The White Monk’s Tower

“on we went, with every step a voice

whispering in our ears that this

was all folly…”

 

Our Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes campaign continued last week with our intrepid adventurers hiking into the foothills to locate the White Monk’s Tower. Rumors of treasure helped pull them on but a scroll hidden beneath the feet of the White Monk’s statue reveals the hidden passes to Storm Crag Keep – the lair of the Liche King.

Here’s some shots

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table with new terrain  piece- a nice Hirst Arts kit from an eBay seller
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Close up of the kit. My first time with one, so I’m grateful I picked ruins. 
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Lazarus Stern faced Jorek the Red. 
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Elf Death-seeker trying to ambush enemy.  Didn’t work out. 
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Elf Mage and Rogue watching the Death-Seeker run away with the scroll after almost having his death-wish granted. 
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Rogue tried for the treasure, but with three barbarian marauders on his heels, he decided he didn’t need the GP THAT bad. 
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“Stop chewing that gospel of Saint Udolf!”
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It’s been a long, hard road. Norbert the Novice is no longer a noob. 

The Stones Remember Release

Another NF military short for those interested in such things. Short money, a quick read. Thanks for your support and encouragement. Take Care and have a great day.

Hot Space Station Justice

The-Stones-RememberAnother ‘Near-Future’ short, The Stones Remember is about NATO units caught up in a massive Russian invasion of Poland and the Baltics. Exhausted, out-gunned, and out numbered, they find themselves at the site of an old battlefield and have to decide if some history is worth repeating.

Available in electronic format right now, it’s a quick, cheap read. (less than a cup of coffee lasts longer) Thanks much. I’m hammering away at two full-length novel projects but wanted to get this out in the meantime. Hope you enjoy it.

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MOUT and Mat

As promised, pictures of the GameMatz mat. Judge for yourself. Also took some pics of my reinforced Near Future MOUT team on the mat to give you some context.

The MOUT team was initially composed of excellent Pig Iron NF Infantry with an Old Crow APC, an old Void Viridian sniper for support, an old metal CAV Simba mech to hump gear, plus two excellent Zandris IV battlesuits for slugging it out in the ruins.

I wanted to beef the team up a bit so I picked up an old VOR Union ARES battlesuit off eBay then a cool looking grav drone from Khurasan Miniatures. (fits nice, eh?) Well then I had to hunt down figs to represent elite Delta-types. Settled on a rather obscure set from Sergeant Major Miniatures. The aesthetic was similar to PI stuff, plus the NVGs were very cool.

Here they are. Have a good week.

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Black patches upper left, center top, left of center crater bottom edge. Small logo lower right.
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Printing is fairly stark B/W. Again, not terrible but less than expected.
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ARES Suit with Sgt Major figs
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Bravo Squad with Big Dog
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Drone footage?
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Very keen grav-drone from Khurasan Miniatures. You need one of these for your NF force
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Skulking through the rubble
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Point and Shout
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Support elements.

GameMatz War Zone mat

At this stage in my life, I’m fortunate to be able to game with some great guys. We enjoy different games, campaigns, different genres as well as each others’ company. It may sound weird, but it’s a genuine blessing.

Because we play a lot of Post-Apoc and SF skirmish games, I took the plunge and ordered a high quality 4′ x 3′ mouse pad War Zone theme ProMatz from GameMatz.com. Not cheap but between the gushing reviews and the hankering for fun, great looking games, I figured it was worth a shot.

See below. Looks cool, eh?

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Well…

Shipping was fairly quick and the mat arrived two days ago, rolled up in a clear plastic bag. I unwrapped it right away and set it on my table. As advertised, it is solidly built – it’s so sturdy in fact, it still hasn’t quite laid flat on the gaming table yet.

Ruggedness aside, I have two reservations: 1. the mat is MUCH  darker than pictured. 2. the image is FAR MORE more grainy that anticipated. Now I hate to be ‘that guy’. I love supporting small businesses and so appreciate the global war gaming community made possible by the internet. I understand fabric might not accept the image transfer process the same as vinyl, but honestly… the mat I received is very dark and the details are not crisp. In fact, it kinda looks like someone used up all the black ink printing this one at a low resolution.

Will we use it? Sure. It’ll work just fine once I plunk down terrain and deploy some troops.  GameMatz offers variety of sizes, this one certainly fits our needs for skirmish games, and like I said, it is solid. But would I recommend it or buy again from GameMatz? Ahhh….

*sense that hesitation?*

Now YMMV – Their other mats/styles might suit your needs perfectly. But I confess, given the reviews and the price, I expected higher quality.

It gets THREE STARS. (not bad but not great)

 

Oldie but Goodie

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Last Tues’ ASOBH AAR was cancelled due to an imminent remodeling project in the Game Room. (new windows) Everything had to be tidied up by 8 a.m. sharp the next morning. I am pleased to report that while more than half my men were slaughtered by the end of Turn 3, my trio of evil barbarians pulled glorious victory from the jaws of humiliating defeat. They rallied and swiftly sent Matt and Derek’s warbands to Valhilla. (we have a habit of placing slain models on out-of-the-way hilltops) I fondly recall  one particularly nice Gruesome Kill made by Nekhar the Red against an Elven Mage. Interesting game all around. Matt and Derek  will nonetheless resume their quest for the Liche King’s crypt in two weeks.

So apologies for no pictures.

BUT…

I do offer this little gem: a flash fiction that captures the two main wargame schools of thought. Now I lean toward the Realistic rather than Space Fantasy myself. Although call it whatever you want, I’m still just playing with Toy Soldiers.

That said, I present “Ground Zero” by Tom Sullivan.

***

Ground Zero

By TOM SULLIVAN

“Christ,” whispered Pugh, “It looks like someone slapped a set of treads onto a dumpster!”

Kemmerman snorted his agreement. “And check out Buck Rogers there! Sticking his big, ugly ol’ head outta the hatch, and not even bothering to stick a helmet on it! Think he’s got a ‘Shoot Me’ sign on his back, too?”

“Cut it,” snapped the sergeant, “We’ve got work to do here. Sorenson, have you got a lock yet?”

“Yessir,” he replied, his gaze remaining fixed on the Scorpion’s display. “Ready when you are, sir.”

Nodding, the sergeant tapped at his com unit. “Jessup? You ready?” He nodded again at the reply. “All right then, on my mark…NOW!!”

There was a sudden sharp crack, and the enemy officer’s head vanished, replaced by a rapidly dispersing red mist. This sound was followed a heartbeat later with a loud “Crump!” as the Scorpion rocket penetrated the side of the APC. The vehicle skewed sideways, smoke and flame billowing from the hole in its side, as the second rocket hit, this time impacting at the rear.

The APC exploded with a satisfying roar, scattering pieces of men and metal across the field.

“That,” Pugh said with feeling, “was abso-fuckin-lutely beautiful. You know that? That’s a goddamn piece of art right there, Billy! You should get down there and sign it, you know?”

Sorenson shrugged as he repositioned himself, targeting the second APC. “It’s eighty percent inspiration, ten percent perspiration, and one hundred and ten percent detonation, my man.”

The APC shuddered, and obligingly lost a tread, as the rocket hit it.

“It’s a damned good thing that you can shoot, buddy,” Pugh said, ’cause you sure as shit can’t add.” He shook his head, waving at the men spilling out of the crippled vehicle. “Now look at that! Bright red armor? What are they, color-blind? Or just stupid?”

“Neither,” interrupted the sergeant, “they’re arrogant and very well armored. Now, shut up and shoot.”

“Yessir,” Pugh muttered, shouldering his rifle, “shooting away, sir. Doesn’t seem to be doing much good, sir.”

“When I want your opinion, Pugh, I’ll be sure to tell you what it is, understand? Just keep firing. And Sorenson, wait for my command, dammit!”

The armored men seemed largely indifferent to the rifle fire, only a few even bothering to return it.

Miller shook his head as he sprayed bullets down the hill. “Jesus, what the fuck are they firing? Howitzers? Those are the biggest goddamn rifles I’ve ever seen!”

Pugh snorted. “Yeah, but do think they can actually hit anything with ’em? Might as well just throw the damned things at us for all the good they’re doing!” He yelped, jerking back as a crater was blasted into the ground a foot away from his head. “Yeah, yeah…fuck you too, Murphy!”

“You know,” Pugh noted after a moment, “they really don’t seem very happy, sir. In fact,” he added, as he changed clips, “they seem downright pissed. Sir.”

The sergant ignored him. “Jessup? There’s a guy down there with a very big gun. Yeah, the one painted yellow. Eliminate him for me, would you?”

There was a flash, a bang, and one of the men at the bottom of the hill collapsed, a neat little hole visible in the side of his helmet. Pugh made an approving noise. “Very nice, Jessup! You and Sorenson, you’re like the…the..Boticellis of the battlefield, you know? Fuckin’ artistes, I tell ya!”

“‘Boticellis of the battlefield’, Pugh? What are you on, anyway?”

“It’s called culture, buddy. Give it a try sometime. You’ll like eating with a fork, I just know it!”

“Um, sir?” Miller said, abruptly, “Sir? They appear to be charging, sir. Up the hill, sir.”

“Yeah,” the sergant replied with satisfaction, “Yeah, they certainly are, aren’t they? The big bastards are nothing if not predictable. Just keep firing, private. Williams, Cook? Be ready.”

“My God,” Pugh marveled, “the guy in front has a sword! A goddamn sword! What’s in his other pocket, a flint fucking spear?”

They did, he had to admit to himself, certainly look impressive. Each stood at least seven feel tall, and their brilliant red armor made them look even bigger. “Kind of a shame they’re such morons,” he muttered.

Two of the charging men fell, neither making it even halfway up the hill, but the remaining seven kept coming, firing, apparently at random,as they did.

“Now!” the sergant shouted. “Now, dammit!”

The man in the lead, the one waving the sword, was cut almost in half by the incoming plasma bolt. Those behind him stopped sort, caught in the crossfire as William’s and Cook’s squads opened fire. Sorenson fired the Scorpion, catching one man squarely in the center of his chest. The result was, while interesting, far from pretty.

The concentrated fire of fifteen men proved sufficient. Almost. Only one man made it to the top of the hill, his armor cracked and pitted with innumerable bullet holes. Moving with remarkable speed for such a large man, he surged forward, grabbing the sergant by the throat before the rest of the squad could react.

“Now,” the man rasped, his voice distorted by his helmet, “you shall die, in the Emperor’s….”

*BLAM*

He stopped.

Looked down.

Saw the smoke rising from the barrel of the pistol pressed firmly against his stomach.

And fell, gently, to the ground.

The sergant stepped back, rubbing gingerly at his throat. “He was a tough bastard, I’ll give him that much,” he said, hoarsely. He prodded at the corpse with his toe, dislodging the man’s helmet with a sudden fierce kick.

“Jesus, what did they do?” asked Pugh, “Shave an ape?” The man’s features were grotesquely exaggerated, almost to the point of caricature.

“That,” said the sergant, “is what happens when you combine several centuries of extensive genetic and bionic engineering with being raised from birth to worship an immortal psychopath. Makes you understand the Promixa Covenant, doesn’t it?”

He sighed. “Stupid goddamned fanatics. They think they entire universe should play by their rules. Well, fuck that. We’re gonna show ’em how a war is supposed to be fought. Space Marines, my ass!” He kicked the corpse again, not gently. “How do you like life at ground zero, asshole?”

***

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