The Singularity War – Episode 1: Hell and High Water

Since the events of December 23rd 1944, Tarmagant Island has garnered a sinister reputation and it, and the waters surrounding it, are avoided by those living nearby.

However, it is carefully monitored for signs of preternatural activity, and when lights and strangely garbed forms were spotted on the island, the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defence were immediately notified. Given the importance this locale in his own history, it was inevitable that Hellboy himself would be sent to investigate.

However, his arrival is not only expected, but has been planned for…

I appreciate that is has been a fair old while since I’ve posted anything on the Buffet, but real life threw me a series of curve balls and I’ve been attempting to restore a little bit of normality. As such, I haven’t really had any spare time in which to do anything hobby-related and, to be frank, haven’t really had any motivation either.

But having now secured some temporary employment, my thoughts have returned to my beloved gaming and I’ve finally got around to playing the first episode of The §ingularity War.

Now, I decided to play the first episode using the Clobberin’ Time rules developed by Alan aka Kaptain Kobold, which are available to download from his blog here, which are specifically designed for small-scale superhero skirmish gaming and are relatively straight-forward. These were chosen, as I’ve not yet had a crack at using them and wanted to see how they played out.

So, on with the AAR. I decided to utilise my Heroscape hexes once more, to provide the terrain upon which this conflict would take place. As Tarmagant Island is off the coast of Scotland and has ruined buildings upon it, I think it does do a good job of representing it on the table, like so;

So, the forces of good are represented by Hellboy and two B.P.R.D. agents, Agent Collins at the back and Agent Brown at the front. Under the Clobberin’ Time rules, Hellboy is a Level 3 Hero, whereas the agents are Level 2 Sidekicks. This means that each character gets their level in d6’s to roll for both attack and defence, with a 4+ being considered a success.

In addition, Hellboy has a Medium (6″) Ranged attack, which I decided was ‘weak’, meaning he only got a success if he rolled 5+, as Hellboy is renowned for being a rubbish shot, and both Strength and Resilient. For the agents, I gave them standard Medium Ranged attacks for their pistols and Accuracy, meaning they get a single die re-roll on any ranged attacks per turn.

And these are the forces of easily swayed and/or bought evil – Powerfist, Flashpoint and Count Zero.

These are all characters from my own superhero universe and are currently working on behalf of Kronus, as there is something on Tarmagant Island he needs.

They are all three Level 3 Villains, with Powerfist having the abilities Martial Arts and Strength, Flashpoint having Power Blast Medium and Teleport, and Count Zero having Block, Flight and Hinder.

As you can see from the first picture, each group started at opposite ends of the “island” and the intervening terrain prevented them from seeing each other for a while.

Initiative is determined by dealing each model in play a card from a standard deck of cards, with the characters acting when their assigned card comes up – from Aces down to twos. When activated, each character can move and perform an action. So, a character can move, then shoot or shoot then move. However, it appears that if there are no additional actions you can perform, all the model can do that turn is move. All models have a standard move of 6″, which for the purposes of this game, I’m assuming is the equivalent of 3 hexes, as the hexes are 1 3/4 inches across.

The first two turns saw both groups just moving forward, as the terrain prevented them from seeing each other, so they couldn’t actually do anything else. The actual cards dealt didn’t actually mean anything at this point, as they were just creeping forward, so whether one character or another went first was irrelevant.

At the end of Turn 2, the villains had moved close to the central ruins from one side…

…whilst the heroes had moved to the exterior wall of the ruins from the other side.

At the beginning of Turn 3, Count Zero, being a somewhat hot-headed Russian, (which is strange given his control of ice and snow) got fed up with all this creeping about and launched himself into the air using his Flight ability,so he could get an idea of where their opponents were.Flying up and over the ruined building, he spotted both Agent Brown and Hellboy of the ground below him and decided to freeze Agent Brown is his tracks (Hinder 6″ range). Whilst the Count rolled a single success, Agent Brown managed two successes and dodged the icy blast.

Hellboy moved forward and lined up a shot at Count Zero, hoping that on this occasion his aim would be true and although rolling Weak dice (5+ for a success), managed to get a single success. Count Zero attempted to Block this with an ice shield and failed, taking a wound.

Agent Brown also moved forward and fired his pistol at the Count, and only managed to get a hit from the re-roll allowed by his Accuracy. However, the Count was more successful this time, managing to get an ice shield in the way to prevent further damage.

Flashpoint, who’d been skulking behind the wall, moved into the central part of the ruins and aimed his flame pistol at Agent Brown, unleashing a 4 dice Power Blast at him. He managed to get two successes and therefore two potential hits – Agent Brown managed to block one of them and took a point of damage, reducing him to only one point (the number of Health points equals the character’s level).

Powerfist moved next, but as he was further away, he can hear the sounds of battle on the other side of the wall, but can’t see anyone yet and therefore cannot do anything.

Agent Collins moved around the other wall and can now see Flashpoint, who has just torched his friend, so he shoots at Flashpoint, scoring 2 successes, once of which is blocked, so Flashpoint takes a point of damage.

At the end of Turn 3, Agent Brown, Count Zero and Flashpoint have sustained wounds.

Turn 4 saw Agent Collins up first, who shot at Flashpoint again, causing another wound, then diving into cover behind the wall.

Powerfist finally moved into battle, charging into hand-to-hand combat with Hellboy and scoring a massive 4 successes due to his Martial Arts and Strength. And even though Hellboy is Resilient, he only managed to block two of these, taking two wounds and reducing him to single point of health!

Being slightly annoyed with this turns of events, Hellboy gives Powerfist the smackdown with the ‘Right Hand of Doom’ scoring 3 successes. However, Powerfist’s Martial Arts training allows him to dodge the majority of these, but Hellboy clips him for one.

Count Zero descends to the ground and, as per their plan, attempts to freeze Hellboy in his tracks. However, Hellboy nimbly jumps out of the way, and the wall behind him is covered in rime.

Agent Collins runs down behind the wall and, once in the open, opens fire on Count Zero, whose hastily summoned ice shield manages to block his shot.

Flashpoint, being somewhat of a sadistic bastard, fires his flame gun once more at Agent Brown, and manages to incinerate him. His smoking corpse drops to the ground.

Turn 5 saw both Count Zero and Powerfist attempting to freeze Hellboy in place and then pummel him into submission. However, the World’s Greatest Paranormal Investigator managed to avoid both villains. However, Flashpoint moved forward and unleashed a Power Blast from his flame gun, scoring a single hit on Hellboy, which unfortunately he failed to block. As this was his last point, Hellboy dropped to the ground unconscious.

Realising that he was now alone against three super-powered individuals, one of which had effectively taken down both his fellow agents, Agent Collins decided to take a shot at Flashpoint – and took him down! Collins then retreated, desperately trying to radio for back-up.

Turn 6 saw Agent Collins win the initiative, and he turned and fired at Count Zero, scoring two successes. Unfortunately, both were blocked by the Count.

Powerfist then leaped forward and punched out Agent Collins (4 successes, only one block, 3 hits taken and only 2 wounds).

Count Zero approached the unconscious form of Hellboy and was soon joined by Powerfist, his gauntlets humming with power.

“Our employer will be pleased, comrade.” said the Count, “We have secured the ‘Right Hand of Doom’ as tasked, with only the loss of one of our number.”

Powerfist reached down, lifted and hefted the recumbent form of Hellboy across his back. “Best get back to the portal, then.” he grunted, then paused sniffing.

“Can you smell dry-roasted peanuts?”

Next – Episode 2…

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The Singularity War

After millenia of monitoring, analysing and cataloguing every known alternate reality in existence, the Primal being known as Kronus has had enough.

The constant revisions of existing universes as they experience ‘events’ that rewrite their history and reality, the almost infinite variations caused by the tiniest variance from the ‘Prime’ reality, the endless costume changes…it has become TOO much.

Order needs to be restored.

Utilising his vast intellect and extensive knowledge of quantum mechanics, Kronus has designed a machine – The Singularity Engine – which will compress every reality currently in existence into a single cohesive whole.

Billions will die, but Kronus believes the end justifies the means.

However, to complete the Engine, he requires artifacts of power from across the Multiverse.

As he cannot act directly in each reality, he plans to recruit a variety of catspaws to retrieve them for him. The promise of wealth or power will be enough in most cases, but those who think of themselves as ‘heroes’ may require subtle manipulation to unknowingly act on his behalf.

And there exists the risk that those who consider themselves guardians of their respective realities may discover his plans and try to stop him, so they will need to be targeted and removed from the equation.

The countdown has begun...

Turn and Face the Strange…

As what ‘free’ time I’ve had over the past few weeks has been dedicated to securing future employment, with a few side treks into the Land of Mists, I’ve not really had the opportunity to spend any time on ‘proper’ hobby-related pursuits. Which explains the lack of posted content.

However, it has given me time to consider the future direction of the Buffet.

It has become clear that the false starts and changes of direction regarding the proposed Age of Unreason project mean that, as they used to say in the Grolsch adverts, “It’s not ready yet!”

So, rather than continuing half-arsed and without everything I need to fully realise this project (due to lack of resources at present), the Age of Unreason is being shelved for the time being.

But if there’s not going to be any Age of Unreason content, what can you expect instead?

Well, having reviewed my collection of terrain and miniatures, it occurred to me that the majority of it relates to superhero gaming…yet I’ve never published a superhero AAR.

My Way of the Crow rules were specifically designed and play-tested with this type of gaming in mind. But whilst the Clown Gang did surprisingly defeat the nefarious forces of Doktor Reich and his super-Nazis, stuffing Aryan head-first in a dumpster and the Black Pharaoh proved to be more than a match for the original line-up of the Liberty Force on his own, only myself and my play-testers were witness to these battles.

I have approximately 150 costumed heroes and villains, most of which are unique characters to my own superhero universe and most of which ARE fully painted. Add a good handful of Marvel, DC  and Eternian heroes, and a few ‘Forgotten Heroes’, and I have rather a large roster of characters who could take part in a dimension-hopping, multiversal crossover ‘event’ on an epic scale…

Something like this:

Image result for crisis on infinite earths

Or maybe this;

Related image

Or even this:

Image result for he man vs superman

But obviously waaaaay cooler and more Jez.

So, that’s what I’m going to do.

Join me next time, as the countdown to The §ingularity War begins…

Age of Unreason – Fun with Flags

The problem with the Ravenloft campaign setting, from a wargaming perspective, is that whilst it provides a wealth of detail to enable a DM to craft suitably chilling adventures to challenge a group of role-players, if you want to engage in a skirmish between the soldiers of Falkovnia and one of the neighbouring Domains you run into a few issues.

Wargaming is both a physical and visual medium, wherein the opposing forces usually have a distinctive look or uniform to differentiate the troops on either side. Vague references to ‘the crest of the von Zarovich’s’ or militia wearing ‘the Dilisnya colours’ are all well and good, but without a physical description or definition of what these actually are means that the budding wargamet doesn’t know what colour to paint their uniforms or what banner they fight beneath.

So, in order to field military forces for what are, effectively, ‘Imagi-Nations’, you have to resort to some in-depth research…and a bit of creative licence.

In other words, you make it up.

Now, as I have a smattering of knowledge regarding heraldic design, I do have a slight advantage in knowing the ‘correct’ colours, metals and furs to use, along with the official terminology for the objects and creatures that are commonly used.

However, whilst my artistic skills aren’t too bad, the prospect of coming up with and illustrating twenty individual coats of arms for the nations of the Core, along with uniforms for the dozen or so Domains that have standing armies, was somewhat daunting.

So I decided to cheat.

After a bit of Internet searching, I found an online coat of arms generator that not only has the correct tinctures of traditional heraldry, but also has a library of the majority of the divisions and charges commonly used. For a glossary of heraldic terms, I recommend http://www.heraldsnet.org/saitou/parker/Jpglossa.htm which should provide nearly everything you need to know about heraldry in an easily searchable format.

However, to actually create your coat of arms, go to the ‘Uplink Heraldry Creator’, which can be found here.

Click on the button “Create Coat of Arms” and away you go. It’s pretty intuitive and selecting specific ‘charges’ (i.e. objects or creatures) does give you multiple options, such as whether the lion is rampant or passant.

Once you’ve finished, you can save the completed coat of arms as a PNG file or a PDF and then do with it as you wish, such as uploading it to your blog, like so;

So, above is the coat of arms of the nation of Falkovnia, the official ‘blazon’ (i.e. description) of which is;

Argent, an eagle displayed sable armed and crowned or.

And now I have the coat of arms, I know that the uniform of the Falkovnian army will be black, yellow and white and can paint my troops appropriately.

So, should you wish to provide a coat of arms for a particular lord, an Imagi-nation or even yourself, why not give the online generator a try. It’s easy to use, makes professional looking designs and is a lot of fun.

Until next time…

Late, But Not Forgotten

Usually around the beginning of July, once all entries for Forgotten Heroes have been submitted and the dust has settled, I provide an epilogue of sorts, giving an overview of how I thought that particular year’s event went…

This is that post.

I apologise for the tardiness of it, but as it was announced that the current contract I was engaged in had been cut short by six months and I would be out of work as of the 1st August, understandably my ‘free’ time has been spent trying to secure alternative (and more permanent) employment. This also explains why I’ve not commented on those blogs I regularly follow, so additional apologies for that too. I have been keeping abreast of what you’ve all been doing, just not really had the mindset to provide worthwhile comments.

So, as the third of what has now become an annual event, we’ve had an interesting project utilising some kind of alchemy in order to shrink resin models of Transformers, specifically the Insecticons (which as Tom Hanks will attest “the robot turns into a bug? That’s a great idea…”), an almost full collection of sculpted from scratch A.B.C. Warriors, a small-screen pulp flying ace and his dog, and the usual selection of four-colour heroes and villains who have been…Forgotten.

In some cases, they probably should have been, but we do love our lame and cheesy superheroes – the characters who are so bad they’re good, which is why this event is so much fun.

Now, as I hinted at previously, next year’s Forgotten Heroes will see a few changes to the rules, which I’ll explain now, but will reiterate prior to next year’s challenge.

Firstly, I’m changing the definition of a “Forgotten Hero” – this will now encompass ANY character, historical OR fictional, that has yet to have a decent figure made of them. Want to create the definitive Lord Soth from Dragonlance? Now you can. Want to do a diorama of Washington crossing the Delaware? No problem. Want to finally create either the Hypno-Hustler or Hellcow from Marvel Comics (the latter of which was referenced in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2)? Go for it.

Image result for hypno-hustler

The second thing that will be changing is that you won’t be restricted to a specific scale. The figure (or figures) can be of any scale. If you fancy doing Dick Dastardly, Muttley and the Mean Machine in 20mm, so you can use with the rest of your Matchbox or Hot Wheels cars, now you can.

The other major change relates to registration. Whilst Roger administers the Forgotten Heroes site, this event was my idea and remains my baby. Roger is the Alfred to my Batman, if you like. So rather than Roger sending out emails to previous participants, in order to take part in next year’s event, you will need to register by commenting on MY blog – Carrion Crow’s Buffet – or emailing me directly. For those who have previously corresponded via Roger, he can provide this for you.

Not a particularly strenuous requirement and there will be a benefit to this, as the intention is provide ALL future participants in the Forgotten Heroes event with a badge (or button as I believe our American cousins call it) with the NEW Forgotten Heroes logo on it! Be the envy of all your friends!

Once I’ve finished designing it, that is…and no, it won’t be made from the “purest green”.

And, finances willing, there may even be some prizes too.

So, I wish to thank all of those who took part in this year in the spirit of the event and hope that you’re already planning what you’re going to do next year. If I can work out how to do it, you might even seethe Big Wheel next year…

Image result for marvel big wheel

Until next time…

Redo From Start – Rom v2.0

Because it was annoying me so much, I decided to take a bit of time and repaint Rom until I was happy…or at least happier.

This is Rom v1.0;

I masked the emitter and resprayed him with Plastikote Chrome Effect spray, also spraying some Warlord Cybermen at the same time. These were going to be my ‘test subjects’.

I then mixed some purple ink with a touch of black ink, watered it down and liberally applied to one of my guinea pigs. And the result was what I was hoping for.

I then carefully applied it to resprayed Rom, concentrating where possible on the joints and crevices.

I then painted the position of the chest lights with Mithril Silver and, when dry, painted over them with Cherry Red.

Having looked at Rom’s visor in the iluustrations, I painted the slot Burnt Umber, added two dots of Mithril Silver for the eyes and then washed the whole slot in Cherry Red.

I then repainted the base with Dark Grey, followed by a wash of Burnt Umber mixed with Black, as you couldn’t see the texture with my original version.

And now I’m satisfied and here he is;

And the lesson I’ve learned here is – don’t cut corners to save time, as you’ll end up redoing all your work.

And still within the deadline! Go me!

The Hero of Galador

As everyone else has been beavering away and producing figure after figure, and the Forgotten Heroes deadline was approaching, I finally managed to set aside some time to finish off my figure for this year. But things did not go quite according to plan…

When we last saw Rom, he had been fully assembled, based and given a generous coat of Plastikote Chrome Effect spray and I was quite pleased with how he’d turned out. As all I needed to do was add the emitter to his Neutraliser, add some shading and his visor and chest lights, I assumed that this would be a simple task and therefore did not worry about cracking on with it.

This was a mistake.

As I’d already set aside the transparent red axe that I’d removed from the Heroclix Drax miniature who became Trapjaw, the first order of the day was to cut a suitably shaped piece and attach it to the front of the Neutraliser. This worked out better than I had hoped, as whilst the surface of  axe blade was red, it’s not actually made from red plastic. This meant that exterior of the emitter was red, but the business end (where the blast comes out) wasn’t, so it did resemble the comic book version, where the end of the emitter is slightly recessed. This meant that no additional faffing about was needed.

Then came the wash and this is where things started to go awry. Having canvassed opinion in my last post, I decided to go for a dark purple wash, to highlight the crevices on the model. Unfortunately, I got the consistency wrong and the figure ended up looking like it had dipped in oil. I then decided to dry-brush the model in Mithril Silver, to try and recover the shininess I’d managed to get with the spray.

Whilst this did restore Rom’s overall silver colour scheme, it wasn’t as good as the Chrome spray effect. He was silvery, but no longer as shiny as before.

Checking online pictures, I noted where the two chest lights were located which also happened to be where two recesses on the figure were located. However, rather than repainting these silver, I decided to just paint them red, assuming that the red paint would be bright enough to cover the grey shadow already there. I did the same with his visor.

Annoyingly, this didn’t come out quite the way I’d planned, as the red paint wasn’t thick enough or bright enough to look like lights.

So, whilst he IS finished, he’s annoying me, as I know I could have done better. I am pleased with the pose and the accuracy of the Neutraliser, but I’m not entirely happy with the overall painting, so I’m pretty certain he will be repainted shortly.

However, as the deadline has been reached, you get to see Rom v1.0 as a ‘completed’ figure, but over the next month I’ll hopefully get time to correct my mistakes, so Rom v2.0 will be shown later.

And here he is.

As you can see, he is silver-ish, but not as shiny as before and the red of the chest lights and visor are muted, with no sign of Rom’s ‘eyes’.

This picture shows how I repositioned his arm to get a more dynamic pose, and it’s now difficult to see that this wasn’t the way the figure was originally molded.

And finally a scale shot with a Heroclix Harley Quinn.

As you can see, the base figure is quite substantial, so he does tower of ‘normal’ sized characters, which as it should be. And looking at this picture again, he kind of looks a little bit like Robocop…

So, kind of finished, but I’m not entirely happy with him and my OCD will refuse to let me leave him like this, so expect an update in the near future where I’ll either be crowing with joy at getting him right or cursing that I ever thought that this would be an ‘easy’ figure to do.

Until next time.

Shiny Happy…Spaceknights

As we’re almost two-thirds of the way through June and the last three posts on the Buffet have been on other matters, you may be under the impression that my entry for Forgotten Heroes may have been…well, forgotten.

However, this is not the case, as I have been working on it behind the scenes, in amongst all the other things I’ve been up to.

When I first introduced the base model that I was planning to turn into Rom, it looked like this:

The first order of the day, in order to get Rom’s iconic spread-legged stance, which according to Messrs Keanrick and Mossop is the stance of a hero, I sliced his base in half and spread his legs. In order to do this, I did have to cut upwards, as it’s not evident from the picture, but right at the very top of his legs, they are joined by a very thin piece of plastic.

I then jammed a trangular needle file between his thighs, bent his ankles inwards and glued him to a spare HeroScape base I had knocking about. I then cut off his head and left arm.

As the base figure is looking down, when I repositioned his head to look to the left (from his point of view), there was a small wedge-shaped gap in the throat area, which I knew I would have to fill at some point.

Regarding the left arm, as I wanted to preserve the shoulder joint/pad, in order to position the arm in the right place, I needed to carve off some of the left shoulderblade/back, so that the arm would sit flush and not look too out of place. This was then glued into place and the model left to ‘set’.

Upon returning to the figure later, I discovered that whilst the glue had worked on the base, I’d forgotten that HeroScape bases have a sticker on top and this had pulled away from the plastic base beneath. So I decided to alter the stance to a slightly less heroic spread of legs and re-base it directly on to a 2 pence piece.

So, proto-Rom was now in the correct stance, but was unarmed.

Rummaging through my bits box, I eventually cobbled together his Neutraliser from various plastic odds and ends, including the remains of a plastic GW Dalek and part of a Kroot rifle.The most iconic part of his weapon is the ribbed cooling vents(?) just behind the emitter, which took a bit longer to find a suitable part.

I then cut between the figure’s index finger and thumb, prised this gap open, bent the fingers around the handle of the Neutraliser and glued everythng into place, like so:

Now that proto-Rom was assembled, I needed to tidy up his base and fill the gap in his neck, or one good knock would send the head flying, so out came the Miiliput and he was given a textured base and the gap was filled. I also ran the thin edge of a needle file across his eye slot, as this wasn’t quite the right shape.

Once the Milliput was dry, the next stage was to give the whole figure a base coat. As I wanted to replicate the comic book version as much as possible, who is very shiny, I decided to use some Plastikote Chrome Effect spray on the whole figure, which is why I did not add the transparent red emitter for the Neutraliser or his visor. And this is the result:

Ooooh, Shiny!

And that’s the progress so far. Other than addiing the red emitter, visor and chest lights and repainting the base, I think he’s pretty much done.

I’m trying to decide if I should give him a black wash to highlight the shadows a bit more, or just leave him really, really shiny. I think I’ll have to look at him in full natural light to make that decision, but if anyone else wants to venture an opinion on that, please feel free to do so.

Until next time…

One Voice, Singing in the Darkness…

If you were expecting a Forgotten Heroes update, I’m afraid you’re going to be disappointed.

However, I do have an update regarding The Age of Unreason project, as things have changed once again.

Steve, Hils and Tarot have decided to retire from the blogging community in its entirety, so will no longer be blogging or posting comments on the blogs they used to follow. The reason for this is their utter dismay in the trend for a large majority of supposed ‘gamers’ to use their blogs as organs for their own self-aggrandisement, this desperate need to seek praise or have the most followers or likes or comments on their blogs, rather than actually playing games which, after all, is the purpose of buying these little men in the first place.

A good analogy for this is White Dwarf magazine. When I started gaming back in the mid-80’s, White Dwarf was the go-to publication for gamers. It contained articles and scenarios on a variety of games systems, some of which you may mot have heard of, but the overall feeling you got from the magazine was that it was encouraging you to take what was published, make it your own and gather your friends together for some serious dungeoneering…or thwarting the machinations of the worshippers of Cthulhu…or venturing into the Old World to defend the Empire against the incursion of Chaos.

This changed as Games Workshop realised that publushing their own rules was more lucrative, and the magazine became a self-serving organ to encourage people to buy their rules, miniatures and paints, showcasing their latest release and the painting skills of their in-house team. Occasionally a batrep would appear, but it was usually just to highlight a new set of rules or a new faction in their games, rather than playing for the sheer joy of playing.

Many blogs follow a similar trend, with the focus on the latest ‘must have’ figures and how the blogger has painted them. If you are a regular blogger, how many of your posts over the last 12 months have been showcases of your painted figures? When was the last time you actually sat down and played a game?

Now, this doesn’t mean you’re not part of the hobby, but can you really describe yourself as a gamer if you don’t play?

So, as Steve, Hils and Tarot are primarily gamers, with blogging a secondary aspect of the hobby to them, they have decided to exit the online community and concentrate on what they feel is the most important part of the hobby for them. And I wish them all the best in their endeavours, as I fully understand and support this decision.

Now, I use my blog to encourage me to actually do something hobby-related, as prior to starting it, all my figures, rules and terrain was just sitting in boxes gathering dust. If not for my blog, I wouldn’t have regained my love of the hobby, wouldn’t have painted the half-finished figures, wouldn’t have written my own rules and certainly wouldn’t have sat down and played some games with them.

So, for me, my blog helps me to focus on what I enjoy about the hobby and hopefully, by sharing what I’m doing, encourages others to do the same. It’s not about praise or recognition, it’s about keeping a record of what I’ve done and being able to discuss these aspects of the hobby with like-minded people.

Now, given Steve’s departure to greener pastures, what does this mean for the Age of Unreason project? Does this mean it’s dead?

Nope.

One of my problems with this project was that whilst I liked the idea of venturing into the realms of tricorne-era gaming, my historical knowledge of the period is somewhat sketchy, so whilst I could put together a pseudo-historical game setting, I felt that I wasn’t doing it justice. Unlike my Tales of the Black Museum, which is based on my love of the late Victorian period and the ample research and reading of fact and fiction about this era, I just don’t know enough about either the locale I’d selected or the era to convincingly portray this in my games. And apparently, the type and volume of trees is an important part, based on various online comments made…

I have the terrain, I have the fauna, I have the figures to play a ‘Muskets ‘n’ Monsters’ style game, but no definitive setting in which to do it…or do I?

Actually, yes. And that setting is…

Many moons ago, this campaign setting was released by TSR for AD&D 2nd edition. It was very popular at the time and managed to survive the various upheavals to the D&D rules over the years, evolving and changing to suit the needs of the then-current players.

It wasn’t entirely perfect, as whilst many cooks don’t necessarily spoil the broth, they can add unnecessary ingredients that make it less palatable (like what they decided was at the bottom of the Shadow Rift…)

Prior to starting my blog, I’d begun a RPG project to streamline the setting, based on the final iteration of the 2nd edition contained within Domains of Dread. Get rid of all the stuff that was stupid or I felt didn’t suit the setting and make it better.

So, I had a setting for which I intimately knew the history of, had copious notes on and, with a slight advance of technology levels from ‘chivalric’ and ‘renaissance’ to ‘colonial’, would work extremely well for this project. And once I’d realised that, suddenly everything started to flow again.

So, whilst the proposed joint campaign world initially announced may be no more, welcome to the launch of Ravenloft: Age of Unreason. It’s going to be grisly fun…

Age of Unreason – Indian Summer – the AAR

Sergeant Hull looked at the three members of the Virginia State Militia he had chosen for the mission assigned by Captain Hunt – troopers Albany, Bowers and Casco – and pursed his lips thoughtfully. Bowers and Casco he had worked with before and knew they could be trusted, but Albany was relatively new and therefore an unknown quantity. Their mission had taken them to the woods just outside of Deerfield and Hull had deliberately led his men towards the Walton homestead, as he knew that John would be out hunting, which left his teenaged daughter Beccy all alone.

Hull felt that she might appreciate some male company, what with there potentially being a madman loose in the woods, and he was prepared to give her some…

After the introduction of my revised part of Steve and I’s Age of Unreason project, I’ve been busy beavering away to get enough terrain, fauna and figures ready to enable me to play a game. I realised that I had reached a point where I could actually do so and was blessed with some rare free time to actually play the game.

And here it is…

Sergeant Hull and the three members of the Virginia State Militia can be seen in the bottom left of the above picture. There are three clue tokens (the same as I used in my Scooby Doo game way back when) which reveal various information about what is stalking the woods. One is hidden in the bushes at the bottom right of the picture, one is placed on the Walton homestead in the top right, as Beccy will be able to provide some information, and the final one is hidden amongst the rocky hills in the top left.

As soon as one of the clues is discovered, the antagonist will appear a random number of hexes from the clue token, generated by the roll of a d10. The rules being used are Way of the Crow, but I won’t be boring you with a full breakdown of exactly what was rolled, etc. Hopefully, it will all make sense as it goes along.

As only the State Militia are on the table at present, there was no need to roll for Inititative. Hull used his first Action and his Leadership ability of 3 to activate all three trropers, sending Bowers and Casco off towards the rocky promontory and Albany towards the cabin. All troopers used both their Actions for movement, moving a total of 6 hexes. Hull used his second Action to follow Albany, but only moved a total of 3 hexes, as he only had one Action left.

Realising that there was no real need for Hull to use his Leadership skill, as there were no opponents on the table, each figure moved separately in Turn 2. Albany and Hull used their first Action to move closer towards the cabin, and as they were passing the first clue, an Awareness roll was made for both characters. Hull failed, but Albany noticed something in the bushes and used his second Action to push through them and discover the first clue – a headless corpse. He called Hull over, who used his second Action to join Albany at the body.

Meanwhile, Bowers and Casco had used both their actions to advance towards the rocky ground.

Of course, having discovered the first clue, this meant that the antagonist appeared and on a roll of 8, this put it 8 hexes away from the first clue. Nowhere near Albany and Hull, but only 4 hexes away from from Casco.

However, as it was concealed, it was represented on the table top by a clear plastic hexagon.

The thing could immediately take Actions, of which it had 3 and chose to shoot at the nearest victim, trooper Casco. An Agility of 5, with Marksman +3 and a roll of 10(!) meant that the thing’s attack was 18, versus a dodge roll of Casco’s Agility of 3 and a roll of 2, totalling 5. 13 points difference, added to the Vigour of the attack of 6, meant that even taking into account Casco’s Vigour of 3, he still took 16 points of damage…and he only had 6! In a burst of bright light, Casco went down, a hole burned through his chest.

The thing used it’s second action to move adjacent to Casco’s body, but as it has a Stealth of 3, Invisibility of +5 and rolled a 1, Bowers would need a roll of 7 or higher to add to his Awareness of 3 to see it…and rolled a 6.

The thing used its final Action to shoot at Bowers, and managed to hit him with an additional two points added to the strength of its weapon, totalling 8. 3 of these were soaked by his Vigour, but he still took 5 points of damage. Having 6 points, he was still alive, if barely.

Turn 3 saw the first Initiative roll off, with the Militia winning. Hull and Albany, having heard the shooting, moved towards the noise, using their first Action to move closer. As they were now in Line of Sight of the thing, they made their Awareness rolls versus its Stealth and Invisibility and both succeeded, seeing a shimmering form in the distance. Naturally, both fired their muskets at it. Albany just missed, but Hull got a solid hit, managing to circumvent its natural Vigour and its armour, reducing its overall health by 2 and shorting out its invisibility field.

The creature was revealed!

Unfortunately, as this creature has the ability Fear +6, all those within 6 hexes of the creature must make a Will roll to not run away. This only affected Bowers, who managed to make his roll. As he had not acted this turn, he used his first Action to shoot at the creature, and watched as his musket ball bounced off its armour. He chose to use his second Action to reload his musket – which was a mistake, as it was now the creature’s turn.

The creature used its first Action to move into melee combat and its second Action to attack him. It easily beat his feeble attempts to fend it off and gutted him like a pig. It then used its final Action to cut off his head.

Turn 4 saw the creature win Initiative, and it returned to Casco’s body, cut off his head and then made off into the rocky terrain to its left.

Meanwhile, Albany and Hull ran through the woods towards the scene of the fight.

Turn 5 saw the creature win Initiative again and it retreated further into the rocky terrain, returning to its lair and adding the heads to an existing pile of skulls.

Hull and Albany finally reached the bodies of their comrades and the sight was so grisly, they both had to roll against their Will to remain active, which they did. They used their final Actions to Stealthily move forwards (reduces move by half, but opposing player must make a successful Awareness roll to see them.)

Turn 6 saw the creature lose the Initiative roll. Hull and Albany stealthily moved forwards through the bushes and suddenly see the creature on the ledge above them!

As they are now within range of its Fear ability, they both make an opposed roll versus its Fear against their Will…and fail! As both men are terrified, their final Action is to turn and run away, bursting through the bushes back out into the woods.

The Creature uses its first Action to leap to the top of the promontory and its second Action to fire its Plasma Caster at the retreating form of Albany. However, he stumbles on a root and the beam of energy flashes past him, narrowly missing him.

With a hiss of frustration, the creature turns its weapon on the tubby form of Sergeant Hull, catching him dead centre and torching him.

Turn 7 sees the creature lose the initiative again, and Albany uses his full allocation of Actions to run. Luckily, this takes him out of Line of Sight of the creature, as he ducks between the trees.

The creature uses its first Action to leap from the cliff-top to the ground, but fails an Agility roll, landing on its face!

Whilst it takes no damage, it does have to spend its next Action clambering to its feet. And now it can see the fleeing form of its final victim! Readying its weapon, it is dismayed to find that the fall has damaged the plasma caster and it will not fire! (it rolled a 1).

Turn 8 and it all hinges on who wins the Initiative. If the creature wins, its Agility is high enough that it can catch Albany and cut him down. If Albany wins, he only needs to move 5 hexes and he’s off the table and safe.

The creature rolls a total of 10 for its Initiative. Albany rolls…

an 11! Yay!

Trooper Albany fled through the woods, branches whipping at his face and tearing at his clothes. He now knew what had been taking heads in the woods around Deerfield, what had killed his colleagues and had almost killed him…a demon, spewed forth from the bowels of hell, casting lighting from its fingertips and with evil burning in its eyes.

He would tell Captain Hunt what he had seen, and whether he was believed or not, there was no way he was going back into those woods.