As is my way, rather than deal with the various important things that should be occupying my attention I’ve instead been thinking about Minecraft and how it needs a volcanic biome.
The Volcanic Biome would be a rare, warm biome and consist of stone, gravel and terracotta. Plants would be limited to dead bushes, tree stumps and occasional mushrooms and berry bushes. There would be extensive lava lakes and scattered lava source blocks – the latter especially underground so mining would be problematic.
There would be no villages, although perhaps ruined villages (nothing but stone walls left) could be a feature. There would be occasional lakes, mostly floored with magma blocks.
Open topped ravines would be common. Also common would be long, linear caves – lava tubes – just under the surface. Some of them would be roofed by gravel, so having the ground collapse beneath your feet would be a constant risk, which would be particularly unfortunate over one that’s still full of lava.
Volcanoes – conical hills with deep, lava filled shafts at their crests- would of course be common.
The real attraction in the Lava Biome however is geysers!
A geyser block only occurs in a Volcanic Biome. It is extremely hard and if broken is destroyed – unless broken with a Silk Touch pick. It naturally generates on the surface layer with between 1 and 5 lava blocks in a line below it. A water block generates on at least one side.
As long as a geyser block has a lava block below it and is touching a water block on at least one side it will randomly erupt. An eruption is preceded by an increasing rumbling sound for a few seconds (giving players time to run away). It then shoots a stream of particles upwards 5 metres for every lava block below it, to a maximum of 25 metres. Blocks above the geyser will suffer damage and may be destroyed – as per an explosion.
The particles fall to the ground like snow, but inflict fire damage on any mob they hit. They build up in layers, again like snow, and can be harvested with a shovel – although they are tougher than snow and each layer removed only has a 20% change of producing a drop. Particles falling on a geyser block are destroyed and do not create layers – thus keeping the geyser clear.
There are at least two types of geysers, white and yellow. White geyser layers drop bone meal, making them an excellent source of fertilizer. Yellow geyser layers drop sulphur, which is a new resource that can be used in dyeing and potion making. Most importantly it can be combined with charcoal and bone meal to produce gunpowder!
So that’s the idea. I expect my cheque from Mojang directly!
You know, Threshold – the infamous episode where Tom Paris travels really fast, turns into a salamander then has salamander babies with Captain Janeway) really should have been the last episode of Star Trek: Voyager.
I don’t mean production should have been shut down, everyone fired and the sets put to the torch – although a case for that can certainly be made – I mean that they discovered a perfectly plausible way to get back to Earth in no time flat.
The souped-up, transwarp shuttlecraft that inexplicably turns people into horny amphibians moves at infinite speed – it occupies every point in the universe at once until the pilot decides where to drop out of transwarp. As such there’s nothing stopping the pilot jumping instantly from the Delta quadrant to Earth orbit. The transformation into a space salamander takes some time to start, so they can land at the nearest medical facility and explain that they’re about to grow gills and cough up their own tongue, but that their doctor has prepared a complete treatment protocol and it’s right here on this PADD. A couple of days later they’re back to normal with no harm done and they’re home.
Janeway should instantly have devoted all of Voyager’s resources into building transwarp shuttles, packing them full of crew members and sending them back to Earth. The last person to leave the ship sets the self destruct to avoid contaminating the Delta quadrant with Federation tech, and everyone arrives back home safe and well with only the slight inconvenience of turning into an amphibian for a couple of days.
But no. Gotta hit that end-of-episode reset button! How else would we have been treated to the exquisite cringiness of the Doctor and Seven-of-Nine duetting on You Are My Sunshine?
And while I’m posting homebrew Warhammer 40,000 content, there’s this…
The Herkimer Pattern Chimera was created in M41.338 on the order of Lord General Casanova Herkimer who desired a suitably martial – yet comfortable – personal transport to be used for post-battlefield assessment and ceremonial occasions. In the centuries since it has become a favourite vehicle for high ranking Astra Militarum officers, Ecclesiarchy officials and the occasional Inquisitor who value its enhanced sensor suite, extra armour and luxurious interior.
The Herkimer lacks the multi-laser turret and lasgun arrays of the standard Chimera, retaining only a hull mounted heavy bolter for defensive purposes*. The passenger compartment lacks a rear ramp or top hatch, with entry and egress only via a reinforced rear door – it does however feature heavily armoured windows and an optical periscope for comfortable surveying of the battlefield. The vehicle’s extra armour is compensated for with a souped-up engine, and the enhanced communication and sensor suite allow the occupants to keep in touch with their base, or easily issue orders to their underlings.
Herkimers are most usually seen in parades or during the mop-up after combat, however some desperate commanders have been known to throw them into battle, where they can act as surprisingly effective makeshift command vehicles. A few more eccentric Astra Militarum commanders actually prefer to control their troops from a Herkimer, although they will typically receive (carefully muted) ridicule from the common troopers for riding around in a “General Jitney” or “Chicken Chariot”.
* The Heavy Bolter may be swapped out for a heavy flamer, however this modification is unpopular as it requires the drinks cabinet to be removed to make room for promethium tanks.
I’ve formatted up my 40k rules for Saint Sabbat, and included an option to give her a retinue of Servo Skulls, as she had on Herodor. All still completely untested and probably badly overpowered. Enjoy!
A few months back the great Duncan released the following video on how to build a brilliant techno-gothic locomotive out of Warhammer 40k scenery sprues…
There are a few bits I’d do differently if I was building one myself – a taller smokestack, sealing the rear of the engine assembly and moving the whole thing forwards a bit on the carriage – but overall, awesome!
Now, it’s intended as a terrain piece, but it got me thinking – why couldn’t you have some kind of battle actually on a moving train? The idea makes no sense for standard 40k, but for a skirmish game like Necromunda…
So naturally my brain immediately started throwing ideas around. A copy of the Necromunda rules and a whole lot of thinking later I’ve come up with a scenario I’m calling “The Great Necromunda Train Robbery”!
(It should be noted that I have never played a game of Necromunda in my life and have only skimmed the rules, so there are undoubtedly things I’ve got horribly wrong. Those that actually know what they’re doing with the game will need to bash my ideas into shape, and I’m more than happy to receive feedback on exactly what kind of bashing they’ve seen fit to employ.)
(Also you could probably adapt these rules to Kill Team, which I know even less about that Necromunda.)
Automated trains run through and between the hives of Necromunda, carrying goods and supplies between mines, manufactoria and marketplaces. Your gang has decided to raid one of these trains, jumping on board at a slow turn then throwing off as much cargo as possible for later retrieval as it hurtles along its tracks. Unfortunately it seems a rival gang has had exactly the same idea for exactly the same train and a high speed confrontation is inevitable…
The battlefield is set up as a line of carriages, each of equal size. The carriage at the front of the train is the Engine. The carriage at the end of the train is the Caboose. There is no limit to the number of carriages but the minimum number should be five.
Each Carriage is categorised as a High Carriage or a Low Carriage. A High carriage is a tanker or bulk carrier. It can only be traversed by going over the top or climbing along the sides. A Low Carriage is a flatbed – there may or may not be cargo on it, but it can easily be climbed over or moved around.
The Caboose is a Low Carriage with a Control Console at the rear end (see below). The Engine is a High Carriage, with a Cabin at the rear end which contains a Control Console.
At least one Carriage must be equipped with a Defence Cannon at the front or rear end.
Two carriages (which cannot be the Engine or Caboose) are designated as Deployment Carriages. They must be separated by at least one other carriage and are where fighters will begin the game.
Each carriage (except for the Engine and Deployment Carriages) has a centrally placed Loot Casket.
This scenario uses the standard rules for choosing a crew. Both players use the Custom Selection (X) method, however the number of fighters available is equal to the number of carriages +2.
Each player may select three Gang Tactics cards. If during the pre-battle sequence the total Credits value of fighters in one player’s starting crew is less than their opponent’s then they may randomly draw an additional Tactics card for each full 100 credits of difference.
The winner of a roll-off selects one of the Deployment Carriages and sets up their entire Crew on that Carriage. The other player then sets up their entire Crew on the other Deployment Carriage.
Both gangs are attempting to throw as much cargo off the train as possible while preventing their enemies from doing the same. Each gang scores 1 point for each item of cargo thrown from the train and 1 point for each enemy fighter that goes Out of Action.
ENDING THE BATTLE
If one gang has no fighters left on the board at the end of any round, the battle ends immediately and the other gang scores D3 bonus points.
FLEEING THE BATTLEFIELD
If one gang voluntarily bottles out and flees the battlefield, their opponent automatically wins the scenario.
The gang with the most number of points at the end of the battle wins the scenario.
REWARDS (CAMPAIGNS ONLY)
Each unit of cargo a fighter throws from the train earns their gang 4 credits. The winning gang receives a bonus 1D6x4 credits. In the case of a draw, neither gang receive bonus credits.
Each fighter that took part in the battle earns 1 XP.
The Leader of the gang that scored the most points gains an additional 1 XP (regardless of whether they took part in the battle or not). In the case of a draw, neither Leader gains this bonus.
The victorious gang gains 2 Reputation. If either gang bottled out, they lose 1 Reputation.
The Speed of the train is represented by a number from 1 (very slow) to 6 (very fast). At the start of the first Priority Phase roll 1d6 to determine the starting speed.
Running around on a speeding train is dangerous. At the start of each Priority Phase roll 2D6 to see what Hazard occurs.
Engine Vents Steam All fighters on the Engine (with the exception of fighters
within the Cabin) must make an Initiative check or suffer a hit at 1d6 Strength
Rough Points All fighters must make an Initiative check or suffer a hit at strength Speed. Additionally if they roll a 1 they are Thrown Off
Defence Protocols Triggered All Defence Cannons fire at the nearest two eligible fighters at BS 4+.
Decrease Speed Speed decreases by 1. If already at 1, no effect
Increase Speed Speed increases by 1. If already at 6, no effect
Low Beam All fighters on top of a High carriage must make an Initiative check or suffer a hit at strength Speed x 2. Additionally if they roll a 1 they are Thrown Off
Burnt Out Lumens Pitch Black rules apply until the end of this round
Narrow Passage All fighters on the side of a High carriage must make an Initiative check or suffer a hit at strength Speed x 2. Additionally if they roll a 1 they are Thrown Off
Gas Pocket All fighters suffer a Choke Gas attack.
The train is equipped with at least one Defence Cannon. This can only be operated from one of the Control Consoles. Defence Cannons cannot run out of ammo and never need to be reloaded, they can however jam.
Rapid Fire 2
A space at the rear of the the Engine is the Cabin. It has room for two fighters and provides Partial Cover. A fighter in the Cabin has access to the front Control Console.
There are two Control Consoles on the train, one in the Engine Cabin and the other at the rear of the Caboose. A standing fighter in the Engine Cabin or within 1″ of the Caboose Console may make a Basic Action to activate it and invoke an Effect. Each effect requires an Intelligence check with the modifier indicated. Both Consoles start the game Unlocked, but may be Locked with the appropriate Effect. The only Effect that may be attempted from a Locked Console is to Unlock it.
Lock either console
Unlock this console
Speed train up by 1 (to a maximum of 6)
Slow train down by 1 (to a minimum of 1)
Vent Steam from Engine (as per Hazard Table)
Make one attack with a Defence Cannon (treated as if the fighter is at the Cannon’s location)
Throw three units of Cargo from the train
A standing fighter within 1″ of a Loot Crate may make a basic action to throw a piece of cargo off the train. This scores 1 point.
MOVING BETWEEN AND AROUND CARRIAGES
A moving fighter may attempt to leap from one Carriage to another, provided that they have enough Movement to do so. The fighter stops at the end of the Carriage and makes an Initiative check. If they pass, they leap the gap and may continue moving. If they fail, their movement ends. If they roll a one they suffer a strength Speed hit.
Low Carriages have one level. High Carriages have two. A fighter may climb between levels of a High Carriage or jump down from the top level to the bottom level. A fighter may move along the side of a High Carriage, however this counts as Difficult Terrain.
If a Fighter is Thrown Off the train, they are placed next to the carriage they fell from, suffer a hit at strength Speed+2 and are Prone and Pinned.
GETTING BACK ON
A fighter beside the train may make an Initiative check with a negative Speed modifier to clamber back onto an adjacent carriage. If successful they are placed back on the top of a Low Carriage, or the side of a High Carriage.
ADVANCING THE TRAIN
At the end of the End Phase, after any Rally tests, move any fighters that are off the train back a number of carriages equal to the train’s Speed. Any fighter that goes past the Caboose is removed from the game and counts as Out of Action when making Bottle Tests and scoring points at the end of the game.
So, that’s it! Hope it works, and any feedback will be greatly appreciated.
I’ve been thinking about how to field Saint Sabbat in a game of Warhammer 40,000.
The obvious place to start is with the only Living Saint that actually has rules – Saint Celestine. I figure Sabbat should have the same statline as Celestine, with the exception of her movement, because while the Beati is undoubtedly awesome, the God Emperor declined to give her wings.
(It would have been highly thematic to give her 9 Wounds, but that’s just short of a Chimera APC, which seems a bit over the top)
With stats sorted out the next step is wargear. Celestine wields the Ardent Blade – the handy-dandy, flame-throwing, power sword from hell, man! While very cool, this is a one of a kind weapon, and there is sadly a complete dearth of accounts of Saint Sabbat incinerating people with a sword thrust. So I decided to give her a knockoff Ardent Blade clone without the ranged attack.
Now a Saint cannot live by swords alone, so what else could Sabbat wield? Her description in Sabbat Martyr notes that her left hand is adorned with a gilded glove with eagle claws. This could simply be some Saintly bling, but I decided to do something with it. I have declared that the Eagle’s Talon gives anyone the Saint whacks with it a nice debuff, making it easier for everyone else to get stuck in.
Finally, what’s a Saint without ranged firepower? In Anarch she’s seen to be carrying a fancy golden autopistol, so let’s throw one of those in as an alternative for the Eagle’s Talon.
* Target is at -1 Toughness until the end of the Battle Round
Master Crafted Autopistol
Now we get to the fun bit, special rules!
I’m thinking that as Saint Celestine is a Saint for the Adepta Sororitas, Saint Sabbat should be a Saint for the Astra Militarum. So we’ll start by giving her the ability to inspire/boss around nearby infantry with Voice of Command. We’ll then nick Aura of Discipline from the great Commissar Yarrick, although we’ll call it Aura of Inspiration instead.
Checking back in with Celestine we’ll borrow The Armour of Saint Katherine, file off the serial numbers and call it Aquilan Aura, to represent that cool, glowing green eagle thing that shows up whenever Sabbat gets pissed off (see pic above).
Celestine also has that nice Shield of Faith ability. The 6+ Invulnerability Save is a bit much, but slapping down enemy Psykers is totally in character, so we’ll chop the save off it and call it No Miracles, Only Men (you know, since that’s a direct quote).
Finally we need something unique, an ability that only Saint Sabbat has access to. I can think of nothing better than giving her an Honour Guard. At the start of the battle a player fielding Saint Sabbat can designate a friendly unit with the INFANTRY and ASTRA MILITARUM keywords. As long as Saint Sabbat remains on the field that unit has +1 Toughness.
With that sorted the only thing left to do is set keywords and costs. Saint Sabbat’s Faction Keywords are IMPERIUM, ASTRA MILITARUM and <REGIMENT>, and her general Keywords are CHARACTER, INFANTRY, OFFICER and SAINT SABBAT. Her POWER level is 8 and points cost 150 – both estimates based on Saint Celestine
So, there we go. Completely untested and probably overpowered, but what the hey!
I have finally got around to finalising the updated version of my Campbell Country map that’s been sitting on my desktop for months.
The changes are pretty minor – basically just tweaks to fix a few discrepancies uncovered by a re-read of the source material. Brichester for instance only has one train station, located in Lower Brichester, Temphill is surrounded by woods, and there’s actually a road running out to the Devil’s Steps. There are also some carvings in the woods near Castle Morley – I think that’s it.
EDIT: And of course – the universe being perhaps not quite as bleak and hostile as Lovecraft thought but still a thorough pain the posterior – no sooner do I publish this updated map than I discover more geographic detail. “Brichester Lake”, the favoured abode of Gla’aki, should actually be named “Deepfall Waters”.
I discovered this fact courtesy of Justin Alexander over at The Alexandrian, who has come up with a fantastic solution to the limited geography of the Vale of Berkely that simply never occurred to me despite the puzzle pieces lying in plain sight.
Oh, and the idea of a museum at the Kastrup fort with Kitty as a mascot and children’s guide had already been brewing in my head for a while before I stumbled over this in a museum in Italy. Sometimes life is just as strange as fiction…