Saturday, June 17, 2017

Game Room Refinements

I've been slowly refining my game room....

Work space, unfinished model storage, and paint table.
Added a base for the mini-frig.
It's an old end table I found that someone had tossed out.
I stripped it and repainted it. Need to put the doors back on.
Gets the frig off the floor so it's easier to access and adds storage for drinks and snacks.
If you're gonna have a mini-frig, better have one of these.
Coat/bag rack.
I added a second IKEA bookcase.
As you can see, I'm still organizing it in this pic.
That's it for this week.

Until next time, carry on!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Farmer Brown on the Prowl

Farmer Brown had another outing last week. This was a simple Search scenario as he looks for anything to assist with fortifying his own farm. This will be a rural setting with a starting Encounter Rating of 2.

Once again I preloaded my PEFs, rolling d6 on the following chart if they resolve into anything:

1 - 1d6+2 zombies
2 - Thanh Gardner (Police)
3 - Marie Carlson (Citizen)
4 - 1d6 zombies
5 - Reddy and Quinn Carlson (Citizens, children)
6 - 1d6-2 zombies (minimum 1)

For the characters I have premade cards from previous games. I decided that Marie and her children are from the Big City and came to this area seeking safety and supplies. Thanh is a local sheriff's deputy, known to Farmer Brown, but the two are not on the best of terms as Thanh is half-Vietnamese and Brown holds resentments from his time in the war. I decided the Meet and Greet would decide the outcomes of these encounters, if they occurred at all.

Mr. Brown turned the key in the ignition. With a whirrr and a couple of chugs the old pickup's engine turned over. He slid the vehicle into gear and pulled down the lane. At the main road, he paused. Looking both ways, he wondered which was best. To the left was the Durham's place; to the right the Wolery's. He let the truck idle while he thought it over, trying to remember if either place had anything he might need. After half a minute, he saw movement to his left and one of those undead things staggered out of the woods. It turned towards him and began stumbling towards the pickup. That decided it. "Wolery's it is," he said to no one and put the truck into gear. He turned right, away from the zombie, and headed down the road...

Wolery farm.
I used Dwarvenforge City Builder for the buildings.
It works for a rural setting.
Farmer Brown slowed as he approached the Wolery farm. The driveway, much shorter than the long lane to his own home, was blocked by a military grade SUV. Brown couldn't recall ever seeing anyone he knew driving such a thing. He pulled off across the road from the vehicle and turned the pickup engine off. 

He pulled the key from the ignition, just as he'd done thousands of times before. But this time Brown was stunned as the key broke off neatly in the ignition. "Well, summa bitch," he said, holding half the key in the palm of his hand. He thought for a minute and decided he would search the Wolery farm and then fix it.

He lifted his rifle from the gun rack and stepped out. It seemed pretty quiet for mid-morning.

One PEF ended up in the stone shed.
Another PEF was placed in the woods beside the house and the last one was behind the house
I generated 3 zombies to start and placed them.
Brown heard a low moan as a zed stumbled from the woods to his right. It lurched into the ditch and began moving towards him. He could see the head of another zombie above the wall across the road. It also moved towards him. To his left he could see a third in the yard in front of the house. "Christ...." he mumbled, "the whole damn world's gone to hell."

Zeds activated first and moved towards Brown.
Ever the man of action, Brown closed wth the nearest, machete swinging.
As the zombies moved towards him, Brown considered his rifle but opted for the machete instead. Staying quiet and decisive seemed his best strategy. He moved quickly to his right, machete swinging as he closed with the undead thing in the ditch. He aimed to decapitate it, but slid on the dew slick grass and only managed to knock it sprawling onto it's back.

At this point I rolled doubles on activation and generated an event card.
I ruled the key broke in Brown's pickup.
(I inserted the event into the narrative above.)
Two PEFs drew close but did not resolve yet.
Brown thought he saw movement behind the wall and the SUV but he couldn't be sure. He had a bad feeling creeping up his spine. The zombie in the ditch was struggling to stand back up, Brown brought his machete down on top of its head. It flopped back into the ditch and lay still.

Another zed lurched across the road, arms raised, reaching to grab him. Brown lashed out with a booted foot and knocked it back.

Farmer Brown kills one zed and knocks a second down.
Another doubles and another event card.
Turning out to be a crap day for Mr. Brown.
Brown could hear the third zed approaching from behind him. He walked casually across the road and readied his rifle. Pulling the extra clip from the cargo pocket of his coveralls, he could not believe his own stupidity. Somehow he'd grabbed the clip for the .22 carbine instead of for his assault rifle. He had a few rounds in his rifle, but once he used those, that'd be it. He grumbled a stream of curses against himself, incredulous that he could be so stupid.

Brown considered whether to just bag it and go home. Between the key and the ammo, this just didn't seem like his day. But he knew he had to deal with any threats before he could fix the pickup. Shouldering his rifle, he decided to continue his sweep of the area.

Brown finishes the first two zeds and realizes his error with the ammo.
At this point I really had doubts about continuing but decided to carry on all the same.
Brown hefted his machete and waited for the third zee. This one had no arms. Brown's face twisted in disgust and he could taste bile rising in his throat. "God a'mighty," he muttered. As it drew closer, he shoved it hard and it fell over backwards. It struggled to rise, and he looked at it almost with pity. With a grunt he chopped it's head neatly from its shoulders.

Brown finishes the third zed.
Suddenly Mr. Brown heard the bark of a dog. Turning, he saw Oscar, the Wolery's beagle-bull dog mix charging up to him, barking like he always does. Behind the dog, stumbling after it, was a group of zombies.

"Are you kidding me?!" Brown exclaimed to the Universe. Looking at the dog, who was still barking, Brown said, "Oscar, you might have just got me killed."

Yet another doubles and yet another event card.
This certainly was not Farmer Brown's day.
I don't have any dog miniatures, so I used a 15mm scale Alien.
Makes for one ugly dog. : )
A group of 5 zeds shamble onto the board, following the dog.
As Oscar continued barking and the zombies shambled towards him, Farmer Brown, broken car key in his pocket, suddenly caught the distinctive odor of leaking gas. It had to be coming from the farmhouse. Shaking his head he could do nothing more than laugh at the ridiculousness of his situation.

"Lord, a'mighty," he said. "You'd think I was in some cheesy, low budget movie." He started to climb the wall, thinking he could at least check out the shed. "Ya best come with me, Oscar, or those things are gonna have ya for breakfast." The dog, thinking this was a great game, leapt and scrabbled over the wall. Landing ungracefully on the other side he continued his barking.

Yet another doubles!
I rolled randomly and it turns out the Wolery house has a gas leak.
Farmer Brown approached the shed, Oscar close on his heals yapping away. Oscar had not had so much fun in a long time.

Brown ignored the dog and opened the shed door, machete in hand. In the gloom he could see movement. Without hesitation he charged in and struck out at the form.

His machete connected with the thing's head and gray matter and ooze spattered the back wall of the shed. As he finished his stroke, another zombie lurched into the light of the open doorway. Reflex and long forgotten training took over Brown's body and without conscious thought he twisted and brought his weapon around, taking the thing in the shoulder. It went down against some barrels and Brown quickly followed up with his boot, kicking it in the face. He could hear the crunch of bone and felt the give as the skull cracked, crushed between his steel toed boot and the metal drum. Stepping back into a ready stance Brown scanned the small shed. Nothing else moved. Oscar, standing just outside, continued his steady, irritating bark.

Card shows two zombies in the shed.
Brown got the jump on them and went straight to melee.
I kept a "1" shot marker with the dog to remind me to roll for attracting zeds each turn.
Brown leaps into action, knocking down and killing each of the zeds.
The fight was brief and brutal.
Meanwhile, across the road, Oscar's mob began closing.
Looking quickly around the shed, all Brown could see were fuel drums. "Probably enough here to run my pickup for a year," he said, "just like my shed at home." He sighed, tuning out the dog's incessant barking. "Welp," he said, "it's wise to know when you're beat. This just isn't my day."

Oscar barks away as Farmer Brown quickly searches for anything useful.
Brown decided to see if he could take another vehicle and just go home. The SUV seemed like the best option. With Oscar running along beside, still barking, Brown jogged over to the abandoned SUV.

Brown Fast Moves to the SUV.
I should mention at this point that all the PEFs had resolved and were all only a case of nerves.
I was relieved to not have anything else to deal with.
Brown approached the vehicle cautiously. Something, instinct maybe, was warning him. He didn't see anything unusual, but the windows were dark and it was nearly impossible to see inside.

Approaching the driver's door, he raised his machete. Taking a deep, steadying breath, he pulled the handle. As the door swung open, he found himself staring at the rather large looking bore of a .357 magnum revolver. He froze. His eyes drifted up from that black, ominous hole to lock onto a pair of clear, blue eyes.

Brown could see the woman was afraid, which sent a chill up his spine. Her expression was determined, but her hand was trembling ever so slightly. Staying locked with those eyes, Brown willed his own expression to soften. Lowering his machete, eyebrows raised in question, he let the corner of his mouth rise in a half smile. 

"You gonna shoot me?" he asked. Oscar had stopped barking and was looking curiously at the woman, head tilted to one side.

Drawing a card for the SUV, I found 3 survivors.
Instead I ruled that Marie and her children would be inside.
This is the defining moment
"I should," she said.

 A small voice from the backseat said, "please, momma, don't."

Still keeping eye contact with the woman, Brown could see in his peripheral vision a tiny blond head peeking over the seat. Seeing Oscar, the little girl exclaimed, "He has a dog!".

"Really?!" came another child's voice. A brown headed boy's face appeared next to his sister.

As if on cue, Oscar launched himself into the SUV and hurtled over the seat. Amidst the giggles and barking the woman could not keep a straight face. Lowering the gun, she smiled, and suddenly her eyes filled with tears. She slid over.

"Come on. Get in," she said, "you're driving."

As he pulled the door shut, he heard thumps as the zombies that had been following Oscar pounded against the armored glass. The children in the back seemed oblivious. His new found companion also seemed unconcerned.

Seeing his look of alarm, the woman said, "It's military grade. I stole it from an abandoned convoy we came across. Nothing can get in here."

I did allow the zeds to melee against the vehicle.
I used a modified version of the Bash rule for vehicle collisions.
I made it very difficult for the zeds to harm the vehicle, which seems realistic to me.
Brown started the big SUV and put it into reverse. Looking in his side mirror, be backed away from the crowd of zombies. Stopping fifty feet down the road, he looked at the undead shuffling after them.

"Well," he thought to himself, "this whole thing just got a lot more interesting."

Turning the SUV around in the road, he headed home.

I considered driving over the zeds, but with the luck I'd had so far I decided bugging out was best.
Despite some major set backs and an unfruitful search, Farmer Brown managed to come out of this mess with something positive. Having a few new members for his gang will add interest to the story. I'll be curious to see how adding children into the mix will effect things.

Plus we have Oscar, who is a character in his own right. I guess I'll have to find an appropriate mini to paint. Anyone know where to get good dog minis?

Until next time, carry on!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Kickstarter Loot

I pledged the Ganesha Games Kickstarter, Psi-Paladins, for Mutants and Deathray Guns. Got my loot last week. It was a good haul and some cool figures. Good sculpts. Lord knows when I'll get around to painting them, but I like the look of this stuff. Reminds me of the good old days of 1st edition Gamma World.
The loot displayed on the loot - game mat was part of the KS.
Wide shot of the mat.
Very nicely done, much like the grasslands mat I showed a while back.
These are the Combots. I really like them.
And the Psi-Paladins, of course. Not to be confused with Jedi.
These are the Techno Barbarians. I especially like the Lion dude on the left.
This is Lord Phalag and his minions.
These were a stretch goal. I will have some fun with these.
Everything came with a clear acrylic base, which, if you've read my blog, you know I'm into. I'd like to get these painted up and do some kind of Gamma World-esque RPG-lite campaign. The Mutants and Death Ray Guns ruleset looks like it'd be fun to play.

Anyway, that's it for this week. Until next time, carry on!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Dads & Sons D&D

In addition to running my (very occasional) Dads and Daughters D&D group, I also participate as a player in a campaign with a local friend. Our sons are the same age (12) and we play about once a month or so. My friend is the DM and is running us through the Princes of the Apocalypse campaign. He had us each create two characters so we have a party of 6, even though there are only 3 players. It gets a little schizophrenic, but we're having fun. I think the boys especially have enjoyed learning and playing the game. Right now they mostly like to "roll play", but I'm working on getting them to do a little more "role play", if you know what I mean.
My youngest, Liam, joined us for a while. He is 3 and wanted to "roll dice".
My middle son, Ayden, is always very patient with his little brother.
Bill, the DM.
He keeps all the characters on a spreadsheet on his computer. This makes it much easier for the boys.
Guy is a genius.
Still loving my game room.
Calvin plotting the destruction of our enemies...
or wondering about opening the second bag of Chili Cheese Fritos.
I'm not sure which.
Liam enjoying the dry erase markers.
These two boys are amazing together.
Aftermath of a battle vs some Earth Cultists and their pet Ankhegs.
We crushed them.
I'm grateful to be able to do as much gaming, painting, modeling, and blogging as I've done lately. Mostly it has simply taken me deciding to do it and not waiting for that ever elusive moment when "I have the time." You gotta do what you love. Life's too short to put it off.

Anyway, that's it for this week. Until next time, carry on!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Hafling Rogue

Just a quick shot this week of another mini I finished painting. Still need to mount onto a clear acrylic base.
His feet got a little maimed when I cut him off his integral base.
Don't look too close. : )

This is my friend's son's halfling rogue for our D&D game. No great highs or lows, but I'm satisfied with a solid figure for gaming.

That's it for this week. Until next time, carry on!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Farmer Brown Comes Home

I've decided to begin an All Things Zombie: Final Fade Out campaign. I wanted to keep it relatively simple so I'm beginning with one character, Farmer Brown. I've also decided to begin on Day 30, since I've already played several Day One and early outbreak campaigns. We will see how it goes...

Farmer Brown

REP 4; Survivor; Male; Right Handed; People 2; Savvy 3
Attributes: Rage (+1d6 in melee, +1d6 for Charge into Melee); Mr. Fix-It (+1d6 to repair all)
Assault Rifle (Range 48, Target 1 or 3, Impact 3)

Mr. Brown has been a loner for most of his life and especially since his wife died 4 years ago. He’s smart, fit, good with a rifle, and has a no-nonsense attitude about life. His age is catching up with him somewhat, but he’s still hard working and fiercely independent. He has no children and no real friends to speak of, though he has a few acquaintances from the local cafe. He is a Vietnam Vet, having earned a Purple Heart by being shot through the left shoulder. He was an army Ranger and still has nightmares about being in ‘Nam during Tet in 1968. He loves dogs of all sorts. He has a knack for fixing things.

Up to now, Mr. Brown has been hunkering down on his farm. He watched the news until the TV station went offline, so he’s aware that something terrible has happened, but he is not clear of the extent of it. He’s been spending his time following his usual Springtime routines - prepping his equipment, cultivating the soil and starting to seed his fields.

His farmhouse sits well back from the main road - a little over a mile. The entrance to his lane from the road is overgrown and appears abandoned. He rarely has left the farm in the last 4 years and no one comes to visit. The house and other buildings are obscured from the road by several large stands of trees. A casual passer by would never know a functioning farm was up the lane.

He has plenty of food and water, enough to last one person several years at least. He has a fair amount of fuel for his truck and for his tractor and other farm machines. He really has no reason to leave and, left undisturbed, he could likely survive here for a long time.

The Scenario: Defend the Farm

For the opening scenario I decided that a "herd" (ref. The Walking Dead) has wandered onto Mr. Brown's property while he has been walking down to the main road and back. He always walks out to the main road in the evening and has done so for years. Since all the trouble began he's taken to carrying his assault rifle and machete on these daily walks, just in case. On this particular Spring evening, he will be grateful he took this precaution.

The Brown Farmstead.
Mr. Brown will enter on the dirt road at the left side of the map.
The mission will begin with Mr. Brown moving onto the map. I will generate zombies normally, but decided that for this scenario the farm, a rural location, will count as being suburban (i.e. zombies will generate on a 5-6 on a d6).

A peaceful evening for a stroll.
Need a better backdrop for my photos...yikes.
I preloaded my PEFs, deciding that I would make them all zombies. I created a little chart that I will roll on whenever a PEF resolves into something:

PEFs (roll d6 - result is number of zombies to generate in the normal fashion centered on Mr. Brown)
1 - 2d6+3
2 - 2d6+2
3-4  - 2d6
5 - 2d6-2 (minimum 2)
6 - 2d6-3 (minimum 1)

Obviously this could be a deadly scenario for our intrepid farmer.

PEFs deployed - 2 behind the shed, 1 at the edge of the field.
Once the PEFs were in place, I moved Farmer Brown onto the map and generated 6 initial zombies.

As Mr. Brown walked casually up the lane he spotted 3 figures moving around his pickup. He paused, unslinging his rifle, not sure who, or what, these folks might be.
"Whoever they are, they aren't welcome here," Brown thought to himself. He shouldered his rifle and squeezed off 3 quick shots.
One of the figures fell back and lay still. The others let out low moans and started moving towards him. To his left and right he could hear movement in the woods. "Not good," Mr. Brown muttered, glancing around, "not good at all."
On turn 2 the zeds activated first and closed within Charge into Melee range. Mr. Brown was quickly surrounded and I thought sure the game would end in moments...

Crashing through the woods, zombies were suddenly all around Mr. Brown. With no other options, he fired again and then, slinging his rifle, he readied his machete for some close quarters action.

Mr. Brown managed to win the Charge into Melee test and fired 3 times, again killing only one zed. The rest moved into melee with him and a desperate 4 vs. 1 fight ensued.

It was like the years dropped away and, in an instant, he was again the 19 year old who had fought for his life in a jungle far from home. He lashed out with a vicious kick and knocked one of the zeds back on it's ass. Then, spinning, he shoved another one hard and it stumble back and fell as well. Two others lunged at him from behind. But he was too quick, his machete decapitating both with one powerful, back handed swing as he rotated through 360 degrees and ended facing the others coming at him. Despite his obviously superior skills, they showed no fear. 
Mr. Brown had a sinking feeling as he realized  he would not win this fight by scaring them off.  He'd killed four of them and knocked two others down but still they were coming. Judging from the noise in the woods, others were closing in on him from all around.
The melee in the road was close but Mr. Brown managed to do very well. I was surprised, honestly, and wondered if I might have messed up the rules. After reviewing everything though it seems I did it correctly. Mr. Brown had just gotten lucky. Even more luckily, the next turn the zeds did not activate so Mr. Brown had a chance to move away. I considered standing my ground and letting them come, but didn't want to tempt fate.

The zeds stumbling towards him got entangled with the two trying to stand back up. Taking advantage of  the confusion, Mr. Brown leapt the fence and ran along the edge of the woods. He brought his rifle out again, deciding it was best to deal with these monsters from a distance. He'd been lucky and he knew it.
Circling around the woods and taking position at the rock wall, Mr. Brown fired.  One of the zeds went down, it's head exploding in a spray of gore. The woods were alive with movement. "Seems like every time I kill one, another pops up!", he mumbled to himself.
I was getting kills with the rifle, but I was also generating z's from noise on nearly a 1 for 1 basis. This wasn't going to work for long.

Managing to clamber over the fence, the zeds  moved along the stone wall.
Mr. Brown fired, dropping one in it's tracks. Then, switching back to machete, he charged and killed another.
For the next several turns, I managed to close into melee, kill a zed, and then fall back again before the rest could catch me. It was a game of cat and mouse and it worked pretty well as long as the activation rolls went my way. Again, I was lucky and was able to thin the ranks enough that a mass melee didn't seem so overwhelming.

Mr. Brown settled into a tactic he'd learned in jungle fighting: let the enemy come to you, destroy the lead elements with overwhelming firepower, fall back, repeat. It worked easier on these zombie-things than he'd ever seen in 'Nam. These dumb creatures just kept coming, never tried a flanking maneuver, and died easily.
Mr. Brown repeated the mantra:
"Let them come to you...
Destroy the lead elements with overwhelming firepower.
Fall back...Repeat."
In the span of a few turns all the zeds were killed. Fortunately the activation rolls continued to be in my favor and Mr. Brown seemed to be making a breeze of it. By this point only 1 PEF remained on the board. The other two had been revealed early on but only increased the Encounter Rating by 1 point each. I ruled that the final PEF had to be revealed before the scenario would end. So Mr. Brown began circling the house to get eyes on it. At this point I was kind of hoping for more zombies as I'd made pretty short work of the others.

The last zed dropped at Mr. Brown's feet, the side of it's head caved in. Suddenly, everything seemed very quiet. Mr. Brown stood for a minute, breathing hard, trying to control his racing heartbeat. Crouching, he strained his senses for any perception of the enemy. On the evening breeze he thought he heard a low moan from beyond the house, out towards the fields.
Moving in a low, fast crouch he went to the corner of the house, hoping for a better view. He thought he saw movement just beyond the hedge behind the tractor, but he couldn't be sure.
Still running low, he moved to the fence at the edge of the lane, gun held ready at his hip. When he reached the fence he raised the rifle, scanning for any movement or sign of the enemy. A red fox darted from behind the hedge and ran into the fields. Mr. Brown took a deep breath and waited another minute. Slowly he stood upright, looking all around and listening intently. Nothing seemed amiss.
The last PEF turned out to be nothing but a case of nerves. Mr. Brown had been very fortunate indeed as none of the PEFs turned out to be anything.

Mr. Brown sat on his porch as the sun was setting. He rubbed the rifle with the greased rag he kept for gun cleaning. His machete lay on the wooden porch floor next to his chair, the edge gleaming where it had been freshly ground to a sharp, honed edge. He was relaxed but highly alert.
"Well," he said to no one in particular, "I guess this trouble is gonna come find me even if I stay here to avoid it." He turned his plan over in his mind: tomorrow he'd start exploring the other farms in the area and see what he could scrounge. He was content for now, but he knew he'd need to fortify his position if he was going to stay here. He'd need supplies, building materials mostly, and maybe another vehicle he could stow for an emergency bug-out. He felt certain there'd be more of those things coming, and maybe something else too. He knew all too well the depths of depravity to which humanity could sink, given the right conditions. He was determined to defend his land to the last. Only time would tell if hunkering down and fortressing up would be the right course.
In all a very successful game, despite a couple of hairy moments. I hope you enjoyed the read. This campaign is shaping up to be a bit different as Mr. Brown is not interested in exploration and movement. His plan is to fortify and remain in place.

My next scenarios will have him searching nearby farmsteads to gather materials to fortify his own home. We will see what happens after that.

Until next time, carry on!