Thursday, October 28, 2010

Workbench Update: Experimenting With Cardboard Furniture

Since finishing up the building interiors a few days ago, I haven't had much chance for geek time. However, I managed to steal an hour or so this morning and took the opportunity to start making some cardboard furniture for my buildings. Here's a quick look at the progress so far.

Here's an altar for the church. The piece of card draped down over the front will be painted as an altar cloth while the casing glued to the top will be painted as a vase and filled with "flowers."

Since Chaos In Carpathia actually has special rules for holy water, I decided to make a font. I figure we could try a simple house rule - first human model to reach the font can take one free flask of holy water or (in the case of vampire henchmen and thralls) dump the contents of the font to prevent others from getting it.

Small wooden flower pot things and wooden discs glued together... Voila! simple tables.

As you would expect, this long table goes in the Longhouse. It looks a little low here, but its actually the same height as my other tables. I think the length makes the height seem a little distorted.

That's it for now. I have started about a half a dozen other tables that will hopefully be finished tomorrow. Then I guess I'll make some beds (I'm dreading those for some reason). I'm also planning on making some barrels and crates for some of the basements.

Finally, I've started painting some generic dungeon/crypt interiors and hallways. I also plan on making some simple sarcophagi for those, as well as a few surprises to add some character to the crypts. With any luck, I'll take whatever I have finished to geek night on Saturday and we'll take the building interiors for a test run.

Thanks for reading,

Monday, October 25, 2010

Workbench Update: Building Interiors Finished

After posting the interior tiles for my first rustic building last week, I did my best to crack on with it and am pleased to announce that I've finished the first batch of tiles. I now have both above and below ground tiles to correspond to the five rustic buildings that we use in so many of our Gothic Horror games. Use the key below to match each set of tiles with the corresponding building.


This simple dwelling consists of a door at one end, a hearth at the other, and a window on each side. Because it was so small I decided to make it a one-room cottage. The trapdoor reveals a ladder leading down to the cellar.

The cellar is a simple one-room affair as well that provides a sleeping area and a storage area.


A slightly larger dwelling than the previous one. The owner has chosen to divide the above-ground space into two small rooms, one as a kitchen and the other as a bedroom. A simple wooden rail ensures that the occupant doesn't accidentally fall into the exposed staircase.

The staircase leads into a large one-room cellar that provides lots of storage space and, if necessary, extra sleeping space.


With the same dimensions as the previous building, a one-room layout provides the inhabitants with a relatively large living space. As with the previous cottage, the entrance lies to the left of the fireplace (right where Ernst is standing)

A trip down the enclosed staircase leads to a modest bedroom. The door leads to a small storage area or root cellar.


The main door at the end of the building leads to the combined nave/sanctuary. As with many small village churches, it is a humble place of worship. There is a small porch and service entrance behind the chancel area.

The stair way leads down to the undercroft of the church while behind the half-wall a ladder leads up to...

...the tower. Although no Christian gentleman would dream of bringing a firearm into the house of God, with windows in three of its four walls, the tower makes an excellent position for a skilled rifleman.

The undercroft is divided into a small locked vestry (where the vestments and Eucharistic vessels are kept) and a small ad hoc living area for travelling members of the clergy.


In many small villages, one building (other than the local church) stands out from its neighbours - the longhouse. Depending on the settlement, it may serve as a town hall, a meeting hall, a tavern, or an inn. In some cases, the basement houses the town's archives, important books, or holy relics. It isn't uncommon for the villagers' seeds and grain to be stored here as well, out of the reach of wild animals and dishonest townsfolk.

A winding stair leads down to the basement.

The reinforced door has multiple locks and stands between thieves and the town's most prized possessions. The keys are usually held by the town's elders.

In this example, I've laid out the largest room as a town archive, a prime objective for questing monster hunters.

What Next?

When I finished painting my Hungarian Monster Hunters a few weeks back, I wrote that I didn't plan on working on any more Gothic Horror projects for some time. As it turns out, I'm a liar. The truth of the matter is, Keir and I played a game when he was in town a few weekends back, and we ran into a situation we hadn't before - enemy models moving into the same building (in search of objectives) at the same time. It bugged me that we had no satisfactory means of resolving this type of occurrence and so, the tile idea was born.

Here's what's I'm thinking to "finish" this phase of the project:
  1. More Furniture
    The Heroquest furniture I repainted a while back is a good start, but I'm certainly going to have to expand my collection. For the dwellings, I want to build or buy some beds, more tables, and perhaps some crates/barrels of supplies for the cellars. I would like to build a long table for the Longhouse and the Church will definitely need an altar, some pews, and I was thinking a font (with special rules for attaining free holy water during scenarios).
  2. More Tiles
    I've already tiles for the three mausoleums, as well as some generic dungeon hallway and room tiles. This will allow us to lay out a variety of underground settings. In fact, I'm really looking forward to connecting some of the underground cellars to create a multi-layered table. I've also cut out tiles (four stories in fact) to represent the interior of the stone tower that is currently on the painting block.
Whether I buy or build the furniture remains to be seen. I may do both. Time will tell. If all goes according to plan, we'll be testing these interiors out this weekend. Until then...

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Workbench Update: Skaven for Fantasy Impetus

To be clear, these are from Chris's workbench, not mine. However, he brought them as a surprise "show & tell" item to geek night last night so, considering the anticipation surrounding Fantasy Impetus around here, I felt that it would be appropriate to show them. I don't know what the hell was going on with my camera so just overlook the blurry parts.

The general stands on a high vantage point and, like Zapp Brannigan, sends wave after wave of his own men (err... rats) to neutralize the enemy.

The rats in question.

Marc, perhaps one of the group's lead proponents of all things Fantasy, was duly impressed when he arrived at geek night and saw them unveiled. I expect his High Elves to be based up and ready for battle soon. In the meantime, I will re-start work on this project as well.

Thanks for reading,

Monday, October 18, 2010

Workbench Update: Ernst Goes Downstairs

Picking up where I left off in the last post, I painted the corresponding cellar floor interior for the building's main floor. I'm assuming that Ernst spent a turn shooting out the window and then used a charge move to cross the room and move down the stairs to the cellar below.

Ernst moves up to the door and rolls a 5 on the Door table. Assuming there are no modifiers, the door is unlocked so he used a free action to open the door and then continues his movement.

Ernst has enough movement to reach the bookcase where one of the scenario objectives are hidden (as would have been decided before the game began). He decides to use a special action to search for the objective but, since his MIND attribute is only 2, he uses two FATE points to increase his chances of finding the objective (and to make sure that trip down here was worth it).

As it turns out, he rolls three successes and, since finding the objective has a TN of 2, he is successful. With the objective (perhaps a dusty manuscript, cryptic map, or a stash of silver bullets) safely stowed away in his pouch, he is ready to make his way back upstairs to rejoin his fellow hunters outside.

I've just returned from a weekend out of town so I am ready and eager to get back at my interiors. I've pondered the house rules for playing inside that I laid out a couple of posts ago and I've decided that although I'll keep the limited 3" charge range I'll forget the -1" MOVE penalty. There are enough obstacles inside buildings (primarily doors) so I don't think it will be necessary to reduce movement further.

Thanks for reading,

Friday, October 15, 2010

Workbench Update: An Example of Off-Table Building Interiors

In my previous post I presented my idea for creating and playing with off-table building interiors for Chaos In Carpathia. I finally got around to painting up my first sample so I thought I would walk you folks through it visually and briefly explain how it will work during game play.

Ernst Holdt has kindly volunteered to take part in our little demonstration. At the start of his turn, Ernst finds himself at a cottage door and decides to try opening it. The player rolls a D6, scores a 3, and consults the Door Table (see previous post - JET). Since this is a simple residence, there is no modifier so the door is unlocked. Ernst uses a free action to open the door and moves through the door.

As soon as he passes through the door, Ernst is placed on the off-table interior in contact with the doorway. Ernst gets a total of two free actions per turn (he has a MIND score of 2) and he decides to use his other free action to close the door behind him. If the player chose (and the scenario allowed it) Ernst could interrupt his movement and use a special action (in lieu of attacking) to bar the door.

Ernst then continues with his movement and makes it to the top of the stairway in preparation for next turn. Although I haven't finished it yet, I'm working on the cellar for this house which will also be laid in the off-table section near the top floor. Next turn, Ernst could move down the stairs and then be placed on the landing in the cellar where he could complete his turn.

After seeing his opponent's moves, Ernst's player decides that Ernst would be more useful by providing fire support on the advancing enemy. Ernst moves to the window.

He can now target anything within a 45 degree arc from the corresponding window. Although he can also be targeted, he would gain the hard cover bonus.

As you can see, detailed interiors have the potential to add a lot of richness to a game like Chaos in Carpathia. I've already considered how some attributes, skills, and equipment become more valuable. For example:

A model's MIND attribute is more applicable to most scenarios as it gives a model the freedom to move around buildings, opening and closing doors, and so on.

A model's STRENGTH attribute comes in handy when trying to break down a locked door.

A model's AGILITY attribute makes climbing through windows easier, as does a coil of rope.

The skills Wallcrawler, Shape of the Bat, and Mist Form help model's negotiate the multi-level nature of the buildings on the battlefield.

Torches and Lanterns help humans negotiate the dark interiors of buildings and make it easier to spot and target hidden enemies.

Anyway, in one more week we plan on taking the new interiors for a test run so I'll have to get busy and finish the rest of them.

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Workbench Update: Taking Gothic Horror Indoors

Although I haven't done much painting during the last week, I have been busy planning a new "layer" for our Gothic Horror gaming. I have some rustic buildings in my collection, as well as a stone tower (not yet painted), Grunberg's lunatic asylum, a few mausoleums, and not to mention the various cellars, crypts, and dungeons that lie beneath these various structures. I've decided that it's time to take our game inside these buildings.

Buildings With Interiors

Many companies make buildings with interiors and lift-off roofs. Although these suit the needs of some gamers, I'm just not into them (pun intended). First of all, who wants to spend half of their game with a bunch of roofless buildings on the table? Not me. Secondly, there's the scale inconsistency issue. As most of you are likely aware, the buildings we lay out on the table for 25-32mm miniature gaming are greatly-abstracted in size. That is to say, buildings usually appear smaller than they actually would be if a miniature was an actual person. However, a smaller scale building, although effective for creating the illusion of a larger landscape, presents a very small interior space. After some thought, here's the solution I've come up with.

I'm in the process of cutting out MDF rectangles to represent interiors and sub-levels of all the buildings in my collection. When the walls and windows are marked out, the floors are textured, and the painting is all finished, I'll populate them with my painted furniture collection and lay them to the side of the main game table. But here's the kicker - I'm cutting out the floor plans to be around 30% larger than the footprints of their matched buildings. In this way, when a model enters a door or window, it will be removed from the main table and placed at the entrance of the off-table floor plan where it will continue its turn. Here are some simple ideas I've come up with to make this work.

Entering Buildings & Rooms

Rather than over-plan every scenario, each player will roll on the following table when one of their miniatures tries to enter a doorway or a window.

1: Ajar or Opened. No action required, keep on moving.
2-5: Unlocked. Free action to open, keep on moving.
6: Locked, Barred, or Shuttered. Special action to open, keep on moving if successful.

+2 to roll if entering long house, town hall, artisan's residence.
+3 to roll if entering fortified tower, crypt/mausoleum entrance.
+4 to roll if entering strong room, treasure store.
-1 to roll if entering church.

To close a door behind him a model would use a free action. To bar the door or reinforce it with furniture or debris would require a special action.

B and E

When a character comes upon a locked, barred, or shuttered door or window, a successful Strength test must be made according to the appropriate difficulty level as outlined below.

TN2: most wooden doors to dwellings, churches, public buildings, and between rooms.
TN3: mausoleum, crypt entrance, rich dwelling.
TN4: fortified building, watchtower.
TN5: prison cell.

A character with Strength 3 or higher who fails to break down a TN2 or TN3 door may try again the following turn with a re-roll if he fails the second time, two re-rolls the third time, and so on. A physically-fit person will eventually break down a normal wooden door. It's just a matter of persistence.

Being Inside

The following general rules apply to all characters when inside or under buildings.

All models suffer -1" to their Move value and reduce charge bonuses to +3".

Firearms and ranged weapons are difficult to employ when both the firer and the target(s) are inside a building. Maximum range for all weapons is reduced to 10" if it would normally be higher. Targeted models gain +1D to Agility tests. This bonus is cumulative with cover bonuses. (Ex: An expedition member crouches behind an overturned pew inside a church. He would receive a total of +3D to his Agility roll; +1 for being inside, and +2 for hard cover.)

A model whose base is in contact with a door or window can shoot at targets outside within a 45 degree arc from the edges of the door or window.

Since Chaos In Carpathia scenarios generally take place at night, it is assumed that all buildings are dark inside unless the scenario description dictates otherwise. When hiding from non-werewolves and non-vampires, all models gain +2 to Hide tests regardless of whether or not they have cover to hide behind. This bonus is lost if a model carrying a torch or a lantern enters the room.

When fighting within 1" of a window, a miniature may attempt the Trip attack as described on page 18 of the rulebook to push its enemy out of the window. If a model falls out of a second story or higher, follow the Falling rules on page 11. A vampire may use Shape of the Bat (out of turn in this case) or Mist Form to avoid taking damage. If Mist Form is used, the Vampire returns to normal form when it hits the ground and the ability cannot be used to escape from the scenario. Characters with the Wall Crawler skill may make an TN# Agility test to avoid taking falling damage where # equals 1 for every 2 inches fallen.

That's pretty much everything for the time being. These rules are a work-in-progress and some test games will help us to iron them out. In the meantime, I'll try to get the floorplans finished and post some photos for your perusal.

Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Workbench Update: Out of the Gate with Alkemy

No doubt some of you saw the announcement on TGN a few days ago concerning the game Alkemy (or more specifically, the company Kraken Editions) being liquidated. Three members of my group (me included) bought all the available models for our respective factions at online close-out sales some time ago, so we are all prepared to start playing tournament-size games. Last week, we played a couple of learning games and, although we did some things wrong, it's a fairly graceful system once you get the hang of it. I look forward to playing it more often. I'm picking my way through the models in the Avalon starter box. Here's a teaser of my progress - the hero-knight Garlan de Brall.

As you can see, I'm cutting some corners here and not really giving these models the attention they deserve, but this level of painting will look good enough on the table. Painting with metallic paint continues to confound me. I paint regularly, I drybrush, I highlight, I ink. Frankly speaking, I fumble about until I end up with something that isn't horrible.

As I mentioned, some of the guys and I are ready to dive in and play, however, I can't help but surmise about the financial troubles the company has encountered. Truthfully, I was not surprised at all to hear that they were liquidating. Purchased at full price, the miniatures were exorbitantly-priced. There has been much conjecture as to where the pricing got out of hand. Perhaps it was the expensive plastic tooling process for a small company or the fancy-shmancy packaging. Regardless of the reason, a relatively new game on the scene, especially in this golden age of high end, low-model count competitors, can't come on the scene and charge an arm and a leg for a virtually unknown product. It's just not going to work in this economic climate, not until faithful disciples are won over.

A TGN member left a comment a couple of days ago proclaiming inside knowledge. He stated that (a) someone was in the process of buying the rights to the game and (b) Kraken's dying wish of producing metal models was going to be carried through. It would be nice to see the game picked up and dusted off as it's really a great set. Either way, we'll keep playing and having fun with it, and if it does re-surface, I may be tempted to pick up some of the forthcoming metals.

Thanks for reading,

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Curse of the Dertflinghans: Chapter Eight


25 April. Hamlet of Keirberg - After a hearty mid-day meal, the Count Von Krumm and I set out from the asylum together with our brave companions in tow. Although he tries admirably to hide his fears behind a stout facade, I can see that my dear friend worries greatly as to the possible misfortunes that may have befallen his missing son. Apparently, the last correspondence received from the young Hector gave his location as the small hamlet of Keirberg, just a half a day's ride south of the asylum. We reached the settlement at dusk and, as all was quiet, Helmut and Bjorn set out in search of the locals and, with any luck, to secure lodgings for the night.

The hounds seemed uneasy so I sent Ernst along with the Count's man Lazlo to scout the perimeter of the buildings.

It was then that the hellish call of giant wolves split the night air. These beasts never approach without violent purpose so weapons were drawn. I ran into the nearest dwelling and barred the door behind me.

From the window I could see that Ernst's hound became involved in a vicious dogfight with one of the great wolves. The murderous barks and growls of the enraged beasts was most terrifying, and I was quite relieved to have a sturdy wall between me and the night.

Then my eyes were drawn to torchlight radiating from a rise in the trees beyond the outskirts. From my vantage point I could just make out the vague silhouette of figures clashing in a violent exchange. I was to learn later that the primary combatants were the monster slayer Lazlo and a great vampire. I admit to to being somewhat awestruck by these men who, in spite of their less developed intellects, pit themselves against the night-spawned creatures of the pit.

Then I heard a commotion coming from the direction of the neighboring building. I ran to the adjoining wall and peered out the window. In the darkness I saw the axe-wielding Bjorn and the Count's son Helmut doing their best to subdue a vampiric child-like creature who transformed into a hideous beast right in front of our eyes.

Within minutes, the encounter was over. The vampires had vanished into the night as quickly as they had appeared. Upon closer inspection, we found the villagers' dead bodies in the largest building, hacked and slashed in a most brutal way. To be safe, the Count ordered the bodies decapitated, the hearts removed and burned, and the mouths sprinkled with the heavenly host which he personally produced from a small ivory box.

I now lay in one of the smaller huts where we have made our camp for the night. Although the vampires often hunt near settlements, it is uncharacteristic for them to be so openly aggressive. It seems that they were in the process of searching for something, but what it was, I cannot guess. Presumably, the townsfolk interfered with the creatures' efforts and were dealt with accordingly.

Now that I lay in silence, I can no longer escape from my fears nor hide from my guilt. Konrad is a close friend and I have no wish to mislead nor to withhold information from him. However, my suspicions of his son's fate are based primarily on assumption rather than fact. I can only hope that our further investigations will help to fill the gaps in my data and then, with any luck, I will be in a position to tell my friend the probable yet awful truth - FG.

Game Talk:

This was the first battle for my freshly-painted Hungarian Monster Hunters. As it turns out, Keir was in town for the weekend so I decided to run a scenario to introduce him to the Chaos in Carpathia rules. He played the vampires and I played the humans. It was a Seek & Find scenario, which happens to be one of my favourites. It's fun when the academics and specialist characters get to shine alongside the more combat-oriented characters.

This game never counted toward the actual campaign result as both of the warbands were mine. Furthermore, we never got to finish off the scenario because of time constraints. More importantly, however, Keir really enjoyed the game and plans on painting a vampire warband himself in the future. In fact, I believe he already has the models.

Finally, you may be wondering what I thought of the human warband after all of this time playing vampires and werewolves. Well, as I suspected, they are awesome. The monsters have variety in their rosters, but they tend to be more focused on combat, as you would expect. Fielding a human warband, whether monster hunters, Vatican elites, or gypsies, allows one to use some very different and interesting character types. The downside, of course, is that humans can't change into beasts, rip doors off of hinges, or leap onto roofs like the monsters can. I guess the moral of the story is, you can't have your enslaved blood servant and eat it to.

Thanks for reading,