it was over...before him the remains of Drakkenhoff lay in an expanding pool of blood....he didn't look so fearsome now.  The axe in his hands suddenly seemed to weighed a he let it slip to the floor with a clang.  The sound seemed to rouse Yorin from the trance into which he had slipped...he looked around at the others.  Magnison was leaning over a badly wounded Florin.  The red-headed dwarf was seated in front of the dead hound that had caused his many wounds...he patted Fluffy on the head in an almost tender fashion.  Here had been a worthy opponent for the Barbarian....almost his match.  Yorin looked down and saw that Drakenhoff's right hand still held a small bottle containing a potion...which Yorin assumed was a healing draught.  The Dwarf leader pried the mage's stiff fingers from the bottle and brought it over to his brother. "Florin...drink this mate"  but the barbarian couldn't even raise the bottle to his own lips without help from Magnison. 

"Its done boys" Florin muttered as the effects of the potion started to take hold....his wounds stitching themselves back together as they watched.   "Now...lets get out of here...this place gives me the creeps!"  Yorin smiled ...they had done it...and most of them would be going home to share the money they had earned ...All but poor Dorek...he had no idea how he was going to explain that to his wife....

WOW! What a turn around!  I could have sworn that Florin would become puppy chow for Fluffy and that Drakenhoff would have had fun finishing off the rest of the party...but fate did not deem it so.  Drakenhoff's major failing was not taking his healing potion after his first two wounds.  By deciding to wait until he was more take advantage of all the potions abilities...he allowed himself to get stunned and therefore not able to take the potion before Yorin finished him off.  With two more wounds available he would have almost certainly eliminated Yorin and been able to turn on the others with all his magic.

Florin's comeback was nothing short of miraculous...that's what I love about games like this...sometimes the dice just really "heat up" for one side or another and then...anything can happen!  Even a half dead dwarf can come back to kill one of the most powerful creatures in an encounter with two quick blows.

This has been a really fun exercise for me...I really enjoyed the game and look forward to playing it again fact I'm leaving for some more field work in a week and I will certainly be bringing along another small dungeon and some figures.

I'll have some feed back for Gareth...mostly just suggestions of things that need to be clarified in the rules...but that shouldn't stop anyone from giving these rule a'll have a ton of fun!



Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Learning to Crawl... Part 2

Yorin hefted the bag of gold in his hand....and wondered if it was enough.  Was it enough to risk his and his companions lives?  Would they even be successful in their mission to kill Drakenhoff and his minions?  Would they live to spend this gold?  Would they ever even emerge from the dark dungeon into which they were about to descend?  He shook his head to clear it of such thoughts...the next few hours would to put aside his doubts and get on with the job.

He looked around at his companions...his brother Florin combed his long flowing red beard and stared vacantly at the entrance to the darkness below.  Florin, at least, he had no doubt long as there was an enemies head to be cracked Florin was ready and willing...he lived to fight. 

He had less confidence in his cousin Dorek (from his wife's side he often pointed out when the boy did something idiotic), who stood off to the side testing his new bow string and obsessively rearranging the arrows in his quiver.  His actions plainly betrayed the nerves he was feeling.  

Beyond him sat Magnison...the old mage seemed to be staring off into space...mumbling to himself beneath his breath.  Yorin had heard that he had been quite a powerful wizard in his day...but he seemed old a fragile now...he hoped the old timer was up to the task ahead.

"Rights get on with it" Yorin said as he hefted his ancient axe...the grip felt soft and comforting in his powerful hand.  He looked at each of the others in turn and they all nodded back in response to the question in his eyes...Yes! they were ready. " take the lead...have that bow of yours ready! Florin you next...Magnison you take the middle and I'll bring up the rear...Lets do this thing!"  

Without another word they slowly worked their way down the dark spiral staircase before them...taking their time and allowing their eyes to adjust to the dim into which they descended... none of them new what horrors or rewards awaited them at the bottom...but they were about to find out...

Before we get into a Turn-by-turn description of the initial encounters of our intrepid heroes lets take a look at the situation into which they are descending.  As outlined in the narrative above our lads are arranged single file as they traverse the spiral staircase that leads into Drakenhoff's lair.

(please remember that these pictures were taken in a hotel room with poor lighting and my they are not up to my normal standard)

In the first room our team will encounter a pair of Goblin gurads who are busy playing cards (or whatever Goblins do to pass the time) at a table.

In the room behind them we have the rest of the initial guard consisting of an Orc archer and the Orc lieutenant Uorglock...As GM Ive deemed that they will not become aware of the intruders until they engage the Goblins in hand to hand combat.

To the left of the guard room is Drakenhoff's workshop...and what will prove to be the hardest fight of the day...because it contains the Big Bad and his personal guard.

In here we have the man himself who is at his desk dealing with paper work (as usual)...his faithful (and viscous) hound Fluffy...the captain of the guard, Larlog, and two Orc archer and one warrior type.  The inhabitants of this room will not become aware of the intruders until they begin to approach the double doors of the workshop.

Ok then...thats enough preliminaries...lets get on with the FUN!

Turn 1
As Dorek came to the bottom of the stairs he crossed the him a better angle of fire on the goblin guards and allowing Florin to move into the hall as well.  Seeing the Dwarfs come barreling down the stairs the goblins jumped up and started across the floor toward the intruding stunties.  Once again I made an GM decision that they would only get 1/2 their normal movement due to being surprised.  Here is the situation at the end of turn 1.

Turn 2
The dwarfs win the initiative roll and so get to move first.  Dorek snaps off 2 at each Goblin...and misses...obviously Yorin's concerns about the boy were well founded!  He then steps back allowing Florin to step in front of him and advance and Magnison to enter the hallway and draw a bead on the goblins as well...raising his staff he casts Silvery Bards at the approaching greenskins...but his control over the mystical forces is shaken by his nerves and the spell fails.  This leaves the Wizard in a vulnerable position and the Goblins take advantage by charging into against Florin and one against the hapless dwarf mage.  The Goblin attacking Florin hits him but fails to cause any wounds.  Amazingly Magnison thrusts his staff out at the last second and catches the goblin approaching him right in the center of the forehead knocking him to his knees...dazed...and confused as to what just happened. 

The Situation at the end of Turn 2

Turn 3
This time the Goblins win the initiative.  The goblin attacking Florin is overwhelmed by the dwarfs defense and takes a hit but his ample armor deflects the blow without damage.  Magnison...frustrated with his lack of control over the mystical forces and impressed by the physical power of his staff uses it to crush the skull of the stunned goblin at his feet....the first victim of the raid has been claimed!

The clash of arms happening in the guard room has alerted the Orcs in the back room to the presence of invaders and they exit the room hoping to get in on the action.

Turn 4
The Goblins win initiative again and the reinforcing Orcs enter the front room and the archer snaps off a hurried shot at the dwarf mage...which goes wide.  Uorglock approaches the combat but can't quite reach an opponent by the end of his movement. The remaining goblin renews his attack on Florin but again, despite winning the combat,  fails to wound him.

As we shift to the dwarf half of the turn Magnison moves out of the hall and into the room..shifting right to allow Yorin into the fray.  The dwarf Mage finally gets his shit together and hits the Orc archer with a blast of silvery barbs...reducing him to a gory mess.  Yorin charges forward into the Orc Lieutenant and with one mighty blow severs the Orc nearly in half.  Dorek slings his bow over his shoulder...draws his sword and rushes forward to stab the goblin in the side while he is defending against a flurry of blows from Florin...the room is suddenly silent...all the immediate foes have been dispatched.

Turn 5

Knowing that time was of the essence the dwarf party quickly turns to the left and starts toward Drakkenhoff's workshop.  Becoming aware that something is amiss in the outer rooms the archmage and his minions start to react toward the door to prepare for the on-rushing intruders.

Next post...the exciting conclusion!  Stay Tuned!!!



Monday, September 10, 2012

Learning to Crawl...Cavern Crawl That is...Part I

Howdy all...

I was away from home doing field work for my job this last week...and I took along some hobby things... I did some painting at nights and when we had a weather day I decided to try something new...actually playing a game with some of my figures!!??!  I know its a crazy idea...But even this old dog can learn new tricks!

Since Gareth the Grot announced his self written set of rules for dungeon crawling called "Cavern Crawl" (see here) I've been itching to give them a try.  They sound like a good low stress and fairly fast set of rules.  I have no experience with Hero Quest or any of the other Dungeon Crawl type games so this is a first for me.

The first order of business was to pick some characters...both good and bad.  As I had grabbed figures fairly quickly as I left on this trip I simply picked four of my favorite dwarf figures and a selection of Orcs and Goblins for them to slaughter...for the Big Boss BadDude I picked a recently acquired Chaos Wizard and a nasty chaos hound for his pet.  The choice of a party composed entirely of Dwarfs kind of misses one of the great points of the Dungeon Crawl games...the diversity of races and classes...but I had to work with what I had.  So I made one of my Dwarfs a "Knight" a "Mage" a "Barbarian"...and one a "Ranger."  This way I would get a feel for most of the classes...if not the different races.

So lets  meet our Heroes (Fair warning...I'm terrible with making up names...sorry about that...)  Covering the slinging of spells for our heroes is Magnison the Mage

Wielding a a large axe and looking for some heads to crack....we have Yorin Yellowbeard ...the Dwarf Knight

Filling out the Head Bashing section of the party is Yorin's slightly unbalanced brother Florin Flamebeard...Dwarf "Barbarian"

Along for the ride...and handy with a bow is their cousin Dorek...the dwarf Ranger...

On the Side of Darkness...we start at the Bottom with the near worthless minions of the evil tyrant our heroes will be attempting to kill...a couple of Goblins...

Slightly bigger...slightly meaner...and slightly stupider...are the Orc minions... both archers and warriors.

trying to keep a handle on these minions are two slightly meaner Orcs....namely ....Larlog the Lasher (chieftain) and Uorglock (captain)

Defending our villianous leader...and keeping is feet warm at his faithfull pet Fluffy (direwolf)

And finally...the master of disaster himself....Drakenhoff the Dark (Archmage)...

Now that we have met our cast of characters...lets look to the playing area.  As I wanted this to be a fairly fast and furious game I choose to keep the playing area quite small...only a few rooms and hallways...Here is the layout.

Quite a small "Cavern" but it should be big enough to allow me to get a feel for the mechanics of the game...and have a bit of fun in the process.

In the next post we can look at the beggining of the gane in Earnest!

Cheers for now!