Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Ghost Archipelago Campaign '18, Game 3: The Drichean Cages

     This past weekend we got together for the third game in our Ghost Archipelago campaign.  We had 5 of our regulars players and one guest player.  We continued to work on the scenarios in the rulebook moving on to the second one: The Drichean Cages.    We used an 8'x3' table and had three cages with their prisoners spaced evenly down the centerline of the table.  Our job was to free the prisoners, and exit with them, or at least have possession of them at game's end.
An overview of the table with the prisoners and my starting area marked.
      I was lucky with my chip draw for starting location, getting second choice.  I picked one of the corners, down by the waterfall, as there seemed to be a good chance at getting at least a couple treasures there; including one that was easily within a single move away.    The Heritor Gregorious and his Storm Warden, Missy, were directly across from seemed the rematch that my Heritor and Gregorious knew would come one day after our first game, had arrived this day.  To my right was a new Heritor,  Kragmar of the True Blood, and his Storm Warden, Samael Gale.  Diagonally across to my front right was the Heritor Herndon and his Storm Warden, Arwhine. 

   To see my report from our previous game, see: The Xs Mark the Spots.

   To read Skorri Drackenburg's account of Game 3, see:  The Drichean Cages

One of the prisoners awaits his gruesome fate.

The Report

     Lord Fortrywn was a retired general, and the Elf Heritor was used to seeing dead bodies, and had already seen a fair share here in the Archipelago; but the one lying in the grass before him held special interest, for he recognized the man.  It was the Heritor known as Tavic.  The Elf would not shed a tear today for one who shared the blood gift, for the man was a known brute and lacked any civility.  But Fortrywn did know one good thing about the man; he had amassed quite an enormous amount of treasure very quickly here in the Archipelago, something the deceased Heritor had never been shy to brag about. And everyone knew the crafty Human Heritor had hid it somewhere to keep it safe.
    Just then, Lord Fortrywn's Hunter, Gwynwater Lighteye, came up and stood at attention before her old commander waiting to report.  The Heritor lifted his head from looking at body at his feet and simply raised an eyebrow at the tall Elf-woman.  Gwyn held open her palm, revealing a pair of bronze arrowheads on the ends of broken shafts, and stated, "It's Dricheans, sir.  There's the bodies of three of his crew15 yards over there," she tilted her head,  "and more of these," she indicated the hand with the arrowheads.  "And a shattered bronze blade." 
     Lord Fortrywn picked up one of the metal points and considered it, his mind working on an idea.  He set the arrowhead back in Gwyn's hand, and thought out loud, "If there are only three dead, then some of his crew may have survived; and these survivors may know where old Tavic's treasure is hidden."  He stared out into the jungle.  "You've heard of Tavic's Treasure, or course."  he directed his attention at Gwyn.  "If you can pick up a trail, and we could locate the remaining crew, they might be very grateful to whoever rescued them from the hands of these islanders."  The Hunter smiled, and dropped the arrowheads into the tall grass. Turning, she strode away on her long legs to find the way.
Lord Fortrywn's disposition upon entering the battle area.
     Two hours later,  Gwynwater  put up her hand to indicate the group should stop.  Lord Fortrywn came up to her, and silently the Hunter pointed to her own ear, and then pointed ahead.   The Heritor tilted his head, listening, but all he heard was the sound of rushing water; as if a large churning river was ahead.   He strained with his Elven ears to hear past the sound of the water. And then suddenly he picked it up faintly...voices in the distance.  Gwyn held up 4 fingers.  They advanced slowly, through the vegetation, until they both could see movement, and the glint of the sun on bronze armor.  The voices and the roar of water were much louder now.  Also, a large cliff face rising on their left had come into view, and from it a  huge waterfall plummeted from the top into a wide pool below.
    Lord Fortrwyn divided his party into three groups.  With him he took Gwyn, and the two seasoned crew-women, Arbyn and Bry.  He ordered Randilas the Archer, Salin the Pearl Diver, and the crew-woman, Meriwyn (who was making her first trip with the ashore party) to go with his Warden, and niece, Marnilyne.  Lastly, he had the two crewman Dirkand, and Lurlin wait in reserve to help where needed. 
     Only a few yards further, and they came to a large frog-like idol.  The Elf Heritor sneered at it's repulsiveness, and shook his head in derision at the pathetic gods of these islanders.   Turning back to the matters at hand, he could now make out a small cage in the distance, which seemed to be resting in a small stream. Inside the cage they could see was a man, and around it stood four Drichean Guards.   Lord Fortrywn then surveyed his more immediate surroundings; he saw a large wooden totem a short distance away on their front right, and beside it set a chest and some jugs. Offerings, perhaps?  He pointed to Gwyn and Bry, and then to the totem. They quietly and quickly jogged over, and when they got to the totem, the Hunter launched an arrow at one of the Drichean guards in the distance, missing, while Bry, the crew-woman, investigated the chest.  Meanwhile, the Heritor had strode towards the cage and its guards, while Arbyn headed off towards their left.
Gwyn and Bry move up the wooden totem to get the chest, as Lord Fortrywn charges towards the cage.

          Over on the left of Lord Fortrwyn and his group, Marnilyne, the Warden, advanced with her party as well.  She and the Archer, Randilas, moved to a small patch of trees and undergrowth that provided good cover, and from there she surveyed the situation.  The Warden's keen young eyes, saw movement further away behind the guards.  It was another crew, coming around the cliff face.  They must have the same idea that her Uncle, Lord Fortrywn, did.  Quickly, she cast Brambles on the far bank of the waterfall's pool to slow them down.
     As she did this, Salin advanced towards the pool, and caught site of a large bronze urn on a pedestal in the center.  He was sure he saw gold glint inside. The Pearl Diver knew it would be deep in the pool, but that did not bother him at all.  He plunged into the water, as enemy crewmen appeared around the end of Marny's Brambles and they jumped into the water as well.  The first one reached Salin ,and slashed clumsily at him with his sword while trying to stay afloat in the swirling pool.  Somehow, the enemy's sword made contact, and sliced a long gash into the Pearl Diver's chest (-7 HP).
    Aryn and Dirkand could see what was happening and rushed to Salin's aid.  Arbyn plunged into the pool, though the crewman, Dirkland, tried his best to stay in the shallower mouth where the pool overflowed forming the stream.  Suddenly a crossbow bolt hit the crewman in the back and he pitched forward into the water. (-7 HP) As he scrambled for the bank, another bolt caught him a few inches below the first and he fell unmoving,  half his body still submerged in the gurgling stream.
     Marny chanted hurriedly seeing the desperate situation; casting  Warp Weapon on the crewman facing the wounded Salin.  Watery vines shot from the pool's depths and wrapped tightly around the enemy's sword, as he struggled to hold on to his weapon. The blade bent and then was ripped from his hand entirely, and pulled into the depths.
The battle in the waterfall pool for the urn treasure.
     Several yards back down the stream, Lord Fortrywn had reached one of the Drichean Guards, and swinging his sword high, he brought it down upon the man with the full force of his powerful arm.  The soldier received a long cut down his chest, splitting his armor, and opening his flesh .  (Lord Fortrywn rolls 20) Trying to stand his ground and block, the Drichean wavered, his life leaving him. The Heritor felt his Blood Gift burn in his arms as he Surged for a second strike, bringing his sword back around and slicing the man hard again.  The guard crumpled like a doll before the cleaving blade and fell to the ground.  Movement caught the Elf's eye, and he now also saw the enemy crew approaching.  He spotted the black and gold armor of the Heritor Gregorious.  Lord Fortrywn was not pleased at this development, and knew this interloper would have to be dealt with before the day was done.   The Elf Lord also knew he must act quickly, and with his blood now like fire coursing through his body, he practically leapt the few yards over to the cage, landing with a splash into the stream.  The Heritor  called the crewman, Lurlin, who was nearby, to come assist him.
   Some distance away, Marny heard the sound of battle ringing out over on her right and turned to see what was happening with her Uncle.  She could see the enemy crewmen approaching the cage as well, so quickly chanted her Bramble spell to block them from interfering with Lord Fortrywn.  Thick ropy vines covered in thorns sprang from the stream bank, and rapidly coiled into a full sized hedge with dagger like spikes all over it.
     Back by the wood totem, Gwyn the Hunter had taken two more shots at the Guards and missed.  The tall Elf was puzzled at this and was becoming a bit frustrated.  She was not used to missing.  Were the air currents being effected by the waterfall and throwing her shots off?  Next to her, Bry had recovered the chest and had started dragging it back towards the rendezvous point.  Overhead, the sky begin to darken with thick grey clouds.  Gwyn looked up, frowning; someone had cast Cloud Cover (Missy, Gregorious' Warden), and that certainly wasn't going to help her archery a bit.
Lord Fortrywn and Lurlin free the prisoner, as Marny "brambles" the far bank.
     Back at the cage, Lord Fortrywn took a second to try and let the prisoner know he was there to help the man, but the poor fellow just cowered in one of the far corners staring wide eyed at the big Elf Heritor.  With his blood still burning hot in his veins, Lord Fortrywn grabbed the big padlock that sealed the cage and attempted to wrench it from around the bars that held the door shut.  He took a gasp of air as he pushed himself to the levels of his endurance, and with all his Heritor's might he twisted the lock in his vice-like hands and pulled.  The shank began to bend as tiny cracks developed, then with a final effort it cracked clean in two.  the Elf Heritor let the remaining body of the lock drop into the stream and, swinging the barred door open, reached in to grab the prison.  But the fire within him overcame him, and he faltered, leaning for a minute up against the side of the cage. (Failed roll to use Surge)  "Lurlin!" he called out.
    The lean Elf crewman was there in a flash, but cried out as a crossbow bolt pricked at his shoulder. Lurlin's hand instinctively went to the injury,  but it was just a flesh wound, doing little more then tearing his tunic, and giving him a shallow scratch. (-1 HP)  The crewman reached in and grabbed the cowering man by the arm and pulled him from the cage.  Then the pair turned and Lurlin practically dragged the frightened man up onto the bank of the stream.
Lurlin with the prisoner pauses to catch his breath by the wooden totem.  His last breath, as it were.
     Meanwhile, back at the pool, Arbyn glided through the water with her sword raised, and sliced at the now-unarmed enemy crewman facing Salin.  She cut a deep wound across the man's chest.  The enemy fell backwards into the water, and sank beneath the surface.  The Pearl Diver, mustering what remaining strength he had, took the opportunity to swim over and grab the urn.  As he did, a second of Gregorious' crewman swam up behind Arby, and raising his sword, swung with all his might at the back of Arbyn's head.  The blade slid a bit on her wet hat, but had enough force to cut through the soggy fabric slicing a long bloody gash. She cried out and pitched forward into the water. The crew-woman's head was on fire, and she fought to stay conscious and afloat. (Hit for 9 HP; 1 HP remaining)  If it hadn't been for her wet hat causing the sword to slide from a true hit, her head would surely have been split in two.
    Marnilyne, the Warden, from her vantage point in the group of trees, could see Salin in the pool with the urn, his chest was red with the wound and blood.  She knew Pearl Diver couldn't last much longer, and if the urn was lost to Gregorious' crew it would be very bad.  She reached out her hand and chanted the spell for Waters of Life at Salin, but the distance was so far, and from her vantage point she could barely see the water.  The young Elf girl felt the spell failing as she was chanting it, and tried to focus her mind around the words.    The Warden pushed with all her inner energy, and felt a sapping pain grow within her.  (Pushes spell for -5 HP)  With a gasp of pain, the Marny finished; and said a small prayer that her words had done their job.  They had. The Pearl Diver felt a tingling as he stood there in the pool with the urn, and his pain and wound magically improved. 
    However, two more of Gregorious' crew were still in the pool, flailing about in the deep churning water.  (Failed swim rolls)  As Arbyn splashed about trying to find the edge of the pool one of them moved up along side of her, and awkwardly swung his weapon.  It was a bad swing as the man tried to stay afloat; but the flat of the blade landed on her head near her wound, and that was enough to take her out of action.  Lights flashed in the Elf's eyes, and her head seared with pain in the few moments before blackness overtook her.
       The other crewman advanced on Salin.  The Pearl Diver had had enough, and with his pain and having seen Arbyn and Drikand fall already, an uncharacteristic anger swelled with him.   With a loud rage-filled cry he swung his sword in a wide circle, slicing into the pool, and caught the enemy crewman clean across his gut. (Rolled 18+2 F)   The human clutched at his wound and sank beneath the surface.    Quickly, Salin climbed from the pool with his prize, and tried to make for safety.  As he went, Marny cast a wall of Brambles behind him to discourage any pursuers.
As Salin makes of with the urn, Marny grows a wall of brambles behind him to discourage pursuit.
       As the Warden worked her magic, Randilas the Archer, standing next to her, saw Gregorious' Crossbowmen reloading his weapon on the far bank of the pool behind Salin. The Archer  drew an arrow and let it fly, striking the man, who toppled backwards.  (Hit with 18 + 2 S)     Randilas was then shocked  to see the man, pull the arrow from his side, and slowly get back up, clutching at his wound.    Gingerly the enemy shooter crossed over the stream, and with some effort lifted his weapon and began to aim at the Pearl Diver, but then his eye was caught by something over on his left, and his aim changed.
      Back at the cage, Lord Fortrywn had recovered himself enough to continue on.   As he turned from the cage, he saw another one of Gregorious' Crossbowmen move up to the nearby stream bank.  The Heritor knew that would spell trouble for Lurlin and the prisoner, so he climbed up the bank and engaged the enemy.  As he swung his sword the man dodged and the strike caught the enemy on the arm, cutting a deep gash. (-7 HP)
    Lurlin continued dragging the half-petrified prisoner back away from the fighting, trying to explain to the man that they were there to help.  The Elf crewman didn't know what had been said or done to the man when he was in captivity, but he was surely frightened beyond all rationality.    They reached the wooden totem where Bry had recovered the treasure earlier, and Lurlin paused a moment to catch his breath, and get a better grip on the prisoner.   In that second of pausing, the Crossbowman over by the pool, that has been badly wounded by Randilas, fired.  The bolt hit Lurlin hard in the back (Rolls an 18 +2 S), and the Elf let out a cry and pitched forward.
   Fortrywn's keen ears heard his crewman's cry, and the Heritor looked over to see  Lurlin fall, and the prisoner, now unattended, cower in fright by the totem.  His eyes were then caught by movement in the distance, behind where Lurlin lay; and through the jungle undergrowth, another Drichean Guard emerged, and stopping in shock at seeing their prisoner standing there free. The Guard ran to recapture the man.    The Elf Lord knew he had to act quickly.
   The Heritor, took a hasty swing at the crossbowman, who ducked and the big Elf  leaned forward and simply shoved the man away.  (Lord Fortrywn hits, but does no damage & pushes the Crossbowman our of combat.) The Heritor  turned to run for the prisoner, but suddenly, from around a clump of tall bushes, Gregorious himself appeared.  Catching sight of his old nemesis, the Human Heritor lunged at the Elf.  Lord Fortrywn could see it had been a hard morning already for his new opponent, as Gregorious' armor showed rents and splattered blood from encounters already fought.  The Elf could also see the man was wounded; there was a slight limp, and blood was dripping from his left hand.  A narrowing of Gregorious' eyes, showed pain concealed behind them.  "Do you really want to do this now?" Lord Fortrywn asked with exasperation, but the Human Heritor's pride was now at stake, and like a panther he sprang at the Elf Lord.  Fortrywn blocked his blow, and bringing his sword down, drew his enemy's blade lower; then, he  quickly sliced his blade back up catching his enemy below his right arm and slicing the damage armor, cutting into his chest and then upwards across his chin.  (Lord Fortrywn rolls a 20!) Gregorious stumbled backwards and his large frame hit the ground with a thud, where he lay unmoving.    The Elf Heritor wasted no time with any thought for the fallen foe and, turning, prepared to reclaim his prize.     
        There was little that could have halted Lord Fortrywn in that moment of determination, but something did.  In fact everyone in the area froze momentarily as a loud deep roar carried out over the jungle from the far side of the waterfall cliff, behind where Gregorious and his crew had entered.  The old Elf had never heard one in person, but had listened to enough tales to know exactly what it was that approached; a Monarch.  Kings of the Archipelago, these giant lizards walked on two legs and stood 15'-20' feet tall, and had large mouths filled with razor sharp teeth. Suddenly the puzzle pieces fell together in the Heritor's mind.  These prisoners were being held as sacrifices.  Intended to feed and appease the Jungle King.   A crossbow bolt, whizzed past Lord Fortrywn's ear, bringing him back to the increased urgency of the moment
     Over in the clump of trees, Randilas had quickly notched another arrow, and fired again hitting the Crossbowman a second time; dropping him for good this time. But the man had already done serious damage by killing Lurlin.  Marny could no longer see her uncle in the Cloud Clover induced gloom, so bounded from  the trees, and towards where she last saw him.  As the Heritor came into her view, she halted and cast Water of Life on him.    The waters from the stream flowed towards him as he climbed the near bank, and ran up his boots and legs.  He could feel the blood in his veins cool a bit.  and was thankful for his Niece's help.
    The Heritor didn't get far however, before another of Gregorious' crewmen charged at him.  Taking the Elf Lord by surprise, the man got a lucky hit, and sliced the Heriot across the arm (-7 HP).  But the man lost his nerve, and moved back away from Lord Fortrywn, where he came face to face with a remaining Guard for the cage. The Drichean made short work of the cowardly crewman. 
     Lord Fortrywn had already turned from the encounter and headed again towards the prisoner.    Another enemy crewman approached the area, and Randilas shot at him, but missed.  Desperate, the Elf Archer shouldered his bow, and drawing his dagger ran at the target.
    Back at the wood totem, the newly arrived Drichean Guard had reached the prisoner, and roughly snatched him up as the man wailed.  The soldier didn't notice Gwyn, as the Hunter had silently moved up behind him, her bow stored, and her magic two-handed sword drawn.  The sword was raised above her head, and the Elf brought it down with her full strength, cutting through the man's Bronze armor, and separating his shoulder bone from his body.  (Gwyn rolls a 20 + 3 F)
   A chill went through everyone's spines as the Monarch roared again.  They could all tell it was closer now, but the fighting continued.    The crewman facing Randilas, swung with his sword as the Archer approached, and the dagger proved  a poor defense as the man stabbed with all his might. He caught the Elf  right below the ribs on his right, and the blade went deep.  Randilas pitched forward with his own momentum, and lay there in the grass at the man's feet.     The enemy crewman jumped over the body, and ran towards the prisoner.  Another enemy crewman, from the pool,  followed close behind.
Te Monarch advances towards the cage.
                  The Elves could now feel the vibrations of the ground from the Monarch's large feet as the huge lizard strode ever closer.  In a moment there was a crashing on the far side of the river and the monster came into view through the trees no more than 20 yards from the bank of the stream, looking for it's expected meal.
     Gwyn could see the enemy crewman approaching and sliced once more at the new Guard, hitting him, but his armor held and protected him this time.    The Hunter was relieved to see Lord Fortrywn run up to the scene, as one of the enemy crewman arrived and stabbed the Guard, finishing him off.  As he did this,  Gwyn quickly sheathed her sword and notched an arrow, firing at the  crewman as he drew his sword from the Guard's body, hitting the crewman and sending him spinning fully around, before he fell to the ground.   Quickly she notched another arrow, as the lone remaining Guard from the cage was now moving up behind Lord Fortrywn, as the Heritor prepared to strike the remaining enemy crewman.  The Elf Lord struck a mighty blow at the man, stabbing deep into the man's gut. (Rolled 15 + 5 F).  The crewman crumpled over.  The Hunter fired at the approachingGuard as he was just a couple feet behind Lord Fortrywn, his spear poised to strike, and the arrow sunk deep into the man's neck, right above his armor.  But he somehow kept coming (1 HP remaining) , and prepared to stab the Heritor in the back.  Gwyn shouted a warning, and Lord Fortrywn turned quickly, striking first, and the weakened man could barely offer any defense. With an easy stroke of his sword the Heritor laid the last Drichean low. 
   All through the fight, the poor prisoner had huddled up against the totem, sobbing and trying not to be hit by all the flashing blades.  Every time the ever-nearing Monarch roared, he let out a long wail, punctuated by the unceasing sobbing.
The battle at the wooden totem. Gregorious' men have the black bases, the Guards have the red shields.
      As the fight was ending, Marny ran up to help.   While the others hurriedly cleaned and sheathed their weapons, she went over to the prisoner , and taking him by the arm, tried gently but urgently, with soothing words, to get the quivering, sobbing, man to stand and go with them.
    They all knew the Monarch was very close now. In fact they could see him on the far bank of the stream less than 100 yards away.   "Quickly!" Lord Fortrywn said to his Niece.    The Heritor looked around at the carnage.  It seemed like there was no one left from Gregorious' crew. He surmised that they were probably all out of action, or ran at the sight of the Monarch.  But he was wrong.
      On the far bank of the stream, in the shadow of the Monarch, stood a lone Crossbowman; the one Lord Fortrywn had wounded after opening the cage.  Somehow the man knew he was the last one of his party still standing.  He could see his once proud Heritor laying a short way away in the grass, bloodied and groaning. The man knew the rest of his party were laying somewhere dead or wounded as well.  As the Crossbowman finished cranking his crossbow, he raised the weapon and inserted a bolt .  He splashed over to the near side the stream to get a better view of his targets in the gloomy Cloud Cover.  The man could sense the Monarch moving up just a few feet behind him on the far bank.  He could hear it's large nostrils sniffing it's prey, and smell its fetid breath descending on him.   He no longer cared about his life; but he did care about those who had inflicted this fate on his group.  Closing one eye, he sighted down his weapon at he cluster of Elves less than 100 yards away.  He saw movement as one of them stood up, and his eye focused on the motion. He pulled the trigger, as the horrid breath of the beast was right above him, and a drop of sticky saliva dropped onto his head.
     Marny's words of comfort had reached the prisoner, and slowly she stood as the man came with her.  Without thinking, she gave a tired smile at her uncle, proud of her success.  Then, suddenly, the smile turned to a look of shock and pain, and the young Elf let out a gurgling sound and pitched forward with the spike of a crossbow bolt sticking squarely from the back of her jacket.   The prisoner shrieked as the body hit hit the ground at his feet, and he cowered down again against the totem.  Lord Fortrywn instinctively drew his sword, and turned towards the source of the shot.   He saw the enemy Crossbowman just as the Monarch's jaws closed around him and lifted the man off the ground as if he hardly weighed anything.  The Heritor knew there was nothing he could do about the shooter now, and hastily he turned back and knelt by his Niece.  In the distance the beast roared, and they could hear it's large feet splash into the creek.   The Elf Lord scooped up the girl in his strong arms, her breaths coming slow and wheezing.  To Gwyn the Hunter he said through gritted teeth, "The Prisoner."  The tall Elf woman pulled at the man with all her might, but he was lost; he sobbed and wailed and clawed at the totem as if trying to burrow inside.  She knew they had seconds before the monster would be there, and even with her skill she knew she was no match for something so large.    And the Hunter realized she was virtually alone, as Lord Fortrywn was already far ahead, practically bounding through the jungle with the wounded Warden.  With a grunt of disgust the Hunter let go of the man, and turned to follow her Heritor back to the ship.
The Monarch prepares to dine on the Crossbowman as the man lines up his last shot.
          Back on the ship, The Silver Sword, later that night,  Lord Fortrywn stood over his Niece as she lay there in her cot.  She was as white as the bandages which wrapped around her chest, and her breathing was shallow and raspy.   The ship's healer had done all she could, but in her words it had been "a very close call".    If it had taken the Elf Lord just a few minutes more to get her back to the ship all would have been lost.  The Heritor stayed in the girl's room into the evening, and it was there that Gwyn found him late in the night.  The Hunter ashamedly reported her failure in bringing the prisoner with her, and was surprised when Lord Fortrywn seemed not to care.  He was strangely distant and lost in thought.  Gwyn also reported that other than Marnilyne's close call;  Lurlin the crewman had not returned and was presumed dead, and crewman Dirkand was badly wounded.  The others who had fallen during the day,  Randilas, and Arbyn, would be fine with a bit of rest and medical attention.  The two treasures they recovered had contained 40 Gold Coins,  a magic two-handed sword (+1F), and a superior quality dagger (+1 damage).
     Lord Fortrywn nodded and thanked the Hunter, but his mind was with his Niece.  He thought back and tried to find what he could have done to protect her better.  She was so cavalier, and head strong, it was hard to keep the girl in check sometimes.  He couldn't help but smile inwardly as he realized she was much like he was in his foolish youth. The Elf's mind traced back over those sunny days as a young officer as his eyes slowly closed and the Heritor drifted to sleep as he sat there in a small chair at the foot of his Niece's cot.
The day's results.


   So close... I almost had it!    What a great game!  I came so close to getting the Central Treasure (the prisoner).  The final minutes were so exciting as Gregorious and I fought tooth and nail for control of the prize.  At last it seemed victory was mine, as I disabled all his troops in the vicinity.  But both Gwyn and Lord Fortrywn had activated, and I knew the game was almost over.  Who could I get there in time to actually grab the prisoner?  And then I saw the Warden.  I measured; yes, she was within a 6" move of the prisoner.  the Warden Phase came and I moved her over to the prisoner, her second action was picking the "treasure" up.  Then came the Soldier phase.  Surely, Gregorious would attempt to move his crossbowman to safety.  Nope.  He announces he wass going to take a Hail Mary shot at the maximum sight range for the Cloud Cover, and sacrifice his last figure to deny the treasure to me.  I was confident he'd miss. I was wrong. And I had sacrificed a lot of he Warden's  HP to "push" spells, thinking she would never be involved in any real combat.  Down she went.  I had one last hope; if the Monarch actually lost the combat with the Crossbowman, the game wouldn't end in the Creature Phase, and I'd get another chance to grab the prize.  But, no,  I rolled the attack against the Crossbow for the beast, and rolled a 16, plus the Monarch's Fight +8. It was more than enough to kill the wounded man, and with that being Gregorious' last figure on the table gone, the game ended. 
    I couldn't have asked for a more exciting finish. I just wish had gone in my favor. Ah, cruel fortune! :)
    All in all though, it was a pretty good game for me.  My dice rolling was actually on the good side, with a lot of nice 18s or 20s when I needed them. And I got two treasures, which is a step in the right direction for me.  Also, the Experience Points for killing a couple Drichean Guards, and freeing the prisoner helped.
   The game was interesting in that it devolved into three distinct player vs player battles.  There didn't seem to be any of the sniping on the flanks, at least down by our end, that we usually see.  I'm not sure if that was a function of terrain, or the immediate need to deal with the four Guards in the center of the table.  It was also interesting that I was the only one to actually free one of the prisoners.  At the other cages, the Guards put up more of a fight, and the opposing crews' missile troops kept each other at bay from getting too close to the prisoners.
   The next game is in just two weeks, and Lord Fortrywn is looking forward to testing his mettle once again.  We feel the tide has turned in his favor!   Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

A Lily Pad Too Far: Frog vs Frog game using GASLIGHT, at Cold Wars

    This past weekend at Cold Wars, Buck Surdu and I ran a GASLIGHT game using our collections of warrior frog miniatures, mainly from Eureka's "Pond Wars" range.  Back when these were first released a number of years ago, Buck and I each acquired sizable collections; he painting his as standard North American frogs, and me painting mine as various South American Poison Dart Frogs.  Thus was born he great Frog Civil War between the Northern Frogs vs the Southern Frogs. 
The South American "Flying Column" advances on the North American right, screened by a series of steep hills.
     Over the years we have run a handful of games at conventions, and since it had been a while, we decided to dust them off and get them on the table for Cold Wars this year.   The scenario we decided on was one from the GASLIGHT Compendium rulebook, and featured one side trying to intercept and cut the line of retreat of the other side.  We called the game, "A Lily Pad Too Far", and decided that instead of retreating, Buck's forces would be advancing through Southern Frog territory, and my army was trying to cut off their line of advance.    In order to achieve this, my side had to have a unit on the far side of the road the Northern Frogs were advancing down by games end. 
A view of the NFA players and their forces as the NFA units try to shake out into a line.
     While the Northern Frog Army (NFA) starts in line of advance on a road running from the long side of the table to one of the short sides; the Southern Frog Army (SFA) begins the game split into the main body, which starts in one corner opposite the NFA, and a "Flying Column" consisting mainly of SFA cavalry, which starts in the other corner opposite the NFA. 
The SFA Dragonflies take on the NFA Light Cavalry.
     As the game started the NFA tried to extend their line and protect the entire length of road.  They were hit on both flanks by the respective SFA forces.  The NFA Light Cavalry did a good job on the NFA right, but eventually a unit of SFA Dragonflies was able to work around them and cross the road.  On the NFA left, the full might of the majority of the SFA force slowly began to erode that flank.
The SFA Light Cavalry charges into a unit of NFA Hammer Troops.
     In the end, the NFA left flank had all but collapsed, and the NFA were unable to shoot the SFA dragonflies out of the air.   So, the SFA was declared the victors.
The NFA Heavy Cavalry moves up as it tries to halt the rapidly advancing SFA right.
     The game was a ton of fun both for the players and us as the GMs, and it was great to get our Frog collections out on the table again.    I look forward to the next time!
A unit of SFA "Frogzerkers" overtakes and eliminates the NFA War-Cart.

A unit of the SFA Guard close assaults a NFA Swamp-Gas Tank.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Duke Morrison and the Great Zeppelin Raid at Cold Wars

   At Cold Wars last weekend, Buck Surdu and I ran a Pulp game in the morning entitled, "Duke Morrison and the Great Zeppelin Raid".   We had decided to do this scenario, because Buck had received, and build, a huge 6' long Zeppelin kit from Kickstarter last year, and after a successful game with it on New Years Eve, we decided it would be fun to do a game with it at a convention.
A long view of the zeppelin.
   We used the always fun GASLIGHT rules for the game.  The scenario involved Buck's perennial game hero, Duke Morrison, and his Army buddy "Wrench" Webb, and  Navy pal "Boats" Morgan, along with some of their Army and Navy troops, defending the zeppelin of the great scientist, Professor Serafini Nannini.  Along with the professor were his lovely daughter, Gianna, and a couple of his lab assistants.   Also helping guard the zeppelin were Crash Corrigan and his Rocketeers, and a unit of the city's finest policemen. 
She-Wolves advance as the Gangster leader "Slasher" (orange shirt), cuts his way through some sailors at the back of the airship
      The reason the zeppelin needed such a strong security presence, was that the professor was transporting a new invention that the forces of evil coveted.  For security reasons the invention had been broken down into 6 components, and hidden around the airship.  The fears of our heroes were not misguided for attacking the zeppelin was a combined force of Nazis and Gangsters. 
"Wrench" with one of his Soldiers, and Giana, with a couple components, begin to converge on the Rocket-sled
        The game was set up as a race against the clock.  It started at 9:00 AM, and after a quick rules brief we got under way at 9:30.  At that time the victory conditions were announced: the God Guys had to get all 6 components of the invention into Nanni's rocket-sled, which was in the cargo bay of the airship; then at exactly 11:30 by real-time, the rocket-sled would auto-launch out the cargo bay doors. (there was no way to launch before that time, or delay it.)  The more pieces of the invention aboard the rocket sled, the better the Good Guys' victory.  The Bad Guys had to prevent this, and steal the pieces of the invention for themselves.  To make things even more difficult for the Good Guys, only a few designated Heroes were capable of piloting the rocket-sled: Duke, "Wrench", Boats", Nanni, and his Daughter.   So at least one of them had to be kept alive.
Crash Corrigan helps stem the tide of the Gangster horde that stormed the front of the ship.
      The game was a ton of fun, with daring deeds on both sides.  The Gangsters on the zeppelin dock quickly overpowered the policemen defending the entryway to the ship, while Nazi Rocketeers and She-Wolves snuck in through one of the engine nacelles.    More Gangsters were disguised as passengers and hidden in crates in the cargo hold.  The Heroes certainly had their work cut out for them!
An aerial shot of the game.
     One by one, the Heroes were able to gather up the invention components; except for one, which a pair of gangsters dragged to the back of the ship for safe keeping, staying near it to make sure no wandering hero might snatch it from them.    The sides were slowly wearing each other down, but the Heroes made steady progress.
"Boats" makes to the sled with another component and the desperate final battle begins as the She-wolves storm the Rocket-sled.
        In the end, it came down to "Boats" Morgan in the rocket-sled being the sole survivor.  Opposed to him were the two gangster mooks who had hidden out in the back of the ship with their prized component.  They had decided to advance just in time, and they approached the sled from a a gangway over the cargo hold.  "Boats" fired his trusty pistol at the pair, but missed; then one of the gangsters returned fire, and hit "Boats"!   The player rolled the Save dice and....failed!  "Boats" was dead!  The clock read 11:28.   Evil had prevailed. Wow what a finish!
The She-wolves are cut down, but "Wrench" is killed, as a couple of the Gangsters attempt to board the craft.  
      All the players had a great time, as did we as the GMs.  You couldn't ask for a better edge of your seat last-minute ending.  We had such a good time that we are considering bringing the game back to Fall-In in November. 
The end.  All that left is pair of gangsters in a zeppelin full of carnage.  

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Saturday at Cold Wars in the HAWKs Room

  Here is a collection of photos from Friday games in the HAWKs club room at Cold Wars this past weekend.
An overall view of the room Saturday morning.

Eric Schlegel's The Germans Come to Schlegel's Ferry using Blood & Swash rules.

Greg Priebe's Combat Patrol- Star Wars, using "Combat Patrol" rules with the Star Wars supplement.

Kevin Fischer's Flanking Attack against the BETA, using "Muv-Luv Alternative: Tactics" rules.

Buck Surdu & Chris Palmer's Duke Morrison and the Great Zeppelin Raid", using GASLIGHT rules.

Eric Schlegel's Al Capone Comes to Schlegel's Ferry, using Blood & Swash rules.

Zeb Cook's Pay Day! A Cowboy Caper, using Combat Patrol rules with the Wild West supplement. 

Cowboys shoot it out in Zeb Cook's game.

Buck Surdu's encore running of Hold at All Costs game, featuring American Army troops vs Japanese in the Philippines, using "Combat Patrol" rules.

Michael Fischer's The Shuddering Mountain game, using "Mobile Suit Gundam: The Gravity Front" rules.

Large mechs fight it out in Michael Fischer's game.

Kurt Schlegel's The Battle of Castricum game, using "SAF Napoleonics".

Geoff Graff's perennial crowd pleaser for kids, Plastic Pirates Panic Population game, using "Plastic Pirates" rules.

Bill Molyneaux's Battle of St Foy game, using Home Brew rules.

British forces advance in Bill Molyneaux's game.

A close up of Chris Palmer & Buck Surdu's A Lily Pad Too Far game, using GASLIGHT rules.

Dave Wood's, The Battle of Castricum game, using "Fate of Battle" rules.
A closer look at the battle of Castricum.

Zeb Cook's Tortuga Raid game, using "Blood & Plunder" rules.

Pirates up to no good in the Tortuga Raid game.

Don Hogge's Action at Serofimovich" game, using "Battleground WWII" rules.

Russian tanks advance in Don Hogge's game.

Greg Priebe, doing a little role playing in his Doctor Who Comes to Schlegel's Ferry game, using "The Doctor Who Miniatures" rules.

The Doctor and Rose pick up a Mcguffin at the Schlegel's Ferry Post Office.