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Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Zero Tendency

Crunchy but a nice fit with certain types of fiction, where zeroing in and other forms of the language of precision are common.

The basics are that you take 2d6, nominate one as positive and the other negative, roll them and subtract the result on the negative die from the result on the positive die.

You are aiming for precision, zero deviation, the bullseye.

If you need to find two dimensional precision then roll an additional d6 and for positive results count clockwise from 12 o'clock to 6 o'clock, for negative results counterclockwise. This gives direction to the 2d6 magnitude roll.

The language of positive results:
Too much
Off To the right

The language of negative results:
Too little
Not enough

The language of zero:
Zeroed in
On the money
Just right

This can be modified in a lot of ways supporting the basic fiction. Competence or external influence can add more or less dice, change the type of die rolled, change the range of success, add or subtract fixed values as modifiers.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Myth Campaign Diary - Who's the Boss

“Back to the pit foul wyrm! Lest I lay about me with the cold iron head of my mighty weapon! No beast so foul shall be suffered to live while I stand firm!”, roared the Acolyte.

“Stop grandstanding and get out of the way, you’re spoiling my shot.”, snapped the Archer

Ignoring the petty squabbling of the fleshlings, the Spriggan thickened it’s bark and braced for the chitinous fiend making its inevitable attack.

Silently, but for the faint crack of rapidly forming ice, a bone numbing chill spread over the floor of the cavern from a silver ribbon extending from the fingers of the Apprentice where they brushed the dark loam. The masterwork complete he drew back to his librams, considering whether to further aid the band of ragamuffins he had become entwined with.

Hissing and clacking, the great worm moved slowly, but inexorably forward even as it was chilled to the marrow by the Apprentice’s great spell. Its urgency to devour ultimately its undoing.

The answer the question is pretty categorically, not the Boss. The first barrage from the heroes wiped out stage one of the Terror without even triggering the Darkness Cycle.

The ongoing -2 to TN chill effect generated by the Apprentice is great on big base models and considering how well geared we are pretty much guaranteed hits for every attack.

Stage 2 was a bit more challenging, but it never felt like we were in any real danger. A smaller or less well equipped group would probably have a tougher time of it as the Terror’s trample ability prevents adjacent heroes from acting effectively.

The group was helped out by their big serendipity bank, summoning Bobby twice to soak up hits from the Terror’s multi-hit attacks.

Ultimately, though, stage two was dispatched inside another two cycles.
Three of the heroes took the Life Bringer title and the Spriggan loaded upgraded armour into her deck.

Next episode is a custom setup non-story adventure with some extra goodies, and possibly some photo’s. We’ll also be using the Orcneas deck for more of a challenge so I’ll need to get painting.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Myth Campaign Diary: The House Rules Edition

No Flavour text this update but we've just cleared everything except the Terror in act 3 so plenty of that to come in the next update "The Song of the Spider"

The Monty Haul Problem
Thus begins the final push towards the end of story two act three. And I’m beginning to feel that there might be a treasure problem. I fact I’m having  a bit of an existential Myth crisis about a few things.

Number One – the Loot
I’m a tabletop GM by nature and one of the maxim’s I’ve learned to live by is “Keep ‘em poor and hungry for more”. The acquisition of material stuff is a primary driver for adventuring. A paucity of said stuff also means that the players and their characters are challenged more strongly by circumstances and are therefore forced to become more inventive in their problem solving. This always leads to a good story.
We’re into our 6th act in total and most of us are carrying one or two pieces of blue gear and the rest is green.
Being an experienced bunch we are also very good at maximising our opportunities for gaining loot. This has resulted in us being both very well equipped and fantastically rich.
The upshot is that the current batch of antagonists is proving less challenging that I though they would.

Number Two - Faffing About (or the loss of urgency)
Mechanically if the perceived danger is low then there is no incentive to gain threat. Realistically this means that the only threat thresholds that we meet on the darkness deck are the occasional 8, and that’s only the case when we’ve needed to do a high threat action for a specific quest gain, such as in the epic mega kill episode last post.
It also means that once the lairs are done we can faff about for ages using movement cards to meet the “must act” anti loitering criteria while picking up all the treasure tokens.

Number Three – Bum Scratching
This has happened to both the trickster, where I think this is a larger defect, and most recently to the spriggan. You draw a hand and there’s no useful contribution you can make, repeat until at the end of your deck. By this point everyone else has been sticking the boot in and you’ve sat about scratching your bum for an hour or more. This is about the least fun you can have playing Myth.
The problem for the Spriggan is that she is very fragile until geared up which does apply some urgency pressure, but in a larger group context just leaves her hanging about at the back doing nothing and feeling like a third wheel.

Number Four – Follow the Leader
Minion clumping is a thing. Especially with the instinct enemies they all rush the heroes and effectively block the captains from doing anything apart from wandering up and down the back row like a heavily armoured football coach. Not so much of a problem at setup but after a few spawns makes the tile a turgid swamp of slowly shuffling minions. Captains are also slow to emerge in the Terror deck which means that there are usually a lot of crawlers on the tile before they put in an appearance.

House Rules
We’ve had a bunch of great Myth sessions but we’ve put in a whole heap of hours and that’s drawing out some underlying issues, non of which can’t be overcome with a house rule or two. And it’s also possible that the chaps at Myth HQ will have already thought of these for Journeyman.

Changes to enemy movement
We’ve already been playing these house rules as they are mainly clarifications to the existing movement rules.

Proximity attackers will do their best to move next to the closest target. If they are obviously blocked then then will move towards the next nearest, based on their priority and so on.

When calculating which target to attack based on threat subtract the distance the enemy unit would have to travel from the calculation. This reduces clustering as it means that enemies will close with heroes as targets of opportunity first unless given a compelling threat and gives a reason for the soldier to keep his threat high to draw fire from other heroes.

Changes to card draw
Before anyone plays a card in the hero cycle you may discard a card, search your deck for a replacement card and place it in your hand. To do this you must pay the AP cost of the card plus one as the Darkness becomes aware of your manipulation of the fates. The may spend 1 serendipity to reduce the AP cost by one. You may not spend more than one serendipity.

New Mechanics for the Acolyte
You may play a card face down to heal a hero by one point of vitality. The range of this ability is equal to your Faith. This operates in a similar way to the Soldier’s rage mechanic

Changes to lair spawn
If there are eight or more minions on the tile then the lair will automatically spawn a Captain during the Darkness cycle in addition to the spawn on the Darkness card.

Changes to treasure
Intelligent creatures moving over a treasure token will expend a point of movement to pick it up, returning it to the treasure pool for the tile.

All of these will be reviewed once we introduce new darkness decks as some of these issues may be caused by just playing the stories for the Terror.

Friday, 3 July 2015

Myth Campaign Diary: Whoa! That's way too much threat.

Act 1 ends with Pete the Thief sending us off into the woods, which are of course, cursed. We also need to kill 12 minions in a single hero cycle to fulfil our additional quest objective and oh, we can’t use any move cards or we’ll be stuck in the woods forever.
It’s a pretty straightforward dodge through the first tile, loading it with a massive hunting pack tied up the Avatar of Winter long enough to put out all four torches before having to engage him and so it was on to the main 12x12 and our epic kill challenge.
“Hold the line!” shouted the Acolyte, his hammer’s head quivering in anticipation as he gripped the shaft more tightly.
Fenwick shuffled nervously, mentally marking her targets as she checked her quiver for the fourth time.
As usual the Spriggan looked on impassively, impossible to read.
“Where the hell is the Brigand?” muttered Fenwick, scanning the shadows for any sign of him.
Crawlers surged forward.
With a sound like a dozen doors being kicked in at once a huge Elder tree spirit infused a young sapling and crushed the entrance to the crawler lair like a beam falling on an egg.
Bark thickening, the Spriggan strode forward, blackwood buckler a staunch barrier against the oncoming mob of grubbers and crawlers.
Even without the movement restriction we would have taken our time entering the tile. To meet the quest criteria we needed the minions to bunch up and maximise our chances to make a big kill.
“AAAAAAAH!” Hot white flames danced out from the Acolyte at the climax of his prayer, burning away five minions in rush of holy power.
With perfect timing Fenwick loosed the pent up energy bound up in her taught bowstring and a rain of arrows left another six dead.
Whirling from the shadows the Brigand, a dark reaver armed with razor sharp talons, swept three more aside. Crossing the short distance in less than the blink of an eye, slashing to either side of him, the two mucker captains slumped at his feet. Both fell, stupefied as if their bodies had been left no time to tell their brains that they were dead.
With the Spriggan and its Elder ally acting as vanguard, blocking the minions from attacking that freed the other party members up to go all out against the minion horde.
The final death toll was sixteen in a single hero cycle. The drawback of course was that our threat was through the roof and we spent the rest of the session trying to manage it down to avoid triggering more than two threat events.
As it was we had to face the razorfiend again and it was only the fact that the Spriggan was fully geared that enabled us to survive long enough to mount a counter attack.
The treasure bag now contained two blue tokens and by a massive stroke of luck I pulled both of them on a single draw.
All the party members bar the Spriggan now have at least one blue item which bodes well for completing the story. If anything I think we’re a bit over powered now but we’ll see when we have to face Yardu and The Terror if that’s the case.
In any event, I’m going to try out the Apprentice next week, as that’s the only character I have left to play and I’d like to have played through at least one 12x12 with each one before I run any demo games at my FLGS.

The second part of act 2 should be a cakewalk now and then it’s on to our encounter with our first proper boss.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Myth Campaign Diary: The long overdue Story 2, Act 1 parts 1 and 2 update

“I’m not really sure. Anyway, this is Jeff, he says he’s good with traps so we probably don’t need the ROUS anyway.”
“And what bar, pray tell, did you find Jeff in, priest?”
“I’ll have you know that was devotional.”
“Yes, the last one said that too. Just before the razorfiend gutted him, as I recall.”
The Spriggan looked impassively on as the Acolyte and Archer engaged in their usual arguing. All human fleshlings looked alike to her anyway.
Nearby, the Trickster, whose name was not Jeff, fiddled with his pack, desperately trying to organise the bits and bobs therein into some kind of useful order. The Brigand had slunk out of the bar while the Acolyte’s holy gaze was eyeing up a serving wench to attend to some personal business. The Trickster was simply unlucky and naïve enough to make eye contact during the subsequent fracas and eviction.
To compound matters, a travelling minstrel had attached himself the band as they crossed the last ford claiming that a wise woman had foreseen great deeds in their future.
“Maybe for the Archer”, thought the Trickster, “but a tree and a ‘devine’ of Boabeh? Unlikely, still maybe I can pick up some easy loot and then head back to civilisation with him when he realises the wise woman was just a mad old crone.”
“So all we have to do is talk to the miscreant and ask nicely where the gem is.” Stated the Acolyte confidently.
As usual the Spriggan said nothing and the Archer simply threw a withering stare.
“Let’s get on with it then.” She said brusquely.
Crossing the courtyard towards the palace the ground suddenly gave way and belched forth half a dozen crawlers.
“Aha!” Shouted the Trickster, “I have just the thing.”
Rummaging in the top of his pack he grabbed a collection of bolts, cogs and an old saw blade. Moments later a whirring, clockwork, wheeled saw contraption lurched towards the surprised crawlers, cutting half of them down.
Stunned by the effectiveness of their newest companion the other adventurers bold took a while to organise themselves but within short order the Archer and a cloud of very angry bees had made short work of the rest.
“See, easy.” Said the Acolyte, only slightly disappointed that a prayer had not been necessary.
This proved to be a masterstroke of understatement as the jolly band strode confidently into the main hall.
So far Story 2 Act 1 has taken two sessions, early confidence proved to be misplaced as bad luck poor lair management and the appearance of two mini bosses have slowed progress to a crawl.
The first section was cleared easily enough, but the big tile with two lairs rapidly filled up with minions, blocking access to the lairs.
While on tile one the Trickster looked quite impressive it soon became clear that he is not a great complement to the other three characters and is very heavily reliant on the right draw of cards to do much of anything. I spent the majority of the first session watching from the side-lines, never managing to do much of anything, bar a single grenade. Perhaps a well geared Journeyman will be better but due to this, the trickster is my least favourite class to play so far.
My favourite, I think, remains the soldier and as a group we are a little light on threat management, although against a mainly crawler opposition that’s not as important as they are a proximity based attacker.
There are two lairs on the main tile and the grubber lair was taken out pretty quickly. The crawler lair was slightly further away from the entrance though and had time to spawn a lot of minions before the party was in range, effectively blocking it.
Staying on top of the crawlers was proving a major undertaking as we basically hit a stalemate. The Spriggan’s draw was suboptimal and so she powered up quite slowly on this tile. This makes things tricks as she is fulfilling the role of the soldier due to her effective regeneration.
The dead weight of the Trickster left it to the Archer to deal out the majority of the damage. Once again the value of the endless quiver can’t be understated here. Neither can the value of the Harbinger title in reducing the damage potential of the darkness by forcing a courage test.
“Razorfiend! It must be the mate of the one that slew the last Acolyte, where’s this one?”
Unluckily at the start of session 2 the Acolyte drew a threat 8 event and a mini boss showed up, we went with the razorfiend and attendants again as that seemed to fit with the scenario. Closely following that the Darkness spawned a second mini boss and feeling risky we put Etrus on the board. Luckily the mass of crawlers boxed him in giving us time to plan our next move.
I had given up on the Trickster by this point and we agreed to bring in the Brigand again starting at the back of the 6x4 tile entrance to the 12x12.
“By the Holy Rod! The mucker’s exploded!” exclaimed the Acolyte, as the razorfiend’s mucker attendant burst apart in a shower of entrails.
Suddenly in a blur of black fur and blades four crawlers lay in cracked, bleeding heaps. The crawler pack burst apart as the spitters tried to escape the whirlwind of steel.
“I leave for an hour to take care of a personal matter and this is what I come back to? Amateurs.”
Fantastic draw for the Bandit, into shadows straight away and a massive attack to finish off the mucker in one go. Then back into the shadows and a suicide run to follow up. The mobility of the Brigand really seems to bring something to the group so I think that he’ll stick around as a permanent feature if I’m not playing the Soldier.
Etrus looked like a massive challenge but the mob of crawlers really penned him in an let the Archer pick him off from long range while the Brigand moved across the tile to take out the lair.
Our only casualty was the Acolyte who dodged the bullet via serendipity so what looked like it was shaping up for a TPK ended with us bloodied but unbowed.

Bring on Act 1 part 3.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Myth Campaign Diary: Razorfiend Hunt

"Behind you!" Shouted Fenwick as the razorfiend lumbered into view, goaded by its attendant grubbers.

The acolyte turned to see the massive fists of the creature smashing down towards him.

At that moment a swarm of bees burst from the air around the spriggan leaving the swollen bodies of the grubbers writing on the ground. 

Rolling to one side Fenwick buried an arrow deep into the 'fiend's side causing it to rear up in pain. Perfectly positioning it for the follow-up. Nothing but the arrow's knock could be seen protruding from the creature's thick neck as it toppled like a skillfully felled tree.

Rushing to the acolyte's side, she was only in time to hear him murmur his last few words, "the servants of Boabeh always rise again" before the light faded from his eyes 

Standing over the body of her fallen comrade, pondering his almost sinister sounding pronouncement she turned to the spriggan and asked "where's the Skald?"

Staggering from beneath a mound of dead crawlers the Skald lurched toward them "It's too late. The poison..." and the Skald breathed his last.

Act one of the second story quest nearly ended in a TPK. As you can see from the artfully posed picture, however, the ladies saved the day (again), taking out the razorfiend while we sat about and made crude jokes about the acolyte.

In fairness to him, it was frightfully bad luck that we drew a threat 8 darkness card rather than the normal threat 10 as before that he had managed to take out a swathe of minions.

I forgot that the Skald had picked up a poison DoT earlier in the session and when I went back and recounted realised that he should be dead as well.

At the end of the last story the Archer had opted to take the title and used it to retain her blue endless quiver. And boy has that come in handy. The biggest benefit is that she always has enough arrows for a full Orions Tears, which is a great way to clear a tile cluttered up with minions. Added to that, there's almost always ammo available for the other special attacks. Tumble is being used quite a lot for maneuvering, especially as it grants a free shot and doesn't count as a move.

The Skald was an interesting character to play. The play style is completely different from the other characters as all the Skalds actions are resolved at the head of the Hero Cycle. This make him a great choice for anyone who is demoing as their turn is finished before everone else's starts and that frees them up to run the darkness board, check rules etc.

The only negative is that the Skald's abilities could do with an additional point of range. Range 1 and 2 are a bit too close to give good coverage to the party, especially with ranged characters in the mix. The low range can also leave the Skald exposed, and he is a poor melee combatant.

On the painting front, as you can see neither the characters or the mini boss are painted yet. As at time of writing the spriggan is almost finished though and it's only layer coats on the Terror and some basing on the scorpion captains that needs done to complete that set. Once the Terror set is complete I'm going to concentrate on the heroes and then move on in boss order, so it will be Orcneas' troupe of muckers and grubbers that get a lick of paint after that.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Myth Campaign Diary: Burn Baby, Burn

A week late but better late than never...
Myth Mondays continue with the final act of the first story quest. On the opening tile we went for the rolling boulder trap which was navigated successfully after easily dispatching the limited resistance of a grubber hunting pack. This proved mainly to be an opportunity for the Archer to stack up her Endless Quiver with ammo prior to entering the next section of the map.
The cards fell very nicely for the Acolyte and Brigand over this whole session with both characters being able to pull off their maximum combos at least once. The movement card restriction from the story quest proved to be more annoying than hindering, partly because this is a limited time session so it just made trivial tasks take longer.
This week the Spriggan suffered from the poor draw order that the plagued the brigand in the last session and so it was a relatively unsatisfying session from that player's point of view.
Back to the action and by the time we had made it to the Inn it was absolutely rammed with crawlers, (I think there were about 4 spaces left), due to the automatic spawn on refresh from the story quest. Being well geared, this proved to be less problematic than feared as we activated them in the narrower 6x12 forcing them into a chokepoint. Things nearly came unstuck when the Archer triggered all but one of the pit traps herself, but luck was on our side and so managed to leap from danger every time.
A timely suicide run following a six point Orion's Tears left the Brigand able to set a flame to the carelessly left kindling to clear the quest without having to risk a prolonged snipe at the remaining lair, aided as we were by the timely arrival of our new ally Bobby, who's quest chain we had completed on the way in.
The game looked even better than last week as all the crawler mini's are painted and the captains are now only a single coat away. With any luck I'll find time to post a few pictures of them next post. Next up for painting once the terror set is complete are the heroes and the Orcneas' gang of grubbers and muckers.
"Stop praying! I can see you doing it from here, even though you have your back turned", Fenwick shouted at the Acolyte nocking a third arrow to the string.
"You need Boabeh! For he smites down all who would mock him" returned the Acolyte grasping his staff more firmly.
As usual, the Brigand was nowhere to be seen and the Spriggan had shed it's leaves and taken root on a clear patch of ground in a semblance of sleep.
"There's no time for rest" called the Acolyte, "the ground is alive with crawlers and we have a vengeance to take. Stay close that my staff might give you succor."
Shaking her head, Fenwick suddenly leapt forward, rolled and buried an arrow into the crawler that a second before had burst from the ground a few yards from where the party had stopped to take stock. At the same time a swarm of bees buzzsawed angrily through the air to leave a second and third writhing on the ground while the Spriggan looked on impassively .

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Myth Campaign Diary: The Boneyard

<i>Dragging ourselves from the crawler lair we had hoped for some respite from the Darkness. Gravely wounded the Soldier withdrew to minister to his wounds. His place in our ranks filled by a Brigand, here to rob the graves of the recently departed but now trapped here in the boneyard with the three of while the ground beneath us began to seeth with crawlers.</i>

Act two of the first quest is a slaughterfield of five rounds. The wave mechanic works really well here providing plenty enemies to dispatch and good opportunities for looting. With 4 players I don't think we were stretched too much and we cleared a couple of the waves in two turns. Not having the Soldier in the mix provided, as expected, much more of an opportunity for the Spriggan to shine. The lucky draw in act one of the everfull quiver also meant that the Archer managed to fire off two full volleys of Orion's Tears which wiped half the tile at a time.

The Brigand plays reasonably well in this mix, and was a fun character to play, but I think that I personally like the Soldier more. The draw for the Brigand was a bit patchy so the bigger combos never really materialised, but that's just the luck of the draw. The non-combat lair kill and pinpoint massive attacks might come more into their own next session when we tackle act 3, or I may test run the Skald or Trickster.

The next story arc will feature more fiction once the group mix has settled down and everyone has provided their character names. Archer - I'm looking at you!

Friday, 6 March 2015

Myth Campaign Diary : 1st day of Summers Turn.

<i>''Awakening, grasped by the cold hands of travellers even less fortunate than ourselves, I lurched quickly to my feet. The chittering giving the only hint in the darkness of the crawler lair we had been dumped next to."</i>

So Mythic Mondays have begun and we are starting at the beginning with story quest one.

For this first run we went with the Soldier, the Apprentice, the Acolyte and the Archer. For those of you not familiar with the quest, the starting equipment is a green draw and a choice of one brown item.

Everyone chose wisely, except me, forgetting that a whole heap of the Soldier's abilities require the shield and instead I ended up with a useless green item (bagpipes or something) and the fireplace poker.

Through a combination of poor luck and poor judgement both the Apprentice and Soldier went down in the first few turns leaving the Archer and Acolyte to face certain death at thee hands of a mucker and a whole hoard of grubbers and crawlers.

Rather than restart, we agreed that there must have been some other poor unfortunates dumped with us, coincidentally another Soldier and Apprentice, but this time ones with the requisite pot lid for the Soldier and a better starting hand for the Apprentice.

Despite our early mistakes everyone had a fantastic time and was looking forward to Act one part two the next week.

<b>Later that same day</b>

<i>"Gravely wounded and drenched in corpse fat the Apprentice withdrew with her place in the party filled by the Spriggan sprout. Thusly reinforced; and rearmed by a friendly merchant we ventured on to enter a large underground cavern, infested with crawlers."</i>

Week two of Mythic Mondays, and we're still on Act 1. However, we're properly equipped and this time we decide to be cowardly and bring on the minimum number of critters. Strategically we are also beginning to get the hang of our characters, although I finished the night feeling that the Spriggan had been a bit under-utilised. This was largely due to the excellent performance of the Soldier who got some great timely draws. Combo's of the night for the Soldier were Impenetrable and three rage, making him unhittable by the crawlers and a six square Riding the Edge which wiped out half the crawlers and generated two treasure drops. Early strikes on the lairs by the Archer and Spriggan combined to stem the flow of minions and from there it was a simple case of mopping up.

Next time we will move on to act 2 and be braver with our initial minion setups. Our heroes are also getting names and back stories with more fiction to come in future articles.

The crawler minis have also received most of their paint job (primed, based and inked) and are starting to look spiffy. Photos will follow in subsequent posts.

Again, we all had a brilliant time, co-op games are rapidly becoming my favourite, so we are really looking forward to MERCs Recon shipping soon.

For this session we were using the new 2.0 rules which are a huge improvement over v 1. The book flows better and therefore makes the setup and game play smoother. The rules revisions and clarifications are broadly all things that we had house ruled on previously and the guys at Megacon has clearly taken time to understand and deliberate on fan feedback before issuing v2. We still make the odd booboo now and again but that's more to do with enthusiasm than any failing in the instructions.

The hardest part is now going to be painting up all the minis before Journeyman arrives.