Saturday, 28 September 2019

Rogue Trader - Incident at Imperial Research Station Anotla

Mr Papafakis is back in the country so we gamed.

The hastily improvised scenario concerned an Imperial research station that had been razed by xenos raiders and in its death throes had released a spherical warp storm. This would move randomly warping all those who come too close. If marines suffered the sphere's baleful glare there was the chance that both their bodies and minds would be warped causing them to switch allegiance. 

The fall of the research station and subsequent warp 'leak' was the result of a raid by an unlikely alliance of chaos squats and orks. These xenos remained on site. Space marines had been mobilised to evacuate scientists on the scene. These scientists were hidden in the forest too scared to move out on their own. Meanwhile scattered around the landing zone were crates some of which contained teleport beacons that could be used by either side to bring in fresh forces.

The devastated research station with warp sphere looming overhead. Pic prior to deployment.
The xenos variant crusader bot would operate on remote until its programming could engage the enemy.
The infamous Ork fat bastard Kulo. Troll with meltagun in background along with some of the ladz.

The xenos line. Two ork squads, a troll, some chaos squats and a crusader bot.
Kulo heard the whine of jet cycles close by. The marines had arrived before he could finish the cowardly scientists off. He and one of the chaos squats fell back to the devastated research base to pick through the cargo looking for the teleport beacon. The rest of his troops lumbered towards the forest looking for the scientists.

The space wolf bullock jet cycles split up to locate the teleport beacon and missing scientists.

Brother Dorn swooped his cycle low over the forest. He spotted a ground car full of scientists. This was lucky as he had feared the evacuation would take some time. The scientists started the cars engine and slowly navigated through the woods. 

< First turn a ground car was discovered. There were 6 'wood' sections on the board with the odds of finding a ground car 1 in 6. >

The warp sphere moves towards the xenos.
The baleful glare of the warp sphere gifts long necks, scaly skin and poisonous flatulence.
The xenos line advanced. Back at the research station Kulo discovered a teleport beacon amongst the debris. Discovering this so soon had him roaring in triumph. In orbit above them Kulo's space hulk readied a variant crusader pattern robot for porting to the surface.

The warp sphere raced towards the xenos line causing chaotic transformations amongst the troops. 

<While initially a neat idea the warp sphere proved impractical in play. We rolled mutations using the mutation table in rogue trader for each model within 3d6 inches of the warp sphere. Most of the mutations were cosmetic and none had an impact on the game. In hindsight it would have been better to have the sphere blast out randomly with models killed mutating into primordial ooze.>

Me moving a bullock cycle into the ruins for cover.
The marine jet cycles kept a slow pace scouting the woods for the second group of scientists. While they didn't find them they did locate a teleport beacon and would be able to beam down a squad of Mk 1 Goodwin pattern terminators.

Brother Rogal powered down his bullock cycle guiding it into the cover of a ruined building before taking a pot shot at an advancing ork. The first shot fired in the game. He missed.

The second ground car full of scientists is discovered by the chaos squats.
A thorough search of the woods uncovered the glint of glass and metal. The second and final car load of scientists had been discovered by the chaos squats. Korgan the unburnt levelled his flamer as he moved in on the cars flank while the terrified scientists fumbled to start the engine.

The first car load of scientists is halted by a variant crusader bot freshly teleported in.
The orks on board Kulo's orbiting space hulk responded to the active teleport beacon by beaming down a crusader bot with unnerving accuracy. The droid collided with the front of the first scientists vehicle. Both the robot and the car sustained damage from the collision. The scientists found they had lost control of the vehicle's grav drive. The car was attempting to gain altitude but could not do so as the crusader bot had it pinned with its power claws. The vehicle would continue to struggle for altitude while being slowly torn apart.

<The bots programming was fixated on the closest target, which in this case was the ground car. This kept it locked down for the game slowly whittling away at the cars large pool of damage points, doing one or two damage each turn from the cars total of 25. It was going to be a long slog unless a lucky blow took out the fuel tank.>

The terminators port in and charge. The xenos flee. Sensible cowards!
Commander Russ could hear the screams of the scientists over the comms from the battle barge. A recently activated teleport beacon would allow him and his terminator brothers to intervene. The first group of scientists were lost given the damage to their cars grav drive. They would never make it to the evacuation point but the second car load of scientists might. He intoned the sacred rite and activated the teleporter.

Russ and his brothers arrived on the xenos flank. He called on his brothers to charge the stunted ones while he brought his righteous storm hammer to bear on the crusader bot. The xenos fled, their stunted legs pumping, leaving the terminators looking foolish and out in the open.

The chaos squats, who had recently fled, turned and fired at the terminators. Their rounds bounced harmlessly off the marines terminator armour. Korgan the unburnt lit up the car sheltering in the woods causing the scientists to slam the now blazing vehicle into reverse.

<When charged you can stand and shoot or run away. Running away looks like a smart option with no downside. At least from our read of the rules.>

Commander Russ hammers into the back of the bot which does not flee as it has WS 8! Korgan the unburnt watches on.
Commander Russ realised he was outmatched as the Crusader bot turned to face him brandishing its power claws with obvious skill. However the Captain had the Emperor on his side as he hammered into his robotic foe. The Captain's hammer smashed the servo's in the bots leg while he took a solid blow in return. Despite the wound he pressed on with righteous fury somehow landing blow after blow on his foe destroying the bots cannon. His righteous armour stopping all but the bots first blow.

<The Captain shouldn't have won this duel as he was outclassed. I got luck and rolled lots of 6's to hit. Bots are very hard to kill. Reducing them to 0 damage just means each subsequent damaging hit causes a malfunction where you roll on a table and need to get lucky to put the bot down. The table is too fiddly requiring you to keep track of lots of little things as bits are slowly damaged or destroyed.>
Kulo dodges heavy flamer fire.

The bots programming sees it wailing on the ground car instead of more important targets.
Fragile jet cycles lit up by an ork flamer.
With the scientists located the jet cycles roared towards the xenos line hoping their speed would see them avoid ground fire. The squats and orks shrugged off the cycles bolter rounds and returned fire. Flames and bolter shells engulfed the bullock cycles causing their tanks to explode spectacularly. The flaming wreckage of three bullock cycles crashed into the forest starting a small blaze.

The warp sphere re-entered the board and warped the carload of terrified scientists.
The warp sphere had drifted off the field of battle earlier as it floated past the xenos line and across the ocean. It returned to a largely abandoned quadrant where a crusader bot was slowly tearing apart a ground car full of scientists. 

The terrified screams of the scientists changed to garbled chaotic gibbering and feral snarls. The scientists inside the car were warped into monstrosities and tore each other apart within the confined space. All the while the bot continued rending and tearing at the vehicle that steadfastly refused to blow up.

After a failed charge Kulo is 'terminated'.
Kulo barrelled towards the terminator holding the heavy flamer. As he ran he bellowed a challenge "Fight me puny marine. Kulo will crush you!" The marine retreated before the corpulent ork. He had learned from the squats earlier cowardice. With Kulo hung out to dry the terminators formed a line and tore the ork warlord apart with a withering hail of storm bolter fire.

A crusader bot was knocked to the ground by the terminator Commander Russ. With damaged sensors it was 'out'.
Commander Russ finally felled the crusader bot. With sensors damaged it toppled forwards. The crippled leg servos could not right it. It lay thrashing futilely in the mud. Meanwhile the two remaining bullock cycles rounded on Kurgan the unburnt. They felled the stunty with a burst of twin linked bolter fire.

The second carload of scientists reversed their flaming car to the teleport beacon and escaped.
The xenos troll shrugged off his bewildered state and along with a handful or squats turned his attention to the reversing and still burning car full of scientists. The squats gunfire did little other than dent the vehicles body. The trolls melta gun landed a lucky blow severely damaging the cars structure but not significantly enough to cause a malfunction. 

The scientists reversed the car to the ruins that housed the teleport beacon. This was no small task as the vehicle had been burning for some time after being hit by Kurgan the unburnt's flamer. The flames finally died down as the scientists scrambled into the ruins and huddled around the beacon. High above them the Imperial battle barge activated the teleporter whisking the scientists to safety. They had been evacuated. The forces of the Imperium were triumphant. The remaining leaderless xenos scattered into the ruins.


Here's what I learned:  

  • We did the jet cycle rules wrong. When reduced to 0 damage they should roll on the malfunction chart and not simply blow up. That should make them more resilient. 
  • The warp sphere was a non event. It had the potential to deny zones to the marines with its threat of corruption but its random movement saw it play no real role. 
  • Robots and vehicles are hard to kill. The malfunction charts don't escalate in severity when high amounts of damage is inflicted. The dreadnought malfunction tables are better thought out. 
  • Finally running from a charge seems to be a sensible tactic with no down side. Who knew.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Episode 19 - The Enemy Within - Awful Lieutenant Doppler

It's not 'The Enemy Within' without some Ian Miller art.
This is an actual play recording of Death on the Reik, a chapter in Games Workshop's classic campaign The Enemy Within.

Download Episode from Googe Drive (37.7MB)
Heroes present were Esmerelda Potter the Shallayan initiate, Herdan Van Helsing the vampire hunter, Jotunn the dwarf veteran, Walter Cinder Corbit the halfling agitator, Solomon the halfling smuggler and Magnus the dwarven prospector.

We left the heroes in possession of Castle Wittgenstein's main gatehouse. They had repulsed a sortie of guards led by the craven Lieutenant Doppler and caused their foe to retreat to their barracks. Victorious they had flung the gates open and thirty allied outlaws moved up from nearby woods to join them. The assault on Castle Wittgenstein was off to a good start.

Key points from Episode 19
The heroes worked hard to secure the outer bailey
(7:10) Sigrid, the outlaw leader, encouraged the group to take the middle gatehouse as quickly as possible reasoning that the guards manning it would soon notice the commotion and raise the drawbridge. 

The group organised the outlaws with bows into groups and co-ordinated fields of fire on the barracks to keep Lieutenant Doppler and his guards hemmed in.

(12:09) The party swept anticlockwise along the outer bailey walls. Their first stop was the stables where they gave valuable looking horses covetous looks. Their greed was distracted by a worrisome green glow coming from an obscured stable stall. Herdan's curiosity was piqued. He discovered the source of the green glow when confronted by a shimmering stablehand brandishing a pitchfork. The pair chatted and agreed to leave each other alone. The stablehand blamed a black rainstorm that had occurred years ago for his mutated condition. 

The band finished reconnoitring the grounds running into a number of mutant servants whom they put on notice to behave.

(18:33) Axes and shovels were hefted and the middle gatehouse's side door charged. The dash to the door drew crossbow fire from the barracks. Herdan led the charge shrugging off bolts that clattered harmlessly off his armour. Magnus embedded his pick in the gatehouse door and levered it from its hinges. With one mighty stroke the middle gatehouse was breached

(26:00) The band found the ground level deserted and raced up the gatehouse stairs to confront the shell shocked guards. Solomon and Walter provided cover fire with their slings as Herdan and Jotunn waded into the foe. A grievously injured Magnus shied from combat, instead he watched over the outlaws as they secured the ground level.
Georg Hegel - Ex-Captain of the Guard ventured from his tower to attack the rear of the group.
(29:00) While Magnus may have sought to avoid confrontation, trouble found him when six skeletons from the nearby Captain's tower joined the battle for the ground level of the gatehouse. As the undead lurched across the courtyard they were caught by a hail of arrows from outlaws the group had stationed in the stables, smithy and coach house. Alas the missiles had no effect on their bony enemy. Trailing behind the skeletons was a black armoured corpse surrounded by a shadowy nimbus. Esmerelda, who had provided moral support in the battle against the gatehouse guards, spied the undead from a window and called out in alarm. Herdan, sworn to serve Morr the guardian of the dead, was eager to do battle with his gods enemy and fell back to the ground level. This left Jotunn to battle four gatehouse guards with only the meagre support of the halflings.

(33:10) The skeletons could not be considered alive which allowed Esmerelda to clobber them with her quarterstaff. It's a rare moments when the priestess strikes out in anger and given her lack of combat experience her blows were ineffective.

(38:13) Magnus guarded the shattered doors at the entrance to the gatehouse. He smashed several skeletons apart before the shadowy form of ex-Captain Hegel swept in to confront him. The undead's deathly cold blade struck Magnus who could not prevent the blow through the fortuitous use of a lucky charm...

... At this moment I had to rescue spring rolls from the oven which left the group on a momentary cliff hanger! ...

... Fortunately for our hero the wight's blade left Magnus reeling on 0 wounds, mercifully avoiding a devastating critical hit.

(40:36) Jotunn, outnumbered four to one in the melee on the second level of the gatehouse, managed to fell a pair of guards in quick succession. The remaining guards were so intimidated by the dwarf's martial prowess that they surrendered. The halflings secured the guard's weapons and kept an eye on them while Jotunn raced down the stairs to aid in the conflict with the undead. Alas upon seeing his foe the dwarf was cowed by fear. In contrast Herdan attacked with righteous vigour and speared the wight's arm off. The crippled spectral ex-Captain retreated.

(46) The heroes pursued their foe into the courtyard and were met by a volley of bolts from the barracks. They shrugged the quarrels off and remained focussed on the retreating enemy. In a frantic flurry of blows Herdan snapped the wight like a twig. With the creature defeated the warriors scurried back to the gatehouse, but not before they gave a one fingered salute to Lieutenant Doppler and his guards holed up in the barracks.

(51:56) Amongst the guards Jotunn had cowed into submission was Sgt Kurtz whom the group began to question. They were interrupted however by a cry from the inner gatehouse where the final outpost of guards standing between the group and Castle Wittgenstein were based. 'What's happening?' they demanded. The group had Sgt Kurtz respond that everything was fine and that Lieutenant Doppler had put down a bandit attack. There was nothing for the inner gate guards to worry about. 

Kurtz went on to spill the beans on the castle's defences, residents, guests and layout. His co-operative approach earned him his freedom. Though who could tell what peace a former guard with rotting flesh would find roaming the Empire.

(59:09) To thank Sgt Kurtz for his assistance Esmerelda recommended some chamomile tea and jojoba extract for his horrific skin condition, a condition Kurtz blamed on the night of black rain.
Lieutenant Doppler could be called risk-averse though to be fair he was badly wounded.
(61:37) With the main and middle gatehouses secured and Sgt Kurtz interrogated the group decided to seize the barracks before taking the fight to the inner bailey and castle proper. They rushed the barracks, ignoring the crossbow fire. The entrance was rent asunder under the groups manic blows and the five remaining guards and Lieutenant Doppler were confronted. Jotunn called out a challenge 'Doppler lets end this nobly. You verse me. One on one.' Doppler agreed, inviting Jotunn to step out from cover to confront him. Honourable, gullible or perhaps a bit of both, Jotunn obliged stepping forward and making himself a target. Doppler gave the order to "shoot the bastard." Quarrels were loosed but luck was with the dwarf and none found their mark.

(67:12) Jotunn cursed Doppler as a coward and charged. Doppler retreated but encouraged his men, 'Look how injured they are. Why that dwarf can barely stand. This will be an easy fight.' While charging Jotunnn got tangled amongst chairs the guards had set as a makeshift barricade. Combat was joined and once Doppler had retreated out of sight a number of guards broke and ran only to be cut down. Skirting the edges of the melee Jotunn bolted up the stairs in pursuit of the craven Lieutenant.
Doppler's pitiful hostage of uncertain identity was trapped within a crow's cage
(72:49) Jotunn cornered Doppler in his immaculately furnished rooms. These beautiful rooms seemed at odds with the decay and corruption of the Wittgenstein's. Ruining the splendor was a horribly tortured man trapped within a crows cage. Doppler held a blade to the man's throat which stopped Jotunn in his tracks. "Stand back or I shall kill this important noble hostage! This is Von Tassernick, he went on an expedition to the Grey mountains and vanished and yet here he is. You don't want his blood on your hands." Jotunn negotiated and sheathed his blade. He would escort Doppler and the surviving guards out of the castle. When safely beyond the gates Doppler would turn the hostage over.

(77:00) Confident that he was in control, Doppler sheathed his sword. He ordered one of his few remaining guards to fetch a loaded crossbow. As he reached for it Jotunn struck with the reflexes of a cobra, quick drawing his rune blade Barakul he sliced cleanly through Doppler's leg. The magic of the rune blade ensured that Doppler's armour remained intact though the torrent of blood pouring around his greaves left little doubt as to the Lieutenant's fate. Doppler's death saw the remaining guards surrender. The outer bailey was secure.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Episode 18 - The Enemy Within - Enemy at the Gates

The mission: seize Castle Wittgenstein and end the Wittgenstein's mad reign.
This is an actual play recording of Death on the Reik, a chapter in Games Workshop's classic campaign The Enemy Within.

Download Episode from Google Drive (27.7MB)

Heroes present were Esmerelda the Shallayan initiate, Herdan van Helsing the vampire hunter, Jotunn the dwarf veteran, Walter the halfling agitator, Solomon the halfling smuggler and Magnus the dwarven prospector.

We left the heroes having successfully navigated the tunnels beneath Castle Wittgenstein. They had been on a reconnaissance mission for the camp of outlaws they were allied to. Now they stood beneath a trapdoor they knew would lead them into the castle's courtyard and the heart of the enemy camp.

Key points from Episode 18

A shanty town of mutants could be found within the outer bailey
(1:00) With great effort the group hefted a block in the ceiling of the tunnel aside. It granted them entry to the Castle Wittgenstein's squalid courtyard. The block was difficult to move as atop it sat a scraggly mutant cradling a rancid potato. The unfortunate was dismissively spoken to while the party got their bearings. They had emerged in a ruined building in the castle's courtyard and were surrounded by a shanty town of crippled and disease struck mutants. Magnus took pity on the wretches telling them that if they wished to take their chances they could escape by following the tunnel from which the heroes had emerged.
Castle Wittgenstein's Gatehouse did little to stop the adventurers
(8:05) Huddled amongst the rubble, surrounded by inquisitive mutants the group planned their attack on the keep. They talked at length on how best to employ their poison wind globe before recalling that they had left it hidden beneath the hull of their boat. 
Castle Wittgenstein's outer bailey was the scene of this session
(12:30) They donned rancid garments to appear like any other outer bailey beggar. Suitably disguised the heroes made their way to the gatehouse, using the shanty town in the courtyard as cover. The inner door to the gatehouse was unlocked and they burst in to confront a single guard reclining at a desk, fetid lips puffing away on a pipe. He had his helm by his side which revealed his horrid rotting visage. The sight shocked the group with Esmerelda shrieking and Magnus throwing up in his mouth. Jotunn and Herdan were made of sterner stuff and charged. It was over quickly with the hapless guard impaled on Herdan's spear mid pipe puff. 
The Wittgenstein guards spent their down time playing Yahtzee
(19:15) The group raced up the stairs catching the gatehouse guards on the level above unprepared and in the midst of a game of Yahtzee. In response to the groups sudden arrival the guards flipped the table and readied their weapons. A dangerously wounded Magnus hurled himself into the fray and, thanks to a lucky charm, survived. Esmerelda locked down the room baring all exits. It was to be a fight to the death.

(22:30) There's a magic sword called Barakul in Wittgendorf that takes some thinking to convert from 1e to 2e. The change to the way armour works makes the 2e version more powerful than originally intended. After some discussion we settled on the way Barrakul interacts with shields and parries. A foes first parry would be ineffective as the warp blade phases through the parrying blade and slices into the enemies arm. Assuming they survive the opponent can parry normally as they change their approach to swatting away the hand holding Barakul.

(29:15) As the final guard fell Esmerelda seized the hunting horn, raced to an arrow slit and sounded a single blast signalling their outlaw allies to rush the gatehouse. 

(31:50) Herdan took the gatehouse key from a corpse and locked the exterior door just as a squad of guards arrived from the barracks to investigate the commotion. The group contemplated how best to use the cauldrons of lead and water they had seized.

(37:57) The guards in the courtyard called to the locked down gatehouse demanding to know what the ruckus had been about. Herdan did his best guard impersonation explaining that he had been excited and had started shouting having won the pot in Yahtzee. In fact he had been so excited that he had sounded a horn to celebrate. When the guards demanded his name Herdan quickly responded with "Hans". I ruled there was a 60% chance that there would be a garrison guard called Hans. Alas the dice were cruel and there was no Hans. The lieutenant leading the guards called Herdan's bluff and his men rushed the gatehouse. They were met by a volley of crossbow fire.

(40:15) Esmerelda realised that while loading crossbows may put her on shaky spiritual grounds with Shallya the act itself didn't violate any specific oath. She justified it to herself by saying that all she did was load the crossbows and if the halflings happened to kill someone with them she was hardly responsible. A couple of guards fell peppered with bolts as they attempted to break down the gatehouse door. As they fell the remaining guards breached the entrance and rushed the heroes position. 
Lieutenant Doppler was a coward who learned that flails aren't all that great
(44:40) Herdan threatened his foes from the top of the internal gatehouse stairs with a cauldron of tepid water and a cauldron of solid lead. He hoped to bluff them into believing each contained boiling liquid. The guards paused allowing Jotunn to pelt them with heavy spears. As they nervously advanced Herdan pushed the heavy cauldron of lead at them. The cumbersome cauldron bounced down the stairs like a giant bowling ball crushing an unlucky soldier. In the ensuing melee the disorganised guards failed to bring the might of the full garrison to bear. In frustration at the way things were transpiring the garrisons commander, Lieutenant Doppler, emerged from the throng to battle the hero's. He quickly found that he was outclassed and was forced into a humiliating retreat. Herdan hacked at the lieutenant's back and the halflings peppered him with crossbow bolts as he fled to the safety of the barracks. Somehow Doppler survived and he and his men hunkered down for a siege.

(54:00) With the guards contained the heroes flung the castle gates open allowing their thirty outlaw allies, who they had summoned with a blast of their hunting horn, access to the keep. The heroes had taken the gatehouse. The assault on the castle proper could begin.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Episode 17 - The Enemy Within - Beneath Castle Wittgenstein

Beastmen haunt the Wittgendorf woods. One served as a tracker for the castle guards.
This is an actual play recording of Death on the Reik, a chapter in Games Workshop's classic campaign The Enemy Within.

Download Episode from Google Drive (39.1MB)

Heroes present were Esmerelda Potter the Shallayan initiate, Herdan van Helsing the vampire hunter, Jotunn the dwarf veteran, Walter the halfling agitator, Solomon the halfling smuggler and Magnus the dwarven prospector.

We left the heroes out the front of the Wittgendorf physician's house. It was merrily ablaze and the physician dead, technically by his own hand. The group were somewhat the wiser from the encounter and sought to return to their outlaw allies to plan the assault on the source of the regions troubles, Castle Wittgenstein.

Key points from Episode 17

(2:50) The group were troubled by the news of a Norscan taking up residence in Castle Wittgenstein. They tried to work out what their characters would know, without blatant meta-gaming, and leaped to the conclusion that they would soon face a chaos warrior.
Sergeant Kratz will punch you in the face
(5:00) Returning to the outlaw camp the heroes spied a group of castle guards moving through the woods. These guards followed a dog headed beastman who sniffed the ground and howled excitedly. Fortunately the heroes were downwind of their foe. They hid amongst the forest's rotting foliage and prepared an ambush. The attack opened with a blunderbuss blast catching the guards mounted leader. His horse reared in terror throwing its rider. Crossbow bolts struck the confused guards while Jotunn and Herdan rushed into combat.

(20:52) The surprise wore off and soon the guards had Jotunn, Magnus and Herdan surrounded and outnumbered. Things looked grim till the pacifist Shallyan priestess Esmerelda joined the fray. While she struck no blows she did even the odds.

(27:50) The battle wore on. Both sides were well protected in heavy armour. A telling blow from Jotunn's armour ignoring blade Barakul would turn the tide but the dwarf could not hit. Esmerelda took a chance and for the first time ever channelled the winds of magic to shock her foe. For months she had bemoaned magics terrible risk to her sanity, but due to the stalemate she threw caution to the wind.

(32:41) Jotunn finally landed a blow. Barakul phased through armour, slicing through a guard's torso. The two halves remained neatly encapsulated in the armour. The torrent of blood which doused his foe left none in doubt of Barakul's potency. Jotunn had a unique way of killing heavily armoured foes.

(35:48) Combat wound down with the party having the upper hand. There was a sense of inevitability until a desperate guard lashed out and Ulric furied Magnus. The guard's sword embedded itself in the unlucky dwarf who collapsed unconscious with internal bleeding. He fortunately fell in front of the Shallyan priestess who, in the midst of combat, set about frantically bandaging him before he bled out. The Old World is fickle and thus far had reserved all its critical hits for Magnus. The guard's lucky blow was a tragic footnote rather than a turning point as he and his fellows were cut down.

(42:50) Herdan and Jotunn carried their crippled companion back to the outlaw camp. In my house rules healing poultices must be fresh so as not to have them freely available. By the book poultices are a mixture of manure, cow urine and other foul things. Esmerelda, being the healer, played this angle up crying "Quick, poo in my hands!" Her healing skills failed to help the crippled Magnus but perversely fully healed the slightly injured Jotunn. Fortunately for the mangled Magnus, Sigrid the outlaw chief called on the power of Taal and the dwarf's wounds closed slightly.

(49:00) After lengthy discussion and despite Magnus' horrific injuries the group decided to attack the castle before the missing patrol was noticed. The outlaws were told to gather rope for scaling the castle walls and to prepare fire arrows. Thunder rumbled overhead. The group cursed the GM's foreshadowing of a storm. They wanted to burn Castle Wittgenstein to the ground.

(49:38) Magnus proposed a plan to feign retreat and lure the guards into a trap. Jotunn made the point that he never retreats. Later episodes will prove the dwarf's bravado false.

(53:20) Before entering the tunnels beneath Castle Wittgenstein the group organised hunting horn signals with the outlaws. Herdan's parting words were "If we are not back in an hour wait longer."
The entrance to the tunnels beneath Castle Wittgenstein
(56:22) The group were not long in the tunnels before their senses were assailed by screams and grunts echoing about the confined space and seemingly coming from every direction at once. At several stages members of the group glimpsed a disembodied head leering at them from the dark. The halflings at the back of the party were alarmed by a blood curdling shriek perhaps a meter behind them. Walter ran to the front ranks ducking beneath Esmerelda's skirts. Solomon bravely turned to face his foe and glimpsed a horrid visage receding into the gloom. Doubling back the group determined that they were being stalked by a creature that left a trail of slimy sucker marks.
A glimpse of the natural caves beneath the castle
(64:30) The group followed the tunnels in the direction they believed Castle Wittgenstein lay. The dwarves felt comfortable underground and kept the group on track. At one point the band were assailed by barnacle like creatures with razor sharp lash like tongues, lashworms! Such creatures might have posed a threat to a skulking halfling but the group's front rank wore armour too thick for a lashworm to penetrate. Magnus' armour piercing sword was brutally efficient at slicing the odd creatures from the walls.
Former woodsman turned crazed mutant Brutagh
(68:16) In time the group came across an icy underground stream. Employing a pole they determined it was 4ft deep making it a concern for short party members. Herdan got sick of the blood curdling screams hounding them and called their stalker out. "That's it. You and me. Lets fight. Come on!" He was surprised when the creature responded cogently from the darkness. They learned their pursuer had once been Brutugh the woodsman. Brutagh told them how to find both underground entrances to the castle before his moment of lucidity ended and he returned to animalistic grunts and howls. Magnus argued that they put him out of his misery but the group left him and pressed on to the castle.

(72:50) The warriors leaped across the stream while the halflings shimmied across it via a rope. Following Brutagh's directions they discovered a trapdoor which led into Castle Wittgenstein. Despite Magnus' grievous wounds they took a chance and mounted their attack. Hefting the trapdoor aside they emerged into Castle Wittgenstein's chaotic courtyard.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Rogue Trader - The last hurrah - Marines v Eldar v Hellsreach Slavers

Optimus fobbed off family commitments and managed a final game before quiting the country. Some discussion and a roll on the random narrative generator meant we soon had the following:

Mutie the pig and his slaving company had ambushed some early model Imperial Walkers with their vastly superior Hellsreach model. The spoils, heretical xeno tech of Eldar design, would make Mutie rich if he could get them to safety. He called in a dropship to pick the group up.

Ultramarine Commander Gideon, flush with success after his triumph over Vlad Kirby, intercepted the slavers call. He personally led his battle brothers in the attempt to retrieve the heretical tech and at the same time bring the Emperor's justice to these slaving scum. 

Eldar exodite Che-vy Ba-io had been too late to prevent the trade of his people's technology to the mon-keighs. He would have to get the goods back the hard way. He didn't mind. Killing mon-keighs was a fun diversion.


The walker strode across the field under the careful guidance of Lou Diamond Goldblum. Normally the slavers all rode in the walker but it was currently crammed full of xeno tech leaving only room for the pilot, a gunner and an outrider. The rest of the gang fanned out at the walkers feet.
Mutie on the left was not long for this world. Upper left, my thumb ruining a good pic.
Slivers of silver shot from the treeline raking the slavers. Mutie looked on in shock as high velocity shuriken tore apart his torso. For the boss it was over quickly. For his fellow slavers the terror was just beginning. On the slaver's flank the Ultramarines moved into the trees to prepare an ambush.

Lou Diamond Goldblum manoeuvred the walker to allow Papa Walken to fire a macro cannon round into the forest from which the shuriken burst had come. With a 3" burst template the macro cannon would deviate on a 2+. In a surprise to no one the round deviated badly missing everything.
Foot slogging slavers were in for a bad day. Those in the walker would need to keep their heads down to survive.
Che-vy Ba-io and his exodites hunkered down in the tree line. Their scatter laser tried ineffectively to damage the hellsreach walker. A second group of eldar broke off to tackle the troublesome marines. The only good mon-keigh is a dead mon-keigh.
The walker had to break the exodite line in order to get the xeno tech to safety.
The marines completed the humiliation of the slavers, gunning down the few left in the open. A krak missile streaked towards the Hellsreach Walker but failed to do any damage. It did however give away the marine heavies position and he was blown apart by the Eldar's lascannon.
The Ultramarines were left in the walker's wake. There was little their bolters could do.
Lou Diamond Goldblum pushed the walker to its limit striding away from the marines and towards Che-vy Ba-io's exodites. The sole surviving foot slogging slaver dove into the forest in the wake of the walker, trying his best not to get shot.
The maco cannon blasts huge chunks of earth into the sky killing 0 Eldar.
The earth shook as the walker strode towards the exodites. The crew of the walker kept their heads down and successfully avoided their foes las and shuriken fire.
Che-vy Ba-io and a fellow exodite prepare to spring from the woods and board the walker.
Che-vy Ba-io was not going to let the walker escape. He and a companion broke from the woods and tried to board the lumbering machine. While Che-vy's companion was crushed under foot the exodite leader scaled the walker and levelled his multi-laser. He had the mon-keighs at his mercy.

Che-vy thinks he has the drop on the mon-keighs. He's wrong.
But it was not to be. Lou Diamond Goldblum left the wheel and spun about, levelling a stub gun at his alien foe. The round tore through Che-vy's helmet and the xeno's delicate body tumbled from the walker's railing to land with an unceremonious splat on the ground below. Papa Walken, who had thus far killed no one with his inaccurate macro cannon fire, pumped his fist in the air to celebrate Che-vy's death. Unfortunately this meant his arm was above the protective railing and it was torn off by a hail of shuriken. 
Che-vy is blasted off the walker. Papa Walken loses his arm and plummets to his doom.
After his companion's death Lou Diamond Goldblum focused on keeping his head down as he piloted the walker off the board and to victory!
The Hellsreach Walker gets out of dodge.  A single slaver survived to celebrate victory!
With the walker gone the marines could do little other than work off some aggression against their Eldar foes. It was not without cost for Commander Gideon was sliced in two by a lascannon blast and two brothers were lit up by a flamer. In response the Eldar were purged with bolter fire. The handful of remaining exodites quit the field.
Pesky interfering Xenos. Steel yourselves brothers. For the Emperor!
That was probably the best game we had even though it was thrown together at the very last minute. The walker and in earlier battles the dreadnought confirmed that vehicles are very tough to damage. Sustained fire weapons like shuriken catapults seem superior to the forever deviating area effect weapons. Flamers seem the exception to the general uselessness of area effect weapons but only when lighting up foes at close range. The macro-cannon looked devastating on paper but after being fired about 10 times in various games managed to kill 0 opponents. A deviating macro cannon round might kill something in a massed battle but not in a skirmish game.

It was interesting relearning rules we haven't touched in ages. Nothing in Rogue Trader is too game breaking as long as you employ the rules to suit the scenario. It's a serviceable system that still has plenty to offer.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Rogue Trader | Pulp Alley - Imperials v Space Pudding Cult

Optimus had been looking into 2 hour wargames material and talked about moving away from the 'I Go, You Go' wargame. The idea of playing a game not built on the warhammer chassis appealed. I'd read Cheetor's Get to the Chopper battle report using the Pulp Alley rules and figured this was a system worth trialling.

Imperial Loyalists - Militia man Toby (follower), Trooper Karl (ally), Eddie the dreadnought (leader), Astropath Stelark (ally), Trooper Di Vito (ally), Brother Boreal (sidekick)
Cult of the Space Pudding - Sniper Jean (ally), Lay brother Franz (sidekick), Preacher Schwartzenhelm (leader), Muppet the cyber-hound (follower), Claude (ally) and Tuco (ally)
Plot point: Shotgun hobo was once a scientist before going native. He knows the code which grants access to the Hellsreach bunker. Will he share it with either side?
Turn one - The Loyalists prepared to interrogate Shotgun hobo in the southern ruins while Eddie the dreadnought stalked Muppet the cyber-hound through the perilous woods.
Brother Boreal discovered a cache of data slates dumped in the forest. He used them to determine the code to access the underground bunker and soon he was piloting the Hellsreach Walker.
Given the walker's height the Space Pudding cultists were hard pressed targeting its pilot. They raced to the higher ground of the nearby ruins.
The ruins were perilous terrain and Optimus played several fortune cards to ensure the cultists had a bad time. Several booby traps were set off felling Claude and Muppet.
The cultists took the high ground at great cost and exchanged fire with the walker. They ignored the challenging plot point of Shotgun Hobo's female captive. While she knew the access code to the bunker it was too late now. The walker had been unleashed.
Brother Boreal couldn't steer and fire the walker's cannon so he picked up Trooper De Vito to act as gunner.
Eddie and the walker blazed away and felled Lay brother Franz momentarily. Luckily for the cultists he recovered. Trooper Karl had earlier been executed by Preacher Schartzenhelm as the cultist stormed the ruins.
Trooper Di Vito aimed the walker's macro cannon at Preacher Schwartzenhelm and let rip. Unfortunately for him, and thanks to a well timed fortune card, a round misfired taking him out of action.
Optimus was particularly proud of killing Muppet the cyber-hound. Muppet had dodged a hail of bolter fire from many sources before falling to a mine buried at the base of some ruins. 
While the Hellsreach Walker buggered off, Eddie stayed and exchanged fire with the surviving cultists. He tore up Jean the ratling sniper but found Brother Schwartzenhelm and Lay brother Franz harder to hurt. The Pulp Alley rules worked well in providing a pulp feel which ensured leaders and sidekicks were hard to take out of action.
Brother Boreal piloted the Hellsreach Walker off the board. The Loyalists had won.
Optimus and I agreed that the Pulp Alley rules worked well for a Space Opera | Rogue Trader style game. The rules gave each side a competitive chance through the entire game while our recent Rogue Trader games have seen one side dominate. The survivability of leaders and sidekicks did feel odd though perfectly fits the Pulp flavour. By the end of the game all allies and followers had been taken out of action leaving battered sidekicks and leaders still standing.

That's it as far as wargame reports go, at least for a good while. Optimus will be heading back overseas but while he was in Aus we got a decent amount of oldshool gaming in.