Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Aeon Flixx and the Lustful Leviathans

*Crunch crunch*

The creature grazed on the fungus that lined the walls of the cave as Aeon peered out of the tunnel mouth. She leaned forward a little to get a better look, but paused as it turned it’s large head towards her.

She stiffened, slowly reaching for her wand, but the beast simply grunted before turning back to it’s feed.

“I was right about the tracks,” she whispered to her apprentice, who squeezed into the tunnel behind her. “It’s a Devourer – very rare in this time period and extinct in mine.”

Brunhilde frowned. “Extinct in y-?”

Her question was cut short as the Devourer shifted it’s bulk and began to burrow through the rock.

“C’mon!” urged the Chronomancer. “You don’t get to study a live Devourer every day – let’s follow it!”

After inadvertently triumphing in the last game, we had time to try out another ‘Breeding Pits’ scenario, and rolled the ‘Mating Season’. In this scenario the warbands track the huge, but normally docile Devourers. However, once these creatures meet during mating season, all hell breaks loose!

The table was set up and treasures placed as normal. I had the standard three tokens to put down, while Giles had managed a Fool’s Gold spell and placed four.

Once again I split my warband in two, with my wizard, the Chronomancer Aeon Flixx leading half of the team. Re-reading the rules after the game, I realised I’d been making a mistake here, as the dungeon exploration rules state that the warband must deploy 6” from one doorway, not two.

My mistake! Regardless, the other half of the warband deployed near the other doorway on my side of the table, led by my apprentice Brunhilde. Both spellcasters were confident following their previous encounter, which had netted them a nice pile of loot back at the inn.

Opposite me, Giles’ illusionist Shazam deployed correctly from one doorway. After the previous game he had been forced to hire a new apprentice – the previous one having suffered a smashed jaw – and as such was somewhat embarrassed for funds.

With worrying familiarity, the first treasure claimed brought forth a wandering creature – in this case an ice spider (once again using a swarm model as a proxy. I do have single models but this was the first one that came to hand!)

Soon another treasure was grabbed, which spawned another creature! This time it was a violent fungus, which quickly wandered into the path of Shazam’s captain and his companion. The soldiers easily slew the toadstool, but were both infected by it’s spores, reducing them down to a single action apiece.

It was the end of the first creature phase, and as the scenario dictated a Devourer lumbered onto the board on each player entry side. They slowly began to burrow towards each other, ignoring the warbands that manoeuvred around them.

Aeon’s band headed for another treasure, but was stymied by the ice spider swarm. One of the infantrymen stepped forward to splat the bugs, only to find himself on the receiving end of a poisonous bite. He too was now reduced to a single action.

With the giant Devourers in their midst, neither side felt the need to complicate matters further by attacking each other as they probed the centre of the board, but that didn’t stop one of my archers from dropping one of the opposition.

More treasure was claimed, which attracted a pair of giant rats. These puny creatures spawned out of sight on my right flank and wandered randomly away from the action. I paid them no heed, for it was unlikely that they would affect the proceedings in any meaningful way.

While one infantryman still battled the spider swarm, another pushed forward, covered by an archer and a Wizard Eye. With both wizards lying low, this was a rare attempt by Aeon to cast aggressively, as most of the time she and Brunhilde contented themselves with casting Fleet Feet on nearby comrades (the effects of which I promptly forgot about).

Hoping to take advantage of the enemy captain’s infected state, a thug and warhound made their way along my left flank to attack him. However he had been quickly healed by Shazam, who had found a wand of healing during the previous game. Back at full capacity, the warrior knocked out my thug.

By now the two Devourers were almost within sight of each other and would soon turn aggressive as they fought for dominance. Not wishing to get caught in the melee, Aeon’s warband began to back away. Brunhilde the apprentice ducked behind a wall on the right flank…right into the path of the two giant rats I had forgotten about… (Note: this picture has been blurred due to it’s graphic content).

The rats pounced! Brunhilde went down! This was my own stupid fault for forgetting about the rats and moving my apprentice within line of sight of them. As a starting level apprentice, Brunhilde was hardly a fighting machine, especially against pack animals that activated together. Oh bugger…

To make matters worse, the Devourers finally reared up against each other, turning from docile giants into huge killing machines. My still-poisoned infantryman, having eventually dispatched the spiders, had been sent forward as a forlorn hope, thus allowing everyone else to get out of the way. Two gobbets of acid spit later and he was a screaming mess on the floor.

Most of the soldiers of both warbands were now hightailing it out of the arena with whatever treasure they could carry, but my warhound was still locked in combat with the captain. Alas, no lucky 20’s this time.

The discovery of a secret passage led to one last chance to get the better of Shazam, as my surviving infantryman stepped through a wall to engage his retreating treasure carriers. He managed to defeat the warhound rearguard, but was not fast enough to catch up with the rest of them.

The game ended up honours even treasure-wise (which perhaps reflected the cautious play of both combatants), but alas Brunhilde did not survive the post-injury roll, thus balancing out the result of the previous game. Luckily I was able to sell enough loot to hire a new apprentice, and replace the wounded infantryman to boot.

Aeon Flixx watched as the Brunhilde’s corpse was hauled onto the cart. So this is what her premonition, or perhaps future memory, was about.

She wiped her tears, telling herself that her apprentice knew the risks when she’d volunteered to join her expedition, but it did little to make her feel better.

Sighing, she carefully placed the last scroll into the sack of loot and handed it to one of the soldiers. “Take this to the Sisterhood as recompense for the loss of their acolyte. Pass my respects to the Mother Synchronous along with my request for another apprentice.”

She watched as the cart slowly disappeared out of sight and was about to return to the inn when one of the scouts suddenly raised the alarm. Squinting through the snow she saw a figure staggering towards the inn. Fishing out her wand, she and her two thugs cautiously advanced, their pace quickening as the stranger collapsed to the ground.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Aeon Flixx and the Serendipitous Sewer

“Ugh that smell!”

‘Sawbones’ the apothecary covered his nose with the sleeve of his robe.

“Oh come now,” Aeon Flixx the Chromomancer chuckled, “at least it’s warmer than up top.”

“That’s as maybe m’lady, but I prefer the cold, clear air of the surface to this stink. Must we lurk in the sewers?”

“You are new to this band sir, so I will make allowances, but it does not do to question the mistress’s orders!” Brunhilde, Aeon’s burly apprentice, growled.

Aeon smiled apologetically. “She’s very keen isn’t she? Now come along everyone, we have treasure to find!”

Time for another game of Frostgrave, continuing the ‘Into the Breeding Pits’ expansion with the ‘Here Comes the Flood’ scenario.

The table was set up as per instructions, with a canal splitting the board into quarters. A grand total of nine treasure tokens were placed on the table (three each, plus an extra one as per scenario and a revealed secret and fool’s gold from Giles’ Illusionist’s pre-game spells).

I split my warband, with Aeon Flixx leading one bunch. This time around she was accompanied with a newly-hired apothecary. Following the debacle last time I wanted a quick healing option if I needed to empower any spells.

Brunhilde led the rest of the band. Hopefully she would prove more adept at spellcasting than last time! Apart from the new apothecary, the rest of the band was the same, namely a pair each of thieves, archers, thugs and infantrymen.

Giles’ Illusionist Shazam(!) led his warband on the opposite side of the table. Having rolled higher he got to choose his side of entry. I was somewhat dismayed to see that he had better routes to the treasure than me.

One piece of loot was duly picked up, triggering the arrival of a Vaphlorine. These demonic monkeys activate twice in one turn and, although placed out of sight as per the dungeon delving rules, quickly pounced on Shazam(!)’s men.

And so we rolled for the first combat of the game and I rolled a 20! Thus the Vaphlorine critted the rival treasure hunter, despite the support he was receiving from the rest of the warband. As he fell, a strange groaning sound could be heard in the distance, as if something was buckling under pressure…

As the opposition headed for more treasure, Aeon was able to loose off an elemental bolt at their warhound, blasting it into yelping bits of fur. This was an early warning for Shazam(!)’s men to seek cover.

However even this might have not been enough, for the Chronomancer has a trick up her sleeve. Having originally cast Time Store the previous turn, she now cast Wizard Eye using her third action. However this was not enough to deter her rivals from picking up more treasure before ducking out of sight.

The Vaphlorine was eventually dispatched by the surviving members of the enemy group, enabling them to grab yet more treasure. So far I had only managed to get hold of a single treasure chest. More sounds filled the fetid air – the tortured creaking of a heavy door being slowly forced open.

Not to worry though. One of Aeon’s thugs crossed a rickety bridge to claim the treasure lying neatly in the middle. Out of sight of the rival wizard’s warband, what could go wrong?

Pop! The treasure vanished! Shazam(!) chuckled as his fool’s gold spell frustrated Aeon’s men yet again. That left one piece of treasure within reach, but that was hidden in a room to my right, forcing my warband to move along the canal to get to the door.

Meanwhile one of Aeon’s archers fired into the gloom, wounding an enemy thief. Would it be enough to slow him down enough to somehow steal the loot he was carrying? (Hint: no it wasn’t). It was nearly the end of turn 3 – soon we would have to roll to see if the distant gates would give way and flood the passages…

In order to dissuade anyone crossing the canal towards another piece of treasure, Aeon’s apprentice cast a Wizard Eye to cover the bridge and peer into the chamber where the treasure lay. (So far I’ve only made one Wizard eye marker so made do with a rubber ball balanced on the wall).

There was that sound again, followed by an almighty crash and a whooshing roar! Suddenly a deluge of filthy water rushed onto the board! But where would it come from? Giles rolled to decide the direction of the flow… His board edge! The wall of water forced Shazam’s warband towards Aeon’s side of the table, bashing them on the stone walls and in most cases forcing them to drop their treasure. Aeon’s team were also pushed back, but by a lesser amount, although the one treasure they had gathered was dropped and lost.

The drenched survivors picked themselves up and took stock, with the opposition finding themselves in the midst of Aeon’s treasure-hungry warriors. Shazam’s apprentice was surrounded by enemies. He dodged an arrow but succumbed to an Elemental Bolt from Brunhilde.

Meanwhile an infantryman recovered his wits in time to slay an enemy thief, while his fellow footpad, having lost his treasure, moved to pick up the chest that had virtually dropped at his feet.

Also washed into the battlefield were two skeletons, which were now lurking somewhere near the enemy Illusionist (who had managed to stay on his feet reasonably well and was cut off from the majority of his soldiers). They posed little threat, but were enough to persuade the wizard to lie low.

Another enemy that had stood his ground was a thief. He quickly made for a chamber and pilfered the treasure therein, attracting the attention of two chittering spider swarms (acting as proxy ice spiders).

Meanwhile one of my infantrymen came round after the flood to find himself in the chamber to my right mentioned above. He picked up the chest, but quickly dropped it again and braced himself as the rival captain, accompanied by a thug, appeared at the only door out of the room.

Aeon’s thugs pounced on the rival apothecary while their comrades raced past (enlivened by Fleet Feet spells from the Chronomancer, who directed proceedings on the other side of the canal) to collect more dropped treasure.

On the opposite side, the brave enemy thief was blasted by an Elemental Bolt courtesy of Brunhilde from her Wizard Eye. The fellow was wounded, and would only be able to leave the chamber either by advancing under the glare of the eye, or facing the ice spiders.

The footpad opted for the latter option and managed to dispatch both spider swarms, thus freeing himself to claim at least one more treasure for his master.

In the other sealed room, Aeon’s infantryman swung his axe against the captain, but being outnumbered was unable to prevail, thus giving up another treasure to the Illusionist.

But the fight was soon swinging in the balance of the Chronomancer’s band, as the apothecary was dispatched by the thugs, despite managing to wound one of them. With Shazam’s surviving men withdrawing, it was now just a case of picking up the pieces.

As our heroes tracked down the remaining chests of sodden treasure, Aeon tried for one last time to claim the one stolen by the enemy captain, hoping to zap him via another Wizard Eye as he exited the chamber. However the opposition got the next initiative, allowing the warrior to escape unharmed. And so, with all treasure claimed or lost, the wet and smelly warbands withdrew.

What started out as quite a frustrating game unexpectedly turned out to go very well for me. My early lack of success in grabbing treasures was offset when the lion’s share of the loot basically dropped in my lap at a single roll of the dice.

I can claim no tactical genius, although I was pleased how the combination of Time Store, Wizard Eye and Elemental Bolt worked. With four (rather lucrative) treasures to Giles’ three (and Giles having to spend all his loot on hiring a new apprentice), I won the game, but more by luck than by judgement!

Aeon Flixx sat in her study, the freezing air blowing in from every opened window in an attempt to clear the pungent sewer smell. Brunhilde, trying not to look too smug, hauled in another pile of loot in her powerful arms.

“A very good day’s treasure hunting mistress!”

“Hmm? Oh yes, very good my dear...” the Chronomancer mumbled.

Something was bothering her… Maybe it was the chilly wind, or the distant cries and howls that it carried. Maybe it was the oddly synchronised ticking of the recently installed Enchanted Clock. Maybe it was simply the lot of the Chronomancer to feel echoes of the future…

She couldn’t put her finger on it, but something wasn’t right. Or, more accurately, something wouldn’t be right. Not right at all…

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Open the Sluice!

At the time of writing the weather is far too nice to be sat indoors painting, but I have managed to knock up some sewer channels for one of the Breeding Pits scenarios.

'Here Comes the Flood' has competing warbands enter some kind of waste processing plant, which is split into four by 3" wide channels sloshing with... well, it's best not to inspect them too closely...

These are simply strips of plasticard with the 'banks' built up slightly with glue and tape to represent the crumbling edges of the channels. I gave them a quick paintjob and then glossed over them a bit. Nothing special but they'll do the trick!

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Competition Winner!

A while back I held a small competition to celebrate the 50th page on my Lead-Adventure Forum Frostgrave thread, with the prize being a CP Models demon, painted by me.

Well I received a staggering, er, six entries!

Um, so at least that made it easier to choose who won.

I listed the entries in order  they were posted (1 being the first, 6 being the last) and rolled a d6.

I rolled a 1....

Which means Phil Curran is the winner!

Phil, please contact me using the form on the right with your address and a rough colour scheme for the figure, and I'll do my best to meet your requirements.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

The Frozen Thieves – A Scenario

Having a few Celtic casualty figures left over, I hit upon the idea of painting some as some frozen statues. This in turn got me thinking up a scenario…

The Frozen Thieves

Back in days of yore, the fearsome Ice Dragon made it’s lair on the outskirts of Felstad and brooded over it’s vast hoard of magical treasures.
Many a foolish thief would try to pilfer the Ice Dragon’s trinkets as the beast lay seemingly asleep, but, as they stole back into the city to hide their loot, a shadow would envelop them as the dragon descended upon it’s prey.
Such unfortunates would be blasted by it’s icy breath, turning the cowering thieves into frozen statues. It is said that while the Ice Dragon is long dead, these statues remain to this day and, more importantly, so does the treasure they so hurriedly discarded.

Set Up

The table represents the last hiding place of a group of thieves as they were set upon, centuries ago, by the Ice Dragon. Set up the table as per a standard game of Frostgrave.
Each player should place one treasure token and two figures representing frozen statues, as per standard treasure placement rules. Deploy warbands as normal.

Special Rules

The frozen statues represent thieves that have been frozen by the Ice Dragon. Although frozen solid, spellcasters may be able to thaw them out enough to learn where they have hidden their hurriedly hidden booty.
To do so, the spellcaster must be in base to base contact with the statue and use an action to successfully cast any spell in his/her repertoire by rolling a casting roll of 10 or higher (i.e. a spell that requires a 10 or more to cast, or a spell with a lower casting value that is empowered to 10 or more).
If the spell is cast, the magical energy will partly awaken the frozen form. Consult the table below.
The frozen statues will only reveal one item of treasure, but may have multiple spells cast on them until they are completely thawed out.

Casting roll
The frozen statue is thawed out enough to scream the location of some of the hidden treasure. Place a treasure token in a random direction, d20” from the statue.
If the treasure has already been revealed, nothing happens.
The frozen statue is completely thawed out. 
In addition to revealing the treasure as above, the figure temporarily joins the spellcaster’s warband.
It has the same stats as a thief, but, due to it’s recently frozen state, can only take one action per turn.
If the spellcaster has room after the game, the thief can join his/her warband and operate as normal in subsequent games.
You manage to completely thaw out the statue, but the thief has been driven insane over the centuries and will make an immediate and furious attack on the spellcaster.
Treat it as a barbarian which, due to it’s recently frozen state, can only take one action per turn.
If it defeats the spellcaster, it will act as a wandering monster for the rest of the game.

Experience and Treasure

Any treasure revealed by the frozen thieves is treated as normal.

Experience is calculated as normal, but with the following additions:-

  • +10 for each thief that is thawed, or partially thawed out a frozen thief by the spellcaster (in addition to the usual experience earned by casting a spell). This only applies once per thief.
  • +10 for each thawed thief that joins the spellcaster’s warband and survives the game.
  • +10 for each thawed thief that is killed by a spellcaster’s warband (in addition to any experienced earned if killed by the wizard).  

Optional rule

You may introduce the Ice Dragon into this scenario. See Spellcaster magazine issue 2 for rules on using dragons.
For each spell that reveals a treasure, make a note of the number rolled (including modifiers, empowerment etc.).
When that treasure is picked up, roll for wandering monsters as usual. However, if a creature is spawned and if either of the rolls on the monster table matches the noted spell casting roll, place the Ice Dragon on a random corner of the board.
Treat the Ice Dragon as an ‘adult dragon’ with the spit poison trait (this represents it’s icy breath, which has weakened during the intervening centuries).
The Ice Dragon activates in the next creature phase.
As per the dragon rules, spellcasters gains +50 experience if their warband slays the dragon.