Burnt Offerings

Hey everybody!
I’m continuing the Pathfinder ACG campaign Rise of the Runelords, and have now gotten to the end of the first scenario, Burnt Offerings. So why not take a look at where we’ve ended up!

Pathfinder ACG Burnt Offerings

The scenario is based on the first chapter of Rise of the Runelords RPG, naturally, with five distinct adventures that follow the heroes as they progress through an investigation into increased Goblin raids around the town of Sandpoint.

Attack on Sandpoint sees the heroes attempt to defeat Ripnugget and Stickfoot, who appear to be behind the the attacks. After success, the Local Heroes scenario is something of a rest scenario, with a lot of chances for the heroes to gain some allies before heading towards the final games. I mean, that’s probably how it should work, but when I played it this time my necromancer hero, Darago, died on the waterfront! Terrible times.

After four months’ mourning, I’ve returned to the campaign with a new hero stepping up to the mark: Seelah, my crusading paladin! It was a deck I’d built up after the loss of Darago, and performed pretty well!

The third scenario, Trouble in Sandpoint, sees the heroes going up against the weird demon-thing, Erylium, and her Wrathful Sinspawn.

Pathfinder ACG Burnt Offerings

Following this, it’s time to go up against the goblins in their fortress in Approach to Thistletop. I have to say, this scenario was pretty hilarious, following through on the trail of Gogmurt, one of these wonderful goblins that litter the Pathfinder universe.

Pathfinder ACG Burnt Offerings

The final scenario in the Burnt Offerings adventure, Thistletop Delve, reveals the real mastermind behind the goblin incursions into Sandpoint, Nualia Tobyn, a cleric of Lamashtu! This scenario was also a lot of fun to play through, as Nualia kept cropping up in each of the location decks – like any good bad movie villain, there’s just no keeping her down!

So I’m eight scenarios in, and Sajan has claimed the Sihedron Medallion!

There are a couple of interesting player cards in the pack – mainly some of the arcane spells, which are always a favourite of mine! I currently don’t have a magic user set up, so I’m thinking I might build a new deck to mix things up a little ready for The Skinsaw Murders!

The Worldwound Gambit

Hey everybody!
As you may recall, I’ve been on something of a Pathfinder kick recently, re-starting the Rise of the Runelords Adventure Card Game scenario, and if you follow me on instagram (and let’s be fair, why wouldn’t you? Food and miniatures, and the occasional book or comic – it’s got it all!) you’ll have seen this bad boy crop up about two weeks ago:

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Now, for something different… #Pathfinder

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Well, I’ve finally finished it! Yes, two whole weeks it took me, though I was obviously doing other stuff for that time as well…

This book was actually really good. It was a little ploddy at times, but in the main I really liked it. It follows a group of thieves and rogues as they attempt to stop the demonic incursions into Golarion by marching right into the Worldwound itself and destroying the Tower of Yath there, which has been acting as something of a locus of power for the demons. Each of the six brigands is a fairly interesting character, and the folks they meet along the way also make for an enjoyable read.

So why did it take me two weeks to read?

The book is told in the present tense, which I’m not all that much a fan of, and while the characters are fairly interesting, as I said, they’re not stand-out amazing to the extent that I was all that interested in the story. We have a halfling lock-picker, a fire mage, a drug-addict bard, a pacifist half-orc, a noblewoman blade fighter, all of whom are led by a sort of dashing rogue thief. They all seem to have a shared history that is only really ever implied, and their motivation for going into the Worldwound and destroying the Tower of Yath is a bit precarious at times, and I found myself not altogether convinced by it – basically, demon invasions are bad for business, so they risk death and destruction to ensure they can still go about their con-artist ways.

The book starts fairly dramatically, with a full-on demon invasion of the town of Mendev, and then sees the main protagonist, Gad, assemble his crew to take down the demons. It was during these opening half-dozen or so chapters that the realisation finally dawned upon me: this is basically a role-playing game adventure told in novel form. As soon as I realised this, the novel became so much more enjoyable to read, and made so much more sense to me. The way the characters would move from place to place and encounter obstacles in their quest, which usually gave one character a major role and several others a minor part to play – the whole thing was really nicely done, and the present-tense storytelling makes so much more sense, as this is what you would do if you were a GM.

Some of the reviews I’ve seen for this book have mentioned its haphazard nature, and the cipher-like characters with little backstory explained. If you approach this as a RPG story where you don’t have to roll dice but can just sit back and see what happens, then the book is definitely worthwhile reading.

So, where am I up to with my Rise of the Runelords campaign?

Pathfinder adventure card game

Well, Darago the Necromancer and Sajan the Drunken Master finally started on the path through Burnt Offerings, and it started out really well! I’m playing this adventure path solo, which isn’t all that complicated if I’m honest, as the only real thing to remember is to turn over the top of the Blessings deck after each character takes a turn. Suddenly, I’m seeing those cards that allow you to discard to explore your location in a whole new light!

During the first game, Attack on Sandpoint, the villain, Ripnugget and Stickfoot, kept turning up within the top two or three cards of the locations, so it was over rather quickly! I have to say though, the main villain of this scenario is a goblin riding a lizard – how awesome is that?!

Next up, we have Local Heroes, which I remember playing back when the game was still fairly new, and from memory I thought it was a kind of respite-quest, where you basically get to skulk around and see if you can get more stuff. Well, not so this time around! Darago actually died to a Skinsaw Cultist! Good grief!

Pathfinder adventure card game

I was actually, genuinely bummed when this happened, having been really excited to get going with the character back when I started my quest. This all happened at the end of May, and I haven’t yet gotten round to starting the new character, Seelah the Paladin. My love of Lord of the Rings recently resurfaced, of course, so I’ve been thinking more about that game, though I have still picked up the Inquisitor class deck – for the inevitable death of either my Monk or Paladin characters! I do think I was perhaps a bit too reckless with Darago, discarding in the hope to get better cards, and not realising that I could in fact be decked by enemy damage. Gah!

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it already, but the next box in the Adventure Card Game line is the Mummy’s Mask path, which I am super excited for as I love anything that gives ancient Egypt a fantasy trope (Tomb Kings, I’m looking at you!)

On the Threshold of Discovery! The ancient lands of Osirion are blanketed by the sands of time, and eldritch secrets and vast riches lie just beneath the sun-blistered surface. As modern Osirion opens its tombs to outsiders for the first time in centuries, many of these lost treasures and secrets are now emerging—some more malign than others. Can your group of heroes brave terrible guardians, foul cults, and the burning sands of the desert to stop the rebirth of an ancient tyrant?

This complete cooperative strategy game pits 1 to 4 heroes against the monsters, curses, and traps of the Mummy’s Mask Adventure Path. Choose your character’s class, build a deck of equipment, magic, and allies; and explore dangerous locations as you journey through an exciting fantasy tale. As your adventures continue, your characters add unique gear and awesome magic to their decks as they gain incredible powers, all of which they’ll need to challenge more and more powerful threats.

So that is really exciting! Stay tuned for more Pathfinder goodness, anyway, as I hope to make it through to the end of Burnt Offerings soon!

On the path to adventure!

Pathfinder goblins

It’s game day here at spalanz.com, and I’m so very excited to present my latest game day blog – it’s the beginning of my Rise of the Runelords adventure path for the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game!

This is a game that I have talked about quite a lot, particularly in my early blogs, when the Rise of the Runelords adventure path was still a new thing. My interest in the Pathfinder setting has waxed and waned somewhat – never waning to nothing, of course, but certainly it was replaced by my love for Warhammer that exploded in the second half of 2014. But it’s a setting that remains close to my heart and, while we wait for one of my favourite aspects of the Pathfinder world to come into the card game, the setting of Osirion, I’ve decided to return to the game and finally work my way through the adventure path in its entirety!

Pathfinder adventure card game

My previous experiences with this game have seen a number of characters take on the perils of Sandpoint, but never get further than the first adventure, Burnt Offerings. However, I’m now poised to take two characters on an adventure all the way to the end: Sajan the drunken master, and Darago the necromancer. What a pair of travelling companions!

Pathfinder adventure card game

I’ve previously taken Sajan through Burnt Offerings, so over the weekend I took Darago through the initial ‘Perils of the Lost Coast’ scenario. Both of these characters are from the respective Monk and Wizard character packs, which I think is an amazing part of this card game. The base set for each adventure path brings a variety of characters, and each base set has an associated character add-on pack that you can buy for extra heroes and extra cards to bulk out the game. All of these characters represent various archetypes such as barbarian, wizard, and bard, and these archetypes are getting their own class pack that gives new versions for the heroes of that class from the base game, along with two new heroes, and a whole host of new cards that help build up a new character with some really thematic bits and pieces.

As an aside, I’ve also discovered that Paizo are going to produce two class packs this summer to support Goblins as playable characters, which I just cannot wait for! Pathfinder goblins are similar to those from Warhammer, I feel, with a crazy kind of hilarity that I can’t wait to explore with these new packs!

Pathfinder adventure card game

The Perils of the Lost Coast features three distinct adventures,  designed really to get players into the flow of the game before the path begins with Burnt Offerings. It gets us used to the format of exploring locations, fighting monsters and attempting to acquire boons, before fighting both henchmen and the villain himself.

The game is a deck-building adventure game, one that I find kinda fascinating really. You build a basic deck, rather than having the usual kind of basic cards, and then attempt to acquire boons that will allow you to get better cards. At the end of each quest, you must re-set your deck to the quantities of card types listed on your character card, which allows you to get rid of the basic cards and trade-up for something more powerful. Over the course of the three games I played, Darago has managed to acquire the Deathbane Light Crossbow shown above, which I really like, as well as the hilarious Fire Sneeze spell.

I can’t wait to get moving with this adventure path – particularly once I get beyond Burnt Offerings and into the ‘new’ packs that I haven’t gotten to explore yet. Exciting times are on the horizon!

Pathfinder adventure card game

Catching Up!

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a good documentary, although my Sky planner is full of the things. I’ve decided to try and catch up with a lot of the stuff I’ve been recording, anyway, starting with this two-part series on the Incas. I was always very interested in the Incas, the Aztecs and all that sort of Pre-Columbian, meso- and south-American history when I was growing up, but somewhere in my late teens I seemed to lose interest.

While Machu Picchu is probably the most famous Inca relic, this documentary has introduced all sorts of other sites that look absolutely incredible, principally among them (to me), the Moray agricultural terraces shown in my tweet above. Designed to facilitate crop cultivation at high altitude, it’s another of the really humbling scientific innovations of the past!

I’ve decided to sleeve my entire Lord of the Rings LCG collection, a project that has been going on fitfully this past week, but is sufficiently mindless to occupy my while catching up with these things. I think I’ve used around 30 packs, which has allowed me to sleeve four decks, along with pretty much all of the scenarios released to date – not counting print-on-demand or Saga stuff. It’s a demanding task, but hopefully will be worthwhile in the end! Lord of the Rings, I’ve recently realised, is my most-played card game, and I’m concerned that the player cards might not hold up much longer. As it is also my most-beloved card game as well, it’s time to make some effort to protect it against wear and tear, methinks!

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Time to relax #StarWars #novels

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Over the last few weeks, I’ve been enjoying a return to some classic Star Wars with The New Rebellion, one of my all-time favourite stories from the Bantam era! Published in 1996, the story details the efforts of the Force-sensitive Kueller to set himself up as a new Emperor. Some of the story is a little, well, daft, with occasionally unclear motivations for the characters, but overall, it still stands up for me. I really enjoy the way the story is paced – it’s a big book, 532 pages in paperback, and has pretty much exactly the right amount of story within its pages. This could so easily have been padded out to form a trilogy, which would probably have diminished its impact, I would say. Lots of plots, lots of intrigue, and lots of subterfuge, with Han returning to his smuggling roots, Luke doing some Jedi stuff, and Leia going up against former Imperial senators. Even the droids have a significant part to play in the plot! Really good stuff.

Only a couple of things really detract from it. First of all, the chapters are fairly short, and a significant number of them end on cliffhanger-style “tune in next week to see if Han survives being shot in the ass” sorts of things, which kinda gets old after a while. Also, the title kinda bothers me. While “rebellion” is defined as armed resistance to the established order, within the context of the GFFA, “rebellion” conjures a different sort of sense to that which is portrayed in the novel. We see very little of Kueller and his forces until the very end, which is kind of necessary for the plot, but this means the novel is primarily one of intrigue and subterfuge – the sort of novel that I really, really enjoy, but it just feels like the title is a bit misleading.

But that’s all pretty secondary. The novel is great, and if you can still manage to find a copy, I can definitely recommend you pick it up!

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#StudioGhibli #awesome

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Last week, I read this excellent post from fellow blogger, travelling in my bookcase, which reignited my interest in Studio Ghibli. I was first introduced to these anime films back in 2008 by an ex-girlfriend, with the classic Spirited Away, and really enjoyed the everything about it. We watched a couple of others, which I also enjoyed, and while I had often thought of getting some of them to watch again since we broke up, it wasn’t until now that I did anything about it. Having had an amazon voucher burning a hole in my pocket for about three months now, I hope you’ll agree, I’ve made a sound investment with it!

In the coming weeks and months, anyway, I’m sure these will be featured as I get through them!

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#PathfinderACG #Pathfinder #DrunkenMaster

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Games now. Last week I finally got round to getting a copy of the new Wrath of the Righteous core set for the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, having had the character pack and adventure pack two delivered from my Paizo subscription. While I haven’t actually played a game with it yet, I have found myself returning to the Rise of the Runelords game, playing with Sajan, my drunken master Monk, which has been pretty good anyway! I’m still only playing through Burnt Offerings, so there’s still a long way to go, but it’s good to be within this universe once again, though the card game can be quite repetitive so I’m not intending to play this a lot. But I have made up a new deck using the Wizard class deck, for the necromancer, Darago. Looking forward to seeing how that works with the adventure! The class decks are pretty exciting, anyway, so it’s good to see they’re going to be putting some more out this year – including that for the Monk!

Since watching the new Titansgrave series from Geek and Sundry, combined with the recent focus on the Pathfinder ACG, I’ve been feeling the need for a RPG adventure in my life. Soon, hopefully!

On the subject of card games, though, FFG has released a couple of expansions for the LCGs in the last week, and taken another look at the upcoming Great Devourer for the Warhammer Conquest LCG. The Tyranids were always going to be fun to play, and the previews for this box definitely support that idea. Of course, I’m still looking forward to the Necrons more than anything, but it looks great all the same. Some guys have recently started a LCG group at my local store – after that demo of Android Netrunner I gave, no less! – so I’m hoping to get in some more games there.

The Thousand Young expansion for Call of Cthulhu is another deluxe expansion that’s looking pretty exciting, as does Attack Run for Star Wars, the latter bringing a brand new Fate card that looks really powerful! I’ve recently made up a Sith deck for this game, in the hope that some more games aren’t too far off. We’ll see, anyway!

Remember this? It was set to be released in June, I seem to remember, but that seems to have been pushed back to next month now, I suppose in reflection of the Marvel comics being delayed, too. I haven’t kept up with the comics in years, but the Secret Wars storyline does sound vaguely interesting. Beware of following that link if you want to avoid spoilers for the comics, however!!

What’s that Volume 1 all about, on the lower-right? Hmmm!

I haven’t played Legendary for a long while now – not since February, in fact – so should probably make some effort to correct that soon… I’ve finally found the new Fear Itself expansion to Legendary: Villains on sale here in the UK, so looking forward to seeing that when it arrives in my hot little hands… I seem to recall reading somewhere Iron Man will be a commander in his enchanted armour…

While we’re on the subject of comics-based games…

DC Teen Titans

The fourth core set for the DC deck-building game, Teen Titans brings, well, the Teen Titans to the game, with playable heroes such as Red Robin, Wonder Girl and Beast Boy. Man, I love these names! The most interesting aspect of this one is the Ongoing Abilities that certain cards will have. Something that very few deck-builders incorporate (as far as I can tell), it’ll be interesting to see how the game plays when you have more options available to you on your turn. It’s coming out next quarter, along with another Crossover Pack with the Arrow TV series. I’ve not watched the series, unfortunately, but I believe it’s awesome. However, this pack uses stills from the show rather than comic-style art, so I’m currently thinking I’ll pass on this one. Later in the year, we’re getting Legion of Super Heroes with some time-travel mechanic, and then a Watchmen Crossover Pack, presumably before the end of the year, which gives a co-op with defector flavour to the game. Interesting…

How to fix a problem with style!

Good lord!

Checking my email, I’ve just had this from Paizo, regarding the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game:

Due to a printer error, adventure deck 4 of Skull & Shackles, Island of Empty Eyes, included 6 copies of the henchman Gholdako and 1 copy of the henchman Ghol-Gan Obelisk; it should have had 6 Ghol-Gan Obelisks and 1 Gholdako. And due to our own error, it has 1 fewer Blink Spider than you’ll need when you have 6 players. We have solved this problem by making a pack of cards that includes 5 Ghol-Gan Obelisks, 1 Blink Spider, and—in the interest of turning lemons into lemonade—The Land of the Blind, a brand-new scenario that makes use of those extra Gholdako cards. We have just put that pack into your sidecart so it will ship along with your next subscription shipment. We’ll also be sending out copies through our distributors, and providing copies to customers who purchased Island of Empty Eyes from paizo.com but do not have subscriptions. Further, all copies of Island of Empty Eyes that leave our warehouse from now on will include this pack. (None of the cards in this pack have any value in the game without Island of Empty Eyes, as they all rely on other cards in that deck to function; there’s also no game value in having more than 1 pack for each copy of Island of Empty Eyes.) Until this pack arrives, if you want to play the scenario “Home Sweet Home”—that’s the one that needs the missing Ghol-Ghan Obelisks—we suggest proxying with Buccaneers (that is, set the Ghol-Gan Obelisk to the side, add Buccaneers to the location decks instead, and refer to the Obelisk whenever you find a Buccaneer). We apologize for this error.

Y’know, it’s things like this that give me a really warm feeling towards a company. Not only do they pick up on the error fairly quickly (I only got this scenario last week), they solve the problem with such flair and panache that I’m in awe!

Gotta love Paizo!

Pathfinding thoughts

 

Hey everybody!
As it’s Sunday, I thought I’d share some of my gaming ramblings. Because I know how much you all love them!

Largely, my weekend has consisted of close-reading Homer’s Odyssey for my degree, however. I’ve got to say, I’m not a fan of Lattimore’s translation, but unfortunately it’s the set book, so I guess I’ll just have to get on with it. I think I have two essays to produce on this, then it’s moving on to Classical Athens and the joy that is Aristophanes! I say this without a hint of irony: ignoring issues of translation, Aristophanes wrote some really very funny plays. I studied three for my A level back in the day, but enjoyed them so much that I read the other surviving eight for my own enjoyment. Reading Aristophanes, for me, is what makes the Classical world so utterly amazing – that I can still be in hysterics at a 2,430-year-old play really does speak volumes.

Anyway!

I think I mentioned the other day my glut of Pathfinder stuff? It seems that Paizo are producing a lot of material across their entire line of games at the moment, perhaps in time for christmas, with a fair few RPG releases as well. Something that has me baffled is the new Monster Codex, which seems like it might just be a reinvention of the Bestiary. Might be something I try to take a look at in real life before I decide if I want it. Something that does look interesting is the Advanced Class Origins supplement, designed to work alongside the Advanced Class Guide. I’m a complete sucker for anything that works off existing material to enrich the roleplaying experience, so am quite tempted by this!

I’ve been taking a look at the Class decks for the Adventure Card Game, and am pleased to report that they look pretty awesome! The idea behind the decks is that you get four heroes (one of whom is a new version of an already-released character) with a whole slew of stuff – spells, weapons, armour, items, allies and blessings. Some of these are new, and some are already-existing options. However, the cards are organised by adventure deck number, so when you make it to, say, The Hook Mountain Massacre, you add in to the pool all of the cards with a 3 in the top corner, along with the cards from the third adventure deck, increasing your deck-customisation options! Marvellous.

I have yet to make it to Skull & Shackles, however, but then I’m still only on the first adventure deck of Rise of the Runelords, so such a languid schedule shouldn’t really surprise anyone! I do like the look of some of the cards in this new box, though, I have to say…

Skull & Shackles

After a bit of rummaging around online, I’ve also read they’ve announced the third box in the Adventure Card Game line, Wrath of the Righteous. This was the thirteenth adventure path in the RPG (Skull & Shackles was the tenth, if you recall?), which brings us fairly close as the current, Iron Gods adventure path is only #15!

The Worldwound tore reality apart at the dawn of the Age of Lost Omens, murdering the nation of Sarkoris and unleashing a ravenous demonic horde upon the world. Only the quick action of several other nations of knights, barbarians, and heroes stemmed the demon army and contained it within lost Sarkoris, and for the next century, crusade after crusade tried to defeat the demons only to fail time and time again. Their greatest success, the line of magical artifacts known as wardstones that stand sentinel along the Worldwound’s border, barely manages to contain the demons. So when one of the wardstones is sabotaged, a city falls and the demons within surge out in a massive assault like none before. Even before the Fifth Crusade has begun a city has fallen and some of the crusaders’ greatest defenders and heroes are slain. Can anyone rise up against the demon host to prevent the armies of Deskari, the demon lord of the Locust Host, from swallowing the world?

I’m quite excited,  as I’ve long been intrigued by the Worldwound setting, and the demons that are contained therein. Should be lots of fun!

Pathfinder RPG

All that talk of the Pathfinder RPG has also got me thinking, of course. I’ve yet to play the RPG, sadly, despite it having been on the radar for years. I’m still very much in the mood for a RPG, it’s just a matter of convincing the right number of people…

When all is said and done, however, I’m actually trying to cut back a little on my gaming spending right now. Seems like I’ve been buying a lot of things of late just because they look good, which I suppose isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I’m starting to think more about the practicalities and whatnot, as I find myself with a whole host of games that I don’t get to play. There’s also the fact that I’m essentially diluting my games collection, by spending so much time playing new games and not getting to play those that I love. While Lord of the Rings is a case in point, there are a whole host of amazing games that I’ve barely played all year – Warhammer Invasion has been out 4 or 5 times, and I’ve only played Runebound, and Fortune and Glory, once! So I feel something must be done!

Post 99!

Morning everyone!
Can you believe I’ve made nearly 100 posts? I’m quite surprised! In less than 4 months, I’ve wittered on a fair amount, which is quite marvellous, really! For my 100th post, I’m planning to commemorate the milestone with a post that celebrates something I really enjoy. But that will come soon…

There has been a lot of games news of late, so let’s get to it!

I mentioned this game the other day, but I’m really quite looking forward to this game, it looks like it should be really good! I do enjoy this sort of thing. The app seems a bit gimicky, of course, but even so, it looks like a good premise, and I enjoy a good disaster, so I’m looking forward to it.

Fantasy Flight have released the rules for the upcoming Warhammer: Conquest LCG, which reinforces my opinion that it seems to be a lot like High Command. That’s not a bad thing, of course, as that is a very good game as well, so I am cautiously looking forward to it. Still not entirely sure just whether I’ll be buying everything for it as much as I do for the others, but then I always say that… Speaking of which, they’ve already previewed the second War Pack for the game! I’m guessing the game will be available from GenCon, which takes place between August 14 and 17 this year.

Warhammer Conquest

Something that surprised me – in a good way – was a preview of the upcoming Saga Expansion for the Lord of the Rings LCG. There had been some speculation about the identity of the heroes in the expansion – or, at least, the hero – so it was good to see that resolved. I was, however, surprised that it was Gandalf. A neutral hero is going to be a bit difficult to work with, even given Gandalf’s special ability. There are some interesting-looking cards that go along with him, however, so it’s going to be intriguing to see how this all works when it gets released.

lotr-cover-image

Back to board games now, and Talisman has had another preview of the fourth corner expansion. I’m going to blog about that game in due course, but suffice it to say it’s a wonderful fantasy adventure game, with much more whimsy than, say, Runebound. The game has so far had four large expansions, three of which provide additional boards that are placed at each corner of the main board, and the upcoming Woodland expansion adds in the final corner. There is a touch of fairy-tale-like cuteness in this expansion, but it is a lot more Andersen-like than a true bedtime story. Looking forward to this one!

TM12-layout

I’ve also had quite a lot of deliveries this week, including a very exciting mini-expansion for Descent: Journeys in the Dark. Another game that has yet to be investigated in my blog, Descent is a wonderful dungeon-crawl game that I rarely get to play because it’s at least a two-player game, but the new mini-expansion Forgotten Souls brings a cooperative element to the game, for one to four players, so I’m planning to give this a look at the weekend. My thoughts will, naturally, make it here in due course!

Moving away from Fantasy Flight now, a new expansion for Cryptozoic’s DC Deckbuilding Game has been released this week, the Crisis Expansion Pack 1! I quite like the game, at some point I’ll make a post about it, but it uses the same game engine as the Street Fighter deckbuilding game. This Crisis expansions introduces a new co-operative game mode, as well as additional cards for the basic game. Hopefully this expansion will make its way across the pond soon enough.

I’ve also noticed a small nugget of info about a new ‘Rivals’ game, a PvP version of the game for two players, where you play Batman and try to defeat the Joker. Or something. Can’t seem to find anything official on this, so we shall have to see what happens on that score…

dc_comics_crisis_3d_600x600_0

Some interesting news from Paizo was emailed to me the other day, the next Pathfinder Adventure Card Game is going to be on its way soon – the base set for Skull & Shackles! Well, there’s the base set, the character add-on deck, and four promo cards! Quite exciting times ahead for that one, then! From what I gather, we’re going to be seeing a lot more piratical stuff in this one – I know very little else as I still don’t really know my way around Golarion, but anyway, it should be an exciting one!

pathfinder

Finally, some kickstarter news. Fallen continues on its merry way through the manufacturing process, and will apparently be finished and on the boat to distribution by the end of next week, so that is very exciting. Draco Magi, which I have not yet mentioned but will definitely blog about once I have it, is virtually complete and should be with me soon, following the kickstarter survey coming out earlier this week. And finally, Shadows of Brimstone has had a pre-GenCon update that has me in a minor froth, although it does disappoint me that the miniatures require assembly. I have, however, made a small leap and bought some modelling stuff to practice with, before I eventually get the game in my hot little hands. So exciting times are definitely afoot!

On that note, I’m going to shut up. Brace yourselves for post 100…

Adventure is on the Cards!

So, folks: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game! Yeah, this has been mentioned quite a few times now, so I feel like I should give it the full-blog treatment!

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

So yeah. Two months ago, you may remember I did something of a mini-feature about it:

This morning, I took delivery of the fifth adventure pack for the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game. At least, I think they’re called adventure packs. Well, whatever. I’ve been off-and-on playing this game since last September, when it first arrived in my hot little hands. I mean, more off than on – I’ve by no means been playing it constantly, or anything! In fact, my boardgamegeek stats tell me I’ve played it seven times since I had it. (I’m on boardgamegeek as ‘spalanzani’ – feel free to add me as a geek buddy!) The game was something of a sensation when it came out – the forums were absolutely crazy with new posts, to the extent that I had to unsubscribe pretty sharp-ish as my subscription feed was just spammed daily. The idea of a game that was “the perfect amalgam” of card game and RPG seemed to scratch a lot of itches across the ‘geek, and of course, the Pathfinder RPG was close to a lot of peoples’ hearts. The box follows the Rise of the Runelords adventure path, a linked series of six adventures in the Pathfinder universe. I’m saying all this like I know what I’m talking about, of course – while I do indeed have the Rise of the Runelords RPG book, I’ve never actually played the RPG, so have no idea what it’s like. The RPG engine is, I believe, licensed from Wizards of the Coast’s D&D 3rd edition system, which I have also not played, but I have played d20 Star Wars RPG (Saga Edition), which I believe to be a similar engine. But all of this is pretty tangential to the actual discussion.
In the card game, you pick a character and have a deck of cards, which represents your “life” in the game – if the deck runs out, you die. You have a series of locations, represented by cards and an associated deck, that you have to explore. Within each location’s deck can be anything, from items and spells you can try to acquire, to monsters and even the villain of the piece! You have to fight these monsters, which is a skill check based on your character’s stats and a die-roll (the RPG element). Once you explore the locations to meet the win conditions of the scenario you’re playing, usually beat a villain in combat, you have a reward, which so far for me has been drawing a card from those unused in the box, or adding bonuses to your skills that will help in subsequent adventures (again, the RPG element).
Ready to go with Ezren!
Ready to go with Ezren!
By rights, I should be obsessed with this game, and I should be far too over-excited each month as Paizo sends me the new adventure pack (I’m just calling them that, whether they are or not!). But I find the game oddly dissatisfying. Like I said before, I’ve been playing it intermittently since September, and have taken Ezren through all the scenarios up to the midway point of Burnt Offerings. However, there is something missing, for me. While I enjoy the levelling aspect, and the dice rolling and the fantasy locales, I find myself feeling like I’d much rather play a proper RPG. For me, RPG-ing is a terrific social opportunity for storytelling and having fun while exercising the imagination. I suppose the ‘anything can happen’ aspect of the RPG is lost when you’re straightjacketed into the same mechanic of exploring locations and fighting monsters. Yes, arguably that’s what most RPG-ing comes down to, but there can be so much more variety in games where you can concentrate on diplomacy or any other of a multitude of types of quest. Plus, crucially, the presence of a GM in a RPG leads to so much more interactivity than we have here. So what we’re left with is a bit of a hollow shell of a RPG. Harsh, I know. When approached as a card game, it is much more enjoyable to play, but I find this game wants to be a RPG too much. Which is probably why I only play it in short bursts.

I’ve recently been on a bit of a Pathfinder kick, of course, and now that all six of the adventure decks have arrived in my grubby little hands, I’ve been feeling a lot more… involved, I suppose, with it.

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

One of the complaints I had about the card game was, of course the fact that it’s all down to fighting monsters, with very little else going on. But since dabbling with the RPG, I’ve come to find that that is what the Pathfinder system is all about. Somehow, being prepared for that, I suppose I’m better-predisposed towards the card game. So while I’d still rather play a full-blown RPG, I also don’t really mind this as much as I used to!

This is all sounding very strange, I know!

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

I discovered the other day that paizo are poised on releasing a series of seven ‘class decks’ for the seven character classes, such as this for the Cleric. The opportunity for even further customization is something that really excites me, naturally, and I’m really looking forward to these! They’re due in August, around the same time that the next base set is due out.

PZO6010_500

Rise of the Runelords  was the first adventure path in the Pathfinder RPG series, and Skull & Shackles was the tenth released. In terms of the adventure card game, anyway, Skull and Shackles brings four new character classes to the game, and the Character Add-on Deck adds three more new ones. Completely compatible with the Rise of the Runelords set, the character options will be immense!

However, word on the street appears to be that the characters we’ve spent so long taking through Rise of the Runelords will have to start again from basic level rather than continuing the adventure (though additional word on the street suggests there may be a high-level adventure released at some point that would allow us to continue past the six adventures in the path). Seems that a lot of people aren’t too happy about that, but I’m perfectly fine with it. Looking forward to having a whole stack of boxes of these things soon enough!

I’m slowly rehabilitating this game into my life, and am looking forward to playing more of it as the weeks and months pass!

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Fantastical musings (for a Monday)

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New deliveries today #StarWars #Pathfinder

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So this pair turned up on my doorstep today (not like this, of course – packaging was involved). But it’s very exciting, all the same – the first Star Wars novel to be published with the ‘Legends’ banner, and the final adventure deck in the Rise of the Runelords adventure path for Pathfinder Adventure Card Game.

And it’s the Pathfinder thing that’s been on my mind a lot lately. You may recall my somewhat lukewarm opinion of it from back in the day? Well that has been changing quite dramatically of late. While it’s still no Lord of the Rings, I’m finding myself drawn into the whole Pathfinder universe much more than I ever have been previously. Last night I spent some time with the core rulebook, though it’s such a massive tome that I didn’t get very far.

That said, I am definitely feeling in a RPG mood nowadays. On Saturday I found myself looking over some of the old d20 Star Wars web supplements I have, and felt a huge rush of excitement at seeing all the tools we have with which to make our own heroes, our own adventures, and our own worlds. That’s something that I hope to delve into again soon, as it’s been far too long since I’ve run a RPG campaign.

I also seem to be in something of a fantasy mood lately. I have, very excitingly, recently been loaned The Diamond Throne, the first book in the Elenium series by David Eddings, which will no doubt be featured here at some point in the coming days/weeks! To say nothing of the recent Warhammer acquisitions…

All of this has got me thinking about some ideas I had for a fantasy story back in 2006/7, when I spent some idle summer afternoons in work jotting down ideas as they came to me for interesting names and situations. I tried to thread them into a story back then, but short of about a hundred words in a now-lost Word document, I haven’t really done anything with them. Fortunately, however, I never throw anything like that away, and when I recently moved house I found a lot of my notes that I made.

While it’s not going to impact on my Star Wars writing (hopefully!), I am now intending to make something of all these odd jumbled notes, and once something has been finalised, it will pop up here for you to enjoy (or not, as the case may be!).

Until that time, however, here’s a picture of the Chinese I had for dinner:

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#Chinese

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Saturday

I started this morning with scrambled eggs, which is always a good way to start the weekend. And what a weekend it has been so far! My great procrastination continues – I’ve got to write an essay by the end of next week, and while I’ve been thinking about it (honest), I have yet to put fingers to keyboard. And yet here I am, blogging . Shocking!

In case you’re wondering, I’m doing a degree with the Open University in History with Classical Studies. Because I love history (it’s in my tagline, remember!) and I love the Classical World. I’m currently nearing the halfway point – with this essay, and an exam at the beginning of June, that’ll be me exactly halfway through. OU degrees, unlike ‘regular’ degrees, take six years to complete rather than three, and I’m on the cusp of the end of the first module of my ‘second’ year. If that confuses you, you’re not alone. Anyway, the current module I’m nearing the conclusion to is A200, Exploring History: Medieval to Modern. It’s been really really good, I have to say! A lot of people doing the current course with me seem to be really down on it, as it’s too much reading or whatever, but seriously, the study of history involves a whole ton of reading, so I’m not entirely sure what they were expecting. History is more than just interesting stories, people! And thus I dismount my soapbox. The essay I’ve not yet started on is about territorial expansion, with reference to colonialism in Africa in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Awesome stuff!

I’ve technically had last week ‘off’, for Easter, so instead of working at the degree, I’ve been reading more Star Wars novels. Of course! Despite the recent announcement, I still have a huge love of the expanded Star Wars universe, not least because these are the stories that I grew up with – none of this Gungan flapping nonsense, but Hutts building Death Star-like superweapons, and blue-skinned alien Grand Admirals running rings around the fledgling New Republic! Oh yes! That’s the good stuff! And I doubt that anything Disney puts out from here on in will dissuade me from that.

This week’s book has been another Tim Zahn treat – Choices of One. Amazon tells me I’ve had this book getting on for two years now, and yet this is the first time I’ve actually bothered to pick it up. It’s a sequel to Zahn’s Allegiance, which is set during the three years between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back, and follows a similar plot, featuring the renegade stormtroopers self-styled as the Hand of Judgment. All the favourite rebels are there, including General Riekkan and General Cracken (a real surprise treat, that one!). Luke is the noob who still doesn’t know how to be a proper Jedi; Han is still the rogue who is unwilling to commit himself to the Alliance, and Leia is very much the authority figure we see her on Echo Base. In addition, we have Mara Jade as the Emperor’s Hand, running around rooting out treachery in the Imperial ranks. We also have the star destroyer Chimaera, and while Pellaeon is here, he’s not yet the captain of the ship. A really nice inclusion, that. The plot is all centred on a far-flung star system, where the Imperial Governor is accused of treason (hence Mara’s involvement), and deals with a nebulous threat lurking from the Unknown Regions. Voss Parck and the Adjudicator are also involved, which is a nice nod to Zahn’s shorter fiction that deals with Thrawn’s adventures in the time of the original trilogy.

Basically, I really liked this novel a lot. Perhaps even more so than Allegiance. As usual for Zahn, you see plenty of the puzzle pieces, but they don’t begin to connect until later in the game, and I’m either lazy or I was kept guessing right up to the final pages. Something I really, really liked was the way he keeps us guessing as to the identity of Lord Odo. (SPOILER ALERT: I was fairly convinced it was going to turn out to be Thrawn, but no!) The warlord threatening the galaxy from the Unknown Regions, Nuso Esva, was a really intriguing threat – while we didn’t see much of him (SPOILER ALERT: or did we?!), he was clearly a compelling antagonist, with a very intricate plot set up. Nicely done, Mr Z! MORE SPOILERS: The Nuso Esva plotline isn’t actually resolved here, however – for that, you have to head over to the 20th Anniversary edition of Heir to the Empire, and the short story ‘Crisis of Faith’ that is included therein.

I’ve not yet read Crisis of Faith, but I’ll let you know what I think when I do. I’m currently trying to read the fiction in chronological order, so I’m still a few years off at the minute 🙂


This morning, I took delivery of the fifth adventure pack for the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game. At least, I think they’re called adventure packs. Well, whatever. I’ve been off-and-on playing this game since last September, when it first arrived in my hot little hands. I mean, more off than on – I’ve by no means been playing it constantly, or anything! In fact, my boardgamegeek stats tell me I’ve played it seven times since I had it. (I’m on boardgamegeek as ‘spalanzani’ – feel free to add me as a geek buddy!) The game was something of a sensation when it came out – the forums were absolutely crazy with new posts, to the extent that I had to unsubscribe pretty sharp-ish as my subscription feed was just spammed daily. The idea of a game that was “the perfect amalgam” of card game and RPG seemed to scratch a lot of itches across the ‘geek, and of course, the Pathfinder RPG was close to a lot of peoples’ hearts. The box follows the Rise of the Runelords adventure path, a linked series of six adventures in the Pathfinder universe. I’m saying all this like I know what I’m talking about, of course – while I do indeed have the Rise of the Runelords RPG book, I’ve never actually played the RPG, so have no idea what it’s like. The RPG engine is, I believed, licensed from Wizards of the Coast’s D&D 3rd edition system, which I have also not played, but I have played d20 Star Wars RPG (Saga Edition), which I believe to be a similar engine. But all of this is pretty tangential to the actual discussion.

In the card game, you pick a character and have a deck of cards, which represents your “life” in the game – if the deck runs out, you die. You have a series of locations, represented by cards and an associated deck, that you have to explore. Within each location’s deck can be anything, from items and spells you can try to acquire, to monsters and even the villain of the piece! You have to fight these monsters, which is a skill check based on your character’s stats and a die-roll (the RPG element). Once you explore the locations to meet the win conditions of the scenario you’re playing, usually beat a villain in combat, you have a reward, which so far for me has been drawing a card from those unused in the box, or adding bonuses to your skills that will help in subsequent adventures (again, the RPG element).

Ready to go with Ezren!
Ready to go with Ezren!

By rights, I should be obsessed with this game, and I should be far too over-excited each month as Paizo sends me the new adventure pack (I’m just calling them that, whether they are or not!). But I find the game oddly dissatisfying. Like I said before, I’ve been playing it intermittently since September, and have taken Ezren through all the scenarios up to the midway point of Burnt Offerings. However, there is something missing, for me. While I enjoy the levelling aspect, and the dice rolling and the fantasy locales, I find myself feeling like I’d much rather play a proper RPG. For me, RPG-ing is a terrific social opportunity for storytelling and having fun while exercising the imagination. I suppose the ‘anything can happen’ aspect of the RPG is lost when you’re straightjacketed into the same mechanic of exploring locations and fighting monsters. Yes, arguably that’s what most RPG-ing comes down to, but there can be so much more variety in games where you can concentrate on diplomacy or any other of a multitude of types of quest. Plus, crucially, the presence of a GM in a RPG leads to so much more interactivity than we have here. So what we’re left with is a bit of a hollow shell of a RPG. Harsh, I know. When approached as a card game, it is much more enjoyable to play, but I find this game wants to be a RPG too much. Which is probably why I only play it in short bursts.