Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Bar, Grill & Employment Agency

The Yellow Crescent Inn, Weaselton, Kingdom of Possiltum, Klah.

Striding purposefully through the doorway, C'nutsakh approached the innkeeper, who was absentmindedly cleaning flagons, "I'd like to hire some Dwarven warriors."

"You're a dwarven warrior, bub."

"I know that.  I want to hire some more."

"You don't know any?  'Cause if you do, there's a shortage and I can find work for them in a jiffy."

"Wait a minute!  You're the placement agency, and you're asking me to find you warriors?"

"Dwarven warriors, sure.  They're worth a premium.  Not like Timmy-the-Window-Licker over there...  HEY!  QUIT LICKING THE DAGGONE WINDOWS!"

Surveying the room, C'nutsakh saw the serving wench scurrying around an exotic entertainer to deliver fresh flagons to two experienced looking... individuals conversing with one another.  He deflated a bit at seeing the group at the front table.  Beard up, chest out, he approached the two conversing at the back table.

HeroQuest figures by Milton-Bradley; Innkeeper, Serving Wench and Bonzo by Reaper Miniatures; Belly Dancer by Flying Frog Games, Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner by Warren Zevon.
"Good day gentlemen, I have a proposition for you."

The white-faced one mutely peered at him from over his flagon while the other poured mead down his neck hole.  

Finally, the evil clown spoke, "Boy, you only got your name two sessions ago.  We're retired."

C'nutsakh didn't know what manner of strange, metal item the silent one held, but when he pulled back a small handle that slammed forward with a menacing CLICK, he realized:

  1. The item is a weapon.
  2. The weapon is far more deadly than any he'd ever heard of, less seen.
  3. These... gentlemen were best left to conduct their business in privacy.
With resignation, C'nutsakh turned toward the group at the front table, and discovered two of the three gazing at him in the same way a fourth-grader does when he knows the answer: Pick Me!  Pick Me!  Regrettably, but unexpectedly, the third appeared to be licking the window.

Without hope for an affirmative answer, the dwarf asked as he approached, "Do any of you have a name?"

The Warrior was still oblivious to anything in the room while Elf and Wizard immediately began examining the floor.

"Wizard is a title", was the barely audible reply.

"Have you at least quested yet?"

"If getting here from across town counts, then yes, and it should."

"Alright, I'm C'nutsakh and you're hired, on condition that you keep the window licker from doing any too stupid.  I know you can't completely prevent his stupidity, but I expect you do keep an eye on him at all times.  Let's go."

As the dwarf led his new grunts, the innkeeper called out, "Hey Dwarf, got any Gold Talos?"

"My name is C'nutsakh!  You'd best remember that, and yes I have... one or two."

"I've got just the thing you need.  A Healer."

This occurred to C'nut as a darn good idea.  "Half a Talos!"

"Two Gold Talos.  This fellow will keep your knuckleheads alive and in the fight."

"One Talos."

"I'll meet you in the middle, two Talos."

"Hey! That's not the middle!"

"The middle of the room", said the innkeeper with an unusual brown-robed man behind him.

"Where's the healer?"

"He's the healer.  Best kind of healer available.  A Florist Friar.  Just be sure to keep him away from sheep.  Only Ewe can Prevent Florist Friars."

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Name Quest

So yesterday, I played my first game of Warrior Heroes - Legends, and managed to write up a story in the same day.  Today, I played a follow-up, an this is the write-up.  This is the first time in over fifteen years that I played games on consecutive days!  Winning!

"Damn!", C'nutsakh swore when he turned the corner.

Elf quickly pushed his way forward, "I had better be getting my name!... What in the Nine Hells is that?"

As Barbarian stared in mute incomprehension, Wizard softly spoke, "They know we've been here.  That means there'll be at least one PEF.  If we break that Majick® seal, we'll have an immediate encounter with the Big Bad."

"Well, time to kick the doors and steal the whores!", exclaimed C'nutsakh as he pulled open the first door near the Majick®  barrier.  Inside, an orc was tutoring a goblin on the finer points of "interviewing a detainee".

"Say my name, Byotch!" shouted Wizard as the crackling energy of a Damage spell shot forth from his staff, striking the orc dead on the spot.  Seeing his comrade slain in an instant by arcane energies, the goblin did something goblinish.  He ran out the back door.

Right into The Crypt of Not Exactly Unmentionable, but We Prefer Not Bringing it up in Polite Company.

Elf raced into the in shouting, "Skeletons!  Hold my Beer!"

Barbarian rushed forward alongside the pointy-eared adventurer, curses on his face and a snarl in his mouth.  Or something like that.  Doesn't actually matter, because as he raised his massive sword to cleave his undead foe, the mummy grabbed his Fabio-Like mane of flowing hair and smashed his head against the crypt in the center of the room.  Interesting how even though barbarians don't display any use of their brains, removing them does indeed result in immediate death.

Elf slashed his rapier across the nearest skeleton, which fell in a heap.  Unfortunately, as is all too often the case, the owner of this dungeon had stocked more than one skeleton.  Can't blame the dungeon owner, skeletons are just so reasonably priced when purchased in bulk.  The massive scythe wielded by the "Buy-One-Get-One" skeleton instantly decapitated the rather less economic Elf.

C'nutsakh simply swore under his breath as he approached the desiccated scion of unlife and the two became locked in combat.  In a moment of genuine usefulness, Wizard successfully Dazzled the goblin before it could escape again.

As is so often the case with the undead, the mummy stood motionless long enough for what passes for the hero of this story to act with inspiration.  C'nut noticed that the struggle of combat had caused the mummy's bandage to become unfastened in one location; with his free hand, the Redheaded-Son-of-a-Dwarf snatched the loose wrapping and pulled as fiercely as he could, simultaneously pulling the monster off balance and unraveling the wrappings.  As the dried husk leaned off-balance against the sarcophagus, C'nutsakh cleaved his axe down into the animated corpse, sending it back to the silence of death.

Whether Wizard was inspired by C'nut's victory, or he just saw the goblin as "easy pickings", the spellcaster strode toward the stunned goblin in order to strike his staff across the small, green humanoid.

and missed.  

Which isn't all that surprising now, is it?  Spending all that time indoors studying Majick® instead of going outside and playing some sports doesn't help an adventurer in a combat situation, does it?

On the other hand, the goblin had been quite the Qwik player during his time at Evil Preparatory School, and he used his still-respectable reflexes to swing his sword in an upward blocking motion, and Wizard obliged the greenskin by stabbing his left biceps onto the point of the defending blade, at which point, he fainted at the sight of his own blood.

For a few moments, the battles was silenced, replaced only by the labored breathing of the two survivors.  The goblin peered through eyes stinging with fear-laden sweat at the stoic Dwarf surveying the carnage.  In reaction to the colossal display of ineptitude, C'nutsakh lowered his head in a facepalm, and in that moment the goblin made and acted on a desperate, life-or-death decision.  Screeching like The Wicked Witch of the West, he leapt up on the sarcophagus and launched himself toward C'nutsakh like a Winged Monkey on crystal meth.

C'nutsakh didn't have time to think, much less speak or step aside, so he held his arms up in front of himself.  He still had his axe firmly in his grip; the goblin's trajectory sped the poor SOB face first onto the blade.

"When I get back to town, I'm hiring Dwarves only".

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Into the Dungeon...

In 1992, I picked up a copy of HeroQuest at Service Merchandise while shopping for my soon-to-be daughter's crib, and found this to be excellent bait for Valpurgius, Viper and a few others to come by my house while I waited on Milady Awaiting labor.  Shortly after Daughter v2.0® was born, I spotted the expansions at Toys-R-Us, and snagged one.  If I knew then what we all know now, I would've bought every box on the shelf, but that's a different story.  

Back in 2013, I backed Dwarven Forge's first Kickstarter and bought the original Dwarvenite Dungeon set X3, unpainted.  Last November, I painted it.  Also in 2013, I bought Warrior Heroes: Legends.

This week, I'm putting together units for some skirmish warfare, and to demonstrate that rules written for use with any miniatures are typically both easier to play and have more equitable outcomes (primarily due to a complete lack of Codex Creep), I dug out my old Fimir from that game and expansion.  Last night, I saw a post from the Two Hour Wargames forum from a youngster asking how to play an RPG using THW.

This afternoon, for the first time ever, I not only used the dungeon tiles in a game, I also played Warrior Heroes: Legends.  Modified.  Okay, Heavily Modified.  I drew out some tiny tiles and printed each on business cards, each corresponding to a portion of HeroQuest's first quest and shuffled the Gargoyle's room (WHL: Big Bad) into the bottom five cards.  Shockingly, I began to play immediately.

Hey, four years is actually fairly quick for me to get around to doing something.

I present:

Down the stairs they crept, ever deeper into the cool, damp, foreboding darkness.  

They knew Zargon knew they were coming.  

They knew Zargon knew they knew Zargon knew they knew...

Still, incomprehensibly they came...

A traditional start - our heroes at the bottom of the stairs.
Barbarian:  "When do I hit something?"

Wizard: "Good grief, this place could use some Febreeze"

Elf: "That's not the dungeon, it's Barbarian"

Barbarian: "Hey, it's part of my 'own particular idiom'"

Elf: "Whatever.  Dwarf, are you gonna open the door or what?"

Dwarf: "Quitcher Bitchin', Tree Humper" - CLICK

And before them was a dark hallway...

Barbarian:  "When do I hit something?"

Wizard:  "Will you quit with that already?  I told you, you'd get to hit stuff real soon"

Elf:  "Why are we here again?"

Dwarf: "Seriously?  You can't remember that?  You've been hitting the ritual whacky weed again, haven't ya?"

Elf:  "Nah, though that seems like a good idea.  I was trying to give the author a slick way to describe the goal of our quest, rather than simple narration."

Wizard: "Thank you, Elf.  Dwarf, we're here on a Name Quest.  Once we complete a quest, we'll get names instead of these stupid generic titles."

Dwarf:  "Bullshit.  My name's  CENSORED 

Elf:  "Hah!  You dumbass!"

Wizard:  "Shut up, you two and open that door on the left."

As Dwarf stealthily opened the door, Barbarian charged past him, yelling incomprehensibly.  Inside, two Orcs suddenly had their DNA sequencing research interrupted.  Barbarian charged to the closest orc, raised his sword over his head for a mighty killing blow...

... and the orc kicked him in the 'family jewels', bringing Barbarian to his knees, whereon his head smashed against the corner of a lab table, knocking himself unconscious.

Elf remarked, "this is off to a typical start" as he and Dwarf each dashed into the room towards the two startled scientists.  Wizard shrugged and took a tentative step into the room, looked down at Barbarian and quietly backed out into the hallway.

Elf slashed at the second orc; the two locked blades.  Dwarf calmly strode to the first orc, gestured down at the Barbarian and said, "The way you took down that chump was a smooth move."  The instant the orc looked down, Dwarf smashed his target's head with an axe, knocking him to the floor.

Dwarf leapt upon the chest of the fallen orc and spun around.  Covering his foe's face with his cloak, the unleashed a truly horrific "Dutch Oven"; the unfortunate researcher asphyxiated inside the noxious makeshift execution chamber.  The second orc was aghast as such a vile act; Having had more exposure to the stout, beer-swilling Dwarf than he'd ever wanted, Elf wasn't distracted and took advantage of his foe's distraction by stabbing his sword through the humanoid's windpipe.

Considering the stench spreading through the lab, it was most certainly a mercy killing.

Hearing the brawl quiet to only Elf's vomiting, Wizard re-entered the room and announced, "Good work.  Let's see if they have any treasure, and get the meat mountain back up to town."

Elf:  "Wow, thanks a pantload for all that help, chickenshit."

Wizard:  "I was covering your backs!"

Dwarf: "Chickenshit"

One orc had 3 Gold Talos, the other had a food item and a scroll.  Wizard immediately shouted, "Dibs on the scroll!" and snatched it.  

Elf protested, "that's total BS!  You ran away!"

Once again, Wizard insisted, "I was covering your backs" and headed towards the stairs.

Elf and Dwarf exchanged looks, sighed and began dragging Barbarian towards the stairs.

Elf:  "Do you suppose banging his head on all those steps is going to matter?"

Dwarf:  "I've never heard about that being in the rules, so probably not.  Besides, who cares?"


Dragging the unconscious warrior down the dirt path into Weaselton, a voice cried out:

A Voice:  "K'nutsakh!  You made it back!"

Dwarf:  "Keep it down, will ya?"

Elf and Wizard:  "K'nutsakh?"

Dwarf:  "Yeah.  That's my name.  Gotta problem with that?"

Elf turned to A Voice and said, "Say my name!"

A Voice:  "Whaddaya talking about?  You didn't earn a name, dumbass.  And before you even ask, don't", while pointing at Wizard.

Elf:  This totally blows!

Episode 2