Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Raid - A Pulp Alley Game

It is just days away from the ceremony where one of our heroes will be honoured as  'in viro in imperium', Hero of the Imperium. As they wait though, they receive an urgent communication. The hive city of Sinastras IV is surrounded by sparsely populated wastelands, dotted with abandoned dwellings. Local security forces on a training mission spotted intense activity at one of these buildings. Observation suggested a chaos cult may be involved. Given their ongoing 'interest' in cult activities, the heroes have been called in to clean up!

The suspect building. Heat sensors suggest the building is a hive of activity (green counters).
Sure enough, those are chaos cultists lurking in the doorways.
Go! The teams move in.
The players get a little panicky as they discover a flamethrower in their path. A quick grenade puts him down before he is able to wreak havoc.
One of the fun benefits of GMing games that aren't just straight up fights: your players get nervous about all manner of inconsequential extras: here the scouts go rat hunting.
The mechanicus move in.
That flamethrower is up again, with a very enticing field of fire. However,he went down again before he could get off a shot.
The teams move further in: only two chaos cultists still lurking.
Wait a second, that doesn't look like a cultist!
Chaos marine!
The players rush to engage the marine. As they do so, the last chaos character is revealed: the psyker who has plagued them since the very first battle!
Over the next three turns, the chaos marine took more than thirty shots from the heroes! He was an absolute tank!
Finally he goes down! And with him, the psyker.
The psyker is down but not dead and the heroes rush to interrogate him. With an enthusiastic application of good old fashioned 21st century intimidation and torture, they uncover a shocking truth!
He has been masterminding a plot to kill the Governor of Sinastras IV.
The assassination attempt will take place during the upcoming ceremony to honour our heroes.
The assassin will be a traitor.
The traitor is one of the heroes!
The traitor is...urgh...gasp...ack...
The psyker is no more...

To be continued!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Meet the Governor - a Pulp Alley Game

The fiftieth anniversary of the last stand at Sinastras IV is immanent. The hive city's new governor, Rordan Karthur, has announced a commemoration of the event.
The high point will be a ceremony honouring the three heroes of the last stand. One of the three will be proclaimed 'in viro in imperium', Hero of the Imperium. Governor Karthur has recalled the three heroes to Sinastras IV, welcoming them at a formal reception. For the heroes, the reception is an opportunity to make a favourable impression on Governor Karthur and his entourage.

This game was played using the Social Affair scenario from the Vice Alley book. As befits a formal reception there is no shooting, no fisticuffs, no running. This will be a battle of wits and repartee!

The reception begins. The hero's leagues are scattered across the table, ready to hone in on the Governor and his hangers-on. The governor is the major plot point. The dog, the jokearo and the singer are all wandering perils. The other characters are minor plot points.
Mme Cantorina spent most of the night trying to decide whether to make a dramatic entry down the stairs or to spend the evening at the food tables.
Two of the admech league approach the Governor's wife. She endures repeated overtures throughout the night, but remains resolutely unimpressed by their spindly appendages.
A scout hovers uncertainly in the shadows, plucking up the courage to chat up Councillor Akers.
But what's this? Romulus Decima, the Admech leader, has cut in on him! The cheek of him!
And he's brought his friends. The scout feels decidedly on the social outer.
Adding injury to insult, he's the subject of some probing inquiries from the robot.
Meanwhile, the scribe contemplates hurling himself from the balcony: surely it would be less painful than having to endure the competitive boasting of soldier and scout.
Eventually, he falls in with Commissar Burns' offsider.
The main game, though, is the Governor himself. Amos O'Gore is the first one to approach the Governor.
But the initial impression is obviously not a good one!
The scouts are not easily discouraged.
But they don't make much of an impression either! Commissar Burns joins the conversation, having already gained the ear of the Governor's mercantile adviser.
Burns tells a few choice stories about his shared past with the scouts. By the time he gets to the story about bed-wetting at the academy, the scouts are reeling with embarrassment.
Burns, with the scouts rebuffed, Burns wins the ear of the Governor and, with it, the game.
Another great game. The lack of combat made for a really different game as players were forced to rely on their other skills.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

The Governor's Entourage

Part three of the Sinastras IV campaign sees our heroes meet the Governor of that hive city. One of the things I love about Pulp Alley is that you get to paint lots of character figures, rather than just grunts. A good number of them are non-combatants, who all play meaningful roles in games.

Here's Governor Rordan Karthur and his entourage.
Who are they? The Governor himself. Colony 87 figure.
The Governor's wife: Adeline Filegre. There are dark rumours that her 'pet', a creature of uncertain provenance, has manifested psychic abilities. Another of the marvelous Colony 87 range.
Murflew Sleng, patriarch of the House Sleng traders and newly appointed mercantile adviser to Governor Karthur. Reaper figure. 
Councillor Lal Akers, a low-born scholar who has wormed his way to the governor's court through a long series of dubious political deals.
Lal is a Star Wars collectible miniature: an Imperial Dignitary. I really like the clasped hands, they give him a suitably conniving appearance. One of my sons looked at the paint job I'd given him and said he was sporting L.A. Lakers colours, thus the name!

Mme Adipeme Cantorina, 'entertainer'. A sci fi Madam Castafiore.
I have to say I love this figure: she took ages to paint and I stole the paint scheme off the web, but that is one gloriously over the top miniature. I can see all sorts of scenarios forming around her: escorts, kidnappings, diplomatic incidents. A Reaper sculpt.

The Governor's bronze hound, a rare and fearsome mechanical creation. D&D collectable miniature.
Glinx, Jokaero astrophysicist!
Demas Groves, archivist. The Governor is always after some obscure fact or figure: fourth quarter starport traffic projections, hive tower rezoning bylaws, lotto numbers. Groves is the man to find it.
When I get the time and motivation, I'll post up the report of our latest campaign game where you'll see them all in action.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Review: Large Base Detail Kit by Games Workshop

I was in my local comics and games shop the other day when I spotted this kit.
I decided to pick it up: I make all the details for my own sci fi bases, but the inspiration has been flagging lately. And A$50 for over seventy bits didn't seem to bad, compared to what I'd pay if I picked up other random bits from resellers.
Here's what you get, two of each of these two sprues.
But can I just say, don't do what I did! Do not buy this kit!

When I opened the box and pulled out the first sprue, my first thought was, "This must be upside down. The detail is pretty soft, this must be the back of the casting." Well, if only! Most of the stuff in the kit looks as if it's been recast in Outer Mongolia using aeroplane jelly for the mould! Grrr! Soft detail everywhere. It's tricky to pick up in the pictures, but have a look at these.

Checkerplate pattern, compared to a plasticard sheet from the local hobby shop. A heavy undercoat on the GW bit, and you wouldn't even know it was there.
A streetlamp, compared to the same model from one of GW's building kits. Notice the soft, rounded edges.
Compare the detail on the skulls and the lights. This kit looks like the stuff you'd get on a kid's toy.
Needless to say, I'm not at all impressed. Say what you like about GW's style, their business model, their pricing; normally their models are technically top-line. Definitely not here.

Do not buy this kit (unless you'd like to get it second hand - I know someone trying to get rid of one)!