Britbongsteros

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What was/is your favourite campaign reward?
Best reward?
A small, stuffed, purple toy penguin was returned to its rightful owner.

The Setting[edit]

The world of Britbongsteros was the same as our world was until about 15th C but then suddenly magic. This fueled science which fueled magic etc etc. We later discovered this was because of a device at the North Pole which had been keeping the magic from the world. It is here in our world and working. In the world of Britbongsteros, it blew up in 1497.

  • The British empire existed. Lots about that in the story parts.
  • 'Murica was weird
Due to an effect of local magic in New York (where the only American we met was from) you had to keep eating, all the time, but if you did, you became incredibly strong and fat. (Sorry America). America is a magical place (like /k/) and each state or couple of states has something weird going on. The eastern seaboard is reasonably normallish with crusades being mounted from the area into the middle and western regions. Numerous native American nations hold territory throughout the area. The Native Americans are famed for their aerial prowess with Apache Dragons being particularly feared. The Chinooks strike deep in American states and have excellent logistics. The Cherokee are famed as air cavalry.
New Orleans is underwater. The mermaid elves are probably pretty happy. Except the sentient sharks. And the voodoo.
The Americans would be pushed into the sea were it not for European Crusaders attempting to push through to get to the supposed holy land which for (insane Mormon reasons) is somewhere in Utah.
  • France
Was just all slutty elves. That was good.
  • Germany
Was a mix like Britbongsteros except that they also had bear people.
  • Poland
Doesn't exist as it does in the modern world. It's more the Poland of 18th century. The Lancers (actual eaglemen) war with both the Germanic bear people and the Russians who are (like the Germans) mostly human but with plenty bears and also wolves. They also have literal bear cavalry.
  • Switzerland
The place is already Britbongsteros enough. The Swiss are heavily armed, sit on huge piles of money, and wired the entire country for demolition. I really cannot Britbongsteros that.
The Swiss have remained solidly out of the affairs of Britbongsteros, remaining normal, painfully so.
It is this normalcy which is their greatest strength, they have no hell portals, weird dragons or any other shit. This is why they're trusted by Europe as bankers.
They are also fiercely independent and want to keep the lunacy of the rest of Europe out, they patrol the mountain passes, slaughtering ANYTHING remotely non human. Their mercenaries are famed throughout Europe for their proficiency in taking down magical entities, making them highly sought after.
Also they make quite good chocolate. The Belgians of course disagree, saying they make the best beer and chocolate.
Each year the Belgian dragons send one young (human sized) dragon to compete against the Swiss champion chocolatier in unarmed combat.
They send the same dragon to fight the German BrewMeister as the Germans claim they make the best beer.
No Belgian has beaten both in one year. It is said that should a Belgian beat both. Europe shall tremble.
  • Sweden (and much of the north)
Deserted because of Ragnarök.
  • Spain
Ruled by king Quixote, a noble and honest knight who won the support of the peasantry through his charm and chivalric deeds. Spain is a haven of peaceful learning and culture. All thanks to the steady hand and suspicious mind of Prime Minister At Large Sancho Panza, and no mistake!
Those Spaniards who didn't fit in with the chivalric ideal were exiled to the nightmare of South America. The Aztecs and Mayans hold strong in mountain strongholds.
  • Greece
Is 18th century Greece. The gods ascended 1500 years ago and now it's a shithole full of poets wondering where the majesty of Greece went. (Sorry Greece)
  • Italy
No one has heard much of the place, but rumours of a second Roman empire have been heard.
  • Central Africa
Is still marked as here be (literally) dragons. There are European colonies on the coast and a little into the interior. North Africa is much as it was in Roman times (I.E. quite civilized).
  • The Middle east
Is full of Arabian nights + huge reserves of magic oil. A clusterfuck waiting to happen. A Britbongsteros citizen (Orrance) advocates for Arab self rule.
  • Australia
Full of criminals. All the people still alive there are one man armies.
  • China
The terracotta armies hold back the Mongol horsemen (I.e. actual centaurs) along a towering great wall. Some trade now occurs with Britbongsteros, tea for opium.
  • Japan
Was Godzilla'ed with no survivors. The group loathes all things weeaboo. Additionally, anyone who even mentions the country, or swords, or weaponry, or Tasmanian shadowpuppetry summons Godzilla, and Godzilla will annihilate them and only them.

The Party[edit]

Throughout our adventures there were always at least five of us, and usually six. These are:

  • Angus - An orc from Dundee. Originally a greengrocer but also horrendously proficient with the flamethrower he carries. The flamethrower doubles as a thermic lance.
  • The bard - A human, wears a kilt, plays the bagpipes. Occasionally has great ideas. The DM uses his own taste in music for what the bard actually plays (so usually classic rock or country & western).
  • Cruella - Essentially a Dark Eldar wych wearing more clothes. She is vicious and stealthy. Armed with two daggers and a sword that she talks to. Played by Aldous' PC's then (and now again) GF. The latter fact occasionally becomes relevant which is why it is mention it.
  • The wizard - Not actually magic but can command metal (iron) and summon various sharp or pointy things. Including chainsaws.
  • The Navvie (also called Burt) - A very large human with a hammer. He hits things with it.
  • Aldous with Purple Penguin
    Aldous - The character of the one telling the story. A dwarven knight. Wears full plate. Carries twin revolvers and a gatling shotgun. Smokes a pipe.
  • The purple penguin - Moral compass and possible DM PC.

The Story[edit]

The Beginning[edit]

It may be best to begin with character creation.

As we know, the party consisted of five people:

Angus: An orc
The bard: A human
The wizard: A wizard (no shit)
The Navvie: A large angry human
Aldous: A dwarven knight, also me.

I will describe in a little bit of detail how each of us started out. As a reminder there would be five of us (there were eventually six players) during these adventures as the other player hadn't joined yet, though she did usually sit and drink wine on the sofa and listen (which is how she decided to start playing. There were a couple of her interjections which are worthy of note, so her player will show up every so often.

By the way, the DM is a dick. That's all you need to know about him.

Angus:

"I want to be an orc."
"Ok you're an orc. Good for you. What else?
"Well Orcs in this setting live in Dundee right?"
"Yes...?"
"Nothing exciting has ever come out of Dundee right? So I should be boring, I should be something like... like a... greengrocer."
"You're a green-greengrocer?"
"YES!"
"Ok, what would you bring to the party?"
"Well I should be inventive maybe, bring some technical skills, I can maybe do some social things right?"
"Sure let's go for it."

The Bard:

Japan does not exist in this setting. Godzilla does. He will kill and eat anything even vaguely weeaboo. This was made extremely clear to the Bard's player in advance (he likes to be an edgemaster katana wielding trench coated sunglasses wearing faggot).

"I want to be a Samurai!"
"Japan doesn't exist. No."
"Well ok, I'm just the one samurai who was sent away to regain my honnah..."
"No."
"Shipwreck samurai!"
"No."
"Magic samurai!"
"No."
DM: "Look, fuck it. Japan was destroyed totally. No survivors. The end."
"Oh ok, how about I roll a bard?"

The Wizard:

The DM and Wizard's player had already had an extensive chat about the mechanics of wizardry in the setting, as Anon may already be aware, the wizard wasn't magic in the sense of your average time traveling D&D magic bastard. The idea being that he could only control metal, he could do whatever he liked with the stuff, but it would take time and there'd be DM fiat on his powers. He would receive a bonus to controlling anything iron based as that was his clan.

So essentially that was the Wizard. (They'd spent rather a while working it all out together).

The Navvie:

The Navvie's player is a simple chap who takes a simple approach to life.

"Ok. What do you fancy being?"
"I will have a hammer. I will hit things with it. We're done."

Aldous:

"Well, firearms are a thing... so I'd like to play as a specialist with ranged weapons, maybe a brace of pistols..."
"You're not playing that fucking elf again."
"I'll be a dwarf, an angry one, a Dwarven Noble, bitter and twisted, someone who has suffered a great deal, and seeks for new meaning in life or a means to end it."
"Hmm... ok I like that, we're good."

It's worth mentioning we did work out little backstories for ourselves so we all had origins and backgrounds, but that's essentially it.

>How it all began...

The story begins when a god falls out of the sky. He hits the marketplace in Dundee. We all have our reasons to be there be it working, shopping, drinking or traveling through.

There's a light in the sky, people are looking up, it looks like a comet, but it's low, it's coming down, it's coming down towards the marketplace.

It's coming down fast, running isn't going to help, nor is cover.

The comet isn't just coming down, it's screaming, actually screaming.

We can each make it out now, the shape of a man, wreathed in flame.

He hits the ground hard, thunderously so, People are knocked flat by the shockwave, people start to run, five people advance on the crater.

You five.

The five us look over the edge of steaming, smoking crater. The man isn't jam as you might expect. He also has a pretty large pair of antlers growing out of his head.

He opens his eyes and looks at the five of us. He speaks in a language none of us understand. Gesturing at himself he says what we can only assume is his name. Belatucadros. At least that's we think it might be.

The five of us look at each other. There's quite a large crowd gathered behind us.

There are shouts of "What's going on? What's in there?" We decide to perhaps maybe talk to him. To try and do something a bit more positive than gawp.

We descend into the crater. On closer inspection, his legs are broken. He's rather a lot bigger than an ordinary man, bigger than the Navvie, at the very least twelve feet tall.

From behind us, the crowd are making different noises, screams, there comes a gun-shot, then more.

The bard (remember none of have actually met one another at this point) looks over the top of the crater.

"Fuck this, I'm off."

The Navvie and I look at one another, Angus looks out as well.

"UNDEAD!"

The crowd are fleeing, there are undead making there way through, slaughtering as they go.

We are unarmed, The Navvie and I can't carry what must be 800lbs of god. We can't just leave the fucker, Angus offers to help. The three of us do our best to pick him up, to drag him from the crater. We are surprised when he becomes lighter, the fourth, so far silent, person in the crater still hasn't touched the thing, but an iron bar supports the gods lower body, enough that we can carry him. Enough that we can run.

So we pick up Belatucadros (who I'm now going to call Baz for short) and book it in the direction Angus points.

As we run, we push past large numbers of terrified people, on the other side of the square we can see organized ranks of skeletons advancing line abreast. These skellies aren't your common or garden variety ones, they're clad in armour, they look like roman legionnaires more than anything.

We get into what must be Angus's shop. The Navvie suggests locking the door, which Angus does. The windows are small and easily boarded up. The shop is semi-detached, next to it is the inn where the rest of us happen to be staying. The skeletons we can see are advancing on the crater.

Baz is asleep.

Clearly they want Baz.

We know that necromancery has been an ongoing problem for a while as general knowledge and they're probably evil for that reason.

We start talking to each other as we board the place up.

Introductions are made.

There's movement from behind the counter. We improvise weapons (a tack-hammer, my pen-knife, the Navvie's fists, and a couple of hovering chainsaws), the bard sheepishly pops his head over the counter. As does a tiny animated haggis.

"Eep" said the Haggis.
"Hi... guys" said the bard.

Realizing the bard probably isn't a threat, I mention that my weapons and armour are next door, as are the Navvies' things, and it turns out, the Bards pipes too.

Angus is already rummaging to try to find something to improvise as a weapon, remember he is a greengrocer, and therefore does not sell much in the way of threatening items.

Across the square, the undead are beginning to break into buildings and clear them, obviously looking for Baz.

"How are we going to get our stuff?"

The Navvie solves the problem by making a Navvie sized hole in the shelf, wall, and a couple of tables on the other side of the wall.

We recover our accoutrements easily enough. The Inn is deserted, now armed and amoured, we see each other for the first time as potential warriors and allies rather than men caught in events we don't understand. Also the Bard is there and his familiar: "Haggis." (yes it was called Haggis).

Angus's shop is not as defensible as we'd like and peeking between the boards on the windows we can see that the undead are starting to turn our way.

The most defensible location nearby is the Steeple Church, the (amazingly enough) Steeple of which is practically a tower, perhaps we can hold out there with Baz until the soldiers from Oliver Barracks or Marines from any of the RN vessels in the harbour can try to retake the town.

We decide to leave, Angus empties the register, leaving a "back soon" note on the counter, and guides us to the back door, which he makes a show of locking behind us (the hole in the wall he appears to have neglected). He is carrying a large sack of what we can't really identify as anything other than "bitz". We also think grabbing some food and beer might be a good idea.

We slink through the backstreets toward the Kirk, we can already smell smoke and there is still the occasional scream, we can hear the Undead smashing down doors. It can't be long before we're spotted, so we move as quickly as a group of men carrying 800lbs of unconscious god can, Angus directs us and we can already see the Steeple above the houses, but we can also hear the crackle of gunfire from up ahead.

Just before we enter the square we decide to ditch Baz for a minute. Apparently the Haggis will keep an eye on him (ok Bard...).

We round a corner and see a detachment of Royal marines unloading into a Testudo of skellies. The Skellies are not going down easy and are slowly, surely, advancing on them. The Skellies have their backs to us, we could break their formation.

It's here we have our first defining moment as a party.

"Are we going to help them?"

There's four fuck yeahs and a "sure whatever..." the "sure whatever" earns the bard a stare from the rest of us.

"Fine you can stay here and watch..."

This is also the first interjection from the sofa of

"Hah, faggot."
"Ok, I'm in!"

At this stage we are all very very basic, some of us have fought before, others have literally no idea what they're doing.

The bard is extremely helpful in that the first thing he does, is start to play (this was our first experience of the Bard's music). The DM must have queued this up on his laptop, because as soon as the Bard says

"I am gonna play an inspiring song."

the DM slaps the space spar and Simple Minds - Don't You (Forget About Me) - which was then followed by several already slightly drunk players singing along.

Of course what the DM didn't remind him was that we are the better part of fifty feet from the Skeletons, roman skeletons with perfect drill, the rear rank does a 180 towards us.

"Well shit."

Once we got over the idea that the bard playing music meant that we actually got music, we are staring down a rank of 15 odd skellies with very big shields, which we are a tiny bit unsure about how to kill them.

The wizard goes first.

"Guyz, I have a plan..."

He summons a 10lb iron ball. It hovers in mid air, it starts to rotate in place, gradually gaining speed, meanwhile the Navvie and I start to jog toward the enemy. Angus at this point, as a self declared party face, isn't really sure what he's gonna do, but he definitely has a sack of stuff, which he plops down and reaches into.

OOC: "Angus, what are you doing?"
"I'm a social character, I dunno I could..."
"ANGUS YOU HAVE NO SOCIAL SKILLS AND THIS IS NOT THE TIME."
"I pick up a brick and follow the other two!"

At 25 feet or so I stop and open fire on them. The rounds from my revolvers punch through the shields just fine, but what they're doing to the Skellies behind is kinda hard to tell. One falls and a couple are looking quite shaky. I keep firing, stopping to reload and then emptying the cylinder again.

Angus jogs past me after the Navvie. He stops, reaches into the bag (still holding the brick) and goes for a bottle, which he somehow fashions into a rudimentary molotov cocktail. It sails through the air. It shatters on a shield. Then the one who it hit is shattered into bits. Angus celebrates what he sees as his victory (he never seemed to realize it was the redneck-cannonball that did it, but we didn't have the heart to tell him either) as the Wizard summons some rotary saws, the redneck cannonball does however zip into the main body of skellies, momentarily breaking their formation and buying the marines some time.

The Navvie is starting to realize that even with me firing at Skellies, Angus prepping another molotov and the Wizard keeping his flanks clear, him and his hammer are still running straight at ten or so skeletons. He decides, rather than run away, to take the innovative decision of running at them faster.

The reasoning is easy enough to follow, they're in a single line, one skelly deep, if he can break their formation and keep going, they can't surround him. He smashes one to the ground and gets a glancing blow on a second and keeps going. Skellies may be tough but they are not bright, with some turning to follow him and others advancing on us, they are easy enough to mop up.

We have our first victory! Go us! We are heroes! Except there's still the least 75 more skellies.

"Ah."

The marines are doing a fairly good job keeping them back. Another wizard-cannonball (turns out it's rather effective if your enemies are man sized, don't have guns, and just happen to be lined up) helps break the formation as we hit the Skellies in the rear.

The rest of the combat sees skeletons pinned between us and marines. When the dust settles there's us and about fifteen marines left.

We retrieve Baz and head into the church. We also retrieved the haggis. By the time we get back, the marines are starting to dig in, ripping up pews and smashing windows to make firing ports.

The rest of the city is burning, there are a fair number of huddled civilians within the church as well. The marines are lead by a sergeant with a very impressive tache. They are short on ammunition and are happy to have us with them.

Outside there do not appear to be many skellies about, yet.

Given the way the rest of the city is suffering and how quiet it seems here, we maybe sometime before we are relieved.

Baz semi wakes up. He doesn't look terribly well. Indeed he looks a bit worse than when we found him. He sits up, looks around, vomits into the font and collapses on the floor.

Meanwhile our attention is drawn to the skellies beginning to file into the square.

We pool our knowledge, the marines seem happy to keep doing marine things and leave us to it. We decide to get away from the smell of Baz vomit and head up into the steeple.

On getting the height advantage we realize several things:

1. Yup this city is fucked.
2. That's a lot of Roman skeletons.
Why are they Romans? Well necromancers like bodies/skellies that in life were trained (it sort of helps with drilling the skellies), and the Romans did actually do quite a lot of stuff around this area. Don't put it past an intrepid go-getting necromancer to have gone to Mons Graupius and raised the Roman dead, for example, then to have continued the theme with any other corpses.

It was about here that Angus decided he wanted to call them Zombans. We told him if he tried we would throw him from the tower.

The bad thing in particular about it being Romans is Romans are rather good at military engineering. We have a feeling if this turns into a siege, we aren't going to have a chance to starve to death.

We can also see larger shapes on the skyline, undead giants we think. The ships in port are streaming out to sea while the RN vessels fire on the giants.

It's beginning to get dark. The skellies have surrounded the church but aren't doing anything else. Baz pukes again and we attempt further communication.

There's a lot of grunting, and some sign language. In the end, Baz makes writing motions, Angus dips into his sack and comes out with a stick of charcoal. He then ignores everyone else while tinkering with some bits.

Baz draws a picture on a flagstone. It's him and he has some other (what we assume are Gods) around him, surrounding them are lots and lots of little floaty things. He then scrubs out the floaty things, drawing them instead around a second picture, a skull. He then pointedly draws a line through one God after another, until only Baz is left.

What the wizard and I construe from this (the Navvie deciding that alcohol is dangerous in a situation like this and is plugging down all the beer we brought to protect others from inebriation) is that all of the souls that were keeping Baz and his God friends going (I.e. folk who died in their territory) have been hoovered up by the necromancers.

Baz and co. are not likely to have had a great many living believers and now he finds himself the only one left.

Baz then promptly passes out again. Angus is still tinkering. People are starting to get hungry (not a good time to be a haggis). The undead aren't coming because (we assume) church, but we are stuck in here without the forces to get out, we assume they are trying to keep us here until they can bring up something that will let them in. Be it siege engine or magic or something.

We are starting to ponder.

"Why not give them Baz?"

We decide against it because giving them an actual God seems unwise.

It looks like stalemate for now.

Having decided not to hand over Baz, we consider our options again, sadly our options appear to amount to die, or wait for them to break down the walls, and then die. Attempts at finding catacombs or tunnels under the altar or other standard church type things prove fruitless. It looks like we are here for the duration.

There is movement outside.

It looks like whatever they are waiting for has arrived. A patch of darkness coalesces into a vaguely humanoid shape. If we had to guess, it's probably not a good sign at all.

The Necromancer (who, to differentiate him from later appearances, we will call "Frank") hisses and clacks his teeth together a bit before remembering how to speak.

"You have something we want..."

Deciding we aren't going to lose anything by responding we ask

"What's that exactly?"
"You have my sacrifice. Give him to me and I will let you leave unharmed."

At this point we owe nothing to the country, we have no royal charter, and we have no purple penguin. This does not however mean that we believe him.

"Why don't you come and get him!?"

The necromancer doesn't seem terribly amused. He makes no reply but there is an almighty thump from the doors as a battering ram is deployed.

We manage to get a look outside. We expected your common or garden variety battering ram, what we did not expect was (one lore check later) the iron man of gorbals (esoteric, but it is on Google) to be clubbing at our door.

We have another problem. There is a commotion among the civilians. We decide the doors are our biggest threat and with the marines firing onto the skellies below as they try to get ladders against the windows, we decide this place may not be as sanctified as we hoped.

The iron man is... well basically a big iron and flesh construct. The wizard is definitely going to be able to do things to it, but he's going to need time. We smash out the stained glass windows and do our best, he seems resistant to shot, hammer, and... Angus? Where are you?

Angus joins us with a large bucket of something flammable, from the smell it's whale oil (rather common as a means of providing illumination), he douses the iron man who although going up like a torch, otherwise isn't terribly bothered.

There's screaming from behind us now

The iron man judders and stumbles, it seems the wizard is doing something... he collapses against the door. A large, flaming object, against the wooden door.

Arse.

It's a strong oak door, toughened by the years, but if it fails we are beyond fucked. The iron man is still banging weakly at it.

The wizard does his best to shore up the door and simultaneously encourage bits of the iron man away from it, reasoning it is Angus's problem, the Navvie and I leave him and the bard to try and put the issue out while we see what is up with the civvies.

We are just in time to see a marine get his throat ripped out by a granny. She screams unlike anything we have heard before, a banshee wail. It appears the undead may not be inclined to come in without a necromancer like Frank to strengthen their animus, if you're in the church and happen to expire, as granny appears to have done, you're fair game.

Some of the civilian corpses behind her are starting to rise.

The marines at the windows are tied up keeping the rest of the undead out, it looks like this is our problem. The problem is that this is becoming an exponential issue as dying civilians rise and kill others, who themselves also rise. We get stuck in as best we can, but it's not long before the Navvie and I are surrounded, fighting back to back, thinning down what is slowly becoming a horde. At least we have their attention... or do we... It seems like some are making for Baz.

When some of the nearby bodies ignite, we at least know help is on the way. Joined by the others, we fight our way to Baz, just as a patch of darkness begins to form above where he lays.

N.b. a recently reanimated corpse in Britbongsteros is not a zombie, it retains all of the thoughts, feelings and emotions it did when living, but the will of the corpse can be subjugated, otherwise they just gradually go feral as the brain dies off.
The undead came in three (for want of a better term) tiers:
1. Zombies: the recently reanimated, still bearing the memories of life, uncoordinated, crap in combat, but excellent as a horde. If reanimated but not subjugated they would go feral as the brain decayed, eventually becoming...
Tier 2: Skellies. Tough, violent and able to be perfectly coordinated by a necromancer, as there is nothing left to contest the body.
Tier 3: if you had sufficient angriness or something left to do, you could end up as a wight or revenant. Also falling into this category are banshees, who are tough, but the banshee "spirit" can possess a corpse where it knows there is likely to be a lot more death to follow (I.e. it is going to be able to do some wailing).
Tier 3.5 is ghosts which I will have to remember to tell you about later.

Cù Sìth is what we would identify the thing as once it appears over Baz, but we settled on Giant Fucking Murder Dog.

We stand together, there's a giant fucking dog thing (it's alive/demonic/who fucking knows, but it's in here and it's the size of a bull) and it's standing over Baz. It lowers it's shoulders and growls.

We look at each other, we look at it, it's do or fucking die now. Five men, one haggis. Let's do this.

The bard plays for us Ram Jam - Black Betty 1977 while the undead smash into the Kirk through the windows, marines retreating behind us, trying to keep our backs clear as the beast lopes toward us.

We can see light beginning to come in through the windows behind it, but it's by no means sun up yet.

We run to meet it, pistols and molotov taking it at close range, the harpoon now sticking out of its side impedes it. As it gets in close, the Navvie's smacking it in the face as it goes to bite down on the noisiest target: The bard.

It gets a mouthful of Haggis instead.

(DM: "That thing was retarded you can either lose that or lose a leg.")

Bereft of the daftest member of our party, we club the thing to death.

The sun is definitely rising, but it's by no means light enough to give us hope, we turn and stand with the marines, of whom there are not very many left, the couple of surviving civilians do their best with candlesticks. It's about now that Baz wakes up.

We know Baz as an 800lb lump of useless, smelly, vomiting rubbish, what we do not know him as, is as a god, and he gracefully, slowly, pushes through our lines. The predatory bulk of him slamming into skeletons. As impressive as it is, there's only one of him, and an awful lot of them. Also there's a Frank.

His skellies have opened the door, and as Frank drifts in, Baz is swamped and pulled down like a stag by hounds.

Frank wouldn't be any kind of evil necromancer if he didn't gloat a little, but he's also eminently sensible about it. As Skellies bind him and lift Baz out, he gives us an oddly cheerful wave.

"Goodness that was a lot of effort wasn't it? Why bother? You could have avoided this and all of these people wouldn't have had to..."

The pistol bullet takes his jaw off. The Navvie speaks for all of us.

"We didn't ask to be here, but you know what, fuck you."

Frank beats a retreat with Baz in tow, the rest of the Skellies push toward us, we retreat to the altar, using the stairs to hold them off as best we can.

The sun is up now, and in the distance we can hear the guns on the ships. The shell that takes out the other half of the church makes life somewhat easier.

Eventually we collapse, weary, tired, and grumpy in the light of the early dawn.

We are taken aboard the HMS Victory, this by no means feels like victory, it feels like a beginning, after our story is confirmed by the surviving marines and civilians, we meet Dan Defoe, agent of the privy council. He's quite a guy.

"Well you didn't quite do a perfect job lads, but we think we know where Frank went, it's not a job for conventional forces, and I have a royal charter here that offers you some excellent benefits to signing up."
"What benefits are these?"
"Revenge, money, arms, women, and being alive to enjoy it."

Angus looks troubled.

"What about my shop?"
"Destroyed in the shelling, or if it wasn't I'll arrange it."
"My... my... my family?"
"See above, you signing or not me ol' green matey?"

Five signatures are added below the extremely impressive signature of "Queenie - Love and Hugs. P.s. I'll chop off your balls."

We sign the charter, accepting the Queen's shilling and agreeing to finish what we started. Well that's not quite right. We didn't start anything. Some giant bastard with antlers fell out of the sky on us. We are not best pleased, but given the choice of fighting further or being disposed of in some unpleasant manner, there isn't really a choice at all.

Dan Defoe (quite a nice bloke really) continues, giving us the best intelligence the crown has on what Frank (our local neighbourhood necromancer) is likely to do next.

"The short answer lads, we have no fucking idea."

Well cheers for that Dan.

"But we do know he (Frank) has a fondness for Romans. It's likely he may be camped somewhere near Battledykes (yes that's a real place).

The party, and we are starting to think of ourselves as a party now, are at this point still aboard HMS Victory while Dundee slowly burns. Battledykes is about twenty miles north of the city. If that is where Frank (not actually called Frank but it's easier than typing "the necromancer") has gone, then it's likely this is also where they have taken Baz.

"Hey Dan, if we are servants of the crown does that mean we can get stuff?"

The DM makes a fatal decision here.

"Well I'm sure the ships stores can be made available to you within reason."
>Roll some dice
>Angus beams
"I wonder if anyone will miss this flamethrower..."

We also make off with a quantity of explosives (dynamite) and ammunition.

One of the ship's boats drops us ashore at Invergowrie (Down the coast a bit).

So our merry little band set off on our first adventure, we have a necromancer to slay and a quest. We feel like proper adventurers!

>It starts to rain. Heavily.
>It's also cold as fuck.

We try to push on, on foot, along a road rapidly turning to mud, downtrodden refugees heading in the opposite direction look more than worse for wear, they at least can take shelter in wagons. The bard begins to shiver.

We are barely two miles inland and soaked to the skin. Frozen, we start thinking of looking for a barn or similar to wait out the storm. We find a small cottage, there is smoke coming from the chimney and it looks warm and cozy.

We knock on the door hopefully. Starting to feel rather sorry for ourselves in this weather, yes we have some gear with us, but it's bitterly wet and cold, and we were up all night fighting the undead (if you can't tell we are being punished for our own stupidly here).

The tiny old woman that answers the door tells us that we can bugger off.

The offer of money gets us permission to stay in the barn and the offer of soup.

Feeling a bit happier (Angus seems to have a sniffle) we decide, given we set off late, that maybe we should settle down here for the night, warm up, and generally be of some use tomorrow.

The rain beats down hard on the roof, despite the well maintained farm there are no animals. We should perhaps find this odd but maybe they're all out to pasture. It also seems to be just the old woman.

After the soup we feel drowsy. Very drowsy indeed.

We do our best to stay awake, deciding one of us should perhaps remain on watch, I try to stay awake with my pipe. I'm replaced by the bard, then the wizard, the wizard wakes the rest of us just after midnight.

There is something coming up the road. It's still raining too hard to tell what, but we strain our eyes in the darkness.

There are a number of them. A small force even. We can't make out much, they look from a distance like sturdy, wizened old men, each is wearing what (as the old woman opens the door to the cottage, we seen in the light to be) a bright red cap.

A little lore checking denotes the strong possibility that these might be Powries.

A Powrie, or red cap as Anon will see from the link is a sort of species of dwarf, well armed and bloodthirsty, the titular hats are dyed red with blood and they must re-dye them regularly.

The Powries begin to deposit various dead things on the threshold (we note that they never cross it), these include the butchered carcasses of deer, a boar, and three or four concerningly human shaped things. It appears the old woman has been cooking for these things.

A note on the powries of Britbongsteros
A native tribe or race, local to the Scottish borders, entirely mercenary, they prey on travelers. Each is armed traditionally with a long spear or pike. They are excellent woodsmen and incredibly fast over open ground.

There's also enough of them that we are totally boned if the old woman tells them we are....

>She points in our general direction.

What exactly do we do? There's not much we can do. We decide to wait until they get closer and see what comes of it.

About half of them walk toward the barn. The other half seem to have flat out vanished. As they get closer we can see the wicked talons on their hands, their fangs and the rain washes the blood dripping from their hats down their cheeks.

They open the barn doors below us. As the others have disappeared, we wait in the hayloft, ready at least to take some with us. The Powries don't seem to have realized we are there, they are below us, collecting up tools, what looks like farming equipment. Maybe we might get out of this without bloodshed?

>Probably not.

One of them sniffs the air. We do our best to stay quiet. It shakes its head.

Seems everything turned out better than exp...

The other half of the Powries have been scaling the wall of the barn.

Everything goes crazy, there are Powries everywhere, there's gun fire and bagpipes, screaming, shouting and by the way. Did you know, using a flame-thrower in a wooden building is actually not wonderfully smart?

Now the barn is very healthily ablaze and we are nearly surrounded by crazy angry midgets. Taking our inspiration from Ghandhi as to how to deal with this we...

No of course we don't. We shoot them.

Fun powrie fact. Outrunning a Powrie is (according to mythology and therefore our rules) impossible. We need to kill each and every one or we will have mad red hatted tribesmen jumping out of bushes as we stumble around the countryside. The bard, as always, is useless. The wizard summons and chucks sharp implements about. The Navvie (surprise) has taken rather well to combat, and remember this is the first time we are spilling actual blood as opposed to battering skeletons.

Angus is finding the whole situation troubling.

As a reminder, Angus' backstory is he is a shop keeper. That's it. Turning living beings into pillars of fire is a new experience for him, and not one he enjoys. The Navvie reminds him that if they kill us, they will eat us. That seems to help, but what really assists, is Angus getting a pike through the shoulder. He then utters the immortal word of vengeance.

"Ow"

Reaching into his bag of tricks and coming up Molotov, he has a fistful of each.

Now a little note about our DM, you may sometimes get told if you're doing something stupid. Sometimes.

Angus's attempt at (with some rope) making a flail of molotovs does not work. He sets both of his feet on fire, along with launching flame bottles scattering across the barn. Miraculously none of us are set alight, but it does provide quite the distraction, allowing us to beat down the rest of the Powries.

With the Powries removed, we decide the best thing to do is get out of the barn. It collapses appropriately dramatically as we do so.

We debate having a further chat with the old woman who sold us out. We decide probably best to play it softly as we would quite like to stay in her cottage (it being night and raining torrentially) on the other hand, that fire is going to attract every kind of ne'er do well for miles

We decide it's worth the risk (we don't want the DM to consider giving us pneumonia), the old woman is actually surprisingly grateful that we "got rid of the Powries." We are only going to be nice back if we can check her pantry (The Powries had been bringing her human shaped things). She dislikes this idea.

The wizard is able to sense the magical build up and attempts to shove the Navvie out of the way of unpleasant looking ball of dark energy. Shortly afterwards we add one granny to our kill count. Shortly after that, we are reminded (we love you DM) that we ate her soup, which a check of the pantry confirms was not kosher.

I hope anon never faces this situation. You've got tasty delicious possibly human in your belly.

>The DM pops his first beer
"Well chaps, who's going to puke first? As a reminder this was your first hot meal in a while and it was a little time and one combat ago..."

Angus decided that actually he's an orc, so he can really can't be a cannibal anyway. The rest of us take a different approach.

>laughter occurs from the sofa.

We bed down, feeling oddly disgusted with our selves and our murderhobo conduct. Consider: we turned up, killed everyone, burnt down the barn, killed an old lady, then were sick in her garden. We're proper adventurers now

Now that that clusterfuck of a random encounter is dealt with, we meet the morning, new and fresh, ready to greet the new day and march onwards to Baz, glory, and not being killed by our own monarch while probably being killed by skeletons.

>onwards

We don't move as fast as we would like (having about twenty more miles to traverse) but we get through daylight without much issue. Our pace is slow as we start to come into necromancer territory - I.E. nearing Battledykes.

N.b. you can follow along on Google maps when places get mentioned.

What does necromancer territory mean exactly? Well it's not quite as weird as you might expect. The gardens and fields are overgrown, the kirkyards and cemeteries lack occupants. The land itself is still green and verdant, there are no creepy Halloween things, it's just very, very quiet.

Thinking we can't be far from our objective, and that we are not attacking a necromancer, and his minions in the dark, we make the decision to bed down someplace. We decide on a good sized farmhouse near Lunanhead.

I take the first watch.

We do not light any fires because muh stealthy. The moon up and I'm just thinking of waking Angus when I see movement on the road below. Lots and lots of movement. Ranks of skeletons march past, followed by war machines, undead giants (who come from Stirling - that is relevant later), but the skeletons are not the Roman ones we are used to.

I wake the rest of the party. The wizard. Then Angus. The Navvie. Then Angus. Then the bard.

Wait a second....

In the hushed darkness there's definitely me and five other shapes. That is a bad number. I should add, the DM has mentioned the extra human shaped shape to me via note, he's still describing the army marching past to everyone else.

Ok. So, if I give the alarm we could end up summoning the army. We also don't know what the extra body is, or even who it is.

The Navvie is easy, even in the darkness you can just tell it's him. Angus you can tell by smell, I know I'm me, the bard, wizard and... thing(?) on the other hand are all very similar silhouettes.

I can't just say "one of you is an impostor" I also can't start shooting, Angus is quite sharp when he wants to be though. He rolls perception. Then goes full retard.

"Something doesn't smell right here..."

He grabs the.... The bard.

The shape knows it's been rumbled.

What is the shape? That's a remarkably good question. Our first thought however is not to worry about that. Instead we dog-pile to prevent whatever it is from escaping.

If anon has ever played any contact sports, you know that if you leap at someone, you're braced for the impact. So it comes as quite a surprise when you miss or meet no resistance at all. Why is that? Because it's a ghost.

This is our first ghost we have had anything to do with. As the shape switches from floaty bard to floaty Angus to floaty wizard, we start to wonder if it might not be harmful.

We lie in a pile on the floor. The ghost is silent. It waves it's arms about. It may in fact be harmless? We aren't sure. It is, at the very least, silent, and we can hear things marching past outside, so we should be relieved by that.

The undead of Britbongsteros I have discussed a few times already, but ghosts occupy a rare and unusual position. Can someone be a zombie and a ghost? No. But if say, for example, as happened to a recently deceased person who was possessed or taken over by (for example) a banshee, then that person has to go someplace. Then we get ghost.

However just because it used to be a person, does not make it smart. However it seems to be waving in the direction of a specific bit of floor

We lift a rather mouldy rug and see a trapdoor. Nifty. Of course common sense prevails eventually. Why is it so keen for us to go down there? None of the characters may have ever seen a horror movie, but we do share at least the one communal brain cell.

The wizard, Angus, and I descend into the darkness of the cellar. The bard and Navvie (not a fan of confined spaces) wait up top. By the light of Angus's pilot light we can see it's a bit more than the standard cellar. There is also a body on the ground, chained out so it's spread-eagled. We think this is what our ghost might have belonged to.

The body is so old you couldn't tell what the ghost was in life, nor do we think it can remember. Which is rather sad when you think about it. We decide the right thing to do is try to put the thing to rest.

Maybe whatever originally possessed it has gone? It's just a husk and therefore... We have no idea. Angus suggests just torching it. The wizard seems to think removing the chains is a good idea. The Navvie (in what is for him a whisper) asks from the top of the stairs what's taking so long? The body's eyes open

We weren't really expecting that, or maybe we should have. It also talks. You'd expect the sibilance of gravedust, instead it's almost cheerful.

"Greetings."

We definitely don't know whats in there, but as its head turns through 360 degrees, burning the thing seems like an excellent idea.

Devil's Bargain[edit]

So we have a ghost that quite wants to go home and *something* occupying its body.

I need to explain a couple lore checks first before I go on.

Our new friend introduces him/her/itself (or some other Tumblr bullshit) as Brahan Seer, who the bard apparently knows as a famous soothsayer, it also adds that we can call it Black Donald (Which Google will tell you is a name for the devil).

We will just call him Donny.

>Is it Satan?

We don't think so, Christian mythology is fairly lacking (purposeful choice) when it comes to appearing in Britbongsteros, however the names are helpful in identifying whatever is in that corpse as something we want to chat to before setting it on fire.

>What does Donny want?

Donny wants us to collect something for him. From the local necromancer. The one we are going to be visiting (shooting), that being our good friend Frank.

>What is it?

Something which anons who have read the later stories may recognize, but Donny describes it as a glowing blue box. As many as we can carry. If we do that, he will relinquish the body and the ghost can go back to where it belongs.

We agree. For now. For people who were living normal lives until yesterday, things are getting weird.

We head back upstairs and let the rest of the party know, they agree. So we have literally made a deal with (possibly) the devil.

Our next step is to have a good look at where we are going next. Down into Battledykes.

We wait for sun up.

There are still plenty undead about, but they don't seem quite as effective in the day. We also rather need to see what we are doing. Observation shows that there are small units of skeletons patrolling the countryside, there's also a copse of trees leading almost all the way to where we want to go. We cut down into the woods.

The early morning mist gives us plenty of cover, and from up ahead we can hear hammering.

From a distance we could see the beginnings of a Roman camp, which logic indicated would likely be where we would find Baz. It also occurs to us we still don't have much of a plan... Of course not having a plan never really bothered us later and it didn't bother us at this stage either. We did however take some explosives along for the trip, which we are glad of now.

The Navvie lights the fuse and slings them at the wall. They land at the bottom of it, sizzling, a skeleton looks over the top of the wall. It half turns, before shattering as a spume of earth and flame shoots into the sky. The wall is down and we are running toward the breach.

We need to find, engage and kill Frank as quickly as possible, otherwise the skeletons will soon overwhelm us.

The bard launched into a song at this stage. For the life of me I cannot remember what the fuck it was. KORPIKLAANI - Vodka (OFFICIAL VIDEO) this'll do.

The skeletons are not fast to respond, but they do slowly begin to. As we make it through the breach they are beginning to form up. We can also see a pedestal with Frank on it, aAlong with some chaps in robes.

>Alchemists

These chaps turn up later as well, but they're responsible for a lot of the more magical/weird technology of Britbongsteros. They react plenty fast.

Angus shoots pillar of flame across the formation of skeletons. It turns out large groups of skeletons with wooden shields do not like flamethrowers. Angus gets this mad, mad, glint in his eye.

>Oh fuck yes. It werfs flammen.

The alchemists appear to have brought jezzails. They're not wonderful shots, but they fire extremely large boolets. The dent that appears in my breastplate and takes me off my feet is sore as fuck. I'm fine, but not terribly happy about it. The Navvie is very much in his element, he has picked up an alchemist and is using him as a human shield. It works absurdly well. The wizard and I make for Frank.

Frank has obtained a new jawbone from somewhere. He does not seem terribly pleased. Baz is tied up on the pedestal with alchemist looking gubbins humming into life around him, we can see some of those cubes around him. He does not look terribly well... In fact Baz looks rather pale.

Whatever Frank is up to, we need to do something. Soon. We don't know what the machines will do, what Frank is up to, or indeed what will happen if the ritual/process is complete. The Navvie takes a very direct approach to all things.

"I still have some explosives left right?"

Yesohshitno

He tosses the other satchel at Baz

DM: "Muh adventure muh BBEG my-"

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM

A very important DM lesson was learnt that day: Do not trust us morons.

The smoking crater contains one Baz and not much else. The skeletons around us are uncoordinated and bumping into things.

Everything went better than expected? Ish...

Of course, Frank was not the only necromancer around. Of course other necromancers would sense his demise. Of course Frank might have a master. Of course the DM was pissed.

Meanwhile we merrily root about for glowy blue boxes. We find some thinking that should do, and prepare to leave.

When several hundred skeletons turn to look at you in unison, you start to realise there might be a problem.

We have done something that was possibly a bit dumb. We have smashed our way into the center of a small fortress outnumbered, outgunned, alone. Worse still than that, we have angered the DM. The DM pauses for a long, long moment. He looks at us. Each of us. A cold, hard stare.

>Let's do this.

The skeletons start to form up. Perfect serried roman ranks. We begin to back out of the camp. There's plenty of them between us and that hole in the wall too.

>Arse
Britbong Roman Camp.gif
This is a fairly typical castrum, or roman fort (I really like Romans).

The red things are skeletons.

Purple is us.

Blue is the hole.

Brown is what we just blew up.

I'll give you a clue what happened next.

Well we did blow Frank to bits fairly well. Baz somehow seems to have survived?

>ASSUMING DIRECT CONTROL

That's not our Baz. There's what looks like a femur sticking out of his chest. We assume it belonged to Frank. There's a darkness spreading across Baz's chest. He stands up.

The only thing we really recognize about Baz now is that his eyes have this sad, pained look about them, the rest of him in the simplest of terms looks evil. But why use words when if you type "Dire Elk" into google. That's close enough.

We're outnumbered 100 to one and they have what looks a bit like god on their side. A couple of days ago, we were normal people, this is well out of our experience. We look at each other. Silently we agree. There is only one option.

>Leg it.

Skeletons are not that fast. Not-Baz doesn't seem minded to pursue us. Instead we make for the hole in the wall. We get through without too much trouble, legging it into the countryside. We stop running, out of breath and more than a little terrified, at the farmhouse.

There doesn't seem to be much in the way of pursuit. We stop in by, chuck the cube thing at Donny, who is vomited out of the corpse. He gives us a wink and an "I'll see you later wink" as the ghost is lain to rest.

We decide we're going to have to go back to Dundee and explain ourselves.

We make it back to Dundee mostly without incident, except accidentally beating up a swan. We make our way to HMS Victory which is still docked in the harbour. Dan Defoe (the inquisitor to our acolytes) is ecstatic to see us, or at least he was, until we opened our mouths.

We explain what happened (making ourselves out to be desperate heroes, tossed upon the vicissitudes of fate). He buys absolutely fucking none of it.

"So you stopped the ritual. Frank is no longer going to have the power of a God. Excellent. EXCEPT NOW FRANK IS A FUCKING GOD."

He pelvic thrusts and draws his pistol to enunciate his point.

"At least we have some professionals arriving shortly. They can take care of this, and you useless bastards can take them right back to Frank. The Special Bastard Squadron (SBS) should be here soon. Get out of my sight for a couple of hours."

We are not going to be told twice. We scarper. As we get out on deck, there is what looks to be a man sat on a crate. He is wearing a red tam o' shanter and an egregiously jaunty suit. He gives us all a big wink, a very familiar wink.

We didn't mention Donny in our debriefing (seemed like a bad idea), but we think he's probably not up to anything good.

"Hallo lads, so you got chewed out a bit I hear. What if I told you there's a way that you can all avoid being shot at dawn as soon as you get back?"

Ok we might be interested in this....

"What if I told you the alchemists in this city have been doing things they shouldn't? Including nailing me to a floor? And I want you all to be my instruments of revenge. You'll get some brownie points and you will be saving lives, whaddya say boys?"

Tentatively we agree.

>The DM grins.
"I want you to blow up an orphanage."
"Wut?"

"There's no kiddywinks in there, the alchemists use it as a laboratory and machine shop. I have a sneaking suspicion, by which I mean I'm absolutely fucking certain, that the stench of my *he spits over the side, it sizzles* wife is involved. Their experiments require fresh bodies and young, pure souls, and I am sure you'll find an excuse to wreck the place once you see what's going on..." Interestingly, the DM hands a sheaf of notes to Cruella.

>Who the fuck is....

She turns up later. It's my Mrs. She was generally floating about in the background and ending up playing with us.

We mull this over, it's a fairly obvious side quest and you never know, it might be fun.

We examine the building from afar. It doesn't seem too intimidating. A large sandstone block, with lots of windows and an enormous yard out the back which it appears is being used as a motorpool. Out the front are tidy and well manicured grounds. The whole thing is surrounded by a wall about five feet high with railings up to a total of 9ft.

Even after the undead attack, it seems entirely untouched. Suspiciously so.

There is also a free clinic being run to one side of it for war wounded, and it sure is busy.

We are not entirely sure what the threat level of this place is. We also know we really ought not to trust Donny. Whatever Donny really is, he doesn't seem like the sort to tell us the truth.

We are a bit pressed for time, but we think we have a few hours. Enough time to canvas the local population and try to gain any intelligence we can on the place. What we discover from various bars and street urchins is the following:

  • There are about 50 alchemists in there
  • The more severe cases in the free clinic are taken into the basement
  • A lot more crates go into the place than come out

What the building gives us is a fairly sizable population, and a whole lot of collateral damage if we blow anything up (civilians in the free clinic and basement), we also don't actually know if we should blow anything up yet.

Fortunately the free clinic also gives us an in.

>None of us are injured.

We consider this issue. We need an injured person to take to the free clinic. They'd have to be a non-combatant, someone who isn't exactly worried about being low on HP. Maybe someone who isn't even all that useful anyway...

Bard: "Why are you all looking at me?"

We sort of... err... cartoon violence ball [we club him over the head and rough him up a bit (lot) but not too badly].

The free clinic is glad to take the bard and his "family" in, though the tricky part is convincing them that Angus' flamethrower is entirely kosher. We explain to the extremely beleaguered medics that it's "welding equipment" and in we go (lucky roll).

The clinic is much as you'd expect something like that to be in a recent warzone. There are silent, terribly injured people, screaming slightly less injured people, there's a woman in labour somewhere, and a great number of harrowed, saddened faces. As most clinics in this situation do, there is a process of triage.

There is a woman with dark hair and a very tight bust who (somewhat obvious clue) has a very piercing voice ordering people around, including selecting people almost at random to go to the basement. As we are arguing with the medics about the flamethrower, the bard is selected and carried off.

Bard's PC: "...guys. Seriously."

No one seems inclined to throw us out quite yet. We have a small council of war.

"Thoughts?"
Navvie: "Hey we got rid of him! We're up already. Let's take our winnings and go."
Wizard: "I agree with the oaf."
Angus: "Pub?"
Me: "Pub."
Bards PC: looks kinda distressed "...guys? C'mon..."

We feel a bit bad for the bard and decide we should probably make an effort to rescue him. It is kind of our fault after all...

There's a couple of large doors into the main building and we assume that's where he was taken. As no one seems to be paying attention to us we decide extremely stealthily, very covertly to... Walk through the doors.

Again, there seems to be very little actually stopping us, there's no guards around, the hallways are clear, we find some stairs and head downwards, carefully peeking round corners and doorways and we find what seems like a place of intensive care. There are whirring machines and glowy things, but as far as we can tell (which is not much) they don't seem to be doing any harm, no one has that ghostly/deathly pale look of one having his soul sucked out.

There are a number of attendants and similar folk, but they are all bent over machine or patients. The bard is still unconscious, and we decide to leave him where he is for now while we try to work out what we should be doing.

(Yes we are all quite feckless)

More sneaking reveals workshops and some rather cool looking machines, there's a ramp out to the motorpool, but there's a shortage of sacrificial pits or demonic altars and general eeeeeevil. We metaphorically scratch our heads.

Is it possible that Donny is wrong? Or just some sort of supernatural liar? It makes perfect sense that he might be. Perhaps he has an ulterior motive? We have just blindly walked into demonic politics. Pretty blindly too I might add.

There are footsteps coming down the hall. We duck into a storeroom. As it's about head height for me, I peek through the keyhole. It's that lady again. Notably her eyes glow red.

Cruella acts the following out with the DM.

"Did we get what we needed from the bodies?"
"Yes Mistress, the organs were harvested as you demanded."
"Excellent..."
>Oooh we're onto something here...
"And you're shipping them quickly? They can't be left to lie around."
"Yes Mistress."
"Good boy."
>Well...

We decide to follow her, see if we can find out just how evil this is...

We sneak along as stealthily as we can in the direction she went. We Metal Gear Solid behind some crates. There's a number of makeshift cots set up with very pale people, looking near death on them. They are attended to by what look like monks. One of the patients expires. He's taken away and we hear the whirr of a rotary saw.

>Those bastards...

A new patient is brought in. A marine, must've been pulled from the rubble of the Kirk. Barely alive. The woman bends over him. Facing in our direction over the body. She slaps the bloodied and bruised young man into wakefulness.

"You're dying."

He whimpers for his mother.

"But you can still serve. Me."
>Oh yes, this is it, we cock hammers, we light pilot lights,
"Sign here, consent to donating your organs to help others."

She looks right at us, and winks.

There's an earth shattering boom from the harbour that blows in the windows.

She vanishes, we run from the room, out into the motor pool, where we can see the harbour, just in time to see the HMS Victory and the transport ship next to her (which must've contained the Special Bastard Squadron) break into pieces as the Victory's magazine goes up.

>Motherfucker.

Cruella & DM drink their drinks in synchronicity as they smile big shit eating grins.

We punch the nearest alchemist and pinch a pick-up style truck. Stopping to pick up the bard (who is still a bit pissed with us) we make for the harbour confirming when we get there that the Victory, the SBS, and an awful lot of other folk have been blown to bits.

Donny and his "wife" wave to us as they leave the harbour. Donny winks, she blows us a kiss.

>FFS

Well shit. What next? It seems then that Donny is in league with the necromancers? If so, why was he nailed to the floor? If he wasn't, why blow up the Victory and the SBS? He must have an ulterior motive. It's also taken out Dan Defoe and our quest giver.

>Anyone have any bright ideas?

We can't go back and take on Baz ourselves. We could track down Donny though...

We don't really know where Donny has gone though. He left the harbour on a small steam pinnace heading northwards. There's all number of places he could have gone. He's not exactly moving fast though, and we do have a truck... Ooooooh a though occurs...

We follow the coast road.

>Can any of you drive?

Err...

It's decided the wizard is now our designated driver on the reasoning that as the semi (referred to as "The Jalopy" amongst friends) is made of metal, and therefore somehow his responsibility.

Steve Earle - Copperhead Road

With the bard in the flatbed we tear off up the coast road with a plume of dust behind us. We get out of the city heading North North East (anon can follow along on a map here if so wishes as we are taking the A930). We just about manage to keep Donny in sight as we head towards Broughty Ferry, and then between Monifieth and Carnoustie we lose him, the road missing out on the peninsula there.

A variety of driving related tests later (the rest of us are providing perception based buffs and the bard as usual acts as an adventure appropriate mix-tape).

We break for a moment as the DM goes glassy eyed of Steve Earle which leads into Lynyrd Skynryd's Simple Man. We wave lighters in the air and sing along.

As we barrel through Carnoustie the music changes.

Waylon Jennings - Dukes Of Hazzard "Good Ol' Boys" Theme Song

Oh fuck.

We're at the positively mind blowing speed of 45MPH as we hit the main drag through town (a cobbled single track), there's civilians everywhere. We swerve to avoid. Into and through stalls, bits and pieces of merchandise landing in the cab with us, we are joined by a chicken for a couple hundred meters. We skid, narrowly avoiding taking out a nun who is gesticulating rudely. The skid turns into a complete loss of control.

The rear end comes out in front, we spin, narrowly avoiding a ditch. Up ahead, the local church has let out after a service. There's nowhere to go...

>Why didn't you brake?

Hahahahah fuck that.

Making a split second decision. The wizard aims straight at the crowd, and the... oh... the ramp shaped embankment leading up to a statue...

The wizard floors it, the statue isn't terribly impressive, more of a sort of wooden figure/marker post. We take the thing out as we get air (I hate to think what've happened if we crit failed any of the above).

We sail over the heads of the crowd. Thumping down on non-existent suspension, we tear onwards.

Getting out of Carnoustie as fast as we went in, Angus shouts for the Wizard to slow down. The wizard takes his eyes right off the road to stare him down.

"I'm making time."

Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck

We can still see that steam pinnace ahead. We're catching up.

Around East Haven we hit a fairly sizable pothole. Enough to set us into a spin and burst a tire. We flip and land slightly askew, but otherwise unharmed in a chicken coop. Out to sea we can see smoke from the Pinnace as she gets up a full head of steam.

>Spare tire?

Nope.

>Other traffic to flag down?

Fuck no.

>Plan?

Hell yes.

Between the wizard and Angus's bag of tricks we manage to patch the wheel together with staples and pure orky gumption. It won't be perfect but it'll do. The Navvie helps by acting as a jack with one hand and drinking a beer with the other. The decision is made that the Wizard is no longer allowed to drive. Angus you're up.

Angus gets behind the wheel. He lights a cigar.

"What colour is the truck DM?"
"Uuuh... why?"
"Just asking."
"Roll for it?" [meaning "fuck if I know and I'll make it up based on how the number somehow makes me think of a colour"]
"12! It's red."

It was red.

You're basically looking at a Ford Model T in red. With an Orc behind the wheel.

Something that may be relevant at this stage.

OOC:
"What happens if I fire a flamethrower straight forward from a speeding vehicle, do we all get toasted?"
[there is now an argument about this for the better part of half an hour.]

We eventually manage to convince him that if he's going to do it, he needs to drop the speed a lot first.

If any scientific anons can provide me with some form of proof or equation to allow me to definitively settle an argument five years old, I will love you forever.

Anon says: The thing people forget (and vidya help enforce in people's minds) is that a flamethrower is indeed that - a flame THROWER.
Even in WWI the range in the trenches was about 14-18, and contemporary flamethrowers incinerate things at 50–80 meters.
45mph is 20.25 m/s, so assuming a WWI flamethrower (ei: not a particularly cool one) you'll be passing through any flame you throw in under a second - you needed to drop the speed a little, but not a massive amount, unless what you're about to drive through is flammable, will catch impressively AND is directly in your path to slow you.

We head onwards to Arbroath, turns out Angus is surprisingly not bad at driving. We make good time. That little pinnace is starting to get bigger on the horizon. Arbroath however is an issue.

The town seems to have been hit by the undead and there's still plenty of them about. The skeletons have been and gone, but there's plenty of feral corpses (ZAMBIES!) going about. If we stop, we'll get swarmed. We decide the best option is to floor it.

For those who don't know it, it's a small market town & port, it's also where the Declaration of Arbroath was signed (declaring Scottish independence in 1320). Looking at it from the direction we're going, we're at the bottom of a big Y and we want to take the right fork of that Y. We also are going to lose sight of (what must've - now I think about it, have been a very fast steam pinnace - though they have a much less twisty route than us). The first thing we notice is the place is very, very quiet.

We're well into town by the time we start to realize something is properly wrong. We've noticed that there seems to have been signs of fighting in some places, but generally it's as though everyone just up and left.

It's when we hit the crux of the Y at the center of town (near the abbey), and what we later surmise is the poisoned town well, that we realize something is properly amiss.

What's that you might ask?

The zombified horde of townsfolk. Too thick a crowd to drive through, but we're moving too fast to stop at this stage.

We've talked about zombies in Britbongsteros before. You die, you don't necessarily go feral immediately, you have memories, you know you were alive, you know you're dead, and as the brain dies off (unless necromantic influence) you go feral and start eating faces.

We can see some townsfolk are still mimicking life, there's a town crier waving at the crowd a proclamation his missing jaw and dead lungs won't let him read, a mother cradling half a child, but most of our attention focuses on the horde of feral townsfolk that seethe towards the noise of the engine. We're going far too fast to stop.

We plow into the crowd. Zombies reaching over the hood and trying to grab at us as they go under the wheels. Helpfully the tightly packed mass of bodies (who I might add have signs of having vomited black bile on themselves - again indicative to us of generally being poisoned) act as a sort of big cushion, and we are able to slow our momentum and shunt into reverse.

Angus swears and tries to back up as the rest of the party do our best House of the Dead. We start to back up the way we've come. The dead under the wheels are slowing us, slower, slower, stall...

ABANDON CAR.

What we have is significant horde of ex-humanity out for our warm tasty brains. Clearly an issue. However... The Navvie's PC, unusually for once, moans.

"Zombies are boring."

This angers the DM.

We break into a house, reasoning we can at least get out the back door and put a funnel on the horde.

>There's no backdoor.

The zombified old chap at the kitchen table looks disgruntled but otherwise harmless as we charge past him, he breaks into his boiled egg as we smash down the back wall of his kitchen.

Arbroath is one main street and lots and lots of rows of twisty turny side streets, we decide to go a few doors up, and bash through the front door.

Zombies are starting to follow us through the old man's house. The old man himself is in the early stages of zombie and abandons lunch and starts hobbling. Angus aims the flamethrower back at him.

"Dude!"
"What?"
"We can't just immolate the old bastard he's..."
Navvie: "He's a zombie..."

The old man is not moving fast. The zombies aren't planning on eating him, but as he's shoved into the mass of them, his frail bones breaking, ribs cracking as he's carried along by the crowd we can see his arms waving pathetically for help. He might be dead but his body remembers pain and his brain is not quite dead enough to have forgotten what to do with it. Over the general moaning we can hear mumbling desperate pleas.

Navvie: "He's... sort of a... oh shit. Angus... just burn it..."

The flames torch the old man and the front of the horde.

We smash down the front door of another house figuring each house slows the horde until we can cut back on ourselves and smash back the other way to our transport.

These are small fishing village type houses. Tight, windy, the Navvie has to bend almost in half to fit. The next one we bash in the door of we manage to work out the story of what went on from the scene inside, or we think so.

Young couple. One of the kids seems to have got sick first or maybe the mother. There's a trail of black bile leasing from the crib by the stove. There are half a dozen bodies all leading to the back door, looks like dad was a drunk and didn't get poisoned like the rest. Each of the bodies has its head stoved in. Against the back door is a corpse with an empty whiskey bottle and a bloody hammer. Looks like the family all went feral at the same time and judging by the state of dad, chewed him up a good bit before he stabbed himself in the throat. The Navvie clubs his head as he starts to get up.

We get through the backdoor, zombies a little further behind us now, we decide one more house then double back.

We hammer through the front door. The place reeks of shit and ordure. It's not healthy. There's a shape that runs from us. Too fast to be dead. Survivor. Poor bastard has been locked in here by himself watching the town go crazy and eat itself. We follow him (as we must because that's the direction we want to go). Tied to a chair at the table is a corpse that's well and truly feral. She must've have been a pretty lass in life. Her dress is in what a Victorian novel would have called "Disarray" (for the foreign anons - what's heavily implied here is "necrophilia"). The guy is struggling at the back door. He looks over his shoulder at us. More afraid of us than the horde so it seems. He mumbles

"I could never have her, until she crawled to my door and..."

The Navvie (who is in front) smashes him in the face with one massive meaty fist. We leave him for the horde.

The Day That Never Comes - Metallica

We hammer out the back door, the horde is far enough behind us that we run up the street. Choosing a house at random, we stove the door in. We don't know how smart these things are but the Wizard does his best to bolt the door back together. Whatever madness is in this house we're gonna have to wait in here for a little while for the horde to thin out and pass back through onto the street now behind us.

The place seems normal. Everything in good order. Seems deserted. We try to make it safe, staying away from the doors and windows, we reason the best thing to do is get upstairs, there we can observe the horde below without as much risk of them seeing us.

We climb the stairs, all seems very peaceful, we can barely hear the horde down the street. The Navvie is still in the lead. He very gently taps on the bedroom door. No noises from within. He taps again to be sure.

"Hello?"

It's a child's voice.

DM pops a beer and gets that grin again.

The Navvie looks round the door. What the party see is that big, big man, fall to his knees. The little boy, three maybe four years old is missing half his face. Bite marks all over it. You can see the skull through the dead tissue. The little boy says

"You're not my daddy."

He totters to the Navvie anyway, little legs doing their best, one broken and twisted backward. The Navvie, even on his knees, the kid only comes to his belt buckle. Dry old blood smears his shirt.

The Navvie looks at us, big, brown eyes, not knowing what to do. That kid is gonna turn feral, soon. Great big hands reach down, patting, soothing, shushing, caring. They reach for his neck to snap it.

"I'm Thomas..."

The Navvie's player wipes a tear from the corner of his eye.

He nods.

"I'm Burt and..."

He snaps his neck.

DM: "Are zombies still boring you, cunt?"

The wizard puts the body under the bed, thinks better of it, and tucks him into the bed.

We look out the window, the horde is moving as planned, slowly but it's working. We wait.

They seem to have settled back into "holding" mode again, shuffling about aimlessly. We gather at the front door of the house.

"On the count of 3 boys"
1...
2...
3...

The hammer blow takes out the front door, and we pelt across the street. The Navvie shoulder barges down the door. There's ferals in here and we're forced to make noise as one grabs Angus and gets him on the ground, I shoot it in the face. The chase is back on again.

Out the front door, into the next building. This building faces out onto the main street and looks like a shop. The glass window lets what zombies still remain on the main street get a good look at us. Deciding the door is pointless, we go for the direct option, out and straight through the plate glass window together. There's enough zombies that we can deal with them easily enough. Making for the truck, the wizard cranks the starting handle as the rest of us pile in.

The engine doesn't take. Angus thumps the dash. The wizard swears. I knife the zombie under the rear axle just to be sure. The Navvie pushes the truck forward, trying to give us a running start. We join him as zombies shuffle toward us. The engine catches and off we go. On the horizon we can see the pillar of steam turning in, in towards Auchmithie bay.

All in all, this probably took about 15 minutes in game time, we were fortunate that (the DM had) the boat slow down and turn into a natural harbour just up the coast (literally five minutes drive from the town).

We follow the road to the steam, it's now a straight pillar that is slowly petering out. Signifying the boat has come to a stop and the boilers are being allowed to run down.

We don't want to just drive up to Donny's front door. So we stop at the small hamlet just round the coast from the large stately home overlooking the bay. The village is deserted again. It's a short walk from the village to Donny so we park the truck on the main (and only) road out of sight of the house which is about 500 yards across windswept fields from the village.

With the engine off, we hear a sound over the wind. Digging. Knowing we'll regret it, we follow it. There are half a dozen alchemists with repeating rifles (Martini Henry's) standing in a line. They clearly aren't digging. They are looking into a pit.

We wait in the cover of a stable (Angus soothingly petting the cart horse) and watch. One of the alchemists kicks a ladder back down into the pit. Slowly the fifty odd villagers ascend the ladder. The alchemists line them up along the side of the pit, facing into it. I murmur "Babi Yar" under my breath, knowing what's coming.

The rest of the party seem to have caught on, so that when I work out the alchemists are too far away for accurate pistol shooting and start moving forwards, the rest of the party follows.

The alchemists have managed to get the first batch of locals kneeling on the edge of the pit. They raise their rifles on the command of their leader. I manage to drop him with the first shot. The wizard sends a steel shaft through the skull of another, and between us, we wipe the party out quickly. We are fortunate in that it's likely the sound of shots were expected.

The locals as we approach don't seem entirely all there. Their eyes are a pale white. Milky. Without pupils. Talking, waving a hand in front of their faces, it does nothing. There's no one home. They don't respond to external stimuli at all until the bard says to one woman

"Say something... please?"

She says "something"

We establish through some trial and error that they respond to simple commands. Beyond that they might as well be automatons. Some further analysis and very limited interrogation reveals they aren't likely to get better from this. Their soul or essence is gone. We might as well be talking to husks.

We can't just leave them. They will at best starve to death. Angus picks up a fallen rifle.

"We should finish what they started then..."

Each body that falls into the pit is just an empty husk, or at least that's what we tell ourselves as we put down each and every one.

We look on at the stately home. Night is beginning to fall. There's no lights showing and no smoke from the chimneys but this has to be the place. We prepare ourselves and decide to get a bit closer. We have some revenge to take...

Getting closer to the building, there really does not seem to be anyone home. As it gets darker, the wind gets up combined with the sound of the sea, we're unlikely to hear anything. The moon rises and we have at least enough light to mostly see what we're doing. Peeking in through windows shows nothing but darkness. We decide to do some breaking and entering.

The door to the kitchens offers very little resistance. Angus puts his fist through the window in the door and we are in. No alarms ring, again it's all very peaceful. We head inwards.

The kitchens are silent. There's dust on everything, it seems like no one has used these in years. Oddly there is still perfectly preserved food under the dust. Angus experimentally picks up a ham and takes a bite. Apparently it's delicious.

We can still hear the wind and the sea outside, the only other sound is Angus munching. The party continues creeping through the house.

There's a lot of the usual creepy big house stuff, suits of armour, bookshelves, dust, that sort of thing. This continues as we pass through the kitchen, the dining room (with candles that are incongruously lit), library; in the great hall there's a roaring fire, which would make perfect sense if anyone had disturbed the dust on the floor. We ourselves are leaving little footprints as though walking through snow.

Instinctively we gather around the fire, enjoying the warmth.

>Where the fuck is everybody?

The place is plainly and clearly deserted, maybe we got the wrong house? Obviously there's not many others around... There's also the matter of where those alchemists came from... They must've come from somewhere... right?

The DM describes the hall carefully, and how we feel.

>You all have the unmistakeable feeling of being watched, even in this grand room, the feeling of the air changes imperceptibly.

Of course, this encourages us to start investigating, looking in dark corners, peering through keyholes. The Wizard is convinced there must be a secret passage or bookcase. He's tapping on walls and generally being wizardly. Of course, this being Britbongsteros, there aren't any.

It's about this time, the bard decides to look up.

"Guys..."

I'm testing books, the wizard is tapping at the walls, Angus is eating a ham, and the Navvie is checking behind pictures.

"Shut up bard!"
"Guys!"

We follow his pointing finger, oooh... that's probably not good.

There are at least twenty old bodies nailed to the rafters. We think they might be the previous occupants of the house. They also seem to have been drained dry. In the shadows, there's something else up there too...

A little music ACDC - Smash N Grab

We are definitely not alone

>Coliunn gun chean (or say hello to my little friend)

It's been up in the rafters this whole time, watching, waiting, and now it drops into the center of the room.

Imagine a headless ogre (more a sunken head set between the shoulders rather than above). Then cover the thing in moss, give it glowing ice blue eyes and some other fun aspects we'll come to. That's what drops down and cracks the flagstones.

The worst part is Coliunn isn't alone either, as he drops, so too do the odd looking bats feeding on the bodies. They're not really bats, they're nondescript in the shadows, but they flap around us, billowing and generating enough force to blow out the fire. The fight is lit by Angus as he sets about torching things, and is really a series of disjointed moments.

The Navvie and Coliunn running at each other, my bullets impacting across Coliunn's chest, the wizard sending flying daggers after whatever those tiny blood sucking bastards are (and they have very sharp teeth indeed!). The bard helps out as only he can (The Blues Brothers - She Caught the Katy).

Coliunn isn't just tough, the fucker regenerates too. Even when Angus sets him alight he's still quite capable of punching the Navvie across the room. The wizard does his best to weigh him down, slowly building up lead on his wrists and ankles. It works, but it also adds more force to his blows.

The bard is lucky to avoid being turned into jam as Coliunn turns his attention to me. The bat things are beyond distracting as they swarm us again, biting, clawing, drawing blood. In the darkness Angus plays flame over our enemies back, the Navvie gets up and starts running again. I back away from Coliunn until my shoulders touch rock. Reloading as I go, I aim for those eyes. A lucky critical (blinding one eye) seems to just enrage him but the wizard focuses on one stiletto sized sliver of steel, driving it into the other eye.

He can't see, but he can still hear and he tracks me easily enough. It gives enough time however for the Navvie to strike him from behind, staggering him. Coliunn turns and runs straight from us, into the wall and out into the night. Given the way he knitted back together after being shot, it seems likely we may see him again. The bats follow him through the hole. In the near silence of smouldering furnishings (the room was large and, although furnished, mostly stone; in all fairness the place should have been blazing though), we reload and prepare to go deeper, we can only be in the right place now...

Alone in the darkness, the wind howling in through the hole where Coliunn reverse Kool-aided, we decide illumination is our first task. Fortunately the Navvie carries a small lantern and there are some candles on the walls which we pinch. We proceed further into the house.

The DM has us rolling perception checks, every time we succeed we get the vague sense of being watched. After the fire fight, we can only assume everyone knows we are here.

We search though more and more rooms, ending up at the bottom of the main staircase. The wizard notices that the rug appears disturbed. Lifting the thing we discover a trap door. The wizard detects no magical fields or alarms so we swing it open. There is a roughly hewn passageway leading off into the darkness. We guess this place has some history of smuggling (explaining the small hidden harbour and this). We descend into the darkness.

It's not long before the narrow passageway opens into a cavern. We assume this is a tidal cave, or at least it's sealed to the outside by water at high tide. The sound and spray of the sea fills the cave. There is still no one about. It's just then that a shape breaks the water.

A large ray, graceful, lazy, unusually it takes to the air, doing a circuit of the cavern before being snatched out of the air by what can only be described as an enormous Moray eel. If we didn't know better, someone has been making monsters...

We follow the cavern towards its mouth. We find the steam pinnace (deserted) and cross to the other side of the water via a rope bridge. The water is seething with foam and only black. Given the precision with which the supernaturally fuck huge eel snatched the ray, we are not keen on the this arrangement but nevertheless we cross.

The caverns extend in front of us quite some distance. From what we can see there are three cave mouths to choose from. We dither like the adventurers we are. Looking and listening, but over the sound of the storm and raging sea, there's nothing to be discerned. Angus notices an enormous lobster claw break the water and come hammering down on something. We decide it's time to pick a direction and go for it.

We head up the middle.

The walls of the cave seem wet to the touch. There's seaweed growing on them. We file this information away for later. If we are down here long we may not be coming back this way.

Angus is in front. The DM asks us

"Do any of you guys have a lantern?"
"Err... no..."

Angus does have the pilot light on his flamethrower.

For the sake of mood, the DM turns out the light in the kitchen and lights a candle, placing it on the table. The party (and the players) do their best with what little light they have.

There's no noise we can hear from up ahead, and the cavern/tunnel is starting to get narrower, the Navvie has already turned sideways to fit. All we can hear is the sound of the sea crashing behind us, the flickering light of Angus ahead, and inky darkness behind. In the semi darkness of the kitchen, we huddle in closer to the candle flame. The DM is doing something with his hands. Fiddling with something.

He continues to describe the claustrophobic isolation of the tunnel, the way every time we breath out, the walls close in a little further, until when we breath in, a million tons of black igneous rock ensure that breath is shallower than the last.

We push on. Squeezing, straining. A shape is moving in the darkness. It comes up behind the Wizard's Player and says right in his ear.

"'Allo."

(It's Cruella the player sneaking up behind him)

The Wizard, never the most calm of people at the best of times, jumps out of his skin just about. Cruella (the not-yet) player finds this hilarious and returns to playing with her phone. The poor wizard looks about ready to have a heart attack. The PCs respond in much the same way. Struggling to twist and turn to face the voice. The wizard generally screaming.

Unfortunately Angus can't turn around to set fire to the thing. Nor can any of us do anything to attack it.

It grabs the wizard and... hugs him?

The creature then lets him go. It waves at us and beckons for us to follow it into an adjoining tunnel. Reasoning we have nothing to lose (and it could have just eaten the wizard) we follow (after trying to shout over the noise, we give up and resort to hand signals).

We follow the Shellycoat upward and along into a wider, larger cavern. It's quieter up here.

>Wut is a shellycoat?
Some lore checks later (again like most of britbongsteros you can wiki it) reveal it to be a mischievous but mostly harmless water spirit. Apparently.

Anyway, the Shellycoat beckons us forward. The party takes a moment to assemble and generally stretch themselves back into place.

It seems we are in the Shellycoats lair, judging at least by the crude bedding and pile of empty crab shells. It certainly smells like it is anyway. What the Shellycoat wants to show us is down below. There's a hole in the center of the floor and it looks out into another cavern. There's light down there along with a party of alchemists.

They seem to be fishing. Quite innocently. Off to one side, is a large cauldron bubbling quite happily. One of the alchemists hauls up a crab pot and looks very pleased to have caught a large fairly grumpy looking Paromola cuvieri. After a small fight it goes into the stewpot. All very exciting. The alchemists gather round looking pleased with themselves. A few seconds later they duck backwards as a much larger crab claw reaches out of the pot. It grabs one of them, pulling him in. The others, using sticks, over turn the cauldron toward the water, and the still growing crab slinks into the sea.

It seems we know where the giant stuff is coming from. No Donny though...

Angus helpfully considers the cosmic imperatives of the situation. Man playing God, making sea creatures into God sized problems. With the weight of the universe upon him, his intellect squares it's shoulders like atlas and says:

"I wonder what'll happen if I stick my dick in it?"

Fortunately the shellycoat appears incapable of speech, however it seems to understand us fine enough. Some pantomime and "me Navvie you fish thing?" establishes that the shellycoat definitely wants rid of the alchemists, and also the alchemists have a lot to do with some chick and some guy called Donny...

Now people making giant monsters for whatever purpose are decidedly not good as far as we are concerned. They also seem to have something to do with Donny. Meaning...

Meaning... Err...

Oh, yes, kill them all.

Further discussion with Shelly enlightens us that there are plenty more alchemists (and others) beyond the gap in the wall behind those who are fishing. It seems then that we want to approach this quietly...

Fortunately, the shellycoat seems to know a way down from here. Back out into the passage we first came through. It wants to come with us. The party discuss. Essentially do we trust this thing? The answer is pretty much God no. Do we want to have it following us? Again probably not. What do we do with it? As far as we can tell it's mischievous yes, but not actually malicious.

We aren't going to kill it. We can't just tie it up, nor can we knee cap it. Some whispering later we decide the best thing to do is....

I and the wizard pantomime it coming along at a distance. It shows us the direction we should be heading with a webbed hand. Seems straightforward enough. Meanwhile the Navvie gets behind it. It enthusiastically supports the coming along idea.

The Navvie thumps it. The intention being to knock it out. His fist, propelled by the one he rolls, hits it just fine at the base of the skull. It falls awkwardly with a sickening egg shell crunch on the floor of the cavern.

"Oops."
DM: "I'm sorry, but head trauma is no joke..."
"So..."
"Err..."
"Shit."

We argue a bit over whose dumb idea that was, then discuss what to do. We all feel more than a bit guilty here. Sheepishly we lay it to rest or try to. When the bard and I go to pick it up, one bleary now red eye opens. There is an enormous dent in one side of its skull, and the horrific incongruity of one side of its head being almost flat from the temple to rear of the skull is a glaring sign of our idiocy.

It shivers and spasms, mewling, trembling, evacuating waste and rocking back and forth. There's just enough critter left to know those people it is looking at did this to it. The poor thing whimpers and looks like it wants to scream at the great unfairness of it all.

The best thing we can do is put it out of its misery. The DM senses an opportunity.

It takes an inordinately long time to kill it. Any pretense at gentle combined with the strange biology of the thing, seems to only make it worse. Eventually, and with my short sword sticking out of its sternum, it collapses. Dead.

"Oh God oh God oh God we are bastards..."

As always, the DM is a cunt. Though it also made a throwaway character into something that even now causes feels.

For anyone wondering, the one person audience was laughing so hard at us she spilt her wine.

We decide after that somewhat embarrassing fuck up to follow the route suggested. It's a bit more spacious than the last time, the descent is uneventful. The group of alchemists are sat with their backs to us. The sound of the surf is more than enough to ensure our inept approach remains stealthy enough to get behind them. We dispatch the fishing party almost before they realize we are there. It might just be what happened previously, but we feel a bit guilty as we ditch the bodies in the waters. They take a moment to sink and are instead swept into the maw of a salmon the size of a bus.

We ponder why they are making these enormous sea critters. It seems like they're just making them to be difficult, to make the waters of the east coast as dangerous as possible. Even if we don't find Donny it seems we are doing the right thing. We sneak up the tunnel.

The alchemists of Britbongsteros: who are they? Dutch traders, or at least that's what they starred out as. The Dutch used to trade prolifically with the east coast of Scotland. It's one of the reasons Scots law is different to English law (continental influence) and also why Scotland had five universities before 1900 and the English only had two.
The alchemists were traders then magic happened. Turns out alchemy actually (in a limited fashion) worked as did science. Their motto when it comes to science is like that of Aperture, "because we can" or "why the fuck not'?
They were the source of much of the magical tech and weirdness in the early setting. As England and Scotland unified in 1707, more trade with the English occurred. Their plan with the giant sea monsters is twofold. One, the necromancers are paying them to do it (in full soul cubes) and two, if the north sea is full of giant critters and the only vessels that can sail on it are alchemist approved, then...
1. Limit all trade to alchemists only
2. ????
3. MASSIVE PROFITS
Why Donny?
1. Because they can
2. Think of him as a very lazy and badly trained attack dog, but if you point him at something, and don't mind collateral damage, he is a deniable and highly destructive asset.
Why was Donny nailed to the floor?
He fucked them off somehow and gave him what was effectively a magical time out.

There is a natural waterfall in here, freshwater falling from a river or stream above and into the tidal pool. The alchemists (we assume) have got a waterwheel set up and are using it to provide various gubbins.

Lounging on a deck chair is Donny, draped over him is Mrs Donny. He waves.

What he does not do is raise the alarm. The alchemists remain oblivious to us as they seem to be making more of whatever was in that cauldron. From where the waterfall is coming we can see daylight. It seems we have been down here longer than we thought. We formulate a plan of attack.

As we mutter. Donny very ostentatiously relaxes while Mrs Donny makes a show of (in her rather small outfit) making him a drink (think Joker & a very pneumatic Harley).

We decide that clearly Donny wants to watch the fun. The difficulty is what happens (if as opposed to) when we win. Will he just pull another disappearing act? We can't have that. We also don't think splitting up is a good idea. By the time we'll have fought our way to Donny he'll have fucked off. We need something to keep him here. We have an idea....

The plan? We do absolutely fuck all.

Donny drinks his drink. He makes a "go on get stuck in" motion with his hand. The Navvie eats a sandwich. Angus is writing in his little diary, the bard cleans his finger nails. The wizard trims his 'tache and I build a little tower of shotgun shells (pinched a pump action shotgun from the alchemists during our visit to the hospital).

We can see Donny is getting a bit more incensed. The Navvie and I switch to playing rock paper scissors. Angus goes on a mining expedition in his own left nostril. Eating the results. It's about a minute after that that Mrs Donny appears.

Angus has found something chewy. He is treating it much as anon might a toffee.

Mrs. Donny gives a very annoyed stage whisper.

"Hurry up you lot. He wants to see some violence. (Cruella has been roped in to do the girly voices again) Don't make me do it myself..."

We ignore her further. She is standing right in front of Angus now. He has found a deposit that may require dynamiting but is still attempting manual removal.

"Come on you useless lazy bastards..."

This time. We don't club her over the head (lesson learnt) but we do grab her and let the wizard bind her with wizardry chains of cold iron. With her nicely hogtied and gagged

>muh magical...

no fuck off. We have a hold (we think) over Donny.

It's about this time that Coliunn Gunn Chean (our regenerating headless ogre friend from earlier) pops into the cavern via the waterfall.

We decide if we engage in combat and Donny is still missing his Missus as it were, he'll just grab her while we are distracted. I get the job of carrying her as the Navvie needs both hands for his hammer and in can still use a revolver with one. Also I had a feeling that the DM would make someone actually pick up and carry Cruella for a bit and I'd rather it was me. He attempted to enforce this, instead he got a very lady like "get fucked" (I always thought the two had a good rapport which explains my mentioning it I hope).

The alchemists still are not paying any attention to us. Coliunn however seems aware something is up. He sniffs the air. Donny, we notice, is still looking at us, he finishes his whiskey, tosses the glass over his shoulder and stands up.

>fightan time

As Donny descends from the platform/veranda, we decide that stealth is at an end. The bard is first to act. Piping The Police - Walking on the Moon, interestingly, almost immediately, the waters of the pool within the cavern begin to boil. When I say boil, I mean thrash and churn with angry giant sea life.

Coliunn begins to lope towards us and the alchemists go for their weapons. Fortunately Coliunn is distracted as the enormous crab from earlier lumbers ashore. The two engaging each other in delightful violence.

With Coliunn distracted we engage the alchemists as best we can. The issue being Donny, we don't really know what his capabilities are. Angus however, as always, remains extremely useful in these situations as he torches alchemists and their equipment. Donny reaches behind a crate and comes up with an extremely threatening looking cricket bat.

The combat rages throughout the cavern, the alchemists doing their best to support Coliunn and engage us at the same time. Donny we assume is going to be in someway magical or... something... so we focus our attention as best we can on him, leaving Angus to do what he does best (BURN EVERYTHING).

The Wizard chucks some nice sharp metal implements at him. He easily bats these aside. The Navvie builds his momentum up for a charge. The bard as usual is the bard, and I plink shots at him and try to control the squirming and generally distracting Mrs Donny. (also 'dat ass)

Have some ancient metal: Heavy Load - Metal Conquest Full Album

We get in closer. Donny seems to be trying his best to work his way to me and his Mrs (Turns out demons do like some things). I make the decision to put her down to get both hands free to engage him. He's fast, but not fast enough to dodge buckshot. By the time the Navvie has gotten into close combat, and the two duel, he tries to keep the Navvie between he and I, and I won't leave his Mrs. unattended (she'll get free or generally be a nuisance).

As I pause to reload, it seems like Coliunn and crab are evenly matched. Angus is, as usual, merrily burning stuff and seems quite happy. I put Mrs Donny down in front of me, I can keep an eye on her while concentrating on the combat. The Alchemists have got it together enough to start firing on us properly. I end up taking cover next to Mrs. Donny as bullets zing overhead. The wizard gets lucky and sticks a harpoon into Donny's leg.

The Navvie and Donny manage some dialogue while trying to kill one another. The Wizard is peripherally on the edge of the combat (flinging things at Donny and also trying to divert any bullets that might hit the Navvie off course).

"Why are you boys doing this?"
"You blew up the boat!"
"So? What did they owe you? What was that about? They shanghaied you and now you're all free. I did you fuckers a favour!"
"You tricked us!"
"Meaning you didn't get blown up!"
"You... you're up to something! Giant sea-creatures, you're disrupting shipping, working with the necromancers you're some sort of bastard!"
"Bastard I am. I'm also on your side."
"What is that about?"
"I was nailed to a floor when you found me wasn't I?"
"Yes..."
"Then how did you think I felt about that?"

Now feelings are something the Navvie is not a great expert on. Generally feelings are something that happen to other people (usually "Ow" or other variations on pain) or the sensation that occurs when you bring a large hammer down on someone's head. Suffice to say, he's not much of an expert on the concept.

"I don't really care, you're still involved in this somehow."

He swings his hammer again.

"Do you think I'm involved by choice? Do you think she is?"
"Why should we care?"
"You shouldn't care, but you did free me."

I should add this dialogue is going on while there's still fighting, but most of the alchemists are dead by this point. Coliunn and the crab wrestled each other into the water so for the time being its fairly quiet.

We respond, "We didn't free you. We freed the ghost, you were an accident."
"The alchemists have my essence and hers stored up ahead. We can't get it ourselves but you could. You could free us. We have some autonomy, but not enough to avoid their orders and directions."
"So you didn't want to blow up the ship then?"
"Oh no, that was just for kicks. You try being nailed to a floor for six months, but it did get you lot here didn't it?"
"More to the point, why can't you free yourselves?"
"Warding."
"Why should we trust you and what is in it for us?"
"You'll need my help to defeat what was Baz, and trust me? After all we've been through? You should know better than that."

We mull this over. We don't like him. We don't like his wife, and we don't trust whatever he is. On the other hand... why the fuck not? We have the alchemists to kill anyway now that we have discovered what they're up to.

>How smart are we?
>Pretty fucking dumb is the answer of course.

We show good faith by not attacking Donny further. We also ensure his good faith by continuing to carry his wife about with us as he leads us to the entrance to the rest of the complex/cave/dungeon.

We also get a demonstration of exactly what Donny is capable of (he's in front of us) as Coliunn, victorious against the crustacean, hurls himself onto land. Donny smacks him upside the (what would be head but actually sort of in the middle of the chest) with his cricket bat, kicks him in the balls for good measure, and watches Coliunn fall back into the waters.

The rest of the alchemists definitely know we are coming, so we try to be cautious. Leaving Donny and his still tied up wife at the very clearly magical barrier (all the symbols and glowy shit are a dead giveaway) we proceed.

Shortly after we come to a right angle in the rather well hewn and orderly corridor. The obvious place if they have set an ambush to do so. Placing the bards hat on the end of a stick and leaning it round the corner. Nothing happens. Cautiously the bard sticks his head round the corner. He ducks back quickly from the fusillade of rapid rifle fire.

As the shooting pauses

"Ha you did not think we would fall for that!"

We crouch up against the wall. As Angus prepares to stick the nozzle of his flamethrower round and immolate them, some large metal egg shaped things land near us. The wizard only just manages to get them to roll back round the corner as the grenades go off. Entirely deafening in this combined space.

Angus tries again. This time getting off a long burst of hellfire up the corridor. We can hear sizzling. No screaming or anything else though. Cautiously the bard looks again.

"Nope guys, that did nothing, they're still behind that big armoured barricade."
"Fuck's sake bard."

The complaining ends as more grenades land. This time the wizard is quick enough to punt them at the base of the fortification (think a sort of mobile pillbox you can drag into place across the tunnel exit). The detonation is followed by a large clang. Angus decides to blind fire up the corridor again, this time there's plenty of horrific screaming as men burn to death (Flamethrowers man, not even once).

Cautiously again, we proceed up the corridor. Now we get out into the thing, it's a straight 15 meter coverless murder tunnel. At the end of it are still burning bodies and the remains of the barricade. We can't see much beyond that. We proceed.

Reaching the barricade we realize there is another right angle. We are getting used to the idea of corners of death, so Angus blindfires up it. Reporting he has a quarter of a tank left of fuel then he's down to what's beneath his kilt and bad language.

Peeking around the corner, there doesn't seem to be anyone still living up there. The iron grates that fall in front and behind us indicate we may have fucked up. The cloud of green scary looking gas doubly confirms it as it hisses from the grenades lobbed from murder holes in the ceiling.

Angus is quick to act. He asks the wizard to take his trousers off.

The DM seems to be the most confused. The wizard refuses. Angus rips a strip from his own kilt and says

"Quick, piss on that."

The rest of us, barring the bard and the DM, caught on, doing as advised.

It takes some explaining to the DM what is going on and why his "awesum knockout trap" sucks. He takes the new information on the chin and as the bard falls unconscious we each get to roll to see if we stay standing. The DM seems impressed with our ingenuity and we remain standing. The wizard weakens the iron bars in front just like we did his carefully laid plan.

For any anons who don't know what Angus was on about, during World War I homemade gas masks were made by peeing on a cloth. I should say the original (DM's) plan was that we all pass out and get captured.

What we are in; feels like a warehouse, it does indeed look like a warehouse, it is in fact a warehouse along with some living quarters for the sixty odd (total) alchemists that were down here. As far as we can tell, we have killed about sixty odd between us. The place seems quite quiet now that we have worked our way through it.

We cautiously look about. Thinking there must be all kinds of fun stuff in these crates. Thing is, big warehouses have lots and lots of stuff in them. The nearest and most interesting looking crates seem to mostly have spoons in them, which is less exciting. We are struck by the idea that if whatever we are looking for is in here, it's going to take quite a while to find...

We think we've killed off all the alchemists, so we can't just interrogate one. We also don't really feel like spending the next month looking through boxes.

Hmm...

A manifest or other ledger would be the obvious thing. Sadly, we can't see one. We apply logic, if the big boxes are full of spoons or candlestick holders or egg cups, then they must keep the good stuff somewhere else, off to one side or something...

True to form, there is a small innocuous looking wooden door. We expect this to be a privy, but we kick it in anyway. We are surprised to discover exactly what we're looking for. Sort of...

We break into the small, quiet, peaceful little room, it feels a lot like a library. Initial searches reveal that the walls are covered in strange books, interesting looking gew-gaws, and occult knick-knacks. Seems like this is more the sort of thing we are after. There is also an armchair by the fire, the back of it is turned toward us, but there's a pair of legs sticking out of it.

An old, but still extremely commanding voice, the kind of voice an extremely polite mountain would have, asks us

"WHERE IS MY FUCKING LUNCH."

We peek round the chair. Seated therein is what can only be described as Stephen Fry. It also seems he's blind, very old, and more than slightly deaf.

Angus usually has a sandwich about his person, and the Navvie can be relied upon for a beer and a pork pie. We present these offerings.

"AH, PORK PIE, I THOUGHT IT WAS TUESDAY."

We attempt communication, not really being sure what an alchemist stereotypically sounds like, we opt for simply shouting.

"HELLO."
"WHAT?"
"WE SAID HELLO."
"WHAT?"
"WE SAID, HELLO THERE."
"WHAAAT?"
"OH THIS IS... I mean this is hopeless guys..."
"WHY IS IT HOPELESS?"
"CAN YOU HEAR US?"
"WHAT?"

This goes on for quite some time.

We can deal with large angry creatures, skeletons, zombies, gods, and other weirdness. We are having an awful lot of trouble here as we don't really know what we're looking for, and the guy who can tell us is deaf as a post.

"WHAT?"

Ok, so he's blind, therefore drawing a picture isn't going to work. Shouting seems a problem, but we are getting somewhere... slooooowly. As the Navvie and I continue shouting (WHAT?) the rest of the party investigate the room. Angus cheekily pinches his sandwich back.

They don't find anything immediately offensive or useful. Though the wizard is quite taken with a desk ornament (one of those Newton's Cradle things which has little heads that make different expressions as it swings). The bard is struck by the extremely nice set of bagpipes on the wall and shuffles a bit closer to them. Clearly planing on pinching them.

It also occurs to us, what the fuck are we going to do with this invalid, we can't just leave him here... we also, as a party of murder-hobos, aren't taking him with us. We sure as hell can't leave him to starve to death either...

If this situation seems familiar, well, we certainly recalled what happened with the Shellycoat up above. As the old man eats his pork pie, we cluster behind the armchair.

Essentially it's a case of

"Dude, what're we gonna do?"
"Kill him?"
"We can't just..."
"We could take him along with us?"
"Into whatever fight we get involved in next? Out on the road?"
"Ok... so if we do this who's gonna do it..."
"I will.
"NO BARD."

After more rummaging the wizard comes across two books. They're paired so it seems. If you open one, the other opens and turns to the same page. He finds this fascinating. Experimentally he draws a dot on the page of one and the same dot appears in the other. The books are full of a script even he can't read. The pictures however are entirely lurid and not for dinner table conversation.

"PUT THOSE FUCKING DOWN."

Ah ha.

More shouting establishes these are just what we are after. We consider, as these give us some leverage over Donny, could we get him to take care of the old chap? Wait a minute who is this old bastard anyway? Harmless old savant? The Britbongsteros version of an old Nazi war criminal? We have no idea.

We return with the books to Donny. The wizard makes a show of releasing his wife, who doesn't seem particularly troubled by her ordeal ("I'm used to a little bondage") Donny seems awfully keen to get those books back. We hang on to them for now.

"If we give these to you, you'll help us with Baz and take care of the old man?"
"Yes. You'll need to scuff out the wards as well, but sure."

Dutifully we do.

A few seconds later, Donny returns with a spine that is dripping blood. Playfully he lashes it at his partner who giggles as blood spatters the bard.

"Taken care of as ordered boys. Books please. Now. Might I remind you, you're in here alone with me now. Unless you can write very rapidly in several dead languages, there's nothing to stop me taking them off you... but I like to play by the rules. Books please."

I'm not sure if I'm doing Donny justice here, he's as cheerful as he is... not evil in the traditional sense just... totally and utterly sans morals, and yet still quite likeable

Some OOC discussion occurs. Is this really who we are? Doing deals with demonic entities? Are we going to try to be a force for good or a lighter shade of grey? We think we are going to need him though. We hand over the books.

We really do not like where this is taking us, but we have made our beds and we are going to lie in them.

"So how exactly are you going to help?"
"When the time is right, I'll be there. Until then, I have some catching up to do..."

As he playfully spanks his wife, he half turns and the pair entirely vanish.

The party is alone now, surrounded by bodies, with an accidental nest of evil wiped out by accident. We do some soul searching.

We set about trying to leave this place as we take stock of our thoughts.

  • Baz still needs to be killed.
  • We will have to do something about Donny eventually.
  • We sort of did good today... kind of?
  • Jesus this country is a mess.
  • We are going to need help to think of a plan of action re Baz
  • Technically we are agents of the crown, meaning we can call on help. We know where Baz is for the time being, and we think it might be best to seek assistance. To the north we have the isolationist Aberdeen, who even if we have a wizard from there with us, likely will not care. We can try to get south. Taking the sea route is going to be hard as there are a whole lot of these critters in the water, and we don't know how safe the tugboat would be without alchemists aboard to keep the wards up.

A group of royal navy warships would be fine enough for us sailing south, but a better (or at least more realistic option) takes us through giant territory. The giants of Stirling in fact, and then on to the North of England and possibly dwarf-Yorkshire.

The Stone of Scone[edit]

Britbongsteros map 3 resized.jpg
The party mull our options over. Somehow we need to get south of the Antonine wall.
>Take the tugboat?

Slow, dunno if it won't get eaten by giant lobsters.

>Try to find a Royal Navy Squadron?

How?

>Aberdeen?

Unlikely to actually want to help.

>Southwards by land means either the long trip up through the highlands and down the west coast to Glasgow, or the direct route through Stirling and the giants.

Giants?

Giants.

So, with that settled, we pool our knowledge about the area. Essentially, giants. That's about all we know really. None of us have visited the area in peace time, and have no idea really what it'd be like now, all we really knew was that it was *bad*.

>What were the giants like?
Actually pretty smart, as smart as a gifted, well educated human. They were old. Very old. They had slept until the world re-awakened, slumbering under the hills, waiting for the earth to warm again with volcanic fire (Scotland was once actually extremely geologically active). When they did wake up in 1497 as did everything else, they quickly adjusted.

We also knew they were extremely fond of the Stone of Scone, it being near Perth in Scone Palace (we are not far from Perth).

We sort of look at each other at for a minute. As we know the bard's player isn't very chatty sometimes, so he'd just play music and give us all skill related buffs during these moments. I distinctly remember this song. Ram Jam - Black Betty (Official Video)

Somehow, somewhere in this discussion someone (Angus) suggested we steal the Stone of Scone.

But why?

>The coronation stone of all the kings of Scotland? You bet that's gonna be magical, you bet that's gonna be useful to those bony necromantic bastards, and most of all, why not?

Otherwise known as... THE STONE OF DESTINY.

>DM: "Muh adventure.... muh backstory... muh... oh fuck it this sounds like fun."

We still have the jalopy right?

Yup.

It's 40 miles to Perth. We have a (nearly) full tank of (sort of not really) gas, we have a kilo of dwarven pipe tobacco, a pile of weapons, and some of us are wearing kilts.

>Fucking hit it. Peter Gunn Theme

We avoid the coast road, heading up through Forfar, down through Coupar Angus and bomb it straight through to Scone Palace. We don't know what we expect to find there, but with Angus driving, we also don't entirely expect to live.

Now as anon may have noticed, you can usually tell how far into an evening we had gotten by the quality of ideas generated. This one was very close to what would be the end of a session, but it seemed like such a good idea we continued onwards anyway.

Arriving at Scone, we can see flames in the distance. We can hear the sounds of battle. The sun is just starting to rise as we arrive. The battle must've been going on at least all night, and likely throughout the previous day as the last of the living giants defend their last redoubt (Scone Palace) against the undead hordes come to take the Stone of Scone.

The mood in Scone is sombre, death songs are sung, the living know this is the last sunrise they will see, before the day is out, they will join the marching hordes of undeath. The shieldwall has not broken, it will not break until until the last spear, until the last breath. Tears mix with the rain as a people prepare to die.

Lo, there do I see my father. 'Lo, there do I see...
dumdumdumdumadum
My mother, and my sisters, and my brothers.
dananananananananan
Lo, there do I see...
dumdumdumdumadum
The line of my people...
danananananananan
Back to the beginning.
dumdumdumdumadum
Lo, they do call to me.
danananananananan
They bid me take my place among them.
dumdumdumdumadum
Where the brave... SERIOUSLY WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT?

AC DC - For Those About To Rock (Official)

The jalopy ramps the gates and comes to a rest by battering its suspension into the flagstones outside of Scone Palace

"We're here!"

So, we (mostly due to the DM finding the idea funny) have made it into the last battle of the giants. Their ragnarok as it were as they sacrifice in blood for the only thing they have left. Honour.

>How did you get through the opposing army of undead?

Undead giants are slow and were not expecting five lunatics in a truck.

The giants themselves do not react well to our sudden appearance as a detachment surround us. We have just appeared like a wet fart in their heroic epic. Even once they establish we are alive they seem less than pleased.

We are brought before their leader, Great McDonald (Big Mac), who as one might expect is enormous. Big Mac is less than enamoured with us, he's suffering from a couple dozen wounds and has arrows sticking out of one side of him. Big Mac is past his prime, but he has aged like weathered oak. You get the feeling from him he wins headbutting contests with cannonballs, and also that deep down, he is happy to die like this, one final battle than to slowly fade.

His great axe lies limply across his knees. He bids his retainers leave him except one very very old giant indeed.

"So little ones, have you come to die with us?"
"Not exactly..."
"We sort of plan on living."
"There's not much chance of that now is there..."
"We have an offer for you."
"What can you offer me when I know the sun will set on my risen corpse?"
"We have a bard?"
"Is that what that thing is? It would be a fine thing to have our tale sung."
"We also, can offer to take the stone to safety."

The tiredness in the Big Macs eyes burns out. The loose muscles of his shoulders knot like glaciers carving valleys.

"Will you now..."
"We got in here. We can get it out, and we can make your deaths mean something. We can't save you, but we can save the stone."
"And how, little ones, will you do that?"
"We got in here, we can get out..."
"If you take the stone, my warriors will know it is gone, they know they will not die to protect it, but to protect the space where it once sat. More to the point, why should I trust you?"
"Well we are alive, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything. Additionally we have this..."

We present to him our letters of authority.

"And finally, are you not Britons? If you are so willing to sacrifice all, why not be willing to sacrifice to aid the nation? This fight is already lost, but the war will continue, and the war can still be won."

Big Mac approves of this.

With Big Macs approval we are allowed into the inner sanctum. The stone of destiny lies before us. It really is a fairly innocuous lump of rock (really) but the giants attach an almost religious significance to it. Big Mac bows low before it. We do the same. There is definitely something in the air and it isn't Angus (we are so used to that as to be immune), the wizard can sense a tension in the air. There is definitely magic here.

Big Mac lifts the stone easily. To him it's about the size of a house brick. It takes the Navvie and I to carry it. We don't really have a plan at this stage beyond drive really really fast, but that has gotten us this far. As soon as we get into the open air, the undead surge against the defenses, they (or their masters) know something is up.

We point the truck at the gates with the stone roped to the flatbed. The wizard is given the task of driving as he doesn't need both hands to do offensive things. Angus rides shotgun.

Big Mac goes in front of us. We can hear the undead battering at the gates over the engine. Two of the giants fling the gates open as Big Mac charges out. In his armour with his axe singing through the air, he is a sight such as this isle will not see again. The proudest of his race. As he rams into the enemy we skirt round him at speed. With the wizard driving we manage to dodge the majority of attacks and respond to other threats with enough violence that we don't have to slow down. Looking back over the tailgate, we can see Big Mac still swinging his axe as the skeletons of his brother giants swarm him. Concerningly, our cargo and departure have definitely been noticed.

So with that sombre and altogether bizarre diversion we commenced the session the following week, moving fast in a general southwesterly direction and straight into undead territory. It is here we get our first glance at exactly what the necromantic apocalypse can do.

There's not a lot that can catch us as we barrel through, but there's also quite a lot of reasons for us to stop. If anon ever played that one scenario in gorkamorka, some of this may seem familiar. (The one where the board moved)

Purple Haze Jimi Hendrix

Scone Palace wasn't actually too bad, there was still greenery, there was still life, things get progressively weirder as we go. The sun fades, the clouds draw in (ok this is still normal for Scotland), the light of the sun shifts to a redder bloody hue (much like a blood-moon). We swerve round the bloated flyblown corpses of animals, not all of them stationary, there is a rather messy incident with a cow.

Onwards we travel. There is a mist rising. While we can see skeletons in the distance the road itself seems quiet beyond the odd wandering corpse. The necromancers must have something planned for us, but as we zip along past Perth and down to Bridge of Earn, we remain unmolested. As we approach the river Earn the mist is thicker, much thicker. We have to slow down now as visibility drops.

Sensing a DM sized ambush incoming, we generally prepare ourselves. We start at shapes looming in the mist. An overturned cart is riddled with bullets and a circular saw. An entirely innocent postbox is set alight. The withered remains of a tree branch cause a full on Navvie-rage/spaz of hammer swinging. In the distance, or maybe nearby, we can hear a howl.

The engine idles as we come to the bridge. It's narrow, uncomfortably so.

In the mist every thing seems insulated, unearthly, ethereal. There's another howl in the distance. There are very definitely shapes out there and they're moving. The headlamps only serve to lighten the mist a little, casting illumination a scant few feet ahead and then it becomes opaque. There's another howl, much, much closer.

Bard: "Seriously... it's just wolves guys... probably undead, zombie, flame shooting flying wolves... That's not so bad... at least they don't have like tentacles or scorpion stingers or..."
"SHUT UP BARD. DON'T GIVE HIM IDEAS."

As we crawl to the other end of the bridge. We see our path is blocked. The remains of what looks like several carts have crashed into one another along with at least one motor-vehicle. It seems like a fair pile up. There's a couple of zombies in the wreckage waving pitifully but otherwise harmless.

We are going to have to shift this or turn around. With the Bard and Angus standing watch, the Navvie and I get the job of starting to shift things. It's heavy work, slow work, and in the mist, shapes move.

Angus is watching the edge of the bridge intently as a tentacle, then another, dabbles over the parapet, exploring then sinking back into the waters.

Above us we can hear the beating of wings.

Everything around us has the stench of the undeath, but there's so much of it we can't even begin to identify what is a threat and what is just fucking weird.

Deep Purple-Child in Time

Little will-o-the wisps spark like fireflies in the mist, blue, green, orange, purple, red. They shoot up from the waters of the river below us, some rising high, others snatched out of the air by something we can't see.

As the Navvie and I wrestle to shove the van out of the way (and indeed put down the crushed remains of the passengers), the tentacles lash over the parapet again as another howl comes, much closer, right behind us. The zombified remains of wolves run across the span of the bridge. Clicking claws on the cobblestones, flanks rent and torn asunder, bellies distended from flesh and decomposition.

Angus turns to respond, the thing under the bridge responds faster, tentacles swinging out over the span of the bridge, snatching at desperate howling wolves. The survivors run past the Navvie and I, clearly fleeing from something. The skeletal remains of what must've been a member of the corvid family flicker down beside us.

The raven coughs.

>But Aldous, it's a skeleton it doesn't have lungs...

The response to that is the same thing the DM said. It's an animated skeleton that in total contravention of the rules of aerodynamics just flew, and you want to know how it can cough? Nevermore daft players have I encountered.

It coughs again. The Navvie and I keep shifting stuff, the wizard helps from his position behind the wheel. Angus decides to investigate this thing. He gets close to it and pokes it with a gloved finger. It falls apart into its composite bones. Then several things happen at once.

>What happens?

A tentacle wraps around Angus's ankle. There is a very loud thump from behind us, as of something hauling itself out of the river and landing on the cobblestones. From above, something very large flaps its leathery wings...

As Angus is lifted vertically into the air, screaming for help, a shape resolves out of the mist behind us. A very familiar silhouette. One without a head and some very big sloping shoulders.

>How the fuck did he get here?
>Fucking Coliunn.

Then something big lands in front of us and I mean big. Big enough that the force of it coming in to land sends a plume of dust washing over us and staggers the Navvie and I.

The wizard does his best to sever the tentacle, he can't quite get a bead on it in the mist, Angus hangs onto the parapet for dear life. Behind us, Coliunn settles into a loping run towards us. In front of us, something spreads its wings and a long, long tail covered in scraps of scales lashes in the mist.

Stuck In The Middle With You - Stealers Wheel

We have Coliunn behind us, some scary tentacley thing under the bridge. Angus is up in the air still be waved about, and we have no fucking idea what that thing in front of us is.

The Navvie and I fall back to the truck. The Wizard finally manages to a decent saw-blade through a tentacle, which reflexively flings Angus towards Coliunn. Angus manages a very lucky roll and lands just behind Coliunn. Coliunn is very surprised when Angus manages to crawl up his back. The bard does what he does best and digs into Angus's sack of tricks as best he can.

From the mist comes....

Generally the party are assumed to have the knowledge of the Bestiary of Aberdeen.

>Wut is...

(Have fun - I love me some old books)

Dragons in Britbongsteros:
We know there are some smart, human-sized to double-decker bus sized dragons on the continent, this isn't one of those. Or wasn't anyway, there are also feral dragons, much as there is homo-sapiens and there are apes.
This one is of course the Dragon of Linton, or again, was, the bones having been raised by one of the necromancers roaming the country.

Now this situation is not the best of places to be in for what were a week ago, a labourer, a merchant, a scholar, a greengrocer, and a traveling musician. It's a case of kill or cure and, in this crucible of fire, we do our best to stand the flames.

The Wyrm of Linton is your traditional old school dragon, mouth with lots of fangs, and... oh hang on...

Aberdeen Bestiary:
The dragon has a crest, a small mouth, and narrow blow-holes through which it breathes and puts forth its tongue. Its strength lies not in its teeth but in its tail, and it kills with a blow rather than a bite. It is free from poison. They say that it does not need poison to kill things, because it kills anything around which it wraps its tail.
From the dragon not even the elephant, with its huge size, is safe. For lurking on paths along which elephants are accustomed to pass, the dragon knots its tail around their legs and kills them by suffocation

So what we're looking at is a big skeletal snake with wings.

The dragon lumbers towards the party (minus Angus) while tentacles lash randomly over the bridge. The Wizard has found his stride and does his best to slice and dice them as they appear. The Navvie and I have our work cut out for us. The Navvie decides that although he has never killed anything that big, there is always a good time to start. Reasoning that nothing likes solid slugs, I take aim and try to go for the head.

Meanwhile. Angus has got onto Coliunns back (Have you noticed Anon that Angus is exceptionally good at derailing things?) and is driving the poor bastard wild by digging his knife into the rapidly regenerating flesh between his shoulder blades time and time again. Coliunn is wild with fury and can't reach back to Angus. The thing under the bridge is trying its hardest to climb up out of the water. We still haven't seen what it is, and are not likely to want to.

IT'S A LONG WAY TO THE TOP (IF YOU WANNA ROCK 'N' ROLL) - AC DC

The dragon sweeps toward the Navvie, coiling about him, but being composed mostly of bones this is mostly just uncomfortable. The Navvie does his best to smash vertebrae to dust, shortening the creature by the yard as I put slugs into its face.

Coliunn lumbers past the rather surprised bard and Wizard, narrowly missing the truck but swinging out perilously over the parapet. Angus gets a good look at what's down there. The eloquence of Angus is more than enough for our purposes.

"FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK WHAT IS THAT FUCKING FUCKFUCK!"

Tentacles slither up and around Coliunn. They also snake about Angus, binding him to his steed as Coliunn struggles and roars. The wizard manages to free Angus (and very nearly decapitate him).

Angus makes a run for truck. Getting his hands wrapped about the towbar as the creature ensnares his waist again. The Wizard decides enough is enough and guns the engine. Meanwhile the Bard does his best to saw through the tentacles while Angus hangs on for dear life. The creature is strong enough that the truck is starting to scrape backward even as the Wizard floors it.

The bard gets a good blow in on the tentacle and it separates, some still entwined around Angus. The truck leaps forward, rapidly accelerating towards the Navvie and I. It clips me as the Wizard does his best to slow down, knocking me aside. Angus is still being dragged along behind it. As the truck slows down, he loses his grip. The Bard is able to collect both of us when the Wizard swerves to a halt.

Meanwhile the Navvie and the Wyrm wrestle. The wizard is able to help him out a little, but what helps him most is when the rest of the party are aboard, the wizard rams the thing.

Meanwhile behind us, the... thing has gotten out of the water and slopped down onto the bridge which is trembling and creaking under the weight. Coliunn is still proving to be a most difficult meal for it, but boy does it have a lot of teeth.

Ramming the dragon works out better than expected. Less well for the Navvie however who as the bones shatter around him is pretty badly knocked about. The few vertebrae and head that are left still squirm and snap at us as, with the full party aboard, we decide the best thing to do, is leg it.

Speeding off into the mist and southwards, we can only expect things to get worse. We know the dragon has to have come from somewhere. The other two we can (reasonably) safely assume were unfortunate accidents. Even so, it's more than a bit of a concern. Clearly the stone is more important than we thought...

We drive on.

Lynyrd Skynyrd-Free bird

We divert, we avoid blocked roads, and we wind our way what we think is southwards. We have been traveling for quite some time, and as we pass the same reanimated corpse nailed to a church door for the third time running, we realize we might be a tiny bit lost. We are also getting low on fuel.

A little research in the hamlet we have found ourselves in reveals it to be a small market town, and the market cross reads "Bannockburn".

Bannockburn:
It was a famous Scottish victory in the wars of Scottish independence, in 1314, so pre-magic in Britbongsteros.
Robert the Bruce had Stirling Castle under siege, and Edward II (the son of Edward "Hammer of the Scots" I) commanded a force to break the siege.
At Bannockburn his army fought Bruce's numerically inferior one (it was around half the size) and lost, over the course of two days (unusual for medieval pitched battles).
With casualty estimates from 5100 - 15700 it's prime necromancer fodder

At this stage we do know the above as lore and we also know that the Stone of Scone is a deeply magical artifact. We are also extremely aware we do not have a great deal of fuel. The town itself seems deserted, though in the deep rolling thickness of the mist it's hard to tell. What we need is some fuel. There might be a motor vehicle here we can scavenge.

>Doesn't the flamethrower also work on the same stuff?

It does. We would rather have a working flamethrower to help us when looking for more fuel than run out of fuel further on and not be able to set shit on fire.

Looking at the town, the place feels flat out dead, and like it has been that way for a long time. It's nothing like Arbroath. It's silent, the buildings lean on each other at angles, supporting each other like drunks on a train platform. Looking out over the main street, there is a definite air of pripyat.

There have been issues with necromancery in this area for some time. It all started with cows. Then some hamlets, then by the time the army paid any attention there was already a critical mass of unpleasantness which was reanimating Edinburgh. Bannockburn was one of the first places to go silent. We didn't pass the battlefield on the way in, but in theory we should be safer here than we have been previously.

We decant from the truck and begin exploring. The Wizard has the presence of mind to throw some metal filings over the stone as apparently he will sense if they are disturbed as long as he isn't too far away.

We search by splitting into twos. Banging loudly on the door of each building before entering (because zombies) The town is, as predicted, fairly deserted. We can see plenty of signs that people packed quickly and left quickly. We also can see that, when leaving, if anyone in the town had access to a motor vehicle they would have taken it.

Now although I keep calling it Bannockburn, that isn't the name of the village, the village is actually Whins of Milton but it is near where the battle took place (there is also some issue as to exactly where the battle happened, but anyway). We don't feel that lingering here is a good idea. Especially so near to Stirling castle and whatever weirdness is likely to be in there.

While searching a giant sized house, the Navvie is rather impressed to find a hammer he can't lift (it being a giant sized hammer), he does also find some beer which, as far as he is concerned, resolves our logistical issues. Fuel wise we come up empty handed.

It's about this time we notice a couple of things at once. From the direction of Stirling Castle there is a definite and distinct glow to the sky. Up ahead, as the mist shifts, we are fairly sure we can see the broken down remains of what might just be a truck. Last but not least, at the other end of the road, there is a figure in plate armour watching us.

The figure points at us. It doesn't advance it doesn't do anything. Just points. We notice other armoured figures in the mist. At windows, in doorways, all silent, all faceless, all pointing. In the mist and darkness of the hamlet this feels creepy as fuck, but they do not advance, they don't do anything to threaten us. Everyone feels as though they are being pointed at individually. Moving doesn't make a difference. The figures are all pointing accusingly directly at you.

In the almost oppressive silence the engine of our truck is shockingly loud. We pile in and make for the other end of the road and hopefully fuel. There are more figures as we pass, somehow moving while your eyes are closed or back is turned. We don't know if there are just that many of them that these are new ones or that they are just that fast. Either way it's not good. What they do not do is come closer than about forty feet. Yet.

Stopping at the other vehicle, a quick rap on the fuel tank confirms that not all of the fuel has evaporated. Angus seems to almost relish the task of siphoning as the rest of us stare nervously. What we have not seen any of these figures do is move, but we watch them closely. They're so firmly placed it seems like they might have grown there. As one, they all take a very clear and unified step forward.

>Fuck.

As Angus methodically siphons fuel into a jerry-can, they complete the step and then stand perfectly stock still again. We look into empty helmets or blank visors and see nothing. Something is very clearly staring back however, or at least that's is how it feels.

They take another perfectly unified step. It starts to rain. Not just a shower either, but a heavy sudden down pour. Big fat drops of rain which hit the cobblestones like they were thrown with the vehemence of a deity at that enact spot.

On the flatbed of the truck. The stone is floating a tiny little bit. A centimeter or so off the surface. Interestingly it's also completely dry. Angus has great difficulty keeping water out of the fuel but manages, meanwhile.

Step.

They are clearly all around us.

Step.

The faceless things are closing in. We decide it's probably time to consider doing something about them. The wizard reports they don't register for him. As far as he is concerned the rusted steel of their armour is non existent. Experimentally he tries flinging a quick saw blade at one. It doesn't pass through it, but it also doesn't impact. It's as though the blade went through the space occupied by the faceless at an earlier point in time when it wasn't there. I decide to try unloading on one. It's similarly pointless. There is however one slight difference as they take another step.

A low whistling moan, just on the edge of audibility.

The Navvie decides enough is enough and prepares to fling the last of our explosives at them. The satchel charge we note is completely ignored as it lands in front of one of the things. Angus (who so far has been ignoring all this) is pulled down by the bard as the detonation rings in the silence. Small pieces of masonry drop around us as our ears ring. Looking back up over the siding of the truck we establish that did fuck all.

We settle for helping Angus as best we can. Finally the noise of fuel slopping from can to tank sounds like the most beautiful of things.

Step.

Gluggluglug

Step.

Angus tosses the empty jerrycan away and as the engine of our truck roars into life, the wizard floors it. The stone has other ideas. It's still floating and decides to liberate itself from the back of the truck. We however keep going. Bracing for impact on one of the figures in the center of the road, we pass straight through it. The stone hovers about chest height. We slow to a halt as the figured advance on it.

Rather than pointing fingers, the outstretched hands are now grasping for the stone. There's an actinic blue flash like a lightning strike as they make contact.

Saxon - Guardians of The Tomb

Not too long ago, we were pretty normal people. We sure have seen some shit recently, and this is just about topping it all. Shafts of light ripple from the stone, flickering and trickling over the grasping figures. The stone explodes, blinding us.

>What the actual fuck did we just do?

The armoured figures are very much still standing.

The earth, rust, grime and filth is gone from their armour. Where once there were faceless empty husks. Now there are grinning skulls.

Motorhead - Born to Raise Hell

"Who amongst you summoned us? Which of you would seek to lead the Host of Bruce? Which of you is the spider that plucks the web? Who calls us forth in this hour of Scotland's need?"
"Well Aldous, technically you're in charge mate. This one's all you."
"Err... I did?"
"WHO ARE YOU TO SUMMON US?"
"We are... fight for... um... We fight for the crown!"
"WHICH? WE HAVE WATCHED, WE HAVE WAITED. WE HUNGER FOR VICTORY. MANY STRANGE THINGS HAVE COME TO OUR LANDS, AND NOW BY GOD AND ALL OF HIS SAINTS, WE WILL PURIFY THEM, BY SWORD AND FIRE. ALL WHO HAVE SEEN OR SUFFERED THE TAINT WILL BE CLEANSED.
"...all?"
"THAT IS WHY WE ARE SUMMONED. THERE CAN BE NO OTHER REASON. WE WILL WIPE THE LAND CLEAN FROM THE ANTONINE WALL TO KIRKWALL. WE WILL NOT REST. WE WILL NOT TIRE. WE WILL NOT FALTER."
"Oh arse. We've accidentally tripped some sort of buried superweapon..."
"YOU HAVE SUMMONED US WITH THE STONE. WE ARE HERE. WHAT TASK HAVE YOU FOR US? WE WILL KILL UNTIL HELL ITSELF BOILS OVER FOR THE CROSS OF ST. ANDREW."
"So you'll kill everybody?"
"YES."
"Everybody everybody? Us?"
"YES. YOU LAST. THEN YOU MAY JOIN US IN SLUMBER UNTIL WE ARE NEXT NEEDED TO FEED THE HEATHER WITH BLOOD."
"Could we... err... put you back in your box?"
"WHY?"

DM is grinning. The grin of "Mate are you really sure you wish to pursue this line of questioning?"

There is hushed party conference.

"What the fuck do we do about this?"

Our meditations are interrupted by the unmistakeable "fwunk" noise of a cork being removed from a whisky bottle. (It really does make a particular noise). On the back of the truck sits Donny, pouring himself a nice big drink.

ACDC - Whiskey On The Rocks

"Well boys. This lot sure look useful."

Donny grins. A very, very big grin. Mirrored by the DM.

"We really are going to have to do something about him..."
"I could take them off your hands for you. They'll be pretty handy to me and I'll let you borrow them for help with Baz."

The host aren't paying the damndest bit of attention to Donny, it seems they can't see him.

"Let me borrow them for a bit, and I'll give them back at a time that's thematically important, then take them off your hands. It's that or you let them loose to wipe out the country of course. I'm pretty sure that's not in your remit now is it lads?"

Ok... this seems like an astonishingly bad idea but what else are we gonna do?

"Just say the word Aldous, tell them to go with me and follow me. I'll bring them back only slightly used..."
"We... err..."

(Party huddle)

"Ok Donny, you can take them for now..."
>What Donny did with the host of Bruce
Someone, somewhere, may have wondered what happened to Portugal. We later found out, that something very bad happened to Portugal.

We order the host to follow Donny until he brings them back to us. To follow him wherever he goes. They unsheathe shining silver blades, salute, and follow him. Donny winks.

"Don't even think about double-crossing me here boys, but when you need them, break this bottle." (He tosses Angus a whisky bottle which Angus drains then sticks in his sack).

Donny and the host march off. Donny twirling his walking stick like a band-leader.

"I really hate that guy."
"We all do."
Wizard: "I have a plan."

The more immediate issue remains: Baz. Then Donny. We head southwards, driving through the night mostly without event, hitting Hadrians wall by sun-up and into the North of England. We find ourselves near Newcastle with the rising sun. We head for Fenham Barracks.

Buffalo Springfield - For What It's Worth 1967

I've talked about Newcastle before. The place is already good and fucked. Very much on a war footing, men, boys, anyone that can hold a rifle has taken the Queene's shilling. The normally cheerful Geordies are very aware they're likely to be meeting death soon. As we pull into Fenham there are rank after rank of conscripts. It seems like the army were already planning to march North.

It might just be the nature of the conflict, but the rifles seem oh so poor compared to what they're going to be facing. Brown-Bess muskets against the necromancers? Sweet Jesus.

We present our letters of authority to the sentries, and are swiftly ushered into the presence of the commander of this bunch. Pic related (on the left) the chap on the right is hovering off to one side.

As we enter HQ, Blackadder sighs loudly.

"Who or what are you lot?"
"Oh come on Bladder, they look like fun!"

We explain ourselves.

George: "Well that's bloody fortunate, we were just going up there! A bit of bish bash bosh and we'll see those bony buggers back to bed!"

We do not have good feels. Well, it'll have to do...

"Yes we'll be back home before Christmas and don't you worry my boys will show them that proper British spirit!"

We're about to get a whole lot more folk killed aren't we?

The army marches in 24 hours. They march to almost certain death. The party, agreeing that we will tag along with mad prince George and the decidedly shifty Blackadder, are left to our own devices for the first time in a while. With the plot-train refueling, we retire to the pub.

Now this is one of those times in Britbongsteros we decided to do a little method acting (we got plastered in character). Each of us did actually have a backstory of sorts and at this point we swapped stories, went into who we were and what was best in life. Cruella played barmaid (not very well I might add but she did get the job of facilitating discussion). So what follows are a series of IC discussions about who we are, a lot of which anon already knows, but it might be useful to have for background and fun.

The Navvie:

"I was brought up rough not far from here. There's not much more to life than what my own two hands can get me. Life is nasty, brutish, and short. I killed a man with these hands. I know we've killed plenty since, but when a labourer kills a lord for deciding he wants to stick more than his cock in a woman, well, they don't take kindly to that round these parts. My family think I'm dead, or I hope they do."

The bard:

"Uuh, I'm a Bard."
"FOR FUCKS SAKE ROLEPLAY"
"I like music?"
"OH COME ON"
"I come from this little island off the coast of China and..."
"SHUT UP"
"I had a haggis?"
"..."
"I play music because it was my only outlet after my alcoholic father beat me and lost me in a game of cards to a group of pirates. I was the cabin boy aboard a ship of thieves in the Solway Firth, when one night it foundered because I fell asleep on watch. I swum ashore and promised myself I would never commit another violent act, that music would be my only outlet, just like my dear old dead mother wanted. I'd... I would play for her, I'd bring joy to repay my sins. I'd pipe the sorrow from the world."
"Holy fuck."

Wizard:

You all know this already (elaborated on later in the story), but he's out and about to earn his fortune, to bring the dowry back to Aberdeen for his wife to be. He's in love and that's... well that's about it.

Angus:

Nice and simple.
"I have a shop. It's all I've ever wanted. A nice little place to call my own, I didn't have much growing up and I grew that business from selling rat pies to drunks to a fine establishment. I don't really know how I got here, and to be honest, if I stop and think I'll break down, but I'm here, and until I get back to my little shop, I'm having the time of my life."

Aldous:

"I was a merchant, I did well from my family estates, I married, I had a daughter, the very light of my life. She was taken from me by the then King, we never knew what happened to her, I turned to drink, my wife left, my business was ruined and I was in Dundee because it's where I washed up. The estates in Dorf-shire being run by my factor and younger brother."

The next morning, suitably hungover, we toddle back to Fenham. Our spirits are a bit low, we know a whole lot of these troops are going to die soon and it's going to be our fault. We also know that whatever Baz now is, that's kinda... again our bad. The Donny situation is just... My god we are crap at being heroes aren't we?

We don't pay a great deal of attention to the newspaper Blackadder is reading to George while he eats a boiled egg. On the front page is something about "PORTUGAL ATTACKED" but we have enough of our own problems to deal with.

Donny for reasons unknown, really did not like Portugal and over the course of the next few days, the population of the country were methodically, utterly, and totally slaughtered by the host of Bruce.
We are bad people. We are very bad people.

There's also a short, angry man chain smoking cigars. The hat and demeanour identify this grumpy dwarf as Isambard Fuck-You-I'll-build-it-where-I-want Brunel. He is here on orders of the current Privy Council, he also seems very interested in our letters of authority and gets the story of what happened up north from us. Isambard is not best pleased to hear Dan Defoe is dead, but he does reveal there is a detachment of the Special Bastard Squadron which will be accompanying us up north. We (as this is all our fault - something he reminds us of again) will be accompanying them and the regiments forming up outside.

The party after a short break, leave with the army. The band plays the Blackadder goes forth theme as we head off. Really the whole thing should feel pretty glorious, rank after rank of red jacketed tommies, but those tommies are not well trained, the definitely do not seem to be volunteers. The artillery train is a mish-mash of different guns and calibers, they've cleaned out the armouries and sent forth every last thing that can be found. The SBS however, are a good deal more impressive, notably by their absence. It takes a little while, but we actually realize that bush over there is them.

Later on the march, we are joined by a detachment of Dwarven heavy infantry, these are definitely more like it. Full-plate and each with a plentiful amount of explosives and fire-arms. Maybe we are not as fucked as we thought.

The march of the army northwards should take about a week, we tag along, learning a bit more about the situation up North as we go and the plan. The plan is actually a fairly simple one: March north up the admittedly poor roads towards Berwick upon tweed and then meet a squadron of naval vessels, travel north on those, decamp at Dundee, and on to Baz.

The issues start almost immediately.

The supply wagons are too wide for the roads, the artillery carriages can't handle the pace or the state of the road and a lot of it becomes irrevocably stuck. The party do our best to help out, be it the brute force of the Navvie, the bard doing his best to inspire, Angus and the Wizard fixing broken axles from seemingly nothing, but even so, it's ten days before we are even near Berwick. The naval squadron that should be waiting, isn't.

The party investigate. We drive up to Berwick and discover the remnants of the Squadron in combat with a quantity of sea monsters (those lovely things the alchemists have been making and a few of the natural ones that have been kicking about). The navy eventually win, but there's no way we'll all fit aboard. The plan is to send for more ships and send an advance company of us, the SBS, the dwarves and some of the troops. Including George and Blackadder. We don't know what Baz is up to, but we do know that the sooner we get to him the better.

The DM keeps mentioning Portugal, with the newspapers reporting that the country is a wasteland now.

The voyage North doesn't take us close to shore (avoiding what is definitely Necromancer territory of the Firth of Forth) and we land in Dundee at night.

It's not long after we land that we get news of what FrankenBaz has been up to. The rest of the Necromancers are concentrating in Edinburgh, they don't seem to be advancing as they were, the blight is tightening, consolidating maybe? (They're building towers)

Baz however has been spotted attacking refugee columns and seems to have taken to unlife rather well. His latest tricks seem to require killing people in the goriest way possible then reanimating them. Corpses which have suffered from (look this up at your peril):

  • Blood eagle
  • Necklacing
  • Water torture (not the Chinese kind)
  • The comfy chair
  • Plumbs (not what you think)
  • The old favourite with the rat
  • And what I thought was a rather creative one where you put the person on a breaking-wheel, then reanimate the gangrenous dead flesh of the broken limbs and make it choke them to death.

The logic of all this (as we understand it) has something to do with those Soul-cube things, for Baz, the more agonizing the death, the better.

One further method he has apparently been experimenting with (and also how the living have got news of all this) has been what he has called "The Wild Hunt," which is simply good old fashioned fox hunting, except you have a human being as the fox, and the dogs are replaced with whatever Baz devises. A lucky couple of civilians have escaped to give us the news.

The party have their own little council of war. Thoughts drift firstly to mutiny.

Angus: "Y'know, we could actually just leg it... We're back where we started. I miss my shop."
Wizard: "We could but this is our fault, and I for one, clean up my messes."
Navvie: "Fuck 'em."
"Is that a yay or nay Navvie?"
Navvie: "Fuck 'em."
Bard: "We have a duty, we also have to remember if someone does not try to stop this here, now, who will?"
(My god Bard... that was almost helpful).
Me: "I agree with... unusually... the Bard."

Baz is still operating out of the old Roman camp and, as far as we know, the army plan on attacking this. We are fortunate enough to be privy to Prince George's planning session.

There is a crudely drawn map of the camp and its surroundings on the table. George's plan is as follows:

"We march up to them, kick the doors in, and give them the old one-two."

Blackadder and the SBS commander (some guy called Chris Lee) are horrified (as are we).

"Yes, so we'll go in about lunchtime, give them plenty of time to be up and about, that sounds about right doesn't it? I don't know, this is my first time doing this."

We eventually convince George that this is not a good idea. Remember he is:

1. Royal
2. A Faerie
3. Technically out ranks everyone for several hundred miles
4. Can and will have anyone executed for fun.

We insist stealth is the right option, the SBS should lead the advance toward the camp, scouting and making the way for the attack. Then the Dwarves and infantry can do their thing and arrive comfortably from our proposed camp at about 10:00am. George thinks this is a great idea and insists on a night march, as opposed to the saner option of marching, making camp, then marching in daylight. He wants to set off in the evening, and march through the night. We try very hard to persuade him this is a terrible idea.

"My lord, you and the troops will be tired."
"No I won't, I'll sleep on the way."
"My lord, even you can't win the fight all on your own."
"I suppose not..."
"The troops will be too tired to fight at their best."
"I thought peasants slept standing up. That's right isn't it? If not, well I'm sure they'll be plenty keen to set to the enemy and get stuck in! And that is the end of it, I won't hear any more. Who wants a drink?
"My lord..."
"I said who wants a drink?"

He bares his wickedly sharp faerie teeth. Ending the discussion.

What all this means essentially is the DM is setting us up to expect a cluster-fuck. The troops don't know what they're facing, we don't know how many enemies we might be facing, and then we do have the Donny-based WMD, but we want to save that and hopefully use the wizards plan (which I'll tell you about later as not to spoil it) to end that issue.

George insists we march the following day about dinner time. We use the night firstly to get some sleep and then we have a further think. The conclusion of this think is, what if George changed his mind... or was made to change it...

We brainstorm over breakfast. The SBS would be more than willing to help. Their leader seems like a good chap, bit old, but seems to know his shit and this is what remains of his elite fighting force, so he'll want to see it well used. George insisted that his favourite "battle carriage" be taken with us on the boat, and if something happened to that, we figure it might just help persuade him to delay (By which I mean we're gonna happen to it). We also know we are dancing with death doing this, so we'll need plausible deniability and a nice big distraction.

N.b. when I say "Battle-Carriage" I don't mean that in a hardcore warhammer way, I really do mean lots of gold leaf, fancy, and generally ideally suited for rolling about London in. It is not the most suitable of vehicles.

Between them the Wizard and the Navvie, if left to their own devices for a few minutes, would be able to wreck it enough to delay departure to a more sensible time. We cannot however just walk up to the thing and smash the wheels off.

We know it's not the most metal of solutions, we also know however we can't just kill him, and convincing him otherwise seems out. It's a simple matter for Angus and I to distract the guard on the carriage. Essentially the DM roleplays the guard, and I tell him the story of the Black and White Spacemarine (knight in this case) which the DM had, until this point, never heard, while the Navvie and Wizard sneak round the other side and shear through the axle. The DM, the better part of half an hour later (the story of the black and white space-marine takes about an hour to tell - longer if you do all the actions) gives up and declares us successful.

>The black and white...
It is on google.
It's essentially the longest shaggy dog story I know.

The end result of all this is that, as the army lines up in marching order, George ascends his carriage and the thing falls to bits. This leads to a fantastic squawk of rage, and everyone else back to relaxing. The wizard and Navvie volunteer to fix the thing and we (much to our pleasure) set off at the time we originally proposed. George is too happy to have his favourite carriage back to care. It's a small victory, but a significant one for us.

The army march and arrive at Glamis Castle in good time. They make camp. The SBS start patrolling the surrounding area. Spirits seem reasonably high. Any anons who have checked the wikipedia page for Glamis may see that there could be a couple issues here...

Despite the depredations of Baz, the small unit of local troops guarding the castle have been left entirely unmolested. Even so they look like they haven't slept in months. Questioning by the party (the SBS having already fucked off into the woods) leads nowhere. They refuse to be drawn. We chalk this up to creepy weirdness and decide to see about a spot of dinner. We pass the open doors of the great hall where George and co are having dinner. There's a very familiar looking bloke playing cards with the Laird, aside from the fact he's wearing a Portugeese Toureiro.

Now we can't just barge in and say "HES THE FUCKING PROBABLY MAYBE DEVIL AND STUFF" also one way or another he's here for some sort of reason. We decide on simply finding food and going from there. Getting down to the kitchens we scare up enough food and beer to be quite happy with the situation.

We get this peculiar "being watched" feeling. That being watched feeling is as noted an extremely familiar one. Naturally it puts everyone on edge. We check the doors and windows (of which in an old castle kitchen there are not many) and deciding there is nothing doing, we continue our meal.

It's not long before (as the Navvie and I break into our fourteenth and fourth beers respectively) we hear gunfire. Gunfire is definitely a sign we should be doing things. We head out into the gardens of Glamis. The encampment is in uproar as disorganized units try to form up. Others fire into the darkness in all directions. Someone has unlimbered the guns and a salvo of grapeshot shreds a row of entirely innocent rhododendrons.

We try to see where the enemy are or what is going on. The troops have no idea and their commanders are nowhere to be seen. We try shouting for a ceasefire or for them to form up on us. Our words are lost in the chaos. We do have a bard however. He hops up on some ammunition crates and plays a ceasefire (which should be on the bugle, but in Britbongsteros it's a few bars of this) Saxon - Thin Red Line

As the troops begin to get in some kind of order forming up around us, we are able to piece together what's going on. A returning patrol of the SBS had not been told that the password for the night would change at midnight (which is by the way a rather stupid idea - thanks George-bama) and the ordinary troops didn't actually know the time anyway. The argument that followed involved someone shouting

"Well we aren't the fucking undead!"

Which was heard elsewhere as

"Undead!"

Mix stupidity with scared and poorly trained soldiery and this happens.

Morale is now at an all time low (except for Donny who finds the situation hilarious) and we still have the feeling of being watched. Worst of all, we can be under no illusions that Baz does not know we are here.

In the darkness we can see a couple of ice blue points of light that are not stars. We know Coliunn is out there. We do not fancy looking for him We decide to retreat inside and get drunk. Leaving the mess for everyone else to tidy up.

>Coliunn

Now we do know he was in Donny's house. Thing is, Donny had been away for a bit. Was he waiting for Donny to return? He has been nothing but hostile to Donny when they have interacted. We don't want to let on to Donny that what might be our potential ally is out there.

We also consider further what to do about Donny and his offer, as as soon as we break that empty bottle he is going to use the host of Bruce to do all sorts of nefarious stuff. We do have a plan relating to that but we haven't told the DM properly what it is, nor have I told you all. We have also worked out by this stage what happened to Portugal and why (apparently the wine isn't very nice).

Now with the fun of the evening over, the party take the sensible decision to retire to bed. The morning brings with it the freshness of a new day. George has a hangover and attempts to rouse him before 10:30 prove fruitless. The party become involved about then as Blackadder requests our assistance.

George is still cozily in bed, for all of his murderous and admittedly flat out stupid tendencies, we are rather struck that he has a small teddy bear with a detachable head and large fangs. Blackadder looks moodily out of the window as George moans about his illness. He ushers us into a side room.

"You want this attack to go well don't you?"
"Yes..."
"It'd be better all round then if George didn't lead it, don't you agree?"
"Yes..."
"I'm going for a walk. If something unpleasant happened to George while I was away, an accident wherein he removed his own head with a button while getting dressed, I don't think anyone would raise too much fuss..."

With that, Blackadder promptly buggers off. Likely to feed Baldrick. I haven't really talked about Baldrick in detail, but as a reminder, he is a large, angry gorilla. That's about it really. He has a little hat (turnip shaped) and very big knuckle dusters. Blackadder uses him to solve problems (or people) he doesn't like very much.

We are left with a dilemma.

"Kill 'im?"
"Kill 'im."

I didn't say it was much of a dilemma.

However we do think we don't want to make it too obvious, and we certainly think it would be waaaaaaaaay too convenient for Blackadder to have us blamed then killed. We settle for a little diplomacy first. We sweep back into Geroge's room.

"My Lord, wonderous news! Your excellent plan worked! We have won the battle!"
"I have? I mean I have! Of course I have!"
"Yes, so no need to worry about doing anything."
"Wait, wasn't the big fight today?"
"No, no, yesterday, my Lord."
"Oh, spiffing. Well done me. Take a few medals on your way out and send me up some lunch would you?"

Blackadder seems a little dissatisfied that George isn't dead, but is pleased enough with his defacto promotion. Only two hours behind schedule, we set off and can expect to confront Baz about mid afternoon. Excellent. Except 80% of the troops are terrible, Baz knows we are coming and Baz is... Well he's Baz.

All things considered, the army is in almost good spirits. Helped along no doubt by the fact George ordered (still thinking he has won the battle) all the troops be given a pint of rum. It may not help their accuracy, but it does mean they are at least going to die happy.

The march to the camp is actually fairly simple and straightforward. We are a bit concerned by the plume of smoke that can be seen from Glamis not long after we leave. It's also interesting to note that Donny has been nowhere to be seen all day.

It's very quiet in the afternoon sun. We have approached the camp from the southeast and the sun is just over the camp. On the brown and ill looking turf serried ranks of redcoated soldiers form a semblance of lines. The artillery train such as it is unlimber.

It's very quiet in the fort. We do note however that someone seems to have fixed the wall (that we wrecked).

Horses shift uneasily in the heat. Fat iridescent blue bottles crawl over flickering eye lids and try to explore nostrils. You could cut the hot, rising tension with a knife and parcel it up into small tasty treats to be sold at a bake sale.

"Heavy Metal" Theme: Takin' A Ride / Don Felder

We look along pasty faces of acne ridden teenagers, old men with more years and less teeth than they should, holding battered rifles and rusty bayonets with powder that no one knows will work. Outnumbered in what to them is a strange land. They don't know what lies behind those walls, and yet those men do not falter. They face the very physical reality of death, and they stand. Oblivious to the cosmic terrors of this world. This is bravery. Or all that rum.

The fort remains silent. Brooding. Watching. Blackadder sweeps down his sword and the tension boils over into a smashing crescendo of smoke and flame. This is it.

As the smoke from the cannons fogs the field, we can hear roundshoot smash through wood and into the camp beyond. The party share a moment.

"Ok lads. Do or die."

We know we could run. We know we owe no one here a damn thing. This is our mess though, and this is our choice.

We pass around a bottle. Smiling at each other. The glassy eyed half mad smile of men who know death is close.

"We stay, we fight. Maybe after all this we can make a difference. Maybe we could even live or in this sodden blood soaked isle. Have a death that means something."

The cannons ceasefire long enough for the smoke to clear momentarily. There's more smoke than we think there should be. A lot more. We can see the wall is down in several places. We can see movement within.

The sensible thing to do is let the cannons continue firing rather than advance, and without George in command that's what we do. There's definitely something going on in the fort, but the cannons are badly positioned and gunsmoke blows across the lines, thick and obscuring. The volley of javelins takes the men by complete surprise. Unarmoured regulars falling before they even realize they're dead as skeletons loom.

The skeletons continue toward us, getting closer as the survivors try to respond to commands for volley fire. We can see what's about to happen as the regulars get off an ineffectual volley. They need time. Time to regroup, time to form up and time to reload.

The party knows what must be done, as do the armoured dwarves. The bard squeezes his pipes. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXjtvGAGvYA Manowar - Die for metal (lyrics)]

The dwarves know what must be done, and when the party charge, they follow our example. Gun and axe ready to buy time in blood. It works. The Skeletons advance slows as they close ranks to meet the charge. Roman tactics not quite taking account of flamethrower, shotgun and dwarvish grenade and shot.

After the close range volley, their ranks are in some disarray. Bits of bone, shield and loricae segmenate zip through the air.

The infantry behind us get off another volley, then another, the cannons whip grapeshot into the flanks of the skeletons. Our counter-charge just might carry this.

Our focus shifts from what we can see of the overall battlefield to the enemy before us, the Navvie breaking shields, the wizard dashing iron bars into skeletons behind them. There sure are a lot of skeletons. They pull down dwarves every moment, gladii lashing from behind the shieldwall.

From elsewhere in the closing ranks of skeletons, a larger, horned figure can be seen. Clad now head to foot in armour. Only his antlers and the bone sticking from his chest indicating who he is, he leads a charge past us and the engaged dwarves on toward the rifleman.

Baz.

It takes us some time to fight our way out of our current predicament, leaving the dwarves still engaged. We can see Baz sweeping great clawed hands into the lines of the regulars, stoving in ribcages, ripping off heads, every rise and fall of his arms bringing death after death. The lines of the regulars are already faltering as Blackadder leads his small cavalry unit into a charge against them.

It's time to put and end to this. Iron Maiden The trooper lyrics

We advance fighting our way to Baz. We can see he's already a lot more powerful than the last time we faced him. Baz realizes there's a push towards him. The still screaming body of an infantryman raised up before his face. Slowly peeling him like a grape he turns.

He sights us. The great shoulders lower. A hand drops to the earth as he readies a charge, looking for all the world like the most terrifying center forward you could imagine.

He starts as he recognizes us. A memory of before makes him pause. We don't wait for the emotional struggle of wills within him to take place. We know he's a lot more and a lot less than he was. We all hear the same voice in our heads, it offers different things, but it's definitely Baz. Money, women, women with lots of money, power, pies. The party (with one rather successful role) simultaneously declaim what I think became in some fashion our battle cry.

"Oi. Fuck you."

He starts to charge and we run to meet him. The tactics are the ones you're all no doubt familiar with by now, the Navvie races for him. The bard generally fucks about being useless, the wizard remains behind the Navvie flinging sharp objects, Angus and I on the flanks, shot and flame washing over the armoured hide of Baz.

We knew we were outmatched. We didn't know how badly.

The Navvie dodges a sweep of the claws, smashing his hammer down onto Baz's shoulder with enough force that his right arm now hangs loose. The left smashes him aside. The wizard is shoulder barged as Baz makes for me. I'm seized and tossed (nobody tosses a dwarf) near where the Navvie landed. Angus however is having none of this. He advances on Baz, a bottle in both hands, one empty the other on its way to being so. Baz aims a savage headbutt at him. It connects, you can hear ribs crack. Angus is knocked to the ground. The Navvie and I are managing to help each other to our feet as Angus smashes the empty bottle on Baz's chest.

The host of Bruce appear, armour shining and swords singing. Donny joins us.

"Hello lads."

The Host engage Baz, and now it's his turn to be outmatched. Meanwhile the rest of the army are beginning to form up again.

The battle is flux, balanced on the horns of fate. The Host of Bruce however make very short work of Baz, then turn on the skeletons. The cheering of the regulars turns to horror as they turn on them. Donny has asked nicely for, and received some of Angus' half empty bottle of whiskey.

"Well boys, it's time to relax now, you've done more than enough for me. Freed me, twice, and now summoned a lovely little unit of deathless soldiers for me to conquer every hell I can think of with. Once of course they scour the land clean. I have to give them that. Might as well sit back and watch the apocalypse lads."

The wizard sticks his hands in his pockets.

"Donny, do you remember exactly what we said to the Host? What you asked us to say to them?"
"Now now lads, don't try this game with me, you'll not win."
"You asked us to ask them to follow you didn't we? Follow you until you brought them back? What we did not say, was for them to follow your commands. Just. You."

In the background the regulars break and run as the host gut a dozen men every second. The wizard takes his hand from his pocket. The fragment of the Stone of Destiny sparks in the air. The Host pause. Some in mid strike. Somewhere a regular slides off the blade of one.

"Come on now... this isn't very funny..."
"I'm sure they can follow you Donny. The question is, how far, and how fast can you run?"

The wizard can craft metal, the wizard has power over steel. Steel can be bound and forged to the will of its maker. The wizard's plan is not complicated, the shard of the stone, bound by layers of battered steel. Enough to channel the magic of the world, enough that as he punches the shard into Donny's chest, and the barbs on the stone dig in, enough that Donny realizes that finally, we have screwed someone over.

The Host turn as one.

"Chase. Him. Down."

We look out over the battlefield.

Defender

Baz is dead. As are hundreds of troopers. Donny may, one day, in a thousand years or tomorrow, get free, but that's a problem for another day, another time, and maybe even another world.

We collapse onto the body strewn field. We did it. Somehow. We're alive. The country is still teetering on the brink of totally fucked, but we are alive.

We discover later that while we were fucking about in Dundee, the undead launched an invasion into the North of England. Necromancers and more alchemsists than ever seen on these shores. Our new destination, Blackadder later decides as we manage some small respite aboard the HMS Dreadnowt (yes that one) is the North. The Alchemists have repeating rifles, and we for one, will need those for the country, England expects, Scotland knows we have already begun to discharge our duty.

The Harrowing of Harrogate[edit]

As the party do our best to lick our wounds aboard the Dreadnowt, Blackadder fresh from his new (self) promotion lays out our new mission. We are to generally cause as much havoc to the invading undead as we can, but additionally the Alchemists (who are playing both sides and it is in their interests to have the war continue as long as possible) will not sell us the designs of those repeating rifles. We are to acquire a quantity of them by any means necessary.

"Why us?"
"Three reasons. One you're still alive, you're still alive when our best problem solvers are all dead, and lastly, you can do your duty to your country, or all be shot."

It's rather hard to argue with the last point and as our little band of ne'er do wells have been forged in combat and tempered by victory, we for once (aside from the fresh bruises, broken ribs, stab wounds, and need of a bath) feel almost keen to pitch in. Maybe we can make a difference.

The voyage back up the east coast (away from the big scary monsters) and down the west is mostly uneventful, sort of. There are reports from ratings of a stowaway. Searches of the vessel and reduction of rum rations do little to prevent these reports, in fact they increase. Nonetheless we steam for Liverpool and the new front in the war against undeath.

When we arrive in Liverpool the news from the front is not good. Although the Undead advance has slowed, it definitely has not stopped. The Dorfs have dug in and dug in hard. They've made a maginot line out of Yorkshire and Lancaster but won't do anything beyond that.

Someone (us) is going to have to try to get them to March north, hopefully in the north we will also encounter some alchemists and be able to get some of those rifles by beating them up.

>Wut about all the Alchemists you killed before?

Either they died in enemy territory or the stately home we visited was recaptured/reclaimed by the Alchemists.

The worst part is there are detachments of them acting within the country who are helping us. It has been noted that they have stopped carrying rifles and we can't (the country) throw them all in the tower of London quite yet.

We have already talked a little about Dorfs. I'm one, and they have popped up elsewhere, the essential things to note is that they are Yorkshiremen first then Dorfs second (Britons third). For one thing in their view there should be a Dorf on the throne and they still have not forgotten the outcome of the War of the Roses.

If geography were different they'd be quite happy chilling out near their mills and drinking beer while everyone else got slaughtered. Unfortunately (or fortunately) they are between the Undead and a whole lot of the rest of our island home.

The dorfs (we discover mostly through spending some time in the pub) don't really see any of this as their problem, taking the approach that it's nothing to do with them, they feel that certain concessions, particularly on trade and taxes along with more representation down south might assist. The issue being of course that down south in Lannndan, no one gives a shit

We decide to take in a bit more local colour first in Liverpool and then closer to home for me in the center of Dorf-shire (Leeds). It also is where my (the dwarf) family home is - Harrogate.

The major political players in the area are the House of York and the Lancastrians. Now dwarves are dwarves but these two houses hate each other, the only thing they hate more than each other is people who get in the way of them hating each other.

The house of York is lead by the famously promiscuous Henry the 8th (not being the 8th anything except one famously having eight mistresses in one night), the other is the puritanical Duke of Lancaster, Dick (or Richard) Dawkins.

There are also rumours of bad goings on on Ilkley moor which we think may bear investigation.

So to summarize:

  • Ilkley
  • Get dwarves on board and moving
  • Obtain guns

Additionally there is a further consideration for me as a character. The trip back to Harrogate involves a little backstory which I'll go into in more detail shortly, but essentially I left under a bit of a cloud.

What we have heard about Ilkley relates to strange lights and decapitated (and also hatless) corpses. It sounds like something we may wish to have a look into. Now though the first thing the DM mentions as we travel by road to Harrogate is the distinct (and by now very familiar feeling) of being watched.

Travelling from Liverpool to Harrogate, Ilkley moor is on the way, we take our time, the lights are seen at night and so it seems prudent that we arrive about then too. The moor is misty and the moon is full. We still feel eerily under observation but if Coliunn is still alive, well more power to him, he's taken everything the world can throw at him, including us. Thinking back on it, aside from our first fight, he has not been overtly hostile particularly, but he has followed us across the country tenaciously

For once as we wait for midnight near Ilkley we are on properly friendly territory. Our visit to the pub goes to plan though the locals all look into their pints when we say what we are here for. It seems everyone there has lost a son or an aunt, a cousin or a husband. The village is a close knit community and they don't seem too keen to talk to outsiders beyond that. Even the reports of headless/hatless corpses came from a traveling government official who later went mad and accidentally killed himself while cleaning his fully loaded revolver with the back of his head. While sleeping.

We might be murderhobos but it makes us feel we are doing the right and proper thing.

For once...

We should notice and do something about the fact that the pub slowly empties as evening goes on until by closing time we are the only ones there and have been for a while.

Our first hint that something may or may not be right in the land of Yorkshire is that something appears to have happened to our truck. It was parked outside and appears to be suffering slightly from critical existence failure. It's simply gone.

"Thieves?"
"Wouldn't we have heard it start?"
"Possibly, it was loud in the pub..."
"Strong thieves who picked it up and carried it?"
"That's just stupid bard."

Despite our missing vehicle we decide that we are here already and might as well be useful. We are meant to be (notionally anyway) problem solvers and servants of the crown (whatever that means), if we are going to do anything we should do the right thing (again whatever that is).

Aside from the hatless corpses we haven't heard or know of anything particularly weird in this area.

We head out onto the misty and blasted heath. The moon provides scant illumination beyond making the mist seem silver. We have to watch our step carefully.

The contrast of warm cozy pub and dewsoaked chill of the midnight moor puts us on edge. This feels like the all too familiar set up of small town and big weird magic problem.

We watch the mist carefully expecting skeletons or some supernatural horror. We are taken entirely by surprise as an enormous hoof steps between the party, then rises and disappears into the mist. The Kilburn white horse is nearby, maybe this is it out for a walk or a visitor. As it passes over head Angus is pleased to report it is definitely a stallion. He can "tell by the way it walks" apparently. The horse itself does not seem very threatening aside from being enormous. We continue on into the mist.

One of the reasons Yorkshire is famous for Dorfs is it's one of the places with actual mythology about Duregar (Dorf), which means I should really be knowing what's going on here, but as I stare into the mist I can make about as much sense of what we find as the others. Hill Figure

We see the shape of a man, but find it to be only the crudely constructed body of a green man, we approach other figures and find the same. A great shape looms from the mist, and as we disturb a flock of dozing grouse (to their near immolation) we realize we at least have a bearing. We have found the cow and calf (famous big rock and smaller rock). It's about now that we start to hear singing.

Something the innkeeper said comes back to us

"No one goes on the moor at night willingly."

Well we aren't here willingly, we also aren't wearing hats (aside from the bard).

The haunting lyrics of Ilkley moor are sung in the distance, it seems like just one lilting soft voice. From previous experience this (Fuck you DM) is going to mean combat. The party ready themselves and tighten our formation.

The moor itself is known for ancient pagan megaliths and other odd goings on. Something is starting to feel very wrong indeed.

We pause at the edge of one of the many pools of still water on the moor. Looking in we can only see reflected moonlight. Then the stillness of the water breaks as something lands within it. We look up and around, no idea what or where that came from. It was a fairly decent splash. As the song continues the wizard coaxes the object from the water by dint of pushing it along with an iron bar. The severed head has its mouth open in a silent scream. The wizard visibly gulps. The rest of us take a knee, expecting a rush of slathering feral space jaguars at any second.

As the song continues (again and again, endlessly repeating) the head opens its eyes. They glow with an inner fire, it too starts to sing. The wizard (quite reasonably) freaks out and drops the thing in the pond.

We can hear more voices now. More singing. A choir entirely out of tune with each other but all singing that song and all a few lines out of step with each other. We are starting to feel distinctly panicky now. We are slightly lost and totally surrounded. We do our best to remember that severed heads probably can't hurt us as we watch the glowing eyes of the thing bob on the water. The Navvie reminds us

"Missing heads don't hurt but whatever cut them off might..."

Alone on this strange and isolated heath surrounded by a cacophony of voices in the mist we decide (again quite reasonably I think):

"Fuck this. Leg it.
"Where?"
"Err..."
"We're lost aren't we?"
"Maybe but, oh balls what is that?"

What is definitely magical fire sparks and whips around the Neolithic carvings in the stones around us and across the moor. The voices rise in volume. We start to wish we had stayed home or at least made more of an effort with the villagers. This is now totally beyond our skillset.

The mist begins to swirl as the wind gets up. Imagine being inside a snowglobe as its shook and wearing headphones blaring white noise. That is the kind of situation we are in here. A shape begins to coalesce out of the mist.

We are sort of relieved (kind of) as the very familiar shape of our truck lands in the pond behind us.

"Hello Coliunn."

Something zings over coliunn's shoulders (or where his head would be) and he turns in surprise. We can't make out what it was, but clearly there's more than just Coliunn out there. You might almost feel sorry for the big lump. He only seems to want to beat us up and every time he does, something else intervenes.

Two more somethings zip over Coliunn. They are big almost bat like things. If we weren't mistaken they might be large enough to be humanoid. The party hit the deck as they make the return trip. We decide to leave Coliunn to it and hopefully he'll distract whatever those are.

This goes slightly wrong and we realize it does about the doubler stones. As I finally pass a lore check, we realize those things up there are witches. (The doublers being a popular mythological hangout for them).

"Witches?"
"Come on DM that's boring."
...
"Dude... no..."

Coliunn catches up with us about here. It's then that something peculiar happens. One of the witches (think bat/stingray/crow/harpy) goes for the wizard. Coliunn interposes himself between witch and wizard.

"Friend?"

Coliunn then thumps the wizard hard enough to knock him over one of the stones (Coliunn thumping the wizard made the most delightful sort of "poffff" noise).

"Oh, he wants to kill us himself..."

There's still singing and plenty magical fire, so things are well lit enough for ranged combat. As Coliunn is distracted with the witches, of which their only seem to be three, those of us who can fire indiscriminately on the lot of them. Meanwhile the Navvie, rather than charge into that lot, goes to find the wizard and generally attempt to scrape up the mess.

The wizard seems mostly fine. As the Navvie bends over him to try and help him to his feet, something snatches him from behind. The fourth witch. Talons dig into his shirt and the meat of his shoulders as he's lift from the ground and into the air.

Meanwhile Coliunn is having trouble with the witches. There are some large bits of him missing and his wounds are making him slower. The party find it much easier to shoot him than the fast hard to hit witches (though one is now on fire). As the Navvie disappears into the sky, the wizard joins the rest of the party and we are somewhat more successful with his help in bringing down one witch then another. Coliunn is a known quantity, these things are not...

Several hundred feet up the Navvie is not enjoying himself. His hammer is down near where he found the wizard and this creature is showing no signs of doing anything helpful. He is fortunate in having one arm free. He considers stabbing it, then realizes it's a very long way down.

Hanging onto a talon with his free hand he manages the extremely painful process of pulling his shoulder free. The pain is excruciating but he now has both arms free. The witch however is very aware its cargo is not playing along. The witch begins losing height, struggling to drop the Navvie, he hangs on for dear life, the thing also tries to get its beak/tendrils/maw engaged, but the Navvie is fortunate in getting his hand round its throat.

Struck between either being strangled or falling out of the sky while ripping its erstwhile prey to shreds with its talons, the witch decides on the latter. The Navvie can see ground now and it's coming up fast.

Back on the ground Coliunn falls onto his back. Wounds wreathed in magical flame. He doesn't seem to be getting any better. The witches however seem plenty fine. The ones we have brought down stay dead but there seem to be more and more. Taking cover behind the rocks, we keep firing and ducking decapitating swoops.

The Navvie shifts his weight to the thing's neck. Those talons tear great strips from his back but the witch is also now pointing directly at the ground. Seizing his moment the Navvie, seeing moonlit water below, punches it in the side of the head and let's go. The Navvie hits the water and comes up angry. The witch hits the bank and very shortly afterwards a large man comes up to it and caves its skull in with a stone.

The rest of the party can see that the numbers of the witches are starting to thin. They begin to retreat. Several of their number are on fire and we are able to track their flight to a nearby rise as the mist serendipitously (cheers DM) clears a little. As we prepare to wipe out the nest, the Navvie rejoins us.

"What happened to you?"
"Fuck off Angus."

The wizard hands him his hammer back and away we go.

The nest/eyrie/cave thing is a short climb but it's then that we realize.

>Coliunn

We are totally unsurprised when the big bastard isn't where he fell. We are a little surprised when we discover he has only dragged himself a few feet and then collapsed again. We feel almost sorry for him as Angus torches him. He makes long plaintive moans like a bull in distress. Angus keeps throwing fire until long after they stop. We feel oddly sorry for Coliunn having grown somewhat fond of him.

As we climb the hill, the wizard looks back, a small, coliunn shaped figure rises from the ashes and slopes off into the night.

>I am groot.

The nest itself contains a number of witches and a whole lot of eggs. The decision to toss explosives in and then burn everything is unanimous.

We decide to spend the rest of the night on the moor (without hats - by the way the hats were being used to line the nest). The locals seem almost nonplussed when we report their troubles are over. We can't help noticing that (as we hitch a ride on a mail coach) the butcher, the stable-boy, and the local priest can all be heard whistling Ilkley moor. It's only as we leave town that we notice the steeplecock on the church sure does look a lot like one of the witches...

We decide fuck it and try to get some rest. Meanwhile I am more than a bit concerned that, muddied, bloodied, and entirely grumpy we will shortly be entering my hometown.

Iron Maiden - "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son"

The party travel to Harrogate aboard our new conveyance. There are plenty of other dorfs around and indeed it seems like there are a number of them in the livery of both noble houses (i.e. Duke of York and Duke of Lancaster). I (Aldous) haven't been in Harrogate for at least forty years, but Dorfs have long memories. The town does not seem to have changed much since I left, it does, in fact, seem to have gotten quite a lot worse. Interestingly, there's a new weather-vane above the church, it looks a lot like a witch.

I am fairly sure a number of people have recognized their erstwhile lord.

Younger Aldous and I had never really gotten on (according to my backstory) and as the third son (middle son having been killed in his time in the army) he had joined the priesthood. The last I heard was he had given up his vows to return to Harrogate and clear the family name. I'm a little surprised to see him in a very richly decorated cassock (priest gown) as he comes down the steps of the town hall with the Duke of York and Duke of Lancaster on either side. On his chest is a very big medallion. And on that medallion is a very shiny witch like symbol.

Little bro what have you been up to...

We roll past the town hall without him spotting us thankfully, but we are starting to wonder if I might not want to be wearing a disguise or something as we are fairly sure little bro is not going to be keen to see me.

We do have our Royal Charter, which technically entitles us to anything we want, but will only actually work if we have either a very patriotic request or happen to be standing in front of an army. It's unlikely to be much protection.

Something very familiar and very witch like lands on the steeple of the church.

Kansas - Carry On Wayward Son

The party considers responding as we generally do to this sort of thing (with diplomacy and tact), but decide it's probably best to relax and see how things pan out.

We note that the town square has a number of gibbety looking things on it, which are full. The gibbets are definitely full of headless corpses (bad). The local population being subdued makes even more sense now.

I think a crudely drawn map is in order.

Britbongsteros map 4.jpg

The white arrows are where the undead have gotten to so far. The purple lines are where defenses still hold. The Undead's plan is pretty clear. Make for London, kill everyone and the country can be mopped up afterwards. It's a lot like Bonnie Prince Charlie's plan during the rebellion and umpteen other Scottish Invasions.

Harrogate is smack dab in the middle of the route those Skellies will be taking, sitting as it does between the Yorkshire Dales and the North moors. If the Dorfs are getting involved, it's going to be here. We have a feeling little-bro is not going to want that.

The Animals - We Gotta Get Out Of This Place

Trailing along behind little-bro is someone else. Someone I should definitely recognize.

My. Ex. Wife.

[It's never simple is it DM?]

The party beat a tactical retreat to the most obvious place of safety (after thanking the wagon-driver), the Old-Dragon's Balls hasn't changed a bit. Neither have the staff. Including Neville the bar-keep who recognizes me and performs what is very clearly meant to be a bow.

"My Lord, you still have a..." He reaches under the bar and blows dust off something. "A tab to clear up."
The bard titters, "Friend of yours Aldous?"

I'm fortunate in that we do have a small slush fund. I dump my share on the bar. There's a depressingly small amount left by the time Neville is finished counting. He asks me why I'm back, and who my friends are. We decide not to show him our letters, and instead explain it's a new business venture

"Traveling circus my Lord?"

It's about this time the DM is tactfully reminded that he is on his fifth of my actual beers and he hasn't ponied up for drinks in a very long time. Suddenly (and clearly unrelated) the plot-train pulls into the station.

What sweeps into the Dragon's Balls is my Ex-wife, who really hasn't changed a bit. Punching out Henry the Bouncer, and swilling down a flagon of ale that Neville proffers to her. We can see a big shiny gold witchy symbol sitting on the sizable shelf of her decolletage.

"Aldous!" (Cruella had great fun doing the voices again).
"Hello..."

The party, as my true friends and compatriots, decide to stay the fuck away and sit back watch the show.

"So you're here... I hope this isn't some foolish attempt to patch things up. It's been four decades and you should know I've remarried anyway. (It had to be... 3... 2... 1...) Yes little bro and I are very happy. Especially since he converted to the new church."

She arm wrestles the Navvie as she continues talking (the Navvie loses to his -pick a word beginning with "a"-)

"So would this be something to do with these symbols we keep seeing around the place?"
"Yes it would. It's also why (the DM sneaks another beer) we are going to make sure the dukes see sense. Now you're not here to ask for money or something are you? I have missed you, you know, but it was never the same after Talula died (Cruella who is doing the girly voices dissolves into laughter and the DM continues, she takes some time to recover). Well I suppose I'll be off. Try not to overstay your welcome."

The party look to me, mostly stunned at the way the ex just swept in and out with all of the poise, grace, and total irresistible force of a battleship (similar build too). The alchemists who have drifted in following her arrival suddenly all look into their beers as she departs.

Well it certainly seems we have our objectives laid out.

>Little bro must be dealt with, then something must be done about the army. If possible. Finally, rifles.

As I say, here does not seem the place to discuss the matter. We are hesitant to start a fight with alchemists who may or may not be allies (who are we kidding, they're all dicks but they are as far as the crown is concerned double agents, additionally they provided apparatus that heats Queenie's bath so we can't slaughter them indiscriminately).

The decision is made to repair for a pie. There was and still is an excellent bakers around the corner. Neville waves goodbye, clearly pleased his practice of never clearing slates has worked.

It's a little later in the day now and there are a number of witches perched on the eaves of buildings now. They seem to follow our movements as we walk. The townsfolk seem to accept them as a fact of life.

While tucking into one of Mrs. Miggins something and something else pies we plot. We need to speak to the Dukes. The Dukes are meant to hate each other, but little bro seems to have found some common ground. Given that Henry has the reputation as a whoremonger, we figure if we (as is unanimously accepted) visit the town brothel we will bump into him. The matter is met with enthusiasm (except the bard who the Navvie just picks up).

The Axe Wound (Yorkshire and Dwarves do not make for complicated names) is pretty much as I remember it. I'd not be too surprised if some of the girls are as well. Henry is upstairs. Some of his bondsmen along with a human are drinking in the common room. At the moment we look like smelly adventuring hobos (we are). We can't just walk up and start shouting.

The human we decide is our target. We don't recognize the musclebound shaven headed and scarred Percy Bryce Shelley, but maybe we should. The human is most likely to be something to do with the privy council.

We inveigle ourselves through a number of consume alcohol tests and get involved in a game of cards with the bondsmen. Percy watches while the wizard chats. It is established that Percy is indeed our man, and that he is indeed an agent of the crown keeping an eye on Henry. The letters of Marque which we show him are enough to get us an audience on the promise we bathe first. A good brothel has such facilities and a short while later we are ushered into the presence of Henry

Henry is very much nouveau riche and is also one for conspicuous consumption. He seems dismissive of us at first, but Percy persuades him to hear us out and indeed usher the gaggle of whores out. We establish Henry is not terribly keen on little bro, or the new-fangled religion he is espousing, he is mostly here because he doesn't want Lancaster getting his nose into something that he isn't involved in either.

The present administration (Queenie) isn't, as far as Henry is concerned, all that great but is better than nothing. So as long as we "don't let that bastard Lancaster get a leg up, we'll smash these undead bastards our bastarding selves" Little bro it seems has been mediating in the centuries long dispute between the two houses and Henry is quite happy to be rid of "I'm and 'is fookin bastard birds"

That seemed easy... too easy...

Deciding we are done adventuring for the night, we spend an uneventful but very pleasant evening in the axe-wound generally causing mayhem and blowing off steam.

The next morning with sore heads and consideration given to bacon and fried eggs, we prepare to consider Lancaster. Henry offers us one final consideration before leaving us.

"I won't be doing anything while that bastard still draws breath..."

So he wants Lancaster dead. We are unsure how we feel about this. The two Dukes lead sizable armies, but the two will need to work together or at last stand in the same place to hold off the undead until they run out of momentum.

Lancaster is very much the spartan hairshirted opposite of Henry. He swims in the frigid waters of the Oak Beck most mornings and then when not negotiating spends the day in contemplation at the fountains Abbey (very pretty building I should add). The monks (yes there are still monks in Britbongsteros, the dissolution never quite came about with all the magical weirdness) will at the very least see us repentant sinners and from there we might just get to speak to Lancaster.

We set off with plenty of those witch things flying over head. There must be at least thirty odd that we have seen so far. Little bro is up to some weird magics we think.

Things go surprisingly smoothly with the monks and Lancaster agrees to see us.

"ARE YOU HERE TO ROOT OUT THIS HERESY?"
"Hi?"
"THE HERESY. THE NEW CHURCH. THE BLIGHTED UNGODLY HARPIES (he means witches) THEN YOU MAY ENTER."

Once we recover from this, we present our letters of Marque. Lancaster seems pleased.

"ROOT THIS OUT AND THEN WE MAY TALK ABOUT WHAT TO DO WITH THE DUKE OF YORK."

Clearly Lancaster is a bit of a nutter, but he's also on the right track.

We return to Henry and establish that he is also not astoundingly keen on Little bro. Our next task, little bro must die.

>Does Little bro have to die?

Fuck yes. For a whole variety of reasons. If nothing else what is going on with these Witch things? It seems most un-dwarfy and definitely not something we want flapping around the countryside. Whatever it is, it's probably alchemical in nature and therefore double bad.

>Where is little bro?

He's in my house for one thing.

>Does the party like little bro?

Meh

>Do I like little-bro?

Nah, he seems like he's gone off the deep end.

>What's the plan then?

Convince the Dorfs to march to meet the Undead together.

Local reconnaissance (pub) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f55CqLc6IR0 followed by a scouting mission led by the least pissed member of the party (the Navvie) results in the following information:

  • No one has really gone near the castle recently without a very good reason to be there. Apparently strange lights are often seen around it at night. The servants have either taken to wearing masks or just up and left the area (or not been seen...)
  • Little bro has been leading congregations at the local churches and gained an awful lot of followers, the most devout moving in around the Castle.
>What's the this cult about?

No one but the followers seem to have an idea. It seems to involve giving little bro lots of money and has gained a huge following among the local dorfs and some nascent adherents/satellite churches around Yorkshire, this is why the Dukes are paying attention to little bro, their people are starting to follow him, they may not like him but as a representative of the third estate, he's got a very big say.

N.b. the result of giving little bro lots of money is "induction into the deeper mysteries" of the cult. If this sounds at all like a contemporary religion this is entirely coincidence.

What the deeper mysteries seem to involve we don't know, but according to gossip there's a lot of speaking in tongues

>Likely: sacrificing
>Also likely: Orgies and what have you?

Certainly not, we're British.

We think given the events of Scotland, we could quite easily just kick in the doors of my Dorf Fortress and kill everyone inside. Then we actually consider that. We do want rid of the cult, but is slaughtering a load of people necessarily a good way to carry out our mission? Maybe we should get a bit closer, heavens we could even talk to little bro and get his side of things.

After giving the matter appropriate thought, we get a bit closer to the castle, getting within the grounds. The DM has us all rolling perception checks. It's about this stage the DM reminds us that our characters are all more than a little pissed. I blame this for what happened next.

We come across a group of a dozen or so cultists of varying shapes and sizes. It seems there's some sort of ceremony going on in the castle and they're on their way in. Although they're unarmed and as surprised as we are when we blunder out of a bush into them, without establishing anything beyond the fact that they are wearing silly costumes (think KKK) the party as one charge them and start knocking people out then getting them naked. Shortly afterwards we are disguised.

Disguised as best as we can be, bearing in mind that the cultists (for want of a better term) are all dwarves... we approach the entrance to the great hall. As a reminder, I am the shortest member of the party at a tall-for-a-dwarf 5'3. The lankiest being the wizard and bard who are well above 6'.

DM: "What did you chucklefucks decide to do with all your weapons as you approach the doors?"
Party: "Errrrrrrrrrrrrr" [extremely perceptive anons may have noticed that in later stories the party got much better at going incognito, this is why]
DM: "It's too late now..."

The Cultist at the front door has had a couple of drinks himself.

"Aren't you a little tall for a dwarf? What are those things you're carrying?"

As the dwarfiest party member I get shoved forwards.

"The Church is a multicultural organization and these others have as much a right to be here as anyone."

The guard thinks about this.

"And what's all that stuff?"

A flight of witches passes over head, cawing and barrel rolling around each other against the night sky.

"Those are... those are props..."
DM: "Roll for it."

The guard pokes at the "hunch" created by the fuel tank of Angus's flamethrower.

"What's this?"
"Err... definitely a hunch, he's very sensitive about it, do you mind?"

(Angus for once cottons on to something and shies away)

"What's this thing then?"
Navvie: "This? Definitely a walking stick."
"And what has this lanky thing got under his robes Is that a skirt?" (He means the bard)

The Bards player does possibly the most worryingly good falsetto we've ever heard.

He squeals "Get away from me you beast! Unhand me! This dwarf is trying to steal my virtue! He is assaulting a lady!"

Heads are starting to turn. The guard is making placating gestures.

"You can never tell with humans..."

The DM, clearly slightly amazed by what just happened, decides that the guard lets us in. The session ended there, so sorry for the retardation of the above, but staying true to the source etc.

The next session begins as we enter the hall.

There's quite a ceremony going on, lots of candles on a great big chandelier, little bro is on an altar at the end of the great hall speaking gibberish (so at least that bit was right) and up in the rafters there's plenty witches.

We smuggle ourselves into the back of the crowd. Angus, Wizard, Bard, and Navvie all stand out like sore thumbs among the shorter folks. It does mean however that we are there in time for the show. From fonts positioned strategically around the hall skulls slowly rise, eye sockets glowing and they sing along slightly out of tune with little bro.

>This looks familiar.

The witches up above start to caw and crow as though they are either unsettled or very happy about the proceedings.

The ceremony continues with lots of singing (we don't know the words or language but do our best) and then little bro delivers what actually sounds like rather a nice sermon. Love thy fellow man, pay no heed to lords and ladies and most of all, pay no heed to the Queen or country, accept the "golden coin" (which we assume is the symbol he and wifey wear and everyone else has on) and donate your worldly goods for true wealth. Most importantly the church offers protection from undeath, allowing you to go to a better place at a time of your choosing and not rise again.

>This sounds less good.

Indeed from what we know of the Anglicans (English religious sect who in actual Britain are all about tea and jumpers) they would burn the place down, then crucify the ashes, then burn those, then salt the earth, burn the salt, and then burn the ocean for producing the salt based on what we just heard.

The long and the short of it, is we listen to the rest of the ceremony then decide to have a chat with little bro. A very serious chat indeed.

This should have the air of some final showdown, lots of manly stares, of fingers twitching over holsters, a battle of wits and nerves. The Bard speaks first (seriously he wanted to, we rolled for initiative and everything).

"So this cult, what's it all about?"

Little bro at this stage has no idea who the bard is, or that I'm present, all he knows is that some weird looking people have turned up dressed as members of his church. His eyebrows crash together as he processes the bards question.

"Who the fuck are you?"

Now the following is from Vox-DM as it were. As the party had left the last session in a completely retarded way some railroading was in order. We apparently should be grateful we were not just executed on the spot.

As I hope I have made clear, we recognized just how dim we had been and so when little bro, in front of the entire congregation who are milling about in the church, gestures to a number of his retainers, who we were all apparently too stupid to notice look decidedly shifty, and bids us be taken down to the dungeons (I used to live here and I didn't know we had dungeons) we have to balance our desire to remain free against our desire not to kill the still very likely mostly innocent congregation.

The long and the short of it is that we are (without a great deal of fuss) disarmed and frogmarched to the "dungeons" (actually the old root cellar). We are manacled and left alone in the darkness except for the four of those retainers outside the door. The retainers we note don't talk, they also smell funny, slightly spicy but also like rotting meat.

The manacles themselves the wizard can resolve fairly easily. Getting the door open isn't too hard for the wizard either (mastery of metal is amazing as powers go). However fighting hand to hand is going to be interesting.

Acknowledging we have been fucking stupid and that we are very lucky to be alive, we decide to (very quietly) make a plan.

We have all seen enough war movies to know that we should all wait behind the door then wait for the guards to rush in to the room when one of us feigns illness. As the least useful of the combat characters, this is the bard's job.

"Go on bard. Perform."
"Ow. I am sick. My tummy hurts."

Nothing happens.

"Ow oh noes please open the door!"

Nothing.

The DM kind of jerks his head at me and the Navvie. The Navvie kicks the bard in the balls and I do the same a moment later. The yelp of pain is convincing enough that we hear tumblers turning in the door.

The retainers open the door. A shaft of light lancing into the room. One half steps in, looking at the bard. It has something which projects light in its hand. That something looks a lot like a soul cube. It shines the blue light to where we should be. It emits a hiss of alarm as it realizes we are not where we should be.

>Shit.

What follows is a very undignified fight. We get a shock when the hood of one of the retainers falls back, revealing a half rotted skull. Black teeth wet with stinking slather as it bites for the Navvie. As we beat the hell out of them (mostly assisted by surprise and the wizard extremely helpfully summoning nice weighty crowbars) we realize the stink of death is all over these things.

Now little bro in his sermon said fuck all about necromancery, but these things are clearly the work of some kind of corpse-fucker. We prioritize regaining our weaponry, which thanks to my knowledge of the place and indeed logic, we find in a nearby storeroom.

As far as we know the alarm has not been raised. As we proceed through a (new) tunnel we hear footsteps. Ducking into a passage we hear and see little bro and some retainers leading about a dozen members of the congregation past. Little bro is explaining (we hear as they pass and as we follow) that as they have donated all their worldly goods, they are ready for the next level of the church.

We come into an entirely new room. It's not astonishingly well lit so we follow the group, hiding in the shadows as best we can.

Little bro has each of the supplicants kneel. The retainers move behind them. Behind little bro is a big... thing... like an ornate mirror frame without the mirror. He bids each of the supplicants open their palms with a knife. They oblige (mostly) without hesitation, each then making a bloody hand print in the book little bro offers them. Little bro then speaks some very odd words and the "mirror" shimmers as where before there was nothing there is now a tiny tightly bound ball of blackness. It bursts outward, slipping tendrils around the frame.

In the mirror a necromancer appears. One who will become extremely familiar (this is Frank's boss).

The supplicants are starting to look woozy. Their palms glow with light. They look very ill. Bowels evacuate and eyes burst.

The necromancer speaks.

"Hello little bro. What news do you bring me?"
"The Dukes remain too busy loathing one another. Lancaster is obsessed with my "heresy" and amasses forces in what he believes to be secrecy. York will not commit himself unless he is sure Lancaster is not amassing those forces to attack him. Both must treat with me as they fear popular revolt. The plan has succeeded my liege (liche?)."
"Excellent. You are using the last of my experiments to good effect?"
"The witches breed well here, and are powerful allies my Lord, and the ghouls (retainers) are loyal and fearsome in my defense. All is well."
"Then a reward. Take these six as ghouls and a further six of the skulls to nurture into witches."

Half a dozen of the supplicants just straight up die. Decaying and mortifying before our eyes. The other six scream as the light from their hands pulses upwards, imagine if your skull suddenly became incredibly hot, like lava hot, and then just burnt through your skin. All the while emitting incandescent light.

"My Lord, I go now to commence the ritual. The congregation has grown to number in the thousands. They fill the great hall and the lands of the estate. With your permission I shall prepare and slaughter them. May they swell the ranks of your forces. For the route to London is clear."
"Very well."

Little bro looks pleased and bows before "hanging up" the call.

Now we know what those skull things are about. Also we decide now is definitely the time to initiate some combat.

>Why didn't you do it earlier and save those people?

It took us some time to get to grips with what was happening and by then everyone was dead. Also we know exposition when we see it.

As little bro has the ghouls collect the skulls and beckons them upstairs we engage. The violence itself is quick and very messy. My weapons make the most noise so I elect to follow the Navvie, stabbing things rather than alert the entire building.

Little bro definitely recognizes me in between pieced back together ghouls. Indeed little bro seems to have learnt an awful lot from his master. We have to fight step by step as bits of ghoul knit back together and go for us. We are very slowly making for little bro and he can see we are getting there.

He is clearly thinking about running. Those floating skulls are doing a merry little orbit around him. He bolts. We can't make for him but I'm fast enough to quick draw and get a bead on his running back. It's then I think about what I'm doing. After all, little bro is little-bro. By the time I get over my thoughts (and roll) he's nearly out the room. The wizard, having no qualms, flings a harpoon at him and misses. My shot wings him. Making him stumble.

Underground the shot is incredibly loud. Little bro has been hit but keeps going. Setting in motion whatever inexorable process will come next to serve his master.

The ghouls are still getting back up, but now each time they are slower, as little bro's attention shifts they grow weaker. It's not long before we are able to follow in his footsteps.

Angus torches the twitching pile of bodies that the ghouls have now become to ensure they won't be following us.

We make for the stairs. The trail of blood from little bro makes it clear we are heading in the right direction. As we get back to ground level we can hear the screaming and cawing of witches, but otherwise things seem "normal" That is until a cultist runs past us, panting from exertion as a witch follows him, ready to decapitate him. The wizard puts paid to the witch.

The cultist (once we calm him down) says that a minute or two ago there was a sound like a gunshot and the witches went insane, not wantonly slaughtering, but methodically tearing apart people. Limb from limb. Collecting bits and piling them up. Also hats. Apparently the ex-wife was the first so that's something

>Single gunshot
>Couple minutes ago
>Aaw shit.

We get into the main hall and the scene is as described. The remaining ghouls rush us as do those witches still within. The combat is desperate. We are all injured and very very damaged by the time the last one drops.

We start hunting for little bro. He doesn't seem to be in the pile of bodies, but it's hard to tell. Outside, the rest of the cultists are still being hunted. As the search for little bro is proving fruitless, we decide it's best to save lives and head outside, hunting witches through the night.

By morning the witches are all dead, as are a large chunk of the local population. We still haven't found little bro.

In the distance from both southeast and southwest we can hear drums. The drums of both Lancaster and York's armies. They're both marching toward us. Clearly having heard of the events of the night.

Little bro is still awol. Which is bad. Lancaster and York are lining up their forces on the field outside the castle. There are bodies and bits of witch everywhere. As the party shyly approach the two armies. Who are about three hundred yards apart we can see cannons and other dwarven artillery being unlimbered. This is gonna be a bloodbath. Lancaster and York can be herd arguing with each other in the center of the field. We decide we need to make an entrance and however we make that entrance, it'd better be good.

The castle itself wasn't too smashed by the night's fighting but there's still some smoke billowing across the field. The haggard remnants of the followers of the church are gathered in small, stunned clumps. While we did manage to save a few, there are not very many (think XCOM terror mission with "poor" in every category).

Lancaster can be heard haranguing York.

"YOU FILTHY LAZY SOD. THIS WOULD NEVER HAVE HAPPENED IF YOU WERE NOT HERE. I WOULD HAVE WIPED THIS STAIN CLEAN."

Before York gets his reply in, the bard hops up onto a bullet marked wall as the party walk forwards the bard pipes.

Sabaton - Unbreakable (Starcraft videoclip) HD

It does exactly what we want it to, we definitely have everybody's attention.

From one of the little knots of refugees, some of which are dotted between the armies, a voice rises to conflict with the pipes.

"YOU! YOU DID THIS! YOU STARTED THIS!"

Hello Ex-wife.

>I thought she was dead?
>Apparently the ex-wife was the first [to die] so that's something
>Apparently

Lancaster and York do not react very well to this. The party and Ex-wife meet in the center of the field with Lancaster and York. The argument is loud if not particularly articulate.

"They started this, they shot Little bro! They are the reason all these people are dead!"

York seems to believe her (she is technically correct), Lancaster takes the slightly more sensible tack of asking us

"Did you do this?"
"Wellllllllll yes sort of..."
"Those flying things were you?"
"No. That wasn't us."
"Them killing everyone was?"
"No..."
"Why did they kill everybody?"
"Because Little bro was shot!" (screams ex-wife)
"Because Little bro was in league with the necromancers!" (we shout)

Neither of the Dukes look convinced and they are clearly looking for an excuse to disagree with one another.

"Don't believe anything my ex-husband says!"
"Your ex-husband? You're that Aldous?"

...fuck.

"Why should we believe the drunk?"

The Navvie and Wizard speak up or try to. (thanks guys)

"Shush you ceiling scrapers, this is dwarf business (fuck you DM)."
York asks "What have you done with Little bro? The de-facto lord of this manor? You said you shot him didn't you?"

Lancaster is starting to realize that although there's not many followers of Little bro around, York might be choosing a side, if York is choosing a side, Lancaster is damned if he isn't going to be on the opposite side. He bristles.

"Clearly there was some taint here... they have wiped it out, as I ordered."
>Shit.

Technically, Lancaster is correct, he did ask us to do this (sort of). The dumb bastard is also spoiling for a fight. York's normally big smiling face goes stone cold.

"As. You. Ordered."

Ex-wife is pretty good at turning a situation to her advantage, standing by York now, she takes his hand in hers,

"YES! THEY DID THIS!"

We have one chance before this turns into a total complete and utter mess, the armies here could very easily wipe each other out pointlessly, then there goes London and there goes Britbongsteros. We really are not qualified for this.

York turns on his heel. Ex-wife is very careful to make sure she stays exactly in step with him (no flies on her) Lancaster mirrors the motion.

"Argh fuck fuck fuck quick do something!"

The DM gives us all a moment. We all talk over each other.

"Ok lads, whoever rolls highest gets a go to save the situation."

Dice are rolled. Angus gets the highest roll.

The fate of the nation hangs by a thread.

"Angus quick, do something!"
"Fuck errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr"
DM: "Hurry up Angus..."
"Oh cock..."
DM: "Hmm? Did you say that?"
"Oh cock, oh fuck, no yes what? Ahem I mean..."
"If you stick your cock in an arsehole, makes sure it's wiped first."

Lancaster turns first.

"SODOMY? WHAT? WHERE?"

York turns back, "That is...that is actually quite good advice..." Angus you glorious green bastard

I won't go into enormous detail on the social stuff that followed, but we were able to convince the two Dukes that if they were going to fight, they should have a nation to fight over first. If the Undead took London, then they were next anyway, the two aren't very happy with each other's existence, but they do agree to march to meet the undead together.

The issue remains, where the fuck has little bro gone?

We have a little party conference and it is decided that it's probably best not to let the two Dukes march together without the party as mediating influence, especially with ex-wife around. It will however take a few hours to get both armies ready for the longer march, and (hopefully) they can be trusted to do that themselves.

The hunt for little bro is on.

We descend into the tunnels of the castle again and pick up the blood trail easily enough (there's not much actual blood down in the lower level - plenty upstairs). We follow the congealed blood to a door, the Navvie "opens" said door and we come into a small store-room. Again I should remember this being here. I don't.

The blood trail stops in the center of the room. Examination of the room shows a lack of secret passages or revolving fireplaces. The boxes and shelved items do not indicate an obvious hiding place. We theorize he may have stopped here to try to bind the wound and at least staunch the flow of blood. We don't know if he would have died without medical attention but he is also some sort of necromancer's pet. So it's also possible he was mostly dead anyway.

This still clearly begs the question of where the fuck has he gone?

Further investigation doesn't turn up shredded clothing or similar indicators of first aid. We have learnt our lesson and looked up as soon as we got into the room sooooo... Where is he?

We decide to get some light on the situation. With the lantern lit we start to notice the ants. Ants are ok right? Little tiny things. Harmless in the UK so who cares? There's a little trail of them going from the blood to a eeeeny little hole in the wall. The bard, who is interested entomology, has a closer look.

"Those aren't ants."

Well if they aren't ants what are they? Beetles? We have learnt that anything even slightly weird is generally to be construed as a bad sign. We hear a vague tapping sound from behind the wall. The bricks shift and strain. We get the sensation of a cocoon or seeing a pregnant belly move.

There comes what I like to think of as a defining moment for the party.

We back out of the room. The Navvie still has a couple sticks of TNT. With assistance from Angus he lights one and rolls it in. As we retreat to a safe distance we can hear masonry fall. We were being watched. We cover our ears as the blast rocks the building. Entirely deafening in the closed quarters. Angus doesn't look into the room he just torches it. Playing fire across the smoking wreckage. When we finally look into the room a vaguely animated skeleton takes half a step toward us then falls to the floor. It's wearing a medallion. The medallion seems to have spread tendrils of gold through the chest of the wearer. Like a second nervous system almost.

The DM seems rather annoyed that we just took off and nuked the site from orbit rather than stuck around. I take a moment to pay my respects, crushing the skull with my boot to make sure he stays down.

So with an end to little bro, we rejoin the armies. York and Lancaster have already argued twice but haven't gotten into any fights yet.

The party are careful to stay between the two of them on the march north. We avoid any real confrontation mostly by dint of keeping Lancaster amused by Angus and the Wizard's antics. York is a bit more bothersome as ex-wife is hanging around like a bad smell. She has however worked out that York is too much of a womanizer to tame and is looking for her next victim. The only eligible bachelor as such amongst the party is Angus. So she doesn't really bother us either.

Through several arguments it is decided we will meet the undead between Thirsk and Snape (yes it's a real place). Our objective is simple survival. To re-dead as many corpses as we can. This won't be a conflict of manoeuvre and guile, this will be standing and holding the line against the wave of bodies coming from the north. The more we put down, the more likely it is to weaken the necromancer and make this push on London fail. If that happens it'll be enough to buy time for a counter-assault or at least to shore up defenses.

Fortunately this is the sort of warfare the dwarves excel at. York deploys on the left of the valley and Lancaster the right. If Lancaster didn't insist on calling the marching undead "Yorkshireans" we might feel good about things.

We entirely expect the two to double cross each other.

A little note on Dorf military forces:
Much like Warhammer really. Staunch ranged infantry who are not bad in melee either. Heavily armoured and armed with rifles, pistols, heavy cutlasses, there are a large number of grenadiers. The most potent things are their gatling guns, spigot mortars and rifled cannons and the rest of the artillery train. The elite of the army are very heavy infantry who practice a weird form of the highland charge. They have heavy tower shield which will more than stop a bullet. The shield has a device like a claymore mine on the front. A regiment will advance behind these, at a set distance ignite the mine, causing an enormous and hugely deadly spray of musket balls, then charge from behind those shield with greataxes. It's a dated form of war but a nice touch I thought.
Britbongsteros map 6.jpg

Ok this isn't the exact valley but it's Yorkshire and close enough.

Triangles are artillery, squares are line infantry, diamonds are elite infantry, white and red is York, and red and white is Lancaster, the purple blob is us.

The big white arrow is the dead.

>What is actually in the undead army?

We have no real idea, necromancers are limited by their own imagination (and to a lesser extent resources). If they want to make a giant magic bone based tank, then they can. It's often more useful though (and easier to control) loads of skellies. They will however definitely have giants. Fortunately we have dwarven artillery.

On this scale (and at the level) the party are not able to just cleave through an entire battle line however, so our role will be as problem solvers. Perhaps to shore up the line where it waves, or to take out anything particularly big and nasty (again that thing about being woefully under qualified...)

We have had the luxury of the day to entrench our positions, but we know full well that the undead needing neither sleep or light will come with the darkness.

A peaceful late summer evening becomes a late-summer night, clouds roll lazily across a harvest moon.

We (or the dwarves anyway) have set up a killing field and we've filled ditches with tar out across that field to provide illumination and further funnel the undead. Zombies and skeletons are not smart, necromancers however are, and we full expect some sort of ruse or surprise attack, anything to break our lines or give those skeletons the advantage.

There are enough scouts that the troops are able to sleep in shifts, dozing in their armour where they lie. The mood is one of determination not jubiliation. We are here to stop them, not to conquer, not to plunder, but to stand firm, a bulwark against which the tide of bodies will wash. The fate of the land and the ungrateful, uncaring nobility, the mass of downtrodden peasantry, this wonderful weird land hangs in the balance. Victory here will not end the war, it will not even greatly weaken the undead, but it will stop the advance for now.

Lancaster has been seen sermonizing, speaking out against sin, debauchery and other veniality which (according to him) lead to undeath. He has whipped his followers into a frenzy several times. He has not however been doing anything greatly useful, like siting his guns. This task was left to us.

York, in response to Lancaster, proceeded to get steadily more and more drunk. It doesn't seem to have impaired him but so have his troops. He and they are more obstreperous than usual. We do our best to sit between the two camps and break up fights before they turn too serious.

The Undead have (according to scouts) advanced slowly during the day, but with the night have increased in speed significantly. The first real notice we have of their approach is a swarm of beasts of the field, live rats, mice, hedgehogs, even some deer, they scuttle through the grass and heather, birds fly over head as though escaping a wildfire.

What follows are those creatures that were too small to turn to the necromancer's will but which have still reanimated, tiny crushed and broken bodies, crawling and yet still driven by the imperative to flee in their decaying minds, in this wave also come those refugees who fell by the wayside, those who were too broken in body to fight with the skeletons, and yet still convinced that they are alive. The first task as our forces muster is to put down the old, the sick, and the young. We do not check too closely for signs of injury, knowing what is coming.

Penderecki: Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima

These are all things we had expected, but it puts the mind on edge. Fear is one of the greatest advantages of the undead. They have none and the living have plenty reason to be afraid.

There is a scent... or maybe a taste to the air.

For everyone it is different.

The scent of the cakes grandmother used to make before the illness. The way your father's hands used to hold you before the accident. The way your little brother laughed before the horse kicked him in the head. The way your best friend always would smile before you killed him in a drunken rage.

The way your wife was so happy before your little girl was taken away.

We can feel it ourselves, the troops can feel it too. For everyone a private sadness, the sort of thoughts that come to a man when he confronts the cosmic infinite in his own bed, knowing that every act, every small moment of happiness ripped and hoarded from the great darkness will run through his fingers like sand. All good things must fade. No happiness is eternal. The sweetest flower will wilt, the most beautiful of women will die, and all is dust.

Think anon of yourself, you for all the comfortable certainties of your life, you yourself will one day die. That is the cosmic inevitability, we all will. We tell ourselves that Tuesday follows Monday, but for you, the ultimate reality is it will not. Think of each and every man on that field confronting that with none of the warm reassuring thoughts of home, of those things we tell ourselves will make the night seem less cold.

Feel that creeping knowledge that every heart beat in your chest is entropy, ticking down to a death that is all the more certain with every passing second.

It saps morale, men look into the darkness and there, just as the tar-pits are lit, can be seen ranks of the undead stretching into the horizon. Look into that anon, and see death and try to cling to the tiny bead of light that you are in the uncaring darkness of the universe.

Now is clearly the right time for some sort of inspiration. Lancaster is praying all the harder, York is staring into a tankard. Well... looks like our job.

The party stands in front of the two armies and turn to them. They know fine well who we are and why we're here. We have some small reputation now and maybe we are worth listening to.

The bard does his best to perform, and kicks into a song. It's not quite the roll we hoped for.

Black Sabbath N.I.B

but it's good enough.

DM: "Whoever wants to speak, get rolling."

We split, deciding two different speeches are probably better than one.

The wizard speaks to Lancaster's troops.

"You follow a God who will usher you into the light when the time comes, until then, what you do on this mortal earth is what will count in the final reckoning. Make it count."

The Navvie is a man of few words but when he speaks, they generally follow one another in a logical fashion and carry some weight to them. The cosmos and the human condition are not for him.

"The dead are dead. That's all they are. One day you will be too. It's what you do before that happens that counts, and between now and then I'm going to fuck as many fat arsed girls as I can, and I'll slaughter any bony fuck that stands between me and them."

This goes over surprisingly well with York's forces.

It's not long after this that the guns on the hills start to roar. Mortars spitting flame and fire into the darkness, cannons firing more slowly, tracking and trying to target the giants that can be seen amongst the ranks of the undead.

The undead meet the line infantry in the center of the field. The Dwarves make them pay for every step before they meet their lines with shot and shell, but when the two forces do meet it becomes a slow meat grinder of a combat, the two lines press, ebbing and flowing, neither army will break and neither will give quarter.

The party have taken up position between Lancaster and York as the two watch from behind the lines, about fifty odd yards apart. The Undead press hardest on Lancaster's troops. Orders are taken from this command post (that we are at) to reserves or gun batteries, each of the Dukes commanding forces that are thrown into the general melee. The death toll is enormous but the Dwarves hold.

Lancaster commits his heavy infantry in a flank charge that twists the undead line back. It's about now that we see the undead creatures (ghouls maybe?) scaling the cliff toward Lancaster's now unprotected guns. York orders some of his reserves to engage, to protect and retake the guns if necessary. The men begin to slog up the hill, as it evens out breaking into a run. The undead have not just taken the guns, but turned them. York's force charge straight into the teeth of the guns and the few that make it fall to the ghouls atop the rise. The loss of the guns not only reduces our firepower but as the ghouls turn the guns on Yorks across the valley, we are in a lot of trouble.

The party are volun-told to do something about them.

Metallica - Disposable Heroes (Studio Version)

Whatever we do it has to be fast. We plan as we run for the guns.

The Wizard is able to smooth our ascent with summoned pitons and then as we scale the rise, we engage the ghouls at close range. The fighting is extremely messy indeed. The ghouls are tenacious and there are a lot more of them than we expected. The rest of York and Lancaster's reserves are meant to follow us up once we distract the gunners and by god do we make enough noise and raise enough hell to do that. The Navvie tosses TNT, the Wizard is able to man an organ gun, Angus and I run inference with shot and flame. The bard is the bard as usual. We form a knot of resistance in the gun battery. They are still getting some shells off but we suppress, distract and ensure they are focused entirely on us.

We steal a glance back down the hill. The reserves have been engaged by what look like cavalry. We are cut off. Outnumbered. Alone.

So basically, we are boned.

Down the valley the dorfs don't seem to be doing too well either. Our immediate issue is ghouls. The more havoc we cause the better. We don't know if we should be spiking the guns, but we settle for doing what we do best: Kill everything.

Of course indiscriminately tossing explosives about and using a flamethrower in an artillery battery is extremely unwise. We realize this shortly after the enormous explosion which knocks us off our feet. Fortunately we are unharmed. Mostly.

We didn't set off the ammo dump but we did take out a fair number of the guns and of course lots of ghouls. Which is good.

Shortly after we are starting to thin their numbers. Looking down into the valley things look very warhammer as dorfs and skeletons fight, the necromancer can be seen hovering over the ranks of his troops, sucking souls from those stupid enough to face him. The undead giants plough into units of dorfs.

We could man a gun or two, which might help, or... we could help the reserves.

Manning a gatling gun (an orc handling) toward the melee slightly down the hill, we are able to assist somewhat. Though indiscriminate fire into a melee does lead to some friendly fire...

The dead dorfs however are starting to rise. The undead horsemen don't seem to be staying dead either.

It's DM decision time.

Ok. If that lot get up here, we are dead.
Can we save the dorfs?
>maybe
How?
Err... We could charge down there...
>there's five of you...
We could...
>tick tock
Hmm...
>sixty odd dorfs left, couple hundred skellies... they're right below you...

There is a hint here, an obvious one. Question is, are we going to go for it...

>Can we/should we kill the dwarves to save ourselves?

We don't want to but... We are gonna have to...

We are all complicit as we prepare kegs of gunpowder with fuses, lighting and rolling them off the cliff face and down. The series of large explosions brings very little room for screaming but we can definitely smell something like bacon.

Bard: "Is anyone else hungry? Lets get pizza."

We concentrate now on spiking the guns. If we can't have them, neither should the enemy. The battle proper seems to be about even. We think a little cannon fire might assist there. We leave one of the the most accurate and modern looking weapons untouched.

Several minutes of ooc discussion about pizza interrupt things. Giving the DM more than enough time to plot. N.b. he's a vegetarian. Not terribly relevant, but I think it somehow goes to the root of his bastardry.

Looking down over the field with a crew served weapon and aiming over open sights, we reckon we must be able to pick off some high value targets. We start sniping giants which actually goes reasonably well as even a miss sends bits of skeletons everywhere. The necromancer doesn't take long to notice however. The first bolt of lightning is a near miss. The second we think probably won't be. We aim carefully and... entirely fucking miss.

We get off another shot at him which crosses paths with the actinic bolt of lightning that arcs toward us. We dive for cover as the shell explodes below. Looking down, we seem to have very definitely pissed him off.

>Excellent.

He starts to float up the hill toward us.

>Less good.

On further consideration of this issue... We notice the DM has actually written out an actual speech. A real, live, BBEG speech.

Perfect.

We pile up some shells and powder. Angus and the wizard light a fuse. We obscure the whole lot with a tarp just as our new necromancer friend pops over the edge of the cliff. We retreat back into the and turn to face him. The DM is a bit miffed that the necromancer fails to notice our trap as he levitates nearby to it.

"And now is the winter of your discontent!"

The sky darkens as the necromancer flings his arms wide. We can see the fuse is just about to hit the kegs.

"Now is the end of the world of the living. I shall allow you mortals to fight me, to make one last effort in the face of the inevitable."

As we collectively jump backwards into the shellhole we have at our backs. It can only be one last statement.

"Get fucked you bony bast..."

The munitions go off and once earth stops falling and we can hear again. We peek over the lip of the crater.

"He's... gone?"
>DM: "I have got to stop giving you cunts explosives."

We look down into the valley, the battle still rages but the dwarves are regrouping and seem to be turning the tide. The necromancer isn't dead, but seems to be at the very least retreating. He is also on fire.

It seems we have accidentally broken another campaign. We feel oddly pleased about this.

As regards to the rest of the battle, there's not much else to note in detail. We get stuck in, but without the necromancer nearby to micromanage, the skeletons are weaker and soon the field is ours. This is excellent. Casualties have been extremely heavy however. The victory is pyrrhic for the dwarves.

We on the other hand have "saved" London and gotten the attention of the Queen.

The necromancer has returned to Edinburgh to lick his wounds. So for now the invasion is off.

Meltdown on the Isle of Man[edit]

A short trip to London later sees us meet Queenie herself for the first time. She is in the bath when she receives us. She still has a small rubber duck.

She doesn't seem particularly enamoured with us, originally thinking us to be 'Some sort of variety act? Possibly the Aristocrats?' Once she is informed who and what we are, she decides she has a mission for us. A very special mission, she says, idly signing another death warrant.

"I am very fond of smoked herring and something seems to have happened to the Isle of Man. Fix it."

We are not stupid enough to tell her she already has us doing something. This we assume takes precedence.

The Isle of Man: chief exports - kippers. The north end of it is populated. The south end (due to what used to be a research institute with links to Aberdeen and various other magical folk) is now entirely uninhabitable since said institute went full Chernobyl about fifty years back. The north end however has a thriving fishing and kipper smoking community, of which, Queenie is very fond of their produce when it comes to breakfast.
Though being a faerie she probably has them done in blood or something.

No one has heard much from the Isle of Man in a couple of months, and no kippers have reached the mainland either. Reports from ships say the harbour was empty and that there was an air of foreboding such as the crew would not venture ashore. The Isle of Man is of course near Ireland, so it is assumed Cthulu has eaten everybody, Queenie however likes kippers from there and this is why we find ourselves aboard the armed trawler, HMS Irrefutable, being battered by the worst storm the Irish sea has seen in a good number of years.

We discover that the Navvie gets sea-sick in bad enough weather, as does the Wizard. Angus is already green so he's fine. The bard, according to his rolls, is loving the situation. The rest of us mostly alternate between wishing we were dead or praying that the boat doesn't sink and kill us.

The crew of the vessel are largely laconic and generally uncommunicative but will be back for us in a week. Which as we stand, alone on the quay in Ramsay, makes us feel rather isolated. The port is entirely empty. No signs of fighting. Also no one around. It's very eerie but also a situation we are already familiar with as this happens to us a lot.

We start cautiously searching, expecting to find hordes of zombies or a seething mass of tentacles or a shoggoth or something. Instead, nothing. It's clear there's something up, but this time there's no clues as to what. We do note however the animals are gone too. No dogs, no cats, not even flies. It's all very odd.

I said the place is empty, but we treat it as though there's a dire cazador around every corner.

Angus: "Maybe they've all gone for lunch?"

On a more sensible note, there are no boats in harbour, which is to be expected for a busy fishing village. Except staring down into the waters it seems like a number have been sunk. So that's probably not good. We are in the midst of arguing when we spot movement from within a chandlers. Naturally we drop all pretense at thought and give chase.

We pursue whatever it was we just saw. It's small and fast as all hell. It is however our only lead. It was definitely watching us and bolted as soon as it was spotted. The door of the Chandlers is no obstacle to large hammer. Searching inside turns up lots of sails, no people, and something small and very, very fast.

We point various weapons (and some bagpipes at it), the wizard is able to wing it with an iron ball which knocks it flat and over a box. Surrounding the little fucker, it seems we've cornered a large weasel.

It very slowly raises its hands.

"I surrender..."
"Dafuq DM?"
"No furfaggotry in here."
"I'm Gef."

Suddenly something clicks for the Wizard.

"Aah it's a Mongoose."
"The fuck are you talking about?"
Gef

The back door is kicked in. A large chap with a most impressive tache points an extremely big rifle at us.

"I'm Mary. You have a problem with that."
DM shows us a picture.

That is definitely a punt gun.

Well... this just got slightly mad.

Journey - Don't Stop Believing

"Hello err... Gef... and hello... Mary..."

Goodness that is an entirely stupidly big gun.

"What have you bastards done with all the people?"
"We just got here! That wasn't us..."
"Then where is everybody?"

The Mongoose has scuttled up to sit on his shoulder.

The Navvie, sotto voce utters

"Who is this nutter?"
"I HEARD THAT"
"Where did you come from?"

On closer inspection, he looks like he's been living rough for a while.

"The south side of the island"
"No one lives there. You're lying. Was this you?"

The punt gun goes back up, aiming at us

"Ok obviously that was the wrong question..."

We ask him if (assuming we believe him) he knows where everybody went, or at least how long they have been missing for. Apparently he and the rat come to town once a month or so, and this being the day of the month they do, he has as much idea as we do. He does however seem pretty keen to help out. We offer to enlist this looney.

>Why is he called Mary?
According to the DM - Well the Mongoose of (the wiki link) talked to someone called Mary. Not everyone could see him, but he always spoke to her, and apparently "I needed a name"

We ask him about his pet.

Wizard: "Fits at rat aboot?"
"What rat?"
"The whin on yer shoolder?"
"What. Rat?"
"Furrae thing, next tae yer heid?"
"Is this a trick?"
"..."

Ok so it seems like he is unaware of it. Which is... odd...

The Mongoose gives us a wave.

Shortly afterwards, we decide to head southwards and see if we can find the rest of the folk. Mary says he won't come with us, but he will be around (DM avoiding DM PC) and will be keeping an eye on us, so we don't steal anything apparently.

The more perceptive anons amongst you may recall on some of the crudely drawn maps, the Isle of Man is marked as something along the lines of "NEVER GO HERE" well what follows is why.

The party have, for the most part, seen Tremors, so we are entirely sure that if there's something going underground, we already know what we're doing. The DM is very shortly afterwards sick of us looking for holes where someone might've been sucked down, and carefully analyzing the ground beneath us to ensure we are walking on rock. Such meta-knowledge is frowned upon in Britbongsteros.

We're well into the island and a good distance from the sea when the DM has us all start rolling.

Balls. Probably not a good sign.

We are on a road with plenty of vegetation either side, but lots of stones beneath, so we're probably fine. We think.

Then several things happen at once.

The wizard is on point, he is told he can sense "something out of the ordinary nearby". Being a prudent man, he sends a ball bearing slowly hovering down the road in the direction he can sense. He is somewhat surprised when it simply disappears about ten feet in front of us. Off to one side, something moves in the bushes.

The rustling sees the party prepare for a fight. The wizard is however much more curious about what's going on ahead. He sends an iron bar to follow the ball bearing. Noting that it seems to dissolve at a fixed point about ten feet ahead of us.

Meanwhile, Angus helpfully says

"Make yourself known or we will shoot."

The rustling continues.

"Last warning."

Rustling comes from either side of us now. We think this is definitely some sort of ambush. The party open fire on either side of us.

With the ferns shot flat (and a large amount of the west side of path on fire), we eventually stop firing.

There's no bodies. Nothing. Closer inspection reveals some larger plants which are leaking an unusual colour of sap (bright green), but beyond that, nothing.

The Navvie makes to move forwards and off the trail. The Wizard grabs him by the shoulder as he passes him. The Wizard tosses another ball bearing. It disappears like the first.

"Dafuq is that about?"

The Wizard takes a step to the right, and does the same. Then another.

This process repeats, until a ball bearing lands on the ground with a satisfying thud. We advance a few steps, and do the same. The wizard's innate abilities and ball bearings leading us around the anomaly.

>anomaly

Yes.

Some distance away, we hear an enormous gunshot. It can only be the punt gun. So that must be Mary. We decide to make for it. He must've been making for us following the fusillade of fire we just unleashed. He may be in trouble and that thing doesn't reload fast. The Wizard's detection doesn't ping so we make fairly good speed, we hear another blast from the punt gun followed by a hell of a lot of pistol fire.

We crest the small rise, (Predator Theme Song) and find Mary standing with a revolver in each hand, smoke rising from both barrels. The punt gun a good two feet shorter than it started out lying on the ground in beside him.

He spins to face us. Holding up his hand.

The wizard detects another anomaly in front of Mary. We are starting to theorize what may have happened to the townsfolk (we did not investigate the town very closely did we... and if walking into an anomaly dissolves you... then it's possible that's where they've all gone). Mary holds up a pistol in front of his mouth in a clear "shush" motion.

There's definitely something in the bushes. Lots of somethings.

The plants move and sway. Angus decides defoliation is a very sensible notion. As plants burn movement can clearly be seen. We unload on it. Meanwhile from our flank, something rustles a bush next to Mary. Mary manages "Clever girl" before it leaps.

The thing looks like a velociraptor with mouth full of tentacles. As Mary goes down, he screams "Kill the beastie!" which helpfully provides us with a taxonomic classification. There's also a lot more of them.

Now I'm having trouble finding specific reference to this thing online, but according to the DM's sources this thing had a pedigree having been seen in 1910 (in our world) a couple times on the Isle (or at least a large lizardy thing). In any event, we do what we do best.

The dead creatures soon litter the road. Mary it seems is pretty severely wounded, he asks we leave him there, he'll catch up. We do our best to bind his wounds and prop him up. Leaving him with his weapons reloaded and head southwards.

As the mongoose reappears from wherever it was hiding, we leave them be. As we head onwards, the anomalies become more frequent. The beasties can be heard moving around, but none attack. The countryside starts changing as we proceed, the ferns and heather giving way to windswept trees, a small forest. The anomalies are easier to spot (half a tree for example).

Just because the anomalies are easier to spot, doesn't make them any less dangerous. The weirdness starts to ramp up the further south we go. Though it's still light, the woods seem darker, stranger. We're somewhere near Stony Mountain Plantation (so named because there's a great big stoney mountain surprisingly enough, no really, it's on the map) when the familiar rustling comes again.

There's no bushes or shrubs for them to be hiding in.

We look up.

>shit.

They're not quite in the walls, but they are in the canopy.

The combat, although were I a drawfag would be awesome, is not very exciting to describe aside from the Navvie successfully intercepting a flying leap and smacking a beastie in the face with his hammer, sending it back the opposite direction. Itshould land in a small stream, instead it explodes. Which is new.

There's still plenty of beasties coming for us when a crack like thunder rolls across the sky. The beasties all pause, their heads snapping upwards. Looking into the distance and the source of the sound.

>blowout stalker

We haven't been on the island long enough to know what this is, but we already know this is probably fucking terrible.

Guns N' Roses - Sweet Child O' Mine

We can't dive into the ravine because anomaly. We search for what cover we can find. The beasties have begun to retreat, plainly with the same plan.

We search about, well really the Wizard picks a direction and starts running, we follow as best we can. He stops dead occasionally and we skirt more weirdness. Areas where gravity isn't right and the ball-bearing shoots into the sky, others where the ground bleeds, a particularly interesting area which appears to be a vertical pond, before we hit on a small swine-herds cottage (or at least that's what we assume it is), the thing is still standing so that's something.

We dive inside and prepare to wait out the storm.

Angus: "I hope Mary is ok..."

The thunder grows in frequency, lightning strikes across the landscape, smashing trees and sparking off anomalies. We hunker down, powerless in the face of the storm.

As the storm rises there is nothing we can do but try to wait it out. Something that certainly isn't rain batters down on the ground outside. It's more like hail, it rattles off the roof. Hundreds and thousands of... seeds? That's what they look like anyway. They sit innocuously on the ground as rain falls. Flashes of lighting come faster and faster, all coming from the south. Rising to a climax. It feels like sitting in the middle of an artillery barrage. Thunder makes communication impossible.

Thunder. Lightning. Thunder. Lightning. The wizard has done his best to seal us in here. We hunker into what has become a bombshelter. It's like the world is spinning. The storm is a physical thing. We dig deeper into the earth as a shockwave of force blasts northwards toward us.

When we are able to get our heads about us again and look out, everything is changed. The earth has been blasted clean, nothing biological stands above six inches tall until at least the mountainous peak of the Isle.

On the ground fresh seeds sit, as a multicoloured rain hit them, they germinate quickly. Where before the storm there were ferns and small trees, now there are redwoods and cycads. We can even see the remains of beasties, at least everything below the ankle anyway, slowly growing into new forms. Instead of tentacles and velociraptors these are furry, low slung, vicious looking lobster things.

It's like the entire island has just been reset.

As we step outside, the new plant growth (already swelling into a forest) and still with those recognizably oddly coloured sap plants (above) which are starting to flower. We hide within the cottage. The Navvie elects to venture outward. As he does, the plants belch a visible cloud of pollen. He gets a good lungful of it and falls coughing to the ground. The rest of us elect to make crude gasmasks as last time and follow him to try to help.

He is up on his feet before we reach him, lumbering like a sleepwalker southward. His eyes are glassy and blank. We can't stop without hurting him and instead do our best to follow and make sure he doesn't fall into any anomalies. As we pass a beastie slowly being frozen on one side and on the other slowly peeled by gravitational forces, we are very thankful for the wizard.

Our "gasmasks" aren't perfect and we can all feel our perceptions altered slightly. I for one conduct an inner monologue with dwarvish saint Geoffrey Chaucer, Angus seems... different somehow, he lovingly caresses the trees and calls out to the beasties that he "will be gentle with them!" The wizard makes himself a little orrery of cannonballs and has great fun with them. The bard... somehow... is totally fucking fine.

We navigate slowly, moving like drunks, giggling as we blast the odd inquisitive beastie. The DM insists that if we want to communicate with anyone but him, we must speak backwards to replicate the difficulty of communication under the fug.

"Reeb a em evig" etceterea.

It's a very odd little dynamic, it makes coordination impossible. We lurch along between two anomalies, one a simple whirlwhind, the other appearing to be slightly out of time as it's autumn in there, here it's midsummer.

As the still growing redwoods tower over us, the bard attempts to talk sense into us. We can see and hear him, but somehow his words and actions seem to just flow over us without sticking, we can definitely hear him, but we just don't process his words at all. If I'm not describing this well, think "pyrovision." It becomes a struggle to keep each other alive as the DM will warn someone that a hazard will occur to another member of the party, but the one at risk as no idea.

For example:

"Pots sugna!"
"Yhw?" (You try pronouncing it)
"Enivar!"

And Angus has no idea he's a step away from a fifteen foot drop.

Anyway, this fun continues as the Navvie seemingly unerringly follows a safe path, and we stumble around him. Eventually, we come to the lip of a crater, and at the center of that, sits what can only be the institute. A converted monastery which seems perfectly fine despite the size of the crater in which it sits. The earth has been baked by the blowout and is barren. A small cloud of magical energy boils above the building. In there is the source of whatever the fuck this is about and given what happened to the Navvie, the possible location of the locals.

We are either adjusting to the pollen or just starting to sober up, but by the time we knock with a boot on the front door and exclaim

"By England and St George we are here to fuck you up... You"

Everyone except the Navvie seems to be mostly back to normal. Within however, the place seems almost entirely like a research institute should. The reception area seems like any other reception, and aside from the little piles of salt everywhere, untouched. Angus cannot resist putting his finger in one and saying "yup that is salt" after tasting it.

We decide, obviously, that we must go deeper. The corridors are empty, though the piles of salt in one direction seem to have been disturbed as though trodden by oh so many feet. We follow that path (and the Navvie), the wizard can definitely sense magic ahead.

We start to hear moaning, which in our experience is never good, except it sounds happy. Which is probably doubly bad. There's also something that can be heard moving behind us. A slow dragging noise. We are going to have great trouble wrestling the Navvie to a halt however.

We can't slow down the Navvie without great trouble. He's by far the strongest of us, and though not in full control of his actions or very coordinated right now, no one really fancies trying to grapple with him. The wizard (as wizards sometimes are) is able to be useful, weighing him down with bands of iron around his legs, then Angus takes the simple expedient of tripping him. This slows him down enough that we can wait for whatever is behind us to catch up. We use doorways (leading off the corridor and into what are clearly offices) as cover as we prepare ourselves to meet whatever is behind us.

What's behind us isn't immediately recognizable as... anything really... it's man sized, but in the gloom of the building and our one light (no other illumination in here), its clearly human sized.

We wait for it to get closer... and oh... hello Mary.

At least we think it's Mary.

Burnt, blackened and blasted, he wheezes for breath, he limps, dragging a foot behind him, using his gun as a walking stick. It seems he decided to follow us and didn't have as good a shelter in the blowout as we did. The mongoose however is perfectly fine. It asks us for help. It seems Mary has had a dose of the pollen too, but he doesn't react to it like everyone else, instead going slightly crazy (becoming even more unhinged than when he started out).

Gef shouts (squeaks?) at us to stay back, it's too late however. Mary has definitely seen us, and that punt gun is coming up. We have only a couple seconds to respond and that huge gun will turn the lot of to paste if he fires it. He slurs something about demons and voices in his head.

The DM has us all say what we're going to do at the same time and then roll to see who does what first. I try to speak to him, Angus prepares to immolate him, the wizard attempts to pull the gun up and move his aim to the ceiling, the bard dives for cover.

The chain of events goes as follows:

"Mary it's us!"
>Mary struggles with his gun
>The Bard hides under a table
>FWOOSH

Now Mary going crazy because of the pollen thing explains how he seems to be the only islander that was vaguely normal. Regrettably, Angus has just torched him and his pet. The flaming corpse falls to the ground. Angus spits.

"You're welcome."

The mongoose seems to have been torched too. We don't feel great about ourselves but... there wasn't much else to be done (DM, you're a cunt). The Navvie is still a few feet away and still not entirely with it. He's started to cough however, bringing up mucous and spores, if anything it seems like he might be shaking it off slowly.

From up ahead, we can still hear moaning and the occasional scream. Whatever has happened to everyone else, it is certainly not good. We decide that using the Navvie as a homing pigeon is fruitless and we need some way to get him back on his feet and helping. The bard is the most medically minded and assisted by the wizard they decide on a course of action.

"Whiskey. Lots of whiskey."

They figure if the Navvie's mind is under the influence of something (i.e. the pollen) then what's needed is something to scramble it. So if they get him good and drunk, it might "jam the signal" as it were.

With the still smouldering corpse of Mary behind us, the two of them persuade Angus to part with some of his stash and pour Tomatin 12 into the Navvie without a great deal of trouble. To my surprise (not theirs) it works, as the Navvie goes from waving his arms ineffectually and generally slack-jawed to purposeful movements, reaching for the bottle and finishing the rest. By the time he's finished, he's smiling.

"Hi guys."

He tosses the empty bottle behind him. It should smash. It doesn't smash... Instead it goes "twomp" (as though hitting something soft) and can be heard rolling down the hall. This is out of the ordinary enough that we stop walking. The long low growl from behind us is definitely not good.

We turn in enough time to see the now standing Mary's rib cage split open as flesh melds and flows, mutating, running like water, reforming.

"Oh fuck."

Whatever it's doing, we decide to go full Thing on it and let Angus torch it again. This time he keeps playing fire until there's nothing but a smear left. The flames are starting to lick over furniture and walls. It seems like we've also set the building alight - oops.

Well we're here for a reason, there's no point trying to put the flames out and it's probably for the best that the place burns down (if we had a motto it'd be "leave nothing standing"). With whatever happened to Mary in our minds, we head onwards into what looks like laboratories or at least places where science got done. We can't be far now from whatever happened here.

No one knows a great deal about the institute beyond it being somewhere where something bad happened, and that no one really wanted to investigate after whatever accident occurred.

We pick up some clues as we proceed. The facility is fairly big and we are going down flights of stairs and deeper into the facility. We expect violence or threats around every corner, but there's nothing (yet) just that sound, that constant low sound of distress and ecstasy.

We are able to piece together clues as we go, finding notes or simply using logic, there was an experiment here, a grand, grand experiment. Sanctioned by Queenie's Dad, it was a magical investigation into the very building blocks of all life and all other things. The theory so it seemed, was that if man was composed of small tiny things (cells), then perhaps those smaller things were themselves composed of smaller things, and then those smaller things... could themselves be separated into smaller things. Eventually, through this splitting of components, the signature of god or the maker of our world must, logically, be found. Therefore, the goal was to:

>Split the atom.
>You were building bombs?

No, this was (for Britbongsteros) pure science, an investigation into the world itself and how man came to be.

>What the fuck went wrong?

We have no idea.

>Why didn't anyone come to look?

Combination of bad-juju, weirdness, and the feeling that maybe, just maybe, God doesn't want us looking too closely.

>What was going to happen next if it worked?

Man would eventually find the very building blocks of life, and could, in theory, make it himself.

>Making life

This was actually a theme of Britbongsteros itself which the more perceptive anons may have noticed throughout the setting. Everyone is up to it somehow. (Or blowing it up).

We proceed onward and downward. The facility seems to spiral around one central chamber, which we can't seem to find a way into yet but it's the source of the sound. We haven't seen or felt an anomaly in a while but the Wizard thinks (as though it weren't obvious) that the source of the weirdness is in there.

Eventually after a couple of logic puzzles (one using displacement and the other an interesting attempt to have us use common sense that resulted in the Navvie simply smashing the Gordian knot with his hammer) we come to the doors of the chamber. We get down to what must be the lowest level. There are still piles of salt but there aren't any monsters or anything. We find a large pair of blast doors that just have to be the center of the facility. We prepare ourselves mentally and physically and boot them in.

Of course, kicking in blast doors doesn't work very well. Aside from hurting Angus's foot, so we open them instead.

We know from the signs of the passage of people through the facility that we should be expecting something bad. We are not quite ready for what we come across though.

Naked bodies of the couple thousand islanders are piled together below what looks more like an altar than a device of science. There's something on top the altar that looks like a reactor or... something. There are the fried remains of a skeleton clutching a lever. We decide the only thing to be done here is smash the thing and bug out, if that's what's creating the blowouts, then it's what needs doing. It's only as we get closer to the islanders do we realize that they are fused together, a single mass of humanity, moulded and warped, and they're still very much alive.

Smashing the machine is easy enough, giving it a whack with his hammer sees the thing break down into component pieces. So that was easy... Too easy. The moaning, shifting mass of bodies that we just clambered over starts to flow, to alter, to tremble, component parts make for us...

We are in the center of the room surrounded by a slowly shifting (but getting faster) sea of bodies. What we thought was the wreckage of the machine sparks and sputters. Something that looks like a van Der graaf generator flashes into life. The apparatus seems... angry.

The facility rumbles and shakes. We seem to have woken something. We decide the most important thing here is

>leg it.

The Navvie drops a few lit sticks of dynamite and Angus burns us a path to the door. The bodies are slowly mutating. By the time we are out of the room we can see individual critters with partially human attributes lumbering after us. They also have a mix of wicked looking bone scythes or claws, exposed suppurating muscle glistening wetly. The human parts chant nonsense words and phrases. The faces seem horrified, as the DM puts it, as if they are aware of their condition.

We don't have enough explosives to detonate the facility but, fuck it, time to go. We can get out alive then worry about the rest.

It's impossible to describe in detail the confused violence of our journey upwards. It took long enough to get down there but now as we leave the place, pursued by the creatures (DM called them villagers which somehow felt worse), they are faster than us and explode from vents or simply chase us. We do our best to mow them down but we have to fight for every desperate step. The wizard thinks there's another blowout coming soon and if we aren't out of here and in cover by then, we are extremely dead.

The villagers howl or scream inarticulately, managing a few words and phrases, some cry or whimper. Terrified seemingly of what they have become. We want very much to run as fast as we can but instead it's a slow, steady pace, we have to be methodical as villagers leap, crawl, slither and slop towards us. In the darkness they loom, slashing and biting. We will be joining them soon. Thunder can be heard as another blowout becomes a certainty.

It seems the researchers here certainly made life, but oh wow did it go wrong. If the piles of salt are anything to go by then they weren't around to know it.

Sometimes, not knowing is worse than knowing. We don't know exactly what or why these things exist. The machine seems to have been created to split and transform life on a grand scale. Whether what we face is what was intended we just don't know, and as I frantically thumb shells into my shotgun, I don't care.

We have been lucky so far, but as the Navvie batters down one assailant another gets a good slash into the muscle of his shoulder. The bard is grabbed from behind moments later, nearly eviscerated before the wizard can drive a stake through the villager. The villager herself gibbering deliriously about mending nets and why the hens have stopped laying.

From the rantings of the villagers more of what happened can be pieced together. A big storm followed by animals doing strange things and people walking away (pollen), some villagers scream or shout things like "Stop walking father, please! Come back!" Or "Edith please... don't go... why won't you wake up?"

The building is still definitely on fire (Angus's further actions haven't helped) and as we get back to ground level the place is full of flame and smoke. Outside lightning flashes, that blowout is going to be soon. Very soon. The villagers are harder to spot in the choking smoke and the fire slows us further as we have to rely on the Navvie making new doorways for us to get around it. We finally come to an exterior door. It's already open. A small thing, but at the door sit two child sized knapsacks. It might be making a leap of deduction but it seems whoever those belonged to were the first people to enter here and started this chain of events rolling by accident somehow. That small skeleton holding the lever would on the machine would have been about the right size...

We get outside, still pursued and now having to deal with beasties too. The redwoods and cycads will be gone soon but they provide plenty of cover to lurking packs of them. We make for the coast, wizard in front as now we have beasties, anomalies and villagers to contend with. In the distance we can hear a ship's horn, something must have seen the smoke. The thunder and lightning is becoming more intense, we are not going to make it to the coast before the blowout. We need shelter. The wizard spots a small dip in the ground. It's not much but it's enough for him to make a sort of Anderson shelter with, and for us it's going to be our Alamo as, if we stop, all kinds of mutant hell is going to catch up to us. In the rain and lit by sheet lightning, we look at each other. This is going to be a hell of a fight.

>Bard has the biggest shiteating grin.
"This is jolly good fun isn't it!"
"...shut up bard."

We dig in as the wizard slowly and carefully constructs a shelter. Big fat drops of green rain splash down around us. The woods are alive with mutated creatures and they howl, as though knowing the hunt is at a climax.

The report of my shotgun is joined by that of the wizard riveting boilerplate together. The shelter slowly takes shape around us as villagers rush us. It all feels very zulu.

Slowly the world begins to shrink, as plate after plate are joined around us, finally with creatures battering at the structure from all sides, there is just one window sized gap through which they all try to boil at once. I rapid fire into it as the rest of the party try to help the wizard push the last plate into place. When it's secure, we lie panting in the darkness. Listening to the tattoo of creatures beating on the shelter. The iron deforming under the blows almost faster than the wizard can fix it. The noise is incredible but eventually it is subsumed into the rumbling howl of the blowout.

Later, with our fresh "gasmasks" firmly in place, we emerge from our cocoon into a new world. Strange tropical looking palms and beautiful black roses cover the island. The beasties are much bigger now, rhino sized centi-octopus-pedes. They take some killing but we manage to make it to shore. There is the oh so beautiful sight of a battleship. HMS Rodney. We manage to signal it and shortly afterwards, we convince the captain to empty the entire magazine on the smoke of the institute. We don't know if this is enough to put the machine out of action, or if we have fixed anything, but seriously, fuck the Isle of Man.

Later, Queenie is more understanding of the lack of kippers than expected, but having discovered Peterhead Smokies, she's actually not terribly bothered by the plight of the Isle of Man.

We on the other hand are told to get on and do some work. Getting those rifles is what we should be doing. The necromancers have been on the move again and are up to something new in the villages and towns around Newcastle. Plenty of alchemists have been seen with them. It would be even better if we could capture one and learn something about the metallurgy of the guns rather than just grab a sample to reverse engineer.

The privy council are however persuaded to part with a motor vehicle to assist, and thus in the jalopy 2 we head northwards.

The Purple Penguin[edit]

Note: This was the first story told in the campaign

Our tale begins in (not) enlightenment era Britbongistan. The nation stands on the brink of annihilation. Barbaric hordes rise in the swamplands of the western island, to the North the undead rise. Gun powder has allowed the nation to stand this long. Our band are on a quest for an ingredient that will make for better quality metallurgy in the cannons and rifles, maybe enough to turn the tide.

Now our GM likes to present us with choices. As the group's resident dwarven knight (from not Yorkshire) I often am the one everyone looks to for a steer on these.

In the relevant session our choice is to chase down an enemy alchemist, who we have been trailing for days now, or we can let him get away and save a village from the undead.

We are in an area that is near (not) Newcastle. We have with us a stoic human, a working class navvie who uses his hammer to smash the undead and return them to hell followed by inventive curses. He has no family but is from around this area. By the way his name was Burt.

I say

"Obviously we go for the alchemist. It will save more lives in the end"
>DM slips navvie a note. Ooc: "DM you're a bastard" says the player.

Our titan of a navvie looks at the horizon.

"The village my Lord it is... it was my home"

The rest of the party argue. The DM reminds us that the alchemist is getting away. Time is running out. We go for the alchemist.

It doesn't take long but we get him. We get him good. We turn round. We make for the village. It's ablaze.

We scream to a halt in our jalopy. The undead are lead by a Necromancer. One we've met before. The Skeletons engage us, the Navvie goes at them. Bellowing. Bodies fly. My pistols grow hot. Our wizard summons chainsaws and the slaughter continues. Our bard plays the song of vengeance upon his bagpipes.

Meanwhile. The Necromancer is stealing soul after soul. Picking up each screaming villager and inhaling their essence, tossing husks aside. We can't save all of them. Maybe one. Just one.

We don't. The last is a little girl.

>DM hands navvie another note. "Fuck you DM"

The Navvie screams as he recognizes her. His niece. She cries for him. For help. And the necromancer removes her soul into a container. As he tosses her withered empty husk of a body aside. He trampled upon the little purple stuffed penguin the girl had been holding. He vanishes.

The undead are slaughtered but even in the hissing and popping heat that comes when our Scottish flamethrower carrying greengrocer uses his signature weapon. Even in that heat, the tears track through the soot and grime on the Navvies face.

We cursed the village, the war, ourselves.

I picked up that little penguin and put it in my cartridge belt.

"We'll bring his owner back. I promise."
>So began a year long quest to return the penguin to the little girl.
>Necromantic apocalypse
We learnt that it all came from a simple farmer. He tried to make his cows last longer, give more milk. He started to research, obtaining darker and darker books. He succeeded. Completely. His cows were famous. A plague struck his village. His wife died. He reanimated her. Then his children. Then his friends, his neighbors.
What he didn't know was that in our world, necromancery works on a body, giving you the human they were back. Until the brain decays. Then they become first a zombie (with all the face eating and turning others with bites) then a skeleton as the flesh decays. A skeleton bound completely to the will of the necromancer. In our setting skeletons were hard as fuck. Hence the slightly mad weaponry we carried to fight them

We left the village. It burned long into the night. I could see it as I smoked my pipe in our camp. The bard played http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=iK9LXdl-6eo the Navvie and the greengrocer (a sort of orc thing from what was once Dundee) broke into a bottle of my whiskey, then another. They used the alchemist (above) as a bench. His muffled cries lost in the skirl of the pipes. We had kneecapped him and tied him up earlier.

I sat and looked at the little penguin. Cleaning my pistols. The other party member, the wizard (actually an engineer from Aberdeen who had the ability to summon and command machinery such as the aforementioned chainsaws) sat with me. He (and the player) bawled inconsolably.

We needed a plan.

Britbongsteros looked like and had the same terrain as regular britbongland. The undead held most of Scotland, Aberdeen was a fortified port city now. Dundee no longer existed. Edinburgh was the heart of the necromantic apocalypse. It was most likely where we would have to go.

Glasgow still stood. Just. Everything else was held along the old antonine wall. The west of England was under assault from what would be Ireland and Welsh barbarians. The barbarians were either Celts of the old stripe (nekkid, blue) and supported by Elder horrors. The Welsh were more beastmen. Half man half something. (I should add I'm sorry Wales).

The barbarians would raid and pillage frequently. In the south England was England. Human until the midlands, dwarves in Yorkshire.

We didn't interact much with the rest of Europe (aside from sinking a German cruiser -different story) but the French women were generally slutty elves. We liked them.

In Buckingham palace we had a faerie Queene (as in actually a faerie). If you've ever watched blackadder, she was basically queenie from that. Childish, capricious, bloodthirsty.

Anyway. The first thing we would have to do to get to Edinburgh was either win the war or learn to fly.

Dwarves don't like heights, so I naturally favored winning the war. We returned to our base of operations (and my ancestral home) in Harrogate. The dwarves of the area fearing both the undead and invasion of barbarians had dug in deep. Orderly trenches and bunkers covered the landscape. Artillery in every field, barbed wire spooled out for miles. The dales were now a maginot line. If all the effort put into fortifying DwarfYorkshire had been used in the North the war might have been different. We drove through miles of fortifications. My ancestral home had always been a castle, except now it had cannons.

The greengrocer and navvie worked on interrogating the alchemist.

The alchemists were generally from not Holland and played both sides. Helping the necromancers and us. It was in their interest to do so as they sold arms to both sides. This one knew enough of metallurgy to be of some use.

The bard assisted the wizard and I in planning our next steps.

We would have to get into Edinburgh and get the soul cube (where the little girl was kept) back. Killing the necromancer we decided was, if not a priority, it should still be done on general principles.

I placed the stuffed purple penguin on the table. It, and us, looked over the map we had spread out.

We couldn't push up from Newcastle to the borders and on to Edinburgh, for one thing it would mean getting through the undead giants in Stirling. We couldn't sail up the west coast and round (Irish barbarians) and we would never survive the east coast, the great kraken and other monsters that had been summoned by the necromancers would rip apart any ship spotted from land without the appropriate magical wards.

We considered going up north through the highlands and back down.

The Grocer (Angus) ran into the room. The alchemists were making a shipment to the Welsh barbarians tonight.

We looked at each other. Those boats had the wards. But the alchemists were not our allies they were neutral... sort of...

We looked at the penguin.

"Lets get ourselves a ship."

We left in a hurry, moving on to Liverpool, as we were chartered by the Queen (being sort of like 40K acolytes) we had no trouble obtaining the assistance of a royal navy destroyer. HMS Thunderchild (yes that one). With the bard standing on the prow, playing AC/DCs Thunderstruck on the bagpipes (no I don't know how he knew it either but the DM likes ACDC) we set sail. The Thunderchild looked like you'd think a destroyer would. The Alchemists ship when we found her did not. It was a floating nautilus, and fucking huge.

I racked the slide on my newly acquired gatling shotgun, the navvie hefted his hammer, the wizard summoned rotary saws, Angus lit the pilot light on that flamethrower. The bard just... did bard stuff and played on.

The captain of the Thunderchild was the best of men. Guns would break the shell of the nautilus and sink her. So we rammed it.

The party boarded, so did the stuffed purple penguin.

The fight was short, gory as all hell too, the alchemists being shot, burnt, sawn, hammered, and bagpiped to death.

We had our boat. Or at least large living seabeast

We had no idea how to steer this beast. After a great deal of head scratching, the bard discovered it liked the bagpipes. It would swim in the direction of the sound. If he stood in a rowing boat and played it would follow along behind. It wasn't going to be fast, but we could travel.

Meanwhile the Navvie and I investigated the cargo hold.

It glowed. Weaponized soul cubes. Each containing a tortured soul of a deceased man woman or child. They had been turned into grenades or artillery shells. It was silent in that hold, but it was also full of the sound of screaming.

It was another moral dilemma. Do we release these souls? Or do we us them? The Navvies niece was in something like these...

That great hammer rose and fell. With a smash the first soul was released, then another, and another.

I was concerned though. Even if we saved her, where would we put her? What could we do?

I approached the Wizard, he could perhaps build a mechanical body? Some design or contrivance to carrier her essence? Maybe to give her some sort of life?

The answer was (after discussing and rolling) yes sort of. He said he'd have to think, to design. The DM passed him several notes. This was a very bad sign.

We were on the west coast now. The Thunderchild accompanied us as far as Wick but could go no further in these waters. We stopped off for a session or two in this area, fighting a horde of mutated kelpies and also Sawney Bean the cannibal and his insane brood. This was awesome but not relevant to our quest. (I am willing to digress however if requested)

>Yes.

Alright then. The kelpie. (I trust everyone reading knows how to use Google)

We nearly lost Angus here. The kelpie would shapeshift, not just into their usual forms, but they could transform to those you loved, anything to get you into the water so they could drown and consume you.

We first became aware of how shafted we were when I woke up to see my daughter crawling up the side of my bed. She'd been dead for fifty years. Shooting her hurt as much as the sound of the first spadeful of earth hitting the lid of her coffin.

We couldn't move fast enough to escape them (not with the bard piping in the rowing boat), we had to stop. To kill every single last one.

We shot our mothers, burned our grandfathers, stabbed our brothers, chainsawed our wives, bludgeoned our sons, and still they kept coming.

Telling us twisted truths, secrets that we knew were untrue but with enough to make your finger twitch, your aim unsteady, my daughter told me she had killed herself. The others were all equally and savagely unloved, Angus failed his will save, the kelpie (and his wife) separating him from us, leading him to the water.

It took the Navvie's hammer crushing her skull against the deck until Angus started screaming. We had to knock him out. When the kelpies were all dead, we waited for him to wake, when he did, we poured whisky into him until he stopped screaming her name.

The purple penguin and I had some ourselves that night too.

We sailed on. Reaching first Aberdeen (and our wizards home) we stopped off in this fascinating place. The walled city extended to Westhill, north to bridge of Don, and south to Stonehaven, it was a haven of industry and techno wizardry. The Aberdonians could summon machinery and twist steel to their will. The court intrigue we became involved in as we refueled (fed) our mollusc was short but bloody.

It was my turn to risk death. My moment of weakness. I fell in love.

Aberdeen was ruled by seven great families, each with a special affinity for a metal, (iron, gold, silver, copper etc) the wizard was clan iron, and his family had intended for him to be "alloyed" with a girl from the gold clan. He had left the city to win his fortune for her first. She was thrilled to see him. Meanwhile I and the rest of the party ignored the sex he was busily having and instead (I should add we looked everything up on Google maps and just pretended we were there) I went into the merchant quarter With the intention of upgrading my weapons. The rest of the party tagged along for the same reasons.

The DM passes me a note.

>you notice a woman. Tall, redhaired, statueesque you see her in the crowd. Just a moment. She smiles at you. The DM knows I love tall redheads.
"Roll twice" yup you're in love. Congrats.

I followed her into the churchyard, there she was beneath a tree, we talked, she stroked my beard, we kissed. We left, together. It meant I wasn't with everyone else when they discovered that the lead clan were going to sell out the city, or that the copper clan (her clan) were involved.

I should tell you a little about the DM at this stage.

>he's a cunt.

So I'm in love. The others discover that the Lead clan are going to open the gates to the undead, and the copper clan are mostly vampires. On the reasoning that I'm busy having sex, they don't mention this.

However the redhead is human, all human. Her boyfriend isn't. He also does not like discovering her straddling an angry and well armed dwarf.

He goes for me. I get shots into him. But not before he tears my left arm off. He tries to beat me to death with it. Eventually he goes down. So do I.

I wake up with a new mechanical arm, and I'm single again.

Meanwhile the party are doing intriguey things and while I learn how my new arm works, they plot and investigate.

We discover they are on to us when my newly vamprisied redhead kicks in the door along with a dozen of her friends and technowizards.

We fight. We win. Just. I am not as accurate as I was. The bard loses an eye to her claws. I resolve to practice more with my new arm.

We bring down the lead clan by killing a family patriarch and then at the funeral, Angus torches the lot of them inside a church. It wasn't pretty but it worked.

So we say goodbye to Aberdeen and sail on. We get to Montrose and stop for water. The place is deathly quiet. There's no one. We decide to refill and GTFO. Except the navvie that brave, big hearted bastard says no. We should help. The purple penguin agrees.

We scout around. We don't find anything except skeletons.

We do find some townsfolk eventually. They are terrified of "the eaters" we laugh it off. We say we will stay the night and then take them back to Aberdeen

So the Navvie and I are on first watch. He spots them first. I am busy lighting my pipe.

Cockroaches, beetles, maggots, everything, a river of them. They flow and squirm toward us. They coalesce into a man. Sawney Bean. Bullets do nothing. The hammer doesn't do much. The bagpipes are bagpipes. We do have Angus however. Sawney burns good. He flees.

Meanwhile the rest of his cannibal family have broken into the church. They've eaten alive those townsfolk. There's half a woman left (and I mean half vertically) but she's still alive... somehow (they hadn't eaten the brain, just stripped her clean down to the bone on the left side of her navel. I mean everything.

We killed her ourselves (fuck you DM) and decided Sawney must die.

We don't know where he is, where he lives, nothing. There's no tracks to follow, and how would we track a beetle anyway?

We think. We plot. We are out of ideas.

We realize though, the country side is stripped bare, the town is too. The only meat around for miles is... us. So we head into the village square and just sit and wait. We know they're probably watching anyway. Angus has his flamethrower, the wizard makes me flame shells, the bard is the bard. Both the Navvie and the wizard will use their respective skills (techno wizardry and being hueg) to roll flaming barrels of whale oil into them.

It all goes to plan. Mostly.

There's a big statue in the square. It has steps. We have our backs to it. And here comes Sawney (I hate bugs), he and his weird family charge us. Or at least half do. The rest try to get behind us. The navvie and wizard hurl flaming barrels. Angus does his thing. I turn the flaming gatling shotgun on the flankers. The bard... does nothing useful being a bard and plays flower of Scotland Instead.

Thing is, Sawney and co are getting closer faster than we can burn them.

"This might be it lads, I'm sorry penguin, we might have failed you..."

They start climbing the steps. They're much more material now. Almost solid. Human. The navvie stoves in the lid of a barrel with his fist. He grabs Sawney by the throat and rams him into it. The bugs that make up Sawney eat his hand clean and the fire does for his arm. But sawney burns good. With him down, his weird family are less organized and start to go down too.

Fuck you Sawney Bean.

The technowizard replaces the second arm in a week.

With Sawney and co dead. The quest of the purple penguin continued. We said goodbye to the fortified port of Aberdeen and soon the countryside grew blackened and blasted, the night sky was never dark, skulls and faces played in the northern lights, the Navvie had long conversations with himself. Skeletal fish swam in the sea. Skinless dolphins played in our bow waves. We entered the Firth of Forth. The sanctified ground of Inchgarvie island was we thought a safe place to rest, to prepare. We were wrong.

It turns out our landing on Inchgarvie was observed. We camp. No fire. But we manage to rest.

Then the dead start to rise. Walking out of the sea. Silent legions of them. While they aren't as coordinated as those of the big bad (the power of a necromancer determines how good his skeletons are at fighting) they are still tough. A minor necromancer must be wanting to take us down himself. Thing is, if we open fire, we'll bring everything in the region down on us. We can't let that happen now. Not right now.

So we set about ourselves, hammer, my axe, the wizard with iron bars, Angus with his knife and the bard... I think he hummed rather than piped.

Gliding in over the waves came the necromancer controlling these skellies. He was actually quite helpful all things considered.

"You'll never get what you seek. you'll never make it to Edinburgh castle. You'll nev *HAMMERTOTHEFACE*"
"Thank you, you pathetic excuse for a knobdusting emaciated necrophiliac. Now we know where she is."

We proceed inland with the dawn. Leaving our trusty nautilus at Inchgarvie. Stealth is the order of the day. We slink through the country side as best we can. Most of it is glassed. As though a nuclear bomb had gone off. No vegetation. Only death. The glass is warm to the touch and slightly sticky.

There is no food. No shelter. Nothing. No sound. No birds. Nothing.

We make it to Edinburgh. The city is intact. Rebuilt so that upon each hill is a necromancers tower. Green glowing energy emanating from each. We look up. There's the castle. We know what the purple penguin expects of us.

The castle is the only tower without that green light. The wizard tells us it is because the others are locked in a ritual. Only the big bad and our target is not. Meaning we only have one opponent. And several million of his minions.

We get into the city via the sewers and a twenty minute OOC debate on how clean they would be (undead don't poop). We get to where Waverly station would be. We are able (thanks to technowizard) to ascend the cliff and get over the wall. We go loud when Angus takes an arrow to the shoulder. Suddenly skeletons. Skeletons everywhere. The bard finally has an idea.

"This is Edinburgh castle. They have an artillery piece here they use to shoot every day to mark the time. We have several necromancers stuck in a ritual who can't move And have green fire telling us where they are."

This is the most useful thing the player and character have ever done.

We make for the gun. Technowizard aims loads and fires. We fight and fight on. Covering him as we end the necromantic menace (DM looks unhappy as we crush his campaign). The purple penguin approves.

We fight on atop the battlements, green fire flashing in the darkness as the wizard brings down tower after tower. The hammer smashing skeletons. The gatling shotgun annihilating skellies, the bard goes back to being useless but does manage to play Queen's princes of the universe on a natural 20. Angus burns the skellies. This is the most metal moment of my life. The stuffed purple penguin agrees and says we must rock harder.

The necromancer comes, his belt is full of soul cubes. They're powering him. One goes dark and he tosses it aside even as we watch. We don't know which is her. We don't know if she's even in there. The purple penguin demands he die.

He draws his arms up. The skeletons we have slain come together again, forming a giant creature, the Navvie leaps from the battlements. Hammer held high. Angus plays fire across the giant. I do my best to tickle it with eight solid slugs a second, the techowizard turns the gun. Slowly, the Navvie hangs in mid air as the necromancer zaps magic at him.

Our wizard fires the gun. Down goes giant. The Navvie is getting closer to the necromancer. By sheer force of will he is resisting the magic and continuing his path. He lands cracking a flagstone. The hammer goes up. The hammer comes down. The necromancer laughs and inhales a soulcube.

"These are why you came, this is what you want. She's not here. I ate her weeks ago. She was delicious."

The hammer goes up.

"You'll never get her back"

the hammer comes down.

We realize he's right. Even as we bring down his empire. He is right. This was all for nothing. This was...

>FUCKINGCOCKDABBLINGARSEMONGLER

The navvie hits him again, and again,

>SHITSPEWINGCUNTSPELUNKER

The necromancers skull turns to dust. The legions of skeletons fall to the earth.

One soul cube left. It's... it flickers... just... still life in it. The Navview picks it up.

"Uncle?"

It flickers.

"I'm here. I'm here now."

I put her penguin next to it.

"I knew you'd come..."

The light goes out.

The Battleship Brunmiggi[edit]

We left the now silent ruin of Edinburgh. We were victorious... weren't we? The necromancers had been broken. Some would remain, but the threat in the North was over. For now. it still felt like a loss. A shameful filthy loss. I couldn't meet the eye of the purple Penguin.

We moved on. Sailing the Nautillus from Inchgarvie back first to Newcastle (the shell torn industrial country still burning. The locals working for drink to forget the work they must do. Rendering down the undead armies or the remains of them into magical components for the artillery, smelting rusted swords down for bullets. Tearing apart their once great city for total war). There we met Cruella with a letter from our Queene.

So the wizard, Angus, the Navvie, Bagpipe bard, and I were joined by Cruella (yes I know) of the same species as our Queene, a faerie. Long of limb, beautiful, and fueled by the blood of our enemies. She had two long knives which she used to maim. She had bonuses the more cruel she was to her prey.

I'm afraid we shouldn't have let her character in but

>muh fetish.

The Brunnmigi had been spotted off the South coast. We were to sink it.

The Brunnmigi (Google it) was the pride of the Kaisers fleet. A battleship of enormous power, row after row of guns, pure industrial might. Crewed by the Kaisers elite bearmen. It could sink a dozen ships before they even got in range.

We had a fight on our hands.

We had an unexpected surprise however. At Portsmouth we were met by the Thunderchild. A destroyer. Nothing on the Brunnmigi but crewed by the stoutest most valiant of men.

Once again. The bard went to the prow As we set sail. (Don't ask) but we left Portsmouth dock to his rendition of Lynyrd Skynyrds Simple Man (DM again). We knew the brunnmigi was moored off Jeresy. The Kaiser wanted those islands and was using the ship as a show of force. What better thing to occur then for it to sink in British waters.

We would be dropped off the coast of Jersey, travel overland and sneak aboard.

It all went perfectly. We lowered a boat. Then suddenly the deafening scream of the attack siren aboard the Brunnmigi sounded. She knew the Thunderchild was here. There was no running for the Thubderchild. There was never any question of running.

We rowed ashore as that little ship. Outclassed by twenty times in tonnage alone. She turned. She made straight for the Brunnmigi.

Never a question as shellfire hammered that brave little ship. The aft turret was hit first. Then taken amidships. Fire licked up the funnels. The bridge was next. Still she carried on. Fire from the fore turret rebounded from the flanks of the Brunnmigi.

The Thunderchild was low in the water. None could be left alive, but she came on. She rammed the Brunnmigi on the portside.

We didn't think she even scratched the paint. The proud ensign of Her Majesties royal navy was the last thing to slip below the waves as we watched from the shore. (Fuck you DM)

The people of Jersey were honest hobbit types. We were taken in by a farmer loyal to the Queene, but we were not unnoticed. The party was woken by the barn doors being kicked in.

Brunnmann. A party of twenty marines from the Brunmigi. Each huge bear given the form of man. We could stand against them. We could. But it was likely to cost us.

They had hostages. The farmer and his family. So small against their black uniformed bodies.

We couldn't fight. We shouldn't fight.

I laid down my shotgun. It was joined by hammer, flamethrower, knives, and bagpipes. The wizard laid down his backup revolver. No one else saw him wink at me.

The marines chained us. Binding our wrists and ankles with cold iron. No magic could effect those locks.

The wizard was of the iron clan. With complete mastery of steel. He practiced no magic. He did however bend metal to his will.

The hobbits were released. Watching us go sadly. The farmer sung Gods Save the Queen until one marine cuffed him.

It was the distraction we needed however. The wizard brought up the bayonets of each marine. All twenty lay dead. His own bayonet through his throat. The chains fell away.

The wizard collapses. He would not be able to do that again for some time.

We have a large pile of corpses. We suddenly realize that had we been taken aboard then broken free that might have been smart.

Nonetheless we proceed across Jersey, taking the truck that the marines had used. We come from Les Mellies to St Hellier. We wait for nightfall in a derelict warehouse. The new plan is simple. Wait for the wizard to recover then sneak aboard.

At least that was the plan.

Cruella was to take down the sentries on the gangplank. Then she and the wizard would find the magazine. Meanwhile the rest of us had the easy bit. Raise all hell on the bridge. Kill as many as we could then leave gtfo.

Cruella gutted one bear, licking blood from her knife then decapitated the other from behind.

We were aboard.

We split up and make for the bridge. The bard signals our attack with Motorhead's Ace of Spades on the bagpipes again.

He starts to play outside the entrance to the bridge. The bears run straight into Angus and his flamethrower. Those that survive meet the shotgun.

We have taken the bridge. There is no sign of the captain however. We estimate we have about two minutes before they counterattack. We have agreed the bard will play a song when that time comes and another when we bug out. It's Steve Earle's copperhead road that comes as the bears swarm our defenses.

Meanwhile, Cruella and the wizard are in the magazine. Stacking shells. The wizard priming timers. They give us five minutes. Firing a flare as they jump from the rear deck into the sea. None of us on the bridge roll high enough to see it.

Time is ticking down and we don't even know.

The bard stops playing eventually. We don't know it but we have maybe two minutes left.

The ship is crewed mostly by bears. Except the captain. The captain is a fucking gryphon with a pickelhaube. In he comes with the rest of the marines.

Time is running out. Then it runs out. The bears are all dead. Only us and the bloodied captain still standing. He is an enormous winged gryphon.

The explosions from the magazine rock the ship. We are screwed, shells cook off. The small dent in the hull from the Thunderchild now becomes a gaping hole. The ship is taking on water. We are either going to burn or drown.

We look at the captain. He looks at us. We nod. He nods.

Seen from where Cruella and the wizard are (on shore now).

The explosions rock the ship. The smoke and flame obscures so much. The ship lists heavily to one side.

As far as they know. We're dead. The purple penguin no more.

Then the glass of the bridge shatters. A dwarf, an orc, a navvie, and a bard are on the back of a howling gryphon.

The bard plays the song we agreed.

It's Meatloaf. Bat out of hell.

The Captain should have gone down with his ship. Instead he was given a pardon and allowed to stay in Britain. He later joined our navy.

We returned to London to report our success.

We were a bit surprised when the Queene had us imprisoned on our arrival.

The Court of the Faerie Queene[edit]

Ok so before I launch into this properly there are some things you need to know. If you've ever read or heard of Edmund Spenser's Faerie Queene (it is not as gay as it sounds) you'll be fine. If you haven't, what you need to know is that royalty in Britbongsteros are all faeires. We've mentioned already that this means they're vicious, cruel, capricious, and very childish at times. Now we have a Queene who for reasons of her choice to remain "virgin" and not produce heirs, has pissed off a lot of people. It got worse when she banged a French Elf (because then we'd have French Elves on the throne) and so the other nobles had said French Elf killed. She then took a demon succubus as a lover. More people were pissed off but at least no French Elves.

Her court is a place where there is great wealthy, silk, gold, pearls, diamonds, and blood. Lots of blood.

We are imprisoned almost as soon as we arrive in London. We aren't told the charges, just surrounded by royal guards (automatons built by Sir Issac Newton the century before) and reluctantly we lower our arms.

We are taken to the cells beneath the Old Bailey. Cruella is removed from the party at this point. We are not told why (Fuck you DM and your notes).

Escape is out of the question. The Mistress we serve is scarier than anything we've faced so far.

Finally, we are (after the Navvie and I beat up several prisoners), we five are lead into court. We still have the Purple Penguin.

It turns out that as our resident Faerie, Cruella is to be our defense counsel.

The charge?

Killing the little girl.

The evidence?

One stuffed purple penguin

The penalty?

Death.

Oh shit.

We are lead before the judge. Regrettably because of my actual day job I try not to cringe too much as the DM makes a hash of Criminal Procedure, but I'll stick with his version.

The charges are read to us, and the prosecution set out the case against us. We maliciously by our own omission failed to save the hamlet (from the original post). We deviated from our mission. We allowed the Thunderchild to be sunk.

Cruella manages to have our sentences cut to *just* death.

>Fuck you DM

We're a little pissed at this point.

We are to be hung in the morning.

We spend our last night in the cells.

We are woken by torches in the corridor. Hushed footsteps. It's Cruella, and not just Cruella, but the Queene.

"Hello boys."
"The good news is, you're not going to die. Yet. I've had five criminals "agree" to take your place. People are very amenable when I eat their children I find. Very strange."

She flashes her serrated shark like teeth.

"I have plans for you, and we need my enemies to think you're dead. Do you agree boys? Or of course you could just stay here."

We agree.

We know what's coming. Or we thought we did. We'd all be thought dead. Then we'd be able to kill some noble or end some plot.

It did not occur to this dwarf that there was a very good reason the Queene was still in power. She was about the scariest thing in the setting.

No, what the Queene needed of us was far worse.

She wanted an excuse to wipe out a noble house.

We were to invent a plot. Then pin it on the other house.

The penguin did not approve of this. He approved even less when we discovered which house.

The third wealthiest, and by far the most philanthropic in the country. Faeries were all fucking horrible, but this house at least weren't that bad... really... it was the difference between being a free range chicken and a battery chicken.

They were a mediating influence on the other houses.

This was not good.

Our first thing to do was agree enough with this psycho bitch to get out of jail.

Of course she knew exactly what that was about.

"I'll be sending Cruella along with you of course, as my observer" (Cruella's player smirks) "and she'll tell me every little thing that happens, and don't even think about coming back without her..."

We agree. We are given our gear back, and ushered out of the city in a covered wagon. We are somewhere on Cruella's estate in Kent when we start to plan.

We need to do the following:

1. Not die.
2. Keep the Queene happy.
3. Not let the Dansons (the nice - relatively) Faeries be wiped out.
4. Not die.

2 and 3 appear to be mutually exclusive however.

The discussion in character took about an hour so I'll summarize.

Cruella: sits in the corner idly ripping the legs off mice and eating them bit by bit. (Fuck Faeries).
Navvie: Save the nice people.
Angus: Lets not die
Wizard: Kill them and then we won't have to die.
Bard: Mostly noodles - Sabbath's Planet Caravan (no I don't know how you play it on the bagpipes either)
Me: Can we do all of the above? Not die, kill them, but also not kill them?

More thinking occurs. Cruella is feigning disinterest.

What the Queene really wants isn't the Dansons dead. She wants their lands. If they're all dead or traitors then the land and money go to her as the reigning monarch. So really the Queene wants cash.

Can we conceivably get her a large pile of money quickly?
No. Not Danson large.
Could we just get them exiled?
No. Some of their lands are overseas. The Queene will want them too.
Do we have to kill all of them?
(Fuck you DM) Yes. I think we do.

Cruella is beaming like the cat that just got given the deeds to a cream factory.

The bard is playing (the actually quite fitting) Court of the Crimson King - Saxon version

Then suddenly he stops.

"What if... what if we persuaded the Dansons to, in exchange for their lives, pay the Queene an amount each year, so that in five years, she gets even more than she would have?"

The Bard player occasionally is quite useful.

"But how will they get the money together? They'd need to be making even more money that they have now? All their cash is tied up in land anyway."
Angus: Lets just fucking kill them. (I should add that Angus's full name was Angus, McAngus, of the Clan McAngus, from Anguston)
"So we're stuck then. We kill them, or we get killed?"
"Pretty much"

The purple penguin is not pleased by this.

"How many Dansons are there?"

Cruella pipes up

"Three left. An old Dowager, a young maiden, and a knight."

I feel a plan coming on.

So what followed from this discussion was a lot of scouting, sneaking, research, it took about a week of time in game.

We established the following:

The Dowager was in rude and excellent health. She also had an excellent right hook. Laying Angus out cold when she found him in her flower beds. She spent all her time running a hospital for sick and injured ex-servicemen.

The maiden assisted in this. The maiden was also in love with one of the Queen's favourites. That could be awkward.

The Knight was eager now that the necromancers of the north were ended as a threat to crusade into the wilds of North America.

What we did was this.

Angus and Cruella took the dowager. They had her donate her share of the family fortune to the hospital. This made the Queene look bad. Except for one thing. Other nobles started to match the donation. Not wanting to be seen to be ignoring the poor. The Queene then won a massive PR victory in creating the "Thunderchild Memorial Hospital for the Heroes of the Nothern Campaign." She was immensely pleased with this.

The knight she agreed to fund an expedition for. He would sign over his lands until he came back, and if he did, what he found was hers. The Navvie and the Wizard were able to organise this.

That left me, and the maiden.

So DM wants to give us all little solo missions. You already know how the rest of the party got on. I can give you a little more detail on mine.

We know the maiden loves one of the Queene's favourites. Thing is. We didn't know if he loved her back.

We also didn't know how the Queene would react to one of her favourite boy toys shacking up with some younger woman. Like the original Elizabeth I, we expected it to be pretty badly.

After discussing it, we decided two things had to occur. The favourite had to either fall in love with her, or man the fuck up and do it.

Secondly, we had to get the approval of the Queene.

So. I'm left to my own devices to resolve these. I am not a social character. I do plans. I do leadership well. I shoot things. That's about it.

>The favourite: Baron Harcourt, another Faerie.

The Baron likes two things. Hunting and fucking.

Obviously I can't really do the second (or don't want to), but I can get involved in the first.

I get invited along (with a little help from Cruella) on one of his hunts. It's a hunt for a great English Wildcat - the beast of bodmin moor in fact (google it).

He would obviously view my shotgun as unsporting (and it won't leave much of the beast left), so I am given (by the huntmaster whom Cruella knew) a halbred.

>What the fuck do I do with this.jpg?

There's two things I can do, I can try and watch him kill the thing, and maybe talk to him, or I can kill it, and definitely talk to him, but he might be a bit fucked off.

There can only be one option.

It turns out, that if you load a dwarven shotgun with very large flechettes, it looks a lot like you killed something with a halbred.

So I get the beast alone, (lucky rolls) and delete a large chunk of it with the gatlingshotgun (Bessie by the way). The Baron is actually quite impressed with my hunting skill (as I stand with the halbred, my doomcannon tactically hidden in a bush).

He invites me to dinner in his tent. This is going well I think.

Now a little note on Faerie speech here. It is very very very rude (like stabbed in the face rude) to come out and say something directly.

So there are many consume alcohol tests, I regale the Baron with tales of our adventures (much as we are here) including those of the Stuffed Purple Penguin, and the Baron is a little bit drunk.

I ask him,

"My Lord, affairs of the heart are bothersome, but perhaps a man of your wisdom can assist me"

His ego inflates a little.

"I have a good lady friend, and her love for another is under a great shadow."

He knows who I'm talking about. He asks

"Who is the man?"
"He is a fine strapping gentleman, of great estate, great munificence, and most of all wisdom."

The baron knows full well who I'm talking about. I also think mostly to prove a point he guts a retainer for spilling a little wine.

The baron is a lot more drunk than I thought. He stands.

"Come! Let us ride to the maiden! I shall show her every inch of my love!"
>ohshit

I now have to get this drunk posh fool persuaded that he won't get far with vomiting on her and then trying to put it in her pooper.

"My lord, another drink to celebrate!"
"YES!"
"And to the great wisdom of the Baron!"
"YES!"
"And to the great wealth of the baron such as he would not need a dowry!"
"YESWUT?"
"And to the Queene!"
"The Queene!"

(continue through many consume alcohol tests)

The baron finally passes out.

>the next day

After a cold bath in the nearest stream and a breakfast of raw lamb (for him) bacon sandwich for me, we ride to the maiden. The very hungover baron proposes, and she accepts. The baron is too shy to mention dowrys.

>great success

Now we just need the Queene on side. That shouldn't be hard.

Right?

Now to persuade the Queene that not only is there a good reason the relevant Danson isn't dead, but also that there is a good reason why they should be getting married.

>balls.

She is fairly pleased with the PR and what happened with the knight (we waited a bit to tell her). So when we approach her as a party, to request that the baron be permitted to take a bride. She is fairly reasonable.

We find her bathing in the blood of virgin maidens. Because... y'know... faeries. (fucking Faeries). She has a small rubber duck.

"Ah brave dwarf, what news bring you?"
"We beg a favour my lady"

She listens.

"Very well, but there is but one thing I want from thee before I acquiesce."

Wondering what this insane bitch could possibly want or need.

"Dwarf you wear something upon your belt most unique."

Oh no.

"My pouches Milday? My axe? My..."
"No fool. The purple thing. Give it to me."
"Milady surely we would not sully your court with such a child's toy, it is dirty, bloodspattered, your seamstresses could create such a fine recreation, golden stitching, eyes of..."
"I. WANT. THAT. ONE."

(Fuck you DM).

The Navvie looks distinctly thunderous as we hand it over. (it's that or die right there and then).

So after retreating back to Harrogate (my Dorf Fortress) we decide that perhaps we really are not happy with how this country is being run.

We fight for a Queene that is... in all fairness, kind of a bitch.

We decide to begin research on taking her down, and most importantly. GET THE PENGUIN BACK.

So while we've discussed Scotland a fair bit. I've brushed over England. So as a reminder. The south is all peasants ruled over by very unpleasant Faeries (one of whom is in the party I might add) the north is half DwarfYorkshire and the other half working class humans (like the Navvie). We have various sundry populations like the halfings of Jersey and mythical bits and bobs here and there.

The Queene has those worryingly big automatons. We also know that the country is still being assaulted by the barbarians of wales and Ireland. We need to take her out and do it without a civil war.

The fact we've just given a huge pile of money to her war chest along with some very positive PR does not help.

Now, a little on the Royal family. There's the Queene, she hasn't produced much in the way of offspring (see above). There's also not much of her family left. In fact next in line to the throne is her bumbling and not terribly astute (but really quite nice) brother Algernon. After him, there's two half brothers who are both as bad as her.

The reason Algernon is still alive is an early warning system, in case one of the half brothers bumps him off with a view to killing the Queene.

Now if we simply kill the Queene, we might cause those two brothers to kill Algernon, and also put the nation into a state of civil war.

We need to kill Queene and both the half brothers.

and GET THE PENGUIN BACK.

So, we know we need to kill three of the greatest people in the land, and do it in a way that doesn't make it look like anything more than an accident.

That's gonna be tricky.

We think it'd look less suspicious if we went for the brothers first.

It'd be almost reasonable if they were to try and kill each other, in fact we're a bit surprised they haven't...

Bard: "Hey that's not a bad idea guys..."

Now, we know the brothers never meet, never see each other, they are never in the same place at the same time. They hate one another, so it makes things a little simpler.

The hard part is getting to them.

We take stock of our skills:

Thing is, it's actually not that hard to butcher people if you have a wizard that can control flying chainsaws. The hard part is getting him in range of something he can affect (or summon).

Then we have Angus. It's probably not going to be Angus.

The bard could...

...

NEXT

Cruella seems like the obvious choice. However she's linked to the Queene and very recognizable. That leaves me and the Navvie. Our special powers are gun and hueg respectively.

>Why did Cruella agree to the assassinations?
>Her player and I were already dating as mentioned above - and thanks to /tg/ her and I got back together at Christmas. It was kinda taken as read that she switched alliances after the PCs also started banging.

We consider our targets.

One, Balthus, is immensely fat, he loves food, and is always eating. We may have an in there.

The other is Carus, he loves books, painting, and torture. So he rarely leaves his dungeon, unless it's to paint on the battlements.


We go for Carus first.

We approach the castle of Carus. It's in Bath. A spa town, lovely place. His castle itself is beautiful, well decorated, well appointed, even the dungeons are the nicest this side of the channel.

He's also a sick bastard.

Now we learn (via the bard impressing the locals in the tavern with Blue Oyster Cult, Godzilla) that Carus has recently been painting sunsets.

Now if we had a snipah we could end this easily.

We don't.

More planning occurs.

Suggestions include:

Poisoned paints, a meteor strike, a cannon, metal plates in his shoes which the wizard takes over, summon Cthulu.

In the end, I bash a guard over the head. The Navvie nicks his uniform, and upends Carus over the battlements.

That was easy. Too easy...


Next up is Balthus.

Balthus lives in Knightsbridge. He is, as mentioned, an immense glutton. He is also involved with the British Museum. We decide to off him at one of the dinners. It's public, it's perfect. With a little help from Cruella, we grind up some metal splinters, very small, and add them to his soup.

About desert time (the 18th course) the wizard excites those splinters, one massive case of internal bleeding and unknown cause of death later, all we have left is Queenie.

Queenie we think must be onto us by now. She must know something is up. Both her brothers dying in explainable but mysterious circumstances a few days apart?

She has to know.

The question is, does she know it's us?

We hope not. We request an audience. We have to remove all suspicion from Algernon, so this has to be complicated, messy, and so not his style that it couldn't possibly have been him.

The plan is best kept secret. It makes a better story that way. We are brought into her chambers. As we bow obeisance before her bathtub (blood again) the bard offers to play her a song. Queenie is delighted.

The song is The Godfather Theme - Guns and Roses (Slash guitar solo) Instrumentals.

Queenie loves it. We amuse her as a distraction. The bard plays on. Angus sets parts of himself alight (she finds this wonderful) and the Navvie lifts the tub with her in it as a feat of strength. Meanwhile as the wizard juggles chainsaws, he plants a bomb. Cruella replaces her face cream with acid (and also the detonator) and I snag a small purple object. We leave when she is bored of us.

There is a scream then a bang. We make for France. We miss the coronation of King Algernon, but we also are alive.

Britbongsteros visits France[edit]

After assainating the Queene we were in a slightly awkward position legally and generally. Admittedly it was unlikely that we had this pinned on us (technically we were still dead and it was a secret audience in her chambers, Algernon was unlikely to give a shit anyway) but we figured we should probably lie low. We had enough in the way of funds to live more than comfortably in Paris for a couple months and it was easy enough to hop on the next boat across the channel.

France as previously mentioned was elves. All elves. And they were French.

So naturally we set up camp in a Parisian whorehouse. Because what else do you do in Paris?

I was safely taken though (and if your girlfriend is like Cruellas Player you don't do anything silly) the rest of the boys quickly acquired favourites among the whores and we passed a very pleasant week drinking, eating, whoring and drinking more.

We didn't do much until people started turning up dead.

Even elves had peasants and local virgins had been turning up exsanguinated. This is where we met our one and only 'Murican. He was a vampire hunter and from Nuuw Yaaawk. As mentioned previously those in that region had to eat constantly to sustain their magical metabolism. So they were immensely strong and tough, but also immensely fat. He would have a crossbow in one hand and a bag of whole fried chickens in the other.

(Sorry America)

Anyway so he barges into the whorehouse and I do mean into. He leaves a 'murican shaped hole in the wall.

The party fumbles for weapons as he shouts

"I need your" munch munch scromnomnom "help!"

The bard launches into Team America's America Fuck Yeah for no particular reason as he explains that he needs our help. He can't identify the problem and people are dying all the time.

Our first priority is to get paid. There is almost unanimous agreement. We consider the poor peasants. Downtrodden by the local aristocracy, French, and now being eaten.

We feel a bit bad. The purple Penguin reminds us of our duties.

Our new friend tosses a bag of money on the table. Resolving the issue.

Now our DM, about a month before, had asked us all to write down our fears. Not our characters fears. But ours.

If I recall rightly the list was:

Angus: failure.
Cruella: clowns
Navvie: Leeches
Me: snakes (because indy! Also fuck telling our cunt of a dm what it was)
Wizard: spiders
Bard: heights and confined spaces.

The purple penguin doesn't join in because it fears nothing.

>fear

So we get a lead. The last victim was seen being dragged into the catacombs of Paris. (Google it. It's a giant mausoleum of skeletons, I'm serious).

So that sounds good...

The catacombs extend for miles and miles of bones, unmapped, untrodden, home to gods knows what.

The 'Murican suggests he takes one entrance, we take another and see what we find.

We tentatively agree.

So we are heading into the dark. Armed as normal with gas lamps as well. We're already lost after about five minutes. The DM is playing a YouTube clip of what I can only describe as "howling cave noises"

>roll for initiative

We do. Nothing happens. Huh?

>a few minutes later, roll again

Nothing happens. This is probably bad.

>roll again

Ah excellent. Something drops from the ceiling. It's fast. It slithers, it has loads of teeth, it has a tail, it honks, and it escapes from our fire/shot/bagpipe/knife/hammer/chainsaw attack through a tiny little hole in the wall.

I am having good feels. We start finding drained corpses of children and teens shortly after. Then the Murican has been drained dry. His once huge body now like an empty chip wrapper.

It's about now we started hearing slithering and squelching and honking just out of range of the gaslight. Just out of sight. That fucking clown honk was the worst. Sometimes from above. Sometimes below. DM had the cave noise down low and the clown honk stupid loud. Cruella's player is edging closer to me. Everyone is on edge. Except Angus who is nipping from his hip flask.

So to recap we are lost, it's dark, and surrounded by fuck knows what. We are not just in caves but caves literally full of skeletons.

>this is going great

Retracing our steps isn't going to work (lost), we can sit here and wait for the fuel to run out on the lanterns, we can push on maybe getting more lost.

We decide to push on. Critters all around us in the dark. Just on the edge of vision.

As we enter a larger cavern they rush us from all sides, again the same rush of nightmarish images, fangs, claws, teeth, black segmented bodies, the sound of grinding slithering and honking.

We must kill some, we take damage, cookie cutter like chunks taken from exposed flesh.

Suddenly we remember what the DM did with that list of fears.

Snake-spider-clown-leeches-in confined spaces.

Shit.

When they vanish, all that's left is green ichor on the ground and rapidly decomposing hunks of what might be black leather. It's impossible to tell exactly what these things look like or how we'll get back to the light and whores of elf Paris.

We push on. Running low on ammo, the wizard low on mana (basically it recharged a bit per round and each spell/action had a cost + DM fiat). The Navvie is injured, Cruella is (like her player) freaking the fuck out (yes my waifu hates clowns). We start finding eggs. Big ones. The navvy smashes each as we go. We come under attack again.

From up ahead there is an earth shattering honk and the sound of rushing water.

It's the queen. There is light filtering through the ceiling, a grate. The floor is littered with corpses and eggs. She's huge. Thirty feet or more of our worst fears. Half snake, half spider, half leech, and with a bright red nose. (That should be funny. It made it much worse)

We engage. The rotary shotgun chewing into HP. The bard fires into Warren Zevons lawyers guns and money, the navvie dives into a pile of smaller deathleeches, Angus just torches everything, Cruella vanishes.

She reappears atop the thing. She uses knife after knife stab to climb up it. She fumbles. Falls. And the maw comes down.

She's gone.

The penguin begs us to fight on.


Now there are certain things fa/tg/uys love. Dice, children, food, and women. Especially ones that play with them.

Cruella and her player had become a group favourite. Having her arbitrarily eaten seemed so cruel, a random act of the dice that made those neckbeards sad.

Our efforts redoubled. Bits of deathleechsnakeclownthing flying in all directions.

Then the queen stops, gulps,

>Cruella, roll some dice please

The queen's gullet splits open. A slender arm holding a wickedly serrated blade sticks out. The queen falls. Cruella squelched her way our. Her normally elaborately made up self, her hair never out of place, well now she's drenched from head to toe in green slime and looks oh so pleased about it.

Angus torches the bodies. Cruella does her best to clean slime off herself. The rest of us bind wounds. The bard plays Don't Come Lookin.

Meanwhile, the Navvie and I find some stairs. We ascend. A barred door, and a smell, a very familiar smell.

Garlic.

>Garlic?

Garlic.

Why should that be familiar? Because France. Duh.

We break down the door and ascend more stairs, eventually we come to a very worried looking priest. He's surrounded by clove after clove of garlic.

"Le power of Christ compels you!"

He splashes us with holy water, Cruella is glad to use it to get some more gunk off.

"You're... you're not demons?"
"Unless you tell us what that thing was, we're your worst nightmare padre."

The Padre explains he was hoping to exorcise the clownleeches himself (good luck), but we are happy to return with him to the whorehouse (he doesn't seem to mind going in either). Turns out we are somewhere near the river seine when we get back to street level. (The sound of rushing water being the river)

We ask the padre about the leeches.

The leeches (the padre tells us) have been appearing slowly for months. What we just killed was not the only queen. He believes someone is feeding them. Bringing food (I.e. people) to them and somehow corrupting them to grow and mutate. He suspects two people.

The local mysterious Warlock (for obvious reasons) and concerningly the head of the Bishop of the other local faith. (Imagine we are talking to a Catholic and he suspects the local protestant).

So. Naturally expecting DM to have expected us to go for the warlock first, and then expecting that he'd expect us to do that, and expecting that he'd expect us to expect him to expect us doing that. We triple bluffed and went for the warlock.

Navvie and I perform surveillance as labourers near his tower. Cruella and bard go to local taverns for gossip. Angus is on a mini quest to upgrade his flamethrower with the wizard (more on that later). We meet back later In tavern so as to compare notes.

We have discovered that the Warlock is receiving large shipments of slaves. Especially female and young. Sounds like our target.

We collect Angus and his upgraded flamethrower and go full murderhobo.

The enchanted door locks don't do much to resist dwarven solid shot. A good boot later and we are in the den of the warlock.

As the doors fall. I shout

"BY ENGLAND AND ST GEORGE WE ARE HERE TO FUCK YOU UP FROGGY"

Adrenaline pumping. Pipes skirling (Saxons Crusader). We are ready for this. The purple penguin abides.

The Warlock looks up over his book. So does the class of female slaves he is teaching medicine to so he can free them to become midwives as this country has terrible pre and antenatal care.

Sheepishly we retreat.

Fuck you DM

Ok. Take 2.

The bishop lives in (amazingly enough) the cathedral. Or at least the manse near it. What cathedral? Notre fucking dam of course.

We decide we need to be a bit more tactful this time and actually do some research.

This time, Cruella and I join the congregation for a service. Angus and Navvie sneak in the back, (yes Angus can be quite sneaky despite being an orc with a flamethrower strapped to him), and the wizard and bard stay outside to see what they can see. We plan to meet back in the street after the service.

The service is bretty gud actually, lots of love your fellow man, do unto others etc, and Cruella and I meet Wizard and Bard back in the street.

We wait for Angus and Navvie. We wait some more (DM has been passing notes).

We see smoke rising from a manhole. That's probably not good...

One wizard crowbar later and we're in the sewers. I realize I have no shotgun (it being a bit less than subtle to carry into a church). Cruella is basically a Dark Eldar Wych wearing clothes so she's fine, as are wizard and bard.

I do have a revolver however, and Wizard lends me his spare one.

The Penguin says lead on!

We pelt through the sewers, moving as quickly as we can without falling in, following the smoke and soon the FWOOSH and hammering.

I did mention that Angus had had something done to his flamethrower right?

What I didn't mention was that he'd had the option of using it as a THERMAL LANCE installed.

So as we round a corner expecting who knows what, we're greeted by the Navvie and Angus back to back, smashing and slicing to bits a pack of clownmurderleech things.

"Looks like we're in the right place then" adds the wizard as we get stuck in.

The leeches don't last long against the full party. Angus fills us in. Turns out they found a grate in the stables and decided to have a look. They've been fighting leeches almost ever since. Seems like we're in the right place.

We decide to head the way most of the leeches came from; heading east and away from Notre Dam, we run into more leeches, but just enough to let us know we're probably heading the right way.

We start to hear chanting up ahead. That sure seems good.

Advancing slowly, there's a circle of cultists, they force a brightly glowing green fluid into a woman's mouth, (and I mean a lot of it). They draw symbols across her exposed belly (which is now glowing green too) and suspend her over a pit.

They probably aren't up to anything good so we dispense with hello and go straight Bad Company's Bad Company and do what we do best.

The cultists aren't a match for us, but there sure are a lot of them, the cult leader lets his hood fall back. It's the fucking Padre. The one we saw first. He raises his arms and chants all the louder.

From the pit emerges what is basically the Dune Worm version of the murder leeches we've been fighting. It gulps down the poor sacrifice and most of the scaffold she was suspended from.

I relax my shoulders, drop into a shooters stance, and dammit I'm gonna do it right. I look it straight into what are probably it's eyes and say,

"BY ENGLAND AND ST GEORGE WE ARE HERE TO FUCK YOU UP WORMY"

Now the death worm? Mega worm? Huegworm? That thing.

It doesn't take kindly to being shot. I'm trying to go for anything that looks like a weakspot. Each round from the revolver a hefty lead dum-dum round, it should be blowing great chunks in it. They are. It's not slowing down.

Cruella goes for the Padre.

Angus runs in, and starts carving holes in it, taking off a leg here, a ravening tentacle thing there,

The Wizard does his thing, sawblades whizz over my head, streaking down its flanks.

The Purple Penguin attempts to out stare it.

The Navvie hefts that glorious hammer, and something weird happens. As the bard plays Hammerfall, Hammer of Justice the Navvie begins to glow.

Not like the sacrifice, not green, not with an earthly light either. No.

Like a flaming union jack.

>this is new

He goes for it. A leap that brings his hammer down on it's forehead. A leap that should kill it. A leap that should shatter the earth and rend space and time asunder.

It keeps right on coming, smacking him aside. With a sickening crunch, he slams into a pillar. Out of the fight.

Spent shells rattle off my hobnails. Followed by two speedloaders.

The bard shifts gear, he might be fucking useless but my god does he know what he's doing when he plays. DM fiat says AC/DC, gone shooting.

I aim for the mark of the hammer, just as Angus gets the thermic lance into it, ripping it open further, and I empty both cylinders.

It comes to a halt in front of my boots.

Dead.

Meanwhile, Cruella is playing connect the dots using knives and the Padre. He's decided he wants to talk.

We decide to introduce him to the Purple Penguin.

The Wizard goes to check on Navvie (he's gonna be fine).

Meanwhile Cruella borrows the purple Penguin.

"This Padre, is the Purple Penguin. Purple Penguin is annoyed you killed all those people, and every time you don't answer the Purple Penguin, the closer you become to being a eunuch understand?"
"You'll nevernyyyyyyaaaaaaaaaargh!"
"I said answer the purple penguin, do you understand?"
"...yes"
"How many of those things were there?"
"I can't teaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!"
"What do we say to that Mr. Penguin? [She speaks in a falsetto pretending to be the penguin] 'bad padre' now you've fed all these people to those things. How many of the big ones are there?"
"No pl... wait wait WAIT! Not again! Three!"
"Good Padre, aren't you pleased Purple Penguin? 'Yes!' Now we've killed two, where is the third?"
"We... we sent it to England, to Guy Fawkes... In time for the coronation"
[Players: Oh come on...]
[IC] "How long do we have!"
"You have no time! It will be oaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh! Tomorrow!"
"Thank you Padre." [Stab]
>P for Pendetta

We make for Calais as fast as we can. We don't know if it'll be fast enough. We ride through the night. Catch the overnight ferry and are in Dover for dawn. A steam train sees us into London 11:00 am. We have barely an hour until the coronation when we find ourselves heavily armed, probably persona non grata, and in Westminister.

We don't know what Guy Fawkes looks like, but we do know he's beneath the palace of Westminister.

So, remember those automatons that Queenie had? Well there's a number of them around Westminster Abbey, so this is gonna be fun.

It's also worth mentioning:

>why leechclownthings in London?

The Padre and his church were pissed that we were crowning another [not]Protestant King. They'd rather we were [not]Catholic.

We decide stealth is the best option here. Bard pipes up with one of his actually pretty sharp ideas. ""The thing in Paris was fucking huge. I wonder how they'd get it under the palace? Unless they grew it here?"

Additionally some relevant V music for you https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbxgYlcNxE8

There's no big holes, therefore it could literally be fucking anywhere under the palace. He could have been feeding it on stocks of royal food, or wine, or diverted a sewer, we have no idea, it might even have laid eggs.

(We did later let the French Embassy know they might want to have a look in the catacombs and under Notre Dame)

There's some discussion. The DM, being a cunt. Goes into his bag (we played at my place) and takes out an old fashioned alarm clock and sets it for 45 minutes time from now. (Fuck. You. DM).

We can get under the palace and maybe find it or we can get into the palace and wait for it to come up from out of the floor or whatever.

The river side is least defended. Now the automatons would be an issue. Would. Except one thing. They're steel.

Wizard decides to have a go, we might even get some troopers to assist us if he can charm it. Well at least he didn't role a 1. He does however manage to get the thing to walk straight forwards, into the river, setting off in the direction of Brussels. It was later heard of in Munich, then Istanbul, then Hyderabad, then Brisbane, I still wake up in the middle of the night worrying it might be spotted in Chile, making the return trip. Pissed as hell.

So, the way in is clear, we get in fast, going for a balcony, we acquire some vestments (priest clothes). Cruella's knives do our bluffwork for us

"I am not a girl. Am I? Good. No."

Now for those non British Anons, the pic (do we need to add it to this page?) is of the interior of westminister abbey, and we wait. Guns, knives, hammer, (I don't know how either, but bagpipes and flamethrower too) under our robes.

The ceremony is beautiful. Dottering mad King Algernon forgets what he's doing, falls asleep, doesn't remember the words, tries to give the crown back to the archbishop.

Then suddenly, there's a rumble, there's a honk, and right in the middle of that pic, up comes the biggest murderworm yet.

We let our vestments drop.

The whirring of the gatling shotgun is drowned out as the bard launches into Scotland the Brave [Note to the Americans, this is hilarious.] and as the Navvie leaps, he starts to glow again (I make a mental note to look into that), Cruella follows, Angus goes nuts, and the wizard and I light the fucker up.

Algernon is under the throne, the archbishop is being eaten, and the great and the good run for cover.

The fight is not over quickly, nor is it bloodless, but by god do we do our country proud. When the smoke clears, when my gatling runs dry, and with most of Westminster Abbey ablaze (careful Angus) the King is crowned atop the body of one giant fucking scary French clownworm and we get a royal pardon.

The Beastmen of Wales[edit]

So, for the next episode we must skip forward in time about six months. Algernon has proved a weak king (no surprise) and the Welsh and Irish are preparing to invade. We have our royal charter and the party reconvene in Harrogate.

King Algernon I has been persuaded to lead an army into Wales. Armed with the new Martini Henry rifles (remember way back at the start of this? That's what we got from the alchemist), they march confidently into Wales. Initial skirmishes go well. Welsh barbarians chucking spears, then melting back into the bush at the first volley. The army marches on to Harlech. Algernon leads an assault on the castle of King Rorke and his men of Harlech. Algernon is captured and the army massacred. Failures in the supply train (the army have boxes of ammo for those new rifles. The boxes are screwed shut. No screwdrivers) see the army butchered to a man.

Our mission, when we choose to accept it, is to get into Harlech, possibly kill king Rorke, and rescue Algernon.

First it's necessary to lay out exactly what the Welsh are (sorry Wales). They're a mix of satyrs, half man, half goat, centaurs, and similar. All with the top half of a man and the lower half of some form of Ungulate. They're tribesmen, smart, cunning, and well organized.

Harlech is remote, a large isolated castle. Definitely not something the six of us (+ penguin) can storm by force.

King Rorke is half man, half bull. There are also rumours of the Welsh being supported by a wizard, one who calls himself

>Merlin
>why are the Welsh so annoyed?

Queenie ruled that they weren't human and therefore English settlers could claim their lands by force.

So, we are in my Dorf Fortress. Six months have passed and the party have used them well.

>bard

Has learnt to weaponize the bagpipes. He may now damage enemies with them

>Angus

Invented napalm. Runs a successful shop. (He is a greengrocer at heart)

>Wizard

Is now Sir Wizard, got married. Has further developed his powers.

>Cruella

Now officially consort of Aldous. Has obtained a wicked looking bastard sword. Talks to it. It may talk back.

>Navvie

The spirit of the Union (the magic glowy thing) defies all research. Still likes hitting stuff.

>Aldous

I have some new titles, a waifu, and the gatling shotgun has gone tacticool.

>Purple Penguin

Already at level cap.

So we unfurl the map again. I light my pipe. The bard helps as usual by humming a tune. Everyone leans in and we start to plot. Going overland seems more than a little dangerous. The army was lead into a trap and it seems the party would be ambushed if we tried.

We could go by sea however. We'd have to be careful and lucky to avoid the Irish.

Or we could go south through the much safer channel and then up and round. It is still likely that we would meet pirates.

We decide to sail from Liverpool and see what happens.

We provision ourselves and move on from Harrogate to Liverpool.

So we arrive in port. There are three ships we can take:

1. The "HMS Invincible 2", a battlecruiser. Not exactly subtle.
2. The tramp steamer - "Matilda," subtle, not exactly fast. Looks inconspicuous
3. The gunboat - HMS "38 Minutes," small, fast, and exactly the sort of thing the pirates would love to steal if they can catch us.

We favour the gunboat for the stealthy approach, reasoning we may also need to run away quickly.

The royal charter (a very handy document, I should say we are described as "Adventurers By Appointment to Her Majesty - Queenie hugs, kisses and I'll chop off your balls His Majesty Algernon I, for services rendered" on the charter).

Anyway, this document sees us aboard the 38 minutes and sailing south at great speed. The Bard pipes us out of harbour as is tradition. Saxon, thin red line.

>DM: roll some dice please Bard
>rolls
>You kill three bystanders.
>Oh, I forgot about that. I'll play a bit more quietly next time.

Anyway, we make good speed southwards.

As we round a headland, the shout comes

"BOARD THEM."

We've run straight into an ambush. Two pirate ships sling grappling harpoons at us.

We look at each other. We split into two groups and shout.

"BOARD THEM BACK!"

The pirates don't last very long, at all. The 38 Minutes rakes them with machine gun fire before we board, and the party commit all sorts of unpleasantness to the crew.

The bard looks around.

"Guys I have an idea
We take these sails, and well there's six of us, Wizard, Cruella and Me are the tallest so we could sort of cover each other with sails so from a distance we'd look sorta like centaurs and..."
"Guys?"
Angus: "I have another idea, lets take one of these ships."

Unanimously agreeing that Angus's plan is less stupid, we decide to leave the 38 Minutes moored in a cove near Harlech, and take the "The Revenge of the Purple Penguin" in closer for a look at the castle.

The castle, it's fucking Harlech Castle, we sneak ashore in just before dawn, using the dusk for cover, and get a little closer. We set up on a little hill nearby and decide to observe the situation. There's thick mist. Really thick. We use the cover of it to get on the hill into a copse of trees.

The bard and DM are passing notes. Nothing is on fire yet, so we're probably OK, but that's a really bad sign,

We settle in and wait for daybreak.

We can just make out the torches on the castle walls and not much else. When the sun starts to get rid of the fog, we start seeing more detail, and hearing things. All around us. We appear to have followed a stream (to avoid being tracked/scented) straight into the enemy camp.

We're surrounded by tents and dozing centaurs.

Alright. Plan B. Lets wait for nightfall.

We pass the day sleeping and observing as best we can.

Observations include:

- That's a fuckton of Welsh
- Let's not go out there for a bit

We wait for nightfall. The bard starts getting twitchy about dusk. He goes into his bag and removes a small sail.

"Guys guys we could..."
"Shut the fuck up [bard player]"

We think and discuss (quietly). We are pretty sure our king will be held not far from King Rorke. We also know they want his ransom so they haven't killed him. Our best bet is to get into the castle at night, and get out again, King in tow and a knife through Rorke's heart. Now aside from Cruella, none of our weapons are exactly stealthy... We need a diversion.

"Wouldn't a disguise be really useful here?"

No, shut up bard.

As fog starts to come up, we have a thought. The baggage train includes a lot of hay (because centaurs don't like pulling carts, so there are normal livestock), surely a small fire would become a big one pretty fast. A technowizard bomb in amongst all that ammo they stole from the kings army would also sure be handy.

We reason with enough flame and smoke, Rorke will have to send his bodyguard, or at least some out, to help deal with things, and they'll have to come through the main gate.

And the ammo dump cooking off should give us enough sound and random ricochets to cover us if we have to go loud.

Angus gets given the job of starting the fire, and Wizard of assembling the bomb. We split up. Bard and Angus with me, and Cruella and Navvie with Wizard.

This was of course the plan.

They say no plan survives contact with the enemy. Well...

The wizard's team set off in the fog and darkness, with Cruella with them they should manage to be stealthy enough for the wizard to set off a timed explosion with limited disturbance.

Well team wizard snuck through rows of tents and with a couple of guards getting a second smile, they did just fine. Setting off to wait in the ditch next to the main gate for us.

Our stealth team has: a dwarf in plate armour, an orc with a full on flamethrower, and a bard who normally contributes to the war effort by bagpiping. We are ninja.

We get surprisingly far with our efforts before Angus trips on a guy rope, then falling into a rack of weaponry, making enough racket to wake up the Welshmen in the tent nearest.

Options:

>Bluff?

I and Bard have decent social skills. We could, but neither of us speak Welsh.

>Start shooting?

Retarded for obvious reasons

>Run?

They'll raise the alarm

>Silent takedown?

Cruella is the only member of party able to do that usefully.

>Hide?
"Guys we could..."
>shut up bard.

Hiding is our best option though. We duck into some barrels and Bard tosses the sail cloth over us. In the dark and the mist it's just enough.

>Bard player is positively beaming at this point.

We wait, holding our breath, we look innocuous enough against the background of mist and tents, in amongst the baggage train we are just another half shape in the darkness.

We listen to the beastmen bicker and pick up spears.

We wait.

We peek out. We got away with it.

We continue on. Angus is delivered to the hay bails. He has so many fire related skills that him building a small fire which won't be seen but will burn very very fast into the bales (after about five minutes) is easy enough for him. (IIRC he used a stub of candle, a lantern, and some thick rope soaked in oil as a sort of fuse - it was enough though)

We snuck on. DM, perhaps recognizing we could all die really easily, is likely to have fudged several rolls here, and a lot of the camp were passed out drunk which was useful.

The fire gets going into a good blaze and down comes the drawbridge. Hooves thunder over us as we wait. Then the ammo dump goes up. Perfect.

We wait until the hooves stop. The portcullis starts to fall. Wizard creates tension in the chains and we get up, over and under the portcullis as the drawbridge starts to rise behind us. We are in and it seems no one is any the wiser. The wizard causes the iron of the portcullis to splay out into the cobblestones. No one is getting in or out without our say so. (We do know there is a sally port on the far (seaward) wall.

We get into the cellars relatively easily and as far as we know, unseen. What we find in the cellars is impressive to say the least. Cask after cask, barrel after barrel. Out of curiosity it we find an open one. It's Guinness.

It appears Harlech is what has happened to what the Welsh used to trade with the rest of Britbongsteros (along with tin and mutton).

So, we are beneath Harlech Castle, we have found the king along with a variety of other prisoners. We take it upon ourselves to free each and every one (the Purple Penguin approves). King Algernon has very little idea what is going on but thanks us for "allowing him to continue to consider the custard." The other prisoners are a mix of general prison scum and prisoners of war, our party of 6 is now a party of 40 odd.

We decide to make for the courtyard and the sally port, then the ship.

We get into the courtyard just fine, it's about then that we realize we might not be the only ones to have noticed our entrance. King Rorke and the rest of his bodyguards are facing us, and are not looking best pleased. We can fight, we can most likely take them, the question is, is it a good idea?

>'dis gonna be gud...

We crack our collective necks, rack slides and generally get ready.

The bard pipes up for the first time in a while.

"Guys, guys, I got this."

OK fuck it, it's not like you ever do anything anyway.

He takes a couple steps forward.

You could hear a pin drop. Prisoners and party on one side, and King Rorke and his elite on the other.

The Bard speaks.

"I like beer."

???

>Everyone likes beer.

ok...

"And we know trade has ceased. We have here the king of this sceptered isle, his predecessor decreed you were no longer human, no longer to be traded with, no longer to produce Guinness for us, no longer to own lands, and this is why you rebelled, so were this man, this King, to reverse that, to allow the beer to flow, then what need for this rebellion be there?"

It's working.

Shit it's actually working.

>The bard is starting to glow, just as Navvie did previously. It's going well.

King Rorke strikes his sword into the cobblestones.

"Very well, you may..."
"WAIT."

It's Merlin. He looks exactly like you'd expect. It's Gandalf with a different hat.

"NO. YOU. SHALL. NOT. PASS."

Merlin is up on the battlements. This loopy wizard is going to object to creating peace because... actually why is he doing that?

We ask him.

"Why spill more blood when we can make peace?"
"Because you will never keep this promise, you will never honour your word, you will never hold true."

Fuck.

Rorke and his men are starting to look grumpy, getting ready to charge. Bard is no longer glowing, but he does launch into Hank Williams Jr, Country Boys Can Survive looks like this is gonna end bloody. Then... Cruella does something no one expected.

She seizes the Purple Penguin. She holds him high.

"What is this child's toy? Why do we carry it? It is a symbol, a promise we made to a little girl, that we would return her toy to her, that she would not go alone into that cold dark night, that in all of the horror of the world, there was some good. Let there still be some good. Each and every warrior here will have a wife, a mother, children, why must they be without a father, a son, and a husband? This Purple Penguin is the symbol of what we fight for, and why you should let the Guinness flow."

It's not a natural 20, but it's an 19, it's enough, Merlin doesn't have an answer. Instead he levitates down to our level. Struts past Rorke and starts to chant in a language no one recognizes.

Rorke splits him from crown to crotch neatly with one blow of his axe.

"Peace it is."

Everybody drinks Guinness until they pass out.

That was our one and only happy ending in Britbongsteros

Britbongsteros and the Lucky Charms[edit]

So with peace in Wales, we return to London hungover as fuck and with King Algernon and King Rorke in tow. Due to some fantastic

> I roll to seduce

Angus appears to have been the only person in Wales (in Britbongsteros) to have fucked an actual sheep.

With the Kings in London we hang around for a bit, taking a couple days off for R n R while they negotiate. Most of it is spent laughing at Angus who seems to have gotten a souvenir from his beau.

During our time (in the pub) we learn that there is a mysterious ship moored in the Thames and that the advisor who was so in favour of Algie invading Wales wants to see us.

>Who is the adviser Dm?
>Richard the third duke of Bosworth and blackadder, master of Dunny on the Wold.
>Richard the Third?
>Richard III
>Of Bosworth
>DM....

So we travel to Cutlers hall where tricky dicky wants to meet us. We are expecting hunchbacked evil Richard, what we get is a Broad shouldered man, with a huge beard, strongfat as fuck and with a big booming laugh. It's Brian blessed and the King's second bastard cousin.

He is with one Samuel Johnson and one Ollie Cromwell.

Together they represent His Majesties most treasured advisers. The Privy Council.

>Who is....

Google it.

It seems we have developed a reputation for solving problems and the kingdom has two. One is nascent, a vessel full of Arab Princes has come to visit with a view to British investment in extracting oil from their lands. Sir Hobart and The Old Gang believe this could be used to fuel several new weapons of war. Including something called a "Land Cruiser" designs of which show great long caterpillar tracks and batteries of turreted cannons. The Privy Council will keep us posted on this project.

Richard starts munching on an entire roasted pig as Oliver Cromwell outlines what will be our next task while a prototype of this vehicle is built.

>A modest proposal on the Irish Question

While Blackadder's servant Baldrick pours drinks, we listen to Crommie explain the problem.

>Eire Delenda Est...

The Irish have been raiding across the Irish sea, the entire west coast is almost unlivable, British warships are being lost to the allies of the Irish, the so called "Deep ones."

Our mission? End the threat of the Irish.

How?

The Irish are mostly human barbarians (sorry Ireland) who have a portal to another dimension/world somewhere near Waterford. It is from this that they are summoning Pacific Rim style gribblies. Sir Hobart and his colleague (one Barnes Wallis) have contrived an explosive with high plasticity and excellent explosives properties. "Conflagration causing caustic cement" or C4

We are to destroy the portal and a seaborne invasion of troops (including the prototype Land Cruiser) can deal with the humans. The Irish can summon monsters faster than we can build ships so with the portal atomized the navy can deal with Cthulhu and pals but not before.

Victory brings glory and medals.

Failure will bring us a Victoria cross

>Isn't that good?

No it means we will be crucified


How we get to Waterford is an interesting question. Or it would be, if we didn't have a pirate ship moored off Harlech castle and the 38 Minutes keeping an eye on it. We return to Harlech and prepare.

So, now in Harlech, King Rorke came back with us, he and the King (or rather Blackadder and co) having agreed to allow free trade and the Welsh are now people again.

We had the option of taking the HMS Trafalgar - a RN Submarine but decided the pirate ship would be more subtle, so the Trafalgar will linger off Waterford as long as she can, to be summoned by signal flare (or she will run the fuck away if Cthulhu is spotted).

The voyage is uneventful, we land near Tramore, then it's just a matter of following the great green glowy thing that we can see in the sky. It's half submerged in the bit on Google Maps called The Gap.

Now a note on the Irish. As mentioned they're human, they're armed with sharp sticks. They will attack us on sight. With our weaponry we can annihilate a whole whole lot of them, however the DM is very careful to inform us that as soon as a shot is fired or the alarm raised, we will have about 15 minutes in game until Cthulhu or his cousin comes to try and find us.

The countryside as we cross it is green, not the healthy emerald isle green, but slime green, there are shoggoth looking things squelching across the land in the distance, lit against the stars by the way colours shift within them, like a land based aurora borealis. The land is nothing like you'd expect Ireland, it's not a wasteland, it's just... alien.

Plant things we don't recognize, reptilian things in the sky. Small tiny little flying fish that bite like mosquitoes. The sounds of the night as we carefully navigate the sucking mire of the coast are just wrong, what could be frogs screech, what might be fish croak, what definitely aren't foxes make pings and clicks like dolphins. Strange dark shapes move in the water, faces appear and disappear in puddles an inch deep.

On the skyline great huge shapes move inland, some humanoid, some that defy imagination, and others we don't want to imagine.

Toward the gap the great arch of the portal rises from the waters, spinning with green lightning, we can taste magic in the air. Not the ozone of earthly magic, this is a clinging filth that makes your spit black. From the portal there is a great flash and a huge tail with a great staring luminous eye on it appears from nowhere and slowly submerges as it slides down toward Dunmore.

It's a lovely place.

>The Purple Penguin Abides

We cross overland without incident, if thoroughly and completely freaked the fuck out. Britbongsteros is not a nice place but this is new, this is bad. Angus and I are hauling heavy satchels of C4, and as we get closer to the gate we start to realize just how big it is. The flickering eldritch lightning isn't helping either.

We come upon the gate just inland of it. We're pleasantly surprised that there doesn't seem to be anyone around the thing. Maybe the fish thing we saw earlier was the last to come through for the night?

We start to feel on edge, Cruella's hair is standing on end, my beard is bristling, change of plan.

We retreat to a safer distance as the gate starts to flicker, to shift, to twist, almost biologically, flexing like muscle, peristaltic shifting within it.

>THOOOOOOOM

The lightning blasts outward on a level we feel more than hear, and something else slips away into the waters.

We estimate it was about 45 minutes since we saw it land, and we start to really hope that the HMS Trafalgar is still off shore.

It's then we see the barbarians (I'm not going to call them Irish). They approach the gate furtively, like they're afraid of what it could do to them, they start to chant, to cavort, some sacrifice, driving prisoners into pits at the bottom of the pillars, others stroke and caress the mass of it. It's like they're refueling it. A priest is rowed out into the middle of the thing, and slits open the still living body of [we are going to pretend it was a sheep because I feel sick typing this] and [removes the unborn lamb from its womb] and kills it.

The small body he holds starts to glow, and he tosses the green shining corpses into the inky black waters.

Lightning starts to play up the arc, and the glow comes from within the waters.

It appears they've summoned another.

We also have our time frame.

45 minutes to recharge, five minutes to refuel, and then the natives disappear.


One hushed conference later and we agree, we have a plan.

>It's a shit plan.

We wait, we wait for the next summoning to complete. Then...

We wait. We wait for those five minutes for the barbarians to dissipate. Then we charge.

We're about 150 yards from the gate when we're spotted, a wedge of dirty, malnourished, and zealously frenzied barbarians forming almost from nowhere.

The DM starts timing us. 15 Minutes to Cthulhu.

The barbarians form a shield wall. There's six of us. What can we do against 500 odd men?

We form a straight line. Six abreast and move forward in pace with the bard. He runs surprisingly fast but stops at 30 ft and plays. He plays Man O'war, Defender

Then we simply charge. Straight into that mass of humanity, slaves of the dark ones, they form a shield wall.


The Navvies hammer breaks shields, Angus turns men into screaming pillars of flame, where they don't simply melt. The gatling shotgun makes a fine red mist. Cruella laughs and moves so fast you can barely work out her motions until she stops to spit out a mouthful of jugular. The Wizard simply drives one sharpened stake through man, after man, after man.

We massacre them. Wading through blood and offal to the sacrifice pits.

Looking back on it now, sitting in my safe warm study, pipe in hand and Cruella playing with a dog nearby, those warriors spoke as they died. Each and every one, and they thanked us.

They thanked us for saving them.

We feel literally and figuratively filthy as we start to prime the charges.

The silence is the worst, after the screams. After the cacophony.

There's a shape on the horizon, a shape like a great, crystalline structure, that walks with the gait of a man and the step of a bear, it can't be looked at for long, and it's coming our way.

We thought to wire the charges in a neat demolition pattern, the wizard would bore into the pillars, and we would place shaped charges, we thought.

>We thought.

We didn't think that these things were operated by blood sacrifice.

The gate has starting to glow already. We didn't summon Cthulhu, The barbarians did that.

>We just summoned Cthulu's dad.

We simply toss the bags of C4 in, fire the signal flare and turn tail.

Thing is.

That great big shape on the horizon is catching up on us. It's a ten minute run to the Trafalgar, even if she's there. If she hasn't been sunk. We set the charges for two and whatever the thing on the horizon is, it's about ten minutes away.

It's gonna be fine, it's gonna be tight.

We run. We run like crazy.

The charges go off. We don't even look back. The pillar comes down, Magic blasting out, throwing us flat. The shock wave blowing us off our feet. Heat on our exposed skin.

We can't hear, we can barely see, magical lightning spearing into the ground around us. Throwing up great spumes of earth.

The beast is catching up. By the time we're on the dunes, down at Dunmore East, it's right behind us. It's right there. It's literally on us. It's... indescribable.

Out in the dark, we can see the Trafalgar. She's not alone. The beasts of the waves have risen. The Trafalgar and the entire Atlantic fleet lay into every filthy beast your mind can imagine, lit in flashes of lightning, strobing slaughter, guns fire, ships are torn asunder, beasts scream, everything dies.

There's something small coming for us. It's one of the Trafalgar's boats. A steam pinnace.

Thing is, the beast on shore is at least as fast as it.

We are stuck.

We can dig in, try and hamstring it maybe? We can...

>The Navvie passes DM a note.
"Bard. Play me something good. I go to glory."

Jeff Wayne's Thunderchild

The night is black, rent asunder by shot, ethereal lightning, and the sound of a countryside dying, and in that darkness, the Navvie starts to glow. Stripes of Red, White, and Blue.

Saltire first, cross of St George next, and finally St Patrick's Saltire. Overlaid across his broad, broad back.

We move to stand with him.

"Go boys. Go."
"Go."

I shake his hand. I press something into that broad paw of a hand. A small, purple, penguin.

He tucks him into his shirt, and starts to walk forward. A small glowing flag into the blackness of the night.

That was the last we saw of him.

The beast stopped in its tracks. Raised one great foot, and slammed it down on that little flag.

We watched from the beach, then the pinnace.

It raised its foot, and that proud little flag still stood.

It began to climb.

As we boarded the Trafalgar, we saw the beast fall, the Union Jack atop it's great head. As the Trafalgar began to sink beneath the waves, we saw that little flag cease to glow.

And that anon, is where this episode of Britbongsteros ends.

Saxon, Broken Heroes.


There is an epilogue to this episode however.

We returned to Waterford the next day. The remains of the Atlantic and home fleets licking their wounds in the channel, the Trafalgar took us back to say a few words.

We went ashore and took a shovel.

The Bard plays Amazing Grace, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards as we walk up the beach.

We approach that great huge corpse, already rotting in the sun, seagulls (because seagulls don't give a fuck) picking at it.

Within the great sundered skull, split right down the middle, we find first a sodden, bloodied, slightly torn purple penguin.

Then within that skull, a hammer, and a body.

We start to dig. In that blasted tortured land. The flower of the British Navy burns off shore, great huge elder things lie on the beach, rotting in the sun.

Britain, this great Britain, is united once more, we did that. This man did that. This penguin did that.

We pick him up.

>He coughs.
>motherfucker.

I suppose I should have said "that night" (in regards to the last we saw of him), but that'd have ruined the effect a little. I thought /tg/ might prefer to experience it as we did.

>DM you're a dick.

Britbongsteros at the North Pole[edit]

We return to London and meet with the privy council. We are informed we are being sent on holiday.

Or at least away.

An expedition to the arctic has reported no sign of a north west passage, but it has found land, under the polar ice cap. Reports by carrier albatross are notably unreliable but nothing else has been heard for six months. Fearing the intervention of a foreign (German) power we are sent northwards.

Meanwhile Britbongsteros is being drained dry, victory in Ireland has been costly and with the continentals now aware that the navy is effectively half what it once was, it seems like we may have a fight on our hands soon.

The events in Ireland have already been hushed up under the official secrets act and the Navvie, if questioned, says he remembers nothing. Even a session with Sir Richard Bacon provides no answer to his mysterious powers.

We are instead packed aboard an icebreaker and sent onwards.

Aboard the Icebreaker (HMS Intrepid) we begin to unbox some of the gear that was loaded aboard with us. We were wise enough to purchase our own cold weather gear (Bard is still wearing a kilt) but we have three big crates and no idea what they are.

>DM: "Ok let's roll to see whats in these things! But first who wants to get me a beer?"

(This is DM code for give me a beer or its gonna be full of condoms)

Having a wizard who is very good at controlling metal means you're never without a tinopener, or in this case, a crowbar.

Now at this point DM hasn't told us a great deal about the North Pole (it's cold and not all ice), so as we pop the box, and these are big big crates, we are pleased to see the roll results in a snowcat (think APC specialized for snow). The next is camping supplies for a polar expedition. Food, tents, etc.

>Guys?
>What bard?
>Can any of us drive a snowcat? Its a very different thing to a car or boat and...
>DM: That's a very good point actually. I'll just add some penalties.
>Party: Fucking bard.

The third box we are slightly concerned to see is full of smaller crates. The first is full of britbongsteros-not-bibles, as we dig deeper we find more of these along with a note saying we should "use them to bring the word of God to the fuzzy wuzzies" we also find a great deal of corned beef, and finally, a comically oversized whaling harpoon gun. Too big for it to be man portable, but big enough that the Cat could carry it.

>Scots of the (Ant)arctic

Pleased with our haul, we settle in for the voyage and do our best to piece together what little we know and can learn from the notes sent by the expedition.

Prior to the visit of the expedition, the actual pole was uncharted, an unknown, we are aware that the icecap is thick, that the expedition included a drilling team, armed guards, and several technowizards, so they had come loaded for bear.

We knew they had traveled toward the pole from Greenland on up, when (and this was the last message) they mentioned the wizards with them having detected a large metallic mass under the ice and were going to commence drilling. We knew how far they had gone, in what direction and roughly when they'd stopped. The cat had fuel for twice that so we should be ok.

The voyage into arctic waters takes us via Scapa Flow, the Faroes, Iceland (lots of trolls and stupidly attractive elves, very odd food) and finally to Greenland. We are a bit surprised that nothing tries to eat us on the way. We are horrified however when make land. Next to the cairn erected by the British Expedition, there is another newer one.

"L'expédition française, vive le France!"
-signed "Napoleon Le Talleyrand De Baguette III"

Now, not only does our expedition (which as far as we know are all still alive) not know about the French being behind them, they definitely do not know that it is De Baguette leading them. We are informed (as in the characters already know, but players don't) that De Baguette is a famous French mercenary and explorer, half hobbit, half troll and not the way you'd expect either. Monsieur Talleyrand-De Baguette the elder was one fucking brave rapist hobbit.

Now. We have our mission clearly set out. The British Expedition has not been heard from in months. The French have most likely treacherously waylaid them when they stopped to examine the metal thing. We must avenge them or at the very least beat the French to the pole. So. With Union Jack flying from the CAT we set off.

Now at this point we haven't seen any unusual flora or fauna, nothing, just snow. Lots of snow. We trace the planned route of the expedition, finding camps easily enough, the expedition having left markers at each sight. Some investigation in each camp brings not only empty tins of corned beef, but also empty bottles of vin and the occasional beret.

Clearly we are following traces of both expeditions.

We proceed onward, unaccosted for the most part. We do however see an ogopogo fight some polar bears. The purple penguin and the rest of us enjoyed that. Additionally, don't eat Polar bear or shoot and attempt to eat the victorious ogopogo (they're really gamey).

We make good progress, it's high summer so we travel through the day and most of the night, stopping only to rest for a few hours here and there. We sleep in the CAT mostly. The nights are more of an eternal twilight. Beautiful but cold as fuck.

>About the third or fourth night. We bed down. Everyone drifts off. We are woken by a very loud rap on the window.

Not howling of wind. Not a hungry bear. A distinctive postman's shave and a haircut knock.

We look out, there's no one there. We light lamps, and investigate, no one there. We check for footprints, just ours. Angus and Cruella both have very good senses of smell. They can't smell anything unusual.

The next night it happens again.

No one there. We're starting to freak out a bit. Characters are missing sleep, panicky, and still at the top of the world, more alone than ever, shave and a haircut on a window every night. Always when no one is looking that way, always no trace.

Remember we are alone up here. No one for miles. The CAT moves at a decent speed, so something is keeping pace. Leaving no footprints and no signs. We search the bags and panniers on the CAT thinking we have a stowaway. No sign.

The next morning, there is a big chunk missing from the engine. As though someone had taken a core sample. The bard mentions something.

"Guys, we only have one CAT, if Wizard can't fix this. We can't walk back to shore. We are dead."

Fortunately wizard and Angus manage between them to fix the thing. It takes most of the day, into the night. The rest of us stand guard. Angus feels a tap on his shoulder. A tap tapatap. Shave and a haircut.

Angus is bent over the engine. He freaks the fuck out.

"Its here it's here shoot it shoot it!"

There's nothing there. No print. Nothing.

We are all nervous now.

Later as we bed down. As best we can. Three on watch. Three dozing, dressed and armed, there's a colossal thud on the hood of the CAT. A skinless face stares into the light of the cab. Pile out into the twilight. Surrounding it. It's a polar bear, skinned. Slowly dribbling off the hood. From behind us. Shave and a haircut.

We turn. I bring the shotgun up and fire over the roof of the cab. Either I hit nothing or I am firing at nothing. The sound of the whirring gatling is ridiculous in the arctic silence. We are left alone on the ice. Listening to our breathing. When we wake the next morning. there are 16 tiny perfect pyramids of ball bearings on the hood. The gatling fires eight shells a second. I gave it a two second burst. It's somehow brought back each and every pellet. They pyramids on closer examination, float half an inch above the hood.

>Things that go bump in the not quite night.

Something is fucking with us. The purple penguin doesn't approve of this. We decide whatever it is, tt needs to die. Whether it's aliens or invisible Inuit, it's going to fucking die.

Our first thought is to defend. How do we dig in? We could find a cave? There aren't any. We also decide against looking for one. Not fancying digging our way out of a cave in for one thing. We do however settle on pulling the CAT into a small valley type thing. Now it can only come from above, the front or the rear. We string guy ropes for the tents to empty cans. It might not actually make enough noise to set off the alarm but the wizard thinks he could detect them being disturbed. We also (well Angus and Wizard) set up half a dozen trip wires attached to mines.

We wait.

We wait longer.

"It's here"

We listen in the dark, straining our ears in the silence of the polar night. There's very little wind. There's nothing. In the near dark, Angus lights the pilot of his flamethrower. Cruella coos soothingly at her sword.

>There's a very faint tinkling to the left, all eyes turn very slowly. One of the cans is floating in mid air.

We watch as the can starts to drift toward us. Then slowly something disturbs the snow. A small thing. A very familiar thing. One of the mines is floating too. Towards us.

>Shit shit shit shit shit

Angus flings open a door.

Angus torches everything for thirty yards around the mine. The mine cooks off. We unload in the direction of it. Spraying rounds. The bard launches into his most lethal of songs Luke Bryan, Drinkin Beer and wastin bullets.

Magazines run dry, the song finishes. We pant. It must be fucking dead. We investigate.

From behind us, on the roof of the CAT

>The DM raps the table. Shave and a haircut

We pivot. Silhouetted against the morning sun. A shape can just be made out. Humanoid. Maybe. More like a grasshopper, knees up by its ears. I drop the shotgun and go for my pistols. Cruella sprints across snow, the Navvie lumbers after her.

The harpoon gun (yes that thing) starts to slowly turn. Toward it. Whatever the fuck it is, I unload on it as Cruella leaps onto the Cab with it. I wing it. I'm sure I do. Cruella closes her eyes as the thing starts to leap toward her. Relying on her other senses and sword to do the work. She decapitated it. Beautifully silhouetted against the morning sun.

It's dead. We get our first look at the body. It's not as small as we thought and it must be strong. It's wearing a grey full body suit. Covered in strange devices like nothing we have ever seen. They are more science than magic but a science nothing like our own.

Something on its belt starts to flash and beep. Things that flash and beep are never good in our experience. The Navvie picks the thing up and hurls it a good forty feet. It goes up like a grenade.

We travel on. Finding a British camp. There is the usual cairn but also eight smaller ones. Burials. Three marked with British flags, five with the tri-colore.

The next night. As we bed down for our first good night's sleep.

>Shave and a haircut.
>Not again

Ok so we killed one. We are not entirely sure how, but if it bleeds, we can kill it. Maybe these are the things that killed the first expedition. Certainly there were bodies back at the last camp and we are nearly at the dig site.

Cruella and the wizard seem to be our strongest assets here. The wizard doesn't seem able to sense them, but at least he can stop things flying at us, and Cruella is fast, stealthy and violent. Cruella pulls herself up onto the CAT and closes her eyes.

Things are starting to levitate. Angus wrestles with the flamethrower, it takes the Navvie to help hold him and it down, allowing the Navvies hammer to go full Mjolnir and clobber the bard.

Cruella with her eyes closed has only the other seven senses (she's not human), but it's enough to feel tiny vibrations of the thing in the air. Her sword lashes out and seemingly from nowhere half a torso appears. Followed a moment later by the rest of the creature.

The Navvie is already prepared and punts both halves into the distance. The explosion ensuring whatever these things are, remains a mystery.

We continue onwards to the dig site. We see in the distance a number of CAT like vehicles. Of two different types. Some with Union Jacks others are French, at least De Baguette hasn't beaten us to the pole.

We start to investigate. bearing in mind anyone alive would have seen us from miles away and heard us before that, we are pretty sure something has gone horribly wrong. It never occurred to us that De Baguette might be preparing an ambush, so we drove right on up to the camp and vehicles. Judging by the Union Jack still flying and a French flag next to it, if the two expeditions had met, it was amicable. So where was everyone?

We look around, orderly tents, half eaten meals, standard Mary Celeste stuff. We note that the meals include corned beef (British) and Merlot (French). There are no bullet holes, blood stains or anything else suspicious, barring that everything has lain undisturbed for at least five months.

Undisturbed is probably not good. Surely bears or something else would have come looking? Nothing however.

We do find the British Expedition HQ and the very orderly logbook. The entries all end five months ago. Mostly it is things we already knew or banality (still drilling, thirty feet today) we note that De Baguette was greeted and the two countries joined forces to drill. Creating a what was referred to as both a channel and tunnel down toward the metallic item. (The logbook called it a "Chunnel" for some reason). The last entry read

"Slowly, desperately slowly it seemed to us as we watched, the remains of passage debris that encumbered the lower part of the doorway were removed, until at last we had the whole door clear before us. The decisive moment had arrived. With trembling hands I made a tiny breach in the upper left hand corner. Darkness and blank space, as far as an iron testing-rod could reach, showed that whatever lay beyond was empty, and not filled like the passage we had just cleared. Candle tests were applied as a precaution against possible foul gases, and then, widening the hole a little, I inserted the candle and peered in, De Baguette and Lady Evelyn (his daughter) standing anxiously beside me to hear the verdict. At first I could see nothing, the hot air escaping from the chamber causing the candle flame to flicker, but presently, as my eyes grew accustomed to the light, details of the room within emerged slowly from the mist... there was gleaming metal within, and light. Tomorrow we shall investigate further."

Some anons may recognize the text. I did.

We realize we are going in. Whether we like it or not. Honour and the penguin demand it.

The chunnel is not quite wide enough to fit the CAT down, so we decide to proceed on foot. The Chunnel proceeds downwards as far as we can see, lights strung on the walls merge together in the distance, it's a long way down, so we'd better start walking.

So on we go, into the chunnel, the crude earthworks give way to paved, interlocked, impeccably precise granite blocks as we proceed downward. We pass over what must have been the remains of the door way, and into a great stone cavern, so large, it recedes off into blackness in the distance. In the very center is a circular, metal object, an ellipsoid. It's hard to tell the scale of the thing at this distance, but as we walk toward it, we realize it's huge. With one small opening, perhaps three men wide, and three high.

As we approach, we still see no signs of the expeditions, as we approach the doorway, there is a sound from within. We ready arms. What the hell is...

A man.

A man stumbles out.

Disheveled, dirty, and missing his eyes.

He collapses into the arms of the Navvie.

Crying, whimpering.

"I have seen things. Wonderful things..."

and he expires.

So, that's probably good.

We examine the corpse. He's plainly starving, emaciated, and of course his eyes appear to have been scooped out, which is always a great sign.

He's wearing a mix of British and French Uniforms, filthy and very, very dead.

Obviously with that most excellent of omens, we enter the metal ellipsoid.

What we find within is beyond our understanding, it's reminiscent of a battleship, strange pipes and tubes run hither and thither, and there's corpses, lots of corpses, electrocuted, chopped, splattered, zapped, and generally in bits. All human. Although the walls aren't marked, there are the squashed remains of bullets on the floor. They must've been fired, missed, and then hit the walls, and simply fallen to the floor. We estimate the better part(s) of twenty men within the thing.

We find on one of the bodies a portable gramaphone. The Bard picks it up, fiddles, and we hear what has been recorded.

"I see things, Wonderful things. This creation, this steel building, I am inclined to call it a ship, that lay open within the cavern, allowing our ingress, it is incredible, beautiful, and yet so strange. We track dark endless halls, lit by our torches and gas lamps. There is no dust, no sign of habitation. De Baguette surmises that the creation was too large to have been brought down into this edifice, the edifice must have been built around it."
"We have found within bodies, sleepers, so alien, so bizarre in build and pose, it is large as a bear and it glistens like wet leather. But that face. It... it's indescribable. I can hardly force myself to keep looking at it. The eyes are black and gleam like a serpent. They recline tubes, lit with a cold, unearthly blue light, they are perhaps... De Baguette! No!
>the DM hits something on his laptop. Martian War Call: ULLA
Party: Well fuck this....
"The sleepers have not awakened, but the edifice has, it glows, I am sure though that soon the sleepers will wake. Perhaps we shall meet them."

The DM is passing notes to Cruella, the Bard, and Angus.

Cruella goes full on spazz, falling to the floor, jittering, crying, moaning, again, that sound: ULLA

It's coming from her.

The record continues as we rush to her.

"[Breathless] Professor Quatermass, what say you!? What is... What is happening? Oh by the gods, what is happening... I... I am a scientist, an Englishman. I shall... God save our... I shall... I see Wondrous things..."
Another voice. "Dammit Roney, [Slap] here some brandy... tell me what do you see?
"I see... a hunt, a great hunt, I fly, I hop, I am as one with the horde, we must destroy, destroy destroy the unbeliever, the unclean... destroy... Quatermass... the..."
Quatermass: "De Baguette, I think Roney is... he is seeing what the sleepers have seen, what they know..."
Roney: "I see a pale blue dot in the sky, I see a plan, I lust for the dot, IT WILL BE OURS IT WILL BE OURS."

Cruella whimpers

"I have seen wondrous things"
Quatermass: "Roney, WHAT COLOUR IS THE SKY?"
Roney: "It is purple my friend. Purple."

We hold Cruella down, an epileptic fit perhaps? We force brandy into her. She cries, shivering,

Quatermass: "I surmise these things are not of our world, nor of another dimension, they are alien to this earth, they are...."

ULLA

Quatermass: "Come on you alien bastard. I WILL SHOW YOU HOW AN ENGLISHMAN DIES."

The recording continues. A female voice, French, Evelyn perhaps?

"There are not many of us left, the aliens have a power, to suck the magic from us, the wizards, those brave Scotsmen fought them, or they tried, their saws and spears fell to the ground, and yet those men fought them with their bare hands. They are all dead now, as are the others...."
"They do not just kill, they flay men alive, taking parts, they are... they are scientists... like us..."
"I have nearly made it to the... to the..."

ULLA

>A long, drawn out female scream. From the recording, and from Cruella.

So Cruella is going nuts, foaming at the mouth and generally not looking good. We decide to bug out. That seems like the best idea, take off and nuke the site from orbit.

Let's get ou... the door is closed.

The door is fucking closed.

We already know that we can't harm the material the alien ship is made of with bullets, Angus's thermic lance doesn't work either. The Wizard can't manipulate it. We're trapped.

Cruella snaps upright. Her eyes are jet black. No longer human.

Her mouth opens, echoing a cry that comes through the entire ship.

ULLA

Even the Purple Penguin is not very happy about this.

We decide if they have closed the door, they also know exactly where we are. That can only be bad. We pick up Cruella, and pick a direction, and start on inwards into who knows what.

We don't meet anything but we appear to be in the hold, crates are crates, and these ones although alien, still retain that essential crateness.

We move onward, slicing pies and tacticooling it, the interior decor changes, less grey and utilitarian, now a little fancier, and white, stark blinding white.

And red. Lots of red.

We appear to have come across the medbay, we get our first good look at the aliens, they're bent over tables with still living, screaming, humans on them, slowly taking them to pieces. Disassembling them like a child might build a lego house, except in reverse. Bit by bit.

The aliens are taller than us, or would be except they sit on their haunches, like grasshoppers, they have six limbs, a pair of manipulator hand analogues, and two wicked talons. This is our first good look at them, whether what we fought (the shave-and-a-haircuts) were drones or a subspecies we have no idea. These things have big, broad heads, with jet black eyes.

We are looking in through an observation window, fuck it. Scientists or whatever they might be, they're gonna die.

We've not gotten the hang of alien doors yet, but the Navvie giving an interior door a good hard slam buckles it, a second slam with the hammer is enough to twist it inwards, a third brings it down (he was scarily good with that hammer).

>We do the work of the purple penguin.

The aliens might be terrifying, they might be weird, they respond very well to buckshot, .45 caliber, and axe.

We then begin the grim work of giving peace to the subjects.

The five of us...

>The five of us

Where's Cruella?

The Navvie had been carrying her, he'd left her propped up against the wall, in all the excitement, we didn't notice the stealthiest character of the group slip away.

Remember I mentioned she talks to her sword? And it may or may not talk back? Well the thing is lying on the ground. She never leaves it, it's never more than an arms reach away. The thing is pointing down the hall.

I go to pick it up. I lift it just fine, but the damn thing won't change it's orientation, it points rigidly North North East.

What we can only assume is the direction she went in.

I hand the sword to the wizard (who as a wizard is meant to know about this shit), and we proceed to slice pie in the direction the thing points.

We follow the sword, the thing works just like a divining rod. Cruella's player is loving this.

We appear to have left the medical wing, as we enter what may or may not have been a canteen, we meet more aliens, one firefight later (which although awesome, isn't exciting to retell) and we head onward.

There's a distinct and very weird hum in the floor. This thing is starting to power up.

We travel through what must be the cryosleep area, lots and lots and lots empty pods, and then as we pelt down a corridor.

"Bonjour mes amis."

As far as we know, there was only one woman in either expedition, Evelyn De-Baguette.

She's still a woman, whether she is human is an entirely different matter.

The aliens have done... something to her, she's a lot more and lot less than human.

I will not attempt to replicate the DM's atrocious French accent, but what she said was:

"Don't be jealous boys, it only works on women, and doesn't it look good? They've got me, and now they have your friend, they've been asleep for a long time, and now that the aliens are awake, they can begin to rebuild, to repopulate... your friend is going to help."
>Muh magical realm (no shut the fuck up)

The sword points straight past Evelyn. The Purple Penguin doesn't like it when we hit girls. So we don't. We burn her.

The DM occasionally forgets that a flamethrower is actually pretty damn useful in a bossfight (he really shouldn't have let Angus have one...) and we burn her up good.

We follow our diving rod, and there in true Martian style, is Cruella in a pod, and a fuckload of Aliens. They do not seem particularly amused with us either. We're a bit annoyed with them too.

>How was Cruella's player taking this?
Highly amused. The DM had bribed her beforehand and she found us all getting butthurt about aliens turning her into their queen more than a little funny. Bear in mind she played almost exactly what she is like in personality. Therefore, the idea of anyone doing something she didn't want was hilarious to her.
Now that I ask her about it. "I wanted to be the Princess for once."
Which tbh is the best answer you're all gonna get.

The combat is more than bloody, they swarm us, we set to it, shells, flame, sharp objects, and general violence. Leaving only the King/Queen/Captain we have no fucking idea what that is, but it's big, it's mean, and it isn't going to listen to diplomacy.

So. We are looking at a very big alien. It is looking at us. It's a lot like a carnifex. There is a feeling like a pulse in reality. Metal objects grow lighter. Spent shell casings float up from the deck. Angus rolls lowest and his eyes go black. The alien speaks through him.

"You have not beaten us yet. We came to this earth and slept until life grew, life which we could use to outbreed the heathens on our homeworld. Life such as this broodmother"

(Cruella's player puts down her glass of wine and thumps the DM)

"this excellent broodmare?"

(She hits him harder)

"this lovely specimen"

(she mulls it over and nods. This is about the only time I have ever seen DM look scared)

"We blunted your magic, your resources, but the device did not work as planned, in another hundred years or so when your population hit seven billion or so we would have emerged and the breeding and killing would have been sweet. Now I shall simply settle for scouring this earth."

He hits a switch on Cruelllas pod and legs it.

There's no dilemma, we are not leaving her in that thing, so we break her out of it. She is back in character, and her character is pissed.

If this isn't clear for anyone, what the alien is saying through puppet Angus is that in our world, I.e. not britbongsteros, the world of 4chan and double downs, we have no magic or similar because they are there, at the North Pole, waiting until we as a species are ready for harvest.

We pursue the alien. Thanking him for his exposition, it's now time to kill him. He hasn't gone far and Cruella (her modesty covered by my overcoat) scents him and follows at a sprint. She must have been getting bonuses to rolls because she slices and dices down the halls to the bridge. Where the alien is doing... something to the controls. He is setting a course? To a small nearby red planet? (Yes they are Martians).

The combined efforts of the party ensure he doesn't, then with the thing put down. There's an ominous and familiar beep. The same as the aliens on the ice made.

The beep of self destruct.

>Time to go.

We leg it. The way back isn't hard to find (follow the bodies mostly) and coming to the door, we are pleased to find it open (thanks DM), we proceed up the chunnel and out to the CAT.

>KATHOOOOOM

The ship goes up and we are thrown to the ground, the Alien that followed us isn't. It's bloodied from our fight on the bridge but not as dead as we thought. It makes straight for me and sticks a talon through my (mechanical) shoulder as the rest of the party make for the creature to bash/thermic lance/stab/chainsaw it, Cruella goes for the harpoon gun.

It has me say:

"I sent a signal to Mars. They won't be long..."

Cruella lays the gun. Aims.

"Get away from him you bitch. No, I'm his bitch, well really he's mine but... no, look fuck you ok?"

The harpoon is more than enough to finish the thing off.

We take the head and CAT back to the coast, board the Intrepid, and make for London for tea and medals.

The "Beach" Episode[edit]

So. Aboard the Intrepid we were able to Taxidermy the head of the Alien. Our first order of business is to explain to the Privy Council what the fuck just happened, and while Sir Richard Bacon and Sir David Attenborough examine the thing and Sir Patrick [Cyborg murder body] Moore examines Mars anew, we are sent on our way.

The rest of the party all have specific stuff they want to do. The Navvie also has something specific.

"I want to get drunk and fuck. Who wants to come?"
"Angus?"
>DM: Roll to see how your sheep infection is doing please
"Umm no count me out."
"Bard?"
"Sex? Never heard of it. I'm going to [have my adventure]."
"Aldous?"
Cruella: "We are but not while you guys watch. We will see you later."
"Umm ok, wizard?"
"Wait aren't I married? No I... I could come but not touch I guess..."
>To Soho we go

So a wizard and a Navvie walk into a whorehouse.

The Navvie disappears upstairs. Thudding, screaming and general happy large man noises can be heard. The wizard gets into a game. Of roulette.

>Roulette balls are steel aren't they?
>Aren't I able to control steel?

Amazingly enough, the roulette table is rigged, and the local lowlives are extremely unimpressed when a Scotsman in a dress rigs it the other way.

Murderously unimpressed.

They pick up the wizard, it would have been better if they had drawn knives at least that would have been easier. I should add by the time wizard has won the pot, he's quite pissed (drunk). Like very. He would have trouble summoning a pair of scissors let alone a chainsaw.

His manly screams of Heeeeeeeeellllllllp are heard by the Navvie upstairs however.

Now the Navvie is a simple man, he likes pies, stout, and round bubble butts. He takes a direct approach.

>My buddy downstairs is in trouble.
>I am upstairs
>Stairs will waste time

So stark naked, he leaps from bed, takes his hammer, and slams it into the wooden floor, down comes a huge naked man and a bed with four PAWGs on it.

The bar brawl that followed sees the Peelers called (early form of police to Ameri-nons) and rather than take them on and injure officers of the law, they retreat upstairs, and as there is a covered wagon below, leap for it, a naked huge man with a hammer and a scrawny drunk Scot with a bag of money. We will pause their tale there as this is where they enter another.


So we know that Cruella acquired a bastard sword some time ago. It started talking to her and her to it not long after. They mostly talk about their favourite things, blood and violence. She likes those and it likes those.

She acquired the sword as one does, in a shop, she saw the thing and liked it.

She wants to learn more about it, so we take it to the royal armouries to have it examined. (Her and I) After some pondering the dwarves there get very very excited

>It's Excalibur

They persuade her to part with it for a few hours, to examine it.

She and I spend a very pleasant few hours in fade to black. We return,

"Yeah... We got robbed last night... Only one item missing and it's"
>Cruella broke the poor bastard's nose and we go to look for it. In London. A needle in haystack made of smaller haystacks

We set off, Cruella's [spider sense] leads us to Soho and we pause there.


>Aldous needs pipe tobacco

While we are in Soho, I spot a tobacconists, and in the window, is my brand of pipe tobacco. I know that a local tobacconist is an excellent source of gossip so Cruella condescends to let us go in, we bump into a passerby on the way in but successfully purchase a kilo of good dwarven smoke, our gossip plan fails however, then Cruella realizes her bracelet is gone.

That guy we bumped into is still out in the street, he must be a really really shit pick pocket if...

He spots us, and turns to run, he is stopped in his tracks by a huge naked man and a scrawny Scot with a bag of money landing on him.

(They missed the wagon) So while they apologize to the poor guy, we run to them, the police are starting to run out of the building. We ask the Navvie to pick up the thief and the four of us (plus squashed thief) run the fuck away.

"For gods sake man, put some clothes on."

We duck into an alleyway and the Navvie puts the thief down.

"I want your boots, your clothes, and by the way, have you heard anything about any swords?"

The poor bastard tries to get naked, returns Cruella's bracelet, and explain to us that a local "legitimate businessman" - John Borisson is looking after a very important sword shaped package until it can be shipped to France tomorrow.

This is where the story of the four of us pauses.


Rewind.

Bard: "Guys, I don't really do much do I?"
"You play the bagpipes and kick anything that gets too close?"
"Yeah, but that's combat Barding. I want to... I want to play for my public."
"You're in London, that famous home of bagpipes and Scottishness, but ok..."
"Exactly, I will play my through the city, I will busk, I will play for the poor and rich alike, I will bring the joy of music to all!"

It turns out playing the bagpipes in London in Britbongsteros is not exactly popular, he gets thrown out of Trafalgar Square, punted out of the inns of court, starts a brawl in the Royal Society, and a riot in the Globe.

The bard heads for Soho.

He is approached in Soho by some rough looking men.

"Our boss really likes bagpipes, come play for him! Tonight you shall play at the home of Borrisson, John Borrisson."
"Ooh ok!"

And now we pause.


>Angus does science.

Angus decides to get his Sheep Transmitted Disease cured.

(Angus crit failed an "I roll to seduce a female centaur" (dumb bastard) and fucked a sheep instead by accident back in Wales)

His research takes him to a doctor

"Ah what the fuck is that!?"

A barber surgeon

"What the flying fuck is that!?"

And finally another less reputable doctor.

"There is an eastern remedy that might help, you'll need to acquire some components for me though"
>Gives list
"Where am I going to find 'tears of a Phoenix killed on the second Tuesday of the month?'"
"I dunno, try John Borrison in Soho, what he sells isn't always of the best provenance, but if he doesn't have it, he can get it..."
>Who the fuck is John Borrison?

Well we know he lives in Soho, he has an emporium of well known whores, (referred to as "Boris Bikes" because amazingly "everyone has had a ride") and a mop of unruly straw coloured hair.

>You're setting us up to fight "Boris Johnson" DM...


So we return to the party of four (Cruella, wizard- still pissed by the way, Navvie - no longer naked, and myself who is surrounded by a cloud of most excellent and noxious smoke).

The party of four wait for dusk and assemble outside of the city mansion of Mr. Borrison, we have a look around. It's got highwalls and guards.

We retire to a nearby tavern (the Wizard would rather be drunk than hungover) to discuss.

>Topic 1

Do we want to kill Mr. Borrison?

Probably not. As far as we know he's a criminal but not actually bad as such.

>How do we get in and get out with the sword?

As we ponder. Suddenly, The Seeker by The Who on the bagpipes, and its coming from Borrison's house.

It's worth noting that the parties heavy weaponry (the gatling and the flamethrower) isn't being carted around with us.

So we skip now to Angus. He has been following the crudely drawn directions to John Borrisson's shop, house, warehouse and mansion (combined). He has been told to get there, and ask for the Apothecary.

He arrives and approaches the shop (i.e. the south side of the building).

The guard says (in awful cockney which again I'm not going to try)

"Nah the Ceildh (he pronounces it "Celd ay") is on the other side. Go round mate."

Angus looks shy, Angus says

"I'm actually here to see... The Apothecary..."

The guard looks him up and down,

"Hahaha what did you fuck?"

Angus goes as red as an orc can and heads into the shop.

He gives the apothecary (actually a very happy looking dryad) the list,

"Fucked a sheep did we?"
"HOW DO YOU PEOPLE ALL KNOW THIS?"
>DM: Angus your balls sure are sore... you sure you want to get pissed off at the only guy who might be able to help?
"I mean... yes I would like some ointment please."

The apothecary is rummaging through shelves, humming to himself, suddenly Angus stands bolt upright.

"I hear... I hear bagpipes!"
"Oh yeah, something the boss is up to, anyway look, this potion, there might be some side effects..."

Meanwhile, upstairs,

The bard is in his element, it turns out John Borrison isn't actually human, he has a thatch of straw for hair, not straw coloured.

(I mean he's an Ent)

The bard is on a table, piping to a court of criminals, they do their best to dance as the great tree claps and belches his joy.

The bard keeps rolling performance checks and he's doing beautifully.

He's well into Highland Laddie having already played Dashing White Sergeant and others. The Bard is over the moon.

About 1:40 in the video. The great stained glass window at the east side of the hall shatters.

"GIVE ME BACK MY SWORD YOU FUCK."


>Rewind

So the four of us are down the side of the building, we reason that shock and awe is our best tactic, we don't know if it's the bard inside, but he probably needs rescuing, therefore we decide to go full on Sir Lancelot and crash the party.

We acquire some rope, easily get up the side of the building (Cruella) and then abseil through the glass.

As Cruella shouts

"GIVE ME BACK MY SWORD YOU FUCK"

The bard stops playing.


>Change channel

Downstairs, Angus is handed the ointment.

Angus: "I'm gonna apply it now, my nads are on fire here."
>Angus roll a D20 please.

The DM consults a list. Please note that the DM checking a list is really, really bad. He starts laughing. That's even worse.


>Upstairs

There's a Mexican stand off developing, the entire room (although not well armed), vs the four of us with the bard in the middle.

It's looking bad.

Cruella stops shouting, instead she looks at John Borrison, straight in the eyes and says

"You have something of mine. Right next to you in fact. In that chest. I want it back."
"Why should I... (there is a large amount of pistols leveled at us by the party goers) give it to you?

Things get tense. DM has us rolling dice to see whose nerve breaks first. Us VS them.

Suddenly, the door at the North end of the hall is kicked down.


>Downstairs.
DM: "Yeah Angus... mate... look... your balls. They're actually... they're on fire..."
Angus's player: "Yeah I know they are, fucking sheep..."
DM: "No Angus, I mean, On. Fire."

Angus goes into a panic, screaming for water, everything in the apothecarion is either explosive or probably bad. Angus is directed upstairs, fanning his crotch with his kilt, he charges blindly, kicking down a door.


Angus bursts into the hall.

He's crotch is on fire, his kilt being flapped from nose to thigh rapidly. He is a true Scotsman and his Scotsman is wreathed in blue flame.

Angus runs straight through the middle of us, as he runs he spots an open cask of beer, and dunks his crotch.

>Best. Thing. Ever.

John Borrison is the first one to start laughing. He's also the first one to lower his weapons.

"Fine, have the sword, that was the best thing I've ever seen."

Later, as we dance, party and ceildh, I ask Angus something.

"Alright, I understand why the Bard was here, I know why we were here, and but why were you here?"
"Not. One. Fucking. Word. Not. One. Fucking. Word. Aldous."

And that Anon, was our beach episode.

We all got drunk, Angus got a bucket of ice, Cruella cuddled her sword.

1,001 Britbongsteros Nights[edit]

We wake up the next morning in various states of undress and very, very hungover, as we leave, the Bard asks

"Hey John Borrison, who was coming for the sword today anyway?"
"Some chick called Joan Dark."
"Do you mean D'arc?"
"Yeah close enough."
"Mind if we stay for a bit?"

So we decide to settle in and wait. Our new-tree-friend seems cool with the idea. We expect that one of three things may happen:

1. John Borrison will double cross us.
2. Joan will get pissed off, and John Borrison will double cross us.
3. Joan will understand that the deal is off, leave, then John Borrison will double cross us,

(the Purple Penguin is very trusting)

So naturally, we wait, she's meant to arrive at noon, and in comes one plate mail clad chick (subtle of course) and half a dozen adventurer looking types.

Joan removes her helmet.

What happens next may seem surprising to many Americans, but if you're British, this is actually very common.

Joan is a faerie, and therefore a posh person.

Cruella is a faerie and also a posh person.

>They went to school together.

There are various extremely silly sounding girly noises, a very odd looking handshake, and much cheek kissing.

The Navvie mutters to me under his breath

"If only they had bigger butts, this would be amazing..."

The Wizard is of the opinion that this is "The Old Fay Network" and therefore bad, but also curious as to what is going on.

The girls are asking after the health of various ponies, servants, and are about to start swapping recipes when John Borrison does the tree version of coughing (shakes his leaves).

"Ladies?"

They ignore him.

Joan asks about Paris and the clownleechspidersnake things, yes that was us,

The boys are eying the French Adventurers, and they us, there's a general air of "Shouldn't we really be fighting now?"

Things don't seem to be going that way, John Borrison doesn't seem to mind. Instead we decide to go for lunch.

We leave with the girls walking out arm in arm followed by two single files of gentlemen watching each other very closely.

I just want to add here that the French Bard was wearing a stripey jumper, a beret and was carrying an accordion.


We go to a tavern. The DM is greatly enjoying describing what is essentially everyone's double.

We are a bit weirded out.

Cruella is quite happily nattering to other Cruella when she asks

"So what about the sword?"

and things get a bit frostier. A lot frostier.

Cruella: "It's my sword, and that's it."
Joan: "Couldn't you just lend it to us?"
"What do you want it for?"
"I shouldn't really tell you but we were going to..."

The short, angry looking Frenchwoman wearing full plate and carrying what looks a lot like a rotary flail nudges Joan and grunts.

The largest of the party, an enormous guy with a big beard and an axe shifts, a smaller kobold type thing stops making ice cubes with device on its back and looks a lot more threatening. A slice of bread levitates while a nun has her cigarette lit by Angus (Angus you will fuck anything you beautiful bastard).

Cruella and Joan seem oblivious to all this, however the rest of the party naturally distrusts what is our true enemy (the French of course).

Cruella is happily breaching the official secrets act when we decide enough is enough,

"And the Aliens wanted me to be a Queen! I've always wanted kids..."
>Time to go...

So we begin to extricate her, the French let us go, for now...

Angus waves goodbye to the Nun, and Cruella looks distinctly annoyed to have the reunion cut short.

We head off, it's time to visit the Privy Council. First up is a meeting with Sir Patrick (Cyborg) Moore.

>Who is...

Seriously you're gonna want to Google this.

Sir Patrick (Xbawkshueg terminator) Moore has been analyzing Mars, he has worked tirelessly to build a new telescope, and from the Royal Observatory at Grenwich has become aware of not only canals on Mars, but other alien looking constructions, cities? He is keeping the area under observation.

Meanwhile Sir Hobart's new inventions have reached production, not only is Britbongsteros frantically building battleships, but we are also building Landcruisers, lots of them. We have a feeling the Germans might be up to something similar...

Finally, we meet with Richard III, Blackadder, and co.

Those Arabians from earlier (like two stories ago) have been asked that a trade delegation go to Arabia with them, this is so that we might see the properties off this magical oil stuff that they're producing. We are being sent instead. The Arabians have drilling technology that we want, and we are going to steal it. It is believed by the Wizards of Aberdeen that massive untapped reserves of this stuff lie off the coast of Scotland, enough that we could fuel a million ships and landcruisers and not even make a dent (and also not have supply lines that go across half the world and either around France or around all of Africa).

We also are informed that a party of French adventurers have recently visited London and were followed (shit) and were last seen leaving on a boat bound for Araby (shit shit shit).

We are reminded that in Arabia, the place is full of genies, djinn, sand, camels, and also Orrance of Arabia, a Brit who went native and is a fervent activist for Arabia to be left to its own devices without western powers attempting to exploit them.

The local political climate in Araby is like dancing on a volcano, each sultanate has started grabbing land, and foreign "advisers" are everywhere, as each foreign power supports a different Sultan in the hope that if war breaks out, theirs will end up on top.

As a "trade mission" we are classed as one of those very same foreign advisers. Meaning we are packed aboard our very own battleship.

>Why are you using a battleship?
>Show of force, it's history.

The HMS Dreadnowt is the pride of the shipyards of Liverpool, the finest in Dwarven Engineering and she is the equal of the Brunmigi at the least.

The voyage of the Dreadnowt takes us through the straights of Gibraltar, with a brief stop off in Gib.


Gibraltar. The Rock. (It was called the Rock before anyone else was).

It's a British trade port, at the gates of the med, a haven of intrigue and enigma, a place where deals are made, illicit cargoes shipped, a veritable thieves kingdom and all with the sanction of the crown. The marines who police the place don't mind anything as long as you don't touch a British subject or insult the crown.

Regrettably, our reputation proceeds us, as did an albatross.

Two in fact.

The first one no one ever really saw, the second was enthusiastically shot down by the local Governor - S.T. Coleridge. When his chef was preparing it for dinner, he found in a little canister on its leg, "LANDCRUISER PLANS PART 2 of 2"

So on the reasoning that someone, somewhere in Gib is enthusiastically waiting for part 2 of their plans, that German/French/Belgian/Russian/Spanish/Foreign bastard is out there with half the plans to our tanks.

Obviously, we want them back.

So obviously, that the bard fires into Sabaton, Back in Control as we start to ponder.

We establish what we know as we sit in the very comfortable officer's mess on the Dreadnowt.

We know that the Albatross flew from somewhere in the UK, and was going to wherever its mate was (that's how they work in Britbongsteros, ok?) and it would take the most direct route, it was approaching Gib overland, and flew almost to the middle of the place. It seems likely that whoever was waiting for it, would position the thing's mate somewhere high up, and exposed, allowing for the Albatross to spot the thing.

Hmm... high up... exposed... Gibraltar...

So, this can only mean one thing. Somewhere on the rock is an albatross and most likely our spy.

We set off and start to nose around.

It's quite a climb, but searching around demonstrates several things: 1. That this is quite a popular spot for albatross communication, 2. There are a fuck of a lot of shifty looking characters up here. Grabbing them at random probably isn't going to work either.

Have some music The Who, the Seeker

We do some more thinking,

The parties suggestions go along the lines of:

Bard: "I play the German National Anthem and we see who salutes. Then we murder them."
Navvie: "Pub?"
Angus: "We could try and offer money? Or failing that just burn everyone."
Wizard: "Well thinking about it, the carrier case on the albatross should have a unique insignia, but they won't have been dumb enough to keep the other with a matching pair, so that idea is useless."
Aldous: "We could always say we found the 2nd bit, and offer it up, see who comes to try and get it."
Cruella: "Why aren't we stabbing everyone?"

We let it be known to some double agents that we have found the plans and that we will be at the drinking establishment known as "The Maltese Falcon"

What didn't occur to us, was that just about every foreign power with a hand in Gib, was going to want those plans. So what shows up, is basically every foreign agent and backstabber on the peninsula.

"Damn what are we going to do with them all?"
"Aren't they all enemies of the crown anyway?"
>Murdered 'em all and looted their dead bodies

Thing is, the plans weren't there. Or at least not that we could find. We needed a clue. We'd probably just annihilated the lot of our clues however.

>The Purple Penguin is running out of options, we don't want to go back empty handed and say "well we probably got the bastard"

So, with our limited options, we are grateful (cheers DM) when we apologize to the barkeep and start hauling bodies out of the place, that's when a group of "Mysterious trenchcoated figures" run off into the night.

Cruella is up onto the roof tops, the Navvies lumbers after them, and we all do our best to keep pace.

So the rooftop chase occurs, as does the street level one.

I'm not even going to tell you what this is, every anon must click it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OO-ZGP68-3w (or if this gets capped, manually type it into Google)

We pursue them, down lanes, alleys, twisting, turning, we aren't ready to take shots at them, but we are sorely tempted, there's three of them, we can take them if we catch them, we can...

Cruella is quite useful at times, as you may have noticed, but even she rolls a one occasionally, she attempts to leap in front of them, she instead flies into the roof of a shed and is out for the count for time being.

The Navvie has that weird lumber that teen horror movies do, if you look at him, not fast, but if you look away, he's suddenly teleported. He knocks them over and as we catch up, we start to restrain and attempt to interrogate them.

We establish that these (spies) sold the first part to the Germans, the Germans who are leaving on a boat, tonight.

So we book it down to the harbour, there is boat already pulling out.

>How do we stop this tug sized boat?

We for once follow one of the bards ideas, we grab a speedboat and ram the fucker.

Violence occurs, a lot, someone swallows what looks a lot like an albatross message case.

"HAHAH YOU WILL NEVER GET IT!"

Cruella resolves the issue with a knife and a little bit of cruelty (she guts him) we have the plans.


Things wrapped up in Gib fairly quickly after this, both parts of the plans now in the safe keeping of Governor S. T. Coleridge (who is very pleased to have shot the albatross, and has had a little pendant made of its foot to celebrate his act of violence which was so beneficial to the crown. He wears said pendant about his neck).

We re-board the Dreadnowt and set sail. Excited to be heading to Araby. I should really explain what Araby takes in geographically: (It extends westward all the way to Tripoli, please feel free to imagine the Indiana Jones aeroplane red line thing at this point). Where we are going is Port Said, if you're particularly geographically inept, it's near Alexandria.

The voyage through the rest of the med is mostly uneventful, Cruella takes up sunbathing, gets sunburnt, Angus spends a lot of happy times down in the engine room with the mostly Scottish engineers, Navvie and I take up fishing (an extreme sport in Britbongsteros) and the bard learns some new songs.

At this point, we have dinner around the captains table most evenings, and we don't usually act out the discussions, but we thought it'd be fun to have dinner in character, with DM as captain.

What I mean is we had a dinner party and got hammered, with everyone pretending to be their characters (again if anyone cares, pate and melba toast to start, thai green curry (mine) and alcohol for dessert).

>Why should I care?

The discussions in character were a lot of fun, I can't remember much, but some time after the main course was finished, Cruella asks

"Captain DM, we are going to the Caliphate, I know from my geography at school that the women there have to wear Bhurkhas. I'm not wearing one of those."

Now normally an issue like this we wouldn't give a shit about. However, it was an interesting enough issue that we looked to the DM).

Captain DM: "Well Lady Cruella, I am given to understand that you are the [the following word was so weighted it should have fallen through the hull and sunk the ship] "companion" of Sir Aldous, as a "taken" woman, even of a different culture and maintaining different sensibilities to those of the land you are visiting, I would suggest it is wise to take up those sensibilities when you are there, you do not, for example, wish to be stoned. This holds true for all of you and I would suggest that when in the lands of the Caliphate, you observe their rules, at least in public. It is just good sense. No drinking for example, the Caliphate also has a very low opinion of [weighted again] those "peau verde" [green skin], meaning our comrade from Dundee (he means Angus) would be wise to take the guise of a slave."
>Angus finds this hilarious. Cruella still looks extremely unimpressed.
Cruella: "You mean I'm going to have to wear a sack? tch, no woman of my station would be seen dead in such a thing."
Captain DM: "My lady [tips captains hat], when you visited the North Pole, did you not dress warmly? The environment here is different, but equally as dangerous."
>She mulls this over, and nods.
Cruella: "Congratulations Angus, you just got promoted to my eunuch. You can carry my stuff."


Cruella seems satisfied with this explanation and sets about considering options for her outfit. This includes at some point the statement

"It's not a Burhka, I'm a ninja."
>No Godzilla, we actually let her off with this one.

As discussed we head to Port Said, as we enter the port, we are amazed at the number of other foreign ships, British, German, French, a Spanish one, even some Russian, and what we learnt was a Chinese vessel. The courts of Araby are being subjected to an assault of the most diplomatic kind, but the guns of the battleships make it very clear that there is force behind it.

The Arabs, aided by Orrance's council, wish to set themselves up as oil producers, their oil is fantastically efficacious, and if each of the European powers had to come to them for it, they would grow very wealthy very quickly, however even with their Djinn and Roks, the Arabs could never prevent a real attempt at annexing the country, their only real hope is to dance on the edge of a knife, playing each power off against the other as no European power would risk their supplies of oil, or allow another competitor to get unrestricted access to the stuff.

Saxon, Crusader <- what the bard, master of tact that he is, piped us into harbour with.

We discussed what our best options are, the Privy Council advised us that meeting Orrance first would be an idea as he is still notionally a servant of the crown, however we were warned that he has gone native.

>Who is Orrance?

I appreciate I can't just tell you to google it, he's "Lawrence of Arabia" then go read some books. The Seven Pillars of Wisdom (which he wrote I might add) are worth the effort. At the least watch the film. Go on, we'll wait.


Orrance is currently in Cairo, (the Caliphate has two main civic centers, Baghdad and Cairo) and so we travel from Port Said to Cairo on horseback, I should add two things at this point.

IRL Cruella is very horsey, this made her very happy, she was also the only member of the party who had ANY skills that involved controlling or riding an animal, meaning she could (riding side saddle and wearing a Burkha) ride rings around us as we slowly dotted along after her.

It was also the first time we really came to understand where we were, as the great pyramids hove into view shining brilliantly in the sun, a Sphinx lazing in the shade of a dune, great Anubis had been enslaved by the Caliphate and was digging graves, one hundred at a time (he was about 75 feet tall so we could see him from a fair distance, he wasn't actually burying anyone either, just digging and refilling graves as busy work). Horus was chained on the banks of the Nile, forced to call the hour by expedient of hot iron bars being applied to his feet.

>How are gods enslaved?

Remember we actually slaughtered a good number of gods ourselves, Britbongsteros is a place where you can find gods, and they are very powerful, so are the guns on a battleship. It might take an army of Saracen Cavalry to tie down one god, but if you're smart enough, and don't mind losing a whole lot of troops, you can do it.

>We've captured another god! How shall we put them to work, bound to our will?
>Well, ummm...
>Eh....
>Have them... erm... tell the time, I guess?
>...
>Abdul, you're a moron. All in favour
>Aye!

Anon you're going to want to click this first https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8i1mI-P9Z3s

Orrance is visiting British officers at the Shepheard hotel. We'll find him there. Cairo is amazing, in the skies, Djinn and other creatures waft above us, there are literal ivory towers, but take your eyes off the poor, the downtrodden and filthy in the streets, and you'll find something missing from your pockets. A couple of the ships officers act as guides for us, they themselves having business at the Shepheard.

As we come closer to the Shepheard, we start to see more foreign faces in the crowd, hear languages from all across Europe, as Horus marks 11:00 am, we arrive at the Shepherd, our horses safely tied up, and left under the supervision of the hotel staff, a very large turbaned man remarks to me,

"She is a fine one, how many camels is she worth?"

The entire party moves to grab Cruella, the fat man seeing what we are doing tucks his fingers into his belt and laughs uproariously,

"You barbarians are fantastic, I meant the horse. This one here, she would do just fine for my niece."
>Cruella looks a tiny bit offended.
"You must also be very rich to afford a horse for your eunuch! Ah, I had one of these years ago! They get rowdy but they warm your belly just the same in the night!"
>Angus is... not entirely sure about this.
"I am Ismail, I trade in dates. Perhaps you will join me once you have conducted your business here? I will be in the local souk."

He shakes the Navvie by the hand.

"You watch that short one. They are shifty little devils are they not?"

Ismail vanishes into the crowd. The Navvy opens his great paw. There is a small token in his palm, a token with the symbol of what the wizard identifies as Sekhmet on it.

So with this interesting little development put on ice for the moment, we head into the Shepheard. Now first things first, I know not all anons will have stayed at a hotel like this, but a good hotel somewhere like this will have a lot of different things on offer, including a barber, a tailor, and a concierge who knows all the best prostitutes (Source: experience). We are going to need clothes more suited to the climate, if (as we suspect) is likely, we'll be going into the desert.

We decide to meet Orrance first and see what the lay of the land is.

Orrance is easy to find, he's the only one in the hotel bar wearing native dress.

He's in the middle of arguing with two (other) British officers.

Orrance is deep in animated conversation,

"Why not let the the Arabs be, why must we even consider this? The army and navy are overstretched as is, a friendly caliphate will be enough and with the trade this will generate, it will be beneficial for both nations. We might even gain a real ally in the region, something we have never had, and we certainly need those."
"I say we simply annex and be done with it. The Germans can worry about it afterwards and the French can complain and then buy it from us if we let them!"

The other officer agrees with his friend. Orrance stands up and leaves in disgust. Running straight into us.

"We..."
"I know exactly why you're here and what you want. The Arabs have only one thing, and the Privy Council won't have sent you for any other reason. I'll have no truck with you."

and he barges straight past us.

We put in an order for some more deserty clothing (shorts, caps, etc) and decide to head to the Souk.

Now, it's worth mentioning here (mostly because I didn't explain it very well earlier) what we have is the Caliphate who nominally rule over the entire region, and then out in the desert there are the actual Arabs, i.e. Orrance's bros. The Caliphate view the oil as theirs, the Arabs actually live where the oil is, and are the ones who have developed the method to get the stuff out of the ground.

The UK is considering annexing the Arab regions (i.e. Saudi). Orrance is doing his level best to stop this.

Remember just because we're somewhere sandy, the people there aren't all the same.

We ask for directions to the Souk, and in the end are given one of the hotels employees to guide us (he looks to be about 12, his name is Ali). He leads us there, and asks us quite frankly,

"Why do you want to go there Effendi? I know much nicer places."

We decide there's not much to be risked in telling him we want to meet Ismail. He has no idea who Ismail is. We describe him.

We half expect the kid to go pale, he doesn't, still not the foggiest. We decide against showing him the token.

>What is a Souk?

Basically it's a market where people also congregate and usually drink coffee.

We ask Ali to take us where the coffee house is, it's a dark place, lots of hookahs and private booths, if you've never been to the middle east, think the Star Wars Cantina and you're not far off.

There's no sign of Ismail, we ask Ali if there is another one of these places nearby? No.

We show the guy behind the counter the token. He does go deathly pale. He ushers through some curtains into the backroom.

In the backroom, there's Ismail, looking as fat and cheerful as he did a little while ago, there's also half a dozen familiar faces, one stripey jumper, one accordion and one beret.

It's our French doubles.

Again.

Cruella is very happy about this, the rest of us are not.

Ismail ushers us in, lights the hookah, and starts to explain

"I understand you all know each other! I have a favour I must ask of you all, I appreciate this meeting is surprise for some of you, but you (meaning us) I beg that you do me the courtesy of hearing me out. You will have seen the old gods in their debased condition as you came into the city, the old gods are not without followers, and it crushes us to see them used so. Sekhmet is still free, and we wish to keep her that way, in the hope that one day, the old gods will rise again. It is in the interests of both your countries that the caliphate cannot the goddess of war to use (that's Sekhmet) as it would make them far, far stronger."

Joan pitches in at this point.

"This is why we wanted the sword (Excalibur), the caliphate cannot kill the old gods, they do not have the means, the sword is one of the few things that can outright kill them. Were the old gods slain, the caliphate would be weaker."

There are a lot of Egyptian gods and goddesses kicking about and the majority more usefully employed than the above mentioned, for example Sobek is used to regulate the tides and floods of the Nile (this is a big deal), and Sopdet to ensure good harvests every year, also FYI the Egyptians had a deity of lettuce and cocks - really.

Ismail is however horrified by this,

"You want to kill them? No! Please! The old gods mean much to those of us left, they are symbols, without them, the caliphate is an absolute!"

We are not entirely sure what to do with this information. On the one hand, weakening the caliphate is probably a good thing, on the other, the followers of the old gods include the Arabs and they are very likely to be a source of revolt in the future, which may weaken or indeed overthrow the Caliphate.

(By the way this adventure took place around about the height of the Arab Spring, yup, we were considering...

>Regime change in the middle east).

Joan can see our confusion and indeed reticence.

"We are not asking you to make this choice now, but if the Caliphate learn of the sword and your bond to it, they will claim it for themselves, just... keep the thing safe and think about our offer."

Ismail is still horrified.

"You may provide my brothers and I with arms but... this... this is too much. OUT, get out! You would insult the memory of my entire people and everything around which our hope still gathers, it is disgusting. OUT."

The French leave, likely not wanting to cause a diplomatic incident (and there are an awful lot of people in this market likely to be friendly to Ismail), we don't follow them.

Ismail beseeches us,

"I heard you were hear and why, we cannot allow the Caliphate to become more powerful certainly, but I thought perhaps you could help us, even ensure Sekhmet remains free, the Arabs I know would thank you for it."

We need to think about this, we tell Ismail this, and leave. Perhaps it would be an idea to speak to try to speak to Orrance again.

Having left the Souk to return to Shepheard hotel, we suddenly realize our guide, (a 12 year old kid called Ali, whom we told to wait for us and ensured this with the promise of a guinea) is nowhere to be seen. Now anon may recall we had told him where we were going and who we wanted to see.

It doesn't seem likely that he'd have gone given how much a guinea would be worth. Unless he had a better offer or was in some kind of trouble.

The purple penguin likes kids. A lot. We feel obligated to look for him.

Remember Cairo is busy, labyrinthine, and confusing at the best of times. How on earth are we going to find him in all this sea of humanity and confusion?

We don't know how things work here, we initially suspect the French on general principles, but it seems unlikely. We also consider other possibilities. Slaves are a thing here, could he have been kidnapped?

>The ground shakes a little.
>Godzilla?

No. God, yes. Zilla, no.

"Hey look! It's Ali!"
"What's he doing? Why is he pissing on that statue and saying those weird things?"

It looks like little Ali was a follower of Babi (God of baboons - Google it) and he did have a better offer.

A huge form swings down from a spectral tree into the square. Think 75 feet of King Kong and you're not far off.

>Where the fuck did that come from?

We have no idea. Looks like not all of the gods are enslaved.

In a plume of dust, he lands, shattering flagstones and crushing a good number of folk. As what sounds like sirens start (actually prayer calls that served the same purpose), he rises to his full height, beats his chest and looks at us.

We have about five seconds to consider our options:

1. Leg it?
2. Kill it?

Legging it will mean a whole lot of people will die before enough troops get here. If we run. It'll likely be enslaved. So what, the Egyptians have plenty gods of dongs?

2. Kill it. We have the only thing in Egypt that we know of that can kill the thing. Do we? It'll draw the interest of everyone in Egypt. Cruella might be disguised but the rest of us are pretty recognizable. We don't know how pissed off Ismail will be.

Now bear in mind that the DM has just explained options 1 and 2 above (along with his caveat of:

"Or do whatever the fuck you want don't cry to me if you die? Oh and yes I'd love a beer"

he pops his beer and adds,

"Just FYI for those of you who don't know about Babi, he is one of the many Egyptian gods of Cock (wiki it). You also have five seconds to choose. 1..."
"Two... It takes a step towards you."
"Three... it roars again."
>Oh fuck it. Let's kill it.

I want to add at this stage that I blame the bard for everything.

>Bard you're up. What are you gonna do?
"I play an inspiring song!"
>rollplz
>It's a one.
>DM: Ok you shoulder your pipes, take a deep breath and play Aqua - Barbie girl

The DM looks this up on his laptop and it plays along through the rest of the combat.

A further little note on weaponry. As you may have noticed we have what we like to call light kit where we leave the heavy weaponry -namely my shotgun and Angus's flamethrower, at our base of operations as these are very conspicuous. In these circumstances I will use pistols and Angus usually uses bad language and a revolver.

What Babi has going for him is some pretty decent agility and fuek hooge regard strength, we are suddenly reminded this thing is 75 odd feet tall. The Navvie has a good go at its ankles, I try and aim for hamstringing it. It's hard to tell but it looks like the wounds we are causing are slowly closing up. Cruella (Burka and all) unsheathes the sword from Angus's back (it being unlady like for her to carry it about) and gives the thing a good whack. It loses a toe. That doesn't seem to be growing back.

Babi definitely notices that and puts all of his attention into squashing the agile little gnat that just chopped his toe off.

The wizard has been busy, he hasn't summoned anything sharp for once, but instead slowly summons, link by link by link, anchor chains. They slowly flow outward from him, it's going to take a while before they reach Babi and do anything to him.

We try to distract him to let Cruella get enough time to land a blow and not get squashed. We are also worried that as she expands energy dodging, this thing is less likely to get tired before she does...

Angus decides to get closer. It's a baboon he reasons. A huge, God of alpha baboons. Therefore a show of dominance should work. He advances. He stands defiantly. Clears his throat, loudly, and spits on it.

We were just pleased he didn't try to fuck it. He does however get some of its attention. Enough that when he beats his chest and (has a go at) roaring he distracts Babi enough for Cruella to start climbing up his leg. Babi then beats his own chest and slowly, carefully, kicks Angus through a wall.

There is a piercing shriek. A shadow passes over us, then another.

Roks. The strike force of the caliphate. They dive bomb Babi, dropping huge nets, flexible, sticky and entangling.

His movements are slowed but similarly as is Cruellas ascent.

He decides he needs to get off the ground. He climbs a minaret, the party follows him to the base of the thing.

The Roks circle and dive bomb.

The bard finally finishes his first song and rolls again.

Texas Hippie Coalition: "Turn It Up"

There isn't much the rest of us can do as he ascends beyond shoot at his eyes or break into the tower and try to get to the top. The wizards chains snake up the thing and snag Babi by the ankle.

Babi is starting to realize he's fucked.

Cruella is on his shoulder. Excalibur in hand. Ready to go for the jugular.

"I've never killed a God before. You know what this sword can do don't you?"

She shouts into his ear.

The great head turns to look at her. He strains at the nets. The Navvie and I break out onto the balcony, about level with his chin. The roks tear into his back.

Cruella continues:

"Let go. Be a slave, or die. Now."

Those big dark eyes look very sad for a moment as a God contemplates his own mortality, or to become a slave of mortals.

The great ape lets go. Cruella makes the jump from him to us on the balcony. Just. He nearly flattens Angus and bard.

We watch as he is swarmed by Caliphate troops. Exuberant in having captured another God. We decided to leave before anyone notices the toe.

Hopefully Ismail (if we decide to favour him) won't be too annoyed by us making the best of weird circumstances. At least we didn't kill him.

We decide to retreat to the Shepheard to think. Hopefully before anyone thinks to ask us any awkward questions. We appear to be involved in local politics already but haven't burnt any bridges yet.

We retire to a quiet area in the Shepheard. We decide to check for eavesdroppers and spies (Angus and Cruella finding nothing).

We decide it is time to discuss our plan and position in this strange land.

There are a couple of key questions:

1. Are the caliphate dicks?
2. Do we care?
3. Does Britain care?
4. How do we use this to our advantage in getting whatever it is that we are here to steal?
1. Well they aren't very nice to the old gods, but so what? They have different (not necessarily better or worse) customs.
2. We at this point don't particularly mind. They haven't done anything to us, they aren't our allies and at least they have put all these random deities to work.
3. Yes. A weak caliphate could be conquered by us. A new regime favourable to us would also be useful. We may not want the oil directly but we want to deny it to the rest of Europe.
4. Ismail and his brothers include the Arabs. Those same Arabs who have what we want to steal. If we help overthrow or at least damage the caliphate, they should like us.

The bard makes the case for the purple penguin.

"The people here are unhappy. They are poor. Dirty. Downtrodden. They have a caste system and no hope."

The rejoinder is:

"Would changing who is on top alter this? Would British rule make it any better? They might be under the heel of our government but they would all equally be so."

A new regime especially sympathetic to us would be useful however...

>What about the French?

Well what about them? Are they necessarily even on our side?

It seems wise then, to approach Orrance again, hopefully he won't just tell us to fuck off this time. He and a group of his most loyal followers have camped near the pyramids.

We get another guide (this one we are tempted to shoot on sight) and head toward the pyramids.

There is a cluster of bedouin tents and camels, meaning we're probably in the right place.

>Camels

I just want to add, as an anon that spent some time in actual Arabia, and for those anons that haven't been near one. The camels of Britbongsteros are EXACTLY like real camels. They (unlike everything else) have not been turned up to 11.

>Camels. Are. Dicks.

We approach the camp. We pass a herd of camels on our way in. One has a couple of spots on its hump. It gobs on Angus. Angus spits back. It bites Angus.

Whitesnake, is this love?

Angus bites it back.

We separate the two, I lose a chunk of beard in the process.

As we approach the guards, they chuckle and and ask us what we want?

"We are here to see Orrance."

(DM cannot do anything close to an Arabian accent without it sounding like Team America and I am not going to either)

"He's not seeing anyone."
>We are slightly stumped by this.
"Why not?"
"He's not here"
"Oh."
"Where is Orrance?"
"He went to... wait a minute why should we tell you?"

This is actually an exceptionally good point. Why should they tell us?

We're not exactly well known, Orrance doesn't really like us anyway, so...

>The Navvie hands over the token of Sekhmet

The guards have a look at it, adjust their thawbs. Ponder it.

"What are we meant to do with this thing? I'll give you half a dinari for it? It's kinda nice."

We've killed gods, queens, necromancers, and now, we are absolutely stumped by some chaps wearing bed sheets.

By the clock (i.e. Horus) it's getting toward the late afternoon, in the heat things shimmer in the distance, the stark contrast of sand and sky makes it hard to concentrate.

This shouldn't be such an issue, but (and the DM is punishing us for being dim I think) it is.

"Will he be back tonight. Can we wait for him?"

They tell us we can, and we settle into as much shade as we can find. We get a useful opportunity to observe the Arabs as they camp, most remain in tents, others tend to animals, they are nomadic so it seems, or at least these are.

What they definitely do not seem like, is a technological people. They do however have a seeming mastery of Djinn, camels (more threatening than you'd think), and that Sphinx we saw earlier seems to be something to do with them as well.

Orrance arrives about sunset, looking very tired. He spots us, and directs his camel in our direction.

"What on earth do you lot want? I thought I told you all to bugger off last time."

No one actually seems to have thought about what we were going to say, or how we were going to convince him other than to tell us to get lost. We would rather avoid that and so the Navvie decides to have a go at convincing him.

The Navvie speaks. He isn't the most social of characters but he is sincere. That is actually quite useful.

"If you want us to help, show us why we should? There is the political situation here, which you are obviously involved in, somehow, and the situation in Arabia. Why should we help you and why should we go to the effort of trying to without knowing why?"

Orrance mulls this over and decides this actually makes a fair amount of sense. He might have gone native but he is still British and a servant of the crown.

"Alright. Come to my tent, we can discuss there."

So under the high moon, pyramids casting long angular shadows on silver sand, we join him.

We know Orrance is pro Arab, and the Arabs are big fans of the old gods as far as we know. Therefore the (OOC) decision is made not to bring up Excalibur with him. The issue is, that we had that discussion in front of the DM.

So when we sit down, who is serving tea? It's little Ali, the monkey summoning bastard from earlier.

>fuck you DM

Ali whispers to Orrance.

"So I hear you have Excalibur with you..."

Well then, we might as well own up. Yes. Yes we do.

Cruella looks ready to decapitate anyone who tries to take it off her, Orrance just sits and smiles.

"You know just how much the Caliphate would want that? They'd rather the old gods were dead than serving as essentially unkillable symbols to those who might resist them. If I were you, I would keep it out of their hands. However, if you have brought that thing with you, you might as well do me a favour and I might do one for you. Tell me what you want first..."
>We explain the following:
1. We have nothing against the Arabs. (Not entirely true, we want to steal their shit)
2. Britain wants a weak caliphate, but also access to the oil. (We do not mention we want to steal the process of extracting it, whatever it is, just learn where it comes from)
3. The French support the Caliphate in wanting the old gods dead.
>Conclusion: It looks like we want to work with Ismail and co., or at least weaken the caliphate, either through stealing stuff, helping the Arabs and old Gods, or both.
>What does Orrance want?

It appears the Caliphate have found something under one of the pyramids. Something they believe could sap the magic from the old gods and the world itself. Somehow that sounds really familiar.

Orrance knows we solve problems and are very good at covert(ish) ops.

Therefore, whatever it is, he wants it wrecked.

Also, have my favourite maiden song Iron Maiden - The Clansman

Orrance has a plan, he and some picked men will create a distraction opposite the pyramid, meanwhile the rest of us (disguised as locals as best we can) just trot down into the dig site and wreck shit. Simple. Possibly.

So, borrowing some native outfits (thaubs) and camels (Angus is given one that looks really, really familiar, it has some spots on the hump) we set off into the night. Given the possibility we might murder Ali, we are pleased to meet our new guide, who doesn't really do much other than point our way.

We wait behind some dunes. Well most of us do. Angus and the camel seem to have made friends and are sharing belts from his hip flask.

We wait.

Now you all know what a sphinx is I assume. A djinn in Britbongsteros looks like a genie. Male or female, and magical in some way.

We are very impressed to see the sphinx in the distance. Things get more exciting as a fireball shoots over the thing's head, the sphinx replies violently, as do the other djinn, there is a sheet of lightning, it starts to rain amphibians and generally things are very pyrotechnic.

The DM hints (via guide - who will remain with the camels) that this might be our distraction...

While the apocalyptic (pretend) battle thunders in the distance, we enter the dig site. There don't seem to be any people around the entrance, but there is the usual fare of torches on pillars and scarabs carved on things.

In one room we pass through what looks like a very large stone block has landed on a huge quantity of jam which has dried into the floor.

We consider this.

We suddenly realize this is a trap which has been triggered and is what happens if you drop a big stone block on a lot of people.

We reason we are unlikely to walk into anything that hasn't already been triggered, but it is a weird feeling walking through another party's dungeon if you see what I mean.

It's only I think about that last sentence do I realize we actually saw a "rocks fall and everyone dies" and survived.

There are some other signs of old violence. None of it essentially creepy, just interesting. Missing statues surrounded by bullet holes in walls (as though they had come to life and been shot at) a very large pit, crossed by what seems to be an invisible bridge (actually a very smart optical illusion), but now it has warning signs, a rope, and someone has helpfully covered the bridge with sand.

The feeling of someone else's dungeon intensifies as we descend lower. We can no longer hear the fight above us, but we can definitely hear one in front of us.

There is gunfire and something heavier, a rhythmic heavy thudding, which is building to a pulsing. We get closer. Readying ourselves. We reckon whatever it is, it is around the next corner. That's when we hear it. That fateful fucking sound.

>Accordion music

What is round the corner?

The room is large. As big as Westminster Abbey, seven great pillars within, some standing, some not. The firefight is intense as from the opposite side of the room flow a quantity of shadowy creatures we can't quite make out, they're too big to be human. On one side of the room are a large number of caliphate troops with some very recognizably German uniforms amongst them. In the center of the room sits a weird looking eldritch device, with a great big toe sitting in the middle of an actinic blue field (it's Babi's toe). On the other side of the device are a group of six recognizably French adventurers, including one playing the accordion. It seems like the French interrupted the Germans while whatever the fuck the other things are have crashed the party.

>What would Purple Penguin do?

The shadowy things seem to be slaughtering the Caliphate troops with what look like glowing swords and... whips? We can't really tell. They are advancing on the French too. The accordion playing stops as the French bard is split in two from forehead to groin.

The purple penguin doesn't like death, but it also hates accordion music. However, we join in on the side of humanity. Something tells us what ever the other things are, they are probably not nuns.

A new music replaces the accordion. Iron Maiden- The Trooper (HD with Lyrics)

I should really describe the rest of the French Party

Joan D'arc is easy enough.
The short angry dwarf woman with a rotary flail.
A nun who seems to be able to levitate things.
A kobold with an ice gun,
A navvie type who is a big lumberjack with an axe,
The now deceased stripey jumper-ed accordion playing beret-ed bard.

By the time we start to engage, moving directly between the two parties (Germans and French), we are starting to see the critters a bit more clearly. They sure don't look human. Six limbs, big ridged heads with crests like a triceratops, if you squint a bit they... aliens. Bastard sodding aliens. A different type than our friends at the North Pole, but similar enough in the same way you can tell a gorilla and a chimp are cousins.

We note as we move to the center of the room that there are big thick iron clad pipes running from the machine with the toe through to where the aliens are coming from.

We don't concentrate on the "why?" At this stage. More the fuckingkillthemall!

Like the ones we met earlier, we discover they respond well to being shot, stabbed, and various other things. The Germans are falling and the French are losing ground, the one with the axe disappearing into a pile of aliens, we haven't seen the nun in a bit either.

The fight with the aliens is intense. The the French are not left with many of their original party, and there's scant few Germans left. The six of us are relatively unharmed barring some minor injuries (suck it we are PCs!). We look out on the still crackling pile of bodies and then back at the toe. Someone has some explaining to do.

We try to tend to the wounds of those still alive. There are not many. Joan is one of them. We ask her

"What were you doing here?"
"We tried to stop them, they used the toe to open..." She falls unconscious. The kobold follows on for her.
"There is something down here that could alter the balance of power in the world, we came to try to take it, or at least destroy what was down here."
"And we," the leader of the Germans, a huge man of a bear, or bear of a man, take your pick he's half and half, "had things entirely under control."

He continues

"We knew you had accessed something similar at the north pole" (again I'm not even going to try a German accent) "and with the consent of the Caliphate, we sought to open what was here. We have done so. We will claim what lies within."

He has been looking around the room, and is starting to realize we may not outnumber him, we could definitely stop him doing anything we didn't want.

Obviously we need to stop whatever is down that hallway or who knows what will spill out.

We can't really leave the Germans alive with the French, there aren't enough of the latter to subdue the former. We could just kill them, which the purple penguin would not approve of. We could also try to take them with us...

The caliphate troops are seemingly easily cowed, and we think we are safe to leave them behind. The four surviving Germans we decide are large enough a threat to be worth taking along.

We ask (regarding the toe) "Can we shut that thing off?" The wizard looks it over, while we are told "not safely" and the wizard seems to agree with this.

We split up, a line of three of us, them in the middle and three behind and we proceed down the tunnel. We don't get far, (I should add that the doorway was what the toe seemed to be connected to, what is further on hasn't been investigated yet) before we come to what look like sarcophagi. Lots of them. Investigation reveals... That they are. The mummies within don't seem very inclined to try and eat us, but it does give us a moment to take stock.

>What do we know about these aliens?

They seem markedly different to the ones we fought. They don't seem to exhibit any of the mind bullets or other weirdness. They just straight up murderise people. From what we remember (those of us who were under alien influence and from the recording) there were two warring species on Mars. The north pole ones and the others. These ones.

We got the impression the North Martians (as I'm going to call them) had been losing when they sent the ship that we found. We don't know if they were still losing now. Either way, Martians are dicks.

One other thing we realize, if there is a ship down here then it's been here a very long time too. We creep forward, half expecting to be rushed any second. Instead things seem very quiet. If we didn't know better this tomb might have been undisturbed for thousands of years.

This feels more than a little strange, nothing has gone "ULLA" nothing is floating. We do not trust this.

They aren't invisible, they aren't psychic, they were definitely here...

It's about then that one of the bears explodes.

Well he doesn't so much explode as... change... Into one of the aliens. His body shifting, bones cracking, skin splitting, a green glow emanating from his hand as the beginnings of an energy sword starts to form.

We don't wait for him to finish. We obliterate him.

"What the hell is going on?"

The largest of the bears pokes the remains with his boot.

"Poor Hans. I thought this might happen."
"You what?"
"The device down here is said to turn men into beings of power, we thought it meant the ability you discovered at the pole, to destroy or nullify magic. Clearly the translation was more literal than that. We opened the door and sent 40 natives in to search for traps. We are not nimble creatures as you can see. Shortly afterwards we were attacked from both sides... If this device can change men, then either it does so as an infection or the closer we get, the more dangerous it becomes... I would advise you watch your comrades closely."

We all, each and every one of us, have been scratched, cut, or have some form of open wound, we all are getting closer to whatever the thing is. Hans wasn't the most wounded, nor was he closest. He seemed fine until exploding.

We realize that the forty odd aliens we fought were the forty odd natives. We start to wonder, was it one cut finger? Someone must have powered the thing up... or... flipped it on somehow. We establish that the bears (I felt a bit bad calling them Germans) have no idea what we are looking for. So in the light of the torches we push on, past sarcophagus after sarcophagus.

Something new happens, we come to the first open sarcophagus. We examine it. It looks to have been broken open from within. Shiiiiiiiiiit.

From up ahead there is a thump. Then another. We take cover. The sarcophagus falls open. And seemingly oblivious, the mummy within begins to walk in the direction we are heading. Deeper into the tomb. Another breaks out next to the wizard and walks straight past him. It walks around Angus when he experimentally interposes himself in its path.

We decide to follow them, there is a faint red glow ahead now and there are a number of mummies shambling ahead and behind us. The wizard senses no magic.

The red glow is enough to see by at this stage. We extinguish the torches. Carefully pushing forwards. No one is showing signs of going weird yet but neither did Hans. We enter another chamber. There is a mass of mummies slowly milling around the source of the glow. We watch as one, then another are lifted off the ground by what looks a lot like a tentacle. What little viable biological material left is (we surmise) removed from it. It is then tossed aside.

>ok fuck learning. Fuck all of this. DM what ever carefully planned thing you have, fuck it. We are going to burn it. Then take off and nuke the site from orbit.

We don't want to give our presence away quite yet, so Angus extinguishes the pilot light and settles for dousing the mummies with fuel. Mummies burn good, it's all the wrapping and general dryness. Then we light a torch and toss it into the room before ducking out of sight. There is a very impressive whoomph noise and we can feel the heat even from here. We decide to give it five minutes to see what happens then investigate. Angus reports he does not have a great deal of fuel left.

We can't tell if the red glow is what was there before or just fire. We investigate carefully. There are a lot of burning mummies, or remains of, on the ground. In the center of the room sits a black and red shiny looking device, about the size of a bowling ball. If it's going to be anything, it's going to be that. Now, we have no explosives, we can't retreat and fetch some (Who knows who might come looking), we could just shoot it, or give it a whack with Excalibur... Blunt force trauma via hammer or maybe just wizard something at it.

As the flames die down, we begin to see what happened to the natives, the thing still glows, and we wonder if someone might have touched it, it seems quite alluring if you don't know what it can do. The wizard summons a nice big lead block, in the shape of a hemisphere, then a second. The ball lets itself be scooped up into the container. Feeling a bit more confident. We approach it. Angus welds our crude radiation shield closed.

Experimentally, the Navvie, with all of our guns trained on him, picks the thing up.

>"Hello it's very dark in here..."
>AAAAAAAHFUCKFUCKFUCKITALKS

The Navvie promptly drops the thing as though he has been stung. The Chief Bear seems quite impressed.

"So this is it, an alien device sealed down here by Horus himself, locked away with the bodies of a thousand of his most devote followers to serve as a warning to others and to stand guard over it."
>Britbongsteros and the bowling ball of doom

The wizard is meant to know about this shit so he gets shoved forward. I can't believe we are about ten threads in and we haven't discussed this. The wizard is a tcheuter (Google it) and sounds like this. If you imagine everything that follows in this guys voice, anon will get the full impact. I will post it in Aberdonian and a translation can be provided if requested

While the song is about Angus, the accent is wizard. Evil Scotsman With Lyrics

"Aye baw fit do ye want?"
"What? I am Antrygos the annihilator!"
"Och ats good, but whit are ye aboot?"
"I am here to stop the unbelievers, they are here to increase their numbers and..."
"De ye mean the wans whae winted to shag this lass?" (He points to Cruella. Note that bowling ball has no eyes, is also encased in lead)
"The breeding unit?" (The DM makes a very odd noise, it later emerges this is because someone kicked his shin under the table)
"Onywae whit are you doing here and hoo dae wae kill ye?"
"What? You cannot kill me! I..."

We hear running feet, we are presented with a conundrum. The Caliphate will take this thing off us, and we don't want that. The bears will tell them about it....

The purple penguin would not be happy of we killed them, so we talk.

"Alright, do you agree this thing is dangerous?"
"Yes."
"Do you also agree that it is better contained than released?"
"Yes."
"Do you agree that it is better in our hands than theirs?"
"Yes."

We take the ball and chief bear, being a bear of honour, gives a salute and nod.

We leg it.

By the time we left, the French had actually also legged it, at some point having released the Caliphate troops, now swarming the area.

Avoiding the caliphate troops by hiding amongst the sarcophagi. We return to Orrance and tell him what we found. He is understandably pleased about the result but when we show him Antrygos (the bowling ball) he is amazed by the thing, especially when it talks.

We wonder what the hell are we going to do with it. As we discuss, Antrygos interrupts every so often with "UNHAND ME" or "RELEASE ME PUNY EARTHLING SO I CAN FEAST ON YOU"

We can't immediately destroy him, and he might be useful to the Privy Council. We settle on taking him to the dreadnowt and sealing him in a safe so we can do something with him when we have time.

So with Antrygos safely stored away (which took some time in game, but not much happened aside from explaining to Captain DM exactly what the chatty bowling ball of death was about) Cap'n DM was not exactly pleased to have him aboard, but there was little else to be done - we could hardly chuck him in the sea - that'd just be not environmentally friendly and mutant alien tuna didn't sound good.

What comes next is a return to Orrance, who seems better disposed toward us than previously. He agrees that he will take us into Araby on the condition that we help him further.

As we know, the Caliphate has enslaved the old Gods but would rather they were dead. Ismail's group would rather they were alive and free. If we manage to steal the process of extracting the oil, Britain doesn't really mind what happens to the Caliphate or the area if we already have oil, however, having a sympathetic regime that is less inclined to provide oil to other powers seems like a good idea.

That regime we decide is more likely to be Ismail and Orrance's.

What the further task is, is to release Horus.

>A brief note on the Egyptian gods.
>What were they all doing beforehand? Well as we know in Britbongsteros, magic is a peculiar quantity and the aliens did something to nullify it. This stopped being a thing about 1497.

How do we know it was 1497?

Because suddenly dragons, orcs, and cthulu.

This also meant Horus and co. suddenly materialize again with hardly any worshipers (God food), and very little idea of what is going on.

Think of it like this, if you have ever been blackout drunk, you're still you, you just don't record memories of the time when you were drunk. You just stumble around and drunk dial your ex. The old gods are all into the second bottle of tequila.

>Where's Jesus then?

Jesus was (apparently) a person.

>Ok where's God?

Well actually this came up in a discussion the party had. I forget when but it was the Wizard who brought it up. Being a monotheistic sky God, who wasn't very big on appearing in person, he hasn't really shown up and is too busy fighting the other similar gods somewhere else. So no God. This doesn't stop the church existing however, as you all already know.

I'm sure holes can be poked in the theology but that's what we went with.

>what do we know about Horus?

Well he is chained up on the banks of the Nile and currently serving as a clock.

>What will freeing him do?

He can escape into the desert and give hope to Ismail's folk, he can also lead an army to overthrow the caliphate. In 1497 he didn't have many worshipers, now he has more, not many, but enough, enough he is starting to sober up... He is probably the best chance they have, especially if he can free other gods.

Of course we might be CIA'ing the situation (which, for one, this is what always happens when you touch middle eastern politics...), but if required, a European power could still put down enough ordinance to splat him, and fuck it, if we get our own oil (via the process) then we don't really give a shit anyway. Also you never know, being owed a favour by a god might be nice. Especially if there really are aliens coming...

Anyway, that also covers a good deal of in character discussion.

We decide the best thing to do, is go with Orrance to have a look at Horus and see what exactly the situation is. We wait for morning and head out.

The trip is uneventful (Angus and that camel are getting really friendly though). Horus is bounded by chains made of what looks like cold iron, he couldn't break them no matter how strong he was. He is on his back, the caliphate have apparently tried everything they can think of to kill him judging by the way the earth around him is stained a deep dark black of old blood. He is not in a good way. We arrive about 07:58 and so are in good time to see the crew of slaves beating something which is stoking a fire and the red hot bars being drawn out. What they are beating is Babi, it seems like he has lost a lot of faith (worshipers),is a good bit smaller (still 30ft tall), and is not enjoying his existence. Poor bastard looks miserable.

You could even say he looks a little flaccid. Anyway we are there as Horus screams the hour (well, just screams really, but it's at about 08:00:05).

We decide getting too close (particularly with Excalibur) is a bad idea. So we retreat back to the Souk to meet Ismail and plot (also we just quite like Ismail and wanted to see him again).

Ismail is pleased to see us, and even more pleased that we didn't turn out to be dicks. He is thrilled with our goal, but beyond providing local knowledge, he isn't sure what he can do to help.

We go round the group for suggestions:

Bard: "We need to break the chains. Could we use explosives?"
Angus: "The thermic lance probably won't work. Also, explosives might... if it was directed, it just might... We know from previous experience that enough dakka can kill a god, so we will have to be careful."
Wizard: "Chains are cold iron that I didn't create, fuck all I can do. The dreadnowt (our pet battleship) might have some spare."
Cruella "So we are going to blow up a god, but only slightly? I wonder if Babi could help? Can we free him too? He looked so sad..."
Rest of group: "So you will happily murder anything that is human, but if it's fluffy then we should be nice to it?"
Cruella: "He might be useful, also yes."
"Wasn't he going to kill us all?"
"Oh shush. For once I want to be nice, and I got him into this..."

Ok so now we are freeing both.

If I forgot to mention it, they only make him scream during the hours of daylight, and that does makes it hard to sleep in (keeping everybody productive). This also means it's pretty much just him and Babi at night Ismail informs us. There are guards but not many, and they are easily bribed or distracted. His faction haven't had any means to break the chains and don't want to draw unnecessary attention to themselves without definitely knowing they could free Horus.

Ismail tells us Babi is bound by smaller chains, and because he was missing a toe when he was captured, has been quite extensively mutilated (The reasoning being, if he was missing a bit, then surely they could ensure he misses some more bits). The toe hasn't grown back, and even if he is slowly healing from his other wounds, pain is still pain.

We travel to the dreadnowt (not exactly far) and pleasingly it seems all is normal aboard (at least no one has turned into anything they shouldn't have...). We acquire (after Angus, Wizard and I have a chat) a couple of shells from the main battery. They are armour piercing and fucking heavy. They should do the job.

"How are we going to set them off?" Asks the Navvie as he picks them up easily.

That is a very good question. The wizard seems to think, however, he can direct something like a coin or hammer with enough force to set off the smaller ignition charges and those will do the rest.

We return at night and have another look. The Caliphate really don't seem to post many guards, but we can see about two dozen by the light of their torches. That doesn't seem like many given that someone must've mentioned the raid on the pyramids the other night. It is possible the bears didn't talk about it (they seemed to get our point), but some of the infantry must've... Also y'know sphinx and djinn playfighting...

We use the cover of darkness to sneak closer, the area Horus is in is essentially a waste ground with slum type buildings at either side and the Nile a short distance from his feet.

We go for the Nile side. There are even less guards here....

>DM, this wouldn't be a trap would it?
>Why on earth would you think that?
>Well maybe because you're pure evil as DMs go....
>Of course it isn't a trap...

It's a trap.

The first thing we notice is Babi sniffing the air. He looks right at us.

"Ook?"

Cruella makes a shushing motion, he waves backwards at us. He might be an ape but the gesture of "no! Run!" is pretty clear.

Of course it's also enough to spring the trap as anyone watching him knows that something has been spotted.

A tiny djinn rises into the sky like a flare, making the whole area glow like daylight as the Nile behind us loses its stillness.

Wikipedia:
The Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) is an African crocodile and the second largest extant reptile in the world, after the saltwater crocodile.
On average the Nile crocodile is between 4.1 metres (13 ft) to 5 metres (16 ft), weighing around 410 kg (900 lb). However, specimens measuring 6.1 metres (20 ft) in length and weighing 907 kg (2,000 lb) have been recorded. They have thick scaly skin that is heavily armored.
>Now add Britbongsteros.

They're bigger than the wiki implies. Much. The eyes glow red indicating something magical going on (Tiny djinn implanted in their brains).

And then if you recall Sobek was one of the enslaved Gods.

>Shit! Run!

Except of course

"Smaller specimens can gallop, and even larger crocodiles are capable of surprising bursts of speed"

There is no plan. The Navvie hefts the shells and runs like a rugby player with them in the direction of Horus. The wizard as the other part of the demo team Rincewinds after him.

With about ten seconds before engagement, the rest of us prepare to stand our ground.

This is the first time we have ever faced anything truly heavily armoured. I've got solid slugs, Cruella has Excalibur, the purple penguin has disapproving looks, and Angus has a thermic lance, we should be fine...

In the stark light of the flare/djinn in the heart of an ancient civilization, the city wakes to a new sound. Sabaton - Panzer Battalion + Lyrics (on the bagpipes of course).

The Navvie (unbeknownst to us) makes a detour. Stopping at Babi. Babi is manacled hand and foot with decent sized chains (nowhere near the foot across links used on Horus). The Navvie gestures for Babi to lay his wrist chains on the anvil used to fashion the iron bars (which after use on Horus get recycled into bayonets).

"Ook?"

The wizard conjures a spike of the hardest alloy he knows of and the Navvie brings that hammer down.

"Ook!"

He does it again on the second set of chains.

"OOK!"

Meanwhile, we prepare to meet the crocs. Angus quite rightly suspects fire is not going to do much, but the lance definitely will. I try firing on the closest, it seems to slow it down, but not a great deal else. Cruella prepares to leap.

They get closer. Angus fencing with one with the lance, carving bits off, but it does not seem to feel pain. I get some critical hits as one roars (a couple dozen solid slugs down its gullet kills it very dead). Cruella gets on top of one and sticks Excalibur through its brain. It doesn't seem to really notice and keeps trying to eat me.

It's about now that Babi sweeps into them. Picking up one croc and using it as a bludgeon on the others.

Further up the body of Horus, Navvie and wizard come under fire. Horus grunts as everything that misses them hits him. They are pinned down somewhere near his hand, about twenty feet from the chains across his chest. The wizard has some small influence over bullets and the Navvie makes a run for it, slamming the shells in between the links of the chains and taking cover in Horus's armpit (there are no atheists in foxholes as the saying goes). The wizard redirects the suppressing fire and, well, the Dreadnowt has some really big guns because when the smoke clears a very big chunk of Horus is missing and the chains are broken.

Horus with his arms now free, and a hole in his side you could parallel park in, sits up. He rips the chain around his neck from the ground and the chains around his legs follow suit.

The bard by now has switched songs Iron Maiden - Fear of the Dark and alarms go off across the city. Horus, rising against the moon, looking bigger, weirder, and frankly more pissed off than anything we have seen yet.

"Thank you mortals."

He stoops and picks up Babi by the scruff of the neck and sets off in the direction of Anubis. Babi carries the last remaining croc with him having subdued (concussed) his new friend.

>The old gods return.

Well say what you like about us, but as we watch Horus's broad back retreat into the moonlight, the Purple Penguin sensibly reminds us that "Holy fuck, leg it."

We make for the Souk where Orrance and Ismail seem quite pleased with us. Orrance has a map of the country spread out and Ismail is assisting. The place is a tumult of activity. We decide to settle in and try to get some sleep. See what the morning brings as no one seems in the mood to take us out into the desert yet.

Every so often we can hear bangs and what sound like explosions in the city. It sounds like in the traditional of PCs, we fucked shit up good.

We awake on a new day, and look out into the city as breakfast is being prepared. Quite a lot of it is on fire or wrecked.

>oops.

It also seems like the Caliphate is in total disarray. Ismail is happy with Orrance in charge, so our fat happy merchant friend will guide us out into the deserts of Araby. We have a couple hours to make ready and are assisted with supplies and camels (Angus gets his favourite again).

We are lead through the backstreets and circled round what sounds like full on magical civil war.

We are starting to realize, that our actions last night killed an awful lot of people indirectly.

We should, and do, feel bad about this.

We set off into the desert eventually. Making camp beneath the stars, watching the moon rise, it is incredibly peaceful, relaxing almost. For the first few days anyway.

Have some mood music: it's a bit different to the usual metal but seemed fitting Arabic Music - The Desert Lounge Vol IV

Ok point one. Fuck me is it hot. We knew it was the desert but my god, it is getting hot in the day and beyond cold at night. Ismail seems to know where he's going, and we trot along after him. Days one and two are uneventful. Day 3 we come to an oasis, refilling canteens and camels, all feels pretty good. Day 4 we start to pass from rocky desert into dunes, mile, after mile, after mile of dunes.

It's hot, it's a dry heat, each day the sun makes this slow ascent, seemingly higher in the sky than the last, lips become chapped, even in our thaubs (we kept the disguises) we roast. Ismail is starting to look unhappy on day 5. Consulting the map, checking the sky.

We haven't seen anything fly over since Day 3.

Day 6 is uneventful, but hotter and hotter.
Day 7 - "Ismail, are we nearly there yet?"
"Tomorrow I promise, effendi."
Day 8 - "Where the fuck are we ismail? The camels are starting to complain, getting grumpier. Angus is sunburnt to fuck."
Day 9 - "Ismail, are we lost?"
"No effendi it can't be far now..."
Day 10 - Ismail's camel drops dead.
>DM, just for ONCE can we go somewhere and not... hang on... Camels take six or seven MONTHS to dehydrate.
>Come to think of it, we're all a bit more dehydrated than we should be, and the rest of the camels are looking peaky.

Ismail gamely walks along with us, insisting he's ok, and no he doesn't want to share a camel with someone, he is burning his feet on the sand. He drops too. He sure seems to have lost a lot of weight when the Navvie picks him up.

We are starting to suspect something is wrong here.

We were already on alert for Djinn and mirages or zombie French foreign legion, but we didn't expect the DM to make a play like this.

>By the purple penguin it is fucking hot.

We decide to make camp in a wadi and study Ismail's map. We may not have any idea where the fuck we are, but we might as well try and work it out. We don't want to end like this. Lost in the desert, dehydrated husks with no one to tell our stories.

With night first comes blessed cool, we drink water, the water skins aren't doing very well, neither is based Ismail.

We estimate we have a couple days at best. We are lost as fuck.

>Has anyone got any bright ideas?

We try to make condensers, it doesn't work very well. We know in the morning we should head east. The DM starts to make us roll every so often. What for he won't say. No one seems to fail, but as we traipse on, losing my camel, then Cruella's, then the Navvie's, each seeming mysteriously drained dry we...

The wizard drops.

We can just carry Ismail, and we can just about carry the wizard too. One more, and that's it.

The DM has chucked us in at the deep end (Quicksand?) with this one.

We agree to try to head east. Our progress slower and slower with each dead camel. Finally, we are left with Angus's camel with the weakest members of the party on her back.

>Why are the camels dying?

We don't know... we are fucked...

>A spot, a spot on the horizon... it's... is that green?

We get closer, and closer, it has to be a mirage,

Feet rise and fall, each step slower than the last, chapped lips would bleed, but we are too dehydrated. The sun is getting higher, hotter. We walk, a slow steady, lung burning mantra of

"Fuck it's hot" right step
"Fuck you DM" left step
"Fuck it's hot" right step
"Fuck you DM" left step

The green dot isn't going away... it is getting bigger...

We can see palm trees. Holy fuck it is an oasis.

What's that funny flappy thing?

>A caliphate flag

We decide to finish the waterskins, each and every last one, every drop, pouring some into Ismail and Wizard in the hope they'll be able to help.

The last one isn't full of water. It's full of sand and a note.

>Camels poisoned. Ali.
>I fucking hate this kid.

We wait in the scorching oven of the desert for nightfall, assessing the caliphate presence. We are literally yards from salvation, between us are two platoons of Caliphate soldiers.

Ordinarily, for us, at this level, no fucking trouble.

Dehydrated and half dead? More than a deadly challenge.

>Plans?
>Surrender? The Purple Penguin spits upon you for your cowardice.
>CHARGE! Might work...
>Make as much noise and violence as possible when they're sleeping and see what happens?

We watch them bed down for the night. Dry lips chafing at that cool clear water. The Camel huffs, sniffing water on the air. Angus fluffs his roll to control her. She gets away from us and barrels into the camp.

We decide that this is our best hope of a distraction.

>Flamethrowers are amazing at crowd control
>As are gatling shotguns

Bard does his best as well: Slayer Raining Blood (Hilariously apt DM, thanks)

The Caliphate troops break and run. In the burning camp, as palm trees go up like torches, as the wounded scream and burn, silhouetted in the darkness is one camel drinking her fill very happily. We do the same.

In the confusion it appears some of the caliphate troops were either too dead to use them, or too busy running, and their camels legged it, they start to wander back over the next 24 hours.

Everyone's starting to feel better, we don't know what Ali used on the camels but we have a feeling he used the same stuff on a couple of the waterskins, but the symptoms are starting to leave us now. We rest up a bit, keeping careful watch on the dunes for Caliphate reprisals.

We also find in the camp maps which seem to imply we are, at worst, a day or two from where we need to be.

We head onwards after resting up, we start seeing signs of Arab habitation, it appears what we met was a Caliphate forward patrol, one which was deep in enemy territory as it were. The dunes start to give way to scrub, we aren't far from the coast as far as we can tell now. Then we mount a dune, and there, in all it's blue watery gorgeousness, is the sea.

We prepare for the next part of our adventure, onward to the oil, and to steal the process of extracting it.


After getting lost (very lost) and our nearly dying of dehydration, we are on the gulf of Aqaba, we travel up the coast and round, down to Medina (it takes about five more days doing this but we don't die). We meet more and more Arabs, they are friendly, especially when Ismail tells them about what we have been up to. They seem pretty bro-tier all round. Each night we stay with a different camp, hanging out and generally making friends. Medina has some foreign influence, especially British but we head out from there and on to somewhere between Hafir al batin and Buradyh.

We start to see Djinn again and things are very deserty.

The oil fields at last. We meet camel trains carrying barrels full of the stuff to the coast, we are so close. After all this weirdness, things have taken on an almost unreal quality.

We see a geyser of black gold spurt into the sky. Whatever they are doing it clearly works. We crest a dune and see just how it works.

There are human shapes chained up on the desert floor. A man casts an incantation of some sort over the body of one bound and gagged victim and blood flows from him, a lot of it, all of it. Draining into the sand.

Seconds later from beneath the corpse, oil bubbles, then flows, then gushes.

>aaaaaaaw fuck.
"Ismail... dude... did you know about this?"
"Of course I did. We only use people who volunteer."
"What do you mean volunteer?"
"Well they are mostly slaves really, their owners volunteer them and..."
>The purple penguin is starting to froth at the mouth
"Ok, who is that priest guy?"
"That would be one of the cult, they don't follow the old gods. They are very good at doing this magic though are they not, effendi?"

Ok. Huddle up.

1. We need that process.
2. Fuck this cult.
3. If we (ok wizard) can learn whatever the fuck it is, maybe we can reverse engineer it and make it less murdery.
"Ismail, we would like to meet one of the priests please."

Ismail is extremely happy to arrange this. He suggests we take a goat.

The priests reside in an old fortress nearby. Ismail merrily gives exposition on who they are.

>The priests of (I can't post the Arabic characters in text but it's pronounced Daem, which, delightfully, is Arabic for blood) (yay!) They were kicked out of the caliphate for being too extreme and generally weird, practicing magic that was forbidden and entirely unholy. They were welcomed by the Arabs who are actually just nice guys, and they took them in as down on their luck folks without realizing what these guys were about.
Then the oil happened and the Cult of Daem got to be very wealthy, they don't care about influence or power, just the occasional blood sacrifice or virgin here and there.
There are about sixty of them, and every so often they tap wells like this.

It seems like chopping the cult out is not a bad idea. We are sorely tempted to just go full on murder hobo, but we also need to learn from them.

So we need to make friends, then kill all of them.

Step 1, acquire goat.

This is done easily enough.

Step 2. Wait a minute, does anyone speak Arabic?

Ismail, and possibly the penguin.

Ok....do we trust Ismail to translate?

We think so. He seems nice enough.

Step 3. Acquire favour within the cult.

This third step is likely to require the wizard doing something we really do not like. But with the fleet back home damaged, and landcruisers needing fuel, Britbongsteros needs this stuff.

Have some more mood music seeing as anon liked it. Chillout Arabian Lost In The Desert

We have our objectives. As we are discussing, we see that the cultist and those with him are going to pass pretty close to us. We get our first look at what we are up against up close. Black robes are a given, trimmed with red, a belt made of finger bones, and a staff with a skull on top. We can't see his face for mask, another skull. We can see eyes, blue like the desert sky stare out at us. So obviously foreigners in this land. He stops.

He says something (for the rest of this just assume Ismail is translating)

"For her, I would give much gold, enough for forty others."

We close in around Cruella again to prevent another murder.

"I mean the camel, not that skinny thing"
Cruella: "Why do people keep doing that?"
Party: "We'll explain later just don't stab anyone right now please..."

Angus steps forward to defend his camel.

"She is worth a hundred others, there is none like her" (he really liked that camel)
"Ha. I will give you two."
"Two what?"
"Of your hearts desire, eunuch. Then I would pluck that heart out and feast on it"

He walks away laughing.

>What the fuck was that about DM? Is he just crazy or crazy and evil?
Ismail answers: "That was Al'Fella. Please, effendi, we were very lucky to have survived that..."
"Why?"
"He is the leader of the cult of Daem. The best and worst of them."

We have a feeling he is not the best at ethics and the worst at blood sacrifice. We ask Ismail

"How are we going to get to learn any of this stuff if he doesn't like us?"

Ismail laughs now, that big fat belly laugh that seemed really jolly and lovely in Cairo is actually creepy as fuck now.

"Didn't like you? He loved you!"
"Wut?"
"Are you dead? No? Then he liked you. He made a joke, then he really liked you. You are still not dead for the punchline? He must love you!"

We are in a really weird place and awfully far from home.

Then again, we are often in a really weird place far from home.

We acquire a goat quite easily. Ismail seems quite happy to take us to the mountaintop residence of the cult (typical evil looking fortress).

Now anon may be wondering, generally we try to be at least neutral good or whatever the brokenness of the D&D chart thinks we are. This is balanced against

>The DM is a dick

So the obviously evil chaps have something we really want, and the question for us is how far are we willing to go for this before we murder them.

It's actually quite an interesting dilemma for the party.

The wizard, as the only really magical one, gets shoved to the forefront for a lot of what follows.

The DM has a little mechanic he uses for this, he dips into his bag (bad sign), he asks nicely if he could have a bowl please. Also another beer. He has something in his hand.

Meanwhile, the wizard is nudged forward, we are standing before the gates to the place, the wizard has the goat next to him.

Ismail says

"Speak after me"

Bear in mind that the wizard has the thickest Scottish accent and he is trying to parrot a language he hadn't even heard last month.

I'll do it in doric

"Ok wizard, tell them you come to learn."
"Aye ahm hir tae oonderstan yer magik."

Heads start to pop out over the battlements.

"Tell them you want to get answers to your questions."
"Ahm winting ye tae answir mae thae question thrae."
"And that you bring them this offering."
"Ah bright ye ah goat"
"Now slit its throat."
"Whit?"
"Do it."
DM: "Wizard PC, close your eyes and hold out hand please."
DM: "Do you do it?"
Wizard PC "Aye, I mean yes."
>DM squeezes tomato ketchup onto wizard's hand.

The surprised wizard PC (and everyone else) finds this more than amusing, and the doors to the place swing open. We are in.

The creak closed behind us in proper horror movie fashion.

We we are in. What next?

Ismail whispers that there are likely to be trials, if we want to learn, then they will put us to the test. They are unlikely to be much fun.

Who greets us? Our good friend Al.

(again whenever someone speaks Ismail is interpreting)

Al: "You come seeking wisdom?"
"We wish to learn how to take oil from the ground, yes."
"Very well. There will be trials. I suggest you take some time to compose yourselves. Why not enjoy refreshments while we prepare."

He claps his hands and a group of slave Leias bring in some tea. We sip, reclining on cushions. As we finish our drinks, Ismail kindly pours more, there is a note under the pot.

Ismail reads aloud

"The first trial has begun."

The doors slam shut and bolts turn.

"The tea was poisoned. The antidote is somewhere in this room. There is enough for half of you."

Those who are best at searching (Angus and Cruella) start doing so. The rest of us do our best to assist while working out how we can make half the dose work for everyone. We don't have any kind of magic healing person, the bard isn't bad at medicine, but he isn't exactly going to help.

>The DM places his alarm clock on the table.5 minutes.

We search, frantically, after a little while, Angus finds a glowing blue bottle and swigs from it, about the same time Cruella finds a purple one and, being a bit brighter, doesn't.

>Is this it? Are these one dose each? Two? We don't know...

We are starting to get a bit panicky. Three minutes left. Then two, then one. We haven't found any more. No one seems to be any worse off.

Still only enough for half... We all drank the tea, and Angus is fine, maybe...

We are starting to look at each other in a new light. We are very fond of these characters...

Wizard: "Well, Ismail is fucked..."
Cruella: "Who ever wants to take this off me can try..."
Aldous: "Drink mine, I have lived long enough."
Navvie: "I agree you have... gimme!"
Bard: "Guys! Guys! We can't end like this we...(OOC now) would the DM kill half us us so arbitrarily? Would he kill us in such a stupid way?"
DM: "Actually I did bring some new character sheets." (dm ruffles papers)

15 seconds

Bard: (IC) "Refuse to drink it, these are cultists obsessed with blood. They want to see if we turn on each other... Don't."
>The alarm clock rings.
DM: "Well I need a slash, I will be back in a minute. Who wants a beer?"

The DM takes an ostentatiously long time, and returns, pops his beer and continues

Al returns

"Ha! Well done, normally they fight like tooth and nail. It is so much fun to watch. You have survived the first trial!"
>Note that the session ended for the night there, DM fearing reprisals.


As mentioned last time, DM was rounded upon for nearly arbitrarily killing the entire party twice.

>Our DM is a Cunt.

So he decided to try harder this time. Going all the way back to the first time I talked about Britbongsteros, he liked offering us choices... Difficult ones.

At this point, DM dips into his rucksack and removes a large yellow bag.

>Jelly babies (they are a British sweet which for some reason are in the shape of babies)
>There is a collective intake of breath.
>DM opens the bag and starts lining up jelly babies on the table. Little serried colourful ranks.
>"Can I have a knife and a chopping board please? And a beer? Also would anyone like a jellybaby?"
>No one seems inclined.

Mad Ali launches into some exposition as the DM happily munches jellybabies.

"Come follow me, it is interesting to see a group of supplicants all survive the first trial. I understand only one of you is magically inclined (He means the wizard), what the rest of you hope to learn is not in my understanding, unless perhaps [wizard] you have brought me some new "volunteers"? That would be most kind of you."

Mad Ali giggles at a joke only he seems to get.

>DM bites the head off a jellybaby.

Ali leads us deeper into the fortress, until we come to a cavern, the walls are rough stone and from the roof shines a shaft of sunlight into near darkness. It looks a lot like Majilis al Jinn cave.

We are at the heart of what is by all accounts an extremely unpleasant cult, and as crazy as mad Ali is, they still seem surprisingly ok with us being there and wanting to learn their secrets. This and the jellybabies are starting to make us suspect not all is right here.

The shaft of light shines down onto an altar, if anything it is so blatantly a sacrificial altar it can't be anything else.

The rear of the altar seems to have a fairly substantial pool of inky looking water behind it.

Mad Ali keeps talking

"You have all killed before, numerous times, you have a great deal of blood on your hands. Each death is in furtherance of some goal I am sure, but you six have killed a great many, I doubt for any of you, you would have second thoughts of killing again, especially not for the powerful knowledge I may teach you. Surely a great prize such as that, is one which is worth spilling blood for?"

After a speech like that, we all look at each other.

Cruella seems to be chewing something.

("I like jellybabies, fuck off").
Angus: "Guys what are we gonna do? If he does what I think he is about to ask to do, we can't go through with it, we can't let him kill someone in front of us either."
Navvie: "I think Ali has a point, you know we did just inadvertently have half of Cairo smashed. What's a little blood sacrifice?"
Bard: "I do not like hard decisions!"

Mad Ali claps his hands and a robed acolyte brings out a small, squirming, bundle.

The bundle starts to cry.

>Oh shit we are gonna have to kill everyone now...
>DM slowly, carefully, chops the head off a jelly baby and eats it.
>He does it again.

Mad Ali speaks:

"Blood is important. Blood is everything. Blood is..."

The baby wails. Ali continues

"Ooogooo woogly googly oooogly"

The baby gurgles and claps. He cradles the child.

"This is my son, my flesh and blood. He will carry on my work after I am done. Is he not beautiful? Blood is important."
>DM gets the biggest shit eating grin, slits a jellybaby in half, and eats it.

This by the way is the reason I don't trust jellybabies.

Mad Ali hands the bundle back to the (we notice for the first time) female acolyte, and draws us and our subverted expectations closer to the altar.

So with our wonderful DM having done that to us, Ali asks for each of us to make a contribution, to slit open our palms and lay it on the altar. He passes round an ornate looking dagger, and we oblige, there is a shimmer in the water as blood flows down the altar, ripples form in the perfect stillness. We can't quite make out is causing them...

As the water breaks, mad Ali, cult leader, person exploder, and surprisingly nice family man bids us take a step back.

"This is the avatar of our God..."

We peer into the water. It's rather a big shape.

"HOLY FUCK WHAT IS THAT?"

Ali throws his arms out wide.

"Is Ibil al'Daem not perfect?"
Navvie: "That's a dunleosteous mate."

The Navvie is quite correct from what we can see. Ali continues

"Those who wish to learn must be judged worthy."

He removes a bracelet and tosses it into the pool.

"You do wish to be found worthy do you not? Retrieve it."

The Dunkleosteus (who I'm going to just call Duncan) scents blood in the water and thrashes about. The wizard looks on nervously.

"Go retrieve it! Duncan can scent cowardice"
Wizard: "I'm not going in bloody there...."
Party: "Yes you sodding are."
Ali: "Do you wish to forfeit the trial?"
Cruella: "Isn't the bracelet metal?"
Wizard: "Yes... why?... oooooh."

The wizard closes his eyes and sure enough, the bracelet rises above the water, Duncan makes a bite at it but misses, it lands at Ali's feet. He seems a tiny bit put out that no one dived in.

"The normal process is to satiate Duncan with slaves first... But I am sure he will not be hungry for long..."

DM seems fairly serene and we can't tell if that was what we were meant to do or not...

In any event, Ali agrees to begin to teach the wizard how the process works. This takes a couple of days in game but is glossed over quite quickly. The rest of us try to stay out of the way and not get sacrificed to anything.

The wizard seems to be ok learning on goats but everytime we see him he is covered in more and more blood. Learning this stuff can't be good for him. Eventually he reports that

"Ali says tomorrow I am ready to practice on humans"
>Time perhaps to put an end to this...

We interrogate him,

"Does this mean he knows everything required to drill for oil?"
"Nearly."

Tomorrow is when he will learn.

"Can the process be modified to work without humans?"
"Yes, probably."

That settles it then. Tomorrow we wipe out the cult of Daem. They may have been quite nice to us, really nice in fact, but the fact of the matter is... they practice human sacrifice and that is enough of a reason for the purple penguin.

The DM has us all roll a D20. Angus rolls highest.

The note the DM passed to Angus (I later learned) read "Congratulations during the night you have been kidnapped"

We discover his absence on waking the next morning.

We search for him to no avail, we definitely had him with us when we went to our separate quarters, his room seems to have no trapdoors or secret passages we...

>Ali sweeps in

We tactfully ask him where Angus is.

"Your slave? I have had him staked out in the desert. I assume that is why you brought him..."

(Anon may recall that Angus was notionally disguised as Cruella's slave for this adventure to allow him, as an orc, to be seen in public)

We decide that killing Ali at this stage is not a good idea, as he obviously knows where Angus is, and can lead us to him.

We follow him out into the desert, with Ismails help, the wizard asks,

"If most of this works on goats, why do you need to use people? Couldn't you just modify the process?"

Mad Ali seems a bit shocked by the idea.

"Because Daem demands it, you wouldn't want to insult Daem would you?"
"No no of course we don't want to insult your crazy God."

In the distance there is a scream, a crack and a pillar of oil gushing into the sky.

Ali: "Oh look at that, they have started without us!"
>Oh fuck they've started without us.

Again, we start to see familiar shapes staked out on the sand. One of which is green and refreshingly unexploded.

Mad Ali takes us to a restrained body near Angus. DM takes great pleasure in describing the poor disheveled slave, how the bonds chafe her wrists, how her eyes implore us.

Mad Ali: "Practice on this one first. Use what you have learnt wizard."

He looks expectantly.

The wizard totally fluffs his attempt to postpone things.

"I... I'm... umm... are you sure?"
"Yes wizard, use what you have learned, you know the ritual, I will complete the last step."

There is a lot of muttering between the party as this goes on. It boils down to

"Are we going to let her he exploded? We still don't know the last steps... we might need those..."

Suddenly this seems very familiar, thinking back to the first adventure, this is sort of fate is what we were saving people from... But we really need that process...

More to the point do we actually know how powerful Ali is... is this a good idea?

At Ali's coaxing the wizard starts to chant, to perform the ritual, the slave screams into her gag, her eyes becoming bloodshot.

Blood soaks into the sand.

Cruella drives Excalibur deeper into Ali's chest.

Ismail doesn't translate but he manages to gasp what can only be

"Why?"
>Because purple penguins. That's why.

We quite efficiently butcher the rest of the cult of Daem, spilling plenty of blood while we're at it. The slaves seem grateful to be free for the most part, aside from a few who seem awfully disappointed not to be going to meet their god.

One of the latter category asks us (via Ismail)

'Aren't you afraid of [Duncan]?'
"Ha! Why should we be afraid of a fish in a desert?"
'You really should be...'

It occurs to us that we haven't wiped out the Cult of Daem in its entirety, about 3/4s of it are back up on the hill, with their families, and one very big fish.

Really we can't just bugger off and leave them to be sacrificing folk.

We double check, the wizard seems to think he's learnt enough of the process to try it out back home, so we've ticked that box off our objective.

We go back up the hill in half-murderhobo, (remember there's kids in there, and the purple penguin likes kids) we start getting tacti-cool as we get closer, there doesn't seem to be anyone on the walls, and one parkour'ing Cruella and one Navvie shaped hole in the gates later seems to confirm it.

>Where the fuck is everybody?

Our first port of call is where we were staying, Angus collects his flamethrower.

Angus: "I wonder what Dunkelosteus tastes like?"

On our way to the lower levels we pass through the courtyard, and confirm that one very familiar camel is still alive as are some others. We decide this is probably going to get violent, but we should probably bring based Ismail along in case we need to be diplomatic.

As we get lower and lower, we notice that it seems like the walls are a little damp, the passageway certainly is, it's not just condensation, one quick finger taste says it's blood, rather a lot of the stuff too.

We get deeper and into the caves, just in time to see what we assume is the last cult member slit his own throat and fall backwards into the pool.

We approach the pool, taking a careful look around, there really isn't anyone left, but the floor is wet, about an inch or two deep in blood now, the pool is overflowing.

Based Ismail stands near the altar looking in, we have a quick conference,

Let's go, what is a fish gonna do, and the cult is all dead. We should check again for survivors and get gone."

Ismail starts to speak,

"Let's not look for survivors, lets not wait around, let's GO!"

Ismail continues,

"Please effendi, it is not a good idea to stay we must leave."

The blood/water/watery-blood seems to be rising. It's level with the top of my boots now and getting higher.

"Please we must leave this is a very bad place to be now...."

Ismail still has his back to the pool. Damn that blood is rising fast.

There's a very loud bang. The (only) entrance to the chamber seems to have just collapsed in on itself.

Then this happens.

>Hi Duncan, you seem a lot bigger...
>We are gonna need a bigger boat...

The water (blood) level is starting to rise, and a quick assessment of the doorway shows no hope of getting out in time. So we are stuck in about two feet of blood with a giant fish that seemingly is very keen on eating us.

Duncan bides his time in his pool.

The DM helpfully fills a pint glass with a little beer every couple minutes, the fluid level in that representing that in the cavern.

We examine our surroundings. If Duncan is a smart fish he will wait for the water level to rise a good bit. The cavern has ledges around it leading upward the dome of the roof. We can't climb out of the hole from the ledges but we can keep going until we think of something better than "get eaten by Duncan."

If the water level rises high enough, we could, in theory, float out of the skylight.

With Duncan in the water we didn't really feel like paddling at this point, but we did get up on a ledge and started climbing. It was pretty slow going, for every yard we went upward we went six or seven horizontally. Angus and Cruella did alright, the rest of us had to rely on the wizard summoning and drilling pitons in the wall. We got about a third of the way up with the water level rapidly catching up to us when we next saw Duncan, just a subtle flick of his tail breaking the water below us.

I don't know if anon has ever been trapped in a cave rapidly filling with blood and your only company is an angry murderous devonian fish, but it is not a good feeling.

We continue climbing, settling on a ledge maybe halfway up, the ledge is about five feet wide and ten long. Getting to the next ledge is going to be a tricky ascent across almost sheer rock. Going will be very slow and we have no ropes.

Suddenly...

>Actually where is that fish?

We hold onto the wizard as he leans out to place the first piton.

We watch the water carefully.

Nothing.

There's a thud directly from below us as Duncan rams the ledge with his armoured forehead, cracks appear beneath our feet as blood/water begins to lap at the edges

We urge the wizard to work faster as Duncan rams the ledge again, bits of rock falling away now, the wizard is a few feet above us and climbing fast. Duncan comes straight up through the far end of the ledge, he is gone before we can even get a bead on him.

I was trying to think of an appropriately sea based metal song. I got stuck on this: The Life Aquatic Soundtrack - Ping Island/Lightining Strike Rescue Op though really I should go with Sabbath - Children of the Sea. Anyway, back to Duncan.

Duncan rams the ledge again, there's not much of this thing left.

We start to climb, he's hot on our heels, jumping, snapping, and generally being certain death. We make it to another ledge, and he stops, waiting for the waters to rise.

We keep climbing, knowing that we're gonna have to swim the final stretch, and really must do something about him.

>What exactly can we do about one extremely large, angry, armoured, god-fish?

We try to plan as best we can, fire isn't gonna do much, neither will shotgun shells, getting close to hammer/stab him doesn't seem wise either, this leaves the wizard and the bard.

Our options are starting to run low, the DM's pint glass is nearly full (it would actually have been a while ago if he didn't keep drinking out of it by mistake). We consider exactly what the wizard could do. We're a bit short on metal, and summoning random sharp objects is probably not gonna do a great deal.

Our thoughts are interrupted by Duncan making a leap at us, he misses everyone, but his nose touches the cavern wall behind us, if we're doing something, it needs to be done fast.

With no real bonuses to charm fish, the bard is out, so that leaves the wizard, we would have some grenades, but no one carried them. We have however seen jaws...

Angus takes some persuading to give up the fuel tank of his beloved flame thrower, the wizard is able to levitate it quite comfortably, the tricky part is persuading Duncan to open his mouth at the right time...

What we need is bait... the Navvie is too slow, I'm about as heavy as him, Cruella will stab us, we need the wizard, so that leaves the already unhappy Angus or the bard, who is wearing a kilt.

We grab Angus by the ankles and dangle him off the ledge while I cock the hammer of my pistol.

Duncan, true to form, does his best to eat Angus, who due to some very lucky rolls is able to avoid being eaten and is actually totally unscathed, Duncan does grab the canister and swallows it. Whole.

>Oh.

So we are left with charm fish or a new plan, the water is rising...

We are going to get eaten or drown and then get eaten soon.

It's time for true heroism, a noble act to be told to future generations.

At least that's what I tell myself as I'm hung over the ledge of the cliff, even without a bonus to accuracy from the wizard, I'm still the best shot in the party.

Duncan resurfaces, some distance away. He is a fairly smart fish after all, and he must sense we aren't likely to want to feed ourselves to him...

He comes closer, experimentally floating just below me, eying me. He submerges. This must be it....

He breaches the water below me, I don't wait to fire I empty the whole cylinder down his throat.

He neatly snips off my arm (the good one) and submerges. The water boils, bubbles and then there is an explosion within the depths. I however am busy not dying from blood loss and being patched up by the bard.

The water rises and my unconscious body is dragged through the hole in the ceiling to safety.


The trip back to port Said is uneventful, though we pass more and more refugees, it seems we have caused all out civil war. It sure would be nice to get home.

The wizard is adamant he can build me a new arm once we are about the dreadnowt and then it's home for tea and medals.

The dreadnowt is still in harbour and appears normal. No one has been eaten by the bowling ball, and we celebrate by collapsing into our respective beds. Sunburned, missing a limb in my case (I liked that arm!) and ready for the voyage home.


The voyage sees a return to normality as we steam through the med, the captain is very pleased with us. I am very pleased with my new arm, and Angus has retreated down to the engine room with the other engineers. He was last heard of muttering about "Willy Pete."

I should add, Angus somehow got that fucking camel aboard.

>Portents of doom

Captain DM reports that the bowling ball can be heard rattling around in its cell. Every night about the same time. When Mars is highest in the sky...

We sail through the straits of Gibraltar without incident. We decide after a good night's rest to listen out for what Antrygos (the bowling ball) is doing that night.

He has been sealed inside a store room, no portholes and only one way out through a bulkhead door which is guarded by two ratings with a deadman switch. (Britbongsteros does not fuck about). We take over from the ratings who are very relieved not to have to hang around near Antrygos.

We don't have to wait long in the corridor (Cruella has sensibly acquired a deck chair, the wizard summons a steel plate bent at a right angle and sits on that, the rest of us just lean against the wall and smoke or play cards).

Soon there comes the sound of a rolling ball, sliding from side to side within the room, getting faster and faster.

Antrygos makes everyone near him uneasy, he doesn't seem to be doing much beyond rolling, we can't see him rolling (but we hate him). He doesn't roll in easy motions like with the waves but fast and frenetic, stopping, starting, never with a rhythm, moments of silence then thudding like he's jumping.

"Maybe we should crack the door?

We chat about the idea, doing our best not to listen to him bouncing or whatever alien balls do.

>GREETINGS OAF, IDIOT, MIDGET, BREEDER, LECHER, AND SKILLED MUSICIAN.

His voice comes from right in the middle of us. Definitely not muffled by the room.

There's nothing in the hallway, and we can still hear him rolling about.

>I SAID GREETINGS. ANSWER ME MORTALS.
Cruella: "Aaw he sounds lonely."
>I NEED NONE OF YOUR PITY MORTAL, BUT YES I YEARN FOR COMPANY
"You do realize you eat people and turn them into Martians Antrygos? You're not exactly likeable."
>I AM TO BE FEARED NOT LIKED.
"Alright well we could just go and leave you to it..."
>NO DO NOT GO. I COMMAND IT.
"So you are lonely?"
>YES. NO. I DEMAND AN AUDIENCE.
"And why is that Antrygos?"
>I HAVE WAITED MANY YEARS ALONE
Cruella: "Aaw."
>AND NOW YOU SHOULD KNOW THE CHANCES OF ANYTHING COMING FROM MARS DO NOT WANE (Wayne?), THEY GROW.
"And what do you mean by that Antgyros?"
>THE ENEMY IS COMING. IT IS CERTAIN.

He bounces around some more.

"How do you know?"
>CAN YOU NOT FEEL THEIR CREEPING PRESENCE? OR ARE YOU BEASTS THAT UNDERDEVELOPED?
"He sure is a nice guy huh?"
>YOUR AFFAIRS ARE BEING WATCHED BY INTELLIGENCES GREATER THAN YOURS. SCRUTINIZED LIKE THE TRANSIENT CREATURES THAT SWARM AND MULTIPLY IN A DROP OF WATER. ANTGYROS CARES NOT. ANTGYROS CARES ONLY FOR HIMSELF. ANTGRYOS DEMANDS YOU SACRIFICE YOURSELVES TO PROTECT HIS MIGHT.
"Antgyros are you... are you scared?"
>ANTGYROS CANNOT FEEL FEAR. ANTGYROS KNOWS NOT THIS EMOTION.
"You are, aren't you?"
>NEVER. THEY REGARD YOUR EARTH WITH ENVIOUS EYES AND SLOWLY AND SURELY, DRAW THEIR PLANS AGAINST YOU. ANTGYROS DEMANDS YOU ENSURE HE SURVIVES.
"Antgyros. You're terrified..."
>NO. I FEEL NO FEAR.

The ball stops rolling.

"Can you tell us what's coming Antgyros?"

He remains silent.

"When will they arrive?"

He remains silent.

"Why are you so afraid."

There is a final decisive clunk as though he has come to rest and isn't going to move again for some time.

So begins our next tale.

Good Omens, or Who do you think you are kidding, Mr. Kaiser?[edit]

Antgyros refuses to be drawn for the rest of the voyage. We actually begin to suspect he's ignoring us. We dock at Portsmouth at night, waving goodbye to the Dreadnowt and feeling a bit cold to arrive in a Britbongsteros winter.

There's a couple things worth restating at this point. Long range communication in Britbongsteros is done by albatross or telegraph. News is fast but not that fast. Especially not on the Dreadnowt calling in at foreign ports.

News that the Germans have annexed Ipswich comes as a bit of a surprise.

We are obligated to return first to London and the Privy Council, taking Antgyros with us. He won't answer questions but does occasionally exclaim

>GET YOUR DAMN DIRTY PAWS OFF ME YOU APE

and similar.

We meet with Sir Patrick (CYBORG MURDER BODY) Moore and hand over Antgyros. He listens with great interest as we explain who and what he is. Sir Patrick (robot McFacepunch) Moore informs us he has seen seven sequential flashes come from Mons Olympus on each of the last consecutive nights.

If that sounds familiar, well it should...

We leave Antgyros and Sir Patrick (bionic man of violence) (it really helps if you think of him as being a space marine Dreadnought) Moore to chat.

Richard III and Blackadder seem fairly pleased with us, and the process is demonstrated near Windsor Castle (yes, there's oil under that) using a sheep.

We share a mutton curry with Richard III and Blackadder, and the process is safely written down to be transmitted via albatross to Aberdeen.

Then we come to the "annexation."

The Germans have landed in divisional strength in Ipswich. Two brigades of Bears and one of Prussian Gryphons. They don't seem overtly hostile, just they have claimed Ipswich and are fortifying it.

The Privy Council have a plan which is two-fold:

1. We (the party) politely ask them to fuck off.
2. We drive a battalion of Landcruisers into Ipswich.
>Why are they there?

We have no idea, it's Ipswich!

>Why weren't they stopped/spotted?

After the Ireland "incident" there's not as much home fleet as you'd expect. They are keeping a fleet of Cruisers off Walmington on Sea. There is still a local force in platoon strength of soldiers from the Boer War doing sterling services guarding their homes and reporting on German movements. Their Captain Manwaring (V.C.) and Lance Corporal (V.C., O.B.E., Khorne Bezerker) Jones have kept up observation via albatross and telegraph since the "annexation" with L.C. Jones holding a bridge against successive waves of bears with nothing but a broomhandle with a knife strapped to it.

In other news, King Algernon has made representations to the Kaiser, but we have yet to have received a reply.

The communications from the locals in Ipswich indicate the Germans are not hostile, but are politely and efficiently taking names of locals and then moving them outside of the town. They are digging in like they expect the entire first world war to take place in the locale of Ipswich.

So just making sure all non-british anons are following: Home Guard (Dad's army).

>TFW when your entire party could be dad's army.

Anyway. So the Landcruisers, at top speed of 8 knots per hour, will arrive in Ipswich in 48 hours. We have that time to come to a peaceful solution.

Sir Hobart is leading the Landcruisers along with Sir Rirchard Clarkson May and they are being escorted by a Ghurkha regiment lead by Sir Stahig (pronounced Stig).

So with the Germans not actually being as hostile as one might expect an invasion to be, and instead they respond to force, but only on a local level. It's like they are here to fight, but not us...

So with the clock ticking, we head onward. We know the Landcruisers will reach the area by dawn the day after tomorrow, and we arrive near Colchester with 40 hours to go. We don't really have a plan yet, but the vague outline of one is starting to form.

It may be helpful for anon to have a map at this stage.

Just replace Walton on the Naze with Walmington on Sea. So if you've found Colchester, the Germans have landed all along the coast between Walmington and up the coast to Felixstowe, they're inland as far as Ipswich and have stopped there.

The majority of their forces are in the city or surrounding it, digging in and fortifying. The Landcruisers, once ready, will push from Colchester into Ipswich via Copdock (for the Brit-anons it may be fun to imagine the Dad's Army arrows at this stage) while the remains of the Home Fleet will try to circle in from the North and South, trying to close the gap between Felixstowe and Walmington. Even with less hostility than expected, this is still a landing by a foreign power on our coast.

We (the party) are the last attempt at diplomacy and wouldn't even be trying diplomacy if they hadn't been so efficient and reasonable.

The party agrees that walking straight up to their lines, while normally completely insane, actually seems like (with a flag of truce) our best option.

It's about Noon when we set off from Washbrook. The bard pipes and we have a white flag. We are moving slowly, thoroughly, and making it very, very obvious we don't have any malicious intent.

The bard plays something neutral (or tries to but fluffs the roll), so off we go to the strains of Raubtier - Achtung Panzer.

It turns out walking across what is nominally no-mans land, we receive no fire, though we can see plenty of troops dug in front of us.

Given that the Bard's performances have been fatal previously, we stop playing about 500 yards out.

We get closer, there are birds singing now, and lots and lots of gun barrels ahead of us. The nature around us is strangely idyllic, English, plants and animals around us, the land green and pleasant.

We jump as a rabbit takes off out of a bush, but we proceed unmolested, we can make out individual figures in feld-grau now.

As we get closer to the trenches, a shape rises, a Prussian Gryphon.

He has enough English and we have enough German to communicate.

"Who are you and what do you want Englander?"

He takes a notebook and pencil from his uniform.

"Names und addresses bitte."

I'm not proud to say what followed was a babble of.

>Don't tell him your name wizard
>Don't tell him you name Navvie
>Don't tell him your name Aldous
"Hi, I'm Bard!"

He looks unimpressed and smooths his moustaches.

"You really ought not to be here."
"Neither should you!"
"Ve haff (ahem) we have as much a right as you!"
"You're German!"
"We are on state business. This is not an invasion, it is a peacekeeping annexation."
"A what?"
"You can't just march in here and take Ipswich!"
"We are doing so because it is undefended and weak. Herr Schiarperelli says so."
"Who?" (Wait a minute that sounds... familiar).

We don't really want to declare war on Germany (I don't, this I've made this sufficiently clear) as the country is still weak. War may be an eventual certainty, yes, but at this stage after everything (we have blown up and) the nation has been through, now is not the time for war.

This is why we are here to politely ask the Germans to bugger off.

The gryphon looks us up and down, and flexes his wings.

"I suggest you come with me. It is perhaps best explained to you by another."

Well we still have about thirty six hours until the bombardment and advance of the landcruisers which we expect will be enough to throw the invasion back (and irredeemably declare war).

We agree to go into Ipswich with the Gryphon officer. There are orderly ranks of bears marching to and fro. Digging things up, and houses with pink sheets on them being demolished. The locals seem to have some too (I.e. if your house was demolished then you got a pink sheet).

Things are orderly and, while the air is pregnant with promises of things to come, you can see off duty bears playing the accordion and drinking stout, stiff backed Gryphons duel on cricket pitches.

By the by, I haven't really talked about landcruisers. If you look at a MKV male tank and then superimpose a TOG II* on it, you're basically there.

In the center of town we start seeing what can only be anti aircraft guns (aircraft not really being a thing in Britbongsteros beyond zeppelins, this is strange) along with (in the town square) an enormous telescope.

The county hall seems to have been requisitioned to serve as HQ for the annexation. Aside from the presence of Germans, there's not really a great deal that seems to have changed. Aside of course from the Imperial Eagle sitting outside.

When I say sitting I mean perched. It's an actual Reichsadler in the flesh. I.e. it has two heads, feathers and talons. It's quite happily tucking into a can of corned beef and dressed in what can only be a military uniform.

It should be noted two heads is actually an error on part of DM/me as the Reichsadler of the German empire only had one. The Austrians had two headed ones. So this one must have also been a bit Austrian somewhere in his heritage.

By the way anons, if you don't know anything about the German unification and Empire, I would strongly suggest reading up on it. It's a fascinating topic. A lot of devising these campaigns involved a great deal of historical research by me and DM. So while I'm thinking about it, you may enjoy The Influence of Sea Power Upon History which was one of the most interesting things I read for Britbongsteros. One further point, anon may note the progression of technology in Britbongsteros is quite rapid. Well game time so far has been around 2-3 years, so that is worth considering, also that the idea was it was somehow to go from Elizabethan to Pre WWI in its scope (that was sort of a goal at the start).

We didn't get too excited about it and just MST 3K'd it for a good story.

The Eagle is rapidly joined by a very large bear with huge moustaches.

He is introduced by the Gryphon as "Otto von Baarmarck" (Bismarck if your want to Google him) advisor to the Kaiser, represented by Herr Tirpitz of the Kaiserliche Marine (the eagle).

We are invited inside, the eagle perches on what appears to be an ornate... Well, perch. I'm sure it has a wonderfully complicated German name. Tirpitz doesn't add much to the conversation, Von Baarsmarck does most of the talking

He reiterates what we already know, that the Germans are annexing Ipswich and as they are nice guys, they are planning on paying for the damage they do and are moving civilians out of the area. They apologize for the inconvenience.

The one thing he doesn't actually tell us is why exactly they feel they need to do this?

"Why? (Vhy?) Because we are incapable of defending ourselves."
"So you invaded to prove a point?"
"Nein. From what is coming. Herr Schiarperelli believes they will land sooner rather than later."

The Germans (we discover) know at least as much about the Martians as we do (it seems we may have some spies to kill soon) and Schiaperelli has had the planet under observation for months. He has worked out from the trajectory and some other calculations (possibly involving a dart and a map) that this is the most likely landing site.

We are then stuck with a bit of a problem. If there are Martians coming then we really ought not to be fighting each other, nor should we be asking the Germans to go home.

We have a further problem, to stop the Landcruisers (which are about a day away), we will need to convince them to do so. We then realize the average citizen of Britbongsteros, even one in command of a Landcruiser brigade, is going to find us asking them to stop from "bashing the bosch" (sorry Germ-anons) because we are raving about Martians laughable. Why? Only the Privy Council and us know about them.

There is a little ooc discussion at this point, including my favourite "why is nothing ever simple in this setting..."

We don't really fancy our chances in convincing the commanding officers of the taskforce (slowly) motoring its way here.

We decide to do some more fact finding before deciding on our next step.

More to the point though, the Germans seem awfully keen to tell us all this.

"Why are you being so nice?"
"Because if Grosse Britain falls then the aliens will have a base of operations, then Europe, and then the rest of this weird, nasty, violent, beautiful world will be ended."
"Why didn't you just offer to help? Why invade."

They get a bit shifty at this point.

The door to the room busts in as what can only be described as a man-shaped crocodile skin handbag is wheeled in. (If you don't know who that is, go watch Dr. Strangelove)

It appears Herr Schiaraperelli is not entirely human, or sane... (please note to everyone, I am so so sorry wherever you are from).

"Mein unterkaiser, ve haff made zignifikant progress mit die deff raiii!"

Herr S. notices the new faces, and switches gear,

"Ach vatt fine specimens such excellent breeding stock..."

He zips past Cruella and pokes at Angus's bicep. (This had sort of become a running joke by now)

"Vould du kare to submit yourself to some of my (giggles insanely) ecksperimentaaaation?"

We try to get between him and Angus, but there's no separating the two, so we turn our attention to Von Baarsmarck.

"Soooo... Death Ray?"
"To use on the Martians of course, and acquire their technology, ensuring that the world will be ein reich..."

In the background Herr S. is babbling to Angus about

"Mitt my super zerum derivved from ze gods toe ve could make you ten, twenty veet tall!"

Von Baarsmarck seems quite non-plussed,

"Assuming any of us survive the landings, do not tell me that you British would not take the items for yourselves? This way, we ensure there is no..."
"Death Ray Gap!" Cackles herr S.

Ok that sort of seems weirdly fair, we will just backstab them later... next comes the awkward bit...

"So maybe we should leave now? Get the landcruisers stopped? Work together?"

Herr S. cackles again,

"Du may kill or imprison ze rest, but I wish to keep zis one... and this one... Perhaps maybe I can keep all of them...."

One last try...

"Your death ray will massacre our forces, and then you will face the aliens alone... you are very likely to lose, we all are..."
"You have seen to much... heard too much, Herr DoktorProfessor, you may have them..."

It is worth remembering at this point that yes we can probably take everyone in the room easily enough, what we cannot do is fight our way out of town through an alarmed garrison.

Also, worth considering is Martians don't really like magic (or at least the north pole ones, it seems likely then that they may not have something like that.

So the party is taken away at gunpoint for MAD SCIENCE.

>Why didn't you escape from the highly visible HQ where all of the German forces were concentrated?

Well that's why.

Arriving in Herr Schiaraperelli's lab we are greeted by tesla coils, fizzing falcon tubes, a smell of frying eggs, *things* in jars, and he offers some boiled sweets.

He explains that this is his "travel" lab and we are really missing out on the interesting stuff, but at least there was space aboard the Brunmiggi II to bring ZE DEATH RAY.

(It may be helpful for anon to look up Professor Death from That Mitchell and Webb Look)

But that (zat?) is not why we're here, nein, we are here because he wants Angus for experimentation, and to this end he fills a syringe. Angus doesn't look terribly concerned.

"Zis ist mein ubermensch zerum."
"Bring it on" says our favourite camel-lover.

(It's worth adding we have had our weapons taken off us and stored we think in the guardhouse - which by-the-by also appears to be doubling as a barracks).

So Angus, being Angus, and not even tied up, accepts being stabbed in the arm with a novelty sized syringe. Angus gets this bizarre grin (as does his PC).

>DM, what is this stuff?
"Eet ist mein superzerum!"
>Yes DM, but what does it *do*?
"Zis vill make you stronger, ein Ubermensch!"
Party: "DM, think about this!"
Angus: "Oh yes!"

Angus starts to grow. To hulk out... (He has hulk level clothing. Thank fuck for that.)

Angus is getting bigger. Not just ripped but fuek huege, eight feet, ten feet.

"Herr schiarparelli, this death ray, is it man portable?"

Angus flexes his enormously powerful hulk arms while Herr S. Enthusiastically babbles at a portable gramophone.

"Herr S. You really cannot be this stupid."
"Nein mein Ubermensch. I'm not."

The taser Herr S. fires knocks Angus on his arse. The rest of the charge knocks him out.

"MEIN KAISER, I CAN WALK!"

He stands up and kicks Angus in the balls for good measure.

>DM: "Come on guys, give me some credit..."

Herr S. Looks quizzically at us. He cocks his head to one side. He takes a box with flashy lights from his belt.

"Zomethink is giffink powerful magical emanations. Ist not the fraulein... nor ze oaf... nor ze musician, ze wizard I know of... ze midget? Zis child's toy? Was ist das? Ein Pinguin!?"

At gun point he takes the purple penguin from my bandolier.

"Und now to enter ze data into mein komputer und then ve proceed to ze dissection."

Herr S. Sits back down and wheels himself off.

Meanwhile, the rest of the party begin to properly size up our situation. We have eight attentive and armed bears, five unarmed party members.

So, captive (wrist manacles) and at gun point, the DM makes us whisper to one another or our communications will be overheard.

The Wizard's player is actually bit deaf, so he doesn't hear very much, only interjecting with the occasional "Fit?" (What?)

The rest of the party decides that Angus is out for the count (DM is having him roll to wake up every so often, but he keeps failing).

We know the Herr S. is probably going to sense anything magical before it happens (flashy box).

The bears can see us whispering (the Wizard's occasional "Fit?!" doesn't help), so giving up on any semblance of plan, when the nearest bear goes to crack me over the back of the head with his rifle, some violence occurs.

Cruella gets her chains around his neck, the wizard has the bear's now dropped rifle levitating.

While this is going on, the Bard kicks one bear in the balls and gets his rifle, and I (with a little jump and some mechanical arms) headbutt the other and then it's a Mexican standoff.

>Why are you being non-lethal?

I didn't make this very clear earlier, but the DM had quite clearly told us that the more we fuck up the bears, the more we may suffer for it later. We decided to try our hardest not to kill anyone. So in effect, we are now murder hobos, without the murder. Hobos if you will.

Bear looks at man, dwarf looks at bear, (etc.) we're rolling intimidation, then Herr S. sweeps back into the room, having clearly heard/detected something.

"Was ist los!? Meine Meerschweinchen! Nein!" ("What is this!? My guinea pigs, no!" Also "Meerschweinchen" is absolutely adorable as words go)
"YOU. KICKED. ME. IN. THE. BALLS."

Angus wakes up and punches him in the side of the head (well, taps really - again non lethal).

With the Angus aided distraction, we subdue the rest of the bears and begin to take stock.

>Things we need to do:
1. Escape
2. Disable death ray - hopefully not permanently
3. Stop Britain declaring war (by driving several thousand tonnes of Landship through this place).

The bard has one of his ideas.

>Some dicerolls and a small argument later.
"Hey guys what's a wunderwaffe?"
"It's German for... DO NOT TOUCH THAT."
"Why does it sting or something?"

We decide to take one. The Navvie, as the only party member who can be trusted not to set it off out of curiosity/fun/accident, is entrusted with it.

We decide to have a quick look out the door of the building - - pic related.

So with that outside, and as the bears are... well, bears... that rather rules out the traditional steal their clothes approach, as does the fact Angus is 12 feet of Orc.

>Diplomacy tiem

Cautiously, we poke a white flag (made mostly from Herr S.'s labcoat) around the doorframe. That doesn't get shot, so we poke our heads round.

"Don't shoot, we have a doomsday device and are not afraid to use it!"
"Do you know how to?"
Wizard: "I'm rolling to bluff"
"Yes!"
"Alright, what do you want?"
"Free passage out of here and a promise you will not use the death ray if we can stop the British forces from attacking."
"That seems reasonable."

Hmm, that went better than expected. We nervously proceed out of the building, doomsday device in tow. We get most of the way out of town before someone remembers, aren't we forgetting someone?

Navvie, check,
Cruella, check,
Aldous, check,
Cruella, check,
Bard, check,
Angus, check.

No we're all here... Aren't we?

Oh shit.

"Ok, large group of angry well armed bears, we're turning round!"

The bears seem confused, but ok with it, it's getting dark by the time we have retrieved the extremely annoyed looking penguin, Herr S. laments the loss of his Wunderwaffe, but kindly suggests that dropping it is a really bad idea (so at least we now know how to activate it).

When the bears realize what and why we went back, we're a laughing stock, if you've heard the chuckling of several thousand bears, it is not a nice thing. I think the purpose of the ridicule (or DM's) was for us forgetting him.

Penguin in tow, we head off again. There's a very large star in the sky that no one recognizes and some fainter ones too... It seems we don't have long...

Now we have our real problem. Martians aren't far off and the pride of the British army is about to attack our next best hope in the morning. We book it back to our lines.

The DM punishes us for our stupidity when we hit the dirt as our own sentries fire on us (don't run around in war zones).

When we eventually convince them not to shoot us (for some reason we have also progressed to Lee Enfield rifles), we enter the camp. There are tents and the huge looming bulk of the landcruisers, if you (I hate this term) diesel-punked a Bolo, you're not far off. They glow a little with the light of magic, it appears the oil is already being used. The wizard detects a presence within them. An additional note, Angus is slowly shrinking back to normal size.

We pause momentarily near the HMLS AR4 (it has "Arthur" painted next to this).

>HELLO

Oh fuck no. We made Bolos.

>Wut is a Bolo?
"Hi... Hi?"
>I AM UNIT AR4 OF THE LINE. PLEASE CALL ME ARTHUR.

(Wizard and I are huge Bolo nuts so have gone all fangirl by this point. Cruella, Angus, and Bard continue to engage in conversation)

"What... are you?"
>I AM A BRITISH OFFENSIVE LINE OPERATIONS-UNIT
>squee

Our Ghurkha escort urge us onwards, we rather hope we might get to meet more BOLOs later (we do).

We are escorted to the command tent, we recognize Sir Clarkson-May, and Sir Hobart, along with Sir Stahig. In addition are two well know faces: Sir Barnes Wallis (who is... wiki him, awesome read) and Sir Patrick ROBOT DEATH MACHINE Moore.

With Sir Patrick Murderborg Moore here this may make our task a little easier. We explain where things stand. He is particularly pleased to see Herr S.'s device.

Sir Patrick takes the device off us for safe keeping, the military men are still in favour of assault. Sir Patrick is adamant that it would be unwise. That we should prepare for the first ship (he has also worked out where it's going to land) and that we should head back to London where he expects the heaviest fighting to be.

Sir Patrick doesn't manage to convince the military folk, they are of the opinion that we should wipe out the Germans (real threat of course), then deal with the Martians.

Struck by this remarkable bit of military daftness, and even Sir Patrick can't sway them, we appear a bit stuck. The most advanced armour on earth is going to ram itself against the death ray tomorrow unless we do something.

The military men are moving landcruiser shaped counters around the map and ignoring us so we decide to head back out to collect our thoughts. We end up back near AR4.

>HELLO AGAIN HUMANS AND HUMAN APPROXIMATIONS.
"Hello AR4."
>YOU APPEAR TROUBLED. WHY IS THIS?

We explain the situation.

AR4 stays quiet for a bit. We start to think he isn't talking to us.

>SO IN SUMMATION, AN ATTACK ON A POSSIBLE ALLY WOULD SQUANDER OUR FORCES PRIOR TO ENGAGEMENT WITH THE REAL THREAT?
>some dice are being rolled here.
"Yes, essentially."

If he's listening then we might as well talk to him.

"AR4 what is your primary duty?"
>TO DEFEND THE REALM.
"Against all threats?"
>ALTHOUGH I HAVE NOT YET TASTED BLOOD, I KNOW THERE ARE NO THREATS TO ME.

(You might change your mind there)

"But if there was a threat to the entire realm, would you face it needlessly diminished?" (nice rollan occurs)
>HUMAN MALE IN A SKIRT, I CAN SEE WHAT YOU ARE ATTEMPTING. WE HAVE ALREADY DECIDED NOT TO RIDE OUT TOMORROW. WE WAIT. WE WAIT FOR THE TRUE CHALLENGE.

Across the field, other Landcruisers light up their sensors, flashing affirmatives. The most patriotic thing we have met today was a very large tenk.

>The following morning.
>Dawn.

Sparrows flit across the sky, in the gloaming the world rises, grasses still wet with dew. A hedgehog wends his weary way to bed beneath the great amroured flanks of AR4.

Sir Richard Clarkson-May unsheathes his saber. A trumpet sounds.

"Drive me closer. I want to hit them with my sword."
>NO.
"Wut?"
>YOUR ORDER WAS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE.

Watching from nearby with a bacon buttie, we decide we should probably make ourselves scarce. Sir Patrick Moore and wunderwaffe in tow.

Above us, the lights in the sky grow stronger, visible even in daylight now. Above serried ranks of motionless landcruisers, above the German defences, above us.

Tonight the Martians will land. The first battle of a war no one wants will begin.

Martian war call: ULLA

We are nearly at the end of this adventure (tbh it was more a of set up for the last one anyway) and about this stage a discussion took place after a session.

DM: "After this... Well, look... All good things come to an end right?"
>The party agree.
DM: "You want to go out with a bang right? You don't want me to hold back?"
>ohshit.jpg
"We guess not?"
>DM cracks his knuckles. "The bad news is you're all going to die, the good news, is it will be awesome."
>Disclaimer: if you are attached to anything in Britbongsteros, you may wish to stop reading now.

We wait for dark, the British (some of the senior officers are still swearing at the Bolos), the bears across the fields, and the party with Sir Patrick.

The day is quiet. The lights in the sky grow and grow. The brightest is heading straight for us.

The day has an eerie quiet to it. A heavily pregnant pause. No one appears minded to shout at us for causing the Bolos to refuse orders but we keep out of the way. Occasional patrols of bears meet with ours, they exchange cigarettes. Attempts to teach the bears cricket do not go well.

Darkness falls as it must.

High command still intends on attacking the Germans (though Sir Stahig refuses to commit his Ghurkhas, and the Bolos aren't shifting).

DM introduces a new mechanic:

For the first time we have friendly troops. We may if we so seek, inspire them. It will help.

We have been chatting with AR4 and he shares his findings with his counterparts. We learn about Bolos and he learns about the tale of the purple penguin.

AR4 and Cruella have made friends. Other units including B3A have responded occasionally.

>On the Bolos of Britbongsteros:
They are smart, they are also the first real sentient race that has been created, their minds inspired by the automatons of London. The amount of magic and technology within them ensured that what was meant to be a machine spirit became self aware. It was decided (based Sir Hobart) that this was actually incredibly useful. So they were taught, taught the ideals of knights. Bolos exist to protect and are one of the few genuinely good things in the setting. Except of course being fueled by oil, blood, and some of those soul cube things from waaaay back in the first adventure.

Dusk turns to dark, dark into night, but the lights are still above us. The largest now the size of a saucer, the sonic boom that precedes it knocks men flat, windows are blown out, the Navvie's beer bottle shatters.

The light grows, like daylight now as the thing decelerates, bits of what must be heat shield raining down around us.

It hits the ground. Hard. About five miles from our position. A huge plume of dust washes over us with the shock wave.

What we can see in the distance are the raised sides of a crater. Sounds of hammering, blight plasma flashes, and tortured metal reach us even from here.

The bard hops up onto the turret of AR4 as crews mount up. Ghurkhas get into formation. Khuhkris gleam in the dark.

He plays Ennio Morricone The Ecstasy of Gold.

From the crater comes the Martian war call: ULLA

A black smoke starts to rise from the crater, spilling between waiting armies, the fitful light of the moon obscured. Darkness almost absolute. Visibility down to 75 metres.

The bard plays on.

We wait.

The twin 16" guns of AR4 track left in the darkness.

In their gas masks the Ghurkhas wait. A sea of bayonets glint in the darkness. Breathing heavily in our own, vision fogging, we scan the darkness. Martian war call: ULLA

Wizard: "How can you play the bagpipes in a gas mask bard?"
>DM & rest of party: "Because fuck you. Shut up."

The Navvie has acquired a Union Jack from the semaphore lines of AR4, knitting it about his shoulders. Looking like an anglican version of Thor.

The purple penguin looks on waiting lines of nervous men. The world may be a horrible, vicious, nasty place, a place where children have no childhoods, a world where gods make men playthings, a world of blood and pain, but there is still hope in this world, there are still purple penguins, and now, Mars has come to take even that from us.

Flickers of magic begin to play around the barrels of AR4, Cruella starts as Excalibur bursts into flame, red, white and blue.

This battle will see the beginning of the war, not even the end of the beginning, there are still seven more dots up there.

From out of the black smoke, great silver shapes begin to rise. Small metallic items grow lighter.

Then...

Silence.

Darkness.

The first red pulse of laserfire immolates four score of men, screaming skeletons silhouetted in the darkness and then all hell breaks loose.

Fighting machines tower in the darkness as waves of Martian infantry wash from the smoke.

The Bolos duel with the fighting machines, guns tracking, firing, tracks crushing Martians as they advance.

"Ayoooo ghoorkha!"

The infantry charge with the tanks, halting every few feet for volley fire, but it's seconds before bayonet meets energy sword, khukhri meets claw.

The party fights in the mist of the the smoke, flares casting some light. A fighting machine goes down, casing cracked by shellfire. Elsewhere a Bolo in flames from tip to stern rams another before exploding.

The party fight and fight hard, the night a wash of images of violence. The Navvie smashing skulls, Cruella leaping from creature to creature, the wizard and I back to back on a mound of corpses, Angus cackling as he burns his way to us.

Lightning crackles through the sky, the landing of the ship having caused enough atmospheric change for it to rain. A green pulse flashes through the sky, impacting deep in Martian lines - the death ray at work.

Men fall, rent asunder, Bolos are wrecked one by one. There seem no end to the Martians, we push forward, making progress into the tide but for every step we lose more men.

Lasers wash through the smoke. It seems for every fighting machine that falls, others lumber from the darkness. It is impossible to tell how the battle is going, we can see the great hulk of AR4 ahead of us, Martian corpses crushed in his wake. The Bard still on his turret booting the occasional Martian off.

We fight through the night, bodies piling high, the Martians it seems are implacable, they will not break. They will not run. Are we winning? We genuinely can't tell.

A headless Martian lands at my feet. Followed swiftly by the other half of it. Lit in the darkness by his chain guns is Sir Patrick Cyborgmurdertron Moore, he seems to know what he's doing so we join him. Side by side. Advancing on the LZ.

Suddenly from out of the darkness, the crater walls loom. As does something else. Bears. And one familiar chap in a wheelchair.

We start to climb the crater walls. Not knowing what we'll find. AR4 covers us as we ascend, ramming his way through the earthern parapet and firing his guns at their lowest depression, laser fire crackling over his upper front plate and baking the earth covering his LFP into some sort of ceramic.

We get our first look at what lies below us while the battle rages behind us.

Some more mood music: For A Few Dollars More - Final Duel Music

Think back to us, the rain has soaked the still warm earth of the parapet into mud, on the other side of this thing, hell lies below us, actinic plasma flashes wash upward, we ascend, clawing into mud, to our side AR4 keeps firing, his armour melting.

Behind us the first battle of Britbongsteros rages. Fighting machines and Bolos, men and martians, hell on earth. The sound of it is a physical thing, this is not the war we first knew, a war of heroes, this is industrial scale violence, German artillery thunders down into the landing site, directed we think somehow by Herr S.

We pause at the brim, laser fire raking across it.

Sir Patrick Moore is the first to go over the top, we follow, below us is the sight of the first stage of Martian conquest.

Automated machinery assembling fighting machines, squadrons of Martian troops being cut down by AR4 even as others scramble up and out into battle.

At the very center of what is almost a Martian city, we can see a green glow.

The party knows from experience, we are going straight towards that, big glowy things are usually exactly where you have to go.

We number about twenty in total between party, bears, Sir Patrick, and us.

The terrain below us, in the thunder of guns, the flash of lightning, the pulse of energies no man could ever stand against, looks for all the world like a city, the exterior of the first ship. We shout over the noise, Herr S. and Sir Patrick agree, we are going to make straight for that glowy thing (yes that's what it's called), Sir Patrick hefts something, a familiar something.

Herr S: "Mein Wuderwaffe!"

We look at each other, let's do this.

"VORWARTS FUR DIE WISSENSCHAFT!" Herr S. and the bears roll (in his case literally) down the hill, not to be outdone,
"BY ENGLAND AND ST. GEORGE, WE ARE HERE TO FUCK YOU UP GLOWY THING!" (we are not good at battle cries)

Whitesnake - Here I Go Again '87

We go over the top, we get the better part of thirty metres down, sliding, slipping, loose mud sloshing before us onto the metal of the decking, our boots ring on it soon after. The Martian's attention is fixed on AR4, and he does his best to keep it, even over the noise, we can hear his engines, see the earth bank in front of his hull break, and down he comes, tonnes of Sheffield steel, crashing onto the hull of the ship, if this is his first battle, it will also be his last, but he, as he makes for the fighting machine assembly line, will sell himself dearly.

As he tears past, we see a little something on the side of his turret. It's purple.

"Where did that come from?"
Cruella: "He wanted one of his own. I can paint."

The OOC is cut short as Martian infantry start to notice us, we take cover, returning fire.

Then from behind us.

>Shave and a haircut.

Iron Maiden - Run To The Hills

"Was ist los?" One of the bears asks as one of his spent shell casings floats past his muzzle, we've dealt with this before.

Cruella is up and over the bear's head, eyes closed, seemingly from nowhere bits of bodies start appearing. The wizard hold's Angus by the shoulder, directing his fire.

Sir Patrick kicks through a wall, and laughing as he goes, hoses Martian infantry with large caliber rounds.

Then Herr S.'s chair starts floating.

He jumps from the thing (he can actually walk remember?)

We have to struggle to hang on to weapons as they start to rise, there is a flash and a fizzle in our midst, the cloaking field (think predator) goes down on something very large, and very fast.

It's big, carnifex sized. It takes apart one bear with a slash, then another. I turn the shotgun on it, blowing chunks from it, the Navvie points at it.

"YOU!"

It paws at the deck. It knows a challenge when it sees one.

I start trying to get behind it, as the Navvie spreads his arms in a come-at-me-bro way.

"TRY ME, COME ON!"

It spreads all of it's claws, and roars, spittle landing on the Navvie's chest from the better part of 5 metres.

I'm behind it now, I aim for the backs of the knees. Hitting critically, the thing goes down on it's belly. The Navvie nonchalantly walks forward, and busts it's skull open.

"Twat."

He spits on it, and we start to pursue the Martian infantry who have begun to break.

Elsewhere, AR4 sings a song to himself as he takes damage, his left track unit running on wheels only now, guns glowing red.

>Daisy... daisy....
>Why are you still talking about the Bolo?

DM had noticed we had already gotten fond of him, and if the DM can, the DM will break your heart and burn everything you ever loved.

We push onwards, it can't be more than 300 metres to the center of the thing.

The closer we get, the quieter it seems to be, we can barely even hear the battle above for the low thrum of whatever the glowy thing is, we reckon it might be a power source, we don't care, if we chuck enough explosives at it, sheer narrative alone says that should fuck the thing up good and proper.

>200 metres

Iron Maiden - The Number of the Beast

We're closing in, no Martians, just that low, low thrum, you can feel it in your chest, in your teeth.

>150 metres

AR4 considers tactical withdrawal, rejects it, and decides to sell his life for a country he has never really known. Martian infantry swarm his hull, he allows himself to take laser fire from the nearest walker, immolating them, and another section of ablative armour.

>100 metres

ULLA

>75 metres

ULLA

>Where is that coming from?
>50 metres.

Oh fuck. Fighting machine.

The thing fires straight at us, the DM has us all roll to dodge it, we all pass. Except the bard.

We're blinded by the flash. When we can see again, he's still standing, still piping, glowing saltire standing between him and the beam. It fades out and he starts laughing. (I.e. fate point used).

"I AM ALIVE AHAHAHAHAHAHAH!" (see)

It starts to charge to fire again

DM: "Are you gonna take cover Bard?"
Bard: "Why? I AM ALIVE."
DM: "That laser is charging up."
Bard: "So! BRING IT!"

The Navvie knocks the stupid bastard aside and into cover with a shoulder barge.

DM made it quite clear while he poured a beer that the bard was about another second away from dying.

The laser burns a hole in the hull instead.

We take cover behind a large building, the fighting machine stomping towards us.

We have about five or six seconds to plan.

We look at each other... err...

"AT-AT?"
"AT-AT."

The wizard summons chains, snaking them out toward it. Cruella distracts its fire as the most agile. The chains hold tight, the thing totters, falls. Legs flailing uselessly, laser pointed at the sky.

We smash the thing to bits and proceed to the glowy thing.

We examine the glowy thing, it's definitely... glowy... beyond that, no one has the damndest idea what to do with it.

ULLA

There's another one, and another one, and another.

We can't take three of them.

Sir Patrick hefts the wunderwaffe and runs into the glow, deeper into the ship and what we assume is the power generator.

"GO!"

Before we can stop him, he tuns toward the glow, the thing beeping in his hand.

Herr S. helpfully adds: "Ve should be leaving..."

We start to run, elsewhere, AR4 fights on.

We run, firing, killing as fast as we can, making as quickly as we can for that muddy parapet, Martians pursue us, Herr S. and the bears take cover.

"Go, we will hold them."

We aren't going to say no, struggling up through the mud, it's clawing at us, slowing us, fire pattering around us, the climb is slow, excruciating.

We fling ourselves up over the parapet, slithering down the other side. The land before us is a sea of flame, the battle still raging.

We run toward it, away from the ship.

Within, Sir Patrick wades through bodies, laughing,

"I always wanted to meet alien life! and KILL THEM!"

The parapet shields us from most of the force of the blast, but we are knocked flat.

The rest of the battle is vicious and messy, but with the ship gone, the alien's spirit is broken, the Bolos and Ghurkha's mop them up. We do our best to assist, eventually the sun rises fitfully over a blasted, lunar landscape, wrecks still burn, bodies bleed and scream.

Ghurkhas stalk over the fields, giving peace to their comrades, finishing off Martians.

Bloodied, victorious, and with seven more stars falling above us. We begin the final tale of Britbongsteros.

The War of the Worlds[edit]

The smoking wrecks of landcruisers and fighting machines litter the once green fields. Bodies lie where they fell. The smell of slowly roasting flesh, shit, and cordite lingers. Every so often sporadic fire can be heard as rounds cook off in wrecks or a less than dead Martian is found.

All told of the divisions that fought yesterday, less than half of the men (and German bears) are left, of the brigade of landcruisers (think Bolo) there are two thirds. These are not the total number of forces in the British isles, but they were a significant number. It is clear conventional means will never have a chance of stopping every one of the landings.

Given the way the Martians construct fighting machines and appear endless, if even one of these ships were operational for more than a couple of days, the nation and then the world would be irredeemably fucked.

We can't stop them landing. The last of Sir Patrick's notes indicated a ring of ships landing around London, with the last, and largest, landing in the center of the city.

The party discuss.

>Topic for debate:
>We are fucked.
>What do we do?
Angus: "Acquire as many cattle and as much alcohol as possible and then start digging. They surely can't find all of us, perhaps in the sewer systems or an old mine?"
Navvie: "We go to a whorehouse and then prepare to meet death. Take as many with us as we can."
Cruella: "We could get a boat? Then... no. We fight."
Bard: "They must have a weakness. Something. We fight."
Wizard: "Och fuck this place, whit has et e'er doon fir us?"
Me: "We fight. The purple penguin expects. There is nowhere to run. They'll find us, better to die where it might mean something."

The mention of the purple penguin and the last OOC discussion about giving things a good send off seals the discussion. We also have someone there who has fought these martians before.

Instructions have already been relayed for the forces remaining in the Isles to converge on London, and with scant time remaining, we make our way there ourselves as quickly as possible.

The remains of the privy council meet us at Cutlers Hall. They seem well informed of what the world can expect. Richard III is already in armour, Blackadder's gorilla servant, Baldrick, lingers in the background, eying everything suspiciously. Cromwell is elsewhere, organizing the defense of the city. The citizens are either leaving or forming levies, those that do leave are being turned round and formed into "special battalions." The watch word of the day is "You can always take a Martian with you."

Sam Johnson was rather proud of that one, it is he who leads us down to Sir Patrick's lab, and our old friend, Antgyros.

As anon may recall, Antgyros is a Martian of an entirely different stripe to what is coming. We found him in Egypt and sealed him into a lead ball. He is in effect, an irascible bowling ball. In Sir Patrick's lab, we expect to find him sealed up somewhere or imprisoned, he is instead doing double duty as a paper weight, with a book propped open in front of him.

>How does a bowling ball see?

He's psychic. He can't melt your face off, but he can bounce about and sense things around him. This appears to include books.

>AAAH, MY FAVOURITE MEAT BASED SERVANTS. ABASE YOURSELVES BEFORE ME AND EXPLAIN EXACTLY HOW YOU INTEND TO PROTECT ME FROM IMPENDING DOOM.

Antgyros is oddly needy for hating everyone around him.

"Hello in there. We were rather hoping you could help us..."
>HELP YOU? HA. I WOULD NOT LISTEN TO YOUR MEWLING IF NOT TO AMUSE MYSELF. PLEASE CONTINUE.
"We were hoping you might be able to tell us about the Martians, the other martians. Maybe you can help us defeat them?"
>HOW MANY SHIPS ARE COMING? SIX MORE YOU SAY, AND ONE LARGER THAN THE OTHERS? PERHAPS IT IS BEST YOU KILL YOURSELVES NOW. THE FINAL SHIP CONTAINS THE NEMESIS OF MY PEOPLE. THE KING.
"Would defeating the king help us at all?"
>PAH. NOT EVEN I COULD DO THAT. THAT IS WHY I WAS EXILED HERE. THEN YOUR "GODS" SEALED ME INTO THAT HOLE. NO, IF I CANNOT DEFEAT THE MASTER OF THE HIVE, YOU HAVE NO HOPE. THIS IS RATHER A GOOD BOOK HOWEVER. I ENJOY YOUR TALES OF THIS SHERLOCK OF HOLMES.

Reading between the lines, it appears Antgyros has just given us something of a clue. If we can take the king down, it may throw the hive into disarray, maybe even long enough to make a material change to the conflict. It appears more likely, however, it will give us all one last most impressive 'fuck you' to fate.

The party withdraws from the lab. We think we have enough to go on. At the very least DM just gave us a plothook and we are taking it line and sinker. As far as we know, the Martians intend on doing some very bad things to Earth and if we don't even try to stop them here, then that's it. Game over for everyone. We decide we have a couple more questions for Antgyros and return to him.

"Antgyros, what exactly will the Martians do?"
>HA YOU RETURN. UNABLE TO LEAVE MY PRESENCE I SEE. THE SMALLER SHIPS WILL LAND. MUCH AS THE ONES YOU FOUGHT.

(We didn't tell him that did we?)

>AND THEN THE FINAL SHIP WILL LAND. THE KING WILL [as one of the few psychic - note psychic not magic] ACTIVATE THE RITUALS REQUIRED FOR DEVOURING THE MAGIC OF THIS EARTH.
"Again Antgyros, what would happen if the king died?"
>HE WILL NOT, BUT IT WOULD THROW THE DRONES INTO COMPLETE DISARRAY.
"Ok we've heard enough. You're coming with us."
>MY BOOOOK!

Cruella picks him up and we stuff him into the Navvie's rucksack. He can still be heard, albeit slightly muffled, shouting.

We reveal the above to Privy council, who agree the above is probably our only hope. They suggest we use the remaining half a day or so to draw as much support as we can, call in old favours and generally be as prepared as possible.

>First stop
>John Borrison.

So the party have had a think, we decide of all the people that owe us favours, John Borrison is the easiest to reach.

There's still King Rorke, all of Egypt (though maybe a bit tricky to get a hold of), Scotland is a bit far at the moment, and of course King Algie is already here (and useless), but the British forces that can reach London by nightfall are doing so (this includes a couple of highland regiments on exercise). The Thames south of Tower Bridge are filling up with battleships. The population are either miserable or drunk and miserable. Some are cheerful, expecting the "blitz spirit" to see them through ("It'll all be over by Christmas! and then we'll have a nice cup of tea, stiff upper lip etc.").

John Borrison, as always, is pleased to see us - or at least as far as we can tell, what with him being mostly tree.

"You're alive! For now. I wonder how these Martians feel about trees, if they don't feel too bad about them, I wonder what I can sell them, everything wants something to shove up its nose, or something so it can hold its nose up over everyone else, or fuck, possibly up its nose, and John Borrison has the lot. Now if I was a little green man, what do you think I'd want? Little green whores? Little green drugs? That big green one (he means Angus) likes sheep, so maybe... TINY SHEEP!"

John Borrison makes a note to himself as we utterly fail to impress upon him the severity of the situation.

"John, focus, is there anything you might actually be able to do to help?"
"King Rorke is already coming to see me, I thought a telegraph to him might not hurt, by the way, you can all sort out paying me sooner rather than later for that favour. Now as to what I can actually do... I'm a bit limited there, being a man of business... However..."

As mentioned previously, John borrison does a line in just about anything as long as you don't inquire too closely into its parentage/veracity/or indeed question authenticity.

It appears however, he as some 100% certified bits of God. Fresh from Egypt. They look a lot like pickled herring.

He also has somehow acquired a wunderwaffe.

(If the DM is being a bit obvious here in kitting us out, we were not going to complain)

We gratefully take the goods he has provided us with, on the condition that we each give him something that means something to us and we agree that when the war is over, we will do our best to get him made Sir John Borrison.

We dutifully hand over:

A ring, a comb, a lock of camel fur, a drinking cup, a chanter, and a dwarvish match holder.

King Rorke arrives shortly thereafter, his men waiting outside the city. He's brought not only himself, but some Irish people (sorry Ireland).

>It's DM Dilemma time.

King Rorke remains as bro-tier as he did last time, however the Irish folk (if you may recall from last time, they summoned Cthulhu and all of his friends), we are a bit more skeptical of. So once we've finished bear hugging, King Rorke swears that he will stand by us, while the Welsh cannot do much in a mechanized war such as this, they will skirmish, they will assist, and they will die with us.

The Irish however are a different matter.

We take our first real good look at them.

On a hot day, have you ever looked far into the distance along a long straight road? You know how the heat shimmers? Imagine if that was a what they had for eyes. You can't hold their gaze, your eyes just slide off them.

They speak sibilantly.

"Weeeeee would alllllsooo wisssssssh asssissst."
"King Rorke, what the fuck are these?"

On the one hand, we know we'll we need all the help we can get, but if these are the same guys who were into all the blood sacrifice and Cthulhu summoning, who essentially made Ireland in the Chaos wastes, well...

We take a straw poll among the party. We decide to ask them what exactly they can do for us.

"Ttttthee oooold ones dissslike the interlllllooopers as much as you do."
"Old. Ones."
"Yesssss."

The Wizard speaks up.

"What do they want in return?"
"Mmmmaany souls will be rre--reeeleased in these c-c-c-c-c-oming dayzzzz."

(They seem to be getting excited, their lips don't quite synch up with their words)

"Tttthe oooo-ooolll-D onessszzs wishhhhh to fffffeast."
"Ok, so, essentially you want to eat the souls of the dead, and in return you offer us Cthulhu?"
"Hmm..."
[As an aside, it was about this stage that the bard pointed out, "If I just run up to the Martians and shout 'JAPAN, WEEABOO, HENTAI, NINJA BUKKAKE SAKE KATANA TENTACLE HELLO-KITTY DOMO ARIGATO FUTANARI' Godzilla will rape them," the response was a unanimous "shut the fuck up Bard."]

So, yes Cthulhu might be useful, but that's going to be kind of a problem. Who knows what insanity might fall out of a portal or what these crazies might need to do it.

Actually that's rather a good point. How are they going to summon god knows what (or who knows what god)?

"Wwwwhhat ma-ma-makes you thiiiiiink he is is not ready-already here?"
"Hang on. What looney god do you people follow?"
"P...p...p...p...endragon...."

This lost some dramatic effect when the first time the DM did the p p p p p sound, Cruella said, "Pick up a Penguin" P-p-p-p-pick-up-a-penguin being a well known advertising slogan here.

"So wait, now we have Martians, your insane god, who is the once and future king of fucking reality, and you want us to help summon him and his mates?"
"Will he go home afterwards?"
"Wwwith suuuuiiiiiiitable tribuuuuute."

Ok that settles it, you can all fuck off. (is what we want to say, but having Cthulu or whatever appear in the middle of Man vs Martian also doesn't seem like a wonderful idea, on the other hand...)

"Where exactly will he be summoned?"
"Wwwwwaaaatffffford."

For those anons who have not looked at Britbongsteros on a map recently, you may note that London is circled by a ring road, we are expecting the ship that isn't landing in the city center to land along that.

John borrison helpfully adds.

"It sounds to me like you folks will need l the help you can get."

The Navvie has had enough.

"Seriously, why are we even discussing this. It. Eat. Souls. Whose to say we can even get rid of this thing when we summon it. No. No help from me and no help from any of you if you're thinking straight."

Cruella rebutts.

"We literally need all the help we can get. I say we take the help and deal with the consequences after."

I side with the Navvie.

"This isn't what we stand for. This isn't right."

Wizard agrees.

Angus takes Cruella's side.

"We have killed these things before. We need all the bullet catchers we can."

Bard makes it a tie.

"Who knows, it might not be so bad after all. it's only Cthulhu..."

We have an impasse. The Penguin looks on, remaining stoically silent.

The Navvie's rucksack, however, does not.

>ANTGYROS DEMANDS RELEASE.
"Pardon?"
>REMOVE ME FROM THIS SACK.

John Borrison suddenly looks very, very interested, as do the cultists.

King Rorke headbutts a cask of beer open and pays little attention to proceedings.

>I DEMAND ATTENTION.
"We know you do."
>MARTIANS LACK THE VITAL ESSENCE YOU WOULD CALL A SOUL. ALL EXCEPT THE ROYAL CASTE. THE MARTIANS WOULD BE OF NO USE TO YOUR "GOD" ONLY THE HUMANOIDS AND CERTAIN BREEDS OF TERRAN ARACHNID HAVE SOULS.

As some of you may recall, the wizard hates spiders.

"Spiders!?"
>YES, WHY DO YOU THINK YOUR HOVEL OF A PLANET IS NOT RULED BY THE ANTS?

We gently persuade the wizard to calm down,

"Ok we'll come back to that later."
"So what you're saying is, the Martians won't sate Cthulhu, it'll need human sacrifice."
Cultist 1: "Yheeeth, uuuuuussssss."
"So cultists, you plan on basically running at the Martians, getting slaughtered, then Cthulhu turns up and eats them?"
"Iiittt wwwi wi wi will be a glorious ssssacrificcce."
"That's a yes then."
Cruella: "Ok, so that's not so bad is it guys?"

The DM is failing utterly to hide a smile. He's obviously pleased at how well his plan to cause friction within the party is going.

The Navvie (as previously mentioned) is a simple man. His hammer busts open Cultist one's head like a dropped watermelon.

"Sorry about the mess John."
King Rorke claps, "And that's how you win an argument!"

Cultist 2 seems entirely nonplussed.

"Sooooo... w-w-w-e have a deeeeeeal?"

Trusting them, or really doing anything with the cultists seems like rather a bad idea, but they could be useful. So in the end, we went with it. It's a problem the rest of the world can deal with. The enemy of my enemy is my friend and all that.

The Navvie is not happy about it.

John Borrison isn't terribly pleased either, but that's more to do with his carpet (He currently has a very blue carpet with a big red splodge in it).

Cultist 2 quite happily fucks off to be creepy somewhere near Watford, complete with a letter of recommendation from us.

We still have a feeling this is going to bite us in the ass later.

John Borrison is still admiring Antgyros

"How much for the bauble?"
>BAUBLE? I'LL SHOW YOU BAUBLE!

Antgyros rolls about the table in what he hopes is a menacing fashion. He bumps into a large salt cellar and comes to a halt.

>SEE. FEAR ME.

The thing is, Antgyros actually should be terrifying, but as he is just now, he really isn't and no one seems to have told him. At some point Angus drew a smiley face on the lead ball. Forgot when. The fun part is, Antgyros can sort of "sense" things around him, but he can't actually see so he has no idea.

John nudges Antgyros with a branch.

"Can I keep him?"
"Sorry John, we think we might need him."
"Hmm, I'd like one of these for my collection. Tell me bauble, are there more of you?"
>I ANTGYROS AM UNIQUE. I AM THE ONE AND ONLY.
"Then I think the men of John Borrison will go to war. I want to keep this thing afterwards. Do we have a deal?"
"Fuck yes."

>WHAT? One final thing occurs to me.

"John, you collect all sorts of weird and wonderful stuff right?"
"Yes."
"Have you got any guns?"
"Yes... do you want to see?"
>Elephant gun unlocked.

John Borrison agrees to meet us at sunset near Fleet Street.

We return to the privy council and begin to take in the plan for tonight

Britbong map 1.png
This shows the 6 expected landing sites. The green one in the middle is where we will be going (more on that in the next map).


Britbong map 2.jpg
Ok, red arrows are "Diversionary attacks" (Highlanders and Landcruisers)

Blue Square is Naval units who will sail down the Thames and try to keep fighting machines from crossing.

Purple arrow is us.

By the way, Anon will note that St Paul's Cathedral is just above the Blue (Navy) square. Slightly to the left of that is Newgate, which is where Cutler's Hall and the Privy Council are. This is where we would be seeing these maps and receiving communications from the front.

So Cutler's Hall is where we are. We are on the roof with the Privy Council, they'll shortly be going up to St Paul's Cathedral to observe, and attempt to co-ordinate, but for now here we are.

We can see fire streaking through the sky. Below us London waits, five pillars of light fall, the bard mounts the gable and stands, silhouetted against the dusk sky. It's picturesque, beautiful in its finality as the end begins. We can hear the thunder as the ships pass over and around us. Creating a microclimate over London, disturbing the air, it starts to rain again. Heavily.

The Bard plays the most fitting song he can:

I want to tell you it was Metallica - Nothing Else Matters as doom falls toward our world, as we prepare, each in our own way, to great our ends. Cruella's talking to Excalibur, the Navvie finishing one bottle of beer after another, Angus wistfully thinking of camels, the Wizard nervously playing with his wedding ring. My hand finds Cruella's and the Bard plays on.

He fucked it up however and it was: Van Halen - Jump

Reports of landings start coming in, the final alien ship is still just a light in the sky, slowly, steadily, growing brighter.

We can see flames in the distance, somewhere out at the horizon the final battle has already begun, men are dying, and all just to keep the Martians at bay. The DM waxes lyrical on this, thousands, hundreds of thousands of lives will be lost tonight and it all rests on our actions, yet somewhere out there are men and women to whom their lives are just as important, cowering in holes, dying in ways too horrible to even imagine, and yet, holding the line.

He gives us a series of vignettes to really hammer it home.

Savatage- Commissar

>Near Epsom

Hundreds of refugees watch as the ship comes down, ignoring the warnings to stay down, a couple hundred are lasered from belt to forehead as a beam sweeps across the camp. The black smoke rolls over them, and without masks, the rest choke and die. The Landcruiser brigade (1st Super-Heavy Sheffield's Own) roll over the corpses, crushing scenes of horror, a mother cradling a choking baby, falling as she tries to hold her above the smoke, turned to paste under the tracks of ABL1.

>Sunbury on Thames

Automatons but aside refugees as they press around the royal motorcade, then suddenly, each and every one looks at the sky. Following the trail of fire. Silently marching into the distance, towards the thin red line of infantry and on toward the martians.

The motorcade is sacked by panicked citizens, the few remaining human guards open fire on the crowd.

The king is killed in the crush of bodies as he hides beneath his limousine.

>Watford

Men of Harlech is sung by ten thousand throats out across the fields of England. The flower of Wales stands proud as the ship comes down.

King Rorke and his men engage Martian fighting machines without even a hope of damaging them. A centaur charge equal to the (fictional engagement of) Polish Lancers charging Panzers. They die in the hundreds. Far from the valleys, sheep, and daffodils of Wales, each and every soul is acquired by the cultists, whom themselves are slaughtered. The sod and earth is rent asunder as Pendragon rises.

We weren't there to witness it, but think Al'Duin or however you spell it from the Elder Scrolls, as in giant dragon battling fighting machines over a field of corpses. Fuck me that's metal.

>Orpington

Naval bombardment from north of Dartford takes the ship down as she lands. Huge holes rent in its side, it crashes on its side, wiping out refugee and martian alike as it falls, the ship vents fuel and flame across the landscape, creating a firestorm that makes the country around melt, hot enough to glass the area.

Sabaton - Für Immer (Lyrics English & Deutsch)

>Brentwood.

Ghurkhas stand in serried ranks. Landcruisers still showing massive battle damage wait amongst them. Someone has fucked up, the ship is coming down not where they expected, it's coming down atop them. The panic means the force is in disarray when the landing comes. The Landcruisers signal one last time.

>ENGLAND EXPECTS!

and charge straight for the ship, suicidally ramming their way into the crater, causing as much damage as they can.

The Who - Baba O'riley

>We continue.

The Privy council wish us well, they know we're not expected to survive, they know this is the end, and their best wishes seem hollow. We all share a nip from Angus's hip flask and head out. Antgyros occasionally mutters from the Navvie's back pack.

We have a job to do. Near Waterloo station the diversionary attacks begin to meet resistance, we watch from near the Thames, in Inner Temple Gardens as the sky line lights up, we can hear gun fire, the destroyers move up the river, engaging fighting machines.

Our faces blackened, we head down to the river, crossing it with the aid of a rowing boat in the wake of the ships and landing in Park Henrietta. We try our hardest to be stealthy. There don't seem to be any Martians about, the streets are empty. We sneak and tacticool our way toward the ship.

There's a crater similar to the last one, and as we make our way toward it, rain beats on the cobblestones. We move through smoke, wiping the eye pieces of our gasmasks as soot builds up on them.

As we climb the crater wall, it suddenly stops. It's still raining heavily a meter behind us, but in the crater it isn't at all.

There's something powerful here, it doesn't know we're here yet, but we're going to make sure, one way or another, it wishes we hadn't come.

The Martians are pouring out of the ship, but heading southwards, sneaking onto the hull from the North we are unobserved.

It seems a bit bigger than the last one, but aside from that, much the same. We decide the best thing to do is get in, kill the king (make sure the fucker is dead, we don't know what kind of mental powers/shields/weirdness he has), then plant the Wunderwaffe and bug out.

We try to stay out of sight and generally sneak, it doesn't take us long to find a hatch.

We don't knock, the Navvie simply bashes it in with several hammer blows. We drop down into the darkness below.

The interior of the ship is much like the other Martian ships we have been aboard. Lots of fluid biological looking curves and general alien-ness.

It's darker than we expected. There's also a feeling to the place, something that sets your teeth on edge, imagine running a piece of sandpaper over your teeth, that feeling, but deep in your skull.

The whole place feels alien (of course it does it's an alien spaceship), but I use the term as nothing seems quite right in here, as though a circle has 362 degrees.

The wizard helpfully adds "This isn't magic, but there's a very powerful psychic emanation here. Be very careful."
>ANTGYROS DE...
"Shush!"
>ANTGYROS WILL NOT BE SILENCED.
"Shut up!"

The Navvie closes his rucksack and holds Antgyros to his chest.

(slightly muffled now) >I DEMAND YOUR ATTENTION.
"What?"
>THE EMANATIONS ARE THE KING.
"Really? We'd never have guessed. Thanks Antgyros."

Nothing seems to have heard him (even if he does have no inside voice), so we begin to sneak into the ship.

We move through corridors that are dimly lit, we take a wrong turn and move into a fighting machine assembly area, I nearly lose (another) limb to a robot arm as it sweeps a piece of chassis into place.

We move into what we can only assume is a Martian nursery, tiny martians are hatched from eggs and placed into some sort of gel, the drones seemingly maturing before our eyes. There are large numbers of eggs in some sort of fluid, if you think bee hive you're not far off, the larvae within hatch and are then placed by drones into the gel, and start growing. Fast.

It's literally an assembly line for Martians.

Unhelpfully, some of the mature drones spot us.

However, Angus has a flamethrower.

Of course, we never thought to ask where all these eggs were coming from...

As soon as we start torching things, we hear a rumble, as drone and egg alike start to cook off (they smell a lot like crab by the way) we hear a rumble, something very big starts moving in the fluid.

The queen (or at least that's what we think it is) breaks the surface and flops onto land.

She is enormous, beetle like, and very very very pissed off with us. (Though, from her perspective we did just kick the door in and start torching her babies).

We realize all hope of stealth is gone, her razor sharp tentacles lash out, scything into the decking, she's fast and she's furious. She charges at us, we do our best to light her up,

The Navvie swings at her, taking a tentacle through the shoulder even as he stoves in her carapace. Blood spatters the deck as he's flung aside. Bones break as he hits the wall.

The bard does his best to dodge as he plays Motörhead - 1916.

The wizard tries to sever the tentacles with a whizzing saw blade, Cruella does the same with Excalibur.

Angus just starts burning everything. Meanwhile I aim for what I can only assume are eyes.

She isn't slowing down.

The Navvie coughs blood and does his best to stand. A severed tentacle falls at my feet among the shell casings. Cruella ducks and dives, rolling and swinging that sword. Angus walks straight at her, torching her, her carapace starting to glow red.

The Wizard sends a harpoon straight through her thorax.

Just about the time he takes a tentacle through the gut.

The queen goes down with a huge thud, her carapace rent asunder. Angus keeps on playing flames across her. Antgyros can be vaguely heard expressing his pleasure.

The wizard falls as well. We rush to him, the convulsions of the Queen's body drive the tentacle through him, he's impaled quite impressively.

He's still alive, and screaming.

The bard is the most medically skilled. He does his best to stop the bleeding. The wizard grits his teeth. Angus pours whiskey down his throat.

Cruella severs the tentacle. It's at least a foot around.

It missed his spine, but it's wrecked his abdomen. He shouldn't be alive.

He coughs, blood running from the corner of his mouth.

The wound is fatal, but he isn't dead yet. He's going into shock.

His eyes close.

The bard simply balls up bandages and places them in the wound, trying to stem the blood loss.

The wizard isn't going to last long. His eyes snap open.

"Fucking martians. Take me with you. I can still take some with me."

The Navvie carries him, using his hammer as a walking stick.

The wizard's blood soaks into the Navvie's shirt.

He's using his own magic to try to knit himself back together, to last longer, steel replacing flesh.

The DM makes it clear it won't keep him alive much longer.

We push on. We've survived this long, but the DM's words about death being a near certainty come back to us.

The aliens know we're here now, we meet small groups and then larger groups, they don't serve as more than a hindrance, slowing us down.

I see movement on my right as we move down a corridor. I don't ask questions, but put a burst down the corridor.

There's nothing there. I distinctly saw something, but there's no blood, no bodies.

It happens again.

We expect knocking (shave and hair cut) but there's nothing.

The wizard can't sense anything (but then again he's fucked and slipping and out of consciousness).

We move onwards. Starting at shadows, engaging phantoms.

The darkness shifts around us, we have to be getting close to the king if this is happening, we are definitely starting to see things.

Angus looks right at me, his eyes go wide, "MARTIAN!"

He brings his flamethrower up.

Cruella clubs him with the pommel of her sword just before he toasts me.

Angus shakes his head. Rubs at the bleeding mark on his scalp. He reaches for his hip flask and necks the contents. He tosses it aside and does the same with a second one.

"Sorry."

It's about then that one of the shades proves it isn't just a phantom.

The darkness solidifies and a blade sweeps out. Cruella just dodges it, Angus takes it in the thigh. He grabs the creature, pulling it to himself.

We can't see what he's holding onto, but Cruella decapitates it.

"Ha! you weren't expecting that were you, you fuck?"

Angus self medicates with more whiskey as the bard knots a tourniquet about his thigh.

We're wise to the shadows now, more attack but we club them down without injury.

We come finally to a very large set of blood red doors. Low lighting pulses. The whole area screams boss fight.

We expect royal guards, something, but looking around, we're alone.

We examine the doors. We look at one another.

"Well this is it, it's been quite a ride. Let's do what we do best."

We kick in the doors.

"BY ENGLAND AND ST GEORGE. WE ARE HERE TO FUCK YOU UP."

Warriors of the world united

The chamber is enormous, a cavern that feels like a football stadium. The high vaulted ceiling can barely be seen, the walls are strewn with bizarre and outlandish trophies and art work. At the center of the room, is a very small cushion. On it, sits the King.

The king doesn't seem to be quite what we expected.

From the size of the queen, we were expecting something enormous. We were expecting something truly terrifying.

The thing in the center of the room is about the size of a case of beer. He doesn't seem to be doing much.

His escort however, are pretty impressive. They're each the size of what we assume was the queen. The DM called them Praetorians and I guess that's what they were.

The king looks on as the Praetorians rush us.

I reach into a pouch, figuring "fuck it why not" and toss the relics that John Borrison gave us at one of them.

There's a very very loud bang, a blinding white light, as though a flashbang had gone off in front of my nose.

The first thing we hear as the ringing stops?

"Ook?"

Babi gives us a wave and then turns to the Praetorians.

We run after him.

Vulgaris Magistralis - Heidevolk

Babi is enormous, but so are the Praetorians, he punches straight into the carapace of one as the others swarm him.

We do our best to help as they whip tentacles at him. Rents cut across the great ape's flesh.

His hand falls onto the deck (nearly squashing Angus) he screams. The wizard wakes up.

Putting all of his effort into one last spell, Babi's stump slowly caps itself, a blade growing from it.

"OOK!"

The first Praetorian falls, then a second.

Babi is missing more bits. He grabs the third, slams it into the deck. It dies with a very impressive squelch.

He bearhugs the last, they wrestle. He's headbutting it as it eats his face, they fall together. Rolling across the deck and through into, then through the side of the hull.

The Martians outside, that aren't crushed, begin to swarm in through the hole.

The wizard coughs, and does his best to seal up the gap. He expires leaving a man sized hole. Through which martians pour.

Angus makes his way to the hole. Flames beating Martians back.

The Navvie drops the lifeless body of the wizard on the deck.

The King stops meditating or whatever he was doing.

There's a reek of ozone as he stands. The chamber seems to grow darker.

We approach the king as Angus merrily burns Martians.

The King looks at us properly for the first time.

He has the air of a man who has been disturbed in the middle of a sandwich. (Ok he's not a man but you get the idea).

The Navvie sizes him up, standing perhaps a dozen feet from one another.

The two creatures, of entirely different lives, planets and minds, sense in one another a similarity, a passion, differing ideals perhaps, but they watch one another closely.

They stare at one another.

The Navvie's eyes start to roll back into his head.

He shakes his head.

"Oi. Fuck you."

Seeing his attempt at (what we assume was) mind control has failed, the King raises all four of his arms wide, around each limb fire starts to glow, the Navvie runs at him and swings his hammer down.

It rebounds off the King, stopped by his shield. The Navvie keeps swinging even as his feet leave the ground.

The rest of us are not idle. Cruella raises Excalibur high and swings for the little bastard. I open fire, and the bard does the usual bard stuff.

Meanwhile, Angus is laughing as he torches another martian, then the flamethrower runs dry.

The Martians swarm Angus, a dozen clawing through the hull at once, he doesn't even bother trying to change the canister. He sticks his knife into it as they reach him and the thing goes off like a bomb.

His last words?

"Petunia."
OOC: "What? Angus who the fuck is Petunia?"
"It's what I named the camel."

With Angus down, the Martians begin to swarm in, the Bard does his best to hold them off, piping for all he's worth (remember his music can actually pop heads somehow)

But they're still getting through.

A Scottish Soldier

He plays on. Standing resolute as they rush him.

Meanwhile the Navvie is floating in mid air.

Cruella whacks the King with the sword, it pierces his shield. The King drops the Navvie (and Antgyros bounces from his rucksack).

Cruella is now the sole focus of the King's attention, he throws fire balls around the place as we do our best to attack him. Meanwhile Cruella's eyes go blank, as he slowly, surely, devours her mind.

Blood pours from her nose as she falls to her knees.

The Navvie picks up Excalibur and drives it through the King's chest.

Fire shoots down the sword, burning up the Navvie's arm. He screams as he burns.

>ANTGYROS DEMANDS ATTENTION
>CRACK MY SHELL MIDGET.
>USE ME.

I turn the shotgun on Antgyros, shots eating away at the lead. The King is distracted by slowly roasting the Navvie, who is reaching for the wunderwaffe.

I stick my hand into Antgyros's shell, the red goo within sweeps up my arm, eating into my flesh as I become something more and less than human.

His presence joins me in my mind as I sweep new limbs forward toward the king.

I become amorphous, Antgyros wrestle me for control, but I hold him off. He becomes subservient to me. The King is horrified as I begin to absorb him.

I see the Navvie tear the timer away from the weapon even as the flesh melts from his fingers.

"FOR THE PENGUIN!"

There's a second or two before it detonates, enough time for me to sweep Cruella's unconscious body into my own, protecting her from the nuclear fireball that consumes all.

There's not much more to tell now.

When the Landcruisers pushed through into the crater, caring not for the fallout, they found what I had become bound tightly around Cruella.

She's not herself now, there's nothing left of her, her mind is like that of a child, but she has learnt to trust me, she is the only one who cares for me, I remain bound, contained with her, deep below London, where the Privy Council imprisoned both of us to keep the world safe from the mix of man and monster I had become. They cannot trust that I will forever hold Antgyros in check, nor can they destroy me.

We have our comforts, I have my books, she has her dogs, and above the fire, on the mantlepiece, sits a small, stuffed toy.

And that anons, was Britbongsteros.

Epilogue[edit]

>John Borrison

Was knighted shortly afterwards by the Privy Council. Ran an extremely successful business (Sir Honest John's Imports and Exports) which created stronger links with the continent through trade in entirely legal goods.

>The Privy Council

With the death of King Algie and no clear line of succession, the Privy Council seized power, Blackadder is king in all but name after Richard III suffered a fatal accident during a haircut.

>Babi

Dead as far as we know. No corpse was found in the crater, but then again a nuke had gone off near him.

>The German expeditionary force

What survived the conflict was politely escorted back to Germany where they were hailed as heroes. While it is hard to be certain, some fighting machines were found near Ipswich with parts missing, indicating the Germans may have succeeded in their goal of claiming martian technology.

>The Wizard's Wife

Consumed by grief, she gave up her position within the clan and now runs an orphanage for those orphaned by the invasion.

>Angus's Family

McAngus Sons & Assorted Animals is a thriving business and stud farm. The greengrocers shop has now opened several other outlets. The smiling face of a weird green bastard can be seen on the high street of many towns.

>Pendragon

Fate unknown. Certainly no one has seen him, a series of enormous footprints were discovered leading into the sea.

>King Rorke

The welsh army were very nearly wiped out. King Rorke's body was never found. Tales of a large bullman roaming the country side and robbing from the rich to give to himself were never substantiated.

>Excalibur

Discovered, totally unharmed, embedded in a wall just outside Inner Temple church. What happened to it after that is entirely another story.

>Orrance

The Arabs maintain home rule, they trade oil very happily, and the old Gods are starting to get back into the groove of things. The European powers are eying the country and its resources. It is now a question of whether Arabia can develop fast enough before some decides to take the place by force. Orrance is heavily involved in the program of modernization, as sanitation, education, and infrastructure come to the lands of the Caliphate. Anubis has taken to wearing a top hat.

>The Landcruisers

In peace time, the Landcruisers each adopt a village or town as a fiefdom, they are instrumental in rebuilding the nation. Attempts by the Privy Council to use them as paramilitary force/death squad fail. The Landcruisers remain free and fiercely independent, and loyal to the nation and the nation only.

They have become a powerful political force for this reason. The one thing they cannot do, yet, is build more of themselves.

>Aberdeen

The process of refining magic oil is a success and Aberdeen becomes the energy capital of Europe. Rumours that a squadron of Landrcuisers have taken up residence in Peterculter (a tiny village just outside the place) and begun research into their creation have proven to be just that. Rumours.

>The Patrick Murderborg Moore Scholarship Foundation

Takes underprivileged inner city kids and turns them into cyborgs. The Privy council got their death squads in the end.

>The Rest of the World

The great Russian Bears wake, and Germany begins to look eastward for lebensraum. Tensions brew in the east. The war weary west of Europe is beseeched by an American ambassador (some guy called Benny Franklin) for assistance with a hitherto unknown enemy.

>Mars

Looks upon the earth and our teeming billions with envy. Biding their time. Mars will rise again.

In the world of Britbongsteros, on the 23rd of June, a purple badge is worn by citizens of the country. To commemorate those lost in the what came to be known as the Martian Wars.


London. 2015. September. A wet Friday afternoon just as the clocks strike pint o'clock.

Deep beneath the earth, in the darkness of the world, behind steel and stone, the final portal is swung aside. Shaking hands lift a box in an archive which has not been opened in decades. Ancient weapons and mouldered leather within. Blowing dust brought down from the ceiling by another bomb blast, cracked lips moisten by a tongue stained with blood. Wizened hands reach within the box. Into the half light rises a tiny purple toy. It's button eyes catch the light in a stare that would melt steel beams.

"Your time has come again little one... Your country needs you."

A Seasonal Tale[edit]

Well we got the gang back together over Christmas/New Year with a bit of Skype meaning there's now another story. Would /tg/ still care to hear it?

>I thought you were all (mostly) dead?

We are. With a healthy dose of MST3K mantra and by dint of this episode being set between two earlier ones, we can get away with it. Additionally this adventure happened over the festive season and was a sort of group reunion.

>When are we?

Somewhere after the discovery of Martians at the north pole and before our trip to Egypt (MST3K).

>Where are we?

We begin in London as the privy council explain over tea served by Baldrick, the gorilla, that the good ship DunRoamin pulled into Peterhead Harbour last Tuesday. This is met with an almost unanimous

"And?"

Aside from Angus, who is picking his nose and simultaneously rolling a cigarette, and Cruella, who has taken a shine to a carriage clock on the mantelpiece and is considering larceny.

Blackadder explains "and the DunRoamin was thought lost at sea two years ago. Wreckage was found. Even some bodies. The 'crew' have no knowledge of the last twenty six months, the cargo of Spanish Oranges are still fresh. The last thing any of them remember is the Northern lights around Cruden Bay. We (the Privy Council) have had the crew quarantined. We suggest (meaning order on pain of death) you find out what is going on. Additionally, some of the local sheep have been (Angus perks up) going missing and returning in fractions. Do find out what's going on?"

Blackadder also mentions a number of other missing ships, ones which were assumed lost to alchemists/sea monsters/necromancery. Given that good King Algernon has already (mostly unknowingly) put up and dedicated a number of monuments, it'd be far too confusing for the old duffer to dedicate them. Additionally wherever that ship has been, we want to know.

So we find ourselves on the sleeper train to Peterhead. Having "snuck" (punched out the guard - cheers Navvie) our way into first class (where they wash the chickens you share the carriage with first) we are smoking and enjoying one of Angus's home distilled whiskies. To our surprise it tastes nothing like whiskey but also doesn't make you go blind.

The surroundings, company, and drink being convivial, the party start to relax, finding their feet as their characters again, old arguments are resurrected and players get in character. As the Wizard and Navvie speculate on what the disappearance could mean, Angus and Cruella snipe at each other over whether Brown or tomato sauce is more of an insult to food while interjecting every so often. The consensus is that it's something to do with time travel, the bard dissenting because obviously it's whales. When pressed further all he says is "fuck whales."

The party are finding their feet again reasonably quickly. The train journey passes quickly. The issue is that the DM is also finding his feet again. Cruella it appears has actually acquired the carriage clock and is inordinately pleased with it.

We start properly in Cruden Bay, a small fishing village. We kind of expect everyone to be missing, we expect things to be not as they should be. Instead, and for once, everything seems fine. In fact the village seems more than fine, they're having a party.

The group are quite content to get involved but the Wizard reminds us we are here to do a job. We make our way (nearly losing Angus and the Navvie to a bar) to Cruden Bay's one and only jail, where apparently the crew of the DunRoamin have been quarantined.

The twelve crew seem altogether normal, if a little lost, you would be too if you'd lost a couple years inexplicably. They don't seem as though they've been at sea for two years. No Rime of The Ancient Mariner stuff here. Talking to them brings us almost nothing new in the way of knowledge.

DM: "The 14 men in the gaol seem perfectly, completely, and utterly normal."

The fete outside seems to pick up a little in noise and cheer.

>12 crew on the boat.
>14. men in the gaol.

Fuck.

Problem solving has never been one of our finer points. We have the crew list and cargo manifest. We know damn well that there's only meant to be 12 people on that boat.

The first idea we managed was taking them out one by one and asking them who was on the boat with them, and to describe them. It seems spending what may or may not have been two years on a boat with someone gives you a very poor recollection of what they look like. Each crewman can vaguely describe maybe two or three others. There's enough overlap and amnesia that no one can definitely be pointed to as an impostor. There's definitely not going to be a nice reason for there being two extras.

The party form a small huddle. The crew being returned to the cell. These people (or "people") are amnesiacs and most don't seem to even remember their own names let alone each others. They all came off the boat though...

Wizard: "Clearly they're all impostors. It's definitely the only sensible thing. Bodies were found remember?"
Cruella: "Shoot the lot."
Angus: "How do we know?"
Bard: "We can't know, we can't leave them here either."

The fuck are we going to do with this lot? We've all seen the thing. We also aren't tempted to pick one at random and start slicing.

Someone has the not too bad idea, that if we're in this situation, and maybe, just maybe, there's some extras in there, we could try asking them things from before the voyage. The Wizard is from near this area.

He starts asking each of the crew about the football team, "Aberdeen United." Most have never heard of it. Some have, enthusiastically so. Aberdeen United don't exist. Of course, while football (soccer to my burger-bros) is a big thing in Scotland, not having heard of Aberdeen FC isn't quite a death sentence, as much as some people I know might disagree.

The questioning continues. We ask each individually about other things, things like how the winter was three years ago (most agree that it was pretty bad - it was), and whether Tunnocks Tea Cakes should be fried or baked (most think either is insane). We are slowly starting to get a feel that three identifiable folk are a bit weird.

That's one too many. Possibly one is just a berk. On the other hand, well, we have no idea what to expect and fuck it, double blind trials and that sort of thing aren't our strong point.

The Bard has been fairly quiet through all this. He's started to notice that most of them move pretty damn slowly. As though drugged or nearly blackout drunk. With the sort of exaggerated care of a man trying to unlock the front door at four in the morning with seventeen pints sloshing about in him and trying not to wake his wife.

We've narrowed things down (we think) to three. We take those three to a separate room. Outside the carnival or fete is reaching fever pitch.

We tie each of the three to a chair. For ease of reference, I'll number them, 1-3. The Wizard has had an idea.

"I'm going to tell you a joke: Two lads in a pub, one says to the other 'Your round Jock' the other says 'So are you, ya wee fat bastard.'"

1 clearly doesn't get it. Two laughs uproariously. Three looks amused.

The wizard shoots number 2.

"Even I know I'm not funny."

It's about this point that several things happen at once.

Truth be told we were kind of expecting someone to explode into a mass of mouths and tentacles. We definitely were not planning on #2 being instead of a corpse on a chair, just an empty chair with rope tied round it. As though we had tightly bound rope to the back of the chair without anyone actually being there. The bullet can clearly be seen having dug a hole in the wood of it. #3 is similarly gone as though he hadn't been there. As we are coming to grips with this. The fete outside seems to involve an awful lot of screaming.

1 appears terrified.

"Why did you people tie me up then shoot an empty chair?"

We will come to terms with whatever that means shortly. Angus has been looking out the small, barred window. Several townsfolk have just been snatched, dismembered, and dragged off by something large, tentacley, and coming from the sea. The rest of the partying folks seem oblivious.

We can still hear music and dancing. Now we really think about it, the last local festive day was two days ago. The townsfolk definitely look as though they've been dancing since then...

We breezed into the gaol/police station thinking the lack of staff was just festive, the keys and jail had been easy enough to find. The snoring, passed out and very drunk sergeant at the front desk was (we thought) reason enough for the lack of efficiency. There is something very wrong here.

The empty chair however presents a very different issue. We all definitely counted 14 crew. We all definitely took three in here. We felt, saw and smelt each of the three we tied up. The wizard can't sense any magic in particular. What the hell is going on.

Angus who is still at the window reports that several pterodactyls just flew past. For the avoidance of doubt that is not normal.

It seems the townsfolk might be hallucinating or under some sort of ergot poisoning. We might have got a touch of it too even on our short walk through town. We can't just bug out though. There's too much weirdness for us to leave this alone. We decide to return our surviving and definitely tangible crewman to the cells. To his thirteen friends. Oh fuck.

We note that it's kind of hard to tell 14 men in uniform with beards apart from each other. Clearly one's the captain and the other is the first mate, but the rest are a bit tricky.

Cruella is greatly in favour of burning the lot.

We are a bit tempted to now. It's about here that the wizard sees that one of the crew has a hole in his jacket. Just above the sternum. He has one on his back too. Perfect for the entry and exit of a bullet from a revolver.

This time I shoot him.

He hits the floor about the same time as his friends bare their teeth and give a horrible ululating cry. Skin flakes or sloughs away to scale or chitin. Muscle flows and warps. The whole group like figures made of wax left too close to a flame. They start to flow and slither into each other. Ropes of sinew and intestine slapping and crawling round the bars. Angus still has his flamethrower and by God is it handy here. The rest of the party open fire as well.

Our original interrogatee is all that's left shortly afterwards. Lying on the floor with his hands over his head, trembling and (when our ears stop ringing) begging not to be shot.

He is lying against the bars, fairly near to us and actually, if he had hit the deck and lain there, could logically have survived.

All of his mates have just exploded however. The wizard decides (supported by the rest of us - even the penguin) to stick a harpoon through him.

He does what you might expect a perfectly ordinary human to do. Scream a bit and expire.

a perfectly
normal
human

Fuck.

Did we just?

Yup. We just executed a terrified civilian like big damn heroes.

We've killed plenty innocent bystanders before but this actually feels worse than usual. Even the Purple Penguin briefly ceases his reverie on the intricacies of axiomatic metaphysics and tits to look disapprovingly on us. As does the DM. We think we just slaughtered our exposition device.


So to recap, we don't know what's going on, there's weird Thing type person impersonators, dinosaurs, and the population of Cruden bay are under some form of mass hysteria while being massacred. Also it's Tuesday. We know just what must be done.

Angus, as our resident good samaritan, does what he feels is appropriate and makes sure our interrogatee is actually dead. He also takes to opportunity to rifle through his pockets. The man coughs up a lot of blood? It seems a lot darker than it should be, the consistency of treacle, and hacks one word out before finally and definitely dying.

"Merde."

We will process that later. There's stuff to do.

We make our way out of the gaol - and past the still comatose desk sergeant (who is going to wake up to the worst hangover imaginable). The village is alight, at least one lantern has been knocked over and smoke and sparks colour the scene.

Outside the fete has become a nightmarish scene of violence. The exhausted villagers are being grabbed by long white sticky tentacles which can be traced seaward, toward the end of the village square. If anon imagines the villagers dancing in a square then the ones at the western corner are slowly and methodically being stripped of flesh piece-by-piece by the tentacles. They are still very much alive and seemingly unable to take flight, but they get to watch the person up the line from them being skinned. The only ones saved from this fate are women who are dragged off "whole."

Emerging into the square and making for those tentacles, they seem to emanate from a couple of vehicles. Like a bathysphere on tracks. With thick diving bell type windows too bright to see within, the tentacles ooze from hatches and ports while the bits of flayed villager are conveyed within.

A pterodactyl circles overhead, but doesn't seem to take part in this.

How the fuck do you fight a bathysphere and/or bathyscape?

More to the point, as we make our way to the villagers we argue, it seems that trying to carry them off one by one isn't likely to work. We are going to have to wreck those things.

As we get closer it becomes apparent the cobbles are thick with some sort of transparent and very unpleasant mucus. It reeks of rotten fish. The wizard is our best tin-opener and while Angus tries to create a wall of flame between villagers and Bathys, the rest of us follow him. The Wizard starts to work on a bolt, then another, they slowly (achingly so) start to loosen, he has to concentrate very hard indeed on this task. This leaves Cruella, the Navvie and myself with the tentacles. Up close they can be seen to be covered in horrific looking barbs or bladed suckers. You do not want one of those touching you.

As a bolt becomes loose enough it seems the internal pressure of the Bathy fires it like a musket ball (unfortunately into the forehead of another villager - collateral damage though) with this revelation, the bathys very much turn their attention on the Wizard. We do our best to intervene with shot, blade and hammer, but it's going to take time for the wizard to pop those things open.

The combat becomes a blur of slashing, shooting and bashing. The fact they are trying to concentrate on the wizard makes the tentacles easier to combat, but they are also happy enough to take a chunk out of us - as the bard who has been generally fucking about in the background learns. He was about to try and play something inspiring, but instead a tentacle has seized his bagpipes. The two wrestle and the struggle between man and pseudopod is evenly matched.

Meanwhile bits of villager can be seen being dragged into the bathys.

The Wizard is having some success, with three bolts loose now, a panel zings off the lead Bathy. The pressure within causes an ejection of a thick white fluid (shut up whoever is sniggering at the back) and some sort of machinery is revealed within. Angus is able to turn the flamethrower on the tentacles we are fighting, momentarily giving me enough time to get a half dozen slugs into that panel. Smoke and fluid belches and farts from Bathy 1.

We might be winning, we might not but we are doing our best. The bard at least has won his struggle - his pipes are, for the time being at least, out of action.

Zart - The Tentacles of Doom have some mood music anyway.

The Navvie is usually reasonably well prepared with a couple of blasting charges or some dynamite and decides now is the time for some fireworks. Headbutting the last tentacle near him (losing a decent chunk of his forehead in the process), he primes a charge and hurls it like a shot-put at Bathy 2. He doesn't quite get the charge under the tracks, but it does knock the thing over. It can still slither tentacles about the place, but it's definitely immobile.

There are a couple more pterodactyls above us now, and from somewhere nearby thunderous footsteps can be heard.

We are slowly closing in on Bathy 1.

Bathy 1 does its best, but with Bathy 2 just about out of the fight we close in enough that the Wizard is able to tear off thick cast iron panels now. There's a crack and a highly pressurized fizz from within before the entire internal hull is breached. It goes up like a bomb, showering bits of highly pressurized pseudoplasm and other goo all over us and everything else within forty feet. If we had any doubts about this thing having come from the deep sea, those are very definitely assuaged.

Those footsteps are coming closer. Big thumping ones.

With Bathy 1 destroyed and Bathy 2 down, the villagers are at least no longer being eaten. Deciding we don't have all that much time to investigate Bathy 2, we make for it as quickly as we can. The Wizard sealing shut the ports from which the tentacles are exuded while cautioning us against just tearing it open - explaining that the internal pressure, will, if released, destroy any evidence of what is within the thing.

Looking closer, we can see on one of the hatches some Latin lettering which might read:

"Avertissement , contenu sous pression , ouverte avec une extrême prudence"

It seems the real enemy have shown themselves at last: The French. However the Spinosaurus (or what might be - it's not entirely biological nor does it quite fit the description - but who knows - paleontology being a very dangerous profession in Britbongsteros), which is watching us, seems to beg to differ.

Ok so dinosaurs are a new one. They're not native to Britbongsteros, though there are rumours that there's plenty of them in Africa. We are not inclined to ask this one particularly about his heritage, especially given that he squares his shoulders and charges right at us without a second thought.

As he gets closer, mechanical or maybe cybernetic augments can be seen on his joints and around the back of his head. An arc of electricity whips from his rib-cage and washes up around his skull.

What the actual fuck is that thing DM?

Spiney races toward us, we move to engage, planning on hamstringing him and going from there. This, for once, actually goes to plan, with some decent rolls Cruella gets his left leg and not eaten, and the Navvie is able to crush his right ankle as he goes down.

It's almost like he's not paying us any attention and has been told to go for Bathy 2 at all costs. He just about makes it too, smashing into the thing on sheer momentum. That highly pressurized hiss that proceeded Bathy 1's explosion can be heard. We make for cover and, a moment or two later, bits of dinosaur and Bathyscape rain down around us. We re-emerge to investigate the wreckage.

"YOU ABSOLUTE CUNTS."

The short and very angry orc gesticulating and swearing at us identifies himself as Doctor Andrew Ure (you're not going to believe anything about this guy, some of his more fun experiments). He seems really annoyed that we just killed his pet.

The orc - or Doctor Ure, explains that that monster was the best chance we had of ending whatever the menace from the sea is, and now we've gone and ruined that. While he doesn't seem especially threatening, Dr. Ure definitely has plenty of other dinosaurs around if those pterodactyls are anything to go by. He is also completely mental. We do our best to ignore the small, insane green midget and examine what's left of Bathy 2 for clues.

Bathy 2 doesn't render up much in the way of info

The Wizard reporting: "It's a Bathyscape."
Cruella: "The fuck are you looking at me for?"
Angus: "I reckon we could rebuild this if we really tried... some sort of... maybe a submarine?"
Bard: "I think Angus might be onto something."
Navvie: "Shut up bard. Also more French writing found."

Doctor Ure has become somewhat more insistent to the extent that everyone else was examining the Bathy (and scraping bits of it and Spinosaurus off themselves). I did my best to calm him down enough to work out what he was on about.

The following information is learnt along with a lot of raving:

>The Bathys are of unknown origin but have been doing things like this up and down the coast.
> Mad Dr. Ure is also an agent of the crown, at least he was, the letter of authority he shows me is eight years old and entirely out of date.
>The dinosaurs are what he calls "Galva-saurs" (as in Galvinism - yes, I know Ure predated Galvinism by some decades) and are his own flesh melded designs which he suspects the Bathys (who may or may not be French) to have stolen.

I ask him about what happened with the exploding crew members (above) and he postulates

"That could be a logical result of my research, but only a mad" he laughs uproariously "man might do that. If the Crown ever found out about that he'd be burnt at the stake."

So the end result of that is we don't really know what to do. The rest of the party has now joined us.

Bard: "Where are the Bathys coming from?"
Ure: "The Sea."

"Bard: "Ok but where in the sea?"

Ure: "How should I know?"
Wizard: "You knew they were coming here right? You might know where they go next? How'd you know they were coming?"
Angus: "More to the point where did you get these bloody great lizards?"
Ure: "Made them."
Everyone: "You what?"
Ure: (cackles some more) "Well it's been a bit lonely up here in Cruden Bay, what else was I meant to do? I had all these eggs and other bits and... Galvasaurs!"

(if anyone paying attention is wondering, Cruden Bay has a lot of history and links to Frankenstein...)

It's been growing darker and stormier. Lightning flashes illuminating Slains castle on the near horizon.

Ure: "Come up to my laboratory... We have much to discuss, as you see I suspect someone has been stealing my research."

After agreeing that we'd follow him up once we've seen what we can do to help the villagers (which we do our best to, those that haven't been dissected mostly fall unconscious - but we can provide water and try to move some away from the now steadily blazing town - a process which takes about an hour or so but isn't terribly exciting to tell), we follow Mad Dr. Ure up to Slain's Castle because we're smart like that. Dr. Ure himself having simply extended his arms, waited a couple minutes in that rather daft position, and then gets scooped up by two Ptero-Galva-Dactyls.

Dr. Ure is very pleased to welcome us, as are the small pack of GalviDeinoychus that scutter about his feet. We have decided (having met plenty of lunatics by now) that we should start very slowly and softly.

He welcomes us into the great hall, the chained and mostly assembled item which he describes as "THE GALVASAURUS" is bigger than the Spinosaurus and indeed Babi if anyone remembers him.

We ask him: "What are you doing up here?"

Ure: "The Royal charter [n.b. they only last for four years and need renewed when a monarch dies] should tell you all you need. The kingdom needs soldiers, my original research in Oxford was deemed too unseemly for the populace, so I was sent to quieter, more... unseeing areas to complete it. Helpfully, new discoveries from Araby [shit was that us?] have assisted enormously."

Party: "So you're making the traditional ubersoldats then?"

Ure: "No, these are so much more, imagine a galvasaurus pulling plowshares, or a hundred powering pumps, why we could drain the Irish sea if we wanted to. Think of the engineering potential."

Party: "Ok that's... that's actually less bonkers than it sounds. You err... you don't happen to be using any crazy blood magic or anything that'd mean we have to kill you?" (we asked this a bit more tactfully, but then the bard just asked it straight out)
Ure: "No? Just science. Why should I use anything else? With science man can usurp the reigns of power from G-d! G-d has other things to take care of, such as our souls, (I don't know how he managed to pronounce it like that but somehow he did) he has allowed science to assist him!"

As Dr Ure is working himself up into a proper frothing rant, we change topic.

Party: "So Dr., who might be murdering the townsfolk?"
Bard: "Yeah! What's the French Connection?"

Ure: "I told you that I don't know, you probably already know they've attacked ships, that they've likely discovered a way to not only utilize my research but to corrupt the human form, to make things which appear to be men but are not, there might be hundreds or even thousands of those sleepers (he means what happened in the gaol) in towns on the east coast already, all seemingly normal until some threat or command and then..." Dr Ure whistles and a ParasaurGalvius cracks open a bottle of Chesnokov brand vodka (there's at least one /k/ommando in the group if anyone was curious) "..it doesn't bear thinking about." Angus has wandered off but returns at the mention of free drink. He has something to share. He nudges the Navvie and I and gestures at the Galvisaurus surreptitiously. That sure looks like a really big soul-cube if you squint just right. (Remember the necromancers?)

Well then... what do we do with this?

Giving it some thought we decide that, you know what? Fuck that. We'll deal with that later. Night has very definitely fallen outside and we are invited to spend the night in the creepy weird Dracula inspiring castle. On second thought we could spend it in the village... which has burnt to the ground... On third thought, lets stay.

We are given half a dozen rooms and waited on by a couple of small servant lizards (the wizard reckons they might be some velociraptor relative), in any event we decide it's far more sensible - and defensible - to all sleep in two adjoining rooms. We also have a chance to properly study one of these lizards up close.

It seems the things are not quite dead but definitely not alive, motive power is being provided by some small generator in the chest and thought and direction by the modified box on the back of the skull. If we had to guess, it might be a good idea to smash said box if we had any issues with one of these critters. We have no idea how Dr. Ure is controlling the things, however the wizard theorizes it's low level magic tweaking the copper diodes and control in each box on the Doctor's part, and when he isn't controlling them directly, it's instinctive behaviour on the part of the lizard.

We are woken - those of us who were sleeping at least (we've had enough of the DM to know that everyone being asleep at once without explicitly saying X will be on watch first leads to bad things), by a small Galvinychus battering on the door. It seems to very much want us to follow it. We do with some leisure, it seems that a village up the coast is under attack from our local bathys. We could just relax here but something tells us that the Penguin would much prefer us to take the offer of being Ptero-Galvi-dactlyed into the middle of the village. It also sounds fucking awesome.

A short while later.

Six adventurers are borne aloft, silhouetted against the harvest moon on our way to Newburgh and wondering what the fuck we have gotten ourselves into this time.

Saxon - Princess of the Night

Not all of us exactly have a head for heights nor indeed the way the Ptero-Galvi-Dactlys like to swoop and swerve, the screams of Cruella as her two do a loop-de-loop can probably be heard in Inverness, but we make it.

Newburgh is only a few miles away and at this speed it's five minutes flying time. Below we can see in the flames of the fishing village, more Bathys, and something else, something really unpleasant. Like a creature made of chitin and fishhooks, it's grabbing towns people and eviscerating them or... oh lordy that's not nice. It's cocooning them and forcing something down their throats....

With a cry of "Fukken Xenos!" we land in the middle of the town square. Apparently bonkers Dr. Ure will send reinforcements, but right now we're it. The big sky above us is fire lit, and all around us civilians scream.

>We Xcom now baby.
>DM? Is this a terror mission? This feels a lot like a terror mission.
>That's not a bad idea bard. This is now a terror mission, save those civvies.

We don't exactly take much coaxing to try and do the good thing, but this is going to be bloody hard. They're everywhere and if (as we suspect any villager impregnated - and yes that is probably what happened to the women further up) they're going to make more gribbly things, we think maybe we should burn out those nest things first.

Then we still have the Bathys, and whatever the fuck else there is running around. Well fuck it. Lets do this.

So we pretty much have two choices. Go for the "nest" and hopefully cut off the alien reinforcements, or try and fight through everything and save as many civvies as we can. It seems likely we might save more lives in the end going for the nest, but more will die while we do that. It's a DM dilemma and a big gamble.

We like a good gamble though, and while the combat isn't too exciting to relate, we wade through mucus and those horrific chitinous beasties to the "nest" or what was once a small inn. Now it's a horrific mess of bodies and bio-resin, we're just in time to see the stomach of some poor woman burst in a shower of gore (muh edge!) and several smaller nastier little things scrabble towards us.

"Well fuck this." Angus bathes the place in flame and the Navvie tosses a charge into the flames.

The (fuck it, we'll just call the Chryssalids) lids swarm us as we do so, the Wizard being knocked to the ground and only saved from a really nasty death by Cruella decapitating the Lid. She in turn is grabbed and dragged a few feet before the Wizard harpoons the Lid standing over her. Eventually (really a few moments later) we are standing on a pile of chitinous bodies when the charge cooks off. Still leaving the rest of the screaming and abused village to save.

Out there in the night there are still people dying, being picked apart by Bathys and god knows what else.

UFO - Doctor Doctor

We know exactly what must be done.

>Ayyyyyyy LMAO

We are heavily outnumbered but we think we just about have the hang of wrecking bathys, the first two aren't all that bad. The third is where we hit our first big snag. Angus and myself are herding civvies aside when several of them do that horrible shifting exploding thing and go full Thing, grabbing and devouring others or trying to eat us.

>Fuck. Nothing is to be trusted.

As Bathy 3 detonates, (there's still plenty more of them) we have to execute not only the Things but the half eaten (and possibly contaminated? Turned?) civilians with them.

The rest of the bathys are a struggle, but with reinforcements (fucking dinosaurs!) we manage pretty well. There's plenty more French in the wreckage, but as the last of them retreat, the wizard looks awfully smug. He's missing his solid iron broach that keeps his cape/kilt in place and holding it in place with one hand. It's stuck to the back of the last of the bathys. He reckons that as long as it stays within seven or eight miles he should be able to pinpoint where it goes. It's also a dead cert that wherever "there" is, is likely underwater, so we are going to have to do some preparation for dive. Fortunately, there's enough bits of bathy scattered around that, with plenty of ingenuity and around four or five days work, it ought to be possible to fashion a crude diving bell and some extremely crude diving suits. We are going to engage the terror from the deep on its own terms.

The tracker indicates that where we are going is reasonably close to the coast in one of the few areas where the North Sea is lower than 100M (110 yards-ish) but not much more so. It's still pretty bloody deep - especially in home made diving suits.

So, going forward in time slightly, we rejoin the party in a purloined fishing vessel ("In the Name of Cod") a few days later. Crude diving suits have been fashioned and, with some help from the lunatic Dr. Ure, we have an air-pumping station set up which is powered by half a dozen Galvelociraptors. The air pumps connecting via tubes to each suit. The suits themselves have a very small reserve of air. The suits have positive buoyancy, so if we remove the belt of lead weights we will shoot back up to the surface.

Bard: "Guys what about the bends?"
DM: "That's a very good point Bard, what are you all going to do about the bends?"
>Arguing

We know the bends doesn't occur at a specific depth and is more a function of how quickly one ascends. If we have a managed ascent (say removing one lead weight every minute or two and coming up over half an hour) we should be totally fine. However, we are trying to use atmospheric diving suits (so we'll stay at about surface pressure anyway), so it may not actually be an issue at all.

The bottom is about ~100M down, which we realize is actually further down than anyone dived in such a suit until at least about 1920, and that these are very much bodged together suits. However, in our favour, we do have the wizard who, if he senses anyone being likely to spring a leak, can repair the suit before the occupant even knows there's a problem. Reasoning that the wizard allows for pretty much factory level precision repair at depth we feel pretty happy. Satisfied we aren't going to just implode, the party sit on the edge of the 'Cod and fall backward into the water.

We are diving well below where natural light penetrates. It's very, very dark down here. We also have no means of communicating with one another - except that the wizard can ding on our helmets to try to direct us if we get lost, and if we want to talk it'll have to be by pressing face-glass together. We have torches and while some of our weaponry will work underwater, the rest we have decided to place in leather bags sealed with tar.

The descent takes us from light, to darkness, to something beyond darkness. Six little spots of light that, as we hit the seabed, send up a huge plume of silt, bringing visibility down to a meter if that. The slightest movement of our feet sends more of the stuff into the water. We sensibly decided to rope ourselves together, but now we are each isolated from one another and yet only a meter or two apart.

Ambient Music: Underwater Madness MOOD MUSIC

So to recap, we are going to fight god knows what, if we want to run away we'll have to be slowly lifted up to the surface, we can't see a damn thing, the wizard can only vaguely guide us, and we are roped together and pretty much helpless. The wizard is in the middle.

To really hammer home the helplessness for us, the DM decides he wants to really mess with people. Step 1: the party cannot communicate with one another unless the players are physically holding hands. The party are roped together in a manner which is clockwise from the DM and you can't talk to anyone who isn't in that sequence.

The wizard is, for all purposes, driving the party. He stumbles and by the time he has righted himself with the help of the bard behind him, he realizes two rather concerning things: The guide rope has snapped just in front of him - sending Cruella, Angus, and Me off into the darkness unattached (but still guidable) and there's very possibly something big and nasty lurking out there in the gloom. Additionally, if he were counting helmets, there now seem to be seven of them.

The thing is, the players can all listen to this but are totally unable to do a thing about it. The wizard can guide us and try to bring the two halves of the party together, but I (as the one on the rope in front of him) have no idea there's even a problem yet.

There's still something out there in the mud or at least that's what the wizard reckons, and there's also the issue of seventh party member. All the rest of the party can do is watch, remember that.

The wizard tries frantically to guide us all into a circle. Something is interfering with his tapping, people are getting mixed up, airlines are being crossed. The tramping of heavy lead shod boots is causing even more silt to rise, we're entirely obscured now, lights do nothing more than illuminate the filth in front of you, then suddenly something might loom through it, a hand, the back of a helmet, a tentacle.

>A tentacle

fuck.

Panic is starting to set in. The party can't do anything but beg the wizard to do something, the wizard can barely concentrate as he tries to process so many things at once, to direct six people, to try to assess whatever threat is around us, and to try to ascertain if one of us isn't who we should be.

Imagine that choking sensation of being isolated in your helmet, breath rasping, horrible tasting air being pumped down, and only the rank smell of your own sweat and rubber as you try not to hyperventilate. How quickly in that sweating, horrible little box you'd lose your mind, and most of us have no idea what's going on. Then a tentacle traces across the glass of your helmet and something grabs your hand.

The bard has finally worked out there's something wrong. He grips the wizard tightly and starts pulling in on the rope behind him. The Navvie is heavy but he's not that heavy, rather than allow the rope to go taut and just wait, the bard drags himself and the wizard into the gloom. The Navvie can be made out wrestling with something, something that has lots of tentacles.

Now pretty much everyone who isn't the wizard is down to using a knife, and the wizard has his hands full trying to wrangle the party. In the gloom he has no idea how successful he's being, but it seems like other hands are joining in on assisting the navvie. The sheer amount of silt and nastiness being thrown up makes it impossible to tell.

Eventually the tentacles withdraw with the creature either going to die or lick its wounds. There's still the issue that we can't tell who is who, or where, or what is going on. The wizard manages to get us all to stand in a circle, slowly waiting for the silt to settle and visibility to improve. Our hands are linked and bear in mind again that the rest of us have no idea there might be a seventh party member.

It takes a while for the silt to settle, a good long while. Remember the Wizard is the only one who knows why we've stopped, why we're standing in a circle holding hands. Imagine waiting in the horrible inky darkness, illumination being provided by a torch which doesn't do anything more than show particles of mud an inch in front of your faceplate, unable to hear anything other than your own breathing, heart racing and no idea what might be out there. Eventually it's clear enough to count lights. Seven lights.

You can't see the face of the person in the suit unless you're up and close. As the party realizes there's party + 1, things become very interesting.

>These suits were jury rigged and likely individually distinct Aldous

Yes, but it's pretty damn silty and dark still.

The Wizard is able to get everyone's attention by materializing a small cannon ball in front of himself. This is more than enough to demonstrate to everybody that he is a wizard. It also rather handily gives us a sort of nominated inquisitor. The wizard is able to go from faceplate to faceplate.

  • Aldous,
  • Cruella,
  • Bard,
  • Angus,
  • Bard,
  • Navvie.
Bard: "Oh fuck there's two bards!"
Navvie: "KILL THEM BOTH!"

The Wizard can't think of a way of deciding who is who. They're both carrying an oilskin which looks exactly like the one with the pipes in it. This is actually a bit of a challenge as the DM obviously won't let us talk to each other (in character) and we know pretty well that this thing is going to probably explode with lots of tentacles.

Thinking scientifically, the critters (such as the crew above) replicate humans reasonably well, they can at least fool the senses into thinking clothing and other items are there as well (so for example they might look to be carrying a gun, it might even go bang, but it probably can't shoot bullets if that makes sense), in this case they also fooled the Wizard's senses into thinking there are seven diving helmets.

>Aren't you roped together?

Same thing.

Chris Stapleton - Parachute

The party have naturally edged away from Bard A and Bard B, the DM (on the understanding that we will always have someone watching the two of them) allows us to talk.

The bard meanwhile is marveling at his own complexion. Majestic chucklefuck that he is when suddenly something occurs to him. The bard reasons as follows:

>I know I'm me.
>Therefore if I know I'm me, then the other one obviously isn't me.
>Therefore, if I stab my double, everything will be fine.

So he does.

This actually goes fairly well for once. Except that Bard B doesn't explode into a mess of tentacles and things, it just bleeds a lot and thrashes a bit with a knife in it's stomach. To an impartial observer, Bard A has just stabbed Bard B with an unknown motive. The bard is smart like that of course.

The party can see what might have been the logic here, but on the other hand, if the tables were reversed, it sure does look like the impostor just stabbed our bard. More to the point anything the Bard now does will make him seem suspicious.

>Ah Bard...

The wizard does his best to weld something over the wound to Bard B. We don't know which Bard is our bard.

We take the wounded and, with a knife at his back (do knives even work on weird tentacle-y things?), prepare to slightly less cunningly and gloriously make our assault on the underwater enclave of... we are not entirely sure. Up above there is one bonkers Doctor and that's as close to sanity as this one is going to get.

We mount a rise and below us we see our objective for the first time. There are ship wrecks, these are dark and barnacle encrusted, in the center sits what can only be described as a facility. An underwater building? It looks like an oil rig, and it's very well lit. Cargo from the ships is strewn around from steam engines to bricks to pottery. In the distance we can see Bathys making for shore.

Entrance to the facility isn't too hard. There's a suspiciously unguarded airlock. The air hoses prove to be a problem to actually get in, so we have to unscrew the things and pull on them to be hauled up. We still have our reserve tanks, but now we're down here and alone. Also one of our party members is who-knows-fucking-what.

So, time to work out what the flying fuck is going on down here. We've had a taste of quite a lot of DM level weird but things feel like they're only just starting. Something must have a very good reason for stealing ships and eating people. There also must be a damn good reason why there was French script on the Bathys.

The interior of the facility is dank, and there's the sound of a thousand drips reverberates through the darkness. There's also the very, very distinct noise somewhere far off of honking.

>Honking.

Oh yes. Honking. We have something much more immediate to attend to however. The bard is carefully held at gunpoint, while the other bard is stripped out of his suit. The bizarre maggoty situation with the wound is enough of a clue to tip us off to him not being human. The way he begs us not to as we pour flamethrower fuel over him is really kinda horribly grimdark. Burns good though.

The flames give us the same result as in the gaol. What the hell are these things? We're somewhat inured to terror, also bizarre, horror and all that other stuff, but there's so much oddness going on here it's almost too much to take in.

The party takes a moment to think things through:

  • Person replacing weird things.
  • Bathys.
  • Some French connection.
  • Honking.
  • Villager stealing (in fractions).

Why is it all happening off the very north east coast of Scotland? Dr. Ure seems to have been fighting as best he can against this stuff (he's also bonkers) for quite some time.

I do like to be beside the seaside - Mark Sheridan

Angus is the first to say it. "Ok. DM. Honking, French, and stealing villagers in bits or not. I know what this is."
>French-clown-leech-spider things
Bard: "Wat?"
Navvie: "Oh god not those things."
Cruella: "You mean... yuck. They ate me."
Wizard: "Bugger them."
DM: "You'll find out..."

So, this adventure took a bit of a peculiar turn about here.

If You Were The Only Girl In The World Sung By Henry Burr

Anyway, what's it like in the facility? It's warm, unpleasantly so. Hot enough that we're sweating before we are out of our diving suits. Hot enough that it feels like breathing blood. The lighting is red-lit, like a submarine at battle stations. It's built of rusted, damp, dripping steel, covered in pipes and gauges, valves and a billion other things. The whole thing is cast in that red light, making everything crimson or black. It was clearly a significant investment for someone.

Why on earth would the French of all people build this? They're just slutty elves. What the hell is that about? This really isn't their style, nor is it Dr. Ure's - he's just weird, but not this kind of villain lair sort of weird.

By the way if you're wondering about the less normal music, the DM is playing this sort of stuff on his laptop for reason we aren't entirely sure of.

We proceed very slowly. Not being particularly happy about anything down here. Least of all the lack of alarms, bodies, creepy shit or anything else. This place should really have been noticed when it was built, it's huge.

Soundtrack 24: Das Boot Theme (the DM starts playing this)

So we're used to exploring abandoned facilities and dungeons, this place isn't. It's got no sign of habitation, as in never lived in. There's not even the debris that builders leave around. It's like it fucking grew here and we're the first people to enter it. Angus in theory is the engineer of the party (with some help from the Wizard), but it's Cruella who raps on one of the pipes experimentally.

"What are these things for?" She taps a gauge. "I mean what the fuck is this thing? Come on boys. Explain?"

Five dice hit the table and permutations of

>I roll to explain whatever the fuck that thing is

follow on from the dice, but oddly, none of us can make any heads or tails of it.

It's all connected, almost knitted together as much as interlacing pipework can be, as much as gauges, valves, speaking tubes, and other bumf can be. Some if it's slung across the roof - making the experience of entering the facility seem like walking under low brush, and other pipes and things are set across the walkway, seemingly at ankle height by design because fuck you.

One of the speaking tubes honks. Then a louder honk comes echoing from somewhere up the passage, or maybe under the floor, or outside, or Wales, in this mess we can't fucking tell.

The further in we get, the denser this stuff gets. Stooped, with aching backs in tight confines, half crawling in boiling heat and unpleasant watery damp, the fluid black in the light. We pass under shafts which seemingly extend upward to other floors or god knows where (in theory we could climb up but we're going inward for now). Angus traverses what he thinks is a puddle, putting his hand outward to balance himself in the ankle deep water. Instead he sinks right in. He comes up again almost instantly treading water.

So anything coming at us could come from below, or above, or any direction it feels like.

Cruella has some pretty funkily good hearing, so does Angus, one of them picks up on a noise. So deep it can't really be heard at all, it's more that you're aware of the absence of noise. It's then followed by a more high pitched ping which is right up at the other end of the frequency range. Very shortly afterward, Cruella thinks on both of these frequencies

"If I can hear those, you know that really does mean I can speak Whale?"

The sound is an event regular enough to sound almost mechanical, like an engine, or a heartbeat.

The Bloop: A Mysterious Sound from the Deep Ocean

Our slow, painful, soggy pace is becoming even worse now. It's hard to tell where to place your feet and simultaneously watch for low hanging pipe work. Something coils around Angus's leg.

The Rose Of Tralee

The something comes from the Navvie. Or what we thought was the Navvie. Turns out we didn't get our Navvie back from the octo(thing) when it fucked off. We got something else. Something much worse. With very little ado the party are quite happy to shoot, chainsaw, stab, and uselessly play music at the impostor that was their friend. The amorphous tentacle-y horror slinks into the the mess of pipes and is practically indistinguishable from them in this light, water, and environment.

A (smirking) party member down (the Navvie's PC has something else to occupy him) we try to continue. It's almost impossible to watch every direction, or to even watch each other - any of us could be replaced at any moment...

The Navvie's player seems to relish his task of hunting us. We don't know whether to head into the facility, or out of it, or up, or down, but we've also established we are lost as fuck (no one even thought about a trail of bread crumbs). The Navvie-Thing seems to regenerate as well, it can be seen off by bullets and flame, but it always seems to come back, always from some new angle. Flowing from between the thicket of pipes. Rearing up from a pool of water. Dropping from the ceiling. Always in some new form of amorphous face eating blob. The thing seems to call back to a number of critters we've faced, things from the Isle of Mann, Coliunn, Witches, Cthulhu's Dad. Not mimicking them, but enough that there's similarity. It also just will not die.

Whichever direction we take, the path seems to shift, to twist, and definitely not to make sense. The Wizard can sort of machete his was through the pipes but it takes quite a lot of time. What really doesn't help is that I get separated.

The pipes aren't a solid mass like the bulkheads around us (though pretty bloody close). They are however solid enough to block sight almost entirely after three or four feet. The party can still hear me, they can't see me. The Wizard picks what he thinks is the best direction and starts bending. Meanwhile, alone, in the light of my torch I watch the darkness for movement. Trying to watch every degree of the compass at once with my back to the pipes. The Navvie-thing can worm its way through the pipes as it's pretty much an amorphous blob of bits (think the way an octopus can fit into and then pop out of a jam jar). The gatling shotgun has drum magazines that hold 128 rounds, at best that's sixteen seconds of sustained fire. That might seem like a lot but it takes a while to reload, and if the thing that was the Navvie...

....just happens to be crawling along the ceiling....

>brrt

....drops from the ceiling....

>brrt

...starts to gather itself to charge...

>brrt

...manages to walk into the hail of shot as I walk fire onto it...

>brrrrrrrrrrrrt

....keeps fucking coming....

>brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrt

...and coming....

>brrrrrrrrrrrrrrt

....losing tentacles and chunks of flesh and bone....

>brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrt

....but keeps coming.....

>brclick.

...Fuck.

I'm trying my fumbling best to reload, the spent drum falls between my boots. I realize I'm not going to make it in time (ask /k/ about the 21ft thing sometime) the wizard spangs a glancing blow with an iron bar off the thing slowing it a little. Angus, beautiful bastard that he is has a bright idea.

"Hit the deck."

I have just enough time (nearly) to hit the deck as the muzzle of his flamethrower is shoved between the pipes and a spear of napalm shoots between my shoulder blades. The Not-Navvie recoils, hisses, and starts to melt... not the good kind of on fire melting, the "I'm going to run along the ground under the jet of flame kind and shoot tentacles at the dwarf whose beard is on fire."

There now follows a science argument - given that we are at a pressure of above one atmosphere, would flamethrowers work like they do? Also what happens to any bullets that hit the hull?
>DM: Assume that the hull is bullet proof - though let's add some ricochets in for fun? Flamethrowers? Hmm... reduced range? Oh Aldous you're still on fire.
>We love you too DM.
>RANDOM SCIENCE TIME!
The effect of a high pressure environment on a flamethrower would depend on the atmosphere. Unless you were in a Nitrox or Heilox charged bathysphere thing, and nothing else around you was flammable, the fuel would burn faster and hotter than at sea level. Higher pressure = more O2/m3 = faster fuel consumption. This is why fire on a submerged submarine is a very bad thing. Normally there would be the added hazard of setting paint alight as well, but given how damp it sounds like the area was, you have more of a risk from O2 depletion and toxic gasses than secondary fires in said situation.

So while I'm beating out flames (My beard!!) Angus continues playing fire over my head. The wizard is able to slowly clear an actual path to me - one which Cruella and then the bard (as the skinniest party members) are able to worm through. The not-Navvie thing decides to retreat as I'm reinforced, schlopring off into a duct with a horribly soggy noise.

In the distance can be heard sounds of distant honking... and swearing. Deciding that swearing can mean one thing and one thing only - also there's no way to replicate that vocabulary (so many variations on "cunt" - fanny, meat curtains, dribbling pleasure slit, wee bit o' touch, badger's pouch, gaping axe wound, money syphon, bearded clunge, furry kebab, baby cannon, cock-warmer, Deoxyribonucleic acid depository, meat saloon, your uncle's pot pie, fuck-trap, sausage pie, raw steak flange, trembling love cave, happy seal, rabid cock hamster, minge.), so we make for the sound.

We remain extremely worried about the Navvie-thing, but aside from the flickering of tentacle thing from a vent or creepy noise, it seems to have decided to go a bit quiet. Sounds of displeasure however remain the same, the environs do not.

There are now windows - windows that look out on green fields or Mediterranean beaches, a world that doesn't seem at all like ours, if you look long enough you can see peculiar things - no violence, seemingly peaceful people staring at little shiny pebbles or sitting in front of bigger ones. The people all seem very sleepy and especially fat. Weirdly, the windows don't cast light into the facility but seem more like moving pictures? I can't describe it like the DM did, but, in the red-light of where we are, we are definitely below the sea level still, but the scenes outside make no sense, nor do they seem any less real for it.

The bard reports that this does not seem at all natural and that we must be in a highly magical area. The wizard reports that he's speaking shite and he can't feel anything.

Twisting down more and more corridors - all still damp and dark, where there are no "windows" covered in those pipes and other peculiarities, and worryingly the odd slither of biological looking goo, we make for the sound. The place has a million different echoes and twists and not even Angus and Cruella are entirely sure we're going the right way. Especially not when that long biological comes back.

We stop by one window. This, if anything, seems to actually be "real"; it's slowly dribbling water and outside we can see Bathys and other... things, they seem to be fighting - fighting what? If we had to guess, mad Dr. Ure upstairs has gotten bored and has decided to quite literally unleash the kraken.

(I mean they're fighting electric dinosaurs, which is fucking awesome) John Carpenter - In The Mouth Of Madness

Shortly thereafter, the swearing - and he still hasn't repeated himself (love canoe, soggy hammock, sausage roll, etc etc etc) leads us to a bulkhead.

From somewhere in the facility a long, low groaning quake rocks the place, as though the whole thing had been kicked. The water trickling from the ceiling takes on a far more urgent timbre.

After a minute or two we get the door open to find the Navvie, or at least... sort of.

The first thing we find is that fucking octopus. Someone has beaten the hell out the poor thing and it shies into a corner when it sees us. Then we find shredded bits of diving suit. Then we find a lot of what seem like human remains. A lot of human remains. The penguin's 6th sense is very definitely pinging.

Inside a bathyscape, with the hatches all dogged shut and a voice coming out over the external speakers, is the Navvie. He catches sight of us. The swearing stops.

"It's still out there you mad bastards! Hide!"

He looks terrified.

The room is composed of a large moon pool with a number of cranes above it - and lots of empty spaces like you might use to pick up and lower bathys into the water.

There's a wet schlorp as something familiar falls from the ceiling above us, a disgustingly familiar noise. The Navvie-thing splats into a pile of human remains and, as it starts simultaneously chowing down and waving tentacle things at us, our Navvie is frantically undogging hatches. The party however are pretty happy - fighting this thing in an open space - with very little room for it to run? Easy.

>Easy.

It's never easy. Never. You'd think we'd have all learnt this by now. Wouldn't you?

I mean really. It almost seems like we should expect all those bodies to start moving about on their own a bit, being absorbed as biomass into the Navvie-thing. We should totally expect that they'd sprout tentacles and other unpleasant bits. We're not even surprised to see what looks like Dr. Ure's face and some dinosaur bits in there. We are in formation, locked and loaded. It's time for a good, honest, balls to the wall fight. Let's trash these fucking things.

As the bard announces

"I am going to play something inspiring" Warrior (1999 Remastered Version)

The waters of the moon pool ripple. As though someone had thrown a pebble into them.

>Dats no moon.jpg

The waters vomit out a pretty sizeable Clown-Leech (see the time we visited France). The thing's not even slightly wet. It never occurred to us the waters were another mirror like we'd seen earlier, something with a view to someplace else. (I'm not articulating this well but issa portal). We also note that there are distinct signs of galvanisation to this thing

Anyway, the party broke to get more beer at this point.


It's handy to recap our speculation on what's going on. There's been notably little exposition and we've been slowly puzzling this out for ourselves. In order to insulate against my deficient story-telling here we go:
There's Dr. Ure on-shore (we think). There's whatever resides in this facility. They don't like each other. We also don't approve at all of the use of Clown-Leeches. On general principles, whatever has been nicking villagers needs to die. Dr. Ure, as a mostly respectable agent of the crown, seems to be up to things he shouldn't, but he's also been trying to protect the area. Whatever the portal things are about, well fuck that. It seems this facility is French (and entirely covert - meaning there's something on the seabed they wanted and didn't want to tell us about) and something, we think, must've come through from the other side.
>Is Dr Ure Evil? Well maybe? What the fuck he's doing galvanising clown-leeches though...
We continue. Mucking about complete.

Nazareth - Go Down Fighting

By god, Queene and bacon butties, we are not fucking having this. We've reached maximum weird saturation. Portals, clown leeches, the fucking Thing, and fuck knows what else. The penguin has entirely had enough.

The clown-leech is at least as big as one we fucked up in Paris, and the Navvie-thing is getting bigger by the second. We are not having this.

The Navvie pops out of the Bathy (I like how that rhymes) just as the Leech goes past and gets on the things back. Cruella has, once again, ended up in front of the thing. While the Navvie beats it about the head, it opens its great big maw and sights in on her.

"Not this time."

We're not entirely sure how she manages this, but she sort of zigs and zags across the thing's exposed throat and underbelly. It does the Kill Bill splitting thing, and, much to her total disgust, splats green goo over her from head to foot. Again.

Meanwhile the Navvie-thing, having absorbed a whole lot of corpses, is ranting and warbling to itself in English and French, for the bi-lingual among the party (Cruella and me) (Angus does claim to speak sheep) it can be heard saying something about the portal, something about the other side, and something about going beyond the world of man. Something inarticulate about a horror that even the Elder Gods speak of in whispers.

While we're in the process of blowing bits off it and generally slaughtering it, a new word can be heard, one which becomes more and more pronounced, clearer and clear until it's a chant, a chant from a hundred, maybe a thousand absorbed souls.

>Pendragon.
>Motherfucker.
>But Aldous, how does all this fit into the big plot and...
Think of it like an expansion pack.

While the fight with the roiling mass of the Navvie-thing is bloody, it isn't all that exciting.

What is, is that with further exploration of the facility once the Navvie-thing is (we hope) dead, we manage to piece together a bit of a story here. I have no idea where the original short notes have gone. I did have them in an email someplace but the three main ones can be paraphrased as follows:

"In the 14th Year of The Croissant (France has a different calendar in Britbongsteros because fuck being normal) Monsier De Talleyrand De Baguette reported on a formation known as le Triangle des Bermudes. Further research by Monsieur de Mouton indicates that with appropriate study we might be able to summon and control a creature of great import to our neighbours across the channel. We have identified a site in the la mer du nord which has all of the auspicious ley lines drawing together in one spot. It will be difficult to construct the facility in secret, but at great expense Monsieur de Mouton and M'me Curie-CharB1 anticipate that the project can be completed in less than half a decade.
"In the 12th year of the Bonbon, Tuesday. On this day Monsieur De Mouton is not present in the facility, he presents his work on a new system of controlling and binding the occult within our world. He theorizes that by reinterpreting how man sees the world, man can himself, much as his eyes emit light into the world, rebrand the world in the image such as he sees fit. (PEOPLE BELIEVED THIS) Therefore if man sees the world in a different fashion, a new, structured fashion, then he creates the epistemological framework of his world. One man cannot bend the entire physical world to his will, but what he can do is recalibrate it. Instead of seeing things in terms of "inches" and "feet" outdated measures based upon the crude physicality of the body, by creating a new measure, a new METRIC, then this system allows for the imposition of science upon the world. If MM Mouton is successful, it will, he feels, give him the power to remake the world around him, by redefining it, he can remake it."
(God I hope this makes sense, my philosophy is piss poor after about 1640)
"In the 57th year of the Voulevont, 2nd Friday after the 124th degree of the Cochon. Success! MM Mouton and M'me Curie-CharB1 have successfully breached the measures binding the world, the subtle genius of France has done what the Rosbif never could. We have created a portal to the other side. Without blood sacrifice like the Irish, without the crudity of the barbarians who do not use our new glorious metric. Vive Le France! However time, it is noted, is flowing differently, for us five years have passed, for France, but a week. MM and M'me theorize that the portal we found - identical to our own creation on the other side, is a matter of simultaneous construction - what we build here simultaneously is constructed there. They are building another edifice on the other side. It is theorized that there might also be some sort of mirroring of mind on the other side."
"Date unknown, it is harder to keep this journal now as I grow older, I do not know how much time has passed since my last entry, but I do know that I might be the last man alive, we have lived with the strangeness of the portal now for at least three decades and no one is untouched. MM Mouton has managed to hold the portal and through it, our minds as well, but our bodies have grown so ancient, but also so changed, now we flow and twist like the structure of the facility, we are no longer human, simultaneously greater and worse than human, like the first days of the great republic. I do not know what we are now or what we will become if MM Mouton fails. There is a word on the lips of all now: Pendragon."
"Do you know what it is to look upon the face of god day and night and know that he studies you as intently as you did his realm? The abyss has looked back, and the abyss came back with us. We know that on the surface the effects of our research have been felt, ships lost and perhaps twisted by the void. We know also that Dr. Ure has been oh-so-curious and we think might suspect..."
"In any event, biological material grows scarce, 'piscine material will not do' states the beating voice that roars in my ears, it must be human, perhaps we must be fishers from the sea..."
TL;DR - IT WAS METRIC ALL ALONG

The party have a little chat about new developments - having found the documents and some other ephemera as described above, we now actually have a fair idea what's going on. It seems whatever is coming through the portal (whichever portal that is) is really a rather bad thing, so our first objective is nuke the fuck out of that portal, and preferably everything else down here. We also are extremely concerned by the clown-leeches having something to do with Dr. Ure, it seems the cult that has something to do with them may have infiltrated the French facility, then he got his hands on some. How he got a handle on the portal technology is something we don't know. It looks however like we may have to have a chat with him after this is over. Given that the facility seems pretty empty at the moment we are in an ideal position to search, but those Bathys which we saw leaving earlier are likely to be coming back sooner than later.

Our plan is as follows:

1. Find the big portal, the one that leads to god knows where, and shut it from the other side - by leaving a large pile of explosives and legging it back to our world.
2. Find the generator (a place like this must have a really big one) and blow that up - then make for the surface and fuck up Dr. Ure's shit.

What we don't know is what the other portals might do when we blow this place to bits, some of them (the TV type things) might just be a one way connection, others (like the big moon pool) might be doing something else. Also we really don't like the sound of M'me CharB1 for some weird reason.

Its around this point that Angus decides that he's going to have a bright idea. This takes a while, he has to get a bit of a run up, but once he hits his stride and is powering toward the cognitive leap that will cause neurons to fire and...

Meanwhile the bard sticks his head into the moon pool to see what happens. Very little actually. Apparently there's a view of Slains castle. That actually doesn't surprise us much. Nor do the Galvasaurs he can see roaming around. We are pretty happy this portal, by accident or design, leads ashore.

Other smaller portals are investigated leading to revelations about a planet made entirely of rabbits - we are fairly sure either Cruella or Angus attempted to adopt one as one was seen later, another world where a community of tiny colourful horses appeared to be in the process of being hunted down and butchered by a unit of automatons, all with a large double headed eagle on their chests; other highlights included a zombie world where a suspiciously familiar group of people were drinking around a table and throwing dice at each other, Cruella deciding that whoever the girl is, she clearly needs more attractive friends, another portal lead to a world which was almost entirely dark save for a creepy child singing - so we legged it, and penultimately a world where there was a cube made of weapons and someone yelled "Get out of here Stalker" so we didn't stick around.

Meanwhile Angus is still baking his bright idea, he has decided he won't turn it halfway and will totally ignore the instructions re: letting it stand, so he will burn his tongue instead.

>What if we didn't have to blow up all of the portals? I mean how cool is this research, think what we could do with it...

We are mulling this over when shortly afterward we find the world of the clown-leech, which is as hellish as you might imagine, a bright sunny place where clown leeches of various sizes frolic through leafy trees and meadows eviscerating things whole as they go. We also remind him that the actual Thing fell out of one of these, if anyone should be building these things it should be... err... well not us... or the Privy Council... Definitely not the French... also they're leyline dependent so... fuck it, poets take off and nuke the site from orbit.


So, it appears that the world of Britbongsteros also has multiple dimensions, but we actually already knew this (Ireland for one), what we didn't know was that the Clown-Leeches came from one. We theorize that the ones encountered in Paris were summoned at some point by the cult. In any event, fuck those things.

Eventually we discover the portal we are looking for, or at least we assume so. It's big enough that you could drive a tank into it, it also looks rather like a Stargate so fuck it, we SG-1 now. The other portals we've discovered have been much smaller - aside from the moon pool and that has something to do with Dr. Ure, that weird bastard. We all secretly suspect Duncan might also be secretly involved but we aren't entirely sure how.

>Who's Duncan? A big fish.

Def Leppard - Bringin' on the Heartbreak (HQ)

In we go. To the land of the gods.

It's a shithole.

The place is a desolate, sandy wasteland. The wind howls in the semi-darkness. Shapes of what might be huts or human construction surround the portal.

We look up at the night sky.

Good lord. That's not a sight for pre-watershed times.

There are a whole lot of Gods, but it turns out one of them looks like Chris Evans. The rest is a scene from Hieronymus Bosch. Things cavort with one another in the inky void. We surmise we might even be on the body of another God. We are Lilliputians in this land and have no idea what the rules are, we are hopefully too small to be noticed. The living tapestry of the sky dances on to the tune of an orchestra we can't comprehend. An enormous fish looking thing swims into the side of Chris Evan's head and explodes out the other side in a shower of custard while he cackles.

The Navvie takes in the true cosmic insanity of this world and rubs his stubbled chin.

"Bugger this lads."

We couldn't agree more. Well most of us, the Bard however is intently searching the sky for Babi.

>Who's...
>An old friend.

He's the first one to spot something. Duncan on a cosmic scale is quietly floating past in space, he's munching on a planetoid.

Elsewhere a bowl of petunias and a whale fight, written on the side of the bowl are the words "oh no not again."

We decide that enough is enough and start laying charges around the gate, the wizard and Cruella making holes (with summoned chisel and dagger respectively) which we stuff with TNT and anything else the Navvie has in what he called his "Party Bag" which, on a random and pointless aside looked like this - he was weirdly specific about this to the extent of having mentioned in autistic detail back in character creation. No I don't know why either.

This all takes time, we want to make sure this thing is utterly and completely fucked. We also are a little curious, it's not like the DM to have us go somewhere this interesting and not have something try to kill us. We try not to broadcast this to him however. Unfortunately he was onto something already.

(in atrocious french accent - I mean 'Allo 'Allo bad) "Oooo hare yeuu?" (Who are you?)

We look around for the source of the voice. There's nothing to be seen. That doesn't fill us with confidence.

"Wuit hair yuuuu doeng?" (What are you doing?)

The voice seems to be coming from all around us.

The CharB1 is not all that intimidating as tanks go, it's a bit funny looking really when you think about it. Mostly it looks like something from metal slug, or an angry potato. The thing seems to be blind, her ocular units are heavily damaged. She can certainly hear us though. She doesn't seem to be too threatening, despite the tentacles which seem to be a sign of having spent too much time near one of these portals (as with all the other French people). These tentacles lash from in and around what would be hatches.

>What is she?

We don't know. She might have been human once, but if that's Curie-CharB1 then we know, following a whole lot of standing next to science experiments, the woman was horribly mutilated. It seems she must've built, or had built for her, this device - which coincidentally is a tank.

(still in terrible french accent - why she's speaking English we don't know- surely she'd be speaking French)
"Please
Help me
I know I can't go back
I came here to watch the dance of the spheres, the beauty of the realm of the gods, but I am blind. Can you imagine what it is to sit beneath the greatest sights the universe will ever know, and be nearly blind? I can hear the music but I cannot watch.
Can you fix me? Or if you can't, kill me."

We know time is doing weird things around these portals, she might've been here for days or centuries. Alone and nearly blind. We take sympathy on her. Angus and the Wizard take a look at those ocular units. The bard and Cruella try to explain what looks like the painting "The Garden of Earthly Delights" to her - much harder than you'd think.

The Navvie and I decide the only appropriate thing to do in the realm of chaos is to get drunk.

Above us a giant crocodile builds a pyre for a snowman made of vaseline while a dozen weeping ducks and other waterfowl look on.

Pink Floyd - Is There Anybody Out There?

The Navvie and Wizard reckon it'll take them maybe 20 minutes. That's 20 minutes of sitting here looking up at all that weird. Things go reasonably well at first, but there are shapes that can be seen out there in the sand. This might be considered bad.

This is confirmed as bad shortly afterwards. A very large, very familiar looking fish seems to have noticed us, or at least he's circling closer towards us, it will take him a while to get here though.

>Hello Duncan.

Meanwhile whatever those shapes are, there's a whole lot of them. If they come for us, we're going to have an interesting fight on our hands.

If they come for us, we're going to have to kill all of them and then either fix Marie and get eaten by Duncan, or just bail. We're blowing the gate anyway, fuck her. We actually feel pretty bad about that last option though. The Penguin certainly wouldn't be happy.

Well we could just... The DM decides to speed up our deliberations, whatever those many, many things out there are, they're getting closer. We'll need at least ten minutes of further repair, but at least the charges are laid.

>What the hell are those?

Frogs? Snakes? Whatever they are, they're man sized and sure do have a lot of teeth. There's also fucking hundreds of them.

They decide that if they're going to eat us, they'd better do it sharpish. The swarm as they come closer, they seem to be made of what looks like brass? We can't be sure, whatever the hell they are they're not nice. We open fire/start thumping them.

We're two men down (fixing things) and we are slowly being driven back. Angus lets the Navvie borrow his flamethrower (most excellent for crowd control), it's still not enough though.

We're swarmed. I mean really swarmed. They're getting closer and closer, a mass of slithering chomping biting bodies.

>Why can't Marie go back through the gate?

She'll die. I should have said this earlier - I didn't, my bad, she's been subject to enough time fuckery and weird that her mind will just melt on returning to the normal world - it also seems like whatever Monsieur Mouton was doing still works on this side, but won't on the other - so even if she lives she'll go killcrazy.

One of the swarm manages to bite down on Cruella's leg. Teeth lodging into the leather of her boot and beyond, blood soaking into the sand. Another couple are gnawing on the Navvie shortly afterward. Angus calls it.

"Marines, we are leaving."

The wizard however has one last try.

"Imma gonna just hit with ma hammer and hope for the best."
>Rolls a 20
"I can see!"

So we leave Marie and book it for the gate. We run take cover on the other side and are very happy to watch the weirdness explode. This leaves poor Marie on the other side, but at least she's doing what she wanted. We make for make reactor and, in a surprisingly incident-less attempt, we lay charges and decide to off fuck.

So one short bathy ride later we are back at Slains Castle Well fuck it, we've not beaten up any dinosaurs before.

>More importantly, why are we angry with Dr Ure?

If Dr. Ure is mixed up in the leeches, in whatever the fuck the French have been up to and more importantly, has lied to us, we are very angry. Something he said comes back to us:

"That could be a logical result of my research, but only a mad" he laughs uproariously "man might do that. If the Crown ever found out about that he'd be burnt at the stake."

So this crazy green midget has been fucking with us all along. More to the point, those Galvasaur things actually could be pretty damned useful to the crown. While this might be a one-shot, we decide if we can, we need to nick some of them or generally some plans for them, why not earn some brownie points?

Blue Oyster Cult Godzilla That song is a fairly large foreshadow.

>It's never easy.

Nor in Britbongsteros are things ever simple enough to be black and white. Dr. Ure might have used us to wipe out the French-Things who, admittedly, were kind of eating all the locals - so all in all a net gain on the side of good. As we mull this over, the facility detonates spectacularly in the distance. So at least he knows we're coming.

We also know he had something to do with Clown-leeches but he could have just galvanised one. So that's a maybe. He also has been thinking with portals. Again though, benefit of the doubt, it seems like the one outside Slain's castle he might've just discovered without really understanding.

We decide that in the name of British decency we're going to kick down his front door (well it's a castle so we shoot the hinges with a shotgun, bend the portcullis with a wizard and then hit everything with a great big hammer) give him a chance to explain himself, then fucking murder him.

"By the purple penguin, we are here to fuck you up."

Well fuck me. Fuck us. Dafuq is that?

The courtyard is lit by the light of a pretty decent sized set of engineering works. That sure looks like they're building a portal. A really big portal. Big enough for god sized things to come through. Big enough that this whole region, nay country, maybe even Europe could become another playground for them, just like we saw. Assuming of course Dr. Ure even knows how to get the right realm on the other end. Who knows what might be summoned.

Our happy little green friend can be seen standing on a battlement directing things. Spookily, all the galvasaurs and leeches put down their tools at exactly the same moment and turn to look at us. Oh so many dead eyes staring.

Welp.

He yells something from the battlements, but is far too quiet to be heard. Some fumbling and with a crudely constructed megaphone made from a few sheafs of blueprints he announces more audibly.

"You may want to sit down, shocks are much better with the knees bent" Electricity arcs up and around a soulcube looking thing off to one side.

That sounded really familiar...

"Stop... whatever the fuck you're doing... in the name of the Crown!" Yells the Navvie.

He gestures at the assembled masses of critters.

"Animals are fine, but their acceptability is limited. A small child is even better, but not nearly as effective as the right kind of adult."

...balls.

I decide to try a different tactic.

"What are you doing exactly?"
"Parthenogenesis."
>Fuuuuuuuuuuck

He continues

"We have men who came here of his own free will.
Men who came here representing the power of a Monarch
One who came here as a virgin"

(Hang on... who's... ... oh god not you Bard)

"and all who came as fools!"

baaaaaaaalls

I'm aware not all of the anons who read these things are British, so if you're wondering why this stuff is important watch the 1973 film "The Wicker Man".

Just to ruin the dramatic tension, Cruella mutters to herself over her G&T

"Well he didn't mention me, so you lot are fucked, I'll just be over here waiting quietly while you all get murdered."
"Of course my new kingdom will need a Queen... One to allow me to bring forth my new breed of humanity, a humanity which shall walk with the gods. How kind of you to bring me a woman with royal blood and such a fine specimen indeed. The breeding shall be sweet."
Wizard: "Och mate ye've din it noo."
"You who have all survived so much, what better specimens of genetic stock? What better clay? I shall remake you, do not be sad, for entropy will ensure you all return to the stuff of stars soon enough. Your bodies are but transient vehicles in any event."
Angus: "Shall we murder him? I say we murder him."

Angus it appears has actually had rather a bright idea. There's an awful lot of things between him and us though, and knowing our luck something horrible is going to happen on the way. Doesn't stop us trying though. Time for some good old fashioned ultra-violence.

In between spurts of blood and other bits, it can be noticed that Dr. Ure is definitely up to something, something involving that big portal... That big portal we are now in the middle of, thumping dinosaurs while he powers it up.

...

Fzzzzzzzzwhaaaaaacha! (now that's an onomatopoeia.)

Reality splits asunder approximately forty five feet in the air (given though that these things work on metric, really that should be 13.176M), to the trained and discerning eye it appears to rain several tons worth of Dulux Green Meadow paint. Still in the tins. One bounces off Angus much to his disgust.

The crackling changes pitch slightly and an enormous pair of mandibles enter reality from nothingness. Dr. Ure raises his arms high and a whole lot of monster follows those mandibles.


Fuck, I always miss the threads, the conclusion has not been posted yet

Britbongsteros and the Chamber of Maximum Fuck[edit]

So this story is from not long after I got back from the US. The DM enjoying the idea of linking things up to Real Life (TM) it has a slightly more American flavour.

The party begins the story in Grimsby.

"DM, why are we in Grimsby?"
"Why is anyone ever in Grimsby, Cruella?"
"... that is oddly profound."

We have been sent here as usual by the Privy Council. The recent Cod Wars have resulted in an immense quantity of giant mutant cod generally causing havoc on local shipping fleets; the Icelandic Stupidly Attractive Elves have pulled a fast one and the reparations they were to pay have resulted in large quantities of wrecked boats and something weird going on.

The party sighs audibly.

Party: "DM, this is what happens every time: we turn up in some small fishing village, shit gets weird, everybody dies, organs and bits are everywhere and then we all go home for tea and medals."
>The DM looks enormously displeased.

The DM reshuffles his notes. Sighs, drinks, sighs again, drinks some more. I will translate from DM as we go.

"Clearly that is not why you, as the most excellent of the Countries' problem solvers are here."
>Ok you fuckwits, you asked for it.
"The actual adventure that I carefully planned"
>I am pulling this out of my ass right now.
"meticulously, and no there's no railroading, but if you had some patience, you'd all actually get the hook in a second."
>Will you stop ruining my carefully laid out plot, I'm about thirty seconds from rocks fall and everybody dies.

The mutant cod have, it seems, after a sterling action by the SBS (Special Bastard Squadron), been defeated already (oh thank god), however it seems that their roe (fish eggs) have some very odd properties. The above (and below) are explained to us by the spectacularly moustachioed Colonel K of the SBS.

"Bloody downright weird, in fact, that's why we called you chaps. You're the experts and we were told the most expendable. We lost half a dozen men getting this stuff sealed up." Colonel K gestures at a lead lined box. "We want you to take this stuff to the Research Facility on HMS Habbacuck, it's totally classified, but it's somewhere in the Penines."

This revelation leads, as usual, to an argument.

Party: "DM! DM! Isn't that a huge boat thing?"
DM: "Yes?"
"What's it doing up in a mountain range?"
"You'll find out."

So with some exchange of papers, signatures and a very interesting handshake between Cruella and Colonel K (she apparently knows about this sort of stuff), we take custody of the boxes of weirdness.

"So it's a milk run?"
DM: "Yes, of course it is."

[Those of you who have been following these for a while may be aware of how unwise this is].

We leave Grimsby (thank god) aboard a train up to (via a lot of places) Slaggyford. [THIS IS A REAL PLACE] We have the carriage to ourselves, just us and this weird lead lined box. The party are still savvy enough to watch the thing like hawks. This train carriage is normally used for transporting gold bullion across the UK and we are essentially sealed in a bank vault with this... thing.

The urge to peek in the box is wisely restrained, we are expecting something odd to happen, maybe for the train to crash, for the roe to leak out and start morphing people into weird thing-aliens, or for martian death machines to attack. Something much, much worse happens.

>What could possibly be worse than...

We stop in what (after opening an armoured letter box to peek out) is definitely Leeds. We hear a sound,a sort of chime noise that is entirely out of place. We act entirely on very well (DM) honed instincts, weapons are made ready, chainsaws appear over the Wizard, the Navvie drinks a beer, Angus lights a cigar with his flamethrower's pilot light, the bard hums a tune, Cruella just sort of lazily opens one eye from where she was sleeping.

Bruce Springsteen - Born In The U.S.A.

Oh fuck no.

No no no, there's no mistaking it.

Americans.

I'm aware a lot of /tg/'s population is actually American, so as a refresher, America in this setting is composed of a huge number of tiny microcosms of strange magic (think each State is something different); the Indian nations are a thing, there are regular crusades from the East Coast into the Indian West, every slice of Americana can be found and chances are it'll shoot you.

We gather round the vision ports, staring out. We've only ever actually met the one American, so this is interesting for us too.

We see a group of what can only be described as Marines. Quite a lot of them in fact.

We know Brit(bongsteros)ain is somewhat skint following events in Ireland and elsewhere, to the extent that we have had to seek funding via sharing research and knowledge with our colonial cousins, but we had not quite expected this.

Serried ranks of Marines stand in front of some very peculiar looking olive drab vehicles. They stand on two legs and whilst they're the dimensions of a man, are about the size of a two cart horses standing atop one another. The weird squat vehicles are festooned with guns (think space marine dreadnought in olive drab with white stars on it).

In front of them all stands one very, very big marine. Somewhere a bald eagle cries as he snaps a salute. He's handsome, square jawed, and entirely gorgeous. Cruella comments "Just what I like." The lads are less than amused.

Stan Ridgway - Camouflage~Full Length

The marines start to board the train, they don't however approach our carriage, but clearly they're going to the same place. The Navvie and I decide to go and talk to them.

The Marines we establish are from the Pennsylvania protectorate, all of them big lads - nearly big enough to challenge the Navvie in arm wrestling. All far too clean cut. They press cigarettes and even stockings on us, saying they're for our lady friends. "We all just wanna be friendly" (as always I can never do the accents), but there seems to be something a bit off about them. The Navvie and I can't quite place it.

The square jawed officer smiles as he spots us, he's covered in medals.

"Well now howdy. What ya'll got here?" [sorry can't do the accents].

We establish this is one Smedley Butler (google it). He doesn't seem very happy with us, or specifically my (I'm a dwarf) existence.

"What are you doing in this carriage?"

I expect better of DM than some thinly veiled Dwarves = African Americans fantasy racism.

"You people"
["What do you mean you people?"]
"Better get out of this carriage, we don't take kindly to spies."

We show him our bona-fides, he mulls these over.

"I don't see any stars and stripes on here, the council of 13 States wouldn't sanction this. Out."

Things get a lot less friendly very very quickly. At bayonet point we are ushered out.

So we've met some Americans, anyway, we arrive shortly after in Slaggyford. The Americans march off in the same direction we apparently want to be going. We can already see HMS Habbakuk in the distance. Somehow the edifice of Pyekrete has found its way between the banks of the river South Tyne, just north of Knarsdale Hall.

It looks like an extra mountain that has just kind of... fallen out of the sky. The jet engines that festoon its surface give a possible hint as to how it got here.

Requisitioning a horse and cart, we get our box up to the Habbakuk, impressed at the number of American troops and indeed flags that seem to be around the place.

Our little bit of little England seems to have become Airstrip One.

We arrive at the tunnel that leads aboard the Habbakuk. Inside, as we (well Angus) carry the box of mysterious roe, we see an awful lot of Americans, and Germans, and Danes (weird eel things) along with a bunch of other nationalities - and of course identifiably different American states. There's nary a union jack to be seen. We're well out of our comfort zone here, but of course UK PLC is skint and we need their help.

What can very quickly be identified as Alan Turing bustles up to us and checks our papers.

We are amazed by the facility, some sort of elephantine octopus cum zebra is electro-prodded into a cell as we watch, meanwhile bits of Martian are shuttled past on a little cart, it seems like every single possible strand of weird in Britbongsteros leads here, and none of it is British. We aren't entirely sure how we feel about this.

The interior of the Habbakuk is a hive of tunnels and activity, it seems everywhere we look there's something strange going on, connotations of the BPRD, the lobby in MIB, and I'm sure there's something in Harry Potter about this, but I've never read the books.

Turing deigns to start giving us the tour.

"The Habbakuk was a seagoing vessel, as you all know (we didn't really) until about eight years ago when an early experiment in teleportation resulted in our current positioning."

This is actually a tradition in the RN, as, if you're posted to a shore facility, it's still technically an HMS (I think this is for pay reasons), so for example you might be at the facility in Weston Supermare, which is called HMS Birnbeck, or, you might AWESOMELY be at HMS Brontosaurus which is at Castle Toward.

The whole place has a very real vibe of Cave Johnson.

So what does this mean for us? Well, apparently not much, it seems like there's lots going on and we aren't part of it, there's all kinds of fantastic science which we can observe, it's fascinating in a way, but we're used to things trying to eat our faces by now. What's this about?

Turing continues: "What are we doing here? Well, science, every single thing that makes no sense in this world, comes here, every single item, book, critter, it gets dissected here, and, hopefully, we can learn from it. One day, we might even be able to use this knowledge to develop the cause of humanity."
>Turing starts taking us for a little walk through the containment units, highlights include
>unit 63 - Mountain Negre: a bizarre disappearing teleporting rock bouncing around its containment sphere
>Unit 34 - A tank full of... goldfish? That somehow swim in philosophical notation
>Unit 14 - Moondust? Not sure, it is however, slowly painting pictures of people on the toilet
>Unit 138 - A mass of cogs and vacuum tubes, shifting, trembling and changing, apparently it's eaten 19 people
>Unit 252 - Bits of our friend from the antarctic
>Unit 991 - A hamster
>Unit 5477 - Explosive lemons
>Unit 7899 - A bookshelf. It's surrounded by skeletons.

The list goes on.

The facility is a fascinating place, the Habbakuk is a repository of every single weirndess and some we have never encountered, a small herd of sentient moa that enjoy poetry, a vase of flowers that happens to enjoy melting eyes, all of that good stuff. Just as we're starting to get comfortable (and drinking some alien drink called "kwafee"), touring takes us past cell 777. It's empty.

"That shouldn't be empty." he says.
"What do you mean that shouldn't be empty, Mr. Turing? What should be in there?"
"Oh nothing much. It's rather peculiar really. 777 contains, or should, the only living dunkleosteus we have ever discovered."
"We beg your pardon?"

Several adventurers try to smoosh their faces to the glass porthole at once.

>I remember that fucking fish.

Peering in (so I'm told - being a Dorf I can't really see without standing on something) there is murky green water. Angus knocks on the window. Something very large and full of teeth (and rather familiar) floats up into view, directly on the other side of the reinforced glass.

>DUNCAN!
>who is? Homicidal fish from adventure in Arabia.
>Hang on didn't we kill this thing?
"Mr. Turing, where did you get this from?"
"Hmm? Oh 777? A few months ago it rained fish in London (this actually happens), your friend there squashed the Lord mayor. Samuel Johnson managed to clock him one with a frying pan though and here he is. Friendly little fella ain't he?"

As the only member of the party not currently eyeball-to-eyeball with Duncan, I instead decide to make the best of a bad situation by staring at Cruella's backside and chatting to Turing. Turing, being a bong, should be able to give some clues as to the American involvement.

"How long have the been here Dr?"
"A few months. Not long after Ireland."
"What do they want?"
"They've been quite generous so far, helping to fund the facility. Smedley seems to hope to find something here that'll assist with the Indian Crusades. I'm not so sure about the representative of the 13 States though."
At this stage it's handy to discuss some more of the politics of the US. The 13 States are new England-ish and currently ruled over by the democratically elected (via one vote, cast by himself) Andrew Gut-Punch Hickory Duelling Jackson. Who has had a very interesting political career. While the East Coast is fantastically wealthy (thanks to ice mining - especially when ice across and around Lake Eerie has (remember those local magical fields?) different flavours or properties. Other wealth has been created from either natural resources or abuse of those magical pockets. For example one Gerald Ford has (before coming to visit Britbongsteros) built his motor vehicle plant with the hell pits of PA at one end as a foundry, the lower gravity up near Shenandoah for assembly (despite the banshees eating the odd worker), and then relies on the eternal night of McAdoo which seems to literally eat light to colour his new vehicles - any colour as long as it's black.
Anyway all this money flying about finances the Indian Crusades (which haven't gotten very far) and there's plenty of trade with the South which is, in theory, in union with the 13 States but has different political goals, though the south while heavily industrialized often proclaims against the Indian Crusades and indeed moralizes on the 13 colonies, the Yankees generally are dismissive of the Confederated States (run by some fucker called Kingfish Long) dismissing all that booklearnin and gator based clean energy (I'll explain that one later) as irrelevant to the realities of life fighting and sometimes enslaving the injuns. Though to be fair the indians do the same.
Anyway there's political tension between the two economically, culturally and spiritually, also in their attitude to Europe as the South views themselves as another European nation, the Northern 13 States consider themselves very much their own people, recently there has been a lot of anti-Europe sentiment in the northern press, "Human not European" and similar. So the presence of the Americans in Britbongland is a bit tricky. Especially with the lend lease ships britbongland may buy in return for land cruiser technology and 50 years of repayments (with interest). I'll tell you about what happens West of the Mississippi another time.
The 13 States rep is a young (for a senator) Richard Nixon. He has a waggling cigarette holder and is every bit the roaring 20s personified. He has taken an entirely acquisitive approach to his time in Bongland, in his view bongland is about ready to become the 51st state.

Anyway, so that's a whole lot of information being dropped on anon at once. Tl;dr = Americana have ulterior motives. Cool boat full of weird shit. The party have a great time looking through more and more of these bizarre cells and critters. Imagine being let loose in the warehouse from Indiana Jones.

We learn some more about the other nationalities that are around in the Habbakuk who, it seems, are present for similar reasons (I.e. American money).

After much exploring, Turing invites us to watch the roe being put into its cell (remember that's why we are here).

The facility has been fascinating, also nothing has tried to eat our faces, there haven't been any aliens (outside of their cells) or ghosts, monsters, critters or indeed ectoplasm spewing time rifts. It's been incredible to learn about all these monsters and things while discussing American politics. Turing has been altogether bro tier.

We watch some diving suited (as in old style diving suit, remember NBC suits haven't been invented yet) men start to unbox the roe on the other side of some nice thick armoured glass. Angus is eating a biscuit, Cruella has a ham sandwich, it's all far too civilized.

>there are doilies

We all are expecting the following to happen. Smedley Butler will somehow go mental and decide to steal something or kill us all, or maybe some insane shit will escape and start eating some people. I mean come on that's how it works in the movies right? The fourth wall being more of window in Britbongsteros makes us even more suspicious.

Or indeed, actual Richard Nixon is here. Instead we are chatting pleasantly with Alan Turing and everything is fine. The roe is safely planted into a nice sturdy cell. We realize we have no idea what this shit does but no one spills it, no one explodes. It's far too simple.

>Awooga Awooga

Said the alarms onomatopoeiacally.

This was just what we were expecting. Some squiggly thing is out there raping faces and taking names.

Chairs fall back as the party stand up as one. Guns and other accoutrements of violence being readied in a clatter. The DM is smiling. Why is the DM smiling? Guys...

I say this reasonably often in britbongsteros.

>it's never easy.

It isn't. It really isn't.

Turing had been facing away from us. He turns back toward us, at least his head does, his body remains in place.

Like an owl he looks straight at us each in turn. "It never occurred to you what the Habbakuk was, did it?"

Clearly Turing isn't human and, as the roe is fed into some sort of distillation unit (you can see it whirring through a blender and around lots of tubes), gas starts to rise from beneath the window. No one manages to resist the stuff except dwarves who, being lower to the ground, get affected last by this sort of thing. (Pissed on a rag doesn't work either this one is skin based) I manage to spam solid slugs at Turing and the window before succumbing.

Turing speaks with some care as I go down. "It never occurred to you that this is a repository for all of the strangeness in the world. You, who have survived so much, you all who seem to have been touched by the gods (he means our fate point system), you're too dangerous to be allowed to roam free."
>Later.

The DM has us all roll some dice. He then ponders. Then he hands the bard a four pack of beers, tells him to pick up his phone, and frog marches him to the cupboard under the stairs in my house.

I wish he'd done this years ago ton be honest. The Bard's player is told he's going to be in there for at least 45 minutes but can, if he wants, shout things at us as we might hear him. On his return the DM asks Cruella if she might mind stepping out for a moment (the DM has over the years learnt that Cruella has literally no scruples about girl on man violence). Cruella elects to go for short drive to the shop on the understanding that every few minutes she calls on speaker phone and screams swearwords down the phone.

Back in character, the Navvie wakes up first alone and locked in a cell. There's a window and a little letterbox thing that evidently food would come through. He has a bucket. He's stark naked. He can hear two things, the gentle hum of the recessed grill covered and nigh on impossible to get to lights, and a posh girl screaming "CUNT" at the top of her lungs every so often. The Navvie takes this with his typical laissez faire attitude.

DM: "You're also sober. " The DM takes his drink off his player.

The Navvie decides it's time to escape.

And then the thread died because no one bumped it and I missed it AGAIN. So, To Be Continued...

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