Saturday, 31 August 2013

[actual play] Iron Kingdoms - Adamantine Will

Episode 2 : Witchfire - The Longest Night - Part 6
Darcey and Hurst quietly closed the door and quickly made their way up the stairs, hoping the thralls would not follow them.
Out on the battlements of the gatehouse of Fort Rhyker, Gregore and Brother Eckert assessed the stone bridge before them that stretched out over the chasm. Somewhere below in the mist was the drawbridge. To Gregore's eyes the bridge in a bad state, but it may hold long enough. He threw his grapple hook to the other side of the bridge, hoping that if the worst happened he would have something to hold on to. He then began to edge out over the bridge.
Eckert held the other end of the rope and watch, but acknowledge the arrival of the other two, asking if they had found anything. The two shook their heads. Gregore was now half way across the bridge, and some masonry had fallen away in places as he had made his way across.
Darcey and Hurst looked back to the stairwell, and spotted the band of thralls emerge, their eyeless sockets spying them. With no time given for explanations, Hurst and Darcey made to run across the bridge, with Hurst first dropping a smoke grenade at the end of the bridge. Eckert was dumb struck, and seeing there was no point in protesting, he ran after them. Gregore to saw what was happening, and made to leap the remaining distance of the bridge.
As the witch hunters sped across the bridge more stone and masonry fell away, revealing large gaps in the bridge. Darcey, finding her feet less sure on the ground leapt forward and clattered on the stones at the other end of the bridge. But Hurst tripped. He reached out and grabbed the rope, and Gregore braced to hold his weight. Hurst barely held on for his life, almost falling to his doom in the chasm. Eckert seeing this, sped forward and jumped, landing at the other end of the bridge as the entire structure fell away. Both Eckert and Gregore held tight onto the rope and Hurst fell and swung, hitting the side of the fortress wall. He looked up, glad to see who was holding the rope. He looked back to the other side of the chasm and the gatehouse, and watched with glee as the thrall warriors charged through the smoke, and to their doom as they tumbled into the chasm.
On the battlements of the fortress proper, the group did a circuit to ensure that they were safe. The only way down led into the court yard. There below them they counted some 500 thralls. And amongst them were the freshly dead zombies, Swamp Shamblers. A thrall captain used a spear to keep the rowdy monsters at bay.
"Juicy and dangerous", Darcey quipped.
At the north end of the battlements the troupe were able to look into the main hall, peering through the cracked and broken stain-glass window. The in the hall some 20 thralls protected another dozen who were arranging the bones of skeletons, as from body to body Alexia, aided by the 4 animated witches of the coven, went to animated the thralls. Red sigils on the ground formed a circle, and as Alexia spoke the arcane words of Necromancy. In turn Telgesh runes appeared about her, circling in spirals, and then the runes on the bodies, etched into the bones, flared into life. The eyes of the thrall blazed into life and the skeleton stood up and went to gather its weapons and join the rest of the army.
The troupe considered their options, wondering how they might escape. Facing Alexia head on was now not an option. There were more pressing matter. Gregore looked about the outside of the battlements, trying to find the shortest drop. From here the rope was lowered, and soon the entire group was down outside the fort, though they had taken some injuries in their landings on the rocky scrub.
Looking around Hurst figured that with the chasm between them and where they had left their horses they h The ash cloud dissipated and Gregore charged into the thralls, hacking at them with his great sword. In seconds the thralls had a 3 hour hike to get back. As they set off he noticed some fresh bodies on the ground, well fresh parts. They had been gnawed upon by something with large teeth. Looking back up to the fort they saw a trail of shreds of clothing and other body parts. In amongst the parts they found the badges of the two missing city watchmen. And in the side of the fort they could see a tunnel had been carved into the wall. From within the fortress they heard the sounding of horns and more horns replied. The army was moving. Almost in response a creature bellowed from within the tunnel. The troupe thought it prudent to get going quickly. Turning back Hurst spotted the large, shaggy haired biped that loomed out of the tunnel - a Gorax.
The troupe were exhausted when they arrived back in Corvis, the trek and the flat out gallop of the horses had sapped their energy, more so given the bighting cold of winter. In the sky above all the moons of Caen glowed, illuminating the street festival of the Longest Night. They quickly made their way to the inn of the Falling Star, sat on the river bank, and to find Captain Helstrom.
The grizzled captain sat near the fire, nursing a beer and smoking a pipe. He seemed lost in thought, but his eyes grew wide when the troupe arrived. He quickly asked about what they saw, and of the fate of his men. He then went on to explain, that he had tried to muster what watchmen he could to apprehend Alexia, but his efforts were falling on deaf ears in the council. Eckert was not surprise, and Hurst explained the trouble of Magistrate Borloch. Helstrom nodded and said he would gather what men he could and that their goal was to stop Alexia's scheme - trying to stop the army now was near impossible. He would also send some men out into the woods to watch for the army, so that they would have some sort of warning.
Gregore acquire a alchemical lamp, and told the others he would go act as lookout at the top of the Order of Wizardry tower. The top of the tower was where the observatory was, and so he should have a clear view of the city.
Hurst headed to the guild house of the Golden Crucible. The squat building sat on an island on its own. It was made entirely of stone and squat. Better that then have a tall building set ablaze in an accident. Within the house he met an official who was still attending for the evening, and showing his marks of authority, both with Corvis University, the Golden Crucible and the Order of Illumination, the official sat up straight, and tried to better listen - he was somewhat drunk. Hurst suggested that the Crucible guard should try to keep some order in the quarter, and that rather than raise the alarm for invasion, then they could use the alarm for for a fire, something even the council would have to take note of.
Hurst also took the opportunity to rearm himself, grabbing more grenades, and also taking a rockbreaker spray gun. But he changed the liquid for Vitriolic fire, in essence he now had a flame thrower, if a rather fragile one. As he left the guild house he watched as a dozen guards gather in the courtyard, dressed in the yellow and red colours of the order, and armed with halberds and shield cannons.
Darcey and Eckert returned to the cathedral and found Dumas in the chapel. They explained what had happened and that the church must take action. Dumas lifted himself on his staff fom kneeling in prayer. He thanked Eckert and Darcey for what they had done so far and hope that together they may be able to stop Alexia. He explained that he was certain she would be coming to the cathedral, and that the invasion was a distraction. He asked them to follow him.
They first went to Dumas's vicarage and there he opened a very old trunk and asked that Eckert would help him with fitting him with his armour. The armour was that of a Cygnaran Chaplin, and still bore dents from war. Dumas though old, stretch and groaned as he made the armour more comfortable. He then led them to the cathedral armoury.
Within the basement of the cathedral a number of priests were already donning chain mail and taking weapons. Darcey looked about and found that there was some chain mail that would fit, and with the help of the nuns, she was dressed for battle, the picture of a warrior nun. She then began to strip her rifle and prep it for battle.
Eckert noted that deep in the armoury, covered in dust were a number of of warjacks. Dumas had said they were church consecrated, but had not been used in years. Eckert remembered a few things from his days on the battlefield, and so with what he knew already, and what he found in a manual, quickly made himself versed on 'jack marshalling. I hope I don't end up getting someone killed with this machine, Eckert thought.
Eckert and a number of priests attended to one of the 'jacks, a Nomad class that bore silver and blues, and the Star of Morrow. The machine towered over the priests who had filled it with water and coal and stoked the priming fire. As the pressure built, and arcane generators span into life, the optics and vents glowed. The cortex was running. Eckert spoke the commands to bring the 'jack under his control, and in turn gave it a new designation. Solovin. Solovin stood and hefted its warhammer and rested the head of it in the other hand. It seemed to nod as if it liked it's new name. "Soon Solovin, soon".
From the tower Gregore spied something, but not from the outside of the north gate. There in the dark of the river bobbed a boat of some form. It was garishly coloured and had two figure on-board. Once in focus Gregore felt repulsed. The boat was the bodies of carnival goers, their clothes all colours and illuminated by the lights of the city. This boat, lashed together with their bodies, was ridden by two skeletons, one which punted the boat down the river.
From the other side of the river Gregore could now make out even more chaos. One merchant ship was drifting out into the river, ablaze, and with the crew battling thralls, while another ship, a warship, was also free in the river. There was a flash of gun power as it fired its cannons into the city.
Gregore went to the window, set the alchemical lamp alight, and then started his long run back down the tower and to the cathedral.
Hurst was in the streets, pushing past the partying people. He heard a cry from behind and turned to see a carriage racing down the road, sending people aside. Hurst dove for cover, face first so not to crack the container of Vitriolic Fire - it would be very bad for that to happen. He looked up from the dirty snow on the ground to watch the carriage ride past, and the driver fall from the seat, dead. A skeletal face looked up and back over the carriage, seemingly laughing as it continued its rampage.
Scouting the island next to the cathedral, Darcey watched the warship firing its canons, but then she heard screaming nearby. She followed the cries to a alleyway, a dead end, and found a shambler menacing a group of finely dressed women. The beast turned to face her and growled.
Eckert and Solovin strode out into the courtyard of the cathedral. He could hear the cannon fire, and the bells from the Crucible guild house rang out a fire alarm. The battle had begun.
Picture from

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Skorne and More

So I thought I would post some more stuff of what I have painted recently.

Next up some of the terraclips scenery in use to represent the under city of Corvis.

Finally a preview of a bit of a setup ready for the finale of the current story.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

[actual play] Iron Kingdoms - Adamantine Will

Episode 2 : Witchfire - The Longest Night - Part 5

The ash cloud dissipated and Gregore charged into the thralls, hacking at them with his great sword. In seconds the thralls were a mass of broken bones and rotting flesh. Brother Eckert and Darcey moved to the makeshift table hoping to find some clue as to what Alexia intended to do. There were books there, books that were heretical and had obviously been taken from the Corvis Cathedral library. There were also notes and writing paper. She had been researching something. The scribbles were on various blades and magic swords. And then on one page at the bottom was a name. Witchfire. The notes read of its ability to absorb souls. Alexia had also left a further note, wondering if it could be reversed. On another piece of paper was a list of names, with ticks next to them. They were the names of the jurors. There were two other names on the list. Magistrate Borloch, and the ‘Executioner with the lighting through the eye’.

Gregore had stalked off into the catacombs beyond, hoping to find Alexia. In the dark he noted a number of chambers, and with one found more thralls, and proceeded to destroy the abominations.

Darcey looked the the remains of the thralls in Alexia’s chamber, and noted how one looked much like the young grandson of one of the jurors. Eckert nodded and vowed that their bodies would be returned to their rightful resting places.

Together Darcey and Eckert went off to find Gregore. Upon finding him he explained how he had dealt with more thralls, who were obviously more of the jurors. There was then a shifting from behind one of the other doors. The sound of water sloshing about. Gregore moved towards the door, just as the wood of the door burst apart. With a deep grunt and snort a pale lizardman, 8 feet tall, ducked under the doorframe and into the passageway. It sniffed the air and looked at the group with black, hungry eyes. It bellowed and flicked its scaly tail. Gregore took the advantage and stormed forward, ducking under the beasts razor claws, and sliced and hacked at the creature’s belly. Blood and offal fell to the stone floor with a wet slap, but still the beast stood. Eckert ran to Gregore’s side, using his staff of Morrow to try and cripple the creature, but the beast was made of sturdier stuff. Darcey then saw her chance, “Someones been a bad lizard”, and she struck at the cold blooded monster, smashing the beasts snout with her mace. There was a wet crack as the beast let out a muffled gasp and collapsed.

The group looked about and headed away from where the beast had come, hoping that more of the vile creatures were following.

They rounded the corner of a tunnel and came into a domed chamber, and there in the centre on a dais sat a ornate tomb. Eckert looked at it and note the holy enchantments upon it, for it was the tomb of a former Prelate of the cathedral. Eckert made a blessing to Morrow and the group continued on its way. They then came to another passageway, and as they walked down it they could see that the sides of the walls were in fact shelves upon which many dead were gathered. The word printed on silver necklaces about their necks read ‘Plague’.

Eckert turned to as he heard squeeking, skreeking, and sound of tiny feet. Many feet. Dozens and dozens of Devil Rats swarmed about them and began to clamber upon them and bite into their bodies. Gregore swept his sword in great arcs, and used the flat of the blade to squish the vile critters. Darcey pounded the vermin into the stone with her mace, finding the weapon was covered in fur, crushed bones and meat. Eckert did not fare as well, finding the creature biting where his cloak and clothing did not protect him as well. The bites came up in burning welts. But he was able to pull the rats from his body, and smash them apart with his staff.

They ran from the tunnel, finding a spiral staircase leading upwards, and from there a ladder to loose paving stone.

Hurst was in the library of the Order of the Illumination, with piles of books and ledgers on the wooden table. He was trying to find anything about the trial, be it reports, diaries, anything. A passing member of the Order, Vigilant One Karsik Goldur, put a leather folder onto the table. “This may enlighten you. I could not help but note what you were researching.”

Hurst looked at the papers within. One was an account from Father Dumas, informing a nunnery that he would keep Alexia in his care, but that she suffered from nightmares about things that Dumas was certain she should not be aware of. Another paper was a journal entry by a foreman working for Borloch, and it told a lot more about the execution, the ritual that had been performed, the blade, and that an Inquisitor had been involved. The last piece was torn from a journal and written 2 years before the execution. It told of a sword called Witchfire, and how it had been taken by the pirate king Moorcraig, and that they will recover it.

Eckert, Darcy and Gregore clambered out of the catacombs into the snow dusted streets of Corvis. In the alleyway they found no sign of Alexia’s passing. In the alleyway a vagrant was drinking from a bottle of rum, dribbling it down his beard. Gregore approached the man. “Where did the girl go?”

“Well a Merry Winterfest to you and all!”

Gregore grabbed the man by the arms and shook him, ignoring Eckert’s protests. “Where is the woman in white! Tell me now by Morrow!”

The drunkard looked at him, and grimaced. “Damned son of a whore! I dunno nothin’ you speak of!”

Gregore felt a warmth on his boots, and looked down to see the drunk had urinated on him. He pushed the man away.

“May Morrow bring you good fortune!” And the drunk shambled off, all toothy smiles and laughing.

Eckert shook his head in dismay, and the group when out into the street, only to be waved over by a bearded man in a hooded cloak. He asked if they were looking for the woman, Alexia. Surprised, Eckert said yes. The man revealed himself to be Julian Helstrom, captain of the city watch. He explained that he had men watching her since the other night, as one of them had spotted her coming back with the shambling dead, twice. Just the other day she had returned with 4 more. But given his lack of manpower during the festival, he had been reduced to keeping an eye on her. He had sent men to follow her during the day, as she had gone out of the city, and then returned. One man returned, the others left to watch. The man had found that Alexia had gone to the ancient, Fort Rhyker. Helstrom asked that they would go there, find his men, and stop Alexia, and he would do what he could in the city.

Gregore had gathered horses for them, and Darcey and Eckert had fetched Hurst, and they set off from the Cathedral. Father Dumas, who Eckert had spoken to, asked for them to try and bring her back alive, hoping that she was not beyond redemption.

On the horse ride out of the city, with the light failing, Hurst explain his findings, and what with what had been found in the catacombs, it was clear that Alexia had some plan to recover this mystical blade.

After a 4 hour ride they could see the dilapidated twin towers of Fort Rhyker. Using a spyglass to survey the area, Eckert could see that thralls were digging up the dead from the old battle field. The bones were piled high on carts and taken to the fort. The fort consisted of a gatehouse, a drawbridge and stone bridge, both of with stretch across a gorge to the fort proper. Seeking to not draw attention to themselves the troupe worked their way around the field, dodging patrols of obviously more aware and complex thralls. The dead working the fields seem to just ignore them.

Once within the gatehouse the troupe quickly made their way to the next floor, hoping to take the stone bridge rather than the drawbridge that was heavily patrolled.

On the next floor of the gatehouse they slowly made their way to the staircase and the top of the building. In the one room they found a armoury, but it was just a collection of rusting armour and weapons.

Eckert and Gregore moved on, not wanting to waste time and be spotted by a patrol. But Hurst and Darcey brought trouble to them. They opened another room, and within were a half dozen thralls. As one they turned to face the living intruders....