Wednesday, December 17, 2014

40mm miniatures

A British sailor from Miniature Service Center/ Trident designs.

(Left to right) Perry, Trident, Graven Images

Sunday, December 14, 2014

GURPS: The White Cloaks: The Dreyfuss Affair

The Templar find themselves at odds with their Saxon neighbors in Province Duo, to the south.  Tensions run high as both sides accuse the other of murder and raiding.
Grand Knight Sir Joshua Hiffin is called upon to take his newly raised Lightning Company to the border town of Pip to investigate the murder of four Templar monks.
The forces of Duo have crossed into Pip and executed the monks in reprisal for several violent incidents that they blame on the Templar.  Their army (small as it is) waits on the border, blocking the pass.
Both provinces are on the verge of civil war.

An illuminated dispatch from Grand Knight Sir Joshua Hiffin.
As quick with his wits as with his blade, Sir Hiffin convinced Baron Palmer, acting constable of Duo, to allow him to enter their territory for two days to investigate the disturbances.
Baron Palmer insisted that only 4 may enter and they must do so unarmed and escorted by his son, Sir Nigel.
Deprived of essential equipment and more or less prisoners of their soon to be enemies, Sir Hiffin, Father Wolfgang, Squire Mugabe and Brother Piroutte (npc) were escorted to Anthrax Convent.
Brother Piroutte discovered that his old mentor, Mother Superior Agatha, had passed away.  More disturbing, while praying at her grave he discovered her soul was missing.  Someone had "soul jar"ed it and taken it away.  The last visitor was a Marnese Prince of the Church.  He had also freed the Princess Duval of her curse (The White Cloaks had rescued her some months ago).  Inquiring about the Princess it was revealed she had been taken on tour of the country by a Sister Darrow.  Tracing her steps the Templar discovered that Sister Darrow had traveled to every village just before there was a disturbance/attack.  An unfortunate co-incidence?  Sir Hiffin decided to meet Sister Darrow and fjnd out.  Tracking them to the Earl's court, they were invited guests in the castle.
Father Wolfgang uses his powers on the "nuns" attending the door and feels they are not friends.
Inside, the find Sister Darrow and 12 nuns along with the Lady Duval who is pleased to see her rescuers again.  Using his powers again, Father Wolfgang determines that except for the girl, these are all demons under illusion disguise.
Weaponless and outnumbered, Sir Hiffin decides discretion is better and talks their way out of the room without alerting the demons we were on to their scheme.
Our escorts, Sir Nigel and his squire Benjamin were brought in to the plan.  When the "nuns" at the door were lured away and ambushed they saw the demons for what they really were.  Convinced now that the Templar were not the source of the disturbances, they agreed to help and we accessed the armory to equip ourselves for combat.
Back to the Sisters' chamber,  Mugabe was first into the breach, although he triggered a trap on the door that withered his left arm.
"Ah, you're back," said Sister Darrow with a sinister grin.
"Evil demon!" Shouted Mugabe "We shall return you to Hell!"
"So be it!" Sister Darrow hisses and all pretense are dropped as the nuns morph into weapon wielding demons.
Mugabe points out the traps on the floor and rushes to the right flank to engage the archers.
Sir Hiffin enters next, while Father Wolfgang clears the glyphs on the floor with holy fire.
As Father Wolfgang enters the room with his Lantern of Holy Light held high, most of the demon minions flee in fear.  The Arch demon, however, is made of sterner stuff and Wolfgang and Hiffin  narrowly dodge a large "death touch" strike.
(The Sir Hiffin figure just got a make over after 20+ years of gaming service.  It now has the proper Templar livery)
The arch demon is surrounded by (l to r) Wolfgang, Squire Benjamin, Squire Mugabe, Sir  Hiffin.
Squire Benjamin lands a solid blow which knocks the demon to the floor!
Success is short lived, however.  In reprisal, the demon "dazes" Squire Ben and slides its sword through his skull.
The remaining companions quickly beat the demon into its just reward.  Mission accomplished?
While the demonic plot has been revealed, its damage is far reaching, and the mastermind is still at large.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

GURPS: Mystery at Spider Keep part 2

Being the illuminated dispatches of Grand Knight Sir Joshua Hiffin.
chapter 1.
After taking back the upper keep of the Lord Vicar, it became known to us that under the keep was an ancient temple to the pagan gods of the highlanders, and despite the Lord Vicar's attempts to sanctify the ground, it had instead slowly corrupted him in his pursuit of ghillie witches.
Sir Ethelred and the Lord Vicar's corpses had been recovered.   However, Father Kapp's corpse and soul remained imprisoned in the dungeon below.
It would not due to let a fellow servant of Arken to rot in eternal damnation so an attempt must be made to recover him.
Plate 1:  Sir Hiffin prepared a rope to lower himself into the darkness below.  Squire Mugabe began to moan pitiously and beat himself about the head and chest.   Knowing the Atem to be an emotional people, Sir Hiffin stopped to inquire the source of the squire's anguish.
"Oh Sir Hiffin,"  Mugabe cried,  "You are too valuable to go first into that chamber of horrors.  If you are lost, who will lead us?"
Touched by the young lads concerns and natural fear of being left leaderless,  Sir Hiffin allowed Squire Mugabe to scout the way ahead.  It was a good opportunity for the lad to prove himself.
Unfortunatly, he was immediately beset upon by a giant spider (just one of the creatures whom supposedly the foul keep gets its name) and needed to be rescued by Father Wolfgang's holy prayers while Sir Hiffin drove through several of the vermin with a spear.

Plate 2:  A representation of the lower catacombs and it's denizens.  (Apparently the illustrator had no clue what a giant spider looks like and has made them look like giant red ants!- J.H.)
Plate 3:  Sir Hiffin and his companions clear the halls of vermin giant spiders and come to an area of offerings to the Servant of Aracnia.
Plate 4:  The corrupted form of Father Kapp lies behind the door in Lady Aracnia's temple.  But alas the door is sealed by a powerful spell.  The key will have to be found elsewhere.
Plate 5: Sir Hiffin deduced that the key to the inner chamber was held in four parts, one in each of the outer chambers, guarded by the avatars of Aracnai pantheon.  The first we chose to acquire was from the son's chamber.
Plate 6:  The chamber was guarded by the Nightwarg Volron and his undead werewolves.  He offered to give us the key if we suplicated ourselves and submit to some lewd acts.  These were unappealing to us three, even Father Wolfgang, so we chose the old fashioned method of acquisition.  Father Wolfgang drove the undead wolves back with his Lantern of Holy Light while Mugabe peppered them with arrows.
Plate 7:  Seemingly blinded by Sir Hiffin's flashing silver blade, the nightwarg shrank back in fear as the Grand Knight stuck the blade through his foul heart.  One piece of the key recovered.
Plate 8:  The next chamber contained the avatar of the Father- a mountain giant and two mummies.  The giant was not immediately hostile, instead offered to parlay and after a vow was taken that the trio would not harm the mother, only take away Father Kapp, he agreed to give the key piece to the group.
Plate 9:  The chamber of the daughter was guarded by two siren spirits.  These succubi used their unatural charms to enthrall all men that entered.  Father Wolfgang had devined that the key piece was in the pool.
Plate 10:  Poor Mugabe was instantly enthralled and set to mounting the spirit like a cur in heat.  Sir Hiffin on the other hand used his savoire faire to counter seduce the spirit on the right, giving Wolfgang time to get to the fountain and recover the key.  Once in our possession the succubi's power was broken and the party left victorious.
Plate 11:  The final chamber, the Grandfather, keeper of the Crow watchers.  Sir Hiffin used his golden words to convince the Grandfather that letting the Templar remove Father Kapp from their dungeon was in the best interest of all.  He saw the Grand Knight's wisdom and gave the final key piece.
Plate 12:  Returning to the central chamber, the group entered and prepared to battle the corrupted soul of Father Kapp.
Plate 13:  True to their word, the pagan forces stood idle while Sir Hiffin, Father Wolfgang and Mugabe delivered the fist of holy justice to the undead form of Father Kapp.
Plate 14:  The Avatar of Aracnia did not interfere as Sir Hiffin and his men departed.  Nor did their followers impede their return trip to the coast and the long voyage back to Saxony was uneventfull.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Compare The Assault Group and Baker Co. Viet Nam

Comparison of the Baker Co. Vietnam figs (on the left) with TAG (3 on right).

Thursday, October 16, 2014

"Land of the Free" AWI rules: A sample game turn

This is my first playtest of "Land of the Free" war game rules from Osprey Publishing.
This is the smallest game possible according to the book-  each side has a force commander and 2 groups.  Each group has a commander and 2 "elements" (what I will inevitably call a "unit").

Starting from the bottom left the forces are 2 elements of Hessian soldiers (average size units) and a group commander betwen them.  In the center is the British Force Commander, then on the right flank are 2 elements of British infantry with their Group commander in between them.
Across the top from left to right are 2 elements of US infantry and their Group commander, the US Force Commander in the road, then a tiny element of artillery and a element of infantry.
(as per usual, click the photo to see bigger version)

The game starts with a d6 roll to see how goes first.  US wins.
The US elects to activate their left flank first.  The group commander rolls a d3 to see how many command points he has this turn and gets a 3.
The artillery is activated first and targets the British infantry to its front.  Small guns have a range of 36" so it within range and has a direct line of site.
Shooting starts with 2 dice and a small battery gets 2 more dice.  Since the range is over 12" there is a -1 die.  A 5 or 6 is needed to score a hit.  Over 12" cannons shoot round shot and inflict disorder moarkers instead of casualties.
No hits!  The gun is reloaded and fired again.
No hits!  The Group commander uses his command points to get the gun to fire once more but again no hits.
The group commander attempts to order the gun to reload.  This requires a morale roll (7 or more on 2d6) but he is at -1 since this is the second forced oreder.  A 7 means the order fails.
The infantry element is activated.  Their first maneuver order is 3" of movement to the wood line.  They like this cover so they will stay here.  Their second manuever order is to place an "opportunity fire" marker.  The first US group is finished all its moves so the turn passes to the British.
The British activate their right flank.  The group commander rolls his command points and gets 2.
The right infantry element is activated first.  An average infantry element basically gets 3 manuever orders and 3 combat orders.  Manuever orders are 3" of movement or reloading your guns (plus a few other things).  Combat orders are shooting.  The first manuever order is 3" straight ahead. They are now within 12" of the US in the woods but the US element is not directly to the front (the 12" threat zone directly in front triggers the "opportunity fire") so the US does not get to interrupt.  The British can fire with a combat order since the US unit is in their forward arc.  According to the rules there is a free pivot to put the elements leader in direct line to target.
The range is under 12".  The shooting starts with 2 dice and an average infantry element adds 4 dice.  1 die is subtracted for the Americans being in cover in the woods.  5's or 6's are needed to hit.  2 hits are scored.  This is not enough to cause any reaction yet.
Because of the pivot, the British element is now in the US threat zone so they can interrupt and use their opportunity fire.  They have the same 6 dice, without the -1 since the Brits are not in cover.  They score 3 hits!
3 hits is the threshold for an average infantry unit so they must pass a morale test to stand in place.  They need a 7 and get it.  They are however now dropped down 1 fitness level, from Fit to shaken.  A shaken unit has one less manuever point so the British unit is now out of actions.
The group leader is within his 12" comman range and has 2 command points.  He uses 1 to force a reload.  The element needs to roll 7 or better and they do. 
The group leader uses his last command point to order them to fire.  They need to roll 8 or higher this time since it is the second order.  An 11!  they shoot.
3 hits!  Now the US element has taken more than 3 hits so they will go down a level (fit to shaken) and must make a morale check to stand. 
They need a 7 or higher but they took more than 3 hits so it is a -2 to the roll. They get a 10 and stand fast, although now the unit is shaken.
The next British element is activated.  It uses its first manuever points to move ahead 3".  It shoots and inflicts 1 hit.  The second manuever order is to reload.
It fires again and gets a total of 3 hits. 
This is the casualty threshold of an average unit.  They must check morale to stand.  A 7 or better on 2d6 and they get it.  They are now lowered from "shaken" to "exhausted".  "Exhausted" has some serious penalties, and if they drop another level they are shattered and out of the game.
The last thing the British group commander does is move up with his troops.  Play now passes to the US player.
The US player activates his remaining group.  The first manuever is 3" to the fence.
Crossing the fence costs a manuever order.  (It also causes disorder but I forgot that bit at the time).  They use their last order to go on opportunity fire.
The next element does basically the same thing.
They are also on opp fire.  The commander moves up with them and they are done.  Next the British player activates an element.
The Hessians are activated.  The group commander rolls his command points and gets the max: 3!
The left element is activated first and it manuevers ahead 3".  Certain units and nationalities have special rules.  Hessians are considered more cumbersome so they only get 2 manuever points per turn instead of 3.  This is balanced by their supposed better musketry drill so they get to reroll their misses the first time they shoot and don't suffer from "ragged volleys"  (rolling 2 or more 1's subtracts 1 hit from your shooting).
The Hessians are now within musket range (12") but they trigger the US opp fire.
The US scores 1 hit.  Not enough to cause an effect yet (need 3).
The Hessians now reply and get 3 hits!  (that rerolling misses makes a big difference).
3 hits is the degradation threshold so the US player must roll 7 or higher to stand.  The get a 6 and fail.  They must fall back d3 moves. 
They roll a 1 so the whole manuever is going over the fence.  And they are now "shaken".
The next Hessian element activates.  They move forward 3"
In a replay of the previous element, they trigger the US opp fire and take 1 hit. Not enough to stop them.
They reply with their volley and get 3 hits  (again that reroll is a killer).
The US must roll a 7 or better to stand.  They do (a 9) but they are now "shaken".
Their second manuever order is to reload.
The Group commander uses a command point to get them to fire again.  A 7 or better is required and they roll it.
Another 3 hits.  The US unit is at the degrading threshold again.

They need a 7 or better to stand.  This time they fail.  and drop from "shaken" to "exhausted".
They must move back d3 moves and roll 3 moves.  Over the fence is one and then back 3" twice.
The Group commander has one point left so he uses it to order his men to reload.  They need to roll an 8 or better (this is the second forced order) and get a 12, so they reload.  They are now finished.  All elements have been activated so the turn is over.
This turn took about 1.5 hours because it was my first attempt at the rules and needed to consult the book often. It would speed up a bit with familiarity. (Or if I had printed out the QRS or made unit cards- but I was lazy) Also it was a lot of combat resolution and I was taking (blurry) pictures.  Moving goes a lot faster than combat.
 I used a very small table (3x4) so the forces were pretty much starting at contact range and that turn was pretty decisive.