Galaxy Defenders – Mission 2: New Hopes

A radio cry for help comes from the nearby Area 51 scientific research base. The aliens are attacking the scientists there! The agents hurry to rescue them, if possible

Agent Mercury charges forth and slices a gashing wound into the xeno lurking behind the sand dune.

It quickly backs away to bring it’s blaster to bear…

but not before Titanium cuts it down with his SAW.

Just as the machine gun fire subsides, a woman wearing a blood stained lab coat bursts out of the closest door, quickly followed by a 8 foot tall spider-alien! It’s claws tear into the woman’s flesh, and a moment later, her screams abruptly die.

Meanwhile, the dying cries of another scientist from around the corner presage the arrive of another spine critter.

Mercury rushes forward to try to pull the aliens’ attentions away from the civilian scientists, her blade slashing deeply into the xeno – but not quite enough to kill it.

The other Arachnos attacks with its pincers, but she manages to parry and dodge the most damaging ones.

However, the grievously wounded Arachnos is able to grasp onto her and drag her back inside the building.

Titanium comes up to support her – but one spine critter leaps through a window and lunges forward with its jaw, repelled only by his thick armor. The other one charges forward from around the building, blood from the scientist still dripping from its maw.

Mercury’s blade dispatches the Arachnos, setting herself free to move to engage the other Arachnos.

But the scent of blood from her ragged wounds also draws the spine critter’s jaws towards her. Thankfully, ber training at such close combat melee allows her to defend against the vicious teeth.

This gives the medic an opportunity to move up and deploy the GD-209 drone – its autocannons quickly dispatching the spine critter.

Just then the radio squawks an encouraging message from HQ “we found the malfunction is caused by an alien jamming mechanism – proceed with visual confirmation of the scientists ASAP!” And so Agent Titanium moves up to the office building, but it turns out the detected signal just inside the door is an alien, and not a scientist! The SAW at short range makes quick work of the Xeno however.

But the xeno is accompanied by another Arachnos, and yet another leaps through the back window into the room where Mercury is, surprising her as its claws tear into her. She drops, fighting to remain consciousness in the hopes of rescuing the scientist she spies cowering in the corner of the room!

The medic quickly moves up and pumps Mercury full of stimulating medicines – this jolts her up and with the extra vigor, delivers a debilitating blow in retaliation against the Arachnos.

Mercury rescues the thankful scientist and moves to the back door…

…where the signals turn out to be a another xeno chasing a scientist! And next door, a spine critter scrambles to join the melee against Titatnium.

Mercury’s sudden appearance and attack causes the ranged-combat Xeno to back away! The medic risks himself to rush up to rescue the scientist, even as it puts him directly into the line of fire of the Xeno.

Meanwhile the scientist just next door attempts to stay out of the way of the flying spines and razor sharp claws of the raging melee between Titanium, the Arachnos and the spine critter!

More aliens show up – fresh human blood covering their maws.

[I just received the first expansion box set which came with painted minis – yay! (I don’t paint…)]

It is not looking good for the agents – a Xeno Beta has just entered into the room with Titanium. (And I just drew the card that activates all the baddies!) The agents are close to death and the scientist is bleeding out. Does Titanium go for a hail Mary to try to rescue the bleeding scientist? Or try to live to fight another day, leaving the scientist to the aliens?

Titanium attempts the rescue – and the gambit fails. The scientist dies, impaled by a hail of spines. He gasps out with his dying breathe, “there… is… another…”

A moment later, that last scientist bursts out of the door of the main research complex, a pair of Arachnos chasing her and discharging a sticky web that suddenly traps her. Mercury can just reach her by leaping through the window, but can only attempt a rescue after dealing with spine critter waiting just outside the door…

And Mercury deftly dispatches the demon dog, rescuing the last scientist!

No other scientists left to rescue, the agents themselves need to get out alive! No easy task as the medic still has the Xeno Beta targeting him as well at the Arachnos that is clawing at him, and Titanium still faces off against three aliens.

As Mercury moves back to support the medic, the pair of Arachnos rapidly advance on them. A flurry of vicious attacks leaves the medic and Titanium teetering on the edge with one hit point left…

At the end, Titanium was able to escape, but the medic fell to the barrage of blaster fire from the Xeno, sacrificing himself to save Mercury one last time.

Well, I managed to meet the victory condition of rescuing three scientists and have at least half of the agents survive… That was very close!

Galaxy Defenders – Mission 1: Close Encounters

Since I’d been having so much fun with Shadows of Brimstone, I went looking for other campaign co-op board games to try out. I read a lot of good things about Galaxy Defenders (plus, it was a sci-fi themed!) so I picked up a copy a few months ago. With the stay-at-home recommendations, I finally got a chance to bust it out and try it out last week.

I had a very good time playing it – it felt like a board game of X-com’s tactical battles.

Here’s a narration I sent my friends as I was playing solo as three agents, code-named Chromium the spec-ops solider, Thorium the medic, and heavy-weapons expert Titanium:

The agents are sent in the desert to investigate sightings of strange creatures. Once there, the agents are dazzled by strange unnatural lights that gradually change shape into alien figures previously only seen in Sci-fi movies…

“Alpha Agent to HQ, we have a problem! – Over”

“We are receiving the images, Alpha Agent. The Xenos are using teleporting devices… destroy them at all costs! We are sending you reinforcements.”

“AGENTS, your mission is to destroy the teleport points and come back alive! Over and out.”

Agent Chromium leads the effort, charging forth and blasting apart a Spine Critter with his GD4A1 battle rifle! But the intense full auto that plastered the bug has jammed his rifle!

The rifle shots also attracted the attention of the other spine critter which rushes forward before Chromium can clear the rifle. The marine resorts to his Eagle 1 sidearm and blasts it away before the acid dripping jaws can snap down on him (crit with the pistol!)

But the agents realize it is too early yet for celebration as a flash of an unnatural light to their far right begins to coalesce into the shape of another alien – they are teleporting in somehow! (Game uses a blip system until line of sight is established.)

Relaying this information to HQ, the order comes in for the destruction of the strange devices to stop the invasion – so Agent Titanium rushes forward and tosses incendiaries on the closest one…

The medic moves up to support, but a shotgun blast as the newly arrived Spine Critter only results in spurting acid blood as the critter charges forward.

And then MORE alien reinforcements show up in the distance!

Turns out the critters are just pets for the humanoid Xenos that unleash a hail of blaster fire, almost killing Chromium outright.

Then the critters attack – surprising the agents as the needle-sharp spines in their back launch out in a cloud, piercing through the agents’ armor.

Whew! I was reminded the medic had a medkit, which helps patch up the punctured and bleeding marine.

Agent Titanium then opens up with his squad assault weapon tearing apart two of the Xenos and severely wounding the third!

Titanium’s SAW continues to roar as it brings down the last of the xeno trio before he drops another incendiary on the second teleportation device.

Chromium used the rally to finally kill the spine critter with his own rifle, but its acid blood splashed onto the nearby agents, burning through armor to soft flesh underneath!

As the wounded agents try to keep the remaining spine critter’s jaws at bay, another xeno teleports in. It’s blaster tears large wounds into the medic, but at least Titanium is able to finish off the critter – with more acid splatter (fortunately, the medics back armor was intact and absorbed the brunt of it!)

Another xeno teleports in, forcing the medic to seek cover behind an outcropping of rocks.

So the two xenos focus their fire on Chromium instead… The last of their blaster shots rips through the battered armor and explodes out the front of his chest.

Even as their leader falls, the mission must go on! Titanium moves to provide cover for the medic to plant the incendiary on the third of the four teleport devices, but then HQ radios that the alien squad leader just appeared! (Not looking good…)

With few options available, Titanium charges forward to buy the medic time, and dumps the rest of his ammo on the trio of Xenos, but completely misses!! (Doh! Not one hit on his alpha strike!)

Titanium’s pristine armor fortunately absorbs the majority of the return fire, as they trio reposition to cover the remaining teleport devices – and give them better use of their ranged blasters.

Still, with the world at stake, the medic rushes forward from behind cover and plants the third incendiary…

And Titanium continues to charge onward towards his goal as yet another xeno teleports in. Dropping the now ammo-less SAW, he slices a vicious wound into the newly materialized and surprised xeno with his curved blade, and tossing another incendiary into the last teleport device with his offhand.

The wounded and startled Xeno retreats back to his leader while only giving ineffectual blaster shots at Titanium.

The medic’s shotgun roar at the aliens, puncturing small holes in their armor before retreating back for cover.

As the last teleporter is engulfed within the flames, the two remaining agents quickly retreat to reassess this alien threat…

Yay! Victory conditions met.

The game plays pretty quickly, and certainly had some tense moments. There’s a way to increase or decrease difficulty with a handful of options. I choose to play on the very hard level, which includes things like being unable to easily flee melee combat, line of sight includes facing, permanent death, and maximum number of defense dice being able to be rolled. All-in-all, quite enjoyable, and I’m looking forward to continuing play with Mission 2.

Campaign-style co-op board gaming

Over the past year and a half, life got hectic for our gaming group, and so we haven’t been able to easily and regularly get together for our RPG sessions. And so our games went on hiatus.

So we tried to fill in whatever game time we could with a few different board games, including the Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle Earth, and Gloomhaven. But they never quite managed to satisfy the RPG itch – that is, until we tried out Shadows of Brimstone. Now, I’d seen it over the years at GenCon, and one of our guys had started collecting it, but I didn’t really know what it was until he decided to try running it for us.

After that first mine adventure and then finding even more adventure traveling to a town, and IN the town, I was hooked! Here was a game that managed to capture the feel of an RPG session, without the need for a GM who needed to spend substantial preparation time (which was running short for all of us).

And so, it was then that I discovered the board game genre of campaign-style co-op games!

So for the past year, we’ve been playing Shadows of Brimstone when we can. The lack of time is also why I haven’t been posting on this blog (plus, we haven’t played an RPG in almost 2 years!)

But as things have started to calm down, I’ll see if I can put some of my thoughts down that may be able to help other Gamers With Limited Free Time. More to come – Game On!

Princes of the Apocalypse 4

  1. GM: Law
    1. Ari: Guldinyon Bent (Drow sorcerer/cleric w/ scale)
    2. AJ: Ajax (Human Fighter. Chainmail and greatsword)
    3. Andrew: (Jehssail Brighteyes. Aasimar bard)
    4. David: Tobius Carter (Human Fighter)
    5. Thor: Mollywong (Dragonborn paladin)
    6. Thorun: Dwarf ranger
    7. Apollo: Tiefling Warlock Hexblade
  2. Wamford: 1.5 day travel from Red Larch
    1. On way, we stop at Barge’s Right Inn, a woodened walled town, which is across from Womford
    2. Talking to Guard:
      1. Caravan from Mirabar that was supposed to arrive a week ago but has disappeared.
    3. Only stone building is the Barge Right
  3. Wamford doesn’t have any walls. People walking heading home for the evening
    1. Docks is shady, but that’s the place for where people buy and sell
    2. When we went onto the boat and asked about the dwarven books, the captain showed us another book and then pushed Guldinyon into the water. Combat with the sailors ensues! They are water cultists, and almost kill us.
      1. Found another two captives that were caravan guards.
      2. Also more books of dwarven geneology
      3. Some treasure and a map
        1. There’s symbol of likely hideout upstream – ~20 miles
      4. Captain was blue-tinged, and tried to flee, but a Magic Missile from Guldinyon killed him.
  4. Water keep
    1. We talked our way into the boat dock at the bottom of the keep.
    2. But was unsuccessful, as a group of 5 bugbears attacked us on the dock.
  5. Rewards:
    1. XP: 400 each x6


Princes of the Apocalypse 3

  1. GM: Law
    1. Ari: Guldinyon Bent (Drow w/ scale)
    2. AJ: Ajax: Human Fighter. Chainmail and greatsword
    3. Andrew: Jehssail Brighteyes. Aasimar
    4. Apollo:
    5. David: Tobius Carter, human fighter
  2. Crossed river at bottom of the canyon (~100 ft), back to same side as tower by climbing up stone arch, and then back down.
    1. Attacked as Guldinyon and Ajax climbed back down
      1. 4 Gnolls and a hyena
    2. Further west of the canyon, a plateau 20′ up. Cave there with the carcasss of one of our hippogriffs at the entrance. A pair of griffins fly by…
      1. Find 2 eggs
    3. Further west, came across group of 4 gnolls that are tougher
    4. At far west end, meet Karokai – a humanoid bird. Call themselves Aacockra
      1. I informed them that tower is now known as Brighteye Tower
  3. Back to Red Larch
    1. At inn (Helm at Highsat), hear that dwarf merchant is at Valevos Sundries
    2. At Valevos’, we ask about any art. Bought from a peddler
      1. Shown a book. Comp language shows it is a list of geneology of dwarven clans of Mirabar
      2. Tell merchant that is Dwarven erotic poetry
      3. Said he bought it from a shady keel-boat skipper in Womford. Came across other similar books.
    3. We found 3 boats. One of them showed us a similar book, and when Guldinyon reached out for it, got pushed into the water.
  4. Rewards (for 2 sessions):
    1. XP: 1,700

Princes of the Apocalypse 2

  1. GM: Law
    1. Ari: Guldinyon Bent (Drow sorcerer/cleric w/ scale)
    2. AJ: Ajax (Human Fighter. Chainmail and greatsword)
    3. Andrew: (Jehssail Brighteyes. Aasimar bard)
    4. David: Tobius Carter (Human Fighter)
    5. Thor: Mollywong (Dragonborn paladin)
  2. Tower:
    1. Went to look for the fleeing leaders
  3. Canyon

Princes of the Apocalypse 1

  1. [We first played this mod a few years ago when it first came out, but stopped after just a session or two. We decided to return to it after playing some D&D Adventurer’s League, but couldn’t remember most of our characters, so created new ones.]
  2. GM: Law
    1. Ari: Guldinyon Bent (Drow w/ scale)
    2. AJ: Ajax: Human Fighter. Chainmail and greatsword
    3. Andrew: Jehssail Brighteyes. Aasimar
    4. David: Tobius Carter, human fighter
  3. Red Larch, 8 days south of Neverwinter, few days north of Waterdeep
    1. Journeyed there from a few places.
    2. Sinkhole in the road.
    3. Inn: Helm of Highsat. Met other PCs
  4. Delegation from Mirabar has been missing for 1 month.
    1. Harpers want us to find Brodenthar, part of the delegation.
    2. Brother Irdin: Follower of Lathander:
      1. Delegation was in Beliard 2-tenday ago
    3. A shepherd says he saw new graves in the hills!
  5. To the hills
    1. Four graves, one, a dwarf with good artisinal clothes
  6. Feathergill Spire: Knights from Waterdeep house here
    1. Hippogriff decorations
    2. Joined a Manticore hunt
    3. At night, almost murdered by humans dressed as servants! (con’t next day 2018 Oct 16)
      1. Captured one alive, but all he would do is hiss at us.
    4. Found a caravan guard, bound. He said they were attacked on the river but “stone people”, who then got attacked by “feathered people”, which brought them to the tower. Brodenthar was in the caravan.
    5. Proceeded up the tower, and more servants attack.
    6. Savah came running up the stairs asking what is going on.
    7. We went to top to inform the leader, and then they ALL turned on us. We killed Savah and a monk, but fighter, as well as two guards on vultures got away.
    8. We were very wounded, but on the way out, three more knights blocked our way. I released an eagle battering ram, and took one down, but we were very damaged. Had to flee, but Tobi captured again.
  7. We rested very quickly, and then came back and rescued Tobi.
    1. Searching the tower, we found a parchment.

GenCon picture 8 – Adventurer’s League

D&D Adventuer’s League at GenCon.

Trouble stirs in the Moonshae Islands, as the tensions between the Ffolk and the Northmen are highlighted with the appearance of a massive army of gnolls led by fiends…

Tracking the source of the magic to the Giant Druid.

Lost Mines of Phandelver 1

  1. GM: Law
    1. 5 kids (grades 10, 9, 8, 7, 5), playing (respectively) Bard the Bard, Merlin (Wizard), ?? (Wizard), Mordek (? Rogue), Thorin (Ranger), and Andrew playing Bertie the Big Nose (named on account of his prominently protruding probosis, a Cleric
  2. Side note:
    1. My friend’s kids have been wanting to play D&D since I introduced them to the game about 3 years ago (but they were still fairly young). Since then, they’ve watch the Hobbit movies, and are more familiar with the fantasy genre. I also invited over some co-workers kids, all of whom had heard of D&D, but never had played. I was pretty surprised at the awareness of the game, not really realizing the penetration of it into the cultural awareness. One mom said she’d heard about it “from Sheldon on Big Bang Theory”, and another mom and daughter from Stranger Things. And, as we just started playing, the youngest said he had played this game at a camp and there was a goblin ambush coming up!
    2. Law, who had previously played through the first part of Lost Mines of Phandelver GM’ed the game, and it was a great deal of fun! The kids all had a good time, and didn’t want to stop, even though it was quite past their bedtimes. Over the past few days, they’ve been telling their parents they could get their friends to play, and wanted to game again.
  3. Story:
    1. We were newly hired caravan guards helping to guard provisions to be delivered to the town of Phandelver. Our employers first set out a few days before us. However, as we neared our destination, we came upon the dead horses of both of them, black arrows sticking out of their flank. As we deliberated what to do, a flight of arrows caught us by surprise as a group of goblins ambushed us! With a set of fantastic rolls, we easily overcame them. But our employers were nowhere to be found. There was an empty map case on one horse, and a set of tracks leading away to the north.
    2. The party tied up the horse with the caravan, and went north in search of the missing pair – as we couldn’t get paid without them! The tracks led into the mouth of a cave that had a small stream coming out of it. There, we were once again attacked by goblins – we overcame them, but not before one of them got out a cry for help.
    3. Nevertheless, we proceeded into the dark cave, lit only by the light of a small globe summoned by Bertie. We moved past the sounds of some growling on the right, and as we neared a bend in the stream, just caught sight of a bridge up ahead. There was a passage way to the left which we decided to take, but only Thorin and Merlin were able to get there before a torrent of water suddenly filled the passage and washed the rest of the party back out into the forest. A few bumps, but no major damage.
    4. Making our way back, we found ourselves entering into the heart of the goblin camp – complete with wolves, and a pair of naked bathing goblins! A fight ensued, but we were victorious but exhausted of resources. However, we located ?? Who was tied up in the back. He told us the had taken Rockseeker away.
    5. Retreating to rest and recover, we proceeded back along the stream the next day, and came upon a cavern full of crates of provisions – and were ambushed by more goblins hiding amongst them! Even as combat was entailed, a sudden sound caused Bertie and Bard to realize that an extremely large goblin had snuck up behind us with a pair of large wolves! Several of us were clobbered in the fight, but magical healing kept any of the adventurer’s from perishing before defeating the goblin leader.
    6. Amongst the recovered goods, we found a clue leading us onward.
  4. Rewards:
    1. XP: 350 each


Dark*Matter #23: Greed Island 1

      1. Game date: 2018 Jul 04
        1. GM: Law
        2. PCs: David (Ari), Malakai (AJ), Percival (Andrew)
      2. 2012 Summer, hot & humid
      3. At Hoffman Institute
        1. David Irving
          1. 32 yo 6′ tall, white, well-groomed, fairly well-built, with glasses
          2. Greatest desire: To do good, and want to not be tempted to do evil anymore
        2. Malakai
          1. Looks like Forrest Griffin
          2. History: Story of triumph/victory – graduated trade school, carpentry. Did that because didn’t want to go to college.
            1. Wanted to do amateur MMA as a kid.
        3. Director Johnson calls them into office
          1. Team from Detroit has checked in, but Pulson hasn’t.  Rest of team busy on another mission
          2. Need them to look for Pulson. Give address of apartment on Long Island
      4. Long Island
        1. Visit run down apt complex. Apt door is slightly ajar, but inside is nicely furnished
        2. Ambushed by a pair of thieves, but they easily defeat them
        3. The two find a Playstation 1 memory stick
          1. Plug it in. All 15 spots taken up by one saved memory stick. Title of game is Greed Island.
      5. Repair store
        1. Got into computer, and saw Pulson had been looking at Greed Island on the internet.
        2. He was communicating with Lido of Lido’s Game Store.
      6. Starbucks
        1. Met Brandon
          1. Rarest of rare games – less than 100 copies made.
          2. $5.6M PER game
          3. Unknown who made it.
            1. Rumor has it a guy named Jin made it.
            2. No one knows who he is.
            3. For sale about a month after PS1 made. 1996-1997
          4. A few copies coming up for auction
            1. Barrett Young – billionaire philanthropist, including money to Church.
              1. Plethora of organizations – YMCA, Boys and Girls club
              2. Rumor is he’s putting in bids. Trying to get all 5 copies.
            2. Old man. Previously married.
            3. His company is Barrett Core. Corp offices at Barrett Tower
              1. Investment company. Buys companies and resells.
              2. One of the taller towers in Manhattan
          5. Auction in 2 weeks.
      7. Barrett Tower
        1. Met with Barrett Young and his bodyguard.
          1. Percival spoke with security and reception to get his way into Young’s office.
          2. Entered just as hearing Young say something about “18-20 players”
      8. Back at Hoffman Institute
        1. Fill in Johnson
          1. He says to see what happens at auction in 2 weeks.
          2. Who else bids, and amount
      9. Auction hall
        1. Grab catalogue
        2. Copy of Greed Island sold by the estate of a Gary, in a will.
          1. He was an avid player, and his will said if he was gone for 5 years, it was to be auctioned.
        3. PS turned off, and save copy showed a Gary
          1. Auction said that the game protects itself as well as powers itself.
          2. 4 guard shoot the PS with handguns, but no damage comes to itself!
        4. First copy bought by Young for $20M
        5. 2nd copy:
          1. Someone bidding up Young, a younger fat Asian man. Young still won by $25M
          2. Bodyguard leaves, Malachi follows him out
            1. He went in elevator to another floor, and in following him, a car on fire and a couple of bodies bleeding out.
            2. As they confront each other, a car peels out and almost rams into them, but the bodyguard pulls Malachi out of the way
        6. Other copies won by Barrett Young for $28M, $32M, $35M.
          1. He makes it a show of winning
        7. Barrett afterwards comes up and says that it is time for us to learn the truth. Gives us an address in the Hamptons to meet the next night.
      10. Hamptons
        1. Very nice house. Dinner party going on. About 30-40 people
        2. Barrett says he will say that he tell people about the game, but we can first all audition
          1. Bodyguard is tough, but we passed after 3 tests
            1. Ask why we are interested in Greed Island
            2. Power test
            3. Spirit test
        3. Greed Island
          1. Some are just curious. Some think it is a gate to hell
          2. Created by a powerful person named Jin. Motivation unknown.
          3. Players don’t disappear. They are transported to another world.
          4. Barrett would like to recruit us in beating the game. Reward of $10M awaits them. All rights and properties and other items solely belong to Greed Island. If agree, then he will let us play. If agree, sign the contract.
            1. Skim them – long winded, but fairly straightforward
        4. The bodyguard is a player, but has been gone for the past 3 weeks! He goes and comes back!
          1. “The strong can” come back he says.
          2. Leads us to the cellar. 15-16 PSs.
          3. Some consoles have connectors that allow up to 8 players to play. One entrant at a time.
            1. How to enter? “Hold hands over consoles, and channel spirit into the game.”
              1. A 13 y/o kid enters easily, disappearing into the console, others take a few more minutes.
              2. Malachi disappears
              3. Pervical disappears
              4. Then Irving enters
      11. Greed Island
        1. We each individually appear in an empty hut, wearing just knit shorts and woolen shirts.
        2. Go down stairs and meet a floating lady who tells us that to  stop an evil mage, need to collect 6 sacred stones.
          1. She also says that death in the game is death in real life.
          2. Won’t tell us how to get out of the game.
        3. Went down another set of stairs, which leads to a plain where we see the other two.
        4. To the left is a volcano, and on the right is a city
      12. Epilogue:
        1. XP: 4 each