+ inload: Converting Space Marine Scouts +

 + Flight of Eagles – Excel: Vel Pereat +

+ Something of a side project here – the bulk of a Space Marine Scout Squad. I'm currently in the midst of preparations for running a short roleplaying mission with the PCRC; something I've not done before. The game is intended to be a fairly easy introduction for me into DMing – not least to let our resident go-to DM Omricon to have a break (he's been running a D&D campign for most of the PCRC since lockdown) and have a go as a player. +

+ I really want to make the experience fun and involving, so I'm trying my best with the worldbuilding and have picked a set of mechanics that I feel comfortable with – I'd prefer to concentrate on the RP element, so want the 'crunch' to be as smooth and familiar as possible. +


+ The Gilded Eagles +

Set, very specifically, in M41.730, the game will be themed around a new Chapter – or rather an unexplored Chapter – called the 'Gilded Eagles'. The Gilded Eagles recruit from a rather unpleasant Feral World/Death World planet called Pyx, which lies beyond the rim of the Eastern Fringe. +

+ 'Recruits' are taken up by a Chapter voidcraft, which waits 'til the next one arrives to stand vigil and then departs. The voidcraft will then patrol the region in a great cycle, liaising and consulting with other Chapter assets during their cycles before returning. The Great Cycles then begin anew. +

+ Beyond this, the players know little – for each (well, most – see below) of them will be playing as Scouts. The Chapter's culture will, I hope, emerge and become apparent as we explore... +

+ If you'd like to contribute to help create a properly immersive setting, in the files section of the Facebook group [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+] you’ll find the player’s hand-out for ‘Flight of Eagles’ – which contains some simple guidelines for generating characters of the Gilded Eagles Chapter Astartes. +

+ If you find yourself with a bit of spare time and idle creativity, I’d very much appreciate you contributing your own ‘Neophyte-prospect forms’ and ‘Scrolls of Honour’. Your characters will then be used to flesh out the Tenth Corpus of the Gilded Eagles, as they go into action en masse for the first time. +

+ 40k galaxy map, M41.745 +


+ Converting the Scouts +

+ The basis for the Scouts is the Neophytes from the newish Black Templar Crusader Squad. Afraid I didn't get a scale shot, but the proportions and general refinements make for much better-looking models than the existing Scout squad, even though they share a lot of the same detail – a really nice update. +

+ The conversion work is subtle, and the majority of each model is straight out of the box. The bulk of the work is in the pauldrons, where I used files and an emery board to remove the Maltese Cross Chapter icon of the Black Templars; the head, where I filed down the bowl-cut hairstyle and replaced it with an (unintentionally natty) Elvis-style pompadour; and by far the most involved, the codpieces. +

+ You'll probably have experienced the occasional moment of clarity when hobbying, perhaps realising what else you could have done that evening, or how much you've spent on a model in relation to your dinner. In this instance, I sat back and stared into space for a moment as I realised I'd spent more than an hour greenstuffing four tiny codpieces on four tiny little plastic men. Such is the grim darkness of the far future! +

+ Another modified head here; this time there's no greenstuff, just careful knife and file work to turn the bowl cut into a slightly ragged mohican – after all, when making Scouts, you gotta turn to the classics, right? +

+ And finally an example of how to turn a problem into an opportunity. The Black Templars kit comes with four bodies (two of each sculpt), but only three each of bolt pistol and chainsword combinations and boltguns, so you can't have them all armed identically. +

+ Wanting to go with a classic Retrohammer squad layout for this lot, I used a heavy bolter (taken from the Salamander still on my painting desk – keep an eye out for updates on him soon), and carved up one of the boltgun sets to use for the arms. It still needs the ammo feed/magazine housing to be sorted out, but is working alright. +


+ Are these models of the player characters? +

+ Short answer – no; though I'll be using them myself with a board in front of me to help orient and describe things. Theatre of the Mind (a phrase I just learned) sounds awesome, but I don't want to be juggling too much mental load. A physical 'cheat sheet' of where things are with relation to one another will be very handy. +

+ The models are therefore mainly for fun, though if, as the rumours suggest, we're getting a Scout squad in Kill Team sometime soon, it'd be fun to use them there. +

+ Having some physical models is also useful to me to help develop ideas. I find narrative ideas for lore, stories and background arise quite naturally while I'm painting. Inevitably, they tend to centre around what I'm working on, so what better way to get in touch with the Gilded Eagles than by making some? +

+ Witness the lurid green codpieces in this unedited shot +

+ The glaring omission here is the Sergeant; and he'll be joining them shortly. He'll either be in Scout armour (using a converted Phobos models) or Mark VII (using a converted Tacticus model). +

+ I'm looking forward to working on the Veteran Sergeant, as he'll provide a link between the players playing as Scouts, and the player who's taking control of the Lieutenant... +

+ To explain that a bit further, the mechanical elements of gameplay will use Advanced Space Crusade as the basis. It's generally written off as a rather clunky boardgame, but I think that's misunderstanding it a bit. +

+ Another game of the same period, the fondly-remembered Space Hulk, has an over-arching story that leads you through missions that are narratively linked but in practise don't have much effect on one another. In contrast, Advanced Space Crusade provided no explicit story as such. Instead, it's got a rather nice little card-based exploration element. In effect, you generate a random (within certain parameters) mission in a separate phase that amounts to a separate but related mini-game. This gives a lot of RPG opportunities – indeed, it was sold with the '3D roleplay' billing – but I'm not sure that really came across to the audience, who I think was mostly expecting something a bit more model-focussed. +

+ Anyway, this mini-game is not super-complex, but is engaging and fun. It's controlled by the board pictured above. You create your force list, assign your squads a letter (A, B, C etc.), then place them in the boxes above. The 'Perimeter' and 'Core' parts are where the cards that describe the story sit. These vary, from events the require the board game to be played (the tactical part of the game that will involve the Scouts and Veteran Sergeant), to narrative elements like discovering strangers. +

+ It all works rather elegantly – and importantly for me, provides a ready-made story generator for an RPG. In effect, it gives me a safety net. More than that, however, it allows someone to play as the Lieutenant directing the broader assault. Will he send the player group into danger? Scouts are faster at exploring than Power-armoured Marines, after all. Will he make sure that they're well-supported? And will he be able to spare enough forces elsewhere to ensure the defenders can't dig in and fortify one route? I guess we'll see... +


+ Calling for back-up +

+ One thing this does require me to do is to generate the rest of the boarding party – and the more character and interest I can create for the NPC Space Marines, the better. If you'd like to help, I'd really appreciate you making a Scout or potential Sergeant using the info in the pack – again, that's in the files section of the Facebook group [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+]. +

+ The character generation rules are very light indeed; so it's little more than a name and a couple of interesting quirks that are needed – if you fancy it, that'd be brill. +

+ I'll leave you with the Gilded Eagles' motto and battle-cry of the Tenth Corpus: 'Excel: Vel Pereat!'


1 comment:

Unknown said...

This seems super cool! I don't personally have a facebook, but I'm wishing you look with this amazing endeavour!