Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Kobold parts, oozes and the ring

'Ugh's paralysed and I'm too weak to take advantage.'  - Milgos the cursed

A pale and weak Milgos with ring

Ugh lamented his lack of success in communicating specific orders to his strange looking dog.  If only there was a way to speak with the beast. He went about the city stopping strangers in the street asking them if perhaps they knew of some magic that could aid in chatting to dogs. Most folk avoided him, small children mocked him but one man took time from his busy schedule to assist him. Magnus was a merchant by trade and delayed a chiropractic appointment to inform the desperate half orc that the magic he sought may be within the purview of the mad hermit who dwelt in the forbidden woods to the west. None but the desperate ventured there for it was too dangerous. Ugh made a mental note to seek the recluse at a later point and instead sought out his delving companion. He found the dark elf at the martial square watching on attentively as his hirelings Betty and Beatrice went through their paces. They had recently acquired their henchmen diplomas and could now call themselves warriors. With a full roster the fellowship set off for the dungeon.

As they ventured beneath the earth Berk the forgotten lit up a lantern before fading into the background. Milgos suggested recruiting the orcs again and so the group made their way to the orcs lair. The passageways and rooms seemed as they had been left till they arrived at the kobold’s chamber. There a scene of carnage appalled them. Kobold parts lay strewn willy nilly as the room now better resembled an abattoir. Grimly pressing on they followed a trail of bloody footprints to the orcs barracks. There was no sign of the orcs. A smashed and looted chest against a wall indicated that they were unlikely to encounter their orcish allies. Milgos recalled the secret chamber said to be close at hand and became worried. It seemed Ugh had the same idea and they both rushed to the north where the treasure was said to lie.

Peering into the room the pair saw a grey ooze slowly dissolving a number of bodies. The ooze was pelted with flasks of burning oil, which seemed to have little to no effect. It rolled after them reaching out with slimy pseudopods but to no avail. The group were too swift and Milgos was able to pelt the creature to death with magic missiles from his wand. The dissolved corpses were unrecognisable. Searching the chamber they quickly located a pivoting wall to the north. Ever suspicious Ugh opened it from a unique angle. Within the chamber was another ooze. It lay in ambush against a wall but Ugh, who had long had the ability to think like an ooze, was alert to it’s sneaky ways. Once again the group led the viscous fluid a merry dance that ultimately ended with its slow form slain by wand.

Apart from the ooze the secret chamber contained a number of stone receptacles. Milgos noticed that they were trapped and ingeniously used water to render the poison gas, contained within a number of vessels, inert. Sadly the water ruined some scrolls but a magic ring (dubbed the pooh ring as it had been concealed in honey) and mace were liberated along with plenty of coin. The ring seemed to call to Milgos and he put it on thinking it to be a ring of invisibility. It was, kind of.

Further searching found a door marked with the orcish rune for death. Milgos willed himself invisible in case trouble lay beyond the door. Beyond the door lay empty crates and chests. The party set about searching the chamber. After a while Milgos began to feel weak. It was the ring. It was cursed though the elf would not believe it. More magic was afoot for when the group opened the door, which had closed on them while they searched, they determined that they had been the victims of some sort of teleport. They were in unfamiliar tunnels and their usual modus operandi of returning to town was blown out of the water. They needed an exit and fast.

Exploring a tunnel to the east the group encountered a gelatinous cube that they duly dispatched. Fang II wolfed down several large chunks of cube as if it was the most delicious thing in the world. This was odd as the transparent monstrosity is said to have a paralysing touch. Further exploration led to the discovery of ghouls feasting on a some unfortunate’s corpse. Janna used her clerical powers to turn the creatures but not before Ugh had been paralysed by their touch. Betty and Beatrice finished off the cowering ghouls with a little help from the rapidly weakening Milgos. With combat over the band waited till Ugh recovered from the paralysis. It took almost an hour for the burly half orc to do so. Milgos would have drawn a moustache on his friend while he lay their helpless but he simply couldn’t muster up the energy. He felt drained and exhausted and he could not work out why. Milgos was so tired they decided to take the risk of resting in the dungeon. The group set up camp in the room with the half digested human and some dismembered ghouls. Hardly the ideal site.

Where they are.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Orc allies and a reckoning with the manticores

'Stop this madness!' - Milgos channeling his inner drow

Urgosh and friends
Milgos spent time recharging his newly acquired wand of magic missiles. Its discovery had him reconsider his prior tactic of leaping into the middle of combat swinging his daggers. Yet the visceral thrill of carving up his opposition was irresistible to the dark elf and he soon found himself purchasing a fine set of matching short swords. He trawled the markets of the city hunting for bargains and found a downtrodden peasant called Berk who’d serve as torchbearer (and who would be completely forgotten by all in the coming conflicts) and a scroll of armour, a spell that was sure to increase his life expectancy. Ugh on the other hand purchased as many flasks of oil as seemed practical for he recalled the tale of ooze that guarded a secret treasure.

Feeling confident the group returned to the dungeon and found their way back to the chamber from which they had left off. The kobolds, whom they had rescued last delve, were lounging about their chamber feasting on the dried remains of dire rat and oblivious to the parties presence. Ugh marched and kicked the chair out from under on of the poor creatures. Howling in dismay from the dungeon floor the kobold looked up at the armoured half orc that towered overhead. Ugh sought information about the surrounds and learnt that the orcish leader in a nearby chamber was a brute who liked challenges. “Perhaps,” the kobold suggested “you could challenge the brute for leadership of the orcs.” Finding the idea plausible, Ugh accentuated his orc heritage as best he could with the assistance of the kobolds. He bloodied his weapon, draped himself in rancid rat furs and plaited bones into his hair. This ruse would later fail, let down by the half orc’s cultured demeanour and even temperament. Still as the group left the kobolds, Ugh practised his mean skills; insulting the creatures by deliberately mistaking them for gnomes. Gnomes are of course a kobolds arch nemesis. The kobolds were left fuming and conflicted; the heroes had saved them but were also mean.

The mean heroes considered their immediate options. To the north purportedly lay the secret treasure guarded by ooze. A sizzling sound from that direction lent credence to the kobolds intelligence. Behind the door to the west lay the orcs. Milgos placed an ear to the door and made out a low muttering from beyond. Perhaps it was orcish, he couldn’t be sure despite being a fluent speaker of the language. There they stood undecided for some time before Milgos did what he often does and that’s make a rash decision. He opened the door and crept into the chamber sneaking about he determined that the orcs sat at a table concealed by a curtain. Their chest lay in the room unobserved and undefended. Tempting a target though it may be Milgos returned to inform his companions.

The party planned an ambush which was let down by the braying of Fang, Ugh’s hyena. The orcs wrenched aside the curtain, took in the situation and flipped the table grabbing their spears and shields and formed a defensive formation. “Come get us cowards!” screamed Urgosh the largest of the orcs and their nominal leader.

Heated words were exchanged between Ugh and Urgosh till the full blooded orc could stand no more. The creature strode out from behind the shield wall of it's companions ready to duel the half blood till both combatants were stunned into inaction. "STOP THIS MADNESS!" shouted Milgos the dark elf stepping out from the cover from which he had been watching. The dark elf turned to the orc. "Do you know whom I represent? You know my people, you know our ways. You do not want to anger me." The orc gulped and looked about nervously. "Do not waste blood duelling my slave." Milgos gestured to Ugh. "We have bigger enemies to defeat. Follow me and bring you men. We hunt a pair of manticores. You shall share in the spoils." The orc needed little convincing, seemingly cowed by Milgos' impressive act. Urgosh gathered his orcs and the whole band set off.

Returning to the swampland above the group the group found the entrance to the troglodyte caverns. From there they rushed the manticores who were caught unawares, lounging as they were after a big meal near their underground lake. The orcs took advantage of their spears reach skewering the brutes while Milgos battered the creatures with magic missiles and Ugh weighed in with his blade. The brutes managed a few inept volleys of tail spikes, that felled a pair of orcs, before being decapitated by a rampaging Ugh. The orcs were given a number of golden cups from the treasure pile. They celebrated by filling them from the manticores underground lake. Miraculously their wounds healed. The orcs believed they had magic cups. Milgos, aided by the magic of his staff of the apprentice, new the truth; the pool was enchanted with healing magic.

Milgos harnessed his orcish allies high spirits by turning them towards clearing out some nearby mounted troglodyte guards. Again the companions revisited a chamber they had explored before. They planned a pincer like strike on the troglodytes but lost the initiative. Their reptilian foe let out a loud screech as they goaded their huge iguana mounts towards the band. The terrifying noise saw Fang and the orcs flee in terror. Fang couldn't escape however as Ugh held the hyena's chain tightly in his shield hand. Milgos muttered an arcane chant and the troglodytes fell asleep in their saddles. During the melee Ugh was wrapped up by one of the lizards tongues from which he struggled to escape. Jana, fearing for the half orcs life, leapt into the conflict with her mace but was promptly snatched up by another giant lizard who threatened to tear her asunder. Betty and Beautrice carried the day as they put the lizards to the sword. Upon surveying the scene Milgos was left cursing. He had lost his orc allies and these blasted troglodytes didn't even have the courtesy to carry their treasure with them.

The battle resolved the group retreated in good order. Back in town they planned their next move.

Troglodyte Warrens

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Hurling hyenas

'Go on. Get the mage. Good boy.' - Ugh to Fang II

One of these hyenas is Fang II
Milgos let out a long sigh and slumped at the inn’s table. He had been interviewing potential hirelings all day and none were suitable. Too old, too fat and even those that had seemed fit enough to hold a torch where too ugly. He was lucky to have hired on the feisty warrior women Betty and Beatrice when he did. While the dark elf had been interviewing Ugh had been drinking. He was living the life now, drinking Bugman’s finest from the top shelf. Beneath his table his ‘dog’ Fang crunched through chicken carcass after chicken carcass. Fang’s gluttony could be excused as the beast needed the energy for the coming delve. ‘It’s time to go’ Milgos said as he stood. “It’s just you, your hound and the girls. Let us hope that will be enough for the trials ahead.”

Hurrying through the cleared upper caverns the band once more found themselves descending a flight of stairs. At their base a familiar statue issued it’s customary challenge to which the group responded with their names and titles. Nothing adverse happened so they pressed on till they came to a door. Both placed an ear against it and yet heard nothing. Fang however let out a low growl. Ugh grabbed the handle and heaved the door open.

Beyond was a wizard’s laboratory. Along the walls was an assortment of bones. Long benches covered in candles and apparatus of a magical nature cluttered the place. A man in long crimson robes stood at a lectern intently studying a tome. Close to the door the group had flung open reclined a warrior in mail with a sword on his lap. Milgo’s dropped a globe of darkness on the surprised robbed figure while Ugh and the hired help savaged the seated warrior. The unfortunate fighter swiftly fell to their assault. Cursing the darkness the wizard called upon his minions to strike and lo and behold the bones along the walls assembled themselves into skeleton warriors.  During the conflict Ugh hurled Fang into the globe of darkness hoping his dog would attack the mage. In fact he gave strict instructions to the hyena to do this but was ignored as the hyena could not understand common. Instead it preferred to crush the skulls of the undead between it’s slavering jaws. Eventually the mage was put down while trying to flee and there was much rejoicing at the loot won. Milgos used his staff of the apprentice to identify several valuable magical items.

It was during the looting that the party decided to split up. After some pranks involving a wizard locked door’ Milgos got bored and decided to see what lay beyond a door to the south. It was skeletons wielding spears and an excellent opportunity for the dark elf to test out his newly acquired wand. At one stage the skeletons forced the door that Betty and Beatrice were holding, barging into the room and almost slaying the two ladies. Luck was with Milgos however as his wand blasted several to pieces. Ugh made a timely return from his own exploration to finish off the few remaining skeletons. Janna called on her diety to heal the wounds of the girls before the group pressed on.

Heading further south the heroes heard high-pitched yelping and squeeking. Around a corner they saw a group of kobolds trapped on a table as a swarm of giant rats leaped up trying to bite them. The kobolds pleaded for help and the hero’s obliged. The rat’s teeth were sharp and their numbers substantial. Ugh and Fang weathered the furry storm emerging victorious despite suffering from several nasty bites.

The kobolds rewarded their rescuers with a tale of treasure in a secret chamber to the north but warned that orcs also laired that way as well as an ooze. The treasure would have to wait as the band was exhausted and running low on resources. They retreated in good order back to the surface.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Hyenas, kobolds and obvious traps

A pre-shaken kobold.
Milgos hires on two lovestruck washerwomen named Betty and Beatrice, whom he arms and armours. Clearly they are a fan of his exotic ebony skin. That and the dark elf paid them upfront and threw in a bonus. Back at his room the wizard picked up his spell book and the staff he had been given upon his graduation – the staff of the apprentice. Ugh gets a new dog, only it’s a hyena. Janna, the hobbit cleric, agrees to accompany them back into the dungeon.
On the way back down they encounter some under-hobbits who invite them back to their home after their expedition. Ugh knows he was placed under a spell the last time he had dealings with the sly folk but he humours them.
A statue challenges them on their way down a flight of stairs. They proclaim their names – we learn Ugh’s full title. Milgos searches it for some form of secret but it’s not special. Marching down the corridor the group are ambushed by kobolds some of which spring from behind an illusionary wall. Milgos goes beserk and becomes a whirling dervish with twin daggers. The kobolds flee just when the blood crazed dark elf seemed at his most vulnerable, his unarmoured form leaping into the centre of the melee. The kobold leader leads them through a number of rooms hurling the door open each time in his desperation to escape. He is caught and stabbed by Milgos before being shaken to death by the hyena.
The room the kobold fled to had a statue with scythe and beheaded skeleton. Milgos urged Ugh to be cautious but Ugh did not care. He strode into the room and the statue came to whirling trap like life swinging the scythe towards the half orc. Ugh ducked and the statues weapon careened off his shield. They loot the kobolds.
Further exploration discovered the body of a pale elf. Milgos said a prayer for the fallen, because he is good, then immediately looked at the ceiling. Tis as if the dark elf had the soul of an old school adventurer. Indeed something stirred on the ceiling, two giant ticks. The first fell under a reign of steely blows while the second turned to flee it was bitten in twain by Fang, Ugh’s imaginately titled Hyena. Getting back to the good thing, Milgos rebelled against the evil drow society and turned to niceness and good. Thus the prayer for the elf, the dark elves mortal enemy and the lavish coin heaped upon his hirelings.

Rogue Trader

Even though they are marines this picture is still awesome!
It’s Rogue Trader’s 25th anniversary. It’s been a decade or two between games. I had the hardcover book back in year 7. It cost $50, which was a lot at the time. I’m guessing I bought it myself but maybe my parents forked over the cash. If they did I am sure they regret it. My dad would cleverly call it Wham Bangers instead of Warhammer but I guess all in all my parents thought the hobby was harmless. Sure it would nix any chance I'd have of getting a date but there were worse things a teenager could be doing.

Iron Bonce the squat merc.
I hate this guy.
I would pour through the books and magazines trying to find the coolest things that would let me win. Vortex grenades, dreadnought suits, high level psionics would all be carefully added to my army list and the points meticulously calculated.

Army wise I really hated Space Marines. I think I did this just to be different. I guess hating the most popular army made me edgey and cool, at least in my own hormone addled mind. I bought blisters of all kinds of models with my paper round money. Orks, Eldar, mercenaries (including the squat with the rotating hand cannon) and old school Tyranids I’d settle on Imperial guard and Orks and take my badly painted armies to the local tournament at Melbourne Uni High. In those hallowed educational halls older folk would slaughter my troops with rorty crap like Harelquin’s hiding in ectoplasmic mist and whole armies comprising of just terminators with cyclone missle launchers.

Who's idea was it to give space marines cover?
Lately I've had a hankering for all things Citadel, 80’s Citadel. So me and a buddy from primary school, who I dragged into this miniature madness, got out Rogue Trader and had a game. Historically I won these battles as I was the only one who bothered to read the rules. As everyone depended on me to play the game I could conveniently forget rules that would disadvantage me. I was also a competitive kid so I’d argue lots if it looked like I was in danger of losing. I was crap to play against but somehow my friends would still rock up and play. I guess the models and the world were compelling enough to put up with my nonsense.

Thinning the herd.
So on Sunday we held a ‘Battle for the farm’ straight from the pages of Rogue Trader. The terrain consisted of boxes. A robot took the place of a damaged generator. My Tyranids were Ork proxies and plastic bags indicated where an orchard lay. Early on the Orks learnt to spread out lest they succumb to plasma missiles. I swore to kill the missile launcher punk as quickly as I could, but alas by the end of the game only two marines were slain and the missile launcher operator was not among them. The one time I got a wound on him his wretched power armour saved.

Deploy on the pizza box.
Heading for cover far too late.
At one point well after the game looked over, the sole remaining ork squad along with Hruk the Ork back up boss, hid out in the orchard only for my buddy to use rules against me! Or cruel reversal of childhood fortunes. Some rule said he could fire at models that were hidden as long as he did so with area effect weapons. And so the ork’s refuge turned into a roiling plasma orchard with the final two survivors making a mad dash for freedom, routing off the board. The Orks were smashed in an embarrassing display. Fortunately the Ork leader had called in reinforcements before he was sniped by the space marine commander. Only two marines would escape the field before an overwhelming amount of orks arrived.

Now I have a difficult decision. Do I being to build a small squad of Rogue Trader era models or do I continue to build my mini chaos warband. Hmm, after looking at those pictures perhaps I should invest in some terrain.