Back to the City

When I first started running C&C with my current group, the long story arc centered around a single city and the group’s attempt to thwart a plot endangering that community.  The group would head out of the city and into the surrounding wilderness, exploring ruins and generally sticking their fingers in the bad guys’ bicycle spokes.

When that story arc was done, it was a major event, and the storyline changed gears to a small mini-arc followed by this “find the twelve relics” thing I have going on now.  The shift to an even larger storyline (finding twelve artifacts, rather than exploring three different ruins) has begun to bog down as the plots get to be too similar to each other.  The PC’s identify the next relic, travel to whereever it is, kill whatever is guarding it, and get the relic.  The Spear of Autumn Casting has some roleplaying to it because of the PC’s nemeses appeared as the villain, but that’s about it.

The “quest” campaign structure also really lacks the ability for the GM to introduce reoccurring NPC’s.  Instead you have “NPC of the week,” like an episode of Pokemon.  All I needed was the half-orc constantly hitting on the town priest, sheriff, or Nurse Joy and I’d be set.  I could tell that the more roleplaying-oriented players were getting less interested, and frankly I was getting less interested.

So, I decided to retool.  It wasn’t hard, since I’m leading the group around by the nose right now–I just led to them a nice big city with loads of mysteries and places to explore and, oh yes, a captive tarrasque right in the middle of town.  You can read about it here at my sister site to this one.  I am hoping this layout provides with the best of both worlds.  There’s enough interesting things in the city for the roleplayers to get interested in, while the hack-and-slash players can go gadding about the giant castle filled with beasties galore.  Moreover, I’m not even going to both mapping the entire castle.  Instead, I’m going to organize it in “pods,” little multi-encounter enclaves that will constitute a single “adventure” (perhaps over several sessions) with them roughly interconnecting in some way.  The players have never been that map-oriented, since I use the modular Hirst Arts dungeons, so they won’t even notice if the pods don’t always mesh together logically.

Grimfeast (the city, for those who didn’t click the link) has a lot of the same themes as Peluria, the former city-state from earlier in the campaign.  Both are sort of oblivious to the danger around them.  Both had undercurrents of corruption in the leadership of the community (in Peluria, these were not as well explored as I would’ve liked, but they were there).  Hopefully I’ll get more into them this time.

I’m also hoping that this’ll refresh what has been a somewhat unfruitful imagination within me about this campaign.  I’ve been struggling sometimes to come up with things, and settling more often than not for boring old orc-and-ogre dungeon crawls.  Stay tuned to see what happens.


Basements & Boogeymen

Modular dungeon

Having your craft table in the same room as the children’s playroom will of course create the occasionally spillover from one to the other.  I’ve been known to swipe legos to make mold frames, and occasionally my plastic D&D miniatures have been incorporated into action figures, etc.

But recently my two kids asked if I’d run a game of Castles & Crusades with them, and I (perhaps foolishly) agreed.  I’ve done it three times now–each time following a pretty formulaic routine.  There’s no real “plot,” the two PC’s, both fighters, are trying to find something in a dungeon for a friendly NPC in return for a reward.  I don’t bother with stats, just give the kids a target number to hit, and an AC to avoid being hit.  Each has 10 hit points.  There’s an NPC cleric along to cast cure light wounds as needed.  Essentially I’m running a 3D version of DragonFable using miniatures, which is good fun. 

As you can see in the photo, I use a pretty simple layout.  This is actually an earlier modular dungeon I made a few years ago (the second of three that I have made).  I also use a dice-rolling tower to keep the dice under control.  Plus it makes a fun racket. 

Second Orc Unit

Two Orc Boyz Units

I managed to complete my second unit of five orc boyz, shown here with their brothers in the first unit.  Now I only have two units and the warband leader to go.  I’ll need to pick up the pace if I’m going to be done by June 1.

If you aren’t familiar with his site, you should check out Phil Olley’s War Cabinet.  His latest “Broadside” has a great essay on keeping on track with painting a wargaming army.  I’m not sure what my favorite game is, although it is probably Warhammer since it is the only one I play regularly.  It has lots of food for thought, though.

I also picked up a copy of Wargaming: An Introduction by Neil Thomas at a used book store.  This little gem has several very simple rulesets for wargaming in five different historical periods.  Probably not of interest for the guy who likes lots of details, but good stuff for those of us who don’t want to plod through hundreds of pages of rules (or talk friends into doing the same).

The Dollhouse


Years ago, I bought this dollhouse kit at a church garage sale, hoping to build it for my daughter.  I got hung up on the window frames, and it sat partially made for years.  Now my wife and I are tackling the project again and I’ll post pics as progress goes.

I’m also switching the layout to Monotone, which puts the posts photo in the blog header.  I haven’t quite worked all the kinks out of how Monotone operates, and I miss the sidebars, but since most people come here for the pictures anyways I didn’t think it would matter.

Edit:  I switched back out of Monotone.  For one, I found it a little buggy.  Second, I missed having the pages available for viewing.  Third, casual visitors can’t view multiple entries on a single page, which seems discouraging.