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Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Gothic Horror - The Hunt for Mary Scroggins Continues - Part 1

Well lads I told the Sisters we were not going and they said that’s fine, God will protect after us. Like buggery he will, so I said I would accompany them as far as Greater Piddling in the Marsh. You don’t have to come, I’m happy to go on my own. After all we killed that wolf man thingy and the Red Devil was not too scary. I know you don’t like bears Simon but he’s dead as well.

It should be an easy 8 mile walk, but if you are not happy about escorting the Sisters, I’m sure they’ll understand and forgive you, should anything go wrong – which of course it wont.

Daniel’s agreed to come and his wife – they’ve got bottle, I’ll give them that, no sense of course but brave as a pair of weasels, but if you don’t want to come, nobody will think any the less of you.

Oh and by the way Maude Porter still has the basket of brandy, and she’s coming too, but if you --- Oh do shut up Marmaduke of course we’re coming, chorused Simon, Jonathan, and Jeremiah, even Baxter barked his approval. (Sounds like something out of the Famous Five)

Well that’s a bit of a relief and I don’t mind saying so, - those Sisters are such chatterboxes and a man needs some male company you know.

Yep that’s Sir Marmaduke Langdale cunningly encouraging his companions to come with him looking for Mary Scroggins a second time.

If you didn’t read the 1st abortive attempt to find her look at this report here, I don’t think it will help a jot - but you never know.

These are the Sisters in question, and still don’t have first or Christian names, I feel I’m really slacking at the moment.

The Carter family - although no sign of Johnny.

I’m still determined to try the rolling table, by moving the action along the squares of terrain and when they exit one full set of tiles on the left remove them, and move all the remaining tiles to the left and add a new set on the far right. The table is 3 x 4 with all my sponge trees on it, and you can just see the river and bridge at the top of the picture, right side of the board.

The column heads out led as before by Sir Marmaduke and Baxter his faithful bulldog. Not had time to fit the steel/silver teeth yet.

The rear of the column with the Sisters grumbling a little about not being nearer to the front, the dust and the horse shit and the smell from the Carters same old – same old.

It’s still quite a strong force but after the debacle last time they sallied out, that’s not a bad thing.

I’m using the same encounter markers moving in a random manner and also the same encounter deck except I removed the encounters already encountered if you get my drift. The other point is that I am trying my rules but adding a supernatural and monster element to them rather than the CinC rules I’ve used before.

Almost as soon as they leave the village there is movement to the left of the road and a Black cowled figure appears. Gliding through the underbrush it makes no noise, moves no vegetation as it silently comes towards them. Sir Marmaduke is closest and the blood red eyes of the apparition bore into his mind, he can feel a lassitude come over him, he loses 1 from his constitution in the mental fight that is taking place, unseen by the others.

Simon Darkwood fires his pistol at the Ghost which can’t be hurt because it is a non corporeal entity but it can be dispelled. The bullet passes through where the ghost stands and appears to have no effect. Baxter is a brave and gutsy dog and attacks the ghost, which turns its baleful gaze from Sir Marmaduke onto Baxter. The dog is not phased by this at all and snaps at the ghost, there is a loud snapping sound as his teeth close on thin air.

The Ghost is not a physical thing so it attacks using mental powers to defeat an opponent but can’t physically kill the opponent but reduces it to a coma like state. Similarly Physical beings can attack the Ghost physically but can’t kill it, so when it is reduced in power it dispels or disappears.

Sir Marmaduke fails to activate, I guess he is still recovering from his brush with the ghost, but Jeremiah Pile. moves forward through the forest on the left and Jonathan Hawke moves up the road calling Baxter back so he can get a shot at the ghost, of course Baxter who has the brains of a goldfish ignores him and carries on snapping and snarling at the apparition, he feels a shiver of apprehension as he loses the mental tussle with the Ghost, but still remains in the unequal fight.

Simon Darkwood starts the long process of re-loading and the Sisters and other fighting men also move forward.

With a loud shout of “For King and Country” the Cavaliers charge forward to Baxter’s aid but it is too late and he falls to the ground shivering with fear. Fortunately it’s not far for him to fall and he does no physical damage.

I used a mix of the horror cards from Pulp Alley and from someone else who I can’t remember, Jeremiah failed his guts test and drew a card which was Suicidal Charge, fight like a mad man for one move and check bravery if still standing. Good oh.

Fighting like a mad man does the trick and the ghost disappears in front of their eyes.

Two other encounter markers come in sight. One is just the wind blowing through the trees but the other is not.

A pair of green Ghouls burst out of the trees, flesh eaters and scary as hell, these fight physically and can be killed but they also engender fear in opponents.

Sorry about the wonky bridge.

Jeremiah and Jonathan activate, Sir M doesn’t, the Sisters do and the Ghouls do.

There are a lot of opponents for the Ghouls and so they take a brains test, which because they only have tiny and quite defective brains they fail and charge to the attack. Jeremiah doesn’t like the look of these abominations and fires his pistol but his legs refuse the command to run forward, strange how legs can be so smart at times.

Jonathan also fires and then charges forwards but when 6” from the Ghouls takes another guts test because he can see what he’s about to fight, i.e. it’s a horror test and he passes and piles into the nearest Ghoul.

Even equipped with teeth, claws and a club the Ghoul is no match for a Kings man who survived the Civil War and is equipped with armour and a damn sharp sword which neatly takes the Ghouls head from it’s shoulders and it is now dead.

The remaining Ghoul runs away - quickly. These are creatures of the night and ambush they don’t like anyone who fights back.

Quick shot to show what is happening behind the fighting that is taking place at the front of the column. The plucky Sisters have pushed forwards, determined to do God’s work, something about smiting and hips and thighs and sinners, and eyes and teeth, not too much turning and cheeks though.

Before Jonathan can chase after the Ghoul, assuming he was going to do such a stupid thing another encounter marker appears and is revealed.

A Werewolf.  -  The forest round here is full of strange and wonderful creatures - all waiting to rip your face off and devour what’s inside.

You may think Jonathan is unlucky with these encounters but previously it was 1-4 Ghouls and this time it’s 1-4 Werewolves, so in the great scheme of things – he’s lucky. He might not see it that way though.

Jonathan is about 5’ 6” tall but stocky with it and he gazes at the werewolf which looks to be about 7’6” tall, but then he realizes it’s on a slotta base so it’s probably only about 6’6” tall. Ha that’s nothing and so with another loud cry of “For King and Country” he charges forward. The Werewolf not to be out done, growls Food and attacks as well.

There is a loud crash as Lobster Helmet, Steel Breastplate, Mathew Palmer Steel Sword bounce off Muscle and Bone, Tooth and Claw.

Everyone else is stunned and not a little afraid and do not activate except the Sister of the Order of the Virgin Mother (SOVM). You may not remember but she fought the Werewolf in the previous encounter and she is thinking Begorrha (maybe Irish!) that’s not as big as the last one, must be his little brother and she moves forward to help Jonathan but does not get there in time.

Ok so those slotta bases do count for something and Jonathan is flung to the ground, winded but not badly hurt, he would have be torn to pieces after that but SOMV arrived just in time to save his life and he didn’t get to find out if God was on his side in the Civil War. Not yet anyway.

She sets about the poor Werewolf with her staff and shouting incantations and extortions for it to go back to Satan, fights it to a standstill. They aren’t half a plucky lot these Sisters.

Sir M seeing the SOVM in mortal combat finally recovers from the effects of the Black Ghost and charges forwards to her aid brandishing his trusty sword, as does the Sister from the Order of Perpetual Pain (SOPP), armed only with a Steely Glare, which does no damage and the Werewolf ignores, it does not affect his resolve to eat as many humans as possible.

Sir M and SOVM lay about them and you can see Sir M’s sword made from the finest Sheffield steel pierce the Werewolf’s chest.

Frank tell your cameraman to eat his heart out, this is going to win the academy awards for best action shot. ;-)

And it falls to the floor, dead. Sheffield steel will do that.

Around this time the last encounter marker left the table and I finally got to move the rolling table forward.


The new table. The village has gone.

The river flows into a lake.

There’s a log cabin by the side of the road, is this Hansel and Gretel or Little Red Riding Hood?

You see they are not yet over the bridge I have finished the game but at this point I’m going to leave it.

To be continued………………………..

If you are still here - thanks for reading and I greatly appreciate any thoughts and comments you make.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Vagabond's Flying Adventures - The Bebe

“Where’s Pilot Officer Vagabond”, the raucous voice of the C.O. woke me from my sleep and I was 100 yds away from his office at the time. Honey said “I think he’s sleeping, over behind the haystack” no need to get excited, that’s James Honey and one of our most fearsome fighter pilots, not a man to cross – especially if it’s a Maltese cross.

“What screamed the C.O. we’ve just had a flight of Huns over the airdrome bombing the s**t out of us and you tell me he slept through it!!!”

There’s times I think that the skipper has seen a bit too much action and he gets a bit overwrought. Basically he’s sound but just now and then there are more raw nerves showing than snowflakes in the artic in wintertime.

I’m Pilot Officer Vagabond R.F.C. and I’m feeling a bit of a veteran out here at the front, if you survive 3 weeks on dawn patrols then you start to feel a bit invincible.

The C.O. was striding towards my haystack, I could hear his footfall and decided laying on my back with sleep in my eyes was not going to improve our relationship so I jumped up and brushed most of the straw off my flying jacket.

“Good afternoon Pilot Officer”, oh no I’m in deep s**t now, he never addresses anyone by their rank unless they are dead, or about to be. “How’s your gunner, the man you refer to colloquially as Dipstick”. “Err I think you might have misheard” I say, thinking at the time my God shut up – you don’t correct the C.O. – not when he’s in full flow. “I believe he’s in the field hospital” he says, “when do you think he might be back in the saddle, but just remind me, when he was wounded in the line of duty what action were you in, I don’t remember”. “Umm – well it wasn’t actually action sir, he stepped on the gardeners rake and it sprang up and hit him in the eye. But he should be out of hospital soon. Was their some mission you wanted us to undertake when he’s out?”

“What do you mean when he’s out!!!” Upps this doesn’t sound good. “No” he says “I’m looking for a volunteer to go and have a look at some bridges the bomber boys say they have destroyed. The Brass would like to make to make sure that they are really blown”. “That sounds like you need a full crew for the Bristol” I stammered, “would you like me to find a gunner”. “No that’s fine” he says, rather slyly I think, “you know you’ve always been saying how you respected the early pilots, the ones flying the older machines – well we have a French Nieuport 11 available, just thought that might be what you were thinking of”.

My God, flying a Bebe, whow yes that would be great, but not over the lines not against current German planes, the thing is a year out of date and a year outclassed. “It doesn’t seem such a good idea I responded weakly”. “Nonsense man” he says, “it’s all fuelled up and ready to go, see the Adjutant for the maps and dispositions and I’ll see you back here for the evening meal. We have some very nice Chateau Lafite to go with the steak – so don’t be late”.
“No sir”.

Well here I am, across the lines, a long way into Hun territory looking for 2 damn bridges that shouldn’t be there. The French Pilots nicknamed the Nieuport 11 the Bebe (with accents that I don't have on this laptop). The Bebe is flying really nicely, very responsive – not fast but I’m starting to enjoy myself when I see 3 black specs in the distance. Well they could be British planes returning from a mission, they could be very big sparrows, flying in formation but really there’s only one thing they can be – Boshe.

The cold lump in the pit of my stomach gets bigger – and colder.

OK – so my mission is fly very close to 2 bridges and get back home with the knowledge that they are either gone – or not. Don’t get shot down and ideally shoot someone else down but it’s not mandatory. Simple really.

Of course the main reason for posting the game is to show off my new mat, made by that well known mat making firm of Vagabond and Vagabond of Bond Street. Yep, Mrs V gave me a hand painting this, I am determined to get her interested in playing with small plastic aeroplanes.

Behind them I can see the river where the bridges shouldn’t be – of course that’s if my navigation is on top form. This will be a first if it is.

OK 3 of them in a line, what was it that Honey said – I remember - try and cut the odds, so I pull to starboard, hoping they will all pile into each other and just fall out of the sky, well I remember it being a good thought at the time.

It seemed to work for 2 of them but the Green Albatros anticipated my move and turned towards me.

You can just see the 2 bridges, one just by the port wing tip of the Blue Albatros and 1 just hidden by the tail of the Red Albatros.

By heck – he’s getting close, I’m not going to make it past him.

So I turn in and attack head on. This is not a good idea, but it’s the only one I had. I have a weak old plane and he doesn’t.
It doesn’t get any better, we both open fire and my single gun jams, he has two guns but fortunately he misses.

His mates belatedly turn and follow him.

I slip past him. A quite close slip, but we didn’t collide. Mid air collisions can be disastrous and the main reason we didn't collide is because I don't have the advanced rules printed out and so am not using them.

For no good reason Blue has turned to port and I could blow him apart (maybe) but of course I’m still un-jamming my guns.

And can’t fire.

I’m following him round, but still beating the guns trying to un-free them. The red Albatros is getting very close, he has stalled and then does a left sideslip, a perfect manoeuvre. Well if you are a Hun that is. He opens fire and bullets phutt through the canvas of my plane.

I need to turn to starboard to get to the bridge but Red damages my rudder and I can’t turn that way but thinking like a rabbit in the head lights, I do the only thing possible and swing to port.

That fooled them, I turn inside Red , Green is miles away and going the wrong way, Blue seems to be a rookie and is also flying the wrong way. This might just work.

I get the damn gun unjammed but of course by now there is no one to shoot. I’m on the way to the 2nd bridge and there’s no one in the way. It’s looking good.

I can see that the bridge is still intact. The bomber boys have failed here.

So I pull a tight turn to starboard.

Good grief these Albatros move fast, Blue would have been all over me but I’m no longer there, I’m headed for the other bridge to see if that’s still there.

Looks like the bridge is half way between me and the Red Albatros.

We both fly cannily, he stalls, I side slip as we counter each other but finally, to avoid stalling and falling out of the sky we have to open the throttle and fly straight at each other. I can’t pay too much attention to the Albatros because if I do I might not see the bridge as I pass, so I stop worrying about getting shot down (maybe) and concentrate on the bridge.

The Blue plane mean time does a sharp turn to starboard, well as sharp as a DIII can go, if he continues like that he will be on my tail. One behind and one in front and me in the middle like the proverbial Nieuport in trouble, but his inexperience shows and he straightens up and flies past my tail. Jolly good show old boy.

Guns blazing Red and I go for the jugular.

My rudder goes slack, damn he’s cut something, I can’t turn to port but that’s sort of OK because I don’t want to. I don’t appear to have done any damage to him. Blast and damnation.

We fly past each other at 200 miles an hour, Phew - that was close, I can see that this bridge is also intact, good grief, can’t these Bomber Boys hit anything. I turn to starboard and home. I’ve got a good position all the Alabatrii are going the wrong way, I think.

Apart from that Green one, he’s coming in straight at me, he’s fast and has a good line to get a shot in before I’m past.

See what I mean. If he turns to starboard I’m dead! He gets off a long shot but does no damage and his guns go silent prematurely. Ha – guns jammed.

I can’t afford to take too much damage my crate is fairly fragile and I can’t stop and fight because there’s too many of them and I’ve achieved my objective and need to get the information back. You can see where this is going – I’m persuading my self to run.

I risk turning into my starboard to try and cut the angle but he jinks left and then right and overshoots me by a mile. I can see over my shoulder Blue and Red in such close formation that you couldn’t get a spanner between them and they are coming after me. I know they can go faster and it’s a long way to my side of the lines, but I’m running free and easy with a bit of space between us.

Formation flying the Hun way, perfect alignment. How does the A.I. do that – amazing. I am as usual playing solo and the solo rules fly the planes, they are still better than I am. :(

However they must have orders to protect the bridges and pull back and let me go.

It was a bit of a hairy ride back, I’d lost so much height in the fight that Archie made a damn pincushion of my poor old kite but we got back safely in the end.
My report to the skipper went better than I thought it would, he didn’t have much time for the Bomber Boys either, expected them to have missed and I sort of got the impression I might have been his most expendable pilot sent on a waste of time mission, but maybe I’m being a bit harsh on myself, and him.

Anyway I took Dipstick a bunch of flowers and a bottle of whiskey a told him that it was imperative he get back to the squadron - now.

I expounded on the virtues of that beautiful, fast Bristol, with all round firepower all those Huns waiting to be shot down but didn’t mention getting lumbered with a slow, out of date plane, with a single gun which at this point in the war was going to get me killed.

Mind you I did enjoy flying it.

My apologies that no one got shot down, there were no flames or anything really exciting, this was the 2nd time I tried the mission and there were flames and someone did get shot down – but it was me, and that can’t be a good story!

I was hoping to post the next part of the Hunt for Mary Scroggins but just not had time to put it together, damn summer, all these outside jobs that I can do now there's no rain to keep me inside enjoying myself.

Well if you're still here - thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

The Adventures of Becky - The Good Samaritan

The story so far:-

Becky received a letter from her dead father in the The Red Jade Buddha and she received more information including her fathers journal relating to a mysterious Red Jade Buddha in and The Mean Streets of Penrith, she and her friends had bad dealings with a gang of bikers led by Boris a bald headed thug, who stole this information from them in The Midnight Callers and then they retrieved it from Boris at his hotel in Boris and the Swan in Inverness, they discovered there was more information in the last chapter The Lost Information where they met up with suave sophisticated Sam Fernando another crook and now we are on with the latest exciting but very short adventure in the UK before going foreign.

If you click on Becky or the Red Jade Buddha on the right it will show you all the previous stories.

The Good Samaritan

The girls and Becky have now read the information that her father has left along with the stuff that they had liberated from Count Sparrk and so have a good idea of where to go next in the search for the Red Jade Buddha. They have decided that they should try and recover the idol, thinking that the trail to it might also throw some light on to what's happened to Becky’s father, how did he die and where.

Having made contact with the rest of her friends they are all going to meet up at Heathrow airport and set off on the first leg of their journey that will eventually lead to South East Asia. They will fly to Calcutta, drive down to the coast to a small sea port where they will board a commercial sea plane headed for Changoon, a melting pot for all the scum of SE Asia.
There they plan to meet with up with a pilot who operates a small private float-plane company and they also hope to recruit a guide for the rest of the trek into unchartered territory. This small float-plane and it’s mysterious pilot will fly them up river, flying over and bypassing the rapids and waterfalls on the Raffinika river into the heart of Cambodia where the trail really starts.
(Unless I can do a deal with Nickle and Dime Studio's and rent their river boat :) )

That is all in the future - hopefully, and meanwhile the girls have to get to the airport, there are evil forces at large who will try and stop them at all costs.

The road to Heathrow passes through some glorious countryside in the South of England, well bits of hardboard, lichen and old Christmas trees with a bit of horsehair thrown in.

Overview of the board, the girls will be driving down from the north (top) and exiting of the west (left) side of the board. The bad guys will set up a road block. This is intended to be a simple break through scenario.

The bad boys appear to have some inside information which is why they are ready and waiting to lay the ambush.

A white Range Rover, with no number plate. Looks very suspicious.

Becky has 1D6 of her friends including herself and threw 2. So just her and Susan Gunn, who was less than useful in Inverness having drunk too much whisky the night before, mind you if I remember, they all had too much whisky the night before.
They are driving down from Susan’s home in Gloucestershire to Heathrow to meet up with the rest of the girls before flying to India.

They are almost on the left so they must still be in England.

So the Range Rover appears to have had an accident and Fat Willie is lying unconscious on the road. Could this be a trap? Is that Tank hiding behind the wall, of course it’s a trap.

The bad blokes in ambush, there are also 1d6 of them, each armed with improvised weapons, clubs, tyre irons etc. Their task is to stop the girls from getting to the airport, they will break bones to achieve this, but aim to maim and injure rather than kill. This is England you know - the land of cricket and knife crime.

Bad roll for the Bikers only 2 of them, I guess the others were delayed in hospital. It will make for an even and short game.

The girls round the corner and see the “accident”, fail their Brains test and believe it is an accident, how dumb can they get, they start to slow down.

Isn’t that guy wearing biker duds, hummm. Maybe it’s a trap Susan mutters but Becky who was driving had decided that there is no way past the Range Rover and pulls to a halt.

It might be a real accident so they stop and get out to help. The Good Samaritan.

Tank rushes through the hedge straight at Becky, he's taking no chances with these deceptively demure girls this time and has armed himself with a sledge hammer shaft.

Becky ducks under the wild swing and hits him hard in the throat, agghhh. She hits him again, harder and he shudders and his fake tan turns white, then she hits him again, harder still and he falls with a loud thud OOF.

Fat Willie jumps to his feet, ha I was only bluffing he sneers at Susan.

Well I never would have guessed she sneers back.

Fat Willie attacks Susan with a base ball bat. This gives him 5D6 and she has 3D6 to fight back with. He fails all 5 dice and she hits with 2 of the 3 dice, not his day. With his Constitution of 2 this is enough to put him to sleep and down he goes.

These bikers are proving no match for the girls in fisticuffs even when they are armed with clubs and such like, things might have to get serious.

With the sun shining down Becky and Susan take the weapons, move the car and drive off with the ignition key leaving Willie and Tank without a ride. They head off to the airport at Heathrow to meet with the rest of the gang and then on to who knows what further adventures.

To be continued ……….

If you are still here - thanks for reading and let me know you passed this way in the comments.