Saturday, December 28, 2019

Just Another Bug Hunt...Full Metal Anorak

Two weeks ago, Megz and I had another visit with the Wargames Association of Metro Philadelphia (The WAMPS) and decided to test my basic concept for a bug hunt scenario, featuring Traveller's favourite Alien derivative, the Chamax Horde. Miniatures used are Denizen Ventaurans, and WoTC D&D Mad Slashers. Acid Splash and Suppression Markers were from Litko.

Miller's Crossing Farm
These wicked wee beasties have featured on my blog in the past; this time, Zhodani troops, supported by their famous Teleport Commandos, would attempt to quell the Chamax threat.

The situation at hand: A Zhodani agricultural colony has had an outbreak of Chamax, and a platoon of Zhodani regular lift infantry is sweeping a protected farm for bug contacts.

We were using the beta test of Full Metal Anorak, basically an abandoned rules set, derived from GZG's StarGrunt II. Supplementing this were element of Nordic Weasel's Bug Hunt, part of the Five Parsecs from Home rules group.

First Contact - A Questing Bug
Players take the part of the hunters, whilst the bugs are run automatically. In Bug Hunt, there are contact markers (we're using chits) and objective markers (again, chits) which I assigned random rolls once encountered. There was also a random value assigned (my own inclusion) which meant that players could compete with each other, while also working together.

I was also using the Bug tables from 5150, hence, there are a lot more bugs than you tend to have in Bug Hunt. OTOH, there are also more soldiers.

Second Contact - these chamax are more alert
Bug Hunt assigns a random set of d6 for rolling  movement and aggression. To simulate the chamax state of "questing" - where the bug is not actively attacking potential food sources, I altered the aggression level down to a d4, making it less likely the chamax would attack unless a figure got within 8" (movement range).

Once a bug was killed, however, it emitted a radio/psychic shriek, which caused all other chamax on board to increase their aggression dice by one die type. This would eventually max out at a d12.

Forming a firing line?
The Zhodani Infantry were standard line, so they were armed with 4mm Gauss Rifles. These had an impact of 2d6, vs the Chamax armour/toughness of d8. A trooper had to at least double his impact roll vs the chamax defense roll to kill it, or else there was no result (alien biology, and all that...)

As an added bonus, when a chamax is killed, it's because the acid sack behind its gullet was ruptured, causing a spray of fluoric acid and molecular debonder to shower out in a 1.5 inch radius.

The Hive is aroused...
 The first two turns were spent with the Zhos advancing cautiously toward the contact markers.  half proved to be non-contacts (random wildlife fleeing the area, puddles of digested colonists, etc.), but still worth VPs.  The first chamax contacted was blown away fairly easily - as Megz noted, a little too easily.

"We've got movement all over the place!"
As each chamax died, another 2d6 swarm would activate, with dead figures recycled back into my "bug pool". Then they enter via a random map edge. By the third/fourth turn, there were bug swarms on all sides of the Zhos, except to their left flank.

So they began to draw together.

And they called for help.

*TADAAH* The Teleport Commandos Arrive.
One of the nice things about playing the Zhos is their high degree of telepathic officers and NCOs - all of them, to be exact. This means that actions can be passed from higher ups to riflemen with greater flexibility than in Stargrunt II or FMA,  Another perk is you can ask for help from the Consular Guard Commandos, who can teleport in like...magic.

A fireteam of three commandos and senior NCO was held in reserve for just such an occasion.

Effects of directly applied Plasma Gun fire.
Armed with PGMPs (Plasma Gun, Man Portable) and the comforting thought that they could, if necessary, just manage a quick teleport back to base if things got too dicey, the Commandos arrived. The Effing New Guy in the team got teleport sickness (out for a turn - suppressed) but the rest opened up on the bugs with their plasma guns - with devastating effect.

Chamax melted and burst, sending showers of acid on those bugs next to them, causing them to melt and burst as well. A cheer went up from the encircled Zhos.

And more swarms activated.

And other hives in the area were beginning to activate, as well.

"Time to go!"
There were three waves of chamax swarms coming toward them from the building area, and the Zhodani decided it was time to breakout back to their rally point, call in an airstrike, and then return for the mop-up sweep.

First though, they had to deal with the bugs that were reaching them.

Chamax have no morale to break, so they keep coming until they're all dead or you're all bite-sized niblets. The two or three survivors of the plasma-storm reached the commandos and attacked.

In melee, chamax get two slashing attacks - if both are successful, there is an automatic acid-laden bite on the following turn. Also, armour is degraded by one level for each bite, this can continue even after the bug is dead. And speaking of dead - don't forget the acid spray.

Winning the melee is also losing the melee...
Three chamax sprang at the commandos - the senior NCO/TD* was able to use his gauss pistol in melee and got off a lucky shot, killing the chamax and spraying everyone in the immediate area with acid. The two commandos took a couple of slashes, but not enough to warrant the dreaded bite attack.  By the second round of combat, the NCO had killed another chamax and acid spray did the rest to its companion.

With armour smoking and more Chamax on the way, the Leading Officer saw the opening and gave the telepathic code: "Guardsmen, we are leaving..."

The final result was Megz had gathered more VP than myself, but the calling in of the Commandos had elevated the priority of the sweep, meaning we'd be going back in after a quick refit to take out the Maternal/Queen. So no clear victory as far as a campaign would be concerned.

Post Game Thoughts:
Usually, I find games with the Chamax Plague to be lots of fun, and this was no exception. There is plenty for the players to do, while the mounting numbers of opposition keeps the pressure on to take objectives, gather clues and keep from becoming tomorrow's leftovers.

My main thought is the chamax might be too vulnerable to their own acid. With a d8 Strength vs. a d8 defence, it seemed that they were dying more from their own acid than from Zhodani fire. I'll need to play again and keep closer track of the casualties.

Bug Hunt has more tweaks and options I'd like to incorporate, like Location Effects. Kinda like Objectives/Clues except they effect the environment, possible slowing bugs down or delaying swarm activations.

Plans are to run this at Cold Wars and at GZG:ECC in March. I'm going to add some grain silos and water towers, as well as an out building or two.  That will reduce the lines of fire a bit and make the game more...interesting...Ω

*TD: Teleport Director. That's a real MOS in the Zhodani Armed Forces

Monday, December 16, 2019

I'm Talkin'bout...SHAFT! in 28mm

Miniatures by RAFM, Black Cat, and Copplestone
These figures presented herein were finished over Thanksgiving(US) weekend, only I haven't had me camera out for some good photies - and the table is cluttered with ongoing projects.

"Stay with the car, man, and guard those rims..."
These two (above) are part of the Copplestone Casting "Soul Section" - the third member was posted here. I liked the plain plaid pattern shown on Copplestone's website sample, and did my best to simulate it, to mixed effect, on the figure in the foreground.

Behind the Road Champs 1970 Chevy door, the second figure was a more straightforward paint job. The black leather jacket was underpainted light blue, and I'm pleased with the final result.

This pair will represent the Harwin Brothers, another freelance "Troubleshooter" team, sticking it to the Man and Cthulhu in equal portions. That last bit might go on their business cards as the motto.

"There's a monster behind you..."
"I know, but I'm losing the light..."
Finally, a RAFM Dimensional Shambler creeps up on the Black Cat Miniatures Photo Journalist. The Photo-guy paint-job is based on an old pic of George Lucas, circa "American Graffiti" with a bit more grey-white frosting that Lucas acquired later in life. Plus bluejeans, army vest and a lumberjack shirt.

For 7TV1 games, I'm planning on making photo-journalists non-player effects, giving them the ability to grant Audience Appreciation points to any Hero or Villian that starts the turn within 6" of them.  This is similar to 7TV2's treatment of TV Cameramen. Of course, Villains and Monsters will get VP for killing/incapacitating/munching Photographers, making it incumbent upon the Heroes to protect them....

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Ship's Crew - 28mm Heresy (et al).

Miniatures from Heresy and EM4

Five Parsecs from Home (5PfH) looks to be an amusing way to generate sci-fi skirmishes without a lot of campaign back-logging.  After reading these rules, I decided to match the campaign shell to Full Metal Anorak (GZG's abortive StarGrunt II skirmish rules).

Heresy 28mm Ship's Crew

While I have a ridiculous amount of 25mm sci-fi miniatures, they are mostly old Grenadier Star Wars minis, and I wanted to capture the Traveller-esque flavour of 5PfH.  Fortunately, I had been given a small pile of 28mm sci-fi some years ago, and after a rummage about in my abandoned 5150 project, I was able to assemble and paint my first 5PfH crew.

Heresy and EM4 - Perfect Together

These are all Heresy 28mm SciFi, except for the auburn-haired gal on the end, which is EM4, painted to look like Hillard from Alien:Resurrection. Andy over at Heresy Miniatures hasn't added much to his scifi selection of late, and two of the figures seem to have been dropped from the catalogue.

Pity too, as I remember they were offered as part of a four-figure "Ship's Crew" set, which work very well together, as the reader can see - with matching jackets on three of the four. All four have badges on their jackets/vest, which make for nice corporate markings (and which my camera work doesn't show...). The engineer has the most variety, and I painted his undershirt black, and gave him non-regulation footwear.

(The scattered terrain in the background is for my 1970's 7TV game - yes, that's an old fashioned cigarette dispenser behind the blue post boxes. How times have changed.)

Coming soon: I'm working on another crew/gang, based on the crew of "The Betty" from the aforementioned Alien:Resurrection...

Update: The Ship's Crew are being offered again as a five pack...Ω

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Foreven Shipyards Ships Painted

So, despite some minor issues with the primer (Testors grey) interacting with the Smooth Fine Detail Plastic of which the Foreven Shipyards models are composed, I'm well pleased with the results.

Gazelle-class Close Escorts
Vargr-class Corsair
Type M Merchant
Type M Merchant
The solution to the slow-curing tack seems to have been to hit the model with a puff of dull-cote. This was mainly an issue on the Vargr.  The Gazelles and the Merchant where primed with an oil-resistant base that's meant to cover grease spots for latex house paint. Worked a treat.

After the convention, I may go back and pick out some more details, but by-and-large, they're ready for the table top....

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Traveller Starships from Foreven Shipyards

In the run up for this years TravellerCon/USA convention, I ordered some classic ships from Foreven Shipyards, a Shapeways supplier of licensed Traveller ships.

This year's TravellerCon theme is the Vargr, the genetically uplifted canines often referred to as "the Wolves of Space", so imagine my delight when I realised that Foreven Shipyards offered a Vargr Corsair ship in 1/1000 scale.

Personally, I've never cared much for the Vargr. In our classic Traveller campaign of my youth, there was always one fringe player who insisted of playing one, and it usually made the session feel "off". Certainly, his character was not allowed on the settee. The irony of this year's theme is not lost on me.

All models displayed on a 1" grid.

Vargr Corsair

The ships are very nice - they are also, in some cases, rather pricey. This is due in some part to the materials in use, as well as the manufacturing process. Still and all, worth every penny.

Also ordered was a set of four Gazelle-class Close Escorts and a March-class Type R Subsidized Merchant.

Gazelle-class Close Escorts

In each case, the classic lines of the original artwork is faithfully reproduced, making these models a joy to behold. Cast in Smooth, Fine Detail Plastic, the detail is excellent. One thing to watch for is there seems to be a lengthy curing time for the plastic. I'm not sure how long, except to say that the models have a slightly tacky feeling, except for two models I purchased in October of 2018. I have had some 15mm Rhodesian Alligator APCs that had to sit atop the hot water cistern over the winter before the Smooth, Fine Detail Plastic lost it's tack.

Type M Subsidised Merchant

Flight stands were ordered from Litko, at the suggestion of the model maker.  I had a bad experience with them in the past, but Litko seems to have improved on both delivery time as well as customer service. My complaint with the execution is the post pieces have not been cut straight.

The idea that a company with "Aerospace" in its name making Out-of-Tolerance parts is rather droll....Ω

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

28mm Soul Sisters

STOP!, in the Name of Get Christy Love!

Several packages arrived earlier this month from various manufacturers, and the one which leapt out and demanded painting was "Destiny" from the nice folks at Hasslefree Miniatures.

Miniature by Hasslefree Miniatures

Despite Kev's obvious talent, I don't order a lot from Hasslefree - I might have a baker's-dozen HF miniatures at best. Kev's interests are far more eclectic than mine, and his modern figures tend to follow the lines of Post-Buffy, Post-BSG, Post-GoT and suchlike. Not that this is a bad thing, just not my cuppa rosy...

However, once I saw 70's icon Teresa Graves aka Christie Love sporting her best Charlie's Angel's (the original series, not the wretched wreboot) pose, it was an instant purchase, along with several other figures to round out the order.

Painting the blue jeans on this model was a lot of fun, as was the 70's-style vibrant colour palette. I'll need to go back and shade her platform shoes a bit, then find her a car model - maybe a 1969 Corvette Stingray.

Also jumping out at me was one of Copplestone Castings Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang series, titled the Soul Section. These minis shout "SHAFT!" (watch your mouth). I often wonder why this period failed to achieve greater popularity as a gaming genre.

Miniature by Copplestone Castings

I tried to simulate a late 60's/early 70's print pattern for her dress, plus nylon stockings. Once the orange colour started flowing, the metallic orange wig seemed to fit. The contrast is very attractive, I think.

Next up will be the other two minis from the Soul Section pack - a Richard Roundtree analogue and a shotgun wielding street preacher...Ω

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Painted 28mm Tcho-Tcho Gang from Black Cat Bases

Figures from Black Cat Bases

The first batch of Tcho-Tchos are finished, and I must admit, I'm rather pleased with the result. I decided to use a mix of US army green and Chinese grey for the trousers, as though the gear was scavenged.  I leave the details of that to your imagination...

Here's another pic of recent finished figures for height comparison:

Left to Right: Crooked Dice, Black Cat, Reaper

Until next time...Ω

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Horace "Action" Jackson and Ebony Foxx by Reaper Miniatures

Continuing my Philadelphia Chronicle 1970s campaign setting, here are two private investigators from the west Avenue.

Miniatures from Reaper, 1/43 '65 Pontiac GTO by Welly

These are two delightful minis from Reaper's Chronoscope line.  Horace "Action" Jackson is a tall mini, made all the more imposing by his 'fro. In his silk-rayon disco shirt, heavy gold-plated medallion, platform shoes and flared black slacks, this mini embodies the spirit of the 70s like an Isaac Hayes 8-track..

The Ebony Foxx miniature has a tied top with flared collar (lovely), flared slacks, platform shoes and sports a .357 magnum, with a Pamela Dobson attitude - kind of a "Tell it to the fuzz, sugah!" vibe.  Also a tall mini, which matches up well with Pam Dobson's 6' 2" height.

Both of these minis are forming a Private Investigator/Angel of Justice team for 7TV1:

Scipio "Africanus" Norman and Charelle "Foxy" Love are solid cats, keeping the peace on the neighborhood streets. Unless the Fuzz drop in to jock your jaws - then, it gets heavy.

Can you dig it?

I knew you could....Ω

Monday, July 22, 2019

28mm City Police from Crooked Dice

It's not easy, finding miniatures that will suit the style of the 1970s, and without Crooked Dice, it would be less easier still.  Submitted herein are pictures of painted, pistol armed police officers, in the livery of mid-70s Philadelphia, aka the Roundhouse Boys.

Miniatures by Crooked Dice

These minis were purchased from Noble Knight Games, who stock a goodly amount of Crooked Dice miniatures. This particular batch were not quite up to the usual CD standards - two of the stances were a bit off, and the mould lines in the hard-to-reach areas were more pronounced than usual. Possibly the moulds are wearing out.

That minor quibble aside, these are really brilliant miniatures. They are sculpted in shirt sleeves, without body armour (again, hard to find). They have old-style "walkee-talkee" radios. One figure is female, which is I don't think was the practise in the 70s, but let's run with it.

These figures will be incorporated into a squad in my 7TV1 Disco Wars games. I've also ordered some police with shotguns. Whether mutant alligators in the sewer, rampaging androids in the Jewelry District, or minorities driving with a headlamp out, the Roundhouse Boys will bring extensive firepower to resolve the situation....Ω

Sunday, June 30, 2019

The Horror at Hedge House

The Secret Cellar of Hedge House - shut for 70 years

This past weekend, a group of friends met to finish a a Call of Cthulhu game that I had started some five years ago.  For various reasons (rusty referee, discompatible player characters, etc.) the first session failed to "gel" and so a reboot was conducted last month, with the concluding episode played last night.

It was a basic "Haunted House" scenario, with the original owner disappearing some 70 years in the past, and a team of Investigators being dispatched from the local newspaper to do a story on the subsequent history of the house. That history includes violence, madness and murder.

The action and setting of the story took place in early 1970's West Philadelphia, where the relics of grand old houses, now crumbling, can still be seen today.  One of my players ran the address through Mapquest and found a small factory is there today, so the house was probably demolished sometime after the players cleansed it.

The scenario was taken and adapted from Last Rites, by Ian Winterton and published by Chaosium. It is now out of print. It has four adventures set in the 1990s, which are easily adaptable to the 1970s.


If you think you might play an investigator in a Cthulhu game (probably set in the Modern Period - 1990+) and might play this scenario, continue reading ONLY at your own risk.

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Seventy-five years ago, an English sorcerer named Cedric Hedge moved to West Philadelphia, built a grand old house, and settled in to practise black magic.  Hedge created a life-sized idol of his favourite deity - Tsathaggua, the Great Toad - and after sacrificing some cats, rats, dogs, raccoons and a couple of his neighbours, brought said idol to life, with the notion that it would serve his will.  Things went agley, as aft they will do, and the idol instead tried to sacrifice Hedge. Landing a lucky blow with an enchanted Bengali war mace, Hedge knocked the idol into the cellar strongroom, where it shattered into nearly two dozen pieces. Hedge, mortally wounded by the fight, was just able to shut the strongroom door and throw the bolts, before shock and loss of blood took him. He died in that drear and dreadful cellar.

Over the next few years, the idol's fragments re-animated, but lacked the power to rejoin into a single form. Instead, they reformed into nearly two dozen tinier idols, homonculi, each a miniature clay replica of Tsathaggua, but a part of a greater whole. Unable to escape the strongroom, they instead would try to influence subsequent tenants of the house, with chittering whispers and evil visions, sent by the power of their inhuman group mind.

After 70-odd years, the house stands, decayed and empty. Several banks have substantial liens on it. The property tax collection has been suspended. Vagrants, drifters and addicts squat in the upper levels. Some of them have nightmares, and an odd compulsion to find the secret way into the hidden cellar.

Then, the player characters arrive...

"That looks like a locked door..."

The stairwell and the antechamber yielded a few clues - skulls of small animals, and a couple from Homo Sapiens, left over from those  sacrificed to Tsathaggaua.

Halloran and Knox go first
Beneath an arched vault, a strange mosaic was discovered.  A symbol of Tsathaggua, still charged with necromantic energy that gave the Investigators the tingles as they walked across the ivory and obsidian surface.  Static electricity built up on their polyester-fibred clothing, and anyone wearing a mood ring could watch as the stone turned black.

As they entered the next room, they found the skeletal remains of Cedric Hedge, Bengali mace at his side - his left ribcage stove-in. His remains seemed to be facing a locked door.

The Thrice-Barred door is opened. 
The Investigators also found Hedge's journal, where he detailed how he created the idol from clay, and how it could be deactivated. They settled in to try and learn the deactivation spell, as periodically they would be plagued by the whispers and chitterings from behind the thrice-barred door.

One of the Investigators, Halloran the Private Eye, tried to damage the mosaic sigil with a hammer and chisel, receiving only static shocks and the attention of the Idol's Fragments, who sent visions of darkened vaults where shapeless things oozed along obsidian troughs, venerating and worshiping an obscene, bloated toad shape. As the sanity left the investigators in slow drips,  the first feeble rays of dawn began to filter in from the upper stairs, and they were ready to cast the spell.

Only something was missing.

The Games a-foot.
As the Thrice-barred door was opened, the horde of homonculi poured out, some leapt at the investigators, biting and scratching, while some ran for the mosaic sigil. The players had their hands full, as it was nearly impossible to shoot the little clay demons and only slightly easier to hit them. Fortunately, they had bought some baseball bats from a local department store (Lit Brothers - Market and 8th Streets), which proved effective against the tiny horrors, if they scored a hit.

The Idol, quickened.
Meanwhile, the five or so homonculi that reached the mosaic sigil
merged together into a larger image - the idol was reforming itself.

PI Halloran found himself squared off against a miniature monster, about the size of a large child, which raked him with its claws. Halloran had retained the Bengali mace, and he now struck hard and true.

The statue fell and shattered, a few pieces laying inert, while more reformed into homonculi and raced upstairs to attack the vagrants.

"Wow, you're bigger up close..."
The Reporter, Carl Boughman, who had first read the journal and learned the spell, now understood what was amiss - the spell of deactivation would only work against the single statue. They would have to let it reassemble.
Stepping aside, the players either kicked or hurled the snapping homonculi at the sigil, where they began to reassemble.  Now was their chance, and joining hands, they lent their will to Boughman.

"Ph'nglui mglw'nafh N'kai T'sath'aggua wgah'nagl Gluy-VHO!" 

And the player rolled his dice.

And he rolled just under what he needed.

And the Idol collapsed, fell over and disintegrated.

Gain ten points of Sanity.  And lose five points as the screams of the vagrants having their faces chewed off by the couple of escaped homonculi filters down to the cellar.

Bring the baseball bats.


Great Tsathaggua is from RAFM's Cthulhu Mythos line.  He was a joy to paint, mostly with Vallejo paints. I painted him as he would be in life, and not a clay statue. Also, iparticularly like the human skull behind his right foot. Tsathaggua doesn't strike you as all that big a monster, until you realise his mouth is the size of a car boot/trunk, and he could easily swallow a human, whole. His is a personal menace, unlike Cthulhu's more abstract, cosmic peril.

The Homunculi are from Khurusan Miniatures.  I have had issues with Khurusan in the past, but my wife noticed I liked these figures and bought them for me as a present. I asked her if there was any issue, given the source, and she told me that the order ran late, but he was pretty apologetic and included a free, not-yet-released miniature as an apology.  Really?  I might change my mind on Khurusan Miniatures and feature some of his stuff on this blog in future...possibly.

The Investigators are a mixed bunch, from Crooked Dice and Brigade Games. Both are excellent sources for that difficult to find "70s Look"

The cellar piece is part of the Terra-clips Sewers, for the Malfaux game. I don't really like the set as presented, and will probably give it a review on my Victorian Sci-Fi blog "The Burning Sands of Syrtis Major".  Suffice to say, I cut up portions of the set to make it conform to the cellar floorplan, provided in the Last Rites supplement, and this was the most use I've had for the set to date.

And so, the end, to a very enjoyable episode of my 1970s Philadelphia Chronicle Campaign...Ω


Sunday, May 19, 2019

28mm Tcho-Tcho Men

Some Tcho-Tcho men arrived by Royal Mail yesterday, from Black Cat Bases.

The Tcho-Tchos are a race of cannibals, best described as nasty, brutish and short, driven from the Tsang plateau in Tibet to the dark fastnesses of Burma, at least according to various writers of the latter-day Lovecraft Circle. I'm planning on adding them to a 7TV 1st Ed./Witching Hour gang for an urban Pulp Horror game that's in the works.

The first piccie is a group of hand-weapon-armed Tcho-Tchos, on a 1" grid. In 28mm scale, that puts them at about 4' tall, which is okay, but they should probably have a few minis that are smaller, since it is intimated that only the tallest Tcho-Tchos reach 4'.

That aside, it's pretty neat that Black Cat Miniatures is offering them, considering from what obscure fringe these come. The hand weapons consist of baseball bats, long knives (look a bit like wakizashi), and a hammer - just the sort of equipment to suggest to nosy investigators that their questions are best asked elsewhere.

28mm Tcho-Tcho Men from Black Cat Bases

The second pic is a scooter-mounted Tcho-Tcho, wielding a chain ("Taste the chain!"). Admittedly, this sport bike is a bit too modern for my 1970's campaign (sport bikes not appearing until the middle 80's), but I thought it was just too cool not to buy. It came with a dismounted driver, armed with a pistol.

28mm Tcho-Tcho Men from Black Cat Bases

Black Cat Bases also has a set of firearm-wielding Tcho-Tcho men, which I plan to pick up once this first set is painted. My Tcho-Tcho Triad will be almost complete....

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Creepy Hollow: The Wrath of the Headless Hessian

This past weekend saw Megz and yours truly at Cold Wars in Lancaster, PA. We ran a 7V/Witching Hour scenario featuring Ichabod Crane and the Headless Hessian, twice, both games were full, and both saw very different results.

Setup: Ichabod Crane and Katrina van Tassel are planning to search the Old Dutch Burying Ground for the Hessian's skull, to break the curse and end the haunting of Creepy Hollow. Lady van Tassel (aka The Witch) is going along to secretly thwart their plans. Abraham von Brunt has ridden to Mount Pleasant to raise a portion of the Westchester Militia.

The action takes place at night, with no moon. Safe movement is limited to a 6", with an attempted run adding 1d6". Shooting is limited to 12", with a -1 modifier for anything beyond short range.

If the Horseman had not been summoned by turn 6, he would automatically appear at the southern end of the road. The militia were timed to enter after the Hessian (roll turn or less on d6, once the Hessian appears).

We used the 7th Voyage event deck, with the 7TV 2E Finale countdown cards once the event cards ran out.
"Search the graveyard? Wonderful idea!
I'll come with..."

Friday's session was most amusing - the witch player decided to hang back and fight for the horseman's skull using her ghoul proxies. These were paid for prior to the game start, but placed in reserve, to be summoned once the witch was in the burying ground. Since the witch/Lady van Tassel had the Infiltrator skill, she could set up and move with our two Heroes (Ichabod and Katrina).

After the first turn, Lady van T peeled off and entered the graveyard through a gap in the wall, behind the crypt. She then summoned two ghouls and set them on Ichabod and Katrina, who were getting too close to the skull pile beneath the Tree of the Dead.

The ghouls themselves were unarmed, and only strong enough to stun, as was Katrina and Ichabod - the latter did have a flintlock pistol, but was a fairly poor shot.

There was a good deal of stuns inflicted, the heroes having an advantage as each hit point they had granted an additional d6 to roll off the stun. Still, they were kept busy enough, when Katrina suddenly snapped out of it, searched the skull pile, and raised up the Horseman's head. Lady van T. made her move...
"Wicked stepmother? 
I'm the Red Queen!"

Rushing the mound, Lady van T. stunned Katrina and took possession of the skull, only to be stunned in turn by Katrina. The skull dropped to the ground.

Immediately, the Horseman charged at the stunned witch, but fell short by 3/4 of an inch. Using an event card to seize the initiative, Lady van Tassel frantically searched the base of the skull pile for the missing cranium. Her first roll was a failure, and a hush fell on the game. Second roll...success! The players cheered, booed or shook their heads, depending on their allegiances. "Not me, you fool!" shrieked the Witch and indicating Ichabod and Katrina, "Kill THEM!". The Hessian complied, though with palpable reluctance,

At this point (turn 7) the Westchester Militia, Whitson's Section (so called because they were raised at Whitson's Tavern) rounded the graveyard gate and began to fire at the Horseman. Lady van T. made a hasty run for the back of the crypt, to jump the wall, with Abram von Brunt and a single militiaman in hot pursuit. Katrina, confronted the Hessian at the Tree of the Dead: "Foul dwimmerlaik..." well, you know the rest. Katrina played an event card - +1d6 to banish the Hessian. There was a flash of pyrotechnics, and both Hessian and nightmare steed were gone.

Next turn, von Brunt won initiative. "Halt, in the name of the great Jehovah and the incorporated village of Mount Pleasant!" he demanded, as the militiaman levelled his musket and bayonet. A couple of ghouls, looking awkwardly at the ground, shuffled away to their burrows. Lady van Tassel, grasping the inevitable, surrendered.

Van Brunt took 6 VPs - three for recovering the Hessians skull, two for capturing Lady van T., and one for showing up Ichabod and impressing Katrina, who took 2 points (for banishing the Hessian) and Ichabod only 1/2 VP for shooting a ghoul.

Second Game - just the highlights:

Lady van Tassel played a more straightforward game, sticking close to the group until they all strolled into the graveyard, then she raised a ghoul. Melee around the Tree until Turn 6, when the Hessian auto-appears. Katrina gains the skull, runs off the mound, is caught by the witch/Lady T. and killed (witch had a dagger!) but drops skull. Witch loses initiative as the Hessian charges, trailing hellfire. Hessian kills witch and von Brunt, while Ichabod is paralysed in fright.

The Hessian descends from his steed, picks up his fallen skull, places it on his head, and laughs horrifically. Ichabod flees for his life...roll credits.

Post-game Thoughts

This was indeed a fast-moving, merry scenario. Lots of laughs, stumbles, and gotchas - driven in no small part by the 7th Voyage event deck. Having the 7TV 2 ed. countdown cards also insured plenty of action in the last turn or two. I might tailor them slightly to reflect the more cinematic flavour of 7th Voyage.

At 5 Hit Points, the Headless Hessian is a six-legged, two armed engine of destruction. Works quite well as a semi-allied partner to the witch, as long as she holds the horseman's skull. Impressive how speedily the Horseman players turn on her, if she loses it.

I am thinking of adding Reverend Small to the Heroes side, also an additional militiaman and another ghoul for the witch to summon. I already have the models, so simple enough. Rev. Small would also have the ability to banish the Hessian, so there's a caveat.

We don't want to short change our best character...Ω

"All around the Tree of the Dead, they fight to claim the Hessian..."

Game 2: Barricades cannot stop what Hell hath unfettered.

"You on the road! Who goes there?"