Monday, 12 April 2021

On Safari with the Ladies Chronographic Institute - a Palaeo Diet: Pulp mini-campiagn

What follows is an epic Palaeo Diet: Pulp mini-campaign from Mark in Thailand following the adventures of an exploration & hunting party of the Ladies Chronographic Institute (LCI) as they venture into Pulpish areas of the Lower Fantasycene. 

Here is a photo of the intrepid group ⬇️ Back Row: Catherine Morland (Antiquarian) (armed with a shovel = club); Anna Wintour (Egotist) (rifle); Penelope Croissant PhD (pistol, umbrella = club). Front Row: Harriet Tubman (rifle); Enid Blyton (Addict) (rifle).


You can see I didn’t do too well when rolling for character traits. ⬆️ In the background is Sophie, who is along mostly for show as I have not yet figured out rules for using her on the tabletop. We’ll assume she is carrying expedition supplies, and the (experimental and unreliable) time travel mechanism ...

Our little party will begin with a visit to the Land of Giants.

The Land of Giants
The time portal closed behind the hunters, and they looked cautiously around, Anna Wintour naturally to the fore ⬇️ The terrain appeared to comprise a few steep scarped hills, scattered woods, and some steam fumeroles. So far so normal. No sign of the dinosaurs they had been expecting ... but there’s a giant scorpion (pack predator) straight ahead, and wait ... is that a huge dragonfly (aerial pack predator) yonder?


Well, a trophy is a trophy declared Wintour, and she was off. A successful triple activation meant she could get to within aimed rifle range of the scorpion, and she duly opened fire and hit it (with a natural 6, but it wasn’t a fatal hit). The scorpion wasn’t having this, and moved towards Wintour menacingly (Attack reaction).

The party moved off across the table, with Wintour finishing off the wounded scorpion during turn 2. Also during turn 2, two of the hunters rolled doubles on their activation dice, triggering the arrival of 2 x Giants (apex predators). A Fomorian Giant appeared near the fumeroles. A Hill Giant appeared near the giant dragonfly.

Anna Wintour again rolled a successful triple activation, and hit the Fomorian with an aimed shot. It reacted by Moving Away, which would have taken it off the table, so I let it stay in the interests of the game. It attacked towards Catherine Morland after she failed an activation. Harriet Tubman took an aimed shot at it but missed, as did Enid Blyton, both also triggering Attack reactions from the Fomorian, although it was too far away to contact any of its targets. Luckily for Anna Wintour, she was able to jump out of the way as the giant lumbered towards Blyton.

Here’s the situation at the end of turn 3 ⬇️ Penelope Croissant (umbrella) is standing roughly where the scorpion was shot. The Fomorian Giant is within S of Enid Blyton. The Giant Dragonfly, and Hill Giant, are at L and have not moved (reacted) yet. The blue markers on the Dragonfly are to remind me it is at high altitude (so can be seen over the trees).


Anna Wintour (as an egotist she always activates first and always on three dice) failed an activation on turn 4 and the Fomorian Roared at her: most of the hunters skulked back one or more times. Wintour then shot at the Giant twice, causing another wound. It roared again, then moved away. As it did so, Blyton took two shots, both missed. The beast turned to attack her in reaction to the first shot, and again for the second making it into contact but failing to wound the hunter. Penelope Croissant skulked into contact and attacked with her umbrella, causing a third and fatal wound, and the Fomorian staggered and fell. Here is the scene -


Turn 5, and the adventurers moved towards the other two potential trophies. The closer one (Dragonfly) ignored activation failures by Wintour and Morland, but when Croissant also failed one dice, enough was enough and it came forward towards the body of the Fomorian (Predate reaction). Instead of moving M, it moved S and came down to low altitude ⬇️


Turn 6. Wintour passes another triple activation and opens fire on the Dragonfly. Her first shot missed and the beast attacked, wounding her. Her second shot hit, wounding the Dragonfly which turned and fled. Her third shot also hit, killing the beast with a second wound. The rest of the party advanced cautiously but uneventfully towards the resting Hill Giant ⬇️


Turn 7. Wintour failed another activation dice (she’s on 2/3 stress dice now because of being wounded) but the Hill Giant took no notice of this. Blyton moved up and took a shot, missed. This time the Giant reacted by Attacking, coming to within S of Blyton. This also placed the Giant within S of Tubman, who skulked back (to just outside M in case the Giant decided to Attack her) and shot, missed. The Giant reacted by moving away. Croissant and Morland planned to activate but not move this time, but Morland failed her roll, and the Giant turned back and moved towards the dead Dragonfly (Predate reaction) ⬇️


Turn 8. Wintour fails 1/2 rolls again, the Giant gets a Rest Reaction. Wintour shot and misses. The Giant attacked and killed her. Tubman shoots twice. Her first shot misses, the Giant Attacks but fails to wound her. Tubman’s second shot also misses but the Giant reacts by moving away. Blyton activates but fails one dice, and the Giant roars, causing Morland to skulk away into the woods. Blyton shoots, wounding the Giant and (natural 6 followed by natural 5) causing an extra wound. The Giant - not unreasonably - attacks and wounds her. Croissant skulks up to the beast and attacks it with her lethal umbrella, but this time it fails. The beast Attacks her, but misses. Lastly, Morland comes out of the woods and attacks with her spade, but also misses. The Giant, confused and enraged, Roars again, forcing several hasty skulks away.

At the end of turn 8 ⬇️ The badly wounded Giant is facing (in the wood, L-R): Penelope Croissant, Catherine Morland & Enid Blyton (wounded). The body of Anna Wintour is directly behind the Giant. Harriet Tubman is in the open to the right of the Giant.


Turn 9. Harriet Tubman activates first, but fails on 1 dice and the Giant turns and Attacks her, but fails to inflict damage. She fires one shot, hitting the Giant, and he sprawls dead ⬇️


So, that seems to be that. Time to whistle up Sophie, tend the wounded Enid Blyton, and organise the traditional Valkyrie funeral for the late Anna Wintour. Then it’ll be on to the next leg of the adventure ...

****

The four surviving members of the Safari have arrived at their next adventure, based on the Pulp Fiction scenario in the PDEE Pulp supplement.

Pulp Fiction
A ruthless Cult Leader (witchdoctor) and his Followers (goons) are holding captive Marilyn Munro, a member of the LCI. It seems they will sacrifice her to their Evil God unless the Safari party can rescue her !!! A Death Worse Than Fate !!!!!!

⬇️ Here is the tabletop, a run-down urban area. It could be anywhere, anytime. In the centre of the town square, in front of a concrete wall, Miss Munro has been tied up to await her fate. Incense burners and mysterious amphorae are nearby, hinting at a Dark Satanic Ritual. The Cult Leader, known for some reason as Markus, is nearby in a fetching red cloak and white pointy hat.


⬆️ Scattered around the tabletop are three cult members (goons), all armed with shotguns. Two more goons, one with shotgun and one with sub machine gun, are on the roof of the building at right centre: these are waiting to be Summoned by Markus (as will be any goons killed during the rescue).

The scenario calls for 4 goons on-table at the start, but I arbitrarily reduced this to only 3 because the LCI rescue team now has only 2 rifle-armed members.

Here’s a closeup of the Dreadful Scene !!! ⬇️ Note the goon (Goon 1) on guard in front of the roller doors in the background.


The adventurers must enter the table from one of the corners (or as near as may be) and hustle Miss Munro off the table at the same place.

Rather than use the scenario rules for moving inside buildings, I decided that any figure in base contact with a building gets the benefit of a +1 modification when shot at or cursed. This assumes they are either inside the structure or partly concealed by clutter such as rubbish bins.

Turn 1. Our intrepid rescue mission came on at the NW corner (top L of the first photo, above, next to the Golden Dragon Chinese restaurant). They all successfully activated x2 and moved forward cautiously.

Turn 2. Catherine Morland activated first, but failed 1/3 dice (knocked over an empty tin can). The nearest goon (Goon 1) Attacked in reaction, coming out to see what was happening, but unable to get into a firing position because of starting hemmed in by the dumpster. Morland skulked forward while the others all held their breaths and waited (activated on 1 dice only). Unfortunately a barking dog threatened to give them away (Croissant and Blyton failed their activations) but Goon 1 moved away, twice. Nothing to see there, it seems.

Turn 3. Morland sneezed just as she moved on (failed 1/3 activation dice) but Goon 1 (still the nearest enemy) apparently didn’t hear her. She skulked towards him again, under cover of the concrete wall. Tubman went next, a Lope + Skulk bringing her to the W end of the wall, from where she could see Marilyn Munro, and Markus, only about M away. She chambered a round, ready for the next turn ... Blyton activated next, and moved to a covering position at the rear of the parked truck. Then lastly Penelope Croissant also activated and joined Tubman.

Here we are at the end of turn 3 ⬇️ Only Goon 1 has been alerted (reacted to the stealthy approach of the rescuers) and luckily he has moved off, probably just checking the rest of the neighbourhood., or going for a pee.


⬆️ To the L of the concrete wall, Tubman (white shirt) & Croissant (red umbrella) will be the snatch squad. At the mid point behind the wall, Morland is stalking Goon 1 who is at the R end behind the wall. Blyton is in a covering position behind the big truck at upper L. Miss Munro and Markus, oblivious so far, are in front of the wall, no doubt rehearsing their Big Scene . The other two goons on duty are seen at lower L near the gold-roofed van, and R in the alley between the two bars.

Turn 4. Everyone took a deep breath while Morland attempted a risky triple activation. But she succeeded, so skulked right up to Goon 1, swung her shovel (club) - and missed. Goon 1 moved away, maybe concussed? Could have been worse.

Tubman & Croissant then activated jointly (on 2 dice). First action: Tubman shot at Markus, wounding him. Croissant aimed her pistol. He reacted with an Attack move, but failed to wound Tubman. Goon 1 also reacted to the gunshot (Predate), coming around the end of the wall to see what was happening. Tubman took her second shot, wounding Markus again. He moved away. What luck! no Cursing or Summoning. Goon 1 moved forward (Predate) again. He’s now annoyingly close to both Markus and Marilyn, Croissant fires her aimed pistol, bringing down Markus with a well-deserved bullet in the back. Only Goon 1 reacts (gunfire within L) (other goons are too far away, and although Markus is killed within their LOS he is not a fellow-goon. Also he never gives them a day off).

Last of all, Blyton activates on 1 dice and fails. Goon 1 is of course the closest beast. He moves towards Blyton (Attack reaction)

Here is the end of turn 4 ⬇️ Looking L-R we see: Enid Blyton, Goon 1, Penelope Croissant, Harriet Tubman, Markus (deceased), Marilyn Munro, Catherine Morland.


The other two goons on duty have not moved from their starting positions.

Turn 5. Tubman activated first, but failed 1/3 dice. Goon 1 attacked, firing his shotgun and wounding Tubman. Her shot missed. Goon 1 fled. As he was now out of range, Tubman moved up to Marilyn Munro and began to cut her free. Croissant double activated, moving to complete the job. The rescue team now have their rescuee in hand.

Catherine Morland failed 2/3 activations ... Goon 1 and the goon outside the bars (Goon 2) reacted ... Goon 1 advanced (Predate) but Goon 2 preferred masterly inactivity.

Turn 6. Croissant * activated first, on two dice. She skulked then loped back towards the exit point (the initial skulk was to avoid the attention of Goon 1, whose Predate reaction to Morland has brought him back a bit too close to the action). Munro followed closely.

* Croissant counts as the “owner” of Munro, who is moved as if she was a hound.

Morland activated properly this turn and also legged it back towards the exit point. Tubman risked as little as possible, activating on her sole non-stress die and skulking away from Goon 1. Who is just out of range of Blyton and her rifle, who are covering the retreat. But, Blyton failed a one dice activation, and Goon 1 moved towards the deceased Markus (yet another Predate reaction) and started to eat him. Or maybe, loot his pockets.

Here is the end of turn 6 ⬇️ Penelope Croissant & Marilyn Munro are running for the exit (past the dumpster & down the alley to the L). Catherine Morland is to their R. Enid Blyton is by the truck to their L. Harriet Tubman (with the wound marker) is just passing the end of the wall and hoping that Goon 1 keeps busy with Markus and doesn’t notice her.


Turn 7. Was uneventful. Tubman made it to the corner of the alley. Blyton failed an activation but Goon 1 did not move. The rest of the adventurers, and Marilyn Munro, made it to the exit. Let’s call the game at this point as Tubman and Blyton are almost 2L from Goon 1 and a shorter distance to the exit.

The adventurers have succeeded in their objective, not to mention killing the evil Cult Leader, at the cost of a single wound to Harriet Tubman. Easily patched up when the party gets back to Sophie the Time Travelling Triceratops.

We’ll rejoin the expedition later, after they have returned Marilyn Munro to her own time and place.

****

The party have arrived at the site of their last adventure of the Safari. The mysterious ruins of the Temple of Thinga-Majig, the Egyptian god of Lockdowns, who was erased from the pantheon early in the New Kingdom period.

Here is the tabletop with all players in their starting positions ⬇️ The four adventurers are grouped in the centre of the temple ruins. There are two Mummies in the centres of the 2nd and 4th quadrants (counting clockwise from top L) and a cat (OK a leopard borrowed from the MSM boxes, I had to improvise) in Q3. The six yellow markers (not all visible because of the camera angle) are valuable artefacts there to be collected (not looted, at all). Some are more valuable than others.


Our adventurers will try to collect enough artefacts to cover the costs of the Safari (and maybe make a profit), without knowing their values until the end of the game. Sounds easy? The Mummies may have other ideas.

The party decides to split up, and comb the ruins looking for the artefacts. One adventurer will search each quadrant. How hard could it be ?

⬇️ Turn 1. All the adventurers successfully activate on two dice each* and off they go. Blyton gets close to the cat, but it reacts by moving away. Did I say all? In fact Harriet Tubman, the last to activate, fails one dice and the nearest Mummy, in Q4, jerks into life (it’s only an expression) and lunges forward. Tubman uses her successful activation to skulk discreetly forward, towards the Mummy, which is in ‘her’ quadrant


* To avoid repetition, assume that all activations in this game are rolled using 2 dice unless otherwise recorded. Also I’ll be activating the adventurers in a sequence starting with Penelope Croissant in Q1, at least for so long as they remain in different quadrants.

⬇️ Turn 2. Penelope Croissant in Q1 fails an activation. The Mummy that Harriet Tubman woke up last turn now focusses on Croissant and lunges towards her. But it’s a long way off, and Croissant ignores it and pockets an artefact. Catherine Morland in Q2 pockets the artefact she reached last turn, and skulks carefully towards the part of her quadrant hidden by the ruined walls. Enid Blyton in Q3 also fails an activation, triggering a reaction by the cat. It cannot move away because it, and Blyton, are in an enclosed space and Blyton is between the cat and the exit. So I ruled that it Curses her (making it harder for her to activate until the curse is lifted). But before the curse takes effect Blyton moves into contact with the artefact at the far end of the room. Lastly Tubman in Q4 ambles carefully around the Mummy, towards an artefact.


⬇️ Turn 3. In Q1 Croissant can see a second artefact, but also the active Mummy lurching forwards in her direction. But she has enough leeway to move into contact with the second artefact in her quadrant. Morland in Q2 skulks up to the wall and peers around the edge. There is an inactive Mummy only S away!!! But also an artefact even closer !!!!!! She skulks towards the artefact, tiptoeing so as to not alert the creature (cannot reach it this turn because of needing to turn around a corner). Blyton in Q3 fails an activation. This time the cat can get past her, and heads for the door (moves away). Blyton pockets the artefact she contacted last time. Tubman in Q4 is close enough to move into contact with an artefact and collect it.


⬆️ So at the end of turn 3 ... Penelope Croissant in Q1 seems to be about to collect her 2nd artefact (red umbrella, bottom of photo). Catherine Morland in Q2 can be seen near the yellow marker (artefact), and also close to a Mummy who fortunately for her hasn’t activated yet. Enid Blyton in Q3 is Cursed, and inside the enclosed space in her quadrant, and the cat can be seen just coming out the door with a satisfied smile. Harriet Tubman in Q4 is standing next to the artefact at lower R in the photo, checking what the other Mummy is up to before she turns her back on it to collect the artefact.

The adventurers have collected 3 artefacts (Croissant, Morland and Blyton have 1 each), and the remaining 3 are all close to different members of the party. So far, so good. If I have done my sums right there’s an even chance they have enough artefacts in hand to leave the temple now, and win. But better to keep going and make it a sure thing.

⬇️ Turn 4. Uh oh, Croissant fails an activation, and the Mummy roars, but she and Tubman are >M away so ignore the threat. Croissant pockets her second artefact. Morland also fails an activation (sneezes, perhaps) and the other Mummy, which is only S away, attacks her !!! And wounds her !!!!!! She attacks back using her successful activation, wielding her trusty shovel, but fails to hurt the beast. Blyton tries 3 activations and fails all of them, so all three beasts on the table must react. The cat gets Predate so moves off towards the wounded Morland. The Mummy in Q4 gets Lunge and changes direction - again - towards Blyton. The Mummy attacking Morland gets Attack, but fails to finish off the adventurer (whew). Tubman pockets her artefact, and heads off to see what has happened to Blyton.


⬆️ L-R: Croissant, a Mummy, Tubman, the Cat, Blyton, Morland and the other Mummy locked in deadly combat. There is only 1 uncollected artefact now, near the Morland- Mummy fight. But another is in Morland’s pocket, and recovering it if she is killed could be tricky.

Turn 5. Croissant fails an activation. The nearer Mummy turns to Attack towards her, and she skulks away towards Q2. Morland continues fighting ‘her’ Mummy, attacking twice and causing the creature one wound. Blyton activates on three dice (yay), uses 2 actions to snap out of the Curse, and the last one to exit the room where she had been trapped. Tubman moves to join her, and (as the two rifle armed members of the party) they ponder their next move.

⬇️ Turn 6. Croissant keeps skulking x2, heading in the direction of the Morland-Mummy fight (though she cannot see it yet because walls block her LOS. Morland attacks the Mummy another two times, dealing a second wound. Blyton and Tubman both move towards the fight, ending up within L of Morland.

The cat reacts to the two adventurers invading its space, by predating. As it approaches the fight, the Mummy succumbs to its fear of felines and moves away. The cat attacks Morland, but fails to cause any damage.


⬆️ L-R: A Mummy, Croissant (with umbrella), the other (wounded) Mummy, Morland and the Cat, Tubman & Blyton. The remaining uncollected artefact is behind the short ruined wall to Morland’s left.

⬇️ Turn 7. Croissant keeps skulking. She can now see the wounded Mummy and the remaining artefact, and she’s within M of both. Morland activates on 1 dice ony, fails. The cat is the nearest beast, it Fled,§ leaping through a gap in the nearby wall and out of sight. Tubman moves up and takes a shot at the wounded Mummy, killing it with a third wound !!! The cat reacted to the shot by moving away. Blyton moves up and takes a sharp turn round behind the wall, ending up next to the last artefact.

§ I ruled that, per the Cat reaction chart, the applicable situation is “Attacked ... by a hunter” even though Morland hadn’t actually attacked the Cat (it had attacked her). The alt possible reaction was Move Away, so it’s all good.


⬆️ Here’s the position at the end of turn 7, when the game ended. The Mummy as lower R was active for much of the game but never got anywhere. It changed direction several times as different adventurer activation failures made it react, the overall result being it got nowhere.

⬇️And here’s a closer look. The adventurers are (L-R): Tubman, Morland (wounded), Blyton (next to the artefact), Croissant. And the other even-more-dead-than-previously Mummy.


A very good win for the adventurers, who collected all the artefacts at the cost of a single wound. It’s a pity the Mummys didn’t have more opportunity to demonstrate their powers to Summon swarms (of scorpions, flies etc) and repair their own wounds, but moving carefully, to avoid waking them as far as possible, was the plan.

The Safari concludes at this point as the party boards Sophie and (if the machine works properly) returning to their present time and place. They will be delivering an address to a future meeting of the Ladies Chronographic Institute in due course.

Sunday, 4 April 2021

A second sweep via Flores Minor

My first (impromptu) side project for the year seems to have been building up a 28mm sci-fi skirmish force - the lads from the Flores Minor Ranger Corp. The first tranche of space-halflings where shown back in February. The rest of the compliment are now complete and I find myself with a neat pool of stunties and allies to take on all those too-talls out there. 

The this time all the halflings are 1991 issue Games Workshop 40K ratlings with their rifles converted into shotguns and a chunky minigun. The wonderful resin bulldog is from Durgin Paint Forge. I LOVE him!

Buckshot – Put that in your pipe and smoke it

Snake Eyes – Anything but a 1!

Point – First to land, last to leave

Heavy – Layin’ down the cover

Pup – Bark! Bark bark bark!

Sunday, 28 March 2021

28mm Trojan spearmen

 

This unit of Trojan spearmen has been on the painting shelf for some time now, painted in stages simply because I decided I wasn't overly taken with the figures. These are Newline (with a Foundry commander figure on the centre base), and while I really liked the Newline archers I posted last week, I just couldn't feel the same enthusiasm for these chaps. Now that they are done and based I'm quite happy with them though. They still need to be sprayed with a matt varnish of course.

This army has been built with flexibility in mind, so for Fantastic Battles these will be a unit of three formed companies with shieldwall, long spears and mixed shooting. For l'Art de la Guerre they are three units of heavy spearmen with pavises and missle supports, and should they be used in Hail Caesar I think they count as a single unit of medium spearment with long spears and a weak shooting attack.




And lasly a wee teaser shot of the army coming together...

Friday, 26 March 2021

ProjectTROY - 28mm Mycenaean/Trojan comparison

 

Not much to say about this one - just a line-up of Bronze Age Aegean types. From left to right: Newline, Foundry, Redoubt, Eureka and a Lucid Eye Amazon. Lucid Eye are just a smidge too tall for my liking, but the others will all work in an army together. In my Trojan army, they have no choice!