Monday, August 25, 2014

Private Plane Finished

Here is a shot of that "civilianized" O-1 Bird Dog that I was working on in a previous post:
I used a fine Sharpie pen to make the thunderbolt on the tail and the lettering on the wing. There was no way I was going to attempt the lettering along the fuselage. I decided not to put a magnet on the bottom of this one for now. It will look nice sitting on the tarmac of the airport I plan to build.

Could These be the One?

After reading a couple of posts, two notably from Spacejacker Zero (formerly just Spacejacker), about FiveCore Skirmishing and Five Parsecs From Home, I took the plunge and bought them.
These rules have been hitting the internet, particularly TMP, but usually I am not drawn to new rule sets. But when Spacejacker endorsed them, I thought I'd get them. I have followed his blog for some time, and I trust his opinions on rules.

So far, I've only had a chance to scan the core skirmishing rules. They look fairly straight forward in terms of how they are written, but that is all I can say right now. Looking over my 15mm sci-fi, most of what I have are small teams of figures of between five and six. This seems to be the perfect number per side for these rules. I sneak in a test run this week.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Rescue the Princess: part 2

This episode of my solo dungeon crawl was conducted while at one of my daughter's many activities that I have to drive her to. This time it was art class. The teacher lives way out in a "hollar" or valley. She has no wifi connection or even good cell phone connection, so it was up to what I had on my laptop and cell phone to game.  I almost exclusively used Labyrinth Lord for this game as well as the No Budget No Frills Pencil and Paper Dungeon Generator.  I have a dic rolling app and a card deck app on my phone to assist me.

Pictures were added last minute to greatly enhance the story.

After finding nothing in the room [see the previous game (3)], the party goes back to the intersection where they fought the crab spider (2). When they arrive, they find that the carcass is no longer there! It appeares that it was dragged down the hall going north. After a consult, the party decides to first explore the hall to the east.

See bracketed numbers in text for explanation. North is up.

As they travel down the corridor, they encounter a small body lying in the floor (4). It turns out to be a hobbit.
The wounded hobbit
His clothes are torn, and has had multiple wounds on his body. The more recent wounds consist of puncture holes on his upper arms and neck. In his hand is a dagger with a bloodied blade. It looked like he dragged himself to this location from down the hall. Sister Yabringa finds him to be alive but barely. She casts a cure light wounds and after a few minutes, he is conscious. Cuthwaith mutters to himself, as he didn't get a chance to clean the Hobbit’s pockets out. The groggy hobbit states that he was kidnapped many days ago; by whom, he doesn’t know, and dragged into the tomb. He managed to escape, but was attacked by various creatures while trying to get out of here. They party asks if he wishes to join them, but he quickly declines. He wants to be out of there as soon as possible! Youngrin and Gladwell escort him back to the entrance. They give him some rations and water and tell show him the direction back to the village. Despite his wounds, the hobbit quickly heads off down the path.

 While Youngrin and Gladwell were escorting the hobbit the rest of the party travelled further down the hall. On the floor is a trail of blood splatters leading to where the hall ends at a door (5). They waited for the two fighters to return and then turned their attention to the door. Cuthwaith checks and finds no traps and the door is slightly ajar.  He also hears nothing. They party surmises that the hobbit must have come out of there. They decide that the fighters will go first, followed by Kassira and the thief, and finally the magic users, Bral, and the cleric. Readying his battle axe, Elgrum takes the lead and opens the door.  Inside, 4 stirges are present hanging from the ceiling like bats!
A-h-h-h! Very scarey!
They party manages to get the jump on them just as they were beginning to take off from their roost. Elgrum and Gladwell both miss, but Youngrin manages to hit and cut one down. The remaining party pours through the door. For whatever reason, the stirges fly towards the rest of the party, perhaps to exit the door. Kassira, the thief and Charnel are attacked! They miss the thief and Charnel but hit Kassira. It pierces Kassira in the chest and it is stuck there sucking her blood! Kassira grabs the stirge and attempts to pull it out of her but doesn’t succeed. Sister Yabringa yells,“hold still!” and attempts to smack the stirge with her club. She misses, but fortunately she also misses Kassira. Meanwhile, Charnel casts magic missiles at her opponent but the stirge dodges the missiles! The thief kills his opponent. Gladwell and Elgrum manage to turn around and attack the remaining stirges. Gladwell hits one but it still lives. The stirge locked on Kassira still sucks her blood (down more hits). The other attacks Charnel again but fails miserably due to being hit by Gladwell. Again, Yabringa misses the beast on Kassira, but Kassira manages to jab her dagger into it to try to pry it out of her, giving it 5 hits but not enough to kill or remove it. Both the thief and Charnel attack Charnel’s stirge and together they finish it off. All is left is the one stuck in Kassira that inflicts another 3 hits of damage to her. Kassira is starting to look faint. Just then, Elgrum grabs the thing and yanks it out of her, crushing it at the same time! Blood splatters everywhere! Yabringa immediately presses on Kassira’s wound to stop the blood flow but Kassira looses another 2 points of damage and passes out. Yabringa immediately casts a cure wound spell, which saves her, but just barely.

 “Burn you and your male stupidity, Elgrum!” Yabringa spat, “she could have died because of that!”

Elgrum snarls something in reply and tosses the stirge carcass off to one side.

Cuthwaith picking the lock on the secret door
They check the room. It is a long room only 30' wide but extends 60' in length. The wall at the far end shows an old, faded, crudely-painted mural of a pastoral scene of mountains and forests. In the foreground are images of humans dancing and playing musical instruments. Along with the humans are snake-like creatures. Yabringa, Elgrum, and Youngrin each mutter a prayer of protection as they look at it. In addition to the stirges that they killed, there are the two more recently-killed carcasses on the floor. Inspecting the mural further, Cuthwaith finds a secret door. It is locked but can’t tell if it is trapped. Three darts shoot out as he picks the lock but he manages to dodge them. Inside reveals closet with a bag containing 250 gp and a well-made, heavy crossbow with a leather and wood case that has a leather strap. Within the case are 10 bolts. With each bolt, are two tips that can be screwed into the bolt. One is of iron and the other silver. Charnel casts a, detect magic spell on the weapon, but finds nothing out of the ordinary. Youngrin states that they are in no condition to go further and should rest up here for the night.  The idea of staying in the funky-smelling tomb does not sound appealing, but Charnel nods to Miria who pulls out from a small bag of marble-sized light blue spheres. She gently crushes one in her hands as she sings a soft incantation and the air immediately smells cleaner and fresher. The party feels a sense of calm because of it. Yabringa heals Kassira once more and she is fully restored. They rest for the night. During the night, nothing occurs.

The game wrapped up in a little over an hour. More modifications need to be done on the No Budget No Frills Pencil and Paper Dungeon Generator. For example, the corridor encounter table is a little monster encounter heavy. I converted two monster encounters into events. One was the crab spider carcass being gone, and the other was the discovery of the wounded hobbit. Also, the dungeon encounters table in Labyrinth Lord is a little on the harsh side for a first level dungeon. There were many re-rolls to avoid certain death for the party.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Royal Chalupistan Airforce Part 1: Fighter Jets

 Prior to the First Chalupistan War, Southern Chalupistan's airforce consisted of a number of WWII and Korean War-era aircraft. The most modern air-superiority fighter was the F-86 Sabre. Their valiant efforts were no match the Soviet-trained, MiG 21 jets of the North. At the peak of the crisis, the USA rushed much needed weaponry to the beleaguered South. This included a number of F-100 Super Sabres. One squadron of them still remains today.

F-5E Tiger II

 In addition to the Super Sabres, the US supplied the South with the F-5E Tiger II. After the war, Southern Chalupistan ordered more F-5E's and well as RF-5E Tigereye reconnaissance planes. Until recently, the F-5E made up the backbone of the South's fighter squadrons. Currently, they are being replaced, but still make up three fighter squadrons.

Kfir C.7

After the "Line of Death" incident in 2007, the South decided to upgrade their front line fighters. Trade agreements with Israel allowed for the purchase of Kfir C.7 fighters. Only 14 have been delivered. Two have already been shot down during the opening hours of the Second Chalupistan War.


Learning lessons from the First Chalupistan War, the South decided that they needed a dedicated ground-attack aircraft to counter armor and mechanized forces. They were initially going to purchase the A-7 Corsair II, but this fell through. In 2004, a treaty and trade agreement with Brazil brought in a number of various weapon systems, including the AMX ground-attack fighter. The South has a number of light aircraft used in COIN operations against various rebel groups, but role of the AMX is dedicated to air support and interdiction roles against the mechanized armies of Northern Chalupastan.

Monday, August 4, 2014

A Weekend of Mental Distractions

It was a tax-free weekend in TN and VA, so in addition to a Saturday morning excursion to a local comic book convention with the kiddies and an evening of epic weed pulling, much of my weekend was spent at the local malls and such buying school supplies and a back-to-school wardrobe for my daughter. This gives a man time to think. Maybe I thunk too much, or maybe at was having lunch at Taco Bell, because its well after midnight, and I am lying in bed posting this! Good thing the wife is a heavy sleeper.

1. Just before the Melee
Having finished my red non-Aliens, I thought about my super-simple skirmish rules and about skirmish games in general. What has sort of bugged me is what happens when two or more figures just about come into contact (before I continue my discussion here, I have to state that I have not looked at other rules sets about this subject). In my previous games, my daughter was able to blast my xenos to pieces so long as the figures didn't quite touch at the end of the movement phase. My poor xenos/aliens rarely had a chance to inflict damage on anyone! Well, I suppose it often seemed the case in the great movie Aliens, where the colonial marines seemed to blow away the acid-blooded hoards when they were practically on top of them, but there needs to be some parity.

So, somewhere between the mall shoe store and parking lot, I came up with the 50% Pre-Melee Rule:
Any figures that are within contact distance after they move must role a D6. Roll of 1-3, the figure cannot shoot; 4-6, the figure can shoot.
+1, if armed with single-handed weapon, like a pistol, or mini-UZI
+1, if figure is deemed a leader, heroic type, or elite trooper (not cumulative)
-1, if figure is deemed a rookie, green, etc.

This represents a bunch of things: response time, fear, situational awareness, etc. It makes a pistol a little more useful at very short ranges.

For example, two figures end up within 2" of each other. Two inches, BTW, is the standard movement length in my game. One is armed with a pistol; the other, a rifle. Both must roll a D6 before shooting. Pistol guy rolls a 3, but he gets a +1. Rifle guy gets a 2. Pistol guy can shoot whereas rifle guy cannot. There could be lots of reasons why rifle guy can't get a shot off. Maybe he can't train his rifle on pistol guy in time...maybe he's scared...maybe he's trying to pull out that big bowie knife he has on him...could be all three. In theory, it allows for a melee to potentially take place next turn and tries to avoid a John Woo style "gun-fu" gun battle (1).

2. Solo AirWar C:21
I have been thinking about the air combat aspect of my fictional Gambusian campaign. I've noticed among the various blogs that have fictional, modern (2), imagi-nations, solo, or otherwise, that I have never come across any air battles. Naval battles, yes; aircraft used in ground support, yes; exclusively air combat, no. Maybe they are out there and I've missed them, but I've never seen them (3). 

It could be that there aren't a lot of air combat for solo rules. Enter Richard Bradley! He designed solo rules for Wings of War, the WW1 air combat game. I've looked at them, but I don't play Wings of War, so things didn't make a whole lot of sense to me. Now, fortunately, he has make a solo version of X-Wing Commander! This is a game that I do know fairly well. In fact, I have been toying with the idea of converting X-Wing Commander into a modern air combat game. Anyway, he has some good ideas that with some tweaking, I think I might be able to use it for a solo version of C:21.

(1) I was a big John Woo film fan back in the 90s before he came to Hollywood.  A Better Tomorrow is supposedly his best, but my favorite is Hard Boiled, "Gun-fu" is the term I use to describe Woo's firefights. Watch one of his movies and you'll know what I mean.

(2) I am using modern very loosely to mean any time period where aircraft are used in warfare, so I suppose it can be anything from WW1 until now.

(3) OK, now that I think about it, there is the interesting web site called Peter Shulman's War that I guess you could call an Imagi-nation. You can still go to it, though nothing's been updated. Mr. Shulman states that he will be starting up his war in the spring of 2014. Spring has come and gone, but no new war. He has a Facebook group page, but its a closed group. I digress...he has air battles, but there do not seem to be any rules for them. There doesn't seem to be any rules for ground combat for that matter.