If you take a look at the Antagonists page you'll see complete rules for both Stalking and Vampires.
Now the Lords of the Udnead can sip the blood from the living on the darkened streets of Necropolis!
Thursday, 17 February 2011
Wednesday, 16 February 2011
The helicopter containing Squad Beta touched down on the narrow roof of an old townhouse and the SWAT team inside disembarked, fanning to the roof edge.
Lillian and Curtis took up position on the lip of the roof with their sniper rifles while the others started to descend through the building, smashing furniture to make stakes of their own. On the roof, Curtis spotted movement in the streets and pointed. “There!” There was a flash of black cloth as the three remaining agents from Team Alpha sped past, then the little beastly children ran into view. Curtis and Lillian opened fire, alternating shots, keeping up the rate of impact to give the investigators time to pull ahead. The creatures screamed as the bullets pummelled them; shot after shot after shot, as meanwhile, below, the SWAT team finished fashioning stakes then ran for the stairs.
Down at street level, Kate, Brock and Annie were almost back on the road at the far side of the ruins; only yards away from the townhouse. But two of the children were upon them. The women started firing again, stunning the things while Brock reached for his stake. One of the children shook off its injuries and leapt for him, slashing the front of his shirt, but he drove the stake through its bony chest and into its heart. For a second, it only blinked, perplexed, then its skin bubbled, liquefying. Inside, its bones cracked and crumpled and then the entire creature erupted screaming into a vomiting fountain of black excrescence.
Brock and Annie shared a moment of triumph. Then the second child leapt onto Annie’s back, knocking her forward off her feet. Simultaneously, a shrieking harridan in a long red dress with beautiful but unearthly smooth skin emerged from the shadows behind them, wielding a pair of lethal daggers. She whirled the blades, charging toward Kate, who could only parry and fall back, using her pistol to hamper her pursuit.
The dark lord was on his feet now, stalking toward the women. They were surrounded, not even realising he was approaching from behind.
Lillian put a call across the com for them all to withdraw to the chopper but Brett snapped back a “No.” He kicked the back of the female’s knees then plunged a stake between her shoulder blades. “Keep up the rate of fire!” he cried.
Every remaining agent blasted at the creatures that were left, obliterating their faces.
“Keep it up!”
The remaining things screeched, flailing out with their claws.
“Now stake them! Fast!”
The bullets stopped flying and every agent with a stake ran forward. The creatures were regenerating with lightning speed but it wasn’t fast enough. Every one of them was reduced to bubbling goo as the stakes hit home.
Except for the dark lord. His taloned claw closed around Brett’s neck and he smiled. Then brett pressed hi pistol barrel into the creature’s eye and pulled the trigger. As it flailed back he jammed his stake into the things chest and stepped back.
The last of them roared and screamed and then fell silent.
Each agent looked to their closest number; all of them utterly stunned by what had just happened.
“Treat the environment as extremely hostile.”
The words came back to each of them now. They looked around them at the dark city stretching away and they realised, each one of them, that the warning had been an understatement.
Thursday, 10 February 2011
The unnatural deathly children were all around them, clawing at their faces; snapping jaws filled with needle-sharp teeth; giggling.
Carl elbowed the little boy scrambling up his chest in the face and he fell back, but when Carl levelled his pistol and fired at point blank range, although the bullet only ripped into the body, tearing out cold flesh and black blood the other side, the little boy continued to walk toward him. Continued to stare with its glittering eyes.
Continued to smile.
Marlow cried out as claws raked the side of his face and he went down, but the child over him was blasted away under fire from Kate’s machine pistol. The evil little creature rolled and came back up to its feet, ready to attack again.
The others were struggling against the children they’d only just thought they were rescuing. The limbs of the spiteful things were thin but deceptively strong. Carl went down on his knees as the nasty animalistic child raked him again and again with its dirty fingernails.
The one clambering onto Brock’s shoulders screeched in glee and bloodlust. Then it felt the barrel of his pistol under its chin and yelped as the bullet went up into its skull, knocking it clear.
Still, it landed badly, but struggled back up, healing rapidly.
“We have to fall back,” shouted Kate. “Bullets aren’t hurting them!”
“But keep firing!” said Brock. “Weapons fire drives them back!”
Annie, Brock and Kate ran but when Marlow tried to follow them, two of children leapt onto his back, dragging him down. He cried out but he was gone already; the others could see that. There was no saving him and the two remaining things were already on the street and coming after them.
“Call in!” cried Kate. Annie struggled to activate her radio while running in her heels and gave the emergency intercept signal to Team Beta. “Brock! You know what these things look like! We need wooden stakes!”
“In there!” She pointed at a ruin up the street. “Find something we can use! Now! I’ll cover our retreat.”
She and Annie turned, walking backwards, and drilled the approaching children with bullets, knocking them floundering back. Their wounds were healing almost instantly and they were still coming but it was slowing them down.
Two death screams came from the building they’d found the children in and then the pair that had remained behind to finish off Marlow and Carl emerged, wiping their mouths on their sleeves. They paused a second to get their bearings then sprinted up the street toward the two women.
“Hurry Brock!” screamed Kate, reloading, then letting rip once more. The children were getting closer. The bullets weren’t working to do anything but slow them down. They couldn’t hold out forever.
In the ruins, Brock kicked at a chair, breaking it into parts then scrambled through the detritus, trying to find a useable stake. He found one and got to his feet, just as the sound of helicopter rotas ran overhead.
Kate and Annie ran into the ruin. “We have to regroup! Follow the chopper!”
“The chopper! They have the firepower we need to hold these bastards off! And Annie! Call them and tell them what we’re up against!” She took a second to catch her breath. “We’re going to need more stakes!”
Wednesday, 9 February 2011
“There’s something wrong with this mission,” said Marlow. “Someone is screwing with us.”
Kate, the agent in charge, said nothing as the helicopter descended, but across from her, Brock raised his eyebrows to say “How do you mean?”
“Deserted town not showing on any map; vague orders about finding and rescuing kids but no indication where they were taken from or when – no real details.” He looked into the rear of the cabin where the SWAT team were checking their weapons. “And far more heavy ordnance than we should need for this kind of trip. I mean, what are they expecting us to face down there? And why the hell won’t they tell us in advance.”
Brock shrugged but his eyes were sober; digesting the facts.
“Treat the environment as extremely hostile… I almost laughed in the guy’s face! It’s like they’re sending us into a warzone rather than hunting down some paedo kidnapper. Something very wrong is going on and I don’t know why the rest of you are just going along with it.”
They said nothing more. The helicopter set down in an open square and Alpha; the investigative team; disembarked: Kate, Marlow, Brock, Annie and Carl. Beta; the SWAT team; remained on board, ready to be called in if necessary.
The town was deserted; the buildings a mixture of ruins and dilapidated, but intact, structures. It was difficult to pin anything down to a particular period or architectural style but if anything, the primary influence might have been European and very old fashioned, but alongside this was a mismatch of more modern structures.
Team Alpha spread out and started searching. The men went separately; the women stuck together; keeping in contact by radio. It was Marlow who spotted the children through his monocular, huddled in the ruins of a tall building, tied up. He put the call out and they all started closing on the building, moving slowly and listening. The kidnapper was likely to be close by and they didn’t know his capabilities. Marlow kept thinking about the order to treat the environment as extremely hostile, but so far they had seen no indication of anything dangerous.
He was first to the building, the others close by, but as he stepped into the ruin there was a roar and the kidnapper was upon him, leaping from the shadows. He wielded two enormous axes and whirled them down. Marlow narrowly rolled with the dual blow but it knocked him backwards. The kidnapper attacked again, his eyes strangely blank, his cries animalistic; but before he could strike he was riddled with bullets from Brock and Carl.
The kidnapper fell dead and Marlow ran across to the children but Annie paused to take a closer look at the corpse. There was definitely something wrong with the man but no clear indication what. He had almost looked like he was in some kind of trance.
Carl and Marlow untied the children. They were pale and chilled to the bone but clearly grateful for the rescue. Each agent but Kate took a child by the hand and led them out onto the street.
“I guess we don’t need the SWAT team after all,” said Annie. “Why on earth did they send them? Surely the five of us were too many agents for this situation.” She looked down at the little girl beside her. “I’m just glad we managed to find you.”
But she froze. The child’s eyes were gleaming red. Her brittle smile was cracked and malicious. And her teeth were fangs. All of the children were the same. All of them smiling cruelly as though a vicious practical joke had been revealed.
And then they pounced.
Tuesday, 8 February 2011
This was the board layout used for Stalking Death; a "typical" Necropolis scenery set.
The buildings were created over the course of an eleven year period, initially for Games Workshop's Mordheim game and then later for Necropolis itself. There's a mixture of ruined buildings (so figures can go inside them) and unruined ones (that look a bit nicer). There’s several Warhammer 40,000 buildings in there too. These work well as they’re big and easy to move men through.
I’ve gone through a lot of different philosophies of making buildings over the years but am now leaning toward concentrating on getting the scales and believability better. Some of the roof tiles on our old buildings were bigger than me!
Another major factor is getting the buildings to form streets – is that good or too restrictive? And what about pavements? At one time I had pavements for the whole board with working street lamps – the wires going under the pavements. It’s not working right now but I ought to get that going again.
Nowadays I tend to make many of my buildings on the same size base that I overlap a little to give a suggestion of a pavement. As they’re all the same size (the Games Workshop ones and the Market Hall are the examples here) they fit together to form streets much much easier.
It’s a developing project. I have quite a few unmade 40k buildings and my Last Chance War campaign is encouraging me to make a lot more Warhammer medieval buildings.
Friday, 4 February 2011
Five government agents and a supporting SWAT team have been sent by their superiors to an almost deserted city that does not appear on any map.
Their mission is to investigate the disappearance of a large number of children in the area, but information beyond this is sketchy. The investigators have been charged with ascertaining the cause of the disappearances, arresting the individual(s) responsible and, if possible, safely securing the children and returning them home.
Further orders are to be given on-site but no indication has yet been provided why such a large measure of firepower is required. The SWAT team have been ordered to treat the environment as extremely hostile.
Some of the missing children have been located, tied up in a building. The investigative team are to retrieve the children and scout the area while the SWAT team remain in reserve. If resistance is encountered the SWAT team will be sent in to provide support.
6’ x 4’ board covered in densely packed sinister-looking buildings, some intact, some in ruins. There are two or three possible locations where the group’s helicopter can be landed. In the centre of the board is a large ruin.
Kate, Marlow, Brock, Annie, Carl
Stacy, Brett, Dugan, Lillian, Curtis
All characters are fully armed as modelled with full reloads.
Split the group up. Place one male investigator in the centre of three of the board edges. Place the two women together in the centre of the fourth.
Vampires! And one human Thrall (controlled by the vampires to protect them)
A Vampire Lord, two Vampire Ladies and four Vampire Children masquerading as real children.
SECRET DEPLOYMENT: ANTAGONISTS
Four Vampire Children are deployed all tied up in the ruin at the centre of the board, masquerading as normal children. They cannot be moved until they are untied by the Protagonists. Untying the children takes 4 actions (that may be distributed across the group).
The Thrall is deployed on the Stalking Board. Use the stats for a Serial Killer for the Thrall.
The remaining vampires are also deployed on the stalking board but may not reveal themselves until after the children have been revealed as vampires.
No vampire may reveal itself within 18” (WHITE) of another vampire.
The Vampire Lord may not reveal himself until after the women have been killed.
The Investigators must rescue the children while defending themselves from attack.
If possible they should eliminate any hostile forces in the area.
If the opposition proves too strong for them (they lose three or more characters) then they should withdraw by helicopter.
If the helicopter is not accessible then they may flee off the board on foot.
If the Investigators come into contact with opposition they cannot easily repulse they may call in the SWAT team. The SWAT team will land their helicopter four turns after the call is made. It costs two actions to put in the call.
Stakes can be fashioned in any building by spending 4 actions smashing up furniture.
SECRET ANTAGONIST OBJECTIVE
All Antagonists are trying to kill as many characters as possible.
One of the keys to this scenario is the secrecy – keeping the fact that vampires are the enemy from the Protagonist player until the children are untied. It’s debatable whether this adds to the game or not but it certainly provides challenges to the scenario writer.
Wednesday, 2 February 2011
The second campaign storyline we're going to be running here is going to have a slightly different feel to it.
This one is going to feature rather more powerful Protagonists – law enforcement officers who start the game armed to the teeth – and it’s actually going to be set in Necropolis: the city of the damned.
Over time as our heroes are whittled down they will inevitably be joined by non-police survivors but we’ll be keeping a law enforcement spin as long as casualties allow.
Let’s meet the characters:
We have a principal team and their back-up.
The principles are government agents who have ostensibly been sent to the city to investigate a spate of crimes in response to an anonymous tip, but they may be more going on than there seems to be...
From left to right:
Marlow is a long standing and jaded agent who has seen everything. His heart is in the right place but he has forgotten how to communicate civilly.
Kate is the leader of the team: all business and very much by the book. She has advanced through knowing more than anyone else around her and through canny and decisive action. She is cautious and controlled, more than capable of achieving her goals and staying alive.
Brock is Kate’s partner, a clever man with an open sense of humour and a gentle heart. He’s also a ruthless killer if the need arises and privately has a shoot first policy if his colleagues are in danger.
Annie is the youngest member of the team and something of a braniac. At the academy she scored highly in every area, especially shooting but she plays it down amongst her co-workers. She likes to be seen as feminine.
Carl is brash and loudmouthed but he always gets the job done.
Backing the agents up is a heavily armed and armoured SWAT team, available to be called in by chopper if an investigation turns ugly.
From left to right we have:
Stacy, Brett, Dugan, Lillian and Curtis. All are highly trained individuals that we will get to know more if they survive their first mission.
Tuesday, 1 February 2011
The town looked long dead but they pulled over because they saw movement, and because they were desperate. Jack, Christie, Andrew, Herman and Victoria were all good friends but there was a little tension between them and that had been the jumping off point for a road trip. Clear the air; have a bit of fun; see the country. Except they were lost and there weren’t a lot of people on the highway to give them directions.
The town didn’t seem to have a name and was clearly deserted; half the buildings in ruins; but Jack spotted a figure back from the main road so pulled over. He, Christie and Herman got out and walked after the figure, calling out, but the man, whoever he was, kept walking unsteadily away. Victoria and Andrew hung back at the jeep, flirting, as the trio made their way between the ruined buildings.
By the time they caught up with the strange man they were a good hundred yards into the town, but when Jack reached out and grabbed the man’s shoulder all three of them gaped in horror as he turned. His eyes were dead sockets and the cold lifeless hands that reached for them were decayed and worn. He let out a sepulchral groan and shambled forward. Christie screamed, staggering back but Herman turned on his heal and fled.
Jack and Christie ran after him. Now they had turned they could see zombies emerging from every building, following the sound of Christie’s scream. Their route was blocked off! They ran to the left, hoping to circle round but more zombies were coming from that direction. Jack was the fastest runner. He sped ahead, drawing them away from the other two. Herman and Christie ran back toward the jeep, momentarily pulling away from their shambling pursuers. But ahead they could see the zombies closing on the jeep, not only blocking their escape but threatening Andrew and Victoria.
Herman and Christie waved their arms, drying to draw the zombies back toward them to save their friends, hoping to outrun them and skirt back round to make their escape; but the zombies were quicker than they anticipated. Suddenly they were closing in from almost every side.
Herman and Christie ran down the street away from them but they weren’t fast enough. Three zombies caught up to them, dragging Herman down. Christie ran on but four more zombies caught up to her, their grasping hands quickly overcoming her strength. She screamed again but it was too late. They were dragging her down and they were feasting on her.
Meanwhile Jack came round a corner to bring the jeep back into sight but there were zombies closing in on it again. Andrew and Victoria called to him as they climbed back in. He ran across the road to wait for them as they slammed the jeep into reverse and backed hard into two approaching zombies. But the zombies weren’t killed. As the jeep stopped to let Jack climb in the zombies clawed their way onto the back.
Desperate to protect Victoria, Andrew climbed back up to fight the zombies hand to hand but they grabbed him, tearing at his skin and biting his flesh. He didn’t stand a chance.
“Leave the car!” shouted Jack. “We have to get out of here!”
“But Andrew…” whimpered Victoria.
They had never been close but Jack grabbed Victoria’s hand, wrenching her out of the jeep’s driver’s seat and pulled her down the road.
Moaning, the zombies stopped their feasting and shambled after them but with open road their dead limbs couldn’t keep up. Jack and Victoria sprinted to the town limits, pulling away from the living dead.
They paused at the very edge of town and looked back. In less than five minutes their entire lives had changed.
Three of their friends had been brutally killed.
Their entire belief system had been cracked – if zombies could exist then what other monsters might lurk out there waiting?
And they were suddenly stranded and lost in the middle of nowhere, possibly being tracked by the undead… or something worse.
Like most games of Necropolis, this report really demonstrates the way the rule mechanics tend to encourage the development of really cinematic scenes, each with a very different feel: the chase through the streets; splitting up; drawing the zombies towards them to save their friends; running over the zombies; vicious hand to hand combat on top of the jeep and fleeing characters being dragged to the ground and devoured by overwhelming numbers. Also, the characters tend to take on personalities of their own through their actions: Jack breaking off by himself; Christie and Herman thinking about their friends; Victoria boldly using the jeep as a weapon; Andrew trying to save the woman he secretly loves.
As a side point it's kind of funny the pose Christie has on that picture as she's being ripped apart by zombies!
It’ll be interesting to follow the continuation of this storyline as Jack and Victoria wander through the wilderness trying to find their way back to civilisation. And interesting to find out what will be after them next time…