#RPG – Pinup Dungeons 1

minis1coverA bevvy of bestial beauties to beset and bedevil your brave below-ground burglars.

Pinup Dungeon presents five feminine creatures in paper-miniature form. A dark elf archer, a grick, a mimic, a goblin and a mephit.

Enjoy!

Art by Kukuryo

Sales Mean Citizenship! (and more products like this).

PDF HERE

 

DUST Tactics: Zverograd Rat Swarm

Rat-Swarm-smallerBiological experiments in the SSU – and preceding it the Soviet Union – were largely abject failures. Thanks to the terrible cost of Lysenkoism and the effect of its adherents on soviet science. Stalin’s demands have been unrealistic – the creation of hybridised ape soldiers for example – and many leading scientists have been purged or exiled.

Access to VK and the living example of the German gorilla soldiers has, however, galvanised research in many fields and the terrible toll of violence in Zverograd upon SSU forces has leant even more impetus to the research. Academician Ilya Ivanov, son of the late Doctor Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov, has been placed in charge of these new programs and between vivisection of captured German undead and ape soldiers and experimental applications of VK he has had numerous successes.

Rat Swarms

Rats breed in large numbers and are eminently expendable, plus they are the only creatures still in ready supply in Zverograd after the long siege. Ivanov’s experiments have produced a number of ‘intelligent’ rat swarms, controlled via a modulated VK signal, which can be sent crawling through gaps and rubble to reach enemy soldiers and overcome them through sheer numbers.

Move: 2
Type: Soldier 1
Special Abilities: Agile, Charge, Squirm*.
Health: 6
Bite: Close Combat only Troop 1: 6/1, Troop 2: 5/1, Troop 3, 2/1, Troop 4: 1/1
Bite: Close Combat only Tank 1-7: 1/1
Cost: 15AP
Cover Save: Blank
NB: The bite-line is for the whole swarm and remains the same until the whole unit is eliminated.

*Squirm: Troops with the Squirm ability can pass through cover, friendly troops and enemy troops as though they were not there. they can co-occupy a space with friendly or enemy troops and can make close combat attacks from that same space. While occupying the same space as a group of soldiers or a vehicle, if they come under attack from outside that space the attack dice are halved (rounding up) and are then rolled as normal for damage against both the rat swarm and the troops or vehicle they share a space with.

Mini

Anti-Tank Dogs

Move: 2
Type: Soldier 1
Special Abilities: Agile, Charge.
Health: 1 (3 dogs per unit)
Bite: Close Combat only Troop 1: 3/1, Troop 2: 2/1, Troop 3, 1/1, Troop 4: 1/1
Bomb: Close Combat only (3) Troop 1-4: 2/1, Tank 1-7: 2/2 (Each bomb blast eliminates one dog)
Cost: 15AP
Cover Save: Blank

Minis

Half-Breeds

Rumour has it that the half-breed experiments have been restarted using samples taken from German enhanced apes. With a maturation period of at least fifteen years it is unlike this will bear battlefield fruit for some time…

(Knock-off planet of the apes figures would work well for this and you could always retcon that the original experiments worked. I’d make them troop 2 with some special abilities or enhanced cover abilities to reflect toughness, bolster their hand-to-hand a little and use themas anti-infantry troops with – maybe – some very weak anti-tank capabilities).

Review: Iron Kingdoms RPG

Introduction
Like a lot of people I was more than a little disappointed when Privateer Press released their Iron Kingdoms RPG for d20. Creating their own system and re-releasing the RPG has been long-awaited development with a lot of expectation zeroed in on it.

The main selling point of Iron Kingdoms has always been its background, a background solid and interesting enough to sell it under any system. The appeal of the setting has been obvious for a long time as multiple conversions have turned up online for everything from Savage Worlds to Silhouette.

Now we have a background and a system out of the same stable which should only improve the synergy. Expectations are high, especially since Privateer have managed to kick Games Workshop’s butt in the miniatures field.

Background
The Iron Kingdoms is a ‘steampunk’ (actually more of a magi-punk) setting. This is a semi-typical fantasy world that has been transformed by the advent of steam power, gunpowder and the fusion of both with magic. The game has a much more industrial feel than typical fantasy settings but it does have wild places and plenty of room for wilderness adventure as well as delving into the espionage, proxy wars and so on going on between the various Iron Kingdoms.

The background is deep and detailed. Far too much to into in a review but that, itself, is a selling point as far as I’m concerned. The human-led kingdoms consist of Cygnar (liberal, advanced, lightning oriented), Khador (pseudo-Russian, despotic, militaristic), Ord (fishermen and pirates) and the Protectorate of Menoth (religious fanatics). These groups are locked in a perpetual cold war with each other and often operate through mercenary companies, which can become rich and powerful.

Beyond their borders lie Cryx (corrupted necrotechnicians), Ios (mysterious land of the elves) and Rhul (land of the dwarves). Other races, ogrun and trollkin, eke out a living in and around the human kingdoms.

Mechanics
Iron Kingdoms has a system that is the bastard offspring of 4e D&D, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay and first edition Warhammer 40,000. It’s very much a miniatures oriented game – not surprising since Privateer Press make minis – though it’s probably more amenable to playing without minis than 4e D&D was. If I was going to compare it to anything it would probably be Cadwallon.

Characters are full-on RPG characters but the degree of customisation and individuality when it comes to actual statistics is pretty limited. Characters advance in tiers (Starting/Hero/Veteran/Epic) which are reminiscent of 40k’s old troop/champion/minor hero/major hero. Your starting stats are determined by race and, given the attention in the d20 version to different human nationalities and races its a little disappointing that they become more generically ‘human’ in this.

Customisation and characterisation comes through the application of various templates and choices that channel the character into various directions. This is most similar to WHFRP’s careers and skill picks but has more layers to it.

You pick an archetype (Gifted, intellectual, mighty, skilled).

You pick two careers from a list including things like alchemist, bounty hunter, cut-throat, duellist or pirate, to come up with a combo that best describes your character concept.

Careers give access to abilities, connections and skills which is where the character individualism finally, really comes in.

The system itself is a rather simple 2d6+modifiers Vs target number one. That gives you a more gritty bell curve of probability with more typical outcomes which – with the compensation of Feat points for when you want to do something more heroic.

Combat is a big focus and where the skirmish-game shows through the most. While the game can be played without minis and a board everything is expressed in these terms and there’s some combat options that are missing due to lacking a degree of combat granularity. It’s fixable enough with improvisation, but it would have been nice to have more options.

Characters are tough bastards with three sets of health in a spiral, representing different effects of different wounds. When defeated, unless explicitly finished off, they instead develop permanent wounds but with magi-tech prosthetics and healing magic that need not be as awful as you might think.

Magic is more free-flowing and less constricted than in the d20 version, much closer to the wargame. Magicians either have fatigue or focus, which is used up to run effects, boost powers and control warjacks – if those abilities are open to you. Spells end to be a bit more combat focussed, but there are plenty of utility spells as well and a creative player with a good Games Master can get around the constrictions.

Atmosphere
Somehow this edition doesn’t have the same atmosphere as the previous edition despite having higher production values. It just seems a little too ‘clean’ for the world that it describes. The previous edition also had two books of this size to delve into the background and history of the world and as a single book there’s less space for that in this one. It does the job, but when compared to the previous edition falls short. Of course, the previous edition was outstanding so this one had a lot to live up to.

Artwork
This edition is full colour and while it re-uses a lot of old artwork it is lavishly illustrated and well laid out. The cover is a little busy perhaps, but the production values are incredibly high throughout. Perhaps controversially I think it might have been better done if it were… in… black and white? The old books almost felt like an artefact of the game world, even if the pages were a bit grey. This version doesn’t have the same feel to it.

Conclusion
An interesting version of the game with wedded background and mechanics. It’s a shame – but not surprising – that it is focussed on skirmish style play but it takes less work to remove that aspect and play in the theatre of the mind than some other games. The relative lack of difference between characters statistically may irritate some players but all things considered it should work fine.

The game needs an example adventure/campaign and an expanded bestiary ASAP but those familiar with the wargame or the d20 version should be able to muddle through.

It would be well worth getting the d20 books on PDF or on ebay, just for the more in depth treatment of the background.

Score
Style: 4
Substance: 4
Overall: 4

UPDATE: Extended bestiary and character sheets etc can be downloaded HERE

Free Dust Tactics Reference/Playbook


I got sick of looking through every bloody booklet trying to find the rules references.

Obviously this is incomplete, I don’t have all the stuff released in the US yet as European releases lag behind (Boooo!)

Should make a nice little reference book and the aspect should be suitable for tablets (made with Nexus 7 in mind).

DUSTplaybook

Ian’s Updates

Living Catalogue

History Farce Guide to Georgian Slang

Whore’s Blade Heroics

Miniatures Store (With bundle deals with the books)

Reviews and interviews on YouTube

Is It Awesome

7TV, SWING and Miniatures

Minis don’t necessarily fit with Agents of SWING as a FATE game, but they can still be useful. That’s why I put out some paper minis.

7TV is a skirmish minis game set in the same kind of world of 60s and 70s action/adventure serials that Agents of SWING is and as such they produce some great stuff and you could even cross over campaigns between the two games.

Check out Crooked Dice. They do good work.

Ian’s Updates

The History Farce Guide to Georgian Slang

Is now available and a useful resource for anyone with games set in this sort of period as well as being dashed useful for Courtesans, Tough Justice and so on.

Print
EPub (RPGNOW version)
Kindle

Kittiwake Classics also now has a store at Table Warfare where you can buy miniatures themed around the various worlds Ian has contributed to as well as get bargain bundle deals of books with miniatures. These work out as cheaper than getting them from lulu and they come signed with shiny metal minis!