Thursday, April 25, 2013

Mordheim Week Six

We have concluded our sixth week. There are another eight scheduled missions to go. We have one more session with the three current missions (Warmachine, Bounty Hunting, Defend the Fine) before we take a month-long hiatus. Real life is stepping in for most of the month of May. This works out fine for me. It lets me set up some more terrain items, build more scenario pieces, and apparently more Hired Swords

Speaking of which, I am supplying the Hired Swords that are available. I have many, if not most, of the standard Hired Swords that are out there, painted and ready to go. The main ones being seen are the Tilean Marksman and the lycanthropic Ogre Bodyguard. The other ones available are found in the first Town Cryer. Since there are a limited supply of Hired Swords, I have incorporated a bidding system for them. I have the players send me their single bid. It must be at least the minimum required to hire the guy. The highest bidder then gains their services at standard upkeep prices. If for whatever reason a warband has to drop the Hired Sword, I keep the stats and make them available for other warbands. 

I understand that not every campaign manager can provide the Hired Swords for all players or even NPC warbands. Why do I do this? Why not just have the players go at it? I am trying to get a narrative to the whole campaign. If for some reason an NPC warband starts to grow into a real nemesis for the players they may get a real desire to avoid/destroy the warband. This can also give me a branch to follow and cultivate as well when it comes to the campaign. It also gives the players a chance to try out another warband that may be different from their own. Player X may get tired of running a 'shooty' warband and see what it's like to use a close combat oriented warband. In addition, I am rotating the opponents, the players and the warbands. Everybody will play against everybody at least once, NPC warbands too. Although, the Reiklanders have been retired, so not everyone got to play them. It can get to be really frustrating or boring to play against the same opponent every turn. Unfortunately, the map is filling up with player victories, and the unclaimed NPC locations are dwindling fast. Soon, the players will be going up against each other weekly. We are about half way through the campaign. I do have some particular missions that will have everyone involved.

Bounty Hunting Mission: Next time, I would not use Forest area terrain...Just trees

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Mordheim Week Five

Our second set of three missions started this past weekend. The ones I selected this week are the basic, Defend the Find, Bounty Hunting from Empire in Flames, and Warmachine from the Nemesis Crown scenarios. There is quite a bit of money and booty to be gained for successful warbands. 

We also had our first player vs player battle this weekend. The Lizardman 'Temple Guardians' of Ed went up against Judith's Norse 'Sea Wolves' in the Bounty Hunting mission. As I am using forest area terrain, the Norse band hid amongst the trees afeared of the skink missile fire. In the end the Norse voluntarily routed after losing several wolves and a henchmen, to hand to hand combat. In her defense, several of her models were down as well when her turn started. She could have lost more.

My wife's Night Goblins brought out her brand new River Troll! Me, playing the NPC Beastmen with the Mortar perfectly guessed the ranges each time. Each time it scattered too, but I was pleased with myself. I was until I got a critical '6' with a club. Using the expanded critical chart, a '6' with a club is the most powerful weapon in the game. I was able to take out the troll with a single swing after avoiding the troll's charge. Needless to say, if the troll had died, I would have had to sleep in a hotel.

As the Games Master for this campaign, there are several things I would like to mention for others. First, the Games Master should know the rules very well. This goes for almost any campaign or tournament. If, on the off hand chance something does come up that you do not have an answer for, you as the GM must make a quick but good decision to keep the game going. Especially, if researching the question can slow or stop the game. This is the main thing you want to avoid, game stoppage! Second, you want to challenge your players. Give them something that makes them think, or work hard to defeat/accomplish. You know how after playing John Madden Football so many times you get bored of beating the computer 77-0. That's when you ignore the game and go on to something new. That is what I am talking about, boredom, old-hat. The best games you ever remember are the ones where it comes down to final play or move that wins the game. Being down 17 with scant time remaining, yet you still pull it off. That is how you want the game to go. Admittedly, as a GM I have upped the player's opponents once in a while to make it tougher. Don't tell them, but I even doubled the hit points of several monsters at times. I sorta hope my wife got that feeling of accomplishment of winning after I brained her troll. Fortunately for me, the troll as a henchman can never die. He just regenerates. Which saved my skin!
Warmachine Scenario: the mortar sits in this Ebay bought Hirst Arts castle.

And the Troll, just before he got his head smashed! I felt like high-fiving everyone,  wife very upset!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Mordheim Week Four

Our fourth week concluded this past Saturday. Our fifth week begins this next Saturday with new maps and new missions. With the 'Thing in the Woods' mission, we finally had a continuing casualty (lycanthropy) after 5 battles. The NPC Reiklander band that I was controlling got royally mauled by one of the bale wolves. It took out 6 members by itself. Every henchmen suffered a fatal wound. The only exception was the Ogre bodyguard. 

I was on the verge of retiring the warband due to them losing half of their warband and them being an NPC band. But from the very first week, the players requested I continue the NPCs and let them grow, good or bad. Since then, I have been tracking their history. Originally the filler warbands were created using 400gc. This made them weaker from the start. I wanted the players to have an opponent if they moved into an open hex, but I didn't want them to run into a brick wall. Yet, with the dice gods, things have gone wrong for a player warband. The plan was to have generic warbands set up at 400gc levels, 500gc levels, 600gc levels, and even 1000gc levels. This would make it easier to set up a Boss warband. Once the map fills up, the non-player bands will fall away. I will pull them out one by one based on their strength, with the Reiklanders currently looking to be the first to face 'sequestration'.

At the end of each week, I have the winners select a location they wish to move into for the upcoming week, no win equals no move. The order of movement depends on the warband ratings. The band with the highest rating can choose to have the higher ratings choose first or the lower ratings choose first. Think of it from A to D or from D to A. This gives a reason to have a high rating since I have removed some of the choices with regards to mission. In my other campaigns I had the players email me where they would like to move to next. This incorporated a 'Fog of War' element to it. This time I do not have a numbered map. It used to matter before as there were specific sites that had point values or other benefits for warbands or certain locations led to certain missionsi.e. Undead and cemeteries, Wizard's Tower. Since I am not utilizing map terrain to determine battles, this isn't too big a problem. When I get more ruined buildings, I may switch back to the original idea and Mordheim map.

The Thing in the Woods: The trees are made from PVC pipes covered in plaster tape supported with thick wire and insulation at the base.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Mordheim Week Three

The third week of our campaign concluded some days ago. I used the same three tables and scenarios. I did have the players rotate though. Each person faced a new opponent and warband. The players are still going up against the NPC warbands as none of them have moved into an opposing players territory yet. I'm not sure if it's due to fear or respect though. 

What I have the players do is play two games on each meet. On one game Player A will control their warband against an NPC band controlled by Player B. They then switch with Player A running an NPC warband against Player B's warband. This accomplishes many goals. It gives everyone a chance to try out a new warband. This also keeps the campaign moving without having to 'waste' moves waiting for players to meet up. The NPC warbands are sort of a filler, a wandering monster if you will. Finally, it lets the player warbands grow and gain experience as they would otherwise get bored if they had nobody to confront each week.

Why didn't I change the scenarios from the previous week? Well, I want every player to go through the same missions when the campaign ends ultimately. Everyone will all go through the same gauntlet. They may not always get the same opponent though. That will be the randomness of it. This will change once the players start to confront each other. Then I will have the two players utilizing the same mission. Basically, I will do this three board/mission rotation three more times at least. As I have expanded the campaign list to fourteen, maybe fifteen total missions. It also allows for me to plan and prepare the board ahead of time. If I do not yet have the specific models or terrain yet, this give me a few weeks to get them ready. Best of all, my wife lets me keep the boards set without having to clean up each week!! She's awesome!!

For each post I will explain another game mechanic. Some of them I have used before, others for the first time. Most of what I am using I put together years ago and was modified some and posted on the Mordheimer website as the Campaign Aid. Finally, my players are heading into week five and eventually the blog will catch up with the campaign. More than likely this will happen next week. Feel free to comment or ask questions.

Lost in the Bog: There is a cemetery in the middle surrounded by boggy terrain.

Lost in the Bog: Game play from week 3, the Wolves of Winter caught in a pincer move by Count Victor von Bargen

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Mordheim Week Two

For this campaign I have selected a few missions ahead of time to use that all players will go through eventually. This way, everybody plays the same mission, but they may not have the same NPC opponent. Our second week completed some time ago. The second through fourth weeks, the players will rotate through the same three missions: The Thing in the Woods, Lost in the Bog, and The Frenzied Mob. These are all from the Empire in Flames sourcebook. To make it easy for me the GamesMaster and fair for the players, all three mission tables remain the same for each of the players.

For the players, I have provided everything except their own warbands. They are all pre-painted and ready to go. I even have some henchmen that they can hire too. If for whatever reason, a henchmen has to be released from a warband they would keep the experience they had already gained. I am also going through the extra effort to grow the NPC warbands as well. I had them start out with lower GC, but I give them the benefit of a doubt if they need an extra point of experience sometimes. I want the NPCs to be challenging, but not a walk over either.

Mission Info that we have come across. The Thing in the Woods needs another objective beside beating the other warband. Otherwise, one can just sit back as we saw happen with a couple of the games. Maybe force the player warband to make it to the other side similar to Breakthrough. Lost in the Bog worked fine, not much to change there. The Frenzied Mob needed something in the center of the board as a goal as well, possibly even make the townsfolk not worth any experience points otherwise it becomes an exp trove.

Frenzied Mob: Four buildings with four townsfolk each

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Mordheim Week One

We have started up another Mordheim campaign. This will be my fourth such campaign I have managed. All except for the third campaign, I have run at our home using my own terrain. Anyway, this one is different than the rest. I am utilizing the Empire In Flames almost exclusively. Most of the scenarios and rules are being incorporated throughout. I have also thrown in some other missions that I have come across from the Nemesis Crown worldwide campaign or other sites.

There are five players involved with seven NPC warbands that they may encounter during the next few weeks. The player warbands are as follows:
  1. Middenheimers: Wolves of Winter
  2. Averlanders: The Krewe
  3. Lizardmen: The Temple Guardians
  4. Norse: The Sea Wolves
  5. Night Goblins: Gurk's Gang
The NPC bands are:
  1. Beastmen Raiders: led by Chief Bloodtail
  2. Undead:  led by Vampire Victor von Bargen
  3. Shadow Elves: Shadow Master Aldalome
  4. Pitfighters: Pit King Mungus the Unbowed
  5. Cult of the Possessed: headed by Father Rex
  6. Clan Eshin Skaven: with Assassin Adept Rurduk Redeyes
  7. Reiklander Mercenaries: Prokop Draken is the Captain
A few words about the setup. I am using the Mighty Empires set of tiles to represent the area outside Mordheim in a giant hexagon. This leaves an extra corner unoccupied by a player. I then set up several tables that are similar to the locations on the map. When or if the players win, then they can move into a new tile. This then lets me set the tables for next week according to the locations on the tile. After each week ends, I write up a newsletter covering the previous turn and possibly setting upcoming turns as well. 
The first Town Cryer is here.