D&D Sixguns & Sinners: BULLET 7 – CAPTIVE

Back to the Territories, and this session was more of a laid-back chatty roleplaying one; I think it’s important to have one of those after a combat-heavy session so that people can catch their breath and we can get some plot underway.

In Attendance: John Dwyte (Darryl), Magnus Dwyte (Trev), Jebediah Underwood (Joe).


An’ naturally, I’ll be servin’ as the Lawman.

So, last time the Dwyte brothers and Jeb snuck into the Krupp warehouse and found it was full of strange duergar relics. After tangling with the Red Brands and one of the Quiet Brothers, they burned the warehouse down and escaped with some of the relics, but not before they found out that the relics were due to be shipped off to Tributary Falls, a town on the border of aelfar territory.


After hiding out at the old Dwyte Manor for a few days to let some of the heat die down, the group head down to the docks to see if they can arrange travel down the Azure to Tributary Falls. As luck would have it, there’s a merchant steamer called The Spirit of Lancaster due to head out that morning! The group asks to see the captain so that they can book passage. The captain of the Spirit is a woman called Iris Hawke.

I couldn’t find a good picture for “female Wild West steamboat merchant captain” so instead here’s a picture of Zoe Saldana looking simply lovely.

World building time! We decided that we wanted the Territories to be more advanced in attitudes towards women and ethnicity compared to actual 19th-century America was (i.e. a bit rather than not at all), but the general consensus was that it would still be unusual for a woman to be the captain of a merchant vessel; so basically an excuse to make Iris – who was going to serve as a glorified taxi service – more memorable than Generic Man Number 38. I thoroughly recommend that DMs involve players part of the world-building process – when I need a NPC or town name on the fly, I now ask the guys to pitch me something; it keeps them engaged and gets them a bit more invested in the game world.

As the face, negotiation for transport falls to Magnus, who immediately turns on the charm with Iris. Trev rolls really well, and Iris manages to look past that he’s a criminal who stinks of arson, so she accepts them as passengers, though she warns them that she doesn’t tolerate lazy travelers, so they’ll have to pitch in with the chores on the journey. She then tells them that they’re due to set off for Tributary Falls soon.

The guys board and ingratiate themselves with the crew. However, they notice that a search party led by the local sheriff and Mr. Krupp has shown up at the docks! They go and hide below decks, and Magnus asks Iris to cover for them. Again, Trev rolls really well and manages to convince Iris that they’re the good guys.

While hiding below decks, the three of them hear the sheriff and Mr. Krupp board the Spirit and speak with Iris. They tell her that they’re looking for dangerous criminals who killed some of Krupp’s employees, stole from him, and burned down his warehouse (technically all true). Iris keeps her word and covers for the guys; she lies and said that she refused to take them as passengers, and the search party leaves. However, she’s pissed that her new passengers weren’t entirely truthful with her and confronts them.


“Captain, please… it’s a long story. I’d be happy to tell you all about it.”  (produces a bottle of Dwyte Orchard Red) “Maybe over a few drinks?”

Well, how could anyone turn down such an offer?

So the Spirit sets off for Tributary Falls, a three-day journey down the River Azure. John pitches in and bonds with the crew, Jeb manages to dodge doing any work (claiming that it wouldn’t be appropriate for a MAN OF THE LAWRD), and Magnus and Hawke swaps pillow talk; Magnus tells her about their escapades, and Iris tells him what she shows about the Aeolus, the ship chartered to collect the relics from the Krupp warehouse. She knows the captain is called Edwin Drake, and he’s a bit of a dick, but nothing comprehensive.

After an uneventful three days, they dock in Tributary Falls and do what they usually do; hit up the sheriff’s office, and the local saloon. While walking through town, they see a couple of Red Brand gang members. At the sheriff’s office, there’s a few low-pay bounties… but nothing on the Red Brands. Clearly the gang has more influence in this smaller town than they did in River’s End. At the saloon, a group of Red Brands are getting drunk and boisterous. The guys still have a couple of Red Brand scarfs from their raid on the warehouse which they didn’t turn in for bounty, so John and Magnus put them on and ingratiate themselves with the Red Brands, passing themselves off as fellow gang members from River’s End. Jeb lingers nearby and plays the piano, keeping an ear out.

As John and Magnus talk with the Red Brands, they learn two things; that someone called Dutch is worried about the missing shipment and is waiting for instructions from Morgan, and, more importantly, that the gang has captured an aelfar warrior!

Background Break! Aelfars are the setting’s elves and serve as the obligatory Native American proxy; you know, in touch with nature, a clan structure, ancestor spirit worship, fighting back against the expansion of the colonists… all that stuff. They’re the indigenous people of the Territories, and they’re probably the only ones who know what actually happened to the duergar. 

But if I know dwarfs, it was probably something with digging too greedily and too deep.

Then Dutchie, the local Red Brand leader, walks in. He’s a big guy; your stereotypical wall of muscle bruiser.


“Right boys, let’s go.” *points to John and Magnus* “Who the hell are you two?”


“We’re… Hank and…”




“Errr… yes…? Hank and Sting. From River’s End. Morgan sent us over, figured you could use some extra help around here with that shipment.”


“It hasn’t arrived yet, but you’re welcome to hang around until then. Funny… Morgan said it should be here by now.”

The Dwytes go with their new Red Brand buddies back to their hideout in a waterfront warehouse. As they’re walking, Magnus asks a few question about the aelfar prisoner. Dutchie says that they’ve been keeping him because “those creepy guys in black” have some questions for him. No prizes for guessing that the creepy guys in black are the Quiet Brothers. John proposes that they may be able to get some answers out of the aelfar. Dutchie shrugs and lets them have a go. “Don’t go easy on the pointy-ears though,” he says. What a dick.

At the warehouse, John and Magnus go down into the basement and sure enough there’s an aelfar warrior chained up. John manages to intimidate the Red Brand with the keys and convinces him that he’s not going to hang around and see what they’re going to do the aelfar. The Red Brand hands them the keys telling them to lock up when they’re done and leaves. The Dwytes then try to convince the aelfar that they’re on his side. He’s more than a little suspicious, obviously. While talking to him, Magnus notices that the aelfar’s tribal tattoos have some similarities to the markings on the bow owned by Jeb. Magnus makes the educated guess that the aelfar is from the same clan, the Selai-Thua, and drops the name, which manages to get the aelfar’s attention.

While John fakes up a lot of noise to give the impression that they’re actually beating the crap out of the aelfar, Magnus asks him what the Red Brands are doing with him.


“Men in black clothes. They come to me, with things made by duergar hands, and things from the old place of grey houses. They ask me questions, but I tell them nothing except that they are fools and they meddle with the treasures of the spirits.”

Ominous much?


“Listen, we’re going to get you out of here. We’re friends of Jebediah Underwood. He’s a friend of your clan. The preacher with the golden eye?”


“Spirit-Eye is here? It is as the clan elder foretold; his wanderings will lead him back to my people, so that he may once again aid us in a time of trouble. I will come with you, friends of Spirit-Eye.”

A plan is made to come back later that night and spring the aelfar from captivity. Magnus uses his always prepared ability to produce a bar of soap and uses it to make casts of the keys to the room and to the aelfar’s manacles. They then head out, telling Dutchie that the aelfar didn’t tell them anything, and that they’re just going to go and loiter around town. With nothing else going on, Dutchie lets them go without question.

Back at the saloon, Jeb, with nothing else to do, has been playing piano all this time. The Dwytes come and grab him and tell him about the captured aelfar. They bribe an apprentice blacksmith in town to make replica keys out of the impromptu casts (which led to an educational break as we Googled how long it would actually take to forge a key), and then head back to the hideout.

Jeb waits outside while the Dwytes go in. There’s only a few Red Brands hanging around, and Magnus distracts them with booze and dirty jokes while John uses the forged keys to get into the store room where the aelfar is kept and free him.

While waiting outside, Jeb sees Dutchie and a few more Red Brands approaching. He steps out of the shadows and confronts them.


“Gentlemen, good evening.”


“Who the hell are you?”


“My name’s Father Harper. I’m an associate of Mr. Krupp.”

… which gets me and Trev really excited at the brass balls that Joe’s displaying.


“Oh my god, Joe, that’s such an awesome idea to pass yourself of as one of the Quiet Brothers!”

To which Joe pauses.


(OOC) “Oh. Oh! Yeah, that’s a much better idea than what I was going to say!”



“Yeah, I was going to say I was just some guy who worked for Krupp, but yeah, pretending to be one of the Quiet Brothers is a much better idea! Thanks!”

Let this be a warning, my fellow DMs; never give your players ideas. Though to be fair we all had a good laugh about it, which is the important thing at the end of the day.

So while Jeb keeps Dutchie distracted, John sneaks the aelfar outside. Seeing his brother get out, Magnus then makes his excuses and ducks out, just as Dutchie finishes talking to Jeb and comes inside. All according to plan! When they all meet up in a quiet part of down, the aelfar shows great respect to Jeb and says that the clan leader will be pleased to see him again.


“He ain’t the only one. I got some questions that I figger he’s got answers for.”

With their new friend leading the way, Jeb and the Dwytes sneak out of town and head into aelfar territory…




Undercity Adventures: Chapter 3 – They’re Getting Away!

After a long hiatus, Em and I have resumed the adventures of the Black River Irregulars. Last time, we had to capture escaping suspects. This time, we have to… oh. Capture escaping suspects. Hm. Ah well, on with it I suppose!

In this mission, our goal was to make sure that a gobber didn’t make it off the board with an important package that was important for the alchemical smuggling ring we were investigating. We had to take him down and retrieve the package for ourselves. Of course, the roaming patrols of thugs were bound to make things difficult.

We started off and the gobber and his trollkin friend made a beeline for the exit. Fortunately the map is laid out so that they have to take a fairly long, winding route, but still… we were in for a chase. There was a gate that could be opened and give us a shortcut, but the control room was on the other side of the board! Thankfully there was a narrow passage in the wall where we started that led straight to the control room, so Canice the gunmage went through to do some technical jiggerypokery.

Meanwhile a patrol of baddies builds up behind us. Apologies for the photo quality, my phone is an unrepentant piece of garbage.

Milo, Pog and Doorstop ran forward while Gardek hung back to serve as a roadblock to the enemy patrol that would be coming to greet us very shortly.

Canice got to the control room and flipped the switch, opening up the gates and giving us a way to cut off the running gobber and trollkin. Milo started carving through thugs thanks to his new Anatomical Precision ability, and Doorstop and Gardek kept breaking heads. But the gobber and trollkin were getting further and further away, and a new patrol had just shown up. Milo threw the fear gas grenade we’d obtained back in chapter 1 at the patrol and knocked them all down, effectively taking them out for a turn. We were rolling a little too well for the bad guys though, and Gardek was starting to take some heavy hits.

Another patrol of guys showed up, this time down near Canice. The gunmage was on her own, and given her track record, it wasn’t looking great for her.

“Boys, boys, one at a time, please.”

However, we didn’t actually have to worry. Thanks to a mix of Feat cards and other shenanigas, Canice managed to take down two of the thugs coming for her, and managed to set up a permanent stun-lock on the ogrun bruiser with her Leveler rune shot.

Pog and Doorstop meanwhile was chasing after the gobber (the trollkin having been smashed by Doorstop), and Gardek was having trouble with some Rhulic mercs. Milo, on the other hand, was positioning himself at the open gate, acid flask ready. Sure enough, Doorstop got bogged down by another enemy patrol, and the gobber got away… only to end up perfectly in range for Milo. One flask of Potent Acid and a boosted damage roll later, the gobber was just a smear on the floor and we had the package!

Now, the mission actually calls for the heroes to retrieve the package themselves and get to the exit, but if I’m honest we couldn’t be bothered; if the gobber and trollkin are both dead, no other enemy can pick up the package and attempt to make off with it, so it seemed a bit of a foregone conclusion. Besides, we had lunch in the oven. Priorities and all that. So we called it there, figuring that there’d be no harm done; in fact we’d probably miss out on some extra experience points! As it was, we hadn’t had time to go and explore the side quests, though given that one of those would’ve spawned a pack of drudges, that may have been for the best.

Then it was time to spend some experience and get some tasty upgrades.

Canice took Rune Shot: Thunderbolt, which will let her do all sorts of forced movement trickery with enemies she shoots. She has 5 XP remaining.

Milo took Concussion Grenade, which means he can now lock down whole squares of enemies by knocking them flat on their behinds. He has 3 XP remaining.

Pog took Master Toolkit, which lets him use any of his Feat cards to boost either Doorstop’s attack rolls or damage rolls for the whole turn, turning his ‘jack into a literal murdermachine. He has 5 XP remaining.

Gardek took Great Strength: Rusher, meaning that he can charge 3 squares and get into the thick of the fight even sooner. He has 9 XP remaining.

I’m really digging Undercity so far, and I’m looking forward to our next game!



Growing Pains : An RPG of Adolescent Horror

I managed to finally fulfill a long-running goal this week, and I ran a horror-themed one-night RPG session for Halloween. And better yet, it served as a test-run (and a very successful one) for an RPG that I wrote! Sort of. I’ll explain.


I really like 1d4chan. Once you dig through the worrying amount of slash-fics and memes, there’s some really good gaming resources on there for tabletop gaming. Their Warhammer and 40k tactics pages are excellent and often hilarious, and there’s plenty of good reading like The Guy Who Cried Grendel, Old Man Henderson, and Humanity, Fuck Yeah!

Because 1d4chan is lovingly maintained by a stable of creative grognards and neckbeards (or elegan/tg/entlemen as they prefer to be known) there’s also a good amount of house-ruled and homebrewed material. For example, Epic6 is probably the best way ever of playing D&D, but there’s plenty of rules for new wargames and RPGs, and one of my favourites is Afterschool Activities, a rules-lite horror RPG in which the players are students in a dark, creepy school. One thing I like is that instead of your usual RPG stats like Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, etc, the students of Afterschool Activities have Subjects and Grades. So instead of Strength 15, you may have Gym B, for example. Task resolution is a single D6 roll; 4 or higher means you succeed, with your Grade in the relevant Subject modifying that dice roll. There’s also a stat called Wakefulness; as the game goes on, students start becoming tired, and when their Wakefulness reaches 0, they fall asleep and don’t wake up…


It’s a really fun, easy system, and I was eager to run it. However, I wanted to make a few tweaks to some of the rules, and sure enough I had ended up creating a new rules system. As it was a new system, I went ahead and gave it a new name; Growing Pains, for running adventures of adolescent horror.


Character sheet

Full rules

Players are students of St. Iscariot’s Academy, and are between 11 and 14 years old. Obviously every Student needs a Name, and a Stereotype, shown on the character sheet (“report card”) as the Who Is… field. This is where the player can write a few words to quickly sum up their Student, like “jock”, “head in the clouds”, “exchange student”, “painfully normal”, and so.

Students then have six Subjects; Arts & Drama, English & History, Gym, Maths & Science, Social Studies, and Tech. Studies. These subjects broadly cover the various actions that a Student can take; for example, Gym is used for sporty stuff like running, jumping, throwing, Arts & Drama is used for visual perception, acting, impressing people, and so on. A Student’s Grade in a Subject can be Good, Average, or Poor.

Growing Pains uses D8s, and only D8s. Ideally you want six, three of one colour and three of another. One colour will represent Effort Dice, and the other will represent Setback Dice. The dice system is basically a very dumbed-down version of FFG’s Star Wars RPG, in that you roll “good” and “bad” dice at the same time. When you take a check (“Test”), the Student rolls a number of Effort Dice depending on his Grade in the relevant Subject (3 dice for Good, 2 for Average, and 1 for Poor) and simultaneously rolls a number of Setback Dice equal to the Test’s difficulty (3 dice for Hard, 2 for Normal, and 1 for Easy).

The numbers rolled aren’t added together; you’re looking for the highest number of each colour. If the Student’s highest Effort Dice roll is equal to or greater than the highest Setback Dice roll, then they succeed at the Test. If their highest Effort Dice roll is lower than the highest Setback Dice roll, then they failed… oh dear.


Obviously, Fear is a big part of a horror game. In Growing Pains, the Students can only take so much before they Give Up, and that’s when they’re at their most vulnerable. Whenever something scary happens, a Student has to take a Fear check; this is a straight roll of a single D8, attempting to roll higher than their current Fear. Depending on the intensity of the scare, the effects of a pass or failure change.

If the thing that prompted the Fear check was a simple scare (the classic being a sudden loud noise or the lights going out), then the Student gains 1 Fear on a fail, and no Fear on a pass. However, if the thing that prompted the Fear check was something that was really terrifying or traumatic (like seeing a dead body, or trying to stay quiet while hiding from the eldritch horror stalking them), then the Student gains 1 Fear on a pass but keep going. If they fail though, their Fear goes straight to 8, and they Give Up. Giving Up means that they may collapse in a gibbering heap, or run off in a blind, screaming panic… their fate is up to the GM. Thankfully, a Student who’s Given Up can be revived (possibly) by their fellow Students.

So that’s it really. There are a few other little rules like becoming injured, or gaining Fear to try and succeed at a Test, but they’re all covered in the rules document above. Apart from that, go nuts. Haunted schools, abandoned fun fairs, old hospitals… the usual cliche places where kids may go exploring and get in way over their heads.

The game I ran was a fairly stereotypical horror plot, straight out of a lazy movie. I only had Trev and Ryan as guinea pigs, and anticipating a high body count, got them to make up three characters each, in classic Gygaxian Tomb of Horrors style. There was a Halloween dance, the lights went out, then the teachers started to go missing and they started to hear some urban legends about a creature called Scratchyhands, and they started finding long slash marks on the walls and doors, and seeing something moving in the dark. Cue much running and hiding, and one girl getting smacked in the head with a chair. Good times. They only lost one character each!


In fact, it was so successful that I’m hoping to do another one when we’re finished with Sixguns & Sinners and before I start Edge of the Empire… I’m thinking a Christmas-themed scare might be on the cards! The nice thing about Growing Pains is that the rules are simple and the theme is so immediately accessible that it would be perfect for people new to RPGs, and it’s great for a one-night session.


D&D Sixguns and Sinners – BULLET 6: CARGO

A more combat-heavy session this time. Last time, Jeb and Magnus came in possession of some mysterious metal shards and traced them to the Krupp riverfront warehouse. After they met up with John, a plan was made to sneak in that night and investigate…

In Attendance: John Dwyte (Darryl), Magnus Dwyte (Trev), Jebediah Underwood (Joe).


An’ naturally, I’ll be servin’ as the Lawman.

The group rest up and head out that night, loaded for bear. As they approach the warehouse, they see lights; sentries! And not just the normal night watchmen; these sentries are Red Brand gang members with serious firepower and guard dogs.


Although they could go in the front, guns blazing, the guys decide to take a stealthier approach. Jeb finally gets some use out of the aelfar clan bow he’s been carrying round; aside from some thrown knives, it’s the closest thing to a ranged stealth weapon the three have between them. Jeb also uses his vial of venom to coat three arrows, imbues the bow with his holy weapon ability, and passes it to John, who’s the best shot.

They head round to the east side, and John takes aim at the sentry there; thankfully the sentry’s lantern and Jeb’s blessing make the shot easy despite the dark. The arrow nearly kills the sentry, and the poison finishes him off, dropping him. The guard dog seems confused, and that’s when Magnus swoops in. Trev uses his character’s always prepared ability to produce a dog treat, and I let him take his Animals check with advantage. He nails it, and successfully pacifies the dog. Jeb and John move in, and they hide the sentry’s body in the nearby lean-to. Then Magnus takes the dead man’s red scarf and lantern, and the guard dog’s leash and goes after the next one.

He extinguishes the lantern and approaches the next sentry, asking to be relit. He successfully passes as the dead sentry, and the other guy moves towards him. Trev then has Magnus drop the lantern on purpose, and as the other sentry instinctively watches it drop, he knifes him in the throat (for quick kills like this, I call for an attack roll; on a hit, it’s insta-kill, and on a miss it’s a critical, unless it’s a natural 1 in which case you messed up). Jeb then grabs John’s cavalry sabre, rushes in, and kills the guard dog. Two down!

Magnus once again uses always prepared ability to produce a cigarette and approach the third guard, who’s patrolling the pier and who thankfully hasn’t heard anything. After giving the guy a light, Magnus pulls the old “what’s that over there?” trick, and when the sentry is distracted, he’s pushed into the water by Magnus, dragging his dog in as well (who happily paddles away). Jeb, wearing the second guard’s red scarf, appears and throws the guard his whip to help pull him back up onto the pier. As the sentry climbs up, John casually walks up and puts a poisoned arrow between his eyes while he’s completely helpless. The third guard falls back into the water with a splash and drifts away.

All in all, pretty slick work from the three of them! However, there are still two sentries out front. The group find a side door and slip into the warehouse from the west side. They explore a couple of offices, and find a shipping manifest for a steamer called the Aeolus coming out of Tributary Falls to collect “miscellaneous” cargo early the next morning.

They move into the main warehouse area, and find it full of the crates that the Red Brands were unloading earlier that day. The duergar relic that Jeb’s carrying starts reacting, beeping at different pitches and frequencies as he comes near certain crates. Upon opening them, they find weird bits of metal, stone, and ceramic which look just like the shards (which Magnus left under a floorboard in their room back in the saloon). I make sure that they realise that if all these relics are indeed duergar in origin, the total worth is astronomical; like if your living room contained the Mona Lisa, the Turin Shroud, Hitler’s brain in a jar, and two hundred kilos of cocaine.

Magnus and John cover the door while Jeb explores some of the crates upstairs; however the sentries outside notice the beeping of the relic and the light of his lantern and go in to investigate! One of them runs in and is gunned down by Magnus (who is really pulling his weight this session), while the other gets a hellfire bomb dropped on him courtesy of Jeb.

With all the sentries out of the way, the group decide to wait out until morning and try and get aboard the Aeolus. A fine plan, however…

After about an hour, Jeb, who’s keeping watch, notices a stagecoach approaching. He shouts a warning, and Magnus, still wearing his Red Brand disguise, runs out front with their new friendly guard dog so as not to rouse suspicion. Jeb and John take up positions upstairs by the windows, ready to shoot if needs be.

The stagecoach pulls up, and three people get out. One is Otto Krupp, the warehouse owner and patriarch of the Krupp family. He’s arguing with the second person, a pretty and petite woman dressed very smartly in a long black coat and business suit. The third person is a grizzled and uninterested looking hired gun type, who Magnus (after a quick Superstition check) recognises as Silas Thorn, a bounty hunter of some renown. In Trev’s words, “he’s not Boba Fett; he’s Bossk.”

But at least he's not Dengar.
But at least he’s not Dengar.

Krupp and the woman are arguing about something to do with their “business arrangement”, and Krupp being “accommodating” to the “wishes of our mutual benefactor”. Alarm bells start ringing for the guys, and they make the obvious deduction that Krupp and the Red Brands are both working for the Quiet Brothers, the sinister Illuminati-like crime syndicate.

Krupp, the woman, and Silas start to head into the warehouse to “check the merchandise”. Krupp blusters to Trev, asking where the other guards are. Trev attempts an lie, but his roll is average while my roll for the woman’s Insight check is disgustingly good. She sees right through him, and whips out a pair of stiletto blades from hidden pockets in her coat.


“He’s not one of the guards we posted, you idiot. He’s one of the Dwyte brothers, which means the other one and that priest must be nearby.”


“Yeah? Well… umm…”


“BUMDERS!!!” (opens fire)    

 This fight. Oh boy, this fight. Up to now, the guys have had it pretty easy, stomping everything with ease. But this time they were up against two elite adversaries; Silas Thorn and the Quiet Brother facilitator, Jenny “the Razor”. And “elite” means “funky special abilities, and acting twice per round”. And my dice, fickle polyhedronal bastards that they are, decided to start rolling really well.

For example, Jeb had a nasty surprise when he tried a shot at Silas, missed, and the bounty hunter used his reaction return fire to make a ranged attack right back at him, which hit (despite the cover Jeb had) and took off three-quarters of his HP. John then had an equally nasty surprise when he fired at Jenny and hit… except Jenny had an ability called deadly dodge which let her roll 1d3 and add that to her Defence to determine if she was hit… and then if she wasn’t, then she got to move 5 feet and make a thrown knife attack right back. Oh yeah. These two were mean.

Trev unleashed Charles the dog at Jenny, and he took a chomp out of her before she knifed him back and killed him (that’s how you know she’s evil). Krupp meanwhile was running back to the stagecoach and telling his driver to get the hell out of Dodge.

Silas ran into the warehouse and snuggled down behind some crates and started taking potshots at John, and oh Darryl by the way Silas has a repeater rifle so he can fire two shots at you, oh God I’m sorry.

Trev tried to blast Jenny with his sawn-off shotgun, but he missed and got a knife in the chest for his troubles. He dropped, and had to start making death saving throws. Silas meanwhile had a back-and-forth with John, which ended with John hurting, and the older bounty hunter getting head shot.


“Dibs on the rifle, by the way.”

Jeb tried to hit Jenny with his hotshot-loaded shotgun, but the Quiet Brother (Sister?) was too nimble. She ran up the stairs to him, and issued a cryptic threat.


“We won’t let your god rule this world, priest!”

She then got slash-happy with her knives, and Jeb went down. Magnus meanwhile was recovering, but he was still two successes away from stabilising, and now it was the injured John against the nearly fighting-fit Jenny. She went for him, but luckily she fluffed her attack roll. However, so did John. It wasn’t looking good…

Until Trev rolled a natural 20 on his death saving throw for Magnus, stabilising and recovering 1 HP! Magnus, bleeding and barely conscious, rolled over, raised his sawn-off shotgun, aimed at the completely unaware Jenny, and channelled his inner Ellen Ripley.Badger

“Get away from him, you bitch!”

Now, Trev’s character isn’t exactly what you’d call a sharpshooter or a gunslinger, so we all held our breath as he rolled his d20. Hell, I wanted him to succeed! It span, came to rest, and…

BOOM. Hit, and precisely enough damage to drop her! It was an awesome cinematic moment (the heroic recovery, the fact the shot was the last shell in his gun, the one-liner, everything), and a great way to finish off a very tense, very challenging fight.

Jeb and Magnus got back on their feet and healed a bit (and John recovered Silas’s repeater rifle), and they crowded around Jenny, who was alive but mortally wounded. Jeb attempted to read her mind with his small miracle ability, though he was wary, given that the last time he tried to read the mind of a Quiet Brother he’d taken damage. He didn’t take damage, but he still couldn’t get anything; the woman’s mind was totally locked off to him. Clearly the Quiet Brothers have access to some very potent occult arts to be able to do such a thing.


(to John and Magnus) “You fools… you don’t realise… he’s… using you…”


“Ignore her. She’s just tryin’ to spook you.”

He took out his ceremonial knife, the one they found in the Dwyte Manor basement.


“I ain’t usin’ ‘em. The Lord is, both them and me. You? You, he ain’t got no use for.”

Then he stabs Jenny. She screams and convulses, and bursts into heatless, silver-green flames. She’s quickly consumed and soon only blackened bones remain.


“What the hell was that!? That knife…”

jeff-grit_1783061c(shrugs) “We ain’t killed one of these Quiet Brothers yet. Maybe they all do that. There something ain’t right with them, after all; like they’re… empty, inside. Like they’ve been hollowed out by all that devilry.”

John and Magnus seem to accept this as an explanation, for now at least.

So what now? Krupp’s seen them, and knows about their involvement. The Quiet Brothers will almost certainly find out that one of their agents has been killed, and Morgan “the Branded” won’t be pleased that another five of his men have been dealt with.


“We send a message.”

They find a rowboat tied up on the pier, and load it with two crates of relics from the warehouse; one full of metallic plates and rods, the other with stone and ceramic tablets. Then they use lantern oil to set fire to the warehouse, burning it and its contents to the ground.

The Reaper’s Tally: 2 witches, 5 train robbers, 10 Red Brand gang members, 1 guard dog, Silas Thorn, Jenny the Razor.

“Fuck YES!” Moment: Trev’s string of great rolls that allowed his character to stabilise, act, and blow away the knife-wielding psycho attacking his brother. Gonna be hard to top that any time soon.

Rather than go back into town, the three of them decide to hole up in the burned out Dwyte Manor for a few days, hiding the two crates and planning their next move. The decision seems to be to head to Tributary Falls, and find out who there was so keen to receive so many duergar relics. Whoever they are, they have dangerous connections; the Quiet Brother syndicate. Can two brothers of a once-noble family and a gruff old preacher really go up against them and win?

We’ll find out next time…


No Pain(t), No Gain, Part 2

I haven’t sat down and down any hobby stuff for ages… not since the end of May, in fact. But ever since being introduced to The Dice Saloon, a new gaming club in Brighton which has about eight tables set up for wargaming… well, I thought it was time to finally finish off my fledgling Khador and Protectorate forces for Warmachine. Plus, Joe had expressed an interest in learning to play Warmachine, and a demo game is just so much better when everything’s painted up.


I finally got round to picking up a Butcher model, and I couldn’t wait to paint him up. I didn’t want him looking pristine and shiny, so I loaded up a brush with red paint and flicked it over him to get a crude blood-splatter effect. I think it’s worked okay.


My WIP Reckoner. He needs tidying up and, of course, a heavy black wash. My Menoth guys are primarily red with gold trim which gives them a fairly ornate, Gothic sort of look. I’ve used the Sanctifier’s head and weapon on this guy because I’m not a fan of the normal Menoth ‘jack head, and I couldn’t bring myself to use the goofy-looking consecrator mace (which just looks like a glorified baseball bat).


Here we are using everything in our second game last Wednesday. I took Khador (I was desperate to use Butcher) while Joe took the Protectorate. It was weird playing Warmachine again, but the good kind of weird; I’d forgotten how unrelentingly brutal the game is. I may have caught the bug again… (the Crusader btw was proxying as the Reckoner, which I’d just bought that evening).


Warmachine’s not the only game I’m trying to get back into. Dreadball is a fantastically tactical game of hyper-violent American football IN SPAAAACE. My human team originally had a rubbish colour scheme of green and silver. Since I only recently learned how to properly paint black (shut up, I know), I decided to repaint the team. These are the Jacks of the newly-formed Vedic Tigers (shout out to my boy Kenton!).


Strikers. It’s hard to win without them. Like the Reckoner, these guys are 90% done, just a few more tweaks needed like tidying up splashes, adding player numbers, etc. I’m definitely more of a “gaming standard” type of painter; three or four base colours, bit of ink and/or drybrushing, boom, done.


And finally my two Guards. They hit things. Things like your face.

So, yeah. That’s been my most recent foray into the world of painting little plastic dudes (and one metal dude I suppose). But there’s always more to be done; I recently used the Dettol Method to strip the paint off a ton of old metal models I had lying around, so there’s those. And I want to get another Dreadball team, and Deadzone has been at the top of my shopping list for ages, and of course now I’m getting back into Warmachine…

A hobbyist’s work is never done!

– Gareth

Photodump – London Culture

I’ve been using up my annual holiday and taken this week off; I went up and saw my parents for a few days, which was lovely, and I also decided to take advantage that getting to London is a lot cheaper and easier from East Grinstead than down on the coast. I fancied a day of wandering around and feeling all smug and cultured, so off I went.

A bit of background; London is a great city. I worked there for five years though, and all that commuting back and forth meant that a bit of the city’s charm became lost on me. But it’s been nearly three years since then, and now I feel I can once again enjoy London as a tourist, not as a worker.

Many photos imminent, so consider thyself justly warned and continue if thou wishest.


I got into London Waterloo just before 11. I was planning to hit up the National Gallery and the British Museum, and Waterloo is way closer to both of those than Victoria. I have no problems with the Underground, but it was a nice day and I was in the mood for a stroll. I know it may sound silly, but I love how grand the entrance for Waterloo is.


After fighting my way through a thicket of selfie-sticks, I took an obligatory shot of Parliament and Benjamin.


I lived in Vauxhall for about a year, and I used to walk along South Bank to and from work which means I saw this spiky bastard twice per day. If only there was a way of knowing what time I took this photo.





One thing I love about London is that there are awesome, beautiful statues everywhere. These four are all along Embankment.


Lots of people have a misconception that London is one big, dirty grey sprawl. This is Embankment Gardens, tucked away all shy and humble, quietly proving them wrong.


But I wasn’t here for gardens! I was here for CULTURE. Up from Embankment, down the Strand, into Trafalgar Square, and boom! National Gallery, my friends. By the way, did you know that entrance to nearly all of London’s museums and galleries is totally free? If you didn’t, you’re welcome.


Nelson’s a right pain in the arse to get in frame.

Then because I am a giggling man-child I wandered round the gallery and made up new captions for some pictures.

“You know what this outdoor group sex session needs? A creepy naked infant watching us!”
“Look. Look, you see? You see! Look at this shit! This is what I have to put up with every day!” – Joseph.
“Now, I know how it looks…”

I then headed up towards the British Museum for more CULTURE. As the weather had picked up, I sat outside and ate lunch (I brought a packed lunch because I’m cool and poor like that).


I bloody love the British Museum. I was in there twice as long as the National Gallery, weaving between school trips and tourist groups. The British Museum is great because there’s a little bit of everything in there; I generally zip through museums until I see something that grabs me, but you could easily spend a whole day in there.


It might look a bit dusty and stuffy on the outside, but inside it’s really airy and spacious. Like a TARDIS, but with more Japanese tourists.

Those pharaohs really knew how to pout.
Lammasu; the classy manticore.
I like to think that the ancient Greeks knew these bastards were Weeping Angels and took the appropriate steps.
Some goofy-looking temple guardian statues.
Throwing moves like a total boss in a circle of cosmic flames while stomping on a demon. Shiva is a fucking badass.
Imagine the damage Joffrey could’ve done if the Iron Throne had been made out of AK-47s.

I also took what I thought at the time was a decent picture of the magnificent George III Library (a huge room made out of brass, dark wood, and solid CULTURE) but alas it was blurry and out of focus when I checked it much later! Boo!

I have a standing joke with my mother that the British Museum has an excess of pots.




This one is really taking the piss.

It was getting late and I wanted to beat the post-work rush hour so I started to head back. With two pit-stops…


Forbidden Planet is tucked away at the end of Shaftesbury Avenue. It is a wicked evil place that exists only to vacuum money out of my wallet in exchange for shiny trinkets. I bought the latest Sabbat Worlds anthology (£4 mark down as well) to tide me over while I wait for Dan “The Man” Abnett to grace us with The Warmaster.


The money I’ve spent over the years in Forbidden Planet? Double it for Orc’s Nest. Just down the street from the Planet and hidden away down a side-street, this is a tiny but excellent store for all types of tabletop gaming. Forbidden Planet is great for comics, books, and toys, but Orc’s Nest the place to go for board games, miniatures, dice, paints, cards, RPGs, and so on.


I decided to cut through Covent Garden; after all, why not? It’s incredibly pretty.


Look! Look how fucking pretty that is! There’s classy shops and a little cafe and a string quartet and AAARGH I LOVE IT SO MUCH. 

A last slog across Waterloo Bridge, and I was on the train heading home, exhausted. All in all, a pretty good way to spend six hours. And I didn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what this great city has to offer, and, if I hadn’t had popped into the Planet or Orc’s Nest, the only money I would’ve spent on the day out would’ve been for my train ticket.

So there. That’s my little love letter to London. I thought that my affections for the city had cooled, but I found that I’ve still got a soft spot for the mad and beautiful old girl.


“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.”

– Samuel Johnson


D&D Sixguns & Sinners – Bullet 5: MYSTERY

Monday’s session was another quick foray into the Fragmented States of Aurelia. As Darryl wasn’t able to make it, the session was more of a set-up for our next game, which meant it was heavy on talking; I wasn’t about to throw a serious fight at Trev and Joe without their heavy hitter around!

In Attendance: Magnus Dwyte (Trev), Jebediah Underwood (Joe).


An’ naturally, I’ll be servin’ as the Lawman.

Last time, the group went back to the ruins of the old Dwyte home to recover a strange ceremonial knife that Dwyte Senior had promised to Jebediah. Oh, and they pissed off the local outlaw gang, The Red Brands, and their Apostle-gone-bad leader, Morgan.

We fluffed the reason for Darryl’s character not being around as him being angry with his brother, who had basically lied to him for years and allowed him to feel like the destruction of their home and the murder of their parents was his fault. Also, John had bumped into his ex-finance, and was spending time/desperately trying to get back with her; genteel conversation, afternoon tea, that sort of thing.

We opened with Joe’s preacher character being approached by the local priest. As a fellow man of the Lord, Jebediah was abusing his position somewhat and  claiming free bed-and-board from his fellow clergyman. The local priest, Father Cavil (I panicked and, ironically, picked the name of an atheistic nihilist from BSG; I need a better method for naming NPCs, maybe something like “write that shit down in advance”) showed Joe a collection of strange metal shards that a local prospector had given him.

Apparently the prospector had found the shards a few days ago, and had held onto them, thinking they were valuable. However, the prospector had suffered from hideous nightmares while he’d had the shards on him, and had given them to Cavil, suspecting that they were cursed in some way. Cavil, himself quite a cloistered individual, had heard of Jeb’s travels around the Territories, and wondered if he might know anything.

Joe’s Academics check showed that no, no he didn’t. However, the duergar relic in his pocket seemed to know something; it spontaneously activated and started chiming when it came close to the shards. I also told Joe that being close to the shards made his Stigmata (the sign of his supernatural Apostolic powers) start to ache. So, we have some weird material that causes horrible nightmares, and reacts weirdly to Apostle powers and ancient technology.

Nothing suspicious about that, right Satan?

Jeb convinces Cavil to let him take the shards, and says that the aelfar tribe that he’s friendly with may know something about them. He meets up with Magnus and tells him everything. Well, nearly everything.


“What’s that beeping noise?”


“Nothing. Hold these.”  (passes the bag of demon-metal to Magnus)

They go and try and track down the prospector. They go into the local office of the Aurelian Mining Guild (Trev finally used his forgery kit and faked up a membership certificate), and the clerk tells them where they can find the prospector, who’s your standard crazy-hermit-panning-for-gold type. In one of the smaller saloons, they find the prospector who looks visibly shaken. They question him about the shards and where he found them, but he doesn’t want to talk about it.

At the mention of the nightmares, he goes quiet. Jeb then uses his small miracle ability to get a glimpse into the prospector’s mind and sees some vague images, the most enduring is that of duergar warriors fighting some kind of supernatural enemy; perhaps the same enemy that destroyed their civilisation. Jeb comforts the prospector and after plying him with a few drinks, the prospector tells them that he found the shards when scavenging downstream from a riverside warehouse out of town. The warehouse is owned by the Krupp family, who Magnus remembers from his youth as being small-time players.

Naturally, Joe and Trev draw the conclusion that the shards came from the warehouse; maybe a container got knocked into the river and the shards got washed downstream. Of course, they still don’t know what the shards are. Trev buys a chemistry kit with his poker money, and I let him and Joe pool their knowledge into running some sort of tests to try and determine what the shards are made of. The shards don’t dissolve or tarnish when exposed to different chemicals, confirming that they’re clearly of non-human origin; either duergar or something worse.

They decide to go and check out the Krupp warehouse. They find it easily, but see that there are Red Brand gang members there! But they’re not raiding the place; they’re offloading unmarked crates from nearby wagons and storing them inside. There are way too many Red Brands for the two of them to handle (and we were wrapping up anyway and in the mood for some DC Deckbuilder), so the plan was to go grab John and come back that night to investigate the warehouse more thoroughly.

Investigating with GUNS.


Level Up! The guys have been 2nd level long enough. Everyone gets more HP! Jeb learns Eye for an Eye (supernatural ability that blasts someone who’s hurt him or an ally) and gains proficiency with volcano guns (okay..?), and Magnus learns Always Prepared (allows him to spontaneously produce small inexpensive items from his pockets at-will) and gains proficiency in Academics. I’m still waiting for Darryl to make his decision, but he’s thinking of Guts (extra action 1/day) and proficiency in Threaten.

The Reaper’s Tally: Remains the same! There wasn’t a single attack roll in this session. I’ll make up for that by having a big shoot-out next time.

Ongoing Quest: Sneak into the Krupp warehouse and try and find out more about the strange shards.