Thursday, December 15, 2011

Enter the Doombringers

Here's the intro fluff + a campaign battle report from my marines, The Doombringers. Kennedy and I made half of this up almost a decade ago, but it was never actually written down til now. Pictures perhaps later.

Excerpt from the historical archives:
785.M41 - Chapter Master Claudius of the Doombringers led his veterans and 4 companies of marines against a heretical cult that summoned a greater demon in the Porrtag Tral system. Claudius fell in battle and was succeeded as chapter master by Brother Captain Vespasian.

The true story is not nearly so clean.

While the bulk of the Doombringer force was bringing the capital city under control, Chapter Master Claudius led his company captains to the temple at the source of the incursion. The five disembarked from their transport and were met by a dozen twisted aberrations surrounding the temple. Vespasian, captain of the vanguard, jumped into the fray, scattering creatures with his spear.  Captain Otho doused several in promethium, while Master Claudius put down the stragglers with a pair of well placed bolts. Vespasian jetted up to the guardhouse atop the outer wall and released the lock and shield on the gate. A twisted fusion of demon and armored walker broke through the unshielded stone doors only to meet a hissing death from Vitellius’ multimelta.

Inside the courtyard, they were met with horrors they had seen too many times. Rotten and disfigured bodies covered in the symbols of chaos were strung up on the walls. Even though they were obviously dead, their mouths moved, whispering vile secrets just below the threshold of hearing. From there they moved to the ruined opening that used to be the main doors of the chapel. All that could be heard from outside was the inhuman chanting of a chorus, reaching a fever pitch.

As they stepped inside the chorus quieted and they witnessed a statue of the Emperor taller than any two of them sink into a pool of inky blackness that absorbed all light. The captains dispatched the chorus of cultists, but it was too late. Whatever their purpose had been here, it was accomplished. The dark pool rose and swelled to form a sphere. The captains sought cover and readied their weapons for anything they thought would come from it. They couldn’t have anticipated what would happen next.

The sphere exploded, extinguishing all light, all sense of direction.  Form and force were lost in a swirling soundless maelstrom. Vespasian found himself floating in a void. But he was not alone. He felt a presence, and felt rather than saw a great blue reptilian eye, examining him the way a scientist might regard a cell through a microscope. The utter apathy and power of the presence pressed at Vespasian’s sanity til he felt his head might burst. When he thought he could bear no more, it ended. The presence had passed judgment upon him and he felt heat return to the world.

Opening his eyes, Vespasian saw the interior of the temple as if nothing had happened. Until he turned around. His brothers writhed on the floor and their armor pulsed as if alive. A voice spoke from within his helmet, “You are now mine. They shall be… a gift to my brothers.” And his former brother-captains rose from the floor, Changed. Their crimson armor was now a lurid green and each bore hideous mutations.

Vitellius, once the aged captain of the devastators, had swelled with rot and gaping wounds and the weapons that had once been his tools now seemed to grow at random out of his arms and chest. Galba, who had led the sternguard with distinction for a century, at first looked untouched. Until you saw the tendrils that now wrapped his gun in place of hands. Even the mighty bolter itself was changed into a gruesome thing that sang with an unearthly melody. Otho, always the first to the front, leading his brothers bravely in the thickest of the fighting, grew spikes through his pauldrons, blood flowing profusely through the holes. No trace of Claudius could be seen.

A terrifying fight ensued. Vespasian vanquished his warped brothers, but even once they were dead, the torment wasn’t over. The voice returned, coming from his left ear, “Excellent work! I could not directly eliminate those daemons. But I could direct them to those bodies. Now for your reward. HA HA HA HA HA HA…”  The voice echoed, growing in intensity as it worked its way around the temple. Vespasian saw the blood on his hands boil and his armor start to turn green. Strangely enough he could only see this through his left eye. Before the change was complete, Vespasian tore his helmet from his head, cut off his left ear and put out his own left eye with his spear.

The changes were gone and the voice stopped, but a whispering wind kicked up in its place. It heightened to a roar and then the blood soaking the floors ignited. It burned higher and hotter than any fluid had a right to burn. Vespasian got out of the temple just in time. The inferno engulfed the chapel and spread to the courtyard. Vespasian got to the transport a moment before the flames.

In orbit, he heard similar stories emerging from the battle brothers that escaped the planet. Tales of green armor, brother fighting brother, and flames. The Doombringer’s strike cruiser’s sensors showed the entire world was ablaze. Under Vespasian’s orders, the strike cruiser loosed the remaining torpedoes against the capital city and the temple and broke orbit as the conflagration spread to space.

In the aftermath, the veterans refused to abandon their chapter in its dark hour. Those that were still able were interred in the chapter’s dreadnoughts.

The Doombringers have survived increased scrutiny from the Ordo Hereticus throughout the last few centuries primarily due to the utter lack of evidence.  The chapter’s losses have been ascribed to the battle and the survivors have proved free of taint during investigations. With rumors of chaos ascending in Porrtag Tral and the temple restored, the Doombringers are returning to finish the fight started in that temple so many years ago. And perhaps keep any remnants of their close brush with chaos away from the Inquisition.

The Doombringers then return to the Porrtag Tral system. It's been occupied by the Tau and a combined IG Blood Angels fleet attempt to break the blockade, only to get thrashed by Eldar interference. Silly elfs.

The Doombringers arrived too late to assist in the initial orbital assault, and by then the xenos were nowhere to be found. Chapter Master Vespasian sent several scouting groups down to the planet under the leadership of the chapter’s librarians to the region where the temple had stood. 

Librarian Codicier Vryce discovered the temple and set up a defensive perimeter. The Doombringers marines set up heavy weapons teams in the nearby towers and built protective bunkers and laser fences around their mobile elements to channel any enemies into a killing zone.

Vryce radioed the discovery to the Doombringers’ command cruiser. A squad of terminators in close assault gear teleported in to join Vryce in securing the interior of the temple. Little remained inside the ancient walls. Broken stones littered the courtyard, long since washed of the blood and soot. Inside the chapel, there was no evidence of any past heresies, but a more thorough search revealed a secret entrance to catacombs many thousands of years older than the temple above. Codicier Vryce and the terminators descended into the dark corridors but as the last terminator passed through the opening, it collapsed.

On the surface, a series of violent explosions of purple energy ripped through the complex. Ghostly green marines materialized outside the walls of the temple. Their bolters fired eerie blasts that tore through the Doombringers’ armor without slowing and most of the Doombringers’ own rounds passed through the ghosts harmlessly. All the dreadnoughts, speeders and razorbacks from the other scout groups raced to join the battle.

Vryce heard the concussions above and opened his mind to the warp to sense the twisting tunnels around him. He felt the presence of a dark and powerful being pull his attention to a particularly deep section of the catacombs, but he ripped his focus away and found a path to the surface. He broke into a run, the terminators close on his heels.

Vryce and the assault team broke out of the thick brush covering a nearby rockface into the middle of the firefight. A winged figure strode out from the middle of a crowd of ghostly marines. The translucent figure spoke something unintelligible, and Vryce felt him reach out at him through the warp with a corrupting tendril. Vryce poured his will through his psychic hood to drain the energy from the tendril.

The terminators’ lightning claws tore through the ghostly marines surrounding the mysterious sorcerer, but as the thunderhammers swung down, the sorcerer dissipated into a green cloud with a shriek. The rest of the ghostly marines disappeared with him. Vryce reported the incident to the Doombringers’ command cruiser and called for the chapter’s apothecaries to tend to the dead and wounded.  On a private coms channel, he conferenced with Chapter Master Vespasian and Chief Librarian Telemaius.

They would have to deal with the sorcerer and the dark presence that had been awoken.

This blog is now DIAMONDS! er... 40k too

Came to the conclusion that I don't have enough to say about Malifaux to stock a whole blog. Scrapyard Gems will now be a place for all things gaming and engineering.

40k is my other gaming pleasure.  I've been knee deep in marines ever since I ran into my first chainsword playing Dawn of War. IMO one of the coolest things to come out of 40k. It came as a surprise then when it turned out to be a pretty mundane weapon in the 41st millenium. Who knew? A whole galaxy populated with an uncountable number of Bruce Campbell's chopping up zombies. or Orks. The biggest difference is the bad cockney accents. Both are single minded killing/eating machines. They both spread like a plague and both will keep coming after you with Black Knight stubbornness until the head is destroyed.

Back in April or thereabouts, I finally got to put my old metal Grey Knights to good use, but recently the marines have made a resurgance. My FLGS is in the middle of a unstructured campaign where we all play games that contribute to our overall score, with bonuses for winning and painting and special events. I brought the marines out because it's about ten zillion times more fun to write battle reports for them than the Knights.  It's been a good time relearning the beauty of meltaguns too. At the NOVA Open this year I dropped 54 S7 rending shots into a landraider without producing a single damage result. Fast forward to the campaign and I'm dropping landraiders and monoliths with single shots from attack bikes.  It really warms the soul.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Malifaux at the Nova Open!

The full discussion is here:
along with pictures here:

I played 2 games prior to this weekend. One vs the Vik's wherein the only thing left on the board at the end was the watcher. Who took the tapes of the massacre back to guild HQ.  The second was against Lady J who got peacekeeper'd and then the rest of her minions couldn't break through the construct armor.

The group of people at the Nova was incredible. The TO, whom I had met last year, allowed me to borrow any models I needed. Everyone there was incredibly friendly and it made the game exceedingly accessible.

I got in several games the night before the tournaments started, so I could see some more masters in action and try out Lady J and Sonnia on my side. I won a Hoff v Seamus pretty handily, but got stomped on a Lady J vs the Dreamer. A few more games in and I had a decent handle on Lady J.  She hits things.  Hard. Lol.  Ok, in seriousness, I also noticed a fun pairing of the Excecutioner and a Guardian.

The first tourney was 4 rounds, and I only won one game. About what I expected. My claim to fame is that the winner of the tourney only missed 5 potential VP's and I was responsible for 4 of them. You can see the battle report here:

At the end of the day, I had played enough games and done enough interesting things during those games to win the achievement league for the Guild. ie. kill someone with a slow to die, complete your master's scheme, win a game without using your soulstones, etc 

The second day I played in the 40k GT, but I think I would have had more fun playing Malifaux. OH well. I came back for the Midnight Madness Malifaux Tournament and got paired up vs Dixon, the guy who won the adepticon events.

He ran Collodi/Zoraida vs my Sonnia. It was a great big mess, with him killing off witchlings as fast as I could resummon them, but a 2 turns or so in I had knocked all but 3 wounds off Collodi, and murdered most of his dolls. In his own words, I had him on the ropes, but he had played too many games vs Bill the TO's Sonnia so he knew exactly what to do. Which was run away as fast as Collodi's puppets could take him and hide behind a building. To win, I needed a long shot Flame Burst severe damage with 3 blasts to squish Collodi and his puppets, but it didn't quite come through. The end result was a good fun game and and a 6-2 loss for me. 

The showdown.

Ordinarily, this would be very bad for the Guardian, but what you don't see is Sonnia, a death marshal and 2 more witchlings in the building to the right. This is one or 2 activations before Collodi took to the hills.

The midnight madness was a single elimination, so I was out, but I used that opportunity to get the only full night of sleep I got all weekend. :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Peacekeeper + Sewer Bases from Scratch

Huzzah! Completed peacekeeper. Same process as the first constructs: black -> tin bitz -> gold -> chainmail. When I first opened the box I felt like an archeologist looking at the Antikythera mechanism for the first time. There were arms and legs and giant hunks of metal all over the place. Mine hadn't sat on the ocean floor for 2000 years but it still had a lot of crud to clean off it. The peacekeeper has a messy mold. Luckily, I had a picture to start with and the hands have handy triagular sockets, so I couldn't mess it up too much.

I used the ordinarily forward facing leg and the bent arm to make a tripod that gives the illusion of running and shows off his arachnid abilities without sacrificing stability. He's kind of a gangly monstrosity and I've already knocked his harpoon arm off once. Despite the difficulties, I love this model and I'll get to try him out this Thursday.

It is entirely possible to make fun scenic bases without shelling out for tons of materials at the hobby store. I've spent a somewhat large amount of time gathering spare parts, so I have a junk box already prepared full of goodies, but almost everything around you can double as an amazing piece of scenery if you look at it on the proper scale. Wires become cables, popsicle sticks are planks, pen caps are jet engines.

Using a handful of relatively common household items, I crafted a sewer style base for my Peacekeeper. The stone wall section comes from a wine cork. I cut off the smooth outer layer for the nicely textured inside. A cheapo pen donated the end of its ink tube for the sewer pipe. I chose green stuff to flow through my sewers to keep the crew theme.

To get the metal decking I took the plastic bands used to hold boxes closed and on pallets, painted it black, then brushed it silver. The extra hunk of metal was cut off an old speaker cover.

The end result is something that I think rivals the Wyrd provided bases.  IMO scratch built bases get even better as the number of bases you need increases. If you need two 50mm bases (say a Hunter + Peacekeeper), you aren't stuck trying to paint the same base two different ways or trying to work differently themed base into your crew.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Search

Hoffman glanced up into the sky. The heat off the rocks blurred the air. He peered intently through the foliage for the Watcher. It should have located the lost canister by now.  Hoffman felt the Watcher's silent landing before he saw it step through the brush.

He swore as the watcher flashed though the surveilance images.  His hope that the canister could be recovered without incident was smashed. It was broken open and leaking into the waters of a small pond. The soulstone dust that infused the sludge would attract all manner of horrors, to say nothing of what it would do to the local wildlife.

There was nothing to do now but cordon the area until the recovery crew arrived.  He gathered his tools, satisfied with the repairs to the Guardian that had found him in the forest, and proceeded to the site. Earlier he hoped it was just responding to his presence, but now it only gave him a feeling of unease, as wayward Guardians typically only appear where they will be needed. The Hunter met him on the rocks and began its patrol.

Hoffman drew a small map and wrote a note and directions on it for the recovery team.  As he handed it to the watcher, he felt a cool breeze rustle the collar of his shirt. Turning around he saw a small girl in a green coat step out of the forest. Hoffman shouted to her, "This area is under quarantine by order of the Guild. It has been exposed to dangerous chemicals. Please leave the area immediately."  She gave no answer, nor did she move. Hoffman opened his mouth to order her again, but a few snowflakes floating down through the higher branches across the pond captured his attention. A great shaggy beast followed the girl out of the wood, and the snow started coming down in clumps.  Hoffman would have no assisstance from the recovery team for this fight.

Closeups of all the new goodies, models by me, terrain by Girlfriend:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Basing Complete

Look at all the pretties! I finished the bases for my first set of constructs last night. With only a handful of models in my Hoffman crew, I decided to pay much more attention to bases than I will with the 30 Grey Knights I still have to paint for the NOVA Open. I tend to enjoy building and converting models much more than I do painting them. It's a great opportunity to let my inner engineer out to play. I get to hack, slash and cobble together masterpieces and monstrosities whose only limit is the depth of my junk boxes. My inner artist isn't nearly as well developed; he still likes to play with crayons. With metal models that mostly only have one pose, the bases are the biggest way I can see to personalize them.

I followed Kennedy's advice to mix white glue into my paint to achieve a liquidy look. It was a drastic improvement over paint alone, but I may still sneak some gloss on the nuclear waste to make it extra shiny. Once I got the metal grates in place I realized that I had to redo the fresh streams of goo on the Hunter to make them large enough to be seen through the grate.

This Watcher is a flyer so I left all the grating off. He's going to need the extra glossy surface the most because the entire purpose of this guy is to show off my sludge.

One bonus of mixing glue with the paint is the fun structures you can make with it.  I made an actual bubble in my Guardian's toxic waste using a pet medicine syringe. I mixed up a blob of about 80% elmer's glue/ 20% paint and let it sit for 5 minutes to thicken. I put some of the paint/glue on the base, then filled the syringe with air and blew a bubble in it.  The 5 minutes wasn't quite enough setting time because the bubble kept popping, but I determinedly blew more until eventually one held til it dried. After drying the bubble deflated, but the bottom portion retained its shape. I'm pround of the effects I created and can't wait to get some games in.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Nuclear Waste Is GOOD For You!

Upon digging through my paint box, I discovered I don't actually possess any green paint at the moment. I used it up making terrain, which I will have to show off at some point. I'm trying to go for a bubbly nuclear sludge look on my bases, and I'm not certain what kind of paint I want.  So questing we go for green paint!

I usually use standard acrylic paints. For regular colors, I haven't found any huge differeneces between dollar bottles at the HOBBALOBBA and any fancy model paints. Actually I find the cheapo squeeze bottles infinitely easier to work with than GW's new or old bottles.  The old bottles were a perpetual mess and the new ones are frustrating to see into and keep open. The only place I've seen dramatic improvements from model paints is metallic colors.

Oh metallics!  I've seen too many gold paints that look like someone held a 14 year old girl over a bucket of yellow paint and shook her until the all the glitter fell out of her brain. There are sparkles in an otherwise non metallic paint and none of it blends. Despite how frustrating the rest of GW is, their metallic paints are phenomenal. The pigments themselves are shiny. I can water down my silvers and golds for highlights and effects without having to worry about depositing individual sequins on the mini.  And to top it off I absolutely adore Tin Bitz. All of my dreadnoughts are based in it and I'm planning to shade all my new constructs between Tin Bitz and Shining Gold.

I haven't used enamel paints since I was about 7 and making a mess of a USS Enterprise model, but the glossy finish might be handy for a bubbly goo. Otherwise I'm going to have to go with some sort of varnish to make my sludge look liquid. I'm not sure what yet, as I've never actually done something like this. In any case, I want to hear about everyone else's favorite colors and effects!  Share with me and anyone reading in the comments.