Friday, September 18, 2015


Hi friends, acquaintances, associates, enemies, frenemies, and/or possible spammers,

I am looking to start up a Numenera game over Skype and Roll20.  It's a rather simple system as far as these things go and can be taught without the rulebook! (That would make character creation interesting but definitely doable).  If one wants, the PDF of the Player's Guide is $7.99 from the Publisher's E-Store. (Side tangent: I love that this publisher takes about 1/3rd to 1/2 of the rulebook and puts it in a smaller cost Player's Guide)

This game will be Sunday nights from 9:30 PM Eastern to Midnight Eastern (because changing timezones halfway through would get confusing).

Numenera is a game of Science Fantasy.  In it's more common disguise as "High Fantasy but magic is actually far-future scientific elements that people do not understand."  So if one was hoping for a game where you're a theoretical physicist watching your lab get overrun by alien creatures...Not quite that game here.

Instead Numenera is set ONE BILLION years into Earth's Future.  It is often called the "Ninth World", not because Earth moved its position from the sun (good but inaccurate guess) but because the current human civilization on the planet is the Ninth Civilization to exist on Earth. Not all past civilizations were human.  Basic tech level is standard for a fantasy game, around 1000CE level.  But it's littered with objects from the past.  So yes, that noble that appears to be walking its pet from one angle, might actually just have a hovering robot on the other side of it doing the actual 'leash' holding. However, most of the tech has been stripped down and repurposed for other uses, often with little understanding for what it did before.  Also, no elves. (YES)

Basic system is the Players do all the rolling. (THE GM DOESN'T HAVE TO DO ANY WORK! WOO. Wait, we still have to come up with everything and adjudicate? Dammit!)  You attack monster, you roll.  Monster attacks you, you roll.  You put on a robe and wizard hat and seduce the monster, you roll.

I am planning on using pre-published sources because A> The pre-published book is very very very very good.  B> I'm rather rusty. C> I have a three year old and a full time job and a wife who does want to occasionally spend time with me.

As I stated above, the rules are rather simple to teach.  There's no Attacks of Opportunity here.  Distance is in four states (Immediate, Short Range, Long Range, and Too Far Away To Worry About Yet) so there's no need of maps or miniatures except when necessary of course. There is a early scenario that will be done to teach the basics and not-so basics, and character creation will go over them as well.

For queries and or interests please contact me on Twitter or Steam or E-Mail or Skype or Facebook or Google Plus or LinkedIn. (Who has LinkedIn?)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Warlock 2: The Exiled - Part 10:

Thank Helia this loading screen told me this!

Welcome back!  Last time around, the blog got hijacked by one of my archers.
(Spoiler warning: She's dead now)

So last part I said the AI wasn't doing much of anything.  Well it turned out I was a little wrong.  Sure they don't seem to be expanding past their planes, that I can see, but I got a little message.

I wish I knew what happened. Or even had met her.

So um, Yeah.  That happened.  I hadn't met her, nor had I met the other Great Mage, just King Lich VI so far.  But someone killed her off.  Better her than me, I guess.

I continued my expansion into Shadavar, fighting against the phase spiders there.  My coordination is what led me to live.

Part 10 is a good time to talk about damage (I am so organized).  Let's say your archers do 15 damage a pop.  Well then they're hit for half their HP, the next time they attack they do but 7.  Most of the monsters on this plane can one shot most of my guys.  But I've been careful, depleting them of their hit points before they get a chance to attack and the wounds become slightly worse than superficial.  

I also have a giant walking tree now.

I also continue my small aggressive expansion into the Deadlands.  In all honesty, I'm not sure why I'm doing this.  I know where this'll go.  I could honestly retreat out of here, stay focused on Shadavar with a backup army in The Lost World.  But, I guess, fighting a war on multiple fronts is something these kinds of games encourage.
 This is such a bad idea.


Take that nay-sayers! I AM THE GREATEST! My illusions have been perfected to work on trolls! I am ignoring the fact it said it was a 30% chance of success! No that success was inevitable! Nothing can stand in my way!

Oh yeah, the armies here are a little tough. I think I got a little carried away.  And why doesn't -my- magical dragon kick as much ass as this Gold Dragon does?  And see those little ghostly archers?  They're immune to physical damage, only elemental damage can get them.  Luckily my siege units (Fire Totems and Statues) are very good at non-siege uses!  That just seems wrong but I'll take it.  Also my spells work too, but I have to use them sparingly or else I'll run out of mana.  Damn resource management, why won't you just let me use my strong powers?

The Bridge I found in the Deadlands, I send Llsorr through.

So pretty. So very pretty.

This land is called Deadmeadows.  This also means I have two undiscovered lands (Not counting those two large planes that I am working towards).  It's a nice world, but it's already inhabited.  Yes, I finally meet the last living existing Great Mage

Hi! You seem to like me less than--Oh god, you follow the wrong God!

Man, if the AI was seriously a thing to worry about in this game, Rjakh would be my mortal nemesis.  possibly the one that destroyed one Great Mage and is a follower of Lunord?!  Man, if I didn't already have a goal, I'd march my entire army to kick his ass.

My main army goes upwards, finding the city of Medveny and a bunch more monsters.  Monsters I did not prepare for, causing, well...

This post has gone full circle!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Warlock 2: The Exiled - Part 9: And Now For Something Slightly Different

"These girls devote themselves to only one occupation - archery. Planestriders even have a saying: 'If you want to marry an Archer of Planes, become a bow'. Well said, very accurate! Nobody has ever seen an Archer part with her bow. They eat and drink with them, and when they go to bed, they put bows at the head of their beds, and arrows under their pillows."
"Chronicles of New Worlds" written by Master Vardies Teleran

Thank Helia for magic.

Praise to Helia for the light she brings us every day.  Glory to Helia for burning away the darkness.

It is the beginning of my third week here in this hellscape land full of nightmarish creatures.  I lost a quarter of my compatriots just to the -plants- in the never-ending jungle here.  The previous army had been completely destroyed by the natives of this land, as well as the wildlife.  But we learn.  We stride the planes and we adapt.  Also we now have tiny talismans that build temporary shelters that protect us from being eaten in our sleep by the very grasses of this land.

That was before.  I woke up this morning and the vegetation was all dead. The hard packed dirt was replaced with shifting sands.  The humidity that made me feel as if I was walking through walls with every step I took was replaced with the welcoming dry heat.  Helia be praised!

We marched to the edge of the desert, where it met lands devoid of vegetation, but the very soil poisoned your essence.  My undead compatriots marched through fearlessly, though to be fair everything they do is emotionless.   We could see Dremer Warriors upon a hill, the light of holy land tainted by their presence.

But then we were surprised, warriors came out of nowhere and surprised us, overrunning our position. Two thirds of my compatriots fell as we retreated.
We were saved from the Warriors by our Great Mage's spells.

We rested, we healed, new recruits were brought to our position. As we marched the land continued to turn to desert, as if our very feet were missionaries spreading Helia's glory.

We approached another bridge.  And our unit was chosen to be the first to cross it.  We were brimming with pride.  We were chosen to scout out a new land and report upon it!  

We quickly retreated.

In our pride we had forgotten one important fact.  A new plane has dangers that border upon the ridiculous, that eat the scout units alive.  Few of us survived to flee back through the bridge.  The beings of fire did not follow us, thank Helia.

It has been a few weeks.  Weeks of avoiding that bridge to what we've been advised is known as Crystallis.  Weeks of doing Operation: Cleanse Dremer.  We have gotten so efficient at it, the land cannot keep up with turning to desert as we advance.
We must once again deal with plants.

We even, for reasons I cannot comprehend, have settled this lost land.  Xebico has been built nestled into desertified hills.  But as far as our scouts can tell us, there are no more Dremer's, or their castles, upon this plane.  We've done it.  And for our reward, we are to head to the plane of Shadaran and deal with the spiders there.
This promises to be painful.

The money is quite well, and the battles have been epic so far.  I, Llsorr, have been recognized by the Great Mage to lead a small group of forces into yet another bridge connected to this Lost World.  Four lands are connected to it.  We have been told to ignore Crystallis for now, but to instead focus on this Deadland.

Our Great Mage has told me that he feels the small amount of forces he has placed under my command will, with my presence, be more than enough to handle the lands here. We find a city and quickly overrun it.
I am so large and spectacular.

This land will hold no challenges.

This was something a little different, as most of the action was just endless fighting in the Dremer jungles.

The Deadlands will assuredly connect to another Great Mage.  And that's where I'm going to talk about the AI Problem.  I was earlier afraid of King Lich turtling, but he's just sitting in his area.  And the Deadlands *will* connect to another Great Mage (There are 2 more. They have to connect somewhere).  In my two previous aborted playthroughs, this land was the first one I went to and it was astonishingly easy.  And look, no sign of another Great Mage.  We're well past turn 100.

Now perhaps this is because of the Casual setting, but a quick look into how the AI functions via Google searches it sounds as if it does really stupid things at even the hardest settings.  So this game looks as if it'll be me versus the other planes, more than me versus the AI. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Warlock 2: The Exiled - Part 8: All Glory to Helia (Now Give A Guy A Break)

After the supression of the Conclave's rebellion against the last Great King, many rebellious priests were exiled from the kingdom. But many of them later returned, upon hearing of the disappearance of the King. The former High Priestess of Krypta, sister Seina Sacrificeous, foremost among them. Upon returning, she won back her title in a short but brutal duel, took upon herself the name of 'The Empress', and began a new policy of what she called 'sacrificial cleansing'. Sure enough, the rule of such a determined High Priestess would give fruit, and the Temple of Krypta returned to its former grim greatness and terrifying fame.
From "The Overall Description of Everything" by Master Alfus Bumblegate

So it seems to me as if the AI is not all that smart. King Lich is trapped on his own little plane and has never come to contest my dominance over his next world.  However the United One's Lieutenants seem to always hit me when I can't respond all that quickly.  Though as I'm writing this paragraph, the horrible reality seems to be dawning on me:  What if King Lich is building up a massive army to sweep through.  What if this Let's Play ends on a 'All Glory to The Bony One' note?  Now I'm tempted to launch the game up and build up a giant army, possibly with actual giants.

Okay, time to move past the paranoia!  While my army was busy dying to the Dremer (again, I'm on Casual mode.  Either the difficulty settings are laughably off, or I'm laughably bad, or the Planestriders laughably suck), the Empress launched an undead invasion.

The invasion is less scary than it seemed.

Maybe this is where the difficulty setting comes in to play.  But there's just two mirrors with two undead each.  Sure, that second mirror is where I was taking a settler to go build a city, but they weren't quite there yet so I was able to pull them back. It takes a bit to kill them, yes, but the mirrors have no defensive capabilities.  I don't know if the Empress was supposed to be impressive but the only one of the lieutenants so far to scare me has been Elspiritster.  His wrecking attempts couldn't be killed with a few spells.

Last part I introduced you to Kerran Vaderson, the Chosen Warrior.  What I did not tell you, and, indeed, what I did not notice because I thought he was just a normal 'Fighter' unit when it happened, was he died.  Unceremoniously, by the hands of the Dremer.  Well good news everybody!

Bad news is he wants 700 gold that I don't have. And his upkeep is horrible.

What I find interesting is how little Melee and Missile resistance he and the Dragon (RIP Dragon) have.  I guess it's because "Spellcaster" but that is really low.  Plus side, he has a lot of HP.  Once I have the money I guess I'll hire him.

So I'm dealing with the Dwemer killing my army.  I'm dealing with an undead invasion.  So this is when my *God* decides She wants me to do something.
You too, Helia? Give a guy a break already!

Oh here's a mistake I made.  See where it says Spell Ready there?  Well apparently once a spell is ready you *have* to cast it. There is no cancelling it. If there is then I ran into a horrid bug.   That spell is the highest level spell granted to me by Helia (That I had to research) that I have the favor for. Descending Flame.  It kills a building in one hit.  Useful for taking out defensive buildings that guard cities.  What it doesn't work on?  Lich Mirrors.  Since those don't have a defense, I can't actually cast it on the mirror to destroy it. And I can't cancel the cast.  So there it will sit, turn after turn.

Two turns later, I remember the Sorcerers exist.  When they attack my capital.

When I defeat the Sorcerers, I gain the spell "Sun Blindness" as a reward.  However I do not have enough of a relationship with Helia to cast it.  I wonder if this was her way of going "Sacrifice more to me! Look what you get!"   Oh, and if you can see in that upper corner.  I have 0 gold.  Because in that city, hard to make out, is Llsorr the Cold One the High Koatl.  Here's a better screencap of him.
He looks suitably bad ass.

I head back into the Dremer lands, and at that moment the Goddess Krypta gives me a quest to kill some 'Paladins of Life'.  I say no and...they don't spawn. So that's nice.  I do hope saying no to a God doesn't come back to bite me later. 

One of my units rushes to the bridge on the Dwemer's plane and...
A Shadow Realm!

Even the Fog of War looks different.  He later gets killed by some kind of elemental in a move so sudden and shocking that I was still processing it after the screen had moved on. So uh, no screencap. Enemy came from nowhere and oneshotted him.

So that's why my units can embark. Glad I built that.

The downside to modern game buying is no instruction manuals, of course.  I built a Harbor because it looked like a good idea at the time.  I didn't know it was going to be that vital in my early game.

The thing is, either through overpowering army, a slowly upgraded army, or my own increase in skill, the Dremer become defeatable.

Also Llsorr's a badass at range. Best 700 gold I ever spent.

The annoying thing about the realities of war is the logistics of moving your army around.  If someone is cut off they can die, if you have trained reinforcements they have to get to the battlefield.  In this game, that is exacerbated by the multiple planes you can be at war on.  What I wouldn't give for a road mechanism.  But magic solves everything, doesn't it?
That cost though, makes it not as useful as it could be.

Next Time: New Bridges are opened!  The Dremer are Wiped Clean!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Warlock 2: The Exiled - Part 7 : Wherein I Keep Wanting to Type 'Dwemer'

"The Dremer are agents of destruction.  They seek only to destroy all life, and un-life, they find.  They have no civilization of their own, and the lands they come from are full of carnivorous flora. It is recommended that any dremer spotted should be put down instantly."  
From the United One's treatise on external threats.

Welcome back!
This is the biggest piece of 'no duh' advice I've ever seen on a loading screen.

When we last left off, let's take a look at my notes.  Oh.  Holy fuck, I have a dragon.  It was more than enough to get Elspiritster off my back.  And it brought me a measure of fame, for now I have a Lord wishing to serve me (for pay, of course. Everyone is demanding pay. Can't they just do it for the glory of Helia?)

Now I have someone to give this artefact to!

Lords are basically unique units who can be given special artefacts that you find around the world.  They have a stiff upfront cost, and a stiff upkeep, but they are pretty strong. They just sort of hang around until you pay them, or they get bored with you ignoring them and wander off.  But once you pay them they are yours (it seems).

This game I've decided to hit random buttons to see what they do.  First, I've been hoping to have a map of the planes.  And look! I have one!

That is a healthy amount of planes.

Alright, 'The Sands' and the 'Snowy Wastes' are mine.  Echo must be that King Lich the VI's.  Ainadra is where the game wants me to go, and Ardania is what I must take over, I think?  This will take a while.  

I should have talked about this earlier.

Alright, there are ways to upgrade your units and your spells.  First I'll talk about spells.  When you loot areas, or get quest rewards, you sometimes get a gem or stone or whatever it is that has special powers attached.  The above, "The Gift of Three" I put on Spit of Fire for obvious reasons.  Make it cast a little faster, be a bit more powerful, and cost less mana.  I actually did that a while ago and had yet to talk about that.  My bad.

As for units...well...
This is sort of embarrassing.

Okay. There are two types of Unit Perks that I can see (there may be more).  The first is gained from leveling.  I should have talked about this sooner too.  When a unit levels, you get the choice of 3 perks to give it. Sort of like Civ there.

The other kind of perk is Building Perks.  I started the game with a Magic Smithy that gave me 5 instances of Fine Armour.  I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to apply it.  Google didn't help. The game didn't help.  Eventually I saw that little Up Arrow on the unit's portrait and that opened the screen to purchase the perk.  You do sink some money into it, so you should choose carefully which units get it.  However when a unit dies, you get the armor back. 

Alright, time to stop being cowardly prudent, and open up this damn bridge!
This will probably hurt.

A unit of Dremers was summoned but I knocked it down well enough.  I waited one more turn then I entered their land.

No one's marooned on a flying rock this time!  Also look, another bridge!

Well it's colourful.  And it looks deadly.  In fact it -is- deadly. Holy fuck. It damages my units 3 HP a turn *and* it heals Dremer units the same?  Fuck.  Well there's only one response to this!

Is there any problem that can't be solved by turning it into a desert?

I slowly spread out my forces and do another round of desertifying the area.  But I quickly stoop to throwing down fire to try to injure these guys. They're extremely tough.  How tough?
RIP Dragon  You were less impressive than you looked.

I'm getting my ass kicked.  The Dremers are tough, they're sitting on top of Castles which can range attack me.  The spell to take care of those castles I've actually prudently began to research before I even entered here (Coincidence).  But alas, it's taking forever to learn.

So what really is the worst thing that could happen as you're army is dying out in a foreign land?

I swear, they attack at the worst possible moments. It's like they KNOW.

Next time:  I fight Dremers and undead.  One of those fights goes well.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Warlock 2: The Exiled - Part 6: Trespassing Isn't Really a Crime, Is It?

Many assume the number 'V' after the name of this king means there were four other lich kings before him. But this is something of a misconception, for there has only been one Lich King, and the number instead represents how many times he has been resurrected. It is in part in a warning to his enemies, a reminder that the vengeance of the undead King can never be entirely avoided.
From "The Overall Description of Everything" by Master Alfus Bumblegate. A bit out of date now.

Okay.  So there's a rival mage who is building up.  And from the looks of it, he's building up his own land in ways that I have yet to do.  Yikes.  First thing I do is pull up my diplomacy screen and offer him a non-aggression pact.  It's not that I've had a fear of undead since I was a child, no no, not at all. I just am focused on Sunhaven at the moment.  And Elspiritster. And the United One eventually.  And soon the Dremer probably.

Interesting thing is that diplomacy happens on the particular player's turn.  So on my turn I offer a non-aggression pact.  On *his* turn he sees it and can respond.  So having sent my offer, I am back to focusing on my priorities.
IT'S MINE!  And, uh, Helia's.

Alright!  Now of course it has to heal up, rebuild, and then I have to figure out what I'm going to do with it.  After I click End Turn, I immediately get a response from King Lich the VI.  Which, I guess it's a play on "Lich King" but it sounds far more ridiculous with the words transposed like that.
So uh, do the other Great Mages talk like Discworld's Death or is it just you?

Now as you can see, I have a thousand gold.  But I don't get to decide when the witch comes back around.  Eventually she does, and I give her the money.
Can I have her beheaded?

So I have to fucking kill a Kraken.  Well that shouldn't be too difficult, right?  These things always seem to spawn near my kingdom.
Oh.  It's over in King Lich's territory? That's just -convenient- isn't it?

Well, I guess I'll send a unit through and pray he doesn't attack!  But if he does attack, well I'm ready. For it is time for me to research my first Anti-Other-Great-Mage's spell! (Also it's one of Helia's!)
I wonder if this is an act of war?

(SPOILER ALERT:  So, uh, Undead don't eat food.)

Also, while turning tiles back into desert from the variety of things Elspiritster has turned it into (Ice, burnt lands, forest...) I discovered that I can turn rivers into deserts!
Spells really need to come with instruction manuals.
This will save me two turns every time I send a unit from my capital over through the bridge.  This is -great-.  I wish I had known it sooner!

Oh, speaking of Elspiritster and his tendency to terraform my lands.
Well that won't be good for my tourism.

I send a fire totem into the Lich King's lands to take on the Kraken (with my magical help, of course).  The Lich King seems to care less about me traipsing through his property.  I guess the sign I painted on the turtle shell "Definitely Not Looking For Magic" worked!

Meanwhile, on the homeplane:

Sure, -this- quest spawns here.

They don't last too long. Infidels never do.  But the good news is the Krakens eventually die and I loot the shipwrecks they had made their lairs!
Does that say...?

Holy fuck I have a dragon!

Next time:  Holy fuck, I have a dragon!