Archive for the ‘Triton-4’ Category

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Utopia #3 – The hunters hunted

December 29, 2012

We just finished the third game of Utopia a few hours ago. If you’ve been following the progress of the campaign, you’ll know the last game ended with Sergeant Salt Brauer promising his superiors they’d make amends for killing the Predator they encountered – by capturing a live one. The orders were simple: no firearms, bring the creature back alive.Off went Utopia squad 16 (“The Sweet Sixteen” as they were instantly named), armed with tasers, flashbangs and a tranquilizer rifle, to bring down a Predator in the jungles of Triton-4. The squad’s sniper Wu managed to use his contacts in the munitions department to set himself up with some heavy duty poison darts for the tranq rifle. Hey, if the Predator died, it would be the scientists’ fault for supplying the wrong kind of darts! Meanwhile, trooper “Dog” Lau stole a thermal camera to help the squad get a bead on their prey.

With Cpl. Rodriguez injured and Pvt. Iljutsh dead, two new troopers joined the squad:

Pvt. Hämäläinen – a dour, quiet Finn. Hämäläinen keeps to himself and tends to his gear meticulously. His sullen mood prompted the squad’s medic Evans to arrange for Hämäläinen to receive a call from his mother to help his wellbeing.

Pvt. Bedford – the Brit Bedford is a passionate feminist. Coming from a career in private security and joining the military due to “workplace disagreements”, Bedford is a tough woman who can hold her own.

The squad moves out

The squad moves out

The squad set down and spread out towards three possible target sightings (we were using three Predator models on the table, with only one being the actual creature), with the exception of Pvt. Lau, who just happened to wander off alone – right into the line of sight of all the potential attackers. A moment later there was a flash of plasma, and Lau went down screaming. Before he fell, he managed to catch a glimpse of the attacker, eliminating the other two possibilities.

While the tech Ghillian ran to check on Lau, the squad turned their attention towards their so-called prey. At this point it became painfully obvious, that their weapons had a dreadfully poor range, and they would need to close with the Predator to actually knock it out.

The Predator wasn’t going to stand around waiting. Instead it charged out and impaled Pvt. Bedford with its wristblades. As the cloaked creature raised the screaming, thrashing trooper into the air, a wave of panic rippled through the squad. Brevet Corporal Haugen-Ankerson fled into the jungle, while a few others retreated. The squad was in shock over Bedford’s fate, and they were unable to stop the now de-cloaked Predator from charging across the clearing at Pvt. Ghillian. Having just checked that Lau was ok, Ghillian barely had time to register that she was under attack before the Predator’s vicious blades slashed her apart. Covered in blood and panicking, Lau clambered away on his hands and knees.

The last moments of Pvt. Ghillian

The prone Lau witnesses the last moments of Pvt. Ghillian

The creature’s charge had brought it out in the open, and Wu wasted no time. The sniper selected one of his poison darts and sent it into the Predator – to apparently no effect. The alien strode towards Lau, who desperately fired his taser. Laughing, the Predator tore out the darts and wires and then promptly keeled over, Wu’s potent poison working its way through the alien’s system.

The Predator is down!

The Predator is down!

No time was wasted by the squad as they mobbed the Predator. Sgt. Brauer tased the creature once more for good measure, and they swiftly tied up its hands and feet. Meanwhile, Hämäläinen got on Ghillians radio and called the dropship in. It was now only a matter of waiting for pick-up.

Evans tends to the Predator as Jane and Brauer look on

Evans tends to the Predator as Jane and Brauer look on

Problems did appear, though. First of all, the Predator was dying, its breathing slowing down and foam coming out of its mouth. Secondly, as if the Predator wasn’t enough, it was becoming apparent what they had been hunting, as Xenomorphs were suddenly appearing and could be seen skulking in the jungle.

The medic Evans did what she could with the Predator. Whether it was due to her xenobiologist ex-boyfriend or just luck, she managed to actually stabilize the creature. Around her the rest of the squad were throwing flashbangs and frag grenades (that weren’t expressly forbidden in the mission briefing) to keep the Aliens at bay as they waited for the dropship to arrive. Amidst all the chaos, Hämäläinen managed to establish radio contact with Haugen-Ankerson, who was returning from her panicked flight. The only problem was that Haugen-Ankerson’s way back brought her very close to one of the approaching Aliens…

Finally the dropship roared in, guns blazing. Sgt. Brauer quickly gave the order to fall back, and the squad packed itself into the dropship. Brauer himself heroically stood in the doorway as his second in command Haugen-Ankerson sprinted through the jungle and dived in the ship with the Xenomorphs snapping at her heels. The dropship soared into the sky, and squad 16 finally left Triton-4 behind. While their two missions had both been successful, victory had come at a heavy price: two troopers were dead and one missing and presumed dead. It was now apparent why ghost stories were told about the planet.

The third game of Utopia was as fun as the previous two, and for the same reasons. It was filled with drama, excitement and cinematic moments. I was a bit worried that I might’ve made the Predator a bit too powerful as it slashed its way through two troopers in two consecutive turns, but luckily our heroes turned the tide and put the creature down. The small RPG session at the start of the game are an essential part of the game, and they really breathe life into the characters. Sgt. Brauer’s drinking problem has evolved to the point where he simply eats powdered beer without bothering with the water anymore, while Pvt. Haugen-Ankerson is busy writing her wedding invitations and the Sweet Sixteen fight with Sgt. Hiroshi’s 12th squad over bragging rights.

Yes, I think this game actually works.

 

 

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Utopia #2 – Triton revisited

November 28, 2012

I’m happy to report that we played the second game of Utopia yesterday. After the events of Kessler-11, our group of misfits was in for another adventure. The mood was pretty low – the first combat deployment of the squad had left two members dead and one hospitalized. Imagine then the joy of a safer mission, one of reconnaissance and protection! Three new troopers joined the squad:

Pvt. Iljutsh – a former Russian truck driver who got into trouble for doing some illegal business on the side back on Earth. Generally likable despite his somewhat dishevelled appearance.

Pvt. Jane – A young, hulking man straight from the academy. Jane knows the manual back to front and is very motivated by the service in general. He’s also a very good poker player.

Pvt. Ghillian – Replacing the deceased Bjornssen as the squad’s technician, Ghillian is a young woman and a wizard with computers. She has a nice collection of retro 21st century music, which now replaces the Union of Terra official background music playing in the crew quarters.

In happier news, Pvt. Haugen-Ankerson had just gotten engaged, and the crew threw her a party. For some reason this made Sgt. Brauer even more sombre than usual. Not even the fact that his service would come to an end in a few days would cheer him up, nor would the sangria made from moonshine and powdered synthetic orange juice.

A team of scientists would be setting down on a planet to research strange signals and energy bursts that seemed to be alien in nature. Might it finally be a contact with another civilization? Oh, it was.

Unfortunately for the squad, the planet turned out to be none other than the notorious Triton-4, a place on par with LV-426 when it comes to ghost stories and urban legends. Even more unfortunate was the fact that the civilization encountered was that of the Yautja, more commonly known as Predators.

The squad set down on Triton-4 to look for a science team that had gone missing. They were looking for clues that would explain the team’s disappearance. The squad was also tasked with mapping the area and discerning the source of the weird signals picked up by the orbital platform’s scanners. Accompanying the squad were Dr. Ernest Klein and his three synthetic assistants (quickly named “Fucking Huey, Dewey and Louie” by Sgt. Brauer), cordially provided by Weyland-Yutani to help with the information gathering. Pvt. Kenny wasn’t too fond of this, his football career ending due to replicant technology being used on players leading to higher performance compared to unmodified ones.

At first, everything went nicely. The squad spread out and found some clues. Sgt. Brauer did stumble into a patch of poisonous fungus, but his iron constitution and high tolerance to toxic substances helped him shrug it off. Pvt. Kenny had his flamer fill up with treacle, but was luckily able to clear it up to keep the team’s heavy weapon operational. There was a spot of miscommunication, with the synthetics and the good doctor wondering out from the safety of the landing site, resulting in some heated words from Sgt. Brauer (“You haul those electronic asses back to the landing site on the double!”). Eventually a compromise of sorts was reached, and the civilians allowed to move about a little.

The science team and the last known picture of Pvt. Iljutsh

The squad had been hearing animal roaring and howling since landing, and this finally culminated in an attack by giant dog-like creatures. Despite their fearsome appearance, the beasts were brought down with heavy firepower and things quieted down once again. Pvt. Ghillian managed to repair the communications satellite the previous team had set up, allowing her to locate the source of the signals – it was a clearing on the far side of the area.

Upon reaching the clearing, the squad was surprised to find nothing but some shimmering air, as if distortion from heat. That’s when things started happening. Three red laser dots appeared on Sgt. Brauer, followed by a heavy energy blast that he evaded through sheer luck. The squad went on full alert. A few moments later the communications satellite, at this point unattended, exploded.

Pvt. Kenny approached the shimmering air in the clearing, and found himself bumping into an alien space shuttle. As the squad started wondering about this, an energy blast from an unseen enemy put Pvt. Iljutsh down, heavily wounded. Things started happening. The medic Evans ran over to Iljutsh to help, while most of the troopers nearby did this (with the same effect):

Further away, another energy blast put down the newly promoted Cpl. Rodriguez – instead of one attacker, the squad was facing two. Luckily, Pvt. Wu was at hand. The sniper took careful aim and managed to land a shot on Rodriguez’s nearly invisible attacker, disabling the Predator’s cloaking device in the process. The creature dived into the underbrush to hide and reactivate its cloaking system – hampered by the constant rain.

A Predator in the midst of decloaking

Further away, the torrent of fire unleashed by half of the squad had failed to even injure the second attacker, who promptly emerged from the trees, picked up Iljutsh and then disappeared into the jungle amidst a steady stream of pulse rifle fire. Iljutsh would never be seen again by his squadmates, although he would make an excellent trophy.

Meanwhile the other Predator had managed to activate its cloak and was making haste towards its ship, trailing green blood. In its haste it had completely failed to notice Pvt. Kenny, who was slowly making his way back from the ship towards all the action. Luckily for the Predator, it was able to ambush Kenny and charged into close combat…only to be brought down by a masterful shot from Wu. Despite Sgt. Brauer’s orders, Kenny decided to play it safe and turned his flamer on the wounded creature, torching it. With its last strength, the Predator managed to activate its self-destruct device.

The drop ship had been called, but it wouldn’t make it in time. There was only one thing to do: run! The squad went running for the relative safety of the encampment, with one of the synthetics carrying Cpl. Rodriguez. They made it just seconds before a massive explosion tore through the jungle, scrambling one of the synthetics despite it reaching the landing site. While Iljutsh was missing and Rodriguez was down, the squad had survived.

In their debriefing session Sgt. Brauer was dragged over hot coals for allowing his men to kill a sentient, advanced creature that they had managed to incapacitate. Despite Weyland-Yutani calling for Brauer to be taken to court-martial and executed, Cpt. Jensen allowed Brauer to keep his life and his squad, although it did mean the sergeant’s service would continue until terminated. Brauer also might have accidentally promised to lead his squad to capture a live specimen…

Man, this was another fun game. Lot’s of action and tense, cinematic moments. Suitably frustrated players (“What do you mean I missed? What the hell kind of stats do those Predators have?!”) who still managed to pull off a victory of sorts. No, seriously. Losing only one trooper and managing to complete the main objective plus an additional one to boot – not to mention bringing down one of the Predators – was no mean feat.

The narrative is now really starting to build up, as we were following characters from the previous game. We were also all familiar with the Predator movies, and this game managed to recreate the feel of those quite nicely. The Predators were very hard to kill or even target, resulting in lots and lots of useless shooting. When the Predators shot back, it was basically a trooper down per each shot. I was worried about balancing issues, as I didn’t have time to playtest the scenario, but everything turned out nicely.

The jungle setup

I was happy that I could deploy my jungle terrain for a change, and as you can see from the pictures, I managed to get the Zuzzy mat painted as well. There are only a few pictures unfortunately, as due to the poor lighting all the other pics came out very blurry. Things you can’t really see are the Predator shuttle that I scratchbuilt and the hellhounds from Heresy that are almost finished as I write this. Not to worry, they’ll feature in upcoming posts.

Utopia will continue in a few weeks, most likely with our heroes trying to capture a live Predator. Good luck with that, guys and girls!

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Music to make war to

August 2, 2011

If you’re looking to create a good atmosphere for gaming, it’s good to remember the soundscape as well. While we play Blood Bowl listening to hip hop or 80s hits, for Triton-4 I wanted something different. With the advent of this new-fangled, so-called “computer” and “internet” technology, the possibilities are starting to be pretty outstanding. So, using Spotify I created two different playlists. One is a collection of darkish, military themed soundtracks from such movies as Dog Soldiers, Aliens and Predator 2 as well as games like Crysis. Clocking in at 224 tracks and 13 hours, that’s enough scifi background music to last me a lifetime of gaming.

In case I don’t all that drama, I can settle for a nice jungle ambience. Enter four hours of recorded nature sounds, and it’s like you’re hanging out somewhere tropic.  For maximum effect you can actually play these two together. We manage it by having one player hook up their smartphone to some speakers and playing one list, and my PC blaring out the other.

Don’t have Spotify? Click the logo below and get it. It’s the best thing that’s ever happened in the digital music distribution business.

Have Spotify? Feel free to use the links below and use the playlists mentioned. I’d love to hear what you think of them, as well as what you listen to while gaming if anything.

Triton-4 soundtrack

Triton-4 jungle sounds


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Rumble in the jungle

July 29, 2011

Triton-4 has kicked off nicely! I’ve noted that the game provides both the motivation and the concrete incentive to do a lot of work on miniatures and terrain – so far we’ve played about a game per week, and that leaves me a week to finish whatever is needed for the next scenario or two. This weeks accomplishment was painting the three miniatures below – a pilot and a co-pilot/generic trooper from Woodbine, and a scientist from Hasslefree. All were used in a scenario detailed later on. I’m happy with how they turned out, and they were a joy to paint.

Click for a larger version

So far we have played three scenarios:

Scenario 1 – Landing on Triton-4

This was a peculiar wargaming scenario in that there was a distinct possibility of there not being any fighting at all. The two marine squads (numbering five each) landed on the planet. Their mission was to investigate the jungle near the landing site and find a suitable location for a communications satellite, allowing the USS Hades to transfer supplies and personnel down to the planet.

The marines went through the jungle in a fairly orderly fashion. A lot of strangeness was discovered, including dismembered animals, an abandoned camp site and a data recording device with unknown insignia. The only real action the marines got was when a weird flying creature attacked one of them. Some brutal hand to hand ensued, and finally Sgt. Kosltezlo was able to bring the creature down. The marines then found a suitable spot for the comm station, and set it up. Below are a few satellite photos (disturbed by the atmosphere, naturally) of the proceedings.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Scenario 2 – Rescue

With the comm station in place, traffic from orbit was ready to start. Disaster struck soon, however, as a dropship carrying one of the lead scientists suffered an engine malfunction and crashed. The pilot, co-pilot and the scientist all survived, but were now stranded in the middle of the jungle. To make matters worse, military technicians had been able to decrypt some data from the recording device found earlier, revealing a xenomorph presence on the planet.

With most marines stuck fortifying and building the base, Sgt. Kosltezlo took three marines with him to find the missing people. Xenomorphs were indeed present, and the crash survivors were quickly running and fighting for their lives. To make matters worse, most shots fired attracted more and more xenomorphs. The situation seemed desperate, with the rescue team quickly finding themselves in a serious fight instead of a search and rescue mission. The co-pilot was speared by a xenomorph’s tail, causing the pilot to panic and blindly run into the jungle. The scientist was manhandled from one marine to the other, and eventually the rescue team managed to drag him back to the camp, with the camp’s sentry guns chasing away any Aliens that tried to cross the treeline. While the mission was a success, the xenomorph threat was confirmed and their deadliness apparent.

Scenario 3 – The aftermath

Following the daring rescue, the marines decided to go on another recon mission. While most xenomorphs had retreated deeper into the jungle, some remained. The marines advanced carefully towards the treeline, where they could glimpse flitting dark shapes. All of a sudden a rapidly moving Alien managed to circle around them and pounced on the target it perceived the weakest – Pvt. Turner who was still a rookie, only just having joined the force. Turner was quickly joined by the other marines, and together the group of four managed to bring the creature down, with Turner himself delivering the killing blow. The youngster’s joy was short-lived, though, as acid blood sprayed from the broken body, showering Pvt. Turner and providing him with an agonizing death. The sight caused a ripple of horror, with Pvt. Glory escaping all the way back to base and the marines generally falling back. This prompted more xenomorphs to charge from the trees.

The other squad’s leader, Sgt. Slaughter (I assume that’s a nickname) surprised everyone by downing xenomorphs left and right. With his squad falling back around him, he took on first one creature, then another, surviving both and killing one. Other marines then moved up to help with the mop-up. With most of the xenomorphs downed, the marines set their sights on the treeline to put down the one remaining beast. The Aliens’ speed proved to be incredible once again, as the creature flitted through the trees to charge another bewildered rookie, Pvt. Austin. The soldier tried desperately to escape, but the xenomorph mercilessly cut him down before being gunned to pieces.

With the Alien threat neutralized, the marines finally managed to venture into the jungle. Their search brought up all sorts of interesting things, such as alien artifacts and  xenomorph eggs. Pvt. Stanton from the first squad managed to evade a strange attack – all of a sudden three red dots appeared, followed by an explosive blast. Of the attacker there was no sight, but it was apparent that the xenomorphs weren’t the only threat around. On a more positive note, the pilot who had fled earlier staggered out of the jungle, bloody and incoherent. He was taken back to base by Cpl. Burbank. It’s anyone’s guess how he made it out alive.

Most of the area had already been searched, when the marines made the same mistake as the dwarves in Moria: they dug too deep. With the marines spread out through the jungle, Pvt. Stanton suddenly found himself surrounded by no less than six Aliens, four of which tore him to pieces. The marines retaliated fiercely after this first casualty, and managed to completely eliminate the creatures in short order, with Sgt. Slaughter even destroying one in close combat. Pvt. Gunn’s flame unit was also invaluable, torching jungle and xenomorph alike. After this the exhausted marines retreated back to their camp.

The games were good fun, and we’re still getting to grips with all the rules. It’s getting quicker and smoother to play, and we’re slowly getting into the intricacies of the system. The narrative aspect is present, and we tend to view in-game events through a narrative filter. The second scenario especially was very cinematic and tense!

With these three games the campaign is off to a good start, and both me and the two players are looking forward to our next session on next Wednesday. Whatever’s coming up next, the marines are in for a rough time with three of the original ten troopers down.

By the way, feel free to comment on the satellite photo look of the pictures. In my opinion action report pictures are often quite boring, as they’re basically just miniatures standing next to each other.  I figured I’d simply use them as for a bit of flavour, so photoshopped them heavily. Personally I like the look, but CC is definitely welcome!

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Campaign building blocks

July 14, 2011

For any miniature game, you generally need the following: miniatures, terrain and rules. In this post I’ll do a bit of an inventory of what of each of those three elements I have available for Triton-4.

Miniatures

It should come as no surprise that as far as miniatures are concerned, I’m pretty well covered. As a result of both my own collecting and my Aliens, Predator and Colonial Marine miniature reviews I’m nicely stocked. I also have a few other nasties in store, which I’ll save until later. Just in case my players happen to read this.

I just received the scientists and utility crew that I ordered from Victory Force Miniatures. Joining them is be the not-Bishop from Woodbine Designs. I’ve also been thinking of ordering more inspectors from Heresy. Inspector Knuckles is already doing his rounds as a combat synthetic, and I think that with matching paint jobs the more peaceful-looking others would make for nice additions to the crew. I will need the civilian types to add some variety to the games, as they can be for example objectives (“Find the missing synths”), targets for rescue or protection (“Escort the scientists to the crashed ship”) or simply random encounters (“A feverish colonist staggers out of the jungle”).

I’ve also been thinking of investing in an APC for the CMs, probably this from Old Crow.

Shown in the pictures below is the current cast for the campaign, starting with the Marines.

Click for a larger version

I think the photo very nicely demonstrates the benefits of a unified  colour scheme. The fifteen Marines above look like a unit. Look a little closer, and you’ll see there are big variations in body proportions, style and gear. The models in the picture above come from no less than seven different manufacturers (em4, Copplestone, Prince August, 1st Corps, Denizen, Hasslefree and GW), and yet the simple paint scheme and unified basing tie the models together nicely. There are a lot more CMs waiting to be painted, but these guys and gals are a good start.

28 mm Predators

Click for a larger version

Here are my Predators, sans the wonderful Hürn from Heresy, who sits almost finished on my painting desk. Being bigger than the others, he’ll make for a nice pack leader.

Horrorclix Aliens

Click for a larger version

And here are as many Xenomorphs that I could cram into one picture. They’re missing their mommy, since the queen was far too big to fit in and is not yet finished.

Terrain

I’ve been working more than usual on my terrain. I currently have 16 CDs covered with jungle terrain. When I placed the first bunch on the table, I noticed that they looked a bit too sparse. This is due to the fact that I wanted to be able to position models on the pieces, as well as simply skimping on my terrain building materials. The newer ones that I’ve built are much more dense, and will be scattered around to create the illusion of a thicker jungle. I’m also intending to build small vignettes of some jungle pieces. Maybe a few skinned corpses? Chestburst animals? A cluster of eggs?

I’ve also been wanting to use a large outdoor fountain element ever since I bought it (see this post from a year back). Thus far it has seen no action whatsoever, but will surely be utilised here.

I also received a bunch of scenic elements from Ainsty – crates, barrels and the like – which I’m using to make something to represent a military camp. I’ve also just ordered some barbed wire pieces from Products for Wargamers, more supplies from Old Crow and sandbag walls from Fantascene.  The should make a nice, Vietnam war -style jungle camp. For the time being I will settle on a temporary looking camp, and as the campaign progresses, I’ll maybe add something to it, such as landing pads etc.

Here is most of my current terrain setup on my gaming boards in a few different configurations.

Click for a larger version

Here’s the table in its entirety. I placed a Marine communications setup in the middle as well as some CMs to show the size of the table.

Click for a larger version

Here’s a close-up of the comm setup. The dish is from a plastic toy, the pole a piece of an old GW building and the pegs around it from an IKEA bookshelf. The beacon in the middle is from Ainsty, and the barricade from a plastic army men set. The plants are aquarium plants. I’ve used different flocks to differentiate the camp terrain from the jungle. However, I’m also trying to convey the feeling that the jungle quickly creeps in around whatever the humans build.

Click for a larger version

Here’s the monstrous fountain element. It’s so big that I’ll probably need to add a third table (I have four sheets) to accommodate it. See the lone Marine for scale. I think I’ll have entire scenarios centered on this piece of terrain, since its build is very good for that. Just imagine the Marines defending the mouth of that gully, and you’ll see what I’m getting at. Or just take at this little diorama from way back when I bought it.

Rules

This section is the easiest and most complete. Flying Lead from Ganesha Games suits my needs nicely. It’s a fast-flowing system, which leaves plenty of room for narration and improvisation while also presenting players with tactical dilemmas and the like. As GG’s games use similar mechanics, I should be able to easily port extra rules from Fear and Faith, GG’s horror game.

We had our first playtest last week, and really enjoyed it. The system worked fine for what we’re going after, so I’m really pleased. We also worked that playtest already into the campaign – naturally it was the final bootcamp simulation before the actual mission.

So there, my plans so far for the campaign. Now I turn to you, dear readers. Tens of heads are usually better than one, so feel free to provide me with ideas, tips and even requests. Are there minis you think I could use? Got an idea for a terrain piece or vignette? Send them in, I’ll be eternally grateful and hopefully use them.

I’ve also been thinking of making a small tutorial on how I made the jungle pieces. Is there a call for an article like that?

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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.

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