Saturday 6 March 2021

Exeunt, pursued by a Mosasaur: PDEE underwater

Mark returns with another report from the deep past... 


The Utterley-Barkinge Time Travel (& Landscaping) Co. arranges special hunting safaris (for very special fees, payable in advance, no correspondence will be entered into) to the Tethys Sea among other exotic locations. But so far no paying customer has been able to claim a marine apex predator as a trophy. Last year the Hardlove twins almost brought down a Liopleurodon, but Lucifer was killed and Eden was forced to return to the submersible for lack of air before he could finish the job.

This year another party of celebrity hunters will try their luck and skills. They are shown in this photo, taken at the start of the safari after being dropped off by the submersible ⬇️

⬆️ L-R: Bianca Castafiore (speargun) the internationally renowned mezzo soprano and shikari; Jolyon Wagg (speargun) the champion rally driver; David Attenborough (speargun) who is the UB tour guide; Count Almazout (glaive) former Lord Chancellor of Syldavia; and Lazlo Carreidas (glaive) the owner of Sani-Cola.

Attenborough led the hunters into the area identified by UB location scouts as a good place to find marine apex predators. It presently contains a solitary mosasaur (Tylosaurus), and also a Coelacanth (giant grazer), a small but aggressive plesiosaur species (pack predator), and a giant starfish (slow but single-minded and invulnerable predator). Here’s a high level photo ⬇️

As well as this fauna a second mosasaur (Dakosaurus will appear on a random table edge the first time any die roll features 2 sixes.

The hunters have 12 turns to complete their mission and return to the pickup point for the return trip back to their own time.

As Attenborough led the party on a track to pass near (but not too near) the giant grazer, Jolyon Wagg fell behind (failed one activation dice on both the first two turns). He may have been experiencing difficulties with his rebreather gear. Anyway, the plesiosaur developed an interest in him as a potential meal, moved towards him, and then attacked. Luckily for Wagg, it failed to cause any harm.

On the next turn Wagg fired his speargun and missed - the plesiosaur attacked again and wounded him - Wagg fired again and this time wounded the plesiosaur - it attacked again but ineffectively. Lazlo Carreidas turned back to assist, which caused the plesiosaur to move away. Elsewhere the giant starfish sniffed the currents and began to slowly creep towards the scent of blood ...

Here is the end of turn 3 ⬇️ This unexpected delay means the hunters will need to hurry up if they are going to find and ice a mosasaur in time. As usual it’s the paying customers who want to rush into action, and the professional guide who urges caution but is overruled.

The first hunter to activate on turn 4 was Jolyon Wagg, and he maintained his role as expedition loose cannon by rolling sixes, thus bringing on the Dakosaur, from the opposite table edge to where the hunters started. Unlike the Tylosaur it is swimming at Low level.

Attempting to follow Wagg back to the main group, Carreidas was attacked by the plesiosaur and wounded, but he struck back and killed the beast with a second wound. Here’s the dramatic moment as he fells the beast ⬇️

On turn 5 the attack on the Dakosaur began. Attenborough skulked forward and shot at the beast, wounding it. In response it moved away - not very Apex Predator behaviour! Wagg did likewise, causing a second wound. The Dakosaur put on a threat display (Roared) and Wagg hastily retreated. Castafiore then moved up to take a shot. She hit the beast, causing a third wound, killing it! Success, they have bagged a marine reptile apex predator. The Tylosaur moved down to low level, evidently to feed to the carcass (Predate reaction). Then the last member of the party to a activate this turn (Almazout) failed an activation dice, and the Tylosaur attacked - Castafiore being the closest hunter - but failed to wound her (The beast should have attacked Almazout, but I momentarily forgot).

Here we are at the end of turn 5 ⬇️ At top you can see the two mosasaurs, one dead and one very much alive. Castafiore is in actual combat with the Tylosaur. On the bright side, because the beast has come down to low level it now can be attacked by glaives.

⬆️ The two wounded hunters are Wagg (spear gun) and Carreidas (glaive). At bottom R the giant starfish has ingested the dead plesiosaur, and will now move towards the nearest other wounded or dead figure. That would be Lazlo Carreidas. Who is also uncomfortably close to the Coelacanth (out of shot to the L).

The hunters “could” retreat to the pickup point now, having achieved their goal, but nooo, they take a vote* (Attenborough gets an automatic “no” vote) and vote 3-1 to carry on and bring down a second monster. On they will go.

* The UB diving suits have excellent line of sight radios.

It’s turn 6 now, so the hunters have only 1-2 turns left before they must break off and head back to the rendezvous with the submersible. Unless they want to push their luck even further. Spoiler alert: Run you fools. RUN!

Castafiore double activates and shoots point blank at the Tylossur. The first shot wounds the beast, which moves away. There’s something wrong with the #### mosasaurs today! Castafiore’s second shot also finds its mark. The Tylosaur turns and attacks her causing a wound. It now has a wounded model (Castafiore) within M so it attacks again, killing her. Here it is ⬇️

Attenborough activates next and takes a shot, misses. The Tylosaur attacks him, but it misses. But in moving to contact Attenborough it has also moved closer to the two wounded hunters, so it reacts to this before Attenborough gets his second shot. It gets a Predate reaction followed by a successful attack score, so the nearer wounded hunter, Jolyon Wagg, is toast. It is still in range of the other wounded hunter, so it reacts again, and similarly attacks and kills Lazlo Carreidas. Attenborough can now take his second shot, which misses.

Here’s a photo of the Tylosaur’s trail of destruction ⬇️ It’s own two wound markers have been removed for clarity. Moving R -L the red markers show the places where Castafiore, Wagg, and Carreidas were killed. Attenborough can be seen near the pink coral, partly obscured by the tail of the beast. Almazout, the only other surviving hunter, is partially obscured by the clump of giant barnacles.

As you might expect, on turn 7 Attenborough and Almazout run for it. They each safely activate on two dice, and head around to the R of the barnacle clump away from the Tylosaur, Coelacanth, and Starfish, and start towards the pickup point.

On turn 9 Almazout failed an activation and the Tylosaur attacked, moving to within S of him ⬇️ Attenborough was a bit ahead, but turned to support Almazout by shooting at the monster. Missed again. His shooting has been poor today, for a professional Safari guide.

The Tylosaur responded to being shot at by attacking Attenborough, wounding him. It then reacted to having the wounded hunter within M, getting a Predate reaction but failing to carry through the attack.

On turn 10 Almazout activated on two dice. He moved towards the monster which attacked him as he got into S range, wounding him. It then reacted again for having the wounded hunter within M, predating and killing Almazout with a second wound. It then reacted again because Attenborough was within S, and was also wounded within M, attacking and killing him too.

Here is the final scene ⬇️

All five hunters have been killed by the Tylosaur, even though it was carrying 2 wounds (a 3rd would would have been fatal). Attenborough had two shots at it during the rampage, but missed both times. Possibly nerves, it was a fairly terrifying experience.

If they had more time available, Attenborough & Almazout might have made it back to safety by staying close to the terrain pieces (the Tylosaur can’t get at them if they are in contact with a terrain item) and moving on an even more circuitous route. But that would have exhausted their air supply (taken >12 turns).

So, officially the goal of bagging a marine Apex predator remains unclaimed, as none from this safari can claim it.


Stay tuned for Mark's next account with a report read to a recent meeting of the Royal Geographic and Chronographic Society, relating some interesting explorations by members of the Ladies Chronographic Society (Patron: Dame Sappho Utterley-Barking, DVO & bar).