Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Converted Inquisitorial Preacher - finally painted

 In my most recent (battle-report) post, my pictures reveal many unpainted figures (sigh). Well, tonight I got some paint on another of my converted/kitbashed minis. This one is the radical preacher (and agent provocateur) for my recently-started "Re-congregant" inquisitorial retinue (for the Inq28 Warhammer genre of gaming). It's quite fine to cut up and design new miniature characters, especially with the zany diversity typical of such warbands. 

This guy started out as a Reaper Bones alchemist, but had a run-in with my hobby knife and some 40k Skitarii/Chaos Marine bits. I should still drybrush the base, but it was time to put the paints away for the evening...

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Inq28 slaughter (and kitbashing)

 I just suffered what might be the worst thrashing of my wargaming career. It was, however, still pretty fun. :-) 

To make matters worse, we were playing a game I designed - a game that continues to provide excellent fun and dynamic, narrative play. For now, it's called Bright Blades, Burning Planets -- a competitive skirmish game built on an older cooperative swashbuckling ruleset I made some years ago, called Bright Blades, Black Powder. I wrote my Bright Blades rules systems to offer dynamic, tactical movement and meaningful choices across the game, especially during the core interactions of combat. They provide fast, cinematic, dynamic, slightly ridiculous play. Of all the game systems I've ever designed, I think I love it most. :-D 

Well, I've been in a bit of an "Inq28" mood of late, kitbashing my own Inquisitorial retinue. Meet the ill-fated gang that assembled for today's skirmish: 

Aside from the lack of paint on most of these fellas, I like this little team! Moving from left to right: 

+ The Inquisitor: he's a member of an obscure Ordo Historicus sent to research and preserve arcane secrets about past threats to the Imperium. However, he's also aligned with the Recongregator philosophy - a radical viewpoint held by a minority of Inquisitors who recognize the Imperium as just as dangerous to humanity as the xenos and chaotic threats around it. In other words, he's an anarchist agitator with an Inquisitor's credentials! The miniature is mainly an old Marine Captain from the Battle for Vedros boxed set, but I've given him a thunder hammer and an alternate powerpack as well. 

+ The Radical Preacher: this chap was an Ecclesiarchy preacher who became disillusioned with the state of his flock. The Inquisitor snapped him up into his retinue, and now employs him making subversive speeches to disrupt imperial order at just the right moment. The figure was a Reaper Bones alchemist which I've modified, adding a Skitarii vanguard helmet, a hand holding a bolter pistol, and another with a chainsword. This guy was recently promoted to Hero status (in my houserules) after surviving an earlier fight. 

+ The Abhuman Beastman melee specialist. Just a Reaper Bones beastman charging with a big axe and shield. I haven't modified this figure, since I like using it for normal fantasy fights as well. 

+ The last two "gentlemen" are veteran tactical troops, one armed with a plasma rifle and one with a belt-fed bolter. These are made from Chaos Marine bodies kitbashed together with skitarii bits and little home-made additions. 

So much for my team. I'm mid-five-part campaign with my kids. One is running a group of champions for a "True Emperor" - a mysterious figure who claims that the thing upon the Golden Throne is an empty husk, and that he is the Emperor of Mankind reborn (a claim long anticipated by dogmatic Inquisitors of the Thorian persuasion). Various imperial servants (and others) have pledged their allegiance to this "True Emperor," who claims he will soon usher in a blissful society of equality for those who have followed him. The fact that his followers include Alpha Legionnaires may or may not be relevant to assessments of his true nature

Also present is the "Sister of Truth," a persuasive (and deadly) speaker for the "True Emperor's" cause. A pair of grunts in carapace armor help round out this squad, as does a former graduate student and current unregistered psyker (recruited from civilians present at our first skirmish). The ghost-looking thing is a token representing the favoring presence of the True Emperor, used for narrative (and humorous) effect without mechanical effect. 

But a third warband was present, too -- a dangerous crew, openly loyal to the Ruinous Powers. They were an exotic mix of Chaos Space Marines led by a Sorcerer, supported by several gun-toting grunts. 

This Chaos warband has a nefarious campaign-goal: they reason that, if the so-called "True Emperor" is more than just a charlatan, then killing him (while still weak) and absorbing his corpse's latent psychic energy would be a great coup for Chaos forces active in this sector. 

For today's scrum, a trial of such shenanigans was in order. All three warbands converged on a ruined necropolis, where -- a thousand years earlier -- a dozen powerful psykers had been sacrificed together on an arcane altar. The Chaos band hoped to absorb the victim's still-present energies as a useful trial for their future plans. The other factions, although not planning to "absorb" the "True Emperor," wanted both to block Chaos' hand and gain this precious psychic resource for their own use. This would require hacking into an ancient control terminal driven by the altar -- the ancient humans' spirits still weirdly fused with the flickering machine-spirit. 

Eager to snatch this psychic prize for their own -- and to wreak vengeance on the false emperor's minions for a recent defeat, my Inquistorial retinue arrived, ready to kick some galactic butt. 

Or so it seemed; I had a dream, when the game was young...but things deteriorated quickly. The Chaos Sorcerer moved ahead of his forces and reached the altar-terminal. 

My Inquisitor, on the other hand, secured a commanding position overlooking the battlefield. Unfortunately, this commanding position also soon exposed him to fire from Chaos troopers hidden behind ruins (top left of picture). He started taking hits. 

Meanwhile, my plasma gunner found cover in a sheltered doorway, and used this position to slow the "True Emperor's" advancing forces. 

But my Inquisitor was in real trouble, buffeted by enemy fire, wounded, and knocked down...

Aaaaaaand an Alpha Legion shooter could still draw LOS to the Inquisitor, despite his prone position. Taken out of action! 

Here's the overall battlefield not long thereafter. 

The Sorcerer successfully hacked the data terminal, and made for the board-edge with his prize. My remaining troops got shot up by both other factions, but mainly tangled in a vengeance beatdown with the "True Imperial" forces. In the end, the Chaos warband got away, and I watched as every remaining figure of mine was taken out of action. Total Party Kill, you might say. 

To add insult to injury, in the post-battle campaign management phase, two of those casualties were confirmed as permanent kills (goodbye, beastman melee brute and plasma-gun-wielding veteran!) - and the only figure who rolled high enough to "level up" from the experience instead of dying was the Inquisitor - but he's already at max level. Oh well. At least I'll get a few recruitment points now to have another go at my shady opponents. 

We have planned this as a five-battle arc, a little campaign, and although I'm getting my little 28mm teeth kicked out, it's pretty fun. It's also encouraging me to keep revisiting opportunities to kitbash more figures. I always feel that kitbashing things bumps up my sense of investment and enjoyment. 

Thanks for reading this far! If you game soon, may you roll better than I did - and have fun!

Friday, February 9, 2024

RPG Alignment ... some musings

 A recent post over at Noism's blog addresses that old bogeyman - alignment in D&D. The post offers some thought-provoking reactions to alignment relativism, both new and old (I remember all that stuff about "neutral balance" in Greyhawk back in Gygax's time seeming kind of irksome. 

At any rate, I don't often wade into related waters on this blog, but reading that post made me think of some old notes I typed up ... woah, almost two years ago. Here is one articulation of an aligment system I was thinking about a while ago. I think it's closest, in terms of edition wars, to the alignment system described in 4th edition D&D, of all things. Plus, it's got my own twist on things. The relative position of each alignment is important, as entities might move back and forth over a lifetime, crossing from one alignment into a neighboring one. 

A possible alignment system: 

+ Good

+ Lawful Good


Chaotic Evil

In practice and possibly in rhetoric, Good tends to favor the true wellbeing of self and others, even at personal cost (within the limits of the thinker’s understanding of wellbeing). Good recognizes that Law and Disorder both have a place, both are readily abused, and both must be subordinated to the overall promotion of wellbeing. Good also recognizes, however, that Law is usually closer to it than is Chaos. 

Lawful Good tends to favor the wellbeing of self and others, but this is conditioned by a strong pull in favor of Order as a competing claim on individual or collective wellbeing. Because Lawful Good cares about real wellbeing, Lawful Good at times senses a pull toward Good over and against the interests of Law; however, because of Lawful Good’s strong interest in Order and hierarchy, Lawful Good always carries a temptation toward Evil carried out in the name of greater law and order. 

In practice and possibly in rhetoric, Evil tends to favor the perceived wellbeing and felt needs of the self over those of others, and/or the perceived wellbeing of some group over that of other groups (usually, the self is part of the favored group). Because hierarchical structures are useful for maintaining such privilege, Evil often feels some pull toward Law; if the stirrings of conscience are allowed room, this can lead to movement into Lawful Good. However, because Evil pushes against the intended moral order of Creation, the seeds of Disorder also remain latent in Evil as a potential draw toward Chaotic Evil.

Chaotic Evil tends to favor its own perceived wellbeing and felt needs over others’, but a strong attraction to Disorder often motivates self-destructive actions that undermine long-term fulfillment of its own felt needs. Stronger feelings of self-interest may draw Chaotic Evil toward Evil. 

‘Unaligned’ only exists for non-sentient creatures. Among sentient mortal beings, Evil may be the default alignment in practice (sages debate this point). Movement between alignments is common over a lifetime.