Saturday, May 29, 2010

25. A Brief Interlude - Dinosaurs and Wizards!

We'll return to our semi-regularly-scheduled cannibalistic pygmies in a moment.  First, I'd like to report on some great games at a great convention.

The weekend of May 21-23, 2010 saw the inaugural days of Texicon in Ft. Worth, Texas.  This was a full-fledged game convention, featuring miniatures, RPGs and board gaming.  It's good for the Dallas/Ft. Worth area to finally have its own con again; it's been far too many years otherwise.

For a first event, I thought things went pretty well.  True, it was a small set of rooms, with a limited number of attendees allowed due to the hotel regulations, but it was constantly and consistently as full as possible all day long the entire time I was there.

So first, congratulations to Texicon!

Second, I had a blast attending.  I played a CR3/Swordplay game that was a hoot, with most excellent terrain, run by Ron H.  (I hesitate to use anyone's last name without permission; this is, after all, the big bad world wide Internet.  However, if any of you want to contact me and say it's o.k., I'll happily give you the credit you deserve!)  We had to get inside the wizard's tower, go down to his dungeon to retrieve dungeon-y type stuff.

Here's some pics of it:
Above:  The approaches to the Wizard's tower.  The portals at the corners provided access for our two parties.

Above:  The dungeon below the tower.  Each room was painted with magnetic paint, so doors would stick to them.

Above:  My group of fearless adventurers.  A Dwarf, an Elf, a Cleric, and a Paladin.
AboveWe're besieged by Merry Men look-a-likes.  That's the other party in the game rounding the Kraken's pool in the background.  Sure looks like Robin Hood to me.  Are we sure these aren't his men after all?
Above:   So we finally make it to the stairs...
Above:   ...and after beating off the Kraken, the bandits and a whole lot of wolves, we get inside.  The game went a lot faster after I realized you don't have to kill everything:  you can run away!
Above:   The rooms/corridors were revealed as we went:  open a door, and Ron placed the "terrain."
Above:   We actually weren't competing with the other party of adventurers, but we got to play the bad guys whenever they attacked, and vice versa.  Here it looked pretty bad for old Robin, until I rolled very poorly on the dice roll for the not-Skaven.
Above:   With our backs to the wall, Legolas ended up Out of the Fight after this.  Unfortunately we had to end before actually completing the game.  To be continued?

Next day I played a terrific Pathfinder RPG game, DMed by Peter Y.  Let's not get started on the relative merits or lack thereof regarding D&D4.  I will simply say I won't play D&D4 anymore.  Pathfinder, though, is the cat's meow!

RPGs are much harder to take good photos of:
Above:  Believe it or not, that knight with the red shield, I painted over 20 years ago for my friend, who was also playing in the game.

After that it was off to an Old West skirmish game using "The Rules With No Name" ... er, rules, GMed by Adam V.  He's a teen who built everything on the table, and is strongly supported by his family.  He also runs a fun game; really kept things moving.  Alas for me, only the legendary leader of the banditos escaped with the gold (meaning, not my characters).  My two ne'er-do-wells met an untimely end in the dusty streets, although I did make sure one lawman won't ever be able to get a date with Miss Kitty again!  He's got a yellow stripe a foot wide now.

Above:  Paper buildings from Whitewash City, a paper train, but good looking stuff.  One of my characters is watching the horses while the gold approaches from the upper right.
Above:  Here comes the Law!
Above:   Yep, that's me, watchin' those horses.  Then I get on one and try to ride off.  Eventually I am gunned down.
Above:  This was another outlaw about to make his getaway, when Miss Kitty (a citizen, not in the picture) took a max range shot through intervening terrain...and got a kill!  The lawman picked up the gold and headed back to town.  My second bandito, who was about to survive by leaving the table, decided to see if he could take out the deputy with a quick kill and steal the gold for himself.  It was not to be.  Then I ran around the corner to give chase...right into the arms of Miss Kitty and another lawman!  I wounded him, making him run away, but another lawman filled me full of lead.  A painful death it was, but spectacular.
Last but not least, I played a dinosaur hunt game, using Two Hour Wargames' "Adventures in the Lost Lands," GMed by Ed T. himself.  It was a blast!  Our three hunters, plus attendants, only wanted to salvage a simple kill to prove dinosaurs exist.  The trouble was, the meat-eaters kept trying to prove we don't exist, by eating us.

Above:  There's the Scotsman on the left, myself in the middle, and my friend Tom (a former Foreign Legionnaire, don'cha'know) on the right.  We're here to bring back evidence of dinosaurs, and must explore each section of the table.  We decide to cross the river.

Above:  We've crossed the river, and detect something ahead of us.  Quiet!
Above:  It's a feeder dinosaur.  Kinda big, so we decide to explore some more before gunning him down.
Above:  In fact, it's a whole herd of dinosaurs.  Herd of dinosaurs?  Of course I've heard of dinosaurs, everyone's heard of dinosaurs!
Above:  We are set upon by cute little vicious, toothy bastards...
Above:  ...who we take out with one shot.  Other feeders arrive.  This is gonna be eeaassyy.
Above:  We decide these guys will make good evidence.  We shoot, one runs away, but we get one kill.
Above:  The Hunters are very sensibly on the far side of the river from the next approaching dinosaur, while the hired help tries to carve up the dino as fast as possible!  (Ed, I don't know what you mean, calling us chicken.)
Above:  Being on the far side didn't help, in the long run.  Here, Tom tells us, "I got this one."  He did, too, although just barely.  Two different times, even.
Above:  Later Billabong and Bouillabaisse decide to high-tail it out of there, only to be cut off by more of those toothy little meat-eaters.
Above:  They opt to join us on the other side of the river, where we've been successful in carving up a sabre-tooth tiger.  Bouillabaisse is wounded, but Tom is a good man and carries him along.  Either that, or he's saving him in order to make a quick get-a-away if need be!
Above:  More bearers go down.  It's so hard to find good help these days.
Above:  Now we're in trouble.  We've got multiple meat-eaters approaching.  The big one ends up getting shot by, you guessed it, Tom, but the medium ones...well, we decided to hoof it.  See ya!
Above:  After a chase in which Tom advantageously drops Bouillabaisse to save his own sorry self, and by extension, us too, we make it to the river.  Only Billabong is still with us.  It's a good thing, as he's carrying all the proof we need to show that dinosaurs exist!  We'll be rich!  All we have to do is get across the river and we're home free.
Above:  That's when greed reared it's ugly head.  The Scotsman decided to explore just one more area.  He got a nasty surprise.  Is he up to the challenge?
Above:  Nope.
AboveBut Tom and I are.  The dino goes down!
Above:  Then greed reared it's ugly head, yet again.  I, yes even I, decided to check out that (certainly unguarded) nest of eggs.  I got a bit of a surprise too.  Was I up to the challenge?  Er, no.

No worries, though, right?  Since Tom was dependent on me for a ride home that night, surely he would drive off the critter, before saving himself.  Riiight?  Nope.  Two close calls earlier, plus the lure of claiming ALL the fame and fortune, proved too much for such a selfless act.  He skedaddled faster than a long-tail cat in a rocking chair factory.  Ah well, I gave him a ride home anyway.

So there you have my fast and furious Texicon report.  Can't wait for next year!

Later this summer is Skirmish, but since it's all miniatures, mostly all historical, it's almost a completely different animal.  Last year's was fun, though, so I'm looking forward to it, too.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

24. Death in the Jungle: Part 10

[Turn Ten Begins]

Caporal Chien, though wary, lead his Tirailleurs Sénégalais in an advance towards the newest Natives ahead.  Taking up their firing positions, they blasted the quiet of the jungle with rifle fire.  These strange new Natives were almost completely fearless, standing as they were, practically avoiding the jungle's cover.
Their bravery was well earned, too, as all of the tirailleurs' shots missed.  To Chien's surprise, the Pygmies -- who already seemed desperate to shoot back with their blowguns, but were out of range -- now came at him at a steady trot.  Chien's men raised their guns to shoot, but Chien called out to them to hold their fire, not to waste their ammunition on a rushed shot.  The Cannibals, seeing the raised guns, halted.  Chien decided not to waste the chance overall, and gave the order to fire.  Yet again, even though they were not rushed, the tirailleurs missed.  L'indigènes moved not a muscle; their stillness made them all the more terrifying to the squad.
Sergent Cur, leading the nearby squad 'A' of la légion étrangère, decided to add his weight of fire to the mix.  Hoping to drive the Natives away, instead Cur's men inflicted a definite three casualties!  Cur laughingly suggested to his squad that would be enough for them today.  However, the words died in his throat as these fantômes not only did not run away, but made no reply whatsoever.  They merely stood perfectly still, cool as cucumbers.
With some aggravation, Cur felt he had no choice but to shoot again.  He had to either kill them all or drive them away.  This time one Pygmy fell, and to Cur's relief it was the Brown-shield leader.  Not bothering to watch, Cur turned away, expecting the rabble to disappear into the jungle.  Yet again he was surprised, when one of his troopers gestured for him to look.  The Natives fell back in good order, even firing a blowgun salvo at la legionnaires, although it caused no damage.

Out of the corner of his eye, Cur also caught sight of the only other remaining squad of Pygmies threatening him.  To his right -- and to the front of Lieutenant Frye -- l'indigènes advanced from their hiding place at their detestable shrine, having apparently taken courage from it, to a place of comparative safety behind the ruined walls surrounding the shrine.  Cur cursed in several languages; now they would have to evict them from thick cover, which would probably require his men to make physical contact.  This mission just kept getting worse and worse.
Frye had seen the Natives advance, too, and his anger at the loss of his "easy" mission was phenomenal.  He quickly rapped out orders to the senior trooper of 'B' legionnaires, Cane, determined to regain the initiative and prevent those Pygmies from feeling any sense of security there.  'B' changed formation to an open one to better navigate the jungle scenery, advanced as far as practical, and then reformed their firing line.  From this forward position, Cane brought his weapons to bear and fired, causing at least one Native to drop to the dirt.
While l'indigènes seemed shaken yet they did not flee.  They merely huddled closer to the stone walls.
Lt Frye then brought his Marines up, without wasting time changing formation.  They advanced as far as possible in support of the legionnaires.
As the Lieutenant looked around, surveying his position, he was satisfied once more.  No more gunfire had occurred from his left for nearly a minute, and no Natives threatened his control of the immediate jungle.  It appeared the dead Native at the shrine wall was dead after all, a fact which finally convinced these l'indigènes to flee farther away than before, quite scared.
Sgt Cur, on the other hand, was feeling distinctly uncomfortable about this newest squad of Natives.  He had seen the Brown-shield leader shot with his own eyes, yet now he watched him rise up from the thick carpet of long grass, seemingly unharmed, as well as three of the four other casualties he thought his men had caused.

"Aucun bien ne peut venir de ceci," -- "No good can come of this," he muttered.

[Turn Ten Ends]