Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Ghost Archipelago Crews

This is just a quick post to show some of the crews I've painted up for Ghost Archipelago.  These came from one box of plastics and a few of the metal specialist packs.

 Here's one crew with a more Sinbadish look

 Female crew members

 A Wave Warden and Vine Warden

 A couple of Heritors

 Beast Warden and Earth Warden

Storm Warden, Female Warrior, and Hunter.  The Female Warrior is from Reaper miniatures

 A more Western style crew

A Savage

Vine Warden, Heritor, and Crackshot

Some Drichean Bronze Age Warriors.  These are from Crocodile Games Gods of Olympus Trojan line.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Cold Wars 2018 AAR - Just a Usual Night in Elizabethan London

As mentioned in my previous post, my son and I ran a Frostgrave/Ghost Archipelago game at Cold Wars.  I changed the setting to an Elizabethan England in which magic is real. 

The scenario was this: Playwright, spy and occultist, Christophery Marlowe has been murdered by agents of some of the great courtiers who were seeking to get his manuscript to Dr. Faustus, the performance of which may actually open a door to Hell. Various groups were searching his old stomping grounds for the manuscript and the grimoire that taught him how to draft magical scripts, the Dramaturginomicon.

We had 11 players, each with their own agenda so I modified the turn sequence and used an initiative roll mechanism for activation. Movement was increased to 12 inches given the size of the table. The warbands were smaller, containing one hero, having Heritor abilities, one magic user and only four henchmen. Each hero had only 3 abilities and each magic user only 3 spells. I tried to match the spells to setting - thus one faction, the Lord Admiral's Men who were actors had a Sigilist, William Shakespeare while a band of Irish pirates under Grace O'Malley had a Strom Warden. We got to a satisfactory conclusion of the game in about 3 hours.


Most of the action occurred in the Rose Theatre and Marlowe's former residence, the Garter Tavern. 

The players split their attentions about evenly between the two buildings. They soon discovered that both occult works had already created "leaks" to another dimension, releasing demons who had a distressing tendency to increase in size as time went on.
 

The players were surprisingly non-belligerent to one another, relying on negotiations with only the occasional outburst of violence. They faced far more danger from the staff and patrons of the Garter who proved it was the toughest tavern in London. The final result was that Solomon Kane managed to destroy the Dramaturginomicon using candles from a nearby church, a Spanish Jesuit managed to banish the very large demon that had appeared, and William Shakespeare ended up in possession of the manuscript, after he cast an explosive rune spell on the only exit from theatre's basement. This resulted in the destruction of the better part of two other warbands who had subsequently tried to leave to escape an ever-growing demon. The Rose thus blew up and burned down, while the Garter had been previously set alight as well. Shakespeare put his name on the manuscript, and added several editorial "improvements" resulting in it losing it's magical capabilities.


 I'll be running this again at Historicon. I also have an idea for a couple of sequels - next up will be "The Mirrors of Mortlake" about a raid on the house of Dr. John Dee, Queen Elizabeth's chief astrologer and alchemist.

Here's some additional games that caught my eye:











Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Cold Wars 2018 game - A Dead Man in Deptford


I am going to be running a game at the Cold Wars convention in a couple of weeks.  Here's the description:


An arcane civil war is being waged in Elizabethan England. Playwright/spy/magician Kit Marlowe has just been killed, ostensibly in argument over a tavern bill.  But he really died for writing a work of magical dramaturgy that would open the door to another dimension.  Various court factions are now racing through the dark streets of London’s notorious theatre district to find the manuscript.  Who will find it first?

The game is set in the Soutwark region across the Thames from London:





This will use a modified version of the Frostgrave/Ghost Archipelago rules. Since this is a multi-player game, the activation methods will be simplified and the warbands will be smaller with the main characters having fewer spells/abilities than in regular FG/GA.  Each party will be composed of one "hero" - having 3-4 heritor abilities from GA, one magic user - having 3-4 spells from FG or GA, and four minions.  There will only be 2 treasures, a manuscript of Doctor Faustus that allows a portal to Hell to be opened and an ancient tome that teaches one how to create such dramaturgical manuscripts.  The treasures will be hidden in the Rose Theatre or the Garter Inn.

I have the game listed for eight players but could accommodate up to 15. Here's just a few of them
The Lord Chamberlain's Men, led by Thomas Kent (actually Viola De Lessups in male disguise) and the sigilist Will Shakespeare

 The School of Night, minions of Sir Walter Raleigh, led by Captain Lawyrence Kemys and necromancer Edward Kelley
The Lord Admiral's men, under the direction of the famed actor Ned Alleyn and theatre owner/illusionist Philip Henslowe

 The representatives of Her Majesty, swashbuckling Sir Geoffrey Thorpe and Vine Warden Lady Blandistock (after all, the Queen does love her garden.)
The Puritans, led by Solomon Kane and the Reverend Fear-the-Lord Greenwood.

I did a play test with my regular group that turned out quite well, lots of havoc and back-stabbing coupled with demon appearances and explosives.  A couple of moments during the game:

With Lady B and the Puritans forming an alliance, quick access to Marlowe's chamber at the Garter was achieved thanks to the lady's bramble growing skill.

A difficult fight in tight quarters

Meanwhile, an imp has appeared in "heaven" the staging area directly above the main stage


There's a slightly bigger problem on stage

Explosive are good for getting rid of demons but there may be some unexpected complications

Theatre critics: "I thought that was all a bit predictable."



Friday, January 26, 2018

Frostgrave RPG Campaign - The Summoners' Tale - Chapter VII - The Battle of The Two Kings

Just as the party was absorbing what they had seen through the Eyes of Amato, they saw the Lich Lord turn to the invisible, demon-possessed bear and began a casting.  The bear suddenly became visible.  Far worse, the bear's demon-induced rage suddenly calmed and it walked slowly over to the Lich Lord, taking up a position defending the undead sorceror, completely in his thrall 


The party began pushing into the room, realizing that surprise had been lost.  Sir Emerick raised the Horn of Destruction to his lips and blew...

The Horn had the effect of a Crumble spell and the horrific Bone Wheel collapsed with a shattering crash, nearly burying the party in a gruesome cascade.

As the dust settled, Greg the Bear and the writhing demon creature flung themselves on the party who soon were being pressed back out of the room.
With the bone wheel now destroyed, the Lich Lord flung a cauldron containing water from the Crystal Pool onto the magic gate.  Soon, another nightmarish creature emerged from that dark dimension.  However, the arcing energy of the gate ended with the last drops of the water.  Realizing that the plan to bring more of these creatures to his aid had failed, the Lich Lord fled the room through a side door, ordering his minions to continue the fight against the hard-pressed party.
With great reluctance, Bozydar struck hard blows against Greg the Bear, while Dame Roswith struck at the tentacled creature.  This gave An'var the breathing space to cast a Banish Demon spell.  The spell took effect and Greg returned to his normal form, looking shocked and confused from the wounds inflicted by his friends.  The tentacled demon was sent back to the dimension from which it had come.

An'varr, who was still glowing from the illumination trap he had triggered earlier, called out, "How was that!  Shouldn't I get an impressive title, like Atlantia.  What about Demon-Bane?"
"Let's worry about that later, Firefly!" retorted Redmaine.
The party spread out into the room to attack the remaining enemies.  Redmaine teleported to the prisoner magic users and began freeing them.  This included his Apprentice Thisbe.
Roswith fell upon the last of the inter-dimensional creatures, hewing wildly with her magic sword.  In a great flash, Roswith's mighty blow smashed the demon's corporeal body and sent it back from whence it came.  
The party shouted, "Hail Roswith Demon-Bane!"

"O come on!" shouted An'varr in frustration.

With a grunt, the Summoner said they needed to follow the Lich Lord.  Ril gave An'varr his magic Elven dagger that he had coated with demonic essence from the great Leviathan they had battled on the frozen river.  An'varr knew that the dagger possessed the great destructive power of the Leviathan but using it could result in the utter destruction of his soul, eternally possessed by the Leviathan. Nonetheless, An'varr knew the Lich Lord must be stopped.

                                   

The party rushed through the short tunnel through which the Lich Lord had fled.  They saw it came to the surface near a ruined manor house.  The party made to the surface in time to see the Lich Lord with the aid of several human necromancers working a great magic.  With an unaccountable din, the whole hillside on which the manor stood rose into the air.

As it did so, a terrible keening came from the necromancers.  Soon, every undead creature within the sound of the call lumbered together under the floating mountain.  It was an army of the undead of Frostgrave, marching now under the command of the Lich Lord.


The party had just enough time to seize hold of branches of several trees that had fallen when the mountain soared into the air.  With difficulty they scrambled onto the floating cliff as it flew over the ruins.  They soon realized they were heading South, towards the settlement of The Two Kings. 
The party crept towards the Lich Lord and noticed he still had a small cask of the waters of the rustal pool at his side.  The Lich Lord soon noticed them.  He sent his two Wraith Knights against them.




A fierce battle ensued. 

Emerick attempted to use the Horn of Destruction once more, to bring the manor ruins down on the Lick Lord's head.

However, he only succeed in bringing it down on Garamond who had gone into the ruins to get a shot at the Lich Lord.  The agile Treasure Hunter avoided being burned in the crumble.

Ultimately, the party dispatched the two fearsome warriors.  The Lich Lord then put the cask to his lips, drinking deeply the remaining magical waters.  The undead sorcerer's body began to enlarge and change.  Before them, the party saw, where once the Lich Lord stood, an enormous Frost Dragon spreading its great icy wings and drawing back it's breath.


Meanwhile, the crowd at The Two Kings observed with great shock the flying mountain and the army of the undead, supported by frost trolls, that was rapidly advancing towards them.


A great panic ensued as the inhabitants sought to escape the oncoming doom.

 In the midst of this panic, a single high but powerful voice cut through the confusion.  Sweetflower was not about to lose all she had worked to hard to gain to a bunch of moldy corpses.  With her bodyguard she rallied the mob.  She had all of the bards from the tavern take an inspiring song, "We Have No Fear for the Wraith-Slayer Will Soon Be Here!'

As the strains of this song reached the floating manor, An'varr threw his hands up and shouted, "Really!"


Sweetflower soon had a ragged line of defenders formed in front of the tavern.

It was none too soon, as a wave of skeletal cavalry crashed into the line. Fire for the gathered wizards and bowmen drove this first attack back but there were far more undead following.


Back on the floating mountain, the Lich Lord-turned-Frost-Dragon rose into the air.  A great blast of black ice rushed from its mouth, striking down several members of the party.  The ranger, Midgonn, was pushed back off the edge of the hill and plunged to his death.
Atlantia fell, her leg smashed by the blast of the dark ice.  An'varr seeing this leapt onto the back of Greg the Bear, kicked the creature into a lumbering charge toward the hovering dragon.  


He stood on the bear's back and then leapt onto the foot of the fearsome dragon.  He plunged Ril's demon-cursed dagger into the dragon's foot and then dropped off into the snow below.

As the Two Kings inhabitants battled the undead, several trumpet calls range out.  The Gudlub tribesmen, true to their promise of peace with An'varr came rushing to the outsiders' aid.

As An'varr lay back in the snow, he saw the spot where the dagger had struck begin to fold into itself.  The dragon cried out in tortured horror and its great body was being collapsed into this alternate form of existence.  Soon as small black ball, throbbing with a dangerous energy was hovering over the party. The floating mountain, no longer under the control of the Lich Lord-Dragon began to glide towards the earth.  Most of the party jumped into the snow below, preferring the risk of falling.
Braanx the Rangifer chose to leap into the midst of a horde of zombies.  He hacked with great force at the hated undead, his war cry echoing over the battlefield.

His cry was answered by dozens more, as the whole tribe of the Rangifers charged from the forest 
They drove into the hordes of the undead wreaking destruction.
Then, the hover black ball burst in a huge explosion, a wave of magical energy engulfing the hillside.  The wave cascaded over An'varr and Greg, the bear loyally using his bulk to shield his master.  In a moment, An'varr realized what had happened when he struck the Lich Lord-Dragon with the Leviathan-imbued dagger.  Bringing these two greater demons together, each strove to possess the other.  Such a battle was waged across the dimensions, opening and closing portals numerous times in a split second.  The power released in this battle caused the dimensions to fold over onto themselves, ultimately destroying both entities, at least insofar as they had manifested on this material plane.
The hill plummeted into the heart of the undead army.

Sweetflower order her bards to sing a charge and her ramshackle army of adventurers charged foward.

Leaderless, the undead fell before the three-fold onslaught.  The Two Kings had been saved. 

 An'varr emerged from underneath the bear, calling out, "Did anyone see that?  I destroyed the Lich Lord, I survived an interdimensional chain reaction, I live through a mountain falling from the sky! No one else but me could have done that!"

He heard a slight cough behind him.  He turned to see Ril the Elf, who brushed back the single strand of hair that fallen out of place and said blandly, "Yes, I was right here for all of that.  Very impressive, Firefly."

They looked to Atlantia who was unconscious, her leg a mangled mess.  The rest of the party soon reached them.  All save Midgonn had survived the fall.  Despite magical healing, Atlantia's leg was permanently injured.

For the next few days, the party were the heroes of all Frostgrave, feted at The Two Kings.  One day, however, the eyes of the inhabitants turned once more to the skies.


A strange airship approached from the South.  It proved to be the famed Airboat of Armera, the great flying vessel of the Invisible School of Thaumaturgy.

A group of wizards asked to see the party. "Thank the gods," the elder wizard exclaimed, "There is a terrible menace...we need someone like you to stop it...."