28 Feb 2013

Zombie Aeons...a horrible tale of horrible deeds


So...in hobby terms, I was in a muddy field. On one side, I really wanted to continue my zombie project, but still didn't grasp the NMRIH rules. It went as far as starting designing my own (didn't came out of the theory and some scribbles). On the other side, I really like Strange Aeons and am my mojo is flowing, finishing one miniature after another, as you can see. A couple of days back, I saw once more how someone mentioned about versatility of Strange Aeons...core rules are dead simple after all. So it dawned to me...zombie wargaming with SA...how could that go wrong? I made up some rules and gave it a try out game, presented here.

This is first actual game of Zombie Aeons, if we should call it that way. The rules were simple. Team made up with points given in SA book. For lurkers, only zombie profile was used (unchanged from as given in a rulebook). Next, all the activation rules apply for "treshold", that is survivors from here on. Lurkers, or zombies, as refered from now on, had changed activation. I've used Shelldrake's rules for NMRIH, but with few tweeks.

On zombies turn, zombie would move two actions (each miniature in SA has 2 actions, can be any combination of move, shoot, charge, and other) towards closest human in line of sight 10" around.

If there was no such human, it would move 1 action to nearest human not in LOS, but that has used both actions for movement (so it ran). I decided on 1 action as zombie is confused so it only moves roughly to direction it hears/feels tremors from.

If there is no such human, zombie moves to closest sound all over the board, so shooting, car etc. Moves 1 action.

If there is no such sound, zombie stands where he is, as there is no reason for it to move anywhere.

Game was played on 2x3 board, standard SA size.

Survivors were made of:

Character, armed with bowie knife, .45 pistol and a tommy gun (actually has an assault rifle, but as said, I've used given rules, tommy gun being understood as a generic SMG)
Agent, armed with bowie knife, .45 and a shotgun.
Female Civilian, armed with .22
Male Civilian, armed with .22 and .45 handguns.

As you nominate 1 miniature each turn, with some able to nominate more, this is how I justified it. Character (has ability to nominate 2 others for the turn he is nominated), is a leader of the group. Besides being the most motivated and skilled in combat, he is also charismatic. Agent had "lieutenant" skill, allowing him to nominate one more. He is Characters (no, I didn't gave them any names :D), close friend and this gives him certain degree of authority, hence he can nominate one other.  I have to note, zombies' activation proved too much, so I expect to drop nominations and perhaps everyone in the group would be able to be nominated. This loses the sense of hierarchy, tho...which is the reason to keep the nominations.

Survivors managed to come up to 14 points, which is less than what is allowed for first team in normal game of SA.

Each zombie costs 3 points, so I took 5 of them (15), then opted for 2 extra, as 5 seemed so little. That gave me 7 zombies total. 

I went WYSIWYG, except for bowie knifes and agent's .45 as those are given to them by the rules.  I would prefer having civilians armed with melee weapons. What bothers me personally is the amount of focus all the zombie games give on ranged weaponry. 

Further in the game, I've decided on two extra rules:

FEASTING - if zombie is feasting, he needs to pass resolve check (5+ on D6) to quit eating the easy pray and move on, attacking alive humans. 5+ sounds harsh but if you think about it...animated body has no brains, doesn't see the broader picture. He has the meat, he is satisfied. I wasn't totally consistent with this rule, however. I think I will make them feast on every body they pass.
Example: Zombie feasts on a dead body, hears a gun shot and rolls 5+, so it moves towards gunshot. On the way, he goes past another dead body in his reach, so he forgets about his intentions and goes feast on that one, until further disturbed. If he would not pass 5+ check, he would continue feasting until attacked in melee. As they got no senses, shooting shouldn't provoke them enough to stop feasting (but it would be enough to make them do another test)

GRAB - zombies are not made of fluid and can't go past fences. Opportunity arose where a zombie could attack a survivor over a fence. As ordinary hand-to-hand would be utterly boring, I went for a "grab". As zombie can't hurt survivor as easily as in open combat, he starts grabbing him. Survivor has to use an action to try wrestle free. It is passed on Dexterity check. If grabbed and charged by another zombie, survivor fights with -1 attack in close combat (as per rules for "face up" models).

Also, there was no goal of mission, get there and do something was the order of the day. No new zombies would be spawned.

So...on to the report!

This is a set up. It is an abandoned military check point at the entrance to the little pensioners resort city of Evergreen fields.

 Below you can see dead civilian that used to man a mighty .50 cal!
 More dead defenders on the main road.
 Body bags that defenders have hoarded in HQ's backyard. Mind they're not painted as I am toying with the idea of casting them more and more. They aren't that bad and I could use several more. Especially empty and those full, but not opened. Don't think I'd need more than one of the one where zombie is trying to get out!
Also, not the barricaded back door.
 Must have been horrible when the place was over run...this one has ended his own life!

 A group of survivors drove to the outskirts of the Evergreen fields in their Fiat Cinquecento (which means 500, but it's not to be confused with actual Fiat 500, not new nor old :P). It is not the best ride, but hey, beats walking and its not demanding on gasoline.

As the road was blocked and there were some walkers about, a quartet of brave individuals disembarked. Character, agent and male civilian took a look around, while female civilian checked the nice handmade painting of the welcoming board. Really nice!
 Intruders were spotted by zombies fast and a shambler, feasting on .50 cal gunner has found fresh meat more interesting than carrion he has just had.  He started shambling towards the fearsome four!

 He was joined by another zombie that was further down the road. Third, however, found his meal more appealing!
 Character wasn't moved by the walking dead. He aimed his G36 and sprayed. Scored 3 hits but only managed to stun the closing monstrosities! (I am not too fond of turning my miniatures "face up" or "face down" because of the paint job and as they're dynamic is hard to tell what position it is in to. So I am using 20mm plastic bases for face up and turned upside down for face down). All the others have either missed them totally (harder to hit if they lay down!) or did no serious damage to them.
 Next turn zombies managed to get back on their feet and continue the charge. One has charged agent, that was so repulsed by the hideous appearance of the decaying flash (failed his resolve check -1), that he has frenzied (6 as a result of failed resolve check) and gathered all strength in the following melee (giving him double attacks). His effort was in vain however, and the combat resulted in a draw.

Next turn zombie managed to hit critical and bite the poor soul without any problems. As Agent's death was witnessed by all 3 of his friends, they all had to make a resolve check to see how this has influenced their morale. Male survivors made it, while female civilian failed it (1). Her sorrow became a rage (5) and she had stormed into attack, to avenge her friend!

As she had no melee weapons, her frail hands were no match for relentless undead and she has suffered the same fate as Agent.

 The remaining duo saw those zombies are no joke and Character has moved a move back to the fence and sprayed the walking bodies. He must have been really stressed out, as he only managed to get one hit, that didn't do much but he also jammed his weapon. TWICE! (as if once wouldn't be bad enough!)

 Male civilian was unable to get any hits. He should really do some target practice next time! Zombies moved on, attracted by all the shots. Character was grabbed by a decaying hand from back! Oh...catastrophe! While he tried to wriggle free, his friend, Male civilian was charged by zombies. He got terrified and fled the table, ran as long as his legs carried him.

 After Character saw his last friend abandon him, he was also abandoned by his hope. He failed his resolve test, managed to get free from the zombie's grasp and he, too got filled with fear. Two of his friends have just got massacred, third ran...and now, so did he...

 ran to save his life...

 Aaand that was it. Miniatures die with a relative ease in SA, so they get phobias and such. But that is so-so, in a campaign it would be awesome, but I guess the team should win scenario to be able to help  injured to get to the safe base, which would seriously shorten the campaign.

So, to conclude, the lessons:
- all characters could be nominated due to command from Character (him + 2) and lieutenant from Agent (him +1) skills - makes it able to nominate all 4 members
- zombies are really strong
- only 2 (and a half?) zombies actually got into the game, but kinda fast...as its played on small table, perhaps I should further limit the range at which zombies react/activate.
- had bad luck, so need to try another game shortly

Over all, this is much more in the aspect of what I wanted from a zombie game. I think that with some more playtesting and mixing NMRIH scenarios (those are really one of the best things in the book) with SA rules, it could be possible to play a campaign. SA has its own way of collecting artefacts (read supplies for Zombie Aeons), so by tweaking few things it could all work. Also, call "jam" "out of ammo" and I get myself ammo as variable. For food, I can surely come up with a simple system. Only "problem" is the absence of vehicle rules in SA, but those wouldn't actually be used too much anyways, so I'd just give them values for "inanimate objects" as per SA rules.

I really need to make more jungle, buy company Bs japanese zombies, buy some US marines and play that a bit, hah! When I get bored, swap japanese with nazi, do it all over again :P

Thanks for looking,

27 Feb 2013

Meet the hybrids

In Lovecraft's story, Shadow over Innsmouth, Deep ones (that I've shown in my last post) eventually made an agreement with people of Innsmouth, for an abundance of fish and jewelry, they have demanded human worship, and later, mating. Offspring from those mixed couples were born as humans and eventually transformed into full scale Deep ones. At that time, they went to live their immortal lives under the sea.

Those miniatures represent three elderly representatives of this peculiar mixture. Miniatures are from Black Cat bases and are amazing. I have painted them with patches of human flesh and deep one tones.

Black Cat bases have quite a variety of hybrids and I would buy all of them, they're honestly all that nice. In the end, I've settled for those three because of the weapons they carry.

 On the left, we got a guy armed with a pistol. His transformation seems to go really fast, as he has lost his ears (only  has little holes remaining, not outer structure), both his eyes are "fishy". I have painted his hands normal, but would prefer some kind of a mixture in paint. Also, lower part of his mouth would perhaps look better with white (as Deep ones' bellies), but I thought it would look like a beard in the end.

Guy in the middle has nice 18th century beard that you can't see all that good. I've painted his scally hand green and other normally. He has both eyes fishy, but I've painted his face patchy, to represent unfinished transformation.

Third guy seems really old and can't even stand up normally anymore. He, compared to previous two, is the least transformed. As you can see, he only has one "fishy" eye, other still normal.

I must say again, I really like the idea of hybrids, the miniatures and painting them. Not that they're anything special rules-wise, but they're just so...sickly, weirdly, interesting in a way. Repulsive. True creatures of horror!

Oh, I might hijack this nice short post to brag a little, as my Salute ticket has arrived. The good thing is, I actually have it, the bad - I am prepared for 2 months of worries that I might forget, or lost it somewhere!

Thanks for looking,
got more Strange Aeons stuff to show in next posts as I am trying to paint all I have in one big swing!


23 Feb 2013

Meet the Deep ones!

...or fishmen, as they're called in the Strange Aeons!

They are odd beings, with a mixture of fish, men and frogs characteristics. Those are from Black cat bases and are more or less exactly what I imagined them to look like. As they're quite expensive points wise, I'd hardly ever use more than 2 in a game of Strange Aeons. I have bought 3 as that is how many I'd need for a game of "kulten", which is like SA, but lurker vs. lurker, still in development. They are not as horrifying as Deep ones from other companies, but with their price and some paint, I think they're great. They have painted easily by drybrushing.

Thanks for looking,

21 Feb 2013

Meet the Dunwich horror!

My very own air-drying clay sculpt of Dunwich horror was inspired by, surprise surprise "Dunwich horror" tale, written by Lovecraft. It is a cosmic beast that lives in the Whateley farm I've shown you few posts back. As you could see, the farm had no inner walls...those had to be demolished to give the beast enough space to live! Also, you could see a wooden ram leading to 2nd story. This was to lead the cattle upstairs to feed the beast, when it was small enough to "only" fill one story.

I have painted it green, which appears to be wrong choice, but I didn't want to have yet another skin-tonned monster in my collection. I have painted it bulgy eyes as I was just painint fishmen's eyes (will be shown in next post!). That tentacle tongue is my add-on, figured there is never too many tentacles! All together it is a bit of a rush job, could be done better and it might as well be done worse. I had some problems with the size, as it should be "bigger'n  a barn", but I figured that shows that just as good. I must say my eyes hurt every time I see those big bulgy eyes...MONSTROSITY!

In game, I planned to use it as a "godling" which is their designation for Cthulhu, until I get reaper bones' plastic cthulhu (I've made a deal with someone to get it for me and I hope the deal still stands!). As Shocking tales 3 supplement book for Strange Aeons includes rules for "real" Dunwich horror, I can use it there, too!

UPDATE: More I looked at it, more I disliked the green, so I've repainted it in grays. I've added new pictures below the original so you can see the difference.

Thanks for looking,

18 Feb 2013

Meet Threshold Operatives 2!


a guy that got my attention to Strange Aeons here in Slovenia has contacted me and asked me for a demonstration game. This gave me a slight boost to start painting my miniatures again.  I have found out that my biggest enemy in painting is deciding how to paint stuff.
When I was watching the figures, I've recalled that I saw an episode of Boardwalk Empire on TV few weeks back. I've recalled a striking red suit of the lead actor (Steve Buschemi, to me mostly known as the guy with a "funny face" from Fargo), so what I did was a) watch the series some more for 20s fashion b) got motivated to paint last 3 threshold agents that I own (well, 3 from 6 :D) and above all c) got interested in prohibition and mafia again. I have to admit I have never seen Godfather trilogy completely. Always saw most of it, never all. Now I feel the need to see it again. And to bug Shelldrake with questions about Mad dogs and guns. I had an idea of incorporating prohibition in my Strange Aeons game for quite a while...it is a game of evil cultists and they, much as modern terrorists, need money. Where could you get more than from selling the devils elixir? ;)

Anyways, here are the pictures. All miniatures are from Black Cat Bases:

We got miniatures of a writer whos name always slips out of my mind...Charles Fort, thats the one! He had various options for his right hand. At first I went with a pen, which would be painted as a cigar and I'd sculpt a pile of dynamites at his feet. It didn't glue well enough and as it was too small to drill with my drill, I went for the shotgun. It is a common weapon in Strange Aeons, so it made sense.  Second is a tommy gunner, which is really amazing except for one thing...his tommy gun. It is a model with thinner magazine (instead of drum) and it misses a vertical handgrip. This tommy gun is from 2nd WW, which was bothering me so much that I was considering a conversion. As the miniatures are from some sort of kinda resistant metal, I kept it. It bothers me less now, but I'd still love the drum magazine. Third miniature is one of the two adventurers. Again, his left arm could hold variety of weapons and I went with a civil war sabre, which was used quite a lot in games with my brother. Miniatures, especially left and right most two are really well done. Tommy gunner is older. They all got moldlines I had problems cleaning, but if I'd take more time, it could be done quite easily.  Other weapons choices on the adventurer and Fort are broken bottle, knife, axe, pen, book, pistol , electric hand torch, that lantern I used on first adventurer and a magnifying glass. Might be something else as well.

 I gave Fort the red checked dress, being an educated intellectual, he surely has to other financial incomes but a low wage of a govermental agent, fighting the monsters out of cosmos. He carries a trench broom, weapon so terrifying germans called for a ban during WW1. Also has pocket watch...can't miss on those monster. Mind his black and brown shoes.
Agent that has no name atm (in game I use names from various characters from Lovecraft's stories) picked an "experimental" thompson submachine gun. Compared to the type used by government officials and criminals it holds a smaller magazine and has lost the vertical hand grip, making it easier to conceal (I guess!). He is wearing a long raincoat and a fedora hat, making him blend with the crowd yet look intimidating.
Last in the line is another nameless agent, who is also dressed up to the latest fashion. His ancestor was a well known civil war cavalry commander and our agent has inherited the sabre. It gets hot under fire, so he has untied his raincoat. Looks like a batman if you try hard enough!

Below are some pics of all the team together. I've put Font infront to show you once more how proud I am of his suit :D. Those miniatures were WAY more joy to paint than the first three. And I think the standard has risen, now Lovecraft looks more like some puny baker's apprentice than a secret agent, saving the human kind...and selling his adventures as a fiction to them unaware citizens!

Oh, I might mention that I have booked flight to England in April and will 100% attend Salute this year, so I got to make sure I meet you guys that will be there as well!


13 Feb 2013

Meet the Shantak! (and a happy birthday!)


On 11th of February, 2012 I've started writing this blog. A year has passed really fast...so fast I've actually forgot to post a happy birthday post! I'd like to thank everyone and each of you, who have read and commented my posts. It was a boost and it still is! Plus, there would be no reason to post things if there'd be noone to see them.

Also, I have painted my sculpt of Shantak. I will use it in a game of Strange Aeons as a flying nightmare, which is a profile for your every flying monster. I believe it is my brother's favorite monster, as it gives you the ability to snatch one of the good guys and carry him off table. Then, if the good guys win, they have to decide if they search for map pieces (normal procedure) or their missing member in the nest of the beast!

Shantak in stories of Lovecraft is as big as an elephant batlike creature with scales instead of feathers, 2 talons and a head of a horse. This is my try at sculpting the beast:

It had a quick paintjob, I went with dark colors, black and purple. I've finished it with a bit of a red for contrasts and gloss varnish to make it appear "slippery".

Here are the pics:

Thanks for looking once again!


6 Feb 2013

Whatley's farm

 I've painted ol'Whateley's farm now. It is a bit of a rush job. It is empty, and I will eventually put some crates and furniture in to make it a farm, autopsy table to make it Herbert West's lab or still because spirits has to be where cultists get their money from in times of prohibition!