Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Cavern Terrain Part II - Mushroom Forest

In the last post here, I described and showed a bit of the cavern project I'd put together for a D&D 5E campaign. I have to admit that I went a bit nuts at the local Hobby Lobby picking up things to re-purpose into terrain or creatures. In a time when so many different things are commercially available I was inspired to return to the old days of conversions, kit-bashing, and just plain old DIY.

Which brings us to the Mushroom Forest. I'm not sure what got me motivated to work on this, but it was a slippery slope thing. Once I started, I just kept making them.

Here's the initial work on the first batch. All materials came from Hobby Lobby in this case. There were small and large furniture upholstery tacks, an assortment of wood pegs and dowels, and roound wood circles for basing. The shells used in my previous post to make Piercers starred again as another way of making stalagmites, and some other shells ended up in the mushroom role as well.
Some use of hot glue was added for texture in spots or to bulk out the smaller mushroom stems. Bases received some textured acrylic gel medium...which promptly dried out before my follow up batch...grumble...

Then these were sprayed with black paint/primer. I'm certainly not a perfectionist when it comes to painting models that may only see a handful of games, so some basic acrylic paint work was done.
I liked the results of the scratch built mushrooms, and decided to make up another batch, and also decided on making up some homemade Purple Shriekers, Violet Fungus, and Myconids...because I'm a fun guy. (sorry)
Those Myconids were made with fabric wrapped floral wire hot glued onto the ends of some leftover upholstery tacks.  That's what happens with leftover materials, they spawn new projects.These were coated with acrylic gel medium and below you can see them with a little paint, the bases they will be on, and the next set of mushrooms.
I did mention the Purple Shriekers and Violet Fungus plants (the ones with tendrils). I used wood drawer pulls for these and a liberal amount of hot glue for the detailing. The Violet Fungus plants I used some leftover back halves from the small  2 piece round head rivets that were used for the smallest mushrooms (in black below). Coming out of the rivet back centers were bent wire with hot glue to make the tendrils.

 And finally here's everything thrown together for a staged photo. The adventurers shown in lower right to show the scale. They certainly will have to deal with a lot to get to the far side of the cavern...

When I have time, I'd like to make up some 3D irregular cavern rooms and them incorporate these pieces into the scene. Now, if anyone is wondering why the mushroom bases are green, I intend to use them for surface world forests and can hand wave the base color as moss or other fungus growth around the larger 'Shrooms.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Cavern Terrain

It's been a long time since I've posted here, but I'm still alive and kicking. The last 4 years I've devoted more time to my SYW/Imaginations projects at my Fleisch-SpƤtzlestadt page. The past few months however (well let's say 2015) have seen my interest drift back more towards the Fantasy RPG genre and with that some new work to share.

I've been running a D&D 5E campaign. It's been a monthly thing (or every other month depending).  Psyching myself up for a game in the downtime created by scheduling conflicts has been important. My solution has been some therapeutic terrain and creature making to complement the games

Here's some things to share that I made for a cavern encounter with a Stone Giant (Otherworld Miniatures), a Roper aka Stone Lurker (Reaper), and some Piercers (homemade).
The stalagmites above were mostly made with paper towel tubes cut and turned into cones of various sizes with hot glue to hold them together. I then hot glued wood coffee stirrers inside to use as a handle. These were dipped into acrylic gel medium that was tinted with gray acrylic hobby paint. Very simple and I was happy with the results. See below with the Otherworld Stone Giant. In the game mechanics, the Stone Giant blends in with his cavernous environment.

I later tried making a second batch of stalagmites using some other techniques. I used bamboo skewers with lots of hot glue as a base for the goop. I also tried using pipe cleaners. The pipe cleaners didn't work out that well, but the hot glue was alright. Also used some gray caulk as well with decent results.

You'll also see my quick and dirty Piercers below. I'm not aware of any company making these. They really are one shot monsters. They drop from the ceiling and if they fail to kill you in that first attack, well...they aren't much of a threat after that.  I used some small shells, added mouths with greenstuff, and made the eyes with a small drop of hot glue.

I also wanted cavern walls, to give a better sense of 3D tabletop RPG play and also because I could make the cavern look more irregularly shaped on the rectangular tiles I'd made (soft hobby foam sheets sprayed with gray paint into a checker pattern.)

The cavern walls are shown in progress here. I used some some craft popsicle sticks as the base with soft foam as walls and used caulking to texture. These would later be painted, but you can get an idea here. I'll be posting a follow up of these with some newer work.

I do have several more things to show. Inspired by the cavern work, I shifted my focus to making up a mushroom forest. More on that to follow. 

For those curious on the actual game...the first time the group of 8 characters made it to the Stone Giant lair they never made it inside. They fought his cave bear pet, slew it mercilessly in front of him and sent the Stone Giant into a rage.  He went full on berserk and slew half the party one by one as they scattered in a rout down the mountainside to avoid being the next victim.  The follow up session was essentially a new group with 2 of the prior survivors.  They encountered the Roper and Piercers first and in a hard fought battle triumphed. The noise of battle drew the Stone Giant from his true lair further in the caves. They fled again, but the rear guard was engaged and drew the party back into battle. They did however have new characters with new abilities and bested the Giant this time, casting a Darkness spell on him and having a character that could see to target through the Darkness helped a bit...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cleansing of Paxilon 9

Last night was a blast from the past. I'd been threatening my Tuesday night gaming buddies that I'd be running a retro throwback game of Warhammer 40K Rogue Trader in the spirit of good old late 80's gaming.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend I'd dug out much of my old 40K collection, predominantly figures collected between 1987 and 1993. I'd set about putting together 7 forces and the scenario for the game. There were several things I really enjoyed about the Rogue Trader games of my youth. Having started the game as an alternative for our D&D group, we were still very much in the role-playing mindset. Many of our games reflected some manner of storyline, something the rules very much encouraged. For this particular game I was looking to make a multi-sided engagement with competing agendas and perhaps some surprises. Those familiar with Rogue Trader will recall that it's not exactly a swift game with multiple sides and that lots of quirky rules would result in very long games. My setting for Tuesday night gaming was a game store with only about 4 hours of time max. So something had to give and it wasn't going to be the quirky rules.

What went out the door was the IGOUGO turn sequence. Instead of going round robin with each player taking a turn sequence, I instead tapped into a little of Epic inspired command tokens and the use of simultaneous phases- a first fire phase, charge phase, advance & fire, reserve, psychic, and rally phases. Fire would be simultaneous in each shooting phase aside from overwatch, and conflicts with movement would be settled by local initiative only when necessary. Pretty much everything else stayed per the rules and forces were drawn up from material in the original 40k book, the Astronomican/Chapter Approve supplement, and the red Compendium books.

The scenario for the game would be the ubiquitous planetary revolt so common in the 40K background fluff since the beginning of the game. In this case I wanted to add rebels, loyal and traitor planetary defense forces (aka Imperial Guard), Space Marines, and an eclectic force of gun running independent alien traders.

What follows are the forces I originally put together based on 7 players and myself as a non-playing GM. Of course no plan survives contact with scheduling 8 adults on a weeknight, so the end state ending up being 5 of us all playing.

The first two commands were Space Marines and were both played in the game.

Player 1- A lieutenant minor hero "Graxis", medic champion, techmarine with rhino, and a basic tactical squad.

Player 2- A librarian Codicier "Bewlogh Jax", 2 assault squads, a dreadnought, and a techmarine. All had jump packs. The specific goal of the librarian was to capture or take out a rogue psyker in the rebel force.

The planetary defense force commands were altered somewhat.

Player 3- A lieutenant "Daylor", commissar, command section, 2 tactical squads, a thudd gun, and Adeptus Mechanicus techpriest. In the original game plan the lieutenant had originally been a conspirator in the rebellion, but recently changed sides and needing to take out the rebel commanders so the marines or his commissar would not realize his treachery. In the actual game, we made this force a rebel force from the beginning.

The unused imperial guard force was another lieutenant "Raul Keppler", command section, a tactical squad and an Ogryn squad. Ogryn are really tough in the game and I'm a bit disappointed we didn't get to try them again. Raul's mission was to try and link up with the alien pirates to escape off planet in employ as mercenaries.

Of the official rebels, 1 of the 2 forces was fielded.

The unused force was a charismatic high leadership champion and 3 squads of rabble each with basic weapons and a heavy bolter. Also included in this force, and retained for the game, were pits that could be placed around the rebel base and several crates of supplies from alien gun runners that were random weapon rolls during the game.

Player 4 (yours truly) was another rebel force under the command of the traitor magistrate Rankin Bass. Rankin's retinue was a slightly modified command section (no medic, and the heavy weapons were a heavy stubber and lascannon), a squad of ratling snipers, a squad of penal legion troopers, a rhino, and a rogue psyker. Rankin had betrayed the alien traders in their last dealings and kept the money.

And then there were the aliens...

Player 5 had an Eldar pirate minor hero "E’Trin Z’lourn" , an Eldar pirate "Lightning squad", a squad of 4 Zoats, and a squad of 10 Drantakhs. Now Drantakhs don't exist in the 40K universe officially, never did, however they are exactly the type of alien that would have been in the spirit of the original 40K setting so they were included in a slightly modified template of imperial guard. The sergeant had a needle pistol, the special weapon trooper with a needler, the heavy had a lascannon, and the troopers had autoguns. The Eldar pirate leader, E’Trin Z’lourn, was looking for revenge and after the rebel leaders for killing his cousin in the last arms deal gone bad.

The Battle

The surface of Paxilon 9 is fairly rough and characterized by rock formations and clustered flora. Primarily a backwater mining world, it only drew the attention of Space Marines due to the request of an embattled planetary governor and the discovery of a rogue psyker assisting the rebels.

Shown below is the rebel staging area and base being attacked by the space marine force as it enters the table.

The alien smugglers attacked from the opposite side on turn 2.

The assault group from the space marine side used their jump packs and initially covered quite a bit of ground. On the other flank, a space marine half squad advanced within the rhino. Of some worry was a lascannon trooper from Rankin's Retinue, but the other half squad of space marines with the missile launcher took out this threat allowing the rhino to advance and in later turns disgorge the half squad with bolters and a flamer right in front of the defenders. Practically all of the rebel heavy weapons and plasma guns on the other side were focused on the assault dreadnought. A few unfortunate rolls of the power field synchronizer resulted in two hits getting through. One caused a leg malfunction and immediately followed by an autocannon (found in the weapon crates) being used to finish off the dread.

However all that fire directed at the dreadnought allowed the jump pack troops to get in, despite losses to pot shots from the guardsmen and ratling snipers taking a slow toll.

The rebel rhino was controlled remotely by Rankin via his communicator to the rhino communicator and its auto-fac and auto-aim systems. It launched smoke grenades, although that does not limit the space marines at all (oops..) and upon disembarking they fire. The retinue command section is eliminated and the 2 remaining ratlings faced with fire from both space marine teams opt to rout.

Meanwhile, the pirate smugglers had a hard time getting into the rebel base. Although lightly guarded by one squad, the surprise pit traps sprung within 12" of the perimeter significantly slowed down the advance. The Zoats did close after losing one to a lascannon, and another wounded by the penal legion troops with bolters. Both the lascannon and bolters were in game upgrades from the smuggler weapon crates, perhaps adding insult to injury. It would however be a foregone conclusion that the rebels would not hold for long...

Towards the end, the librarian charges Rankin, as the ratlings are routing from the wall, but he doesn't realize he's outclassed in this fight. Rankin with a higher initiative strikes first with bolt pistol and sword. The librarian fails both his displacer field and powered armor save. He falls.

The psyker having not succeeded well with his wind blast ability had left the perimeter. In the chaos, Rankin would have a good chance of joining him, however the rest of the rebels were likely to be crushed when we stopped after 5 turns of play. The marines took heavy casualties going into the assault, but then again...Rogue Trader space marines have a toughness of 3.

I had a great time running the game and look forward to doing so again.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Last Six Months..

Well..I was hoping to do a better job of keeping up with my blog here. The best laid plans never survive first contact with the enemy and my enemy is time.

What I will do now is attempt to recap the last six months. I've been very busy. Later I hope to return to post more thoughts and pictures on some of the specifics.

February- I got "nominated" to be the convention director of a local game convention. This was to be the first attempt for us to run a convention, NJCON.

March-I went to Cold Wars and got hooked into a new gaming period for me, Seven Years War. Sash & Saber had a great sale and I picked up the beginnings of a 25mm Prussian army.

April- A lot of work was done on getting stuff lined up for the convention and pestering the rest of the convention committee.

May- I spent most of this month working over convention details, and painting, lots of painting. I got roughly 120 miniatures painted, the bulk of them zombies and human survivors for a zombie game. I'll add in another post on some of the things I've painted and describe the zombie game I jointly ran with Barry, a fellow gamer and zombie aficionado.

June- The convention ran and we did well. The zombie game was fun too. We did however suffer from a record heatwave and the convention building, a VFW, had no A/C upstairs..yes..that's right..no A/C. It was the first week of June and it was an uncharacteristic 15-20 degrees hotter than normal. The only saving grace were the dollar drafts at the hall's bar.

July- This month is almost over, but I've just returned from Historicon and from Dexcon the week before. I'll be giving these separate treatment, hopefully before I run off to GenCon in 2 1/2 weeks. Three conventions in 5 weeks is a bit much.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Dreamation Shockforce Game from 1/27/2008

What follows is a battle report from a recent game of Shockforce, aka WarEngine. I ran this at a local game convention called Dreamation this past weekend. I also plan to have the highlights of an earlier run Weird War II battle for posting tomorrow.

This particular scenario was designed to be a multi-sided game, however in this instance we had a match up between two forces, the Human Pirate Skummers and New Eden Militia. The Human Pirate Skum force was comprised of figures from the following sources- Gangs of MegaCity:One plastic gangers, Necromunda plastic Goliaths, GW/Citadel Confrontation Skavvies, GW/Citadel Rogue Trader Space Pirates, Grenadier Future War (now EM-4 Future Skirmishes) Savages & Scavengers, and a Void Junkers Desert Marauder Dune Buggy. Not many of those figures still available but they gave the force the very motley character they deserved. The New Eden Militia force was comprised solely of JC Figures miniatures sold through Victory Force.

The Human Skummers were an unsavory band of space pirates, vagabonds, and malcontents. They were arranged into 3 squads, each armed primarily with laser rifles, shotguns, or a brace of pistols. The Skum leader was armed with a handgun and sword. The most powerful weapon in the arsenal was a fast off road dune buggy with heavy rotary cannon.

The New Eden Militia was in sharp contrast to the outcasts. In the background of my games, New Eden is a thought police style dystopia with psychically endowed females. The N.E.M. is the military arm. In this engagement there was a mission commander with two handguns and a psychic power to see the future, a squad of light riflemen, a squad of heavy armor riflemen, and Special Agent 69. SA69 is not only a government sanctioned operative but also an efficient killing machine. In addition to infiltrating into the conflict she possessed a powerful ability to short out machinery with an electrical burst of psychic power.

The reason for this chance encounter was the discovery of weapons grade diamonds on an isolated off world mining colony. The Squat miners had disappeared from their outpost for unknown reasons and the remaining cache of precious gems lay in one of two durable transportation boxes within the confines of the facility.

Entering from opposite ends of the facility, Agent 69 had the advantage of an infiltrated deployment. She quickly moved in the opening turns of the encounter to the first possible location of the special diamonds. Women are apparently drawn to diamonds as the die roll indicated that this was indeed the proper container and not the decoy.

Now the pressure was on the Space Pirates to get to Agent 69 and give her a licking. The Off-road Dune Buggy raced ahead of the advancing gangs right into view of Agent 69. They fired at her twice but some close die rolls and the use of hero points kept Agent 69 standing and ready to do them in. She launched her mental attack which failed to shutdown the vehicle’s systems but then she fired one well placed shot into the vehicle with her big handgun and it was immediately destroyed.

While the violent encounter of both sides’ “heavies” was occurring, both players were moving up their squads and force leaders. Before Agent 69 could be joined by her own forces, the Goliath gang crested the top of the base’s landing pad and began shooting their shotguns at her as they entered the central courtyard. She fell in a hail of combined gunfire having used her hero points earlier to escape death.

Now the contest would be decided by quantity or quality. The N.E.M. light infantry advanced past the fallen Agent 69 and began a withering fire into the Goliaths. They would soon be gone. The N.E.M. heavy infantry advanced more cautiously and crossed the perimeter fence taking up a position among some storage drums.

The Pirates advanced on either side of the perimeter fence, one unit entering a habitation dome on the other side of the militia.

A firefight from doorway to doorway and a counterattack by the Pirates led to many of the light infantry getting killed.

Meanwhile the Pirate Force Leader was shot down advancing on the heavy armor riflemen. However, they were soon taking fire on their flank from the laser rifle squad of Pirates. One trooper and the sergeant went down and with a horrible morale roll at the end of that turn the remainder of the squad ran away leaving the New Eden force leader, the light infantry sergeant, and one trooper against two pirates from one squad and 5 from another. The larger pirate squad quickly took out the New Eden leaders’ final squad and she was left alone trying to get the cache of diamonds off the table.

Her two pursuers from the first habitation dome were killed in a quick firefight as she tried to escape through the second dome. The remaining pirates gave hot pursuit across the courtyard.

In her haste to flee the situation with her treasure the New Eden leader ignored firing upon her pursuers. They missed her initially but in their very last chance to take her out before exiting the mining colony she was brought down by another combined fire action. The Pirates would have the diamonds and the squad leader of the remaining 3 laser rifle armed pirates raised his own meltagun high above his head and declared himself the new pirate leader..

Friday, January 11, 2008

January Plans and More..

I'm getting ambitious this year, or at least somewhat more goal minded.

I've noticed that the urge to keep this space occupied with new material is helping to spur on my miniature painting. As I sit typing this I can feel the cold stares from at least a hundred unpainted figures behind me and the silent cries of the many more hundreds languishing in storage.

So far we're two weeks into this new year and I've painted two sets of figures. That's pretty darn good by my speed. I'm hoping to maintain that momentum by challenging myself to painting something each week, taking a picture and posting it here.

What's in store for the rest of January:

Next week- I hope to paint some more Cryx for my Warmachine faction. We'll see if I can get Skarre, Captain Rengrave, and a unit of Satyxis Raiders in time to meet that goal. It will be a stretch. While I'm waiting I think I'm going to fiddle around with some quick terrain. To add to the pressure I've got two nights of gaming ahead. Wednesday promises to be lots of fun. Rich Johnson, creator of .45 Adventure is running what promises to be a very fun dinosaur hunt game on Wednesday night at one of our local stores, TOGIT. Thursday night is the first week of the store Warmachine league and my Cryx drew 14th place in the 16 player league. That's actually a good thing because a victory against a higher ranked opponent is worth more victory points. Not that victory points matter. I'm in it for the social aspect of seeing some of my gaming buddies regularly and all the fun trash talk. Finally if my D&D group is still interested, I'm hoping to jolt us back into activity after a 2 month holiday lull. The group is all around 6th or 7th level now. We left off with them investigating a flooded Dwarven strip mine located in a territory they were bestowed by the local Duchy. Now that they are land owners in a somewhat feudal system it is presenting additional challenges like building bridges and ridding the area of bandits. If the group is reading this (I know someone will eventually)- hint: Bandits are like rats and cockroaches. You can never be fully rid of them..

Week 4- Well I'm going to have to prepare to run some games the week of the 24th-27th at a very fun local convention, called Dreamation. I'm running a Shockforce game on Friday night and Sunday afternoon. Saturday I'll be running a Weird WWII game using my own home rules. Now that I'm thinking of it I should get some of the Darkson Designs figures I purchased back in August at GenCon done up for this game. I'll also be using plenty of Victory Force figures I already have done, including some N.E.W. War Germans.

I did end the title of this with "and More". However, I think what I added above is more than enough to think about. :)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Drantakhs painted this past week

I like a bit of variety in my Sci-Fi skirmish games. One of my smaller forces is my Drantakh mercenary force. Regiment Games makes Drantakhs. Unfortunately the company is on temporary hiatus until April, I hope just temporarily. I started off with 8 of the heavier armored figures when they were first released and picked up additional figures this past year. Including the half figure vehicle crew, I have a total of 20 Drantakhs. You might notice that on the Regiment Games site they say Drantak. That was a name change. I still prefer the original name with the silent "h".

I painted up the 12 newer figures this past week on Thursday night and again last night. I wasn't sure how to use the upper body crewmen until I was placing the figures for the group shot. I went through some vehicles I had laying around and found the Tau craft I'd been using as a Mobile Infantry UAV for Starship Troopers.

My Drantakh background is simple. They are a lower tech race from a galactic backwater arid planet with sulphur deserts and acid rain. They trade minerals and labor for technology from other more advanced races. The Drantakhs also export themselves as mercenaries armed with this more advanced equipment. Some of their more recent homeworld manufactured weapons are made with or coated with an unknown Osmium alloy. This dark blue metallic alloy is very durable and helps protect the most important Drantakh equipment in the very harsh conditions of their home planet. Vehicles, robots, and drones in use by the Drantakhs are most often purchased from alien races or captured in battle.

Here is my Drantakh force:

The Tau fast attack craft on the left just has the crew models placed inside for the picture. I still need to do some work on this.

Here is a closer picture of the ground troops emerging from a world portal, aka stargate. (click for larger pic)

My Drantakh mercenary force consists of the following:
Platoon Leader, shown in the back of the formation in the Stargate.

Assistant Platoon Leader, shown standing next to a Drone Operator.

The Drone Operator, holding a control module. I'll be adding some Tau drones or other drones in the future.

A Platoon Scout/Sniper, shown in the foreground.

Two Squads of Drantakhs. The Squad on the left has a heavy laser trooper. The rest of the squad is armed with automatic slug rifles and a squad leader with a prized higher tech Particle Pistol. The slug rifles use ammmunition tipped with very heavy alloys. This gives them a hard punch but they are not very accurate weapons. The Particle Pistol functions similar to a disruptor and is useful on a variety of soft and hard targets. The squad on the right includes a laser guided missile launcher and an extra ammo carrier armed with a laser designator. The small missiles launched from the launcher can be set to follow the laser from the second crewman. This is beneficial by allowing the heavy weapon trooper to stay out of direct view of the enemy and launch his warhead into the laser path where it will be directed to the target. The laser designator trooper can often be concealed in this mode of fire if the enemy does not have countermeasures for detecting the laser signature.