Skirmish

 

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I realize it has been a while since I’ve posted a blog.  It’s not that I haven’t had time.  I was off work for almost a month with a broken foot.  The truth of the matter is between doctor appointments and taking care of what I could do around the house with a broken foot, I have been working on yet another submission to the Black Library.

Another thing I’ve been doing is researching some of the various wargames out there.  Yes, I’ve played Pirates of the Carribean (an RPG), Warhammer 40,000 (WH40K) and EPIC 40K, but in all honesty, I think I prefer skirmish games better.  Why?  Well, for starters, it’s about the time it takes to play the game.  It took close to two hours to play games of WH40K and EPIC took three hours or more.  I just do not have that kind of time on my hands.  I want a game I can play in anywhere from thirty minutes to just under an hour and a half.  From what I’ve learned, skirmish games give me that.

The other big reason I’m leaning more towards skirmish games is they allow a story to be told with characters.  As you probably know, I am a storyteller first.  You cannot get to know each and every character in a game with around 150 to 300 miniatures.  I guess you could, but it would be quite time-consuming.  It’s a lot easier to do with six to ten models.

As for the games I’m looking at, those include the 2017 edition of Necromunda (N17), Warcry and WH40K Skirmish.  N17 is an updated version of the old Necromunda game from around 25 years ago.  It’s basically Escape from New York on acid.  The second one, Warcry, is actually not Science Fiction, but Fantasy; Sword and Sorcery-type stuff.  The third one, WH40K Skirmish isn’t even official.  It’s a game system developed by a group of WH40K fans that allows players to use individual squads instead of whole armies.  It’s similar to Kill Team, but I like it better than Kill Team.

As far as factions for the aforementioned games?  That’s a post for another day.

p.s.  With some luck, I’ll eventually finish those stories I posted on here from before.

 

Night Train (Oxide Serpents Part 3)

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A single brilliant light illuminated the ash particles blowing in the night air.

The light became progressively larger and brighter with each passing second.

A trio of figures crouched down about fifteen meters from the railroad tracks almost five kilometers from Hive Rorhuin’s exterior wall.

Out of the billowing ash the yellow and red engine car came, loud and thunderous.  Attached behind it were five more train cars.

The three individuals leapt up onto the white livestock car as the train raced past their position.  It was the third car behind the engine.  Albus Gaboon, Creighton Saber and Duncan Thorne each gripped the handrails as they made their way up the stairs of the train car.  Grox snorted and stomped in the car.  Gaboon was thankful their rebreathers prevented he and his companions from taking in the full stench of the beasts.

The train raced on into the night, ash and various debris in its wake.

Thorne looked around the side of the livestock car. Hive Rorhuin grew in the distance.

The closer the train got to the Hive City the slower it traveled.  When it was about a stone throw’s distance from the Hive’s outer wall it had slowed to just faster than a human’s running speed.  When it was approximately one-hundred meters from the Hive, a massive hatch door rolled open counterclockwise.  The train entered the open access way into Hive Roruhin. Once the last car was through the opening, the door rolled closed again.

The train slowed to a crawl and then stopped on the tracks in next to an offload station.

As the railroad workers began their unloading tasks, the trio jumped off the train car and disappeared into the shadows.

To be continued . . .

Out of the Ash (The Oxide Serpents Part 2)

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The three jet bikes raced across the ash dunes at blistering speeds; ash and debris kicked up behind their wake.  The three riders wore brown leather dusters that flapped in the wind as their vehicles sped across the ash-covered tundra.

It had been a grueling ride from Hive Caelfall on jet bikes, but Albus Gaboon wanted him and his two companions, Creighton Saber and Duncan Thorne, to to be within the protective walls of Hive Rorhuin sooner rather than later.  Gaboon had preferred for his trio to rely on their own means of transportation rather than purchase a seat on a nomad tribe’s caravan.  That would have likely resulted in sitting in the cramped passenger compartment of a half-track pinched between cases of beans and tins of bullets with only a ragged tarpaulin to protect them from the elements.  The personal hygiene of the nomads who lived in the Ash Wastes was often distasteful in the extreme as well.  Besides, the jet bikes were considerably faster than a caravan vehicle.  No, it was better to take their own rides and deal with the Wastes’ elements and dangers in exchange for the potential of a faster arrival time.

Normally the trip took fourteen days to travel the distance between the two Hive Cities.  On their ninth day of travel, it appeared they were going to arrive in just under eleven days and that was counting a two-day layover in a shanty town’s excuse of an inn due to a severe Ash Storm.

It seemed that the closer they traveled to civilization, the more predators they encountered, human and animal alike.  The three jet bikes crested an ash dune and once on the other side of it, they had to take evasive action to keep from being caught in the closing maw of sharp, pointed teeth.  As they raced past the wall of grey hide, they again had to swerve to avoid the hammer-like tail that crashed down into the ground next to them.  The Ash Wyrm turned his considerable bulk around in a faster manner than one would think a creature its size was capable of.

Gaboon was about to give the hand signal to his two companions to throttle their jet bikes into overdrive to outrun the massive predator, but after he looked over his right shoulder, he saw Duncan Thorne’s jet bike scrape the ground and embed itself into an ash dune.  The jet bike had stalled out, but it appeared its rider was alright other than being shaken up.  That would not soon be the case if the Ash Wyrm had his way.

The other two riders banked around to the right and raced to their companion’s location.  Gaboon spoke into the vox bead of his rebreather, ‘Saber, ride over to Thorne and help him get his bike out of that dune.  Leave the Wyrm to me.’

Creighton Saber gave a thumbs-up signal to show he understood the order and raced ahead to Duncan Thorne’s position.

As Saber and Thorne pulled the jet bike from the compacted ash of the dune, Albus Gaboon brought his ride to a stop and swung his right leg over the vehicle’s saddle.  Once both feet were planted atop the ground, he unslung his power sword from where it was attached across his broad back.  It was an older model of blade that had power cables that attached it to a backpack that served as the weapon’s power source.  He autofocused his left bionic eye and scanned the beast for weaknesses as it charged toward his position.  He was looking for places where scales might be missing in the creature’s protective hide.  Despite the fact that he was armed with a power sword, he knew the weapon might have trouble melting through the Wyrm’s thick scales before the creature managed to kill and devour him.

While his two companions still struggled to remove the jet bike from the dune, the green lens of his bionic eye focused in on what he was looking for.  A spot on the left side of the animal’s chest.  He kept his sights on the Ash Wyrm and rolled his shoulders, ‘Hurry up, you two.  Now would be a good time to get our hides out of here.’

As the creature advanced, Gaboon drew his sword over his right shoulder, ready to swing true.  The Ash Wyrm again opened its jaws exposing rows of massive, deadly teeth.  The Wyrm bit down and Gaboon pivoted on his right foot and swung the power sword in one motion.  The blade scrapped across the scales on the left side of the Wyrm’s jaw and cut through four of his teeth.  As the beast galloped forward he brought his tail around to smash the human as he raced past.  Gaboon stepped back onto his left foot and ducked under the massive tail.

The Wyrm turned back around for another pass and again raced down upon his prey.  Gaboon sprinted a fast as his heavy carapace armor would allow him as he raised his sword over his head.  Just then he heard gunfire and looked past the charging creature.  His companions had managed to dislodge the jet bike from the dune and were firing their autoguns at the Ash Wyrm.  Most of Saber’s and Thorne’s 5.56mm and 7.62mm projectiles, respectively, bounced off the beast’s hide, but some of them managed to make their way between scales and penetrate into his muscles.  It only managed to infuriate the Wyrm, though, and the animal roared in pain and turned away from his target.

Since his companions had managed to remove the jet bike from its entrapment and get it started again, Gaboon lowered his sword and planned to sprint toward his own vehicle.  That would be easier considered than accomplished since the Ash Wyrm was between himself and his ride.

Gaboon knew this fight was going to end in one of two ways.  Either he or the Wyrm was going to have to die.  He did not relish the killing of the Wyrm.  The beast was just trying to secure his next meal.  It was nothing personal, but Gaboon wanted to end this particular dance for good.

The Wyrm advanced one more time in a sprint toward Albus Gaboon.  The man positioned himself into an on guard position with his weight resting on his left leg.  He held the sword ready as the Wyrm drew closer.  He planned to roll under the beast’s bite attempt and thrust his weapon into the Wyrm’s exposed chest were the scales were missing.  Gaboon, slightly winded from the ongoing conflict, was a fraction of a second too slow to avoid the creature’s massive head.  Instead of biting down, he rammed his head into Gaboon.  He flew backward at the terrific impact and crashed down onto the ground about seventeen meters from where he had been standing.

Gaboon’s body did not move.  The Ash Wyrm advanced upon his hapless prey.  The creature strode up to the motionless human and sniffed the body.  Satisfied that Gaboon was defenseless, he opened his maw, ready to partake of his well-earned meal.

The Wyrm’s mouth was centimeters from Gaboon’s body when his organic eye opened and he rolled under the Wyrm’s throat.  He rolled onto his back and pushed into the ground under the ash with his armored boots until he was under the beast’s chest.

The Wyrm’s initial confusion gave way to anger as he began to step backward to reposition himself to have access to his prey.  Gaboon, realizing it was time to strike or die, thrust his power sword’s blade deep into the exposed muscles.  It bit into the Wyrm’s massive heart and as Gaboon worked the blade back and forth, cut it in half.

The Wyrm’s eyes widened, his body shook and his knees buckled and Gaboon quickly rolled out from under the beast mere seconds before it collapsed upon him.

To be continued . . .

Into the Snake Pit (The Oxide Serpents Part 1)

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A lone figure walked down the dimly lit tunnel deep in the bowels of Hive Calefall.  Although he was not as massive as a Goliath, he was nonetheless a hulking figure of a man.  He wore a hooded brown leather duster over his heavy carapace armor.

He stopped at the end of the tunnel and rapped the armored knuckles of his right fist on the heavy tungsten steel door.  From the other side of the door he heard a lock disengage and the door opened a few centimeters.  A bald man dressed in a duster asked, ‘What should the Viper do?’

The larger man pushed the door the rest of the way open and without hesitating said, ‘Long live the Viper.’

The big man walked into a dark room.  Standing near the corner facing the wall was a tall woman wearing a duster of her own.  Her head was shaved bald save a long black ponytail, ‘Greetings, Albus.’

Albus Gaboon stepped a little closer to the woman, ‘Greetings, Mistress Oksana.’

The woman turned around to face Gaboon, ‘I will cut to the chase with this.  You are tasked with traveling to Hive Rohruin.  There you will find the Oxide Serpents.  Their current leader, a woman named Jypsi Scarr, will be dealt with.  She has placed her own personal agenda before that of Clan Briganda.  She will be brought to heel.’

‘What if she refuses to correct her ways?’

‘I trust you to correct her wayward direction in a more permanent fashion then.’

Gaboon bowed his head to Mistress Oksana, ‘Long live the Viper.’

‘Long live the Viper, Albus.’

To be continued . . .

The Oxide Serpents

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I’ve been tinkering with the idea of creating a Necromunda gang, with the hope of finding a gaming group nearby who are willing to start up a campaign.

I actually thought about building an Orlock gang, but didn’t want to shell out the $35-$45 for a box of miniatures needed to do so. I wanted my gang to be comprised of miniatures I already have. After some recent inspection of my collection, I decided that since I have almost a dozen or so of them clad in long coats, or dusters as we call them here in Texas, I should ride with House Delaque. You see, the Delaque gangs wear dusters and employ sneak attacks via  ambush tactics.

Since the accepted symbol of that House is the snake, I opted to have mine be represented by the Copperhead snake. Copperheads are the most prevalent venomous snake species in my area. There are lots of them in my neighborhood. I also like their markings. Besides, unlike  Rattlesnakes and Water Moccasins, Copperheads don’t typically warn you before they bite; they just strike. I decided this would be the perfect inspiration for my Delaque gang, known as the Oxide Serpents.

Now I just need to do some painting.

Catch 22

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What does the above color remind you of?  If you said Pepto Bismol, then you’re in agreement with me.

I wanted more time to write.  Well, I got it . . . at least for today.  My boss sent me home early because I am sick; I think it’s a stomach virus.  There is one going around here in my town and I think it decided to land on me.  Well, I’m still not feeling very well and am so sick that I can’t think straight enough to put two sentences together.

And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen.  A good old Catch 22.