Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Books, Books, Comic

Inspired by others I ramble about books, books and maybe comics!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Lady Malys - The Diversion

Lady Malys 
The Diversion

“…paused only to place the stolen STC upon a stasis pedestal between the mummified head of a human technosavant and the gilded hands of Saint Cerulia the Just.”
The Rise of Vect,Warhammer 40,000 Dark Eldar Codex (2010) p17

Lady Aurelia Malys was drawn to her trophy halls within one of her inner chambers.  Something was whispering to her, calling to her.  It was maddening.  She had sent her guards to search the area, they had report back that there was no one there.  Yet the whispering continued.  Unsatisfied, she sent one of her trusted lieutenants who oversaw the chambers – nothing. Still the whispers nagged at her.  In the end she had no choice but go herself and see what the source of this matter was. This nagging sound so familiar went on and on as she and her bodyguard approached the halls, the ceased as they entered.  Not slow on the uptake Malys knew she had to leave her bodyguard behind and enter the hall alone.

As the halls doors closed behind her a faint scintillating light came from the mon-keigh trophies. No that was a disservice to them, they called themselves humans and while the herd were little more than the derogatory mon-keigh name, many of them were worthy of their species name of human.  Like pestilential vermin they had spread like a plague across the universe, and her race must thank them for that for without such a bountiful species, the nourishment to live would be so poor.  Of all the alien races encountered, humans were the most susceptible to fear and the aura they gave off was one you could carve with a knife at distance.

She knew these halls well; each of the trophies brought back memories.  Here the optical array of the entity Tyx from the Crone world Lyskuni deep in the Maelstrom or what the humans call the Eye of Terror. There the head of one of Bile’s primarch clones - She Who Thirsts ascended pets’ cries for vengeance at her interference.  So many trophies, and yet the one she yearns for most eludes her – Vect. Like a spider spinning her web, it takes many threads to perfect her art.  She will attain her prize; her heart tells her it will be so. Patience, patience…

“Aureila.  Auuuriiiiilaaaa.”

Her reverie was broken by the voice, no longer a whisper that came from an alcove she had almost forgotten.  This was not like her, she had been distracted.  She cursed herself.  The scintillating form she had met those many years ago now seemed to be before her.

“Why are you here Alp- arrgh.“

Malys clutched her chest where her heart was and fell to her knees.  The pain was unbearable, worse than when she had cut her own heart out and plunged the crystalline object in its place.  Why had she done that?  Had she been played a fool from the start?

“Ah no names now Aureila, we had such fun all those years ago.  I confess that I just wanted you for my experiments, but you provided me so much more.  You see, I have been for so long stuck with companions that had the charm and sophistication of the larval infestation of Honra Du X.  While you are a murderous and sadistic bitch and there is no way I’d either trust you or bed you, your charm and whit has been truly exceptional for one who finds none in this dreary universe.  As such I spared your life – conditionally.”

“Conditionally?  I can’t say I like the sounds of that, considering you say you appreciate me Al- lord.”

“While the rest of your followers vanished from your side that day – you were spared for a different reason.  Oh they supplied such excellent data by the way.  I left you the ‘heart’ as my data research node.  It is fully self aware and while it collects myriad types of data its protocol of self protection has allowed you to stay alive longer than you have thought possible.  In fact you almost feel invulnerable don’t you my dear?”

Malys was dumbstruck, she had been played.  She was little more than an experiment of some alien who was using her to spy upon her people.  Who knows what information she had betrayed to this alien.  Did she care though?  Did any of her race care for anyone but themselves?  Her heart gave a lurch and she clutched at it in fear of it being ripped from her.

The scintillating being paused.

“It would appear the heart is not ready to part company with you yet Aurelia.  There are still secrets that it has yet to gain, these it can only obtain once you have Vect.  Well that settles matters; you live for a while longer then my dear.  Enjoy your extra parole.”

“Why? Why are you doing this?”

“Why? Why? Because I’m trying to stop the second cataclysmic creation of a divine consciousness within the warp.  You think She Who Thirsts is something to fear, imagine He Who Hates All for that is what the human god emperor really is.  His ecclesiarchy are all about hating anything not human, anything not sanctioned by humans and the list goes on. Fear is driven by hatred and hatred is all consuming.  Khorne will but a child compared to this godling when it is spawned.  So I must use you to an end my dear.  If you want your race to continue, then please live on and get to Vect.  One day I shall return.”

The scintillating being seemed then to notice the display that it had chosen to be among.  A laugh issued from it, mocking and sad.

“Oh no, I can’t have that lying around now. That won’t do.”

With those words the mummified head of the human technosavant vanished from it place in the trophy display.

“Now what else have I got to tidy up?  I see her hand is her?  I guess Horst would like some memory of her seeing it is all that remains of her.  In reparations – let me see?  The timeline… Yes it’s happening now.”

The STC case was lifted and tossed to Malys by some means she could not discern. She dodged it out of reflex and it clattered to the floor behind her.

“Tsk, tsk, Aureila. Still as untrusting I see.  Just as well the contents are unbreakable.  Now listen up you are going to do me a little favour to thank me for adding more years to your life sentence.  Archon Helbram, you know that little abrax of a dram who cheated you to the titles of the sectors held by the Kabal of Jade Teats. Oh I see by the look of surprise you weren’t aware of that little fact.  Well I see that this information may well then be all the good news you need to spur you on then.”

“As we speak a – shall we say – incursion mission is underway and I’d like to see that Archon Helbram is well and truly occupied on all fronts.  I know that you’d like to reclaim your sectors which should rightly belong to you, and I need you to deliver this STC case which you clumsily dropped to some human agents acting against the best interests of Helbram.  It’s a win win situation for everyone, well maybe not so for Helbram.”

Malys thought on this.  The STC was a trinket of no worth to her, just a trophy.  However to the humans it was something of considerable value, it was codenamed PANACEA.  Did she want something that could save millions of human lives out there, allowing them to breed and multiple, fight and sow sorrow and fear for the limited resources the universe had to offer.  The sweet sweet aroma of hypocrisy was delicious; her race would be feeding of the benefits this PANACEA would bring for millennia.

“Very well A-lord. I will ensure your agents are given every opportunity to perform their mission and escape. I will see they get this STC as you have directed.  As you once said to me ‘may we live in interesting times’.”

Malys bent down to collect the STC case.  When she looked back to where the scintillating being had been it had vanished along with the gilded hands of Saint Cerulia the Just.  Now she would have to hunt the human Imperium again for trophies worthy of what had been taken.  She hoped Alpharius knew what that would mean in the end.

Story (C) John A McDonnell 11 January 2019
The Warhammer 40,000 Universe is copyright to Games Workshop, no challenge is intended to their title and rights.  This is a piece of fan fiction for the Dark Heresy Role Playing game from the Fantasy Flight Games edition.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Draco Dantioch - Agent of Alpharius

Draco Dantioch
Agent of Alpharius

Belisarius Cawl stared out from his doll at the warrior seated before its image.

“You are prepared for this undertaking Draco, once you leave your company there is little chance that you will return?”

“Yes Cawl, I am.  Alpharius has shown me what I need to do.  I am his agent while he undertakes his greater works.  Don’t scowl Cawl, I’m not a puppet like this doll before me. You made us primaris a little too well I fear, too close to the flawed humanity you chose to model us on.  I studied the data Alpharius and you supplied and compared that to the original gene-seed programme.  I think you have created a monster of your own making Cawl, but I believe that was your intention from the outset.”

The dolls features twisted in fury and its appendages struck out with lightning reflexes only a mechanical construct could possess. Yet for all that speed the response of the warrior was quicker, his power sword activated and sliced the approaching limbs in one fluid action.  The sliced pieces dropping inert to the floor and the doll, stopping stunned at the rapid response.

Draco directed the powered blade to the dolls brain case, located in its armoured stomach.  The energy of the blade connected with the power field protecting the doll and a contest of fields played between the sources.  The fluctuating display of light cast an eerie display across the visage of the warrior and doll as they stared at each other.

“Damn Alpharius and curse your curiosity Draco,” spat the Cawl doll.

“Of course you are right Draco. You are all flawed with the hubris of humanity; it is what makes you and your species able to perform against the odds which confront them.  If I take away that tiny piece of vulnerability then you are little more than mindless automaton which I or any other Mechanicus warlord could produce in the millions for a fraction of the cost.  So I count on a 5% failure rate among the recruits.  These will fall to the lures of the vices humanity has suffered since the dawn of time.  However on the whole the project will succeed as long as that 5% failure rate is kept from the top echelon of command.  That of course will be nigh on impossible to monitor considering the size of the Imperium and the fact that Guilliman has spread my results across the universe.  Hence we can expect failure to rear its ugly head sooner than later, I’m expecting sooner considering the constant exposure to contamination. “

Draco lowered his blade and considered the response.

“So your deal with Alpharius and keeping the Fallen Legions separated and isolated from the Imperium has been to weed out the failure rate. No, that’s not possible. It’s been to monitor the warning signs and the aberrations within the development cycles.  You and Alpharius are working on systems that will identity at risk individuals and either administers remedial pogroms or failing that remove the failure from the system.  Cold and heartless, iron within - iron without.”

The Cawl doll nodded and far away the consciousness that was Cawl pondered its next move in the greater game it played.  It had made an error here, the pawn Draco was not what it had hoped for.  Damn Alpharius, he had contaminated another of his projects and taken away yet another opportunity… but, no Cawl thought, let’s play this out and see what happens.  If Draco can’t send back his reports to Alpharius then…  The Cawl doll spoke in irritation.

“I have nothing further to say on this matter.  You have been given your orders.”

A servitor activated and approached the pair. Draco raised his blade in preparation, but saw that it was only a recording and servitor scribe.

“I shall have to prepare a proper Seal of Authority for you.  While you have met this Alpharius, the one you are about to meet is, let me say, extremely paranoid and very untrusting.  Once you see who he has as company you will understand.  Are you ready? Please nod when so.”

Draco nodded.

“This is Belisarius Cawl to Alpha Capharius or should I say Alpharius Primus.  This is a Seal of Authority by me for the individual who bears it.  State for the Seal warrior who you are?”

“I am Draco Dantioch, gene-seed scion of Barbarus Dantioch, 1001 Grand Company, IV Legion.”

“Who is your loyalty pledged to?


“What is your mission?”


The Cawl doll immediately stopped the recording and angrily spat.

“What is the meaning of this? You can’t have a classified mission?  The whole purpose of this Seal of Authority is so that the Alpharius that receives this missive understands what this whole matter is about.  Withholding that from him will only make him suspicious? It is also making me as well, including angering me.”

Draco smiled at the Cawl doll and nodded.

“Yes that’s the whole point Cawl.  Alpharius doesn’t trust you. Just accept that he has ways of getting his self to know things you just can’t fathom.  You see you gave up too much of yourself in your pursuits, Alpharius didn’t. It’s what gives him the edge over you in most of these tête-à-têtes.”

A shadowy form dropped from the ceiling, its humanoid form blurring the senses.  Tendrils snaked forth from its form and attached itself to sensitive sections of the Cawl doll, rendering it inert and helpless.  With this done, the blurred form spoke in a feminine voice.

“Cawl you are taking too long in dealing with a simple matter of dispatching Draco on this mission.  I think you are up to something, mother and father agree with me as well.  I will finish this Seal without your permission and send Draco on his way.”

“Resume recording.”

The Cawl doll, now helpless and in the control of another continued to complete the Seal of Authority.

“I Belisarius Cawl release Draco Dantioch from the Mechanicus Injunction.  His credentials are Death Watch authorized.”

With that the figure gestured for Draco to obtain the Seal recording from the servitor.  Once this was done, the Cawl doll was released and its functioning returned.  The venom in the voice was like acid.

“You abomination.  How dare you interfere in this matter, I decide what happens on this planet, not you or those you call your parents!”

“Oh Cawl, you gave up all control of this planet decades ago when you gave father control of it.  You really should read the fine print of any contract you sign with the Devil.  I think you will find that you have no more say in how things operate here anymore. Pity, but it’s time for you to go now. Bye!”

With that final word the being raised a blurred appendage and shot an energy beam at the Cawl doll which rendered it to nothing but component atoms.

Draco looked over at where the doll had been and then back at the shooter.

“Was that really necessary Lady?  Cawl is known to hold a grudge for a long time.”

The blurred form moved towards Draco and caressed the side of his face.

“Oh Draco, I could not have my fathers favourite protégé harmed.  You mean too much to us for that to happen.  Now, quick off you go. Get this silly mission of fathers over and done with and get back here to me and my sisters as soon as you can.  We still haven’t mastered poetry yet.”

Draco swallowed a nervous gulp and wondered if exile in eternity was possible for the daughters of Alpharius had mastered (contrary to her statement) Vogon poetry and it was that bad.

Story (C) John A McDonnell 9 January 2019 
The Warhammer 40,000 Universe is copyright to Games Workshop, no challenge is intended to their title and rights.  This is a piece of fan fiction for the Dark Heresy Role Playing game from the Fantasy Flight Games edition.

Monday, January 7, 2019

The Fabricated Tales of Alpha Capharius - Season 2: Chapter 4

The Fabricated Tales of 
Alpha Capharius
Season 2
Chapter 4

Kroot - Miniature from my personal collection of painted stuff!
This is a piece of fiction and may contain mature and adult themes. 
You have been warned - read at your own discretion.

Distressed Ramble: To start with I was of many minds when I finished playing this session of Dark Heresy as to whether or not to write another Fabricated Tales.  I put a lot of effort into developing a character, and my character development is done through my story telling here in this blog.  In game my character is the weakest there is.  I don't show any interest in the biggest guns, best armour or toys.  That's for the tanks, of which this party is not lacking.  My character is a "scientist" a person interested in seeking out knowledge and technology.  Fighting is something I only do as a last resort.  So when I find with the last two sessions the company being placed in two unwinnable situations I find I suffer severe malaise of psyche.  As I have stated at multiple opportunities I don't respond well to certain situations, and this session was one of them.  I enjoyed the day to a point, then didn't.  In the end it has taken me some time to  wash away the overwhelming negativity of the day and write my Tales without too much of my distaste of the day seeping through.  If it has I apologise, and this preamble will hopefully explain why it may seem angry at times.

+++Personal Journal Update+++
The universe can get fucked!
+++End Journal Update+++

Our endless journey in the webway appears to be drawing to a conclusion.  The continual bonding between Horst and Eliza Le Roche is disturbing.  To think that I have to somehow manipulate the fabric of time to place this woman back in time appalls me.  Then I think why worry, it won’t affect me!

Eliza has taken to questioning Horst regularly about the god emperor and his purpose and divinity. She will often knell before the mighty Horst in seclusion where the pair will perform their holy rituals.  Horst will go on about the expanding might of the emperor’s faith and how his seed of truth will implant itself in the body and minds of the faithful.  [redacted by Censorshang on since when did my work become the subject of censorship, if I want to write smut I should [redacted] – right I see that I am not going to win at this point in time, but I always win my wars if not battles.] So it would appear that Eliza has fallen well and truly into the camp of the Imperial faith and the clutches of Horst’s bed (now I can’t get that image out of my head and Francine keeps asking me constantly now about this subject).

Finally our destination is found and a disused entrance way located.  It would appear that this is the dumping ground for bodies of the failed experiments of the Haemonculi.  I wondered at the time why they had been left here rather than fashioned and repurposed, but then all traps need bait.

The nature of the company I keep is to loot, they cannot help themselves.  In the process of rifling through the putrid body parts and corpses they discovered life signs!  Lady B attempts to get my attention to investigate but my interests are not in saving the life of a failed and discarded corpse.  I had already determined what the outcome of this encounter was, a trap and I left it to Lady B to resolve.  A hideous larval creature erupted from the corpse with the intention of impaling the nearest living being.  That’s why I left Lady B deal with such trivial matters. She dealt with it.  I scanned the remains, and noted it in my extensive alien database.  These Haemonculi are certainly a busy lot, at least more directed than the Hivemind of the Tyranids.

Unknown to me at the time was that the creature was a psychic bomb and it’s death triggered a scream which drew the attention of a sentinel.  It did not help matters when the psyker in our company decided to search for the source of the incoming signal.  Elvis is fast proving to me that all the mutants on Sel Delmas must be purged for the greater safety of the universe at large.  I would say humanity, but to be honest there are wonder more deserving of continuance and letting these blue skinned maniacs out into the universe in numbers would see these marvels destroyed in the least, vandalized or looted at worst.  Getting back to the insane psyker with not the whit to master the basics of masking his psychic spore; well he drew the crabs onto us – but not before the company set of more fireworks.

Sadly one of the containers well… contained loot and as the pack rats they are (not I don’t include myself among them – I am above such trivial matters[1]) were unable to restrain their baser natures.  A slew of alien equipment was found, from Ork, Hrud[2] and Rak’gol[3].  The Hrud technology in particular Horst and I attempted to persuade Elvis from using but the belligerent bugger refuses to listen to us and I fear that in the end blows would end the issue[4].  The only thing that spared Elvis an immediate execution was the cleansing of the radiation from his body and personal equipment.  This made me more concerned as to the nature of the Hrud weaponry and backed Horsts desire to destroy the weapon even more.

It was then or thereabouts the company came under fire from a Kroot shaper.  What it was doing out here all alone I have no idea?  Was it cut off from its band? Was it just another mercenary in the employ of the Dark Eldar overlords?  Who knows, the trigger happy “diplomats” in the company decided that “negotiations” would start with a good old round of gunfire?  I think Elvis was again the offender in this engagement, trying out his new toy (hence learning his radiation salvation).  He nicely lit the top of the ruined tower, signaling to all and sundry “hey look, there is something happening here, come and investigate”.  So went any attempt of sneaking into Commorragh, but I’m sure it was never our destiny to be given that opportunity…

While the company thought the Kroot had been killed or driven off, the individuals found a number of novel and deadly rooms and corridors.  Elvis discovered the corridor of slice and dice death lasers which moved up and down the corridors once you entered them[5]. Sadly he survived that encounter, I was very sad he did not perish here.  Elsie found lots of strange sealed storage pods which proved in the end to be batteries.  Each “battery” contained the suffering lifeform of a “soul” on the last moment of a hideous and painful death.  I found two “entertaining” areas; one was a control room where the access devices/panels were too deadly to access.  Yes they inflicted or would have inflicted severe wounds had I decided to use them, I would have shuddered to think what sitting in the console chairs would have done had I chosen to do so.  The other was a corridor section which at first I thought was clear, there was no immediate danger.  I chose to send the Tau drone in first, which is just as well.  A force wall of some description slammed down – though I’ve now come to the conclusion it must have been a gravity inducer as there was no ceiling in these corridors or sensors evident.  The pressure plating, damn it, who knows the capriciousness of this place is literally driving my logic capacity to despair, even Francine is starting to note it.  The shield on the drone managed to hold just long enough for me to ascertain that the consoles in the room I left must have some functionality with the corridor.  Somehow Francine and I destroyed the consoles with little physical damage to us and the field was shut down and the drone freed.  I was muttered some dire imprecations to the warp at this stage.  Lastly I located another room with some storage containers in which I found an ornate deactivated silver cyber skull. 

While all this was going on, people were off wandering; Elvis was still being a silly bugger and playing with the warp and the psychic signal.  Lady B, who is also somewhat psychic, appeared to be playing possum…

Enter the insidious elder wraith engine constructed and twisted by the insane minds of the Dark Eldar.  If the city of Commorragh was not aware of us before they were now.  The firepower that was being exchanged was horrific.  From my position, Francine and I could only observe and wonder at the failure of our silent insertion mission.  Our “snatch and run” option was now looking like “run and hide”.  Eventually the sheer firepower which the company could dish out, took the construct down.  Yet the first of a continual stream of Dark Eldar vessels and troops continued to swamp us.  A brave and valiant attempt by Francine and I did obliterate a number of the skimmers as they approached but in the end small portals were opening and troops were entering from multiple locations.

Before the last hurrah though, there was a quick skirmish between a chaos champion and Elsie.  A rather one sided affair after the beings weapon was destroyed as it slumbered in stasis, but Elsie is more than capable of stabbing any sleeping foe without fear and remorse.  AND I found an ornate pistol which decided it wanted to be part of me.  Another insidious and capricious trap left by a vindictive godling from the warp.  Without hesitation I cut my left hand off.  At this stage my malaise had taken hold and I had given the order to retreat.  Again that capricious entity decided to play its hand and decided Eliza wanted the weapon.  Yes, don’t ask me why, I attempted to kick it out of the way only to find out that this weapon was clearly more that it was.  Mouthing dire warnings to the warp I managed to get the weapon over the edge and out of harm’s way of any others.

Our exit was closed?  The Dark Eldar were pouring in from everywhere.  The combat would have continued until everyone was dead however one of my neural links activated and I knew what had to be done.  I wasn’t happy, no way was I happy.  I knew my company was not going to like the outcome, the lost equipment in particular. However between the choice of certain death and the slim chance of life…

I communicated by voice, open communication channels and subspace.

“Gha tia''anga' Ur’kon.”

Time stopped for everyone with the exception of Elsie who spent the next two years scavenging and lurking in the underspire of Commorragh.  How that depraved piece of effluent survived I know not, it only goes to proves how much of a genius I am when it comes to crafting works of excellence.

Well I shouldn’t say time stopped for everyone.  Two years passed where we were the play things of the Haemonculi known as Ur’kon.  This depraved creature spent every moment torturing the company, learning what secrets he could from us.  Clearly the only thing my fellows could provide was their fortitude and willpower; they certainly had nothing of worth meriting their extended life.  I could only assume the suffering and agony they provided kept the foul creature well fed.  As for me, well there was the problem, which was I why I didn’t want to come here in the first place.  Francine was “boxed”[6] but she had more than enough tasks to keep herself occupied until such time as I or others freed her.  Ur’kon had a great delight in breaking down my body; he dined well that one on my despair.  Even greater was my despair when I found at the end of our separation and we were all brought together – along with three copies of me.  Each one claiming to be me – but of course each of us would say that.  The confounded look on the others when they saw four of me… priceless. Ultimately though I was again driven by despair, Ur’kon was feeding well I could see it.  His ego was swelling as I looked…

Ur’kons translator device clicked on and conveyed to us his alien words.

“Creatures, you have fed me well these last cycles. Rather than rendering you down, I give you an opportunity to earn me greater sustenance and patronage.  You will fight in the arena.  If you win, you live… you earn some rewards, not many – perhaps a release from the constant pain, like now.  If you lose, well I think you know the results of losing.  See how an identical copy of the slain original is here, oh wait there are three. I can’t even tell which the original was anymore[7]. ”

This boring and egotistical creature droned on and on about its own magnificence, how it intended to use us for its own importance. If I didn’t know better I could swear I was listening to an alien version of myself…

Like a herd of cattle ready for the slaughter the arena awaited us.  The copies and I hatched a plan settled on a plan.  We agreed that there could only be one outcome from this debacle.  Death.  We all had only one objective from the arena – cost Ur’kon so much in resources to remake us that in the end he would just cease finding amusement in sending me (and by that I me US plural) to the arena.  I was not concerned about dying here in this benighted place; after all I knew my future self and several alternate timeline operatives were out there.  I’d live on, my core knowledge was already in Francine and the coded distress signals she was sending through the Dark Eldar network would reach the right sources.  Time to upset the company by letting them think I’m a brave warrior!

I won’t bore you with the tedious boredom of the arena.  It was hack and slash.  Yes I surprised the company by my bold and suicidal leap into combat.  Sadly it seems as if the universe laughs at the perversity of cruel injustice.  If I was to have attempted what I did in the arena in what would have been previously “the call of duty” I would have more than likely been struck down and destroyed.  In the arena, I proved the fool of entertainment, fumbling and failing with the dignity of a drunk on his wedding night.  Out of all the bouts not one of my “copies” was able to kill themselves in combat, and trust me – we damn well tried.

Our final bout was against some lord’s daughter who wished to prove herself.  Apparently a lot was riding on this bout, and my knowledge of the deadliness of wyches gave me much hope of seeing one of my selves expire in the arena.  Again my hopes were dashed, and the damn wyche proved inadequate to the task, she couldn’t even pick off the weakest target in the group – ME. 

My malaise was deepening with each combat.  Fate was refusing to allow me to end my existence and escape this hell hole I had unwittingly been assigned to.  After the last battle we were brought before Ur’kon for another of his ego fueled speeches.

Instead we find that he had company.  An Archon and his retinue had paid a visit to Ur’kon. The conversation between the aliens is incomprehensible as none in the company understand the language[8] (yet).  There was the exchange of “gifts” and it was while this was happening I caught sight of the Rod secured to the waste of the Archon.  Here we were, restrained and neutered with no way of doing anything even if we could gain the sought after artifact.  Despair gripped me further as I decided to send the Alpha Omega 666 code to the copies.

Their business concluded the Dark Eldar left leaving us to the fate of Ur’kon and his monologue.

“Well, that went well.  I trust you spotted the Rod Alpharius?”

This was spoken in well modulated Imperial cant; in fact it was spoken in my voice.  This startled me, in fact it startled everyone.

“My plan worked – in a fashion, I’ve kept you alive to this point in time.  It’s all thanks to the curiosity of Ur’kon really and my genius.  If he hadn’t injected himself with my blood then this plan of mine well ours would not have worked out.  Trust me!”

With this Ur’kon/me walked over to me (yes not one of the other three copies, we all know who the original is) and we exchanged or more precisely Ur’kon/me downloaded all the data he had accumulated during his time in this place.  The data I now have, so much information and technology and as usual no time, resources or opportunity to implement any of it.
I ascertained the following information:
  • All our equipment had been taken, but Ur’kon had stockpiled it, though some has been destroyed.  My Omnissian Axe and Inferno pistol though were not part of the missing and will be waiting for me.  Some things never change.
  • Francines AI has been boxed, her robotic frame was reclaimed for alternative use.  Her AI is intact along with all back up materials and technology.  ANGUS is there as well!  Apparently it’s a noisy place.
  • Elsie is roaming the Sprawls and Low Commorragh.
  • Ur’kon had injected my blood into his veins once I had let slip the wonders of my nanotechnology.  This of course was the doom I had planned for him, it would take time as I was not too sure how swiftly the Dark Eldar blood would resist the nanotechnology.  Haemonculi are surprisingly resilient and it took some time to overcome the being.  Then the charade had to continue with torturing the company.  Though I believe I did enjoy inflicting on certain members of the company more than others…
  • Elvis now has a psychic dampener and explosive collar.  I have the codes.  That solves one problem.
  • Lady B’s suit has been severely damaged by Ur’kon’s initial experiments and none of her weapon options will initiate.  Her physiognomy has now changed into a pale skinned eldar with white hair.  This has appalled her no end, and has pleased me greatly.
  • Archon Helbam is the holder of the Rod.

Our mission now is to pose as mercenary guards in the employ of local Dark Eldar antiques dealer who has acquired a trinket which will more than pique the interest of Archon Helbam.  Sadly Rervam the trader has no idea that he has been set up, though considering this is Commorragh he should know better.  Once we have obtained the Rod, we can flee Commorragh using the webportal device I have been given.  This will deliver us to a safe “house” where our cache of armour and weapons reequipped and way to freedom secured.  Well that’s that plan – so far no plan as ever survived contact with…

+++Personal Journal+++
+++Date:[Temporal seal]+++
The fate of Ur’kon/Alpharius hybrid is recorded in the Council of ME.  Once the company had successfully left Commorragh the Haemonculi laboratory and surrounding areas were destroyed with a warp breach occurred as a result of an unstable application of a dark matter experiment.  There were no survivors or trace of his experiments for others to utilize. 
+++End Personal Journal+++

Rak’gol Dark Matter Rifle, Bandolier of Ammo, 30 per clip, 5 clips
Ork slugga (useless), choppa, armour
Stryxix aether blade, 1d10+2 E, ignores armour, blue grey blade, hums
Square, round edges object, funny looking?
Hrud Rifle (warp touched) Black Plasma draws form the warp
Deactivated ornate silver cyber skull

[1] Unless it deals with matters of technology and information.
[2] Hrud species show a bizarre, vaguely humanoid, black-eyed creature with long, segmented limbs, an exoskeleton and a mouth featuring both teeth and mandibles. Whatever their physical form, the Hrud prefer darkness and are basically scavengers and tunnel-dwellers. They are found all over the galaxy, though never in large numbers. They are considered to be parasites, and when they are referred to it is usually as "infesting" a place. (source - http://warhammer40k.wikia.com/wiki/Hrud)
[3] A xenos breed of which little is known for fact, they take the appearance of rough-hewn and irregular stone reptilids, eight-limbed and over three metres long. Chalky white in colour and mantis-like in bodily arrangement, Rak'Gol warriors favour cybernetic augmentation to increase their abilities and replace lost limbs. (source - http://warhammer40k.wikia.com/wiki/Rak%27Gol)
[4] Regrettably this did not happen due to the many interruptions that plagued us.
[5] Reminiscent of the old Sol vid Resident Evil where the computer defends itself with a laser grid.
[6] Boxed - reference to being reduced to the core AI. Usually a functioning power core and cybernetic unit, normally a boxed AI is shut down so it is unaware of the passage of time. Some individuals have been known to leave an AI active while boxed allowing the AI to perform assigned tasks.
[7] A rather useful ability I have is that of regenerating.  It is especially useful when it comes to attempts at branding me with identification marks.  I’m able to either remove it altogether or alter it to another code.  Rather handy at times when you need to impersonate someone else.
[8] I should point out that the Dark Eldar will rarely sully their tongues with base languages of aliens (though they known them), preferring to leave the menial task to translator technology when such communication is absolutely necessary.

Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 Game Wrap Up

I purchased an App called Board Game Stats back in 2017.  I guess I bought it to help me understand whether there was any substance to my claims that no one played any games with me.  I felt very isolated and played mostly solitaire games.  Over the last two years my gaming life has improved somewhat and while I still struggle with reality and life on a daily basis the App does provide a nice little reminder I do have friends and that I do get to have games and enjoy myself.

Here is what happened in 2017 (in case you didn’t see my post last year… I did write one didn’t I?).

As you can see a significant number of games were played solo.  I did though include in my database 19 named people, which I am pleased with.  These are all people I know and continue to do so.  I’d like to think that they are still my friends now.  I met the vast majority of them through the Blind Pig Games Club.  I’d say that without the club my capacity to met and game would have me home and alone and with a social group of less than what I could count on one hand (and that’s being optimistic).

Weekends are still the primary game days as most people work as these are the only days they have available.  As a pensioner I have free time aplenty, but I have the problem of juggling my mental health issues and those other life difficulties that get thrown in my way.  In the end I find that the safety of solo games while not satisfying is there to distract me.  Needless to say I was able to get the occasional game in over the weekdays as the statics show.

As can be seen from being a solo gamer, most games reflect the residence as my primary location with the Blind Pig being the second home for me.

Now for 2018!

An increase in 15 unique games played over last year and another 15 games played.  The biggest game changer I am looking at here is a change from solo gamer to social gamer.  Going from 44 (12%) days to 59 (16%) days of games a game in a year is fairly significant – even excluding the solo game component.  The Blind Pig met for fifteen of the days recorded for each of the calendar years.
More games were played that were not solo!  The increase in two player games can be attributed to the early set up of the club and my good friend Pat and I getting some games in before the crowd arrived.  I also have been enjoying the company of some locals – Leslie and Mic who have been happy enough to engage me in the occasional game when they have been free.  The increase in board games being played at the Blind Pig and the player count has seen the rise in the statistics.  The more people I get to game with the happier I am – though there is a dark side to this for me.  I enjoy playing games; I don’t enjoy being targeted as I’m a poor player (which I am when I fail to grasp the game quick enough).  I can’t say anyone enjoys losing games, but at least make it a painless experience – especially if you know how others may or may not deal with “reality”.  Hey I bounce back eventually, but it takes a while to reset my mind to neutral.

The following are the lists of the games played in 2017 and 2018. 

2017 Games played list

2018 Games played list
I now start 2019.  A day no different from yesterday, I have some friends who are willing to share some time to play games and that helps pass the endless ennui.  

Till next time.
The Honourable John

Monday, December 24, 2018

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition - Retrieve the Stone

D&D 5th Ed
Post GMs Report
Players: Pat (Barbarian), Mic (Ranger), Jason (Druid), Leslie (Bard), Simon (Warlock/Sorceror)

Picking up the pieces and continuing on from the last session is always an interesting exercise.  Just how good are my notes (yes just how good are they – sometimes none existent as I forget to write down some of the really critically important things, thinking, there’s no way I’d forget that – and yes I do just that, forget it).

When last I left my party of three, they had left the dungeon of the Archfey test and wandered out of the enchanted mist to discover their lost companions.  The druid and bard told them they had not lost any time in the enchanted mist at all!  It’s like it was magic… well it was.  With the party now all together they resumed their adventure in reclaiming the stone taken from the druid’s village.

The entrance to the Hiding was found and the magical seals discovered.  A riddle was needed to be solved to open the doors.  A cry of “I hate riddles” was heard, but the others were more than happy to solve the problem by applying their brains to the problem only resorting to a die roll to solve the riddle if it could not be solved.  They had the answer fairly quickly, they even had the items.  What was even more hilarious was the other members in the group questioning why the bard had a tailors kit on him.  The riddle was:

There is one that has a head without an eye,
And there’s one that has an eye without a head:
You may find the answer if you try;
And when all is said,
Half the answer hangs upon a thread!
Answer: Pins and needles.

Next was how to get the doors to open now they had guessed the answer?  The fonts on the sides of the doors was the answer.  However the Bard wanted his property back, so for the argument of the cost of a pin and a needle the fate of the entrance to a dungeon was held on the prick of a pin or needle!  No one bothered to check if the doors had a latch to keep the open once opened?  This would have saved some time but alas this did not occur to them.

The stairs led downwards.  They checked that they were not damp (they did not trust me for some reason).  At the base on the floor was a giant painted red skull on the floor.  The group avoided it, not wanting to step on it.  They appear to think I trap all markings on the floor?  The group chose the right hand passageway (thank goodness for that, though it would not have been that much of a bother had they not).  This led into another riddle room and “trap”.

This room had bright murals of wetlands with lizardmen hunting the many birds that lived in them.  These birds of which I named many proved the one clue to allow them to answer the riddle I had placed on the statue.

“Which of the feathered tribe would be supposed to lift the heaviest weight?”
Answer: The Crane.

The wall stone which had the painted crane also had the most wear and tear and could have been spotted had the group searched for another option.  Of course Monty Python jokes came to the fore.  “In order to maintain air-speed velocity, a swallow needs to beat its wings forty-three times every second, right?” and on it went (in my mind…).

The room as I said had a statue it also contained a large magical glyph and a double set of doors which it “guarded”.  When the crane stone was pressed the doors opened, and two large “undead” spiders dropped out of nowhere.  [Here comes the poor GMing – had the doors open and I and the players forgot all about the newly opened room and only concentrated on the combat with the spiders!]  These spiders were of the magical variety of my creation, when they died they went to the glyph in front of the doors and began to “regenerate”.  When one of the party went into the glyph, they froze and started to lose hit points and sped up the “regeneration” of the spiders.  This perplexed and then the party (and I) remembered the newly exposed room.

Yes the newly opened room was a barracks.  The occupants were necrotic zombies, so I could argue that they had not become aware of the life force of the intruders until they entered the room!  The spiders were neutralized and left to “regenerate” slowly in the glyph while the zombies were engaged.  These zombies were not nice.  They could vomit, and they exploded when they expired. Someone noticed that this stopped their bodies being used to test traps.  Combat was bloody and draining, requiring the party to rest.  Paranoia crept in as they worked out if they could secure themselves in – without dooming themselves (see previous blog, the room of the water elemental).  Rest was taken, the Spiders scuttled outsides, but after the rest and upon opening the doors, they had gone – but to where.  A search revealed nothing. 

The zombie room had some interesting knick knacks of which the desiccated pixie and skull mask were the interesting pieces.  Terminology is an important part of English and I’m a little out of practice, I used mummified for the pixie when I originally described it.  Members of the party took this to mean that it had been prepared like the Egyptians had prepared their dead, I had meant as had been dried out.  Which as I now look up in the dictionary I am correct in my use of the word.  This leads me to think of my use of verbiage to reduce confusion, but then that is all part of the game of subterfuge.

Back to the beginning, and down the other passageway.  This time they saw and obvious trapdoor with a lever, and an open pit.  The impulsive Druid stood on the trapdoor and pulled the lever.  Yes the trapdoor opened and he fell onto the spiked floor below.  It was obviously a trap!  I could not believe that someone would actually pull the lever…  The pit was “filled” with a swarm of insects, which the Druid took care of with his Thunderwave spell.  This did create a problem with the stability of the pit, and I made the party test to cross.

Across the pit was a large chamber that that revealed an even larger chamber or audience hall.  A closed portcullis blocked the way to the audience hall.  The view to this hall revealed a seated skeletal giant and a number of suits of armour on plinths.  Attempts were made to shoots arrows, then magic at the perceived threats, even the druid’s crow was sent through, but some barrier existed that stopped all right on the portcullis boundary.  The trick was getting through the portcullis and pulling the lever.  This proved less than challenging, I had hoped they would have wasted some spells and resources – but this was not to be.  With the gate raised the combat began.  While the large undead beastie proved a good soaker of damage, it was the high AC18 creatures on the plinths that gave the party the greater distraction.  Eventually all good things (from my perspective) come to an end and the fight finished.  The druid found more levers to pull and found a pop up cupboard with boss’s treasures.  The newly repaired door concerned the group for a short time, but not long.  It was the rotting bridge beyond that concerned them most.

It is interesting that you provide the party items that can aid them in future adventures.  For instance they obtained Phoenix Feathers (3 members did) which one of them could have used in solved the riddle of the rotting bridge.  Oh no, we won’t use this precious item to solve such a mundane thing as crossing a 20 foot gap.  There was a magic glyph on each side of the bridge.  Standing on the glyph was a alarm bell as well as half of the activation code to forming the bridge.  The other half was on the other side of the bridge.  Ah, the time spent working out how to get to the other side was entertaining all the while broken by the occasional visit of an enormous giant vampire bat.  Finally a rope was fastened to other side and a person activated the other glyph, causing the glyph to activate and the bridge to form.

Now they were confronted with the “ruins” of a prison containing the last occupants… all safely locked in of course.  Until one proved to be a zombie blink dog, then all hell broke out.  Combat ensued, but like all it favoured the adventurers.

My lock trap, proved too easy to open.  They are guessing my logic, or perhaps lack of in working out how to open doors now.  Upon opening the now last door they were confronted with the evil cultist who went into how monolog, which was cut short as the party went into kill frenzy.  The Barbarian found out that Hold Person is not fun when it is cast on you.  I found out as a GM a spell caster on his own with no back up but two spiders just doesn’t have enough clout!  The result was inevitable, though the party do not like poison.

Time had gotten away from me on this day.  My children and their partners had decided that they were going to come and spent Christmas with me on this day rather than on Christmas Day so I called the adventure there.  The Brisbane weather was horrible, the day before was 35C.  Jason was suffering Lurgy (which he reacquired only from having to go back to the Doctors), and Leslie was also taken out of action during the day.  Leaving me with three players at the table, and one sitting at the other end of the room, hoping not to infect everyone!  All up a good day.  Leslie made pumpkin pie, which was consumed by all.

Pair of severed ears of a string, pair of bone dice, brass knuckles
Miniature crystal ball, vial of iron filings, prepared poultice
A stone arrowhead, vial of liquid (yellowish), magnifying lens
Jeweller’s monocle, vial of black liquid pipe carved from whalebone
Silver charm bracelet, small carved bird (crow) [magic], a small bell [magic], 5gp
Mummified pixie
Partially shattered one eyed skull mask
A pair of pliers, a scented bar of soap, a tree feather token
A bottle of red ink, a folded and torn piece of paper containing a sketch of a strikingly beautiful woman, 1gp
A small round mirror, 6cp in a dirty cloth purse
A note in gnomeish, a lady hair brush full of hair strands, 6 gp
Signet ring from some landed gentry, comb carved from pink coral, 10cp
A novel with a bookmark 1/3 of the way through (gnomeish), small topaz gem
17cp, 14sp, 10ep, 10gp, 3pp
Potion of ? (Red liquid glimmers when agitated)
Arrows+1 x 12
A small packet of powder resembling very fine sand?
A staff carved in the shape of a python
A fan
A hat
A Great Axe with the swan carved into the blade with silver and gold.