Bear with me, I will get to it in time :-)
Thursday, 8 August 2019
Bear with me, I will get to it in time :-)
Tuesday, 18 June 2019
It is Yuletide Eve in a quaint little town just outside the suburbs of London.... actually, it is Yuletide everywhere else as well; but this story concentrates upon the nocturnal activities of our main heroes and protagonists, and takes place in the centre of Portestone's frost covered, cobble-stoned high street.
Major General Sir Wellyn Shaftesbury:
Hero of the Age, adored by the people, hounded by the press, loved by the Queen, envied by other men, and chastised by his nanny... has heard through the military grape vine (i.e. his regiment of 11th Hussars stationed near Hyde Park Barracks) that Portestone has a rather delightful bawdy house (Pippa's Place) situated within the enclosed grounds of a rather grand converted Abbot's tower and ancient monastery abode.
Taking his old faithful Irish blood hound Seamus O' Toole with him to secure them both lodgings within the finest suite of rooms the establishment has to offer, Wellyn is looking forward to a pleasant Yuletide long weekend away from the rigours of military duty, and the fearful nagging tongue of his family nemesis - the nanny.
It is late evening, and the first stars can all ready be seen twinkling through the fuzzy blue black mantle of dusk; and Wellyn has a mind to engage the rather pretty buck he spied walking the frosty streets a few hours ago as they entered town. Wellyn decides to bring Seamus along, so he can point the girl out, and have his servant approach her with a proposal for some light evening refreshment and a spot of gaslight tiffin.
Wellyn and Seamus are just leaving the courtyard gates of their esteemed residence, and are preparing for a casual walk through the
streets in search of their prize, when the action kicks off.
Jack The Stripper: Just happens to be sojourning in Portestone this Yuletide; and even as Wellyn and O' Toole are wending their merry way through the streets in search of Trudy, Jack is all ready ahead of them, and is himself preparing to 'entertain' the young woman.
As everyone knows, Jack has a liking for ladies of the night, and his criminal indecency has made him a high priority on the Most Wanted list of the London Boroughs busy constabulary.
Jack has an unfortunate lewd bent: he likes to get as close as he can to these unfortunate fallen women, whip out his concealed tool.. his brush... and with lightning speed, he will paint a nude fresco of his victim for the world to witness his passion.
No one is safe from Jack's perverted hand. Especially now his pleasures have started to expand, and occasionally includes the odd non prostitute or two. Unfortunately for Jack, the French government recently caught up with this notorious criminal while he sojourned in France on his annual hols with Auntie Betsie, and in return for their silence regarding his true identity, the French Secret Service have coerced Jack to perform certain... erm... favours for them from time to time, and as occasion demands.
Jack is so highly strung right now, he can hardly contain his ardour... and earlier this evening, before he could help himself, he created a small pornographic masterpiece on the dark wall, half way down a narrow back alley somewhere in Portestone's less well to do East End.
Suggestive French Lady on Feminine Penny Farthing:
Ohh-la-la Lily Le Fête is a French Spy who poses a deep threat to the safety of Britain's Green and Pleasant Land (well, it will be green again once the snow goes away). Her mission to subvert the course of Paxian justice leads her to don many strange and exotic disguises in the line of her own nefarious duties. Just recently, Lily discovered Sir Wellyn Shaftesbury's holiday whereabouts, and disguised as a loose bawdy house girl, she hopes to get Wellyn into a few compromising positions so she can sell her story to the press.
The headline is all ready etched in her mind:
"Sir Wellyn Shaftesbury, most trusted agent of her Royal Majesty, supreme hero of the nation, caught with his trousers down whilst in the clutches of a common harlot." If her contact Mr. X (aka Jack the Stripper) can be trusted to do his stuff; the mission is as good as in the bag.
Local Portestone Constables, Nob Chase & Morley Piecroft: This duo make a fortunate discovery, when Charlie Dicks the local rogue and general bad boy, hoping for a substantial reward, reveals to the local bobbies that Jack the Stripper is, in fact, in town. When Police Sergeant Chase ask him how he could possibly know something Scotland Yard themselves hadn`t even ascertained. Dick replies that he has just seen (what can only be described as) one of Jack's paintings recently scribed onto a wall of one of the streets down by the riverside – and the paint is still wet.
Even as Nob Chase and Morley Piecroft are creeping along the hedgerows seeking to arrest Jack the Stripper ~ a section of Prussian Ship's Marines are moving panther like through the trees, attempting to approach Pippa's Place undetected by the sleeping inhabitants of the lazy backwater town. Once the Marines have located the building with the red gaslights shining from the bedroom windows, they are to strike a flare into the air, which will be the signal for the Juger Fuhrer and his elite gyro-pilots to descend upon the building and overpower Sir Wellyn Shaftesbury... all secondary targets have a rescinded priority rating.
Sgt. Major Bedrock: and a company of raw recruits from the 1st Regiment of the Royal Lifeguards just happen, as luck would have
it, to be temporarily billeted in a small army camp just outside Portestone. Sergeant Major Bedrock himself is personally leading a platoon of miscreants who have unfortunately found themselves on a charge for insubordination and drunken misbehaviour. Night manoeuvres and urban Wargames through the icy streets and back alleys of Portestone on Yuletide Eve is a punishment the Sergeant Major believes will teach the men under his command a serious lesson in military protocol. Little do they know there are Prussian Marines approaching them from the wooded hills to the rear of their present position.
"So, where exactly do you think the lady is going to be at this time of the evening, Major General, sir?"
Seamus O' Toole enquires in his pronounced Irish Munster County accent.
"Tis fierce cold out here, and t'would freeze the knobbly bits off a brass monkey... if you'll forgive d' military expression, sir."
'Right now I could be inside a nice warm lounge, roasting my toes in front of the inglenook fireplace and toasting crumpets over the flames.' Wellyn chastises himself:
'But instead, here I am chasing a common street hooker half way across town, and why..... for half an hour’s hanky-panky and possibly a dose of speckled willie to boot?'
But inside, Wellyn all ready knows the answer to his rhetorical, self posed question. The filly in question is a devilish rum beauty, and well worth the discomfort of listening to Seamus Furtive O' Toole complaining about his chilblains for a little bit longer!
"Steady on there, old boy." Wellyn slurs slightly, as the noxious toxins from the alcohol, which is coursing through his veins, reaches his head and collides with adverse effects due to the cold air being inhaled into his lungs.
For a few moments Wellyn feels rather giddy, and contemplates turning round and simply walking back into the building they have just vacated. But sheer tenacity and a driving urge to quench his enormous appetite drives him onwards.
"Besides, she really is a rare beauty, and once I'm finished with her, you can have your fill... on the house, courtesy of yours truly."
Wellyn does a little jig on the pavement, and finishes his routine with a courtly bow.... spilling brandy into the snow, losing balance and nearly falling flat on his rump in the process.
"Ssssssssh!" Seamus cocks his head on one side for a moment and listens into the fast approaching gloom of night.
"Wha... whazzat?" Wellyn slurs slightly.
"Hark a minute Mr. Shaftesbury, sir. I think I can hear something."
Seamus looks round at his master, and places a finger to his lips to emphasize his point.
"Whazzzat! I don't hear a bloody thing, old boy."
For a full half a minute, Seamus stands stock still and opens his ears. Wellyn merely hums an out of tune cadence from some Music Hall song.... burps twice, and farts loudly.
Suddenly looking as furtive as a fox on full alert, Seamus enquires:
"Mr. Shaftesbury, sir.... do you hear an engine high above us. You know, up in the sky?"
But the off duty drunken Major General has all ready staggered away down the street in a zig-zag line, singing snatches of:
What are we going to do with Uncle Arthur?
A blinking stallion, is Uncle Arthur
When he goes a-strolling in the park,
Watch your step, girls, especially after dark.
Any old skirt's a flirt to Uncle Arthur,
He's over eighty, but how he can run!
'Give us a kiss, my dear,' he'd say
And tickle you up the boom-di-ay,
And say it was just an 'armless bit of fun.
A bit further down the road, and Wellyn suddenly quickens his pace and calls cheerily over to his companion, who is still looking up into the sky and doing an almost crab like walk in the process:
"I say, Seamus, there she is... what a bit of good fortune * hic*"
Wellyn increases speed and walks up the main street towards the town centre where he has spotted the girl of his dreams leaning against a lamp post.
A fine ice mist and the insufficient gas lighting makes it hard for Wellyn to make out any details at first. But as he gets closer, he notices the street walker is not alone.
"What rotten luck, she's all ready got a punter."
Through the fog, Wellyn spies a gentleman in a top hat and long dark coat talking to the girl from the relative seclusion of a small dark alleyway.
Simultaneously, obliquely to the right of the police officers, but also approaching from the opposite direction from Wellyn: the darndest thing catches the Major General's attention, and for a moment he thinks he is seeing things. But when he wipes his sleeve against his eyes and looks again, the image is still there! Coming down the middle of the road, legs wide apart to allow the pedals to work themselves in their downhill descent, a rather pretty, foreign looking woman dressed in a revealing set of white cotton undergarment comes careening down the hill on a penny farthing, waving a yellow handkerchief in the general direction of the prostitute and would be punter... as though to warn them off.
"Put your Back into it, you 'orrible little man, you."
"But Seargent Major, it's cold and I can't get my fingers to work properly."
"Would you like me to fetch you a hot water bottle, sonny?"
"Oh wow, would you Sergeant Major?"
Sergeant Major Bedrock walks stiffly over to the sorry looking line of would be soldiers, and shakes his head with silent exasperation. He stops when he reaches the place in the line where Private Pyke is shivering uncontrollably in the chill winter air.
"Listen here you pathetic little maggot, when I tell you to lock and load your bundle, I MEAN LOCK AND LOAD YOUR BLOODY BUNDLE, DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR PRIVATE PYKE?"
"Yes Sergeant Major."
"Are you looking at me when I speak to you, private?"
"No Sergeant Major."
"WHY AREN'T YOU LOOKING AT ME WHEN I SPEAK TO YOU PRIVATE!?"
Several gun shots ring out from somewhere behind the platoon of recruits, and suddenly the air is alive with bullets and smoke. Private Pyke slumps to the ground in a dead faint... in utter terror. Fear has chased his bowels to the finish line and won by a knock out finale.
The ragged line of Paxian Lifeguards turn left and right like headless chickens trying to locate the enemy. Only the Sergeant Major keeps his head, and tries to rally his men into the proper semblance of a fighting formation.
Placing his swagger stick firmly under his right armpit, he straightens up to his full height, and like a kettle building slowly into a full blown boiling whistle, he yells:
"HOLD YOUR POSITION AND RALLY ROUND ME, YOU HORRIBLE LITTLE MEN!"
In a voice which brooches no argument, he stands as immovable as a rock. Private Pyke's first action, witnessed through closed eyelids as he faints away in fright... a Prussian bullet whizzes past his head and it’s time to say night night for a while.
Rule Mechanics: The Prussians win the initiative for the first turn by throwing a 6 on the die. The Paxian forces and allies roll a decent 4, but still lose the opening round, and get to move after the enemy.
Jack the Stripper attempts to roll a 1 or 2 on a six sided die, but fails. He does not get to fresco a painted lady this turn of the game. Meanwhile, the French spy on the penny farthing has spotted the two police officers creeping up on Jack, and tries to use her special attraction skill to warn him of the impending danger. She fails to make the required number, and continues riding down the hill towards the centre of town.
Wellyn and Seamus approach the town centre and spot Trudy, the prostitute being chatted up by Jack, and hurry towards them in the hope of getting in first. Seamus 'highly tuned senses are working overtime.... something doesn’t seem right to him.
Meanwhile, the Prussian Marines coming out of the woods above the bawdy house have run right into the rear of a small platoon of Paxian Lifeguards out on night manoeuvres.
Naturally, they panic slightly; wrongly assuming the game is up and their mission is known to the enemy. But they are elite troops, and are determined to continue with their objective. They come charging down the hill firing their weapons as they go - intent on sweeping the Paxian riflemen nonchalantly aside as they rush towards their goal.
A single red coated enemy drops to the ground and is out of the action. But a stout hearted NCO is trying desperately to rally the surprised and disorganized Lifeguard, and the Prussian Marines believe they may be up against stiff resistance.
Sergeant Major Bedrock watches his platoon come apart, and frowns in dismay. He sees red jackets flowing away into the gloom, and more than a few of them are lying on the ground and not moving. A few of the braver soldiers rally round him at his call, and shakily form a thin red line with the NCO in the centre. Bedrock breathes a silent prayer of gratitude, and thanks Pax for the training his men have received upon the rifle ranges. The Prussian Marines flowing towards them out of the gloom meet a small welcome committee of dedicated rifle fire, and the enemy pop apart before his eyes as the first volley smashes into them at close range.
In absolute confusion... and perhaps because their plight is now desperate, one of the Prussian Marines cracks off a flare which will
call the gyro-pilots into the fray.
Meanwhile, Lily Le Fête the French Spy finally manages to alert Jack of the danger he is in - just as the two police officers appear round the corner of a low wall and charge headlong towards him with truncheons and handcuffs at the ready... blowing whistles as they come until their puffed out cheeks go red with the effort.
"Vere did sey come from, ze mission viil fail if ve can't kwickly locate ze Major Geneval." Obergefreiter Klaus screams to his superior over the gunfire."
"Ve viil charge zem – NOW!" Feldwebel Himmelshmitt replies calmly over the din.
Amongst their ranks, a solitary flare shoots into the air and lights the sky overhead with an eerie green glow.
"Who did zat.... who DID zat?" The Feldwebel demands, tearing his helmet off his head and throwing it to the ground in rage.
"I think maybe, Mr Shaftesbury, sir... we should be heading someplace away from here." Seamus' bloodhound nose is now positively twitching with full alert and fear for their safety.
But Sir Wellyn had all ready sobered up considerably, the second he had heard the Prussian Mauser rifle fire ... followed by the sound of British Whisky Henry's being fired in a ragged volley.
"I think.... yes. Maybe we should not return to our lodgings tonight?" Wellyn muses and looks sharply to his faithful companion for his thoughts.
"My thinking entirely, Sir." Seamus nods his head furiously, his dishevelled locks of red hair look like an angry wave breaking upon a stubborn furrow of wrinkled brow and stoic concentration. "and if I'm not much mistaken, Sir, those things floating down out of the sky over yonder, aren't a flock of belated migrating ducks!" He points a shaking finger towards a florescent green skyline, where a group of figures are descending out of a cigar shaped machine as large as small dark cloud.
A hail of bullets ping and ding all around the valiant Lifeguard standing firmly around their Sergeant Major; many of them wishing they had chosen the cowards route and were now routing the field with their less steadfast comrades. But heroism is no one’s friend, and several brave soldiers fall to the ground in less fortunate circumstances than the snoozing Private Pyke.
Sergeant Major Bedrock keels over and falls flat on his back when a lone Prussian bullet plucks the helmet clean off his head. The armoured hat has saved his life: but when he wakes up, he will have no memory of this day's events due to a severe concussion caused by the blow from the enemy shell. It is precisely at this moment that Private Pyke recovers from his faint... quickly assesses the situation, and decides discretion is the better part of valour.
As he crawls away into the dimpsy grey mantle of dusk, he hears a groan from his prone Sergeant Major. Blood is coming from a deep scrape along the side of his helmetless head, and a nasty bruise is rapidly forming over his right ear. Private Pyke does the only thing his training and instinct tells him to do. He takes hold of both feet, and drags his Sergeant Major to safety.
A few seconds afterwards, an entire squadron of Prussian Gyro-Pilots descend from the sky and check the entire scene with a fine tooth comb... by which time, Private Pyke and Sergeant Major Bedrock are safely away and vanished into the night.
After a few minutes while he takes time to orientate the position of his squadron with pin point accuracy; he snaps the light off, rolls the map away and hands it to his semaphore and signal man.
He utters confidently to those nearest to him."Ze flare has been lit too soon... but no matter. Ve will march double time tovards our objective, and complete the mission viz in the next five minutes.... move out!"
Lily Le Fête allows the hill's momentum to carry her away to safety upon her gaily painted penny farthing. Behind her the policemen’s whistles and cries to "Stop, in the name of the law!" Can be heard echoing off the buildings in her wake. She has escaped unscathed.... uncompromised. Now it is time to abort the mission and report to headquarters via her nearest safe contact.
She only hopes Jack also managed to escape through the alleyways of Portestone. Those two buffoons following don't look terribly fit, and Miss Le Fête is fairly confident Jack can give them the slip. It would be a shame to lose such a valuable ally. But if it came to the worst... what did he know about her – nothing! He hadn't even gotten a decent look at her as she cycled past him at top speed just now... and fortunately, all former communication had been via messages, and good old Jack had never actually seen her face before tonight. But Hmmmmm! How had the mission ended up being so badly compromised? Lily would get to the bottom of this mystery... Lily always got to the bottom of things.
When Ludwig Von Lieberwits bursts into the supposed target area of Major General Sir Wellyn Shaftesbury three minutes later... amidst tear gas and concussion grenades; the screams and cries of the party girls are drowned only by the sounds of multiple shards of breaking glass and splintering portals as the gentlemen clientele try hurriedly to climb to safety out of the windows and back doors.
Two minutes later, after having ordered his men to search every nook and cranny within the premises... both he and his entire squadron vacate the scene as quickly and as efficiently as they first entered.
The sounds of a large mechanical contraption drifting away into the night is like the soft gossamer thread of a grasshopper's wings floating away on the cold winter wind.
Sunday, 16 June 2019
However *da daaaa* big drum roll the next battle report is already written up (a steampunk Pax game), and I merely have to find time now to post it all up so it can be seen by all.
In addition, there is currently a (second) game set up, and the miniatures are all just waiting patiently for me to fight it out on the table top using my tried and tested old faithful "Funny Little Wars" rules set.
Meanwhile, the photos above and below are snippets living proof of `the shape of things to come` ^^
See you soon,
Saturday, 1 June 2019
few good and solid reasons. First of all, life in general has gotten in the way lately and kept me away from the table with ferocious and steadfast determination. But that`s not it. Secondly, I have been going through a bit of a reality spree lately, as other non gamey things have just seemed more immediate and somehow more accessible (like Mr Mole and his "spring cleaning"), but that`s not it. No, mostly I have been going through hobby burn out... but that`s not exactly it either. It`s more like I have been going through hobby re-evaluation this last month and more. You know, that thing that happens when nothing you do quite seems to `fit` you, and you flounder about trying to find some purpose as you listlessly meander about: desperately trying to adhere to a flag that you can run up the pole and salute. For me the burn out has been so complete it`s actually been making me avoid getting stuck in with my usual ardour, routine and passion.
nothing seemed to be making me comfortable in the directions I was moving towards and needed a realignment. So what do I do when I get in this frame of mind?
Yep, I hit the books, read history, watch documentaries, re-watch old episodes of Dice, Camera, Action! And even a bit of D&D fantasy, like Chris Perkin`s mammoth You Tube endeavours into Ravenloft, Tomb of Elemental Evil, Dragon Heist and Mad Mage.
I combined blogging space with both sides of the coin on a single
site, but I found the two shades of the hobby simply didn`t mix
too well. One minute I`d be talking about Vampires and Ghouls, Zombie incursions and Alien encounters on derelict space ships; and the next I`d be discussing the intricacies of logistics for a British expeditionary force entering the Peking legations, or journeying up the Nile and into the Congo delta with a fleet of tramp steamers: or discoursing over the skill required to maintain and crew a 17th century siege mortar (at one stage there were only two men alive in England with the skill to do it). So I started two blogs. This one for historical stuff and then I re-opened The Game Cupboard for all our fantasy type games...
Can`t beat a good ol` game of Dungeons and Dragons from time to time, for a nice change of pace.
Monday, 13 May 2019
It is an hour later, and still the rain lashes down upon the cobbled streets, and a fine mist rises from the ground like hot steam from a stray dog`s urine. The hired horseless carriage sits soaking wet in the garage, and everything is quiet and still within the private abode of one newly re-appointed and foremost officer of the Queen`s most impeccable and gallant military gentlemen of the realm.
As Wellyn Shaftesbury sits within his luxury apartment flat, knocking back the fine claret and smoking a long hand rolled cigar, there is a furtive knock at the window.
“Aahh, now vee haf sem”.
A smug voiced shadow whispers to his smaller bloated companion.
“Well, they must stop that, at once…. It`s far too good for the likes of them”.
However, his work in London is done, and to sojourn needlessly any longer would be to invite trouble and danger to himself. It`s not exactly as though a man with a missing right arm, possessing no lower torso what so ever below the groin, and strapped into an unpredictable moving chair could blend in easily with the crowd. The word “Darlek” comes to mind; but that’s an invention Professor Von Hardlove hasn`t quite perfected, and so the word isn`t in general circulation – yet.