Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mini Campaign: The Sin of Alacrity (p.1), Background

Yesterday, I mentioned that Ref Pitmann and I started our summer mini-campaign, and we did so with a House Rules Bonanza / Kill Team Scramble duly befitting any such endeavor. We organized a single, but ambitious, Kill Team game aboard “The Sin of Alacrity” (our derelict, much maligned vessel), in which each player simultaneously controlled three individual Kill Teams. It was glorious.

What follows here is a guide to the narrative of our campaign, and a visual introduction to our tabletop, so that what follows these coming weeks will have some context and clarity (I hope). Tomorrow, I will discuss the rules and mechanics in a bit greater detail, outline deployment, and try my very best to put the "kill" back into Kill Teams as such.

So. Here goes:

Sector: XXX.ABG:VII. Ruotacarro.
Star: White. Beta Class. Stable. 13 planets.
Planet: Tredici XIII (the outermost orbit).

Four standard years ago, the Onorevoli Chapter dispatched the vessel "Sin of Alacrity" on its maiden reconnaissance mission from a deep-space outpost on the planet Tredici XIII.

After some valuable initial returns, the Alacrity’s transmissions went abruptly cold and no further word was heard from the ship’s automated transponders or its living crew. A thorough review off all circumstantial records and correspondence offered no hint as to any explicatory anomaly, and the ship was presumed Mysteriously Lost in Action. It was a tragic and evil omen. To this day, the Onorevoli ward themselves with the sign of the Aquila when they hear mention of its name.

Then, two days ago, the Sin of Alacrity violently burst from the immaterium –hanging listless and tattered, but limping- only a relatively small distance from where it had launched four years earlier. Following closely in the Alacrity’s turbulent wake, yet a considerable distance further out, a Battleship and several Cruisers bearing Iron Warriors insignia translated from the warp in apparent pursuit of the wounded vessel.

The Alacrity was crawling slowly, but on a listing homeward trajectory. At present speeds, the Iron Warriors were likely to reach the Alacrity only mere moments before the Onorevoli defensive batteries would/could find their range. It was going to be a close run thing.

With regard to the Alacrity itself, initial scans were fuzzy and inconclusive, perhaps due to residual interference from the ship’s time in the warp, perhaps from Iron Warriors jamming. While continuing the standard scanning protocols, the Onorevoli outpost immediately sent several reconnaissance teams to the Alacrity for a more decisive probe. There were riddles that needed answers, and those answers were certainly onboard the Alacrity. Still, it was likely a suicide mission, as there was no guarantee that the Alacrity would reach the safety of Onorevoli guns in time.

As if in response, the Iron Warriors launched their own boarding capsules, and assumed an aggressive posture not only toward the Alacrity, but also toward the Onorevoli outpost planetside.

Why had the Sin of Alacrity been so silent for all this time? Where had it been? What secrets might it tell? What was the Iron Warriors’ interest in this ship, and why had they pursued it with such strength and aggression directly under the nose of an Onorevoli outpost? Why had there been no sign of any approach? Was this a precursor to a full invasion?

As boarding capsules neared the Sin of Alacrity, life flickered briefly back into its beaten hull and automated defenses sprung suddenly from slumber. Both friend and foe were battered mercilessly, as the Alacrity offered no sign of recognition nor quarter for any approaching vessel.

Only three of the Onorevoli Reconnaissance Teams (Gamma, Delta, and Epsilon) were able to land with any proximity to the Alacrity’s Central Spine, the core of the ship’s nervous system. All the other boarding parties were either forced to redirect toward less vital, less relevant sections of the ship, or destroyed outright. The Iron Warriors faired little better.

The awakened Alacrity, however, had at last begun to shed a few secrets. As the ship shook back to life, Onorevoli scans were able to produce a more detailed picture of what was happening within, and six specific points of interest were quickly identified along the Central Spine. Although the pressures of time and confrontation would not allow for a recovery or collection of all six, any would undoubtedly prove vital to the impending fight both for the Sin of Alacrity and for planet Tredici XIII itself. It was a race against dwindling time and desperate hope.

*Note: I'm painfully aware that on Sunday I promised this week would be about Pitmann's Ogres. It won't. To be frank, this min-campaign in general and batrep in particular have got me running and I'll not be able to rest properly until it's all out there, or here, whichever. So the Ogres must wait for a week or so until this opening salvo runs its course. I hope they're not too hungry by the time I return.

On that theme, I should say, I hope you'll enjoy this Mini Campaign business as you're likely going to see a fair bit of it in the coming weeks. Moreover, I hope the run-up to this battle report doesn't grind down your interest. I've broken all of this information into what teachers call "digestible chunks," which I've conceived as no more than one full page of text on Word, and which is what you generally see on A Gentleman's Ones.

So. You'll not get the whole story at once. It takes time to tell. Sit back. Get comfortable. Enjoy.

p.s. I've been getting a lot of kind feedback about the board, and about the markers. Alas. I can take credit for neither.
The Markers come from Micro Art Studio.
The Board was made by the now seemingly defunct Parasitic Studios (we've not had any contact for years, but several of the minis on his site were painted by yours truly).


Brent said...

...but I want it all now.

That Space Hulk board is epic. What, when, how, and why?

Da Masta Cheef said...

Once again it must be stated that your 'Sin of Alacrity' table setup is easily one of the coolest I've ever seen!

And don't worry, I like a bit of narrative/background fluff to precede a game or campaign especially.

Grizzled Gamer said...

I have to agree that the Space Hulk Table set up is truly fantastic. That will be a fantastic bit of scenery to play on.

Rabidchild said...

Fantastic set up, story and board both! Are the bits of black cloth ragged holes in the hull, exposed to hard vacuum?

Big Jim said...

Very Kool, as others have said the board is Epic! I think the story is full of just as much Win!

I also like that you are using multiple Kill Teams in the game.

Where'd you get the groovy Chaos Star objective markers? I have got to have a set, darn it!

I look forward to seeing this progress. Oh well the Ogres will have to wait! ;-)


sonsoftaurus said...

The markers are from Micro Art Studios, out of Poland. Lots of cool stuff. You can get them via the Warstore too.

Yeah, I love those things. After seeing them online (I think on AGOnes, in fact!) I picked up a set of those and the green arrow markers too. They look great, but many of mine fit poorly.

I also used their Ork gas mask heads for some of my Orks.

sonsoftaurus said...

Oh yeah...also want to echo the sentiments that the board is fantastic, and I look forward to seeing the matches! Fight fight fight!

Brian said...

Thank you, Gentlemen. I wish that I could take credit for the board, but that monster was accomplished by the very talented, and the seemingly defunct, Parasitic Studios (http://www.parasiticstudios.com/).

As Sons of Taurus mentioned, the markers are from Micro Art Studio (http://www.shop.microartstudio.com/objective-markers-chaos-p-245.html?cPath=22_56)

@ Brent. The above might hold you over for a bit. More tomorrow... digestible.

@ Cheef. Thanks. I always worry that my "fluff" sends a reader's eyes directly to the back of his head.

@ Mags. It is. It is.

@ Rabidchild. That is a brilliant idea (excepting that my Scouts would die horrific, instantaneous deaths). The black is actually just the reverse side of your standard fuzzy green game mat. We use it to fill in spaces that the board doesn't cover so that we won't lose that extra bit of tabletop... etc.

@ Big Jim. I've quickly become a fan of both multiple Kill Teams and Objectives. The second part is a bit tricky, but it has added a really great element to our games.

@ Sons of Taurus. Mine also fit a bit roughly on one side, so I just glued them to the bases. Not the most elegant solution, but certainly one of the more effective.

Thank you One and All for the kind comments. I hope you've made yourselves properly comfortable because this report will be drifting into next week for certain. Plus, Pitmann and I have another round of it scheduled for this week... oh my.

Rabidchild said...

Re: Scouts in vacuum.

A regular human has about 15 seconds of useful consciousness in a vacuum, so I assume with proper training and superhuman abilities they might be okay for a short time. To quote the first Bloodquest comic "You're not a space marine until you've tasted hard vacuum." Or something like that anyway. ;)

Papa JJ said...

Wonderful setup, I absolutely love The Sin of Alacrity interior as well as the background you've provided for this series. I've always imagined how fun it would be to play on a space hulk style of gameboard, thanks for showing me just how cool it really is.

Brian said...

@ Rabidchild. Haha. Love it.

@ Pappa JJ. This is a good ways out, but let me know if you're coming up to Chicago next year for Adepticon. I'll be sure to make it happen.

Papa JJ said...

Sounds awesome! That's very kind and gracious of you, I certainly hope to make it back to Adepticon and would love to see this board in person. Thanks again for doing this series, I really enjoy your approach to both gaming and storytelling.