Haxmonster Finds Himself Shuffling Aimlessly As He Explores Dead Island

Posted by: Jason Silverain / Category: , ,

I find myself trapped on a beautiful island, haunted by a terrible disease. Almost everyone has been infected and those that are, are unaware of the fact that they have become monsters. The authorities have sealed off the island to prevent the illness from spreading, for a breakout would surely be the end of the world. Barricading doors and windows offers no salvation, as the sheer size of the infestation lets it break down any obstacle. The only ones unaffected are the numerous zombies that roam the island. All others have been contaminated with the horrible plague that is the Australian accent. Be honest, I haven’t fallen victim to it as well, have I, mate?

Oh, what fun it would be to actually play Dead Island if it had really been about surviving the apocalypse of the bad accents. Unfortunately, until that game really comes out, we’ll have to make do with boring old zombie apocalypse and the game surely follows the standard undead survival scenario with dedication. It’s a four-player online co-operative game that, like a child trying to build a few sandcastles at once, is spread out across multiple sandboxes. The combat forms the core of the game and is mostly melee focussed and very much stat-based, not unlike the vast majority of MMORPG’s. The story keeps the cliché combo up by continuously alternating between the most common end goals in a zombie scenario, such as defending your home base, escaping the infected area or inventing a cure. So, as you can tell, with the possible exception of Left for Dead no zombie game is as formulaic as this one.

That doesn’t take away that Dead Island is certainly quite fun and is put together quite competently. Like in most zombie games most of your time is spent looking at a standing corpse while either shooting it or trying to smash it’s brains in and in this case we find a clear preference for the latter. Luckily, I can report that cutting through zombie flesh with big stodgy meat cleavers in this game is pretty satisfying, akin to popping bubble wrap with a pneumatic hammer. The fact that slicing a cleaver through an undead’s throat has a punchy feel to it and creates an orgy of blood and severed limbs might sound like an irrelevant detail, but I’ll say the same thing as I said in my Symphony of the Night review: it is the thing you will be doing for the vast majority of your playtime, so if turning enemies into Swiss cheese comes with some visceral joy then that, like the Swiss flag, is a big plus. 

That said, not every weapon is equally engaging to use. Machetes and knives pack a suitable punch, but batons often seem to hit way harder than their size suggests, which makes them feel like they have an invisible brick taped to their end. Mallets are very awkward to use. They have a thing in common with penises in that they are always a bit shorter than their owner likes to think they are. This led to many situations where I flung a sledgehammer a few centimetres before my target’s face as if I only intended to smash his nose off to make an impromptu Lord Voldemort replica. The game’s melee system also reminded me of that of Ride to Hell: Retribution and when that name comes up, that’s not a very good sign. The resemblance between the two games is that the kick attack is extremely overpowered as it knocks enemies down, can’t be interrupted, interrupts most enemy attacks and deals damage as well. Since the time they require to get back up again is usually enough to die of old age you won’t have problems dispatching most hordes this way, which turns a lot of the game into a ‘disabled kicking simulator’, which doesn’t pose a very meaty challenge.

The guns very clearly take a back seat, with no more than about five guns in the entire game. Ammunition is very scarce, so you won’t be shooting any other enemies than humans since they all use guns and therefore drop bullets. This causes the situation where all encounters with human enemies are firefights and all fights with the undead are melee-focussed. It’s a shame that this separates both combat styles. You can’t mow down zombies with your one or two guns because of a lack of bullets and you can’t beat marauding survivors to bits with a paddle because of an excess of bullets, in your guts to be precise. On the other hand, the game offers you a choice of four playable characters and this at least provides situations where the gun-focussed character is at an advantage, which at least gives the character system some use. 

To elaborate on the character system; the other three survivors specialize in knives, blunt weapons and throwing weapons. As I mentioned, blunt weapons are useless since you can’t estimate your range and the throwing weapons expert has his issues as well. He specializes in throwing regular melee weapons at the enemy and since you can’t carry more than twelve weapons or so at a time you can’t fend off more than half the walkers in an average horde. The other half will then have ample opportunity to select the tastiest part of your buttocks for consumption while you are busy looking at the floor to collect all those weapons again. So essentially, your choice is limited to guns or knives, with the deciding factor being whether you want an edge in the first half of the game, when zombies are the primary enemy, or if you want a lead in the second part, when there are more guns lying around than in an average Texan shopping mall. However, I played through the entire game with the gun specialist and noticed no drawbacks when I broke out the fisticuffs, so it can all be safely disregarded.

Beyond their questionable gameplay differences an attempt was made to give all four characters basic personalities, which are very evenly spread out across the spectrum of selfishness. These identities are almost solely conveyed through cutscenes which come across as a little weird when you play the game on your own. After all, they always involve all four characters even if they aren’t all present in gameplay. I like that the leads clearly differ a bit from each other as far as personality is concerned, but the problem remains that they influence the story perhaps even less than I as a reviewer influence the course of the gaming industry. Although a lot of events lead to bickering between the two more selfish and the two less selfish characters, they always decide to just go along with whatever other people suggest. They never make a decision that alters the course of the story. 
Also, their dialogues are more corny than the state of Iowa and entirely one-dimensional. Mister blunt weapons specialist has a problem in particular in that, in cutscenes, he always gestures as if he is receiving electroshock-therapy even though he maintains the tone of voice he could use to ask missus blunt weapons specialist to pass the salt. But what ultimately kills characters for me in Dead Island, beyond zombies I mean, is the horrible facial animation. Characters could be shooting the walking corpse of a former loved one, could be bleeding to death or could be sobbingly telling the story of a former comrade who sacrificed himself for them, they always maintain this dozy look in their eyes that suggests they are coming off anaesthetics. This, combined with the corny, exaggerated Australian accent, kills the game’s many attempts at making me feel sad for the struggling and suffering of the robots pretending to be human characters.

Dead Island: where the NPCs have less facial expressions than the zombies.

I’d better warn you that some very light spoilers are around the bend. Now that I’ve given it some thought, a lot of the story involves the four leads being led around by the nose by a large variation of secondary characters; a problem that also frustrated me in Grand Theft Auto V. For instance, on one occasion the game shifts to an entirely different mini-sandbox because of that one character who we ask to transport us to the ultimate goal of the game says: ‘I can’t take you there, but there’s this other place that’s totally not where you want to go, shall we just pop over there?’ And even without a reply from the protagonists that just happens then. At another point in the game we spend four missions just to please one other character so that he will let us through to our goal, but when we are almost done with that we get a radio call from another character, saying that we don’t need to help him and that there’s another route to where we need to be, rendering the past hour of gameplay pointless. 
For completeness’s sake I should probably elaborate on the fact that Dead Island is an online co-op game. I only joined a four-player game on one occasion and then I noticed that Dead Island shares a problem with Trove in that there is a difference between playing with someone else and playing alongside someone else. It doesn’t do the co-op much good that, like Trove, Dead Island is in the latter category. Besides reviving each other and exchanging items there is very little player-to-player interaction which means that, most of the time, all four players are simply all bashing heads in without interacting with each other. No characters or abilities exist solely to buff other players or offer some kind of supporting role. But as much as that damages the co-op experience, I like that it works this way because it allows the game to stand up to scrutiny when you play by yourself. You never really need others, so this gives the game some versatility. It can be co-op if you want it to be, but that doesn’t have to be the case.

Dead Island was developed by a studio called ‘Techland’, but it’s not quite an example of unparalleled technical prowess. Graphics-wise it looks a bit like the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare games. Everything looks like it’s shrink-wrapped in plastic and that there are very little small details. Some textures, like those on the big rocks that mark the end of the mini-sandboxes, are extremely blurry. Furthermore, the game makes very temperamental use of invisible walls. Often you can just shimmy your way through a lot of alleged obstacles, but not everywhere and sometimes such a barrier seems really artificial and unnecessary. Using the map to avoid the invisible walls is impossible since the only map is a satellite photograph which shows nothing since the world is filled with more vegetation than a three days old forgotten cheese sandwich.

Silverain here just to expand a little further on the technical aspects of the game, it is very poorly optimised and even computers that have far beyond the capabilities to run the game will experience slow down and the occasional sluggishness as it demands far more CPU power than it really should require. Case in point my own play through with Haxmonster (See Below) was forced short as the Dead Island would often cause my CPU to overheat.

So the game really discourages exploration and prefers that you just drive everywhere in a car. Cars make you nigh invincible since the zombies apparently never played GTA when they were still alive and can’t figure out that they can simply pull the car door open and pull me out. Of course they can damage cars but I got through the entire game without one car ever being destroyed.

You might get the impression that Dead Island is quite an easy game with the overpowered kick attack and indestructible cars and you would be completely right to deduce that. I could finish most of the game with only Silverain tagging along or just by myself. I am not even sure if ‘insultingly easy’ covers it. Zombies usually move very slowly, can’t open doors or climb ladders and, worst of all, there are next to no consequences when you die. You respawn mere meters from your death with all damage you did to zombies still remaining. All you lose is a percentage of money and using money is very much optional. You can pay money to repair or upgrade weapons but if you just complete enough quests, and you will since that’s the only activity in the game, you are constantly loaded down with better weapons to replace the broken ones. Speaking of optional, fighting zombies in it’s entirety is optional as well. Often you can just run past all zombie hordes and close a door behind you, which they can’t open, and you are safe for ever. 

 If you want to see Dead Island in action you can see me and Hax Monster roam the first few areas here.
But in conclusion I think it’s safe to say that Dead Island is fairly amusing, provided you skip a lot of it’s repetitive, dull sidequests. The central gameplay mechanic, the melee combat, is satisfying and I don’t really feel like anything important is missing from the formula. Running a zombie over or smashing is head in is a simple kind of pleasure, but it’s undeniably fun. So, if you still enjoy zombies at this point, disregard most of the previous things I mentioned and pick it up! 
Hang on a minute!

I think I’ve just realized something. As the opening paragraph of this review revealed I believe that zombie games as a genre are more dead than the walking corpses the genre is based around, but just maybe the developers of Dead Island feel the same way. Fighting zombies is optional; they are merely an occupational hazard that you can run past. The biggest enemies are usually humans. In the third act there is even an entire section where the game turns into Far Cry 2, and we find ourselves running through jungle slums wielding an AK-47, fighting a war between two small militant faction leaders with weird accents. Can we still call that a zombie game?

Suddenly it all makes sense! Time to submit it to the ultimate zombie-game test. I kept count of the amount of times Dead Island uses the word ‘zombie’, which one would expect to be quite a high amount since it depicts a zombie apocalypse. The final count, however, is around…
Maybe it’s about accents after all. Gud on ya, ded ayland!

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Kobolds Ate My Baby Adventure: Trick & Treat Troubles.

Posted by: Jason Silverain / Category: , , , , , , ,

With Halloween Approaching trick or treaters will soon be knocking at our doors demanding candy in exchanged for not toilet papering our houses, some Dungeon Masters attempt to run horror games and sessions I personally find that while the occasional knock may scare the life out of the players at the right moment more often than not it spoils the flow of the game.

So instead I tend to play something a little lighter, something like Zombies!!!, All Flesh Must Be Eaten or as in this case Kobolds Ate My Baby.
If you are unfamiliar with Kobolds Ate My Baby, KAMB is considered one of the earliest "Beer and Pretzels game" which is any of a class of tabletop games that are light on rules and strategy, feature a high amount of randomness and a light often humorous theme.

In Kobolds Ate My Baby you play the aforementioned kobold under the ruler ship of King Torg (All Hail King Torg) Lord Of The Chicken Bone Throne who requires the players to go out to the nearby human town and bring back the freshest, human babies you can find (along with whatever else his taste buds desire that day) or risk been thrown into the cook pot themselves.

Games often last little more than hour and can be easily picked up with fresh characters, in fact death and chaos is common place with it been fully expected that players will die at least a few times, as those who don't throw themselves headlong into danger and excitement risk incurring the wrath of Vor the big red angry god who HATES cowards.

So in the spirit of Halloween I have design a short one shot adventure for KAMB where our clueless little fuzzballs encounter Halloween for the first time and must gather candy tribute for the glory of King Torg (All Hail King Torg). While Kobolds Ate My Baby in Colour was used to design the encounters the adventure can easily be adapted for earlier editions or for the Home Brew Kobolds Ate My Baby (TG Edition) which is designed for play by post.
Finally thanks must be given to Labyrinthian over at the Labyrinth for designing the map used for this adventure and making available for free.

For clarification like many publications by WOTC's or 3rd party writers italic paragraphs will sections to be read out to the players with alterations if needed while regular text is information for the Dungeon Master.

Kobolds Ate My Baby Adventure: Trick & Treat Troubles

This short adventure is design for between 4 to 6 Kobolds and should take approximately a hour and a half to complete depending on how much trouble and chaos occurs.
This adventure contains several customised items and rule variants which will be listed at the end of the area descriptions

The following paragraph should be read just before or during character creation.

Things have been quiet in the Grand Larder Cellar of King Torg (All Hail King Torg!) but tonight the humans nearby have been seen giving tributes of sweets to various monsters visiting their homes. King Torg (All Hail King Torg!) feels that it is only fitting that tribute be collected in his name and you.. yes you have been sent out with your comrades to one of the nearby villages to gather it. 
Oh and whoever brings back the least tribute best bring back something for dinner unless they want to risk been in the pot.

During this adventure the Kobolds will have the advantage that at first the humans within the town will believe they are trick or treaters and gain the benefits similar to the Winning Smile Edge.

However should any kobold act in a manner that causes the humans to attack (such as eat a cat in front of a little old lady) then every undisguised kobold (those not in costume) will lose this benefit to the affected human. In this case Kobolds with Winning Smile can use this edge to continue to fool the Humans into believing they are a innocent trick or treaters.

Once play is ready to begin read the following.

Gear in hand your motley group departs from the run down manor in which the Grand Larder Cellar resides seen off by the long forks of King Torgs (All Hail King Torg!) Royal Guard The Royale Wid Cheez. As you approach Stickston surprisingly all in one piece a commotion up ahead catches your attention as a group of thin spindly humans seem to be dangling a rather large imp upside down. Taking its brown bag from its hands they drop the imp as you near, giving you a dirty look while they suck on their smoke sticks before walking past you up the path from were you came. 
It seems without tribute to steal you were of no interest to them. 

The Kobolds now enter the map as a group, this can be done randomly though I recommend beginning at the path next to house 1 and each Kobold is capable of moving up to five squares.
With the exception of houses 1, 7 and 8 all doors to the houses are located on the South facing wall of each house, House 1 door is located on the East path facing side of the building and 7 and 8's are located on the north of the building respectively.


House 1: Farm House "Witch" 
Occupants: 1 Old Human (Woman), 1 Cat
Loot: 4 Cooking Utensils, Kitchen Knife, a bowl containing 12 candy, Sack of Potatoes, Big Cook Pot.

Ahead of you a small human child with an impressively big witches hat and black dress with a pair of equally small zombies knocks at the spider web covered door of the old house, the door opening with a creak the small group roars as a elderly looking witch (with equally impressive hat) begins to hand out a small piece of candy placing it it into the tribute bags (or pumpkin in the small witches case) each of them is holding. Seemingly satisfied the little witch and her minions move on and the door closes.

While your candy hungry kobolds might be wanting to ambush and steal from the Trick or Treaters, this scene is to introduce the Kobolds into the concept of trick or treating so it might be for the best if the Tricker or Treaters escape harm (for now).

Kobolds approaching the house will see that it looks like most human dwellings though seemingly thick spider webs like its walls and that a pair of hollow carved pumpkins sit either side of the door.
If any of the Kobolds are interested of taking a look inside the house there is a solitary window which shutters are ajar on the south side of the house, however the window is a little high for the average kobold so Sport rolls or something to stand on (like another kobold) will be needed. 

If the kobold in question gets around that problem the old black cat Grumpo is currently resting on the windowsill and will happily take a swing at anyone disturbing his nap but behind him the entire bowl of candy is sat on a table beside the window.
The old woman is sitting in a rocking chair by the firepit on the other side of the room reading a book with her and is unlikely to notice any commotion unless its very obvious.

Trick Or Treating  

Any kobold who turns up to a house, knocks and shouts trick or treating, All Hail King Torg or generally roars will be given candy.

The first kobold at a house gets two pieces of candy, any further "trick or treaters" not in a different costume or disguise only gets one due to "copying costumes". If they turn up in a group then randomly roll to see who gets the bonus candy (usually those with the highest luck, Winning Smile or pushing to the front will find themselves at a advantage.)

If the kobolds are clever (or greedy) they might be able to get further candy from an already visited house by getting a new costume/disguise but there is only so much candy to be handed out.

As candy is so small they will usually be able to hold two in each paw, after that additional candy melts in their grubby mitts getting their paws all sticky and unpleasant so finding something to put the candy in is vital. 

1a: Backyard
Loot: Washing Line with a sheet, and some very large bloomers hanging on it, an old bucket with a few pegs.

Just a few items for the kobolds to start creating costumes from and the bucket can be held in one hand as used as a Tribute Bag.

House 2: Baby Sitters 
Occupants: 2 Teenages (Kids: Good), 1 Baby!
Loot: A bowl containing 10 candy, Cooking Utensil, Hoodie, kid's clothes, backpack, Baby!

This Human dwelling walls are painted bright and various small colourful paper chains hanging
from its roof along the building, while there are several windows around the building all the shutters are closed but the sound of giggling can be heard within. A large looking tomb stone and a pumpkin carved with a massive jagged mouth sit by the door.

When/if the kobolds knock on this door:

The door opens and behind it stands a tall, scrawny red faced human looking down at you, a waft of hot air drifting out catches your nose and the scent is unmistakable there is a delicious baby somewhere within!  

At this point if the kobolds don't immediately attack they are most likely planning their heist and trying to figure out how to get around the human.

The simplest ways to do this are:
  • Attempt to sneak past him (2 Dice Sneak Roll) when his back is turned to collect the candy bowl, which may cause issues if all the kobolds do this at once.
  • Get the ladder from area 6 and go down the chimney suffering a little bit of fall damage. 
  • Break open one of the window shutters and climb in but this may be noisy.
Once inside the House 2 is very simple been only a main room which consists of a kitchen/dining room with plenty of places to hide and a pair of doors leading to bedrooms, one of which contains the other babysitter and the other in which the baby in a pumpkin costume (which may confuse our poor kobolds as it smells like baby but looks like vegetable) lays in its cot.

House 3: Farm House "Halloween Party"
Occupants: 1 Townies, 1 Elf (Adventurer), 5 kids
Loot: A bowl containing 11 candy, a large bowl of Punch (2 handed,), several plates of crisps, cold sausage and cheese on a stick (enough for 2 fillers), Red Table Cloth.

A red clothed table covered plates of snacks sits outside this rather well kept dwelling, it seems the humans here know how to give tribute in style with drinks and fine cheeses. A pair of werewolves, flesh golum and two zombies from seem to taking part in various contests while observed by two humans, one of which is wearing a pair of obviously fake elf ears and holding a bowl of candy.. really who would pretend to be a elf?

The kobolds are welcome to help themselves to the snacks though may get strange looks if they begin pouring them into their tribute bags, the couple won't turn hostile towards the kobolds unless they do anything very wrong like attacking the children. 

3a: Party Games

Pin The Wings On The Fairy: You could use a Extraneous roll here to determine success but if you have a spare piece of paper handy draw a quick outline of a person on the paper and place it on the floor or on the table. Give the Player a pen (lid on), tell him to close his eyes and attempt to put the point of the pen in the middle of the fairies back whilst guided by his fellow kobolds.
If he succeeds he gets a candy or a skeleton mask (1 Armour)
Anyone caught cheating take a Kobold Horrible Death Cheque.  

Piñata: At 2 people must take part and up to four can try at once, if not enough kobolds are available of the kids will join in instead.

Note the following is easier if you have a grid for yourself with details and one for the players to see.

Player Grid

DM Grid

  1. Randomly determine which corner each Kobold begins in but do not tell them, they are blindfolded remember. The arrows represent their starting direction.
  2. Decide in which of the four centre squares the Piñata is located, it has 8 Hits and Agility 2.
  3. Each turn a Kobold can perform 3 actions which can be from any of the following:
    1. Move one square.
    2. Turn 90 degrees.
    3. Attack
  4. Anyone wishing to use a Wacking Stick (4 Dam) will need to Heft it.
  5. Continue until someone is horribly injured or the Piñata is destroyed.
  6. The  Piñata contains 15 candy for kobolds to grab.
Bobbing for apples: 3 Dice Wrassle Rolls to grab an apple serious failure may result in drowning. 

House 4: Weavers House
Occupants: 1 Dirt Merchant, 1 Old Human, 1 Bird.
Loot:  A bowl containing 6 candy, cook pot of oxtail soup (1 hit), wooden ladle, a massive stack of baskets, bowls and hampers.

This humble dwelling has a small sign with pictures of various baskets hanging above its door and from a nearby open window the warm of a fire and the smell of something wonderful cooking teases you.

Any particular scrawny or injured looking kobolds will be fussed over by the couple and ushered into the house to receive a bowl of soup, of course a kobold may assume the worse and be expected to be put into the soup.

House 5: Tavern 
Occupants: 1 Innkeeper, 1 Wench, 2 Veteran, 1 Old Human.
Loot: A dozen packets of peanuts, Grog & Beer on Tap, 4 bottles of random booze, mugs (2 Dam), Beer Mats. 

The kobolds won't get any candy here as the locals just want a quiet night, any attempts at trick or treating will result in several metal disks (coins) been shoved into the kobolds hands or if they are insistent (mostly by pointing) they may get a packet of nuts. A enterprising kobold may be able to collect enough dregs of drinks to make a dirty pint (treat as grog) but if they really want loot without a fight they are going to have to Steal it from the bar or Sneak into the Beer Cellar (3 Dice Sneak Check).

Beer Cellar
Occupants: 1 Giant Rat
Loot: Several empty Kegs, Several huge kegs of grog, 8 Strong Booze (+1 on roll when rolling to see what it is), 4 cheese wheels, 4 legs of mutton, a whole dried pork (Heft), A chest full of metal disks.
With luck the kobolds have snuck (or murdered) their way into the Beer Cellar, they are can collect the bottles of good booze easily but if they attempt to take the cheese wheels the rat will attack.

House 6: Empty House 
Occupants: 4 Giant Rats
Loot: Ladder, Salt and Pepper Shakers, Colander, 1 Dead Human (adult, partly eaten), 2 Pumpkins. Cleaver. Sack of Feathers, Golden Syrup.

Description outside:

A trio of (rather tall) goblins are knocking angry at the door but there seems to be no reply, taking what appears to be toilet roll from their tribute bags they begin to dance around the dwelling hurling the rolls over the roof watching them unroll. A poor throw cause a roll to land on the hat of the Scarecrow of the adjoining vegetable patch and the sound of nervous clucking can be heard from the chicken coop.

If the kobolds approach the trick or treaters they are offered a toilet roll to join in, otherwise the three soon grow bored and walk off. If the kobold attack the trick or treaters use the Kids (Bad) stats and they have loot of 4 candy each.

6a: Vegetable Patch And Chicken Coop 
Occupants: 5 Chickens
Loot: Enough Root Vegetables for 2 fillers, 2 Pumpkins, Toilet Paper, a Scarecrow, Chicken.

Getting inside the area is easy enough as the gate is unlocked but if for any reason the Kobolds wish to climb the fence than a 2 Dice Sports Check is required. Likewise the Chicken Coop is easy to enter but a unwary kobold may end up pecked to death.
The scarecrow takes a 1 Dice Heft Check to carry or can be stripped for a cloth sack, straw hat and chequered shirt.   

Any one examining the dwelling closer will notice the side door in the garden is slightly open and the house could be entered that way.

The house is pitch black inside but your keen senses let you see clearly, the smell of death hangs in the air like the necromancer Nodknows old socks and the sound of gnawing can be heard.

If the Kobolds actually enter:

A pool of dried blood and what seems to be a partly eaten human adult lays next to what you think is a swivel chair, from the darkness the beady eyes of several large rats (or snacks as you like to think of them) gaze with hateful hunger.

If the Kobolds want to loot the house they will have to deal with the hungry rats first, also anyone trying to stand on the swivel chair takes not 1 but 2 Kobold Horrible Death Cheques

House 7: Herbalist 
Occupants: 1 Mage
Loot: Hooded Robes, 5 Random Spell Pages, Pumpkin Pie (heals 2 hit), Poker, Booze, A Sack Of Spices.

This small human dwelling is ill kept even by kobold standards and you live in a hole in the ground. The weeds are Kobold-high and the paint is peeling from the walls, it seems there used to be a window but its shutters have been nailed shut and a faded picture of a pestle and mortar is painted upon it. A note is hooked upon the door with human scribbles all over it and a arrow pointing behind the house. 

The Herbalist is quite disliked in Stickston generally rude, cruel and foul tempered, its likely that if the Kobolds don't finish him off tonight the villagers will in the next few days after they learn about the note.

The note reads "Those looking for candy, go around the back and get what is coming to you." leading any would be trick or treaters to his angry dog Bruno.
Whilst been a mage the Kobolds will have the advantage while attempting to break in that the Herbalist is asleep unless their banging wakes him up, at which point he answers the door to yell at those who disturb him. 

7a: Big Dog 

Occupants: Big Dog, Kid (Good)
Loot: Hollow Pumpkin (actually plastic), 13 Pieces Of Candy, Large Joint Of Meat, Spiked Collar (1 Armour)
Turning the corner you hear a growl and the rattle of chain, before you is the biggest dog you've ever seen (admittedly the only dog you've ever seen but its still big) with short black fur and long sharp teeth almost rivalling your own.  A long metal chain running from its spiked collar is attached to a pole nearby by which sits a large joint of meat, at its feet candy is spilling out across the ground from a dropped pumpkin. The small witch you saw earlier is leaning back trapped against the wall of the dwelling just inches from the dogs snapping maw.

Bruno the dog is a bad dog, like his owner he is foul tempered and hates children and gets into fights regularly, even Animal Chum won't help here.

8B 6E 4E 6R / 2 AGL / Wrassle / Bite 2 Dam / 2 VP
Should any poor Kobold with the In Heat Boogie be Wrassled by Bruno they must instantly make a Kobold Horrible Death Check.

Of course the kobolds could try and simply sneak past Bruno and steal his joint of meat but they should remember Vor HATES cowards but those brave (and surviving) Kobolds who rid the world of this bad dog will find themselves rewarded with a hug, a kiss on the cheek, candy and a bonus epilogue if they survive the adventure.
After Bruno is dealt with the girl flees (after fore mentioned hugs) abandoning her candy, if any particular Kobold was active in defending her she also gives them her Impressive Witch Hat (2 Armour)  

House 8: Blacksmith 
Occupants: 1 Horse
Loot: Possible Weapons, Foodbag, Human Size Large Hammer (Heft), Horseshoes (1 Dam), Rope, Leather Straps, Bucket, Broomstick and Nails.

While mostly made of stone, this building barely seems like a dwelling compared to the house across the road, most of the building is a open workshop filled with metal and tools and even at night there is a smell of soot and heat wafting from inside. Beside the building a horse is tied up, a large foodbag hooked around its head and a nearby well. 

More items for your Kobolds to get crafty with, while most of the items here are far too big for a kobold to even consider using succeeding on a 3 Dice Extraneous Roll will allow them to find a Long Dagger that they can use as a Sword (2 Dam).

Removing the feedbag from the horse is another issue, unless the kobold in question has Animal Chum they can expect to be stepped on.

12B 4E 2E 5R / 2 AGL / Bash / Kick 2 Dam* / 5 VP
* Anyone stood behind the horse can be struck with a mighty wallop for double damage and sent flying.

Heading Home

Once your Kobolds feel that they have collected enough tribute (or caused enough destruction) once they reach the edge of the map they can be considered to have escaped, once all the Kobolds have escaped (or died) there is one last encounter. 

Scurrying away with your (hopefully) mighty haul you begin the long walk home, thankfully like your trip to Stickston it is uneventful apart from a fortunate (and tasty) snack of crickets. Pushing open the large creaking doors of the ruined manor that sits atop the Grand Larder Cellar of King Torg (All Hail King Torg!) you all feel a angry growl rising from your throat at the sight of three familiar thin spindly human sucking on smoke sticks in the great hall. Spotting you enter the largest of the group laughs gesturing at your loot, they intend to steal your hard earned tribute!

If your group has been behaving at the Hamlet throughout the session this is the chance for their monstrous side to emerge or in the case of those angry evil little Kobolds one final chance for a blood bath.

Drunk Yobbos x 3
4B 4E 6E 4R / 1 AGL / Bully / Fist 1 Dam / 1 VP 

If your group is rather battered and you don't like the idea of possibly ending on a Total Party Kill (while anticlimactic rather fitting for Kobolds) feel free for the commotion to attract the attention of King Torgs (All Hail King Torg!) Royal Guard The Royale Wid Cheez who overwhelm the drunks carrying them away to the cook pot kicking and screaming.

Now that is left is to counting up the individual bonus victory points (VP):
For every 2 Candy returned gain 1 VP.
For food items gain VP equal to amount of Hits the items restores.
If a Baby was brought back and the Kobold responsible is automatically safe from the cook pot and gains a mighty 8 VP.

If the kobolds have any items they wish to attempt to cook they can try now though anyone with less than 5 VP at the end of the game ends up in the cook pot as part of the Tribute meal.
Those with more than 5 VP but less than 10 VP take part in the celebration feast at their usual tables but with first dibs on the various lesser snacks that come, finally those with more than 10 VP are granted a seat at the grand table of King Torg (All Hail King Torg!) and able to sample the delights crafted by King Torgs (All Hail King Torg!) personal cook the Iron Chef himself.  

Finally a little epilogue

Tales of adventure that night spread throughout the warren further fuelled by the hats and costumes you proudly wear, many give you snacks to hear your story of the night and life is easy for a time eventually King Torg (All Hail King Torg!) appoints you his Official Tribute Gatherers for each yearly tribute. 

Bonus epilogue for saving the girl from Bruno:

Time passes and while you've gotten older and more scarred you've kept your Impressive Witch Hat as a mark of your station of Official Tribute Gatherer taking good care of the trophy over the years. Unexpectedly you find yourself escorted into the presence of King Torg (All Hail King Torg!) by the royal guard, by the mighty Lord Of The Chicken Bone Throne stands a tall human Witch whose eyes light up upon seeing you. With a mighty voice his Largeness commands "You are to be chief minion of the troops sent to this Witch."

I hope you've all enjoyed this little adventure, please leave comments below and I think I may just leave a few of my own with any further details I decide upon when reviewing this adventure.

For further information on Kobolds Ate My Baby and All Flesh Must Be Eaten see the links below:

Kobolds Ate My Baby - Wikipedia 
Kobolds Ate My Baby - Scribd 3rd Edition
Kobolds Ate My Baby - Deluxx Edition Review
9th Level Games

All Flesh Must Be Eaten - Wikipedia
All Flesh Must Be Eaten - Review

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Kickstarter Curiosities 2: Dice and Tower Special.

Posted by: Jason Silverain / Category: , , , , , , ,

Greetings and Salutations all, some of you may remember my previous post on Kickstarter Curiosities and the various interesting tabletop games and Dungeon Master aids. Well today we'll be looking at some of the best dice, carry cases and dice towers currently looking for backing but before we start I want to say thank you to my friend over at Buzy Bobbins for her help with this post.

The first Kickstarter we are going to look at is Hrothgar's Hoard: The Paladin's Keep a heavy duty transport dice tower and tray:

Hrothgars Hoard have already met their $5,000 goal for this project with just over 50 backers but with 16 days to go there still room to back this project. I will confess that this is one of the more expensive project I've seen with a person needing to back $95 to receive the full tray and tower system or backing either $25 for a Dice Box, $45 for a tray with no lid and $75 for a tray with a lid.

Finally there is an additional $20 charge if you wish to have any of the following patterns (or one you own the copyright for) engraved:

The next Kickstarter on our list is Polyhedral Dice Coin, Attention Span Games has teamed up with Tailspin Games to produce the Tailespinner:

Low budget videos aside I personally love the look and the function of the Tailespinner however with only 18 days remaining and $866 pledged of the $6,000 goal it is unlikely this attempt at funding the Dice Coins will succeed. With that said a single coin of either a D4, D6, D8, D10, D12 or D20 (no D100 yet) available is $15 with the various early bird options available or $20 standard.

For those of you curious about the stretch goals the current goals are:

6K: Base Goal
14K: Stretch 1: Free Pin for all Backers. Pin Add on available.
21K: Leather Pouch add on available.
37K: Free Coin Tube with Hand engraved KS exclusive Thank You on it.
50K: Free Exclusive KS Backer Tailspinner to all backers that ordered at least one coin. Additional available as add ons.

Specialty Perks:

Both the big and small batch perks allow you to work with our designer to design the center section of a coin in your choice of the probabilities we are producing. If you already have a logo or design you would like to use, we can put that in there. Simple color is allowed. And if you get either of these perks, we will have access to the die for a year before they get discarded. So if at a later point, you want more, we can work to make that happen.

Current Add Ons:
Any of the coins can be added on to any backing for $20. Just let us know which coin you want and we will get notes added in.

Watch case setup for your Tailspinner. Add $18 to your pledge and we will send you your Tailspinner in a pocket watch casing.

If you take anything away from todays post then let it be the Scroll and Codex: Dice Tower and Rolling Tray by Elderwood Academy, this Kickstarter is a piece of art in my opinion and their site hold a few other special pieces worth checking out.

A bespoke, leather-bound scroll case that transforms into a dice tower with a scroll that unrolls into a rolling tray, the Scroll and Codex kickstarter has won over many fans with $85,201 pledged of $5,000 goal and still 19 days to go. This is one of the most successful Kickstarters I've seen in a while and I highly recommend a look, the only real drawback I've seen so far is that the materials and design available depend on your level of pledge so for those of you eager for a complete Scroll and Codex the beginning pledge is £90 for the Cherry wood with Celtic designs.


Last but not least is the Ninja Dice Kickstarter by Zero Origin Design a designer team from Thailand & co partner in Australia. These Aluminium Alloy dice use various different kinds of Shuriken aka throwing starts to represent each number and are rather well designed even with my personal aversion to metal dice (as they have of habit of scratching surfaces).

With 41 days still remaining the Ninja Dice have plenty of time to reach the desired $5,500 goal from their current total of $1,230, however I am quite sceptical at the possibility of success. The early pledges initially offered first $17 then $19 for 2 Ninja dice with the choice of finish (I rather like the black and green myself), that has now risen to $20 for all remaining backers which is rather expensive for just two dice.

I certainly hope that all these Kickstarters caught your eye as much as they did mine, if you decide to back any of them or know of any other Kickstarters that have inspired your interest please feel free to leave a message in the comments.

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