We played a lot of Gaslands in 2020/2021 when COVID restrictions meant we couldn’t game in person, because Gaslands is fairly simple to organize overwebcam, and we kind of burned out on it.
Then we took Gaslands to Trumpeter Salute 2023 back in April, because it’s also really easy to set up pickup games for, and our pair of great chaotic games re-ignited our interest!
I’ve cranked through a trio of new cars since Salute, and then moved onto a new set of three cars. Two of the first set had been partially converted back in 2020/2021 and then neglected (and apparently I took no photos of them…) and the ’34 Ford hotrod was a new purchase while we were in Vancouver for Trumpeter.
The second trio of cars include another sports car all spiked up, a rally car up-armoured, and a Jaguar D-type converted into a monster truck. The Jag was the most complex conversion I’ve done for Gaslands yet, and started with a set of 3d printed monster truck wheels.
The basecoats are coming along nicely. The Jag is starting as British Racing Green, the spiked sports car is a gloriously weird yellow/green that Reaper calls Dungeon Slime, and the rocket rally car seems to have gotten trans pride colours, because why the hell not? Lots of weathering to do still, of course!
These three done will give me eight or so cars, a buggy, and three bikes for Gaslands just in my own collection. I have ideas for a heavy truck conversion starting with mashing together two big American 60s/70s Yank tanks, but I think I’ll switch gears slightly after this trio is done.
Brian and I (plus friends) attended Trumpeter Salute 2023 last weekend. No, not the UK one, the smaller one in Vancouver, Canada. We all had a great deal of fun, our first major miniatures convention since 2019 – after Bottos Con, which is primarily a board game convention, in Nov of last year.
Under Alien Suns (working title) – Coop scifi rules under heavy development
Friday afternoon in the first slot I ran another public beta test of my under development coop scifi skirmish ruleset, Under Alien Suns (the working title). It was a great deal of fun, autonomous vehicles got used as weapons, and there were many laughs. Also lots of great feedback.
Players were fighting in New Antares – against a mixed enemy – zombies from the former townsfolk & Halite Confederation soldiers
Vikings vs Saxons – Aftermath of the Raid
There were a pair of linked games both using Ravensfeast (a free online ruleset)- one of a Viking raid and then a 2nd of the Vikings attempted to get their stolen booty home. I missed the first game, but caught the second one. Also a chance to try out my new camera – a Canon RP with my older 60mm macro lens!
It ended up being a minor Viking victory, as they got the major loot (the laden donkey) off the table, and took down both my lord and the local bishop with his
Gaslands pickup game – Death Race!
As we were late getting back to the main hall after dinner on Saturday, we ended up running the first of a pair of pickup Gaslands games. This death race ended up with the leaders taking each other out and the person in last place at the start claiming victory.
But the most glorious moment was the double jump – jump, slide, spin, jump again. Amazing to watch
Operation Sea Lion – Bolt Action
Sunday is one big slot, but we ended up having time to play a pair of games. First up, a four-table Operation Sea Lion, the start of a larger Bolt Action Campaign. On our table, it is a very minor German victory, as we cheeseweasled some troops off at the end.
It all started badly, however, as the Brits took out 1/3 of our force on turn 1 and we failed our prepatory bombardment roll. But our crowning glory was storming the ruined house held only by Dad’s Army types, who inflicted huge casualties, but we did more.
One last Gaslands game – Flag Tag
We had one last Gaslands game – Flag Tag. Team red vs the other colours, which also happened to be the younger players, including a friend’s son, against the older players (Brian, Martin and Tony).
All in all, twas fun but you never get enough photos. I did also have a participatory art project this year – I asked players to graffiti my buildings for my scifi terrain. Photos of those shortly and thanks to all that participated, I got some great stuff.
Til next year!
Update! Martin has uploaded his photos to flickr – he played many of the same games as Brian and I and even has shots of Brian’s boat game – something apparently Brian himself failed to get
Sellswords & Spellslingers, like a lot of similar games, often has bad guys (foes in Sellsword parlance) appear at random locations or randomly along the board edge. This process can slow down the game, so I’ve been dreaming up ways to speed it up for a while now. Given I own a 3D printer, I decided to do some designing FreeCAD to create some board edges for Sellswords, Warcry and the upcoming scifi Sellswords variant I’m working on.
As I knew I was designing these once, I took some short cuts with my FreeCAD and just bodged it together. The base is a pair of 3″ Openlock templates, with Oxanium font and some ticks extruded onto them. Once printed and with the border corners designed and printed, I got a finished product, numbers from 1 to 35, as a Sellswords board is usually 36″x36″.
And that is how they sat for many months with little action. I had a convention (BottosCon 2022) in November, so I spent a bunch of time painting up buildings but didn’t get to the edges. So they were black for that first con. Only after the con did I get a base coat of rust on them.
The rust is mostly Liquitex Burnt Sienna Acrylic, with some Liquitex Raw Sienna and Red Oxide, all sponged on to provide texture.
Which brings us to this week, where I finally got the paint job finished. I gloss coated the edges, then put down Vallejo chipping medium with an airbrush. After that was dry, I added blues – mostly Reaper’s True Blue, but also some Sky Blue and Brilliant Blue for accents – all by airbrush
After the blues were down, I chipped them using a tooth brush, then hand painted on some a cheap craft titanium white and rechipped them. The white nicely toned down as the chipping medium + water means the paint runs a bit.
Just before I finished, I also added some 18 to 21 edges, as we also play Warcry, which has the very strange board size of 30″ by 22″.
Where can you find the files?
I haven’t uploaded them anywhere yet, but will get them on Thingiverse shortly!
On the wreck of the Z15A, near the Great Plain, there are three wrecks near a large lake/sea that always attract attention. The Green, Red and Blue ships are not spaceships, but rather waterborne craft from the ship’s former life, all now rusted wrecks that will float no longer.
All three can be found in The Galleries. This area, located port-side amidships, are where the structure of the ship blends seamlessly into buildings on the Great Plains itself. Many of the transportation links into the inner world start or end here, including the docks that these ships presumably used.
All three ships are huge – the intact hull of the Red Ship is some 1000m in length, while the less intact Green and Blue ships were estimated to be in the 750 length.
The most ruined of all three ships, all that is left of the Blue Ship is half a hull rotting. Large parts of this ship have apparently been cut up over the possible centuries it has been a wreck, possibly even as far back as the original inhabitants. Most of its equipment has similarly been carefully gutted, which speaks to re-purposing.
The Green Ship, resting on water-sodden grass, looks to have been deliberately run aground. On its hull can be found the remnants of scaffolding and work, possibly after it was run aground.
Unlike the other two ships, the Green Ship looks to have been a pleasure craft of some sort, with many features still found on terrestrial or space cruise ships today, including many open areas and more.
With lines that are reminiscent of an Earth-submarine during their second great war, this ship is the most intact in some ways, as the full hull is still visible. As the seas of the Great Plain are never more than a few metres deep at most (one way we know Z15A original inhabitants were not aquatic), it is unlikely the Red Ship actually was a submarine.
Inside the Red Ship is a maze of small passageways, with some decks being less a metre in height. On the side of the ship are doors that open, possibly for launching or retrieving other craft.
The Galleries are the main interface between the rest of the ship and the Great Plains. While other connections exist, only in the Galleries are there big enough connections to move full small ships or big equipment into the Great Plains.
The Galleries are named mostly because of the view they give – across the Great Plain. There are hundreds of km of window overlooking the Great Plain, parts of which could be considered places to rest or stop – whether to eat or not is unknown at this point.
The Main Gallery is located exactly amidships on the port side, and contains the two largest airlocks on the ship, as well as a cavernous space between the two to allow transfer of materials. The outer pairs have long been breached, leaving most of the galleries open to space. But the inner pair are both intact. Each airlock was a 1 km cube of space, allowing moving all but the largest of vehicles all the way onto the Great Plain.
Today we head back to Mephistopheles Cluster and the giant wreck of Z15A. A wrecked generation ship, Z15A is so named because of where it it is – Z sector, 15th quadrant, largest object in that quadrant, according to first Terran survey of the cluster.
Z15A has a number of notable features – it is huge (over 1000km long), it is apparently still sort of working (there is a breathable nitrogen/oxygen atmosphere in parts) and nobody really truly knows who originally built it.
Major parts of Z15A
In the thousands of rooms, corridors, bays and other spaces of Z15A, there are several that stand out as noteable.
Chi-nith-ra (Great Plain)
A massive space in the centre of the ship, the Chi-nith-ra or Great Plain more resembles a slice of a planet than the spaceship it is. Amazingly, this space retains both an atmosphere and heat, so can be walked around without a space suit.
During The Closing, inhabitants of several space stations retreated here as systems started failing on their stations. These humans and other species still squat here, despite all efforts to move them.
There are three distinct settlements within the Great Plain – New Hope is a primarily Human settlement, from the major Solar Compact station as well as few outer colonies. The Halite Commonwealth has formally accepted the small remnant of Qoss and Yishk who live in Britli-kat as part of the Commonwealth, although no other power recognizes their de-facto ownership and control over this part of the ship.
Lastly the reclusive Bredensonee, a large herbivorous species that resembles a bipedal woolly mammoth, have a large settlement in the far stern end of the plain. They are a descendants of a large family ship that was caught in the cluster due to The Closing on its was to a colony world. By far the most numerous settlement (really settlements), the Bredensonee have resisted efforts by their government to resettle them of Z15A, the suspicion amongst the others who live in Z15A is that this settlement is some type of religious order who may have fled to avoid persecution, although neither they, nor the central Bredensonsee government are saying anything.
Running down the centre top of the whole ship, from above the bridge at the front to the large docking bay at the rear, the main concourse is almost all open to space.
Docking and Ship Building Bays
A big part of the external parts of Z15A comprise the many docking and ship building bays that befitted a ship of this class. Most of them are empty, possibly when the original inhabitants left the ship, but some are filled with debris and parts of starships.
In the explorations of the ship, nobody has of yet found any intact small ships, but it is possible deeper in some of the bays, beyond the debris piles, there are complete starships.
Robots and other automated beasts
While Z15A is very definitely clear of any of the original inhabitants and large parts of it are open to vacuum, the ship is far from dead. The fusion reactors or whatever power the ship still function and the energy signal is very faintly detectable. Some parts of the ship retain atmosphere and heat, notably the vast inside space known as Chi-nith-ra. There are also a fair number of smaller robots that still function, some of which can pack a fair punch.
The stern end of the port side, beyond some empty ship building bays is an area that is shielded and still patrolled by security bots – armed with fairly primitive but highly effect lasers as well as low-velocity slug throwers. They appear to be guarding room that is approximately 500m cubed. It is on the exterior of the ship, with a large bay door that is similarly shielded and armed. Nobody has successfully entered this area and reported back, although it is possible a stealthier mission might have penetrated the defences here.
Security bots can be found scattered throughout the rest of the ship as well, although most are inactive. They appear near what look like former weapons installations (all removed or destroyed) or in a few of the small craft hangers
Cleaning and Repair Bots
Far more numerous are the cleaning and repair bots that function in some parts of the ship. These vary in size from the size of a bread box to large vehicle size, depending on the area. Most of these are harmless, although some malfunction and their tools can be harmful or even lethal.
The Great Plain has a variety of robots that work around it – underneath in the passageways that service the ecosystem
Today we find ourselves on Halite, the namesake planet of the Halite Commonwealth and homeworld of two separate intelligent species – the related lizard-like Qoss and the snake-like Yishk. On Halite is the cliffside monastery of Sheksha-kah, a famous religious centre in the commonwealth and a common retreat location for the wealthy and powerful to avoid unwanted notice or rehabilitate their image.
The Myth of Othaos
Perched high above the seas below on a narrow ledge, the monastery was founded by famous Halite scholar and skeptic turned prophet Othaos. They (neuter gender Qoss) famously boasted that “The gods don’t exist” and lead a group of atheist scholars that were seeking to unseat the orthodoxy.
Legend says (as told by Othaos themselves) that they were on a small boat travelling to Scorzetti when a massive, unseasonable storm suddenly descended upon their little ship. Soon all hope for control was lost as the heavy waves and wind pounded them. For hours the storm raged, pushed them closer and closer to the menacing cliffs they were pushed. Othaos said they prayed to the Goddess Sheksha of the Light Moon (the larger of the two of Halite’s natural satellites) in his time of need.
Shortly after midnight , the Light Moon broke through the clouds and illuminated them, pointing them at a gap in the cliffs. Through that cliff was a small protected beach and stairs up to the ledge high above the seas. Through skillful navigation, the small ship found its way on the beach, nearly swamped.
Othaos promised then and there to build the grandest monastery on Halite, the building that now stands on the ledge to this day. How much of this tale is true is left up to the reader.
As the monastery often hosts the wealthy and powerful who are looking to avoid some public scrutiny or atone for a public failing, the possibilities for adventures include smuggling people or goods out of the monastery, a covert assassination or similar nefarious things. The monastery can only be reached by foot – either up Othaos’ cliffside route or the newer path alongside the cliff. Both are under easy view of the monastery staff at all times, so any party would need excellent skills and some luck to pull off an action. Conversely, if defending the monastery the powerful storms that whip up in the seas below it often prevent easy reinforcements, so if players are defending the monastery, they might need to hold for quite some time with limited resources.
Authors Note: The above is also being rolled into an upcoming Sellswords & Spellslingers source booked tentatively called The Free Cities of the Rift, a Venice-like city in the world of Norindaal
I was going to do a piece on the Halite Commonwealth capital city today, but I thought I would detour with a stop at Sonnoros, a Saturn-like planet in the Halite system home to the intelligent Zennanesh race, a very large floating jellyfish-like species.
Native hydrogen breathers and from a gas giant, Zennanesh are the first known intelligent species of their type in the galaxy.
Sonnoros also hosts the Halite Legislature (somewhat similar to how the European Union or South Africa used to function, where the executive is hosted in a different city from the legislature)
As most player characters aren’t capable of either flying or breathing hydrogen, adventures in Sonnoros will be limited to either the main floating stations – often mining stations for rare elements in Sonnoros’ atmosphere, or meeting points. Although the Halite Commonwealth is stable, wealthy and safe, even the richest places have their underbelly.
Players have been approached to smuggle some goods off of a mining platform. They have to move the objects across the table to the airlock (and their ship). The loading dock is busy with civilians, so lethal force is not allowed. Players must create distractions so the port police don’t notice what they are doing.
Today we turn to an odd enigma – the Mephistopheles Cloud – named for the swirling colours and massive graveyard of ships and space stations that dot the cloud.
An area of space around 1/4 of the AU across, the Mephistopheles Cloud is home to some 15 warp gates and at last catalogue, some 90 years ago, 524 individual space stations or ships, most of which are abandoned. Both Solar Compact (Earth and most of the solar system) and the Halite Commonwealth maintain active stations here, as this is a waypoint to just about anywhere else.
The mystery comes in – how did the warp gates end up here? Nearly every else that has warp gates is by a major gravitational feature – a star or something similar. It wasn’t until after The Opening that a chance discovery lead to the finding of the grooves in space. Somebody dragged every warp gate from the systems many light years around to this cloud. And that “dragging” left telltale grooves in the universe.
The biggest ship here is the generation ship Z15A. Massing millions of tonnes and some 1000 km long, this is a remnant of an alien race leaving their dying sun.
Players are tasked with retrieving a lost scavenger party. The ship retains power through fusion generators, so many of the automated systems are still active. Foes include sentry robots and automated cannons, while stasis traps catch the unwary.
Like a fool, I (Corey) am throwing myself into #dungeon23 to build a galaxy for my upcoming Sellswords & Spellslingers scifi rulset. I’ll be creating a planet or so a week, with locations added each day
Today we visit, Hicanede, a mining colony famous for its incredible snowstorms and deep orange sky. The planet is incredibly rich in minerals that are rare elsewhere, and most of those deposits are easily accessible right below the surface. Massive open pit mines dot the planet, some recent and still being worked, others abandoned at various stages, including some after The Closing (the event when most warp gates closed at the same time)
Strange radio transmissions have been received from a long-closed mine. Players will need to investigate it. The mine was abandoned well before the Closing, but has been worked intermittently since then.
Foes include corrupted zombies, potentially also including a rival salvage crew.
The Closing (added Jan 3rd)
Travel in our galaxy involves using warp gates – instantaneous travel between linked pairs of gates, usually in solar systems. Most of these gates can be found in the 5 to 10 AU range from the star (between Jupiter and Saturn), although they have been found inside stars and scattered throughout the galaxy.
The event now known as The Closing actually began about 10 years before the event itself, as astrocartographers began noticing gates fluctuating and blinking on and off, initially seemingly at random.
A year or so before the closing, the blinking began happening consistently, each gate closing for 48.61 minutes at a time. The discovery that this was 1/1200 of the rotation time of the pulsar X-45JB was discovered by the AIs at the Martian National Radio Observatory, observing this strange pulsar with an orbital period of days rather than seconds.
The Closing is now known to have begun with X-45JB stopping for a full rotational cycle. At that very moment, around 75% of all gates shut. And stayed shut, for nearly 75 years. The chaos this caused is incalculable. Billions are believed to have died in the upheaval that followed, as stellar nations suddenly became chopped apart. Many newly settled worlds failed, as the lack of new people and resources meant they didn’t come.
And then, just like they closed, the gates reopened. It is now 3 years since that event and people and ships are flooding through the reopened gates. Alliances and wars are being fought over territory, while many planets are still as of yet officially unrecontacted.
Just about any type of adventure is possible now. Earth and the Solar System, long self-sufficient, weathered the closing well. Charismatic leadership kept the Solar System intact as a single political body. Similarly, the Halite Commonwealth got extremely lucky – only 1 of the 5 gates for their main planets of Speibahi and Dreglo shut, meaning they expanded quickly. However, hundreds of other planets exist in states from totally uninhabited through to struggling with pre-warp or pre-space tech.
It’s been a bit of an odd year for gaming, I’ve been having fairly regular games but not painting or building things on a consistent basis.
Obviously I’ve been very lax about updating the old blog but I have gotten a few bits and pieces done since the last update here at the end of February!
Sometime earlier this year I assembled and painted up this pair of little Gaslands vehicles, both from the North Star Implements of Carnage II plastic sprues. Both very cool Hot Wheels-scaled (20mm, nominally) little vehicles of a type that (unlike normal cars) you can’t easily get commercially.
By way of a mini review, I’d say buy Implements of Carnage II if you’ve already gotten into Gaslands, want the specific two vehicles on it, and probably already have the Implements of Carnage I set, which has lots of regular weapons, armour plates, and other bits that are more useful for converting Hot Wheels/Matchbox cars than what comes on the 2nd set!
There’s no instructions included with the sprues. The dirtbike is three pieces and goes together easily; the buggy is a bit more complicated but some test fitting should show you how it assembles. There’s two pieces of armour plate designed to go on either side that I’ve left off mine – they cover the sides of the roll cage either side of the driver.
More soon as I sort photos and try to get back into the swing of active gaming and blog posting!