Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Pulp Alley - Return of the CSSS!

Tomb of the Serpent Campaign – Part 1 The Haunted Dungeon
I have a soft spot for the heroes of the CSSS (Corpo di Spedizione della Santa Sede, or The Expeditionary Corps of the Holy See). They’ve been through a lot of adventures, Monsignore has been pummelled by many monsters and miniatures have multiplied during these years. Yes I do like my nuns with guns and armed and dangerous priests, and I need more! J

A very condensed background to this Pulp Alley-campaign:
The Great Serpent, Aphopis, was an evil Egyptian god defeated by a bunch of other gods and imprisoned in a tomb after a long and bloody struggle. After a couple of millenniums Professor Pacoli and his guide Aziz discover a strange tomb, that Aziz recognizes for what it is. It’s too late as Aphopis stirs in his sleep and awakens. His servants are activated to try to gather ancient artefacts scattered around the globe. It they succeed Aphophis will be freed, and Earth as we know it will be doomed.
So, who you gonna call?

Ring, ring!
“Questo è il quartier generale del Corpo di Spedizione della Santa Sede!”
“Mumble, mumble, mumble, mumble! Mumble mumble mumble!”
“Terribile! Spediamo i nostri operatori più importanti!”
“Mumble, mumble, mumble?”
“Sì, sono il meglio del meglio” *
Our heroes, the CSSS! From left to right:
As the league got a great Network of Support, they are joined by Maria, a fierce level 2 animal, in this adventure. Suora Maledetta is a follower with berserker blood in her veins. She likes to go close and personal and skips such cowardly things as guns. She's got a bit of a glass yaw, though. Monsignore Cadaverico – the leader of these most holy exterminators of evil (or should that be “mostly”…?). Padre Scuro is an ally armed with a double-barreled shotgun. Suora Innocenza is a sidekick, lethal in close combat and a good shot also. Soldato Morto loves to lob grenades at the enemies of God and decency. Padre Sicario is another sidekick and a deadly marksman.
Our heroes quickly find clues leading them to what seem to be a hidden cult lair in the sewers of Rome. 
The set-up. I play this at home.
Hiding places are spread out around the dungeon and one of them is the coveted relic hidden in a safe, but which? The problem is that the safe is known to be hellishly difficult to open. It's all a bit of a gamble - if the safe is near the entrance there is a good chance to succeed, it it is far away... well...
I made these character cards to make character management easier.
Here we have all the possible backups that the league might have as helpers. They only got one, Maria, this time.
We join them as they enter the dungeon and the alarm sounds. They have to quickly find the hidden relic and get out fast, before all hell breaks loose.
The alarm sounds!
"Who's there? We don't want anything!"
(From now on English subtitles have been enabled!)
"We don't want no beggars here! Go away!"
Not very friendly these two Faceless, well known deadly fighters. Our heroes realize that they must be neutralized quickly.
Suora Innocenza walks up the corridor (no running in this cluttered dungeon) and shoots at the Faceless. Faceless are better in close combat than ranged combat and takes a hit without doing any damage themeselves. Monsignore follows and throws a well-aimed cross that hit the faceless smack in the middle of his face. He is out cold and will not wake up until much later, when the fight is long over.
Padre Sicario walks into the torture chamber and lets go with his Thompson. That hurts! 
The rest of the gang spread out to cover all possible entrances. 
The final Faceless tries to reach Padre Sicario but don't quite. He insteads lets go with his shurikens while Padre replies with his Thompson. When the smoke clears nothing at all has happened. They look at each other in disbelief. "Was that a clip of blanks?" thinks Padre.
A Fierce Cultist has heard the commotion and comes to investigate.
Worse, much worse! A Risen Priest! A mummy! An incredibly tough and fierce fighter.
Monsignore cleverly bypasses the contact poison covering the hidden trapdoor and then figure out the way to open the puzzle-lock of the small chest he found there. In it is a key, a key Monsignore suspects will help him open the hidden safe containing the relic. Suora Innocenza legs it for the inner room, where she suspects the safe could be hidden.
Padre Sicario lets go with his Thompson, this time with real lead. The final Faceless falls, but not before Padre takes a shuriken in the shoulder. The Faceless will not recover, as usually happens when you look like a Swiss cheese.
Two barrels from a shotgun proves their worth and that unfortunate cultist is dead before she even understands what is happening. 
Meanwhile, while Maria is out scouting, her sensitive nose leads her to a desk of drawers. She barks to show her friends that she is a good dog that deserves a treat, and takes a few steps towards whatever it is. If she can get it, she is sure that Monsignore will reward her with more than one treat. She doesn't notice the caltrops spread on the floor before the drawers, steps on them and is incapacitated. She will lick her paws until Monsignore calls for her a final time.
Behind her, Soldato Morto lobs a grenade at the monstrosity at the door. Mummys are not immune to shrapnel and it is hurt. A little. Not as if it cares. And, well, it can't feel any pain anyway.
It slowly staggers towards the poor soldier that is frantically trying to shoot it, but to no avail. A mummyfied hand reaches for Mortos throat and squeezes. Morto is a rather cunning figure and plays dead. The mummy lets go, seeing its adverary fall to the ground. A visious smile is actually not seen at all, as it is hidden under all those bandages. But it is there, believe me.
"Haha", cries Soldato Morto and jumps to his feet. "Fooled you!" Morto might be cunning, but intelligent he is not, as he should have continued to play dead...
More reinforcements, this time some Militant Cultists. Do you see the dubbel-barreled shotgun... It is still smoking from those both barrels...
Suora Innocenzia goes to the unidentified pile on the throne. She might be innocent, but she has a good hand with dogs. When the pile starts to growl threateningly she distracts it with a little treat ususally reserved for Maria. A bit of scratching behind the ears and she got a new friend. She appreciates that, as friends are hard to get and even harder to keep, especially if you're a warrior-nun.
Meanwhile Padre Sicario moves to the suspicious fireplace. He avoids the traps set around it and suddenly feel like all the warmth is sucked out of his body. A horrible ghost materializes in front of him. That sickle, while incorporeal, sure looks awfully sharp. Fear grips him, and from fear grows rage. He will not back down!
In the other end of the dungeon a dog starts growling, feelin the presence of its arch-enemy.
Time is running out, as is hiding places. The mummy block one of the possible hiding places so Monsignore moves towards the torture chamber and the slim chance of finding the relic before they are swamped by cultists.
Soldato Morto miraculously evades the enraged mummy and backs towards his allies. He is in a berserk mode, and just shrugs at both the horror and might of the undead before him. "Come and get it!" he mocks the mummy.
That just might not be the smartest thing to say in a situation like this.
Padre Scuro has finally reloaded. Two barrels, etc. You know the drill. Two more cultist down and out.
Mummys might be slow, but they never give up. While Soldato Morto frantically shoots at the undead monster, it in turn just shrugs of the damage and attacks again. Soldato Morto fights as if his life depends on it, as it does. Against all odds, and a couple of extra ones, he succeeds.
That soldier is in line for a medal.
Suora Innocensa feels a bit isolated and starts moving towards her allies. The stray dog she found is getting more and more agitated, almost manic. She feels the dogs good intent and give it her blessings as it runs towards the torture chamber. Seems there is one thing ghosts are afraid of, and it is the fury of a, well, furious dog.
She doesn't notice the latest Faceless that sneaks towards her.
A puff of smoke and Padre Sicario is free from the ghostly apparition that flees to the ethereal plane with a furious dog in pursuit.
He is now free to rush to the rack where he easily deflects a poisoned dart protecting... the safe! He tries to locate the key-hole but it is cunningly hidden, and, while he might be a good shot, he is not the smartest of the bunch. However much he tries, he just cant find the keyhole.
He ignores the cries of "It's a combination lock, you moron" from Suora Maledetta that stands behind him. "They are evil, try entering 666!"
"Well, she is a woman after all, so what does she know" he thinks.
He is a moron.
Monsignore frantically tries to reach the safe, but the torture chamber is so cluttered with evil instruments that he just can't run. He is close, but not close enough.
"Regroup!" he shouts. " We don't have time for the safe, but we must get out of this hellhole alive. Alive to fight another day!"
As soon as Monsignore is behind him, Padre Scuro let both barrels go again. He really is starting to enjoy his shotgun, and as the unfortunate cultist falls to the ground, riddled with holes, he decides that his gun is worthy of a name.
He will henceforth call her Vera.
Morto, the poor soldier, is again grabbed by the throat and once more he pretends to be dead.
While making a mummy, you remove all internal organs, such as intestines, heart and... brain. That is evident, as once more the mummy falls for the ruse, drops Soldato Morto and shambles towards Suora Innocenza.
A whisper of a sound alerts Suora to the menace behind her. The Faceless now faces a very pissed of woman. "You want a piece of me, you male creep?" she hisses as she punches him. A solid hit and he is now nose- and Faceless, but she can't avoid his daggers and is wounded in turn.
Morto, the invincible soldier. Opens one of his eyes a crack. No mummy in sight. He rises, smiles and reaches for his grenades.
A sound behind him! Instinctively he lobs a grenade while he shouts "Catch!"
Obeying that is a mistake you only make once, as the cultist barely have time to notice.
Suora is meanwhile stabbed in her ample bosom. She looks the Faceless in the eyes and mutters "pervert" as she slides to the floor. Yet another cultist enters the fray.
Nothing to do there for the mummy, so he shambles back and finds that (cencored) soldier standing again. No mercy this time. He is actually not very big on mercy.

Meanwhile, in the torture chamber, everyone position themselves to protect their leader, and while they are at it they shoot yet another cultist that isn't bright enough to stay out of this bloodbath.
The good thing with ample bosoms are that a dagger just can't cut a hole through them and puncture the heart. Suora once again stands up, just to see a Serpent Priest enter. "This is surely the end" she thinks, before...
...it looks as if it really is. The faceless and Serpent Priest runs past her, to the sound of fighting.
As soon as they have their backs towards her she rises, muttering something about "Stupid males that don't learn from their mistakes."
As the sound of hordes of cultist comes from the door to the interior of the cultist den, she legs it, and while she is on her way out she grabs Soldato Morto who is unsteadily coming to his feet. She does think he is actually a rather worthy fighter, for a male, that is.
Monsignore and the rest of the CSSS pushes past both mummy, Face(and nose-)less and Sepent Priest.
"Maria, come here! I have a treat for you!" Monsignore shouts, and he gets a happy bark in return.
It is time to retreat back to the Vaitican and plan the next, and hopefully more successful, step.
Maria plans to have her tummy rubbed. That, at least, is a plan that will succeed.
Phew, that was a compact, fast, fun and furious game of Pulp Alley.
The CSSS failed in their mission, but Monsignore found a letter in the small chest he took off with. A letter with a crucial clue to where another relic might be hidden.
Stay tuned for more adventures with the CSSS!

* Sorry if I mangled the Italian language here. I blame Google Translate J

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Friday, 16 March 2018

Crowdfunding Watch – 3D-printing – 6 new Kickstarters this week!

It’s been a good week for Kickstarters if you’re interested in terrain or vehicles for your miniatures games.
Let’s start with my favourite company, and the ones that made me buy my first printer.
It’s Printable Scenery with a new kickstarter, this time with buildings for a port, ships and savage tribes. There are three pledges that you can choose or make combos of.
Port Winterdale is a collection of houses and other scenery pieces suitable for a fantasy harbour, and some of them would look great in a historical setting, too.
The Lost Ships will give you a rather large collection of ships, both historical and very fantasy.

The Lost Tribes gives you everything you would need to build the dwellings for such a tribe, and it will work excellent for a tribe of fantasy orcs. Those ramparts looks great.
A week in to the campaign and we’re deep into the stretch goals. If you pledge you will get a lot of fantastic quality stuff.
I’m salivating!
Bonus items for combo pledges.
This KS ends on April 2, 2018.

Jens, the very productive guy behind 3D-Print-Terrain, takes us to China and Japan in this, his newest, campaign.
Lots of buildings unlocked already, and more are surely to be unlocked before this campaign ends on April 1, 2018.
Well worth a look if  you need houses for your samurai games.

If you’re into ancient tree stongholds or airships, then this is certainly for you.
I have a soft spot for airships and these modular ones looks interesting. With modularity and all the unlocked stretch goals, there is enough variability to build a whole fleet of these flying ships.
This KS ends on April 11, 2018.

ESLO is back with a chilly kickstarter. Ancient standing stones, craters, rocks, woods, ruins, fortifications and more. All covered in snow.
If you’re into Frostgrave, a wintry WWII game or wherever there is cold, then this could be something worth checking out.
This KS ends on April 12, 2018.

We move into more organic surroundings in this kickstarter, where we find living things out to get you, or at least your miniature heroes.
This looks eerily alien and a game-board filled with these… things… would be great. Fantastic stuff that wouldn’t look out of place among your Tyranid hordes.
There is also a desert themed modular board pledge, OpenLOCK-compatibel, that is well worth a look.
This KS ends on March 28, 2018.

I found another, just started, kickstarter just as I thought I had this post written and done.
This is Duncan Louca’s first kickstarter, but he’s produced a lot of wonderful 3D-sculpts already.
Here he presents us with a multitude of chunky SF-vehicles that wouldn’t look bad at all among any SF-army of a certain heroic style.

A couple of hours in (as I write this) and already several stretch-goals are bagged. If this is your thing I guess these files could be worth getting a printer for.

What a week!
All photos and illustrations © Printable Scenery, 3D-Print-Terrain, Evan Carothers, ESLO, Eric Askue and Duncan 'shadow' Louca respectively and used with permission.