Friday 14 July 2017

Secrets buried in the sand; A Dungeon scum adventure

He had travelled far from his homeland in search of knowledge and in search of real power.

Eutior had heard of the calamity that befell Tanis, but on his way there he had heard other rumors too, whispered in dark places and carried to him in his dreams.

Having gathered information on this old temple in the desert, and sent his scrying eye to look upon it himself, Eutior decided that he must go there first. Something was definitely there in the abandoned temple and he aimed to find out just what that was.

None of the locals would take him there, and he spent many nights fruitlessly trying to convince caravans and passing traders to show him, even on a map. but to no avail.

Just as he was about ready to brave the desert in search of it himself, he happened upon a captain of a mercenary band. This man knew some of the local lore, having fought for and against, the tribes of men and elves that inhabited the deserts. Men like the captain was easily swayed by coin, and soon the sorcerer had enlisted his aid to find the temple.

The next morning they set off.
 After travelling for several days, the band finally found the temple.

The men of the band quickly set up a small camp in the shelter of some rocks, while the captain took Eutior to one side, away from the men.

"I have taken you here, as agreed." The captain said, carefull not to raise his voice. "I'm afraid the men won't follow you down into the temple. not for all the money in the god-king's coffers."

"That is fine, I needed you to get me here, nothing more. I trust you will stay until I am finished with my work?"

"The men are anxious, they say this place is cursed. I do not believe such nonsence, of course, but I fear mutiny if we stay too long."
The captain licked his lips, looking anything but worried.
The sorcerer knew just what was going on. He was squeezing him for more money, probably keeping it to himself as well. No matter, if that was what it took, he would pay the man.
"I see no reason to refuse you a bonus to stay, that is what you are asking, it it not?" Eutior looked quizzically at the mercenary.
He handed over another bag, heavy with silver. "I will be back before midday tomorrow. If I am not, you may leave." He decended the steps, without looking back or waiting for an answer.

As he made his way down the steps, he thought he saw something moving in the gloom. As his eyes adjusted, he realized that the was a cloaked figure moving down the corridor infront of him. Blast! Another seeker coming for his prize? Perhaps, but then again, maybe not.

Stin heard the footfalls behind him, there was someone else here! He'd rather not share the gold and precious items in the tomb with someone.. He heard a faint click, something mechanical? In here? Then it dawned on him, a trap!

The blades sped towards him from the celing, but he was not going to stop in time. The other trespasser had startled him, and now it might cost him his life!

From his vantage point, Eutior could clearly see the blades shooting down. The thief had sensed them, just a bit too late. He might prove usefull if there are more traps.. Decision made, the sorcerer willed his power to life, weaving strands of magic to form a chain, binding Stin to the floor, stopping him scant millimeters from the blades path.

He suddenly jerked to a halt, the blades passed in front on him instead of through him. He saw the go translucent and break like the were made of glass. Two important pieces of information crystalized in Stin's mind: He was alive and the other trespasser had just saved him using some form of sorcery.
"Are you unhurt?" He heard the voice of the sorcerer call out. "Yes, I suppose I am. I am Stin, and you are?" Eutior gave his name as he walked up to the young man.

"I propose an alliance Stin; I am here for tomes and magic artefacts, but I gather you seek more worldly rewards?" Without waiting for an answer he continued: "We share the gold and gems we are bound to find, but any artefacts we find are mine, unless I have no use for them, then they are yours. Agreed?"

With little to offer the partnership save his keen senses, and feeling a little more than indebted to the mysterious man, Stin agrees to the terms. Besides, you should always be wary of sorcerers, they can turn you into a toad if you displease them, or so they say!

As soon as they are about to cross the threshold into the next room, the door at the end slams open, and several nightmarish creatures emerge!

Stin has never seen skeletal warriors before, and stares in horror and amazement as the animated bones creak and clatter towards them.
"What in the nine hells are that!" He shouts at no-one in particular, but Eutior takes it as a honest query and so he begins: "Those are skeletal warriors, dead guardians brought back into unlife and servitude by means of necromancy. They are most likely sentrys placed here to prevent any unauthorized entry into the temple, alerted by the trap you set off." 
"Nevermind the lecture, can you zap them or something?" the thief nervously pulls out his crossbow from underneath his cloak, but the bolt goes between the ribs of a warrior before slamming into the far wall.
"Aim for the head or sternum, you most break the bones to stop them! And no, magic isn't something you just "zap", it's a delicate art!"
Eutior mutters the last bit as he gathers the weave again, causing chains to shoot out from the floors and pillars, locking two of the undead in place!
The skeleton in the lead swings at Stin, who ducks under the clumsy blow. The sorcerer parries a blow with his own sword, knocking back the lead skeleton.

The bonds holding the other undead horrors soon break and Stin is soon fighting for his life against two attackers. He is shoved into the pillar and trips, a spearpoint bounding off the stone where his head was moments ago!

Rolling around the column and finding his feet, the thief finds himself looking at the unpotected back of a skeleton warrior. Stabbing at the neck, he manages to sever the head, well, mostly. The malevolent light goes out, and the bones crash to the ground, once again dead.

Eutior keeps an undead warrior at bay, but can't get an opening, he should have paid more attention during sword lessons.. 

A badly timed thrust leaves his foe overextended and the sorcerer chops of the arm with a vicious strike, followed by a swing that separates the creaking warrior into two halves. The bones clatter to the floor, lifeless once more.

Stin struggles with the last warrior, having trouble landing a blow that would affect the undead creature before him.
A particularly savage attack sends the young thief flying into the back wall, stunning him.

"Enough!" Eutior cries, as arcane energies start to form around him. His hand erupts in flame, and he points it at the last skeleton. "Begone."

A bolt of brilliant energy, too bright to look at directly, shoots out and strikes the creature head on. The force of the blast sends the disjointed bones flying, dispatching the last foe in an instant.

Stin looks at the sorcerer in awe and some fear too, he must admit to himself. "Are you able to continue?" Eutior asks the stunned Stin as he sheats his sword again. "Yes.. I.. I am fine." The youth manages. Without a word and only the smallest nod of the head, the sorcerer starts down the corridor now free of the undead.

Slowly making their way down several levels and past another few traps, the duo manages to disarm or bypass them without further incidents.

They soon find themselves looking at the main chamber of the head priest..

"This is it, be on your guard!" Eutior warns as they slowly make their way down the corridor. Stin doesn't reply right away, he is straining his senses, trying to detect further traps or monsters lurking in the gloom of the big chamber. "I don't sense anything." he finally admits, turning to his ally.

"There is a magical ward on the doorway. I will attempt to disarm it, but before that, take this." the sorcerer hands him a small vial of semi-opaque glass, some form of liquid sloshes around inside it. "It's a potion to heal wounds, in case the guardian of this place were to awaken, you might need it." Eutior continues. "Now stand back, I will lift the ward!"

The threads of this particular spell were very fine and crafted to foil just such an attempt however, Eutior just doesn't have the experience to untangle it without it breaking!

A wail, like the cold banshee in her grave assaults them, seemingly from every direction.

The lid of the casket in the centre of the pillared hall slides open, and falls to the floor with a crash. The high priest, once the master of this temple, rises to defend it from intruders once more!

Eager to put something solid between the baleful gaze of the high priest and themselves, both heroes rush into the hall getting behind a pillar on opposite sides. The venerable undead jerks to a sudden halt as chains of magic bind him to the floor.
Eutior's triumph at binding the creature is short-lived however, as it shoots a bolt of energy from it's staff. Wracked with pain from the bolt Eutior falls to the floor gasping for air.

Stin produces his crossbow at the same time as the high priest freezes in place and his bolt slams home, rewarding him with a hoarse hiss from the creature. 
With a mighty shrug, the high priest breaks the bonds, and strides forward with purpose. Stin attack when the creatures back is turned, his attention on the sorcerer.

Quicker than he had thought possible, the undead priest swings around, knocking him over with a strong blow.
Raising his staff again, he slams it into the head of Eutior, knocking him senseless.
Curses! What will he do now? Stin thought, the creature is stronger than he could handle on his own and wields magic too. But wait! He remembered the vial given to him for just such a situation! Rolling to his feet, narrowly avoiding the staff of the high priest, Stin opens the bottle and pours its content on the sorcerers face. The liquid seems to seep into his skin and a faint glow surrounds him for a fraction of a second.

Eutior's eyes shoot open. What happened? He remembered the undead priest, and then.. yes the staff hitting his face. His introspection was interrupted as the staff once again slammed down against him, but missing him this time.

It was time to finish this monster.

Picking up his sword and lunging at the creature, Eutior manages to knock him back, slowing the relentless advance of his foe.

Stin takes the opportunity to sneak up from behind and this time he will finish the job!
His dagger sinks into the hood, going right through the ancient wrappings and resins, piercing the skull. Like a puppet with it's strings cut, the undead guardian is no more!

Taking some time to compose themselves, Eutior thanks Stin for his timely intervention, but reminds him that the potions are meant to be drunk, not applied like perfume. Nevertheless he is pleased their partnership worked out so well. When they are both recovered, the pair stars looking through the room for anything usefull left in the chamber.

They find enough gold to fill two sacks and a gem or two that Stin secretly pockets for his rainy day fund. A light armor in near perfect condition hangs on a small stand, it would fetch a good prize they feel. Lastly, amongst the books and scrolls on a table Eutior finds both a spellbook in resonably good condition, but only a single spell of any use and a pair of enchanted gloves. The gloves protect their wearer from assaults from afar, turning both arrows and flung projectiles alike from their master. It might serve the sorcerer well indeed!

After a quick rest and some rations, the duo makes ready to return up to the surface, they have found all that is worth carrying away in this place.

When they reach the entrance again, they are greeted by the morning sun as well as a terrible noise from the mercenary encampment. Men are running about shouting orders and preparing for battle, donning armor and dousing fires. "What is going on captain?" Eutior shouts when he spots the leader of the band. "Raiders, sir. Damned dark elves have decided that we are the next targets. Get ready to defend yourselves, unless you want to spend the rest of your lives their slave!" The captain runs off to join his men, forming a defensive line.

"Archers, ready, aim and fire!" as the shout goes out the bowmen starts pelting away at the still distant raiders, but soon crossbow bolts are fired in response.

A single dark elf is lightly wounded, but most dodge lithely out of the way.

With the two groups focused on each other, Stin sneaks up between two mercenaries and readies his crossbow. Scanning the raiders for any signs of a leader, he quickly spots the one in charge.

This is where the young thief shines, attacking distracted or unaware targets. The bolt flies true, taking the dark elf commander in the throat and silencing his orders for good.
A lone crossbow-man on the far flank is unaware that the mercenaries also have a sorcerer in their midst. Eutior finds a good spot among som rocks and starts to weave a deadly spell. The last thing the raider sees is a light brighter than the sun arcing towards him!

In the center the fight is in full swing, one of the raiders pit fighters have found himself facing no less than 3 mercenaries, including the captain himself!

No stranger to uneven odds, the raider holds the soldiers at bay and even manages to inflict a severe wound with his chain on one of them, taking him out of the fight.
The mercenary archers keep firing, as rest of the raiders move in. Seeing that the mercenaries in the center might soon be overrun, Eutior quickly weaves another spell, the sands themselves rising to immobilize the dark elf witch warriors.

Now immobilized, one of the witch warriors is wounded as the captain comes to trade blows with her.

The master-at-arms continues the struggle against the pit fighter. His perseverance pays off, as his pole-axe spills the blood of the raider on the sand.

The second pit fighter fares little better, being repulsed by the combined efforts of Stin and the archer.
 He then throws himself in a headlong rush across the  desert floor, ending up in a position to help a witch warrior fight the mercenary captain.

With all the focus on the fight raging in the centre, Eutior sees his opportunity. He strides forth, first opening up the back of the pit fighter, before launching himself at the witch warrior. Her blades flash quickly, but the sorcerer manages to strike her on her already wounded side, bringing her to her knees. A quick thrust from the captain and it's all over.

The remaining raiders break, recognizing that they have no chance, having lost more than half their numbers. The witch warrior drags one of the pit fighters along, as the archers keep shooting arrows after them, to encourage their flight.

After gathering up the dead and stripping them of anything useful as well as treating their own wounds, the captain meets up with the sorcerer and the thief. "Blasted raiders, but we showed them, din't we boys?" The captain is in good spirits, the man downed in the fight was likely to make a recovery and the loot didn't hurt either.
Eutior smiled a weary smile. "We would like to get some rest, but then we leave for Tanis." the sorcerer made it a statement rather than a question. The captain saw no reason to argue, he had just received a big bonus as far as he was concerned.

Strange sounds and odd-colored smoke could be seen coming from the sorcerer tent that night and the man looks ashen and haggard when leaving it, even if he seldom does during the travels.
"What is it you do in there all day?" Stin one day works up the courage to ask. "I pay the price." Eutior simply says, refusing to elaborate.

After a day or so Stin cannot keep from sneaking up to the tent and peeking through a crack in the cloth. What he sees he could not really explain, but he knows it is something that will be with him til the end of his days.
In a small circle covered with runes and what he can only guess is blood, there stands a creature, half wasp, half something indescribable. Eutior speaks to it in hushed tones and the thing, for he didn't know what else to call it, chitters back in some language unknown to Stin. Suddenly one of it's multi-facetted eyes lock onto him and he recoils in horror. 
He never goes back to tent during the trip to Tanis again.

After about a forthnight, the party reaches the outskirts of Tanis. The mercenaries go to trade and drink, their contract fullfilled. "Where will you go now?" Stin looks at the sorcerer as he poses the question to him. He looks his normal self again, the weakness and corpse-like pallor gone.
"There is bound to be a few easy marks around here, I guess I will stay untill opportunites around the guild dries up."  Stin cannot look into the eyes of Eutior without remembering what he saw, what he dearly wished he had not.

"I could have use for a man of your talents Stin. Come with me, greater riches than can be found in the pockets of drunks and mercenaries is what I offer. What say you?"  Stin knew he should get as far away from this man as he could, sorcerers were not folk you should meddle with. But for some reason he couldn't explain, he felt strangely drawn to the mans words. They made sense to him somehow and besides, you should not anger a sorcerer, even he knew that much.

So he agreed.

Eutior smiled a warm smile, shook he younger mans hand and said "Our pact is made."

And so they walked into the streets around the hunters guild, ready for new chances at power, riches and glory.

That's the second part complete, 4 out of the 5 characters have now been introduced, only Ragnar is left!

Til next time!

Thursday 13 July 2017

A somewhat late introduction, a few new mechs and some terrain

One of those mixed posts today, starting with some 6mm Fantasy:

For the next part of the introduction of new party members I needed a change of scene, from the forest to the southern deserts. This ancient temple is sure to hold something of interest for an enterprising adventurer..

Having little of the standard guards and human soldiers I put together this little party of 10. Usefull both as mercenaries, town guards or regular old bandits, they diversify my 6mm fantasy options.

A trio of archers with bows and long daggers.

A pair of men-at-arms with swords and shields in metal armor..

..And a similar pair, the exeption being a mace/club having replaced the sword. 

A weapon master or sergeant, with a polearm and shield, in similar armor to the other soldiers.

The company leader/guard captain/ head brigand. Being the only one on horseback serves to set him apart from the rest. I might make a cavalry unit at some point, but it doesn't feel like a big focus for the RPG-lite sort of games I mostly play.

This guy I painted up to serve as the leader on foot, but he could easily be the second in command in case an extra body/ stiffer challenge is needed.

Somewhat late to the party, as hinted in the header, is the minis I painted up to serve as protagonists and NPC's of importance. Better late than never I suppose!

 The whole group: First row is all potential heroes, starting with Brother Nicholas and Roke on the left, with the second row being two (hopefully) important NPC's and an prospective ally of the rest of the heroes. 

Ragnar is from the frigid north, like Brother Nicholas and Roke. Unlike the two Dragon Knights he is a warrior of the hill tribes, a people known as fierce barbarians. Like many others he heard the rumors of Tanis and even though he was told not to, he went. Gold and glory is his for the taking! 

Sorcerers are often mistrusted by regular folk, often rightly so. Magic is a power that instill fear and awe in equal measure, especially when it is worldly rather than divine. 

Eutior cares little for the opinion of folk, regular or not. He knows that knowledge is power, and power is what he wishes for. This is why he seeks dusty tomes and ancient crypts and it is also why he travels to Tanis, following the threads of magic.

Roke is a junior Dragon Knight, charged by his order to protect Brother Nicholas as well as take his teachings to heart, to better understand their god. Clad in the plate of the order and carrying a great spear, Roke is ready to bring the light of the Great Dragon wherever he may go.

Both companion and mentor, Brother Nicholas travels south to the afflicted lands of Tanis at the behest of his god. To eradicate evil and spread the light of the Great Dragon is a holy mission, a quest in which the priest will not fail as long as he draws breath.

Living on the streets and in the backalleys of the great cities is no picknick, just ask Stin. He learned early to stick to the shadows and always keep your eyes and ears open. The rumors have obviously not gone past unnoticed in his circles, Tanis seems ripe. It's quite the journey, but he'd just heard of a place on the way, a small target on the way to his big payday..

The village elders had pleaded ceacelessly with the guild of hunter's officials. Their villages had pooled what little they had to send them to the guild to petition a contract for aid. The bribes and bureaucracy had almost gotten the better of them, but in the end they had done it. Now they just had to find someone willing to help them, while there still is a village to save!

Fighting and drinking is what you'd expect from a burly barbarian, and Tyggi doesn't disappoint in that regard. Having been tossed out or wrecked enough of most of the drinking holes around the guild and out of coin to boot, the warrior now faced a dilemma; Either find someone to fight with or against for money or go thirsty. Not a palatable idea, that.

Heroes must have something to fight as well, so I decided to add to my small (but growing) collection of monsters: 

The four big beasts. All of these would classify as lone monsters in dungeon scum, meaning that any one of them alone or possibly supported by a handfull of regular monsters, should be challenge enough for a party. As we saw in the first adventure, an Ogre is quite capable of taking down a character pretty quickly!

A pair of Ogres. Pretty straight-forward as monsters go, these brutes are as big and strong as they are ugly. They can toss rocks or other debris to attack adventurers from a short distance away, but prefer to use their great strength in close combat.

A river troll. These monster are often found near rivers and streams, as well as caves. Like other trolls they are strong and hardy, possessing extreme regenerative abilities but like their cousins fire is their weakness.

The last monster I added is a rock golem. Conjured up as a guardian by some magic user or even by divine will, these creatures often guard tombs or other site important to their creators. While they possess no magic of their own, the threads of magic that bind them together are strong, making the golems tough and strong opponents.

Since I can't keep to a single project at a time, I got inspired by Stroezie's mecha team "Powell's Rangers" that he showed off a short time ago. While not nearly as complete or thematic, I managed to convert up a team of my own for mecha adventures:

I present the White Shoulders. A crack team of mecha pilots with customized machines, they are the ones you want when you need to get the job done. Need a team to infiltrate and shut down a new enemy research project but can't risk the exposure? Do you have a high profile/VIP thorn in your side that you need to get rid of? Don't worry, as long as you can afford the fee, the job is as good as done!

The green unit is a customized for long-range fire support and cracking hardened targets. The heavy back-pack mounted cannon is a special select fire, multi-munitions weapon system, loading everything from conventional explosive and armor-piercing rounds to bunker-busting and seeker rounds. 

 The red unit, like the other two, is based on the Warrior-class mech chassis, but with significant modification for close combat. Reinforce armor plating, re-tuned engine and re-vamped actuators to cope with the added stress of heavier armor and harder impacts during combat is just a few of the internal adjustments. A rocket pod and an extra torso-mounted cannon have been fitted to the external armor of the unit.
 The blue unit is the last of the three, and it's modifications are similar to the red one's, with a few exeptions. Instead of the torso-mounted cannon, blue has got an additional gun fitted to his left arm. The differences doesn't stop there either, as this is an experimental DEW. This gives the blue unit the distinct advantage of never running out of ammo, so long as the power plant keeps operating with at least 50% efficiency.

Little is known of the pilots and their previous contracts, despite this they are very much in demand. Keep your eyes peeled for these guys in the future!

For my fellow mech-heads I won't stop there, as I recently got a few MWO mechs home from Warhansa! 

I only got these 4 for starters, wanting to see the quality for myself before potentially going crazy and getting a full company or so :)

The Atlas was a great success as far as the model itself, looks just as imposing as I hoped!

Another favorite, both from the game as well as battletech and robotech in general, is the Marauder (or Glaug officer pod, if you are so inclined). The arms felt a bit small, but overall another great model.

The Warhammer (or Destroid Tomahawk). One of those (IMO) rare mechs that looks just as good in the source material as it does in later re-imaginings. The model is very true to the MWO original, scale feels right all around.

 The last one I got was a King Crab. I love this mech in MWO as well as battletech, but it's the one I feel least happy with from Warhansa. The detail and look is perfect, but it is way too small! Barely reaching the "teeth" on the bottom of the Atlases head puts it ok hightwise, but it's only as wide the Atlas when it should be noticably wider. This would probably beef up the arms a bit more too, bringing it more in line with the MWO "original".

Despite this I think it's a really cool model and I'm glad I got it anyhow :)

The last things I have to share is a set of containers I got from brigade several years back, to be used with some 15mm project. I never got around to painting them then, but these containers turned out to be a great size for 6mm mechs, and I happen to have a few of those ;) 

The blue unit and the Warhammer graciously standing in for scale.

So there we have it, a quite big update, and I even left two teams of mechs out since they still don't have their decals attached yet. I should really get around to finishing that..

Anyway, next up will be the second introductory adventure of the fantasy Dungeon Scum games, I have already had time to play it, but will try to get in uploaded in the next few days.

Then we might have some more mecha action as well, my DP9 order just dropped in today.. :)

Til next time!