Not quite a week into Monster May(hem), and I have finally completed my first submission. I present: the Scourge of Planet X: The Ripper Beast!
This miniature from Rattrap Productions has been primed and sitting on my desk since last year’s Monster May(hem). I never got a chance to get to him and moved on to other projects; so I made him my first priority this year. Partially, this is because I’m sick of looking at him; but it’s also because he has been so patient and understanding; two traits not normally associated with Ripper Beasts of Planet X.
The Ripper Beast, as the lore goes, is the most feared predator on Planet X. It loves nothing more than to live up to its name by ripping things, usually into bloody chunks. The Ripper Beast is doubly feared because it seems to regenerate as soon as it is wounded, making it nigh-impossible to put down for good.
Despite its renowned savagery, this Ripper Beast seems to be wearing clothing. It has two spiked wristbands and no dangly unmentionables to speak of. This either makes it smarter than you would think, able to clothe itself and perhaps forge weapons; or just oddly modest. The only picture of the Ripper Beast I could find was the one on the cover, there; so I couldn’t verify this. The only example of a painted Ripper Beast miniature I was able to find was the one inside the book, which doesn’t help because it’s black and white.
So I went with the clothing look, and I tried to get it as close to the cover as possible. It’s a retro sci-fi creature, so perhaps some space-spandex is appropriate after all. While I may never use this miniature as intended, it can sure get some use as a super-villain for games of Super Mission Force!
I have at least two more projects for Monster May(hem) I’m trying to get done by month’s end. Both require a lot of base work, so they’re taking longer than usual. Check back soon, but in the meantime, be sure to stop by and see what everyone else has been up to!
For April’s Character of the Month, I decided to do a Bard. Naturally, being me, I chose a piper. I’ve had this particular miniature for at least ten years, sitting quietly in a box with far too many other miniatures that I may or may not ever get to. We only have so many heartbeats, after all…
This miniature is Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord; a Warmachine miniature from Privateer Press. His bagpipes are truly legendary…they look more like a portable calliope or pipe organ than a traditional bagpipe set. In other words, they’re fucking awesome; so I needed a cool backstory. This is what I came up with:
Doval Lakatos was a man of celebration; a minstrel and dancer who could lift even the lowest spirits with just a few notes from his flute or thumps of his drum. As a troubadour, he travelled the roads and byways of Volskad with his people; singing, dancing, and selling the instruments of music he created as only a master craftsman could; often throwing in free lessons for pretty girls. In time, one of these girls, Karin, became his wife; and in time, she bore him a daughter, Mahala, who was his truest joy.
Many winters passed, as, sadly, did Karin; leaving Doval and Mahala to go on together. Mahala grew to be a lovely young woman; blessed with a voice like the sweetest birdsong and a laugh that could chase away storms. It was no surprise when she began to attract the attentions of men. Tragically, one of these men was Baron Drammen Stahl.
Doval Lakatos’s people knew that Stahlmark was a place to be traversed quickly, or better yet, avoided altogether. The people there did not laugh. They had no use for travelers and songs and music; as these were things for other places, places where the Baron did not rule. The Baron was not one to countenance joy in his subjects, only obedience and tribute. He took this tribute in the form of maiden girls, one each year; supposedly to be his brides, yet none were ever seen again. Although Doval Lakatos tried to attract as little attention as possible while travelling through Stahlmark, Mahala was seen by the Baron’s men, and she was taken to him.
Doval Lakatos tried to resist, but how could an old man fight so many of the Baron’s soldiers? Frantic, he cast about for men of courage, anyone who would go with him to bring Mahala back from the Baron. But men of courage were in short supply, especially where Baron Drammen Stahl was concerned. Doval Lakatos raged. He begged and pleaded. And finally, he despaired.
Only a fool or one with nothing to live for would willingly venture into the dark woods to seek The Baba Yaga; but that is what Doval Lakatos did. He found her easily. Why should she make it difficult? The hag always welcomed visitors. And so it was that in a dark clearing lit only by a weak fire, under the watchful, glittering eyes of The Baba Yaga, Doval Lakatos told the hag his story and made his plea. The hag listened while the flickering shadows cast by her obscene, dancing hut played across her hideous visage. The Baba Yaga listened, and she smiled. At the sight of those terrible iron fangs, Doval Lakatos knew real fear.
The Baba Yaga told him that Baron Drammen Stahl was more than a man; that he was a vorvalaka; one of the undead who reveled in cruelty and fed upon the blood of innocents. As such, Mahala was already dead; there was nothing to be done. The Baba Yaga laughed, then; her fetid breath stinking of decayed things and enveloping him like a wet blanket. She told him that she had eaten already this night; but that didn’t mean she was sated. She advised Doval Lakatos should leave her clearing while he still could, and turned her back on him.
But he did not leave. Mahala was all he cared for; all he would ever care for. He told the hag what she wanted to hear: that he would give anything to ensure Mahala lived and the Baron died. The Baba Yaga slowly turned. If he was willing to give that which he loved dearly, then the hag could help him. Doval said he loved nothing more than Mahala; the hag could have anything else. She smiled again, and agreed. And then she told him what he must do.
Doval Lakatos constructed a set of bagpipes according to The Baba Yaga’s instructions, using the finger bones of dead men that she gave him. Instead of dry cane, these hollow bones would serve as bagpipe reeds. She warned him not to play the pipes once they were complete. There could be no testing and tuning of this instrument. These pipes could be played only once, and only in the presence of the Baron. If done correctly, they would provide Doval Lakatos with the opportunity he would need to free Mahala from the Baron’s bondage. Once his daughter was freed, though, Doval Lakatos must present himself to The Baba Yaga so that she could collect payment for her services.
On the night he finished the bagpipes, Doval Lakatos took a pony and rode to the gates of the Baron’s castle in the rain. The Baron’s men mocked him and made to turn him away; until one of them recognized him as the father of the Baron’s newest plaything. Doval Lakatos begged the men to be allowed to perform for the Baron; to see his daughter one last time. Although they knew the Baron had no interest in music, these men were cruel; and thought the Baron would enjoy tormenting the old man for a while before killing him. They let Doval Lakatos into the main ballroom where a feast was laid in front of a roaring fire. The Baron sat upon his throne, and Mahala sat next to him, eyes wide with fear; for she knew that by coming here her father had sealed his own fate.
The Baron Drammen Stahl fixed his gaze upon him and demanded to know his business. Doval Lakatos returned the Baron’s stare without flinching, and asked if he could play his pipes for him and for his daughter one last time, before she ceased to be his daughter and became instead the Baron’s wife. The Baron agreed with a laugh. After all, he said, it would most certainly be the last time. At this, his men laughed, too; anticipating Doval Lakatos’s imminent imprisonment, torture and death.
Doval Lakatos placed the chanter to his lips and blew air into the bellows. It inflated slowly, and the drones began to hum. When all three were in unison, everyone in the Baron’s hall began to feel uneasy. Smiles vanished. Laughter died. Heads began to swim. Bones began to vibrate. Then Doval Lakatos began to play, and the screaming started.
The Baron could feel the power of the pipes. He realized too late that he made a huge mistake. He tried to move, but was powerless to lift even a finger. He could only stare in dawning horror at the old minstrel, the man whose hair was turning white before the Baron’s eyes as he continued to play his deadly tune. Everyone in the hall save Mahala and Doval Lakatos clapped their hands to their ears, desperately trying to drown out the sound. Like the Baron, they stood transfixed, rooted to the spot as blood began to seep from their ruined ears through their fingers and down their cheeks.
Beneath the discordant melody of the pipes other sounds could be heard: screaming, bestial snarls and mad laughter coming from deep below the castle, from the catacombs, where the Baron’s previous wives were interred; a fate surely intended for Mahala, once the Baron tired of her. They burst into the room a short time later; undead things, haggard, filthy and hungry for blood and vengeance. They fell upon the guards and the Baron’s guests, shrieking and tearing into them with ragged claws and broken teeth. The room was soon awash with blood. But they ignored Doval Lakatos and his daughter, who shut her eyes tightly and cowered beneath her chair.
When there were none but he and Mahala left alive in the room, Doval Lakatos finished his tune. He unhooked the pipes from their harness and let the instrument fall to the ground. Then he calmly picked up a fallen sword and approached the Baron, still rooted to his chair, unable to move. With a deft stroke, he cut the Baron’s head from his shoulders and tossed it into the roaring fireplace. Then, he took his daughter by the hand and led her from the castle, through the carnage and the cackling, feasting ghouls, to the pony that waited outside the gates. He kissed and embraced her, then sent her on her way with a heavy heart; for he had a meeting with The Baba Yaga he had to keep, and he did not think he would return.
Once again, the hag was not difficult to find. She was stirring her great mortar and pestle in the shadows of her dancing hut. At the sight of Doval Lakatos, she smiled her terrible grin and beckoned him close. She had felt the passing of the Baron and knew that her evil magic had worked. As such she had the right to claim payment, and claim it she would.
Briefly, The Baba Yaga considered simply swallowing Doval Lakatos whole, as she was hungry again; and he no doubt expected nothing less. But that was not the bargain that was made. No, Doval Lakatos had to lose that which he loved dearly. If not his precious daughter, it could be only one thing.
The Baba Yaga’s curse was powerful, and final. No more would Doval Lakatos compose melodies. No more would he perform with pipe, string or drum. No more could he dance or lift his voice in song; for the price of Mahala’s freedom was Doval Lakatos’s love of music. From that day until the day he died a bitter, miserable man, Doval Lakatos could no longer bear to hear music; every tune, reel, jig or dirge was torture to his ears. He could be a man of celebration no longer; the zils on his tambourine would be forever silent.
Doval Lakatos never regretted the bargain he made to save Mahala, for she was his truest joy; but there were many times he wished that The Baba Yaga had simply swallowed him whole.
Monster Month starts in five days, and there’s still time to get in on the fun! Just drop me a comment here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know you want to participate! As of now, we have some of the usual suspects as well as some new faces! Check them out below:
Through the rear-view mirror, Kato regarded the Green Hornet as he checked his equipment.
“Hornet Gun: check,” said the Green Hornet. “Hornet Sting: check. Let’s roll, Kato.”
A few minutes later, Kato steered the Black Beauty up to MaClane’s Shipping Yard. The car was set for silent running. In the darkness, it made no more noise than the faintest whisper as it pulled up to the curb. The Green Hornet and Kato exchanged a quick glance in the mirror. Both men nodded, then quietly exited the car on opposite sides.
Time to go to work.
Turn 1: From their concealed positions, the Green Hornet and Kato split up, each making his way to one side of the shipping yard. Being Observant, the Green Hornet comes close enough to an encounter marker to possibly trigger it; but he fails his Brains test. He’ll have to get closer! Kato, meanwhile, sprints to another container. This gives the guard atop the container a chance to spot him; but Kato keeps to the shadows and the guard fails to do so. This brings Kato in contact with another encounter marker. Unfortunately, it’s bad luck for him! Kato startles a stray cat, which yowls loudly. This gives the guard another chance to spot Kato, but the guard fails miserably and doesn’t react at all. Since the alarm hasn’t been raised, only one guard gets to move. The guard stationed atop a shipping container overlooking the meeting moves to his right, along a makeshift bridge.
Turns 2-3: The Green Hornet begins to climb up the side of the shipping container, trying to get a better vantage point. Once atop it, he activates the encounter marker. He takes a moment to angle a long-range microphone towards the meeting. He lucks out! One of the lieutenants coughs loudly, which is enough to identify him as Louie the Lunger, enforcer for “Lemonface” Bucco, boss of the Bowery district! Meanwhile, Kato moves around his container, while the guard atop it ambles down its length, failing yet again to spot Kato, who begins his own climb up the side of the container. Finally, Another guard heads out towards the center of the yard, halfheartedly scanning the darkness.
Turn 4: The guard atop the container Kato is climbing does an about-face and returns to his original position, which means he walks right by Kato for a second time. The guard is oblivious; once again failing to spot the black-clad Kato clinging to the side of the container. Kato quickly climbs up and attacks the guard from behind, delivering a silent but highly-effective kung-fu chop to the guard’s neck. Down he goes! The Green Hornet drops silently from the top of his container, coming into contact with another encounter marker. It’s a restless guard. One of the guards gets the urge to stretch his legs, so he gets to move out of turn. The guard on the bridge continues in the same direction, scanning the darkness, seeing nothing.
Turn 5: The Green Hornet moves quietly around the side of a nearby car, taking aim at the driver with the Hornet gun. He fires off a gas canister and the driver quickly succumbs to the narcotic effects of the knockout gas! A nearby guard fails to see the driver slump to the ground, unconscious! (These guards are really terrible.)
Meanwhile, from his vantage point atop his own shipping container, Kato has a clear shot at another driver. Not one to miss an opportunity, Kato hurls one of his drugged Hornet-darts at the unsuspecting driver; who is quickly overcome by the knockout venom! The Green Hornet and Kato are like the two pieces of bread in a SANDWICH OF JUSTICE! The guard in the middle of the yard moves back to his position atop the metal platform overlooking the meeting. So far, the Green Hornet and Kato have avoided detection!
Turn 6: The guards seem to realize they’re too close together, so they separate to better keep watch over the yard.
Like flowing water, Kato slips down the side of the shipping container. No longer worried about attracting the driver’s attention, he moves closer to the car, trying to get a better look at the mob lieutenants. The Green Hornet makes a break from cover towards another encounter marker. For a brief moment, he is all too visible to the guard atop the metal platform; but the guard is distracted by something on his shoe, and fails to notice the Emerald Avenger as he gets close enough to note the identity of another mob lieutenant! It’s “Clean-Head Chang”, enforcer for the notorious Chinatown crime boss, Wise Uncle Wei!
Turn 7: The Green Hornet backtracks to his original position. Through his powers of Observation, he activates the encounter marker atop the shipping containers; but it’s a dud. Nothing happens. Kato moves closer to the meeting, for a brief moment fully exposed to two of the guards. Both fail their tests to spot him. (These guards are the WORST.)
Turn 8: One of the guards shifts his facing, giving him another chance to spot Kato. He does not. Kato moves towards another encounter marker, desperately trying to identify the last mob lieutenant; or even catch a glimpse of the mystery man. But before that can happen, the Green Hornet, trying to remain out of sight, moves around the back of the shipping container stack.
He activates an encounter marker. It’s the cops, led to the scene by crusading reporter Mike Axford!
Immediately, the mob lieutenants make a break for their cars, while the Mystery Man slinks away into the shadows. MEETING ADJOURNED!
Turn 9: Although Mike Axford is scanning the yard for the elusive Green Hornet, “Clean-Head” Chang runs out into the open in full view of the cops while making a break for his car, not knowing that his driver has been KO’ed by the Green Hornet’s gas gun. The cops fire, but fail to hit the Tong gangster. Meanwhile, Louie the Lunger runs for his car, also unaware that his driver is down for the count because of Kato’s dart. He comes face-to-face with Kato, and wastes no time pulling his gun and taking his shot. He hits! Kato takes a grazing shot along his rib cage!
In response, Kato screams his Battle Cry, leaping into hand-to-hand combat with Louie the Lunger. To his credit, the mobster doesn’t panic; but he does drop to the ground senseless on the receiving end of Kato’s vicious flying kick!
The Green Hornet tries to head off “Clean-Head” Chang, even going so far as to attack Chang’s car with the Hornet Sting in an attempt to disable it. Unfortunately, the device fails, and Chang’s car is unaffected. Chang reaches his car and speeds away, leaving behind his enforcer. The identity of the third mob lieutenant must remain a mystery, as he manages to reach his car and speed away, leaving his enforcer behind as well!
Turn 10: There are only two criminal models left on the table; these are the two goons left behind by the lieutenants as they made their escape. Mike Axford is obsessed with the Green Hornet and doesn’t care about these small fish. He’s desperately scanning the darkness, looking for the Hornet; but finds Kato instead. He hastily points him out the police, who open fire! Although most of the cops miss, Kato is struck again! He’s down to one wound! This serves to highlight his position to the goon atop the shipping container, who also opens fire at Kato with his tommy gun! Despite leaking like a sieve, Kato manages to leap and roll to safety, easily avoiding the hail of bullets! (Kato rolled two natural 10’s, which are Heroic Saves. The bullets never even came close.) The remaining mobster fires upon the Green Hornet, but only sprays the air as our hero vanishes into the concealing darkness!
Turn 11: Kato needs to get out of here, and fast. He sprints to the edge of the board to join the Green Hornet, spending Hero Points to gain extra movement. The heroes flee the scene with the identity of two of the three mob lieutenants, as the cops collar the remaining gangsters and Mike Axford wrings his hat in frustration. But questions persist: who was the third lieutenant, and who was the mystery man? What did they want?
Analysis: This game was a lot of fun, and it flew by pretty quickly. With two Grade 3 models, you would think the odds were stacked in favor of the heroes; and for a while, that was the case. Once the alarm sounded, though, all bets were off. The fact that the guards couldn’t spot snow in a blizzard helped; but Kato survived by sheer luck alone. I fully expected him to go down in a hail of gunfire from the cops, but they rolled like shit. Then, he pulled off a miraculous dodge when one of the gat men opened up with his tommy gun. Lucky!
I was really pleased with how the two heroes methodically took out the sentries while trying to discover as many clues as possible. The encounter markers weren’t going their way; but they did get seven full turns before the cops showed up, and the identities of 2 of the 3 lieutenants. The final VP tally: Heroes: 7, Gangsters: 1. A pretty decisive (though by no means complete) victory for the heroes!
Epilogue: The Next Day
Britt Reid paced the room, pounding his fist into his palm in frustration. “Blast it, Kato, why does Mike Axford have to be so darn good at his job?”
“Isn’t that what you pay him for?” asked Kato. He was propped up in bed, his ribs bandaged. Despite the pain, he was feeling fortunate that mobsters were such lousy shots.
“The Daily Sentinel is lucky to have a reporter so tenacious. The Green Hornet, not so much. Axford brought the cops down on us before we could find out what was really going on in that storage yard.”
“We know the identities of two of the lieutenants,” said Kato, ” Louie the Lunger and Clean-Head Chang. That’s something.”
“It would have been nice to be able to interrogate at least one of them, and find out the identitiy of the third,” said Reid, “not to mention the mystery man, and what they were doing in the first place. Chang got away, and Louie is cooling his heels in a cell downtown.” Reid sighed in exasperation. “D.A. Scanlon says he isn’t talking.”
“Sorry I got shot, boss,” said Kato.
“That’s ok, my friend,” deadpanned Reid. “Just try to do better next time.” The two men exchanged smiles. “So, what now?” asked Kato.
“Clean-Head Chang is top enforcer for Wise Uncle Wei,” said Reid. “I think it’s time Wei got a visit from the Green Hornet.”
Kato nodded, sliding out of bed; but Reid stopped him. “You need to stay here and rest up, Kato. I’ll handle this one alone.”
Kato shook his head. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
“You worry too much, Kato. I have done this before, you know.” Reid smiled. “I’ll tell you all about it when I get back.”
Kato sat back and watched as Britt Reid left. A few minutes later, he slid out of bed, wincing in pain. The Green Hornet needed Kato, and there was no way he wasn’t going to be there.
Scenario: At midnight, three of the most powerful mob lieutenants in the city are meeting with a mysterious figure. Who do these lieutenants work for and what are they discussing? Who is this mystery man? And why wasn’t the Green Hornet invited? The Green Hornet and Kato plan on finding out the answers to these questions; but there’s another problem: Ace Reporter Mike Axford has also learned of the meeting and tipped off the police. It’s only a matter of time before they arrive…can the Green Hornet find his answers before then?
Victory Conditions: The Green Hornet must discover three clues (the identities of the enforcers) and escape the board. The criminals must prevent him from learning everything before the cops arrive and they are forced to make their escape. Victory points are awarded for clues. Each clue discovered by the Green Hornet is worth 1 VP, each clue that goes undiscovered is worth 1 VP for the criminals. In addition, each model that is eliminated is worth one VP equal to his grade (i.e. a Grade 3 model is worth 3 VP, etc.), and each Mob Lieutenant (not including the mystery man) that is able to escape is worth 1VP to the criminals. Whoever has the most VP at the end wins.
Forces: The Hero player controls the Green Hornet (Grade 3 Crimefighter) and Kato (Grade 3 Crimefighter). The Criminal Player starts with 3 Enforcers (Grade 2) and 6 Gat Men (Grade 1). (Each lieutenant brought a driver and a goon.) The lieutenants and the drivers are armed with pistols; the goons are armed with submachine guns. The Police (3 Grade 1 Officers) and Mike Axford (Grade 1 Reporter) are controlled by either player, subject to the conditions below.
Setup: Play is on a 24”x24” surface, representing the yard of MacLane’s Storage Yard. There are shipping containers stacked around the yard, forming a central clearing of sorts. Crates, barrels and oil drums are liberally scattered about the yard, providing cover and spots to hide. There are three cars each facing an unobstructed path through the containers in roughly a Y-shaped pattern. In the center of these cars, the three Mob Lieutenants are deployed, along with the Mystery Man. One Gat Man is deployed next to each car; these are the lieutenants’ drivers and they don’t usually take part in any of the action unless the shooting starts. The remaining 3 Gat Men are deployed on Guard Duty. The guards can be placed among or atop the shipping containers. The Green Hornet and Kato start on one board edge, in cover but at least 8” away from any enemy model.
Stealthy: A hero can attempt to take out a guard in melee without alerting any of the others. If a hero attacks a guard in melee and KO’s him, he does so silently. If the guard doesn’t go down, he immediately sounds the alarm. If a hero attacks a guard with line of sight to another guard, any attempts to spot him are made at +1.
Sounding the Alarm: Any guard who spots a hero model or who survives a round of melee can sound the alarm. This instantly alerts all the guards on the table, who can activate and act normally in subsequent turns. The bosses make a break for it as if The Police Arrive (see below).
The Police Arrive: When this happens (or when the alarm is sounded), all the bosses immediately make a break for their cars, and will reach them in one turn. The drivers can shoot at any of the heroes or the police they can see for one turn, then they speed away with their boss on the following turn. Any of the bosses who get off the board escape. As for the mystery man, he cannot be captured. He vanishes without a trace!
The police choose their targets as follows: first, they fire at any model that fired upon them, otherwise they fire at the closest hero or criminal they can see. Whichever model is the target, the opposing player rolls for the cop’s attacks. The Green Hornet and Kato will not enter combat with the police or with Mike Axford (no matter how much they want to), the one exception being the Green Hornet can use his gas gun if needed.
Pesky Mike Axford: Mike Axford is obsessed with unmasking the Green Hornet, and is constantly pointing out his whereabouts to the cops. By spending a Hero point, the player controlling the mob enforcers can force the police to fire upon either of the heroes, even if there is a closer criminal target. The criminal player cannot do this if any criminals fired upon the police earlier this turn, however. Axford cannot be the target of attacks, nor can he attack any other model.
The Green Hornet (Grade 3): DR 5 Brains 4 Will 3 Brawn 3 Guts 10 Heater 5 Shiv 5 Dodge 4 Speed 5 Brawler +1d10, Pugilist +1, One-Two Punch, Sharpshooter +1, Quick +1, Nerves of Steel +2, Observant, Quick Recovery, Heroic Action
Another challenge for the Green Hornet; his aide, Kato; and their rolling arsenal, the Black Beauty!
Britt Reid, publisher of the Daily Sentinel, sat in his home office, uneasily drumming his fingers on the desk. “Very interesting, Kato.”
“What’s that?” Kato asked, setting a glass in front of his boss and friend. With a flourish,he held aside the sleeve of his white valet jacket and began to fill the glass with orange juice, raising the decanter impossibly high before lowering it at just the right moment to avoid an overflow.
Reid smiled at Kato’s theatrics.“Three of the city’s biggest mob lieutenants have a meeting tonight, Kato– a secret meeting with a mysterious fourth party…and it seems the Green Hornet wasn’t invited!”
“Maybe our invitation got lost in the mail,” Kato said dryly. “What do you think it’s about?”
“I don’t know, my friend. But one thing I do know: this is one soiree the Green Hornet isn’t about to miss!”
Kato nodded. “I’ll get the car ready.”
It’s long past time I played some Pulp. Although my Star Trek skirmishes last year scratched an itch for adventures in spaaaaaace; I wanted to get back to some good old-fashioned two-fisted Pulp action. And who better for that than the Green Hornet and Kato?
I used .45 Adventure 2nd Edition, my favorite rules for Pulp gaming. You can get the PDF here for a measly 10 bucks, and it’s well worth it. That being said, I made a few changes; the same changes I used when playing the Star Trek games using Fantastic Worlds. I’ll repeat them here: .45 Adventure has a detailed combat system that involves wound location and deteriorating statistics based on damage received. For example, you get shot in the arm, your shooting and brawling abilities go down; you get shot in the legs, your movement speed decreases, etc. The better your character, the higher his stats and the more wound boxes he has; therefore wounds have less of an effect on heroic characters and a greater effect on scrubs.
For my taste, this was a bit more bookkeeping than I wanted to deal with. I decided a model has a number of wounds equal to its rank and damage resistance (DR) commensurate with their abilities, and that wound location doesn’t matter. If a character is wounded, he loses a wound. Rank 3 and Rank 2 characters are KOed when they lose their last wound; Rank 1 scrubs aren’t so lucky: they’re dead (unless they are supposed to be KOed). This makes combat a lot faster and more deadly, but requires a lot less effort to keep track of a character round-to-round. Heroic characters (like the Green Hornet) may have access to abilities that allow them to shrug off and/or heal wounds, or to act regardless of them, but goons go down fast. As it should be!
The tradeoff is that a lot of special abilities in .45 Adventure are based around wound location, such as Supreme Effort, which allows a model to use his starting stats for a wound location for a turn (regardless of how badly damaged that location is); or Dead Shot, which improves your chances of hitting a specific location. Since I scrapped wound location, none of the models could use these; which somewhat limited the selection of skills I had access to. Each location also has its own Damage Resistance value. It’s generally easier to wound someone if you hit them in the head as opposed to hitting their arm, for example. I scrapped that too, and just assigned a blanket DR to an entire model. The more important or tough the model is, the more DR it has. This makes the game move a lot faster at the expense of some of the detail of the system; I like it, but YMMV.
That about covers the rules. But, what about the scenario?
It’s simple: At midnight, three of the most powerful mob lieutenants in the city are meeting with a mysterious figure. Who do these lieutenants work for and what are they discussing? Who is this mystery man? And why wasn’t the Green Hornet invited? The Green Hornet and Kato plan on finding out the answers to these questions; but there’s another problem: Ace Reporter Mike Axford has also learned of the meeting, and tipped off the police. It’s only a matter of time before they arrive…can the Green Hornet find his answers before then?
Gather ‘round, ladies and gents! (Are there any ladies in the house?) It’s almost May; time for the second annual Monster May(hem); to be hosted right here at Dead Dick’s Tavern! But wait…SECOND annual? It seems like this has been going on for more than two years…
Aaaah. Yes. Three, actually. It used to be known as Monster Month, but then Roger changed it. (Sigh. Roger. I friggin’ love that guy.)
Anyway, what is Monster May(hem)? Why, it’s the month you paint monsters, of course. Any monster will do, although it should be a proper MONSTER; not an orc or a vampire, or something equally as lame. I mean something truly beastly; like a dragon or manticore or giant sandworm. Check out the last couple of years by looking at that handy “Archives” drop-down menu on the right and picking any May (starting in 2018); or, if you’re too lazy to do that, you can get a pretty good idea what I’m talking about by looking at this post and this post.
I can hear the choruses now. “I wanna join the club, PIper! But, how do I participate?”
It’s easy! Simply let me know in the comments below, or shoot me an email at email@example.com. I’ll add your name and website to the blogroll once May starts; and, if it’s not there already, I’ll post a link to your site in my sidebar menus. You might even pick up a few regular visitors to your blog! Don’t have a blog or a website? That’s ok. Send me your pictures, and I’ll post them here and ensure you receive proper attribution.
If you’re looking for some good monster miniatures but don’t want to break the bank, Reaper Bones or Nolzur’s Marvelous Miniatures are your friends! You can get some great plastic monsters for under 5 bucks, and even more for under ten. Or you can splurge and spend fifteen bucks and get something like this T-Rex from Nolzur’s Marvelous Miniatures:
But no one’s saying it has to be a Fantasy monster. Got a particularly nasty Tyranid or Elder God you want an excuse to paint? Well, look no further. Here’s your excuse. You can also sculpt your own, if you have the inclination and you’re the daring sort. Roger did just that last year, and he even named it after me! The likeness is uncanny… (I told you I love that guy.)
Monster May(hem) officially starts on the first of May (duh). Chances are I’ll be posting something soon after. I have a couple of miniatures in mind, including one really big project planned. I’ve been pretty productive in past years; but invariably I post a few stragglers in early June as my reach tends to exceed my grasp. Guess we’ll see if this year is the same…
Since this pandemic started, I have picked up quite a few board games based on recommendations, reviews and…well, just because. Sadly, this isn’t something I can blame Roger for; rather I must blame a guy I follow on Instagram, @geekdesignergorssky, for always posting about board games that are on sale on Amazon. Some of the deals are pretty hard to resist (35%-50% off!). For example: Gloomhaven, a game I DID manage to resist buying, was on sale for $79.00 USD not too long ago (with free shipping, of course). The game retails for $150.00 USD retail, and the box weighs over 20 lbs. (really). That’s an insane deal. But I said no and I don’t even think about it every single day. (It’s currently $114.00 USD on Amazon.) The fact that I have no one to play these with never even entered my mind.
These are some of the games I have purchased (or been gifted) over the last year. I say some, but what I mean is these are the ones with miniatures. There are others, like Ravensburger’s JAWS game and, oddly enough, a Pac-Man board game (with real arcade sounds!) I bought because I thought it would be a fun pandemic activity. Apparently I’m the only one who thinks that, since I haven’t played any of them yet.
This month, in addition to my Character of the Month (still to come), I’ve decided to focus on getting some of these miniatures painted and ready for the table. I picked the game I’m most excited about playing: Aliens: Another Glorious Day in the Corps, by Gale Force 9. It comes with 7 Marines and 16 Xenomorphs that will require paint; plus I picked up this miniatures expansion because all 4 minis are awesome. (You get a gooey Bishop, which either sounds like a weird drink or a depraved act, take your pick.)
I assembled most of the miniatures yesterday. The marines go together pretty easily; but as anyone who reads this blog regularly knows, I have no patience for plastic miniatures anymore. I found the Xenomorphs to be needlessly complex with a two part body, a separate head, two separate arms, a tail and a base, for a total of seven pieces each. Four pieces (a solid body/head, two arms, a tail and the base) would have been better; and far less time-consuming and annoying to assemble. They look cool, but their tails are flimsy and fiddly as fuck. I just know they’re going to be constantly snapping off.
The other game isn’t technically a board game at all; it’s Warlord’s’ Cruel Seas, my first foray into naval wargaming (if I ever get to play it). This starter box was a gift from Santa (who is absolutely not interested in playing this or any other tabletop game, and has said so on multiple occasions). The starter comes with 4 German S- Boats and 6 British Vospers; but I have a few extra German boats thanks to the free sprues I got with wargaming magazines. This game was all over the place a couple of years ago, but I don’t see much written about it now, although they’ve made expansion fleets for the US, Italy, Japan and Russia in addition to the German and British ships you get in this starter set, so someone must still be playing it.
Anyway, I expect the Colonial Marines will take the most time; and I may not get them all done by the end of April. On the other hand, Xenos and PT boats are hardly challenging models to paint and I should be able to zip right through them just in time for Monster May(hem) in May!
More on that…and a brand-new After Action Report…coming soon!
Of all heroes, I didn’t set out to repaint and rebase Aquaman. It came about quite by accident. Recently I had a quick rummage through the bitz box on an unrelated project, and I discovered this Aquaman Heroclix left over from a Forgotten Heroes conversion I did back in 2018. I had popped him off his dial and used the water spout to make the Water Wizard.
(I never throw anything away. That Water Wizard was also made from a Quicksilver body and a Weather Wizard head; the Weather Wizard’s body was used to make the Aquarian. along with a head from a different Aquaman miniature, the hook of which was used on this Pulp Figures conversion. Finally, the Quicklsilver head was used the year before to make Jack Frost, along with a body from a Heroclix Scorpion. As for Scorpion’s head, I have no idea where that ended up.)
The entire time I worked on this conversion, this song was running through my head. It will run through your head too, if you listen to it. It’s insidious, and you will grow to like it. It drove me so nuts I looked up the video on YouTube. It reminded me how much I love this movie, because…Julie Adams. I know, right? What is it with girls named Julie? Adams, Newmar, Christie…it’s a good name, is what I’m saying.
Anyway, I had some “seaweed” and some shells left over from my Under the Sea diorama last month, so that got me thinking of making another underwater base. Since Aquaman is at his coolest in his element (as cool as he can be, anyway), it seemed appropriate to base him underwater. Again, credit to Eons of Battle for the base tutorial.
And here he is. I painted his stupid water hand to look like flesh so he would better resemble the classic, lame-ass Aquaman we all know and mock. (“Go talk to some fish!”)
Here’s my attempt at making Aquaman cool; although if Jason Momoa can’t do it, who am I to think I can? He was a fun little project in the midst of some others, and it’s been a while since repainted some ‘Clix. It’s a bit of an amuse-bouche for June…when Forgotten Heroes comes around again!