Thursday, August 25, 2011

Two chapters remain...

One section of the magic chapter to go, and the revised price list, new excel spreadsheet and a few diagrams and I am good to go.
Thanks again to everyone who has sent in a 'join the beta' email- its really warming to hear all the comments!

I have to say the formatting effort I put in is finally starting to make a big difference-  the beta booklet is looking pretty darn nice now, and since its all color coded into sections, streamlined etc- finding info is really easy for me.  I hope that comes across in the playtest.  I am hoping the P.O.D can handle full bleed pages so I can get color tags in the corners of the deluxe printed edition.

Anyway, that's my spare time up for tonight- back to the old green stuff tomorrow morning.  :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Aarklask lives! Kats Birthday! Double celebrations!

Kats Birthday!
Its my lovely wife Kat's birthday celebrations over the coming week- the usual bacchanalia of feasting, jousting, wenching and burnt offering animal sacrifices (or as we like to call them in Australia, BBQs) will ensue.  The upshot (or inversely, the low down) of this is I will be unable to respond to emails* for a couple of days whilst merriment is made.  If you have sent me a request for joining the beta during this time, stony silence awaits.  Picture me in a corner- (a muscular, yet intelligent looking man- clearly a leader of men, a scholar and a gentleman of letters**) whimpering with a bag of ice on my head.

 *and spoken questions with little more than a grunt and a mumble about my poor head
** Actual Dave product may vary.

Aarklash lives!  (or un-lives depending on your point of view)

Skulldred member DV8 started a thread a wee while ago about using Skulldred to fill the void left by Confrontation for using those beautiful Rackham models he had.  That got me a little inspired to start hunting down the figures I really loved and by Rackhams ghost I scored some beauties off ebay and they arrived yesterday.  I am now the proud owner of a figure I thought I had missed for good-Eijin de Vanth  (or croissant head as I prefer her) she is one of the coolest models in the art deco style I have seen- and she also usually fetches a huge price.  Amazingly, I scored a genuine one for under a tenner, a Gorgon and a bunch of zombie dwarves, morbid puppets and familiars for her warband. Very happy indead... I mean undead... I mean indeed.  I am looking forward to a quiet month once work has died down and Skulldred is out there getting bashed around!

Catch you soon Dreadlings in another gripping instalment of my blog.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Yes Dreadlings,

  Its getting really close to the release date of the core rulebook. 
  I have disabled the link to the beta 2 pdf since its way out of date, and I really would like everyone to be enjoying the huge upgrade I have given the system.
  If you would like a copy of version 3.0 for playtesting, just simply use your emaily-type-computational-thing and flick me a mail with SKULLDRED BETA in the title.  I will email you a copy when its ready!

  Beta 3.0 is a ground up rewrite, complete with new abilities, fast character building, streamlined action, combat and magic system all wrapped up in an A5 full color format that the final version will be

Progress report

I have finished shunting around data into the new chapters.  Each chapter now has a strip down the side and is colour coded, so you can flip through the booklet to the exact section you need without fuss.
The book is 83 pages right now, so with illustrations, diagrams and quickstart army lists it should be probably around the high 90's.  I cannot wait to see a printed version!

Its really awesome to see how many folks signed up for beta 3.0 so far- very exciting!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Beta 3.0 Progress

Huge progress on the beta today after a morning of sculpting mayhem.  Its really starting to come together.  I spent the majority of the time picking through duplicate rule references - if your writing your own game system, this can make a huge difference to editing and tuning- a fact I actually knew, but forgot about in the craziness of building this game.  Bad designer.  No biscuit.
I have been condensing all the exceptions to a rule in the abilities chapter and using the core rules description to assume a default model.  Huge difference in chapter size and readability now.
  The nice thing about all the rules for flying, grappling etc being in the abilities chapter is that you do not need to know or read them until you field a model with that ability.
  So I just need to pick through the spell system, rebuild the price list, price up the quickstart warbands and redo some diagrams before I can release it.

Once again, if your interested in getting a copy of the BETA 3.0 - shoot me an email with SKULLDRED CLOSED BETA in the title!

  I am feeling really happy about where the game is now. Plus, I just got a package containing some rare citadel old night horrors that I am itching to make a warband for!

Good night creatures.

Beta 3.0 goodies

Glad to hear people are excited... here are some of the features of the beta 3 booklet.

  • A5 pocket format.
  • 1 page model builder.  Dice cost flat amounts (smile Paolo!).  In fact, everything is in flat amounts.  All ability rules are back in own section where they belong.  You start with 0 dice on everything, and can buy up to size+level for shoot and combat dice, and level x 2 for magic dice.  That way you can buy big but weak monsters if you like.
  • Models may be either leaders, characters or minions.  Minions may be cowardly minions, brave minions, savage minions, squabbling minions, respawning spawn and treacherous minions.  Only minions make action rolls when outside of a leader or characters influence.  Characters control 1 span, leaders 1 long span.
  • Actions and moves separated out.  Models make 1 'free' move, and 1 action, or 2 free moves.  Any other actions must make a strength dice roll (dreadskulls)- you wager a number of strength dice, roll vs. your models level and any that roll misses are burnt.  The hits are return to your pool.
  • Models can make 'weave' moves- (2 base hops, each in any direction) or runs (1 span in a straight line).  Spans are now 4" by default.
  • Abstract concepts removed:  Downed models are now either stunned and wounded.  Dreadskulls are now called strength dice.  Wounded models can crawl around to get to a safe distance, and can be carried.
Wounds, glorious wound markers (litco mini skulls- awesome!)

  • Easy wound system. Boy I have been loving my litco skull markers!  Simple damage.  Compare your opponents hits to yours... the difference is how many wounds you cause.  A single wound is a stun... it uses a different counter to normal wounds (I use green skulls).  It can be shaken off at the start of your next turn for free if you want to risk waiting.  If the attack does 2 wounds you get a proper wound marker.  These are permanent- you must burn strength dice to remove or find a healer.  Yes, I said... HEALER.
  • Minions can only take 1 stun or a wound.  All other models stack up wounds and die once their To Kill score is reached.  If the damage of a blow equals your To Kill... your toast.
  • All attacks that land cause recoil (unless model is grabbed or snared).  If you cant recoil, you get an extra damage point.
  • You may no longer choose a lesser evil... you may only choose to press.  This speeds things up as the reaction is immediate- you dont have to wait for your opponent to tell you which option they pick.
  • Models can gang up over walls and up and down elevations.
  • Only models 2 sizes smaller can swing around- its called dart through now.  The rest can slide around the base to reposition.
  • Buffs streamlined to just 1 dice within 1 span.  Leaders buff 1 dice to all models within 1 span for all combat, shoot and magic rolls.  You can buff when engaged.
  • Cast spell is just an action- you can only cast 1 per turn.  Enemy spell casters can use counter spells.  Portal craft is a spell.  Monsters can now have magic dice and spells without being full blown sorcerers, opening portals and doing all that gumph.
  • Portals can now creep about the board.  Oooh, that spooky magic.  Walking into one makes you appear on any other side of the same marker you like... they can no longer be used to trap models in corners  (very sneaky guys!)
  • Spells have a target number to hit- the more hits, the more power the spell has. Job done.  All abilities can be lootable objects... once the model dies, it can be stolen by an enemy.

Something I want to trial out is using base range for long strike.  Simply put, you can engage folk within 1 of your base sizes away if you have the long strike ability. Mount your model on a larger base to increase its attack range- this works naturally with miniatures, as you probably need to mount spears and other polearm and whip bearing models on larger bases anyway.
Models in their enemies range, but not in their own suffer a 1 dice penalty... they must close the gap to be even.  Touching bases are grappling models... get your armoured rottweilers up close and personal to trap a model so it cannot recoil.
Longstrike uses combat dice as usual.

Love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Beta 3.0 on way

Yes dreadlings, a new skulldred looms on the darkening horizon!

Well, on the word processor, anyway.

It's a big overhaul - so I am calling it beta 3.0 and sending it out to current play testers.

This one is the same dice mechanics as before, but revises the action system with a more ergonomic game flow and less abstract concepts. The result is a slimmer book, and more narrative flow to a turn. Very exciting.

I will post here when it is released in a few days.  If you want to be on the beta, send me an email with SKULLDRED CLOSED BETA in the title!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Big shout out to Paolo

Just wanted to give a big shout out to Paolo's gaming group in italy, who have amassed ten pages of playtest notes over the last month.  Excellent work guys.

My wife was chatting to a friend of hers about Skulldred the other day.  Her friend found it amazing how one day I wrote a game because I caught the flu, and its now being played all around the world.  I had to chuckle- I had not thought about it like that.

I hope everyone's enjoying it so far!

Feedback needed

Hey folks,
I am shifting the size system to 1 for small things, 2 for humanoids, 3 horse, 4, big things, 5 large things and 6 gargantuan things (that you cannot possibly miss unless your really unlucky).  To Kill is SIZE + 1 + armour (max armour is 3- light, medium and heavy), making instant kills beat by 3.  (This means an average 2 dice troop needs to get a strategic advantage or hope the enemy drops his guard to score an instant kill.)  Hit points are available to size 4, 5 and 6 models- simply deduct damage hits from the score- they default to 4, 5 and 6 hit points.  You can buy hit points for any hero level model or greater, or models size 4+.  Cost is 5 gold- default maximum in tournament is 12.

Seems to test well at my end, let me know how you like it in your games... its a LOT of work to edit it back out if its not good, so some timely feedback is much appreciated!

I am increasing champions cost by a 10 gold flat fee, 5 for heroes.  Flat 3 gold for combat dice, shoot dice, 5gc for long strike level. 

I am taking out multiple leap and jumps- you may only leap or jump once per turn.  Add 5 to all fast move options, and add 10 to all long move options (so fly long is 40 gold).

Buff all costs +20 gold.  Battle buff +5.

The new Magic system is still coming along.  Much smoother.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Kate wins. Fatality.

Got a great Skulldred session in with my lovely wife Kate tonight.  She soundly defeated me twice in a mirror match, making a 100 percent winning streak for her.  No.  I do not let her win.  :(
I did get to try out my new 30mm bases, and we both agree it makes a huge difference to the gameplay.  Now I have to shift her figures over too.  :)

We had a dramatic battle over an aztec ruined stepped temple, with Kate trying to rescue an amazon from being roasted on a spit .  Both of us made heavy use of leaping rules, jumping from ruin to ruin and performing jump attacks onto people below!  Great fun.

One trick to a great Skulldred game we discovered was to scatter goals about the board, such as lootable treasure chests that may contain weapons and spell items.  These gave units reasons to break away from the central fight.  This will be appearing in Skulldred Scenarios!

On the book front, things are coming along nicely, with the major magic revision streamlining the chapter down to a few simple pages.  I have added portal craft, chain command, creepy and counter spell as abilities.
I settled on spells having a target number (degree) and going with casting one spell instead of performing actions that turn.  Making portals is an action, requiring the portalcraft ability.  1 action pip per portal.  Limit of 3 in play per side.  You can now walk through portals, so they cannot be used to trap non magical users.
Just have to revise through the spells and its closed beta time!

Not long now!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Progress report

Got a great editing session in to the core rulebook, and feel I have streamlined a great deal.  Magic is the only area I think needs some serious reworking before the game is publishable.  Its been a really positive session, as I finally get my head around the book after putting it down for a while!


I have replaced span, fast span and long span, with span, double span and triple span.  Its pretty obvious why this makes it easier to understand.  This means the '5 human base width' fast span now becomes 6 base widths.  This may effect the price.

I would like to rename action points to action pips.  They sound nicer.  You spend the pips on the action dice, after all.


Models smaller by 2 sizes get slammed back in a recoil. They must make a 1 span move in a straight line, or else become downed.


Suggestions for price changes are warmly welcomed right now.  I have already mentioned that steadfast units, champions etc are going up, hordes are doing down.  Comments below if you have any suggestions!  I need to lock these down pretty soon so I can do the character cards for the release.


Is getting another big overhaul- I am looking at shuffling the system around a bit.  My current thought is that casting magic is done instead of performing actions.  One spell, one turn.  Each spell has a difficulty, and that acts as the target number to hit.  The number of dice hit determines the effect of the spell.  Enemy sorcerers in range can counter the spell by rolling opposed, and can gang up if mates are handy.  The down side is if they loose they become burnt.  A burnt sorcerer cannot use magic until they recover (3 action points).
The second change I am thinking of is having the ability 'sorcerer'.  Magic dice are used to activate magical abilities, but only sorcerers can open portals, cast spells and counter spell.  That way you can have dragons with a fire breath spell, for example, or displacer beasts who can use a blink spell, but require a magic roll to do so.

This will actually make spell prices more simple, as a difficult spell should not be more expensive than an easy spell- perhaps even a flat rate.

I am also considering making certain magical abilities lootable at a cheaper cost.  The idea is if you kill a model with a lootable ability, you can pick up the object and use it yourself.  Its basically weighing up a risk.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Basing for Skulldred

Hey Dredlings,

Here are some work in progress pictures of my new Skulldred demo models sporting brand new 30mm laser cut bases.  Woot!
If you thinking of basing up a warband specifically for Skulldred I highly recommend 30mm round bases as the humanoid base of choice from 28mm scale games.
Regular slottas are only 25mm in diameter- great for when figures where 24mm scale, but since then everything has crept up a fair way.  Modern lipped bases (Warmachine, Malifaux etc) are 30mm for humans, and thats great.  Believe me, adding that extra 5mm gives you a good bit of breathing space and your less likely to damage your brilliant paint jobs in a gang up.
As a modelling freak I also like it because I get to put more decoration on them and can multibase smaller creatures together.

Hasslefree Svala B and Kaylee B- sporting a scratch built shield.

Classic 1979 Asgard miniatures.  The lizard man is mounted on a 40mm poker chip.

Wooden laser cut bases are ideal for Skulldred.

I love it when people put minis on big decorative bases.  To allow for more of this I have tweaked the rules to allow you to move through gaps based on your SIZE, rather than your base footprint.  The rule still stands that you can only place a model where its base can fit, but can squeeze through gaps in the scenery based on an arbitrary SIZE score.


These bases are cheap laser cut plywood from Aussie company Aetherworks.  In the US, you can grab some from Litco. I really like ply bases, they look like plastic once painted and are easy to pick up during play- the lipped bases can be really tricky and most people end up picking the model up by the figure- not a great way to protect your paint job!  Not having the lip also lets me decorate the base more.
For the larger bases you can also use poker chips available from cheapo stores- an old gamer trick I recently adopted.  I prefer ply though, because it soaks up the black paint, whereas the paint on the poker chips tends to chip off.


Its really kinda lonely developing Skulldred from my tiny little room.  You know, I really would love to see some pictures of your games, warbands and your players.  Send em in, or stick them up on the beta forum and make an old game developer happy!