Sunday 7 November 2021

Mantic 28mms (Deadzone) // "The Forgotten" Sci Fi Horror // Tomorrow's War Squad Level

So these minis are not finished (missing detail, bases need work, etc), but I'd regard them as 'table-ready' to start playtesting my homebrew sci fi horror rules. Basically the core  game will be "Necromunda" level squad skirmish, but with heavy emphasis om morale/stress, darkness/lighting/stealth, plus weapons that jam or run out of ammo at inopportune times.  

Viral mutated monsters controlled by consciousness uploaded via computer chips.

The premise: the Rapture spoken of in the Book of Revelation has come. The holy have ascended to heaven, and the earth has been destroyed in fire. However, Revelation didn’t mention the unbelievers who were in space stations, asteroids, or terraforming colonies….

Twenty years on, darkness and horror stalks the remnants of humanity – who call themselves the “Forgotten”. The Forgotten form factions, warring for valuable resources, usually under the patronage of powerful demons who compete for resources, followers and prestige. The small populations of these colonies and bases do not support large armies. Instead, small special ops teams are aided by their demonic patrons in desperate strike missions and boarding actions. Something along the lines of Doom meets Event Horizon. Chaos Cultists wearing Mass Effect special forces tech. But they are not alone – scientists who try to fight back have created a virus to mutate human DNA so they are impossible to become hosts and thus "immunize" themselves against possession and free themselves from the frailty of human flesh. In the design process, they have created horrific monsters and mindless mutants, and have uploaded their consciousness into computer chips embedded in hybrid life forms. Meanwhile, many station and spaceship AI, unable to deal with the paranormal events, have gone rogue, creating drone and cyborg forces to enforce their own obscure (and sometimes crazed) agendas.

No space elves. No space orcs. Just men, machines and monsters.

I'm working on 3 asymmetrical forces: 

The Possessed (Event Horizon/Prophecy meets Alien/Mass Effect) “Benevolent Evil, Cool Guns”

The Plague (Umbrella Corp meets Altered Carbon) “Resist evil – become a monster”

Rogue AI (If Skynet had the personality and pettiness of Glados) "Great power, weird agendas"

While I'm still working out how my AI forces will work, Mantic has been supplying my needs thanks to their surprisingly cheap and pleasant Deadzone/Warpath sculpts. 

You get a lot on a Deadzone starter box; I still have ~10 unpainted minis from this set. These Plague will serve as the "scientists who mutated themselves" faction.

I was most impressed by the GCPS "Imperial Guard" - they come with a huge pile of spare bits and a wide range of weapons and poses. Probably one of the best value 28mm boxes I own.  In this 20-man unit box, there's enough leftover bits for ~12 or so more models if you had more torsos.

The "Peacekeepers" wouldn't have been painted red if I realised I was also going to buy the fleshy-red Plague; I regret not painting them purple instead (a good cult-y colour); also ffs my GW black wash failed and left chalky white deposits where there was supposed to be dark recesses.

There's quite a lot of toys in each starter and at $40AUD (around ~$30USD) I think they were well priced to sucker me back into my first 28mm purchases in years.

Savage Worlds vs Tomorrow's War?

I've been working away at some sci fi horror rules for a while, which use d10+stat and have both opposed and static rolls. But digging through my old HDD (the one I resurrected this year) I found a rather interesting set of house rules I already made. It seems to be an amalgam of Tomorrow's War's initiative and reactions and Savage World's pulp magic powers. Both actually share the same dice system; each stat is assigned a d6(poor) d8 (average), d10 (great) or d12 (heroic) which has to beat a 4+ (and the opponent, if it is an opposed roll) so they kinda fit neatly together. 

So instead of using the sci fi horror system I've purpose-built for ages... ...I'll probably adapt this instead as it has caught my fancy. What can I say *shrugs* - I have a limited attention span....

Reading these I was inspired to dig out Infinity and Tomorrow's War - to revisit the "reaction" genre I've moved away from (I feel they bog games down to much; an alternate move system allows similar "reactability" at a fraction of the overhead). I want to discuss them in a game design post... but report cards are looming large in my near future...


  1. Hi! Looking good on the progress.

    The chalky white deposits left from a bad pot of wash can often be remedied by taking a wet brush and stippling the area with some water. This has worked for me when I had the same problem a couple of pots back.


    1. Thanks! I'll test this, otherwise they may get a purple repaint in the holidays as they are too similar to the Plague...

  2. I'm really excited to see these posts continue. The setting is fantastic!

    1. Report cards (and my laser printer being recalcitrant) have put a spanner in the works, but I'm at the playtest stage.

      I'm going to try the d1o+stat and the D4-6-8-10-12 versions, sans special rules, to see how they play.

      I'm considering bringing back reaction mechanics (which I've avoided of late) due to the gunfight feel I want to portray.