MH-1 The Breeder Bombs Part 4: Red Scare!

The Scenario: The X-Men follow Magneto’s trail to Arganistan (not Afghanistan; much like Roxxon Oil, Ryder’s Island and the Maggia crime families, Marvel changed the real world name ever-so-slightly here), where the next Breeder Bomb awaits! Magneto placed it smack in the middle of a farm close to the Soviet border, much like the Ust-Ordynski Collective that was the childhood home of Colossus!

Unfortunately, Colossus has little time for nostalgia. Magneto has alerted the Russian government that the X-Men are on their way. The Soviet Super Soldiers, along with a contingent of Soviet Super-Troopers, are dispatched to neighboring Arganistan (borders? what borders?) to confront and arrest the X-Men on charges of espionage, and, in Colossus’s case, high treason against the Motherland!

Setup: I used a 4′ x 4′ area of farmland with some outbuildings, pastures and the odd tree or two. A large water tower and some farm machinery are part of the terrain as well. The Breeder Bomb is in the middle of the play area.

The X-Men deploy on one side of the table opposite the Soviet Super Soldiers.

Special Rules:

The Breeder Bomb: The X-Men’s objective is to defuse the Breeder Bomb. Attacking the bomb is not an option as it could result in detonation.  In order to defuse the bomb, one of the X-Men must get into base contact with the control panel and use a Special Action to make an attempt. This attempt is a Science check, so Kitty Pryde gets a +2D bonus to an attempt. Defusing the bomb requires 4 goals and may not be attempted if there are any enemy models within 6″ of the bomb. Failure to defuse the bomb results in a radiation leak!

If the bomb begins leaking radiation, the X-Men and the Soviet Super Soldiers each take an automatic 2D attack at the start of each round. This may be resisted normally, but Armor has no effect on any damage received. This damage is cumulative (to a maximum of 6D) with each failed attempt to defuse the bomb (i.e. 2 failed attempts = 4D per round, 3 or more = 6D per round).

Capture the Traitor: The Soviet Super Soldiers have standing orders to stop the X-Men from doing whatever they’re doing. In addition, they have been ordered to capture Colossus, as the Soviet government views him as a traitor for joining an American super-group rather than putting his powers to use in service of Russia. Crimson Dynamo and Ursa Major must attack Colossus if it is possible to do so, and will prioritize him over other targets.

ROUND 1

The X-Men win initiative for the first round. Storm flies over to the left, taking some cover behind the trees before blasting the Soviet Super-Troopers (henchmen group) with a lightning bolt. She takes out two of them, bringing their number down to eight. Darkstar activates, flying over to her left on an almost mirror image course from Storm. She fires her darkforce power blasts at the hapless Kitty Pryde, inflicting 1 damage to her. Cyclops fires back at Darkstar, but fails to achieve even a single goal. Looks like Cyclops is off to another great start.

Red Guardian rushes forward, trying to get close to the Breeder Bomb. Colossus and Ursa Major both move towards the center of the table.

Rogue activates next, flying 20″ towards the center of the table, prepared to meet Red Guardian and Ursa Major should they charge, but unable to do anything this turn. Titanium Man activates, flying around the side of the Breeder Bomb and power blasting Rogue for 1 damage. Kitty Pryde moves towards the bomb’s control panel. Crimson Dynamo flies towards the center and has a clear shot at Colossus. He takes it, but Colossus shrugs off all damage.

Wolverine activates, moving quickly to close with Titanium Man. Unfortunately he doesn’t get there this turn. The Super Troopers activate as a group, moving forward 6″ around the woods.

Finally, Nightcrawler teleports into melee with Darkstar. Although he doesn’t count as charging, he still manages to inflict 2 damage on the Russian mutant, dropping her from 6 to 4!

ROUND 2

The Soviets gain initiative handily! Titanium Man charges Rogue. Since she’s on the ground, he has to land to do so, but when all is said and done, he smacks her for an additional 2 damage and knocks her back 8″! She manages to keep her footing, but that smarted! (No picture of this; I got caught up in the game and forgot to snap one!)

Wolverine activates and charges Titanium Man (who probably shouldn’t have landed after all…), shredding him for 4 damage! That drops Titanium Man’s body by half! Ursa Major moves forward a plodding 5″ (Bricks don’t move fast).

Storm flies around her woods and blasts Crimson Dynamo for 3 net goals worth of damage, dropping the ex-KGB agent to half his body! The Super Troopers activate, concentrating their fire on Storm. It pays off, and Storm takes 3 goals worth of damage, dropping her to half her body as well! Rogue activates, charging Crimson Dynamo who is still feeling the effects of Storm’s power blasts! Rogue decks him, dropping his body to zero and knocking him back 15″! Luckily, he makes his KO check and his knockdown check, so he’s still up (barely), but certainly not feeling all that well!

Crimson Dynamo activates next (probably because he won’t have too many more chances to activate!). He fires at Rogue, inflicting 1 damage. Hardly fitting retribution, but better than nothing. Cyclops activates, firing a wide-beam optic blast at the Super Troopers. You would figure that with 6 dice to roll against the Troopers measly 2 dice to resist, he would have scored enough goals to at least take out a few of the henchmen, but you would be wrong. Cyclops proves yet again that he sucks (at least in this campaign), failing to achieve even one goal. He does no damage to the group.

Darkstar attempts to entangle Nightcrawler and is successful, hoping to pummel him at her leisure next round. Nightcrawler tries to escape but fails. Next, Red Guardian moves, getting within the 5″ range needed to hurl his shield at Rogue for 1 damage, chipping away once again at her overall health. Colossus moves forward, but is too far out of range to charge anyone. Finally, Kitty moves right up to the control panel but can’t attempt a disarm as there are too many enemies within 6″ of the bomb.

The end of a bloody round, which saw the Crimson Dynamo nearly KO’ed, Titanium Man and Storm each reduced to half their overall health, and Rogue suffering 3 damage!

ROUND 3

The X-Men gain initiative. Rogue activates and charges Ursa Major, smacking him for 4 total damage, dropping the big bear by half his body in one shot and knocking him back 20″! He manages to keep his footing, but he’s a lot farther back than he was a minute ago. Red Guardian charges Rogue; after all the dice are rolled he inflicts 1 damage to Rogue, slowly but surely whittling away at her health.

 

Storm activates, power-blasting the Soviet Super-Troopers for 3 more damage, dropping 3 of their number. The troopers fire back at Storm, but they miss! Cyclops takes out another 2 of them on his turn. Titanium Man is locked in combat with Wolverine, and any attempt to leave would mean that Wolverine would get a free shot at him. Instead he decides to attack Wolverine, inflicting 1 damage on Wolverine and knocking him back 4″. Titanium Man then takes off and flies away, putting some space between him and those adamantium claws.

Nightcrawler breaks out of his entanglement and attacks Darkstar, but does no damage. Darkstar successfuly breaks from  melee without Nightcrawler landing a blow, backs off a few inches and recharges her power blasts, opening fire on Nightcrawler. But Nightcrawler proves too agile, and is unharmed. Kitty Pryde activates but still has no opportunity to disarm the bomb, and no one within range to attack. She does nothing.

Crimson Dynamo charges Rogue, who is in combat with Red Guardian. He rolls his normal 5D attack, plus 1D for charging, +1D for assisting Red Guardian, and scores a net 7 goals! That’s more than enough to drop Rogue permanently! She is knocked back 21″ and fails her KO check! Rogue is out of the battle!

Colossus moves steadily towards Titanium Man, Red Guardian and Crimson Dynamo. Ursa Major activates, moving slow as molasses back to the fray. Finally, Wolverine moves quickly around the Breeder Bomb in support of Colossus and the two are ready to rumble next Round!

ROUND 4

The X-Men keep initiative. Wolverine easily regenerates his lost health and is back to his maximum. He activates and charges Crimson Dynamo, who had to land last turn in order to pummel Rogue. Wolverine rolls poorly and inflicts no damage against the Russian.

Titanium Man sees an opening, and rather than attack Colossus or Wolverine, he opts to charge Storm instead! He inflicts 4 goals of damage, enough to force a KO check. Storm fails and is out of the fight!

 

Colossus charges into melee with Red Guardian and Crimson Dynamo. He attacks Crimson Dynamo, inflicting the necessary damage to put the Dynamo down for good!

Any celebration is short-lived! Darkstar activates and, after a successful recharge, power-blasts Nightcrawler for 6 total damage, enough to drop him from completely healthy to a KO check! Nightcrawler fails and is overcome by the darkforce blasts!

Cyclops fires at the Troopers again and finally wipes them out. Ursa Major moves ever closer to the fight, but is still out of it. Kitty can’t do anything for the same reasons as last round. Red Guardian attacks Wolverine, but does no damage.

Another bloody round, which saw the end of Storm and Nightcrawler, as well as the Crimson Dynamo!

ROUND 5

The Soviets wrest initiative away from the X- Men! Ursa Major, bellowing like the bear he is, charges into combat (finally) with Colossus and Wolverine. He uses a Haymaker and cracks Colossus for 2 damage, but knocks him back 24″ with the “Way Outta Here” Brick maneuver! Colossus manages to keep his footing. Wolverine attacks Ursa Major with an Acrobatic Attack (a Brawler maneuver), scoring 3 net goals and dropping Ursa Major’s body to 1! Red Guardian attacks Wolverine with an Acrobatic Attack of his own, inflicting 3 damage on Wolverine, dropping him from 8 to 5.

Cyclops steps up and blasts Titanium Man for 7 net goals, 3 more than needed to force a KO check. He passes (barely), and manages to remain conscious although much the worse for wear. Darkstar teleports closer to Colossus and attempts to entangle him, but fails to roll a single goal. She’s left herself quite vulnerable!

Colossus takes advantage and charges Darkstar, winding up with a Haymaker that whiffs for no damage! Talk about lucky!

Titanium Man decides to charge Cyclops as he does better in melee than with power blasts. He could shoot it out with Cyclops, but his chances are much better if he takes the fight directly to the mutant. He also tries a Haymaker, doing only 1 damage, but with the triple knockback from Way Outta Here, Cyclops is knocked back 12″ and is knocked down!

Kitty Pryde charges into combat with Darkstar, since she’s having no luck disarming the bomb. She manages to inflict 1 damage on Darkstar. Darkstar has seen better days…she’s locked in hand-to-hand with Kitty Pryde and Colossus, and any attempt to flee will allow them both to take a shot at her. What to do?

ROUND 6

The X-Men regain initiative. Wolverine regenerates all his lost health and is back to full. Cyclops stands up and moves 4″, blasting Titanium Man for 4 damage, enough to KO the Super-Soldier for the rest of the game! Ursa Major attacks Wolverine, scoring 3 goals and undoing his Regeneration for the round, dropping him back down to 5 body!

Colossus recharges his Haymaker and clobbers Darkstar for 3 net goals, enough to knock her back 12″ into the fence. She fails both her knockdown and KO roll, and is out of the fight!

Red Guardian recharges his Acrobatic Attack and attacks Wolverine, inflicting 2 more goals of damage on Wolverine. Kitty Pryde moves back to the Breeder Bomb’s control panel, but Red Guardian is still within 6″ and she can’t attempt to disarm it until he’s gone!

ROUND 7

The X-Men keep initiative. Wolverine rolls a ton of goals on his Regeneration roll and heals back up to full health. Wolverine recharges his Acrobatic Attack and attacks Ursa Major, but inflicts no damage. Ursa Major responds with a net 5 goals, knocking Wolverine 20″ back and dealing 5 damage! (Good thing he’s got that healing factor!)

Cyclops uses a Blaster special maneuver, Radius Attack, which allows him to blast Ursa Major and hit anyone within 5″ (in this case Red Guardian) with a residual blast. He hits Ursa Major for 3 goals, enough to KO the big bear (after a failed KO check). The residual blast encompasses Red Guardian, who ends up taking 2 damage from the explosion.

Run Away!

So at this point, the only Soviet left on the table is a wounded Red Guardian, who is facing down Wolverine, Cyclops, Colossus and Kitty Pryde. There’s no real point to playing out the scenario for a few more rounds until the inevitable happens. Once Red Guardian flees the field, Kitty has no trouble disarming the bomb. Victory for the X-Men…but at what cost?

Afterword:

I changed this scenario quite a bit from the original Marvel adventure, particularly with regard to the opposition. In the original Breeder Bombs adventure, the X-Men faced off against the Crimson Dynamo and a bunch of Soviet Super-Troopers (2 per X-Man). In a roleplaying game, that might have worked; in Super Mission Force, this is some weak opposition indeed as the X-Men would have little trouble taking out a henchmen group and one lone villain. So in addition to the troopers, I opted to include the entire Soviet Super Soldier team: Crimson Dynamo, Darkstar, Red Guardian and Ursa Major; along with sometime teammate Titanium Man. This worked out well and provided much more of a challenge to the heroes.

Storm, Rogue and Nightcrawler all got KO’ed this scenario, which means there may be some lingering effects for the last scenario of the campaign. Some quick rolls on the “Fate of the Fallen” tables yielded these results: Storm is seriously injured (-3 to Move, -1D to attack rolls for next battle); Rogue is lightly injured (-2 Move for next battle); and Nightcrawler is grievously injured (misses next battle), which means the team will just have to do without him next time as they face down Magneto and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants!

My builds for the Soviet Super Soldiers are as follows:

Titanium Man (Super) Major: Super Strength, Minor: Power Blasts, Flight, Armor, Entangle

Red Guardian (Brawler) Major: Scrapper, Minor: Shield, Super-Agility

Ursa Major (Brick) Major: Super Strength, Minor: Enhanced Senses, Melee Specialist

Darkstar (Sorcerer) Major: Sorcery, Power Blasts, Minor: Barrier, Entangle, Teleport, Flight

Crimson Dynamo (Blaster) Major: Power Blasts, Minor: Armor, Super Strength, Flight

Soviet Super-Troopers (Henchmen) Minor: Power Blasts, Armor

 

If anyone cares, I used U-Men for the Super Troopers and I used an old Grenadier werebear miniature for Ursa Major. That’s because the Heroclix Ursa Major looks incredibly silly.

Up next, the finale to the Breeder Bombs as the X-Men face off against Magneto and the Brotherhood in…The Savage Land!!!!!

MH-1 The Breeder Bombs Part 3: Sentinel Attack!

The BREEDER BOMB!!!

The Scenario: Thanks to information provided by the captured duo of the Fixer and Mentallo, the X-Men have tracked Magneto’s first Breeder Bomb to the remote wilds of Alaska. One short Blackbird flight later the team arrives, ready to thwart the Mutant Master of Magnetism in his nefarious plot to accelerate the evolution of humanity, ushering in the age of Homo Superior!

Unbeknownst to the heroes, Magneto has secretly tipped off Project: Wideawake as to the X-Men’s plans. A group of Sentinels consisting of 3 Mark V Sentinels and a group of 10 Sentinel Troopers (henchmen) has been dispatched to the location in an attempt to capture or destroy the X-Men, ensuring that Magneto’s plan proceeds unhindered.

Complicating matters further is the presence of a group of Alaskan trappers, who awoke this morning to find that a huge piece of blinking machinery had mysteriously appeared outside their cabin overnight! The trappers—Filthy Pierre, Stinky Jacques, Dirty Henri and Unwashed Claude—don’t know what the Breeder Bomb is, but they know they want it! After several long months in a remote cabin with no running water, these four manly men have little to show for their trapping efforts. They think they can make money off of selling this thing to the highest bidder, and no muties or robots are gonna stand in their way!

Setup: I used a 4′ x 4′ board for the battle, set up to resemble the Alaskan wilderness. In one corner of the board is the trappers’ cabin. In the center of the board is the Breeder Bomb. The rest of the terrain includes hills, forests and trees, and the odd clump of ice or rock.

The trappers deploy outside their cabin. The Sentinel force deploys on the same side of the table, in the opposite corner of the trappers. The X-Men deploy on the other side of the table along the edge.

Special Rules:

The Breeder Bomb: The X-Men’s objective is to defuse the Breeder Bomb and ensure that no harm comes to the trappers. Attacking the bomb is not an option as it could result in detonation.  In order to defuse the bomb, one of the X-Men must get into base contact with the control panel and use a Special Action to make an attempt. This attempt is a Science check, so Kitty Pryde gets a +2D bonus to an attempt. Defusing the bomb requires 4 goals and may not be attempted if there are any Sentinel models within 6″ of the bomb. Failure to defuse the bomb results in a radiation leak!

If the bomb begins leaking radiation, the X-Men and the trappers each take an automatic 2D attack at the start of each round. This may be resisted normally, but Armor has no effect on any damage received. This damage is cumulative (to a maximum of 6D) with each failed attempt to defuse the bomb (i.e. 2 failed attempts = 4D per round, 3 or more = 6D per round).

The Trappers: The four trappers count as a henchmen group, so they only activate once per round. The trappers don’t discriminate between the Sentinels and the X-Men; as far as they’re concerned, everyone is trying to steal their treasure. To represent this, roll a die at the start of each round. On a 1-3, the trappers will attack the closest X-Man; on a 4-6 they attack the closest Sentinel. They always use Coordinated Fire.

The X-Men should do everything in their power to protect the trappers from harm. If the trappers are hurt by either the Sentinels or leaking radiation, the X-Men should lose story points. The X-Men cannot attack the trappers in any way that causes damage no matter how much they want to, but  non-damaging attacks (like entangles) are ok.

ROUND 1

The X-Men gain initiative. My first plan was to have Storm scoop up Kitty Pryde and fly her over to the control panel so that she could start disarming the bomb on the X-Men’s next activation, but I decided against it as the Sentinels would easily get a model within 6″ of the bomb before Kitty could act. Instead I decided to have Rogue fly Colossus over there instead. The two of them should be able to hold off the Sentinels for a while…

The Sentinels activate next, and Sentinel #1 flies directly over to the bomb (see? told you it would happen) and lands about 6″ away from Colossus.  He opens fire on Colossus, but the power blast glances harmlessly off the mutant’s osmium-steel skin. Finally the trappers act, but they are well out of range of any Sentinels or X-Men, so all they can do is move away from their malodorous cabin towards the bomb, cursing in French and shooting off their guns threateningly.

Colossus activates and wastes no time charging Sentinel #1, clobbering it for 7 net goals of damage. The Sentinel is knocked back but manages to keep its footing. Sentinel #3 activates and flies towards the fray. It attempts to entangle Colossus, but is unable to.

Cyclops fires at Sentinel #1, trying to put the damaged robot out of the fight for good. Unfortunately, he rolls extremely poorly and fails to score even one goal. Oops.

The Sentinel Troopers activate and fly towards the trappers, seeking to cut off their access to the bomb. They open fire on the trappers, and despite rolling 10 dice total, they pull a Cyclops and fail to score even a single goal! I’d say the dice were cursed, but they were two separate dice pools! The trappers sneer in defiance!

Storm doesn’t think the trappers will be as lucky the next time, so she flies over to offer them some protection from further Trooper fire. She power blasts the Troopers with a bolt of lightning…but bad luck strikes yet again, and she fails to inflict any damage on the group!

Sentinel #2 flies over to the Breeder Bomb and, like Sentinel #3, it tries to entangle Colossus, but fails. The big guy just won’t lay down!

Finally, the remaining X-Men act. Nightcrawler teleports Wolverine into the midst of the three Mark V Sentinels. Kitty Pryde moves 6″ closer to the bomb, but can’t do much else. Finally Wolverine acts, charging into combat with Sentinel #2. Unfortunately for him, the Sentinel resists all damage.

Round 1 ends with the X-Men and the trappers unharmed. Sentinel #1 only has 2 boxes of health left, but the other Sentinels and the Troopers are unhurt.

ROUND 2

The X-men keep initiative. Storm knows those trappers are dead meat if they’re left to their own devices, so she flies over to them and calls up her windy force field, extending it to protect the trappers. In Super Mission Force, a force field user can protect a maximum of 3 additional models (besides herself); but I decided Storm would forgo the protection of her own force field so that Unwashed Claude could benefit from it instead. You figure the trappers would be grateful, but instead they open fire on Storm! Luckily they fail to cause any damage.

Sentinel #1 regenerates 2 boxes of health, bringing him back up to 4 Health. He pummels Colossus, but fails to damage him (again, thanks to Armor).

Rogue charges Sentinel #2, which is busy fighting Wolverine. She clobbers it for a net 6 goals of damage! She trying to clear some space around the bomb, so she uses Way Outta Here, a Brick special maneuver that triples knockback distance. Sentinel #2 is knocked back 24″ and is knocked down! It will have to spend some movement getting up on its activation later…

The Sentinel Troopers activate, firing en masse upon the ignorant trappers. Thanks to Storm’s force field, none of them are hit.

Nightcrawler wants to get Kitty over to the bomb now that some space has cleared, so he teleports over to Kitty and teleports her back to the bomb. (Although SMF doesn’t really allow this, it’s certainly thematically appropriate as Nightcrawler does this kind of thing all the time.) I made sure he had enough goals to allow for the required 20″ distance, and Bamf! Kitty is delivered to the bomb!

Sentinel #3 charges Colossus, inflicting 2 damage and knocking Colossus back 6″. He manages to keep his balance and isn’t knocked down. Cyclops moves to get within sight of Sentinel #1, trying again to put it out of the fight. Once again, he fails to score any goals. (Is his visor working?)

Sentinel #2 fires at Rogue, blasting her for five goals of damage! She only has 3 boxes left. Bet she wishes she took a minute to absorb Colossus’s Armor when she was giving him a lift last round…

Wolverine uses a Brawler special maneuver,  Acrobatic Attack, to charge Sentinel #3. The two re-rolls he gains from the maneuver help inflict a net 7 boxes of damage on the big robot, dropping it to 2 health!

The remaining X-Men act. Storm fails to power blast the Sentinel Troopers, perhaps because she’s busy protecting the ungrateful trappers who are firing upon her. Finally, Kitty Pryde acts. She can’t attempt to defuse the bomb, because Sentinel #3 is right in her face. So she charges Sentinel #3.

She rolls her normal 4D attack, +1D for charging, +1D for assisting Wolverine, +1D for attacking something electronic (my rule for Kitty) for a total of 7 dice. She scores an impressive 9 goals and utterly destroys Sentinel #3!

ROUND 3

In a stunning turn of events, the trappers gain initiative this round, followed by the Sentinels, then the X-Men.

The trappers open fire on the Sentinel Troopers, but fail to damage the group. The Sentinel Troopers act next, spreading out a bit to get some Troopers near the Breeder Bomb so as to foil any defusing attempts. They open fire on Storm (one of their primary objectives), but even without the force field they fail to hit her.

Nightcrawler successfully recharges his Teleport after carrying Kitty, and teleports into melee with the Sentinel Troopers. Although it doesn’t count as a charge, he still manages to take out 3 of the Troopers with his normal attack and the extra attack he gets from his prehensile tail (Multiple Limbs).

Sentinel #1 regenerates 3 boxes, bringing it back up to 7 health. Sentinel #2 regenerates 2 boxes, bringing it back up to 5 health. Sentinel #1 activates, using its Metamorph ability to grow Multiple Limbs. It then charges Rogue, inflicting 6 total boxes of health on her with its two attacks on the charge. Rogue only had 3 boxes of health left, so she has to make a KO check or be knocked out. She manages to make it, but she’s barely standing!

Cyclops fires at the Sentinel Troopers, trying to whittle them down. He fails again to score even one goal, making him the official Worst Leader Ever. Sentinel #2 charges Colossus, but the big mutant squares up and resists all damage. Wolverine recharges his Acrobatic Attack and charges Sentinel #1, inflicting 6 boxes of damage, enough to drop it to 1 health.

Rogue takes advantage of Wolverine’s close proximity to absorb his Regeneration power, which she may need relatively soon. She then attacks Sentinel #1, scoring enough net goals to knock it back 12″ and put it out of commission!

Kitty Pryde activates, charging into combat with Sentinel #2. Once again, she annihilates the big robot with 6 net goals. It fails its KO check and is destroyed!

Finally, Colossus activates. Since he’s no longer in combat with Sentinel #2, he picks up a huge tree and throws it at the Sentinel Trooper group. He scores seven net goals, which means that seven henchmen are removed. Since there are only seven Troopers left, Colossus single-handedly wipes them out by throwing a huge tree at them. Ha!

ROUND 4

On the first activation, Kitty Pryde succeeds in defusing the bomb, so it’s game over. We can assume the X-Men deal with the trappers in some non-lethal way (from downwind, of course). Victory to the X-Men!

AFTERWORD

Another quick game…3 rounds played in under half an hour. Super Mission Force is fast!

I wasn’t expecting so many times when one side completely failed to do any damage to the other…not because the damage was resisted, but because the dice roll was so poor that the attacker didn’t even score any goals at all! I think the dice were feeling mischievous. Clearly, the breakout star of the team was Kitty Pryde this time around. She accounted for two of the Sentinels all by herself. Rogue got into some trouble and almost got KO’ed, but since she managed to remain standing, she doesn’t need to roll on the post-battle damage table for any possible injuries. She’ll be back next scenario fresh as a daisy. The only other X-Man injured was Colossus, and he only took 2 boxes. The less said about Cyclops’s performance, the better.

The other thing that didn’t really work was the “failed defuse = radiation leak” idea. I think it’s a solid premise (it’s adapted from the original RPG adventure), but on a table this size with forces that can easily reach the center of the board, there was never an opportunity to defuse the bomb. There was always a Sentinel model within 6″ of it!

I changed the scenario from its original RPG form in a few minor ways. First, in the original, the setting is “a mining town in Western America”, not Alaska. I changed the setting because I wanted to use my new snow terrain. Also, there was a lone crazed miner who wanted the bomb, not a group of mad trappers. A few Sentinels aren’t really strong opposition for a group of heroes like this, so I added the henchmen group and made the trappers somewhat unpredictable. Having to protect them was just another challenge for the X-Men.

Here are my builds for the Sentinels:

Sentinel MK V: (Metamorph) Major: Metamorph, Minor: Super Strength, Regeneration, Construct, Massive

(Yes, I know that’s a lot of powers, but Metamorph doesn’t allow for any of them in a package.)

Sentinel Troopers: (Henchmen Group) Minor: Flight, Power Blasts

Trappers: (Henchmen Group) Minor: Power Blasts, Resistance

Lastly, if you’re wondering what I used for the actual bomb, it’s a mystery piece of resin terrain I’ve had for about 15 years. The base says “Epicast” on it, but it was clearly molded from a piece of shipping Styrofoam (it has a R and an arrow pointing up on it that I had to fill in before painting). I think it looked sufficiently Jack Kirby-esque so that it could be a bomb or any other kind of infernal machine or doomsday device, so I painted it up just for this campaign! What do you think?

Next time it’s off to Mother Russia where the next Breeder Bomb awaits!

 

MH-1 The Breeder Bombs Part 2: Ambush!

The Scenario: While the rest of the X-Men are downstairs training (see last time), Cyclops is moping around the grounds of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. What he’s brooding about we can only guess. Perhaps it’s that his girlfriend turned into an evil super-powerful cosmic entity and then died; or that he then fell in love with a clone of her that was really a demon queen; or that he has a really shitty relationship with his brother; or that his father would rather jaunt around the galaxy with a bunch of misfits rather than spend one minute with his kids; or that his own son from an alternate future timeline is a cyborg who is also a colossal douchebag; or maybe that it would be nice to take his friggin’ visor off every once in a while without blowing big holes in anything he looks at…you get the picture.

Suddenly, an attack! The Fixer and his partner Mentallo ambush the melancholy mutant!

The Vile Villains

Setup: Once again, I used a 2′ x 2′ surface, representing the landscaped garden of the X-Mansion. (The planters, for those who care, are from Jo Ann Fabrics “Bloom Room” collection. I got them super cheap on clearance.) I’ve arranged the planters and shrubs in a pleasing pattern around a central feature (like the Chinese lantern here). The villains deploy on one side of the board, while Cyclops deploys on the opposite side.

Special Rules: The odds are not in Cyclops’s favor (in fact, you could say the odds are 2-1 against him). In order to give him a chance to even things up a bit, I’ve decided that it’s a good bet the grounds of Xavier’s School have some built-in defenses, considering how often the place gets trashed by marauding Sentinels and the like. The Chinese lantern contains controls to activate two stun cannons in the garden. These stunners attack anything (other than Cyclops) in a 180° forward firing arc with the Stun power. Cyclops can activate the stunners by using a Special Action while in base contact with the lantern.

Taking Aim

ROUND 1

In order for Cyclops to survive this, he’s going to need to play it smart, and that means seeking cover and hiding so he doesn’t get shot to death by turn 3.

 

The villains gain initiative for the first round, and Fixer wastes no time. He flies 20″ directly across the board and throws a glue bomb at Cyclops, hoping to entangle him, but fails. Cyclops activates and blasts Fixer for 2 boxes of damage, then quickly takes cover and ends his movement by hiding. This will make him tougher to target next round. Mentallo moves, but is out of range for anything he could really do, so his turn ends.

ROUND 2

Cyclops gains initiative. He darts from planter to planter and fires at Mentallo, who is standing out in the open. But Cyclops misses! He ends his turn in cover, however; so he elects to hide again. But Mentallo spots him anyway and blasts him with a wave of mental energy, doing 3 boxes of Psyche damage to Cyclops! Ouch! That’s half his health! Fixer tries to spot Cyclops, but fails (lucky for the X-Man).

ROUND 3

Cyclops keeps initiative, and edges around the planter, keeping himself in cover. He uses Rapid Fire (one of the Blaster special abilities) and takes a shot at both Fixer and Mentallo. (Cyclops is looking to end this fight quickly. He can’t take another mind blast like that!) Mentallo is behind cover, so Cyclops fails to hit him; but Fixer is just floating around up there. Cyclops tags him for one box of damage, then hides.

Mentallo fails to spot Cyclops’s hiding place (one would think he would only have to follow the big red energy beam back to its source, but whatever), so for lack of anything else to do he meanders closer to the center. Fixer makes enough goals on his Perception check to spot Cyclops’s hiding place and fires a power blast his way. Unfortunately, he fails to score a single goal and misses the mutant!

ROUND 4

The villains act first. Since Fixer spotted Cyclops hiding last turn, and Cyclops hasn’t had time to hide again, he starts the round knowing where Cyclops is already (no need to check Perception again). Fixer fires at Cyclops, but the planter blocks his blast. Cyclops makes his Recharge roll and is able to use his Rapid Fire again. He wastes little time and hits both his targets: Fixer for 1 box, and Mentallo for 3 boxes! Cyclops isn’t going down easy! He hides in cover again at the end of his turn, and Mentallo can’t spot him on the villain’s activation. Mentallo can do nothing else but wander around and hope to bump into Cyclops…

Cyclops dives for the stunner controls

ROUND 5

Cyclops activates first and makes a mad dash towards the center of the board. He forgoes taking a combat action, instead using a special action to deploy the stunner cannons. Since he’s not in cover, he can’t hide; but he does end his turn by dropping prone, making himself a smaller target. It works out for him…sort of. The Fixer activates next and shoots at Cyclops, but misses. Mentallo has better luck, and mind blasts Cyclops for 2 boxes of damage. Cyclops only has one box left, and the garden starts spinning…

 

ROUND 6

Cyclops keeps initiative. He tries to recharge his Rapid Fire, but fails the roll. He fires at Mentallo, using the Blast Back special ability. He is successful, inflicting one box of damage to Mentallo. This knocks him back 2 inches, squarely in between those stunners! Cyclops moves quickly to cover and hides again. Fixer can’t spot Cyclops on his activation, so he quickly flies out of range of the stunners. The stunners activate, blasting Mentallo…but Mentallo shrugs off the effects easily! After also failing to spot Cyclops, he gets the hell out of the crossfire pretty quick. He hides on the other side of the same planter Cyclops is ducking behind.

ROUND 7

At thjis point, everyone’s pretty beat up: Fixer and Mentallo each have 2 boxes of health left, while Cyclops is barely standing with 1 box left. The round is pretty uneventful with no hits scored on anyone. Both Mentallo and Cyclops end their turns hiding in cover.

ROUND 8

The villains gain initiative. Mentallo tries to spot Cyclops, but can’t; so again he just keeps out of the view of those stunners and maintains cover. Cyclops tries to recharge Rapid Fire for the third time and fails once more, so he elects to fire at Fixer (since he doesn’t have to try and spot him first). He blasts Fixer for 3 boxes of damage, enough to drop him like a wet bag of dirt. Fixer fails his KO check and is out! This ends the round.

KA-POW!

ROUND 9

Cyclops gains initiative and spots Mentallo. Being a master tactician, Cyclops opts to charge into melee rather than fire at Mentallo. The reasons for this are twofold: first; if he fired, Mentallo would gain a bonus to defense because of the cover he’s behind. Second, Mentallo’s best ability, Mind Blast, can’t be used in close combat, so charging him effectively negates a pretty big advantage should Mentallo survive into next round. If Mentallo then tries to break out of combat to use it, Cyclops gets a free shot at him before he can.

The charge bonus pays off and he ends up inflicting a net 2 goals on Mentallo, who fails his KO check!

Victory to Cyclops!

AFTERWORD

Here are my builds for the villains:

Fixer (Blaster) Major: Archery, Minor: Flight, Armor. Quiver: Entangle, Melee Weapon, Stun

Mentallo (Mentalist) Major: Mentalism, Minor: Clever, Armor

This cat-and-mouse battle wasn’t as much fun to play as the Danger Room, but it was interesting to see how much hiding and taking cover can affect play tactically. If Cyclops had tried a straight up fight, he would have probably got creamed early on. Also, the small number of miniatures on the board meant the Rounds flew by; this game didn’t take much longer than 20 minutes to play.

I’m willing to bet on replay the villains would probably win more often than not. All it takes is one or two good shots and your Body boxes can start dropping fast. I think Cyclops got lucky.

After the battle, the X-Men interrogate the villains and discover that Magneto was hoping to take a few X-Men out of action before launching his evil plan to detonate…The Breeder Bombs! He almost succeeded in eliminating the team leader with this ambush!

The X-Men hop in the Blackbird SR-71. Destination: Alaska! The first bomb awaits!

 

MH-1: The Breeder Bombs Part One: The Danger Room

The Scenario: As stated in the adventure summary last time, most of the X-Men are in the Danger Room undergoing training. The X-Men’s objective is to rescue one of their comrades, who is imprisoned in a force field on the far side of the room. this is done by destroying or sabotaging the generators powering the force field. The Danger Room’s objective is, of course, to not let that happen. The imprisoned X-Man is not really there, it’s a holographic projection. The real “imprisoned” hero is alone, upstairs. I chose Cyclops as the imprisoned X-Man, but it could be any member of the team (which will certainly alter the difficulty of this scenario and the next one, depending on who is picked).

 

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Force field courtesy of Dunkin' Donuts

Force field courtesy of Dunkin’ Donuts

Setup: I decided to use a 2′ x 2′ surface with a few scattered terrain pieces. With this many miniatures on the board, the heroes will get “stuck in” pretty quick, making for a more fast-paced scenario. Of course, you’re free to make it a bigger board, but that just means you’ll need more terrain. The rescuing heroes deploy on one side of the room. On the far side of the room is the imprisoned hero under a force field. Two generators power the force field, positioned one on each side as shown. The Danger Room deploys one obvious defense in the middle of the board at the start of play (here represented by the huge robot in the center).

Special Rules: The Danger Room is the pinnacle of Shi’ar combat technology, and as such is extremely adaptable to whatever the X-Men attempt. To represent this (and to give the X-Men a good run for their money), the Danger Room operates under a special set of rules, listed below.

Initiative: The Danger Room rolls 5D for initiative at the start of the round.

Movement: The Danger Room is smaller than it looks, and compensates for it. All movement and ranged power effects are halved for this scenario. A Power Blast with 30″ range only has a 15″ range.  A character with a move of 6″ only moves 3″, while charging they would move 4.5″. Flight of 20″ is reduced to 10″. When Nightcrawler teleports, he ends up halfway between where he started and where he wanted to arrive. This slows things down and allows the Danger Room to bring more of its defenses into play at a faster rate than it would otherwise be able to.

Defenses: The Danger Room activates as many times as the number of X-Men (+1 if it gains initiative). During each activation, it can spawn a new defense as a free action, or simply attack with an established defense as a combat action. Ranged weapons can attack on the turn they spawn with no penalty. Other defenses may attack on the turn they spawn, but may not charge on that turn (see below). The Danger Room may only spawn one defense each turn up to a maximum of 2″ away from an X-Man, and each active defense may only attack once per round. The number in parentheses indicates the maximum number of each defense that may be on the board at once.The following is a list of defenses and any special rules associated with them:

Blaster Cannons (2): 6D Power Blast. Range 15″. Needs 7 goals to destroy, or may be sabotaged.

Tentacle Traps (2): Entangle 5D, Range 5″

Big Combat Robot (1): (Brick/Brawler) Major: Super Strength, Scrapper, Minor: Armor, Construct, Resistance, Tough

Elite Robot Henchmen (6): Minor: Melee Weapon, Resistance, Veterans

Nullifier Cannon (1): Mimic 5D, but if successful steals a power for one full turn. Needs 7 goals to destroy, or may be sabotaged.

Sabotaging Defenses/Generators: Any X-Man that can get in base contact with a defense or generator that can be sabotaged may make a sabotage attempt (TN 4) as a combat action in lieu of an attack. Success disables the generator or defense.

Spotting the Generators: The X-Men can’t attack or attempt to sabotage the generators until they realize that they’re powering the force field. Once per turn as a free action an X-Man may make a Perception check (TN 2 as it’s not that hard to spot running generators).  If successful the X-Men learn that destroying the generators is the key and all can attack them normally.

ROUND 1

The initiative roll goes to the Danger Room.

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The first thing the Danger Room does is activate the Big Combat Robot (BCR) in the center of the table, who lumbers forward 3″. That’s about all he can do this round. Storm activates, taking to the air and flying 10″. She fails her Perception roll, however, and doesn’t spot the generators, so she attacks the force field surrounding Cyclops instead. This of course does nothing. In response, the Danger Room spawns a blaster cannon near the closest generator and fires at Storm, narrowly missing her.

Wolverine activates next, and is able to close the distance with the BCR. All he manages to do is chip the paint, however; doing only 1 box of damage to the robot. The Danger Room spawns another blaster cannon near the other generator. This one also fires at Storm (since she’s the only one really out there). This time she’s not so lucky and takes 1 box of damage.

dscn3573

Rogue activates, taking a moment to absorb Colossus’s Armor power. She fails her Perception check and doesn’t realize the generators should be top priority, and since Wolverine seems to have the BCR under control for now, she flies off towards that blaster cannon, hoping to remove it as a threat.

Unfortunately, she only gets about 10″ before her movement ends. The Danger Room spawns some Entangling tentacles, scoring a net 5 goals over Rogue. She’s grappled pretty good, and will need to roll 6 net goals to disengage herself from the tentacles on a future round!

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Nightcrawler activates next, teleporting 30″ towards the force field, but of course, since ranges are halved, he only winds up 15″ away, leaving him in the unenviable position of being directly in front of one of the blaster cannons. The Danger Room spawns the Nullifier Cannon, which targets Rogue. It successfully nullifies her Super Strength, which is going to make it that much harder for her to escape those tentacles in a later round.

dscn3575

Kitty Pryde has nothing to do, but she moves towards the BCR, hoping to hose his electronics. A move of 3″ doesn’t get her too far, though. In response, the Danger Room spawns a group of 6 elite robotic henchmen, all directly around Colossus. They immediately attack, although without a charge bonus. Despite this, they manage to inflict 2 boxes of damage to Colossus! Colossus responds, but does no damage to the henchmen group.

ROUND 2

The initiative goes to the X-Men.

Colossus is annoyed. So he uses the special Brick maneuver called Shockwave. He attacks the ground, toppling the entire henchmen group. They’re not damaged, only knocked down…but they will have to spend valuable actions getting to their feet on their activation.

The Danger Room activates the Nullifier Cannon again, targeting Nightcrawler in the hopes of removing his Teleport power. It misses, which isn’t that surprising considering Nightcrawler is pretty tough to hit.

dscn3577

For his part, Nightcrawler fails his Perception check and still doesn’t know to attack the generators. Instead he teleports behind the Nullifier Cannon and attempts to sabotage it. He only gets 3 goals and fails. The Danger Room activates the blaster cannon closest to Storm and fires at her, but misses. Storm, sick of getting shot at, activates her Force Field and returns fire, frying the blaster cannon with a bolt of lightning. Unfortunately for her, she doesn’t do any damage to it, but at least she’s better protected against further fire. The BCR attacks Wolverine, but fails to hit him. Kitty Pryde easily determines the generators are the real targets (she’s a Savant after all), and after alerting the team, she charges into combat with the downed robot henchmen. She gains a total bonus of +3D to her attack (+1 for charging, +1 for a downed foe, +1 for attacking robots as per her special power). She scores a total of 7 net goals and wipes the entire henchmen group out! The Danger Room activates the other blaster cannon and fires at the entangled Rogue (not very sporting, right?), but Rogue shrugs off any damage thanks to the Armor she absorbed from Colossus. Rogue attempts to break out of the entanglement, but she fails; not surprising since she lost her Super Strength last round. Finally, Wolverine attacks the BCR, but doesn’t do any damage.

ROUND 3

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The X-Men retain initiative. Without the robotic henchmen to worry about, Colossus charges the BCR, still locked in combat with Wolverine. He gains a bonus for charging plus another bonus for teaming up on the BCR with Wolverine, so he elects to use the Brick special maneuver called “Haymaker”. He rolls 8 total dice and scores a net 5 goals, which does 5 boxes of damage to the BCR! To add insult to injury, he makes use of the “Way Outta Here” ability, which triples the knockback of any attack! After ranges are halved, the BCR is knocked back 30″, which is clear across the board. He passes his knockdown check, however, and will be able to move normally on his activation.

The Danger Room activates the Nullifier Cannon, firing at Storm. Thanks to her Force Field, she isn’t hit. Kitty Pryde activates, but only moves forward a measly 3″. She has nothing else she can really do. The Danger Room activates the blaster cannon closest to Storm and fires at her again, hitting her for 3 boxes of damage! Ouch!

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Storm decides to try and end the fight as quickly as possible, blasting the generator next to her with a bolt of lightning. It pays off and she scores a total of 7 goals, enough to reduce it to a steaming pile of slag. The Danger Room activates the other blaster cannon, firing at the still entangled Rogue for one damage. She’s wishing she wasn’t entangled anymore, so she tries once again to break free. Even with her Super Strength back, she fails to do so.

Everything happens pretty quickly from this point. The Danger Room attempts to entangle Wolverine, but he slashes through the tentacles quite easily. Wolverine moves as quickly as possible towards the other generator, but he only gets about 6″ closer. The BCR moves to defend the generator, placing itself between the generator and Wolverine. Nightcrawler teleports behind the generator and attempts to sabotage it, but fails.

ROUND 4

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Blaster Cannons on loan from the Mordian Iron Guard

The Danger Room gets initiative, and activates the blaster cannon closest to Nightcrawler. It swivels and shoots at him, but misses. Nightcrawler tries to sabotage the generator, but again fails to gain the required number of goals. The Danger Room activates the BCR, which tries to squash Nightcrawler on the charge. But  Nightcrawler proves too elusive for the robot and avoids damage.

Finally, Storm activates, flying closer to the generator and blasting it to oblivion with a lightning bolt. The scenario is ended. Victory to the X-Men!

AFTERWORD

Danger Room scenarios are a lot of fun, because you’re pretty much wide open in what you can bring to the table. I chose to decorate my board with random machinery as terrain, but there’s no reason the battle couldn’t have taken place in a jungle or on among ruins or on an alien planet. It’s the Danger Room, so it can simulate anything! This is also true of the defenses it spawns; you’re pretty much limited only by your imagination! So instead of having a Big Combat Robot, how about using some of those Tyranid beasties you haven’t played with in forever? Instead of robots, how about some skeletons? It gives you a great excuse to use some of your other miniatures that you haven’t used or that mostly collect dust. I was thrilled to finally use my Kroonbots for something, since I never got around to playing them in .45 Adventure…

If I was playing this game with friends instead of solo, I would recommend the use of a referee to control the Danger Room. Just my two cents.

So, what’s Cyclops been doing upstairs this whole time? Find out next scenario! (Hint: he wasn’t making lunch.)

 

 

MH-1: The Breeder Bombs: A Super Mission Force Campaign

With the holidays over and my Reaper Nativity project done, it’s back to Super Mission Force for some solo supers gaming. I can’t wait until the final version of these rules is available for purchase, because I’ve been having a blast with just the rough play doc versions!

Up next is my adaptation of MH-1: The Breeder Bombs, featuring the Uncanny X-Men! The plots of most of these old  TSR Marvel Super Heroes adventures are pretty ridiculous and terrible, even by comic standards, and this one is no exception. I made some changes to the plot (and some scenarios) as you will see.

As originally written, the module opens up with the majority of the X-Men training in the Danger Room while one lone X-Man is alone in the mansion, making lunch. The Fixer suddenly bursts into the mansion and attacks the lone X-Man. He’s pissed and looking for Wolverine because someone mailed him a videotape of Wolverine killing his partner, Mentallo. Of course, Wolverine is being set up, and when they investigate, the X-Men find a warehouse with robot duplicates of Wolverine and Mentallo, as well as the real Mentallo, captive and alive. He reveals that Magneto is behind the tape, and that his plan is to detonate “Breeder Bombs”, explosives that will force mutations upon all humans, thereby ushering in the age of Homo Superior. Then the X-Men travel to various spots on the globe to defuse these bombs, battling Sentinels, Soviet Super-Soldiers, and finally, Magneto himself, who reveals he’s been set up himself and he’s not behind it after all…it’s all the work of a ROBOT DUPLICATE of Magneto! The X-Men face off against this robot Magneto and his robotic Brotherhood of Evil Mutants in the climactic chapter.

Well, that’s sure a pile of crap for a plot. We are to believe Robo-neto went through all the trouble of making robot duplicates of Wolverine and Mentallo just so he could tape robot Wolverine “murdering” robot Mentallo…all to enrage The Fixer, who is hardly a real threat to anybody. The Fixer decides to get revenge by attacking the X-Men where they live. He’s supposed to be a mechanical genius, but apparently lacks basic common sense to know that he’ll definitely get his ass handed to him in short order if he takes on the whole team by himself. Also, while we’re at it, why not ask why the hell did Robo-neto do this at all? It certainly doesn’t further his Breeder Bombs agenda. Even a robot duplicate of Magneto should have enough sense to know that Fixer can’t take out the X-Men on his best day. So why poke the hornet’s nest and get their attention, which allows them to investigate and find Mentallo, who then reveals the whole plot? Why not just kill Mentallo for real while you’re at it to ensure his silence? No, the whole first 2 chapters are just plain silly. So I modified them for SMF scenario purposes, as you will soon see.

Moving on, the actual Breeder Bombs scheme isn’t bad. In fact, it’s something the real Magneto might actually do. So I decided to dispense with the entire ridiculous robot Magneto/ robot Brotherhood element and just make the real Magneto and the Brotherhood the main opposition in the adventure and modified the scenarios accordingly. The results I hope will be fairly true to the original adventure. Guess we’ll see soon enough!

Before we do that, though, I thought I’d share my Super Mission Force builds for the X-Men. Please note that these violate some of the rules of character creation and team building, but this is hardly competitive play.

Cyclops (Blaster): Major: Power Blasts, Minor: Clever, Enhancement

Colossus (Brick): Major: Super Strength, Minor: Armor, Resistance

Rogue (Brick): Major: Super Strength, Minor: Flight, Mimic

Nightcrawler (Wild Card): Minor: Multiple Limbs, Obscurement, Super Agility, Teleport

Kitty Pryde: (Wild Card): Minor: Clever, Density Decrease, Obscurement, Savant

Storm (Super): Major: Power Blasts, Minor: Flight, Force Field, Obscurement, Telekinesis

Wolverine (Powerhouse): Major: Scrapper, Minor: Melee Weapon, Rage, Regeneration, Enhanced Senses, Tough, Fast

All in all, a pretty powerful team. I considered giving Cyclops Resistance (minor) instead or Enhancement, but I think both fit him. He’s an effective leader but also tough to put down. I guess either one would work. Although he doesn’t meet the definition (i.e. he’s not one of the most powerful beings on the planet), Wolverine is a Powerhouse because of the sheer number of powers he has. I think it’s tough to see Wolverine without any of the powers I gave him. Kitty’s Density Decrease power works a little differently than in the SMF rules: while making a Density Decrease attack against anything electronic or robotic, Kitty gets an extra attack die. This represents her unique ability to screw with machinery while phased. Storm’s powers are all a result of her weather control; again, since she has so many things she can do, she falls into the Super category.

Up next, the first scenario: The Danger Room!

 

The Nativity

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I’m not what you’d call a religious person (I did my time and never looked back). But my mother is, and this year I decided to give her a gift I thought she’d love. So I picked up Reaper’s Nativity (sculpted by the great Sandra Garrity) and got to painting.

I ordered this way back in November, because I knew I would need the time to paint it and base it up so that it was ready for Christmas, and I knew that I would procrastinate until the very last minute. And I did. See, once I made the decision to paint the Nativity scene, it immediately became work. As in no fun. But I stuck to my rule: until it was done, if I wasn’t painting the Nativity, I wasn’t painting anything.

Pretty soon I decided to add the shepherd and sheep to the scene, as it would help to fill out the base (and it would look better). So another order from Reaper was necessary. In case you’re interested, my painting order was Joseph, Wood Backdrop, Mary, Shepherd Boy, and sheep, with Jesus being painted here and there along with the others.

I bought the base at Michael’s, added some stain and polyeurethane. Nothing fancy. I got the plate engraved (“Peace on Earth”) at Things Remembered. I decided to pin all the miniatures to the base so they would stay where I put them, with the exception of baby Jesus. Some people like to keep Jesus out of the Nativity scene until Christmas Day (my mother is one of them), and besides, there’s no way to pin the manger without seeing the pin. He’s the only unattached piece in the scene.

Total cost: $38.00 for the miniatures (plus shipping), about $2 for the base, $24 (!!) for the plate and engraving, and my time…which for my mother, is of course free.

I’m happy with how it came out, especially the star, which I dreaded painting (I hate painting and shading yellow). Hopefully she will like it too.

Merry Christmas to all!

He’s a jerk…but he’s OUR jerk! A Super Mission Force AAR

You gotta love Northstar. The stereotypical snooty Canadian-French skier, Jean-Paul Baubier epitomized superhero douchiness long before he became the poster boy for gay marriage in comics. A while back I repainted Alpha Flight for use in Supersystem 3. I never got around to using them until now, and it’s for my second Super Mission Force AAR! To battle!

Good day, eh?

Alpha Flight!

 

Watch oot! Sentinels, eh?

Watch oot! Sentinels, eh?

 

Dang robots! Get off m'lawn!!

Dang robots! Get off m’lawn!! (Just ignore him. He has no part in the battle.)

The scenario is a simple one. Alpha Flight has been called to a remote area of Canadian wilderness, intent on investigating a distress call coming from an ice-fishing shack. It’s all a ruse to capture Canada’s mutant superhero, Northstar! (Aurora is a mutant, too…but no one seems to know that.) Sentinels appear on the horizon, and battle is joined! The Sentinels must capture Northstar and flee the board. Alpha Flight needs to stop that from happening.

Turn 1

The Sentinels make use of their Metamorph Ability at the start of the first turn. Until further notice, they will have the following profile: Enhanced Senses, Flight, and Entangle in addition to their other base powers (see below).

Alpha Flight gains initiative for the first turn. Puck moves first, cartwheeling towards the center of the board.

Sentinel #1 flies 20″ into the middle of the board. Sasquatch trades his move for a Leap and leaps into combat with Sentinel #1. He manages to inflict 2 damage to the robot on the charge!

The squad of Sentinel Troopers moves, flying 20″ to the middle of the table. (This is a 10-man Henchman squad, but I only have 6 models. So we’ll just have to imagine the other four. Any damage inflicted on the squad will come off the imaginary models first.)

Guardian flies close by the Trooper squad, blasting them for 2 damage! (The squad now has 8 members, but since I only have 6 models I didn’t remove any). Sentinel #2 activates and flies into the fray. He uses Entangle on Guardian and succeeds in trapping him in serpentine sinews of strength-sapping steel! (I’m here all week, folks.)

Shaman reaches into his medicine bag and teleports 10″ closer to Sentinel #1. He then blasts it for 2 more damage.

Sentinel #3 flies to the center of the board.

Laissez mon frere seul!!

Laissez mon frere seul!!

Aurora moves closer and blasts Sentinel #1 for 5 damage, destroying it! (It failed its KO check). Teamwork in action!

Cochons! Rencontrez mes poings!!!

Cochons! Rencontrez mes poings!!!

Finally, Northstar moves, flying directly at the group of Sentinel Troopers. He uses Hurricane Charge, which allows him to re-roll 2 dice on his attack. He scores 5 net goals, removing five models! That’s one pissed-off Canadian! Unfortunately, he is now stuck in melee combat with the Henchmen group. (Northstar tends not to think things through.)

Not a bad first turn for the heroes!

Turn 2

Sentinel #3 changes its Metamorph profile. It now has: Melee Weapon, 6″ extra move, Super Agility.

Graaaaaah!

Graaaaaah!

Alpha Flight retains initiative. Sasquatch wastes no time and charges Sentinel #3, causing 2 damage.

The Sentinel Troopers pile in on Northstar. They can’t use their blasters, so they have to go old-school and try to punch him out. They manage to collectively inflict 1 damage on the haughty mutant. Northstar attacks back in a fit of pique and indignation, but does no damage. Merde!

Sentinel #2 quietly sneaks up (!) and uses Entangle on Northstar. He succeeds, and Northstar is rooted to the spot! Guardian uses the opportunity to free himself from his own entanglement and fires away at Sentinel #2, infilicting 3 damage!

This is not how Sasquatch thought it would go...

This is not how Sasquatch thought it would go…

Meanwhile, Sentinel #3 attacks Sasquatch with its newly-formed melee weapon (let’s call it a drill. I like big robots with drills). It scores 7 goals, while Sasquatch scores none. Sasquatch is downed and fails his KO check, so he ain’t getting back up!

Sisterly devotion.

Sisterly devotion.

Puck continues to cartwheel along. Aurora, seeing her brother helpless and at the mercy of Sentinel Troopers and Sentinel #2, charges forward and takes out the rest of the Trooper squad! Shaman teleports again, closer to Sentinel #3. He blasts the Sentinel that just dropped his buddy Sasquatch, but does no damage.

Turn 3

At the start of the turn, Sentinel 3’s system diagnostics assess and repair 1 box of damage. Both remaining Sentinels alter their Metamorph powers to: Melee Weapon, 10″ range, +6″ Movement.

The Sentinels gain initiative. Sentinel #3 attacks Shaman from 6″ away, but misses. Northstar escapes his entanglement and flares like his namesake, attempting to stun Sentinel #2. Sentinel #2 is unimpressed (and not stunned).

Sentinel #2 attempts to grapple Northstar from 10″ away, but fails to grab the slippery skier. Guardian takes the opportunity to blast Sentinel #2 for 3 damage.

Here I come, eh?

Here I come, eh?

From across the battlefield, Puck puts on a Speed Burst and charges Sentinel #2 from 20″ away! (I’m sorry, but the image of a cartwheeling, back-flipping Puck charging halfway across the battlefield made me laugh aloud.) Unfortunately, although he manages to get into combat, our diminutive friend does no damage to the Sentinel.

Aurora blasts Sentinel #2 for 1 damage, barely missing her teammate, Puck!

Turn 4

The Sentinels keep their Metamorph configuration. Neither of them are able to regenerate any damage.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if Puck took down a Sentinel? Well, that didn’t happen, but he managed to inflict 1 more damage on Sentinel #2.

Unhand me!

Unhand me!

Sentinel #3 successfully grapples Northstar and turns towards the table edge. Next turn, he’s gonna morph over to Flight and fly away with his prize unless someone stops him! Aurora frantically power-blasts Sentinel #3, but does no damage!

Shaman summons the Spirit of...whatever!

Shaman summons the Spirit of…whatever!

Sentinel #2 attacks Puck, but the little guy cartwheels away unscathed. Meanwhile, Shaman teleports closer to Sentinel #3 and summons…a monster! (Monster by Rattrap designs.)

Say hello to my little friend!

Say hello to my little friend!

The summoned monster charges Sentinel #3 and inflicts 1 damage!

You would think a thank you was in order, but...

You would think a thank you was in order, but…

Guardian rushes to Northstar’s aid, powerblasting Sentinel #3. He scores a ton of goals, resulting in a net 6 damage! Sentinel #3 is destroyed! (After failing its KO check.)

Victory!

Victoire!

Northstar is released as a result, and in a fit of rage, charges the last remaining Sentinel, #2. He does 2 damage, enough to put down the Sentinel for good.  Game over!

AFTERWORD

This game took me less than 30 minutes to play, not including the time it took to build the characters, take the pics and log the action.

Here are my builds. Again, I don’t follow the Super Mission Force rules regarding power allotments or team restrictions, because I’m adapting established super-teams to the game. Of course, you can play however you like.

Here are my builds:

ALPHA FLIGHT

Guardian (Blaster): Major: Power Blasts; Minor: Force Field, Teleport, Flight

Puck (Brawler): Major: Scrapper; Minor: Super-Agility, Resistance

Sasquatch (Brick): Major: Super-Strength; Minor: Leaping, Rage, Resistance

Shaman (Sorcerer): Major: Sorcery (Power Blasts, Summoning, Force Field, Density Decrease, Healing); Minor: Flight, Iron Will

Aurora (Speedster): Major: Speed; Minor: Power Blasts, Flight, Stun

Northstar (Speedster): Major: Speed; Minor: Flight, Stun, Rapport (Aurora)

SENTINELS

Sentinel Mk II (Metamorph): Major: Metamorph; Minor: Construct, Massive, Super Strength, Regeneration

10 Sentinel Troopers (Ranged Henchmen Group) Minor: Power Blasts, Flight

 

 

Wrecker needs Twinkies: A Super Mission Force AAR

This may as well be called the Marvel Team-Up or Marvel Two-in-One you never read. That’s because…well, you’ll see.

I like to have a scenario in mind when I post an After Action Report so that it reads as more than just a random slugfest. For this one, I was inspired by all those Hostess ads in the old Marvel comics of the early 80’s…ones where a Marvel hero had to thwart a jokey villain in his attempts to steal a shipment of fruit pies or cupcakes. So I figured he Wrecker has a hankering for some Twinkies and doesn’t want to buy a box when he can just steal a shipping crate full of them. He enlists the aid of the rest of the Wrecking Crew and grudgingly promises to share his Twinkies with them. Standing opposed to this nefarious crime are none other than the Amazing Spider-Man and the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing! (I could write comics.)

A fine day in Manhattan...

A fine day in Manhattan…

 

Hey! That's the Wrecking Crew

Hey! That’s the Wrecking Crew in the shipping yard!

 

Aw, crap. And I was having a good day.

Aw, crap. And I was having a good day.

 

Turn 1

Ouch.

Ouch.

The Wrecking Crew gains initiative, thanks in part to Thunderball’s Clever Boost, which gives them one extra die towards initiative. Piledriver wastes no time in grabbing a nearby lamppost and tossing it at the Thing. The resulting hit does 3 Body damage and knocks Thing back into the wall, knocking him down.

Ouch.

Ouch.

Thing gets up and grabs a nearby mailbox and beans Piledriver with it, returning the favor. the hit only caused one damage, but knocked Piledriver back 5″ into a nearby Mini. Meanwhile, Bulldozer moves towards Thing to keep him away from the shipping yard.

"Out of web fluid!"

“Out of web fluid!”

Spider-Man trades his move for a Leap, leaping 32″ down onto the corner of the shipping crate. He tries to web up the Wrecker, but fails to get even a single goal. That old Parker luck strikes again!

"Let me help you down from there..."

“Let me help you down from there…”

Spider-Man is too high up for Thunderball to attack him unless he throws something, but Thunderball tries something different…he attacks the shipping crates! His gamble pays off as he scores a whopping 10 goals, enough to destroy the crates!

Wrecker screams at Thunderball, “There better not have been any Twinkies in there or they’re coming out of your cut!”

Oboy.

Oboy.

Spider-Man takes no damage from the fall (it’s less than 2″), but he is knocked down in front of a huge guy with a wrecking ball. Not really where you wanna be.

Finally, Wrecker attacks the shipping crate in front of him in search of Twinkies. No luck…this crate contains only pink Sno-balls. Yuck!

Turn 2

Charge!

Charge!

The Wrecking Crew hold onto initiative. Bulldozer does what he does best and charges the Thing, but ol’ Rockface just squares up and meets him head-on. They exchange punches, but neither one lands anything damaging.

Thunderball takes his shot at Spider-Man, but Spidey manages to wiggle out of the way of the wrecking ball…for now. He follows up with a roundhouse to Thunderball’s chin that cracks him for 3 damage! (For some reason I forgot to apply knockback. Not that it made a difference overall, but still noteworthy.)

Piledriver moves towards Thing, but doesn’t reach him.

 

I need some space...

I need some space…yikes!

Finally, Wrecker gets annoyed and charges Spider-Man. After all the dice are rolled, Wrecker hits Spidey for a whopping 7 damage! Spider-Man fails his KO check and is…well, KO’ed!

Best not to think about what happens next...

Best not to think about what happens next…

 

Turn 3

The Wrecking Crew keeps initiative. Piledriver charges Thing, but Thing sees him coming and shrugs it off.

It's Clobberin' Time!

KA-POW!

“It’s Clobberin’ Time!”  Thing hauls off and decks Piledriver with a Haymaker punch, knocking him back 25″!!! Piledriver fails his KO check and is out!

Bulldozer once again attacks Thing, but does no damage.

Off-camera, Thunderball takes an action to “ace” Spider-Man. This means exactly what you think it means.

Wrecker moves to another crate and rips it open. Lemon cupcakes! Arrrgh!

Turn 4

Thing finally gains initiative! He makes a quick recharge roll for Haymaker and succeeds, allowing him to use it again this turn. He tries it, but fails to damage Bulldozer.

Bulldozer hits Thing for 1 damage, knocking him back 5″ and knocking him down.

Done with that...

Thunderball moves towards Thing. Wrecker moves upstairs towards a new crate. There has to be a crate of Twinkies somewhere!

Turn 5

The villains gain initiative. Bulldozer, now 5″ away from Thing, charges him! Thing takes 3 damage and needs to pass a KO check. He succeeds!

His best Sunday punch!

His best Sunday punch!

Thing stands up and recharges his Haymaker successfully. He hauls off and creams Bulldozer with this roll.

Can you find the Bulldozer in this picture?

Can you find the Bulldozer in this picture?

Bulldozer fails to resist even one and goes flying 45″! He fails his KO check and is out!

Thunderball continues getting closer. Wrecker finds only apple-filling Fruit Pies in his crate.  “Curse you, Fruit Pie the Magician!”

Turn 6

Have a camper!

Have a camper!

Thing can barely keep standing, so he figures it might be wise to keep some distance between him and Thunderball. He picks up a nearby camper and throws it at the villain, hitting him and inflicting 3 damage!

Thunderball pushes the camper off himself and stands up, moving towards the Thing with obvious ill intent.

Wrecker rips open another container…Funny Bones???!!! How did these get here? Hostess doesn’t even make these!!!

Turn 7

Crap.

Crap.

Thunderball charges Thing and hits him for 1 damage. As he loses consciousness, Thing wonders if he might have been better off just letting the Wrecking Crew have the damn Twinkies.

AFTERWORD

First off, this was a blast. It took me around 45 minutes to play this, and that was with me looking up rules, taking photos and logging the action for this AAR. Once I learn the rules completely, I would imagine this game would have taken me 20 minutes or so.

That’s awesome. This system is so easy and quick that I imagine it would be quite simple to get an entire set of linked scenarios done in a couple of hours. An entire campaign in one afternoon? Sounds good for folks like me that can’t seem to get his friends all together more than twice a year.

Also, in case anyone’s interested, here are my builds for these heroes and villains.

The Wrecking Crew

All Bricks, so all have Super Strength as their Major power. (Yes I know technically you’re not supposed to have more than one of the same archetype (except Wild Cards) on the same team, but I defy anyone to tell me that any member of the Wrecking Crew is anything BUT  a Brick.

Wrecker:  Minor: Melee Weapon, Resistance

Thunderball: Minor: Melee Weapon, Clever (Boost)

Bulldozer + Piledriver: Minor: Resistance, Tough (Boost)

The Heroes

Thing (Brick): Major: Super-Strength; Minor: Armor, Resistance, Tough (Boost)

Spider-Man (Brawler): Major: Scrapper; Minor: Leaping, Entangle, Enhanced Senses, Super-Agility

Again, I know I broke the rules here by giving them more powers than allowed, but as as I said before, it’s tough to picture these heroes (especially Spidey) without all of these powers. Having more powers clearly didn’t help them in the above battle. It’s not a matter of game balance for me…it’s about having fun!

 

Playtesting Super Mission Force

Those who read this blog know that I am a big fan of Scott Pyle’s Supersystem 3 for playing superhero battles on the tabletop. Well, Scott dropped a bombshell on The Miniatures Page to all us fans last week with the announcement of Super Mission Force, which is a new project of his. Originally billed as “Supersystem Lite”, Scott made sure to stress that that is no longer the case. The game has evolved beyond that.

So naturally, as a huge fanboy of SS3, I asked : why should I want this? Not trying to be a prick, just wondering what would appeal to me as a SS3 player. Here’s what Scott replied: The game plays a lot faster than any version of Supersystem, and there’s no number crunching in the build system. None. Zero. So it’s a different sort of game. you’ll use archetypes and menu selections to build characters, and once you know how powers work and what to expect, you’ll be able to build a character in a couple of minutes.

He is so right.

Scott was kind enough to provide TMP members with a version of the rules thus far, and I’ve done some solo gaming.  (Check out my first two After Action Reports, here and here. )

Here is my review (spoiler: it’s a glowing one).

REVIEW

Let’s start with character generation. It’s blindingly fast. You can build a team of heroes from scratch in about 15 minutes, whether you like creating your own, or whether (like me), you enjoy adapting classic comic book heroes and villains for your games. If you’re doing that, I found some of the power selections and limitations didn’t fit “classic” heroes very well, but of course, you’re free to change whatever you want. Most archetypes are built around one major power and two minor powers. I imagine this is done for overall game balance when creating your own heroes, and that’s fine. But if you want to adapt an established hero you may find this too limiting.

Example: here is my build for Spider-Man:  Brawler: (Major) Scrapper, (Minor) Leaping, Entangle, Super Agility, Enhanced Senses. It’s kind of tough to see Spider-Man without any of those minor powers, so following the limit of 2 wouldn’t make much sense in his case. As far as “game balance” goes, I don’t really care, considering I don’t play competitively. Also, let’s all admit that some heroes are just better than others. Some are more powerful, more experienced, and just better at what they do. Who are you putting your money on? Wolverine or Starfox? (If you asked “Who’s Starfox?” then you’ve more than proven my point.)

Moving onto powers, SMF differs from SS3 in a lot of ways, most for the better. Powers are much simpler and there are no more dice control pools, which worked well but take a bit of bookkeeping (and a familiarity with a power’s cost and abilities) to manage from round to round. Some powers require a recharge roll before they can be used again; most don’t. Either way, you are often rolling fewer dice than in SS3, which is a good thing if you like quick resolution.

Combat is smooth and quick, and most of all easy as pie. Every model performs a combination of actions on their turn; such as moving, attacking, or interacting with an object. There is no point cost to keep track of. Attacks and damage are grouped together, so any “unsaved” attacks translate into damage without calculating a separate damage roll. I didn’t realize just how much this speeds up combat resolution until I played a couple of games, but it’s a huge time saver. Every archetype has access to unique abilities they can use in combat (Bricks can throw Haymaker punches; Speedsters can Hurricane Charge, etc.), and these really add a lot of fun to battles!

I confess that aside from the Henchmen rules, I didn’t really look too deeply into the rest of the rules so far. The Henchmen rules will also be familiar to any SS3 players, although they’re also easier. Henchmen exist to be smacked around by the numbers, and SMF makes it easy to make groups of henchmen in about 2 seconds that fill this role nicely. Whether you want gun-toting goons or brawling thugs, it’s quick and easy to do.

Every character has the option for one or more background choices which may give bonuses to certain activities “off the battlefield”, such as following up on clues, solving scientific puzzles, etc. If you like a bit of roleplaying in your miniatures campaigns, these help. Also, there are rules for carrying injuries from story to story and for developing heroes throughout adventures.

But if you’re like me, you’re looking for quick and easy gaming action that’s faithful to the superhero genre. Super Mission Force has that to spare.

Another thing I love about this game is the learning curve. It takes almost no time to learn these rules, as everything is based off of a 4 dice pool, plus or minus a couple of dice depending on your powers or desired combat actions. This makes this game very easy to teach to newcomers, which is very important if, like me, you want to get right into the action with people who aren’t necessarily wargaming geeks, but who love superheroes.

But enough about that, you want to see how it plays? Again, you can check out my first two games, here and here!

If there’s anything negative to say about the game, it’s that it’s still in the playtest stage. I had a couple of clarification questions, but nothing game-breaking. Also, people who want more detail may want to look elsewhere. Scott also said ” All [the quicker, simpler mechanics] comes at a cost of some detail, which longtime Supersystem fans may not like. All I can say is download the play-test doc and give it a look.

At this time, you can download  the play-test doc here.

As a longtime Supersystem fan, all I can say is I think I may finally bid a very fond farewell to SS3 ( I will always love Supersystem 3), at least for the foreseeable future. I love and champion Supersystem, but Super Mission Force is exactly what I’m looking for to quickly adapt existing comic heroes to the tabletop, and to get in some quick, easy and fun games with my friends.

I can’t recommend this game highly enough, and I will certainly buy the finished product!

 

 

 

A Handful of Heroclix Repaints

I’m always repainting clix in between my other projects, since I know eventually I will use them for Supersystem 3.  Here are a few I’ve done recently.

First up, Daredevil and Elektra. This Elektra model is from the first Infinity Challenge set, and TBH I like it the best out of all the Elektra sculpts that have come since. While painting her costume I was once again struck by how ridiculous it is. It would take her an hour just to wrap those stupid scarves and sashes around her arms and legs, but hey…I guess it looks cool.

The Daredevil figure is also my favorite clix version of him. These miniatures were very easy to repaint…I just added shading and highlighting to what was already on the miniature. Red is an easy color to work with. I think Daredevil took me about a half hour. Elektra took longer (stupid costume).

Some loser villains, L-R: The Grey Gargoyle, Blastaar, the Wizard, and Batroc “zee Leepair”! I’ll need the first three soon for SS3 games, but I couldn’t resist repainting Batroc just for laughs. He may be one of the most ridiculous villains ever, which is perfect for a fun game of SS3. Apparently, a stray brush strand adhered to Grey Gargoyle and I only just noticed it while messing with the picture. Let’s hear it for hi-res cameras! This assortment of miniatures is a good example of how I repaint batches of miniatures with similar color schemes all at once, even if I won’t be using them anytime soon.

Lastly, a repaint of The Mad Thinker and his Awesome Android! Definitely crying out to be used in a series of linked scenarios. I’ll get on that soon…

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