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Delvian

Lady J vs. Lilith August - Narrative B.R - The Disappearing Act

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Malifaux Summer Campaign - Battle Report 2. The Disappearing Act.

This battle report is chapter two from a four part summer campaign I’m currently running. The first report can be found here: http://www.wyrd-games.net/showthread.php?45681-Lady-J-vs-Lilith-July-Narrative-B-R-Liaison-at-the-Mercer-Inn

I highly recommend that you read chapter one first, as the story and the characters follow on from that game, and this battle report won’t make much sense unless you’ve read chapter one already!

The game itself was actually quiet a small one with low SS on the table. Due to the amount of units that were wiped out last game, it really was a small skirmish with only 2 major battles over the game. I’ve put a lot of emphasis on these battles in the write-up to make up for this. (Next game we are adding another 15SS for model hiring to boost the numbers again!)

I’d also appreciate any comments, be they positive or negative, so please feel free to drop a line at the end. I’m putting a lot of effort into the narrative and want to improve, so if it’s boring, be honest and tell me! Cheers!

Chapter 2

With a tread of asperity, Lady Justice leads Judge and Marshal Regan to sector 7d of the Quarantine Zone. With the two moons lighting their way, the map guides them to their destination. Beside an old aqueduct in the ruins of a fort lies a small wooden shelter, tucked away and out of sight for those not looking for it.

Outside the shelter are strange white markings on the stone floor, akin to some kind of ritual. They are accompanied by copious notes and drawings, pinned down by stones and rubble.

The party form up at the door, weapons drawn. Upon entering, the most obvious detail is the lack of inhabitants. Embers on their last legs glow faintly in the small hearth, and a nearly finished glass of wine nestles amongst yet more notes & books on a small desk. The room is decorated smartly, but precisely. With the bedroll gone, it would appear that Berren hasn’t gone for a late night stroll about the Quarantine Zone. The team set about examining the clues inside and out to establish a trail. Turning, Lady Justice finds something nailed to the back of the door. It’s a flyer for one of Berren’s first shows Breachside. It reads ‘The Humiliat Theatre proudly presents Berren Down and his spectacular new show ‘The Disappearing Act’.

*******************************************************************************************************

All is queit. 6 shadows atop the aqueduct overlooking the shelter go un-noticed. “We must not let the humans learn what is down there. Destroy it all.” With that, the Neverborn descend.

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Guild vs. Neverborn.

Strategy: Destroy Evidence - Neverborn attacking

Defenders Strategy: Blackmail.

Guild Scheme: Protect Territory

Neverborn Scheme: Entourage

Deployment: Corner

Guild Crew:

Lady Justice

Judge

1 x Death Marshal

6ss Cache

Total: 13ss

Neverborn Crew:

Lilith

Lelu

2 x Terror Tors

1 x Death Marshal

6ss Cache

Total: 19ss

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After searching the shelter, the party moved out to inspect the strange markings and symbols outside. Lady Justice looked down at one of them. They were equations. An endless line of numbers and symbols, lines and lines of them spiraling inwards, a level of math far beyond normal comprehension. At the centre of the spiral was a strange symbol (see below!)

This area of study was beyond the Death Marshals. They had been sent to apprehend Berren for crimes of Nercromancy, but this was something else. Lady Justice turned to the Judge. “We need Sonnia or Hoffman to take a look at this. When we get back to…”

Justice was cut short by a cry of unadulterated rage, high up on the aqueduct to the rear of the shelter. The Neverborn had come. After a brief pause, she drew her greatsword with a practiced flourish. The ring of steel echoed amongst the ruins, a pitch of resolute purity that answered the guttural challenge from beyond. Her amber-brown hair reflected off the polished blade as she turned to face her Marshals. “Defensive perimeter, gentleman. Let’s give our Neverborn friends a Marshal welcome, one of lead and steel.”

Galvanized into action, the Marshals established their positions. Judge moved to the right, dropping in behind some rubble. Regan withdrew into some ruins on the left flank, his Peacebringer covering Justice as she withdrew to the centre. There they waited. (See image below!)

Thadius was the first to appear. He rounded the corner of the shelter on the right, his Peacebringer leveled and shaking in his hand. His body was still undergoing the transformation into Nephilim. His horns were beginning to twist back in on themselves, just like a ram.

It was an irony not lost on the Judge. He rose from cover. “Thadius! You traitor! I’ll carve those words into your back before you see the end!”

Thadius responded with his Peacebringer. Both bullets struck the rubble as the convulsions proved too much for the traitor Marshal to control. The Judge advanced.

From the shadows came a horror. With a scythe the size of a man, Lilith, Mother of Monsters, struck. She swung like the Reaper, slicing the Judge across the chest and knocking him from his feet. In the same movement she drew her Scythe high above her head, an Angel of Death ready to deliver judgement.

Judgement came, and it was one of Justice. As Lilith brought her Scythe down for the killing blow, the greatsword of Lady Justice swept in and parried, saving the Judge from death. For a brief moment, two titans regarded each other, then blades sang once more.

Justice struck. She moved in low and stabbed up with her blade, forcing her opponent onto the back foot. She then rised, her hair sweeping out like a Phoenix as she drew her greatsword high above her head, and then down. After parrying Lilith’s scythe out of the way, she immediately reversed, slashing Lilith deep across the shoulder in one brisk movement. Her opponent recoiled, clutching her shoulder as black blood spewed between her fingers. (See image below!)

Then came the Onslaught. Justice turned a full 360, cycling her blade halfway through to draw it above her head with both hands. She planted her feet as the killing strike came down, a power blow aimed for her opponent’s neck. But Lilith was not to be undone. Shadow once again descended and Justice carved through air. Lilith was gone.

The sound of gunfire added to the cacophony of battle simultaneously. Regan fired upon the approaching Lelu from cover in the ruins. The shot struck the monster in the shoulder, a good hit, but not enough. In a berserk fury, Lelu threw himself forward, aiming a spear tackle for his opponent’s chest. As the Nightmare dived through the air, Regan launched himself upwards, leaping over Lelu’s charge as he passed underneath. Both landed and turned to face each other. Lelu advanced once again, his claws reaching into the ruins to pin his prey down. Regan dived backwards, his Peacebringer barking in defiance. (See image below!)

He landed on his back, gunshots still ringing, as Lelu dived forward, head first into the lead-storm. The Red Beast descended upon him, sinking his fangs into the Marshal’s neck. As he gorged himself on blood, his flesh knitted around the bullet wounds, his body healing from the damage dealt. Regan was still trying to fire his Peacebringer at point-blank, the firing pin clicking dry as all his chambered rounds had been spent.

Lelu then rose from the injured Regan, blood dripping from his jaw and regarded his prey in a brief moment of contempt. With that, he was gone. Regan would live.

Utterly spent, he pulled himself up onto the ruins to regard the scene. The Neverborn were retreating. Two Nephilim Tots were hastily defacing Berren’s markings on the floor, destroying the evidence. Regan looked over to the right and saw an injured Judge pointing his bloodied sword at a retreating Thadius. The Judge was normally a much needed source of composure amongst the Death Marshals, but Thadius’ betrayal had hit him hard. Whilst bellowing a string of hate-filled profanities at the traitor, the Judge held up his hand to reveal a gore-spattered horn, carved from Thadius’ head.

Justice guarded the last of the evidence, as graceful as ever. She turned to Regan. Despite her blindness, Regan felt Justice look deep into his eyes. She sheathed her sword and approached.

“Marshal Regan. Excellent work”. She gripped his shoulder firmly and smiled down at him. With that, she went to check on what was left of the evidence. It was brief, and it didn’t seem like much, but to Marshal Regan, those moments meant the world. He would walk through fire for that woman, and back again.

The party took a few moments to gather their breath, and then gathered in. Justice patched up Marshal Regan’s neck wound and the Judge’s chest wound. As the only member of the crew unscathed, the others looked on at their leader in awe.

“Let’s finish up here, find what we can, and get back to Guild Headquarters,” she said, eager to divert their attention. “In the morning, we will move with reinforcements and find out what the hell is going on. Regan, you will return here with Sonnia, show her everything. Perhaps she can make some meaning of this.”

“J, the trail is dead. We don’t know where Berren is,” said the Judge.

“Not so” she replied. She reached into her back pocket and pulled out the flyer that was pinned to the inside of the door. She turned it over to show the others, and on it was a note that read:

The time will be 1.17am when you invite yourselves in to my humble abode. Alas, my hospitality will be somewhat lacking. I don’t have Time you see, although I do hear it won’t be a grave loss, as your company is notoriously unfulfilling. Nonetheless, I like to impress, so I extend my hospitality to you further. We have much to discuss. Consider this your clue.

Until next Time.

Berren.

“The flyer is from the Humiliat theatre,” said the Judge. “That’s in Renwood, a day’s ride from the city”.

“We ride light.”

*******************************************************************************************************

The board was organised with the shelter in the centre, and a raised walkway (the aqueduct) around the edge, with ruins and rubble dotted about. For the mission, Berren was long gone, so Lady Justice and her crew, as the first to arrive, are trying to establish where and why. In Blackmail, the defender protects the evidence, which were the strange markings on the floor. The Neverborn, as attackers, are trying to destroy the evidence so that the Guild are thrown off the trail and can’t figure out what is going on.

I positioned the Judge in cover on the right flank by 1 evidence marker and the Marshal to snipe from cover on the left by another evidence marker. I threw Justice forward to the final evidence marker as a feint, drawing 2 tots and Lelu around the left side of the shelter before retreating back to the centre to charge where needed. Essentially a defensive perimeter around 2 evidence markers, ignoring the 3rd altogether.

Lilith and the traitor Marshal Thadius came down the right flank towards Judge. There was a purchased companion upgrade, so I knew it was going to hurt! Thadius popped out and fired a shot, but missed, then Lilith pounced. 2 attacks on Judge, I cheated the first duel with a high card to save him, but the next got through reducing him to 3 wounds. This was Judge being completely beaten by Lilith’s charge and being saved from death by Justice’s timely intervention! Close one!

On that note, Justice counter-charged Lilith. With a +2CB upgrade purchased before the game, and Sword Style casting Onslaught (get another attack), Justice’s charge worked beautifully. Down went Lilith! Stepped in to save the day like a boss! To wrap up this side of the board, Judge then moved out and battered Thadius with 1 hit! Right flank secured.

On the left flank, Lelu and 2 Tots moved up towards a now-abandoned Marshal Regan in the ruins. He got a shot off damaging Lelu before the brute used flight to move over Regan’s head and into the ruins behind him for a melee expert attack, which missed. This was Regan’s theatrical dodge of Lelu’s spear tackle! Next turn, Regan strikes first & nearly takes Lelu down with melee attacks, his backwards diving lead storm. But then Lelu gets his turn. He strikes back at Regan, taking him out & healing in the process. With the game now in turn 5, the tots take out the middle and left flank evidence marker, whilst Justice and Judge consolidate their position on the right flank for 1 evidence marker protected & scheme markers completed.

The game finished 4 VPs to 2 VPs. Victory for the Guild!

I was behind on strategy VPs, buy my scheme saved the day with a full 3 VPs.

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Epilogue

Lilith showed no sign of discomfort as Zoraida finished healing her shoulder. Soulstone was on the air, its healing properties turning a deep wound to nothing but a faint scar.

“You underestimate the humans,” said Zoraida. “We have seen their growth since The Event, and the Blind One is one such instance. You are not your sister, Lilith. Composure, restraint, poise, all qualities you must demonstrate if you wish to lead.”

“I didn’t come here for a lecture old woman.”

“But it’s one you shall have nonetheless. I see the Blind One has tested your nerves. Put it behind you. There is much ahead that will require clear judgement, for the winds of fate are shrouded on this. Berren is getting closer to his goal. I can feel it. We must stop him Lilith. If Chronos is released from his prison, he will use his power to bend the past. The fates themselves will be challenged, and I know not the fallout of this.”

“But how do we find him?”

“Use the humans. The Blind One is most persistent, she will not give in so easily. Follow them, and they will lead you to him”.

Silence descended briefly on the pair as they contemplated the importance of the task at hand. Zoraida was the first to break it. “What do the humans know? Do they know of Chronos?”

“I suspect not.” she replied. “Thadius tells me they still believe they are after a rogue Resurrectionist. We destroyed as much evidence as we could at the shelter, but I suspect it is only a matter of time before they realise something more is at stake”.

“Only a matter of Time! Ha!” Zoraida cackled her mad laugh, an odd response to the sombre nature of Lilith’s visit thus far. “Follow the humans. Kill Berren”.

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Edited by Delvian

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These are some really cool battle reports you've got going here, love the narrative & then the what happened on the table summery.

If you can try to put the pictures into the post so we don't have to scroll up & down, just my opinion & its pretty easy to do too (although a little annoying!)

The Thaddius that I thought of was from Ravenor,

The Inquisitor's Interrogator that gets possessed in the first book, tries to fight it through the second & then goes all deamon monster in the end nearly killing everyone!

Thinking now you may have the same source!

As for the "C", I'm guessing it stands for

Chronos, Although it could just be a cresent moon...

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Have to say, you get the idea of 'Story encounter' in my humble opinion. That pun was intended.

I have to ask though, were the Story encounters randomly flipped or did you guys decide ahead of time what story encounters would occur and who would participate?

I know you said the characters were sort of pre-determined and the battle itself determined the direction the story went, but I'm curious just how much is pre-meditated.

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I wrote up the previous report, then wrote up how it would lead on to the next game, then came up with the mission that fit the narrative. So no flipping for strategy etc, just picked one that resembled the narrative I had written as closely as possible. This includes defenders, attackers etc. For game 1, wrote the initial narrative, and again picked a mission that resembled this as closely as possible.

We both only have 1 crew, plus the campaign requirements mean we can't really change who's participating once we had started, so that means Lilith & Lady J the whole way through (with a slight surprise planned for the final game :P )

Just for everyone's information, game 3 should be finished over the next couple of weeks. Then it's on to the grand finale :D

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