After our first remote miniature game Sky Hernstrom and I decided to have some fun with the After Action Report (AAR) by supplementing it with fiction.
This post will serve to introduce the characters and show the game’s starting positions. One or two follow-on posts will capture the game play.
We decided on an easy scenario with 50 points per side. Using the Void Pirates format I picked a hero (20 points) and two thugs (10 points each), translated to our fantasy setting as a wizard and two necroidim (technically undead but possessing agency/free will). Instead of recruiting another character I used my remaining 10 points to give the Wizard extra abilities.
Sky chose a winged Hero (20) and three winged lurkers (10 points each) all of whom you will be introduced to momentarily. They start by controlling the scenario’s objective, a partially submerged graveyard.
Twilight has passed and the Wizard’s party approaches the graveyard under the cover of darkness, unaware of what awaits:
After cresting the hill the wizard called for a halt at a favorite resting spot. The town’s outlying farmsteads were behind him and he no longer felt mild emanations from the townspeople playing on his subconscious. He made a mental note to look into the last home passed as the spiritual emanation coming from it was noticeably stronger. The old farmer must pray to a god hostile to magic.
The wizard looked east and savored the approaching darkness while his accompanying necroidim moved away to converse without disturbing his thoughts. While relaxing he mentally reviewed the inventory of ingredients to be gathered that night. Two silver coins paid to the undertaker ensured the body of an executed assassin was left hidden in the bushes on the north side of a large monolith. Moss scraped from a murder’s bone was a potent ingredient for elixirs offering protection from violence. Next, bones from a mother that died in childbirth would be crushed and added to his already considerable inventory of powder; one could never have enough of this base ingredient required to raise skeletons.
The main purpose of tonight’s trip was to collect a very rare component required for a special project, a quest really. Unlike the recipes for many potions that would only give a temporary boost, an old grimoire asserted the brain powder of an ultra intelligent person would permanently increase the wizard’s mental capacity. He had nothing to do with the Duke’s youngest son’s death by fever, no doubt he was aligned with the dark arts, but he considered the child’s death a tragedy. Despite that, this was an opportunity too good to waste and no one, not even the undertaker, would know.
Savoring a chill breeze heralding the approaching winter the wizard’s turned his thoughts to spell memorization. He always kept defensive and offensive spells at the ready but needed to review minor spells required for this night’s work. While taking a long pull from his hash pipe he pondered the incantation for soft light.
It would be a good night.
Upon of throne of broken tombstones he sat brooding. Arrayed before him were his courtiers. They perched atop moss covered markers, wings folded against bodies covered with a layer of silken fur. Their red eyes looked here and there, while their ears twitched in the cool air, always listening.
He on the throne unfolded his wings and sat back. He pondered there, pointed chin rested on clawed hand. His own name came slow to his mind, always difficult to remember after waking….
His fanged mouth spoke the name aloud, softly. He was Varal. He was a duke of the realm. He had once lorded over other lands. But now he ruled a place of graves and damp earth. The silks and brocade that once clothed him were now reduced to rotted rags. How had this happened? He could not recall. When the memory seemed close the owl would hoot, the rat would skitter, the toad would croak, and the images would slip from his mind.
There had been a woman. A dark haired beauty, forbidden to him for reasons he could not recall. The ache of her absence had driven him to dark deeds. Again the memories fled his clouded mind. Shadows of the past whispered meaningless words. The place where poetry had once lived in his noble mind was filled with an overpowering hunger. It was his curse.
Night was as day. Death was as life.
A flap of wing and rush of air and he sat atop a noble’s tomb green with mold.
His slanted nostrils supped the air and his eyes glowed with feral joy.
A living thing walked at the edge of his realm.
His courtiers took flight as Valar stood to his full height, feeling the moonlight against his body, a cruel parody of man and animal. Graceful and strong, yet woeful to the eye.
The Duke of the Cemetery took flight on leathery wings, following the scent of warm blood.