Monday, 20 September 2021

The Badfangs - Bonesplitterz of Ghur - part 18, The Vurm-tai Campaign

The Great Rift

Hogrog Ug Weirdklaw could feel the power flowing through the Great Wurm, even from here. The ley-lines of magical energies that converged on the Wurm were out of alignment and unstable. The city gitz had no idea what they were playing with!

The Badfangs watched approvingly as he rummaged through the tribe's collection of powerful beast-bones, searching for two or three that felt right, that resonated with the same energy. As he searched he threw rejects around the temporary camp.

He found some that seemed like good candidates and held each one against his Wurrgog mask in turn. The ones that harmonised with the Wurm's power went into a bag.

The Badfangs set out along the top of a line of ruins that Hogrog had picked out as the best spots - focal points at the crossings of the wurm-lines with Neolotl's ley-lines. They had to hurry though, the wurm-lines were moving fast.

They ran along the stonework at breakneck speed, leaping over the gaps between buildings.

Some local Freeguilders spotted them and started shooting! Bullets zinged past them and ricocheted off the stones. 

A few shots clipped the orruks as they ran. They didn't pay it much attention.

Hogrog and Snaggatoof reached the first wurm-line intersection. Hogrog took one of the beast-bones and jammed it into a crack between the stones.

The Freeguilder's fire increased as the Badfangs got closer.

A Freeguild Champion positioned herself in the way of the Badfangs - Snaggatoof barrelled into her, expecting to brush her aside. He was not going to get the outcome he bargained-for.

More Freeguild handgunners arrived and the Morboys started taking fire.

They were less than impressed.

Boss Ersatz and a couple of Morboys caught up with Hogrog.

Snaggatoof's claws slashed time and again, the Freeguild Champion dodged and skilfully counter-attacked with parry and repost. She used the big orruk's momentum against him...

... and sent him tumbling off the wall!

Boss Ersatz saw what happened and learned from Snaggatooth's mistakes.

Noknok the drummer jumped off the wall and sprinted at the Freeguild General.

Zurgob and Boss Ersatz ganged up on the Champion while Hogrog completed his ritual at the second wurm-line crossing point.

The Wurrgog Prophet realised time was running out: The Badfangs had to hurry.

Ersatz didn't smash into the Champion with blind fury as Snaggatoof had; he drew her into over-reaching her attacks and swept her legs out from under her. Zurgob smashed his stone axe down.

Noknok was no match for the Freeguild General.

With the second magic beast-bone jammed into place the atmosphere changed - the air was filled with crackling static, small stones started bouncing around on the ground.

Light flooded the battlefield as the magically charged bones started to interfere with the wurm-lines. White lightning arced between them and straight up into the air.

As the magical backlash they unleashed started tearing the stones of the ruins apart, the Badfangs fled the scene, Hogrog cackled with glee...

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

The Badfangs - Bonesplitterz of Ghur - part 17, The Vurm-tai Campaign

The Badfangs tribe have an oral tradition, myths and legends that have long been told and retold, passed down through the years, of their time as travellers among the stars, in the Void-Between-the-Realms. They believe that in an age long ago they roamed the cosmos, they were not natives of Ghur but they came from some other, unremembered Realm. They chased god-beasts across the void, riding in the belly of a creature they called the Odargul, but they crashed into the Great Parch by accident while the Odargul was battling another god-beast.

In some versions of the stories the Odargul was killed by the other god-beast, in other versions the Bonesplitterz accidentally killed Odargul from inside by cutting their way out in an ill-considered attempt to get at the god-beast that was attacking it.

Whichever version they believe, they all agree that in the crash they lost their ability to travel the cosmos and they were stranded. They still carry with them a sense of adventure that continues the tradition of travelling, exploring and finding new monsters to defeat.

They wear masks to protect them from the Void-Between-the-Realms and in reverence the god-beasts they emulate and hunt.




Down Wit Da Walls!

Dry winds and reddish sands swirled through the Realmgate as the Badfangs stepped out onto a rocky island in the seas of Argharock. In the distance the colossal god-beast Nasson (also known as Puncha to the orruks) lumbered slowly through the waters around Neolotl (known as Sitta), each carrying the half of the city called Nassollotyl that was divided between their backs.

Hogrog tipped his head and pointed at the distant creatures. The Badfangs followed his gaze and one of them let out an impressed whistle.

"There's Puncha and Sitta. There's a whole bunch of gitz, what live in a city on the back of them like fleas." There were a few wordless sounds of consternation from the warband.

Then he turned and pointed in a different direction. The Badfangs all turned to look, but there was some confusion as none of them could see any monsters that way.

"There's another big old beastie comin' from that way. A massive wurmy thing. The stories say it will pass right between those two soon, and a whole load of them city gitz is planning to try to jump on it as it passes through. We're going to make it difficult for them. Maybe even nick the wurm ourselves." Some of the Badfangs laughed.

"We need to get into the caves under the mountains on Sitta's back. The caves lead to tunnels, the tunnels lead under the walls of the city."

The Badfangs arranged their gear and weapons for the fight, some re-tied knots on each-others backs, and others adjusted their godbeast-masks.

Hogrog looked at his mob with pride - he could tell a few of them were already planning to update their masks with a pair of nose-horns, like Puncha's.




The Badfangs crept through the ruins in the mountains, on the back of the godbeast Neolotyl as the evening light faded. So far they had evaded detection - everyone in the city seemed to be distracted by their preparations for the arrival of the great wurm.

Make that almost everyone: A band of duardin mercenaries had been posted to guard the tunnels.

Their leader hefted a heavy-looking (and probably magical) hammer and shouted orders as soon as he saw the Badfangs.

The Badfang's arrowboyz let fly and with a roar, the rest of the mob changed!

Boss Ersatz leapt up the walls, straight into the fight. Aethershot rifles flashed and banged around him.

Hogrog blasted one of the duardin off his feet with green lightning...

... then jogged round the undefended side of the wall.

Skulsmaka wielded his great axe with skill and ferocity, stopping another of the mercenaries from helping his leader. Ersatz and the duardin Endrineer fought tooth and nail but neither had the upper hand for now.

A couple of the Badfangs were wounded in the charge, by the punishing volleys of duardin aethershot fire.

But the mercenaries were pushed back by sheer weight of numbers.

Hogrog smiled to himself as his orruks roared with dark glee...

... when Ersatz finally finished off the duardin leader.

Wardokk Urgog used his grimdokk powers...

... to fix up a couple of injured but still grinning orruks, whose wounds knitted themselves back together as Urgog's magic did it's job.

Skulsmaka and Zurgob chased off the last of the gunners. Then Hogrog and the Badfangs descended into the tunnels.

Monday, 16 August 2021

Animosity III - The Prime Dominion, part 19

~ ⦽ ~ 17

Castle Iskar

The Cleavermaw turned hard, leaned with the wind, then righted itself as the crew scrambled to adjust the sails. 

Kaptain Mogrum stood next to the helm, hanging on to the rigging with one hand and his hat with the other. Lost Uzzog stood just behind him, calling out course adjustments over the noise of the winds.

The lookout in the crow’s nest, and over half the crew, watched the distant floating castle, silhouetted against a twilight sky, hanging in the air over Iscarion.

In the prow a small group of orruks tried to look busy while not really doing anything productive. They chatted in hushed tones, while slowly coiling a rope, or rearranging a line of barrels.

"Metaliths can't be overloaded by just pulling on 'em. Chains or no chains." said Oiler Tunn, deckhand. 

"Which I weren't saying they could, I said overloaded, but I meant thaumaturgically." said Double Barrel, deckhand.

"That would take a deal of power, and no mistake. Likely more than is possible to gatherat at short notice, in a place such as where we are." said Mr Sludga, deckboss.

The other two orruk pirates looked up at Sludga in surprise. He didn't usually offer an opinion in their discussions of sorcery, conjuring, abduration or enchantment. They were impressed.

"We've still got the Dead Man's Chest aboard." said Double Barrel "There are about 55 kilothaums left after that business with the Oubliette."

"More like 15!" said Ledger Nud without looking up from his book. "Himself used over 35 to open the door on the way out. Very nearly broke his staff with the feedback overload."

"Oh." said Double Barrel, deflated.

"What about Draketooth's plan? Do ya think we'll be getting all a-tangled up with that?" he said, turning to Mr Sludga again.

"The Kap'n ain't keen on it. After all, he don't want to look like he's running after them Umbral Corsairs like some trained dog. They made it clear a-last time we met that they ain't at all happy we're here. Especially herself." said Sludga, scratching his chin thoughtfully.

"Then how about subterfuge? Like, sneak into the castle all quiet-like and see what mischief can be achieved." said Tunn.

Sludga just nodded. He wasn’t sure strolling into a vampire's fortress blind was a great idea but he couldn't be bothered to argue with Tunn. Not without a drink first, at any rate. And he had a horrible feeling Tunn was right too.

~ ⦽ ~

Kaptain Mogrum had his own thoughts on the matter but he wasn't going to share them with the crew just yet. Not when so much depended on his luck and the mistakes of others. But then, all his best plans did. He chuckled to himself (the helmsman glanced at him nervously, out of the corner of his eye). 

After all was said and done, he and the crew had more experience dealing with the undead than almost anything else.

~ ⦽ ~

The walls shook, as if the castle was tearing itself apart. Mogrum concentrated all his power into a single spell.

"This place feels weirdly familiar..." muttered Sludga, under his breath.

Thursday, 5 August 2021

Animosity III - The Prime Dominion, part 18

~ ⦽ ~ 16

The Library

After "rescuing" a pair of librarians from Umbral Corsairs, and hearing their tales of the wonders within, the Cleavermaws headed into the Basileun Library - to "save" the maps and charts. On the way they encountered a band of Iscarneth monks who tried to take the librarians from their custody.

Mogrum told the crew to keep an eye on Ilimitar and Tassar, while he, the Baron and Mr Sludga went to talk to the aelven monks.

The librarians were told to stay put. Mr Deadwood kept them close by. Tapping his belaying pin on his hand in a reassuring and friendly way.

The monks took up defensive stances - each producing a blade, a wand, or both.

The Cleavermaws hailed the monks amiably, calling out greetings and pleasantries.

"Ahoy mate!" called the Baron. "We ain't about to kutlass you or nothing. You don't have to worry about us going to kill you!"

But the monks reacted aggressively, sending a sorcerous blast in reply to the pirates' offer of parley.

Lost Uzzog and a few of the deck hands moved forward, to form a second line between the monks and the librarians.

The pirates approached the monks as they tried to get to the librarians. Mogrum and his mates were having none of it. Sludga and the Baron slammed into them.

The Kaptain replied to their hexes in kind, sending two bolts of green lightning back at their leader.

The Baron leapt forward and punched a second of the monks, square in the chest with his enchanted gauntlet. The aelf crumpled.

The Baron tried to appeal to the last monk, pleading with him to cease the needless fighting.

"Drop the sparkly stick mate, or I'll smash your face in."

The monk wasn't convinced, so the Baron did exactly what he'd promised.

~ ⦽ ~

Later that week the pirates broke into the Basileun Library in Iscarion to return the librarians, safe and sound as the skies darkened with the silhouette of a massive flying castle floating overhead.

Riggob, the Cleavermaw's cartographer-librarian, got distracted by the number of gloriously rendered maps and painstakingly precise charts there. He wanted to sit and make copies, but the other pirates just stuffed a load of papers up their shirts...

Ledger Nud and Riggob discussed the wealth of books at hand while the rest of the crew grabbed whatever they could get their hands on and stuffed them into pockets and bags, inside their clothes and under their hats.

The Baron had a long chat with Tassar, the assistant librarian, who was confused but grateful for being returned home.

The Cleavermaws left him in the library surrounded by shelves that had, until very recently, been much fuller.