Tuesday 17 October 2023

The Butterfly Effect: Palaeo Diet Pulp with the Chronographic Society (2/3)

The adventure continues … (if you missed part 1, click HERE)

Safely back at Marlinspike Hall, Professor Logarithm reveals that Dr Muller is working on advanced chaos theory that would enable him to control the weather. Fortunately he hasn’t yet been able to capture a chaos butterfly (L. inaestimabile), the wingbeat patterns of which are critical to success. The species is incredibly rare and apparently lives only in the most remote part of the Amazon basin. But if Logarithm can get one first, he’s sure he can create a counter-weapon that would negate Muller’s plans.

A month later our adventurers disembark at Manaus, a thousand miles inland on the Amazon, and take canoes deeper into the interior, to where the only known example of the chaos butterfly (in the Natural History Museum, and unfortunately long deceased) was collected by the legendary Alfred Russell Wallace (a founding member of the Chronographic Society) over eighty years ago.


Pursuing the Chaos butterfly
Here we see the expedition ready to depart upriver just after sunrise, with the addition of some native bearers and guides. Their destination is the territory of the fierce head-hunting Rumbaba Indians, not traversed by outsiders (at least, not any that have returned) since Wallace’s time.

Some time later, and the expedition has arrived at what seems to be the place where Wallace acquired his butterfly specimen. The professor has been studying Wallace’s original field notes, but Wallace as usual had malaria and jungle fever so who knows. The next photo shows the adventurers disembarking along the riverbank. The Indian village in the centre shows signs of life but shortly will be deserted. The ancient ruins at top R look intriguing, but that’s not why the Chronographics are here.

The native bearers and guides will be left behind to look after the canoes and supplies. Each expedition member will carry a small load in their rucksack (food and water, quinine, compass, butterfly trapping equipment, and trinkets to give any Indians they might encounter). They’ll work in teams of two people. Each terrain piece must be searched, which takes 4 person/actions regardless of size. If 3/4 of those rolls are 6, they have found and trapped a butterfly. The professor gets +1 for his special expertise. After 4 rolls and no luck, the terrain piece does not contain a butterfly, it’s no use to keep looking. The first failed activation in any terrain piece summons a creature (wait and see) or some Rumbaba Indians. If it’s Indians, and their first reaction roll is non-threatening, they have accepted the trinkets and are removed from play. Clear?  OK let’s make a start.

Turn 1
Tintin & Haddock(& Snowy) formed one team, and moved into the left jungle patch of the three nearest the landing site. They didn’t see any butterflies, but a Giant Ground Sloth (Giant Grazer) turned out to be peacefully minding its own business in the patch.

Logarithm & Chang formed the next team and took the central patch of jungle. Again no butterfly, but a Terror Bird (Pack Predator) is in there.

Castafiore & Irma took the right-most patch. Again no butterfly, but they have encountered two Rumbaba Indians. 

Selective deforestation has been employed to make the positions easier to see. The yellow dice next to the terrain items indicate they do not contain a butterfly.

Turn 2
Tintin & Haddock kept moving, out of their first patch and towards the next, tiptoeing around the placid sloth. But Snowy got lost and started to howl. The sloth ignored this and continued its siesta, but the Terror bird,  just within 1L, got alarmed and moved away. 

The Professor also kept moving forward, to the deserted Indian village, helped by the Terror bird having moved away. But Chang spooked the Indians in the next patch, who were, by a whisker, the closest ‘beasts’. They are Outfolk Hunters for this game.  One of them shot an arrow at Castafiore (pelted) and the other attacked Irma, but both reactions failed to cause any wounds.

The ladies then got to activate. Irma provoked another attack, but the Rumbaba rolled a ‘1’ so suffered a wound himself as Irma shot him with her pistol. The noise of the shot provoked the Indian to run away (alarmed) but the other Indian attacked Castafiore, and failed to wound her. Terrible dice rollers these Rumbabas. Castafiore then successfully double-activated so gave the Indian attacking her both barrels, blowing him to pieces. This gunshot (it counts as only one) caused the first wounded Indian to return to the attack, this time he wounded Irma.

Turn 3
A much less eventful turn. Tintin Haddock & Snowy moved up to the next patch ready to search it next time. An activation failure on the way caused the Giant Sloth to move away. Chang and the Professor reached the village and found it contained no butterflies. Irma disposed of the Indian attacking her, and she and Castafiore reached the swamp, ready to search it next time.

Turn 4
Tintin and his companions moved into the new patch but failed to search it as they encountered two Indians who uttered chilling war cries (howled)  momentarily unnerving our adventurers. Tintin & Haddock stood their ground but Snowy ran away 1M.

The professor and Chang moved through the village to the patch beyond, though Chang was delayed because he spotted some medicinal plants and paused to collect them. He failed an activation and the nearest beast, the Terror bird, spotted that Irma was wounded and began to stalk her (predate reaction).

Castafiore & Irma searched the swamp, no butterflies. But they disturbed a Caiman (pack predator which cannot leave the swamp) which attacked Castafiore but failed to wound her.

Turn 5
Tintin and Haddock activated with one failure, and one of the Indians shot at them without success. The adventurers shot back, downing one of the Indians and wounding the other, who fled at the death of his companion. 

Chang and the professor moved into their new jungle patch but an activation failure saw another pair of Indians appear. Because these appeared within 1S of the adventurers, they reacted right away, one moving away and the other fleeing, both off the table.

Castafiore failed an activation too, and the Caiman attacked her again, but failed again. Castafiore used her two successes to step back out of the swamp and shoot (only 1 barrel) at the Terror bird, wounding it. It moved off, alarmed. Irma then failed an activation, and was attacked by the Caiman, which somehow again failed. 

Turn 6
Tintin and Haddock are now at the ancient ruins, ready to search them for the elusive butterfly. Snowy is off chasing the Terror bird after a couple of double failures. The wounded Indian flees off table as the adventurers get close. Chang and the professor search their jungle patch, another disappointment. Irma and Castafiore move to their next patch. Irma rolls 2/3 fails, but the nearest beast is the Caiman which cannot leave the swamp, so all good.

The photo above is a high level view of the position at the end of turn 6. Yellow dice mark terrain that has been searched without success. The red dice mark the positions of search parties : L-R Tintin & Haddock; Chang & Logarithm; Castafiore & Irma. Snowy is by the white ‘5’ dice.

Turn 7
Tintin and Haddock search the ancient ruins. They seem to be Mayan, which these two adventurers know a lot about since their previous adventure in South America (see Prisoners of the Sun, Feb 2022). A  plot point intrudes here: following some contingency rolls it emerges that Tintin might be able to discover a Mayan inscription in the ruins, that explains the  Chaos Theory principle that the butterfly was supposed to solve. But to do so he and Haddock have the usual 4 activation between them, to roll at least 3 x 5+

Here is the moment when Tintin recognises the inscription.

He fires three shots into the air, the pre-arranged signal of success (allowed as a free action). 

Chang and the professor lope over to join Tintin & Haddock, and Snowy comes running too. Way across the field, Castafiore and Irma have the wounded Terror bird between them and the others. Castafiore brings it down, and the gunshot has no effect as only the  Caiman can hear it. The ladies decide to start back for the canoes and meet the chaps there.


I think that’s long enough for this part of the adventure. The only beast in play who can possibly interfere with the successful re-embarkation is the Giant Sloth, the first to be revealed, who is still hanging around near the canoes. So one of the native Guides guarding the canoes shot at it, and it moved away (off table) in alarm. End of problem.

If the adventurers stick to the open spaces between the jungle patches they’ll be OK as no more beasts or Indians will appear. Then the expedition can paddle back down river to Manaus.

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