Rhiannon in Thailand

10689753_10203817072205626_6167839619145859045_n

As many of you know last year and earlier this year I was helping my daughter’s fundraising campaign for her to go and spend a year in Thailand teaching English. Some of you were kind enough to contribute and now she is settled out there causing all sorts of mayhem ;)

10520577_10203860707416479_492431112008796296_n

If you want to see photos of her trip you can find them here: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008005367923&fref=ts

This is a public FB page that her students can read so please keep that in mind if you leave any comments.

10155838_10203843797873751_7671349235964189714_n

A Taste for Flesh

vzAcross the IHMN world there are players experimenting with different types of zombies, so I though it might be interesting to explore them a bit here on the blog. Of course we have already addressed the classic Zombi of the Caribbean tradition, a victim of possession or modified fish venom, in HVF. Also the Society of Thule’s electrically reanimated Tod-truppen in IHMN, but there are others.

Recently I have watched a number of programs and films addressing the viral zombie and gave some thought to how that might work in the world of IHMN. By my interpretation these are people who should be dead but have instead been turned into reanimated viral hosts hungry for the flesh of men, and in some cases, their brains.

In my mind a basic viral zombie should be Pluck 6+, FV+2, SV+0, Speed +0, no talents, powers or equipment (so armour 7). This makes the basic zombie incredibly cheap at 3 points each, yet pretty vulnerable mano-a-mano. Note that I haven’t added anti-venom as these are not true undead but still living (just) creatures that seem to be able to make noises so are obviously still breathing. They can be injured and disabled fairly easily but to kill them requires the brain to be damaged beyond repair as this is the seat of the virus.

So far they don’t seem too dangerous, but put them in packs of ten for just thirty points and then you get people’s attention. They will be hard to whittle down quickly and if they hit as a group suddenly figures get surrounded. Then either the zombies all get an outnumbering bonus of +1 each or they mob the figure and one of them gets +3 on top of their FV of +2.

It is a mistake to think that as zombies are shambling wrecks it should be easy to avoid them… wrong! A Zombie with line of sight to a victim will run, after all what else are they going to do in the shooting phase? So now you have ravenous man-eaters trotting towards their lunch at 9″. Who’s laughing now?

So we send in a mob and it drags down a player’s figure what happens then? Well viral zombies seem to lose interest once the prey stops screaming and moving, a bit like a well fed cat with a mouse. Then the virus gets to work… In World War Z, Brad Pitt was counting to ten before the victim becomes yet another zombie.

Thinking this through I think we should count the victim as being knocked down and it will try to get up in the movement phase of the next turn as a zombie. With a Pluck of 6+ this isn’t certain by any means, but it will keep on trying. The newly minted zombie will drop any equipment but may benefit from better armour if it was wearing any.

That then is the basic zombie but looking at the literature and various films and games there seem to be others as well, so here are some ideas:

  1. Fast Zombies that could have a speed bonus of +1, +2 or even +3. Zombies charging around at a 10-12″ move and with a natural armour of 7+speed when fighting – welcome to World War Z.
  2. Tougher, fresher or possibly better fed, zombies could have an improved Pluck of 5+ or even 4+. If you want to splash out then add the Tough talent instead or as well.
  3. Mutant zombies that have been transmogrified into hulking mounds of decaying flesh. Give these a better Pluck and FV. They might also have had fighting weapons riveted to their arms thus gaining a FV bonus and possibly a pluck penalty.
  4. Pyro-zombies are ordinary zombies that have been soaked in pitch or petroleum and then set alight just before the battle. Their flailing attacks count as flaming but they must pass a Pluck roll at the end of each turn or be taken out of the game. These sort of zombies do not pass on the virus, anything they kill stays dead.
  5. Exploding zombies, come on, who doesn’t want to see exploding zombies? Essentially zombies with bombs strapped to them which are then detonated by an engineer, often when locked in combat with an enemy figure.

The last three ideas presuppose someone being in control of these zombies. Let’s call them a Zombie Master, a corny yet accurate description nonetheless.

A Zombie Master could be a victim of the virus themself who, for whatever reason, did not become a mindless flesh-eater. Instead he retained his intellect and has learned how to lead and direct his fellow victims. This could be a natural side-effect of the virus trying to spread itself. So we’d give this chap a much better pluck, perhaps 3+ or even 2+, and the Leadership Skill.

It could also be the classic mad scientist who has learned that you can herd and drive zombies using the VSF equivalent of electrical cattle prods (equivalent to an Arc Baton). The scientist and his assistants keep a horde of zombies on hand to protect them from people who do not understand the scientist’s brilliance (cue maniacal laughter).

Controlling zombies though should be like herding cats. They have a small problem with overcoming their taste for flesh. To cover this simply any zombie that is not within 12″ of the Zombie Master, or that is out of sight of him begins to react instinctively like so:

  1. It will move towards and engage the nearest live figures that it has a line of sight to. Running is compulsory. It will not do so if the figures work for its Master.
  2. If no-one is in sight it will move towards the nearest source of sound, i.e. fighting or shooting last turn. In this case it walks, it only runs for dinner.
  3. If there is no stimuli it will stop and hang about.
  4. A zombie will move through water and around impassable terrain.
  5. It will not move through any terrain that is on fire.
  6. Zombies cannot open doors but they can attack them and try to tear through them. Consider a normal door to be Armour 7, a reinforced or barricaded one Armour 8 and a metal one Armour 9 or 10.

Right, we have a load of zombies, so what do we do with them? Well I’m glad you asked that because zombies can be all sorts of fun.

  1. One player could create a Zombie list complete with Master and a few suitable henchmen. It would make an interesting foe. Flamethrowers and machine guns are recommended for the opposition.
  2. Make the zombies a scenario or a complication. Set up the table with at least half a dozen buildings in the centre. Hide objectives in three of the buildings. When a figure opens a building door roll 1d10 with a penalty of -1. This indicates that there are 0-9 zombies inside who must be dealt with before the building can be searched. Vicious players may send fast scouts forwards to play knock and run on buildings closer to the enemy than themselves or blow the doors off with a Congreve.
  3. Play King of the Hill but cover the hill with zombies.
  4. Play Death at your Heels with the zombies forming the driving force behind the player’s companies.
  5. Make Bad Jack a Zombie Master in the centre of a cemetery where he can conjure up 1d6 zombies a turn anywhere he chooses within the cemetery to help defend him.

 

 

The road to revolucion!

Over on that excellent blog Frontlinearmchair there is a new series of IHMN articles filling in one of those areas of the globe we have not covered in the three IHMN books – South America.

latin 2

There has been a splendid and imaginative introduction to the setting and now there is the first company Iist, the San Pedrona Peasants Revolutionary Army. I must admit I am looking forwards to seeing how this develops.

latin 3

You can find out more here: http://frontlinearmchair.wordpress.com/

Bad Jack and his fish dinner AAR

Bad jack

Our good friend Tony (aka Shadowking) has put up another one of his fascinating AARs. Alec played the Prince of Wales Extraordinary Company against Tony’s Jenny Nemo company (including a sea demon/fish man/whatever).

Bad jack 2

The complications included Collateral damage and, as you can see above, a Religious Procession.

To see more pictures and the result look here: http://shadowking-shadowkings.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/bad-jack-jenny-nemo-ihmn-aar.html

Lady Felicity Manningham at your service

Lady Felicity

Lord Curr’s constant companion and, as some would have it, bodyguard, is Lady Felicity Manningham, the widow of the hero of 2nd Islandwhana. Many a would-be assailant has learned to their cost that this slender beauty is no lady, but a former East End music hall performer, pick-pocket and armed robber, better known as ‘Two-gun Tess’. Sir Oswald Manningham VC fell in love with her in the music hall and took her to be his second wife. Her defence of her mortally wounded husband on the steps of the Paris Opera in 1892 was the stuff of legend. Five Boers never returned to celebrate their assassination of this truly British hero. However, upon his untimely demise Manningham’s family still managed to ensure she walked away with nothing but her new name.
This is where Lord Curr came in like a white knight to prevent her returning to the gutter. He saw a ‘measure of steel’ in her and an ability to think quickly and decisively in life and death situations. Since then she has proved invaluable to many of his schemes and has saved his life on a number of occasions.
Her favoured weapons are a pair of .38 high velocity Webley-Fosbery Automatic Revolvers, with the shorter 4″ barrel and Metford polygonal rifling. The light touch automatic action suits her, as does their accuracy and rate of fire. Using a Prideaux speedloader she is able to fire twelve shots into a three-inch bull’s-eye at twelve paces in approximately 15 seconds.
One other thing she likes about them is the fact that each one takes eight rounds, something that has often surprised opponents used to revolvers with the standard six rounds.
These signature weapons were given to her by Colonel Fosbery himself, as he had been a friend and comrade of her husband in Africa, and was stunned by the treatment she got at the hands of his family.
Even without her revolvers she is still quite formidable. Her coolness in action, skill in persuading men who should know better, light fingers and the cut-throat razor that is always concealed somewhere about her person make her a woman to treat with respect.
Members of the Incorrigibles have come to rely on her to temper Curr’s hot headedness, and many are completely devoted to her.
One of her fondest memories is being introduced to Queen Victoria at Windsor by Lady Helen Quatermain. It is there that the Queen passed on to her the Victoria Cross that Sir Oswald earned in Africa with an additional bar on the ribbon marked simply ‘Paris 1892′.

A new story featuring this deadly companion can be found in the Fiction section.