Sky Urchins (Libuscha + Rogue Planet Fluff)

The notoriety of Libuscha's vast herds of Libuscha's predatory Banksia is such that people often assume that in the skies above the Banksia Plains are relatively safe - after all, the Banksia themselves are slow moving beast, rarely reaching heights beyond 6 meters tall and even the local tsunami's top out well below the operational ceiling of all but the most antiquated vehicles.

If it were the case, Libuscha could almost be termed a paradise.  Unfortunately, like Libuscha's Banksia Plains, the skies of Libuscha are also teaming with life that both resilient relentlessly aggressive.  One such life-form is the Libuschan Sky Urchin.

Sky Urchins are spiny, globular animals that, with their close kin, such as sky mites, constitute the class Echinoidea of the echinoderm phylum. About 950 species of echinoids inhabit all Libuschan skies up to the stratosphere.  The shell, or "test", of sky urchins is round and spiny, typically from 1 to 2 meters across and surrounds an internal gas bladder that provides the urchin with its buoyancy. Common colors include green, olive, brown, purple, blue, and red.

Much like their land-bound cousins the Banksia, Sky Urchins are aggressive omnivores.  Sensitive to movement, they'll plummet from hundreds of meters out of the sky, impaling their prey on their spines before rising up to feed into the sanctuary of the sky.

Urchins don't restrict to themselves to terrestrial targets either.  Draw as they are to movement, should they sense an aircraft they'll commencing trailing the same.  This can result in hundreds or even thousands of urchins converging in on the hapless vehicle, clogging intakes and overwhelming control systems.  Worse still, even should the vehicle evade the urchins, they can unwittingly lead a ravenous horde of urchins back to their port which can quickly overwhelm all but the most sophisticated of defensive systems.

Use in the Game (Rogue Planet)

Sky Urchins are treated as dangerous terrain that may be employed by a Player as a Counter Action to any of their opponent's movement-based Action (Move, Charge etc).  When doing so, a Rogue Die is included in their opponent's Skill Check.  The Rogue Die result, should it match one or both of the results on the two Skill Die, that die or dice is discounted.  Should the Skill Check result in a Failure, then apply the Rogue Die as damage to the target.

In the event of a Critical Failure, then also effect a Sky Urchin attack on each and every unit (CQ5 +1 vs Small) on the board, representing a swarm of urchins descending upon the battlefield.

New Recruits (Hobby Time)

There hasn't been quite as much playing this month as some, but we have found some spare moments to do some crafting - mainly painting and a bit of building.

Firstly painting.  During the course of the year I acquired four 'fresh' human mercenary type models (these apparently old IMEF models ones from Reaper) and maybe 20 OOP Dark Eldar in various states of completion.  Well now they're all painted (awaiting basing this weekend) and ready for action.

I hit the mercenaries first, using my 20 year old paints plus a couple of new additions upon finding that some 20 year old paints don't necessarily work like they once did - fancy that.  I based them in grey, coated them in red, highlighted in orange, and did various detail bits using the standard metals etc.  Good fun.  Perfect?  No way!  Tabletop ready?  Absolutely, especially in these parts.

It was fun finding the time to zone out whilst zoning in and just put some paint onto something.  Learned some new skills and I imagine that things can only get better from here.

I approached the Dark Eldar differently again.  Firstly a black base coat then, trying out my Aldi airbrush for the first time, (attempted to) applied a bronze to everything but their weapons and faces.  Dry-brushed with a copper and then a little bit more discretely (at least on some models, I was finding my skills) with some gold.  Did some red/yellow/orange things on their hair and metal on bits of the guns and they came out fine.

So a few hours of painting over a handful of days and we've now got a whole new force/faction all but ready to join the fray.  Interestingly enough it is only once I took photos of the models did I really notice some gaps in the initial air brush work - there's a lesson to be had there.

Finally on the terrain side, we've now added some more Aussie-sourced items.  One of the guys at the club asked why I didn't seal and paint my recent Banksia... I thought about it some and came to the conclusion that I might as well give it a try on my newly acquired flora.  Pretty basic basecoats then simple poster and acrylic paints and... wow, I (and the family) was surprised at how good they came out.


A bit of colour makes them almost seem alive again.  Dead simple, cheaper than chips and worked out a treat.  Thanks for the suggestion Brent!

Ghost Farm (Rogue Planet Scenario)

The family's understanding of how Rogue Planet plays is now getting to a level where they're wanting to do something a little different than the standard straight-up battle.  Here's a Scenario we've played and refined a number of times and a very brief rundown of one such game.

++ Copy AT-99. Copy? ++

The Situation

On ancient Terra, there were legends of ghost ships, brimming with treasure, wandering the oceans, waiting to be plundered by the brave, daring and fortunate.  Libuscha Prime also has ghosts.  Lubruska's ghosts are far from uncommon and unlike Terra's ghost ships, Libuscha's ghost farms are all too easily found.  The wealth even once such farm might hold is staggering - enough to finance a dynasty.

But the risk involved are extraordinary.  As if the Banksia herds alone weren't enough, it would seem that every imaginable outlaw, corporation, xeno faction, government organisation and fanatic feel compelled to wade into a the inevitable bloodbath with only one guarantee - that the Banksia will not go hungry for long.

Farm Alpha Tango Niner Niner has been offline for six cycles and it's last harvest transferred twenty or more cycles before that.  That suggests a lot of Pearls... and a lot of Banksia...

The Forces

Each player may nominate one of the follow Forces:

Chaos Scouts

Two lone scouts ranging ahead of a larger Chaos warband, approach the farm drawn by the disturbances in the warp caused by the massed pearl harvest.

  • 1x Chaos  Assault Marine QC4 RAT5 DEF5 ARM Medium (Powered) SIZE Small ERG 4 + Chained Blade + Fantasy Ranged (118 Credits)
  • 1x Chaos Tactical Marine 4 5 5 Medium(P) Small 3 + Carbine
Corporate Auditors

An Audit Team has been deployed to verify and secure the Corporation's assets.

  • 1x Analyst 3 4 3 Light Small 1 + Carbine + Blade + Scope
  • 1x Auditor 3 4 4 Medium(P) Small 3 + Machine Gun + Scope
  • 2x Drones 2 3 3 Light Small 1 + Scattershot + Flying

Prime Patrol

The AIs have identified a high probability of an incursion occurring in the area and deployed a patrol to investigate the situation.
  • 1x Tactical Trooper Squad 3 3 3 Group 4 Small 0 + Carbine + Blade
  • 1x Mantu Battle Suit 3 4 4 Medium(P) Small 3 + Carbine + Scope
  • 1x Assault Trooper Squad 3 3 3 Group 4 Small 1 + Fantasy Ranged + Chained Blade

Lizardman Raiders

A band of Lizardman Raiders intent interfering with the Pearl Farm arrive at exactly the wrong time.
  • 2x Skink Group 3 3 3 Group 4 Small 0 + Fantasy Ranged + Spear + Shield + Blade
  • 2x Saurus Group 4 2 4 Group 4 Small 0 + Spear + Shield + Blade + Great

Tani

Separated from the main hunting pack, three Tani Gilli stumble onto the farm.
  • 3 x Gilli 4 5 5 Light(P) Small 2 + Carbine + Axe

The Battlefield

The Forces meet within the Banksia Plains. In the middle of the map is the entrance to an underground pearl silo (6x6 inches).  

We raised our silo and ruled that it could be traversed using two Action Points (one moving to it's base then a second climbing up onto the silo proper) or a single Action Point via a successful Skill Check (Partial Success yields a Move to the opponent and a Failure yields both a Move and Stagger - ensuring that the Staggered Unit doesn't fall uphill!).

Mulling around the silo are the indigenous Libuscha life-forms, primarily Banksias - the more the merrier!

Victory Conditions

Each Force is attempting to access the silo and secure the Pearls within.  To access the silo requires a total of five (5) successful Skill Checks.  The rules for these Skill Checks are as follows:
  • Attempts can only be made by Units upon the silo.
  • Each Unit may only generate a single success in any given Turn.
  • A Unit may attempt any number of Skill Checks in any given Turn - subject to the usual Action Point and consecutive Action rules.
  • Attempts by Units engaged in Melee are made with a -1 modifier.
  • Any Total Success or Partial Success generates one of the five required successes.
  • Both a Partial Success or Failure result provide the opposing Force with a free Move Action.
  • A Failure result negates/reduces the Force's success by one e.g., a Force that had generated four successes attempts for their fifth and fails would have their success total reduced to three.
The first Force to amass the five silo Skill Check successes is awarded victory and the game is ended.

Should one Force be eliminated, play should continue whilst the remaining Force tries to access the silo whilst avoiding the Libuschan locals. 

Special Rules

Banksia

The Banksia are treated as dangerous terrain - that is they're able (and more than willing) to attack either force.  Banksia can be utilised as Dangerous Terrain (CQ/DEF 3 + 1 vs Small) as detailed within the Rogue Planet rulebook.

Adding to the danger, the Banksia are also able to slowly move around the Battlefield.  At the end of each Player's Turn (Turn, not Action), roll a D4 and their opponent may move that many Banksia D4 inches each (i.e. roll separately for each Banksia) towards the closest Unit i.e. Banksia cannot be moved such that they increase the distance to their closest prey.  Should a Banksia make base-contact with a Unit, they may instantly attack at nil Action Point cost.  Each Banksia may be moved only once per Banksia move resolution/Turn.

Our Battle Report(s)

A well earned victory 👍
We've played this one a few times now and each time the game has taken different routes.  I think the most memorable was Harriet using a Chaos Marine themed Force vs Me playing humanity's NeTWork 21, one of Humanity's many Mega-corporations.

Harriet put her faith in her Marine's Medium Power Armour's ability to soak up damage and forged ahead towards her goal.  Whilst I was able to achieve a LoS a few times, my shots went wild meaning that Harriet was able to make it to the silo well before me.  With her Tactical Marines tasked with cracking the silo's code, her Assault Marine ran interference.

Whilst my troops had  Scopes to fire at the Marine on the Silo (normally they'd have to target the closer Assault Marine) they weren't able to achieve many Total Successes which translated into many additional Moves for Harriet - kind of played into her hands.

One memorable point in the game was when I had managed to get some Troopers past the Assault Marine and onto the silo whilst having another Unit keeping the Assault Marine engaged.  Harriet surprised me (and made me a little proud, because I didn't think of it) by ignoring the opportunity for an easy kill through Melee and instead throwing my Units into one another, bowling them off the silo!  So very Chaos.

Not everything went Harriet's way.  I managed to use the Banksia effectively, slowly but surely creeping towards her Tactical Marine and ultimately taking it out!  Harriet was getting cocky and instead of sticking to a safer CQ:DEF Melee resolution, she opted for a CQ:CQ, forgetting that negated her Power Armour's Rogue Die (I wasn't going to reminder her - she was winning!).  Yep, that's greed for you.

The roving Terrain proved a bit hit for all involved, including the bystanders.  I've already whipped up some new Libuschan locals and have some ideas for more still.  The Rogue Planet Treacherous Terrain mechanism is really very clever, and now I'm thinking about how to start having three-player games with one player  controlling these 'Rogue Elements' (see Rogue Planet eBook rules pg 23).

Once again we played measured Moves (12 inches) and Unit-specific Energy Pools.  I'm finding the measured Moves seems to make sense - it kind of eliminates the crazy zig-zags we were finding ourselves doing in previous games to dodge things etc.  Playing Unit-specific Energy seemed to work and the use of additional models as Pawns (basically nice looking tokens, which makes a huge difference to the look and feel of the game) worked a treat.