Wednesday 30 October 2013

Mum-Ho-Thep and the Floating Ziggurat of Doom. The WFB3e scenario for Blog-Con 2013.

Below is the narrative and scenario details for the Warhammer 3rd edition table at Blog-Con 2013. Not only that, this is my 100th post! Woot!

Mum-Ho-Thep and the Floating Ziggurat of Doom. Blog-Con 2013 (9th of November).

The Ziggurat glided silently onward to the next locus point of Mum-Ho-Thep’s scattered realm. It looked as though beams of pure magic had carved it away from a more natural resting place. The living rock, from which the main temple itself had been carved in a distant era, was tortured and twisted. A lone Skeleton sentry stood, immobile, staring out towards the horizon. It would easily be mistaken for a statue, were it not for the tattered rags flapping about the shoulders. The skull turned very slightly, almost imperceptibly. It looked out to the north where a smudge had appeared at the edge of perception. Was it a cloud bank? Fog? What was that rising from it, a wisp of smoke? No. It was a banner. The smudge was an army and it was closing fast! As soon as the mindless automaton had seen the forces of Chaos the image was transmitted to the Liche, Korvun. He had been poring over an ancient map that depicted this place as it would have been 4000 years ago but now he looked up from his chart table and sent out an urgent thought to his minions. “Prepare the ritual, activate the Array, summon the Guardians! We must awaken the Master and crush these interlopers!”

Inside his sarcophagus, Mum-Ho-Thep began to stir for the first time in centuries…

The Floating Ziggurat of Mum-Ho-Thep is an ancient Slann device, an engine of great power that resides atop a prehistoric temple. Nobody remembers now what the device was intended for but at some point it was captured from the Old Ones by the immeasurably old and powerful human sorcerer, Mum-Ho-Thep. Those rare books that mention him at all say that he was born into an age of stone with the ability to see and manipulate the winds of magic when most of his peers had little more than fire, flint and spear to wield. He was able to command mighty spells many centuries before the Elves deigned to teach magic to mankind leading some scholars to compare him to the terrible Drachenfels himself. He is said to have led a rebellion against the Slann and wrested control of the temple in a bitter struggle, magic flashing in the sky and men and Slann alike falling dead without a mark on them. Once inside and in control of the temple, Mum-Ho-Thep activated the Array which caused the earth itself to buck and heave as the temple was torn from the land and the Floating Ziggurat was created. At first, Mum-Ho-Thep was able to guide his new fortress anywhere he wished, as well as gliding sedately across the face of the world the Array allowed the entire structure to disappear and reappear anywhere on the planet, but as the millennia passed he took to spending more and more time in his regenerating sarcophagus while the operation of the Array became a lost art to his servants. As his living army dwindled to be replaced by skeletal warriors by necromantic means the Ziggurat settled into a pattern of visiting a set number of previous destinations, the loci. Now, the Ziggurat wanders along this route over and over. It floats for miles before winking out of existence and reappearing at the next locus point to continue the journey. This route is the realm of Mum-Ho-Thep, those who live along it see him as a benevolent God-King and offer up tribute at his passing. There are always those who try to expand their borders into this realm but eventually, the Ziggurat returns and the Undead armies of Mum-Ho-Thep take a cruel revenge on the usurpers, often with the aid of local forces who have worshiped their God-King for generations.

Mum-Ho-Thep, the Undying! (wip)

Read Part One of the Battle Report.

What you need to bring if you're joining in on Saturday the 9th of November.

First off, let me distinguish between the two groups of people taking part. Many people have expressed an interest in stopping by the Warhammer 3rd edition table to say hi and roll a few dice, you will be made very welcome and as casual participants none of the following need apply to you.

For those hardcore retro-gamers out there who are bringing miniatures along and will be staying to play the entire game on the Saturday (and coming out for a post game beer afterwards hopefully!), listen in. I have based the scenario around Orlygg's Chaos army clashing against a mish-mash force of Mum-Ho-Thep's servants and allies. I know several of those attending will be bringing some Undead, and these will form the core of Mum-Ho-Thep's army while any Chaos stuff you guys bring can ally with either side as appropriate. Extras like Lenihan/Robotforaday's Fimir will be added to Mum-Ho-Thep's force too. I will have a mixture of metal and plastic Undead as well as a few Chaos units to help balance out either side if necessary. Whatever minis you want to bring can be fitted in and will be very welcome indeed.

To speed things up on the day it would be a very good idea indeed to have an aide memoire sheet with all your stats/rules on one page, a number of movement trays, a tape measure and don't forget to bring a handful of dice! Orlygg and I provided all this for the RoC game at the BOYL weekend but with so many people sharing it all the game was slowed down quite a bit.

If there are any questions at all, just contact me in your preferred way and I will get back to you asap.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday 25 October 2013

The Night of the Living Lead.

Here is the background fluff for the Night of the Living Lead which is a coordinated series of fantasy games happening across the UK. Let me know if any of our continental or Stateside cousins join in too! It is all taking place as near to Halloween as possible.

‘Cabal of the Necromancers’ AKA ‘Night of the Living Lead’.

In every corner of every land of men, Dwarves and Elves there is always to be found a peculiar breed of fellow who feels his work is just too important to be left unfinished. Some are great Kings, others are lowly Scholars, but most have some link to the world of magic. When their time comes and their memory starts to fade and their hands shake with palsy and their eyes cloud they all face the same choice; fail quietly and die unmourned or try to cheat Death of his due. Life is full of temptation and never more so than at the very end, for who could resist the lure of youthful vigour restored? What could a man achieve with his powers if at the height of his wisdom and knowledge he also had the strength of his prime returned to him? Here, at the end of the journey a man may face his greatest tests, and his greatest peril. The Dark Gods watch him, their Daemons shadow him and perhaps worst of all his own nightmares may drive him towards the forbidden tomes of one whose name is forever cursed.


Nagash, the very name conjures an image of lamentation and despair. He was the first, the one who broke the covenant with his Gods and sacrificed all in his pursuit of power and eternal life. All those who follow his path come to be known by the same cursed epithet he bore: Necromancer.

By their nature, Necromancers are selfish creatures and self-absorbed. They cannot bear slavery to the pantheon of Chaos even though it may mean an easy route to the power and immortality they crave so bitterly. They are men and women who set themselves apart from all others, they take what they desire and manufacture it out of the raw stuff of magic where it does not lie awaiting to be possessed already. They rely on no-one because they trust no-one.

And yet, there are tales. There are stories, mere rumours, whispers even, of a secret society of Necromancers. An underground brotherhood of the twisted and evil. An order of the night, an axis of vile intent. This ‘Cabal’ welcomes only a select few, those who are not only able bear sharing their hard-won secrets but whose terrible genius can serve the nefarious purposes of the collective.

Not only is the Cabal all too real, but it stands upon the brink of completing a great work. As the stars, moons and planets align and the spirits walk the earth of their own accord and the restless dead stir uneasily in their graves a mighty spell will be unleashed on the lands of the living. It relies upon the perfect concert of effort by Necromancers in all parts of the world, only combined can they approach the might of Nagash, and in that one moment of perfect union they will re-enact the terrible Doom of Nehekara itself! Such a spell would kill every living creature for thousands of square miles and turn them into unthinking Zombie slaves. The worlds of Men, Dwarves and Elves would be at an end!

Only a select few know this secret, a pitiful few. All who do know this awful truth are enemies of the Necromancers this night, for what is Chaos without mortals to corrupt? What is a Vampire without cattle to feed upon? Those who understand must gather their forces and seek out those of the Cabal that can be uncovered in time in the hope that by killing enough of them the mighty spell will unravel and fail.

Now YOU know this horrible secret too, will YOU have the courage to lead your army against the Cabal of the Necromancers? Only time will reveal our destiny!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday 20 October 2013

Brothers in (Four) Arms: AKA Fifteen Raking Claw-Gouges on a Dead Man's Chest. (Part Two).

Missed part one?

Previously on Brothers in (Four) Arms: AKA Fifteen Raking Claw-Gouges on a Dead Man's Chest....

Space-Pirate Captain 'Bloody' Sam Reade has gone to the surface of Pelegosto Prime to search for his missing brother-in-law, Black Bill, at the behest of his beautiful Space-Pirate wife (and his harridan of a mother-in-law). Reade discovers the planet has been overrun by a Genestealer Cult that is holding Bill prisoner and resolves to enact a heroic rescue. He sets up a fire base in the shanty town jail while a team of his cutthroats infiltrate the castle and his first mate provides a bloody distraction. All seems in vain though as Cult reinforcements pour out of the castle gates...

The pirate infiltration team sneaks into the truck, the leader takes the driver's seat and the rest get in the back. Despite the click of the doors and the creaking suspension, the Brethren reinforcements spare the truck no more than a glance as they hurry towards the gunfire at the jail!

Leaving the fire-base unit with orders to hold out and shoot to kill, Reade and Mento follow the route the infiltration team took through the strange, alien flora while the reserve pirate squad provides a screen.

Things are hotting up for the rooftop fire-base team, one of their number is caught by a lucky shot from the Brethren and they scramble for cover. They recover in time to strafe the militia surrounding them.

Reade's screening team enable him to move through the foliage unnoticed.

Suddenly, the pirate screen is ambushed! They hurriedly dive into cover and return fire as best they can. At least this takes some of the pressure off the fire-base squad.

The Brethren reinforcements are drawn towards the fresh firefight and the screening team looks to be in serious trouble. The noise of the shoot-out echoes loudly down the tunnel entrance...

All this time the infiltrators have laid low, not daring to make a sound. They eventually vox Reade to report in and request permission to use the truck to ram the castle gates!

Reade likes the plan, but orders them to wait for him and Mento. Goodness knows what is holed up in the castle, it could be useful to have a psyker around!

The screening team get pinned down and start to take casualties. 

As soon as the first Brethren squad stopped supporting the attack on the jail, the rooftop fire-base team pulled themselves together and managed to frighten off the militia with their superior firepower. They now have no targets and settle down onto overwatch as they listen to the firefight on the south side.

Just as things seem clear for the infiltrator unit who are waiting for Reade to catch up, disaster strikes once more! The firefight between the two Brethren units and the pirate screen has echoed down into the tunnels and awoken a sleeping menace; no less than three Purestrains! The terrified pirate squad leader in the driver's seat sinks into the footwell and prays to any God who'll listen!

The overwhelming firepower of the two Brethren units forces the pirate screen to abandon their position.

The screening squad flee back towards the jail and their ship-mates.

Unexpected help arrives in the form of the Purestrains, the second, larger Brethren squad is overcome with emotion at seeing their 'Gods' walking amongst them and prostrate themselves, forgetting the pursuit for a few precious moments.

The original Brethren unit is not so ecstatic that they forget their duty (they are regularly on feeding detail and see Purestrains all the time) but are caught in the open by a volley from the rooftop pirates.

The reinforcement squad begins to recover, and wonder where everybody went. Where is that engine sound coming from?

In the meantime, Reade and Mento have reached the truck and proceed at full speed towards the castle gate!

The truck is too big to fit into the courtyard but the pirates use the vehicle as a ram and the gates are thrown wide open. The scoundrels debus and approach the yawning portal.

In the shadow of the Farmhouse Cheese factory, the Brethren creep forward to assault the jail while the Purestrains lope off after the pirate screening team.

Both Brethren units join the assault and the reinforcement unit looks to be lining up a shot with their plasma cannon.

Heedless of their own safety and aware they are under the gaze of their deities, the Brethren hurl themselves into an assault on the jail.

The fleeing pirates reach their comrades so the Purestrains turn towards the jail, using cover to hide their advance from their prey.

Inside the courtyard, lasfire rakes back and forth as the pirates desperately try to force their way in.

Reade catches a glimpse of Bill at last! He is being held prisoner by some Cult fanatics.

Governor Nohm Berthoo is still 'ocupado', seemingly oblivious to the attack on his castle.

The pirates enter bloody hand to hand combat with the Cult fanatics. In these close quarters grenades and rifles are no use, it comes down to pistols and blades.

Casualties are taken on both sides but the pirates gain a foothold inside the courtyard. Mento uses his formidable powers to scan the castle for psionic enemies, there is one, but he seems... occupied? Relaxed? How curious.

The first Brethren unit sacrifice themselves in a mindless attempt to distract attention from the Purestrains. Only one remains.

Reinforced, the pirates prepare for a last stand as the deadly Purestrains move ever nearer.

The first Brethren squad's lone survivor creeps forward, muttering prayers under his breath.

The Purestrains are in position! The pirates will have only one volley to kill them before it's too late.

The Brethren reinforcements pour fire into their enemy.

Just as it looks as though Reade and his lusty rogues will be pushed back...

...the will of the cultists snaps and they flee into the dark corridors of the castle. Bill and his surviving team-mate are swiftly freed and armed.

The Brethren dash forward and provide enough of a distraction for the Purestrains to reach the Jail unharmed.

From ground level, the jail roof becomes a nightmare of slashing claws and screaming death.

There is no hope left for the pirates in the jail. All that can be heard is the screaming of tortured souls and the crunching of bone. Several wet, gobs of flesh land near the Brethren who give praise to their dark Gods.

Reade leads his small team back to the truck, leaving a few grenade-bouquet booby traps for any cultist foolish enough to follow.

The ravening Purestrains subdue one of the pirates rather than killing him outright and and a disgusting 'impregnation' process takes place.

Reade and his squad load up and get the truck started. It doesn't appear to be too badly damaged by ramming the gate.

Reade voxs his fire-base to order them to fall back, but silence has fallen over the scene at the jail and static is his only reply...

...but victorious Captain Reade races back to his shuttle with Black Bill! Sure, there will be some explaining to do, but the ladies will understand about all those casualties, right?

So there you have it, Captain Reade bravely snatches a vague semblance of victory from the jaws of total defeat after flirting outrageously with disaster for the entire engagement. Reade was always outnumbered, outgunned and certainly outperformed in the close combat department but thanks to roleplaying he was able to sneak in and grab Bill in a fitting climax (while his men paid the price elsewhere of course). I have a feeling 'Bloody' Sam Reade will be worthy of a sequel at some point, and don't forget to watch out for Thantsants' take on things over at his blog!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday 16 October 2013

Brothers in (Four) Arms: AKA Fifteen Raking Claw-Gouges on a Dead Man's Chest. (Part One)

Pelegosto Prime. An isolated, low-tech, superstitious, backward mud-ball. In other words, an easy mark. The only drawback it seems, is that we weren't the first to realise it.

Anyone that tells you being a Space-Pirate is an easy life knows no more than what a few entertainment holo-vids can tell. Our command structure is volatile at the best of times, and when you're into piracy as a family business it's never the best of times. In theory, I'm the Captain of the 'Void-Ghost', with a ten point stake and the final say on navigation. In practice, if I don't keep Red Raelyn happy (that's my wife) and more serious still, Dola Shrill (my mother-in-law) then I'm as good as blown out the waste pipe.

Like I said, Pelegosto was supposed to be easy. My brother-in-law, Black Bill, went down with an advance party to carry out a simple recon. Except that's the last we heard of him. The squat castle we identified as the head honcho's lair was supposed to be full of precious metals and other loot. Instead, if the last static-ridden transmissions Bill voxed back are anything to go by; it's full of damned monsters. 'Stealers, has to be. I seen a lot of crazy stuff in my life as a pirate, and we found ourselves a nest of 'Stealers, sure as the void's black and merciless. Now I got Red and Ma giving me the evil eye and foot-tapping routine because I won't go down there. I told 'em, 'Bill's a goner' I explained. Couldn't argue with that. Except they did of course.

Ah, who am I kidding. I'll be heading down as soon as I can get some boys together.

This was a fantastic game of Rogue Trader Thantsants and I played recently. Thantsants' had the scenario ready to go for another project but with a few tweaks and name changes we had ourselves a whole new narrative whilst retaining the opportunity to do a bit of play-testing. The idea was to emphasise the need to pass leadership tests to relay orders to add an element of 'fog' and to concentrate on telling a story rather than winning. As such the objectives and forces involved are fairly fluid. I needed to infiltrate first the shanty-town and then the castle in order to rescue Black Bill from the clutches of a Genestealer Cult while Thantsants played the part of the cultists who were on heightened alert after capturing the recon party.

I have available to me Captain 'Bloody' Sam Reade (major hero), the first mate (minor hero), a rogue psyker (level 2), a heavy plasma gunner, a heavy stubber gunner, a grenade launcher operator and 16 other pirates with assorted pistols and rifles.

The Cult's leadership is holed up in a castle, the largest building on Pelegosto. Around the castle is a run-down, miserable shanty-town occupied by peasants and used as a barracks for several corrupted PDF units. As the story begins, security is stepped up and the local militia units have been called up to provide extra patrols.

The road is the main approach to the castle, it leads to the front gate and has a right fork that goes around the castle. Buildings are corrugated plasteel and timber. There is an area of dense vegetation on the south side of the road. The area is thick with militia and Cult vehicles.

Somehow, Captain 'Bloody' Sam Reade (that's him in the tricorne at the back) must lead his band of 20-odd ruthless coves against the might of an entire Genestealer Cult, rescue his brother-in-law and live to tell the tale. Yaargh!

Reade has split his force into four groups of five men (and ladies). Three groups approach the castle using the jail as cover from the patrols lead by Reade himself while the First Mate, Yellow Yates the Swift, takes the fourth group (which contains the plasma cannon) on a right flanking manouevre.

Unfortunately, Yellow Yates fails to keep his unit quiet and the jingling of earrings accompanied by some muttered cursing leads to a group of militia coming over to investigate.

Planetary Governor, Nohm Bertoo, just pops to the loo to have a read of the newspaper. The walls are exceptionally thick and insulate all sound from the outside, an unfortunate coincidence.

The first mate's unit stumbles unwittingly into a militia patrol and fire off a few shots in panic, one of the militia keels over with a fatal gut-shot but most of the shooting goes wild. As more militia run towards the sound of fighting the situation looks grim for the pirates.

Alerted by the crack of Las-fire and Autogun rounds a squad of Brood Brother PDF piles out of their barracks and takes up a position behind their transport vehicle.

Confused about what has gone wrong, Captain Reade orders the unit armed with pistols and swords to use stealth to infiltrate towards the castle through the undergrowth on the south side. Reade hangs back with two groups and his psyker, Mento, to act as a reserve and set up a fire-base in the jail. 

A pair of patrolling guards seem sure to stumble into the pirates before they get set.

The Brethren find it difficult to figure out quite what's going on and elect to hold their position to provide cover fire for the militia.

Though the plucky pirates give as good as they get for a while, the tide turns against them and casualties start to mount up.

Reade's infiltrators make it past the patrolling pair of guards as silent as ghosts and fade away into the vegetation.

Reade himself manages to get his fire-base in position on the roof of the jail and now has virtually the entire shanty-town covered. He decides to leave the first mate to his fate and use his demise as a diversion.

The pirates on the roof can see their first mate and his unit being torn to shreds but dare not intervene and give away their position just yet.

Overwhelmed, Yates and two survivors eventually rout and flee towards safety. They are hotly pursued by the fanatic militia.

As a large block of militia hove into view, the grenade launcher operator simply cannot resist the target opportunity and pops off a frag round into their midst. many are killed and a volley of rifle fire cause further casualties.

One of the pirates splits their fire off at the patrolling guards, killing one. The other panics and flees.

The infiltrators are deep within the lush, alien flora now and proceed to make steady progress towards the castle.

The appearance of a local transport carrying some miners home causes a moment of concern but it passes by without incident enabling the infiltrators to continue unnoticed. Phew!

The Brethren are concerned by the outburst of fresh gunfire and advance upon the jail to counter this new threat.

Yellow Yates has managed to shake off his pursuer who got caught in a wayward blast from the grenade launcher! This gives him the opportunity to rally unexpectedly! He fails, and heads for the hills.

The rooftop unit sprays rounds in all directions as they become surrounded by brethren and militia. Reade hangs back to provide support but cannot risk becoming too separated from his infiltrators if the rescue is to succeed.

Whooping militia, fresh from their victory over Yates' mob, scramble towards the jail.

Another round from the grenade launcher kills two of the Brethren.

The lone survivor of the guard patrol rallies and is absorbed into the Brethren unit.

Finally, the infiltrators exit the dense undergrowth at the base of an empty watchtower. They find an empty truck and begin to formulate a plan, but just at that moment a large unit of Brethren reinforcements pours out of the castle front gate.

Will the pirates be able to gain entry to the castle without the plasma cannon? Will the isolated infiltrators be discovered by the Brethren reinforcements? Will the rooftop pirates be overwhelmed in a last stand? Will Captain Reade's wife ever be able to explain all this to mother? Will Governor Nohm Bertoo ever finish in the toilet? Stay tuned for all these answers and more in the next exciting chapter of: Fifteen Raking Claw-Gouges on a Dead Man's Chest!

There is another blog out there that needs a bit of encouragement by the way, please check out the Lead Pile and leave a comment or even follow if you feel able.

Thanks for stopping by!