Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Creation of a Homeword - Interlude

I've been squirreling around in my basement, trying to coalesce or coagulate or co-something-or-another all of the junk I've collected over the years.

Some of my junk.
 I've been waiting for this moment, really.  Early in the ork days of 1988 I started to modify junk to make my own models.  The first model I built was from an empty NyQuil bottle I fished out of the trash, glued on two pill bottles for engines, and attached wires to hold the orks on.  I wish I still had that model, even though it was crap.

Over the years I got rid of my "trash models," including several "Speed Stick" tanks made from underarm deodorant toss-aways.  My days of 40k waned in the early '90s, and my collection of random ork figs and their fleet of propylene glycol powered skimmers disappeared after being abandoned at a friend's house.

The idea stuck with me.  I had made my own "tanks" with legos as a child; and played with "little green soldiers" manning those tanks.  I always loved a game where I could build my own things. 
Uline catalogs, Hillman stickers, and a newspaper clipping from the heady days of Kim Jong Il.
 Since picking up the hobby (habit) again in 1989, I've always kept an eye out for the possible conversion.  At the time I worked at a hardware store in Milwaukee.  Immediately the old-school 40k player reignited when the manager and I started playing again.  We started making terrain from all kinds of things that were lying around in the basement, old gutters, mis-tint paint, concrete, really anything we could get our hands on.  In the Hillman aisle of nuts-and-bolts-for-5 cents-a-piece I put together my first Zzap gun, since they didn't have a model for orks that I could find at the time.  I also started picking up things that could possibly be used for conversions and model building, even the stickers and labels that would go on products or display counters.

Anyways.  I've been collecting junk for years now, keeping it in boxes.  I've been tearing out pages from chemical supply catalogs, or office supply ordering forms, and saving newspaper clippings that have interesting graphics on them.

Last few nights and tonight, I've been getting it all together and laying it out on the table, preparing for the day where I and a few brave epoxy tubes ready to give it all will dive into making some really gritty terrain for JYLN-55.

All the stuff that has "roundness" to it.  Yup, I kept the air-pump to the inflatable mattress that blew a bearing, there's a few smoke detectors in there (radioactive!) and a ton of stuff I've found while bike-commuting to work.

I guess the point of this is:  I'm always collecting stuff for 40k, 24-hours-a-day.  I'll stop and pick something up that other people will throw out, I'll even tear stuff off of televisions or appliances that are sitting on the curb, or in my house but not working.  Almost everything, when covered with black primer, washed in boltgun metal and set out of scale looks like something from the 41st millennium.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Day Horror

Disclaimer:  This post has nothing to do with 40k, really.  

My wife and I are fans of board games, and since we both were home alone with the little one, and both had off on Thanksgiving, we decided to take in a game at Arkham Horror again.

Some people really dislike this game, but we love it.  I think there are enough cool things to do to counteract the baddies in the game, and if you take the cooperative sense of the game in good stride you can have a good time.  Another thing we like is that the game is vastly different every time.  Probably most of this difference comes from the fact that we now own all three "big box" expansions and one "little box" expansion.  These include in addition to the main box, Dunwich Horror, Innsmouth Horror, Kingsport Horror, and the Lurker at the Threshold.

We had to add leaves to the kitchen table and extend both ends after moving it into the living room.  Here's the game in full swing, we've got two characters each.

Arkham Horror with four expansions in all its glory.  There are no bowls of treats on the table, those are all game pieces.

This was our first time playing with the Kingsport addition.  We decided to not use the Kingsport threat of Gate Rifts (or whatever they are- super-moving-monster-holes), and we never use the gates from the Lurker box (cause losing a health or sanity after going through an underworld or having a gate devour you is just too competitive).

We ended up losing rather quickly, I think by turn 8 or so, because the big baddie Ancient One would gain a doom token (how he "wins" the game) every time a Tome is drawn.  I had mixed in the newer cards from Kingsport into the tops of the decks, and didn't realize that the Curiosity Shop was chock-full of Tomes because of it.  Entirely my fault, like stacking the deck in the Ancient One's favor.   Two visits netted 5 doom tokens, which pretty much gave the Ancient One the leg up in the contest.  We only sealed one gate, and closed another.  Still, with some of the new items I started seeing some cool synergies that could go on.

I'm excited about Kingsport, because when compared to Innsmouth, it seems like a right-nice place to hang out.  All the locations are stable (so there won't be any gates, I think), and therefore the place will be relatively free from monsters from the cup (so we might have a few coming down from the streets).  I'm looking forward to playing again.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

My first games of 6th Edition

 My first games of 6th edition were against my worthy opponent Lord Boroth (of Apostles of Contagion fame), for a classic Marines vs. Chaos standoff, and after that a Guard vs. Guard lasgun shoot-out.  I had problems with a crappy camera, so I'm going to leave the battle reports to him.   I had a good time fielding over 1500 points in troops, 6 tactical squads, two Rhinos, two Razorbacks, two librarians, and a Land Raider Redeemer.
 I had a pretty rough time with my dice the first game, failing multiple "easy" saves within a row, and failing to fire my hunter-killer missiles mounted on my Rhinos before they were pegged mid-field.  I tried a mid-field rush, but I had left the Redeemer in reserves.  Big mistake, it was like a half-assed blitz, J picked it up, destroyed the Rhinos, delayed the Razorbacks, and held my advance at bay.  His shooting easily dismantled the combat squads (and full squads, for that matter) that dumped out of the destroyed vehicles.
 The new Chaos Codex is slick.  I really like the direction it is going in.  I found that I didn't really have a problem at all with how wound removal is now resolved, and J was super-nice to pointing out the ease of wound-pool allocation.   One of the funny things that happened were with Warlord Traits.  I ran two Librarians in my list (because I wanted to roll a lot of random powers and stuff), and my Warlord Trait happened to be Legendary Fighter (or something like that) which scored me a victory point every time I won a Challenge in assault.

The Iron Warriors had a stipulation in their army that demanded that they make and/or accept a challenge in all assaults.  As soon as my Librarian got into assault, I started scoring points.  Likewise, I lucked out that his Raptors were falling back when the game ended (one more turn and they probably would have regrouped, the made a sucky Leadership roll the turn before).  These things alone allowed me to win the game by one point, which I didn't really deserve, since he had hoards of guys still out there capturing objectives, and I had probably 9 marines left on the table (at best).

I'm not really sure how my Guard won their first game, but here are my impressions on their first run:

1) Lots of grenade launchers paid off against other lightly armored vehicles.  I had much luck handling an outflank from Sentinels that threatened poor guardsmen that couldn't scratch the surface.

2) Krak grenades are useful.  When you don't have them, you're sorry you don't have them. 

3) Hellhounds really rock, especially since they are fast.

4) Heavy weapons squads are very fragile.

5) A Priest whose squad runs away sometimes has a hard time regrouping.  Probably not worth it unless he's in a vehicle of some kind.

6) Command squads on vehicles would be a great idea, otherwise you gotta run them into the guns in order to give orders.

All in all, I loved 6th edition.  I'm ready for more, as soon as possible!  I really liked the set-up, where both players "gear up" their psykers and warlords, roll for objectives, mission, etc.  Plenty has been said about 6th in other forums, so I won't wax philosophical about how cool this is when considering the social beer-and-pretzels component of the game, however I'll just say that it helps it rather than hinders it.  More to talk about after the game.

Thanks for stopping by.  More updates on the game room coming soon, I built some shelves, ready to install temporary lighting...

Friday, November 9, 2012

Big Game Fluff

I wrote some fluff for a Big Game.  I present it for your consideration.  The rules that accompany this fluff are still being finalized, but if you scroll down the blog you'll see a good idea of kinda-sorta-what-I-was-thinking-of.

(Oh yeah, and Eye of Isha guy, the mound is the thing I was asking if you still had.  As you'll see as you read the script, it has an important part in the battle.)


This begins and ends the story of the life of a man named Raith.

Raith had been a devoted servant to the Tech Ministry Facility on JYLN-55 for almost his entire life, beginning his career at the tender age of sixteen, continuing until his untimely demise at the age of one-hundred and twelve.  The Tech Ministry Facility, which hired, trained, and finally fired him spanned over JLYN-55 for just under three square miles, a looming, towering fortress of automation and information constructed from plasteel and ceramic deflectors, immense antenna arrays and transmitters the size of elephants that crackled with static electrical discharge for weeks at a time.  Its great sheer walls had no windows, its edifice built to repel the largest or most insidiously small of attacks, as the Tech Ministry Facility at one point was a hub of this sector's mining transactions.  Raith's main duties, essential to these transactions, were to negotiate contracts between land parcel managers and prospective space-faring contractors wishing to establish dedicated receiving zones on the planet's surface.  It wasn't an illustrious job, but JYLN-55 wasn't an illustrious place, its poles uninhabitable; its equator was literally coated with hive mile-high spires that peeked through the pollution clouds, their massive hab units packed to the gills with working-class ore miners.  Daily these jumpsuit-clad mining crews would descend using high-speed elevators into JYLN-55's depths, spending long hours operating the machinery that would drill great holes into their planet's core, loading the ore escalators that would carry the ore to the surface, dumping them into land-raider sized trucks that would deliver the ores to the Northern Zone refineries.  These refineries would cull and separate, then deliver the refined ores to the dedicated receiving zones Raith was directly responsible for.  For decades, everything went smoothly in Raith's life, he raised a small family and saw them travel to other planets.  Towards the end of his life, he saw himself retiring comfortably with a very cozy and clerical position within the Ministry.  Raith would find his retired years spent researching a more efficient warp regulator technology, something he had witnessed as a problem during his working years.  Warp regulators were a kind of relay switch that would control the amount of information allowed to enter the warp driver memory banks, this information used by those piloting ships in the warp.  In this way, the warp regulators would be directly controlling the accuracy of a ship's travels, and would determine its very survival through the terrors of the Warp.  Just before the Eldar arrived, Raith had developed an exceptional regulator, yet had not tested its efficiency. 

In 750.M41, for unknown reasons, the Eldar came.  There are those sources that talk of the reasons, there are files and databases held by the Imperium that would reveal actually what happened and why the Eldar arrived, and why they left.  None of this is important now.  What is known is that in their wake, all of the suns in the system were extinguished, and the system died.  The orbiting moons of JYLN, seated on the edge of the sector, also went dark, but the largest of these, JYLN-55, had enough proximity to the nearby Fronds Stars to keep a few of its inhabitants alive, though the temperatures dropped to constant freezing and almost constant darkness.  Most of the inhabitants abandoned the mines and left in the Great Exodus.

The Great Exodus is an event recorded by the Imperium, where thousands of transport vessels hurried Imperial citizens out of the system.  Most of them were evacuated securely, but a few were left behind, either by choice or by accident.  The system became known as Deadhenge, and when the Imperial vessels left, the remaining survivors of JYLN-55 were left to fend for themselves.  Raith was one of them left behind, however this was purely voluntary.  Raith knew no life outside of the Ministry, and his body and mind were intricately connected to the automated systems there.  He and a small surviving band of engineers from the Tech Ministry holed themselves up in the fortress-like facility, and lived there for scores of years, augmenting their biology with mechanical enhancements and bio-engineering.  There were some who spread rumors that the Tech Ministry had friendly relations with the Eldar threat, as they became more secretive and withdrawn over the years to come. While the planet's surface and hive spires devolved into brutal gang fighting and rebellion, the Tech Ministry stood strong but silent, a bastion of impregnable machinery and power, with fully automated defenses and constant surveillance of the surrounding territories, complete with electrified perimeters and searchlights.  They would need these defenses not because of any alien threat, rather the point-defense laser batteries and electroshock walls would be just enough deterrence to fend off inquisitive gangs and the near constant incursions from the rising Chaos cults.

Ascending to positions of power amongst the gangs on JYLN-55 after the fall were the devotees of the Chaos God of Slaanesh, other humans that had been left behind in prisons and slums, that now bathed themselves in indulgences of the flesh and mind (though there were few in the Deadhenge).  They called themselves the Slaan Cult, and organized themselves into a force that rivaled the local police forces.  A rebellion was started, and JYLN-55 was engulfed in a gang-warfare style conflict that spanned all inhabited territories.  With the new climate, inhabitable territories were becoming more and more scarce, and with the loss of income and Imperial protection, the planet's population slowly devolved into mobs of aliens and mutants.  Underneath all of the intentions for conflict hid the ruinous powers of Slaanesh.  From afar, Slaaneshi champions toyed with both sides to try to influence their ways into the yet impervious fortress of the Tech Ministry.  For years they had known about the warp relay Raith had been working on.  Time after time their agents were repelled, until a traitor was secured inside the Ministry itself.

The traitor had, like Raith, worked within the Ministry all of his life, but had lost almost all of his humanity by incorporating his living being into a symbiotic relationship with some of the automated systems.  He was known only as "Grey," the color code of his department 75 years ago.  Now Grey was the system, and with him it clicked along smoothly as any system could, never sleeping, never wavering.

Grey was slowly seduced by a viral program inserted into the mainframe by a relatively innocuous cultist infiltrator.  Designed by some of the most insidious Slaaneshi Warpsmiths, the worm program convinced Grey to compromise one branch of security in the southwest corridors.  Grey was not even aware that he was becoming a traitor to the Tech Ministry, in his mind he was simply running a routine test of various systems.  However, at the very moment of compromise, a coordinated strike was set into play by the Slaan Cult, and a corrupted Eldar bounty hunter was sent into the depths of the Tech Ministry fortress to find not just Raith, but the relay as well.

Raith became aware of the threat upon his life through the defense systems of the Tech Ministry, but was unaware of Grey's treachery.  The Eldar bounty hunter nearly came upon Raith, but Raith survived the attempt.  Deciding that he would be safer now that his location was known, Raith loaded his warp relay aboard a cargo truck the size of a large battle tank and fled into the streets surrounding the Ministry.

For three years Raith avoided the Eldar bounty hunter, plugged into the cargo truck like a large computer.  In a slum garage Raith hid during downtimes, modifying his cargo truck with armor plating, surveillance cameras and radar uplinks using the Tech Ministry's massive arrays, all the time still tinkering with his warp relay.  He transformed his invention from a simple program into a beacon, hoping to contact a passing Imperial cruiser to rescue him from his life in exile.  After these three years he had decided that he would need transmission coordinates, and he contacted Grey to get them.  Grey was entirely under the influence of Chaos by now, monitoring and following Raith's every move through the same radar uplinks Raith thought were keeping him safe from detection.  Grey, in collusion with nearly an entire legion of Chaos Champions, directed Raith to activate his beacon at a location in the middle of the Northern Zone mining tailing ponds.  

Raith made his way to the high ground in the Northern Zone.  The tailing ponds were vast pools of sludge that contained everything that the miners didn't want from the center of the planet, all that wasn't ore.  It was dumped into these massive shallow ponds, and layer after layer of cadmium, barium and lead were settled to the floor of the pool.  Their murky depths made crossing them very dangerous, as the mud and muck would drag one down to a toxic death.  The area was favored for disposing of bodies now, and winds screamed across the surface of the waters, colored the palid brown of cream in coffee. When Raith arrived, he dragged his relay in its protective shell up to the top of the highest mound.   There he waited, and began to power-up his beacon.  

Meanwhile, on cue from a secure transmission from the Tech Facility, a Chaos fleet entered the Warp at the Eye of Terror-- headed directly for Deadhenge.

Raith watched as his warp beacon began to whir and pulse colors.  As he started manually uploading the transmission coordinates, a shock of electricity bolted into his brain from somewhere behind him.  Necrons, the ancient machines sleeping at the center of the planet, had awoken and risen through the mines to investigate the new warp signature on the surface.  The warp signatures of the Chaos fleet entering from near orbit, combined with the very erratic waves sent from the relay were enough to rouse them from their centuries-long slumber.  Or, perhaps, it was a mine collapse on the other hemisphere of JYLN-55 that awoke them.  Whatever the reason, their mechanical minds had decided that now, finally, it was time for them to take back their planet.

Raith was their first victim.

What followed between the Necrons and the rather surprised Chaos forces that arrived expecting to snatch a piece of technology and its creator without incident, and disappear from Imperial territory, was less a skirmish but rather a bloodbath. The Chaos forces that approached the tailing ponds were ambushed and ill prepared for such an attack from the unrelenting Necrons lurking in the waters.

More Chaos forces arrived, and set up a defensive perimeter along the southern edge of the tailing ponds.  From this position they weakened the Necron forces, but could not approach the mound where the body of Raith still lay slumped over the keypad of his warp beacon. 

It wouldn't be long before Imperial forces would catch wind of the incident and scramble to JYLN-55.  Forces would be pulled from various distant systems at the last minute, and upon arrival they would encounter the same Necron forces that had kept Chaos at bay.  

Now the forces of the Imperium, massing on one side of the tailing ponds found themselves facing the forces of Chaos well-entrenched on the other.  Alerts were sent to nearby systems, and diplomats from the Tau Empire and the Eldar were paid handsomely by both sides for their participation in the stalemate.  

The battle began, surrounding the ponds.  Massive armies clashed, and flanks were attempted and denied.  The battle of the JYLN-55 will construct what happened in the very middle of this battle, as opposing forces race in to grab territory and defend it at all costs. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Blog List.

I discovered a new blog last night, I'm not sure who writes it but I think he's got a good grasp on Eldar. ;)


 Here is a blog I visit every day:


One of my Arbitrator friends and a really great opponent:


And I wish I had this guy's miniature collection...


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Creation of a Homeworld, 3

The finished table.  I've placed a 6' x 4' pink styrofoam topper for a game surface, allowing a 6" dice-and-casualty pit around the perimeter.

Complete with under-the-table storage.