Frosty Star Graves

Filtered work by Jordan Penalva, cover for Gordon Dickson’s “Dorsai” when published by Ace.

I’ve been interested in Stargrave and while I have plenty of painted miniatures I have zero inspiration to create a crew, even less desire to puzzle over 52 powers, stat mods and what not. I want my friends to be empowered to start playing whenever we gather, not be blocked by record keeping before we even start.

Inspired by online RPG character generators (e.g. save vs total party kill) I’ve built a Google Sheet that randomly generates a Stargrave Captain & First Officer quickly. It produces things like…

There is a good deal of error checking here, but there could be a few bugs lurking especially on the 4th & 3rd powers for the Captain & First Officers respectively. I’ll continue to fine tune that section, but the tool works well enough for the stated objective.

Thank you to the Reddit user u/5eret who compiled the power list, that was my data set for this project. Without your work my task would have been much more difficult.

You can find the Stargrave generator here.

I have also done a 1st edition Frostgrave grimoire generator, which you can find here. It is an Excel document but you should be able to use it with Google Sheets or Open Office.

Too Dark

Dorset County Museum children’s art project – Prisma Filter, The Scream

It was 2000 and something and Too Fat Lardies had broken onto the miniature wargaming scene. They brought with them a simpler approach to the rule mechanics, focusing on degrading morale and leadership qualities, along with a passion for the history before the game.

One of the first sets our group settled on was Dux Britanniarum, a dark ages rule set with an abstracted campaign system. Perfect for our group! But like many things we quickly become distracted by the next shinny thing on the horizon, rinse and repeat.

I’ve been waiting to go back to Dux Britanniarum, perhaps someday I will. Fortunately in those heady days of collecting and painting a new scale I also prepared a quick reference sheet, available here.

Too Fat Lardies’ rulebooks tend to read a bit like historical essays. They meander a bit from subject to subject, key points buried in abstracted sections. Far different from the technical manual approach that I associate with the US tradition.

This quick reference should be helpful when finally returning to Dux Britanniarum.

To the Strongest

Athens wrestlers – Prizma Gothic filter

My wargaming continues on the virtual tabletop – most recently & successfully with Table Top Simulator playing in the To The Strongest 1066 tournament.

Snapshot of completed TTS on TTS

For those not familiar with To the Strongest – it is a British rule set published in 2015 – covering ancient through medieval wargaming. This game is a played on a grid, uses playing cards instead of dice, and very well suited to Table Top Simulator.

I’ve played a bit of To the Strongest on the physical tabletop, struggled with some of the basic concepts, and wrestled with army lists that assume some basic knowledge of the rules. All difficult points when learning a game. Settling into the 1066 tournament with group of seasoned players was a challenge. Falling back on my go to strategy of creating reference materials I refined the quick reference sheet for clarity & made reference materials out of the army lists themselves.

A Clark TTS QRS & 1066 Army Lists, hope they provide you with a way to explore To the Strongest as well.

Post script – there are now 3 exceptional TTS modules covering 1066, War of the Roses, & 2nd Punic War.

Post post script – when I first experimented w/ To the Strongest I created to counters to replace cards, they are also available for download.

4 colors available

Update – September 14

Have pulled together an introduction to virtual wargaming with To the Strongest using Tabletop Simulator: TTS on TTS. Hope it will inspire some to try miniature wargaming in a virtual space.

Update – March 21

Recently I recorded an actual play session. This might be a good way to learn how to play or at least gain an understanding of the game mechanics

Roll20 Warmaster

Top down photo of a Warmaster Empire command stand w/ iOS Prisma Gothic filter

I’ve been chasing the online miniature wargaming dragon for a good while now – have had experience with Cyberboard, Vassal, Full Thrust Java Client, Table Top Simulator (unsucessfully), and now Roll20 (successfully). 

For me Roll20 get’s closest to pushing units on the table top realtime with reasonable graphics.  My first real implementation here, beyond the standard RPG, has been for Warmaster. This post describes that process of setting up such an environment.  

Example of what’s been produced with this method

Tools Used

  • iPhone – camera & photo edits
  • Tripod – platform for the top down photograph
  • Prisma iOS app – photo filter
  • iPad – tablet based graphical editing
  • Apple Pencil – fine point stylus
  • Magic Eraser iOS app – transparency editor
  • Desktop PC – runs Roll20 in any web browser
  • MS Paint – creates the basic template
  • Roll20 – the tabletop platform

Photos

  1. Shoot top down photos of a Warmaster army – 1 photo for each unique base type
  2. Crop all photos to roughly same dimension
  3. Push these photo through a filter – a bit more illustrative than photographic
  4. Export filtered photos to iPad
  5. Remove photo boarders with transparency editor – use Magic Eraser or similar
  6. Import photos to PC
  7. Create a “scaling reference” – 40x20mm = 280x140px – save this as a png – use MS Paint or similar

Roll20 Game

  1. Create new game for Roll20
  2. Configure new “map” – no grid – 5cm = 70px – 6×4 foot table = 37×25
  3. Drag & drop appropriate texture or aerial photo to map, ensure it is on the “map layer”
  4. Go to the “journal” – create a new “character” – edit that character so that Name = Basic Template, In Player’s Journals = All Players, Can be Edited… = All Players – save these changes
  5. Again open & edit the “Basic Template”, click duplicate button x times
  6. Drag & drop stand scaling reference to the table top
  7. Drag & drop appropriate unit photo the table top
  8. Scale the unit photo to the scaling reference
  9. Select the re-scaled
  10. Open one of the “Basic Template” copies and edit – Name = appropriate unit name – click “use selected token” – ensure that “all players” is set for journals & controls – save changes
  11. Repeat

Roll20 Macros

You may wish to create the following macros – ensuring that they are shared with “all players” and marked as “in bar” – these provide a simple button to throw x dice.

#1d6
/r 1d6

#2d6
/r 2d6

#3d6
/r 3d6

#Attack
/em attacks
/r ?{How many attacks}d6s>4 
***Note: 5+ vs defended & 6+ vs fortified***

#Save 
/em saves
/r ?{How many saves}d6s>?{Armor value}

#Drive-Back
/em checking drive backs
/r ?{How many hits}d6s
***Target confused on any d6 = 6***
***Target driven off if result greater than its movement rate***

Unit Photos

Here are my unit photos for: Tomb Kings, Vampire Counts, Empire, Dwarves, & Dark Elves. Also included are a hit token and a scaling refernce when 5cm = 70px.

Update – April 19, 2020

There is a nice selection of paper tokens for Warmaster Fantasy & Ancients available here. Helpful if you don’t want to photograph your own units.

Video Walk-through

May illustrate some of the description above.

Update May 18, 2020

Have created Mighty Empires assets and kicked off a 5 player campaign. Mighty Empire tiles are available here. Use them as a deck of cards in Roll20 on a unique map.

Have also posted a new video an actual play from the first battle fought in our Mighty Empires campaign. Empire(1185 pts) vs Empire (1500 pts). This condensed to 30 minutes to provide a good overview of Warmaster game play on the Roll20 interface.

Crashlandia

At the beginning of 2020 we rang in the new year with a buddy’s birthday, celebrating as we normally do: friends, food, and games. This is day long affair where we cram as many games as we can into 12 or so hours. This years theme “I Can’t Drive 55”.

Original t-shirt art from VNWiki – Prisma iOS Tokyo Filter

First on the docket was the new’ish hot wheels set published by Osprey, Gaslands. There was much kit bashing of $1 hotwheels, though I opted for a simpler approach the overall look of the table was impressive.

We had two single lap races, the first to test-drive the rules & the second to compete for a custom trophy. It was fitting that the youngest amongst us would take home that prize. Fun times. . .

Get your motor running

Fun times for sure! The game scratches that Car Wars to Hotwheels conversion I’ve had for years, but I found the rules needlessly wordy and complex. Trusty iPad to the rescue where I consolidated the rules to a scant 2 pages! Find that summary here, along with a generic vehicle control panel, dice labels / reference charts.