All posts by Brian Burger

Started this site way, way back in November 1998, when the web was young. It's still here, and so am I.

Two CD Terrain Tutorials

Two photo tutorials I did a while back, both on CD-based terrain.

CD-based Terrain Tutorial, Part 1

Full-sized (fully readable!) original on Flickr.

CD-base Terrain Tutorial, Part Two

Full-sized (fully readable!) original on Flickr.

And another pic of some of the scenery I’ve done following the techniques of these short tutorials:
Three Road CDs

I’ve also got a Wargame Terrain & Projects Flickr set with more related photos.

Basic Scenery & Terrain Ideas

Good, basic techniques, nothing fancy. We’ll be doing more specific terrain ideas and techniques in the future, but for now, a long catch-all cut’n’paste job from the old website.

Basic Scenery & Terrain:

General Scenery:

(any scale, very easy, very cheap)

Felt. Lots of it. (OK, seriously now…) I use lots
of different colored felt all over my gaming tables. It’s often nessecary
to mark the exact edges of woods, scrub and other areas of cover (to avoid
stupid “That’s in cover”/”No, it’s outside the treeline” type arguments)
so I use dark green for forests, light green for scrub/bushes, grey for
urban/built-up areas, brown & tan for cultivated fields, blue for rivers &
streams, and more grey for paved roads.

Forest/vegetation areas are cut rounded & blobby, fields are generally
square or rectangular, urban areas are complex polygons. Dirt roads &
streams I cut 1/2″ wide, paved roads are 1″, rivers are 1.5″ (This is for microarmour (1/300) and 15mm both – I tend towards slight
abstraction of scale)

Cut most pieces fairly small – the size of your palm or hand – you get
more flexibility that way, and can put several pieces together if you want
larger forests etc. You can get commercial things that do this sort of thing (Geo-Hex makes
some) but felt is dirt cheap – less than 50 cents Canadian for a 12″x12″
square – and you know how to use scissors, right?

Back to Top

HEDGES:

(nearly any scale, easy, cheap)

The craft store near work (Lewiscraft) stocks big fat pipecleaners
– they call them ‘Chenille’ – for about 90 cents Canadian,
in packs of 12 one-foot-long pipecleaners.

These cleaners are 2x or 3x the thickness of regular pipecleaners, and
make good 15mm or smaller hedges, or perhaps 6mm hedgerows (Normandy
bocage type of thing). Cut them into whatever length looks right – I cut
mine around 10cm long, getting 3 of them from each fat pipecleaner.

Brush or spray glue (dilute white glue, for me) on them, then pour ground
foam turf onto them for foliage. Let them dry, then carefully shake off
the excess foam. The resulting hedges look pretty good, are fairly durable(the foam will rub off a bit, but you can always add more later). And with
a dozen per pack, that’s 12 feet (!) of hedges – more than enough, really.

Back to Top

TREES & SHRUBS:

(coniferous & leafed trees, 15mm scale or smaller, easy,
cheap)

(For Birnam Wood, and less mobile sorts of trees) The same store that provided my hedges had “Bumpy Chenille” as well –
pipecleaner that’s puffy along the length. Properly cut, these make good
trees, very durable & cheap. 12/pack, roughly 90 cents Canadian for a pack
– each length makes between 4 to 8 trees, of various sizes. (That’s a lot
of trees per pack…)

A trio of chenille trees
A stand of bumpy chenille trees.

The tallest trees you can get from bumpy chenille are around 4-5cm tall –
so those of you with 25 or 30mm figs will call these shrubs. For 15mm or 6mm, they make good trees, though.

I glued mine to pennies, 1 tree per penny. White glue works. After they’re
secure, ‘paint’ dilute white glue onto the tree, working down from the top. This sticks some of the strands together, giving a good branch-like
effect. Then cover the tree in ground foam turf, shaking off the excess.

Let dry, and you have solid, stable trees for you tabletop. The basing
means that you won’t tip them over as easily, and you can move them out of
the way of you figures if you need to – much easier & more flexible that
fixed ‘forests’ of lots of trees on one larger base.

(Pennies are very useful as bases, actually – I’m starting to put all
sorts of things on penny-bases – I’ve finally got something to do with the
jar of them sitting on my desk…)

Back to Top

LARGER TREES

(15/25mm scale, somewhat complex, fairly cheap)

I’m building some trees using pipe cleaners for the trunks and branches and foliage netting for the leafy bits. I use 10-15cm lengths of pipe cleaner, three or four per tree. Twist them together in the middle for a trunk, spread them out at each end for short roots and longer branches. After assembly, paint the trunks – I started with brown spray paint, then brushpainted a coat of grey paint. The fuzziness of the pipe cleaners under the paint makes pretty good bark texture. (Especially if they’re supposed to be alien trees)

You can use lichen or foliage netting for foliage. I happened to find a big bag of foliage netting from model railroading days, so I’m using that. Cut it into inch-long bits (more or less), stretch them out a bit, and drape them down over the branches. Secure them with a spot of glue.

I based my trees on small pieces of matt board, and added foam ‘bushes’ and ground foam ‘grass’ to the bases. They look pretty damn good, I think, and seem durable enough to stand up to the horrors of war(gaming) and transport.

I didn’t invent this method – see the Scenery Links below for Terragenesis, where I originally found the method.

Back to Top

Tom’s FAST FOAM FORESTS

(any scale, more or less)

I have a way of doing forests. It’s not very good but I thought I’d share
it anyway: some blister packs (eg Geohex or even Games Wonkshop) come with foam
backing. Tear this up into little blobs, trim any highly pointy bits with scissors and paint
dark green (spray is best). Paint some card a lighter green (grass green). cover lightly with
glue (eg pva [white glue]), pour on painted foam chunks and squash down. You now have
forest of little foam trees. I did it quickly, so my forests tend to look a bit angular! The
scale is a bit off from how some do 1/300, though. It works fine in 1/1000, and matches
the groundscale, not the model scale, in 1/300.

Tom Anderson

[This could look good as scrub/brush areas for 15/25mm gaming as well. I’ll have to try it
and see – Brian]

Back to Top

HILLS

(any scale; easy; less cheap)

A couple of hill-making ideas to try:

Stryofoam:

This is the blue or pink stuff, sold as building insulation, usually in 1 inch thicknesses. It’s solid, quite tough and strong, and carves fairly easily. (The white beaded stuff isn’t as solid or as strong, and the beads make for odd scenery.) It can be used to make very realistic looking hills.

Using a long razor knife or, even better, a serrated knife, cut out shapes in the sizes you want for hills. Slope the sides inward a bit, but don’t try to carve all the slopes out with the knife – it’s too much work.

Instead, get a sheet of quite coarse sandpaper (80 or 100 grit) in a sanding block, and sand the slopes into the styrofoam. It will come away under the sandpaper very easily, although it will produce a load of styrofoam dust & particles that probably aren’t very good for you. Working on a wet cloth or paper towel will keep most of the dust out of the air, and vacumning up afterward is essential.

A few minutes work will give you a hill with realistic looking sides, sloping gradually up to the peak of the hill. Your hill slopes should mostly be shallow enough to allow whatever figures you usually play with to stand without falling or sliding too much.

Paint the hill (usually green) and after it’s dry, flocking is probably a good idea. Here’s my two-part method to make really, really tough flocking:

  1. Dilute white glue half-and-half with water, and use a cheap paintbrush to apply it to the hill surface.
  2. Sprinkle liberally with flocking – I use Woodland Scenic’s ground foam. Let it sit for a minute.
  3. Then knock the excess flocking – the stuff that hasn’t been glued down – off the hill. Working carefully, you should be able to save most of it for use later.
  4. Mix white glue and water roughly 1:2 – you want a fairly thin white glue mix – and use an eyedropper to soak the flocking with this mix.
  5. The drops might create a few holes in the flock coat – it’s easy enough to drop a few pinches of flock back into those holes.
  6. Let the whole thing dry – usually at least overnight – and it’s done. The doubly-glued flocking can survive a surprising amount of wargaming, transport, and similar abuses, and if the flocking gets thin you can easily apply another layer or new patches.

Cardboard Hills:

This method gives less realistic hills than the styrofoam one, but the hills are even cheaper, solid, and give actual on-table contour lines for your hills.

Using boxes, pizza trays, or some other source of good cardboard, cut out pieces of cardboard in steadily increasing sizes, keeping all the pieces mostly similarly shaped, and use white glue or maybe hot glue to stick them together in a hill. Each piece will act as a contour line for it’s level of the hill, making it easy to determine who’s uphill of whom or what exact LOS is. If each piece is about one inch or so bigger on all sides than the one above it, you will get gentle, usable contours. Cliffs or similar are also possible, of course.

For finishing, a thick coat of green paint and flocking works, although you have to be careful that the cardboard doesn’t warp if you use too much water in either the paint or the glue.

Back to Top

ROCKS

(any scale, slightly complex, variable price)

These are more painting tips than modelling ones. Rocks of various sorts are easy enough to model. Plaster is of course practically stone already once dry, so with a bit of carving and molding makes great stonework, cliffs, and similar. Rock can also be carved into blue stryofoam easily enough, although that requires a bit more skill or luck.

However you make your stone, here’s two ways to get the stone looking good.

Method 1: Good grey stone should start not with grey but with black – paint the stone area solid black, and let it dry. Then do a heavy drybrush of medium grey, leaving the bottoms of the crevices and other low points mostly black. Then do a much, much lighter drybrush of white, hitting only the high points of the rockface. You can get a great look to your stone with this method – far superior to plain grey stones. Varying the exact shade of the stone is as easy as changing the weight of the grey & white drybrushings.

Method 2: This works on plaster, and is borrowed from model railroading landscaping. Use inks, washes or dyes to color the plaster a ‘base color’, using gray, black or any other color of wash. I have used burnt umber artist’s inks, slightly thinned, on plaster rocks, and will be using the method on castle walls soon. After the wash, moderate drybrushing will bring up some highlights, although the wash and the nature of plaster will give some highlights naturally.

Back to Top

Buildings

(15mm, 25mm, other scales; a bit complex, less cheap)

I’ve been building a fair number of structures lately.
Nothing elaborate, but they look all right and work on the gaming
table. I’ve got my three usual methods of building construction here.

Part of the problem with a lot of buildings is that you really need access to the inside of the structure to fully use it in a game. This can make construction a bit of a challenge.

Method 1: Draw & Fold:

If you don’t need access to the inside of a building, and it’s of fairly small size (eg for 6mm or a small 15/25mm shed or something) I often use folding-card buildings. On paper, draw the building’s wall/roof/etc flat, and connected along common sides where possible, then add glue tabs to
the ends of walls. You can either leave the drawings uncolored and then
color them later, or color them now and spring for color photocopying onto
card. Either way, you then get your completed drawn building copied onto
a light card – the stuff that’s about the same weight as file cards.

Then cut the building out (coloring it first if you need to) and carefully
fold & glue it together. Use a ruler to make your folds exact and straight,
and I recommend a glue stick for gluing – it won’t run or warp the paper
the way white glue could.

The best part of this method is that you can draw one building, and then
get it copied as much as you need. Require a dozen towers for a city wall,
or a bunch of huts for a village? Draw it once, then copy & fold as many
as you need.

Method 2: Sheets of Stuff:

I use both foamcore and matt board for building construction.

Matt board is the stuff that is used in picture framing
– most framing shops will sell it to you. It’s not the cheapest material
going, but it is very strong and solid. Get a sheet that’s black on the
back and some building-like color on the colored side (mine is a sort of
grey-green) and you won’t even have to paint it.

Foamcore should be available in art supply or stationary
stores. The usual version is 1/4″ thick, with glossy paper on both sides and
open cell foam between (hence ‘foamcore’). This stuff is murder on cutting
blades, for some reason. Buy a bulk pack of X-Acto blades, and replace the
silly things whenever the blade starts catching on the foamcore instead of
cutting smoothly. The thickness of foamcore makes it very good for modelling
heavily-built structures – big warehouses, armoured structures, etc.

Matt board is better for modelling buildings with lots of doors, windows
and other openings. It’s easier to cut than foamcore, and being stronger,
less likely to suffer from being cut full of holes. They both have their uses,
however.

Cut walls out from the board to the height & length needed, lay out doors &
windows using a ruler, then carefully cut them out – use several shallow passes
of the blade instead of attempting one deep cut, which could easily damage the
board, especially foamcore. Human scale doors are roughly one head-height taller
than a person and about half again as wide as a person’s shoulders. Larger doors
can be of any size & proportion desired.

Two Storey Buildings:

Making a multi-storey building that has the lower floors fully accessible is a
bit more work than normal building, but worth it, I think. Start by constructing
each floor as a single-storey height unit, adding a cardstock floor to all levels
above the ground level. To get the units to stay together when stacked, add
small pieces of scrap board to the outside of each wall which will hold the upper
floor in line with the lower. Make these holders look like utility conduits, vents,
signs, whatever you feel they need to be disguised as.

Alternatively, add strips to the bottom of the floors, positioned to fit against
the inside of the wall of the unit below, again to keep the top floor secure.

When access to lower floors is needed, the upper levels can simply be lifted off
carefully and placed to one side, if need be with figures still inside.

Foamcore is also good for small scenic details and bases for buildings and
small ‘scenes’. You could even make larger hills and similar with it, but it’s
a bit expensive for that.

Back to Top

TRENCHES

(15mm or other scales; easy, cheap)

Easy, good looking trenches and similar earthworks for 15mm can be made from
foamcore by taking advantage of the multi-layered construction of foamcore. Cut
the top layer of paper all the way through, following the desired edges of the
trenchline. Carefully tear away the paper over the trench, then carve the foam
out, leaving the bottom layer of paper to hold the whole thing together. The
bottom & walls of the trench get a muddy brown coat of paint, and the outer
parts of the piece of foamcore should get green paint & flocking, along with some
brown – or all mud, if it’s the Western Front.

Back to Top

BUNKERS:

(15mm or larger scales, cheap,easy)

Next time you buy a blister-packed mini, don’t throw out the blister –
turn it into a bunker. Many of the square/rectangular blisters minis come
in have the slightly-rounded edges & corners that many bunker-type
installations have – just glue the blister to a cardboard base of some
sort, paint it concrete colored, add or paint on doors & firing slits, add
vegetation or details to the base, and there you go…dead easy, and isn’t
it nice that your new bunker came with an interesting mini or several as a
bonus?

Back to Top

CONCERTINA/RAZOR WIRE

(any scale, cheap, easy)

Barbed or razor wire is fairly easy to make for any scale. Get a roll of very fine wire – mine came from a hardware store and was called “Hobby Wire”. I believe the width is .005″. Roll lengths of wire along a cylinder of the right width – wire is usually between knee and waist high in coils, so just match dowels or bits of tubing against the height of your figures. Fairly tight coils are the norm, so you’ll need a lot of wire to make your lengths of concertina. Just keep coiling until you’ve got the length of concertina you need. Base the coils on pieces of card, mounting them with posts or similar methods. These look really good, are fairly durable, and are easy. Get your troops hung up on the wire today!

SCENERY LINKS:

A collection of scenery-related links, to sites that either focus exclusively on miniature wargaming scenery or that have good scenery sections in them:

  • Terragenesis This has to be the foremost wargames scenery site out there. Focuses mostly on Goudge Dorkshop games (ewww…) but the techniques are great, the photos are good, and the whole site is very cool. Also has a great collection of scenery links.
  • Major General Tremorden Rederring’s Colonial Wargames Page: Great scenery ideas, great photography, good sense of humour – this site even has Kipling, by Jove!
  • Schild & Vriend Wargaming Club: A Belgian club, with good scenery ideas, good photos, a good philosophy of scenery, and one of the most literate, clearly written sites I’ve seen – I only wish my site was as well written.
  • The WarFactory is an impressive site, mostly concerned with scenery building ideas, including some spectacular plants and trees. Great photographs, too.
  • The Miniatures Page The biggest, oldest news & community site in wargaming. Covers everything; check the Workshop section for occasional scenery articles.

Back to Top

Links: Fantasy Wargaming

Chipco’s Fantasy Rules! Links

Hordes of the Things & Misc. Fantasy Links:

Related Links:

  • Dan Smith’s Fantasy Fonts for Windows has Tolkein-inspired and other fantasy fonts, plus lots of related links.
  • Flat Earth Games have very cool fonts and other gaming information. Beautiful looking site, as well. [DEAD LINK?]
  • Warflags has free flags for wargamers – they’re intended as historicals, but a number of them work all right as fantasy flags, especially the mediaeval ones.
  • Leonardo da Vinci – diagrams, drawings, & models of his work, including many of his fascinating machines.
  • Town of Vinci’s Leonardo Museum has information and loads of great diagrams. Vinci was Leonardo’s hometown…
  • The Myths & Legends pages have good information on real-world dieties, myths and legends. Useful to inspire your fantasy-world mythos.
  • Information & Links on real-world Ancient Civilizations. More inspiration.
  • Worlds in the Net is a catalog of people’s fantasy and science fiction worlds on the WWW.
  • Xenite.Org: Worlds of Imagination on the Web – Science fiction & fantasy.
  • RPGnet has loads of interesting links and information, including a good review of FR! 2ed.
  • Lots of amusing RPG stories – should probably be called “Stupid Gamer Tricks”…or sometimes “Stupid GM Tricks”… [DEAD LINK?]
  • Not a fantasy wargames site either, but L-Space is the best Terry Prachett site going. Wonderful site if you’re a Pratchett fan. (Who isn’t?)
  • Sir Clisto Seversword’s Tome of Adventure & Knowledge – the site isn’t quite as long as the name, but nearly! This is a medieval-themed collection of links, very well sorted and indexed. Lots of good stuff. [DEAD LINK?]
  • Tempus Peregrinator’s Little Heraldry Book is a good heraldic primer, glossary and dictionary, online with good links.
  • The Medieval Sword Resource Site is a sort of online museum dedicated to the medieval swordsmith’s art. Great links, information and images.
  • Landsknecht.com is actually an SCA site, which has loads of information, links and images for Renaissance warfare.
  • The Dwarven Delving is an RPG site, but it’s got great images and some entertaining information on everyone’s favourite short axe-wielders!

Kra’Vak House Rules in Stargrunt II

SGII KRAVAK RULES

By David D. Taylor

Kra’Vak Design Doctrine: The Kra’Vak use a doctrine of a 4 soldier element unit known as a claw. Most fists consist of 2 claws and a commander, with specialist elements consisting of only one claw and commander. The basic Kra’Vak force is based on a fist of two four man claws with a leader. The second claw can function independently as detached units while the Fist Overseer remains with the first claw giving the platoon a very flexible force. It is a matter of pride with most arms that the first combat fist is made up of the oldest and most experienced warriors (veterans). Normally the Last fist is made up of the inexperienced, new recruits (greens). This same convention is used by all platoons with the difference that the power armour and scout recruits have proven themselves in the combat platoon and the lowest rating will be regular with the first squad being elite. The rest of the squads will be veteran.

The standard ground combat arm consists of the command fist, six combat fists, and two augmented weapons fists. It will also have a sniper and a Sia’Na as an independent figure. The Sia’Na will attach themselves to the command fist. Both the standard power armour arm and standard scout arm consist of the command fist and four combat fists. The standard power armour is classed as fast and heavy. The scout arm also is trained to act as forward observers for artillery strikes. They will always have enough Kr’Gak riding beasts attached for every member of the arm. They are trained to fight both from the back of the Kr’Gak and dismounted as dragoons.

It is not uncommon for a combat arm to be mechanized with the addition of 9 Tu’Ha light ICVs. The movement rate of the power armour precludes the need for transport in the combat arena, and the stealth benefits of the Kr’Gak would be undermined by having vehicles attached to them. There may also be one or two Ha’Iv main battle tanks and as much as a fist of Sia’Kol Infantry Walker infantry walkers.

The basic rifle for the Kra’Vak foot soldier is the Ra’Sak gauss rifle. This weapon is configured to fire shot bursts of up to four 4-mm sabots at very high velocity. The limit is to prevent a soldier in the grips of Ro’Kah from emptying the weapon in a single uncontrolled burst. In game terms it is a firepower 2 impact D12 weapon.

The Da’Sak Gauss Machine Gun is a larger, fully automatic weapon firing an 8mm armour piercing sabot. It is often used with a giro-stabilized frame. It is a support firepower D10 impact D12 weapon.

The Va’Sak gauss tank killer is the standard anti-armour weapon. It consists of 3 fixed barrels and a fourth sabot in a chamber in the center of the weapon that is cycled into the first chamber after it is fired. The sabot is a 40mm ferrous iron jacketed spent uranium armour piercing shell with a shaped charge behind it to drive it further into the target upon impact. In game terms it as a 4 shot IAVR firepower D10 impact D12* weapon. While the weapon cannot be reloaded on the battlefield it is not considered disposable and is carried with the soldier for as long as is possible. For long term deployments extra, loaded Va’Saks can be carried in the Tu’Ha and can be exchanged by spending an action in contact with the ICV.

The general sniper rifle in use is the Ki’Sak. It is a single shot gauss rifle firing a 25mm armour-piercing sabot. Support firepower D10 impact D12

Independent Characters

Sia’Na: The presence of a Sia’Na on the battlefield can have a calming effect to all the forces on the field. Like a command unit a Sia’Na can pass his activation on to other units. Like a command unit his one activation will give the next unit two actions. The limitations is that they can only be used to take a morale check or pass on down the line. A failed check in this action will not negatively affect the squad’s morale. The normal morale check will still risk lowering the morale as per the normal rules. The squad can improve its morale 2 levels by passing both tests. It is possible to have more then one Sia’Na attached to a platoon for special operations. Because of the rarity of the Sia’Na it is all but unheard of to have one attached to each fist. To do so for one Arm would use more then half the available Sia’Nas for the entire body.

Sniper: The sniper is always an Elite. The need for them to work alone, close to or behind, the enemy lines requires they have the greatest possible control over Ro’Kah.

Confidence Levels:

At Confident (CO) a unit may make any actions that are normally available to it.

At STEADY (ST) they are unable to transfer actions.

At SHAKEN (SH) a unit may not enter cover or retreat from an enemy unless it passes a REACTION TEST.

At BROKEN (BR) a unit must use one of its actions to advance towards the nearest enemy. They may not go into position. If they are fired upon they we immediately drop to routed.

At ROUTED (RO) the unit must use both its actions to attempt to close assault the nearest enemy unit. If they fail both reactions tests passed from a Sia’Na they will close assault the nearest unit regardless if it’s friend or foe. If the Sia’Na that transferred the action is within close assault range they will assault that unit even if there is one closer.

Kra’Vak Physiology

Zha’Vak has a very thin ozone layer, as a result the Kra’Vak are much less susceptible to radiation then humans. The low level radiation from spent uranium munitions as well as low level dirty nukes do not have any major effect on them.

The Kra’Vak Physiology is somewhat redundant. With the exception of the brain they have at least 2 organs to perform every task. This mixed with a dermis that is on average two to three times tougher then a human’s and you have a very tough creature. Even though they wear Partial Light armour they are considered Full-Suit Light armour (D8).

The Kra’Vak hip and knee joint does not allow it to sit in what humans would consider a comfortable position. In their resting state they crouch. The seating in all vehicles is similar to a high performance motorcycle with the addition of a padded plate to rest their chest on. There are also braces on the calf and the small of the back to hold them in place during zero-g or rough maneuvering.

Progression of Command Levels:

  • Team = Claw
  • Squad = Fist
  • Platoon = Arm
  • Company = Body
  • Battalion = War Family
  • Regiment = War Clan

Basic Ground Combat Arm: (Normal Troops on Foot: movement 6)
Command Fist: (9 men at full strength)

  • Arm Overseer with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
    • First Claw
      • Claw Overseer with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Communications Specialist with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Rifleman with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Rifleman with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
    • Second Claw
      • Claw Overseer with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Rifleman with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Rifleman with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Da’Sak Gauss Machine Gunner

The command Fist has a sniper with a Ki’Sak gauss sniper rifle and a Sia’Na with Ra’Sak gauss rifle attached.

Basic Combat Fist: (9 men at full strength)

  • Fist Overseer with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
    • First Claw
      • Claw Overseer with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Rifleman with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Rifleman with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Da’Sak Gauss Machine Gunner
    • Second Claw
      • Claw Overseer with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Rifleman with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Rifleman with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Va’Sak Gauss Tank Killer

Augmented Weapons Fist: (9 men at full strength)

  • Fist Overseer with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
    • First Claw
      • Claw Overseer with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Da’Sak Gauss Machine Gunner \
      • Da’Sak Gauss Machine Gunner
      • Da’Sak Gauss Machine Gunner
    • Second Claw
      • Claw Overseer with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Va’Sak Gauss Tank Killer
      • Va’Sak Gauss Tank Killer
      • Va’Sak Gauss Tank Killer

Power armour Arm (Fast Power armour: Movement 12)
Command Fist: (5 men at full strength)

  • Arm Overseer
    • Claw
      • Rifleman with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Rifleman with MLP and with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Communications Specialist with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Da’Sak Gauss Machine Gunner

Powered Combat Fist: (5 men at full strength)

  • Fist Overseer with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
    • Claw
      • Rifleman with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Rifleman with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Rifleman with MLP and with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Da’Sak Gauss Machine Gunner

Scout Arm (Very Light Troops: Movement 8)
Command Fist: (5 men at full strength)

  • Arm Overseer with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
    • Claw
      • Rifleman with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Rifleman with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Rifleman with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Communications Specialist with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
    • Five Kr’Gak Riding Beasts Attached (Movement 10)

Scout Combat Fist: (5 men at full strength)

  • Fist Overseer
    • Claw
      • Rifleman with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Rifleman with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Rifleman with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
      • Rifleman with Ra’Sak gauss rifle
    • Five Kr’Gak Riding Beasts Attached

Kra’Vak Vehicles:
The basic design doctrine is very simple; vehicles are designed to fit a specific role as well as possible. The idea is to mix different specialized vehicles to best meet any eventuality. A commander can achieve great renowned by coming up with unusual ways to combine resource to accent the unit’s strengths and overcome its limits.
Sia’Kol Infantry Walker
The Sia’Kol is unusual in that it is a 6 legged walker. It is usually meant to fill the place of the Tu’HA for the Power armoured fists. It is also the only vehicle in common use that is not GRAV based. (I use a Reaper CAV scorpion figure)
Class 1 Vehicle, Infantry Walker Mobility, Armour Value 1, 1x Class 2 Gauss Cannon in Fixed Mount, Gauss Machine Gun (SAW)
Tu’Ha light ICV
This is the standard workhorse of the Kra’Vak mechanized infantry. It is meant to support the disembarked infantry agents other foot soldiers and has a very limited anti-vehicle capability. The 10-man capacity allows for the addition of a sniper or other Independent Character. If there is no 10th soldier then the space can be used to carry 2 extra Va’Sak Gauss Tank Killers. The Va’Sak soldier must spend an action in contact with the back of the vehicle with the vehicle stopped to swap weapons.
Class 3 Vehicle, Armour Value 3, Grav Mobility, 10 Units of Infantry Transport, 2x Class 1 Gauss Cannon in Turret Mount
Ha’Iv main battle tanks
This is the most common Kra’Vak vehicle seen on the battlefield. It is a very capable tank mounting a very large main gun. It suffers in that it does not have the flexibility to adapt to changes in the battlefield that some human designs have. This can be seen as a limit with most of the Kra’Vak vehicles.
Class 3 Vehicle, Armour Value 3, Grav Mobility, 1x Class 5 Gauss Cannon in Turret Mount

Stargrunt II Xenomorphs (Aliens aliens!)

‘We Believe A Xenomorph May Be Involved…’

Rules for Ripley’s Nightmares in Stargrunt II.
Written by Brian Burger, June 2001

The aliens of the ‘Alien’ movie series are many people’s favourite nasty bugs; this is an attempt to portray them in Ground Zero Games’ Stargrunt II.

General: The aliens are best played by a referee, with players taking the roles of terrorized colonists and/or hapless Marines. To get the right feel, the playing area should be very tight, either the corridors and ducts of a base or building, or a heavily urbanized zone; any playing area should have lots of hiding places, nooks and crannies for slavering alien beasties to hide in.

The Xenomorphs: These seem to come in a variety of forms, probably representing different maturity levels of the organism.

  • Small Hunters: Probably immature forms of the Hunter xenomorph. Movement 8″ or d8x2/Armour d6/Close Assault d8.
  • Hunters: Larger, faster, more dangerous mature forms of xenomorph. Move 10″ or d10x2/Armour d8/Close Assault d10.
  • Queens: Very large, incredibly dangerous breeding form, rarely seen (thankfully). Move 10″ or d10x2/Armour d12/CA d12x2.
  • ‘Facehuggers’: The larval, active breeding form of the xenomorph, given their unofficial name for their habit of attaching to victim’s faces before inserting an egg down the victim’s throat. Facehuggers die after inserting this egg, and gestation time is unknown at this time. If the facehugger’s ‘CA’ roll succeeds, one member of the target squad is hugged, and is counted as untreated wounded. Move Special/Armour n/a/CA d12.

Special Morale: Aliens always count as Elite 1 for all leadership checks; note that the CA die is usually different, which is not usual SG2 practice. Further, aliens count as High Mission Motivation at all times, and when an alien squad is activated they get one free Clear Suppression roll, in addition to the usual two actions.

In Close Assault, zenomorphs count as 3x their own numbers for determining Confidence Checks. Queens always cause checks at +2, regardless of the numbers involved.

If zenomorphs loose 50% or more of their unit in one attack, they will fall back as soon as they are able.

Extra Morale Rules for Humans:

Panic: Zenomorphs cause Panic checks when first seen by Untrained, Green and Regular troops; if Panic is caused it is treated a bit differently from regular Panic, as follows: if a unit Panics when confronted or attacked by xenomorphs, it will flee, not instantly freeze. The unit will make one Combat Move back along the route it has been following, or directly away from the oncoming xenomorph unit. After this panicked movement, the squad will freeze in place, and be subject to all the usual Panic rules as laid out in the SG2 rules. Note that this check will take place during a CA run by xenomorphs, if that is the first sighting; this may make it impossible for the squad to make it’s usual rolls to stand and receive the assault.

New/Adapted Morale & Reaction Tests:

  • squad attacked unsuccessfully by facehugger: Threat +1
  • squad attacked successfully by facehugger: Threat +2
  • first sighting/attack by xenomorphs, including facehuggers: Panic Check for Untrained, Green & Reg squads.
  • All other checks in SG2 apply.

Have fun, and remember… “It’s a bug hunt.”

Copyright Brian Burger, 2001.

If you want more information on the movies, thank the IMDB: Alien (1979)Aliens (1986)Alien3 (1992)Alien: Resurrection (1997). There are persistant rumours about “Alien 5”, but nothing concrete yet, as far as I know.

Pulp Vehicle Cards

A while back, I made up a set of eight vehicle outlines, designed to be printed on Letter-sized business card blanks or regular cardstock and used alongside (or instead of) 28mm vehicles on the tabletop. That first set had small cars, light & heavy trucks, and a closed limousine.

Pulp Vehicle Sheet One
Pulp Vehicle Cards Sheet One, PDF

I’ve finally gotten off my duff and made up a second set of cards; this one has sporty roadsters (with and without rumble seats), larger sportscars, an open limousine, and motorcycles with and without sidecars.
Pulp Vehicle Sheet Two
Pulp Vehicle Cards Sheet Two, PDF

Dirtside II House Rules

A group of us here in Victoria, BC, Canada who play Dirtside II regularly. Individually & collectively, we’ve come up with some house rules to modify parts of DS2 to our liking. Feel free to use our rules if you like them, and if you’ve got house rules that you want to see posted, contact me.

House Rules: Cascading MoraleOverwatchHull Down & CoverArtillery Spotter DronesHidden Deployment & Observation Posts.

Cascading Morale

(for DS2 & SG2)
Continue reading Dirtside II House Rules

Stargrunt II House Rules 2

Industrial Accidents in Stargrunt II

The Dangers of Firefights Near Explosive, Hazardous, Poisonous or Flammable Materials!
Written by Brian Burger, June 2001.


If a squad’s target during a fire action is sheltering on or behind, or within 3″ of any designated structure, consult the following tables immediately after the squad’s fire die have been rolled:

On a MISS, fire is too scattered to have any effect.

On a MINOR hit to the target squad, roll d10: 1-5 No Further Effect, 6 Vapour Leak, 7-9 Fire, 10 Explosion.

On a MAJOR hit to the target squad, roll d10: 1-3 No Further Effect, 4 Vapour Leak, 5-8 Fire, 9-10 Explosion.

If you have deliberately targeted the structure, roll as if it was a building, then add +1 to any Effects rolls.
If you have hit the structure with a heavy weapon, add +1 for every TWO IMPACT DIE rolled. (or each x2 multiplier used)

Vapour Leak: The shot releases noxious or corrosive gasses into the air, which form a cloud downwind for d6″. Any infantry squads or open vehicles caught in or passing through the cloud take a d8 attack vs their armour; fully armoured & sealed vehicles treat it as a non-penetrating impact. The cloud dissipates at the end of the turn it formed in.

Fire: A fire starts on and/or around the structure, treated exactly like the Fire rules in SG2’s Optional Rules section. However, there is the risk of further Explosions. Every turn, roll a d10 for each fire on the table. On a 1, the fire is extinguished; on a 10, there is an explosion. See below.

Explosion: Treat exactly as a Medium GP artillery shell impacting on the point of the structure nearest the firing unit.

Comments: These rules probably shouldn’t be used for every SGII scenario, but for certain ones taking place in densely industrial settings they should be considered. Making players actually pay attention to what’s downrange when they’re blazing away adds a strong element of tension to smaller scenari

Stargrunt II House Rules, Part I

Semi-Autonomous Combat System (SACS)

Fixed (sentry guns a la ‘Aliens’ movie) or Mobile (mini-tanks a la ‘X-Com’ computer game). (F-SACS or M-SACS)

Target as Size 1 point targets for both Fixed & Mobile.

Design:Fixed and Mobile SACS can mount any TWO SAW-type weapons, or any ONE of the following: any Class 1 heavy weapon, GMS/L or GMS/H.

Firing is as normal for vehicle-mounted weapons. Most SACSs will be SUP or EHN systems. SAW-mounting SACSs will roll Quality as VET (d10) plus one Support die per SAW. E.g. a twin Gauss SAW SACS will roll 3 d10s.

M-SACSs can be any Mobility type. Tracked and Grav are the two most commonly used Mobilities.

SACSs of both types have d10 Armour. F-SACS can be armoured up to d12 Armour; they can also be designed to retract into bunkers. While deployed in firing position, such F-SACS have either d10 or d12 Armour depending on design; when retracted, they are protected by the armour of the bunker housing them, but cannot fire. It takes 1 action to extend or retract such an F-SACS system.

SACSs do not get the usual ‘free’ SAW of other vehicles, only the weapons specified in their design.

Command & Control: SACSs are independent units, forming ‘squads’ of one or possibly two units. SACSs do not have Confidence levels, nor do they take Suppression markers from fire. SACSs can be activated during the regular turn sequence if desired, or left to engage targets on their own. For other applicable rolls, SACS are Leader 1s, and should be given any color 1 chit for recordkeeping.

M-SACS on independent activation can move half their regular movement (6″ or d12) with one or both of their actions.

SACS on independent free fire will fire at the END of all other activations.

ALL SACS WILL ALWAYS ENGAGE THE NEAREST TARGET TO THEM, modified by the following rules, and if two targets are at equal range, use the following rules. If two identical targets are at identical ranges, determine target randomly.

  • SAW-equipped SACS will target infantry over light (Size 1 and 2) vehicles, and those over larger vehicles.
  • Gun-equipped SACS (those with Size 1 weapons) will engage light vehicles and infantry equally (random roll if needed), and those over larger vehicles.
  • GMS equipped SACS will engage larger vehicles over lighter ones. They are incapable of engaging infantry, and will not do so.

There is one last way to activate SACS: as part of an infantry squad’s activation, with the SACS acting as a squad SAW. Both the infantry & the SAC System have to have LOS to the same target. The squad takes a Communication action as it’s first, then a Firing action. If the Comm roll is passed, the SACS adds it’s Support die to the squad’s fire, and both are then finished as usual. (The Reorg action represents the squad leader’s communications with the SACS AI system, and sharing of targeting information)

Limited Ammunition: Man-portable F-SACSs could have limited ammunition available in some scenarios. How limited depends on referee’s decision – I’d say four to six chits, each of which is one Firing action. As a carrying load, I’d say such an F-SACS would be an Encumbering load for three or four troopers.

Building-mounted F-SACSs or regular M-SACSs wouldn’t normally have ammo limits, save maybe for GMS units. If GMS/P equipped M-SACSs are used, they can only mount 1 GMS/P, but ignore or increase ammo limits.

Models: There are a couple of 25mm Sentry Guns, and otherwise they’d be good scratch-building or kitbashing projects. For a mobile system I’d be inclined to start with a largish 6mm tank chassis , and replace the turret – I’d think more of these systems would be open-mount type things, for weight saving.

John Crimmins wrote:
There was a pack of true 25mm Sentry Guns produced by Leading Edge Games. Not bad figures, but kinda drab. They do not look much like the ones from the movie. Grenadier/Scotia/etc. produced some Resin SGuns for the Kryomek line. These look more like permanent installations than anything else, but they are VERY nice indeed. And just last week, I saw a pack of SGuns for White Wolf’s “Trinity” line. Excellent sculpting, though they may be a bit big for some–they are 28mm scale. I’m certainly going to get a few packs, though, for use with my Grenadier “Future Warriors”. Lastly, didn’t GZG produce some mobile SGuns? I have at least one of them–a Gatling Gun mounted on a small hover chassis–and I seem to remember a GMS version, as well.

It sounds like 15mm Stargrunters are out of luck for the moment – it’s scratchbuilding or go without for us. Fortunately, I like scratchbuilding and kitbashing, so I’m modifying a spare 6mm grav MBT chassis into a single-SAW mounting M-SACS. I’m also going to get ahold of some larger grav or tracked tank hulls and make slightly larger M-SACS. Scratchbuilding F-SACS (sentry guns) will take a bit longer – some open-mount sentry guns first, then later bunker-mounted emplaced guns when I finally get started on buildings.

Brian Burger (thanks to GZG-L members as well)

Mounted Troops in Stargrunt II

Wayne Pollerd

In the following rules these term should be taken as:

  • Mounted infantry should be taken to mean an infantry squad riding small, unarmed one man vehicles, used mainly to enhance the moblity of the unit. This can include things like motor bikes, grav powered bikes or even jet skis.
  • Dismounted infantry is a mounted infantry squad that has gotten off their bikes.

MOBILITY
Being mounted on a bike gives mounted infantry a basic move of 12 and a combat move of D12 x 2. The mobility type of the bike (ie. Grav powered, high-mobility wheeled, etc) is used to determines the effects of terrain on the movement of a mounted infantry squad. In the case of grav powered bikes, the power plant is not powerful enough to allow them to use high mode movement or popup attacks. (This keeps the production costs down). When encumbered mounted infantry squads have a mobility of 10 and a combat move of D10 x 2.

Dismounted infantry use the mobility and terrain modifications to movement of normal infantry and when encumbered are effected as per normal infantry.

COVER
Mounted infantry squads can make full use of available cover but the mobility type of their bikes will will often limit the type of terrain they can enter. Mounted infantry squads can not go into position. Dismounted infantry follow the same rules for cover and terrain restrictions as regular infantry and if they go into position are assumed to have moved their bikes into covered positions as well (ie laid them on the ground).

PERSONAL ARMOUR
Due to the restrictive nature of powered armour, only troopers wearing non powered armour can be mounted on bikes. The norm is to wear partial light armour.

DISMOUNTING / REMOUNTING
Mounted infantry can dismount during a reorganise action. The advantage of this is that when dismounted they no longer have a range restriction on their weapons and they can also use any IAVRs they may be carrying (See Fire Procedure below). Unless you form a detached element the entire squad has to be either dismounted or mounted. While dismounted the squad is treated like a normal infantry squad which allows them to leave their bikes and move into buildings and other terrain that may have been impassible to them while mounted. To remount, the dismounted squad must be move so that all the dismounted figures and the bike models are within a 6″ diameter circle and then they need to perform a reorganise action.

MOVING BIKES ON FOOT
A dismounted infantry squad can move their bikes while on foot by the simply pushing them and should be considered encumbered for movement purposes while doing so. It takes one figure to move a single bike. Enemy squads can also move unattended bikes in the same manner, though they will have to deal with any guards first. If the dismounted infantry push their bikes into terrain that would normally be prohibited because of the movement type of the bikes, they can not mount their bikes again until they leave this terrain.

FIRE PROCEDURE
Shooting at mounted infantry: A mounted infantry squad is considered a size 1, dispersed target. The fact that they are mounted on small one man vehicles does not make them point targets. Hence when you shoot at a mounted infantry squad you use the standard fire procedure for firing at a normall infantry squad. This includes heavy weapons only getting an impact dice of a D8.

Shooting at dismounted infantry: When shooting at dismounted infantry use the normal fire procedure for shooting at a normal infantry squad and ignore the bike models. If a dismounted squad takes casualties that result in the death of a trooper, his bike will be left behind for latter salvage (assuming their side wins the battle). See MOVING CASUALTIES for more details. While dismounted, a mounted infantry squad is effected by all combat results as if they were a normal infantry squad.

Shooting at bike models: If a mounted infantry unit dismounts and then moves away from their bikes there is a possibility that the opposing player will want to shoot at the bike models. I would suggest that the bike models should not be considered a valid target but if you must shoot them, then treat each bike as an individual point target with armour 0 (D6). This means it will take a number of separate fire actions to destroy all the bikes and this is time you should really have been using to deal with the dismounted riders instead.

Mounted infantry shooting:
Due to the need to concentrate on manoeuvring their bikes across the battle field the mounted infantry do not have a lot of time to aim at distant targets. In fact a lot of their fire is just pointing their weapons in the general direction of the enemy and letting rip with a burst of fire, making it inaccurate at anything over close range. Hence mounted infantry weapons can only be fired at close range (within one range band). Due to the need to use one hand to steer and the fact that anything other than small arms is too cumbersome to carry and use on a bike, mounted infantry can only be armed with infantry small arms (No heavy weapons or support weapons). Theone exception to this is that mounted infantry may carry IAVRs strapped to their bikes but the IAVRs can only be fired when dismounted.

Suppression:
When a mounted infantry unit first receives incoming fire the troopers will do one of two things. If the fire is light and inaccurate the normal response is to hunch down low and gun the bike’s engine so as to quickly remove themselves from the fire zone. If the troopers judge the fire to de too dangerous to continue they will instantly bring their bikes to a sudden halt and quickly take cover on the ground, normally behind their recently vacated bikes. This has become know, rather affectionately amongst mounted infantry units, as a ‘crash dismount’. On the other hand normal leg infantry call it ‘cowering in the dirt and hugging your bike like a long lost sweetheart’ but everything depends on your point of view. A crash dismount is not meant to be a new action just a nice descriptive term for the result of failing the reaction test.

To see what your mounted infantry squads reaction to incoming fire is you should make a reaction test with a threat level based on the number ofsuppression counters it has. The threat level is +2 for the first counter and +4 for the second counter. If a mounted infantry squad gets a third counter they automatically perform a crash dismount with no reaction test being made. If a mounted infantry squad suffers a casualty from incoming fire they will also perform an automatic crash dismount again without a reaction test being made.

If a mounted infantry squad passes the reaction test to stay mounted they can continue to perform movement and leadership actions while affected by a suppression counter but no fire actions. They can also perofrm a reorganise action if they are in cover. Suppression counters can be removed as normal. A dismounted infantry squad and one that has performed a crash dismount are affected by suppression counters like a normal infantry squad and cannot remount until all its suppression counters have been removed.

A mounted infantry squad can only perform a close assault action if it currently has no suppression counters. See CLOSE COMBAT for more information about mounted infantry performing a close assault.

Suppression information about mounted infantry performing a close assault:
Suppression counters effect a mounted infantry squads ability to perform final defensive fire during a close assault in exactly the same way as they effect normal infantry and final defencive fire is the only way a mounted infantry squad can perform a fire action while affected by a suppression.

Casualties:
Casualties are determined for mounted infantry squads in the same manner as when firing at a normal infantry squad (ie. the fire needs to be fully effective and the firer needs to beat the armour dice of the trooper with his impact dice). If you get a kill result in it is assumed that you have hit and penetrated the fuel tank / engine compartment resulting in a spectacular explosion and crash that kills any riders. If you get a wounded result it is assumed that you have damaged the bike causing it to crash and in the resulting crash the rider is also wounded.

Treatment & Movement of Casualties:
During a reorganise action it is assumed that the squad members attempt to treat any casualties as well as attempting to repair damaged bikes. Roll a D6 for administering to the wounded as usual. If the roll results in a full recovery it is assumed that the squad members also manage to get his bike back into running condition. Any other result on the treatment dice means that the bike has been damaged beyond the ability of hasty field repairs to fix.

Moving Casualties:
Untreated casualties: When a mounted infantry squad moves with untreated casualties, it is assumed that two of the wounded troopers squad mates are holding the casualty onto his bike and moving the bike and rider along with the unit. This means it takes two squad members to move a single untreated casualty. The unit is considered to be encumbered when moving casualties.

Treated casualties: When a mounted infantry squad moves with treated casualties it is assumedthat the treated casualty is carried on the back of a fellow squad members bike. Hence it takes only one squad member to move a single casualty. The unit is also considered to be encumbered when moving treated casualties.

CLOSE COMBAT:

A mounted infantry squad can initiate and be the target of a close assault action like a normal infantry squad. If the mounted infantry squad is the attacker they get a ONE DICE SHIFT up for the first round of close combat, this die shift does not apply when they are the defender and is in addition to any other die shifts that they qualify for under as normal (ie. Cover, close assault weapons etc.).

If a close assault action continues past a single round of combat it is assumed that the mounted infantry has dismounted and if they are subsequently forced to withdraw from the combat they will abandon their bikes when they fall back. If they win the combat they will not pursue the enemy for this would mean abandoning their bikes also. If the combat is resolved in a single round the mounted infantry are assumed to still be mounted and can hence pursue the retreating enemy provided they pass therequired reaction test. This means that follow through attacks can only be carried out by mounted infantry if they defeat their opponents in a single round.

If a mounted infantry squad is the target of a close assault action, passes the confidence test to receive the charge and is still mounted and able to perform movement actions (ie. They have previously passed the reaction test for not doing a crash dismount. See SUPPRESSION above for details) the player can chose to have them withdraw even if they have suppression counters. If the mounted infantry is dismounted then they should follow the normal rules which in that case the suppression counter would stop them from withdrawing.

Mounted infantry who suffer the effects of final defensive fire while performing a close assault are affected in exactly the same manner as a normal infantry squad. If they suffer a casualty from final defensive fire they will not perform a crash dismount until after they have fallen back.

If involved in a close assault action, as either the target or attacker while dismounted, a mounted infantry squad should be treated like a normal infantry squad and receive the normal die shifts.

Wayne P