Friday, November 30, 2012

ATZ FFO, Beginning of the story, rules update

Storytelling part - Introduction to a grim world.

June 8th, 1944
 I finally decided to start a dairy. Partially for Germaine, partially for me, mainly for the future generation.
Ah~ Germaine. My dear love as I imagine
 I believe it should start with my introduction. The best I can write at least.
My name is Jean Courage. I was born in 1920, a sunny Sunday. I fought World War 2 at the beginning, being some of the latest to stop fighting in July 1940, long forgotten because of the Armistice signed by Petain. Our bunker was cleared after a last "baroud d'honneur". This was maybe a mistake, but we wanted to show the German they didn't defeat us. It cost Platoon Lebron, all of them disappeared and we never knew what happened to them. I still recall the face of our Lieutenant when he came back from the Platoon Lebron, asking us a gunpoint to close the anti-blast door and to never open it again. That and the scream we could hear in that very dark tunnel...
We resisted 2 days and nights until the German officer, one of the German Heer, graciously proposed we stop fighting and we would be escorted back to the Vichy zone. He said we fought well and somehow I read guilty on his face.
For the first years, I lived in Paris with my parents, working as a butcher. Life was hard but at least we ate enough. Year after year the war brought hardship on us with its restrictions, rationing. Until the night the Gestapo and its French collabos arrested my father for act of resistance. He helped a group of American pilots to escape and was sold out by his best friend, betrayed for 30 kilo of wheat. I then left Paris to my uncle in the countryside when finally.... June 6th happened!
Little was known that day but since then there is only hope.

June 9th, 1944
I feel so free and liberated. Starting this dairy is making me feeling good. It's also exciting. It is so dangerous. If the collabo or the Gestapo find it, I am done. It is an act of resistance in itself.

Yesterday, I joined my cousin to one of his secret gathering in the woods. Lord, they have weapons! To be honest, most of them are old hunting rifle, but I saw a sten. "Gift from the Sky" said Marcel, the baker of the village. I wish we can have some action soon.

June 15th, 1944
SWD soldier
What can I say? I have not written any entry since 9th. So many things happened, so fast. First, the Allies are not moving as fast as expected. We can hear the straffing of German convoys and the sound of trucks during the night. The radio, the BBC of course, is keeping us informed of the progress. So many cities are liberated, but they are going West, because the Germans are defending Caen too much. We also heard that Hitler has disappeared -good thing- the SS replaced by a new organization, the SWD (Secret Weapon Division). Bloody battles are fought in Normandy.
On our side, we are not inactive. 3 nights ago, we ambushed 2 Germans cars. They were SWD as Raymond (my cousin) said. Raymond is very knowledgeable and knows everything about the Germans. He is working in a cafe that delivers food at the Kommandentur, the HQ of the Germans. They had a box of landmines. 
- "Gaz", said Marcel."Stupid Germans, didn't they learn the Great War? Gaz will never solve anything. We'll drown these in the swamps" Then he looked at all of us. "and we will NOT use it. Gaz will kill us and everybody we love as surely it will kill the Fritz (aka the Germans)"

We dumped the cars and the bodies together with the landmines in the swamps. Hopefully, the Germans will not find them.

June 22nd, 1944
I had to hide the dairy far from the farm. On June 17th, the Germans arrested Marcel and his family. I don't know how they found him, but we heard they are using new methods. Better safe than sorry. 
Bad news are never alone and Raymond disappeared too. Last night he was closing the cafe when a convoy reached the Kommandentur. I know, I was there washing the kitchen. All vehicles were all black and no marking. Sven Miller, one of the regular military guard came to order some food. I still remember his face. He was terrified, so pale and sweating like hell. He said that Raymond had to bring the food. 
"what kind of food?", asked Raymond. Sven replied strangely...."whatever food, as long as YOU bring it"
Raymond went and never came back. When I asked about him, Sven replied he was already gone. He urged me to get home as soon as I can and close my door. I cannot tell that to Mum. She'll be too sad. She likes Raymond very much.

June 23rd, 1944

I am taking risks to write so close to the previous entry, but I need to write it. Last night, when I brought the dairy where I am hiding it, I heard a convoy. Not unusual I said to myself then. So I laid down and waited for the convoy to pass. It was the SWD convoy of the previous night.
Seating in the mercedes was likely the officer, tall, pale, very aristocratic. Next to him was a kind of scientific with his little round shaped glasses. 
What i am doing? I am writing little details but not the reason I opened this entry. What is important is what I heard. It was a long kind of wolf howl and the scream of Raymond in one of the truck, I can swear it on my mother's life. The truck was marked with a red cross and too well defended. I had no chance to liberate him. He was going somewhere to the front. I hope he can escape.

June 25th, 1944
We hear the front has been broken and the Allies are driving the German home. The BBC is asking us to stay calm and stay home. They are also saying that we need as much as possible to stay indoor. The same for the official radio under German control.
The Germans convoys are heading the other way now, and very fast. I believe they are in a hurry, the Americans should be near now.

June 28th, 1944
There was a bombing raid the other day. Lots of bombs around the railway. All the youngs of the village have decided to gather and we are going to take action around July 1st. Some are worry about their family but we also heard the Americans are about 100 kilometers from here. 
Yesterday, on the Paris radio, we learnt the SWD has officially replaced the whole German civilian government. I do not care, I will be soon liberated. But it seemed important.
I am planning to join the Free French once the Americans are here and go free my mother in Paris. In the other good and best news of the week, I am now engaged with Germaine. Once the war is over, I will marry her.

June 30th, 1944
Tomorrow is the great day. We heard the Americans are only 30 kilometers from here and the Germans should not be many. We will gather, take weapons and embush whatever Germans we can see. So the village will be freed by us! 
All communications have been severed, either by the Americans or the Germans. I hope my mother is safe in Paris. 
About the Germans, we heard they are avoiding the road so close from the front, to avoid the constant straffing of the Typhoon or the Mustangs.
2 hours ago, there was bombing next to the front. Apparently, the Germans. I did not know they still had aircrafts. I thought they were all gone, as I have not seen any of them for about a month. 
Anyhow, tomorrow is the day we fight back and hard the Germans!

Rules and modifications.

The universe is the one from Secret of the Third Reich (SOTR) with the SWD conducting inhuman and mystic research and achieving them. Because I don't like Nazi, I won't be playing them (even passively) and replaced the bad guys by the imaginary SWD. 

In terms of game, SWD is ruled by weird people drawn from nobles. They are leading the German army now and they will be the big boss that it will be better to avoid. They have minion, the SWD soldiers, and the whole German army is afraid of them.
Same as in SOTR, the SWD has designed the V-Gaz. It is a viral gaz that change recently dead or healthy people into zombies. That's all I can say without taking much of the plot.

Having the game in 1944 also change few of the FFO ingredients. First, people are used to blackout. Electricity is a luxury and people don't need fridge or light.
Secondly, there is no internet. The only source of information are coming from radio that you can plug on electricity or more likely manually power.
Thirdly, Urban/Semi-urban and rural environment does not work. There are more military forces than civilians. I will then roll for change of zone 1d6 :
1-2 : Limited military presence during the gaz attack, count as rural
3-4 : Average military presence during the gaz attack, count as semi-urban
5-6 : Major military presence during the gaz attack, count as urban.

So every movement may be a salvation or higher risks, as the main character, Jean Courage, will have no right to know. Unless he can gather information from encounter with people. 

Additionally , V-Gaz will be effective only for a short period and is highly contageous after that if bitten by infected people. On of the random event will be gaz cloud (gaz landmine exploding or just the wind). But Jean Courage will not know about the gaz unless, again, he can meet or the BBC informs about it.

Finally, there is no police in the sense of FFO-ATZ. Police may be German military, French gendarmerie (similar to county troopers) or Vichy police. The National guard equivalent will be military (Heer or Allied Para) and gangers will be either highwaymen or SWD units.

The campaign will start on July 1st, 1944, the day after the first V-Gaz attack against the Allies few kilometers away from the city of the character.

Miniature front update

2 weeks of on-hold projects.

I have few updates, as I haven't kept my personal objective not to buy miniatures.
All started with an innocent acquisition of FFO (Final Fade Out) and seeing that I was missing some miniatures to play it properly.
Then came the famous Xmas deal of Mantic games (70 miniatures for US$50), then promotion at FRPGames.
All in all, that's about 150 miniatures that I have to store in my ever squizzing space.

Back to the fun part! As more stuff join the unpainted lead mountain, I have decided to complete projects before starting new one. That includes the Berlin or Bust soldiers. I have painted about 25 soldiers by now, and there are about 50 to go and I will have a full force. Good point is that I am only missing the flesh paint on about 10 soldiers, German grey for 50 and the wash. I should be done by end of the week.

Then I will attack my FFO civilians and resistants (about 50) and I have already 10 almost completed. once I have finished that 10, I will be good to go for a starting party (assuming I can finish at least 2 buildings too). I am planning a test party by first week of December. Sweet!

Secondly, I had the wrong idea to visit a friend during lunch time at the local (and only) GW store in Hong Kong and decided that it would be great to play Witch Hunter (fluffing way, not cheesy way) and I am pending to read the codex to decide if I jump or not. I have a lot of GW miniatures (inquisitor, some grey knights), scibor minions and plenty of Warpath Forge Father in addition to Urban War Junker/Gladiator to make a good and funny retinue. More on that once I have read the corrupting book.

Monday, November 12, 2012

ATZ is dead, long live FFO

I know, an easy title for this article, full of irony.
ATZ, or All Thing Zombie is dead, or a living dead as no more maintained, and an uber-ATZ is born from the DNA of ATZ, Final Fade Out.

ATZ was a very good games. I tried it at home and liked it. I spent a lot of time reading very great AAR about games, and most of them sounded like TV Show or movies, the great quality one, not the one with the simple plot so audience does not need to think too much to understand who is the good guy and who is the bad guy.

FFO brings a lot of in game mechanics of great quality, smoother interactions, more skills and still all within the limits of enjoyment. The only bothering part of FFO and ATZ is that they are based on modern times and as much as I like modernity in my real life, I prefer the rusticity of old time before the Internet and the mobile phone, the 40's. Why? Because the story is in my opinion better. Less technology to screw it, more in depth characters and decision to be made without knowing what happens outside a 10 kilometers radius. Radio is available but clumsy. Transportation rare. Survival skills developped.

I will be playing in the Secret of the Third Reich universe, at least for the start, with ambition to expand the plot and the tricks.The story will be happening in France, in 1944 just at the beginning of the V-Gaz attacks, and follow the story of a French civilian.

It's an ambitious plan, that need careful planning. The most important is work-wise and I had the luxury to move to another department with less travel but more (unpaid) OT. So more game opportunity.
The second one is acquisition of the materials. I have many WW2 28mm building, mostly ruins I'm afraid. I will need to print more unscathed buildings and make them. I will need to paint the civilian and miniatures I thought would be used for French partisans in my game. Some are under painting, other have been commissioned (damned OT!) to have a first gaming phase.
The third part is the design of the goodies. I like cards and prefer them to dice roll/table check combo. The first draft of the cards is available. I used the graphics of Wolfenstein 3D, but missing some of the pictures for Survivors or other small items that I am sure will occur later in the game.

Finally, some recent acquisitions done with the hard discount FRP Games:
Group of Ganger/Survivor

Group of Ganger/Survivor

Group of Survivors

Group of villains
Group of Ganger/Survivor
Group of bad guys
Group of special bad guys (SWD Troopers)

Groups of Civilians

Equivalent to the Police force

Equivalent to the Police force