A guest post by Curatrix Ribston, who can be found here on twitter, and also makes various very cool games. And is very lovely.
She played the other side in the game described here, and made her own writeup of the game from her own perspective.
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“Notes on a Patch of Skin”: Diary of the Painted Lady
"Sometimes you just gotta shake down some demons on the side of a road without a name."
That's what Sally said to me as she rallied her "Scallopards".
I do not understand this woman.
I suspect she fancies herself some kind of philosopher queen of the lost. I asked her if she was planning to mayhaps elaborate on that aphorism.
Still, I must reluctantly admit that she has a point in that today, we had to ransom people for food and some of these people turned out to be demons. How small the waking world has become that we encounter the denizens of hell on the forgotten roads of this dying country?
How in god’s name did I even end up here?
It seems surreal that only a week ago I was alone in my shack away from the troubles of the world.
And then these villains showed up.
Cutpurses all of them, rag and bones shambling about the scorched earth, trying to make sense of a dying world.
I would have not given them the time of day if it were not for the ones at the head of their cohort.
Clearly, the rabble deserved little attention, just wariness, but Sally, John and Mira carried themselves with poise, determination and purpose.
Not like nobles, not like distinguished scholars or heroes, but like beasts backed into a corner.
They politely asked if I was the one known as the Painted Lady.
I said that it was one of the names people gave to me.
They asked for my help.
They started with an introduction.
I play as a band of Flagellants, the Dirty Scallops, a melee-focused warband of refreshing simplicity. It has:
Sally Scallop, a Preacher with Horrible Trophies, Heraldry and a Flail
Shanks, a Pilgrim with a Knife, a Horse and a Disguise
Jab Nelly, a Pilgrim with a Knife, a Grappling Hook and a Disguise
Mira Ro and Honest John, Prophets with Banners and Relics
Ginny the Skull, a Penitent with a Shield
Crush and Smash, Flagellants with Heavy Weapons
Butcher Nick and Slasher Amy, Flagellants with Paired Weapons
Annie Mad-Eye and Twirly Jo, Flagellants with Flails
The Painted Lady, an Oracle with a Disguise, a Horse and Heraldry
Flagellants are simple as they come, they’re good at one thing and it’s getting in the face of their enemy to drown them in numbers. They’re not very smart or brave and they have absolutely no ranged ability, but they’re decent in a fight and it’s all they need to be. My angle in any fight is to try and get my Preacher and Flagellants stuck in as fast as possible while the Pilgrims grab objectives and the Prophets support them by allowing them to activate multiple times. The Oracle is kind of just there. Although she can help with objectives she is mostly useful as she allows me to roll for two events after a match and keep the one I prefer.
I will admit, I only recently recalled these names. At the time, I was simply stumped by the strange cohort in front of me, too stumped to comment. I was expecting to get mugged, but instead, the leader showed me a map, and insisted that I inspect it.
It was quite compelling nonsense. Strange symbols, a treasure beneath the tides, a grand reward, the usual. I would have dismissed it entirely if it had not been for how Mira spoke.
There was purpose, but also despair.
Her sleep and John’s were plagued by dreams of this place deep within a lake, a forgotten place, a moment shattered and encased in the turquoise depths.
These dreams, I’d been having them too.
But then came the question, and I asked Sally: why do you care?
And she looked behind her shoulder, and I followed her gaze to her strange cohort. I saw their faces full of loss and grief.
“We all need to care about something.”
Is what she said.
My Destiny for this campaign is to find the Treasure of the Tides. The Scallops have nothing left but this dream of untold riches, and it’s all they need to keep hanging onto life. Is it worth it, to be the richest fools in the graveyard? Maybe not, but what else is worth anything?
A Battle against “The Masque of Blue Delight”
And from that point on, I’ve been following this… Interesting band.
We’ve been surviving for a few days together, and today, we realised we were short on supplies, and so Sally decided to ambush some passers by.
I adamantly refused to take part in this. I was surprised to find Sally agreeable to that.
I decided not to watch.
I heard a lot of swearing and some fighting, it was short and to the point, but to hear them tell it, this wasn’t the slice and grab they’d hoped for.
Their marks ended up being a strange group of drug-slinging demons and their human followers, who tried to give them some weird drugs, hypnotizing some of them into accepting their offers, and stabbing those who would not.
Nelly, Shanks and Crush (or was it Smash?) got badly wounded in the scuffle.
Sally is fuming. Mira is rambling about the strange horrors that accompanied them, formless blobs of… something twitching about the battlefield. They seem satisfied with their “swag”, but grudging anger fills the air.
One would almost feel bad for spending the duration of that scuffle engrossed in conversation with one of the rakish archers of that cohort, a waifish woman trying to get away from the fight.
We played the Procession, with the other warband being a Decadent Cabal. The Flagellents could rob a model defeated in combat rather than injuring it, and the Decadent Cabal could use hypnosis to compel the other side to drink if they were near somebody to offer it: these were our main objectives for the fight.The low Mind score of my Flagellants meant their Disguises efficiently broke up my charges just enough for them not to get bogged down and they got a few good hits in, but in the end my superior fighting skills allowed me to position myself in such a way that their Grotesques were not too much of a problem, so I got the money I wanted even though in the end the fight was starting to look sour for me.
A Strange new Power
I made it up to them, in the end, as my eyes guide us ever towards that strange lake we often stumble upon interesting things.
In this case, it was a corpse. I felt a pull. I felt black smoke. I felt sulphur.
This pulled me towards a wretched creature giving its last breath on the side of the road on a murky night. It looked pathetic, retching and trying to breathe with an arrow deep within its deformed chest. Sally had followed me out of camp. She was taken aback by the sight. She reached out to the dying imp, but before I could even ask why she seemed to want to show compassion to such a disgusting thing, the corpse burst into a thick black mist that poured directly into Sally’s eyes and mouth.
When she woke up, she’d been changed, able to command a black fog to gather around herself seemingly from nowhere.
I would have been livid, but the woman’s takeaway was that now, she could serve as cover for the band’s advance.
I do not understand this woman.
Yet, with time, I’ve come to respect her.
After the battle, we roll for scars and wounds. Most of my warband got even better at fighting and getting in people’s face, despite the injuries.
I rolled for events after the battle, and thanks to my Oracle got a choice between a Stranger (a Missionary from the Plague Bearers warband) or a Gift of Fumes of Hell allowing my Preacher to cast a spell which would wrap her in dark smoke serving as cover.
Being a sucker for Wyrd Magicks, I, of course, opted for the latter.