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Sunday, 30 December 2018

Rufina Grey Eye's first Mission

Rufina Grey Eye re-adjusted her hat and looked straight into the eyes of the most fearsome woman, no, - make that Wizard, the most fearsome Wizard she had ever known and gulped. “You want me to lead the men on this mission, do you think I’m ready” “Fire and Brimstone you Shrivel headed Toad, do you think I would send my apprentice, carrying my name and reputation on a journey into the unknown and not have faith in my judgement that you will succeed. You Goat Brained Piece of Frog Spawn what do you take me for, some Dew Eyed – Dew Eyed Thing that doesn’t know when all that training and time I have put into to turning you from a Cross Eyed, Wet Behind the Ears Urchin from the Street of the Lost and Damned, into an Apprentice of the Great Thanda the Grim has come to fruition”

Thanda seemed to swell with indignation at this slight in her judgement, so much so that Rufina was worried that she would be turned into a Natterjack toad again, the last time Thanda was this angry she hadn’t been released from the spell for six new moons, that’s a long time as a Natterjack. She couldn’t stand insects anymore after eating them for six months, they felt like grit in her mouth, and the feel of mud between her toes and the constant croaking uuuruug, uuuruug, uuuruug. “I’m sorry I shouldn’t have questioned your judgement, obviously I’m ready, if you are sending me – then I’m ready”.

“Of course you are ready and to make sure I’m sending Aneka and Valeria with you”.

Rufina went white, Aneka was an accomplished warrior, one of the best Ruffina had ever seen, although she hadn’t seen that many but Valeria was – well Valeria was slightly insane, she carried 4 razor sharp knives and could fillet a fish or a man just as easily, she had a far away look in her eye, the left one, the right looked straight into your soul and pierced you through and through, worse than the knives.

Ruffina decided it was probably best to keep quiet and with a slightly strangled sound in her throat, she said “When and where”.

“Nicholas Price has come to me and requested we help him release his daughter, she has been taken captive by Yukio the apprentice to that piece of androgynous slime Sakura Tu. It’s a bit complicated because she is the maid servant of Thoria, the Lady of Argenis, you know of my relationship with the Lord of Argenis don't you, but that shouldn't come up if you are careful, you will be careful, - won’t you”. Ruffina realized this question didn’t need a reply. “Good”.

They are on their way back to Sakura Tu’s Black Tower and you will intercept them at the village of Grook, a backward hameau in a backward country. Aneka has chosen the warriors to accompany you, but understand this Ruffina Grey Eye – you are my apprentice, you carry my name and the name of Thanda the Grim carries power and death to my enemies, you will not let me down.

Well there’s no pressure for Rufina, a quick snatch and grab and then run like hell, that should work OK.

Aneka had chosen the rest of the band with care, there was another warrior to help with the heavy lifting but she had been able to get Akira the Bard and Tina to accompany them. These two had different accomplishments that she hoped would prove useful.

Rufina's plan is to send a couple of the band into the hamlet to find out where Yukio and Nic’s daughter are, then they can effect a rescue with the least difficulty.

Yukio was going to be the biggest threat, well maybe not the biggest threat but Rufina had to best her or Thanda was not going to be pleased and that would be unpleasant. So Yukio has to be neutralised and degraded which would reflect badly on Sakura Tu, which would reflect well on Thanda, which would reflect well on Rufina. OK got that.

There are 13 encounter tokens placed randomly, those in a building will stay put and those in the open will move about in a random direction.

The inhabitants of the hamlet can provide information on the location of the various groups, if you ask the right question in the right way and don’t upset them.
Gormy Gilbert, is one of them but he's not the worlds brightest star, or even the hamlets.

The bee hives are on the outskirts of the hamlet which is renowned for its honey production.

Although cabbage broth is the staple diet.

Akira the Bard moves up the road from the south. Travelling as a musician is a good way of not attracting unwanted attention and generally receiving a warm welcome where ever she goes.

Tina, who has other skills, has swung in a big circle to enter the Hamlet from the north, there are a few villagers about, or should that be hamleters but no one else to be seen. She peers in through the window of the nearest house and sees three surly looking fellows and maybe in the dark there is another figure, could this be Nics daughter, she’s not sure.

Moving further into the hamlet everything appears calm and still until Akira is blinded by a flash of blue light, as an encounter is revealed.

This doesn’t look good, a Fire Demon has appeared out of a worm hole in space, she’s never seen one before or indeed anything like it and her legs turn to jelly, she drops to her knees and starts to pray. Up until now she hadn’t realised how the power of prayer could help, please make it go away, please make it go away, please make it go away.

Oh it doesn’t help at all.

James the peasant nearest to the Demon runs into the cabin and hides. A couple of other peasants see it and run away screaming.

The Fire Demon is confused, everyone has run away, most screaming or are stationary and praying, the Demon is inactive.
The sound of screaming attracts Eku, Temko and his dog who emerge from the open shed and see the Demon. It turns towards them and roars.

Temko and his dog beat a hasty retreat. (That dog has a very strange expression on its face). Eku stands his ground, I’m not sure if he’s rooted to the ground because he’s too scared to move or because he is a brave and bold warrior.

Gormy Gilbert has reached the outhouse and takes a last look around before deciding to hide in the small insubstantial building behind him.

Attracted by the commotion Yukio and his/her captives appear out of the cornfield along with Herosita Gonzalez and her bodyguard. I’m not convinced if Yukio is male, female or a bit of both, I slightly favour female, this is a very old Games Workshop figure I bought in a sale, very old as in maybe 35 years, so if anyone has a clue as to who or what I would appreciate the information.

She sees the Fire Demon and has in her repertoire of spells a Bind Demon spell which is most fortuitous, she casts the spell, there is a faint crackling sound, a slight smell of sulphur and the spell is successful.

Akira has meantime recovered her wits and stopped praying in favour of hiding, usually a more successful ploy when confronted by the Devils Spawn, or indeed anything bigger and more ferocious than yourself.

Yukio and entourage move forward to examine the Demon she has enslaved, although for how long this will last is unknown. Eku has drawn his sword and has even thought about advancing on the demon but fortunately Yukio has enslaved it before he could do anything rash, and deadly, deadly to himself I mean.

Time passes, night has fallen, Tina and Akira have stayed hidden and watch as everyone goes to their own hut to sleep. The captives and Yukio together with the Demon and an underling are sleeping in the Hut centre stage, the one behind it and left contain 3 guards and the rest of the guards, Herosita and peasants were scattered around in the other huts.
The two girls make their way back to Rufina and they discuss the Demon and how will it affect them.

There was a plan and as usual not a good one, that involved holding shut the door of the first hut which contains the guards. This should keep them secure in the hut, while Rufina practiced her spell casting through the window.
Aneka, is the best warrior but also the only one with a ranged weapon, a crossbow, so she will stay in the street and provide back up where needed most.
The rest of the best fighters will burst into the hut containing Nic’s daughter and overpower the Demon and Yukio, rescuing the captive and make their way out of the hamlet north before anyone is awake to stop them.

You can maybe see one or two flaws in this plan but I do like to keep them simple.

Constantinus The Falcon was aroused from his sleep by a strong desire to go outside and relieve himself, not the most opportune moment for the hero’s of this story. A few dice later I decided he had gone outside unarmed, well who takes a sword and shield to the toilet?

Using an insight test it turned out Aneka with the crossbow was most alert and activated first, Nic second and Constantinus third. Well he had just woken up and was sleepy.

Aneka is a crack shot and even though it was dark and she was surprised by her target appearing unexpectedly she managed to hit him and he went down OOF.

Nic rushed up and pushed him inside and pulled the door shut. Unfortunately he made a noise, a loud noise that woke almost everyone.

Rufina cast her best spell, an Elemental Bolt of Power through the window, there was a Phuuttt and she felt a strong tingling sensation in her right hand that went up her right arm and into the left side of her brain and made her eyes water.

In the back of her mind she could hear Thanda’s cold grim voice from the dark days of her early training. Why she couldn’t use Lucifer’s matches like everyone else when she had to light the fire she could never fathom. No she had to do it with a spell – a spell that felt just like this one, sluggish and damp. The same tingle followed by the same pain and same watery eyes.

The three assault assassins were not as stupid as Valeria looks, and did not go running into a darkened hut, knowing that the occupants were probably waiting, especially as one is a Demon of unknown power. They surrounded the door and waited to see if anyone or anything came out.

And it did.

They had the advantage of numbers and would be able to fight 3 against 1 and deal with it more easily.
That is until Valeria the fearless warrior ran away. Her bowels turned to water and her legs into pumping pistons that propelled her so far and so fast that she was taken completely by surprise.

Fight or Flight and her legs had decided they knew what was best.

Nickolas is not a strong man but on the other side of the door is Eku and he is a strong man, it’s an unequal struggle and he bursts out of the door just as Rufina repeats her failed spell but this time the result is even worse than before, the spell rebounds savagely and she is unconscious before she hit the floor.

Aneka is still reloading her crossbow and reflecting this is not going as well as she'd hoped.

Tina rushes to Nics aid. Maybe the two of them can hold the doorway.

After a desperate fight Atsuko and Akira beat the Demon and it steps back a pace, through the doorway. Only one of them can follow, Atsuko is the fearless warrior and she steps through the door and faces the Demon alone.

In the mean time Valeria has recovered command of her legs and has stopped running. She is standing off to the left preparing to return and aid her fellows. Maybe not as quickly as they would like.

The Demon wins the next round of combat and Atsuko is pushed back and the Demon follows up.

It lashes out and she takes a massive swipe from one of his razor clawed hands and falls to the floor OOF. The Demon turns on Akira the Bard.

But she is as deft with a sword as with her mandolin and beats it back, the Demon steps back from this onslaught but seeing Aneka desperately waving to indicate she wants to fire at the beast Akira doesn't follow up.

In the background Eku who has a rubbish attack but a brilliant defence is attacking. With some almost miraculous dice rolls he has pushed back Tina and Nic this leaves the doorway cleared and enables two of his fellow kidnappers to step out and help.

The fight is not going well for Nic, he is pushed back a second time and has his back to the wattle fence and can go no further. Tina though is fighting like a tiny, fighty thing and is defeating her opponent, he is backed up against the house. Budi Kusuma believes fighting is beneath him when he has men to do it for him and watches the proceedings with care.

Aneka fires and hits the Demon in the eye this pierces it’s force field and it disappears, or in my case falls to the floor, she turns to the fight behind and draws her short sword and hefts the small buckler. Nic is down on the floor and both Eku and his mate Budi are moving towards Aneka.

Valeria has recovered her nerve and is moving back towards the hut just at the moment that Yukio came to the door and sees her. Yukio also has learned the Elemental Bolt of Power spell and she casts it straight at Valeria, who takes the full force of it and drops to the ground OOF.

This is not going to go down well with Thanda the Grim.

Akira the Bard moves from behind the door and attacks Yukio who has time to cast a Wall of Safety spell. Unfortunately for her this fails and Akira stabs her with the pointy end of her sword and Yukio falls to the floor.

There’s been a lot of falling to the floor so far.

Eku and Budi have attacked Aneka, they have fought to a standstill and here the three of them have broken off the fight to regain their breath.

Tina in the background has finally defeated her opponent and he is rolling on the ground groaning. If you were being kicked in the head you would be groaning as well.

A long shot to show Tina charged to attack Eku, Aneka is also back in combat and Akira the Bard has advanced into the hut and is fighting in the dark with a man in a brown cloak.

Although not for long.

Out of camera, Aneka has defeated Budi and Tina and Eku are having a ding dong battle. However when they both step back for a rest he realizes he’s on his own all his comrades are either dead of hors de combat, so when they call on him to put up his sword he agrees without too much reflection.

This ends the fighting and our heroines pick up their wounded and along with the rescued prisoners they make their way back to Thanda The Grim, who may or may not consider this a victory worthy of some renown.

The surviving adventurers. Aneka leading the party home but she is well aware that some polish may be required before they tell their tale to Thanda.

The wounded ones. Elemental Bolts of Power are not so powerful when cast by Apprentices even when cast at themselves.

Is Yukio female, male or androgynous? I feel I should name the Fire Demon, but what do you call a Demon, apart from Sir.

Most of the rest of the villains.

Temko and a very shamefaced dog.

This is why he's shamefaced. When I was clearing the table I found Temko and his dog still in one of the cabins, hiding ? I had forgotten all about him.
C'est la Guerre.

Well this was Rufina's first mission, not too successful will they be able to put enough of a gloss on the story or will she have to spend another 6 months as a Natterjack Toad.

Well if you are still here - thanks for reading.

Saturday, 29 December 2018

Thanda the Grim and the rest of the Band

A follow on from my last post introducing the Gals from the Band.


Red Sonia is my lead warrior, she has fought in many battles, and has many scars but few enemies. (They are all dead and some are even buried).

Renowned for her speed and strength, she is lightly armoured with just a red leather tunic to protect her body.

With her lightening fast reactions she usually gets in the 1st strike with her famous axe, “Damage” and with her extraordinary strength she uses this 1 or 2 handed with devastating effect. She carries a short sword as back up and is lethal with her throwing knife, carried easily to hand in a leg sheath.

Atsuko – Young, lithe and a fearsome pit fighter in her native land, she is easily recognised by her mop of henna dyed red hair.

Well armoured in a mix of plate and mail she is carrying this years must have accessory an armoured hand dagger usable as a small shield as well as a Turlanian steel one handed double edged sword.

She fights in a low, crouched ambidextrous two-handed style sometimes known as the scorpion, in which she is able to use the spikes in the toes of her armoured boots as a surprise sting.

Valeria The Vixen – mad as they come, completely fearless and un-armoured, she carries 4 knives which she can throw at you or cut you or stab you or slice you or gouge you, well you get the point, (usually in one or sometimes both eyes).

She attacks, wild eyed and howling, her enemy has usually fled long before she gets to the dirty close in fighting that she adores.

She feels no pain when in this berserk fighting fury, wounds don’t slow her, only in the aftermath of blood letting does she rest, exhausted and weary, her energy spent.

Ayesha – A warrior with attitude - a bad attitude. Born and brought up in the wild wild west, she quickly learnt to fight to take and keep what she needed to survive.

Young, beautiful, fast and swift, like all superb warriors she distains armour in favour of speed.

Her right arm guard acts like a small shield and she carries an enchanted bronze sword, “Blitzen”. Sharper than a razor and twice as deadly, used in Ayeshas off hand this proves too much of a challenge for most warriors.

Kimera – Well armoured as well as well as armed she can stand her ground in the battle line of any warlord but prefers single combat, usually in front of an admiring audience.

She is strong enough to swing her hand and a half broadsword either 1 or 2 handed, faster with 1 but the power of the 2 handed stroke usually takes down any but the best armoured opponent there is. Her amazing stamina means she can continue when all but the strongest have slowed down and are laying on the floor in a pool of their own blood.

Lady Estrel Lada – comes from a noble family but with a drunkard for a father and a wastrel for an older brother she had no choice but to marry or take the habit of a nun. Of course there was the 3rd choice that no one offered and so in the quiet of the night she took the family armour and sword, which fitted her much better than it did her fat toad of a brother and left for places unknown.

She is a renowned warrior – fearless and brave, not as skilled as she would like because all her training has been on the road. She is searching for a teacher, one skilled enough to perfect her technique.

Lubek Olivia Shem - from the south lands where the people are smaller in stature, but that usually makes them faster. She had to find work to survive and after a fight in a tavern when she badly injured 2 of the city guards, she had a choice - execution or taking their place. She chose the latter.

The city of Koth has been good for her, she has been trained in the use of the trident spear and because she is a woman was taken on in the bodyguard of the Emir of Koth, who had a liking for fast, fearless, female warriors, she has risen in the ranks and commands a Decca, 10 guardsmen of some considerable skill.

Natsumi – Her yellowish skin shows immediately that she is from the East but there must have been other blood in her ancestry maybe a Northerner because she is tall for an Easterner, powerful and lithe with red hair, but maybe her favoured weapon a big bladed axe indicates a difference as well.

She is equipped with chainmail chest and crotch armour. Totally useless for defence but in a fight with a man, and most fights are with a man, this armour is very distracting for them and usually by the time they realize this, it is too late.

Oh Lee Ling So – Another member of the Emir of Koths bodyguard she works closely with Lubek Olivia Shem. She comes from the East a land of dragons and spices and was brought up as a courtesan, not work that she took to and she escaped on a camel caravan headed west.

When she was discovered, she bit the hand that didn’t feed her and would have had a bad time of it but for Lubek, who was in command of the escorting guards at the time. Slight and not strong she took to the short curved duelling sword like a duck to water. Deadly and fast she protects Lubek’s back as if it was her own.

Ashara - is my only archer she comes from the exotic hot lands of the south, as an infant, almost before she could walk she was given her first bow. This was her constant companion and before she was 6 could bring down a running gazelle at 100 paces.

Practice, practice and more practice and her skills improved beyond measure, she has specialised arrows, some curved ones can literally shoot round corners, some make insane howling noises that ensure an enemy runs for their life rather than stay and fight. Her speciality is running at full pelt and firing arrow after arrow with alarming accuracy.

Aneka – is an all round warrior, trained from an early age with a hand draw crossbow, it does not have the range of the windlass drawn one but is faster to fire and just as accurate at close range.

She carries a short sword with which she is not as proficient as with the crossbow but in a dirty hand to hand fight it is deadly. For protection she has a small buckler which can be used as effectively punched into an opponents face as it can be used to deflect a sword cut.

Ingar Swordmistress – she also carries an hand drawn crossbow, carries a long sword and wears a mail shirt and leather and steel helmet.

Ingar is as proficient with both her weapons, favouring the sword as a weapon of honour but realising that the crossbow has more uses and is likely to ensure she stays alive longer.

A blonde warrior from Vanir the land of ice and fire, she is smart and wily. A veteran warrior of many fights, she will see many more to come.

Well that's the introductions over, next post will see them in action. Hopefully before the New Year.

So if you're still here - Thanks for reading.