Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Grymn Characters - Silvia and Edgar

Silvia and Edgar are two Grymn you wouldn’t expect to see together. Silvia is a picture of Grymn beauty, with stunning looks a perfect physique and eyes you could drown in. Edgar is an aging, war weary, grey-haired veteran of the Grymn armed forces. If you were to ever see them together in their civilian attire, it would not only be exceptionally rare but they would also appear completely at odds with each other. However, when they are in their military fatigues, they are as much a picture of solidarity as they are a highly effective and professional team. The reason for this is that Silvia is a natural and very gifted sniper. It was said that, during her training, Silvia could shoot the tip off a pencil at ranges in excess of 500 metres but since then her expertise has become so great that the Grymn high council decided that she needed to be protected and cosseted so they chose someone to act as her spotter and her protection. Edgar was perfect for the role. He was a veteran of many wars, had high tactical awareness, was a talented leader and also had the patience of a saint. He immediately stepped in as Silvia’s mentor, protector and spotter and since they first met they have been like a father and daughter team.

Silvia and Edgar have become a dedicated assassination unit. They have been highly trained in the use of camouflage, concealment, communications, survival techniques and the use of most weaponry. Edgar will act as Silvia’s link between the high council and the jobs she has to carry out and shadows her every move in the field. As effective a sniper Silvia is, Edgar is a bodyguard beyond compare. Once the team is in position, Edgar will spot for Silvia and keep an eye out for enemy forces while she concentrates on the assassination. When it comes to extraction, Edgar takes the lead and ensures that they escape in the required manner. They are a team beyond compare and as a result, will only be used when a specific target needs to be eliminated and it is of the utmost importance to get the job done correctly, in the right time frame and with the correct precision.

Using Silvia and Edgar in your army

Edgar and Silvia make up a single unit and must remain within two inches of each other at all times.
Silvia will have normal trooper stats and will be equipped with a Grymn pistol and sniper rifle.
Edgar will have a veteran’s stats and will be equipped with a Grymn pistol, SMG, comms and scanners/binoculars.
Both will have the ‘Camouflage and concealment’, ‘Move through cover’ and ‘Specific target’ special rules. Silvia will have the ‘Sniper beyond compare’ special rule and Edgar will have the ‘Bodyguard’ special rule:

Camouflage and concealment

When in their chosen position, Silvia and Edgar become more or less invisible. They cover themselves with camouflage netting, IR reflective material and have all manner of jamming devices that mask scanners. When deployed, you do not need to tell your opponent where they are on the table. You can deploy them anywhere on the table but you must have a map with their position marked clearly on it so that when they are revealed, you have proof of their position. Silvia and Edgar will be revealed whenever they move or fire. Once this happens, they are visible for the rest of the game.

Move Through cover

Silvia and Edgar are adept at moving through cover. They may move through wooded areas and over broken ground without any penalties for movement.

Specific Target

Silvia and Edgar are chosen to carry out specific orders and then to return safely to their designated extraction zone. They are far too valuable to be risked in ‘run of the mill’ actions. At the beginning of the game, the controlling player may choose up to two specific targets. Each of these targets can be any model on the table. If Silvia or Edgar manages to kill the target(s), they will not only receive double the victory points for doing so but must also begin to withdraw to the army deployment zone (or a pre-determined safe/extraction point). They must do this once the targets are eliminated and they must do it in a characterful manner, using cover and speed but still returning fire as they withdraw. Once in the safe zone, they will play no further part in the battle.

Sniper beyond compare (Silvia only)

Silvia is literally, a sniper beyond compare. She is able to blank out the clamour of battle and pick her targets with precision. She is able to target vulnerable spots in armour and can calculate trajectories and wind-age with the skill of a savant.
Silvia can target any model on the table without restriction. If she has a line of sight, she can target any individual model in range whether they are basic troopers or army commanders. She can also double the range of the sniper rifle she carries with no penalty. If she does this then she may NOT use the following ‘additional penetration’ rule.
Additional penetration – if Silvia scores a hit (within normal range), then role a d6. On a roll of a 5 or 6, she will get double the strength of the weapon (to represent hitting a vulnerable point on the target). If the rule set doesn’t give the rifle a strength value then this rule will give you a 5 or 6 chance of wounding in addition to the normal rules (some common sense will be required so as to not make this too powerful a rule).

Bodyguard (Edgar only)

As long as Edgar is within two inches of Silvia, he will leap in front of any shot targeted at her and will fight any opponents in hand to hand that try to attack her. Simply switch Silvia for Edgar and work out the results normally.

Footnote: I have made this unit a little bit more vague than 'Lucky' because it has the possibility of being a game winner if used in the manner it should be.

I would suggest that this unit would only be used in a game where there was a specific commander or specialist that would reasonably be considered a major target. If there isn't a major target, Silvia and Edgar wouldn't even get out of their rooms.

Once the targets are eliminated, the next objective for the team would be to get to their extraction point. It may be necessary to either reward them for getting there or penalise them for not getting there. How about making them lose the 'double victory points' if they don't reach their extraction point...or even removing all of the victory points? It is characterful for these two to act in a professional manner and once they had carried out their duty, they would move to the extraction point straight is their next objective after all. is all food for thought and any comments are welcomed.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Grymn Character - 'Lucky' Lund Thorsen

Trooper Lund, Thorsen was a soldier in the Grymn army. He was a fairly run of the mill soldier who went through training in an un-extraordinary way; only just achieving the results that enabled him to join the infantry when he graduated. In fact, you could almost have said that he was completely average in every way; almost. You see, Lund started out his time in the Grymn army with a shiny metal hand.

When he was a child, he had been playing with his friends when he was involved in a car accident that saw him dragged down the street for a hundred metres...only coming to rest when his hand was ripped from his wrist. It took him many months to get back to his full strength but his hand couldn’t be saved so he had a bionic one grafted on in its place. All who knew him, said that he should have been killed and that it was a miracle he survived; let alone returned to full strength.

Once Lund had finished his military training, he was deployed on operations in the desert regions where he saw lots of action fighting Bohkin infiltrators. Many times he fought and many times he was injured but no matter how bad his injuries, he was patched up and sent back to duty after ‘miraculously’ surviving wounds that would have seen other Grymn dead.

Over time, he gained a number of extra bionics, including an eye, an arm (the opposite one to his metal hand) and a foot but still he survived and returned to his unit. After a while Lund’s unit began to see him as a bit of a mascot and gave themselves the nickname of ‘Lucky-Lund’s Lads’ because every time they managed to rescue Lund, they managed to win victory, achieve their objectives or escape where there should have been no escape.

You may have thought that Lund was destined for greater things but all through his career, he showed absolutely no aptitude for leadership and had no wish for it either. He was happy doing his duty as an ordinary foot-soldier and completed his 20 year service as trooper ‘Lucky’ Lund, Thorsen.

Using ‘Lucky’ Lund, Thorsen in your army

Any single, normal trooper in your army may be replaced as ‘Lucky’. When you do this, he gains the normal stats for that trooper, keeps the same weapons and gets the same equipment that the trooper would normally get. In addition, the following rules apply:


While ‘Lucky’ is still alive and able, the unit he has joined will receive a bonus to their leadership. This will add one level to the leadership of the whole unit (depending on the rules system)

Rescue the muppet!

If ‘Lucky’ falls, he is considered wounded and not killed. He has miraculously survived but plays no further part in the battle. Any member of his unit will be responsible for rescuing the poor chap and must move into base contact with him. The rescuer will not be able to shoot for the remainder of the game but will be able to defend himself during hand-to-hand-combat, if he is attacked. The whole of the unit will become immune to leadership tests and will gain an extra level of weapon skill and shooting skill while ‘Lucky’ is being rescued but they will no longer be able to advance towards the enemy. They may remain where they are or retreat but they place keeping ‘Lucky’ safe, above their normal objective. If they return to their deployment area and drop him off then the unit returns to the fight with their basic stats as if ‘Lucky’ was just a normal member of their squad who has fallen. Of course, lucky will end up being healed and will be able to return in future battles to fight as normal.

If by the end of the game, 'Lucky' has not been returned to his deployment area, the unit he is with is counted as destroyed for the sake of victory points or objective reasons. If 'Lucky' is injured, the unit he is with may not claim objectives...unless they have already returned him to the deployment area and dropped him off.

Extra Equipment

‘Lucky’ gains bionics as extra equipment for no extra cost. He has a Bionic eye, hand, arm and foot and this will need to be taken into account depending on which rule-set you are using (with the relevant bonuses applied if applicable).

Footnote: You can see from this example how easy it is to add a lot of flavour to your army by just adding a bit of narrative to a normal soldier.

When 'Lucky' is injured, you have the big decision of standing in place and getting all of the extra bonuses (risking his life in the process) or returning him to the deployment area and ending up with the basic stats again...

...that means risky, power-gaming or fighting with a narrative...

The choice is yours.


In all stories and legends, there are great heroes, villains and leaders; those who fight beyond the call of duty and beyond the boundaries of normal endurance. These heroes instil courage and fervour in their followers; leading them to great victories and on to greater glory than they could have possibly achieved through their own endeavours.

These are the characters that add colour and a little bit of bite to any army and the Grymn armies should be no exception.

Where to start

The starting point should always be at the bottom. Why? Because there is always the tendency to have characters and leaders that are super powerful and indestructible. That is completely inappropriate and can also completely unbalance the army that the character has been created to join.

Of course; once you have started building characters, you can build up to the more powerful ones but you will do so after understanding the strengths and weaknesses of those lesser characters and that will help you build a better, higher level character that will not unbalance your army but will enhance it.

When building characters there is a need to set them apart from the normal, run of the mill NCOs and officers of the army. These characters will have unusual characteristics or be able to do unusual things that a normal leader won't be able to. Just think of the British leader, Winston Churchill. He was just a man...but put him in front of a mass of people and he could turn them into an unstoppable army just by talking to them and inspiring them to greater things. Storming Norman Schwartzkopf instilled pride in his men by being in the field and leading from the front. Montgomery, Rommel, Colonel H. Jones and many more, inspired their troops to great deeds...but they were just men. They weren't super heroes and they weren't wearing powered armour or being protected by force fields...

...but the men who followed them would follow them to the sun and fight on its searing surface as a result of the pride they held in their inspirational leaders...

Private inspiration to the country. He was just doing his duty but had such drive that he fought off wounds that would ground a normal man and rescued members of his unit before succumbing to unconsciousness. He was just a man...but in a word, he is a hero and would make an excellent basis for a character in an army.

I have posted this as a forward to some character ideas that will follow on. They will range from the lowly leader to the Grymn who originally escaped from the Sleiti and led his people to freedom in the stars. There will be great generals, powerful orators and strategists beyond compare.

Watch this space...

Saturday, 10 July 2010


Yes, today I am going to talk about the models and miniatures available for robotic walkers in your Grymn armies. This is not going to be a big debate as to whether they are practical or not...I like the idea of big robots on the battlefield and as a result I feel the need to share a few ideas on the subject.

Starting at the beginning, we have the small, powered-armour style, walkers. The first one I have here is a Grizzly suit from the now extinct range of Starship Troopers miniatures that Mongoose Games used to make:

The miniature is designed to be used as a powered suit for miniatures that would be about 32mm tall so the thought of a Grymn filling the suit in the way it was designed is a bit daft. I would suggest that the Grymn pilot would be sat in a seat in the torso of the suit and would drive it rather than walk around in it. There is plenty of room in the torso for this so it isn't infeasible.

Following on from the Grizzly are my Vulkan battle-suits. They are from another extinct range of miniatures; the Warzone range from Target Games. These would operate in the same way as the Grizzlies with the Grymn pilot sitting in the torso:

Next we have the driven robot style of walker. These are no longer powered armour but armoured vehicles that have a pilot who sits in a cockpit and controls the walker. The walkers below are from the Japanese Anime 'Armoured Trooper Votoms'. The ones pictured are very old 1/60 scale, die-cast toys depicting 'Scopedog'; one of the characters from the show:

In order to make the toy look more Grymn-like, I have shortened the one on the left and started to paint it in a more reasonable scheme.

...and so we progress onto my favourite line of walkers...the Macross range. The following walkers are from the old 1/200 scale Nichimo range of kits. The Nichimo kits were great because each of the boxes contained two kits. It was necessary to convert these quite heavily so that there was conceivably the space to house a Grymn in the cockpit. First are the converted Defenders:

Next we have some converted Tomahawks:

Moving on from the 1/200 scale kits, we progress onto the slightly large 1/100 scale kits. These are from Arai and Bandai and are joined by the smaller walkers to show off their size difference:

Just for a bit more information, the grey and white walkers are Regult pods and the un-painted green and brown ones are Spartans. The bigger walkers are the Tomahawk but with the arms off the Defender:

...and a pair of Defenders with the arms off Tomahawks:

The great thing about the Macross kits is that they tie in together nicely. The following Phalanx walkers use similar legs to the Tomahawks and Defenders so don't look out of place at all. The Phalanx have multiple rocket launchers and would be perfect for long ranged support:

Gundam has a huge range of kits available for the Anime theme. The following kit is a Zaku but unlike the other kits I have shown, this is a 'super-deformed' version. That means that it is designed to be more cartoon-like in style. Fortunately there is plenty of room inside the head to fit a Grymn pilot:

I don't need to say that there are literally thousands of Japanese Anime kits available from all sorts of ranges; Xabungle, Dougram, Robotech, Megaro Zamac, Patlabor...the list goes on and I won't go on about it!

There are also war-games ranges that encompass walkers in their ranks. Games Workshop and Forgeworld are two such companies that have a myriad of walkers in a selection of ranges.

To finish, all I need to say is have a look out there and you will find the perfect walker for your forces...whether it is a toy, a Japanese kit or even a kit from a war-games manufacturer...

...and if anyone questions the use of giant walking death machines...then if all else fails just say..."they look cool".