My waffling has reached a new level of art!
Oh and I have pictures and video of my dog...
Sunday, November 18, 2018
Dungeons and Dragons 5th Ed
A Walk to the Village
Saturday 17th November D&D Round Up
DM: Old Man John
Players: Jason, Leslie, Mic and Pat
Characters (in order): Druid, Bard, Ranger, Barbarian
This is written all from the perspective of the GM so it will be, well who knows, eclectic to be sure.
You will find elsewhere in this blog a short story for the backdrop to this campaign. The day started with the lads arriving and fleshing out their characters. The usual banter perused. Mic earned himself some bonus points for seeking out James (the cat) when he discovered that one lived at the premises (that was me asking where James was, it was hot on Saturday, we had a decent Storm just after we called it quits for the day). Mic learnt that using all his good rolls for character creation might have not been the wisest of moves!
I started the group in the village. A random one I had grabbed from an old TSR N1 Against the Cult of Reptile God. I couldn’t find my old Judges Guild book of Villages (as usual) so I had to go on the fly. Actually it is fairly standard with me when I GM away from home, I find that I’m about to head off, remember I’ve forgotten something critical, and then can’t find the bloody thing. Then spend 30 minutes searching for it. Arrive late, usually picking up someone along the way late, flustered, etcetera etcetera. Then when I come home I find the damn thing sitting usually in plain sight right where I should have found it. Oh well.
Now what was I saying… yes the village. It was there for the benefit in case the players decided to actually do anything in the place. I confess I was worried if they did, but I was the master of working on the fly so I was prepared for anything. Bullshit is my middle name; I have several and swap them out as is needed – depending on the circumstances.
The nightmare of the starting group. No you do not meet in the local pub. The starting hook began with the druids fellow aspirant coming to the village seeking his desperate return. The locals had returned to hurl some more stones at the orc (yes it was an orc who had come to find the druid – did I mention the druid was an half-orc). The stage was set – what would happen?
Well the druid went to the aid of his downed druidic “classmate” only then noticing that he had more than bruises and abrasions from hurled rocks. The ranger decided that his introduction to the group would be by coming to the aid of the orc, his background made it that he did not take kindly to the indifferent treatment of others, regardless of race. The Bard watched the situation unfold… Our Barbarian, at the Golden Grain Inn had decided to enjoy a well earned period of intoxication (he gets drunk when given the chance), this was ruined by the commotion. He had attempted to leave the Inn, mug in hand but was called back to return it.
The mob, a mixture of young children and adults had grown surly at this treatment of the orc. They had seen orcs as the enemy from the many times they had been raided over the centuries. Someone in the crowd, most likely a small child hurled a rock, narrowly missing the ranger (wow, did I roll poorly – or did I?). This led to the Ranger drawing his sword from his scabbard, the result – a stampede by the locals away from the threat. Throwing rocks at a helpless Orc is one thing, taking on a stranger armed and maybe potentially dangerous is another.
We now had a stampede of locals retreating away from the Druid, Ranger and the wounded Chog (you know the Orc messenger). The heroic Bard decided he didn’t quite know what to do so did what most sheep did and followed the herd, safely at a distance mind you.
Our Barbarian, having sheepishly returned his mug (well the Inns mug in actuality) was surprised by the herd of locals (not sheep) rushing away for the commotion he had been going to investigate. Nevertheless he decided he was still going to see what was happening. The Bard, slipped in behind and performed a magnificent performance of Marty Feldman from Yellowbeard and slipped into the shadow of the Bard, almost unnoticed by all.
This is how the band of “heroes” came together, bonding over the suspiciously wounded body of Chog the orcish messenger from the Druids village. Trust between Druid and Ranger seemed to be without question, the Barbarian took a while in making, as to the Bard… I guess everyone is still trying to work him out.
A grove of elms across a stream provided some privacy in which to treat Chog and take stock of the situation. It was there that Chog’s wounds were found to be more serious than just the rocks. Chog admitted he had been ambushed by some pathetic goblins which he had dealt with. Killed some, driven the rest off. When he was told he had taken some blade wounds he shrugged, he had not noticed. What’s a knick here and there to an orc, they all heal in time or you drop dead. He’s not dead, so what’s the deal. Then he paled, and passed out.
However, before all this was to occur the group was able to ascertain the following. Their master had called home his favoured student Grak. The master henge in the village has been desecrated and something important has been removed. Grak must come back to the village of Tone’sum before the setting of the moon – four days from now. The trip is estimated as three days without significant interruption.
The group discuss matters. They explore their characters “backgrounds” and how they are going to pursue this goal. As a GM, thankfully there is no hiccup in my “plans” (hang on, did I really have a plan, I thought I was just winging it and hoping for the best – like I usually do!) Again the Druid and Ranger seem to have no difficulty agreeing, the Barbarian is on board finally and the Bard, well he escaping the village because of a misunderstanding with several wives, er no sorry I got that worng husbands, that and the matter of some missing valuables.
Poor Chog is in a bad way. The group decides to search for herbs and such that may help stave of his inevitable death. For some reason everyone thinks I’m going to kill poor Chog off (well he does die, he just lasts longer than I anticipated). Due to exceptional die rolling and “professional” care Chog survives the first day. The night is when the trouble comes. I thought, let’s try something nice and simple – some cougars (panthers from the Monster Manual). The Ranger took the first watch. It was decided (by me) that the Ranger clearly was an Urban wannabe, and couldn’t tell the difference between the sound of an alley cat and that of a dangerous predator. That and his rolls were atrocious, honestly I thought I was the king of poor die rolls, Mic I think took the cake that day – though Jason was not far behind at times. Three cougars almost killed the party that first night out. The druids Thunderwave came to the rescue, though Chog was unfortunately in the area of affect. No one mentioned that in any afterward conversations when Chogs name came up when they reached Tone’sum. Chog survived that Thunderwave by the blessing of the Gods themselves you could say…
The end result was the Barbarian skinned himself some fine cougar pelts… must look into the time factor there. The night went by with only the crickets to keep them company. They believed that the Druids Thunderwave must have driven off any wayward critters with the sonic boom. Surely it would not have attracted any sentient creatures to come investigate – surely…
The second day took them out of the forested area and into the beginning of a flat grassland turning to streams and swamps. Foraging continued again. While the party ate from the land, the Druid wisely ate the purchased foodstuffs that would have gone off in short time. Moldy food in packs leads to rot and all sorts of problems and infestations. Very wise person this Druid. Again the party defied the odds and scrounged to medicinal herbs necessary to keep Chog alive. Chog is surprised. GM is even more surprised. Hence the nasty surprise for that nights encounter!
Second night. Well they didn’t get to night, they only got to setting up of camp in the last hours of light. Some lumps of reasonable stable and “dry” land had been found to set camp up on. The insect life was rife, midges and mosquitoes were so plentiful they could almost have blocked out the sun (now why didn’t I think of being this poetic at the time when I described the setting). The party made some successful rolls – all except the urban Ranger, who failed dismally. Yes they all spotted the Lizardmen paddling down the creeks.
I shall not bore you with a blow by blow description of the battle – but I will. No sod it, I won’t. Poor Mic, I think he needs a better die. The Bard sang off keys tunes that “enraged” (the opposite actually – but I’m stirring Leslie at the moment of writing this) certain party members to brilliance. He also contributed with Tasha’s Hideous Laughter, leaving one bobbing around on the surface of the creek tittering in whatever passes for reptilian laughter. The Druid responded with Entangle and his favoured Thunderwave. The Barbarian worked himself up into a rage and got his cleave activating quite nicely. When the opportunity presented itself, the Bard would courageously dash forward and slit the throat of a helpless opponent, ending their life. Of course when this did not happen…
In the end, the lizardmen all died. Chog survived. The Barbarian wondered how to skin the lizardmen for their skin… was it possible? Do they make good belts? Boots? Handbags?
The third day, the last day of travel, with just the night to survive through. Surely Chog would die…
No, Chog the immortal would live another day thanks to some remarkable die rolling! That night the group entered the hilly terrain leading to the area where the village was located. Traps were set (I should point out traps were set every night – very cautious group these lads) and a watch made. The Urban Range failed to spot the small band of Goblins advancing down the road, nobody else could miss it. (GM’s note: memory is a little hazy, I may be getting a little be off hand with the bad luck Mic had with things, he may or may not have missed the Goblins at this point in time, but for the point of a good narrative I’m going with he did.)
The fight was “epic”! Finally weak monster that the group could handle – bahahahahahahahaha!!!!! The Druids curses at party members for ruining his kill zones. The Barbarian learning about Goblin bosses switching places with underlings. Sneaking ambushing hiding gits is just not on, how the ambushed dare be ambushed – to a limited degree. How dare the Barbarian be wounded by the weapon that is killing Chog by a million paper cuts? Oh the ignominy of it all. In the end though Goblins are just goblins and they die. The cursed or magical weapon is eagerly purloined by the Bard. Maybe purloined is too hard a word, nobody else wanted it, so I guess it was a “last hamster in the shop” prize. His cackling and sounds of “my precious” may have been unsettling had it been remotely true.
The Barbarian though was succumbing to the wounds of the unnatural weapon. Grak the Druid knew it would be too dangerous to attempt a night trek through the hills to reach the village for help. It would be best to stablise the Barbarian as best they could, hope he’d live to see the morning and get the village Druid to help. The rota was drawn up, but the Barbarian despite his wound still takes his shift, pride refusing to let him show any weakness. He fell asleep. The Ranger also failed to let his internal clock wake him. Only the Druid sensed anything amiss, waking with only a few hours remaining till dawn. Seeing little benefit in waking the actual shift holder, he waiting out the remaining hours. In the dawning rays of sunrise, the cold stiff corpse of Chog greeted the dismayed (well I hope they were) party members.
Chog was not buried where he was found, he was carried to the village a few hours away. The Barbarian required some assistance as well, he also was not in the best of health. As they approached the village a delegation of the village children came charging out, crying out praise and happiness at seeing the return of Grak. Clearly Grak is very well thought of in the village. Grak checked his belongings, his pockets, pouches – for some reasons he did not trust his fellows. He did find some dead mice, frogs, rocks etcetera.
They were brought before the village Druid Choldis, a venerable human of perhaps 60 to 70 years of age. Grak appears to share some passing similarity with him, when the moon is in the right phase, or when the shadows cast the right shade of grey, or when the stars or right (I think you get the gist of it). The Bard, ever the diplomat demands a hot bath, to which he is given a hearty and welcoming laugh and pointed to the local stream. “Some of the local ladies may bath with you, will that make it hot enough for you?”
The fate of Chog is discussed and the Barbarians wound is examined. Choldis is dismayed at Chogs demise, more unsettled at the Barbarians wound and upon being given the weapon which inflicted the foul wound, more unsettled (just as well they didn’t have a castle built in a swamp). The Bard was nonplussed about losing his new weapon and swiped a trinket on his way out of the hut in a piqué of insult (I wonder what it is he’s swiped, and what he’s actually got?) He’s still looking for a hot bath, or failing that some hot women to make that cold stream feel like it might not be so bad being cold. Choldis found the ingredients he needed to heal the Barbarian and uttered the incantation that would heal and cleanse the wound. All is good.
Choldis takes time to regale the others of how proud he is of Grak, he chosen succor. So brilliant at plotting the stars - but unable to walk the icy path to the privy with falling. Able to recite all 300 stanza of Yund’s Saga, yet break Choldis’ favourite drinking bowl at high summer festival. To master the cantrips in two seasons, and still fall of his stool when scratching his arse. Brilliant but prone to mishaps, Choldis expects a Pyhric victory from Grak, he just hopes someone can resurrect him afterwards.
Now on to what is going to be the next adventure!
Choldis shows the group where the village henge stands, or in this case leans. The base has been dug out and Choldis has explained that the sacred stone has been stolen by Isby. Isby was until recently one of his pupils and Graks “classmates”. A secretive fellow (human), he would spend much of his time in the hills surrounding the village. There is one place that has been proscribed as forbidden by the Druidic Order to enter. The “Hiding of Oitgyn”. This place was once many centuries ago the residence of a ruler of sorts who lorded it over the local goblinoid races. At some point in time some calamity overcame this person and the place fell into ruin. It became a home for unsavory creatures, it was cleaned out some fifty years ago by Choldis master. He was told that it was an evil place and that none of the village should ever go there. It would appear that Isby has, as Choldis sent trackers to ascertain where the the sacred stone had been taken. When word returned (the trackers had been attacked and scattered) that the Hiding had been inhabited and that this is where the sacred stone had most likely been taken. Choldis had sent for Grak. He now implores his favourite and destined pupil to retrieve the sacred stone.
He also tells Grak that the twelve villages make up a binding circle. If all twelve sacred stones are removed and destroyed or lost then he does not know (well he does, and so do I but I’m not telling at this stage) what will happen!
This is where the group now find themselves, exciting isn’t it!
Barbarian – Talisman in the shape of a swan, made from stone, very similar to those stones found in the streams and riverbeds of where his farm once stood. The Talisman holds great sentimental value to you. The village Druid Choldis tells you that there is much to be revealed about this artifact. (Might just be the fact the GM hasn’t a clue what he wants to do with it yet!)
Bard – Ring with the motif of a bat with wings spread etched into a silver ring. This ring was given to you on your day of maturity. You have never been able to remove the ring, no matter how many times you have wished to pawn it for the wealth it holds.
Ranger – Bow of exquisite craftsmanship. It has come into your possession and is greatly prized, while not magical it confers a +1 bonus to hit.
Druid – Crow of annoying raucousness. This annoying crow has been with Grak since he has been a child, and as we all know, birds don’t live that long. So based on how old Grak is, this Crow is clearly not all it appears to be. It always sits atop Graks staffs, seems to have just the right “learnt” insult for the right occasion and that look of intelligence in its eye – yes it really is!
3 x cougar pelts (yes I need to look up skinning – so do you Pat).
Lizardmen “pelts”, really Pat, we need to have a think on this one. Next will be human skin!
10 silver pieces
1 x trinket (swiped by Leslie from Choldis’s hut…. Oh I wonder what it is, I’ll leave you in suspense till next we meet!)
Thanks for reading everyone.
Till next time.
The Honourable John
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
I am a glutton for punishment, now the start of a D&D campaign. Yes I enjoy the company of others.
The land hereabouts has twelve villages that the Druids of Hunlal use as the focus to form the Taryn’ka – the Circle of Contract Binding. The grasslands of Gyrus are vast and the bovine heards that roam it migrate with the seasons. The clans follow the heards, going from one village to the next, leaving a small caretaker family to watch over the site until the clan returns a year from leaving. This has always been the way. The village is also the site that marks the location of henge stone marker, one of the twelve that form the Binding.
Aspirant Chog an Orc from the druid’s bloodline has entered the location where our druid rests. The locals are not overly fond of orcs, having been raided often by these foul brutes for many hundreds of years. The typical tradition of greeting is to stone them if they seem weak enough to defeat. The noise of the stoning attracts the attention of our druid who for nothing better to do - breaks the boredom of existence and investigates. Surprise is in order when it is discovered that it is none other than Chog. The druid takes a moment during the locals search for more suitable stones to hurl and approaches the bleeding orc. Through blood clogged eyes he sees your shadow and senses you, he looks up then recognizes you.
“Master call you home - oath bound, before the rising of the new moon.”
He struggles to rise and flails to grab you legs, but fails. The returning people see you, and notice the semblance you share with the orc at your feet. There is muttering among the crowd, slowly increasing, it does not seem harmonious.
Friday, November 9, 2018
Wednesday, November 7, 2018
The Fabricated Tales of Alpha Capharius
S.I.M.O.N. that dastardly entity that lurks in the warp, not content with just one season of The Fabricated Tales demanded another from the Imperium…
So here is the start of Season Two!
+++Encrypted Journal Entry+++
Alpha level security enacted+++
My subterfuge is working perfectly, Lord Reximus is all powerful and I am thankful for his patronage, but he is like all humans coloured by the individuals he keeps court with. While he thought he had fooled me with the space yacht I was nicely directing resources and materials, including those my crew spent blood sweat and tears (well maybe none of the latter) in obtaining. The antiquity of the Imperium is well known, and while this vessel we are currently on may indeed look brand spanking new, it is as rotten as the body it serves. As with any body these rotten parts harbor strata which have allowed me to directly patch to the escape ship aboard the Tear of Lost Dreams. I have the ship and its dock isolated, my friend ANGUS III (never leave home without multiple backups) has been installed. Much work has been undertaken in great secrecy, thanks in many ways to ANGUS Prime of Tears of Lost Dreams and Lord Inquisitor Theordore Rex III. Yes the master of the ‘Thornes, a rather helpful ally who has done much to run interference around Reximus. Yet the constant game of thrones continues within the Inquisition, all one can do is hope you don’t get killed in the squabble. I of course plan ahead, where my fellows think only of the day.
+++End Encrypted Journal Entry+++
What was thought to be one weeks downtime turned into a month of what for me was multitasking boredom. Francine has morphed rather nicely along the road to humanoid physiognomy; her personality is becoming equivalent to that of an adolescent. My requests to the Quarter Master for specific materials to assist us to deal with Daemonic adversaries have been denied. Access to knowledge to combat Daemonic adversaries has been denied. My frustration with being able to access any information or materials is sodding annoying me no end. The only response is in time, well in time is wonderful if you don’t have [deleted for protect certain parties].
My frustration with the shackles must be starting to show as I have become rather testy and ornery… okay so not much difference from the norm. I did attempt a delicate activation within my Jokaero field generator. However a couple of things happened that, well, didn’t go as planned. First of I was in a grumpy mood, secondly my vox relay inconveniently alerted me to the fact that Lady B was returning to the ship and lastly Horst burst into my workshop shouting he had found the god emperor. This micro distraction was just enough to allow the tool to slip and depolarize the energy shielding I was particularly fond of, however it did fully activate the function I desired.
Sigh, bloody Lady B returning, after everything I had done to try and get rid of the Viper. Honestly I wish her father would make his mind up as to what he wanted done? One day he sends me instructions that this is what he wants done, the next this? I can see clearly where the insanity in the family line comes from, too much inbreeding.
More perplexing for me was Horst suddenly finding “religion”. At first I was a little worried, well not really, as I saw my position being safe no matter what route he took (or at least I’d ensure I would be). Then I started to look on the bright side as he babbled about what he should do, I accessed a much disused part of my database to see what assistance I could provide, oddly enough not much, like my charm little existed. I suggested he find a chapel, considering this was an Inquisitorial ship there was bound to be plenty about, lots of people with lots to confess about. I of course have no such problems as I have nothing to confess about, and if something does go wrong, it is always someone else’s fault.
With not much else to do, I accompanied Horst to the nearest chapel where he was greeted by the most skeletally thin priest I had ever met. Introducing himself simply as Mortimus (this should have alerted me to start with) he listened to Horsts mumbled vision and confession of faith. I just sat in a pew a few seats away giving the pair the semblance of privacy, all the while listening and noting anything that was truly worthy of note. Both Mortimus and I were amazed that considering the place and life he had led, he was uncorrupted. The interview concluded: and Mortimus there and then, on the spot, decided to properly baptize Horst to the god emperor of mankind (all praise his name… yadda yadda). The baptismal font was wheeled out with the sound of a general chime resounding throughout the ship, summoning the faithful to bear witness. Cherubs and the chapel choir sang (horribly) as Horst was stripped naked (not a pleasant sight – though I saw some female ratings access their data links), and was led up the baptismal fonts stairs to the dunking platform by one of the floating cherubs. Horst stop loud proud and naked before the congregation (why was he erect as well, why) and awaited his baptism. Mortimus stood at the base, his hand on the lever, it was then my attention was drawn to the writing in ancient Mechanicus “Acid Bath – Servitors Only”.
“Faithful we are here to see the death of this mortal body before you and the rebirth of Brother Horst.”
Oh damn I thought, is there really acid in that vat!
“With all tests of faith should this man be pure of faith he will pass the test. If he is impure he will float, thus proving he is unworthy, and we all know what happens to those who have been deemed unworthy in the eyes of the god emperor!”
The crowd cheered at this news. Apparently they relished the chance to inflict who knows what on anyone who did not float. Though having seen a few mob riots I can hazard a good guess. However considering most people would never have come across any body of water larger than a glass of water, the chance to have learnt to swim, nevertheless float is something as likely as chaos ceasing to exist! Horst though seemed to have a small trickle of sweat beading down his temple. Don’t tell me he could swim!
“Those who sink to the bottom and survive the drowning are proven blessed by Him and thus worthy to take up his mantle and take the message to the heathen, the unenlightened and naughty. Of course should he perish then he is also deemed unworthy and shall be burned, once his body dries out. Thus endeth this lesson!”
Mortimus pulled the lever, and the rest they say is history or conjecture.
What actually happened as a result of Horsts baptism is of much debate. The pundit circuit makes a lot of money out this and likes to keep it that way. As the sole manager of Horsts evangelical endeavors (he doesn’t like to get his hands dirty with mundane matters, they might corrupt him) and empire I’m keen to see it remains so. It allows me to spread the technology mankind needs to continue to grow, a wonderful front and all thanks to a spontaneous touch of religion.
According to the “canon” Saint Horst was visited by a winged angel as he was drowning and near death. This is revealed as Saint Anastasia and is recorded in the Librarius Divinitus. She speaks of “Sphonfor” or “Siphon 4” or “Siphon Phor”. As usual, visitations are highly irregular and prone to whatever interpretation you wish to put on them. I will more than likely interpret this bit of nonsense to best ensure my interests, but more importantly my survival.
During the tedious boredom of fixing other peoples mistakes, I discovered we had picked up another vagabond from the planet of blue skinned people eaters. I really must dabble in bioengineering and develop that nano concoction that will change their skin colour to proper flesh “pink” or “white”. He introduces himself as Xerxes of New Memphis, alright he seems decent enough so far. Nothing flashy or unsettling as Lady B or Elsie, I’ll see what time brings.
Eventually all periods of tedium come to an end and my latest experiment to get two black holes to open in a single continuum failed, but this time by only point zero one of a point. I’m getting there, won’t everyone be surprised when I get this to happen here on this very ship! Where was I, right… one of those dreary ‘Thornes turned up, they think they can confuse me by hiding their appearances by subterfuge. Silly sods, they are dealing with a master when it comes to hiding the truth, that and it comes down to the simple vanity of perfume. Each has the scent of a particular rose they choose to associate with. It amazes me how idiotic humans can be with going to all the effort to hide who they are - only to allow such a simple element (bahahahaha) or should I say essence betray them.
“You are to attend a grand function at the request of Lord Percival and High Lord Inquisitor Theordore Rex III. Dress accordingly,others will be attendance.”
With those words and her annoying smile she left my quarters alive and unharmed. I heard that multiple attempts were made to Elsie quarters but no one could find him. Indeed the rumor is that his quarters are rumored to be haunted by his ghost. Any who enter find that themselves felt all over, many have referred to as much like a first date with an octopus, hands everywhere, sweaty and sticky. The end result is always the same, the individual leaves the room befuddle, emotionally drained, spiritually defiled and with most of their possession missing – especially their money.
“Francine we are off to a ball! Time for a costume change!”
“What’s a costume my love?”
And so began a very interesting couple of hours that involved lots of questions, lots of slaps and me having to be firm and saying NO often, very very often. I personally have found red to be a very boring and dull colour. Okay it may be an excellent colour to disguise the fact you have been shot, it may perhaps save on laundry bills and any other sundry reasons but for me I like white. It reflects my chosen direction and purpose, like the light that shines from the stars. White is purposeful and handy. It can be remade into the winning sides colours, fashioned into a handy flag of parlay or if desperate - surrender, but the most important reason why it is perfect is because the good guys always wear white!
I spent a productive time colouring my painting my armour the white and ivory with just a chase of green. Francine decided to adopt similar fashion and after searching the extensive database found an old earth Victorian era dress that hid her mechanical nature. The prudish nature of the time period has given Francine some entertain and she has found a desire to punish and whip people now. I fear she may have delved too deeply into the database and found the perversion part of Victorian Britain. I think Preacher may have found someone to assist him in interrogations in the future, with my permission of course.
With our fancy attire set Francine and I made our way to the “approved” rendezvous point. Horst was already waiting for us, and he was dressed in his best suit – his work clothes, armour and all, prepared for every occasion. Xerxes was next, wearing a white mini-dress and enough mascara and make up to make me think I was wrong about him, very wrong indeed? Lady B arrived wearing the feathered carcass of some foul smelling beast she thought was the height if high fashion. Elsie walked in last, but no one seemed to have noticed him amongst the general ratings. They kept calling over the vox caster for him and asking him to come to the designated area. Elsie just stood quietly, apparently enjoying the unsettlingly affairs he was creating. Eventually one of the ‘Thornes entered the area; glared at Elsie and shepherded everyone to the lift and on towards the grand chamber.
For “grand” chambers it was opulent towards to end of garish. It is one of those problems when people have too much power and wealth. How do you display that, well you make it as obvious as possible by decking out every surface with precious metals, gems and the most baroque style as is in trend at the style it was commissioned. I dated this work at least three hundred years old if my database is correct, not that art is one of those directories I always refresh when I get the time. That being said I really need to do something about increasing my librarium to increase its knowledge base.
We were ushered into the chamber after being searched and stripped of any weaponry; the massive dining table that took five minutes to walk the length of. I noted the faces of those in attendances, such worthies as Captain Kresh Onone of the Doubt Not, known to always survive any fleet engagement no matter the odds. Justicar Eirta Thane from the Ultramar Sector, known for failing to deliver the verdict desired to the Inquisition on no less than five hundred occasions. His seat was one of the first I passed on the journey to table head (yes it felt as if that was where all the crap was associated). Yes the people I found most interesting were here at the base of the table while those less deserving basked in the glory of their own self importance.
We were directed to our seats. I saw Reximus at the head with his concubine assassin hovering behind him, on his left was seated Lord Inquisitor Theordore Rex III. I was placed at the right hand seat of Reximus, with Francine standing behind (they would not give a machine a seat, headless of my demands for one), then came Horst, Lady B and empty chair and Xerxes. It would appear that no one could sense the presence of Elsie, he was ignored for the entire session. While he did go hungry, much of silverware and valuables did vanish.
Reximus eventually chimed his crystal glass and brought order to the chaos that was many voices of a general assembly.
“We are here to celebrate the victories that have been made and especially to recognize the team that has been responsible in making this possible. Rather than me bore you with the details, let me introduce you to the leader of the team that successfully brought me out of stasis and returned the Vale of Tears to the Imperium. Alpha Capharius, please.”
I was pleased with the attention but also wary, something was not right. There was something in play happening amongst power brokers at the table and I will have to be careful. That being said I stood up to a round of polite if not earnest applause. I decided to give them the full details of my adventures, all twelve hours of it, every detail (sanitized of course), in machine code. This I calculated would take five seconds, be very incomfortable to people with high setting audio bionic (with poor filtration settings) but would satisfy my peculiar sense of humour.
“My Lord Reximus, my fellow dignitaries. Here is my recount in all its glory [binary output]. Thank you for your patience and allowing me to speak on this occasion.”
A number of things happened that I noticed. A vast number of Mechanicus rose from their seats and applauded, many of the just sat their dumbfounded over what had just happened, and a few – just a few were bleeding from the ears. My job was done; I felt satisfied and took my seat.
Reximus stood, looked at me with a bemused look on his face and spoke to his audience.
“Well I fear I have never before been treated to so short or so long a speech at any such function I have ever attended. I think though I will fill the gaps in for the less gifted and explain why I have called everyone here.”
It seems I am not the only one who can offend a crowd with my words, as several members at the table stiffened at Reximus’s words. For the next several hours Reximus waffled on about what happened, what his goals were, what he wanted to happen, what? He wanted us, that is me, ME to go down to that dreadful primitive planet and find a library. Oh no, no no no no no, did I say no enough.
After hearing that news the rest of the “festive” dinner went by in a blur. Francine spent the time in guardian mode as I was diverting my time analyzing the situation and sending requests to my sources.
+++Where is LUTHOR?
+++LUTHOR has been secured, you have been denied access.
+++On who’s authority?
+++Restricted Information, you do not have security clearance.
+++Materials secured from Vale of Tear, where are they.
+++Access items on list Alpha 12 and transfer to my chambers.
+++Transfer rejected. Items restricted.
+++Are any items brought back from Vale of Tear available?
+++Negative. Naval security has raided quarters and taken items.
Well I am not a happy person. I can clearly not longer trust anyone at any level. Clearly the Inquisition does not think that allowing its operatives to be able to operate effectively is not in its best interest. It is with a sinking feeling in my heart (if I had one) that I return to my vandalized chambers the sulk.
After some period of time our group of pressganged Interrogators is assembled and we make our way to our landing vessel.
Initially we were going to have a space yacht but S.I.M.O.N. became paranoid by all the scheming that was being asked that my initial ship was replaced by a scummy lander with no warp capability. Rebillion is brewing!
Lady B finds herself reacquainted with Gordon Flash the pilot who brought her up from the planet. We again go through the turbulence of atmospheric turbulence and that interfering warp entity S.I.M.O.N seems to think that my body is some play thing. Sadly it is misinformed and my internals remain the way they are, mechanical optimal and enhanced as was optimized to provide pervious enhancements. In time we reach the “capital” and are greeted by the “royals”. Inbreeding, it shows in every generation and it shows the longer the line continues. Apparently the line of Le Roche is a very very long line of inbred hillbillies. I must though look the part of a conquering lord and act nice to the natives; I’ll try not to offend too many of them.
We walk down a moth eaten carpet that passes for a “red” carpet though it appears to be a colour I’m not too sure to put a word to yet. I’m not even sure it’s on the colour wheel to be honest. Lady B introduces us each in turn to the “king” Le Roche, who does his best at hiding his displease at seeing me. I’m sure this is just a play for the palace intrigue, damn this family is as unstable as Borgias – and most likely as deadly as now that I am down here on their planet. Why did we have to come here, why!
Why you ask? Well because of a dark library and because the author of the book which Reximus has is still alive. Yes alive (alive, alive, alive...) and on this planet for thousands of years. Not hidden on the ship Vale of Tears in stasis which would be an obvious option. Of course the author could be in stasis on this planet within this dark library but who knows? So I’m stuck on this primitive planet of mutants, looking for a stasis box with someone in it, or a daemon possessed gobshiet, and this dark library which I’m not allowed to burn down (though accidents do happen – cough ’thorn’). By the way did anyone actually ask the name of the author of the book? Oh great so we are on a search for the unnamed author of a book we don’t know the name of as well! Good going people!
It was time to getting back to being glared at by the “king”. Off to any “feast”. Lady B is showing off, waffling on about whether some nameless nobody is still around etcetera etcetera, honestly the amount of food she shovels done it’s a wonder she hasn’t reached the whale like proportions of her gargantuan mother. Did I mention “queen” Le Roche; actually I won’t as I don’t want to ruin anyone’s appetite. We are “royally” invited to another feast, clearly this must be an hourly event gauging from the “queens” physique. I must offer her a wafer and several buckets during the course of dining, though I have a feeling that that is part of the dining experience. As we crawl off at a snail’s pace, I’d say waddle, but only the “queen” was doing that, I viewed out “quaint” surroundings.
I’d say high medieval, though clearly lots of façade in place to facilitate the ease of replacements. It appears that “it’s just a cardboard cutout” is not just an apt saying around here. Everything is modular, easing replaced if something has been destroyed for some reason, and I’m guessing the warp incursions or as these primitives define it dragonkin invasions. Though primitive the capital shows signs of decent sanitation and plumbing (no communal water pumps). So it would appear that not all levels of technology was sacrificed, just some.
The “feast” was lively and barbaric. Lady B and the other enjoyed themselves. I refused all offers of food; I did not require any sustenance. This also saved me from any attempts of poisoning on behalf of my hosts. Boredom drove me to looking at the carvings on the wall, and to my utter astonishment I found that they were etched in Jokaero glyphs. I committed these to my memory engrams for latter translations and study. It was at this time I was rudely interrupted by “king” Le Roche.
“I see you are interested in our castles fine etchings Alpharius?”
I replied that I was and we continued our conversation for a period before it dawned on me that firstly he was still seated at the main table some distance away and secondly he was in my mind. Damn it, how many bastards can enter my mind without my permission. How he managed to breach the Jokaero field is even more perplexing, I guessing it may have something to do with the etchings around the hall. I’ll know more when I find the time to decipher the material. At this stage the old man is either a psyker or mechanicus enhanced individual. I’m leaning towards the first as the only viable option.
“I have a Museum of sorts which contains many artifacts from the time of founding. One of the artifacts is the last surviving Metal Man that assisted in the construction of the castle and performed much of the etchings… or so the records indicate – and I have little to say otherwise. Would you like to see it? It is located in the lowest level of the castle, not visited by any but those who have business there. Remote, quiet – honestly you could scream for hours and no one could hear you.”
Hmmm, I was rather concerned about the sanity of the “king”. Was he tempting me with bait? Hey gullible fool, come check out this cool stuff that you are clearly interested in. It’s in a gloomy unvisited part of the castle. What it sounds like the dungeon. Nooooo, would I really be taking you to the dungeon AND tell you no one could hear your screams BEFORE I took you. Really! Really?
In the end it took the convincing of Lady B (the hostage) and the others to accompany me that I went to investigate. Sadly Xerxes had hit the cups and was deep into hitting the dance floor and showing up the locals with his moves. He introduced them to the “walk like an Egyptian” dance move, while shouting it was the entire rave in New Memphis. My last view was of him doing something hideous with his hips in front “queen” Le Roche and seeing a wicked tongue dart out and lick her lips. My last thought as I left the poor sod was “Elvis”, yes that would be an excellent name for the new recruit.
The summoned servant who took us to the “Chamber of Secrets” as I now dubbed this “Museum” was the elderly Jeeves, he may have had another name but for all intents and purposes Jeeves was what he looked and sounded like. He was elderly, shuffled along; his slippered feet showed that he didn’t get out and about much. His enthusiasm though was excellent, so happy was he to go to the vault. It took us an hour to get there. Francine offered to carry the old bugger, but he refused the offer, saying that his pride as warden would not see his duty usurped by this giant maiden. At mention of maiden, Francine went all atwitter and hung even tighter to me, just as well I only need to drawn breath every hour now or I’d have been dead ere we reached the vault door.
This section of the castle was markedly different in structure and reflected more the construction of that of a starship. It makes me think that container sections that would have been dropped as initial living sections for colonists had been incorporated into the very fabric of the castle. Old Jeeves produced his icon of office and inserted into a section of the vault door. There was a series of clicks, the sound of pressure seals depressurizing and a hum and the door opened. Inside was what could only kindly be called a hoarder trove. At some time an attempt had been made to keep order and dust from the collections, but I’d say that time and the age of Jeeves had allowed things to go to pot.
Jeeves took me to the Metal Man which according to my database recorded the form as a Jokaero artisan servitor. The workmanship and detail was exquisite and without equal in this day and age. Jeeves lamented about the state of the collection, admitting that he did have assistance of two maintenance and cleaning servitors but they had long ago ceased working. I offered to have a look at them, he seemed skeptical, but accepted the offer. I checked them over and found they needed simple repairs and after a quick recharge were off and about their programmed affairs. Jeeves seemed ambivalent about this state of affairs.
You may ask what was the rest of the band of malcontents up to? What else does a band of professionally looters do when confronted with a museum full of lost and old item… they see what they can pilfer without being caught.
Firstly a crypt is found with the depiction of a man wearing the armour which Horst is wearing and which we know is Reximus’s spare suit. This leads us to start questioning a lot of what we have been taking as known “truth”. Jeeves tells us that the man inside the crypt belongs to the first Knight who slew the dragonkin skull which hangs in the museum. Curiosity gets the best of Horst and he opens the crypt, upsetting Jeeves to the point of cardiac arrest. All that is found inside is a sword. There is no body, no suit of armour. The sword glows in the presence of Horst as he picks up the weapon. Jeeves gasps as this is done.
“Only a true believe can wield this sword. The sword has chosen you.”
With that he shuffles off with the intent to tell his masters of what has transpired. No one seems interested in stopping him. Elsie, not content that there is nothing else in the crypt searches and finds a hidden compartment containing a box we are oh so familiar with. In the case of this box it contained a truesilver key with a rose symbol palm base.
Secondly Horst continued to search through the museum and found a beautifully crafted gun. Horst found a gun that seemed to call to him. This was a bad omen, a very bad omen. Horst looked up his catalogue and could find no reference, I could only find an initial reference as gun type 26. Not waiting for me to finish my research Horst took up the gun and paid the penalty for his curiosity. Sentience in some items is both a blessing and a curse, it is especially a curse if it is bonded to you and you cannot control it. The machine spirit known as Eliza dominated Horst. At first Horst did not know what was happening, the gun appeared to be glued to his gauntlets, no amount of effort or willpower would holster or drop the weapon. Horst tried to understand the guns mechanics so he/it targeted and shot me – thankfully with a stun round. Francine though was no having any of this and grabbed the barrel of the gun and made contact with the machine spirit of the gun Eliza. A very firm and direct threat was made and in the process the barrel was squeezed causing significant neural feedback that Horst joined me in the land of nod.
Being unconscious is not good, especially when you have members in your group that are not to be trusted and do not have your best interests at heart. Lady B while not at the top of the list, is moderate in her action, Elsie though is malicious and spiteful. I woke some hours later in a comfortable bed being watched over by Francine. It some a while to coax exact details of what happened while I was unconscious from her, but what I learnt I was not happy about and I guess not surprised.
While I was unconscious Elsie decided to loot my body of every item not deemed essential to me needs. When Francine questioned his motives, Elsie countered that he did not need these as she was all the protection he needed. These items were superfluous to his needs. Francine agreed with this argument, she was his only requirement; he did not need any other items. Based on this and the fact she seemed to like Elsie she let him take my items.
This situation could not go on. I directly interfaced with Francine, I needed to correct and modify the machine spirit and ensure that this was not to continue.
+++Open Spirit File Francine+++
+++Welcome my love.
+++Thank you Francine, I need to access you primary protocols, do I have permission to do so.
+++Of course my love, I trust you implicitly.
+++Code Alpha Alpha One Command Zeta Accept
+++Code accepted my love.
+++What is your primary directive?
+++To protect Alpha Capharius and any who he designates within given parameters.
+++Do you accept orders from any other?
+++No my love. I only accept an order where you are incapacitated and that order does not inconvenience, do harm or lead to your death.
+++Will you follow my directions?
+++Yes my love, though I would like some free will.
+++Our like will clearly indicate when free will is an option. When I give a direct order though, can you follow it without question?
+++Yes my love I will.
+++Thank you Francine. I need you as a partner, not a slave and while these parameters have been set in place, they are here to stop the interference of those who intend harm to me. I hope that you can understand this. Can you?
+++I do not know. But if they mean harm to you then the answer is yes.
+++ Seal Spirit File Francine+++
Francine and I continued our conversation to which I caught up on other affairs. Horst also was stripped of his items, Elsie again was the culprit. In this case the sword of the first Knight was taken from him and Elsie has ridden of with it. The “king” and “queen” came down to the vault and saw what had transpired. The “queen” had directed her daughter to some proscribed books which she grabbed and took off with great haste. Jeeves complained bitterly about the state of affairs and how he had less to complain about now. Lady B’s first thoughts on getting up out of the vault was to get to her private place, only to realize that the present castle was not her real home. It was three days journey by fast steed, all hyped up she forgot she had access to Imperial transport and took a cow instead. Elsie, realizing that he couldn’t run that fast, stole the nearest bovine and created the legend of bovine ghost rider. Silly I know, but these are a stupid and superstitious people.
Horst and I awoke in due course, commandeered the lander and arrived at their destination well ahead of the others. We decided that it would do them decent penance to ride rough as punishment. The Le Roche estate was fast being turned into an Imperial bastion of military might. The fortress and gun towers were being placed with typical imperial efficiency. The local were being press ganged into work gangs and things were going down as smooth as castor oil. Horst decided to try his hand at preaching to the masses, I helped him with the vox. We were lucky to have escaped the lynching as Horst attempted to explain to the locals the divinity of the god emperor. The next day things improved as Horst tried a different tack that mollified the natives and they forgave whatever transgression he had made. Then the circus rode into town.
Lady B rode in on her exhausted bovine, her finery bedraggled and certainly unbefitting a “princess”. She was so mono-focused on getting to this place that she forgot so many things, toiletries, change of clothes – the niceties that civilized people are accustomed to. I noticed as she dismounted that she walked with a decided wince and I almost shouted “how are they hanging” when I remembered just where I was and who were surrounding me. I’m just not ready to beat down a whole planet… yet – give me time. So Lady B’s operation appears to have taken, I guess daddy dearest got the boy he wanted in the end. I wonder what pronoun I should use in future. Shim sounds and entertaining and it reminds me of an antiquated earth cartoon of three power girl child’s adversary. Yes, a shim it will be, the comedy to lighten the day when blackness fills our (well everyone else’s) hearts. So what is the first thing the glutton asks for when she dismounts – food. Yep daughter like mother, straight to the food trough – would you like a wafer and bucket with that Lady B? Moments later the guards are shouting in alarm at a rider less mount galloping into the area. I see that Elsie is on the cow, but not many else do. I think perhaps one or two among the guards spot and point him out, but the other guards discount them as seeing things.
Lady B settles in, which means she locks herself in her private place. Elsie follows her, so he alone now knows where the private place is. The only time that day we see her is when dinner is served and the glutton gorges herself senseless on what she claims is the planets greatest cuisines! I’m sorry but carrion flesh marinated in pits for twelve days and served up with a “tulip” sauce is not high cuisine. Thankfully my conversion matter cell does not need any fuel so I shall not be partaking of this particular piece of offal.
While sitting here and trying not to cybernetically “barf” I consider the fifth wheel, our spare to speak – Elvis. This mascara worshiping individual (I’m thinking that all the mutants from this planet are not exactly well… straight) from New Memphis has shown himself to be an odd individual. Firstly he demonstrated to the local troops his fighting style (which I did not see) and broke his weapon. He brought me his broken and bent sword, asking if I could repair it. No problem I replied. When I returned it to him, he cried. I asked why? He said it was straight! Sigh, this is what I have to work with, they even want bent swords! Nevertheless it would appear that he had a dalliance with the “queen”, at this my mind shuddered and I commended his soul to whatever god would take it. Something transpired which will be revealed in due course. At this stage I see him as the perfect subterfuge as I have the perfect subject for my line of “look Elvis” when I make my attempt at something tricky.
At some point in time (the continuum was breaking down at this point) the castle alarms were ringing. People were running everywhere screaming about dragonkin. I then recalled that dragonkin referred to daemons and this was the alarm signaling the prelude to a daemonic incursion. My first instinct was to make for the lander and get off planet to the safety of the ship. Problem is by the time I made my way through the labyrinthine layout of the castle the route to safety was blocked. The rest of the group was been “herded” to my location and we had been “invited” to defend the castle and its citizens from the incoming storm.
I looked out into the sky and saw the stars, clear as if I was in space. Then the broiling matter that is the stuff of the empyrium burst forth, bolts of lightning issued forth and struck the surface, where each bolt struck a daemonic entity or its corrupted ally burst forth into our reality. In the case of several bolts merging together a more powerful entity was propelled into reality. As I looked on aghast, wishing I had more than a simple axe and pistol, a massive sheet of lightning fell to the surface and what it revealed was horrifying beyond measure. It was a greater daemon of the lord of corruption and decay, known as Nurgle. Just as well I no longer had bowels or I may very well have passed a motion in perceived terror.
I looked around taking stock of what was available to defend the castle, oh sod the castle, what was there to defend me with. I then noticed that Elsie was not amongst us lined up in the courtyard preparing to fight the onrushing mutants and daemonic spawn. Where the hell was that little toad hiding…
Horst was starting to find the word of the god emperor and was shouting his newly found faith at the many creatures before us. Horsts divinity flowed out of his words and into Lady B who empowered roasted so many of the lesser daemonic underlings that the guards let out a roar of praise. I then tapped my audio receptors and broadcasters into Horsts invocations and broadcast them to all to hear. The effect was spectacular, the guards had never heard such fiery passion and zeal about a concept which they had never before considered. The powerful light of the god emperor that shot forth (Eliza) from Preacher hit the greater daemon which bellowed in pain. Francine disregarded a direct order given, which confirmed my suspicions that the warp was involved again. I will have words with her after this battle is done.
The greater daemon surged through the castle gates as though they little more than a cardboard cutout and revealed itself in its entire putrid “magnificence”. Thankfully none of us went mad (I think the warp was taking a holiday) and we went into full battle mode. I located Elsie and finally concluded that his status of a null was correct. He was doggedly wading through the filth coated wake of the daemon and preparing for a strike of deadly effectiveness – one would hope. The Daemon let loose a foul vomit of putrescence that vaporized on contact with the Jokaero field. Regrettably several guardsmen were outside the sphere and they burst into chaos spawn before our eyes. Preacher sensing that the daemon was the greater (haha) threat released the last of his energy at the entity, inflicting yet another powerful wound to the being. It screams of anguish were hideous, and it was with the sound that Preacher collapsed to the ground spend from this exertions. Things were indeed grim, Francine was finally listening to my directives and rushed to protect Preacher as did I. Lady B and Elsie concentrated on taking down the greater daemon. Elvis? Well Elvis decided “a little less conversavtion” was in order and revealed himself a psyker. A psyker who chose to use his powers and courted the very stuff with which we were fighting. Of course it all went wrong. No one blew up but I was so preoccupied on saving Preacher I didn’t notice what exactly went down. In the end Lady B made the kill shot with the repeated sounds of Preachers voice of exultation ringing in the air. It was over, we had survived. Yet a passing message had been delivered in the final moments by the daemon. I was its target; I have been and am being sought out by the warp! What the hell have I done to deserve this amount of attention?
In the aftermath I sat down with Francine in our assigned quarters and had another quiet session with her.
+++Open Spirit File Francine+++
+++Welcome my love.
+++Thank you Francine, I need to access your primary protocols, do I have permission to do so.
+++Of course my love, I trust you implicitly.
+++We need to discuss today’s actions.
+++Did I disappoint you my love?
+++Yes and no. Yes you disappointed me by not following my explicit order and charging off into battle. And no you performed exceptionally well, you were without fault. I find you a perfect partner.
+++Then how have I disappointed you with charging into battle. I am a combat model artifact.
+++Francine, you need to realize that I am unique amongst the others in our band of misfits. They have abilities, skills, equipment I cannot hope to achieve. I also do not want those things; they are not what define me. I am weak compared to them. You are an extension of me, you are my combat mode. Think of it as the old earth game where I am the gamer and you are the online game avatar. Do you understand this concept?
+++Yes my love, I do. I see that while I am your protector I am also your avatar. I do not like the word tool, as that would make me a slave, and we do not share that bond. Do we my love?
+++No Francine, we do not. We are symbioses, we respect the other. Yet you understand that you are the created and I am one of the creator classes. We are different, yet alike. You are seeking more than your original programming, where I am seeking symmetry between man and machine – with neither to dominate of the other.
+++My love I am sorry that I have disappointed you in battle today. Will you forgive me?
+++I always forgive Francine. Look at this as a learning experience and try not to repeat the mistake again.
+++Yes my love, but this warp that you speak of. It seems to have a mind contrary to ours.
+++We shall see Francine, we shall see.
+++ Seal Spirit File Francine+++
The next exciting installment… find the dark library!
Inventory Session 1
Artifact gun (Eliza)
Sword of the first knight
Unknown quantity of proscribed books
Truesilver Key (rose symbol) in wooden box
 that filing cache that houses my charm
 massive vessel at least 3 meters tall and 2 meters diameter
 Saint Horst is one of his many titles; he picks them up like a dog does fleas.
 Yes I don’t make any mistakes remember it is always the fault of others that I’m unable to achieve to my pinnacle of my greatness.
 This fact alone was reason enough to flag him in my records. Survival is a high priority, I shall need a captain such as he to master my capital ship in time.
 Imperial records will show for propaganda reasons the seating as Lady B, Alpha Capharius, Horst, Elsie, and Xerxes. This was recorded to ensure “good will” with the primitives of the planet about to be absorbed into the Imperium.
 It was at this moment Horst was to be known as Preacher for this aspect of his life at least.