Wednesday, 22 March 2017

A Tale of Caracan the Afara Strider

Birds wheeled in the air above the silent forest clearing and a blue sky domed the world of Ogof III as Laydon Maltax placed his helm back upon his head.  He was a young man but a man who had seen more of war than anyone would wish to.  His short cropped blond hair rubbed at the padded liner of his helm but he was used to it; far too used to it.  His armoured lance had stopped here overnight and despite official orders to the contrary they had shut down their three Afara type striders and took their rest under the plainly seen stars rather than in the cockpits of the machines.  It had been a risk but a small one as the enemy was a distance away and their movement through the thick woods had been in secret.  Plus they had the advantage of a wide area Chameleon Circuit field which hid them from anything but nearby careful eyes.  Now it was morning and the mission resumed to keep Ogof III in the hands of the rightful Kingmaker.

As Maltrax took to the recessed ladder in the left leg of his strider, named Caracan, he looked to his left and to his right as the two other pilots did likewise and ascended to the access hatches of their own machines. The three Afara type mecha towered over the smaller trees and their heads reached high into the upper branches of all but the oldest trunks. He climbed up past the knee and then to the waist before circling around Caracan and then on up to the back of the strider's neck.  Once there he typed his command key into the tiny numeric pad under its armoured cover.  Some preferred a retinal scan or a print reader but Maltrax used numbers as was his way.  With a heavy thud and then several clicks the access hatch lifted up and out from the machine's back allowing its commander to slide himself into the cockpit space.   It was dark inside and he took his familiar place in the chest of the war machine.


The Flexpad Containment Couch was inert and as Maltrax placed his legs into the places for them and then his back into the upright holder he turned the main activation   switch to command on.  Slowly the containment couch fitted itself to him and soon only his hands and head were outside of it.  As the Groatvey MkX Heavy Ion Reasc Fusion Reactor came online he pressed more studs and thumbed the twin sticks which met his fingers.  Caracan shuddered slightly as the joint locks on its legs and arms and spine were released and the Sislain Fibamuscle bundles all over the Afara took the strain.  More than twenty tonnes of titanium alloy armour and weapon systems took less than twenty seconds to give Maltrax a line of green lights in his vision.  He finished connecting the last strands of data cords to his helm making his vision and hearing that of Caracan and then just for a moment he felt giddy as the primary node of the strider took his sense of balance as its own.  He lifted one foot and then the other almost feeling the ground under the massive three toed feet with their Hakamould Type 5 Maxdure Foot Pads.  He checked the status of the Anda 60mm missile pod mounted on Caracan's shoulder and confirmed its load of Felta Type 6 munitions and thirty one shots left in the magazine.  Then he slowly brought the mighty Otca powered sword to readiness.  Its nine foot blade glowed to an orange and then to a blue edged intensity.  Only he carried a sword while the other members of his lance had large lasers and projectile weapons.  It was his honour in The Code Gallant and it was a lethal instrument when put to use.

The three mecha were ready to commence their mission and as each pilot signalled commitment Maltrax looked to his shield which covered most of one arm of Caracan.  It was more than a foot thick slab of titanium which was scored and pitted across its blue and white surface from the impact of enemy rounds.  The shield protected the strider as it closed with the foe and one corner of it was missing entirely where a Duxis Battlesuit of the bitch Princess had lopped it off with its own powered sword.  Maltrax let go of the weapon controls and rubbed at his temples.  Even though he could not touch them through his helm the reflexive act calmed him.  It took Retained Knights a lot of training to operate larger walking machines such as the Afaras and Magogs and some simply never managed it while other suffered nausea or headaches of varying intensity.  He only suffered for the first minutes of operation but he gladly did this knowing the potentially dangerous price of an artificial mind aboard Caracan.  Before the Gurtan Activation and the massacre that followed all of the larger machines had some degree of sentience which meant the pilot thought about acting and the artificial mind did the rest.  Not now.  Never again.  Some pain was worth the safety and primacy of human kind.

An hour passed as the lance advanced towards the positions of the Prydian Army.  Hawk reconnaissance had confirmed enemy armour including several Mullo Armoured Fighting Vehicles and Striders too.  Around a hundred Retained and several hundred Muster with supporting Battlesuits and Portable Weapon Platforms.  The Canlastrian assault would be to the left of this gathered retinue of the enemy while his own Afara's would come in from the forested right in surprise.  It was a fine plan and Maltrax had been listening to the secured comms signals from their own knights as they flitted into place, their armour blending with the surrounding landscape as they went.  They had no ground crawling armoured vehicles of their own but they did have a high degree of veterans and many Anvil 888 launchers.  When the assault began it did so with the booming retort of a fifteen Anvils whose rounds streaked and converged upon a single Prydian Mullo which exploded in a shimmering blinding hail of metal; its twin Fretan Railgun turret was thrown straight up in the air.  A few seconds later a barrage of 12.5mm Angis Rifle caseless bullets destroyed a second Mullo as two lances of Retained focused all their fire upon it. Many bullets were stopped or ricochet from the hull but hundreds penetrated and vital systems were shredded along with the crew.

The comms net went silent as the cacophony of battle made speech impossible.  Ghostly text flickered across Maltrax's helm and reported on casualties and the progression on the assault.  The seconds they had to remain hidden were torture.  To be in the fray was his life and his duty.  But victory was duty in essence and so they stood still and paused.  Fifteen seconds passed and then the command was given to attack.  As one the three Afara Striders ran out of their cover and fell upon the flank of the now responding Prydian retinue.

Caracan rose to the challenge of battle and all of its systems were functioning at peak efficiency.  Maltrax added a fusillade of 60mm missiles to the blinding flash of a 15Mw Valerin laser bolts, Bodkin armour piercing shells and 50mm grenades.  Enemy Muster were flailed by the attack and died with no hope of evading or even turning to face their trio of assailants.  They turned their fire on a third Mullo which was rotating its turret to bring twin Angis cannons to focus upon Caracan.  Its titanium hull shuddered under the impacts before a Bodkin shell entered the control cabin and obliterated the two crew.  It was at this moment that the strider pilots as one saw the six approaching Duxis Battlesuits.  The Duxis had evidently been held in reserve or hidden by Chameleon fields up to now.  Maltrax gave the command and he turned Caracan towards the approaching battlesuits while his two fellow lance mates continued to pound at the flank of the main Prydian force.







Six upon one were sporting odds even for an experienced pilot such as Laydon Maltax and he knew it.  Evidently the foe knew it too.  They split into two groups of three and while one tried to get around Caracan the other three made straight for him.  Knowing he could not allow any of them to pass him Maltax used all of his remaining missiles upon the three trying to evade him.  Eighteen 60mm explosive missiles flew from Caracan's shoulder and while some missed most found their marks upon the running battlesuits.  One was instantly vaporised as the ammunition for its Bodkin was set off.  Another slumped to the ground its arm tore off and chest brutalised by explosions; its pilot might live on but he or she was out of the fight.  The third took three missiles losing its arm shield and then the arm to absorb the detonations.  It reeled and then righted carrying on towards the other two Afara's.  Having done what he could and seeing the red glare of an empty ammunition reserve upon his display  Maltax focused upon the other three Duxis and just in time.

Experience in the fray sharpened his reflexes and just in time the shield on the arm of Caracan rose up and in front of its body.  Its surface boiled as laser bolts struck it and then rang like a bell under the striking of two rail gun rounds.  Titanium glittered to the ground but the mighty shield held.  Legs twice the height of a man strode onwards closing the distance.  Again the shield rang and vibrated with beam and projectile impacts and his sensor nodes told Maltax that one rail gun round had struck and severed the empty Anda missile pod upon Caracan's shoulder.

The Strider and three Duxis met in a dance of death and destruction that lasted mere moments.  Only one of the enemy battlesuits was armed with a powered close combat weapon and it had a spear and shield combination.  Maltax swung his shield out and away from Caracan's body and used its immense kinetic energy of its mass and his closing speed to strike one Duxis which had been upon him with its Valerin laser cannon.  The impact caved in the whole chest and head of the Prydian battlesuit killing its pilot instantly.  As he did this the spear armed Duxis dove in trying to and getting beyond the swinging shield and the tip of its spear met the lower chest of Caracan with a howl of energy and tearing titanium alloy.  Warnings sprung up in Maltax's vision but he ignored them and struck out with the nine foot blade of the Octa sword at the third Duxis which was readying its rail gun for a point blank shot.  The blade came down and across the enemy and severed the focusing barrel of the railgun before cutting through the right leg of the battlesuit.  It fell to the burning grass and the energy stored in the primed sequence ready rail gun released turning the damaged Duxis into a boom of spinning fragments.  The spear came away from Caracan's chest with clumps of Sislain Fibamuscle clinging to it.  Being within the minimum arc of the striders sword and shield Maltax was left with few options, none of his weapons could be used; but he had one trick left to use.   Lifting the left leg of the machine he lashed out with a kick.  The Hakamould Type 5 Maxdure Pad under the foot connected with the withdrawing energised spear and was split and burned by its field.  However the momentum of the kick carried it on and the spear with it crashing the spear into the upper body of the Duxis.  The spear flared and died as it was crushed into the chest and head of the battlesuit.

Unable to prevent it Laydon Maltax allowed Caracan to sink to one knee as its left foot smoked and sparked.  He had stopped the Prydians and now they would carry the day.  Canlaster was one step closer to winning this world.


A quick note before I go on.  I set myself a challenge for the fiction here and it was along the lines of NaNoWriMo.  Not a whole 50k words novel of course but rather one draft in under an ninety minutes and then a single five minute edit on 2000 words.  After that it goes to virtual print regardless of condition.  Did it work?

I hope you enjoyed this little story of an Afara Strider named Caracan.  The idea of the tale came to me during the play testing of Callsign Taranis and I have kept it with me in my head awaiting a time to put it out for others to read.  You can become quite attached to a mecha it seems and in fighting against the Prydian Army who are normally the good guys I was pained when Caracan was damaged and even took 'him' out of the fray for fear of total loss.  Canlaster is my favoured League when not taking the white and red side.  


The Afara model was constructed and painted by Sam Croes who also added the decals to give it a more regal look.  He also created for Callsign Taranis a frankly superb technical drawing page which you can click on and enlarge here.


We have a month long special offer...it is a bloody good one....25% off all three variants of the IAF128 Afara Strider our resin light mecha which is 55mm tall. The Afara is generic enough for many settings and it is designed for tabletop gaming being easy to assemble from few parts and durable to use in play too.  I am also told it can be easily converted and altered with parts from our other codes such as IAF065 Vehicle Conversion Kit.  The discount is online and all you need do is add to cart, reward points are as normal and can be used on this offer too.  Offer ends 1st April.  


Click on the links to learn more and remember you get IMP43 Female Muster Banner Bearer in every order for free until months end.

We have no more releases this month and next month will be all about the Shia Khan as many of you are patiently waiting for.

Thanks for Reading,

GBS

Monday, 20 March 2017

Video play of Patrol Angis by Dorkside Cookies

At the weekend a new video was put up giving a look at some play of Patrol Angis the central title in 15mm scale Ion Age tabletop gaming.  Dorkside Cookies and Jason made a really nice video with the play though of one of the three scenarios given in the book for the starter set. Enjoy!


You can see all the books as print and download in the Patrol Angis series on our website HERE.


I enjoyed the video speaking as the creator of the rules system.  I have played with a dozen different gamers and have seen a dozen games played and heard of a great many more.  It was well explained and got the game over well.  Patrol Angis is a vicious game of space opera combat and it scales up well in use of Infantry to Battlesuits to bigger vehicles and more forces.  Like most games the more you play the easier you find the progress of play.  Some players find it hard to accept the base 2+ to hit meaning its normally hard to miss a target.  Jason played scenario one 'Stalking in the Forest' and found it challenging as the Prydian player which is odd to me personally as during testing and since the white and red win more than 50% of the time.  Tactics are vital against Battlesuits and use of cover too.  I did it by being in the woods at all times and using Anvil 888 plus precise fire actions from larger Troop Elements and targeting the closest Yordan suit each activation with little movement favouring ranged fire precise until the way was clear.  A lot comes down to terrain placement and to the use of support grade weapons as battlesuits are tough for infantry only forces if caught in the open. 


I do hope Jason plays on and decides to scale up to Callsign Taranis or to get into the Shia Khan when the new book is released.  I also hope he finds an opponent for his regular gaming.  I have a small circle but often play solo also.

Thanks Jason!

GBS

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Six Different 15mm Khanate Weapon Platforms, Gun Crew and Anti-Gravity lifter released!

The Ion Age makes all of its releases for the month of March today with a lot of new 15mm Shia Khan Empire codes all focused around portable weapon systems.  Check out the Shia Khan Empire on our website HERE or read on for more information about these new codes.  All of these releases and next months too are working towards the release of the next Patrol Angis book which is scheduled for April 2017.  Giving you a full infantry force for the client races of the alien Khanate.



There is a lot to show you and these releases add portable weapon platforms of two types and six variants as well as legionary gunners and an anti-gravity motive unit for use with the platforms.  Now you have firepower to take on the Espaten Portable Weapon Platforms and the Havelocks of the Muster and Retained.  Here are the details of each new pack:


The first encounters with infantry support grade weapon platforms came with the initial break out from the Belkus Depression by those Shia Khan forces which had followed the digging machines.  Though a watch was kept on the edges of the crater, which has once been the famed passages of the labyrinth, by planetary defence platoons they were rapidly overwhelmed by the aliens which poured out into the sunlight.  The digging machines had no more than cleared their drive sections of the soft dirt and Legionaries as well as accursed Maligs followed them.  Being some distance off due to the background radiation left over by the detonation of the fusion core the defence troopers had time to made transmissions back to Pelacan city to inform and then call for reinforcements.  What was not expected from vids and audio from the gateway chamber was the immediate reach the enemy had.  It was the first encounter with code name Selene and code name Hypnus portable weapon platforms.

Floating forwards at a steady pace with two alien operators running alongside each of them the Selene platforms opened fire first upon elements of the 3rd Pelacan Regiment at a range beyond their ability to strike back.  A barrage of 20mm cannon shells and laser beams were followed by the shrieking rage of 12.7mm rounds by the thousand and it killed many of the troopers who were unable to find thick enough cover.  It was however once the aliens drew closer and the troopers loosed off anvil rounds and bursts of grenades from their Moth type 12's that the other Khanate platforms entered the fray.  The Hypnus have a single operator who seems to be bonded to the weapon platform by a chair behind a thick gun shield.  The weapons carried by the Hypnus are dangerous in their own right giving off in many cases a degree of radiation or gene potential damage.  Atomic Destabilisers and Triple Plasma mounts tore through Aketon armour and the hulls of a half dozen Steornede Battlesuits at close range with ease.  This led to the loss of the craters edge and marked the start of the remorseless advance of the aliens.  Portable weapon platforms have proven tough to deal with without armoured support and the Khanate makes great use of them especially in urban areas to hold taken junctions and structures.

Academy Auto-Trainer Series 66, New Glastonbury, 4337 IC


IAF131 Selene Portable Weapon Platform – Three Variants
The Selene is a portable weapon platform which acts as support for Khanate infantry. The pieces are the four legged stand and a chosen top mounted weapon. These parts make one complete platform. The options for the Selene are the Mars 20mm Chain Cannon (A), Maia 12.7mm Scatter Cannon (B) and the Juno 18kw Laser Cannon (C). These go with IAF133 Legion Gun Platform Crew.  You can get an idea of the size of the finished portable weapon by noting that each of them is standing on a 30mm round base (their basing size for Patrol Angis) and again they are labelled with the letter corresponding to their variant weapon. Each pack contains ONE kit. You have the option of purchasing a pack or three packs with a saving.   Price 2.00GBP per pack.  Go HERE.


Kalidaral reclined in the last chair in which he would ever sit.  When first he had lowered himself into the chair it had been comfortable; its padding molding itself to his contours.  Later it had become uncomfortable and then painful to him and then even the pain had dimmed away to nothing.  Now he felt nothing from his body and time was hard to grasp for him too.  Had it been hours? Days?  Weeks or perhaps months since he had been given the honour of the Hypnus acclamation and been fitted with the collar and the circlet.  Since then he had been carried upon the honoured set and fitted to a frame carrying the mighty atomic destabiliser cannon.  Then taken through the sparkling curtain of the gateway and brought to this strange new world. Now his vision was of red and of death; his nerve impulses not his own any more.  Aliens came within his view and thoughtless he would bring death to them with a blast of screaming energy.  So it had been, so it would be evermore.  So far from Jalania and her loving embrace....

IAF132 Hypnus  Portable Weapon Platform – Three Variants
The Hypnus is a slaved portable weapon platform which acts as support for Khanate infantry. The pieces are the four legged stand, legionary crew piece, gun shield and a chosen top mounted weapon. These parts make one complete platform. The options for the Hypnus are the Hydra 14Mw Laser Swarm Cannon (A), Helios 80kw Atomic Destabliser (B) and the Triple Jupiter Plasma 46mm Mount (C). You can get an idea of the size of the finished portable weapon by noting that each of them is standing on a 30mm round base (their basing size for Patrol Angis) and again they are labelled with the letter corresponding to their variant weapon. Each pack contains ONE kit. You have the option of purchasing a pack or three packs with a saving.   Price 2.00GBP per pack.  Go HERE.


IAF130 Khanate Anti-Gravity Propulsion Unit 
While it is perfectly fitting to have your Selene or Hypnos Portable Weapons static on the battlefield giving fire support or acting in a defensive and dug in formation you might want some pace to them and a way to get them around during the heat of battle. To that end we have a motive system suitable for them. For use by the Legionaries of the Khanate. This pack contains four identical 15mm scale white metal miniatures.  These fit with the IAF131 Selene and IAF132 Hypnus platforms.  Price 4.00GBP per pack.  Go HERE.


IAF133 Legion Gun Platform Crew
This pack contains two 15mm scale white metal miniatures in different poses. Two Legionaries in glimmer suits with the first holding the remote control interface for a portable weapon and the second with interface range finder. Combine these portable weapon crew miniatures with  IAF131 Selene Portable Weapon Platforms or use them for other purposes in your forces. Choose from a pack, three packs with saving or single poses. Price 1.00GBP per pack.  Go HERE.


Information Burst
With all of our releases made for the month of March 2017 we want to remind you that you get IMP43 Female Muster Banner Bearer who fits right in with your Muster or Patrol or even Planetary Militia platoons in play free in every order.  Until the end of February she is included at one per order (you can order more of her this month by going to the Year Collection page) and you get your Reward Points on your account too.  


We have two more things to show you later this month.  An example page from the coming Khanate Return book the third in the Patrol Angis series and an article about an Afara Strider in the service of the League of Canlaster taken from our own gaming collection.  The Afara is generic enough for many settings and it is designed for tabletop gaming being easy to assemble from few parts and durable to use in play too.  I am also told it can be easily converted and altered with parts from our other codes such as IAF065 Vehicle Conversion Kit.  Lastly we have a new month long special offer...it is a bloody good one....25% off all three variants of the IAF128 Afara Strider our resin light mecha which is 55mm tall.  Click on the links.

Thanks for Reading

GBS

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

IMP43 Female Muster Banner Bearer free for all March 2017!

What a mad short month February was as most of my attention was taken up with the merger of 15mmcouk back into Alternative Armies and with getting a concept article on the coming Shia Khan book out on the blog plus a whole Legion Pioneer Ordos.  Wow!  All in twenty eight short feeling days.  Now we are in March and it will be an exciting month for IonFans with several new Khanate 15mm releases plus preview page of the coming book and ending with details of when the book will be out to be in your hands.  All of this to come.  Now onto the news for the start of the month.  A new free monthly and a special ones at that.  A banner bearer free in every order placed automatically.


The Ion Age is all about space opera adventure and warfare in the far future and to that end it assumes not only the use of powered armour and powered swords but also of concepts such as valour and heroic nature.  In Patrol Angis this concept is carried into the game on the tabletop with an Advanced Rule on page 38 called 'Valour' where the sight of a banner waving in the breeze of battle inspires troops all the more.  All of our command packs of miniatures have a banner bearer in them and these are considered core poses.  This month we present IMP43 Female Muster Banner Bearer who fits right in with your Muster or Patrol or even Planetary Militia platoons in play.




We welcome the 43rd free monthly 15mm miniature and month of our little space opera setting. Free in every order every time all month before being retired. This miniature is automatically put into every order at the rate of one per order regardless of order value. It can also be bought in any amount on the monthly IMP page of the website for this month only too before being withdrawn on the first of next month. We are into Year Four now and if you missed it you can see the Year Three Collection on the website.  Standing 17mm to the eye line the Female Muster Banner Bearer is fitting for any platoon and is wearing standard Aketon Armour and holding a Tumbler SMG.  Her banner is sculpted to the figure meaning all you need to do is choose the design to go upon it.  It is a superbly impressive 15mm scale figure. There is a growing page on the Ion Age website where the current and all former IMP series free miniatures are shown so that you can see what came before. Enjoy looking at what came before.  This miniature is worth 0.60GBP.



We ask you to sign up for a website account with us on your first order. Why? For one reason only. Not to send you emails (we never will. If you want our emails sign up for our Mailchimp list on the right top of the blog home page) or to pester you; but only to keep track of the Reward Points that all orders with us earn. Reward Points through our online partner Sloyalty which can be used once accumulated to get discounts or free stuff at any point in the future. Learn more about this HERE. Every order earns Reward Points! Yes free extra value. Part of our promise to keep the fun in wargaming. 


Lastly we have a new month long special offer...it is a bloody good one....25% off all three variants of the IAF128 Afara Strider our resin light mecha which is 55mm tall.  We will have a fun article later this month with an Afara in the service of the League of Canlaster taken from our own gaming collection.  



The Afara is generic enough for many settings and it is designed for tabletop gaming being easy to assemble from few parts and durable to use in play too.  I am also told it can be easily converted and altered with parts from our other codes such as IAF065 Vehicle Conversion Kit.  The discount is online and all you need do is add to cart, reward points are as normal and can be used on this offer too.  Offer ends 1st April.  Click on the links to learn more. 


As always if you are reading this bulletin later in the month or further into the future please do have a look at our blog and use it as a time machine to read all the excellent content that is there going right back to our start. Try August 2016 for instance where you can find a parts article on the Afara plus civilian pack releases and our Uniforms of Prydia poster too.

Thanks for your support and for enjoying The Ion Age!

GBS