Hark, gentle reader! Do you hear that? The grinding of massive gears hints at some foundational updates to Comrade’s Wargames. Specifically, I have created a new section on ye olde blog to collect the various narrative campaigns that I have taken part in recently. These campaign chapters have heretofore been sprinkled throughout my blog as individual posts, spanning months if not years. The new page attempts to list them all in rough chronological order for ease of reading.
The page itself is creatively named “Narrative Campaigns” and it is linked in the menu bar on the front page of this blog.
The page, in turn, displays links to three additional pages showcasing the backstory and a listing of battle reports from three recent narrative campaigns. They are:
In keeping with tradition here at Comrade’s Wargames, these narrative campaigns feature beautifully painted miniatures from me and my buddies, alongside visually stunning terrain and a compelling tabletop narrative. I’ll continue to update these pages as we play additional games for them. Grab a cup of your favorite beverage and dig in!
Last month I hosted two sci-fi skirmish games, and despite using two different game systems, we were able to tease out a bit of a narrative through-line to connect them together. Both games were set on Drusichtor, the third moon of Gamma Euphorion Prime in the Juventius Sub-Sector.
Drusichtor is a heavy industrial moon focused on mining and resource extraction. While Gamma Euphorion Prime grapples with a nascent genestealer cult infestation that is rocking the political underpinnings of the fragile ruling class, miners on Drusichtor made a terrifying discovery that suggested just how long the genestealers had been plotting to undermine the planet…
For the first game, we tried out Rogue Hammer, the new grimdark sci-fi ruleset from Nordic Weasel Games. It was a learning game, so we started small and coached each other through the rules. The game was set in the Pits of Volceradon, a vast and crumbling strip-mining operation that sprawls across the surface of Drusichtor. The warbands were competing to reach a hapless miner who had been infected by … something … that he picked up during his forays deep below the moon’s surface. You can see the miner staggering around near some bubbling pools of green toxic waste. Yum!
The game featured an Inquisitorial kill team, alongside a platoon of Ultramarines, racing to secure the miner before the pox-ridden warriors of the Death Guard could spirit him away and conduct a vivisection to figure out what happened to him.
Rogue Hammer was fun, but it definitely felt like a game that needs some additional material before it’s a truly playable Rogue Trader heartbreaker clone. For example: Many of the unit and character upgrades were specifically focused on fighting vehicles, yet you won’t really be using vehicles unless you’re playing a large game of Rogue Hammer. So for the skirmish sized games that we typically play, most of the anti-vehicle upgrades are useless and a waste of points. Meanwhile, factions like Chaos Space Marines – which have arguably been part of the lore since Rogue Trader – were conspicuously absent from the barebones army lists provided in the rulebook. I had to run my Death Guard using the Eldar (excuse me, Space Pirates) list.
In fairness to Nordic Weasel, I believe his intent is to manage Rogue Hammer like a “living rulebook,” with fairly frequent releases and rules tweaks to deliver exactly the sort of content I was missing.
Anyway, our Rogue Hammer game wrapped up with a shocking conclusion, when the poor miner underwent a sudden and violent transformation – the “final form” of his mysterious infection?
The blood-spattered xenomorph creature lurched toward the nearest target, claws akimbo. It was a deadly dance, but Danie’s Primaris Captain was up to the task!
The grisly outcome led directly to game two, which took place a few weeks later. In this game, the action moved to the nearby mining settlement of Ghorston’s Spur, where another specimen had been captured and stashed in one of the hovels. This game featured two teams of factions fighting to locate and secure the specimen – Dark Mechanicus and Chaos Cultists vs. Sisters of Battle and Orks (temporarily pacified, perhaps, to serve as useful cannon fodder for the Adeptus Sororitas? That was what we convinced ourselves, anyway).
For this game, we used Grimdark Future Firefight, an old favorite around here that we return to time and time again.
I had prepped a little scenario with rules for exploring the little ramshackle outbuildings. You weren’t sure exactly what you’d find when you went a-knocking on those doors!
Shooting is fairly potent in Grimdark Future Firefight, and we lamented the unfortunate lack of cover for Lawrence’s Chaos Cultists. They got chewed to pieces by deadly accurate fire from Rian’s newly painted Sister of Battle. Oops!
Jim’s Orks were on top of me by the second turn, which made it pretty hard to explore the outbuildings to find the specimen.
Eventually (through trial and error) we determined which of the squalid dwellings held the specimen, and all of the factions promptly made a beeline for it. Covering fire was laid down by the Sisters of Battle as the Orks rampaged unchecked through the industrial settlement. Rho-Terak, the Enslaver of Logic (leader of my Dark Mechanicus warband) sustained superficial damage to his mostly-metal body during this chaotic scramble.
In game terms, he went out of action, but of course he didn’t die. He’s just … recuperating, back at base. Shouldn’t have been standing there, guy!
The final clash came when Vethidian the Supernumerary, second-in-command of my Dark Mechanicus warband, met the Sisters of Battle Canoness at the front door of the target hut. His sad little withered body was no match for the Canoness’s power sword!
So the Sister of Battle made off with the alien specimen! Doubtless the Imperium’s best xenobiologists will gather important intel from its carcass. The Dark Mechanicum will lick their wounds and regroup for another assault!
Grimdark Future gave a quick and decisive game, as always. There are a number of mechanics in this game that serve to hasten the inevitable conclusion of a skirmish clash. It’s never fun to see your cool models go down, but it’s important to remember that the game’s gotta end at some point.
It was pleasant to write up these two short game reports and stitch them together into a coherent narrative flow. I’m really enjoying the development of Drusichtor as a theater of operations in the larger Gamma Euphorion narrative campaign. There’s plenty here to fight over, and we haven’t even delved into the soot-encrusted Volceradon Furnace Tunnels…stay tuned for more!
Miniatures purists, take note – this post will give you fits. You have been warned!
Late last year, as our group began grumbling and muttering about some sort of grimdark Inq28-style skirmish campaign in 2023, I started putting the wheels on my latest warband. As a longtime Chaos player, I’ve always wanted to build a small collection of miniatures representing an insane, techno-heretical cult of the Machine God. In 40k, these guys would be called Dark Mechanicus.
But I didn’t want to just say “Adeptus Mechanicus, but bad guys.” I also wanted to blend religious zeal and biomechanical horror and see what comes out of that stew. I wanted to aim for a collection of miniatures that looked like the frantic pencil sketches that filled the margins of the old Rogue Trader rulebook.
The results were The Seekers of the Fractal Schematic. I wanted to give them an evocative and mysterious name that hints at some of the narrative territory I’d like to explore in our upcoming game. What is the Fractal Schematic, and why are they seeking it? Let’s find out together, etc. I’d say about half of these models already existed in my collection, and the other half I’ve painted up to match their brethren over the last few weeks.
In true Comrade’s Wargames fashion, there are at least 5 different manufacturers represented in this photo. Shall we name them? Obviously we have the Asphyxious figure from Warmachine’s Cryx faction. He’s a standout grimdark model that perfectly represents my image of what a fallen Mechanicus heretek might look like – swollen with power, bereft of humanity, just a few tattered scraps of flesh held together by a fearsome mechanical frame, eyes burning with vengeance. Of course, he’s got a new name. Now this figure is known as Rho-Terak, the Enslaver of Logic, leader of the Seekers of the Fractal Schematic.
There are two other Cryx models in the mix up there… a biomechanical serpent coiled atop a heap of scrap, and a stooped, withered chap hefting a ramshackle banner made of clinking vials or censers. In my headcanon, he’s the second-in-command, the executive officer, so to speak.
From there, we have two GW models – an old metal Chaos cultist and a metal Necromunda Redemptionist hefting an autorifle over his head. In the foreground we have a hunchbacked mutant from Mega Minis (which is a great source of Rogue Trader-inspired models). The little Roomba from hell is a terrifying monstrosity known as The Flesh Engine, and he’s a kitbash using pieces from Star Frontiers (!) and a head from Pig Iron Productions. The blood-spattered cyborg on the far right is from ThunderChild Miniatures (painted by sculptor Jaycee and gifted to me after I won a contest, what!).
I speedpainted up a few more generic cultist models to bolster the ranks a little bit. Every cult needs some fearless cannon fodder to sell their souls in a blaze of glory, right? Contrast paints did a lot of work here.
In the image below, the guy on the left with the pistol and axe is converted from a Frostgrave soldier model. (Oops, forgot to paint his base rim.) The guy on the right with the flamethrower is a monopose model from Ramshackle Games.
You can never have too many cultists! In the photo below, the guy on the far left with the axe and cluster of dynamite is another conversion from the Frostgrave soldier sprue. That kit is very flexible! All it takes is a couple sci-fi bits to drag a medieval-inspired model into the grim darkness of the 41st millenium.
The other two guys with assault rifles are from Pig Iron Productions, from their excellent Kolony Ferals range. I’ve got dozens of Kolony Ferals in my collection and they are some of my very favorite scrappy scavenger/cultist type models. Lots of gas masks, rebreathers, and creepy machinery poking out of necrotic flesh.
The two bruisers with clubs and shields in the photo below are from the Dark Age miniatures game. This is a super niche skirmish game based on Brom’s creepy fantasy/sci-fi art. Imagine that, a minis game inspired entirely by the work of one artist?! But here we are, and the models themselves a quite nice. These guys are from the Skarrd faction, and they’ve got a scrappy wastelands vibe with lots of twisted metal and weird cybernetics, not to mention assless chaps and exposed buttcheeks, and it all fits really well with my warband.
I absolutely love the challenge of combining miniature from many different manufacturers and sculptors to create a cohesive warband with a shared aesthetic. Nothing tickles me more than picking a figure like ol’ Asphyxious from Warmachine, giving him a new name and dropping him into a warband alongside a half dozen or more other distinct models from different makers. My goal as a painter and hobbyist is to create either a visual look or a narrative hook that ties all these models together and helps tell the stories that are swirling around in my head.
I’ll continue to build on the Seekers of the Fractal Schematic. My goal is to make each model fairly unique, so this won’t be a warband that I can use in games that require multiple squads of dudes, like Warhammer 40k. It will be, however, a great choice for skirmish games focused on individual models and small units. Stay tuned for more!
The original PDF supplement (all 172 pages of it) was created by James Diemer and hosted on his now-defunct Hour11 Wargaming blog. The supplement has been gone from the Internet for at least a few years, maybe more. All that’s left is a wasteland of broken links on gaming blogs around the world that had been inspired and energized by the crackling creativity in this massive tome of scenarios.
Of course, I had already downloaded a copy to keep handy on my computer. Little did I know it would become a rare artifact! I reached out to James via the email address in the scenario document and asked for permission to re-post this supplement on my blog. He never responded, but judging by the generous notes from the author on page 2 of the document, I don’t think he will mind.
So there you have it – a legendary lost resource has been rediscovered! This supplement takes Song of Blades & Heroes – one of my all-time favorite skirmish games as well as the game that single-handedly kickstarted my resurgence in this hobby – and adds in all of the glorious Warhammer and Mordheim scenarios you remember from your younger years. Share it, adapt it, enjoy it … above all, have fun with it!
I really like picking cheap job lots of miniatures on swap forums like Reddit and Facebook and various second-hand retailers like Mindtaker. I appreciate the challenge of picking up where someone else left off (or else just picking up the pieces) and trying something new. It doesn’t hurt that this stuff is usually priced to sell!
With that in mind, I got ahold of some rather fun and zany Plague Marine conversions a few weeks ago and decided to put some energy into finishing them off proper.
The guy had started by splicing them together with the lower torsos of plastic Plaguebearers, setting the stage for some gruesome half Marine/half daemon conversions.
I jumped right in and started finishing up the paint jobs. I had some fun by using contrast paints to create a pink/yellow gradient on the legs, plus some additional blood and gore details to make them really pop.
These models had already been augmented with all sorts of nifty extras bits from various plastic kits – I spotted some Putrid Blightkings bits in there, as well as some 30k paraphernalia.
I also played around with some simple gore effects using hot glue pulled with a toothpick, then painted with gloss red to make it suitably goopy. Nothing special, but fun to go over the top on some already ridiculous models.
So that was a simple rescue of a job lot that made its way to my workbench recently. Look for these guys on the table in our next game of Grimdark Future!