Author Topic: SURVIVE HARDER! -- Complete Season 1 (Amazon Blood Bowl AAR)  (Read 11894 times)

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Offline JasonPratt

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In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only blood...

Okay, I'm willing to bet that a lot of people have made that joke already, but it reflects a narrative goal I'm going to aim for: to make the overtly goofy game of Blood Bowl a little more serious.

Before I start, however, I should probably anticipate a fraternal question or seven:


I did seriously consider the halflings, to fit the story I wanted to tell/build. But since I'm still kind of an amateur at BB I decided to go with a team with more potential and a little easier to play although not too easy.

Also, if I'm going to be staring for hours on end at players while taking screenshots and writing gamenotes, I prefer feather bikinis to portly potheads.


Season 1 is complete (well, cup 1 which I guess is period 1 of season 1 is complete), and I'm currently writing up the completed Season 2 (or cup 2 which I guess is period 2 of look I'm just going to call it a season okay?)


Read and find out.  :D


Not as far as you know.


Uh.... .... next question.


Sort of! It's a narrative AAR so the choices I'm making before the first game still show up as narrative there, but that's where I start playing the game.



"Survive Harder!" -- Season 1 (I'm just going to call it a season okay!?) begins, next here on Grogheads.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2014, 07:41:20 PM by JasonPratt »
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline KyzBP

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Re: SURVIVE HARDER! -- Season 1 (Amazon Blood Bowl AAR)
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2014, 07:17:28 AM »
I'll be watching this Jason since your previous Blood Bowl discussions motivated me to buy probably $300 worth of Blood Bowl stuff that I've yet to use. >:(

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: SURVIVE HARDER! -- Season 1 (Amazon Blood Bowl AAR)
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2014, 07:05:00 PM »
Survive Harder Season One: Prologue 1 of 5

In the grim darkness of the bowl, there is only blood.

That’s what I thought to myself as I sat morosely hunched over a bowl of tomato soup lightly sprinkled with some meat, in a waystation dining room somewhere in the asspit of the Empire. Or that’s what the convoy guards called it. Personally I was grateful for the lunch. I was grateful for any food at all, and I made sure the station owner and the waitresses and cooks knew that I was grateful -- not with money, I didn’t carry enough to give out grandiose tips, but with politeness and thanks and honoring them as hosts. The owner didn’t appreciate it much; the waitresses moreso, clearly two friends who looked out for one another.

I was grateful. But still. My life, for most of my life, had recently ended. And at the moment I didn’t have much reason to go on living. Other than the challenge of it perhaps. And politeness -- the waitresses didn’t deserve to have to clean up my mess. Their lives were hard enough already.

I sipped my bloody strings of soup, grateful to be able to afford any meal at all. I did have money, thanks to my father. Maybe I could donate it somewhere to charity. Provide for war orphans. Was that a reason to go on living? If I killed myself, that might set a bad example for the children of families torn apart by... things.

I closed my eyes, and saw the things that killed my friends and family. My father; our troops; our lord; his wife and children. Our failures. I wanted to die and pay for failing my father, to pay for how my father failed at last.

But my father had made sure I would live. Live in dishonor, our family name now ruined.

But live. So that he wouldn’t have altogether failed at last.

I opened my eyes, and ate another bite of soup. This was a pleasant farming town. Not an asspit of the Empire. This is what we fought to guard. Even though we sometimes failed. Even though I was a failure.

Clawing up out of the grim darkness of my mood, I heard complaints. Ingratitude. The convoy guards. They wanted some fun. The girls were not for sale. So the guards were making up excuses.

A hero, like my father had been, would clean their plows right quickly, so to speak.

All I could do was push my chair away from the table, and wonder if I could buy the girls some time to run, and if I would die or wish I was dead -- more than I already wished.

The waystation owner seemed to be taking the side of the convoy guards. Maybe he thought there’d be some extra money in it for him. Surely he thought it was safer to give them the girls. No matter; he wouldn’t kill me. I might be only average as a fighter, but I had more skill, more pride, than that!

“That’s enough,” I reasonably said, behind the line of the guards. They stopped trying to push into the kitchen door, and all four turned at least a little to look behind and check to see if I should be attended to.

Then they dismissed me. As I knew they would. I was counting on that, though I wanted to give fair warning.

I didn’t count on the distraction giving the waitresses a moment’s respite to grab some frying pans. Neither did the guards! -- all of us blinked in surprise as the other men turned back around to crashing iron edges! Well, I blinked anyway. And kicked the backs of several knees, clearing a path for the women to leap across.

They quit, quite decisively. That seemed for the best, though hurling one of their ad hoc maces into the face of the waystation owner was not what I’d have advised. For all I knew we might need it later, or sooner than later.

“This way,” I huffed and pointed as I burst through the door of the dining room into the sunny lunchtime yard; I pointed rightward, having quickly seen the wagons lined across our path and also to our left. “Into the forest, that’s our goal,” I added as we rounded the rightward line. The guardsmen wouldn’t leave their livelihood too far behind. And they didn’t.

It wasn’t much of a forest, but it didn’t need to be. We stopped to catch our breaths.

“Sorry,” one of the women said, heaving her breathing more slowly.

“I was almost done with my bowl. No grave, no foul.”

“Pretty sure that in the games,” the other woman panted, “a grave is not a foul. But thanks.”

“Where can you go,” I asked as I looked and listened for pursuit, “that the station owner wouldn’t be able to find you very quickly? If he hired some thugs? Which he might be able to quickly find, under the circumstances.”

One woman grimaced. “Not to our huts. That would be too obvious.”

The other woman squinted shut her eyes. “We’ll never... we can never go back. We just lost our homes.” Now she was weeping a little from the corners of her eyes. Still, her face seemed strong.

“I know how that feels,” I said. True, I had lost more, but a man could travel the world a little more safely looking for work. “Any nearby family? Because, you shouldn’t get them involved, not directly.” They shook their heads, but one said, “We have friends. Out on a farm. Farther away than someone would likely press for not-much vengeance. We can stay there a night at least. Maybe two.”

“Emcey,” I said, and drew myself up to give a soldier’s bow. I didn’t give them my family name. I didn’t want their pity, or their disdain. They giggled briefly and maybe even blushed a little, and curtsied and gave their names in return: “Andromeda Dolope.” “Anazmache Antibrote. And are you a knight?”

The giggles had been at my expense, but, “I just believe in chivalry, that’s all,” I said, and smiled to show I wasn’t offended.

“Well,” Andromeda said, “maybe someday you’ll be a knight.”

“You’ve certainly made a good start!” Anazmache nodded. “Since you have a sword, and traveling armor,” she continued, “and we do not, would you be willing to hire out as our guard for a night or two? Not that we could pay you much, other than food and a place to sleep -- “

“And nothing more!” Andromeda warned, glowering at her friend who rolled her eyes.

“Of course!” I agreed and hastily added, “I wouldn’t ask for anything more, or even expect it. I don’t need money to travel with, don’t worry.” That might have been a bit too much information -- they narrowed their eyes in thought at that. I inwardly sighed, and wondered how much trouble this would cost me in the end, and whether the cost would be worth it, and asked, “So where is the farm?”

And that is where we went.

And by the time we arrived, the bowl of the sky above seemed filled with blood.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2014, 10:10:04 PM by JasonPratt »
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: SURVIVE HARDER! -- Season 1 (Amazon Blood Bowl AAR)
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2014, 07:12:16 PM »
Survive Harder Season One: Prologue 2 of 5

By sunset we had arrived at the farm; the bowl of the sky above seemed filled with blood. Red sky at night, a soldier’s delight. Red sky at morning, soldier take warning.

I muttered that out loud, and earned some looks. I shrunk in my quilted armor a little and tried to seem inoffensively harmless. Apparently I succeeded, for by the time we reached the door the women were warmly greeting two sisters coming to meet us. Not from the house, I noticed. Flanking us from either side of the house. Carrying a pitchfork and an axe. But warmly greeting their friends; I waited patiently, sitting on a chopping stump, turned around to watch for any possible problems coming behind us. There weren’t any. So far.

“And so, who is this?” a sister said, only a little suspiciously. Anazmache told the story and introductions were made; they were the Antandre sisters, Oigme and Tereis.

And soon we learned their parents had died last week, leaving them the farm to try to handle all alone.

I tsked my sorries and bowed to the graves, and said that I had recently lost my father, too, and that I couldn’t imagine trying to run a farm at all so that I admired them for their efforts. Mainly I wanted to let them know I didn’t intend to stay here as their farmhand! I may have gone a little far in talking about the importance of a farm, however, and how underappreciated farmers were. I tend to talk too much whenever I’m nervous. Four fairly attractive women were very certainly making me nervous! -- I wanted to make a good impression, and yet to leave to find some proper work for someone with my mediocre skills, such as they were. But, neither did I want to leave them utterly in the lurch. Would they be insulted if I offered to pay for help in return for shares in any profits? Their family must have worked like mules for seven generations to earn this farmland free and clear.

I never got the chance to make the offer. The sisters didn’t want to stay here farming; this was discussed over dinner, after evening chores, at which I was fairly pathetic. Not a farmhand, remember.

Soon I gathered part of the problem, and got a little more nervous: four years ago, the local lord had drafted many men of fighting age to war against a bandit chief, a couple of counties away, closer to the borderlands. And lost them all, or nearly all, incompetently. Only a few came home, to their wives and sweethearts left behind.

Consequently, the chances of finding a husband and founding a home right now were slim. And worse for the sisters who couldn’t easily leave the farm to socialize.

I nodded as I heard this, likely for my benefit since they’d know this already, and tried not to look like a mouse in a room of cats.

“I understand,” I finally said. “My own fiance was killed not long ago, along with my father.” I didn’t add they were killed by skaven; I didn’t want the women to guess who I was. I also didn’t add that she was the daughter of our liege-lord, and that our marriage had been arranged, and that we weren’t even much more than casual friends because her eye had fixed on a much more dashing soldier in the corps. A good choice for her, but not so much for me; I couldn’t, chivalrously, bring myself to try to court another woman after I had learned of our engagement -- very early in our lives! As far as I knew, he had died protecting her, even if not successfully. He would have been a good husband. I did add, “I really don’t know when I’ll be... over missing her.” The catch in my throat was not entirely faked. She set the bar quite high.

Then again, what did that really mean? She had been pretty, given her advantages as daughter of a lord, and kinder than might have been expected of a daughter of a lord. But did I think so much of myself that I would only accept the hand of a woman of similar rank or better?! We barely had shared any interests at all; our marriage engagement had purely been one of convenience, though one I was grateful for and seriously intended.

Just as I was rebuking myself on this, and hoping with another corner of my mind they’d take my contemplation as a broken heart not ready to mend -- after all, they had even less in common with me that she had had! -- I started paying attention again: and found that they had moved right along in conversation without me!

That was worth a silent chuckle, against my own self-importance.

My silent chuckle died as I heard them talking about their chances at abandoning the farm to go on adventures while they were still young enough to try. I raised my hand and asked, “Wait -- think about this? What are you actually talking about? Don’t you know how very many people in the world would literally kill to have a farm like this?! This farm is a safe investment! -- especially if you all worked together to help it prosper and grow!”

“What do you care?” snapped Oigme. “If you appreciate farms so much, why don’t you take the deeds and work it yourself and pay us some rent on occasion?”

“Because I have no training. Otherwise I might! -- but no, I wouldn’t, I still would try to talk you out of doing this. Because,” I emphasized, “you have no training.”

“We saved you from getting your pretty, fuzzy face bashed in, as I recall,” Anazmache smirked.

“We helped each other as I recall,” I retorted, “but now you’re talking -- “

“People often have adventures without them being trained at first.” That was Tereis.

“In stories, yes. In life, adventures aren’t adventurous. They’re murderous and tragic. You LISTEN TO ME!” I stood and slammed my hands down on the table and deeply shouted. That startled them nicely. “I know what I’m talking about. I don’t want you hurt, I don’t want anyone hurt. But I know what happens. Trained or untrained, people die. Horribly.”

So, to spare their lives, I told them. I turned away so I would not be able to see their faces, to see their disdain when they heard of my shame.

“I know what I am talking about.

“I am Emcey Stoneshield.”

... “Who??”
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: SURVIVE HARDER! -- Season 1 (Amazon Blood Bowl AAR)
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2014, 07:25:22 PM »
Survive Harder Season One: Prologue 3 of 5

I’m sure my face would have looked quite comical, choking a bit with my eyes bugging out, hearing one or another of the women ask “Who??” -- except that I had turned away to share my shame in order to save their lives. At least I was spared them laughing at my astonishment, as they muttered to each other behind my back, trying to figure out if they had ever even heard of me.

Really? Maybe this was after all the asspit of the Empire!

But no, that wasn’t fair. This area was practically idyllic, what we strove to protect. The leaders of the Empire wouldn’t have wanted to publicize the fall of a borderland castle-town; and rumors might not have reached this far. Wasn’t that even why I was here? To try to outrun my shame a little, and find a place to make some name for myself again if not for my family?

In order to save their lives, I would have to bare my shame myself. That was the chivalrous thing to do. So, I did.

“My father was a genius. Many sons say that, I know. But I am not kidding, had he wanted to he could have engineered a coup and taken over the Empire.

“Instead, he believed in what separates nobility from brutality, humanity from the... THINGS that now infest our world. He believed that power should be used to protect and foster other people, in fair cooperation, in sharing, in charity. In chivalry.

“So he took his gifts, for organizing and training soldiers, and strategically deploying them, and leading them on the battlefield, and carefully searched for where they’d help the most other people efficiently: at a castle-fort, on the borderlands, helping to guard against the beastmen marauders and the greenskin hordes. He found the lord along that line who shared his vision most, and entered into his service.

“The lord already employed a man-at-war however, one who just could not graciously step aside and work together with someone else more talented. Even in a borderland, and between the borderlands, politics can kill.

“Fortunately, my father had married a woman of some noble training; they adored one another, and worked together upon the same ideals, but where he excelled as a strategist in battle, she excelled in political cunning. They did agree to try to win the heart of the jealous general, forgiving his clumsy attempts at destroying my father in various ways.

“Then, she conceived. I made things worse for them, worse for her, for she was steadily crippled in her ability to keep my father safe.

“And then, soon after my birth, she was murdered.

“The jealous general finally figured out that she was the weak point -- or maybe he just grew tired of failing over and over again and threw his honor completely away.

“He tried to hide his involvement of course. But, my father had learned his lessons well, from my mother, and using various evidence proved to our liege-lord, deductively certain, that the general must have had it done.

“My father demanded the right to execute him, and granted him the fairness of a final duel, and easily won, and that was the end. Or so we thought, for years.

“He raised me to honor my mother, to understand and share their ideals. But, sad to say, I lack their talents. As a soldier and leader of soldiers I am only, sadly, average. Not even that good at political maneuvering. Not for lack of trying, but, I am just not my father. I’m not jealous of that, but not everyone can be a shining genius.

“My father loved me anyway, regardless of my talents, not least because I am also the final gift of his wife to the world; or that’s what he used to say. As long as he raised a good man, to help other people with what I had...

“Then the skaven came.

“Nothing else had even come close to overrunning the county. And neither did they. They struck at the heart, the castle itself, from underneath.

“This had been anticipated by my father, too. But, being clever, they had sought the help of evil elves.

“And those... allies... made all the difference.

“My father awoke me one night to tell me the castle and its town were under attack. By then it was too late already. I didn’t know, but he did. He was a genius, you see.

“The tunnels by which some families could have retreated and escaped? Compromised. The gnomish contraptions by which civilians could have escaped by air? Captured and destroyed. All but one, near the top of the castle. Because it didn’t matter.

“Except to my father. He ordered me to ride it away, to fly to another county seat, and raise the alarm, and muster help, and then return.

“I wanted to stay. I didn’t want to live without him.

“He ordered me to go.

“I did.

“I flew away, and saw my father guarding my escape, with handpicked men. They were swarmed, magically seized, seared. Rent.

“I didn’t see my father die.

“But, at impossible distances, I heard laughing in my mind. The laughing of unshelie. They couldn’t catch and torment me, but they could do that at least.

“At noon I landed a couple of counties away -- not too close, for we didn’t know how far the invasion might extend, and any attempt at getting help should not itself be sieged.

“Messengers were sent. A week or so later, tithes of levy troops arrived to help. A decent composite army, and of course one that didn’t leave their own homes overly vulnerable.

“I hurt, each hour hour of every day, sharing the pain of our failure with the people who had died. Our lord had granted my father and his family the honor of a name that told the world about our skill and our reliability. Stoneshield.

“We had failed our name.

“I was consulted, as the army marched back eastward toward the border. The best of paths to travel. What to expect of the area when we arrived. How to siege the castle-town in return.

“I wasn’t asked to lead. And I didn’t ask.

“Nor did it matter. No one was left alive. Not skaven. Not unshee. Not soldier, not civilian, not even a chicken.

“No one was left there dead. Not one single body. All gone. Mockings on the wall, curses to taunt the soul.

“Better to be eaten by the skaven, and made to serve their bodies in their further ongoing atrocities? Or better to be taken by the evil elves, and used as... ingredients?

“Each was assuredly promised.

“Someone else will soon be assigned that area, though not that cursed castle or its town. The Empire cannot let that be an encroachment. Sooner or later, wizards and priests will come to burn the area down with holy fire. But nothing will ever convince the people who come to till the fields that they are safe.

“And where am I supposed to go? What am I supposed to do?! My reasons for living are gone. My finance, my father, my friends. Where can I go that my name will not catch up with me? But then, who would bother giving me a chance at all to do what I’ve been trained to do without my family name? The name that we failed, the families we failed...”

“You did not fail.”

I looked up from my distant gaze in bafflement. What kind of idiotic statement was that??!

“You did not fail,” Oigme repeated. Each of their faces were full of my sorrow, but hard and grim. They had not yet tasted the depths of failure, I thought.

“You lost. They won. That’s what happened. Losing isn’t failure; they fought better. As horrible as it sounds, they earned their win. It happens.

“You’re a soldier. You ought to know that better than any of us.”

Andromeda was nodding. “They abused their win, of course. But still, they won.”

I stared in blank amazement. These... taverngirls and farmgirls...

“You haven’t failed,” said Anazmache, “unless you don’t fall forward.”

“You’re failing now,” sniffed Tereis, though not unkindly. “Stop it.”

I wept.

They put me to bed.

I never had sisters before.

Now I did.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2014, 08:04:24 PM by JasonPratt »
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: SURVIVE HARDER! -- Season 1 (Amazon Blood Bowl AAR)
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2014, 07:33:09 PM »
Survive Harder Season One: Prologue 4 of 5

Chores came first next morning. They let me sleep in, and made us a farm-hold breakfast.

They watched me with hard, bright stares as we ate. I tried to help clean up, but one of them pushed me down in the seat and they did it themselves, rapidly and accurately. I couldn’t help but watch them move. I couldn’t help but evaluate them.

“Fall forward,” Oigme said, as they took their seats around me again. “Do it. Now.”

“Not literally,” Andromeda added, quirking with her smile. “But do it, little brother. We’ll help you.”

“I admit, I was wrong,” I said, and swallowed a lump in my throat. “You already have heroic souls -- “ WHACK! I heard the sound before I felt it, before I could even process why I was looking through tears in another direction.

Anazmache leaned back from where she had slapped me. “That was for doubting our resolve. Now, you catch up with us.”

“And teach us,” said Tereis. “Help us to catch up with you.”

I breathed a couple of times, in and out, and dared not shake my head, even to clear it, and blinked away the tears. “I can teach you to fight. Alone and all together. All together is more important. Alone will save your lives whenever you cannot be together.” They drank in every word, nodding. “No one however will hire you. Not at first. Except for jobs like caravan guards. If you’re lucky. You cannot depend on my name.”

“We won’t,” Andromeda said. “So we will go on adventures instead.” More nodding. They saw glory behind their eyes.

I resisted putting my face in my palm, and said instead, “What you need first is training, training that will count, in a safe and controlled environment. Relatively safe. Training,” I said as the answer dawned upon me, “that can also bring you glory and fame. And, um, social opportunities, if you want them,” I managed to grin lopsidedly.

The tavernwomen Andromeda and Anazmache seemed to have a little more innate skill already. They would be the blitzers. Oigme and Tereis the farmgirls, a little more strapping and robust already, would start our line. Our linewomen.

Anazmache stood, arriving a little ahead of the others at the implications of what I was saying.

“He’s going to make us... an Amazon team in the games!”

It’s a good thing for them I’m not a little less chivalrous, I thought, or else I’d be able to take a lot of advantage of the joy I saw in their faces.

“That depends,” I said in confirmation -- and then had to pause to let the squeeing abate. “First we need more players. At least eleven. I don’t know whether I’ll have enough money to pay for various things we’ll need as well, equipment and fees, and salaries.”

“We don’t care about salaries!” “You’ll take care of us anyway, right?”

“Uh... well, yes, and thank you that’s generous, but still we’ll have to expect the other women to want to be paid for their risk.”

“Not necessarily all the others,” said Tereis.

And that was how, from nearby towns, we added a catcher and a thrower, Tereis Thermodosa and Athtar Evadne. Both women already knew the others, directly or indirectly; both wanted to leave their little farming and forestry towns behind.

This was when I incidentally came to appreciate just how popular some names were among women. Not for the last time either.

We still needed more, another five women on the line at least, but this was a start; enough to start their training on the farm. We ate the crops; the animals, too, slaughtering and salting them first so that we wouldn’t have to be distracted overly much with chores. Also it gave the women a limit of time to get some minimal training done, a line that crept ever closer now -- no retreat, no backing out. We either would be ready to go on, as a core, to grow as a team and compete, or else... there was no fallback point anymore. The farm had been sacrificed. Someone else would inherit it.

In point of fact, after our supplies ran out -- after a final feast that night to celebrate our start in life, packing up to leave forever -- I made sure that we took the legal deeds to the land along. A few days’ travel later, when we reached a sizeable city, I took the women to a gnomish bank, where they watched me put the deeds into the accounts of my family. This would give them legal protection until such time the land could be reclaimed, ideally by the Antandre sisters, who co-signed for the deposit, maybe then with families of their own. Or if, in an emergency, we needed to sell the land for treasury funds, well, the gnomes would assay the land meanwhile and reckon up its value.

“Just how wealthy are you?” Teresa asked -- this was Thermodosa. I had taken to calling her by a slightly different name so that the two Tereis-es each would know who was being called to on the field.

She and Athtar didn’t know my story yet. “Wealthy enough to start. Not enough that starting will be something that I can return from. Just like the farm. Actually, more than the farm -- the farm at least is protected now. Once I spend this gold, it’s gone. I’ll never get it back.”

“Unless you have your ‘girls’ earn it back for you.”

A tall and striking woman sashayed past us across the open floor of the banking building, heading for the door, having made a deposit or a withdrawal of her own.

“He isn’t like that!” “This is NOT what you think it is!”

“Are you sure?” the woman gritted, turning back around, ignoring me completely. “Didn’t he just put your farm, your family’s land, into his own account? For your protection. Of course he would have said that.” I thinned my lips and leaned back on a bench, folding my arms. Either they trusted me now enough or they didn’t. Nothing I said would change that.

The newer teamwomen looked unsure, naturally enough. The other four women stood up protectively over us. The Antandre sisters particularly eyed her up and down; in her high heels, quite spiky, she inched over them, but only that way.

“Too bad you don’t know him like we do,” one of them said; they weren’t twins but from the back they looked alike, and sounded moreso -- I had lost track. Maybe they didn’t know me as well as they thought, I ruefully admitted to myself. By now I should have known them well enough to tell them apart, even from this angle. That probably meant I was holding back a little after all, in case of disaster. They deserved more commitment from me than that.

“Perhaps,” said the other, “we could interest you in another line of work? You seem to have the body for it. I mean that sincerely.”

The stranger scrunched her face. “I’ve already worked very hard to make sure that I never have to work for a man again. I give them orders now, and they pay me to do it. Do what you want with your own lives, if you insist.”

“If you didn’t want to protect us from being hurt, at least a little,” said Andromeda -- I could tell her and Anazmache apart from the back, largely thanks to their hair -- “you wouldn’t have bothered saying anything to us at all. Thank you.”

The other woman blinked. And frowned. And opened her mouth. And closed it again. And started to leave. And then came back. And asked the women to lunch. “Not him,” she said. “He stays here or wherever he wants. Talk to me alone. I won’t offer you jobs. I just want...”

“You want to do what you can for us,” Anazmache said. “Thank you. We do truly appreciate it. And we’ll let you buy us lunch! He can go do something else for a while.” She casually dismissed me with a wave. I admired the tactical acumen. “Maybe we can go shopping? We’re new in town and we could use the advice.”

“And think about this,” Oigme added -- I was pretty sure that she was Oigme. She tended to take the lead on the field. “The job we offered is one we think worth offering to you. The job you didn’t think was worthy of offering to us... why are you even still in it?”

All together the women shepherded off the stranger who knew her way around town.

Later that night, they all returned to our hotel, more than a little bit drunk, and sporting some signs of having been in fights. But not with each other.

The woman of the city, as it happened, was named Akantha. She insisted on taking the field name of “the Seducer” -- she said she might as well help raise fan appeal -- and joined the other women on the line.

She didn’t speak to me, but that was okay. I understood.

Well, she did speak to me once at first.

She said: “If you aren’t what you seem to be, I will personally kill you. I’ve done it before.”

All I did was smile and answer, “If I’m not what I seem to be, I’m pretty sure you won’t be able to shovel my remains into a burning garbage dump. You’ll have to use a mop.”
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: SURVIVE HARDER! -- Season 1 (Amazon Blood Bowl AAR)
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2014, 07:47:52 PM »
Survive Harder Season One: Prologue 5 of 5

“You still need another four women,” the registrar said. She certainly wouldn’t be one; she was even more bookish than me!

“In my defense,” I said, “they’re insisting. They don’t want to be part of the season, of course, not until they’re ready. They just want to be formally a team.”

“You would get some perks.”

“That, and it helps when we’re commissioning equipment. And they’ve worked very hard,” I said. “Being a team will help them be a team even better, so to speak. At the very least, it’ll help us find another four women to hire as players!”

Several weeks had passed since we hired on the Seducer -- whom I insisted on calling the Traducer. That seemed more respectful. She had been paid for joining, and hadn’t understood why the others had deferred, but she couldn’t talk them into accepting. I basically stayed away from her, and tried to let the other women handle her, especially Oigme whom Akantha acknowledged as the leader on the field. At least the Traducer respected the training regimen, as we had traveled the roads of the Empire. She had even had “the legs” and “feed the wolves” written on her legs in ink! Which she of course showed off. She also tried to pick up a little traveling money that way, until Oigme sternly reminded her that she was the one who was making us into what Akantha herself had, disapprovingly, suspected me of! She still tended to get the girls into trouble overnight, calling it fun, and necessary for blowing off steam after training on the road. Sometimes it led to training, in a way, the women teaming up to put their lessons to work in protecting themselves and putting down their enemies.

The registrar looked us over, with an eye that had clearly seen everything already, and never wanted to see a lot of it ever again, ever.

“You aren’t a team. I refuse.”

I shortly sighed; the women behind me grumbled. “Are the rules really that important in this -- ?” I stopped as she held up a finger.

“This isn’t about the rules. They fit the minimum pre-registration requirement well enough. What I mean is that they aren’t an Amazon team. And no,” she interrupted my protest once again, “I don’t mean they don’t come from somewhere in that cluster of towns down along that river.” Valkyries from towns along the Norse had forged off long ago to start their own settlements on a river that they renamed according to a legend of a river in the lizardlands. Why, I had no idea -- I thought Valkyries would be enough of a legend by themselves, but that was irrelevant; an all-woman team was expected now to be called, and act like, “Amazons” for purposes of the Games.

“Once they get their gear,” I started once again to patiently explain, “then they’ll look like -- “

“They are going to die. Or worse. That’s what I mean, you moron.” I wasn’t sure how to answer that immediately, and as I blinked she kept on going. “What did he tell you? Fill your heads with tales of glory and fame, did he? This man is going to get you killed. Or worse. I’m not kidding.” She stood up to walk around the registrar desk, and squinted up at their faces.

“Ahem, in my defense,” I started reasonably, but Oigme answered ignoring me, “We insisted. He,” she jerked her thumb at me, “tried to talk us out of it.” She smiled to let me know she understood my concerns and meant no offense.

“I did,” I nodded and sighed, as the registrar looked at me sceptically. “They persuaded me otherwise. Not that way!” I and several other women simultaneously added. That was worth a chuckle to them; I just flushed and grimly set my jaw. “I have been training them now for many weeks, though some for longer than others. And I know what I’m doing. I know when men, or women, have what it takes to survive.”

“And win,” several women added. The Traducer was silently watching this, I noticed with a corner of my attention.

“You know nothing in the least. How many of you women have killed a man before?” Only the Traducer raised her hand, smiling saucily; she and the registrar looked at me. I shrugged: “She didn’t ask me.”

“Okay, you, I’m not surprised. But how many orks have you killed? Or humanoid lizards? Or undead things that cannot be killed? Or tentacle beasts that will grab those shapely legs you’re showing off and have their way with you?” That was wiping the smile from Akantha’s face. I thought it better not to mention how many beastmen I had killed or been involved in killing, or that I knew what kind of Nurgle abomination the registrar was talking about. I wasn’t the one who’d be out there on the pitch with them; but now I saw that none of them had really thought about what they’d be facing before. Come to think of it, all those weeks on the road, I hadn’t tried to warn them off myself -- not this way.

“You know nothing in the least,” the registrar repeated, nodding her head and folding her arms. Had I been waiting for someone else to make this point, so that I wouldn’t be the one they’d resent for telling them the truth? Had I meant to wait until they saw the truth themselves, so that they could make their own choices, fully informed? Still, I thought I should say something.

“Excuse me,” I started.

“Ik!” She raised a finger in my direction. Ik? “You, keep quiet. I blame you, whatever you’re going to say.

“You listen to me,” she continued, speaking to the other women. “I am Marbet Mavenwood. You won’t have heard of my father, or my mother. My father doted on my mother, who wanted to get together a team of friends and play in the games. Junko, Connie, Mahelia, Kate. They called themselves the Shrikes. They didn’t last a season. Some of them died; others wished they were dead. My mother only escaped their fate because of me. My father died in the final game, rushing onto the field to try to block a THING of some kind raging up the field to tear apart some women who hadn’t retreated yet. It crushed him like a wheel. I’m told their little waterboy, Uso, he went insane and skipped around the city for a couple of years, singing a cheerful song: “Stand up to the victory! Stand up to the victory!” Over and over again. I guess until he got too old for that to be anything more than only annoying. Then he disappeared. My mother lived in shame and grief for many years, until she died of a broken heart. I think she was only living long enough to see that I could take care of myself. I’m not entirely sure she didn’t kill herself -- when she found out that I had become a registrar for the Games.

“She couldn’t understand why I would do that. Partly because I had grown up on the fringes of the game; also, the League likes an attractive woman to be a city’s registrar, and not many women want to do the work so the pay is very good. Mostly, though, so I could do THIS!”

And then she walked over and slapped me.

“How DARE you bring them here,” she hissed. “How many times have I seen some... some rich poof... bring a stable of admiring ninnies here, wanting to see them painted up and prancing on the -- “


That was Athtar Evadne. Right on Marbet’s forehead.

“You,” Athtar said, “don’t know anything either.

“We aren’t his team. We ARE the team. We belong to us. He doesn’t own us. We own us, and we’re the team. All he does is coach us, and spend his own money for us. Because... because he’s like a priest of chivalry or something!”

“Also,” said Andromeda, “he lives all his life in pain and horror. He knows war and what it does to people. You don’t know who he is.”

“Um,” I tried to interrupt.

“This is Emcey Stoneshield.” I sighed, and bit my lip and turned away. “You didn’t fail, little brother. Stop it. Now.” I couldn’t help but smile at that. Dammit.

Marbet didn’t say anything for a moment. I hoped she hadn’t been stunned too much; Little Athtar could pack a punch. I dared a look. Marbet was staring widely. So she knew, she had heard.

Then she squinted her eyes in suspicion again. “How do you know?” she asked the women.

“The banking gnomes believe him. That’s enough for me,” said Anazmache.

“So... who is Stonehouse?” asked Akantha. Apparently, the original four had faithfully kept my secret from the other women till now.

“Stoneshield,” Marbet corrected her absently. Horror was lightly crawling across her face. Horror and something else. “You... your father...”


“The Emperor asked your father to come and work for him. I also heard that.” My eyelids stuttered, a novel sensation. “You didn’t know that? Your father declined, loyal to his post. Where he died. That’s what I heard. I hear a lot, in my position. You are the son of Stoneshield? The man whose plan destroyed an orkish army, in the mountains, when they had both advantages of numbers and terrain -- with only twenty soldiers dead?”

I raised a finger. “Let me clarify a couple of things, please. First, yes, my father trained me. He trained lots of men, and even some women. I am not my father, though -- I am not a genius. I am not a great warrior even.

“Second, what they said is right -- I don’t own the team. I only support it financially and help them train. Why? Because I didn’t find them. They found me. They pulled ME out of a ditch, and saved MY life, and gave ME something to live for. I owe them forever.

“Third, and most importantly: I don’t think my big sisters here even know how to fail!”

And then they all walked over to stand behind me. Even the Traducer. “He belongs to us,” said Tereis. “Not the other way around.”

Marbet was trying to talk, and not succeeding very well. “THINGS!” she managed to finally rasp. “You seriously have no idea! I have to sit here every day, wondering what will walk or creep or shuffle through the door. I HATE IT! -- I hate them looking at me, I hate the thought of one of them even touching me. I don’t understand why... how those things could even be allowed...” The women let her continue because she was quietly weeping I guess. “Even the men. The human men have made themselves into things. Even the other Amazon teams -- the women give up their humanity, and turn themselves into monsters to survive. They.... you...”

“We have him,” Oigme answered. “And we have each other. We’re a family now. All of us sisters together. And one brother,” she grinned. “Why don’t you come with us? You need a family, too, I can see. Not as a player, don’t worry. But, we don’t know the Games, not like you do. You don’t want to be where you are; but now you can put your knowledge to work in a way that won’t involve you ever being anywhere near those things again. You can be our manager.”

“You can help us keep our humanity, too,” added Akantha. “Gods all know I need some help with that myself. And gods all know, you need some fun in your life for a change.”

The other women all nodded and murmured agreement, along with some “little sister”s, and some tears I think. Women. I tried to mention something important and snuffled and coughed. They patted me on the back, rather hard, and laughed.

Marbet shook her head. “The moment, I mean the moment, any of you want to quit, I heartily urge you to do so. But...”

“Hold up!” I croaked, and cleared my throat and stepped forward, and turned to address the team. “I don’t know all that much about the Games -- someone hasn’t given me a copy of the rules, yet -- but I do know this: in a war, men can’t quit and go home whenever the going gets tough or scary. Withdrawing together is one thing; a rout is something else. A rout gets more people killed than anything else; that’s a fact. That’s SO MUCH of a fact, that any commander will spend about a third of his time trying to figure out how to annoy or scare an enemy force into running away -- so they can be slaughtered far, far more effectively.

“If you give up, you give up together. If you have to pull back, you pull back in a way that protects your sisters. You don’t get to quit and just leave the rest of us hanging. I know that Marbet means well, and I don’t have any problem accepting her with us as our manager -- even to manage my money, for your sakes.

“But THIS is what an adventure means. Facing horror, facing fear, facing certain death sometimes. And pulling your life together anyway. Surviving. Winning if you can. But if you can’t win, you .. survive .. HARDER!”

Oh, crap. They were adoring me with those eyes again. Even Akantha looked impressed. Fine, if it helped them survive.

“I... I wondered, what it was like,” Marbet breathed. “To hear your father speak. Okay, but you cannot be Stoneshield,” she continued over my protest “not my father”. “Under the circumstances that would draw all kinds of problematic attention. He’s... um...”

“He’s the Cavicorn!”

I don’t know which of the women said that; pretty sure not Akantha. I had been watching Marbet, and I whipped my head around in shock. The girls were laughing at that in scandalized delight. “Filion Cavicorn!” said someone else through the laughter; now they were practically falling onto the ground, belching out their lungs, probably at my expression as much as anything.

“And we are the Cavicorn Crushers!” crowed Akantha. Of course.

This was going way, way, waaaaaay too far. “Those are utterly ludicrous names. I refuse, completely,” I declared, firmly stamping my foot and folding my arms. “No discussion, period.”

So, Marbet registered us as the Cavicorn Crushers, saying that no one would ever suspect my identity now. And then resigned her post.

And promptly took the girls to spend my money. Wisely, I hoped.

[Gamenote: yes, the actual AAR starts next, at last. I went ahead and posted all the prologue pieces first, together, in order to get them out of the way at once.  ::) ]
« Last Edit: July 22, 2014, 08:21:54 PM by JasonPratt »
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: SURVIVE HARDER! -- Season 1 (Amazon Blood Bowl AAR)
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2014, 06:48:45 PM »
Survive Harder Season One: Pregame 1

“And you think this is wise?” I asked in incredulity.

“Relatively, yes,” Marbet answered. “Relatively.”

A few days later the girls were... trying out their uniforms. For want of a better word. I noticed a pattern, where most of the women -- Akantha excepted -- would fall into various flavors of scandalized joy, laughing harder and harder over unpacking the pieces, taking them off to a tent set up for this purpose, and then tentatively or brazenly returning to the approbation of their sisters. Eventually they’d get around to parading themselves for me and my approval. Frankly I was relieved that Marbet was sitting with me, gauging the uniforms, too, and suggesting slight arrangements. That didn’t keep the women from falling over themselves after showing off for me, but at least I didn’t feel like... what had Marbet said? A rich poof? Not entirely anyway.

Akantha was, not exactly egging them on, but adding some professional cachet to what was happening. Also, she was sketching where she’d recommend painting numbers on their bodies. Among other patterns.

“At least I talked them out of choosing pink. Or peach, that would’ve been worse,” Marbet muttered. A royally fetching purple did work well and added some dignity back. “Maybe later, once they’ve had a lot of practice surviving.”

“Why do it at all?!”

“The League, and more importantly the fans, have expectations about an Amazon team. And we need all the initial fan support that we can get. That reminds me,” she rifled through a purse and found a list. “Here is the budget for throwing a ‘coming out’ party. We can only do it once; this should suffice for a crowd of around ten thousand. Maybe twenty,” she mused, and took back the list to adjust some figures upward. “The girls will run out of a tunnel in the stadium, or we’ll have a fake one built, showing themselves to the revelers...”

That worked out about as well as each of us expected for different reasons. No one was hurt at least; no one that we cared about. I didn’t understand why the women on the team had laughed so hard again at what the party would be called. The full extent of female humor would always be beyond me, I suspected, but that was okay. Affectionately uncomfortable, but okay.

That would occur a little later, of course. Meanwhile Marbet continued: “It’s a good thing you have long since started training them to use their bodies to substitute for a lack of armor. Flexibility, rolling with hits, will -- “

“Em!” Teresa ran up, followed by the others in various stages of... uniform for want of a better word. I tried not to stare too obviously. “We would like to wear your family crest, as our symbol.”

“Completely out of the question,” Marbet answered before I could do it myself. “People would instantly know who he is.”

“Sure, but maybe your family had a symbol before you were given the Stoneshield name?”

“uh...” I was a little caught off guard by Marbet not jumping in to answer again. And other distractions. Lords above, I’m only a human man after all. “The, uh... we had a, like,” and now the women were snickering -- and pressing in subtly closer. Dammit. I closed my eyes -- more snickers -- and took some breaths and aimed my eyes at their faces more or less, and started again. That worked okay. “It looked like a sword, stuck in the ground, but wasn’t a sword. But bloody, sort of, in a way. My father said our family had passed it down for centuries and centuries, since the time the greenskins fell from the sky in rocks. We still don’t dare use it though, I’m sorry.”

Over a chorus of disappointment, Akantha suggested, “Well, let’s thicken it up!” Seriously? Did everything she ever said, have to carry some kind of extra meaning?!

So they shortened and thickened it up -- chortling about the thickness being much better than length, a reference I wasn’t sure I understood and didn’t really want to make guesses about. At least they kept the red color. It could have been peach.

As we continued to practice through the current season, Marbet got in touch with various cheerleaders, and women called Bloodweiser Babes, who had been taking conditioning and physical training to someday be asked to join an Amazon team. The first four didn’t have special skills, and so would fill the line, but they didn’t care -- especially once they learned my long-term goal was to build a team where any woman could feasibly play at any position. We also paid them; they didn’t have personal reasons to join. Well not all of them. Andromeda had written to a cousin, Zerynthia, who turned out to have been training on her own for a while, so wasn’t far behind physical par when she arrived in the city we were staying. The sisters Alkidike and Akantha Synope, and Agamede Ainia, rounded out our line when they arrived. I tried to get the new Akantha to change her name, but she staunchly refused to change it for someone who had taken the fieldname of “the Seducer” -- the other woman didn’t give a fig. Not until the new Akantha started calling her the Old Akantha.

After that I made sure the two women constantly practiced on the same subteam, whether with or against the ball. I also made sure they knew I was entirely prepared to drop whoever I thought would endanger their sisters on the pitch by being catty toward one another. Marbet said as soon as they got a taste of real fear they’d gell together. Or melt away. Maybe literally depending on what we were fighting.

Marbet still had some other women on the way, another catcher and thrower, but they wouldn’t arrive until our first season had started and would probably be unable to play until they had spent sufficient training time with me.

This was enough. Enough to start.

We took them back to the local League offices for the next part of the registration.

“I won’t. I quit,” declared the Seducer.

“You signed a contract,” Marbet reminded her. “And got paid up front, for five years. There will be penalties. Stiff ones. Stiff ones you won’t enjoy, in case you’re thinking of turning that phrase around.”

“Fine. I didn’t sign up for permanent slavery either!”

“It isn’t slavery,” I tried again to explain -- the other women weren’t happy about this either.

“Maybe you didn’t know, but she did.” Akantha pointed at Marbet.

“Why didn’t you tell us?” Oigme wanted to know, asking the question reasonably but with similar distaste and panic in her eyes.

“You seemed to be willing to stand on the pitch against nightmarish threats,” Marbet snapped back. “You made that very clear. Your choices have consequences, ones you may not see coming, leading to other very hard choices. So, here is your first hard choice. Either you accept the chip or not.”

“Either we accept the power of death and pain, over our lives, by some faceless authorities -- !” But Akantha burped to a halt as Marbet trod across the floor and into her face.

“That. Is. Exactly. Right.” She poked Akantha in the chest, emphasizing each word. “The League authorities keep those THINGS on the field from running completely rampant. But the rules that apply to them, apply to you. Get used to accepting that.”

“For what it’s worth,” I said, “Marbet tells me the League is rather lenient about enforcing the penalty.”

“That shouldn’t make you feel much better, though,” Marbet continued, unexpectedly. “The chip is a last resort if the player gets out of control, but the League knows the fans want blood. And death, if it can be arranged within the rules. Or outside the rules to a certain extent. Ask me just how much those chips helped spare my mother’s team. Ask me how much I care that the THING that killed my father was killed by the chip before it got to the final women. He distracted it long enough for them to get off the pitch, at least.”

Akantha thinned her lips. “I don’t care. It’s the principle. Someone can threaten me with my life, with pain worse than death perhaps, if I don’t do what they say. I’ll never, ever go back to that.”

“I can just about guarantee,” Marbet quietly told her, “you will be going directly back to that, if you voluntarily void your contract. Test me on this at your peril.”

“I’ll go first!” I loudly stated. That had sounded so much better in my head before I realized the context I was saying it in -- the women stared at me in affronted surprise.

I shook my head, walked over to the League wizard patiently waiting behind a transparent wall that, I suspected, blocked any sound. And I sat down in the chair.

That was the signal for consent, so long as I appeared to do it willingly and wasn’t pushed in.

It felt like the wizard broke my spine a moment later.

I could see that that didn’t help the women feel any better about what would happen. Still, I stood up as quickly as I could, and tottered as firmly as I could out to where they stood, and said, “It felt like he broke my spine. I won’t lie. But much, much worse could and maybe will happen to you out there. If you can’t handle this, you don’t need to go any farther.

“But whether you do, or whether you don’t, now... they can kill me. Anytime they want. Without even giving me a reason. Or make me wish I was dead. As a warning. And even if I retire someday before I die, this chip cannot ever, ever, be removed.” Personally I suspected that the chip could also provide the opposite of pain, though why any of the mysterious and anonymous League directors would do that... well, it didn’t bear thinking about. Not a notion to help the women feel any better for sure.

Marbet nodded in approval as the other women continued staring at me, now in shock and disbelief. “Coaches and managers, too, yes. Those are the rules. Naturally, the sensible thing to do is wait until their first team has committed themselves. But...”

Marbet Mavenwood walked over to the chair. And sat. And shouted a scream as though something had punched it out of her. And stood, and came back to us.

“Whether you do. Whether you don’t. He and I are committed together now.” We looked at each other -- her dryly crooked smile probably looked like mine -- for the same reason? Probably. A terrifying parody of marriage vows.

“You say you’re sisters, a family now. Well,” I said, “we just became your mother and your father. In that sense.”

Oigme stepped up. And accepted the chip. And stood with us.

So did the others.

Akantha the Seducer was last. But she did it. Not that day, but the following day, after drinking rather heavily. And refusing to leave us.

Afterward she walked up to me and said:

“You aren’t my father. Thank the gods above and below.” She shook her head in something like amazement. “Little brother.”

Then she punched me to the floor and walked away; I guess in case I mistook her for getting sentimental. Or maybe she thought she might not have a chance, later, if things went badly.

Soon we packed up and got on the road, all our women and their equipment, heading for a northern Empire outpost on the borders of several barbarian nations, leaving behind notices for the other coming women to follow us onward. We had hired a bony old apothecary to permanently work with us, too. Defense, I had been stressing from the beginning, had to be our first priority; and Marbet agreed.

Soon, we would be entering our first tournament: the Clean Cup. As our traveling days dwindled along with our time to train and prepare, I continued stressing every day:

“Luck is important. So important the dwarves who discovered the Games in that long-buried temple say they discovered a god of luck named Niffle worshiped there.

“But opportunity is even more important.

“And whether it’s luck or opportunity -- you work hard to make it yourselves!

“Put yourselves in place to benefit from any luck.

“Make your bodies change your fates; take as much control you can of what happens to you in battle. If you see an injury coming in, don’t accept it! Fight it! Try something crazy! It’s usually smart to be safe, until being safe has clearly failed. You might even take your enemy by surprise. But minimize your own surprises! Watch, watch, as if for a thief in the night!” That was a very old family saying. Might as well pass it along to my newly-made family now.

I also started training them now on how to time their kickoffs together, in order to get a move-on quickly, a step ahead of the other team. We didn’t have much success at first; I told them when they survived that then they’d understand the timing better.

Marbet meanwhile coached us all on the rules. And various things that we could expect.

“If we’re lucky,” she said, “we’ll only have to fight against some other human teams at first. Maybe against some elves. Or maybe halflings. Though they have trees. Which are not to be trifled with!” she warned. “We’ll adjust, once we see. We have no prestige at all, and anyone we fight in this cup will be almost as inexperienced as we are. Almost. Not quite.

“But maybe we’ll be lucky. We can pray.”

She did.

We weren’t.


[Gamenotes: the chip of death is something I invented to help explain some in-game factors in this somewhat rougher version of normal Blood Bowl goofiness; also for drama’s sake. One might have expected us to be pitted, for this initial cup, against three of the teams immediately above us in that prestige ranking list. But we weren’t. This entry dramatizes my final initial roster fill-out -- though the Seducer is somewhat out of order for narrative color -- and my choice to buy initial fan factor bumps (the ‘coming out party’, which in-story won’t actually occur until next entry, and no I’ll be moving quickly past it to get to the game); two permanent dice rerolls per half; a permanent apothecary, who may or may not become more of a character later I haven’t decided yet; and a little “assistant coaching” skill which since I don’t want to add any more characters I’ll attribute to Emcey’s initial talent. I’ll cover a few more pregame factors next time, but yes I’ll narrate a game finally -- not in every detail of course, but I’ll hit the highlights. No we don’t have cheerleaders yet. Yes I will have some team screenshots.]
« Last Edit: July 21, 2014, 07:03:51 PM by JasonPratt »
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: SURVIVE HARDER! -- Season 1 (Amazon Blood Bowl AAR)
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2014, 07:27:45 PM »
Survive Harder Season One: Game 1: 1 of 2

“Uh-huh, okay,” I absently agreed to Marbet’s announcement, as I pondered how best to add another coaching shout in code. “Wait. What?”

“I found us a sponsor!”

“Yes, I understood that. What’s... human polish??”

“Really?’ll see. The girls will wear it onto the field, of course.”

“Never mind,” I sighed. “What kind of terms did you get?”

“We only have to rank higher than nothing, at the end of the cup; and only have to win ten percent of our games. And -- “

“Wait wait, hold on. If we win no games at all?”

“We don’t get paid. But we’re still locked into contract until we succeed.”

“Modeling their human polish on the field, of course, got it. But that wasn’t what I meant. This cup is small, we’d only play five games at most.”

“Yep! We only have to win a game to meet the payout terms!”

“And I bet that they were glad to give you those terms, since if you had promised at least twenty percent then they would have to pay more in proportion.”

“Sure!” I looked at her and bit my lip. “What?”

“Okay, I know you’re excited at getting our first sponsor. And that’s great. I know you’re good at math, too, better than me. You’ll figure it out. Try not to kick yourself too much: you were very excited, that’s all.”


“Any other terms?” I asked, hoping to get her off the topic as soon as possible. There wasn’t any reason now to harp on it. I could have made the same mistake myself, from being excited.

[Gamenote: I totally made this mistake myself. Even winning one game would still have been 20 percent. I threw away money for nothing. Bleh.]

She glared at me, but answered, “The League employs a detailed method to calculate the value of a team; if we manage to get above 977 during this cup, and also win a game, and so get any rank at all, they’ll pay us one hundred and thirty-two thousand in gold.”

“A very good deal,” I told her -- with all the true sincerity I could muster. “Thank you!”

“You think there’s a problem! I want to... what dear? What’s the problem?” It took me a moment to realize she wasn’t talking to me anymore, but to a woman at the tentflap.

Agamede was nearly white. And holding a parchment roll.

“They aren’t human,” she rasped.

Marbet took the scroll, and bade Agamede sit down before she sank.


Well. I knew it had to happen sometime, probably, in our career. Better sooner than later. “I’m so sorry, Em,” I heard her saying. I was trying to answer. It took me a couple of tries.

“Could be worse,” I said.

“Oh, it is,” Marbet assured me. “We’re also facing a team of werewolves and undead monsters. And also some demons of Khorne.”

Now I was the one who needed to sit down. I admired Marbet for keeping her feet. “What the literal hell kind of tournament is this!?”

Marbet sighed; “One we don’t have any choice about entering. They call it the Clean Cup, but that only means the absolute dregs are left in it. So, look at it this way. These will be, probably, the worst such teams we’ll ever have to play against. Might as well get the women...” she bit her lip and closed her eyes “...used to...”

“Hey. Hey!” Now I stood and stepped to take her by the shoulders. Afterward I would recall that Agamede was carefully watching this exchange from the nearby cot, in order to bring back something far less horrible to talk about. Though untrue. So far. Yet. I really didn’t know what I was supposed to be feeling for any of the women. But Marbet at least was the Mom of the team, so we had roles to fulfill. “You don’t have to be there. You don’t have to be anywhere near, at all. That’s what we said. That’s what we agreed. No one here even wants you there! Okay, that didn’t come out at all the way I meant...” Getting a laugh from her, under the circumstances, meant more to me than anything else I did that day.

The skaven.

Not the tribe which ruined my life of course. And even if they had heard of me, they wouldn’t recognize me in order to taunt me.

Marbet insisted on hiring one more of the wandering apothecaries who followed the Cups and Tournaments of the games. I didn’t mind. I did worry a little that she was stretching our treasury too far -- by many standards I still was a wealthy man, but we had to have already come near the limit of what I could buy for the team, surely, without me spending it all! Still, I understood.

The skaven.

And worse than them to come, even in only this least of possible tournaments. I was glad that we had already held the ‘coming out party’ before the other teams had arrived in the area. As... problematic as that had somewhat been, had the women known these... things were nearby... had they actually been nearby...

When Marbet and I left my tent to go tell the other women, who doubtless would already know but needed a talk to get them prepared --
-- we found them waiting for us. Already prepared.

“If possible, little brother,” Oigme announced, “we will kill as many rats for you as we can.”

Game day. Marbet has brought along two expensive kegs of Bloodweiser; some of the new girls think this is great.

“What are you trying to do?? And why are you even here!?” I demanded to know, looking around; the rats should be in another tunnel across the field, not this one. Still.

“I’m here for my family, too,” Marbet simply said.

“They shouldn’t be drunk on the field!”

“That isn’t what this does. Trust me. Drink up girls!” She passed around the mugs. “Whenever you get thirsty, tap the mugs!”

“Is this... are you doping them? They’ll be screened!”

“No, no, this is perfectly legal,” Marbet assured me. “But if a woman gets knocked out, this will help revive them sooner. The spice mix or something. The brewers stole the recipe somehow from a team of lizardmen some time ago; they called it gator--“ Horns blew. Summoning us out of the tunnel, onto the field around the pitch. The ratmen came in from the other side. Thank goodness.

“They... they have cheerleaders!” The women were staring in horror. A goblin was marching down our end of the pitch, tapping random body parts with a needle that he put into some contraption -- testing for illegal drugs. “Was that in a RAT!?” a woman demanded, recoiling; the goblin glared and hissed.

“Take the prick,” I softly told her from behind, following along with the referee. “The machine he’s using sterilizes the needle, and you have to be legal to play. Do it for your sisters. Don’t leave them on the field against those things without your support.” She offered an outer thigh and took it.

“Hey. HEY! Those things killed our little brother’s family!” That was from the Traducer, of all people. I made a note to try to find another nickname for her. “You walk out on that pitch right now, and look at what they are. And don’t let them touch you. But kick them when you get a chance!”

“Legs are stronger than arms,” Oigme agreed.

“That... team is at least half again as good as we are.” Marbet sounded hopeless. Several of the ratmen line actually had to wear cages on their heads...!

Just after we lined up on the field, across the middle line from all the ratmen players, the rain began to fall.

“The rain will make the ball harder to hold,” I told the nearest player. They were players now. My disgust could not compete with the pride I felt for them. “Pass it along, down the line. This is in our favor.” Ratmen could be more agile than human women. Inexperienced women anyway.

Oigme steps up to the centerline across from a Sturmvermin, a disciplined hard-armored skaven knight in effect. It could be trusted to play without a cage on its mouth, but silently sneered a snarl as it tapped its head. The referee threw its coin in the air -- but landed tails. Oigme did as instructed and elected to receive. I would have saved our receive for the second half, but for this very first play of our very first game, I wanted our women to take the initiative, not be on the defensive.

Then she threw out her arms and flashed her hands three times. What was this...?

Following her timing, the other women lined up behind her patted their red cross, somewhere on their uniforms, and pointed in defiance at the ratmen in their line.

Twenty-thousand watchers roared! -- basically the number we had thrown the party for. The rats were not amused; the coach promptly got their cheerleaders to start some... antics... to take the crowd’s attention away, successfully enough.

My mouth was still hanging open. Marbet grabbed my arm. “Did YOU tell them to do that?” and “No!” we asked and answered one another together in shock.

I couldn’t say much more. The skaven had started to set themselves in place and I needed to think. But Marbet said:

“They didn’t do that for the ratmen’s sake.

“They did it for yours.”

Now I thought I might cry. “Form the Wall!” I shouted instead -- rather redundantly, since they were already doing that, keeping only Athtar and Andromeda back to catch and protect the kick. At this time I thought our catcher ought to be put up front, awaiting an opportunity to move the ball downfield, since after all the women were mostly equally skilled in attack and defense. Here, they would be able to reinforce one another most effectively. I could hear and see them saying to one another, as the rats, large and small, chittered across the line of the field:

“Survive.” “Survive, sister.” “Survive.”

Then the ratman in the backfield kicked the ball our way.


Athtar promptly runs up to grab the ball, but our training couldn’t replicate its twisted shape and spikes. She fumbles it, and just like that we’ve lost our starting initiative! The ratmen surge ahead, generally toward the ball behind our line -- and Zerynth isn’t quite able to dodge away backward, too distracted in revulsion by the second hairless head growing out of the thing that wants to sever her flesh.

Our first woman down; only lightly clawed but bleeding freely.

“no...” Marbet is murmuring. She shouldn’t have come. “no no noooo...”

Zeryth’s blood spatters on the ground near my ancient family symbol, painted to indicate that we were designated the home.

Our leftward line pulls inward a little to help protect again encroachment from that direction; however no less than three ratmen have already zipped and scurried past our women on the right, converging on the ball. The Stormvermin are laughing at how easily Zerynthia went down, and point out future targets.

This is already a disaster. We shouldn’t have come... we shouldn’t have come...

And then Andromeda clobbers a ratman into the wiry grass, timing her punch to arrive with all the force of her rushing body as the skaven triumphantly lifts the ball in the air!

“For Zerynth! For Andromeda’s cousin!” “Survive, Zerynth! Survive, sisters!” “SURVIVE, SURVIVE HARDER!!”

With syncopated kicks and twists and flipping punches, the women start laying the ratmen flat on the grass along the line, cooperating closely together. Just like they had been training for months on the road.

The ratline is wrecked completely by ferocity and surprise, unable to mount an effective defense; even most of the Sturms go down! Zerynthia herself claws back to her feet and helps support attacks against the wretches! Athtar chases the ball, though still without a lot of success, as Andromeda glaringly dares the other two skaven standing nearby to do something about it.

The ratmen might be stunned by crushing counterattacks on the line, but the three in the backfield don’t lack courage nor lack skill. Andromeda cannot resist a need to retch as one of them fumes its smell in her direction, and its mate is able to skitter away from kicks as it pushes Athtar away, failing to knock her down it’s true, but opening up a path for its noxious brother to grab the ball again.

The core of rats down deep behind our line effectively guard themselves for a moment as Athtar and Andromeda try to figure out what they can do; other rats are picking up themselves as Stormvermin punch and claw various women around, some of them to the ground again. The stinky rat in our backfield intends to hand off to the gutter runner -- when Akantha the Traducer, seeing the problem, runs back from the line at speed to hammer the thing with both her hands!

-- and misses!

-- but uses the momentum of the miss to curl her body around and cut its legs from underneath!

Together the three women push the remaining backfield rats around, allowing Teresa our catcher to run back upfield to grab the ball herself! Oigme, seeing this, leads an attempt to clear a path on the left side of the field...

...but a rat crouches past their defensive stomps to rush Teresa...

...who counterpunches viciously! -- she and the rat go down together, the ball squipping free on the field once more.

The skaven in our backfield waste no time in going after the ball again, and soon a gutter runner is charging freely down our left-hand side, racing toward our goal-line; ably defended from his rear by a flanking teammate, too.

But the rat has once again underestimated Andromeda Dolope -- desperately blitzing across the runner’s path, by herself, completely avoiding the intercepting guardian, she rams the gutter runner off the field entirely!

The nimble and clever goblin referee, anticipating the probable result, flags the ratman out of the game for the rest of the dwindling half, and tosses the ball back into our center-field, near to Teresa and Athtar.

“Cage the ball!” I cry in code, trying to visually signal, too. We spend a few moments getting women nearby to prepare to grab at the ball if someone fumbles the pickup again; but this puts holes in our front line, and rats start gnawing on our weakened defenses.

Athtar tries again to grab the ball -- and fails. It bobbles around, stabbing hands and arms as women reach for it.

They just can’t muster conviction enough to bear the pain. The ball flops away. Again.

Laughing, nearby skaven chitter in mockery at our women; ratman number 7, a Stormvermin, shouts, “Behold, wormy human females! -- I have lost my patience with you all! You dare not touch my ball! -- touch me if you dare!!”

In total disdain he starts to walk to the ball, his teammates cheering him on and insulting the women horribly.

He casually parries a kick. “I, Thanlut, reject your sad caresses!”

“But if you insist,” he continues, sneering, and catches another kick, this time from our first Akantha, running his horrid hand back up the woman’s thigh, colliding between her legs. Stunned the woman stumbles; Thanlut drags her along behind him as he trots ever faster toward the ball. Only Oigme stands in his way.

“Two of you at once? Since I cannot visit you after the game,” he growls, “I’ll have to have my fun right -- “

Oigme jabs him with the spike on her knee --

-- which he catches with his other hand!

But Oigme isn’t finished.

In utter strain she stamps the leg he caught, pinning his foot to the ground, and using the relative torques involved --


Thanlut spasms, his own momentum converted to disaster. The players and crowd are stunned at once to silence.

“Release my sister, now, little mouse,” Oigme says.

He does, though somewhat inadvertently, scrabbling with both paws and clawy-fingers, trying to find a way to escape, his eyes already blinded by the bones shoved up behind.

Roaring in rage, Akantha the Seducer twists up into a leap --

-- and with a two-handed overhead hammer blow SMITES HIS BRAIN COMPLETELY DOWN ONTO THE SPIKES INSIDE HIS HEAD!

Dead with a pitiful squeak.

“Meow,” Oigme adds.

And throws his body aside.

The crowd erupts.

Our first game. Her first game. A skaven slain outright.

Oigme strides over, to raise Akantha to her feet again, the other woman having fallen down upon a knee.

“Vengeance now, sisters! AVENGE HIM NOW, SISTERS!!”

Teresa Thermodosa, our catcher, picks up the ball, but really that doesn’t matter.

Her sisters are crushing their foes.

This, I realize, is a rout.

About to be a slaughter.

Very, very efficiently.

And then the goblin referee blows his whistle loudly, in a protracted pattern, impossible to ignore.

The half is over.

And we must stop or die.

The ratmen scramble backward away, fleeing from the pitch to safety.

Our girls, our women, rein their triumphant fury and desire.

And then they join the cheers.

[Gamenote: yep, Oigme straight up kills a Stormvermin in our very first game, right before the half. I wish with all my heart that I had managed to get a good screenie of that; but since I couldn't I salted the imagery up a little for melodrama's sake.  8)

Don't worry, the second half should not take nearly this long to recount. I think. Please accept this cheerleader screenie until then.]

« Last Edit: July 22, 2014, 07:46:11 PM by JasonPratt »
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: SURVIVE HARDER! -- Season 1 (Amazon Blood Bowl AAR)
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2014, 08:55:53 PM »
Survive Harder Season One: Game 1: 2 of 2

Half time.

“Okay, wow, listen to me -- you know who I am and who my father was -- I have never seen anything in my life like that!” Well, strictly speaking I had seen several unexpected wins before, but not in this way. And, more to the point, the fight wasn't over. Still, I meant the praise, and wanted to keep the morale going. Before I tamped it down somewhat with difficult facts.

“Now, we don’t have much time. So listen. We need to make a plan on what to do now -- “

“Now we reduce them to quivering piles of ratmush!” Akantha declared, still high on her assisted kill.

I gave them another few seconds to keep on cheering over this, but then I cut my hands across the air and called out “QUIET!” And added a please to soften the blow a little afterward.

“Those inhuman monsters, trained from birth to be killers, are being cursed out by their coach for being so inept to be kicked around by wormy human women. One of them in the hospital. One of them in the morgue.” Also one knocked out who didn’t seem to be getting up yet. They still had a few reserves.

“They have pride, and they have shame, and they don’t have much pity for each other, less so for humans. They’re going to come back on that field in a minute, and seriously they won’t be fooling around anymore. They will be looking to kill you all. Or worse.” I growled all this as flatly as I could; Marbet was naturally nodding along. “You are all in four or five or ten times as much in danger now.

“And they will start with the ball.

“And that is why we need to make a plan, now, while we have a little time. To protect you all.”

“Okay, little brother. We understand. We trust you,” said Oigme. “You taught us how to get this far.”

“What do you want us to do?” Akantha asked, perfectly serious. She who had said she would never take orders from men anymore, ever. On the battlefield, those kinds of vows were luxuries; I paused a moment to notice the other women blinking a little in surprise at hearing her say that so sincerely.

I kept that pause for ten or fifteen seconds, stretching out the tension.

“I’ll be honest. Normally this is where I would call a withdrawal and retreat, before the enemy manages to regoup.” I paused again for effect and gave them a slowly lopsided smile.

“But in this particular situation... go with the Reducer.”

One thing my father did manage to teach me well enough, was showmanship and the value of morale. Waiting for the cheering to die down did cost us some time again, however.

“Okay, okay, we don’t have much more time. The crowd gets easily bored once they’ve found some food and drink and maybe visited the treins.” That was Marbet. “The League will only give us long enough to get some drinks ourselves, maybe some food, try to wake up any knocked out players. Any empty mugs? -- give them to the watergirls, that’s right. That Bloodweiser brew is expensive; and it could save your life.”

My plan didn’t really need long to explain, fortunately. All they had to do was just a little bit different than what they were doing before.

“Brilliant coaching,” murmured Marbet as the girls, and the rats, returned to the field. The elegantly simple plan should even help them make their own opportunities, too.

[Gamenote: in fact I earned a free re-roll this half from “Brilliant Coaching” at the kickoff! Hee.]

“Better than brilliant coaching -- our women removed enough rats last half, they don’t have enough reserves to field eleven anymore!”

“Though one of them is a Stormvermin.”

“True but they only have two, now. And given the experience of the team, he wouldn’t have been waiting on the sideline had he been no worse than anyone else. We’ve got a real advantage now. And now it’s time to exploit it, doing what we demonstrably know how to do.”

Everyone lined up on the Wall again; Athtar our thrower and ‘Dromeda held back as Athtar kicked, following orders to try to plant the ball a little farther back midfield on the skaven side if possible, though not directly under a rat if possible.

They were surely going to get the ball whatever we did, so might as well start the runner some distance away from the line.

Athtar and Andromeda would now move forward a little as our reserves, watching for leaks in the line.

The rats, foolishly, spread themselves out. Probably thinking that we would try to avoid being slaughtered by their wrath, and wanting to minimize the time the ball was not in control. Their coach would likely have readjusted their starting positions, had he been allowed, but part of the rules were that before the kickoff the players had to stay where placed by coaches -- and the kicking team, being effectively on the defensive, got to place themselves last.

“Wow,” Marbet murmured again. “It’s going to be a slaughter.”

Athtar brilliantly drops the ball down center left near one of the last two Stormvermin. A runner with sure hands runs over -- but loses his team's momentum out of the gate, because the ball slips away from him twice in the falling rain!

And then the girls go to work, reducing the enemy.

This works a little too well.

“No!” I try to signal and shout in code, “NO! KEEP THE LINE! DON’T BREAK THE LINE!” But they can’t resist. “They just don’t have the experience yet,” I sigh.

“They see they’re doing well and want to press their advantage,” Marbet also sighs. “That isn’t entirely unreasonable.” But I can tell she agrees.

“Oh no, don’t...! Dammit. Help me warn the girls, after the game: don’t go kicking the enemy when they’re down.”

“They won’t understand,” Marbet shakes her head. “And likely enough they’ll get kicked, too, eventually.”

“Yeah, but if they actually manage to crack through the armor enough to hurt the player on the ground, that ref and his ears might hear the injury happen, and then eject the instigator out of the game! Leaving her sisters with that much less protection! We don’t have reserves to risk that with!”

“I know, I know,” she soothes my complaints. “We’ll both say something later. At least they have enough sense to concentrate on trying to keep the Stormvermin down.”

“But in a stupid way,” I grouse. “They’re spreading out too far and breaking their own defensive support!”

“I think they’re getting your signals; they’re pulling over more to the left, into a more defensive block.”

“Yes, and leaving our right side far more open, if that runner gets some courage.”

“And the other Akantha just went down!”

“Only for a moment; she minimized most of that attack.”

“It wouldn’t have probably happened at all, had they all stayed together along the line with help from the girls in the rear...”

“I know, I know.”

“Oh, lords above, look at Anazmache way out there downfield! No support at all!”

“She’s trying to flank from behind,” Marbet explains, unnecessarily.

“No less than four rats I can see could mob her instantly!”

“I think they’re scared to,” Marbet smirks.

[Gamenote: the last few screenshots have shown the movement grid in the game for the selected player. Green transluscent squares show where the player can freely move without straining (not counting leaving an enemy's tackle zone however); the extra "dice" indicate how much farther she could try to move by "going for it" -- but with a 1 in 6 chance of over straining and falling to the ground, losing our team's initiative and causing our turn to be over (thus "turn-over", which rarely has anything to do with the other team now controlling the ball, by the way.) If a player's base is solid green, the player can still do various actions. If the base is red, the player might still be able to lend support in attack or defense but cannot move or otherwise act for the rest of the turn. Players on the ground, if they have a green base, can be stood up on their turn, and might even still be able to move around a bit, but cannot attack; if their base is still red on the ground, they'll have to stay there another turn (but aren't otherwise injured, only stunned). There is no advantage I know of to staying down on the ground in a turn, except as stomping bait perhaps! -- but the game requires the coach to manually stand up players anyway, probably to generate "oh crap" moments if a coach forgets.]

This goes on for a while. Despite our complaints, the girls are doing amazingly well, carefully syncopating their attacks and keeping the ratmen down on the ground unable to do much more than stand up again and try to punch their way out or escape the traps our women are making. The rattraps one might say!

Even from where we stand behind our goal-line, Marbet and I can hear the women singing to one another to help their cooperative timing: “Survive. Survive. Survive, sister, survive.”

Around halfway into the half, another ratman leaves the game from injuries outright.

This allows our women to push up even farther toward the ball carrier. I have to admit, they’re doing so much better than I expected that I don’t entirely mind whenever they leave a sister hanging off to the side without defensive support. Watching them raptor-pack another Stormvermin-knight is quite astounding, even if I did teach them myself how to exploit an enemy’s armor as weakness!

“Be fair to them after the game,” Marbet says. “Had they kept to your general strategy, they’d still be back at the line, instead of near enough to the runner to maybe -- “

With time running out, the last remaining Stormvermin tries to run around behind Teresa Thermodosa to break a hole in the ratcage letting the runner loose.

It doesn’t quite work.

Teresa, our catcher, mutually kicks the incoming rat. She gets up immediately; he doesn’t. He doesn’t leave the field but he looks as though he won’t recover in time to end the game.

The gutter runner with the ball takes this opportunity to feint his way to our left and around and out of the trap!

The final seconds are ticking down; he doesn’t have enough time to make it over to our goal-line. Unless he can throw it, but no one remains on his team upfield.

“It’s over,” I sigh in relief. “We tied, sure, but anyone looking at anything else than the score will see -- “

Our girls don’t want to be tied.


The ball squirts free --

-- right into the hands of Teresa Thermodosa, our catcher! She bobbles for an eternal moment, but then it’s safe!

Both remaining Stormvermin though have managed to gain their feet; one is ready to rip Teresa apart if she tries to move past him; the other supports the first one in defense. She might be able to flip away, but rats are fairly agile, too...

“Reduce them sisters!” Akantha the Seducer signals another woman nearby; together they team the supporting Stormvermin down!

The guarding Stormvermin, sensing his loss of support, panics a bit, and is pushed away by the other Akantha, Synope, and her sister Alkidike.

“Gods gods gods gods,” Marbet is jumping up and down, I’m trying to hold her feet to the ground to retain some proper dignity but that’s hard to do when I’m hopping just as much to see them...

Teresa runs safely into the endzone for the win as time expires!

The women stamp their feet and literally ROAR in triumphant fury at the stunned and embarrassed skaven. Their final standing Stormvermin slumps to the ground, and actually faints. Their cheerleaders slink away in shame, disgust and confusion.

[Gamenote: admittedly, I took that screenie a turn earlier when I thought we were only going to tie. "Fine, little rat things, dance as much as you want. You didn't win either." Later I checked the screenshot and it looks like, heh...!]

Marbet and I rush onto the field. The crowd is no louder than our women themselves, our players, our team. Not only without an injury; not only putting four of them in the hospital, preventing them from continuing in the tournament for a game or two; not only one of the Stormvermin killed outright, and others reduced to impotent mush...

...we actually won the game.

“SURVIVE HARDER!” the women chant at the top of their lungs, as without apparent exhaustion they all lift Marbet and me on their shoulders. “SURVIVE SURVIVE SURVIVE SURVIVE HARDER!!!”

This couldn’t be our one and only game.

But however dark things got, even in the rest of the season, we would always remember how we began.



[Gamenote: Akantha the Seducer? MVP. Thus explaining why I've focused somewhat on her character up to now. MVP means she earned the most experience points, slightly outpacing Oigme, which not-incidentally also explains why I've focused on her a lot so far. This is where I learn, more incidentally, that the game will not allow me to change a player’s name after I leave the hiring screen. But in my heart, and to the team, she’s actually the Reducer. (In my defense, the game gave her the original name; I just thought it was funny to leave it alone -- because I thought I could change it later! Oy.) ]
« Last Edit: July 25, 2014, 11:47:20 AM by JasonPratt »
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: SURVIVE HARDER! -- Season 1 (Amazon Blood Bowl AAR)
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2014, 09:12:30 PM »
A brief round of anticipated questions:


God no. I hugely lucked out winning my first game this way.


Maybe; probably not. Enough to keep up some framework for some screenshots, and to explain how the story is going so far. That much at least.


Dramatically, eh, yes. I'll still milk the rest of the games in the season for drama or melodrama, of course, but likely enough the next entry or two will be the last for this season.


Yes, but I'm paused while posting this up each night for a while.


Sigh. Yes. And I have at least one screenshot. Also of Necro cheerleaders. And halfling cheerleaders later. I missed snapping Nurgle cheerers so far; if they don't have naughty tentacles, though, I will be disappointed.


In my defense, I think only one of the Amazon player classes has those. And I'm not sure I've gotten a close-up snapshot of that player-type yet.

Still, be fair, you can't be too disappointed with the screenies so far, all things considered.


Yes. I call it "narrative genius", and I invented it.  :))

I hope the read has been reasonably entertaining so far! But, considering how the first game ended, I've designed it so that if people want to drop out here, the plot so far has largely been wrapped up on a nice little high note.  :)


I've been leaving a lot of little 'open plot lines' in the background, in case I get a chance to develop them later. The fall of that liege-lord's castle, and the murder of the mother of the main character...


Hush. Let other readers figure out the joke there. Anyway, those might have been as straightforward as he remembers, or is telling. But they might not quite be either. I haven't entirely decided yet either way, but I've left possibilities open.

Okay, enough blathering, time to sleep for the night.

Updated 7/24 to add: spent several hours writing up Game 2 tonight, too tired to post it tonight. Will certainly do so tomorrow, one post probably. Revenge is a tale that is best served cold, or words to that effect...  ;)
« Last Edit: July 24, 2014, 08:18:38 PM by JasonPratt »
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: SURVIVE HARDER! -- Season 1 (Amazon Blood Bowl AAR)
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2014, 05:40:46 PM »
Survive Harder Season One: Game 2: 1 of 2

The mysterious watchers of the League judged Akantha the Reducer as our MVP, though only slightly edging Oigme. The women genially agreed, including Oigme herself. Marbet and I took note of that.

Despite our brave and even deadly performance, exit polls indicated the fans on average rated our match at only 9 on a scale of 20. Between this and some other factors, mainly regarding our ultra-low prestige, the League awarded us only fifty thousand gold. A fortune indeed, by most people’s standards, but only enough to contract one more linewoman. We certainly couldn’t make a sustaining profit yet.

We were barred from throwing any more pre-game popularity parties, and League rules prevented us from hiring another team apothecary, at least for now -- Marbet said that this was partly to cater to the wandering apothecary union, and partly to cater to fans who wanted to see more deaths and serious injuries.

But Marbet, and some of the girls, knew girls who wanted to join as cheerleaders; and promised I’d pay them well. So, we picked up seven for the normal price of ten.

[Gamenote: actually the other 30K went to improving my coaching with “assistant coaches” but I don’t have those in the plot and I haven’t figured out yet how to otherwise explain that kind of expenditure otherwise.]

The games for the Cup are often held in widely scattered areas. So to my surprise, but not to Marbet’s, she receive a formal notice announcing our departure for a stadium even farther north, out of Empire territory altogether, across the Balltik Sea (not named after the Games, so far as I know), and into the icy fjords of the Norsen tribes.

Far more worrisome was that the skaven team had chosen us to play as their visiting team for this game of the opening pool.

“Bring them on!” was the attitude of our team, and I tended to agree -- we had more experience now (though also so did they), and they had been rather crippled by the loss of players.

Marbet cautioned us though: “They didn’t choose us because they are scared! The skaven want revenge, and they’ll be spending any money they have to get it.”

On gameday we marched into the ruggedly beautiful Norse stadium-village, bringing our newly gained cheerleaders and another two kegs of pricey Bloodweiser brew. Ha, the skaven still had only three cheer...y things!

Then we saw why the rats hadn’t bothered with hiring more cheerleaders.

Instead they had hired a rat ogre.

As the designated visiting team, we get to call the flip; but we lose the toss and the skaven elect to receive.

Athtar kicks away from the runners insofar as possible, but the ball flips out of bounds -- and then in a final twist hops back in bounds again!

Athtar plays to crowd as though she intended that, although she couldn’t have possibly done so, and three of the women on the line, seeing a favorable kick, turn back to congratulate her.

A nearby skaven sees his opportunity --

-- “schmuck” I signal across the field --

-- the women hadn’t been watching Athtar at all.

Following my signal, they whirl in syncopation without even looking and SMITE the attack rat to the ground!

Just as we had planned, and hoped, in practice. Your turn over, skaven.

We manage to put down three skaven temporarily but can’t get to their runner who meanwhile has snagged the ball and tucked himself quite aptly behind a cage of rats.

Several of their team run behind our line, possibly getting ready to receive. The rat ogre meanders in close -- don’t know what to do about him, may need to swarm him.

While I set up a line to push forward, the skaven runner tries an endaround and then a pass to someone further downfield -- who fumbles the ball! Now one of my backfield girls can try to pick it up.

Ogre rat goes down!!

Athtar picks it up and, being a thrower, tries to throw; but to a linewoman since Teresa is exposed to counterattack. Doesn’t work but the ball lands nearby.

A gutter runner picks it up again (dang), but one of their linerats tries to get by a girl and pays the price. The girls are not able to knock the agile gutter runner down, which could be a problem, but they surround him as much as possible; and generally make life miserable for the skaven until I run out of options.

No, girls, don’t kick the rat ogre!! If you’re thrown from the game -- ! But they can’t resist. The goblin doesn’t currently care.

The creepy two-headed ratman continues to be creepy.

Enraged by the stomping, a Stormvermin teams up along with the two-headed rat thing, and throws Teresa Thermodosa down -- stomping her hand in return!

Marbet winces -- we can hear the crack of the bones from here, and poor brave Teresa starts to scream -- quickly cut off by a final punch to the back.

Goblins deftly swarm the field to safely remove Teresa from the game as the skaven celebrate a start to their revenge at last.

The bony apothecary will tell us later that she was able to save Teresa from a debilitating spinal injury, and that her hand isn’t ruined, but it will need so much time to set and heal that our only catcher will have to miss a game.

The gutter runner exploits our women’s distraction over the fate of Teresa to find a route to the side; he dodges one attempt to slap him down, and runs the ball in for the score. Sneering at Marbet and I, as we stand behind our line.

[Gamenote: you’ll just have to imagine Emcey and Marbet standing back there. Sorry. Please accept this screenie of cheerratties... cheering instead.]

The skaven kick off:

But I have been training our girls for what seems forever, to time their actions closely with the snap. Now for the very first time that training pays, as they carefully adjust to the flight of the ball and the probable path that Athtar will run, before their ratmen enemies even notice!

In grim percussion, the women start to slap the rats to the ground again, growling in vengeance over the injury done to poor Teresa. But... no, no, don’t let your anger get too far out of control!

It happens at last. The goblin hears a crack of armor as they kick a rat while he’s down. The girl who led the attack, Alkidike, is ejected from the game.

“THIS!” I shout and throw down a gauntlet. “THIS IS WHAT I WARNED YOU ABOUT! Now we have two women out of the game, and no one to replace you! You stand here and watch Alkidike,” I fume -- she shrinks back at my anger. The other women look ashamed and worried, as they ought. “You stand here and watch more women, your sisters, be butchered now on the field, because YOU won’t be there to help them. And not because you can’t help it thanks to an injury either. I don’t blame Teresa. I blame you.”

Never again. If I have to make those women drag each other through the snow ten miles a day as punishment for every kick I see them give an enemy. Never again.

[Gamenote: I can’t really blame the players. The game doesn’t do it randomly; or anyway none of the players had whatever trait might lead to a random stomping. I was the one who kept on trying kicks. Still, after I realized in horror what my kicking was going to bring about consequentially, I resolved henceforth to never do it again, no matter how tempting it seemed.]

Fortunately no one else gets near the ball, and an attempt to attack my line is rebuffed by Akantha Synope; who quickly checks to see if I approve. I don’t cheer her on. They need to grasp how close to disaster their irresponsible foolishness has taken us.

Discretely teaming up on rats, and shifting around as necessary, the Crushers continue forcing the skaven to do no more than stagger to their feet with no further action -- and then Anazmache works with a squad to KO one of the Stormvermin out of the game!

Not permanently so, but till the next score or the upcoming half at least.

That rat ogre, oddly, has stayed away from the combat line of the women since his first aborted attempt to try to attack one, guarding the backfield instead.

With two rats upfield along with them, my backfield blitzer Andromeda prepares to screen for Athtar.

Can Athtar Evadne pick up the ball? She does! -- but she stays back behind her friend a little rather than running forward into possibly more danger: if they strip her of the ball, they can run in from any distance I could reach anyway.

The ogrish rat, seeing a woman finally holding the ball, starts to lumber forward; more importantly, both the backfield rats attack despite Andromeda’s nearby protection. Athtar, dodging from injury, weaves back into our endzone.

With most of the girls in pretty good position already, Athtar tries a long bomb to Oigme, the only player feasibly free and in range. But the pass is far off beam, trying to keep it from being intercepted by the nearby rats, and even with a last-second twist, Oigme cannot reach it. Given our current luck , it lands predictably near the rat ogre, of course.

Several women get knocked or pushed around as ratmen swarm the ball. A rat picks it up and throws it downfield, toward one of his two nestmates near the goal -- where they had only recently driven Athtar into our own end-zone! -- but they can’t catch it either!


Athtar is able to somersault out of the way of her nearby stinking ratfink, and even manages to pick up the ball; but she utterly fumbles it trying to toss it to Andromeda -- two steps away! Dammit Athtar, why are you even a thrower!? Get it to her and let her miss it!

Fortunately, the goblin referee puts an end to this dangerous debacle near our goal-line, whistling the half.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: SURVIVE HARDER! -- Season 1 (Amazon Blood Bowl AAR)
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2014, 05:41:49 PM »
Survive Harder Season One: Game 2: 2 of 2

“They had ten and we had eleven. Remember how well that worked for them?!

“They have eleven thanks to reserves and we have nine. And they have an ogre, or might as well. I warned you,” I said, their heads hung low in shame and worry, “I warned you and warned you and warned you. And because you refused to listen, now the whole team has been put in much more danger. By all of you for joining in and condoning this risk, not only by... whoever you are,” I dismissively wave my hand. She deserves to cry and looks like she might begin any time. Good. “You don’t deserve for anyone to say your name for a while. Your sisters will bleed and crack and maybe die because of your selfish -- “

Marbet touched my arm. “They know. They get it. Go on stand aside a while.” I do. As we planned. Marbet is supposed to be the good sergeant now.

She holds her hands to her stomach. And silently stares at them in worry and fear.

Damn. That’s even harsher, coming from her.

“So,” she finally says. “Get some drinks. Take a rest. Go visit Tersa a moment. Then go line up on the wall again. And take a good look how much less of a wall it already is.”

Most of the women are openly weeping now; not Akantha or Oigme, but they look clearly chastened, too.

I hope we haven’t overdone it. They need morale now more than ever.

I hope they survive the game at all.

They line up to receive the second half kickoff with no further words from either of us, their team-parents. We need two scores to win, without giving up another. Doesn’t look promising...

Then, an enraged ratman fan hurls a large rock out onto the field -- knocking out Zerynthia!

This looks bad: we only have 8 girls left on the field for a whole half of the game (who knows when Zery will wake), and they still have 11, including the ogrish rat and some Stormvermin.

We push back some rats and reshuffle our line to the right; I can’t trust Ath to throw the ball -- something we’ll also have words about after the game, assuming she survives -- much less can I trust someone to catch it. So she chills and waits for the onslaught.

A couple of my girls get knocked down...

But while trying to get past Oigme, she axe kicks him -- and we regain the initiative to pick up the ball. My stunned girls are okay, just need to stand.

A little positioning later, Akantha Synope, not Athtar, manages to pick up the ball -- but since I can’t quite trust her to hand it off, I signal her to run away from the nearby rat who kicks her in the back.

Fortunately the ratmen are only able to push my team around a little; and in trying to maneuver we KO one, recovering our initiative!

In an acrobatic flip, linewoman Alkidike blitzkicks the stinkyrat away and picks up the ball simultaneously!

I have to admit, I’m so impressed I give her a cheer, setting aside my condemnation for their dangerous foolishness earlier. She can’t move or throw it, or even feasibly hand it off, so all her team can do is mark up ratmen and hope recover initiatve quick when they try to get past us for the attack.

The rats manage not to accomplish overly much in their positioning, other than to bring the ratogre up and to push a girl around; the turnover happens when Athtar defends herself against a rat and they both go down in a pile -- my girl won’t be standing up this round, but the rat is out of the game for a while -- maybe permanently!

[Gamenote: yes I know this is from a slightly earlier in the game, but I didn’t get a good screenshot of Athtar’s knife-edge victory there.]

In a desperate move to free up her sister to run, Oigme blitzes a nearby sturm, managing to knock him down and push him out of the way.

Alkidike looks my way and signals -- I sigh and approve, seeing no other way -- a short pass upfield (despite the defending stinkrat nearby), and Akantha Synope cathches it! Run Akantha, runnnn!!

Not quite to the endzone; but Tereis Antandre, Oigme’s true sister, one of our very first four, helps Agamede Ainia punch a rat out of the way and runs up center field to provide some possible distractions or help later. Everyone else covers possible movements after Akantha.

Akantha Synope is soon surrounded by rats, but in utter heroism she stays on her feet with the ball -- despite a blitz!

Can’t quite get away cleanly -- dare she try to throw it?? Andromeda and another woman are unable to help, having been mauled by rats...!

Oigme and Athtar knock a rat down and out of the way so that Akantha can get some possible help to free her from the ratswarm...

This allows Tereis Antandre to run up behind the two-headed rat thing; with a stunning backflip she crushes its head before it can squeal a warning!

It almost doesn’t help -- though a rat is thrown down, two more could attack Akantha Synope in three places as she tries to get free.

But leaping and tumbling she makes a clear path and now is in open field!

Although a rat breaks free to mark Akantha Synope, the other women succeed in distracting the rat ogre who cannot resist a far more tempting target at hand.

Akantha needs only one more dodge to get to the end zone and tie up the game!




With a kickoff to the ratogre -- but the kick falls fall short -- the rats pick up the ball but lose a rat, and a turnover, as he tries to attack a girl.

By some miracle we’re still 9 vs 9, Zerynthia having awakened from a potentially fatal flying rock at the start of the half but unable to legally rejoin the team on the pitch till now. Though one of the ratmen players is still a rat ogre.

The nearly exhausted women carefully position themselves during the next few minutes, and so succeed in knocking one more rat out of the game; but in continuing their positioning Oigme doesn’t quite escape a tackle attempt by a rat who knocks her out as well. Nothing permanently damaging, the apothecary assures us, but she won’t be able to rejoin the game without a score by one or the other side. Fortunately, the regular lineman rat who currently holds the ball, tries to throw and utterly fumbles the pass.

This may be our last play of the game.

Andromache the blitzer knocks a rat away and tries to pick up the ball but fails.

A mighty scuffle over the ball ensues; in the end the rat ogre of all things finds the ball attached to some spikes on his wrists somehow! -- but flops it in a throw attempt before a girl can even intercept!

And that’s it, the match ends with a hard-fought tie!

The girls weakly cheer and limp off the pitch; the rats sullenly leave.

“They didn’t get their vengeance,” I agree as the women gather round our wounded. “But we didn’t win, and although this could have been worse... remember, please. It could have been worse. Very much worse.

“Always remember why.”

The League declared an MVP, as always -- but when it arrived, a couple days later, and the women gathered around, I burned the notice unopened. That hammered the lesson home a final time.

From that day forward they never kicked an enemy on the ground again.

[Gamenote: to be honest I simply forgot to look. But, hey, drama.]

“I am so sorry,” Oigme knelt over the burning paper. “I should have put an end to the kicking myself.”

“Yes,” I agreed, “you should have. You, or the Reducer.” We all knew very well that she had actively egged it on. But Oigme hadn’t.

So I made Oigme our first team captain.

And that restored some morale.

Which we’d certainly need next game.

[Gamenote: Oigme somehow earned enough experience not only to go up a level but to get halfway to level 3! Not only that but she rolls a double dice result, allowing her, a mere linewoman, to pick from any skill (except mutation which Amazons cannot get at all.) I give her the “leader” skill -- multiple players can have it, as a backup, but no matter how many leaders may be on a field, the skill in play adds one and only one reroll. (Plus another at halftime if we have a master chef, which we don’t.)]

« Last Edit: July 25, 2014, 05:46:29 PM by JasonPratt »
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: SURVIVE HARDER! -- Season 1 (Amazon Blood Bowl AAR)
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2014, 05:43:13 PM »
Note: huh, weird, for some reason Imageshack didn't properly resize some of the images in the second half. Will try to fix that within the BBCode... Update: fixed.

Yeah, that took longer for me to present than I was originally expecting. I'll try to trim things down for Game 3.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2014, 05:47:28 PM by JasonPratt »
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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  • Posts: 18358
  • Now let us see what the future will bring...
    • The Evangelical Universalist
Re: SURVIVE HARDER! -- Season 1 (Amazon Blood Bowl AAR)
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2014, 12:47:51 PM »
Survive Harder Season One: Game 3: 1 of 2

For Game 3 of the preliminary pool of the cup, we were scheduled to be the home team once again, and so we would be allowed to choose our opponent -- and not the rats this time!

But our other options were worse; not only technically better teams, but...

“Well, we can fight against werewolves and the undead. Or bloodlusting demons.” Marbet sank onto a stool and plopped the scouting reports on the little folding table in the middle of my tent -- effectively our command-tent until we earned enough money to get something better.

“You really don’t have to be there on the field,” I tried to say --

“What am I going to do!? Stay here in my tent and imagine what might be happening?!?” I didn’t point out that this wasn’t her tent and that she didn’t stay here at all; I understood what she meant. Her face crumpled looking at the two paper-stacks, and then she started to shake.

“The undead are weaker,” I quickly observed. “They’re falling apart, and ungainly when they move.”

“Except for the werewolves...” she whispered as faint as a ghost.

“War dogs,” I said. “They’re war dogs, for every practical purpose. Maybe mountain lions. Somewhat caged.”

Could someone quietly cackle without any breath? Marbet did. “Spoken like someone who never has sat in their presence before.”

“I’m speaking like someone who fought with my father against the beastman mutant hordes from the chaos hole in the north that may end up dooming our world to madness and ruin.” She blinked and jerked a bit at hearing that.

“I’m sorry you had to sit in their presence when one or another necromantic coach arrived to register them. Truly, I am,” I said as gently and sincerely as I could. “I wouldn’t have --- couldn’t have done that.

“To face them without any weapons, no support, no permission to run away, and no hope of escape... I can’t imagine that. And yet you came back to your desk, day after day, never knowing -- “

“Fine!” she interrupted me. “I’m fine. You don’t have to butter me any more. I’m sorry I forgot who you were, what you had to live through, too.”

“We didn’t live through it.”

She winced and shook her head. “I’m so sorry; everything I say is horribly thoughtless...”

“We didn’t live through it. We fought it. We studied and planned and trained and prepared and armed ourselves and armored up and went out into where they thought they were safe. And we fought them. Together.

“Come to think of it... that’s what some of them did to us, eventually.” I wryly twisted my mouth in something that sure didn’t feel like a smile.

I said the same thing to the team, when we announced what we would be fighting next. I think it made a good difference.

At least we’d be fighting against them in the Norsen village again. I liked that place. So did Marbet, though she usually had too much on her mind to say so.

Aside from what we’d be fighting next, our catcher Teresa was on our mind. And how we could barely afford to hire another catcher. But we could, and I was grateful that Marbet had long ago made arrangements. I didn’t like taking money from the League to simply hire for one game a loner mercenary who wouldn’t fit with the team.

And as it happened, among the women whom Marbet had summoned to follow us on our tournament path, and who had caught up already, we had a second catcher being prepared to sign. She only had needed more training to fit with the team in how we did things; so did several other women already traveling with us and still preparing. But, until we could pay their contracts in advance we couldn’t field them on the team, even if we thought they were ready.

Aeta Alcinoe, though, we could afford to contract now. Thank goodness.

The other women inducted her with a secret ceremony, to which I wasn’t privy, but which I gathered included learning my history. And swearing horrible blood oaths not to reveal who I was to anyone except the official team.

Still, she didn’t quite fit in with our team entirely yet. So, while Oigme’s new position would help us significantly on the field, Aeta’s inexperience with us as a team counterbalanced that so far.

[Gamenote: this is a way of saying that I didn’t spend money on any extra training this time, allowing Oigme’s “leader” capability to give us the extra reroll. This seems like a good time to admit that I didn’t have any clear idea where the “petty cash” was coming from, and so I thought I had to try to save it between the games, thus actually explaining why I didn’t buy some extra training this time! But Aeta gives me an in-game reason for why I didn’t boost our team re-rerolls a little more, even though I could have done so easily. This will also be the real reason why I’m missing my usual second Bloodweiser keg by the way.]

Game day. As usual we go in with a wandering apothecary to help flesh out our bony old hag so to speak. Only one keg of Bloodweiser though; Marbet is worried that too much exposure to whatever secret vitamins and spices are in the drink might somehow hurt the women.


After the usual doping tests, the women line up on the field of the Viking stadium once again. Where the women got their first look at a necromantic team.

“Good, they’re already dead!” Oigme declared, trying to bluff through their nervousness. “That’ll make things easier!” The undead didn’t care that they had probably heard that desperate joke before a dozen times.

The “visiting” team loses the toss, and per my pre-game instructions we elect to kick for the first half -- a strategy I still believe in at this point. One that probably led us to disaster.

Not that the other team needed my help.



The offense adjusts to our wall, and we kick off short (and left) to try to minimize chances of them picking up the ball.

And then, right off the bat, a werewolf runs over and flip-kicks our new catcher Aete -- knocking her right the hell out of the game.


“Not... dead... yet, I see,” it growls in glee. “Too bad.”

We’re down one player immediately. She’s only KO’d, and our Bloodweiser keg may help with that eventually. But we’re already down one player -- and one with skills we can’t replace.

A nearby ghoul runs up and grabs the ball -- the nimble creatures aren’t really undead and raid the guarded graveyards for the necromancers in civilized areas, making them the logical choice for throwers and catchers usually. The necros line up for a supporting push downfield... knocking down Akantha the Seducer in the process.

On our first turn we aren’t able to do a lot of damage but we push some people around (and knock down one werewolf) setting up a blocking situation for the ballghoul. Unfortunately, as our initiative flags the necros start slagging the girls quite badly, knocking down two and sending another yet another to the KO couch. Marbet leaves my side to try to attend to them in our dugout -- where she doesn’t have to watch the necros advancing on our end zone.

Fortunately (if one wants to call it that), the ghoul runs past his protection into the middle of our pitch, allowing us several chances to whack him.

With a little teamwork we swarm the ghoul, knock him and the ball down, and set up coverage for anyone else coming over.

After their daring acrobatic exertions, the women in the backfield need to rest a minute. Andromeda, seeing this, foolishly darts away from the combat front, easily dodging a zombie’s lurch but leaving the line more weakened.

She has already gotten away and is running toward the ball before I know what she’s trying to do, so I grudgingly choose not to wave her off -- but then of course she fumbles the pickup -- right into the hands of Agamede, who also fumbles the ball. “Good hustle!” I manage not to shout sarcastically. At least the ball is protected behind our wall, and though our initiative drops again the necros are not quite able to hurt another girl this time just push them around a little, without being able to get to the ball (yet).

Much more problematically, those wights are nearly as fast as werewolves are; now we have terrible dangers in our backfield, ready to score. Or worse.


No one, under the circumstances, whether us or them, is altogether free to grab the ball without some risk, but our blitzer Andromache manages to do it. Can she throw it to Alkidike upfield left, or even get it close?

She gets the throw off very well, but it’s picked out of the air by a nearby flesh golem!! I wouldn’t have thought he’d even have the skilz...


This is getting worse and worse, even though the girls do manage to keep on their feet during the undead surge over the following minute. How can we deal with this... thing??

Akantha Synope tries to get close to set up some kind of double-hit, but a nearby werewolf swipes her and just like that the undead are galvanized again, so to speak, to take the initiative.


After a bit of pushing by the necros, the golem hands off to the next-door werewolf -- dang that golem must be a lot more agile than I expected! -- who, or which, runs it utterly upfield into our end zone.

The necrofillies dance. But Aeta wakes up, so we have some hope.

Thanks to my training, the women manage to synchronize their attention for a quick snap as the ball is in the air, allowing them to slightly reposition to protect a leftward run up field. Maybe.


But Athtar, our thrower, can’t pick up the ball.

Ghouls with a little successful straining manage to run deep upfield into our pitch --

-- and then two flesh golems catch Oigme together, sledging her from opposite directions with their dead-meat arms the size of rotting young pigs. Even as her head is smashed in one direction opposite the blow beneath her arm, Oigme uses that arm, not to defend herself but to counter punch her main assailant! It stumbles, its nervous system dazed or possibly amazed that Oigme saw the incoming blows and dared to counter-attack right into them!

The goblins rush her off the field as play continues; our bony apothecary quickly wraps her neck, using one of our two allowed assistances this game. “Almost died,” the old woman whispers and Marbet pales. “Only a broken jaw. Almost a broken neck.”

The girls don’t know yet just how bad things are for their injured leader, and can’t quite knock down one of the ghouls, so it’s up to Athtar to pick up the ball and throw it forward.

She does pick it up, and accurately throws, but our new catcher Aeta drops it. CATCH IT, AETA, NOT SLAP IT AWAY!

The necros, taking advantage of yet another flow in the game’s initiative, can’t get everyone in place before Akantha the Seducer strokes a ghoul with her foot -- hard! Our last possession of the first half; we can’t possibly score now, with too many werewolves guarding their side of the pitch, so the main thing is to protect ourselves and secure the ball until time runs out.

Athtar and Andromeda run up to cover the remaining ghoul in case the necros manage not only to pick up the ball but throw it for a catch -- not likely but possible and the only way for them to score before the end of the half. I’m pretty happy with the mutual defensive coverage on the front line, so I signal for a few remaining girls to protect the Reducer as she makes a run for the ball -- and successfully grabs it!

Her nearby squad attacks the zombie next to her, just on general principle, with a nice if minor smackdown; but the necromancer, seeing the clock running low and knowing we’ll soon be receiving the ball again, orders his undead minions to swarm the Seducer and her bodyguards.

Aete and Akantha are both KO’d -- hopefully back sometime next half, I chose not to waste our remaining apoth on them -- and we lose the ball, but a werewolf fails to pick it up. Rather than waste our final seconds trying and maybe failing to even pick up the ball, the women run out the clock pounding necro flesh a little more. A double-attack on the nearest ghoul in our backfield almost catastrophically backfires with a double-down, but each player blocks the other and Andromeda is still okay enough to help our thrower Athtar try another double-attack -- which works but doesn’t permanently hurt it.

Alkidike and her cousin Zerynthia decide it’s a good idea to try to escape the clumsy flesh golems which they’ve been guarding against, in order to blitz another ghoul, trying to wound it out of the game before the second half, but they only succeed in pushing it around. One zombie push later to no effect, and Tereis Antandre knocks herself out tripping a flesh golem, attempting vengeance for her blood-sister. And the goblin whistles the half dead.

As it were.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2014, 06:47:19 PM by JasonPratt »
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