Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Guy Fawkes Day

I have taken notice of many people, friends, coworkers, etc honoring Guy Fawkes on this day, Nov 5.

This bothers me.

Guy Fawkes was a dissident, terrorist and traitor to his country.  The goal of the group Fawkes was a part of was to destroy Parliament, killing those inside, including King James, in order to put his daughter, Elizabeth, on the throne.

The reason?  Because King James had reacted to two previous Catholic plots to kill him in 1603...granted, the Kings reaction was a bit heavy-handed when, a year later and with much prodding from the Puritans, he showed hostility towards the Catholics, imposing fines and limiting their worship, in addition to removing Catholic priests from the country.

When Guy Fawkes Day was first declared, people would build a bonfire and burn an effigy of Fawkes, in remembrance of his capture and death, not to honor him but to disgrace him.

How has this man become a legend of good?  Especially for non-Catholics?

Fawkes belongs hand-in-hand with Che Guevara, Timothy McVeigh, and Osama bin Laden, the only real difference, Fawkes failed before he got started.

Please, before you honor a person, research the person.

So many people today walk around with a Che Guevara shirt, believing him to be some benevolent rebel, in reality, the man was a murderer of women and children, much closer to Saddam Hussein's son, Uday.

Think of the reaction people would have if you wore a mask of Hitler, Saddam or bin Laden with some 'great quote' on it.

Now think about why you honor a man such as Fawkes, unless you are Catholic, if you are Catholic, I can understand.

Monday, August 5, 2013

SLA Industries: Out with a Bang meet Jack and Jill

With the squad being down to Grundy, Hunter, Cappin and Doc due to the missing Shaktar and Brain Waster the financier group 'Flaming Turkeys,' where they have been getting a few BPNs from, sends in a Sniper to help them out a bit.

After quickly burning through the newbies Blue BPN they decided to get back to business and call up Jonesy at Flaming Turkeys.

Offered a Grey BPN the squad happily accepts.  Simple work.  There is a Channel Resistance uplink cell in Industrial Sector 86 that has holed up in an abandoned building.

Arriving in the area, the squad parks the APC a couple blocks away and heads in on foot.  Upon getting to the building, Grundy attempts to weld the doors of the main entrance, briefly harassed by what appears to be a security guard who is waved off by Hunters SLA badge, and moves to the back door, leaving Hunter to watch the main entrance.

The Sniper, Terry, is placed on an adjacent rooftop to assist and Cappin heads around to the loading dock to find an entrance.

Doc and Grundy enter the building and as Grundy is welding the door shut they are interrupted by a man claiming to be a delivery boy for an Orientan restaurant.  Grundy slaps him out of the way, inadvertently killing him.

Doc decides to start working his way up the stairs to the second floor.  Terry radios the squad to let them know that all the lights above the 2nd floor just went out, as Cappin busts open the loading bay door.

Doc arrives at the 2nd floor door and opens it, he is met with gunfire.  As the bullets pelt him and the door, he manages to drop back and close it, and doses kickstart and UV.

Cappin, hearing his brother hit makes his way quickly to the stairwell, proceeded by Grundy.  With the Morgan brothers forming a plan for the 2nd floor assault, Grundy heads up to the 3rd floor.

Terry leaves his perch to get a better position with Hunter who is now working his way through the front of the building and checking the first floor.

Grundy makes it to the 3rd floor and opens the door, and quickly closes it as bullets ricochet off his helmet, almost killing him.  Good thing he is a Stormer.

Hearing their friend eat lead upstairs, Cappin decides to change up their plan, opens the door just a crack and tosses in a fragmentation grenade.

The dilapidated building shakes a little with the explosion, and all goes quiet inside.

Outside, Terry is making his way around the building and sees two figures zip line through some buildings.  He immediately radios the members of the squad inside and Hunter comes back out to help.

Looking over the damage inside, the grenade has blasted a hole in the 3rd and 2nd floors, the blast probably enhanced a little by the Vito and Buzzard model Tek Trex drones...that now lay scattered in pieces.

Grundy heads for the roof to try and assist with the 2 fleeing figures while Cappin and Doc head for the 4th and 5th floors.

Hunter takes off on his powerboard to follow a van that he spots leaving at a high rate of speed, Terry moves to another building to take up position in case someone else decides to run for it.

Grundy opens the door to the roof expecting to run to the edge and zipline down with his rifle, but the bullets pounding into him force him back through the door.  On the roof are 4 DN operatives packing SMGs and automatic rifles!

Doc leaves Cappin to clear the 4th floor and heads up to the roof to assist Grundy.

Cappin, after doing some quick drug-addled thinking, decides the best idea is to blow a hole in the 5th floor and runs upstairs while Grundy and Doc form a plan of attack.

Cappin tosses his last grenade through the door to the 5th floor at the same time Grundy and Doc open the door to the roof, Grundy going high and full auto, Doc kneeling and going low with two 603s with a single hotline round in each.

Grundy and Doc manage to take out all four of the DN operatives on the roof, while Cappin looks at the hole in the floor and wonders why the ceiling is still mostly intact.

Hunter is still following the van, calls Shiver scaf support to try and get a tracker in the sky, but there are none available at the moment while Terry is moving up the side of an adjacent building.

Doc and Grundy use the two DN operatives in body armor to slide down the zipline, to a now empty corner, as Cappin starts to sweep the 5th floor and catches movement at a door towards the end of the hallway.

Cappin, realizing he has no more grenades, kicks open the door and trigger locks his 706 Power Reaper, the four DN operatives inside open up with their DN74 SMGs and DN80 rifles...and everything goes silent.

With Cappin not answering his headset, Terry checks the room through his scope as Grundy grabs Doc and starts to climb back up the zipline.  Fifteen blocks away, Hunter is still following the escaping van on his hoverboard.

Terry sees no movement in the room.

As Grundy and Doc make it into the room they find Cappin with his chest torn apart and his left leg completely missing.  Doc immediately calls for medical help and him and Grundy attempt to revive him.

About 20 blocks away, the backdoor of the van opens up and a hail of bullets from the DN operative impact into Hunters chest knocking him off his hoverboard at around 50mph.  If the bullets had not killed him, the impact and asphalt would have.

Unable to revive Cappin, Grundy heads out to recover Hunters body.

The Channel Resistance cell was broken and the BPN successful overall, but it was a hard-won battle.  Doc and Grundy headed home with lowered heads and sunken hearts to drink a few sorrows and watch TV.

During the episode of GoreZone, Jack makes an appearance, showing film of Cappin and Hunter dying...

Til next time...enjoy your game!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

SLA Industries: Strawberry Princess Retrieval

Tonight, the squad had their first meeting with a Contract Killer: Strawberry Princess, via a Grey retrieval BPN.

It was a simple premise, locate and return Strawberry Princess, rep 6 CK who disappeared after ambushing Sour Blood after he made his way from destroying Deity in their latest match.  She was able to take him out because she uses a homemade non-lethal poison.

From Strawberry's agent they are informed of her last known address, and given a picture.  They are also informed that she is quite off in the head, and very deadly when she wants to be.

The squad comes up with a plan, they will dress up in costume as The Berry Knight (Grundy), Watermelon Soldier (Ian), Black Cherry (Hunter) and The Pie Pimp (Feelgood) and then deliver cupcakes laced with a sleeping agent to her apartment under the guise of Cupcake Scouts.

When they arrive at her apartment they find the place ransacked.  They check the surveillance video and see her leaving out the front door with her gear a few hours before.  Not knowing where she might run to they contact Dr McNamara, her psychologist.

After speaking with her psychologist, the squad learns that she is a paranoid schizophrenic fantasist who lives in a place called "Strawberry Land" and only feels safe in the "Berry Patch."

A wild goose chase is born!

The Medic and Death Squad Frothers head to her Clansmen to see if she went to them for help while the 313 Sector Ranger and the Wraithen KMS go downtown to check out a strip club called "Strawberry Land."

With no information in either place, the Frothers meet the rest of the squad at the club and start thinking about what to do next.

After looking into her past, the squad decides to contact a few of her ex-squadmates from "5-Star Carnage," the last squad she was in as an operative.

Doc Stevenson (Human Medic), Grease Monkey (Human Pilot/Navigation), Bullethead (313 Death Squad), Marco (Ebon I/I) and Norwood (Human Strike Squad) agree to show up to the club after finishing up their most recent BPN.  Stevenson, Grease Monkey and Bullethead are the only three that actually knew her.

They talk to the squad about Grainne, as they knew her before she joined the Circuit, and how she was such a nice girl that joined up with them after being in a few squads that bullied her.  Stroke, their deceased Brain Waster I/I treated her like a long lost little sister and after his death, she left the squad to join the Contract Circuit.

When the squad informs them that she is missing, Doc tells them of the time she was lost in Cannibal Sector 4.  Grundy (aka The Berry Knight), remembers the name "Berry Patch" from the back of his memory but cannot place the reference, being a Sector Ranger all he can remember is that it has something to do with Cannibal Sector 4.

The squad decides to go into CS4 to try and find this "Berry Patch."  Strawberry's old squadmates volunteer to help because she was "like a sister" to them.

Into the Cannibal Sector they go, and come across a downed Stingray, the jeep and SCAF bikes missing, communications, navigation and fire controls are all missing, along with basic equipment.  Investigation of the vehicle also shows them that it was taken down with precision weapons fire.

Leaving Norwood and Marco in the APC, the rest of the group go to scout around a bit, finding some children playing with a severed head.  As they watch and think about what to do, Grundy stands up and offers them cupcakes, the children scatter into the ruins.

Marco screams and runs towards the group, yelling about a man in Crackshot armor getting the drop on Norwood and dragging him off.

Everyone retreats into the APC and starts to move on.  Marco is given a cupcake to calm him down and quickly loses consciousness.  Worried that he may have picked up some sort of virus or infection in the area Stevenson and Feelgood start to examine Marco.

As the Wraith Raider starts to feel a bit uncomfortable, due to being the only other person there without a sealed suit, the two Medics find blood and what appears to be human tissue in the Ebons mouth.  Further examination uncovers blood on his fingers also.

Not sure of what to do, the group heads back to where Norwood was killed.

Norwoods body is found, not far from where the APC had been parked, his helmet gone, his face mauled by...something.  It turns out the squad was lucky to find anything, as there are a few cannibal children hiding in the rubble nearby.

Grundy asks the children if they would answer a few questions.  The children state that they want the body in return for information.  Stevenson agrees, he has only known Norwood for a couple weeks and is more interested in getting the reclamation bonus for the gear.

Grundy then asks if they have seen the Strawberry Princess, describing how she looks, the children mutter under their breath, "We have not seen the mother, can we have the body now?"  The body is left to the children.


Stevenson agrees to tie up Marco until he wakes up due to the wounds on Norwood not matching his story, then Feelgood can dose him with honesty to find out what happened.  Grundy loses his patience and uses a bit of Wall Wash as smelling salts to wake up the Ebon.

The Ebon states that he is working undercover on a BPN to ferret out Norwood who was suspected of being a DarkNight agent.  Marco states that Norwood asked him for his help so he popped Ebb Beast and took him out now that the truth was out.

Stevenson knocks him unconscious again, and ties up Marco, stating the truth will be found out when they return to Mort.

As night falls, Grundy goes hunting for something to eat.  He comes across a few cannibals that have taken down a couple of Ex-War Criminals.  He makes contact peacefully and explains that the squad is just looking for someone.  A couple of the cannibals break off from the group and return shortly with Violet, a 'Mother' in the cannibal clan.

More is found out about Grainne's time spent in CS4 and the group finds out that she is considered a member of the clan.  When asked about the "Berry Patch," Violet draws a map on a piece of skin taken from one of the Ex-War Criminals.

Grease Monkey takes a look at the map and lets everyone know that they will not be able to follow it during the night so the group takes shifts sleeping, Stevenson keeps Marco sedated to keep him from formulating.

Using the map, the Berry Patch is easy to find.  An ruined husk of a grocery store named, Berry Patch Grocery.

The squad, still believing that their costumes may work to get close to Strawberry Princess, enter the building first.  Making their way past the ruins of checkout stations, they are contacted over the loudspeakers by their target, who seems completely confused as to why they are dressed oddly.

Bullets scream through the front windows and the squad takes cover, Grainne's ex-squadmates have turned on the PC's.  Marco folds away as Grease Monkey and Stevenson take up position.

After a brief firefight, Carnage is dead and the squad have gained some trust with Grainne, who is happy to return to her Contract Killer lifestyle now that her old squad is dead.

The rest of the story:
Five-star Carnage was a successful squad, but Stevenson and Grease Monkey started to get into some subversive activities.  Stroke, being an Investigation Operative, was on to them and Stevenson killed him during a BPN.  Grainne, Stroke's confidant, left the squad to join the CK Circuit out of fear, she knew that Stroke was murdered, but had no proof.

Marco was brought into the squad directly by Stevenson, Norwood was brought in by Bullethead, under the guise of a new operative that needed a squad.  Norwood was on a BPN to infiltrate the squad and root out subversive elements.

Marco found out about Norwood and killed him, Stevenson played along with the group in order to throw the squad off because he did not know how much information Grainne had about his activities and wanted to make sure she was found so he could kill her.

Stevenson killed Bullethead after the squad entered the grocery, Marco was killed by Grainne.

The squad walked away with a couple of good contacts, a bit of extra cred and with some red tape acrobatics were able to re-assign Carnage's APC to their own squad.

Had a NPC cameo from my wife's Frother Don McGuiness, who is now convinced that the Cupcake Scouts are real and wants to be a 'Den Mother' for them.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

SLA Industries Session Recap 3

Wanting to do a little more than combat BPNs, especially since the I/I was able to make it...failed, due to my botch of writing the White BPN before the game (ie, I did not).

Needless to say, almost everyone showed up, only missing one player out of 6.

So, wanting to continue the BPN route, the PC's get handed a Grey from Health and Safety.  Meeting with the corporate who issued the BPN, the players are instructed to remove a subversive from the Greenville Asylum Downtown.

Dr Griffin has been running unsanctioned experiments on his criminally insane patients and is to be exterminated (warrant provided).

The squad arrives at the Asylum to find a SHIVER APC outside, no SHIVERs to be found.  The SHIVERs were sent here to quell some disturbance inside the building.  A boot print on the door shows the entry was tactical as opposed to friendly.

The doors to the facility have since been chained shut from the inside, the Stormer unlocks the door easily, using the same method the SHIVERs used previously.

Nobody behind the counter but the PCs decide it would be in their best interest to sign-in and get visitor badges to follow protocol.  While obtaining the visitor badges behind they desk, the squad finds the body of a SHIVER, his Blocker Body Armor ripped open at the chest by what appears to be some kind of clawed hands, similar to a Stormer.

Most of the patients on this floor are locked in their rooms, and one of the rooms is filled with cocoon-like bags.  There are a few patients wandering around, but they are subdued by the squad using unorthodox tactics...the squad opened the staff break room and smashed open a vending machine.

Easily making their way to the end of the hall, the PCs come across a human male in a catatonic state wearing SLA Industries boxes instead of the normal blue pajamas of the patients.  Feelgood, the squad Medic, is able to bring him around a bit and the squad is provided the following information:  the men in the boxers are SHIVERs, they were attacked while answering a disturbance call by things that "came out of the walls."  Realizing the SHIVER is going to be useless in his current condition, the squad leaves him there.

The stairwell is empty aside from a large cocoon stuck in the corner.  The squad cuts the cocoon down carefully and opens it up to find a semi-concious human male inside, wearing blue coveralls, an orderly.


They take the orderly into the TV room and get him sitting next to the SHIVER.  And they take the orderlies keys.

Unlocking the stairwell gate blocking their ascent, the squad moves to the second floor.

The second floor hallway is covered in webbing, the lights flickering on and off, and more human-sized cocoons can be seen here and there along the floor.

The Wraith is attacked by 'something' in the webbing, the creature is quickly run off by a couple stabs from the Shaktar and Stormer, but somehow did not leave a path through the webbing.

Not feeling particularly comfortable with what is going on, the Brain Waster grabs a mob and pulls out her Klippo, seeing this happen, the Wraith grabs a fire extinguisher.

The webbing in the hallway goes up in flames, worried about the cocoons holding patients, the Stormer trips the fire suppression system, filling the hallway with foam...quick solidifying foam.

Two members of the squad are able to get out of the zone and avoid being caught in the foam.  They are then able to remove their squadmates.

Continuing very slowly down the hallway, because they are now having to cut their way through the foam, the Operatives make sure to check on the patients, cutting through the foam and checking the rooms.

Inside one room, there is a man in a doctors smock pounding on the door.  The operatives decide to leave him there for his safety...only to see his face hit the window and disappear.

The Stormer and Shaktar bust into the room, unable to see much with the flickering light, but the doctor is nowhere to be found.

Something sharp jabs into the stormers unarmored head and the Shaktar drops a tear gas grenade, but whatever attacked them is gone, the window to the outside broken and the bars bent outward.

The Stormer and Shaktar decide to follow whatever it was out the window and head towards the roof, the remaining three members will continue down the hall to reach the stairwell to the third floor.

Gaining access to the building from the roof and the stairwell, the squad gets back together before heading into the third floor, where the criminally insane, and their target await them...

to be continued...

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

SLA Industries: Session: le Duece

(yes, I mixed the languages in the title on purpose, to make you cringe...on to the recap)

Second session for the Squad "Out with a Bang."

Only three players were able to make it this time:
  • Grundy, played by Bob
  • Kr'snch, played by Ryan
  • Hunter, played by Brandon
Our story takes place a few days after the last, with the Shaktar and Wraith Raider healed of the wounds they sustained from the DN Snipers.

Grundy invited the squad over for a few drinks, but they had other ideas and convinced him to grab a quick BPN.

They nabbed a Blue from a financier(ish) contact they had met at Slayer's Crib during the last session.  The Financier Group known as "Flaming Turkeys" is an up-and-coming operation, still low on the pole, so their BPNs are never the good ones.

The Blue was a simple seek-and-destroy in the sewers, something was killing civilians near a hatch that had been broken during the previous days GoreZone episode in Downtown.

It was simple enough, the squad went in, had some fun with a 20 foot crocodile and got paid.

The highlights included:
  • Kr'snch being grabbed by the crocodile and unable to reach his melee weapons as it was trying to drag him into the sewage
  • Grundy jumping on the back of the crocodile to help his squadmate
  • Kr'snch was able to dodge a "deathroll" due to the Stormer holding onto the beast
  • Once free from the crocodile's mouth, Kr'snch was able to watch the crocodile try and shake the Stormer loose by rolling
  • The squad members being told by a Health and Safety agent not to speak of the crocodile
Was great fun!

We did call it a little early due to the rest of the squad not being able to make it, so it was pretty short.

The BPN was written a long time ago and can be found at http://trulyrural.com/sla/bpns.html, in the pdf titled "Several BPN's by Max Hattuer."  The title of the BPN was "The Basic Blue," due to the small squad size I reduced the number of crocodiles, also, having only the single crocodile seemed to fit the backstory better.

In retrospect, maybe I should have added in a second...next time, my pretty...next time...

Friday, June 21, 2013

It is Hard to Read an E-Zine on the Toilet

Getting back into the gaming "zone" after 10 years of "here and there" I am noticing a lot of changes.  One of those being the absence of all those great gaming magazines.

Dragon, Dungeon, White Wolf, White Dwarf, SHADIS (yeah...that died in the 90s but I still miss it).  Where did they all go?  What replaces the void?  Did printing costs really go up that much, or were the smaller print run magazines over-doing themselves with quality paper?

Books seem to be the same way, just about every game has multiple pdf's available, for the same price as the actual book in many cases.  Seems a bit of a ploy to me.

I want a REAL book, a REAL magazine to read.  Something I can take to the kitchen table or work to read when times are slow.  A physical something that I can read while sitting with the family in the living room hanging out.

That being said, I really do love the print quality of the books that are being released, but do they really need to be $30-$40 (US)?  If so, why does the pdf need to be about the same cost, surely those are a lot cheaper to 'print' for the company.

Wishful thinking, I know.  With the prevalence of tablets and smartphones the printed book is on its way out.  Soon, you won't be able to loan out the players guide to that new person in the group unless you hand them the entire tablet.

If you know of any good RPG e-zines out there, link to them in the comments please, I'll be sure to add them to my smartphone browser, its a small screen, but at least its portable.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

SLA Industries: Out with a BANG!

First session of new SLA Industries campaign, fun had by all.

Squad Name:  Out With a BANG!
Squad Roster:
  • Grundy - 313 Malice Sector Ranger (Bob)
  • Cpt Morrigan - Frother Death Squad (Ian)
  • Fairamay - Brain Waster I&I (Nikki)
  • Hunter - Wraith Raider KMS (Brandon)
  • Kr'nsh - Shaktar KMS (Ryan)
  • Dr Feelgood - Frother Medic (Zach)
BPNs ran during this session:
  • Blue - TrafficSLOps
  • Red - Sniper Hunt
  • Yellow - Let Them Eat Cake

Thrown together by bureaucratic process, the new Operatives were given a Blue BPN per standard procedure.

The mission was simple:  Head downtown to target location and assist SHIVER unit with traffic control until lights can be repaired.

Problem was, there were two rival street gangs shooting at each other with the SHIVERs caught in the crossfire.

While the squad was planning on what to do, Grundy stepped forward and was able to talk down the gangs.  The Manic Mongoose gang took off leaving the Kobra Khan gang to fend for themselves against the Operative squad.

Kobra Khan members were allowed to retrieve a couple of trapped gang members and leave.

Other than minor disturbances from civilians upset for being in traffic so long, nothing major happened until after the repair crew finished up and the traffic was flowing again.

While the squad was speaking with the SHIVER sergeant his head exploded in a red mist, and the squad was assigned a Red BPN to eliminate the DN Sniper team reported in the area.  These two events happened at almost the exact same time.

Realizing where the shot came from, the Wraith, Shaktar and both Frothers start heading for the fire escape on the side of the building to get to the sniper, the 'Waster and Stormer head for the front of the building.

The Wraith takes a shot in the back, obviously not from the sniper they are headed for, and the Shaktar turns towards the building on the other side of the street. Fairamay and Grundy happen to spot the other sniper after Kr'nsh reports what happened.

The two frothers and the Wraith continue up the fire escape while Grundy and Kr'nsh provide cover fire against the other sniper.  The second sniper goes down and Fairamay reports two more DN Operatives on the second roof.  Kr'nsh and Fairamay start heading for the fire escape on that building while Grundy moves to a position where he can see the front entrance.

Meanwhile, two-thirds of the way up the first building, a DN Operative drops a blast grenade down the fire escape, the Wraith jumps and rolls avoiding any serious injury, the Medic dives through a window and the Death Squad jumps to a ledge as the grenade goes off mangling the upper level of the fire escape.

The 3-man sniper team on the first building starts to run back through the interior stairwell, only to be met with fire from the Medics FEN AR, as the Death Squad makes it to the roof.

The second DN team seems to fair a bit better, after losing the sniper they immediately began retreating through the buildings stairwell, the 'Waster and Shaktar giving chase.  Upon reaching the ground floor, they come face to barrel with Grundy's assault rifle, and surrender.

The first team, at this point, has surrendered to the squad in the stairwell.  The Wraith grabs one by the throat for dropping the grenade and the Medic pulls out his claymore and starts hacking at one of the other two.

A concussive force leaves them all a bit woozy as the DN Operative held by the Wraith drops another concussion grenade, the Wraith drops him but manages to stay conscious, the two Frothers manage to stay on their feet easily with the combat drugs pumping through them.

The Medic takes one prisoner, the Death Squad kills another and the Wraith has an idea...

Back in with the second DN team, Grundy has them at gunpoint as Fairamay walks up behind them from the stairwell...BAM!  A single point-blank shot to the back of the DN Ops head takes him down, his team mate panics and runs, quickly taken down by the Shaktar and Grundy.

Feelgood comes in with the live DN Operative and shoots him up with Honesty so they can get information regarding any DN contacts they may have, Fairaway questions him and they get a name 'Billy,' a time and place where the team was supposed to report back before he dies from his wounds and the shock from the Shaktar torturing him.

Grundy calls in the information hoping to get a follow-up BPN, and the squad moves back to the street for SHIVER retrieval of the evidence.

Just in time to see the Death Squad and Wraith Raider throw the remaining DN Operative off the roof, who proceeds to explode in mid-air, raining a bit of blood and gore onto the street.

Feeling mighty good about their first BPN together, the squad heads to the Pit for a quick drink and decides to grab another BPN before calling it a day.

After working their way through the lines, filling out paperwork and waiting for an hour or two inside Slayers Crib, the Operatives are approached by a man in a suit, a low-ranking financier trying to get started.

He offers them up on a Yellow, retrieval of a Welfare Distribution Vehicle that went missing on its way to an orphanage, somewhat close to their earlier BPN location.

The squad accepts and heads quickly to the last known location of the truck.

They find two bodies, riddled with bullet holes and picked clean.  Luckily, they also find tracks in the refuse and grim showing the way the vehicle went.

Moving down the street towards a warehouse district the squad encounters some members of the Manic Mongoose gang, who uncooperatively tell them to bug off if they cannot pay for information.

So Grundy talks to one of the homeless in the area, trading his SLA Industries issues contraceptives and Klippo lighter for information.

After finding out the location of the truck, 3rd Eye is called in to observe the raid on the warehouse that the thieves are held up in.

Fairamay sneaks in through a sidedoor, Kr'nsh and Hunter head for the roof, Feelgood and Morrigan setup around the back with Grundy and the Media operative at the front.

Inside the warehouse, Fairamay reports the location of the vehicle, 4 DN Armoured people and 3 SHIVERs with a SHIVER APC.

Grundy pounds on the warehouse door and the thieves head for the APC and start closing the door, Fairamay tosses a grenade, too far to have any impact, Kr'nsh rappels in with his KK30 barking, Hunter moves to get in position, Feelgood and Morrigan come in through the back door rolling a grenade under the APC.

The grenade has no effect due to the APC's armour, Fairamay moves to secure  the truck, Grundy kicks open the door, the APC starts up, Kr'nsh lands on top of the APC, Feelgood and Morrigan start heading for the sides of the vehicle.

Grundy moves to jump onto the back of the welfare vehicle, with the plan to get a good shot at the APC, and misses the roof, landing in a pile of food in the back of the truck.  He quickly recovers and moves out the drivers side to assist with the APC.

Kr'nsh, realizing that he can not do much good on top of the APC with his Power Disc moves towards the drivers hatch, Feelgood and Morrigan manage to get on top of the APC and Grundy is just fast enough to grab onto the back.

Grundy manages to rip open the rear hatch as Morrigan tears open the top hatch and the thieves inside are met with a hail of rounds from Grundy's 603 and Feelgoods FEN AR.

As the driver exits the hail of ricocheting bullets inside the APC Kr'nsh removes his unarmoured head with one swipe from his powerdisc.

Fairamy moves through the open back hatch with her chainaxe as Kr'nsh moves in through the drivers hatch.  The two of them finish off the dying thieves.

BPN complete, they call in to have SHIVERs retrieve their missing APC and remove the bodies.  The squad returns the Welfare truck to its distribution center and a short 60 second spot of the squad rescuing the food and money that was meant for an orphanage from the evils of DarkNight subversives greats them as they get home.

Not bad for the first session.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Talislanta: Prologue

This will cover the first two sessions of the current campaign, mainly because it really did not get interesting until the game tonight.

First session:
Pretty simple start, Danuvian Virago and Zandir duelist have been hired by a Hadjin merchant to protect his carriage on the way north to Maruk to broker a deal for a large amount of Ogront dung.  While under attack from a Za raiding party, an Orgovian trader joins in the fight and is later hired on to fill one of the positions now left open from a dead guard.

Once in Maruk, the Hadjin merchant, proceeded by his Mandalan slaves (who are spritzing perfume on him) and his Hadjan attache', goes to broker a deal with a Marukan dung merchant.  Feeling slighted by the insults from the Marukan he leaves the Citystate, and our intrepid heroes, behind.

That ended the first session, mainly just to setup a little combat and get the PC's together in one place.

Second session:
Left in Maruk by the Hadjin, the Orgovian mentions that he has obtained a map to some treasure on the north side of the Marukan mountain range.  As the PC's discuss options, the Danuvian heads off to do...something (player was unable to make it due to illness) and they end up speaking with a Dhuna Warlock (player that was unable to make the first session) who is staying in the same inn.

The Zandir, completely uncomfortable with everything in Maruk because of the dung trade, wants to head off to Akmir to get supplies for the trip, the group agrees and heads south.

After resupplying in Akmir, the group again heads north, planning to bypass Maruk and get to some treasure-hunting!

On their way up the road they encounter a recently deceased Cymrillian, a quick exploration of the countryside via spyglass and they notice a cart being chased by Beastmen.  Again, they act heroically, running off the Beastmen and saving a Cymrillian woman.

As it turns out, the dead Cymrillian from before was her husband and they were on their way to Maruk to setup a home on land purchased in that area.

The PC's accompany the Cymrillian to the land her husband purchased.  To her dismay, the home is in ruins and the land looks fairly unusable for homesteading.  Realizing she has no way to homestead on her own, she agrees to trade the land for 2 Equs and supplies to the Orgovian.

Feeling pretty good about his trade, the Orgovian starts planning out what to do with the land and reads the deed...finding out that it is infested with Raknid!

After a brief discussion with the Zandir, mainly regarding how silly it was to trade two perfectly good equs and adventuring supplies for land in "poop-town," he concedes that it will provide them with a place to work from.

The Dhuna heads into town to find out what he can about the Marukan curse, with plans to remove it, and the Orgovian and Zandir start brain-storming about what to do with the Raknids.  They come to the conclusion that there has to be something beneficial to having Raknids around, and decide to turn the area into a ranch to raise Raknid for either material components...or food.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Adventures in ZBrush

So, picked up a copy of ZBrush (thanks to my wonderful wife), and have been spending every possible moment trying to learn this thing.

It...is...AWESOME!

At least in the right hands, and right now, my hands are not the 'right hands.' That is where the hard work will come in.

ZBrush is extremely powerful, and although it LOOKS very user-unfriendly, it seems to just be a matter of learning what does what.

I have gone through sooo many tutorials in the past few days, the more the merrier!  I do find it interesting to note, that sometimes it seems the most basic tutorials may have that nugget of information that makes you slam your head on the desk thinking, "that is so much easier, faster and intuitive than the last tutorial."  (example: I spent about 2 hours trying to get a cylinder to become a tube last night after watching a tutorial on dynamesh subtract...just to watch a tutorial today showing how you just change the inner diameter...)

The features to speed up the modeling and texturing process are great.  ZSpheres are excellent for setting up limbs, chains, ropes etc and with the skinning feature change the form made of them into a polymesh.

For example, the following image started as ZSpheres and then I used the above method to make the base form, changed brushes as needed in order to shape and sculpt a bit, then just colored things in.  All within the same program!

ZSpheres, radial symmetry, sculpting...all in one program!

Plus, I have the GoZ functionality from DAZ Studio which allows me to bring in models directly from Studio to sculpt on or model around, and then I can zip them back into Studio without having to worry about getting the scaling correct (because it already is!).

Still have a lot to learn, but this is the first thing I have done in ZBrush that I feel is remotely worth sharing.

Expect more in the coming weeks, I am seriously going to love this program once I get things all figured out, the possibilities are just driving me nuts!

Also, I have seen a tutorial posted for taking items out of Marvelous Designer (which is great for clothes) and using the retopology tools within ZBrush to clean them up for use in other programs - have not watched it yet, but you can bet I will!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Sheriffs

Considering my recent foray into the Old West, and those things that come with it, it stood to reason that at some point I would do a couple of badges.

The sheriffs badge was the first, due to prominence.  Easy enough to model, challenging to texture.  The filigree and text were done in GIMP after UV mapping the star, the points are merely small spheres that I stuck on the model.

About 30 minutes overall modeling time and an hour for textures, render was about an hour or so (hard to tell, I hit 'render' and went to bed after NUMEROUS text renders to get the lighting where I wanted it and bright enough for impact.

Took me a bit to get it right but this is what I ended up with:
Old West sheriffs badge
Sheriffs badge, love the way it turned out!
Due to the lighting, it actually took a long time to render.

With the current political climate, and the amount of 'like' I had for the way the render turned out, I went online for a search of 'notable quotables' from sheriffs around the country.

I learned quite a bit, found some really good quotes (not included) from not only sheriffs, but other lawmen, outlaws, sideshow performers, statesmen, marshals, etc

I picked the most relevant for today's issues, and took the image back into GIMP to add text.

Final result:
sheriff quotes
Final image, feel free to share.
I do believe this is my best render yet, inclusively.

Looking for the next thing, still have a few more badges, but I think I can wait for those and focus more on the less 'popular' items like wagons and buildings, I have focused on the small things, time to get a little bigger.

All of these items are for a series of renders for a game I'm wanting to run, so I have a pretty good idea of what types of characters would be involved, just a matter of modeling the various props for them.

Playing cards, weapons, clothing, buildings, barrels (the wood kind), bows, knives, whiskey bottles, hats, lariats, spurs, etc.

Once I get to a point where I am about ready to run the game, I will shoot off some renders of the various character types.

It's not Deadlands, but it will be a type of 'Wierd West.'


Saturday, February 2, 2013

3D Update: 1800s Inspiration

Not quite sure where it came from, but it started with this:

Got the inspiration from someone at work when they were talking about "Telegraph Day" (they have a list of strange 'holidays')

Interesting time and it really made me delve into the texturing in Blender, along with brushing up on basic modeling techniques and getting familiar with the Blender interface again.

My second foray into the 1800s was in response to a conversation I had with a friend regarding translating a fantasy RPG into a Wild West RPG.  Friend asked if he could have a 'buffalo rifle,' so I looked one up with a quick Google search and produced this:

Of course, if you do a Google images search for that particular rifle, you will get pics of OTHER rifles and firearms from that timer period.

Which brings me to my latest model, an "1892 Mare's Leg."  Which, from further reading and research, never really existed until 1958, where it was seen in the tv show 'Wanted: Dead or Alive' with Steve McQueen.

Not to be outdone, firearms manufacturers have since blessed us with many different versions of this lever action pistol.  It was also shown in Brisco County Jr and Firefly.

A bit expensive for the heavier calibres, but definitely ranks high on the "I want my character to have THIS!" chart.

Needs a bit of reworking (shells are expelled from the top, the side port shown is for loading); but that would just be a quick extrude.

Will probably be exporting as obj files for the express purpose of making them Poser props at some time.

We will see what comes next as I continue...maybe an old revolver, the 1800's just has such awesome toys!