Monday, June 23, 2014

Advanced Hero War Dwarf King's Quest

by Kevain25460 via Wikimedia Commons
HeroQuest was ace, but is out of print. Advanced HeroQuest was ace, but is out of print. Warhammer Quest was ace, but is out of print.

For a while now Mantic has been playing Games Workshop at its own, er, game by releasing the sort of products that GW did before Warhammer took over everything. As well as two wargames, Mantic has also done its own broad analogues of Blood Bowl, Necromunda, and Space Hulk, so it is perhaps no surprise that the company has just announced Dwarf King's Quest:
We always intended to do the typical adventurers’ party version, and Jake has always been very keen on putting his mark on this type of game. However, at the time we just didn’t have the resources, or in some cases the knowhow (such as one-piece miniatures with great detail) to deliver the vision that we had for this type of game. However, with the passing of time all that has changed… :)

Secondly, there are certainly a few great dungeon games out there, but they are all quite different from what we want to make. There are a couple from the light-hearted end of the spectrum – such as Super Dungeon Explore - and others that are intense and deep, such as Descent. But none of those are really in exactly the space we want to occupy.

We want to do a grave and dangerous dungeon miniatures game, set in our fantasy setting, with all the opportunity that gives us to develop the back story and flesh out the world. It will have very strong narrative, based around the main protagonists. This will really bring to life a whole new story arc in the world and highlight some of the big characters for further development. It will also give us a few great sculpts and some heroes for Kings of War armies too.
Mantic has a lot to prove by taking on not only the classics of the genre but also the well-regarded newcomers. I've been impressed by Mantic's output in the past so I'm intrigued, bordering on excited, by this news. Fire of wrath!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Highrock, Prison in the Sky

Here is a pdf of my game notes for the flying prison of Highrock; it's written for 13th Age because that's what I've been playing for the past few weeks but the notes are light on mechanics and should be easy to convert to other game systems. In my game the player-characters went there to break out the notorious pirate Captain Morgan -- oh dear -- so that she could help them find a mysterious island to the east, where it was rumoured that a great treasure was hidden.

Through his connection to the Prince of Shadows Sartheen the Red knew that one of the wizard-judges of the city of Horizon was involved in some dubious activity involving an orphanage run by vampires -- that's player-driven storytelling in action! -- and so the party blackmailed said wizard into giving them the amulet they required to access the floating island and bypass the guards upon it.

They didn't explore much of the complex, in part because 13th Age doesn't reward exploration in the same way that older editions of D&D do, in part because they were focussed on the mission, and in part because they got beaten up by a squad of flying robots on the second level and wanted to get away as soon as they could. The latter was the result of robot sorcerer Ne-0n's attempt to interface with the island's local code -- he perceives reality as strings of data and can manipulate that data to a certain extent -- going a little wrong and alerting the guards instead of providing the location of Morgan's cell. Oops.

They also had some trouble with the Archmage's quarters, blundering into the fireball trap over and over again, but were rewarded with a fair bit of loot once they staggered past, all blackened and blasted like Warner Brothers cartoon characters; most of the players converted their relationship dice results into items at this point and as a result the Archmage's study held a plethora of magical stuff.

Morgan was freed and the party also let prisoner #666 -- the demon Zeddas -- free while binding him to Amras the elf wizard's service. Or so they think, anyway. They decided not to explore the third level, having been warned by the wizard-judge that death awaited them, and jumped on their waiting air taxi -- another relationship die traded in -- for a quick escape. With their navigator secured the player-characters were ready to go after their treasure, but first the Elf Queen had a job for them: to raid a nesting site used by the Three and destroy the unhatched eggs found there.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Blowing One's Trumpet

I'm not comfortable with self-promotion so forgive me -- ho ho -- for taking advantage of the Lamentations of the Flame Princess snow sale to plug my adventure Forgive Us. Since its release back in March the adventure has been bought by far more people than I would ever have expected and has received some positive reviews.

Diehard GameFAN said Forgive Us "is definitely worth the current sticker price attached to it, and it serves as a great introduction to the mood and themes LotFP likes to present to its audience."

John Arendt of Dreams in the Lich House thought the adventure would "make a fine addition to your horror themed D&D game."

Bryce Lynch of tenfootpole didn't like it as much, which is a shame as I thought I'd done the sort of things he liked in D&D adventures. Maybe next time.

Doc Schott called it "a One-Page Dungeon (or rather, a series of them) writ large, by a master of the form." The adventure did start out as an idea for my third One Page Dungeon entry so I'm happy with that.

Zak Smith said "Make More Adventures Like 'Forgive Us' By Kelvin Green" and he's a tough critic so I'm more than pleased with that.

Imaginary Enterprises thought that the adventure was "another gem from the LotFP camp", which puts it among good company, although I wouldn't say it's anywhere as good as Vornheim, Qelong, or Death Frost Doom.

Pookie at Reviews From R'lyeh said that the adventure "presents a mysterious malodorous situation in a quietly entertaining fashion, punctuated by some short sharp shocks that work all the better for the scenario’s very ordinary setting."

Ramanan Sivaranjan said "I really like Kelvin Green’s Forgive Us." That's good enough for me.

Claw Carver said that Forgive Us was "bloody brilliant" and I'm happy with that.

Forgive Us was my first published adventure so more than anything I was hoping that people would like it and that it wasn't rubbish. I'm glad that they probably do and that it probably isn't. If you'd like to get physical copy without paying postage all you have to do is buy a t-shirt before 5pm Finnish time tomorrow.

Now I feel a bit embarrassed so that's enough capitalism from me. Expect something frivolous about robots soon.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


This is not me bragging about my miniature painting skills, for the simple reason that I have none; put a paint brush in my hand and I lose any coordination I may have had, my hands turning into chunks of unresponsive meat.

No, this post is about the exciting world of varnishing. All of these Rogue Trader era Dark Reapers were painted in the same haphazard fashion but were varnished in different ways.

(Click to see all big and stuff.)

As I am a lazy and incompetent painter I thought that dipping seemed like a good idea as it would not only cut out the shading stage but would also varnish the miniature; it does indeed do both of those things although the dip itself -- I used Army Painter Quickshade -- is thick and difficult to control, resulting in some patchy shading, although it does produce a nice shiny finish. Mr Blotchy on the left was shaded and varnished in this way.

The middle miniature was washed with Army Painter Strong Tone ink -- I am told that it is a close match for the popular but discontinued Citadel Devlan Mud wash -- then varnished with Citadel 'Ardcoat. The shading isn't as patchy although the result is more dull overall and you'd probably want to apply a few quick highlights after the ink wash. The 'Ardcoat is easy to apply but varnishing an entire army with it is going to be expensive.

The Reaper on the right was also washed with the Army Painter ink and varnished with Pledge Multi-Surface Wax, which as the name suggests is for household use but seems to work for miniatures too. It's quite thin and not very waxy so I gave the figure two coats to get the same sort of finish, but you do get 750ml for £3.15 -- in Sainsbury's at least; other suppliers may differ -- whereas the 'Ardcoat costs £2.40 for 12ml. You can find out more about the Pledge -- including local variants -- here.

I am far from an expert on miniature painting -- exhibits A, B, and C above, your honour -- so I wouldn't expect anyone to take my word as anywhere near authoritative but it seems to me that a combination of ink washing and the Pledge Multi-Surface Wax is a much better -- albeit slower -- approach than the dipping I was using before.