Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Striking gold (in space!)

Some weeks ago I wrote about my love for Battlefleet Gothic (BFG), which had been rekindled by the arrival of a (rather good) PC version of said game – Battlefleet Gothic: Armada.

I’m still playing Armada whenever I get half an hour to myself, but the more I play, the more I long to try the real thing. So, I did something stupid. Something you should never, ever do.

I bought the base game on eBay with nothing more to go on than a photo of the front cover and a description that it was “complete”.
Stupid! Stupid! – as Mr. Pool would say.

However, it was relatively cheap (a nice version of BFG can get expensive) and from a reputable seller, so I figured it was worth a shot (as much as I thought about it beforehand anyway).

Well, after paying for shipping, import tax from the US and a “handling fee” (a.k.a. the 15 pound arbitrary “fuck you” toll the Danish Customs levy on each package they check*) it wasn’t all that cheap after all, so it was with some trepidation that I opened the box when it finally arrived.

Inside I found this:
The very sharp-eyed amongst you may have noticed that it isn’t, in fact, complete. It’s missing a few normal dice (no biggie), a flight-stand (should be fixable) and four order-dice (a bigger problem – these are not cheap).

Other than that, it’s in excellent condition, with the counter-sheets unpunished and most of the ships still on sprues. This actually presents me with a bit of a dilemma, as I could potentially make some money by selling them and buying pre-assembled ships instead. I’ll think about it, but I’m just not sure it’s worth the hassle.

Not too bad, but it’s still not actually “complete”, which should piss me off, except that the box also contained these:
I really don’t know what the Epic magazines were doing there (and I have very little interest in Epic stuff from between the time of Adeptus Titanicus and Epic: Armageddon anyway), but the rest is pretty sweet.

All in all a very good haul. The next step will be to buy a small fleet for each of the four main factions (and maybe Tyranids, which are cool. Tau, Dark Eldar and Necrons can go jump the sea for all that I care).

This will probably take some time since everything connected to BFG seems to be massively overpriced on eBay (probably because of the game’s relatively limited print run). To make matters worse, it seems that BFG was more popular in the US and Australia than in the UK (at least that’s where a lot of sellers ship from) – which brings me back to my rant on the cost of importing stuff from outside the EU. Oh well.

* I’m sorry to get all political, and it’s not really my business, but WTF UK!? If I end up having to pay import taxes on all my oldhammer goodies in a few years, we are going to have words

Monday, 20 June 2016

Adventures in Questing – Second expedition, Endgame

We return to our heroes as they steel themselves to face the final swarm of skaven, lead by the the warlord of the entire clan.

As the rats surged forward, Croaker quickly retreated into the small room where the rest of the party had taken position. Hans then muttered an incantation to surround Croaker with a band of gleaming dragon scales, boosting the warriors already formidable defenses.

Taking up position immediately behind a door in order to bottleneck the monsters is basically the signature “boring dick-move” of AHQ, but I was very much outnumbered at this point, and Allum was already teetering at death’s door, so I didn’t want to take too many chances.

I’ll probably dedicate a post to this topic at some point, but not now.

As the mass of ratmen closed, Hans summoned up another blast of fire, taking out a chunk of the formation.
Undeterred, the rest of the skaven charged through the doorway.

Meanwhile, the two sentries continued exploring, but, to the very great relief of the heroes, they found nothing but closed off corridors.
[picture + map]
 Back at the melee, the skaven force had been unable to make headway against the heroes. Each time one of them pressed through the door, it was cut down before it could raise its weapons.

I kept rolling “Attack and move” on the tactics-table, which meant that as long as I could kill one skaven each turn, none of them could attack my party. “Boring dick-move” indeed – though I was quite lucky to pull it off as well as I did. A roll if “1” (reinforcement + “move and attack”) might have made a bit of a mess of my plans.

As soon as the warlord came within sight, Hans used the last of his Fire Dust to blast it with a fireball, wounding the creature.
Ellandiel also acquitted himself very well (once again defying his decidedly average stat-line) by shooting over Croaker’s shoulder and killing several skaven.

Eventually the group of skaven had been whittled sufficiently down, that the heroes risked attacking into the large room to get to grips with the remaining stragglers.
After that it was all just a matter of cleaning up. The heroes quickly cornered and slew the two sentries and proceeded to loot the rooms. As they found more gold than they could carry, they pooled the remains (235 gc to be precise) in the first large room and then headed back to town.
Safely back, it was upkeep-time.

The heroes regained all wounds and fate, and received another point of fate because they’d completed the quest in two expeditions.

As they’d found a jewel worth 150 gc, they had a total of 1150 gc to spend, 100 of which went towards living expenses. They then rolled “Risk pay” on the random event table (again), which had no effect.

Finally, it was shopping time.

First of all, Allum and Croaker hit the gym. The dwarf got +1 wound since his low wound-score had proven to be a severe liability and Croaker got +1 strength, truly making him a force to be reckoned with (six damage dice baby!).

Hans also got some training, learning “Still Air” (useful for making those d*mn sentries stay in one place”) and 10 spell components. 

Meanwhile, Ellandiel bought 12 arrows to replace those he’d used.

Finally, it was time to attract or hire henchmen. Since all four heroes had gotten a point of fate, I could theoretically attract four henchmen at reduced cost, but I figured two would be enough to begin with (which had nothing at all to do with the fact that I only had two painted up – oh no sir!)

All in all a very successful quest.

I wasn’t entirely finished though. There was still a bit of gold in one of the rooms near the final set of stairs, so the party once again ventured down into the dungeon (completely forgetting to bring their two henchmen along).

The door to the room in question had been closed, so the drew their weapons and kicked it open, finding a skaven warlord and its bodyguards on the other side.
The rules are somewhat vague on this matter, but by most interpretations, any room that hasn’t been completely emptied of treasure will contain a new (random) group of monsters it the party leaves the dungeon and returns at a later time.

The heroes made quick work of the ratmen, picked up the remaining treasure (as well as the 115 gc the new monsters had been carrying) and returned to town, where they paid 170 gc in living expenses (the extra 70 gc went towards retaining the henchmen) and promptly got robbed! (by rolling “pickpocket” on the random events table). Fortunately, they had already spent most of their cash, so they only lost 23 gc.

To wrap things up, Ellandiel got some archery training (+1 BS), and the remaining 175 gc were divided amongst the heroes.

And that’s the end to a complete game of Advanced Heroquest. Hope you’ve enjoyed it – I certainly have.


Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Adventures in Questing – Second expedition, Hitting rock bottom

We return to our party of adventurers as they come face to face with the guardians of the stairs to the third, and final, level of the dungeon.

Before the heroes had a chance to act, the skaven charged but were unable to push past Croaker who had taken up position in the doorway.
Chanting an incantation, Hans summoned a scorching ball of fire over the ratman, killing one and severely wounding three others
Ellandiel shot an arrow at one of them, killing it, and the party as a whole backed up a step, preparing to receive another charge.

Just then, the elf heard the tiniest noise from behind. Too late he spun around to see two skaven (a warrior and a champion) who had managed to sneak up on the adventurer during the battle (When playing by the solo AHQ rules, you roll a die each turn to see how the monsters behave. A roll of one means that a group of “wandering monsters” appears, which is what happened here).

The newly arrived rats threw themselves at Ellandiel and Hans. The poorly armored elf and wizard only dodged the onslaught by a hair’s breadth (having to spend a point of fate each).
The warriors to the front were alerted by their companions' cry for help. Allum ran (for a certain value of “running”, considering his movement value of two) to their aid, but Croaker had more than enough on his hands as the skaven warlord attacked him in hand-to-hand combat. The two traded blows but were unable to find a gap in each other’s defenses.

The warlord tried to circle around Croaker, to attack him in the back, but was cut down before it could get there. Meanwhile, Allum killed a skaven champion as Hans and Ellandiel engaged the remaining warrior and took it down over two rounds of furious mêlée.
 At his point, it was mostly a matter of cleaning up. Ellandiel shot the wounded champion while Croaker took the Night Runner down. As it lay on the floor, he noticed that it had been wielding a strangely glowing sword – but not the evil looking sort he’d come to associate with the skaven. This seemed to be of dwarven make. Carefully, the warrior picked it up, and sensing no evil presence he decided to keep it (it was, in fact, a magic sword, +1 Ws. Quite a find!).
 The heroes quickly looted the room, finding some more gold, and descended the stairs.
The final map of the second level

At the bottom, they found another set of very dark and very empty corridors. Warily, the heroes wandered off, away from the stairs, initially finding nothing but more corridors.
I ran out of space on the Heroscribe-map, so the map will continue from the "A" marking

Eventually, they rounded a corner and came up against another skaven patrol. Emboldened by their previous success Croak and Allum charged. 
These skaven, however, proved to be a bigger challenge than usual. Perhaps aided by confidence from fighting so deep underground, the ratmen stood their ground and then counter-attacked aggressively. Allum was beaten to the ground and only escaped being skewered by rolling away from a wild stab at the last second. Visibly shaken, the dwarf regained his feet just as Croaker and Ellandiel slew the last member of the patrol.

Up to this point things had gone so well that I must admit I’d almost gotten a bit bored. That certainly changes when my heroes not only initially failed to take down a small group of wandering skaven, but those skaven then caused two wounds on Allum – in two consecutive rounds. This meant that I had to use both the dwarf’s fate points to save him, so the next time this happened, he’d be dead.

I was now faced with the choice of whether to play it safe, and go back to town, or to press on. In the end, I decided to risk moving forward – at least until I’d found some d*amn rooms!

With new-found care the party moved on. As they rounded the next corner, their tenacity was rewarded as they not only found a door (finally), but also a flight of stairs leading out of the dungeon. How lucky can you be!
Encouraged, they opened the door to a small room containing nothing except for another door which they opened to find a large group of skaven on the other side.
Before they could act, a small ratman at the back of the group disappeared through a door, screeching: “Come-come quick-quick! Man-things here-here!”
There was nothing the heroes could do, as the rest of the skaven surged forward to block the path forward.

Hans summoned a magic fireball to blast the rats while Croaker and Allum engaged them in hand-to-hand combat and Ellandiel fired arrows over the warriors’ shoulders.
While the heroes fought the first group, the sentry opened a door – and found another lair filled with skaven, as well as a second sentry!
The two sentries then ran to a second door, which opened to reveal the Quest room, along with the warlord and its attending bodyguards!!
These two new groups of skaven surged forward, threatening to drown the heroes in a tide of fur and teeth...
We’ll leave things here while I ponder whether to leg it (boring but safe) or try to end things now and risk losing my entire party.

Croaker (I’ll probably stay, since I’m not really playing this game to be “boring but safe”)

Friday, 3 June 2016

Adventures in Questing – Second expedition, Delving deeper

After gearing up, the four heroes finally returned to the dungeon.

Note: Just like last time, I’ll keep the general description fairly narrative and add my own commentary in red text.

They descended into the dungeon and hurried towards the stairs to the second level, keen to avoid running into any Skaven patrols that might still be wandering around.
The map of the, already explored, first level of the three-level dungeon. An “E” indicates that the room is empty.

Those hopes were quickly dashed, as, rounding the very first corner, the party ran into a couple of very surprised Skaven warriors.
Fortunately, the Skaven patrol didn’t include a sentry, and the two ratmen were unceremoniously cut down by Croaker and Allum before they had a chance to act.

The heroes quickly looted the corpses and hurried to the downward stairs without encountering further problems.
The second level of the dungeon was quiet and dusty. The first room proved to be empty and so the party followed the winding corridors deeper into the darkness
Eventually, signs of habitation became more frequent and the heroes tightened the grip on their weapons. Then, upon turning a corner, they nearly ran into three Skaven warriors. Behind the Skaven was a closed door and at the end of the corridor a set of stairs appeared to lead upwards and out.

I rolled a “stairs down” on the “passage end”-table but followed the convention from most of the published quests that the stairs to the next level would only be found in a quest room and that any “stairs down” in a corridor would be treated as “stairs out” instead.

This was actually really useful for the heroes, as they’d now have a shortcut to this part of the dungeon.
The ratmen were quickly dispatched and the party carefully opened the door. On the other side was an empty room (boring) with two (less boring) doors leading out.
The first door opened out to an empty corridor that ended in a rockslide, so the heroes instead gathered around the second. From the other side came muffled screams which were suddenly cut off.

Croaker threw open the door and the party came face to face with the biggest and meanest-looking Skaven they had ever encountered (a warlord in fact). The thing turned from the grizzly remains of a prisoner that still lay on a rack in the room, picked up an evilly glowing polearm and screeched:

“Ahhhh… luck-luck. More-more playthings. You die-die”

Before Croaker could act, the thing had charged him and almost smashed his skull in. The warrior lashed out at the Skaven, but the blow simply glanced off its armor. He then took a step back to give the others some room.

Before anyone else could act, however, Ellandiel had calmly nocked and fired an arrow. It hit the Skaven in the middle of the forehead and continued right through. The ratman stood wobbling for a second and then silently toppled backwards.
This might require a bit of explanation. A Skaven warlord has a toughness of eight and four wounds. Ellandiel rolls four damage dice with his bow, and the he rolled 12, 12, 8 and 6. Since 12’s give you an extra damage die he then rolled twice more and got 9 and 3. The Skaven died instantly - not bad for the absolutely most useless member of the party.

After some relieved celebration, the heroes looted the body and the chest in the room, finding some arrows and gold coins, and gathered in front for the door at the back. Shuffling feet could be heard on the other side.
The heroes kicked the door open and came face to face with a group of formidable looking Skaven (A warlord, three champions and a night runner) who were guarding the stairs to the third level!

I rolled a 12 on the room table, which gave me the quest room at the earliest possible moment (I’m using the updated tables from Terror in the Dark, which modify the chance of finding the Quest Room based on the number of other rooms you’ve found – at this point it was a 1/12 chance). Lucky me!

With a cry of “Holy s*it!”, the heroes charged…
To be continued.