Tuesday 22 March 2022

Barons' War Outlawed Noble Command Group

Because I have jumped on the bandwagon a bit with Barons' War, I have two smaller retinues being built to compliment my large retinue posted yesterday - Outlaws, and Vikings (for Barons' War Conquest).

The outlawed noble, known as Edmund the Bastard, has been followed into exile by his trusty hunting hound and a retinue of knights (bereft of their horses) including a priest. The knight on the left is Footsore's Stephen with a head and shield swap, the hound is from Wargames Atlantic's Irish box, the outlaw is also from Footsore, the priest is from Trent Miniatures, and the knight on the right is from CP Models. Heraldry is Sherry, Lego Forestmen, and Sprigg respectively.

Monday 21 March 2022

Baron Hugh de Guerre's retinue - Barons' War

Since the end of last year I have been slowly working away at a 1,000 point retinue for Barons' War. The full retinue is made of Fireforge plastics, some with bits thrown in from other kits and ranges. I haven't managed to get a game in yet (and so I don't know if this is a viable force), but I already had the start of the force, so enjoyed expanding it. Looking forward to a game in the very near future. 

Hugh de Guerre himself, with two veteran sergeants as the retinue command group.

Four more veteran mounted sergeants with spears.

A second command group - Sir John Ireland and five verean sergeants with spears.

The third command group, Sir Guillaume le Fauconnier, with four veteran sergeants with axes.

Five veteran sergeants with maces.

Five veteran sergeants with crossbows.

Five veteran bowmen.

Four green levy slingers - not sure historically about having women in the levy, but ... needs must.

Six green levy with improvised two-handed weapons.

And a few civilians I already had in the collection that will see service in village scenarios.

Sunday 20 March 2022

Prisoners of the Sun: PDEE Pulp with the Chronographic Society (part 3)

The end of the adventure …

Tintin & Snowy, Captain Haddock, and Chang Chon-Chen are now the only surviving expedition members. Tintin was wounded by the Tyrannosaur during the trek across the Hidden Plateau. Chang has been unable to patch him up, for lack of medicinal plants. Maybe he can find some before they face the final challenge.

Exiting the Plateau the party see the ancient ruined Temple of the Sun in the distance. This is the destination of the expedition, where they must rescue Prof Logarithm and return the Crystal of Rascar Capac.

Information gleaned from the field notes of the Sanders-Hardiman expedition indicates the Temple is guarded by the zombified remains of Mayan warriors. Mummies!

The adventurers decide to play it cautiously. They’ll scout the environs of the Temple, starting with the West side, before going inside. This will also - with luck - allow Chang enough time to stock up on medical herbs. 

Tintin immediately fails an activation roll, and a Mummy (all are “Lesser Mummies” unless stated otherwise) pokes its head around the corner of the temple and glares balefully at the intruders. The adventurers press on. After 3 Turns they are moving along outside the W wall. ⬇️

Chang has discovered more medicinal plants. Snowy has had a close encounter with a Mummy, and been wounded, but is now ambling towards Tintin. Another Mummy can be seen in the top R corner of the photo. Surely there must be more? And where is the Professor?

On Turn 4 Chang discovered yet more plants, and also patched up TinTin. While Tintin was being bandaged the three adventurers pooled their limited knowledge about Mummies. Consensus is they’ll be very hard to bring down by shooting. Chang remembers his grandmother telling him they are scared of fire. It’s worth a try. Tintin & Haddock both have safety matches, and there is tinder (dry grass etc) lying around, so when the time comes, they’ll light fires.

By the end of Turn 6 ⬇️ The reconnaissance along the W side of the Temple is paying off. Captain Haddock can see into the ruins, and has spotted the Professor (with butterfly net, behind the High Altar). But the Mummies are beginning to react in greater numbers. Snowy is bating the one who wounded him earlier (Chang has now fixed that wound). A total of five Mummies are now visible.

⬆️ A quick check reveals the wind is from the NW: blowing diagonally across the table from lower L to upper R in this photo.

After 9 Turns ⬇️ Tintin & Chang have nearly reached the Professor and the High Altar, aided by fires that are keeping the Greater Mummy at a distance. Haddock is just out of frame at bottom L, following a panic reaction to one of the Mummies (Roar reaction).

On Turn 10 Tintin failed 1/3 activation dice and was attacked by the Mummy near the Professor, and wounded. But he shot and wounded his attacker, which reacted by moving off (afraid of the fire). Then Tintin skulked into contact with the Altar and the Professor. Snowy passed all 3 activation rolls and skulked toward the Greater Mummy ⬇️

⬆️ Chang also failed 1/3 and the same Mummy lunged at him but didn’t make contact. Chang backed off, the better to cover Tintin’s back, and shot at the Mummy, a lucky shot causing 2 wounds and finishing it off. Last to activate, Haddock failed one roll. The nearest “beast” (the Greater Mummy) moved away, spooked by the fires. And at the end of the Turn, 1/2 fires burned out.

Turn 11. ⬇️ Tintin activated on all three dice (only just, both white dice were ‘2’). He pulls the Crystal of Rascar Capac from the pocket of his trusty Bombay Bloomers, unwraps and places it on the High Altar of the Temple of the Sun. It’s only the back of the altar to be sure, but the scenario doesn’t care. This is a major contingent plot moment: what will happen? 

⬆️ It’s a ‘1’. All the Mummies start to metamorphose into their original living forms as Mayan warriors. Will they be friendly? We’ll know next Turn (all are inert this Turn). But Tintin isn’t done yet. He lopes back towards his companions. The Professor, to huge relief, ambles after him. Snowy starts to howl. Chang and Haddock activate successfully and start the retreat. The remaining fire starts to spread more widely.

Turn 12. ⬇️ Tintin rolls snake eyes to activate. Uh-oh. The Mayans (now classed as Outfolk hunters) are hostile. The chief gets a Predate reaction so heads off to check on his dead warrior (yellow marker). He also loses the wound he accumulated while in Mummy form. The next nearest Mayan, way down in the SW corner, moves away. The professor remembers he left his compass back at the temple, and tries to move back to find it. But as long as he is adjacent, Tintin won’t let him go. Both of them retreat when the Mayan roars (responding to an activation failure by Chang).

⬆️ At this point (end of Turn 12) I ended the game, ruling that the Chronographic Society expedition had achieved its objectives, though at the cost of 50% casualties (not counting hounds). They have passed through the Rumbaba Valley, and crossed the Hidden Plateau. They have rescued Professor Logarithm and returned the Crystal to the Temple of the Sun. They are well placed to exit the table without the Mayans catching them.

Presumably the mysterious convulsions affecting the Sanders-Hardiman archaeologists will now cease - they will no longer be Prisoners of the Sun.

Saturday 19 March 2022

Prisoners of the Sun: PDEE Pulp with the Chronographic Society (part 2)

Following on from the previous episodeThe expedition has crossed the Rumbaba Valley and has camped  to regroup before pressing on to the Hidden Plateau. Ramon Zarate was killed by the Rumbaba warriors in the valley. Snowy (Tintin’s hound) was wounded by a Flying Monkey, but this turned out to be only a graze, and it has now healed. Other wounds to adventurers, sustained during the journey, were fixed by Chang Chon-Chen while still in the valley, using his medical kit and medicinal plants discovered on the riverbank. His kit is now empty and he’ll need to find more plants if he is to heal wounds on the next stages of the trek.

More worrying is the fate of Piotr Skut, who fell behind when the other survivors legged it as night fell. Early next morning he appeared, having survived a night alone, but he was in poor mental shape. He now has the “Addict” negative personality trait, possibly stung by a poisonous plant.

Here we see the surviving expedition members on the edge of the Hidden Plateau. What challenges will they face as they cross this mist-shrouded [may not contain actual mist] rocky wasteland?

⬆️ They can make out some small pterosaurs gliding above the largest butte, and another larger one over on the R. The most direct route across the Plateau is occupied by a Stegosaurus and some Ankylosaurs. There also seem to be tar pits. But, is that all? Are more dangers yet to be revealed? Only the dice can say.

Tintin leads the party down onto the Plateau. After 2 Turns they are making good progress. ⬇️ As the adventurers reached flat ground they were attacked by a small flock of Pterosaurs (flying raptors). Rastapopoulos shot down one of them as it closed, and Tintin bagged the other as it subsequently fled. The yellow markers are predation sites for these kills. The larger Pterosaur also moved up threateningly, but fled at the sound of gunfire. The various activation fails, gunshots etc failed to disturb the grazing dinosaurs.

⬆️ But as Turn 3 started, something made Piotr Skut glance over his right shoulder. Two smallish theropod dinosaurs with big teeth (pack predators) are eyeing the adventurers with interest, as morning tea snacks. 

Skut promptly rolled 1&1 for his activation, so (a) he cannot take any actions this Turn, and (b) his addiction symptoms kick in and he takes a wound. The beasts stay put. Then Chang, who is nearby, fails one activation roll. One of the beasts moves towards Skut with a Predate reaction. With admirable sang froid, Chang uses the rest of his activation to collect some medicinal plants he has just discovered, and skulk carefully away.

Tintin shoots across the tar pit at the dinosaur predating towards Skut. His first shot misses, the beast predates into contact and kills Skut. Tintin’s second shot wounds the beast, which then attacks Haddock who is the closest live adventurer, but separated by the tar pit. The theropod attacks across the tar pit, and becomes trapped in the sticky mire!

Haddock moved next. He failed one dice, prompting the giant Pterosaur (apex predator) to attack towards him. A pistol shot at the giant missed, and it moved into contact, but failed to harm the Captain, who dodged past with his last activation dice.

Rastapopoulos then shot at the giant Pterosaur. He missed, and it attacked and wounded him. His second shot also failed and the beast killed him.

So at the  end of an action-filled Turn 3, here we are. ⬇️

⬆️ Skut is down, on the near side of the tar pit, and the dinosaur that killed him is slowly drowning in the tar. To the L, Rastapopoulos has also fallen, and the giant pterosaur is circling its kill. The expedition is now down to Tintin & Snowy (adjacent to the yellow marker), Chang (green marker) and Haddock (over to the R).

Turn 4 turned out to be comparatively uneventful. ⬇️ All remaining adventurers got out of the area and safely made it to the low ridge in the distance. The nearest beast in the few reaction prompts was the giant pterosaur, but this was content to mind its own business, and with Roar reactions which actually helped the fleeing humans by encouraging them to run faster. Only Snowy stayed behind to bark at the circling beast (which I repositioned slightly for dramatic effect). The grazers on the other side of the butte are oblivious to all this.

From their ridge-top position the expeditioners can see the far side of the Plateau, where they can exit. They’re actually just within 2L of this, so could make it in 1 Turn, with luck. What they don’t know is that a Big Theropod (Tyrannosaur) is lurking in the forest patch they will have to pass to make their exits.

Turn 5. All adventurers attempted to activate on three dice this time. Tintin was first, and succeeded. He moved 2M (ambled) towards the exit edge, keeping >M away from the forest (from an abundance of caution). Snowy failed two dice, so persisted in barking at the giant pterosaur, who treated this annoyance as Howling, and Moved Away.  Chang was next, failing one dice. The Tyrannosaur was the closest beast, but it took no interest. Chang moved to join Tintin. Lastly, Haddock also failed one roll, and this time the Tyrannosaur attacked towards him. But he dog-legged around it without difficulty and joined the others. ⬇️

The adventurers are in a pickle. So close to the exit, but … Tintin won’t leave the table without Snowy. Haddock won’t leave without Tintin. Chang will be too exposed if he leaves on his own.

Turn 6. Tintin activated first, failing on 1/3 dice. The Tyrannosaur attacked him, but initially failed to wound. Tintin’s shooting was terrible, both his shots missing, but the enraged Theropod only caused 1 wound. Snowy failed 1/3 so ambled x2 towards Tintin. The giant pterosaur attacked (chased) but couldn’t catch Snowy.

Chang fired 2 shots at the Tyrannosaur, causing a wound. In reaction the beast moved away, then roared. Lucky, that. Very lucky. The adventurers all ended up involuntarily retreating off table in reaction to the Roar.

This left Snowy. I played an end game to see if he would escape. He got another ‘amble towards master’ activation, and came into reaction range of the beast, but it got a Predate reaction so moved right past Snowy, towards the plentiful carrion on offer around the larger tar pit. On this basis I’m ruling that Snowy and Tintin are reunited off table.

Here’s the finale, as Snowy scoots past the Tyrannosaur ⬇️


So the expedition has left a further two members behind on the table, food for the terrible ancient predators that lurk on the Hidden Plateau. And at last, my tar pit has claimed it’s first actual game-induced victim :)

Will the reduced number of adventurers be able to successfully complete the third (and final) stage of the quest: to rescue Professor Logarithm and return the Crystal of Rascar Capac? This will be revealed in the final episode.

Friday 18 March 2022

Prisoners of the Sun: PDEE Pulp with the Chronographic Society (part 1)

Another dispatch from Mark in Thailand:

This year happens to be the 60th anniversary of my discovery of the Adventures of Tintin (by George Rémi, aka Hergé). And I can still recall being at a friend’s house reading the latest Tintin book available in NZ, in November 1963, when news of the Kennedy assassination came through. Chris’s father was an American, and took it very hard. The book we were poring over was Prisoners of the Sun.

Perhaps the best way to start this campaign is by citing this extract from the Pattaya Evening News (undated, probably mid January 1922) which I recently discovered in the City Archives. The interpolations […] I have added based on what we know now.

"The Chronographic Society expedition will shortly embark for Callao, Peru. It will then trek into the Andes through the Valley of the Rumbaba [Amerindians, Army ants, Flying monkeys] and the Hidden Plateau [Dinosaurs] to the City of Gold [Mayas], to rescue Professor Logarithm and return the mysterious crystal of Rascar Capac that alone can break the curse of the Sun God on the Sanders-Hardiman archaeologists for profaning the temple of Wat Alotabaloney.

"The photo shows the expedition members as they prepare for their epic adventure. L-R: Mr Tintin (the famous reporter, with his hound Snowy); Capt. Archibald Haddock (Merchant mariner, Tintin’s longtime companion); Señor Ramon Zarate (expert knife thrower, chess master, some-time dictator of San Theodoros); Messrs. Piotr Skut (the well-known Estonian mercenary); Roberto Rastapopoulos (international playboy and criminal genius); and Chang Chon-Chen (the mountaineer who discovered the Yeti)"

It seems likely the photo was taken at the mental hospital where the unfortunate members of the Sanders-Hardiman expedition were held after they were struck down, one by one after their return from Peru, by daily violent seizures. 


Valley of the Rumbabas
The Chronographic Society expedition arrived at Callao on the steamer Pachacamac, and spent a week or so hiring guides, buying supplies, and so forth. Then they set out. 

During the voyage expedition members had had the opportunity to size each other up as to character traits.  It emerged that Tintin is an Explorer; Captain Haddock is an Engineer (carrying bombs); Ramon Zarate is a Big Game Hunter; Skut has no special trait; Rastapopoulos is Unfit; and Chang Chon-Chen is a Naturalist (he starts with a medicine chest that can heal 2 wounds).

The party passed out of the settled area, and the immense jungle of the Andes cordillera closed around them. The guides would go no further. Ahead lay the first big challenge: a foothills valley inhabited by the fierce Rumbaba Indians, with their poisoned spears and hostility to all intruders …

Here’s the Valley. ⬇️ There is a track through the jungle, which the expedition can use. They must cross the river, and exit the far side on or near the track exit point. While on the track expeditioners may move at full speed, but off the track they are limited to max moves of M in open ground and S in jungle or swamp.

All seems peaceful. But of course, it’s not ! The expedition will start at Dawn, and must be out of the Valley by Nighfall (ie they have 12 Turns). To be still in the Valley in darkness doesn’t bear thinking about. 

Tintin leads the party along the track at a trot, trusting to luck that they won’t be ambushed in the big patch of jungle. In the event luck favours the expedition, or more likely potential opponents are caught by surprise and need time to react. At any event, after 2 Turns the expedition has reached the log bridge across the big swamp and pauses to regroup. Snowy has gotten a bit lost (failed last activation) and is howling. ⬇️

⬆️ Possibly it’s the howling that finally got the Rumbaba warriors moving. There they are to port, and they don’t seem to have liquor-filled pastries on their minds! These opponents are classed as Outfolk Hunters.

During Turn 3 the expedition started to cross the log bridge. Tintin, in the lead, fired at the closest warriors using his shotgun, wounding 2 and causing the whole party to charge him. They couldn’t make contact because the swamp slowed them down. ⬇️ Haddock, Chang and Skut followed.

⬆️ Zarate and Rastapopoulos, in the rear, found themselves trapped on the track when the other Rumbaba warriors attacked (provoked by gunfire). Zarate killed one as they came in, but was himself wounded by another. Rastapopoulos defended desperately and wounded the warrior that attacked him. One Rumbaba stayed back in the jungle.

Turn 4 saw the expedition members in close combat with the Rumbaba warriors. By the time it was all over ⬇️ 4 warriors were dead, and the others were in flight. But 1 expedition member had been killed and 3 more were wounded.

⬆️ Moving R>L along the track: Rastapopoulos killed the warrior who attacked him. Zarate was beaten again and killed by his attacker, who then went on to attack Skut, and wounded him but was killed in return. Chang activated but didn't move this Turn. Unfortunately he didn’t find any medicinal plants either. Tintin was attacked and wounded by a warrior. Haddock luckily rolled a successful triple activation and came to the rescue, jumping off the bridge into the swamp, wading along to a flank position, and killing Tintins attacker.

All Warriors not shown in the photo are fleeing, pursued by Snowy. It’s unlikely they will return.

Admin note: with so many figures (Expeditioners & Warriors) in such a confined space I didn’t apply the rule about all “beasts” within L reacting to each shot fired, as it would have quickly degenerated into total confusion. Possibly realistic, but difficult and slow to adjudicate.

Skipping forward to the end of Turn 6. ⬇️ The expedition has set up a temporary camp to rest, and sort themselves out, after the fight. Chang Chon-Chen has used his medical kit to cure the wounds to Tintin and Captain Haddock. He doesn’t have enough to fix Skut too, unless he finds some medicinal plants. Zarate has been buried, in an unmarked grave in case the Rumbaba come back and perform unspeakable atrocities.

⬆️ The expedition members haven’t yet noticed the small commotion on top of the hill at top L. Their attention is instead turning to the swarm of Army Ants that has just broken cover across the river. The river the expedition must now try to cross.

It was a stroke of luck that the Army Ants were spotted at this moment. The protection of the river (which the ants won’t cross) gives a chance to disperse them before pressing on. 

In Turns 7 & 8 the adventurers tried their luck shooting at the Ants to see if this would do the trick. Haddock went first with a thrown explosive charge, but this failed to go off. Eventually Tintin scored a hit with his shotgun and the remnants of the Swarm dispersed back into the jungle. Meanwhile Chang successfully found and recovered a medicinal plant, so he’s halfway to having enough to repair Skut. It’s time to press on.

On Turn 9 Tintin led the adventurers across the river. He failed 2/3 activations, and a flock of Flying Monkeys dashed forwards x2 from their hilltop. The Flying Monkeys are Raptors that can fly. Chang discovered another medicinal plant and stayed back on the other side of the river to collect it. ⬇️

The expedition has no time to admire these fabled Monkeys, though in other circumstances bringing one back to “civilisation” (alive or dead) would cause a sensation. Tintin and Co. plan to blast them out of the way as fast as possible.

On Turn 10 Tintin fired his shotgun at the approaching flock, but missed. Nevertheless the Monkeys turned and fled, nearly to the table edge. Just then a second flock appeared on top of the hill, where it stayed for the whole Turn.⬇️

Turn 11 and dusk is beginning to fall. The expedition can lose no more time if it is to reach safety before night falls. Tintin leads by example with a triple activation. He skulks forward, shoots and brings down a Monkey, and the rest flee (off the table). The other flock reacts by swooping down from their hilltop to feast on the carcass of the dead Monkey. Tintin keeps moving forward, and they switch focus and Dash to him, mobbing him. All their attacks fail however. Snowy, activating next after his master, attacks the nearest Monkey but it flaps up out of reach (Snowy’s attack fails) and wounds the hound with a spear poke.

Haddock comes up next, the Flying Monkeys ignore him and return to eating the carcass. In accordance with the plan he bypasses Tintin and the Monkeys and makes it off table. Then Rastapopoulos moves up (only 1L because he is Unfit), the Mokeys ignore him too. Lastly, Skut and Chang hold their positions while Chang use his medicinal plants to patch up Skut.

Here is the end of Turn situation. ⬇️

Turn 12, the last turn before nightfall. All expedition members (still alive) must make it off the table this turn or suffer unspecified dreadful consequences. Can they do it?

Tintin started the Turn by firing two shotgun blasts at the Monkeys. The first blast killed 1 of them, and the second blast killed 2 (a 6 followed by a 4, which mods to a 5 because a shottie). This Captain’s Innings completely cleared away all opposition, and the remaining adventurers made it safely to the table edge. 

⬇️ Except for Skut, who rolled a triple activation fail, leaving him stranded on the track, short of safety, as darkness descended. What will become of him? All will be revealed in the next exciting episode …

To be continued at The Hidden Plateau.