Monday, October 08, 2012

Thoughts on Inquisitor

I have just finished GOG's Inquisitor, a rather intriguing old school Czech RPG. It plays like a mashup of Baldur's Gate and Diablo, with the interaction of the former and the combat and potion guzzling of the latter. You control a single character, either a paladin, a thief (amusingly a nobleman) or a priest on a quest to find heretics and (in the time ordered fashion) burn them at the stake.

The plot is roughly this - after a series of events heralding the beginning the apocolypse the king of Ultherest has signed away most of his authority to a religious inquisition set up to root out heresies. This has caused friction with the Brotherhood of the Righteous, the Knights Templar who previously bashed in bad dudes. You become a member of the inquisition, rooting out heresy and chasing a cult of Fallen Angel worshippers.

The game starts off fairly investigatory, with you talking to lots of different characters about the schennanigans that have been going on in a village. There is a lot of dialogue as every character has something to say about everything. The previous bishop is rumoured to be undead, the current bishop and duchess have disappeared, the head templar has run away, the local relic has disappeared from the church, the local wise woman needs a tome.

There seems to be loads going on - almost too much given there is supposed to be a militant church supposedly rooting out heretics. Amusingly it also seems a running theme that every settlement used to be ruled by an obvious heretic who publicly bathed in blood and made a deal with the devil.

However the problem with the game is that as soon as you leave town you are at the mercy of the fairly lethal game. At times it feels completely unbalanced. There is a lots of instant death moments. One lead I got early on suggested I visit a place called Dragon Rock. However Dragon Rock is crawling with monsters that can finish off a starting character with 1 hit. In fact the only place I reasonably stood a chance of surviving was in the zombie infested cemetary, as I could outrun the zombies. Even though I had no reason to want to visit the cemetery.

You also discover that the only real way to find any clues or points of interest is not to follow any particular guidance but rather to wander aimlessly everywhere. For instance the aforementioned clue that was supposed to be at Dragon Rock eventually appears at the bottom of a huge dungeon. There was a completely different clue at Dragon Rock.

I decided to play a priest (since it is an inquisitor game). As effectively the 'mage' character you have a limited selection of weapons, constantly have to worry about health, stamina and mana. Depending on your skill level your spells have a set chance of failure, and there is a certain amount of time before you can cast another one. Unfortunately it often seems the enemy don't have these concerns and can spam their spells to the extent that they kill you the second they appear on-screen. I never saw a single monster miscast a spell.

There are several schools of magic, including infernal and heretical types. Some other skills were pointless such as mana restoration (the game encourages you to tool up on mana, health and stamina potions) and spiritual insight - that never seemed to do anything.

It's a long game, with an estimated 200 hours. Some of the dungeons are ridiculously long, others are maddening in the "find pixel a to open door b". There's an alignment meter, though despite the fact I played a relatively nice guy (though I did sit through the same FMV about 20 times as I burned everyone who was guilty at the stake, from the cult leaders to the witless guy digging up bodies for the cult to turn into zombies) I was slightly dodgy by the end. You also indulge in a bit of old school torture of suspects - racks, strappidos, you name it are used to get fanatic cultists to divulge the next bit of information. You can even arrest blatantly innocent suspects (usually the person your superior first tells you to arrest is innocent).

There really isn't a lot of decision making or moral dilemmas in Inquisitor. There is a 'good' and an 'evil' ending, and supposedly you could join the cult, though this never happened to me. Shockingly the end cinematic is the same (although the dialogue isn't, and the 'evil' ending is so contrived to give you a final boss to fight).

One thing I like (but have reservations with) is that the symbolism of the church in Inquisitor is clearly that of the Catholic church and Rome, right down to crucifixes and paintings. Except the witches and magic is real, and the priests have their own magic. The game also makes no apology or disclaimer for that - games like Assassin's Creed all start with a disclaimer about how the game was "made by a multi-faith group and don't want to offend anybody, so please don't start a jihad." Somehow I couldn't see them doing that with... another religion let's say.

Err... yeah, that's a Catholic church you got there in your 'fantasy' world.
This could offend my Catholic sensibilities (I should add I'm not the most devout Catholic, mostly going to church when made to by the family over the holidays) as the plot is that it suffers from overuse of the Corrupt Church trope. My first reaction on entering the first church was, "Gee, I bet it'll turn out the senior inquisitors are actually the cultists I'm chasing." I was not disappointed (though there are other cultists). In fact later on in the capital when you meet the four inquisitor generals three of them are evil, one being a cultist, the second being an evil pagan worshipper, the third being a rapist.

I know in today's fictional media every Christian is required to be either a murderous fanatic willing to sacrifice innocent people for their beliefs, a self-serving hypocrit, or (if they are they good guy in the movie) seriously questioning their beliefs (I made the mistake of watching Season of the Witch and Ironclad in a movie marathon a while back). However I'll avoid storming the Czech Embassy in protest - I'd be easily mollified by a few of their nice beers.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

WFRP Minis: Townsfolk & Pirates

Some more miniatures for my townsfolk collection. The Black Cat pair were painted by Ben:-
Black Cat Bases Witch Hunter/Vampire Hunter.
Bounty Hunter/Highwayman
A whaler
Womenfolk including a healer, old woman and woman with children

Why are they pirates?... because they Arr!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Waiter, There's A Fly in My Drink!

Often times I find going out to the supermarket in Leicester a trying experience, particularly when in Scotland a 24-hour Supermarket like Asdas is genuinely a 24-hour shop Monday-Sunday, rather than 24 hours Monday-Friday, 8-10pm on Saturday and 10-4pm on Sunday. The concentrated hours at the weekend make it feel like shopping in a cattle market in downtown Marakesh (or what I imagine that is like, since I have never been to a cattle market in downtown Markesh, and have no real interest in doing so) rather than a relaxing weekend shop at one's own convenience. Thus I tend to do my trips to the supermarket during the week.

However this Saturday upon doing my chores I noticed we had run out of pint glasses as the last one had developed a big crack. Now in my house most drinks are served in pint glasses if possible. Not that I am a big drinker or some kind of alcoholic who downs whiskey by the pint. I am a soft drinks kind of person, but I like pints of soft drink to save repeat trips to the kitchen. I'm also rather hard on glasses, subjecting them to hot and cold temperatures during the washing up, often resulting in them cracking and having to be disposed of.

The problem was that the university term is due to start on Monday and Asda was populated by scores of bored looking teenagers accompanied by guilt and panic striken mothers pushing trolleys around loaded with toasters, kettles and any other appliances their young cherubs will need at the halls of residence around the corner. This meant that the wonderful one-way system in Asda's carpark was like Alcatraz to navigate and wandering around inside the supermarket was no less challenging.

I picked up my messages, including speaking to someone I hope is the work experience boy at the pharmacy before the actual pharamacist advised me. I went over to buy some glasses and found 6 glasses were £2 in Asda. Ever frugal with the pennies I plonked a box of six pint glasses into my basket and continued my shopping.

It was only when I took them out the basket at the checkout I looked down at the pint glasses and saw this:-

Not exactly a pleasant sight in the supermarket queue

There was a dead fly in the glass. A very dead one, quite probably midway through decomposition and practically mummified. Looking around, somewhat flummoxed and embarassed, I attracted the checkout assistant's attention, much to her irritation as there were two customers in front of me.

"Umm... there's a dead fly in this glass," I said, holding the glass up like some kind of grizzly trophy.

She looked over at me, not quite understanding me. The mother and daughter behind me in the queue suddenly decided my glass was quite interesting. The little girl was fascinated, but then again it seems to me these days that little people seem to be really interested in gross things like farts and dead flies.

"It's dead," I said, though she looked a lot less reassured when I added. "Well at least I hope it is."

The checkout woman asked, "Do you want me to get a runner to get a replacement?"

I nodded, though I did wonder for a moment if this question was redundant. I wasn't raising the fact there was a dead fly in my glass to compliment them on a new promotion - buy a glass, get a tasty dead fly free.

By the way if you want to appeal to the frog market that is the way to go.

She then proceeded to go back to scanning the customer at the head of queue's groceries. I looked somewhat confused as I was not aware that Asda staff members communicated via telepathy. I must have looked so confused she eventually looked back at me.

"Why don't you just go and get a new glass?" she asked.

I nodded, ever eager to be helpful, but the dilemma I had was I still had this rather disgusting looking glass in my paw.

"Would you like to take the glass so that no-one else buys it until its been cleaned?" I said as I extended the offending glass towards her. It had the same effect on her as crucifixes and garlic does on Dracula. She practically fell off her seat recoiling from the glass and dead fly combo.

"No, just put it back on the shelf," she said finally.

"What if someone else picks it up and buys it. Shouldn't you put it to one side?"

"No, no, just put it back."

I look somewhat quizzically at her, but shrugged and went off to find a bug-free glass. Not before stopping to take a picture of the offending glass of course.

The Asda Homecare aisle where the glasses live was surrounded by one of the afore-mentioned mothers and her brood, one of whom was doubtless starting university on Monday. Once again the repelling powers of my arachnid infested glass ensured I was able to get to the shelf. To my credit I did put the offending glass as far away from the other glasses as possible and did warn the family.

"Be careful to check what glasses you buy," I said, holding proudly the glass and its enormous tick. I think they will be now.

I returned to the queue, feeling a little embarassed now, and the girl and her mother grinned when I got back with my new bug-free pint glass.

"I think I'll probably wash these when I get home," I said.

"That's probably a good idea," said the mother.

So I did.

New and most importantly clean pint glasses.


Motto: Asda give you extra. Just check what that Extra is.

Friday, September 21, 2012

WFRP Minis: The Townsfolk

I've been collecting some figures for the WFRP Marienburg campaign I've been running, along with making city-type terrain for the game. For the terrain I've used Campaign Cartographer and have managed to create a modular battle-terrain for a large building, completed with reasonably pretty 2D . It's a case of creating the room in Campaign Cartographer and printing the shaded plan onto a piece of card. The only thing is I'd like some way to link the cards together, as they are slightly flimsy.

It's relatively hard to find minis for everyday medieval characters. On the other hand Reaper Minis are probably the best range of fantasy figures out there. There is a huge catalogue of miniatures and their recent kickstarter means there will probably be about 200 cheapish plastic figures on the market (and taking up space in me house, as I splurged). One of their ranges is townsfolk:-

A Blacksmith shop.
The forge is one of the terrain cards I made. Here it is populated with more wastrels:-

Beggar, granny/cleaner, blacksmith and a yokel
Here's a slightly WFRPy bunch of adventurers. The crossbow wielder is a bounty hunter, while the thugs on the right side of the image worked as a group of dock guild enforcers in the last session.

Thugs, thieves and bounty hunters
You always need some thugs, so here's some more:-

Thugs and militiamen
 Next up - some beggars. The one on the left is a Foundry miniature, the one on the right is Reaper.
Marienburg's elfy population is also well represented by the various high elf figures I have:-
The Elven Exarchate

Monday, August 20, 2012

Musings on Kickstarters

Kickstarter is a crowd funding site for projects, whereby users pledge cash in return for the promise of future goods or perks. Besides having provided great fodder for exam questions in my web apps they are a great idea for raising funds for a project that doesn't have a major corporation backing it, or where you have a great idea you don't want an investor to own your life. IMHO Kickstarter pledgers fall into 3 categories:-

1. Rabid fan - "take my money, I love you guys"-type selfless donators for a project/cause you believe in without any regard for the returns.
2. Pre-orderer - your pledge is essentially a pre-order for the products the project is manufacturing.
3. Producer types - I imagine these are the higher pledges where you get corporate level sponsorship (i.e. your logo on the product or your product in the film). Essentially you are taking a risk on a pledge much like a Hollywood producer.

I tend to view myself as firmly #2, though would dabble with #3. I've friends who are in Camp #1, and good for them. Personally I wouldn't pledge $1, much less $100 to a kickstarter unless I felt I was getting a -very- good deal or it was the noblest of causes. I personally don't like the "give us money, we give you nothing but thanks" model. If someone gave me $1 I'd feel obliged to do something. In the case of the movie projects I don't see why the pledger can't appear in the end credits (aside from the fact they'd be a little longer).

The Scot in me hates money for nothing. I would love to see a kickstarter model that allows the pledger to share some of the reward to your microinvestments. It is a bit rich to take $300,000 off fans to make a profit (which I'm sure most of the Kickstarters will do in the fullness of time).

(Interestingly a lot of rich individuals/corporations are using kickstarter with a view to funding their projects, which is a bit crappy given they can probably fund them with their own ill-gotten gains. Not cool).

As to the kickstarter's I've pledged to, there are only 2:-

1. Journey Quest. I think I pledged about $25 for this, which included a DVD of JourneyQuest: Season 1, an HD download of JourneyQuest: Season 2 Uncut, and a word I coined in Orcish from my girlfriend's name. I've received no DVD (but they cheekily IMHO tried to ask me for $10 shipping several months after my pledge had gone through), no download, and it's unlikely my orc word will pop up. However "Lord Stuart Kerrigan the Reasonably Just" takes up 2 lines in the 2nd to last title card.

2. Reaper Minis. I've found that the bulk of high-quality fantasy miniatures I find on the web are reaper minis, with an amazingly large selection. Currently they're porting a lot of these over to plastic and expanding their plastics range. A pledge of $125 nets about 150 miniatures currently, with more added as they achieve targets. So far $1.1 million has been pledged. Expect Customs to await my parcel with eager hands...

I probably would've pledged to Gamers 3 but $30 for a DVD of a movie they plan to release on youtube on DVD. Dead Gentlemen may be cool, but it is a business and doubtless makes profits on its movies, so I'm not sure for the need to keep Kickstarting every project.

I'll buy it in a UK store/mail company fellas....

Once Upon a Time in Marienburg Map

This map contains all known locations in Marienburg the players have visited, as well as default locations.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Once Upon a Time in Marienburg Part 2

Day 5 (contd):

Returning to the Pelican's Perch tavern the companions retrieved their evidence and travelled to the Temple of Shallya to leave it in the care of the acolyte Getta. There Zhlak and Darok were treated for the sneezing they began to exhibit from floating in the canal during their misadventure with the monkey. The two were forced to wander around the city wearing pungent herbs in a pouch around their necks.

Back at the Perch the companions asked the barkeep about their assailant - the one legged man with the eyepatch and monkey, but before long turned their attention to the mysterious whaler Whitey that Max had told them about. Ishmael, the proprietor of the Perched Pelican, directed them to the White Dove, a ship that had been in dock for the past few days.

Directed to the captain, van der Valk, onboard the company asked if he knew where Whitey was. The captain said he did not know, and that Whitey had not signed on for the next voyage yet. He told them to look either in the Suiddock keghouses or ask Godymas, a priest of Manaan who tended a local whaler shrine nearby. He warned them not to offend the priest as he was well-thought of in the local community.

At the whaler shrine the group met Godymas and he told them he knew of Whitey, but not of his whereabouts. In exchange for a few guilders the priest mentioned they should speak to another crewman, Chekov, who was in a house of ill-reputed called Beatrice's, and Voger, who was indulging in the Black Lotus at Ho Kong's den.

As the company travelled to Beatrice's they witnessed a docker being attacked by thugs. When challenged the thugs told the company they were on guild business. Never the less Zhalok and Mellisandra wounded one of the thugs while Dharok covered the other in canal mud. After the thugs withdrew, vowing vengeance, they learned the docker, Rip Otter, was being threatened for working on the docks without being a member of the Stevedore's guild - yet another example of Marienburg's laws that favoured the multitude of guilds. Zhalok feared they had made yet another powerful enemy within the city.

Beatrice's was a terrible bawdy house and its sawdust floors and stench of tobacco offended the companion's senses. The caked-makeup of its madame did little to disguise the multitude of bruises on her face, and the clientele comprised of sailors and unsavoury types. Dhalok left in disgust after an initial inquiry into the whereabouts of Chekov was met with jeers. Only when Melissandra offered 10 guilders did Chekov reveal himself.

The man, a Kislevite, spat with disgust at Whitey's name and said he was not friend of that kossak. He said all the sailors were gathering for a cock-fight on a ship called the Salderbeam that night, but also warned Melissandra off the man, telling of how he had been found adrift in the Sea of Claws by the White Dove and had no memory of his past life.

The trio then travelled to Ho Kong's den, perhaps the least salubrious of Riddra's Black Lotus dens. Only after paying 5 guilders to enter did the Nipponese folk allow the company into the den, and the stench of the smoke overwrought Melissandra's elven sense of smell, lightening her head. Within the dregs of humanity that lined the berths and floorboards of the den Zhlak noticed even one of his kinsfolk partaking in the Black Lotus.

Finding Voger was not as hard as finding Chekov - the man, giddy on the lotus readily identified himself and spoke with him, though often he lamented about a comrade called Jake, and seemed to find it hard to focus. He said he thought Whitey was staying with his friend and fellow whaler, Terather, or Lady Veil.

Enquiries around the Suiddock lead the companions to Terather's house - she was well known being an oddity, a woman whaler - believed to be an elf, who dressed all in black and wore a veil. Knocking on the door the trio tried to pretend that they knew Whitey, and that Melissandra was called Ella. Though the veiled elf saw through the ruse she opened her door to them and they were greeted by Lady Veil in her full mourning regalia. With some trepidation they entered the woman's darkened parlour where she offered them tea while she regarded them peculiarly - Dhalok especially.

While Dhalok tried to sense for magic the dwarf and elf spoke to Terather, who evaded their questions about her veil, her profession as a whaler and elven ancestry with platitudes. She spoke of Whitey sympathetically, claiming she recognised him as a kindred spirit, a damaged person, and that she permitted him to take a room in her house. He was away, and was often away from the house.

She told them a tale of when Whitey had been lost on a whaler's boat, and when she pulled him from the water he said, "I can't find them. They are gone ... must find ... the Guilder ... Stein." and that in his sleep

The company idled away two hours with Lady Veil but eventually they decided Whitey was not coming home and they wished to go to the Salderbeam to seek him out. After wasting several hours in a dockside keghouse the trio saw scores of seamen boarding the Salderbeam. A queue began to develop as two dockmen took coins off each seaman and let them aboard the vessel. After a while Melissandra used her feminine whiles to arrange the trio to be allowed to cut in front of the queue. This infuriated a boorish drunk that was in the queue behind the company.

Later the trio split and mingled amongst the crowd. While Melissandra and Zhlak grew despondent that there was no sign of Whitey amongst the seamen Dharok found his luck was in on betting on the cockfighting and after a tip from one of the sailors he made a small amount of coin. He again ran into the boorish drunk who started to fight with him.

A circle formed around the two combatants and the sailors began to take bets. Dharok swiftly beat the man with his stave and left the fellow vomiting up the contents of his stomach on the deck. He was congratulated by several seamen, including one called Wilheim who introduced himself and invited Dharok to share a mug of rum.

The two discussed Whitey and Wilheim revealed he too was a crewman on the White Dove, and was a friend of Whiteys. Whitey was not in attendance this evening as there had been an incident on the docks this afternoon that had upset him - a beggar in a ragged coat of the Pilot and Seaman's guild had approached them and had knelt before Whitey begging forgiveness. The fellow was as bald as a coot and was missing two fingers, but Wilheim swore he wore a Holy Olovad medallion identifying him as a pilot who had fallen on bad times. Whoever he was, his presence had soured Whitey's mood. He had returned to his lodgings in a foul mood.

Flush with his success and the congratulations of the seamen Dhalok returned to his companions. In the morning they would return to Lady Veil's dark residence.

Day 6:

After a Pelican breakfast the three set out to Lady Veils and were granted admission. While Dhalok finally penetrated the mysterious energies of Terather's magical accoutrements and talked with the elf about magical training, Melissandra and Zhlak found Whitey in the kitchen preparing a breakfast of eggs. He did not recognise Melissandra from their encounter in Messtag and seemed reluctant to talk to them, even when she tried to introduce herself as Ella.

Whitey seemed almost disinterested in learning about his past life and when Dhalok pointed out his wedding ring he looked at it as if it were the first time he had seen it. Whitey struggled to remove the band and only judicious applications of grease by Melissandra were they able to remove it. Dhalok noted a maker's mark on the ring.

The three left Lady Veil's residence. Dhalok left for the Pelican to ask about someone named Guilderstein. Ishmael, the ever knowledgable barkeep, told him it was not a person but a van Onderzoeker vessel that had sank 3 years ago. He said the Port Authorities might be able to tell them more.

Meanwhile Melissandra and Zhalok travelled to Winkelmarkt to seek a jeweller. The jeweller identified the mark as being that of Stew Underson, a halfling who lived nearby. They decanted to Underson's house, an elderly halfling who offered them food and weed, whilst ensuring he took great quantities of both. He remembered he had made the ring 7 years ago for a wedding, and that the mark identified it as a Verenan wedding ring.

The trio left to go to the Temple of Verena, where for a handful of guilders earned them access to the marriage records. Alas without a surname they realised there were 30 Ellas. They tried a handful but none of the residents answered to Ella, and some of the addresses were empty.

As the day drew to a close the company returned to the Perched Pelican. As they walked along the docks a drunk bumped into them. They recognised the drunk as Max, and he whispered killers were following them. Sure enough two men were following them and after making certain they were being shadowed the party fended them off by threatening them with their weapons.

Day 7:

The group went to the port authorities where they learned from an unhelpful clerk that the Guilderstein was an old decrepit vessel belonging to House van Onderzoeker that sank with all hands and cargo enroute to Bibali three years ago. The date of departure was the same day as the White Dove. The House of Fooger had been obliged to pay the van Onderzoekers an extensive insurance claim. A second clerk was unable to find the detailed file on the Guilderstein - the files being removed by a clerk named Gheist that no-one seemed to know.

The group discussed what to do and returned to Godymas to ask about the Guilderstein. The elderly mariner-cleric said the captain of that ill-fated vessel was one Claude Bresson, who had owed many debts to the van Onderzoekers. He knew the captain had a widow, Ursula, and that a former mate on the vessel, Tanner, was still at large in the Suiddock.

As they left, the priest's voice echoed as he recited a poem, "That ship was there when I visited the Raven's realm. I saw it sailed his seas."

The company found Tanner drinking in the Pelican, where he cursed his lot, for he was now a stevedore - having been unable to secure a post on another ship. He confirmed the Captain owed the van Onderzoekers a lot of money, and stated the ship occassionally carried prisoners - prisoners that often disappeared after a few ports. As a mate he could not be certain - perhaps they were sold as slaves in ports like Bilbali. Occassionally from the hold he had heard children's voices. He was glad the Guilderstein was gone - he was certain the van Haagens had sunk the Guilderstein.

Hearing the name van Haagen again Zhlak frowned - was it the van Haagens that were behind this whole affair?

To be continued...

Friday, July 20, 2012

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Once Upon a Time in Marienburg Part 1

Session report from 14th July session at East Midlands Roleplaying Gaming Group, Brunswick Inn, Derby

Dramatus Personae:

Darok the Almost All-Seeing: A tall Kislevite expatriate with a gift for augury and divination. Little is known about Darok, but he hails from the north-east of Kislev, where the winds of Chaos blow strong. (Human Kislevite Male Seer)

Zhazhicl Dizmad Hirn (Zhlak): A hardy and itinerant dwarf who makes his living fighting for coin in the pits of manlings. As with so many of his kin he does not suffer fools and has a long memory for grudges. (Dwarf Male Pit Fighter)

Mellissandra: A high elven archer fresh off the boat from Ulthuan, seeking the sights of the city that now stands upon the elven outpost of Sith Rionnasc'namishathir. (High Elf Female Hunter)

 "An act of violence is never solitary. Its ripples affect all around it and nothing is as it was before."

As the sun rose over the canals of Marienburg the local fishermen waved, as was their habit, to the crew of The White Dove as it gently approached the Suiddock docks, its hold overflowing with cargo. On board the man once known as Marius Steinfield, looked at a city he did not remember. Little did he realise his return would set wheels in motion. Woe betide those poor fools crushed under those wheels.

Day 1

The dwarf Zhlak was taking his ease at a cafe by a small unnamed square in Marienburg's Winkelmarkt, while Darok hawked his divinations to unheeding passersby. The two fell into conversation and over ales Darok decided he woudl jump into the nearby fountain to retrieve a brass penny - the only coin his toils so far had brought them. Mellissandra, a young high-elf archer newly arrived from Ulthuan, seeking the sights of the Elf District, observed the unusual pair.
As Darok emerged with his prize an out of control wagon nearly smashed into the fountain. He had to dive out the way to avoid being crushed. The driver fled from the wagon, driven off by men on the back of the wagon in common garb. A second wagon drew up beside and the men proceeded, at the behest of their leader, to rummage through all the wagon's crates, discarding all the mundane trade goods contained within.
Curious Darok attuned his gift to sense magic on the wagon and the leader, Ostav, asked what he was doing. When Darok finally explained Ostav told him to redouble his efforts, but the Kislevite seer could sense no dweomers eminating from the wagon. Zhlak in the meantime helped himself to a bottle of ale from the discarded goods, but his timing could not be worse as it was then that a score of Marieburg's watch, the Black Caps, descended upon the square. Ostav's men fled, but Ostav was too determined to make certain that Darok detected no magic on the wagon that he was left flat-footed.
The three were arrested, with the hapless Kislevite and dwarf assumed to be Ostav's men. They argued for a while before the Black Caps Captain ordered them forcibly manacled. The elf, when questioned, stated she had witnessed little of use. This was enough for the leader of the Black Caps to order her arrest as well.  It then became apparent the Black Caps would tolerate no mischief and were using an excessive amount of force and amount of manpower to bring Ostav to heel.
The four were taken by wagon to the Winkelmarkt watch station and then placed in a cell, still manacled. Zhlak continued to berate the watchmen, which earned both him and the silent Ostav a beating. After they were gone the strangely serene Ostav tried to reassure the fellows that all would be well, but Zhlak was not convinced.
The next day, still manacled, the quartet were taken by river to the Central Court in Paleisbuurt (Palace District). They were led to the courtroom by the Black Caps and sat while other trivial cases were dealt with by the attending magistrate, one Kai der Kwick. When it came to their turn the group Zhlak insisted on defending himself, until he learned that by quirk of Marienburg's law all those who defend themselves automatically lose their case (a law which Marienburg's legal profession approve of). However their lawyer seemed strangely passive, and as they learned the charges against Ostav and his band included assault and robbery upon numerous major houses of Marienburg Zhlak began to suspect why the wheels of Marienburg's justice were turning so quickly on this morning.
The trio availed themselves of the opportunity to speak in their own defence (though the Black Cap captain weighed in at every turn to counter their statements), with Melissandra's status as an elf being recognised by the magistrate. As her alleged crimes had not occured in Elftown she was subject to Marienburg's secular law but the magistrate agreed to postpone sentencing for her. For the others though he began to pronounce sentence until a court clerk entered and handed him a letter. After a moment the litigant declared the group not guilty, that it had been a terrible mixup. This enraged the Black Caps but they were removed from court. The group, Ostav included left the court room free men.
Ostav apologised for recent events, though it was clear this was not enough for most of the group, Zhlak most of all. When his belongings were returned he gave the company 3 guilders as recompense. After promising to make it up to them later the group let the mysterious fellow leave and moved to a nearby expensive inn to dine at Ostav's expense. Later they went to a boarding house recommended by Ostav and found the rates quite agreeable.
Darok later went out to a nearby alehouse by himself. Speaking to a trader from the Suiddock's Import-Export Exchange he learned the rumour that Ostav and his men had been found innocent at their trial because Ostav was either the son or nephew of Director van Haagen, the Haagens being of Marienburg's Ten Families.

Day 2

Before breakfast the company received a message, delivered to their lodgings by a young boy, inviting them to a house in Goudberg. Upon arriving there and being shown in they realised the man before them was Kai der Kwick, the magistrate from the day before. The magistrate said he had been impressed by the way the company had handled themselves in the trial and that he wished them to deliver a message to a person in the Suiddock. He impressed on them that this was a matter requiring both discretion (hence the seer and elf) and forcefulness (hence the dwarf) on the part of the deliverers - and paid them 10 guilders each. The message was a bag containing 50 guilders, and a strong assurance this was the last such payment.Following Kwick's instructions the company returned to Suiddock to an abandoned shop. A pair of thugs opened the door to them and they met Leon Reno and delivered the money and message. Reno told the fellows his response was, "The details are elsewhere" though he was clearly shaken by Zhlak's attempts to intimidate him.
Returning the group stopped by the Bruenwaser Kanal as Darok spotted a striking woman weeping by the canalside. Her brown tress of hair and facial features resembled their elven companion, Mellissandra, though the elf claimed she could see no such likeness. She gifted the elf a necklace made of shells, a good luck token she claimed, before departing. Darok could sense minor magics of life and death in the necklace.
Arriving once more at der Kwick's townhouse the trio saw a window on the third floor was opened, and heard a loud smash. When no-one came to answer the door the three of them forced their way in and ran up to the third floor. The bedroom where the window was on was deserted, save for part of a smashed vase.
Going downstairs the three found one room locked and forced the door open to reveal a small library with a dead woman lying upon the floor. Mellissandra noted an acrid sweet smell. Searching the room the trio noted books on the New World and Lustria, and on the desk papers containing poetry to the Goddess of Mercy, Shallya. An empty snuff box and an unopened box of sweetmeats also lay on the desk, and by the panels of the desk the fellows found a green cylindrical pod-like item. Mellissandra secured it upon her person just in time, for a group of Black Caps burst into the house with the magistrate.
Seemingly devastated by the death of his wife, Hanna, the magistrate acknowledged the trio as his men and that he had been expecting their return. He mentioned he had just returned from errands and had seen a dark figure sneaking about the upper floor through the open bedroom window. He had run to get help, little realising his wife was in the house. Finding no marks on the body, and after a lengthy interview with the fellows the Black Caps believed she had locked herself in the library and proceeded to die of fright as the looters ransacked the townhouse.
Bemused the trio returned to their lodgings to let their employer grieve. 

Day 3

The companions spent the day performing basic chores and making purchases with their new-found wealth. Darok identified the mysterious pod they had found at the magistrate's room as a cocoon. The companions decided to avail themselves of the library of the Temple of Verena in Templewjik. However Zhlak and Darok could not read and soon grew impatient. As Ostav had promised to contact them at their boarding house Zhlak sent a messenger to the Haagens.Mellisandra's efforts proved fruitful - she identified the cocoon as belonging to the Lustrian Tiger Spider. The description was, however, rather incomplete, and the other tomes in the library were written in the ancient Classical of Tilea.

Day 4

At breakfast the companions received a letter, stating:-My friends,
Please meet me at Deedesvald Graveyard this morning at ten. It is of the utmost urgency.
Yours in hope,

Going to the cemetery the companions witnessed Hanna's funeral attended by many of the good and great of Marienburg, including numerous priests and priestesses of Shallya. They also saw Kai der Kwick, his maid Celeste and by her side the odious Luc Reno they had delivered the message to.
After the funeral Gretta made herself known. She was an initiate of Shallya and in hushed tones, concealed by the morning mists she told the company of Hanna's unhappy marriage to Kai, of how he beat her and how she had only found happiness in her work with the Church of Shallya. She was certain Kai had arranged for her murder, despite the lack of evidence. She implored the company to investigate. They agreed, though they were uncertain how they could help.
Going to the Elftown the trio made the acquaintance of Fiaroth, one of the apprentices that worked in the chaotic emporium. There they enquired about the tiger spider, including offering to sell it to the apprentice. The apprentice knew little about the spider (referring them to the Southlands Expedition Company, who had acquired the spider for the shop). Their attempts to sell the spider back were rebuffed when he said it was a niche market and that there was little demand for one – the last one had been ordered over a year ago and had just arrived from Lustria a few weeks ago. He, and a nearby dogsbody called Antonio, described the buyer as an Estalian called Heraldo Garcia.
In Messtag, the violent Estalian district of Marienburg, the trio learned Garcia could be found later than night in a brothel. To pass the time they returned to the Magistrate's mansion ostensibly for their pay. Mellisandra excused herself and was escorted to the facilities by the maid, Celeste. She noted the maid was wearing a set of expensive pearls. After she left the room she returned to the library. Searching it quickly she found nothing of import, but this time the books on the New World struck a chord with Mellissandra and she quickly found a reference to the Tiger Spider.
After receiving their pay and being told by Kai der Kwick their services would not be needed any further the group the group returned to the brothel. There they quickly found Garcia and cornered him. A sailor approached Mellissandra and accosted her, calling her Ella. Apologising the drunken sailor left with his comrades but not before Garcia tried to make a run for it. Darok restrained the Estalian and after renting a side-room they interrogated the Estalian, learning he had acquired the spider from the shop on behalf of an anonymous benefactor who had arranged for some ‘business trouble’ to disappear without charges. Through one of Messtag’s numerous local crime gangs, the Ramones, he had delivered the spiders through a series of anonymous contacts.
The group returned to the Suiddock and while returning to their lodgings were approached by a one-legged man with a monkey on his shoulder. He persuaded the group to join him on his barge, saying he had orders to take them to someone who had information for them. Zhlak had his reservations but they agreed. As he gently rowed the barge up the canal the man lit his pipe with a piece of paper and handed the burning paper to his monkey companion. The monkey ran below the barge. Then as they passed under the bridge a rope was lowered to the one-legged man and he clambered up it swiftly, pulled up by shadowy figures on the bridge. Mellisandra was the first to hear the hiss of a fuse and as Zhlak tried to push the barge a voice yelled for them to jump.
Mellisandra vaulted effortlessly into the canal water but began to flounder, while Darok leapt after her. Zhlak barely cleared the barge as it blew, but his armour protected him from the debris. Darok however was not so lucky and took some scrapes and cuts. The dwarf and elf struggled to swim but Darok used the debris that had buffeted him to get to shore and threw a rope to them.
All three were wet and miserable by the time they returned to their lodgings, but they spied a mob of black caps ostensibly searching the boarding house for three Chaos worshippers. The three decided to decant to a different hostelry, choosing the Perched Pelican, a nearby tavern. There they quickly made the acquaintance of the titular pelican, Beaky, and decided to drink to warm themselves and drive the taste of the filthy Suiddock away with copious amounts of alcohol.
As they were recovering from their ordeal a man approached them in a black cloak, introducing himself as Max. He stated he was the one who had warned them on the bridge. He told them that they had made powerful enemies in Marienburg, forces he wished to help them oppose. He told them that he knew they were a friend of the whaler Whitey and wanted to silence all of them. If they wanted to be safe they had either better travel to the New World or look into Whitey. After some questions he left the companions to their new lodgings.
The company discussed what to be done. They assumed it was Kai der Kwick who had tried to have them killed. He would have to be dealt with.

Day 5:

At breakfast the companions decided to leave the spider cocoon and a letter to the watch explaining how Hanna der Kwick had died with the barkeep, with instructions to take it to the Black Caps if they did not return. When they confronted the magistrate and mentioned that proof would find its way to the watch he first of all tried to blow-off their allegations. Finally he admitted to the murder, but stated no-one would believe them, and that he had not tried to kill them. He brought the companions the contents of his safe, 150 golden guilders and made the dwarf swear that they were finally done with each other.Flushed with success the companions returned to the Perched Pelican and decided that they would take their evidence to Getta at the Temple of Shallya. However if Kai der Kwick was telling the truth and was not behind the attempted murder, who was?
To be continued in August

Quote of the session
Naomi/Mellisandra: (looks bemused) “I don’t know how I feel about monkeys carrying fire.”

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Some Radio Links

Dreadtime Stories are a series of horror audio dramas by Fangoria magazine that they make for free over the web for one month, and sell the back catalog for a pittance (~£1 for a download). They're very much in the vein of an anthology horror movie (like my dear beloved Creepshow, a cheesy horror movie I used to while away evenings watching) crossed with classic American old time radio. They feature Malcolm McDowell, an actor with a sci-fi career so distinguished that his characters have killed William Shatner (Star Trek Generations) and Mark Hamill (Wing Commander IV, if you lose) as the narrator at times putting on a bit of an American drawl, though perhaps that's because he's been over there so long.
The current one for streaming as of July, 'Mercy' isn't exactly typical of the stories but is fairly ghoulish if a bit obvious in its execution. Probably my favourite one is "A Fungus Among Us", which is a very nihilistic classic horror-thriller in audio format.

The acting is a little hokey (people don't speak naturally, perhaps it's because I'm a Brit, and seem awfully ghoulish) and there is quite a bit of gore for audio, but it's well worth a look. I've listened to all 10 of them now via the stream and Audible.

Also by the same repertory company is the Twilight Zone Radio Show. I was a little disappointed with this in the sense that the website said it was a reimagining of the Twilight Zone for audio, with modernised stories. Most of the stories are retellings of original Twilight Zone episodes and are not updated. They feel amusingly like 1960s period pieces.

Mind you it does seem a bit of a shame there isn't a Twilight Zone/Horror Short anthology show on television these days.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

A Discussion of Doctors

Every day I get literally thousands of emails asking me who my favourite doctor is. Sadly due to the fact that I am far too busy riding a flying pig to work I am unable to answer them. (Some of this may be a lie). Probably my favourite Doctor is Paul McGann, or if you want someone who actually got some screentime Tom Baker. Eccleston was probably the best nu-Who Doctor, but with the most dodgy scripts. Smith on the other hand is excellent but is served by some really good scripts.

1. Paul McGann. The Doctor who never was, I remember considering his outing decidedly watchable compared to much of the 80s Doctor Who panto that I'd lost interest in as a kid. It's a tragedy he never got a series as he had an amazing costume (and it is unbelievable he just found it lying around), was an excellent actor (with much more range than say Tennant) and the more modern sensibilities of the current Doctors with a posh veneer resorting to the blatant common-denominator-pop-culture-remarking of Tennant or (less so) Eccleston and Smith.

McGann has had a pretty good run on audios. His radio plays are the Rolls Royce of the Big Finish range and his only rival in terms of output is Colin Baker. However with the coming of Tom Baker to Big Finish I can't help but feel he is being slightly sidelined with only 3 audios and a boxed set this year.

Sure the TV Movie isn't brilliant, but it is miles better than Time and the Rani, The Twin Dilemma, and is at least comparable with Robot and Castrovalva in terms of quality. Also bear in mind it's a pilot, and try judging Star Trek The Next Generation, Babylon 5 or numerous other US shows solely on their pilot. It is basically a clip show of things to excite the attention-deficit Fox Network executives (see we can do car chases, see we can do medical drama, see we can do fighting) as opposed to dropping the Doctor in a well-defined universe like say, Firefly.

2. Tom Baker. My favourite classic Doctor, this chap was the first doctor to really make the show fun. City of Death (and indeed all of that season) and the Pirate Planet are both firm favourites of mine. The later episodes of his era are more representative of the more serious Peter Davison stories, but pre-JNT his doctor is a lot of fun. I also like his gothic era, with stories like the Brain of Morbius, the Pyramids of Mars and Seeds of Death.

It's worth noting his audios with BBC are hit and miss and sadly not designed to be devoured piece-meal. He is in the middle of making a gazillion CDs with Big Finish suddenly and they're bleeding brilliant.

3. Eccleston. I was a fan of Eccleston before the series began. I loved Shallow Grave, Cracker, 28 Days Later and even Elizabeth. He played a very dark, damaged and emotional doctor - when he was happy you really felt it was genuine, and yet he managed to be angry or dark without seeming over the top. His relationship with Rose was much more interesting and believable than Tennant's creepy obsessive behaviour. It's a real tragedy he left the show so early, especially as later seasons gave the Doctor more to do, and that he seems so distant from the show. Mind you the people at the top seemed to be on a bit of an ego-trip so perhaps he was smart to leave.

4. Matt Smith. I really like Matt Smith and overall the Smith-Moffat era has been the most even-quality era of the new show. Sure you still get some stinkers like Victory of the Daleks but I can tune in to the Xmas special or the season finale with a reasonable certainty it will have a solid cohesive plot. The show is also more sci-fi than soap opera and the companions seem a bit more rounded.

As an actor Matt Smith does occassionally seem to be playing the same kind of character as Tennant, but there are much darker moments and overall the writing is much more subtle, allowing the acting to seem a little more palatable.

5. Sylvester McCoy. McCoy was the doctor I watched as a kid and was Scottish which automatically makes him awesome. Even more awesome is that he's allowed to sound Scottish, rather than like Mr. Bean.

He had some real clunkers (notably when Mel was still on the show), but some of his later episodes actually hold up really well. Rememberance of the Daleks is good, the Curse of Fenric actually makes sense if you watch the director's cut, and Survival is actually close to the new series in that it hangs around a chav-infested council estate. If he'd dressed how he appeared in the McGann movie it would have been a substantial improvement to the silly question marks.

In terms of audios, McCoy actually performs really well. I'm not so sure about poor Sophie Aldred, but some of his later audios with Hex form a cohesive season that takes place after his last episodes and before the McGann movie.

6. Jon Pertwee. The elder statesman of Doctor Who it's a real shame he didn't live to take part in Big Finish. This was the first Doctor to really become the action hero that we now see in the later doctors. Excellently portrayed - though perhaps to authoratitive for my tastes.

7. David Tennant. Only appearing in the second half of my list but doubtless at the top of every fangirl's this is because while Tennant's a pretty good actor unfortunately some of the writing is incredibly wonky and can make him and other characters totally unlikable at times, though certainly not to Torchwood Season 1 levels of unlikability.

I really didn't like his first season as I felt the episodes were written for Eccleston, who I hope would've toned everything down. The relationship he had with Rose was nauseating at best, and disturbing at worst. For example here's a rough synopsis of The Idiot's Lantern:-

Doctor (gurning): "Wow, people are losing their faces. This is fun and interesting."
Rose (gurning): "I'm awesome, so I am going to threaten this old man with my awesomeness."
Old man is working for the face-eating bad guy. Rose loses her face.
Doctor: "Now I'm upset enough to actually investigate this episode. How dare someone ever do something bad to Rose Tyler!"

Tennant's second season is much better, despite nearly episode referencing Rose's departure and starting with Donna Noble on full comedy sidekick duty. Human Nature and Blink are seminal episodes, followed by Utopia. It was also a RTD-lite season (though he alleges he secretly rewrote most of the good bits). Sadly after that it falls into the kitchen-sink finales to disguise the fact RTD has no plot left in him, as the Doctor gets an army of sidekicks led by Captain Jack.

Tangent: Authors sometimes sign their work by the naming of their characters. For instance Jeffrey Sinclair/John Sheridan, along with the Michael in Michael Garabaldi gives you JMS in Babylon 5. Rose Tyler Doctor gives you RTD. No wonder he never shut up about her!

8. Patrick Troughton. I really think I'd like this doctor if there was more material available. He does seem somewhat underwritten as a character. I like the banter between him and Jamie, possibly the last decent male companion the show ever had.

9. William Hartnell. If Hartnell was bad it would have been the end of the show. However his portrayal is jarringly different from where the character now evolved to.

10. Peter Davison. Peter's appearance so low on this list doesn't mean I consider him rubbish (unlike #11 on this list) but rather he never made much of an impression on me. As an aside his characterization in Time Crash is quite different (read: a clone of 10, complete with planet-sized ego evidenced by him assuming, "You're a fan!"). He's quite a long way from the quiet intellectual doctor in the episodes I've seen. His stories tended to be quite dry, subdued and almost hard sci-fi, with concepts like hydrogen inrush, a recursive universe and so forth.

11. Colin Baker. Worst Doctor ever.

Apparently Colin got the gig by guest-starring in an episode of Peter Davison's final season, hamming it up and being invited to a member of the production team's wedding where he impressed the producer with his jovial behaviour. I think it really shows the lack of regard that Doctor Who had at that time that an actor could walk into the role by going to the same party as the producer. I cannot imagine Smith, Tennant or Eccleston getting the job purely by dint of being the karaoke whizz down the pub with the producer.

Sadly this leads me to believe Baker really lucked into a job that normally would be beyond his acting chops. He's not a bad actor but I don't think he's a leading man, rather someone who should play a loud bombastic guest role when Brian Blessed is too expensive. It is rather telling that his career post-Who has been non-existent in terms of leading roles and he is a firm fixture on the convention circuit (I think I narrowly avoided him at the Leicester Space Centre once).

It's true Baker didn't have much of a chance - his era was marred with uniformly awful scripts, the worst costume imaginable chosen by a man who thought the hawaiian shirt was the height of elegance, a writing staff who decided that having the Doctor behave like an unlikable coward/maniac at the drop of a hat and the worst companion imaginable (Mel). However I think a better actor could have weathered 3-4 seasons and lifted the show from the turgid mess it had become. Tom Baker made even the most boring story watchable. Colin Baker's obonxious doctor gives you another reason to turn off.

His audios are often very good but they feel like an apology from the man performed and written with years of hindsight. It does seem there is also an awful lot of them - again not surprising given how much free time as an actor he has. He's guest started as Maxil and the Sixth Doctor in spin-offs Gallifrey, Jago & Litefoot (and dear lor' do I think they've overdone it by having him and Leela in it) and also appears in Big Finish's Dark Shadows and Sapphire and Steel. I assume he's cheap to bring in.

Ultimately, I don't follow the apologists who make excuses for Colin's short era. He wasn't a good actor. It also wasn't a good era. I remember my housemate and I sitting through episodes from the Twin Dilemma to the Trial of a Time Lord yelling for someone to shoot him so he could regenerate into a better actor.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Pimp My Advanced Heroquest Part 7: Heroquest

I managed to pick up a copy of Heroquest, which means I now have a decent selection of HQ monsters, and the rather nice furnite. I also managed to acquire some rather reasonably painted minis of the main 4 heroes, who as we know are playable options in AHQ.
Our four heroes, the Barbarian, Dwarf, Elf and Wizard
The Barbarian miniature
Something about the Barbarian always confused me in AHQ. His character sheet shows the following mini:-
Rogar's picture on his Advanced Heroquest Character Sheet
I thought this was a specially painted mini or some such but it turns out Games Workshop made metal versions of the four heroes. These were not widely distributed - in fact one metal barbarian went for $405!! Needless to say I doubt I'll be getting one soon.
The Elf also has an expensive metal figure I won't be buying in this lifetime
The Dwarf is my favourite piece
The wizard - personally I always thought this was a Light Wizard model.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Return of the Renders

I installed the new Daz Studio and finally reloaded my Runtime folders, finding some of my old layouts. Here's one:-
Sir Tiren Farness, Paladin and Knight of the Golden Sun

Points for guessing which famous actor I used for the face...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Pimp My Advanced Heroquest Part 6: Mighty Warriors & More

I have alt-versions of the heroes to choose which the able Ben (aka the Smurf) has painted. Many of the heroes came as duplicates in a copy of Mighty Warriors I found on Ebay (along with a Warhammer Quest Barbarian and Minotaur meant to replace the broken warrior mini).

Here it is.

Mighty Warriors is a game Games Workshop obviously made to repackage all the excess Advanced Heroquest miniatures they were left with. In this game the elf, dwarf and human warrior team up with the henchmen to take on the wizard (called the Chaos Wizard) and some skaven. You can get the rules for free here though Boardgame Geek indicates the game is somewhat poor. Might be worth a play, though for some reason you roll in the inside of the box to resolve combat.

Anyroads here are our heroes and their variants:-

It's now like playing Street Fighter 2 - if you press Button B you get the alternative colour
 Magnus the Bright, now in red, again painted by Sir Smurf of the Order of the Good Paint.
A comparison shot of the two Magnusi
This more fiery Magnus got dug out for one of our players at the last AHQ game we played, where he managed to nuke some bats into oblivion.

Somehow Magnus just isn't evil enough to be the main baddie in Mighty Warriors. Probably I'll probably replace the AHQ Wizard with an evil looking Chaos Sorcerer if I ever play Mighty Warriors.

The dwarf now has a choice of 2 colour schemes:-

The two dwarves
The Elf has the choice of wood elf or high elf colour schemes:-

The two elves - wood elf scheme and high elf scheme (l-r)
Smurf has also done some amazing work on this mini, originally intended to represent my (now-deceased) WFRP3E character:-
Warhammer Quest's Noble, ably painted by Ben (aka the Smurf).
The piece above is the Warhammer Noble, from the Warhammer Noble Pack, one of the Warrior Packs from Warhammer Quest. I'm quite interested in owning/running Warhammer Quest but despite the fact it is a more recent game to Advanced Heroquest (AHQ came out in 1989, WQ in 1995 and was supported by a lot of expansions) the price for any WQ packs on Ebay are extortionate. The main game goes for ~£150, and the expansions are even more scarce. By comparison I picked up a complete Heroquest for £25.

Incidentally if you happen to have a Warhammer Quest you want rid of, speak to me. Funnier things have happened (yes, Josh :P)...

Meanwhile, on the girl miniature front...

Female wood elves rangers
These games come with a worrying lack of female miniatures to represent the heroes.

Female elven ranger (or warrior-wizard if you will)

The above lass was bought because in our first session Naomi wanted to play the Heroquest elf (who in AHQ still is able to fight reasonably well and cast some spells, albeit with a chance of failure to balance against poor wizards who aren't allowed armour or big swords). Despite the fact I didn't have the Heroquest miniature at that point, nothing could dissuade my nearest and dearest, so after a rather confused session using the AHQ elf I decided to treat her to the above pretty mini.

Well, it is pretty in my opinion (the picture doesn't do it justice) - to be honest she's rather nonchalant about it, muttering about how since it's not a proper RPG the gender of her model doesn't matter and preferring "Drunkie", the female swordsman figure we use for her henchman. "Drunkie" is a cheap D&D mini and is called Drunkie as she bends very easily and was almost horizontal when she emerged from the game box.
The Elf Ranger's sister.
And here are all 6 of our new heroes:-
The Alternative Heroes - including 2 female elf rangers (the one on the left is Naomi's hero), an alt-mage with a fire theme, a Warhammer Quest noble, an alt-Dwarf, alt-Elf

On the dwarf front there are several new additions:-

Dwarf daemon-slayer, a guy who can't seem to get himself killed
The Warhammer Quest Trollslayer
A Dwarf Thane

Hic, be right there boss!

The above chap is to represent the dwarven brewmaster, a Warhammer Quest add-on that was published in Deathblow along time. Did I mention I want that game? (Expect a Pimp my Warhammer Quest series in 2015 at this rate).

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Pimp My Advanced Heroquest Part 5: Specialist Skaven

My main problem with Advanced Heroquest was the lack of variety in the miniatures that came in the box. Aside from the 4 heroes you got 12 henchmen and 20 identical skaven. The idea being that you were 'encouraged' to buy more skaven, including the specialist skaven.

First up are the Skaven technomancer artillerists, the Jezzails and Warpfire Throwers.

A team of Jezzails and Warpfire Throwsers
The Jezzails consist of a skaven wielding an almost comically oversize gun and his assistant to hold the gun in place. These are quite nasty armour piercing fellows.

The two buddies out shooting hoops
The gun holder
The musket

Next up is the deadly warpfire thrower, a warpstone approximation of a flame thrower. Again there is a team of two to work this.

The Warpfire Teams
The Cannon
The ammo
 Then, as the adventurers progress through the Skaven lairs there is the Plague Monks.

Two Plague Monks, the one on the left is cute in my opinion if you excuse the blood.
And the Rat Ogres...

The Rat Ogres

... and their handler.
The Rat Ogre Handler, which can also double as a Plague Monk
Lastly as a bonus I got this two-headed skaven mutant:-

Mutie, mutie mutant