Tuesday 14 July 2015

The Harrowing of Tephra part 1

So a few days back I attempted to GM a 40k skirmish game at my house. i haven't gmed a  proper game in a long time.. so I was obviously nervous .. lets  just say I have new amount of respect for all you gms out there  ;-)

I had built a gameboard specifically for the game -  ( the build of which will document at some other time in the near future )
but after the failed epic start of the  bromholme  Gothic skull board  - i was keen to explore a different aspect of 40k ..

the release of the adeptus mechanicus skittarii got me thinking about the designs of Jes Goodwin.. His early rogue trader stuff became the new muse.. trenchcoats and longrifles - browsing rogue trader again for inspiration i came across the infamous illo of the outcast Myron Jubalgunn ..

A generous  scenery trade with Thistle cemented the idea of a pirate themed distillery game board..

i was keen to go down a different path with the scenery to past game boards i have created - and decided a 6 by 4 board full of scatter add on terrain was the best option this time around..

a lack of time forced a design design decision regarding the monochromatic scheme .. but tbh i am really happy with that aspect of the board..

the game was played in a  competitive cooperative narrative spirit with Fulgrim PDH Thistle and myself ..

as always the unexpected stuff you dont plan for becomes the most enjoyable aspect.. themes and patterns emerge form the random rolling of dice that create and brake great characters and become unforgettable moments..

the players all played in the spirit of their chosen characters  ..often to their detriment.. which is part of the fun isn't it

 I will be splitting the game into two blogs for ease of editing  and and my sanity ..

i would like to thank My friends John Peter and Tim for making the effort of travelling to game..
and bringing awesome models..and really awesome bone dice..



Ashfall the lapilli wastes

 ( The Jackals  )

Ferment in frenzy the  Ashfall jackals howled mercy at the grey sky in despair – the promethium tanks were empty .. robbed in the night of their medicant fuel fix, a ash white vapour trail, the only clue of the crime, trailed off towards hellsmouth pass, a barren clinker filled path that wound down towards the tephra valley  abandoned refinery. Spasms of withdrawal gnawed fire through their rakish limbs. Bones twisted skin taught until they could stand no more ..

a clowder was called -

syphoning what was left of their own fuel filled blood into an ancient relic walker – the elder jackals fell into stupor .. The adolescent Hyenas readied the unsteady fuel tank for action . Hooking up rusty vapour pipes they suckled the exhausts for a quick fix, before the biped still staggered out into the morning dust ..

Hellsmouth pass

( The cinderhut )

The inquisitorial storm trooper begrudgingly handed over his bearksin hat to the emmberman -

In payment for you services..

the hulking ashman dropped his cindersack to the soot filled floor of his cabin and picked up a heavy power axe..

follow me, and watch step.. ground not safe – spider holes in clinkerash “ I take you .. tephra – you help take away Moron and hrud.. then you leave alone.. yes ?

The cherubim puppet scrolled back up the wanted poster and took a few moments to psychically relay the information to its off world inquisitorial mistress. And then a few more to relay her answer to grimy char collector..

Yes Myron .. Myron Jubalgunn...” ..the cybermastiff growled at the name ..

Tephra valley  promethium refinery

( The Mercy  hired Mercenary group )

“ Why did we take this Job ? “

“ because we needed the money stupid “..

“ but why did we need the money ? “

“ Because the sergeant blew it all on that damn fine taurox sat outside the camp.. “

“ why did we need the taurox ? “

“ Because we needed a vehicle to get us here and take this job...”

“ Why did we take this Job ? “  

" Go clean the dunny - i saw a spider as big as my hand  in there earlier.."

Myron surveyed his hideout as he popped another anti rad pill into his bone dry mouth.. 

Logans world was not the most hospitable place in the eastern fringe for humans.. but it was a good place to get lost... frequently cut off from the imperium by savage warp storms , its infamous promethium refineries were rad blasted by the adeptus mechanicus  centuries ago during the great scouring .. the  resultant orbital bombardment cracked the planet surface along its two major fault lines causing widespread volcanic activity.. a nuclear winter followed, fallout choking and irradiating the entire planet..

A few more months and i will have enough  "Croak " ( a roulette drink where each sip could be your last ) to pay off the sensei ..   his thoughts turned to his present situation..  the spacer guild MinosBrox  had placed a huge bounty on his head for inadvertently killing their leader Asterion .
..An unfortunate drinking accident to be sure..but he needed a place to lay low.. for a while at least..until he could afford proper protection , not that "The Mercy " were not good protection.. he paid them well and they had  a formidable rep..they just didn't have the manpower to protect him against a full spacer guild.. 

And if that wasn't bad enough.. the =I= were after him ..he wasn't sure why  but maybe the demon drive warp engine in his  dark eldar ship  "The  Thorn "had something to do with it..

the pill felt too large to swallow dry.. so he  washed it down with a swig of the ol Janx spirit..

The Harrowing


 Tephra Valley adeptus mechanicus refinery - Logans World - Eastern fringe

 The  dusk ash begins to fall on the silent refinery  as Fulgrim's Inquisitorial forces move towards a lightless engine room..

A bold storm trooper hangs a wanted poster on a ceramite door..
his bio scanner pings a blip inside and he calls  back the find to his puppet cherubym master  before moving on..

"001001001I am Hamm Hamm I am 0010110"

the cybermastiff investigates the strange barrelman
before the heralding Cherubym orders it placed outside

A lone trooper moves to investigate life signs emitting from the ash covered landing site
ignoring or oblivious to the Spiderleg warning totem pole..

 A single lasbolt from the covering troopers sends 
the spider scurrying back into its hole

a cacophony of howls and yelps warns the  cautious troopers of possible trouble - one diving into over watch as  the second pushes the now wailing barrelman back inside and a third taking up position behind an old mortar battery

The troopers keep a watchfull eye as two separate groups of potential
combatants move towards the centre of the facility..

As the Inquisitorial retinue keeps a watchfull eye from the south - a new group of screaming hounding hyenas , desperate for a promethuim fix, bound in from the west . Diving headlong towards the nearest silo.. a cranking behemoth lolls in front, trailing a large syphon hose and venting smoggy fumes from its rusty behind .

The hounding addicts fall upon the aged silo sniffing out its promethium potential.  Its canopy door swinging open to  reveal a sodden spring heeled stillman , hunting rifle waved aggressively above his malformed head..

In an unexpected move Thistle's catnip kittens pleaded with the stranger for the good stuff.. pure promethium .. The welldweller  quite possibly intoxicated ,took the hyenas for kin..pity welled up in his calcified heart and he bounded down leading one half of them on towards the great refinery silo..

The remaining FuelFixers  come under fire  from the newly roused Mercy .. unprepared for such aggression - the younglings falter.. a grenade explodes cracking the silo  , spilling its spider venom laced ,thrice promethium distilled liquor into the fine ash..

Eyes fixed on the prize the springheeled stillman and his envoys leap and holler madlong towards   the angel flanked gothic tower and its celestial caustic contents..

The Meanest Mercenaries in the Eastern rim had found a good nights kip..  The drinking game they played with Myron and his Xenos sidekick  had knocked them out for the count - even the stuntie sergeant who can normally down a  bucked of the ol janx spirit  had keeled over after several glasses of croak !  It was the preacher who woke first.. a raucous braying , ringing his ears to life..

Within seconds of waking the old ritualised military dogma  of the noble captain kicked in , 
 " weapons.. check.."
" Boots.. check "
" hair.. check "

 " right.. every one in the Taurox ! "

 " bugger "

" No one tell the dwarf "

  " The Mercy " Move to intercept the propellant perpetrators , a couple  of them clambering atop a ruined generatum to survey the discord  " 

As the hired guards open fire on the strung out interlopers
a cluster of spiders creep upon  a pair of lofty militants

Away from the hubbub.. a group of chartoil relic hunters led by an espousing vocoderlyte remembrancer , quarrel about who's turn it is to risk the  archaic mine field  , seeking forgotten mechanicus antiquities..

A local predator seeks its chance , but only manages to sink its fangs into
 the nimble maidens shield.. before a few of her compatriots rush to her aid. 

A sombre Mk13 lays immobile betwixt two mines.. 
merely metres away from the angry arachnid

The Vocoderlytes sings psalms of encouragement as the ancient battle servitor 
gives sound tactical advice

Not all the relic hunters offer aid..  a sure footed arachnophobe bootlegs it over the inert silo, whilst a wizened supplicant floats dangerously close to the ongoing battle..fortunately for him the Xenos is a terrible shot

floating back down away form the roof danger .. a sharp eyed mercenary makes a 
warning shot at the unwanted filcher , sending him back towards his triumphant cohort.


  1. YEAH!

    Such a great game. Really enjoying the write-up, too: several actualols there already. Great stuff, Neil.

    1. Cheers mate , I am glad you like it.. Peters Mercs have somehow become the comedy relief.. hope he doesn't mind .. although its his fault for making the " what happened to our Taurox " and " Nobody Tell the dwarf " comments ..

      not started the second part yet but i will get on it asap..

  2. Brilliant. At first I thought the board was unfinished but as it goes on the bleakness of it actually works perfectly.


    1. Cheers warburton , i would agree the board is unfinished really - finished enough for the game , but some parts work better than others.. it was looking at pictures of pyroclastic ash fall on towns , that led me to think that the grey out actually could work in the games favour - given a bit more time i would have painted everything in normal daylight colours and the added the ash effects.. as such some parts just got the grey/white and black paint treatment from the off whilst others were retconned as it were... i may still do that , but i am tempted to go in a different more colour bold direction for my next scenery challenge..

  3. This. This is the kind of thematic gaming I haven't played in years. Brilliant stuff.

    1. Thanks Odie , yeah i really enjoyed it.. it was a bit slow to start tbh , but once in the swing it was anybodies game.. i cant take full credit for GMing duties though ,PDH and Fulgrim both took a fair whack at it later on -- although i did find the necromunda stats for the cybermastiff all by my self. ;-).

  4. Replies
    1. Pretty sure that's what i said when the Models started to come out of boxes.. and i saw the pretty Fulgrim and Blanche Bone dies..


  5. So much awesomeness in just ONE post! Oh man... I AM UNWORTHY! I AM UNWORTHY! *prayingonmyknees*

    1. Ha ha ha .. I had a moment like that when Mr Blanche started chatting about a recent lunch with art legend Paul Bonner.. I was like hang on a min -- i need a moment .. John Blanch is is my dining room sharing Models and chatting about
      Paul Bonner .. I had to pinch myself.. ;-P

  6. What a treat Neil! The gaming board is brilliant. Love the ashwaste feel to it. Excellent miniatures from the other participants too - some rewamped/2.nd version evisorators (fuel fixers?) in there too.

    ...and even 101 images :)

    Thx for sharing this. Looking forward to the second part!

  7. Aye up Stefan , Glad you like it mate , tbh knowing that you might appreciate what i was trying to do gave me confidence to do it.. at one pint i thought this is very arty.. FOPA will like that.. ;-)

    Yeah kari's Evicorators looks to have been eviscerated somewhat - one of the dangers trading models with a creative genius a no holes barred art legend .. ;-)

    i like the mohawks..

    101 eh .. didn't know that.. !

  8. That is such a bold move to choose a monochromatic effect for your board - but you have managed to pull it off with aplomb! I know it isn't completely finished yet but this is so effective.

    One probably unexpected benefit is that it serves to enhance the models - they become accents or spot colours within the muted scene. Love it!

    Did you cut up FW terrain pieces to create a lot of your scatter terrain pieces??

  9. Cheers George ! as well as looking at volcanic ash covered towns for inspiration , I did always have the set from the film " Moon " in the back of my head.. particularly the scene where the harvester crashes.. that whole scene was monchromatic and it looked amazing.. I thought if its good enough for Duncan Jones then its good enough for me.. ;-)

    yeah the orange on the models seems particularly effective as a spot colour.. although i love how the grey bearskins on the stormtroopers ties them into the scenery..

    Yep i cut up two boards form foegoworld -- it took a while to build up the courage because you dont destroy John Blanche scenery lightly.. i did save a few pieces of floor though.. ;-)

    all that stuff will be in a future post about the build . ;-)

  10. Thanks for the report! I love the monochromatic ash covered terrain — it makes sense for a nuclear winter chocked rad world, but also makes all the photos very reminiscent of the formative b/w art of Rogue Trader and 2nd edition.

    And such an amazing collection of models of course! The walking still just looks so good surrounded by the rest of the man-sized figures and I'm very happy to see my shield maiden in such good company, and surviving the battle no-less!

  11. Cheers Mate, yep the shield maiden was the first character attacked.. really cool to see your mini up close.. Peter and I were trying to guess the base model lotr ?

    glad you like the board.. the build was fun but very time consuming .. just not enough time left to paint.. which tbh is no surprise coming from me... ;-p

  12. thanks! Not lotr; just the torso and arms of a Witch elf (from the blood cauldron kit) with legs and head from an empire archer: http://s1370.photobucket.com/user/weirdingway1/media/henchwomen-wip1_zps0890b966.jpg.html?sort=3&o=133

  13. wow , impressive stuff.. cheers for the link i loved how fine and delicate she was..

  14. Very very evocative words Neil - such a fun day ending on such a sad note on the lines at Wakefield .....

  15. No words to describe that tragedy.. My heart goes out to the families..