Wednesday 21 July 2021

Delving Into Warzone and The Mutant Chronicles


Over the last few days I've found myself re-reading my old Warzone 1st edition rules and the Mutant Chronicles RPG sourcebooks that I picked up many moons ago and it got me to thinking about using it as the setting for a campaign initially using Planet 28 and eventually 1st edition Warzone and then Warzone Eternal once it gets released.

But why you ask? The setting and artwork that accompanies it is utterly brilliant! Warzone and Mutant Chronicles combines loads of brilliant concepts from corporate dystopia to cosmic horror, 80's action films to dieselpunk and despite having been around for the best part of 30 years now, it still holds together remarkably well.

Venusian Marshall

Set in our own solar system in a future where nation states have been replaced by five Megacorporations who have terraformed much of the system and abandoned the Earth as an irradiated wasteland, Mutant Chronicles has so many great scenario ideas and unique gaming options. Does the action take place in the dusty deserts of Mars, the steaming jungles of Venus, the subterranean caverns of Mercury or on some blasted rock out in the asteroid belt?

Imperial vs Bauhaus

Over the years Warzone has appeared and vanished several times but my favourite is still 1st edition as it really was groundbreaking and was at heart a fantastic skirmish system that brought the setting to life with small groups of soldiers with the odd hero or evil doer leading them fighting desperate battles for their corporate overlords.

It's been compared to 40k quite a few times with the Brotherhood, the spiritual leaders of humanity being somewhat similar to the Inquisition of the Warhammer setting and the Dark Legion being seen as just a chaos rip off but having re-read the source material, I found the Warzone stuff to be very much its own unique setting which differs from 40k in several important ways. Primarily Warzone is a setting which contains hope. Hope that humanity can unite to defeat the evil of the Dark Legion, hope that no matter how grim things may get it can improve and hope that the heroes can actually save the day rather than 40k's view of everybody being essentially doomed.

Vince Diamond, Hero of Cybertronic

Coupled with the setting itself being our own solar system which makes things a bit more relatable than the galaxy spanning madness of 40k, it is believable to see characters traversing the system fighting the good (or indeed bad) fight and the technology is much more grounded too, more so the fact that the unleashing of the Dark Legion saw thinking machines run amok and high tech stopping being reliable and showcasing the sheer determination of humanity and their unique will to carry on makes for a setting that I'm keen to explore further!

Looking online, it's been really heartening to see the fact that Warzone has survived in some form or another over the last 25 plus years and Res Nova, the newest company to acquire the rights are dedicated to bringing back the game to its roots with the classic aesthetic, forces and skirmish style game I love. 

Mitch Hunter and Co

The Mutant Chronicles RPG has proved to be a really rich source of inspiration and I'm slowly putting together my ideas which will hopefully see a group of Freelancers taking on a seemingly simple contract from some shady corporate suit before getting flung into a campaign which will see them crossing the solar system and mixing it up with pretty much everyone from the Megacorps to other freelancers, the Tribes of Earth and the sinister Dark Legion.

I need to crack on with some painting and rummage out what I can find of the remainder of my Warzone collection, which at this point looks to be very little but I figure I can use some proxies until I can get my hands on some new figures once Warzone Eternal launches. I'm hoping that I can get enough figures sorted out to build my team and begin the campaign at some point this autumn which gives me plenty of time to paint figures, build some scenery and really get to grips with the setting again but I highly recommend folks pick up a copy or at least a pdf of the 1st edition Warzone and Mutant Chronicles books as they're good reading materials and who knows, they may inspire you to have a bash!

In the meantime, I hope to keep putting together articles and as as we get closer to Res Nova launching the new edition I'm keen to share what news hits the net but until then, All the best!

Friday 9 July 2021

Warzone Eternal Update


Well we've seen a sneak peek of the first digital sculpt from Res Nova's Warzone Eternal range in the form of an Imperial trooper and I must say I am liking how he's looking!

Now it has to be said that this is a bit of a work in progress so the Plasma Carbine needs to be downscaled somewhat as it's a bit OTT at the moment but its definitely got that classic Warzone vibe to him. 

Imperial Golden Lion with Plasma Carbine WIP

At present he's a little bare, still needing some detailing such as pistol holster, pouches and ammo clips but as the kits are going to be modular, he's coming together nicely. Looking at the image I do think he needs a smidge more detail on the likes of his boots as well as they're a little simple at the moment but that's an easy fix and there may also be limitations with the sort of plastic kit that Res Nova plan on using.

Yes the sculpt needs a bit of tweaking and finessing to get it to the final standard but I must admit that this level of detail on a wargaming figure is absolutely fine with me as he's very reminiscent of the old Warzone sculpts that I love so much with chunky, heroic detail and avoiding the temptation we see so often with modern CG sculpts to make the figure too realistic or fussy with details literally everywhere.

Yes it may not be super detailed or realistically proportioned ala modern GW or indeed the Warzone Resurrection stuff but thats not the point! Res Nova have been utterly clear from the very beginning that they were going back to the classic Paul Bonner aesthetic with heroic proportions, big shoulder pads and big guns, something Prodos who were behind Warzone Resurrection departed from creating a game that had elements of the original but a sleeker, more modern style that really didn't fit the comic book dieselpunk that I loved back in the 90's.

Invader Assault Rifle, Plasma Carbine and Aggressor SMG

This is what I'm loving about the new sculpt, even if it's not a final piece. It fits the style of classic Warzone. It looks like a model that is intended to be painted and gamed with without worrying about breathing on it and it breaking. It's got the chunky heroic proportions and it's also modular so will allow for all sorts of interesting conversions, customisation and general hobby hijinks!

Compare him to the first sculpt we saw, the test piece Blood Beret:

I think folks will warm up a bit once we see the final sculpts in the flesh so to speak as a digital shot doesn't compare to a nicely painted figure and I'm really looking forward to seeing more of the project as it develops.

Here's the original Mark Copplestone sculpted Blood Beret and the 2nd edition Kev Adams ones:

While in my heart of hearts, I must admit I'd love to see the Warzone Eternal range traditionally sculpted, it's just not going to happen and at least this way there will be a standardised style carried across the whole range, something that the old Warzone didn't have as so many different sculptors worked on it.

For reference, here's a pic of Imperial troops in action by the legendary Paul Bonner:

I love the style of Bonner's work, especially for classic Warzone and am really raring to go for some further previews of the figures as Res Nova develop the project towards its eventual launch and I really hope that folks will be willing to offer constructive criticism when needed and support when possible as it would be a crying shame to see such a fantastic setting with it's brilliant forces, monsters and characters disappear into obscurity for another decade because a first sculpt doesn't look mindblowingly amazing.

For example, here's a super rough resize to the gun:

Apologies for the crudeness of my butchering of the original pic but by simply toning down the gun a smidge, the figure really looks great!

I don't work for Res Nova and the only interest I have in this is that I absolutely love Warzone and want the opportunity to delve back into a future dominated by megacorporations battling it out with monsters on the assorted planets of the solar system and I really want to see a game that sticks to the aesthetics of the classic while modernising the rules and figures without losing that magical element that made the Mutant Chronicles and Warzone so very great!

Now enough of my ramblings! I hope to see more Warzone in the near future and really look forward to the game getting released so I can pick up some Warzone figures and re-explore the setting and blow away some undead legionnaires on Mars or Venus, fight running battles in the tunnels under Mercury's surface with sword toting Megacorporate Samurai against rival corporations. I look forward to the setting being developed further with more detail on the outer solar system such as Imperials holdings in the asteroid belt or the cursed tenth planet Nero!

But until then, All the best!

Thursday 1 July 2021

Dark Age Brutal Quest Project: Adventurers!


Sorry about the quiet spell here on the blog but with work, an exploding oven and other odds and ends I've not had much time to get on with the important business of hobbying but I have finally finished my first three adventurers for my Dark Age themed Brutal Quest project!

Osgard Thane of Farpoint (centre) leading Beorngar (right) his trusty drinking companion and strong right hand and Ceolwyn the Fyrd (left).

Osgard is the Thane of Farpoint, a small fortified settlement on the border of the great forest known as The Wode Wood, a wild and untamed place inhabited by fierce beasts, bandits and at least one court of the Fae. As such, Osgard is often forced to venture forth into the ancient wood to deal with the many threats to his land.

While Farpoint is a small settlement, it lies on the ancient Roman Road that still acts as a trading route that connects the many scattered settlements that make up the Kingdom of Lost Albion and Osgard is determined to keep his holdings free from the ever present threat of both the wilds and the Northmen who have been raiding ever further inland in the last few years.

Beorngar the Black is one of Osgard's most trusted henchmen or dugud and has served as both staunch shieldbearer and drinking companion over the years and his family call Farpoint home. While a taciturn fellow, Berongar is a well respected warrior who has fought at his lords side for over a decade.

Ceolwyn is a Freeman who holds a farmstead just outside the settlement of Faerleah and has answered his. Thain's call to duty and while he is relatively poorly armoured, he has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the area surrounding the settlement, partially due to his skill at poaching. 

Shield designs

The figures are all Victrix Anglo Saxon's and were lovely figures to work on with crisp detail and painted up surprisingly quickly. I had intended to get some of the rather lovely shield transfers that Victrix do but ended up going for some vaguely historically accurate hand painted designs. I have tried to settle on using mostly muted colours for the project with brighter elements being reserved for shields and the odd bit of gold here and there and am quite pleased with how it's turned out thus far.

I hope to expand on the setting a bit in the coming week to give a rough outline of the area and the assorted denizens of the frontier and have a few figures that I'm working on at present which I hope to finish off tomorrow which will add a few more interesting elements to a mini campaign I'm thinking of putting together in the coming weeks.

While my setting is going to be loosely based on Anglo-Saxon Britain circa 800AD, it is going to be its own distinct place which resembles the country but is also quite different as there will be lost legions of Romans, the Fae and other, exotic characters making an appearance as well as a bunch of NPC's and a few monsters too! 

Somewhere on my old laptop I have a load of gubbins about an alternative Britain that I wrote up about a decade ago where the Fae returned to reclaim the land and I plan on incorporating elements of it into this so there will be plenty of excuses to introduce all manner of interesting bits and pieces as I go...

Osgard's party clash with Churlish bandits on the outskirts of the Wode Wood

It may take quite a while to flesh it out but I now have enough figures painted to get a start with the campaign so expect to see a battle report this weekend with Osgard and co setting forth to deal with some bandits who have been plaguing outlying homesteads and travellers along the old road.

In the meantime, All the best!