Friday, 26 December 2008

Steelhead Halberdiers

I've heard a lot of bad things about assembling these miniatures, but honestly I don't see what the problem is. Sure they're all 5-6 pieces each, but the only hard part is pinning the 'halberd hand' to the 'spare arm' piece. Once those two pieces (making up the halberd and both arms) are done, then the rest of the miniature is easy as pie.

Unfortunately my box of Steelheads has one extra left arm and is one right arm short, so it's time to start harassing the EU Frontdesk for some replacement parts...

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Gaming at Jim's House

I went to Jim Lawrence's house to play a couple of rounds of Warmachine today. The first day was a quick 500 point punch up between Magnus the Traitor and Siege. It was an intensely exciting game, with me chasing Siege around the board on his feeble single point of health, which I could just not knock off before he won by scenario.
The second game was a larger 1000 point brawl with two people on each team - Jim and Gordie playing Cryx, Thom and myself playing Khador with Mercenaries. It was also wildly exciting. There was a moment when I needed something stupid to hit the Deathjack (in melee, behind cover, with a strong lateral wind) with Disruptor from Magnus, so I closed my eyes, mumbled a prayer to the Dice Gods and proceeded to make the Deathjack my prison bitch. Unfortunately I also blew out its movement previously so the odds of it eating Mortenebra were low. I did hope I could lure Jim into bringing her in to repair it, but he popped a helldiver on Magnus so I didn't have enough focus to hit it with another Disruptor spell.
Unfortunately Thom lost eVlad in turn two to a ghostly Deathjack appearing on the other side of eVlad's cover. Thom has a weakness in his play style in that he exposes his warcaster. In my first game against him he left Irusk out in the open field so I dropped Obliterators on him. If he can get used to keeping his warcaster in cover for longer, then Thom's game should improve a lot. Don't mistake me thinking I'm better than Thom, I'm not (at least not yet) but his weakness is very easy to see since it's something of a game-ender.
Back to the game however, it was a game of a great many ups and downs. Despite losing eVlad (and thus Drago) we proceeded to stomp in the entire Cryx army (except for the Deathjack, some bonejacks and the respective warcasters). I managed to lure Gordie into leaving his bane knights clumped up together after they'd killed my Steelheads - a bit of tactical genius I'm particularly happy with. Then my Mangler with Frenzy charged in and ate the grouped up bane knights for breakfast.
In the end we lost however, I couldn't quite deal with the helldiver that appeared next to Magnus as well as killing the Leviathan Mortenebra brought back. It was just a little too much of a juggling act and Magnus finally bit the dust.
All in all, despite losing these games - I would have won the first one given more time or if I'd given a renegade one more focus - I feel I've learnt a great deal today. Jim said I was "scarily good" for someone who's played less than 20 games, which is a good sign for future improvement.

Things I've Learnt from this Game:
Stop giving my opponents good advice.
ALWAYS mumble prayers to the Dice Gods. Other people should not hear your prayers, they are for the Dice Gods only. Other people should be wondering what Higher Power you are tapping into for your stupendous rolls.
NEVER say the word "Average" in relation to the number you need to roll on the dice. This displeases the Dice Gods and you will forever wallow in the world of mediocre rolls. Or they will mock you and always make you roll a single point less than what is needed every time.
The Steelheads Holy Trinity - Halberdiers, Heavy Cavalry, and Stannis Brocker - are amazing. I finally have an expendable unit, a force that hits like a truck and a commander who appears to do damn near everything I need. Stannis Brocker was definitely the MVP of the 1000 point game. He even shot a bonejack to death. He's almost Chuck Norris!
Cast Blur on the Steelhead Halberdiers, you'll get another chance to cast Frenzy on the Mangler later... Forgetting to put Blur on the Halberdiers leads to dead Steelheads.
The opponent can be baited. Do not be afraid to sacrifice something to draw your opponent in. Once they're where you want them, destroy them utterly. If you fail to do so, you're more than likely screwed.
Play with a plan. Forming a plan on the fly is all well and good for some people, but having a rough idea of how to deal with specific problems helps greatly.
Watch the opponent. Find out if they are defensive or aggressive in their play style. Exploit weaknesses - defensive players may be out-maneuvered, aggressive players can be baited.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

News from Arcane Miniatures

Well my Steelheads were posted yesterday - much to my surprise, I wasn't expecting any news of delivery for ages. Russ at Arcane Miniatures has also told me that WarCogs will be available for ordering in January. I didn't ask about WarClaws, so I have no idea if he'll get those in.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Gaming Blog: No Game!

Alas Jim had to cancel tonight's game, but of course the reception on my mobile is non-existent in my flat so I didn't find out until I phoned Jim from the club.

I've order my Steelhead Halberdiers from Arcane Miniatures, but I think they may have been on back order - I should really check whether stuff is in stock before I send off my order... If they're on back order I'm in for a long wait. If not, then huzzah Steelheads just after Christmas. Oh well, my own fault if I've ordered the stuff on back order.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Game Blog: Defeated Again

Meh, not doing so well with my Magnus melee list. Lost against Dermot today with his trolls - he used Grim Angus. I thought my Kayazy's defence of 16 in melee would keep them safe against the champions, but noooooo, they got minced. I've come to realise that my list is lacking in supporting infantry. When my main unit is dead, I'm totally screwed. The solution appears to be to get me some Steelheads. Lots of Steelheads. It also didn't help that Dermot made bucketloads of tough rolls for the champions. Bloody things refused to die. I've also discovered Dermot talks really fast.

I think I'll order a full unit of Steelhead Halberdiers, get them done up, then order Stannis and finally the cavalry once everything's painted. The Holy Trinity of Steelheads should serve my needs rather than using some very fancy units and hoping they don't die.

Friday, 12 December 2008

December Painting Challenge

Things to Paint:
Mangler Heavy Warjack - done!
Renegade Light Warjack B - done!
Talon Light Warjack - done!

Lady Aiyana - done!
Master Holt

Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios
Gorman di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist
Master Gunner Dougal MacNaile - done!
Orin Midwinter, Rogue Inquisitor

As you can see I'm churning through my list of models to paint this month, I may even get started on an actual unit! I've just finished my second renegade, though pictures will have to wait until the varnish is dry. I am Pleased with how this one came out, though I tried some new blending techniques that weren't so hot. I'm going to stick with my two brush technique from now on.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Upcoming Games

Saturday: Dermot (PhoenixBlaze) - Trollbloods
I met Dermot at the mixed 500 point tournament and he seemed like a nice enough chap. Though he is a rabid fanboi of elves... He was playing Grim Angus at the tournament, but I've heard talk he's picked up Borka the Kegslayer recently. I wish I'd picked up some Steelheads for this, Stannis Brocker would let me charge through rough terrain with his Furious Charge order. Alas, I'm not making any money at the moment so the Steelheads will have to wait. Devilsquid would be disappointed in me.

Anyway, back to Dermot. He's arranged to play Johanna and myself on Saturday, to my and Johanna's surprise, but hopefully the first game will go quickly so the second person will be fine for time/food/whatever. Of course there may be other bodies there to play games with, we'll just see how it all works out.

My List:
Magnus the Traitor
Mangler Heavy Warjack
Renegade Light Warjack
Renegade Light Warjack
Gorman di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist
Kayazy Assassins (9)
Kayazy Assassins Underboss
Lady Aiyana and Master Holt

Tuesday: Jim Lawrence (Blighted) - Probably Cryx
Yet again I'm playing Jim and my aim shall be to stomp him utterly. Of course I'm going to lose through some random quirk of my unit placement that he uses to assassinate Magnus. My plan is to ram Orin Midwinter down the middle of his army and spam Null Magic once I've blown up his machine wraith with lightning. Yes, Jim uses the machine wraith. He loves that bloody thing.

My List:
Magnus the Traitor
Mangler Heavy Warjack
Renegade Light Warjack
Renegade Light Warjack
Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios
Gorman di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist
Orin Midwinter, Rogue Inquisitor
Kayazy Assassins (8)
Kayazy Assassins Underboss

New Look

After about two hours of fiddling about I've finally managed to create a viewable gallery on this blog. Go me! I totally stole it from Ghettokore Studios. I also changed my blog's layout just to spice things up (oh how sad my life is).

As I get more things painted the image gallery at the top there should start filling up nicely with pictars of my mercenaries. If you feel the burning need to see my work in progress stuff, then you'll just have to click the link provided in my sidebar.

Painting Blog: Lady Aiyana

Wow, this was a total pain. The bottom half of Aiyana was great to paint, as was the cloak, though I feel I should go back and do some freehand once I have a design I like. Everything from her breasts up was a nightmare, it's just too crowded with crap that gets in the way of everything else. I've seen Chris Walton's concept sketches for Aiyana and one of the poses there would have been AMAZING to paint, but no, they used the crap pose.

I'm not happy with how Lady Aiyana turned out, she's nowhere near Magnus the Traitor or Dougal MacNaile in terms of painting quality. I just don't have it in me to dunk her in the paint stripper and start again. Perhaps when I've finished my mercenaries I'll go back and do all the things I've missed or want to restart...

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Painting Blog: Master Gunner Dougal MacNaile

A vital component in a shooting Magnus list, unfortunately Dougal appears to have an overload of random bits of crap on his chest. I have no idea what half the things are meant to be. Despite that, painting Dougal allowed me to experiment with bone and white colours, and I'm reasonably sure I can repeat the technique if I'm ever called to paint a Protectorate of Menoth model in the traditional colours. Some areas of colour are a little flat, so I may go back and correct those once I've done the remaining mercenaries.

Painting Blog: Talon Light Warjack

While I almost never use the talon, I thought I better paint it up since it's been sitting half done in a box since the dawn of time. It also means I've now finished the Magnus the Traitor battle box and if need be I could use it for battle box games to show beginners how to play. Not that I'd let any beginners touch Magnus at all, but still...

Painting Blog: Mangler Heavy Warjack

The mangler is now easily my favourite heavy warjack. I thought the mariner was great and all, but for smashing things in the face the mangler wins hands down. I really liked converting this miniature, though finding the fine chain was a bit of a problem. There's also some extra highlighting I think I could go back and do, but I'll finish the rest of my mercenaries first.

Clash of the Titans

Well, the tournament came and went. It was a very small affair. I managed to pull off my Affliction and renegade combo off once per game, and the highlight of my evening was killing Beast-09 and Drago in the same turn. I should have killed pVlad too but I rolled a double one to hit a knocked down Vlad with Affliction and didn't have enough focus left over on Fiona to recast it. That would have won me the game, but alas, it was not meant to be.

There were only six people at this tournament, compared to the 20 we had at the last one - I think the unusual format and amount of points seem to put people off. That and Christmas. Personally I prefer normal 500 points games, but I'm still a beginner, I haven't had a chance to test the waters of the 750 point game.

My first game was against Johanna, and it devolved into Magnus the Warlord and Magnus the Traitor using all their focus to drop each other down to about 3 health each in melee. Johanna managed to get Morghoul into the mix, but I'd activated Fiona's feat (opponent rolls 1 less dice on attack and damage rolls) so the Traitor survived. Next turn I totally had a brain fart with the Traitor - I was planning on killing the Warlord and then punching Morghoul - but instead tried to move to allow one of my light warjacks in so that it could kill Morghoul once I'd punched him. So that moved me out of melee range of the Warlord, who miraculously failed to kill the Traitor. I then hit Morghoul first try with the fist and that was the end of him. Next came the comedy of errors of me not realising Fiona has a reach weapon and when I did she couldn't hit the Warlord at all until the very last roll, where I had no focus to boost my attacks. I even said "Double six please." just before rolling for the damage. And lo, the Dice Gods did visit me and I was among the Blessed with a Double Six. Much rejoicing was to be had. I even remembered to thank my dice.

Game two was again Frazer, who pays Khador. He brought pVlad and pButcher, both character jacks, a pair of destroyers and a kodiak. In all fairness I should have won by scenario on turn two, Vlad was knocked down, a renegade was in charge range, all I needed to do was land Affliction on him. But alas, the Dice Gods giveth and the Dice Gods taketh away. So I got gubbed right after killing Drago and Beast-09. I also forgot to use Fiona's feat, and Frazer declined to let me activate it since I'd just said it was his turn. No sportsmanship award for j00!

Game three was against Andrew Paul. I simply lost by scenario because he had the first turn. The scenario we played puts whoever goes second at a massive disadvantage - it didn't help that Alan has modified the scenario to start points scoring on the second turn instead of the first - that meant Andrew scored two points of the needed 3 to win on his second turn (seeing as I have no advance deploy warjacks) and I had enemy warjacks in the zones I needed to score points from - so I gained nothing on my second turn. In all fairness we continued playing after Andrew had won and I got thoroughly ganked. Both Magnus and Fiona were on fire at one point before the Avatar of Menoth stepped in.

Johanna won the painting competition but gave half her prize to me (Anastasia DiBray and a GF9 smoke template - I got the template) which was very nice of her. While I do feel my Magnus is exceedingly well painted (cough cough, massage the ego) I'm not that bothered about prizes and stuff. If the judges feel that my colour scheme is weak, then it's weak, making a fuss about it does no one any good.

Overall I didn't really like the tournament. Unusual lists and small attendance made it disappointing. I did enjoy myself, but nowhere as much as I do a regular 500 point game. Johanna also ate my bourbons.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Gaming Blog: Jim Ganked Me

So... played Jim Lawrence at last. It only took a month for him to become available for a game. I brought my new mercenary list with a heavy melee influence - rather than the shooting one I was previously using. Jim brought Mortenebra, no Deathjack however. That didn't stop me dying to a caster kill on Turn 2 in the first game.

I think I could have won the second game we played (since the first one only lasted 30 mins, 15 of which was setting up the board) if I had parked my renegade in front of Jim's slayer so it couldn't trample all my kayazy assassins. I'd planned to do this but didn't leave a big enough gap between assassins for it to get through - I was fiddling with their placement before deciding that I'd let go of the miniatures and I'd have to live with my mistake. So they got trampled and it all went down hill from there. I'm sure Jim would have let me sort out their placement to my heart's content but I'm trying to learn to play quickly and to minimise my initial mistakes.

For those of you who don't know Jim, he wins just about every tournament known to man in Glasgow using his Khador, I think he's missing 2 gold cards from the ENTIRE Khador list. It's my long term goal to be able to beat Jim on a semi-regular basis with my mercenaries. It's somewhat unlikely that I'm going to succeed soon, he's been doing this for six years, I've played 8 games so far.

There's a special Rage and Rivets (Mangled Metal/Tooth and Claw mixed) 750 point tournament tomorrow at the QMU. We're allowed two warcasters/warlocks, I've chosen to bring Magnus the Traitor and Fiona the Black. Fiona's not the best warcaster to bring since she's very anti-infantry, but mix her spell Affliction with the shredder weapon on my renegades and there's going to be some very, very dead warjacks/warbeasts. Unfortunately I could only get hold of one spare renegade from a friend, so only 3 renegades of doom for me.

Lessons Learnt:
Advance as far into the table as possible as soon as possible. Use Magnus' feat if you have to.
Null Magic from Orin Midwinter is incredibly useful vs Mortenebra. Must remember to get him as far into the opponent's 'casting zone' as I can. Almost managed to pin down Mortenebra using Null Magic and the mangler.
Mortenebra can have a helljack in your deployment zone by turn 2. Leave no gaps in the defensive line where it can charge your warcaster.
Kill the bloody skarlock early. The less focus Mortenebra has the better.

Painting Blog: A Productive Day

While I don't have any nice pictures to post up of my latest progress, I've been chugging along with my mercenaries quite steadily in the last few days. I've finally finished up the talon from the battle box and Master Gunner Dougal MacNaile. Dougal appears to have a lot of crap around his chest area, most of which I can't identify. Are they fuses? Reloads for his quad-iron? Who knows? Dougal knows, but he's not telling. Master Holt appears to be suffering the same sort of cluttering effect.

I also can't stop taking Magnus and his battle box warjacks out of my travel box/bag and posing them together, they just look so damn cool now that everything's painted up.

Painting Blog: Renegade Light Warjack A

Just about everyone who's played against Magnus knows that he brings with him the maximum number of renegades he can squeeze into the army list, and my army is no exception. I actually did this renegade during the summer right after Madrak, so it hasn't benefited from all the neat new tricks I've learnt. Also the satin varnish I applied to it went cloudy (a sign it was too cold by the way) and ruins much of the paint job. Luckily I discovered that adding another layer of satin varnish and then leaving the miniature under a hot lamp removes 90% of the cloudiness, but it's still there in certain places, which irks me slightly.

A New Career

Now that I'm back in the swing of painting, I'm going to start taking painting commissions in the Glasgow area for Warmachine - though I haven't figured out if I'll do Hordes miniatures yet or not since I find most of them a nightmare to paint. Perhaps it's because I want to get the stuff I play painted as fast as possible and still looking good, but I find Hordes miniatures have too much exposed muscle-work. That means I take a bajillion times as long on a Hordes miniature as I do on a Warmachine one.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Painting Blog: Magnus the Traitor

So... some of you know I've been playing Warmachine lately and that I've been collecting a Mercenary army - specifically Magnus the Traitor and his buddies. Originally I was going to collect and play the Trollbloods, but after taking days and days and days of attempting to paint my impalers and then stripping them, repainting them, I gave up on the Trollbloods. They just take too long to paint the way I like. Luckily I found a Magnus the Traitor battle box in a packing crate during the Summer and tada, I'm a mercenary player now.

I had originally finished Magnus ages ago, but there were a few things I wanted to try out on other models and get my painting skills back up to scratch before I tried anything really advanced on him. I've gone back and done a little bit more highlighting on his cloak, gave him a 5 o'clock shadow on his face, touched up his gun (oooo ahhh) and put some battle damage on his sword. I've also gone back and removed the speckling on Foecleaver. Overall I'm quite pleased with how he came out, he's light years ahead of my Madrak.

So far I've done Magnus and one renegade warjack. My mangler and talon from the battle box were both half done and I've finally gotten off my arse to do them. Also, my mangler's wrecking ball chain broke so I had to go find some fine chain and repose the miniature. I've just finished doing the base coats for everything on the mangler, all it needs is some highlighting along the coloured armour plates and hey presto, it's done.

Without further ado however, here's Magnus.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Black Sails: the Hoi Polloi, Part I

A quick preview of one of the more important NPCs of my Black Sails adventure.

Matthias Aldred
Male Thurian
Barrister – Dorne & Fergurn Barristers and Imports
Appearance: An aging and pale Thurian who has long since lost most of his hair and that which remains is pure white. He dresses smartly and is often seen with a pair of half-moon spectacles perched on his face.

A secret Thamarite and expert middleman, Matthias Aldred is not a man to be underestimated in his twilight years. He serves the Shroud Thamarite sept – of which he is a lay member – and is often employed as a go-between for the sept and its unwitting agents. It is in his capacity as a barrister and his reputation on handling hired groups that Professor Sunbright contacted Aldred to gather the PCs and begin the search for the lost dirgenmast.

Aldred spends most of his time in the offices of Dorne & Fergurn Barristers and Imports on Bull’s Island where he is well protected by the minions of High Captain Riordan. Not only are the premises protected by Riordan’s finest but Aldred is always accompanied by Logrul the Dogface, a heavily scarred ogrun bodyguard who has sworn his oath of service to the barrister. Aldred’s brand of practical paranoia means he never leaves the offices without his bodyguard, though he will often send Logrul out on specific errands – such as finding a certain person – while he is safely ensconced in his office.

The barrister has been ordered by his superiors in the Shroud to keep an eye on the results of Sunbright’s work in case anything that would interest the sept arises.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

NQ 16!

I just obtained a copy of No Quarter 16! Huzzah! Having perused the articles now it looks like the Amethyst Rose gun mages will be the dexterity specialists while the Arcane Tempest will be the charisma specialists. I'll start making some notes this week on possible paragon path powers and see what some of the other 4e experts around here think.

What do these different foci mean to each paragon path? Well the Amethyst Rose gun mages are going to get powers that let them move around, give themselves bonuses or cause debilitating effects - they focused on impressive gun play rather than sheer magical power. Amethyst Rose gun mages will be more about giving themselves bonuses than doing bad things to their targets.

The Arcane Tempest however are much more blatant, they're going to get more magical effects and more things that directly hurt their opponents. Expect many things like pushes, slides, knockdowns and the like. Tempest gun mages will be about power.

The last paragon path has yet to get a name that I like - though most people just call it Self-Tutored or Self-Taught, I'm trying to find something fancier and cooler sounding. This last path will focus on self-protection, with defensive bonuses and shifting being the key abilities of note.

Holy Crap, the Internet!

Behold the happy dance! I once again have real access to the internet on a real computer instead of using my iPhone or my sister's iBook to try to do any work. I've moved back out of my sister's house at last and now flatshare with a bunch of other guys (one of whom cannot stop talking about COD 4 and 5, really, that's all he talks about).

4e news... alas, there is none. The guys at the Gobbernomicon have been busy bees in my absence and there's a lot more work there. I'd recommend a visit there if you have any 4e related queries or requests.

I've started to rewrite Black Sails so that the first adventure provides a stronger starting point for the PCs. Now that I've been to my first Warmachine/Hordes tournament (I did get Best of Mercs with my Magnus list - HUZZAH!) I've now met a monkeyload of people interested in playing some IKRPG. It also provides me with an abundance of people who own the right miniatures for every encounter.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

The Internets! It is gone!

Well, still at my sisters despite flat hunting in the Glasgow area again for the last couple of weeks. Unfortunately bloody students keep beating me to it. Bastards! My sister seems incapable of figuring out how networks work and so I can't hook up my computer to the internet; this makes doing all my internet research and writing somewhat tedious.

Anyway, I'll be playtesting the first adventure of Black Sails at GUGS (Glasgow University's gaming club) in a couple of weeks. Luckily Sebastian wants to play a gun mage so at last I can get some shiny feedback of DOOOM. DOOOM I tells you!

Monday, 29 September 2008

Still Living

Much to my chagrin I've moved into my sister's house in Glasgow since my attempts to move back to Aberdeen have been thwarted by the student season and the lack of decent flats - don't get me wrong, Aberdeen is a dump, but all my really old friends are there. The good news is that I've discovered the local Press Ganger and I now know where to go get HordeMachine games and possibly a new RPG group. If the gaming group is made of awesomesauce I may just move back out of my sister's place and stay in Glasgow, we'll wait and see.

There are several benefits to living at my sister's: I don't have to pay rent, I only have to pay a small share of utilities and food bills. The downsides are: Anna eats all my chocolate digestive biscuits, the house is FREEZING, I can't say 'no, I'm busy' for babysitting. Hopefully I'll be back out of here before or just after Christmas.

Once I've unpacked enough of my stuff I can upload the much delayed gun mage utility powers, bringing a close to the heroic tier. My efforts to find a NQ16 have also failed, but I'm sure someone in the wargaming group will have one, I shall ask when I make an appearance this weekend.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Things You Find Under the Bed

I'll be going up to Aberdeen this week to go see some flats and my friends; hopefully someone will have a copy of No Quarter 16 I can peruse and start work on the paragon paths for the gun mage. I've been very lazy and not done any gun mage work for a while, but trying to sort out where I'll live next month does take precedence over my recreation.

I found my very old flash drive under my bed today and lo, it has a very early incarnation of my Black Sails adventure path. It's missing the notes for the last adventure but the first three should be easy to piece together again and then I can make a very shiny 4e IK adventure for other people to play.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Flat Hunting

Who'd have thought finding a place to rent in Aberdeen would be such a pain in the arse? I've been spending the last week or so living on flat-sharing websites such as Gumtree and had a big whopping zero replies to anything I've sent off. I think replying to these adverts by e-mail or text message is a total failure, I'll just have to stock up on lots of phone credit and phone the people instead.

Friday, 5 September 2008


I've just downloaded this new Chrome browser from Google and am attempting to give it a whirl. So far it seems very... open, it seems to give a much larger viewing window than Mozilla. There's a few things I need to tweak so that I can see all my bookmarks and the like, but I'm sure I'll get that covered shortly.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

New Adventure

I've just bought and read through Legends, which I'm slightly disappointed in, possibly because I read through almost all the spoilers on the forums so wasn't surprised by anything. I'm fairly disappointed with the Voyle/Stryker conflict, it reeks of crude plothole. It would have been much more interesting to keep Stryker a total bastard instead of going through the entire redemption cycle, which on the whole is terribly predictable. Legends does have a lot of very interesting miniatures however, I'm planning to get hold of the Withershadow Combine and the Black 13th Gun Mages to use in my 4e game if I ever get enough miniatures painted.

Aside from all that Warmachine goodness I've been toying with the idea of writing an adventure for 4e IK. Losing all my Black Sails work with my old hard drive's death was gutting, I poured a lot of time and effort into those adventures. I think the next adventure I write will be set in Corvis. Black Sails was set almost entirely in Five Fingers, with a trip to the Bay of Stone and then a finale just off the Ordic coast against a satyxis sea witch aboard her blackship; that's been my Five Fingers fix.

I've been digging up the Witchfire Trilogy lately, so Corvis holds a great deal of interest for me. The Thornwood is also a handy place for setting adventures, since it has many layers of past eras in it - the mysterious kingdom of Morrdh, the Orgoth, a mix of Khadoran and Cygnaran outposts. I just need a good world shaking plot and a way to tie the various elements together. I'm sure I'll come up with something once I finish gathering all my notes.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

The Gun Mage

I'm currently drafting up the next set of utility spells for the gun mage, hopefully covering the weaker points of the class. These are the lack of defensive powers to keep the gun mage alive and spells to improve their mobility. While people are big fans of Caine's blink-like powers, I'm leaving any teleports until the end of the paragon tier. Caine's power is supposed to be unique to him, to give it to everyone makes it rather mundane.
What I see happening in the paragon tier is the gun mage learning to be more mobile, so there will be a lot more shifting attached to the powers. One of the first utility powers in the paragon tier also allows the gun mage to create a phantom pistol for a round, which in turn allows them to get off that vital shot if they've been disarmed somehow. There will also be several powers that do not require a gun of course.
Paragon paths... Now here's a problem for me, I don't have a copy of NQ 16, where the gun mage prestige classes were presented. If someone can send me a copy of the relevant articles (or even just the descriptive fluff) so I can see how Privateer Press portray the Arcane Tempest and Amethyst Rose I would be greatly appreciative.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Gun Mage Updates

Just adding names and flavor text to the level 9 daily powers as I type this, they should be up later tonight once I finish these delicious noodles. Noodles are easily mankind's greatest invention after fire (for without fire, how would you cook your noodles?).

Monday, 18 August 2008

I'm in Ur Gobbernomicon Editing Ur Posts

Having finally figured out how to authenticate myself with the Gobbernomicon, I'm going to transfer all my 4e work there as well, just to be doubly sure it doesn't get lost. There's a few formatting issues but I'm sure I can figure those out with Burrowowl's help.

Of Kilts and Tartan

Went north to Aberdeen to get fitted for a kilt since a friend's wedding is coming up and I'm the back-up best man, in case the real best man falls of a cliff or something (it's being arranged as we speak). Strangely Daniel (henceforth referred to as Dannykins) has decided we're going top hats and tails now instead of kilts so it was a bit of a wasted trip - though I did get to see a bunch of my friends. Apparently they all play Warmachine and Hordes now (HUZZAH!).

Black Watch Tartan

I was looking forward to getting a kilt again having worn one at my Sixth Year Prom (that's the last year of secondary school in Scotland). The bloody sporran does tend to bang into the family jewels when you're ceilidh dancing unfortunately. You're supposed to move it along the cord/chain so it rests on your hip, but it never stays there.
Since we're going top hats and tails I have requested a purple velvet suit with suitable amounts of bling and possibly a cane. Dannykins has denied my request but I'm sure if I keep asking I will eventually wear down his willpower and he'll give in! MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
He also wants me to run a one off role-play game, so I thought I'd either run the Longest Night from the Witchfire Trilogy or the first part of Black Sails, the adventure path I was writing before my hard drive died horribly.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Painting Trollbloods and Mercenaries

Amazingly enough I appear to have found the solution to my problems with painting Trollbloods - other than to stop painting them. Since Madrak was the first miniature I've painted in over 4 years I have been highlighting up from the darker base color. I tried this with my normal trollkin and trolls only to find their flesh was a total pain to do and turned out too dark and looked very plastic. Instead I've started to shade down from the color I want the highlights to be, using the base color and washes to achieve the effect I'm looking for while retaining the brightness I wanted. It's not perfect but it's a damn slight better than before - and really fast too.

There are several other things I've done, I've ditched all the brushes I bought from Games Workshop in favor of a cheap packet of brushes that were on sale for the same price as a single GW brush and my new brushes (of the TK-C brand) are incredibly superior in just about every way. I also picked up a few paint palettes and the trollblood set of P3 paints, of which I've used Underbelly Blue (mistaking it for Trollblood Highlight at the time, but it worked out nicely) and Trollblood Blue. Mixing these P3 colors with some Asurmen Blue wash from Games Workshop to thin them down and make the shading washes darker and hey presto! fast, easy troll flesh.

I've started to wonder about GW paints, since they're all I've really used before it was natural to go out and buy heaps and heaps of them along with all the GW modeling tools (we can't get the Privateer ones in Glasgow) - but since I discovered the art store and the P3 paints I think I would have been much better off investing my money there. Almost all the tools I've bought from GW I could have got from the art store for much cheaper, the exceptions appear to be the jeweller's saw and the files. So my advice to anyone thinking of stocking up on all the modeling and painting equipment: BUY IT FROM THE ART STORE FIRST. Use the gaming store to get what you can't get in the art store. Oh and GW paint brushes suck goats.

Another thing, painting warjacks is so stupidly easy, I could paint these things all day. My Magnus battle group is already 50% done, will need to start on Magnus himself shortly but he can't be that much harder. All I need is more renegades...

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Privateer Press Announcement

Doug Seacat has made an announcement on the IK RPG forums about 4e and the IK RPG line:
There has been considerable speculation and expectations about the RPG line so I wanted to clarify the situation before GenCon. As our fans know the RPG line has won a number of awards over the last several years and has earned a dedicated following. We have great appreciation and fondness for the readers who have stuck by us despite the occasional long wait between these books. It has been gratifying to have the support of people who have eagerly devoured every scrap of setting information and RPG rules we could produce.

As you are aware, we put future book publications for the RPG line on-hold after we determined that 4th Edition was a reality. With the future status of 3.5 edition uncertain and not knowing the shape of 4th Edition we decided it would be a mistake to invest further time and resources on upcoming products. After evaluating our options we have decided not to adopt 4th Edition for the Iron Kingdoms. We will not be converting our material for the Full-Metal Fantasy line to that system. We will continue to provide periodic RPG articles in No Quarter Magazine for the foreseeable future. This will be the best place to find information pertinent to your Iron Kingdoms campaigns in the months ahead.

As we have additional news or information related to the RPG line or pertinent to our existing books, including those which are currently out of print, we will let you know either here or in No Quarter Magazine. We are definitely aware of the difficulties being faced by those seeking the out of print books in particular.

However, with the announced GSL revision I still have a tiny candle-flame of hope that the Iron Kingdoms will eventually go 4e. I'll keep plugging away at the gun mage and other projects, though Warmachine and Hordes are of growing interest to me - I discovered an old Magnus the Traitor battle box buried an old packing box, so I'm giving mercenaries a go while my trolls soak in paint stripper. Perhaps some day my sketchy arcane mechanik ideas will see the light of day!

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

The Savior Has Arrived

Tada! A working hard drive again, though I wasn't able to salvage anything from my old one unfortunately. At least I still have all these paper notes I took for the gun mage and some work on an arcane mechanik write-up that I'll never actually do. I'm mostly unhappy about losing Black Sails, the campaign path for IK 4e I was writing.

Speaking of 4e, it appears that my prayers have been answered: the GSL is being revised. We may even get to see a shiny new GSL at GenCon... maybe... Discussion of this momentous event and its relation to the Iron Kingdoms can be found in this forum thread.

With this extra free time I don't actually have I have discovered I absolutely hate painting trolls. I don't know why, I like painting Madrak, but painting normal trolls and trollkin just gives me a headache. Perhaps I'll just paint everything as albinos instead. I think I'm having such trouble because I can't seem to get the blue of their skin quite right or to a color I'm happy with. I think I might use the alternate color scheme for trolls from NQ15, where the trolls are more of a tan color. Time to get me some paint stripper.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

My Hard Drive is Boned

Yep, my hard drive bit the biscuit today, returning both errors 7 and 4. Unfortunately I'm miles past the end of the warranty so I have to go buy a new drive instead of getting a free replacement from Dell. If you're wondering how I'm typing the post, I'm using my iPhone and a screen about four inches wide. Guess updates will have to wait until the new hard drive arrives.

Axe to Face, Part 2

Finally got hold of my mother's snazzy digital camera and managed to take five pictures of my Madrak Ironhide conversion before the battery ran out of juice. Four of those pictures I couldn't use because the camera flash actually reflects off his white skin so all you can see is a massive fuzzy blur where his head is.

Free Image Hosting at

As you can see the base has been completed and I've removed my horrible job with the tartan. Overall I'm quite happy with my Madrak and look forward to playing him tomorrow in my first Warmachine/Hordes game at Static Games in Glasgow. If anyone who reads this blog is going (hah, people read this blog? Who am I kidding?) look for the half-chinese stick figure mercilessly stomping things, that will be me.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Finish Him!

Many people who play in my D&D games could do so without the fear of having their characters horribly slaughtered by overwhelming odds. The fools! I have now discovered the coup de grace (pronounced: coo deh grah) and the brutalizing has begun. Logrul Beknar, the group's ogrun fighter, was pounced upon by some tharn ravagers and quickly downed early in the fight (shocking everyone, Logrul's refused to die or keel over on many occasions so far and he's a monster with that halberd). Everyone in the party seemed to think they could leave him for a round or two before going to administer aid. The fools!

What do the tharn do? They cut his heart out and ate it. Now that's a coup de grace. I did want to stomp on Logrul's head with a war beast of some sort, but the encounter didn't have any.

Luckily this was the last session for a while, so Sebs, the player who plays Logrul, has plenty of time to pick his next character and figure out how to fit him into the party. Even so, I look forward to more coup de grace.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Wallpaper and Me

Surprisingly I find myself back at my own flat at last after spending the weekend helping Anna (my sister) strip wallpaper off every wall in her new house while trying to keep my 1 year old nephew away from the clearly toxic spray we were using. Trying times were had by all.

Back to the gun mage schedule, now that I'm back at my flat I can actually post my updates at last... but the forums appear to be down. Destiny appears to dislike my gun mage updates. I'll check back in about one hour. Oh hey, they're up again already, update incoming!

Madrak is now fully painted, I ditched the tartan - it looked horrible - and reverted to just having a shaded green cloth instead. The guide to painting tartan in No Quarter isn't all it's made up to be, I'm sure if I could paint like the Brush Thralls, then it would look awesome, but I can't, so it just looks fugly and very amateurish. Now I shall move onto the axer and impalers from the battle box, though starting work on the pyre troll I bought today is tempting... but alas I don't have any yellow paint.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Axe to the Face

Here's some very bad pictures of my Madrak Ironhide conversion.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at

The big red circle is to show the back of the conversion - behold! There be no obvious markings of the headswap. The conversion was done with a kriel warrior head, green stuff, a color shaper (these things are amazing! Wish I'd found them years and years ago) and some superglue.

I'm not happy with my paint job - not that you can actually see a lot of it from those pictures, but I went a bit wash happy instead of doing it properly and shading/highlighting things; I did highlight the green properly, but it's a very dark green and the horrible job I did on the brown stripes covers it up. I'll have to go over the brown stripes in the tartan again to give them the proper shading and then break up the pattern a little with some very light brown squares where the lines cross.

Since my mother is visiting from Canada next week to help my sister with her moving, I should be able to get hold of a digital camera to take some decent pictures. Good news for me, free food! Good free food!

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Behind Schedule

Yes, I'm behind schedule with doing the gun mage updates but I've had a very busy week helping my sister move and organize all her stuff to her new (really big) house on the other side of Glasgow. At least they'll have room to use the Wii I bought them, at the moment there's a high risk of controller to the face when playing games like tennis.

For the gun mage I'll try to get the next two levels of powers up by Friday, fingers crossed.

For those still waiting with baited breath for news of whether the IK will shift to 4e or not, there is a thread of dubious authenticity claiming that the Privateers have said they will not be going 4e. There's no way to verify the claims made by Danbala, they could be another 4e hater (and there are quite a few of those) or some nice honest person. We'll just have to wait and see.

My Trollblood battle box has been a lot of work, though I'm particularly proud of my Madrak conversion - a simple head swap replacing the evil clown face with that of a Kriel warrior (the bald one) and a neck made out of green stuff. Now if only I could still paint like I did 4 years ago before I went back to university... I'll try to get a picture of him up on here, but the pictures from my spangly new iPhone (BOW DOWN BEFORE ME MORTALS!) are a little blurry at the closeness I need the pictures to be. Soon, heaven forbid, I might actually learn how to play Hordes/Warmachine! Shocking, I know.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

More Gun Magery Goodness

There we go, up to level 5 is now done. I've got quite a busy week so I'm not sure when I'll get the next update done.

Thursday, 17 July 2008


As promised, the next level of gun mages powers have been added to the 4e Gun Mage post. Next update probably won't be until Tuesday, I've got a busy weekend. Critique and suggestions always welcome.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Added Responsibility

Damn you all! Now that people actually visit my blog there's added pressure to actually do some work instead of moaning about stuff like the quasi old person I am.

I'm still waiting on Volin's reply to my suggested changes to the Demolish power for Bodgers - basically you can activate a Demolish encounter power for free when you whack a construct or mechanikal creature with the Demolish at-will exploit. Since I've been updating a single post with all my suggested changes on his forum topic I'm not sure Volin actually knows I've been suggesting more and more changes. A couple of issues have come up, namely an Alchemy skill he has listed. This does make a certain degree of sense, but I've been merging Alchemy into Arcana in my games with no loss.

Work on the gun mage continues slowly, but now that people read this blog and check it for updates I'll try to do updates to the class more often. After sitting down for a bit and studying the math of all the current rules we've come up with, I changed most of the gun mage spells to have the Weapon keyword instead of the Implement keyword. This boosts gun mages' hit rolls by +3 for most powers, though there are still a few with the Implement keyword still, those can be used without a firearm. My plan is to include one or two spells per level that can be used offensively but don't need a firearm so a gun mage with no firearms isn't totally at a loss.

I'll try to have the heroic tier spells done by the end of next week, but I'll add each level as I do them every couple of days. My main problem is coming up with the descriptive text of each power, which for a gun mage is summarized with "you shoot a bullet, stuff happens."

Given some format issues I have with the forums I was thinking of converting my neat, well organized Word documents into pdf files once each project is finished. I'll try to get hold of Adobe and make it all shine, or send my Word files to someone else to do it for me. We'll just have to see when it's all done.

Friday, 11 July 2008


The mechanikal items of the Iron Kingdoms are complex and novel devices, it is rare for any two to be exactly the same. They employ a complex melding of magic and technology that takes an intelligent eye to see and understand.
While there are magical items in the Iron Kingdoms creating them is particularly taxing to the creator, far greater than in other settings.
To counteract this, many produce mechanikal items, similar to magical items but powered through more mundane means, such as alchemy or arcane accumulators that serve as batteries. While not as reliable as magical items, mechanika is much safer and easier to produce.

You have gained knowledge about mechanikal devices, their uses, construction and the maintenance of mechanika. This knowledge extends to information about mechanikal constructs and creatures.
If you have selected this skill as a trained skill your knowledge represents academic or practical study, either formally or as a hobby. Also those trained in the skill have a chance to know something about Cyrisstech.

Make a Mechanika check to recall a useful bit of mechanika-related knowledge or recognize a mechanika-related clue. See “Knowledge Checks,” page 180 in the PHB.
You must be trained in Mechanika to remember information about Cyrisstech, which requires master knowledge (DC 25) at least.

Make a Mechanika check to identify a creature that has the mechanikal origin or has significant mechanical modifications or parts. See “Monster Knowledge Checks,” page 180 in the PHB.

The key component of almost all mechanika is the arcane accumulator, a mechanikal device used to store arcane energy and acts as a power source for the device it is installed in. However accumulators are not always predictable.
When using a mechanikal item’s at-will power (e.g. frost weapon) or critical hit power (e.g. flaming burst weapon) you must roll an accumulator roll or the arcane accumulator runs out of power and renders the item inert and powerless until you install a new arcane accumulator. When an item is powerless it loses all powers and enhancement bonuses and is treated as a non-magical item of the appropriate type.
Accumulator rolls are based on the size of the arcane accumulator used. Certain items and powers give enhancements or penalties to these rolls.

Accumulator SizeAccumulator Roll (1d6)

Mechanikal devices are bulky pieces of equipment and take up more space than a normal magical item of the same type. This is reflected in the type of accumulator used for the device. Small accumulators use no additional equipment spaces on a character, medium accumulators take up a single additional slot, large accumulators take up two additional slots. It is up to the creator of the mechanika to decide the locations used for these additional slots at the time of the device‘s creation.

Accumulator SizeAdditional Slots

Garrett has made and is using a mechanikal lightning greatsword +1 with a medium accumulator. He’s chosen his extra accumulator slot to take up the wrists slot for magical items, this represents all the extra bulk, cables, and conduits the greatsword needs.
When Garrett hits an opponent and uses the at-will power of the lightning weapon, turning all his damage into lightning damage, he rolls an accumulator roll, needing a 2+ or the greatsword runs out of power and becomes a mundane, non-magical greatsword.
Let’s say Garrett’s failed his accumulator roll, he can replace the accumulator in the greatsword as a standard action, provided he has a fully charged spare available. This restores power and turns his greatsword back into a mechanikal lightning greatsword +1.

Mechanikal items are cheaper and easier to create in the Iron Kingdoms than their magic item counterparts. To do this the mechanik must know the Create Mechanikal Item ritual detailed below.

Due to the similarities between magical formula and the schematics and diagrams used in mechanika, rituals using Arcana as the key skill may substitute Mechanika as the key skill instead. When substituting the Arcana skill in this way, the components must be spare parts rather than alchemical reagents.


  • Spare Parts (Mechanika): Mechanika rituals rely on a great number of parts, many of which have to be crafted to exacting specifications or require exotic materials such as rare metals or gases. Typically these can be bought from specialist stores or even crafted by the mechanik themselves from the raw materials.
Following your careful schematics and diagrams you create a device that makes use of both magic and technology.

Level: 4
Category: Creation
Time: 1 Hour
Duration: Permanent
Component Cost: Special
Market Price: 175 gp
Key Skill: Mechanika (no check)

You touch a normal item and turn it into a mechanical item of your level or lower. At the beginning of this ritual you must decide which size accumulator the item will use and which addition slots, if any, the item will occupy. The ritual’s component cost is equal to 75% the price of the equivalent magic item.
You can also use this ritual to resize mechanikal armor (for example, shrink an ogrun’s mechanikal armor to fit a gobber). There is no component cost for this use.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Roles and Power Sources

I was browsing some old forum threads instead of doing work (as usual) and it occurred to me that the various IK classes that need write-ups (arcane mechanik, bodger, and gun mage) also need to be given defined roles and power sources. I know that sounds really stupid and obvious, but most people seems to think a bodger is a martial striker, there's already two of those in the Player's Handbook, there'd be some serious overlap if the bodger turned out to be a striker. It'd be far more interesting to see the bodger with more controller powers, using flasks of oil, rolls of barbed wire or even windup mechanikal devices that explode to influence the battlefield. I'd keep the anti-construct/mechanikal creature stuff, since that's what bodgers do, but a greater emphasis on controller would be nice.

As I've said before about artificers being arcane leaders, I see arcane mechaniks using the same role. The problems arise when we try to sit down and figure out mechanika rules. I'm not a great fan of adding fiddly bits to existing game mechanics, but mechanika needs its own flavor. I've just tagged accumulator rolls (taken from the recharge mechanic that monsters in the Monster Manual use) and applied them to all the mechanikal items my players get hold of. Unlike recharge rolls, when you fail the roll you have to replace your arcane accumulator - the mechanikal version of a battery - by taking a standard action before your shiny item will work again. As arcane mechaniks were the recharge bunnies of 3.5e in the Iron Kingdoms I can see them being able to influence accumulator rolls, either by providing bonuses or by allowing rerolls. While I would love to do a write-up on this class, the fine details of the mechanika rules have to be hammered out first.

Seeing as there's no warlocks in the Iron Kingdoms (or my version of the IK, your version may well have warlocks) the role of the gun mage is obvious, they take over as the arcane striker. Problem solved. Now if only I could come up with another hundred ways to say 'you shoot a magic bullet, it does stuff.' for all the skills I'm writing up.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

System Specs

The debate continues on the IK forums over the future of the IK RPG, is Privateer Press going to switch to 4E D&D, perhaps Savage Worlds, or maybe even their own homegrown system? Privateer Press have adopted a 'we'll tell you when we know' stance, which is fair enough, it's their product after all. Personally I think they'll use 4th edition Dungeons and Dragons given the massive amount of support that can be generated quickly simply through Wizards of the Coast churning out source books of various types. That and I've never had a look at the Savage Worlds system, which I'm told is now Open License like 3.5e D&D. I might do that on a rainy day.

Having renewed my interest in all things Iron Kingdoms I've decided to start collecting a Hordes army, namely the Trollbloods. Unfortunately I've spent this month's paycheck already on a Wii for my sister's birthday so actually buying my Trollbloods is going to be a while. I've been hunting the various boards for a suitable way to convert Madrak since I don't like his pose or the 'Evil Clown face' he has. To that end I found this thread. While I don't like the use of Borka's head I've decided I'll use one of the heads from the Kriel Warriors. I'm also liking the art of eMadrak in No Quarter 19 by Andrea Uderzo. It's awesome.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Samurai Jack

How cool is this? It was posted in the Fan Art forums earlier today by SFNoseratu. We demand more!

Monday, 7 July 2008

Good Luck Mr Smith

Our thoughts go out to Dan 'YoungWolf7' Smith of Brush Thralls fame today as he's having surgery on his cancer and I hope he comes out better soon.

I had heard about YoungWolf7's cancer on the Privateer Press forums but was taken by surprise when I saw Tim Buckley (Ctrl-Alt-Delete) post news about this on his web comic's site. Good work Tim for helping to raise awareness on YoungWolf7's situation!

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Writing Adventures

Now I like to think of myself as a passingly good DM these days. What gets me is having to draw maps, lots of maps, before I can really write my adventures. Also, I have a really good idea what's going to happen at the start of a campaign and where it's going to end, but somewhere in the middle the creative juices starts to fizzle out on me.

This has suddenly started to change as I turn my attention towards Nicolas Logue for inspiration. Nicolas Logue is perhaps the best pulp action adventure designer I've seen. He's written two of the best articles in the new Dragon magazine as well numerous adventures - namely Chimes at Midnight, Quoth the Raven and Hell's Heart, all easily the best written Eberron adventures I've ever played in or ran. While he primarily writes Eberron stuff, at least from what I've seen, he comes up with amazing scenarios for the player characters to be in.

Using his type of adventure layout for inspiration I've come up with much better scenarios for my IK game. Suddenly the use of terrain is important, I stop thinking about what works and think about what's cool instead and see if there's some way I can fit that in. I recently had my PCs investigating a depleted coal mine infested with Cryxians, instead of just having them come across the slayer I had it smash through a wall behind them in a shower of coal dust and rocks and glowing necrotite. I've had a gun mage using a rope line pirate-style (one foot in a loop, one hand holding the rope to keep stable, and going up at a fast rate - you usually see it in pirate films where someone whizzes up to the crow's nest) while the PCs race up the stairs to keep up with him to the top of a clock tower. Of course he kept shooting them on the way up, then the clock tower exploded, it was awesome.

So now I've started to do adventures with a few new rules: ignore the recommended number of encounters, if you're short a few or a few too many, it doesn't matter; make every encounter something to remember; put the PCs in new and interesting situations constantly; and make sure it's cool.

Full Class vs Paragon Path

This came up almost as soon as I posted my fell caller paragon path on the IK forums. Why did I make a paragon path instead of a full class for the fell caller? The fell caller was a full class in 3.5e, shouldn't it get a full write up like it did before? Well... no. The fell caller feels like a martial leader, and we already have the warlord. Also fell calls traditionally granted bonuses your allies and penalties to your enemies, and strangely enough most of the warlord powers do this too. It'd be far easier to use an inspiring presence warlord than to write up a complete new fell caller class, and in my games I do use inspiring presence warlords as fell callers - or the one I have in the adventure anyway. The warlord does lack a little of the spirit of the fell caller though, which is why I wrote up a paragon path for it. My favorite ability is victory howl, to me that feels very much like the fell caller, a nice balance between axe to face and the group gaining bonuses.

The gun mage on the other hand requires a full write up as it replaces the warlock as the arcane striker in the Iron Kingdoms. Previous iterations of the gun mage had three separate 'pacts': self-taught, Arcane Tempest, and Amethyst Rose; these reflected how your gun mage had been trained. Three separate paths however is a bit of a headache, instead I've come to focus on two different ideas for the gun mage powers: powers that you need a bullet for, powers you don't. Bullet powers use Dexterity primarily, with Intelligence modifiers applied to bonuses, and of course requires you use a loaded gun. Non-Bullet powers use Charisma with Intelligence modifiers doing extra things. I've come to think of bullet powers as raw damage and non-bullet ones as having that extra little bit of utility. Coming up with balanced skills however is a lot harder than it looks.

Arcane mechaniks and bodgers... I wasn't sure that bodgers needed a separate class write-up, but Volin's done a good job of it, once it's refined it should be an awesome anti-construct/mechanika striker. I recently came up with the idea that when you hit a target with the construct or mechanika keywords with the demolish at-will power you can use various encounter powers as triggered free actions. While this would be horribly overpowered in normal play, I feel it's suitably cool since it only works on two types of enemy. While I think the idea is awesome, Volin hasn't replied to my suggestions in his forum thread just yet, so we'll see what he thinks.

As for the arcane mechanik, I really like the idea of these as arcane leaders and doing strange things to the party's equipment that has the mechanika keyword/feature. I'll post my thoughts on how mechanika works in 4e at a later date, there's plenty of ideas I blatantly stole from other IK forum posters. Until someone does a large write-up though, I would use the artificer posted in Dragon 365 for the arcane mechanik.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Balancing Issues

I've started planning out a bunch of paragon paths for the IK and they've turned out to be surprisingly hard to balance out. I'm planning to make the fell caller and sworn protector, a paragon path for ogrun who have sworn service to a korune. If Volin and I can finish up polishing his bodger class then a junker paragon path might be an idea to do, but the base class still needs a lot of work. Could be a while though, the bodger needs a lot of work. While Volin has good ideas he's got a lot of layout and game mechanic issues.

While we're on the subject of classes WotC have published their playtest version of the artificer in Dragon. Much to my surprise artificers turned out to be arcane leaders, I was expecting some kind of controller/striker hybrid, but leader works out much better. Given that artificers and arcane mechaniks were *very* similar I was thinking of drafting up the arcane mechanik as an arcane leader too, though I still have a lot of work to do with the gun mage. We'll just have to see what I've got time to do.

Iron Kingdom Elves

Work continues on all the conversions from 3.5e D&D to 4e on all things Iron Kingdoms. A strange sticking point has cropped up in the form of the elves of the Iron Kingdoms, people really believe they both need their own set of rules for reasons I cannot fathom. If I were more open about my geekiness I would have let out a big cheer when I found out Keith Baker ditched all this subraces garbage in Eberron and I feel the Iron Kingdoms should have been the same way.

The Nyss and Iosans are both elves, they're just culturally different. There's no real reason behind them having lots of different special rules when you can just as easily represent either race with just your skill and feat selection. Nyss elf? Take Weapon Proficiency (Bastard Sword) - or Nyss Claymore if we end up making it have it own stats - and train in Nature, Perception and Stealth. Nyss sorcerer instead? Ok, swap out Stealth for Arcana then. You can do an extraordinary amount of things with just your basic feat and skill selections in 4th Edition, it places a greater amount of effort on the player to act out their character and lessens the need to represent every detail with some form of statistic.

Test Blog

Time to test out the blogger for all my Privateer Press stuff. After a couple of hours I think I've now got a layout I can be happy with. I'd prefer the text boxes to the right to be on the left personally, but I can live without it. Now to write about the Iron Kingdoms again.