Mars Miniatures

Mars Miniatures

Monday, August 29, 2016

Tales From The Beer Cart, Part 2 - Swanfleet Swamp Blues

 Ok, I thought the Dwarves had made it to Tharbad right after the Elven ruins, but this post shows another event came inbetween, that turned out to be less eventful.
Still, I feel I must record it for posterity's sake.
Here is a slice of Dwarven caravan life...

After their harrowing encounter in the Elven ruins of Ost-In-Edhil, the road west runs through the wetlands known as Swanfleet Swamp. In Elvish its name is Nîn-in-Eilph.

Its slow going through the bayou...
Strange dark shapes are seen in the mangroves, but they disappear when challenged.

Now when I was just a little boy standin' to my Daddy's knee
My Poppa said son don't let the man get you do what he done to me
'Cause he'll get you 'cause he'll get you now now.

I can remember the fourth of July runnin' through the backwood bare.
And I can still hear my old hound dog barkin' chasin' down a hoodoo there
Chasin' down a hoodoo there.

Born on the bayou
Born on the bayou
Born on the bayou

The heat is getting to the Stunties and tempers are on the edge.  Some of the drunk Dwarves are collapsing from heat exhaustion. 

Bugman:  How much further until we are out of this accursed swamp?

Pickles:  Hmm according to his map... Down on the corner, out in the street, Willy and the Poorboys are playin', Bring a nickel; tap your feet.

Bugman: This humid weather has addled either your brains or mine, because you arent making any sense!

Pickles: Im making all the sense! Im saying that I cleaned a lot of plates in Memphis, Pumped a lot of pane down in New Orleans, But I never saw the good side of the city, 'Til I hitched a ride on a river boat queen

Stonewall Jarlson:  I get it!  I can hear the bullfrog callin' me. Wonder if my rope's still hangin' to the tree. Love to kick my feet 'way down the shallow water. Shoefly, dragonfly, get back t'your mother.  Pick up a flat rock, skip it across Green River. Welllllll!

Bugman:  Ok thats it!  We need to stop for some R&R.  RANGERS HALT!  Stonewall see to it that Baron Hawk knows we are stopping for one hour for some shade and refreshments.

Boren the Hunter:  Ratcatcher, come hunting with me.  Let us see what food may be found in this swamp.

Ratcatcher:  I hear this swamp is called Swanfleet because there are lots of swanbirds here.

Stilts:  (pointing) I see loads of them floating over there!  And also some... Swamp pigs!

Boren:  Chefs, get your sauces and roasting fires ready for some good eatings!

The Reaper Dwarves are exhausted as they had to take the brunt of the Ape attack in the last battle.  Several of them are wounded and not combat ready.

Left to Right: Cleric of Clan Reaper, Captain Drogo, Counselor Thadar

Captain Drogo:  Reaper Clan sustained too many casualties in the last battle.  Cleric, please try to invoke some healing spells for the wounded.  Thadar, keep your spyglass on the treelines, I dont trust this place.

Thadar:  Wallace and his highlanders report that dark shapes lurk in these swamps.  We dont yet know what they are, but they have been following us for some time.

Left to Right: Boren the Hunter, Stonewall Jarlson, Stilts

Boren:  Stonewall, I didnt know you were such a skilled hunter!

Stonewall:  An army marches on its stomach they say.  A good Dwarf commander must be able to feed his troops!

Boren:  Bugman is a fine leader, and you are the best 2nd in command for the Rangers.  But someday, I think the Dwarf Kings will recognize your abilities and make you a general of your own army.

Stonewall:  Ha!  General Stonewall... that would be the day...

The Dwarven cooks are busy cooking all manner of swampy meats.
So while the attrition of the swamp has taken a few casualties, the recuperation generated by the army bivouac has evened that out.  The Dwarven expedition force is at about 80% combat effective.


So there you have the rather uneventful part 2 of the Beer Cart tale.

Still, we got to know a little more about our favorite stunties.
Who knew Dwarves loved Creedence?

Now on to the more exciting events that happened in Tharbad.

Coming Soon:  Part 3 - Breaking Tharbad!

Tales From The Beer Cart, Part 1 - (L)ost in Edhil

Mars Miniatures presents... Tales from the Beer Cart!

This is a mini-campaign adventure that involves a Dwarven caravan travelling through the hostile lands of Middle Earth. I have decided not to take the standard AAR style of reporting, but instead focus on a narrative approach to the events. Because starting and stopping for pics during games are a pain.  Im content to jot down notes during the game about key events, and then afterwards put some figures on the table for a photoshoot recreation.  Im hoping it reads better, and looks better to boot.

So lets get this tale going...

 The Dwarves of Moria have been under siege by the forces of evil Orcs, Dark Elves, and Undead.  With neither side able to gain an advantage to destroy the other.  The Dwarven defenses hold up time and time again.

Gimli and his expedition have returned to Easthold fortress to unite the Dwarves with Balins forces.  But the war is still a deadly stalemate. But now their stocks of beer and food, but most importantly beer, are running low.

High King Thorgrim has commanded Bugman and his Beer Cart to head to the Blue Mountains for supplies and request more reinforcements from the Dwarves there.  Bugman and his Rangers accept the mission, to the respect of all the Dwarves witnessing.  It will be a dangerous trek, Bugman!

 They travel along the old roads west along the Sirannon river (gate stream)
At the confluence of the Sirannon and Glanduin rivers, is an old ruin with a bridge.
As they pass the bridge and the creepy old ruins, the Dwarves feel unfriendly eyes staring at them.

 Pickles: (looking at his map) These are, or were, the ruins of an ancient elf city called Ost in Edhil.  Hmm, they say the Rings of Power were forged there!

Bugman:  Elves!  Be on your guard then, boys.

Pickles:  Not to worry there boss, the Elves of this city died long ago in the 2nd Age when Sauron led his armies through this area.

 At the vanguard of the expedition is Baron Hawk and his Reaper Clan Dwarves.  They were the first Dwarves on this blog, and they are still fighting for all the right reasons today...  for Beer, freedom, and the American way!  Oh I mean the Moria way.

 Wallace and his highlander Dwarves are stalwart vassals of the Reaper Clan.  They provide the scouting and spelunking for the expedition.

Wallace:  Everyman dies... not every man truly lives...  (gulps)  and uh... there is something ahead that does not live...

 A ghostly apparition appears before the Dwarves.
It is an ethereal manifestation of some sort.

Left to Right: Bugman, Baron Hawk, Kyra the Banshee

Bugman and Baron Hawk summon up the courage to approach it

Baron Hawk:  Let us pass please? Miss....

Kyra the Banshee:  I am Kyra, sister of the great Elf Celebrimbor, one of the Gwaith-i-Mírdain, who crafted the Rings of Power.  While everyone knows of the Rings of Power, not everyone knows about the multitude of minor Rings that were made in Ost-In-Edhil.  One of those Rings has been stolen from my grave and you Dwarves will help me recover it from the thieves.

Bugman:  (squinting his eyes at the banshee) And what if we say no?

Kyra:  You will... because we are allies, are we not?  The great Dwarf Narvi was a friend to my brother and together they made the Doors of Durin in Moria.  Also, because the way ahead is blocked by those villains who took my Ring.  You will need my help to defeat them.  

Baron Hawk:  No offense, Miss Lady Kyra, but we now live in the 3rd Age.  Elves and Dwarves in our age are... not allies, to put it mildly.  Let me discuss this with the rest of the commanders first.

 Left to Right: Pickles, Stonewall Jarlson, Bugman, Baron Hawk, Wallace, Drogo

 Baron Hawk:  So what do you Dwarves think about allying with this.. ghost... elf.

Bugman:  Never trust an Elf!

Pickles:  There is no quicker way.  We must pass through here to get supplies to Moria as fast as possible.  Besides she is an Elf from the old alliance, not the untrusty ones of our era.

The other commanders agree to ally with Kyra.  Even Bugman sighs and agrees.

 Kyra:  (to Sleepy) You are the most amazing Dwarf I have ever met!  Someday your powers will save Dwarven kind.

The Dwarves look at each other.  They are pretty sure, Sleepy was sleeping and never uttered a word to the ghost.  Perhaps in his drunken dreams, Sleepy is actually in the spirit world!

 Ahead, the way is indeed blocked!  By a multitude of Apes.
So many, you might even call them a host, assemblage, legion, or even a plenitude!
Dare I say... a Planet of the Apes!

 Their leader is the legendary white ape called Barsoom.
Some say that isnt his name, but where he comes from.
He is intelligent and has Kyra's ring. 
Why he has it, no one knows.  It also gives him level 2 Amber Wizard powers in battle.

But he is chanting something near that Crystal Stonehenge.

Barsoom:  Hear me army of Warhoon!  Hear me army of Tharks! Fight for apes. Crush the stunties. 

Kyra:  He must be stopped before he opens a gate to another world!

Barsoom:  No more Caesar, no more Koba.  only Barsoom now and Barsoom is coming!
 With the Reaper Clan attacking one unit of Apes, Bugman and his Rangers clash with the other one.

 Wallace and his highlanders come out of the woods and surprise the Ape flanks.

 The Apes are tough.  They wont fold easily without a good fight.

 With all the troops engaged, Kyra is able to sneak in and fight Barsoom.
But even with her high pitched screams, she is only able to wound Barsoom.
Barsoom, empowered with magic power by the stolen Ring is able to defeat Kyra.

 At the end though, Bugman and Baron Hawk break the Ape ranks and stop Barsoom before he is able to complete his ritual.  And it was Bugman himself who defeats Barsoom in personal close combat.

Stonewall Jarlson:  Bugman, did you take the Ring from the white ape?

Bugman:  I have it here.  But now Im thinking...  this Ring could come in handy for retaking Moria.  I know its only one of the Minor Rings, but who knows what powers it has.  Im guessing it has the power to make dimension doors.  Imagine that!  We would be able to travel anywhere in Middle Earth pretty quickly...

Pickles:  Josef... Bugman...  even if that Ring could save the Dwarves, you made a deal.  We Dwarves believe in fair deals.  Its our code of honor.  I know you are angry about the Greenskins that slaughtered your hometown, but remember... you are still a Dwarf.  Honor the deal...

Bugman:  (sighs)  Thank you Pickles.  I dont know what I was thinking.

 Left to Right: Bugman, Kyra, Finlay, Sleepy

So the Ring was given back to Kyra, who names each of the Dwarves as "Ghost-Elf-Friends".

Finlay the Bagpiper compliments Kyra on her lovely banshee wail as it reminds him of the stormy seas of his far flung craggy island home.

As she begins to disappear, she smiles at Sleepy.  The Dwarves can only speculate what conversations are happening between the Banshee and the narcoleptic Dwarf.

Finally, she hands something to Pickles and whispers something.

Stonewall Jarlson:  That was a fine thing you did for Bugman and the Banshee.  What did Kyra say to you?

Pickles:  She said...  its full of stars!


So there is part 1 of Tales from the Beer Cart.

What did Kyra hand to Pickles at the end?
Being "Elf friends" could come in handy later for the Dwarves.
We know that Moria needs as many allies as they can, especially since Ost-In-Edhil is only a day or two away from Moria.  Are the Dwarves going to learn the benefits of having good neighbors?
But that Ring could have been put to good use by the Dwarves.  (Speaking of Rings, the One Ring and its bearer is just about ready to be revealed on this blog!)

Perhaps we need a proper expedition into the ruins of the Elf city itself, at some point. It could serve as a Mordheim style area, for factions trying to find artifacts in the ruins.  In which case, I need to start making some Elvish Ruins terrain.  I have recently made "human" ruins for the next posts battle.  And along with those ruins, some humies to go along with them!  I wont spoil it further.  But gosh darn, some iconic names are going to be popping in.
Stay tuned for parts 2 to 4, all coming this week!

Next post:  Tales From The Beer Cart, Part 2 - Breaking Tharbad


Friday, August 19, 2016

Dark Forces in the Old Forest

In the Old Forest, on a dark cloudy day, dark figures meet for some dark purpose...

By the last breath of the fourth winds blow
Better raise your ears
The sound of hooves knock at your door
Lock up your wife and children now
It's time to wield the blade
For now you have got some company

The Horsemen are drawing nearer
On leather steeds they ride
They've come to take your life
On through the dead of night
With the Four Horsemen ride
Or choose your fate and die


Wraith Raccoon: You underestimate the power of the Dark Side. If you will not fight, then you will meet your destiny!

Snarktail: I am now one of the Dark Overlords of the Universe.

Gravelord Nito: Ever danced with the Devil by the pale moonlight?

Swamp Groot:  There was no alien. The flash of light you saw in the sky was not a UFO. Swamp gas from a weather balloon was trapped in a thermal pocket and reflected the light from Venus.

Everyone: ... (turning to look at Swamp Groot)

Swamp Groot:  errr....  I am Swamp Groot?

Shelob:  (dropping down from out of nowhere) Hey guys!

Everyone:  Hey Shelob!

Shelob:  Movie quote game?  I sure do like playing games!  

Snarktail:  Yeah, Sauron is always saying that you play with your food alot.

Shelob:  I heard about this Shire place you guys are going to.  Can I come with?

Snarktail:  Of course you can! 

Shelob: Thanks little buddy!  Im sorry I ate your cousin.  Good food is hard to come by in Cirith Ungol.

Snarktail:  No problem. And, ummm, you ate 7 of my cousins actually...

Shelob:  Awkward...
Wraith Raccoon:  Hey Shelob, you got room in the back?  My feet hurt from all this walking around.  

Shelob: Of course!  Hop in.

Wraith Raccoon:  Eat your heart out, Gravelord Nito!  My ride is extra wide! And tall!  I can see forever from up here!  All right you villains, lets get this party started!  Those Hobbits arent going to eat themselves.  Scouts, patrol up ahead!  The rest of you line up behind the Big Spider.

The caravan of evil travels for hours through the Old Forest until Swamp Groot and the Wolf Scouts come across a wall.

Wraith Raccoon:  Are we there yet?   Anyone know where we are?

Snarktail:  This wall is called "The Hedge".  It is the boundary between the Old Forest and the Shire.  We have just entered Buckland. 

Snarktail:  All righty.  Im guessing that General Remulak and General Roborr have crushed Longbottom.  So lets head southwest to try and get together with them.

Shelob:  Any Hobbit towns nearby where we can refuel?  Im kinda hungry, and some of you Gobbos are beginning to look tasty.

Snarktail:  Oooh, um, theres some small towns around here that are easy pickin's.

Wraith Raccoon:  I hear these Hobbits are Halflings.  And Halflings are allies of the Empire.  Stirland Moot or Shire, I dont care what they call it.  The Empire must pay for their atrocities!  Prepare to die, filthy little Hobbits!


Ok so there's a nice fluffy post.
Its the calm before the storm.  And that storm you feel... is battle!

Exciting times in the Shire!
Stay tuned, true Raccoon believers.

Oh, so I know this week has had a post everyday.  When it rains it pours on this blog.
The next post should be Monday.  And its definitely going to be a multi part AAR.
Yup, this weekend will be filled with battle and I will be sure to document all of it.
So, its going to get busy again with posts next week with a very different type of battle report.
Not Willowbottom just yet.  (Indeed, the Dwarves have decided to defend Willowbottom and let Tuckborough, Hobbiton and the whole West Farthing fall to the Greenskin invaders.  Sucks, but they just had to make sure Lady Mormont was able to join up with them.)
This weekends battle will involve the Beer Cart!
So prepare to yell the proper call and response... Mhinz Abeir! Zyor Rond!


Next Post:  Tales From The Beer Cart

Thursday, August 18, 2016

A Company Of Wolves

So, you must be wondering why Goblin General Snarktail was not present during the Battle of Longbottom.

Well, he was away gathering the wolves.

Its time to cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war!

 And here they are...  a company of Wolves!

 The Psychedelic Furs are a unit of Goblin Wolf Riders with bows.  They are cruel Gobbos who definitely dont think pink is a pretty color.

 The Pet Shop Wolves are another unit of bow wielding Riders who are out to make a name for themselves in the wide world of Middle Earth.  But they do remember where they came from;  in a west end town in a dead end world.

 Here are both bow wielding Wolf Rider units.  See you can tell them apart, because the Psychedelic Furs wear Fur cloaks.

 Here we have a ten strong unit of Wolf Riders with spears! The Beastie Wolf Boyz!

 Thats right, you heard me... the Beastie Wolf Boyz.

They drink Brass Monkey and they rock well
They got a Castle in Brooklyn that's where they dwell

 OK it would have been better to save this name for Orc Boar Boyz, but Im impatient!

 They can down a '40 dog in a single gulp
And if you got beef you'll get beat to a pulp
Monkey and parties and reelin' and rockin'
Def, def - girls, girls - all y'all jockin'

Dont get in their way, cause they will fight...
for the right...
To eat kibbles and bits!
And party on occassion.

 Here you can see how small Snarktail's wolf is.
But it dont matter if he is smaller, he is still a fearsome ankle biter!

Snarktail:  Ok boys, I know you want to feed your wolfies on Hobbit flesh, but we got orders to follow first.

Gobbo:  Whats the word from Mordor, boss?

Snarktail:  We need to go to....


Where are they heading?

Stay tuned for the next post!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Little Lady Mormont & the Bear Island Berserkers

Bear Island has received a summons for help from the Rangers of the North.
Lady Mormont is the leader of House Mormont - the rulers of Bear Island.

Will she answer the call to war?

Left to Right: Tyrus Forel, Lady Mormont, House Mormont warrior

Lady Mormont:  House Mormont has kept faith with House Isildur for a thousand years.  We will not break faith today.  We are not a large house, but we are a proud one... Everyone from Bear Island fights with the strength of ten mainlanders.

Lady Mormont's advisor is also her dancing master - Tyrus Forel.
He is a Braavosi swordsman and is the oldest of the Forel Master Instructors.
His younger brother Syrio is in Kings Landing.  

Left to Right: Standard Bearer, Drummer, House Mormont warrior

Close up of the Bear Island Standard

The motto of House Mormont is "Here We Stand"

Left to Right: Masque de Ferrous, Assistant Bear Tamer, Jorelle the Mormont Bear mascot

Masque de Ferrous is the master Bear Tamer on the island.  This fellow has an iron mask permanently attached to his face.  Some say the bear mascot of House Mormont might have played a bit too rough with this fellows face.

 The assistant bear tamer in the center has a missing eye among his other scars.  Still, they do their best to keep the mascot of House Mormont happy.  Such devotion!

Jorelle the bear is rumored to be Lyanna's older sister who somehow got stuck permanently in werebear form.

Bear Island men are usually out in their boats fighting enemies or fishing.
So, the women of Bear Island are forced to learn how to fight against all manner of invaders: Wildlings, Ironborn raiders, Chaos Marauders, Dark Elf Slavers, Orc Pirates, Corsairs of Umbar, and dont forget the Bears that live on the island itself.

These ladies are cousins of Lady Mormont and are ready to show the world that Bear Island women are great warriors and arent just "any kind of beauty".

Some Bear Islanders worship the Book of Mormon, err.... I mean the Book of Mormont.
It even became a hit Broadway Musical across the sea in Essos.

Some inhabitants of Bear Island are descended from the legendary Sky Wolf Tribe.
According to ancient myths, the Sky Wolves came down in their sky-boats from their home - the fabled cloud city known as Fenris.  These warriors have a saying, "there are no wolves on Fenris."  Which makes no sense, or it makes all the sense.  One thing is for sure... there are Bears on Bear Island.

Here are some archers to thin the enemy ranks.

House Mormont is a minor House that is a vassal to House Stark of Winterfell and/or the House of Isildur.  While the Starks lay claim to being the King of the North, the House of Isildur lays claim to the King of the Northern Kingdom, Arnor.  Starks help the Rangers at the Wall, but the House of Isildur ARE Rangers themselves.  The Starks might have a Valyrian Steel sword, but the House of Isildur has Narsil, the blade that cut the One Ring from the hand of Sauron the Dark Lord.

Lady Mormont:  Bear Island knows no king but the King in the North, whose name is Stark...  Unless the Heir of Isildur claims his birthright and declares himself King of the Unified Kingdom of Gondor and Arnor... then in that case, we know no king but that one.  In the meantime, stop bugging us, we got Bears to slay...


So there you have a new unit to help out the alliance.
I have to make up their own rules to give them their own unique character.

They have 2 hand weapons so 2 attacks each.
WS of 4 like empire swordsmen.
But they also are Unbreakable!  They will fight to the last man, or woman.
Which represents the fact that they might be few, but they are ferocious!

Next post we go back to showing off even more enemies... and answer the question as to why a Greenskin General was missing from the Battle of Longbottom.



Lyanna Mormont has an older sister and her name is Jorelle.  When I made this post, I made that name up based on Lyanna's uncles names - Jeor and Jorah.  Little did I know, in the books there really is a Jorelle. Im in synch with you GRRM!  Other older sisters include Lyra, Alysane, and Dacey.  Though Dacey seems to have died at the Red Wedding.  Not that death means anything to the Game Of Thrones world, and especially means nothing to this blogs fluff.  Resurrections are everyday things here, just like good ol' fashioned D&D meant them to be.