Monday, December 29, 2008

Crossbows & Catapults Update (and short pre-battle smack talk video)

As I mentioned in a previous post, I snagged a new copy of Crossbows & Catapults for son for Christmas this year. Here's a little (admittedly sucky quality - I'll blame it on the camera phone) video of the pre-battle smack talk from my precious little 4-1/2 y.o. son:

Well, we had our first battle the other night. It was loaded high with tons of AWESOME.

Of course we had some "issues", seeing how my son is only 4-1/2 y.o. Let's just say there were a few lessons in good-sportsmanship to be had that night.

The battle continued the next morning when his little sister joined the fight. She's 2-1/2, BTW. Ever hear a 2 y.o. little girl say the word "Orcs?" OMG!

After my boy overcame the learning curve of moderating/limiting the pull-back on the catapults (too much and they fling out of the room!), he did begin beating me to a pulp. Once my little girl got in them mix, she beat the smack outta him. So...the way I see it, if we could harness the power of a newborn, we'd have the supreme commander of our C&C army! MMUUHHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

(Anyone have a newborn they could lend us for an afternoon? We'll give 'em right back...SWEAR!)

The Grinch (a belated, by request, D&D MM entry...sorta)

Ok, so Spike Page, creator of the cool blog Ubiquitous Orcs, asked in a comment to the Bumble's Monster Manual entry (sorta) for some stats on Mister Grinch. With the title of "Mister" and with his "legendary" status, I might actually look for him the Fiend Folio or even Deities & Demigods (Legends & Lore), but we'll just stick with the original theme here. I bet there's a pretty close approximation of him in some entry in one of the special sections in Dragon Magazine in which they had various Gods and heroes of various races or from different worlds or fantasy fiction series, etc. Ah well, I'll poke around for some when I get the chance.

Ok, so for now I'll just plop down what I found posted by Admiral Squish in a thread at GitP. Here's the Admiral's idea of Mister Grinch and his poor ol' pooch Max:

The three words that best describe you,
are, and I quote: "Stink. Stank. Stunk."

Mister Grinch

HP: 64
Chaotic Evil Male Grinch
Humanoid 2/ rogue 8

Str 15
Dex 15
Con 16
Int 16
Wis 12
Char 10

Appraise: 10 (13)
Balance: 10 (12)
Bluff: 12 (15)
Craft (engineering): 10 (13)
Disguise: 12 (14)
Escape Artist: 8 (10)
Hide: 0 (8)
Knowledge (dungeoneering): 5 (8)
Knowledge local: 10 (13)
Move silently: 12 (16)
Slight of hand: 12 (16)

BAB: +9/+4
AC: 22

Mounted Archery
Exotic weapon proficiency: Repeating crossbow, great
Mounted combat

Repeating crossbow, great [2d8 18-20/x2 120ft. Piercing]
Rod of Lordly Might

Chain shirt [+4 AC, Max Dex. +4, AC penalty -2]

* +4 constitution / -2 dexterity / -2 intelligence (already included)
* Monstrous humanoid type.
* +4 on hide (already included, +8 underground)
* May claw/claw 1d4+ strength bonus x2 (multiattack), plus bite at -5 to hit 1d4+half strength bonus
* Darkvision (see 90 feet in pitch-dark)
* +6 natural armor class
* Stench. Remember this affects friendly non-trogs also.
* Level adjustment +2

* Sneak Attack +4d6
* Trapfinding
* Improved Evasion
* Trap Sense + 3
* Uncanny Dodge
* Improved Uncanny Dodge

Max (mount)

Deep Hound
Large Magical Beast
HP: 51
Initiative: +5
Speed: 30 ft. (In armor, six squares)
Armor Class: 24 (–1 size, +1 Dex, +6 natural +8 barding), touch 10,
flat-footed 124
Base Attack/Grapple: +6/+16
Attack: Bite +11 melee (2d6+9)
Full Attack: Bite +11 melee (2d6+9)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks:—
Special Qualities: Darkvision 120 ft., Light Sensitivity, Low-light vision, scent, trainable
Saves: Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +3
Abilities: Str 23, Dex 13, Con 17, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 6
Skills: Jump +18, Listen +3, Spot +3, Survival +2
Feats: Alertness, Tunnel Fighting, Improved Initiative, Track
Tricks Known: All

There was much some debate in that forum thread regarding Mister Grinch being a troglodyte, a bugbear, or just his own new and unique race: Grinch. It's not as clean cut as the Bumble entry, but it's still fun.

I also found these couple blurbs in a Wiki entry for the Grinch that are kinda interesting when looking at him stat-wise:
  • He is also a skilled engineer, having built his sleigh and many of the contraptions within his cave himself.
  • On at least two occasions, the Grinch has demonstrated above-average (even superhuman) strength. Whether this is a trait commonly found in his species or simply examples of adrenaline rush is never stated outright. Although in the cartoon movie when he lifts the sleigh the narrator states, "At that moment, the Grinch found the strength of ten grinchs, plus two" so the argument could be made that it was adrenaline.

Ah well, sorry for the tardiness, but heck! if we still have the Christmas decorations up, then it's still Christmas...sorta.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Crossbows & Catapults (80 pieces for $10...yes!)

Sa-weet! I've been wanting to get this for myself..err...I mean for my son (he's 4-1/2 y.o. BTW). Well, the good folks at Toys-R-Us plopped a big Clearance sticker on them so from $35 down to $10, I just couldn't look past it any longer.

80 pieces! 80 freakin' pieces!!! 12 or 13 cents a piece...tough to beat that. Of course 25-30 of those will most certainly be lost all throughout our house in a week or two. Ah well.

It became a late add to the Christmas gift pile for him (and me). This late add naturally meant that I had to snag something cool for my little girl too (2-1/2 y.o. little princess that she is). I took a gander in the DVD section there and they had some nice $4 and $5 beauties like episode sets (4-6 eps each) of My Little Pony, Super Mario Bros. Super Show, and Legend of Zelda cartoons from the '80s. Yep, those did just fine. I just mixed 'em up for both of them, she'll dig the MLP, he'll dig the Mario and Zelda (he already has some Zelda do I...ha!):
I'm an '80s kid who's now a many, many others. What can we say?

At any rate, I haven't played C&C in a looooooooooooooooong time (1983 or so?). It looked like this back then:

Those were badass back then, and these new(er) sets look awesome too (IMO). Here's a comparison pic of a few of the dudes:

They (Toys-R-Us) had the expansion sets on sale a month or so back, but now they are all gone from the shelves...bummer.

Here's a few pics I snagged from BoardGameGeek's review (most of these pics in this post are from that article, BTW) on this modern version:
an Orc:

the Orc Hero (check out that severed head in his hand!):

a Knight:

the Knight Hero:

an Orc manning (err...orcing) a catapult:

a Knight readying a crossbow:

These War Chests will probably be $5 tomorrow, but I don't care. This cool-ass game for $10 is and will always be a sweet deal in my mind.

BTW, my son is gonna beat the crap outta me at this, isn't he? Just like this kid here getting ready to PWN his pops (GameBoardGeek pic again):

Man, I can't wait for tomorrow morning!!!!!! Life is good - very, very good.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Bumbles Bounce! (a D&D Monster Manual entry...sorta)

Ran across this in some old Wizards forum post (posted by The Vorpal Tribble):

The Bumble

Huge Monsterous Humanoid (cold)
Hit Dice: 16d8+80 (152 HP)
Initiative: -2
Speed: 20 ft. (4 squares)
Armor Class: 15 (-2 dex, +9 natural, -2 size)
Base Attack/Grapple: +16/+33
Attack: Bite +13 melee (2d6+10)
Full attack: Bite +13 melee (2d6+9) and 2 slams +11 melee (1d6+9)
Space/Reach: 15 ft./15 ft.
Special Attacks: Killjoy, roar, swallow whole
Special Qualities: Bumble's bounce, immunity to cold, low-light vision, scent
Saves: Fort +12, Ref +8, Will +9
Abilities: Str 29, Dex 6, Con 21, Int 3, Wis 8, Cha 17
Skills: Listen +8, Spot +9
Feats: Diehard, Endurance, Great Fortitude, Multi-Attack, Power Attack, Snatch
Environment: Any cold land
Organization: Solitary
Challenge Rating: 11
Treasure: None
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
Advancement: 17-23 HD (Huge), 24-36 HD (Gargantuan)
Level Adjustment: --

Artic terrors of the deep north, bumbles are a menace to those who wander far from Christmastown. Attracted to the home of Santa by the collective hatred of Christmas, bumbles would like nothing less than to tear it asunder. They are held in fear of the Fat Man himself however, and instead make raids and bring fear to those nearby.

A bumble appears almost as a giant, but is covered in a thick pelt of snow-white fur everywhere but its feet and hands. The skin beneath is an icy blue and as cold to the touch. Its face is beastial with huge round eyes above a sensitive nose, and below a gaping maw of sharp teeth complete with a long, rough tongue.

A bumble is a mixture of stealth and brazen boldness. It hides behind glaciers and large stones and leaps out upon its foes with its terrifying roar. It then boldy charges its prey, grabbing with its thick-skinned hands to shove them down its maw.

Bumble's Bounce (Ex):

Bumbles ignore the first fifty feet of a fall and takes only subdual damage from greater heights.

Killjoy (Ex):
When witnessing anything to do with Christmas and other winter-time festivities the Bumble goes into an uproar similar to the barbarian’s rage (+4 Strength, +4 Constitution, +2 morale bonus on Will saves, –2 AC penalty). The furor lasts until the cause of its wrath is vanquished or removed from view, and the Bumble suffers no ill effects afterward.

Quicksink (Ex):
A Bumble is unable to swim, sinking within 1 round when immersed.

Roar (Ex):
As a free action every 1d4 rounds a bumble can unsettle those within 60 feet with a horrifying roar. A potentially affected creature that succeeds on a DC 21 Will save remains immune to the Bumble's roar for 24 hours. On a failure, creatures with 4 or less HD become panicked for 4d6 rounds and those with 5 or more HD become shaken for 4d6 rounds. The save DC is charisma based.

Swallow Whole (Ex):
A Bumble can try to swallow a snatched Medium or smaller opponent by making a successful grapple check.

A swallowed creature takes 2d8+8 points of bludgeoning damage and 8 points of acid damage per round from the bumble's stomach. A swallowed creature can cut its way out by using a light slashing or piercing weapon to deal 25 points of damage to the stomach (AC 14). Once the creature exits, muscular action closes the hole; another swallowed opponent must cut its own way out.

A bumble’s stomach can hold 2 Medium, 8 Small, 32 Tiny, or 128 Diminutive or smaller opponents.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's my Lizardman!

Found him in the pages of an old issue of White Dwarf I found in my stacks of old cool stuff.

Issue #26 to be exact, guessed it..."back in '81" (Aug/Sep 1981), had a nice little writeup I could have used "back in..." Ok, I'll stop doing that (for now).

Here's a shot of the 1-pager "Lizardmen as Player Characters" by Roger E. Moore and Michael Brown, from that issue:

The article mentions two novels as inspiration for such a beast as a PC: "The Doomfarers of Coramonde" by Brian Daley and "Quag Keep" by Andre Norton. "Doomfarers" I have no recollection of, but "Quag Keep" is an old favorite of mine, and maybe I unknowingly used Gulth, the lizardman in that story, as inspiration for my guy...dunno.

I haven't read "Return to Quag Keep" yet, but I do linger on it, every once in a while, at good ol' Barnes&Noble.

In summary, I guess my messed-up 8th grade mind wasn't too nutty, rolling up a Lizardman as my first PC in Moldvay's Basic D&D. So there!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

"Great stars! They're unaffected by my Sword of Astral Light!"

I'd have to say that my fave magazine from back in '81 (-ish) was probably "Famous Monsters of Filmland." I still recall several exact times when, and places where, I flipped through the pages of some amazing issues of that mag. Of course the label "back in '81" needs to be relaxed a tad here and there, but it's the general idea that counts.

Anyway, along the same lines of "Famous Monsters" are the very cool spinoff graphic mags "Eerie", "Creepy", and even "Vampirella" (a tad racy for a 7th grader, but we won't tell anyone, right?).

I would include others here too, like "Savage Sword of Conan" and "Tales of the Zombie" as I have a bunch of those still too, and they were very, very cool. Heck, I even have some old "Doc Savage" and "Planet of the Apes" graphic (comic) mags. Speaking of those last two, check out this DocSavage/PotApes combo story from a copy of the French mag...very cool! Jeesh, I'm getting a bit off topic here...better save some of that for another entry, another day. In fact I will, someday soon.

So, to the matter at hand: " Sword of Astral Light!"

That sweet frame is from Eerie #121, from none other than (officially) "back in '81!"

The story is "Hunter and Darklon" and is full of Mutant coolness and "lords of light"-ness, ala Thundarr. Here's a couple other frames (excuse the sucky photography...I REALLY need to work on that):

First the "funny how?!?!?" scene from "Goodfellas":

And then a little fun with a (supposedly) "+5 Hockey Stick of Greater Mutant Bane":

Fun! Well, I guess I just like diggin' through these old issues and finding these gems. I've been on a bit of a Gamma World/Mutant Future kick as of late, so these really jump off of the pages at me, when I thumb through them.

Now, off to design that +5 Hockey Stick for my Mutated Alligator character that I'm rollin' with these days. I wonder if I can make it a "Hockey Stick of Astral Light"...hhmnnn.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

fun MEGO "Planet of the Apes" clips

These are great! The beloved MEGO action figures from the Planet of the Apes in various dramatizations.

The whole PotA phenomenon has received much love as of late, be it on the numerous excellent blogs I love to read (Greyhawk Grognard, for example), cable TV replays, talks of another Ape movie in the possible works, etc.

This one just had me mesmerized. Man, I loved those dolls...err...figures. My mom used to call them "dolls"...of course they were actually "action figures". I mean, no self-respecting 1st grade boy would play with dolls?!?!?!? Right?!?!?! Right?

I recall having most of the main players (Cornelius, Zira, Dr.Zaius, a few Soldier Apes, and the Astronaut) from the first series, and at least one (General Urko) from the next round. I also recall playing with the Treehouse and the Village. I think my friends had some more of it, or maybe they had a mix of what I think I had...dunno. But we all had some of the figures.

At any rate, here's a few more links to some of these "dolls":

Mego Museum

Mego Central

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Meeting Rick Loomis at U-Con (and the Tunnels & Trolls goodies I snagged)

Still reminiscing, another cool part of my U-Con visit: Tunnels & Trolls

I saw vendor selling some T&T modules, sets, fiction, dice, etc. Having a moderate pile of this stuff in my "collection of nerdliness," I decided to have a look and see if there was a mod or so that I don't have. There were several.

If you've never played T&T, it's a simpler version of D&D (well OD&D really), and actually originated back in '75. Anyway, it really works out nice for solitaire play, even though group play is supported and popular too. The Solitaire mods just kept pumping out from Flying Buffalo (the pub), kinda like the old "Lone Wolf" book series, and all the others like that (the "choose your own adventure" thing, but with rules and dice and characters).

So, I swagger up to the vendor booth and take a look thru some stacks of mods, etc..finding some goodies that I don't have in my set. I mumble something like:

"ah yes...the old Tunnels & Trolls" as I peruse the goods.

The dude behind the counter says, "you play a lot of T&T?"

I say "Some, mostly solitaire, as I don't really have a consistent group near me. Have you played it much?"

He says, "Well, yes....I'm the publisher."

So Rick Loomis is selling me T&T stuff, and I don't even know it....nice.

Anyway, we chatted for a while and he was a very, very cool guy. I asked him to sign one of the 3-mod books that I bought, as he had authored one of the mods in that set. He did and much rejoicing followed.

Well, it was just another cool thing (IMO) for my U-Con XP. If you ever want to roll some dice, and can't get the group together, then I'd recommend some T&T Solitaire Play....that sounds kinda diiiiirty, but it's fun too.