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:

Now, for something different… #Pathfinder

A post shared by Mark (@marrrkusss) on

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!

Sleeving my entire #LordOfTheRings #LCG collection. Not even halfway done yet… #games

A post shared by Mark (@marrrkusss) on

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!

Time to relax #StarWars #novels

A post shared by Mark (@marrrkusss) on

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!

#StudioGhibli #awesome

A post shared by Mark (@marrrkusss) on

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!

#PathfinderACG #Pathfinder #DrunkenMaster

A post shared by Mark (@marrrkusss) on

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!

New Games Round-up!

Happy Saturday, everyone!
Yeah, I’m back for another Saturday evening ramble! Oh, you love it. I want to talk about some new games that are either on the horizon or else just new to me, as I feel that I haven’t talked about new games for a while. Being off work invariably means I go out and look at history stuff, hence the promulgation of history blogs lately! So to restore balance, let’s go!

First up, some really left-field news from Fantasy Flight came on Monday, with the announcement that Dungeon Fighter is back in stock. What now? I didn’t even know what that game was, much less that FFG had published it?! Reading through the pages on their site got me desperate to play it, as I love a good goofy game like this every so often. So I snapped it up on amazon, and it arrived yesterday. So far, I’ve not actually played it, but hopefully that will change in the coming days…

Dungeon Fighter

And then they announced two expansions to it on Wednesday! How very FFG, to throw out expansions so quickly! The game looks amazing, as I said, and the expansions look equally hilarious, so I’m pretty sure this will be lots of fun!

DF expansions

And then, we have this!

Descent Heroes

Descent is a game that I haven’t really talked about at any length yet, but it is nevertheless a really nice game. Set in the Runebound universe of Terrinoth, it pitches a group of heroes against the Overlord, who kind of acts like a much more antagonistic Game Master in a RPG. I’ve barely played this game, but am nevertheless kinda hooked on it because of the fantastic fantasy setting. The game is currently in its Second Edition, which has streamlined a lot of the rules from what I can gather, and since January, FFG have decided to release heroes and monsters from the first edition game in these Hero and Monster Collections. A really nice idea, that, as the Conversion Kit to allow folks who already own First Edition to re-use their minis in the new game only has the cards, people who only own Second Edition can run with classic monsters in their games! However, these collections aren’t simply re-prints of existing miniatures, but there is also new content to be used in your games! A really fantastic idea, and yet more proof that the company is really supportive of this game. The fourth collection, Guardians of Deephall, has got some really cool stuff in it, and I’m looking forward to this one lots!

Warhammer Conquest

Onwards to the latest addition to the LCG stable, Warhammer: Conquest! Announced back in March after furious speculation as to the next LCG’s theme following the demise of Warhammer: Invasion last November, I was initially torn about investing into this, largely because of the theme. I’m a huge Warhammer Fantasy fan, but have never really been all that interested in Warhammer 40000 (despite owning Horus Heresy, the most expensive game I’ve ever bought!). I think the whole sci-fi theme it appears to have just doesn’t suck me in all that much. However, I have recently decided that I would, if nothing else, buy the core set of the new game, and see what it’s like.

I was, however, quite surprised by this week’s announcement of the first War Pack – I mean, the core set isn’t even out, yet! I suppose it goes to show the confidence that Fantasy Flight has in their LCG model, they don’t need to wait to see how sales of the core set do before deciding to expand the game. While, as I said, I think it’s a pretty foregone conclusion now that I’ll be getting the core set, I’m not as-yet sure I’ll be purchasing the expansions. Of course, I said that about Call of Cthulhu, then ended up buying every single thing for the game, so anything is of course possible!

Speaking of LCGs, a preview went up this week for the next cycle for Android: Netrunner, too. The game did phenomenally well when it was released nearly two years ago, and is currently looking at its third cycle of Data Packs. This was another LCG that I told myself I would limit myself on – this time, to the core set and first cycle – and have so far been snapping up the releases in fairly short order. The third, Lunar cycle has yet to actually be released, however, but I’m fairly sure I’ll be snaffling these guys as they come out, too…

Moving away from strictly ‘new’ games, now (and, indeed, from FFG), I’ve had a massive order of Pathfinder stuff delivered this week. I’ve been banging on about this for ages now, but I really find myself sinking quite easily (and heavily!) into the setting! My library of the things is looking pretty impressive now, so I’m very pleased for that, but even if I don’t find myself launching into a game anytime soon, it has been of tremendous help in inspiring me for my fantasy story that I want to start writing!

Pathfinder

Ah yes, the fantasy story. It’s slowly coming together! Rather than my usual modus operandi of just lurching headlong into writing something, I’m actually taking the time to plan things out this time, and have the ‘rules’ for my world written down before I actually put fingers to keyboard and type. But it’s getting there, and hopefully soon I shall be sharing some wonderful stuff with you all!

Finally, I thought I’d share with you some hilarious news: I am a Prince of the Forest!

Flying Squirrel

The Flying Squirrel game I mentioned to you a long time ago, in case you’re wondering!

Splurge!

Amazing! #Pathfinder

A post shared by Mark (@marrrkusss) on

You folks are possibly sick of me wittering on about the Pathfinder RPG by now, I’m sure – but fear not, this post is only a small one! I have recently had something of an insane splurge on books, and have bought a small forest’s worth of Pathfinder stuff, the first of which arrived not long ago, the above ‘Inner Sea Primer‘. For a complete beginner like myself, this book is really good, as it gives an overview of the Pathfinder setting, both in terms of the location and the culture of the setting. Really incredibly handy! If you’re looking to get into the game, then I can massively recommend this!

Secondly, this happened:

While I wouldn’t say I’m a Buffy devotee, I nevertheless really enjoyed the TV show back in the day, and for a while have been off-and-on considering looking into the Series 8 comicbook arc, which I vaguely knew about. The other day, however, I read an excellent blog about one of the standalone Buffy comics, and decided that it was high-time I looked into this thing for myself! So I’ve bought the first couple of graphic novels from Series 8 (there are loads!) to have a look. In due course, I’ll let you know what’s going on!