Thursday, 31 March 2022

The Harrowmark Twisted Oak - part 9, game 7 - The Crow's Nest


Inside the Freebooter's Tower a fire crackled in the grate and a bottle of rum was passed from hand to hand among the silent ship's company that warmed themselves. The charts, maps, books, letters and other manuscripts they had collected throughout the last few weeks now fed the fire. The crew knew that none of the papers contained clues to the location of the damned Twisted Oak - that information was certainly held by the Soulchemist Kalyustar and his Cursed Company. The Kapitan was in a black mood and none of the crew could think of anything to raise his spirits.

The Rotmoons looked nervously at one another, trying to appear relaxed and jovial, while also not drawing too much attention to themselves, for fear they would draw the Kapitan's wrath. He had been in a foul temper for a long time now and it was likely only a matter of time before he started impaling or shooting them if they annoyed him.

They all jumped when Francot, who was on watch outside, started shouting.

"On deck there! Movement in the forest! I think it be the Cursed Company, come a-calling on us!"

Kapitan da Leeva leapt to his feet. "If they are here, that means they need something from us what they can't get elsewhere. Maybe the trail to the Oak ain't yet cold!"

+++
To better read the map, the Cursed Company needs an elevated position such as Freebooter’s Tower. Unfortunately, they find it occupied by the Rotmoons. Just before the break of dawn, they launch a brutal attack.
Scenery: Blackrocks. Freebooter’s Tower in the North-East quarter of the board.
Deployment: Relentless Assault. The winner of ‘Ill Gotten Gains’ uses the red deployment points.
Victory: Vantage Point.
Twist: Dawn.
Reward: the winner of the battle steals the map (fluff reward).

+++

Bortagno waited on the balcony outside the door to the middle level in the pool of light cast by the lantern hung above the door. Kapitan da Leeva strode out onto the stone steps that led down from the Freebooter's Tower, with Bold Rikk following close behind him. Francot waited at the foot of the hill for them, out of the lantern light. 

El Doctoro and the rest of the crew made their way to the roof and peered between the battlements while they loaded their heavy blackpowder pistols. 

The was the first time in nearly two weeks that the crew had seen the piratical glimmer return to the Kapitan's eyes. They were pleased to see it and even more pleased his ire was not directed at them!


Several skeletal forms shambled out of the tree line.


Francot raced forward and threw himself into them, flailing about with his kutlass with enthusiasm but very little skill.


Two of the Deathrattle counter-attacked and he went down.


Bold Rikk backed up while the Kapitan braced himself for the oncoming charge.


A skeleton aelf lurched towards him and caught him a glancing blow with a rusted spear but da Leeva cut it down with with heavy blade.


El Doctoro and the crew in the tower started shouting about the other skeletons they could see approaching from two different directions.


The Wardokk peeped out from the battlements cautiously.


Bortagno got ready to join the Kapitan on the steps. He opened a small silver box and took out his  "magical artefact" a piece of Troggoth guts that he was sure contained mystical powers.


More skeletons moved up to the steps, so Kapitan da Leeva made a sortie - he ran out to meet them, smashed one to its component bones... 


... and quickly leapt back to his defendable position behind the stack of empty barrels.


Kalyustar and his minions appeared from the shadows beneath the trees.


Awkward shouted a warning.


Bold Rikk jumped up onto the rocks overlooking Kalyustar's approach and fired both his heavy pistols.


Kalyustar was lucky and was only skimmed.


Bortagno winced as he swallowed the Trogg guts. It did not agree with him at all. His insides were twisted-up painfully.


As the light of Hysh grew brighter Awkwardo could finally see the skeletons below clearly, so he fired a pistol at them.


One of the skeletons clambered up onto the balcony.


The Rotmoons in the tower shoved each-other out of the way so El Doctoro could send a sorcerous blast down at the necromancer.


More skeletons advanced on the Kapitan, he knocked them down one by one - including the one he had already smashed, that had been rebuilt by the Wight's necromantic powers.


The Wight jumped onto the barrels and stabbed at the Kapitan.


Bortagno, weakened by the bad Trogg's guts, fell to the slashing greatblade of a skeleton champion.


Bold Rikk fired another pistol at the climbing skeletons.


An undead skaven clambered up the tower and over the battlements. The pirates all shouted in alarm and angry, slashing at it awkwardly in the cramped space.


A Deathrattle clambered up on to one of the stone skulls and slashed at Bold Rikk. He shrieked and jumped back.


Tambor fired a pistol down at the growing number of skeletons that had reached the balcony.


The Rotmoons managed to hold off the Cursed Company until full daylight and as Dragante and the rest of the pirate crew returned, noisily singing shanties and oblivious to the fighting, Kalyustar and his minions fell back into the dark forests...

+++


With this victory for the Rotmoons, Viktor and I are now drawing in the campaign. I can't play for the next couple of weeks but David and Viktor are going to try to get some games in. We decided that those games will be our tie-breaker to see which way the next phase of the campaign heads. If Viktor wins more games than David he will be counted as ahead in the campaign, so I will be the Challenger in The Hunt for the Fiend of the Harrowmark! ('Menagerie of Horrors' from Monsters & Mercenaries). If David wins more games then Viktor will Hunt for the Fiend.

Sunday, 27 March 2022

The Bitterscales, part 2


Led by Illyana Draketooth, a Black Ark Fleetmaster, The Bitterscales are a corsair crew who stayed loyal to her after their defeat in the Prime Dominion (in Animosity III). These 12 models, including Draketooth, come in at just under 1000 points in Warcry.








Friday, 25 March 2022

The Harrowmark Twisted Oak - part 8, game 6 - Ill Gotten Gains

In the candle-lit back room of the Rose and Scythe inn El Doctoro and Kapitan da Leeva leafed through the stolen letters and books. The table was covered in sheaves of paper, weighed down with a heavy pistol and a couple of empty tankards. The two orruk pirates were looking for a particular map. Every time they came across a map, a diagram, a weather chart, even a scribbled sketch, they closely examined it. Letters, reports, cargo or crew lists, diary entries and the like, all went on the floor.

"It ain't here. None of these is even close." grumbled the Kapitan. He started throwing love letters and old bills of lading into the fire.

"The Cursed Company must have it in the bundles they salvaged." said El Doctoro as he slumped into one of the big chairs.

The Kapitan thought for a minute. "Then we go to where they was last seen hiding out and take it from them!" he said, shrugging off the disappointment at the prospect of another fight.

+++

Sheltering at the Hurricane Bell, the looters sift through their gains searching for the map. As their rivals ambush them, the spirits of the explorers whose gear they have stolen rise to exact vengeance.

Terrain: Hurricane Bell in the centre of the southern half of the board, woods and graves all around.
Deployment: Stranglehold. The winner of ‘The Bitter Harvest’ uses the blue deployment points.
Victory: Defend the Find. The winner of ‘The Bitter Harvest’ is the defender.
Twist: Insidious Malignants.
Reward: the winner of the battle steals the map (fluff reward) and receives a Treasure Horde (Tome of Champions 2020, page 75).




+++

The ever-present crows squawked and flapped around as the Rotmoons tried to creep through the trees. Unfortunately the sounds of their arguments completely undermined their efforts at secrecy.


El Doctoro, Bortagno and Tambor approached the Hurricane Bell from the north.


And saw that Kalyustar had already established a strong defensive position.


Kapitan da Leeva and his group came from the west.


With a lightning-fast charge da Leeva ran up to the Bell deck and grabbed one of the log books. The skeleton defenders were slow to react!


Malignant spirits lashed out at the combatants of both warbands as they struggled. Daggers of ice-cold death magic picked and slashed at them.


Percy Percy joined him and held off the undead minions for a moment or two.


Bold Rikk readied himself, he tried to pick the right moment...



Dudoso joined Bold Rikk and the two of them jeered each-other on.


The Deathrattle defenders swarmed at the orruk buccaneers.


El Doctoro, Bortagno and Tambor blasted and bashed at the skeletons waiting at the foot of the skull-carved rocky outcrop.


The Rotmoons on deck continued to fend off the advancing undead.


Dragante, Francot and Awkwardo eventually appeared to the east, and were immediately set-upon by lurking Deathrattle fighters.


The forests around the Hurricane Bell echoed with the sounds of gunfire, shouts and the clash of steel.


The Kapitan leapt down from the Bell deck and joined up with El Doctoro's group.


Bold Rikk grabbed another bundle of papers and fell back to Bortagno's side.


After a long duel, Bortagno finally felled the skeletal duardin and he splashed into a puddle.


El Doctoro sent crackling arcs of Waaagh! energy at the Wight.





Percy Percy was shanked by the surrounding skeletons.


Dragante and Awkwardo made slow, but steady, progress.


Sorcerous fires flashed out from the Bell deck.



Dudoso and the Kapitan watched from the trees, clutching their precious loot.



Tambor fell, impaled by a rusty spear.


Bortagno took his moment, grabbed a bundle of maps and ran.


Bold Rikk faced the Wight alone.


And the skeleton champion armed with a greatsword jumped him from behind!




El Doctoro made the mistake of engaging in a magical duel instead of boarding the Hurricane Bell.


Spells flew back and forth but none helped the Rotmoons in their mission!


The pirate orruks' initial success looked like it might be undone at the last.


The Kapitan fended-off more relentlessly advancing Deathrattle skeletons.


Francot was set upon, first by two skeletons...


Then the undead Champions...


And finally the Wight!


It was too much for him and he was overwhelmed.




Awkwardo tried to break through the skeletons in the woods.




Kalyustar taunted the Rotmoons from the Bell deck. His laugher rang in their ears



The Rotmoons fell back to the forests with some, but not all, of the looted documents. Critically they still didn't have the map they were looking for.

+++

We played this game in two instalments - turns 1 to 3 in one session and turn 4 in the next. I really thought I was going to win until the last turn when my plan crumbled!

Viktor’s side of this adventure is here.