Thursday, 30 June 2016

Black Nails in Devon, being another attempt at a pirate campaign

I started this before the vote, with the intention of having another excuse to buy some of the excellent lasercut buildings out there. This would give the chance for proper swashbuckling. If this goes ahead will probably be the swansong of my pirates. Plus, the creator of Trumpton and Cambelwick Green has just died, please take the usage below as many hours of pleasure in more innocent times.

My loyal readers will have seen several attempts to do a pirate campaign. None of them have worked but Excelcior, onwards and upwards. Lets have another go-.

One of mistakes was limiting it to 2 players. Trying to do multiple sides just doesn't work. The other was making it linear. This needs to be “bang, bang, everything's changed”. Inspiration from Black sails rather than Pirates of the Caribbean.

I've taken Captain Avery as my starting point. Not only was he one of the most successful, he had a fleet of ships and lesser captains under him. He also retired to the West country and was said to have been robbed by those bigger sharks, Bristol merchants.

So let's take the Devon coastal town of Trumpton under Green. Somewhere betwixt here and the parish of Camblewick there be treasures:
Deed box, containing deeds of local manor farm, and coaching inn plus several large properties in Bristol and Boston. Whoever has these can control rents and sell the properties.

Treasure chest containing the jewels of the Sultana of Marmalada.

Treasure map of the Madagascaran Brotherhood.

Lost key to the map.

Now let us look at the key players, all ex captains under Avery:

Vicar the reverant Allbright, with his villainous verger, the murderous Meeps. There is a church upon the cliff, under which caves what are the haunt of local smugglers controlled by the pair. Them who do say talk of secret tunnels.

The Vicar and Meeps have 6 local smugglers to hand. These are always replaced. They are armed with the odd pistol and farm implement, but they have superior local knowledge and can be virtually invisible. The vicar only gets one 1-6 choice in the blind auction.

Rev Allbright Q4 C3, sword, pistol, leader, brawler, danger sense
Mr Meeps Q4 C3, sword, pistol, 2ic, brawler, murderous
Generic local Q5 C2, improvised weapon, brawler,

Squire and Magistrate Kettle and the local militia. The great hall, located in Manor Farm, close by the church, is the scene of much quaffing of illegal brandy by these scions of the gentry sworn to uphold the rule of law.

The Squire has a troop of 4 mounted dragoons always to hand. Plus 1 irreplaceable niece/ward. These are supplemented by stalwart chaps from the estate plus any “visitors” who may happen by. The Squire only gets one 1-6 choice in the blind auction.

Squire Kettle Q4, C2, mounted, sword, pistol, leader
Dragoon, mounted, Q4, C2, Carbine, sword
Niece, Q5 C1 sword, pistol mounted in borrowed Dragoon kit

The Cock and Bottom coaching inn. This establishment, plus a couple of hovels, straddles the road overlooking Trumpton under Green betwixt Camblewick. Here is becalmed old Captain Hook and his cronies, drunkards all.

Captain Hook has 2x 1-6 choice in the blind auction, but does not lose for stepping up or down, but all choices automatically become drunkards.

Cpt Hook Q3 C3, sword, pistol, hook, leader, murderous, danger sense

The Saucy Scullion. Captain Red and his Fanny. There's one tavern on every harbour waterfront that caters for the sort of person who wears too much black leather and hats with lots of feathers. Now it's home to this captain and crew. Deep cellars, private rooms and interesting passages await.

Captain Red gets 2x 1-6 choice in the blind auction. The Scullions are one less OR drunk to this crew-.

Cpt Red Q4 C3, sword, pistol leader, thrower
Miss Fanny Q4 C3, sword, main gauche, dashing, murderous

There is, of course, a 5th force that is spread about the town. This is the remnant of the available. These can be activated under a captain if required.

Blind Auction. Each crew has a limited number of points (1,2,3,4,5,6 x 1or2) to bid for prospective crew. If you want a more quality or quantity you can add bids but you loose 1 (I.e a 2+3 can make a 4 or 2x2). Everyone bids for the available crew, bids are compared and the winner gets. Any left over are out n about in the town and can be recruited using dead mens bids. Alternates may be added. You also get another 1-6 choice if you gain a treasure or you stand in the middle of Trumpton and declare that you have a treasure and you're recruiting a crew.

Here they be:

'Arry Q4 C2 2 pistols, good shot
Becky, Q4 C1 a Scullion, sword & pistol
Cherry, Q4 C1 a Scullion, sword & pistol
Dee, Q4 C1 a Scullion, 2 swords, murderous
Elmer Q4 C2 pistol, marksman
Flag, Q4 C2 sword, strong, dashing
Guido, Q4 C2 sword, strong, passing strike
Hanna, a Scullion
Imogen, a Scullion
Jake Q4 C2 sword, strong, passing strike
Long John
Mister Bates Q4 C3 sword, murderous
Nodbert Q4 C3 sword, strong, passing strike
Queer Thomas
Rodger the cabin boy
Simon Q4 C2 sword, strong, thrower
Violent Bob Q4 C2 carbine, good shot
Xander Q4 C3 sword, murderous
Young un Q4 C3 thrower

This is a selection of my available figures, just to give you an idea. I'm aided by having used letter beads on most of mine so everyone can see who they're dealing with! I've left several and deliberately simplified the rest.

Suggested play. Obviously I'm looking to use Ganesha's Flashing Steel, but you could use Flying Lead. There are other pirate games out there, but I don't know them.

I want to get a “black Sails” type plot twist feel going. To do this I'm going to suggest using the initiative rolls. You could use event cards.

Rather than take turns and to encourage roleplay I'd suggest that a player declares a move on an opponent then both roll for initiative. Fortune favours the brave. One word of warning, this type of play is best suited to a group who agree that the aim is to have interesting games rather than point-scoring.

You can go to extremes, with one faction fleeing with 1 or more treasure then being pursued by 1 or more of the others. I'd suggest that only the captain knows the location of the treasure and a search may be of limited use. Players should aim to have fun! You can take the basic game as season 1 and go from there!

Vicar the reverant Allbright
1) Someone squeals to the Revenue and the winner can swap out for a revenue force
2) Someone squeals to the Revenue, the Vicar can hide (leaving the local to their fate) OR rouse another D6 of locals to come to his aid
5) Choice of ground, can stage an ambush.
6) Can swap out with the Squire.

Squire and Magistrate Kettle
1) All are drunk.
2) Late start. Each rolls D6 indicating turn appearing. If niece rolls a 1, she's been kidnapped.
If she rolls a 6 she's kidnapped one of the Scullions who was in boys clothes.
5) Gains a D6 of Pirate Hunters (Officer+3, Sergeant+ rest)
6) Can swap out with the Revenue.

The Cock and Bottom
1) Everyone is drunk and the place is surrounded
2) Everyone is drunk but Hook & D6 of his cronies (all drunk) have snuck out the back.
5) Hook and a remarkably sober crew set up an ambush
6) Can swap out with the Squire.

The Saucy Scullion
1) The Scullions have got pissed and gone off after someone (winners choice) rest turn up D6 turns later, roll for sobriety
2) Everyone is drunk but gain a D6 of patrons
5) Forewarned, a force sneaks off and sets up an ambush.
6) The Scullions have captured the opposing captain and is demanding ransom. There is talk of a portrait painter

Pirate hunters
Captain Q3 C3 Sword, Pistol, Leader, brawler
Sergeant Q4 C3 Sword, strong, murderous, brawler
Trooper Q4 C2 Sword, musket, good shot, brawler

Captain Q4 C3 Sword, Pistol, Leader, mounted
Sergeant Q4 C3 Sword, strong, musket, good shot
Trooper Q4 C2 Sword, musket

After an engagement. Note the bids of the dead. Add 1 to each of the winners and -1 to the losers. These may now bid for replacements. The dead can be recycled if there's need!

Saturday, 25 June 2016

For Sale- in UK - anything

Due to the referendum vote I'm going to be downsizing my collections as our business is unlikely to survive the coming UK recession.

If you see anything you'd like, please feel free to make me an offer.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

After the Heat Ray - Martian War scenarios.

I've noticed that our VSF posts, particularly Mars related, shoot up the list.

Tony and your humble author are attending a Wyverntales Larp of the same name in sunny Exeter soon and I prepared this document as part of my back story.  I was trying to think of the post Dunkirk period in the UK when many maverick ideas were proposed and some even implemented to repel the expected invasion.  Odd vehicles were developed, and can be seen, at Bovington.  One proposal was large multi nozzle flame throwers to deny beach landings.

I welcome input, and please, if you play a scenario let's share it!

Draft Statement prepared by Professor Grey under instrucion of M for:

Home Secretary the Right Honorable----
Royal Commision
Horse Guards Room 3

Sirs. Please refer to attached schedule.

Group Two was initiated immediately after the arrival of the first cylinder, prior to the evacuation of the Royal family, Parliament, services military and civil. The core personnel was gathered from the military intelligence services, Royal Society and the Adventurers Club.

Our immediate action was to send a team to investigate the first landing. The prominent members were killed in the first assault. Fortunatelly their assistants had the presence of mind to interview survivors and set up an observation post.

First action. A group, incling myself and staff, was located to the Bovington army  research camp in Dorset. This was due to excellent rail and sea communication, plus availability of naval, marine and army support.

From the analysis of after action reports made available from the first encounters a rapid response force was proposed. This would be carried by special train to the site of any further incursion:

Train with passanger and cargo carriages capable of carrying all such personnel and materiel.

A force of 200 drawn from Pioneer battalions, Royal Engineers and civilian navvies and shipbuilders.

Bovinton was tasked to produce a fast tractor that would be capable of impeding the screw cap of a cylinder.

Once the force was emplaced, they would strive to impede and encase the cylinder in fast setting concrete, an earthen bank or engulf in a large confragation in order to kill the inhabitants dependent on local resources. The latter option was seen as hazardous as the flames may attract unwelcome attention of other invaders.

Unfortunatelly, due to the burden placed on the railroad system by evacuations and loss of railway personnel and materiel this solution was unable to proceed, but the force was used to rapidly produce fortifications at key positions.

A Birmingham jeweller, Mr Issac Hayes, suggested that a collar of silver solder could be made, to use the ambient heat to impede the screws progress. This simpler solution was developed by deployment of a smaller crew of tractor born engineers. This proved invaluable and the northernmost cylinder was succesfully sealed. Although the Martians were able to regain the cylinder, the crew were lost and progress slowed, suggesting that valuable equipment was damaged in the process.

As information came in, we were able to tailor our response. Our aim was to show the invader that we would resist by any means possible and to force them to expend resources in defence.

Big game hunters, game keepers and snipers were gathered with serving and retired members of 95th rifles, Indian army and Ghurkha rifle regiments. Country houses and gunsmiths had rifles of quality requisitioned. These were dispatched to points that allowed the ambushing of the invaders. The survival of the hunter was aided in every way possible by use of water bombs, tin baths and any other means that could be contrived.

When the red weed was seen to be choking canals and rivers this was percieved as an opportunity. Barges were loaded with coal tar, turpentine, methylated spirits and coal dust. These were hastened south with the aim of turning the canals and rivers into burning obstacles. Trials proved that the weed provided an excellent whick and burnt with a thick, oily smoke. This method was succesfully used in the defence of Birmingham and Oxford.

New false fortifications were erected with use of quicklime and magnesium bombs intending to blind the pilot of a war machine. Eathen banks were constructed with layers of bottled water in order to provide resistance to the heat ray. Artillery emplacements were equipped with stationary engines capable of putting up a spray of water or steam in order to protect from the heat ray and black smoke.

Volunteer crews from all the services, retired personnel and termanilly ill were deployed with fast firing guns and machine guns. These were located in hidden positions with the aim of sniping at any passing machine.

Once the presence of the collecting machines was known, volunteer runners were recruited. These were armed with nitro glycerine sticky bombs with the aim of stalking and damaging the machines to facilitate the capture of the machine and pilot. The first deployment was proceeding well, until one volunteer tripped and fell. The machine was driven off at great speed by the explosion and afterwards has not seen without at least one guard tripod.

A similar force was recruited from condemned criminals for use against tripods in an urban environment. On first use a confusing battle ensued with reports of several explosions and at least one Tripod was carried away damaged. Unfortunatelly, none of the criminals were returned for debriefing. Afterwards the Tripods showed a marked reluctance to enter urban areas without extensive use of the heat ray and black smoke.

Second phase.

With the invader effectively contained and a team of mathematicians proving able to predict the approximate position of each cylinder prior to landing and the resources of Empire beginning to be felt it was proposed to move on to a more aggressive phase.

Bovington had been experimenting with land trains after the Russian Imperial Navy had succsesfully tested a working prototype. The new Mark 3 was put into construction with a layered wooden shell that was soaked as protection against the heat ray and a pipe network that used the heat produced for added power or a steam blanket that protected the crew from the black smoke. Armourment comprised two fast shooting, accurate 3 pounders equipped with solid shot and grapeshot for close quarters.

A similar tractor was constructed with a high signal tower in order to facilitate accurate naval and artillery fire.

Smaller tractors fitted with an explosive ram torpedo device are under testing.

Use of mirrors as heat ray defence is in development, awaiting the capture of a working device.

Third phase.
With aid being received from all over the world, it has been noted that foreighn agents have been infiltrating into the invasion area. We can only presume that these are assessing our response and will attempt to capture enemy personnel and materiels for their own study. This cannot be allowed to happen and steps have been taken to illiminate this threat.

Sir, I beg to remain your most humble servant.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Battlesworn, Red Planet, dead green Baron

How can I begin, oh my gossips. I must try and lessen the shock, prepare you for the Horror. Some of the more araldite readers will remember the superb Blakes 7? Lettuce now dwell upon the last ever programme, the one where the mook troopers managed to hit someone hit right in front of them? Bear (bare?) that picture in your mind.

When you're doing Space Opera there's a few well-worn scripts that are worth following. Our last VSF outing (April 16) was designated as a diversion for this raid. You may be aware that Martian technology relies on exciting exotic elements to produce a range of rays. So the different technology contained in the vehicle is too dangerous to fall into their hands. As per the usual script, a small group including Baron Greenbackusama and party have made their way into the bowels of a Martian pyramid to destroy the powerplant from the captured frog walker.

I had toyed with making small rooms, each a level that the party would have to clear or avoid, but gave this up as too fiddly. Instead I had a divided area with each room/floor pattern representing a change in terrain.

The sides were pure “old” battlesworn, the attacking, smaller force being:
Leader/Brute, Warmage (Greenback), Sniper (stilleto) Flyer (pet) 4 fighters, 2 shooters
Locals Leader/Warmage , 5 fighters, 5 shooters.

Setup was simple, I had the Martians and diced per location to give a spread. I know it's not in the rules but it does give a more “snapshot” feel to the start. Besides, my leader came out close to the transporter which would have led to an ambush rather than an invasion scenario. The good guys all appeared on the transmat pad.

The pet started, zooming all over the shop, but I had shooters, a reaction and not only did they get the reaction, the poor thing was deaded!

My warmage did an excellent paralysis* on a shooter, which caused an unseemly brawl for the poor chap. I got the best of it, for a change.

Tony's leader goes after the prize, gets shot and dispatched by a fighter. Stiletto gets shot before he can cause damage. The Baron is wounded and makes a few inefectual goes with his lightning “spell”**.

With my chaps advancing from all directions, the Baron goes in, well its either that or get shot, and dies a deaded death!

Alas and woe, the Baron is no more! His aids lie dead, strewn willy nilly on an alien concrete floor, stains on which will be forever Earth.

Good game, very space opera feel. Cannot but feel that if Tony had gone for my leader, causing a huge bundle, his troops were more concentrated than mine. Still-. Sorry for lack of pics, 'er in doors had swiped my camera. Got 3 of her own, but still takes mine.

*Reasoning that being palalysed would lead to enslavement via mumification.

**Probably an electrical device of great cunning.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Flying Lead Vampire nest, one careful owner

So, oh my paltroonish ones, we return to Flying lead as one does to an old pair of comfy chairs.

Indeed, these Japanese special forces figures were the first I bought from local company Peter Pig whence I embarked on 15mm SF. So I'm guessing about 25 years or so (shit-). This was an innovative range, larger and fuller than his other ventures, way, way ahead of the market. I mixed them with the then GZG's new-and-growing ranges to produce a large paramilitary force for Hammers Slammers, either as low tech mercs or an indigenous force. Note the early GZG Japanese officer.  Vamps are all from RAFM, getting well used.

Why have I called this VSF? Well, that's how I see it, it could be “interwar”. Any later and there would be more effective firearms, hand grenades, smoke bombs.

SF Commander
Points 100
Quality 3+
Combat 2
Special Rules
Body Armor, Elite, Handcuffs, Hero, Leader

SF Bushi
Points 40
Quality 3+
Combat 2
Special Rules
Body Armor, Elite, Handcuffs

Net gun R & Y
Max Range 3 Medium, Slow Reload, Spread

Capture Gun
Max Range 3 Medium, Stun Only

Support Capture Gun
Max Range 3 Medium, Slow Reload, Spread, Stun Only

Red Cloak
Points 39
Quality 4+
Combat 3
Special Rules
Acrobat, Running Blow

2 Daggers
Points 33
Quality 4+
Combat 3
Special Rules
-Shuriken/Small Thrown Knives, Acrobat, Chucker

Sword & pistol boys
Points 66
Quality 4+
Combat 3
Special Rules
-Pistol, Acrobat, Combat Fiend

Points 41
Quality 4+
Combat 3
Special Rules
-Pistol, Acrobat, Crack Shot/Marksman

Points 54
Quality 4+
Combat 2
Special Rules
Acrobat, Combat Fiend, Strong

The Game. Remember the second Predator film? A special forces unit tasked with taking a prisoner using /freezing weapons.

OK, I made huge mistake using left-over pieces of funky/hobby foam for the corridors. Didn't work photographicaly. On hindsight we could have gone greyscale-.

The tiled area is the hive, the rest brick corridors without cover. However, I've added rubble to break things up.

Tony took the Vampires and decided to use a diced set-up as I was conducting a suprise raid. If you look at the pic, from my entry point there was a long blank corriror, an L shaped one with a small side room over the open sewer followed by the nest proper. This he divided into 4 and diced. To prove that he to can roll 1's, 5 ended up there and 2 in the nest. Nice spread-.
Note strategic use of Jaffa cake packet, recommended.
The difference with the groups, Tony had to dice for each activation, which gave me more reactions. He didn't get to activate all during any phase. I, on the other hand, was able to push troops forward in group activations. You can think of my movement as “flowing” and his as “jerky”. Tony used reactions to move up the rearmost while I used mine for potshots & positioning.

I came in nice n easy, set up a solid block to the blank corridor in front of me of 1 net gun & the support, with a linkman behind while thre main party headed towards the nest.

This meant that I was stretched to breaking point (i.e. my leader was out of range of the rear party), one chap was checking out the side room when everything started.

2 Daggers came in quick and hard, a range of shots pushed him back and down, then netted. This allow a sword n gun boy to come up and he proved a much more dangerous opponent, avoiding shots and laying down effective fire, pushing my chaps into cover.

On the other side the shooter's moved up and is doing the same. I do a bit better hare, I keep knocking him down, but not out. I wasn't able to get close enough to handcuff!

There comes a point in a game where you need a decent roll to get people moving, success or failure can lose you people and the game-. So my leader gets a really crap roll-. Tony has still one to bring on, the other 4 dice represent entrance points. I planned to pull back, regroup.

This gave Tony a boost and the young lady came zooming down the corridor, over the rubble in a flourish of leather clad thighs, blades flashing – but to no avail, I get a shot and she's down. Takes 2 guys and the application of force but she gets cuffed. My officer comes on like the hero he is, takes on the sword & gun in a ding dong battle that sees each pushed back. The vamp decides to go over the rubble and gets netted while my hero makes a dash for the netted 2 knife and cuffs him. Three down and I have a good self supporting position in the blank corridor. That doesn't stop the other sword & gun dashing down, right in the middle!

A stalemate has developed on the other flank, I have a good defensive position and the shooter cannot get a good shot without being shot at twice.

You guessed it, he goes down again, so that's 3 down and 2 in serious danger without me taking a casualty! Which was surprising, I was expecting a high loss.

We stopped it there, taking the uncuffed vamps as capable of disappearing. More to follow!

Red hood lower left, 2 daggers top, sword & gun right in custardy.

Obligatory "he's behind you!" shot.