Friday, December 31, 2021

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Deepnight Revelation #11


Captain's Log - T258

Mr Khan's team had been recovered and are now onboard the Deepnigh Revelation. Unfortunately, we have lost three more crew members in the mission, and Lieutenant Nidesh has suffered a spinal injury, although Dr Cho assures me that he will make a full recovery.

The first sign that the mission was going to be more difficult than we had anticipated was when scans revealed that the asteroid had in fact been modified extensively to become effectively a 2km long starship. When the Amelia Earhart attempted to land on its surface, several metallic panels on its sides opened up, revealing themselves to be in fact weapon ports. Deepnight Revelation was forced to withdraw from its shadowing position from the mass-driver weapons, and the Amelia Earhart suffered damage to one of her wings, causing her to crash onto the surface of the asteroid; it was during this that Lieutenant Nidesh suffered his injuty.

Mr Khan led the team onto the surface to try to find a way inside the asteroid-ship to either override its controls or to plant the nuclear charge. Here they were attacked by more of the spider droids which they have previously encountered on the surface of Claimed-in-Hope. The team were outnumbered and surrounded, but managed to make it to one of the hatches that led into the ship, but we lost Troopers Trokh and Kaylan, and Nuclear Technician Feldmann in the running battle.

Once inside the ship, the crew had to overcome more spider droids, but they were able to make it to the command room of the asteroid, where Ensign Soong Jahangir was able to hack into the mainframe and disable it.

Captain's Log - T263

We are scheduled to depart Sovereign tomorrow.

The Erlines have helped us repair the damage to the Amelia Earhart. At Mission Command's recommendation, we have taken into our inventory 43 spider droids found on the asteroid-ship, which the Erlines have helped us to convert to remote-control mode. Our Draysirvian crew have been training with the Erlines on how to operate the controls - these droids will no doubt give us more tactical flexibility and reduce the risk to our crew in future missions.

With the information downloaded from the asteroid-ship, we were able to reconstruct what had happened to the Erline Homeworld. 

The asteroid-ship, named Guardian by the Erlines, was originally constructed by the Erlines to help them fend off threats to their civilisation. It possessed an Artificial Intelligence that had enormous computing powers and was linked to the Erlines' databases. It also possessed construction capabilities that allowed it mine raw materials from asteroids, manufacture spider droids and smaller craft, and eventually to create copies of itself. 

It seemed that a century ago, one of their ships became contaminated by Gren spores and unknowingly carried it back to their Homeworld. The Gren infestation spread, but the Erlines were eventually able to contain and destroy the threat. However, the Guardian regarded the threat of spread to the other Erline colonies to be unacceptable, and decided to not only eradicate all life on the Erline Homeworld, but also send copies of itself to other Erline colonies that were possibly exposed to the spores.

Fortunately for the Erlines, the Guardian and its copies did not possess the capability to create the Jump drive, so it had taken a century before one of them had reached Sovereign.

The Erlines now plan to retrofit the captured Guardian with a Jump drive, and using the information collected from it reach their other colonies and warn them of the threat, and to help neutralise them.

Prepping and Running the Game

I have been lagging in the writing of the game reports, to the extent that the two previous reports did not have a "Prepping and Running" section. I apologise for that.

The plant/biologic and the Erline arcs of the campaign went pretty much as per the modules. What I did not expect (but should have) was the players' request to take over the spider-droids remaining on the asteroid-ship. Since these were of Erline design, I found it a reasonable request, and given that the Amelia Earhart had to be repaired, they would have ample time to make the necessary modifications.

With the biologic and Erline arcs completed, we are now into the final arc and the finale of the campaign, which we will play in the new year.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Deepnight Revelation #10

Captain's Log - T188

We have detected radio signals in the Erline language during our latest refueling stop, and Mission Command had decided that we will head towards the source of the signal and hopefully make contact with the species.

Separately, I have promoted Ensign Nidesh to the rank of Lieutenant, Junior Grade, for his performance on the mission so far.

Captain's Log - T196

We are still in orbit above the Erline world, which they call Sovereign. Sovereign is not the home planet for the Erline species. According to Minister Chazik, the Erlines civilisation once spanned many star systems, but about a hundred years ago the colony of Sovereign lost contact with the home planet and the other colonies. It was only in the past thirty years that Sovereign had managed to build up the industrial capacity to produce jump-capable ships. Since then they have managed to colonise a planet in a nearby system, but they have yet to make contact with their home world or any other Erline colony.

However, they lost contact with the colony, named Claimed-in-Hope, about six weeks ago, and all the ships they have sent since have failed to return.

Minister Chazik had been most welcoming and helpful to us, and in return for their hospitality Mr Stamper has agreed to take the Amelia Earhart to Claimed-in-Hope to re-establish contact with the colonists there and find out what happened to the ships.

Captain's Log - T223

Mr Stamper has returned and debriefed the Mission Command team on what the crew encountered on Claimed-in-Hope.

When they arrived at the system they found debris consistent with Erline ships in the asteroid belt surrounding the planet. Crewman Ajax was sensed a presence in the asteroid field, and a focused scan revealed a craft of Erline design hiding in the asteroid field.

Mr Stamper ordered the Amelia Earhart to intercept the craft, which tried to to evade their pursuit. When the Amelia Earhart got close enough to the craft, Dr Belilaika was able to hack into its computer and order it to stop. It turned out that the craft was an unmanned vessel with the command to destroy all ships which attempt to leave the system.

The crew then approached the planet, where they learned that the city of Claimed-in-Hope had been destroyed in what appears to be an asteroid strike. There were no survivors in the city.

Mr Stamper then sent a team to one of the fishing settlements outside the city. Here the crew were attacked by droids of Erline design, and Trooper Garger was killed in the ensuing fight. The crew found the populace of the settlement had all been killed by the droids, and the same was true in all the other settlements on Claimed-in-Hope. All told, some 20,000 Erline settlers have been lost, plus the crew of the ships that have been destroyed by the craft.

Mr Stamper now proposes a mission to the Erline Homeworld, to see if a similar fate had befallen them.

Captain's Log - T246

Mr Stamper has reported that the Erline Homeworld appears to have been completely devastated by a series of asteroid attacks, which explains why the Erlines have lost contact with it suddenly a century ago.

Rather ominously, the comet which Astrography detected last week continues to approach Sovereign. It is now close enough for Astrography to detect that it had been making minute course corrections. We have yet to inform the Erline about our latest findings. I shall be meeting with the Mission Command team to discuss what to do with the situation.

Saturday, December 04, 2021

Deepnight Revelation #9

Captain's Log - T155

Our refueling operation at the last system was interrupted when sensors detected a large object headed for Deepnight Revelation. The object had a non-metallic "body" of low density, and a dense "tail" which emitted a signature consistent with a conventional gravitic drive. Based on the sensor readings, the Mission Command team surmised that this could be the same type of bioship which they have encountered on Wildwood.

The team decided that Deepnight Revelation would move to the edge of the system's gravity well in case there was a need to depart the system rapidly, while Mr Khan took the Amelia Earhart to investigate.

When it detected the Amelia Earhart, the bioship altered course to intercept, and when it was near enough, it launched a large spike from its hull, which struck the Amelia Earhart on its starboard side. The spike tore a hole in the hull some 2 metres across. The crew was able to seal the breach between the hull and the spike, but once cabin pressure had been restored the tip of the spike split open, and from within it two humanoid forms similar to those encountered on Wildwood emerged and began to attack the crew.

Mr Khan gave orders for the Amelia Earhart to reverse course and head back to Deepnight, but as it turned it was struck on the port side with another pike. The crew neutralised the two humanoids, and then retreated into the bridge and sealed it from the rest of the craft. Through the security camera they were able to see the other spike split open and disgorge two more humanoids. Mr Khan ordered the craft to be depressurised, and the two humanoids were vented into space.

The bioship continued to move towards the Amelia Earhart, but it appears that its acceleration could not match that our ours. Deepnight was able to recover the Amelia Earhart and enter hyperspace.

The Amelia Earhart is now under quarantine in the hangar. I have asked Life Sciences to remove and analyse the spikes to learn more about our attacker once it is certain that it is no longer active.

Captain's Log - T157

Life Sciences and Astrography has presented their analysis of the spikes from the bioship and the probable origin of the plant-based species. We have set a course for the cluster of systems which Astrography has designated as Probably Point of Biologic Origin, and plan to perform a systematic sweep of the systems once we arrive.

Captain's Log - T 180

Mr Khan as returned from the mission on PPBO Delta 3 with 58 of the inhabitants, from whom we learned that their name for the planet is Draytsirv.

Initial survey of the planet revealed a global civilisation that has been completely taken over by growth of the Biologic species. The away team was able to identify the ruins of a large city, where the only large areas not covered by the plant growth were the erstwhile starport and seaport. Concentric rings of defence could be made out, centred on the seaport. Several areas in the city were perhaps deliberately contaminated with chemicals - on these areas there were no plant growth.

The team landed at the spaceport and explored the terminal building, but found no survivors. Upon returning to the pinnace they found that the plant growth had begun to creep towards the craft. Mr Khan ordered the crew to return to the craft and depart the planet, but as they passed over the city they detected a radio signal consistent with the recorded distress signal we detected from the crashed craft on PPBO Beta 3, but this was a "live" signal.

Ensign Nidesh was able to localise the source of the signal to the seaport. Mr Khan ordered the craft to be set down at the seaport, and from there the crew made their way to a warehouse building, where they made contact with the a party of five of the local inhabitants.

The Draytsirvians are a humanoid species, and the party which the crew had made contact with appeared to be hiding from something or someone. The source of their apprehension soon became clear as Ensign Nidesh noticed many plant-like humanoids emerge from the vegetation bordering the spaceport and began to approach the craft.

Mr Khan once more gave the order to embark the craft, this time with the Draysirvians, but as they exited the warehouse the ground before them cracked and a large plant emerged from the earth beneath, blocking their path. The organism then proceeded to attack the crew with it tendrils. The crew and the Draytsirvians retaliated with their blasters and hand weapons, but the plant seemed invulnerable to their attacks.

Meanwhile, Ensign Nidesh had to take off as the ground became overruned with the plant humanoids, which were headed to the warehouse where our crew were trapped.

Mr Khan ordered the crew to retreat into the warehouse, and from there the party ascended to the upper level of the warehouse, from where they exited through the windows and accessed the rooftop, where Ensign Nidesh was able to retrieve them.

Captain's Log - T182

We have successfully evacuated all 58 of the residents of the Draytsirvian settlement. Through the translation software, we have pieced together the recent history of their people.

It appears that some 30 years ago the Draytsirvians came across a plant species on PPBO Zeta 2 that was especially efficient in producing energy through photosynthesis. The species also possessed a form of neural tissue which allowed the scientists to integrate it with the energy system the Draytsirvians were using, essentially converting sunlight into electrical energy at an efficiency that rivalled that of any solar power they had.

In an effort to provide clean energy to their cities, the Draytsirvians introduced the plants into all their settlements, and converted all their power generators to the plant-based system, eventually also using them to power their starships.

However, some 20 years ago it became clear that some of the plants have escaped containment and developed locomotion. These escaped plants displace the local plant life and even attack animals that started to feed on them. When the Draytsirvians tried to eliminate these plants the plants fought back, sending out humanoid and giant plants similar to those our crew have encountered. It seemed that their neural tissues allowed them to develop a sort of hive mind which made it possible for them to attack the Draytsirvians in a co-ordinated fashion.

The Draysirvians had some initial success in halting the attacks, but the plants began to reproduce and create more mobile specimens, and those used by the Draytsirvians for energy production began to die off. It was then a matter of time before one city began to fall after another.

The settlement which we have evacuated was one of several which fled the cities and escaped to biomes which the plants could not reach: deserts, the frozen polar regions, alpine heights. These settlements managed to survive by returning periodically to the ruins of the cities to scavenge for food and resources; they had kept in contact with each other by radio, which the plants did not seem to be able to detect, but by the time Deepnight arrived at the system all the other settlements have been silent for months, and our scan of the planet did not reveal other survivors.

We must now help the Draytsirvians to find a new home.

One good thing that has come out of this tragedy is that Dr Balilaika has reported that the plant produces a natural antifungal chemical, which he believes may prove useful against the Gren. Initial tests are promising, but we will need to obtain a sample of Gren tissue to confirm this finding.

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Deepnight Revelation #8

Captain's Log - T122

It's been two weeks since Syndic Feisler has agreed to allow our crew to go on shore leave on the planet below Tradeport, and today I learned that his decision may have been motivated by something other than generosity of spirit. He has asked for our help to find the source of an alien craft that he had obtained from salvagers some six years ago.

The salvagers have refused to reveal where they had found the craft. Syndic Feisler offered to buy any further craft they could find, but the crew never returned. While Syndic Feisler was able to make an educated guess of the likely system where the salvagers have found the craft, mainly by a process of elimination, its location was beyond the range of the Haix ship, but not ours.

I have asked Mr Johnson to lead a team on the Amelia Earhart to the system to see if he can learn more about the origin of the craft, and perhaps make contact with the species that built it.

Captain's Log - T138

Mr Johnson and his team have returned to Tradeport this morning.

Arriving at the Candlass system, they detected a metal signature on the forested moon of the second planet, which led them to a clearing in the forest. In the middle of the clearing were two craft, of a similar design to that in Syndic Feisler's possession, and next to the clearing, partly covered by trees, was a Haix ship.

A team was despatched to the surface on a boat to investigate, but as the boat approached the clearing to land it was struck by an electromagnetic pulse which caused the ship's systems to shut down. Sergeant Ahab, who was piloting the boat, was able to bring it to a controlled crash into the forest.

While the crew worked to reboot the systems on the boat, they came under attack by the inhabitants of the moon: short, green-skinned humanoids. The initial attacks came in the form of arrows, which our boat was proof against, but soon the aliens began burning through the hull of the boat using some form of primitive blowtorch. The crew disembarked and attempted to fight them off, but were at a disadvantage as their weapons were likewise disabled by the EMP, and they were heavily outnumbered. Fortunately Mr Goldfone managed to get the communications system online and called for help. Mr Johnson brought the Amelia Earhart into the atmosphere and conducted a strafing run, which caused the aliens to flee.

After Dr Belilaika tended to the wounded, the crew made their way back to the clearing, and explored the Haix ship and the two alien craft on the clearing. Nearby, they found a mass grave which contained the remains of what were later ascertained to be Haix.

It appeared that the aliens had occupied the Haix ship and turned it into their homes. Inside one of the alien craft the crew found an induction coil and a primitive cannon - it appeared that the aliens had used the cannon to propel a ball of iron through the induction coil to generate the EMP that disabled our boat. Within the cargo bays of the other craft the crew found paintings on the bulkheads, describing how an insectoid alien species had arrived on the moon in the craft, exchanging technology for food with the locals. There was however no trace of the insectoid aliens other than their abandoned craft.

Professor Tsoukalos is of the opinion that the locals had developed a form of "cargo cult" after their contact with the insectoid aliens, and had converted the craft left behind on their world into some sort of temple for their gods.

The crew recovered the computers from aboard these craft, and the Haix are working on deciphering their language, and they have agreed to share their findings with us. As soon as that is done I will recommend to the Mission Command team to continue our journey.

Prepping and Running the Game

This was the first session we have played in over two months due to the lockdown.

It was quite an effort to get back into the saddle, and I deliberately kept the scenario short so as not to tax myself. Still, it was quite an enjoyable session as the players were all cool with their modern weapons being rendered useless by "primitives". Two characters actually went down during the fight, and we were looking at a TPK; fortunately Ippy Goldone had the presence of mind to restore their communications first, which allowed them to call for help, giving me an 'out'.

It was good to finally be able to gather around a table again - hopefully we will be able to advance the campaign by a bit before the next round of lockdown.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Horizon Wars Game 3

I don't know what started it, but a couple of weeks ago I felt the urge to get back into sci-fi micro/mecha gaming. I already have a low-tech Dropzone Commander Resistance force and a Heavy Gear Caprice force with 4-legged mechs, but I felt the need to own a "conventional" force with tanks, APCs, and infantry, and also a force of "traditional", 2-legged, guns-for-arms mechs.

Needless to say, several purchases were made, and I dusted off my copy of Horizon Wars, re-familiarised myself with the rules, and played a short game with FG after our Sludge game on Monday.

Despite having a better grasp of the rules this time round, we still found the bookkeeping onerous. This was made worse by the (unrelated) fact that I had chosen to mark my models using decals of 2mm tall numbers on the edge of their bases, and between the time when I made that decision to now my eyesight has deteriorated, making it a chore to see which model was which unit on the roster. 

After the game FG and I took stock and looked for other options for the rules. We found Heavy Gear Blitz and Battletech Alpha Strike too crunchy, while simpler rules like Epic required too many models, and are too tied to a background to fit what we were looking for. That's not to say that I do not harbour the dreams of one day fielding an Imperial Knight army with a few titans...

Eventually we had the idea of looking at CAV: Strike Operations ('strike' and 'blitz' are probably to sci-fi rules titles what 'eagle' and 'empire' are to Napoleonic rules titles) - we have been planning to order some terrain pieces from Talon Games, but somehow we had never taken a look at the CAV rules.

I downloaded their quick-start rules, and so far they seem to hit the sweet spot. In many ways it is like Horizon Wars: each element has two actions per activation, and performance degrades with damage, only the degradation is programmed/fixed, so you don't actually have to decide which stat to reduce, or keep track of which unit has which stat reduced.

I ordered a copy of the rules (they are not available in electronic form, sadly), and with shipping the way it is these days, the book, various sci-fi models and terrain should arrive in the mail over the next few weeks, and keep me busy for the rest of the year. If things go as planned, you should be seeing more sci-fi content on this blog next year.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Sludge Fox #3 - The Black Mingo

Crown forces defend their position

Game 3 once again saw the Crown forces on the defensive. I purchased an artillery piece as a support under the rules we use for the campaign.

The Rebel forces attack

FG had one Rebel Line Infantry unit exchange fire with my main body across the river, while the skirmishers and shock troops tried to outflank me on my right. I sent one unit of Line Infantry to intercept them - the resulting melee saw both units destroyed and left a huge pile of Gore tokens on the ground.

FG then sent another Line Infantry unit down the road, but my cannon managed to cause some casualties before it blew itself up on a misfire. The battle came down to an exchange of musket fire between the two sides, until at last the Rebels gave up and left.

Survivors of the onslaught

It was a Pyrrhic victory for the Crown forces, as they have lost more than two-thirds of their forces.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Sludge Fox #2 - Blue Savannah

Crown forces defend a roadblock

Game 2 of our Sludge Fox campaign saw my Crown forces defending a small farmstead against a Rebel force. I had my line infantry defend a barricade across a road, while my skirmishers deployed in the woods on either side, waiting for the Rebels to come down the road.

Rebel forces approach

FG had the Rebel skirmishers outflank the Crown position on the right, while the main body took their time to clear my skirmishers out of the woods, before the line infantry marched down the road to deliver a devastating volley against my position.

The Crown forces quickly lost their appetite for the fight, and abandoned their position.

This was a rather one-sided battle, as the Rebels took their time and waited for the right moment to launch their assault (Unstoppable Momentum). At the same time my dice were so poor that I failed to inflict even one hit on the Rebel forces. At the end I found myself pulling my forces back from all the Gore tokens to avoid having to make Nerve Tests at poor odds.

Finally, here is a shot of the roadside shrine which I built that FG painted for me.

Thursday, November 04, 2021

Sludge Fox #1 - Skirmish at Kingstree

Crown forces form a defence line as the rebel forces approach.

With our forces completed and a test game under our belt, FG and I decided to play a Sludge campaign. To provide a framework for our campaign, I googled around for pre-made campaigns for the black powder period in the skirmish scale, and realised that Too Fat Lardies' Sharp Practice campaigns fit the bill. Specifically, we had the idea that our two forces represent the royal forces (represented by my cleaner-looking figures) and the forces of a rebel noble (represented by FG's sludgier figures). After looking through the various campaign, we decided to play the Swamp Fox campaign, renaming it our Sludge Fox campaign.

We kicked the campaign off with Scenario 2 from the campaign book, since we do not yet have a two-storey building required for Scenario 1. The scenario saw my malaria-ridden crown forces conducting a fighting retreat against pursuing rebels.

Rebel jaegers flank the crown position through the sludge.

We played with small forces and without magic, aiming chiefly to get all the rules right for our first game, which I think we managed to do. Even though there were only 3 units and 2 commander figures on each side, it was an interesting game as the scenario set-up gave both players a few options to achieve their victory conditons.

Major John Harrison is captured, and Holbein is slain.

I sent one unit on a headlong march for the table edge, while another unit and the skirmishers tried to delay the rebels with shooting. This went well for a few turns as I managed to roll higher on the Initiative rolls. However, as the game went on the greater volume of fire from the rebels started to tell, and on the last two turns I lost the Initiative rolls, and my commander was overwhelmed and gave up, while the officer who stayed behind to try to fend off the rebel skirmishers was killed fighting alone.

It was a fun game, and we plan to continue the rest of the campaign. We will still need to decide on how to translate the forces in the campaign book to Sludge units, including incorporating magic and artillery, but so far it looks workable.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Battle of Edgcote

The Royalists face their rivals

FG and I played a game of Never Mind the Billhooks on Monday. I picked the Edgcote scenario from Peter Pig's Bloody Barons (1st edition) because it features only two Battles per side (to start with anyway). I did not stick to the order of battle strictly, but tried to preserve the salient points of the battle (from what I could learn on some googling). The Royalists are outnumbered, have fewer archers, but start on high ground, and they have some Welsh pikes. The Rebels have more troops, more archers, and I decided to believe that they have cavalry, because it would make the game more interesting.

What was also interesting was the fact that FG played William Herbert in the WOTR campaign we played many years ago, and had painted command bases for him, which we used for this battle. However, I let him command the Lancastrians so I could take the "defenders", which I thought would be a more passive role and allow me to focus on the rules. Nevertheless, we did get some rules wrong here and there.

William Herbert rallies the troops

The game played pretty much like a standard medieval wargame with buckets of dice (more dice as I have larger units than the in the official rules), and I think FG did not fully appreciate the manoeuvre phase of the game or his advantage in archers.

The Event Cards added a nice touch, and I think are a good way of adding the uncertainty in WOTR battles that come from treachery or just plain blundering in a two-player game.

The Royalist arrows fall short

I do think the game will be even more fun with two or more players each side, and with each player having their own secret victory condition, like they do in some co-operative boardgames.

Welsh pikes see off the Rebel cavalry

I hope to play the game with more players again, once the lockdown lifts.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

A Tale of Sludge and Turnip

The two armies face off across a blasted field

FG and I played our first games of Sludge and Turnip28 last week. The two games have overlapping aesthetics, and feature roughly the same types of troops in around the same numbers, so it was natural to try both out.

Foot knights clash

We tried Sludge first, and as this was our first outing we got many of the rules wrong. I find the combat resolution a little too crunchy, but I love guessing ranges and rolling for bounce for the artillery. I am not too sure about the gore tokens, but I suppose once I learn more about my leaders and support characters I will appreciate the mechanic more.

Troops defend the redoubt

We then tried Turnip28, which I thought was going to be a simpler game. There was a bit of book-keeping with the Panic tokens, and we found that units fled too readily. I thought I was going to appreciate the black-powder smoke mechanic, but there were too few units in the game for it to be meaningful. We did play it without all the cult special rules, since none of the cults appealed to us, so perhaps the full game experience is different. I do feel that Turnip28 has the basics of a fun horse-and-musket skirmish game, but its retreat mechanic is obviously tied to its fluff and will need to be modified for a less comical game.

A group shot

This last photo shows (almost) all the figures which I painted for this project. It wasn't a lot of investment in time for me, since most of my existing WOTR/fantasy figures can be used in the game.

We will most likely give Sludge another go, and perhaps play one of the Sharp Practice campaigns if we can get the hang of the rules. I may also want to give Then Men Who Would be Kings rules a try, and see if we can represent some of the fluff with those rules.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Wayside Shrine for Sludge

Building the tower has whet my appetite for scratch-building terrain, and so I was looking around for some other little project to do, and came upon the idea of building a wayside shrine as a scatter terrain piece or an objective.

A quick search on google taught me that wayside shrines are a thing in many cultures, and even within each culture they come in a dizzying array of shapes and sizes. For a while I was seized with choice paralysis and could not decide on a design.

Then I remembered the Castlecraft sprues I have lying around, and decided to make one based on them instead of coming up with a design first and then making the parts for it.

The eventual model is what you see above. The walls are made from the Castlecraft parts, with a plastic grille glued on the inside of the windows. The base is a 40mm square base glued to a 40mm x 60mm MDF base, and the steps are made from Renedra bases cut to size.

I made a roof with PVC foam card and another Renedra base, and then made the shingles with cardboard. Some gaps in the Castlecraft pieces are also covered with the PVC foam cards.

I will be handing the model to FG to paint, along with the Warlord ruined cottages I built for him, so stay tuned for the painted version on his blog soon.

Wednesday, October 06, 2021

Scratch Built Tower for Sludge

One of the terrain pieces I have been wanting to make for the Sludge project was a tower. Not necessarily a utilitarian piece of terrain, but something to put in the background - I think including verticality to a wargames table adds a lot to the look. I have put off the project on the basis that it was not really a necessity (is anything really a necessity in a hobby?), but the lockdown left me with a little more time than I usually have...

As it so happens I used up this bottle of handwash, and wouldn't you know it the size is just about right.

I cut off the top part of the bottle where the screw threads are, and made a conical roof for the tower with a piece of cardboard. I made a base for the tower with 3mm PVC foam board, which gives it rigidity and is not prone to warping. I glued small rectangles of 1mm PVC foam card along the walls to mark the windows.

I made a gable entrance for the tower using 1mm PVC foam card. The door comes from a CastleCraft kit - it is more 22mm than 28mm, but works well enough. I added a metal ring from a jewellery piece as the door ring.

The finial on the roof is the end of a ballpoint pen (that's to FG for the tip) and the end of a banner pole from the Oathmark Undead kit. I added shingles cut from cardboard to the roofs using double-sided tape, and sealed them with a coat of PVA glue.

I applied a coat of Modge Podge to the tower and base, and when that has dried, I glued sand and gravel to the base.

I sprayed the whole piece with a brown primer, and when that has dried I sprayed a layer of flat white paint in a zenithal fashion, leaving some brown at the bottom of the tower and in the recesses.

I then painted the base brown and dry-brushed it with some grey mixed into the brown, and then applied some weathering powder to the base of the tower. I applied some light wash to the body of the tower to show some streaking.

The joint between the entrance and the wall was rough on one side, so I hid it with some vines.

The finial was painted to look rusted. For the windows I just peeled off the PVC foam card pieces I applied earlier, and painted the space black.

I applied more tufts than I had expected to to hide the bits where there was too much brown paint on the tower.

This was a fun and quick build, not accounting for the drying times. The construction is pretty crude, but I think the door and the finial give it the details that make it look more refined.

Saturday, October 02, 2021

WWG Barbed Wire Defensive Positions

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I wanted to get some wire obstacle sections for my Trench Hammer games. After some searching, I decided to get some World War Gaming resin pieces from an eBay store. These are made of a really nice resin, and come with barbed wire in the concertina form, which I though looked too modern for a sci-fi WW1 aesthetic. Instead, I chose to use the Army Painter razor wire and deploy them in a low entanglement fashion.

The paintjob was simple: I spray the pieces with a brown primer, then with beige. The posts were painted in brown - the woodgrain you see are actually from the brush strokes. 

I got a total of nine pieces, which I hope will be sufficient for my needs. Here you can see the height of the wire relative to a 28mm figure.

Monday, September 27, 2021

Deepnight Revelation #7

Captain’s Log – T103

Fabrication of the necessary parts for the repair of the drive have begun. As the Mission Command team have decided against a complete shut-down of the ship, repairs will take a minimum of three weeks.

Syndic Feisler continues to refuse our request for shore leave on the Dwadaella homeworld, on the account that the permission was not the Haix’s to grant. While I agree with Mr Johnson that that also means permission is not theirs to deny, it would not be diplomatic to press the issue.

Syndic Feisler did offer an alternative: a forest moon orbiting the local gas giant called Wildwood, where the Haix maintain a logging camp and a furniture factory. I have asked Mr Stamper to lead a team to investigate the moon to see if it will be suitable.

Captain’s Log – T108

Mr Stamper’s team has returned to Tradeport, but sadly, with one crew fewer. Trooper Velok had died in the line of duty while on Wildwood. His death will no doubt cause a further deterioration in the morale of the crew.

According to Mr Stamper’s report, the team arrived at Entolere, the Haix base on Wildwood, to learn that contact with the logging camp has been lost three weeks prior. The loggers have been reporting sightings of unfamiliar creatures in the woods for several months by then, and then three months before the team’s arrival loggers started disappearing one by one. Most of the loggers then returned to Entolere, but some 20 remained by the time contact was lost.

A team of armed men were sent to investigate, traveling by the railway that led to the camp, but two miles away from the camp they found the tracks blocked by fallen trees, and when the men dismounted to clear the trees they were attacked by “moving trees”. The apprentice engineer was the only survivor of the attack.

The terrain being unsuitable for the landing of the scoutship, Mr Stamper secured the use of the train and the services of the apprentice engineer Stevin. The team traveled as far as the location of the fallen trees, where they discovered that the trees had been deliberately uprooted and used to block the tracks. It being impractical to remove the fallen trees, the team decided to carry on on foot, while Mr Stamper, unable to cross the rough terrain due to his old leg injury, returned to Entolere on the train.

The team arrived at the logging camp to find it in disarray. The hab-blocks had been torn into, and there were blood splatter and blaster marks which suggested that there was a skirmish, but there were no bodies found. A wide trail led from the campsite to the east, while drag marks on the trail suggested that the bodies of the loggers and any survivors had been taken away by the attackers.

The team followed the trail, and after a hour’s travel they lost communications link with Mr Stamper, likely on account of the thick forest canopy. Corpsman Wootue reported a sense of unease from the way the leaves of the plants “looked wrong”. Shortly afterwards the team was attacked by spines ejected from what appeared to be seed pods that grew on certain vines that grew on the trees. Several of the team members were wounded, and Trooper Velok lost his life during this attack, depsite Corpsman Wootue’s efforts to revive him. On Sergeant Ahab’s recommendation, his body was cremated using the

flamethrower the team carried, in accordance to Rakashan customs. Examination of the spines showed that they resembled those found on the bodies of the Haix which we found in the wrecked ship earlier.

Continue on the trail, the team arrived at a large clearing covered by ferns. In the middle of the clearing was a large mount, some 100 yards across and 30 yards high. At the top of the mound was a clump of vegetation, and at its base was what appeared to be a cave opening, and the trail led to that opening.

As the team started to cross the clearing towards the mound, humanoid forms rose from the ground and began to attack them by shooting spines at them from their appendages. At the same time, screams could be heard issuing from the cave opening.

The team fought their way towards the cave, but in the chaos of battle Stevin and Corpsman Wootue became separated from the rest of the team, and fell back into the woods – they would be recovered the next day at the railway.

The team were able to neutralise many of the creatures with blaster fire and flamethrower, but more kept rising from the vegetation. Sergeant Ahab led the team into the cave. Inside, they learned that the “cave” appeared to be organic in nature, with its interior separated into many corridors and chambers by wooden walls. Following the screams, the team came into a larger chamber, where there were confronted by another one of the creatures, this one larger than the rest. The team destroyed this larger creature by surrounding it and attacking it with the flamethrower and grenades. In the chambers beyond, they found some of the loggers from the camp – it seemed that when the team arrived, the creatures began killing the loggers they had held prisoners. Several of the loggers had been killed in the initial attack on their camp, while others had been taken by the creatures and killed in a gruesome fashion, in what the survivors described as “dissection”.

Unable to exit the cave via the opening due to the large number of creatures on the outside, the team began to explore the “cave”. In one end of the complex, they found Jump and manoeuvre Drives of an unknown origin, seemingly integrated into the material of the cave. The team surmised that the “cave” was in fact some form of a ship with both organic and mechanical components.

Exploring further, they came into a large domed chamber which they believed was the middle of the mound. Petty Officer Jet Black had the idea that the vines and creatures that attacked them and the loggers were some form of alien plant life, which were controlled by some form of plant “super-mind” which was represented by the clump of vines which was atop the mound. Based on this theory, the team blew out the top of the dome with grenades, which collapsed and caused the vines to fall to the ground below.

Examining the vines, they found a globular structure, pale-yellow in colour, which was integrated into the root system of the vines. The team severed the globe from the vines, and set the vines alight. The hole in the dome also allowed Mr Goldfone to re-establish communications with Mr Stamper, who was able to evacuated the team via winching. The team then destroyed the mound and the creatures surrounding it with an improvised air-fuel explosive.

The globe is currently being studied by the Science department, but it is clear that Wildwood is not a suitable venue for our shore leave. The globe and the alien plant life have a connection with the wrecked Haix ship which we found; hopefully our analysis of the globe will give us more information on whatever attacked the ship, which will give us some leverage in our further negotiations with the Haix.

Prepping and Running the Game

This scenario was runned pretty much 'as is', except that I moved Wildwood from a planet in another system to a moon in the local system.

The frequent lockdowns had disrupted our gaming schedule, and also dulled my GMing instincts. I tried to compensate by putting more prep time into this session, but I still missed out a couple of things I had planned to incorporate into the session to make it more interesting.

We are in another lockdown again, so there will be no RPG for four weeks. This will give me more time to work on wargaming, so look out for more posts in the future.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Scratch-built Machine Gun Emplacement

While I already have several sci-fi/post-apocalyptic rubble-barricades in my collection, all the sections are too high compared to the height of the heavy machine guns I have painted, so I decided to scratch-build a machine gun emplacement.

For the base I used 1mm PVC foam board. I cut our a C-shaped section sized to the bases of the machine gun teams. For the main component of the barricade I used cork sheets. I lay down a first layer using hot glue, and then glued some bits from various plastic kits I have left over to represent the debris the soldiers would have used to reinforce the strcture. I put the longer pieces in the centre of the piece, on the basis that this was probably the first part of the emplacement the soldier laid down, and they would want to define this part first.

I then built up the sides with more pieces of cork.

Then I covered the base with my usual mix of sand and gravel.

To seal everything in place, and more importantly to give a non-porous surface to the cork pieces, I covered everything with Modge Podge.

Once the Modge Podge has dried completely, it was a simple matter of painting the whole thing black, then grey, and then picking out the various debris items and painting them in their colours. Next, I did some rust effect and weathering on the debris. I then applied a black wash, followed by a brown wash, before finally applying some weathering powder.

I think I managed to match the colour and weathering to the pieces I bought off ebay.