Sunday, January 30, 2011

Gamma World

No pictures from last week's game. I forgot to bring my camera to the session. Too bad too, because I showcased more of my miniature "proxies" in this session. More on that, further down.

I think the game went really well again. I'm enjoying it. My players seem to enjoy it as well. They seem quite well invested in the wackiness.

There are times, though, when my brain kind of takes a step back from the game, while I'm running it, and points out how dull it seems... or how dull I'm making it... going around the table, each person taking their turns... the monsters taking their turn... ho hum. Then the moment passes. Or sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it lingers on for awhile, which causes part of my brain to start thinking "Why am I doing this? I'm clearly horrible at this."

I'm left wondering if this happens to "Neuro-Typical" DMs (if there is such a thing. ha ha). In this case, "Neuro-Typical" being those without ADHD. It's a simple matter of the dopamine response, really, but I am curious.

When I plan out the adventures, I have a lot of fun with the creative process. I laugh at the little puns or in-jokes that I insert into the encounters. I have one coming up in the next session that I've called "There's Yur Problem!", which the players will understand once they're into the encounter. heh.

It's just when I'm actually running it that this problem comes out. I wonder if I'm being boring. If everyone is just sitting there, just waiting for their turn so that they can get it over with and the whole ordeal will just be over and done with that much quicker.

I highly doubt that they actually ARE thinking that, by the way. At least in the Gamma World game, they're laughing and having fun, so I have to take something positive from that. Right?

Anyway, the session went pretty well. I still forgot a few things, but that was from the fact that I grabbed the encounter locales from the rulebook, and didn't read up on them sufficiently beforehand. Had I written everything myself, the details would have stuck in my mind better (hopefully).

Still, it was fun.

Now, to relate this to the purpose for the blog, I had snagged some Warhammer 40k Tau Drone miniatures off eBay.
I paid $8.50 for the lot (17 of them) plus $5 for priority shipping, when sets of 4 typically retail for $10. As you can see, they are mostly pre-painted, and they have these tiny little magnets on the bottoms of the drones, and the tops of the flight bases, so that you can transport them easier and then just pop them onto their bases when you need them. Very cool! These only had three bases with magnets, but I bought some more of the "rare earth" magnets off the internet, so I can now complete the other ones. I'll probably end up selling most of them, as I don't need that many. heh.

My players thought they were pretty cool. It's also remarkable how much these match the look of the various Gamma World robots that are stat'd up. Sentrybots and Laserbots, especially.

A while ago, I'd bought some "Rocket Raccoon" Heroclix figures on the cheap (about 25 cents each), and I'd won an eBay auction of mixed miniatures, which included these Heroscape "Airborne Elite" soldier figures. Some quick head, tail and helmet transplants, and I came up with these Dabbers (raccoon men):

They were similarly impressed with these. Craig, our usual DM, said "Well, I can't DM you guys anymore!" He better not carry through with that threat. I like DMing, but I don't want to take over his game. :)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Progress of another kind.

Speaking of progress, I ran a Gamma World game session today.

It went really well. Oh, there were a couple of things I'd have liked better... like the encounters lasting a bit longer, especially the second one, but they were damned fun, and I really liked the way they ran and the way they turned out. :)

The first encounter was the group - a radiation/felinoid named "Rad-Cat", an android/cockroach named "Unit D5", and an android/yeti named "George" - exiting a mountain trail and discovering an apparently abandoned property. A barn was the first thing they saw, looking run-down but still intact. Walking around to the front, they spotted the house, which appeared to be in the same condition as the barn.

Investigating the barn, they found the door chained shut and secured with a padlock. After a mix of success and failure in opening the door, Unit D5 picked the lock and they were in! Pushing the doors open, they discovered a completely intact Ford F-100 pickup truck, avocado green. Moving further in, they found what appeared to be the remains of a moonshine still, with only the glass and metal components still intact. Under the cabinet the still was on top of, they found three jugs of moonshine, still extremely potent after all this time.

Just then, a mass of black tar flowed out from under the truck and attacked!

(Yes, indeed, that is a Tar Horror miniature that I made myself out of black clay the night before the game. :) )

Rad-Cat stepped up to the plate, slipping Rad-Cat's skateboard off Rad-Cat's arm and zipping over to the Tar Horror, slamming it with Rad-Cat's sledgehammer! The impact of Rad-Cat's blow damaged the thing, but also set off the thing's "Noisome Breach", exploding acidic tar back onto Rad-Cat, wounding Rad-Cat, slowing Rad-Cat, and burning Rad-Cat with ongoing 10 acid damage (save ends both)! Dee went next, hopping into the truck, trying to start it up (and failing), and then shooting the Tar Horror. He damaged it, and it spewed tar onto the truck in response, but it missed Dee. George grabbed two of the jugs of moonshine and hopped into the back of the truck.

The Tar Horror attacked, slamming Rad-Cat, burning Rad-Cat with more acid and immobilizingRad-Cat (save ends). Rad-Cat went again, activating Rad-Cat's Artificial Blood omega tech, which allowed Rad-Cat to replace any save with a 10, until the end of the encounter. This allowed Rad-Cat to shed the immobilization and ongoing damage at the end of Rad-Cat's round.

Dee got the truck started about this time, the exhaust giving off a terrific backfire as the engine turned over. Dee and George shot at the Tar Horror, and then Dee tried to run the thing over as they exited the barn, but it flowed out of the way, and tried (and failed) to slam them in response.

Just then, the back door of the house burst open and a hulking brute shambled out. Sickly grey skin stretched over its massively obese form, and it gave off a horrid stench of death. It let out a groan and moved forward to slam Rad-Cat, but Rad-Cat dodged out of the way, and shifted backwards, in front of the truck, where Rad-Cat grabbed hold of the front, and held on while Dee drove them off the property and to safety... but not before Dee hocked an acid/bile loogy at the zombie, missed, hit the corner of the house behind the zombie, burned through the support beam of that corner, causing the entire house to collapse as they drove off.

Proceeding further up the mountain, driving along the winding Chatsworth Highway, with Dee driving, George in the back, and Rad-Cat being pulled along on Rad-Cat's skateboard, their noisy truck drowning everything out...

they did not hear what was coming until the last moment...

as a gang of bikers crested the next rise and came into view! It was the Porker bikers, Kewl, And, and The Gang! George won initiative, and dropped a Gravity Well behind the gang. The well pulled Kewl off his bike, giving him a nasty case of road-rash! One of The Gang was pulled off of And's ATV, meeting his death under And's wheels, and the well continued to influence the area, doubling the cost of movement into any square within 5 squares of it.

Rad-Cat held off for now, falling back behind the truck for cover.

Kewl, recovering from his face-plant, quickly jumped to his feet, ran against the pulling force of the gravity well, until he caught up with his bike, which was still rolling forward at half-speed. Reaching it, he jumped back on and kept driving! He's so Kewl!! ;)

Dee wove the truck between the wrecked cars on the road, targeting Kewl with his next attack. He bloodied Kewl, which knocked the Porker gang boss off his bike, and caused his bike to be destroyed... and after such a great recovery too! Oh the indignity!!

And drove his ATV around the wrecks and came up on the driver side of the truck, hacking at Dee with his axe, but his attack bounced harmlessly off the door! George used his Disruptor Pike and launched an attack on the bikers, killing one of The Gang and damaging his motorcycle, which crashed. Rad-Cat worked Rad-Cat's way around to the other side of the truck, pulled Rad-Cat's pogo-stick off Rad-Cat's back, and jammed it in the spokes of the front left wheel of And's ATV!

Two of The Gang zipped up along the passenger side of the truck and swung their chains at George, trying to pull him off the truck, but whereas they were able to hit him, they were unable to unseat him from the truck. Kewl pulled a scattergun off his back, and waited...

Dee gunned it, ran over the back left wheel of And's ATV, then pulled a 180 degree hairpin turn, swiping the back of the truck at Kewl to hit him.

When they got close, Kewl got his readied action and let off a blast from his scattergun! Fortunately for George and Dee, the truck was adequate cover and protected them from the shot!

Dee completed his swerve nearly plowing into Kewl, but he managed to dive out of the way, ending up prone on the ground!

Dee followed up by blasting The Gang member "Lenny", who was driving the go-cart in the back, killing him! Poor Lenny! He just wanted to belong to something!

And jumped off the back of his ATV as it ran over Rad-Cat and then skidded to a stop, both left wheels ruined. Rad-Cat used the opportunity to use Adaptive Resistance, overcharging it successfully and becoming immune to physical damage for the rest of the encounter!! Ending up prone next to And, And swept out and attacked Rad-Cat with his axe, but the axe blow just bounced harmlessly off Rad-Cat.

George took his heavy crossbow off his back and fired a shot at Kewl, putting the heavy bolt right through Kewl's eye and pinning his head to the ground! It took a crit to kill the porker... he was just that Kewl! George then hopped out of the truck and made his way towards the last of The Gang.

Rad-Cat stood up, pulled his Leaky Fusion Rifle off his back, and blasted poor prone And, doing more than twice the number of hit points And had left...

completely disintegrating him!

The last member of The Gang, seeing the rest of his gang torn to shreds in a matter of about 18 seconds, guns his engine and takes off, exiting the map.

That entire fight with the gang took only 3 rounds. Wow. The group had some very high-powered Alpha and Omega cards, so it's no surprise, but wow, did they tear that gang apart! :)

Continuing on up the mountain, they found where they were supposed to be... the "Ft" in "Ft Mountain"...

and discovered a secret set of stairs down under the shale fort, leading into a very out-of-place technological underground base. They will explore the base next session, but this session was lots of fun. :)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Making Progress

Back on December 1st, I posted about the set of stairs that I'd made from the Hirst Arts molds.

As a refresher, here it was when I put it together:

And as of my painting efforts today, here's how it looks now:

I'm trying techniques for dry-brushing highlights onto the surfaces, but I'm not sure it's really working so far. It's progress, though.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Creative Substitution Update

As promised, here are some better pictures of my paint job on the Castle Ravenloft Gravestorm miniature:

Creative Substitution

I like to think I'm a fairly creative guy most of the time... but I'm not above admitting that I need help with it. For that help, I typically turn to Critical Hits, NewbieDM, SlyFlourish, and Sarah Darkmagic. The tips I read about on their sites have really helped me, both in following their instructions, and in coming up with my own ideas. They've really helped to get my creative juices flowing at times.

When Gamma World was released, I was very interested in running the game. The tokens that came with the game are fine, but I'm really a much bigger fan of miniatures.

While reading the WotC Gamma World forum, I started posting in the "Miniature Proxies" thread, and in searching through various miniature websites (,, Auggies Games, and eBay) looking for miniatures that could stand in for Gamma World monsters. I came up with quite a few good ones, and I'm still looking for more.

Most of my ideas have come from D&D, Star Wars, Mage Knight, Monsterpocalypse, Horrorclix, Heroclix, Heroscape, and Warhammer 40k. I've also started looking into AT-43 recently, and there are some miniatures in that line that I really like.

LEGO is another resource that I've started to tap. While at Walt Disney World before Christmas, I bought a small bin of various lego pieces, and I bought a set from their Atlantis line that has a giant crab in it. Monster Crab Clash. It looks mechanical enough that it would fit in well with some ideas I've had for the game.

Just the other day, I was in Target and saw that they were clearing out a bunch of toys. Included in the sale was another of the Atlantis sets, Wreck Raider. Now, this set, as built by the instructions, isn't very useful to me (well, not until Legion of Gold comes out... if they stuck with the basic concept of the original adventure, that is), but hey... you know what? Lego can be made into pretty much anything you can think of!! Did you know that?! ;-)

After taking the Wreck Raider apart again, I futzed around with the pieces for awhile, pulling in other pieces from that bin I bought, and from a small Star Destroyer set, and I came up with a very cool flying Hunter-Killer robot.

Oh, and since I just finished painting it tonight, I figured I'd show this off as well. I recently bought a Castle Ravenloft miniature from Auggies Games, of Gravestorm, the Dracolich. Using some paint that my wife had in her art supplies, and some basic techniques for painting undead miniatures (learned from Games Workshop), I turned this...

into this:

Hmph. A lot of the detail is lost in that picture. I'll take another one tomorrow and post it... if our power is still on... this winter storm that has hit the Southeast could cause some problems with the power grid, what with all the freezing rain in the forecast.

Well, here's hoping. *crosses fingers*

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Keeping my game afloat. Part 3 - Update

While staring at my blog, trying to figure out what I was going to post about next, I noticed that I was staring at my blog posts about the ships.

It occurred to me while doing so that I still hadn't gotten around to altering and printing the tiles for the Fo'c'sle, Crow's Nest, and Quarterdeck of the 3D Caravel I'm putting together.

So, as promised in the post before last, I altered the Fo'c'sle and Quarterdeck, to remove the yardarms (since they looked like they were actually sitting on the decks... not good), and I made the crow's next bigger, so that you could actually put miniatures on it.

In addition, I removed the yardarm from the Crow's Nest, since I figured I would do the yardarms separate, attached to the dowels I'll be using for the masts.

Also, I widened the stairs, since I figured I might actually make them into stairs you can place a miniature on, and I expanded the Fo'c'sle forward, since the front of the Fo'c'sle didn't match up to the front of the deck below it, and it looked better... plus adding the prow on the front of the Fo'c'sle seemed like a good idea too.

Next is to cut the dowels, make some yardarms and sails, and then put it all together.

A few days ago, while watching my Twitter timeline, I saw someone telling Mike Shea (of the Sly Flourish blog) about his Flickr pictures. I checked them out and saw this picture. It's pretty much exactly what I have in mind, except just different specific ship tiles. My only problem was figuring out how to keep the tiles attached to the dowels, yet allow players to have their miniatures on different ship levels and still have easy access. This guy's friend seems to have come up with a pretty cool idea. I just need to figure out exactly what he used. heh.

Update for the update... I just glued the Fo'c'sle to some chipboard, only to discover that it is too small. I'm not sure how that happened, but I'll have to re-edit them now. I still like how they ended up looking, though. I'm confident that the final product will be really cool.