Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Tail Feathers part 1

Hi all

not in the least Zombtober related I'm afraid, but this post has been sitting in my drafts for about 4 weeks while we adventured with the Kitsune.  As to zombtober, good luck to the guys who are participating this year, after my monumental 100+ zombies painted last year I thought I was kinda zombie out.  I have bought Zombicide Black Plague to get sorted out, but have too many priorities sitting in the way including the subject of this blog post...

I was just looking through my back catalogue to find a post that was related to this one and for the life of me I couldn't find a post about the world of "Mice & Mystics"....  Then I stumbled on one simply called “A bit of filler” and there it was tucked away in a forgotten corner of da Grotto.

Anyway, a while ago I posted some pics of some miniatures I'd painted for a friend from the board game/RPG - Mice & Mystics.  I played the game a bunch of times and it's fun! solo or with a group the game is simple to play yet drags you into the world of Prince Colin and chums, a dark world of swords and spells, where mice battle rats, spiders and centipedes.

I reluctantly handed them back to their owners and moved on....

Months later I find out that they came out with a skirmish game based in the same universe, not only that but it's aerial combat!!  Hell yeah!  Mouse warriors mounted on Blue Jays and Starlings in aerial combat with rats on Rooks and Crows....oh jeez, I've died and gone to heaven.

Welcome Tail Feathers, welcome to da Grotto.

Tail Feathers
Villainous rats have allied with vicious hunting birds to pillage the humble mouse settlement across Meanderfield. But look! Brave mice, mounted on starlings and blue jays, swoop in to wage war against this evil alliance! The Downwood Militia soars into action against the Vermin Raiders!

So I've been painting away and I've finished the avian warriors and here they are...

First the good guys and we start with the Blue Jay (with out rider).  Now you can field the mounted warriors as either named characters or just standard and I'll go through these later on, when I've got a game in.  The unique flight stands that the birds are mounted on allow you to tilt the models on a ball and socket joint.  This is important to the game as it indicates taking off or banking, it also makes the models a little delicate and I'm waiting for a replacement stand due to a crack in the joint from transport.

Next we add his mouse rider, this one is my fave. Painted up as a white mouse (yes I know you don't find them in the wild!).

Next is a starling, I really enjoyed doing the plumage for this one.

and with his mouse warrior...

and finally for the "goodies" another starling.  This one has the busted flight stand so is very static, until Asmodee UK can get me a replacement. **Edit** Asmodee UK have sent me an entire replacement bird, not just the stand! I'm very happy with that :-)

and here is the final flight...

Next time I'll showcase the bad guys but this won't be for a couple of weeks as I'm off to sun my self in the Canaries.

hope you enjoy (I certainly will be next week....)

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Jwar Tales - Kitsune (part 5)

previous episodes here

we pick it up with K having silenced the guard who'd wounded him. with the treasure chest in hand, all they have to do is turn over more objectives to get a set and then escape the compound

Nitōhei  (private) Umemoto, closed the door carefully behind him.  He knew the intruder was in this part of the house somewhere.  The house guard was slowly turning out as the gunsos woke up to the news that one of their own had been found dead.  The general alarm had still not rung out, the Imperial delegation that had arrived the previous day, had the Daimyo and his family wound tightly and the master of the household had ensured that the staff knew the punishments that any disruption would result in.  Umemoto almost smiled at the indecision that must be tearing the bullying gunsos apart.  A quiet mobilisation of the guard would avoid disturbing the guests housed in the visitors compound, but it certainly slowed things down.  Peering into the inky black shadows of the supply rooms, the guard failed to spot the tiniest of movements in the far reaches of the closet...

the guards use a card to block K's escape and another to move an alert guard up close, unfortunately even though he was alert, the guard still failed to detect K

The Kitsune planted a vipers tooth in one of the guards wounds before once again resuming her favourite shape.  The small vixen darted out of the bloody barracks and into a narrow walkway that led to the servants quarters.  She would need to be extra stealthy now, Kyuubi's exploits had stirred the guards up and they could be seen rushing around, poking their yari into the shadows.

The Kitsune needs to aid her sibling as he gets cornered

the guards use a card to block the use of force for K and he has to think of a non-violent plan B

Kyuubi eased his paw off of the hilt of his katana, there were too many guards close by to simply take out the fool in front of him. Besides that, where was the fun in simply killing these hapless humans, far better to mock them, albeit without their knowledge.

With superlative stealth, the vexatious vulpine ghosted passed the sentry, soundlessly padding within inches of the clueless private to duck into the deep shadows of a dark corner when the bulky form of another fat, lazy and inept fool filled the doorway.

thanks to the guard's card, K only has stealth dice left and uses them to evade the guard blocking his escape, but he doesn't have enough move or dice left to evade the guard by the door!

Kyuubi, gloating in the corner of the closet, watched as a senior soldier, a female, relieved the fool at his post and sent him back to the barracks to get more troops. So intent was he on the exchange, that even with his sensitive ears, he failed to hear the soft approach of the guard that he'd ghosted until the blade of a spear came to rest just under his chin....

all the noise tokens generated over the last few turns had raised the alert level and allowed the guard captain to promote the guard by K to an amber alert guard.  The alert guard moves forward and passes a detection test, revealing K.  Also during their turn a guard moves just behind FF but fails to detect her.

The Kitsune froze, unlike her brother she had heard the heavy footsteps of a guard behind her and now she had to decide what to do.  The gunso and the guard in front of her were focused on the demon that they had cornered in the supply rooms, the guard behind her seemed unaware and was rushing to aid his comrades.  She would have to risk making noise if she was to rescue the mission and her brother.

In a flash of ki, the female yokai transformed right in front of the approaching guard, causing him to stumble backwards, his yari inadvertently blocking her initial sword thrust.  Growling in frustration at the loud clash of steel on steel, she struck with lightning speed with her twin blades and quickly cut the life from the outclassed guard. 

Turning, she saw that the gunso had heard the commotion and was reaching for her katana.  With incredible speed, the Kitsune sprinted toward the human.  At the last moment she leapt to her right, landing halfway up the wall and using the vertical surface to propel herself over the outstretched sword blow of the sergeant. With a swipe of her right hand sword she slashed open the chest of the female human, before landing with the grace of a dancer and finishing the dying woman off with a thrust to the heart.

she's a full on fighting machine in humanoid form, defeating an alert guard and upgraded amber alert guard in a single turn...

Umemoto, confused by the sounds of battle coming from the hallway, felt the sweat drip down his face.  Did this mean that there was more than one demon at large in the house? 

The Takashi family must be cursed he concluded.  The silence that followed was more disturbing than the ring of battle and he tentatively called out to the gunso that had arrived moments before.

"Sarge? are you there?" with no answer, Umemoto had no idea what to think. Reflexively, he wiped the sweat off of his brow with his sleeve.  A split second later he felt two feet of steel pass through his heart...

Kyuubi withdrew his katana from the poor boy's chest and quickly sprinkled some snake scales near the body of the guard and that of his superior.  Nodding to his sister, he silently complimented her blade craft; which she thoroughly ignored. He arched his brow at his sibling, finally gaining a response and soundlessly ascertained that the box was in her possession.  They just needed to plant the last of the "evidence" and they could call the mission a success.

K kills the alert guard and goes onto flip another objective

Lady Oka Takashi swept majestically down the corridor, her patterned silk kimono billowing around her slender yet muscular frame. The scowl on her normally serene face, caused seasoned warriors to fall back and away from the fierce noblewoman.  The long naginata (bladed spear) held loosely in one hand, clacked on the ceramic tiles as she stormed toward the servants quarters. She rattled off a string of orders to the overwhelmed gunso trailing her.  She would deal with the intruders personally and then there would be a reckoning with the instigators of this daring raid, which according to the reports of her officers was the treacherous snakes of the Ito Clan.  

Her stream of invective came to a stuttering halt as she rounded the last corner to be confronted by a beautiful, yet strange looking woman standing over the bloodied form of one of her guards.

Hefting her naginata, she strode forward confident that her skill matched and indeed exceeded that of  the female before her.  Blinking, she finally clicked to what was so wrong with the woman, she had a ruddy brown tail! A Kitsune! The classically educated noble recognised the mischievous yokai instantly.  But surely they were not natural allies of the snakes? 

finally the alert level is high enough to trigger the Lady Oka and she comes onto the board at the nearest barracks.  Using three action points she rushes to the area where the ninjas are.  The ninjas have yet to be able to "fade into the shadows" meaning that they are automatically detected when in a guards Area of Influence or AoI.

Kyuubi heard the approaching woman and quickly went about his business, scattering more pieces of evidence in the armoury and about the common dining area for the servants. A rattle of blades as the two deadly females engaged in combat rang from the corridor, causing Kyuubi to curse in the kitsune tongue.  The noise would pinpoint their position like ringing the dinner bell to hungry farm labourers! Slipping a paw into a hidden pocket he withdrew a small object the size of a pigeon egg.  

Slamming the object to the floor and smashing the shell made no noise whatsoever, in fact the sounds of the fight from the corridor immediately ceased as well!  A toothy smile split his muzzle as he soundlessly chuckled at the effects of the Ki laden device.

KH and Oka battle it out while K flips objectives

The Kitsune fumed as yet another of her well orchestrated attack patterns were turned away by the viper-swift movements of the broad bladed weapon.  The human female was a formidable warrior and easily her match in open combat. She needed to change the dynamic and gain the advantage once more.

Lunging low with her left handed blade, she forced the woman to block the strike with the long shaft of her naginata before following instantly high with the right and dragging the warrior's defences up and out with the bladed end.  Using her extraordinary agility she leapt forward and double kicked the noble in the chest, her sharp nails drawing blood across the top of the human's breasts before using the momentum to spring away.  Mid-flight she began her transformation, landing on all fours, before scampering away in her fox form and blending with the shadows.

KH barely wounds the Lady Oka, using all her dice and flees into the shadows unable to press the attack and finish the lady off!

Lady Oka grimaced as she wiped the bright red blood from her torn kimono, the vixen would pay for the insult!  "Guards!" she cried, just loudly enough to carry to the barracks up the passageway.  More determined than ever to catch the shinobi that were running riot in her home, she strode into the servants quarters looking for the bitch's accomplice.  

Her sharp eyes swept across the darkened room, penetrating the gloom for shadows that did not quite fit the landscape. Aha! with a thrust of her polearm, she sliced the heavy blade into the inky shadow by the heavy wooden table.  A mewling growl confirmed the accuracy of her strike, as did the line of blood that ran down the blade to splatter to the tiled floor.  An indistinct shape, covered by a billowing cloak scuttled out from beneath the table, clutching a wound to it's side.

more cards get played bringing more guards onto the board

Oka has a better chance of spotting the ninjas and reveal K, before using more action points to leap into combat, wounding the ninja

Kyuubi snarled his anger at the human female, his jagged canines showing as he fended off her attacks.  She was proving to be very troublesome!  With an exaggerated swipe of his katana that forced a block from the noblewoman, he used the momentum to drop to his knees and slide sideways and away from Oka.  Gaining distance he sprung to his feet and darted backward and around the corner, running for the back door he had seen earlier.  

In the gloom ahead he could see the heavy lock that barred his escape and growled in frustration, with the human female bearing down on him, he didn't have the luxury of time in order to be able to pick the lock.  Instead he once again, with incredible agility, ran up the door as if it were a horizontal surface and leapt for the safety of the rafters.

the kitsunes scatter, both diving for the shadows. K fails to wound Oka and fails to open the door blocking his escape!

Lady Oka took a deep breath, banishing the fury that was threatening to overwhelm her good sense.  The Shinobi that had infiltrated the compound had once again disappeared into the shadows.  She swept the room trying to pierce the gloom with her sharp eyes and found nothing!  So be it, she snorted to herself.

Turning to the flunky cowering behind her she bellowed at him, beyond caring about the disturbance it caused. "Go to the master of hounds, bring the dogs!".  When the lackey had scampered away, the noblewoman stood stock still, mulling over the mysterious attackers.  Kitsune were not known to ally with the Ito Clan, no something else was going on here.  

She needed to wake Lord Takashi and bring this news to him personally. With a small upturn of her lips that might generously be called a smile, she spun on her heel determined to get to the bottom of tonight's raid.

the alert is now high enough to place the dog

and the Akita is released from his kennel

The Kitsune heard the orders from the human female and winced, the guards would be greatly aided by the superior senses of the hounds.  The mission needed to be completed before they were discovered again and the net tightened around them.  Ahead of her, silhouetted behind a shoji door, stood a guard.  Knowing how close the deadly female was to the Kitsune's current location she couldn't risk a noisy fight.  Gripping a wooden scrubbing brush in her powerful jaws, she crept to a small window overlooking the entrance to the Manor house and tossed the brush onto the gravelled floor with a soft crunch.  Sitting back, she watched as the silhouette of the guard moved off to investigate the sound.

Kyuubi silently drew his katana from its scabbard, the long blade held loosely in his grip as he dropped without the merest whisper of sound behind the human female as she stood in contemplation.  Rearing up behind her, his cloak billowing around him like the demon he had been so often though of by the Takashi household this night, he prepared to drive the sharp steel through her heart.

He was startled then as the woman suddenly whirled around. But not as much as she clearly was to see him looming behind her!  Punching out quickly with the hilt of the weapon, once, then again he was relieved to see her eyes roll up into her head and crumple to the ground unconscious.

Standing over the prone form of the human who had sorely wounded him, he was tempted to finish her with a quick slice to her exposed throat.  She had fought valiantly and had even matched the ferocity of his sister with her blade work, which impressed the male despite his distaste for humans.  With a shrug of his shoulders, he decided to let her live and with a final salute from one warrior to another, he slunk off into the shadows...

K uses a ninja card to ensure the final wound on Oka and she is removed from the game

with the guards bunched up behind the door....

the ninjas take a different route!

The Kitsune, in her fox form prowled the narrow corridor cloaked in the shadows.  Behind her, her brother was nigh on invisible as they sprinted up the hallway and away from the servants quarters.  They were pretty much done, just one more piece of evidence, the most damning piece! needed to be planted.  The piece that would push the Takashi's over the edge of reason, unable to sift the facts from fiction and destroy the treaty for ever.

All around the yokai, guards poured out of the barracks and continued to search for the intruders.  Clumsy human senses unable to pierce their superior stealth, they stumbled blindly in the pre-dawn gloom.

despite recruiting an amber alert guard right beside the ninjas, the guards fail their detect tests (3xd6 needs a 6)

so the kitsunes ghost passed them using evade tests. (d6 against the guards awareness!)

The Kitsune rushed into the large audience room, where the lord Takashi heard the petitions of his nobles.  From beneath her collar she withdrew her pouch, reaching in she picked out the last piece of damning evidence.  

The lock of black hair, nondescript in its way, was tied around a snake fetish in the manner of a lucky charm.  It had been incredibly difficult to "procure" this particular fetish though, involving a midnight burglary of a high ranking Ito princeling.  The hair was clasped in place by a very distinct barrette, a gift from a doting father to a beloved daughter, the Takashi family symbol clearly picked out in shining gold.  The barrette given to the lady Asama Takashi by her father - the Daimyo himself just prior to her disappearance!

The fetish, taken from the lord Itsunagi's chambers would ignite the conflict between the powerful clans.  The Kitsune placed the evidence carefully, ensuring that it looked like the thin leather leashes had snapped and fallen away.  With a quick nod to her brother, who stood impassively beside her, she passed him the wooden box she had pilfered from the strong room. 

Tucking the box away deep within his billowing cloak, the male gave his sister a toothy grin and waved goodbye, before sprinting for the zen gardens where they had scaled the high walls of the compound and disappearing into the inky black night.

With the baying of the hounds closing in and the shouts of the guards as they finally turned out in greater numbers, the Kitsune, cloaked in her favourite fox form slunk away.  She would report back to Master Akari on the success of the mission later on that day, after a much needed rest...

The Kitsune turns over the final objective and tests against the mission.  With over 12 completed objective token, I don't even need to roll a d6 to beat the mission number and automatically pass.

Turning over the escape points, I find that it is number 1 which is so close that the guards literally have no way to stop the escape and I call that a ninja win.

Lady Oka lay motionless on the narrow cot of the healing room, the ragged cut to her chest had been cleaned with salves and oils.  Dazed and bleeding she had been carefully moved by the guards under the watchful eyes of the seneschal.  She had still not regained consciousness yet and that troubled the healers as they mixed the pungent herbs and spices needed for their potions.

The Daimyo had been roused from his chambers and strode furiously around the compound listening to the reports pouring in from his officers.  Lord Kenta, head of the household guard, his grim face full of portent, approached the elder Takashi and bowed low.  With outstretched hands he presented a small bundle to his master and kept his face pressed to the floor as the howl of grief ripped through the air, tearing his heart in two at the loss held in that primal sound.

Kenta, unchecked tears pouring onto the polished tiles of the audience chamber, knew what that howl preceded and he felt the grief turn to anger.  The treacherous snakes would pay, blood for blood, they would feel the full fury of the Dragon.  The Takashi's were going to war!

hope you enjoy

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Jwar Tales - Kitsune (part 4)

please find the link to previous tales here

The Kitsune scanned the small room, a writing desk covered in parchment provided the perfect place to plant more evidence of Ito duplicity.  From the pouch, which seemed to hold far more than it's physical size would indicate, she withdrew a scrap of paper that resembled a hastily drawn map of the Takashi compound and dropped it under the desk.

FF flips the objective and gets a green, when you flip an objective you take a card, this time I was able to see the escape route which is normally hidden from the ninjas until after the mission is completed.  I decided despite to not reveal the exit point as it would spoil it for me as I'm playing solo

Footsteps coming from beyond the open door, indicated that the guard had resumed his pacing. Reaching for her Ki, the Kitsune quickly changed shape and drew her swords.  On silent feet she leapt across the threshold, the twin blades whirling in precise patterns and leaving the guard in a crumpled heap.  Quickly, the female yokai pulled at the robes of the corpse and propped him up against the table.  The guard's body would only add to the subterfuge especially when she added a little viper venom to the wounds.

Kyuubi stalked around the edge of the lantern light of the courtyard, confident that the blinded guards would not be able to see him.  His keen ears caught the subtle sound of an overweight sentry breathing a little heavily, his sensitive nose bought him traces of sweat and unwashed robes all coming from the main hallway that ran the length of the main house.  Drawing a handful of shuriken, he swept around the corner, flinging them with unerring accuracy at the surprised guard and dropping him to the floor.

a wider view. with no guards near the ninjas, they simply reinforced from the barracks!

In the background, Kyuubi could hear more guards emerging from the barracks.  Something had disturbed them! maybe one of the bodies had been found?  No that couldn't be it, the alarm would have sounded! More likely guards hadn't reported in and the gunso's were assuming that they were asleep somewhere in the compound...

Glancing down at the body of the guard he had just killed, the yokai realised that that might change if the soldier emerging from the barracks now discovered his comrade.  Drawing his katana, the fox-like assassin sprang forward, his paws barely making a sound as he sprinted the few paces to the entryway and swung the heavy blade at head height in a seemingly blind swipe.  The volatile vulpine's superlative senses determining the position of the guard even if he couldn't see him.  The sword tore through the scalp of the unfortunate man and killed him instantly with a solid thud.

The Kitsune, once again in fox form, darted silently into the dojo, dropping her "evidence" into a corner by a weapons rack and then heading back toward the master's dais.  So far the raid was going to plan, the Ito would be implicated and the treaty killed off before it began...

"Intruder!" Takaki Manobu managed to gasp.  He had strolled around the corner from the eastern guard post and stumbled on Usai, a gochi (corporal) from green watch being beheaded by a demon. Gulping a quick breath, he tried again - "Intruder!" this time his voice was a bit stronger and carried a bit further, causing the demon to spin around and face him.  

Multiple footsteps rang from all directions as others heard the cry, giving Takaki the courage to square up and present the point of his spear at the abomination. "Halt, beast!" he yelped bravely.  The yokai's hand reached beneath his cloak as if to go for another weapon, it's katana currently embedded in the head of Usai and therefore useless to it at that moment.  Takaki slapped the broad blade of the yari against it's arm, causing it to drop a handful of throwing stars.

K wants to use his shuriken to kill multiple targets but the guard player plays a card and he can't use the stars
Kyuubi, withdrew his stinging hand from his cloak and grabbed the hilt of his katana, ripping it from the head of the guard on the floor.  The sound of many guards heading his way, discouraged him from pressing the attack on the human who'd slapped at him.  Shrugging his shoulders, he spun on his heels causing his cloak to billow out and confuse the Takashi spearman. Bunching his powerful leg muscles, he leapt away from the startled sentry and sprinted down the hallway, ducking into the shadows and disappearing from sight.

The Kitsune could hear the commotion as her sibling tangled with the guards.  She winced when she heard the male's growl of frustration as he sought to escape.  Fortunately for her it had proved the perfect diversion, drawing a sentry away from the treasury and allowing her to approach the strong room. With a little Ki boosted dexterity, she picked the lock of the plank door that barred her way and slunk into the dark room.

Kyuubi leapt once again, this time straight upwards, his strong claws digging in the soft planks of the ceiling.  With incredible strength he clung to the rafters and inched his way away from the guard who had discovered him.  Underneath him reinforcements darted here and there but did not have the presence of mind to simply look up.  The guards below him babbled at each other in their primitive human tongue, something about waking the lord or lady, but none of them could decide if they should, worried that their tales of demon wolves would be taking seriously, but they DID have a dead guard to explain.   Instead they settled on reporting back to the gunso and letting them "take the yelling".

the guards play a card and place a guard right by K but fail to detect him, man they need the alert level up!
The Kitsune focused on her ki and transformed into her humanoid form, striding toward the impressive looking chest in the middle of the room.  With barely a glance at the wooden strong box, she swept passed it and stood before a plain, non-descript case roughly the size of her palm.  Despite looking completely unimpressive it had obviously been reverently placed on a low table and unlike other treasures in the vault, had been dusted and handled with great care.  The Kitsune was curious about the contents of the box, she could sense the ki pouring from the object inside, but Kyuubi had warned her not to open it and simply bring it to him. That had been his price and he would be furious with her if she disobeyed him in this matter... but still her mischievous vulpine curiosity warred with her need to keep her sibling onside. For long seconds she stood holding the plain box before shrugging and dropping it into her pouch.

The sound of guards waking in the barracks next door reminded the Kitsune of the business at hand and, drawing her kusarigama, she stalked from the strong room and into the hallway.  She needed to neutralise the guards quickly, before they got organised.  The chaos that Kyuubi and herself were creating was perfect for the plan, but it needed to be controlled and channelled.  

Two more swift strides and she was in the barracks, sleepy guards were struggling into clothing and reaching for weapons, when she leapt among them.  With a swing of the chain, she let fly with the weighted end, wrapping the metal links around a guards ankle and tripping him to the floor with a thump. A sharp pull on the weapon, released the chain allowing her to spin gracefully to build momentum and send the scythe-like blade into the chest of another soldier.  The vicious blade sliced through the man's sternum with ease, piercing his heart and he dropped to the floor without a sound.  

The tripped guard barely had time to get to his feet when, with a yelp that caused the Kitsune to wince, he was tangled once again by the chain of the exotic weapon. Another swipe of the blade and he lay still, this time for good.

KH's special weapon allows her to attack multiple opponents and so she uses all her force dice in a spectacular attack!
Takaki Manobu stood stock still, gripping his yari with sweaty hands.  Sasaki had gone off to inform the gunso about the situation and left him to keep watch for the demon.  Frankly they did not believe him, despite the body of the gocho that lay in a pool of blood nearby, blaming the murder on thieves.  As if thieves would break into the Takashi household! there would be nowhere in the Isles they could run to!  Takaki snorted his disbelief at the idea of thieves, he knew what he had seen, it had been a demon and no doubt. Nervously, he glanced up and down the length of the hall, the beast was out there somewhere.

Kyuubi watched the guard directly below him, every few seconds the human would remember to look about and then he would go back to sweating and muttering to himself.  Crucially however, he always failed to look up.  Slowly, the yokai unhooked the strong claws of his feet from the soft wood of the rafters and unfolded his body until he was able to drop lightly to the floor just behind the nervous sentry...

So I will leave it here for the time being, the overall shot shows you were our (anti)heroes are in relation to each other
hope you enjoy