Saturday, 15 December 2012

Here's the second of tonight's posts, another story. This time with a Warhammer 40,000 flavour.

 
Trooper Merrick slid the output control on his lasgun to maximum. He could still hear the words of the quartermaster when his platoon were issued with the Sibian VI Pattern weapons: “Keep the output slider set at standard. Any more and you're likely to burn out the emitter assembly.” He didn't care. Any moment now a force of Traitor Marines were going to be cresting the hill that his trench overlooked and if he had any chance at all of breaching their armour he needed to increase the power of his weapon.
In the last few minutes the ambient temperature had increased by twenty degrees. If Merrick had for one moment taken his eyes off of the ridge of the hill, he would have seen that the sky had clouded over. With a crash of thunder the rain started to fall. So heavy was it, that view of the guardsmen's targeted area became indistinct.
Minutes passed and the rain didn't ease. Then they came. Slowly. Heads rising above the hilltop, then shoulders, chests and legs. Walking, not charging, the blue and gold armoured Chaos Marines approached the trench. With the traitors moving this slowly, Merrick thought, he and his fellows may just stand a chance. Lasfire erupted from the trench. Trained guardsmen aimed at the weak points on their enemy's armour, visors and joints. Then the Archenemy opened fire.
The poor visibility didn't seem to be hampering the accuracy of the Chaos Marines. By the time their first volley was done, fully half of the guardsmen in Merrick's section of the trench were dead. Guardsmen began diving for the bottom of the trench to avoid the withering bolter fire. Merrick wasn't the first to hit the dirt but he certainly wasn't the last. He needed more firepower. He switched his lasgun to full auto. More shots in a shorter length of time meant he didn't have to expose himself to enemy fire for as long. He steeled himself ready to stand up and fight. As he looked up he saw the monster. The Traitor Marine loomed over him. It slowly raised it's boltgun to meet Merrick's face. The guardsman rammed the end of his weapon up under the Marine's chin and fired.
The top of the Thousand Sons Marine's helmet exploded outwards and with it a coarse black dust. The dust fell and settled on Merrick. All of a sudden, the trooper could see all the failures he had ever made in his life. He saw all the people who had ever loved him and how he had hurt them beyond words. He saw how due to his weakness, his comrades would all die, suffering horribly. He saw through time how his actions on this day would lead to the fall of the Imperium itself. There was only one way to save mankind and that was to end his own life.
He raised the muzzle of his las to his forehead and pulled the trigger. However, the last spurt of fire from his gun had burned out it's workings and rendered it useless. Culim, the guardsman to Merrick's left and his long-time friend, tackled him to the ground. He tore the affected trooper's weapon from his hands and tossed it aside. He took his canteen from his webbing and used the water within to wash the dust from Merrick's face and hair.
Merrick looked at his friend realising how close death had just been. Then he remembered the battle and how if he was going to live, he must re-join it and continue to fight. But without a weapon, how was he going to do this. Then, on the lip of the trench, he saw it, the fallen Traitor's boltgun. He grabbed it. It was old, but seemed to be in working order and loaded. Merrick stood up to his full height, looking down the boltgun's sights over the trench. Immediately he found his target. He aimed at the Chaos Marine's throat and pulled the trigger. With a sound of tearing metal the muzzle and barrel of the boltgun folded in on themselves. Merrick could only stare as the components that had previously been at the front of the weapon emerged from the back. The boltgun fired. The shell entered Merrick's cheek. Then his head exploded.
Trooper Culim wiped his friends brain and skull off of his face and continued to fire.
Here's a short story I wrote at a creative writing class a few years ago. The brief was vague, I remember it being something along the lines of "someone remembering something whilst walking". Very vague, though probably not quite as vague as I remember it. Anyway, here it is.


Marcus reflexively looked down at his wrists as his watches beeped their alarms. He always wore two. 6:42, one hour to sun rise and time he should be getting home.
He'd been out all night again at his gentlemens club. A special place for like fellows. After leaving, he had walked through Soho, up Wardour Street and into Leicester Square.
He exited the square on the South-East side. He hadn't taken this particular route for years. Then he remembered why. He stopped suddenly as the restaurant came into view. Her smell was the first thing he remembered. Jessica, white musk, always white musk. Then her hair, soft, the fringe that half covered her eyes. He used to joke that she could see about as well as an Old English Sheepdog. He scolded himself for being so soft. He couldn't allow himself to have these feelings. That life was dead to him now.
He walked on quickly. He turned right on to the Charing Cross Road striding past the National Portrait gallery. He had resided in London all his years but only once been inside. It was on a school trip. Most of the pictures had been much of a muchness to his young uneducated eyes. All except for one. It had been a painting of a man in a purple velvet suit standing in a dark room. Marcus remembered thinking how distinguished he had looked. The man in the painting had an aire of danger about him, a fierce glint in the eye. Marcus had wanted to be him.
On now through Trafalgar Square. Glancing up at the lions guarding Nelson's Column, an even earlier memory came. Strong arms lifting him onto the back of one of the lions. His father. His mother was at street level in front of the lion, taking his picture, bright sunlight glinted off of the camera's lens. He had thought his father so strong. True strength was what Marcus now possessed.
A few minutes more and he had arrived at the door of his basement apartment. Beautifully furnished and this close to the centre of London, it had cost a lot of money. He hadn't payed for it of course. His fellows in The Brotherhood had acquired it for him. He opened the door and walked through the hallway. He entered his bedroom. He disrobed and lifted the lid on his coffin. It was a clich├ęd thing for those of his ilk to sleep in, but practical. He ran his tongue under his fangs, tasting the blood he had, had earlier in the evening. To Bed now, the sun would be up soon.

Monday, 3 December 2012

I'm going to begin my first proper post with what I did on Saturday. It was the 1st of Decmber and time for the yearly roleplaying convention called Dragonmeet. Dragonmeet has been running since the 70's and I have been attending for about five years. Since I've been going it's been held in Kensington Town Hall in London, which is very accessible by bus and The London Underground. The event features a trade hall, participation games and seminars and is great fun. It's mainly a roleplaying con' but also featuring each year are board and card games and art displays.


I first had a wander around the trade hall and picked up an expansion to the dice game Quarriors.

Quarriors is a very simple yet fun game of dice combat where you aim to roll (out of the six dice you're allowed to draw from your bag each turn) enough of the in game currency (called Quiddity (yes that is a rather silly name but realy doesn't distract from the quality of the gameplay)) to promote creatures (that have already been rolled on drawn dice) up to your "ready area". Once there they can attempt to destroy other player's creatures to prevent that player from scoring glory (victory points) and may trigger other effects. Any Quiddity that's left over can be used to purchase other dice (more creatures, portals or spells) from "the wilds" which are then added to your dice pool. Of course, if you want to spend all of your Quiddity on a really nasty creature such as the Mighty Quake Dragon, you are not forced to summon any creature to your ready area at all.

But I have digressed. The expansion that I purchased is called Rise Of The Demons. I believe that it contains some nasty tricks that you can play on your opponents but I will find that out for sure when I play it tonight.


I also had pretty much decided to purchase a new set of roleplaying books from which to run a game for my Monday Night RPG group. But more on that later.

While waiting for my friend to turn up, I decided to go into a seminar in which Steve Jackson (the English one) and Ian Livingstone were to speak.
Here's a pic of them.
They spoke a little about the beginnings of Games Workshop and about their series of Fighting Fantasy books which have been re-released, some even as smartphone and tablet apps.


After the seminar, i found my friend playing a demo of a card game called Lords Of War. His conclusion was that it was good but not something that he would play very often. The people promoting the game though were incredibly nice and personable...and they gave me a lollypop!


While waiting for my friend to finish his game, I did indeed by a new load of roleplaying books. I had told myself that, this year, I would not be buying any as I didn't think that I would be in the right state of mind to run a game for my group in the upcoming months. What got me though was the artwork in the following picture.
Some of you might recognise it as the cover to Titan. It is the world sourcebook for the Fighting Fantasy roleplaying system. I also purchased the core rulebook, Out Of The Pit (the monster guide) and the players handbook. The above picture took me back to the end of the 80's when I was just discovering roleplaying. My school library had a copy of Titan and all the kids thought it was cool but really had no clue as to the wonderous hours of fun it could help to provide. It was really this picture that sold the game to me on Saturday. The system is probably the simplest I've ever come across in my years of roleplaying which is great as it won't tax my already befuddled mind too much. I hope to begin running a campaign for my group in the first quarter of next year. Last year at Dragomeet (again when I'd told myself that I wouldn't be buying or running any new games) I ended up purchasing Atomic Highway and it's companion book Irradiated Freaks, a post apocalyptic adventure, again with pretty simple rules and chocked full of mutants. I ran a five-month campaign of that. after which the story was carried on by the friend who, this year, had come with me to the convention.

After a brief lunch, my friend and I took part in a session of Albion. This RPG is set in a post-apocalyptic Britain after sea levels have risen and a mysterious and impenetrable wall of mist surrounds the islands. In Albion, magic has returned and technology (all of which has to be licensed by the ruling druidic councils) has all but disappeared, the height being the steam engine. It has a very elegant and intuitive system. The games creator even popped his head in to see how we were doing. Dragonmeet always attracts top creators from the RPG world.

Dragonmeet will be on again next year, I beleive in the same location. The date set for it is the 7th of December. If you like roleplaying and are fairly local, why not check it out.


Intent.

Well, this first short post is just to state my intent! A little about what I will be posting on this blog. Geek Stuff. Simple really. I will be posting about my geeky interests and hobbies: Comic books, wargames stuff, board and card games, Roleplaying games and Sci-Fi and Fantasy literature, films, and TV shows. If, like me, you're a geek, you might find some of my musings interesting and/or entertaining. at least I hope you will. Stay tuned.