The Perfect Party vs Party

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The Con Game I Never Forgot

When I was twelve or so I attended Trumpeter‘s annual Salute gaming convention. That year it was held downtown in conference rooms at Robson Square near the Law Courts. And I played in one of the most enjoyable games I’ve ever encountered.

It was a PvP (Party vs Party) game of AD&D. It was D&D as a tabletop wargame. On one side was a group of good-aligned characters and creatures; the other side was a gang of evil-aligned characters and monsters. The Host DM handed out pre-gens to everybody first-come-first-serve.

I remember the good guys had a Paladin, a Ranger and a Magic-User among others. I played a Cleric. The bad guys included a half-orc Assassin, a Wyvern and a mid-sized Red Dragon, plus other cruel bastards. There was something like fourteen players. It was fun watching some of the guys flipping through their Players Handbooks for stuff while across the table others were paging through the Monster Manual for their info.

The table was a good six-by-nine feet of woods over gentle slopes. Our objective was to find a cave and get a team inside to secure something against the forces of darkness. But that never happened because the two groups ended up in a running battle through the trees and hills. That half-orc Assassin hopped on the Wyvern and they rained blue murder on our guys. At one point every clearing had a fight going on in it. Like ‘Nam but with Dragons instead of Cobras!

That’s where I fell in love with Flame Strike, still one of my favourite Cleric spells. It’s a bit of this and a bit of this:

Creating The Guest List

As you can tell from the foregoing I’m a big fan of rival-party abattoirs. I’m an equally big fan of the 4th-to-7th range band of Levels in D&D, capable but still hungry. And I’m also a large fan of the skirmish minis game Song of Blades and Heroes.

I go through two steps to create D&D groups for PvP games of Song of Blades.

First, I create a 3d6-in-order D&D adventuring party using this process:

A. From Dwellers of the Forbidden City:

  • 6 – 8 characters (5 + 1d3);
  • With a balance of races and classes;
  • Each of 4th to 7th Level (1d4);
  • With 35 – 45 total Levels; and
  • Each character with 2 or 3 useable magic items (one per two Levels, round down).

B. From Expedition to the Barrier Peaks and The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth via a thread on Dragonsfoot:

  • Dual-classed characters should be considered as their highest Level plus 1; and
  • Multi-classed characters should be considered as their highest Level plus 2.

C. From me:

  • Any or all characters may be replaced with creatures or monsters of similar strenghths.

The D&D classic The Rogues Gallery (see here, here and here) is great for banging out parties like this.

Second, I translate those characters through my patented Song of 3d6-in-Order converter:


If I’m going to include, hm I don’t know, say a Lammasu or Manticore, oh, speaking of which, Bang!:


Ahem, as I was saying, if I’m going to include a creature or monster in the game I first see if I can find one already statted for Song of Blades. If I like what I see I use it. If I don’t like the as-is version I put on my character goggles and treat D&D Hit Dice as Levels; then I run the critter through Song of 3d6-in-Order.


My Favourite Anti-Paladin

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I’ve always loved the Anti-Paladin as described in Dragon 39. This guy:


When I was a kid I spent a good number of months rolling up these bad guys and their retinues. I’d map out their castles, which were always skull-shaped and carved into the living rock. I’d imagine them at their scheming best. Life was good.

My favourite thing about this first and best version of the Anti-Paladin is that he’s not simply an evil Evil Paladin. He is quite literally anti. Yes he’s all about the Chaos and the Evil vs. Law and Good. Sure he’s that. But what brings him to life for me is that, while Huckabear (my goto Paladin) is morally impeccable, steadfast and true, the villain pictured above is a sleazy weasel and a coward at heart. Basically Count Rugen.

I prefer this archetype as it was before the D&D Anti-Paladin got conflated with the Warhammer Chaos Warrior. He’s much more a self-serving son-of-a-bitch than a slave to darkness. This is my kind of Anti-Paladin:


And Ral-Partha made the world a perfect circle by sculpting this pack, 01-093 Anti-Paladin, mounted and on foot:


Beware the mediocre man with a singleness of purpose.

Those are mine, painted in Sinestro Corps colours (because obviously). I like how he wears his heart on his sleeve; all that yellow goes right to the bone.

And here he is mounted and on foot for Song of Blades and Heroes:


To be fair though, I do like the Anti-Paladin as written in Knockspell 3.  It’s a couple steps toward Warrior of Chaos but it channels enough Dragon 39 to keep me happy.

People Are Talking!

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Save or Die podcast chats about Interloper at the 30 minute mark:

Episode 106: Magically Delicious







And from their “In Memory of..” page:

Hugh, is that you?

Hugh, is that you?

[P.S.: Thanks to Ian for the props and Lester for the goto.]

It’s Matango’s Island

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Matango is one of my favourite flicks. Love, love, love it!

Gilligan Mary Ann The Professor Skipper Mrs. Howell (sorry Buddy) Ginger Mr. Howell

L to R: Mrs. Howell (sorry dude), Mary Ann, The Professor, Skipper, Gilligan, Ginger and Mr. Howell.

And Gilligan’s Island was good too.

You know who you are.

These guys you know.

But let’s make one thing perfectly clear. It’s Matango’s Island!


Get it?


Got it?


Now that’s out of the way, I’ll tell you about a dream I’ve had. Two yachts wreck on opposite sides of a deserted island. Eventually the groups of castaways run into each other and a fourteen-person version of Hell in The Pacific develops. Plus mushrooms!



[P.S.: Look at the release and original run dates on Matango and Gilligan’s Island. Right?]