Mars Miniatures

Mars Miniatures

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Tales From The Beer Cart, Part 3 - Breaking Tharbad, Pre-Game

The adventure of the Beer Cart and its valiant defenders continues...

The western road finally winds out of Swanfleet Swamp and meets the Greenway road at yet another ruins called Tharbad.  Besides being the center of 2 important roads, it is also the ford of the Greyflood river.  Because of this strategic location, Tharbad was once an important human city.  Some say it was built upon the ruins of yet an older ruins known as Carcosa in the ancient tongue.  They say the cities inhabitants grew proud as they grew rich from the trade routes that came through between Gondor in the south and Arnor in the north.  One day an acting troupe came to town and performed a play called "The King in Yellow."  No one knows what happened then, but the trade caravans stopped running through there, with only vague whispers of some decadent madness and macabre bloodshed and a terrible calamity that befell that once great city.

Finally, the Dwarves breathe out a sigh of relief as they march out of the swamp.  Some dark malice had been following them at every turn, but would not reveal itself.  Bugman gave orders to start double marching (some would say fleeing) to avoid the unknown terror in the dark corners of their imagination.  But now the stunties are starting to think that this "phantom menace" is now gone and wont be following them out of the marshlands.

No time to dwell on that now, though.  Wallace and his highlander scouts have encountered an unknown force ahead in the ruins of Tharbad.

Humans!  By their flags and livery, they look Gondorian.

Left to Right:  Mallory, Boromir, Merlin, and the Dwarf Scouts.

The sun is setting and darkness begins to fall all around them.
The wizard Merlin says they are surrounded by evil creatures and their only hope for survival is to join forces for the night. 

Merlin is an astromancer of the White Citadel in Minas Tirith.
Mallory is his assistant and chronicler of his tale.
Boromir, of course, is the Captain of the Guard of the Citadel, son of Denethor the Steward of Gondor.

His men are known as the Nights Watch.  They are the crusading element of the Guard and accompany Boromir whenever he goes out on a quest.  And this time, Boromir is seeking a magical place known as Imladris.  He is the son of Denethor the Steward of Gondor, do you really think he would be traveling alone in the wild lands of Middle Earth?

Bugman:  Hello there, humans.  Excuse us, but we must be on our way.

Boromir: One does not simply walk out of Tharbad. Its roads are guarded by more than just Orcs. There is evil here that does not sleep, and the Night Hag is ever watchful.

Merlin:  Hail brave Dwarves!  I am Merlin and I am an enchanter.  Dark evil creatures are all around us! Our only chance for survival is to stick together tonight.

Bugman:  Hmm, well, we did feel a presence in the Swamps to the East of here.  "It" chased us here.

Merlin: Shall I tell you what's out there?

Bugman: Yes, please.

Merlin: The Dragon. A beast of such power that if you were to see it whole and all complete in a single glance, it would burn you to cinders.

Bugman: Where is it?

Merlin: It is everywhere! It is everything! Its scales glisten in the bark of trees, its roar is heard in the wind! And its forked tongue strikes like... like...

[lightning strikes near their feet]

Merlin: Whoa! Like lightning! Yes, that's it.

Bugman:  So its a Dragon out there?  Good thing Smaug is dead!  Oh, I hope it isnt Lil Smaug, I hear he is pretty big now. 

Merlin: (deadpan blank stare) No...  I was quoting a famous movie you might have seen me in...  Nevermind!  Whats important is that you Dwarves stick with us tonight.  Some evil beasties will reveal themselves soon enough.

Bugman:  Or Smauga his mom. (Dwarves gasp)

Boromir: (facepalms) Forget about the Dragons, its Cthulhu-like creatures out there!

Here are some ruins I made out of cork panels and stuff.

Pickles:  Hmm... on the map this Tharbad place is actually also known as Carcosa?

Merlin: Strange is the night where black stars rise,
      and strange moons circle through the skies,
           but stranger still is
                 Lost Carcosa.

Sleepy:  ... (snoring)

Merlin:  Yes!  You are a very perceptive Dwarf.

Pickles:  What did Sleepy say?

Merlin:  He said, "The future has taken root in the present."

Pickles: Whats that mean?

Merlin:  Looking at the cake is like looking at the future, until you've tasted it what do you really know? And then, of course, it's too late.

Pickles:  Im so confused.

Merlin: By the way, that magic map you have is... quite valuable.  Powerful forces are drawn to you because of it.   So beware of every corner, nook and cranny, my little friend!

Pickles:  That doesnt make me feel any better.

The Dwarven commanders decide how best to deploy their forces for the night.

Bugman:  I dont trust these humans further than I can toss a sheep.  But it seems we must ally with them for the night.

Stonewall: I agree with Bugman, that Boromir fellow, seems...  odd. 

The Gondor forces split into 2 units and guard the southern area where the road to Moria meets the Greenway.  Bugman and the Beercart deploys right in the center near the river ford.  Baron Hawk is in the front center.  While Wallace and his scouts hold the northern area.

Boromir:  For Gondor and Minas Tirith!

Baron Hawk:  Here we go again, boys!  Once more, I ask you to bear the brunt of the enemy attack.  Whatever enemy is out there...

Wallace:  Its kinda lonely up here on the northern shore all by ourselves.  They wont take our freedom though.  Am I right buddies?

Bob the bouncer, Stilts and some drunk Dwarves decide to taunt the enemy out of the swamp, by showing their backsides!
The Gondor soldiers arent sure if thats brave or stupid.

 Suddenly the dark shadows coalesce into evil shapes.

Stilts:  Um... guys... monsters?  RUN!!!!

Left to Right:  A Shoggoth, a Night Hag, and a Xorn.

The Shoggoth is a blob of tentacles and teeth, engineered by the Elder Things.

The Night Hag is the spell caster of this bunch.  Some say she was there in the audience when "The King in Yellow" was performed.

The Xorn is a creature from the Elemental Plane of Earth.  It eats through rock and earth, no problem.  The Xorn also thinks gold, platinum, and silver are yummy tasty treats. 

A baby Dhole.

Dholes are worm like creatures that grow to immense sizes.  In the deserts of Arrakis, they are known as Shai-Hulud.

Bless the Maker and all His Water. Bless the coming and going of Him, May His passing cleanse the world.

A Dimensional Shambler.

The Dimensional Shambler hunts for victims to drag back to his "other" reality.  Kids call it the "Upside Down".  Silly kids, its an alternate dimension that is like "a long, gray, oozing plain, beneath skies where the fumes of Hell were writhing like a million ghostly and distorted dragons."

Some deranged Swamp Goblins worship the Night Hag and serve the Creatures.
They call themselves the Oddfellows.

On the right is Oddgit, the leader of the Oddfellows.
As you can see, he likes to use decapitated heads for his magic rituals.

Some of these odd Gobbos like torturing things.

While other Gobbos like to patrol the swamps for outsiders who trespass their domain.

Next Post:  Tales From The Beer Cart, Part 4 - Breaking Tharbad, The Battle

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