Friday, 31 December 2021

The Self Insert. Is this valid roleplay or just bad roleplay?

I came across this term whilst browsing YouTube and I have to confess that I hadn't heard of it before.  It would seem to originate from the world of academia and specifically media studies.  As the Urban Dictionary puts it:

  "When an author or writer puts themselves into a story they have written as a character."

I can see where this literary concept might be fun for the author and a hidden easter egg for the reader,  but does it translate to roleplaying games.

Who is the Author in an RPG?

Technically speaking it is the Games Master, they write the plot and the players inhabit characters within that plot.  That said, the players are collaboratively creating the story within the boundaries of the plot and could also be considered authors.  They certainly have free creative rein when it comes to their own character and how that character impacts on the world that they share with the other players.

I have witnessed that inexperienced players, or dare I say the less imaginative players, will naturally want to put themselves in the game rather than playing their character.  I think that this is a by-product of how we are exposed to fantasy and science fiction tropes these days and how they are born.

The creators of most RPGs drew their inspiration from the media of their day, the great fiction writers of the day who were collectively read by a large part of the RPG fandom.  We all read the same books so we had a shared understanding and acceptance of the concepts we consumed.  The characters were largely the work of one person, maybe two and often spanned epic cycles like scandanavian sagas.

A lot of the media we consume today is watched and not read and is the creative endeavour of many people from Directors to screenwriters to producers, each one has their own vision of what should happen and where the story should go.  These stories are then fed into the studio screening system where analysts record audience reaction in a minute detail.

The danger with this system is that we are forced to watch the current crop of Hollywood stars essentially play themselves in whichever cinematic masterpiece they are currently attached to.  You know the ones, Arnie, Sly, Statham, and Johnson.  They aren't being paid to be someone else they are being paid to play themselves.  This isn't the exclusive preserve of the action genre there are plenty of talented actors out there who can't help but play themselves, even the likes of method actors such as Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman and Jennifer Lawrence have their moments of phoning it in.   

I always try to encourage my players not to inject their personality or knowledge into their PC in order to inhabit the character.  If you were playing a Mega City One Judge you would play up the harsh and brutal nature of the job despite what your personal thoughts are about the crime and punishment.  Similarly if you are playing in a fantasy campaign it would be anachronistic to use modern understanding of science to Macguyver your way out of a situation.       

Your Character is not You

The challenge, nay the fun of roleplay is the opportunity to play someone other than yourself.  That might mean you are a 6 foot tall one legged retired pirate who pretends to be a Dwarf or a 85 year old art historian named Gertrude with a penchant for the hurdy gurdy.  These are not extensions of your own persona they are persona's all of their own.  

Your character sheet, stats, backstory and ephemera that you create to describe the person you are playing are all tools to help you to portray that person.  The art of roleplaying a character is to get inside your characters head and to come up with a believable and convincing portrayal.

Inserting yourself into your character is easy because your motivations and feelings are second nature.  If you are playing a streetwise orphan in a sprawling fantasy undercity your middle class sensibilities are going to seem out of place in a dog eat dog world where you have to survive on your wits and be prepared to do whatever it takes otherwise you don't eat tonight. 

Representation

I have heard it said that roleplaying games need to be more inclusive and representative.  The crux being that unless people see themselves represented in RPGs that they don't feel like it is "for them".  

I'm not so sure I get this argument which it would seem stems from traditional media such as books, movies, TV and even video games.  These media are traditionally consumed, the reader / player has limited agency with regards to the direction of the story or the major NPC characters encountered.  Even with video games where you might have some input in what your character looks like, if the options aren't programmed into the game then it doesn't appear.

Roleplaying has never suffered from these issues because you, the GM and the other players make the game what it is.  Important NPCs are often pulled directly from your back story, your species and their cultures have always been yours to houserule to your hearts content.  

This should not be confused with the goal of increasing diversity within the RPG Industry.  This is absolutely to be encouraged so that we get more diverse ideas and inspiration for the stories we continue to enjoy. 

What the designers of the latest D&D edition may put in their book may or may not make it to the table in my games and there's no way that anyone can "police" how I use the content once I've bought the books.  What flys at the table is that which the group collectively agree is acceptable.  If I want to include a story arc that has the heroes being enslaved by the villains so that they can bring the whole evil practice to a permanent end then I should be able to. The classic Heroes Journey as they confront absolute evil has to be a challenge otherwise it becomes insignificant.  Barely an inconvenience.  

Similarly If I want to outlaw the +1 wheelchair of dungeoneering in place of a house rule magical armature of mobility then so be it.  I might want all my drow to be evil to allow a player to be the mythical rebellious "Good" drow, then that's fine too.  In fact the whole concept of evil bad guys and good rebels throwing off their cultural heritage falls apart if these tropes don't exist. 

The Many Faces of Stormtroopers
Okay which one of you is a rebel sympathiser?

Which is why I am a little bemused by the whole narrative that seems to swirl around the internet these days which states

"I can only feel comfortable and safe if I can see myself represented in the game and you are a bad person for not understanding my feelings".  

I thought the express purpose of roleplaying games was not to be yourself and to have fun being challenged with making decisions you might not personally agree with safe in the knowledge that this isn't real life, it's just makebelieve.  To demand that the industry makes RPGs some kind of non-triggering safe place by design removes that quintissential element of challenge and seems like the presumptuous demands of a self insert to me.

If the imaginary world you inhabit is safe and non threatening, why do we need heroes?

Thursday, 30 December 2021

Zone Maps - Map Making for the Lazy Games Master

I am a big fan of any technique which can minimize the amount of time I spend prepping a game and maximise the utility during play.

What is a Zone Map?

Starblazer Adventures

Put simply these are maps which don't try to show things like distance or scale in favour of the relationships that the different elements have with one another.  This is a concept popularized in the game fate and its descendants.  

My own exposure came in the form of Starblazer Adventures (Cubicle 7) which is a monstrous tome but my go to Space Opera systemand I have even adapted it for a Fate Judge Dredd Campaign.

The beauty of a Zone Map is that you don't need any kind of cartographic skills in order to produce them.  You just need to know what the relationships are between the zones.  They also don't pay any particular respect to scale or distance and so they can be used to represent anything from a building to a galaxy.

Show and Tell

Its easier to show rather than to tell so here are a couple of maps from one of my Judge Dredd games to illustrate a few of the different styles I use.

The examples above are sketched onto 5"x 3" Index Cards which is incidentally my favourite method for initiative tracking in RPGs but I will talk about that in another post.

Zone Map Resources

Show Me Yours

Have You used zone maps in your games? Share your experience in the comments section below.

Tuesday, 28 December 2021

15mm Judge Dredd: Civilian Vehicles

The Streets of Mega City One are littered with an array of crazy looking vehicles which George Barris or Ed "Big Daddy" Roth would have been proud to have designed.  But finding 15mm scale civilian vehicles which fit the genre aesthetic is harder than I imagined.

My 15mm Vehicle Fleet

An eclectic mix of vehicles from various sources

Bladerunner 2049 Spinners (Thingiverse 3760309) - These two designs are inspired by the 2017 sequel to probably the greatest sci-fi movie of all time.  The designs build upon the original iconic spinner with an angular aesthetic which was apparently inspired by a sidewalk snow sweeper.

Bladerunner 2049 Spinners

Flit Cars
(Alternative Armies V101) - These cool looking 2 seat hover roadsters are perfect for the perp about town.  The models are resin cast and quite reasonably priced although a little small for 15mm,

Alternative Armies Flit Cars V101

Hover Van (Alternative Armies V103) - A very utilitarian flat bed pickup style van which can also double as a meat wagon in a pinch,  A resin cast piece which is elevated on a resin plinth for that hovering vibe.

Alternative Armies Hover Truck V103

H-Wagon (my own 3D design) - Heavily influenced by some early iconic Dredd artwork by Mike McMahon this H-Wagon is the workhorse of the Justice Department.  Whether it is being used as a perp transport, a meatwagon, an APC or just as a mobile patrol vehicle, the H-Wagon is a stalwart and dependable vehicle and a common sight on the streets of Mega City One.
 
H Wagon 3D Print

Bus (3D Print ) - I can't remember where I downloaded this mini bus from but I have 2 in my fleet.

Mini Bus 3D Print

Korben's Taxi (Thing 2639417) - I couldn't say no to a 5th Element Taxi and the great thing is that it looks cool as a civilian sedan too.
 
Korben's Taxi 5th Element

Cargo Truck (my own design) - Sadly the file for this has long since been lost to a dead laptop, this was before I imortalised my designs on Thingiverse.  As I need more trucks, and I've gotten much better at 3D modelling I'm inclined to try this again.  I will of course include more 80s movie references in the panel art.   
 
Cargo Truck 3D Print

URSA Tracked Truck (Thing 4513543) - One of three vehicles the Industrial Vehicles collection from Shiaic1 on Thingiverse.  It's a solid looking small cargo hauler and we won't mention the fact that tracked vehicles are a bit of an anachronism on the bustling highways of the city of the future.  It looks cool and that's good enough for me.  It comes with two optional cargo beds either a box truck or a tanker.  

URSA Tracked Trucks

Big Tanker
(Thing 4513543) - Another from Shiaic1's Industrial Vehicles Collection.  This bad boy barely fit on my printbed and took almost 10 hours to print.  Once again this is scaled up 300% from it's Epic scale (6mm) original size but the quality holds.  Easy clean up despite a huge amount of support material.


Industrial Vehicles - Tanker

What I want to include in my fleet

A Mo-Pad - The motorised home of the future which spends its entire life cruising the 13 billion miles of megways.  It is rumoured that some citizens have spent their entire lives travelling from sector to sector aboard their mobile home having never once set foot on the streets of Mega City One.  There is no definitive design for these mobile monstrosities but one of my favourites comes from the Mega Rackets Crime Files strip in Prog 219.

Judge Dredd Mo-Pad

Trucks - The citizens of Mega City One need to be fed, clothed and entertained and there should be a steady stream of robo-trucks plying the megways fulfilling their every need.  As I mentioned earlier this is a perfect opportunity for me to dust off my modelling skills and put together a kit of parts so that you can mix and match bodies cabs and wheel configurations to suit the cargo.  This could also be a good way to kickstart a mo-pad build. 

The Killdozer - This beast of a vehicle (actually two vehicles) was a major tie-in with Matchbox toys under the "Adventure 2000" brand name back in the day.  The diecast vehicle is sadly not 15mm scale but a nice 3D Printable version is available from Thingiverse.  Whilst the original never survived its journey out into the Cursed Earth, a model exists in the museum of the Halls of Justice and every now and then gets put out on a tour of the sectors.   

Killdozer (Matchbox Raider Command)

Sky Surfers (Thing 5177927) - "Chopper Lives" is a slogan that almost every citizen will have seen scrawled on a wall, on the seat back of a mono-rail or on the side of their neighbours block in letters 50ft tall.  The most famous skysurfer of them all needs to make a comeback and be chased down by a patrol of judges.  Why stop at one, when you can make a whole lineup of surfer dudes waiting to become the next greatest thing.  

I've designed and printed out some surf boards I just need to find suitably posed surfer dudes to go on them.  If you want some of your own head on over to Thingiverse.

Sky Surfers 15mm Judge Dredd

Monday, 27 December 2021

Jessie's Prints - Episode 15 - 15mm Bladerunner Cars & A Gloomy Box

 

This week, I are mostly been printing...

Bladerunner 2049 Spinners - (Thingiverse 3760309)

Dennis Villenueve's design team (Dennis Gassner and  did a pretty good job, in my opinion, of updating.  Vanity Fair ran a great article on the design for K's spinner which unbelieveably was inspired by a snow sweeper.  These Spinners are courtesy of Thingiverse user Carandhel and they include 2 different designs, including a re-imagined police spinner.
 
Bladerunner 2049 Spinners 15mm

The original design of the police spinner was of course penned by the legend that was Syd Mead and is such an iconic design that it is hard to beat. 
 
Talking about beats did you know that one of the Bladerunner spinners was featured in the promo shots for Iron Maiden's "Somewhere in Time" album.
 
Iron Maiden atop a Bladerunner Spinner cira 1986 Somewhere in Time

Extra points to the reader who can identify the white vehicle in the background of this shot which looks like it could have driven off the set of Buck Rogers or Battlestar Galactica.  Please post a link to a good image in the comments below.

Cthulhu Gloom Deck Box (Thingiverse 4787273)

I finally got tired of my Cthulhu Gloom falling out of its custom Tuck Box and so I found a new better box thanks to Thingiverse creator Duncan Mac.  
 
This is a sweet looking box and is no doubt going to double as the housing for some eldritch artifact in a game at my regular Friday night game group Dragons Keep Roleplay Club.

Cthulhu Gloom Deck Box


Thursday, 23 December 2021

15mm Judge Dredd: The Justice Department

My current penchant is for Judge Dredd, so I dug out some old Laserburn Lawmen which had been gathering dust and decided to splash some paint on them

Street Judges

You can never have enough rank and file street judges on hand when your PCs have just ordered a Crime Blitz or as crowd control reinforcements at that Ugly Pageant.

Standard Justice Department loadouts are the order of the day, but may be augmented with the ever popular Widowmaker 2000 magazine-fed automatic shotgun.  Sometimes a stern warning falls on deaf ears.

15mm Judge Dredd Street Judges

Riot Squad

Probably the hardest working Division (also the highest injury rate) of the Justice Department.  Everyone does their stint on the Riot Squad at least once a week.  Some Judges volunteer for Riot Squad duty but the Psyche Squad are always on hand with their evaluation surveys to root out those bad apples that like the detail just that little too much.  You never can be too careful.

The standard loadout for a Riot Squad is augmented with the MkIV extra long daystick, a stumm gas mortar and a riot foam thrower for when things get a little too heated.

15mm Judge Dredd Riot Squad

Wally Squad

The undercover Judges of the Justice Department (colloquially known as Wally Squad) are indistinguishable from your everyday citizen.

Monday, 20 December 2021

Reaper Bones #39 - Human Barbarian, Goldar

By Crom this guy has an interesting pose.  It's screaming "Come and have a go if you think you're hard enuff!!"

Human Barbarian, Goldar - Matt Gubser (SKU 77047)

My first Matt Gubser miniature and looking back at his back catalogue in the Reaper Figure Finder, I can see some great sculpts.  Matt has since turned his attention to flexing his comedic muscles in stand up comedy, but there is nothing funny about Goldar.

Human Barbarian Goldar Reaper Miniatures
Human Barbarian, Goldar (SKU 77047)

Bones Progress

Saturday, 18 December 2021

Buckaroo Banzai - Probably the Greatest Cult Movie in the World

I get a lot of flack from my friends at Dragonskeep Roleplay Club about my tastes in movies.  I'm accused of liking a lot of garbage, but in my defence I watch a lot of films.  The good, the bad, the ugly, the popular, the art house, the esoteric, I will give any movie a go and, as my step daughter will attest, I even cried during the end of Hannah Montanna!

The reason I watch so many films is simply to expose myself to story ideas.  As a Games Master, I rework, hack, borrow, pay homage and down right steal these ideas and use them in my own games.  In fact borrowing these story elements is an essential skills when creating your own stories for Tabletop RPG Games.  

Buckaroo Banzai

What's New Buckaroo?

Buckaroo Banzai or to use its full title The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984) is a low budget sci-fi written by Earl Mac Rauch and directed by W.D. Richter (Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Big Trouble in Little China, Brubaker).

The movie follows one adventure of polymath Buckaroo Banzai (Peter Weller) who is a skilled neurosurgeon, rock musician, crime fighter and test pilot as he uncovers an insidious alien invasion by the Red Lectroids from Planet 10.

Buckaroo is ably assisted by his team of crimefighters / band mates, the Hong Kong Cavaliers and by a secret network of civillian volunteers known as the Blue Blaze Irregulars.  Buckaroos connections within the Government run deep and is often called on by the president to resolve issues in times of National Emergency.

Wow that's a Lot of Ideas

Absolutely and it only gets worse.  Buckaroo Banzai is like an onion being peeled, each layer reveals another underneath.  It's a classic story of boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy saves world from an alien invasion and finally gets the girl wrapped in a shell of barely explained world building which creates tantalising visions of a fully developed and lived in universe.  A classic example is the famous waternelon scene, but I'll tell you later about that one.  

My own particular favourite is the idea that the famous radio broadcast of War of the worlds on October 30th 1938 was in fact an eyewitness account of the Lectroid invasion.  I also love the idea that there is an entire secret network of Buckaroo fans out there who are willing to lend a hand at the drop of a hat is a really useful concept for any GM out there thinking about doing some world building.

Rick and Morty takes the idea of the polymath to the extreme, but I love the Secretary of Defense (Matt Taylor) who is a slimy politician that knows he is completely out of his depth by comparison.  Buckaroo is a loyal subject and gives the government his expertise because he loves his country and wants to help.  Rick on the other hand is contemptuous of everyone.      

Before they Were Famous

I've mentioned our titular hero, but the film has a stellar cast of actors many of whom have gone on to become huge hollywood stars and household names.  Just look at this cavalcade of talent:

  • Peter Weller as Buckaroo Banzai
  • John Lithgow as Emilio Lizardo / Lord John Whorfin
  • Jeff Goldblum as New Jersey
  • Christopher Lloyd as John BigbootĂ©
  • Ellen Barkin as Penny Priddy (Pretty Penny get it)
  • Clancy Brown as Rawhide
  • Vincent Schiavelli as John O'Connor

They Don't Make Them Like This Anymore

Well this isn't strictly true, the Hollywood studio system has emasculated the auteur director and subjected movies to an endless hell of screenings and audience ratings.  There are a handful of directors who have enough weight to just do their own thing but they are thin on the ground.

My search for those stories which don't get told and don't get the big studio budget is how I get tarred with the bad movie taste brush.  If you want to be wowed by big special effects then go see a Michael Bay movie, but if you want to see a story that you've not seen before then you need to look past the explosions and the flimsy walls and open your mind.

Friday, 17 December 2021

I Bought Another RPG... Flotsam

In a recent article I wrote on the Dragons Keep Roleplay Club site in support of the November 2021 RPG Blog Carnival, I mentioned my love of Indie TTRPGs.  

One such game I namedropped as a "Would love to Play" was Flotsam from Black Armada Games.  Well I couldn't resist and handed over my cash to the eBay gods. 

Flotsam: Adrift Among The Stars

The premise is simple, you live in the underbelly of a spacestation.  Unseen and unheard you are the underclass of society, the renegades and misfits that the more prosperous society above cares not to think about.  The game cites such inspiration such the belters of The Expanse, the folk of Downbelow from Babylon 5 but this is a story told many times in the stories of underclass struggle seen in Asimov's Foundation or even Anime such as Battle Angel Alita or Megazone 23.  

Flotsam: Adrift Among the Stars - Joshua Fox (Black Armada)

Flotsam: Adrift Among the Stars - Joshua Fox (Black Armada)
 
Interesting Game Concept 

Whilst the game has the standard Player Character that we all know and love, it introduces the interesting concept of a secondary character known as the situation.  Situations are the world building element to the game and the way in whihc you introduce threats and complications into the lives of your characters.  

This is not a Rulebook, It's a Way of Life

If your only experience of Roleplaying Games is Dungeons and Dragons then this might come as a bit of a culture shock.  Flotsam is more or less a guidebook on how to run a GMless narrative story.  This is something I have, in middle age, come to embrace through my exposure to Indie TTRPGs like Fiasco! and The Quiet Year.  Flotsam is a game in this vein and is very much focused on the relationships between players as they struggle with everyday life and the challenges that situations throw at them. 

Collaborative world building is a fun way to run a game as everyone gets to contribute their ideas into the mix rather than following a prescribed narrative written by one mind.  Each player gets to introduce their own situation which makes for a much more complex and nuanced experience as characters struggle to deal with the various competing priorities.  Players will make decisions in a much more organic way based on perceived threat and poor information, a totally different kind of play compared to traditional roleplaying games where players come preloaded with information about the world.    

First Impressions

This is a first impressions article and I have yet to bring this to the table but with the festive season fast approaching and the possibility of a Christmas Eve Friday with low attendance, this might just make an appearance.  Fingers crossed.

If you have played a game let me know how it went in the comments below.

Thursday, 16 December 2021

15mm Judge Dredd - The Media and Miscellaneous Bad Guys

Well my obsession with 15mm Judge Dredd hasn't waned and I have been busy with the old brush painting up a storm.

Media Teams

The Roman poet Juvenal is alleged to have once said of the Roman people, "Give them Bread and Circuses".  An astute observation that it is much simpler to way to generate public approval by diversion, distraction or by satisfying the most immediate or base requirements of a populace than to , actually provide a public service or create great policy.  This is definitely the sort of thing Judge Cal would have approved of and, to be frank, is a practice readily condoned by the Justice Department, who charged with the responsibility of maintaining law and order in Mega City One need every trick in the book, however old. 

Part of that entertainment is the double edged sword that is the roving media teams that seem to pop up at every public event no matter how small.  In fact the demand for constant 24hr coverage has led some unscrupulous channels to hack into the municipal eye in the sky surveillance system just to meet the demand for new content.  This raw feed has led to them feeling the wrath of the Justice Department and tampering with city infrastructure carries a heavy sentence of 10 years.

Most media organisations like to do it the old school way and hire crews who roam the city looking to feed their daily quota of content.  Here are three such teams of reporters, camermen and hover cams ready to report for duty and capture the mundanity of life in all it's technicolour, Tri-D TV glory.

Mega City One Media Teams

Cult of the Octopus God

Below City Bottm lies the Undercity.  The concreted over remains of 20th Century New York, home to the troggs, scavs and muties who have built their own rudimentary society in what is left of the old world.  Some of these unfortunates band together in packs, drawn together by a sense of family or a shared mutation.

One such group are the Cultists of the Octopus God.  The unspeakable Elder God who sleeps in an underwater city waiting for the moment when the stars align.  Then and only then will he arise and conquer the surface world devouring all the humans who stand in his way of total domination.  Well at least that's what it said in the guidebook...

Cult of the Octopus God

Dragonites

The Galaxy of the 22nd Century is a pretty big place and Mega City often features as an interesting holiday destination for alien species from far and wide.  However, it also attracts its fair share of unwanted attention from the numerous warlike species who see it as a crowning jewel to add to their burgeoning Empire.

The Dragonites heard about Earth from their reptillian cousins the Kleggs who had suffered an embarrasing defeat at the hands of one human lawman.  They fled Earth some time ago and speak in hushed tones of the one they call "The Dread".  Dragonites are of course made of much sterner stuff than Kleggs, better armed, more resilient and with a brain the size of an orange, they are much cleverer to boot.

Dragonites 15mm Judge Dredd

Wednesday, 15 December 2021

Ebay Joblot Challenge - Will it Dredd?

So I was cruising the fleabay, as you do, when I chanced upon a series of auctions for 15mm sci-fi minis.  Curiosity got the better of me and so I punted.  £12.50 later, I am the proud owner of over 80 of the little lead fellas and I have absolutely no idea what they are.

ebay joblot - 80+ Scifi minis

Cast a spell of Identify

First thing to do is to catalogue what I have and then I can determine how usable it will be in my next Judge Dredd game.

  1. 5 x Robots - these appear to be from the small but perfectly formed Robots range by The Scene.  I've never heard of this company before but these will complement my civilian robots nicely and they have that weird 1950s industrial look to them.  RRP £2.30 - Dreddability 10/10

  2. 8 x Cultists - This one threw me because their heads came seperately bagged.  They are packs LC100 and LC101 Cultists of the Octupus God, part of the Eldritch Horror (Little Carinthia) range by Khurasan miniatures.  Nothing about these minis stood out in the listings photo but they are probably my favourite of the entire joblot.  Being Khurasan minis they are hard to get in the UK and shipping is extortionate so I am really chuffed to get these.  RRP £5.45 - Dreddability 7/10

  3. 6 x Chicken Riders - I was amazed at how many different types of chicken rider you can get in 15mm, it's almost like it's a trope or something.  These would have come in super handy in my last Judge Dredd game which featured several sessions trekking through The Cursed Earth, do I want to return to that desolate wasteland so soon? Probably not but in any case these chaps are from Brigade Models and claim to be Tolero Cavalry with Spears.  RRP £3.50 - Dreddability 3/10

  4. 2 x Giant Terror Birds - An easy find this pair are Gandowana by Crom's Anvil.  They are big minis but extremely good value for money, as not only will they pass for Giant Cursed Earth Chickens but will they will easily stand in for the trusty Axe Beak in my fantasy campaigns - RRP £5.00 -  Dreddability 5/10

  5. 4 x Spy Cams - Spotted these on the Alternative Armies site in their Hordes of the Future range.  These are HOF45 Robot Scout Drones and will do nicely as Justice Department "eye-in-the-sky" surveillance drones.  RRP £1.20 - Dreddability 10/10

  6. 32 x Aliens - This gaggle of green skins (or blue, I haven't quite decided) are essentially the entire range of Akarr available from Ral Partha Europe.  My joblot included one pack of every variant in the range.  That's a total of 32 minis!!.  (RRP £18.50) - Dreddability 7/10

  7. 10 x Space Centurions - Unidentified sci-fi warriors with helmet crests .  Could easily pass for one of the more organised and well armed street gangs which are a regular feature of every sector of Mega City One - Dreddability 6/10

  8. 1 x Jet Bike Space Knight - This reminded me of the old 25mm Alternative Armies Space Crusader miniatures and I suspect is some long OOkeP vintage 15mm range.  Blow me down if it isn't one of the Ion Age Burgeon Grav Bikes.  The megways of MC1 are home to all manner of weird vehicles so I'm reasonably happy that this will work.  RRP £2.75 - Dreddability 6/10 

  9. 3 x Guns and a Shield - Loose weapons

  10. 2 x Random Aliens - Unidentified and will probably remain that way.  Nothing stands out about these guys and I will struggle to identify them in their current shiny state, possibly after they are primed they will reveal themselves. - Dreddability Unknown

  11. 3 x Human Space Adventurers - These are probably crew members from some range or other and will blend into my armed civillian population seamlessly - RRP £? - Dreddability 10/10

  12. 1 x Big Powered Armour Suit / Killbot - To be brutally honest this could be anything and is massively anachronistic with a big sword and shield.  It is in fact a Duxius MkIIIA "Bladesman" Battle Suit from Ion Age.  It might feature as a contestant in the droid wrestling rings of Meka-City (progs 271-272) or as some failed ABC Warrior expirimental close combat unit, who knows... RRP £6.00 - Dreddability 8/10 

  13. 10 x Ram Horned Women Warriors - These are the Shivan Sisterhood by Blue Moon Manufacturing available in the UK from Old Glory.  They could easily be an ugly girl gang of the future "The Horned Hellions of Sector 55" or "The Fighting She Devils".  I smell a Block War...  RRP £7.50 - Dreddability 7/10

  14.  1 x Space Knight - Spotted this chap in the Desteria Lancer Command Pack whilst looking at the Ion Age minis on the Alternative Armies site.  Totally out of place in practically any setting other than some proxy future crusade, but would pass as a droid of some description.  RRP £2.00 - Dreddability 5/10  

Total RRP of the joblot £54.25 and that's with 5 minis still to be identified.  What a bargain!! 

Sunday, 12 December 2021

Jessie's Print's - Episode 14 - 15mm Judge Dredd Stuff

This week, I are mostly been printing...  Judge Dredd Vehicles

Sky-Surfing Boards

Epitomised by the free thinking lawbreaker Marlon Shakespeare, aka Chopper, Sky-Surfing is one of the great comic inventions of Judge Dredd writers Grant and Wagner.  Chopper's real signature story began in Prog 545 (Judge Dredd in OZ) which chronicled his escape from custody and trek across the radlands and polluted oceans to compete in Supersurf 10.

I thought it would be a cool encounter for an upcoming scenario to have players chasing down some sky-surfing bandits so I designed a quick and dirty board in sketchup and printed some out.  I am now on the lookout for some suitably posed 15mm minis to be my sky-surfing contestants.

Sky Surfers - Judge Dredd 15mm

Industrial Vehicles 

I had been looking for some sci-fi trucks for a while and came across this neat collection of futuristic industrial vehicles on Thingiverse which seemed to do the trick.  These vehicles are originally designed for 6mm wargaming but if you scale them up to 300% they fit well with 15mm.  The detail is pretty insane for such small models and I imagine they would look amazing on a resin 3D Printer.  My printer is just a cheap SLA printer and to be honest fast and cheap printing is what I want for my vehicles.

URSA Cargo Trucks - These are sweet little tracked vehicles with a choice of boxed or tank cargo's which plug onto the main tractor unit.  Very useable with plenty of options for paint treatment to make them fit into the Judge Dredd universe.  Otto Sump's Oil of Ugly doesn't transport itself you know.

 

URSA Trucks - Judge Dredd 15mm

Bulk Tanker - Satisfying a Mega Cities insatiable thirst is a job for big rigs and this two lane monstrosity is perfect for the needs of my citizens.

Bulk Tanker - Judge Dredd 15mm

Coming Soon to an Ugly Clinic near you...

Otto Sump's Oil of Ugly

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Tiny Metal Lawmen - Judge Dredd in 15mm

Since returning to regular sessions of in person roleplay at Dragons Keep Roleplay Club, I have a hankering for GMing some more Judge Dredd.

15mm Judge Dredd Miniatures

Don't get me wrong, I love the detail and gorgeousness of 28-35mm scale miniatures, but when I represent the citizens of Mega City One I want there to be lots of them.  The niche nature of the subject matter means that there are few alternative miniature options other than the classic Laserburn Lawmen (now produced by Alternative Armies) to act as proxies for Judges.  I am fortunate to have amassed quite the collection of these minis over the years so my Justice Department is at full capacity.

15mm Judge Dredd Miniatures

But What About the Bad Guys?

The Law is a bit redundant if you have nothing to crack down on but there are a host of Sci-Fi crew and civilians to act as perps with a bit of creative license and a generous dollop of milliput.

Fatties

I need some fatties to bulk out my perps roster so with a dab of milliput to add on a few extra pounds you have instant fatties.  These guys tend to always be pictured wearing one piece tracksuits so painting was a breeze - These particular civillians were from Ground Zero Games Stargrunt range and come in at a not unreasonable £3 for eight figures (specifically packs SG15-V01 & V02).

Judge Dredd Fatties - 15mm

Robots

Often overlooked by most citizens the humble robot has replaced human labour for 96% of the population of Mega City One and whilst not as numerous as their fleshy counterparts no Judge Dredd story would be complete without a robot or three.  These bots come in many varieties:

Humanoids (GZG SG15-V16) for all those tasks that having a human shaped body is absolutely the best solution.  Jobs like Crash Test Dummy, Exotic Dancer, Waiters, Butlers, Supermarket Checkout Staff and of course Traffic Wardens.

Humanoid Robots Judge Dredd 15mm


Work Bots (GZG SG15-V13) who are often employed doing menial dirty jobs.  The Wall-E's of this world who maintain the sewage system, unclog the resyk conveyors or sweep up after the inconsiderate humans they are programmed to serve.

Service Robots Judge Dredd 15mm

Security Bots can come in all shapes and sizes but mobile spider bots seem to be the flavour of the week and I particularly liked these Spider Drones (GZG V15-84A) as they reminded me of the Tachikoma's from Ghost in the Shell and those stupid fuzzy hand puppets from kids TV back in the 80s. 

Spider Bots Judge Dredd 15mm

Kleggs

I think you would be hard pressed to find a more classic alien race than the Kleggs.  Giant stupid war mongering crocodile headed mercenaries employed by the mad tyrant Judge Cal during his short lived reign of terror.  The beauty of 15mm is that you don't feel cut up about literally cutting up your new miniatures as they are so stupidly cheap.  This trio are made from two seperate minis; HOF 69 Draccian Lord and Warriors donated their heads to be put on TW15-DG01 Draughar bodies.

Kleggs Judge Dredd 15mm

Sunday, 10 October 2021

Out of the Abyss - Part 2: Escape from Velkynvelve

Out of the Abyss is a Dungeons and Dragons (DnD 5e) game set in the Underdark. Play takes place every Friday night at Dragons Keep Roleplay Club in Chislehurst South East London. The Dungeon Master is Joshua.

Cast of Characters

  • Janek Boone - Human Champion (Tony)
  • Targonis - Wood Elf Ranger (Steve)
  • Aur - Aarakocra Rogue (Suresh)
  • Selya Skag - Vedalken Alchemist Artificer (Daniel)
  • Sunna Mortas - Tiefling Sorceror (Jo)

The Drow Bridge

Taking the middle tunnel the motley bunch of prisoners head towards the sanctity of the Darklake. The sounds of battle recede as they they enter a large chasm.

A stagnant river cuts the cave in two barring their progress save for what looks like a bridgehead marked by a pair of stone pillars on each side. Atop the righthand pillar of each pair squats an effigy of Lolth the spiderqueen Goddess and below her a strange carved hole large enough for an arm to fit in. Flecks and smears of blood can be seen on the ring of strange runes which surround the hole. On the floor on each side lies a drow guard, butchered by the attacking demons no doubt.

After some trial and error the group work out that Sarith is the only one who can activate the strange drow bloodmagic and not a moment too soon. Emerging from the tunnel is the deposed drow leader Jorlan Duskryn, a band of drow warriors and the drow priestess Asha Vandree. Jorlan boasts to the prisoners that he aims to recapture them and in so doing reclaim his honour in the halls of Menzoberranzan.

Drow archers open fire and Janek is wounded as the braver escapees briefly consider a battle at the bridgehead, the rest run for the tunnel settling the issue. Fleeing through the tunnel at pace they can hear the sounds of their pursuers following them.

The Abandoned Camp

After a couple of hours they emerge into a large cavern, from it's roof and walls hang strange vines festooned with purple flowers which emit a bioluiminescent glow. In the middle of the cave is a small encampment of three square tents surrounding a long dead fire. The weaker escapees begin to set a fire and rest whilst Janek and others search the tents. Barrelstalk and Waterorb fungi are plentiful and the escapees refresh themselves and fill their waterskins. Janek urges them onwards, their drow captors will not be far behind.

Nightmarish Visions

After several more hours of travel through numerous caverns and tunnels they are utterly confused about which direction they are headed in. Shuu-Shar assures them that they are headed in the right direction and before long they find a large dry cave in which to sleep. Barricading the entrance with scraps of zurkhwood and one of Skag's warding concoctions they rest.

The Caverns of the Underdark - Out of The Abyss

During the night they are each visited by vivid and strange nightmares. Targonis dreams of his flight from the dark one in the Endless Chasm, Skagg is plunged into the void their only companion a foreboding giant orange eye that pierces into their very soul. Janek remembers fragments of his capture at the hands of the drow and how he utterly failed to protect his patron the wizard Marek Mardoolin butchered in front of him. Likewise Aur is visited by a nightmarish vision of his kidnapped mate Allekra whose eyes have been plucked from her skull. Sunna dreams of her missing contortionist friend from the circus who appears before her climbing the walls of her mind like a bizarre and nightmarish spider.

Awakening they all appear to have suffered these strange dreams brought on by exposure to something in the cave or during their flight through the underdark. Shuu-Shar holds a brief group meditation session to calm their fears before the group move out into the tunnels once more.

Hours later they enter another large tunnel whihc radiates with the magical energy known as faerzress. The cave is spotted with crystal outcroppings which take Skag's fancy and they pocket three specimen. Their journey is halted briefly as they emerge into a large tunnel dominated by what looks like a road. Voices can be heard from the righthand side and the group decides to follow them.

The Traders on the Road to Gracklstugh

The sounds come from a small travelling caravan consisting of a Duergar and some Quaggoth carrying a sedan chair whose occupant is an extremely wealthy merchant called Kaerthara. Aur decides to investigate but as soon as Kaethara spots the Aarakocara she is besotted and insists that she rides with her.

Velkynvelve Prisoners - Out of the Abyss

The two groups travel in safety towards the Dueregar stronghold of Gracklstugh some 20 days journey away but Janek worries about little Stool who needs to be returned to his Myconid people. The captain of the guard Gunthar Bloodhammer agrees to take them the side tunnel which leads to the Darklake.

As they travel they share stories of how they came to be in the Underdark

Aur's Tale

Aur is a dark skinned Aarakocra from the Sky Mountain dwelling Maztica tribe. A once loyal sky warden to the matriarch Asharra, Aur believes that her partner Allekra was kidnapped by the expansionist faction leader Kazra. To what end she cannot fathom but Aur has abandoned her sworn duty to protect the tribe in order to rescue her beloved. Perhaps Aur is walking into Kazra's trap, but she has decided to put love before duty and ventured into the lands below the Sky Mountain before being captured by unseen Underdark forces...

Saturday, 2 October 2021

The Perfect Gamer Notebook?

I have recently taken up the mantle as session reporter in the Savage Worlds Hellfrost game which is run every Friday night at my game group Dragons Keep Roleplay Club, in Chislehurst, South East London.

I've been using a less than practical A6 sized filofax style notebook that I bought as part of my Random Wish Roleplay Stuff challenge.  This got me thinking about...

What Should the Perfect Gamer Notebook Look Like?

The criteria are simple.  It needs to be:

  • Sturdy and Secure - Your notebook will get tossed into a bag and rattle around with all of your other Roleplay gear so a sturdy cover is essential.  An elastic ribbon or similar to keep it all closed up would be double handy too.

  • Good for Mapping - Having squared paper is essential when you get tasked with being the map scribe for the night.

  • Lined for Legibility - My penmanship is not great at the best of times so having lined paper is an essential to keep your notes in check

  • Good for Sketches - Sometimes you just need a space to sketch.  Maybe it's a character portrait, maybe an object or a symbol.  Having an unlined plain white background is useful if you want to digitise the image

  • Session Info - A space where you can write that all important session info like date or session number.  Very helpful when you are playing multiple different games.

  • Loose Pages - Having ring bound pages is a great way to keep your campaign notes organised.

  • Compact and Bijoux - Let's face it by the time you have your rulebooks, character sheet, pencils, dice and tray, snacks and a drink on the table there's not much room left.  Having a large A4 sized notebook is probably a step too far, A5 is about the maximum size for the cramped playspace and still be a useable size.

Have you seen a great notebook.  If so pop a comment in the box below.

Roleplay Notebook


Out of The Abyss - Janek Boone's Story - Part 1

Out of the Abyss is a Dungeons and Dragons (DnD 5e) game set in the Underdark.  Play takes place  every Friday night at Dragons Keep Roleplay Club in Chislehurst South East London.  The Dungeon Master is Joshua.

Cast of Characters

  • Janek Boone - Human Champion (Tony)
  • Targonis - Wood Elf Ranger (Nero)
  • Aur - Aarakocra Rogue (Suresh)
  • Selya Skag - Vedalken Alchemist Artificer (Daniel)
  • Sunna Mortas - Tiefling Sorceror (Jo)

Captured by Drow

All that Janek remembers is that he was in the employ of the wizard Marek Mardoolin on an expedition to find rare fungi, plants and herbs for his laboratory.  They were surrounded by Drow who used their poison crossbows to subdue him.  When he woke he was in a slave pen in their underground stronghold.

Over the next couple of days more slaves were added to pen, in fact it was becoming a veritable menagerie of species.  Accompanying Janek and the others were:  

  • Bupido - A relentlessly optimistic Derro (Deep Dwarf)
  • Derendel - A Quaggoth who claimed he was an elven prince under an enchantment
  • Ront - An Orc who had run away from a battle between his clan and some Dwarves
  • Eldreth Faldren - A female Dwarf who was the focus of Ront's anger.
  • Shuu-Shar The Awakened - A Kuotoa mystic who spent most of his time in meditation
  • Stool - A Myconid child who exuded spores which enabled telepathic communication
  • Topsy & Turvy - Twin Deep Gnomes
  • Jim Jar - A Deep Gnome with a penchant for gambling
  • Sarith Kzekarit - A Drow garment merchant slung in gaol for murdering his brother

Night after night the slaves would gather in Stool's spore cloud to silently discuss their escape plans.  The following day they would try them out.  All their attempts ended in failure no matter how they tested the Gaol and the Drow's defences.  They always seemed to be out numbered or outwitted by the vicious commander of the Drow outpost and her guards and Quaggoth labourers.  

The outpost, which they learned was called Velkynvelve, consisted of a series of hollowed out stalactites hanging from the roof of a chasm.  The stalactites and caves which dotted the chasm walls were connected to each other by a series of wooden walkways.  The floor of the chasm could be accessed by a rope elevator which was always attended by two Quaggoth at the top and two at the bottom.  A fast flowing waterfall cascaded down the chasm wall into a murky pool below and three tunnels exited the chasm.  The entire chasm was filled with fine tracery of spiderwebs and their incessant chittering echoed throughout.   

After Ront was cruelly beaten and tossed over the chasm edge to become food for the giant spiders, the slaves were beginning to lose hope.  However, during the night the outpost was attacled by dark shadows.  The deposed Drow commander came to them during the attack and released them.  He told them that the outpost was being attacked by Demons and that he had unfinished business to attend to.  Their only chance of escape was to jump into the pool below.

Amid the sounds of ferocious battle from the chasm floor, they shuffled in their manacles towards the barracks where their equipment was stored.  Crossing the wooden bridge into the first stalactite they surprised three Drow donning their armour and quickly sent them to the afterlife.  Grabbing their weapons they made the short journey to the barracks.  The Drow must have all been engaged in the fight against the demons because their path was unimpeded.  

Aur used his lockpicks to release the slaves manacles and the to unlock Skag's pet ooze Nug from his tiny cage.  They donned their armour and followed the Drow's instructions jumping into the pool below.  As they emerged from the water a giant grey ooze rose out of the pool attacking them.  They valiantly battled the ooze gradually reducing it to a pool of scum floating on the water.    

With no time to spare they dashed for the first exit past a dying demon.  The tiefling engaged in a brief infernal conversation with the demon who intimated that they had picked up "the scent" and followed it to this outpost.  He died shortly after.

Shu-Shar excitedly told them that this tunnel would lead them to his home on the shores of the Dark Lake some eight days journey.  The slaves quickened their pace and it was only then that they realised that Jim Jar was missing...


Friday, 3 September 2021

Sector 55 Blues - Prog 15 - What the flute?

Sector 55 Blues is a Judge Dredd Campaign using the Savage Dredd unnofficial Savage Worlds Expansion.  This is an online only game with members from Dragons Keep Roleplay Club.

The Mesa

The Judges ride the construction elevator to an entrance cave carved out by natural forces millenia ago.  Judging by the attempted oppulance of marble floors and abundant synthetic plants, this is clearly the lair of Muldoon.  The unmistakeable "salon aesthetic" harkens back to his previous life and is a way of distancing himself from the unclean realities of live in the Cursed Earth.

4 corridors lead off this grand reception chamber.  To the left a communications centre, to the right a guardroom and kitchen.  The corridor dead ahead ends in a pair of oppulent wooden doors.

The Judges deal swiftly with the mulgoons who defend the comms centre and a platoon of guards.

The Throne Room

Entering through the double doors the Judges come face to face with the two men, Nesbitt, who sits at the foot of a small dais and the other, Muldoon, sitting on an ornate gold painted throne.

Hammer tells them they are under arrest and that they are to be taken back to Mega City One.Muldoon cries "At last.  You don't know how long I've waited to hear those words".

Puzzled the Judges listen to the harrowing tale of how Vidal Muldoon, celebrity hairdresser to the stars, through no fault of his own became tragically marooned in the Cursed Earth and presumed dead.  He spares no details including how Dapper John, one of his more talented stylists rose up in the wake of his dissapearance and assumed control of all his business assets.  He goes on to explain how he discovered and learned to tame the Cursed Earth Hair Beasts with the help of a local named Cross-eyed Jethro and assumed the mantle of Lord Muldoon bringing law and order to the desperate citizens of the cursed Earth. 

Hammer explains that Nesbitt is wanted for heinous crimes that have endangered the lives of millions of citizens and resulted in many deaths.  Muldoon is an accessory to that manslaughter and will face trial.  Muldoon seems unphased and profers his hands awaiting arrest.  

"Perhaps the Chief Justice will be lenient with me once I have dealt with your infestation?" says muldoon brandishing a silver flute.

"Above my paygrade!" says Hammer and slaps him in cuffs.

Nesbitt pulls a stub gun and grabs Muldoon shouting "You aint gonna take me in Mr Polis".  Cully drops to her knees and fires a well aimed GP round through Nesbitt's arm knocking the gun from his hand.

"One more word out of you and it will be your last" she orders.

Escape from the Cursed Earth

Escorting the pair back to the elevator they survey the scenes of chaos below.  Hair beasts of all sizes run amok slaughtering mulgoons and oil rig workers with impunity.  

"That ways a nogo" says Uthred we'll have to go up.

The elevator clunks to a stop and the gate swings open onto the top of the mesa.  A barren windswept plateau from which they can see for at least a hundred miles.

The familiar shape of an enormous flapping black cloud of Rad Birds approaches from the south.  

"Drokk, I hate Rad Birds!" exclaims Teal as the swarm approaches.

Suddenly a pair of piercing lights emerges from the centre of the cloud bursting through like an angelic messenger.  An H-Wagon thunders towards the cliff edge and slews itself in a neat 180 as the cargo ramp descends.

"Judge Ezquerra sent us, Get in!!" shouts the H-Wagon crew member over the howling scream of the turbolifters.

They bundle safely inside and strap themselves into the flight chairs.  The pilot guns the throttles and the ship tears into the sky to safety.

The Aftermath

Muldoon is warmly received by Chief Judge and ably assists the Justice department in rounding up all the hair beasts with recordings from his flute.  Never one to let an opportunity of boutiful protein go to waste the beasts are hurded into Resyk facilities in every sector.  After a week the menace is dealt with and a city wide day of celebration is held.

Chief Judge

The centrepiece of that celebration is an elaborate citizenship ceremony in which Vidal Muldoon is formally reintroduced as a full citizen of Mega City One conveying all rights and responsibilities upon him.

Before the synthi-ink is dry on his paperwork, the Chief Judge arrests Muldoon and charges him with willfull endangerment of the city and the mass slaughter of thousands of innocent civilians in the Cursed Earth.  He is summarily stripped of his citizenship and marched off to the East Wall to be evicted back into the Cursed Earth.

"Let that be a lesson to anyone who thinks that The Law doesn't reach beyond the Great East Wall!!"   

Sector 55 Blues - Prog 14 - Black Gold Mesa

Sector 55 Blues is a Judge Dredd Campaign using the Savage Dredd unnofficial Savage Worlds Expansion.  This is an online only game with members from Dragons Keep Roleplay Club.

The tunnel north is wide enough to comfortably ride in pairs and the judges have a relatively uneventful journey for a bout 50 miles until they reach a tick steel bulkead with a large synthisteel barred gate which is locked.  The tunnel beyond seems roughly hewn from the rock and after a short break whilst they unbar the gates they are once again travelling north but now in single file.  

The powerful lights of the Lawmasters illuminate the tunnel giving them just enough warning when a giant hairbeast rears up and blocks the tunnel.  Hammer blasts a hole through the giant hairy mound and they ride through the gaping wound unimpeded.

Several hours later they near the mouth of the tunnel and look out onto a blasted hellscape.

The Mesa dominates the skyline in the distance surrounded by hundreds of oil pumps and derricks which nod up and down in unison as though they are praying to a giant God.

Black Gold Mesa

To the east of the mesa lies some kind of refinery installation nestled up to the side of the huge mound of rock like a suckling child.  The Judges stay hidden in the tunnel and recce the scene as the night starts to draw in.

Their patience pays off and they establish that there are three groups of mulgoons which appear to be patrolling in a pattern.  A small window of opportunity exists where the eastern most one group is far enough away that they could isolate them and take them out without raising the alarm.  They successfully subdue the guards and strip them of their overalls, tying them up in one of the shacks that sits beside an oil well.  Suitably attired they plan their attack.

Running up the South wall of the Mesa appears to be a construction elevator.  This is their way in, but they need a diversion which will allow them to get across to the elvator.  After much discussion the team finally agree that they will sacrifice one of the lawmasters and send it on a suicide mission to attack the refinery.  A few well placed cyclops blasts should blow the place sky high.  Whilst the mulgoons deal with the inferno the Judges will cross the oil field and ascend the elevator.

The team approach the edge of the oil field and remote pilot the bike in a wide sweeping curve towards the refinery.  The plan goes off without a hitch and the brave little lawmaster dutifuly attacks the refinery blasting left and right until it's batteries are almost drained.  With an almighty roar the refinery explodes into an inferno, a mushroom cloud rising up in the desert like an atomic bomb test.  The lawmaster continues to wheel around like a rodeo horse shooting its cannon at the whitless mulgoons as they rush to put out the refinery fire. Eventually with it's ammo spent it initiates its self destruct sequence making a large crater in the dirt.

The diversion enables the Judges to cross the desert floor dodging one group of panicked mulgoons after another.  As they ascend the elevator they marvel at the destructive capabilities of just one little lawmaster. 

Next Prog ->

Back Issues

Prog 1 - Suits You Sir - Mosh 55 rob Zlooty Slute's Suits You and a body is discovered.

Prog 2 - Hair Today Gone Tomorrow - Rock Dwayneson's apartment and carnage at the Yes-A-Bout

Prog 3 - It's Ugly Out There - Fun and Games at the Ugly Pageant 

Prog 4 - Down, Down, Deeper and Down - Entering the sewers under RESYK

Prog 5 - The Big Wig - Confronting the beast below the city

Prog 6 - Last Orders at The Two Ways Pub - A shootout in Sector 163

Prog 7 - Into the Cursed Earth - Judge Ezquerra orders a manhunt 

Prog 8 - Avast Me Hearties It's the Easter Pirate Kangaroo - Black Ice Kanga 

Prog 9 - Scav City and the Pirate King - A Deal is Made

Prog 10 - On a Road to Nowhere - A mutie farmstead is attacked by Mulgoons.

Prog 11 - Just Some Good Ole Boys - A Gas Station called Nowhere 

Prog 12 - Rad Birds, I Hate Rad Birds! - Absolutely not Stirges, honestly.

Prog 13 - The Lawman Outpost - What secrets await in Outpost 12? 

Thursday, 2 September 2021

Sector 55 Blues - Prog 13 - The Lawman Outpost

Sector 55 Blues is a Judge Dredd Campaign using the Savage Dredd unnofficial Savage Worlds Expansion.  This is an online only game with members from Dragons Keep Roleplay Club.

No Plan Survives Contact With The Enemy

The Judges spend some time observing the mulgoons in the valley below and decide that the best plan of attack is to divide and conquer in a pincer movement.  

Sweeping down from the valley walls they thunder towards the two in two formations catching the mulgoons by surprise.  Judge Teal with Uthred riding pillion fires his cyclops laser at the front of a saloon.  The white hot beam carves the vehicle neatly in two halves like a hot knife through butter.  As the two halves peel away from each other Teal expertly guides his bike through the middle and the Judges pick off the passengers with their lawgivers.  Cully approaches the East side and deals summary justice to a van as it is accelerates towards them.  The Mulgoons are no match for well trained judges and the remaining vehicles are taken out of commission swiftly.

Rounding the 30ft high structure reveals a large 20 foot high blast door in the north wall with a sand scoured and faded number 12 painted in a familiar justice department font.  On the right hand door a small metal panel is etched with an outstretched palm print.  Placing her hand on the panel Judge Cully notices a thin green laser beam shoot out and read the barcode on the underside of her wrist.

A confirmatory bleep and then a few moments later the sounds of whirring and clanking machinery issue from the structure.  Large Synthisteel bolts are withdrawn and the doors begin to crack open.

The interior of the structure is bare with the exception of the large square cargo elevator and numerous gantry cranes and walkways which crisscross the ceiling.  A control podium stands in one corner of the elevator.  Wiping its dusty fascia clean reveals a small cross section map and three subterranean levels:

  • S1: Administration, Medical and Communications
  • S2: Armory, Barracks and Motor Pool
  • S3: Power Room    

Sub Level 1 - The Judges search the floor and find a well stocked medical center but without the customary autodocs and sleeppods that would be a staple feature of a sector house med centre.  In fact this facility looks like it has been abandoned for decades.  They patch themselves up as best they can after their recent encounter with the Rad Birds.

Sub Level 2 - It is clear that this floor has been stripped clean of the most useful pieces of Equipment.  The judges hopes are lifted when in one corner of the motor pool they discover the familiar silhouette of an H-Wagon.  On closer ispection this is but a shell of its former glory having been stripped of all its engines avionics and comms gear.  The Judges find an array of old stub guns and ammunition several bazookas and two flight cases containing mint condition MK1 Lawmasters. Cully takes a shine to one of the bazookas and packs 10 rounds just in case.

Searching the Barracks they discover a series of lockers each assigned to a previous owner going by the array of names etched into their magnetic ID plates.  Inside are vacuum packed bags containing vintage  Judge uniforms.  Noone has been seen wearing the "Ol' bubble dome" helmets in years but their current outfits have seen better days.


Sub Level 3 - The Power Room is filled with a mass of machinery, boilers, generators and water treatment tanks.  A dark service tunnel dominates the north wall and is filled with many pipes and conduits.  It clearly leads somewhere.

Cully and Hammer return to Level 1 to see if they can't ressurect the ancient communications array and get a signal out to someone back home.  The outpost seems to be running on back up power and all non essential systems are off.  

Teal and Uthred descend to Level 3 to see if they can get the power back on.  Uthred's affinity with machines pays off and he determines that the outpost has run low on fuel, in fact the tanks are almost empty.  Despite several attempts to fill the tanks using the control panel, it appears there is a malfunction in a valve.  They trace the pipes that feed the fuel tanks back into the mouth of the tunnel.  proceeding about a hundred metres into the tunnel they discover the valve whose servo appears to have burnt out.  Manually turning the valve gets the gas flowing.  Flush with success they don't notice the three hair beasts creep up on them and attack.

Meanwhile on Level 1, Cully and Hammer have realised that the transmitter power is weak.  The outposts antenna must have been damaged and they resolve to climb up the service shaft onto the roof and see if it can be fixed. Grabbing some basic electrical repair tools they begin the climb.

On the roof is a storm battered antenna mast and a broken satellite dish.  The cables from the comms room enter a junction box at the base of the mast.  The cover is loose and it looks like some small rodent got in here and chewed the cables.  An easy repair for Judge Hammer, but Judge Cully spies a dark cloud approaching from the south.  A flock of angry rad birds, approaching fast.

Teal and Uthred deal with the hairbeasts in short order and return to the relative safety of the power room.  The fuel tank fills to above its minimum mark quickly and they restore the outpost to operational power levels.

On the roof Judge Hammer frantically splices cables as the rad birds approach.  Cully fires a bazooka round into their midst and a firey ball erupts diminishing their number but not enough to deter them and they begin to swoop down.  As Cully begins firing grenade rounds at the swarm, Hammer finishes his repairs and reaches round with an incendiary round.  A white hot ball of phosphor flame catches the leading edge of the swarm and the birds wheel away giving the pair of Judges just enough time to ext the roof and slam the iron access door down as the birds slam into it.  A close call. 

Contact

Reassembling in the comms room the Judges finally manage to get a strong enough signal out to Mega City One using an old morse code unit that probably hasn't seen action in 100 years.  They punch in a request for an H-Wagon and that they have located the suspect at Black Gold Mesa.

A message comes back

 +++ ALERT CODE BLACK ALPHA CITY IN QUARANTINE NO REINFORCEMENTS COMPLETE YOUR MISSION GOOD LUCK +++

The team know that Black Alpha is a city wide threat event and that they are on their own from here.

The only thing they can do is see where that tunnel leads and maybe, just maybe they can get to Black Gold Mesa and find Nesbitt.

Next Prog ->

Back Issues

Prog 1 - Suits You Sir - Mosh 55 rob Zlooty Slute's Suits You and a body is discovered.

Prog 2 - Hair Today Gone Tomorrow - Rock Dwayneson's apartment and carnage at the Yes-A-Bout

Prog 3 - It's Ugly Out There - Fun and Games at the Ugly Pageant 

Prog 4 - Down, Down, Deeper and Down - Entering the sewers under RESYK

Prog 5 - The Big Wig - Confronting the beast below the city

Prog 6 - Last Orders at The Two Ways Pub - A shootout in Sector 163

Prog 7 - Into the Cursed Earth - Judge Ezquerra orders a manhunt 

Prog 8 - Avast Me Hearties It's the Easter Pirate Kangaroo - Black Ice Kanga 

Prog 9 - Scav City and the Pirate King - A Deal is Made

Prog 10 - On a Road to Nowhere - A mutie farmstead is attacked by Mulgoons.

Prog 11 - Just Some Good Ole Boys - A Gas Station called Nowhere 

Prog 12 - Rad Birds, I Hate Rad Birds! - Absolutely not Stirges, honestly.