Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Off the Beaten Cobblestones: Pissing on a Fire Elemental

Pissing on a Fire Elemental- A Cautionary Tale.

Way back in the dim past of 1998, I was running a game of 2nd Ed D&D with some of my college buddies. This was before I met my wife, and I was foot loose and fancy free. My buddy, Pete, asked if his brother could join the group.

Since said brother was 17, and we were a bare 19, I saw no reason not to allow him. We walked through character generation, and the basics of the game. Then we gave him the PHB to buy equipment.

He looked over everything and said "Why is there a barrel on here? What's the point in that?"

"To put liquid in. There's a table a page or so over." I said as he flipped through the book.

"Beer?!? I can buy BEER in this game?!?" he said in amazement.

"Sure knock yourself out, its your gold." I replied, knowing that at some point EVERYONE buys a barrel of ale, especially those who are not yet of the magic drinking age.

So the night continued. The game was relatively unremarkable, since everyone was a low level PC. Whenever I asked what everyone was doing, Pete's brother would invariably reply with "I drink more beer".

This was all fine and dandy, until they came to the room with the Fire Elemental. It wasn't there to be fought, it was an obstacle to overcome with trickery. They weren't supposed to kill it, just get it out of the room. I did the traditional go around asking everyone what they were going to do, getting to Pete's brother, I was expecting another "I drink more beer", which is not what I got. What I got was this;

"I've been drinking this whole time, right?" he asked with a gleam in his eye.

"Yes" I stated, dreading what I knew was going to come next.

"I want to piss on it!" he said with a mad grin on his face.

"Wait a second, this is a fifteen foot tall pillar of pure fire, that requires a magic weapon to hit. It's burning at like a couple thousand degrees! Are you sure you want to do that?" I said hoping that he would get the hint and leave his junk in his pants.

"Yup! Going to piss on it. Roll this orange one to hit, right?" he said picking up a d20.

"Are you really sure?" I pleaded with him.

"Hell yeah!"

"It's on your head. Roll." I replied with a dejected sigh.

"BOOYA! 20!" he yelled as he jumped up and down with glee.

"Um, ok. You do one point of damage with your urine as your dick burns off seconds before the rest of you gets incinerated." I said as I shook my head in sadness.

"Totally worth it."

I learned something that day. First off, PCs will do stupid things. Second, they deserve to pay for their mistakes. Third, sometimes that stupid stuff is worth it-to them. Every time I get a new PC, or meet a new gaming buddy, I tell them this story. All of them laugh at the stupidity. Very few of them groan. Only people who have been DMing for years realize what the point of this story is. No matter what you try to do to persuade a PC, they will do whatever they want, damn the consequences. That's the beauty of pen and paper RPGs. You can go totally off the rails, and do whatever you want. This story illustrates that very well in a humorous way, do what you want when you want to. It's a great story for new players to learn that fact.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday Night Mordheim; Grocery Store Terrain

Well, at long last, I got to the Grocery Store! So I took the time to take some pics. The stuff that I think are excellent for both food and terrain. A good deal of it is more 40K rather then Mordheim, but this is mainly to teach you what to look for. I am hoping that next week I can do a post about the terrain I made with this stuff (or at least the part of it that we've already eaten). There are also some things that I didn't grab a pic of because the store I went to did not carry the stuff. If you guys are interested, I might also include a few simple recipes so that you get the most out your shopping trips.

Ah, the ever useful Pringles can. If you need to have this explained, then you are in a blog that is over your head.

Love this. These types of containers are awesome for a number of reasons, first thing is the tastiness inside, but the second one is that the cardboard is fairly tough, so it will last more then a couple of sessions.

Ah, the typical tin can. Love it, hate it, use it for terrain. Much like the Pringles can, but far more durable. A typical can tower can last for years before some dumbass knocks it down and then steps on it.

Well, I gotta say, these are one of my favorite items in the grocery store. While not good eating for anyone over the age of 2, they are REALLY useful. From all sorts of things regarding paint (mix container, water holder), to quick tank traps. I must insist with the Gerber brand here, others are still little glass jars.

This is not food, but useful. For less then five bucks, you get a ton of terf and a ready made 40K fortress/hill. Well worth the cost, even more so if you actually have a cat. Dump the litter into your regular box, and keep the container.

The egg crate, another no brainer here.

Seriously, I love the breadcrumbs. So useful in cooking, and such a great use for terrain. Bigger, thicker, and a tad nicer then a Pringles can. More to scale towers. Put this and a Pringles can together, and you got something going on.

Another great thing that every gamer should relish, the pot pie. One is a snack, two is a meal. Three boxes taped together and spray painted is a building. The pot pie containers are also great mini hills and craters.

Next week, a recipe for meatloaf, and a bit of terrain in progress.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Monday Night Mordheim; The Fickle Finger of Fate

Hello. Welcome back. Here I was thinking that I would have another edition of MNM- Terrain A Go Go, where I would have pics of all the things in a grocery store that make great terrain without having to convert at all.

The best laid plans of mice and men, cannot stand contact with the enemy. Or so the mashup of old cliches goes.

So Saturday the wife and I picked up a new mattress set as had been promised. So no trip to the grocery store.

Sunday was spent getting ready for the annual Cub Scout banquet. So no trip to the grocery store. However, found out that one of my kids cronies just inherited a WHFB Warriors of Chaos army. So good news there.

Today, ah, today was the beauty. Thought I would have plenty of time, since I took the day off for my birthday. Cut and dry, right? So during the day, the wife and I did birthday stuff, and went to the store for more bedding stuff. Then the youngest child got out of school late. We went home to wait for the other kids to get home from school. Then we ran out for birthday dinner. We went to Five Guys Burgers & Fries. Great place, but expensive when taking the family. The only local 5GBF is in Oakland. Ah, Oakland, where there are more college campuses then you can shake a syllabus at. Therein was the problem, Oakland also contains one of the better gamestores in the area. Since I had already spent more then intended to for my birthday, I decided not to tempt fate by going to the gamestore.

Leaving 5GBF went to the car, drove approximately a block and the car stalled. Went to my pocket for my cellphone, and I realized that I left it on the desk beside the computer. Had Eldest Child call my dad on HIS cellphone. My dad agreed to come out and give me a jump, if we had gone to the gamestore, he would not have been home. We waited and waited and waited. Turns out that while Eldest Child had my parent's home phone (which I still have memorized since I was 6), he did not have any of my parent's cellphones. To make matters worse, they didn't have his current number, just the old one. So they drove around the wrong side of Oakland looking for us for like 45 minutes.

My mom took the wife and kids home, and my dad stayed to help with the car. Turns out it wasn't a bad battery, or anything simple, it seems my alternator is dying. So my dad and I charged my car battery with a jump. The drive home was a nightmare. Had to cross a bridge that it is illegal to stop on. If the battery suddenly died there, I would be in real trouble.

Made it home with little fuss and little muss, but I had everything but the headlights out. Its funny how fast you think you are going without the dashboard to tell you how fast you are actually going. I thought I was going like 55, but my dad said that I drove 25 the whole way back.

Pulled the battery and threw it on the trickle charger so that I can get to the mechanic. I'm debating doing that for a week until my registration is up so that I can get it done with the inspection as well.

Now, if I had been able to get out at Oakland at a decent hour, I would have stopped to show you guys what can be done at the grocery store. Now it will have to wait until next week.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday Night Mordheim: Terrain A Go Go 3

Wow, so I spent last week sick. It happens. I have some stuff planned, and it will happen, however, I wanted to take a slight break but keep in time with what I've been talking about, which is Terrain. I wanted to show you guys exactly what is possible with the least amount of work and or money. When I started playing Mordheim again, I had no terrain, I had nothing except for some hills that were lying around. Hills, while useful, do not denote the post-apocolypitic wasteland that is Mordheim. So I went to build some buildings.

First, I went to the Dollar Store with $10 in my pocket (5 BPS for you people who can do the fancy L on your keyboard). This is what I picked up;

So there's some stuff, right? There's some foamcore boards, a ring thing for flower aranging, needles, craft sticks, and two weird statue-y things. Perfect.

After cutting the ring thing in half, I glued it down to a piece of foamcore, and glued one of the statue things to it. Instant fountain. Easy-peasy, grand cost for 2 fountains that break line of sight and give somewhere to hide, $3.

The next things were harder, the actual buildings. The first thing I did was measure everything out and premark it on the foamcore.

Then I cut the hell out of it.

After that, I glued it altogether. To keep everything in place, I used the needles as nails while it was drying.

I did a LOT more gluing then I took pics of, seriously, it was a ton of gluing.

So that's the pile of buildings. Now, you've probably seen these in action in my battle reports. They seem unfinished, and indeed they are. Here's the thing, since we were playing at work, and just shoving this stuff into a box under a desk when we were done, I didn't want to put a lot of hard work into them. That's why we went cheap, if the boss came along and tossed it all, then all I would have been out of is $10 and two days worth of assembly. However, just so you don't feel cheated, here's how they looked assembled and on the work desk.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Monday Night Mordheim: Terrain A Go Go 2!

Terrain, it is ubiquitous with wargaming. It is needed, however, how far do you need to go? To me, there's three levels.

1. Basic- Basic terrain is whatever you happen to find laying around your house that can be slapped down on the table.
2. Mass Market- These are kits, either from GW, third party manufacturer, or from a model train company. They are basically big models.
3. Customized- Customized terrain is almost all scratch built, and depending on your ability it can look amazing or like crap.

Now, each of these levels has its own benefits and drawbacks.

Basic Terrain is dirt cheap, but it looks like dirt. Basic terrain is your basic horders fans. Shoeboxes, cereal boxes, Pringles Cans, old GW boxes, kids block sets, the Styrofoam that comes with electronics, and my personal favorite, the plastic half boxes that comes with ground meat at certain stores. Most of this stuff looks like crap. It can be slightly enhanced with a simple coat of grey spray paint.

Mass Market Terrain is expensive. That's its main drawback, and really the only major one. Mass Market terrain generally is sturdy, looks good, and paints up a treat. The problem with it is that it is often not designed for Mordheim, and difficult to get models into and out of. Looks good, but it might as well be a solid brick.

Customized Terrain is the best of all worlds. It can be as cheap or expensive as you want it to be. It can be as detailed as you are able to handle. You can use bits of mass market kits, or do everything from scratch. This is my preferred method.

My last bit of terrain I did, I did totally in a span of two days, with nothing but $10 worth of stuff from the dollar store. Next time, I'm going to go over the things that I bought and used, and some of my other favorite found things to use for terrain.