Wednesday, 2 June 2010

The Ministry of Blades : The Pyramids of Hertfordshire, episode 4

Marsh dodges a bullet; April puts the boot in.


20th May 2010.

Dramatis Personae

Lady Antonia deVore - a Heavily-armed Aristocrat.
Miss Constantina Spit - a Rebellious Debutante.
Captain Benson Curruthers - a Military Policeman.
Jack Prentiss - a Dodgy Pedestrian.
Miss April Sharpe - a Self-taught Inventor.
Rodney Marsh - a Partially-reformed Thief.
A Cynical Landlord.
Two Shambling Corpses.
A Panicked Rifleman.
Several Less-panicked Riflemen.
Three Bushy-moustached Scientists.


Following their visit to the Manor, the team deliberated their next move over dinner, eventually deciding to try to locate and scout the camp in the forest that evening. Grabbing copious supplies of tea to keep them awake, they armed themselves and headed out into the gathering fog. Prentiss took the lead with his ground-eating pace, but Lady Antonia had to prevent him drifting off the faint path; in the meantime, Marsh's attempts to move quietly parallel to the group combined with his lack of wilderness skills led to him trailing them by quite a distance. They arrived at the ridge after darkness fell completely, settling down to wait for a few hours while Marsh scouted out the camp location.

Around midnight, they saw the lights appear over the valley, manifesting in several locations within the cloud before swirling together. There was no obvious source, but the effects were clearly centred on the camp. They could also feel the vibrations in the ground start up as they appeared. Curruthers tried to get a good look at the camp using his binoculars, but nearly blinded himself despite his best efforts. With nothing else happening, Curruthers and Prentiss both attempted to get some sleep.

Marsh arrived at the camp, which was situated on a small plateau, surrounded by a 10-foot bank, and followed the perimeter around, taking the occasional peek over the bank to survey the area. Noting the bright lights emanating from the camp itself, he was extra careful, but his second attempt was nearly his last: he was looking almost directly down the muzzle of an elephant rifle held by a well-hidden sentry. Luckily he was not spotted and was able to drop out of sight.

Back on the ridge, Miss Spit became aware that the surrounding woods were very quiet, then heard crashing noises in the fog. She quickly warned Lady Antonia and Miss Sharpe, then woke Prentiss and Curruthers to wait for the visitor. After a few minutes of watching, Miss Spit became impatient and used a spell to illuminate the area below the ridge and clear the fog, revealing a zombie.

At first, they hoped it was going to ignore them, and wander past, but to their chagrin, it began to climb the slope. Lady Antonia prepared to shoot it, but Curruthers reminded her that the shot would be heard across the valley, so she lobbed a rock at it instead, failing to do any damage. Several attempts were made to prevent it succssfully cimbing the slope, but it demonstrated dogged persistence, taking a swipe at Miss Spit as it arrived, but she had cast another spell to disguise her location so that it missed. Lady Antonia tripped it up, with some effort, and Curruthers pinned it to the ground with his sword. It continued to try and hit them, but they pounded it with rocks and batons (Prentiss sitting on its leg) and, eventually, April connected with a steel toe-cap and caved the side of its skull in.

It stopped moving.

In the valley, Marsh continued to silently skirt the camp, then stepped on a twig, causing a loud crack. This was immediately followed by a deafening blast and something whistled past about five feet away, while the lights went out. Thinking the shot was aimed at him, Marsh panicked and ran for the trees, while more bullets whizzed past him. He turned into a rat, then realised he was not the target as he saw several zombies heading towards the camp. The sentries were destroying them quite effectively with their large-calibre rifles, so Marsh decided to take advantage of the confusion and sneaked up onto the plateau, changing back to human to scout the camp itself.

As the lights came back on, he noted a central fenced-off area, containing two barracks buildings or offices, a steam-powered electric generator, some kind of laboratory and the mast. Standing in the central square were several soldiers and three gentlemen who appeated to be scientists by their dress. Marsh decided discretion was the better part of valour and, having memorised the layout, he returned to the ridge, where his colleagues, a little worried after the gunfire, were waiting for him.


I find zombies and fog always go well together… It took a while to take down the lone zombie - bad die rolls seem to cause lots of problems in this game, but it was nice to see Constantina's magic finally getting an outing.


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