Saga’tember: Zombies and Necromancer

It’s 2/3 of the way through the month, and I finally have my next batch of Dungeon Saga miniatures to post. At this rate, I’m unlikely to get the whole set finished by month’s end, but I won’t have much more to do and I should be able to finish the base set by the end of the year, in between my other projects.

This time around, I decided to focus on the zombies. There are four regular zombies, and two wearing armor.

I have to say that I’m really not a fan of most of these Dungeon Saga miniatures. Not because they look particularly bad, but because they’re fragile. Many are misshapen, and despite many attempts at reposing them, they tend to stay that way. Thankfully, Mantic seems to be aware of the problem, so only one foot is attached to the base. This allows you some measure of control to reposition the model before gluing the other foot down. This straightens the model’s posture, which is a good thing. But it doesn’t help with bent weapons or arms at all.

In addition to the zombies, I painted another bad guy: Mortibris, the Necromancer. Once again, I ignored the “official” Mantic paint colors in favor of my own classic necromancer color scheme that harkens back to the days of my old-school Warhammer undead army. I like how he came out, but I wish the picture was a bit more in focus.

This week, I didn’t buy any more miniatures, but since I’m keeping a year-to-date total (or at least a running total since I decided to start keeping track), I’ll include my earlier purchase. That miniature will be painted soon, hopefully by the end of the month…he’s just too cool to put off.

Up next, however, I’ve decided to focus on one of my favorite painting subjects and the namesake of this game: Dwarfs!

Insanity Pile Progress

 Miniatures Painted Thus Far: 26

Miniatures Purchased: 1

Total: +25

Saga’tember Interlude: Some Subtle Foreshadowing….

The Good:

The Bad:

and the Mutie!

Oh. yeah… I almost forgot…

and HIM:

Coming soon.

Saga’tember: Skeletons and Spirits!

Well, it’s officially Saga’tember, and I’m the last of the three caballeros (the other two being Dick Garrison and Blax the Kleric) to post my progress in painting Dungeon Saga: The Dwarf King’s Quest by Mantic Games.

I decided to keep things simple for my first outing. I concentrated on the skeletons and the ghosts, two of the easiest groups to paint.

As a lifelong fantasy miniatures painter and a former Warhammer Undead player, I’ve painted many a skeleton in my day. I figured I had this in the bag. But I am far from happy with how these skellies came out.

I love Mantic dwarfs, but Mantic skeletons and elves are really skinny and small, or as my British friends would say, weedy. My eyes aren’t getting better with age, so they were tougher to paint than I thought they would be. Also, I decided to try a different skeleton painting method than is usual for me. Typically, I prime my bonies black, then highlight using Reaper’s bone triad (Bone Shadow, Aged Bone and Polished Bone) before giving it a very light drybrush of white. Works great.

This time, I used GW’s method, which is to prime white, wash with Agrax Earthshade, and highlight up with Ushabti Bone and white. I hated how this turned out, so I ended up using my method after all, which resulted in about 3 unnecessary layers of paint on the models. I mean, they don’t all have to be masterpieces, but it just irks me…

Unlike my comrade Dick Garrison, who is painting his models to match Mantic’s paint jobs (and doing an amazing job of it), I have no such desire to do so. I want to paint as many of these models as I can in September, however; so I decided to go with GW’s quick and easy method of painting ghosts: prime white, coat with Nihilakh Oxide, wash the recesses with Coelia Greenshade, and drybrush with white. I did both ghosts and one of the bosses, Elshara the Banshee, in about 30 minutes.

Also, this is the first time in months I have painted something that isn’t a Gaslands conversion or a Heroclix repaint, so it marks the return of my Painting Progress queue. I have been VERY good, and I haven’t bought any new miniatures in months…until last week, when I had to buy a miniature that was too good to pass up…but I’ll be painting it very soon. Anyway, the updated progress for this year is:

Insanity Pile Progress

Miniatures Painted Thus Far: 19

Miniatures Purchased: 1

Total: +18

 

Up next: “BRAAAAAAAIIINSSSSSS…..”

Saga’tember!

Behold Dungeon Saga: The Dwarf King’s Quest by Mantic Games. It’s a fairly well-reviewed dungeon crawler board game in the vein of Fantasy Flight’s Descent. Like Descent, it comes with a bunch of plastic miniatures that you can paint, or not, as is your wont. I’ve owned the game for a while now, but I’ve never played it; much like Imperial Assault, I wanted to paint all the miniatures before actually playing the game.

Unlike my experience with Imperial Assault, I want to paint the game miniatures in less than two years and play it more than a few times.

A couple of months back, in the midst of Forgotten Heroes, Dick Garrison, Blax the Kleric and I donned our dark robes, intoned our mysterious chants, invoked names any sane person would never speak aloud, and made a solemn pact that we would all three try to paint as much of the game as possible during the month of September, or, as Mr. Garrison has aptly dubbed it: Saga’tember.

Saga’tember is nigh! This coming month will be devoted to painting the Dungeon Saga game, with the ultimate goal (one I share with Dick Garrison), of having the whole thing complete by Christmas. That means I’d best get cracking, because I already have a project lined up for October, and I’m seriously considering hosting Dwarvember again this year. (No promises on that, we’ll have to see.)

Did I mention I have some long-lost friends dropping by in September for some Super Mission Force and/or possibly Gaslands? That’s right: I’m actually going to play a game or two with OTHER people for a change. Looking forward to it, but it means I have to do a little work for those games prior to their visit.

Tonight: I prime!

 

A #1!!!!

Those of you who drop by Dead Dick’s Tavern may know that lately, I’ve been playing Mad Max on the Playstation 4, which, in turn, has made me want to play Gaslands very much. With the end of my Time Trap Super Mission Force campaign, I only have a couple of weeks before September, when I, Dick Garrison and Blax the Kleric are all committed to a painting project soon to be revealed here.

At least I hope we’re all still committed. We are still committed, right guys?

Anyway, I have a short amount of time for other projects, so I decided to do something Gaslands-themed in honor of Mad Max. However, it’s a different movie, and one of my favorite movies of all time, that gave me the inspiration for this quick project: Escape From New York.

I decided to make the Duke’s car.

If you aren’t familiar with this movie, I’m not going to summarize it here. Just see it as soon as possible by whatever means necessary. That’s the Duke of New York above, played by the late, great Isaac Hayes. The late, great Harry Dean Stanton is next to him, as is Adrienne Barbeau. She’s not late, or great. She’s fucking amazing, and I was, and still am, madly in love with her.

One look at that picture above and you notice two interesting things. And no, I’m not talking about the two things you think. I count those as a pair and therefore one thing. The other thing is the Duke’s gun. I’m no gun expert, but I have to wonder why you would put a long-range optical scope on an Ingram Mac-10 submachine gun. I doubt you’d be doing much sniping with that…but I guess it looks cool.

Anyway, this is the Duke’s car:

 

A 1977 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham.  The Duke pimped it out with some hip chandeliers on his hood, because hey, he’s the Duke of New York. He’s A #1.

 

I had this. It’s a limousine, not a Cadillac Fleetwood, but I immediately thought of the Duke’s car when I got this in a bag of toy cars from a thrift store. Some of those have since become other Gaslands conversions, but this one…well, this one was put on hold. After all, the Duke’s car is far from the wasteland rustbuckets I’ve converted thus far.

The Duke has class. He’s A #1.

Of course, this all but requires the Xzibit “Yo, Dawg” treatment…

 

 

One look at the chandeliers on the hood and I knew that duplicating them would be beyond my meager modeling skills. So, I tried to find dollhouse furniture that would be in scale, but believe it or not, Matchbox cars are way smaller than standard dollhouse furniture. Also, dollhouse furniture is fucking expensive, so I resolved to make my own.

I took the car apart and primed it with some Rustoleum camo paint. I drilled some holes in the hood, then used these bead pliers, which I didn’t even know I had, to bend and crimp some floral wire for the frames. I used these cheap glass beads for the lights. (As a side note, I also make lovely bracelets in my spare time. Not really.)

One look at these light fixtures and you can see they’re not 100% accurate replicas of the Duke’s hood ornaments, but as I said above, those are beyond my skill. Then again, this limousine is bigger than the Duke’s caddy, so I guess it doesn’t matter. Let’s just say this car was “inspired” by the Duke’s car.

You may ask me, “Hey, Piper, why did you go through all that bullshit when you could have just used a three-prong fishhook for the lamp frame?” To that I say: I thought of that. But I couldn’t find a small enough fishhook without buying a lure (I am not a fishing enthusiast and I don’t own any fishing tackle), and I didn’t want to do that, considering I already had the floral wire. So that’s why.

If anyone cares, I painted the car with a base of Vallejo Bronze before giving it a wash of GW’s Nuln Oil, then I highlighted the whole body with P3 Radiant Platinum. The chrome fixtures were painted with GW’s Mithril Silver, and the lamps were done with Auric Armor Gold.

I don’t know how it would fit into Gaslands, because there are no limos in Gaslands, and this one looks particularly vulnerable, having neither weapons nor armor. I’d probably just call it a bus. Maybe it’s the ride of a wealthy race patron.

“I am the Duke of New York! I am A #1!!!!”

 

MH-2 Time Trap Conclusion: Truth and Consequence!

PROLOGUE

Later, at the Baxter Building, the Avengers confer with the Fantastic Four in front of the time machine built by the Latverian tyrant, Victor Von Doom!

“Time is pretty resilient, Avengers,” says Mr. Fantastic. “It has a way of sorting things out on its own. I wouldn’t worry too much about it.”

“Really?” asks Wasp. “I’d always assumed if you go back in time and change something, it screws up the present and eventually, the future.”

“A solid theory,” says Mr. Fantastic. “But only one of many, I’m afraid. There are, at present, four leading theories in the area of temporal manipulation…take, for example, the theory of—”

“They don’t have all day, Reed,” says Invisible Woman. “Kang is still out there, somewhere in time, plotting his next scheme.”

“I don’t mean to contradict you, Sue, but this time machine means the Avengers technically DO have all day,” says Mr. Fantastic. “As many days as they need, in fact.” Invisible Woman gives her husband an icy stare. Mr. Fantastic sighs. “But, I suppose you’re right. We should get things rolling, dear.”

“You believe you can send us directly to Kang?” asks Captain America.

“Yes, of course,” says Mr. Fantastic. “Just hop onto the time machine’s transport platform.”

“But what if you’re wrong? asks Vision.

“Look, buddy,” says Mr. Fantastic, “do I come to your lab and tell you how to do your job?”

“My…job?” Vision seems taken aback. “Uh…no. No, you don’t. But I was merely—”

Whatever else he was going to say is cut short by Thing’s guffaw.“Reed’s just busting your chops, pal.”

Mr. Fantastic smiles. “Don’t worry, Vision. If I’m wrong, as you fear, I will know almost immediately and we will come to get you, wherever or whenever you may be. However, I think it far more likely that Kang is expecting you. He must know by now that his ambush failed, and he’s clever enough to know you’ll be coming for him as a result.”

“Great,” says Captain Marvel. “So much for the element of surprise.” She joins Captain America, Wasp and Vision on the platform, while Starfox hobbles to his feet, moving slowly.

“I wish we could go with you,” says the Human Torch, “but Reed says no, we shouldn’t mess with the time streams any more than necessary. It’s too bad.”

“Mmm. That is too bad,” says Captain Marvel, smiling flirtatiously.

“Let’s just go get this over with,” says Starfox, walking stiffly onto the platform. “I owe Kang some payback.”

“Just remember what I said, Starfox,” says the Human Torch. “When you get back to your own time, you want to apply some Icy-Hot directly to the…um..area.”

“Icy-Hot?” asks Starfox. “Isn’t that some kind of ointment?” The machine begins to hum.

“Yup,” says Thing, hiding a smile. “Best thing for ya. And don’t skimp on it. Just layer it on, good and plenty. You’ll thank us for it later.” The Human Torch coughs into his fist rather than laughing out loud.

A bright flash of light, and the Avengers are hurtled forward in time. They materialize in the other-where laboratory of Kang, the Conqueror!

Scenario

Kang is cornered in his lair, but he has had time to prepare for the Avengers’ arrival. His goal is to either defeat the Avengers once and for all or else escape to plague them another day. To this end, he has enlisted the aid of the mindless Dragon Man construct and an old Avengers foe, the Grey Gargoyle, as well as a group of elite henchmen bodyguards and sentry robots.

The heroes must defeat Kang; the other villains are just there to make it more difficult. The Avengers lose if they are defeated (Kang escapes).

Setup

I used a 2′ x 2′ board representing Kang’s laboratory. High-tech, futuristic equipment, including Kang’s time ship, is scattered around the lab. There are 3 docking stations that hold Kang’s sentry robots, and a large teleportation pad set in front of Kang’s Time Ship.

Kang deploys on one end of the board, close to a large computer. He is surrounded closely by a group of elite henchmen. The combat robots deploy in their respective docking stations. The heroes deploy on the opposite side from Kang. Dragon Man and Grey Gargoyle do not deploy at the start of the game (see below).

Special Rules

Pontification: Kang loves to talk. If he gives up all his actions and spends an entire round doing nothing else but telling the heroes how inferior they are, he gains the Fortune power in addition to all his regular powers for the remainder of the scenario.

Calling in Reinforcements: If in base contact with his Time Ship, Kang can use a Special Action to bring in either Dragon Man or Grey Gargoyle on the teleportation pad. He can only bring one villain in per round. These villains will fight for Kang, and will activate later in the same round.

Blaster Turret: Kang has upgraded his lab’s defenses with another blaster turret, much like the one used by the Super-Skrull last scenario (Range 15″, 5D blast, TN5, Body 4). Unlike the Super-Skrull, however, Kang has had time to calibrate the gun so that it fires only at the Avengers. At the start of the round, it fires at the closest Avenger that attacked Kang in the previous round. (It will fire into melee if Kang is fighting an Avenger in melee combat.) If no Avenger attacked Kang in the previous round, the blaster turret will fire at the closest Avenger to Kang. This blaster turret is not equipped with a force field.

Grey Gargoyle’s Petrification Power: Grey Gargoyle has a variation of the standard Entangle power. Like a standard Entangle, it’s a 5D attack, but Grey Gargoyle must be in melee to use it (i.e. it has no range). The upside of this (for Grey Gargoyle) is it’s tougher to break out once you’re turned to stone(TN5). Also, anyone turned to stone resists Body-damaging attacks with their base 4D pool, no matter what their usual defense is.

NOTE: There are a lot of miniatures on the board. Rather than relate the action step-by-step, I’ll give a general overview of what happened each round. These actions are not necessarily sequential.

ROUND 1

The blaster turret fires at Wasp, who happens to be the closest Avenger to Kang. It clips her for 1 damage before the game even really gets started. Ow!

Kang wins initiative for the first round. He makes a Chance roll for his Gadgets power, which gives him re-rolls equal to his successes. He gains 2. The he uses his Enhance power as a free action, and gains another 2 re-rolls which he gives to himself. (The rules don’t specifically say you can’t target yourself with Enhance, but if Scott Pyle is reading this, maybe he could give some clarification in the comments below… Kang is an expert on tactics, so I figured why the hell not?) Kang is going to do both of these things at the start of every round, so I’ll just keep a running tally of Kang’s re-rolls at the beginning of every round.

Enter the Dragon (Man)!

Kang immediately moves to his Time Ship and uses a special action to bring in Dragon Man on the teleport pad. (Yes, that’s a teleport pad, not a coffee can lid!)

Wasp activates her Shrinking power and flies out towards the turret. She blasts it, but does no damage.

Combat robot #1, the one closest to the Avengers,  fires at Captain Marvel and hits her for 3 damage. Then it moves quickly into base contact, trying to lock her up in melee for next round. Captain Marvel activates her Density Decrease power and flies away. Since she’s intangible, all the robot can do is ineffectively grab at her ghostly form as she flies out of melee. She flies over to help out the Wasp and blasts the turret for 2 damage, taking half its Body. Not enough to destroy it, though.

Dragon Man charges at Captain America and winds up with a haymaker. He rolls terribly, but not badly enough that Cap can reflect damage back. Cap attacks Dragon Man, scoring 3 Body worth of damage, dropping the big guy from 10 Body to 7.

Combat robot #3, the one closest to the turret, fires at Wasp but misses. Much like robot #1, it follows this attack up with a Move action which brings it into base contact with Wasp, locking her in melee for next round.

Starfox charges the henchmen group screening Kang, knocking 2 of them out of the fight. The henchmen try to fight back but deal no damage to Starfox. Combat robot #2 fires at Starfox, dealing 3 Body worth of damage! Starfox drops from 7 Body to 4. Again, like the other robots (it’s almost as if they were all programmed by the same person), robot #2 closes the distance with Starfox. It doesn’t quite make it into base contact, but since it has Reach of 2″, it just needs to get close.

Scarlet Witch uses Jinx on Dragon Man, successful despite his construct nature making it more difficult for her. She then runs away from both Dragon Man and robot #3, gaining some distance.

Finally, Vision activates his Density Increase power and charges Dragon Man, shouldering the big construct aside with a Haymaker that deals a net 5 Body worth of damage! He knocks Dragon Man back 8″ and onto his backside!

End of Round 1

ROUND 2

The turret fires at Starfox, as he’s the closest Avenger to Kang. He gets clipped for 1 more damage.

Kang burns through 2 re-rolls in his pool in order to keep Initiative. He gains 1 re-roll from Enhance and banks it for himself, bringing his total re-roll pool to 3. He uses a Special Action to bring in Grey Gargoyle via the Time Ship’s teleportation pad.

Vision charges Combat robot #1. He recharges his Haymaker, but does no damage to the robot. Combat robot #1 attacks back, rolling all 6’s! He scores the maximum number of possible goals, and Vision is walloped for 5 Body damage, dropping him from 9 to 4! Good thing Vision is Density Increased or he would have gone flying!

Combat robot #2 attacks Starfox, but misses.

“Hear me, Kang,” cries Starfox. “Your doom is at hand! I will exact revenge for my ruined testes!” Grey Gargoyle bursts out laughing as the Avengers collectively roll their eyes. Kang smiles. “Then take your vengeance if you can, you arrogant popinjay.”

Starfox attacks the henchmen group and wipes them out, then he moves into base contact with Kang. Unfortunately, by leaving combat with robot #2, he leaves himself wide open to a free attack. The robot cracks him for 1 Body worth of damage, but he manages to get into melee with Kang.

Scarlet Witch blasts robot #2, inflicting 2 damage. Captain Marvel destroys the turret with a well-placed power blast.

Combat robot #3 attacks Wasp, but Wasp manages to deftly slip through it’s grasping tentacles. She gambles on her evasiveness again and leaves combat, trying to get out of melee where she can do the most good with her power blasts. This proves to be a disaster, as the robot’s free attack hits her for 4 Body, taking her all the way down to 1!

Dragon Man charges Captain America, unhindered by Scarlet Witch’s Jinx; however once he gets into combat it’s a different story. He misses badly and Captain America deals 1 damage on his return attack. He knocks Dragon Man back 1″ so he can maneuver around the big guy towards Kang and the Grey Gargoyle. Dragon Man is down to 1 Body!

Grey Gargoyle charges Captain America, and manages to turn Captain America to stone!

After leaving combat with robot #3 (and barely escaping with her life), Wasp takes a parting shot at Dragon Man and manages to KO him (it?)!

End of Round 2

The first 2 rounds have been real slugfests! Wasp down to 1 Body! Dragon Man and Kang’s henchmen wiped out! Starfox down to 2 Body, Vision down to 4, Captain Marvel at 3!! One combat robot damaged, and Captain America turned to stone by the touch of the Grey Gargoyle!!!

ROUND 3

Without Captain America’s initiative bonus, Kang easily manages to hang onto initiative.

Kang’s re-roll pool is 3, and he gives 1 re-roll to the Grey Gargoyle. Kang attacks Starfox, but does no damage. He attempts a Power Attack at the hated Kang, but a sudden sharp pain in his groin distracts him and he whiffs badly.

Grey Gargoyle decides to stick around and punish the calcified Captain America. He does a Power Attack of his own, dealing 2 damage. Then he walks away towards Vision and Scarlet Witch. Scarlet Witch successfully Jinxes Grey Gargoyle and backs away from him, while Vision pounds combat robot #1 for 2 damage, knocking it back 8″. Combat robot #1 takes advantage of the distance and blasts back at Vision but does no damage. Then, predictably, it moves back into melee with Vision.

Combat robot #2 blasts Wasp and KO’s her, then moves into base contact with Starfox. Combat robot #3 fires at Scarlet Witch and would have fried her pretty good if not for her Fortune power. She escapes damage.

Captain America manages to free himself from Grey Gargoyle’s petrification. He hurls his shield at Grey Gargoyle, but misses. Finally, Captain Marvel blasts Grey Gargoyle, but misses. She puts some space between her and the robots.

ROUND 4

In order to keep initiative, Kang burns all 4 of his re-rolls. His Gadgets power gives him 1 re-roll back. Despite having Starfox in his face, Kang decides to Pontificate.

“You are all fools if you think you can ever truly defeat me,” says Kang. “It was all to easy to manipulate you into pulling loose the errant threads of your own existence!  Not one of you is a match for my superior intellect! I have had countless centuries of study. You will fall before me and Earth will look to me as their overlord! It is only a matter of time! Yes, time— of which I AM MASTER!! MU-HUHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”

This fiery little speech gives Kang the Fortune power for the rest of the game.

Starfox desperately tries to shut Kang up, but can’t even get through his force field. Combat robot #2 attacks Starfox but misses.

Captain America tries to inspire his team, but he gains no goals in his Enhance power. Undaunted, he charges Grey Gargoyle with an Acrobatic Attack that deals 2 damage. Grey Gargoyle tries to turn Captain America back to stone, but Scarlet Witch’s jinx ensures he doesn’t even come close. She blasts combat robot #3 for 5 damage, taking it all the way down to 1 Body. Then she moves into base contact with robot #1 to assist Vision. The robot attacks Vision but does no damage, while Vision clobbers it for 3 Body. He elects to do no knockback, instead keeping the robot in melee with him.

Captain Marvel takes a shot at Combat robot #3 and blasts it to slag.

End of Round 4

ROUND 5

Kang wins initiative. He gains 5 re-rolls, bringing him to his maximum of 6. He gives 2 of them to Combat robot #2, bringing its total to 3. Then he attacks Starfox and KO’s him handily, being sure to crouch down and punch the Eternal in the crotch once more for good measure.

Captain Marvel turns invisible and blasts Kang, ripping through his force field. Kang burns a re-roll to resist, taking only 2 damage, dropping him from 6 to 4. Combat robot #2 manages to spot her despite her invisibility and fires, but misses. It rolls towards her on its Move action.

Captain America belts Grey Gargoyle for 2 more damage, keeping him close in melee. Grey Gargoyle tries to petrify Cap again, but fails.

Vision destroys Combat robot #1 in melee. Scarlet Witch tries to jinx Kang, but fails.

ROUND 6

Kang keeps initiative and gains enough re-rolls to max his pool at 6. He fires at Scarlet Witch but misses. She blasts back, and burns through 2 re-rolls resisting damage.

Captain Marvel fires at Combat robot #2 but doesn’t damage it. She also fails to keep her Invisibility active. She moves to set up a crossfire with Scarlet Witch for next turn.

Grey Gargoyle turns Cap to stone, and despite his best efforts, Captain America is stuck that way, failing his breakout attempt.

Vision drops his Density Increase power and recharges his Haymaker. He charges into combat with Kang and decks him hard, but Kang burns through 4 re-rolls and manages to take 2 damage, dropping him to 2 Body. Vision wants to keep Kang close, so he doesn’t do knockback.

End of Round 6

ROUND 7

Even though they’re operating without Captain America’s initiative bonus, the Avengers seize initiative for the first time, and Kang’s re-rolls don’t help him. He gains 3 re-rolls from his Gadgets power.

Vision fails to recharge his Haymaker, but he activates his Density Increase power before attacking Kang. He breaks through Kang’s force field and does 1 damage, dropping Kang to his last Body point! Kang burns all his re-rolls, including his newly acquired Fortune power, and is on the ropes!

Scarlet Witch fires at combat robot #2 but misses. Combat robot #2 fires at Vision and misses, so he moves into melee to assist Kang next round.

Captain America fails to free himself from Grey Gargoyle’s power.

Captain Marvel recharges her Invisibility and activates it. Then she fires at Kang, dropping him to zero Body. Kang fails his KO check and collapses! Victory to the Avengers!

End of Game

EPILOGUE

I suppose I could have continued to play out the scenario until all the bad guys were accounted for, but why? Grey Gargoyle is no genius, but he’s smart enough to know when he’s beaten. I figure he’d probably surrender.

My thoughts on the scenario, in no particular order:

I got to use my old TSR Marvel Super Heroes miniature for Kang! He scales very well with the Heroclix, which is good because I hate the two Heroclix versions of Kang that I own. I was very happy to get to use some classic lead in this game!

It was a tight space for so many miniatures. I probably should have used a 3′ x 3′ area rather than the 2′ x 2′ board. That being said, the action started pretty much immediately.

While I made use of a lot of Archetype combat maneuvers, I completely forgot about Kang’s abilities, as I was focused on remembering his re-roll pool. Kang is wily, but no match for most of the Avengers in a stand-up fight. He always has tricks up his sleeve, and he stacks the deck in his favor. I think using Kang’s re-roll pool to its best ability is what kept him healthy for so long.

Dragon Man was a huge disappointment. I thought he’d be good to tie up the Avengers for a while, but he performed so badly in this scenario he was little more than a distraction.

Not very surprising, the henchmen did nothing, except exactly what they were supposed to: protect Kang. By surrounding him so closely, they made it impossible for Kang to get charged early. Starfox had to waste precious time dealing with them before he could get to Kang. The robots performed very well, and blasting first and moving into combat second proved to be a good strategy to delay the heroes.

Why did I use Grey Gargoyle? Because he was in the original Time Trap module, in his own (very stupid) chapter. I had already repainted the miniature, so I threw him in as support for Kang in the final chapter. He seemed to work out well, as he took Captain America out of the fight for two of the rounds!

The overall campaign was a blast, despite having a rather lame cast of heroes and villains. I had as much fun with Starfox as I could. This was the first campaign I ran with the finalized Super Mission Force rules (The Breeder Bombs used the incomplete playdocs through various versions) and I think it went very smoothly.

Here are my Super Mission Force builds for the bad guys in this scenario:

Kang (Super) Major: Enhance, Minor: Clever, Force Field, Gadgets, Power Blasts

Like I said above, focusing on getting as many re-rolls as possible is my key to playing Kang. I considered giving him Armor and Savant in place of Force Field and Clever, but I like the above version better.

Dragon Man (Super) Major: Super Strength Minor: Construct, Flight, Power Blasts, Tough

Grey Gargoyle (Wild Card) Minor: Armor, Entangle, Super Strength, Resistance

Grey Gargoyle’s version of the Entangle power is described under Special Rules, above.

Combat Robots: Minor: Power Blasts, Melee Specialist (Reach 2″)

Henchmen: Armor, Power Blasts

That’s it for now. I plan on converting more Marvel Super Heroes modules to Super Mission Force, and I’ll likely have another campaign going before too long. It’s too much fun to pass up!

Gimme Fuel, Gimme Fire…

Hello all.

Regular blog visitors may wonder aloud, “Hey, Piper, where the hell is the conclusion to the Time Trap Super Mission Force campaign?”

It’s on its way. It has been delayed because I did something very bad. I started a new PS4 game that has sucked all my free time away. I’m addicted. My own personal Time Trap, if you will.

You may wonder what game I have started. It’s this one:

Yeah, that’s right. It’s Mad Fucking Max! It came out in 2015, but in my typical fashion I just started playing it now, in part because it was a free download on the Playstation Network a few months back.

How is the game? Pretty damn awesome. Driving and converting cars, blowing up more cars, killing lots of wasteland scavvys, eating dog food…it’s got it all. Hence the delay in posting the conclusion to the SMF campaign.

Not surprising, this video game is making me want to play Gaslands very much, indeed. Turns out next month I have a couple of long lost friends getting together at my place, so maybe I’ll finally get to play. I’m glad I got my Gaslands cars done back in April, as I already have a prior project commitment for the month of September. More on that later…

I’ll have that conclusion to Time Trap up this weekend. Promise.

Cloak and Dagger

A brief interlude from my Time Trap campaign: a while back I saw an advertisement for a new TV series set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe based on third-string teenage duo Cloak & Dagger. Because the show was hyped pretty early, I forgot about it until I stumbled across it by accident. Apparently, it’s on the Freeform network, which is a network I didn’t even know I was paying for as part of my cable package. Sometimes surprises can be good.

By the time I found it, the first 2 episodes had already aired. I’ll watch anything that’s comic-related, so I watched these episodes on demand and started recording all the new ones. Tonight is the final episode of the first season.

Now, I was already familiar with Cloak and Dagger, by which I mean I knew their identities and their powers; but I wouldn’t say I was a fan by any means. In fact, I don’t own any Cloak and Dagger comics, and I own a shit-ton of comics. They never really piqued my interest. They were just kinda…there, sometimes, as guest stars in other comics.

Which is why I guess I was pleasantly surprised by Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger on Freeform. It’s actually pretty good. It could use a bit of help in the pacing department, but it’s still interesting enough to keep my attention, despite it taking 4-5 episodes to start really making things happen. The cast is great; both Cloak and Dagger are well-represented, as are their respective family members. I’m particularly impressed with Aubrey Joseph, who plays Cloak. It’s tough to pinpoint why, but I think it may be because he has a unique voice, which is an attribute I’ve always imagined Cloak would possess.

Anyway, in honor of this new show that I like, I’ve decided to paint up Cloak and Dagger for my supers collection. Both are repainted Heroclix, of course. Above is the factory paint job.

These are my repaints. Their costumes are so basic this really didn’t take very long at all. Just a bit of shading and highlighting for Dagger, mostly just highlighting for Cloak. I really hate Dagger’s daggers, which just won’t stay level no matter how many times I try to bend them into shape with hot water/cold water. I’m almost at the point where I might just clip them off. I really hate these “energy effect” things some Heroclix have.

Like I said above, I’ll watch anything comics(especially supers)-related and give it a shot; but I watch enough good TV to not have time for bad shows. I stuck with Agents of SHIELD, Flash, Preacher, Arrow and Gotham; I bailed on The Gifted, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow. I missed out on Black Lighting and Legion (I’ll probably watch Black Lightning, but I haven’t heard anything great about Legion, so I’ll pass). I loved Constantine (Matt Ryan was awesome as John); sadly it ended before it really got started. And of course I watch all the Netflix series, even Iron Fist, which is a huge disappointment to me as I’m a rabid Iron Fist fan. But, oh well. Hopefully Season 2 will be better…

Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger has earned another season already, so they must have decent enough ratings to justify one. I’ll be back next season; this is the most interesting Cloak and Dagger have ever been for me.

 

MH-2 Time Trap Part 3: A Murder of…Skrulls?!

PROLOGUE

The smoke clears, and the Avengers stand reunited in their mansion before Immortus, Lord of Limbo!

“Both your groups achieved success,” says Immortus. “This is good, but there is still another task ahead, and it is by far the most important.”

“Hold on a second,” interrupts Captain Marvel. “I think we’re entitled to some answers, friend. A child was almost seriously hurt or killed, and we still don’t know the whole story.”

“And yet because of your quick actions, the child was unhurt. He grew up to be a postal clerk, if that is of importance to you,” says Immortus. “More importantly, Rankin was prevented from his path, which would have led to the formation of the solar flare.”

“We have only your word on that,” says Scarlet Witch.

Immortus scowls. “I will try not to take that as the insult you so obviously intend. I seek only to prevent disaster.”

“Sorry to hurt your feelings, but Drax did not know about the satellites you claim he was on his way to destroy, either,” says Wasp. She looks at Captain America. “And Vision says there’s no record they ever existed.”

Cap glances at Vision. The android nods. “Well, that’s sure strange, Immortus,” says Captain America. “Any explanation?”

Immortus sighs with impatience. “Again, because of your quick actions, the aliens likely never even got a chance to tell Drax about the satellites. Rest assured, that is a good thing. As for your computer’s deficiencies, I am sure I am not the person to ask. Now, enough of this nonsense! There is an important task that will require all of you, and it must be done presently! I have used my mastery of the time streams to heal all your injuries for those who have sustained harm. Hardly the actions of one with ill intent.”

Starfox folds his arms. “All right. We’re listening.”

“You must go back in time again, but not far; only yesterday,” Immortus says.

“Yesterday…” says Starfox, “…when all our troubles seemed so far away…” He smiles, looking around at the others.  “You all see what I did there, right? Right?”

“Why yesterday?” asks Vision, ignoring Starfox. He subtly increases his density, rooting himself to the spot lest he lunge at Starfox and punch him in the dick.

“Because that is when Reed Richards launched a solar probe into space from the top of a building here in Manhattan.”

“That’s quite simply impossible,” says Vision. “Our computers would have detected such a launch, and Dr. Richards would have certainly informed us of his plans.”

“The launch was secret,” snaps Immortus. “Do you doubt Reed Richards could launch something into space undetected?”

“No,” says Captain America. “Only that he would.”

“Well, you can ask him about it yourself when you see him. If the launch is allowed to happen, the probe becomes the very catalyst that sets in motion the flare. You must convince him to abort the launch. Richards miscalculated a key equation, and has inadvertently doomed the solar system.”

“Mr. Fantastic doesn’t make mistakes like that,” says Scarlet Witch.

“Does he not?” Immortus scoffs. ” Have you forgotten how the Fantastic Four came to be, Ms. Maximoff? How Reed Richards became “Mr. Fantastic” in the first place? Now prepare yourselves!”

“Well, this should be interesting,” says Wasp, as the temporal energies gather around the team.

Captain America raises an eyebrow. “In what way?”

Wasp grins. “I can’t wait to see the look on his face when you tell Reed Richards he needs to check his math.”

The Scenario

Surprise! Kang is lying. While the heroes were off dealing with Mimic and Drax, Kang made arrangements for them to be ambushed in the past by two powerful enemies: Blastaar, the Living Bomb-burst, and the Super-Skrull! He’s not sending them back to yesterday, he’s sending them back years, shortly after the Super-Skrull first got his powers. Kang doesn’t care whether the Avengers beat the Super-Skrull or not; it really doesn’t matter. If the Super-Skrull wins, the Avengers are wiped out before they become a team. If the Avengers win, the Super-Skrull reports back to the Skrull emperor that Earth is better defended than the Skrulls thought. They never attack Earth and the Fantastic Four is the only super-team that is really needed, so the Avengers never become a permanent team. Either way, when Kang’s future rolls around, he’s ensured himself an easy time conquering Earth.

The Avengers need to defeat the Super-Skrull, his Skrull soldiers, and Blastaar. Anything else is complete failure!

Setup

I used two 2′ x 2′ boards, representing the tops of two skyscrapers in Midtown Manhattan. At their closest point, the rooftops are 8″ away from each other. Both rooftops contain scatter terrain, such as ventilation ducts, elevator motors, water tanks, AC units, etc. One of the rooftops contains a strange-looking spacecraft.

The Avengers deploy on the roof without the spacecraft. Blastaar and two groups of elite Skrull henchmen deploy on the same roof, surrounding the Avengers. The Super-Skrull and the last group of elite Skrull henchmen deploy on the opposite roof, close to the spacecraft.

Special Rules

Moving Between Buildings: With the exception of Scarlet Witch, all the heroes have no problem moving between the two buildings. Starfox, Vision, Wasp and Captain Marvel can all fly, and Captain America’s Super-Agility makes an 8″ leap child’s play. Unfortunately for the Scarlet Witch, if she wants to move from building to building she’ll have to hitch a ride with Starfox, Vision or a non-shrunken Wasp. Captain Marvel can only fly while intangible, so she can’t carry a passenger, and Captain America’s Super-Agility doesn’t allow him to carry passengers, either. On the villains’ side, Blastaar and Super-Skrull can also easily fly (or stretch) between buildings, but the Skrull henchmen groups are stuck on whatever building they deployed on at the start of the game.

Attacking Between Buildings: Both buildings are roughly the same height, so models can make ranged attacks at one another from building to building. The Super-Skrull can also attack between buildings in melee if he uses his Metamorph power to stretch and increase his reach.

The Spacecraft: The spacecraft functions as a constant source of cosmic energy. It has a directional antenna that constantly beams cosmic energy to the Super-Skrull, making him stronger than normal. In game terms, this gives the Super Skrull the Regeneration power in addition to his already considerable power list. Destroying the spacecraft should be a high priority for the heroes; unfortunately it’s not easy. The spacecraft is enveloped by a standard force field (4D) and is made of steel (or the Skrull equivalent), which is TN5 and Body 4. It’s also surrounded by an elite group of Skrull henchmen, and is protected by a blaster turret (see below).

If the spacecraft is successfully destroyed, the Super-Skrull immediately loses the Regeneration power and takes a 6D attack as the beam is disrupted. He resists this normally, but his Force Field cannot protect him against this attack.

The Blaster Turret: The Skrulls have set up a sentry gun to protect the spacecraft. At the start of each round, it opens fire on the closest model that is not a Skrull. Note that this could be Blastaar! The Skrulls haven’t had time to configure it to ignore Blastaar yet. It can be targeted and destroyed (TN5 Body 4).

The mists of time part, and the Avengers find themselves on the roof of a tall building in Manhattan, just as Immortus said they would. On an adjacent rooftop they spy the Fantastic Four, gathered around a strange-looking device.

“Good. They’re here, and so is the ship,” says Wasp. “Let’s go tell the FF they have to stop their science project for now.”

The Avengers walk towards the rooftop where the Fantastic Four are tinkering with the device. The Thing catches sight of them immediately and says something to the rest of the team, who turn to watch the Avengers approach.

“That ship…” says Starfox, trailing off. “It almost looks like—”

“Something’s wrong here,” says Captain America, as diabolical grins spread across the faces of the Fantastic Four.

Suddenly, the familiar forms of the FF waver and fade, only to be replaced by…

“Skrulls!” says Vision. “It’s a trap!”

All around the Avengers, Skrull soldiers suddenly appear, until that moment hidden by the Invisibility powers of their leader, The Super-Skrull! A harsh, booming laugh comes from behind the group. They whirl, only to see Blastaar of Baluur, the Living Bomb-blast!

“Immortus set us up!” exclaims Captain Marvel. “It’s an ambush!”

“Avengers, Assemble!” cries Captain America, unslinging his shield from his back. “Formation Alpha 2-3, on me! Let’s end this quickly, team!”

The start of the game. Board 1 on the left, Board 2 on the right.

Board 1 Deployment

Board 2 Deployment

ROUND 1

Before initiative is rolled, the blaster turret opens fire on the closest non-Skrull model: Wasp! This surprise attack hits her for 3 damage, half her Body! Ouch!

Also at the start of the round, the Super-Skrull has to pick what Metamorph form he will use for the round. I picked form #1, which gives him +6″ to Move, Melee Specialist, and +10″ reach. This pretty accurately represents his elasticity and he will stay this way throughout the whole game; I see no reason to change it.

The Avengers gain initiative. Captain America wastes no time. He activates his Enhance power and says some inspiring words. He manages to give Scarlet Witch one re-roll she can bank until she needs it. Then he takes the fight straight to Blastaar by charging the warlord of Baluur! He leaps atop the water tower with an Acrobatic Attack (a Brawler special maneuver); when all is said and done, Blastaar takes 4 Body worth of damage and gets knocked off the tower! He manages to keep his footing, but he just lost 2/3 of his health! Blastaar only has 2 Body left!

In response, Blastaar does what he does best, he blasts Captain America with concussive kinetic energy, scoring 6 net goals worth of damage, dropping Cap’s Body from 7 to 1!! Blastaar uses the Blast Back maneuver (a Blaster maneuver), and knocks Captain America off the water tower and onto his star-spangled ass. Cap fails his knockdown check and is back to where he started the round. How embarrassing!

Captain Marvel activates her Density Decrease and Invisibility powers, then Power Blasts Skrull group #2, taking 3 of their number out of the action. Then she uses her Flight and Speed to head over to Board #1, close to that Skull spacecraft and the Blaster Turret.

Skrull group #3 moves up and concentrates their fire on Vision. He rolls poorly to resist and takes 5 Body worth of damage, dropping from 9 to 4!

Wasp activates her Shrinking power and flies towards Skrull group #3, Power Blasting them and taking out 3 of their soldiers in a mirror image of Captain Marvel’s attack! Both henchmen groups on board 2 are down to 2 members each! Wasp continues the rest of her movement, putting her closer to Blastaar.

Skrull group #2 opens fire on Captain America, managing to inflict 1 more Body worth of damage, dropping Cap to zero health and forcing him to make a KO check. He passes! Cap is still in the fight, but he has lost all his Body in the first round of the game!

Vision charges into combat with Blastaar and delivers a Haymaker. He only scores 1 damage, but that knocks Blastaar back 3″ and he fails to remain on his feet.

Meanwhile, over on Board #1, the Super Skrull makes good use of the Fantastic Four’s powers. He activates his Damage Field and Invisibility powers, then moves to the edge of the building. With his 10″ reach, he can just barely hit Starfox by stretching across the gap between buildings. Using a combination of the Human Torch’s flame, Mr. Fantastic’s elasticity (and the Melee Specialist ability from Metamorph form #1), the Thing’s strength and Sue Storm’s invisibility, the Super Skrull is rolling and re-rolling a shit-ton of dice on this one attack. He does 4 Body worth of damage on the unsuspecting Starfox, enough to knock him back 12″ into the water tower. Starfox fails his knockdown check and wonders what the hell just happened.

Starfox uses 2″ of his movement to stand up and look around, but he doesn’t see the invisible Super-Skrull. Instead he charges Skrull group #2 and vents his frustration on them, wiping out the remaining two members.

Skrull group #1 fail to spot Captain Marvel, so they move towards the edge of their roof. No one is within range of their attacks, however; so they just sneer at the Avengers on the other rooftop.

Scarlet Witch moves forward and Power Blasts Skrull group #3, taking out the remaining 2 Skrulls.

Board 1: End of Round 1.

Board 2: End of Round 1

 

HOLY SHIT! That brings Round 1 to a close: one of the bloodiest Rounds in Super Mission Force History, at least in my experience. In the span of about 10 minutes, the results are staggering: Captain America, at zero Body! Wasp at half Body! Vision and Starfox, both at less than half their starting Body! Skrull groups #2 and #3 wiped out! Blastaar at 1 Body! In the immortal words of Charlton Heston: “It’s a madhouse! A maaaaaadhouuuusse!!!!”

ROUND 2

Both Captain Marvel and Super-Skrull maintain their Invisibility.

The Blaster Turret can’t see Captain Marvel, so it fires at the next closest non-Skrull: Scarlet Witch. After an impressive shot, Scarlet Witch manages to only take 1 damage (she had Cap’s re-roll and her Fortune power to thank for that).

Captain America stands up and moves into position where his Enhance power can do the most good. Unfortunately, he only manages to impart one re-roll to the group. He gives it to Vision. Then, because he’s close enough, he throws his shield at the prone Blastaar, but he misses!

The invisible Super-Skrull charges at Starfox, who, at the last moment, makes his Perception roll and notices something is attacking him. Nonetheless, the Super-Skrull clobbers Starfox right in the dick, dropping the Eternal to zero Body and knocking him back 9″. Starfox manages to stay both conscious and upright, but (as anyone who has ever been punched in the dick can attest) his mood immediately suffers.

Vision activates his Density Increase power and charges Blastaar. He makes use of Captain America’s gifted re-roll and pummels the Living Bomb-burst into next week. Blastaar fails his KO check and is out of action!

On Board 1, Skrull group #1 makes their Perception check and notices Captain Marvel. They concentrate their fire on her, and she loses 2 Body, dropping her from 6 to 4.

Starfox tries to get some payback. He charges Super-Skrull, using the Wild Card maneuver Power Attack, which gives him a couple of re-rolls. Despite rolling 6 dice with 2 re-rolls, Starfox fails to damage the Super-Skrull. Not really surprising; his recent experience is probably quite distracting.

Captain Marvel decides to attack the Skrull spacecraft, and Power Blasts it hard enough to penetrate the Force Field and do 3 Body worth of damage to it. It starts to spark and smoke, and on the other rooftop, the Super-Skrull feels a shudder in the cosmic force beam supplying him with power…

Wasp flies over to the edge of rooftop #2 and fires across the way at Skrull group #1. She only manages to pick off 1 Skrull, but that’s ok. Scarlet Witch moves up alongside her and shows Wasp how it’s done. She Power Blasts Skrull group #1 and wipes out the remaining four Skrulls.

Board 1: End of Round 2

Board 2: End of Round 2

ROUND 3

Captain Marvel fails to sustain her Invisibility, but Super-Skrull keeps his invisibility active.

The Blaster Turret shoots at Captain Marvel, clipping her for 1 damage.

Captain Marvel fires at the spacecraft again. This time she blows it to smithereens. The disruption of the cosmic energy beam causes 1 damage to the Super-Skrull and removes his ability to Regenerate, which is something he hasn’t needed to do yet as he hasn’t taken any damage.

Super-Skrull has had just about enough of Starfox, so he belts him hard, knocking him back another 9″. Starfox is KOed!

Captain America spots Super-Skrull,  recharges his Acrobatic Attack and charges! He drops Super-Skrull down to 1 Body with his heroic charge, but falls to Super-Skrull’s Damage Field, which does 3 goals of damage to Cap. Cap is KOed!

If Super-Skrull somehow survives this round, the Blaster Turret will fire again. With this in mind, over on Board #1, Wasp attacks the turret and blasts it to bits.

Scarlet Witch tries to locate the invisible Super-Skrull so she can attack him, but she can’t find him. All she does is move closer to where she thinks he is.

Finally, Vision activates his Density Decrease power, effectively becoming a ghost. He perceives the Super-Skrull and flies directly through him, doing a Ghostly Attack. Super-Skrul takes 1 damage from the attack and fails his KO roll. Super-Skrull is KOed!

Victory to the Avengers!

 

Board #1: End of Game

Board #2: End of Game

EPILOGUE

Wow. That was a fast game, indeed. Three total rounds saw three henchmen groups, two heroes and two villains wiped out, three more heroes reduced to half or less health, and one more hero wounded. No one escaped pain! All in the span of about 25 minutes real time!

I changed this scenario in several ways. First, I spread the battle out over two separate rooftops. Second, I felt the Super-Skrull needed a little help, so I increased the number of Skrull soldiers and added Blastaar to his team. I also added the blaster turret as additional security. Other than these additions, the battle was pretty similar to the original publication.

Since Kang isn’t bringing the heroes back this time around, he has no intention of healing their injuries. That means I have to roll on the Fate of the Fallen table for anyone KOed during this scenario: namely Starfox and Captain America. Starfox sustained a rather serious groin injury (who saw that coming?). As such, he is -3″ to his Move and -1D to all his attacks for the next battle. (Groin pain lingers, my friends…)

Despite being blasted by Blastaar and some Skrulls and being burned by Super-Skrull’s flames, Captain America manages to come through with only minor scrapes. He’ll be ready to go next scenario with no ill-effects. That’s because Captain America is Captain America, and not Starfox.

It’s also noteworthy that I rolled very high for most of the game, including all the Recharge rolls I was required to make. That’s why the Super-Skrull and Captain Marvel were invisible for most of the game. That’s not usually how it goes.

Here are my Super Mission Force builds for the Skrull force:

Super-Skrull (Powerhouse): Major: Metamorph, Super-Strength Minor: Damage Field, Flight, Force Field, Invisibility, Power Blasts, Regeneration (only when cosmic beam is active)

Blastaar (Super): Major: Power Blasts Minor: Armor, Flight, Resistance, Super-Strength

Elite Skrull Henchmen: Minor: Armor, Power Blasts

The battle in Midtown Manhattan was bound to draw attention, and it caught the notice of the world’s first super-team, the Fantastic Four! They arrive in their patented Fantasti-car, and after several minutes of introductions and explanations, the Avengers from the future and the Fantastic Four from the past come to an understanding.

“So that’s basically it, Dr. Richards,” says Captain America. It will be several years before they will be on a first name basis, at least by Mr. Fantastic’s timeline. “It seems we were duped, and I blame myself.”

“You can’t think that way, Captain America,” says Reed Richards. “Immortus is generally trustworthy; therefore I suspect it is Kang, his earlier incarnation, that is to blame.”

“Kang!” exclaims Scarlet Witch. “That would explain a lot.”

“Indeed it would,” says Vision. “But, how do we repair the damage to the timeline that we have already caused?”

“Don’t worry”, says Thing. “I’m sure Big Brain has already figured that out.” He unceremoniously drops the unconscious Super-Skrull into the Fantasti-car, while Invisible Girl claps the villain in power-dampening restraints. Similar restraints have already been applied to Blastaar, who glares at the Human Torch while the Torch, only feet away, makes faces at him.

“That’s essentially correct, Ben,” says Mr. Fantastic. “I think I have a plan to set things right.” Thing gives Captain America an “I told you so” look, then walks over to Starfox, who is moaning and clutching a cryo-pack between his legs. “Got ya right in the cubes, huh pal?” says Thing. Starfox nods weakly. “Ya just gotta walk it off. Just walk it off, buddy. S’all ya can do.”

Up next: the final showdown between the Avengers and Kang, the Conqueror!

 

 

 

 

MH-2 Time Trap Part 2: Drax the Destroyer!

PROLOGUE

As Captain America, Captain Marvel and Scarlet Witch vanish into the swirling mists of time, Immortus turns towards the remainder of the team. “You three must act no less swiftly if we are to save the galaxy from solar destruction. You will be sent to Earth’s moon, several decades in the past. There you will find Drax the Destroyer, in parley with an alien race that secretly works for the Eternal, Thanos.”

“But Drax hates Thanos, and has sworn to kill him,” says Thanos’s brother, Starfox.

“Just so,” says Immortus irritably, “but since I just told you they work for Thanos secretly, Drax does not know they work for Thanos. If he is not stopped, the aliens will convince Drax to destroy two Earth-made satellites in orbit around Mercury. These satellites study solar flare activity and without the data they provide, Earth will be unable to prevent the flare from destroying the galaxy.”

“So we must battle Drax,” Starfox says. “This isn’t going to be fun.”

“You need not battle Drax, only somehow prevent him from leaving with the aliens,” says Immortus.

“Perhaps we can ask him nicely to stay,” says Wasp. She glances around. “Just kidding.”

“Janet, your beauty truly inspires the most melancholy of poets,” says Starfox. “Sadly, I have never known Drax to be influenced by beauty.” He smiles. “Unlike myself.”

Vision stares at Immortus. The android’s face is inscrutable, revealing little of his true thoughts, although they very likely involve punching Starfox in the dick. “I am linked with the Avengers Mainframe,” he says. “We have no record of any satellites of Earthly origin placed around Mercury during the time you mention.”

“The inaccuracy of your computers is the least of our problems,” snaps Immortus. “Now, prepare yourselves, for we have no more time for discourse!” With that, billowing clouds of smoke envelop the Avengers, hurling them through space and time!

The Scenario:

It’s pretty straightforward: the Avengers must delay Drax the Destroyer long enough so that he doesn’t leave the Moon in the company of the aliens. They can accomplish this one of two ways: beat Drax and the aliens in a straight-up fight, or convince Drax that the aliens work for Thanos, his hated enemy. If they succeed in convincing Drax, he fights alongside the Avengers for the rest of the game.

Setup:

I used a 4′ x 4′ board depicting a strange area of Earth’s moon. There are rocky outcroppings and alien flora liberally scattered around the board, providing cover and blocking line-of-sight. Drax and two groups of alien henchmen set up on one side of the board. The Avengers deploy on the opposite side.

SPECIAL RULES

You were expecting this guy, perhaps?

 

Nope! This is Drax.

Convincing Drax: Drax is no deep thinker, but he’s not a dummy, either. Something about this whole thing seems fishy to him.  Any hero can spend an entire round trying to convince Drax to join their side.  It requires 3 Goals on a Chance roll to persuade Drax that the aliens really work for Thanos, and he’s fighting on the wrong side. At this time in history, the only member of the Avengers Drax knows is Starfox, who he recognizes as Thanos’s brother. Drax knows Starfox and Thanos hate each other, so Starfox only needs 2 Goals on his Chance roll to persuade Drax.

The Aliens: The alien henchmen groups are endless. Once a group is wiped out, a new group will deploy from the same table edge as they did at the start of the game. This occurs at the end of the round the group is wiped out. With their jetpacks, the alien henchmen groups can get to the action fairly quickly. The aliens try to avoid physical combat, instead using their maneuverability to get into good positions from which they can shoot at the heroes. If two groups can set up a crossfire and attack the same hero in a round, they will; if not, they attack separate targets.

The BFR: In the likely scenario that the Avengers convince Drax to switch sides, the aliens deploy their last resort: a Big F(ighting) Robot. The robot fights alongside endless henchmen groups against both the Avengers and Drax while the bulk of the alien force withdraws from the Moon. The scenario ends once either the robot or the heroes (and Drax) are defeated.

ROUND 1

As team leader in Captain America’s absence, Wasp quickly sizes up the situation. Two groups of the aliens, armed with energy rifles and wearing what looks like jet packs. That makes them fast and dangerous. And then there’s Drax. He’s the toughest guy on the Moon, and he knows it. “Starfox, you and I will take care of the aliens,” she says. “Vision, you tie Drax up long enough so he will listen to reason.”

“Understood,” says Vision. It doesn’t sound like he’s looking forward to what’s coming. “Please hurry.”

Initiative goes to the villains. Henchmen Group #1 flies out and takes cover behind a weird alien plant, then concentrates fire on the Vision, who is barely within range. They miss. Wasp activates her Shrinking power, then flanks the group and fires off her power blasts, managing to take out one of the aliens. Henchmen Group #2 activates and flies toward the center of the board. They take aim at Wasp, trying to eliminate one Avenger at a time; but they miss, too.

>drops mike<

Starfox charges into Henchmen Group #2, and scores enough net goals to completely wipe out all 6 aliens! (I did not see that one coming.)

Drax flies out to meet Vision, but since he’s too far away to charge, he blasts Vision with his ranged attack instead. Vision shrugs it off, taking no damage, and activates his Density Increase power. He knows he’s shortly going to go toe-to-toe with Drax, so it seems like a good idea. Not wanting to provoke someone who calls himself “The Destroyer” any further, Vision fires his power blasts at Henchmen Group #1, managing to inflict  1 more casualty on the group, dropping their number to 4.

At the end of the round, Henchmen Group #2 re-spawns at the table edge. These guys are endless!

End of Round 1

ROUND 2

The villains keep initiative, and Drax wastes no time charging into combat. He belts Vision with a Haymaker that ends up doing 2 Body worth of damage. Good thing Vision activated his Density Increase power, or he would have been knocked back 8″! Vision tries to grapple Drax, hoping to bind him up and make him listen to reason. He fails; and Drax rebuffs his embrace.

Henchmen Group #1 fires again at Wasp, but she nimbly dodges out of the way.

Dude, you had one job….

Starfox uses his entire turn to make an impassioned plea to Drax, trying to convince him that the Avengers are on his side. Even though he only needs 2 goals, he blows it. Drax silently vows to punch him in the dick as soon as he’s done with Vision.

Wasp blasts Henchmen Group #1, wiping them all out before flying off towards the center of the board, where she guesses Henchmen Group #2 will soon be. She’s right. They unload their guns on her, but miss.

End of Round 2

At the end of the round, Henchmen Group #1 re-spawns at the table edge.

ROUND 3

The villains keep initiative.

Henchmen Group #1 flies out takes up position around the Wasp, setting up a crossfire with Henchmen Group #2 (already in position). They open fire and manage to clip her for 1 Body worth of damage.

Starfox tries his best to persuade Drax again, using his entire round’s actions to do so. He fails.

“Hey…er… why don’t we all just…uh…relax, Drax?” says Starfox. Drax thinks it must be pure torture to have to hang out with an idiot like Starfox. He looks at Vision with pity before punching him with another Haymaker for another 2 Body worth of damage. Vision responds in kind with his own Haymaker, but Drax just takes the hit and smiles, unhurt.

Henchmen Group #2 opens fire on Wasp, managing to hit her for another 1 Body worth of damage. Wasp is taking heavy fire, so she blasts back, taking out 3 of the aliens before high-tailing it away to seek cover!

End of Round 3

ROUND 4

The heroes gain initiative!

Starfox tries again to convince Drax that the aliens are working for Thanos, this time with success! Drax suddenly remembers were he knows Starfox from and realizes he’s been duped. Man, is he pissed!

Henchmen Group #1 chases after Wasp, firing on her and inflicting another 1 damage, dropping her to half her overall Body!  Wasp fires back and blasts 3 of them before taking off. Henchmen Group #2 (only 3 strong), gives chase and fires at her again, but they miss.

“You DARE dupe Drax?!”

Drax activates, charging into combat with Henchmen Group #2. No surprise, he wipes the group out completely.

Vision targets what remains of Henchmen Group #1 with his solar gem, blasting them into unconsciousness.

End of Round 4

At the end of the round, both Henchmen Groups re-spawn at the table edge. Now that Drax is fighting on the side of the Avengers, the aliens deploy their secret weapon: the Big F(ighting) Robot!

ROUND 5

The BFR!

The villains take back the initiative. The BFR rumbles to life, eyes glowing with menace!

It charges into combat with the closest hero, who happens to be Vision, and decks him for a net 5 goals! Vision drops to zero Health with that one shot. Because of Density Increase, he doesn’t get knocked into next week, but he definitely needs a KO check. He passes, and manages to stay conscious!

Vision punches back, but in his weakened state he inflicts no damage. Henchmen Group #2 fires into the melee, heedless of the BFR. They’re hoping to hit Vision, who is clearly on the ropes, but they miss.

Starfox charges Henchmen Group #2, taking out 4 of them and dropping their number to 2. They’re effectively locked in melee with Starfox.

Henchmen Group #1 also fires into the melee, but they also miss Vision. Hey, they tried.

Drax charges the BFR, and busts it in the mouth (?) for 4 damage, knocking it back and down. Wasp flies over and blasts it for another 2 damage!

ROUND 6

Not many pictures here.

The villains keep initiative. The BFR struggles to its feet and charges Drax, walloping him for 2 damage and knocking The Destroyer back 8″. Drax manages to keep his footing.

Vision activates his Density Decease power, turning into a ghostly form (and protecting himself from any physical attacks). He blasts the BFR for another 2 damage. Sparks start to fly!

Henchmen Group #1 opens fire on Wasp, and riddles her with energy blasts, dropping her to 1 Body!

Being a pro, Wasp focuses on the main threat, the BFR, rather than sweet retaliation. It pays off! She blasts the BFR, doing 2 damage, dropping it to zero! It fails its KO check and is destroyed!

Victory to the Avengers!

Starfox turns, expecting to see more of the aliens coming. Instead, he sees their backs as they flee.

“It seems they are withdrawing,” says Vision, wearily. “I can’t say I’m sorry to see them go.”

“I will pursue them to the ends of the universe!” vows Drax. “I am no one’s pawn! Thanos will rue the day he dared—”

“Yes, yes… you’re welcome, Drax,” says Wasp. “But before you go, now that you know the aliens work for Thanos, promise us you won’t destroy those satellites.”

Drax looks confused, then suspicious. “What satellites?”

The Avengers exchange glances. “The ones the aliens asked you to destroy,” says Wasp.

“I don’t know who you are or what the hell you’re talking about,” says Drax. “Now get out of my way. I need to chase down Thanos’s minions and kill them. Then I need to kill Thanos.” With that, Drax flies off, just as the Avengers feel themselves once again drawn through time, summoned before Immortus!

EPILOGUE

Well, that was a quick game. It took about half an hour, not counting the time I took taking pictures and recording the action.

You may naturally ask: why did Kang want Drax delayed? Well, according to the original module, delaying Drax  “allows one of Thanos’s (unnamed) schemes to proceed, which would result in the destruction of the Avengers.” Not much detail there, but I guess Kang has his reasons.

I changed the scenario, but not much. I just added the big robot, because once the Avengers convince Drax to work with them, the scenario is essentially over. Drax helps the Avengers beat on the aliens, which is really no challenge at all in SMF. I didn’t expect it to take Starfox so long to convince Drax, but the dice weren’t his friend. Despite this, Starfox is the only Avenger who didn’t get hurt at all!

This scenario allowed me to use my Pulp Figures “Radon Zombies of the Ionosphere” miniatures for the aliens. I painted them up years ago and I’ve never had a chance to game with them until now. I love these guys!

Here are my Super Mission Force builds for Drax and the aliens:

Drax the Destroyer: (Super) Major: Super Strength;  Minor: Armor, Flight, Power Blasts, Resistance

Alien Henchmen: Minor: Flight, Power Blasts

Big F(ighting) Robot: (Powerhouse) Major: Scrapper, Super Strength; Minor: Armor, Construct, Resistance, Tough

Up next: “Skrulls….Why did it have to be Skrulls?”

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