Monday, 22 May 2023

Farpoint AK-47 Characters


I've been sat painting a few bits and bobs for my Planet 28 project (more on that later!) but have also been working on some characters for my AK-47 alternative Farpoint campaign.

As I'm making the project a re-imagined and low tech sci-fi with a hint of history thrown in, I've had quite a bit of fun drawing some characters that I will also be portraying in miniature format as I work on the project, either as army leaders or objectives for the opposing forces to try and capture. I also plan on using them to build the narrative of the campaign as it proceeds

Laars von Dorn Governor General

Laars von Dorn is the Governor General of Farpoint having replaced the previous Governor due to his complete ineptitude and corruption. The von Dorn's are a wealthy family that is respected by much of the population but the latest von Dorn has sparked controversy by taking power in what some call a coup.

Laars wishes to form alliances and trade deals with other planets and has been brokering a deal to join the Galactic League which would see the somewhat backward Farpoint gaining access to new tech and trading opportunities.

Count Cassitor of Rdunrundt

Count Cassitor is a despotic ruler of the region of Rdunrundt and was the staunch supporter of the previous Governor, mainly due to the fact that the corrupt fool was so biddable to Cassitor's suggestions and as such the Rdunrunt region and the count himself had seen themselves greatly enriched under the previous administration. With the coup this changed and now the count, along with his somewhat shady offworld supporters seeks to claim the rule of Farpoint for himself, obviously for the good of the people.

Colonel Jaswant 'Blood and Thunder' Singh

Colonel 'Blood and Thunder' Singh is a stalwart of the von Dorn military and a canny warrior in his own right but is tactics tend towards frontal assaults and letting bayonets do the talking and while he is revered, the fear is that his outdated expertise may lead the forces of von Dorn into trouble.

Saying that, Jaswant is a patriot and his zeal to put down the rebellion and enthusiasm has given his forces a near fanatical support for the aging warrior. Whether this survives the first encounters with Rdunrundt's military remains to be seen.

Major Victor Kurtz

Kurtz is the commander of the Rdunrundt Dragoons, Count Cassitors personal guard. Not much is known of the man but it is suspected that he's actually from offworld and is an agent of the Count's shadowy allies.

He is a brutal but cunning tactician who doesn't worry about collateral damage and has been working hard in secret to train the forces of Rdunrundt in preparation of the upcoming campaigning season. Cassitor doesn't fully trust his henchman as he suspects that the man has other masters who seek to use his holy crusade for more money as a subtext for taking control for themselves. With this in mind, the Count has several agents hidden within Kurtz's staff. 

Tony Wong, FPITV News

Tony is an enthusiastic newshound who will no doubt be breaking the news for his station, Farpoint Independent Television News as the conflict begins to unfold. Unflappable and with a near suicidal disregard for his own safety, Tony has made a name for himself by holding the government to account and was instrumental in breaking the scandal of the previous governors malfeasance. 
Albrecht Schliemann Chief Press officer of The Rdunrundtian Patriot

Schliemann is a cold and slimy sort of a fellow but has a knack for rhetoric and misinformation, something that Count Cassitor recognised would aid him in his quest to take control of Farpoint for his own more noble purposes. As such he installed Albrecht as chief press officer at the Rdunrundtian Patriot where he issues thundering denunciations of the degenerate enemy von Dorn and his lapdogs who constantly seek to put true citizens of Farpoint down. 

The demagogue is often used to whip up the citizens of Rdunrundt into a patriotic fervour that has seen volunteers forming militias on the Counts behalf.

Hopefully I'll get more background put together as I go and I've placed a small order with Peter Pig to get the first unit for each force started with enough figures to give me eight bases a side as well as a couple of rival camera teams!

As I mentioned in my introduction I've also been working on painting a few other bits and bobs which I will be posting later as I seem to be coming out of the hobby slump just in time to go back to work tomorrow!

In the meantime, All the best!

Wednesday, 17 May 2023

Farpoint: AK-47 Republic


I've been on holiday this week and have been to the Christian Aid book sale in George Street in Edinburgh. We've been going pretty much every year for over two decades now and its a family tradition, especially as we're all bibliophiles and this year was pretty awesome and I spent probably too much money on books I probably didn't need but the addiction is strong!

I've also received my copy of Mutant Chronicles Siege of the Citadel which is a lovely brick of a box which I spent yesterday rummaging around in and the rules seem pretty simple and entertaining. They feel a bit Space Crusadey which is good and there's a really interesting card mechanic for solo players too. 

No doubt I'll be kept entertained with it for some time, especially as the room tiles and figures will see double duty in games of Planet 28 but thats not the reason for todays post. Instead I'm looking at the classic wargame AK-47 Republic.

Aimed at playing warlord level battles in Africa in 15mm scale, I picked up the PDF of the game recently after reading quite a few battle reports and assorted bloggage about the classic edition being a rather fun game. While playing historical games in post colonial Africa isn't really my cup of tea, I did think that it could be useful for playing a quick, simple and characterful low tech sci-fi game set on a backward planet such as Farpoint.

With this in mind, I created a map of the unsettled region:

The primary foes will be Governor General Laars von Dorn with his government troops in Farpoint City who currently controls Toreday and Freiburg regions and Count Cassitor of Rdunrundt who is a despotic dictator who controls the Rdunrundt and Felvar regions.

Next up, I've created some flags for the two main factions:

The Blazing sun of von Dorn
The Black Hand of Rdunrundt

At this point I've become a bit obsessed and decided that I wanted a somewhat hapless peacekeeping force to try and stop each faction from killing one another so created the Galactic League Peacekeepers (I had been tempted to use the Imperium but felt it doesn't quite fit with the idea of a peacekeeping force...)

The Noble Galactic League

The rules provide you with several different types of forces to choose from which will effect the build of your army and with that in mind I settled on making von Dorn a Superpower backed client force and Rdunrundt a dictatorship. I'm seriously considering picking up the supplement for more inspiration for the Galactic League who won't immediately be making an appearance as hostilities between the dastardly Count and the noble von Dorn heats up.

One of the most interesting elements to the game is the Political Manoeuvring chart that you roll on which can radically alter, supplement or even hinder your forces but it makes for a really unique sort of an experience and I'm looking forward to trying it out.

Similarly, you must roll to see which of your units actually turns up for the game with reinforcements possibly never arriving and forcing you to try and make do with what you have. While this isn't the sort of thing that I imagine tournament players would enjoy, it does lend itself to some really characterful scenarios where one force could be caught flatfooted by an enemy attack and the border guards desperately trying to hold out until reinforcements arrive.

The plan is to put together the forces slowly over several months before expanding into adding the Galactic League peacekeepers or any one of the dozen or so other factions I've got floating around in my head.

I also plan on using primarily historical figures from Peter Pig for my armies, supplemented here and there with Laserburn bits and bobs and whatever other gubbins I've got lying around to provide vehicles and whatnot.

Count Cassitor

This will mean that no actual games will be played for a while but I do have a bit of a framework to work towards and we shall see how I get on going forwards. 

I have been rummaging around and have found quite a few odds and ends that can be put into use and am looking forward to seeing how I get on with the project and have some hopes that this will get my hobby mojo back as this year seems to have been a bit of a non starter thus far.

I'm also conscious of budget so will be limiting myself to the bare minimum for each months attempts and will be placing a small order with Peter Pig come payday for the initial unit as well as some much needed bases from Warbases (I'd originally thought of using 30mm round lipped bases as it would look nice but would struggle to get heavy weapon teams onto such a small surface and have settled on getting some 30mm round MDF bases instead).

Hopefully I'll get the first unit done for the end of June and will be able to keep the momentum going so until next time, All the best!

Sunday, 7 May 2023

Warzone Eternal Kickstarter Relaunched!


Just a quick post this evening with the news that Res Nova have relaunched their kickstarter for Warzone Eternal and its doing pretty well and has some really exciting stuff coming down the pipeline too!


The renders look ace and as of now, it's successfully funded and they've started showing some stretch goals including these rather fantastic Pretorian Stalkers for Algeroth:

The starter sets and booster boxes have been totally redesigned and redone since the original campaign with single piece but nicely dynamic figures for Capitol, Mishima, Imperial, Bauhaus, Cybertronic, Algeroth and the Brotherhood too.

I'm really excited to see the figures in the flesh so to speak and am looking forward to seeing how the campaign goes, especially as the booster packs allow me to re-build my classic Warzone collection and hopefully we'll see them getting a general release (including in the UK!) next year.

In related news, Modiphius has got their Siege of the Citadel core game reduced to £20 

While its not really Warzone Eternal, it is Mutant Chronicles and I've seen it played on several Youtube channels and it looks quite a bit of fun, especially as you can play it solo so why not grab a bargain while you can?

Gosh! All this Mutant Chronicles goodness is really exciting and hopefully the Warzone Eternal campaign with keep rocking and we'll see lots of lovely new stuff post Kickstarter as the universe of MC and Warzone is absolutely brilliant and I'd love to see them succeed! 

In the meantime, All the best!

Tuesday, 2 May 2023

A Middlehammer Tale


I spotted that the folks over at Middlehammer are running a bit of a narrative project in the vein of the Tale of Four Gamers!

Sadly I'm not going to get the chance to take part this year as I've not got anything ready but I do like how they have developed it into an ongoing narrative project that only requires you to pledge a small number of figures to paint and base it all around an ongoing story. There are stretch goals each month with simple additions to the project and its going to be really interesting to see how folks get on with it, especially as the Oldworld Army Challenge is nearing completion.

It's worth nipping over to A MIDDLEHAMMER TALE to see what its all about and have a bash if you feel able!

Hopefully they'll run another next year and I'll be organised enough to have a go at taking part.

In the meantime, All the best!

Friday, 21 April 2023

Tiny Troops: Rusty Robot Blue Tribe Pirates


I've been hoping to be able to get back to posting on here more regularly but as per usual work and whatnot has got in the way but over the last few weeks I've been working on making some tiny Rusty Robots and have finally got the first six finished!

The Crew of the Mean Jellybean

Thus far I've got the captain, bosun and four crew and am quite pleased with how they've turned out!

I've sculpted various rusty robots over the years ranging from massive pieces such as King Raam and the Salty Seadog next to him through to smaller ones like the first Blue Tribe bot I made about a decade ago:

More recently I've also sculpted some Red and Black Tribe bots which are closer to 28mm:

Now ideally I'd continue with this approach and end up with a full collection of rusty robots in a scale that allows for a decent amount of detail and real personality but I have come to realise I just don't have the space or time for such an undertaking at the moment so I've decided to scale down a bit to approximately 15mm scale so I have enough space to actually put together a game!

I was inspired by my tiny troops project that I've been working on sporadically which saw me create a Junkers army of surprising size for Void 1.1 as well as an assortment of vehicles and even two lances of Battletech Mechs: 

I've refined it a bit but essentially each figure is a core of sculpey with wire legs and details made from a mixture of EVA foam and paper and I was pleasantly surprised by how much detail I got into them.

I've also got a similar number of Reds under construction and plan on creating mini collections of each of the six basic tribes with one leader, a specialist and handful of basic scrapbots before moving onto expand each force with reinforcements,

Once I've got a decent selection put together I'll be trying to play out a game or two, possibly using Planet 28, Stargrave or Star Mogul as each is a small skirmish at heart! 

My plan is to create enough scenery to fill a pinboard size gaming table. I'd far prefer my old 3'x3' table but I don't have access to it at the moment and creating enough scenery for such a board would be challenging to say the least, especially as storage is an issue here at Spacecow Towers. 

I'll need to see what I can get sorted over the course of the month and will post progress when I can and this simple process of creating super cheap and easy figures has got me to thinking that I may return to my Battletech and other Tiny Troops themed projects I'd been mulling over...

In the meantime, All the best!

Wednesday, 15 March 2023

Back to Wargaming?


I've been a bit quiet here over the last six months as my new job has been exhausting but hugely rewarding but has severely cut down on my hobby time. 

Coupled with the cost of living, commuting and heating, my hobby budget has shrunk to almost nothing resulting in projects I had planned to continue to build grinding to an unceremonious halt. What little hobby time I've had seems to be taken up with the really enjoyable solo RPG adventures I've been haphazardly playing when I have the chance but I feel that posting those here isn't really an ideal fit.

With that in mind, I'm revamping my Somewhere on the Border blog with a mind to porting all my RPG stuff into it and keeping this entirely for wargaming.

At the start of the year I'd set myself a plan to play through the Death in the Throne Room Campaign from the 2nd edition of Planet 28 but as I didn't have any of the figures required I'd hoped to slowly build the collection over the year and sculpt some odds and ends to give me characters and whatnot but I simply don't have the time or indeed budget for the endeavour which is a bit of a shame but I don't want to kill my motivation entirely so I'm going to be doing a bit of pondering over the remainder of March to see what I can come up with as an option to keep my hobby going and not lose motivation again as I've had happen before.

I must admit that I currently find myself at a bit of an impasse as I've been a wargamer for nearly 30 years now and I don't want to leave the hobby I'm so fond of behind but at the same time I'm finding increased enjoyment from my RPG gaming that costs a fraction of the amount and I can play with just a notebook and some dice and its getting me drawing again which I've not really had the opportunity to do consistently since leaving university.

This has kind of resulted in me grinding to a halt which is pretty annoying as I am getting frustrated and stressing about not getting chance to paint and play which means no updates which feeds back into more frustration and stress which is what my hobby is supposed to keep me well away from.

Looking back at my blog, this seems to be an issue I go through fairly regularly so no doubt a bit of a break will do me good and allow me to relax and refocus.

In the meantime, I'll be porting over my solo RPG adventures to Somewhere on the Border over the course of the next week or two and then will see if I can get a game or two in of Planet 28 or Brutal Quest or my own homebrew concoction to get the mojo back!

In the meantime, thank you for taking the time to wade through my random posts and all the best!

Thursday, 23 February 2023

Colostle Season 2, Episode 4: An Investigator's Interlude


Here's the mini campaign that I played over a couple of sessions that covers the investigation of Greem Garnell into the reason for all the unexpected Rook activity in the area around Beacon Bay!

I used Tricube Tales, a freely available mini RPG that I found. Its super simple and I added some extra elements using my Rory's Story Cube collection.

The Scenario

Greem has decided to investigate the reason for the Rooks menacing the town and the strange dreams that afflict the inhabitants. The morning after the Golem Adventurer sets sail, Greem is summoned to the Silver Violin by the mayor who has received an unsettling note accusing him of murdering his old business partner in the dead man's own hand.

There are 12 locations around the town to investigate and clues to be found at each scene which will hopefully identify who or indeed what is causing the mayhem.

The Locations 

The Silver Violin Tavern
Abandoned Smythe Warehouse
Main Gatehouse
Rookery Island
The Mayor's Residence
Fisher Row
The Beacon
The Fish Market
Temple of Lumenor
Corn Gate
The Hunters Guild

Each location can be investigated by choice or the character may find themselves travelling there by circumstance as the investigation develops. 

Greem Garnell

Greem is equipped with a knife and carries a spyglass, tub of grease and pack of salt, being a superstitious sort (I rolled up his equipment using Cairn, another freely available RPG that I have found. The items may come in useful or not but add a bit of interest to the character!)

The Game

Scene 1, The Silver Violin Tavern. 

The Silver Violin Tavern

I arrive at the tavern mid morning and find the mayor slumped at the table, a note clutched in his trembling hand. As I approach he looks up and beckons me to join him. It appears that the note was found pinned to Beatrice the Gravediggers door at sunrise and she had immediately brought it to him.

Orthrax Smythe, Mayor

I ask if it is a genuine signature and the mayor shakily nods that it is but before we can discuss the note further, there is a commotion at the door and the unkempt form of Beatrice the Gravedigger rushes in, leading a pair of guards. She shrilly accuses the Mayor of murder and despite my protestations, the guards bundle the mayor away to the Rookery, a fortified island that lies in the harbour. 

Beatrice the Gravedigger

Handily during the altercation, I am able to pocket the note and order a coffee from the barkeep and sit to peruse it's contents. It is short and to the point and accuses the mayor of leaving his partner to die in the Scrapyard to the north and is signed by the man himself (CLUE!).

As the fussy barkeep bemoans the upset that the arrest has caused to the reputation of his tavern, I decide to ask if he's heard of any strange occurrences in the town and he says that the first people to have the dream of the Rook that spells doom to the town lived near the Mayors warehouse down by the dock (CLUE!).

Finishing my coffee and telling the man to put it on the Mayors tab, I saunter out and head towards the Smythe Warehouse, followed by cursing from the affronted barkeep.

Scene 2 The Abandoned Smythe Warehouse

The Abandoned Smythe Warehouse

As Beacon Bay isn't a large settlement it doesn't take long before I find myself standing outside the padlocked door of the Smythe Warehouse. Realising I am going to have to resort to a bit of breaking and entering, I settle in a secluded spot to await nightfall. As the shadows lengthen, I continue my watch but the street remains quiet and nobody approaches the building. 

Eventually evening arrives and I make my move. I give the lock an experimental shake but it doesn't move and appears to have rusted solid. Reaching into my pocket, retrieve a small tub of grease and a bent nail and begin attempting to pick the lock but to no avail. Cursing I walk a circuit of the building as unobtrusively as possible and eventually spot a small window high on one wall at the rear and with a bit of scrabbling manage to squeeze through the opening.

One inside I begin carefully looking around, wary that there may be something lurking in the gloom. My fears are assuaged when it appears to be empty of anything but dust. Something on the floor catches my eye and as I move closer I realise I am looking at a runic mark and due to a misspent youth, recognise the array as something that will both attract Rooks and bring misfortune on the recipient of the cursed script. As I look on it begins to glow a faint blue (CLUE!).

Cursing I realise that while the mayor is safely ensconced in the Rookery, his wife is still in their residence and whoever created this array means to do harm to the mayor or his family. I spring up to the window and eel my way through but my spyglass falls from my pocket and lands with a clatter on the inside of the building. Fuming, I take to my heels as I need to get to the mayors house as quickly as possible to avert whatever ills the villain has in store.

The Mayors Residence

 The Mayors house is at the other end of the settlement and I run the entire way, lungs burning at the effort but I soon reach the house. It is brightly lit and there doesn't appear to be anything amiss but I hammer on the door none the less. A frightened maid opens the door and when I ask to speak to her mistress, she informs me that the lady of the house had left a mere 15 minutes ago to visit a friend in Fisher Row.

Fisher Row

Once again I take to my heels and am soon at the wharf that marks the famous Fisher Row, the residences of the Five Fisher Families of Beacon Bay. I slow down as I approach, my ears pricked for any signs of danger and I pause as I hear a heavy tread moving in my direction. Slipping into a shadowy alley just in time, I see a large man emerge from the gloom carrying a faintly struggling figure over his shoulder. 

Not sure what is going on but leery of the scene, I draw my dagger and approach the figure. Suddenly the man spins and sees me. Without waiting for me he hefts the figure on his shoulder off and hurls it into the briny water of the harbour.

I swing my knife at the man as he lurches past but think I've missed and fling myself into the water after the bundle. The water is shockingly cold and dark and for a moment I fear I won't find what I am looking for but my hand locks on the collar of the figure that the stranger had tried to kill.

I strike for the surface and begin dragging the unmoving form to the dock and judging by the noise and lighted lanterns, my struggle has drawn the attention of the inhabitants. As I approach the wharf, strong hands reach down and aid me in pulling the figure up onto the dock. It is the Mayors wife and while pale, she does appear to be breathing and as the fishermen gather to ask what is going on, a strident call stills them.

Drevell Crumwaller

It is Drevell Crumwaller, the Matriarch of the Crumwaller Clan and a force to reckon with. She demands to know what is going on so I quickly tell her what has occurred and she calls for her folks to take the woman inside and put her to bed and bring me a brandy. The mayors wife is unconscious but will live and I must continue my investigation.

Looking around I see a trail of blood leading away from the scene (CLUE!). My blade must have caught the assailant after all and I cautiously follow. 

The trail leads to the Temple of Lumenor on the Eastern edge of town and skirts the main building and heads towards the High Priests dwelling which is built up against the outer wall of the settlement.

The Temple of Lumenor

As I approach, I can see the door is lying wide open and I cautiously enter, knife ready to fend off an attack but the place seems to be abandoned. Could the High Priest of Lumenor be somehow involved with the case and if so why? I continue my search and other than some interesting documents which reveal that the priest is skimming from the temples finances, I don't find anything suspicious until I reach the rear of the property. Hidden behind a wardrobe that has been pulled aside, I see a passageway leading through the outer wall and out into the darkened Roomland beyond. (CLUE!)

Fully aware that travelling the Roomlands at night in search of a desperate fugitive is not a good idea, I make myself as comfortable as possible and wait out the night observing the hole in the wall.

Scene 3 The Temple of Lumenor

My vigil is in vain as nobody has attempted to re-enter through the secret passageway and I stiffly shuffle out of the priests quarters only to bump into a sleepy looking deacon who boggles at me as I tell him to go and get the watch as the walls have been breached.

He takes to his heels, sandals slapping on the paving and soon the watch arrives and I explain everything that has occurred in the last twenty four hours. Initially skeptical they change their minds when I show them the passageway and a guard is immediately posted whilst the remaining troops go to look outside the walls for any sign of shady deeds. 

The sergeant in charge, eyes me suspiciously and we both jump as a cry from outside breaks the silence. The search party has found a body. It is the High Priest and he is lying in the field outside town with an arrow in his neck and is very dead (CLUE!).

Melnax, High Priest of Lumenor

Cursing, the sergeant orders his men to secure the body and prepares to march me off to the Rookery for some questioning. Sighing but putting up with his in my opinion, block headedness, I agree to go with him but ask that he speak to the Crumwaller's on the way as they will prove the outlandish story I'm telling is true.

Somewhat begrudgingly, the man agrees and we parade through town back to Fisher Row with a small crowd of onlookers openly ogling the party as we go. Matriarch Crumwaller is less than impressed to be woken at the crack of dawn by a bunch of louts but does substantiate my story and the guard releases me before setting off to report to their captain.

Turning to me Mrs Crumwaller suggests I should go home and change as I look and smell like a bilge rat but informs me that the mayors wife has slept throughout the night and will be able to talk later today. Bowing grandly to the woman, I head back to my quarters to bathe, have a bit of a nap and change into something that doesn't smell so bad.

Scene 4 Fisher Row

A few hours later refreshed by a bath and nap and several cups of black coffee, I return and prepare to interview the Mayors wife about the events of yesterday evening. Escorted by the somewhat disapproving Mrs Crumwaller, I greet the Mayor's wife, Wenlan. She is pale and propped up in bed but smiles wanly as I sit and proceeds to tell her story.

Wenlan Smythe

The previous evening she had been sent a note, purportedly from Drevill Crumwaller inviting her to tea and she had set off, despite the unusual manner of the invite as Drevill would usually come herself with any invitation. She states as she approached Fisher Row, someone grabbed her from behind and pulled her into an alley before a pungent smelling rag was forced over her mouth and nose and the next thing she knew she was waking up in the Crumwaller house.

Mrs Crumwaller pointedly states that she sent no message but is relieved that her friend is safe and the pair thank me for my actions of the previous evening. I wave away the praise with a slight flush and continue the interview.

I ask her if there is any bad blood between her husband and the high priest and she shudders, stating that her husband had been threatened by the man but she doesn't know why and that she never liked Melnax as he was a cold and unpleasant sort (CLUE!)

She then says that her husband kept a journal in his office at their residence and while she is still too feeble to accompany me, she writes a note to her butler instructing him to provide me with access and aid in my investigation. 

I rise to my feet, thank Wenlan with a kiss to the back of her hand and florid bow, much to the disapproval of the Crumwaller matriarch who tuts and ushers me out into the street and I set off to the Mayors house to continue my investigation.

Scene 5 The Mayors Residence

I arrive outside the Mayors residence and find the place locked and dark. I knock on the door but there is no response and I try hammering on the door but it remains firmly locked. Sighing, I break out my lockpicks and set to work on the door. Fortunately it is no match for my skills and I open the door with a flourish before freezing as a grizzly discovery is revealed inside.

The mayors butler lies dead next to the doorway and has obviously been stabbed repeatedly. He appears to have been dead for several hours and I swear quietly before drawing my knife and edging into the darkened building. Skirting the corpse, I make my way through the house methodically checking each room before moving on until I reach the mayors office. It has been thoroughly ransacked and as I look through the chaos, I see a burned scrap lying in the fireplace. 

It appears to be the charred remains of the mayors journal and I manage to fish it out of the ashes and although it is badly burned, there is just enough for me to find that the mayor was searching the town covertly in search of some form of treasure but the rest of the entry is gone. (CLUE!)

Fuming that once again I am too late to find out more, I move onto the master bedroom and as I enter I hear a stifled sob coming from a wardrobe. I freeze and tighten my grip on my knife before edging over the the wardrobe and hauling it open. Inside lies the maid who had answered the door yesterday. She appears uninjured but is clearly terrified.

Shakily she explains that she was upstairs when she heard a commotion downstairs and arrived at the top of the stairs just in time to see a man stabbing the butler.

Realising she was trapped, she hid in the wardrobe and over the next few hours heard the man wrecking the mayors study before he left the house, locking the door behind him. She recognises the man as being an artisan who visited the mayor several weeks before but doesn't know his name but gives me a description of a stocky man with dark skin and a shaved and scarred head. (CLUE!)

I escort the girl out of the building, shielding her from the sight of the dead butler and re-lock the door behind me before escorting her to her mistress on Fisher Row before setting off to the Rookery to report the murder and seek an interview with the Mayor to try and finally get some answers.

Scene 6 The Rookery

The Rookery is a fortification that lies just outside the harbour and is intended to defend the settlement from attack and plays host to a garrison of troops from Bannervale who are charged with the towns protection and as I am rowed across the strait by a loquacious ferryman, I ponder on the whereabouts of the killer as although I now have a description of the man who killed the butler and ransacked the mayors study, is he also the one who is responsible for the slaying of the high priest, Melnax? It seems unlikely as he couldn't have left the settlement via the secret passage in the temple grounds and re-entered as the town gates are sealed during the night. 

I am torn from my thoughts by the guards shouting a challenge and nimbly leap to the jetty as they approach. I tell them my tale and am escorted to the captains quarters. 

Captain Sunderman

Captain Sunderman is unimpressed by my story but calls for his sergeant to dispatch men to the Mayors house to secure the scene and move the body to the temple. He also instructs his men to check with the main gate to see who has left or entered the town durning the last twenty four hours and if anyone matching the description of the scarred and shaven artisan has been seen.

Rubbing the bridge of a nose that has obviously been broken and set squint at some point in the past, Sunderman glares at me and says he has repeatedly interviewed the mayor and he claims to know nothing but suspects he is hiding something and agrees to allow me to speak to the man on the proviso that anything I learn will be shared with him, especially if it involves the safety of Beacon Bay or Bannervale.

I am led to a small cell that sits high in the tower of the Rookery where I see the mayor sitting dejectedly on his cot, his head in his hands. He stirs when the door is opened and looks up as I enter, a spark of hope in his eye which promptly dulls when I tell him of the attempt on his wives life the previous evening and the murder of his butler.

The news seems to crush the man and he takes a deep breath before telling me the truth of him and his partners falling out. The pair had spent many years together searching the scrapyard to the north in search of salvage to aid the town and had eventually found an unusual core in the husk of an ancient Rook. The mayors partner, Archibald Tolman had become obsessed with the core as he believed it could unlock the possibilities of creating tame Rooks and the pair had amassed a cache of cores that they stored in the Smythe warehouse but Tolman's increasing obsession concerned the mayor as he felt the man was taking too many risks out in the scrapyard and demanded he see sense and stop what he was doing.

Tolman cursed him for a fool and left the settlement the next day, claiming that he was going to the scrapyard to find a suitable workshop to continue his research. The mayor visited the warehouse the same day and discovered that it had been emptied of the cores and all of Tolman's research notes.

The mayor says that some weeks later the gravedigger, Beatrice had found Tolman's effects and a large pool of blood on the northern road and had raised the alarm and everyone assumed that the man had run into a Rook or bandits out of the safety of the town and met his end somewhere in the scrap.

Realising that if bandits were involved, the town could be in danger, the mayor had began a covert search of all the places he could think that Tolman could have hidden the cores within the walls but had come up empty. Somehow the High Priest had become aware of his search and in an unpleasant exchange had made some not so veiled threats to the mayor that if the cores weren't handed to the temple, dire consequences would follow.

Arwel the Artisan

Around this time, he was approached by a man called Arwel, an artisan who had settled in the town in the months following Tolman's disappearance. The man had asked for work but the mayor claims the man had a dangerous look to him and had turned him down. The next day the letter from the dead man had been delivered to him by the Gravedigger who claimed she had found it pinned to her door. (CLUE!)

He claims that on more than one occasion he had seen the man in the company of the High Priest and had been suspicious of his sudden interest in working in the mayors household.

I leave the cell, reassured that the mayor doesn't seem involved with the murders I tell him that his wife is safe with the Crumwaller's and return to Captain Sunderman's office to report my findings. 

He is concerned that there seems to be at least circumstantial evidence that there are bandits operating in the town and announces that he will be ordering his troops to be on the lookout for Arwel and will be conducting a thorough search for the missing cores.

As he informs me this, there is a knock on the door and his sergeant enters to inform him that nobody has left the settlement since yesterday when the Hunters Guild expedition left via boat to hunt down the Rook menace.

Nodding his thanks he dismisses the sergeant and turns to me with a grim look. He thanks me for the work I've done thus far and says that he will be collecting the Mayors wife and maid from the Crumwaller's and moving them to the safety of the Rookery until the perpetrators are caught. Realising that the meeting is ended, I take my leave and catch the ferry back to the docks of Beacon Bay.

Scene 7 The Corn Gate

The Corn Gate

I find myself wandering through the town. The inhabitants are still busy about their tasks but it is obvious they have been unsettled by the events of the last few days and I end up stood atop the parapet of the Corn Gate, the fortified gatehouse that leads from the Temple of Lumenor out to the fields beyond the town where the High Priest met his end.

I know the man was somehow involved with the bandits but why did they kill him? With this thought in mind, I decide to talk to the remaining priests to see if any of them can shed any light upon the man and why he would ally himself with bandits.

I nod to the guard outside the building and make my way inside and catch the eye of the deacon I had met the previous day, he approaches and asks if the killer has been found yet and I say no but we do have a suspect. He seems relieved and I casually ask him about Melnax. 

The deacon says that Melnax was always a cold and aloof man who seemed to be more interested in the power of his office than any holy duties or piousness but pauses and apologises for speaking so ill of the dead but I motion for him to continue and he reveals that the last time he spoke to the man, he had found a small badge in the mud outside the Corn Gate when he was bringing the temples flock of sheep in for the evening from their grazing. The badge portrayed a black tower and I freeze at his words and ask if he still has it. (CLUE!)

Shaking his head he says that he had taken it to the High Priest to show him it but the man had snatched it off him and cursed him for disturbing him with trinkets he had found before ordering him to leave him in peace.

Having spoken to the Golem adventurer EM-RY5 of his encounter with the Order of the Black Tower I realise it isn't just bandits I am dealing with but something much more dangerous and decide that I need to go and speak to the Gravedigger Beatrice to see if she has any further information.

Scene 8 The Main Gate

The Main Gate

Beatrice the Gravedigger lives in a small shack outside the towns walls, claiming that she is cursed and doesn't want to share her misfortune with the inhabitants of Beacon Bay so I make my way to the main gate and inform the guard of my intentions and grudgingly they open a small portico that will allow me to exit the town but warn me to be on my guard as they cannot guarantee my safety outside the town.

I nod my agreement and move off at a brisk pace along the cliffs to the west as the guards watch on from the rampart. 

The Gravediggers Shack

The shack is a few minutes walk from the town gates and stands in a copse of trees next to the roadside but as I approach I hear a commotion. I kick the door in but the window suddenly explodes out and a figure leaps out and runs towards the trees.

I spare a glance at the interior of the shack and see Beatrice the Gravedigger is dead, a dagger still stuck in her chest before I turn and take off after the fleeing man.

I chase him further into the woods that skirt the north road until we burst into a clearing which seems to have been a camp and I see a cog bike as the man leaps for it. In my desperation to catch the killer, I fling my knife and it flies true, catching the man in the lower back, he staggers and falls and as I catch up he rolls onto his side and I see it is Arwel. I have caught the killer but he is clearly dying as blood seeps from the wound and as I try to staunch it, he groans, shudders and lies still.

Sighing, I retrieve my knife and stand up. Looking around I feel decidedly uneasy as I am aware that the man couldn't have been working alone. I hear a commotion approaching through the wood behind me and lift my dagger, prepared to fight when I see reinforcements have arrived in the form of members of the watch from Beacon Bay. Sagging with relief I discover that the sergeant who had been in charge of the gate had watched my departure and then seen the man bolting from the shack and had ordered a patrol to head out with all haste to follow.

We search the camp as well as the corpse of Arwel but discover nothing of note before transporting both him and his effects back to the town. We stop on the way to look in at the gravediggers shack. Beatrice is indeed dead so we head back to the main gate to find the captain waiting for me.


Sitting with the mayor in the captains office in the Rookery, we discuss my findings. It appears that the there were two different killers at work, both seeming to be working towards discovering the whereabouts of the missing Rook core. I do not know if they were working in concert or against each other but it is clear that they had enrolled both Melnax the high priest and Beatrice the Gravedigger into the conspiracy and somehow the Order of the Black Tower is involved.

I surmise that Beatrice must have discovered the missing and almost certainly deceased Tolman and managed to find out something of the Core but not its location and she had produced the note that had set the whole case going to ensure the mayor was out of the way so her companion or companions had free rein to search the town. However I don't believe they found it as my investigation had interrupted their efforts. 

One of them must have been skilled with magic as the Sigil I discovered that had afflicted the town proved to be quite potent but I am not sure who it was but suspect Melnax to be responsible and he was killed when his usefulness was over and tried to flee.

The archer who ended his life is still at large as we didn't discover a bow in the camp so at least one of the assailants is still at large but I am more confused as to why Beatrice the Gravedigger was killed as she had obviously been working for the enemy for some time and I suddenly leap to my feet as I realise something.

Captain Sunderman merely raises an eyebrow at my antics but the Mayor seems startled by my sudden agitation and I say I'll explain everything as soon as we get to the Gravediggers hut and we must get there quickly and will need some guards to help.

The expedition sets out immediately and within half an hour we stand outside the sorry shack of the departed Beatrice. Excitedly I explain that Beatrice didn't just find the missing Tolman, she looted his corpse, possibly realising what he had was incredibly valuable and had been playing off the bandits with clues and hints but never revealing that she was in possession of the Core the entire time. 

Remember she told everyone she was cursed? The Core has obviously had some sort of effect on the woman which means she kept it close to her but hidden from view so while Captian Sunderman orders his troops to form a perimeter, in case of unwanted company, the Mayor and myself begin to search the shack.

The process is not particularly pleasant as Beatrice was not a particularly cleanly woman and the shack is dismal and rather unkempt but eventually we discover what we are looking for under the floorboards beneath the woman's bed. It is a Rook core but deep purple and it glows dimly. The Mayor gasps and says this is the core his partner Tolman had discovered and reaches to pick it up. I seize his hand just in time and point out that anyone who touched the thing was cursed and is now dead so we retreat and pick up a spade that was lying outside and use it to lift the object from its resting place. with care I heft it out of the shack and into a bucket.

Whatever the Core is made of, I want nothing to do with it and neither does the Mayor or Sunderman so we take it back to the Rookery and Sunderman sends for a lead lined chest to keep the thing in until a more permanent solution can be found and orders it be kept locked in the deepest dungeon of the Rookery until an expert can be sent for from Bannervale to make it safe or destroy it.

As we come to this conclusion, a shout comes from outside and we troop to the parapet to see the hunter Candlewick's ship limping back into port. It appears that the Golem EM-RY5 has had as an eventful few days as we have.

Final Thoughts

Gosh! The mini campaign played out over two sessions but typing it up and creating the artwork was a lot more work and has taken me ages to get finished but I've really enjoyed playing a different sort of a game than usual as my investigator Greem seems to have spent his time quite enjoyably and I didn't know how things were going to play out until literally the last roll of the dice!

Now EM-RY5 and Greem have new leads to follow as they have to track the bandits into the mysterious depths of the Crackway, the Scrapyard has to be traversed again to clear the way for travellers again and get aid in dealing with the mysterious Rook Core. There's also the prospect of investigating the next roomland and finding out the motivations of the Order of the Black Tower and EM-RY5 needs to continue his quest to find a way to protect his hometown from Rook attacks!

I suspect that my adventures are going to keep me entertained for some time to come and I still need to write up the five days of my Golems Campaign Log to reveal what he found out in the sea with the aged hunter Captain Candlewick. Hopefully I'll get the chance to post that up at some point in the not too distant future but in the meantime, All the best!

Sunday, 19 February 2023

A Slight Diversion Into the World of Valon


I've been run of my feet of late but have managed to play a quick game of Planet 28 using my small Flintloque collection.

The game involved a squad of Ferach Voltigeur's attempting to ambush Leftenant Sharke with some 95th Rifles and a small band of Guerrillas. 

Ferach Voltigeur Squad

Sharke's 95th Rifles

Dark Elf and Goblin Guerrillas

The Setup
The Ferach deployed in the south east edge of the board while Sharke and co deployed on the north west and the guerrillas deployed at the north in the middle of the board.

The Guerrilla won the initiative and began sprinting for cover but didn't make it before the ambushing Ferach opened fire on them with the lead knife wielding freedom fighter to take a direct hit from musket fire taking her out of action.

The remaining Elves either fired ineffectually or rushed to outflank the onrushing Guerrillas while Sharkes Orcs jogged forward to get into range in the next turn.

The next turn saw Rifle Orc Tunge aimed and fired but missed his mark and Harpy opened up with his volley gun but the somewhat shocked Elf took only a couple of points of damage, despite the volume of fire aimed at him. Sneering at his troops ineffectiveness, Sharke aimed and fired at a distant Voltigeur and grinned savagely as his bullet found its mark and the hapless Elf was sent crashing to the ground in a fountain of blood. 

The now somewhat spooked Elves returned fire with one managing to badly wound another of the rapidly approaching Guerrillas but they continued their charge despite the hail of fire.

Said Guerrilla, a badly wounded knife wielding young lady piled into the Voltigeur who had wounded her and proceeded to knife him to death while her companion, a particularly ugly Goblin called Sanchez hurled himself at the remaining Elf but his enthusiasm didn't result in him actually managing to hit the Elf so the melee swirled on.

On the other side of the board, the Rifle fire began taking its toll and a second Elf turned tail and ran after being sorely wounded by the rapidly approaching Orcs but their companion, possibly made of sterner stuff, held his nerve and took a pot shot at Sharke as he rushed to close and managed to score a critical hit doing 15 points of damage and leaving the Leftenant badly wounded.

The final action of the game saw the lone Elf fighting the two Guerrillas fail to hit anything with his musket butt and was in return taken out of action.

All in all, the game took about 40 minutes and was brilliant fun and the action suitably bloody and its got me sorely tempted to rummage out my remaining figures to get a coat of paint on them as the Flintloque figures have just so much character that they almost paint themselves!

I have also finished a Colostle side adventure but need to finish typing it up so that will probably get posted up tomorrow so until then, All the best!