Monday, November 26, 2012

ACKS: The Dark Project - Mapping Inspiration

By the way I found a resource for inspiration for my campaign map:

Their "city region" map provided above is, on a rough estimate, about the size of an ACKS Campaign Map. How did I calculate this? The City is almost directly to the north from Cyric, and the site says that Cyric is 12 days of foot travel from the City. A day of foot travel by a lightly encumbered person on a road in ACKS is about 24 miles (actually 27 miles, but let's say that it's about 24 miles for the sake of simplicity, factoring in more rest periods and taking care to avoid highwaymen). So, Cyric is 12 24-mile hexes to the south of The City. That's about one quarter to one third of the entire map length from north to south, so the map is about 36-48 hexes long.Quite similar to an ACKS Campaign Map!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

ACKS: The Dark Project - Introduction

One of my favourite computer games ever was, and still is, Thief: The Dark Project. This game was highly immersive and evocative with advanced AI for its time and what was then a relatively new approach to first-person gaming: stealth instead of blasting your way around to the objective. But the best thing about Thief: The Dark Project, I'd say, was not its game mechanics per se but its setting.

The game was set in a huge city, medieval in most aspects, but with certain steampunk elements (such as complex pumps, turbines, elevators and even electric lights). Inside this setting, mundane for the most part on its surface, were several strong fantasy elements as well - undead, elementals, mages, giant lizards (Burricks), giant spiders, spellcasting clerics, shapechanging wood nymphs - and a mighty Chaotic god as the antagonist!

Technology and society were, for the most part, somewhere between medieval and Renaissance - and combatants wore leather chainmail and wielded swords, warhammers, maces and bows, with no firearms to be seen (although some gunpowder did exist in the game in the form of clockwork mines and explosive barrels). Nobles lorded over the toiling masses and lived in fancy manors - complete with large amounts of lootable treasure; the church - the Order of the Hammer - had immense power and an army of their own (as well as a technological advantage over everyone else); and each and every faction had its own men-at-arms, just like in the olde days.

The sequel, Thief: The Metal Age, was far more Victorian in tone and flavour, turning towards a more 'proper' Steampunk setting rather than Thief: The Dark Project's steam-medievalism; still, guards brandish swords, maces, bows and crossbows, but the scenery is far more modern in look and feel. Personally I liked Thief: The Dark Project's feel and atmosphere better...

The last game so far in the Thief series, Thief: Deadly Shadows, returned to the first game's medieval feel and even reduced the amount of electric lights in the City. While it suffered from relatively small areas with load screens in between, it was still a good game. However, many of Thief: The Dark Project's cool fantasy elements, namely Burricks, Chaos beasts and Craymen, were absent and replaced by fish-men and possessed insane-asylum inmates.

Why am I telling you all this? Because I think that the world of Thief: The Dark Project can be a mighty source of inspiration for tabletop fantasy RPG games. Namely, I intend to base the setting of my next Adventurer Conqueror King System (ACKS) on the world of Thief!

There will be modifications, of course, as I want to optimize the setting for fantasy adventures and fit it to the ACKS rules, as well as inject some new ideas into it. But the main ideas of Thief will fit well with the ACKS rules, I think, especially since you even have rules for running a thieves' guild in ACKS!

Stay tuned for more in the coming days!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

WH40K - Building an Imperial Guard Army

Turns out that the vast majority of the local gaming community here in Israel ("vast" being a relative term - the entire community has less than 100 wargamers in the entire country) play either Warhammer Fantasy Battles, Warhammer 40,000 or WarMachine/Hordes. A few also play Epic: Armageddon and one or two play Infinity. No historical wargamers here - apparently they had enough ultramodern military experience in the IDF (which is a conscript army for the most part).

So, since I want to have the maximum number of opponents, I'd rather play some WH40K or Epic. Both are cool games!

I'm starting an Imperial Guard force. I really like their fluff - ordinary men and women facing untold alien and demonic horrors with nothing but lasguns and flak-vests. Very heroic! Plus, I get to play with a lot of tanks and artillery. Above you can see my partially-assembled regular Guardsmen. I've built them with Cadian legs and chests (and sometimes arms) and Catachan heads (and sometimes arms) for a look resembling the Colonial Marines from the film Aliens (AKA Alien 2).

Here is a Tentative 495pts list for this force:

CCS, 70pts - Role: Command and Sniper support (sits back and commands/shoots)
Company Commander
Veteran w/VOX
3 Veterans w/Sniper Rifles

TROOPS A: Infantry Platoon
PCS, 105pts - Role: Seizing far objectives
Platoon Commander
Guardsman w/Vox
3 Guardsmen with Flamers

Infantry 'Blob' (Squads A+B), 150pts - Role: Seizing near objectives, anti-infantry
2 Sergeants
Guardsman w/Vox
2 Guardsmen w/Grenade Launchers
15 Guardsmen

TROOPS B: Veteran Squad, 130pts - Role: AT Support
Veteran Sergeant
Veteran w/Vox
3 Veterans w/Plasma
Autocannon Team
3 Veterans

ELITE: Ratling Squad, 40pts - Role: Snipers
4 Ratlings

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Expanding the Blog

I've made a decision - instead of posting my D&D, Traveller and wargaming ideas in separate blogs, I'll post all of them here in one blog, for maximum richness of content. So welcome to the Space Cockroach's full-spectrum gaming blog!

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Space Cockroach and the current War in Gaza

Israel, the country I live in, is currently engaged in a brushfire war (which could escalate into a full-scale war) with Hamas in and around the Gaza Strip. For the last several years, Hamas and other, smaller groups were launching rockets from Gaza into southern Israel, with relatively little physical effect (they rarely hit anything) but a big psychological effect putting a lot of fear into the locals' lives. A few days ago, Israel killed the Hamas military leader by the way of precision airstrike, prompting Hamas to launch rockets at Israel en-masse. Israel, of course, responded in force. BIG force - a lot of aerial bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

So far 3 Israeli civilians and 28 Palestinians - mostly civilians - have been killed in the current round of the conflict.

This evening, the Israeli government has decided to call 75,000 reserve soldiers into active duty. This probably means ground war.

I wanted to reassure you that I live in Rehovot, outside the range of most Hamas rockets, and study in Tel-Aviv; therefore, I'm in the area which is rarely hit. I'm also not in the IDF or its Reserve. So I'll be fine, I think...