Saturday, December 29, 2012

Thoughts on the New Dark Angels

Like most Dark Angels players I've been waiting quite a while for an update to our late 4th edition codex (or was it an early 5th codex?).  Most of the rumours I've been reading are from Faeit 212 and to be honest I'm looking forward to what's in store for the Emperor's 1st legion.

The new Deathwing box is what has me most excited.  If the new Deathwing terminator box is similar to the Wolf Guard terminator or Grey Knight terminator box it's going to mean a lot of extra bits which I can use to customize my spare Dark Vengeance terminators and maybe even the marines and bikes too.

Seeing as I play mostly Deathwing the rest of the new kits don't matter to me as much but I am looking forward to maybe picking up the new Ravenwing flyer and maybe one of those freaky looking land speeders for completion's sake.  I will probably stay away from the new character models though as I have my own Belial which I have been using for years and I've custom made a Sammael on an attack-quad to represent his jet bike form.

Definately looking forward to the complete rules on the Deathwing and the Deathwing Knights.  From what has been rumoured the Knights are quite a force to be reckoned with.  Hopefully they aren't too expensive in game to make them unfieldable, would be a shame considering the models look pretty darn cool although I would replace the hooded heads with full helmets; probably a Grey Knight helmet as I have a bunch of those from when I made Belial's command squad.

Some people are worried the Deathwing will lose their Fearless but I think the new Inner Circle rule will give them Fearless (as all Inner Circle in previous editions were Fearless) and possibly something else (probably wargear related or a chapter specific rule that affects Inner Circle and non-Inner Circle units).  Really curious to see what kind of Chapter Tactics rule the Dark Angels get and if the normal marines get anything nifty.  Mind you, since the Dark Angels are just like any other marine chapter aside from their 1st and 2nd companies, I don't think I'd mind if the regular tactical, assault and devestator marines don't get anything special.  After all, it's the Deathwing (and the characters who are part of the Deathwing) and Ravenwing that make the Dark Angels unique.

Anyways, looks like my hobby money will be spent once January hits.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Outlaw Shizzle - Episode 1 - How they met Anvil

In my last post about Outlaw Shizzle I remade some of the characters to fit the new playtest package.  However, after consulting with some of the players we went with a slightly different route for some of them.  The following characters are different from what I posted earlier in the Outlaw Shizzle retcon post.

Grudge Jr.
  • Race:  Hill Dwarf
  • Class:  Cleric - Lifegiver
  • Background:  Bounty Hunter
  • Specialty:  Hedge Magician
Angel Ripper the Third
  • Race:  Wood Elf
  • Class:  Monk of the Phoenix
  • Background:  Thug
  • Specialty: Two-weapon fighter
Pretty Boy Ray
  • Race:  Halfling Lightfoot
  • Class:  Rogue - Scout
  • Background:  Artisan - Blacksmith
  • Specialty:  Expert
Similar to what I decided but Grudge is now a full on healer (the players were joking he's like Dog the Bounty Hunter now, trying to make people turn good) and Angel Ripper is a better thug (kind of reminds of the Tattooed Men from the Legend of the Five Rings setting).  We also changed the Masons to be more of an underhand of the government of Babel Gilga so the Masons are now an organized crime group that works for the government.
Unfortunately for the Masons, and by extension Outlaw Shizzle, the Syndicate is trying to gain a foothold in Babel Gilga and threatens the prosperous relationship the Masons have with the city-state's government.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Outlaw Shizzle Retcon time

Just as I started my new D&D next campaign, Wizards of the Coast goes and releases a new playtest package ( which is great and all but changes some of the classes a bit and actually removes some too.  Soooo I'm going to go and retcon some of the characters to fit the new playtest materials.

For reference here's the original cast as rolled with the previous playtest package
  • The Rage - Stout Halfling Cleric Guardian Noble
  • Grudge Jr. - Hill Dwarf Warlock Bounty Hunter Healer
  • Slater Jr. - Human Fighter Thief Acolyte
  • Angel Ripper the Third - Wood Elf Sorcerer Thug Necromancer
  • Pretty Boy Ray - Halfling Lightfoot Rogue Blacksmith Jack of all Trades
  • Anvil - Human Wizard Knight Lurker
Thankfully the races haven't been changed to much so there's not much to do there.  With the new classes, backgrounds and specialties I think I will change the cast to the following

Monday, December 17, 2012

Outlaw Shizzle - The Pilot Episode

This past Sunday saw the reboot of my D&D campaign with my old play group.  To recap, I had my players roll their race, class, background and specialty all randomly and they were given a random wrestler name from one of the many wrestler name apps out there.

Here's what Outlaw Shizzle ended up being.
  • The Rage - Stout Halfling Cleric Guardian Noble
  • Grudge Jr. - Hill Dwarf Warlock Bounty Hunter Healer
  • Slater Jr. - Human Fighter Thief Acolyte
  • Angel Ripper the Third - Wood Elf Sorcerer Thug Necromancer
  • Pretty Boy Ray - Halfling Lightfoot Rogue Blacksmith Jack of all Trades
  • Anvil - Human Wizard Knight Lurker (was originally a High Elf but I had a cooler looking human wizard model so I changed him to a Human)
How the party came together was quite interesting.  I used the strategy of having one player connect their character with the player to their left or right and then go around the table (I think it's from one of the 4th edition Dungeon Master Guides) and this is what we came up with:
  • The Rage is a cleric of war who comes from a prominant noble family in the city the campaign is based out of (name of the city is Babel Gilga).  He knows Grudge Jr. because Grudge happens to be his family's groundskeeper/personal security (sort of like Higgins from Magnum, P.I.).
  • Grudge knows Angel Ripper as one of his underground contacts for finding bounties or getting new contracts.  Grudge may or may not know about Angel Ripper's ties to the Masons (one of the two major organized crime groups in the region) mostly because I forgot to ask the two players to clarify that part of their relationship.
  • Angel Ripper knows Slater Jr. because they are both in the Masons.  Angel's thug-like attitude allowed him to get into the criminal organization and the two are often deployed together.  Slater as muscle while Angel Ripper as the diplomat (whopping 18 charisma)
  • Slater Jr. is a trained thief for the Masons who has also become a devoted follower of the Church of War.  He knows The Rage because they are part of the same religious group and Slater is studying as an acolyte under The Rage and will smite the foes of his church.
The players for Pretty Boy Ray and Anvil weren't around so we just made up a story for them that would fit well.
  • Pretty Boy Ray runs a blacksmith for the Masons which is sometimes used as a safe house, hideout or even to launder money.  Being a rogue it made sense for this character to have ties to the Masons.
  • Anvil is a vigilante in the lawless parts of southern Babel Gilga keeping the peace as best as he can.  The group will meet up with him later as they continue to adventure in Babel Gilga.
Running an organized crime adventure group is kind of out of the norm as most adventurer groups operate on the other side of the law.  However, I envisioned the Masons not so much as evil organized crime but more of a keeping the status quo type of organized crime.  They maintain order in their parts and as long as the regular authorities keep out of their way, the Masons will keep their activities under the radar.  Of course this will change when the Syndicate (the other major crime group in the area) wants to change the balance of power in their favour.

I'll post a little more about the setting in a future post so some of these names, places and organizations make more sense.

Anyways on to their first adventure in which they are introduced to one of the Syndicate's capos.

Friday, December 7, 2012

My MTG Cube

For anyone who has read about MTG cubing or done MTG cubing it's a very fun format.  You get to draft in an environment where your pack will almost always be good (unless you are playing with a reject rare cube or something silly like that).  Unfortunately, I dropped out of MTG for a few years so lost quite a bit of my old stuff that normally goes into a power cube like Sol Ring or the original dual lands and what not (I never did get my hands on the Power 9 though).  Fortunately, there are so many cards in existence now that one can make a powerful cube without all those old staples and that's what I decided to do with my cube.

The majority of the cards in my cube ended up being from Zendikar block onward (so Zendikar block, Scars block, Innistrad block, Return to Ravnica block plus M11-M13) as that is around the time when I picked up MTG again.  For the record I started playing in Revised up to Visions, then stopped.  When Onslaught rolled around I started again cause some of my friends started up again.  I continued until the end of Lorwyn/Shadowmoor block as I started my teacher program at that time and had no time to play and then when Scars came out I jumped back into the MTG pool as I liked the orginal Mirrodin block and revisiting the place was a cool concept.  Anyways, enough about my history of playing MTG.

Building my cube using cards from Zendikar to now does provide some pretty cool interactions despite not having a lot of the older power staples.  Zendikar and Innistrad have a lot of vampires so the vampire tribal theme in black is quite well represented in my cube.  All the artifacts from Scars provides lots of fixing (and ramp) so the multi-colored cards from Innistrad and Ravnica as well as the giant creatures from Zendikar are easy to cast.  There's a bunch of high-quality equipment so creatures are important but at the same time there's plenty of strong removal to keep them in check.  Proliferate works great with all the blocks (level counters, +1/+1 counters, -1/-1 counters, poison counters and charge counters all benefit from that mechanic).  Another bonus is that, for the most part, all the mechanics are pretty easy to understand.  Nothing like Cumulative Upkeep from Ice Age/Coldsnap or Suspend/Vanish from Time Spiral.  All in all I think the 4 blocks provide a great starter cube for me and my group.

I figure I will eventually make the cube into a 4 block + 2 core cube which will probably eventually transition into a Type 2 cube (for those folks who don't remember, Type 2 was the old name for Standard).  As the sets rotate I will probably dump the old cards into a secondary modern cube (which will most likely be a tribal cube of some form or another as I like creatures and I'm a Timmy at heart)

For those curious, my current cube is here.  The yellow cards are cards I haven't physically added to the cube yet but are in my possession.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Tournaments, MTG Cubing & D&D Next

Orctoberfest 2012 came and went and seemed to be a success again.  Had the biggest turnout this year, surprisingly I think Orctoberfest had more people show up than the annual Remembrance Day tournament that has been going on in the area for the last 15 years.  I suppose advertising helps? 

Hopefully the turnout for next year's Orktoberfest will be just as big.  I'm expecting so as next year will be a 40k year for the event and 40k should be more popular with more 6th edition books coming out between now and next October.  More details in the new year.

The only unfortunate thing about this year's Orctoberfest was that I didn't get any pictures.  We were in the middle of packing for a move which never occurred and I totally forgot to pack my camera or ask to borrow my dad's digital SLR.  Oh well, next year for sure I will have pictures.

Kinda bummed I missed out on this year's Remembrance Day Challenge but house hunting was more important.  The owners of Great White did mention they were going to be putting on a Warhammer Fantasy tournament in the spring so maybe I'll try to attend that one.  Just need a fantasy army.

As for other wargaming, not much has occurred.  I picked up the Dark Vengeance box.  Mostly for the rulebook but I did manage to trade the Chaos half for more Dark Angels.  The models in hindsight, while good looking and well detailed, were unnecessary as I have a complete army already.  It's been a few months since I got them and I've only put together two Tactical Squads and one Deathwing squad.  Still have the two Ravenwing squadrons and a Deathwing squad on sprue plus the commander and librarian and special edition chaplain.  Tempted to sell the non-Deathwing stuff I have as I read there are rumors of a Deathwing box being released with the new Dark Angels codex and I hardly ever play with anything other than a full Deathwing army nowadays.

So what have I been doing to keep my gaming self satisfied?  Got around to building an MTG cube with a bunch of MTG cards I had lying around plus some generous donations from my brother-in-law.  I had heard about the format before but never played.  After some reading about cubing, it sounded like fun so I put one together and played with some of my old high school friends.  Turns out they enjoyed the cube and wouldn't mind cubing again.

I wasn't happy with the original cube though so I scoured for some cheap cards to make some of the themes and archetypes stand out a bit more.  Most of my friends haven't played MTG in years so aren't familiar with many of the newer mechanics or synergies so my cube is a pseudo-noob friendly cube.  Mostly basic mechanics and strategies with a few intermediate-advanced strategies and the cards I bought should make those strategies more obvious.  Just gotta wait a few days for the cards to arrive and then I can update my cube!

This brings up an amusing anecdote from the first run through of my cube.  I was mentioning that there was a lot of red burn being passed around in the first pack and after the draft had finished, one of my friends who had never played before beat me quite handily with a pure red burn deck.  He ended up picking every high damage burn spell and just burned me out both games.  Maybe I had too many burn spells but at least that is a noob friendly strategy.  Hoping to see what other strategies show up as we cube over the holiday season.

In addition to the construction of my MTG cube, I had my same high school friends make up D&D characters so we could play test D&D Next.  We ended up doing random race, class, background and specialty and a random wrestler name.  So the group (they decided would be called Outlaw Shizzle to honour the last group we had) is as follows:
  • The Rage - Stout Halfling Cleric Guardian Noble
  • Grudge Jr. - Hill Dwarf Warlock Bounty Hunter Healer
  • Slater Jr. - Human Fighter Thief Acolyte
  • Angel Ripper the Third - Wood Elf Sorcerer Thug Necromancer
  • Pretty Boy Ray - Halfling Lightfoot Rogue Blacksmith Jack of all Trades (we were all disappointed that this guy turned out very archetypal)
  • Anvil - High Elf Wizard Knight Lurker
You'll have to sign up for the play test to find out what all those terms mean but needless to say, the group makeup is quite interesting.  I think I will have them flesh out their backgrounds when we meet up next so we can have some idea of how this bizarre crew got together in the first place.  I think I will run the campaign like a serial action TV series similar to shows like The A-Team, MacGuyver and similar.  Less planning and no need for an overall story arc (though given my style of story telling I will probably put some recurring themes which will eventually fit into an overall story arc)

Looking forward to a nice holiday season of gaming with my friends.