Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Magic!

The Colonies, 1777. For over 200 years the Covenant, a secret organisation using ever increasing powers of witchcraft to manipulate the fate of nations, had turned it’s attentions to the fledgling state fighting for it’s freedom. Its plans to aid Britain achieve global power were under threat and it would stop at nothing to bring the Colonies back under British control.

But among the American troops was Proctor Brown. His mother was a witch and the family had fled persecution in Salem. Although Proctor had inherited some ‘talent’ he knew little of it’s potential and had been taught to keep it a secret. However, as he fought the British at Lexington and Concord he encountered powerful magic and charms that protected British officers from harm, and later curses that robbed the American troops of their strength and will to fight.

During this time he also encountered other witches, helping the cause of Liberty and through the Rev. Emerson he was taken to the Farm, a secret location hidden by magic from prying eyes, where witches from throughout the colonies, passed through to escape persecution, or stayed to learn from other witches. The Farm was home to Elizabeth and her daughter, Deborah, Magdalena, an old German healer, and Cecily, a Virginian woman of some substance and unknown ‘talent’.

As Proctor had been lead to the Farm he had unwittingly aided the escape of an evil witch, known only as Old Nance, and this raised some suspicions as to his true allegiance. After several weeks of hard work on the Farm, Proctor was still trying to prove himself but soon his allegiance would be decided beyond doubt! And so the story begins…

Two nights ago their lives had changed forever. In the middle of the night three men and found their way past the charms that protected the Farm had killed Elizabeth. Proctor had managed to kill them and Deborah’s powers had broken Nance’s charms, but they knew their safe haven was no longer and they would have to flee. After burying the three killers and packing what they could they set off from the Farm. Proctor and Deborah, Ezra the farmhand and his mule, Magdalena and the Rev. Emerson, armed now to defend them all. However, in the chaos of the attack Cecily had disappeared and could not be found anywhere.

Travelling along the road they approached the ford, the Reverend leading the way:


But Deborah suddenly realised that something was wrong and called to Proctor:

The Reverend ran back along the road, hurrying along Ezra as the sound of horses could be heard in approaching:


As they finally crossed the Ford a coach the like of which they had never seen before clattered down the road with but a single driver and no escort:


And as it drew up to the ford and stopped a shadowy figure could be seen inside:

Tensing, not knowing what to expect, Proctor felt the strange tingle he always felt when magic was near, but this sensation was different, wrong and a sense of dread increased as a cold fog descended and something terrible emerged from the woods…


The three horrendous figures shuffled towards them. The three attackers from the Farm, dragged from their graves by a terrible magic!

In the background, they could see Nance, but she was not the source of the magic! Beyond her stood the impeccably dressed figure of Cecily! It was clear now how their charms had failed at the Farm. They had a traitor amongst them!

Soon the fog was lifted as Deborah and Magdalena used their own talent to fight back and battle was joined!


One of the terrible zombies attacked Magdalena but despite her age and infirmity her talent was strong and with Proctor’s help she drove it back!

As Proctor, Deborah and Magdalena focused their power they drove the zombies back across the river and the Reverend pursued them showing no fear!


The power of Nance and Cecily was starting to wane and they sensed that their plans were going awry:

Magdalena faced down Nance and drove them all back to the coach as the zombies were finally driven back in to the woods!


But they still sensed another power, strange, strong and focused on the coach…

And soon Nance, Cecily and their servants crowded around the coach, as if waiting for help or guidance!

But their power was broken and whatever lay hidden in the shadows would not aid them today and they had no choice but to flee back along the road…

…with Nance cursing them to hell and threatening revenge!

Who was the mysterious figure in the carriage? Why had Cecily betrayed them?

To be continued…


Background
The idea behind this came from CC Finlay’s Traitor to the Crown trilogy:

The Patriot Witch
A Spell for the Revolution
The Demon Redcoat

which interweave magic (or ‘talent’) and the Covenant with the events and character of the Revolution. I’ve changed the story a little to suit the figures I’d painted, the rivers I’d just received from Mutineer Miniatures and my plans to incorporate the idea in to a future campaign. In the original the Rev. Emerson was actually Deborah’s father and the attack of the zombies took place at the farm. I’ll not say any more in case you read the books! I really enjoyed them and I think the way some events were explained by magic were well thought out. If you like the period and want a light, fun read then give them a go.

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Merry Christmas!

Well, lots of other people seem to be issuing a seasonal greeting so I thought I’d join in!

Back home after a good feed at the in-laws. Kids abed and shattered after a day of opening presents and playing – only minimal meltdowns!

I did OK. Bottle of malt. Smellies, socks and jumper – all of which I really wanted!

Book – Wellington Against Massena: The Third Invasion of Portugal 1810-1811 by David Buttery And a stack of Baccus 1806 Prussians which I really hope I’ll find some time to paint before I go back to work and 3 months of stress, training and over-work…

Hope you’ve all had a good Christmas and that the holiday season continues to be festive and fun!

All the best

Andy

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More 6mm Early Byzantines…

Well it’s taken a long time to get these two bases finished and two weeks to even get round to taking some pictures! But finally managed it today. These are two bases of Byzantine Cavalry Archers for my Impetus army. They are based on the Baccus Late Roman Armoured Horse Archer with small shield added with Green Stuff.

Here they are advancing over the river with Bucellarii leading the way.

And some more shots showing shields and basing:

The rivers are a new acquisition from Brian at Mutineer Miniatures. I’d seen their river sections at the Border Reiver Show back in September and he had agreed to do me 6-7 foot of river in colours matching those I use for my scenery and basing. The originals had a brown colour for the river itself which I know may be more realistic but as my rivers/streams will either be for the virgin North American colonies or the Italian lands as Hannibal passes I wanted nice clean water! I’m really pleased with them and can recommend Brian and Mutineer for their excellent service. They’ll feature in the next few photo shoots but at some point I’ll lay out the lot and do some overall shots!

I’m tempted to do a couple of bases of infantry next but I’m also itching to start on the Prussians so I’ll have to see how the Christmas break goes.

More soon as I return to the Colonies….

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SMOGGYCON 28th November 2009

Today saw a trip down to Middlesbrough (my first!) for SMOGGYCON – the show that is replacing the Stockton Parade Ground shows. So, new show, new venue. The guys from my local boardgaming club (and some of my ASL opponents when I was playing the game) were putting on an ASL demo with a large scenario from the Stalingrad module, Valor of the Guards, another East front scenario and a small ‘pick-up’ game for passers by to try their hand. As I had a few things to do at the show and was expecting a summons home after lunch, I wasn’t partaking of the ASL but I travelled down early with Andy, getting there for 8.30!

The new venue, the Southlands Leisure Center, was a bit hard to find (especially as we had no map and were asking for the Lakelands Leisure Center!) but was a modern, airy venue, with a smaller hall next to the bar and the main sports hall hosting the show, a decent size room for the Bring and Buy and a small ‘cafe’ area. The latter was for me a point of contention as the ‘caterers’ operating out of the small kitchen were way over priced for what was effectively a captive audience. Coffee was £1.60, bacon butties £3, sandwiches £3. Although the food was OK it was not really worth the money and someone had commented that you could see on the price board where they had rubbed out the old prices and written in the new (double) ones! In a proper cafe I’d have paid it, but for a couple of people with a table operating out of a kitchen it was taking the piss! Rant over…

I’ll apologise in advance for the photos as even by my phone’s standards they are crap!

The main hall:

ACW game by Steve Ord:

The Old School Wargames 30mm SYW game by the Independent Wargames Groups (I think!):

Tyneside Wargames Club Battle of Neville’s Cross in 15mm using Great Captain rules:

A rather nice WW1 Trench game:

This looked nice and I eventually sussed that it was associated with a nearby stall but the whole time I was there I never saw anyone actually AT the table! Was apparently by Game of War.

And finally, the ASL guys, Neil, Andy, Brian and Tim:


Bring and Buy

This was located next to the ‘cafe’ off the smaller hall and was rather disappointing. The space was good but I don’t think the tables were ever more than two thirds full. And there was nothing there to take my fancy. Again, maybe first show and uncertainty of turnout so why bring stuff that maybe won’t sell? Hope it is better next year.

And I also met up with Peeler having missed him at the last couple of shows!

Purchases: the important stuff!

This was less than planned. I’d been hoping to pick up the river sections from Brian at Mutineer Miniatures but he still had another coat of varnish to apply so they will be arriving by post next week. I did buy some short grass tufts though. And was very tempted by their new 28mm Indian Mutiny range. From Dave at Caliver I picked up a copy of Lasalle. This is very nicely produced and I’m looking at how to do some figures to fit with this as it’s unlikely anyone at the club will follow as there is a firm Empire V group and the growing Grande Armee team. I’m vaguely tempted to try something in 6mm that I can adapt to use in Grande Armee as well. We shall see.

I did a search for a suitable Demon type figure for my AWI Witch Scenario but nothing suitable could be summoned forth. I was tempted by Sommerfields books on the Prussian Army but at £30 each they may have to wait! Maybe a suggestion for Santa?

I managed to resist the Pendraken 10mm – at least for the moment – and the only lead purchases were some Irregular 6mm Prussian generals, some guns and some casualty bases. With the latter, such is my deteriorating eyesight, that I had to take his word that there were actually some dad figures on the base! I was very tempted by a Baccus Napoleonic Starter pack that Gateshead Gaming were selling. Originally c.£90, it was going for £40 with only a few figures painted/undercoated. Although I’d probably not have used all the bases or the rules it would still have been a good price. And here lies the moral. Buy it when you see it! Went back 10 minutes later and it had gone! Fate…

Apart from a pot of Humbrol Prussian Blue and some dice and markers for Grande Armee, that was the lot! I’m sure my wife will be grateful for that with Christmas approaching!

It was, all in all, a good little show. Close to Christmas with the current economy there was always the potential for a slow day, but I felt the turnout was good. A couple of traders/demo games failed to show but generally the turnout was good. The Middlesbrough club staff were enthusiastic and helpful and also seemed to think it went well. For a first show it was good and deserves to do well next year. Given the number of other shows on at the moment I wonder whether they’d be better taking the old Spring Parade Ground date? Either way, congrats to them and good luck with the next one!

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Off to SMOGGYCON tomorrow…

In the early hours of tomorrow I’ll be heading to Middlesbrough for SMOGGYCON, the show that is effectively replacing the Stockton Parade Ground show. I’ll be helping out with an Advanced Squad Leader (ASL) demo which hopefully will remind people what a great boardgame system this is and that it is still alive and kicking! The plan is to have one of the big Stalingrad scenarios playing and maybe a another as with the big maps and a lot of counters they look quite impressive. I know they’re not quite as photogenic as a figures game but they have their own appeal and it is a great system. And a lot of people who bought and played it in the 80’s and early 90’s often don’t realise the system is still going and being added to. Hopefully this will draw in new blood!

I’m also hoping to pick up a copy of Lasalle as well as my rivers from Mutineer Miniatures – assuming Brian is recovered from his virus and has finished them! 🙂

Other than that it wil be the usual cae of wandering around and looking for new toys! Hopefully the bring and buy will be good but to be honest I need to be sensible what with my daughters 4th birthday, next week followed by Christmas and then my wife’s 40th on New Years Eve!

I’ll also hopefully get to say high to Peeler as we’ve managed to miss each other at the last couple of shows! I’ll try and take some pics and post a report over the weekend.

See you there!

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