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Friday, 29 May 2015

Shadows of Brimstone

After our first gaming session of Shadows of Brimstone, a Weird Wild West dungeon crawler from Flying Frog Games, I decided to write a little narrative.

Ignore the stats at the beginning, I'm just using this to keep track of XP etc, and read on to follow the adventurers as they begin their descent..

Shadows of Brimstone Campaign

Scott – Jim ‘Shady’ Mathers – US Marshall – 360 XP - , $50, 6 DS

Personal Item - Silver Dice
Starting Skill – Hardened Resolve

Mark – The Man in Black - Gunslinger – 310XP, $25, 4DS

Personal Item – Hand Mirror
Starting Skill – Quickdraw
Gear - Axe
Artefacts -

Pete – Amber Lafayette - Saloon Girl – 270XP, $75, 5DS

Personal Item – Shackles
Starting Skill – Acrobatic Dodge
Gear -
Artefacts -

Mike – Father Padraig O’Shaughnessey - Preacher – 370XP, $100, 9DS

Personal Item – Concealed Flask
Starting Skill – Missionary
Gear -
Artefacts -

Becs – Anna O’Shaughnessey - Rancher – 335XP, $175, 6DS

Personal Item – Worn Eye Patch
Starting Skill – Farmstead Defender
Gear -
Artefacts -

Wrighty – ‘The Sherriff’ - Law Man – 425XP, $100, 3DS

Personal Item – Personal Journal
Starting Skill – Frontier Justice
Gear – Pistol, Hunting Knife
Artefacts -

Duane – Benito ‘The Bomb’ Nachos - Bandito – 450XP, $100, 6DS

Personal Item – Ace of Spades
Starting Skill – Explosives Expert
Gear –
Artefacts – Book of the Mad King

Journal Entry – 20-5

They say every story needs to be told. But this one really needs to be told. Hence I keep this journal. Just in case.

Our adventures started in the saloon, don’t they all? A likely band. We were all drawn to Lestina, a small town a good few miles from where Brimstone once stood. All drawn for our own purposes but really we all knew we were drawn by the DarkStone. We’d all heard the stories, fortunes to be made from the stuff, and fortune favors the brave. Sure we’d all heard the stories of what it brings too. Living dead, daemons, and holes to other worlds. But here we were anyway.

A less likely bunch of fortune seekers you would never find.

The Man in Black, a fearsome gunslinger that built his reputation in Arizona and New Mexico, I’m sure you’ve heard the stories and yes, it’s true. A vain bastard that carries a mirror with him wherever he goes. He says it’s for luck! Well I don’t know about that but he’s so quick he even seems to have time to check his hair before drawing, and still guns the other man down.

Benito Nachos. ‘Benni the Bomb’ the group likes to call him. A crazy son bitch Mexican. He thinks that every problem can be solved with dynamite, and the crazy bastard always seems to pull a stick of it from somewhere! Filthy greaser carries a ‘lucky ace’ with him, lucky for him, not for the poor saps that are around him when he blows.  And the singin, man, the singin! I swear to god that I gonna gun the son bitch down someday if he don’t stop to goddam tuneless greaser singin.

And talkin of God, the next member of our unlikely posse claims to represent him. Father Padraig O’Shaughnessey. A less likely preacher you wouldn’t find anywhere. You ask me he more likely worships the drink, I aint ever seen him without the goddam hip flask he carries. More likely he’s too drunk to read the sermons from the book he carries, but some say they seen him spread fire from the skies. Well I aint sure bout that but with what we’re searchin for a preacher might come in handy.

And then there’s his daughter Anna. Bright as a button. Owns a ranch up towards Sedona. She’s never seen without her huntin rifle and man can she shoot! Wears an old tattered eyepatch to help with her aim. More likely here to look after her old man than to find the DarkStone, but that Stone will more than likely buy her a pretty head of cattle when she’s done here. Wouldn’t surprise me if she don’t end up the biggest rancher in the state, if we live to tell these tales.

The next member of our band is a real do gooder, least that’s what he’ll have you think. Jim Mathers, a fancy dressed US Marshall from out East somewhere. But I heard the tales ‘bout him. Flashes his badge like he’s the almighty himself, but I know ‘bout those Silver Dice he carries, and how he got em. Driven out from the East is the real story, Jim ‘Shady’ Mathers they called him out there. A crooked lawman with a flashy smile and a gambling problem. Sure he’s here for the stone alright, and he’ll get his share so long as he remembers who the real law in these parts.

The girl he has in tow is Amber Lafayette. Some hussy from a saloon Mathers picked up along the way to Brimstone Country no doubt. She dresses real fine, all comfortin to the men in our group. But she’s quick as a snake an always finds somewhere to hide that hold out pistol she carries. Damn girl carries round a pair of shackles with her, not sure if it’s to tie up the ‘bad guys’ for Jim or to tie up the boys. She probly charges extra for that!

And me, well people call me ‘The Sherriff’. That’s all you need to know for now. This journals for our stories if we aint round to tell em ourselves.

Journal Entry – 26-5

We been kickin round this town for best part of a week now when we got wind of our first big score.

We was in the saloon, Jim takin the locals at Liars Dice and Benni eatin matches or some shit when this crazy old man came over to Amber and started tellin her a tale. A tale of an old DarkStone mine up in the hills. Anna’s been up in them hills a few days before with her old man, looking to snag us some mustangs, and she took no time in working out the missing details. The mine was near Cake’s Cave, bout a days ride North West of town.

Tomorrow we’re saddling up them mustangs and headin out.

Journal Entry 27-5

2 days it took us to get up to the mine. Damn alcoholic preacher went and traded his mustang for a pack mule. Said the horse was the creature of the devil. Still the mule should come in handy for carryin all that stone back to town. We’re holing up outside the mine for the night. Somethin bout it don’t seem quite right and we’re all agreed we aint goin down there in the night. Maybe the stories are right an there are creatures from other worlds down there.

Journal Entry 29-5

I’m still writin, so that means I’m stiil ‘live. The rest are too, but let me tell ya Jim aint lookin too clever. Gone near lost his mind.

Let me tell ya how it went down.

The mornin broke yesterday and The Man in Black was into the mine like a shot. Crazy son bitch he is I tell ya. We managed to scrounge one lantern between us an Amber was carryin it. The mine was wrong I tell ya, no one wanted to get too far away from that light, which seemed to suit Amber just fine.

Black was racin ahead an just inside the entrance we found a crazy old prospector. What the hell he was doin here I couldn’t tell ya. Well he seemed a friendly sort at first, even offered us some healing herbs, but just as we were headin on our way I saw something weren’t right. God damn it if he didn’t collapse down in front of Black and start shakin like the preacher does when he aint had his whisky. You wouldn’t believe what happened next, neither would I if there weren’t to others round to bear witness. God damn old man’s chest snapped open and 8ft tentacles bust from it! Well Black took one down straight way with his pistol, He’s as fast as people say, if not faster. I nailed the other one while Jim fired what he says was a ‘warnin shot’ with his shotgun into the roof of the cave. Goddam warnin shot! Well that tentacle came straight for him, whacked him right in the kisser. Anna tried to take it out but that girl can’t shoot for shit. Black took it down. Shook us all up a bit I tell ya. Amber stayed round with Jim to ‘comfort him’, the Preacher was there too tryin to read some bullshit from his book. Benni, Black and I pressed on ahead.

As we went deeper into the mine that strange feeling grew stronger. Sort of hard to say what it was, like something evil coming from deep in the mine. Trying to get out. Maybe it was guarding the DarkStone?

The next room we came to was worse. As we entered there was something scuttling in the darkness. Some big red armoured things with mean lookin claws. Slashers we called em, and hangin from the ceiling half a dozen HellBats, worm like things but with wings. We’d heard stories ‘bout these creatures before. Things had laid siege to Fort Landy for a week people say, took the army all the bullets they has to get rid of em.  Well these things were fast, but Black was faster, took one of em out before it even looked up. The others swarmed round us. Anna opened up with her rifle at one and Benni took another out. I did for a fourth and Jim blasted that shotgun of his at one of the slashers. Tough bastards they were, the shot just bounced off its crab like hide. The Preacher  was still tryin to read from his blasted book, swear that man needs glasses, and it fell to the rest of us to take out the beasts. Black hit one right between the eyes, droppin it in one shot and I took out the other.

Don’t know what happened next but Black went off lookin for some loot. Not sure what he found but when he came back he wasn’t sayin nothin, and looked white as a ghost. There’s something bad down here for sure and I got the feeling we gotta stop it before it gets out. Good job Benni got that satchel of dynamite.

Still, after rootin round we found signs of the DarkStone we were searcin for and continued down into the mine.

As the shafts weaved round we came to an openin with some of the stone in the walls. Benni rushed in and started prising it right out the walls. But I think something must have heard us! From the shadows more of the Slasher things appeared, HellBats dropped from the roof and dead miners started getting up from the pile of bodies in the corner. The HellBats flew straight towards Black but Anna was there with her rifle. Shootin like a deamon she took out what must of been 5 of those suckers while Amber finished the other one off with her little hold out Pistol. Jim took the head off one them Slashers with his shotgun and I took care of the other. Benni had lost it. He started reachin into his satchel and tossin dynamite at them dead things like no tomorrow, he blew the shit outa them! Crazy son bitch. But I tell ya he was pretty banged up. The Preacher must have found the right page in his book ‘cos he healed him up real nice.

This weren’t the stash we were looking for so we continued down into the darkness, that old lantern that lil ol Amber was carrying seemed to the only thing holdin the evil at bay. The next passage we came to was flooded waist deep in water. More dean men came for us from the depths but they were struggling to get through. It was like shooting fish in a barrel and Benni started launcin that dynamite again, where the hell does her get it all from? And the Preacher, well he raised that fire people talked about, went and burned up them piles of bones real good.

When we reached the bottom of the mine the darkness seemed real strong, we knew we had to be quick before it got out from this cursed place, but this was bad, real bad. More dead men lined then room and HellBats swooped from the stalactites but there was something else, something big! Harbinger of Doom the Preacher called it, thing must have stool 15 feet tall with wings spannin twice that. Well, as I said, I’m the law round here and the folks find it quite inspiring when I show em my badge. Jim did the same shoutin ‘F.B.I.’! He’s a strange one he is, not sure where out East he’s from but we sure don’t talk like that round here. Well I tell ya the posse went crazy, shootin like they were possessed by daemons themselves. Black laid into that ting with his deadeye shots and Anna got that huntin rifle singin a sweet song as she finished it off. But there was something unnatural to it, started getting in our minds. Amber and the Preacher finished off the HellBats and Benni blew the shit out of them dead folks with his dynamite, but we almost had to drag Jim and Benni out of that room. Jibbering like idiots about hidden worlds, frozen rolling plains and deadly swamps they were, Still we got our stash.

And here we are, Benni clutchin this strange book he found deep down in the mines, Father Padraig stashing a haul of DarkStone so big it barely fits in his bag, good job he brought that pack mule. He’s lookin mighty strange the Preacher, as if the stone is changing him in some way.

Well we’re gonna hole up here for the night before we head back to town, hopefully it’ll be a quiet journey home.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Malifaux Masters Runners and Riders

Well the Malifaux Masters is upon us and while the real prize is qualifying (and I'm not saying that because I'm pretty sure to go out of it on day 1!) the second best prize is winning it.

So, having crunched some stats I've decided to put together a little preview of the players and how well might do....

please note: all photos are stolen from various places and used without permission!

Pool 1

Joel Henry – Tournaments - 16, Wins - 4, Podiums - 4, Av Placing - 5.2/24.7, % of Wins - 25%, % podium finishes (inc wins) – 50%, preferred faction – Neverborn (7)

Joel has been top of the rankings (or thereabouts) for what seems like forever! The Mr consistent of the Malifaux scene had never failed to podium at an event before 2015 but is hampered (?) by playing gremlins (all for charity) and from what he says he will be out on day 1 and looking forward to using Neverborn on the day 2 side event. Personally if I were him I wouldn't bother packing the Neverborn as it will be Gremlins for day 2 as he sails through the group.

James Doxey  – Tournaments - 14, Wins - 1, Podiums - 4, Av Placing - 5.8/26.4, % of Wins - 7%, % podium finishes (inc wins) – 36%, preferred faction – Arcanists (14)

James has been on the scene for a long time and being a forum mod he is very knowledgeable about the game. I’m surprised he only has 1 win in 2014 and his form has tailed off a little toward the end of the year which could be because he secured qualification early, but he certainly knows his Arcanists. Should qualify from the group if he puts his mind to it!

Luke Cocksedge - Tournaments - 9, Wins - 1, Podiums - 3, Av Placing – 12.7/29, % of Wins - 11%, % podium finishes (inc wins) – 44%, preferred faction – Outcasts (9)

An outstanding player with Leviticus in 1.5 he has carried his master over into M2E and despite just scraping into the Masters (not helped by an abysmal GT result) he is still a formidable opponent on his day. I have never had the pleasure of playing him but have been on the table next door a couple of times and he certainly knows what he’s up to. Will need to be on form to get to day 2 but it’s certainly possible if he’s using Levi.

Connor Barker - Tournaments - 17, Wins - 3, Podiums - 1, Av Placing - 9/23.8, % of Wins - 18%, % podium finishes (inc wins) – 24%, preferred faction – Gremlins (11)

Like Luke Connor is another player who qualified due to drop outs. Again I have never played him but looking at his results he has been slowly improving throughout the year as he switched to, and got to grips with, Gremlins! Anything is possible but unless he distracts his opponents by wearing his GT costume I cant see him qualifying from the group (sorry Connor, but there are some good players here).

Pool 2

Mark Elwood - Tournaments - 14, Wins - 4, Podiums - 3, Av Placing – 4.8/27.3, % of Wins - 29%, % podium finishes (inc wins) – 50%, preferred faction – Neverborn (14)
Mark is another tournament regular whose path I have never crossed while playing. He says he makes too many mistakes in games but he has won almost a third of the events he has been to this year and podiumed at half so I dread to think how good he would be if he didn’t make mistakes! Has a reputation for having a meticulous playstyle which could make him the ‘Ice Man’ of Malifaux. The stats say he should qualify but this is a tough, tough group (and I’m not saying that to get my excuses in early!)

John Wharton - Tournaments - 8, Wins - 1, Podiums - 4, Av Placing – 4.5/29, % of Wins - 13%, % podium finishes (inc wins) – 63%, preferred faction – Outcasts (7)
Yet another opponent I haven’t faced John is a part of the excellent North East Malifaux scene and his ranking position is well deserved. Apparently a very aggressive Vics player I think he could easily top this group and just as easily finish bottom, that’s the problem with being an aggressive player. He has podiumed at over half the events he has attended this year so he could cause some surprises, unless he plays Greg on day 2. (sorry about the photo John, its all I could find - you must be camera shy!)

Martin Wodehouse - Tournaments - 6, Wins - 0, Podiums - 2, Av Placing - 5.7/33, % of Wins - 0%, % podium finishes (inc wins) – 33%, preferred faction – Arcanists (6)

Along with myself Martin is the only player to have qualified from 6 events (which is obviously a fantastic achievement, cos I’m the only other person to have done it!). Colette is his master of choice at the minute and he has beaten me with her at the last 2 events we have attended, including a smashing at the GT. Martin seems to have trouble maintaining his consistency for an entire event and usually falls at the last fence, but this is the first fence and he is certainly capable of qualifying from the group

Scott Porter - Tournaments - 6, Wins - 1, Podiums - 1, Av Placing – 8.6/33.5, % of Wins - 17%, % podium finishes (inc wins) – 33%, preferred faction – Ressers (4)

I just managed to qualify thanks to a 4th place at the final event of the year despite a strong start to the year. Lack of playing time hampers my chances (I wont have played and personally I don’t think I have a chance in this group. In truth I’m happy just to have made it to the event and look forward to some good games on day 1 and then a change of master for the side event on day 2.

Pool 3

Ben Crowe - Tournaments - 11, Wins - 4, Podiums - 4, Av Placing – 2.6/25.5, % of Wins - 36%, % podium finishes (inc wins) – 73%, preferred faction – Outcasts (4)
The man on form. Ben has podiumed at an incredible 73% of the events he has attended and he has won or finished second at the last 6 events he has attended including winning the GT. Since starting to use Levi he seems almost unbeatable and despite the quality of the opposition he should qualify for day 2 with ease and stands a good chance of going all the way.

Maria Wieland - Tournaments - 12, Wins - 1, Podiums - 3, Av Placing - 8/27.8, % of Wins - 8%, % podium finishes (inc wins) – 33%, preferred faction – Outcasts (12)
Maria is a quality player but a little inconsistent. She qualified for the Masters last year and on her day stands a chance against anyone. A fan of Relic Hammers by all accounts she has the ability to cause an upset but with the competition in this group I don’t think she’ll be there for day 2.

Rob Smith - Tournaments - 8, Wins - 2, Podiums - 2, Av Placing - 5/30.8, % of Wins - 25%, % podium finishes (inc wins) – 50%, preferred faction – Gremlins (5)
The thing with Rob is you are never sure if he is going to be playing Wong or Colette (filth all round) or if he plays better while hung over or sober. What is for certain is that he is a solid player who’s 5th in the rankings from 8 events, quite an achievement. I tip him to qualify from the group and he’s also my dark horse to win the Masters depending on if he’s drunk, or sober, or whatever!

Joe Wood  - Tournaments - 8, Wins - 1, Podiums - 2, Av Placing - 5.5/27.5, % of Wins - 13%, % podium finishes (inc wins) – 38%, preferred faction – Guild (8)
Another player I haven’t played Joe has a reputation as a fearsome Sonnia Player. A member of the Southern scene Joe looks to have been consistent throughout the year but might struggle against the opponents in this group.

Pool 4

Ant Hoult Tournaments - 13, Wins - 4, Podiums - 1, Av Placing - 5.4/29, % of Wins - 31%, % podium finishes (inc wins) – 38%, preferred faction – Ressers (8)
Ant is the top Resser player and is a stoic player who doesn’t make many mistakes or give any quarter on the table. His preferred Resser master is Nico but I know he has dabbled with arcanists recently. Another player who secured qualification early and who’s form has dropped a little in recent months. Despite having a reputation for being a little dour Ant is a really nice guy who will be stiff competition in this group but might struggle to qualify depending on Blu-Tac’s form and if he can re-discover his early season form.

Greg Piskosz - Tournaments - 18, Wins - 3, Podiums - 8, Av Placing – 3.9/25.2, % of Wins - 17%, % podium finishes (inc wins) – 61%, preferred faction – Neverborn (10)
The Chosen One, Greg was runner up at last years Masters and a fearsome player who rarely seems to make mistakes as his 3 wins and a massive 8 podiums attest to. I have only played him once at MCC in a friendly game and he certainly knows how to pick a crew and use it! He should breeze the group in my opinion and will be in the mix to win the whole thing

Graham Bursnell - Tournaments - 21, Wins - 2, Podiums - 1, Av Placing – 8.9/26, % of Wins - 10%, % podium finishes (inc wins) – 14%, preferred faction – Arcanists (16)
The statistics would imply that Blu-Tac is a weaker player, a massive 21 events this year, only 2 wins and an average finish of 8.9. This is where statistics lie. On his day I believe Graham is capable of beating any player on the scene and he has a great understanding of Raspy. I tip him to qualify with Greg from the group.

David Golden - Tournaments - 11, Wins - 1, Podiums - 3, Av Placing – 7.1/20.5, % of Wins - 9%, % podium finishes (inc wins) – 36%, preferred faction – Guild (8)

David is a player that I have never met and know nothing about! The stats would say that he’s a solid if unspectacular player and a little inconsistent. On this basis he should struggle to qualify from the group but on the day who knows!

So there you go, and heres some nice graphs and stuff