Just discovered Chainmail

“You think your people will be free? You think you have escaped me? You mortals will have nothing but war, not a moment of peace until a new God of War rises to replace me.” Discuss the Sundered Empire featured in the Chainmail campaign setting, as it relates to pen & paper RPGs, here.

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Just discovered Chainmail

Postby RSchlock » Sun May 21, 2017 12:44 am

Hi all. Is this still an active forum?

I've just discovered Chainmail and am really excited at the prospect of a D&D-based ruleset that will give me something to do with all my painted miniatures aside from DM'ing. Skirmish based wargaming is not a thing I have a lot of experience with and this looks like it'll scratch a gaming itch for me. I don't have the funds or the will to get into Warhammer. Huge learning curve and I sort of hate having to fork over tons of money to GW for their plastic minis. I played with pewter as a kid. I love its heft and the act of preparing and painting metal minis. Also, I find the current crop of D&D boardgames to be sort of pointless and infantilizing. Halfway through a game, I realize I'd just rather be running a real dungeon crawl. So I'm really interested in running some games and getting a feel for the system.

In the meantime, I've got a few questions.

1) I have all the Dragon Magazine issues with Chris Pramas's lore articles and the gameplay columns. And I've bought the three readily accessible campaign books. Are there other places online to access this kind of material? This forum is a great resource, but there aren't any youtube actual plays or AARs that I can find. It would be nice to actually *see* people playing the game.

2) I've scoured Amazon, eBay, and Facebook miniatures trading groups for Chainmail figures. I threw down a chunk of money and got all the faction boxes, a bunch of the combo boxes, and a good number of the individual minis. Are there other places online where boxed figurines can be purchased to fill out a collection? In particular, are there any online merchants who have a good selection that can be used to round out gaps in a collection? I would *love* for example, to get my hands on the dragon boxes. Last night on eBay, a guy was selling two of them for $90 each, which is nuts. If I hadn't blown my gaming budget for the year (lol) I might have purchased them at that price. But...wow.

3) I've scoured the internet for all the supplementary materials I can find. Again, this forum is a great resource. So I have the stat cards and Battle sheets, the terrain docs, the warband generator app, the 34 page comprehensive rules doc, etc. What I *don't* have, and what I can't seem to find anywhere, is the 148 page Core Rulebook that Pramas and Cordell authored and which I think was released briefly on pdf. I can't even turn it up on the usual dubious forums. Does anyone have a line on a copy? I'm glad to pay for it and I even reached out to WoTC to see if there are plans to put it back on DrivethruRPG. So far, crickets.

4) And I guess this is the most important question: are there people playing Chainmail online using Roll20, etc.? I'm planning on running some games for my tt gaming group once I get a handle on the rules. But I'd like to have some experience of gameplay ahead of time. Any lines on active gaming groups online?

Thanks guys. And thanks, everyone, for putting together this forum. It's extremely helpful for a newbie like me.
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Re: Just discovered Chainmail

Postby Havard » Fri May 26, 2017 3:14 pm

Hello RSchlock! Welcome to the Piazza!

If you have the time later, feel free to introduce yourself in the Hello Thread.

I really wanted to get into the Chainmail Setting myself, but what has been holding me back so far is how difficult it is to get hold of all the related material. I am impressed that you have been able to collect so much of it yourself. I only have a few items yet. The Core Rulebook does seem hard to find, at least for any sort of reasonable price.

I am sorry that I don't have anything more helpful to say, but I wish you happy hunting on your continued quest!

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Re: Just discovered Chainmail

Postby Big Mac » Thu Jun 01, 2017 7:16 pm

RSchlock wrote:Hi all. Is this still an active forum?


Hi RSchlock!

Havard has beaten me to pointing you at the Hello topic, but welcome to The Piazza!

The Piazza is an active community, but what happens around here is that both popular campaign settings and cult settings are able to win forums/subforums. Chainmail is one of the more obscure D&D campaign settings (a subsetting of Greyhawk) and was only supported for part of the 3rd Edition era. So it has quite a small fanbase.

I am one of the people who has started topics here and it took me several years to build up enough of a fanbase to justify creation of this bespoke subforum. (I was very happy when that day eventually came.)

It does get slow here sometimes, but if a new person comes along and wants to discuss things I've not discovered yet, I'll always come back. (Although it's not helping that I've got some computer problems at the moment. :( )

RSchlock wrote:I've just discovered Chainmail and am really excited at the prospect of a D&D-based ruleset that will give me something to do with all my painted miniatures aside from DM'ing. Skirmish based wargaming is not a thing I have a lot of experience with and this looks like it'll scratch a gaming itch for me. I don't have the funds or the will to get into Warhammer. Huge learning curve and I sort of hate having to fork over tons of money to GW for their plastic minis. I played with pewter as a kid. I love its heft and the act of preparing and painting metal minis. Also, I find the current crop of D&D boardgames to be sort of pointless and infantilizing. Halfway through a game, I realize I'd just rather be running a real dungeon crawl. So I'm really interested in running some games and getting a feel for the system.


I knew about Chainmail in passing, but had overlooked it until a few years back, when I found out it had a built in campaign setting located on the same planet as the Greyhawk campaign setting.

Ironically, I'm mostly interested in Chainmail because I want to learn about the Sundered Empire...so I'm less interested in the Chainmail combat system...except to infer rules that can be created for tabletop games in the Chainmail area.

From what I can tell of Chainmail, the idea is to have opposing warbands created with equal point values. I want to run games where players are on the same side (if I can figure out how to do that) but I want the vibe to be the same, so I'm thinking that the PCs might work a bit like a warband, with NPC groups working a bit like other warbands.

That might be a bit different from what you want to do, but because I need to understand the skirmish rules, in order to emulate the vibe of warbands, I'd be very happy to join in with topics on various skirmish rules. (I've already started one about "Command" and how that might work in a normal D&D game.

RSchlock wrote:In the meantime, I've got a few questions.

1) I have all the Dragon Magazine issues with Chris Pramas's lore articles and the gameplay columns. And I've bought the three readily accessible campaign books. Are there other places online to access this kind of material? This forum is a great resource, but there aren't any youtube actual plays or AARs that I can find. It would be nice to actually *see* people playing the game.


I did make a Other Chainmail Websites (& Free Downloads) sticky back in 2015, but I didn't have time to go searching for more content. I'll see if I can get back to it.

One of the problems I've found (and you may have observed this yourself) is that "Chainmail" is a generic term (unlike "Greyhawk" or "Dragonlance") so I do get false positives turning up in the search engine results and that makes it harder to find things.

I also find that people consider Chainmail to be both a board game and a tabletop RPG (depending on what an individual product is) so there are a few websites that ignore half of the Chainmail product line (on the grounds that it falls outside their area of interest). I do have my own area of interest, but I find that I can sometimes infer something interesting from products that might not be especially useful to me. (Hissing Pools is one of the things that I found pretty interesting.)

I've not actually looked for actual play. I've looked at Let's Play videos of computer games set in D&D settings before. I suppose there might be Let's Play Chainmail videos out there somewhere. If you find any before me, please drop the links in my links sticky topic, and I'll see where I can fit them in. :)

RSchlock wrote:2) I've scoured Amazon, eBay, and Facebook miniatures trading groups for Chainmail figures. I threw down a chunk of money and got all the faction boxes, a bunch of the combo boxes, and a good number of the individual minis. Are there other places online where boxed figurines can be purchased to fill out a collection? In particular, are there any online merchants who have a good selection that can be used to round out gaps in a collection? I would *love* for example, to get my hands on the dragon boxes. Last night on eBay, a guy was selling two of them for $90 each, which is nuts. If I hadn't blown my gaming budget for the year (lol) I might have purchased them at that price. But...wow.


It sounds like you are ahead of me here.

I pretty much wrote of the idea of being able to catch up with official Chainmail minis and decided that I would probably use other miniatures to stand in for the official ones.

I certainly wouldn't pay $90.00 for minis. That is nuts. :o

There are a few miniatures collectors websites out there. Some of them might be able to help you create a checklist of minis you want. I believe that some Chainmail miniatures were cancelled, before being released, which is going to complicate things for you. (That's one of the other reasons why I thought I might just use different miniatures.)

I think we have less topics about miniatures at The Piazza. It certainly isn't a banned subject, but I think that a lot of people focus on the settings (and the rules). Chainmail certainly is fairly mini-heavy and I think that it might be appropriate to have some mini websites listed in the links sticky.

RSchlock wrote:3) I've scoured the internet for all the supplementary materials I can find. Again, this forum is a great resource. So I have the stat cards and Battle sheets, the terrain docs, the warband generator app, the 34 page comprehensive rules doc, etc. What I *don't* have, and what I can't seem to find anywhere, is the 148 page Core Rulebook that Pramas and Cordell authored and which I think was released briefly on pdf. I can't even turn it up on the usual dubious forums. Does anyone have a line on a copy? I'm glad to pay for it and I even reached out to WoTC to see if there are plans to put it back on DrivethruRPG. So far, crickets.


I've compiled links for some of those other things, but the Core Rulebook is a pig to get hold of.

You are probably wasting your time talking to Wizards of the Coast about it. I would suggest going to DriveThru RPG (who operate DMs Guild for Wizards of the Coast) and asking them to sell the Core Rulebook. They might then go to WotC for permission and WotC will be more inclined to listen to them. :D

I'd like to see that made available too. I'd love it as a freebie (as it was originally released as a freebie) but I'd also like to see them put it out in Print on Demand format. But anything is better than nothing, as this would go a long way towards unlocking the campaign setting for many people.

RSchlock wrote:4) And I guess this is the most important question: are there people playing Chainmail online using Roll20, etc.? I'm planning on running some games for my tt gaming group once I get a handle on the rules. But I'd like to have some experience of gameplay ahead of time. Any lines on active gaming groups online?


That's a good question. Not one that I have the answer to. But Roll 20 is system neutral, so it would work just as well for wargamming.

One aspect of Chainmail that might be a bit tricky is the application of terrain. From what I understand of the rules, you can have warbands that include terrain, as well as miniatures. I believe that you have some sort of "building phase" at the start of the combat, where both players can drop down their terrain onto the battlefield. That sort of thing doesn't really make sense in the context of a tabletop game, so I've not thought about it too much*. But from a Roll 20 point of view, it boils down the this question: "Can anyone other than the GM put objects onto the grid?" If the grid is reserved for GMs then you couldn't play Roll 20 games involving terrain. But if anyone can be "authorised" to drop things, it wouldn't be an issue.

* = I suppose that I could drop an NPC warband and some related terrain down in the same place as a random encounter. The logic for that would be that a group of hostile NPCs are hanging around the location of the terrain for some sort of reason.

RSchlock wrote:Thanks guys. And thanks, everyone, for putting together this forum. It's extremely helpful for a newbie like me.


Thanks back to you.

It's great to have another person to talk to.

And you have asked some interesting questions.

We should probably split off any big discussions into their own topics. That would make it easier for other people to find those topics on search engines and join in. :)
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Re: Just discovered Chainmail

Postby RSchlock » Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:37 pm

Thanks for the replies, guys. Big Mac, I took your advice and reached out to DriveThruRPG. This was their canned reply:

Hello,

Thank you for your inquiry.

We here at DMSGuild don't determine the order of release for products nor the release dates. The publisher has asked us to let customers know that they should submit suggestions on release schedule to Wizards of the Coast on the D&D FaceBook page - https://www.facebook.com/dungeonsanddragons or via their Customer Support page here - http://wizards.custhelp.com/app/answers ... 3/session/

Thank you for your business and please let us know if we can be of any further assistance.

Jeff Montgomery
Customer Service
DMSGuild.com


Sooooo, I'll make a request with WotC through their customer service page, but it's not looking good. So irritating.
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Re: Just discovered Chainmail

Postby Big Mac » Tue Jun 06, 2017 12:59 pm

RSchlock wrote:Thanks for the replies, guys. Big Mac, I took your advice and reached out to DriveThruRPG. This was their canned reply:

Hello,

Thank you for your inquiry.

We here at DMSGuild don't determine the order of release for products nor the release dates. The publisher has asked us to let customers know that they should submit suggestions on release schedule to Wizards of the Coast on the D&D FaceBook page - https://www.facebook.com/dungeonsanddragons or via their Customer Support page here - http://wizards.custhelp.com/app/answers ... 3/session/

Thank you for your business and please let us know if we can be of any further assistance.

Jeff Montgomery
Customer Service
DMSGuild.com


Sooooo, I'll make a request with WotC through their customer service page, but it's not looking good. So irritating.


Good luck. I've tried Tweeting the official Dungeons & Dragons account on Twitter. Hopefully they still have the files available.

In the meantime, why not start a topic, or two, about the things you are interested in. Someone who owns the book (and other books) can give you a brief overview of what you might be getting. :)
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Re: Just discovered Chainmail

Postby Big Mac » Tue Jun 06, 2017 7:32 pm

Big Mac wrote:Good luck. I've tried Tweeting the official Dungeons & Dragons account on Twitter. Hopefully they still have the files available.


I got this reply from Wizards of the Coast:
@Wizards_Help on Twitter wrote:David, thank you for getting this information to us. We'll be sure your request gets to the proper teams for review.


I do hope they will let D&D Classics add a Chainmail section to the store. They are letting them add every other type of D&D product, that WotC own the rights to, so I'm guessing that this stuff was just overlooked. :)
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Re: Just discovered Chainmail

Postby Big Mac » Sat Jun 10, 2017 7:49 pm

Mike Mearls says he is going to try to help!
@mikemearls on Twitter wrote:I loved the Sundered Empire! I've painted about half the entire Chainmail line. Will see about finding those files. #wotcstaff


I hope he can find the files. :cool:
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Re: Just discovered Chainmail

Postby RSchlock » Sun Jun 11, 2017 9:51 pm

Okay, that's seriously cool. I guess if you make enough noise, eventually someone hears you!

Really busy at the moment, but I've got a couple of things to share here later this summer. One is an Excel spreadsheet of all the available minis. I've been using it to track my collection and I figured others might find it useful as well. It would be cool to see paint jobs as well.

The other (and this is a little more complicated, so it'll take more time) is a Roll20 conversion for Chainmail. I'm scanning the terrain pieces & character tokens, and writing macros for the game elements. Once this is done, it should be pretty straightforward to run an online Chainmail game. I'll make new posts when these are close to fruition.

In the meantime, thanks!
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Re: Just discovered Chainmail

Postby Big Mac » Sun Jun 11, 2017 10:53 pm

RSchlock wrote:Okay, that's seriously cool. I guess if you make enough noise, eventually someone hears you!


Sometimes you just need to be in the right place at the right time. Sometimes you keep looking for something and eventually you get lucky.

(It took me several years to "win" the Chainmail forum and some other forums I was trying to "win".)

RSchlock wrote:Really busy at the moment, but I've got a couple of things to share here later this summer. One is an Excel spreadsheet of all the available minis. I've been using it to track my collection and I figured others might find it useful as well. It would be cool to see paint jobs as well.


That sounds useful.

RSchlock wrote:The other (and this is a little more complicated, so it'll take more time) is a Roll20 conversion for Chainmail. I'm scanning the terrain pieces & character tokens, and writing macros for the game elements. Once this is done, it should be pretty straightforward to run an online Chainmail game. I'll make new posts when these are close to fruition.

In the meantime, thanks!


The Roll 20 game sounds fun. Are you going to run a skirmish game or a conventional D&D adventure?
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Re: Just discovered Chainmail

Postby Big Mac » Thu Nov 02, 2017 1:14 pm

Big Mac wrote:Mike Mearls says he is going to try to help!
@mikemearls on Twitter wrote:I loved the Sundered Empire! I've painted about half the entire Chainmail line. Will see about finding those files. #wotcstaff


I hope he can find the files. :cool:


Weird. I can't find Mike Mearls's Tweet any more. :?
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Re: Just discovered Chainmail

Postby shesheyan » Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:03 pm

Hello !

Never got into Chainmail myself... and I hate GW. I'm a veteran wargamer and haven't given them a penny for the last 6 years. So many better and cheaper games are available these days.

Alternatively, you could look at Frostgrave by Osprey publishings. Its a rules lite wargame (1 vs 1) that uses a d20 to hit. They company doesn't sell official miniatures. They recommend you use your Chainmail and D&D minis to create a party of henchmen lead by a wizard and his apprentice. The system is made for campaign play. I played a few games and its really has an old D&D vibe. Anyone who has played D&D will understand how to play this game very quickly.

https://ospreypublishing.com/frostgrave
Last edited by shesheyan on Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Just discovered Chainmail

Postby shesheyan » Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:13 pm

Also, for wargames Roll20 might not be the best engine.

Vassal has many modules you can use to play all kinds of wargames. They don't currently have a Chainmail module but they let people to create new modules.

They do have a D&D Miniatures (2003) module if you want to make a test run of Vassal :
http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module ... Miniatures
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Re: Just discovered Chainmail

Postby Big Mac » Mon Nov 06, 2017 10:52 am

shesheyan wrote:Hello !

Never got into Chainmail myself... and I hate GW. I'm a veteran wargamer and haven't given them a penny for the last 6 years. So many better and cheaper games are available these days.


GW? Do you mean Games Workshop? I've not bought much from them since they dropped Dungeons & Dragons from their stores.

Chainmail wasn't published by GW - it was published by WotC. It was published in the early part of the 3rd Edition Era and there were a lot of references to the Sundered Empire (set on Oerth, far west of the Flanaess) in the slim books that were published for it.

shesheyan wrote:Alternatively, you could look at Frostgrave by Osprey publishings. Its a rules lite wargame (1 vs 1) that uses a d20 to hit. They company doesn't sell official miniatures. They recommend you use your Chainmail and D&D minis to create a party of henchmen lead by a wizard and his apprentice. The system is made for campaign play. I played a few games and its really has an old D&D vibe. Anyone who has played D&D will understand how to play this game very quickly.

https://ospreypublishing.com/frostgrave


I've actually been wondering how easy (or possible) it would be to raid plots from Frostgrave and reboot them so that they fit into Chainmail's Sundered Empire.

shesheyan wrote:Also, for wargames Roll20 might not be the best engine.

Vassal has many modules you can use to play all kinds of wargames. They don't currently have a Chainmail module but they let people to create new modules.

They do have a D&D Miniatures (2003) module if you want to make a test run of Vassal :
http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module ... Miniatures


Interesting. Does Vassal have any plots built into it?
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Re: Just discovered Chainmail

Postby shesheyan » Mon Nov 06, 2017 4:26 pm

Big Mac wrote:GW? Do you mean Games Workshop? I've not bought much from them since they dropped Dungeons & Dragons from their stores.

Chainmail wasn't published by GW - it was published by WotC. It was published in the early part of the 3rd Edition Era and there were a lot of references to the Sundered Empire (set on Oerth, far west of the Flanaess) in the slim books that were published for it.


Yes I meant Games Workshop. Sorry for misleading. I'm aware that Chainmail was published by WoTC. (or by TSR in 1971 or in 1985 under the name Battle System ;) )

Big Mac wrote:I've actually been wondering how easy (or possible) it would be to raid plots from Frostgrave and reboot them so that they fit into Chainmail's Sundered Empire.


I haven't read the campaign books. But Frostgrave is D&D oriented so I'm guessing that it would be easy to recycle the plots based on what I read in the core book.

Big Mac wrote:Interesting. Does Vassal have any plots built into it?


No plots. Pure wargaming. Missions and plot lines are left to the players to decide before de game begins.
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