Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Between AAR's

I did it again didn't I?   
When will I ever learn to STOP trying to predict what the next post will contain??
I said something along the lines of it being a 'celebratory' kinda thing to mark the passing of the blogs second birthday - well, it sort of fits the billing, especially if you're beginning to think we're turning Japanese here at TWA towers, because (drum roll) I've decided it's high time to revisit two of the other story lines and find out what's happening with Brad and his group in the zombie apocalypse, and where Old Mother Brookes flew off to from Arithdale in the England Upturned campaign.

I've mentioned before that there's no "script" for these story arcs, so whatever happens is as much of a surprise for myself as I can make it, but still making 'sense' instead of being a series of random encounters. I use "Mythic" and "Decision Trees" to help with the process, and if you missed it the first time, here's a link "Anatomy of a game" 

First off, let's see what's happening in the zompocalypse, where Brad and the gang had driven into the town of Lorenzo on a supply run that had gone terribly wrong. A sizeable horde of zombies had turned up, and there were some other survivors already looting the store. The group managed to rescue the guys from the store, but they'd simply run off without saying a word!
(a result of the ATZ:FFO "Meet & Greet")
After re-grouping, they decided to check out a small warehouse complex, where they ran into another group of survivors and yet more trouble from zeds! Luckily they beat off the undead (though not before losing Nate), and yet again the strangers ran off without a word!!
(exactly the same "Meet & Greet" result)
Grieving for the loss of their friend, and more than a little angry and confused by the other survivors actions, the group went on to secure the warehouse yard and buildings, which is where we left them here:~ "A Place To Lay Your Weary Head"

Caught up? Let's see what happens next then!
The first thing I did was to list all the reasons I could think off to explain the reason both of the other survivor groups acted the way they did, then rolled a dice to select which option. (No, I'm not revealing the list yet, I've kept it in case the group runs into another 'strange bunch')
With the motive for what had happened established, the next thing was to establish the rationale for what would follow, so again I drew up a shortlist of feasible options and then let the dice gods decide.
The result immediately gave me the next part of the campaign:-

Zac and Travis were up on the roof doing their guard shift when they heard the sound of a vehicle approaching. A brown UPS van pulled up outside the gate and two guys got out and unloaded a small pile of crates before the driver got back in and drove off. The other guy went around the side of the warehouse building and got in the yellow van parked there, fired it up, and drove off after the UPS van.
It all happened so quickly that the sound of the departing engines had disappeared before Travis managed to get down to the ground floor and report the incident to Brad.
Checking the coast was clear, the group examined the crates and found they contained dried and canned food - and a note.......
Back inside the warehouse, Brad gathered the group together to tell them about the note and decide what they were going to do next........
..... to be continued.

Now, the other story that I've been itching to revisit is that of Old Mother Bankes after her unexpected visit from Captain Jessop and the troops of the All Hallows trayned band at Arithdale. You can catch up here:- "An Ecounter At Arithdale"
Again, I've used Mythic and Decision Trees to find out what's happening, but this time I'll spare you the details!

Old Mother Bankes flew straight to the ancient "Nine Ladies" stone circle at Ladygate. Here, she convened a meeting of the members of the Ladygate Womens Institute coven (the witches have a spell which in an emergency, can instantly summon the coven to the circle), and told them what had happened - especially the part where they had shot poor Josh! Of course, she had no idea where the soldiers had come from.
It was quickly agreed that the rest of the witches should follow the soldiers while Mother Bankes reported occurrence to "His Lordship". 
Climbing aboard their brooms, the witches set off, and it wasn't long before Old Mother Bankes was re-telling her tale to the Vampyre Mikhail and his lady Milyena.
Mikhail was furious! He knew that the outbreak of civil war could present serious threats to his presence here and threaten the 'masquerade', but he thought he'd taken sufficient measures by enlisting the help of the witches, and by creating a ring of "ghost towns" around his estate to ward off any 'unwanted' visitors.
This incursion by a sizeable body of militia spelled trouble - especially if word of what they'd encountered at Arithdale were to spread.
He told Old Mother Bankes to find her companions and report back to him when they find the soldiers destination. Turning to Milyena, he told her to summon Delcroix, and inform him he had need of his servives and to ready the Nocterlinger.

So there, dear reader, we have it. A bit of a departure from my "normal" posts and no AAr's I'm afraid, but the campaigns STILL progress and if you're still with me at this point, many thanks for your time and as always your comments, queries or questions are most welcome.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Night Attack.

The hour of the ox.
A lone samurai stands guard outside the compound gate belonging to lord Toji, unaware of the mortal danger posed by the unseen shadow approaching silently along the wall behind him.
Within seconds the samurai lies dead, and after slipping the garrotte into a concealed pocket, the assassin signals to his companions who emerge from the shadows to join him at the gate.
Slowly and oh so quietly, the gate is opened and the lead members of the group enter the small compound,
the tired samurai guarding the front of the main house fails to spot the movement in the shadows, and falls to the ground after being hit in the neck by a deadly and rapidly acting poisoned dart!
Everything is going to plan as the ninja now split into two groups to launch simultaneous attacks on the barracks and main house - their target and his immediate advisors will die this night.
Lord Toji however has been warned of the attack and is fully awake and prepared!
As the doors slide open, Shoda Kizaemon (a senior advisor and sword master) and Azumi Yasoma leap forward with flashing blades into the startled would be murderers -
while over in the barracks, the two shinobi expecting to find a couple of sleeping guards are also shocked to find three fully awake and fully armed samurai warriors ready and waiting for them!
The fighting is fast and bloody, Shoda Kizaemon and two of the samurai guards are cut down, but all five ninja also lie dead.
After the attack, Azumi and the surviving samurai remain with Lord Toji to await the first rays of the morning sun, when they must go and pay their debt of gratitude earned this night.

A little scenario I've played through today as part of the campaign story line, and a token of compensation since I'm going to miss the blog's anniversary.
I'll be away tomorrow and won't get home until Friday, so apologies in advance for my late replies to any comments or queries. The gigs came in at short notice, and have kinda messed up my plans for a "celebratory" post, so I'll make sure I do a belated one asap!
Oh yes, you may have noticed that I've tidied up the blog labels (as previously mentioned, the format was driving me up the wall!), and Blade Runner, England Upturned, Sengoku Jidai, The Dark Conspiracy and Zombie Apocalypse now take you to the respective narrative campaigns - which is where I hope to be focusing from here on, with far less Blether and Painting & Modelling!

Thursday, 9 May 2019

The last of the Sengoku fantasy minis.......

..... for now!
Yep, I've reached that happy/sad point where I've painted ALL of my accumulated mythical beings for my Sengoku era fantasy setting - happy because it's always satisfying to clear a painting queue, but sad because there's still gaps to be filled (though of course the challenge of filling those gaps will bring its own rewards)

I've already shown the Tengu minis from the Forbidden Fortress boxed game, but to join them here's the Dai Tengu from Zenit miniatures - a multi-part model, after priming and base coating him I unfortunately knocked him off the paint table! His left hand, head and wings were broken off in the fall but the repair job is acceptable for "tabletop standard"!!
This female ninja just HAS to be the worst Reaper Bones mini in my possession - I dunno if she's an old sculpt, but the proportions (especially her head) are just too 'spindly'. That aside, she's a welcome addition to the ninja collection.
These Reaper Bones "Turtle Men" have been pressed into service as Kappa, and in my minds eye fit the bill - they're a bit chunkier and more ferocious looking than some traditional images, but hey, whose fantasy world is this anyway??
The last of the "Creature Collection" are this pair of Reaper Bones Kitsune - again a slight deviation from some traditional images, but perfect for how I see them for my campaign in their fox form.
So, no more mythical beasts for the time being, but it nagged me that apart from the 4 heroes in the Forbidden Fortress set, I only had 'historical' minis in my human population -  what about a pair of 'High Fantasy' heroes?
Reaper to the rescue again with this onna bugeisha and samurai!
The customary group shot to finish and show size comparison, with the crafty male kitsune and stealthy female ninja hiding in the trees!

Thanks once again for dropping by, and for anyone wondering when the next AAR is due - now the painting's on pause, SURELY the gaming can resume!

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Sengoku era fantasy additions.

Precious little hobby time these last few weeks, so alas, still no AAR. Thank goodness my painting setup allows me to grab a few minutes whenever possible, which has allowed me to at least have a few minis to form a blog post!
First up is the Reaper Bones Oni.
His size and wide stance meant he had to be mounted on a large base, but this is OK  since "in game" he will take multiple 'kills' to actually remove him from play and the base allowed me to incorporate a "wound tracker".
Next are a pair of Dixon Miniatures Dai Bakemono to lead the rank-and-file goblinoids into battle. The larger figure on the right is an actual Dai Bakemono, and I copied the skin tone for the smaller 'regular' Bakemono (as well as giving both of them more colourful armour) to distinguish him from the green skinned riff raff!
I believe this is an old Citadel Miniatures sculpt (please correct me if I'm wrong), and he now represents the necromancer in the Bakemono clan.
Of course, having a necromancer is no good unless there are some corpses for him to raise - these are additions to the "Dishonoured Dead" skeletal samurai (the plastic minis I got with the Forbidden Fortress game).
They're metal castings sold in pairs by Second City Games via ebay, but I have no idea what range they're from - if you know, could you please enlighten me via the comments section PLEASE 
Finally, yet another "unknown manufacturer" (though I suspect it might be from Zenit Miniatures), again, if you recognise him I'd love to know where he's from.
He's quite large compared to the rest of my 28mm collection, but he fits nicely as a typical 'larger than life' character typical of Japanese myth and folk tales.
While wielding the brush, I envisioned him as a mysterious traveller - possibly a travelling warrior monk, but whose side will he be on????
 To close, here's a group shot of the new additions, which shows their different sizes.
All that's left for this post is to thank you once again for visiting, and invite your comments, questions and critiques, which are always welcome.
I must also mention that with the blog's anniversary fast approaching, I'm intending making a few changes - nothing drastic, but hopefully a few tweaks and improvements which I've been meaning to do for some time.

Saturday, 13 April 2019

A mixed bag.

Still no "Forbidden Fortress" game report I'm afraid, but here's a quick round up of what I have managed hobby-wise since the last post!
First off, here's a contingent of the Ii clan on the march to support their allies the Takeda (you may remember that the Takeda clan were having a tough time of it in the Test Of Honour clashes with the Mori clan).
The Ii were well known for their red armour - intended to intimidate their opponents, but also making the ideal subject for what's been a 'speed painting' exercise!!
The trees they're marching past are also a new addition. I'd seen someone using cheap trees from China and thought I'd give them a try, basing them up on mdf scatter bases I had to hand. At £5.85 including postage for TEN trees I think they're an absolute bargain.

Now, talking of speed painting, I've acquired a few minis from Greenbriar Games "Folklore: The Affliction" game, and two ghostly types only needed a prime and a wash to make them 'table ready'.
I thought this one would make a pretty good Yūrei (Japanese ghost) for my Sengoku era fantasy setting.......
 .... and this one provides me with a Banshee that will be useful for Witchfinder General (or even D&D)

I'm going to stray from gaming now, and mention my "other hobby", which has taken very much a back seat since I succumbed to the siren call of the Dice Gods once more.
Because of the dry sunny weather and time of year, my services have been required out in the garden, and oh dear, my narrow gauge model railway is showing severe signs of neglect!
It puts me in mind of the state of the Tallyllyn when it was 'discovered' after years of closure by Tom Rolt (sparking the whole concept of Railway Preservation), and even though it's not been touched in months I thought it looked kind of photogenic.
 I might have to re-visit these scenes once the line's back in running order,
 or maybe I'll try and photograph the "volounteers" as they set about restoring the railway!!

And that's about it for this post, other than to thank you for visiting, and inviting your comments which as ever would be most welcome.

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Sohei, Bakemono and Yurei.

Steady progress on the painting desk since the last post, with more additions to the oriental collection.

Someone's in trouble - the Sohei, or Buddhist warrior monks are armed and making their way down from the temple! These are AW Miniatures, led by Masahiro from the Warlord Games "Masked Men" box set for Test Of Honour.

A Bakemono (goblin) warband led by a large Dai-Bakemono on a village raid - could these be the reason the Sohei are on the march? The Bakemono are by Dixon Miniatures and I believe the leader is on old Oni from Citadel Miniatures (please correct me if I'm wrong).
Before anyone says "Bakemono aren't green", this warband has been put together to try and tempt an opponent into a game - he's previously only played Warhammer, so I thought greenskins would help win him over!

The spirits of the Yurei (ghosts) have risen from their graves - a portent of things to come? These are "Chinese Ghosts" from Black Hat Miniatures old Tales of the Dragon Kings range, but fit the bill in my humble opinion.


It's been a very busy week non-hobby wise but I've managed to acquire a new van, transfer the "mod cons" (carpet, bed, sink and cooker) and sell on the old van to its new owner! The process took about three weeks last time, so I'm well chuffed!!
Many thanks once again for visiting, the samurai bias is set to continue for a while yet, but I'm feeling the urge to visit one of the other projects by way of a short break / diversion so if "Nippon" isn't your thing just hang in there!
Your comments, criticism or questions are most welcome - especially if you can help me identify the leader of the bakemono gang. I really should have looked at the bottom of his base before gluing him to that circle of mdf and painting him!!!

Monday, 18 March 2019

Here Be (the) Monsters

of The Forbidden Fortress core set.

Despite it being "Birthday Week" - my own and the financial dictator's are six days apart, so we have an extended annual bash, it's also been fairly busy work-wise, but thankfully I've still managed to get the beasties for Forbidden Fortress painted up and ready to use.

First up are the Acidic Tentacles. These belong to a huge beast that lives beneath the floor of the fortress and are capable of bursting up to attack the heroes at any time!
 Next are the Dishonoured Dead - the skeletal remains of the fortresses mortal defenders who fell foul of The Darkness, and now reanimated to serve a new, foul, master.
The Tengu are the first of the truly "mono pose" mini's. That minor gripe aside, I do like these creatures and their ability to fly over any obstacles in the fortress will probably make them a dangerous foe!
More mono pose, this time in the shape of three large Oni, evil demons now serving The Darkness.
The largest of the horrors that the heroes will face from the core set is the Living Statue,
while one of the smallest (yet possibly most dangerous) is the ghostly Harionago, levitating while her long barbed hair weaves about her, ready to impale any of the heroes who might get too close!

As with the heroes, I've painted all the bases plain black as per the illustrations in the painting guide, but intend re-visiting them as soon as I come up with a plan that will make them look OK on both the game tiles and the table top.
Short and sweet progress report, but a post is a post. As ever, many thanks for dropping by and any C&C's are more than welcome in the comments section.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Heroes of the Forbidden Fortress

There has been no contact from a local fortress belonging to an allied samurai clan. Fearing the worst, Matsushita Akitane has sent one of his most loyal warriors to discover the fate of their brothers in arms.
The samurai Kawamura Naotomo departs on his mission -
At the same time, the head of the local monastery despatched sohei Hashiba Aritame to discover why a group of monks had not returned from the same fortress -
That night, the shinobi Sanjou Joko has been sent by the head of her clan to discover what has happened at the fortress to delay the routine report from their spy -
and the following morning, shugenja Azai Komako is traveling to the fortress in search of her master, who was due back from there two days ago, the old wizard is so punctual that she just knows something is wrong!

The four heroes from the box set are painted and on their way to the Forbidden Fortress. Their bases are plain black at the moment which is fine for use with the floor tiles, but the plan is to use them for table top games as well so I need to texture them in some way that they'll be compatible for both.
The "monsters" are on the bench and progressing through the paint queue, and the sharp eyed among you will have noticed some additions to the oriental terrain collection.

Many thanks for reading, and your comments,critiques and questions are more than welcome - no predictions about the next post (I'm still convinced my blog is under a curse!), but I'd like to get the monsters finished so that I can play my first game, and of course clear the bench to crack on with other projects.

Thursday, 28 February 2019


It might be the shortest month of the year, but this one's been a real drag and I'm glad to see the back of it!!
Complete days have been wasted because bankers and solicitors have had me jumping through hoops, and on top of that we've had yet more problems with our van - today's trip to the mechanics will probably be its last since we're now actively looking for a replacement. Thankfully it's not all bad news, but the arrival of a new kitten has also impacted on my hobby time due to the "man cave" being used to store all the 'stuff' that wasn't deemed to be kitten friendly (and according to Mrs G, that's a LOT of stuff!!)
Anyhow, the lesson I've learned from the experience is to give up making predictions about what and when specific topics will be appearing here on the blog - it seems that every time I do, something crops up to scupper my plans....... cause and effect?!?!

Anyhow, first off you'd better say hello to our new addition "Arwen"

and here (finally) are the photo's Ivor requested all those weeks ago! (I've only included a few, otherwise it would be a bit of a spoiler for the game reports).........
....all adventures in Forbidden Fortress start on the entrance tile (I've positioned a couple of Reaper Bones minis for scale)
 The gaming area is created by drawing cards from the map deck,
 which contains corridors like these examples,
 and rooms like these,
 as well as other features like this one,
 and here's its corresponding tile.
 The artwork on all of the tiles is equally impressive, and all of them are double-sided, printed on good quality card.

So, "Farewell February" and March is already looking better - 'retail therapy' (as well as a meet-up with fellow blogger Vagabond) at the Hammerhead show in Newark is this Saturday!