Friday, 29 July 2011

The Farce Strikes Back

Similar title, similar-ish set of events during last nights Star Wars RPG session. Same major commodity i.e. LUCK.

The evening commenced my presentation of the serious injury system that I previously threatened and finally done something about. Well done me....... eventually.

A quick bit of retroactive playtest later and we have a system that we're all happy with to replace the rulebook character death system that would have seen us two down already!

Basically, anytime one of the chaps goes unconscious, due to zero hit points or GM ruling, they make a Constitution check. Base DC (Difficulty Check) is 10 with +5 if the hit was greater than Threshold and +5 if the event is deemed severe (crashing a speeder bike at 300 kmph) on a cumulative basis.

Pass, dust yourself off and keep going. Fail by graduations of 5 to receive a Stun, Light, Heavy or Severe wound each with their own effects. Fail by more than 20 or a natural 1 is a death. Force Point expenditure is allowed except for the natural 1. I want to encourage proper ROLE-play rather than character generation!

So recapping form last time its a semi salvage mission of a Trade Federation transport which has someone else's wrecked / holed  shuttle docked to it. It was wrecked / holed  from the inside!

Plan A: Swing in close to allow and EVA recon of the scragged shuttle and then move up alongside the transport's bridge pod. Cut into bridge pod, eliminate resistance, power up various systems, use the computer to search the manifest for the target cargo and anything else high value, grab the above and leg it.
What happened next: Pilot / Co-Pilot checks for flying in danger close. Fail the first. Check again to correct / avoid collision. Fail. One more time to minimise impact. Natural 1s from both pilot and co-pilot. Oh dear! At least they weren't serious injury checks!!

We then spent a good 5-10 mins working out how to calculate the collision damage bearing in mind that the ships has just over 30 HPs total and we are talking low speed. A few bulkheads buckled and the ship is firmly wedged into the transport.

Plan B: EVA to the scragged shuttle, lightsaber out a bigger hole and do the job the hard way.

Long story short Plan B was a relative success. I had some fun making the boys take plenty of Perception checks for operating in their EVA suits and the hard vacuum where no-one can hear you scream as long as they turn the comm-link down!
A random Roger-Roger droid floated out form underneath the transport and I only sent notes to those who passed Perception being interested to see what they'd do. Charlie just tracked his, saying nothing, then lost it on a natural 1. Mr Christian was a tad more trigger happy shooting it and then Ian in the back for max damage.

The droid never fired. Was it taken out before it could fire or already decommissioned? I know but the boys never will including Ian who was mighty vexed, especially as he had to quickly repair his newly leaking space-suit. All good fun!

Edging into the shuttle's cold, dark, zero G cargo hold I adopted a similar approach. Four floating humanoid shapes turned out to be two dead crew and a couple of battle droids. The first one got hammered twice over due to paranoid fervour and then whacked with a stick for good measure by the increasingly jumpy Mr C. It probably didn't help him that everytime the droids randomised for a target they chose him!

Rounding out events Aaron overrode the door-lock to get into the cockpit, probably looking for somewhere to hide, which vented its minimal atmosphere to find the shuttle's recently deceased pilot in his seat helmet-less due to bingo air in his suit. How recently dead?

Once again, all good fun, .....especially for me :)

Thursday, 28 July 2011

7TV Strikes Back

At the club this week myself and Rich played out our follow up game of 7TV Star Wars following the Empire's comprehensive victory a couple of weeks ago in capturing everyone except Luke.

Back to Tatooine the heroes are being held in a Hutt controlled enclave that happens to have a handy carbonation facility, doubtless for flash-freezing those who fail to make their interest payments on time!

Empire forces of Vader plus Stormtroopers in the enclave, Rebel Rescue Force stage right featuring Luke, Leia, Lando and Golden-Rod himself!
Said facility is in the compound on the top left of the above shot. As long as its manned I'd add D6 to its countdown track each turn looking for the magic number of 25. I'd even practised a number of evil chuckles to accompany!
The local Overlord and his many minions look on. As the Empire player I was earning VPs for carbonation and also interrogating as many of the locals as possible in the never ending quest for "Rebel Scum".
Qui-Gon Jinn adopts the default Jedi cunning disguise of  a hooded cloak and infiltrates the enclave and locates the target compound. Has Rich learnt from last time out?
Vader rolls well for his Cameo and appears on Turn 1, though in his haste to gloat over his captives brushes aside the old hermit in his not at all suspicious brown robes that no-one of any interest anywhere in the galaxy ever wears......
Hypnotise Jedi mind tricks at the gate and on one of the patrols do the job. Just another couple of happy newlyweds honey-mooning on Tatooine with their protocol droid. Ahhh!
Qui-Gon quaffs his Invisibility Serum (Gadget) which just about takes effect after a Dodgy Gadget event card and a far bit of Luck is expended. Potentially and early game-changer!
Left to their own devices the Rebel Troopers storm through the main gates somewhat ineffectually only to be shot to pieces and then run-over by a Dewback. Cue evil grin :)
Back at the compound its all kicked off. With the Carbonator running at 19 points Vader is too little to handle all the Rebel stars by himself and Han's freezing is stopped in its tracks.

Despite using Telekinesis to throw a crate through Luke and Lando he's forced to withdraw whilst taking a quick swipe at Leia on the way out. Even with all of his Luck and Heroic Surge spent he's still dangerous but can't stop the inevitable. The captives are released!
Despite mounting Rebel casualties the released prisoners keep them from having to take Morale checks and the game is swinging one way.

The Empire changes tactics concentrating on taking down the remaining Rebel Troopers and their transports. Vader's Telekinesis is useful once again being used to smash Luke's speeder into a wall quickly destroying it!
The blood-lusted Dewback Rams Lando's speeder damaging it heavily but taking itself and its rider out in the process though thankfully modern stunt-trickery ensures that no animals were actually harmed. Shame about the stunt-man though!
In vicious display of squeaky balloons Qui-Gon and Luke gang up on a rapidly wearing Vader for an inevitable result though as always He'll Return!
In the closing scenes Lando crashes his speeder which is quickly Stormtroopered taking out the last few Rebel Troopers and dragging off Lando. Hopefully he's got a decent agent!

With both sides on Morale checks we called it as I doubted the Stormtroopers would last too long without Vader. The Rebellion have done the job at a high cost, though get a Solid Victory on VPs 10 - 5.

Post game analysis centred around the cast lists. I had fun as the Empire and have learned to co-ordinate the use of Minions to make them much more effective. I pushed Rich hard, wiping out his Rebel Trooper Minions, Shaking his cast into taking Morale checks and capturing a Co-Star, Lando.

But with only one Star myself in Vader it was always and uphill struggle without the Luck, Gadgets and Skills at my disposable to have a decent crack at his big names. Vader has 2 Luck, Leia 5 to herself! Once Vader was down and the captives released I was facing 8 Stars and Co-Stars including 3 Jedi. Even with the released captives unable to attack they were still impossible for Stormtroopers to take down.

Just a matter of balance and as we discussed there aren't that many named Empire characters. There is the Coruscant Gaurd and a number of Commando types as well as any number of Bounty Hunters other than Mr Fett.

For a mutil-player campaign you each pick a faction and then generate your own charcaters. Each episode Luke / Vader et al can make various Cameo appearances on either side fitting in with campaign results to date to provide a central narrative.

Wookiepedia to the fore!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Raising the Roof

As I type i'm sat watching the Wallabies tearing the Boks apart in the first Tri-Nations test that I recorded from yesterday.

After playing a few hours of football this afternoon, more impressive to those who know me, I've watched the last 90 minutes of today's cricket and the F1 highlights, which made it seem like the most action packed race so far this season.

All this sports viewing has been the background to putting the final construction touches to the barn. Rather pleased!

Whilst playing around with Google Images fro reference material I've come across Pennsylvania Dutch barn hex signs which all lends very well to St Peytersburg and as usual I had no idea what-so-ever!!

All my scenario-writing efforts and time have been Star Wars focused recently as the new gaming chapter opens up and as such nothing has really happened on that score for St P. To be honest it isn't likely to for a while and so I've decided to concentrate on sorting out the figures and scenery until I can devote the proper time to get back to gaming it.

It might be a while and with a good hobby start to the year I'm happier with a more relaxed pace for a while. Aiming at the autumn with the nights drawing in and a bit of a nip in the air seems to fit all to well :)

Thursday, 21 July 2011

The Emperor's New Clothes

So Tuesday night at the club I got in my first game of of Mantic Games' Kings of War. Very much a learning game with Shaun's placcy-grey horde of Dwarves against Stuart's somewhat less grey Undead.

My pre-game impression / belief / assumption was that the, admittedly free, rules were likely to be little more than window dressing to Mantic's apparent "play Warhammer at half the price" business model.

Having played through a single game my impression / belief / assumption seems to have been vindicated.
Don't get me wrong it was enjoyable enough and did a job but just left me feeling like there should have been MORE. It felt like playing a re-worked version of Warhammer but super stripped down.

I liked a lot of the mechanisms and apparent ethos of the game. Even the unit removal, rather than figure removal, casualty system didn't freak me too massively.

The whole game just seemed too limited and a couple of days later I think its just a shame as with a bit more put into it it could be so much better / rewarding to play.
But it is what it is and shouldn't have to apologise for being so. It was just the way that the post game chat turned so quickly to how certain tweaks could give so much more.

It felt, to me, that I was playing a higher level game, Mantic themselves suggest that its a big battles game, but as such it should be played at 15 or 10 mil?

The idea of playing fantasy Impetus was discussed. Basic Impetus is another free rule-set but with a lot more completeness to it!
Elsewhere, I have raised and clad my barn, sans roof, and it's become quite a chunky beast.

I tried Spray Mount to apply the pre-planked balsa to good effect at a rate of knots, definitely worth the relative expensive. All the wall sections were then glue-gunned together at which point I noticed just how thick the walls were! As a bonus I don't think I necessarily need to base it.
Just doors, a bit of strip detailing and a removable roof to go which is all quite pleasing.

Pretty happy to build the Church in the same way when the time comes, just adding a built in floor with maybe a little stage / lectern, cross etc. Need to think a bit about windows with that one. A google image search should do the job.

Illuminating?? :)

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Born in a Barn??

Back in the good / bad old days of working for the big dad Gee-Dub-Ya a major personal highlight was getting to build loads of scenery. As it was for the shop I could experiment as I went and rarely planned that much.

So this time round its the same enjoyment but a good deal more fore-thought. Initially looking to build a barn I've knocked up a taped together shell with dimensions based on a 28mm figure.

To check size I've lined it up against Mr Peyterson, his store, stables, coach and employee. It was looking a bit too tall until compared to the coach at which point I felt much happier. Maybe its a bit pointy but I want that Dutch / Sleep Hollow look. I think I'll go with what I've got, ......suck it and see!

Next stage is detailing, internal as well as external. I've got sections of balsa to provide a veneer of planking, pre-biro'd, to then add doors, windows etc etc.

Tomorrow I need to go and pick up some card mount for basing and roofs. I could also do with a bit more foam-card because I've made up a second shell, realising that the same dimensionscould work for a local church, I just need to make up the requisite bell tower.

Nerd me up Mr Stationer!! :)

Friday, 15 July 2011

Gunboat Diplomacy

Thank Thrud it's Friday!

Going back to work, early mornings in the gym and life in general has been utterly knackering. I have at least got two gaming nights in but nothing else hobby wise though that's not too much of a worry after last week.

Tuesday night at the club I has a go at Spartan Games latest offering Distopian Wars. Having played quite a bit of Uncharted Seas it was pretty much the same game with a bit more going on.

Supposedly Steam-Punk its only really the models and boarding actions with rocket troops that begin to convey this. Otherwise it seems to be a simple WWI / WWII naval game.

The soon to be released Antarctican faction looks nice and we didn't really use the full air or any of the land forces so maybe I'm wrong but I find it relatively unlikely that I am. One to wonder about.

Thursday night was a bit more Star Wars RPG and after a bit of internal tension last time out. A few of the lads have privately informed me of their reservations as to their bosses actions last week and made it clear where their own moral line in the sand was drawn. More importantly they were prepared to back it up with action!

In the end everything pretty much diffused itself as when returning to the scene they discovered that the salvage crew had abandoned ship, disengaging their cockpit escape shuttle and heading for the closest chance of help.

Slight tension as everyone looks at each other for a lead on what to do. Hunt them down or let them go. Let them go,...for now!

Boarding the remainder of the spaced shuttle they had to deal with the lack of atmosphere, gravity or illumination plus an older model salvage droid left to fire foot long pitons at them. Said conditions made it an interesting encounter with the turning being the sudden restoration of the gravity.

Just about everyone hit the floor hard, including the Salvage Droid, for Mormar to administer the cou de grace despite leading from the rear again!

Looting just about everything in sight it soon became clear that all the best salvage gear had been taken and that there used to be a deep space sked on board. Taking on board the remains of the recently downed Salvage Droid and another model that had been in mid-repair the same choice came up....Hunt them down or let them go.

Let them go,...for now!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Rainbow Nations

Now don't worry I'm not about to get all PC or controversial on yo' ass, or at least I don't intend to.

More, this is recounting a train of thought I had recently whilst finishing off the St Peytersburg civilians and supernaturals.

I'm not very good / confident with Caucasian skin-tone, never have been. I'm much better / more confident with dark (African / South American) skin-tones.

So why don't I paint more of my figures with darker skin-tones?

Okay, so with historical figures these things are pretty much set for you and figures are scultped to reflect racial characteristics, i.e. the choice is taken away from you

So what about fantasy / sci-fi figures / armies? Why are Space Marines / Imperial Gaurd / Empire / Bretons etc 99% Caucasian? Is it because the gaming community itself is 99% Caucasian? Does that make it uncomfortable for said community to paint dark skin-tones by choice?

With my Mantic Zombies for alternative AWI I painted roughly a third as Negros. My mate Shaun commented that it made them look like emaciated slaves. Another mate of mine once did a USMC themed Imperial Guard army with an all Negro conscript platoon based on "Operation: Get Behind the Darkies" from South Park complete with a converted "Chef" and two lady-friends. Right / wrong / funny / inappropriate. What would have happened if he took the army to an event and a person of colour made a complaint?

So, back at the point, when I was recently struggling with the Ghoul Family why didn't I turn to a strength rather than continue with a known weakness? I could provide multiple answers but the most honest one would be that I didn't feel "comfortable".


Commentary, preferably balanced, welcome :)

Sunday, 10 July 2011

The Week Off - Epilogue

Huzzah and hoorah!!

I have FINALLY finished of the St Peytersburg civilians. Poor little peeps they've already suffered my ignorance just to become scenario objectives and / or zombie fodder. 14 PPs I thank you.

But no scenery and no scenarios which need to become my immediate focus along with a longer Star Wars story arc. Hmmm, best get on really. Ready yourself for a few filler posts!

Only joking ?? :)

Friday, 8 July 2011

The Week Off - Day 5

The Friday feeling is a bit different as I wonder where the week has gone and then don't really give a monkey's as I've greatly enjoyed being busy doing very little.

I have finished off the St Peytersburg supernaturals. Mr and Mrs Coven have proved quite taxing to paint due to their very simplicity and the fact that I'm not very good with flat detail. She's modelled on Nanny Ogg and I wanted something other than black robes for him though as I type I wonder if a flat brown set of monk's robes would have worked? Oh well, 4 PPs for the lot.
Meanwhile the civilians are almost done but I've had enough for the day and am feeling the pull of the X-Box. An easy finish at some point over the weekend!

Meanwhile here's some other shots of my previous offerings, hopefully they're somewhat better / clearer. I really should sort out a proper setup. Anyway, GTA IV awaits!

The Week Off - Day 4 - Prt III

As threatened we round out the day with another space based session of Star Wars RPG.

Having recently pinged up a level we had the usual housekeeping to complete as well as refreshing the current plot position i.e. having just arrived at the asteroid mining facility Persephony in the ship that they've spent blood and tears having repaired seriously shot up! Deja-vu?

To gain a berth at Persephony our band must carry out a shady salvage operation on a re-directed Trade Federation transport. They're not the first group employed for the job but the first lot didn't come back and other salvagers may now be on the trail.

After a quick bit of trade and repair the lads limped off and soon snuck up on a set of real salvagers and engaged in their favourite past time of heavily debating courses of action, much to my amusement.

Having had a go at stealth they lost their bottle and switched to a poor line in bluff swiftly moving on to all out attack. With rules, supplements, I-Pads and a laptop all brought to bear we worked our way through the combat which was quickly brought to a close by two concussion missiles fired into their unsuspecting foe.
Disabling their unsuspecting competitors things turned nasty with Mormar, their glorious leader, continuing to hammer fire into them trying to demand a surrender whilst not fancying the risk of a boarding action. Opinions were genuinely split amongst the party with the Jedi about to act as with engines and weapons further disabled they boys moved off.  Still some talk of coming back for afters!

Locating the Trade Federation transport it was quickly established that all power, life support, gravity and atmosphere was at a likely nil. More worrying was the shuttle moored to it's port side, heavily damaged and breached, seemingly form the inside.

From the engineering and command sections all of these functions could be restored but that would be the long way round. If only they had access to proper salvage gear......

Oh, hang on a minute!? :)

Thursday, 7 July 2011

The Week Off - Day 4 - Prt II

Progress Report:

Meet the Ghoul family, your friendly local Necromancer and the terror of your nearest deep dark wood. 10 PPs I thank you but a major decision to make for tomorrow, paint the civvies or build a barn?? Hmm

The Week Off - Day 4 - Prt I

Right, so it's just coming up on 2 pm and I'm finally about to pick up a brush. I'll be shouldering arms by half 6 prior to this evening's Star Wars RPG session.

Here's the state of play. I just need to make a mug of tea and then good to go!