Thursday 8 February 2024

Palaeo Diet: Pulp - the Totally Legitimate Antiquities Corp digs Nongprue

Mark continues his Palaeo Diet month with another Pulp game:

We last met this dodgy outfit back in January 2021 when they pulled off a smash & grab raid on the priceless artefacts of Tel el Pattaya. Now they are back, with different “archaeologists”, to survey the ancient Mayan ruins of Nongprue in deepest Central America. 

Here is the team who will be undertaking this absolutely above-board and fully approved work -

Front row L-R: Lara Garrod (who is a Naturalist), Angelina Kenyon (Occultist), and Lyra Belacqua (Addict), the Adventurers. Behind them, some local “Hounds” they have hired as troubleshooters. “It’s just an expression snowflakes”, says Angelina, the Adventurers’ leader. “Get over it. They’re all called Pablo, or Sanchez, something like that.” She added “it’s not like they are Goons or anything.”

The adventurers and hired help are all are equipped WYSIWYG. 

And here is the trouble they may need to shoot -

In the rear, some Giant Armadillos with thagomisers, spirit guardians of the Nongprue site. In front, Great Mummies and Lesser Mummies, resurrected Mayan nobles and proles, all armed with bows (bows or atlatls). Mummies who get Attack reactions will shoot if possible.

The Armadillos and Mayans will appear when triggered, usually at 1L from the trigger event. They are triggered by Adventurer activation fails and wounds suffered, artefact collection, and so on. 

The ancient ruins of Nongprue contain some remarkably well preserved step-pyramids, a ceremonial platform, and various stelae. But the Adventurers are here for the portable loot, represented by 7 yellow tokens distributed around the site. They have to collect as many of these artefacts as possible, and get them off the site via the same access point as they entered. It’s the only way in and out to the helicopter pad. One Adventurer can carry up to 3 tokens. 

Here’s a high level view of the scene, possibly taken by Lyra Belaqua’s Flying Monkey drone (which I didn’t use in the end. Maybe next time). The hunters / adventurers are coming in through the entry point at the bottom edge. Some of the yellow artefact tokens are visible. Those not in view are in jungle patches.


The three adventurers decided to start of climbing the blue pyramid, as it’s a likely spot to find an artefact, and may be a coign of vantage for spotting more. Lara leads off, a lope and 2 skulks takes her to the top. Angelina and Lyra follow - all have started with 3 successes. Now the Hounds attempt to activate. Two succeeded and moved around the E side of the pyramid. Two others failed on one dice, and followed their employers, stopping to the foot of the stairway. The last failed two dice and stayed put for now

Lyra pocketed the artefact found on top of the pyramid, while the others took in the view, noting the positions of a further 4 other artefacts. But fails by Lara and Angelina meant two Defenders materialised - both Armadillos as it happened. The two hounds at the foot of the stairway spotted one of the Armadillos, and took shots at it with their rifles. The first shot hit, and the Armadillo moved away. The second shot also hit, and the beast retreated off table with 2 wounds. One of the other Hounds was able to shoot at the other Armadillo (which didn’t hear the prev gunshots), wounding it, and the beast moved away. 

The hunters will now split up, each to collect one of the artefacts spotted from the top of the pyramid. They will take 1-2 Hounds each. Lara descended to the bottom of the pyramid, W side, but a fail meant she had to stop there, and a Great Mummy materialised 1L away, between her and the artefact she was hunting. It lunged towards her, but was too far away to make contact. Then Angelina moved down the N side of the pyramid, but also stopped at the bottom because she had had to travel further. Lyra moved down the E stairway, also stopping at the bottom because of a fail. Another Armadillo appeared 1L away and lunged towards her. 

The Hounds all failed an activation so ambled to their designated masters, except one, assigned to Lara, which was able to take a shot at the Mummy but missed. The Mummy reacted by Summoning a Lesser Mummy, which appeared halfway between the Great Mummy and Lara. 

Now it’s turn 4

On the W side of the pyramid: Lara activated on 2 dice, and used her pistol to shoot at the Mummies, causing 1 W to the Lesser Mummy, which Summoned another Lesser friend. Then in response to noise of the gunshot both Mummies summoned another Mummy. There are now 5 of them. Her second shot missed, and the Lesser Mummy that was the target Cursed her. Then all five Mummies responded to the second gunshot noise. 1xRoar, 4xLunges. Lara failed all 3 dice (all are Stress dice because of the curse) on her reaction to the Roar and retreated up the pyramid steps. The Lunging Mummies cannot reach her. 

Lara’s 2 Hounds activated next. One failed a dice and so hung around (it cannot reach her because of the Mummies blocking the steps). The other successfully activated and moved into contact and attacked the Mummies, destroying the nearest Lesser Mummy but taking 1W itself. 

Over on the E side: Lyra failed 2/2 activations and a Great  mummy appeared 1L away from her. And the Armadillo attacked her, causing 1W. Lyra fired her rifle into the air, hoping to force it to go away, but it attacked again, and Lyra Bellacqua is dead. Her Hounds, temporarily without a master, will activate last. 

On the N side: Angelina activates on 3 dice. She isn’t taking any chances with the wounded Armadillo so close, and skulks all the way over to the 2nd Artefact on the ceremonial platform. Her Hound ambles after her. The Armadillo rests.

The two Hounds formerly attached to Lyra both activate successfully. I rule they will shoot at the Armadillo that killed Lyra. All shots miss, and the beast gets varied reactions but in the end moves away leaving the Hounds unscathed.

Turn 5 now. The hunters are in a tricky situation. One is down (with an artefact in her pocket). One is stuck atop the pyramid, and Cursed, with several Mummies chasing her. Only one has reached another artefact, but not yet collected it. 

On top of the pyramid, Lara succeeds with two (stressed) activations and frees herself from the Curse. Her Hounds both attack the Mummies, one fails (but survives the Mummy’s reaction), the other, already wounded, is killed without inflicting any damage.

On the ceremonial platform, Angelina pockets the artefact (a Greater Mummy appears 1 L to her S), and she Ambles SW towards the next Artefact, carefully keeping away from the Mummy. Her Hound ambles after her but strays too close to the Mummy, which … Moves Away.

The two Hounds of the late Lyra climb the pyramid to join Lara. I rolled a contingent dice to see if Pablo, the brighter Hound (wearing the purple shirt) will search Lyra’s pockets first. Yes. The artefact transfers to his pocket. 

Turn 6.

Angelina, moving carefully towards her next artefact, fails 1 activation, and a Lesser Mummy materialises. Luckily it’s not blocking her path so she keeps moving. But her Hound attacks the new Mummy, causing it 1W. 

Lara, atop the pyramid, gets 3 activation successes. She moves across and down the opposite (E) stairway. The two ex-Lyra Hounds, now Lara’s Hounds, follow.

Lara’s former hound, last seen attacking the cluster of Mummies at the bottom of the W stairway, transfers to Angelina who is the closest adventurer in LOS. It keeps attacking the Mummies though. Neither side lands a glove on the other.

So here is an overview of the position after 6 turns.

Angelina and Lara, the surviving adventurers, are marked with white dice. The surviving Hounds are marked with red dice. Mummies are marked with yellow dice. The Armadillos are visible enough to not need markers. Red tokens show wounds.

2/7 artefacts have been collected. Angelina has one. Pablo the purple-shirted Hound (red 2 spot dice) has the other. So far he hasn’t handed it over to Lara his new boss. He’s probably been too busy.

Turn 7. Angelina and Lara try and salvage some kind of win from this sticky situation.

Angelina activates, ambles over to the next Artefact, and pockets it. She now has two. A lesser Mummy appears 1L away, but in a position where it is unlikely to cramp her actions.

Both her Hounds are in combat contact with Mummies. The one in LOS activates successfully. It backs away and shoots at the Mummies, focussing on one that is already wounded, and downs it with a second wound. In response to the first (failed) gunshot the target Mummy Roared, but the Hound was too far away to notice.
The responses of the other three Mummies in proximity, to the noise of the shots, was a Lunge + 2 x Attacks, and the Hound was killed.

The other Hound also successfully activated, and tried the same trick, stepping away and shooting at its wounded Mummy adversary. The first shot missed, and the Mummy Roared, forcing the Hound back 1S. A Greater Mummy further inside the Jungle also reacted to the noise, and Attacked but was too far away to make contact. The Hound fired again, a lucky shot which added a second wound, so the Greater Mummy is now 2W. It lunged at the Hound, wounding it.

On the other side of the pyramid, Lara succeeded in a triple activation, and skulked past the Armadillo and around the rock pile towards another Artefact. One of her Hounds skulked towards the beast. It couldn’t contact the Armadillo so it shot at it, causing 1W. The beast moved off table, Alarmed. The other Hound (Pablo) ambled after Lara, attracting no attention from any beasts.

Turn 8. Lara activates first, but fails 1/2 dice. Another Armadillo appears, at the same place the other one just left the table. Lara moves into contact with the artefact, but cannot collect it this time. Hound Pablo stays with her. The other Hound ambles towards her, attracting the momentary interest of the new Armadillo, but it rests.

Angelina also fails 1/2 activations. But no new beast appears (rolling to see what kind of beast saw all dice come up the same). However the nearest beast, the Lesser Mummy that materialised last turn, activates and make a Lunge move, but is way too far off to be a threat. Angelina skulks off towards a nearby jungle patch, which she feels could be hiding an Artefact. Her remaining Hound, who is out of LOS and fighting a Greater Mummy, breaks contact and Ambles towards Angelina, ending up in the jungle patch.

I’ve used coloured dice for figure ID again in the photo above. White for Angelina (lower L) and Lara (mid R). Red for Hounds. Yellow for Mummies, with Y6 for a greater Mummies and Y1 for Lesser. And nothing for the Armadillos. I just noticed an R5 dice in the foreground - it is an error.

Turn 9. Angelina activates successfully this time, skulking into the jungle and reaching an Artefact. Her only remaining Hound skulks towards the nearest beast, the wounded Lesser Mummy on the N side of the jungle patch, but cannot quite make contact.

Lara fails 3/3 activations. The nearest beasts are the two Armadillos and the Greater Mummy near the rocks. The Armadillos are not interested, getting Move Away and Rest
Reactions. The Mummy also gets Move Away. Lara’s hounds stay with her.

Turn 10. Angelina pockets the Artefact. She now has 3, the maximum she can carry. Giving the Mummies a wide berth she heads for the table exit point.

Lara also moves into contact with her Artefact and collects it. Her 1 activation fail brings on another Lesser Mummy, at 1L towards the red pyramid, which as it happens is where she wants to go next. Pablo stays with her and so does her other hound, but he starts howling. He wants his mummy. Luckily no beast can hear him.

Turn 11. Lara decides to forego the Artefact she can see on the red pyramid. It’s too risky. She fails 1/3 activations, and another Lesser Mummy appears next to the red pyramid. So off she goes, heading in the other direction, towards the exit. Pablo sticks with her but the other Hound heads towards the Armadillo.

Angelina fails 2/3 activations. Only 1 new beast, a greater Mummy, appears. And her luck holds, it’s behind her. Of the two closest beasts that react to her fails, one gets Move Away, and the other gets Attack, and closes in but cannot contact Angelina. Her Hound, way over on the other side of the jungle patch, ambles back through the trees to catch up.

Turn 12. Lara gets a triple activation, all sixes. I’ve been waiting for a sign from the dice Gods like this: Lara shoots Pablo in the back. He falls - wounded or dead doesn’t matter - and Lara searches him and takes the Artefact he looted from Lyra. Lara has been suspicious for a while, but has been waiting the moment to strike. Then she keeps moving for the exit. Meanwhile her other Hound attacks the Armadillo, fails to wound it, and the beast flees off table.

Angelina’s luck seemed to have run out as she fails 2/3 activations. The nearest beast, a Lesser Mummy, attacks but fails to wound her. The next closest gets a Lunge reaction but it’s much too far away. Angelina runs for it, and both beasts fail to pursue her. Her faithful Hound activates successfully and stays between her and the other beasts.

I played the final couple of turns, involving only figures that could affect the result. Lara got through the exit gate in turn 13, with no further problems. Angelina did the same, with a successful triple activation and 3 x Lope actions, as no beasts were in range & LOS to object. The two surviving Hounds, one looking to each adventurer, also made it.

Angelina and Lara have gotten away with 5/7 Artefacts, for the loss of 1/3 adventurers and 3/5 Hounds (unfortunately a contingency roll showed Angelina’s wounded Hound also died shortly after). But on the bright side, less Goons (oops - Hounds) to be paid. It’s a solid win for the TLAC.

And now for a treetop-hugging helicopter to Bogotá, then a private jet to the Caymans. Back to the real world again!

Cheers from Pattaya

1 comment:

  1. Great Pulp action - love all the adventuresses too!