• Schedule change

    Morning, thrillseekers. The posting schedule here at Lost Hemisphere is going to be a little irregular for a little while as I work on some projects. I’m super excited to tell you about them when I can, but I can’t right now because shh super secret squirrel stuff. Bloggery will still occur as time allows (or as I have things to show you) and Paint The Target will continue, so keep on painting your stuffs.

    Exciting things are happening, and I’ll wave them under your noses once I’m given the all clear. Stay Lost!


  • Just Plain Dreadful

    You wanna know what’s exciting? A new release for a favored game. You wanna know what’s more exciting? When it’s for a game that’s seen big resurgence over the last year or so, thanks to the ability to play it online. You wanna know what’s dreadful? Every damn domain in Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft, which has just released. I mean, that’s the entire point of the book – a swath of brand new Dread Domains to drag players through, inflicting upon them any number of horrors and terrors. Sure, sure, Barovia’s one of them, home to Count Strahd Von Zarovich and his ancestral home in Castle Ravenloft, but there’s much more and it’s wonderfully dreadful.

    The Illithids have turned Bluetspur into a nightmarish, otherworldy landscape housing the horrors and remnants of a thousand psychic torments, tentacles and all. Borca plays host to the deadly political maneuvrings of its noble houses, silver tongues hiding cruel intentions. The dark, twisted circus known only as The Carnival welcomes you to a world of wondrous sights and twisted visions. Falkovnia is a realm overrun by the walking dead, those few souls remaining struggling to eke out an existence with dwindling resources and the constant threat of flesh-hungry undead. Take a trip do the Muhar oasis in Har’Akir – can you survive the desert, where the sun is your foe, water is absent and the dark lord Ankhtepot’s agents seek a missing portion of his soul?

    Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft provides expanded information on 17 Domains, abbreviated notes on 22 more, new character creation options (including the Bard College of Spirits – who’s up for a ghost story?) and more. Having spent the last year running a campaign in Ravenloft, I’m very exited to read through the book, its expanded bestiary, dramatis personae, and perhaps most of all, the House of Lament.

    Introducing new players to D&D via the Death House adventure in the Curse of Strahd book was a lot of fun, but now we have a whole new haunted house adventure in to welcome a party of newbies into the mists and the horrors that await them.

    Unrelated, the bestiary has the rules for a Swarm of Maggots. I .. just .. okay, ew. 😛

    Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft has dropped and is available through your FLGS or preferred online retailer.

    It’s spooky time.


  • Dungeons & Lasers 2nd edition arrives

    While the third Dungeons & Lasers Kickstarter is generating a lot of buzz at the moment, what with its pretty much fulfilling all of your NPC miniature needs, it was a a delightful day at the Gdaycave at the end of last week when a big box arrived at the door, all the way from Archon Studios in Poland, with a whole bunch of boxes from the second Kickstarter! A new Core set, some extra rooms, three boxes of Stretch Goals, two dragons, and Jerry the Jello.

    I was impressed by Archon Studio’s products when I first saw them at GenCon (and received a sample sprue), and I was super excited to be able to build some dungeons for my D&D group before the pandemic decided that we were only going to be playing remotely, but I dream of that day when we can once more gather in the Gdaycave in person (yeah, Ontario’s still in lockdown and stuff) and dammit, I want to be able to make it the best gaming experience I can for my players. In the meantime, the Stretch Goals make for some bloody amazing base accessories…

    Today, though, I want to introduce you to Jerry and Durkar.

    Meet Jerry, the fastest gelatinous cube in the West.

    Continue reading  Post ID 21064


  • MCP: Unboxing Cable and Domino

    Ah, Rob Liefeld, you have so much to answer for… from what was clearly an undisclosed promotional agreement with extraneous pouch manufacturers and the weirdly large energy gun lobby to a mysterious loathing of feet.  Despite his odd depiction of musculature and skeletal function, he did give us our first visuals of Cable, the time-travelling Summers cyborg who looks older than his dad and can pack more in his pouches than Batman does in his utility belt. He also had a hand in the creation of Domino, but Cable’s the headliner, despite Domino’s amazing portrayal in Deadpool 2.

    A grizzled veteran of an apocalyptic future, Cable hit the ground running with the first incarnation of X-Force. Guns, explosives, a cybernetic arm and a glowing yellow something-or-other in the puckered scar of his ruined left eye socket. It was some time before his familial link to the Summers boys was revealed, same with his latent telekinetic ability. Now he’s a headliner, Deadpool’s best buddy, and defacto dad to Hope Summers. For a guy who was essentially just muscles, guns, belt pouches and attitude, he’s intrinsically intertwined into Marvel lore.

    Domino was introduced as little more than a support character for Cable, but has evolved over the years into a very competent mercenary with her probability alteration powers helping things work out in her favor. The best thing about her may well be Zazie Beetz’ portrayal, but with her current role as an intelligence operative for Krakoa means there’s more to her story yet to unfold.

    Continue reading  Post ID 21064


  • Train of thought: A new edition of Age of Sigmar

    The announcement of an impending new edition of Age of Sigmar had me asking if it’s really been that long since the current edition was released, and the answer is “kinda”. It’s been three years, and good portion of that’s been under a pandemic when people weren’t gathering to play games (or at least, shouldn’t have been). Three years isn’t a bad turnaround for a new edition, though given GW’s track record of “forgetting” that some of their factions exist when they update an edition, I have to wonder how some will fare. Look at how many Space Marine codex releases there have been – just the core, not the individual chapter codices – compared to the Dark Eldar/Drukhari and Tyranids, who were skipped entirely in some earlier editions.

    I get it, Space Marines are the big moneymaker for 40K, but there’s a track record of leaving some armies to fall by the wayside, and even for those factions that do receive an updated codex or battletome, there’s the question of value – or lack thereof – in the new book. When a new book is released with one (1) new model entry and a rehash of the existing lore, it’s a blatant reminder of how GW can lean into being the biggest name in town to set their own prices and just expect people to pay up. I miss the days of Privateer’s book releases for Warmachine/Hordes, where even the Forces Of… books came with – at bare minimum – a new warlock/warcaster, some new warjacks/warbeasts, a new unit or solo (or both) and lore than continued on and expanded from what came before. Even if only interest in a faction was the fluff, there was an advancing storyline that led us down the path to Oblivion. Literally. Like, the fiction ultimately led us to the Oblivion box set and the coming of the Infernals.

    Age of Sigmar has upped its narrative game with the Broken Realms books granting an overarching metastory to the setting, and I’ll confess I’m curious to see where it leads. Much like their 40K core boxes (which are pretty much always Space Marines vs Flavor of The Month) we can expect the same from the new Age of Sigmar core, but we seem to be cycling through the Grand Alliances. It started with the Stormcast vs Chaos in the form of Khorne worshippers, then moved on to the Soul Wars with Stormcast vs Death in the form of the Nighthaunt. With the announcement of the fourth Broken Realms book being named after Kragnos, the End of Empires,  it may be Destruction’s turn at bat.

    Will we see the Ogor Mawtribes taking the center stage, or was their feature in the Feast Of Bones box the only love they’ll be getting for awhile? What about the Beastclaw Raiders being singled out again? The Orks (sorry, Orruks) have had multiple battletomes in the last edition, with the goblins (gitz) getting their own and the Savage Orruks being squished together with the Ironjaws into a single book. The Sons of Behamat got a lot of attention with the release of the Mega Gargants, but perhaps it’s time to see something entirely new. It –is- a new edition, after all. With Kragnos himself being an enormous Centaur-like beastie, perhaps we’ll see something along those lines. An army reminiscent of the chaos beastmen and dragon ogres, but even hairier?

    I have mixed feelings about a new edition being announced when we’ve had a shortened experience with the previous thanks to the pandemic keeping us away from FLGS’s, but perhaps a new edition will help people get excited about gaming in person again and help break down any lingering trepidation, once we’ve all had our vaccines and it’s safe to game again. As much as I want to game in person again, and I do encourage everyone to be sensible and mindful. As much as we all love pushing little army men around tables and cursing our dice, please continue to think of others. Don’t be the vector by which someone loses a loved one.

     


  • MCP: Unboxing Luke Cage and Iron Fist

    The Defenders, back in the day, didn’t include Luke Cage and Danny Rand. Dr Strange originally formed the team to defend threats on a grander scale, while Power Man and Iron Fist formed the Heroes for Hire and fought street-level villainy. That all changed in the mid 90’s when Dr Druid took over the Secret Defenders and shuffled the roster. Oddly enough, it also included Drax the Destroyer and USAgent. That lineup was short lived, but Netflix shuffled the deck with their assorted Marvel shows, and the lineup was codified in comic continuity in 2017.

    Luke was subjected to assorted unethical experimental treatments in prison, and walked out with unbreakable skin and enhanced strength. A fairly pedestrian power set, the strength (hah!) of the character has always been who he is, rather than what he can do. More grounded that most, Luke’s outlook on life and commitment to doing what’s right rather than what’s expedient (or even what’s legal) has made him one of the more engaging characters in comics today, and even landed him the leadership role in the New  Avengers after Captain America was assassinated (he got better…)

    Danny’s past is a little more complicated and honestly, doesn’t sit as well with modern audiences as it did in the less-culturally-sensitive 70’s. As great as some of Iron Fist’s arcs have been (especially the Immortal Iron Fist arc from the mid 2000’s that introduced the Seven Cities of Heaven and their champions), the “white saviour” trope is a thing. Danny’s an orphaned millionaire who was raised in the mysterious city of K’un- Lun and succeeded in defeating the dragon Shou-Lao the Undying to become the Iron Fist, a master of martial arts who can channel his chi into his fists to strike with explosive force.  It wasn’t until the aforementioned Immortal Iron Fist series that we got to get a real look at -why- K’un-Lun had a ritual challenge that threw their temple students against a dragon, and insight into the champions that came before Danny. I highly recommend the series.

    Continue reading  Post ID 21064


  • The joy of rogueing

    Reading through the Virtual Team Championship wrap-up, one list in particular caught my attention, and those few poor, sad souls who’ve had to face me in a tournament may now why. Mykhailo of the Ukrainian Boars present a team with a heavily skewed “What the heck?!?” list pretty much guaranteed to leave any opponent scratching their bonce in confusion. My love for this sort of list event overrides my general loathing if Cygnarans and their filthy Morrowan puppeteers.

    • [Jakes 2] Captain Allison Jakes
      •  Avenger
      •  Buccaneer
      •  Freebooter
      •  Freebooter
      •  Freebooter
      •  Freebooter
      •  Freebooter
      •  Freebooter
    • Morrowan Archon
    • Thamarite Archon
    • Field Mechaniks (min)
      •  Morrowan Battle Priest (3)
    • Field Mechaniks (min)
      •  Morrowan Battle Priest (3)
    • Field Mechaniks (min)
      •  Morrowan Battle Priest (3)

    So that’s 8 warjacks in the list. 7 of them Heavy warjacks with no ranged options, just a pair of clamps (Give ‘em the clamps!). The rest of the list is inconsequential to me, because there are 7 heavy warjacks in the list. Is it an earth-shakingly competitive list? Can it cover all the bases in terms of squaring off against a range of opponents? Does it have any gaping vulnerabilities? WHO CARES! IT HAS 7 HEAVY WARJACKS!

    This is the kind of shenanigans that makes playing Warmachine fun for me. I enjoy a good balanced list, the cut-and-thrust of a fair game against a seasoned opponent (but not too seasoned, I’d like to have –some- chance of winning), but show me a fun, thematic list based around a whimsical idea and I’m a happy bloke. In MkII I ran an Amon Ad Raza theme force that spammed the board with Idrians, Allegiants of the Order of the Fist, and warjacks surging forth under Amon’s Mobility. Spud built a list that for lack of a better term equated to the Cygnaran equivalent of Hogwarts marching to war – Siege at the fore and then a horde of Journeyman Warcasters, each with their own warjacks (and custom-sculpted house scarves, but that’s a topic for another day).

    Mykhailo’s list is an example of someone having a wacky, left-of-center idea, and deciding to just throw it at the wall and see if it sticks. My experience with the Amon theme is that if you take a concept that everyone’s written off and practice until you’ve figured out how to make the most of it, the loss of competitiveness in the build is at least partially counterbalanced by your opponents not having played any practice games against that kind of list and being caught flatfooted when you start revving up your combos.

    Remember, Amon was considered very sub-par in MkII, the Allegiants were considered a waste of points, and the Idrians were considered overpriced. Thing is, Amon’s theme ‘fixed’ the Allegiants by giving them Advance Deploy and allowing them to be fielded in higher numbers. The versatility of the Idrians with Prey both in melee and at range provided flexibility. And Amon? Synergy wasn’t even the point. Mobility was. I played one game against a Legion of Everblight “Flying Circus” list – generally known for being one of the fastest and most mobile lists in the  game at the time. My opponent barely left his deployment zone, and not a single opposing model made it into my half of the board.

    There’s absolutely nothing wrong with building competitive lists, with striving to win, but I encourage you not to ignore the potential of rogueing it, of playing something completely out of left field, and watching  your opponent’s brain stutter as they try to recalculate their options in the face of something they haven’t in any way prepared for.

    Have fun with it. It’s a game, after all.

     


  • Skittles of Death 2.0: The Untamed Beasts

    Let’s be honest, Games Workshop does a pretty solid job of marketing their new games and building up hype, generating FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out – for their boxed games. It really doesn’t help that their model production is top tier, and their designers somehow manage to pour some real variety into concepts when they put their minds to it. Case in point, Warcry – where they managed to create some beautifully distinct warbands for base level chaos cultists, along with a game that gives a taste of Age of Sigmar with a much smaller model commitment and some super sweet terrain.

    When Warcry was released I was lucky enough to get the Untamed Warbeasts from the core box thanks to pal Brandon, and the warband made it onto the to-do list for this year’s Brush Wielders Union goals.

    They’re still pending basing, but following the “Chris likes painting colours” rule that gave us my “Skittles of Death” version of Warhammer Underworlds’ Sepulchral Guard, the Untamed Beasts are ready to make their opponents taste the chaotic rainbow.

    Continue reading  Post ID 21064


  • Paint The Target

    Ah, May. The scent of Spring in the air. Smells like pollen and allergies. Thankfully, burritos are an all-year round thing. Are those two statements related? You’ll never know! it’s a mystery! What’s NOT a mystery, was April’s target. Participants were tasked with painting a model that fit with the theme “Precision”. A sniper rifle, a razor-fine blade, a needle carefully placed… Apothecaries and medics, blademasters and more. Let’s see what came rolling into the ol’ inbox.

    KrrNiGit’s Ogor (am I the only one irked by GW muddling the spelling of things?) delivers killshots from a distance with what can only be described as a personal ballista.

    Continue reading  Post ID 21064


  • Dossier Decks: Pippa Westbuck, History Bard… or is she?

    I’ll confess a fondness for the shorter races of the Forgotten Realms. Sure elves and dragonborn and the like are cool, but there’s something about dwarves, gnomes and halflings that just triggers my imagination. Halfling Barbarian Tunnel Fighter! Gnome Storm Cleric! Sitting in my stock of characters-to-use-when-I-get-the-chance are a Dwarf Monk with a drinking problem and a Halfling Rogue who got conscripted into the local militia. When I flipped the first card for today’s post I saw a halfling, and my mind went “Ooh!” and then I flipped the others and went “… huh…. iiiinteresting”.

    Normally when I pull cards from the Dossier Decks I’m looking to create an interesting NPC, though last time we switched gears and used the cards as inspiration for a character for Iron Kingdoms: Requiem. I pulled the cards for today’s article and I was torn. Are we making a character or an NPC today? We’re sticking with an NPC, but really, I feel like either is a solid option for Pippa Westbuck.

    So Pippa is clearly talented in the ways of magic, and isn’t bound to a stuffy library somewhere as indicated by her fine travelling clothes. She’s a little absent minded and constantly recalls moments from her youth and from days of yore. Her constant companion is a raven that speaks Dwarven, and occasionally utters portentious omens. As a lover of history myself, Pippa immediately struck a chord with me but it’s the raven that triggered some more sinister ideas.

    Halflings are long-lived, so she’d likely have a good depth of experience, but at the same time, the little folk tend to settle down wherever they’re comfortable. Even if we put Pippa in her later years, say, 200ish, she’ll have spent at least a century of that in a community of her peers rather than adventuring. What if she has a knack for history, but the personal experiences from her youth aren’t personal experiences from her youth?

    Suppose Pippa was of a scholarly bent, but not necessarily of magic. We know she likes history, so what if she leaned into her natural charm and began adventuring as a  bard, perhaps the College of Lore. She had a knack for the magical side of bardcraft, but it was the knowledge that drew her in. You could even argue that the Cutting Words ability Lore bards pick up manifests as  her confusing foes with anecdotes and historical tidbits.

    Let’s say Pippa and her adventuring buddies went underground, where they bravely fight their way through the catacombs before coming up against Thavis of the Eternal Stone, a dwarven sorcerer long since given over to the ravages of time refusing to yield to death’s grip. A short, bearded lich, if you will. Conflict ensues, and Pippa watches her teammates fall around her as they battle the master of knee-high necromancy. Pippa gives her all, firing everything at her disposal at the lich before darkness overwhelms her.

    After a time, Pippa regains consciousness to find herself alone before the lich’s throne. The bodies of her friends lay on the cold tile, while the lich’s own form lies broken and shattered on the steps leading to the throne’s dais. The only other movement in the room is that of a large raven perched on the throne itself, head cocked at our halfling hero. She hadn’t seen the bird before, but it seemed to bob its head at her as if acknowledging something.

    Dusting herself off, Pippa sets a pyre for her companions, knowing that there’s no way she can retrieve their remains and return them to the surface. The raven periodically mutters in a tongue unfamiliar to her, presumably dwarvish, and at one point settles on her shoulder. After paying her respects Pippa returns to the surface and, disenchanted with the heroic life after the deaths of her friends, retires from adventuring to focus on scholarly pursuits…

    … but she has lapses. Every once in awhile she realizes that she can’t remember what she did yesterday, or the day before. She finds notes that she didn’t write. She finds a dwarven runestone rolled under her desk. And this raven keeps muttering at her in what she’s told is dwarven. She never learned the language, but on more than one occasion she’s muttered what feels like an expletive. Surely she just picked it up from the raven, no? And then there was that time she debated with a runesmith about the nature of three specific dwarven runes. At least, she’d been told she’d debated with the runesmith. She couldn’t remember doing so, and knew nothing about the etymology of the runes.

    In truth, the raven is simply following its master, as all Familiars do. So what if the master is hiding inside a little halfling bookworm? From time to time the master surfaces, and tells the raven of his plans now that he can move freely among the still-living…

     

    SkeletonKey’s Dossier Decks are a great tool for creating NPCs or inspiring character creation or even a full campaign. What if Pippa was loose in Candlekeep? What would the evil Thavis be able to achieve with access to Faerun’s greatest repository of knowledge? Should the party befriend and ally with Pippa as they work to uncover whatever mysteries they’re … well, uncovering, how will they react to the unwitting traitor in their midst?  Will they realize that their foe was alongside them throughout the entire adventure before the lich’s machinations wreak havoc? Can Pippa be relieved of her incorporeal stowaway? More questions than answers… there’s an adventure here just waiting to unfold.