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Tuesday, 27 January 2015

The continuing saga of the Duct's End Militia- chapter 2

Golic had been with the Militia for under a week. He'd not really had an option since he was festering in the local sheriff's cells when the Militia moved into town looking for fresh blood. For Golic it was a way out.

Ferro was moping around, nursing his infected wound and complaining that he wouldn't get to go on the grand scavenger hunt. Crowe wouldn't let it drop about his flamer idea. Drake's speech was stull slurred and he kept flipping his pistol unnervingly from one hand to the other as he stared into empty space. Apone sighed, this was not going to be easy but with any luck they'd grab enough loot to interest their guilder contacts. Maybe even make enough to get Crowe his blasted flamer.

As the Militia moved out there was an eerie hush hanging over the ruins of what looked like it had once been a foundry of some kind. Vasquez quickly moved away from the group towards a vantage point to their left. Hudson, the new Juve Golic, Drake and Crowe wound round the building ahead of them whilst Apone took a side route to cover them from a nearby generator shed. The others headed off along the right flank towards an old silo, and it was here that they first encountered the others.

As Spunkmeyer stepped out from behind the tower a violent shotgun blast hit the ground near his feet. A second knocked Hicks off his feet and Frost through himself back against the concrete pillar in time to avoid the volley from a  heavy stubber somewhere above them. A volley which ended in a subtle but just audible 'click' and muttered cursing from the balcony above.

Hicks had just regained his feet when the firefight began again in earnest, throwing him back onto the ground. Spunkmeyer had made it around the pillar and was exchanging shots with a Delaque Juve on the walkway leading up to the balcony where the disgruntled heavy was still wrestling with his redundant stubber. A ganger with a shotgun ran from cover into the enclosure in front of the silo. Frost and Wierzbowski advanced, autoguns levelled, but their shots scattered off the debris in front of the enemy. Their cover provided enough space for Hicks to recover and join them, but their confidence was thwarted by the sound of a bolt pistol clattering behind them and Frost hit the dirt.

From his vantage point on the level above, Vasquez could see the heavy give up trying to free the ammo feed to the stubber and reach for his shotgun. Seizing his chance, he sighted along his Hunting Rifle and brought the heavy down with a deft flick of the trigger.

Below him, Drake had been taken down, unnoticed by the rest of the party, having run screaming into a dead end. The others were moving towards an access point to the gantry system above. Golic and Crowe running across the open ground in between whilst Hudson covered them with the plasma gun. It was Golic who noticed the lone Juve standing in the open next to the generator, but his inexperienced aim was well out and all he did was attract the attention of the fighter who turned and charged towards them. Crowe instinctively let off a burst of auto fire, right into the back of the unfortunate Golic. Fortunately Hudson was on the ball and quick with a burst of plasma, bringing the Juve to his knees a charred mess.

The remaining Militia took stock of the situation. This wasn't one rival gang, there were TWO Delaque gangs out there, and they were caught in the middle. Best not to stick around they decided and quickly quit the field.

Back at camp they took stock of their situation. Drake seemed even worse for wear, now squinting badly with one eye in addition to his deranged mutterings. Spunkmeyer's ears were ringing badly, but other than that they seemed unscathed, except... there was someone missing. Nobody remembered when they'd last seen Gorman, all they knew was that he wasn't with them now. For that matter, where had Ferro gone? He wasn't minding the fort as he should have been. They didn't have to wait long for his arrival, grinning ear to ear and holding a large packing crate.

"Well you pieces of chicken-shit sure got back early. What's up? Did they get there before you? Lucky you've got me to back you up. Here, Crowe, get a load of this."

He threw the package at Crowe who looked at it in astonishment before snatching it up and running off to the corner of the room with it. The attention of the others was diverted by the appearance of a second figure beside Ferro. A smaller, lithe figure with a large knife and a large spider on her shoulder. Vasquez was first to ask.

"Who's Snow White?"

"She's supposed to be some kind of consultant. Apparently she saw an alien once."

The lithe figure swept her long, curved knife over her shoulder and stepped into the room.

"You boys look like you might need a hand. I'm here to lend one."

Golic looked across at Crowe who was unwrapping the large fuel tanks of a personal flamer. He groaned and resumed picking the shrapnel out of his back, he was definitely not standing anywhere near Crowe once he'd got THAT up and running!


Wednesday, 21 January 2015

The continuing saga of the Duct's End Militia: Chapter one

Private Hicks peered out through the narrow slit in the wall at the ganger a few yards away in the gloom. He seemed to be having some difficulty with the shotgun he was cradling in one arm. Hicks raised his autogun to his shoulder and prepared to fire. Just as his finger squeezed the trigger he became aware of Sergeant Apone creeping round the bulkhead in front of him towards the same ganger. Hicks hastily pulled his shot wide and winced as Apone leapt aside into cover, glancing back over his shoulder at Hicks. The shaken marksman waited for the sergeant to advance again, but when there was no movement he levelled his gun at the ganger again. By now his nerves were severely shattered and his hands shook as he fired twice at the figure in the distance, both shots scattering wildly into the darkness. Hicks sank to his knees in an effort to steady his trembling frame, he’d be for it if the sergeant found out who nearly shot him in the back…

Up above on his observation platform, Vasquez surveyed the field. He could just see the Ratskin on the tower opposite, but it was hard to get a clear shot with his hunting rifle. Instead he turned his attention to the ganger slinking over the roof near the building where Hudson’s squad were entrenched. As his vision travelled across he spotted Spunkmeyer advancing through the gap between the buildings in the middle of the dome. His fingers began to itch, it would be so easy to pop a bullet into him right now… He mastered his thoughts long enough to fire at the ganger on the rooftop, who slunk back behind the railing, who knew whether he was injured or not? As Vasquez’ gaze returned to the Juve below he saw a ganger with a shotgun emerge from around the corner below and level his weapon at Spunkmeyer’s chest…

Supremely confident in his role as one of the Imperium’s warrior, Spunkmeyer knew he was more than a match for the scum of the underhive. He gripped his Stub Gun solidly as he advanced towards the Delaque ganger ahead of him, levelling the pistol at the ganger’s head and walking slowly as he commanded the ganger to drop his shotgun. He was a little surprised when the ganger smiled, raised the shotgun and pumped a manstopper slug point blank into the Juve…

Apone was sure he’d estimated this one right. He’d separated his men into three main squads; Hudson, Drake and Crowe taking the middle route through the buildings, Gorman and Ferro skirting round the ruins on the left wing and Frost and himself taking the right flank heading towards the chemical factory. Hicks, Vasquez and Wierzbowski were covering their routes from vantage points behind them. The first sense he had that something was going wrong was when a shot whistled past his right ear, narrowly missing clipping his helmet. He risked a swift glance and was not at all surprised to see the khaki uniform of one of his men behind the barrier from which the shot had originated. He couldn’t be sure, but from the placement he guessed it was Hicks. He made a mental note to discipline him later, the man needed to learn to shoot straight. His attention was drawn back to the present by a commotion away to his left. He saw Hudson’s party come under attack from a rapid individual waving an autopistol and a sword, and a diminutive but no less crazed figure brandishing a sharp-looking umbrella. As Drake went down to a crushing blow round the head Apone took a snap second decision- if he didn’t shoot the assailant Hudson was a goner, if he shot Hudson by mistake the result would simply be the same. He let rip with his boltgun, seeing a flare from his left at the same time, Wierzbowski had made the same call. Sadly both shooters missed both combatants and watched helplessly as Hudson took a blow aross the face from the savage machete.

A shootout had developed among the ruins of the left wing. The heavy stubber positioned above was keeping Gorman and Ferro pinned under cover so all they could do was take pot shots at the gangers moving up behind the buttresses in front of them. Risking a look round the corner, Ferro got the lead ganger in his sights- just as a rain of fire from above strafed his hiding spot and took him out. Gorman watched his colleague go down and gulped. He kept his eyes fixed on the stubber, waiting for his moment. It came at last as the heavy moved along the gantry for a better view, temporarily shouldering his weapon. Gorman broke from cover, tore round the corner and blazed away at the ganger lurking there, who went down with a surprised look on his face. Gorman punched the air, and dived to one side as a lasgun beam whooshed past him. He turned to see a smug Delaque, who looked decidedly less smug as Gorman shoved an autogun in his face. He was spared by a klaxon cry which tore across the battlefield Apone’s signal to withdraw. The Militia fled the field, taking their wounded with them and leaving the residents of the settlement to the marauding of the Delaques. They would return to liberate the inhabitants they swore… after a bit more training.

In the cool of their Old Ruined lair they nursed their wounds as Apone debriefed them. He was not impressed. Fortunately Hudson had recovered, although he was refusing to remove his gas mask, aware of the horrible mess the machete had made of his features. In fact, none of the downed soldiers had suffered too badly although Drake was sitting with his arms round his knees making strange mumbling noises. It was anyone’s guess how he’d act when next put in a stressful situation. Ferro had taken quite a beating from the stubber fire and Apone considered it unlikely he’d be able to participate in the next couple of bouts.

Crowe, the survivor of the doomed central squad, approached Apone about a plan he’d been formulating. He’d been looking through the Guard Manual and was wondering why they didn’t have any Flamers since from what he could see they were standard issue for moist Guard squads and definitely useful in such close quarters fighting. Apone’s mind flashed to Hick’s miscalculation and wondered if it was wise to let one of his men have charge of a highly volatile stream of burning gas. He decided to assess Crowe’s performance in the next action before making his decision. In the meantime their settlement may have been taken, but there were isolated drinking holes to investigate for potential volunteers to join the Emperor’s ranks. Time to go press ganging….


Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Duct's End Militia- my gang for Bristol Vanguard's Duketown Necromunda Campaign.

Following the visit of Inquisitor Jordan Korvax to the region of Duct’s End a recommendation was filed with the Governor Puritan of Necromunda that a “Dedicated, loyal and well-equipped battalion of the Imperial Guard” be posted to guard a series of ancient pipelines which stretch under the Sump Sea for unknown distances and to destinations unrecorded on any charts. The Inquisitor himself had ventured into the pipeline with a band of eight of his most trusted henchmen. Only three, including Korvax, emerged, upon which he ordered the entrances sealed.

Korvax left Necromunda, rather quickly, having issued his recommendation, whereupon it duly got filed in an unimportant section and sent to a menial in the 8th Necromundan who recruited a selection of ganges from Duct’s End considered the best the locality had to offer- not particularly special by Necromundan standards.  This ragtag bunch were given weapons, fatigues and basic training in the 8th before being posted back to Duct’s End to stand sentry. There they stayed , forgotten, for several years.

Eventually the militia bored of endless days stood around a disused pipe and began to hanker after some action. They had been trained by the famous ‘Spiders’, they were Imperial Guard, they shouldn’t be stuck in this dead end town sitting on their backsides while their equipment rusted. Sergeant Apone, the only officially appointed leader, decided enough was enough. They had a sanctioned status and by the Emperor they were going to use it! From their base in Duct’s End they began to spread out through the Underhive. Mostly they met with sneers and thrown rubble, but in some places the insignia of the Imperial Guard was enough to wow some of the residents and the Militia occasionally receive requests to join their ranks.

Sergeant Apone has maintained control of the Militia with tough discipline. He took to the handbook for Imperial Squad Leaders like  duck to water and instils the ways of the Guard to his men as best as he is able. Given his own inexperience and the nature of the Militia this is a far cry from the battlefield organisation of the Guard, but in the Underhive scuffles in which they normally participate their mish-mash of drill and pure grit serve them well. He is proud to own a shiny, new-issue Boltgun, mark of an Imperial Officer, and always carries it as his badge of office, taking every opportunity to demonstrate its capabilities.
Corporal Hudson was appointed by Sergeant Apone to carry the Militia’s Plasma Gun, the concession to “well equipped” made by the pen-pusher who authorised their creation. Hudson is one of the more reliable of the Militia and usually turns out to weapon drill but Apone thinks he might be the type to try a hostile takeover. Giving him the Plasma Gun is an attempt to secure his loyalty, an example to set to the other men and insurance that should the weapon explode at least a possible threat will have been removed.
Corporal Vasquez is a loner and prone to run quickly if threatened too closely. Sergeant Apone responded to this by giving him a Hunting Rifle and telling him to go as far away as possible (but not out of range!).

The Privates (Crowe, Drake, Ferro, Frost, Gorman, Hicks and Wierzbowski) are armed with Auto weaponry rather than the more usual Guard Lasguns. The canny quartermaster ‘suggested’ they take Autoguns so that they would better be able to maintain them with the resources available in the Underhive. Secretly he just didn’t want nice Imperial-issue Lasguns filtering down to the criminal underworld. They are a disorganised rabble with uniforms, although their short spell with the Necromundan 8th has given them a rudimentary sense of discipline not found in most gangs. They take great care of their weapons and uniforms which they regard as badges of honour. That said, they also bear a hatred for the regiment which they now regard as having abandoned them. It may not be too long before they start finding their own insignia and styles.

The youngest of the bunch is Private Spunkmeyer. He wasn’t among those originally trained and was initiated into the Militia by Sergeant Apone after the kid expressed an interest in Imperial Drill Routine. He was given a Stub Gun when he joined the Militia, a Stub Gun which previously belonged to Vasquez (Apone reasoned he’d be too far away to need it) and this has been a source of great hostility towards the young cadet. Vasquez takes every opportunity to shoot in Spunkmeyer’s direction, so long as he can claim he was aiming at the enemy.

Well, that’s the starting gang introduced. Hopefully there’ll be some fun developments to add in over the course of the campaign. Because I like to play for character I’m going to set some guidelines for how I’m going to play the gang. I rolled a Settlement as a territory, and hopefully this coupled with my Archeotech Horde should mean I can recruit a few new Juves every now and again. So any chance I get I am adding a basic Juve to the gang, representing some young aspirant that Apone has introduced the benefits of Imperial discipline to… or has been press-ganged regardless. I have a stock of ‘civilian with guns’ models which I’ll paint and bring into the game as various Juves come and (probably quickly!) go. I’m currently using RP Vor Union Troopers to represent most of the gang (Hudson is Steel Legion and Spunkmeyer is Scotia Grendel), but as the gang develops my plan is to swap out the uniform troops with more varied, disarrayed figures representing their descent into anti-IG anarchy.

In the games themselves, as mentioned Vasquez will shoot enemies in a way which gives him a chance of hitting Spunkmeyer whenever possible and will always set up as far away from the action as possible. Should Hudson ever top Apone’s Leadership he will challenge the Sergeant for control of the Militia.

Lastly, you might notice a theme among the gang which might give a hint of what’s in the pipes… my hope is they’ll go find out one day!


Tuesday, 13 January 2015

New season, new tunes on Fimm's Jukebox

As I mentioned last year I have far too many CDs to fit on my shelves and so I have started sorting out a seasonal selection at various times through the year to vary my listening and try and make sure that I occasionally pick up something I haven't heard in a while, and also to reflect the musical needs of the season as I see it.

Rather than list everything on the shelf though (as I did last time) I thought I'd give you a top ten of this season's highlights.

January is typically a time when all the festive decorations have come down, the world goes back to work and things seem a bit colourless, the weather's miserable and cold and summer seems a long way off. So I've picked music which either reflects the more beautiful aspects of the winter season or is uplifting enough to chase away the blues as we relax by the log burner. So without further delay, Fimm's pick of the new year season:

1: Bellowhead: Headonism
Not my usual go-to in the extensive Bellowhead discography, Matachin or Broadside being my usual listening-fare, but for exuberant farmer dancing there's definitely a lot going for this funky folk album.

2: Vince Ray: Boneshaker Baby
Music to drive your big ol' hot rod to! the Vince Ray trio pound out some more Psychobilly treats on slap base and twangy Gretsch.

3: Diablo Swing Orchestra: The Butcher's Ballroom
Swinging, dark, joyful, operatic jazz rock masters Diablo Swing Orchestra get you out on the dance floor in style with the Balrog Boogie... it paints a great picture, as does the Tapdancer's Dilemma.

4: Lindsey Striling: Shatter Me
The second album from amazingly talented dancing violist Lindsey Stirling is even crazier than the first. I'm not keen on her collaboration with Pentatonix, but she has that admirable trait of being able to work with pretty much anyone it seems. I was first drawn to her music through Roundtable Revival which circulated in Steampunk circles last year, it's a stonking video, as is the live performance of Master of Tides with an unsuspecting audience.

5: Tim Judson: A World Beyond Your Own
At a time when we're bombarded with televised adverts asking for donations to charity we can get desensitised to the crises we're being shown. Tim Judson brings the problems of poverty and impact of big political decisions down to an individual level where we can better appreciate the real issues. And then there are the 'just nice' songs like Hippo Eyes.

6: Candlemass: Candlemass
At the other end of the spectrum, because it doesn't do to be too cheerful... a bit of cheesy doom from the uber prolific sludge metallers. Anyone who can convincingly call their album "Epicus Doomicus Metallicus" is ok by me!

7: Pythia: Beneath The Veiled Embrace
Did you know this album featured the voice of Brian Blessed? Oh yes it does... probably thankfully not too much though. It does feature plenty of the beautiful, haunting voice of Emily Ovenden though, one of the Medieaval Baebes.

8: Wicked: Musical Soundtrack
The show's going out on tour in the UK this year. And I know this clip isn't the best! Now obviously musical theatre's not everyone's choice, but then nor's folk or metal. I can't tell you why this hits my sentimental spot, but if you can't bear to watch it I would definitely recommend the (much darker and downright sinister) novel of the same name by Gregory Maguire.

9: All About Eve: Winter Words
This album collects together what's meant to be the B-sides and rarities from the gentle goth rockers. In actuality it repeats mainly the same songs as every other AAE compilations, but being wintery in title it's an appropriate album to pick. The mood's appropriate at least.

10: Lodestone: The Wicker Man Soundtrack
Originally collected together for the film, the musicians gelled so well they formed the group Lodestone during filming. As to Summer a comin' in? Well, it is on its way I promise, and we didn't have to burn any policemen this year...


Wednesday, 7 January 2015

A long awaited video.... Fimm's Gaming Boat!

Well that's an odd screen shot.... it's actually a bag of Marsh Demon greens, but you'd never guess!
Last year I swapped a shared terraced house for a narrowboat, and jettisoned a fair amount of stuff in the process. What DIDN'T go were the games, obviously, and many people have been asking how I find room for them all on the boat. Well, finally, here's a video explaining how:



Sunday, 4 January 2015

New Year-amunda 2015

Happy new year everyone!

I apologise that I have been somewhat absent over the last few weeks. I've been busy with Christmas, writing essays, getting engaged, visiting friends who've broken up, being ill and playing necromunda! So the good, the bad and the downright scummy. Now the festivities are dying down there's a definite to-do list... Tripods! needs the FAQs releasing, the rules redrafting, the expansions playtesting ahead of a kickstarter with triple ace games later in the year. Factious Waste undergoes further playtesting and the search for artists begins. The Woods miniatures need sorting, entailing a phone call to Griffin moulds to see what the situation is there, photos to Andrea miniatures to get quotes from them and a set of masters to send to 4D Modelshop to get their prices on casting. There's a lot to sort out on the boat, and I did take a video before Christmas which I was hoping to post up over the holidays but haven't got round to it yet. Plus, of course, there's a wedding to plan! :)

So in the meantime, here are some taster shots of our annual Necromunda bash. The gangs got more advanced this time, and I hope it won't be a year before they come out again. There's a chance I could join in another local campaign, but that would mean dropping back to starting status again, just as my gang starts to take on character (suitable numbers of head wounds making for some psycho juves! And the BS6 Heavy's not something I'm keen to lose either!) so we'll see. For now, some shots of last week:

The Duct's End Militia, a division of the Necromundan 8th, the Spiders, modelled on the Colonial Marines from Aliens... and awaiting a similar fate in the tunnels beneath Duct's End.

The New Merciful Sisterhood of the Nephilim. My own Goth/Punk Escher gang. The Nurse couldn't hit the broad side of a barn last year, this campaign she's well 'ard with a BS of 6! They've been joined by Anja, Moonchild and Curt Vile, shotgunners and a sword-maniac juve.

The Sisterhood have a run in with the militia

Part of the harbourside at Duct's End

The Emperor's Reeves turn up to cause trouble

Night falls over Duct's End

More of Pete's lovely paintwork

Yes, that IS a tiger rat skin!

The Redemptionists plough in with their buzzing weaponry... and flames!

The Tanks Girls arrive rather late to the party, but still managed to prove themselves vicious underdogs!


Fimm McCool's

Fimm McCool's