Fresh To War: Uboxing the Warmachine New Releases for May 2017

Privateer Press has a new batch of fightin’ bastards to liven up the ranks of numerous factions! This month’s offerings hail from not one, not two, but four warring coalitions from the Warmachine line. All solos too. As always I’ve linked each new selection to their corresponding page on the Miniture Market webpage, my personal favorite shopping spot for all things Warmachine & Hordes. So pull up a stool, because your old pal Uncle Grumps is going to bend your ear for a moment or two and give you his thoughts on these combatants. – Melvs

What’s up, Jerks?  Your friendly neighborhood Uncle Grumps is back with another quick look at some new releases from Privateer Press.  We have a varied selection of solos to scope out so let’s get started!

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First up, we have the Deliverer Arms Master:  

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From Privateer Press’s website:

“Few deliverers survive long enough to gain true mastery of the weapons they wield, but those who do can earn the distinguished title of arms master, directing their charges in combat from the back lines. Tasked with the upkeep and repair of Skyhammer rockets and Sunburst artillery, they also train the faithful in the use of these devastating weapons.”

The Deliverer Arms Master has a similar stat line to the Deliverer Skyhammer unit.  His MAT, RAT, DEF, and ARM are 1 point higher and his CMD is 2 higher.  He also has the Tough ability.  The Master is armed with a short range, POW 12 fire bomb that causes the Fire continuous effect on a crit.  He also has a POW 7 sword, but if you’re using this something has most likely gone terribly wrong.  The Arms Master has two special ability actions.  The first is Combat Coordination [Deliverer] which allows a Deliverer model in the Master’s command range to re-roll one attack or damage roll.  The other is High-Angle Fire which gives a friendly Faction model’s ranged, AoE weapons Arcing Fire.  (Arcing Fire allows a model to ignore intervening models further than an inch away when attacking.)  The Arms Master also has the Veteran Leader [Deliverer] ability which grants +1 to attack for other Deliverer models in this command range.  

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The Deliverer Arms Master greatly increases the effectiveness of several of the Protectorate of Menoth’s ranged options.  The most obvious is the Deliverer Skyhammer unit.  Combat Coordination allows the primary attacker in a Combined Ranged Attack to re-roll his attack or damage as necessary.  Additionally, the +1 to attack rolls helps offset the -4 penalty from Inaccurate.  Keep in mind that these abilities can also be applied to the Deliverer Suburst Crew unit.  Veteran High-Angle Fire can help your models with AoE ranged attacks reach vulnerable parts of your opponent’s army.  Keep in mind that High Angle Fire will work on any friendly Faction model.  The Judicator, Revelator, and Vanquisher could all greatly benefit from Arcing Fire.  The Deliverer Arms Master is a solid support solo and an auto-include for anyone who wants to get the most out of Deliverers.  

Next up is the Winter Guard Artillery Kapitan:

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From Privateer Press’ website:

“The artillery kapitans of the Winter Guard understand the true strength of Khadoran artillery. Under their command, crews lay down fearsome barrages just ahead of their advancing troops, decimating enemy lines while creating a chaotic environment that Khadoran forces can turn to their advantage. Often friendly troops are caught in these blasts, but a kapitan knows such losses are a necessary price of victory.”

The Winter Guard Artillery Kapitan has the same stat line at the members of the Winter Guard Infantry with the exception of 1 additional point of STR, MAT, RAT, and CMD.  He is armed with the traditional Winter Guard Blunderbuss and Axe.  He also has the tough ability.  The Artillery Kapitan has access to three special action abilities.  The first is Artillerist which gives a friendly Faction model in his command range +2 RAT on its next ranged AoE attack.  The model affected is also able re-roll the direction or distance if the attack doesn’t directly hit and deviates.  The Close Fire action gives a friendly Faction weapon crew unit the Clear! Ability.  Clear! causes ranged attacks from the affected model to automatically miss friendly models.  (And before you ask, yes the exclamation point is absolutely necessary when discussing Clear!)  Finally we have Fire & Displace which gives a friendly Faction weapon crew Reposition [2″].  

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The Winter Guard Artillery Kapitan brings an interesting mix of abilities to the table.  Fire & Displace greatly increases the mobility of both the Winter Guard Mortar Crew and the Winter Guard Field Gun.  Reposition [2”] can help these units line up a shot for next turn or keep some distance between them and the enemy.  Artillerist is an extremely powerful ability that can help any of Khador’s ranged options.  Putting Artillerist on a Victor will partially eliminate the Inaccurate penalty of the Siege Mortar, and if you do miss, the re-roll on the deviation will help ensure that the 5” AoE lands where you need it.  The Conquest, Destroyer, and Mortar Crew all benefit from Artillerist in similar ways.  The Winter Guard Artillery Kapitan is a powerful support solo that will give you plenty of bang for your buck.  (I couldn’t resist)

The next solo that we’ll be looking at is the Venator Dakar:

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From Privateer Press’ website:

“With exaltation a remote hope at best, the ruthless warriors of the Venator caste take to the field for survival and victory instead. Relentless and cunning, Venator dakars are stern leaders with exacting standards. Under the watchful eye of a dakar, other Venators march quickly and take precise aim, proving they are every bit as skilled in dealing death as the more respected warriors of the skorne.”

The Venator Dakar has a similar stat block as a Venator Reiver with the only differences being his higher RAT and CMD.  The Dakar is armed with the standard Reiver and Sword but the Weapon Master ability on his Reiver means he can dish out more damage than a standard Venator.  The Dakar has two special action abilities.  The first is Combat Coordination [Venator].  The ability works just like the Deliverer Arms Master’s Combat Coordination but it affects Venators instead of Deliverers.  The second special action is Desperate Pace [Faction Weapon Crew].  This ability grants +2” of movement to a friendly Faction weapon crew in the Dakar’s command range.  The Venator Dakar also has the Veteran Leader [Venator] ability which gives friendly Venator models in the Dakar’s command range +1 to attack rolls.  

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Just like our previous two entries, the Venator Dakar is a ranged support solo.  Combat Coordination can help you Venator Reivers land an important combined ranged attack.  It’s also handy for increasing the accuracy or damage of the Venator Catapult Crew and the Venator Flayer Cannon Crew.  The Venator weapon crews also greatly benefit from Desperate Pace.  An extra 2” of movement may not seem like much but the added threat range can take your opponent by surprise.  Veteran Leader provides a +1 to hit for every Venator within nine inches of the Dakar.  This includes the two weapon crews, the Reivers, and the Venator Slingers.  I highly recommend bringing a Venator Dakar if you want to get the most out of the Skorne’s Venator units.  

Last, but not least, we have the Hellslinger Phantom

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From Privateer Press’ website:

“A malevolent specter born of Cryxian magic, the Hellslinger Phantom bears a striking resemblance to the Cygnaran warcaster Allister Caine, and rumors suggest it was made from a sliver of his very soul. The Hellslinger Phantom mimics Caine’s style on the battlefield, firing runeshots akin to the ones employed by gun mages. First spotted in a remote town in northern Cygnar, the phantom slaughtered a large number of innocent civilians, and now every day it roams free, the body count grows.”

It looks like Caine has been moonlighting as a pistol wraith.  Speaking of pistol wraiths, the Hellsinger Phantom has the same stat line as a standard wraith but with +1 RAT, DEF, and ARM.  The Phantom also shares the pistol wraiths’ Undead, Incorporeal, and Gunfighter abilities in addition to Soul Taker: Body Count which allows the Hellsinger to claim enemy souls and Strength of Death which allows it to spend soul tokens to boast attack and damage rolls.  The Hellsinger Phantom also has the ability Swift Hunter which lets it move 2” after destroying an enemy model with a ranged attack.  The Phantom is armed with two Wraithstorm Pistols.  These mid-ranged, POW 12 guns have three different attack types to choose from when making an attack: Critical Grievous Wounds which causes models that are hit to lose tough and the ability to be healed on a crit, Ghost Shot which ignores line of sight, concealment & cover, and Incendiary which changes the damage type to fire sets models hit ablaze.  On top of all this, the Pistols also have Reload [1].  This allows the Phantom to make 1 additional ranged with each pistol per soul token spent.  

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The Hellsinger Phantom excels at hunting down enemy infantry.  The Phantom’s first order of business should be to gather souls to make the most of Reload and Strength of Death.   Just be careful after attacking.  The Phantom loses Incorporeal after making an attack leaving it open to retaliation.  Swift Hunter can help keep you safe by allowing you to re-position after destroying an enemy.  This combination of powerful abilities makes the Hellsinger Phantom one mean combat solo.  

Well folks, Old Man Melvin is tapping his foot and glaring at his pocket-watch* which means it’s time for me to wrap things up.  ‘Til next time!

– Uncle Grumps

*Melvin does not own a Pocket Watch but now wants one.

Fresh To War: Uboxing the Warmachine & Hordes New Releases for January 2017

What’s up, heathens?  Uncle Grumps here with another quick look at some of the latest releases from Privateer Press.  Today we will be focusing on everyone’s favorite group of religious fanatics: The Protectorate of Menoth.

First up this week is Sovereign Tristan Durant.

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Available as of 01/25/2017

MP $16.99

From Privateer Press’ website:

“Since becoming a full-fledged warcaster, Tristan Durant has been elevated to high station as a sovereign of the Protectorate. He serves the Creator by spreading the word of Menoth to all who would hear it. Though compassionate, Durant does not hesitate to unleash holy wrath in Menoth’s name upon his enemies, particularly when such foes threaten the safety of the growing flock under his protection.”

Durant has come a long way from being the Protectorate’s character journeyman warcaster solo.  He’s kept his middle of the road stat line with the exception of his STR, MAT, ARM, and CMD, which have all received a slight increase.  Durant has traded in his battle staff for Veritas, a moderately powerful spear with Damage Type: Magical, Critical Dispel, and 2 inch reach.  Not only did Durant keep True Sight, which allows him to ignore Stealth and cloud effects when determining line of sight, he also gained a Field Marshal ability that allows him to grant this benefit to warjacks in his battlegroup.

Durant’s spell list is where things start to get really interesting.  Chasten is a low cost, short ranged offensive spell with the same POW as his spear.  Upkeep spells and animi are removed from models damaged by Chasten.  Cleansing Fire is moderately costed, short range AoE attack spell that deals a decent amount of fire damage.  On a critical hit, all models hit are set on fire.  Hand of the Creator is medium cost spell that heals all friendly Faction models in Durant’s control range d3 damage points.  Inviolable Resolve is a cheap upkeep spell that gives +2 ARM to a friendly Faction model/unit.  Additionally, those models can’t be moved by a slam or push.  Manifest Destiny lets warjack’s in Durant control range roll additional die on melee attack and damage rolls and then discard the lowest die of each roll.  Durant’s feat, Prayers of War, gives each warjack in his control range a focus point and gives Durant one focus point, up to his maximum, for each warjack in his control range.

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Looking at Durant, it’s obvious that he’s a warcaster that wants a large battlegroup.  Between his feat and Manifest Destiny, Durant is a able to get the most out of the Protectorate’s already stellar warjacks.  Temple Flameguard make a good target for Inviolable Resolve, which makes them an extremely durable tar pit unit that can’t be pushed or slammed out of the way.  It’s worth noting that Hand of the Creator restores hit points to all models in Durant’s control range, not just warjacks.  Multi-wound units such as the Exemplar Bastions or the Flame Bringers will be more difficult to remove from the table unless a concerted effort is made to take them down.  In short, Sovereign Tristan Durant is a versatile warcaster that supports many different play-styles.

The next release we’ll be looking at is Feora, The Conquering Flame.

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Available as of 01/11/2017

MP $34.99

From Privateer Press’ website:

Feora, the Conquering Flame continues on her rising trajectory within the Protectorate. She has taken the reins of the southern armies like never before and has extended her participation in crusades abroad. Her aspirations have always been higher—to rule the theocracy—and the time has come when her flame may rise to its ultimate ascendancy as Feora continues to solidify her place at the heart of the nation’s dawning golden age.

 

Feora 3 ( F3ora? 3-ora?) is the latest epic Protectorate warcaster to mount up and become a cavalry model.  She boasts a decent stat-line with higher than average SPD, MAT, and ARM.  Feora has kept her weapons from her previous incarnation: a long ranged spray flamethrower and a magical spear with a decent POW and Critical Fire.  As a cavalry model, she also has a moderately powerful mount attack.  Feora has the assault ability, which allows her to make a free ranged attack while charging, and immunity to fire damge.  She also possesses the Flame Trail ability which makes enemy models she comes into B2B contact with suffer Continuous Fire.  Rounding out her abilities, Feora has Reposition [3] which allows her to advance 3” at the end of an activation in which she didn’t run or fail a charge.

Feora’s new spell list provides everyone’s favorite pyromaniac with some new tricks.  Banishing Ward is a low cost upkeep spell that protects a friendly model/unit from enemy upkeeps and animi.  Fire Step is a low cost spell with a range of SELF.  When cast, enemy models close to Feora suffer a moderately powerful fire damage roll and Feora herself can be placed anywhere within 3” of her current location.  Incite is an expensive spell that grants friendly Faction models +2 to attack and damage rolls against enemy models while they are in Feora’s command range.  Molten Metal is a cheap offensive spell that causes 1 point of fire damage to each column on a warjack’s damage grid.  Redline is an upkeep that grants +2 STR and SPD to a warjack in Feora’s battlegroup.  This spell also allows a warjack to run, charge, slam, or trample for free but the affected ‘jack suffers d3 damage points at the end of it’s activation.  Feora’s feat is Clash of Flames.  It allows Feora to immediately cast Incite without spending focus and grants her Flame Trail ability to friendly Faction models in her control range for one turn.

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This new version of Feora brings and interesting mix of abilities and spells to the table.  You’ll want to play her towards the front to get the most of Incite.  Fire Step can be used to get yourself out of trouble is Feora gets surrounded or just to extend her already impressive threat range.  Use Repostion to have her retreat to safety if necessary.  Redline can be cast on any of the Protectorate’s amazing melee ‘jacks.  Flame Bringers can help make the most of Feora’s feat.  Between Parry, Repostion, and Side Step, the Flame Bringers can spread the Continuous Fire effect to a surprisingly large number of your opponent’s models.  Feora, The Conquering Flame looks like a blast to play and I can’t wait to get her on the table!

Last but certainly not least, we have the Protectorate of Menoth Command Book.

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Available as of 01/11/2017

MP $34.99

The Command book contains the stats for nearly every model currently released for the Protectorate.  In addition to model rules, the Command book features two new theme forces.  The Creator’s Might which rewards you for playing ‘jack heavy and Guardians of the Temple which features buffs for various Flameguard units.  You can also find plenty of information of the structure and organization of the Protectorate military.  Like all of Privateer Press’ books, the Protectorate Command book is filled with gorgeous artwork.  This is in addition to gallery of painted models located near the back of the book.  It even includes a painting guide with tips on how to recreate the studio paint scheme and guides for variant schemes.  I’ve been thoroughly enjoying this book and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the Protectorate of Menoth.

Looks like that’s all the time I have for this week.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some heretics to burn!  ‘Til next time, folks!

-Uncle Grumps

The 2017 Geekery New Year’s Address!

Welcome 2017! Also, welcome back to the Geekery. I’ve been absent for quite some time, I know, but I feel refreshed and ready to bring you all the gaming news, reviews, and tidbits from my day to day gaming you desire. There are plenty of things in the pipe for this year for potential changes to the site, I’ll get to those in a moment.

GIFTS!

I hope all my fellow gamers, who celebrate the holidays with gift giving, received gifts as cool as what I received. I figured I’d do a little bragging about these right up front, this is my blog and all.

Dungeonology

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This book is an interesting little bird (big thanks to my awesome sis in law for getting it for me!). Obviously it’s more for beginners or collectors of cool D&D books than for the use of a seasoned Dungeon Master, but it has some really cool features on the inside that bring me back to the days when the concepts of D&D were shiny and new. I’ll be giving this book a more thorough run down in a later post but it’s certainly a fun book to own. A great way to introduce new players to the concepts and challenges of a good dungeon delve.

Board Games!

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Sarah and I love them, and you can never have too many. This year we received two and an expansion to one. Sarah made out huge in the board game arena, Machi Koro is one of her all time favs and as much as we both love Smash Up she typically has the edge on me so our good buddy Jake got her the Pretty Pretty Expansion. We also received Forbidden Island, which if you’ve never tried it it’s a great game for introducing others to the newer generation of games, especially because it’s cooperative.

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Chessex Gaming Mat!

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Thanks go to Uncle Grumps for this bad boy. My old mat was tiny, and stained to Hell. We’ve been using a dry erase board for a while now. Awesome to have this now.

Dice and Dice Bags

So my sister in law and my mother in law teamed up here. My mother in law is an enormously talented crafter, who actually has a crafting business now that she has retired. Well, she took some time to make me a bunch of dice bags and then they got me a Big Bag of Dice so I can put together some dice bags to hand out to the kids in my Library games who don’t have dice yet! Giving me the ability to gift to others makes this probably one of the best gifts I received this year.

Cool Notebook

I saw this cool little journal in a hole in the wall bookstore that Sarah and I love to visit near our church. I mentioned offhandedly that someone could use such a thing to keep notes on gaming campaigns, and look nerdily cool whilst doing so. She bought the thing right under my nose. I tried to take a pic of the note she wrote me but It’s hard to get it in focus. It reads:

Kevin,

With love and admiration, I give you this journel to keep your adventures, creativity, and words of a world full of wonder! Best wishes on all your journeys beyond our realms.

Love,

Your wife Sarah

I’m a lucky guy ♥.

Secret Gift

There’s one gift I’m not going to picture just yet but will at a later date. Suffice it to say it’s my favorite and I hope to premier it at Gen Con 50. May have tipped you off with that last sentence though ;P.

IN GAMING NEWS

I haven’t spent much time talking about it but I’ve been running a game of Storm King’s Thunder for my group. It’s been a pretty fun experience so far, even if we have been plagued by the inability to truly string together consistent play time (people have lives apparently 😛). Despite our issues getting together we’ve moved along at a decent clip, just now beginning the gargantuan chapter three. It’ll be a challenging portion of the game, for a pre-made, there’s a lot of information for the would-be Dungeon Master to digest and organize for the players but, it’ll also be the most sandbox portion of the adventure and my players will certainly dig that. After all, it took a lot of convincing to get them to take a ride in Zephryos’ Tower (and after they were aboard they mentioned if they’d know about the wizard hat that crowned the thing they would have flat out refused on principle lol).

A couple of cool things about this campaign in general is that one of my players, Nick (you may know him as Uncle Grumps from his previous contribution efforts), is running a descendant from a game we played together back in our High School days. In fact the way I got their party to board Zephryos’ flying tower was by having my old character (still alive because..elf) be already aboard and waiting to meet the grandson of Rizzen the Great. Another cool aspect of the game is the return of an old friend to our gaming group who’s been out of state for a long time as he is in the Navy. Somehow he landed a recruitment position here in Missouri and we are all very thankful to have him back with us.

I continue to run my once a month game at the local library for teens interested in learning about D&D and I’m happy to say that, despite the fact I still run the game for about 10-15 kids at a time, the legacy players are getting really adept at the game and are very capable of assisting newcomers. There were a number of times in the recent past I couldn’t make it to a session and they had no issue picking up the slack and running a game themselves. I’m now entering my third year of doing this and I’m happy to report that I’m probably not even necessary at this point. Still, I love going and the kids are enjoying my run through of Hoard of the Dragon Queen so I’ll keep at it! Now that I have some extra Dice Bags to hand out I can’t wait to see the kids again.

COMING SOON IN 2017

There are so many cool things coming this year that I’ll likely forget a bunch while putting them to print here. I’ll give it a go though.

CONS

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Right off the bat I feel I need to mention Geekway to the West 2017. The 13th Annual Geekway to the West is set for May 18-21, 2017 at the St. Charles Convention Center in St. Charles, Missouri. If you love Board Games I can’t name a better convention to attend. They’ve only got a little over 400 badges remaining though, and considering badges went on sale on January 2nd they will sell out, and fast. For $60 you can attend the con all four days, you receive a random free board game (a quality one at that, twice now the game I received had a Market Price that matched my badge fee), and so much more. Seriously check out the site, make the trip and visit me in Missouri.

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Gen Con 50 folks. I fully intend to be there this year and, with a  little pressure and luck, I might bring a few buddies with me this time (buddies beyond what twitter and the blog have helped me garner that is).

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Really, Acadecon is one of the best little big cons out there. I truly wish I’d of been able to make it to Acadecon 2016, but I wasn’t going to miss the wedding of a good friend. Two of my best friends are getting married to some awesome gals in the fall of 2017, one wedding is in late October and then the other takes place the week after Acadecon 2017 so chances might be thin I can make it but I’m sure going to try! I love the good folks of the RPG Academy Network and the other attendees of this Con are fantastic as well. Here’s hoping!

GAMERSTABLE PODCAST COMING TO A CLOSE

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After years of podcasting, and 300 episodes, the Gamerstable Podcast is ending its run. Back when I first started really getting into the world of folks gabbing about tabletop RPGs on social media it seemed crazy to me that regular folks were coming together and podcasting about this game I love so much. First it was the Monkey in the Cage podcast who really welcomed me into the fold (I will always have a special place in my heart for Matt, Robert, Karen, and Ramses) but soon to follow was a crazy group of gamers who I was surprised to find lived just across the river in Illinois. Matt Fuller introduced me to them, and they didn’t have to give me the time of day. Instead they became close friends.

The Gamerstable Podcast has put forth some of the coolest content over its run. Frankly I find their style of taking actual play content and editing it to sound like a radio drama to be the best in the business. That’s beyond the discussion roundtable style they cut their teeth on though, and you can find a ton of great gaming advice throughout their many episodes. Plus, I’ve always enjoyed their bite sized chunks (most eps. are about 30 mins in length). Feel free to catch their last episode here, and when you’re done check the rest of the site.

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I’d be remiss if I failed to mention that this won’t be the complete disappearance of what I call the “Gamerstable Crew”. Eric Austley, the initiator and leader for Gamerstable, is going to pour more of his energy into his newest project that builds on the success of the Actual Plays put out by Gamerstable. Openly Gamer Theater currently houses a ton of great content and will more than likely feature many of the voices you heard over the years on Gamerstable too! Also, OGT is a yet another proud member of the RPG Academy Network, so you know it’s quality.

STUFF FOR MY SITE

So I need to pull this article to a close and nothing fits better than detailing a few things about the site!

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In late 2016 Privateer Press increased its level of involvement with my site for review of their materials and this means I will hopefully have even more Warmachine\Hordes models and products to review going into 2017. To help with this Nick, a.k.a. Uncle Grumps, has made mention of the desire to continue writing pieces on various items associated with WarmaHordes, and hopes to even run something big for our group of players. Also, if you’ve paid attention to the photo gallery on my Warmachine\Hordes page on the site you will have likely seen some of Mike “The Meatfist” Bortz’s excellent work painting his miniatures. Not only will he continue to send me photos of his art but he has promised me a step by step painting guide of one of the newer models to come out for the Trollbloods hordes unit, Madrak, Great Chieftain (Madrak 3). I hope to unveil this soon! Lastly, Topher has been talking about throwing a post or two on here about board games, an excellent candidate for such a thing. I hope he can get around to it (he is getting married this year, me might be somewhat busy).

Here’s to some great gaming in 2017! If you feel I missed some news, hit me up in the Comments. What are you excited about this year?

-Melvs

Fresh To War: Uboxing the Warmachine & Hordes New Releases for September & October 2016

Here are some of the fall releases for the tabletop skirmishes wargame Warmachine and Hordes from Privateer Press!

RETRIBUTION OF SCYRAH

LYS HEALER

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Available as of 09/07/2016

MP $11.99

Love it when I can get a little love for Retribution! On first look the Lys Healer doesn’t really shine as a must have unit, but that doesn’t mean she can’t be very effective in the right circumstances. A very temperamental solo to say the least. Her Power of Faith ability will help against knockdown effects and we Retribution fellows tend to hate those. A feature I tend to like is her Move to Assist, this gives her a ton of movement range on the field and can possibly get her right in the thick of a spot where she’s needed. She’s going to be burden to some lists but unless you need her she’s a bit of a point soak.

 comes with the following abilities:

  • Heal
  • MAGIC ABILITIES
    • Power of Faith (*Action)
    • Purifying Prayer (*Action)
  • Move to Assist
  • Soul Ward

TROLLBLOODS

NORTHKIN SHAMAN

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Available as of 09/07/2016

MP $23.99

The Northkin Shaman seems like a interesting beast. The longer I look at this unit, and I’m not a Trollblood guy, I’m seeing the most useful feature being its Freak Storm magic ability that not only allows for a cloud effect of a sizeable margin but also allows for the Northkin Shaman to teleport a distance away from where it stood upon casting the effect. If you have the faction allotted amount of two of these you can really wreck up some line of sight. Having a decent ARM and a fair number of boxes may give it some sustainability unless someone gets serious about taking it down.

If you do find yourself not churning out AoE cloud effects every turn the Northkin Shaman can pack a decent punch with the magical ability Frostbite or can control the board a bit by lowering defense with Cold Snap, a magical ability that gives enemies the Chiller effect.

The Northkin Shaman has the following abilities:

  • Battle Wizard
  • MAGIC ABILITIES
    • Cold Snap (*Action)
    • Freak Storm (*Action)
    • Frostbite (*Action)

CRYX

SATYXIS GUNSLINGERS

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Available as of 10/12/2016

MP $24.99

Now here are some nasty ladies. Stats are all average, even for their double Magelock Pistols, but their abilities are where they really begin to shine. One especially nasty ability is their Blood Mist attack. If I recall correctly Blood Mist, an attack type that turns boxed enemies into a sizable cloud effect AoE, used to only work against living units. I noticed on this card though it now effects living or undead models. Not sure if you put two and two together but I can see a few shots being taken against some of your own units if it proves more favorable to put them down for a cloud effect! The group also houses the Black Penny as an attack type, always a nice feature for any ranged unit to ignore that melee DEF Bonus.

If this group finds itself in a melee situation, not advised, they aren’t without tricks. Using their horns, and an average MAT, they can do a bit of damage. What you are really hoping for is the critical because they pack a Critical Knockdown ability as well.

The Satyxis Gunslingers have the following abilities:

  • MAGELOCK PISTOL
    •  Black Penny
    • Blood Mist
    • Feedback
  • HORNS
    • Critical Knockdown

That’s all for now folks! be sure to visit my Warmachine and Hordes page to find photos of painted figures and other posts about this great game and the spinoff roleplaying games Iron Kingdoms and Unleashed.

-Melvs

 

 

Piracy in Theah! John Wick’s 7th Sea

“Let’s play a pirate game!” Who hasn’t either heard this exclaimed or shouted it themselves when contemplating their table’s next set of adventures eh? Over the years there have been a number of games suited well enough for a game on the high seas, generic systems like Savage Worlds, or maybe even a game that integrates the concept within like Iron Kingdoms. None have ever been quite as quick to the tongue as 7th Sea however and now, fresh from a successful Kickstarter run (and the starting of a whole new company, John Wick Presents) we have finally received a second edition of the game. Let’s be honest though, this is more of a re-branding of the titular title, utterly new and cinematic in nature, the new 7th Sea is upon us.

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The version of this product I will review is the pdf format of the game, available from Drive Thru RPG for $24.99. At this price point you will receive:

  • The Core Rulebook in a Low and High resolution format
  • Character Sheet
  • Two World Maps
  • The Quick Start rules

You’ll find zero complaints from me regarding the design, layout, and imagery of this product. It is flat out gorgeous. It really makes me consider getting my hands of the physical copy of the book some day, if for no other reason than to have it sit on my shelf looking pristine while I use the pdf for game-play so as never to touch it. As is evident from the style chosen to introduce those behind this book (a well drafted mock up of a movie poster) there is a push to showcase this work as a grand cinematic feature. This style choice does not disappoint, I had some real fun parsing these pages and loved all the artwork within.

After an introductory work of short fiction, the well written “A Day’s Work” by Jennifer Mahr, that goes a long way into giving its audience a feel for the world of Theah and its heroes (no worries I’ll not ruin it, great read) we get ourselves into the meat of the book.

Chapters one and two are all introductory pieces into the 7th Sea and an expanded introduction into the world of Theah itself. The continent of Theah is loosely based on our real world version of Europe and Asia of the pertinent time periods to the age of piracy. An interesting tidbit we receive right off the bat is an emphasis on how the world of Theah handles diversity, in that peoples of all nation, sex, and creed are to be treated equally. This is a great idea for the game table anyway, so including it in game (with a good rationale for why it is that way) is a nice touch. Further through chapter two we are introduced to the various nations (their etiquette, governments, and even food, clothing , and customs), Religion, Guilds, Pirates and Privateers, and more. Some of the items touched on here are broadened in their own chapters, like Secret Societies. Spanning just over 100 pages these chapters give you just what you need to have a feel for the setting.

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I adore every chapter’s two page splashes. Some utterly epic work.

Character creation, as described in chapter three, comes across fairly simple with enough choices to address even the most fiddly of players. An interesting process starts this creation off. A list of twenty questions helps to guide a player into fleshing out just who their character is. Questions like “How would you physically describe your hero?” might assist you in the mechanical aspects of the upcoming creation and yet there are also questions like “Is your hero in love?” that speak to more “fluff” related items. After reading through this section I can easily see how a veteran of the game might simply skip it but I’d urge any player to use this list as a jumping off point, it really looks like it might add some much needed depth!

Honestly, once you have a concept for your character (something the aforementioned section will produce) the remaining choices simply fall into place. Traits detail core strengths, next your character’s nation and background add bonuses to and Advantages, then you enhance Skills gained through your Background or add new ones, and add some extra Advantages. These are the major mechanical aspects, and your concept will help you choose them quickly. After that there are two items to add on to a character that I feel are pretty unique. Arcana is essentially a version of horoscopes that add extra bonuses to certain styles of play, and then you come to Choosing a Story. This last bit is much more abstract, as you aren’t bound by the suggestions they lay out, but as I mentioned there are suggestions (and a helpful template). Your story appears to be the mechanism for how your character advances in “level” or rather how one increases certain Traits\Skills or earns new Advantages. Complete your story, earn the pre-ordained reward. I will note that there is one last step of some finishing touches to work on after this though, wealth, languages, secret societies, etc.

Chapter four addresses the mechanics of play. There is a simple three step system to recall for any situation. The GM sets the scene, a player may decide to take an action and if the GM feels that action is what’s called a “Risk” the player will need to roll dice, lastly the results of those rolls to resolve the Risk. Obviously things may get more interestign than that but thems the basics. One thing I like is the section starting on page 172 that lays out a fictional back and forth between a GM and a player to showcase how such situations play out. I’ve seen this trick done many a time in RPG books and I always like it.

Once the die are cast and totaled, called the Approach in this book,  the GM must then decide if the player has succeeded and created an Opportunity for the players, a Consequence, or both. Great care is taken to ensure any GM knows that it is far more interesting to mix the two and to liven them up from a standard “You\They take wounds” situation where possible. Make it cinematic.

Getting deeper into this chapter the rules allow for all sorts of adjustments, from both the GM (ala something called the Danger Pool) or the players (Hero Points, Flair, Pressure). Details get rounded out about dealing with wounds, because sometimes the Consequence truly is taking a sword to the gut, and there is even a nice section on setting up a “rush of furious activity” known as a Dramatic Sequence. The mechanics can seem a heady at first, but the deeper you read (and after parsing the various examples) you’ll get the gist rather easily.

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All I’ve spoken on only encompasses the first two thirds of this book. The next four chapters cover various character options, the many styles of sorcery available, dueling maneuvers, how to sail a ship, and the various secret societies a player can belong to. Then, to wrap things up, we have a strong finale chapter dedicated to assisting GMs (from novice to veteran).

7th Sea is a very different game from its roots with its original Roll and Keep system, and it stands to be seen which players may prefer. The new system is well fleshed out though. Attention has been paid to the minutia, and we have a very complete game. It is an interesting blend of fiddly mechanics and emphasis on storytelling that I find myself interested to dive into. I get the impression my regular gaming table would not approve of the “leveling” mechanic in the game, but I honestly love the idea of setting out to actually complete story arcs and goals, and then being rewarded for doing so.

If you find yourself craving that cinematic feel of piracy on the big screen, this is your game. If you love the idea of taking a character along a storied path, this is your game. If nothing else the book is chock full of excellent artwork, and fantastic lore usable in any piracy game. There’s a reason this project raised over 1.3 million on Kickstarter, it is grand!

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Get out there and sail those seas!

-Melvs

 

 

Gen Con 2016

Just like that the thunderous rolling of thousands of dice has finally ceased as the 49th Gen Con has come to a close. Once again I had the privilege of attending, and once again I more than enjoyed myself as I dabbled in old traditions and fresh wonders. Every year has its reasons to be memorable, and maybe it’s simply because I am fresh from attending but this one feels like it may go down as one of the best ever, well… for me at least. I’ll try to unpack everything as best I can but to be honest, with so much having occurred, I’m certain to leave a few things out.

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WEDNESDAY

Once again I had the pleasure of hooking up with the gang from the Gamerstable Podcast (whom I understand will be ending their podcast run in roughly 20 episodes WHAT!?) for some shared driving, room, and board. After a lengthy goodbye to my wife and two lovely kids (I missed them terribly all con), I made the trek to Illinois for the carpool. We left mid-morning and made Indianapolis in good time and the first thing we noticed was dear sweet Drowzee was Indy a hotbed for Pokestops and ‘mons! After a quick check in at the Sheraton we were off to The Ram!

The Ram has become the go to watering hole for the yearly Gamerstable meetup, and historically I’ve always had something else to do that night. This year I was free and clear to join the festivities though and I’m certainly glad to have done so. Getting the chance to catch up with the guys and gals of Gamerstable was a highlight for me the entire convention. I live within and hour or two of most of them but typically during the year life gets in the way of spending all that much together. I spent the night meeting up with old friends and made a number of new ones. Highlights include having the entire Of Dreams and Magic (ODAM) team come by to pay a visit, meeting Pete Petrusha in person finally, and Toju…TOJU my awesome buddy, and fellow Vagabond Gamer, from Australia that I finally met in person as well!

The Ram was highlighting the new EATdition from Privateer Press this year! ;P

The Ram was highlighting the new EATdition from Privateer Press this year! ;P

The Ram was an awesome hangout spot but that was the only place I needed to stop by Wednesday night. So I took a leisurely walk down to the Union Station Ballroom to catch up with Michael Ross from The RPG Academy. It felt like I was walking into a pocket plane wherein AcadeCon lay within Gen Con. I happened to walk into numerous games already in progress and, not seeing an opening anytime soon, I made due with some brief “nice to see-yas” and made my way back to The Ram to finish the night. I had kind of ditched the ODAM team anyway, so I wanted to get back and resume chatting with them, and others.

The night ended with a glance at the Will Call line and a hearty “Hell no I ain’t standing in that!”. I made my way back to the hotel and collapsed, ready to awaken in like 4-5 more hours to jump in the Press line!

THURSDAY

Thursday morning came real early for me. I woke at 5 a.m. and quietly stole from my hotel room into the dark morning. This year someone made the decision to limit press access to the con floor to just the first 90 press badge holders to jump in line that morning at the press room and I wanted that early access. As I was walking to the line I noticed there was an absence of a line for Will Call so I walked up and got my tickets in less than five mins (looks like skipping it the night before was the right call). I was fortunate to get in line as the number 29th line guy and Michael Ross was number 27! He willingly slid back a spot in line so we could chat about our excitement for the convention. The press line is always a fun time, I get to see a lot of familiar faces. Later on a few other buddies showed up further down the line so Michael and I had some fun tweeting back and forth with Rohit from Gamersplane and Bryce. Bryce made a crack about my beardless face & it hurt me deeply.

Press Badge in hand I realized I left my camera back at the room (I’m really good at this “reporting thing”) so I hoofed it back to the hotel. The trip back and forth from the hotel clocked in at .6 of a mile one way. Perfect distance in my opinion, just far enough away to dissuade me from spending too much time there but close enough for a walk.

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The early access line(s)

After grabbing my camera I made it back to the early access line just in time to discover the snafu that had occurred regarding it. Two lines had formed, I had no way of discerning which was the “true line” so I made the call to just sit near a wall outlet and charge my phone figuring I’d get in early no matter what line I was in. This marks the only time at the convention I ever noticed people actually seeming frustrated enough to cast aspersions on others. I totally got it too, see most of the early access folks were VIG’s (Very Important Gamers), they had paid good money for the privilege of early access and they wanted to ensure they got to the booths they were interested in in order to buy the games they feared were limited. So this two line business meant that effectively many were cutting in front of others. I wanted no part in that, had no interest in buying things right away anyhow.

As and aside, and I’ve struggled with whether or not to even bring this up, I feel Gen Con has an issue with the various access levels that they give Press. Now, being a member of the press pool at Gen Con it may seem like I’m complaining from a bit of a “first world standing” but hear me out. Right now the best access the press has to those on the exhibit room floor is the one hour early access on day one of the Con. We are given the same one hour that the VIG’s and various other specialty groups are given, and this year only 90 of us were even given that. The VIG’s are there to shop, they are going to storm the doors and fill up lines and time with the biggest names out there the second they get through those doors. While I have no qualms talking with some of the smaller groups out there, this is an impediment to our ability to catch some of the bigger fish ad hoc. We are certainly capable of setting up our own interview times, mine you, but it just feels like we should have a bit more access. In my opinion Press should be allowed in an hour early or an hour later on some other day. Give the VIG’s their initial day and let press have a day all their own. Maybe even one hour early on Sunday. Right now, other than the novelty (though I really love and appreciate that novelty!), there isn’t a lot of reason for press to be in there with the horde of VIG’s.

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So lovely

Moving on. That first hour on the floor was nice, if not particularly useful. I got to take in the sights without the crush of people you usually run into. I also noticed immediately that the fine folks of Gen Con made huge efforts to lower the crowds with a large increase in exhibit hall space! Later on in the con weekend I noticed the extra space made for a much more open exhibit floor.  I did get to speak with the creators of one particularly interesting game I’d never seen before. Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok has actually been around in some way since 1993 but it’s most current edition originates in 2005 and now has a second edition that came out in 2012. The books are gorgeous and the mechanics rely on the pulling of runes rather than die rolls, this style is called the “Runic Game System” or RGS. Looks like they were there repping their new book FotN:Ragnarok: Denizens of the North on top of their older, core books. Man these books looked very cool and I wish I’d been able to lay down cash right then and there!

The early access hour evaporated very quickly and after watching the hordes descend onto the con floor I grabbed some lunch, headed back to the hotel to chill for a bit, and then grabbed my Orc Stomp 5k packet! I’m always excited about the 5k, despite some thinking I’m nuts for even doing it. It’s fun just chatting with others getting ready for it too, so packet pickup is a nice easy going experience. After that I hit the exhibit hall floor for just a little longer and then it was back to the hotel yet again to get myself all dressed up for the annual Gamerstable Award Dinner at St. Elmos Steakhouse.

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Eric presenting Monte Cook the coveted Gamerstable Award

This year’s award recipient was Monte Cook, and his plus one was none other than Shanna Germain. I am consistently impressed by the ability Eric Austley has to draw in big names for this award, his recipients all deserve the accolades too. Monte and Shanna were excellent dinner table companions, despite the fact Monte convinced Shanna and I to try a Sichuan Button.  Don’t get me wrong, I like trying new things but… let’s just say it was not for me, not big into “electrocuting” my tongue. There were numerous folks I enjoyed chatting with in attendance as well. I got to meet Chris Hussey, in fact I sat next to him having a pleasurable conversation for about an hour before I finally realized who he was! I was able to catch up with my buddy Scott, The Angry GM. Running back into Michael Ross & Pete Petrusha was great too. Of course I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that this was the prime spot to run into Eric (and of course most of the Gamerstable crew; Shannon, Jayson, Mike, Dan, etc.) who was apparently super busy all con because he disappeared like a ghost after that night!

In the afterglow of the dinner I offered to run a pickup game of Savage Worlds: Sundered Skies for a group of us in attendance and I had a blast doing so. I witnessed a new friend of mine, Jason Butz, roll up one of the biggest exploding die continuations ever. His sorcerer meant to just freeze a railing in order to bust it and the grappling hooks attached to it but ended up freezing the entire side of the ship! They lost the cannons on that side of the airship but the pirates who were after them lost 3/4 of the men attempting to board. It was crazy!

Realizing it was midnight and Shannon and I both had to be up at 5 a.m. to run a 5k we called it a night.

FRIDAY

A mere 4-5 hours after going to sleep I found my eyes creaking open and somehow willed myself from my bed to get out the door and head to the Orc Stomp 5k. The second I was out in the cool morning air I found myself waking up instantly, it was a damn fine morning. As with every other time I walked to and from the hotel I casually had Pokemon Go running to grab stops and the myriad of Pokemon that crawled across the city streets of Indy. Many feel like you can’t truly enjoy your surroundings while playing the game but I find I can easily glance at the game off and on while taking in the sites quite well. not to mention I was made aware of some cool historical markers in Downtown Indy that I would have never paid any mind to before. Somehow I wasn’t even aware the Capitol building was right there near the convention center but, I know now!

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The Orc Stomp 5k was held, once again, along the White River Trail. Honestly this is one of the most gorgeous 5k runs I do every year. I met up with a fellow blogger friend of mine, Rob, who two years ago introduced me to the race by letting me run it under one of the free passes obtained by his sponsorship of the run. It was great catching up with him while we all prepped for the race. We had a few laughs about the last time I ran, where I overslept, drove frantically to the race, and then posted my best 5k time ever (something like 27 mins) just trying to finish the already started race! I enjoyed all the costumes immensely and reminded myself I’d like to dress up one year, I then found out that one of the costumed groups actually had a role in the run itself. The “Raptors” were associated with Exile Game Studio, specifically their game Hallow Earth Expeditions. As you can see in the image they dressed up like Raptors and “chased” us throughout the race. Essentially there were two main raptor types, fast and not as fast. If you beat the faster raptor you’d get a gold ribbon, and if you beat the next fastest you’d get a green ribbon. I loved this concept because I’m never going to win a 5k but I can sure beat at least one of them raptors!

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Waiting for the race to start was pretty fun. We discovered the starting line camped two Pokestops and we made use of them while chatting with fellow racers. I never got the name of the racer wielding the giant mallet, but I learned the next day after speaking with my buddies at Dog Might Games that the mallet was theirs, it was pretty damn heavy, and the guy who held it through the entire race had won the 5k the year before. Needless to say he didn’t win this year but man what an achievement to run 3.1 miles carrying that monstrous thing! Soon, the race was off. I made the mistake of running the thing as if I were actually in shape and earned myself a pulled calf muscle for my hubris. Still, I clocked a time of 33 mins, only three mins longer than my average. I was a blast and I even earned myself a green ribbon! I stuck around for the rest of my buddies finishing the race and then we headed back to the hotel.

I was very fortunate to have plenty of time to shower and ready myself for a very exciting portion of my day, the RPG Academy Network Panel.We had a decent crop of network folks at the con so Michael had decided to set up an open panel. It was a lot of fun, the podcasters fielded the majority of the questions early on because, let’s face it, podcasting is sexy as hell. Later in the session though we started delving into some blog, game mastering, advocacy, and regular old gaming questions that I was more than happy to jump in on. Little pleases me more than chatting with others who hold a reverence for this hobby and I enjoyed every moment of it (finally got to meet @theworstDM in person too!). Not to mention after the panel we got to get a little bit of gaming in as Senda and Emily introduced us to their 5 min RPG concept, and by “introduced” I mean slaughtering us mercilessly one after another…in 5 mins or less! This was recorded so you might later hear our downfalls.

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Left to right: Chris, Lucas, Senda, Michael, Emily, Myself

After lunch I stopped by the press room to debate drinking coffee or going back to the hotel for some sleep. While there I ran into Michael Long from Tribality and had a nice chat, then saw Rob Stith in the hall. By then the general lack of sleep had finally caught up to me and I trudged back to the hotel for a nap. Sadly this meant I ended up sleeping through the Phoenix Dawn Command & Shes’s a Super Geek panels that I wanted to attend but I know I needed it!

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I did make it to one of the panels I scheduled that day though. Privateer Press put on a development panel regarding Warmachine and Hordes. In years past I’ve attended panels by these folks regarding new upcoming products so it was interesting to listen in on one that comes on the heels of the major release of the third edition of the game. Many in the crowd, myself included, were hoping for a reveal of the newest faction that has been teased for some time now but we were left wanting. The majority of the panel consisted of some discussion regarding the way they go about creating a concept and the various channels it then goes through before becoming a retail piece. I could tell the room wanted to know more about upcoming items but frankly they didn’t have a ton to show off. If you recall two years ago, in the Unleashed panel, they had computer issues and luckily were able to use my computer to show off their images and such. Well, they had computer issues again and this time I did not bring my own so i couldn’t save the day. One tease we got for the new faction was that they intend to have them use feats completely differently from the other factions, but this is all still in development.  I asked about the Roleplaying Game (because of course I did) and I learned they want to expand on Piracy some more, which sounds fantastic!

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One thing I knew I had to do at Gen Con this year was visit with my friends behind Trapdoor Technologies and the Playbook app. In case you are unaware they have now aligned themselves with Paizo and Pathfinder (their app is even more polished  now than ever before). They were holed away in the Sagamore Ballroom with the rest of the massive Pathfinder realm. The place was truly daunting in size. It was great catching up with Chris and

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The last scheduled event I had for the night was the big one for me, the ENnies. If you are a regular reader you know this but this year I had the esteemed pleasure of actually being nominated for the Best Website category. I was pretty damn certain I wasn’t going to win even the Silver ENnie but I knew I needed to go to the event if only to see my site’s banner flash across the big screen in the front (which I totally neglected to get a photo of… luckily someone else did)! The best part for me was when my site popped up on the screen Kevin Kulp made the comment that my banner was the “Happiest he’d ever seen”, high praise to Wes of Nameless PC’s! Well folks, I didn’t win anything but I am certainly excited that I’ll forever be an ENnie nominated writer. Can’t take that from me eh? I sat there just long enough to see if Michael won Best Podcast for The RPG Academy (sadly he did not), and decided to catch the rest of my group at Giorgio’s Pizza for some excellent deep dish.

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We finished the night with a pick up game of ad-hoc Pathfinder run by Mike Bridges, of Gamerstable fame, where I was so slap happy tired that I ran a rogue modeled loosely after Emperor Norton , the first and last Emperor of these United States. His name was Vernon Lundman, he dressed in the finest of rags, knew everyone, and even minted his own currency known as the “Lundmark”. It was an awesome ending to a crazy day.

SATURDAY

Saturday was much more laid back than the previous two days. I spent most of my time running into friends and chatting a bit. Forgive me if you’re one of those I ran into and you aren’t getting a mention! I really had nothing planned until early afternoon. I ate an awesome Gyro from the Ali Baba’s food truck, which is starting to become a tradition for me. Then I spent some time in the park near the JW Marriott catching Cubones on Pokemon Go until I could evolve to a Marowak, as one does. Soon it was time for me to head to my scheduled game run by none other than Chris Hussman!

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Michael claimed this guy looked like Freddie Mercury

I was joined by Michael Ross and one of his podcast’s faculty members Brad. It ende dup being just the three of us as we weaved our way through a story filled with heartache, high adventure, and good old fashioned “end of days” stopping. I don’t want to go into too much detail, just in case some of you have the chance to ever play in this specific game. I really wouldn’t want to ruin it’s many twists. Suffice it to say it was my favorite game of the con. Michael, Brad, and I played really well off one another and in the end Chris even had some high praise for our roleplay and decisions throughout. I really got into character and loved every moment of it. Reminded me of why I love these games in the first place.

After the game we ran through a playtest of a neat game concept Michael is working on and I went looking for my crew for dinner. At this point, basking in the glow of completing all my scheduled fun I got to be a bit homesick if I’m to be honest. I missed my family a ton but knew I still had some fun times in store.

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Dinner was fun, we sat with the incredible Anna Myers at Champs where she had hung up her massive map of Greyhawk that she had crafted on her own. She is truly a master Cartographer. It was at dinner I where I was convinced to go to the Gencon dance, namely because Toju was going and I hadn’t spent nearly enough time with him. It was one Hell of a way to end the day, I’ll tell you that. The Union Station was filled to the brim with scores of us nerds just dancing (and drinking) the night away. Tons of fun, I only wish my wife could have been there, some of the most fun we have together is hitting the dance floor!

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The dance ended and I hit the hotel, instead of going to sleep I sat up with a number of my roommates. Shannon’s boyfriend Brandon and I chatted about how Goku is kind of a jerk among other awesome anime talk. After that it was lights out.

SUNDAY

Hard to believe the con ever really came to a close. I wandered around aimlessly with Shannon, Brandon, and Jason B. for a bit, then tracked down Michael at his Post Con deal where I ran into Dani and John. We sent a little love via snapchat to our buddy Pierce, who should have been at Gen Con running a Ravenloft game for us (had some weak excuse about buying a house). I then headed back to the con floor to debate once more if I’d make my one purchase of a Hirst Arts Mold but decided against it as I figured I’d spent plenty that weekend already. Thus, I made it through all of Gen Con purchasing nothing but food and lodging.

Lastly the gang and I met up with Toju, where we quietly chatted in the back of the exhibit hall until they shut the thing down signaling the end of another great year. After that the car ride home seemed to take forever as I yearned to get back to my family. Man, what a great time though.

Last thought? Sure wish Wizards of the Coast had been there this year…

Feel free to share Gen Con stories in the comments! Also, if you’ve got a hankering for another con, check out AcadeCon (meet me there!)! There are still passes availiable

-Melvs

PICTURES!

So there were a number of things I now realize I forgot to mention, namely because I can’t recall what day they occurred! I’m going to be lazy and simply put the pictures up with some blurbs.

 

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The Porkchop Express was in town for the event

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Some cool cats eh? Left to right The Carpe DM, myself and Rohit from Gamersplane

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Always awesome catching up with author Hans Cummings

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The RPG Academy Podcast pre-con meetup

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Finally worked up the nerve to shake Jolly Blackburn’s hand

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The ODAM team drops by The Ram

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TOJU! We look eerily similar in the face in this picture.

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Toju and Shannon

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More shots of the Gamerstable meetup at The Ram

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One of many fine brews I had the pleasure of sampling

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Dan and Mike strike a cool pose

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Pete and Jayson.

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Shannon and Rob

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Be proud of carrying that thing man!

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THE RAPTORS!

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The Pathfinder room was HUGE

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Got to the ENnies early enough to get a picture of the empty hall

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Had great fun with this crowd all weekend

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I witnessed the CarpeDM win a goblet scoop of dice from these guys

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Dogmight Games always has me salivating over their products

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My actual roll at the Crit for Success booth

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Cardhalla

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Anna Myers’ full map!

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Brandi & Toju

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The dance was most excellent

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Toju & Mike

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Shannon and Babs got to meet Andy Looney!

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Shannon’s Ash Ketchum was great!

COSPLAY PICS

Here are some great cosplay pictures that Shannon’s cousin Brandon was more than happy to pass my way.

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Warmachine & Hordes: All New War

*Hey guys! Melvin here. Please remember that there is still time to head over to the Acadecon 2016 Kickstarter to get your badge to meet me, and plenty of even cooler people, in Ohio this November! Can’t make the trip? Grab four friends and pick up a virtual game run by myself or one of the other special GMs available!*

Privateer Press has recently announced their intention to release a new edition of its Warmachine and Hordes tabletop skirmish game. In “WarmaHordes” players pick a favored faction (i.e. Elves, Trolls, Humans, etc.) based in a steampunk world of magic with metal monstrosities and beasts that fight along their masters. Two players then pit those factions against each other in tabletop miniatures based combat using.

All new War

The last edition update was six years ago with what Privateer Press dubbed the “MK II” edition. In that time the company claims it has “…accumulated a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience from observing, listening to, and interacting with our worldwide community of players and retailers about how to continue to improve their experience with our games… -Chief Creative Officer Matt Wilson”  Thus they feel it is finally time to reveal all the work they’ve done revamping the game using this feedback.

RoS Battlegroup Starter Set

 

A big push in the new edition seems to be a call for simplicity in the rules, and an eye to pull in new players. Changes like, allowing for pre-measuring for a ranged attack where you currently have to eyeball and chance a miss. To draw in new players PP will be releasing what they are calling their Battlegroup Starter Boxes that, beyond containing a Warcaster\Warlock with attached Warjacks\Warbeasts, will also contain  a core rules digest and an in-depth tutorial. The new starter boxes don’t completely leave veterans hanging in the wind though as the Warcasters & Warlocks contained will be brand new. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t add that Veterans won’t have to buy new models for their armies, the only additional purchase they may want to make would be buying the new faction decks. The Battlegroup Starter Boxes will be offered at $39.99 MSRP and look to be a great way to introduce yourself to the game.

A side note about this exciting news that I wanted to touch on regards the fandom. I can honestly say that the response to this new edition reveal seems to have simultaneously revealed that Privateer Press may have one of the best player bases around. I’ve never encountered much in the way of vitriol and bile on the Privateer Press forums before but, considering this was a new edition release, I expected the worst when I dove in. I was more than pleasantly surprised. There’s even a forum topic dedicated to players conceding that certain battlegroup models (that they use) are in need of nerfing and hope the game gains some balance from the update. I’ve seen very little in the way of screaming at each other or the company, mostly it is optimism and general interest for the new edition. A testament to the player base I’d say. Also, Privateer Press waited six full years before adding a new edition, that shows this isn’t some money grab on their part.

Battle Board

Battle for the Athanc Hex Board

It almost seems like fate that this announcement would come out now, when I and a few others are embroiled in the “Battle for the Athanc” campaign rules recently released with Privateer Press’ “No Quarter” magazine (issue 65). The battles have been huge and adding a bit of a campaign arc to the whole mix has heightened my fervor for the game already. Now suddenly this comes along. I’m an amateur at best, only really playing off and on over the last few years, but feel like I’m becoming a stronger player by the week now that I’m playing at least weekly. With the new edition I can easily see myself going further down this rabbit hole. I may need to add a Hordes faction to my roster, my elves are getting lonely.

 

“The new editions will be released worldwide in independent hobby game stores on June 29, 2016. Privateer Press will release the new Core Rules for each game for free online on June 12, 2016. Players will get their first chance to play the new edition at Lock & Load GameFest 2016 in Bellevue, WA, held June 10-12.”

Khador v Cryx

Khador and Cryx throw down

-Forum FAQ Regarding New Edition-

Let me know how you feel about the new edition or if you want to get in on the action for the first time!

-Melvs

 

REVIEW: Iron Kingdoms Unleashed: Skorne Empire

Cover

Iron Kingdoms Unleashed (IKU) has been with us for nearly a year now. I’ve spent plenty of time remarking, in past posts, about its unique entry into the Tabletop RPG Games’ arena. Bringing a level of diversity that’s even beyond its predecessor, Iron Kingdoms. I know the lore for the world those two games are based in fairly well, I would never claim to be as knowledgeable as my good friend Nick though, so I had long wondered if there would be further additions to playable races that are even more strange and varied than the ones laid out in IK & IKU. Races like the Undead legions of the Cryx, a crazy concept for role-play I’d still love to see, or maybe the blighted peoples of the Legion of Everblight. The latest entry was neither of those however, instead we were given rules for a group I’d paid little mind to over the years, the Skorne with their new manual Iron Kingdoms Unleased: Skorne Empire (IKU:SE). Not one of the groups I was asking for but boy am I glad to receive it!

Delving into IKU: Skorne Empire took me a while to get around to. It sort of appeared on the scene without my noticing it, not one of the books I got the pleasure of receiving a copy of for review. I only heard about it because my friend, mentioned above, wanted to run an IKU game using it. I knew it would be a project for me because, as already mentioned, this isn’t one of the races in the world of Immoren that I already had familiarity with. I knew that along with new Careers, Abilities, and styles of play, I’d have to brush up on their lore. If there’s one thing you need to know about Privateer Press, lore is in no shortage, if anything they OVERFLUFF you! Some of the best lore masters in the gaming industry in my opinion.

Skorne

The Skorne of Eastern Immoren are a wildly interesting race, seemingly based loosely on Arabic cultures. They have no gods to speak of and they have full awareness that, upon death, their souls are sent screaming into the void. So, many years ago, they took matters into their own hands and created a means in which to house the souls of the deceased. To do this is a laborious process, requiring the crafting of what they refer to as Sacral Stones. Not all are worthy of this Exaltation, however, one must prove themselves worthy of this great saving of the soul. To be considered such one must follow a strict warrior code and prove themselves upon the field of battle. Due to this there are numerous Skorne who just accept the fact that upon the day of their death they will have little to no chance of being saved from a terrible fate. This has created a caste system where warriors take the top ranks above all else, and has made for a very unique roleplaying scenario where you are decidedly considered subservient, with rare exception, to those in the caste above you.

As far as new crunch goes IKU:SE gives us some unique flavor in the racial abilities of the Skorne where every Skorne begins the game with an Arcane stat of 1. No other race does this, the Skorne are uniquely attuned to the Arcane. We get a whopping 15 new Careers that are all strictly Skorne based, unusable by any of the races in IKU. In fact, in reverse, very few of the IKU Careers are availiable to the Skorne. Hence the need for the huge influx of Careers. The Skorne are just really different from the wild races of Western Immoren, too alien for much crossover. Take for instance the fact that Archer could technically be a Career for a Skorne PC but it would be a very strange contradiction to the Skorne’s abhorrence to ranged weaponry (with the one exception being their own Venators). The Careers are all very restrictive among themselves, which could alienate some players. Beyond the typical considerations that separate certain Careers you have the addition of Caste. A player might consider two Careers to be a perfect match and find that you simply can’t because one is a Warrior Caste Career and the other requires the character to be from the Paingivers. Honestly I had a really hard time making a character due to this exact thing. I kept thinking of a cool concept only to be blocked by namely Caste. For better or worse this supplement contains the highest level of restrictions between Careers. I still haven’t decided if this adds a level of sophistication to the game, making it almost an RPG on “Hard Mode” or if it is just annoying. Either way, you PC is likely going to be harder to build than in some of the other Iron Kingdoms materials.

Cataphract Armor

There are a host of new abilities, spells, weapons and warbeasts to choose from. Other than warbests, everything contains choices that cross over between the old IKU book and the new supplement. They did a good job of putting a book number next to the new items, so you can figure out whether it’s from IKU:SE or from its parent book, but it’s no lie that it can be somewhat tiring flipping between the two. Hardly a new thing though, and barely a complaint. Much time was spent on some of the more unique aspects of the Skorne, namely the details behind the Extollers (a Career who’s main focus is Exalting Warriors into the Sacral Stones). Many pages describe the cool things they can do using their stone-crafted soul houses. From full on exaltation to the simpler methods of housing souls temporarily and in constructs that can actually fight. All very cool stuff that almost made me play as an Extoller (opted not to because I just couldn’t manage to figure out a secondary Career that meshed the way I wanted it too, REALLY wanted to be an Extoller\Tormentor but it just wasn’t to be).

I am loving the game I’m in right now, not only is Nick a sturdy GM and very knowledgeable of the various Immoren lore, but the Skorne are just interesting to play. My character is a Warlock\Beast Handler and due to this a member of the Paingiver Caste by virtue of my secondary Career. It is rare in the Iron Kingdoms RPG to be a Warlock and not the leader of the group in a sense, but in Skorne Empire a Paingiver is simply lower than those of the Warrior Caste. There are two Warriors in our group and I have to be careful not to anger them (in game of course). In fact just this last Monday I mistakenly pushed my warbeast (Rupa, a Cyclops Savage) too far and he frenzied. Sadly, the closest target, because a frenzied warbest lashes out, was one of the two Warriors in our group. By the time I got Rupa under control again I’d damaged Warrior and nearly lost my head for it. It set up a really cool roleplaying moment, and beyond that I’m enjoying the challenge of playing a character who cannot take a leadership role in any fashion in the group. Others may not care for that, and may have a hard time figuring out where\how to shine in a Roleplay sense though. Very unique style of play.

BA Lady

I’d put Iron Kingdoms Unleashed: Skorne Empire in a very unique category. In a Roleplaying Game that already makes no bones about keeping things all that balanced, Skorne Empire takes it even further. Everything is useful in its way but unlike most RPGs that allow for a free and open role-play situation you will find yourself pretty restricted on that front. For me, it adds a level of complexity to the world and makes things really interesting. Others may just shut down and feel they have little to add while the others at the table stride around in their higher Castes. Regarding the crunch I basically only have very specific complaints. I want to be an Extoller\Tormentor for one. Not many Careers lend toward being of the “Cunning” Archetype (although that’s an issue I have with the Iron Kingdoms RPG as a whole, I don’t like that some Careers require the Gifted Archtype). Lastly, fighting claws should either be considered Hand Weapons or Tormentors need to be able to train in Unarmed! Like I said, very specific stuff.

Pick this game up if you’re interested in a challenging, but overall fun, experience. The Skorne are merciless and give you the opportunity to really play up a less than “good guy” type PC, perfect fits for the Unleashed universe. Privateer Press apparently does not release supplements simply for the sake of it, a lot of fine detail went into the making of this product. I continue to be impressed. If I ever get my hands on a physical copy I’ll add a bit about its make, for now I’ve got the pdf which is solidly bookmarked. Thank you PP for having good pdfs availiable, other RPG companies should take note, well, one other company.

Tormentor

You guys use a picture of Lord Assassin Morghoul on the Tormmentor Career but Tomentors can’t use Fighting Claws!!

Take care all!

-Melvs

Pure Primal Savagery – Iron Kingdoms: Unleashed

Iron Kingdoms: Unleashed will be available on April 22, 2015
 

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Fasten your seat-belts folks, this one’s gunna be a gush piece. Look, I tried to approach Iron Kingdoms: Unleashed as a stoic reviewer but with every page flip I grew more and more impressed. To the point I just gave up trying to be an unbiased commentator and just let myself become the fanboy. Privateer Press has crafted something really impressive here, a true sibling to it first core book Iron Kingdoms: Full Metal Fantasy, but yet something more.

With Unleashed we are introduced to a vibrantly wild setting. It is a primal world where the strong must match wits and power with the rest of the savage inhabitants. To do this players will need to tap into that primal nature. Perhaps it’s as simple as eating the foe they just defeated in order to get a meal that night, or maybe they rip out the bones and tap into a primal magic inherent within that can help win battles down the road, or perhaps the player captures and dominates a huge beast, bending their will with wild majicks and making them fight battles for them. All of that and more is available within the nearly 500 pages of Iron Kingdoms: Unleashed.

QUALITY AND LOOK

Its a big book

Its a big book

As mentioned above, this rule-book comes in at just under 500 pages, a daunting task for good binding. Thus far it has held up very well with my incessant flipping of the pages, and trust me when I say there has been a lot of flipping between my friends and I. Physically the book appears to be in good shape, if that ever changes I’ll be sure to update but so far the thick hardcover and solid binding seem to be up to the task of frequent use. Being said, with any book this big I’d still be careful how forcefully you open it up.

Privateer Press long ago chose their art direction and to their credit have stuck with it. When making the switch to a more primal look the bombastic colors and big characters work very well. There are some great scenic landscapes within the pages and characters in action leap from the page. The borders on every page are interesting but not distracting, and I’ve always been a fan of how smaller versions of the same are used to make important text boxes pop. Another added touch is a just visible color code that heralds the change to a new chapter if you know what you’re looking for. Helpful for at the table when you need to flip to a certain section.

THE WILDS

The first chapter, after an obligatory dose of “what is an RPG etc.”, within the book gives us a 100 page history of the wilderness of Western Immoren (the world of Iron Kingdoms) and a lengthy description of the modern day geography of the wild lands. Privateer Press’ team has always impressed me with their attention to the lore surrounding this world. In fact, much of this lore came from their the wargame this RPG is based on. They had these great stories long before they even had an RPG.

ferrow

 

One of my favorite things about this section lies with the descriptions of history and current society of the major races playable in the game. If you want to know whether the tribal pigmen, the Ferrow, cannibalize their own (they do) you have a portion of the book where that’s found. You may also read that they are scavengers who value their position based largely how they are viewed by their peers. Thus a Ferrow will want to appear strong and useful to a tribe, and you’ll see that food gathering and scavenged weapons play a critical role in boosting one’s image.

CHARACTERS

To me this is the sexy chapter. I flipped here first thing receiving my review copy. Here you’ll find all the information you need to craft that one of a kind primal warrior who will be savaging the wilds soon enough. Character creation in Unleashed mirrors the way it was handled in Full Metal Fantasy, to the point where if you wanted to, and your character met the prerequisites, there is no mechanical reason why you couldn’t pick up a career from either book.

Pygs

I’m a huge fan of the character creation in the Iron Kingdoms RPG, both Full Metal Fantasy and Unleashed. In Unleashed, like its predecessor, players browse a list of careers like Monster Hunter, Warlock, or Wolf Rider. Keeping in mind the perquisites for some of these careers a player will then choose a starting career and a secondary career. Each career comes with a package of Abilities, Skills, and Starting assets. Meld the two careers together and you’re already more than half done creating the character. Now, before and after the career section you have a bit of work to do, choosing your race and archetype and rounding out skills and equipment, but careers are usually where I start.

I do note that in Unleashed the careers tend to have more perquisites than I recall from the Full Metal Fantasy core book. This does sadly pencil you into certain races a lot of the time but in many cases it just wouldn’t make sense otherwise. Frankly, die-hard Hordes lovers would scratch their heads if a Gatorman could be a Bloodweaver anyway so it makes sense from a lore and game precedent standpoint. Those new to the game may quibble at that fact, but they may wish to keep in mind that even with such restrictions there are far more “class” options available here than in the better known RPGs out there.

The range and variety of characters you can create in Unleashed is truly a wonderful thing. If this setting hits the right buttons for you you’re going to love the colorful blend of careers at hand. One of my favorite inclusions are the four varieties of Warlock to choose from (one for each race). Unlike the Warcaster from Full Metal Fantasy, who sadly lack a starting Warjack, the Warlocks of Unleashed start the game with Warbeasts bonded to them to accent the list of spells they can cast. With rules for bonding even larger beasts later on in the book the Warlock is understandably a considerable threat in this game!

THE GAME

Whenever the folks at Privateer Press decided to craft an RPG that mimics the rules of their wargame, they struck gold. The combat in the RPG is so similar to their wargame it fits like a glove for anyone who has played latter. I must also mention that those introduced to the RPG will have an easy time going the other way too, I have proof of that within my gaming group. Adding in some out of combat rules doesn’t complicate much, you still use two six sided die and add any bonuses a character may have in that skill to meet a target number. This section explains it all very well and looks to have required little new from the Full Metal Fantasy book.

Capture

The game is very tactical, it is based on a wargame after all. Those of you who aren’t big fans of grids and minis might wish to move along. Although, I would advise you at least give it a try, using tape measurements for movement feels a lot more intuitive than spaces on a grid.

MAGIC OF THE WILDS

Magic in the wilds can seem similar to the forces thrown about by the more “civilized” factions of the world as they war, there are will weavers of the arcane arts and those who harness beasts similar to the ways machines are controlled, but spend any amount of time studying the ways of primal magic and you will find great differences (assuming you survive long enough to compare the two).

Will weavers in the wilds cast spells by tapping into their own endurance as a power source. Spells cast, maintained, etc earn fatigue points that build over time. Every turn these are removed based on a character’s Arcane stat (i.e. a stat of 3 removes three fatigue). Even gaining a large quantity of fatigue by casting beyond your limits only gives the chance that fatigue will exhaust the character.  A die roll must meet or exceed the number, roll less and your turn is over before it starts.

Harnessers make up the second branch of primal majicks in the wilds of Western Immoren, and typically some of the most feared. These are the denizens of the wilds who bend the will of large beasts. Players of the Wargame Hordes will already be familiar with how a Warbeast works with its Warlock but for the uninitiated the Warlock actually forces the creature to do their bidding. When they force them to perform more aggressively than normal it gets angry and produces a power the Warlock can “leach” from the beast in the form of “Fury Points” for the Warlocks own pool of spells. Truly a dangerous pairing.

Blood magic is a third styling, though technically a Blood Magic user can either be a Will Weaver or Harnesser.  Someone wielding this type of power channels from the essence of their own blood, and more often the blood of their enemies, to craft dangerous spells into their empowered melee weapons. Bloodweaver spells are all melee weapon focused and all very dangerous to go up against. It’s a very cool career to use but you are very limited if you want to play it. You must be a female Tharn (tribal human race) to access this power.

bloodMagic

The chapter ends with a portion about a type of golem-like creature called a Wold that only the Circle of Orboros can create. These creatures are similar to Warjacks in the way that they are created rather than taken from the wilds. They still function like Warbeasts in the way that they generate fury for their Warlocks but they have some perks too, like being immune to fear as they are a construct. Of course, a Wold needs to be repaired, it doesn’t heal like a Warbeast.

WARBEASTS

I love that there is an entire chapter dedicated to these creatures. They are fleshed out amazingly well and the instructions for using them are thoroughly explained. It may seem daunting at first reading through the pages  and seeing all the rules for using a Warbeast but I feel they are laid out well. They go over certain benifits you gain from forcing your Warbeast and what might occur if you push too far, everything a player of the wargame already knows but explained well to a new player. A bevy of Warbeasts are available in this chapter, I’m especially excited that they have rules for Roadhogs, which are basically giant steampunk boars!

GEAR AND BONE GRINDING

I love this chapter. Only in a setting like Unleashed can you have a chapter dedicated not simply to equipment but also equipment you can craft from the body parts of your dead enemies…or, up until recently, friends. The weapons and armor present here all have the look and feel of what you’d expect from scavenged items in the wilds. Many of the weapons are similar, or outright the same, as the one’s from Full Metal Fantasy but we do get a few new items that are either career specific or race specific like the Trollkin Rune Axe or a Nyss Claymore.

Bone Grinder

The newest feature is Bone Grinding. This is an alchemical process that uses natural ingredients, typically found within the bodies of the creatures in the wild. Beyond simple items like venoms and bottled oils that produce light a character called a Bone Grinder can turn body parts into what are called fetishes. These fetishes have a wide range of abilities mainly to enhance the spells and abilities of the caster but also to give interesting perks as well. One example is the “Speaker’s Tongue”, it can grant the user the ability to speak and understand any language its previous…uh owner… was able to.

 

CREATURES

You may recall back in the Fall of last year that I wrote a blog piece about Privateer Press’ Monsternomicon. Well apparently that didn’t scratch the itch for them when it came to creating baddies for us to fight because they’ve added just under 100 pages of new creatures for a game master to throw at their players.  A truly frightening new addition is the Frost Drake, I didn’t even bother to count the dots in the life spiral (what passes for HP in IK).

Pretty excellent to add this by the way. They could have easily held out a little while and just made “Monsternomicon II” or something like that. Kudos folks.

GAME MASTERING UNLEASHED AND APPENDIXES

Rounding out the end of the book we have a chapter explaining how to GM the game, and the usual “what is a GM” stuff. The game is very tactical in nature, if you haven’t already gathered from the section on game rules and this section does a decent job of explaining how a GM can handle working with the players to run the game. Aspects like Feat Points, a built in reward system for the players, are also covered. There’s a little bit about NPCs in this chapter but only a bit, the building blocks are all there though. Lastly they explain some good Campaign strategies and even a way to play without miniatures (don’t really recommend that one myself).

Appendix A gives you a number of great creature templates, similar to the ones found in the Monsternomicon.  These are great for sprucing up a fight and turning preconceived notions on their ear. Appendix B contains a copy of the character sheet and various game-play templates. Appendix C finishes things out with a model gallery to pull pictures of characters players may play as or run into.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I have very little to be critical of regarding this book, and I even feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of what I can pull from it. I have to be honest, I simply had to skim in order to get a review out there prior to the release date of April 22nd, there is just too much book here for me to read every word in the time I had. Everything I read was quality though, if there is wasted space created I have yet to encounter it.

Preorder from your store of choice and you could get this cover!

Preorder from your store of choice and you could get this cover!

If you have any interest in this game system, buy this book. If you like owning quality RPG books you might never even run, buy this book. If you like Warmachine and Hordes buy… well you know. I told you I would be gushing and I hope I didn’t let you down. If anyone has any questions for me prior to launch when you can get this book on your own I’ll be glad to assist, for that matter I’ll talk Unleashed for a while to come if you want to chat about it. I hope I get to see these guys at Gen Con gain this year so i can shake their hands and thank them for this quality product. Now, get out there and create some savagery!.. In game of course.

-Melvs

This Unleashed RPG Adventurer Kit Was Involved in a Car Wreck & You Won’t BELIEVE What Was Pulled From the Wreckage!!

Clickbaity enough for ya? Thought so. The story is true though. My family and I were involved in a fairly substantial car accident merely a day after receiving my review copy of this game.  We are fine (the car isn’t) but I was also pretty impressed with the fairly limited damage done to this solid hunk of gaming!  I mean, it was at the impact point, perhaps it even absorbed an outrageous amount of the blow, just maybe… it saved our lives!.. Okay that last one stretched things a bit, still, kudos on Privateer Press for crafting such a stalwart game.

Only a mite roughed up!

Only a mite roughed up!

Anyway, on to the actual review.

The Unleashed RPG Adventure Kit!  More Fun Than You Could Shake a Half-Gnawed Severed Limb At!

I should have lead with this title.

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I know somewhere on this blog I’ve mentioned a love for Privateer Press’ Iron Kingdoms RPG, despite never doing a full on review of the system, and if I haven’t I know I’ve lauded it on my favorite social media platforms.  With a rule-set modeled after their equally fun tabletop wargamming platform Warmachine, you find yourself dropped into a surprisingly easy to parse strategic fighting RPG with a rich backdrop of lore.  The Iron Kingdoms Core Rulebook introduced players to warring kingdoms of people we find a bit more familiar; Humans, Elves, Dwarves, etc. all vying for power in civilized lands constantly at war using both powerful majicks and technology.  Metal on metal fantasy full scale warfare.

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We aren’t here to talk about civilized lands though, we’re here to talk about the wilder lands of Western Immoren.  Unleashed will be a companion rule-book, fully compatible with the one that proceeded it, but will detail the sentient creatures of the wilds of Western Immoren.  Just prior to its release though we have this surprising little gem show up, the RPG Adventure Kit. I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect when I heard this was coming out a month or two before the full on Core Rulebook but I was willing to give it a try, especially because it was going to come with some Minis.

THE LOOK

My experience with “kits” lately has been limited to the D&D Starter Set for 5th Edition, something I’m in the process of using to introduce a few kids to D&D.  The Starter Set is very much worth the dollar figure, roughly $12 on Amazon, but as that’s a rather low price point you don’t get too much.  A rough set of rules, an O.K. adventure, a few pre-gens, and some dice.  Certainly serviceable, I’m still using it after all, but nothing really catches the eye to draw in new players in my opinion.

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This boxed set though?  Everything catches the eye. Privateer Press held nothing back and has come nowhere near doing a slipshod job when putting together this introduction to Unleashed.  The first thing you notice when opening are some punch out tiles with terrain printed on them.  You think there’s a few for garnishment but then you keep pulling tiles out and realize that you’ve got tiles for days man!  Every single one has an image on both sides too effectively doubling the already impressive amount of terrain you can use.  The Rulebook and Scenario are both very appealing to the eye and the character booklets are huge four page spreads that really detail who you’ve chosen in both art and letter.  They round things out with a fist-full of excellent minis for use with the Scenario provided, a simple set of six-siders, and lastly, the only thing I scratched my head at, a truly pathetic ruler (had to have been added as an afterthought).

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Look at this ruler… I mean, I know people should own better ones but bleh

The artwork keeps in theme with every product put out by Privateer Press in this world, I’m glad I like it because they are consistent.  With Unleashed they get to play around with the brutal nature of the game and really craft some nice looking characters.  Sadly there isn’t much art in the actual books but they do have a bit more than other kits I’ve seen.

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PLAYABILITY

I’m already a fan of the system. As mentioned before it’s very similar to the Wargaming system it’s spurned from so there is hardly any gap in playability for those familiar with Warmachine and Hordes.  Unleashed is the “Hordes” version of the RPG system so it is is incredibly brutal.  You have characters that use body parts for food, or even to spruce up armor.  The world of Unleashed is very much a survival of the fittest landscape and I think that lends a lot of fun to the players of the game.  Killing a foe and eating their flesh isn’t an evil act, it’s an act of survival.  In fact I’d be surprised if there’s a GM who’d even consider worrying about the alignment of characters in this dangerous setting.

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The scenario provided with this game does a good job of explaining why all of these denizens of the wilds would form an unlikely partnership.  Much like it’s predecessor you need to do such things as this world can easily slip into a faction-like mindset where it might be odd to see a Bogg Trogg working with Gatorman but when the four characters in this setting want to move against a powerful enemy differences, and appetites, are set aside and respect for ability sets in. The scenario offers up five large scenes and to me it looks like it would take roughly two to three nights to play it out.  A nice caveat is added at the end to describe some possible continuation adventures.

So, I’m very impressed with the Scenario provided.  No corners were cut and the punch out landscapes will go a long way in setting the stage, not to mention you can use those punch outs for some Hordes fighting in the future.  The character pre-gens are all very flavorful and players will have a blast role-playing their brutality.  If you want though the streamlined Rulebook provided with the game will help you craft new Player Characters.  Other rules set out in the book do the job of explaining how to play very well.

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I already knew I was going to be a fan of the Unleashed Core book but I’m pretty surprised how much I like this RPG kit. The best thing about it has to be the tile pieces and the miniatures though, once your players have done the scenario no matter how good it is there’ll never be a really good reason to run it for them again.  The physical stuff though?  That will keep and can be used for Unleashed adventures for years to come.  My advice is to get both Unleashed and the Kit if you can.  If you have to choose between the two I’d lean Core Book, but that’s me.  Take care folks!

Pre-Order the Kit

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I mean, I say Id lean Core Book… BUT LOOK AT ALL THIS STUFF!!