Saturday, November 25, 2017

Uninvited Guests

A Zina and Zach Slipstream Adventure

After rescuing Roarona the lioness from the rock-men, Zina and Zach lead her back to the rocket ship, pursued by more rock-men. As they approach the ship, Zach begins yelling "We need to lift off!"

The chief engineer called back "I'm not sure if she can handle it yet."

Just then, one the rock-men chucked a boulder that landed a few meters from the engineer. He shuddered and said "I guess we'll find out."

The crew and passengers clamber aboard, just as a boulder strikes the hull. Zach jumps into the pilot seat, opens the throttles, and blasts off!

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A few days later Zina and Zach find themselves on the planetoid Simba, home of the Lion Men, They are guests of honor of King Raorr, who fetes them for saving his daughter Roarona. Yes, Roarona is a princess! On this particularly fine day, the king is hosting an outdoor banquet a short ways from his castle.

Suddenly, there is a roar of engines as a horde of shuttles set down. Out leap squads of Primals (red markers), minions of the evil Queen Anathraxa. With shouts of "Kill them all!" the Primals advance of the banquet-goers.

As the guests (plain circles) flee to the castle, the Lion-Men warriors try to stem the invasion. King Raorr personally leads one warband (second from the right) while he calls Zach (circle) to lead another.

Raorr's wild charge routs a band of Primals while Zina and Zach find themselves in a brutal melee.

Meanwhile, a band of Primals tries to cut off the fleeing civilians.

One group of guests makes it to the castle.

"Zach!" calls Zina as she points to the straggling civilians. "They're unprotected!" Zach looks back and sees the vulnerable civilians. He leads the warband back to cover the retreat.

 The Lion-Men slowly fall back to the castle. Another Primal warband (left) routs.

And another routs, but reinforcements arrive!

Then the unthinkable happens. As Raorr's warband holds off the Primals, a blast echoes across the valley. A ray strikes Raorr in the chest. He collapses! (His band, on the right, routs). His men drag his mangled body back to the castle.

The remaining civilians make it to safety.

Zach leads the rear-guard.

Until his troops can make their escape.

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After their harrowing escape, one of the Queen's rocket ships hovers over the castle.

"Fools! There is no escape for you. You have been sentenced to death by the order of Queen Anathraxa for treason against her most gracious rule, and you shall die on this planetoid!"

Suddenly, a flight of rockets passes overhead, spraying out a fine purple dust.

"Death Dust!" exclaims one of the guests. He explains that the Death Dust will slowly kill all living things on a planetoid. Within months, every plant, animal, and humanoid will perish. Simba will become a desolate wasteland.

A few minutes later, Zina and Zach are called before Raorr, as he lies in bed, struggling for life. They approach and he addresses them.

"Hunter and Marks," he begins (addressing them by their last names) in a labored breath "once again, you have done my people a great service. I cannot thank you enough." He stops for a moment to cough and shudder in pain. "Yet I must ask, for the sake of my people, for an even greater service. It is said that the planetoid Sandpit has discovered an antidote to the Death Dust. I know it is much to ask, but please go to Sandpit and bring back the antidote!"

Raorr collapses back onto his bed.

Zina steps up and says "We will, and it will be our honor to do so."

Raorr smiles, nods his head, and says "Save my people." With that, he passes away.

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A few days later, Zina and Zach are strapped into their new rocket, one of the shuttles abandoned by the Primals. They are checking the controls in preparation for blast off. They get a prompt on their telereceiver. Princess Roarona appears on the screen.

"Our sensors tell us that the Queen's forces have set up a blockade around Simba. Be careful."

"Always." smirks Zach. Zina scowls.

"And remember" Roarona continues "the Lion Men are eternally grateful for your aid."

With that, Roarona signs off, and our heroes' ship blasts off into the teeth of Anathraxa's rocket forces.

Will Zina and Zach get through? FIND OUT NEXT TIME!

Game Notes

  • This scene of the Plot Point campaign is another straight up fight. I turned it into a miniatures wargame (with markers instead of minis).
  • The rules were an adaptation of FU, as per my other scenarios in this campaign. As I have mentioned before, FU doesn't really work for me for solo play - it's too free-form. For future scenarios I will be looking toward other rules.



Friday, November 24, 2017

Cavern of the Rock Men

A Zina and Zach Slipstream Adventure

In our last episode, Zina and Zach rescued a lioness princess from space pirates, but then were forced to crash land on a rocky fragment.

After the landing, the surviving crew went to work to repair the ship. Zina and Zach decided to investigate the strange planetoid. They were joined by Roarona, the lioness princess.

In their wanderings, Roarona became separated from the group. Suddenly, there were roars and snarls. Zach turned and saw Roarona being dragged off by two large, rock-like humanoids.
Zina and Zach pursued, and witnessed the rock men dragging Roarona into a cavern. Cautiously, our heroes followed.

They entered a corridor (1) that branched out into three directions. Choosing the middle one (2), they entered a cavern. In the center was a fountain with healing properties. They would need it soon. They entered the next room (3) and fell into a pit trap. Scrambling out, they retraced their steps and used the fountain,

In the next room (4), our heroes ran into three of the rock men. Brandishing a sword taken from the pirates, Zach charged. He swung and hit, but his sword barely dented the rocky exterior of the granite-like humanoid. With a contemptuous swing, it knocked Zach across the floor.

Zina began shooting her ray-gun, with deadlier effect. One of the rock-men shattered in a cloud of dust. Temporarily blinded, Zina could not fire again for fear of hitting Zach.

Seeing Zina's success, Zach unholstered his ray-gun and blasted one of the rock-men as it lumbered towards him. It too shattered into pieces. But behind it was another of the creatures. It knocked the gun from Zach's hand and began to pummel him with its rocky hands. As Zach passed out, the dust cloud parted and Zina fired. The last rock-man was pulverized!

Zina used her med kit to revive Zach. Although a little wobbly on his legs, Zach insisted that they proceed to rescue Roarona.

Passing through a corridor (5), the duo was beset by centipedes. Zina was wounded but was able to apply an antidote to the poison injected by the creature.

Finally, (room 6) they found Roarona. She was imprisoned by a massive rock-man. Zina tried to reason with it, but it attacked Zach! With its massive fists, it smashed Zach to the ground. Both the heroes opened fire, striking it multiple times. Finally, it fled through a secret passage. Our heroes let it go, rescuing Roarona and escaping from the Caverns.

But what about their ship? Will they escape from the rocky planetoid?
FIND OUT NEXT TIME!

Game Notes

  • In the Plot Point campaign, this scene is simply a fight between the rock-men and heroes. For solo play, it seemed really boring so I created a dungeon (cavern) crawl instead.
  • I'm still using FU, but have pretty much decided that it is not good for my solo games. Instead, I'll go back to modifying Four Against Darkness for sci-fi games.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

The Goblin Lair

After searching the East Wood, our trio of heroes found a secret lair.

Entering, they found a passage that split into 3 corridors. They took the right hand corridor and entered a square room. Inside was an iron eater! Rikk the Ranger tossed some gold coins at the beast and the party retreated from the room.

Choosing the middle corridor, they passed through a few rooms with goblins and orcs. In one of these, the heroes were beset by 8 goblins. The monsters attacked, and Khamen suffered 2 wounds. Candorra was a master with the bow, taking out half the enemy.

After bandaging Khamen's wounds, the party entered a hall with 3 trolls. They managed to dispatch them quickly, but one revived and attacked. Candorra cut it down, but it immediately popped back up. Finally, all three managed to slice it to bits.

They passed through a doorway and encountered a she-orc reaver, Deko the Dreadful!

Candorra and Rikk loosed a volley of arrows that peperred the reaver. She just howled in anger and charged. The sweep of her broadsword sent Khamen and Rikk scurrying for cover. Rikk was a little too slow, and the blade sliced into his arm. He whipped out his saxe and sliced, wounding the orc again.

Then Candorra stepped into the fray. With a dizzying display of swordsmanship, she slashed and stabbed the reaver multiple times. It fell dead at her feet.

"Huh." grunted Khamen, his mouth open in surprise.

"What?" Candorra asked as she turned toward him, her blade dripping with gore.

"Never saw you fight like that with a sword before. Remind me never to go toe-to-toe with you."

She brandished her sword. "I think this should be sufficient reminder." she announced.

With that, they searched the she-orc and found another ring. Two down, one to go!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Entering the East Woods

A Khamen and Candorra Adventure
Based on the Three Rings (A Four Against Darkness module)

Previously, our heroes had explored the north woods, found the skull cave, and retrieved the first ring from the orc reavers. They retraced their steps to the crossroad and are now investigating the east woods.


They had not gone far (1) when they heard a rustling in the undergrowth. An abomination, half-snake and half-man rushed out and attacked Khamen. It sank its fangs into him; Khamen managed to wrench free before it could inject its poison into him. Candorra and Rikk the Ranger leaped to his aid, each slashing the beast. It kept after Khamen but he ducked and dodged from the deadly maw. Again, Candorra and Rikk struck, and the monstrosity collapsed dead.

A little further along the path (2), our heroes encountered a pack of 4 wolves. The creatures attacked; one grasping Candorra's leg. She brought her sword down, striking it dead. Khamen managed to dodge and slay his attacker. Rikk was unable to get an arrow off before the wolves were on him. He drew his heavy sax and began to slash madly. Two wolves fell to his sturdy blade.

The path began to wind around. As they approached a curve, they could hear singing coming from ahead. From around the bend appeared a very jolly halfling. He stopped and conversed with the trio. He warned them of dangerous wolves inhabiting the forest.

"Well, that's helpful." Khamen whispered under his breath. Candorra kicked his shin and scowled at him. The halfling seemed not to notice. Unfortunately, he did not have any knowledge of the orc reavers. Our party had no choice but to push on into the wilderness.

Later, they had a similar encounter with a traveling merchant and his armed guards. None of them had any knowledge of the orcs.

As the sun slowly sank to their backs, the party startled a beautiful bird with golden and purple plumage. Khamen immediately recognized the commercial potential of the bird's feathers and he drew back his dagger to throw at the creature. But Candorra grabbed his arm, and the bird flew off.

"What did you do that for?" Khamen snarled.

"That's a forest phoenix; very rare. Best to preserve it for all to enjoy rather than slay it for your personal gain."

Khamen shrugged. She was probably right, but oh the coin it could have brought them!

As they wound through the forest, Rikk spotted a faint track that led to a copse of trees.

"Orc tracks!" he noted.

Peering into the copse, Rikk saw a path cleared out.

"It appears to be a lair!" he declared. "I'll bet we'll find some reavers here!"

What will the find in the lair? Find out next time!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Prison Breakout

A Kate and Kip Adventure

Last time, our heroes found themselves imprisoned by Dominion robots.

They are locked in a cell while robots patrol the corridors.

Hugging one of the walls so he can stay out of sight of the guards, Kip reaches into his boot and withdraws a small sonic blaster.

"They didn't search me very well," he whispered. "Act natural."

While Kate stands at the cell door, Kip works on the force field mechanism. He manages to open a gap and to squeeze through. Stealthily, he works his way to the corner, and blasts the guard!

With Kip providing cover, Kate pries away the robot's blaster. Another guard spots her and raises the alarm!

Kip peeks out around the corner and blasts the enemy.

The duo try to sneak through the corridors. The last guard has been alerted and investigates.

Kip provides cover.

"Now!" he yells, and they both rush out of cover, blasting away. Their shots deflect off the robot's armor. The guard then zaps Kate.

"Run for it!" exclaims Kip." Wounded, Kate is unable to comply. The robot guard turns on her.

It has her cornered. It levels its blaster and is about to shoot. Kate closes her eyes, expecting the end to come. She hears a loud blast, but feels nothing. Opening her eyes, she sees the robot lying in a heap. Behind it stands Kip, sonic blaster in hand.

"It didn't watch its back." Kip quipped.

Kate nodded her thanks. "Let's get out of here!" she said. The duo raced to the docking bay, where their scout ship was located.


Friday, July 21, 2017

Pirate Panic

After being sucked through a black hole, Zina and Zach stumble across a battle. Zach decides to aid the larger ship.

Our heroes' ship rushes into battle. Zach shoots but misses.

He comes alongside the larger ship. A large hole has been blown in the ship's side. A swarm of armed men rush from the smaller ship through the breach.

Donning a helmet and grabbing a ray gun, Zach exits the scout and boards the larger rocket. Zina reluctantly follows. In the first compartment, they confront a huge, brutish warrior.

Game Note - I lack proper figures so I improvise with meeples and tokens. Here is an example:

The heroes fire at the brute but miss. It charges Zach, who dodges a blow from the monster's powerful fists. Zina shoots, and nearly hits Zach!

The brute continues swinging at Zach. He dips and dodges, avoiding the blows. Meanwhile, Zina finds her aim and blasts the enemy. It barely flinches.

Finally, the brute lands a blow on Zach. He staggers and fall. As the brute leans over, Zina aims carefully. Her blast strikes the brute squarely, and it falls to the ground.

 Our heroes exit into the hallway and run into six pirates armed with blasters. In the ensuing firefight, Zach is hit twice but the pirates are scattered. After receiving first aid, Zach leads the way toward the bridge, fighting off some strange alien creatures that look like a cross between a yapping poodle and a lizard.

As they near the bridge, the heroes come across a lioness-like humanoid struggling with three sword-armed pirates. The one furthest away is bellowing orders to the rest of the crew. Must be the captain, surmises Zach.

The pirates knock the lioness to the ground. Zach and Zina open fire, taking out the pirate minions in a single fusillade. The enraged captain charges Zach. Zach dodges the captain's blow, grabbing a sword lying upon the floor. Zina shoots the captain, then Zach strikes him with his sword. The captain charges past them and flees back to his ship!

"I hope you are OK" Zach says to the lioness.

"Lt Hunter," Zina retorts, "I doubt that this alien species can speak out language."

"I am well, brave warrior." the lioness states with a slight bow. Zina jumps in surprise. It won't be the last time that the Slipstream catches her off guard.

Suddenly, there is a loud explosion! The ship rocks, shakes, and begins to yaw. Zach races to the bridge. The bridge crew is dead or unconscious so Zach takes the controls.

"No!" he screams as he checks the viewscreen.

"What?" Zina asks as she follows him onto the bridge.

"Those darn pirates blew up our ship!"

But he has no chance to wallow in misery. The ship begins to plummet toward a nearby rocky planetoid.

"We're going to crash land!" Zach announces.

Screaming toward the ground, the rocketship careens off a large hill.

Zach manages to right it and avoid another hill.

He puts the ship down but cannot stop it. The ship crashes into a rocky outcrop.

Zach and the lioness are thrown forward and knocked senseless. Zina begins to administer first aid,

Then she begins to hear a loud crashing. It sounds like large rocks banging together.

What terrors does this strange fragment hold? Find out next time!

Game Note
The plot point adventure in the Slipstream book is a straightforward fight against pirates. I tweaked it a bit to turn it into a simple dungeon crawl, Four Against Darkness style. Here is my map.

I used FU for the rules. I must say that I am souring upon them a bit. The BUT and AND options don't really work for my solo games because I just want to roll dice to come up with the result. I actually create the narrative details as I am writing up the report. I also feel that 4AD does a better job of providing a little granularity to the encounters. I'll continue to use FU for the 6  by 6 challenge but will probably move on to something different when I'm done.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Into the Black Hole

Introducing the Adventures of Zina and Zach

50 Years Later

The Federation scout ship drew closer to the mysterious black hole, which seemingly appeared out of nowhere a few months prior. Professor Zina Marks studied her instruments as she tried to analyze the enigma.

"Can you get closer?" she asked the pilot, Lt. Zach Hunter.

"Not unless you want an inside view of the hole." he quipped. "I'm already struggling to keep us in position!"

Zina scowled. Zach's flippant attitude grated on her stern professionalism.

Suddenly, alarm bells went off.

"An Imperial destroyer has warped into the system." Zach announced. "It's heading right for us. Let's get out of here!" He began to rev up the rocket engines.

"Hold!" commanded Zina. We are here on a lawful, peaceful mission. They have no right to interfere."

"Professor. the Imperials don't have any respect for rights. We need to go!"

"No, let me speak to them."

Suddenly, the Imperial rocketship let loose with its blasters. The scout ship was struck, damaging the engines.

"I'm losing power! I can't maintain my position; the black hole is sucking us in." Zach announced as he struggled with the controls. Zina raced to the engine room and tried to repair the damage. But it was too late. In a flash, their ship was sucked into the void.

The black hole was like a tunnel, with swirling lights outlining the boundaries. Within the tunnel asteroids and meteors whirled about.

Zach tried to reverse course, but he could not get enough power from the damaged engines. "Professor! Hurry up with those repairs!"

Zach managed to avoid one meteor, but another struck the ship. Alarms rang out.

"Now we have a hull breach! Get on it!" Zach commanded. Technically, Zina was in command but when it came to operations of the ship, his word was paramount. He liked these opportunities to boss her around. He just wished it was under better circumstances.

"Blast it!" Zach cursed as a meteor whizzed by his viewport.

Then another one glanced of the rocket. More alarms!

"I can't make any progress with the repairs if you keep damaging the ship." Zina commented.

More meteors approached.

But with some fancy flying, Zach avoided them.

Then suddenly, they were out of the tunnel and in a new area of space. It glowed with the soft hue of ambient radiation.

"Strange." Zina announced as she glanced at her instruments. " We're not in a vacuum. There is a thin atmosphere."

"Ship of the port bow!" Zach declared as he too checked his instruments. He set course. Soon he made visual contact.

"It's under attack!" Zach said as he saw a smaller ship grappling the larger. Armed men wearing breathing masks swarmed through a breach in the hull.

"We need to help!" declared Zach as he rocketed toward the battle.

"No!" commanded Zina. "We can't get involved!" But Zach ignored her. Instead, he energized his atomic blasters, aimed at the smaller ship, and squeezed the trigger . . .

Will Zina and Zach defeat the attacker? Find out next time!

OOC Notes:

  • I'm now taking a different approach to my Slipstream campaign as I switch to RPG style with my new characters. I will be jumping back and forth between battles and RPG adventures, but in both cases I will be using the FU rules.
  • I am beginning Death Clouds, a ten "episode" plot point campaign provided with the Slipstream rules. The campaign assumes that the characters already live in the Slipstream and are on board a merchant ship that is attacked. I wanted my characters to come from outside the Slipstream so I added some backstory, which I played out as narrated above. Instead of being on the merchant they will come to its rescue.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Say Goodbye to the Sunstone!

Although Queen Anathraxa's minions had overrun the Temple of the Morning Sun, some Templars had managed to escape with the Sunstone. The evil Queen ordered an immediate pursuit.

The Templars had loaded the Sunstone on an electric cart and were fleeing down the road to a waiting rocket ship.

Notes: The part of the electric cart is played by a chariot (with a yellowish base). I quickly improvised a rocket with some wood pieces. A meeple acts as the rocket's derrick.

Two companies of Templar knights and a band of Seers formed a defensive line against the primals rushing down the road.

More primals appear. The Templars are locked in combat while the Sunstone flees.

Primals cut down the Seers and the cart is temporarily stuck. At least the Templars on the right were victorious.

The primals begin chasing the immobile cart.

But the victorious Templars catch the pursuing primals from the rear. The Queen's minions don't stand a chance. The cart is mobile again and rushes towards the rocket.

Now the Templars face off against primals and the Queen's Handmaidens.

The Templars succumb to the enemy numbers.

Zephyria, centurion of the Handmaidens, waded through the field of dead or dying Templars. As she passed, she heard a laugh. Surprised, she looked around. A wounded Templar smirked at her.

"Why do you laugh?!"

"You're too late." the Templar stated. At that moment, Zephyria could hear the blast of a rocket's engines. She looked up and saw a ship lifting into the sky.

"Say goodbye to the Sunstone." the Templar said, his voice faltering as his blood trickled through his numerous wounds.

Zephyria screamed in anger, then turned on the Templar. "You shall pay for your insolence!"

The Templar laughed. "If the Maker is for us, what can you hope to achieve?"

In anger, Zephyria plunged her sword through the Templar's heart. She snorted in derision. "Your Maker did not save you from my death stroke!"

Yet her victory felt hollow. for now she had to report the Sunstone's escape to her queen. She looked upon her fallen foe. How was it that his face looked so content?

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Templars' Last Stand

A Slipstream Scenario

Following their surprise attack, the minions of evil Queen Anathraxa converge upon the Temple of the Morning Star, home of the fabled Sunstone. The Temple is defended by a band of Seers and two companies of Templars, the mystical knights of Theophilia.

The Seers are surprisingly inert while the Queen's primals rush through a barrage of blaster fire to assault the Temple.

A band of primals and a company of Handmaidens break into the Temple.

But the Templars repulse and annihilate them.

More primals get in and wipe out one company of Templars.

But the Seers come alive. With a powerful psychic blast, they wipe out the primals.

The Queen's minions keep coming!

Another breakthrough!

Primals catch the Seers from the rear. The priests are cut down!

Surrounded and outnumbered, the Templars fight a hopeless battle. Soon, they are also eliminated.

With all opposition gone, a company of Handmaidens strides into the Temple. They part, and Queen Anathraxa steps forward.

"Where is the Sunstone?!" she shouts. Her minions shrug their shoulders.

"THEN FIND IT, YOU FOOLS!" she commands.

The minions proceed to tear the Temple apart, but to no avail. The Sunstone is gone. Just then, one her captains peers through a shattered window. He sees a band of Templars escorting a cart as it rumbles away from the Temple. Shaking, he murmurs "Majesty" and points to the escapees. Anathraxa wheels about and spies the Templars.

"Fools. You let them get away!"

She strikes the unfortunate captain with her scepter. There is a sound of an electrical charge. The captain recoils from the shock then collapses in a heap.

"Get the Sunstone before they escape. NOW!' screams the queen.

Her minions race out the doors and pursue the fleeing Templars.

Will the Templars escape with the Sunstone? Find out next time!

Game Note:
The temple walls are actually from the Hadrian's Wall pack by Brigade Models. It is 1/1000 scale and fits well with 2mm.