Friday, 18 October 2013

IKRPG 2 : Session 2, (A distinct lack of) Trials and Tribulations

It was early in the morning the next day when Captain Grey was approached by one of the camp gobbers, who efficiently, if in a way that is unrepeatable, summoned her to the pole they'd chained Sergeant Richmond to in preparation for his trial.  After spending some time training and letting him wait, she made her way over to see what he had to say, and he presented her with his deal - if she dropped the charges, he would play the good little soldier and follow her orders.  After some short and fairly one-sided negotiation, Richmond was unchained and back in the team with a few changes, primarily that he would be at reduced pay AND with Captain Close as his handler until Grey was satisfied that he would not be a liability.  In return, he would play the good soldier, and her first mission on record would not end with a court martial and a display that she could not control her own troops.

Their differences settled, or at least put aside for now, the team reassembled in the officer's tent for their next mission.  Surrounded by those who had come to view the trial, among them Major Katrina Lattimer and Earl Alexander Grey, Captain Grey's father, the team were given their next briefing.  Even as he took out the dossier on their assignment, Commander Steele could barely contain the disdain he clearly felt for what was in it, multipled many times over to make it clear for the assorted dignitaries.  Someone higher up - high enough up that it can remain a secret - has demanded their presence at a Llaelese fortress.

As far as the Cygnarans had been made aware, the fortress was essentially the Llaelese version of their own fort, watching the Black River and keeping it clear of Khadorans.  There were only two problems; firstly, the fort relied heavily on costly mercenary forces to guard it and secondly, the few dedicated Llaelese troops were only experienced in guerilla warfare, and had no idea how to fight in a siege.  The Cygnarans were primarily there to advise and oversee the final phases of construction.  Requisitioning was brief and to the point - all the warjacks were up and running and put on a boat with enough ammunition and coal to keep them in combat for a full week.  While they were there, Sergeant Fillion requisitioned a cart for the mechaniks who would be accompanying the 'jacks and Sergeant Killigan also hired a gobber to keep tabs on Sergeant Richmond, just in case.

After a two day trip upriver, the group arrived at what appeared to be the fort.  Far from a small wooden construct that had been inferred, they found a small village surrounding a permanent stone keep and, even from a decent distance away, the fact there was something off was evident almost immediately - no sounds of life were coming from the village, no sounds of talking or of work, no children playing or soldiers drilling.  Leaving the boiat behind, Sergeant Richmond stealthily moved in closer to scout the location and...

Nothing.  No people, no 'jacks and, while there were signs of struggle, no bodies.  A cursory investigation indicated that a large military unit had moved in in formation, fired wildly at the populace and then carried them from their homes as they hid.  While their movements indicated military precision and years of experience, their gunshots had gone wild, suggesting they were entirely new to shooting.  As this puzzled the team, they moved to the fort in the middle of the town, finding the doors closed but unbarred.

Inside, the team found a scene of carnage, with the corpses of many Llaelese soldiers and mercenaries in the courtyard, and every surface riddled with bullets.  A quick search found the staff roster for the fort and, cross-referencing the names with the corpses showed that three names were missing - two privates and a corporal.  One of the privates was found by Captain Grey and Sergeant Fillion as they investigated the buildings inside the walls, babbling incoherently about being attacked by "their own" and an army of "silent killers", while hints of the other two were found by Captain Close and Sergeant Richmond as they scouted the outsides of the town, notably two tracks of bootprints that came to an abrupt end next to a heavy warjack's.

While there was no sign of their bodies, the Nomad they had been next to was discovered in a hedge a full fifteen feet away with a single football-sized hole that had been blasted clean through it's chest and out it's boiler.  There were no other bullet marks, and a cursory examination showed no blasting powder residue on the hole.  Flummoxed, the team instructed the warjacks to drag the Nomad into the fort and sent the mechaniks and still visibly traumatised survivor back to to the camp to get reinforcements.

After burying the dead, the next five days were a boring slog as nothing happened while they remained on high alert.  While Captain Close and Sergeant Killigan kept the majority of the watch, Captain Grey performed rudimentary last rights on the graves, practised with her guns and crafted more Rune Shots, Sergeant Fillion took to carving a piano and Sergeant Richmond took it upon himself to become unit cook with food scavenged from the surrounding village.  On the afternoon of the fifth day, the boat arrived with reinforcements - a full unit of Long Gunners, the Trenchers from their last mission and a small group of CRS Investigators to look over the scene that had remained more or less untouched up until that point.

With the fort guarded by a group of professional soldiers and looked over by a team of investigators, the team returned to base to receive new orders, and hopefully give the Cygnaran military time to uncover details of this new threat...

Thursday, 10 October 2013

IKRPG 2 : Session 1, I Fort You Said Something Else...

Firstly, the party!

Captain Alexis Grey, Gifted Arcane Tempest Gunmage/Cygnaran Warcaster, Unit Commander, Secondary Support
Captain Dexter Close, Gifted Cygnaran Trencher/Warcaster, Unit Sub-commander, Secondary Sniper
Sergeant Charlie Richmond, Mighty Ranger/Trencher Commando, Unit Rookie, Secondary Scout
Sergeant Duff Killigan, Skilled Investigator/Rifleman, Unit Sniper
Sergeant Harrison Fillion, Skilled Ranger/Pistoleer, Unit Scout
Sergeant Joseph Caspian, Intellectual Alchemist/Stormsmith, Unit Support (Absent from this mission)

In the aftermath of the annexation of the Thornwood by Khador and the subsequent ceasefire, a new branch of the Cygnaran military has been set up, a specific Unorthodox Engagement Team in Corvis tasked with keeping the Black River clear to allow trade with Rhul and Llael.  Taken from several local units, the new team has been set up with a base of operations on a platform just north of Corvis, complete with a veritable army of armourers, medics and administrators.

With the team set up with their new base, they were given a quick mission by their CO, Commander Reb Steele - a forward base set up by Khador less than fifteen miles north of the city limits that desperately needed to be razed to the ground.  Despite a quick discussion on the ethics of attacking a fortification during a ceasefire, it was determined that orders were orders and they began the planning, while simultaneously going to Father Brown and Sly, the armourers.  After requisitioning all the ammunition and equipment they felt they would need (including a modified Hunter's Longarm) and finalising their plans, they moved upriver with a unit of Trenchers.

The plan was simple - wait until nightfall and send a military boat disguised as a trade vessel with a unit of trenchers up the river while Captains Grey, Captain Close and Sergeant Killigan set up on the other side of the fort in various sniper positions to take out the sentries and cover Sergeant Richmond and Sergeant Fillion as they scaled the walls, set up explosive charges and get out, leaving the munitions stocks to obliterate the majority of the base.  Any survivors could be quickly and efficiently picked off by the team and the trenchers.

What could possibly go wrong?

In a stunning display of pig-headedness, Sergeant Richmond decided to stay behind with the bombs to "ensure they went off".  After twenty seconds and a quick sneak around the buildings, he fired off a round - the signal for the Trenchers to attack, causing them to open fire on the Winter Guard nearest to them, throwing the whole camp into chaos just in time for the first bomb to go off.  As the rest of the team ran in to extract their errant member, he managed to break in to the officer's quarters to quickly loot as many papers and maps as he could get his hands on before planting another bomb inside.

As the team met up at the fort entrance, the second bomb in the munitions store detonated, sending a large section of the fort up in a fireball that killed the majority of the remaining guards, showering the rest in shrapnel and fire.  After attempting to convince Richmond that he'd messed up and having him blankly disbelieve him, Captain Grey decided to convince him of his desire to be court martialed for disobeying orders and endangering his team with a solid right hook.

Richmond woke up back at base, chained to the post that doubled as a brig.  It appears the Cygnaran army wasn't going to forgive and forget...

Thursday, 26 September 2013

IKRPG 2 : Mission 1, Let's Get This Party Started!

Just North of Corvis, on the Thornwood side of the Black River, the Khadoran military have set up a forward base that has been designed to house a huge number of soldiers and warjacks for a future assault on the city.  With the ceasefire and the recent events in the Thornwood interior, it has been left with a skeleton crew of Winter Guard and one low-ranking officer to oversee it.

It cannot be allowed to exist.  Ceasefire or not, destroy it.

The Mission
The fort is a mere ten miles North of Corvis, due East of Fort Rhyker.  It has been designed as a temporary structure, with no real attempts to keep it from sinking in due course (the Cygnaran military may suspect this, but they wouldn't have confirmed it - the buildings are reinforced down to about ten feet and your players could PROBABLY try to burrow under if they have the gear and desire to find out if a cave in of swamp mud counts as crushing or drowning).  The area around the fort has been cleared of all trees out to 300 feet, although there are patches of sparse rubble which a bit of timing COULD allow small or average sized characters to run between without being spotted.

The frt itself is currently being held by a total of 25 Winter Guard, split into one Lieutenant (Katya Roshanov, if your players care.  They probably won't), 2 Sergeants, 2 Corporals and 20 Privates.  2 Privates man each of the Guard Houses and the Gate House at all time on six hour rotations, with the 10 who had just had watch on a 6 hour rest.  Every few hours, either the Lieutenant or one of the Sergeants will do a round of the guard posts.  The Corporals work twelve hour shifts each in the Steamjack Storage facility.

A-D = Guard Houses, 3 Stories Tall.  2 Privates with Blunderbuss and Axe.  Each building has assorted living implements such as a deck of cards and other assorted game boards, a telescope and around 10-20 Koltina.

E = Main Barracks, 3 Stories Tall.  10 Privates with Blunderbusses and Axe and 1 Corporal with Rocket.  The building contains five hundred Blunderbuss rounds, ten spare axes and ten spare Winter Guard uniforms (one size fits all.  So long as you're not a Gobber, Trollkin or Ogrun).  It also has several letters to and from the guard's families in Khadoran and on a Detection roll of 15 or higher, the players will find a loose floorboard concealing a stack of rather expertly realised, if borderline treasonous, sketches of several high ranking female officers (mostly Lieutenant Katya Roshanov, but also a few of Forward Kommander Sorscha Kratikoff and one that may be Empress Ayn Vanar) in compromising, if occasionally physically impossible, positions.  An extended search will uncover approximately 3-400 Koltina.

F = Steamjack storage, 2 Stories Tall.  1 Corporal with Rocket and Kolya, the Kompany Juggernaut.  The building also has huge piles of coal and tools for mechanikal engineering.  It also has several rockets and even a few additional warheads for Blasting Pikes.

G = Officer's Quarters, 2 Stories Tall.  1 Lieutenant with Blunderbuss and Axe, 2 Sergeants with Blunderbuss and Axe.  The building has ledgers, encoded orders and a chest containing the soldier's pay - 2000 Koltina.

H = Gate House, 3 Stories Tall.  2 Privates with Blunderbuss and Axe.  Much like the Guard Houses, the Gate House has a deck of cards and other assorted game boards, a telescope and 15 Koltina.  It also has a "Guest Book" that details the visitors the fort has had since it was built.

All the while the players remain stealthy and take out the individual groups without sound, they will be fine.  If a melee takes longer than a round or a gun is fired, the remaining guards will descend on the location, with the officers, the Winter Guard in the Guard/Gate Houses, the Corporal in the Steamjack Storage and Kolya turning up after a minute and the remaining Winter Guard turning up in ten minutes.

Guest Book - While mostly useless, this could be used to pin down several high ranking Khadoran military officials.  The CRS would pay out about 10 Crowns per player for it.
Koltina - A Khadoran gold coin.  Worth about half as much as a Crown (.5 gold each) in Cygnar.
Ledgers and encoded orders - Probably worth a LOT to the CRS.  Worth at least 100 Crowns per player as a bonus if they're brought back.
Tastefully realised erotic art - If Sly finds out you've got this, he'll offer 50 Crowns per player for them.

In addition to their monthly pay of 200g, completion of this mission will net a bonus of 100g for each character.

Privates - Basic Winter Guard stats.  1 Health.
Corporals - Winter Guard Rocketeer stats.  1 Health.
Sergeant - Basic Winter Guard stats, +1 to all stats.  1 Health.
Lieutenant - Winter Guard Lieutenant, +1 to all stats.  'Jack Marshal.  10 Health.
Kolya - Juggernaut with 1 box removed from the Hull of each column.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

IKRPG 2 : The House Rules!

OK, so firstly, a proviso - I'm running this game with several people who have never played the Iron Kingdoms before, and one person who has never roleplayed at ALL before, so I'm trying to keep this campaign more or less within the books.  That said, there are a few ideas I want to throw in...

Character Creation
Unless a player really wants to switch out abilities, I'm running this straight from the book - you pick a career and you copy down all the abilities!  I'm using the Unorthodox Engagement Team Adventuring Company (don't even know what it does, but it sounds awesome...) but, apart from that, fair game.

The exception is spells - a spellcaster can switch out any of their spells for any other COST 1 or 2 available to their career.

None of this is technically house rules, I'm just setting down the guidelines and this seems like the best place to put it.  My blog, my rules, people!

Steamjacks can't take nearly enough damage to be the terrifying force of nature they richly deserve to be, so I'll be taking steps to ensure that they can survive more hits than a player character.  I may change this later but, for now, I'm only adding in one rule;

When attacking a steamjack or warbeast, all damage after armour is halved unless it is from another steamjack or warbeast, or it has the Armour Piercing special rule.

As a military campaign, my players shouldn't have to rely on their own funds for gear.  Not only does it not make sense, but it limits the cool toys they can play with.  As such, I've come up with a vague system of social rolls to help my players get toys - ALL rolls should be roleplayed out a bit, but it doesn't need to be Shakespeare.

'Mundane' items (basic weapons, armour and military gear...) are free - you want a military rifle and some Trencher armour, you get it!  Ranged weapons come with 25 rounds.  Obtaining more than is necessary (a character has two hands, they PROBABLY don't need an axe and two rifles...) requires a roll.

'Specialist' items (non-standard weapons, fitted armour and other gear) are discretionary.  If they're necessary for a mission (assassinations will probably need a decent scoped Heavy Rifle...) they're free but, if they want something that makes less sense ("No, you don't need the mini-slugger for the stealth mission...") a roll is in order.

Specific Mechanika requires a social roll.  More general mechanika will probably be granted as the campaign goes on as the players are promoted and make allies (or just make it themselves...).  The granted Mechanika will be that character's personal property, and will be considered fully charged before each mission.  The same goes for any warjack in the division's stable.  The stable currently consists of an Ironclad, a Charger, a Lancer and two Hunters, although this will increase throughout the campaign as I get more models the division is reinforced.

As far as the actual roll is concerned, I'm working on the basis that each player will make out a list of what they want and then make a roll against a target number of 10 plus the following modifiers;

Each mundane item after the third. +1
Each specialist item after the first. +2
Each piece of specific mechanika. +5
Each 'jack after the first for the team. +5
Character is pulling rank or attempting to intimidate. +2
Character has made an effort to get to know Father Brown in the campaign (cancelled if they ever try to pull rank or intimidate him). -2

Even if they fail, all is not lost!  They are still allowed all mundane and specialist items that are needed and, if they HAVE to have something, Sly can accidentally lose it for the duration of a mission for a tenth of it's cost and the assurance that he'll get it back - abusing this service will mean it stops.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

IKRPG 2 : The A-Steam

It's that time again!  With Kings, Nations and Gods on it's way, the time has come for...  Another IKRPG campaign!  This time around, I'll be focussing on the city of Corvis and, more specifically, the trenches just north of it - the party is going to be an Unorthodox Engagement Team seconded to the 95th "Gravediggers" Trencher Company.  Unlike my last campaign which was aiming for fairly gritty gangland combat, this is going to be closer to a mash-up of every 80's Action movie and adventure TV series ever - The Expendables meets the A-Team, big, loud, bombastic and just a bit silly!

Now, unlike before, there aren't going to be a series of set groups to interact with, so I'm going to start by highlighting the key support NPCs, their backstories, archetypes/careers and roles, and possibly even put up pictures!  Also unlike last time, I don't have the actual models yet, so I'll be putting up the minis I'm GOING to use and replacing them as I finish 'em off!

Captain Reb Steele
(Human Mighty Cutthroat/Military Officer/Trencher)

Commander of the UET division of the 95th, Captain Steele is a career soldier who wants nothing more than to get out into the field and take back the Thornwood from the Khadorans.  Sadly, as a full officer, he's been relegated to a glorified desk job, handling the briefings, debriefings and general admin of several teams of younger (and, although he'll never openly admit it, fitter) soldiers.  Having been fighting Khadorans and their hired mercenaries for the better part of three decades, Steele no longer trusts anything even passingly Khardic, and certainly doesn't trust the latest ceasefire; an attitude not helped by the total lack of communication since the joint Cygnaran/Khadoran operation into the Thornwood.

He also looks like a TOTAL badass...

As stated, Reb Steele is responsible for the unit's briefings and debriefings, but he also takes it on himself to be personally responsible for his team's wellbeing, up to and including verbally abusing, mocking and understating his charge's victories like any proper, caring Trencher commander does.  In return, he gives the best - as long as his soldiers get results and stay on the fairly straight and narrow, the base is stocked with good booze, the finest recreation and the loosest men and women, and while there is no mission, he has a long-standing understanding with Watch Commander Helstrom that his troops' minor infractions in Corvis itself will be overlooked or dealt with internally.

Sergeant Tyler "Father" Brown
(Human Gifted Arcane Mechanik/Priest of Morrow)

Sergeant Brown is an oddity in the military - an ordained priest who is also a soldier AND a trained mechanik.  Having grown up around a Morrowan church he is totally immersed in the religion and despite having an irreverent streak a mile wide, he takes his ministry very seriously.  A firm believer in the concept of the volition, he has no problem making weapons for the military, trusting those who wield them to make the personal choice to use them to defend rather than attack, and at least incapacitate cleanly and painlessly.

Really hope I can find a copy of this mini, he's near enough perfect...

It's an important rule on the base - you do NOT mess with Father Brown.  While he's always incredibly cheerful, slow to anger and has never kept a grudge in his life, he's also a full six and a half feet tall and built like an ogrun, so common sense says to keep him on your good side.  Even when happy (which is always), he cuts an imposing figure - his body is covered in tattoos of both religious and military significance, and he frequently goes around shirtless while not in his workshop to show them off.  It's important to note that he is not riled by religious mocking - he's worked with soldiers nearly his entire life.  He has also taken the time to learn basic Menite, Dhunian and even Thamarite lore and will happily debate religion at length, as well as officiate basic ceremonies for religious soldiers (if the other parties are comfortable with a Morrowan priest.  Many Menites aren't).

As far as interacting with the team goes, Father Brown is the division's armourer and, along with Sly (see below), he creates arms and armour of both a mechanikal and mundane nature for his units.  He has a regular supply of most common Cygnaran military weapons (want a military rifle?  He has military rifles...) and ammo, as well as decent supplies of armour.  If you get on with him, he's not above doing some custom jobs up to and including mechanika, and "The Father's blessings" are some of the most sought-after items in the 95th.

Corporal Slyzzagzuragmelekharun "Sly"
(Gobber Intellectual Alchemist/Field Mechanik/Investigator)

Where Father Brown is loud and booming, Sly is quiet and often comes across as slightly wound up.  As Brown's crew chief, Sly's main focus is to keep the other mechanics and blacksmiths in the group on track with a level of focus which, for a gobber, is close to torture. Still, he knows this post is not meant as a punishment, and has thrown himself into it, trying to find as many things to do as possible. As part of throwing himself in, he has trained himself to observe everything that goes on inside the camp and can, for a price, give vital information on internal matters.

This remains one of my favourite models to paint. It's just so silly...

Highly intelligent, brimming with energy and eager to please, he is able to cobble most mundane items in a day or so and, so long as he likes you and you don't mind that they look fairly ramshackle, you can get good, cheap gear from him. Unlike Father Brown, the stuff that Sly makes while he's tinkering around are FOR the the owner, not just requisitioned for a mission, and certain soldiers in the division can get incredibly well equipped on a relatively tiny budget.

Lieutenant Drake Jaeger
(Human Skilled Explorer/Pistoleer/Ranger)

The CRS representative for the division, Lieutenant Jaeger is almost perfectly designed to observe without being observed. Short, thin and athletic, he can pass through knotted woodland and marshlands as easily and as invisibly as level fields. He rarely talks above a whisper and, even then, prefers to listen than talk. While he himself is from a fairly normal small town, he has a certain affinity with the groups around Corvis, and is at home trading with swampies, swamp gobbers and even some of the gatorman tribes in the area.

Bowlcut is CRS standard issue.

Jaeger lives for information and, unlike Sly, his area of expertise lies outside the camp. For the price of new information, he is willing to share his knowledge of the nearby marsh or get you in contact with some of the surrounding tribes. He'll also supply recon information for missions, although that doesn't require direct contact with the soldiers themselves.

Lieutenant Cat Campbell
(Human Gifted Arcanist/Cygnaran Warcaster/Soldier)

The first warcaster brought to the UET division, Lieutenant Campbell was a journeyman to an almost entirely unremarkable warcaster that got killed, unsung, during the siege of Northguard. While she has seen and done things that would make a veteran twice her age think twice about a career in the military, she has encountered a problem with the bureaucracy - she never formally completed her journeyman tour, and is therefore still technically an apprentice. She was recruited by Captain Steele fairly quickly upon her arrival in Corvis with the intention of trading a spot on a UET for the promotion she needs to become a fully-fledged Warcaster.

Nothing fancy, but that's what you want from a kickass Warcaster!

While the other members of the UET division are there to provide logistics, administration and off-field support, Lieutenant Campbell is there for a single reason - to provide more firepower. While her control currently only extends to her arms and armour, she is getting more and more powerful by the day, and even just another handcannon in the team lineup can be the difference between life and death in the field. To her credit, she continues to dutifully take orders from people who should be her juniors, hoping to one day get a promotion and the operational freedom she craves.