Comic Book Feeds

Blumhouse Bringing Two Live Experiences To Halloween Horror Nights

First Comics News - Thu, 08/31/2023 - 18:04
Acclaimed horror production company Blumhouse brings two new live entertainment experiences, “The Purge: Dangerous Waters” and “Blumhouse: Behind the Screams,” inspired by some of its blockbuster films, to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood. A trio of bone-chilling…
Categories: Comic Book Blogs

I Love Comics (Blah, Blah, Blah….)

First Comics News - Thu, 08/31/2023 - 14:04
NEW COMICS 4 THIS WEEK (08/30/23) *All comics will be rated on a scale from 1 to 10* Action Comics Presents: Doomsday Special # 1 Danny Ketch: Ghost Rider #…
Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Ed Catto’s Brushful of Pulp Show Opens Friday, September 1

First Comics News - Thu, 08/31/2023 - 00:54
First Friday Celebrates Creativity, Entrepreneurship Auburn, N.Y. (August 30, 2023): As a part of the First Friday series, the monthly celebration designed to promote entrepreneurism and creativity, artist Ed Catto’s…
Categories: Comic Book Blogs

History Repeating Itself

The Splintered Realm - Wed, 08/30/2023 - 22:46
I'm having the longest experience of déjà vu... back in the mid 1990s, I went to a comic convention with two projects in hand. I had a box of Seymour #1, a fantasy comic about a teddy bear that fused pro wrestling with Dungeons and Dragons and my emerging sense of how I wanted to tell stories that I'd been laboring over every detail of for weeks. I also had a bunch of army ants mini-comics that I'd thrown together in like three hours and printed up on my way to the convention.
People could have cared less about Seymour, but they were all about the Army Ants. Almost everyone I talked to grabbed a copy (that I was charging maybe a quarter for, which didn't even cover the costs of the printing, so I was not the greatest businessman). 
Fast forward almost 30 years later. I have a book that I spent a bit of time laboring over, trying to get every detail right about a group of scouts going on fantasy adventures - and then an army ants book that I put together remarkably quickly, and put up as a pay what you want for the heck of it.
And, again, people are responding to that. I'm not at all unhappy about it - I'm thrilled that people are responding to Army Ants, which was my first love and the thing I've created that is the most uniquely 'me'. 
Two quick things to share:
@rpgoverviews posted a review of the game, which I truly appreciate. 
There was a request for a character sheet, so here's a blank version of the card I posted for Phil a few days ago...



First Comics News - Wed, 08/30/2023 - 22:07
Official Critical Role stories crafted in collaboration with series creators MILWAUKIE, Ore., (August 30, 2023)—Learn more about beloved characters from Critical Role and Amazon Studios’ The Legend of Vox Machina animated series in the newest…
Categories: Comic Book Blogs


First Comics News - Wed, 08/30/2023 - 22:04
Check out designs and teaser images spotlighting Mia, a new character debuting in Jonathan Hickman and Valerio Schiti’s G.O.D.S. this October!   New York, NY— August 30, 2023 — At…
Categories: Comic Book Blogs


First Comics News - Wed, 08/30/2023 - 18:45
Following a Surprise Appearance from SPAWN to End the Last Arc, Creators Announces Higher Stakes and Additional Apperances From Savage Dragon, Blacula and More! PORTLAND, OR – The Eisner Award nominated Killadelphia from…
Categories: Comic Book Blogs


First Comics News - Wed, 08/30/2023 - 18:42
Check out the October collection of Marvel’s Stormbreakers Variant Covers that bring the Marvel Zombies to life!   New York, NY— August 30, 2023 — This October, the undead overtake…
Categories: Comic Book Blogs


First Comics News - Wed, 08/30/2023 - 16:37
The Next Series in the Energon Universe Launches This October LOS ANGELES 08/30/2023 — Today Skybound, in collaboration with leading toy and game company Hasbro, revealed an impressive lineup of…
Categories: Comic Book Blogs


First Comics News - Wed, 08/30/2023 - 16:34
Check out a new trio of variant covers for MOON KNIGHT #28, #29, and #30, part of Jed MacKay and Alessandro Cappuccio’s Death of Moon Knight storyline.   New York,…
Categories: Comic Book Blogs


First Comics News - Wed, 08/30/2023 - 14:58
6-Time World Champion to Appear on SmackDown for Seven Consecutive Weeks Following Return on September 1 Cena and Make-A-Wish to Host Children and Their Families at Every SmackDown During His…
Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Skybound Entertainment Announces The Walking Dead: Betrayal to Begin Early Access on September 14 

First Comics News - Wed, 08/30/2023 - 14:48
Steam Free Weekend Available from September 14 to 18 AUGUST 30, 2023 – LOS ANGELES, CA – Skybound Entertainment, the creator-led, multi-platform entertainment company, today announced The Walking Dead™: Betrayal is set to…
Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Wednesday Comics: DC, December 1982 (week 1)

Sorcerer's Skull - Wed, 08/30/2023 - 11:00
I'm reading DC Comics' output from January 1980 (cover date) to Crisis! Today, I'm looking at the comics at newsstands on the week of September 2, 1982. 

Wonder Woman #298: Frank Miller cover on this issue. Mishkin and Colan/McLaughlin continue the Aegeus story. Wonder Woman consults the Magic Sphere on Paradise Island and learns Bellerophon's history. On Themyscria, the island which the Amazons abandoned for their new home centuries ago in this Earth-One continuity, Bellerophon tries to get the location of Paradise Island out of Steve Trevor because he wants to get ahold the Amazon's healing Purple Ray. Aegeus tries torturing Trevor, but Steve escapes into the temple of Athena. There he and terrorist Sofia see a vision of Athena, who tries to persuade Sofia to turn against Aegeus. Steve grabs Athena's scepter, which he saw destroy one terrorist, and hides it under his jacket. Unfortunately, he's recaptured by Aegeus who knocks an approaching Wonder Woman out of the sky with a thunderbolt.
In the Huntress backup, the would-be superhero Blackwing is captured by the gang running the protection racket and they take him to their boss with Huntress following behind. The boss is called Boa, and he's got a big, pet constrictor--though Staton doesn't appear to have used photo reference in drawing the snake. Huntress busts in and takes out the gang, but Boa sicks his snake on her and the gang leaves while she struggles in the animal's deadly grip.

Arak Son of Thunder #16: Thomas and Gonzales/Alcala bring Arak to Byzantium as he continue his search for Valda. They are in from trouble from the beginning as he has to save Satyricus from an angry mob after he accidentally destroys an icon. Luckily, the duo are aided by General Cometas who they met last issue. he gets them in the see the young Emperor Constantine VI who is being presented with potential wives when Valda catches his eye.
A fight breaks out and Arak intercedes to help her. He's ordered to swim across a pool to prove the turh of his words. In the water, a monster comes out of a mosaic and attacks him--or seems to, as no one else can see it. Despite successfully completing the challenge, Arak and Valda have upset the emperor's and he orders their deaths.
In the backup, Valda and Malagigi attend of fair in Paris. While Malagigi meets with the local Count, Valda explores the market. She encounters a pickpocket dwarf named Brunello who sells her a baby elephant. As she leads the elephant through the streets, Valda is attacked by saracens who claim that the elephant is stolen and think she's the culprit. Valda holds her own against their superior numbers until Malagigi arrives and use his magic to end the fight. The saracens taken possession of the elephant, while Valda and Malagigi are glad to let them have it.

Blackhawk #253: Evanier and Spiegle put the spotlight on one of The Blackhawks in this story. The team (minus Hendrickson) is summoned to a meeting with command to discuss Hendrickson's future with the team. The eldest Blackhawk's mental state is called into question after it is discovered that he is writing letters to his wife--who was killed a year before. Blackhawk promises to speak with him.
When the team returns to Blackhawk Island where Hendrickson was left on duty, they find that he is gone. Putting together clues, they realize that he has located a secret Nazi air base by measuring the fuel load of downed aircraft. And they thought he was crazy for always siphoning the fuel!
The Blackhawks follow to the location specified and find and destroy the air base, but Hendrickson is shot down. A German pilot finds his crashed plane, but Hendrickson outdraws his opponent with pistols. Hendrickson reveals that he has always known that his wife was dead. He simply wrote the letters to her because he was lonely and felt ignored by his teammates. 
DC Comics Presents #52: Kupperberg and Giffen introduce Ambush Bug. He's the villain here and a good bit different from the character he will become. The story guest stars the New Doom Patrol (a team Superman doesn't even know exists until this story). A being of black energy is wrecking Metropolis and Superman's attempts to stop it are complicated by the teleporting agent of chaos, Ambush Bug. The Doom Patrol tries to lend a hand and let him know that the being is actually an out of a control Negative Woman, but Ambush Bug's machinations makes Supes distrust them. Superman's character is different in Kupperberg's story than what we are used to seeing: he's testier, quicker to act, and more fallible than the usual portrayal. It makes him a better mark for Ambush Bug's shenanigans.

Fury of Firestorm #7: Conway and Broderick/Rodriquez introduce the Québécoise, terrorist super-villain Plastique. She's spurred to action after Firestorm thwarted the impact of the attack by her fellow terrorist Andre by absorbing the energy. She happens to choose the offices of the New York News Express, it happens to be a day where Ronnie has come with the intention of telling his reporter father that he is Firestorm. Being held hostage by Plastique with the Express staff, Ronnie can't change to Firestorm without revealing who he is to everyone! Stein comes to his rescue by sneaking past the police into the building and shutting off the power, so they can become Firestorm unseen. After rescuing the hostages, Firestorm dissipates Plastique's costume, so the bombs drop to the floor before she can detonate them.

Justice League #209: The final chapter of Crisis on Earth-Prime. Don Heck is the artist here, with Conway scripting, per usual. The All-Stars, JLA, and JSA meet with FDR to recap the success of their teams. There is still some work to be done, though. Power Girl, Firestorm, and Steel are in Geneva, Switzerland, looking for more missiles. They find them along with Johnny Quick. The missiles get launched, but the heroes take them down in mid-air. 
After meeting with Professor Zee and cluing him into his megalomaniacal assistant, he gives Green Lantern, Firebrand and Zatanna his prototype time machine, which they use to travel to 1962 on Earth-Prime. There they're ready to take action when the Crime Syndicate arrives on the scene in a Time Vortex. The heroes surprise the villains and defeat them. The Soviet missiles aren't stolen, and Earth-Prime's history proceeds as it should.
On Earth-Two 1942, the heroes take the fight to Per Degaton's base and capture him and his men. Huntress takes care of Own-Man who had been in hiding, gloating over the others' defeat. History is restored, so that no one even remembers this Crisis having occurred. All and all, a nice arc, though perhaps a little longer than it needed to be.

Adventure Comics #494: The only new story here is The Challengers of the Unknown by Rozakis and Tuska/Mushynsky. Picking up where last issue left off, the Challs to be compare notes and decide some gangsters mad at Rocky for ruining their attempts to fix a match where the ones that sabotaged their plane. They pay them a visit, but they turn out not to be the culprits, so the mystery remains.

Remastering Pages

The Splintered Realm - Mon, 08/28/2023 - 13:46

As I go through the process of re-mastering the pages, I have the benefit of three things:

1) I know where the story is going! I've already got the whole thing done, so when I make edits, I know how these are going to affect other things. One of the biggest edits is that I'm changing the setting from the back yard to the larger area around Warwick Pond. This is necessitating some edits, and will require a little bit of re-drawing later on, but it's a relatively small edit that (to me) has significant implications. It makes the world of the ants, and the forces they are dealing with, much larger. It doesn't change the story per se, but it changes the context of the story.

2) I'm just a better writer than I was 30 years ago. I would HOPE so. It means that I can layer in more subtle things that help frame the ants, their worldview, and some of the larger themes more consistently. 

3) The font I'm using is how I wish my lettering looked. The lettering, to me, has always been the weak point in my comics, and being able to use a font cleans the pages us SO much. 

Also, time and space has given me an appreciation for my work as an artist. It's a good comic. I'm proud of it. I'm going to be very happy to have a definitive edition that is clean and tightened up that I can add to my shelf and share with people. 

The Cleric and the Rituals of Faith

Sorcerer's Skull - Mon, 08/28/2023 - 11:00

Over the weekend, I read this interesting blog series about how polytheism worked in the real world. Check it out. 

Anyway, it got me thinking about how D&D/rpg polytheism might be made more realistic without changing it much. Granted, it's a bit of an uphill battle since rpg polytheism of the D&D variety is very unrealistic in a lot of ways, but I'm going to focus here on one thing and that's Devereaux's central point in the early articles: religion is mainly about ritual not metaphysics.

This is actually pretty good for the D&D cleric, because they are largely soft on metaphysics and philosophy (short a lot of worldbuilding) but out-of-the-box do a lot of things like spells and special abilities that could be glossed (and roleplayed) as rituals. It's sort of transactional, even mechanistic from a modern lens, which is good for D&D because that's what clerical magic is. 

So, clerics are the most religious (in what Devereaux relates is the Roman sense) because they have the most effective deity-related rituals (spells) and they are the most diligent in their performance (it's their job). The use of the cleric to the adventuring party is this very religiousness: their ritual performances always get results. 

I think it would take relatively little roleplaying in this direction and reframing of these abilities in a more religious ritual context to make it feel a lot less merely mechanistic and a lot more flavorfully mechanistic.

Phil File Card

The Splintered Realm - Sun, 08/27/2023 - 18:46

I'm playing with the file card design. I worked out a file card for Phil as of the beginning of the Army Ants comics (I cheated a little and gave him a 1-point discount since the gear he has adds up to 16 Clout but he only has 15). This is, of course, for Army Ants '81 the RPG, which is a companion for Army Ants '81 the comic, which is a re-master of my original comics from the 1990s... which takes place in 1981. Because it does.  

Army Ants '81 Now Available

The Splintered Realm - Sat, 08/26/2023 - 03:47

So much for THIS stealth operation.

It was a simple enough mission. Sneak up on the termite compound. Take some notes. Get out. You weren’t geared up for a full frontal assault.

But then Gonzo thought the tower guard spotted him. And Burner got an itchy trigger finger. And, before you knew it, the compound was a smoldering ruin, and you’d used up all of your grenades. 

The Colonel was going to go ballistic. You would be lucky to have latrine duty for the next fortnight. You’d barely broken in your sergeant patch, and you had visions of it being ripped from your uniform in a barrage of obscenities.

… But maybe it didn’t have to happen that way. Because maybe THIS didn’t happen that way. 

What if you had done your recon, but realized that the termites had a bomb - no, a MISSILE. They had a missile that was going to destroy the Hill. Your only choice was to throw caution to the wind, to respond to the new intelligence, and risk your life for Queen and Hill.

You gathered your patrol together and explained the plan. If they could stick to this one, maybe things wouldn’t turn out so badly after all…


Army Ants ‘81 is the RPG I wish my friends and I had when I was in eighth grade. Because that would have been SWEET.

Editing Odds and Ends

The Splintered Realm - Fri, 08/25/2023 - 12:05

As I complete edit number 372 or something of the Army Ants '81 rules (they are only ten pages, so I've spent much more time editing and refining than I did writing the original set of rules), I find little things I'm still considering tweaking. Here are some things:

I think I'm going to have aid kits and first aid work the opposite of damage; aid kits are DT 1 to apply, and restore 2 base Grit, but you get to carry over extra successes on your Mind check to the result (as well as the medic skill) to improve the outcome. This makes Mind more valuable (which is good, because it's still the third wheel of the traits, and this boosts it a little), and helps to offset some of the scaling of Grit I've done - a level 6 ant (so fairly high level) with Body 3 and toughness 2 (a likely build for a heavy weapons or recon specialist) has Grit 34. A decent medic (Mind 3, first aid skill 1) with an aid kit who rolls 3 successes with the aid kit restores 2 (the overage beyond the DT) +2 (aid kit) +1 (medic skill) = 5 Grit. If he rolls 1 success, he restores 3 Grit, and if he rolls something crazy like 5 successes, he restores 7 Grit. None of this breaks the game (even remotely), but it accounts for the higher trait and the investment in medic skill. I have to re-write the medic skill so that it doesn't grant bonus points restored... because I would double-dip, getting the bonus to the dice pool that then carries over to the points restored. Heck, I might even go ahead and have aid kits restore 3 base Grit! If you're going to spend an action to use an aid kit, you should get some return on your investment. I also keep thinking about levels 1-2... if I'm spending a few valuable Clout to get an aid kit, I better get some bang for that buck.

On the other side, I have grenades. I keep trying to balance grenades so that they are effective and useful, but also not too deadly. I keep thinking about the poor level 2 ant with Body 1 and no Toughness; he only has Grit 6. If a grenade deals more than 6 damage, it can one-shot a level 2 ant. Then it hit me. So? I'm conceptualizing this as an 'old school RPG'. Well, magic users in B/X could be level 5 with 10 hit points. If they get hit with a 5D6 fireball, they could die whether or not they make the saving throw if I happen to roll 20+ on the damage. Too bad, so sad. Grenades are deadly. As the MM, if you are allowing level 1-2 enemies to walk around with lots of grenades, then you're going to have lots of dead ants. I liked how my play test yesterday had tension about the presence of grenades; however, a little bit of that tension was about my own thoughts of grenades, and not necessarily their mechanical applications in this game right now; if a grenade had bounced into the foxhole, there is a decent chance its overall effects on the game would have been minimal. That should not be the case; a grenade ends up in your foxhole, and the snot is about to hit the fan. I think going to damage 10 on a grenade is not out of the question. I'm going to toy with that a bit.

Finally, (if you've read this far - I wonder how many people make it all the way through my long, rambling posts...) I have noticed a philosophical shift in my thinking about creative 'stuff'. As I get ready for this school year, I'm well aware that I'm on the back end of my career. This is the last go round for me on Romeo and Juliet, so I want to do the best job I can with it. I'm taking my time to get it right. I sort of feel that way with my Army Ants game. I cannot see me making Army Ants games in my 60s... but I couldn't see me making them in my 50s when I was 20, so what do I know? Anyway, I'm enjoying the process of getting this right, and I'm appreciating the reality that it could be for the last time.

Army Ants Playtest #... 4? 5? Not sure anymore.

The Splintered Realm - Fri, 08/25/2023 - 00:53
Let’s try a different sort of play test with the variations I’ve made to the rules, and see how they hold up. I’m going to make two ants who are sitting in a foxhole with sandbags, defending a pathway up to a key location during a battle.
What battle? What location? Why?


Anyway, my two ants will be a Heavy Weapons gunner dude and his best friend, a covert ops specialist with some medical training. That should be fun. I’m going to make them only level 2, and they are holding the pathway from three waves of attacks in a minute. The first wave will arrive in round 1. The second wave in round 4. The third wave in round 8. Good stuff.

Wave 1 will have 5 ticks. One of them has a stun grenade. They are all on foot.

Wave 2 will have 7 ticks. One of them has a gas grenade and another has a fragmentation grenade. They are all on foot.

Wave 3 will have 3 ticks in a jeep with a machine gun mounted on top. The jeep gives them all Cover +1. The jeep carries a bomb, so needs to be disabled before it makes it beyond the sandbag too far. I’ll figure out what that means exactly when I get there.

In rolling them up, I love the way that rank works… while the law of averages will favor smarter characters with leadership over time, a good roll (or bad one) can change a lot… as is the case here. There is no WAY that the heavy weapons ant should be higher rank than the covert ops ant, but that’s the military for you… Blitz rolled a 6 followed by a 5 on his first roll, so came out of Boot Camp with the Lance Corporal insignia. Poor Specs barely got confirmed for Private First Class (one success total in two tries), even after all the paperwork he’s done for the Major! Life just isn’t fair… 

Blitz, Raucous Ant Heavy Weapons 2 (A3 Lance Corporal; Grit 12; Clout 30) 

Body 3 | Mind 1 | Reflex 2

Heavy Weapons 1; Toughness 1

AM-60 (damage 4); 3 grenades; 3 aid kits

Specs, Studious Ant Covert Operative 2 (A2 Private First Class; Grit 6; Clout 25)

Body 1 | Mind 3 | Reflex 2

Medic 1; Small Arms 1

AM-16 (damage 3); 4 aid kits; walkie-talkie

The sandbagged foxhole provides +1 to Reflex for cover, and also increases the DT of grenades by +1, since it has netting over it to cause grenades to bounce away.

For each wave, they must make a Mind check (DT 2) to see the enemies at 13 cm. Otherwise, they become aware of them at the 10-cm mark. The foliage is pretty thick on the road.

Round 1

They both fail the first check, and are surprised when a group of 5 ticks appears on the road, coming around the bend. The ticks go first. Two are going to stand back and open fire, while three run forward. One of the forward ticks carries the grenade. The boys are shooting at the runners. The first shooter gets… 6 successes. On 2D. He rolled double sixes, followed by another six and a 3. He’s firing at Blitz. 3 of these go to damage, so he deals a total of 5 hits, leaving Blitz at 7. Ouch! With his second shot, he gets 2 successes, which ping off of Blitz’s machine gun. The second fires at Specs, but his one success lodges in the sandbags. His second shot misses entirely.

On his turn, Blitz fires at the first of the running ticks. He gets 3 successes, so 2 carry over to damage; he deals 6 damage, which is enough to drop the first one. He gets 2 successes on the second, which deals a total of 5 damage. That one is still up with 1 Grit remaining. Specs tries to use his AM-16 to finish the injured one, and gets 2 successes, which deals 4 damage and finishes it. He uses his other action to patch Blitz’s wound, and rolls only 1 success - which is barely enough. He restores 3 Grit to Blitz, who is now at 10. There is a 4 in 6 chance that one of the runners was carrying the grenade; he was. The grenade now lies on the ground near the feet of the one runner who still survived. He ran 6 cm, so is now 4 cm away from the foxhole. His BODY 2 allows him to throw it that far, so that’s going to be his play.

Round 2

The ticks in the rear are taking a strategic advance; they can move 1 cm and attack in an action; they would have done that last round as well… so they have moved 2 cm and will move 2 more as they are firing. They are both focusing on Blitz. The first attacks and gets 3 successes and 1 success. The three hits for standard damage (2), and Blitz is at 8 Grit. The second gets 2 successes with each attack, but needs 3 to hit them behind the sandbags. They are now 6 cm from the sandbags. The one 4 cm from the sandbags uses 1 action to pick up the grenade, and another to throw it; he needs 2 successes to land it in the foxhole, and gets 0. The grenade hits the net, bouncing away and exploding next to the sandbags, which absorb the full brunt of the attack. 

Blitz opens upon the closest one, getting 2 successes (so dealing damage 5), and then 3 successes (so damage 6). He kills the nearest tick, and two remain. Specs tries to shoot one of those, getting 2 and 2 successes, for a total of 8 damage, killing him.

Round 3

The tick doesn’t have many options, so he drops to one knee and takes aim at Blitz’s head, firing one shot at +1 He misses with only 1 success, as his bullet sinks into the sandback a tenth of a millimeter below Blitz’s head (I’d say this is a game of inches, but it’s not THAT big - that sounds like a marketing idea). Blitz returns fire, getting 5 successes, and dropping the tick like so much wet laundry. Or so many potatoes. Or like a tick you just filled with machine-gun ammunition. Mostly that last one.

Specs wants to try and apply some medical help to Blitz, who is at 8 Grit out of his starting 12. Two kits will get him back to full, and (they don’t know this), but they have less than half a round. Specs can try to apply one aid kit; he rolls 4 successes, so easily swaps out the bandage for a new one and gets Blitz back up to 11. Ticks appear on the path. Only Blitz gets to try and notice, since Specs is busy. He gets a 6 followed by a 2, so that’s enough. He taps Specs on the shoulder, nods towards the path, and gets back to his position. Specs gets his AM-16 ready.

Side note: This is very cinematic. I’m really appreciating how the action flows here. Part of it is just how I’ve structured this encounter, but the mechanics are allowing me to do this fluidly. 

Round 5

They let the ticks get to 10 cm and open fire, winning initiative automatically.  Blitz gets 4 successes on the first attack, dealing 7 damage and killing one. He misses the second one entirely. Specs hits one for 4, and again for 4 more, dropping it. Five ticks remain. 

They do the whole strategic advance thing. One of the dead ticks had the gas grenade, but the one still up has the fragmentation grenade. Four of them provide cover fire as the grenadier runs up to throw his grenade. They do a lot of missing. One gets 3 successes against Blitz, which deals 2 damage, leaving him at 9. They hit the sandbags a lot. Funny thought: I just realized that a sandbag might have only 10 to 20 grains of sand in each one. Heh. The grenadier will throw next round… if he’s still alive.

Round 6

Blitz is going to try and prevent that. He does. He has 4 successes for 7 damage, cutting the grenadier down; it is possible he’s already pulled the pin (he has), and now I decide if it bounces to harm one of the others; it is very unlikely, but 1 in 6 shot. Nope. It rolls off the road and explodes. Blitz tries to kill a second, rolling 0 successes. Ugh. Specs fires at another one, hitting with 2 successes and dealing 5 damage, leaving it at 1. He fires again and finishes it off with 2 more successes. Three of them remain.

These all focus on Blitz, trying to take out that machine gun as they continue their strategic advance. They need 3 successes to hit; they get (2 attacks each, so six total attacks): 3, 0, 2, 2, 1, and 1 successes. Only the 3 gets to Blitz, tagging his shoulder and dealing 2 damage, leaving him at 7. He’s still above 50% of his starting Grit, so no penalty.

Round 7

They all hear something coming up the path. It will appear next round… but it’s going fast.

Blitz opens up on one of the three remaining ticks, getting 3 successes, which is just enough to kill it. He gets 2 successes on another, which deals 5 damage and leaves it with 1 Grit remaining. Specs uses an aid kit quickly to patch Blitz up a little bit and restores 3 Grit. Blitz is back to 10. Specs now takes a shot with his final action, barely hitting, but doing enough to finish it off. One tick remains… for the moment.

Round 8

That tick stands and lines up to take a shot, as a jeep filled with more ticks runs him over as it barrels through. 

The boys have one round to do something. I’m giving the jeep initiative; the driver keeps driving, while the machine gunner opens fire, and the passenger lobs a grenade towards the foxhole. The gunner gets 2 successes, which sticks a lot of lead in the sandbags. The grenade thrower misses entirely, his grenade going off the netting and into the brush on the far side. The driver drives.

Blitz tries to throw a grenade into the jeep; this is going to be tough, so I’ll say DT 3 because of how fast the jeep is moving, and the relatively small target area (far less than a cm square to line up). He gets 3 successes! (5 and a 6 on the dice). Dang. I’m going to go with his stun grenade, because that has the best odds of doing something good. 

The machine gunner gets 0 successes; it is possible that he falls off the jeep. Nope. He’s in a harness, so he slumps against the gun post.

The passenger gets three successes. Impressive. He’s stunned for 1 round…

The driver gets 2 successes, so is out for 12 seconds… that is definitely long enough for the jeep to crash. It does, and each has to roll Body to soak 6 impact damage from the crash. The gunner soaks 3, the passenger soaks 1, and the driver rolls a botch and is impaled and dies. The boys open fire on the jeep until it explodes… it is possible that they are in the blast radius of the bomb that was on the jeep when it goes off. They are. Specs can try a Mind roll DT 2 to see the bomb casing and realize what it is just before it goes off…  he gets 5 successes! Finally! Being smart helps. He grabs Blitz and pushes him down in the foxhole just as the jeep erupts in a huge blast that shreds several of their sandbags.


Wow. I made a few changes to Grit, soaking, and damage, and it sped things up SO much. I really, really liked the tempo of that fight.

I like grenades. I like that you have to get close to use them, but when you do they can be pretty effective.

Changing the dynamics from attacking to defending changed the combat a lot, and made for more interesting strategic choices on the parts of the ants. That was nifty. 

Big picture: changing the scope of the setting from only Ants vs. Wasps to ‘whole area is in chaos and everyone is fighting everyone all the time’ gives a lot more story opportunities. If it’s not the wasps, it’s a group of mad tick terrorists trying to lay waste to the Ant army in the name of anarchy. Good stuff. 

Aid kits are applied really, really fast. While it is logical that you’d have to use a full round to apply an aid kit, mechanically you aren’t going to give up two actions to apply an aid kit, so they would never get used. Because they can be applied in one action, it makes sense to give up an attack to get back the health, especially on the part of supporting characters. I like that the game sort of encourages a player to take the ‘cleric’ role; you can still be a good fighter and effective in combat (Specs is not bad), but you also serve a vital role as support and healing. Specs restored a total of 9 Grit during the fight, which is right around the full Grit of a typical ant at this level. That’s a significant contribution. Because of his healing, Blitz never dropped below 50% and never took a penalty to attacks. This is strategic stuff that the game sort of naturally supports that makes for genuine tactical decisions; you want to heal your allies while they are still above 50% so they never take penalties, or if they are taking penalties, you want to get them back above 50% asap. I like it.

For what it's worth, I also like these two characters. They lived, so that's good. Maybe a two-ant team would be the best way to run a solo game, so I have more options and versatility, but not an entire group to juggle on my own. Hmmmm....

Ants - Diving Deeper into BODY implications

The Splintered Realm - Thu, 08/24/2023 - 19:46
As I've started to tinker with BODY, I'm seeing the metaphorical spider web (extended pun intended - actually worked hard to shoehorn that in) of how BODY influences other things hardwired into the system. However, I'm seeing that now as a flaw of my original design which requires a more surgical approach to remove.
I had set things up that AOE attacks had a fundamentally different mechanical resolution than direct attacks on an individual. If an ant shoots a bee, he rolls an attack against the bee's REFLEX; if he gets a number of successes equal to or better than the bee's REFLEX score, he hits; any points beyond are added to damage. If you hit by +2, you deal +2 damage. Easy peasy.
Conversely, AOE attacks almost automatically hit (you only need to succeed with against a DT 1), and then all creatures in the area are affected; you aren't trying to hit any one creature, you're just aiming for a generalized location, and then letting things play out. This makes a lot of sense; a grenade deals 4 damage, and I'm just trying to mitigate the damage I suffer from that.
The problem was that AOE attacks almost always hit... whereas other attacks don't. I'm torn. I mean, it makes sense to me that you only need one success to throw a grenade... but I'm not sure if I like it. 
Let's delve a little deeper... if a grenade requires 1 success to hit the 1-centimeter square you are aiming for, you have (If I did this math right):a 3 in 6 chance with Reflex 1 (50%)A 30 in 36 chance with Reflex 2 (83%).A 189 in 216 chance with Reflex 3 (88%)
This... isn't as bad as I thought. Even with Reflex 3, you are missing with your grenade 12% of the time. I don't hate that. The roll still matters. Yes, you can have thrown weapons 3 and reflex 3, but seriously... at that point, you are investing a LOT into being able to hit with grenades, and you get a limited supply of them, so go for it!
I just need to tweak other attacks a little bit... for example, both flame throwers and artillery can be a default DT 2. This means that you line up the artillery or flame thrower to hit where you want them to hit. I think that these are a little clumsy and hard to manage, so you'd be off with them a little bit more. 2 is pretty typical for an enemy's dodge, so we'll just go with that. If I get my 2 successes, I lined this thing up the way I wanted. I could go with one success on these as well, but then it's really easy to be a flame thrower operator (although it has very short range, and only works once per round, so it's not the awesome killer you might think it is). Artillery also is self-limiting; you can only afford so many shells. You aren't walking around firing your bazooka every round; you are preparing it before combat, firing it once or twice, and then doing other stuff.
Okay. Default DT 1 it is. This is simpler to remember, and makes more sense. The only drawback is that you have little incentive to invest in the artillery skill; this is a valuable skill point that, if you have Mind 2 or 3, I cannot see anyone wasting. I suppose I can insert more sophisticated artillery later (rockets and missiles and the like) that require more successes, but for now this works well enough. I can take the artillery skill out entirely for now, since I don't know that anyone needs it much anyway. However, the other attack abilities have a skill, so I guess I'll keep it.


Subscribe to Furiously Eclectic People aggregator - Comic Book Blogs