Monday, August 12, 2013

Pathfinder - Slumbering Tsar

So while I play a lot of miniature war games, I tend to prefer roleplaying games (board games probably tie minis if not cooperative). Currently the main ones for me are Pathfinder, Savage Worlds, and Call of Cthulhu. For all of them I have more materials than I could ever use with the time constraints of myself and my group (not including all my GURPS and other systems). Starting to look at Roll20, might be nice not to gm for a change. Then again...

Anyway this summer has been quite busy, but I have been getting in some regular games. Currently I am running Greg Vaughn's Slumbering Tsar. The link on the side has one of the players journals but it is a few sessions behind (obviously don't click if you might play it).

The last few years when we play Pathfinder I've mostly been running modified Paizo Adventure Paths. We also usually wrap it up in book 4. So we decided to play a more lethal game with less overall plot development. It in some ways is also going to be a straight run, meaning I'm not going to add side things or change much. So it was a choice between Tsar and Rappan Athuk. Since we have been ending most games by 10th level or so, they interest was to try the higher level Tsar.

I think this was the right choice. I've been reading through both, but Tsar seems to have tough/deadly but reasonable encounters. While Rappan Athuk seems to be all over the place in difficulty. Not to say we won't do that one day.... then again it is long. It also seems even more sand boxy.

So back to Tsar, As I said I wanted this to be a straight run whats written and be deadly. The only major change I've made is allowing max hit points. We often will have only three players, so the choice was allowing a level of mythic (too unbalancing), higher level, or max hit points. Granted I think about 5 deaths didn't occur because of this, but it was the right choice. The party has been playing smart, so I don't really feel bad about it.

Random thoughts from sessions
-The critical deck can really change a combat, more than damage. The Ranger of the party got hit with a broken leg early in a battle. The loss of dex massively changed how the battle went.
-Running three casters with different spells and multiple summons against a party takes some getting used too.
-Ability damage and drain are brutal and heavily change high level play. I think there is a 3.5->Pathfinder mistake in Tsar that some monsters do damage not drain. Players are happy about that.
-I can only imagine how brutal this is with a party that doesn't fully work together.
-The driders and some stone pieces from Reaper Bones were really helpful.
-They are doing great without a cleric. (dwarf fighter/thief, fetchling ranger bow, elf wizard)
-Dire tigers/bears are tough

The next few sessions may put my mini collection to the test. I have a warhammer vampire count army and I might be short of models. I'm curious if we will break after the first module part (Tsar has three).

Of course being the summer I'm looking for what campaigns to do next. (Best planning). I'm also playing with roll20 to see what I could run/play on it. But ideas...
-Restart Council of Thieves (paused after book 3 due to family events)
-King Maker AP
-Homebrew -Chase style for redemption
-Razor Coast
-Children of  our Rise of Runelords/Age of Worms - finally get the Black Dragon
-Worldwound AP
-Dragon's Demand (module)
-Homebrew map made by players
Savage Worlds
-Return to Space Campaign (Star Trek/Battlestar style)
-Time travel WWII -or Gurps
-action Cthulhu style
Call of Cthulhu
-Next part of Masks of Nyralhotep
-Delta Green (start with learning of a samurai cos-player shot in a small town)
-Random module

Dragon's Crown and Tales of Xillia

So finished Tales of Grace just in time for two new games.

So which to play? Dragon's Crown or Tales of Xillia?

Dragon's Crown is basically an rpg that plays like Final Fight. A ton of fun. The art is quite nice but a few things go a bit far, not a deal breaker but overdone. The game is well worth playing. A husband wife team talks about the sorceresses issue pretty well. I'd also note the old DD arcade game is also available now on psn/xbox live. For a quick session with friends  the DD arcade game is better, but long term this wins out.

Tales of Xillia is a nicely done Tales game. It has a few twists but still has the active battle system. I've been enjoying it now that it is taken itself a bit less serious.

Thursday, August 1, 2013


So, its been a busy week of travel, weddings, glueing, mouldings, and some gaming. Bigger updates to follow. But for a small update...

On the ferry my wife and I tried Days of Wonder's Small World on the iPad. The gist of the game is to use randomized fantasy races to conquer territories and earn points. The twist is that at some point your race will go into decline, and you pick a new race. Combat is mostly decided by your number of people. Its a fun light game.

The iPad version is great. It has a board mode (one player on each side) or pass and play. It does the math and point tracking for you and of course no setup. The main limit is two players.

For $7 it is a great two player game for travel.

(I don't know how you can get as low a score as the sample picture)