Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Darker Days Radio #54

Mike, Chris and Chigg bring a holiday special. In this show we delve into the subject of True Faith and it's appearance and application in Classic World of Darkness.

In the Secret Frequency  we look at a snow themed mystery, the Devil's Footprints.

Finally we look at the latest book for New World of Darkness' Mummy the Curse - Guildhalls of the Deathless.

And finally listen to find out how you can enter our competition to win a copy of Vampire the Requiem - Blood and Smoke.

Be sure to check us out at http://www.facebook.com/DarkerDaysRadio or our Google Plus Community athttps://plus.google.com/communities/104221086985174488220. Be sure to subscribe through iTunes! 


Also guys if you can spare some money, David Hill and Filamena Young, who have written for many, many, World of Darkness books, were recently burgled and had their computers stolen. That is their livelihood. Plus they were meant to be moving country soon. Help them out! 

Monday, 23 December 2013

[Actual Play] Iron Kingdoms - Adamantine Will

Episode 4: The Wine of Wrath - part 5

The assassin's blade met the padding under the plate armour, and Gregore turned to face his attacker, drawing his rapier. The two combatants clashed, blades clashing  and ringing. In a flurry of strikes the assassin's dagger was removed and the rapier had impaled the man. Gregore removed the black hood to find the attacker was in fact one of the house servants. Gregore blew on his whistle.

In the main courtyard of the house of Dimiani the wedding party had commenced, and Darcey watched her brother and his new wife. Kateryna excused her self and returned to the house, needing some rest after the long day. At the sound of the whistle Hurst rushed off to see what had happened, while Brother Eckert scanned the grounds. He saw Madam Rosaline return the house, and Eckert was suspicious. He heared a scream and rushed to the sound.

At the body of the assassin Hurst was already checking the body, and found the assassin's blade was poisoned. Gregore had already left to seek out other assassins. And then there was the sound of an explosion.

Gregore was knocked to the ground as the blast tore apart the party, sending nobles sprawling across the courtyard. Darcey had instinctively dived for cover, and now she looked on seeing her brother and father on the ground. She pulled Vyhn and found he was merely concussed, but her father was in a worse state. He  had numerous cuts and a spike of wood from the banquet table stuck through his leg. Vyctori, the eldest of the brothers ran to the courtyard with his men, and knelt at his fathers body and screamed.

In the house Eckert  ignored the explosion and the screams and headed to the front of the house to see  Madam Rosaline and her conspirators mount up on horses with the bride, Kateryna, bound and gagged. They rode off. Eckert called for horses, and he was soon joined by Gregore. Vydori ran to meet them, and passed them a note, a wedding gift from Oswinne Muir. It detailed the location where the assassins were going to.

At the side of her father, Hurst had arrived and begun to tend to the earl's wounds, using his alchemical salves to staunch the wound. the earl would live. Vydori arrived and spoke the Darcey,

'Your friends know where Madam Rosaline is. Kill her. Kill her for the harm she has done to our family!'

They rode hard and stopped on the hillside, looking down on the abandoned barn. Hedgerows and stone walls marked out fields that in the cold of spring held no life. Mist whispered about the trees and across the landscape. Brother Eckert took out his spyglass and surveyed the area. There was little to see but they knew their enemies should be in the barn.

Hurst took it upon himself to sneak to the barn, using his winter wolf fur coat to appear as some animal. Hurst approached as carefully as possible, as he neared the grounds of the barn a gun shot sounded. There was a sniper. Hurst kept low, and with his shaving mirror signalled to Eckert. Eckert scanned the barn and the land about it, and there, in the trees near to the barn he spotted something, someone, which sent a shiver down his spine. It was a Widowmaker sniper, an expert marksman of Khador.

Eckert and Gregore worked their way down the hillside, approaching from the other direction than Hurst. They got close and were within sprinting distance  of the barn. Darcey had moved into range. It was now all or nothing. Hurst threw a  rock, and distracted the sniper. Gregore and Eckert made a run for it,  the sniper firing wildly at them. In response Darcey fired, clipping the Widowmaker, and making them fall out of the tree. Darcey fired again, killing the Khadoran. Hurst was at the door of the barn and overheard Rosaline, the Khadoran words unintelligible to him. Assassins came out of the main barn doors, and they faced down Gregore and Eckert. The knight and priest fought with the Khadorans, with Eckert calling upon the indomitable might of Morrow to strike down these killers, as Gregore cleaved through their numbers. Hurst hurled a gas grenade into the barn to flush more men out, and in reply had to face down a number of assassins. There was then the roar of an engine within the barn. Eckert's heart sank. The towering warjack, a Nomad class, bearing a huge sword and canon emerged from the barn, and it fired a barrel full of grape shot. Gregore's armour held, imbued by the power of Morrow, and the knight launched himself against the warmachine, hacking into pistons and steel with his great sword. The steam powered engine of destruction stepped back and fire again, and with it's back to Darcey she fired, the shot from the hunting rifle piercing the boiler and causing the warjack to explode.

Rosaline looked on and cornered by the witch hunters she bit down on a poison tooth, spitting her hatred for Cygnar at the victors. It was over.

With Kateryna safe, and the Dimiani safe from the Khadorans, Darcey was able to finally relax. The celebration of the wedding continued, but now with the knowledge that one person had died, the Morrowan priest who had married the couple. The Earl, aware of Eckert's own skills and fortitude offered him the position of Vicar of Grymaldi.

In the sewers of Corvis, in the dank tunnels, the dead stirred, commanded by a pale woman - Alexia.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

More stuff for Warmachine and Hordes that Chris has painted recently

So what we have here are a Feral Geist, Wrong Eye and Gatormer WiP, Aptimus Marketh, Arcane Gun Mages, Khador Kayazy Assassins with custom hoods, Black 13th Gun Mages, Dire Troll Mauler and Gatorman Warbeast Snapjaw.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Welcome to the Farm - Zoology in the Iron Kingdoms

The Iron Kingdoms is an interesting world. We have magic augmenting science to give us steamjacks and warjacks. Alchemy does what normal chemistry cannot. Prayers to gods translate into divine powers. Magic of course is used by those with the gift - some of those people end up being able to control warjacks, while others can tap into the innate energy, the fury, of their beasts.

And that is what we shall discuss today - beasts, monsters, and other races.

Because of the level of education and science in the Iron Kingdoms, the technical insight and research into the differences between different civilized races, and beasts, is an active field, and an important one. Many of the differences between creatures and races comes down to either biology and alchemy (bioalchemy I guess is a field of science), and to a degree magic, since a good number of creatures have come into being due to the way magic and such powers have interacted with the world. The catch all term for these interests is Zoology.

Zoology can be described as the study of the structure, embryology, evolution, classification, habits, and distribution of animals. For the people of the Iron Kingdoms, this sort of information is critical for so many aspects of life.

First of all is food. The Iron Kingdoms of course has sheep, cows, pigs, all those mundane animals from our world, but there are of course distinct versions of these creatures (Razor Boars), and so these differences are important for when it comes to making food and farming. Some of these animals may well be hardier creatures to farm, and so better suited for colder climates. Also for wilderness survival it can be critical to know which parts of an animal not to eat - you don't want to be chomping down on a poisonous gland.

Related to food, and perhaps more pertinent to the Iron Kingdoms, is the extraction of certain materials and chemical from animals, and the stranger ones especially. In our world, the everyday pig is rendered down into all manner of components, some of which end up in things like car breaks, rubbers, bullets. Things that are definitely not for consumption. Now given the Iron Kingdoms is on the verge of a industrial revolution, it is not crazy to think that the animals that are farmed, and those that are hunted, have their parts put to use for all manner of things. Maybe the stomach acids of a particular troll are useful for etching metals. Maybe a beast in the deserts of the Protectorate has a oil that is a component of making the incense that they cleanse their temples with. Another beast's hide may well make excellent leather that is resistant to magic. Of course the alchemists may well fund hunting parties and farms so that these animals can be sourced for their particular products. A Llaelese perfume may well rely on a certain musk  from the type of deer. Or an insect may provided the key component of a dangerous poison.

Rather than killing these beasts many of them may serve military purposes. And so understanding their temperament, how they breed, how they can be trained and coerced, is critical for using wild animals in war, and perhaps to a degree eventually domesticating them. We can look to Khador and the Butcher's recent acquisition of a pair of Argus as an example of this.

Of course of greater military importance if how to kill beasts. Many of the strange beasts of the Iron Kingdoms are just dangerous. And some of them are particular weaknesses, natural weaponry, and of course methods to how they hunt. When dealing with the Trollkin and their Troll allies, the druids of the Circle of Orboros, the Legion of Everblight, the Skorne Empire, and the beasts of the Farrow and Gatormen, it pays to know what your are dealing with. Some breath fire, other corrosive acid. Some can regenerate horrific injuries, others are aquatic. Beasts have all manner of biological, and magic abilities, and they are not things to be trifled with.

So if Zoology is a big thing, how can we represent that in Iron Kingdoms RPG?

Adventuring companies based around the need for Zoological expeditions, monster hunting and capturing. These companies could be funded by a university as they seek new animals to experiment on or to keep in their zoos. Perhaps they work for an alchemical guild, their target being a rare animal and the enzyme that is produced in its eyes. May be they work for an army, and they are tasked with capturing an animal for training purposes. Or perhaps they are hunting for more selfish concerns. Monsters provide great  sport, both for big game hunters or those how run bloodsport arenas.

What careers would work for such a company?

Alchemist - they make essential medics on the team, plus who else do you turn to for gutting your prized kill? Alchemists can perform the role of  doctor, zoological surgeon, taxidermist.

Arcanist - if the group is working for a particular magical order a Arcanist is a good fit. Plus there are times you need magic to solve some problems or eliminate some weapons a creature has.

Aristocrat - this career along with a number of others can represent all manner of things. The Aristocrat could be the one bankrolling the whole expedition, or just be another scholar of Zoology. Maybe they are a big game hunter?

Bounty Hunter - easy, hired thug for monster killing, or perhaps a better trained game keeper. Coupled with the Ranger career you have quite the outdoor explorer and hunter.

Explorer - again this is more than likely the Zoologist academic who is more interested in the habitats of the creatures and how they act,  rather than the biology.

Pirate - useful if what you are hunting lives at sea.... KRAKEN!!!

Ranger - speaks for itself.

Rifleman - ideal marksman for shooting down monsters. Coupled with the Ranger career and you have an excellent hunter.

Monday, 2 December 2013

[Actual Play] Iron Kingdoms - Adamantine Will

Episode 4: The Wine of Wrath  - part 4

Hurst dropped to his knees clutching his throat, looking out into the night through the broken window. The assassin was gone, and from Hurst's cry for help house guards, servants, Darcey and her family, Eckert and Gregore were already on the scene.

Hurst was attended to and left to rest in his room, where he pondered the nature of his dagger and the curious runes upon it. Gregore joined the house guard as patrols were increased and men and dogs were sent to try and track the assassin. Darcey was tasked with looking after her  youngest brother, the groom, Vyhn. Eckert choose to do some investigating. It turned out that the assassin was more than likely the suspected servant, who was of course now missing. Eckert then took this as a sign to follow up the conflict of information and suspicions linked to the head of the household, Madam Rosaline.

Eckert has begun to learn to use a new gift from Morrow, and was now able to detect lies, something useful for detecting clues to this conspiracy. Madam Rosaline prepared some tea for them, given the time of night, and over the course of the questioning, while Eckert was no closer to confirming his suspicions, he grew very tired,  but then it was late at night.

The next day the troupe was up early for breakfast and once refreshed and dressed in their formal garb, they prepared for the gradual arrival of nobles from around Voxsauny, and then the arrival of the bride herself. They party was almost in full swing. Macaroons in all their gaudy pastel colours, wine, fruits, flowers, cakes of all forms. There was more food than people to eat it. Lavish drapes featuring the Dimiani coat of arms were hung from the building.

Eventually the carriage and the escort of Dragovych guardsmen arrived to much cheering and trumpets. The guards stood to attention and the bride, Kateryna, dismounted the carriage, dressed in a regal purple, festooned with pearls and a golden tiara. The house servants carried into the house the numerous gifts and dowry, and the Dimiani family welcomed their soon to be new addition to the house. Darcey thought her a little snooty, but Darcey was something of a woman of the world.

As the wedding party prepared for the wedding itself, Eckert and Hurst took the time to look over the dowry gifts. There were all manner of things. Furniture, books, chests of gems, paintings, a music box, a collection of Oswinne Muir's plays.

In the courtyard as people were talking and conversing with the party from Umbrey, Hurst realized something was wrong, a stern looking man, a captain of the Umbrey guard, marched up to him. The captain accused him of stealing his family pocket watch. Hurst protested his innocence and handed the watch back, but the man was not happy. He still had an axe to grind, accusing Hurst and the Dimiani of insulting his family. Eckert stepped in to try and stop things, but the man still raged. Darcey stepped in, much to the annoyance of the fuming captain. Darcey, while dressed in a voluminous dress, still was able to face the man down. Gregore soon joined and looked him in the eye, dressed as he was in his own armour. Of course Vydori, the more jovial and trickster of Darcey's brother, caused a commotion, barging Gregore into the captain.

With the captain on his ass, the man jumped up and drew his sword, demanding a duello. Gregore was more than ready to meet his blade. Vydori had what he wanted, some fun, and explain to the others that the captain had in fact been engaged to Kateryna, but obviously things changed and he seemed to have taken things badly.

The fight started, as blades clashed across the courtyard. Each parry met a riposte and a parry. They were each equals, circling and lashing out. Darcey, annoyed with her brother, dragged him away, even as he protested that he had to see if his bet on Gregore would pay off. Darcey thought this was all a diversion, and sought to watch her brother, she loved him but knew too well what a schemer he was.

Gregore and the captain traded blows until the captain relented to the more skilled warrior.

An hour later the wedding was conducted, with bride and groom walking together towards the priest of Morrow, the Prelate of Rhydden. Vows were exchanged and violins played. Solemnly the married pair exited the manor chapel, followed by the wedding guests, and finally trumpets sounded and applause was unleashed.

Eckert and Hurst checked the dowery again, thinking they must have missed something, and found that the music box was gone. Eckert and Hurst started searching and checking the servants and guests, Gregore headed out to patrol, and Darcey rushed off to change into her leather armour, fearing her family were  in danger.

Darcey, now dressed in her work attire, much to the shock of the guests, watched over the newly married bride. She listened to the young couple talk, and heard the young girl explain how she had learnt to sing a new song, one from the music box that was in the dowry.

Gregore was in the mansion gardens, and rounded a well groomed hedge to find the music box shattered on the ground, and he then felt the cold shock of a blade sliding into his back.