+ inload: Iron Sleet invitational +

+ Forgive a little self-indulgence; I finished my contribution towards the Thorn Moons Crusade [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+] last night, and am really looking forward to sharing them. +

+ I'll do my own little rundown on the figures after the event, as I took the opportunity to try some techniques and ideas that had been bubbling away for ages. Not everything worked perfectly, but I think that's rather the charm of creating something utterly fresh, and with a set time limit. It helps to focus the mind! +

+ Anyway, I'm waiting with baited respiro-autocycling to see the other 99(!) contributions – a stunning response that really goes to show quite how inspirational, productive and active the Iron Sleet blog – and the broader Inq28/Blanchitsu noosphere – can be. Thanks again, Toni and the rest of the gang. +

+ In other news +

+ The PCRC's Necromunda-expy, Golgotham, has a new noospheric node – Hive Confronsis [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+]. This is a bit of a new thing for the PCRC, and we'd love it if you want to follow along – so come have have a look. Things are still being bolted into place, but there's some lovely colour text and ideas already fermenting away in the tabs at the top. +

+ inload: Map of Hive Confronsis – Golgotham +

+ Map of Hive Confronsis +

+ I think this probably speaks for itself, but here's a map I've drawn up for our Necromunda campaign, set in Antona Australis, on the world of Golgotham [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+]. +

+ If you'd like to use the map yourself (perhaps for your own campaign), here's a larger version – you should be able to click to embiggen it, then save it down. +

+ If you do, please let me know through the commentary inload form below – I'd love to see it in the wild, so to speak, and hear how your campaigns are going. +

+ inload: Gaming with a GM +

+ Future Echoes +

+ A PCRC Warhammer 40,000 scenario set during the Tzi'Na Crisis in the Antona Australis Sector +

+ Preamble +

+ While building terrain for our Golgotham project [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+]Stuntwedge, Warmtamale and I had been discussing a shared interest in 'proper' narrative gaming and scenarios a few weeks earlier, so I thought I'd prepare a game for a couple of PCRC members to have a go at. +

+ While this scenario has been written with the 8th edition of Warhammer 40,000 in mind, the intention is to evoke the story-led and GM-shepherded scenarios of 1st edition Rogue Trader; most famously the Battle at the Farm (which I'm determined to play at some point), but also the lesser-known Skirmish at Rynn's World [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+]. The latter has some lovely blind events that require a third party – the Gamesmaster – to monitor and resolve, and then reveal to one or both players at the appropriate time. +

+ At root, my intention has been to avoid complicating this scenario with lots of additional special rules, so the players can concentrate on their troops and tactics to play out the story, rather than getting lost in largely irrelevant bells and whistles. In fact, as a result of this, the scenario will require very little adjustment to be played with different factions, a different edition of the rules; or even other game systems entirely. +

+ The scenario and the GM's role +

+ For this scenario, you will need a GM to ensure some pre-determined events happen at the right times, blind to both players. In essence, the GM is there to 'run the theatre', so to speak. He or she has two roles: the first is to act as the caretaker of the battlefield; resolving mechanics that distract the players or get forgotten in the heat of battle (terrain effects, for example). Random reserves, for example, can be determined by the GM during the other player's turn, for example, so they're ready to roll out immediately. The result is mechanically identical to a normal game, but it strips a chore from the players, and allows them to concentrate on their troops in the game, rather than struggling with the 'interface'. +

+ Secondly, the GM can enrich the experience for all involved by breathing life into the world through the pre-set events built into the scenario – the player achieving a certain objective, for example, can be issued a related, follow-up objective (rescue the pioneer to get the location of the mine entrance, for example); or new, additional objectives become clear. Such event are very difficult to build into a two-player system, but having a neutral party maintaining them gives a richer fabric to the game. +

+ Of course, the role of a GM to a 40k scenario is not to act an additional storyteller, and as the GM, you should resist the temptation to give yourself an active role in the battle – instead, set the stage, prepare the timed pyrotechnics, then stand back and enjoy the spectacle. +

+ We'll be playing this game next weekend, so I'll keep the players' packs and GM notes for another inload. In the meantime, here's the shared information for you to digest:

+ Welcome to Delph +

Commander Strongheel,
hero of Del'f
Six standard months ago, the planet Delph joined – or, depending upon your point of view, was annexed by – the Brightsword Protectorate. Since that time, the townships and industrial zones have been cleared, with the human population ported to supposedly temporary accommodation in the 'Protective Reservation Camps', as engineers work to bring the mines and factories up to standards more acceptable to the Tau.

Traditions long-suppressed by the Imperium have been sanctioned by the Water Caste, in the belief that temporarily allowing the humans freedom of worship is a harmless sop that will render them more pliable and open to the teachings of the Greater Good in the long-term – and give them something to focus on other than the sinister, antiseptic atmosphere of the camps. 

No world is conquered cleanly. Inevitably, Imperial loyalists and anti-xenos sympathisers have banded together, launching raids on the Tau fire teams as they systematically sweep each factory complex clear of rebels. The Tau's stated aim is to make it safe for their Earth Caste engineers to enter and alter the embalming and body-processing factories into 'Safeguard' arms construction.

In a little under a week, it will be Saint Capilene's Day, a sector-wide day of Imperial celebration, and the atmosphere is understandably tense. The Tau military – a mix of tough veterans of the war for Delph and green recruits – is on high alert in anticipation of trouble – teams have been deployed in force across the processing plants of the dockland industrial sectors.

+ inload: Thorn Moons invitational update +

+ The Nor of Na Phom +

From left, we've got a Geld, a Martinet on the Unman, a Monitor (rear), then two other Gelds; the one at the front being a fresh recruit, marked out by his consignment pelt.

+ Basic information on this project can be found in this earlier inload [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+], but today I finally finished putting the group together. I had (just about) hit the earlier deadline for submitting WIP pict-captures – you can see the results on Iron Sleet itself here [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+] – though they were at a faintly embarrassing level of non-completion. +

+ Spool on a couple of weeks, and I've got all five (arguably six, depending on how you read the unman) ready for paint.  +

+ The project was a lot of fun. Getting a balance between creative individuality, without making the group incoherent, required a lot of back-and-forth work. +

+ The figures are unabashedly retro – I like trying to use the most modern components I can find to give a fresh take on older 40k tropes; so these five have a dash of pop-culture Vietnam, a dose of technobarbarism, and a hefty splodge of 2000AD. This latter influence will come through still more in the painting, as I fancy a blue-skinned approach for the Na Phom to help solidify their non-standard humanity, and to contrast with the unman, who I'm planning to use my more practised skin techniques upon. Quite apart from anything else, I haven't used blue in ages, and this seems a great opportunity. +

+ Conversion work +

+ The pict-capture above is of the pre-primed figures, so you can see the conversion work and sculpting – this is mainly finer detail work (pouches, straps, hair etc.) which is fairly subtle, but adds up to distance the figures from their original purpose. In so doing, I hope the Warhammer Fantasy feel has been successfully submerged beneath a 40k ident. The Unman required the most work, with the face proving the most challenging (and rewarding) part. +

+ There's a lot of parts involved, some of which are a bit obscure, but the Gelds are basically Solar Auxilia legs with Tzeentch Marauder torsos and Khorne Marauder heads. +

+ inload: New camera, old – and new – models +

+ inload: Witness the marvels of the Mechanicum +

+ I've upgraded my phone, which means future pic-captures should be slightly improved. +

+ Not being the most technically-minded person in the world, I'm sure I'm not quite getting the best out of it, but even these quick snaps are an improvement over my old phone in terms of sharpness and white balance. +

+ Anyway, enough technobabble. What better showcase than my own minion of the Machine God, Magos Manderghast? He's particularly precious because I (rather stupidly) left him on a table at Warhammer World after a visit. +

+ Fortunately, some kind soul handed him in, which rather affirmed my faith in humanity; and the staff at GWHQ very kindly sent him home free of charge. Thanks chaps! +

+ He's a very fragile miniature, so I was anticipating a fairly major repair job, but the damage was fortunately minor. Aside from the resin snapping on his servo arm, and his arm becoming detached, he was intact. A little glue fixed things right up. +

+ As you can see, the new camera's optical zoom means I'm getting better depth of field, so more of the figure is in focus, and I'm getting less issues with amount of light. The plus side of this is that you can see details like the text on his auspex-scanner thingies. The downside is that all the painting blemished will be visible! +

+ It's quite nice coming back to an old figure. I've always been pleased with Manderghast, who has a relatively simple but effective scheme; but had quite forgotten the heavy weathering on that chequered parchment, and the red overload area on the dial on his backpack. +

+ A dwarfen throng +

+  Dwarfs! Shadespire has my Warhammer autoglands secreting once more, so I built these over the weekend. +

+ Legio Nikator +

+ Slow but inexorable progress on the Titans of Legio Nikator. +