Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Touching Base(s)

"Touching Base"
It's been far too long since my last post here on the blog, I lay the blame partly on the fact that we've been incredibly busy during the height of the "festival season", and the rest lays at my own feet - I've had some hobby time, but have used the majority of it (not all, but more on that later *) to catch up on painting and modelling, which I don't reckon has really been 'blogworthy'.

"Touching Bases"
Having said that, I thought you might be interested in one of the projects though - basing material.
Before leaving the hobby many moons ago, the common method for basing minis was to glue them to pieces of thin plywood, and then texture them with Tetrion (a kind of polyfilla/sand mix) and then paint them (usually a green base coat followed by yellow drybrush). Immediately upon my return to gaming, I did exactly the same thing before realising how much things had changed!
Over time I tried to improve my basing technique, tryng to emulate what I saw in photo's and following youtube tutorials, but was never quite satisfied with my own results. Then Luke (of Lukes APS and Geek Gaming) released his "Base Ready" product line. A basing material with the sales pitch "glue it, dip it, done it"! I bought a 180ml tub of 'Wasteland Soil' and was over the moon with the results it gives - and would highly recommend the range cos 'it does exactly what it says on the tin'!.......

The only problem was that there's nothing in the Base Ready range that would "look right" both in a dungeon crawl and on a battlefield - and I didn't want to go down the route of rebasing my minis on clear bases, so it was thinking cap time, followed by some experimentation.
I ended up buying a huge 25 kilo bag of "2mm to Dust" granite which I put through a sieve (no, not the one from the kitchen, but a cheap one from Wilko that I bought for the job) and added a small quantity of very fine sand, a small amount of mid green sawdust flock and a darker green 2mm static grass. I just varied the quantities until I was happy with the mix.
Here's some recently painted minis based with the concoction.........


I went on to add a little dark green sponge flock, plus some larger "rocks" to one batch of the mix, with the intention of applying this to sabbot bases. This should allow me to form "units" from my individual dungeon crawl minis and field them in Dragon Rampant games..... and maybe "Song of Blades and Heroes, which I've been intending to take for a spin for a while now!

* The rest of the time?
After chatting to Stevie over on The Game Cupboard blog, and discovering just how much we share in common in our wonderful hobby, we hatched a cunning plan which would see us collaborating on a fantasy campaign project.
This has involved a fair amount of emailing, plus more modelling and painting in preparation of what's to come, and I'm delighted to say that this project is now underway, and if anyone would like to see just how Beska, Trebbelos, Krago and Pendora (from the previous post here) are now getting on in Waterdeep, you can find out here -  Foreigners in a strange land and my own "first post" has just been hosted too if you're interested in my foray into D&D 5e.
For anyone who hasn't already, I'd recommend visiting The Game Cupboard (either via the link above or click on the link in my 'Favourites' to the right of this post). While you're there, why not click the "Follow" button and keep up to date with our shenanigans??

Thanks muchly for visiting (and putting up with such a long break between posts), there's a game currently on the table, so a write up won't be far behind as I settle back into "business as usual" now the nights are drawing back in - blimey! it'll soon be Zomtober again!


Sunday, 7 July 2019

The Quest finale.

This tale picks up from here............The Quest continued.
The fight with the Carrion Crawler went well for the party, Beska (the MU) fired off a magic missile which hurt the creature, sending it scurrying up the left hand wall towards the ceiling before Trebbelos (the Elf) sent an arrow straight into its head! As soon as the monster crashed to the floor Krago (the Dwarf) laid into it with his battleaxe, finishing the the fight.

As soon as they regrouped, the adventurers set off back to the room containing the chest.
Beska and Krago decided provided the brains and brawn to tackle the chest, while Pendora (the Cleric) and Trebbelos checked the two other doors in the room.
Beska couldn't see any obvious "clever" ways to get the lid open, so signaled to Krago to try and smash it open - one flex of his muscles later and the Dwarf gave a grunt as he swung his axe, splintering the lid of the chest and giving them access to the contents.
The chest mainly held a stash of paperwork - signed contracts, business agreements and figure tallies (including lists of debtors and the amounts they owed). There was however a leather pouch containing what must be the best part of 5000gp worth of gems. "This will expenses" laughed Beska as he and the Dwarf went to check how the other two were doing with the doors.

Trebbelos could hear nothing behind his door, but neither could he open it. It was securely locked, and the metal construction looked as though it would resist their best efforts to break it open.
Pendora was having better luck though - all quiet behind this one, and it was unlocked!
The door opened to reveal a short corridor leading to an ascending flight of stairs.
Making their way to the top of the steps, their luck held, as the door facing them was also unlocked. Opening it an peering inside, they could only see an empty room with no further exits.
Deciding to enter the room to have a thorough look inside, the group were shocked when a howling Wight materialised in the room!
The immaterial creature aimed a vicious swipe at Trebbelos, who managed to dodge the blow while Krago tried to cleave its legs away with a swing of his axe - only to see the blade pass harmlessly through the apparitions appendiges.
Pendora raised her holy symbol before her and cried "Begone Foul Beast!" as she attempted to 'turn' the undead being. The Wight dissipated with a shrieking howl as it returned to the plane from which it had appeared. "Praise be to Sigmar", the trembling cleric uttered (she needed an 11 on 2D6 for the success!) as she kissed the holy relic.

Beska was sure there was more to this room than met the eye, he was also more than a little reluctant to retrace their steps yet again, so he instructed the party  to check the walls - "Look for anything, a loose stone, a tiny opening.... anything"
His hunch proved right, and it was he who found a secret door cleverly built into the wall opposite to where they'd entered the room!
Once a loose stone was pushed inwards to provide a hand hold, the door slid open sideways to reveal another, identically sized chamber. This one DID have a normal door in the far wall, while both side walls were lined with sarcophagi.

Having a good look around revealed nothing more than that all of the interred remains bore the same family name.
The door was once again unlocked, but this time as it was carefully cracked open, the adventurers eyes were assailed by bright sunlight!
Relieved to feel the kiss of fresh air on their skin, they stepped out blinking against the brightness from the crypt they'd just been standing in
and found themselves in a HUGE graveyard!
To the West, they could hear the unmistakable sounds of a city, so set off along the well tended pathways............ totally unaware of the intense malicious  gaze that followed them!
As they approached the sound of civilisation, they could see that the entire cemetry was surrounded by a wall, so they headed towards the nearest gateway......
....before stepping out of the tranquility of the graveyard and into the bustle of the street - where two members of the watch were just passing!
Beska cleared his throat - "Excuse me sirs, my companions and I are lost, could you tell us where we are?"
"Hmmph, we can that., since you've just left the City of the Dead by this particular gate, you are just off Sammerin's Street and are on the intersection of the North and Trades Wards."
"But of WHERE, and are we anywhere near The Empire??"
"This is the city of Waterdeep sir, but I'm afraid I know of no inn or tavern by that name."
Beska thanked the watchmen and quickly motioned to his companions to follow him off down the street, leaving the City Watch to their 'business' before arousing any suspicion......... but how could anyone think "The Empire" was the name of a drinking establishment - just how far away from home are they??
And with that thought, Beska, Pendora, Trebbelos and Krago set off to find themselves a tavern after their recent exploits, where they could find food, drink, and hopefully find out where in the world they are!

Quite late with this post, but hobby related doings have been ticking along splendidly - just not really "post-worthy" before this point. I DID have a draft treatise on where I thought I was going with my choice of rules - but the good folks over on The Game Cupboard blog are to thank for a re-think on that one, and this AAR is the result.
Many thanks for visiting, and your comments or critiques are as welcome as ever.

Friday, 21 June 2019

Out Of The Frying Pan

Catherine Emberton had instinctively reached for the kitchen knife when she heard the approaching men's voices - being a Catholic and having a husband away fighting for the King gave plenty of people around here two good reasons to wish her harm.
She opened the door of her remote cottage with the improvised weapon concealed behind her back, and was somewhat relieved to see the red sash worn by Lieutenant Hargreaves which marked him, and presumably his party, as Royalists. It was immediately obvious that the group of men had been in some sort of fight and one in particular was bleeding badly from a wound in his side, so Catherine ushered them straight into the kitchen and set a pan of water to boil.
Dr Hugo instructed Lieutenant Hargreaves and John Hart (the uninjured musketeer) to clear the kitchen table and lay the injured man upon it, and after binding two stout pieces of kindling to his own injured leg, he set about examining Jeremiah Wright's wound.
Catherine fussed around the cottage, doing what she could for the men, but turning a deaf ear to their jabbering about "witches" and "demons", presuming it to be some form of hysteria induced by the horrors of battle - all the same, she wished they wouldn't keep uttering such things under her roof!

Things did not look good for poor Jeremiah - he had been mauled by one of the barghests and had lost a lot of blood. Hogo cleaned the gaping wound as best he could before covering it with the linen cloth offered by goodwife Emberton before turning to the Lieutenant to suggest sending for a barber-surgeon.

Unknown to the refugees in the cottage, the witches had searched the battlefield looking for the bodies of those responsible killing Old Mother Bankes pet hellhound, "Josh" (an action which is recounted here for those who need to catch up: The Attack On Arithdale ), to make sure their revenge was complete.
Old Mother Bankes recognised the gruesome remains of Captain Jessop, who had led the attack, but there was no sign of the apothecary who had accompanied him - and she had definitely seen him present on Skag Moor, leading the village idiots from All Hallows!
Determined to make sure no-one had got away unpunished, the witch set her remaining pet "Rogue" on the scent as she and Aggie Stone walked from the village outskirts back to the moor, and sure enough, he picked up a blood trail!!
Following the scent, Rogue led the witches (and three nocterlinger Aggie had instructed to follow them) to the cottage.
Aggie Stone took one of the nocterlinger  towards the rear of the building, while Old Mother Bankes ordered the remaining pair and Rogue to attack to front door.
Fortunately, Lieutenant Hargreaves raised the alarm when he espied their approach,
John Hart, his musket already primed, quickly lit his match in the kitchen fire and stepped outside, taking a quick shot at the slavering beast.
John just had time to see his shot miss the mark before the hellhound was upon him and he was knocked to the ground with his throat torn open.
Hugo fired his pistol through the front window and took down one of the nocterlinger, and Hargreaves fired through the side window towards Aggie and the other fiend but missed.
Rogue bounded through the open door and into the cottage, biting and tearing in a killing rage as Old Mother Bankes urged him on to avenge his "brother". The interior of the cottage resounded with the shouts of desperation, the screams of terror and finally, the silence of death.
The witches searched the cottage and confirmed that the plague doctor was dead and were now happy that Josh was avenged. The soldiers had obviously helped him to escape from the moor and had thus sealed their fate. As for the woman they found in the bedroom who had died clutching her previously oh-so-carefully hidden rosary, Aggie and Old Mother Bankes merely assumed that she was the owner of the cottage and probably related to one of the soldiers and therefore deserved her fate.
The bodies of the dead musketeer and nocterlinger were bundled into the building before it was set ablaze and the witches made their return to Ladygate, to rejoin the rest of the coven - just in time for their Litha celebrations.

A bit of a short, sharp, bloody action I'm afraid - the identity of  Catherine Emberton was decided by drawing up a list of ten possibilities and rolling a d10, the witches had a percentage chance of realising Doctor Hugo was missing from the moor and then a further percentage chance of tracking him. The actual skirmish was fought using Ganesha Games "Fear and Faith" rules.
Many thanks for reading, and as always your comments and questions are very welcome - I hope you have an enjoyable Summer Solstice, and don't get caught up in any of the mischief if you're in the vicinity of Ladygate!! 

Friday, 7 June 2019

After The Battle

The Vampyre ordered the persuit of the fleeing All Hallows survivors, instructing Delcroix to "harvest as many 'suitable' men as possible to replace the lost Nocterlinger" and then "infest" the village. Mikhail had been injured in the battle, and returned immediately to Fernbeck House to tend his wounds.
As evening set in, the Trayned Band and militia were no more - either dead or in chains being delivered to a fate worse than death at the hands of Doktor Nevrinkhoff
and as the unheard screams started in the dungeon below Fernbeck House, the plague rats were released in the streets of All Hallows. By morning, any remaining villagers will have succumbed to the zombie virus.
But wait!
Did I imply there were NO survivors?
When the route began, Lieutenant Hargreaves and one of his musketeers were helping a wounded colleague off the moor. They would certainly have been caught if it were not for Dr Hugo, who himself had sustained a leg injury and had taken up a position of hiding. Hugo called them over and the four of them hid as the persuit passed them by on its way to All Hallows.
Much later in the day, the small group emerged from their hiding place in an overgrown ditch, and knowing it would be unwise to return to the village, they set off towards the neighboring village of Harthill.
As they made slow progress along the road, it was a huge relief when they spotted a small cottage up ahead. Lt Hargreaves couldn't believe their luck when the door was opened by a goodwife -
they had found safety for the moment............. or had they????

To be continued.

When I posted the progress reports of Brad and his group in the zombie apocalypse along with the goings-on with Captain Jessop and the Trayned Band, I chose to follow up with the "Battle Of Skag Moor" because I thought it would be a simple encounter which would allow me to close that chapter of 'England Upturned' with a single AAR and move swiftly on to the zompocalypse.   Oops!
These things do have a habit of taking on a life of their own don't they?!
It was when I was considering the casualties from the battle (for campaign purposes, a mini removed from play isn't necessarily "dead" - he may simply be too injured to continue fighting) that I ended up with this little group of survivors, so of course, I just HAD to find out what happens to them!

Thanks for visiting, and if you're patiently waiting for news of Brad, Hannah and the rest of the group, I promise they'll be appearing here again soon.

Saturday, 25 May 2019

The Battle of Skag Moor

The following action takes place immediately after the events mentioned in the previous blog post.

The witches had followed the trayned band column back to All Hallows where they witnessed sentries being posted and a burial party detailed for the fallen musketeer before the rest were given permission to fall out and return to their homes and lodgings. Elsbeth Graves, Abigail Roseberg, Raven Winter, Hazel Knotley and Aggie Stone then took up positions around the village to watch for any comings and goings, while Old Mother Bankes, Violet, Bronwyn Pickering and Agatha Blackwood made their way to Skag Moor to await Mikhail's arrival.


The Vampyre's plan was simple - he would conceal the main part of his force in the woods behind Skag Hill, while Delcroix took the mercenaries forward to engage the sentries at All Hallows. Whichever "side" the village idiots were on in the accursed 'Civil War' currently afflicting the country, they would assume Delcroix's men were "the enemy" and muster the rest of the troops and engage them. Delcroix was then to lure them out of the village by carrying out a fighting withdrawal to Skag Hill, and the trap would be sprung!

Deployment.
The mercenaries (who have taken 2 casualties during the withdrawal) can be seen here on Skag Hill, with the Trayned Band (and village militia) hot on their heels and about to enter the table. Mikhail and Old Mother Bankes, Violet, Bronwyn and Agetha are behind the hill, with the nocterlinger in the woods to their right and barghests among the trees on their left.
Yes, I've "compressed" the salient features from the map onto a 3'x3' table and I've used to Aldi grass mat offcut with felt roads and river along with some 'bottle brush trees and pan scrubber marsh - Old Skool or what?? The sabot bases are new though, a cheap find on ebay that I've only just painted and textured, and ideal for using 'skirmish' minis in formed units.
Turn One.
The All Hallows company marched on in good order, and espying the enemy atop Skag Hill, Captain Jessop drew the men up from their column of march into line formation. Despite his best efforts, the good Doctor Hugo failed to curb the enthusiasm of the militia (the term "clubmen" didn't arise until later in the war), who disordered the left of the formation when they pushed through the musketeers, so keen were they to take a position at the front.
Convinced his opponent has simply taken an over confident stance on high ground, Jessop concidered his own disposition and was confident that the woods to his right, and the river Erewash to his left, with the marshy ground on its northern bank gave him secure enough flanks to proceed with the engagement.
Up on the hill, Delcroix gave the order to fire to the mercenaries under his command, but at this point they were intent on throwing insults and generally goading their opponents down on the road (which is probably why they failed their activation test - thus passing the turn back to the Trayned Band).
Turn Two.
Ignoring the shouting going on up on the hill, (which no-one could understand a word of....), both sleeves of shotte gave fire, cutting down several of the malignants, and the pike block began its advance. The village militia also regained some semblance of order and wheeled to face the enemy.
Upon receiving such a heavy salvo, the mercenaries wavered and were forced to retire (failed their morale test). Mikhail immediately stepped forward to bolster the men's courage - or remind them of the terms of their contract!.........
The witches made their way along the edge of the wood towards the riverbank and right flank........
.....and the barghests broke from cover and headed for the trees to the left of the enemy line. 
Turn Three.
With the hill vacated, Captain Jessop ordered a general advance along the whole line, but lieutenant Hargreaves had spotted the barghests and instructed his unit of shotte to wheel as they advanced and face this new threat.
With the mercenaries fighting spirit restored, Mikhail entered the wood to his left....
....and emerged in man-bat form on the far side! (What is it with vampires and their dramatic entrances?!)
The barghests abandoned their plan of a 'sneak attack' through the woods and charged directly at the musketeers who were now facing them.
Tooth and claw were met by mortuary swords and butt ends of muskets in a fierce struggle,
where casualties fell on both sides in even numbers, (two each), and the barghests were forced to retire.
The nocterlinger now shambled forward from the cover of the trees and climbed Skag Hill, while the witches took to their brooms and flew along the course of the river Erewash.
Turn Four.
With the barghests momentarily driven back, lieutenant Hargreaves ordered his men to give them a volley of shotte and was happy to see another of the beasts fall - their numbers were now much reduced (to half strength in fact)
The second unit of muskets also gave fire as Lieutenant Timpson ordered his men to engage the approaching horrors which had appeared on the hill. (The nocterlinger took their first two casualties, but thought nothing of it - I suppose being part zombie they never thought much of anything really! I'd decided they wouldn't be subject to any of the morale tests that "normal" units would take during the game.)
With the crash of musketry to either side and black powder smoke in his eyes and nostrils, captain Jessop led the pike block onto the hill slope - not realizing, or not caring that he had been led into a trap - the militia however, were no longer so keen on being in the front, and decided to hold their position! (failed activation)
Unfortunately, remaining below the crest of the hill, the militia never saw the witches approaching until it was too late - not that they could have done much about it anyway, but perchance it would have been less of a surprise. The airborne quartet lobbed down thunderbolt grenadoes into the hapless formation, causing seve casualties and forcing them to retire, wavering to the point Doctor Hugo was struggling to keep them on the field.
Over on the other side of Skag Hill, Mikhail stormed into the pike block. 
The vampyre's brutal attack and superhuman strength took down three of the pikemen, though he received a wound himself. The nocterlinger joined the fight, but with markedly less success - only causing a single casualty but taking four themselves. Failing to get past the 'point of pike', they fell back and regrouped (they'd also now lost half their number)
Turn Five.
With the militia wavering and pikes still locked in combat with the vampyre, it was down to the musketeers to try and resolve the battle.Hargreaves men finished off the barghests and Timpsons brave boys took down another nocterlinger.
The pikes however were unable to inflict any further damage to the vampyre, while he took down two more of their number, causing them to waver and fall back.
At this point, Mikhail was beginning to contemplate calling off the attack, but Delcroix had spotted Captain Jessop in the front rank of the pikemen, taking aim himself, he ordered a volley from the mercenaries. Mikhail charged the musketeers and the nocterlinger shambled down the hill slope and into the pike block.
From their aerial position, the witches could see the tide of battle turning and ignoring the militia, flew straight towards Timpson's musketeers - the only remaining 'whole' unit of the opposing force, and also the only threat to the witches themselves IF they managed to fire a salvo of muskets at them!
Turn Six.
This all out attack by Mikhails forces was too much for the All Hallows company. The witches grenadoes had inflicted three casualties and caused the musketeers to waver - despite desperate rallying calls from the officers and NCO's, the Trayned Band and accompanying survivors of the militia broke and fled.
Epilogue.
Mikhail had underestimated his foe, and though the fleeing survivors would be hunted down (which will be another story), he realised that not only must he recruit replacements for the days losses, but he would need more and better troops for the defence of Fernbeck House.
The Trayned Band had fought hard against the diabolic enemy, but its remnants were now scattered between Skag Moor and All Hallows. Captain Jessop needed to round up as many of the men as possible and hopefully save the remaining good folk of the village - to be continued.

For this company level game, I took these rules.......
...and added a splash of these for flavour......
.......and came up with Dragon's Lament   The Pikeman Rampant    something I've been wanting to try for quite a while and I'm pleased to say, it worked rather well and gave a thoroughly enjoyable game.
They share the same core mechanics I've previously talked about here :- The Pikeman's Lament AAR and here:- Dragon Rampant AAR, so I've pretty much stuck to the narrative of the battle.

Thanks for dropping by and thank you for reading. Sorry for some of the blurry photo's being even more blurry than the rest of them - sometimes it's hell being a front line journalist when you get caught up in the action!