Friday, December 3, 2010

Victory for Clan Stormworks (or, "We Win at D&D, Part I")

Wednesday night was the latest session of my boy Brandon's Dwarf Fortress-inspired AD&D campaign. Holy crap, that was some brutal-ass D&D.

When we left things the last time, the Stormworks boys had made a frontal assault on the fire giants' fortress - a structure that, in Jewel City's heyday, served as an arena/ampitheatre for the dwarf residents, sort of an inverted ziggurat - and killed their king, but were swiftly pinned down by the remaining giants. Holding a door against the giants themselves would've been simple enough (+4AC vs. giants is a big freakin' deal in AD&D, and most of our guys are well into negative ACs as it is), but their hellhound pets were roasting us alive the whole time we fought (their fiery breath being no problem for the giants we were fighting, of course).

This time, after debating the merits of the earthquake scroll I'd been carrying around (i.e., "do we want to give Brandon a reason to collapse the whole dungeon on us"), we decided to punch out and make a break for it, essentially just hopping over the arena wall (with a rope of climbing assist) and making a break for safety. That got us out of the giant fire and into the giant frying pan, so to speak, as we just ended up holed up somewhere else, in basically the same position as before but with the added complication that we were down a flight of stairs, which enabled the giants to just roll balls of burning debris down at us until we were smoked out. Lost about half the henchmen breaking our way out of there, and it was only thanks to a lucky morale failure on the part of our pursuers that we made it out of that spot - unfortunately, they subdued one of our number (Vindalf, the youngest of our 3 dwarf monster slayers - AKA the "Dwarven Hanson Brothers") and made off with him in their flight.

This threw a nice wrench in our plans, since normally we'd just retreat and heal up - and, at this point, we'd amassed enough combat xp and treasure that we were all due for level training, and would've just come back and stomped the remaining giants flat - but with Vindalf captured, all we had time for was a quick 4-hour nap (only netting our 3 clerics access to their 1st and 2nd level spells) and back at it. This time we had a diversion planned, though: My cleric Begli (with his trusty dwarven thrower) on the shoulders of Rekk (one of the fighters, proud owner of a set of slippers of speed), circling the fortress in one direction (at a high rate of both speed and fire-giant-testicle-smashing-themed taunting), throwing hammerstrikes at the walls and dodging thrown stones, whilst the remaining party snuck up (ahem, "snuck up" as much as plate-armored dwarven infantry can) to the opposite side, and took down the wall with a well-placed and -activated feather token (tree).

Attempting to enact a hasty flank maneuver pretty much just got us surrounded by giants this time, but with all of us scanning character sheets for the random potions we'd been carting around - this being the kind of "death or glory moment" when drinking unidentified potions seems like a good idea - we were all buffed to the gills and fighting mad for our lost brother. Matty's fighter Fjallar lucked out when the random "meaty bloody potion" he'd been carrying around for months turned out to be a growth potion, and we ended up with a 24 foot battlerager on our side - evened things out nicely. Getting all stuck in, we avoided the brunt of the giants' rock-throwing, and ater taking out an even dozen of the males, the tribe broke once and for all - the few survivors took off after the women and children, and we stopped to lick our wounds and wonder what the HELL they'd done with Vindalf.



Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Against the Elves (or, "Hacking in the Aardvarkian Age")

Last Tuesday, I promised posts about Mordheim, Epic-scale 40K, Space Hulk/Crusade, and Battlesystem - so, of course, this week we have a post about HackMaster. That's the kind of dodgy and generally evasive journalism you can expect from Mighty Thews - when the audience zigs, we zag. I'M BLOWING UR MIND, RIGHT? Ok, enough of that. Last night I rolled up an obnoxious, greedy, albino aardvarkian fighter who's obsessed with rocks and inherited his father's barbershop. (This, in case you were wondering, is why you fucking love HackMaster.) If you don't read a lot of semi-obscure comics by crazy people, the aardvarkian is based on the lead character of Dave Sim's Cerebus the Aardvark - a short, furry (not THAT kind of furry) Conan retread with a fondness for the drink and recreational violence (and, according to Sim, the voice of George C. Scott). Somebody wrote it up as a HackMaster PC race and got it into the HackJournal, which makes it Hack official. (There was a big hand-wringing contest on the forums over whether this was the death of HackMaster, opening the gates to half-gelatinous cube monks and shit - which just proves how gamers can manage to take even a parody game waaay too seriously.) In any case, this little guy (all 3'9" of him) just needs equipment and he'll be all ready to run in Matt's Against the Elves campaign - where, if all goes according to plan, we will accomplish complete and total pointy-eared genocide on Matt's campaign world (and then, presumably, carry the fight on to wildspace with HackJammer - always did want to smash the Elven Navy, with the friggin' snooty attitude and butterfly ships and everything). This is all because we have a dude in our group who always plays elves, and he loves elves, and is pretty much your typical "elf guy", and even when we aren't playing fantasy he finds a way to basically play elves, and Matt's decided to put an end to it once and for all. Once we pull this off, no more elves in Matty's games, ever. Granted, killing every elf in the world is kind of a tall order, but this is HackMaster after all - if I can find a copy of the 3e Players Handbook from before they banned the nuclear winter fireball spell, we should be fine. * Super psyched to run an aardvarkian. Looks like the little bugger will be a nasty piece of work, too - took the active sense of smell and stealth talents (which, combined with my aardvarkian burrowing ambush ability, will give me assloads of attacks on surprise rounds) and the dirty fighting talent (which will aid in being a vicious little knee-biter), and my military training rolls came out pretty cherry, so I got a bunch of free skills and proficiencies. We'll see how he holds up in actual combat - I have high hopes. - DYA * This is not actually going to happen - as HackMaster started actual publication with the 4th edition, the 3rd edition PHBs are understably hard to come by, har har - but I think we'll get our hands on the spell anyway, just wait and see. ;) P.S.: FB sure has my number - thoughtfully offered me a sponsored link to Viking Intelliwash Dishwasher this morning, which is clearly relevant to my interests. GOOD JOB, TARGETED MARKETING ROBOTS.