Saturday, 31 December 2016

Bradfurd Bulls visit the Park Beach Pirates for a 'friendly' pre-season match

Fumbling one’s balls… A report for Spike Magazine

Evening Violent Sport loving fans…
New Year’s Eve Eve saw the Coach Stevie Fase’s ‘Bradfurd Bulls’ travel for a ‘friendly’ (only 3 players died – but more of that later) pre-season game at the ‘Park Beach Pirates’ home away from home (no teams would travel to play in the far southern lands so they had to make a base in the ‘Top Half’ and ended up in Ponder’s End - no one is sure who Ponders was, but the place is probably representative of his end).

Bradfurd Bulls

Park Beach Pirates

A large crowd of 18000 citizens gathered at the ‘Beach’ stadium, numbers no doubt swollen by the post ‘Mid-Winter’ festivities. A Chaos Dwarf team the ‘Bulls’ have been around for a good 15 years and their Head Coach is a veteran, once even working for the Games Wizards (GW) for a good number of years. In contrast the Pirates are a new team to the ‘Top Half’ game and are adjusting to the differences in play style (the ‘Bottom Half’ game played by the Pirates used rules from around 30 years ago and many teams also play the derivative ‘Dreadball’ code). Their Head Coach Dicky Jonus is used to a faster flowing, risk driven game – will be interesting to see how this style holds up in the ‘Top Half’.

An unusual start to the game saw the Pirates win the toss and elect to kick, Jonus was later to reveal this was in game plan; kick to the dwarfs, hold them and prevent a touchdown and then hit them with a score in the mid second half leaving Fase with no time to come back with a touchdown of their own. If this strategy was to work it needed the Pirates to pressure the ball all the time, not letting the dwarves build a cage and then release one of their fast moving centaur. It seemed the crowd were to be a big factor with the mass of home fans lifting their team from the start.

Kick off roll saw the Pirates gain an extra re-roll, giving them 4 in total.

A solid kick off saw the ball sail down the field only for some unusual spin on the ball to turn it boomerang like and land just inside the Bulls half.

            A special card was played that deviated the landing point 2d6 instead of the normal one!

It looked as if the Bulls would be able to quickly form the dreaded cage in an advantageous position, and that Dicky’s strategy would backfire very quickly.

Don't worry he needs a 6 to intercept - damn!

However, a rookie Bulls lineman fumbled the pick-up and it was quickly pounced on by ‘Yungie’ the Pirates open side Blitzer and handed off to Dunkel the thrower. A melee quickly developed which enabled Spinee, the Pirates main catcher, to dart into the Endzone and await for what had to be the first touchdown of the game. Under pressure as the pocket collapsed around him the Pirate’s thrower cocked his arm, leaping around the Bull Centaur in front of him and released the ball in a tight spiral, the crowd roared. But the Bulls had a few tricks down their pads and the Centaur back kicked a lineman up in into the sky and they plucked the spiralling ball out of the air for a rare interception.

Finding themselves, somewhat surprisingly, with the ball and half the half left on the time candle the Bulls swept right in a loose cage. With most of the Pirates near to the other touchline the cage had nothing but fresh pitch in front of it. Again it looked as if the game would get its first Touchdown.

Unbeknown to Fase though his main Centaur had a slight problem. He had been caught by an ‘imp inconographer’ (operated by Boyesy, the Pirates ‘fixer’) in a rather compromising position with a number of livestock items in a local club the night before the game. In order to obtain the original sketches he had been told that on a signal from the side-line he had to ‘become a pirate’ for a while! Boysey standing on the side-line shouting, “What a loada bull…” appears to have been the signal as at that moment the Centaur seemed to ‘bolt’, out of control (or so it seemed) he back kicked the ball carrier so hard it actually killed the poor soul and the ball bobbled free. Obviously the crowd erupted at this point and then  Spinee rushed free again and jumped up and down widely in the Endzone… The crowd roared, all Dunkel had to do was pick up the ball and throw a short pass to Spinee. Bending over to scoop the ball up there was no pressure at all on the Pirates’ thrower, his extra training (sure hands) would help… Wouldn’t it?

Dunkel scooped the ball up and looked downfield to see his receiver waving in the end zone still… Again the ball spiralled perfectly down the field. However, just at that moment it appeared a coin (still in its leather pouch with lots of other coins) smacked Spinee on the back of the head – just enough to make her juggle and then drop the pass!

After the crowd had stopped playing around with the ball it eventually ended up in the hands of a Bulls’ lineman. But the referee bought an end to a scintillating, if very low scoring, first half. Jonus’ tactic had worked 50% at least…

A long, long kick got the second half underway, forcing the Pirates thrower to drop back deep. However, a nice pocket was set up and a receiver skipped away down the touch-line. The Bulls dealt out some punishment but the pocket held as Dunkel (the thrower) moved up into it. Yet again the crowd roared as it seemed the touch-down pass was all set up. Again they groaned, this time the pass went astray… And was pounced on deep in their own half by the Bulls. Setting up a decent cage the dwarves set off up-field, but were undone by a blind side blitz and then the Pirates blitzer caught the loose ball and headed for the end-zone. In the furious few minutes that followed though the ball was knocked free and the Dwarves mounted one last attack, sweeping down their right flank. An assisted tackle sent the ball flying into the crowd where the Bulls’ fans were! Doing their best for their team they launched the ball into the Pirates’ end-zone! But alas time was too short for the Bulls to get to it and the last minutes of the game were a good old punch up in the middle of the pitch!

So folks, there you have it, hardly the ‘friendly’ it was billed to be with numerous players KO’d and two Bulls and one Pirate requiring the assistance of an undertaker. No touch-downs but the crowd were kept well entertained throughout with a number of near, near misses. All we can say is that if this is a sign of things to come, then the season ahead is going to be awesome, absolutely awesome…

MVP went to Katrina the Ogre whose first game saw her putting numerous big hits in, killing two opposing line men and opening many a gap! See Spike Magazine for her profile....

Here are some random pictures sketched by the crowd of the action:

Blood Bowl player profile

Spike Magazine – Rookies to watch out for:
Park Beach Pirates – Katrina Fossie

Rookie Katrina is likely to make an impact in the League this season for a number of reasons. The Park Beach Pirates’ big hitting centre, the female (as far as we know, although in truth no one has been brave enough to ask or investigate) ogre has an interesting story as to how she became a rookie for the Pirates.

Born into a tribe (but quickly to become an orphan, rumour has it she was a hungry child) in the middle of Tassymania, an island in the far south, it just happened that Dr. Davud Goodawl and his partner Dr. Diann Fossie were conducting a ground breaking study on the ogres. Their hypothesis was that the ogre were not a savage species per se and that they could, with socialisation training, live in harmony with humans. Research was bought to a sudden halt when a dinner invitation from the human researchers fell foul to a misunderstanding as to what exactly was on the menu! The phrase ‘the research team will provide all the food’ was fairly ambiguous to an ogre after all.

Dr. Fossie was one of the few on the research team to escape and she took the young ogre with her. Later Fossie named the female ogre Katrina and the young ogre grew up by the waves on the family beach. She became fascinated by the Cabal Vision Blood Bowl matches shown in the local drinking establishment where no one ever felt like trying to enforce the ‘no children in the bar’ rule and quickly became a big (literally) fan of the Park Beach Pirates.

Katrina’s dream was to become one of the ‘Waves’ – Park Beach Pirates cheerleading team- and on her coming of age she went to the cheerleader try out. From the outset it appeared that she was not really cut out for task at hand. One of the other hopefuls never came down from Katrina’s ‘air toss’ – well to be fair they did of course, the body was found 3km away the next day! Next a male try out was carried out with a hernia as they tried to lift Katrina above their head. However, the final nail in the coffin came when they tried to teach the teenage ogre how to spell ‘Pirates’ and after 3 hours they were still on ‘Give us a P..’

After two veteran cheer leaders did not return from giving Katrina the news that she didn’t make the cheerleading team the Head Coach, Dicky, saw the only possible solution and offered her a place on the actual team.

According to the 3 team mates who have had to retire from the game after light tackles or blocks from Katrina she is destined to make a name for herself this coming season. She narrowly avoided a GW ban after the infamous sketch (see below) of her ‘discussion’ with a ref after a friendly pre-season game. It was decreed it was impossible to tell if she was about to eat the ref or was, as claimed by the Pirates, just administrating an overly boisterous kiss to congratulate the Ref on such a good game!

Keep an eye out for her hits – coming soon to a pitch near you!

Saturday, 10 December 2016

D&D night - the episode with the dirty little lies....

Dobby’s dirty little lies that is… But more of that later.

Monday’s D&D session began with our intrepid adventurers making the trip back to Phandalin from Thundertree in a jovial mood. Being in such a mood even saw them consenting to following Dobby’s ‘quick way back’ that he knew about from his misspent time in the Redbrand gang. Rather surprisingly they meandered their way back to Alderleaf Farm without meeting anything to slow them down, at one point Ronan did chase a rabbit to test how sharp his sword had got - but to no avail.

Rugged, rock strewn landscape gave way to more forgiving growing land (although it had taken a few weeks of clearing rocks and spreading dung to make it such) and the midsummer crops were doing well. Suddenly Stewie stopped and whispered, ‘Hark, what is that cacophony that drifts on the wind from yonder?’ Ronan and Dobby cast a quizzing look at each other – K’Gar came to the rescue,
“I think he wants us to listen to that awful freekin’ noise…”

Squabbling goblins are not a quiet event at any time, even when trying to keep it down as much as they can. Not for the first (or last time) Dobby was thrust forward to stealth to yonder spindly copse to, “ ‘ave a butchers lad!”

What he saw made him scurry back quickly to report. It appeared that a group of gobbos (goblins if you insist on being posh) were trying to capture a brown bear, an endeavour which had already left a couple of them in various bits on the ground and the others squabbling and fighting. They appeared to be caught in that space of being shit scared of going back and reporting that they had failed to get said bear and ‘shit a brick scared’ of actually getting the bear… Little did they know that the day was going to get worse (if being torn to bits and eaten by a bear can be Top Trumped on the ‘shit day’ scale).

Our intrepid party did what any brave, intrepid group of adventurers would do – hid in the spinney, waited for the gobbos to get the bear in the cage in the wagon, start arguing and bickering THEN they charged out and slaughtered them. Well, all of them bar one which they knocked out and then coerced back to consciousness to interrogate. Stewie, who can converse in goblin, began to talk ‘at’ the rather confused goblin. A goblin, who it must be said, was even more confused as to why this elf in a ‘dress’ seemed to be channelling his ‘breeding- mates’ very well to do (in goblin terms) very old grandma!

As Stewie seemed to be getting no-where (coupled with the fact the goblin was hog tied and unable to fight back) Dobby took it into his own hands to add the only interrogation technique he knew. Leaping forward the Halfling planted a steel toed boot into the general area of the goblin’s breeding equipment. Seconds later they had, yet again, a very unconscious goblin.

However, to give Dobby his due, the goblin was very eager to ‘spill’ when he came to – so long as the elf in the dress kept the short arsed maniac away from his nether regions… Information on Cragmaw Keep and the drow known as ‘Black Spider’ was gleaned. Meanwhile, Ronan seemed to be making friends with the captured bear, who it seemed was very appreciative of being fed goblin finger food (in a very literal sense). But gobbo meat pales in tastiness to human meat and it wasn’t long before Ronan left his hand a micro-second too long near to the bear’s mouth! Luckily the cleric was able to assist in the damage, after all a dextrous recoil had meant only a slight sever, rather than an amputation.

At this point, as the late afternoon rays of light flickered through the leaves of the nearby orchard, another half Elf joined the ‘party’. His remonstrations and questions as to why the party was on his land causing turmoil were met with general ‘haughtiness’ from Stewie – never the most socially adept person the fact he was demeaning himself to talk to a ‘half-breed’ didn’t do wonders for his mood. Then again the excellently placed stone from the farmer’s sling did nothing for his ongoing state of consciousness and Stewie hit the deck like the proverbial sack!

Dobby then (for reasons only known to himself) took it upon himself to try and shoot the farmer – and seconds later hit the deck also, courtesy of yet another mid forehead placed sling shot! K’Gar possibly sensing how this encounter was going began to parley and mentioned their plot to get rid of the Redbrands – at which point they may have well been long lost relatives and the ex-adventurer took them inside for a feed and ale. Basically – they found there is a back way into the Redbrands hideout which Dobby wasn’t privy too, but the farmer’s Halfling wife’s son had found, got some gossip on the leader and lots of ‘might be able to get support once the RBs are taken down a peg or two,’ from the old adventurer.

Full and satiated, with evening approaching, they retreated back to the Inn for some much needed rest – all apart from Dobby who, being impatient for revenge, went off to scout the ‘Sleeping Giant’ out (which if you remember is the favoured drinking place of the RBs and the place where our group hope to poison the beer – with help from Tam the Barmaid). 

Sneaky, sneaky was the plan…BANG, Bang and then looking through a window as the clouds parted to reveal the full moon beaming down on him was the actuality. Dobby nearly soiled the old britches as a hand thumped down on his shoulder,
“Well I never, Dobby me old drinking pal… You’ve got some ogre sized bollocks showing yourself back here. Good on ya mate – coming inside for a beer or two?”

Dobby glanced around to see his old drinking mate ‘Foxy’, in his usual inebriated state, “The boys are going to be happy to see you back, well most of them anyway,” he rambled as he led Dobby by the shoulder towards the tavern door! Well, caught between a rock and a hard place with a red dragon looking down from above about summed Dobby’s predicament up. Fear is a great equaliser, plus it helps when  
your opponent is three sheets to the wind! A noisy twenty seconds later and Foxy found himself looking into Death’s eyes, who shrugged his shoulder, mumbled something about it being strange because he’d actually come for the Halfling and tool the soul off. Luckily it seemed the raucous noise from the tavern had drowned the noise of the fight out and Dobby was left with yet another dilemma: the body. A dilemma which was resolved by a quick dragging of the body to the captive bear (left at the farm), a bit of amateur butchermanship and a very happy bear.  It would be fair to say that Gary (the name they had given to the captured goblin who was tied up in sight of the feeding frenzy) did not have his opinion of Dobby altered in any way!

Bursting into the sleeping quarters at the Stonehill Inn an incoherent, babbling Dobby needed a gentle pat or two from Ronan before the others could get any sense out of him. Luckily the others had sourced some belladonna from Garaele at the shrine (what exactly Stewie did to get this is not clear, and what happens in the shrine, stays in the shrine) and arranged a meeting with the barmaid from the Sleeping Giant over breakfast – it seemed that their plan would have to move forward a few days.

Breaking the fast came and Tam (the barmaid) was seen skulking in the corner, Stewie called her over, trying not to cause attention to be cast their way… Unfortunately the only interaction he normally has with the ‘staff’ was conducted in a bellow. The whole early morning clientele turned to watch as he shouted,
“Yonder wench, salutations, come hither and while you are coming an extra slice or two of that bacon is required – make it speedy!”

It seemed the RBs were in a frenzy, trying to find someone who had killed and apparently eaten one of their own last night! They were out looking in force. So plans were made for the party to sneak down late afternoon and spike the ale kegs… Tam was too scared to do it but promised to leave the back door to the main bar open. No-one noticed (apart from Stewie who put it down to some human courtship display he didn’t understand) that on the way out she leant down and whispered something to Dobby, something that made the wee bit of colour he did have drain from his face and the four bacon rolls he had consumed make a daring (but in the end, due to a good swallow, unsuccessful) rush back up to freedom.

Late afternoon came and our lads had stayed out the way of the roaming groups of Redbrands looking for what they thought must be an ogre. Dobby was hiding under a blanket in the corner and persuaded the others that it would not be safe for him to go. It was also (due to it being a stealth mission) deemed unsuitable for the armour clad dwarf – although somewhat surprisingly being thought suitable for Stewie and the kill deprived Ronan!

Lucky not to draw attention to themselves when confronted by a couple of Redbrands on the way (although Ronan was a bit happier after the altercation) they stopped at the back door and peered in… All was as the barmaid promised, the kegs lay on the empty bar. So our intrepid duo sneaked through the door… Setting off the net trap! Luckily their reactions were quicker and they leapt out the way, just as three doors opened and Redbrands came rushing out.

There was only one course of action to be considered – RUN and run they did. Ronan heading back to the Inn and Stewie ran towards Gilmore’s Glorious Gifts. Bursting into the shop, wide eyed, cloak billowing behind him, Stewie shouted something and disappeared into the back room… Seconds later the shop door burst open again and a rather puffed out, but being a large group also feeling brave, Redbrand shouted,
“Old man… where’s the elf in the dress, give him to…” Stewie wondered why the gang member had stopped mid shout, maybe it was something to do with that CRACKKKkkkk and blinding flash of light.

K’Gar heard the tavern door open and Ronan shouting, followed by him bursting up the stairs and pointing over his shoulder as he rushed for his bow that was in the corner. A ruckus occurred after which it was debatable if their deposit would cover the damage cost but 6 ruffians had been killed – unfortunately one had escaped (by using a pal as an arrow shield) and was last seen by Stewie (who was running back from Victor’s shop) heading up to the manor.

Following a quick dissection of what had happened and why they had been betrayed by the barmaid who seemed so eager help them Stewie remembered the odd conversation that Tam had had with Dobby. It was at this point (after a little bit of persuasion) that the dirty little lies came out!

What she had said to make Dobby nearly lose his brekky was,
“You really don’t remember me do you, you pig… You promised you’d call on me after you had taken my flower, you promised… And you didn’t.”
Now it had at that second clicked as to why the Redbrands had been trying to kill him, Tam was the Sergeant at Arms (as he liked to be known) daughter. Dobby had the horrible feeling she may be up the duff!

Furious that this information may have had bearing on their plans recriminations were only halted by the fact that a loud horn was heard. It was decided they had better make their way to the Miner’s Exchange where perhaps they could get some support for what appeared to be the upcoming fight. Making a concerted effort to get there quickly they were stopped half way as they were surrounded by 12 Redbrands and the ‘Sergeant at Arms’…

“Arrrr Dobby me little pal… I’ve heard you’ve come to make things good. Well the only thing that will make things ‘good’ is your todger roasting on a stick on the fire…”

Three sets of eyes glared at Dobby, who smiled meekily and shrugged his shoulders…