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.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

My 2018 Essential Top 10 Owned Games

This is my list of my Top 10 games of 2018 that I own I have gone to this year. These are the games that I own. There are plenty that I would have rated in the Top 10, but I don't own them, so they aren't included, just the one I actually own. This reflects what I value, so to speak.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Curse of Die - the dice we roll.

Dice or die, you love them or hate them. I'm not a fan of custom die for games. What are your thoughts?

Monday, December 17, 2018

The Fabricated Tales of Alpha Capharius - Season 2: Chapter 3

The Fabricated Tales of Alpha Capharius
Season 2
Chapter 3

This is a piece of fiction and may contain mature and adult themes. 
You have been warned - read at your own discretion.
+++Personal Encrypted Journal+++
The relationship between the founding line of house Le Roche and the venerable Horst is a carefully hidden secret.  To put it bluntly, Eliza Le Roche wiped all family records and I ensured that there was none ever stored[1].  The transference of genetic code by source code is an interesting concept. The bond that was created between the machine spirit and Horst is akin to the ancient Solarian[2] condition or mental aberration known as Stockholm syndrome.
Data: “Stockholm syndrome is a condition that causes hostages to develop a psychological alliance with their captors as a survival strategy during captivity. These alliances, resulting from a bond formed between captor and captives during intimate time spent together, are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims.[3]
I spent what little time Horst would allow me attempting to psychoanalyze his condition, any attempt I made with Eliza generally resulted in a slap in the face or the threat of physical violence at worse.  My attempt then to determine who the true captor in their relationship is I am yet to determine?
+++End Encrypted Journal+++

The journey through the endless passages of the webway is dull and tedious.  Francine and I are at least able to pass the time in ME Space[4] engaging in complex mind games, or as is more the case I explored the expansion of her consciousness and AI.  While the other babbled about nothing meaningful, Lady B moaned about no succulent victuals to gorge her appetites on; Elvis had no booty to grasp; Elsie no booty (though in this case loot) to grab; and Horst spent the time bringing Eliza up to speed on the Imperium (nothing more boring than explaining how a rotting xenophobic empire functions).

As things were going from dull to dreadfully dull, things perked up for all of a few moments.  A group of the Lost and Damned had the misfortune to stumble into our path.  For once they did not act out aggressively!  An attempt at a parlay was made, until Horst asked them whether they worshipped the one god.  I guess the reply of all four, of which the leader of the group named all four known major primordial ones set Horst of.  I then found out that Elsie had a Rad grenade…

Sigh, the Rad grenade was tossed with excellent aim and achieved a more than predictable result.  The horde that was there was mightly reduced to a mass of fleshy gloop, though some troops were “lucky” enough to be spared the effects.  These then braved the closed quarter’s fury of Francine who shredded and pulped her targets with ease.  During the battle Francine was engulfed in promethium fuel, which damaged her slightly.  Once she doused the flames I attended her “wounds” and with the aid of herself repairing nano-techology restored her to full functioning status.  I really am brilliant.  The problem of crossing the radiated one now presented itself…

Francine came to the rescue.  Scans of the tunnel and the radiation zone revealed that there was a space sufficient for transport at the top of the tunnel.  With the aid of Francine’s flight mode and jump capability she was able to ferry us one at a time across the radiated zone safely.  I chose to go first in case of any catastrophic perils, and our journey was successful!  Everyone else was successfully carried across except Elvis who squirmed and fell into the zone.  I blame Elvis for the amount of makeup he applies to himself, he reminds me of our departed Fabio.  Oddly enough I miss that deviant, wait what am I saying, that’s a lie.  I miss taking the micky out of him, that’s what I miss.  I now have a radiation warning pinging every time Elvis comes within 3 meters of me.  Tedious and annoying, just like this endless webway.  Mind you Elvis is now on point, our scout and sacrificial lamb. Admittedly radiated lamb, but maybe some entities like their meat cooked that way?

With the brief encounter but a brief memory the ennui of the existence in the webway continues.  Horst’s constant prayers to the god emperor were starting to irritate the mutants, though it soothed Eliza who looked upon Horst with growing attention and devotion.  I had a growing sense of déjà vu; my memory core was insisting that I had stored sensitive gene data. Ah, now I remember, now I know why I have to do what has to be done – for the greater good of course! My work is never done; it’s just as well I have so many allies to support me in my tireless efforts.

I noticed in time that the webway did react to intrusions by foreign bodies that it deemed foreign to its “natural” fabric.  For instance the chaos cultists had raised an un-harmonic discord that at first I had not discerned in the background.  With the bickering of the company it was very easy to miss.  The group of slavers that next encountered us gave little un-harmonic discord – certainly they were vile creatures but they were certainly not of the nature of the empyrean. 

At a distance the purplish skinned humanoids seemed akin to the natives of the planet Sel Delmas (or Salmonella[5] by Imperial Code.)  Elsie always colour blind to the point of stupidity mistook the aliens as relatives and advanced forward calling out for “Uncle Louis” (pronounced Louie with a very thick Cajun accent).  Sadly “Uncle Louis” shot back with a webgun.  This engagement was particularly sticky and everyone was trapped to the point of almost being impotent.  Elvis though was able to activate his armour mounted railgun, scoring a devastating hit on the robot carrying the captured slaves – not that we actively knew this at the time… well maybe he did, maybe he didn’t.  The resultant explosion devastated the slavers and all but one of the slaves.  The warp is again exposed and Elvis loses a little more of his precious mind to the corrupting influence that lurks there. 

+++Personal Journal Update+++
+++Reference: Study – Y87/638-NS-Zeta7: Salmonella Project
The Inquisitions theory that the mutants from this planet would be resilient or useful in war against the denizens of the warp I believe is a doubtful one.  My exposure to the few mutants in my company to date has proven that they are extremely corruptible and more than likely to be more a threat to the continued stability of the universe than bringing the war against the primordial ones to a known outcome favourable to those who fielded these creatures.  Clearly the truesilver is the only known component that is of any value. It should be the primary focus to extract this element and harvest it at speed.  Once completed, all native inhabitants will be conscripted to penal legions and expended in service to the greater protection and service of humanity.  I think to have the planet virus bombed is a poor choice now, with a cyclonic bombardment being a more effective option.  This way no further mutation could be bred from the planet and the warp should not be able to claim the planet with the sacrifice of souls with a cleansing or destruction.  What started as noble sentiment millennia past has been corrupted by the primordial agents. My task is to see that the experiment is ended, what good is to be salvaged and that the mistakes – hopefully we learn from them. Ha, fat chance of that.  Humanity is too stupid to ever do that.  Me on the other hand…
+++End Journal+++

The captured slave proved to be a valuable asset.  What I had taken for a husk of a woman of advanced age proved to be that of a navigator in her mid twenties who named herself Motto, an indentured servant to an Inquisitorial team of the Ordos Xenos.  She told us that she and her team had entered the webway with a goal to reach a location known as the Black Library.  Alas they were attacked and many of her company were slain or captured. Actually the last were slain in the very encounter.  She enquired who it was that caused such destruction.  Elvis rather proudly boasted of his exploits.  Motto wept for the lost souls, Elvis showed no contrition.  

I appear to have been given the title of diplomat and leader of the company now, with none of the others wishing to take upon themselves the role.  Motto was confused at the symbols that decorated the power armour that each of those in our company wore.  I explained that the company operated under the protection of the Inquisition and that we were of the Ordos Prime[6], hence the archaic symbol which she saw.  The other symbol on the armour ( άꓲ ) was that of the maker who stood before her.  To say that Motto was overwhelmed by such greatness was an understatement.  However the fickle mind of S.I.M.O.N. seeing that power may corrupt absolutely placed the navigator under the “guidance” of Elvis.  I saw this as no inconvenience, I now had access to a navigator, I had ANGUS my ships AI all I needed now was access to my ship and I was free to pursue my destiny…  After all, these blue mutants what do they factor in the greater scheme of things.

With the newly discovered navigator in tow the company continued its deadly exploration of webway in search of Commorragh and Sec Maegra. The ripples in the harmonics this time were truly appalling as we encountered the nightmare xenos breed known as the Slaugth.  There was no attempt at parlay the obvious alieness of these xenos clearly indicated no ability to empathise.  That and the fact Francine took an immediate dislike to them.

“There is no order or structure in these creatures My Love. They must be destroyed!”

Whereupon she then launched herself into the midst of the enemy creatures, targeting the mighty construct creature that lead from the front.  I will now take some time to explain these vile creatures that we had come upon.

Data: “In appearance, the Slaugth are truly horrific to look upon, taking the form of a vague humanoid shape composed of seemingly hundreds of writhing, half-melded maggot-like worms covered in viscous, necrotic mucus. Capable of stretching and reforming their body-mass at will, they move with an obscene, boneless fluidity and are capable of regenerating injury with startling speed. They are impervious to age, poison, diseases, and all but the most extreme injury. Their minds are as alien as any encountered by mankind -- coldly savage, psychic voids filled with a monstrous hunger for the dead.”[7]

The battle was horrific and terrible.  The weapons that these aliens brought to bear was as bad as the nature of the creatures we faced.  The major casualty was Francine whose armour was breached and her internals damaged.  The fact that the truesilver armour was “rusted” from the weapons was my greatest concern.  I have no access to a workshop, so my running repairs will be patchwork[8], though I pull off my exceptionally gifted handy work and “heal” Francine to combat readiness. I think someone in the group is going to need to donate their suit of armour to the greater good soon… I believe that volunteer will be “Return to Sender[9]” Elvis!

Excitement of sorts evolved over the alien tech discovered.  I was intrigued, but could not see a way for it to be carried without it being a contamination risk (primarily to myself and Francine).  The guns they used were useless to the company as they needed the Slaugth themselves to be fired – requiring a piece of themselves as living ammunition. The grenades though provided more useful, being of a dark matter variety.  What caused a rift in the group was the Necrotic Sceptres that were acquired.  My examination of these devices was, while an exciting discovery and one which I catalogued and stored, appalling.  The device was a blend of living biomechanics and elemental physics, the results were truly destructive to the point of disintegration.  Horst found that the living element of the weapon unacceptable and consequently “confiscated” the scepters from certain parties, or more precisely one individual.  Horst intends to perform a cleansing ritual once outside the corrupting influence of the webway and warp to destroy these unnatural devices, hoping to free whatever life force that may have been bound within the creation of this nightmare technology.  No one, least of all, objected to Horsts demands – this time…

Following the encounter with the Slaugth the company was in much need of rest and recuperation.   While the Francine and I required little need for such respite the lesser being was waning, especially the newly acquired navigator.  Food (of such worth) necessary to keep Motto going was lacking.  It was then that our luck turned for the better.  For the first time in ages we met a group of aliens that did not kill us on sight.  Mind you I was “leading” the company and I was the primary speaker of High Gothic (thank goodness of language cores).

We met the Tau!

Our contact was cautious.  The Tau group was large, considerably larger than our little band of desperadoes and unless some quick thinking was forthcoming, bloodshed was the most likely outcome.  There were a number of battlesuits, drones and warriors among those we could see at what we had hoped was a safe refuge from the open tunnels.

Data:  “The Tau is humanoid in shape, although they have hoofed feet and four-digit hands (three fingers and one thumb). Their skin is grey-blue (although this can vary in pigmentation between Tau colony worlds), rough in texture, leathery, and exudes almost no moisture. Their faces are flat, wide around the eyes, with an "I"-shaped slit running from the center of the forehead to where a human's nose would be. Tau vision is considered slightly superior to that of humans - their visual spectrum extends a little more into the ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths. However their pupils do not dilate, giving poorer depth perception and providing slower vision focusing reflexes than humans. The olfactory organs of a Tau are inside the mouth. Physical strength and size varies between the Tau castes with the Fire Caste being the strongest of their kind, roughly the size and slightly weaker than an average baseline human because the Tau homeworld has gravity slightly weaker than that of Terra.”[10]

“I am T’chala of Por, who has the authority to treat with me?”

This was spoken to the company in High Gothic. I could see from the blank looks on most that I would need to lead the negotiations in this situation.  I later learnt that Eliza was fluent in the tongue and passed on all I spoke to Horst, who in turn gossiped like an old woman to the rest.

“I do.”

My reply seemed to register surprise with the Tau leader.  He whispered some words with his underlings before continuing his parlay.

“You are of the Imperium of Man are you not?”

“Yes they are,” was my reply.

“It is perplexing that you have not immediately fired upon us like so many of your fellow Imperials.  Why is this so?”

I laughed, which prompted T’chala to step back. “I am not typical of the rest of the Imperium. I work for the greater good of the universe, and for my own purposes.”

This response elicited excitement from T’chala and there was much animated conversation amongst his fellow Tau.  This conversation and gesturing appeared to be causing some unrest amongst the company but they accepted that I was negotiating in good faith and in a diplomatic matter, so while on guard, they took no action.

“You say you work for the Greater Good, what is your name?  We have encountered Imperials of similar fashion before and they have been anything but favourable.  Your symbols, what do they represent?  Please explain?”

I could see this was going to take some time and I saw that my company would need some assurances as to their safety.

“T’chala of Por, I am Alpharius once known as Alpha Capharius of Ordos Prime.  I am a being of science and knowledge who with the aid of allies seek to do the greater good where it is best delivered.  I beg that we move out of the webway tunnel and discuss matters.  I can offer you assistance in the form of a limited map of the webway tunnel as a sign of my good will in the opening of negotiations.  Do you accept these terms noble T’chala?”

T’chala was clearly stunned with an offer of free information without asking for an exchange of equivalent value.  I could see that my offer had triggered a series of questions within the aliens mind, and I was pleased to see that I had clearly rattled it from its perceived notion of what we were like – well what I was like to say the least.  While those within this company would more than likely follow the blind dictates of the Imperium without question, they could and would be a problem once they learnt the “heresy” I have conducted with the aliens.  I care not, I’ve done worse – I’m sure of it.

“Alpharius you are truly an enigma of your species.  Especially of those who wear the siglum of the Inquisition. Let us take shelter and continue our discourse without unfriendly intervention.”

This was an interesting response.  Clearly T’chala picked up on the tension within my company and it would appear that he had detractors within his own camp as well.  I can only guess from the many clashes with Imperial agencies the Tau would have lost comrades or those things most precious to them, I’m sure there would have been some among them who harboured ill will towards us.

Once out of the webway tunnel and in the relative safety of the bubble waystation both parties “relaxed” to a degree, though the Tau took the more aggressive role of defender.  T’chala and I continued our discussions and I obtained some precious additional data relating to the webway tunnels his cadre had explored.  He indicated the point which located his “homeworld” on the map.  This piqued my interest as it provided me with an option for a place of asylum should things go sour.  The Tau were certainly a more open society than the closed and repressive Imperial regime, or was it.  I sensed that there was still an overriding hidden guideline with this “empire”.  Still both T’chala and I were pleased with the exchange of information, I was happy to give more than I received.  I am not greedy (and I wish that certain parties would not try to see that this is my overriding parameters). 

At the end of our negotiations T’chala gifted me with a talisman of Tau friendship, and a gun drone gene locked to my service.  Our negotiations were successful, I learnt much about the Tau and the Tau in return learnt a great deal about the primordial ones, the empyrean and the dangers that it represents.  The fact that they have no capacity to navigate the warp, still limits their expansion.  Though T’chala was interested in the human navigator Motto and asked a number of details about their functions.  I was more than happy to provide that information to such a friendly and nonthreatening race.

What was everyone else doing while I was negotiating?  Well Francine was keeping a close watch on them all.  Eliza was keeping Horst informed of all I said, she knew High Gothic.  Elsie was on his best behavior – I think?  Certainly I’m not aware of any uproar of reported missing belongings among the Tau, time will tell if he pulls out any specialist items to reveal his theft!  Lady B fell into a lethargic stupor.  Elvis decided to try his charms with what he thought was the female of the species, emphasis on “thought”.  The alien who struck up a “relationship” with Elvis was more curious than amorous, much to poor Elvis’s broken libido.  All he got out of the tryst was a “trinket” and the words “I shall treasure this”.  Dear old Horst attempted to convert the “heathen” and failed, they were polite though and thanked him for his time and effort.  Horst was pleasantly surprised with this response as normally a failed attempt to convert meant running at speed from a lynch mob.  Meeting a civilized people who respected another’s faith but chose not to burn you for not agreeing to it was rather refreshing.  Poor Horst, he seems to have forgotten that the god emperor is only for mankind, He has no place in His heart for the alien – or is Horst going to change the dogma of the Ecclisarchy? Oh this could be very interesting!

I managed to obtain some limited rations for Motto, which saved her life – clearly Elvis was not going to do it.  Still she saw more favour in him than me – oddly though she clung to me like a limpet when battle raged for the protection I provided.  The sooner I can find her a safe astrogation chamber onboard my ship the better.

+++Fate of Water Caste Diplomat T’chala+++
To: Aun’Va
From: Jyn’Un
Situation: An alien energy source was detected at our northern pole and a force was quickly dispatched to investigate.  A brief battle was engaged after the aliens failed to negotiate, in fact they acted aggressively at first sight of our initial deployments.  I directed additional resources to the situation and the aggressive aliens were dealt with.  They have since been identified as being of the elder species.  With the alien portal being open and given the opportunity to explore a potential new mode of travel and expansion I authorized a small cadre of troops with the assistance of T’Chala of the Por Caste to enter and report back.  No sooner had they entered the portal than it had sealed up.  Nothing we did could open it.  Nothing among the fallen elder had the power to open the portal.  I fear that I have lost this cadre to a fate unknown.
Update: I had thought I had lost the cadre I had sent into the alien portal.  It has been several cycles now and the alien energy source has again been detected.  Forewarned now that these architectural structures are now portals for the elder I have directed defense fortifications to be erected in future preparation.  Expecting another incursion, the cadre on station instead was greeted with the remaining members of the cadre that went into the portal all those cycles ago.  None of the battle suits were present, less than one in ten of the warriors had returned.  Only one drone remained operational.  Those who exited were stricken with a madness of the mind some showed relief at being out of the portal and they cried with joy, others wept. The survivors were brought to a medical facility to be treated and I went to personally investigate.  They were a sorry sight to behold, emaciated from deprivation, madness – the look in their eyes, it seemed as if they had looked into their worst nightmare and it had come and claimed their very lives.  Among the survivors I found T’chala, he was worse of those afflicted.  When he saw me his screamed “they are coming, we can’t stop them, the walls, the walls…”. The staff had to sedate him to a level that I could talk with him.  It took a while, but I was not able to get much sense out of him.  The only thing I could get was his emphatic trust of someone called Alpharius.  A catalogue of the items the cadre brought back yielded little value, though some was disturbing.  Odd maps which mean little and have no reference are in the core data, when I show them to the survivors they respond with manic episodes.  I have decided to seal away the data.  Much of the data has been corrupted and useless.  Images have been stored and attempts have been made to have the survivors detail the encounters, again with the expected results – with one exception.  One image shown to T’chala brought him out of his madness for just a moment.  He actually smiled, he pointed at the image and said “friend of the greater good”.  I was shocked at the image he pointed at.  Great Aun’Va I have enclosed all materials under seal for your investigation.

Continuing our journey through the tedium of the webway is tedious.  The only way to break that tedium is to encounter and encounter!  This time we came across the dreaded Yu’Vath.

To date I have never known of a battle I have had to knowingly declare a tactical retreat.  This was one of those occasions.  These deadly opponents were anathema to me and Francine in particular and I was loath for her to engage them.  The insane psyker Elvis dashed ahead casting his power of Smite and realized he did little effect, it was then that he began to realize the situation.  When Elsie was cut from chest to groin and laid low, when I discovered that the Yu’Vath had their own version of a warp smith in their ranks, when the warp smith activated a power field along with the remaining hulking war machines, when I saw the smaller machines regenerating.  I knew then it was time to withdraw; fighting a useless battle was not worth hoping for a lucky shot.  I ordered Francine to grab the “dying” Elsie and leg it – though in this case she ignited her jump pack and left at speed. 

Data: The second major blasphemy of Yu’Vath technology is that much of it incorporates synthetically constructed spirits. Unlike the blessed machine spirits that dwell within all sanctified Imperial technology, these entities are unliving creations of the extinct xenos. Those few Tech-Priests who willingly speak of these devices mention that the spirits may be daemonic essences captured from the warp or simply unholy creations that have grown more malicious over the millennia since their creation. The fools who dare to tamper with these artefacts are often influenced by the dark spirits to perform actions that could damn their minds and souls. Some may unwillingly establish a close relationship with the Ruinous Powers, while others might simply destroy themselves and all they hold dear as the devices subsume their minds for their own dark purposes.[11]

Eliza damn her soul had entered frenzy and Horst had joined her with the hope of extracting her from a hopeless situation.  I could do very little but push Motto and Lady B away from the confrontation using the protection of my power shield to protect us from the worse effects that the warp smith was hurling in our direction.  Horst urged Eliza to leave and his words slowly penetrated her battle crazed mind and she understood the odds, she understood that I’d buggered off (again according to her later on).  She and Horst fled, dodging the graviton blasts from the warp smith!

Eventually we found the safety of the endless corridors of the webway.

+++Encrypted Personal Journal+++
During the strategic withdrawal I gave Francine the directions to collect the dying Elsie and extract his body from the battle.  I had hoped to take him to a location where I could administer one of the nano healing balls to restore him or apply my growing and extensive medical training in repairing him.
To my surprise Francine advised me as we withdrew that Elsie was not leaking humanoid fluids.  I transferred a portion of my consciousness to her senses to review the situation.  It was an interesting situation, Elsie truly was no longer biological, he or should I refer to the person as it is now a thing!  The internals are now of a biomechanical nature, with the blood being replaced with a white synthetic fluid, more a “fuel” type than blood.  A closer inspection discovered that the biomechanical structures were teeming with nano-organisms. 
When we reached the safety, oh what is safety in this endless corridor of death?  I took advantage of the “inactive” Elsie to properly analyse the suit and his internals.  The shock I got from what I downloaded was hardly surprising; I suspected it for some time.  The makers mark was there.  The prototype suits two of two annotations.  That left me with no doubt as to where the first prototype suit was.  There I found the encoded suit protocols, the makers safety switches.  After all the paranoid bastard would never have created anything that would have turned on the creator, NEVER!  Oh things were just getting interesting.
+++End Journal+++


Jakaero Database Material
Artificial Intelligence
Classified (S.I.M.O.N.)
Power Source
Power Fields

Rad Grenade
1d10 dam; Blast 5, 2d10 dam -20 T test each round.

Virus Grenade
3d10 dam; Blast 8, T & A do not reduce damage, any survivor is a carrier and spreads from 5m, lasts 1d5+5 rounds.
Sealed armour is not a guarantee of protection.

Necrotic Sceptre
100m, S/-/-, 2d10+8 E, Pen 6, Disintegrate (Critical Hit results in completely destroyed), Recharge
1d10+15 E, Pen 4, Disintegrate

Dark Matter Grenades x 8 (now expended)
3d10+8, Pen 8, Blast 2

Slaugth guns
1d10+6, Pen 6, Corrosion, effects mechanical and ignores mechanical toughness.

Tau Gun Drone
WS:20, BS:20, S:20, T:40, Ag:40, Int:15, Per:25, WP:20, Fel:10
Plasma guns
150m, S/2/4, 2d10+2 E, Pen 4, Twin-linked
Fearless. Slaved Devotion (Alpharius) 2m.
Wounds (15)

Rail Gun Rounds Left
Elvis (2), Alpharius (4), Francine (4)

[1] This is in fact an anomalous statement as I store all data I acquire.  The Prime Library (hello future self writing this) stores all information, technology and esoteric material I have come across.  It is now the size of a planet.
[2] It is noted in many of my historical reference texts that I now refer to earth as Sol rather than the Imperial Terra, another sign of my breaking with Imperial dogma.
[3] Sourced from an ancient dataslate code Wikipedia.
[4] ME Space – multiplexing etheric space, sounds so much better than the mechanicus labelled nooshpere, even MYspace at times...
[5] The planet is also ccommonly known as Salmonella as it gives everyone who has any dealings with the inhabitants the shits.  A pure and simple statement of fact as given by multiple statements by those associated with the great Ordos Prime.
[6] Some silly fool confused poor Motto by telling her some fairy story of being of Ordos Camelot.  Next thing will be cardboard cut outs and castles of aargh....
[7] Source: Dataslate from Solarian ancient source
[8] Patchwork – my code for excellent.  Workshop is superior outcomes.
[9] Return to Sender – Elvis Presley: Girls! Girls! Girls! 1962
[10] Dataslate source Solarian
[11] Rogue Trader: The
Koronus Bestiary, p104-105