Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Talathen Sector - End phase round 4

Personal Update

Well, this last month or so has been an unpleasant one for my group and I.


My sister lost her battle with cancer just after New Years, one of my other players has had to deal with a major family crisis, and another the death of a friend.

All in all, 2016 started off horribly for my friends and I and Talathen Sector takes a fair bit of work on my part, and focus from my players. This is something we have been without, so when we have met up, we have played games like roborally and Blood Bowl Team Manager instead. And that's been fine.  


Things are starting to calm down a little, so i'm going to write up our last session from last year. Hopefully, next week we will be focused enough to get back into it. 

Final mission



Just a few words on this one as it was a purely narrative mission, designed to introduce a plot point more than be an actual challenge for the players

It was set on Nimbala, with the rebels dispatched to capture a member of the Czerka board who had been located on Nimbala. 

This board member was revealed to be "The Red Queen", a character introduced in the first RPG mission, a former Twilek slave from Nimbala who had married a member of the Czerka board.

She revealed that her plan has been to destabilize Czerka on Nimbala, buy up shares in the subsidiary as the price nose dives, then purchase a controlling interest, kick Czerka out, and liberate her people while placing herself as a self-appointed ruler.

Viewing this as the far lesser of two evils, the rebels have agreed to help.

Mission reports



  • Luxon - Wookies deployed to assist the Luxon militia facing a full scale invasion. This mission was a success and generated +1 rebel support, +5 heat, and blocked some of the Empires potential gains
  • Holonet Hack - To counter imperial propaganda on the Holonet, the rebels hacked it and uploaded footage of the rebel fleet destroying the shipyard at Korvas. Massive success, blunts Imperial PR campaign. 
  • Nimbala Diplomacy - Massive success, opned up the "Red Queen" mission on Nimbala
  • Kronos - Diplomatic mission sucessful, initial reports of Imperial favour found to be untrue. Kronos is displeased with the empire. 
  • Samoth - Attacking a star destroyer that was launching probes to find the hidden rebel base. Major success, lots of heat in Samoth. Deliberately done to draw imperial attention away from other sites.
  • Selano - Asteroid base raid, major success, +2 rebel support, massive heat. 
  • Cahn diplomacy - Meeting with the devourer cult, who need help with an internal issue. 
  • Nadir and Zenith - Draw, no relief  to blockade, but lessens effect of imperial action. 
Bidding

A lot of characters up for bid and a minor faction as well. After meeting the Bothan Spynet in the last RPG, they have become available. it's worth noting that the Chief of Staff NPC does not like Bothans, and all Bothans have the "shady" negative to represent his antipathy for them. 


First up for bid was Nayr Bwa'tu and the Bothan Spynet, a powerful alliance that adds considerable grunt to the intelligence pool and comes with a powerful leader.  

The round was blind bidding and the Bothans went to the Republicans for a surprising low 15 clout














Next up, was the unusual Pell family. As a married couple, these two characters come as a set, with Leeto being a smuggler and Jorda being a gunslinger. 

The peoples movement picked them up for 22 clout, 11 each which seems pretty reasonable. 





Manny Bothan's, Bothan super spy and generally all around powerful agent. Manny is phenomenal at spying missions and the most powerful spying character in the sector.

The downside of him is that he is doomed to die before the end of the campaign. After all, he needs to find the plans to the 2nd death star, so Mon Mothma can say "Manny Bothans died to bring us this information"

Yes..... the entire character is based on a bad pun :)  A whopping 27 points to the Republicans, who have loaded up on Bothan spies this round. 





Mak Eshka'rey is next, a truly useful character who can fight in Imperial assault squads, work as an intelligence officer, or be sent off on solo assassination runs.

22 points to the Luxon militia, I must say I was surprised at this, but clearly the players have plans and want the right people to fufil them. 






Laila Jaxon becomes the first human for hire this round, in a round dominated by Bothans. 

As a Wes Jansen ace, she has excellent pilot skill and in game abilities, while being an ok squadron leader. 

14 points to the Peoples movement, who continue to stockpile military characters






Kolath De'rest is next. Another utility character who can be a good officer, imperial assault squad member, intelligence operative, or any form of command role. 

13 points to the Basra consortium. This was the Basra consortium only acquisition this round, and they finished the round with 26 move clout saved than anyone else. I expect big moves next round.




Kryth Thu'wan is next, a solid leader character, but not a fighter. He could be a real asset in many fields, but probably not combat ones.

Stolen for only 10 clout by the Luxon Militia. And while i though they overpaid for Mak, this cheap deal more than overcompensates for that.




Finally, Goran Alarno, a Torgruta solidier with the uncommon "instructor" special ability.

Goran could move into training immediately, or he could be deployed to the special forces teams who are in need of a 2nd commando. 










Final scores

As this is round 4, glory scores per event have gone up by 25%, and will do so every 3 turns until the end of the game. The People's movement nearly top scored this round, and are closing the gap to the Luxon Militia and Republicans, while the Basra Consortium continues to play a long game. 













































Monday, 7 December 2015

I'm making a choice - A Talathen Sector battle report

Some games are good, some games are bad. And rarely, you play an amazing session where everything works and people will talk about it for years to come.

This battle was one of those sessions, a genuine nail biting fight that came down to the wire and had every player nervous about which way it would go. 


The objective was the seize control of the asteroid bases engineering command centre, set the reactor to overload, and get out in time.

The mission rules were as follows. 



  • Imperials on half reinforcement points until alarm sounds. 
  • Reinforcements come from off screen. 
  • When the Alarm sounds, doors are locked and can only be opened by Imperials. But can be blasted open. 
  • There are three consoles in the main control room. Imperial officers can access them, and the players can "hack" them using their characters mental and hacking skills. 
  • Each terminal allows the players to make one choice. Take control of security doors, kill the alarm, set the self destruct timer on the base for a number of turns they choose. 
  • Finally, make it back to the shuttle before the timer reaches zero and the base explodes. It costs an action to board the shuttle. 



Things started off hot for the Rebels, as they dealt with the initial outlying guards easily and the Alarm was not raised until they made it into the control room. 

The first console hacked locked the security doors and allowed the Rebels to control access. They then killed the 3 officers in the control room to ensure they couldn't override the controls. This left 2 officers in the complex, one of which was near the shuttle, the other behind multiple security doors. 

The alarm was shut off, and then the team set the self destruct for 5 turns. 




Gaxx (Brawler) and Gooda (Gunsligner) briefly engaged the advacing stormtroopers, allowing Hallarn (Commander), Keel (Sniper) and Fenn (Commando) to try to secure the ship. 

The officer near the shuttle was cut down, and the other one never did make it past the security doors in time to shut off the self destruct. The Imperials fought a rear guard action, blocking access to the shuttle. 




Here is the board position with 1 turns to go. Storm Troopers have secured the ship access, Finn, Keel and Hallarn have enough movement to get to the shuttle ramp and use an action, but stormtroopers are blocking their access. They do not have enough actions to take a shot this turn, and Gooda had already boarded. 

The only option, that allowed the maximum number of Rebels to escape was for Gaxx to take both his actions as attacks, deal "cleave" damage to as many imperials as he could, and then use his last endurance to occupy a spot by the ramp so the Rebels couldn't be blocked leaving.

This mean't that Gaxx chose to stay behind until the last possible moment to allow the rest of the team to escape, knowing full well he would likely die as a result. 


Hallarn "Gaxx, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?"
Gaxx "I'm making a choice"

Gaxx turns, force pike in hand and engages the stormtroopers in brutal melee combat, the ramp of the shuttle closing behind him as he is finally pulled down by sheer weight of numbers. 




As shown here, we rolled the "red dice of despair" to determine Gaxx's fate, this result is a "captured" one. Being captured on a space station that is going nuclear is not ideal, so sadly, Gaxx is dead. 


We've lost characters before in the campaign, due to misadventure and the happenings of war. But this was the first really "cinematic" death, where a grumpy anti-social weequey thug, who no one really knew or understood why he was fighting for the rebellion, nobly laid down his life to cover his teams escape.  

That's the wonder of narrative games and playing stories. You not only get a good game out of it, but you get some really defining moments like this.

Overall, the tension of the count down timer, the imperial reinforcements and the constant pressure in this scenario made for a great experience. Good times.

One more mission for this turn and then the end phase. 


Friday, 27 November 2015

We're Back! - Talathen battle sector report

Well, its been a while since we updated for numerous reasons. A few people have been away on business trips or personal holidays, and our one of our players is also a new dad since the last update! So a heap happening in "real life" and that's more important than the fate of Talathen sector :)

Things will be getting back to normal in the next few weeks, so I thought I would write up the battle reports that have been sitting around idle for a few months. 


I'll do some very short write ups for the first 3 missions, and a lengthier one for the finale. (I didn't have my camera for some of these, so less photos than normal)

Bombing Runs on Luxon



With Luxon now under invasion, the Rebels made some efforts to slow the attack down. A unit of wookies were deployed to support the resistance, and one of the Headhunter squadrons was assigned to interdict bombing runs made on Luxon positions. 

This scenario was as follows. Each bomber had a total of 3 bombs/missiles. Each unused bomb or missile that made it off the board was a VP for the Empire, each bomb/missile used by the Empire or unused when the bomber was killed was a VP for the Rebellion. 

This was a great little battle, with the Headhunters dueling with the Tie Fighter screen while the Bombers tried to push through. 

One pair of bombers were annihilated in short order after using their missiles once ganged up on, giving the Rebels 6 VPs. But the second pair flanked right and went full speed for the edge, covered by a pair of ties. While the Headhunters pursued and landed some hits on them, it wasn't quite enough to stop them. 6VP's to the Empire and a tied scenario. A nice close game. 

Harassing the blockade of Zenith

With Zenith under blockade, the X/Y wing squadron was deployed to hamper it's effectiveness. To this end, they targeted a group of deep space "hyperjump scanners" that would notify the Imperials of incoming ships from Hyperspace. 


The Rebels were over matched in this fight, 3 Y's and an X vs 4 interceptors and Snattercat, the local Tie Advanced Ace (A fully kitted out ace with vaders card).

In a smart move, the Rebels ignored the Ties and focused on their objectives. Going full speed for the transmitters, they destroyed them easily, although after exposing their flanks to the Ties they did suffer some causalities. 2 Y-wings shot down, but 100% mission goals completed. 

One of the things with scenario play is that you can have overwhelming odds if the objectives are finite enough and it's still winnable. 


Distraction of Samoth 

One thing that concerned the rebels during this rounds planning was the actions of a Victory Star Destroyer in Samoth. It was launching probe droids in the area and appeared to be searching for a hidden rebel base. 

Instead of just letting this happen, the rebels decided that if they attacked the Star Destroyer, it might intensify search efforts on a planet where the rebels have no bases or major support.

The plan was to hit the Victory with 4 correlian corvettes in a drive by attack. Unfortunately, I forgot I only have 3 Corvette models and forgot to ask my players to bring a 4th, so we subbed in a Neb-B from the fleet for the other 2 corvettes. 


This battle was quite interesting, with the rebels harassing the Victory but staying clear of it for the 1st half of the battle. That changed when the Victory surprised the Rebels by quickly turning and accelerating to escape. 

Of course, it wasn't fast enough to escape the engagement zone before taking too much damage, and in a final effort turned back to engage the corvettes with a broadside.

And yet again, a Victory destroyer is rammed to death by Corvettes. 


Mission sucessful, although the Victory did put a fair amount of damage onto the attacking ships in the process. This will certainly get the Empires attention.

Conclusion


Good to be back typing this up, next time, the dramatic assault on the Imperial Asteroid base orbiting Selano, and the amazing climax to the best battle of the campaign to date. 






Thursday, 19 November 2015

Warmachine 40000 – Could you play 40k with WM rules? Part two

Part two – Guns and swords

Two things to look at today, one is how melee weapons work and the other is worked out ranged combat.

We have developed some basic statlines for models from our previous post, and here they are.


Speed
MAT
RAT
ST
Def
Arm
LD
Hits
Special
Guard
5
5
5
5
13
15
7
1

Marine
5
6
6
6
13
18
8
1
Tough, Armoured
Terminator
5
7
6
7
13
20
9
5
Tough, Armoured, Reflector field

Let’s keep these stats in mind when calculating relevant weapon strengths and special abilities as we want survivability to be comparable, and we want the weapons to “feel right”. Now they won’t translate over perfectly, but that’s ok, as long as they “feel right” it works for me.

Close Combat Weapons – Guns for show, knives for a pro

Most close combat weapons in WM range from strength 2 for a small knife, through to strength 8 for a giant two handed magical axe of doom.  Strength 5-6 seems normal for a standard dedicated melee weapon.  It’s also worth noting that every nearly figure has a close combat weapon of some type, even if it’s a boot knife for a guardsman.

There are also a lot of “special abilities” we can use, like grievous wounds (ignores tough), Weapon master (additional damage), Armour piercing (halves armour), Critical brutal (extra damage on critical hits) and many others.

So, let’s throw together a table of sample melee weapons, we will ignore pistols for now and do them later.

Weapon
Strength
Special abilities
Boot knife/bayonet (Guard)
3
None
Combat Knife (Marine)
4
None
Chainsword
5
Reach
Power Sword
4
Weapon Master, Reach
Power Fist
6
Armour Piercing, Cumbersome (can only attack with this weapon)
Thunder Hammer
6
Armour Piercing, Critical Knockdown, Cumbersome
Lightning Claws
4
Weapon Master, Grievous wounds
Rending claw
5
Critical Brutal
Choppa
4

Big Choppa
6


Ok, some basic ideas there. A guard with a knife has a very small change of killing a marine without a charge, and no chance against a terminator. I’m fine with that. Weapon master for power weapons is probably a better way of representing how good they are, overgiving them pure “armour cracking”. It means they are great weapons, and very good at chopping up power armour infantry. But not quite as brutal against very heavily armoured targets.

Power fists and Thunder hammers need something to represent the “go last” rule in 40k. 
Cumbersome works, it takes away their pistol attack after the charge round, reducing overall attack power. But when they do hit, things go smoosh.  A regular marine has zero chance of surviving a direct power fist hit, but as most marine models already have 2 attacks in 40k, and have given one up in this system, so that sounds fair to me.


Ranged weapons – Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight

First of all, the big elephant in the room is range. Very few weapons in WM have a range of over 15”, most basic infantry weapons in 40k have 24” range.

My solution is to keep the 40k weapons at their current maximum ranges. A lascannon should be able to hit something across the table. The change will be in introducing range bands.

We will break most ranged weapons ranges into 3 bands, short, medium and long. At short range, there is no RAT penalty, at medium it becomes -2 and at long range it is -4. Standard guns like lasguns and Bolters will only have short and medium ranges, we will reserve long range for heavy support type weapons.

Now with higher defences and cover out there, you will be unlikely to snipe out a guardsman in cover at max range with your lascannon. But you will probably still hit a tank out in the open. Standing still and aiming will still give you the normal +2 to hit which will mitigate some of this.

Assuming a tank will be Def 10, a guardsmen aiming at long range with a lascannon will hit on 7+ on 2d6. About as often as they hit anything now. The same shot against a guardsman in the open would be 10+ and against a guard in cover, a natural 12.

The basic weapon strength will be 7+40k weapon strength. This will make the weapons slightly more deadly than 40k, but you are hitting less often so it should work out.

Weapon categories

Pistol – Can be used in close combat and with other melee weapons, does not get charging bonus on damage.
Rapid fire – Can be fired twice in one activation, at -2 Rat for both shots. It becomes a tactical decision to fire twice rapidly, or once for accuracy. I quite like this idea.
Heavy – Cannot move and fire weapon, but can rotate on the spot (I dislike that rule in WM and I think a man portable lascannon should be able to turn and still be accurate)
Assault – Can use the “assault” rule and fire at its charge target before melee.
Standard – Functions like a normal gun in WM, some “assault” weapons in 40k would be broken in WM rules if you could charge with them. Flamers to be precise.

Weapon
Class
Short
Medium
Long
Strength
Specials
Lasgun
Rapid
12
24
-
10

Bolter
Rapid
12
24
-
11

Bolt Pistol
Pistol
6
12
-
11

Heavy Bolter
Heavy
12
24
36
12
Autofire (3)
Flamer
Standard
Sp8
-
-
11

Heavy Flamer
Standard
Sp10
-
-
12

Plasma Pistol
Pistol
6
12
-
14
Critical “Get’s hot”, Grievous Wounds
Plasma Gun
Rapid
12
24
-
14
Critical “Get’s hot”, Grievous Wounds
Heavy Plasma
Heavy
12
24
36
14
Critical “Get’s hot”, Grievous Wounds
Lascannon
Heavy
12
24
48
15
Anti-tank
Autocannon
Heavy
12
24
48
14
Autofire (2)
Assault Cannon
Heavy
12
24
-
13
Autofire (4), Critical Brutal
Melta Gun
Assault
6
12
-
11
Armour Piercing, Critical damage at short range
Multi Melta
Heavy
12
24
-
11
Armour Piercing, Critical damage at short range
Missile (frag)
Heavy
12
24
48
12
Blast 4”
Missile (Krak)
Heavy
12
24
48
10
Armour Piercing

  • Get’s hot works as a critical effect, when you roll a double on your to hit roll, roll damage at strength 11 instead of the weapons strength against yourself. 
  • Autofire means how many shots you get from one activation. All ranged weapons, unless mentioned otherwise can be activated only once.
  • Anti-tank is a new special rule that gives the weapon +2 to hit and +2 damage against vehicles.





Conclusion


A handful of special rules added in, but not much.  Next up I’ll be looking at building hero characters and then doing a “bare bones” space marine list, without vehicles to start playtesting. 
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