Sunday, 26 April 2020

Dark Skies Over the Harrowmark, Part 1

Pecker's Haven, Flying Island of the Harrowmark

Pecker's Haven is a small island in the stormy skies of the Harrowmark. What its name was in the Age of Myth has been lost to memory, but it sat midway on the skylane going from Blackrocks to Gallowmire, its residents prospering off the trade between the two towns. The ravages of the Age of Chaos first and of the Necroquake later saw it unthetered from its advantageous position and sent adrift over the Harrowmark. Today, only a single structure remains intact, the tall tower home to retired sky-captain Pecker, the old sky-dog offering safe moorings to any ship willing to part with but a small part of their cargo.

Later last year, we started talking about exploring an aspect of the Harrowmark's background that Saul had built into it since its conception: the skies above it and the ships and pirates infesting them. This quickly escalated into the idea of running an event like Tor Megiddo and Rhossum Secundus. Flying ships will clash, sky-scums and wretches from all races will cross cutlasses and will plunder the flying islands over the dreary woods.

Saul has already churned out his first ship, started on a second and on some more ruins within the woods. So, I took it upon myself to work on the first flying island, inspired by John Blanche's paintings and sketches.

So far, I've built the stand and the rocky bottom of the island. The bottom of the island is nothing but an upturned hill made with polystyrene and foamcard, festoned with leaves from the old Citadel Woods and a couple of ruin bits from the Aleguzzler Gargant kit. It is roughly half the size of a Warcry board, so plenty of action can take place on it.

The stand is made from four thick wooden skewers glued into a foamcard base decorated with really old Citadel Trees (propped in for the picture), slate shards and a sign from the Walls & Fences kit.

I wanted non-flying models to be able to move on and off the island, so using skewers and coffee stirrers I built rickety structures jutting and hanging from the bottom of the island. Once painted, I will add rope ladders to join the two structures and to reach the ground.

The mid-platform serves both as a trading post with landlubbers and as a sentry box, an idea I conveyed using a brazier from the Fortified Manor, barrels from the Ogor Gluttons, a Free City handgun and assorted bits like ropes, powder horns and shields.

Unfortunately, I had run out of black primer just before the whole world went into lockdown. It seems that under coronavirus, black spray paint is harder to find that gold! In the meantime, I will build the top of the island and wait until I can paint it.

The Harrowmark: The Twisted Oak, Part 4

Squabble at the Broken Circle

The Cursed Company had sifted the forest for days, and yet not a single grain of gravesand had flowed into Kalyustar's satchel. Then, the Soulchemist had picked up a zephyr of magical energy, gently but steadily blowing from somewhere deep in the forests of the Harrowmark. His Company spread wide to search the ground for the elusive gravesand, he was now moving against the zephyr, determined to find its source.
"Can you hear that?" the Skull's voice intruded into Kalyustar's taughts as he realised they were now close to the Broken Circle.
"Yes! That's the ruckus of squabbling orruks!", the Soulchemist eyes glowed with anticipation.
"There! The Broken Circle... and the Rotmoons fighting among themselves... and their boats a good distance away!" hissed the Skull.
Kalyustar stretched his mind out. As one, every member of the Company halted and gerkly turned their empty sockets towards the Broken Circle.

While El Doctoro thinkered with a brass and crystal device, the orruks around him were trading punches and curses. The Company formed into three parties, taking all the paths to the Rotmoons' boats.

For a moment, the magical zephyr blew stronger. As it suddenly abated, a group of Deadwalkers violently burst out of the graves around the Broken Circle. The orruks looked around, spotted both the Deadwalker and the Company and realised they were surrounded. The only way out was through the approaching undead.

Dragante bashed a few aheads together, lining the crew up for the fight.

Kapitán Da Leeva, El Doctoro and Deestro barreled forward towards the boats and slammed onto Krunti and Tollich's maniple.

Bortagno found his way blocked by the halberdier under Thronir and Keinrich's command.

Kalyustar's ordered his party forward, carefully avoiding the shambling Deadwalkers and preparing to close the trap around the Rotmoons.

Da Leeva ordered the shaman and Deestro to run for the boats and confidently turned to hold off the skeletons. Kalyustar felt the stirring of Krunti's broken memories as the duardin champion hacked at the Kapitán. Then Tollich waded in, his cursed blade sinking deep into the orruk boss flesh.

A swordman and a halberdier pinned Dragante's crew on the edges of the Broken Circle.

More Deadwalkers crawled out of hidden crypts, slowing down Kalyustar's advacne.

Bortagno roared in indigation at the fall of his captain and impaled Tollich on his cutlass, only to find himself surrounded by Thronir and Keinrich.

As more Deadwalkers emerged from the Broken Circle itself, Krunti fell to yet another group of the decaying revenants.

A well placed thrust of Thronir's spear brought Bortagno down, the scent of his blood pulling more Deadwalkers out of their graves.

In a blast of amethyst magic, Kalyustar and his retinuee closed onto the back of Dragante's party. For once, the hulking orruk resisted the urge to fight. Pushing through the gap left by fallen Krunti with Percy Percy and Bold Rik, they joined El Doctoro and Deestro on their flight to the boats.

Kalyustar ordered the Company to halt and let go the remaining orruks. There was a subtle pleasure in seeing the brutes dragging the badly wounded forms of their captain and bosun.
"Is that clever, Soulchemist?" came in the Skull. "You could have crushed them..."
"For once, my friend, I must disagree. This place is rich with corpses and magical energies. Routing the Rotmoons was more than enough to harvest that".
Kalyustar knocked his staff against the door of a nearby chapel, the cluttering of the hanged skulls rolling out like a laughter.
As its echoes faded under the gloomy boughs, four skeleton emerged from the chapel, quickly forming up for inspection.