Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Tumissa Nights pt 2

As I was saying: The event was a palanquin race/scavenger hunt in the market of Tumissa. Each player was to prove their worth as a noble by managing their bearers, guards and runners to find the most valuable items in the market, There were six players, each with a palanquin.. They also had 4 guards, and 2 runners. The task was simple. At each merchant site I had a pile of cards representing goods of interest. They fell into a few categories. 


And they also had to acquire buttons, from soldiers of various levels of status. The value of the cards was generally based upon their rarity. The players were given 20 coins (chips) and they were the limit of their spending. Their Victory points were the total of all items they acquired. 

The market had terrain, but also a number of NPCs of various social rank. The players were all of High clans and each had a bit of background telling them why they were competing and what their personal stakes were. 

I used SOBH rules. They are a very simple and elegant miniatures skirmish rules set, but not really meant for a race. Normally there are only two stats per figure, plus special rules. They are Quality (Q) which determines how easily the unit can be activated, and how well it does non combat stuff, and Combat (C) which determines how good they are at fighting. I added a stat for Status (S) for social challenges, making it possible for them to stair down a superior, or be ignored by an inferior. I was surprised that the figures that used it most were the guards.

The role of the figures was intended to be
Guards could clear paths by moving NPCs along, they could be used to defend against, or attack others, and some players tried to use them to negotiate with NPCs.  The guys with purple bases left, are guards. In this shot, they just killed a dog that wouldn't move. Dogs don't care much for social status. 

Runners had a singular use, which proved a bit less valuable than I expected. They were intended to scout various piles of cards, and report back on the relative value of items in the pile. When a runner reached a merchant, they would leave a token, representing the fact that they had been there. Then when they returned to the palanquin, the player could look at that pile and decide if they wanted to go over there to buy something.

Palanquins represented the player. They had to travel to merchant shops or stalls to acquire goods. They were the highest status figure in the players  retinue. To the right  was the player who worshiped Dilinala. You can also see a wooden token indicating that her runner (blue) has been here, and her runner on a blue base. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tumissa Nights pt one

It has been a while. Last year I signed up for a 2 year degree program, with the intent of getting skills for a retirement job/career. About Last fall I committed to trying to run a miniatures event for the Tekumel Track at Con of the North. Those two actions - piled onto my current home life and job - have controlled and obliterated most of my free time this year. But I am managing excellent grades, and I did put together what I will modestly say was a successful miniatures game. It had been my intent to document the process, but, life didn't allow much documentation, between homework, and panic painting, and trying to not ignore my lovely SO in the process. I am, needless to say, way behind on TV.

I will try to put this out in a few short posts. The first, I will show some of the terrain I tossed together. It was not my finest work, but it was passable, and, when put together, actually worked pretty well.

Let's see if I can remember how to link in a pic.. the table setting wasn't perfect. Two smallish round tables butted up against each other. Green fleece for some grass.  The large building in the back is a temple of Sarku, lord of worms, but currently doubling in as the Palace of foreign lands. It is made with the simple expedient of turning a styro cooler (I got this square one at a fish store) up end and painting to suit. I added a arch at the entrance, and a couple fires burning on the roof. I gave the Palace a gate way by taking two copies of the big Ben tower wooden puzzles and building one in reverse.

This pic is during set up. That is my tubby frame in the back of the shot.. not my most elegant picture. 
The nearest building is a dept 56 village item repainted. snow has been turned green for moss. when I have time I will toss some flock on it. Just behind the near wall is a market stall made of fabric and wood on Styrofoam base with sawdust flock. In the far end is another resin cast adobe style thing I picked up at a garage sale. The large building that looks like a crypt.. kinda is. At Halloween the local dollar store had these season themed boxes.. you can see some here a few pics down. add paint and Styrofoam and it makes a simple building. Nothing that is gonna rock the world, but serviceable.

The other end of the table was similar..

again, a temple, this time to Avanthe, Goddess of Fertility, as an anchor. The far end has another small building that was a garage sale find and another building made from the dollar store boxes next to a large brazier for burning sacrifices. Near is a small blue puzzle house I picked up at Micheal's craft, next to a ceramic gazebo. There are two more vendor stalls. The central statue is another garage sale find, and generally sits in my living room..

There will be better pics of the terrain in the action shots to come. Finally, we break from terrain to look at the key models for the players..

I apologize. not the best shot.. there are close ups of a few in future posts..

The event was a palanquin race/scavenger hunt in the market of Tumissa. Each player was to prove their worth as a noble by managing their bearers, guards and runners to find the most valuable items in the market, There were six players, each with a palanquin. I will try to add links to the sources for the models when I can figure them out. But two are worth noting as the sources are me. Well, one all me, one me and this guy..  I cleaned up his model and 3d printed it. It is the dark one. And then I built a design from scratch. That is the big model with 6 bearers. Honestly, mine turned out better, but that is about the printers, not the models.

OK, enough for tonite. need sleep. doing homework in the morning.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Tekumel has slipped into a Bethorm again

I am hoping to conjure it back out, but, gaming time has been so limited of late. I am trying to sort and purge stuff to make room, which may also make time, as I won't have to climb over piles to get to things. But, while I do that, I am also expanding some areas of my collection.

I have been puttering about with terrain, primarily for Japan, because I have painted samurai that can be fielded to the the table, and because much of it is has an exotic feel that can fit in Tekumel. Mostly I am building simple, generic terrain pieces, hills and rock outcroppings and such. But, specifically for samurai, I started a bamboo thicket, based upon the tutorial here... which I found via the Ronin Skirmish rules forum here.  I started the project a while back, but stalled while trying to find the appropriate leaves for the bamboo stalks. Then I found this thread on the same forum.

Seemed a simple solution. So I ordered a pack of the kind that comes in four sizes, and accidentally ordered a second pack. Which, as it turned out, was fine. It is going to be one big field of bamboo. And got a few Woodsies cut outs for basing.
snip off the top close to the leaves.

A few quick holes and some glue, and I had a few of these...

snip the subsequent leaves close and at an angle

 But I didn't want the original bamboo project to go to waste, and, even the tallest of these isn't really tall. So, I took some left over from the smallest, and snipped and cut and glued. This gives all the bamboo the same generally look.

Scoring and painting the skewers is covered in the blog post I linked to above. The top bit of the plastic bamboo is cut off and hot glued to the top of the skewer. I probably should have painted the ends of the skewers, but they are mostly covered by the plastic tops.  Then cut the subsequent leaves each just flush with the top at as steep an angle as possible. This gives you a little pile of leaves with stems. I found it quickest to simply snip, spin the "plant 180" and snip. Careful not to loose the bits.

Bamboo can thow out short branches where it sprouts leaves. Some you will shorten to be flush with the leaves, some will end up with longer stems glued to the side of the skewer.

With a bit of work you end up with these. My original project had bases that were way too small, and the bamboo wouldn't stand up to a light breeze. So I glued them down to larger  bases and added a few of the plastic bamboo pieces to fill them out and tie the two bamboos together. I found this allowed me to get away with being fairly sparce with leaves on the skewers, as the shorter bamboo adds a good deal to the sense of Foliage.

I will update this post when I get the bases completed...

Minor progress this evening.. I got some vinyl spackle and a stirring stick and textured the bases.. waiting for them to dry..
If I do more, and I probably will, I will do this part first, then drill and place the bamboo. I had to be careful not to get spackle on the plants..

But it should give me a good earth texture that takes paint and protects the thin wood bases from warping, if all goes well.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

This is a repost of a topic I posted in the Ronin Forum. Ronin is a ruleset from Osprey, set Feudal Japan.

well, I managed to pull it off, not entirely gracefully, but it looked good. I dropped all the factions to 100 pts, had three players so one ran 200 and 100 each for the other two. (I was one of the other two - running the bandits.)

My grand plan would be to have 4 players, two sides, but issues that could lead to internal fightin on both sides, but with three players, I simplified that, and allowed, for example, both the Sohai and the Bandits to gain pts looting bodies. It didn't matter, since they mostly ended up as the bodies.. but I get ahead of myself.

The  Sohai/Bandit, psuedo Ikko Ikki (we will use Ikko hence forth, now that it clear that this is not using the Ikko buntai rules) side had the goal of killing the Daimyos nephew. His side had to leave from a specific point on the map,  preferably with the hostess, to get back to the village where his troops were stationed.  They start at the Tea House.  I had  a house rule that they must complete the ceremony, or loose VP (honor) so each turn he would roll a die, and if he got a 6 the Bushou, Sensei and Hostess could leave. Add one to the roll each turn, so he would automatically get to leave on turn 6. He rolled a six right off.. 

The Ikko split his forces and tried to  defend the bridge with a Senior Sohai, Sohai and Initiate and the Hatamoto and one Senpai moved to take it and he sent his other two initiates to cross the river. 

My bandits worked on fording the fast moving early spring (very muddy) stream to meet his Bushou, Sensei, Senpai, and a Yumi samurai.  A lot had hung on the idea that he would be stuck in the tea house, so I need to mod that house rule some. 

I also ruled that my one Teppo Bandit could have a +1 on his first shot - a rule that shows up in a lot of civil war and Napoleonic. He didn't want to waste it. So he jockeyed for position to shoot at the only armoured enemy he could get into range, the Hatamoto on the bridge.  But before he could get a decent shot, the two sides met on the bridge, and a Ninja popped out on the opposing side and started making for the Teppoman.

Here is the battle on the bridge. After that I didn't get any pictures.

If i do this scenario again - and I probably will - I will drop the Bandit with the Yari in favour of another Teppo-man. One of our big problems was initiative.. the opposition would generally strike first, and toast our units before we could counter.. I need to see if I was doing that right.. (update- I wasn't)

It wasn't pretty anyway. The Bugai/Koryu combination toasted the Sohai/bandits. One Senpai dead, and not a man alive on my side. I admit this was partially our weak strategy. We split weak troops and faced strong troops.. I mis-judged how much weaker we were, despite our greater numbers. I may also have mis-played some rules.. I will be looking at that more closely.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Fellowship of the Braunstein

Fantasy Flight Game Center
I see posts from a few who were there on their blogs. And pictures and video. Figured I should probably also post a bit on my experience.

Chirene hosted a classic "Braunstein" like event at Fantasy Flight Games in Roseville MN. They were gracious hosts, and we had a fair amount of space and players up on the balcony.. enough to make me worry at time about capacities and structural engineering.. One does that if one has ever read "Why Buildings fall down" and considered the potential for contractors to make minor alterations that have major consequences.. but I digress..

Chirene, for those not acquainted, was painter and miniatures maven for M.A.R. Barkers tekumel campaigns, as well as functioning at various times and in various capacities in the business end of things. As a character, he was a Battle Magic Priest of Vimuhla in the original thursday night group run by the Professor. (Not to be confused with the myriad other Thursday night gaming groups in the country.. I understand some people are having trouble with this disctinction.. )

He has been collecting, archiving, and living Tekumel history since very nearly its inception. And he has amassed a museums worth of of terrain and figures to support his events. They are remarkable productions. (He has not one, but two separate sets of Sakbe Road props..  I am not worthy..)

This battle was played out in a low lying Archipelago occupied traditionally by the Hlutrgu, and most expectedly in recent times by the Sisters of Serqu, and their would be rescuers / Hlutrgu fodder.. I found myself a home on Team Hlutrgu, and could not have been happier about it. Gave me a whole new perspective on the Species.. Must find a way to get them into my campaign..

Sisters in distress
We located the girls fairly quickly, and they surprised us with some nasty firepower in the form of eyes.. This attracted the attention of every faction on the board, and everyone tried to converge on the fracas. We had no real shot of getting the girls after that, but I reasoned with our chieftain that there was no real reason to care. Tasty human was tasty human, and we agreed that fighting for two scrawny females was not in our best interest. Dead bodies were.

The Sisters bite back
The Ahoggya concerned us, traditionally swamp neighbors, and generally hostile, we also knew that we had some commonality. We both found humans tasty. We invited them to help us harvest. They agreed, but wanted the girls if they could get them. Seemed a reasonable trade.  So we piled on the humans we found in the North, and they struggled against the pirates in the south. A lot of bodies were wasted in the mouths of critters in the sea, I am afraid. In the end we reasoned we had a good harvest; even if many were our own, the humans that lived and the Ahoggya were leaving, and we were going to need to rethink our picket lines..

Tasty humans for the food pit
The rules were minimalist. Ranged combat that hit simply killed, no hit points. (save for some reason when one of the girls took a grapplying hook to the stomach from an Ahoggya who was trying to secure her safety from the pirates by pulling her off their ship..)  Close combat was resolved using the old charts in Qadardalakoi. Compare combat factors vs armour and lose a number of bodies in a melee.. keeping the flow moving is important when you have this many actors each with this many figures.. and a few wandering monsters..
Outnumbered? Tasty Hlutrgu.

The sisters had chosen, probably wisely, to start at the far end of the board from the Hlutrgu village, so our slippery rubbery body count at that end was kind of short.  But in the village, where we had piles of unaccounted bodies hiding inside the huts, we easily overwhelmed the tasty humans. Well on one island.

Other areas we were overwhelmed.. but we turn lemons into Lemoned Hlutrgu bake.. So, we don't mind so much. Chaos ensued until the Sisters chose to leave with the pirates.. (What? And that was somehow a more dignified end? Tasty humans not as smart as Hmelu... )

The Sisters are in the forward ship

The humans that were not marooned started to leave at that point, with the "Rescuers pursued by the remaining active boatload of Ahoggya.. The humans had control of some parts of the table, but, we were limitless, and simply assembled until we were overwhelming. That is our way. This would have happened post game, but be assured, it would have happened. The isles of the breeding pool would have been cleansed and feasting would have occurred..

The marooned Ahoggya would have been invited to the feast, as our chief allowed. And then hunted for desert. They probably didn't think of that.

Thank you Chirene, Fellow Hlutrgu, and Noble Food stufs, for the bounty we were to recieve..

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

On the roads again

Their biggest obstacle in leaving was that the Sakbe road guards didn't really want to let them leave, and there was a steady flow of refugees cluttering the lowest level coming into Tumissa. There were a few members of Merchant clans heading towards Butrus, but anyone headed out of Tumissa would be swimming against the tide.

It was observed that the middle Tier was nearly empty, and the party started conspiring to get an upgrade. In order to do that, they were going to need to become part of a party with some Status. Mriga went to his temple, and he made some contacts. They found a High status Priest of Thumis who was looking for body guards, and they signed on.

Even so, security was tight, and they only made it one third of the way on the first day, when the Sakbe road guards announced that Mu'ugs had been reported on the road ahead, and no one was allowed through. (Unless, of course, they insisted, and had the status to back it up - which our priest of Thumis did.) They made good time for the morning, then they hit upon a guard house, Tower, with the doors locked from the inside. There were signs of a fight outside, debris, perhaps a merchants retinue? And blood. The Gate house on the lower level was passable, but the stairway up was locked. They climbed up the wall, and cautiously peered at the top Tier.

Technically, none of them had any right to go up to this level. Probably a capital offense. But there was blood on the Beautifully inlaid path, and it lead to the door to the tower. The group reasoned that someone of import had been attacked, and further reasoned that they would not be judged any less harshly by the system if they failed to attempt to render aid.  So they climbed onto the sacred third tier. The blood led to the tower. On the far side, on the wall facing the Chakas and Mu'ugalavia, a lone long slender ladder scaled the wall. Probably not the work of the Mu'ug army. Deserters? A strike team? Spies?

If you are not knowlegeable of the ways of Tekumel, the Sakbe roads are tiered to reflect the class conscious social structure. The bottom tier is for commoners, the next for nobles, the top tier is for imperials and the highest nobles.
The image should give you more information if you follow it to the source.

 Mriga discussed attempting a spell to force the door, but wiser heads prevailed. It was generally believed that the Sakbe Roads Gaurd houses, being both roads, and imperial bastions of defense, also contained wards - said wards being geared to protect against Military magic. A solitary priests spell would probably only result in his own death.

They decided to check the roof, where they did find a open hatch, and they went inside. What they found was a body. An imperial messengers body. He had, apparently, been running the top tier when he came across someone and was injured. Perhaps he was the target, or perhaps a victim of circumstance.

Now a note on Tsolyani culture. In most RPGs, a dead messenger would be an invitation to loot the body. On Tekumel, this would be a crime. And crime has consequences. Our heroes bound up the body as they found it, built a litter, and carried, otherwise unmolested, back to Butrus. There they underwent a long, and serious line of questioning. And a few moderately intrusive spells. But, as their story checked out, and they did the best they could at securing the messenger and his cargo, and did not shirk their responsibility to the Empire, they were released, provisionally, to their respective clans recognizances.

Butrus was suffering a shortage of legionary defenses. The Itos had stepped up, and organized the various temple guards to pull watches, and patrols. The Itos, being the most powerful local clan, with a history of rebellions against the Empire, and establishing their own independent principalities, could always be counted upon to try to run things in times of trouble. The big question would be if they would be as willing to stand down when things were calm again.

Word came that the Itos had also begun snooping about the cave entrance area. It was decided to stage a cave in, and close down the cave entrance, try to hide it, and cease operations there until they knew which way the wind was blowing.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Time to catch up to the Party..

When we last left our heroes.. well, that was a while ago anyway..It has been over a year since my last post on the campaign..

When we last left the party, they had just arrived in Tumissa, amd Mriga had met his charge, and learned he would be going to Avanthar to deliver her to the festivities of the Kólumejálim, but they had some time. Sanjesh made inquiries, but Mis would not see him, as she was in a state of ritual preparation for the 32nd Unspeakable act. In My tekumel this involves the death of the Officiant, an experience every Devotee should try at least once. He learned the purpose of the  Chnehl that had been the focus of so much effort was to rend her into pieces. There was a new body awaiting her, should all go well. Should things go badly, there was a fair chance that the new body might need to be donated by her hand maiden - a woman of whom Sanjesh was quite fond. But still, duty, and all, it was not his to interfere.  Well, not much. It proved also to be true that he was given the honor of being listed as an alternate in the ritual, should any of the primaries become incapacitated.. not that there was any reason to thing they might..

Word was coming from the lines that the Mu'ugs were closing, the local legions, outnumbered, were falling back to defend the city and the roads, and at some point, it was expected that the city would go into lock down to endure a siege. With no emperor, and no heir yet chosen, it might be a bit before relief came. This wasn't a huge concern. Tumissa has survived sieges before, but the party had places to be. All save Sanjesh, whose top priority was to attend the ritual. It was agreed that, should the situation reach critical, the rest would leave him in Tumissa, and they would make way back to Butrus, and then on to Avanthar.

Sanjesh made contact with the serving slaves of some of the primaries, with the help of Mis hand maiden. He also acquired some minor poisons. A deal was struck, the slave would be purchased, and taken back to Butrus, to be given a safe and pleasant detail in Sanjesh' clanhouse, if she would deliver said poison to one of the guards from the ritual. Nothing designed to kill, only to make him ill, and unable to take part. And so Sanjesh found himself called to duty at the last minute.

The ritual was long, and complicated. The problem presented to Sanjesh, and the other guards, was to keep the Chnehl at bay, and away from Mis, until the appropriate time. If they reached her too soon, they would ruin the ritual, and it would be far less likely she would survive her death. There were alternatives in place, but they were chancey. 

We didn't go into a lot of detail on the process here. I think, however, it could serve as an interesting miniatures game, and I may try it one day. Suffice it to say, though a guard was injured, none were killed, and the ritual went off as planned. It was not a pretty sight, and the Chnehl were then herded of for sacrifice. But, by morning, word had come that Mis was well, and recovering, in a new body - no explanation was given as to where she got it. She still could not receive visitors.

And word also came that the last of the legions were headed for the city gates. It was time to leave.