Saturday, June 25, 2022

Comments and Time

First, I found out yesterday that my e-mail filter is blocking some comments to my posts.  No pattern to it that I can find, other than it has only blocked legitimate replies from readers, and has yet to block a spammer.  Thanks for your comments, and sorry that they haven't been getting posted or responded to.

And second, after completing a two month long project that was severly limiting my hobby time, and getting a weekend free to be creative, I was hit by another, even more oppressive thing to deal with, so I won't be posting (or playing, building, etc), for the next few weeks.

Next time around, I'm going to have to rethink how to do this whole "life" thing.


Thursday, June 9, 2022

Peaks and Valleys

After peaking with a five day flurry of post apocalypse activity, I've descended into the valley of real life again (that sounds a little darker than I intended), allowing only a trickle of hobby activity.  I almost squeazed in a second game on the heals of my last post a poc game, with an Imagi-Africa game that has been waiting for, I don't know, two years maybe, to get played, partially set up.  But life intervened, and the game still awaits playing.

My Vietnm helicopters are slowly getting windows, with most of the birds being done, but still adding a couple windows every now and then.  And there are still four aircraft that need decals.  They may just get put back on the shelf for awhile.

World War III-1958 is still awaiting an order from H&R, which is in transit.  Once I get those painted up to fill in a few gaps, the BAOR and Soviets can get back to it.

Not really a hold up, but I've also got a few more 1950s NATO aircraft now awaiting paint on my table.

I've been working out what I yet need to pick up for my 15mm 1950s British and Soviets, 1960s French (to battle the Soviets), and 1970s-'80s Brits and 1980s French and Soviets for Cold War battles.  With the exception of the 1960s French, not a lot is needed for any one period or army.   Though when all combined, it is a sizeable list.  My 1970s-early '80s US forces need a lot of stuff yet, but that is mostly going to come from mastering and casting my own stuff, so I'll probably finish off all of the other 15mm Cold War forces first.

Now if I could just get a little more free time...


Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Good To Be Home (A Post Apocalypse Moment)

The last few days had been strenuous, and getting shot hadn't helped, but at least he was home.  The old man decided to sit for a moment after reaching the top of the first ladder.  It had been a long day, more tiring than most.  As he sat there, appreciating the shade, he noticed something that he hadn't seen before.  An inscription, etched into the rock, on the underside of an ancient layer of stone, well protected from the elements, and not readily in view.  "Pin + Lola".  Crudely scraped into the rock, such that each letter was formed from a series of straight lines.  For example, the "O" consisted of four lines making a sort of diamond or crystal shape.


He had noted other such marks over the years, impressed upon "his" little island in the desert.  Each hinted at a bit of the history of his ancient home.  There had certainly been many here before him.  he suspected that the owner of the hand print on the opposite side of the "shelf" might be the oldest.  No doubt an artifact of a Native American, though probably of an older variety than what his contemporaries would have once associated with the term.

Also, there were remnants of the outline of a shield or coat of arms if you will, with the letters "HD" contained within, he wondered if it was simply a fan of motorcycles, or if the perpetrator might have shared the initials.

Just under the lip at the top was a reminder that "Ted waz here", at least once upon a time.  The old man couldn't decide if that one predated his lifetime or not.  It might have been from a century prior.  In one of the crevices along the climb, he had once found five beer cans still held by a plastic binding, the pull tabs were still in place, but all of the cans had corroded at the bottom, and had dispensed their contents prior to the old man's arrival.

After climbing the second ladder, while hoisting it from its perch, his wound ached, and he was more conscious than usual of the ghosts who shared his little mesa.  What was "Pin" short for, and did Lola have green eyes?  He would no doubt ponder these and many other questions for many hours.  He did this from time to time, revisiting the thoughts about the inscriptions, slowly building images in his mind of each "author's" appearance.


Later, as he lay in his makeshift bed, under his makeshift roof, he reached down, picking up the last tomato from the wooden box left by the she-soldier, and imagined the ghosts of Pin and Lola, of Ted, the hand, and others sharing this cool evening on top of the their mesa, and considered that one day, his ghost would join them.  Maybe tomorrow, he would leave his signature for a future resident of the mesa to find.  Or maybe, he would simply leave his ghost.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

The Chase - Part 2

This is a sequel to a game played last year.  "The Chase" can be found here.

_____________________________________

The old man took off his orange hat.  There was much commotion at the farmstead; members of the farm clan scurrying about, too many soldiers in too small a space.  He stood in the front room of the dwelling, flanked by two of the soldiers, as the sergeant ordered them to bring him into the next room.

"Move", one of the soldiers pushed him, rather unpleasantly, "go!".  The old man stumbled forward; while the lieutenant reminded the soldier that they served the people, and invited the old man to sit down in a chair.

The old man cracked a smile, and considered that they were in a wasteland, with no nations, no governments, no society really.   Yet there was a soldier pushing the old man around, as if he had any more right to be in charge, than the old man.

"Something funny?"  Asked the sergeant.  Now there was a piece of work.  Litterally.  He seemed a decent man, direct, all business, and sporting hardware not of the wastes.  They called him Sergeant Hand, and the old man wondered if that was actually his name, or if he was named for the cybernetic hand and forearm that the sergeant sported.  He also had a partially fabricated head.  Something you didn't see everyday.

Sergeant Hand.

The sergeant had experienced something very traumatic, losing part of an arm, and part of his skull, only to have have them replaced with fabricated metal parts, integrated with his biology.  An application of technology that was beyond that of the Before, as well as that of the wastes.  The old man was very curious about Sergeant Hand.  He'd have to look into the sergeant more, when he wasn't busy being interrogated.

The mother was conflicted, caught between the joy of having her two young children returned to her, and the horror of realizing that she would not likely see her oldest daughter again.  He watched as the the soldiers received the gratitude for his effort, not that he cared so much as again, he found humor in the situation.

"Well, lets get to it", and the sergeant began the questioning.  The old man explained in detail, how he came across the two young children, who explained that three men had taken their sister and left them in the wastes,  and how the old man had decided to track the kidnappers, with intention of returning all three to the mother.

The Sergeant seemed to think the idea a bit unlikely, asking the old man how he planned to do that.  The old man explaining only that "he would look for an opportunity".  The sergeant was mildly flustered by the response, but didn't give it too much thought.  The old man would simply do what he always did; that which needed done.

As the questioning went on, the old man began to think about the upcoming pursuit.  He could move much faster now that the two little ones wouldn't be tagging along with him.  And the kidnappers were clumsy, leaving  so obvious a trail that a blind man could follow them.  He just needed to wrap the interrogation up.

The soldiers released the old man, even offering him a ride back to New Clovis, though he declined.  He intended to head in a different direction.  He also spoke to the father of the missing girl briefly, asking a little about her, and explaining that he still hoped to find the girl.  

The father had already given up, and looked at the old man blankly, giving short answers to the questions.  The mother finally thanked the old man for his part in returning the children, and continued to alternate between joy and sorrow.

The old man saw the agony in the mother, and saw that the Confederation troops considered the situation resolved.   But it wasn't really; it was left undone, and the old man hoped to still make things right.  He felt sure that he could find the girl, and hoped to return her to her mother.  

Placing his orange hat back on his head, the old man picked up his gear and left the farmstead, trekking back in the direction of the krags.  It took less than a day to pick up the trail of the three men and the girl. For two additional days, he followed through the wastes, as always, enjoying the beauty of the land, frequently reminded by the remnants of critters that had come before him, that they were of the land, and not the reverse.

The table from the southwest.

At one point he came across a dirt road that had seen a lot of travel recently, clearly including vehicles.  He had not seen anything like this in quite a long time, and wondered about it for a bit.  Intrigued, he made note that he would have to return to explore the trail further.

It was getting late, and he decided to make camp; he needed a little rest.  He was after all, an old man.  He lay there in the wastes, staring at the night sky, unchanged through all of his years.  He loved the night sky, when he looked up at it, it took him back to the before, to when he was a child, to what used to be California, all of those years ago.  He wondered what might be there now, if anyone he once cared about might still be alive, and finally, the old man went to sleep. 

He finally caught site of the men on day four, three of them and the girl.  The men were well equipped, conspicuously so, soldiers given their uniforms, but not of the Confederation.  Their equipment was... better, more advanced.  A tremendous anomaly given when and where they were.  These were strangers, and considering their actions, they were very much in a land strange to them.

The three soldiers and the girl.

The old man closed on them for another day, finally getting within rifle range, as the group began to slow their pace.  He sensed that somehow, the journey must be ending, but was at a loss as to how, given that they were in the middle of bone dry nowhere.

The table looking west.

He still hadn't been seen; these men did not know they were being tracked.  They kidnapped a person, left a sloppy trail, and didn't seem to consider that they might be followed.  It was all very odd; they simply weren't where they belonged.

The old man in the wastes.

He climbed up on a rock which gave him some cover, leveled his rifle, and decided to take a shot.  He fired; a clear hit, but the man didn't fall.  The target moved out of view, but the leader came into view,  so the old man fire again.  Another hit, but again, the man simply moved out of view.

Gaining some cover from which to fire.

The group taken under fire from the old man behind them.

He moved off of the rock and found another position, a bit closer to his targets.  They had moved into cover, and after a couple of minutes, one of the men showed himself, mostly concealed, but trying to find the shooter.  The two men fired almost simultaneously, the old man missed, but the stranger did not.  The energy bolt from the laser was partially absorbed by the old man's armor, but still burned intensely.  

The old man recoiled out of view, and investigated the wound.  It was deciedly unpleasent.  But more upset that he missed an easy shot, than that he had been hit, he moved to engage again.  The two men exchanged shots, missing repeatedly.  The old man was clearly affected by the wound.  It had been decades since the last time he missed four consecutive shots.

He was lucky that his adversary was equally ineffective.  The girl and the other two men stayed out of view.  The old man wa pretty sure that they couldn't escape without him seeing them, so he found the situation a little curious.

The group taking cover and exchanging fire.

He moved around, trying to find a position that gave him better advantage, but it was not to be had.  Some minutes passed, and then he saw the man that had been hit first, and fired and missed again.  

Another shot missed the old man, and then something strage happend.  An armored truck came into view.  Like something directly out of the Before.  It moved into a position to give the group some cover, likely allowing them to mount up.  The old man took a shot at the windshield, where he suspected a driver to be.  A hit, but to no effect.  He fired again, this time at a tire, and hit.  Again, with no noticeable effect.

One of the soldiers is the blurry spot at the base of the rock to 
the left, the armored truck comes into view.

A better view of the truck and soldiers.

The vehicle then turned away from him; he fired again, sure that he had hit another tire, again to no effect, and then it was gone.  they were all gone, leaving the old man alone in the wastes.

The truck drives away.

He was tremendously let down; he had failed to rescue the girl.  Something he was sure that he could do.  He just sat there for some time, then further tended to his wound, which looked absolutely nasty.  It was seriously going to leave a mark.

A few days journey, and the old man made his way back to the farmstead, without further encounter, and explained what had happened to the girl's mother.  She seemed to take the information better than he expected.  Maybe hoping that her daughter would live, and maybe even be taken care of at least.

The old man heads home.

The old man intended to explore the origin of the strange soldiers and their armored car further.  Holding on to the chance that he still might find the girl some day.

He spent a night at the farm, then headed home the next day, looking forward to the comfort of his perch atop the little rocky column in the middle of the desert.  He would take a couple of days to heal,  then head into New Clovis, and report his experience to someone there.  He figured the Confederation would probably like to know that they weren't alone in the wastes.

_______________________________________

This game took form a year ago, but took until this past weekend to play as  ideas associated with the game evolved (factions, stories, and models).  I ended up creating or sort of pencil and paper set of "chase" rules, experimeneting with several ideas as components of the game.  The tabletop game came about, once the old man could close on the target.  

It is kind of ironic that so much effort was invested in what turned out to be such a simple and short scenario on the tabletop.

It suspected that given the way it rolled up, that getting the girl back was too much of a reach, and then, when he had the string of missed shots, it was kind of sealed (the old man is an exceptional shot).  The arival of the truck, could have been much more prolonged, but rolled up with almost the shortest wait possible, which really limited the old man.

In any event, the whole process was fun, both the paper and on table chases. And, I got to round out some background for several storylines and factions.  

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Coming Out of Their Hole (Post Apoc Fluff)

The following is a continuation of the back story about the Hope Island Research Complex in my post apocalyptic world.

_________________________________________

Since the inhabitants of HIRC (link) had opened their hatch a few years ago, the occupants of HIRC had learned a lot about their new world.  It seemed that the wastes had crept in, a lot more than the advancements of HIRC had changed the wastes, and maybe that was to be expected.  

The complex preserved many of the old ways, preserved the values and technology of the Before, with the intent of slowly helping to restore a little of the order and comfort of a nation from an earlier time.  The first step had been to go out and explore, learn about their neighbors, about the world that unknowingly surrounded them.

When the decision was made to go forth, the first steps were tenuous, as almost no one had been under open skies in thirty years.  After testing the air, captain Vega took off his helmet, and felt wind on his face for the first time.  He was immediately overwhelmed by the vast openness of the landscape, uncomfortable, and unprepared for the sensation.  He looked up at the clear blue sky with awe... and ... a surprising and momentarily incapacitating fear.  

And when the projectile hit the armor protecting his chest, he didn't even realize that he had just been shot.  Fortunately, members of his team noticed, and reacted accordingly.  Returning fire on the gang that had happened upon them.

The fight was brief, the dwellers of the bunker, all protected by advanced armor, were relatively impervious to the weapons of the gangers.  They returned fire accurately, methodically even , and killed their new found adversaries in seconds.  The first encounter with the locals had been had, and established what would become a recurring theme.  The wastes were a dangerous place, and as bad as things could be, people were still more than willing to kill one another.

Not every venture outside the comfort of the complex had been so hostile.  The bunker dwellers intent was friendly, and for now, passive.  They were learning, collecting data, with which to better formulate and execute their plan.

They had been collecting data for decades, but extensive first hand contact would still be needed to understand what could be done.  They had established some trade with local small communities, but the region was incredibly volatile.

In addition to the challenges of interacting with the outside world.  A new recurring problem came to be, in the form of bunker inhabitants trying to "escape" the bunker.  Life was very comfortable and safe inside the bunker, but regimented and restricted in many ways.  

Despite it's resources, one shortage that befell HIRC was population.  The bunker inhabitants were few, and particularly after the end of the Before, the bunker experienced a very low birth rate for some years, resulting initially in negative population growth.  

Effort was made to restrict excursions outside the bunker, with all missions supervised by military escort.  There was an increasing sense of bunker inhabitants being "prisoners" in their underground home, as the leadership tried to carefully preserve and slowly grow their numbers.  

In time, HIRC began to establish small outposts with hope of creating a sphere of influence, and also searching for prospective new inhabitants.  Mistakes were made, and as such, these efforts were not always successful.  Still, HIRC did it's best, working with the resources at hand, under circumstances more extreme than anyone in the Before had imagined.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Vehicles For My Post Apoc Bunker Faction Completed*

The High Mobility Armored Transports (HiMATs) are light armored utility vehicles for my bunker dwellers. Capable of withstanding small arms fire, they provide transportaion for the bunker's inhabitants when exploring the wastes, or extending olive branches to the less fortunate survivors in the After.

They come with or without an armored turret, and can mount a range of medium and heavy weapons.  They can also accommodate eight occupants with about two weeks of survival rations and supplies. 

Drive is provided by two electric motors (one to each axle) via batteries and solar panels.  They are equipped with air purification and NBC contamination sensors, and can purify drinking water as well.  Other features include assive night driving aids and GPS navigation that can link to GPS satilites that are stil in operation.

Here are a couple pics of the beasts:




* Actually, I'm not sure that they are complete, but they are at least serviceable on the table top.  They may get some more detailing in the future.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Hope Island Research Complex (Post Apoc Fluff)

The Hope Island Research Complex was conceived in the late 1970s as a secure facility, proof to nuclear attack, that would focus on the ability to develop technology during and after a large scale nuclear attack or other catastrophic event.

Built beneath more than 13,000 feet of rock, it was the largest of the Cold War era US bunkers.  Capable of housing thousands of people, it was primarily designed for scientists and their families, as well as smaller government and military contingents.  The facility included living, research, communications and production facilities, and extensive supply and raw material storage.

Research and technology companies were partners in the production and operation of the facility, which actively operated during peacetime.  Normal operations were limited to research and development of new technology, and the site was a test bed for budding technology, such as the first functional fusion reactor.

Known as "HIRC",  "The Complex",  "The Bunker", and early on as "The Brain Pit", it continued operation during the decline of the United States, though proved to not be immune to the effects of the decline and associated chaos of the Before.

As the situation in the US and the world became truly critical, disaffected medical researchers released a biotoxin in the facility, leading to a number of deaths, and rendering large portions of the complex unusable at the time it was most needed. Thus, a relatively small population was present when the complex was locked down.

Despite the size of its population, operation of the facility was managed, and eventually the biotoxin was cleaned from the entire facility.  Inside the complex, life continued in relative comfort and security.  Contact was maintained with other government facilities until one by one, most stopped responding.

The devolving world situation was continuously monitored and documented.  Rare excursions, called "going topside" collected data about the surroundings of the complex, though for decades, most of the inhabitants did not see the outside world.

Over time, the complex evolved its own government and culture, but continued to generally follow the intended purpose of finding solutions to problems that came with the apocalypse.  At such time that it was directed, the plan was that HIRC would introduce its technologies to the post apocalyptic world with the intent of helping to restore order and re-establishing the nation.

HIRC maintained contact with, and monitored activity of other outposts from the Before.  There were at least three surviving outposts (there were also several others) that potentially had legal authority on behalf of the former US government, though the issue was obviously quite muddy.  None of these appeared to be following the proper protocol, and HIRC did not receive the direction that it awaited, even after the conditions had been met for the direction to be initiated.  

After much debate, the leadership of HIRC decided that it was time to begin its mission topside,  opening a new chapter in the history of what was once known as the United States of America.