Saturday, December 31, 2022

Assassin Skeledrones


Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and has a safe and happy New Year!

 I splurged recently and ordered the cool Assassin Skeledrones from Skeletron . I've tried to resist jumping on the action figure bandwagon, but I couldn't resist these.  They are scaled for 4" action figures but I think I can use these with my 28mm skirmish games.  They have a Rifts vibe to them that I dig!  If I get to run Wretched Space they should fit right in as well.

Love the Ken Kelly artwork! Some of the last work he did before he passed away.

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Tabletop Skirmish!

     Slightly different post this morning.  The bulk of my gaming has been RPG's, mostly D&D, but long time blog readers know I like all kinds of genres, especially Post Apocalyptic related and Sci Fi.  Many, many years ago, like back in the 80's! I got to play a game of Rogue Trader with a buddy and a relative visiting from out of town. My relative had brought this new game called Warhammer 40K. The minis were soo cool. Legos were used to build a cityscape on the dining room table, and we had two rival Eldar forces battling it out all afternoon. I loved it and wanted to play it more but no one around me played it, and back then you couldn't get the miniatures in this part of the country. Remember this was the 80's and no internet and no hobby shops in my region.  By the time I got the original rules and had a squad, a new edition was the time I pieced together an army for that edition, that edition had more rigid force building rules and "regulations" compared to the original, another edition came out rendering my unpainted force obsolete. Then the same thing happened to me with Necromunda. I got rid of my 40K minis (long story) and moved fully back to RPG's. 

I still have this book, it's falling apart but loaded with fun stuff!

      Prior to Covid, I had started playing Zona Alfa with a buddy, just as we were getting into the flow of the game and started meeting regularly, Covid hit and put an end to all of that.  Looking back into my blog, it is hard to believe that was two years ago. Wow, the pandemic really messes with your concept of time.

     Lately I've been once again dipping my toes into the world of tabletop skirmish gaming. Well, to be honest I've been looking into it. I pillaged some online Black Friday sales to order some cool Sci Fi minis.  I have a nice collection of Fantasy minis and terrain, but Sci Fi is where I am lacking. Especially enough pieces to field any kind of skirmish units.  I prefer small scale stuff. I'm not looking to field massive armies. 

     It's nice to see that miniature agnostic and setting agnostic games seem to be more of the thing now. Current trends remind me of the original 40K Rogue Trader build your own stuff days.  Some of my D&D buddies and I have been looking into what skirmish systems are out there, lots of options. Stargrave, One Page Rules, (I'm not doing Kill Team!, GW will get no more of my money, this isn't an anti GW rant, if you enjoy their games great!), Wiley Games stuff, Space Weirdos, Star Breach, Space Station Zero, Zona Alfa, Planet 28 and more.  I'm hoping 2023 will allow for me to have a return to tabletop skirmish gaming.  

Wish me luck!  -B.B.

Oh, I picked this toy vehicle up at an estate sale yesterday, seems to scale perfectly with my 28mm minis.  Miniature is from Battle Valor games painted by my buddy Jeff.

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Wretched Space/Matrix Spiel Solo Session 2

     Hope everyone is doing well.  Work and real life have derailed any face-to-face gaming for the time being, however, when I get a little quiet time, I continue to have fun with the tools that The Lizard Man Diaries blog has made available. I'm still in a Sci Fi mood after running my recent 5E Campaign, and I'd like to run a Wretched Space face to face game at some point., So, by using the Matrix Spiel Solo rules, with Wretched Space as a framework, I can play around in my own little OSR Sci Fi Sandbox and do some fun campaign development at the same time. 

     Last session the outlaw Absolom Wroth, in his hubris, had over-estimated his gang's abilities (The Relentless Bastards) and had seen his entire gang wiped out by the remnants of a group of Red Reign Mercenaries.  Absolom, fled into the ruins to lick his wounds. I've decided to pick up with the story here, I'm curious to see what happens to Absolom Wroth...will he survive to become a more significant character, or will he meet his end on the ruined world of Charund? 

                                           Absolom Wroth
Absolom's Problem List
His gang was wiped out by Red Reign Mercenaries
Absolom is alone in the ruins of a dangerous city on a ruined planet.
He must get to his ship before the Red Reign find it. 

Turn 1:
Can Absolom get back to his gang's ship before the Red Reign find it or him? 
Results: Failure, Catastrophic negative outcome to attempter.
Absolom learns the hard way that the mercenaries are not to be trifled with!  They locate his gang's ship and blow the entire craft to pieces, before departing Charund.  
                  Don't mess around with The Order of the Red Reign
Things just got way worse for our Outlaw!  He is potentially stranded on Charund, with no allies or even shelter. He has some weapons and gear but not much...

Turn 2:
Absolom needs to find shelter, resources, night will be falling soon, and the ruins are even more dangerous after dark.  Can Absolom avoid danger and find some means to improve his situation?
Result: Success, Desired outcome is just barely, and temporarily, achieved.
Absolom manages to avoid the dangers of the ruins (for now) and he finds something to help his situation.  Referring to the Matrix Solo rules, this will generate a new entity and at least one new problem...  
Lizard Man Diaries recommends using the generator as inspiration. Using this method for random inspiration I got the result of Isolated Chapel.  Playing around with the card text as inspiration and an AI art generator I get this visual result! 
 (New Entity Created- Isolated Chapel) 

The blue glow in the image makes me wonder what is within the ruined chapel? 

What is the blue glow?  I'll generate another random card and get... Turbulent Dreams...  "Laquatus dreams of seizing control." So within the "Chapel" is a dormant A.I..  It calls itself Laquatus X. If it can be "released" it wants to seize control.. I imagine dotted across Charund and in orbit above the planet are a variety of military defense installations, satellites, in various states of disrepair.. Laquatus X if freed of it's current state wants to seize any available assets and take over!   Absolom's presence within the building has triggered something that enables Laquatus to start to overcome the mechanisms and programs keeping it dormant!!!  Can the Chapel regain control and keep the rogue AI in its slumber state?  

Turn 3

Absolom has entered the ruined chapel, drawn to the eerie blue glow emanating from the structure.  Machinery gives off a low hum, he fumbles around with the consoles hoping to find some means to get a way off of Charund.  Inadvertently he triggers something.  Machinery starts powering up, something is coming online!!

Isolated Chapel Problem List

  • Dangerous Dormant AI is starting to "wake up"
  • AI "dreams" of taking over
  • Defense mechanism keeping AI dormant are old and unstable
Action: Can the Isolated Chapel's apparatus stop the countdown and keep the AI in check? 
Result: Failure, An embarrassing minor set back
Oh no! Laquatus X is starting to wake up! But there is still time!! A countdown begins, Laquatus X is starting to awaken!  The A.I. isn't fully active yet, but continued failure in reigning in the A.I. could lead to disaster!
Turn 4

Absolom Problem List
  • Alone and trapped on a ruined world
  • Can he (or will he) stop the dangerous AI from coming online?

 Isolated Chapel Problem List

  • Laquatus X is about to wake up and wants to seize control
  • Absolom is within the chapel, messing with devices that must not be disturbed
Absolom's Action:  Can he figure out the devices and broadcast a signal for help or will he fully awaken Laquatus X and all that entails???
Result: Failure, An immediately dangerous negative outcome. 
Laquatus X is now online!! Absolom has no idea what he has just unleashed!  

Isolated Chapel Action: One last "Hail Mary" to shut down Laquatus, can the Chapel devices safety protocols muster up enough spark to force Laquatus X back into a dormant state or are the safety protocols too old and broken to be effective??!!  

Result: Failure, Catastrophic negative outcome to attempter. 
Absolom's bumbling actions not only awakened the rogue A.I. but enabled it to establish a satellite uplink!
Long dormant military satellites activate in orbit around Charund!
Deep installations begin to come online!
Missile silos come online!

Absolom stands around slack jawed not sure what the hell is going on or what he has done! 

Summary:  Oh boy!  I didn't see that one coming.  Charund just became an even more dangerous place!  I wonder how much actual control Laquatus X will be able to seize?  How much infrastructure is left in place for the A.I. to utilize and control?  Could the dangerous A.I. seize control of all of Charund? Could it become a danger beyond the planet's orbit?  Interesting questions.. and what will happen to Absolom now?  Last session this all was ultimately triggered by Lord Eldrake's quest for the Scrolls of Seraphasma, now as a result, a long dormant dangerous A.I. has activated and is trying to seize control of any remaining military/industrial assets still functioning within the ruins of Charund.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Matrix Spiel Solo meets Wretched Space

     I'm a big fan of The Lizard Man Diaries blog.  He recently posted about his Matrix Spiel system that allows for solo play.  I had some downtime today and thought I would take the rules for a spin to see what would happen.  Most of the art I created using various A.I. art generators (except Order of Red Reign skull picture).  The NPC's and factions were in my notes for a "maybe one day" Campaign using the Wretched Space rules.  I've had Wretched Space for a short while, but haven't talked about it yet. "Wretched Space is an old-school role-playing game designed to play anti-hero characters in a cinematic setting. In Wretched Space, the genre is space opera. But unlike most other space operas, this one isn’t about heroic characters whose actions have significant consequences for the future of civilization. Here you are meant to play on a smaller scale, and the higher purpose your character serves is his own self-interest. That doesn't imply you're playing a villain. You can still traverse the galaxy, enjoying extraordinary adventures and possibly even helping others. The characters will most likely commit crimes and exhibit contempt for other people's rights and well being, but perhaps they will wind up saving the day after all."

     Using Wretched Space as a source of inspiration for a setting/backdrop, I used the Matrix Spiel Solo rules to see what would develop. References to Actions, Problem Lists, Results, and Turns are all from the Matrix Spiel Solo rules. Please refer to that excellent product for further information.  I decided to accept whatever outcomes resulted and will make these happenings a part of the backstory of my eventual Wretched Space Campaign. So, let's get down to it shall we?

The Setting: Charund- Once a technologically advanced world, now a vast ruined wasteland, with lost tech, horrific dangers and death lurking within its forgotten vaults and ruins.

Initial Problem List:

·         Various warring factions vie for control of the ruined world, wanting to loot the lost tech for themselves.

·         Dangerous mutants, rogue robots and other monstrous beasts lurk within the ruins preying on explorers, scavengers and each other, making the ruins quite deadly to scavengers and explorers.

 Turn 1: 

Lord Eldrake

Action:  Lord Eldrake desires the Scrolls of Seraphasma, he has gained a tip that the scrolls may be located within a ruined data archive located deep within the ruined city of Malac on the planet Charund.  He hires a band of adventurers to investigate the ruined archives and recover the scrolls or anything about them that they can find. Result: Failure, A potentially dangerous negative outcome. New Problem: The adventurers have betrayed Lord Eldrake, they were captured by a gang of outlaws (The Relentless Bastards) and have traded the location of the lost data archives to the gang leader in order to spare their lives. The gang leader murdered the adventurers after he had gotten all he could out of them. The outlaws now know the location of the ruined data archives and the adventurers Lord Eldrake hired are dead (bodies tossed out of an airlock).

The Scrolls of Seraphasma- What secrets do they hold? and Why does Lord Eldrake want them so badly?

Turn 2:

Action: Thanks to his agents and informants, Lord Eldrake knows the adventurers he hired are likely dead and that others know of the location of the data archives. (The Relentless Bastards, have big mouths and like to brag).  Lord Eldrake must act quickly to get another group onsite before others take the Scrolls for themselves (if the scrolls are even there...).  Result: Success, Desired outcome is just barely, and temporarily, achieved. - By dipping heavily into his contacts and assets, Lord Eldrake is able to hire skilled mercenaries, members of the infamous Order of the Red Reign, that get to the site before The Relentless Bastards do, however, the mercenaries get there just barely before the outlaws do and are still exploring within the ruined archives, when the gang arrives.

                                     Order of the Red Reign

Absolom Wroth
New Entity Created: Absolom Wroth leader of The Relentless Bastards. Wroth sees these mercenaries as enemies within "his" territory, and he wants whatever loot is within the data archives for himself.

Absolom Wroth's Problem List

·         Absolom only recently seized control of The Relentless Bastards. Absolom challenged the previous leader, to a duel and killed him in combat.  Absolom needs a big score to prove he has what it takes to lead this band.

·         Absolom , is a bit "off his rocker" to say the least, he is obsessed with blades, and enjoys inflicting pain. He even talks to his favorite knife, this puts his followers ill at ease, his bizarre behavior could lead to him being overthrown.

Turn 3:

Action: The Red Reign Mercenaries search the Data Archives, looking for the Scrolls of Seraphasma, or information about them...

                                       Red Reign Mercenary

Result: Failure, An immediately dangerous negative outcome.  The Red Reign Mercenaries, unintentionally activate/awaken the formerly dormant defense A.I. of the facility. The Data Archives, were for military applications and thus had far more advanced and dangerous defense measures than anticipated.  All hell breaks loose!  Advanced wardroids attack the mercenaries hard, if not for the skills of the mercs and advanced age and poor condition of the machines, the mercenaries would have been totally annihilated.  


The surviving mercenaries retreat from the ruined facility. The scrolls were never within this archive and whatever data regarding their location that may have been there is now destroyed in the aftermath of the fight with the machines.

Red Reign Mercenary Problem List:

·         Badly injured by wardroids, low on ammo and numbers

·         Still have to get past The Relentless Bastards and back to their ship

Action: The Relentless Bastards attack the remnants of the Red Reign Mercenaries

Result: Success, Desired outcome is confidently achieved.- The Relentless Bastards annihilate the remnants of the Red Reign Mercenaries. New Entity: prior to being destroyed, the Red Reign Mercenary leader broadcast their status and the face of Absolom Wroth to his ship.  

Absolom Wroth

The Relentless Bastards seize what is left of the mercenaries gear, including the location of their craft. This action proves, at least for now, Absolom is a worthy leader of The Relentless Bastards.

Problem: Hated by The Red Reign Mercenary Order

Lord Eldrake

Problem: Lost his only lead on the possible location of the Scrolls of Seraphasma

Spent a ton of money on the Red Reign Mercenaries only for them to have failed, and the Order may hold Lord Eldrake responsible for their losses.

Turn 4:

Absolom leads The Relentless Bastards to seize the Red Reign's ship.

Result: Failure, Catastrophic negative outcome to attempter.  The Red Reign skeleton crew left on the Mercenary's ship and alerted by the now deceased main group, sets a trap for Absolom and his gang, Absolom's gang is obliterated and only Absolom escapes, vowing revenge!

Turn 5: 

Absolom flees and goes into hiding, licking his wounds to fight another day. 

The Red Reign sends Lord Eldrake a hefty bill

Lord Eldrake is no closer to finding the Scrolls of Seraphasma and poorer for his efforts.

For sake of time, I will wrap up here and proceed to a summary of my thoughts and findings. 

     Summary:   I had a lot of fun doing this, being able to use some of the campaign draft notes I had for a potential Wretched Space Campaign, allowed me to "play" in my campaign in a way that I otherwise wouldn't have been able to do.  Letting the Matrix Spiel solo rules decide on the outcomes of key actions made things surprising and interesting for me as the GM.  The above happenings give me a more solid background of events that occurred prior to the actual start of the game.  Giving it a stronger sense of history than if I had just arbitrarily decided that a particular thing happened.
Thanks for reading my post.  
-Good Gaming  B.B. 

Sunday, November 20, 2022

5E Campaign in Mini-Review

 Happy Sunday to everyone!

I hope this post finds you well.  I've had a few folks ask about my 5E Campaign.  We were able to get in about 13 sessions before the real world caught up with us.  Job changes and general work hectic stuff, folks got married, illnesses, etc... The player's characters had made 5th level. Unfortunately we didn't get to end the campaign on a note of completion, but we had some great experiences.  I guess this is sort of a lessons learned post campaign wrap up sort of thing.

Session Zero: I think this really helped the campaign.  I intend to do this next time I start up a new campaign.

5E:  While not perfect, the system has grown on me.  I consider myself an OSR, old school DM, but I was able to run 5E with an old school approach (for the most part). 5th level hit some significant milestones, and the characters were pretty tough compared to what I had expected.  They trounced some of my encounters in the last session.  I will say with 5E, I can "throw" a lot more monsters and foes at the party than say in an OSE or C&C game. 

Milestone Leveling: this was another new approach for me, and I think it met the needs of the group. I may not do this every campaign, but it was nice method for this campaign.

Minis and Terrain: I used minis and terrain for every session, the players loved it, but I did find myself spending a lot of time making sure I had the right minis and terrain for every session, even custom built some terrain pieces.  Some of which weren't used. This was fun, but made session prep more involved.

So what's next?  We have discussed starting up a new campaign after the first of the year. Hopefully by then things will have calmed down for everyone and we can resume some sort of play.  

None of us are interested in D&D One or 6E or whatever it is, sounds like it has a significant virtual component and I don't enjoy virtual play.  We have talked about a new 5E campaign, but are reviewing options.  Currently I find myself interested in some Sci Fi, I've GM'd a TON of fantasy over the years, and a good bit of P.A. (Gamma World!!!), but very little Sci Fi RPGing. I ran one Stars Without Number campaign that ended with a TPK after 4 sessions. I did run some classic Traveller in high school/college, but that was a LOOOONG time ago. 

Well thanks for reading and Good Gaming!  -B.B. 


Sunday, October 2, 2022

Drogar The Terrible; NPC Villain from The Warlord for Hyperborea

 Thought I would continue my posts about using DC Comic's The Warlord as inspiration for a Hyperborea RPG Campaign.  Issue #2 has some solid content, a fight with some Saber Toothed Tigers and The Warlord ends up getting captured by Drogar, a deceitful fighter that ends up being the captain of a slaver ship.  Thought Drogar would make for an interesting villain/NPC encounter.  Brief write-up below!


Drogar the Terrible

(stats as Bandit Captain Hyperborea Referee's Manual P. 80,  has weapon mastery with long sword and short bow- +1 to hit and damage) Speaks Seafarer version of Thieves' Cant

Gryfalcon Crew (25 - stats as Bandit P. 80, speak seafarer version of Thieves Cant)

Drogar the Terrible is the captain of the Slave Galley Gryfalcon. He has a crew of 25 ruffian/fighter types that keep the slaves/rowers in line and to repel boarders and other pirates. Drogar is a clever captain, he seldom risks his own skin and men in a fight, preferring to use trickery and guile to get what he wants.  He is no coward, but a dead man can't spend his hard won gold. 


Gryfalcon  (Phoenician Galley)


Wednesday, September 7, 2022

The Lost World of The Warlord for Hyperborea

     I've started (re)reading The Warlord comics series from DC Comics.  I dig it's Lost World vibe.  Just look at that cover! Seems to be a perfect match up for ideas for a Hyperborea Campaign (AS&SH).  While reading this issue the below panel just jumped out at me as an idea for my (eventual?) Hyperborea Campaign.  Have a little Serpentine Wine...just watch out for the "aftertaste"...

 Serpentine Wine - This evil brew is said to have been originally concocted by the foul Snake-Men. A few especially evil human magi are also believed to have also learned how to brew this sorcerous wine.  Anyone drinking this dark red wine must immediately make a saving throw versus Transformation or be turned into a  snake (roll a  d4 : 1=asp, 2=rattlesnake, 3=spitting cobra, 4=viper).  In all aspects the afflicted is for all intents and purposes a snake, they lose their intellect and any special abilities. They are also susceptible to a Snake-man's Command Serpents ability. This wicked wine is thankfully rare and difficult to brew, it acts as a variant of the Polymorph Other spell.  Casting Dispel Magic will reverse the effects, as will, the death of the afflicted.

 Based on a comic panel from DC Comics The Warlord. No copyright infringement is intended

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Meet the Myconids- 5E Campaign Session 9

     Happy to say we had our 9th session of our 5E Campaign last night.  May seem like a minor milestone to many, but for our group of folks with hectic jobs, families, busy schedules and other obligations, nine consistent 4 hour+ sessions is pretty good.  I honestly think that having a true Session Zero has made a huge difference in the overall quality of the campaign. The players had input in the setting and we all had clear expectations of the game and group from the beginning.  The party has had several close calls, and lost a gnome henchman in session 8.  I'm more of an OSR DM, so running 5E has been an interesting process for me.  I've applied my Old School mindset to the game and the players have learned to avoid combat where they can, fight on their own terms when they can't.  Early on they went into a few encounters "guns blazing" and about had a couple of TPK's (when you are at 0 hit points, the monsters can and will continue to attack if the situation fits, leading to failed death saves very quickly!).

    This session had a lot of roleplay. They have managed a loose alliance with a small group of Myconids, dealt with some renegade mercenaries preying on innocent folk, and have established a community/encampment (at the old farm site they cleared in Session 2) for a growing group of refugees that the party freed from a hobgoblin fort back in Session 5. They have crossed the local (rogue) prince of the Kingdom of Valorn and are now wanted for crimes against the kingdom in that region (They determined early on the prince was corrupt and had his own agenda seeking power and domination, while he worked to undermine his father the king). The group also managed to find a "Stargate", now getting it to work reliably and whom (if anyone) to tell about it, is another matter entirely... 

Wednesday, July 6, 2022


 A follow up to yesterday's post.  Over the weekend I had to run into the local Five Below store and happened to go down the toy aisle..when I spotted the COBRA F.A.N.G. Copter!!! Love that classic cover art from back in the day.

     I always wanted the original action figure version of this as a kid back in the 80's, but never had one, so of course I had to grab this! Ok, I grabbed two of them!  Yesterday, I finally had a bit of free time to assemble one of them, with it being 99 degrees outside (110 when you factor in the heat index), staying indoors and playing with I mean assembling Legos ...well Construction Blocks, is smart right?  

Nice little vehicle that captures the look and feel of the original.  Now I need to find a set of skirmish rules that will allow me to use it in some tabletop gaming!

Waldorf approves! and he finds fault with everything!  (Waldorf minifigure sold separately).

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

The Monkey Militia

      It's been awhile, but long time followers of my blog will know that I am an AFOL (Adult Fan of Lego).  In particular I love the minifigs. Pictured above is the results of a rather long term project of picking up any of the Lego Chima Gorilla minifigures that I could find, while outfitting them with appropriate weapons and gear. Combat knives, Assault Rifles and Tactical Vests.  Not sure about the leader with the Katana and Owl, but we shall see.  Anyways, I present to you The Monkey Militia.  I should have waited till Saturday to post this, for a Simian Saturday post, but here it is early.  I'm hoping to work these into some Skirmish gaming soon. Maybe as a rival gang for Five Parsecs from Home, Space Weirdos, or something else?  Do any of you use lego Minifigs for your tabletop games?