The road to Triton

June 23, 2011

I’ve been itching to get gaming for some time now. Some problems exist, though:

  1. I’m not in a competitive frame of mind.
  2. Instead of miniature gaming, I’ve been wanting to get a role-playing game going.
  3. Building an actual RPG scenario, let alone a campaign is far too much work.

My problems were insta-solved, however, when I had the idea to combine miniatures with a bit of light role-playing. Of course this is just on a conceptual level currently, but I believe it will work. I’ve talked about adding narrative to wargaming before, and even posted a werewolf game report featuring such a union. I wanted to try a similar approach, but make it a bit more involved: a full campaign instead of a few scenarios, experience and skill development, named characters, things like that. And so Triton-4 was born.

Triton-4 will be a small warpg campaign detailing the efforts of a Colonial Marine force to establish a foothold on the planet Triton-4. T-4 is a jungle planet filled with all sorts of nastiness, so doubtless the CM will have their work cut out for them. The scenarios will feature a fairly strong narrative element to keep things interesting, and the whole thing will be an affair for two players and a game masters, the latter being yours truly. Two of my friends didn’t need much persuading to join up as well – they do a lot of co-op gaming on the PC and are into miniatures (at least 50% of them is) and RPGs.

There are loads of good sides to a project like this. First and foremost it is a great source of inspiration. I have loads of stuff to do: tons of Colonial Marines to paint and plenty of terrain to finish. I also used the printer and laminating device at work, and made some exploration cards to be used in scenarios – see below. In case you’re wondering why a group of three Finnish gamers is using English cards, it’s simply because I figured I’d share the cards with interested parties later on.

Click for a larger version

Secondly it’s been a great excuse to spend some more money. I have a bunch of bits, like crates, barrels and containers, coming in from Ainsty. They will be used to make a base camp for the CMs to venture out from. I also happened to spot a 40% sale at Victory Force Miniatures and picked up a bunch of their not-Star Trek spacefarers, who are generic enough to be used as civilian/scientist types. For the game system I picked Ganesha Games’ Flying Lead. FL uses the Song of Blades and Heroes mechanics, which make for a quick, intuitive game. The same basic mechanics are used in Fear and Faith, the system I used in gaming the werewolf game linked to above.

A third, important thing is that a narrative campaign is not really a competitive affair. The players are co-operating, and just like in a RPG, the focus is mostly on creating a fun, interesting story instead of fighting tooth and nail for absolute victory. I’ve already told the players that the scenarios will not always be fair. It might be a scientist and a single Marine against a jungle full of wild beasts, for example. There are always reinforcements available, the main competitive aspects are going to be things like keeping your more experienced troopers alive and trying to complete scenarios successfully to maybe gain rewards or an edge later on. Just like in RPGs the scenarios will need to be challenging. Not impossible, not too easy. There are plenty of victory conditions available to choose from. The hypothetical scientist/Marine pair might have an objective to survive a set number of rounds, or to reach a communication uplink or whatever. As both of my victims players are experienced RP gamers, the idea will not be hard to sell. This should bring to the table the most important thing in gaming for me: fun.

I’ll be chronicling the campaign as it progresses, as well as associated terrain building and miniature painting. Hopefully that will also increase my commitment to the project, as I have a terrible tendency to not finish miniature gaming projects that I’ve started.


  1. Good to hear, look forward to updates.


  2. Sounds sweet! Are you using an existing rules set or making your own?


    • Thanks for the comments, guys! I’m using Flying Lead for the gaming itself, and a simple experience system using FL’s skill and advance lists.


  3. This all sounds very interesting. Make sure that you document the whole process if you can.

    Everything from the terrain making to the miniature purchases to the scenario design to the after action reports interests me, so lay it on thick 🙂

    I find documenting this sort of thing helps to keep me motivated to get closer to the end of projects. With a bit of luck extensive coverage might help you to stick with Triton-4 to the end too.


    • Thanks Paul, that’s a great idea. I’ll do my best to document this whole process. Maybe the first post after this introductory one should be a look at what I already have? What else would you like to see? Ideas are more than welcome!


  4. Great idea. RPG-lite is growing in popularity significantly. A great halfway house that can have as much RP as the players have time for.


    • Thanks for the comment Ad. I’m becoming a firm fan of RPG-lite, as occasionally I actually want to use all those miniatures I’ve collected and painted in the last 15 years. With WHFB steadily becoming worse and more unappealing, I need my fix elsewhere. Then again plain, stand-up wargaming isn’t that appealing either. That’s why projects like this one really provide me with loads of inspiration.


  5. Just what I had in mind when reading “Justifiers – Missing in Action” by Christoph Hardebusch 🙂 A group of special forces (Justifiers) strands on a jungle planet together with a group of scientists and try to survive against a jungle full of foreign creatures and the forces of another con (Mega concerns owning whole star systems) that try to claim they where the first ones to explore this newfound world.
    They have to secure the crash site, establish a save base camp around there somewhere, defend against attacking creatures / forces and explore the jungle in search of their lost equipment (in the book the parts for a transport portal)…

    Perfect gaming material.

    My idea was to pick 5150 (THW) as the game system and adapt it to my needs.
    Maybe if we both finish the project (I seem to have the same weakness in finishing gaming projects) we can compare the results. Now I just have to find a blogging site 😉


    • Thanks for the comment Stefan, that book sounds like an interesting read! Would you recommend it? Certainly sounds like it would be very useful for ideas.

      I’ve never been that taken with the THW system, with its reaction tests and whatnot. I have played CR and ATZ, but neither of them grabbed me like Ganesha Games’ rules did. The fact that the books are quite poorly edited doesn’t really help. Anyway, good luck with your project! If you really are looking for a good blogging site, I recommend http://www.wordpress.com.


      • I would absolutely recommend it, especially as inspiration for this project, but I doubt your German is fluent enough for an enjoyable read, Mikko. 🙂
        If you want to prove me wrong: http://www.amazon.com/Justifiers-Missing-Action-Justifiers-Roman-ebook/dp/B004P1J3MG
        Since Markus Heitz (author of “The Dwarves”) bought the Justifiers Universe rights and started with “Collector”, Justifiers novels written by known German Fantasy & Sci-Fi authors pop up almost every two months now. But I think it could take a while for them to be translated, if ever.

        Anyway, I think I will have a look at the Ganesha Games’ rules if you recommend them. Maybe I will change my mind 🙂
        I’ll try to keep you updated on my progress.


        • Hahah, you’re right about my German, unfortunately. While I can just about order at a restaurant and understand news headlines, scifi would certainly be far beyond my reach. Just have to hope that they’re translated eventually!


    • Mikko, I thought I’d let you about that special Victory Force offers containing these spacefarers you mentioned in your post (Thanks for pointing to them as that was exactly what I was looking for).
      5 Packs for the price of 3. If you did not purchase them already, now would be a good time. 😉


  6. Thanks for the tip, although I already purchased my fill of them with VFM’s 40% discount on single minis. Very nice miniatures, even if some of them are suffering from a short arm syndrome. They should paint up nice anyway, looking forward to starting work on them.


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