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Rogue Trooper: Operation Blue Moon Play Report

I hosted a little Mersey Games Knights games day in Hus and ran a Rogue Trooper inspired game using Cthulhu Hack . This is a spoiler free play report.

Using a tube like map I allowed by cut off Squad to retreat location by location. Each location had an index card with a comics panel on the front & stat bloc/location info on the back so the whole scenario was incredibly portable. Character sheets where also index cards. I extended the resource dice feature of Cthulhu hack so ‘frosty’ diminished as you spotted things ultimately you wouldn’t be able to ‘stay frosty’ and get surprised and if injured your chem suit got depleted when down to zero you where poisoned. This worked well but I need to think more about rations.

Anyone on to a player view from Matt

As a child of the 70s and 80s i grew up more on British War Comics than on American Superheros, and they still hold a place in my heart. The cross over between that tradition, and the Sci-Fi ThrillZone that is 2000AD is of course the legendary Rogue Trooper, so of course i signed up to play up a game of squaddies caught in that eternal war. Furthermore, we were using Hack, which i’ve never played, but looks amazing. So after travelling to a wet Central Liverpool, thats what i found myself doing.

A squad of archetypes (Sarge, Rookie, Sniper, etc) lost in No Mans Land is classic setting that lets the players plug straight in to the feel of it. The GM gave us a map, and a destination, and let us choose our path through. In a really cool touch we got comic pages for each location, making it clear what was trying to kill us, and a couple of “special” abilities we could use once to help, which like typical players we hoarded until it was too late. Sorry, Sniper, we probably could have saved you.

System-wise Hack is just as impressive as I’d hoped. Its fast and intuitive, and the declining resource dice mechanic is perfect for a game that is at heart Survival Horror. It feels like a system designed for convention style games, although i’m not sure how well it would work for campaigns. But for this, its great.

And we got half the squad back! thats a win, right? “

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Lunchtime Lairs 14c: The Destination Stage, whip crackaway ! Whip crackaway ! Whip crackaway !

Lunchtime Lairs is back after a summer hiatus at Justplay games 12-2 every Wednesday

We rejoin the story of Blegrim last seen taken slave and find he was been bought as a stagecoach driver. He has a fighter riding archer in the form of Marcellus (played by Alex C) and passengers in the form of

  • Brother Eldritch & Mother Mary of the Temple of Love travelling on ecclesiastical matters
  • Mr Lorre a carpet wholesaler
  • Ajad the Arcane as conjuror (played by James) and conveyor of poisons off to pick up some griffin toenails from his supplier ‘silent bob’

The Stage is passing along the isolated Moors road between pier thieftown & the inland trading centre of Destination not far from Celebration.

As Blegrim and Marcellus spot a small horses figure shadowing their coach from the ridge line. They slow a little confirming there being followed to the agitation of their passengers.

Next two Pterodactyls appear with riders. Swooping on the stage Ajad charms the horses so Blegwin can meet them in combat alongside Marcellus who engages them with his longbow. There opponents are wiley while one lizard bird dies quick it’s short rider front flips on to the carriage and engages Marcellus in melee with its short sword. It’s some sort of oily diminutive mutant bird creature. He demands they ‘ just give us the vampire’ in a brummie accent. His colleagues mount is eventually beheaded by Blegrim and he is stranded on its back.

Meanwhile the pony rider is joined by three comrades on a cross country pump wagon with a harpoon arbalest. The harpoon smashes into the side of carriage impaling Brother Eldritch and as the breaks are slammed on the pump wagon dragging him into the light.

Ajad casts sleep on the pump wagon and rider and outnumbered 2-1 the remaining vampire hunting penguin (for it is the Beak Squad) leaps off the coach and scrambles for cover.

Blegrim runs to the impaled monk. While not burning the sun he does demand blood and Blegrim allows him to feed from his arm. As the vampire pushes the harpoon out of his reconstituted body he offers to return the favour and the barbarian sups and becomes Eldritch’s thrall/ghoul or renfield.

Eldritch asks the penguins are kept strapping them to the coach to discourage attacks by the two survivors. The coach speeds on. It comes to a pit trap and avoiding it the rear axel breaks. Fortunately there is a quaint isolated cottage nearby.

After investigating the garden and noting what a large oven the kitchen had they knock for assistance. A friendly crime welcomes them though they refuse refreshment and takes them to her late husbands woodstore in the cottage to find an axel. With Blegrim acting as a guard she casts sleep which Marcellus resists and pulls Blegrim in the woodstore before she can butcher him with an axe after which she locks them in and sounds a horn.

Finding a cellar door they find 8 cages with 5 kids inside. Sickeningly they are in magical torpor and appear to be being forcefed by funnels berries presumably as flavouring. There is also an infernal altar and ritual circle. Waking children prices difficult and only one survives 3 attempts – little Billy (no mates.) using the alter as a battering ram they break out the wood store to be confronted by the witches cannibal sons.

Fortunately despite there strength the fury of the ‘heroes’ overcomes these predators and they return will Billy. No thanks to Eldritch who did not respond to a psychic plea from help from ghoul-Blegrim seeing the relationship as one sided. They fail to successful wake the remaining two children.

They ride on just going past the Guy farm as there is a MIGHTY EXPLOSION (tying in with where we left the rest of the PCs.)

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Holiday reads

A brief round up of my poolside reading on my recent trip to Crete with a gaming lens.

Aiecrew is an excellent history of RAF and IS Army Air Force. Pilots in the strategic bombing of Fortress Europe, Put together by Bruce Lewis (ex aircrew himself) it goes chapter by chapter through the major positions in a bomber crew with interviews and diary entries of survivors, Excellent at giving at first had feel of the terror and bureaucratic absurdities of war as well as the humour and technical changes and challenges..

An interesting 80s flashback to a coldwar slowly going hot. I found this most interesting for the period service details and also the scenes were the Frigates small Marines complement join 43 Commsndo as part of operations facing a Soviet invasion of Norway. For the gamer there’s lots of colour for a naval style (space) game in terms of discipline, culture and tactics.

Volume 27 in the Sphere Conan books this is one of the much frowned upon pastiches. There’s is a brilliant grizzly nautical magical ritual summoning scene and great wizardly politics. Also a scene where Conan scores a fine sword and then goes to get a scabbard and hilt for it has nice Fleming style detail. All in all too much over the top magic and Cimmerian backstory.

Four short stories set about an intergalactic medical hospital / rescue effort. The initial origin story left me cold but the three following stories while dated where excellent puzzles and as the medics often in first contact situations have to determine who and what they’re treating – I don’t want to give away any spoilers but the last tale even generated a manly tear to my eye. Lots of food for thought for challenging SF scenarios though the struggle will be how not to reduce it all to dice rolls.

I read Pacific Edge another volume in the thematic ‘ Orange County’ trilogy and was very impressed. The Gold Coast is equally impressive casting an almost Dickensian net over a group of high school friends in their own way failing to grow up or struggling with adulthood – and in the case of Jim McPherson his dad in the defence industry and mum in the church. It’s a poetic grown up novel about nostalgia for times you never new and missing things right in front of you and while it’s 2027 technology may in someplace be displaced today it makes it evergreen.

But from a gaming perspective there is elements of hardware in the sabotage plot that are really nice – micro missiles with polymer melting compounds warheads. The use of the term ‘ally’ for sexual partner seems suitably detached for our 2018 (we’re all sovereign states) as does the obsession with filming liaisons.

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Cheshire Pendragon 502ad: Year of the Frogs

Falling the election of Dux Brutus and death of King Rhyons its a relatively quiet year for the knights of Cheshire. Though as expected from Merlin cursing Cheshire with the curses of Moses the county is infested with Frogs.

Sir Gilmere, the Baron Middlewhich along with Sir Piran and Sir Renauld resolve to solve the mystery of King Pellinore.

Sir Anerin, Sir Gato and Sir Hannibal fend off raiders spilling over from the Norgales civil war.

Squire Mathuin fights against raiders from Cameliard.

While Sir Spurius leads a mission to Rome asking for recognition of the Sainthood of the martyr Errin.

Soliciting some lucidity from Pellinore the Baron and party realise the Questing Beast is Pellinore’s wife transformed upon finding he was having an affair with the late Baroness Middlewhich (or was it her witch impersonator ?) either by grief, magic or both. Guilt drives his insanity and quest. They track down the questing beast, corner it and through skilful lite play calm it enough to explain the Baroness is gone and King is guilt stricken. The beast transforms to a frail old lady – fighting there way to a fraction of Irish and Norgales (the Irish stragglers from the Siege of Chester) they reunite the couple who combine into a larger and yet more glorious questing beast that gallops off to the North.

On the Norgales borders after skirmishes with cattle rustlers the party note frogs passing into Norgales. Following them they encounter pilgrims – young people travelling the same path to a ‘ Lord bactarian’ who is ensconced on the summit of Moel Famaeu. There they note Raven witches keeping watch and form an alliance suspecting the tricks of their old foe the sorcerer Silenus.

Entering the temple they find an orgy – Sir Anerin is overcome by the incense and joins the festivities but his colleagues are made of sterner stuff. The wizard then makes the orgy revellers look like snakes – Sir Gato uses his dagger to cut through while Sir Anerin in his nakedness snaps and cracks his way through breaking limbs and necks. Hannibal keeps his wits and shakes Gato out of it as the necromancer flees. The mage sledges down the slope but the ravens Garry and Harris him so the knights catch up. A trial is held.

The witches verdict is :

‘ Silenus also mascarading as Moloch, Thaddeus, Lord Toad and the sundry other lies you are accused of manipulating and destroying the innocent for no great working to prevent the white Christ stamping mundanity on the land of the blessed but merely for personal pleasure and sadistic amusement. You are an unfit twisted thing wracked by unnatural forces and give to find amusement in others suffering like a cat playing with tortured  prey. You are a maggot, a rodent and no honourable maker of magics and as such should be put to death.”

For Cheshire Sir Hannibal

” Silenus, you stand charged with the Foulest of Witchcraft and Sourcery against the Just and True Dux of Chester and the Laws of Man and God and must face punishment.”

Hannibal pauses and looks nervously at the Witches. “…as opposed to any other Witchcraft and Sourcery against Chester, I guess”

“You have acted to corrupt men of good character, acted to subvert honour of our lands, and…and….generally you’re just a shit and we’re better off without you. So thats the charges, can we skip to the execution now?”

At which Sir Anerin naked and ashamed beheads eve foul foe.

In the south Mathuin fights many skirmishes and then meets Sir Alfred and Sir Brutus under truce escorting the Lady Nia, the Orofoise court Sister of Minerva. She is proposed by King Belisans of Sugales as a spouse for Norgales and Mathuin escorts her back.

Sir Spurius gets an audience with the Pope after a rocky passage the Saint Errin may have eased. The Pope will agree to Sainthood but expects a hearty donation from the county. This falls heavily on the Dux’s ears but he sets the Dioceses clerics to compiling a Doomsday book to levy the funds – with particular attention to the religion of the County’s residents.

After some concerns over Lady Nia’s flirtations with Sir Renauld, Sir Gato agrees to marriage. He also quietly offers to look after Sir Hannibal’s nun nurse Maria and her bastard. The nunnery despatched the older stretcher Sister Bernadette to help raise Hannibal’s brood. Mathuin is to be knighted in the new year enabling his marriage to Lilly whose twin sister Rose is to marry Sir Piran. Tragedy struck when former Dux Sir Randle playing with Renauld’s boisterous toddler Marc Aurele falls down the stairs breaking his neck. Sir Renauld arranges a funeral at Chester cathedral with this monument.

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Flashing Blades 1625 2018 season finale : a Tale of Deux Mademoiselle’s (Part Trois)

Durand returns from barracks having been investigating the sickness and poisoning of his troop of Royal Dragoons horses to catch up on Antoine and Joseph’s harebrained scheme.

There then followed an undignified wrangle over whether Antoine or Durand would have the honour of seducing Amanda Pepperbox. Eventually the plan was determined – Durand despite his gruff manners would throw himself on Amanda’s mercy while Antoine would picked her room for evidence she was her evil twin Charlotte.

Neil did a stellar job of roleplaying Durand as he simultaneously exposed Joseph’s perfidy with Iona and his own apparently love struck heart to Amanda bowling her over. Though in her poverty Amanda was keen to put their mistress relationship on a proper footing with a surprisingly level head.

Antoine under the cover of taking fresh clothes over found nothing in the room but was shot from a musket across the street crippling his leg. He gamely used Amanda’s mirror to return fire from cover over his shoulder from under the bed driving off the marksmen. Spotting a scar Antoine confirms his suspicions – the assassin is Matthew Talant, Lord Pepperbox’s hunting dog!

Securing Doctor treatment and using his criminal contacts Antoine finds where Talant is staying.

Durand walking Amanda back to the hotel insists she shelters at the heroes lodgings the house of the bubbling cauldron. Leaving Boulanger and Antoine to guard the ladies Joesph and Durand go hunting for Talant.

They find the apartment he’s hired. A silhouette of Talant is in the window – Durand climbs up avoiding up seeing it’s a model and he avoids a trip wire linked to a flintlock hand cannon primed to fire if he snuck in the room. Peering closer he sees cannons covering the other window & door and Talant with musket sheltering behind an upturned bed.

Sharing this intelligence with Joesph he climbs back up. Triggers the cannon then when Talant investigates he tries to yank him into the street and fails. Talant hits Durand with the butt of his rifle leading him to plunge injuring his leg.

As Talant leans over to take a shot Joesph takes a bow shot planting an arrow in the Englishman’s chest stunning him. It is followed by another. Durand misses with his pistol but the Englishmen is knocked out. Sneaking in avoiding the trap they take him captive.

Returning back they find Antoine and Boulanger unconscious with empty wine cups. Amanda is missing – NO! Not Amanda it was Charlotte she has drugged the party and abducted Joseph’s beloved Princess Iona !

Flashing Blades: The Adventures of the Cauldroneers will return in 2019 …

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Hero kids revival 1: rescue of the Beak Squad

Played at lot of hero kids around 18 months and recently my 6 and 4 year old have been asking to play again. So be brushed off their favourite characters Zoë (the Rapunzel clone) and Jay (an electro mage.)

Searching the woods for herbs for healing potions outside Rivenshore they here a cart go Bay with whimpering in the back. It’s driven by a little man in purple rob. Jay steps out and challenges the wagon driver Dirk – asking about the crying in the back and it ends up in combat.

Zoë heads round the back and ends up fighting a strapping warrior called Blythy who comes out he wagon wielding a two handed sword.

In the magical duel between Dirk Grognard the Water wizard and Jay – Dirk narrowly wins when reinforced by Blythy Judge. Zoë got Blythy is a choke hold with her magical hair but the warrior managed to slam her into a tree free his sword and knock her out.

Our heroes wake up in cages in the back of the wagon with humanoid penguins – who’se leader Wonka explains they were made by an evil alien brain and rescued by a kind wizard Farqhuar who they lost. Since then they’ve been capture and the villains are taking them to the Cruel Circus where they’ll be tortured to do tricks.

The Hero kids hatch a plan – Despite being bound (including Zoe’s hair in bobbles) Jay releases his lock with a lightening bolt fired from his tongue. The Beak squad they peck loose a Zoë bobble and Jay’s bounds and the heroes unbar their cages. Then pretending to still be captive the kids announce they need the toilet – number 2s.

Not fancying tidying that up Blythy takes them to the wood to poo. Meanwhile in line with the plan the Beak Squad ambush Dirk and peck him into surrender! Bournville proves an able mimic and persuades Blythy in Dirk’s voice all is fine.

Then Zoë and Jay ambush the circus thug and lay him low – with their captive circus kidnappers they resolve to heard back to Rivenshore and try and find the Beak Squad’s friend Farqhuar….

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Pink Gins & Googlies : The Tour Match opponents

  1. Cairo 273 Squadron RAF Wives & Daughters XI
  2. Aden Sheikh Mumbarak’s Harem XI
  3. Mumbai Sisters of Mercy (?) Widows & Orphans XI
  4. Columbo Columbo Radio Ladies XI
  5. Singapore Onedin Line Sports Club Ladies XI
  6. Perth Black Swan Sheila XI
  7. Sydney – tri series with Summer Bay CC Ladies XI and Erinsborough CC Ladies XI (a Melbourne team)
  8. Wellington The Ferns Ladies CC First XI
  9. Hollywood The UCLA Ladies XI (trained by the overseas cricket club)
  10. The Hamptons Maidstone Country Club Wives Sweethearts & Daughters XI
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