Saturday, June 27, 2015

Sara Dohner-Harrison, July 15, 1959 - June 27, 2015

I lost my wife of eight years today - We were together for over twenty. She has been struggling with multiple health issues her whole life, but the last year has been extremely difficult. Still her passing was completely unexpected. Though I could never get her to paint 'little men' as she called them she was an amazing artist...

She did help me build terrain, would listen to endless prattle about the difference between dragoons and cuirassiers, and never asked why I ordered a pile of Napoleonic cavalry when all these Orks were scattered around the house. We moved several times over the years and she always made sure one room in our home was designated as the 'game room'. She was absurdly proud of my work Beneath the Lily Banners, Republic to Empire, and Donnybrook and never begrudged the hours I spent tucked away in my office working on these books or painting models.

She was truly my best friend and I have no idea how life goes forward. I am suspending posting for a time, but I will be back. I suspect this hobby will become an even bigger part of my life and Sara would want it that way...

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Rescue Party

Hybrid Genestealers...

These guys aren't meant to be a full army (yet)... They form part of the sub-plot for my upcoming game...

Monday, June 22, 2015


Hidden among the wreckage of the Aquila Lander is a Purestrain Genestealer!

How's that for a little random havoc? And he's not alone... a 'rescue party' is up on Friday...

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Reading Rogue Trader, Part Ten

Point Values
There were no army lists when Rogue Trader was initially published. In a normal game it was largely up to the Game Master to balance the forces in a given scenario. The point values system was designed to allow two players to build balanced forces without the need for a GM.

The human profile formed the basis for all point values and was given a base value of 5 points:

To work out base costs for other characters and creatures, the following modifiers (per point of difference to the above profile) were applied.

These could be applied as penalties as well so models with lower than average stats had their basic point cost reduced.

Values worked out from the formula given above tend to undervalue larger creatures. To compensate for this a modifier is applied to any creature whose point value works out to greater than 10. This done before adding weapons and equipment!

11-15 multiply by 1.5
16-20 multiply by 2
21-30 multiply by 3
31-40 multiply by 4
and so on...

Flying creatures are subject to an additional +5 points or +10% which ever is greater.

Creatures with innate armour saves cost +1/2 point per 'pip', before the multiplier is applied.

Every piece of gear in the game is given a point cost. Power gamers would have a field day here. For instance, such a player would always choose autoguns over lasguns because they cost the same, but autoguns have a longer range. There are other things on the lists that don't make sense. A Jokaero Digital weapon costs 50 points for what is essentially a +1 attack (valued at 4 points above) with a pistol of some sort. You can also have something else in the same hand as a Jokaero weapon, so that's something, but not 50 points worth.

There are also methods for working out dreadnoughts, vehicles, robots, and psykers. Finally there is a chart showing the basic cost for each race (basic, minor hero, and major hero) and creature in the Rogue Trader book to save you a little time calculating common troops.

That concludes the Combat chapter of the Rogue Trader book (whew), but there are still over 200 pages to go! Some of these I will gloss over quickly as they are merely extensions of some of what I've already covered, but there are some really characterful chapters ahead and I'm looking forward to presenting them, especially since some of seem to have never played the 1st edition of Warhammer 40k!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Rogue Trader Walker

Right! Back to Rogue Trader! The last thing I needed for my Rogue Trader scenario was some kind of support vehicle for my Jokaero. I wanted something old school and something different from the typical kit, so I had another leaf through the Rogue Trader rule book and spotted this...

Brilliant! Now, I didn't want anything quite that large and I didn't have the bits on hand to make something like that anyway, but I did have an Imperial Guard Sentinel so I set out to make a smaller version of the vehicle.

The lower half and smoke stack bits are obviously from the Imperial Guard Sentinel. The main hull is the rear bit of a Gorka Morka era Ork Trukk kit, as is the Harpoon Launcher!

Why a harpoon launcher? I wanted a relatively low power weapon (rather than a Las Cannon, etc) and it just seemed to fit. When I found the extra spear mount for the side of the hull, I was sold! I'm not exactly sure on the stats I'm going to use, but I may just pull from Gorka Morka. It is easy enough to switch out for another weapon if I want to change it out in the future.

The vehicle weighs in around 135 points and carries a crew of two...

Full stats and the fluff on the vehicle is forthcoming when I present the final scenario (hopefully next week).

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Chaos Host of Maulblade the Doomkin

I finally had the chance to set up the table to get a shot of my Chaos army, led by Maulblade the Doomkin!

I had to put a lot of light on the table to get a good shot, but the end result washed out the Chaos Warrior banner. Oh, well, I am still pleased with the results! I discovered after much fiddling about with the alignment that I need to take the time to make movement trays!

Left to right: Caramon the Rabid and part of his Chaos Dwarf warband, the Blighted Host led by Maulblade himself, Moog of Marrow Moor (the Troll), Wobblegnash's Reavers, and the Beastman Regiment With No Name.

Of course, you can see better photos in the Chaos Gallery! For that matter, every model in this army had been featured in an individual photo if you scroll back through the blog.

I really have a lot on my plate these days, so it may be a while before I get around to adding more, but going forward I want to add more Beastmen and a unit of Minotaurs (man, are these guys are pricey on eBay). I also want to bulk up my Chaos allies with a Chaos Sorcerer, more Chaos Dwarf Berserkers and Crossbowmen, a unit of Chaos Goblins, and a unit of Chaos Centaurs. So far I only have the Sorcerer and the Chaos Goblins so they will probably be next as I am trying not to spend too much on eBay over the summer.

My Undead army doesn't rally look like an army yet, so I decided to hold off on the group shot for them. I have a lot of unpainted Undead around the house so they will probably see expansion before the Chaos horde. Anyway, back to Rogue Trader next time...

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Reading Rogue Trader, Part Nine

The use of psychic powers is encompassed by the term psionics. Individual creatures capable of employing such powers are described as psychic or psykers. There are, of course, countless other names applied to these creatures (some rather derisory). Within human society they might be called witches, warlocks, telepaths or any one of countless other names.

Psionics are very simple in Rogue Trader. Each psyker has a psionic level (Mastery 1-4) and a number of psychic points or psi-points related to that level (10 points per level or 3D6 per level if you prefer random generation). To employ an ability, a psyker simply pays the appropriate number of psychic points. Low level abilities may only cost 1 or 2 points while level four powers might coast as many as 12 points to cast. Psykers have a limited number of powers they can choose from, typically 3 or 1D6 per level of mastery.

As long as a psyker has 12 or more psi-points the power may be used without testing for success. If the psyker has less than 12 points, he must test to see if his powers work. Roll 2D6... if the result is less than or equal to the psyker's remaining psi-points, the power is cast. If the roll fails, so does the power. Note that the psi-points used to attempt the use of the power are lost whether it works or not.

The target of the attack may attempt to make a saving throw. Each model affected rolls 2D6 - if the roll is equal to or less than the target's Willpower, the power has no effect. A psyker may use additional psi-points to force a penalty on this save (-1 per additional psi-point spent), but must declare the intention to do so before the saving throw is rolled. A psyker may also expend psi-points to augment his own save against psionic attack in the same manner.

There are 40 psychic powers available in the game (10 of each level). I'm not going to list them all, but it's worth noting there are abilities besides attack spells that allow psykers to employ telepathy, teleport, affect psychology, or improve their defenses.

There are more than five pages in Rogue Trader dedicated to mutations, suggesting it was initially intended to be a larger part in the game than we see today - and this was before Chaos was a recognized antagonist in the game. Even families with no past history of mutation might expect to run a 5% risk of mutated offspring, while the chance among mutant parents is 90%.

The position of Mutants within the Imperium varies from world to world. On the majority of primitive and medieval worlds they are slain as soon as they are born. On the majority of technically advanced worlds they are permitted to live, but rarely enjoy the boon of full citizenship. On many worlds they are segregated from the normal population, outlawed, or forbidden to live in certain areas. Generally speaking, they form a huge downtrodden portion of the population of the Imperium. Their dissatisfaction occasionally erupts as rebellion. Such revolts occasionally allow mutants to take control of planets or even groups of planets for a short period. Usually, however, retaliation is swift and effective.

A mutant may be created by staring with any basic profile and adding D3 mutations. There are almost a hundred mutations provided (as well as a fun random table), ranging from purely cosmetic to abilities that improve ability characteristics, provide unusual attacks or means of movement, or even hinder the mutant in some manner. In general, these abilities seem less powerful than the ones presented in the Realm of Chaos books that follow.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Salus Oll

Salus Oll is the leader of my pirate band...

He is armed with a chainsword and a bionic arm fitted with a missile launcher and auto-gun.

Here he is with some of his crew...

Monday, June 8, 2015


This whole week will feature hired guns for the Jokaero force. Pirates fit perfectly into my narrative (not long now until it's revealed in full) so I chose most of the models from that range, though they will work equally well in the future as mercenaries, irregular army, local enforcers, etc.

The guy at the top is supposed to be armed with a Plasma Gun...

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Reading Rogue Trader, Part Eight

Next up is a couple of pages on Personalities, a section of the book I don't think I ever took notice of before, but since reading it I've been eager to post it. The minutia of rules and weapons changes is not what draws me Rogue Trader. Indeed, I found some of the old rules quite cumbersome. These two pages are simply oozing with character (both literally and figuratively)...

There are a couple of paragraphs on character models joining units, psychology effects (characters gain the psychological traits of a unit they join AND impart their own to the troops!), and the standard modifiers to basic profiles for Champions, Minor Heroes, and Major Heroes.

Using this as a quick guide you can easily upgrade any standard profile.

Maximum Characteristics
No characteristic, apart from wounds and attacks, can ever increase to more than 10. No creature can ever have a fighting characteristic score greater than indicated for a major hero of it's race. Personal characteristics may be increased to 10, but a character must have psychic powers to increase beyond the levels indicated for a major hero.

What came after was something I have never, ever, used...

Variable Heroes
Included here are several variable systems (again, the GM decides) for advancing the stat profiles in a manner different from the standard. Each character level is assigned a set number (or a random number) of stat increases and the player may place these where he likes, up to the maximum for the race.

Champion - 4 points or 1D6 points
Minor Hero - 14 points or 4D6 points
Major Hero - 23 points or 7D6 points

Another system assigns a pool of points that may be divided across as many characters as the player wishes (or the GM allows). The book suggests that the GM place a maximum on the number of characters allowed "otherwise the player may feel tempted to create a mass of weak, but rather annoying, personalities." (sounds like real life game experience).

Rather than simply allow players to place points where they like, there is also a way to generate profiles with the aid of a d20. Models start with the basic profile and gain a number of increases as above. Roll on the following chart to assign the increases:

Generating Characters for Campaigns
Finally there are a few paragraphs on setting up RPG style table top games, more on the scale of Necromunda, designed to 'represent the players as idealistic, young, inexperienced adventurers.' Again it is envisioned that a Game Master will be present and the players will all be on one side. The players may also control additional models as henchmen, employees, troops under their command, etc. The character is generated by choosing a basic profile and adding 1D6-2 characteristic increases, distributed at random as above. A player who rolls a 1 or 2 simply begins with the basic profile.

In a campaign, the Player Character may increase one of his characteristics after each game (presumably, of course, if he survives). At the end of each game, the player may receive one point to add to any characteristic he desires, up to the maximum for the race. A character who is unworthy of the advance in the eyes of GM may not gain any experience, although there is no advice on what this constitutes... possibly cowering at the back for the whole game?

To me this seems a very simple, but almost elegant method of handling such things. I can see potential of abuse among power gamers, but I wouldn't attempt such a thing with those types of players anyway. It was among the surprise gems I've found since starting to read the book cover to cover. I'm sure I was aware of these rules at one time, but I know I've never used them.

Next week we'll look at psionics and mutations...

Friday, June 5, 2015

A Shrewdness of Jokaero

Here is the unit with Napoleon and Slick at the fore...

I left all of the Mac-10's because they closely resemble the auto-pistols from the Necromunda range, but I added a few Las-Pistols and Las-Rifles to make these models more 40k. The squad leader has a Las-Gun and one Jokaero has a Missile Launcher, but the rest are armed only with pistols and grenades.

Next week I will paint a squad hired goons to bolster the strength of this force...

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


Slick is the second in command in my Jokaero team (gang? tribe? What's a group of apes called? Oh, cool... Google says it's a 'Shrewdness').


He is the tactical officer for the... err... shrewdness... and has all of the detection gear - Energy Scanner, Bio-Scanner, Rad Counter, etc. as well as a Las Rifle. The later is a minor conversion. I simply clipped away the M16 that was on the model and replaced it with a metal Las Rifle from an old metal Necromunda weapon sprue.

Monday, June 1, 2015


This is the leader of my Jokaero! Napoleon doesn't fit the classic description of a 'proper' Rogue Trader era Jokaero, but there simply wasn't much available since I needed around ten of these aliens. Anyway, I'm happy to use these Eureka Gibbons to represent the Jokaero of my 40k universe!

Hmm... just noticed I forgot to highlight the stones on the base... drat! Back to the painting desk with you!