Thursday 30 December 2021

The raid on Port Onslow - swashbuckling with 'This is Not a Test'

This week Andrew and I got our pirate-types on the table for the first time. Between us we have a raft of suitable rules focusing on pirates and swashbucklers, but we decided to use the post-apocalyptic rule set, This is Not a Test, instead. Despite first (post-apocalyptic) appearances, the rules are pretty flawless for pirate themed skirmishes for crews of a dozen or so characters. 

Both crews were built around the Caravaners warband roster, but given the flexibility of the rules, they had completely different flavours. We restricted weapons to melee weapons and 'primitive' missile weapons which includes the likes of black powder pistols, muskets and blunderbusses. The only house rule we implemented was to have guns 'jam' after every shot, regardless of die roll, to represent the load time. Despite the impediment this caused, the strength of the musket shots made them still lethal on the table.

The crew of the cutter Charlotte, commanded by Capt. Sammuel Blood, docked at Port Onslow. Across the port were five chests with scraps of treasure map were hidden inside. The raid ended when all scraps were found, or after eight turns.

Most of Port Onslow's people had fled into the countryside, but the local militia pulled together by their vicar gathered on the edge of town to repulse the pirate raid.

Jim Lad, the pirate cabin boy used all his skills as a runner to get straight up to the first chest in turn one, followed and watched over by one of Blood's lieutenants, Gideon Brown. 

The rest of the crew started up the main street, and were soon joined by Gideon and Jim Lad (holding a loft the first map scrap). 

As the village militia made its way into the main street, gun shots rang out and the first casualties were caused on both sides. Jim Lad used the distraction caused by the firefight to search another chest on the far side of the street, securing the second piece of map for the pirates. The militia recovered a scrap of map from the chest by the church. In the graveyard beyond the church the militia's tribal scout struggled to find a forth map scrap from a chest recovered from one of the graves.

The native scout finally managed to secure the graveyard map piece, but by then it was all a bit late. A bloody scuffle broke out around the fifth chest which ended poorly for the militia. Capt. Blood himself secured the last map scrap and sounded the retreat. 

Blood's buccaneers were successful in their raid, carrying away three of the five map pieces. Both forces suffered four casualties, one of whom died on each side. The wounded militiamen came away better off, however, while three of the pirates would carry serious injuries forwards. 

Not every part of the post-game sequence transferred flawlessly to an 18th century setting. My crew discovered a source of H20 - that's easy enough to view as a source of fresh water - while Andrew's militia found a sniper rifle. We rationalised that back to a fowling piece (using the standard rifle profile, but still jamming every shot), but it did demonstrate that not everything would work without giving some thought. Never-the-less, the game rules themselves were perfect and made for an extremely fun game. We fully intend to take the game forward into something of a narrative campaign - the next step of which will be a hunt for treasure inspired by our map pieces.

You can read about the onward exploits of Captain Blood HERE.