Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mobile infantry

Recently I was reading again Heinlein's Starship Troopers, so I got urge to go for some bug hunting. 
For this, I used 5150: Battalion Commander by Two Hours Wargames.

Battalion level games are the point where, in my opinion, 2HW games really shine, and therefore 5150: Battalion Commander, Warrior Heroes: Warbands and especially Muskets and Shakos are my favorite titles from this publisher.

At first, I wanted to drop one platoon of mobile infantry (ISS) on the bug controlled planet, on the patrol mission. I had one Rep 4 (blue) one Rep 5 (yellow) and one Rep 6 (red) squads, Rep 4 Rocket launcher and Rep 5 Plasma Gun. Platoon leader was a Rep 4 rookie.

Bug controlled planet with activity level 5 made chaos from the very start, as I was immediately faced with opposition that outnumbered my forces six times. So, I decided to pull back and try again, this time on human controlled planet.
 Too many of them - pull back!

I used the same set-up, but with Bugs activity level 3 and things looked much better. First PEF resolved as Something out there, and second into Bug hole, with forces equal to my on. The In Sight started, and all units moved, since the bugs were out of range.
 I rearranged my troops to better receive first wave of bugs.
One bug unit charged blue squad and send it on Spiral of Death until remaining soldiers left the battlefield.
I missed one In Sight here, since when the blue squad was destroyed line of sight opened between command stand and bugs. But I noticed this too late.
Than, low scoring doubles were rolled for activation two times,generating two new PEFs. Bugs are moving into offensive...
Bugs are finally in range, and human firepower starts counting, destroying one unit of bugs.
But that is where everything went downhill.
Unit of bugs charged the red squad. Just one bug reached melee, but it passed Crisis test with 2d6 and than send complete Rep 6 squad down the Spiral of Death until I finally rolled 6 and allowed surviving soldiers to leave the battlefield.
Also, new Bug hole opened just south of the forest, with lots of warriors pouring out and killing command stand.
With two more PEFs unresolved, Blue Squad and support weapon teams decided that they have had enough, and retreated from the battlefield. Next, Defend mission is in order....

So, what have I learned from this game:
1. Remember In Sight checks!
2. Bugs are terribly dangerous, even single bug can eliminate previously unscratched elite unit. They should not be confronted directly. Some other tactics is in order, maybe decoy unit to move them around table, while other squads pick bug by bug with firepower....
3. Command squad should not be in the open. And if it comes in the open, it should duck back as soon as possible..

Let see if I can implement this in practice in my next game....

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Dancing WIth Wolves part 4

It's been 4 years since I started a RuneQuest 2 Chaosium campaign Dancing with the Wolves. Than, last year, I decided to return to it, and I played first part of 9Qs adventure, but I stopped at the cliffhanger.
Here is the previous part of the campaign.
I really needed a push to go on with it,  and the push came in the form of the other campaign, one played by alea iactanda est.

So, I continue with the Q3. The previous plot stopped at the moment when one of my two PCs, a female character called Tigerina, gets affected by unknown madness striking only women, and attacks my other character, young barbarian Dragonfly.

Be the player next: Tigerina fights with the dagger, while Dragonfly tries to grasp her and tie her with a rope.

After lots of misses, Dragonfly finally - fumbles, and cuts his right hand on Tigerina's dagger, rendering his right hand useless. Dragonfly keeps missing, while Tigerina in her madness starts hitting, wounding his head, abdomen, and finally incapacitating barbarian's left hand. Dancing around to avoid the dagger of his mad friend, Dragonfly finally manages to land successful kick and brake Tigerina's leg.

While she was still crawling towards him trying to attack, Dragonfly was able to avoid her and to kick her in the head, rendering Tigerina unconscious. Then, he tied her up, bandaged his wounds the best he could and then dragged his mad friend back to the nearby village.

To avoid spreading of the madness to female population of the village, pair settled in the woodcutter hut in the forest. There, Dragonfly brought a male animal doctor from the village to heal his wounds and to fix Tigerina's leg.

While recovering, Dragonfly meditated on his adventures. He didn't learned anything from last dagger fight (needed 77, rolled 83) but he learned something from trying to grapple Tigerina (Needed 82, rolled 62, unarmed combat increased to 35%)

Be the GM once more: Break + Cube. As soon as her leg got better, Tigerina managed to untie her ropes and escape the hut.

Q4. How can the fight be brought to the enemy, gaining ground for the heroic motivation?
Be the player first: Dragonfly tried to follow Tigerina, but could not detect the direction she took from the hut (needed 15, rolled 54).
Therefore, he decided to return to the meteor stone area. Once he entered the land where the stone supposedly landed, he noticed it immediately (needed 10, rolled 6!).
So Dragonfly set in the grass and waited for dusk.

Be the GM next: Sun shining on something + Book. As the setting sun touched the stone, it started radiating some letters, as if the stone was actually some kind of book. It seems that Tigerina was right, and that stone was a vessel transferring knowledge. If only she was here...

Be the PC once more: Can Dragonfly read the words on the stone? No. Can he remember them in order to show them later to some Lhankor Mhy priest? No.
Dragonfly will have to find Tigerina, cure her and bring her here to decipher the text on the stone. And if that turns out to be impossible, he will have to find her master and bring him to this place.

To be continued.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Burn the hall

2 Hour Wargames recently released book Warrior Heroes - Warbands, dealing with small military operations in fantasy world.

At the end of the book, there is an option to play the game on one to one scale using simplified rules.

So, until I paint enough miniatures to play it properly, I decided to start learning the game through skirmish scenario The Hall Burning presented in the rules.

Here is my team: Orc warlord AGuGu (Rep 5) and two of his clansmen (Rep 4).
Orcs are attacking the great hall Located at section 3. There are 3 PEFs in the open (2 in section 1 and 1 in section 3), representing sentries, and 3 more in the hall, representing inhabitants.They will come out once the alarm is sounded.

The game is played by moonless night, so visibility is limited to 3+d6=9".

Turns 1 to 3: My Orcs started advancing through the woods. First PEF resolved as "something out there". As they moved towards the hall, second PEF approached and resolved into 4 enemies: Rep 5 Ranger, Rep 4 dwarf warrior and two Rep 4 archers. Alarm is sounded!
Turn 4: Ranger and dwarf charged AGuGu and were locked in melee, while archers moved into range. Orc clansmen are in good position to flank ranger, just if they could activate...
Turn 5:
Activation roll: Orcs 5, woodsmen 3, so no activation for clansmen.
While they were indecisive if they should attack ranger or archers, ranger and dwarf killed orc chieftain. Both clansmen pass Leader lost test.
But it is time for archers to shoot, and one orc routs.
One PEF from hall approaches, but it is resolved as case of nerves.

Turn 6:
Activation roll: Orc 1, woodsmen 3. Ranger and dwarf charge remaining orc and kill him.
Game over.

It was a fun game, but rules are written for bodies of troops not one on one skirmishers, and this is visible. For this scale, In Sight test was missed the most.

So, I am preparing the warbands for a regular game, and I think these rules will really shine than.

Here are the seeds from which my future armies will rise:
 Beginning of Orc warbands

 Future Woodsmen warbands

All models are in 10mm scale, produced by Copplestone Castings.

Monday, October 13, 2014

British Heavy Cavalry Brigade

Well, here is another British unit I painted in 6mm scale.

This time, I present to you Sir Henry Fane commanding heavy cavalry brigade consisting of two regiments: 4th Queen's Own Dragoons and Royal Horse Guards (popular The Blues).

 Two photographs, neither one is perfect.... First gives you better look at the troopers, second on the officers.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Oolong Yard Sale - Oolong the Scarlet Hero, part 3.2 and final for now

Continued from here.

1. Hit Big
2. Bombard Rats

3. Cut Magnet
4. Puzzle Lighting
5. Old Key
6. Push Suspects
7. Big Present

Scene 3.
Seed: Push Suspects. Danger level 1.

Oolong spend a week stalking house Souchong until she finally noticed old Lord leaving house with some books. He is probably going to the library! 
Oolong took out the eagle feather she purchased at the end of part 2. Holding the feather, she swallowed the Potion of Bestial Form and turned into eagle.
As a bird, she followed Lord Socuchong until he led her to the library gates.

Story probe: Is this some kind of central Library where all librarians meet?
No. Something else: Big Flute. This is a secret library only for informed. To enter, you have to whistle a secret melody. Oolong remembered the notes.

Big question answered: WHERE - Oolong now knows the location of the secret library and HOW to get in there. But does the Librarian she is looking for ever coming to this place?  - unreliable.

Scene 4.
Seed: Old Key. Danger level 1.

Oolong had no better idea than to enter the Library. First she spent some time looking at the doors. By the number of people coming in and out, she deducted that no one will find her suspicious inside. Once inside, she could see books everywhere. There was no reception desk. All patrons seem to know what they want and where are they going, so there was no help inside.
She tried to find some books about teas (intelligence test + 1 for scholar trait) but failed.
She looked for some information board, but there was none.   Finally she decided to put note on the exit door: "Owner of the Book of Teas from Earl Grey, please contact me at the hairdresser shop in the first district."
Than she left the Library.
Oolong waited for several days.
Story probe: Did the note provoked any reaction?
No. It is a dead end.

Scene 5.
Seed: Cut Magnet. Danger level 2 since Oolong had a big failure in the last scene.

Oolong has had enough. She was sick of the Capital, and all she wanted was to go back home. So, she decided to stop looking for Librarian and sell the books at the first available place. That might be an antiquity shop just around the corner.
Story probe: Is the owner of the store interested in the books?
YES! ALL big questions answered - Oolonog will sell Books NOW in ANTIQUITY SHOP.

Scene 6 (Fight back)
Seed: Puzzle lighting. DL 2.

Oolong explained shop owner that she is dungeon explorer, and that if he ever need something from some dungeon  he can call on her. Considering future cooperation, he should give good price for the books. (charisma test + dungeon explorer trait, success). Shopkeeper noticed that she is an experienced dungeon rider, so he agreed.

Scene 7 (fight back)
Seed: Big Present. DL 1.

Oolong also told shopkeeper about Librarian, and that if he can find him he can make good interest (failed charisma test), but shopkeeper was not interested in previous owners of the books, He will sell them the way it suits him. DL stays at 1.


OK, lets talk price. Oolong asked for a greater magic item for the books, but that offer made shopkeeper laugh. How about lesser magic item?
"I am no magician or alchemist" the shopkeeper replied. "I can only offer some gold. How about... (d6*500) 3000 gp?"

"Whatever" replied Oolong, took money, left the antiquity shop and hurried to the city gate. She didn't want to stay at the Capital one second longer.....


So, Perilous Interactions produced for me a fun game. This adventure was more on the realistic side, considering that finding a person in the capital with no idea where to look really is impossible task, even in the fantasy world. 
The problem I had with the PI can be found in Story Probe mechanism. If you roll too much NOs (like in this case, and considering statistics with average luck on die rolls of average gamer this is the most likely outcome) it can lead you to the dead end and you can get stacked. 

After this, Oolong will take some time off. I need a change of pace, so some wargaming is in order, and than I would like to continue my long abandoned Runequest campaign...

Monday, October 6, 2014

Rats in the Basement - Oolong the Scarlet Hero part 3.1.

Continuing form here...

Being a solo RPG player has its advantages... Among others is the possibility to try new tools of the trade. So, it is now time to playtest Perilous Interactions system by Rory Bracebuckle.

In PI, first thing you do is to determine a number of random Seeds, that will lead you through adventure. Using Rory's Story Cubes, I got following:
1. Hit Big
2. Bombard Rats
3. Cut Magnet
4. Puzzle Lighting
5. Old Key
6. Push Suspects
7. Big Present

Scene 1.
Seed: Hit big. Danger Level -1 (Advantaged).

Upon entering the Capital, the sheer size of the City overwhelmed Oolong. She was welcomed by Long Jing and (now his) porcelain servitor, so she had a place to stay, but she had no contacts, and no idea where to start looking for a Librarian.

Story probe: Long Jing opened hairdresser shop in the Capital. Is there someone among his customers who might know Librarian?  
No. Something else - RSC: Egg. In the hairdressers workshop Oolong met a cook working in one of the city noble houses, who is looking for a hero.

Big question answered: HOW - Oolong can find librarian by working for the servants of the noble houses - unreliable.

Scene 2.
Seed: Bombard Rats. Danger level 0 (At Odds).

A cook from a noble house of Lapsang Souchong admitted Oolong that he is afraid to go to the house cellar. All he needs is located in the first few rooms of the cellar, but there are many rooms in it, and when a cook is alone there, he can hear strange noises from the depths. What if his master ever sends him deeper for something? Cook knows that the noise is probably made by ordinary rats, but he wants Oolong to investigate.

Cellar has two levels, first of which has 9 rooms.
First two rooms were empty. In room 3 Oolong encountered more house servants. They were informed about her arrival. But none of them knew nothing about noises coming from room located deeper, or they were not willing to tell (failed charisma test). But than, Oolong saw someone signaling her from the side room (room 7). It was another servant, and he was ready to open his soul (this time charisma test was successful). (RSC: Eye + Heart) He tells that he recently met Lady Souchong here in the basement. The strange thing is that the lady was already dead for several years. The Lord was very much in love with her, so maybe... Servant dared not say anything more.
Rooms 4 and 6 were empty. Room 8 was locked. Is it some kind of prison - Yes and - it is protected by mighty magic wards. By peaking through the bars, Oolong noticed a beautiful lady standing inside. Woman seemed motionless, as in some kind of trance. Oolong recognised the creature immediately - it was a Leaping Vampire that used to be Lady Souchong.
Oolong just shrugged her shoulders and moved on. Vampire was not a threat for a cook, and she was here to find librarian, not to intervene in the strange love life of the rich....
Room 9 was empty except from some bottles of wine, so Oolong continued to room 5 and took a stairs to the lower level.
There, a narrow corridor took her to the opening of the big cave. Inside, she saw a huge winged demon (10 HD monster, RSC described it as Craw + Demon)! Oolong had enough. If Lord Souchong can have a vampire lover and a demon guardian, he must be a really powerful Blood Mage. And Oolong knew better than to mingle with plans of their kind. As she already noticed to herself, she did not come here to save the world.
So, she left the cellar (snatching on the way a bottle of good wine, no one will notice it anyway), and returned to the cook. She told him that he should stick to first few rooms, and that no one would send him deeper anyway. Finally, if he is so afraid, maybe he should think about changing employer...

And speaking about employers....
Story probe: Did master of the house recently hired new librarian?  
No. Something else - RSC: Safe + Question mark. Lord Souchong recently moved all his books to some unknown safe place....

Big question answered: WHERE - Maybe Oolong can find librarian in the location where Lord Souchong moved his books - unreliable.

To be continued....

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Kill the Bug - Oolong the Scarlet Hero intermezzo

Continued form here.

This is just a small adventure to connect the loose threads.

After leaving town of Earl Grey, Oolong entered wildernesses and approached a lair of the giant bug that is needed as ingredient to wizard Darjeeling.

Oolong tied Guan Yin a little bit further from the bug's lair, and then she approached the giant insect.

Potions are really powerful in Scarlet Heroes, and I decided to use two - Invisibility in order to make surprise attack and Furious Might to further increase our hero fighting ability. It was enough to kill monster with first attack.

So, Oolong put bug's carcase on the donkey and went to see the wizard.

Darjeeling was very happy to see his ingredient ready to be used. So, he teaches Oolong some magic tricks, enough for her to become level 0 Magic User. Now, our hero can use d4 fray die against all opponents, and she will be able to use wands or scrolls should she encounters them. So far, she knows no spells, and has no spell slots, she needs to become at least level 1 magic user for that.

Oolong also took the occasion to ask Darjeeling about his Porcelain servitor. He said that he could not care less about the golem, but asked Oolong to keep it as far away from his cage if possible, because stupid thing talks too much. Oolong made the magician very happy when she explained that the servitor already left for the big city with Long Jing, the hairdresser.

Finishing with the job that was burdening her a little, Oolong earned one more experience point.

And now, off to Capital, where she will encounter some Perilous Interactions.....