Wednesday, 27 April 2016

The Shadows Return: Game 5


By this point all 8 players had played one game. Rather than launch straight into the next round of games without really giving things much shape, I had something particular in mind for James, our Undead player who had suffered so badly in the first round. His next game represented an opportunity to get his campaign back on track (albeit a slightly different track) and would be against an NPC army controlled by Peter Spiller in a cameo appearance.


Game 5: Hail to the King


Norbert gasped and wheezed as he stumbled through the seemingly endless swamps. He had been fleeing for hours, and could no longer hear the sounds of the Chaos worshippers’ pursuit. His old and frail body would have long since failed him however, half-dead as it was, he had been able to make some use of his necromantic magic to keep himself moving. This was unsustainable, though; the more he pressed on using his deathly powers, the more he could feel his remaining life essence wavering.  Eventually he sagged to a halt against a rotten tree trunk, his legs half-submerged in the foetid water around him. Surely he was safe enough now.

“Well that was humiliating.” The voice seemed to come out of nowhere, shattering the relative quiet of the fens. Norbert scrambled about in the mud to discover that he was not nearly as alone as he had imagined. Sitting nearby on a old tree stump was a figure wrapped from head to toe in dark, ragged robes. He held a crude wooden staff in a twisted, taloned hand that was a sickly grey colour. Norbert could make out nothing of his face within the darkness of his hood.

The new arrival didn't bother waiting for him to respond, “I had thought you mistress to be a useful ally, but it seems I was mistaken. No doubt I am wasting my time with you also.” He leaned forward slightly as he spoke, the tattered fringes of his cowl swaying as his words dripped with contempt.

“Who are you?” Norbert managed to gasp. He considered reaching for his concealed dagger, but something told him that such a move would be of little use and only incur greater mockery from this new tormentor.

“It doesn't matter who I am. All that matters is who I represent, and you have not proven yourself worthy of that much information,” sneered the hooded creature. “I was sent to invite your mistress to this island, but the minute she arrived, she got herself killed!” He shook his head reprovingly. “Clearly my master overestimated her. I thought Vampires were made of sterner stuff.”

Norbert considered his options. He was currently lost, alone on an island he knew next to nothing about. He needed allies – ones who knew more about Albion than he did. He had no intention of serving anyone, but perhaps this condescending stranger had something useful to offer. “Perhaps I might be of some assistance,” he offered, rising slowly to his feet and ignoring the way his ancient body protested and the mud and swamp water streamed from his own tattered robes. “I am not a Vampire, but I have resources of my own.”

The stranger laughed briefly – a shrill bark of a laugh that immediately brought to mind some of the mad hermits Norbert had encountered during his travels. “You mean your petty magicks?” the mockery had not changed a jot, “What use would my master have for a necromancer? And one with no army of the dead at his back?”

Norbert ignored the stranger’s tone. “A true master of the necromantic arts has no need to travel with an army,” he explained with exaggerated patience. “He can find a willing army wherever he goes.”

Skeletal hands burst forth from the brackish water around the strangers feet, seizing his ankles and clawing at his robes. All around him the swamps were suddenly shifting and heaving as long-dead corpses dragged themselves from the muck. This stranger was a fool if he thought Norbert would have collapsed in a place where he could not defend himself. He could feel the weight of the dead underfoot. This place had seen its share of death and misery.

The stranger gave a quick shriek that may have been either alarm or his crazed laughter as he swept his staff about in front of his feet. Dark fire blazed in its path, and the skeletons that had looked to drag him down were shattered in a splinter of bone. Another sweep of the staff sent out a wave of fire in all directions, tearing through the undead that had started to emerge from the waters and blasting them back down from whence they came. 

Norbert raised a hand to shrug aside the fire as it swept toward him, and continued his own spell to summon more of the long-dead warriors that slumbered fit fully beneath the fens. 

“Enough!” shouted the stranger suddenly. The tone was a dismissive command, but there was something of a threat underneath it, and it gave Norbert some pause. He was, after all, only try to get this dark emissary’s attention. He needed his assistance for now, and needed to show that he might have something to offer in return. The undead all around halted their advance and waited silently upon the will of their master.

The hooded stranger leaned upon his staff and looked straight at Norbert, ignoring the enemies all about him. “Your feeble dead things are no real threat to my master’s enemies, but perhaps you might be of some use, if your skills are up to the challenge. Not too distant from here lie the burial grounds of a once mighty army. An entire legion of Wights rest there, waiting for one with the will to claim them. Take control of these, and you will have a force worthy of my master’s attention.”

Norbert smiled slightly. This was precisely the sort of local knowledge that he lacked. An army of Wights should not prove too difficult for him to control, and once he had them he would indeed be a force to be reckoned with. Then he could deal with the stranger’s insolence in an appropriate fashion.

He could not see the stranger’s wicked smirk, hidden in the shadows of his cowl.

Some painting progress

My Ostland Elector Count model is finished!

This is a relief, because I almost failed to get him done within the April window for the "Empire model per month" challenge. You know you're not doing very well when getting a single model painted in an entire month is proving difficult. I blame distractions and things.
Valmir von Raukov, Elector Count of Ostland

Thursday, 21 April 2016

The Shadows Return: Game 4


Whilst the Lizardmen intercepted part of the advancing Dark Elf force, the High Elves were tasked with stopping the remainder. This battle was another Meeting Engagement, fought between Nick Gentile's High Elves and Tim Stewart's Witch Elves Dark Elves (there are totally some models that are not Witch Elves in there somewhere)...

If you didn't see it already, an introduction for this game is included here.

As I was busy playing on another table, Owen scribed for this game and took photos with his phone. I have included his original notes at the bottom, as they are always amusing. And mostly nonsensical. But what can you do?

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Slow and not quite steady

Recently I've found that my efforts to try to write up all the Albion campaign reports and think about what happens next has been absorbing the majority of my hobby energy. It would arguably be too much of my energy, except that the campaign is actually important; the club has recently been light on numbers and there have been very few people playing miniature games. Things have really dropped off since the Christmas break. The campaign helps give some drive in that direction - it brings people along, and ensures they actually bring an army and play a game, rather than going for an easier option like a card game or just sitting around chatting. It's not large enough to have a huge impact on numbers, but it helps point things in the right direction.

Anyway, before the campaign really got rolling (in more of a hurry than I might have intended, largely in response to the needs of the club), I had started painting another model for this "model a month" thing I had signed up for. Unfortunately this model has now sat partially painted for several weeks...
Valmir von Raukov, Elector Count of Ostland. In all his half-painted glory.

Monday, 18 April 2016

The Shadows Return: Game 3

After 2 games on the first weekend, there were still 4 of us who had not played. On the second weekend the remaining 4 players faced off. Rather than make every game a wacky scenario, we decided that both of those games would be Meeting Engagements as the High Elves and Lizardmen moved to intercept the Dark Elves, who had already landed on Albion and were on the march.

This game was between my Dark Elves and Nick Hoen's Lizardmen. An introduction for this game was included here.

Game 3: The Sorceress and the Frog

The great Slann Qur-myt surveyed the field with heavy-lidded eyes as his palanquin drifted to a halt behind his own lines. Ranks of nimble Skink warriors were rapidly assembling before him, moving to respond to the Dark Elf formations that had emerged from the misty rain on the far side of the field. He had commanded that the army travel in silence as they attempted to ambush their prey, however Qur-myt knew that the Dark Elf Sorceress had felt his presence upon the Winds of Magic and alerted her allies.  

It was always thus. He was both on the battlefield, and he was not. His consciousness rode the Winds of Magic like a master sailor, roaming where it willed and observing much. It could be a great advantage, but it made his presence difficult to hide from others with the skill to detect it. The Skink attendant on the arm of his palanquin sighed, but the sigh was not his own. It was Qur-myt’s sigh. The Skink did everything for him. Qur-myt was busy being barely-there. He was also a bit lazy. Flying lounge chairs did that to you.

The ground shook slightly as the monstrous dinosaurs that served the Lizardmen were goaded into position by their Skink drivers. Closest to Qur-myt was the great Skink hero, Ivyl-knivyl. Ivyl-knivyl was brave. He was daring. There was nothing he would not ride over with his 20,000lb Stegadon. Many things were flatter than they once had been as a result of Ivyl-knivyl’s fearless driving – enemies, trees, ancient irreplaceable relics in the temple city of Tlaxtlan – nothing was safe from the daring of Ivyl-knivyl. 
Ivyl-knivyl flattens some trees as he carelessly drives his Stegadon into position.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

The Shadows Return: Intro Part 2

There are actually 8 players involved in the campaign, and only half of them were mentioned in my first introduction (and then seen in Games 1 and 2). The other half of the players took part in Games 3 and 4, so here is an introduction for them...

Kathain Stormbrow glared up at the sky from beneath his heavy eyebrows and suppressed a sigh. Druchii generals did not sigh. They sneered. They scowled. They glared daggers at things, often whilst waving actual daggers at those things. Kathain was a cold-hearted, savage killer. But this weather was just plain depressing. It had started raining as they approached the island half a day earlier, and it had not stopped since. Kathain had the sneaking suspicion that it actually never stopped raining on Albion. He shifted uncomfortably in his soggy saddle as his Cold One plodded slowly across the swampy terrain. Behind him trudged his silent, sullen, sodden army. 
The sword is an accessory. Kathain's main weapon is clubbing people to death with his eyebrows.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

The Shadows Return: Game 2

At the same time as Game 1 was taking place, Game 2 was being played on a nearby table. In order to prevent her Empire "allies" from being summarily crushed by a vastly superior Chaos force, the Vampire had moved to the rear of the Chaos advance and ambushed it using what resources she could dredge from the rotting swamps around her.

This game was fought using another scenario we threw together for the occasion: Ambush!

As I was largely distracted by the other game, Owen generously offered to write up a rough account of what happened from the perspective of his Chaos army. Don't say I never did anything to you. Umm, I mean for you. Obviously...

Game 2: The Battle of Briny Bog

Lord Scroltch the Deliriously Pustulent wriggled happily and squelched the delightful mud between his tentacles. Lord Nurgle had recently seen fit to reward him by transforming him into a giant mutated octopus beast of revolting aspect with a really amazing collection of skin diseases, and then sent him to this delightfully muddy island which smelled of mold and rot with a piquant hint of week-old fish. About him gamboled his finest followers, great bloated and diseased knights mounted astride some really quite startlingly handsome slugs and giant flies. The slugs clearly enjoyed this new environment, and he could hear them purring like great self-satisfied pustulent cats. All about him his warriors and marauders cavorted with the sheer joy of such a vile smelling place. One of them had even started to make a mud castle. Really, this was quite the best holiday he’d had in years. Or it would’ve been if not for that distressingly offensive Kragan, the Destroyer.
Lord Scroltch. Who only got a game because Owen forgot the proper model of Chaos Lord on unsightly large toad. I like this guy better.