Sunday, 26 October 2014

Space pixies... evil ones.

Dark Eldar are famous for many things: spikes, pain, spikes, topknots, spikes... the list goes on. What they are not famous for is being conducive to last-minute paint jobs. It’s all those smooth, crisp lines. Most experienced hobbyists would not, therefore, try to paint a squad of five of them and a six-man hive gang and a character model the night before they’re due to be used.

To do something like that, you’d have to resemble the end of a bell.

Konk, konk.

I spent hours and hours on that bloody character development pack, and hours more on painting one of the agents participating in the Inq28 scenario. The other twelve models got an evening (and a good chunk of the next morning whilst waiting for everyone to arrive).

The added challenge? The Dark Eldar were a secret. It’s not easy to keep a secret when you’re painting at the dining table and live with two of the people playing in the fudging scenario. Bless ’em, they did a fine job of looking the other way when told to, and my hands were frequently used as a shield too.

In case you’re wondering how I painted the armour, it was drybrushed chainmail and then given a glaze of equal parts blue ink, green ink, and Lahmian medium. That's it. I had no time for highlighting, so just moved straight on to the other details.

They were also good fun to use in a roleplay scenario. By way of example, the leader’s phantasm grenade launcher covered the area in inky black hallucinogenic smoke, which made it a little tricky for the protagonists to keep track of where she was. It ain’t a fight with Eldar unless they’re right proper gittish.

I might go over the actual scenario when I’ve finished basing the agents (and thus can accompany said description with pretty pictures). Rather than running a big long narrative, we’re taking it in turns to GM single, day-long standalone missions. Much easier to manage when some of the players have to travel big distances to play, see.

It’s nice to have finally done something with the Cetus sub-sector setting that Jeff designed aaaages ago. I just need to remember to update the wiki with the new stuff I just pulled out of my brain-meats, so that the setting can grow. Organically. Like a tumour.


Saturday, 11 October 2014

Character Creation for Inquisitor

Aside from shooting stuff in the face with my shiny rusty new second hand ork fleet, I've primarily been preparing for a few role playing games. Specifically, I'm running a one-day Inquisitor scenario in the next few weeks.

I say 'Inquisitor'... that's not technically true, in that we're not playing a narrative skirmish wargame. It's more like the 40K roleplaying game Dark Heresy, in that the gamers are each playing an agent in the employ of an Imperial Inquisitor, but then... it's not Dark Heresy because whilst its production values and content are excellent, I find the game mechanics long-winded.

Instead, we're using 20Eight (i.e. the barebones game engine I've been working on for the last year or so). I'm excited to use it in a futuristic context to see how well it holds up. We've hitherto played plenty of fantasy, and that's been great, but fantasy doesn't have guns, spaceships, and them funny-looking spehs ayliurrrns.

The original Inquisitor cover art.
Because yes.
Having put myself in GM mode, the first port of call was to send everyone a character pack. This is essentially a questionnaire to help people come up with an interesting character. In this particular case, though, I had a problem: three out of five players have no real experience or knowledge of the 40K universe.

Oh, crap.

40K is not a setting whose appeal can be got across in a single sentence, at least, not the flavour of 40K I like. One fan might summarise it as 'baroque dystopian pastiche' whilst another might say 'CHAINSWORDS FOR THE CHAINSWORD GOD.' In both cases, you have to be a fan already for that to mean much. Although chainswords are pretty hilarious, to be fair.

Either way, this meant I had to come up with a character pack that'd give people enough flavour to create something, without trying so hard to explain everything that it's 59,239,832,892 pages long.

Then I remembered that pictures tell between 750-1,250 words apiece. At this point, it's possible I got a little carried away. Here's a screenshot of the completed pack:

Having finally finished it, a thought occurred to me: that this could be a useful resource for anyone else running Inquisitor, Dark Heresy or of course Inq28. For one thing, I've collated a lot of very pretty pictures, many of them from Fantasy Flight Games, who make excellent stuff. For another, it contains a questionnaire which is designed to help players create an interesting character.

Thus, I shall transpose said character pack onto this blog. I've taken out references to 20Eight within the descriptions, since a) the rules aren't ready for public release and b) in no way is 20Eight affiliated with any particular game system, so whilst I'm combining someone's IP with my game in the privacy of my own home, I'm not crazy enough to release such an adaptation on the Internet!

As you might expect this character pack is lengthy, so if you wish to read on, you'll have to hit the jump. I'm afraid I can't do nice pretty layout like I did in the pack my players got, because Blogger's a bit more basic than Word. I'm sure you'll get over it.