Saturday, December 31, 2022

Everything I painted this Year

 28mm Historical

28mm Fantasy

20mm Sci-fi

15mm Historical

10mm Historical

6mm Sci-fi

1/1200 Sci-fi

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Dwarrowdeep #11

In the month of Guardian, after the spring equinox, more migrants arrived from Orzammar, drawn by news of the thaig's success. Among them was Dave, formerly a petty thief in Dust Town, who now joined our heroes on their venture (see PC profiles here).

The latest venture took Bertil, Boggart, Dave, and Zunn back to the Foundry district, where scouts have found what they believed to be the resting place of King Khertil, who had the title of Paragon, but was more commonly called 'the Paranoid' behind his back. Records recovered from the halls had indicated that the king was a skilled craftsman and inventor, but in his later years had become paranoid and fearful of his tomb being plundered. As such, he gave orders for him and his family to be buried in a tomb protected by various traps - unfortunately, the records did not speak of what these traps were, or how they might be overcomed. The scouts had reported pooling of water outside the door of the tomb, and fearing that the water may damage the treasures within, Lord Khundra had ordered our heroes to enter the tomb and recover the famed weapon and armour of King Khertil.

The party was able to find the stone doors of the tomb following the directions given by the scouts, but when they arrived they could not find a means to open the door. While the party searched the surrounding areas for a means to open the doors, they were attacked by darkspawn, which they repelled. Finally, Zunn was able to unlock the doors by means of a magnet he had found in a forge in an earlier venture, and the party entered the tomb before more darkspawn arrived.

Inside, the party found themselves in a large hall, in the middle of which stood a statue of King Khertil. The King wore armour, but his hands were empty. Behind the statue were a set of double doors that were locked. On the left and right were corridors that led deeper into the tomb complex.

Our heroes examined the statue, and found that the arms of the statue pivoted at the shoulder joints. The hands were made open, as if to receive a weapon and a shield. Surmising that the proper item had to be placed in the hands to open the doors, our heroes proceeded down the passage to the right to see if they might find the items.

The corridor led to an antechamber, in which the party found jars of sweet-smelling oils upon stone benches. Proceeding to the room beyond they found themselves in another hall, this one containing several sarcophagi. on the wall above one ornate sarcophagus they saw a golden shield. The inscriptions upon the sarcophagus indicated that the sarcophagus held the remains of Khertil's queen.

When our heroes lifted the shield from the bracket that held it, there was a grinding sound as the door to the hall became locked, and the ceiling began to descend. Our heroes desperately sought a means to stop the lowering ceiling, but to no avail. Finally, Dave the dwarf threw off the lid to one of the sarcophagi, and leapt inside. The others quickly followed his example. The ceiling continued to descend, but as they came to the level of the sarcophagi, the stone blocks that made up the ceiling directly above the sarcophagi separated and stopped short of the sarcophagi, while the other parts went past the sarcophagi and crushed the lids that our heroes had thrown off. After a few minutes, the ceiling began to lift, and our heroes quickly made their escape.

They returned to the first hall, and took the passage to the left. The corridor led to a small chamber, which was bare except for a pedestal, upon which stood a stone bowl. An inscription on the pedestal read: Those who are loyal to the king will drink to his honour.

Zunn, ever confident, filled the bowl with wine he had brought, lifted it, and drank, but nothing happened. When he returned the bowl to the pedestal, however, it began to fill with mead. Zunn once more lifted the bowl, and drank the mead. As he once more returned the bowl to its place, he saw the outline of a door on the wall to his left - it was a hidden door.

Passing through the secret door, our heroes came upon a set of stone doors that opened into a mead hall with a stone throne at the far end. Upon the seat of the throne was a magnificent golden axe. Wary once more of traps, our heroes tied a rope around the shaft of the axe, exited the room, and then tried to drag it out. But the door slammed shut, breaking the rope, and the sound of stone shifting could be heard behind the doors. When the sound stopped and the doors could be open again, our heroes found the axe once more upon the throne, with the rope still tied to the shaft.

Our heroes reattached the rope, and this time they jammed the stone doors with a spear that Zunn had with him. Once more they dragged the axe off the throne, and once more the doors tried to close by themselves, but were prevented from doing so by the spear. As the axe clattered along the stone floor, the stones on the walls on the sides peeled off and took the forms of warriors, who moved to grab the axe. But our heroes were faster, and just as the axe cleared the threshold of the hall, the spear broke and the doors closed before the guardians.

Returning tot he first hall, our heroes placed the axe and shield in the hands of the statue. The arms of the statue shifted to the weight of the axe and shield, and when they had settled a click was heard, and the doors behind the statue were unlocked.

Passing through the doors, our heroes found themselves in a cavern divided by a chasm 40 feet wide, A narrow stone bridge with no parapet spanned the chasm.

Wary of more traps, but unable to discern any, the party decided that Boggart would tie a rope around his waist and try to dash across the bridge. As he did so, he found that the bridge rotated upon itself, and he was thrown off, and would have fallen to his death if not for the rope he tied around himself.

Now aware of the danger, Boggart was able to make his way across the bridge more slowly, and tie the rope to the other end, which the rest of the party then used to keep their balance as they also crossed over.

Beyond the bridge our party came upon another set of doors. Wary of more traps, Bertil remained behind as the others opened the doors and entered the burial chamber of King Khertil. A pair of large cisterns in the form of stone urns stood on either side of the door. In the far end of the chamber was a platform that rose six feet above the floor, and upon the platform laid a sarcophagus and two stone chests.

As our heroes crossed the chamber to climb onto the platform, Boggart noticed the presence of what he thought was fine sand on the floor.

The party opened one of the treasure chest, and found within it various trinkets and devices, the purpose of which were not immediately obvious. Simultaneously, the doors to the chamber slammed shut, and our heroes heard a gurgling sound as water began to overflow from the cistern onto the floor.

As the water level began to rise our heroes sought to find a means to stop the water flowing, including opening the king's sarcophagus, but found nothing besides his remains, clad in golden armour. Outside, Bertil likewise could find no means to open the doors. In panic, Dave the dwarf jumped off the platform onto the floor, hoping to reach the doors, but found his soles stuck to the ground, and had to be pulled to safety by the others. The water continued to rise, but mercifully when it reached the level of the platform it began to recede.

When the water had ebbed, the doors unlocked, and our heroes made their way back with their packs laden with the treasures they have recovered.

Prepping and Running the Game

This adventure was based loosely on another one of Nerzugal's scenarios. As there was no Warrior PCs in the session, I thought a trap-based, Indiana Jones style dungeon was a suitable challenge to my players.

Once again I prepped for the session on the day itself, and I used an older edition of Tome of Adventure Design to design the traps, adapting them to the features in the maps which I use.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Gaslands Gates

I can't remember exactly how it happened, but recently Adrian expressed an interest in Gaslands, and I passed him the rules and the sprue of bits from Northstar, and now he has decided to build a war rig.

I decided I would make some terrain for the game, and so I made a few race gates using materials I had lying around.

Specifically, I used the plastic frame from these mini-whiteboards I bought; these were the cheapest and easiest way to get the ultra-thin steel sheets I wanted to line the plastic trays for my figures with magnetised bases. I broke the frames apart to get at the sheet; the cardboard lining was easy to recycle, but I had no idea what to do with the plastic frames then, and thought it would be wasteful to throw them away.

Fortunately, they were easy to re-purpose as building materials for the gates. I cut them into size, glued them to some resin bases I had, and sprayed them with a coat of black and then grey paint.

The signages were printed on paper, glued to PVC sheets, and then hot-glued to the frame. I based their design on the infamous Electronic Road Pricing gantries.

There are still some frames left over, and I think I might make some crash barriers with them later.

Monday, December 19, 2022

Dwarrowdeep #10

In the month of Wintermarch Bertil's teacher Elorn, the augur of Red Lion Hold, came to the thaig to seek his aid. Along with Boggart and Zunn (see PC profiles here), they traveled to a hovel where Elron sometimes sued for his rituals, a half a day's distance away.

Here, Elorn explained that Owyn, the thane of the hold, had begun behaving erratically a few months ago, become more suspicious and paranoid. He had accused several of his men of treachery, and threatened them with exile. His behavior was causing concern among the people of the hold, and Elorn feared that if word spread to the neighbouring holds, this may be perceived as a weakness and prompt an attack on the hold.

Through his rituals, Elorn had learned that Owyn's mind had been influenced by a demon in his dreams, and that to rid him of the demon, someone would have to travel into the Fade to destroy the demon. He proposed to send Bertil and his companions into the Fade by means of a ritual, while he would watch over them and return them to the realm of the waking if there were signs of trouble. Our heroes agreed to undertake the mission, and after imbibing a potion Elorn had prepared, they immediately fell asleep...

And woke up to find themselves in a cell inside a cave, without their equipment. Through the bars of their cells they could see that there were many other cells along the sides of the corridor outside their cell, but they could not see the faces of the people inside those cells. In the distance they could hear the sobbing of a man.

Boggart broke the party out of the cell, and they followed the sound of the sobbing to a cell, within which they found a disheveled Owyn cowering in the corner. There were bars over the cell, but there was no door. The party called out to Owyn, but he did not reply. Instead, a disembodied voice taunted them for attempting to save him. The bars over the other cells melted away, and they grey, faceless prisoners within moved towards our heroes (who suddenly found themselves with their equipment on them) and attacked them.

Our heroes made short work of the attackers, but when they had despatched the last of them, they were blinded by a bright light which caused them to shield their eyes...

When they opened their eyes, they found themselves inside a small room. On one wall of the room was a portal that led to a hill in springtime; on the opposite wall was a portal that led to Red Lion Hold, but in the midst of winter. In three of the corners of the room were pedestals, upon which laid a stone miniature of a bear, a hawk, and an otter.

Our heroes each took one of the miniature, and stepped through the portal that led to the hill in springtime... and found themselves transformed into the animals whose miniature they took! They realised that despite their animal form, they could still communicate with each other telepathically. They explored the hill, and found a pond at its top, inside which was a catfish who wore a pendant with an emerald figurine around its neck. In the side of the hill there was a hole, inside which was a snake that similarly wore a figurine around its neck. Finally, in a burrow at the base of a tree was a fox that also wore an emerald figurine around its neck.

By each of themselves our heroes were not able to catch the animals, whose figurines they surmised were what they needed to proceed to the other portal, but by co-operation, they were able to one by one catch the creatures, and recover the figurines. With the emerald figurines in their jaws, our heroes stepped back into the portal, and found themselves restored to their forms.

They now passed through the other portal, to find themselves before Red Lion hold, which was under attack from another Avvar hold. A bereskarn, a Blight-tainted bear, was charging towards the gate, and in its path was a young Owyn, who stood frozen in fear. Our heroes sprang to Owyn's rescue, and after a hard fight slew the beast. They then turned to encourage Owyn, but as their backs were turned the bereskarn rose again, and attacked them from behind. Caught unaware, our heroes thought themselves doomed...

But they awoke to find themselves once more in Elorn's hovel. Learning that they had failed in their quest, Elorn began to question them, eager to find out with whom the fault laid. Zunn, in panic, pointed to Bertil. Elorn grew stern, and said that with the demon now forewarned, they could not hope to save Owyn through the Fade, but to preserve the hold they would have to kill Owyn so another strong warrior could take over the hold, and as Bertil was the cause of the failure, the task fell upon him.

Bertil baulked at the idea, and said that Elorn had taught him to use his gift to heal people and not harm them, and so the Elorn before them could not be the real Elorn.

At this Elorn began to laugh, as his form shifted to that of a demon, and the hovel transformed into a hellscape of darkness and lava. Although weakened from their earlier battle, our heroes were able to destroy the demon, and as the last blow of their weapons fell, they found themselves once more in Elorn's hovel, but this time for real.

Prepping and Running the Game

The premise for this session was based on the one-shot adventure Descent into Dream from Nerzugal's Dungeon Master Toolkit 2, which is a treasure trove of adventures, puzzles, and bestiary, and what's more, available as a 'pay what you want pdf' now. The scene where the PCs were turned into animals came from a puzzle in Nerzugal's Game Master Toolkit, which again is available as 'pay what you want'. Both are excellent products, and I just learned that the 3rd and 4th instalments are also on sale now, and I will be buying them.

For this session I tried the GMing advice of not prepping too early, and only started prepping on the same day as the session. It was in some way liberating to put together an adventure using ideas from pdfs of adventures and random tables I already own, if a little stressful.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Napoleonics and Battletech Destiny

The Austrian cavalry take the heights north of Aspern, while simultaneously the Grenzers advance towards the orchard west of the town.

Desperate fight for the heights.

Mecha mayhem!

Yesterday Rick brought along the 15mm Austrians that he had bought literally ten years ago for their first game ever. While we own a French, an Anglo-Allied, and an Austrian army between us, we have seldom played Napoleonics as all the rules we have tried before we too labourious to prep for and play; systems like Age of Eagles required special labels for the command base of every unit on the table, the application of which already take up a chunk of time.

When Rick mooted the idea of playing a game, I revisited the To the Last Gaiter Button rules for FPW, and decided to give them another go. Looking at the distances and ground scales, I realised that the game could easily translate to Napoleonics by halving the scale and making one unit a battalion; better yet, by seeing the number of bases as a representation of the Combat Effectiveness of the unit and not the number of troops in the unit, it made it easier to translate historical orders of battle to game.

At this scale we could only play games with one or two divisions aside, for the our scenario I decided to depict only one part of a larger battle, in this case the Austrian attack on Aspern, pitting 11 battalions of infantry, four double-squadrons of light cavalry, and three foot batteries (each of 2 bases) against seven battalions of infantry, three double-squadrons of light cavalry, and one foot battery of the French. Unbeknownst (but suspected) by the Austrian players, the French would be reinforced in the middle of the battle by two double-squadrons of heavy cavalry.

The game uses a grid-based movement, and the players were initially a little surprised by the short movement and "shooting" ranges for infantry, but they pretty soon warmed up to it and realised that the limited movement meant that once a formation is committed to a particular axis of attack, it would be difficult to change one's plans. This was made worse by the fact that the game had a running clock: the Austrian had to capture the whole of Aspen (represented as two grids in our scenario) by 30 on the clock for a victory, and to capture the road leading from the south into Aspern for a major victory. At the start of each turn each side rolled a d6, with the side rolling higher choosing whether to move first but let the other side choose which of the scores to add to the game clock, or letting the opponent move first and choosing which score to add instead.

In our game the battle centred on two actions: an artillery bombardment followed by an infantry assault from the west and the north of Aspern, and a fight for the heights north of Aspern. Our game actually ended more or less as the historical battle did at the end of day 1, with the Austrians controlling half of Aspern and the French still keeping the road south open.

For our second game we played Battletech Destiny, which as I understand it is not a set of wargame rules, but a mash-up of the combat rules from the Mechwarrior: Destiny RPG and Battletech Alpha Strike rules.

I enjoyed the more streamlined combat resolution of the game, but perversely I would have preferred to keep the fiddly hex movement and facing of Battletech Classic.

Our group will be trying out the Alpha Strike rules in the future too, so stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Oathmark Dwarf Light Infantry

Here are a few Oathmark Dwarf Light Infantry I painted as ghosts for our Dwarrowdeep campaign. They were simply primed white, and then given a coat of Citadel Contrast Aethermatic Blue. This seems to be a quick and effective way of making ghostly miniatures.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Dwarrowdeep #9

In the month of Wintermarch, as the snowmelt began, the thaig received a visitor from Nevarra - Auric Pentaghast. He told the tale of how he had tried to slay a young dragon in his home country, who fled after killing his apprentice. For months he tracked the dragon, until at last he found her in a ruined tower on an island in the middle of a frozen glacial lake in the Frostback Mountains. The dragon had made her lair in the middle of the tower, where there was a breach in the wall. Pentaghast had tried to take on the dragon alone, but she was guarded by a pack of drakes, which made approaching her undetected impossible. Hearing of the thaig, he had come looking for adventurers who will aid him.

Now news of the dragon roosting near the thaig caused concern among the dwarves, for a dragon roosted to raise her brood, and when her eggs hatched she would no doubt begin hunting for food to raise the dragonlings, and her hunting could quickly strip an area of prey and drive her to attack man and dwarves alike. The records found in the halls of records indicated that the tower found by Pentaghast was likely the High Gate of the thaig, which of old was where the dwarves had their trade with nations west of the Frostback Mountains. Rolf Khundar thus gave permission for Pentaghast to take the Long Stairs to reach the High Gate, on the condition that he would keep the head of the dragon.

Pentaghast tried to recruit the adventurers, but the Orlesians considered the venture suicidal. Our heroes (see PC profiles here) were skeptical of Pentaghast's credentials, as although he came from a famous family of dragon hunters, no one had slain a dragon in more than a hundred years. Nevertheless, when they were offered each an equal share of the value of the gold that the carcass of the dragon would fetch, they agreed.

But before they embarked on the quest, our heroes wanted to test their mettle against the drakes, which the Avvars told them were taking prey in their lands. They laid the carcass of a deer out as bait, and when the drakes arrived they attacked, and quickly slew three of them. Their confidence boosted, they began preparation for the hunt, and had an arbalest fashioned for them by the dwarves, from which they purposed to launch a harpoon to catch the dragon to prevent her from fleeing.

Venturing east from the Quarters District, they came upon the High District of the thaig, which did not have the signs of carnage they witnessed in the other districts of the thaig - it seemed that the higher caste dwarves had evacuated the district in good order before the thaig fell. They soon found the long stairs - its stone steps wide enough for four dwarves to walk abreast - which ascended some five hundred yards over three thousand steps to reach the base of High Gate Tower.

As soon as they entered the tower they were attacked by drakes, which they overcame. Venturing further, they came across more drakes, guarding the stairs that led up into the tower, and by means of a sudden assault were able to slay all of them before they could flee and alert the dragon.

Ascending the tower, they at last came to the chamber where the dragon laired, sleeping atop the clutch of eggs she had laid. With Lorca's aid, Boggart launched the harpoon at the dragon. The bolt pierced the hide of the beast, but only barely; yet the barb had taken, and did not come free. The dragon let out a mighty roar and charged at the intruders - all but Lorca and Zunn turned and fled, and the two were engulfed in dragon breath. But the others soon regained their wits, and returned to aid their friends.

With so many attackers, the battle soon turned against the dragon. She severed the rope attached to the harpoon, and then turned her breath onto her own eggs, choosing to burn them than to have them fall into the hands of men, and fled through the breach in the wall.

Lorca had fallen to the dragon's breath also, and despite Bertil's magic the burns on his skin and his throat would not heal. Pentaghast told our heroes that the burns from a dragon's breath did not easily heal by magic, and instead told them to feed Lorca the blood of the dragon that remained on the tip of the harpoon. This they did, and instantly Lorca began to breath better, and they began their long trek back to the thaig.

Prepping and Running the Game

I have foreshadowed the dragon hunt by prefacing the previous few sessions with news of dragon sighting. When Lorca's player reached level 4 and took the Reaver specialisation, I asked him to delay the features he is supposed to receive until we could play this session, since the rules suggested that a ritual involving the drinking of a dragon's blood be required.

According to the lore, dragons were though to have been extinct for more than a hundred years by the time of campaign, hunted by the famed dragon hunters of Nevarra. I thus decided to involve one of them, specifically a Pentaghast, of the royal house of Nevarra. However, as no one had slain a dragon in more than a century, I reasoned that he was probably learned in the theory of hunting dragons, but lacked practical experience. As such, I played my as a pompous middle-aged nobleman who sought to overstate his abilities. I had a lot of fun roleplaying him, while the players were (probably just as their characters would have been) both annoyed and amused by his pretensions.

I left the preparation for the hunt to my players, and they rose to the occasion, suggesting a practice fight against drakes to gauged their threat level, and commissioning an arbalest.

The next session will take place in a couple of weeks, but we have a wargames session scheduled, so stay tuned.

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Battletech Alpha Strike Timberwolf

So after the last Battletech game we played I asked about piloting a Timberwolf (aka Mad Cat) because to me it is the quintessential mecha. Sadly, I learned that it is a Clan Mech and that it is anachronistic with all the other mechs the other guys have painted. Nevertheless, FG passed me his models from the Alpha Stroke kickstarter, and I painted the Timberwolf.

I used a Clan Ghost Bear variant colour scheme for the mech. The model is quite easy to paint, and dark grey is a rather forgiving colour.

Will this be the first of several Clan Ghost Bear mechas? Only time will tell...

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Cutting Edge Miniatures

With the release of the second edition of the Tribal rules, I decided to finally paint up the two units of Bronze Age figures from Cutting Edge Miniatures this week.

The Cutting Edge range seems to be a little all over the place, with the skirmishers shown above being larger and more pleasing to the eyes than the spearmen or the Sea Peoples I painted earlier. Add this to the fact that the other miniatures in my collection come from Redoubt, Eureka, and Newline, it means that they do look rather mismatched side-by-side - but I cannot summon the effort to redo the period with figures from one single range.

The new edition of Tribal will have rules specific to the Bronze Age and chariots, so I am looking forward to receiving my copy. Stay tuned for a review here.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Relief of Luckpore - Campaign and Battle Wargames Rules for the 1857 Indian Rebellion

Every so often a set of wargame rules comes out of the left field and gets me all excited about a period. This time it is Relief of Luckpore by Real Time Wargames.

Now regular readers may remember the name of the company - the first posts on this blog were about a Franco-Prussian War campaign we played using their rules for that conflict. I also own their rules for Wars of the Roses, the Shenandoah campaign, and the Sudan campaign.

I already own a sizeable army for the Indian Mutiny, but as I haven't found a set of rules that I really enjoyed to use with them, the figures have sat at the bottom of my stack of boxes of figures until this week. What drew me to the rules are the grid-based system and a relatively simple movement and combat system.

I do have a little quibble with the rules though, specifically in the rating for Sikh and Gurkha troops, as well as some ambiguity over how skirmishers are deployed, and close combat resolution.

I also liked the terrain generation rules, which is what I used to set up the solo test game table (substituting walls for ditches/trenches). As you can see it provided a rather believable terrain which gamers of the Mutiny period will find familiar. The mat has 15cm grids, which is a little small for my 15mm figures on 40mm wide bases, but it is still serviceable.

Like their Sudan rules, the game aims to provide different experiences for both sides. The mutineer player will almost certainly have a numerical advantage, but will also have troops of lower quality, as well as limited command initiative.

The British have high-quality troops, more "command points" per turn, but their troops accumulate Fatigue as they act, which will make them less effective as the battle progresses.

The victory conditions for both sides are also different. There is no "break point" for the British - they give up when the player decides he cannot win. The mutineer commander has a chance of leaving the field whenever a unit is routed. Both sides thus have very different strategies: the mutineers need to wear the British down until they become ineffective and give up, while the British need to break the morale of the mutineers by routing as many units as they can before that happens.

The rules are fun enough for me to want to refurbish my army and perhaps add a few more bases. It is also suitable for multi-player games, and I hope to run a game for the gang in the near future.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Billhooks, Battletech, and Beer

Last Sunday we actually managed to get five of us together for an afternoon of gaming.

We opened with a game of Never Mind the Billhooks in preparation for the release of the Deluxe edition of the rules later this month. I used the set-up for Towton, and the game started with twenty-four 16-figure units on table, or close to 400 15mm figures. The archery was savage and decimated the front ranks on both sides before the Lancastrians finally made melee contact and the Yorkist right flank collapsed. Norfolk entered the table just before this happened, and decided to turn back to London.

We then played a test game of Battletech, which was really fun. Regular readers may remember that I have been looking at Battletech Alpha Strike and Reaper CAV as possible options for our regular mecha game, but now I am thinking Battletech (regular) may be a contender for the times we have enough players to play a team game.

We are now organising another session for the end of the month, when I hope to try out a grid-based Napoleonic game based on the To the Last Gaiter Button rules, and another game of Battletech.

Tuesday, November 08, 2022

Dwarrowdeep #8

The Upper Halls was retaken with heavy losses, and afterwards the dwarves took control of the road north, to the point where the road turns into a bridge that crossed a chasm, before entering another hall.

Our heroes (see PC profiles here), the party of dwarven adventurers called The Outcasts, and the Orlesian party called The Foxes were sent to scout out the hall, and to see if the darkspawn were planning another attack.

The three parties crossed the bridge to find themselves in a cavernous hall that was once the site of the dwarven foundry. Here it seemed that coal from the south and ore from the north was brought together to be smelted in three large furnaces that dominated the main hall. There was evidence that the furnaces were once worked by bellows driven by waterwheels, now long in disrepair. The Outcasts found signs that the furnaces were until recently being used to smelt iron, likely by the darkspawn for the production of their weapons. Curiously, there was no sign of the darkspawn.

The three parties decided to split up, with the dwarves taking one avenue from the main hall, our heroes another, while the Foxes would stay in the main hall as sentry and back-up, and summon the rest with a whistle if there was trouble.

Our heroes explored down one avenue, finding as in other halls the remains of long dead dwarves and darkspawn and abandoned dwellings and stores, but no sign of the darkspawn.

Suddenly the silence was broken by a shrill whistle. Our heroes rushed back to the main hall to find The Foxes missing. Before they could find out what happened to the Orlesians, they heard cries of fighting coming from the avenue that the Outcasts have gone down, and so they ran towards the sound.

Arriving at what was once a meeting hall, our heroes found the Outcasts on the floor, add dead from wounds. As they moved into the hall the doorway collapsed behind them, and darkspawn come out of a doorway on the wall to their left.

Our heroes were able to despatch the darkspawn warriors after a quick fight, but then another darkspawn warrior, wearing a horned helm and wielding a large axe arrived, and he seemed proof against their spells and their blows.

Our heroes fled out of the hall through a door in the far wall, and they could hear the helmed axeman following them.

The party arrived at what was once a feasting hall, and here Milgrim became ensnared in the webs of a giant spider. It was with much effort that Zunn and Lorca were able to free him, and the trio were able to flee just before the axeman arrived with more darkspawn warriors.

The next entered an ancient armoury guarded a living statue, and were able to use the guardian to fight the pursuing darkspawn warriors while they fled deeper.

Eventually they came upon a forge with heavy steel doors that were lifted and closed by the means of a chain attached to a winch on the outside. Our heroes were able to lure the axeman into the forge and flee through the door and trap him inside.

Retracing their route, they arrived back at the hall where the Outcasts were slain, and dug their way through the collapsed doorway. But when they returned to the bridge across the chasm, they found the axeman on the bridge, blocking their way. Lorca threw caution to the wind and charged at the axeman, and so ferocious was his blow that he pushed the axeman off the bridge, sending him plunging to the darkness below.

Soon afterwards they heard the sound of The Foxes coming from behind them - they had been attacked by darkspawn and had to flee into one of the avenues, and had just shaken off their pursuers.

Vowing to return to reclaim the bodies of the Outcasts, our heroes cast one final glance upon the foundry hall, and turned back south.

Prepping and Running the Game

It being Halloween, I decided to make it a themed session. I started by having the PCs have the same nightmare where they were immobilised and hearing that they had to be burnt because they had been tainted by darkspawn.

I tried to play up the horror factor but slowing the pacing of the introductory part of the game until the PCs met the main character for the session: the slasher. My players were quick to catch on to the theme, and fled from the slasher when it appeared that he was immune to their spells and weapon damage - in truth he was not immune to weapon damage; the PCs just haven't done enough damage to kill him until the very final scene.

For the locales I had a list of rooms with features, and let the players roll to see which one the party arrive at next, with the encounter on the bridge over the chasm being the last one they would face before the game ends.

After the end of this session four PCs have reached level 4, which is the level I have set for their first specialisation. As part of the story for Lorca becoming a Reaver, the next session will feature a dragon hunt.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Dwarrowdeep #7

In the month of Haring sightings of the dragon ceased. It was not known if this meant she had moved to another region, or that she had roosted in preparation to lay a brood.

The Upper Hall north of the coal mines had been retaken, and now our party was being sent to explore the route north, following the tracks of the mine carts.

But when they arrived at the Upper Hall from the Lower Hall, they heard a great commotion. Dwarves were fleeing towards them: the Darkspawn had launched an attack!

They were urged to flee south, but our heroes chose to remain to help. A guard asked them to go to the Hall of Many Pillars, where many warriors who were wounded during the taking of the hall had been convalescing, and to lead them to safety.

Bertil, Milgrim, and Zunn (see PC profiles here) sped towards the Hall, fighting off a group of darkspawn in their path, and arrived at the doors of the Hall to find that the casualties and three dwarves caring for them had barricaded themselves inside the Hall. Several of the wounded were too weak to walk on their own, and Legnan, one of the carers, argued that they should remain in place and wait for the attack to be repelled. It took the party some time to convince the dwarves that they should flee, with those able to helping those unable to walk, but by then it was almost too late: a party of darkspawn accompanied by an ogre was coming down the corridor towards them.

The party barricaded the door once more, but it was clear that the door would not hold the ogre for long. But the three mages had a plan: they prepared their spells, and threw the doors open, and held the ogre in place with magic, so that it prevented the other darkspawn from entering the Hall, while our heroes attacked it. Bertil and Zunn were wounded by the ogre's powerful attacks, but eventually it fell to Milgrim's gauntleted fists; the rest of the darkspawn fled when they saw their champion fall.

The whole party then made its way towards the main square, where they would be able to flee south. Their pace was slow on account of the wounded, but they managed to avoid parties of darkspawn roaming the corridors.

Their hopes lifted when they neared the plaza, but were as quickly dashed when they found it occupied by a dozen darkspawn, under the command of a genlock emissary. They had no hope of defeated so many darkspawn, but once more our mages came up with an audacious plan: Zunn would cast a spell sealing the emissary inside a forcefield together with Milgrim, who would try to strike him down and so cause the rest to once more flee; meanwhile, the dwarves would try to cut their way to the south while the darkspawn tried to aid their leader. To help them get to the emissary, the three dwarf carers volunteer to don armour of slain darkspawn and infiltrate the darkspawn and to clear a way for our heroes.

The plan almost worked - the darkspawn were surprised by the sudden attack, and in the confusion the dwarves were able to cut their way to the south while the darkspawn were focused on Milgrim, but as they surrounded the emissary and Milgrim it became clear that the elven mage would not survive...

Then just as suddenly, there came a dwarven war cry from the south as warriors from the Lower Hall arrived. The darkspawn were driven off in the ferocity of the attack, and our heroes would survive to fight another day.

Prepping and Running the Game

I had planned for the party to explore the hall to the north of the Upper Hall this session, but as two other players were unable to make it, I decided to run something that was more appropriate for a smaller, all-mage party.

Once again, the challenge was to introduce some human (dwarven?) interaction in a dungeon crawl, so I decided to have the party do a rescue mission instead of a purely combat one. I needed a large enough number of casualties to make it a challenging scenario, but to make the role-playing manageable, I only had names and personalities for three of the NPCs, one of whom was Legnan, a pessimistic dwarf who would advocate staying instead of fleeing.

I was once again impressed by the players' heroism, with them essentially sacrificing themselves to allow the dwarves to escape in the final scene. No doubt their reputation among the dwarves would be much elevated after this episode.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Dwarrowdeep #6

In the month of Firstfall, in the deepest winter, sighting of the dragon from West Gate became regular. It was not yet known where the dragon was roosting, and she seemed to ignore the goings-on at the thaig.

The hauntings of the coal mines had prevented the miners from working, and so our heroes were sent to find the cause of the hauntings, and see if they could end them. In this venture they were led by Master Miner Berius, and accompanied by the bearer Lennard.

Berius led the party northwards through the mine tunnels, towards where the sightings of restless spirits was most common. As they passed through the passages, the party found the remains of many dwarven miners, killed either by darkspawn, or by the fire that had swept through the tunnels during their attack centuries ago. When they were crossing a bridge over a chasm, our party was attacked by ghostly apparitions of long-dead miners, who seemed to ignore those heroes who used magic and focused their attacks on Lorca and Boggart (see PC profiles here). When the party had driven off the spirits, Lorca was much weakened by their attacks, and Bertius proposed that Lorca remained at the site to rest and that Boggart remained with him to ensure his safety, while the rest carried on, but the party was determined to remain together.

The party then continued northwards, until at last they came to a large chamber that once served as depot for mine carts. Before they could all enter, there was a tremor, and the tunnel into the chamber caved in, leaving Boggart and Zunn trapped inside the chamber. A demon in the form of a statue appeared out of the darkness in the chamber, praised its "servant" for brining a sacrifice, and began to attack Zunn.

By the time the rest of the party had dug a hole through the cave-in, Zunn had fallen. The demon then turned its attention to the main party, who retreated back towards the chasm, luring the demon after them. Eventually they were able to lure the demon to the edge of the chasm, where together they were able to push it over the edge.

By now the party had become suspicious of Bertius' role, but they had no proof of his complicity, and despite Milgrim's interrogation, he confessed nothing. They party returned to the Lower Halls, where they reported their findings. Soon afterwards parties were sent in to recover the remains of the dead miners to give them a proper dwarven burial. A few days afterwards, Bertius absconded from the thaig. 

Prepping and Running the Game

The plot for this session is inspired by A Town called Mud: the Haunted Mine. I had originally planned to run this section of the dungeon as a simple exploration and combat session, and was looking for a module to provide a map and some encounter ideas, but the story of a miner luring the party to a demonic entity gave the setting an extra dimension and some role-playing opportunities.

I also introduced a few NPCs to the campaign to go with the PCs' specialisations, which I have moved forward to Level 4 instead of Level 6. Bertil is taken under the tutelage of the Augur of Stormhold, the clan trading with the thaig, while Boggart is learning fencing from an Orlesian party that had joined the thaig.

Saturday, October 01, 2022

Dwarrowdeep #5

Prepping and Running the Game

This session saw the party (Boggart, Bertil, Mulgrim, and Zunn; see PC profiles here) and the Fearsome Five (a fellow adventuring party of Avvars) return to the lyrium mines via the underground river. This time the docks were defended by the Scaled Ones, which the Fearsome Five defeated, after which they remained to guard the boats.

The party proceeded on back to the spider cavern, where they killed the giant spider and then burned the eggs she was guarding. There they also found the remains of two elven warriors, and took off them two pairs of gauntlets. These are linked to the story arcs for Mulgrim and Zunn, both of whom wish to take the Arcane Warrior specialisation later, and specialise in unarmed combat - typical players: you run a campaign set in a dwarven megadungeon, and two want to play elven monks...

Passing the spider cavern, the party entered the cavern guarded by the Rock Wraith. Bertil attempted to bargain with it for passage, and was told that the party could pass if they left behind the dead body of one of the three mages in the party. This was of course unacceptable to the party, and a fight ensued, resulting in the destruction of the Rock Wraith.

The party crossed the stone bridge that led deeper into the cavern, driving off more Scaled Ones as they did so. They were then drawn by a moving blue light down one of the smaller tunnels. They followed the light for a while, until at last they came to a dead-end at a sinkhole. Suddenly the roof of the tunnel collapsed, trapping Boggart and Zunn. Before they could begin to dig through the rockfall, the party was attacked by ghosts of dwarven miners. By the time the ghosts were defeated Bertil laid dead on the tunnel floor, and Mulgrim was unable to revive him.

Meanwhile, Bertil's spirit floated above his own dead form. He was soon joined by a spirit, who communicated with him telepathically. Learning of Bertil's distress, the spirit led him down back into his body, and Bertil found himself alive again. This encounter is linked to Bertil's character arc, as the player wants him to pursue the Spirit Healer specialisation.

Looking into the sinkhole at the end of the tunnel the party saw the calcified skeleton of a long dead dwarven miner. The skeleton crumbled when they tried to fish it out, but they were able to recover a silverite dagger from the sinkhole, which Boggart kept.

The party decided to carry on with their exploration, and returned to the main tunnel, until at last it opened into a large cavern. Waiting them there were a group a Scaled Ones warriors, led by a champion who could breath fire. A hard fight followed, and the party were planning to flee when a lucky shot brought down the champion and caused the other warriors to flee.

After the bound their wounds, the party proceeded further, and found that the Scaled Ones have abandoned the area, likely by diving into a sinkhole. They found that the site was likely used for the storage and refining of raw lyrium by the dwarves until the thaig was abandoned. In one of the rooms they found a burning statue of a demonic form like that of the Rock Wraith which they defeated. When the fire subsided they found a sticky charred substance on the statue, which Bertil identified as burnt blood.

The party took the head of the Scaled One champion as proof and trophy, and returned to the dock.


In the post-game Organisation phase the players failed their roll, and the roll on the Misfortune Table indicated an enemy attack. Continuing the thread from the previous session, I decided that some Fereldens have decided to launch an attack on the thaig's Great Hall outside the mountain hold as retaliation for the dwarves trading with the Avvar.

There followed a tense negotiation as me playing the Arl of Redcliffe, and the player as Rolf Khundar. Rolf demanded the perpetrators to be handed over to him, but I refused, as the Great Hall stood on Ferelden land which was leased to the dwarves and still subject to Ferelden law.

Rolf then backed down, but required compensation for his losses, which I gladly agreed to - I would rebuild the Great Hall, and levy the cost from fines imposed on the perpetrators, which would allow me to resolve the situation with the dwarves, while still keeping my own authority over my subjects, and impose a just but not harsh punishment.

This session allowed me to advance the story arcs for two of the characters. In the next session I plan to introduce a new element to advance Boggart's character arc.

I will also be following up on Rolf's attempt to poach lyrium miners from Orzammar.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Dwarrowdeep #4

Prepping and Running the Game

As is now customary, we began the session with a recap of the progress of the thaig so far, as well as the consequences/repercussions of the progress.

The reopening of the West Gate a month prior had allowed the thaig to establish trade with the Avvar, exchanging dwarven tools and weapons for some food. The volume of the trade is not high, but news of it had traveled to the Fereldens, who are occasionally the victims of Avvar raids to the lowlands. Some elements have begun to call for a trade embargo with the dwarves.

Meanwhile, the discovery of the lake has provided another source of food supply, and work is in progress to re-establish the aqueducts to channel the water to the Lower Hall, which will further reduce the thaig's reliance on outsiders.

On the production front, the recycling of the old weapons found in the thaig has progressed slowly on account of a lack of smiths, as well as coal. The reopening of the coal mines has been delayed by a lack of miners, and the complaints from the miners that the mines haunted.

In this session, our adventurers were sent to follow the river flowing out of the underground lake to learn where it led to.

The party - Lorca, Boggart, and Bertil (see PC profiles here) - and the boatman Boran sailed down the underground river, and after some four hours came to a crumbling, dis-used dock right before a waterfall. The dock led to a cavern which was lit by bioluminescent Deep Mushrooms, which Boran informed them were dwarven delicacies.

The party disembarked and began to explore the caverns and its passages, and had to fight off a pack of Deepstalkers - small velociraptor-like creatures that inhabit the Deep Roads. Bertil began to develop a sense of unease and a headache, which he later realised was due to the presence of lyrium ore in the area. It soon became evident that the dwarves had carved rooms and shelves in the caves, and used the area as a sort of warehouse.

Exploring deeper, the party passed through a cave inhabited by a giant spider, which they fought off. Proceeding on, they were attacked by tall, reptilian humanoids. While they were fighting these strange creatures, they were attacked by the animated statue of a demonic form, and had to flee.

On their return through the spider cave they noticed a glint of metal reflecting the light of their lantern. With torches in hand, they set the webs covering the passages on fire and drove off the spider, and found some relics from centuries past: a dwarven axe with a Rune of Paralysis, an elven helm, and an elven lantern.


This session introduced two major plot threads: the discovery of lyrium in the thaig, and evidence of a Dalish Elf mission to the thaig.

Rolf Khunda has taken the decision to try to poach smiths skilled in the mining and processing of lyrium ore from Orzammar. To Orzammar this would amount to a declaration of war, although how this war can be prosecuted will require a lot of thought. The travel time between the thaig and Orzammar means I will have a gap of two sessions to think this over.

The second thread relates to the personal goals of the three Dalish Elf PCs in the group. Two of the players have indicated that they wanted their characters to pursue the Arcane Warrior specialisation. The Arcane Warrior specialisation is a very specific one in the fluff of the game, and it was a bit of a stretch to try to fit that into a campaign set in a dwarven megadungeon, but I think I came up with a believable reason, which will be revealed in the upcoming sessions.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Dwarrowdeep #3

Prepping and Running the Game

Once again I am running late and have to combine the AAR and the commentary.

In this session the party (see PC profiles here) was sent along with The Badgers, a fellow group of adventurers, to explore the passage that led northwest from the Lower Halls. When they arrived at the hall at the end of the passage they found signs of a conflagration that had occured a long time ago. The two parties split up, with our PCs exploring the left hand side of the halls while The Badgers explored the other side.

Our PCs fought an Ash Wraith and found an underground lake that was used as a source of water supply by the thaig, as well as docks indicating that the dwarves once navigated the waters. The lake would provide a secured supply of water and some food for the thaig, which would strengthen its chances of success.

Our PCs returned to the rendezvous point but The Badgers did not show up at the appointed time. Following the chalk markings left by them, our PCs tracked them into what used to be a coal mine. After a while they came across the prostrate bodies of The Badgers, bleeding and dying. Bertil rushed forward to aid the closest one of them - Brannoc the Avvar - and simultaneously the party was ambushed by darkspawn from all sides. Zunn and Milgrim used their magic to keep the darkspawn at bay, while Lorca fought his way to Brannoc to drag him to safety, and Boggart cleared the party's route of escape

The party had no means of rescuing the remaining three members of The Badgers, who in all likelihood have bled out by then, and so had to retreat. Once out of danger, they were able to revive Brannoc.

This session had the same format as the previous two: the main activity was combat, with the exploration providing exposition and moving the narrative of the thaig's progress; there was minimal role-playing. This is a major problem with a dungeoncrawl where there are no intelligent monsters/enemies. Hopefully as the thaig's fortunes progress there will be opportunities to explore encounters outside of the dungeons involving the allies and rivals the thaig will make in the future.

I am most of all very impressed by my players' decision to try to save The Badgers. The fight was challenging, and I did not give any indication that they were required to do so, but they nevertheless risked their characters' lives to do so. Had I not told them that they other three members were likely already dead, they may have continued to fight and died.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Dwarrowdeep #2

Prepping and Running the Game

I am a little behind in my AARs, so I will just roll the AAR into the commentary.

This session had the party explore the (what was of old) West Gate of Khundara Thaig. The dungeon crawl itself was rather straightforward. We had a new player (new to TTRPGs) join us, and he gave me one of the most satisfying experience as a GM when he said he wanted to have his character "aggro" the monster; I smiled and ask him: how do you do that? His eyes widened, and I think at that moment he truly realised the difference between a computer RPG and a TTRPG.

The combats were pretty deadly as we had no warrior/tank for the session, with most PCs going down at least once. A lot of this is due to me not having a good sense of the durability of monsters with armour, and the infamous hit point slog of the Dragon Age system. This is an area I will need to do more work on.

During the strategic part of the session I revealed to the players that the West Gate opened high up in the Frostback Mountains, and was of old the gate through which trade with the Avvar took place. Soon after the gate was opened the Avvar made contact, and began trading food for dwarven weapons and tools. While this gave the fledgling thaig another source of food, it will lead to complications down the line...

Monday, August 29, 2022

Dwarrowdeep #1

It was the month of Kingsway when our adventurers arrived at Khundara Thaig. Then, it could hardly be called a thaig, for the dwarves had just taken the halls of South Gate not two weeks prior, and at great costs in lives.

Lord Rolf Khundar had need of men, and he offered generous terms: a roof over their heads, a warm hearth, a full belly, coins, and what loot you could find that was not dwarven grave goods.

Now of old the South Gates opened to the realms of men, and the dwarves built the halls within to impress the younger race, and even in its current state, a thousand years after they were abandoned they were still a sight to behold. Now the halls held stores of grain, salted meat, and stores to supply many men for many months, for the dwarves were once again going to war.

Formed into bands, the adventurers that had flocked to the banner of Lord Khundar were sent north deeper into the thaig, crossing the Chasm of Karak over Thurdin's Bridge, at last reaching the Lower Halls after a trek of nine miles. Here the captain sent them out in their bands, bidding them to survey the lay of the halls, noting where the darkspawn gathered, and noting where all the passages were, that the battalions will not be surprised by sudden ambush when they came to take the halls.

Exploring to the west, our heroes (see PC profiles here) were almost immediately set upon by a lithe darkspawn, which was called a Shriek, but they were able to slay it.

Proceeding on, they came upon a burial hall, which turned out to be a false crypt. When they searched the walls of the hall, they discovered a hidden door, but when Boggart passed through it, a portcullis came down and cut him off from the others. Then the stones of the wall on the chamber beyond formed into a golem, and began to attack him. Boggart attempted to restrain the golem by entangling it with a rope, the ends of which he passed to Bertil and Lorca. But the golem was too strong, and could not be restrained; but when it strained again its bonds the rope lifted the portcullis where it passed under the bars, and so Boggart was able to slip under the portcullis and escaped certain doom.

When Bertil had rendered healing to Boggart, the party then continued with their exploration, coming upon another chamber, wherein was a plinth, upon which a untarnished warhammer of great beauty was placed. Boggart attempted to remove the hammer from the plinth by means of a lasso, but when the lasso fell upon the hammer the pillars of the chamber, which were shaped like dwarven warriors wielding hammers, came to life and struck the plinth - the hammer was but a phantom!

The party proceeded on, and came across a hall of records, wherein was found many records concerning the common folk of Khundara Thaig. Near the hall of records was an ossuary for common folks, the entrance of which was protected by a magical barrier which our heroes could not pass through.

Finding no other passages, the party turned back, but was attacked by a patrol of genlocks, which they managed to defeat.

Prepping and Running the Game

The first session of our campaign was a simple dungeon with a few keyed areas. The map of the area was based on the Heroic Haps Abandoned Dwarven Hold tiles which I made, with the descriptions based on the entries from Dwarrowdeep.

Dwarrowdeep "as written" is too vast to run, and I have no practicable way of representing the dungeon on table, since our style is to use grid maps and miniatures. As a result I decided to let the players explore just one section of the dungeon, with the assumption that other parties are likewise exploring the other sections; the section that the PCs explore will be a composite of the more interesting keyed areas from the module, which I will translate onto the dungeon tiles which I have.

We had three combats this session, which is the usual number I try to aim for. Combat is slower than 5E, due mainly to the time needed to add up the sum of 3d6, as well as the dreaded "choice paralysis" when a player gets Stunt Points - I expect this to resolve after a couple more sessions though.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Dwarrowdeep #0

(see campaign background here)

PC Profiles

  • Bertil, Avvar Apostate Mage

Formerly from the Red Lion Hold, Bertil was an apprentice to the Hold's augur, until he made the mistake of leading a raiding party to attack a Ferelden village and killed the son of an arl and several Chantry priestesses. The arl led a punitive attack that wiped out Red Lion Hold and scattered its surviving members, and Bertil sough refuge at Khundara Thaig.

  • "Boggart", Ferelden Freeman Rogue

"Boggart" was once under the employment of a minor noble house in Ferelden. When the house fell, he turned to a life of crime, which got him declared an outlaw.

  • Milgrim, Dalish Elf Apostate Mage

Earmarked to become the Keeper of his clan, Milgrim has taken the journey to gain better knowledge of the world outside the forests.

  • Lorca, Ferelden Craftsman Warrior

Lorca's parents were caravan guards for a Surface Dwarf merchant. After they were killed during a darkspawn raid, the dwarven merchant adopted him and raised him as his own. He joined Khundara Thaig to take revenge on the darkspawn, and to make a name for himself.

  • Zunn, Dalish Elf Apostate Mage

Previously the apprentice to his clan's First, Zunn had undertaken a quest to find the relics of an Arcane Warrior from his clan who five centuries ago set off on a quest to find the lost Khundara Thaig, but never returned.

  • Elion, Dalish Elf Rogue

A companion to Zunn, Elion hopes to aid him in his quest to restore the glory of the Dales.

  • Varosh (aka Dave the Dwarf), Dwarf Duster Rogue

Formerly a petty thief in Dust Town in Orzammar, Dave had joined the thaig to seek his fortune.

Monday, August 22, 2022

A Farewell to D&D

The biggest news in the RPG-sphere the past week had been the announcement of One D&D. The announcement doesn't really affect me, as I had already decided to migrate to the AGE system as the mainstay of my fantasy campaigns, starting today, in fact. In fact, I looked through my posts and realised that the last time we actually played 5E was almost 2 years ago.

There are two main reasons why I made the decision, neither of which has to do with the core rule mechanics or the way characters are created - two of the things most people seem to be talking about in this revision.

In fact, I find the 5E "roll a d20 and try to equal or beat a target number" mechanic to be effective; and proficiency bonus and advantage/disadvantage are just genius strokes.

In terms of the way characters are created, the new system is a mixed bag to me. I agree that there should be racial traits and background skills, but I also prefer racial modifiers to the attributes. I do think that any sentient race should not have a default alignment though.

So what are the aspects of D&D that make me decided to switch system?

The first is the spell lists. The default spell system and lists result in a setting where magic is too abundant, reliable, and low-cost for my taste. The problem lies not so much in the higher level spells (which PCs cannot access until rather late in the campaign) but the cantrips, which are unlimited, utilitarian, and take away much of the dangers and inconveniences of adventuring.

It is of course possible to amend the system, by say implementing spell slots for cantrips, a roll-to-cast system, and removing spells which I think are "problematic", implementing spell trees... but all those require time and effort, and may not be a once-off exercise due to the second reason for me switching system.

The second and more important reason for me deciding to switch system is that I simply cannot keep up with all the new character options and spells that seem to be coming out at shorter and shorter intervals these past few years. While 5E was my main system for fantasy campaigns, we typically alternate between fantasy and campaigns of other genres, and often try out other systems for shorter campaigns. Our group can probably get by with just the core books and whatever house rules we have adopted so far, but as I occasionally run games for newbies and at local conventions, I cannot claim to be running "D&D" if I don't keep up.

And keeping up seems to be something that will become rather expensive and time-consuming, judging by what little information we have so far from WOTC. I personally have no need for a whole VTT system, and I still prefer reading rules in dead tree format.

All these factors have led me to switch to a more stable system, which I hope will be provided in the form of the Fantasy AGE Core rulebook, which should be released... soon? In the mean time we will be playing Dragon Age RPG.

I will still keep an eye on One D&D, and I may even give it a try as a player when it is released - but for now, D&D is just a system that I used to run.