Hero Time

ONE

They’d finally been able to do it.  The Tower had been destroyed, Heroes Vale was in ruins and every person that The Last Heroes had pledged to defend was dead; killed by the pettiness and spite of lesser men.  Although those under their protection were gone, and the order was in tatters, the scum from The Town had made one mistake; they’d left one of the heroes alive, and Savage would make them pay for their sloppiness.

Savage knew he’d only survived because of the Heroic Vengeance protocol.  It had long been known that the people of the Town were capable of anything, so the protocol had been created to ensure that there would always be one hero, no matter what happened.

A hardened shelter had been constructed far beneath The Tower and whenever the Conclave was in session and the Heroes at their most vulnerable, one of them would go to the shelter, and this time it had been Savage.

He settled his shoulder holster and rested his hand for a moment on the grip of his massive black pistol, Justice.  They were going to pay, not just for this but for every foul misdeed that had ever been committed in the name of The Boss.  The Town, and their callous, indifferent leader had been a blight on this world for far too long, and he intended to something about it, or die trying.  Savage was almost overcome with rage at the destruction laid out before him.

Whatever had destroyed Heroes Vale, it had been big, and it had been a spectacle, so Savage knew that at least some of the forces responsible were nearby, they wouldn’t be able to help themselves; if he knew anything about them, they’d probably filmed the whole thing.  The Town had a reputation among those settlements that remained not only for being spiteful and petty, but also being vicious, vengeful, self-deluded, and very thin skinned when it came to being humbled.  The Last Heroes had, it seemed, foiled the plans of The Boss one too many times and he had decided to deal with the problem in the most overblown way possible and had almost certainly had an advance team record the events for him to gloat over.

Savage needed to move fast.  He wanted to catch up to the team before they got back to The Town and he intended to kill them all.  It was the only way to stop them.  They wouldn’t learn, they were incapable of it and deadly violence was the only thing they understood.  It wasn’t exactly the most heroic line of thinking, but there was no longer any conclave to mitigate his more aggressive tendencies.

It didn’t take him long to find their tracks, they’d made no effort to conceal them.  It was over confidence, or ineptitude, perhaps even a little of both.  This suspicion was cemented a moment later when he heard some sporadic shouts of excitement, random gunfire and a single explosion off in the distance.  If they kept that up, he wouldn’t need tracks to follow.

 

TWO

The pair laughed raucously as the round from the bazooka hit the cliff face, triggering a landslide of rocks and assorted detritus to come sliding down into the wooded valley, startling the local wildlife into flight.

“I don’t know about you Harvey, but I feel pretty bloody awesome.”

“Damn right! We were there when those hero knobs were finally snuffed out.  Those guys were dangerous, and we were there, right in harms way; we’re a right pair of tough guys.”

Dennis simply nodded, with a big ear to ear grin plastered across his face and threw the bazooka to one of the men that the pair thought of as nothing more than expendable cronies.

“Let’s go fellow tough guy,” Harvey added, doing finger guns at his friend.

The pair turned and began walking to where they’d parked the transport, simply expecting the rest to follow.  They’d had to park a good distance away, so their arrival wasn’t clocked, and none of them had enjoyed the walk in; there was no direct road from The Town to here, so it had been a tough slog.  Dennis breathed a sigh of relief when they crested a small ridge and spotted the rugged ATV hidden in the gulley.

“We are tough guys,” he said, after a near five-minute break in the conversation, “but I’m the toughest.”

“Frig off Dennis.  Everyone knows I’m tougher.”

“In your dreams mate.  They probably can’t even remember your name, because they’re too distracted by my awesomeness,” Dennis retorted.

“Distracted by your face more like,” Harvey said,with a grin.  “You look like a …”  That was as far as he got before the panicked shouts from those behind the pair began.

Harvey and Dennis both turned to see what was going on.  Three of their ten soldiers were on the ground and it was clear that they wouldn’t be getting up again any time soon.  A fourth dropped as a man leapt from the cover of the trees and did a power slide into the midst of the remaining soldiers.  Taking advantage of the panic Savage deftly unscrewed the silencer, cast it aside and fired two more shots.  The first ricocheted off the helmet of a soldier and caught the man next to him in the leg, and the second killed the wounded soldier with a perfectly placed shot to the head.

“We outnumber him you idiots,” Dennis shouted at the five soldiers running around like headless chickens, “shoot the bugger.”

The remaining soldiers pulled themselves together, at least up to a point when they realised they still had the numbers to gang up.  Poorly aimed gunfire sheeted towards Savage as the soldiers emptied their rifles in an effort to bring the hero down.  Support fire from Harvey and Dennis killed another soldier, causing a snort of laughter from both men, despite the seriousness of the situation.

Savage leapt to his feet, sprung forward and Judo chopped the nearest man in the neck, causing him to drop like a sack of spuds.  Before the man had hit the ground Savage was moving again, combat rolling towards the nearest men and unleashing another salvo of deadly gunfire.

Harvey and Dennis were far enough from the action to see that the writing was on the wall.  There were only two of the soldiers still standing, one of them was running away and the other was so blinded with terror that he was attempting to reload his empty rifle with a half empty water canteen while begging for his life.

The pair didn’t wait to see what happened to their remaining men, they just turned and legged while there was still something to distract the combat monster that would end them as completely as their team had been ended.

 

THREE

Savage surveyed the carnage he’d wrought and nodded grimly.  He felt nothing but hate for the soldiers he’d just killed.  He just wished there’d been more of them.  The army from The Town had shoddy discipline and were poorly trained, with the only thing going for them being their numbers and lack of moral compass; he could’ve taken three times as many and barely broken a sweat.

He released the magazine from his pistol, letting it drop to the floor and slammed in a fresh one.  Justice was a powerful weapon, but that power compromised its capacity and all the shooting must’ve nearly emptied it.

“Clumsy, Savage,” he growled.  What if he’d run dry at the wrong time? The red mist had descended, and he’d lost his focus and that was when mistakes happened.

He quickly searched the bodies for anything of use and set off in the direction of the fleeing transport.

“It’s a start.”

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It’s been some time since Games Workshop have given me anything serious to grumble about.  There have been little things here and there that have bothered me a wee bit, but mostly, they’re really doing rather well on all fronts and after the horrible, wilderness years it’s nice to see.

With the little disclaimer intro out of the way, it’s time for the meat of it.  Adeptus Titanicus is featured in the latest issue of White Dwarf and on the face of it, that’s rather exciting.  Titans kicking the crap out of each other is certainly something I can get behind.  Unfortunately, Titan warfare is unlikely to be in my future.

The main problem, and the one that my other issues with it are connected to, is the cost.  It’s going to be expensive just to play an entry level game.  I have no idea how expensive, as White Dwarf makes no mention of the price and that alone is enough to set alarm bells ringing.

There’s also the release format, which contributes to the cost.  The gubbinz of playing, rules, dice, templates and whatnot are in one box, models are in another and the scenery is in a third, so that’s going to be a serious outlay of cash, just to get started.  There is a super duper, everything in one box version but the first run of it is going to be limited.

The cynic in me questions why the models needed to be at such a large scale.  Epic scale stuff worked a treat and it was playable without needing to consider the sale of a kidney.  The models look amazing but their size is likely to make the game prohibitively expensive to a fair few people.

My hobby budget is on something of a shoestring.  It’s nice to be in the position to have a hobby budget again, but it doesn’t come close to being enough for this beast of a game.  My focus is on more affordable hobbying.  For example, I’m going to be getting into Shadespire soon.  Then perhaps Kill Team.

I realise that there are additional costs to Shadespire once you get away from the core, game in a box.  That core game is quite cheap though, and it contains everything needed to play it straight out of the box.

The Kill Team core set is also quite well priced.  A higher entry point than Shadespire, but again, everything needed to play is in the box for a decent price.  It also helps if, like me, you’ve been collecting 40K stuff since the dawn of time because then you’ll have loads of models and probably enough scenery and could just buy the rulebook.  I’d rather get the starter set, but the rulebook is an option.

Adeptus Titanicus however, even at a conservative estimate, I can’t see coming in at under a hundred and fifty pounds, just to get started and that’s a shame, as the game looks tremendous.  The models are fantastic and the scenery is going to give it a real sense of scale.  Unfortunately it’s going to be set at a price point that I just couldn’t realistically reach, even if I wanted to.

I hope this hasn’t come across as a rant because that certainly isn’t my intention, but I am a little disappointed, as it’s a game that I wouldn’t have minded getting into.  However, Games Workshop do sell plenty of other, more affordable games, so it’s far from being the big deal that it might have been with Games Workshop of a few years ago.

A Return To Gaming

The Warhammer 40,000 First Strike box is a very well put together little starter set.  It’s perfect for getting people into the game, with just enough models, scenery and rules to give you a basic grasp of the game and have some fun.  What it’s also good for, I’ve found, is getting lapsed players back into the game.

This in mind, my brother, Tom recently bought the First Strike box, thinking it might be just what we needed to get us back into playing.  Neither of us have played a game of 40K for quite a while; part way through the previous edition if memory serves.  Lack of time to play, lack of space to play and for a reason I can’t quite put my finger on, a general lack of enthusiasm.

My interest in the 40K universe, from a painting and background perspective hasn’t diminished one bit and it’s much the same for my Bro, although he’s more a means to an end sort of painter, who paints to get his models done and not so much for the joy of painting.*  It’s not to say he doesn’t take pride in his finished models, just that he prefers the destination more than the journey.

We both keep up on our Codexes and I have every edition of the rulebook, but playing became something to do next week, or when we’d done something else.  We put it off so much, it’s almost like it became a habit.  This wasn’t always the case, as back when the original Necromunda and Warhammer Quest were in their prime, we played more games of both than I could count; suffice to say, it was lots.

I have two complete armies, Ultramarines and Tau, don’t judge, but they haven’t been updated in any serious way for a long time, with most of my Tau coming from their initial release.  My Ultramarines are a little better off than that and I’ve added bits and bobs to them over the years, but they both have serious gaps that would see them struggle in a game.

Tom cleaned and assembled the models over the course of a couple of evenings, then the weekend rolled around, and we took the plunge.  It’s only a wee box and there’s not much you can do with the stuff in there from a tactical standpoint but it has everything needed to have a few fun games and reel in a couple crusty, lapsed gamers.

We played a couple of games and now my Bro is putting together a Word Bearers army and I’m working my way through a Genestealer Cult force.  I’ve always liked those guys and was chuffed to see them return.  It’s just the stuff out of the Deathwatch Overkill box at the moment, but for a board game it contains a surprisingly well rounded core force.**

This was originally supposed to be a brief intro to a little battle report, but as is often the case when I start writing, I got a bit carried away and now it’s become it’s own thing.  So, unintentional ramble over, I’ll get to work on the battle report that this was supposed to be and it should be with you in just a few short days.

 

*Unintentional Bob Ross reference.

**The Aberrant models don’t seem to be available outside the contents of the game, which I find a bit strange (someone please correct me if I’m wrong).

Thrugg Bullneck’s Ork Raiders

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My Boyz in all their glory. Don’t judge; fifteen year old me had been painting for about two minutes at this point.

Thrugg Bullneck’s Ork Raiders were one of my first squad purchases, perhaps even my first; I can’t remember if I bought the multi-part Imperial Space Marines kit at the same time, or not.  I can however remember that me and my bro, Tom had some hideously unbalanced battles, dominated by the Space Marines.

The battle that sticks in my mind the most was probably one of the first and I took the Orks, with Tom taking the Space Marines.  The games table was our bedroom floor and the scenery was a fort made from hardback books.  The Space Marines defended the fort and the Orks attacked.  This seemed like a good idea at the time … It was not.

I painted the Orks, and the Space Marines with an excess of enthusiasm that was in no way matched by ability and I would at this point like to point out the picture at the top of this page for some incredibly chipped examples.

In my opinion these early Orks have aged much better than the Space Marines.  The Orks being metal and the Space Marines being plastic probably helped this, as the plastic models of the day were not super detailed.

This trip down memory lane has a purpose.  I was recently forced to sort out our box room, due to work chappies needing access to some pipes, so I thought I might as well do a reasonably good job of it.  One of the few bits of awesomeness to come from this was turning up a lot of my old models, including the entirety of Thrugg Bullneck’s Ork Raiders, plus a few spares that I must’ve picked up in blister packs.

I’m now in a position were I really want to repaint the immediately but can’t because I need to clear up a bit more of the stuff on my board.  I love painting the really old metal models and as far as Warhammer 40,000 goes they don’t get much older than these guys.

What I’m undecided about at present is whether I replicate the colour scheme I used on them last time, but better, or go with the way they’re painted on the box.  Given what’s on my board that I need to finishe off first, I’ve got a little while to think about it yet.

Why I Haven’t Written For a While.

If you’re one of the teeny, tiny group of people who read my blog,* it won’t have escaped your attention that I’ve been rather quiet as far as new content is concerned of late.  There are a couple of reasons for this and one of them is a bit crap.

I’ll get the aforementioned crap reason out of the way first.  I’m a big fan of zombie fiction.  Movies, books, TV, games, it doesn’t matter.  I did recently fail to get all the way through Day of the Dead – Bloodline, but I digress.**  State of Decay 2 came out a Month or so back and put the boot in, on my spare time, which is when I usually write.  I’ve played it so much that I have all the achievements, which is perhaps not something I should be proud of, but I am somewhat.

Over the past week or two I’ve still been playing it, but more casually and less like it’s League of Legends and I’m practicing to go pro.

The other, and in my humble opinion more excusable reason, is that I’ve been focusing a bit too hard on the painting side of things.  Mostly work related painting, but painting nonetheless.

Since the World Cup started a couple of weeks ago and everybody became obsessed with the footy, I’ve had more time for hobby type stuff and although I could have quite sensibly divided this up a  bit and spent some time writing, I’ve spent all of it painting instead.  Now, there is generally no such thing as too much time spent painting and I certainly don’t consider it time wasted but would it really have hurt to carve out a couple of hours along the way to tap away at my keyboard?***

Anyway, there they are, the dual reasons for me not blogging for a while; one reason rubbish and one a bit less rubbish.  I aim to stick around this time and start making regular contributions to my poor neglected blog again and as it’s probably going to be two or three Years until State of Decay 3 is released, I’m at least safe from that for a while.

****

 

* Thanks, your time spent reading my rambling is much appreciated.

**  Damn, that is a seriously soulless film, with an awful script and hecka bad acting.  The zombies look rather good, but it’s just not enough to make the rest of it worth wading through.

*** That’s one of those rhetorical doodads.

**** I really wanted to call this one ‘Zombies Ate My Homework’ but I’ve been told that my blog titles should be a bit more descriptive and that my past trend of nonsense titles may be putting people off.

Pile Of Shame II

I am, at the moment painting a unit of models from an army I don’t collect, which are part of a game I don’t play, which I don’t have the rules for.  This is a direct result of the scattergun approach I have, until very recently taken to painting my own stuff (a problem I wrote about a while back in a wee missive called ‘Pile of Shame’).

In this earlier blog entry, I mentioned that I was attempting to clear my backlog of models and I thought there was a bit of a question mark over how successful I’d be.  As it turns out, I’m not doing too bad.  I’ve still got a long way to go as far as my total unpainted model count is concerned, but I’ve made some serious progress in clearing out my painting area.  This year I’ve cleared all the single models that were judging me from the periphery of my painting area and am now close to finishing the first of three small, to medium sized units.

It feels good to finish a model that’s been sat gathering dust for ages.  Finishing a model is always nice, but there’s something about finishing a model that’s been lurking in the dark corners of your painting area for so long it needed dusting before a lick of paint could go near it that makes it that bit more special.

What I want to paint is my Tau army, but I’ve committed to, at least clear my painting area before I engage on any new painting projects.  Obviously it would be very easy to just say ‘sod it’ and paint my Tau anyway, but it’s that level of wobbly focus that’s put me in this pickle in the first place.  So with that being said, I’m going to attempt to be a grown up about it and finish what I’ve started.

A Distraction For My Earholes

Whether I’m painting, or writing, I like to be listening to something; it helps my focus immensely to be able to shut out distractions as much as possible.  It’s not that I’m easily distracted, but my mind can sometimes wander a bit if my headphones aren’t doing their part and then, before I know it, I’ve been staring into the middle distance for five minutes, thinking about whatever random nonsense has drifted into my noggin.

When I’m painting, audiobooks are my number one choice.  Painting is part of what I do for a living and when I’m listening to a good book I enjoy painting so much it almost feels like cheating, particularly when the person reading it knows what they’re doing; RC Bray’s name attached to an audiobook is often more of a draw for me than the author’s.

However, my pennies only stretch so far and unless they’re very long books, I can’t afford enough credits to keep me in audiobooks for an entire month.  Some, like the Arisen series of books, are very good and never fail to leave me wanting more but can be so short I don’t always feel like I’ve had value for money (with the worst offender in the series not coming in at much over eight hours.

At the other end of the spectrum there is stuff like the Stormlight Archive.  This is a series of books that come in somewhere round the sixty hour mark for each book and at the moment there are three in the series; it’s the perfect balance of quality and quantity.

When I run out of audiobooks to listen to while painting, music streaming services become my friend and given the almost endless amount of content and my eclectic taste in music, there’s always something to listen to.

The type of music I listen to tends to vary on a more-or-less weekly basis.  If I’m in the mood for sillier stuff I tend to listen to a lot of Dethklok, The Lonely Island, or Tenacious D.  There really isn’t any one type of music I’d say I prefer over any other and will listen to almost anything at least once.

Obviously I have my musical preferences but even these vary wildly; Cat Stevens, Eminem, The Doors, System of a Down, Queen, Queens of the Stone Age, Devotchka, Disturbed, Dusty Springfield, Johnny Cash, I’ve listened to them all this year and play some of them more than others, but all of them have albums on my playlist, along with loads of others.

When I’m writing I listen exclusively to soundtrack type music.  Two Steps From Hell, John Carpenter and the soundtrack to Dredd are particular favourites of mine and there are so many Two Steps From Hell albums that I can go through an entire day without listening to the same thing twice if I want to.

I’ve found that when writing I can’t listen to stuff that has too much in the way of lyrics, as it gets in the way of my concentration and my word count goes way down and shows a marked reduction in quality, which is why the stuff I mentioned above is ideal.

What this ramble tells me about my aural preferences, is that I’m lucky the internet exists.  Otherwise I’d be stuck listening to the same music all the time and audiobooks would be a non-starter, because it’s bloody expensive to buy a physical audiobook.