Free Stories

Wanted to use the Holiday season to say ‘Thanks’ to everyone who stops by the blog and comments on my toy soldiers. It’s much appreciated. I write fiction in my spare, spare time, so here are links to three NF, SF shorts. All free at Amazon this weekend.

(There’s another in the works: a very Mil-SF piece titled Zombie Six. I’ll let you know when it’s released.)

I’m only posting this here, not on my writing blog, but it’s fine pass this on to any interested parties.

Thank you and take care.

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A Near-Future Military Action Short set during a Russian Invasion of Poland.

The Stones Remember at Amazon

 

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A Spec Ops team races to stop a deadly terrorist attack.

Hard Kill at Amazon

 

Sozo (Original Cover)
A war-scarred vet returns home to finds himself in ugly company.

Sozo at Amazon

Plug for Infini movie

Saw the trailer on You Tube then the full film on Netflix. It seemed to get a lot of hate in the reviews but I liked it. It’s not Alien or a CGI-slathed extravaganza gore-fest but for mid-budget, deep space, SF horror film, I’d recommend it. (I also liked Pandorum, so it might just be me.) Infini is well constructed, has solid acting and writing, it certainly is good RPG/Skirmish game fodder. Here’s the trailer:

Terror in Tendale Wood

Derek was called into work, furiously cooking gluten-free alternatives for customers’ Thanksgiving celebrations, but Matt and I got together over a quick ‘one-of’ ASOBH game last night.

***

Hrodor the Druid and his nephew Brynar have been tracking the evil necromancer Heinrich Klutch for months. Following him to the quiet hamlet of Tendale, the Northmen hire two sturdy rangers to reinforce their party and follow the sorcerer into the woods. Little do they know the wretched man plans on desecrating the ancient Shrine of the Skystone with dire incantations and foul majiks.

After an hour in the woods, the rangers suddenly report the old man has stopped in the shrine’s clearing a quarter mile on and seems to be preparing to enact some kind of ritual. Worse, he has been joined by unnatural allies: two cursed spirits, a gibbering ghoul, a brawny ghast, and a large, ugly warrior armed with a heavy battle ax and a deadly hand scythe. Six against four – they’re outnumbered.

“No matter,” Hrodor said. “We will stop this desecration, cut Klutch’s black heart from his body, and finally put an end to his vile schemes.”

Brynar hefts his sword and ax. “Ja. And I’ll cut down anyone or anything that gets in my way.”

Reluctant at first, the rangers pluck up their courage, unlimber their bows, and stalk into the woods.

***

The battle began well for Hrodor. The Rangers crept forward on the right as he and his nephew went left. The Ghoul was the first to spot the intruders and raced to confront Brynar. Garn Gravehand, the large pestilent warrior, and the unnamed Ghast followed after, leaving Klutch and the Cursed spirits to finish the ritual.

Brynar cleaved the Ghoul in half, spraying ichor and black blood among the trees. The Ghast attacked one of the rangers but was forced back. Gravehand’s bulk slowed him down and he lumbered through the underbrush toward the fighting.

Eventually Gravehand and the Ghast reached the Druid’s warband and began slugging it out. The battle was evenly matched with neither side gaining an advantage – until the Cursed spirits showed up.

Aura of Terror. That’s what cinched it for the forces of Darkness. A simple spell but so effective.

Frustrated at the interruption, Klutch sent the spirits to help Gravehand. The spirits floated swiftly on dire winds toward the fighting. Before they landed a single blow, their eerie, forlorn wailing and unearthly glow forced Hrodor’s compatriots to make morale checks. First one Ranger panicked, then Brynar flinched. Next, the Northern warrior was forced back by the Ghast. Another ghostly wail, and he fled off the nearest board edge. That left the Druid and the second Ranger, who fired ineffectively at the creatures advancing on them before retreating themselves. A rather ignominious conclusion to noble intentions.

Like the old Northern adage goes: Run, run, run away. Live to fight another day.

Hrodor’s vengeance was thwarted but not quenched.

*Notice if you will, the fallen rune stone on the right edge of the board. If Matt had bothered checking it, (it was marked with an objective stone) he would have found Piotor, a former mercenary come on hard times. Not above rolling the occasional drunk or lone traveler for a few extra coins, Piotor had followed Klutch into the woods thinking him an easy mark. Once the uglies showed up however, he wisely decided to back off. Some assistance and the promise of a a share in the spoils/reward, Piotor would have gladly have given Hrodor and crew a hand. But did Matt check? Nooooooooooo. 

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Skystone Shrine in the Tendale Woods

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Apparently, the old man brought some friends.
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Desecrating the shrine. Is nothing sacred these days?
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Druid and his party.
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“Take your nephew on a quest. It builds character!”
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“We ain’t getting paid enough to face a necromancer.”
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“And here I thought the old man was an easy mark…”
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Bad Guy Backup
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No wonder they widdled their knickers.

Death in old Marcos Hills

ANOTHER WASTELAND PATROL

Our intrepid Wasteland Marshals are after a trio of bandits who have been robbing water purification stills on the edges of the San Joaquin settlement. Enlisting the help of  a couple local scroungers, the lawmen tracked them to old town of Marcos Hills.

Surveying the tumble of bleached, jagged ruins, one hunter spit and shook his head. “Bad place. Dead place.”

Marshal Royce frowned. “They in there?”

The scroungers nodded, pointing at a tall, three floor pile of rubble. “There. Top floor if they got a lick of sense between ’em.”

Royce lifted his his rifle and chambered a round. “Well then that’s where we’re going.”   

***

The water thieves took shelter in the three-story building on the left, trusting no one in their right mind would risk following after. They figured they could hold up for the night high on the top floor, safe from whatever mutant madness roamed these ruins, then be on their merry at daybreak.

Unfortunately for them, Wasteland Marshals aren’t in their right mind. So it was on.

The Marshal and one deputy take cover in the shell of the old store right in front of them. Two floors, it’s gives decent field of fire for the right and center of the area. And for the alley below. Meanwhile, the third deputy leads the Scoungers to the left, picking their way toward the bandit’s lair.

The bandits spot one of the scroungers and open fire. One bandit goes down, a scrounger is pinned, but his partner and the deputy manage to sneak closer.

However, the sound of gunfire draws some unwanted attention: Ragers – a pack of ’em. Even worse,  they are accompanied by what the locals call a ‘Linterna del Diablo’ or “Devil’s Lantern” – an rare breed of insane psyker mutant whose eyes glow with eerie power and who levitates when using its unnatural abilities. Plus there’s a Mack – huge brute rager known to have torn men in half with its bare hands.  They come from the alley on the right, effectively separating the Marshal from the rest of his posse. It was two separate battles now, against two separate enemies.

Marshal Royce watched the Ragers boil out of the alley like a pack of rabid dogs, howling, growling, scrambling, heading their way. He turned toward his deputy. “Thought this was going too easy.”

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Marcos Hills
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Harsh, swift, permanent: Wasteland Law.
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Two local scroungers. Some folks call ’em STALKERS.
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No wonder no one lives here.
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Someone’s at the door – and it’s not the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
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The culprits.
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Rack that bang fast, deputy!
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“Here they come!”

ZP Squad 2

More soldiers for our STALKER-style games. This time it’s a 5-man Zone Security team that includes a heavy-duty exo-suit.

I also picked up some of Eureka’s Modern Russians and started more individual STALKERS using old Pig Iron heads. They’re turning out well. Pictures when I finish a few more.

For now, here’s the Zone Enforcement. With the holidays fast approaching, our game schedule will be spotty until the new year, but I think these boys will be able to deploy tomorrow evening against a marauding bandit crew. (and perhaps a swarm of Ragers)

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ZP Squad 1

Creating faction squads for Zona Perestrelki, our latest iteration of home-brew skirmish rules for the STALKER-verse, I put together these five. Ex-military types, they have decent experience and gear. The figs themselves are Empress Miniatures Modern Russians with head swaps. Other faction squads on the painting table include Zone Enforcement troops,  a (heavily armed) U.N. Research Team, and RMU/Elite Bandits (Rogue Military Unit turned Mercenary)

These lads will be seeing action tomorrow night. Not my best work but decent enough to die in the Zone, eh? Wish them luck.

That’s all for now.  До свидания (Dasvidania)

 

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Kickstarter: Peacekeepers

UPDATE NOV. 15, 2016: The KS campaign was cancelled.

Personally, I think it might have hit the minimum funding goal, but apparently the creators didn’t feel the game was gaining the traction it needed to become everything they’d hoped for. Supposedly, they will try again in the near future.  I hope so. Great premise, great figs.  

***

Kickstarter Burn is a thing – I know. I’ve jumped into several I wish I hadn’t and relearned the old Caveat Emptor rule. Even though I’ve become far more discriminating in my choices these days, I keep an eye out for worthwhile projects. This one Peacekeepers got my attention. Very intriguing premise for a strategy wargame, plus great looking mechs, I decided to pledge.

It’s not yet funded, but as of this post there’s still plenty of time. I know I’m taking a chance with my money as well as passing on the info to you folks – I’d hate for this to disappoint in anyway – but from what I can tell, it seems like a solid bet. Watch the intro video at the KS page and decide for yourself. I think it’s a very engaging concept that could make a unique and challenging game. Plus look at those big stompy robots, will ya?

Take Care and Have a good weekend.