Author Topic: SURVIVE HARDER! -- Complete Season 2 (Amazon Blood Bowl AAR)  (Read 18432 times)

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Offline JasonPratt

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Re: SURVIVE HARDER! -- Season Two (completing)
« Reply #15 on: August 23, 2014, 01:40:31 PM »
Survive Harder Season Two: Game 5: Part 1 of 2

Alkidike Synope sighed as her team-sisters carried her into the stadium for the ultimate game of this year’s Ariel Cup, reclining on a special chair whipped up by the apothecary while her back was healing. “...still no wood-elves?”

“Not a good joke to make right now, under the circumstances, sis,” said Akantha Synope, walking beside the chair, nervously eyeing me. As well she should, considering how hard I had snapped my eyes at her. “Team-dad’s still upset.”

“Team-dad has his reasons,” I retorted. “A wound in battle is one thing. Your sisters will be going out for the final decisive battle, and you won’t be able to help them, because you were foolishly playing around -- “

“Exploring,” she corrected me before she caught herself.

“I won’t say any more about it. Today you’ll see the other consequences of your actions, and that will be enough.”

“While your team-father has a point -- including about him needing to say no more about it after now, ever,” Marbet added; though she had told me the night before, after failing to get my ideas of the secret from me, that she wouldn’t give up on occasionally trying again, “ -- I want you all to keep several things in mind.” The women were lining up as she spoke, along our goal-line, while the goblin tested them; today we’d be first, since no one wanted to be tested after the Nurgles who, for obvious reasons, needed more complicated tests anyway.

“First: in our first Cup attempt you only barely got beaten, and now in only your second tournament you’re playing for the championship. Granted, these were the smallest possible tournaments, with only four teams each. But that is unusual for any new team. Even if you don’t win today, you’ve made great strides we can build on -- so long as you survive! So remember your motto!” That got some smiles, along with a wince from the woman being currently poked by the referee.

“Second: you know you’ll need to work hard just to survive, much more to win. We don’t have any grand new schemes or plans, and they themselves may have gotten a little better, too. This fight will hurt.” Marbet quickly glared at Alkidike, sitting nearby, who at least had the good grace to flush for being unable to help today thanks to her irresponsible behavior -- whatever exactly it was.

“Third: if you don’t win this game, we’re going to be in serious trouble.” That made everyone blink but me; I already knew it. “Sure, we’ll at least get the prestige and money for second place. But we had no choice except to ante up all our remaining treasury, to bring an extra apothecary and two of the Bloodweiser kegs. We don’t resent that: you’re worth it. And you’re our team-daughters: it’s our duty to protect you.” True, though also it was my money not Marbet’s... actually, now that I thought about it, it did belong as much to her as to me. Though she had been spending it already. I swallowed my amusement at that line of thought; we needed stone-cold seriousness right now. “But we won’t have much left over to pay expenses, including registration and travel expenses to whatever other tournament might take us next. Much less to strengthen our team any more. Or to pay for an extra apothecary or even for one of the kegs next game.

“So if you like what you’re drinking, win. That’s what I’m saying.” She tried to soften it with a quirk of a smile. That brew was important; being unable to pay for it would contribute to possible injury or even death in future games. Still, this was a fight for which we needed to empty our quivers. So we paid up, from our coffers, all that we could.

The goblin finished and went off to go test the Nurgle team, which I knew would take a while -- so did the crowd which was busy getting food and drink and relieving themselves after watching our official entrance. The women walked back over to pallets in our dugout areas and sat to wait. Watchful fans above would call out if it looked like we were spiking the kegs or taking doping directly after the testing.

“Any more... Nurgle initiates?” Tereis Antandre shivered at the thought.

“After the debacle last game,” Marbet answered, “the League made the Nurgle priest send any new fans away. And he was forbidden from trying to suck in any more. So no, we shouldn’t have trouble. At the same time, they beat the Mad Dog Jets, a necromantic team, quite handily without the help of raving fans, so...”

“Try to resist the temptation to focus on the Beast,” I reminded them for the umptieth time.

They rolled their eyes at this. “Don’t worry, we’ve been practicing how not’OWW!” Agamede Aina rubbed where one of the women had apparently punched her; the team members glared at her and flushed, and then tried to look at me innocently. Except for the Reducer, who just looked down at the ground and wryly grinned. I hadn’t heard of such practice, or what it might be, but I thought I might have to look into this later. I doubted a vow was involved.

We discussed more speakable tactical points, until at last we were summoned by the goblin referee to begin the game. The women lined up across from their enemies; the Beast, I was glad to see, still seemed highly nervous about facing them. Good. The women didn’t taunt it, though; the other Nurgle players also stayed quiet. Grimly quiet. They meant business this time, and weren’t here to play.

Marbet and I returned to the goal-line; the keg-girls brought Alkidike on her healing chair. The weather today was clear and bright, and pleasantly warm. Marbet said that for sake of tradition the village made sure that new snow was always brought in if necessary from the nearby mountains and kept for decoration during games.

Frankly the beautiful weather made me nervous, though I didn’t know why.

Nurgle loses the toss, and per my instructions Oigme elects to receive first, which will allow us to take the initiative early, giving us the best chance not only to keep the Nurgles off balance as long as possible but maybe also to quickly remove some players from their game.

We line up in our usual wall, with the medium left and right linewomen pulled in a little to strengthen the center, and with our wings pulled in as well. This leaves some gaps at the very edge, but Nurgles aren’t generally fast.

 




As the kicking/defensive team this half, however, the Nurgles can position themselves after we do, and we aren’t allowed to adjust; one result being that they put goatmen on the far wings to infiltrate our backfield.

Worse, they successfully time themselves to blitz at the moment of kickoff! [Gamenote: this means they get a free turn to move while the ball is in transit, and even attack with a blitz, although anyone already in tackle zones cannot attack.]

But no one dares to blitz any of the women, packed into our careful defense; nor do any of the goatmen get into our backfield.

The goat’s kick lands just about perfectly, short of our goal-line, for maximum distance to travel. Sigh.

 


They’ve set up their defense well enough that we have no good attacks without risking an initial counterblock; which nerfs the edge I’d hope to give us by receiving first! Drat. Might as well call the throwers down to try to pick up the cursed ball.

Lykopis needs some more experience; so Athtar agrees to run interference for her first as Lyko grabs the ball.

 


Teresa sidekicks her goatman to the left of the line, but no one else feels confident about attacking into their surprisingly strong defense: the Nurgle coach has learned some lessons from playing us in the past! So our momentum flags and the Nurgles, seeing our lapse, make a surge.

The Beast warily punches Tereis Antandre with its forehead, if that makes any sense; but that only briefly knocks down Oigme’s fellow sturdy farmgirl sister. Some minor backfield infiltration happens, but one of the linemen makes the mistake of trying to shuffle off the line, and the Reducer trips him as he goes.

 


The girls take advantage of this momentum loss, and go to work on the shifted Nurgles who have broken their own defensive positions a little too much.

Anazmache in particular strikes out hard, removing a goatman from the game entirely!

 


Oigme and the Reducer give Agamede an assist in opening up the defensive line a little more...

 


...and then Oigme takes a coordinated opportunity to dash field-right to strengthen that side for a push as Athtar and Lykopis run downfield.

 


Still, our defense is too porous and a goatman gets through to the backfield, ready to exploit any drops by Lykopis. The Beast, annoyed at the woman’s resilience, dares to head-punch Tereis again, stunning her worse this time: she won’t be standing up for a little while.
 





That doesn’t slow our girls down much: Athtar blitzes the leaky goatman, then runs back downfield to help Oigme, Anazmache, and Aete clear a line for Lykopis to run! Agamede, with help from the Reducer, knocks out a lineman, while her rightward sisters are havocking our foes!

 


Various goatmen escape their marks and try to rush for Lykopis, but it’s hard to tell if they’ll be able to reach her in time! The tentacle thing stuns Agamede...

 


...but a lineman makes the mistake of blitzing the Reducer -- who ducks beneath the hateful tendrils to counterpunch him!

 


Lykopis keeps running downfield for her goal; but the goal of her sisters behind her is to keep that goatman from catching her!

 


First a lineman will have to be thrown down, and there are three women nearby ready to do it!

Oigme leads the synchronized ballet of distracting destruction, allowing Aete to set up an assist for Anazmache in putting down the goatman -- and then running onward to give a bit of blocking defense.

 


Athtar, having nothing better to do as her teammate runs for the score, leaps over to help her sisters multi-team the snail, kicking it around in vengeance. It starts to panic, and releases a nauseating gas in its defense; but the Reducer herself overcomes her repugnance try injuring it out of the game -- though all she can get is a whackdown.

 


The Nurgles can do nothing to catch Lykopis -- and I signal the women not to risk more attacks, as I’m worried they’ve already overexerted themselves in getting this far. [Gamenote: meaning I still have half a half to play and only one more team re-roll!]

 

 

 




Their KO’d lineman wakes up and rejoins the line; and since we’re kicking off I decide to give Aete a rest and bring Zerynthia into the game from reserve to strengthen our wall. Lykopis is the kicker this time, from right to our field left, which is also the side of the wall we’re strengthening.

 


The Nurgle coach has been working hard since last we fought, and their offense gets a quick-step off while the ball is in the air; but aside from some initial maneuvering and a goatman successfully picking up the ball, they can’t do much other than stun the Seducer for a minute with a mighty blow from the slug.

 


Tereis Antandre leads out by knocking down a lineman, but she’s nearly counterpunched and barely succeeds by extra effort -- I’m very worried the women worked too hard so far this half, and will be unable to defend themselves adequately. [Gamenote: the final team reroll burned.]

The women knock a few Nurgles down, and shuffle around to gum up the works defensively from left to center -- if the goatman tries to shift rightward that’s okay, we’ll adjust.

 


As hoped, the goatman can’t get through this defensive scheme, the women are only pushed around a bit, and Andromeda ends their sad attempts by counterpunching a lineman!

 


“The worm is weak!” crows Agamede. “Its allies have all abandoned it! Together with me sisters!”

“Argh, no, too soon,” I growl, and try to signal the women to stop, but in their hatred for the Beast they cannot see past their desires --

-- and its tendrils seize Agamede as she tries to lead the syncopated attack.

In whatever way they were trying to train to resist it, Agamede hasn’t trained enough.

This only increases the fury of her team-sisters. But now they are fully distracted trying to save the shivering woman as she gasps and staggers in drunken tears, barely able to keep her feet.

No, no, no! -- we should have dealt with the real threats first! We had a great chance of stopping their run for the rest of the half by keeping their players on the ground, but nooooo. The women pay the price for their infatuated crisis with the Beast. Athtar is stunned by a lineman from behind, opening a hole, and the goatman with a whole cage of followers runs right through. We don’t have a prayer of stopping him.

 


The women finally understand their peril; Agamede shakes her head, struggling to speak: “leave me sisters, this is... I... don’t let that goat...” Two of her team remain behind to assist her as her eyes half-glaze and she slumps at last to a knee; other women do their best to free up two or three others to dash away as the cage runs past, at great risk to themselves.

But even with the greatest of their exhausted exertions, only Akantha, the Reducer, successfully outrace the cage downfield to bar their way.

 


It sees her coming, and dodges to our left a little more --

-- in breathless scream she plants a foot for force and axes a kick, hoping to knock it out of bounds or jar loose the ball --

-- the goat, however, has not entirely exhausted itself.

Akantha has.

It shrugs away her kick. She bounces off, although she doesn’t fall. But before she can recover to try to tackle it from the rear...
 


 




It howls in the face of Marbet Mavenwood, who stands her ground behind our line, meeting its victory with a scowl carved as if from stone.

The referee whistles the end of the half. The Nurgles cheer their tying score, the first they’ve managed to make against us at all. Both teams leave the field; the women in drooping embarrassment, carrying Agamede with them.

Unable to look at Marbet as they pass.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2014, 09:25:01 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 Two (completing)
« Reply #16 on: August 23, 2014, 01:55:29 PM »
Survive Harder Season Two: Game 5: Part 2 of 2

“Well,” I allowed after a quiet halftime break of letting them sip from the kegs and ministering to Agamede. “We can’t say they didn’t earn that score.

“So, let’s try that again. AND THIS TIME STOP FOCUSING ON THE DAMN WORM!!”

“You don’t understand what we were trying to do,” Oigme began, but --

“I do understand,” I said. “It offends the core of your being, what it does to you, how it feels. I mean, I assume you aren’t really trying to let it do that to you!” That might have been too much; I never once had seen them look at me in even a little hate before. I folded my arms and stood my ground and tried to think of something better to say to recover morale.

“You stop looking at... at Filion like that, right this instant!” Marbet declared, using my coaching pseudonym since serving girls and others were standing nearby. “You know he’s right. So just accept it -- just as I have to accept that you foolishly dropped your emotional guards to attack that thing sooner than you should have. And thereby let a goatman waft its sneer in my face. And expose itself to me, in mockery. For what it willingly would have done to me if it could.

“I’ll have to accept that. And I’ll get past it. And I won’t dwell on it. But in return, YOU ALL START ACTING LIKE SOLDIERS! Did Filion train you for nothing!?”

“No!” I declared in turn. “I clearly succeeded! Look at who you are now, where you are! Tied in the final game of a tournament cup! That was the very first point they’ve ever managed to get against us! I know you can win; they know you can win; they,” I gestured at the crowds returning to their seats from the break, “all know you can win!

“I trained you to survive. And I trained you to win.

“So, win or lose, don’t throw that training away, or throw it out into meaningless vengeance.

“I know my daughters are better than that.”

The referee whistled to get our attention. The women nodded and stood to advance, adjusting their gloves and their uniform bits.

“I never would have thought,” I muttered to Marbet in grim amusement, as we returned with Alkidike in her chair to our area past our end-zone, “that I would have had so many daughters -- nor that any daughters of mine would grow up to dress like that. In public at least.”

“A miracle in a way, hm?” she grimly murmured in return.


The women form up on the Wall, with our backfield advanced in close support; Lykopis stays back only a little, just like before, to kick toward our downfield left.




Oh crap, no Lykopis, not back center field! They’ll have the option to run it left OR right!

Fortunately our Perfect Defense training kicks in; the Nurgles clearly mean to run down our right side if possible, so we reorient that way -- and our two throwers fill the hole created leftward, with Lykopis hurling herself downfield after her boggled kick while the ball remains in the air.




We get an early goatman leaker field right, but as their line starts to work on our line, Oigme takes her assailant down with her -- and stands right up again!

 


Starting from rightward the girls go to work -- like careful, professional soldiers, soberly cooperating to crush their foes. Akantha Synope knocks out a lineman along the way, but Nurgle still has a few reserves of “rotters” in case the sturdier lineman doesn’t wake up before the end of the game.

I can see Anazmache aching to run for the worm again! But there’s a rotter which would probably ambush her if she tried, and so she reins her yearning hatred and keeps our defenses strong on the left, as we watch to adjust for the baller.

 


The tentacle beast puts the Seducer on the ground for a minute, and as expected the goatman runs for our hole to the right. So we need to break our contacts and shift that way.

 


In a carefully brilliant cascade -- IGNORING THE DAMN WORM! -- the women put many Nurgles on the ground (and one lumbers off to the infirmary), and shift over to a multi-layered reinforcing rightward defense. Now what will happen?

 


[Gamenote: the turnover here simply means I ran out of time at the last moment while I was getting a position snapshot.]

Not too surprisingly, the goat shifts leftward near the back of the Nurgle frontline. The snail hits Agamede again, trying to enrapt her, but she gets right back up and coolly punches the tendrils away.

 

 


Once again the women carefully coordinate a shifting attack, doing their best to plug up running routes while putting down as many Nurgles as possible -- and then...

...”They just can’t help focusing on the Beast,” I sigh, watching them prepare to take advantage of its lack of supporting defense again.

“Can you blame them?” Marbet pointedly asks.

“No. But you yourself IK!” I choke to a stop as Marbet grabs my arm in sudden excitement.

The deepness of their strategy has now become apparent to us all.


With both Akanthas supporting, as well as Teresa Thermodosa --

Anazmache Antibrote, the former taverngirl ---

SALTS THE SNAIL!!

Knocking it out of the game!




“they were hiding packets of salt... in their gloves...” Marbet inhales. And in some other portions of their uniforms, I think with some careful squinting at how they’re adjusting themselves -- but I suspect that Marbet’s fingers will leave a mark as she and the other women roar their victorious hatred at the writhing thing, which in its convulsions cripples and crushes a few of the goblins trying to drag it off the field!

The goatman, seeing this catastrophe, scampers back to downfield right to rethink his options.

Enough of this.

I signal the women, shouting in code: “Go offensive! -- FRONTAL SWEEP!”

 


We have been practicing this for a while, although we haven’t had a chance to use the strategy yet -- not until our daughters opened the way.

“They really should have told us what they were planning,” I sigh in annoyed admiration.

“I think they must have wanted it to seem a surprise, a gift. You know how much they want to impress you, right?” Marbet asks, her throat still raw, as the women signal each other in coordination for their push.

“I would have been impressed without the surprise,” I grumble. “And I still would have chewed them out for trying to run their plan before it was safe strategically.”

The immediate plan now is to shorten our defensive line and reduce the places the goat can run. Unfortunately, only Andromeda is starting near a lineman, so we don’t have many ways to attack at the moment, but this gives us much more advantage in maneuver.

 


As our sweep ends its surge of momentum, the Nurgles respond -- but can’t push or blitz a hole through our line, and the goatballer runs out from his cage, caught in anticipation!

 


The women can’t quite clear a path to him: his fellows hold their ground with surprising heroism, considering their Nurgleness. But we do push a lot closer.

 




If time runs out in this half with a tie, Marbet reminds me, we’ll go into overtime.

The women press their advantage as far as they can, but the Nurgles stand desperately firm for gooey dissolving putrescence. In frustration, Athtar tries to attack the goatballer -- but he headbutts her instead.

 


And just like that...

...the goat runs rightward...

...and sails a perfect patch downfield to another goatman -- the one who has been patiently waiting near the endzone all this time.

Waiting in the beautiful passing weather!

 




We have only a minute left on the clock to try to do anything at all. The Nurgles might not even have to line up. But they do. To mock us. Along with their tentacle beast, dragging its crippled body onto the pitch.

But the women don’t care about the ball.

They want the only revenge they can get.

 


Catching the defense flatfooted, they rush forward the moment the ball is snapped...

But it’s a ruse! Athtar Evadne, our best thrower, runs back to grab the ball!

 


If only she can lob it to Aete successfully, we might still have a chance!

But Athtar, straining hard, tries to run up to handoff to Lykopis instead -- which makes sense as she’s more free to run forward at the moment and the other women might be able to plow a path.

But either Athtar fumbles the handoff, or Lykopis misses the grab. The literally cursed ball shoots free.




A mad scramble ensues, but at the end, a Nurgle lineman has the ball.

“We can’t say we didn’t have a chance,” Marbet sighs, crestfallen.

Then --

Andromeda Dolope blitzes the ball carrier from behind -- !

-- the tendrils of the Beast seize her as she charges --

-- she shrieks and plows onward, using her own convulsing body --

-- TO THROW HERSELF ON THE LINEMAN FROM BEHIND!

Some of the tendrils are torn out by their roots.

Others, flailing as the mass of the Beast is dragged along by the extremity of the woman in her effort, latch onto the lineman instead.

Giving herself completely to the unspeakable effects of the Beast, Andromeda heaves back on the lineman, in his stunned confusion --

-- WRENCHING HIM BACKWARD WITH HER INTO THE TENTACLES’ EMBRACE!

The daring woman, spasming, rolls them over and backward into the maw of the Beast of Nurgle; protected from its teeth by both the lineman, and his armor, and by the tender tendrils themselves.

In all the subsequent thrashing, the ball shoots free.

 


The Beast, gagging in its unexpected pain, vomits Andromeda forth, along with the lineman; in the scrum, not only is Anazmache pushed free, but Oigme grabs the ball!

A nearby nimble goatman grins at the thought of groping the exhausted woman as she tries to escape his clutch --

-- but he’s pummeled to the ground by three other women!

Oigme, our field-commander, one of the Antandre sisters, the farmgirl, staggers around the boiling line as her teammates keep the astonished Nurgle team in check -- and stumbles downfield to Anazmache Antibrote, the taverngirl whom, with Andromeda Dolope, I helped to save so many months ago to start this journey.

 


“they!” Marbet is saying, hopping lightly up and down in the decorative summer snow, “they! they! they! THEY!!...”

They --

-- cannot resist the cursed ball, leaping free in squealing glee, one more time.

The goblin referee disgustedly blows his whistle signal.

The tournament ends.

Nurgle wins.

Marbet is frozen, face falling along with tears from her face, sinking back onto her feet, a final “they...” unable to weakly escape from her throat.

The Nurgle team is celebrating: as much as disease-infested quasi-corpses plausibly can after being reduced in strength to almost that of the halfling team --

-- when the women line up, led by Oigme Antandre and Akantha the Reducer, just on our side of the line...

...and salute them.

Honorably, not in derision.

 


“...they??” Marbet rasps in disbelief.

“They did not fail,” I explain, unable to clearly see them for the tears in my eyes. “They lost. Losing isn’t failure; the other team fought better.

“Even though I’m a soldier -- farmgirls and taverngirls taught me that! Long ago.

“They haven’t failed,” I say, as dramatically dusting off their hands -- casting salt in all directions, and causing the Beast of Nurgle to flee off-field in crippled fear:

the Cavicorn Crushers turn in good order and march away from their loss.

“Unless they don’t fall forward.”

 



« Last Edit: September 06, 2015, 10:24:06 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.