Sunday, 28 September 2014

Iron Kingdoms RPG Review - No Quarter 53-56 and The Monsternomicon

Privateer Press have been very active recently, churning out either books, new models, new plastic versions of old models, and of course great content in their magazine, No Quarter.

In the pages of No Quarter there have been a number articles for the Iron Kingdoms RPG. There have been adventures, new careers for characters, new equipment, locations and conversion guides for models.

Over the last 4 issues of the magazine, there have been a number of adventure modules, that collectively form a longer campaign.

It all starts back in No Quarter 44, back when IKRPG first was released and they presented the quick adventure, Spirit in Steel. The adventure there and the new module, rely on the antagonist, Vladislav Abrosim, a rogue Grey Lord on a quest for his own immortality. In the original adventure Abrosim was already testing concepts and ideas from the dark book of mechankia, the Librum Mekanecrus, and had placed the soul of a man into the body of a steamjack.

Part 1 of the "Immortality" campaign, "Undeath Metal", takes place near a small Khadoran town. People have been going missing, and Abrosim's lackeys have taken to continuing the experiments, this time utilizing the technology of the Convergence of Cyriss (let's not kid around, Cyriss tech is just a cleaner, less evil variant, of certain necromantic arcane technologies). This adventure is a pretty standard series of encounters with the aim of stopping the bad guys and saving people (you know... the family business).

Part 2, "Act of Murder", picks up the trail of the Abrosim lackey, and takes the troupe to a Khadoran city, Gorogrey, on the the boarder to Ord. Where the last adventure was simpler, and featured some Cyriss based enemies, this adventure is more complex. It's a murder mystery. The adventure has some great locations and set pieces, such as the theatre and the rail depot, and this adventure ties up the plot from part 1.

Part 3, "Mercilessly Alive", follows up on Abrosim's research, either following on from "Act of Murder", or drawn by strange disappearances and apparent slow death of the town of Erofeev, just on the boarder to Ord. Here the investigation concerns the work of a rogue alchemist, and the results of their terrible experiments. While previous adventures have had a sense of either the undead or necromancy to them, much of this adventure, and the following part, "Many Deaths, One life", rely on a sense of body horror. Again in this adventure there are plenty of good set pieces, and give a great feeling of how the Iron Kingdoms are populated by these small towns.

What is important to take home from all these adventures is that they present many non-combative solutions to particular sections, and in fact, finding these routes is often given a greater reward both in terms of plot and experience points. Also it is important to note, where possible, even for these adventures presented in the magazine, we get brand new art. Privateer Press is putting in a lot of work to support the RPG, and to give examples of different story types (something we will pick up on with the adventure they released recently, "Bitter Medicine").

The Monsternomicon was perhaps two books that really sold how different and diverse the Iron Kingdoms is, especially back when the RPG was designed to use the D20 system. What we have here is the long awaited return of the books, with the new rules system. In the issues of No Quarter, the free bestiary download, Full Metal Fridays, and Urban Adventures, we already got a good selection of monsters and creatures, and some of those make a return here. That isn't a bad thing, since it is easier to have it all in one book, rather across many different downloads. But we do get a lot of good new stuff.

Critical to the new book is the idea of creature templates. These are essentially ways in which the based creature stats and skills etc. can be modified to represent variants on the monster. So a juvenile creature, or one that has magic abilities etc etc.

Highlights in the book have been the Croak Hunters (I just painted one for my Gatorman army), the Dracodile (will this be the Minion gargantuan beast!), a infernal beast, and of course Dragon Spawn!

Now is it a book to buy? Maybe not as a hard copy. You will be only using one or maybe two creatures from this book at a time in any one adventure. After all, IKRPG is not a dungeon crawl! Of course you may think "Where are the Farrow? Gators? What about some Everblight Dragon Spawn!" Well we do have Unleashed coming up, don't we, where we can play IKRPG in the wilds of Immoren, and play as plenty of those creatures.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Battle Report - Hybrid: The Heresiarch's Prison

After an ambush during a routine Syhar prison transfer, Venerable Ambrosius is captured and taken to the city of Tenseth. As the warriors of the Lodge of Hod rally to find their mentor, they discover his captors dead. Worse still, it seems as if the captors were foolish enough to use a recently uncovered Dirz laboratory as a base camp and prison.

The warriors of Hod, including Phidias, an rising star pupil and squire, enter the laboratory, SO9, brandishing their gun blades. The laboratory creaked and moaned, with loose rock falling from the ceiling. The Seneschal gestured for the other temple knights to spread out, for something - something large - could be heard behind the large steel airlock door to their left. They took up positions and waited. If there was some horror waiting to erupt forth from the darkness then they would have the first shot.

In the dank gloom of the laboratory depths Ambrosius waited, tinkering with the lock to the chamber he had been locked in. He could hear echoing outside the moans and growls of the unholy creatures that stalked the dark.

From the shadows a small, clawed, fiend raced forward and gnashed and tore at one of the knights. He let out a cry of shock and kicked the creature back and fought back.

The seneschal knew they had to take the initiative, any advantage they had was now lost given that they had now been attacked. A knight ran forward and open the large airlock door. It slid back - steel grinding on steel - and revealed waiting the enormous form of a Aberration. The titanic beast, made of bone, muscle and metal, dripped viscous saliva from its lipless maw. The knight and seneschal fired. The barrage of gun fire briefly painted abstract shadows across the walls of the laboratory. Each shot hit home, puncturing flesh and membranes. Ichor spattered onto the rusting floor.

The beast roared, barrelling forward, dragging wicked looking steel talons. Medical tables and equipment was sent flying in all directions. It slashed out at the knight, sending the man backwards like a rag doll.

The commotion had alerted more than the foul creatures of Dirz. From the drainage pipes burst forth a horde of rats that swept through the laboratory tunnels and out into the day light of the back desert above.

The Aberration bellowed and crashed forward again, and in a single rending swipe, parted torso from legs, leaving one of the knights a bloody mess. Phidias raised his multi-barrelled pistol, and fired. Each shot cracking into the skull of the foul monstrosity, and finally ending the beasts rampage.

The seneschal aided his knight and brought his gun-blade down on the grotesque tiny creature, and split it in two. Almost as if in response, another of the vile, little, creatures sprang forth from the shadows at the seneschal. The scrabbling creature tore at the seneschal's face and throat. Throwing the creature off the remaining knight returned his captain's favour, and impaled the beast.

The laboratory was once more silent, save from the drip-drip of blood from the remains of the hulking beast. Somewhere Ambrosius was still trapped, and the more time they wasted the more likely their master would die.

In the stillness and inky darkness, cold green eyes flared to life, as spindly fingers worked a sphere of ectoplasm. The Neuromancer reached out with his mind and touched the thoughts of each of the Hybrid warriors. <<STALK. AMBUSH. DECAPITATE.>>

Ambrosius finally opened the door to his cell, and gingerly crept out. He still had his rifle. But without the warriors of his temple, he was unable to use to his full potential the auras - his holy powers. There, sprinting towards him, was the man-machine Hybrids of Dirz. The blank metal faces smeared in bodily fluids. However, this one was different. Even the mask could not hide the maddening frenzy the being was in. It hacked and slashed forward, with Ambrosius barely able to survive. The creature was strange still. Face to face, Ambrosius could see metal plates shifting and locking into place. The monster was almost in full plate armour.

Phidias and the remaining knight had decided to follow one corridor, while the seneschal proceeded down the other. poison dart crossbow bolts fired from the gloom, and Phidias returned fire. The Neuromancer's alchemically attuned mind reached out and forced the wound shut on the injured Hybrid.

The seneschal approached the embattled Ambrosius. Taking aim he fired, but found his shot were deflected by the thick armour on the Hybrid. In reply a crossbow bolt whizzed over his head.

The knight accompanying Phidias, rounded the corner and took aim at the infernal glowing eyes of the Neuromancer, but the shots were not true. The Neuromancer then, almost as if smirking behind its blank metal mask, shut the large steel doors.

Cutoff from the others, the seneschal fought back. The Neuromancer lashed out with his thoughts, causing the seneschal to buckle over. The psychic seeing his chance charged forward and sliced at the warrior. The seneschal tried to fight back, his gun-blades biting into the arm of his opponent. Ambrosius stepped back and took aim, his rifle injuring the Hybrid. But the creature was possessed. It howled from behind the mask and leapt forward, and hacked down the old man.

Phidias and the knight raced through the laboratory to the aid of their captain, and together they laid low the psychic and the Hybrids. But Ambrosius was dead.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Slender Man cometh - Kingdom Death

So I got a new figure for Kingdom Death - good old Slendy.

Now just how shall I paint him?

Monday, 8 September 2014

On the Table

So some more finished minis, which brings me closer to the end of my Rackham collection.

The Dirz Aberration

The Dirz Neuromancer

Tigers of Dirz

Khanir the Savage

Misericorde, Khanir and Phidias

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