10 Apr 2014

Strange Aeons AAR: Farmer Janez's salvation

Hello guys,

after a long break, I've finally decided to play a game of Strange Aeons again. I've played solo this time and decided to take a story telling approach. The scenario played was based on The restless dead from Morbid adventures expansion booklet, but I've done some tweaks to better suit it my needs. I have ignored the rule that says there must be more lurker models than threshold models and I've used those profiles:
A mummy for the vampire, mostly for the command and toughness, he is the bad guy in this game after all.
Two zombies for ghosts. I could simply use zombie miniatures, but I decided to go with ghosts as they are better representations of "flickering lights" that are believed to be the souls of the dead in tales. I could also use actual ghost profiles, but zombies came out more practical for my needs.

For agents, I felt like I had too many points for the first time, when making a list! I used a character, two agents and a civilian.

To avoid filling the tale with various explanations, here are the most important ones:
- Janez Novak is pronounced "Yanes" and it is to us what John Smith is to English.
- Marija is pronounced "Maree-yah" and is an equivalent of Mary, so obviously a very popular name in the past.
- Jakob Kelemina, pronounced "Yakob", wrote a book on Slovenian myths and tales in 1930, so he seemed like the best candidate for our hero :P.
- Brezglavec, pronounced "Bres-glavets" meaning "Headless one" is a spirit of an unbaptised child. In my version, this is simply a spirit of a man who died without a proper burial. Conveniently, one miniature is actually headless.

October, 1931. A year ago, Jakob Kelemina published his book on local myths and folklore and he quickly became widely respected as one of the best experts on the subject. This is, indeed, a reason that mrs. Novak, a widow, residing in a remote sub alpine farmstead has contacted him as soon as curious things started taking place both in, and around her home. She claimed...odd things are taking place since her late husband, one Janez Novak has passed away. She is frequently hearing screeching noises from the forests at nights. She is on the edge of losing her sanity at the sight of her farm servants, that passed away ages ago (all died of unexplained, violent causes) walking around the fields that she inherited after her husband's death. But the strangest, and for old and lonely widow, the happiest is her late husband's nightly visits - he joins her in bed every night, as he has done before he died! For Janez, a hardworking farmer and a loving husband, was a sinner. In the past decades, stories have spread about local forests being cursed - travelers, adventurers and even some of Janez's farm servants went missing frequently! There are more versions of the stories, but all of them have the same ending - people traveling through forested hilly area in vicinity of Janez's farmstead, where there are no eyes and no ears to tell the tales, have a high chance for a so-called "violent departure". Many were never seen again.

When Jakob has heard about mrs. Novak's husband coming back to her bed, he was startled - he quickly brought to his memory numerous stories of vampires he collected from other people in the area. The tales of dead people, coming back to life could be anything from comical to down right frightening. He could've never imagined that he would live to see an actual krvoses - a blodsucker. And on top of it - he had to make sure to do all that is in his power to send the poor soul to the place of everlasting rest. He wished not to burden mrs. Novak with queries about the strange cases of deaths that took  place on their land, but asking around in the local taverns lead him to believe Janez is a damned soul, paying for the sins he committed in his life. This theory, Jakob assumed, was supported by mrs. Novak's visions of said servants - without a proper burial their souls seem to enrage after their murderer's death. There is only one way to resolve this mystery - the dreaded vampire has to be dug out and proper measures have to be taken to prevent his returns. Servant's remains have to be find and cleansed by giving them proper burial. 

Early next morning, mr. Kelemina and two of his dearest friends, priest Anton and adventurer Tristan payed mrs. Novak a visit...
 She greeted them with her loyal farm servant, Pavel, at her side. Jakob could see the past events have taken a great toll on her health - she was all stooped and seemed so frightened, all the blood has escaped her face...making her pale as a chalk.

"T...t...thank you f-for c-c-coming on s-such a short n-notice...m-mr. Kelemina", mrs. Novak patiently stuttered. She followed by slowly explaining once again what she has witnessed in the past days. 
Kelemina was not wasting any time and he knew where to start - at late Janez's grave. He was burried in the orchard he cared about so much. Pavel, mrs. Novak's servant, has offered to lead them to the grave. Mrs. Novak insisted on him taking her late husband's hunting rifle...shall anything go wrong. Forests are close and one can never know when a bear or a pack of wolves might find their way to the property...not to mention the latest events. What if the wandering souls prove dangerous?
Deeply worried of his team's safety, Kelemina himself took a shotgun from his car. Tristan wouldn't leave his house without double .45 - his pride and joy anyways and as for father Anton...he condemned violence. But after brief convincing from the rest of the lads, he reluctantly took a knife with him...just in case.

Pavel has only lead them pass the hayrack, when they have already spotted a flickering light, drifting in the early morning mist. Pavel, a man of a simple mind, was only familiar with the restless spirits from the tales he listened to as a kid. Nevertheless, he aimed his late master's rifle at the abomination and fired a shot. Used to pitchforks more than a rifle, even he himself was amazed as he has hit the moaning  soul. At the impact of the bullet, the light dispersed and got lost in the thick mist. 

 Group was quite startled, and didn't quite knew what to think of their experience. They have slowly moved towards the grave. A lot of works still needs to be done and their knees are already shaky! 

Kelemina has only made few steps forward and he got stopped right in his tracks. "Lads," he shouted to get the group's attention "there he is...he really is walking!" he was amazed. For the first time in his long career, after all those stories - he saw an actual vampire, slowly wandering around his grave under a dried out plum tree. 
Pavel's joy at dispersing a spectre was short lived as another one approached from the other direction! Father Anton has quickly suggested the remains of the all three undead must be found and put to rest, or the frightening visions will never cease! Kelemina was awaken from his day dreaming as a sense of danger has filled his senses - the undead farmer has turned towards them! After a quick setback, he has boldly decided to face this work of Satan and father Anton was already crossed himself at the vision of the earthly devil. He shall cleanse him or die trying! Tristan, as adventures as he was, saw a chance for eternal glory and boldly (or stupidly) charged the dead man. Servant Pavel, on the other hand, was nothing like him. Poor man's nerves snapped and he felt on the ground, crying in mortal horror. He, personally has buried the old farmer and now he is alive? How could that be?
Tristan charged, drawing his knife and not the stench nor dead man's red, devilish glowing eyes could stop him in his search for global glory and recognition. All his enthusiasm and bravery were in vain, and after blocking his initial charge, the dastardly Vampire clutched Tristan with his bony fingers and started sucking his blood, leaving young man to fall unconscious. Hellish fiend didn't stop at that and as he sucked the brain of the poor young man, his friends grew pale with terror.  
The loss of a friend hasn't left Kelemina and father Anton untouched. They were decided to avenge their friend and Kelemina started blasting with his shot gun at the Vampire like a mad man. When Kelemina's shot hit, the sinner was visibly hurt, judging by his hellish scream. The power of a shot was so strong, he was knocked back! "This is not good enough!" Kelemina though for himself, while reloading his weapon. He channeled all his sorrow and hatred into concentration, pulled a trigger and blew the devil's head right off his shoulders!

In the mean time, father Anton has decided to do his part in the avenging of a friend, as well. Calling to Christ the savior for his courage, Anton charged the headless spectre. Unfortunately, this day was not his and flickering Brezglavec had no problem disposing with a threat.
Witnessing death of another of his friend hasn't changed Kelemina's dedication to stop farmer Novak's awakenings. The same can not be said for servant Pavel, however. Seeing Kelemina blowing up Vampire's head as a watermelon, Pavel raised to aid his new friends, but seeing a holy man die like that...this was more than Pavel could take. He screamed in mortal fear and ran towards the farm.

Kelemina knew it was a point of do or die. He pumped his shotgun once again, and, blinded by the anger and sadness, fired without aiming. It was a costly mistake, as Brezglavec had his full attention now. Kelemina took a deep breath, reloaded his weapon one, last time, aimed and pulled the trigger. Bang! Right on target. Pellets from a shell were scattered all around, hitting the vegetation the spectre was lurking in and for a moment, Kelemina was afraid his last chance was wasted. Nevertheless, the spectre left out a dying sound and the light dispersed. 

While running away like a headless chicken, servant Pavel caught with an edge of his eye the spectre's undoing. He slowly returned to Kelemina and helped him bury his two friends and mr. Novak - once again. Unfortunately, there was no priest around to cleanse farmer Novak's soul, but they have taken all other precautions to prevent Vampire's return. They have but the remains of his head between his leg and even impaled his stone cold heart with a hawthorn stake. 
In one of the following days, Janez Novak's grave was visited by a Catholic priest that has cleansed his soul and, hopefully, gave his soul an everlasting rest. 
The remains of the two spectres that were encountered, were also found. They were both buried around the archard. Their remains were taken to the local church and were given a proper burial on a sacred ground. 

The vampire's menace was over, but at a cost of two, fine men's lives. 

 After game thoughts:

Well, this post is a lot longer than I planned, but hopefully it made an enjoyable read. While I was throwing dice for combat results, I have to admit I went easy on the team and I didn't use the rule where zombies (so, spectres in my game) would respawn from the graves. Even without that, the good guys barely won.
Other than that, I quite enjoyed the twist on the rules and I'm already thinking of incorporating Werewolf or Deep one profiles in one of the next games. I'm certainly missing some mob characters that would fit in well with the narrative game play - perhaps a pack of Transylvanian mob from Westwind wouldn't go amiss!

Thanks for looking,


  1. That was a great read and looked like a fantastic game. Where did the body markers come from?

    1. Thanks! I have to say I did put a lot of time into it :D.
      Bodies are mine, they aren't the best representatives, but I figured they would have better impact than simple overturned miniatures.
      You can see them here:

  2. Nice little adventure Mathyoo.
    I like your scenery and board. Not familiar with Strange Aeons, but this looked like fun to play.

    Don't think I haven't noticed that this is not a post about PAINTING your insurgents.

    1. Thanks Bob!
      Strange Aeons is a campaign driven skirmish game, very simple but amazing fun.

      Hah, fear not, I have painted three to show way before I played this game, but I've decided to postpone it a bit. And I'm painting a batch of FIVE (:O) now! :D

  3. Nice batrep Mathyoo, nice to see your ghosts in action.
    Really like the setting, everything looks very eerie and I am looking forward to more games

    1. Thanks Dave,
      I have to say I was quite impressed with how the board looked when putting it together, as well. I think I'd need more of those dead trees, but I agree, it has this eerie feel to it - just what's needed for a horror game:P

  4. That was excellent, Mathyoo. Very effective use of scenery, which certainly helped bring the story to life. I'm guessing that the corpses are your own sculpts, huh?

    1. Thanks Bryan! Yes, they are mine, the old ones. I've posted a link in a comment above. They are actually almost 18 months old now! I have another group that needs to be painted and another one half sculpted...I'm not too happy with them. Seeing your RC miniatures, I think I should roughly paint them to match my most used SA agents - I don't like the idea of guy in brown clothes becoming a corpse dressed in blue and grey :P.

  5. Nice batrep Mathyoo! Strange aeons looks like a fun game but i have not tried it my self.

  6. Nice work Mathyoo. Love the trees. The little old lady seems to ooze evil

    1. Thanks! I think the trees need more branches, but that's so much extra work... :D. Ah, nah, the old lady is surely kind and full of candy :D

  7. Nice game report mate. I have to wonder how hard it is for the threshold agents to succeed they always seem to struggle in most of these game reports I read for this game.

    1. Thanks!
      They were up against mummy here, but I got quite lucky, that servant hit with one dice on 5+ to kill that first spectre :P.
      In general, Threshold seems to have it quite easy for the first few games (unless it's a scenario where they play against one huge monster), but larger they get, worse monsters can be used and they kinda end up on the losing end in my experience. Which is good - more phobias! :D

  8. What a great batrep. The story, photos, models, everything. I loved it. Well done.

    1. Thanks, it really means a lot to me. But to be honest, if it weren't for all the great reports you and the rest of the guys are posting, I'd never go the extra mile with this one (and hopefully more after)!

  9. Knowing the SA genre I found this aar, very enthralling, made so much more atmosphericby your very effective scenery. Good storline, though I didn't think the good guys would make it in the end !

    1. Thanks, I'm really glad the scenery came out that effective!
      It came very close at the end, even with all the tweaks to give the good guys some upper hand :P

  10. I'm a few days late to this, but I also enjoyed the story. And I agree with the others above; the scenery definitely looks a bit creepy!