Archive for the ‘Pulp & Horror Skirmish’ Category

NUTS! War Without End coming in June 2011

April 24, 2011

NUTS! War Without End draft cover art

Here’s a sneak peak at the cover art — all the weird war madness you could ever want in one book!

NUTS! Weird War 2 first draft rules in playtest

April 21, 2011

Whew! The initial hard rules grinding for NUTS! Weird War 2 is done and now it’s time to try and break ’em with playtesting. I’ve found that while what you’ve written is self-evidently brilliant and ground breaking (to yourself!), the real test is when someone not close to the rules takes a read and says “What is this gibberish!?!”

“Why, what do you mean?,” says the brilliant rules author.

“I can’t understand what these rules are supposed to do, this modifier chart is too complex, I don’t get why that unit does what it does, and what about this other rule that blows up the game by unbalancing the thing-a-ma-jingy charge against the whats-it-whose-it?”

“Oh,” says deflated less than brilliant rules author. “I hadn’t thought of that…”

So thanks to those who’ve stepped forward to help playtest. If you’d like to help, just drop me a line and I can send you a draft!

DUST Tactics & 28mm GearKrieg works in progress

November 15, 2010

Just got the Dust Tactics basic game, lots of great stuff inside — but what I REALLY like are the Panzermechs!! I dunno why they call then “Robots” in the game since even by the time of WW2 that had come to mean an automaton, a self-directed machine rather than a human piloted machine. Oh well, suffice it to say that I love Panzermechs. First order of business will be to modify the mech’s with some new paint jobs and details. I will be adding TCs and gear to them, for example. I have also revived a fallow project to do a GearKrieg style mech. Using the Shapeways 3-D printing service I have had mech legs created for a mech body based off of a 1/56th scale Stuart tank. At $35 for a set of 3-D printed legs its steep, so I will do some resin casting experiments to make the rest.

The goal is to have a PanzerMech Zug on the German side and a ‘Mech platoon on the US side. More postings as this project progresses.

Dust "Mickey" and home-brewed Gear 'mechs

Dust "Mickey" and Gear 'Mech in progress

Coppers and Cultists

June 19, 2010

Coppers and Cultists

“Remember, these mugs are with the Zamboni outfit – so look sharp. They did some pretty nasty things to take over the Irish Gang’s bootlegging operation with the help of some local penny ante thugs, the Marsh Boys –including killing an Agent, so it’s shoot first and ask questions later. Got it?”

The mumbled yes sirs were vocal enough to reassure the G-man, Agent Jones of the FBI. He’d been working on the Zamboni operation for months and wasn’t about to let some flatfoot local coppers screw things up, that’s why he’d brought along several agents from the local Bureau office. He glanced over at Tess Trueheart from the Daily Tattler…he didn’t like her being along, but the Bureau Chief gave her an exclusive for some reason.

The two cars turned off their headlights and crept to a stop short of their objective by the coast, the ruins of the Marsh house, and storehouse for a bootlegging operation from Canada. As the G-men and Coppers got out quietly and advanced on their objective they heard a strange, deep montone chanting. What the Sam Hill are they up to?

Time for a little switch here. I ran a small skirmish game between G-men and Police, and a mixed bag of mobsters and cultists…and Deep Ones. Yep, Deep Ones! Unbeknownst to our G-men, the Marsh Boys are trying to summon a little help from their brethren off the coast while some fidgety mobsters try to figure out what’s keeping their shipment from Canada. The rules were a mash-up of Larger Than Life and CR3/Gangsters.

The Good Guys:

Agent Jones: Rep 5, Star, Hard as Nails

Tess Trueheart, Reporter:  Rep 4, Lucky

Agents: Rep 4 Crack Shot, Rep 4 Fast, Rep 4

Cops: Rep 4

The Bad Guys:

GrandPa Marsh: Rep 5, Star, Strong Willed, Magic

Mobsters: Rep 4

Cultists: Rep 3, Fanatic (+2 Rep to non-combat reaction rolls)

Deep Ones: Rep 5, Terrifying, Melee attack: Impact 2

Opening Scene. Night. Ruins of the Marsh House. Visibility 14”

The G-Men and Coppers advanced on the Marsh house under a gibbous moon, leering from the sky with a necrotic amber glow…the angry crashing waves of the nearby sea shore makes it difficult to hear anything. They spot several cars parked in front of the house, the red glow of cigarettes betrays the position of the guards.

The G-Men advance on the Marsh house

The G-Man Star decides to play it by the book and demand their surrender. He advances into sight and barks a command, “This is the FBI! You are surrounded, put your hands in the air!” A Talk the Talk roll (from 5150) was made…doh! The G-man completely blew it and the Mobsters yell back, “Eat lead, G-Man!!” and open fire, hitting the Star and Knocking him Down.

The Star is Down! Well, for now...

The rest of the G-Men and Coppers move forward triggering In Sight tests from the mobsters, and a nasty short range firefight ensues – pistols, rifles, Tommy Guns, BARs and shotguns blazing away. Cultists and Mobsters fall like ten-pins at a bowling alley, but the G-men take their hits as well.

G-men and Mobsters blaze away at each other

A Mobster Ducks Back out of the fight

The G-men decide to sweep to the left of the house, chasing some fleeing mobsters.  As they move by the house some Cultists cut loose with shotguns and pistols, injuring some officers and killing one more. After a point blank fire fight (between 3” to 4” range) and some hand-to-hand combat, the G-men scatter the crazy cultists.

G-men and Cultists in a fierce close quarters fight

As they step onto the beach, two more crazed cultists, screaming “Ia! Ia!” charge into melee, hacking down a police officer with a machete, and then menacing Tess Trueheart. She gets a close snapshot as the G-Man Star guns them down with his Colt .45. The remainder of the Mobsters make a break for it yelling, “I ain’t getting paid to get gunned down by a G-Man, I’m just here for the beer!!”

Tess takes a close shot!! Her Editor will be happy.

The G-men push onto the beach

As the Scene falls quiet, a rising, guttural chanting rises in volume into a crescendo. The G-Men cautiously advance onto the beach towards the shapes they see near the water. It’s GrandPa Marsh, who finally makes a successful Summoning roll after blowing it turn after turn! Rising out of the water are several Deep Ones whose sudden appearance forces a Morale Test. Two Coppers see the aquatic nasties clearly and their world view shatters under the weight of new knowledge – they run screaming from the table. Luckily for the other Coppers and G-Men they can’t make the Deep Ones out that clearly and cut loose with a withering fusillade of weapons fire as the Deep Ones charge.

Deep Ones rise from the ocean and attack!

BUDDA-BUDDA-KAPOW-CRACK-BAM! And several Deep Ones fall, Out of the Fight. At this point GrandPa Marsh orders the retreat, and his brethren from the deeps gather up their fallen and plunge back into the ocean with Marsh in tow.

I would have summoned Cthulhu if not for you meddlesome G-men!

The G-men report that a Portuguese smuggling gang using Deep Sea Diving gear to bring booze ashore had teamed up with local KKK and Mobsters on the bootlegging operation they foiled. It was a deadly encounter, and aside from several officers killed and injured, two seem to be suffering from combat fatigue and are mighty jumpy.

A bit anti-climactic as the Deep Ones didn’t arrive until it was basically too late, and then the Cops almost all passed their Morale/Sanity test with lucky rolls. The Deep Ones that tried charging got creamed by small arms fire. But there will be a rematch — as GrandPa Marsh screamed in fury as he retreated into the sea, “You’ll rue this day! I’ll have my vengeance upon you ALL!!”

NKVD Special Action Brigade

April 13, 2010

Now that our intrepid team has survived a Zed attack, they’ve been roped into an NKVD “Special Action Brigade,” or Специальные бригады действий. This is a loose command structure which allows the NKVD to create both dedicated core teams and ad-hoc teams of members pulled from various units for special missions to deal with the German occult threat. Oops…metaphysical threat, since according to doctrine there can be nothing “Occult” since religion is a sop for the masses…therefore there can be no “Occult” (which would imply higher and lower powers), just physical laws we don’t yet understand.

So the NKVD’s Metaphysics Research Bureau, or Метафизика-исследовательское бюро, is tasked with understanding and combating the German threat and delving into these poorly understood aspects of science — from spoon bending and remote viewing to zombies and “magic.”

Looks like this special unit deserves a back history!

NUTS! Hell on Earth – The Dead Rise in Stalingrad

April 10, 2010

It had been a hard fight, but they’d won the day and captured the Apartment block, a natural fort of brick and stone in this neighborhood of Stalingrad. As night fell the Lieutenant warned his men to be prepared for a German counter attack.

“We have driven the invaders from this building, but they are like locusts – they will be back. Comrades, be on guard for their counter attack,” said Lt. Morozov. “Pavel, upper story, keep a good watch on the approach to the building with your LMG. The rest, build barricades and make ready. The second floor will be our fall back position – we will NOT abandon this building! Not one step back!”

Urraahh! Urraahh!

They didn’t have long to wait before a German tannoy rattled into life, the tinny echoes of guttural Germanic chanting filled the air.

“What’s he saying?”

“How do I know? Maybe, ‘Oh, Pavel, what a cute boy you are, give me a kiss.’”

HRRNNNN….GRAWWWWW…eerie moaning and grunts filled the air, and a keening, howling wind swept over the building…shadows stirred…

“What was that? Look out, that German’s faking it, get him!!”

A German rose up behind Pavel, and Igor put a full burst from his SMG into him…and to his horror the German continued un-phased and grabbed Pavel with inhuman strength, leaning in to bite out the man’s throat. The dead had risen, and a new hell stalked the ruins of Stalingrad.

German Zombie attacks without warning!

This game was a continuation of an historical 28mm skirmish set in the ruins of Stalingrad. The Soviet players had taken their objective during the day, and now must defend it during the night from a horde of zombies summoned by a German sorcerer. Night rules were in effect, limiting visibility to just 12″, except for areas illuminated by burning vehicles or debris.

To simulate surprise the zombies (run by the GM) had automatic initiative on the first round, and the Soviet players had a -1REP on initiative for 1d3 extra rounds (the rolled a 2, so for two rounds had a penalty).  Given that German and Russian casualties had been marked with painted casualty figures, these served as the initial starting point of the zombie attack. All dead figures were replaced with zombies, and those inside the apartment building created shock among the Soviet players. In the first turn the LMG gunner, Pavel, was killed in hand-to-hand combat by a Zombie, which rolled only 1 turn of “munch time” on his corpse. On the lower floor of the apartment the Black Devils came under immediate heavy attack.  Occupying the left side of the building, the scene of heavy fighting, there were a half dozen corpses that animated and attacked the Soviet naval infantry.

The Black Devils face a zombie onslaught.

BRAAAPPP! KA-POW! KA-POW! The Black Devil’s leader, Sgt. Petrov, blasted the head off a zombie, an important event (scored a “1” on his Damage roll, an Obviously Dead roll) which would save many lives later. But Pvt. Uvarov was not as lucky. He passed 0d6 on his Zombie Insight test and froze in shock, and when two zombies grappled with him all he could do was scream as they started feasting. Pvt. Feodorovich panicked at seeing his friend eaten (Pass 0d6 on See Zombie Feast) and turned to flee. Sgt, Petrov rallied him and the two functional Black Devils stood back to back in his defense as he tried to come to his sense, PPSh SMGs blazing, hand grenades shredding zombie flesh – one blast in the door sent zombies tumbling,  another in the stairwell threw zombie chunks about.

Man Down! Black Devils and Zombies at close quarters.

The Militsya and Red Army troops occupying the right half of the building were faring better. Armed mostly with rifles their lower volume of fire attracted fewer zombies at first. (Lots of shots fired to keep track of for Zombie reinforcements – 18-20 dice a turn was pretty normal!! I ruled that this volume of zombies could only keep up for 1d6+3 turns before the available viable corpses on the table were depleted.) Upstairs the Lieutenant decapitated the zombie that had killed Pavel, but not before one soldier had broken and fled gibbering into a corner. Lt.  Morozov raced down stairs to take charge of his fragile unit as zombies began climbing through windows and entering the front door. Crackshot Natalya was an island of calm, killing zombie after zombie with well placed headshots, and the Medic, Tatyana, dispatched a Zombie with her Tokarev pistol as it lunged at her.

Militsya and Red Army troops hold back the undead horde

Boris, however, had been dragged out through a window to disappear under a wave of hungry undead.

“Dmitri? Is that you, Dear God what is happening, no, no Dmitri! AAAAAHHHHH!!”

Dmitri!?! Is it you? How can this be possible!?!

Meanwhile, the Black Devils, were now reduced to two – despite their valiant efforts, zombies wait for no man and the terrified Pvt Feodorovich was torn to bits before he could recover. Sgt Petrov and Pvt Voinovich bolted for the other side of the building to join up with the Militsya, zombies shambling after them. They entered a scene of chaotic close quarters combat and gun fire. Petrov, seeing Natalya menaced by a wave of zombies, charged into hand to hand combat, pulling out his entrenching tool and fighting two zombies at once. HACK! CHOP! WHACK! He stove in skulls and cut off zombie heads with his makeshift axe.

Black Devils make a break for it!!

Petrov to the rescue!!

Death to all fascist zombies!!

“Fall back, fall back!! To the Second floor! Buistro, buistro!! Hurry, hurry!,” barked the Lieutenant. The survivors retreated up the stairs to the second floor, shoving furniture, corpses and debris into the stairwell to slow down the zombie horde.

The zombie horde -- relentless and merciless

More zombies clamber through the windows

Soviets fight their way to the second floor -- and relative safety

Wave after wave of zombies pushed up the stairs towards the Red Army troopers, only to be shot down, hacked apart and blasted to shreds, their bodies choking the stairwell. In the relative safety of the second floor the Soviets weathered out the zombie horde. When dawn broke and relief forces arrived, they were stunned at the carnage. In a city akin to hell, even hardened veterans swallowed hard at the scene that greeted them.

The NKVD’s “Special Unit” debriefed the survivors. “You saw nothing but war crazed fascists, Comrade, that is all you saw and all you will say. For your service to the Motherland you are awarded this medal.  Wear it proudly, and please do not forget that Comrade Stalin expects you to do your utmost for your people…this experience has made you uniquely qualified for special duties…we may call upon you in the service of the Rodina.  That is all…for now…”