Sunday, 10 May 2015

Rogue Trader war band

Myself and a few friends have been talking for a while about doing a Necromunda campaign some time this year, and thinking back to the way we used Necromunda to play all manner of games when we first started this blog in 2007 or so I started looking around to see what other people are doing. Doing so, I found the Inquisimunda rules mod, which does pretty much what we used to do but presents the ideas in rules form as a set of iconic war bands and expands the equipment, hired guns and similar stuff hugely.

So here's a Rogue Trader war band I've just put together using miniatures I had on the shelf. It's led by a Rogue Trader (obviously...) with a Medicae Servo Skull, helped by a Navigator, two Void Masters (one human, one Squat), a Kroot Scout Hired Gun and six armed Crewman.

Should be fun to play, and hopefully we'll post a battle report soon.

For more on Inquisimunda, check out the Empire of Ghosts blog...

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Rogue Trader Technomads

Just a quick post - I converted these 'technomads' on a whim yesterday, using parts from the new Citadel Skitarii, some High Elf Archers and some Max Mini Desert Dwellers heads. I plan to make ten to twenty so they can make an appearance in a Rogue Trader game, and the desert tribesman look makes me think they might be a chance to revisit our old Jericho Reach campaign setting (if you browse our very earliest posts you'll find battle reports from a good six or more years ago that I imported from our old Jericho Reach blog).

Sunday, 12 April 2015

In the Cluches of Chaos project progress!

A few months back I posted here how Paul of the most excellent Sho3box old school wargaming blog and myself had concocted the idea of a conversion exchange, wherein we each decide between us on a theme, convert a suitable model and exchange the results, going on to paint the model we'd received and then use it in a battle report to be featured on our own blogs.

Well, I converted my piece and sent it to Paul - it has yet to arrive with him so I won't reveal what it is (I'll let him do that on his own blog). Paul's piece for me has arrived though, and I wanted to show it off, and express my thanks to Paul - its a wonderful conversion and very much in line with the 'captured by Chaos' theme we'd agreed upon.

The Sho3box Daemon unleashed!

I hope to get it painted in the very near future and then I'll put together a scenario and run a game, the results of which I'll publish here. I'm already thinking the game should involve the Cultists I've been working on, plus an old school Ordo Malleus, Realm of Chaos style Inquisitor. It would be especially grim and brooding fought in the confines of my Zone Mortalis terrain set too, so look out for that!

Once again, many thanks to Paul and I'll post a link to the Sho3box blog when he announces his end of the project is progressing.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Rogue Trader Battle Report - Prisoner Rescue Mission

For our third Rogue Trader game in this organically-evolving narrative campaign, we decided that the Sensei captured by the hired gun techno-punks at the end of the last game would be the target of a rescue attempt – by an Inquisitor who's been trailing the Sensei for many years.

The gangers' lair would be deep within the void station, meaning that the Inquisitor and his indentured forces (local defence militia troopers) would need to fight their way through three levels to reach the cell, going from an entry point to an exit point on each level. I noted down before the game which level (1 to 3) each of my ganger models was on, and I set them up first in each case, representing them standing watch and expecting an attack. We would roll for first turn on each level too.

Gadge's Inquisitorial warband consisted of Inquisitor Garamand Black, the assassin Helvetica, a human champion called Shonar Bangla, a psyker minor hero called Estrangello Edessa, a militia captain called Calibri and seven shock troopers.

My gangers consisted of Boss Hamm, a human major hero, the psy-assassin Gayle (a human psyker major hero armed with a force sword and a smile), Ark, a flamer-armed minor hero and nine other human gangers, armed with a selection of knives, lasguns and laspistols but nothing too advanced.

The first level consisted of two 12”x12” Zone Mortalis tunnel sections, and Inquisitor Black's band came in force through the wall, the assassin Helvetica killing a ganger almost straight away. Ark fired up his flamer and set one shock trooper alight, who died soon after, failing to wound the other three he hit. As the attackers came on Ark took more fire but shrugged it off, again engulfing more attackers with flames but completely failing to wound any. Amazingly, he weathered a third round of fire, before the Inquisitor's pet psyker cast 'Jinx' on his flamer. Realising his time was up, Ark turned and bolted for the exit down to the next level, the other surviving ganger behind him as the attacking forces swarmed down the corridor after them.

Ark stands against the entire Inquisitorial Strike Force!

Unseen by the gangers, the assassin Helvetica used her polymorphine dose to assume the form of the ganger she'd killed, so we swapped the models and decided that an Intelligence test would be needed to spot the disguise before she gave herself away by attacking.

On to level two (which was made of four 12”x12” tiles), and I set five more gangers up in two positions, as well as Ark and the other ganger from level 1, who had three turns worth of movement on the attackers (putting Ark almost at the exit down to level three while he ordered the other ganger to cover him).

First down through the hatch was Helvetica disguised as the ganger, and as she approached two gang sentries they failed their Intelligence tests to spot her disguise and so got charged and killed in short order the next turn. Meanwhile, Ark waited near the exit down to level three while the two autogun-armed gangers fired on the approaching shock troopers, killing one. One ganger fell having had Steal Mind cast on him, not even able to defend himself as he was brutally slain.

The Shock Troopers advance through level two.

Eventually, the attackers closed through the hail of fire, but as they reached the exit point down to level three, Ark slammed the blast doors down in their face. It took the Inquisitor using the Smash psychic power as well as two krak grenades to break through the (Toughness 8, 10 Wound) door, by which time the gangers had a three turn lead on his force when it came to defending the third and final level.

Ark and two fellow gangers close the blast doors on the approaching invaders.

Level three was made from six Zone Mortalis tiles, and contained two cells closed off by heavy blast doors. I secretly noted down who was in each cell and set the other gangers up for a final, desperate defence of their lair. Here we improvised by saying that if Ark could get to a weapons crate he could roll on the Basic Weapons table in Rogue Trader to find a weapon to replace his Jinxed flamer, more of which later.

Ark's last stand.

As expected, the fight for the third level was intense. When Ark saw the ganger he'd seen killed on the top level coming towards him he knew it was a trick and shouted to his men as such, and so Helvetica's cover was blown and we swapped back her model. As Gadge had only bought one dose of polymorphine she couldn't pull that trick a second time, though I imagine next time she'll have more.

All subtlety cast to the wind, Helvetica charged the knife wielding gangers, who unleashed a barrage of frag grenades in response, taking down another shock trooper before they were sliced apart by the vengeance assassin. As this was happening, Ark had reached the ammo store and was rifling through its contents in search of a useful weapon. I rolled on the Basic Weapons chart, resulting it a handbow, which Ark threw aside in desperation hoping for something more useful next turn.

Meanwhile, the Inquisitor and the rest of force emerged and it looked increasingly like Ark would be overwhelmed. Praying to the Emperor whose name he had taken in vain far too many times to deserve an answer, he continued his search for a weapon. This time, the roll was a keeper – a plasma gun! Grinning, Ark opened fire, using the weapon's sustained fire to incinerate the entire first rank of shock troopers before their captain broke through and put him down for good.

Things fell dangerously silent for a moment as Inquisitor Black surveyed the scene. There were two heavy blast doors before him, either one of which could contain the captured Sensei as well as whatever other nasty surprise the gangers still had in store. He cast 'Sense Presence', and so I placed two markers in one cell and one in the other. The Inquisitor's mind made up, he pulled out another krak grenade and set to work on the cell with two life signs in it.

Then, the other blast door rumbled up and a dense, glowing fog rolled forth. I'd hidden Gayle in there as a trap, and she had cast Ectoplasmic Mist to cover her appearance and confuse the attackers. Helvetica clearly sensed a powerful rival assassin and skirted the edge of the psychic fog as the Inquisitor continued to try to break down the other cell door.
The cell containing the captive Sensei is finally blown open.

The combat between Helvetica and Gayle was brief and bloody, Gayle putting five psy-points into augmenting her force sword's strength. Even as the Inquisitor finally broke through the other cell door, she dashed out of the shadows and killed the shock trooper captain, but not quite quick enough to help Boss Hamm.

Inquisitor Black and Boss Hamm fight to the death.

As Black stalked into the cell through the shattered door a hail of bolt shells struck him as Boss Hamm prepared to sell his life dearly, wounding the Inquisitor. The two were evenly matched, but over two turns Inquisitor Black prevailed, turning just time to see Gayle closing in on him and shooting her down with contempt.

Gayle powers up her force sword, but Boss Hamm is already dead.

Though his strike force lay dead all around him, the Inquisitor finally had his prize...

Many thanks to Trevor Goddard and Jonathan Peace for adding the special effects to these pictures!

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Void Station Ambush - a Rogue Trader Battle Report

Well then, you wait two years then two battle reports come along at once! Following last week's game, where Gadge's Sensei warband captured the coordinates of the 47 Tucanae Passage, a warp route leading out of the galactic disk to a dense cluster of Slann homeworlds, he's arranged to link up with some compatriots, including a Navigator and a Piscean Tracker, at an outlaw void station. An as yet unidentified rival has hired a local gang of degenerate techno-punks to ambush the Sensei and stop him reaching the planets of gold!

For this game we decided to use a Forge World Zone Mortalis board to represent the shabby interior of the void station. Gadge took his Sensei from last week, plus the Navigator, Piscean and an Eldar free trader they were linking up with. I took a gang of techno savages (the old Mark Copplestone Future Warriors miniatures) plus a converted Hasslefree barbarianette armed with a force sword. Both sides came to around 450 points and each had a level two psyker.

The Sensei warband

The techno-punk kill-mob, led by Boss Hamm and the deadly Grammatrix, Gayle.

The field of battle. The Sensei enter at the top centre in order to link up with their compatriots in the middle of the board. The techno-punk kill-mob enter from any board edge.

The Mission
We decided between us that the mission would be centered around the Sensei meeting their associates and then exiting the area by way of one of the two large access points (one on the southern edge in the picture above, the other on the western edge). The kill-mob would be attempting to stop them.

As the Zone Mortalis board includes movable doors, we decided that an Intelligence Test taken in the shooting phase instead of firing a weapon would open or close a hatch, and that this could also be done using the Telekinesis power. 

The kill-mob deployed in four groups. One squad came in from the south, one from the west, while the Grammatrix Gayle infiltrated from the north and Boss Hamm came in from the south west. There was much hiding in the first few turns, leading to a tense stand off which lasted until Gadge's two units had linked up. Then, it all kicked off!

Here are a few highlights...

Enter the Sensei...

The Navigator, Piscean Tracker and Eldar Free Trader wait nervously for the Sensei warband.

More punks advance along the southern tunnels.

One group of techno-punks move in from the west, using the cargo crates as cover.

The Sensei use a Blind grenade to block the punks' flanking move.

The Piscean Tracker detects an approaching punk and charges, killing him after a turn, only for Boss Hamm to counter-charge and avenge his fallen minion.

The Sensei's trusty hound points the way to the meeting area!

Boss Hamm and the Sensei engage. The Navigator subsequently chased off five punks, before the lone survivor rallied, turned and struck him down.

Meanwhile, the door slams in the flanking party's face (thanks to a Telekinesis power) and they fail three turns worth of Int tests trying to get it open again!

Having stalked the Eldar Free Trader through the dark tunnels, Gayle finally makes her move, charging in and using her force sword to fell the Sensei and his minion. That frees up Boss Hamm and they both close on the only survivor, capturing the Free Trader to hand over to their employer.

The Aftermath
For most of the game it looked like Gadge's Sensei would slaughter the punks and escape, but it suddenly turned. In a single turn the Navigator was killed and Gayle struck from behind, switching the result to a victory for Boss Hamm's techno-punks. We rolled to see what happened to the main characters, and the Sensei survived, albeit with serious injuries and awakening in the depths of the void station having been captured by Boss Hamm's gang. 
So, next time we'll be running a prisoner rescue game, fought across several levels of the station as the Sensei call in a favour to extract their hero.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Sensei vs Space Slann Rogue Trader Battle Report (or "someday we will find, the planets of gold..."

Myself and Gadge played an impromptu game of Rogue Trader last week, and while it wasn't really planned out we had a great time and managed to take a few pictures along the way. We haven't published a battle report on Tales from the Maelstrom for far too long, so we thought we'd write this one up. Hopefully next time we'll plan things better and have even more to show, but for now, here's the latest tale...

The Story
For centuries, Rogue Traders and other outcasts have dreamed of locating the remnants of the once-mighty Slann Empire, the survivors of which are scattered across the galaxy, and in many cases, beyond it. Of late, tales of a surviving Slann enclave have reached the ears of several Rogue Traders, as well as other interested parties. The enclave is said to lie in the globular cluster long marked on the most ancient of stellar almanacs as '47-Tucanae', a dense, isolated concentration of ancient stars 17,000 light years from Terra entirely separate from the galactic disk. No stable warp route is known to exist connecting the galaxy to 47-Tucanae, although many bold Navigators have given their lives attempting to chart one. Of late however, tales of such a route have emerged, and the race to acquire the data, and to follow the route to a region of space said to be strewn with undreamed-of riches, is well and truly underway.

Many now hunt the 47-Tucanae Passage, but this battle report will focus on the efforts of one Malek Saam, a figure many hold to be one of the nigh legendary 'Sensei' (though many more claim he is suffering from a chronic bout of MACS) and his henchmen Lorus Bizon and Slopey Finnigan. This band have arranged a trade with the outcast Eldar Prince Ymrik Starfire and his companion, the Warlock Yael Moondance. The Eldar claim to know the location of a cache of ancient scrolls describing the 47-Tucanae Passage.

As the Sensei and Eldar warbands close in upon the cache however, a Slann warband dispatched by the Great Mages to recover the scrolls and stop the imminent intrusion on the Slann enclave appear. And thus the action begins...

The Forces
As this was very much an impromptu game, we used our best judgement to approximate our forces. Gadge rolled up a Sensei Warband from Realms of Chaos, which consisted of a Sensei Minor Hero and two Champions, which he armed according to the miniatures. The Eldar part of the force consisted of an Eldar minor hero, a Warlock, a bodyguard and two Ghost Warriors (an assassin class and an executioner class).

For the Space Slann, I took my entire collection (just 12 models, but that's quite a big collection for Space Slann!) and armed them according to the models (mostly las pistols, lasguns, needle pistols and a single lascannon). Commander Xix would be a major hero, and Quinletz would be a level 1 psyker. We weren't worried about points values and used our judgement to balance forces - technically Gadge's force was quite a lot up on mine but a lot of the gear the Ghost Warriors receive as standard is highly situational so we weren't too worried.

The Scenario
We set up a jungle themed table, with a pile of scrolls as the objective in the center. As I have lots of spiky cactus type plants we decided it would be fun to use the rules for Spikers given in the Deathworld bestiary section of Rogue Trader. These shoot at any living creature that approaches within 6" and there's a chance that the victim will be turned into one himself as a result of the poison, which sounded too entertaining not to include. We decided that both forces would deploy up to 6" onto the table and that their objective was to escape with the scrolls, which would cost the carrying model 1" of their movement. 

The Battle
I won't post a detailed break down of events, as pictures and highlights are generally far more entertaining. Broadly speaking, the Eldar Ghost Warriors were on the objective very quickly, their numerous wargear and skills meaning they could hide from the Slanns' fire and ambush them when they reached the scrolls. The Sensei took up a flanking position on Gadge's right while the Eldar did the same on his left. Meanwhile, Commander Xix led the bulk of the Slann straight at the target while one of their number covered the advance with his lascannon. Meanwhile, Quinlitz pushed up towards the Eldar to engage them with his psychic powers.

The Eldar Warlock being las-cannoned (it was the only shot the firer hit with all game!)
The Ghost Warriors hiding on the rock then ambushing the Slann with a flamer (three kills) and shurikan catapult (no hits).

A Ghost Warrior charging into combat, but being taken down by superior numbers of Slann.

The Slann mage Quinlitz using his pyschic powers to devastate the Eldar Prince but failing to kill his bodyguard, moving too close he was wounded by a Spiker Plant, and then a turn later turned into one!

The Eldar bodyguard being immunised against poison by one of the Warlock's psychic powers and oddly avoiding the fire of dozens of spore plants.

The Result
Once the Eldar had thinned out the Slann it seemed their victory was assured, but then the Warlock was lost and all of a sudden the Slann had the upper hand. As two Slann warriors made off with the scrolls the Sensei charged in with his warband providing covering fire. A bitter hand to hand fight between leaders ensued but the Sensei had the upper hand thanks to his ability to channel the power of the Star Child. At the very last, Commander Xix was near the table edge but with the Sensei and his warband closing was forced to hand the scrolls to another warrior and turn to engage them. He was struck down and while the surviving Slann made a gallant last effort to escape, he too was cut down.

The secret of the 47-Tucanae Passage is now out, and the race to find the Slann treasure worlds begun!

The objective, with Deathworld Spiker plants dangerously close...
The Sensei warband take position while the Eldar Ghost Warriors advance
The Ghost Warriors hide among the rocks. Their skills and gear make them untargetable, forcing the Slann to advance on them.
Commander Xix leads the Slann forward in two groups, leaving one with a lascannon to climb the rock on the right and the mage Quinlitz to advance on the extreme right flank.
Having shot one Ghost Warrior from his perch atop the rock spire, the Slann force the other to charge them, Commander Xix striking the killing blow.
The Sensei time their counter-attack well, as the Slann begin a fighting withdrawal with the scrolls.
Meanwhile on the right flank, the Eldar have been whittled down to just their bodyguard, but the Slann mage Quinlitz was struck by a Spiker sting and two turns later turned into one himself just as he was bearing down on the last Eldar!
Last stand as the lone Slann sniper attempts to withdraw with the scrolls but is overwhelmed by the vengeful Sensei warband.
Next Time...
So then, a victory to the Sensei warband, albeit a close one! Now the humans have the coordinates to the 47-Tucanae globular cluster we can get a small campaign running bringing in various factions all looking to get their hands on the Slann gold...

Monday, 12 January 2015

Hello from 1989!

This months issue of Miniature Wargames has a column about the 'Oldhammer' movement,  i.e. veteran gamers enjoying earlier editions and miniature ranges. The article refers to several blogs run by people I'm friends with and whose hobby efforts I respect enormously, so it's great to see them recognised. The column even mentions this very blog, which is really nice as we've been running it since early 2008, some time before the (highly appropriate) term 'Oldhammer' was even coined!

I encourage anyone to check out the blogs the article references and I think they're really well chosen. They nicely illustrate the range of interests within the very broadly defined movement, and in particular puts a lie to a common misconception that all players of older editions are grumpy old gits stuck in 1989! In fact, we take our inspiration (and our conversion components!) from many eras and it's the spirit of those early editions and the character of the old ranges that are most important.

Anyone new to all this and who fancies looking closer, I'd highly recommend this Oldhammer Reddit, which has many more links well worth exploring.

See you in 1989!