Thursday, 30 December 2010

Duz Andy Know? Episode 41 - Noah's Ark...Or Was It Moses?

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Their Fated Travels...Chapter 19 - Blackrot

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Their Fated Travels…

RPG Party events as told By Lory Cozens

Second Treatment, plot co-coordinating, editing by Robert James Freemantle

Chapter 19


The party had made their way to what seemed to be the final destination in this entire investigation – that they had been roped into - and hopefully an end to their business in Middenheim.

Maestro for one just wanted to end this quickly and without anymore fuss, but he knew that this wouldn’t be the case and was prepared to face whatever the fates would throw at him.

Dieter began to get a bad feeling, which when coupled with the slight burning sensation in his chest from each of the marks that were there, he felt even more on edge. He unconsciously rubbed each of the marks whilst he tried to formulate a plan in his mind.

He didn’t have to much worry for Tristran’s safety as much as he did the others of course...

Sunrise was still a couple of hours away and Tobias was skulking behind the group in the shadows while Tordrad and Tristran took point as the party finally arrived outside the tavern.

From the look of the place, it had long since been abandoned and left to fall into disrepair.

Rissandrea’s skin began to crawl as if trying to escape from whatever lied within - she remembered feeling like this once before back in Altdorf, when the group were with her in the sewer system… This gave her pause for thought and gave rise to a question in her mind ‘What terrible aspect of chaos lays within?’

“Something feels odd here” Maestro announced as if he was expecting everyone present to hang on his words as he spoke. Of course no one looked his way, much to his annoyance. With a momentary frown he continued on anyway, “I can definitely sense a disruption in the aethyr, almost as if something is pulling it here. It is small now, but there is definitely a swell of non-transient magical energy. Now don’t get me wrong, there are swells of magic everywhere. Magic itself is indeed quite a swollen thing. It’s just that it is quite swollen in particular in this general vicinity.”

Dieter just sighed; Maestro just didn’t know when to shut up. The trainee doctor’s sixth sense was telling him not to enter and as much as he would have liked to listen to it, he knew that he had come too far to just drop out now.

Tobias unconsciously scratched the back of his head as he often had habit of doing. He hadn’t been paying attention to a single word that came out of the wizard’s mouth as he had been more focused on the map of the city sewer system he had ‘acquired’ in the thieves’ den.

Rissandrea ignored the words of the party about her, praying to Shallya for strength and protection. Tordrad didn’t understand what was being said but got the general idea of what was happening. He could see everyone’s posture had shifted, as if they were expecting a pretty dangerous confrontation, well almost everyone. Maestro still had his shoulders slumped and looked disheartened at the fact they were all ignoring him.

Dieter wouldn’t say it out loud but he could also sense something was wrong with this place. As he touched the handle for the door he felt a wave of oppressive malignance that would have made a weaker minded man break down, but the worst thing he felt was his hand starting to go numb - So much power here, this does not bode well for the group. After that incident with the daemon I wonder how well we might fare with whatever is in here. He slowly opened the door as he reached for his machete.

Once the door was fully open, the group peered inside. The common room was completely empty and several of the tables and chairs were rotten and ridden with termites. This particular stench of death and decay was extremely potent and familiar to them - and they didn’t need Maestro’s witchsight to tell them that the Plague Lord was at work here, which of course he did anyway.

As the party made their way to the cellar Rissandrea held her arms against herself, eyes closed in concentration, as she mentally fought off the feeling of corruption seeping into her very being. Just like last time, being in the vicinity of such pure evil hurt her body. This only served to mentally embolden her further onto her path of faith.

The cellar was just as bad as the common room in appearance and the even the metal hinges on the door at the opposite end to where they entered was rusted away and looked like it would fall over at the slightest touch.

There were sounds coming from the other side of the door: excited whispers, deep animalistic growls and various other ominous noises that set Maestro’s hair on end.

Tordrad furrowed his eyebrows as he moved forward and reached to push the door open, this was a signal to the rest of the party to ready their weapons.

Tordrad didn’t just open the door - he kicked it down sending it sailing through the air and crashing into one of the room’s occupants. He drew his scimitar and stepped into the dusty open area beyond pointing the weapon towards the one person in the room that he instantly recognised. He remembered the stench of corruption that flowed through this place.

The decayed form of Blackrot stood atop a dais, his thick leathery skin almost seeming to shine in the dim torchlight.

Next to him was an equally blessed chaos sorcerer and surrounding them were no less than fifty chaotic beasts, ranging from skaven to various sized beastmen.

The room looked like it was recently hewn by pickaxes, which was further proven by the various dwarf corpses littered around the room, they had dug their way in previously to try and influence the final battle of Middenheim, or perhaps to take advantage of the city’s weakened state and destroy it slowly through the corruption of the plague lord.

The beastmen present were jaded under the influence of ‘Grandfather Nurgle’, physically showing signs of their benefactor’s ‘gifts’.

The skaven present were not particularly within the influence of Nurgle; they were not those of Clan Pestilens for example. They instead had helped Blackrot make his way into the city from the Skaven undercity below after his forced visitation upon their home. They were nothing but helpful to simply get rid of him from their lair and protect themselves from reprisals if they’d refused.

This race and such places as these were something that humans denied even existed. In some areas such as Nuln in fact you could be in trouble with the law for even suggesting that the rat people might be real.

Tordrad wore a scowl on his face, the chaos champion had survived the last encounter and was now here in Middenheim.

The rest of the party had entered the room as well.

Rissandrea was gripping her staff tighter than she would have liked but she knew that now was no time to run. If she did then all her training would have been for nothing.

Dieter was scowling far more than Tordrad though. This monstrosity before him seemed to think it was better than him and he couldn’t have that!

As for Maestro, his train of thought was leading him to worry about a decidedly off-putting runny nose and how that might affect this showdown.

Tobias was wondering how much he could get on the black market for the poison that ran through the veins of a chaos champion and Ulger was letting out a low growl as he stood next to his master ready to spring upon an opponent at a moment’s notice.

Tristran looked around at the small group, the expressions on their stunned faces took him by surprise. This chaos champion brought out a strange sense of unity that even the most experienced of warriors on the battlefield would not have known before, a strange sensation binding all living things together: Death, or rather disease and plague that would bring about death, for was death not the ultimate unifier? Were not all men equal in its grasp?

Then Tristran turned his gaze upon the foes, noting each with an intense study. Each of the skaven that stood opposing them were dressed in what at one point could have been considered robes, but in several places each one had a different pattern of this scheme which was created from pus and blood filled extrusions on the body that had burst multiple times and had stained them far worse than any dye attempts could produce . They all seemed to possess some sort of dark gift of their god - the Horned Rat. These unfortunates had spent too long in the plague champion’s company.

To Tristran however they just looked like chaos mutations as they seemed to match up to several of the mutants that made up yet more of the numbers: diseased and plague-ridden men and women shambling along like some cruel parody of zombies but with the misfortune of still being alive feeling every moment of their situation.

The beastmen were just as disgusting to look at as the rest of the creatures present, parts of their skin were so decayed that you could see right through to the bones underneath and clouds of flies flew around them like they too were walking corpses.

The seconds passed with both sides just staring at each other, waiting for some sort of unseen signal to attack. With a deep and put out hiss that sounded like a punctured lung, Blackrot stepped down from the dais, slowly and purposely moving through the crowd of chaos monstrosities to face the adventurers. As he reached the forefront he looked over each of them in turn, causing them to ready themselves for some kind of attack, but instead the champion spoke in a mocking raspy voice that he seemed to emit from his chest cavity. It was as if noxious spores had been breeding in his lungs and were escaping into the air around him, “So it seems the trap has caught more than our intended prey, but it seems that this is a good thing, as a chance to take revenge on those that interfered with our plans before. I could not ask for a better outcome that this. My master wishes you dead, boy.” His hand was outstretched towards Tristran as if he was directing his own plague bearing spores towards him.

Tristran was about to reply but had not time to even start a sentence as Blackrot turned away from them and the horde rushed towards the group intent on tearing them apart.

Tordrad parried a deadly looking blade and barely avoided the large globule outpour of liquid that was spewed up by one of the mutants. It hacked and heaved as if trying to find more to shoot at him. Then he found himself forced into a blade lock with a beastman. Knowing that he couldn’t afford to be bogged down for too long in one fight he kicked his leg out, pushing the creature away from him and before the mutant could spew a second wave at the Kislev born bodyguard, a bolt of lightning struck it in the chest.

Maestro’s spell crackled with a satisfying after echo as he spoke to Tordrad, “Don’t mention it my man, you’d do the same for me…well you wouldn’t, because you’d be a wizard then but you know what I mean!”

Rissandrea and Tobias were taken it in turns to fire shots form their respective ranged weapons, the halfling with his crossbow and the Priestess bearing the smiting fury that was ‘Redemption’ her pistol, a weapon she reserved for foes that were beyond saving, so evil that their death was a salvation of sorts – and in this way the Vhor sub-sect of Shallyan faith was unique. As one reloaded their weapon the other took down what they could, but they too would soon become overwhelmed and as hard as Tordrad and Tristran fought, the sheer amount of numbers made it so that many got past them.

Rissandrea was forced to the ground by a skaven who raised a dagger above its head ready to kill her. Instead though, a crossbow bolt pierced its throat and sent the creature flying off her, its frame was smaller than that of a human and thusly prone to a more pronounced reaction to strong collisions.

The last shot Tobias had fired had been point blank range, had he been even a fraction of a second slower in reloading it, the priestess would have been dead there and then. There was no time for words however as a large group of beastmen had surrounded them.

Tobias had drawn his knife and was holding it with the blade pointed towards the ground, “Well then, which of you fools wants to die first?”

Dieter was crouched down gripping his walking stick as tightly as he could, hands shaking. Ulger was protecting its master as best he could but a great weapon wielding beastman made it past him and had a perfect cleaving strike lined up to split the would be physician in two!

Suddenly Dieter’s eyes snapped open and a strange feeling washed over the entire room. The three most attuned to magical energies turned towards Mr De’ath who was stood in the epicentre of this strange phenomenon, each of them wondering what had just happened.

This confusion was increased as almost every single beastman in the room was fighting each other to be first to escape from the presence of the group, or rather the swirling mass of seemingly magical energy imperceptible to the human eye that radiated near Dieter.

On the beastmen fled, through the very tunnel they had used to enter the city in the first place. The skaven below would no doubt be happy at this visitation. No doubt the two difference child races of chaos would soon be vilified with each other in combat, perhaps in a matter of minutes.

Blackrot signalled to the sorcerer who moved forward into the fray and began chanting the words of a summoning spell.

Maestro now had Tordrad covering him and he performed his own magical response. The journeyman wizard noticed with his witchsight that the other caster’s spell actually reached out through the aethyr and swirled as if slowly forming a large shape.

The sorcerer was cut off mid chant and reached for his throat wondering why he was unable to speak, “Sorry but we can’t have you doing that” Maestro called to him in a cheery manner. He also quietly noticed that the spell he had just cast had come about too easily and he was already experienced and learned in the craft to understand that he was standing in an aethyrically amplified area – the winds of magic were indeed stronger than usual here – perhaps, he thought, I can take advantage of this myself.

Maestro looked upon the swarming enemies around them. Worse still there were amassed forces present still waiting to get into combat even though the beastmen had already fled. Maestro noticed that the strange pulsing radiation that had scared them away continued on in that place, even though Dieter had now moved far away towards the back of the group again. Whatever the odd aura like manifestation was, it had helped them but it wasn’t working on anything else in the room. With that he raised his staff into the air and concentrated on chanting a particularly dangerous verse line from the language of magic, the language of the Elves. After a while his arm began to shake and his muscles felt like they were on fire. Beads of sweat rolled down the wizard’s face and his skin had paled incredibly. The amount of raw uncultivated energy he was channelling was far more than he was used to. He was nowhere near the level of master yet and here now he was trying to call upon a spell that he had learnt on the promise to Tobias of not using until he was a fully fledged wizard magister “or perhaps even wizard lord” he remembered the halfling scholar’s words.

He was rapidly regretting his decision to cast such a powerful spell in so unprotected and raw a state but knew that losing focus now would probably mean his death. No he didn’t like the thought of that outcome on bit, so he squeezed his eyes tightly closed to help deal with the pain. Even so, the magical flux that reverberated through his being lit him up internally as well, making his eyes able to view the room in a magical white and blue hazy mode of vision.

Just as Maestro seemed to reach his limit, seeming as if he might collapse there and then a rage-filled blustering black cloud formed out of nowhere and swelled in size until it looked as if it was going to burst. With one shaking hand outstretched, the wizard attempted to control it as best as he could - then slammed his staff onto the floor! This forced a pulse of energy to travel along the line and made his own party’s hair blow from the momentary gust in passing before it hit the powerful manifestation of natural elements. Then, bolts of lightning shot forth from the cloud, striking all that stood beneath it.

Some of the weaker foes were killed outright, others were left with huge burn marks on their skin or fur. The sorcerer was clutching his right arm which had been struck - it had turned pitch black in colour and the entire piece of cloth that was covering his limb had been destroyed by the blast.

The wizard fell to his knees panting. He was lucky to have survived casting the spell as he had felt as if the very aethyr itself fuelled by nature’s protests was about to pull him apart for his arrogance - but the fact was, he had done it. That had to count for something he hoped, pulling himself up from the floor and dusting himself down.

What had been an overwhelming force had been whittled down in a few minutes to survivable odds, granted Maestro had almost killed himself doing so, but of course this meant the surviving mutants and skaven would by now be backed up by the champion of Nurgle himself.

The numbers around him now vastly diminished, Blackrot strode forwards and drew his blade…Unlike most warriors, his sword had no scabbard…Instead it lay buried up to the hilt inside his body, simply pushed in like a stab wound through a pustulent ringed sore that marked the permanent point of entry. Even his chaos armour, a materialization of daemonic interference had evolved around the blade as an undeviating purposeful fissure.

With the blade drawn, his vile black blood dripping from its edges as he pointed it challengingly towards Tristran, who had just finished off the last skaven that had attacked him - and his eyes met the massive bulky form of his adversary. His entire presence then focused upon Blackrot. In acknowledgement to the challenge Tristran rushed towards him swinging his great sword around in an arc. This first strike collided with Blackrot’s shield almost completely stopping the blade from moving. It felt as if some teeming but unseen mass along its surface was trying to stick the weapon to it. Using only part of his strength to push the blade back, Blackrot threw his shield out to the side, causing the warrior priest to stumble backwards slightly. Using the opening, the chaos champion lashed out with his own sword aiming to take the verenian warrior priest’s head clean off his shoulders. Tristran barely managed to dodge it, although he took a shallow cut to the cheek which felt as if it burned like acid or some other corrosive substance. Blackrot’s blood was a natural living poison and the weapon was covered in it.

The remaining mutants weren’t worth the trouble compared to the danger that some of these creatures presented, this was evident as Dieter sent one flying backwards with just his staff. This did surprise him however as he hadn’t put much strength behind the attack. It was possible that the tormented creature had some sort of mutation that decreased its weight - the man did look rather gaunt, almost ghoul-like. This just proved that not all mutations were beneficial to the occupier.

Tordrad gutted one of the remaining skaven. They had faced several of the beasts during their stay within Middenheim. They had learned that the ratmen would attack from the shadows and in large numbers using it to their advantage, so for the group being able to at last fight them on more even odds made the skaven become increasingly cowardly as the fight drew on.

Meanwhile Tobias and Rissandrea were now left in the clear. The two of them had very little left to offer the group in terms of help and as such the remaining creatures were being dealt with by Dieter, Tordrad and Ulger.

The Shallyan priestess had been worried about the overall outcome, but even the most severe wounds that they had received were nothing that both Dieter and herself couldn’t handle given enough time. Tobias was bored, the beastmen had run before he had a chance to deal with them. Whatever had happened over near Dieter had caused the whole lot of them to run. He looked around hungry for battle and he could see the remaining mutants and skaven were being held off and pushed back into the entry tunnel. The halfling did however notice a small amount of movement out of the corner of his eye as the Nurgle sorcerer raised his only working arm in one last gesture of spite.

Maestro looked over in the direction of the sorcerer and he didn’t need to try and force himself to see the aethyric energy flowing around the man of chaos. The spell was going out of control and rather fast, he himself was far enough away but the other two were too close to the epicentre of whatever was going to happen and he found himself calling out without thinking, “Tobias! Rissandrea! Move out the way quickly. That spell has too much power flowing through it and I don’t know what the backlash could do!”

Heeding his words, the two began to move as quickly as they could before the spell could be finished, however before they could get away an explosion rang out followed by a magical shockwave that knocked them off their feet. Maestro was close enough to be pushed back a little by the blast. Whatever the spell was to be they wouldn’t know, for the burn on his arm began to turn into some sort of glowing rock like substance and it began to extend up his arm until it covered his entire body. The man, if you could even call him that, was turned into a statue, completely black in colour and his face contorted into a mask of pain and horror. The large and deadly looking shape of energy that comprised of the other spell the sorcerer had been casting dissipated away at this, just as vile daemonic features formed enough to see a sharp-toothed glower had anyone been interested to have looked at that moment in time.

Every single attack that Tristran attempted was blocked by either the shield or sword of Blackrot who seemed to know just when and where to block and counter, as if some terrible all knowing presence whispered information into his ear.

Both seemed evenly matched. When the Warrior priest saw an opening in his opponent’s guard, he swung his sword at Blackrot once more - however this time the chaos imbued creature that once was a man didn’t even think to dodge the blow as the blade sunk into the armour.

The cut went no deeper as Blackrot’s thick leathery skin and overhanging fat absorbed the blow, with the suggestion that he did not even require that scrap parts of armour that still clung to his body here and there.

Blackrot hissed in satisfaction and taunted his opponent, “If that is all you can do priest, then perhaps my master’s fear of you being able to interfere with his plans is unfounded.”

Blackrot dropped his shield and used his now free hand to pull on the great sword that was lodged into him, sending it deeper into his own body with some effort.

Caught off guard, Tristran fell forwards and was impaled upon Blackrot’s now uprising sword, the blade’s corrosive effect tearing through the warrior priest’s armour like it wasn’t even there and piercing his body with little effort as it went all the way through and out his back.

Blackrot continued, “It seems you are unfamiliar with fighting true chaos boy. You weren’t even worthy of my time.” As he said this, Tristran was muttering something. Blackrot could not hear what but the words were arcane in nature.

Tristran then weakly raised his arm and quickly slammed his hand into Blackrot’s face. A holy passage bringing the truth of his foe’s purpose recited. As he did so, images flashed through his mind, the form of Blackrot and three other figures he did not recognise were very prominent as they stood behind a fifth figure in pitch-black armour with metallic wings protruding from his back, standing in front of a snowy and frozen landscape. Then a sixth figure came into view, this one was a women and she seemed to bare no mutations whatsoever until the image focused upon her face.

Her eyes glowed with an aethyric power that was uncommon among the wizards of the empire and no sound came at all when she spoke, but the words were clear even in the silence that followed, “The fall shall come from that which surrounds you on all sides.” There was something Kislevian in her features and in the surroundings of the vision.

As Tristran saw all of this his mind was overwhelmed by the sheer implications at stake. He knew the truth now!

Blackrot let out a roar of agony as a divine fire burned within his body, he let go of his sword and placed both hands on the side of his head as a brilliant white light began to emit from his skin.

Tristran fell to his knees with the sword still embedded in him. Rissandrea had quickly rushed over to him as he pulled the blade out wincing as he did so.

The young priestess acted as fast as she could to remove his breastplate, although she had little knowledge of how this armour went on, let alone how to get it off.

Tristran grabbed hold of her wrist and shook his head, “Leave it unless you wish to contract whatever vile poison was on that blade” he told her in a painful strained voice. Rissandrea tried to argue, “But I must do something, as a member of the Shallyan priesthood I can’t leave any injured unattended.”

Tobias’s voice cried out, “Now is not the time for you to start citing you’re scriptures fool girl, now get down!”

He was suddenly dashing towards her, dagger ready to strike. She moved to the side as fast as she could which was almost not fast enough as the Halfling dove past her and leapt into the air. That was when she saw why Tobias had done what he did.

Blackrot was towering behind her as Tobias’s dagger struck true, tearing into the monster of a man.

The momentum of his run up had given him an edge against the champion’s defensive mutations. Black blood erupted from the wound spaying the poisonous liquid into the halfling’s face. This would have normally been extremely dangerous and most possibly life threatening to any who had been hit with such a large amount of the foul substance, but luckily the mask the thief wore upon the lower half of his face saved him from having the blood enter his mouth.

Not risking anything, Tobias quickly threw the mask aside which was drenched in poison, as he readied his dagger once more. Tordrad appeared next to him, weighing his blood soaked great axe in his hands once more. This was the weapon he was most comfortable with and considering how it felt somewhat lighter in his grip now, even with the exhaustion that he was feeling from the fight, he wondered how much he had grown over the weeks.

Blackrot was still bleeding from the wound that Tobias had inflicted upon him and although it was slowly regenerating, it would still put him at a severe disadvantage in a prolonged fight.

His eyes quickly darted around as he saw a skaven trying to crawl away, its legs were burnt beyond use but that didn’t matter, only serving to elevate its own internal efforts.

Blackrot reached down and picked the creature up by the fur on its back and as he did so, his mouth and jaw stretched open like some form of unnatural snake.

The group had a look of disgust on their faces as the man swallowed the pestilent beast whole and almost instantly afterwards the cut on his neck began to heal at an even faster rate, as within seconds there was only a scar left.

The sight of the creature going down Blackrot’s throat was almost enough to make several members of the party vomit at the sight and only Dieter and Tordrad could keep a semi-serious look upon their faces.

With a last look behind him, Tordrad saw that Dieter had made his way over to the fallen warrior priest and was attempting to aid Rissandrea in keeping the young man alive. He then faced forwards once more and launched himself into battle with a Kislevite warcry.

Caught by surprise, Blackrot raised his sword to block but Tordrad’s strike was able to push him back.

His strength thought Rissandrea… it is on par with Bonesaw’s back when we last faced them.

The Champion was taken aback being almost knocked off his feet by the sheer power behind the attack. He had expected a growth in power but had also thought the Kislevite to have become lazy due to his time in the Empire.

Tordrad swung again, his blow sending sparks from contact with the shield almost knocking it from Blackrot’s hands. Tordrad had fought Chaos warriors before and even though his opponent now was a Champion, he knew that he could come through this alive. He knew that he had to…he had to complete his bodyguard duty to the stupid wizard in his care.

Tobias had moved to one side as Tordrad made his assault, using the distraction of the Kislevite’s attacks to sneak around behind the chaos warrior. If there was a weak point in that armour or the man’s body itself he had to find it before Blackrot could regain his footing under Tordrad’s furious attacks.

His eyes scanned the armour and stance for any sort of opening as his gaze fell upon a large growth that was strangely not covered even in part by the chaos armour. It was right in the middle of his back.

Tobias gripped his dagger tightly and lunged forwards, instinctively throwing his body to one side just in case some form of vile substance erupted from the impact as he had seen and narrowly avoided before.

The timing could not have been better, for as soon as Blackrot had slammed his shield into Tordrad almost sending the Kossar onto the floor with the sheer force, from which he would have then used the opening to do to the Kislevite what he had done to Tristran thus finishing off another of the close combatants.

Tobias’s dagger rapidly struck his target and the champion cried out in surprised agony as he was left prone for a few seconds – affording the time for Tordrad to take advantage.

The Kislevite’s axe crashed into Blackrot’s chest, cleaving through the armour and even through that seemingly impervious body, spraying black blood into the air.

Falling to his knees, the Champion’s eyes were wide in shock, not once but twice he had been wounded by members of this group. He had not felt pain like this since he had gained his mutations all those years ago and he was oblivious to the fact that Tordrad stood above him his axe raised.

The blade fell and moments later the sound of flesh on stone was heard throughout the room.

Tordrad’s weapon was dripping with blood and he was breathing heavily from being winded by the shield just seconds before. One hand was on his chest, but knew the pain would go soon - he could do with a drink right about now though.

Tristran smiled. These five people were far more skilled than their appearances led one to believe. He could feel the poison in his system spreading even faster no matter what Rissandrea and Dieter attempted to do otherwise - for Blackrot’s power had been derived too closely to the pure source of Nurgle for mere mortals to comprehend.

The sword that the champion wielded began to hiss and smoke grabbing the group’s attention. The blade lost all form, transforming into a variety of insects and spiders. Then just as suddenly, the corpse of Blackrot began to contort here and there into strange shapes, beginning to emit odd sounds as well until the body burst, tearing through both his skin and armour as if it wasn’t there. As it did so, a swarm of Nurglings emerged! They clawed their way out of the body and looked upon the group with pitifully dull and tortured eyes, intent on making them share in their torment.

Tordrad pulled back as they tried to move towards him, his eyes fell upon the wizard expectantly.

Maestro saw this and commented, “I…I am spent, any more magical output from me could kill us all, I can’t concentrate a channel now and thusly cannot guarantee your safety.” His face looked drained as well, his body hunched over in fatigue. Tordrad had never seen him like this before.

At these words, the others in the group began to mutter, hope becoming lost from their hearts as the nurgling swarm amassed to such a great size that it turned the floor into completely covering green mucky ooze where they trod, they were without number, pouring from the corpse like water from a tap.

Dieter propped himself up on his stave, preparing to fight with the last of his own power too.

Tobias readied his dagger once more knowing that this was probably the end.

Ulger whined feebly where before he growled.

The nurglings at last reached the group. Everyone swung their weapons in frontal swiping arcs in an attempt at simply keeping them creatures back. This was an effective attack in itself as several of the daemons were killed by the effort, but still they were replaced by more and more of them.

As each moment went by, the group fought bravely but were forced to step back until the wall behind them was close.

By now, everyone fighting in the group had been lacerated or stung in some way, at least several times and they were quickly tiring from the endless onslaught.

Rissandrea had curiously not been present on the front lines of these events. She had instead been kneeling down deep in concentrated prayer to Shallya for help. She focused all of her divine understanding into one moment of total clarity. Within those few seconds it seemed, even though surely impossible that the form of Shallya herself smiling with kindness flashed before her mind’s eye for but a moment.

The Priestesses of Shallya were the ultimate opponent of the forces of Nurgle. They opposed the disease and malevolent schemes of the fly lord better than any other order within the entire Old World.

With that, a suddenly blinding flash erupted from Rissandrea’s hands as a spell that would normally only affect one daemon at a time instead reached a critical mass of sorts and splayed out a blanket of enduring light across the entirety of the room! The powerful tide washed over every daemon present and across the group too. Where it was spread thinner than it would have been, its actual power would not have been enough to harm a large manifestation of chaos, however, it was more than enough to hurt these nurglings.

The daemons at once tore apart in the holy light as the body of Blackrot too was consumed by holy flames. The nurglings were destroyed, as was their entry point into this plane of reality.

The holy light had shone too upon the group but had been practically harmless to them. Dieter however was contracted over with some internal pain visible on his face. Rissandrea enquired worriedly, “Dieter, what is wrong?”

The trainee doctor replied with concentrated effort through pain, “I…am fine silly girl. This battle has simply taken it out of me. I am not as…able bodied as some of you…”

Tristran could feel himself losing consciousness but he needed to do one last thing before he fell into Morr’s embrace. He reached up and placed a hand on Rissandrea’s shoulder, “I must tell you Miss Vhor, Verena granted me a glimmer of the true intentions…” he coughed up blood as pain racked his entire body. Rissandrea made a move to silence him, to tell him to conserve his strength but he spoke again before she could, “Chaos still plots against us even now, the North men gather their strength in preparation for their next attempt to destroy us, but you must be the ones to warn the Empire of this new threat. Tell them…” Tristran’s hand fell from her shoulder, the poison had finally took him to the gates of Morr and as the life drained from his eyes, Rissandrea lowered her head in silent prayer for his soul. A single tear rolled down each of her cheeks as once again she had failed to save yet another life.

The group slowly and mournfully made their way out of the room through the busted doorway. Which each fight they won and walked away from, some of them felt as if they lost a little more of themselves each time.

If anyone had been looking a little more closely, they would have seen that while Dieter was walking away amongst the rest of the group, his shadow had somehow stayed behind in the room, as if burnt into place where the emanation that had scared the beastmen away occurred earlier…

Warhammer: Their Fated Travels...Chapter 18 Part 2 (Spoken Word Version)

Warhammer: Their Fated Travels...Chapter 18 Part 1 (Spoken Word Version)

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Thoughts On 'Splosion Man' and 'Hydrophobia' Xbox Live Arcade Titles

To read the article I've written on these two titles, check out my gaming blog 'Honest Gaming Prose' here

Warhammer: Their Fated Travels...Chapter 17 Part 3 (Spoken Word Version)

Warhammer: Their Fated Travels...Chapter 17 Part 2 (Spoken Word Version)

TFT 19 Written Version Progress?

You might be considering that it's been a while since the written version of chapter 18 was released here and on Well, worry thee not readers, for I have received the first rough draft of Ch 19 from Lory Cozens as of last night. He is still guest writing the title for this chapter too, just to split up the work effort between the players actually taking part. Remember, each writer isn't taking his ideas from 100% imagination - he is in fact recreating events that happen to our characters at the actual RPG table when we played it, adapting it accordingly to be a story: By means of exposition through character diary entries, a chapters system, flashbacks for the characters and sometimes additional conversational components that add to the experience, all of which wouldn't have happened at the table on the day, but can be added here.

19, coming soon.
Meanwhile, I'm going to keep releasing the spoken word of 17. Enjoy!

All the best


Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Crime Based Short Story Being Planned

An idea for a short crime related short story came to me in the shower the other day (like most ideas do - when I actually find time to chill out and switch my mind off) and I've been planning how to write it. I can't give too many details as of yet because of data protection reasons, but I can tell you it involves a mysterious bank robbery.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

My Latest Game Comments

So on my part time gaming blog - Honest Gaming Prose - I have just written a quick assessment of the latest games I've been playing. You can read it reprinted for your consideration below -

This isn’t going to be a review of a game exactly, but instead a review of my current gaming habits, in an attempt at quickly determining what is good and bad about the titles played without troubling you with too many walls of text. Better still, I don’t have to give you a score out of 10. I can simply tell you if I think it’s worth playing. Let’s get started then!

Halo Reach:

It’s Halo! It’s obviously going to be solid. You’ve probably read loads of reviews of this, so I don’t need to tell you much do I? It was a solid, decent shooter, like any Bungie Halo game is going to be. The best of the series? Well, not really, but it certainly delivers that familiar Halo gameplay along with some nice new ideas, mainly to the pickup item system: jetpacks, armour lock, sprint, hologram and so on.

Reach really is worth a play and bear in mind it is meant to be Bungie’s final outing with the series…Well, perhaps Bungie’s, but there are still areas left for another company to come along and expand the mythos that we get to play, further.

Those who recall the true outcome of Spartan John 117 from Halo 3 will know one potential avenue for the series continuing. Another less known one is mention I seem to recall of a female Spartan still left in stasis somewhere after reach – in the Halo Fall of Reach novel that is, which was released quite some years before this game even came out.


If you’re an avid Ghostbusters fan then this game plays true to the movie series. It should do as well – check out the writing credits on it…oh is that Dan Akroyd I see? Not to mention that the original cast are back to provide voices. This game continues from the movies, showing you what would effectively have been the next Ghostbusters movie, based in 1991.

But how does it play? I have to say I think the sum of its parts don’t add up to make it a recommended experience. The difficulty level seems a bit iffy for a start. Playing it on its “normal” mode means you will incur many frustrating deaths along with restarts leaving you quite a way back thanks to the sometimes stingy checkpoints in the game. Why are you dying all the time? Well for a start, you’re playing in third person view and 90% of the time you will succumb to some off screen attack that might fell you in one shot. Delightful. You have to really listen to your team mate warnings about where an off screen ghost might be in proximity to you, but when you’re shifting about a lot, “on your right” is a perspective prone to changing before you know where you were.

When a Ghostbuster goes down, you probably should go over and revive him. However, doing so can sometimes leave you open to one of those nefarious off screen attacks aforementioned and as your newly refreshed team mate stands up, you may perhaps fall, defeated. I had a series of back and forth revivals occur several times in fact, bordering on ridiculous. He’d revive me and die – I stand up and revive him and die from being there doing that – He revives me because I’m down, but dies because he stood there doing that and so on.

Saying all of that, the easy or “casual” mode is not satisfying to play the game in either. It’s far too easy and you’ll rarely feel in danger.

Ho-hum. Well, at least the combat mechanics felt satisfying to use. Capturing a ghost looks really good, just like the movies – and you can really feel the tug of the blighter trying to get “off the hook” as it were. Superb.

But in the end I don’t particularly recommend this title to you. It’s really quite average indeed. If what I’ve told you doesn’t seem so bad and you’re a huge fan of the series then go ahead, perhaps give it a rental, otherwise, why bother when there are so many other juicy games out there to justify your shiny pennies leaving your hand.

Splinter Cell - Conviction:

Ah, Sam Fisher’s pain continues, but this time so does ours in the somewhat messed up plot this time round. We’ve seen it all before – these are your friends or are they? These are the bad guys, right? This person betrayed you at such and such, blah blah. We want to know if it plays well don’t we? Well, yes, yes it does. The gadgets are groovy like always, the combat is exactly how I recall it but there are some noticeable changes to the game elsewhere. Knock out a guard and want to carry him away? Hmmm, not going to happen from what I could see.

Another new feature is the shadows cover mode – you know? That scale that tells you if you’re in darkness or not and whether guards can see you or not. We were used to seeing a meter rise or fall the further in cover you were. Those days are gone. The developers have integrated the hiding mechanics into the gameplay now in a simple yet effective way: If you’re in the open, the game looks normal, if you’re in cover, the screen turns greyscale (black and white). This works well, believe me, but you might find yourself wishing you weren’t missing out on the full benefit from those graphics around you. It’s worth playing if you’re a devout of the series. If you just want a tactical stealth shooter on the 360, grab Splinter Cell: Double Agent first and become a fan.

Bad Company 2

Oh dear! I am about to say something that many other reviewers won’t have the guts to tell you. Bad Company 2 is rather messed up. Let’s just get something straight from the off – I am a huge fan of these four characters and don’t get me wrong, the dynamic of their comedic interaction is still there but little else that made up the raw magic of the first game has survived…Of course BC2 is good but it feels wrong it being titled as a Bad Company game. It doesn’t play like the first one.

Liked the sandbox gameplay from the first game? The way you could go about completing a level however you wish? Large areas to fight in, skipping enemy troops if you choose? All gone.

Liked the way you’d respawn back into the game if you die, as if it was a multiplayer? Gone. You now restart from a sometimes too distant checkpoint just like any other military shooter.

Liked the cool secondary gadgets from before? Gone! Before we had access to cool little things like the repair tool to fix damaged vehicles. This time around I had access to a secondary item just once during the entire game - some C4 that I didn’t even get to use.

Liked the cool air strikes weapon you had access to several times in BC1? Yeah, forget the fun you had with that, now all laser marked air strikes will be full scripted position only events, the like of which you’d find in Medal of Honor or Call of Duty. What made the magic in BC1 was that you’d have access to the beautiful thing throughout certain levels. It was great to work your way through the streets of an urban neighbourhood, getting pinned down by a guy in the top floor with a machine gun and air striking his roof behind cover so that you can advance past it. Yeah…BC2 just isn’t as much fun anymore. That’s not to say that you won’t enjoy the multiplayer experience, because I want you to bear in mind that I didn’t have an opportunity to play the MP maps so decide that element for yourselves. I will say though, the building destruction mechanics aren’t even as fun this time around – and if seeing how it works in one player mode is any indication, the unusual elements promised by it in MP may disappoint…

Alien Versus Predator:

You know what? I played this for one session. I realised I couldn’t turn the auto aim off and felt frustrated with it yanking my aim onto the enemies in a way I didn’t like – so I turned the game off and never played it again.

Medal of Honor Tier 1 Edition

Some people don’t like that this game lets you play in a real warfare scenario, that of the U.S. versus the Taliban forces of Afghanistan, but I am going to say that I’m on the side of the developers in this one. Nothing has been blown out of proportion – nothing has been unfairly portrayed – both sides are dangerous with no “weak” enemy. In fact this game delivers a feeling of realistic atmosphere that I believe pays respect to all factions involved. It’s deadly serious in the business it delivers, even though that realism is sometimes interrupted by an obvious “gamey” explosive barrel or obvious set piece. Even with that, the game delivers an enjoyable experience. The guns handle well – in fact they handle DAMN well. I love the aiming here, smooth as butter, smooth like Halo.

Reviews will tell you that Medal of Honor isn’t good, that it doesn’t work as well as it should. Perhaps, if you compare it to the likes of Call of Duty Modern Warefare 2, but I’m going to go on record saying this: This is better than Bad Company 2 in every way.

The worst thing about MOH was perhaps the annoying on the rails shooting sections. The worst offender was the helicopters. There is a particular mortar team that is mystifyingly indestructible to chain gun bullets and missiles and the only way the game registers them harmed is by your helicopter’s third (heavier) alternate munitions.

Medal of Honor Airborne:

How stupid I was even buying this. I played MOH:A for one session and I quite simply stopped right there.

Do not play this game. The parachuting sections are bizarre and give little to the thin gameplay anyway.

Running around an open map like a multiplayer experience but playing a one player war game ought to be brilliant, right? Oh dear. Fighting your way into a building to kill the enemy there, even with their cunningly positioned MG at the balcony on the stairs and prevailing should give you a sense of achievement. That was indeed the case, however it was short lived when in the same level, my new and different objectives led me back to what appeared to be the very same building just to re-enter it again, killing Germans placed in the same positions, spawning from the same places – and on look, wonder of wonders, the machine gun at the top of the stairs is populated by “Gerry” again, even though we had just been all over it, effectively capturing it…surely.

If this was the only problem I might have been able to look past it, to find some other way of enjoying the game and calling it fun, because a sense of battlefield realism wasn’t going to be it. But MOH:A suffers from some of the worst clunky controls I believe I have ever laid my hands on. You move and shoot like a slug on roller-skates – and just so you know, the shooting mechanics don’t feel very effective either, with dubious bullet hit registration in the enemy pretty much all the time.

Alan Wake:

Let me just say, the storyline is pretentious, dark and confusing. The DLC (downloadable content) was even more kooky than the game’s first six “episodes” yet it made more sense…how?

Alright, Alan Wake might be a bit of a noggin boggler and if you were to truly understand the full complexity of what was going on you’d perhaps be insane but beneath my petty slamming of this one facet in Alan Wake, the game feels and plays like a breath of fresh air.

You might say, the three evenings or so I spent playing it was the “light of my life” because light is an interesting dynamic in Alan Wake. Darkness is your enemy, light is your friend. If you’re hurt, you stand in a large light source to heal. You use your torch with its limited battery to strip the darkness from the taken so that your bullets can do some real harm to them. There is a good degree of tactical play using this. Surrounded by taken on all sides? You need to prioritise targets with the torch and perhaps shift them to halt others who might be getting too close. Too close for comfort? Drop a flare and watch the taken fall back away from it. That’s not all though. The game lets you use flashbang grenades on the taken which work like fragmentation grenades would on people, because remember light is their weakness. Most genius of all is the implementation of a flare gun with its limited ammo. You use this as you would a rocket launcher in any other game – and that works out A-okay for me, seeing as the character you play isn’t some hardened military veteran – it’s a novelist who is starting to realise that his own creations might be becoming a danger to him and everyone around him, yet his writing too may well be his only salvation…sound good? Well it actually is. I don’t really want to tell you too much more because the fun in Alan Wake is its mystery and I do believe you won’t regret getting this title.

The last point I’ll leave you on is the way each chapter begins and ends like a T.V. episode, with the next episode starting with a recap from the last – We hear the typical American voiceover of “Previously on Alan Wake” that starts it.

The music in the game is pretty good as well.

I was a little downhearted though to find that even after all of this time past its release date there are only two pieces of DLC for it, expanding by two episodes. I was led to believe that the entire game would continue on with ongoing DLC episodes into the future. If that is still the case then it would appear that their releases will be rather slow. With that in mind, I believe I won’t keep hold of the game based on a chance of more DLC. I’ll trade it in and let more accumulate if it’s going to then consider a rental to see what is new.

Duz Andy Know? Episode 33 - Pacific Punouncing

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Duz Andy Know? Episode 30 - Challenge: Swallow A Pill

Back From Ghana...

So Andy went to Ghana and he has returned safely. I didn’t want to find out too much about it because I was hoping to get some of it on tape, first hand from him.

The plan was for him to keep a vlog of accounts throughout his journey. He was instructed to use his tapes without worry (he had about 14 on him for his fortnight stay) just getting as much footage as he could. I told him that he should try to record his thoughts as he has them, as a proper vlog. I told him to get as much useable footage as he could so that I could make it into DAK episodes. To my understanding now, upon his return, he has not recorded much footage at all. His reason? He said he was too busy feeling “indulged by the holiday”.

So what we have in the can is unknown to me. I will look at the footage and make what I can of it as soon as Andy can be bothered to give me access to it.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Duz Andy Know? Episode 29 - Lory's Booty Question

Andy Went To Ghana At Long Last

So the 21st of September came around and this time I hear that Andy actually did go to Ghana. Hah, well I never. The real question now is will he get me any good footage to use for the show.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Duz Andy Know? Episode 28 - I'm Just Saying

In this episode I talk to Andy about well known sayings to see if he comprehends their meaning.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Their Fated Travels...(Chapter 18) Digging Up The Truth

Read it on DA here -
or here -

or below with the blog formatting:

Their Fated Travels…

RPG Party events as told By Lory Cozens

Second Treatment, plot co-ordinating, editing by Robert James Freemantle

Chapter 18

Digging Up the Truth

Extract form the diary of Maestro:

Day 42

What a right bloody mess this is. Not only am I involved with yet another priest but now I have to break into a temple, as if breaking into the grand hall of Ulrich’s temple wasn’t bad enough. If we have to deal with another manifestation of chaos at the end of this I will actually believe that the church is just another one of the ways they lure you onto the path of evil. I have my suspicions anyway!

Extract from the diary of Dieter:

Day 42

It seems as if I have made a very good impression upon the guild master, the hairy footed scoundrel that he is. He seems to think that I have potential. Hah not that I need him to tell me that. In fact he told me of the secondary mission while we are to infiltrate the temple. While the other’s steal several artefacts from the vaults, I’m to assassinate the temple’s high priest, to which I do not see the point as I have no reason to kill this person - well maybe none other than he is a religious zealot. I dislike them almost as much as halflings and all we seem to do as a group is kill anyway. So much blood on my hands, like always. So many bodies like always. Death.

Extract from the diary of Rissandrea:

Day 43

I feel like the thieves eyes are always watching us - it’s unnerving to say the least.

This next week can not go fast enough for me. Tordrad also seems uneasy here. Perhaps he is expecting a dagger in his back at any moment. I have noticed it before, the way he holds himself trying to find places where they might take him by surprise. It’s almost as if he’s been in the position of a bodyguard for a very long time. I wonder whose employ he was under before he came to the Empire. However, the language barrier makes it hard to ask about such things.

Extract from the diary of Tordrad:

Day 44

Cowards who strike from shadows, cannot stand them. I have urge to do something, can’t stand around doing nothing for whole week. Wizard seems distressed, say something about vision, perhaps he need new spectacles. Too many spectacles as is. Has me carry them in sack for him. Spectacles for everything. Idiot enough to think they all work. Perhaps idiot enough to be right!

Extract from the diary of Maestro:

Day 44

I decided to perform the omen spell in hopes of finding out some information about our current situation. There’s always a chance of this spell backfiring and showing me false information. I have a feeling that this is one of those times, as my vision showed me on my back having my face licked by a dog! I could not tell if it was Ulger as its bloody great big tongue was in the way. Great big lickity spittly thing. The next thing I saw however still has me a little bit worried. It was a vision of Tordrad and he was in chaos armour! The colour and symbols upon it signified Khorne. If it holds true, it is possible that we may have just dressed our Kislevite companion in that armour in an attempt to infiltrate a cult, but I might just have to keep an eye on him to be safe. Even if it’s not true, it could still hide some underlying other matter. You never fully know with the winds of magic, the blue wind of azyr especially!

Extract from the diary of Tobias:

Day 45

I’ve found a map of the entire compound which I handed to Dieter this morning. Hopefully he’ll make good use of it, as I cannot read the words upon it. It is possible that this is the thieves’ tongue I have heard about. Tordrad uses something similar called battle tongue, a mix of common used words and hand signs, when written however there are some odd symbols interwoven with the words that make it even harder to understand. What’s even more odd is that it was in my own handwriting…But surely that couldn’t be the case.

Extract from the diary of Dieter:

Day 45

This map is of little use as I cannot read it, however it does give a good idea of the layout of this place. I doubt we can just walk out of here unnoticed, too many people here are watching us, looking for the moment to strike. I feel even more uneasy with so many eyes watching me. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ranald is in on this with Morr now.

Extract from the diary of Maestro:

Day 46

We’ve been cooped up here for five days now.

I’ve had no chance to study the stars and hopefully divine a way out if this bloody mess. Although Dieter tells me that based on what he saw of the tunnel in that house before, it is quite possible that either tonight or tomorrow night they might execute their plan - about time too. There’s only a certain amount of times I can read the same book, even if it’s the one I’m writing!

Extract from the diary of Tobias:

Day 46

Dieter had instructed me to thin out the numbers in this guild every night. I could see the need for this. Easier said than done as people may notice a missing member of their organization quite easily and taking out several people a day will definitely be noticed.

Extract from the diary of Rissandrea:

Day 47

Tomorrow night is when we are to make our way to the dig site, although we already know where it is. We had agreed not to mention this as it could get us in serious trouble and possibly having to fight our way out of here.

Extract from the diary of Dieter:

Day 48

Tonight’s the night. The four of us are heading out and we are being ‘accompanied’ by four other guild members. I know we’re not completely trusted by the guild master and these fellows will probably be watching our every move from here on out and I wouldn’t put it past them to put a dagger in our backs and leave us for the watch to deal with.

Extract from the diary of Tobias:

Day 48

I was able to get the keys to both Tristran’s cell and the armoury. Perhaps I can ‘borrow’ some of their equipment. I think the last key on this bunch leads to a possible treasury, after the Verenian warrior priest completes his arrests here I will relive them of their excess money. They’ll never notice it gone, I’m sure.

Extract from the diary of Tordrad:

Day 48

We broke into temple from below. Not the best idea wizard has had but I recognise look in his eyes. He has plan. This makes me worried as wizard’s plans blow up like poorly cared for Streltsi handgun and those who do that, are not considered worthy of their weapons. Hopefully he won’t need to use plan.

Extract from the diary of Maestro:

Day 48

We’ve split up into two groups: Myself, Rissandrea, Tordrad and three of our guides are going to steal some items from the reliquary, whilst Dieter and the last remaining guide are going off to perform some other task.

As we entered the grand hall I decided it was time to throw my plan into action!

Maestro stopped walking and leaned on his staff for support, he began to shake, initiating his fake dramatic purpose.

“There is something else here, something evil that wants us gone from this place!” warbled the wizard, fear in his voice as he tried not to appear to fall further to the floor by gripping his staff even tighter. The three thieves with them looked at one another and wondered what he was talking about as Maestro suddenly shot back up, a hand held out in front of him, he was chanting words to a spell and his eyes were glowing with aethyric energy. To the thieves who knew little of magic, they thought he was being possessed by something. Tordrad knew otherwise as he bent down slightly and swept Rissandrea up and onto his shoulder, dashing as quickly as he could to get them out of whatever crazy spell Maestro was about to cast. If one were to have looked directly at Rissandrea’s face at that moment in time they would have seen her blush from the sudden close contact and the way she was being carried.

Extract from the diary of Rissandrea:

Day 48

Tordrad surprised me with his sudden actions today, although I can not blame him for what he did, as he was just trying to get me out of harm’s way. I should not have reacted as I did however. It just goes to prove that I need to focus more on my training.

Maestro threw several brass coins out onto the floor and raised his staff into the air, a powerful gust of wind swirled around him like a hurricane and spread outwards away from the wizard, picking up the coins and loose bits of rock from the flagstones which in turn crashed into the glass of the stained glass windows shattering them and sucking the broken shards into the vortex, making it even deadlier as all these combined made contact with the thieves dealing various lacerating wounds to them, almost killing them outright - if it wasn’t for Rissandrea moving in to heal them after Maestro’s spell had ended.

Meanwhile Dieter was having his own ideas of how to deal with the man following him, he was sure he could defeat him if he was careful enough with his actions. He had a plan and it wasn’t his best considering how much trouble he was in with the Gods as it stood, but hopefully Myrmidia was a little more willing to listen. Silently he spoke and as he did so his vision seemed to shimmer as if the area he was in was producing a huge degree of heat. Heat and magic

A woman with shoulder length raven hair and copper tanned skin appeared before Dieter. She was carrying a spear in one hand and a shield in the other. She was currently standing with her back to him as he gasped, giving himself away to her. She turned around and her eyes were fully focused on the would be doctor.

Her gaze made him feel uneasy as her voice echoed through his head, “You, who have angered Morr, call for my aid in my own temple, Ulrich has spoken well of you and I have yet to make my own mind up about your actions. This time I shall give you the benefit of the doubt mortal and hope that you will not dishonour my judgment.”

She raised the arm that she held her shield in, from which the light from all the candles reflected off it and was directed towards the thief. Though she was a mere apparition, and an invisible one at that to the thief, the light was real enough to blind his vision, which gave Dieter a chance to knock the man unconscious with a well aimed blow to the back of the head.

Extract from the diary of Dieter:

Day 48

Myrmidia is rather an intriguing deity and somewhat foolish at times I believe, but her help has given us a chance to end this little crime ring without much effort on our part. Although I hear Maestro went too far with his little act as it got the watch involved. Our warrant papers were still effective enough to get us out of trouble though. Once the Goddess had disappeared, a tome was all that was left on the ground where she had been standing. I will have to study this book in more detail when I get the chance.

Maestro’s diary:

Day 48

We decided to make our way back to the warehouse that held the secret entrance to thieves’ guild, inside we found Tobias counting several piles of coins. At first glance I would have estimated around two thousand coins, a small pile of copper pieces and silver and a larger pile of gold coins which made up the majority of the coins, Dieter is insistent that it shall be split between us.

Rissandrea’s diary:

Day 48

I found Tristran in another room that contained several barrels. He had removed the lid from one of them to reveal a green substance that I instantly recognised as powdered warpstone. We informed the others and Dieter found a shipping form that had an address leading to tavern in the Grafsmund Nordgarten. I fear what we may find there. Oh dear.

Duz Andy Know? Episode 26: K.K.K.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Update - August

Ahoy hoy!

Well, I've not been quite as active as I have certain other months, but I have been taking care of a brand new relationship I've just started last month. Busy trying to work lots of things out, like you do.

That doesn't mean the work has stopped of course! I do continue to produce material, as you can no doubt see upon this very page below this post.
Do remember, I continue to compile my work online for free to the public to act as a sort of online portfolio. If someone wants to give me some money to actually do any of these things as a job for me or for them, then of course I will update as regularly as the job requires.

But without further ado, let's look at what's on the horizon for my updates.

Well, you're getting two more Duz Andy Know episodes out of me this month. Episode 26 will be released on the 16th Aug and 27 on the 30th.
Right now, as we speak I'm recording speech for Their Fated Travels...Chapter 15 Spoken Word, to be released soon I reckon.
Chapter 18 of the readable story proper will be edited and online soon, probably this month.
Lastly, Our good friend T-Man is undertaking the job of producing another issue of Comic Therapy for me, with a script I sent him some while ago - as soon as he finds the time.

One last reminder - Sep 1st is quite a big day for Andy it seems. It will be the day that decides whether he goes to Ghana this time or not...It is the date of his 2nd attempt at a flight there, which is another reason that episodes had to slow down. Again, if he does go, the idea would be for him to vlog his experiences with a view to making DAK specials from the footage. Who knows?

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Their Fated Travels...Chapter 17

Read it at DA here -
or below:

Their Fated Travels…

RPG Party events as told By Lory Cozens

Second Treatment, plot co-ordinating, editing by Robert James Freemantle

Chapter 17

A Plot to Steal, to Steal a Plot

As the flame of Ulrich died down after cleansing the Temple of Khornite worshippers - from an enveloping flame that washed around everyone present - all of the doors to the main hall were finally breached by the large crowds outside.

Leading the group was Father Ranulf, High Capitular Stolz, Watch Commander Ulrich Schutzmann and a new face, a tall man with short brown hair and green eyes. He wore a huge great sword upon his back and was adorned in expensive looking full plated mail. A religious symbol of Verena was clearly etched onto a large ring on his right hand.

Rissandrea who was treating Tordrad’s wounds at this point looked up, as the expression on her face made it clear that she knew who the newcomer was. As she finished using both her medical knowledge and her lesser divine healing powers channelled through prayer, she set about cleaning the less life threatening wounds, keeping out any chance of infection from the Plague Lord.

Maestro and Tobias were explaining the events leading up to and the aftermath of the fight to the interested officials who had gathered.

Dieter was patting Ulger absentmindedly.

Rissandrea was engaged in inspecting the back of Tobias’s skull, as he had taken quite the blow earlier.

Tordrad was dulling the pain from his wounds that were now bandaged, with a swig of vodka from his flask. He was totally oblivious to the intense conversation going on around the room right then. All he cared about was that the daemon was at last defeated and if it showed up again he would send it right back to the pit it crawled out from.

Father Ranulf pinched the bridge of his nose as he closed his eyes in thought; the words of the unofficial journeyman wizard had begun to sink in. He took a deep breath before speaking, “Although I believe what you say is true, religion is a touchy subject, especially for those that are truly devout.”

Maestro waved a hand dismissively, chirping up in a holier than thou manner, “Well that’s not the kind of thing I’d expect to hear from a man of the cloth.”

“Aren’t you also man of the cloth as well Maestro?” Dieter asked looking around at Rissandrea, who was still attending to Tobias.

The wizard sighed “Dieter my man, do not confuse garbs of mad zealots with the robes of the enlightened order of thinking minds – Besides, religion is all just mad politics and fear like any other business.”

The majority of the room turned their faces towards Maestro aghast in disbelief.

Rissandrea shook her head, “Now is not the time to be talking about people’s beliefs, but rather what we need them to believe in order to keep the peace.”

Ranulf nodded, “As far as people should be concerned this was a ploy by the ruinous powers to divide us while we’re weakened and as such I must ask you all to not mention what happened here.”

The group were forced to agree and were not allowed to leave until they had.

Extract from the diary of Maestro:

Day 40

Well this has certainly been an odd night and I had hoped to be done with religion, but then fate wouldn’t want that and I knew it. A man approached us and I could see with my magical sensitivity the powerful energy that flowed off of him, it wouldn’t take a celestial wizard to tell this would only lead us to more trouble.

Extract from the diary of Rissandrea:

Day 40

Had I expected that we would encounter Brother Tristran of the warrior sect of Verena, I would have approached the temple before now and enquired for his help in our investigations. He always has a sense of justice and the need to uncover the truth, but now it seems he has come to ask for my aid. I dare say I will grow more intrigued to what needs to be done the more I learn of it.

Extract from the diary of Tordrad:

Day 40

Magic is women’s domain in Kislev and religion is mostly men! Sometimes I will see women, but only those that worship Dazh, as preserving the hearth is the duty of the house. But here in the Empire they do not care about who is in what position, least of all who is their ruler. Their Sigmar left no heir and they must vote for who is their Emperor from one of the counts. They even fight about which God is the stronger and should be worshiped more and now this man comes up to us. Rissandrea says he is a warrior priest, if he is warrior and priest then hopefully he knows which end of the blade he carries is which.

Extract form the dairy of Tobias:

Day 40

Now it’s a priest of the Goddess of justice petitioning for our help, or rather for Rissandrea’s help which of course means we will need to follow her to make sure she’s safe. This means I will have to be extra careful…with justice breathing down the back of my neck. Why…why did I write that? How strange.

Extract from the dairy of Dieter:

Day 41

I didn’t sleep a wink last night, which I am grateful for, I get a feeling that Verena has sent her agents to evaluate my progress. This Tristran fellow seems rather intriguing however. I get this odd feeling from him, like he seems too pure in spirit. I don’ know how else to describe it but it puts me at great unease. I’ve never felt anything like this from the Shallyan.

Extract from the diary of Tordrad:

Day 41

We were to meet this Tristran at one of the streets on the west side of city, something about plague blockades. I wonder why we must go where plague is said to be in abundance! I do not want to die like coward on a sick bed but rather with blade in hand on the battlefield! But something seems wrong with this supposed plague, especially since it’s in the district with the Goddess that is meant to administer healing for such aliments.

Extract form the Diary of Rissandrea:

Day 41

The Westgate-Sudgarten. Apparently there is plague here - as such the district has been quarantined off and only those accompanied by a Shallyan priestess are allowed to enter. However if memory serves there should be a temple of Shallya in this district, so this should be under their jurisdiction, however High Priestess Evina Klug of the Verenan temple had even forbidden Tristran from following his investigation into the area, meaning he needed to gain the aid of a Shallyan from outside of the city. I was of course more than happy to be of aid, but I fear my companions are not so pleased with the idea of having been dragged along.

Extract from the diary of Maestro:

Day 41

Another day, another problem. It almost seems like trouble is following me or perhaps we are the ones following trouble. In either event, I get the feeling that we’re heading towards something that doest really concern us. But the more experience I gain out here the quicker I can head back home to all of my comforts and gadgets I suppose. I do so miss a good tinkering!

Extract from the diary of Dieter:

Day 41

This does not seem right, if plague was in this area then shouldn’t the doors be marked with something to show which houses are infected? It could be possible that the houses further in could be the only ones, but even so that would not give rise to the need to quarantine the entire district, maybe just a few streets at most.

I need to get some answers out of someone in this street.

Extract form the diary of Tordrad:

Day 41

Dieter seem curious with door across street, began shouting at person inside. I did not understand but he look funny doing it, he look even more funny when he put his blade to man’s throat as he answer door. We allowed inside house, Dieter want to look round and while he does, silly wizard say he see something outside.

Extract from the diary of Maestro:

Day 41

Then we were hearing that the Shallyans hadn’t even sent people to this house yet. Why would they declare a quarantine of the whole district without even checking to see how far it had spread, I’d say that’s pretty careless personally, but that’s what belief in gods will get you. Another odd thing is the man in robes hiding in the alley outside, he seems to be looking directly at the door of this house - I wonder what mess we’re in now.

Extract form the diary of Tobias:

Day 41

Maestro says he saw a man outside in an alleyway and that he is looking towards this house. This was rather strange of course, but nothing that warrants our attention, could just be a thief staking the place out waiting for the right time to empty the place of everything of value. Just the type of thing we should alert the watch to rather than anything else.

Extract from the diary of Dieter:

Day 41

I had the owner show me around, I don’t trust him however and I don’t trust this situation. There is indubitably more going on here. I suspect the priest’s suspicions are correct about a thieves’ guild in the area. It’s probably filled with short assed halfling bastards like our one. I of course checked the floor under the carpet and of course there was a loose floorboard, which I found housed a lever. The owner said he didn’t know anything about it. I of course did not believe him and as I pulled the lever I heard a click come from behind the wardrobe.

With some effort Dieter and Tristran we’re able to lift the wardrobe aside to reveal a door.

Tristran sighed, “Always behind a bookcase, fireplace or wardrobe, people are lacking in imagination these days don’t you think Dieter?”

Dieter was busy lighting a lamp but forced himself to reply, “Those are not the best places when they are overused so much, I would have chosen something a little more inconspicuous.”

“You sound like you’ve done this before.” The warrior priest stated sounding slightly suspicious of the man in front of him.

Dieter smirked but didn’t reply and just motioned the owner of the house to go first. He knew this man was in on whatever was going on here and he intended to find out what it was.

Extract from the diary of Rissandrea:

Day 41

I worry about what we will find here. I’m also worried about Dieter; he seems really on edge today, more so than usual that is. Tristran is very relentless in the same way as Malvanius was, but he possesses a kinder spirit than the witch hunter captain - although I would not want to be the subject of either one of their investigations.

Extract from the diary of Dieter:

Day 41

We made our way down a passageway, on a slight incline that slowly began to level itself out as we progressed. As we got further down we began to hear the sound of voices and sharp instruments on stone, Rissandrea commented that it sounded like dwarfish pickaxes. I do not know how she would know such a thing.

Extract from the diary of Maestro:

Day 41

Dieter and Rissandrea are taking their time. I’d prefer to get this out of the way as quickly as possible. If I could I would have already left Middenheim and been on my way somewhere else. This city has too much in the way of troubles with Gods, be they good or evil. Give me an engineering workshop any day over an altar.

Extract from the Diary of Rissandrea:

Day 41

We came across a small cavern at the end of the tunnel, in this cavern we found five men dressed in black outfits who I suspect are thieves. Also there were three dwarfs, chains on their wrists and ankles. This was of even greater surprise to me.

Extract from the diary of Dieter:

Day 41

Halfling or dwarf it does not matter to me, they’re both runty blowhards in their own right. I did enjoy seeing them chained up though - although judging from the look on the girl’s face, it appears I may have to deal with this situation before she gets herself hurt. She cannot heal me if she is healing herself…

Dieter sighed and took a step forward, lantern in one hand and machete in the other pointed threateningly at one of the men, “Answer my questions and I might consider healing you when I’m done.”

The men looked at each other and realising they outnumbered their foes, drew their weapons. Dieter shook his head and smirked as he placed the lantern on the floor.

Tristran turned to the man that had led them down here, “Still going to deny that you know what is happening here?” One hand had reached for the great sword on his back as the other was channelling a spell. The arcane words poured from his lips and hung there for a moment, like quickly melting frost relived by a summer’s day, which was taking longer than it ought to because of the plate that covered him. Armour interferes with the winds of magic that surrounded a spell caster, making it more difficult to focus on weaving the winds and performing the required incantation physically.

Within a few moments of pause the thieves, who thought nothing was happening, decided to rush the group. As they made their way forward, one of their number suddenly stopped, as if he was pulled back by invisible chains.

Dieter raised an eyebrow, “That sword just for show then priest?” he had plunged his scalpel into the shoulder of one of the other men rendering his arm temporarily unusable, as he dropped his sword. Ulger bit the ankle of another man making him fall to the ground where a more delicate target on the man’s body had presented itself.

Rissandrea of course had very little means to fight the thieves off with other than her quarterstaff, as her pistol ‘Redemption’ was only to be used on those that were truly corrupt to their very soul. She parried the man that had swung his club at her and smacked him around the back of the head with her quarterstaff. Fortunately this was all that was needed to knock the man out.

The last of the five thieves tried to make a run for it but was stopped as the blade of Tristran’s sword was at his throat “You can’t run from justice” he started, “Verena may be blind but we priests are her eyes.” His voice made it seem like there was nowhere to run or hide.

“L-listen I’ll tell you everything.” The fear in the thief’s voice was noticeable as he began to back up, only to walk into Dieter.

Extract from the diary of Dieter:

Day 41

That was a good workout to say the least and we found out that these thieves were digging a tunnel into the temple of Myrmidia, a foolish idea to try and rob a temple. Maestro will not be pleased to hear we need to get involved in more religious matters, neither am I however.

Extract from the diary of Maestro:

Day 41

About time those three got back. Apparently this house is a base for the thieves. I knew this would be more trouble than it was worth - getting involved in religious matters again. Now it seems we need to find the guild headquarters. I think the man outside would be able to lead us there. Dieter seems more agitated however and he seems to be regularly eating some sort of biscuit from what I can tell.

Extract from the diary of Rissandrea:

Day 41

With a little bit of trickery, Dieter was able to capture the thief hiding in the alleyway outside and also gain information for us to find and enter the thieves’ guild. I hope this goes well, for fighting an entire guild of thieves and possible assassins perhaps could spell even more trouble for us in the long term. I pray to Shallya that she shows compassion and mercy upon our small group.

Extract from the diary of Tordrad:

Day 41

Bah thieves, cowards that live in shadows no better than men of chaos. Now they try steal from Temple, they asking for divine wrath! We are to track down their guild. I not know what priest plans to do to them but I expect it be good fun.

Extract from the diary of Tobias:

Day 41

Damn these robes. I don’t know why I even have them on, it makes it harder to move about and actually hide effectively since they stand out so easily. Perhaps I can take control of this guild we’re tracking down. It would be a good start to my plans in the future. In any case we found the building without much trouble, it was decided that I was to climb up to the top and sneak my way in. An easy task but Maestro decided he should try flying up to join me, a feat he kept failing at miserably. I fail to see why he is a wizard sometimes.

Extract from the diary of Maestro:

Day 41

Just when I think I’m getting the hang of this spell casting lark a new hurdle gets in my way. I feel like the winds of magic are constantly shifting around me, as if trying to avoid me at times. Was it something I said?

It is annoying to say the least, but I don’t have to worry about Tobias writing it in his book during the night which is probably for the better, as I believe he has only written down my failures rather than successes. Saying that, even night time Tobias is as verbally displeased with me. You would have thought I would stand a chance with the alter ego at least!

Extract from the dairy of Dieter:

Day 41

I just knew this would happen. The guild master is another of those blasted moot dwellers. It seems everywhere I look I find a midget of some sort or another. However, I had to use some form of diplomacy here.

I look more the part than the rest of the group at least, which was rather unfortunate for the priest of justice, as I had to work with him in a joint initiation into the guild…

Maestro caused a disturbance, which gave me time to tell him my plan, although Tristran was reluctant to agree at first, it was the only way I could get him in alive with us. What a messy infiltration this is.

Extract from the diary of Rissandrea:

Day 41

Dieter can be rather the diplomat. Yes he has a silver tongue when it suits him. But my fears for Tristran were correct, his contact with Verena caused a problem with our ‘joining’, and I use the term as loosely as possible - of the thieves guild. Dieter was forced to temporally damage one of his arms. I saw what he did. Anyone without medical knowledge would not be able to tell that the wound was just for show and no damage would be permanent.

Extract from the diary of Tobias:

Day 42

It seems now that the group have proven themselves. They are to assist with the current job that will take place at the end of the week, I’ve kept myself hidden and it is easy to hide without my robes. I can’t find them anyway so it does not matter. I just hope Dieter knows what he’s doing, as he’s been picked for a special job. I did not like the tone of the leader’s voice when he called Dieter to his office this morning. I hope I will get a chance to ask him about it later.