Mercy Crier week 3: Mark the Maps

Unstoppable! Distilled Mayhem may have arrived late in the Turf War but have exploded into second position. The Cawdor gang holds firmly onto third place after a run-in with the Inheritors and 16th Law during the week.

This Cycle saw our first four-way gang brawl – 16th Law, Distilled Mayhem, Boom Slag Belles and Iron Rovers duking it out in a three-hour scenario of Escape the Pit. It’s a great mission for getting Rep quickly, as the Mayhem gang found out!

In another Callowdecks premier, Mayhem are the first gang to pick up a pet – Chaser the cyber mastiff has quickly earned himself a number of kills in as many games.

Glenfiddich and Chaser

In our last week before Respite, the event was ‘Mark the Maps’, increasing the chance of a gang gaining Turf at the end of each game.

Any game you had fighters still standing at the end, you had had a 3+ chance on a D6 to increase your Turf by 1. Any scenario that already had Turf as a reward meant you automatically confirmed to gain a Special Territory!

Turf Rush: As the Callowdecks are explored by daring souls and plucky Juves, its vastness becomes increasingly apparent – gangs will need more forward bases if they are to plunders its wealthiest depths.

  • If your gang is still on the board at the end of the game (ie does not Retreat and is not wiped out) roll a D6. On a 3+ increase your Turf Size by 1.
  • If the Scenario already includes Turf rewards, defer to those instead. However, during the Post Battle Sequence, you automatically pass the roll to generate a Special Territory, even if it wasn’t one to begin with.

Week 2 Juve of the Week nominations

Juve of the Week had some tough competition, unfortunately mostly from the same gang! The Order had two great entrants, but only one could be picked.

The narrow miss for nomination was a Juve dragging a loot crate to the extraction point in Escape the Pit, but taking a pot shot at the 16th Law Leader as he went, expecting nothing.

Instead he hit, wounded, and Out of Actioned the Leader with a permanent hand injury!

Hosanna ‘the Emasculator’ of the Boom Slag Belles

Hosanna won her nomination following the popular trend of Two Knives > Anything Else. After being blasted to bits, crawling through a duct into pure darkness and with two flesh wounds to her name, she still managed to find the Iron Rovers leader and administer a Humiliating Lasting Injury.

She figured “If I have to die, I’m whittling my name into this jerk’s unspeakables first…”

Renart the Fungal (RIP) of the Order of the Emperor’s Sole

Renart the Fungal‘s watch has finally ended. After heroically gunning down a 16th Law ganger and taking a bolt-shell for his teammate, he crawls to his Cardinal for aid.

First result: OUT OF ACTION. But wait, don’t you get an assist for his Leader being within 2 inches? Yes! Second result: OUT OF ACTION.

No matter, surely his Lasting Injury won’t be that ba-MEMORABLE DEATH.

Renard was (apparently) decreed to have performed with adequate valour, and the Cardinal carried out the Emperor’s Mercy upon him. With a chain glaive.

Truly a blessed relief we can all wish for in such tumultuous times.

Vote for your favourite Juve of the Week on both our regular vox channels:

Fashion Corner – Cardinal of the divine arch

This week is the Leader of the Order of the Emperor’s Sole – the Cardinal of the Divine Arch. Resplendent with a chainglave, grenades and a variety of ranged weapons, he’s a cheap and cheerful solution to a problem so many gangs of the Callowdecks are facing – having too many team-mates.

“Phew, it sure is a nice day to murder some under-performing Juves.”
Other highlights

The Order faced off against 16th Law and the Inheritors in one night, and later in the week was a four-way rumble between Iron Rovers, Boom Slag Belles, 16th Law and Distilled Mayhem.

16th Law vs The Order

In a bid to try out the Escape the Pit scenario, 16th Law and the Order agreed to give the scenario a bash with some of their fastest crew. Two teams versus each other versus the walls – what could possibly go wrong?

The pieces are set, the weird alien teleporter is our getaway
Clipper and Sue try to pin down the Order and secure a second crate
Aha! I’ve fallen for my own trap card!
The first Order fighter escapes with a crate
Clipper and Sue get introduced to the business end of the Purgation blunderbus
“Hello, my name is Bash-II, you killed my identical brother Bash-I, prepare to die”
*dead noises*
Shh shh shh, only dreams now
A cheeky Cawdor Juve takes a pop at the 16th Law leader who just wants to help his buddy
The final fighters – not much stress from the walls, and most people made it out safely
Four-way Escape the Pit
The green marker is the escape point – in the pitch black corridor and next to the crossroads of death. Fun!
Distilled Mayhem proved that a pitch black corridor is no handicap for ONE MILLION BOMBS
The Belles and Rovers skirmish through a tight corridor

Don’t forget to follow us for more updates and to vote for your favourite Juve of the Week on both our regular vox channels:

Mercy Crier week 2: Tension and Prosperity

What a week! The second Cycle has come to a close and we’ve seen over twice as many gang skirmishes in the Callowdecks as the gangs start to find their feet.

First the sad news – we’ve had to say goodbye to Apocalypts No (for now…) as they will be retiring from the Callowdecks. No doubt we’ll see them again back in the underdecks causing a ruckus in no time.

We’ve also welcomed a fresh Orlock gang to the campaign – Distilled Mayhem! They have blasting charges coming out of their ears, and as the Calorie Crooks can attest to, they’re not to be taken lightly…

This week we introduce the Mercy Jetsam event to encourage a bit of cash flow into our gang’s coffers. Things will get rough towards the end of the Turf War, so a good headstart is as important as a bowl of delicious hive Rad Flakes for breakfast.

The timetable for week 2
Event: Mercy Jetsam

The Callowdecks are ripe with abandoned cargo ready for the picking. When opening a Loot Casket, replace the “2-3: Nothing useful” result with:

2-3: Forgotten Cargo: The casket contains D3x10 Credits that is added to your Stash if the fighter is not abandoned or captured during the game.

You can’t transfer cash between fighters either – your gangers are far too protective of their ill-gotten gains to do so in the heat of battle.

week 1 Juve of the Week results

Last week’s vote was close but Job ‘the Humiliator’ came out on top, earning the Inheritors 30 Credits for his valour. The votes were close and different on both Twitter and Facebook, but after compiling them both, Job pinched it by just a handful of votes, so don’t forget to vote for fave on both channels!

Week 2 Juve of the week nominations

Juve of the Week had a lot of incredible potentials, but was tempered by most of the heroic (or foolhardy) deeds being carried out by mere gangers instead of our handsome Juves.

As one of the gangs this week is the Dreadquill house gang, if that entrant is picked by you (the illustrious and intelligent public), those winnings will be donated to FLOW-MATIC’s victims instead – the Boom Slag Belles.

Jimmy ‘Two Knives’ Bean proved the adage that a man with two knives must be pretty happy. In his inaugural match, he faced down the bolter-wielding Goliath that had been engaged in a shooting match with the Orlock leader for much of the match.

Jimmy was shot not once, but twice by a bolter at long range and walked away unharmed
Jimmy’s boss and buddy were pinned down by the Calorie Crook ganger
“I don’t need to worry about him he’s two turns away and just a Juv-OW MY EYES AAAAGH”

FLOW-MATIC beat all odds, killing a Champion with a reaction attack, then chasing down and beating up a plasma-pistol wielding Escher all with a length of motorcycle chain and all in the same turn.

“You’re using Bonetti’s defense against me, ah?”
“You seem like decent fellows, I’d hate to kill you”
“Please understand, I hold you in the highest respect”

Vote for your favourite Juve of the Week on both our regular vox channels:

Fashion corner – Distilled mayhem

And finally, last call at the bar! The Distilled Mayhem are a pack of mad moonshiners who are ready to fling a deadly blasting charge Molotov your way at a moment’s notice, filled with double measures of their signature product.

Glenfiddich, Jack Daniels and the (in)famous Grouse here have heard about the party going on down in the depths of Mercy and are ready to bring some extra kick to the already volatile mixer.

Other highlights

As we have too many games to squeeze into a single Mercy Crier, we’ve got some highlights for you from other games played throughout the week.

Iron Rovers vs Boom slag belles

A hard fought (and many mistakes) Forgotten Riches match between two new and upcoming gangs.

Both players got to field their entire gangs, 7 Iron Rovers and 8 Boom Slag Belles.

Final result – 7pts to Iron Rovers and 2pts to Boom Slag Belles. One fatality, Lou of the Boom Slag Belles. Victory to the Iron Rovers!

Iron Rovers vs Boom Slag Belles

Highlights

  • Barb had an unfortunate close encounter with an exploding Plasma Pistol, she survives unscathed
  • Scarlet, leader of Boom Slag Belles, took down two of the Iron Rovers (Pooch and Pup)
  • Runt charges into Josie and takes her out
  • Savannah and Lou have a terrible time fighting a Beast Below, Lou losing her life to the tentacle.
  • Tooth, the iron rovers heavy bolter champion, learns to late that the bulging biceps skill has been errata’d and isnt very good. As he is behind a door.
  • Nox, the Nightshade Chem Thrower, survives a point blank Shotcannon shot to the face.
  • Iron Rovers managed to secure 2 of the loot caskets
Calorie Crooks vs Blackstar Hunters

Perhaps the fastest game we’ve seen so far – in the first activation of a ‘Fighter Down’ scenario, the Blackstar Hunters’ Champion curb stomps the downed ganger and ends the match.

Iron Rovers vs Sarin Sirens and The Inheritors

Our first multiplayer match of the Turf War! We played the Ambush scenario, with the Iron Rovers being ambushed by an alliance of Van Saar and Escher. The Iron rovers had also picked up a hired gun to draw some flak away from the bulk of their force.

The Alliance set up defensively, expecting the Iron Rovers to try and push aggressively through. The Goliath team instead used their Juve and Hired Gun as a screen to retreat the bulk of their gang early on, prompting the Alliance team to switch tactics.

With clever use of frag traps to deny the Inheritors easy access to their escape, much of the Iron Rovers had moved to within scoring distance.

Their nature got the better of them, and they tried to score some easy points on some lingering Escher gangers before retreating.

In the most tragic group melee we’ve seen so far, one of the Sirens fired acid shells into combat, setting her (new) Leader on fire. The Goliath fighters managed to somehow avoid killing the helpless flaming Escher for several until they finally managed to bring in their chem-thrower from across the map to douse him in delicious chemicals.

By this point, the Juve had been shot in the back by Van Saar gunners and the ganger had acquired 3 Flesh Wounds from simply refusing to die. The chem-thrower rolled a Memorable Death for the ganger as he turned completely inside out.

It was a victory to the Alliance, but by a hair’s breadth.

Don’t forget to follow us for more updates and to vote for your favourite Juve of the Week on both our regular vox channels:

MOTB: 16th Law

Finished product first!

Last week we looked at the test ganger for 16th Law which I had sneakily made several months ago but with the time-bending powers of the internet made it appear like it was only seven days ago. I was dead happy with how he had come out, so it was on to the main event.

We had 1000 Credits to assemble a gang for the Callowdecks campaign. I’m running it as well as playing it, so I wanted to try a list that was a little more thematic. Bolters are cool and emphasize the slavish devotion to tradition that these guys follow, so I managed to squeeze a bolter, heavy bolter and combi-melta-bolter into the list.

I filled the rest of the gangers with some staples – an autogun, a shotgun and a Juve with an autopistol. I even managed to squeeze a grenade launcher onto the list, which has so far turned out to be one of my star players.

The huge downside to this was the lack of bodies on the tabletop – hopefully if I play conservatively in the early games I can earn some creds to add some extra techybois to soak some bullets up for my Leader.

The only thing left was to name them – I played with some Adeptus Mechanicus names but I wasn’t sold. I remembered an old White Dwarf article with a Van Saar player who named his gangers after obsolete computer systems and did some quick google-fu. Turns out, the list of obsolete programming languages is also huge and filled with really daft names. Problem solved!

These pictures are taken for posterity and we’ll look back at them after the campaign is over to see how the gang is grown!

Leader – superplan

The most expensive fighter on my list – I knew I wanted the combi-melta the moment I saw it on the House Equipment list. When Forgeworld announced the weapon kits, it was love at first sight.

He’s got nothing other than this though, and I’ve been lucky that nobody has engaged him in close combat. He might get a chainsword or something down the line once I’ve stacked some more bodies on the board.

He took the Munitioneer special ability – with so many bolters on the board, a few extra re-rolls for ammo checks wouldn’t hurt.

champion – superplan

The heavy bolter from the Forgeworld weapon expansion was just too damn pretty not to include. It’s a heavy stubber that is better in every way and kills stuff dead. The only downside is the ammo check of 6+, but that’s what his backup autopistol is for!

He took the Fixer ability – Cash is King in Necromunda, and an extra D3x10 creds at the end of every fight win, lose or draw will (hopefully) keep my gang afloat in the early games.

ganger – smalltalk

There’s more photos of Smalltalk in the previous Meanwhile On The Bench, so I won’t repeat them here. Although the shotgun/autopistol combination looked cool, it turns out that they’re a bit of a redundant combination as they operate at the same ranges and are both super-reliable. Ah well – Rule of Cool!

Ganger – Sue

Dakka dakka dakka! I couldn’t resist having another bolter ganger on the squad. I had just enough creds to squeeze on a stub pistol for when they inevitably run out of ammunition in the heat of battle.

Ganger – Bliss

Blast weapons are awesome in this version of Necromunda and the grenade launcher is a superb example, hitting and pinning multiple targets from 24″ away and the chance to avoid a miss with a good scatter roll all for 65 credits is not to be sniffed at. It also comes with Krak grenades, so you can reach out and fuck someone with a S6 D2 AP-2 hit. It’s tasty but I’ve still not got round to Krak grenading anyone yet – frag grenades are just so much fun!

Ganger – bash

A cheap body to put at the front of the pack! With such a compact gang, I can’t afford the Leader or Champion to be taking any fire. People like Bash will be there, heroically provoking Target Priority rolls and making unnecessarily aggressive flanking actions to keep the heat off the boss.

Juve – Mumps

Juvie power! It’d be rude not to include at least one Juve on the roster, and Mumps will get a buddy once the campaign gets underway. Owing to the super-tight roster he could only be bought an autopistol for his starting equipment.

I modelled him with the knife as I didn’t have the heart to snip it off and reattach it later once he had purchased it. I made my opponent explicitly aware he had no knife, and he would be purchasing one with his first lot of winnings.

Family photo!

And that’s that! They may be some of my favourite minis I’ve painted and I’m really excited to see how they’ll progress and grow throughout the campaign!

Internet time-warp note: Bash has already been killed in action, performing his job admirably. His identical brother, Bash-II, has taken up the time-honoured tradition of bullet sponge in his absence.

Mercy Crier week 1: The Callowdecks have opened

Thrills, spills and grav-gun kills in the opening week of the Callowdecks Turf War! In no less than seven different altercations and five ganger deaths already, including a Leader (RIP Jett), the gangs have set a precedent that others will be hard pressed to match.

With this week being the opening week, the gangs have been tentatively finding their feet and probing other gangs for weakness.

Only two gangs saw their Turf Size increase – 16th Law and Calorie Crooks, but what really matters is their Gang Reputation. Here’s a look at the leaderboard so far:

Fashion corner

Jett – Leader of the Sarin Sirens (RIP)

Special mention for our first Fashion Corner is the exquisite Jett from the Sarin Sirens, painted by Lawrence Williams of Hobgoblin3D. The contrast of armour and hair is just wonderful. Shame her skin tone hasn’t changed much now she’s died…

Jett of the Sarin Sirens, painted by Lawrence Williams
Juve of the week

Our first regular Juve of the Week is an opportunity for Juvies to earn their salt performing for you, the illustrious readers of the Mercy Crier. Our glorious benefactors at Dreadquill have released 30 Credits PER WEEK to give to one lucky Juve who has baffled, astounded or inspired undiscovered feelings of gang loyalty among you, the public.

Each week we will present the stories of two plucky Juves, fresh from the blood-slicked bulkheads of the Callowdecks, and you will vote for your favourite on our regular vox channels.

Job “The Humiliator” of The Inheritors

Job of the Inheritors earned his stripes in his very first match, coming up against rival gang 16th Law. He charged heroically through an open bulkhead, putting his life on the line to save his boss from autopistol fire.

After an embarrassingly long combat Job finally struck down his Juve sparring partner, doing unspeakable things to the poor Juve and causing the Humiliation lasting injury. His gangmates may never speak to him again…

You can see the full battle report here.

Renart the Fungal of the Order of the Emperor’s Sole

Renart the Fungal broke a deadlock between two cult gangs – his own and their (now) bitter rivals, Apocalypts No. When battle lines were drawn over a wide area of toxic sludge and little cover to protect the Order’s advance, Renart took things into his own hands.

With a (presumably) mighty war cry, he sprinted across open ground, autopistols blazing at the Chaos gunmen hunkered down in the corner.

He needed a 6+ followed by a 5+ and a 4+. We watched with bated breath as all three turned up sixes. Truly the Emperor was guiding his aim that day.

It was a terrible shame he was burnt to a crisp by a mad woman with flamers for eyes shortly afterwards.

Other highlights

As we have too many games to squeeze into a single Mercy Crier, we’ve got some highlights for you from other games played throughout the week.

Apocalpyts No vs The Order of the Emperor’s Sole
Emperor’s Sole face off against Slaanesh’s chosen across an open sludge pit
Renart heroically charges down the Chaos nest
The Witch has the last laugh, barbecuing friend and foe alike
16th law vs Apocalypts no
Chaos stack up while the Leader ruthlessly employs the Overwatch skill from the safety of cover
The Witch deploys her new familiar, saving her from 16th Law’s hail of bolter fire and torching Bash to death
With most of the Chaos team down the Witch rushes 16th Law’s position, requiring a bolter, a heavy bolter and a melta gun to take her down
Sarin sirens vs calorie crooks
Escher and Goliath test each other out in their inaugural brawl
Jett enjoying her only game where she doesn’t get shot in the head
The Siren’s run of bad luck means they fail to bring their powerful weapons to bear

First Blood: Orlocks vs Van Saar battle report

The first of our Callowdecks battle reports is a brawl between an Orlock gang “16th Law” (my own gang) and a Van Saar gang “The Inheritors“. We agreed on the ‘Stand-Off’ scenario to test our gangs out, using all the default rules for deployment and battlefield setup.

We rolled a 1 for determining how much cover there was going to be, and it wasn’t pretty. This was going to be a bloodbath…

Correction: Mumps (bottom left) is a Juve, not a Ganger. Don’t let him get ideas above his station.

With custom gang deployment, we both secretly picked equal gang sizes. The Inheritors (top of the board) had two gangers, a juve, a leader and a champion. 16th Law had a leader, three gangers and a juve.

A tentative setup

Although we’d played a few times before this was the first campaign game we’d both played, so we were both very conscious about lasting repercussions. I didn’t really pay attention to the victory conditions of the scenario, which is one of the biggest learning points I took away from this game, so the outcome was more luck than tactics.

The dice fell for Priority and the game commenced.

TUrn 1

I use similar tactics for Necromunda as I do for video games – run forwards as fast as possible at get as much ground as you can early on. We House Ruled that the cover terrain would nearly always confer a better cover save than corners, so that was going to be my preferred sniping spot.

The 16th Law Leader snapped a shot off at the Van Saar twin plasma-pistol wielding Champion in the opening move and took him Out Of Action immediately. We both gained a new-found respect for bolt weapons.

Both gangs exchanged small arms fire, and both the Inheritors Leader with grav gun and my own ganger with a grenade launcher failing to find targets.

turn 2

A few small arms attacks hit home – the 16th Law grenade launcher finds himself Seriously Injured by a las carbine and his buddy is pinned. A 16th Law bolter ganger finds a mark on another Inheritors ganger but only manages to pin him.

Mumps decided to earn some hero points, opened his door and fired on the Van Saar leader to no avail. He got himself charged by the rival juve and we both became very excited. Two Juves Enter, One Juve Leaves.

Both juves failed to hit with any attacks.

From what was very promising opening turn, things had gone downhill quickly for 16th Law…

Turn 3

The Inheritors Leader lands a terrible blow with his grav gun, Seriously Injuring the bolter ganger in the middle of the map. To make matters worse, the Inheritors Juve sees off the 16th Law Juve, proving himself to be King Juve of this map.

The grenade launcher ganger was recovered in the previous turn by his helpful buddy, and all three remaining 16th Law fighters withdraw out of line of sight.

I could pretend it was a cunning feint to lure the Inheritors into a trap, but really I just didn’t want any more of my guys squished by the grav gun.

Turn 4

The Inheritors Juve moves to flank the remaining 16th Law fighters but finds himself eating frag grenade in an unprecedented useful shot from the grenadier.

The Inheritors leader follows the same path to get an easy flanking shot with his grav gun, and the other Inheritors gangers keep taking pot shots at whoever they can see.

In the final throes of the combat, the Seriously Injured bolter ganger crawls back to his buddies and they help him to his feet, narrowly helping him avoid rolling on the Lasting Injuries table.

At this point, I figured discretion was the better part of valour, and opted to withdraw my gang and concede victory to the Inheritors. I’d rather live to fight another day than risk anyone valuable getting ground into paste.

Wrap-up

A tense game but very enjoyable! It was only during the wrap-up that we worked out that the victory conditions were for taking out opponents and less about last-man-standing. We added up the points and it turned out to be a 3:1 victory to 16th Law!

After that totally intentional victory, we reflected on what had happened. Grav guns are great, bolters are great and juves are adorably sucky. Amusingly, Mumps was the only person to have any permanent injury – he got the “Humiliated” result on the Lasting Injuries table, so his opponent Job got the title “Job the Humiliator”. A title I hope comes back to bite him another day…

Roll on the next battle!

MOTB: 16th Law ganger

Since Necromunda was re-released last year as Necromunda: Underhive I’ve been hankering to run a proper campaign. I’ve not been a fan of the staggered releases of Gang War books – holding back useful campaign information (such as the completed Rare Trader chart) until Gang War 4 a few months back.

With it finally released and my social obligations spent, I had run out of excuses not to run a Turf War. (I’ll do a bigger post on the Callowdecks campaign shortly, but for now keep an eye on the Dreadquill Facebook and Twitter feeds for more regular updates!) It also meant I could build a gang!

Orlocks were my first gang with old Necromunda – I really enjoyed their purity – and when they released the gang earlier this year I fell in love with the minis. They liked guns with no frills. The vanilla gang. The overlooked option. The ‘human’ option when picking a race for your character in an RPG. The starting pistol from a FPS.

I wanted to make an Orlock gang with a twist. It coincided with my realisation that for all my admiration of the Adeptus Mechanicus aesthetic, I didn’t actually have any traditional AdMech minis. I’d never painted red robes and white cogs, and this would not stand!

A Skitarii headswap was all that was needed to give it a techy vibe. It needed a little shaving down to fit in the Orlock neck hole, but otherwise was fine. A length of guitar wire to the tool kit thing on the belt completed the look of a makeshift rebreather.

The shotgun was pulled from the Genestealer Neophytes set, with a LOT of shaving away of the claw hand that held it. It was a pain in the ass, but I’m glad I did it.

The final touch was to shave the details down on the right shoulderpad and carve the edge into cog teeth. Not super visible here, but hopefully more visible on the rest of the gang. Another nod to their allegiance without breaking up the Orlock silhouette.

With a bit of green stuff in the gaps left over, the first Orlock ganger was ready to go!

colours of mars

I went for a very regal look, borrowing heavily from the standard Adeptus Mechanicus Mars palette – silver, gold, red and white.

All the colours were layered on over a black undercoat and given a hearty dousing of Nuln Oil wash. Everything was then layered again with the same colour – only the red robe got an extra highlight of lighter red to make it pop.

I wanted to emulate the traditional red robes while still maintaining the work clothes aesthetic of the Orlocks, so only the jacket and loin cloth got the Mechanicus red with a freehand cog to further cement his allegiance.

It was at this point I scratched my head about how to do the weapons. Silver and gold was a given – but what colour to do the weapon cases? Red was an obvious choice but detracted from the robes, and dark colours were too plain.

I wanted something fancy, and remembered that the AdMech modelled their super fancy laser guns after ancient Terran weapon designs, and I loved the concept that these tech-mad gangers would go out of their way to replicate that.

What better way to show your devotion to tradition than to try and make your weapons out of wood? If it was good enough for the Ancients, it’s good enough for me!

It was this line of thinking that brought me back to a personal fascination of mine – the Mysteries and Warnings of the Adeptus Mechanicus. A kind of Ten Commandments for the cogboys, these sixteen statements are what they base their weapon-worship around, and how they justify doing all the illogical (but cool-looking) things they do.

Although these gangers would be mere menials in Mercy’s weapons factories, their devotion to their Adeptus Mechanicus masters and slavish commitment to tradition meant one of those commandments stood out to me the most – “To break with ritual is to break with faith.” If they don’t make their weapons out of wood (a tricky thing to do in space), they couldn’t call themselves really devoted to the Omnissiah.

The live by the last commandment, the 16th Law, and I knew there and then that’s what their gang name would be.

I’m very happy with how he turned out, and I’m excited to do the rest of the gang now! Roll on the campaign!

Orthesian Herald 14 – Voidbound Anew

Last time on the Herald our bold team of Explorers were raiding the untouched treasure vaults of the Golden Valley Estates on the storm-wracked Cilice Prime. They had found the Missionary they had come here to find, all that was left was to tidy things up and plot the next course into the void…

risk and reward

We picked up where we left off, with the crew dragging what loot from the Estate’s vaults they could find. I had tailored each estate with baddies and loot themed to the Estate’s original owners, and each vault would also contain a plot seed for locations further into the Nomad Stars for future adventures.

Glaw Estate:  The Glaw Household is a house in decline who make money wherever they can – extortion, slavery and blackmail are their specialities. They have a strange penchant for acquiring religious iconography – whether for some illicit trade or forlorn sense of guilt for their black history, none can say.

  • The missing missionary and associated plot
  • A Condemnor Boltgun (with silver stake-thrower for purging daemons)
  • a few vials of holy flamer fuel
  • Seed:  A dusty book that talks of a lost relic, an archeotech power hammer called Piety’s Charge that once belonged to a lieutenant of Saint-Admiral Troubadous. According to the book, it was last seen on the world of Sobek in the Heathen Trail.

Grin Estate: House Grin no longer exist, but once upon a time they were the name in black market weaponry – anything they couldn’t manufacture they could acquire for you, at great cost

  • Several crates of counterfeit xenos weapons
  • Plasma gun with (illegal) starflare vents (which turns it into a flamer)
  • Seed: A stasis-vault containing a trade agreement between House Grin and the Gunmongers of Fane. The agreement states the bearer is entitled to contract the gunmongers to manufacture weapons, on the condition the bearer provides a working prototype. The stasis-vault also contains a memolith with the coordinates for a Gunmonger facility in the system of Chital

Fallaset Estate:  The Fallaset dynasty still exists, but the short-tempered Rogue Trader in charge is content to fritter away his finances on expensive hunting expeditions and exacting revenge on those who slighted him. They made their wealth on the beast trade – capturing, killing and processing exotic beasts and vermin from across the Nomads for research, materials or blood sport.

  • Dozens of Good Quality Beast Cages in various shapes and sizes, from tiny rodent-sized cages to gargantuan cages designed to hold creatures of terrifying bulk .
  • Shocknets, shock collars and other beast-catching equipment
  • a Solo-pattern Boltgun
  • Seed: Two of the largest cages appear to have lost power and been torn open from within. Their data-plaque is damaged, but it reads something about “breeding pair from Gallionic. Client; Beast House”

Beefington Estate:  The Beefington fortune is built on one thing: muscle. Both from vat-grown meat from their huge farms to chem-hanced thugs drawn from penal colonies and feral worlds. Now they make their money above board, servicing military contracts across the subsector for anyone who needs a blunt weapon to solve a problem.

  • 80 crates of Rad Missiles (p51 HA)
  • hundreds of crates of Barrage (p66 HA)
  • Seed: Coordinates to a secret Beefington drugs laboratory on a hidden moon near Seldon’s Folly in Skylar’s Lie

There was only one estate left on the map that the team had yet to venture to – the Beefington Estate, sworn enemies of the Arch Militant’s family, the Von Gunn Household.

Too much of a good thing

At the beginning of the Cilice adventure I reflected on what I got wrong, and it was no more apparent that at this moment. Writing all this stuff was so much fun, it never occurred to me that it might not be so much fun to actually grind your way through it all and suddenly remember half a dozen new names and places. As a writer, I am in desperate need of an editor.

As we started the session, I could tell there wasn’t great enthusiasm for clearing out another Estate – we had spent four sessions in and around Cilice for what was really supposed to be just a minor errand. It was time to clear the decks and get back to the fun stuff.

I was honest with my group at this stage, pretty much telling them all of the above. Rather than retcon anything, I suggested we handle the final estate like a boarding action – a hundred or so armsmen had now been landed on the planet following the Captain’s orders, and were ready to storm the poorly-defended final estate.

Three minutes and a few dice rolls later, they had won the day and ‘completed’ the planet so they could move on to other things. I handled the estate narratively, explaining the debased here were slow, imperceptive and incredibly vicious when roused, with clear evidence of decades of drug abuse. Linking that to House Beefington’s penchant for illegal drug manufacture gave the Arch Militant some socio-political ammunition to fire at them later on.

With all the objectives out the way and tedious paperwork abandoned, it was time to reassess and plan our next moves.

Those who fall behind are left behind

I mentioned that the crew had been on their feet for more than 30 hours – it was time to return to the Rightful Remit. Not only was this mechanically correct (I track time because I’m a masochist) but provided a good excuse to have an in-character discussion about our next moves.

In preparation for this discussion, I drew up a star chart with some ‘known’ warp routes that Navigator Mahd’Naz would have under his belt. I stressed they weren’t all the known warp routes, but the ones that would be relevant to the upcoming journey.

Known warp routes from Cilice

The problem arose again. There were some mildly interesting places to go, but in this circumstance you couldn’t just split the party or pop in for a quick adventure – warp travel is arduous and dangerous. Nobody at this stage could justify several months of travel to head to an unknown place with an unknown agenda.

The Captain made the call – we’re heading back to Mercy to hand the quest in and reassess from there.

Tidying up

Astropath Gil calculates they’re too far to send an astropathic message to Brother Espin without inviting daemons to a pool party in his skull, and Cairn was the nearest possible communication point. It seemed that was the direction to head.

I swept the map of Cilice of any additional ‘encounters’, saying the mysterious energy signature had disappeared. We’d had enough of this, and I was already working on plans to re-use these encounters later on in the campaign to give them proper gravitas.

While the crew were discussing their next move and drawing up plans for the distillery, I used this opportunity to feed them some intel.

With so much Intrigue™ happening, I didn’t want to limit plot revelations to whole plot episodes. I had quickly learned from my mistakes that dumps of too much good stuff can be bad. Instead I leaned on a character I had previously set up, a rumourmonger called Getz with shady connections, to feed Gil information as and when it cropped up. This would hopefully keep players up to date with happenings and make the universe feel like a larger place around them. They were making ripples, and they were learning their actions had far reaching consequences.

“Name’s Leo Getz, ’cause whatever you want, Leo gets! Get it?”
We need a spam filter

Leo is eager to impress. He was sending so much garbage through the astropathic relay that the juniors were all working overtime and had to draft in extra scribes to deal with all his nonsense. Gil send a stern brain-ache message back while they deciphered anything useful from the spam.

I asked for a Search check, with degrees of success granting additional bits of information. He aced the check, and got all five handouts:

+++ Deciphered intelligence #1 from Informant Getz, day 119 shipboard time of Nomad Stars Expedition +++

1. Fel is hiring skilled miners and prospectors for a contract somewhere in Skylar’s Lie

2. Lady Ash has not been seen or heard from since the Rightful Remit

3. Baroness Ravenula has publicly announced the discovery of a new civilisation of humans and has departed to convert them to the Imperial Creed

4. Lord-Captain Patroneus and Lady Chosokabe have set sail on a joint expedition deep into the Nomads

5. The Obsidian Emporial auction house on Mercy has come into possession of something very valuable and intends to put it in front of bidders as quickly as possible

+++ Messages end +++

None of it was actionable, but it helped the players feel like they were part of something bigger.

Much ado about ambull

We still had a question mark hanging over our heads about the colony of ambull underneath the Fallaset Estate. The (presumably) parents had been offed, but there could easily be more of them living in the warrens deep beneath the earth. Nobody fancied an underground expedition, so turned to Freeman for some WMD expertise.

Cue montage!

Finally getting to utilise his Chem Use skills, Freeman whips up some anti-Ambull toxin from samples of the creatures he took from the nest and some rad missiles pinched from the Glaw Estate.

By his reckoning, it could easily wipe out the nest, the Ambull and any margin of error for a few kilometres around. The downside was that it would render the Fallaset Estate uninhabitable for a really long time. The Captain did not consider this a downside and gave the order.

Not willing to risk their own necks delivering the payload, they stopped off at Stiletto station where they knew there were a bunch of servitors just hanging around and pressed them into service. With some minor tweaks to their pathfinding abilities, Freeman strapped the Ambull nukes to their chests, said a prayer and pushed them out the back of an Arvus Lighter.

via GIPHY

The Captain gave a short speech to the technomats who were sad to see their newest friends leave, saying they “were all going to go live on a farm”.

To everyone’s surprise everything goes to plan, and they watch the Fallaset Estate become a hellish, radioactive crater from orbit. Good work team!

The hatchling keepers

Contact!

Three new plasma signatures are detected on long-range augers in the outer reaches of the system. The Voidmaster identifies them as a merciless pack of Chaos pirates called the Hatchling Keepers, leader by the dreaded Captain Moloch. They are an infamous pack of hit-and-run pirates who can tackle vessels and fleets many times their own size, and as their name suggests, prowl the Hatchling Worlds domain for prey.

Shortly after detecting them, the signatures disappeared from augers. They were a week away from their current position, so the threat was not immediate, but still concerning. The crew deduced they had likely gone into silent running and moving to engage.

They notice Captain Avag and her charge were also moving to the jump point of the system, changing course after the Chaos raiders entered the system. The Captain pulled some pretty agonising faces trying to justify picking a fight with them, but in the end decided discretion was the better part of valour and made the order to flee the system.

As an aside, this was my Deus Ex Machina for keeping the game running and moving the players on from this system. They were done here, and were starting to grow tired of all the excess crap I had piled on them. This was my unsubtle way of agreeing with them.

I had, however, run the numbers for the potential conflict. If the players could steal the initiative and have Avag’s Frigate and the mechanicus vessel on side, it would be a close fight, but tipped in the players’ favour. The Captain worked much of this out, but his character’s pride forbid him from asking for help from Avag, and his Naval background pointed out the chances of getting the drop on a trio of experienced raiders in silent running required more resources than they had available to them.

I’ve never seen a player so twisted up in conflict and I fuggin’ lapped it up.

Carry on

With the Captain still nursing his pride, the team plot a course and make the first jump. The 3 days to Cairn are uneventful, and the astropath uses the few hours between warp jumps to send a brain-message to Espin.

“We have secured Cilice, located the missionary and returning the bodies PS upon leaving we found Chaos lol thx bye”

The route to Mercy was (poorly) estimated by Mahd’Naz at 4 weeks, and barring a minor gellar field fluctuation and a generous helping of corruption points, the Unbroken Resolve arrive in the Telos system intact in little under 2 weeks. A round of gin for everyone!

Welcome home

The first order of the day was contacting Brother Espin and Free-Captain Acheron that they had returned. They returned to his bloated pilgrim boat, The Sword of Saint Troubadous, to hand the quest in.

From space it looks like a hunchback baron cradling a hoard of gold. Cathedral spires extend from its spine and every inch is covered in stained glass, ornate gothic pillars and hand-carved statues of every Saint in the Imperial Creed.

Shuttles scurry about like insects feeding their queen

The hangar bay stinks with the raw musk of human existence – there are sleeping cubbies set into the walls, hammocks hang from the gantries high above your heads, and canvas shanties exist around the peripherals, despite the constant roar of shuttles dropping off pilgrims and supplies. You have no doubts the rest of the ship is in a similar situation.

He pays them their reward and thanks them for their service. The team leave out a lot of what they considered need-to-know information, pocket the gold and turn to leave. Before they do so, however, he wheels out a huge cart jangling with arms and armour.

Turns out Ol’ Espy had been hoarding some crusader armour – about a dozen suits of plasteel plate (Armour Value 6 – I counted it as fancy carapace armour) with some swords, shields, bolters and flamers, dressed to the nines with religious iconography and purity paraphernalia. If only someone in the party had a bunch of religious wackos following her around who could do with a bit of extra equipment…

They bundle it into the back of their lander and take off before he changes his mind.

it is I, Lombar the archaeologist!

Back on Mercy Actual, the team head to Mayweather Mooring to find Lombar and pick up the loot they had tasked him with recovering from the bridge of the Rightful Remit.

“It is I, friends! Lombar the Archaeologist!”

They had some questions that needed answers. This time though, they decided not to mentally peel his psyche open like a brain banana and peer inside with space magic, but rather do it the old fashioned way. Get him reet proper pished. To Telasco’s!

It doesn’t take them long to get him suitably drunk. He sobs into his expensive wine while blubbing incoherently about Lynn, his bodyguard ogryn, who lost her family and he is all she has left. They continue prodding him for information, primarily about Captain Avag and the mystery mechanicus ship in Cilice, but he doesn’t have much more than they already know.

He does, however, drop a little tidbit about Brother Espin, which they weren’t anticipating. Ol’ Espy tipped off Baroness Ravenula about the Unbroken Resolve heading to the Void Sea, a rumour that the crew themselves started when they left Mercy last time.

Although they weren’t quite sure what to make of this revelation, the Intrigue™ had thickened.

Follow the free man

Explorator Freeman, as is his wont, did not attend the Plot Party but instead set about his usual tech-shenanigans.

I felt this was a suitably important moment – the first proper refitting of their first ship. I had a particular image in my mind that I couldn’t shake, so I blew the dust off my drawing tablet and set to work.

I need to work on my concept art a lot, but I was pretty pleased with how it came out for a few hours’ work.

Finally, Freeman goes looking for a Resolution Arena in the markets of Mercy. He wants to go all Battlestar Galactica and have a punch-up palace in the underdecks, but he fluffs his Acquisition check and doesn’t have the right change on him at the time.

A strange man sidles up to him, identifying himself as Chief Wrecker Davit of the Pale Wreckers. He overheard Freeman looking for something he has, and he is happy for Freeman to take it off his hands on one condition.

“All you have to do is fight for it in the Bazaar Arena tonight.”

An arena for an arena? I think we all know how the next session will start…

 

+++++++

Previous: Session 13- The Glaw Estate

MOTB: The Elysian Commission Completed

All has been quiet recently what with moving house and all, but with that now behind me I can finally get back to what’s important – painting toy soldiers and writing about it on the internet.

Previously I’ve posted up a part 1 and part 2 update on the Elysian Commission, and I can proudly say the job is finally finished.

I don’t do commissions any more, but as the original ebay lot as so close to my heart, I couldn’t let them go without saying a proper goodbye. After dozens of hours (and more finished Elysians than I ever managed to do for myself…) I’m very proud of the final product. Even more poignant was the announcement that Forgeworld were discontinuing the line halfway through the job, so it was a farewell on multiple fronts.

Will they re-release them in the future? Will they get a more modern take in the coming years? Who knows. For now though, I’ve enjoyed the last ride of the Elysians.

Orthesian Herald 13 – The Glaw Estate

Last time on the Herald, our players landed an incursion force on the storm-wreathed world of Cilice Prime, stole a Taurox pulling the universe’s last known supply of Cilice Gin, leveled an estate with its guns and psychically commanded an army of cannibal abhumans to fight itself. They were left with a few more marks on the map, a full tank of gas and a compulsion to loot.

Rain lashes down, running across the uneven valley floor into a deep, dark river. Patches of fungus seem to be growing quite contentedly by the side of the road, and every now and then you catch a glimpse of more figures in the rain that scurry away to hide as you thunder past in your Taurox. 

The ugly palace-fortress of the Glaw Estate begins to emerge from thick curtains of rain. A massive construction that was probably once quite beautiful, now layered thick with armour and crumbling weaponry. 

Saddling up

The Grin Estate was now swarming with loyal armsmen and technomats brought down from the orbiting Unbroken Resolve on heavy halo barges. They were on hand to ruthlessly loot the estate of its worldly belongings and reinforce the Explorer’s immediate retinue.

The Missionary, Lyoness, hand picked a few more of her covenant to join her. She decided that her Covenant were named after ancient Terran saints, famed for their war-hymns. We are joined by Zeppelin, Ziggy, Iggy and Acey-Deecey.

The commandeered Taurox, dubbed “War Pig”.

We fill out the Taurox’s capacity with Master Zilla at the controls and Von Gunn on guns and thunder off into the rain.

The Glaw Estate

No messing about this time. With the Astropath firing off his psychic mind scan (much to the surprise and discomfort of everyone trapped in the little metal box with him) and ascertaining the resistance was next to none, the Captain gives the order to ram the front gates.

Knock knock, bitches

There is clearly nowhere near the level of intelligence as in the Grin Estate, and whatever wretches are still present in the estate scatter and flee at the big angry gunbuggy. The team slowly and cautiously make their way to the lower levels.

They discover tread marks and scraps of pilgrim robes around the Glaw Estate leading down to the vaults. There is also a lot of broken religious iconography around the place, unusual for a criminal organisation.

It’s dark, and the vaulted ceilings carry their voices out into the darkness. They occasionally spot more of the abhumans, but they always stay just out of sight and weapons range. The Explorers decide it’s best not to waste the ammunition.

“Oi am weldin’ this doo-ah”

They arrive at the vault, a similar size and makeup to the one from the Grin Estate. It is air tight and sealed from inside. Oggy-Bong fires up the lascutter. The players had had a sinking feeling since they arrived, and the “YOU HAVE ALERTED THE HORDE” noise was palatable. Oggy-Bong shouts over the gunfire it will take just over a minute for him to get the door open.

Liquid hunger pours from the darkness, dressed in rags and purple flesh.

“Abhumans m’lud! Thaasands of ’em!”

This section it was time to play hard and fast with the rules. If they were able to beat a target’s TB of 3, they killed it. I put a little marker down on the board to represent a body, and the model gets brought on from another table edge in subsequent turns. Weight of numbers and the press of bodies in a confined space would be the main threat.

We had a few extra Armsmen in tow this game – this is just beyond the upper limit of how many player-controlled models I would prefer to have on the board to keep things flowing smoothly. The Astropath player’s actual real-life brother was in the area that day though, and rather than delay the game or leave him out while his brother rolled dice, I offered him a place in the session.

The Covenant were played by my mad green techno-monks

The wretches came in waves, crashing against the bulwark of the Orthesian Dynasty. Everyone played their part in sinking bullets and plasma into wasted flesh, dropping the wretches left and right. The bodies begin to pile up.

After a turn or two, it becomes apparent this might not be sustainable for six turns – they would either run out of luck or ammunition. Freeman decides the best course of action would be to plug his potentia coil into the operational lascutter and turn it up to 11.

Against tricky odds, he superjuices the lascutter, knocking a few turns off the clock as poor Oggy-Bong clings on for dear life.

Lyoness (green-haired Escher) and her Covenant plunge into the fray

The team spread out, trying to cover as many entrances as possible. Von Gunn and armsman Felicity cover the top left corridor. Felicity finds out she is entirely superfluous and there largely for moral support. The Captain and Thud guard the bottom left entrance. Astropath Gil and Voidmaster Zilla take up centre stage, using their ranged weapons to most effect. Lyoness and her Covenant of mad chainsaw-wielding warrior women lock down the uh.. everywhere.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the board:

BLOOP

Dedicated melee character Captain Orthesian discovers the hilarious repercussions of combining a low movement speed with a force field that teleports you randomly away from trouble whenever you are hit. The Captain spends most of this game charging into combat, getting fingered by some hungry schmuck with a pointy stick and his displacer field panics and throws him 2d10 inches in a random direction to repeat the process. I even had to add a new tile to the board just to encompass the distance moved.

Hearty chortles and slapped thighs all round, except the Captain.

It was coming up to the final turn, and things were turning sour. Ammunition was running low, the Captain was not in the melee enough to make his power sword’s presence felt, and the Covenant were looking battered and bruised.

Tell my storyyyyy

Iggy falls to the wretches. They tear off her hand and begin to drag her into the darkness. Lyoness is having none of this nonsense and hurtles off to save her. Iggy’s life is saved, but she might NEED A HAND from now on.

The last few inches of vault door are carved apart by Oggy Bong. As the thick blast door slams inwards, internal lumens activate, blasting the darkness with holy light. A mighty Imperial Aquila, polished to within an inch of its life, is emblazoned on the opposite wall of the vault. Its blessed light shines through the darkness, the wretches recoiling in fear and awe at the sign of the God-Emperor. They had done it.

Vault-dwellers

You head into the vault, down the stairs and underneath the shining Imperial Aquila. The air is stale and tastes of death.

In the vault proper you see a congregation of Imperial worshippers in a circle lying dead on the floor, each executed with a las round to the back of the head. There are no signs of a struggle.

A senior priest is propped up against a baroque mobile shrine on tank treads, a las wound through the side of his head and a laspistol in his hand. A hand-written note is placed neatly in front of him that simply reads “Without the dark there can be no light. Emperor forgive me.”

There was no doubt that this was the Imperial Mission that Brother Espin requested they find. They said a small prayer and got to the important task of looting the vault for everything it was worth.

Gold and jewels as far as the eye could see, painted chalices, stained glass windows and ornamented priestly robes – everything in the vault looked like it would have been donated to (or taken from) churches across Imperial space. The Missionary said a small prayer to the lost and opened her loot sack wide.

Standing proud of the jewels was a display case holding an arcane-looking weapon – a bolter with built-in stake thrower. A Condemnor-pattern boltgun (page 81 of Faith and Coin) with a crowssbow mechanism designed to fire holy bolts inscribed with runes of banishment and exorcism. Valuable in its own right, but in the hands of a daemon huntress…

The mobile shrine-canter had build-in loud-hailers and incense burners and a simple movement-slave module so it can trundle along behind its owner. It has a shrine on the front clearly meant to hold a large weapon, but was currently empty. A dusty book sits nearby, most of its pages missing or faded, but it talks of a lost relic – an archeotech power hammer called Piety’s Charge that once belonged to a lieutenant of Saint-Admiral Troubadous. According to the book, it was last seen on the world of Sobek in the Heathen Trail…

Mount up, move out

The Captain calls in support, comfortable that his armsmen can strip it of all its worth now the Explorers have had their pick of the prize. He makes sure to instruct them to take the big shiny Aquila as well, it would look excellent above the desk in his quarters. They make tracks for third palace, the Fallaset Estate.

Some lore checks are rolled on the way over. The Fallaset dynasty still exists, unlike the owners of the other estates, but the short-tempered Rogue Trader in charge is content to fritter away his finances on expensive hunting expeditions and exacting revenge on those who slighted him. 

They made their wealth on the beast trade – capturing, killing and processing exotic beasts and vermin from across the Nomads for research, materials or blood sport. I’m sure that information won’t be important.

The Fallaset estate is abandoned, the only sign life is the greenery growing around where the roofs have caved in. The front door is ajar.

Inside, they find remnants of wretches, most brutally torn apart. They come across large footprints, and eventually, a gaping hole through the floor of the estate leading all the way down to the vault level. The team gird their loins and carefully make their vaultward.

They see the vault in the distance – it has been brutally torn open from the inside. The Captain thinks he knows what did this, so he begins issuing orders to-

REEEEEEEEE

ROLL FOR INITIATIVE!

The rumbling beneath their feet crescendos in an explosion of sodden dirt and marble. Two massively built creatures burst from the floor, encased in insect-like armour with hugely oversized arms tipped with iron-hard claws. Ambulls!

(If you want to see how these guys were built, check out this week’s Meanwhile, On The Bench)

This could get ugly REAL quick

Von Gunn: “Permission to freak out and shoot my nearest team-mate?”

Captain: “Denied”

Von Gunn: “Sorry sir, I failed my Fear check. Eat shit, Freeman” *blam blam blam*

I love the Fear tables, and the look of panic that washed across everyone’s face when Von Gunn (gun by name, gun by nature) failed his shock test so badly against the incoming creatures of the deep that he would be randomly assigning a target. The party’s greatest asset in a combat swiftly became their biggest threat. Another reminder to people that Willpower should not be your dump stat.

Luckily for Freeman, this was one of the statistically few times Von Gunn actually missed a target, much to my disappointment.

“Uh guys? Help?”

The team open fire, splitting their efforts against both Ambulls. One had popped up quite some distance from the group as I had openly rolled a random direction for the beasties to arrive. The Ambull are insanely powerful and distressingly fast for their size, and could comfortably splatter a player character in one round if the dice are in their favour. To counter this viciousness, I wanted it to seem as fair as possible as to who would get picked on. If someone died, it would be on the dice, and not me.

Lyoness and her Covenant (minus Iggy, who was back on the Resolve getting her hand seen to) opened up with their flamers, dousing the poor creature in so much hotsauce that practically takes it out of combat for the rest of the session. Lyoness jams her weapon from over-enthusiastic flaming, but the damage is done.

Her and her Covenant spend the remainder of the combat enthusiastically carving it up with chainswords, rarely dealing enough damage to hurt it properly, but enough to keep it busy.

Back on the other side, all the armsmen panic and open up, bouncing their lightweight shot and autopistol rounds off its hard carapace. With Von Gunn a gibbering wreck for a few turns, they would need some thrilling heroics to deal with this Ambull before it finally got its shit together and landed a hit on someone.

ENTER FREEMAN.

Freeman: “I roll Acrobatics to do a sick flip and land on its back like in Starship Troopers”

GM: “Well shit, that’s probably going to be super hard as you don’t have Acrobatics or-”

Freeman: “001. Critical pass”

YEAH GET SOME

So our spider-legged techpriest sails through the air with the greatest of ease, doing a sick flip and planting himself firmly on the beast’s back. He plunges his power axe into the thing’s neck and it screeches in pain, thick ichor dribbling out onto the floor.

The armsmen panic, and one of them accidentally shoots the Captain in the back while he’s trying to stab the Ambull.

Luckily the displacer field activates and teleports the captain a LONG way away. Good news for not getting shot, bad news if you’re a melee character trying to stab a giant alien beastie to death.

Von Gunn finally comes to his senses and blasts the first Ambull through the eyeholes. It screeches and collapses. Freeman massively flubs his Agility check to get out the way and is crushed by the corpse. The dice giveth, the dice taketh away…

Friends! I have fallen and I can’t get up!

Zilla and Gil have been contributing, but not in a noticeable way. Zilla’s fancy autogun doesn’t cut the mustard against brutes with a high Toughness Bonus, and Gil’s only chance is to use his plasma pistol on Maximal, only getting to fire every other round. Great IF he hits. Which he never did this combat.

Von Gunn turns to see a flaming wreck of a creature being carved up by angry ladies with chainswords. Lyoness has backed off and is shouting moral encouragement after realising just quite how much damage one of those fists do. (It’s 1d10+10 with Swift Attack) Von Gunn takes aim and uses double shot to crack its skull wide open.

With the sound of steam escaping from betwixt toasted carapace like a lobster in the soup, the final Ambull comes crashing to the ground. Everyone breathes a sigh of relief while doing a quick check on everyone’s health. The Captain sets his sight on the vault doors, wide open and inviting, and congratulates everyone on a good fight.

The Astropath uses the dying moments to use Sensory Deprivation on his brother who shot the captain in the back with Felicity. All’s fair in love and war, eh?

+++++++

Next: Session 14 – Voidbound Anew

Previous: Session 12 – Blood and Gin

MOTB: Ambull of the Golden Valleys

Finished product first!

As the daring deeds of the Orthesian Herald unfold, our heroic band of explorers find themselves in the Golden Valleys of Cilice, a foreboding place filled with forgotten sins and terrible secrets.

One such secret belongs to an estate overrun with escaped creatures, a perfect opportunity to visit a classic Rogue Trader adversary, the Ambull.

A modern rendition from FFG’s Creatures’ Anathema

There was no way I was going to shell out for a pair of classic metal Ambulls from the 80s, and even if I did, the scale creep of models over the past 30 years would have left them looking very meek relative to the terrifying stat block they have. An alternative was needed.

Cue a quick dabble into the DnD universe for some splendid (and cheap!) pre-built Umber Hulk minis from Noble Knight games. They aren’t perfect, but they’re big, mean and look damn close enough. Plus they were hella cheap, and picked both up from ebay for less than a tenner – a selling point indeed!

The incredible hulks

They arrived quickly, and I was immediately impressed.

These are big bois

I had never got my hands on pre-primed models before, having been skeptical about the quality of such a thing. Given that these were to be my Villains Of The Week, I wasn’t fussed about quality.

Potato quality picture

I had done some reading about the quality of such minis, some people recommending you remove the primer and add your own, others recommend painting straight over the primer, others suggested priming over the top. The last seemed the least hassle for me, and as I was planning on experimenting with paint techniques on these guys anyway, it made most sense.

Upon having a hands-on with the minis, I also discovered some pretty heinous mould lines running across large sections of armour. They would have to be scraped off – a pretty straightforward job considering it was quite soft plastic, but it meant they definitely would need re-priming.

Footloose

They were hunched over quite a bit, and I wasn’t keen on the pre-moulded base they came supplied with. A bit of snipwork with my pinchy-grabbers and they were free. Time to build some custom bases!

Custom bases with my poor attempt at rivets

Using some big bases, presumably lifted from an old Sentinel kit, I wanted them to look like they were lurking in the sumps of an underhive somewhere. At the time of construction, Ambulls were only rumoured to be returning to Necromunda, so I had built this in anticipation of using them in other systems. Of course, now we know about the Am-Bot, which will be an exciting encounter in its own right later on…

Standing tall

The soft plastic took to pinning rather nicely, and I tried to lean them back on their bases a bit to give them more height. They’re described as hunched and gorilla-like in stature, but the amount of stoop the original models had meant their mandibles were basically scraping along the floor. Leaning them back has given them almost an inch worth of height.

Being careful to put at least one pin through a thicker section of base

Rivets were attempted by snipping up lengths of goblin spear. They came out weird and misshapen, so for the purposes of ‘Finished Not Perfect’ it’ll do, but I’ll have to readdress my tactic for doing rivets in the future.

We’re going to need a bigger net…

With both Ambulls pinned, mould lines cleared and bases prepped, they just needed to be undercoated ready for a a different painting technique I was excited to try out.

Ombre Hulks
REEEEEEEEE

These guys were painted in record time and I had a blast doing it. They were undercoated in grey, a daring new technique (for me at least) I premiered with my Escher gang, and then attacked them with washes.

The brief I gave myself was; can you paint a big beasty using only washes and drybrushing? The answer was: ABSOLUTELY

About to drop the hottest rap album this century

I divided the model into roughly three sections, scientifically referring to them as ‘fleshy bits’, ‘armoury bits’ and ‘other bits’. Fleshy bits got two washes of Reikland Fleshshade, armoured bits got two washes of Athonian Camoshade for that dirty green look, and other bits got a thorough going-over with some Nuln Oil.

A quick drybrush of Rotting Flesh across basically everything, with some more Reikland Fleshshade dabbed onto the armour in corners and creases, and the whole weird, disgusting look was complete. Applying the washes took about 15 minutes tops, with the only timesink being drying times.

Closeup of the hand details

I picked out the eyes with a nice evil-looking red. Evil beasties always have red eyes, right? I broke my one rule (only a little bit though) and did an edge highlight on the claws and mandibles in Elf Flesh, if only to draw attention to the sharp pointiness of them.

Fissures and cracks in the armour plating were dabbed with Reikland Flesh

The base was done with a liberal application of Tamiya Clear Green, my favourite underhive gunk paint, and splashed a bit up the legs for authenticity. I could spend ages edge highlighting all the armour plates or adding additional shades to the flesh, but it was now Finished, Not Perfect and I was dead happy with them.

You’ll get to see them in action during this week’s Orthesian Herald, but I couldn’t resist doing a little photoshoot with them anyway. Enjoy!