This will be the new home of The Case Files of Captain Griswalde in an attempt to not clutter up the forum with page upon page of the same story. I will keep the main thread in "The Writing Room" so that there is an easy way to get from the forum to this exact blog. This should just streamline everything together and make use of the nice new blog feature of the site.
I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. Leave a comment either here/ on each different chapter or you can post your comments on the forum post in "The Writing Room" under the topic of the same name as this blog.
A Different Sort of Case
The smoke swirled in the air; slowly, turning over itself in a lazy pattern as it circled upwards into the stale air of her office. She drew deeply from the wooden stem and felt the heat radiate into her palms as the pipeweed smoldering in the bowl of her pipe brightened from a deep mahogany brown to a hazy cherry red. She rolled the thick smoke around her mouth, letting it drift over her tongue. It tingled as it passed over her taste buds, and when she inhaled it and brought it fully into her lungs it brought a warmth to her body, a warmth that gradually faded into a dull ache as her lungs began to reject the air held within them. She forced back the urge to release the burning smoke, let the pain build and roil inside her. The sensation was sharp, clear, and she sat back into her leather chair and closed her eyes. She pursed her lips, the dryness of them quenched and smoothed as she ran her tongue gingerly across their surface. She wanted to stay in this moment, here and now, with the pain building inside of her protesting chest; the dry air cooled her wet lips, their sensitivity heightened as they began to lose their glistening luster. Her lungs had had enough and breathed out deeply in one uncontrolled burst, the smoke racing up her throat and escaping over her tongue and lips. She blinked once, twice, and tried to focus through the smoky cloud she had released. Her gaze shifted down to the files strewn about her desk.
Thirteen women had gone missing, which was not overly strange in a place like Malifaux. People went missing nearly every day, and that was during the slow days. Usually files like this didn’t make it to her desk, that a was a different department in a different wing of an entirely different building. Quote un quote normal disappearances were recorded and sometimes followed up upon by junior members of the Guardsmen as per staff and resources were available. These were different, they were not normal cases. Her division was tasked with the cases that were beyond ordinary explanation, the cases that defied what was normal.
She closed her eyes again and rubbed the bridge of her nose gingerly. “What was normal anymore” she thought to herself. This was Malifaux, and most on goings on this side of the breach were anything but normal. Earthside you could count on the simpler things in life, simple things like normal people killing other people for normal reasons. Money, sex, drugs and other vices were reasonable enough reasons and easy enough to quantify, but cross that threshold and take a step off of that train and you could throw “normal” into the nearest spittoon on top of the Guild handbook that was thrown there first. This place rewrote the rules on what you could expect, the things you could count on. Even the random killing to repower the rare and expensive soulstones Earthside was explainable. A population of untapped reserves of power ready to unload their lifeforce into those precious stones. Simple. Your stone runs low, kill someone and you’re all charged up and ready to go. Malside, however, was a different animal entirely, one with teeth longer than you’d expect and a hunger far deeper than you could fathom. Killing, she thought, was still present, even more so at times, and sometimes even for the same reasons; look deeper though, and usually you could find a motive far more sinister. Bodies shred beyond recognition, a frightening number missing pieces and parts or missing all together. Sometimes you would find leftovers, a bit here a bit there, perhaps, if you are lucky the whole body, but sometimes the leftover pieces and missing cadavers would find you. The worst part was that those days, when the missing came back and you got your answers you thought to yourself, at least that is all that found you.
The mysteries and horrors of this place never ceased to amaze, disgust, repulse and terrorize her, usually all at once and most of the time later that night in her dreams. The pipeweed helped, as well as the bottle she sometimes climbed into but it did nothing to hide those memories, or erase those feelings, it only provided a momentary release and served to dull her senses.
She took another drag and closed her eyes once more. She didn’t want to look at the files now, didn’t want to read about another woman who was found dead, mutilated and rent in strange poses, frozen in the immeasurable agony and fear that befell them at the moment of their demise. It didn’t make sense. The bodies were never found right away, their morticians always said that they had been dead between a few days to a few weeks. The similarities of the deaths were not strange, the fact that they had found the bodies at all was what was troubling her. Not a single body had risen, and by the look of the surroundings they always found them in they were never moved, not by their own or by any other means of motivation. Those up the ladder breathed the usual fears of the dreaded Ressurectionists into the populace, condemning those vile and wicked souls partaking of the darker arts but questions had begun to stir, queries as to why the bodies remained and why none of the missing had rampaged throughout the city via unnatural life.
Her division had been tasked to discover why this had transpired, and how they could connect it either to the Ressurectionists or the blasted Arcanists. At least the latter had the decency to only kill off those they couldn’t buy out or silence, she thought to herself, when a body was found in a sewer or dark alley that didn’t awaken in an undead stupor they could usually tie them to some faction of the union or some deal gone bad that would shine unfavorably upon them. Why then? Why were these women so different? A few had ties to the union, with this number it was almost a given, but some had even had ties to the Guild, some to no organization to speak of. Beyond the fact that they were women there was little else to tie them all together. Well, little else than the way they were killed, which was usually attributed to some sort of knife or bladed instrument; that and what they were missing. Thirteen women stared up at her as she looked down at her desk, thirteen sets of eyes stared up at her burning their gaze into her brain and she knew she would never be able to forget them; their faces contorted into a frozen expression of fear and pain beyond what she had seen so far into her term here.
Her gaze shifted from the women upon to the door that stood open now across from her desk where her secretary stood. He was young but the rigors of this job in this division had aged his youthful features. His sandy brown hair showed streaks of blandness that would soon turn grey with a premature age. Small wrinkles pulled at the corners of his eyes and mouth and his forehead was furloughed with lines etching almost all the way from hairline to hairline. His lips were moving but her gaze had lingered on his features and she was not paying attention to the words they were forming, she shook her head and focused.
She cut him off curtly, “what is it now?”
"The new recruits have been gathered in the foyer as you requested Ma’am. They are awaiting your briefing.” His voice was a solid beacon for her to focus on and her head began to clear.
That’s right, she was getting a new crop of academy graduates to assist her in this case and she had been ordered to brief them upon their arrival. “Alright Kevin, I will be down in a moment.” Her voice was tired and she probably looked the part because he lingered for a moment. She guessed he had something on his mind and was deliberating on whether or not to tell her what it was.
“Ma’am, are you alright? You don’t look so good.” He nearly squeaked as he spoke. She shot him a look that must have been steely enough because he swallowed hard, bowed his head and left her, closing the door behind him.
She sighed as she stood and tapped the bowl of her pipe into the ashtray on her desk. She strode to the mirror on the wall beside her desk and took note of her appearance. A worn out women stared back at her. Her dark raven hair was loose and hung listlessly about her shoulders, she would have to do something about that. She grabbed her locks and spun them around and stuffed them together into a tight bun on the back of her head fastened with a gold clasp that was in the shape of a ram’s head. She buttoned up the front of her uniform and made sure that all of the bells and whistles were in place. Last thing she needed was the greenhorns thinking she was a mess and not respecting her or her station. Not that the mess part wasn’t entirely untrue, she had already been cited numerous times for indulging a bit too freely on the local pipeweed, and more than a few times she had been caught with an overabundance of liquor on her breath. She didn’t care, it helped her sleep and to forget, and as long as she got her job done, most of her superiors looked the other way and forgave her indiscretions.
She opened the small armoire below the mirror and fumbled through the empty bottle held therein until she picked up one that sloshed as she moved it. She pulled the cork from the bottle with her teeth and spat it roughly over her shoulder. The resounding clunk of it falling into the wastebin next to her desk was at once gratifying and slightly unnerving. She couldn’t decide if she should be proud that her aim was getting to the point where she never missed or worried that she had had enough practice to get good at it. She let that thought drift from her mind as she up ended the bottle and drained the harsh liquid down to the last drop. It didn’t burn as much as it had once, and she sighed, soon she would have to find a stronger liquor to quench her thirst and ease her nerves, but that would have to wait. She gave herself one more onceover in the mirror and reasonably satisfied with what she saw she walked to the door, opened it and strode down the hall to go and break in the new meat.
Not a Real Tale of a Malifaux Blogger (ToMB) - Month 0 Intro
So I have faction ADD and bought into every faction in this game, even the Not a Real Faction Gremlins, back when they were part of the Outcasts. I have a small Ophelia crew that consists of her starter box and a couple of Slop Haulers, that is actually my most self-painted Malifaux Crew. (I got a few painted crews when another local player unloaded his stuff). At the time I had started to pick up Somer's box and other related models with the intention to expand my Gremlins, but faction ADD took hold and I moved on. Those models have sat in their boxes/blisters since 1.5 without ever having taken the field in a game of Malifaux.
With the start of the Tale of a Malifaux Blogger (ToMB) event (see more info at: http://taleofmalifauxbloggers.blogspot.co.uk/), I thought now would be a good time to look into starting up my Somer crew. I know the dollar limits on ToMB will cause issues with my crew expansion and game size, but those same limits might actually help me with painting and such. The local scene is fairly small, so players are still willing to get in smaller soulstone sized games, which should help my Somer Crew take shape those in smaller games.
From my previous purchases in 1.5 I have the following: (All are metal figures)
Somer Box ($37.50): Somer Teeth (Master), Warpig, 4 Bayou Gremlins
2x Giant Mosquito (two $8.50 blisters)
Hog Whisperer & Piglet ($10.50 blister)
2x Slop Haulers ($14.00 blister of two) - partially painted as part of existing Ophelia crew (as a side note I actually got these as a trade for a Miss Pack nurse in the Ophelia box, back when I didn't think I would get faction ADD and never intended to pick up Ressers, oh how I regret that trade...)
Egg Hauler & Rooster Rider (can't remember their costs, I have until later months to figure that out)
3x Stuffed Piglets ($10.00 blister of three)
Naturally that all won't fit in the Month 1 budget, so for Month 1, I'll pare that down to:
Arsenal Deck ($8.00) = needed for M2E cards
Hog Whisper & Piglet ($10.50)
Total: $56.00 ($4.00 in bank for Month 2)
I know the Giant Mosquito totems are probably a good purchase, but the 1.5 Somer Box includes only ~21 soulstones worth of actual models (3 soulstones for each of 4 bayou gremlins, and ~9 soulstones for the Warpig), so to get up to a reasonable game size, I thought the ~9 soulstones in the Hog Whisperer + Piglet blister would be a better start than the 2 soulstone Giant Mosquito. I'll look to pick those totems up in Month 2. Additionally, I should have some important data on playing without the totems (whether they are auto-include or not) from Month 1, if I can actually get in any games. I also thought the Hog Whisperer would be good to take with the Warpig, since a Warpig that's been set off is probably not a good thing for my plans. Finally, I like the idea of pigs and might go with a pig themed list in the future.
Anyway, the above list will give me:
-Somer Teeth, my master, whose tricks and such I will need to learn
-A big beatstick in the Warpig
-A model that controls and supports my beatstick in the Hog Whisperer
-A little melee model in the Piglet
-and 4 utility/shooty/scheme models in the 4 Bayou Gremlins.
These models total ~30 soulstones before additional cache or upgrades, and seems like a good amount to start with. No idea on how they will play on the board, but from a general Malifaux gaming standpoint, I've got a good number of scheme completion models, a beatstick for killing things and some support for the beatstick. Seems somewhat well rounded, but we'll see how that plays out on the field.
As for initial "progress" or getting a head start on other gamers, all of these models for Month 1 are still new in box/blister. So I guess once I get home from this work-related roadtrip, I need to get my models out of their boxes and onto the hobbytable.
I have a million things I want to do in my life. Not exactly a million - in fact, probably a lot less. But I have a lot of ambitions, great and small.
Developing my own indie video game is an ongoing project and one which could take years. But it's a path I'm on and if I just keep putting one foot in front of the other I will get to the destination.
One of my other ambitions is to fully paint a Malifaux crew to a pro standard! I love the pictures you see of professionally finished pieces, subtle gradients and fine details. I can't do them though - not yet. I can do some things well, and sometimes accidentally do awesome things, but it's nearly always fluke!
I have a bad combination of frugalness and impatience. I squirt a blob of paint into my tray and mix it with water. Then I do a tiny detail. Then I realise I have a WHOLE BLOB of paint mixed with water that's going to waste. It just stares at me. I stare back.
Before you know it I've painted a load of other details in this one colour on my other models purely so I don't waste my 5 pence worth of paint.
So if I ever post pictures of my models and there appears to be a common colour theme throughout different crews, now you know why.
Another ambition I have is to write a novel. An amazing sci-fi/fantasy novel in the vein of those in the Black Library. But not for Warhammer. I'd love to write about Malifaux one day when I feel I know enough about the fluff to do it justice.
I'm pimarily an artist and do a lot of digital painting (when I'm in 'digital art mode') and Malifaux has actually inspired me to design creatures and characters from parts of my imagination I never knew existed. It's such a rich world full of character it's hard not to want to be part of it somehow.
As you can probably tell I get easily carried away. And that's why I have a million things on my 'to do' list.
Now, for the rest of my evening shall I paint digitally, paint minis, fix coding bugs in my game, read a book, write a story, play some games, practice the Malifaux rules or do some exercise? I'll probably just sit here getting agitated because I can't do it all at once.
Well, it's a new year, a new site, let's get a blog started.
That's always the plan right? Fresh start. Resolutions. Follow through...Wait, what's follow through?
Last year, 2013, I had the lofty goal of getting all of my Wyrd models painted before Gencon. Although I have a lot of models (understatement), it was something I could have attained. Sit down, watch some television (marathon a show, ya mean), and paint up a slew of models. How hard could it possibly be?
I did get a good start, courtesy of watching all five seasons of Babylon 5. I worked through a lot of the Ten Thunders and associated models (McCabe, Mei Feng, Misaki, Lynch), and even some Rezzers (Seamus and Molly with the Belles), but I was working assembly line style and eventually the whole thing came crashing to a halt. [M2E, I choose you...Then along came Summer and I started grinding away at Mechwarrior Online, instead.] All of the fire just went out of my painting, replaced by discussions of each week's rules updates...But that's all over now. One less excuse. Heck, my den is fairly organized, and I can actually sit down at my painting station to paint (at the cost of burying my prep station, but I can dig it out for messy work like basing if I need to).
As it's three in the morning, eastern standard time, I think that this is as good as it gets for an introduction. WIPs to follow, eventually...
P.s. Some quick notes:
My name is Johnny.
I live in the Akron, Ohio, area.
I assemble the models for most of my friends.
Our usual game day is on Sunday.
I have a 4 x 4 table that we tend to play three or four player games on.
Usual terrain is usually either Terraclips (Streets and Buildings x2 each with which to use) or Heroscape terrain (plus other odds and ends like a whole forest worth of pine trees I picked up from Dollar Tree around the holidays).
If you really wanna speed up a game, measure by Heroscape hexes instead of inches. It's great for quick demos.