Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Mask of Amenakken IV (SW – Pulp)

The Mask of Amenakken IV (SW – Pulp)

A Savage Worlds Pulp Adventure Birthday Bash set in deepest darkest Africa.


Darrin Morris as Oscar Carson, the Diggers and the Cameraman from the National Geographic Society.

Jeff Corney as Konrad Richter, Mabruki, and their two units of Askaris.

Jeff Peterson as Loman O’Brian, Judith Cannon, and their two units of Askaris.

Gary Chappell as Baroness Nadia Smirnov, Captain Alexi Smirnov (brother –in-law to the Baroness), and two units of Russian Infantrymen

..And myself, Tim Brown, as Professor Henry Daventhorpe, Charlie Davis, Sefu, and their hired Askaris. (and the natives of Suakala)

After recovering the Sword of Solomon, Professor Henry Daventhorpe decided to follow up on his first successful foray into Forensic Cartographic Archaeology – that is comparing ancient writings and maps to modern maps and the writings of recent explorers of the Dark Continent (such as Stanley or Quatermain) to determine the location of lost artifacts of the ancient world. (See The Sword of Solomon ).

Daventhorpe cabled his personal secretary in London and had him send along the notes he had made about the location of the Mask of Amenakken IV. The burial mask of the Pharaoh Amenakken IV was robbed from his tomb near Karnak in the early 1700’s. It traveled back and forth across the desert from one group of brigands to another. It finally ended up in Khartoum and was found there by “China” Gordon in June of 1884. It was in Gordon’s possession when the city fell on 26 January 1885. Thereafter it is thought to have fallen in to the possession of a Mahdist soldier named Bilal. He took it back to his village, Suakala, near what is now the border with Timbogo. Bilal later fought and died at Omdurman but was rumoured to have dropped the mask into the village well before leaving to fight the British again. Daventhorpe had spent years compiling this information from dozens of sources in seven different languages!

Unfortunately when the mail arrived from his secretary it contained only a letter Daventhorpe had drafted to the editor of the Times. That bungling idiot of a secretary had sent the wrong papers! Then to his utter horror he realized if he had gotten the letter could it be that his secretary had sent his notes to the editor of the Times?!

Daventhorpe scoured Cairo for recent copies of the Times. When at last he found one he discovered his worst fears had been realized. The 4 May 1922 issue of The Times contained an article that explained in explicit detail the presumed location of the Mask as Professor Daventhorpe had surmised…

He immediately contacted his friend Charlie Davis, who was still in Nairobi, an explorer of uncanny ability. He asked that Davis proceed to Kampala with the utmost urgency and arrange for an expedition that must leave at once. Daventhorpe would meet him there in 10 days. Davis, in turn, tracked down Sefu, a native guide and most trusted friend. Together the two headed for Kampala and made the necessary arrangements. All was ready on 10 June when Daventhorpe arrived by a chartered airplane. The expedition set out immediately.

Unfortunately other parties were also making preparations for their own expeditions. The two fisted adventurers, Montana Black and Oscar Carson, Who were still in Cairo after rescuing Emily Smythe-Wagner, the beautiful daughter of the renowned British aristocrat and Egyptologist, Sir Walter Smythe-Wagner. (see Rescue in the Desert Part One and Part Two ). They were contacted by the American Smithsonian Institute and the National Geographic society and were convinced to form their own expedition to Suakala

Of course it could be assumed that Konrad Richter, the famous German explorer and hunter, would also be organizing an expedition of his own. Surely other would be heading there too.... but who else might be heading there, and who would get there FIRST?!

(remember, you can click on these pictures to see a slightly bigger version)

This is the layout of the table taken from the North end. In the center was the village of Suakala. In the middle of town (and dead center of the table is the well – though not visible in this picture) was the well. To the North and west of the village is the ever-encroaching desert. To the East of the village is thorny brush country. South of the village

After an arduous trek across the savannah of sub-Saharan Africa, mile after bloody mile of thorny brush and baking sun, a village came into view. It was a small village of plastered mud-brick houses and it was right where Daventhorpe had expected it would be!

“I think this is it, lads!” Daventhorpe excitedly called to his comrades in a tired, hoarse whisper. “Remember, we don’t want any trouble with the locals. Be on your best behavior, but keep your guard…”

Their pace picked up and they tore headlong through the scrub, no longer even noticing the thorny bushes tearing at their clothes and flesh like tiny daggers. This was it and it looked like they were the first to arrive!

Their jubilation was quickly quashed when they noticed a group of men in khaki also traveling through the brush, parallel to them, not fifty yards off. Then as the brush opened up they spied yet another group approaching out of the desert to the north. Before this could all be taken in and the groups identified the afternoon erupted with the cracking report of rifle fire from beyond the village and the cries of wounded or dying men.

The group north of the village went to ground out in the dunes. They were evidently taking cover and exchanging fire with yet another group, as yet unseen, on the other side of the village. Then bullets started zinging by Daventhorpe as the group next to them started exchanging fire with the riflemen in the desert.

Daventhorpe’s hired Askaris and guide, Sefu. Davis can just be made out behind the bush near Sefu.

Davis and Daventhorpe took cover in some brush to survey the situation. The thunderous report from north of the village of an expertly custom-crafted rifle announced the presence of none other than the infamous German hunter Konrad Richter!

Konrad Richter and his party.

“Richter again, blast it!” spat Daventhorpe. “But who are these other chappies?!”

“From their uniforms, I’d guess they were exiled White Russians” said Davis.

The Russians.

More of the Russians

Still more of the Russians – all packed into cove making everyone wish they had grenades!

They looked at one another a moment and a chill ran down the professor’s spine. When last he had encountered Russians it was in the desolate Gobi desert of Sinkaing in Northwest China nearly a decade ago. He quietly hoped these were no relatives of the ruthless Baron Smirnov! He had buried Smirnov himself after his head had been removed before Daventhorpe’s very eyes, in single combat, with an old archaeologist partner; Arnold Smith! His bones likely still lay in that lonely, unmarked, shallow grave near the
Lost City of Chin’lin. .

Unknown to our heroes the exiled Feinian, Loman O’Brian, and his Belgian mistress, Judith Cannon, were on the other side of the village with their Congolese Askaris.

Suddenly Sefu shouted; “Look, Bwana, mo’ mans!” Casting their gaze in the direction of his pointing Davis and Daventhorpe did indeed spy yet ANOTHER group of men approaching the village from the southwest!

Oscar Carson leading his team of diggers.

The din of the fighting intensified as the heroes approached the village. Shots could be heard echoing through the streets.

Jeff P’s Askaris were the first to make it to the town, but they didn’t get far. Native villagers charged out and slowed him up enough for Darrin’s diggers to catch up with them and they remained in combat on the western outskirts of the village for the rest of the game.

Daventhorpe at the edge of the brush.

“Well we can’t let anyone beat us to it!” Cried Professor Daventhorpe. “Not NOW!” and with that he made a dash across the open to the cover of one of the building in the village. He dodged riffle bullets now coming from the Russians who had finally become aware of their presence.

Daventhorpe makes it to the village.

“Come on lads!” he shouted back.

Davis was next to make the dash. With some covering fire from the Askaris, he hurled himself across the open ground. He spotted the Russians hiding behind a bush and gave them a blast from his shotgun as he dove into the cover of the mud-brick building. Out of the corner of his eye he saw one collapse into a heap. (Joker helped with that one…!)

No sooner than he arrived in the relative safety of cover he heard a shout. It was followed immediately by the sound of bare feet on the trampling on the hard packed earth of the dusty street entering the village behind him. He wheeled about to see two villagers armed with machetes charging him with a look of menace in their eyes – there would be no negotiating with this lot now, he thought, and “best behavior” was chucked out the proverbial window. The two had the drop on him (no, not in the Savage Worlds rules sense, just in the narrative sense...) and he was unsettled and forced onto the defensive parrying and ducking their wild slashes (he was shaken).

The Askaris then followed across firing at the Russians as they went. A couple charged into help Davis but more natives poured from the buildings.

Askaris making their way across to the village.

Sefu saw his friend was in trouble. He took careful aim and shot down one of the natives attacking Davis, as he was about to chop Davis with his machete. The shot tore through the native’s chest spraying his internal organs about the dusty road. He was spun about and thrown back down the street from whence he had come, sloshing the walls with his blood (five raises on a damage roll will do that to a guy…).

Davis and the remaining native were so shocked by the explosive removal of the other native involved in the melee they stopped fighting for a moment. Davis glanced back to see where the shot had come from and saw the big white toothy grin of his friend standing in the open, reloading his smoking rifle.

Sefu blasts one of the Natives fighting Davis.

Sefu then noticed some movement in the brush to his right. Some of the Russians were trying to outflank them. They came into view and opened fire. Sefu turned slowly and took careful aim. He stood like a rock, bullets buzzing about him like blowflies. Sefu put a bullet right through the eye of his target. The Soldier pitched back showered his comrades with brains and blood.

Another Russian collapsed into the bushes from a blast in the neck from Daventhorpe's shotgun.

The intense hail of returning fire slackened slightly but continued. Sefu stood there as though he had ice in his veins (lets hear it for bennies and soak rolls!), aimed and took down another Russian with a bullet through his shoulder. His next shot grazed another; the Russian grabbed his wounded side and along with his remaining comrade fled back into the bushes.

Sefu stalked in after then. He shot the wounded Russian in the middle of the back. The Russian stumbled and fell to the earth. The remaining soldier, who had been running along beside his wounded comrade, realized he had nowhere to run. He spun about and leveled his rifle but before he could get a wild shot off Sefu shot him down as well.

Sefu Shooting up the Russians

Sefu chambered another round and turned about to see six more Russians. They had finished dealing with the German Askaris and were lined up like a firing squad aiming at Sefu. They fired. Sefu dove to the ground taking a bullet through the thigh. The Russians pursued him into the brush firing as they moved. Sefu scrambled from bush to bush on all fours, clutching at his leg, and dodging the Russians bullets.

Trouble brewing for Sefu.

For whatever reason, they gave up their pursuit nearly as quickly and abruptly as they had stacked. Perhaps the Russians had given him up for dead. Or possibly their leaders just figured they had better things to do. Either way they turned about and headed back into the village.

Davis and Daventhorpe had moved on into the village. With Sefu almost single-handedly taking down the Russians, Davis and the Askaris had finished off the villagers that had initially rushed them.

Daventhorpe’s heart leapt when he saw he well at the center of the village square.

“That’s it, Lads,” he called back. “The well!”

Davis pressed past him and strode into the village square. From buildings around the square more natives charged out and assaulted Davis. He shot one down with his pistol but one of the others was able to land a telling blow, slashing him diagonally across the chest. Davis reeled back into the doorway of one of the buildings where he could gather his wits and fight them one at a time.

The Askaris pressed past Daventhorpe and rushed to the aide of Davis. They fought for their lives with the frenzied natives in the streets of the village.

Davis and the Askaris fighting the villagers in the square by the well.

Daventhorpe turned about to see what had become of Sefu and just about leapt out of his skin for rounding the corner of the building was what appeared to be the ghost of Baron Smirnov!

The furious–looking apparition spoke to him in broken English with a thick Russian accent; “you keel my broathair…!” Without a pause he slashed at Daventhorpe with his superbly crafted, razor-sharp Shaska, Daventhorpe ducked and his cap was whisked from his head and fell to the ground in two neat pieces (hit, two wounds, soaked. WHEW!).

Daventhorpe didn’t think it prudent to stick around and argue the technicalities of the Barons demise with his vengeful brother. He turned on his heels and dashed down the street. The Russian slashed open the back of his jacket as he fled (hit with his free swing, another wound, again soaked…).

At the corner Daventhorpe turned about and fired his shotgun back down the street. The wild shot grazed the Captain and tore away his sword belt (hit, two wounds, soaked… somebody’s luck has to run out sometime…). Then Daventhorpe then ducked inside one of the dark, mud-brick houses of he village.

Quickly assessing the situation Daventhorpe decided things looked bad. Sefu was nowhere to be seen, Davis and the Askaris were busy fighting villagers and an angry Russian was chasing him into the town followed by, Daventhorpe now noticed out a side window, a fresh Russian squad of riflemen!

The Russians opened fired indiscriminately into the melee in the streets. An Askari went down, another was injured as well as some of the villagers they were fighting. Smirnov charged forward and cut down the wounded Askari and glanced about trying to see where Daventhorpe had gotten. Indeed things were going from bad to WORSE!

Just then Daventhorpe heard more firing. He sprang to the small window at the back of the one room house. In the bush was the other squad of Askaris they had brought with them. They had stayed to guard the baggage, but must have headed for the village when they heard the firing.

The reinforcements arrive.

The Askaris first volley took down one Russian and injured two others. Their bothers in the streets of the village redoubled their efforts; they took down the last of the villagers fighting them and returned the Russians fire. They dropped three more Russian soldiers, and sent the remaining two, one of which was wounded, scurrying for cover. Sefu fired as well wounding the other one.

Davis summoned up all that was left in him and took one last wild swing at the native he was fighting in the doorway nearly cleaving him in two. Davis then collapsed to the floor in exhaustion.

Daventhorpe, seizing the initiative strode back out into the street.

“OVER HERE!” he called out to the reeling Russian Captain.

The Russian spun about and raised his shaska to strike. Daventhorpe gave him a point blank blast from his shotgun and Captain Smirnov was send sprawling prostrate to the packed earthen street. He quickly rolled over and tried to stand up, but found it a little harder to do than he expected. He reached for the pistol in his holster…


The command came from the alley behind. Daventhorpe and the Captain wheeled about to see a ravishingly beautiful woman standing there. It was none other than the Baroness herself: Nadia Smirnov. Despite the intense African heat she was clad from head to toe in the finest furs of the purest white.

“It ees useless to continue, Alexi” said the Baroness in the sultriest voice Daventhorpe ever heard. “Surrender your arms”, she commanded the Captain, then turning her penetrating eyes to Daventhorpe, she continued: “Zee merderer uf my husband vould not kill US too in cold blood, vould he…?”

Captain Alexi Smirnov dropped his pistol to the ground.

“Madame I did not kill your husband, the Baron,” said Daventhorpe. “It was my partner Mr. Arnold Smith, and he killed him in what could certainly not be considered an unfair fight for your dearly departed husband. It was he that attacked Smith, and not alone I might add. Two or three of his soldiers were there to aid him.”

With that he lead them over to the house where Davis had been. He was up and Sefu was already there patching up his friend. The Askaris busied themselves gathering up the Russians arms and helped the injured into an empty building that became their temporary prison/hospital.

Daventhorpe, the Captain and the Baroness. Davis can be seen in the doorway by Daventhorpe. At the top of the picture the last two Russian soldiers can be seen cowering in the bushes, the red fez of the reinforcements can just be made out in the bush beyond.

Some pictures of the action on the other sides of the town…, which I didn’t really pay much attention to…

Russians shooting at the German Askaris

The American expedition approached the Belgians.

Oscar Carson in close combat with Judith Cannon while the Askaris and the Diggers mix it up.

Belgian Askaris firing at the German Askaris

Some of the German Askaris made it to the north end of town and fought a few villagers, but then were shot up by the Russians and Belgians while they fought in the melee.


The German expedition had suffered greatly in the crossfire between the Belgians and the Russians. Richter soon found himself alone with his trusted lieutenant Mabruki and there was still firing coming at him from both sides. The bodies of his dead Askaris littered the dunes and rocky fields north of the village. It was time to retire. Let these other fools fight it out, he thought; he would track the victor, ambush them in the wilderness and steal away with the mask himself!

Once all but the cameraman from the American expedition, whom they curiously continued to ignore, were down the Congolese Askaris, without stopping to finish off their foes, quickly gathered up Judith and their other wounded and carried them back to the dunes where O’Brian and the other Askaris were still exchanging occasional shots with the retiring German. With their number down to only five, his lover seriously wounded, and the sound of a battle still furiously raging on the other side of town, O’Brian decided discretion was the better part of valour and faded with his Askaris back into the wilderness. There would be another day.

There he is, the lone cameraman. He kept right on filming through the whole thing. Filmed the Belgian askaris retire into the distance before he realized; “oh wait, all the guys they were fighting were part of my expedition…!” He dragged the wounded Carson off to cover lest anyone come back to finish him off. Then went back to help out the expeditions diggers.

The aftermath….

After Davis was back up and on his feet, the area patrolled, weapons and prisoners gathered up, and other wounded attended to, it was time to see if the well really was the resting spot of one of Africa’s richest treasures. Daventhorpe went down himself. Lowered by rope held by the Askaris he reached the level of the water to find it was a very deep well indeed. Taking breaths he dove under and swam down groping blindly in the darkness. He did this over a dozen times and was very near the point of utter exhaustion when his hand lighted on something smooth covered in a slick film. Groping it briefly he knew this was it, he gave two sharp tugs on the rope and the Askaris hauled him and the mask up. Daventhorpe was very glad of the rope, as he was not sure he would have made it up to the surface again this time on his own without the mask.

The heavy golden mask was cleaned up and held up for all so see. It’s beautiful golden form with spectacular inlaid jewels was nearly blinding in the bright African sun. Another magnificent treasure to add to the collection of the British Museum…. If only they could get it there!

What were they to do with all these prisoners? What of the other two expeditions that had temporarily retired from the scene?

Daventhorpe, Davis and Sefu held a conference. After much deliberation and going over their options it was decided that they should head out immediately after sun down. They, their Askaris and baggage carriers, and the wounded members of the American expedition (who seemed the lunlikely to try double-cross them and steal the mask) waited for the sun to go down in a hut on one end of town. The prisoners had all been bound up and left with the wounded in a hut at the other end of town under a minimal guard.

As soon as the sun plunged below the horizon and the world turned dark the group set out back the way they came; to the east. After two hours of traveling in that direction, however, Sefu lead them across some bare rock and they doubled back and Southwest. They then made for the border with Timbogo to throw off anyone that might track them! They continued through the night and stopped just before dawn as the scrub and rock and grass was starting to give way to more and more trees and jungle. The set up camp and rested until noon when they set off again. By nightfall they hoped to find their way to a pass through the rain-forested mountains on the northern border of Timbogo.

Had they made it or were they being tracked? Find out in the next episode of my Savage Worlds Pulp Adventure Serial!

Some Game/Scenario Notes

This was the Third Annual Tim’s Wargaming Birthday Bash! The first one was Operation Biting – a Daring raid by paratroopers on the coast of occupied France. Last year was a slightly less inspired WW2 game set in France 1940. Next year…? Who knows?

Anyway as it was a birthday party there had to be cake.

I made it myself… can you tell?

The sides were a little unbalanced. I gave Gary two units of six Russian soldiers in addition to his two wildcards, by far the most powerful force on the table The Jeffs, by comparison, brought their own forces and each had two wild cards and two units of four or five Askaris.

I did have three wild cards (though Professor Daventhorpe isn’t much of a fighter – d4s in fighting and shooting – he uses the shotgun to even things out, in melee and at long range, he’s kind of screwed…). Sefu and Charlie Davis aren’t too bad – on the level of the other wildcards out there. They were backed up by a single unit of 6 Askaris (d6s across the board).

Poor Darrin all he had was his regular character Oscar Carson (who has a pistol – and isn’t very good with it), a group of five diggers (armed only with shovels), and I also gave him a cameraman from the National Geographic Society to further his troubles.

The Cameraman had special rules: he would move his full pace (not run, just full pace) toward the nearest “action”. Once within 12” he will set up hid camera and start filming. He has no weapons, other than his camera tripod (improvised weapon; Str+1, -1 to hit), which he would only use it if surrounded. If he physically could he was to leave any melee and run away. If he was killed all characters on his side (I was assuming Curtis might show up with Montana Black…) would lose half their bennies, rounded UP!

Bless his socks Darrin plays by the spirit of the rules and charged him in, set up his camera and started filming. A clever player that plays to the letter of the rules (like a few I’ve played with…) would have deployed him in such a way as that he would have been slowed by a maximum amount of bad-going terrain to keep him as far from any “action” as possible.

As it was he ran up, set up and started filming and was entirely left alone for the remainder of game (even though the players fighting in the immediate area were completely aware of the special rule and could have shot him just to screw Darrin out of some bennies… bless you ALL…).

Indeed the gaming gods were happy and played well with Darrin – never have I seen a player get so many – yet so USELESS jokers in a game. The Cameraman, who could take no active part in the combat, in ten turns, got no less than TWO jokers! On one of those turns the Diggers got the other joker, unfortunately they were just far enough away that they couldn’t get into melee with anybody … and of course they have no ranged weapons… Carson got one himself…all it did was help him to recover from being shaken… The diggers also got a second one but I think it also only help one recover from being shaken…

We played 10 turns. At the end of turn 9 Amanda came home with the kids and the rest my family all started showing up for a birthday supper and chaos ensued upstairs. We quickly played one more turn to see if that could bring some sort of satisfactory conclusion. It did for the Jeffs and Darrin, more or less. Not so for my own heroes and Gary’s troop.

Turn 10 ends in the narrative above at “Indeed things were going from bad to WORSE!”. Not a place where one can just leave it…. So I left things as they were and played an 11th turn later on in the evening after I got back from the movie Amanda and I went out to (Pan’s Labyrinth, it was very good, go see it!).

Turn 11 saw a very big turn around. I looked over the table and wondered how would I get those heroes out of there…?! As it turned out the cards did it all for me. The Askaris drew a joker… yeah I can hear you all thinking “sure, sure!” but really; if I had been fudging things I would have given jokers to Sefu and/or Davis and Daventhorpe… well I guess I couldn’t give out three, so Sefu and Davis. What hero would want to be “rescued” by a bunch of “extras?!” As it turned out the Askaris were the best place for that joker to have gone. They may have sucked but they had numbers, the joker bonus, and their targets were all standing in the open at close range.

Then I rolled on the Fortune and Glory table. A freak event. Again if I had been fudging things I would have “rolled” a “Close Call” (-1 to all trait rolls for one enemy unit – the Russian infantry!) or “Teamwork” (hey, Daventhorpe can act on the Joker too!). Feak events are just too unpredictable some times they work out, some times they suck a LOT! Of course I guess if you’re fudging/picking you could select one that rocks….

I would have selected one of the wild animals. I’ve had an elephant, rhino, gorilla and two cheetahs painted up and ready for a freak event for ages! AGES! I’ve been dying to see the elephant tranple a unit of tightly packed troops (like those Russians were)… Instead I rolled and it probably turned out waaaaaaaaay better than any rampaging elephant could have. I rolled, as you’ve probably guessed from the narrative, “reinforcements”. Another unit of Askaris acting on the joker. Nice.

So here’s how that last turn went down in game terms. The newly arrived Askaris fired on the Russians. Six Askaris, Six Russians, close range, in the open, +2 to hit from the Joker, 6d shooting. I hit on anything but ones. Five Russians should get hit. Three ones means only three Russians get hit… oh well… that’s kind of how it’s been going all game – Daventhorpe had shot someone with a shotgun earlier in the game – I think I may have just left it out of the narrative, close range so 3d6 damage, five toughness; three ones, bastard wasn’t even shaken… anyway one Russian dies, two are shaken.

The remaining four in the original unit (only two had been taken out of action so far, both in the last turn by Russians). There is still two villagers they are fighting, one is also in base contact with Davis, however, and both are shaken. One I leave for Davis, the other I take out with a wild swing from one Askari (just to be sure! +2 to hit and damage from the wild swing, same thing for the joker…), the remaining three fire on Russians. They had a bit more success.
three shots, three dead Russians (one of which had already been shaken by the others).

The remaining two Russians do manage to pass their morale test?! They go next. The shaken one recovers but can take no action, the other fires at the closest Askari, missing. The two then head for cover in the bushes.

Daventhorpe went next stepping out of the building and blasting Captain Smirnov for (only) one wound which he no longer had bennies to soak it.

Davis then finished off the last villager with a wild swing (just to be sure…).

Sefu fired on the Russians, hit with a raise, but he was only shaken.

Captain Smirnov recovered from being shaken but was unable to act… What could I do with the Baroness that wouldn't end up with her being very dead the next turn?

Well that turned things around and brought it all to a pretty satisfying conclusion…. And here I started the turn wondering how I might be able to just extract my heroes in one piece!

Thanks to everyone that made another Wargaming Birthday Bash a resounding success!

Hey if you made it this far…. why not leave a comment below…

Friday, February 16, 2007

Raid on the SDG (AK-47 Republic)

Mr. Tim Miller and I played a little AK-47 Republic this evening. It’s been a while, we had to look up a bit, but it was total chaos and a whole lot of fun.

I played The Federal Army of the Republic of Timbogo (F.A.R.T.), the government forces of a Super-power backed client state. Mr. Miller (or Dr Timothy Millerbutu) brought out his Social Democracy of God (S.D.G.) a rebellious religious movement that has been making trouble in the southern parts of Timbogo.

I ended up attacking (because I had more points devoted to political maneuvering) the S.D.G. rebels compound in an attempt to stamp them out once and for all.

I don’t remember what units the SDG had. I know on the political maneuvering low charts he got one of the militia units upgraded to regulars, on of his regular units was convinced of it’s own invincibility by the use of jeu jeu berries and added +4 to all it’s movement die rolls for the game, upgraded four units to heavy weapons and frightened off a few of my militia units.

I had one unit of professionals, “the Red Guard”, consisting of four stands of infantry armed with small arms and one stand armed with RPGs. I also had two units of regulars, Groupe Mobile No.s One and Two, respectively, each with four small arms equipped infantry plus a couple of heavy weapons, trucks, and one had an armoured car supporting it. My other two units were local militia units, the Southern Timbogo Local Militia Companies No.s One and Two.

Due to pretty high rolls on the cost of political maneuvering (bad) I only managed to get the gifts of heavy weapons (upgrade one small arms infantry stand in each of my units – regulars took HMGs, the rest took RPGs), and two tanks which were added to a unit of opponents choice… so they were assigned to the unit of militia at the bottom of my list (least likely to start the game on board).

Checking to see which units we had to start with the ADG got two (one regular, one militia), I got the Red Guard, Groupe Mobile No. One (the one with the armoured car!), and Southern Timbogo Local Militia Companies No. Two (the one with the tanks!). So things were looking good so far as he could only defend two of the three objectives to start with.

I selected three objectives and secretly wrote down which was worth 10, 20, and 30 victory points. Then the SDG defenders set up their initial units. Then I set up on my initial units on my table edge, as selected by the defender, except for my Red Guard which, being “professional” quality, may be inserted by helicopter!

Here’s what it all looked like when we got set up…

(click on pictures to see a bigger version)

This was taken from the North end of the table. At the northeast corner (bottom left) is my Southern Timbogo Local Militia Company No. Two with its two bonus tanks. Their objective was the supply dump in the tall grass. This one was worth 20 victory points. The SDGs regulars with APCs nominally defended the area, but when they saw the tanks show up, they decided it was time to bug out.

In the middle of the table is the SDG compound proper. It was left undefended so I did a coup de main helicopter assault on the area with my Red Guard. Only three of the five made it there but they secured the area and held it for some time. This one was only worth 10 victory points.

At the far end of the table is another supply dump defended by some SDG militia. Groupe Mobile No. One was tasked with attacking there. This one was worth 30 victory points and was the most bitterly fought over.

There’s the Southern Timbogo Local Militia Company No. Two with its two bonus tanks.

Here is Groupe Mobile No. One. The two trucks are loaded with six stands of infantry; three small arms, two RPG, and a HMG.

The Red Guards make their helicopter assault. Each stand has to dice and on a 5 or 6 they just don’t show up…

…I ended up with two small arms and one RPG stand on the ground.

The militia of Southern Timbogo Local Militia Company No. Two swarmed their objective with little trouble, as the defenders mounted up in their APCs and bugged out. The tanks exchanged fire with them for a couple turns. While pinning them a couple times and forcing some morale checks, I did little else. They on the other hand took out one of my tanks with a pretty lucky shot!

The APCs made for the compound and fought for several turns with my Red Guard. Ultimately the Red Guard was wiped out (fighting to the last man!), but they tied up the Regulars for the game that could have otherwise destroyed my militia. They also ended the game with two morale failures. One more (and they made a couple close ones!) and they would have been gone too.

Groupe Mobile No. One fought a short sharp action with the militia defending their objective, killing a few and setting them to flight. They had little time to consolidate on their objective as SDG reinforcements arrived just as the Militia were leaving.

My second company of militia arrived around the same time. I sent them in to help hold the objective being held my the first company, just in case some SDG reinforcements arrived at that end of the table…

The carnage at the SDG compound. Some of their reinforcements arrived and tried to make it to the compound incase the Regulars with the APCs failed their last morale check and left. At the end of the game the reinforcements hadn’t arrived but the Regulars were still there and holding the objective.

The carnage at the southern objective. Groupe Mobile No. One was shot up pretty badly by the SDG reinforcements and called it a day. The SDG took some losses themselves, however, and failed two morale checks. Groupe Mobile No. Two arrived as reinforcements on their first turn on the board the SDG mortars blew up one of their truck and one of the infantry stands in it. That very truck, however, gave a single extreme long-range burst from its MG, which killed on mortar team and pinned two other stands. This was enough to cause a morale check, which they failed, and caused them to leave the battle. The game ended before I could get to the objective however.

Adding up the victory points

F.A.R.T. (attacker)
3d6 roll= 15, +20 for the objective I held (the supply dump), + 20 for the two units I forced to rout and, +3 for being fair and honest throughout the game for a total of 58…

S.D.G. (defender)
5d6 roll= 19, +5 for the objective held (compound), +40 for the two units destroyed/routed, +3 for being fair and honest throughout the game, +3 for being very lucky several times in the game, (no +1 for being named Rob while defending..?!) for a total of 70…

A difference of 12 indicates “ a clear victory to the world’s press”

It was a fun game and very close. Had it lasted another turn or two Groupe Mobile No. Two could have been on their objective for another 30 victory points. If the SDG regulars with the APC had failed a third morale test (they made a couple just barely) that would have been one less objective held for the SDG and one more unit wiped out for me…

Despite being a victory in the world press, with the losses from the raid and knowing their compound has been compromised the SDG will probably be going into hiding for a bit. Perhaps they’ll even slip across the border and cause trouble elsewhere for.

That doesn’t mean the trouble is over for the F.A.R.T. however. There’s trouble brewing on it’s Eastern border with the Republic of Zutu. There are rumours about that the Western Horse Infantry of Zutu (W.H.I.Z.) has been deploying to the area and may be preparing for an invasion of Timbogo’s oil-rich eastern region…. We shall see (when Mr. Miller finished painting his new force…)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

More New Figures

A couple more new figures rolled off the production line in the last couple days....

For those of you not aware these are figures I am modeling, moulding, and casting myself. They are about 30mm.

First a Cossak Cavalryman. I started this guy last fall and had hoped to have him donw in time for the Back of Beyond game I ran at the Hero's Gambit. I didn't and then he got shelved when I started work on my Canadian masters. I thought I'd bring him down and finish him off while I was workin on the Germans. Of course finihsing him has got me all pumped about the Back of Beyond again and that threatens to derail my focus on the Vimy Project. Luckily I have no more horses (the Horse is made by Hinchliffe) so it's not a really big threat.... I will have to get some in the near future and add a Cossack horde to my White Russian army.

Back on track... Here is another late war german. Front and back of marching figure.

...and I finally finished up the Canadian bomb tosser. The only figures I have left to finish up for my Canadian Infantry are the Lewis gunner and the Staff Officer. I will at some point make my own Vickers and gunners and a trench mortar and crew, but for this year I am just going to buy a couple of each.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Rescue in the Desert: Part 2 (SW-Pulp)

Rescue in the Desert: Part 2 Rescuing the Rescuers…

Savage Worlds Double Header Weekend Part Two

Sunday afternoon was my regular Savage Sunday game. Curtis and Darrin showed up.

In our last very exciting episode Montana Black and Oscar Carson teamed up with Captain Ralph Bagnold of the Royal Corps of Signals to rescue Emily Smythe-Wagner, the beautiful daughter of the renowned British aristocrat and Egyptologist, Sir Walter Smythe-Wagner, who had been kidnapped by a ruthless band of nomadic desert ruffians. Miss Smythe-Wagner had been rescued but Black and Carson were captured by a band of angry natives while covering her escape with Major Bagnold.

Bagnold being a proper English gentleman and officer could not leave those brave men to the mercy of the desert ruffians, nor could Sir Walter. The two, along with Mr. Pat Clayton of the Egyptian Government Survey Office (another expert in desert travel), gathered some more soldiers and a Rolls Royce armoured car and set out into the desert once again to rescue the two heroes!

They set out first for the site of the bandit’s camp where the two had been captured. They then tracked their movements back to a village near Wadi Al Derka-derka. Concealing the vehicles in a nearby wadi Bagnold, Clayton and Sir Walter scouted forward. The trio darted from dune to dune, then crawled forward on their hands and knees, then slid forward on their bellies to get a close look at the village.

“It looks like it’s well guarded” whispered Clayton to his partners, noticing the guards on the rooftops of the whitewashed buildings.

“Judging by the number of camels and horses, I’d guess there was at least fifty….” Bagnold grimly declared.

“But we are a mere dozen!” hissed Sir Walter. “Whatever shall we do!?”

A couple dozen men disgorged from one of the buildings, hastily mounted their camels and horses and rode off in the opposite direction apparently on some urgent errand. The three watched as the cloud of dust the mounts kicked up disappeared towards the horizon.

“Well that does it,” stated Bagnold. “We can’t know when they’ll be back so we must take advantage of this situation and attack at once!”

The three slithered, crawled and darted their way back to the wadi and mounted up.

The three vehicles approach the village in line abreast. The two trucks carrying the soldiers were flanking the armoured car. The Vickers gun in the armoured car started to chatter away as they approached the village, hoping to keep everybody’s heads down. Men poured from the buildings and returned fire.

The fire from the village was witheringly accurate. With bullets pinging around his vision slit, the driver of the armoured car kept ducking and began to make evasive maneuvers. Whether it was due to simply not being able to properly see where he was going or the lucky shot through the vision slit that caught the driver in the neck sent the car veering out of control, no one would ever know. The car caught the edge of a steep dune with the front wheel of the car and flipped it over on it’s side, effectively removing it from combat.

The Rolls Royce flips on its side.

The Armoured car wasn’t the only vehicle in trouble, though. Pat Clayton’s truck (the green one) on the right, hit a spot of soft sand as it crossed over a dune and spun completely around throwing a few of it’s passengers into the soft sand nearby.

Both Bagnold and Clayton had had enough and decided to dismount and disperse their troops into what cover they could find.

The trucks passengers debus and take cover behind their vehicles or dunes.

For some time the Britishers remained in cover exchanging fire with the village occupants. Bagnold’s men being rather closer took a few more casualties than did Clayton’s. The British soldiers were giving better than they got but it still wasn’t good enough.

Sir Walter, who had been in Clayton’s truck, noticed Bagnold’s group was in a bad way. He started making his way over to Bagnold’s location ducking and dodging from dune to dune.

Amid the cracking of the rifles Bagnold though he heard and engine turning over. Maneuvering about the truck he was taking cover behind he tried to get a better view of the village to see if he could see what was going on.

Suddenly a truck zoomed out from behind a building to the west of town and headed out into the desert. As it passed nearby Bagnold and his men a white man leaned out of the cab and fired upon them with a Luger. Bagnold, one of his squaddies, and Sir Walter, who had now arrived, returned fire with little effect. The truck carried on out into the desert and disappeared into a cloud of dust.

At about this time the fire from the village slackened a bit. Whether it was due to being suppressed by the Britishers fire, or the truck fleeing into the desert (… or Darrin drawing a joker and rolling a “close call” on the fortune and calamity table… giving an opponents unit -2 to all their trait rolls for one round…) Clayton seized the opportunity and dashed his lads to the cover of another dune closer to the village.

Clayton’s men move up.

As they ran Clayton fired the last round from his Webley. He dropped into cover behind the dune and started searching his pockets and pouches for more ammo and, to his utter horror, discovered he had none! (I also drew a joker around this time and came up with “out of ammo” on the Fortune and Calamity table. I had pity on them and gave it to Clayton – who wasn’t hitting anything at the range he was at with his pistol anyway. It also made sense to me in terms of the story

No sooner than they had arrived, however, there was a tremendous explosion knocking nearly everyone to the ground! When they looked up a building on the west end of the village, the building Clayton had seen the truck drive out from, had disappeared in a cloud of dust and smoke.


All firing had ceased from the village. When the dust and smoke settled the building was completely obliterated and the two next to it were severely damaged. Bodies littered the ground about the village, some knocked unconscious by the blast, but most were killed outright. Those who were not were either fleeing into the desert or running out with their hands held high begging for mercy!

With a pair of soldiers detailed to marshal and cover the prisoners the rest stormed into the village. There was little left of the blown building save the rubble that was strewn everywhere. The other buildings were filled with cots and bedrolls and looked more like barracks than village houses.

Montana Black and Oscar Carson were found bound, gagged, and in pretty rough shape, but alive, in one of the buildings along with crates of provisions – including canned sour kraut and sausages. Carson was in much worse shape than Black. He had been struggling towards the door when the building next door exploded. A rather large brick flew in through the open door and bashed Carson soundly in the head.

No clues could be found about the identities of those in the truck that drove off in the middle of the firefight and presumably blew up the building. Neither Black nor Carson had seen any white people during their captivity.

Notes on the scenario:

This was the first time I made use of vehicles in combat. I’m still not sure I’ve got them figured out quite right. The rules seem a little loose, hazy and generalized.

I used the Pick-up truck stats out of the Pulp Adventure Gear Book and made the Rolls Royce using the vehicle “building” system in the same book. Basically it was the same as the truck except with two more points of “light armour”, the maximum it could have, and a machine-gun in a turret. I didn’t want to give it “heavy armour” as that would have made it completely invulnerable to anything on the table. I seem to think those Rolls-Royces weren’t too heavily armoured and could conceivably have been put out of action by a very lucky rifle shot, certainly by some accurate and sustained machine-gun fire.

Unfortunately some accurate firing from rifles caused a control check which was failed and a 12 came up on the out of control table. Though not a tank I figured the armoured car was slow and heavy enough to not be able to flip end over end d4 times as the table indicated it should…

Another shot that hit that round aced again and again and again. It caused 6 wounds to the vehicle – two crew hits and a control hit…. Gah!

The trucks didn’t fare to well either which is why they bailed out of them and sat for over half the game firing into the village at range.

That’s one downside to this system – the make it whatever you want attitude. Well if you have little experience playing the game where do you START?! Now I do have some experience… I’ve been playing the game, nearly weekly, for over a year now.

Another thing I find odd is that various different larger-sized animals are easier to hit due to their size, but there is no such rule for vehicles? So I tried out giving a +2 to hit these vehicles. Maybe that was part of my mistake…? I don’t know. Maybe I’ll ignore the “maximum 3 points of ‘light’ armour” and give it 5 or 6 next time I use it. It won’t stop those crazy multi-acing shots (bullets through the vision slit, bouncing around inside!) but it should make it so there isn’t control check for every bullet that hits it…! I could have also given the driver the ace edge.


I had intended for them to be able to drive right into town shooting up the bad guys with the armoured car. Maybe even chase the bad guys that drove off in the truck and enter the building with the bomb and find some clues as to their identities before noticing “hey, what’s that ticking noise” and having to RUN FOR IT!!!

The blast I said did 10d6 damage to anyone inside it,, 6d6 damage to anyone within 6” of it, 3d6 damage to anyone within 10”… everyone else on the table was to do a spirit check or be shaken… but after I rolled for damage to all the Bedouin still in the village we just stopped rolling dice and sort of role-played out the rest.. They were pretty much all toast...

Wasn't sure how to deal with damage to nearby buildings or the occupants thereof... so I just gave them the normal damage, except gave them added armour/toughness equall to that of a stone wall. Montana was fine, but when I rolled for Oscar Carson I just kept acing and acing... hence the brick flying through the door...

Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to post your own comments. If you do, tell me: Do you use vehicles in Savage Worlds?

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Sword of Solomon (SW – Pulp)

Savage Worlds Double Header Weekend Part One

Friday night I hooked up with Dylan and Jeff C. (at Jeff’s place) to play some Savage Worlds set in deepest darkest Africa.

I played Professor Henry Daventhorpe and Charlie Davis the explorer. Both were last seen in the Lost City of Chin’lin. They had also hired Sefu, a native guide and ten native bearers.

Daventhorpe has spent years researching the final resting place of Solomon’s Sword. Legend says the sword is encrusted with gold and jewels and may have arcane powers to smite the wielders enemies. Comparing ancient writings of the Romans and Hebrews along with more both ancient and modern maps and notes of more modern explorers such as Stanley and Quatermain. Daventhorpe determined the sword must be held in a lost temple deep in the jungles of the Congo Basin.

Davis and Daventhorpe booked passage on a steamer from London to Mombassa in British East Africa. From there they took the Uganda Railway to Kampala where they met up with Davis’ old friend Sefu, their native guide. Sefu had already arranged for bearers for the expedition and they set out immediately so as to attract as little attention as possible.

Unfortunately some of the native hired as bearers had loose lips and the word got out. There was little that went on is Kampala that Lt. Daniel Pratt of the 29th Punjabis, whose company was garrisoning the town, didn’t know about. Fueled by boredom and opportunism he quickly gathered a group of trusted soldiers from his platoon, including Naik Hardeep Bawa, and hired a small band of Baluchi mercenaries, as well as their own porters. They would shadow the expedition and try to learn more of their destination along the way. (These were Jeff’s figures, played by Dylan)

Konrad Richter, the famous German explorer and hunter, also happened to be in Kampala at the time. Two secretive expeditions leaving town heading west in two days piqued his interest. He made some inquiries and when he heard the rumors of the first expeditions destination he hastily organized an expedition of his own. He brought along his trusted Askaris and occasional partner Logan McDuff, a ruthless Scotsman with no love for the English. They too hired some mercenaries, Zanazibaris, and some porters. (These were painted and played by Jeff)

For weeks the three columns trod their way over hills and mountains and through dense, jungle-filled valleys. The three groups eventually became aware of each other’s presence, but kept their distance. Occasionally shots were exchanged with each other’s scouts. Mostly they tried to lose each other, but the slow traveling and having to hack a path through the jungle leaving a pretty clear trail to follow made escape pretty much impossible.

(click on the pictures for a larger version)

Davnthorpe’s column marching through the jungle. Sefu is leading the way, followed by Davis and Daventhorpe.

The rest of the column follows on behind.

Davnthorpe’s expedition was nearing the location they expected to find the temple when Sefu, who was leading the column, suddenly knelt down and hissed back to Davis and Daventhorpe, who were following immediately behind; “Is no good, Bwana, other mens are already here…” The jungle exploded with the sound of gunfire, shouts, screaming, and the cries of dying men.

Lt. Pratt, Hardeep Bawa, and some of the Sikhs from his regiment.

Richter and his trusted Askaris.

Moving forward at a crouch toward the firing Sefu, Davis and Daventhorpe came within view of the temple. Suddenly the group of Indians burst into view, the giant Hardeep Bawa gesticulating and bellowing commands at his men. Daventhorpe fired first. A blast from his shotgun peppered Hardeep with shot causing him and the Baluchi mercenaries to duck for cover (shaken). Davis too fired a blast from his shotgun at the reeling Hardeep, whose gigantic form toppled over and bellowed no more (3 wounds!). Sefu took cover in a bush and watched for the others that may be trying to flank.

Baluchis burst into view in front of Davis.

Just as Sefu had expected Richter’s Askaris emerged from the jungle off to the right. Sefu fired his musket at them hitting one (with a raise!) then melted back into the Jungle to reload. The lucky Askari was saved from certain doom by the large knife on his belt, which deflected the ball harmlessly back into the jungle (snake eyes on the d8’s…doh!).

Davis and Daventhorpe fired on Lt. Pratt who had stumbled into view grazing him and sending him back to cover. Davis then moved forward, following Sefu into cover. Daventhorpe fell back to marshal the Bearers.

Lt. Pratt and his Indians advancing on the ruined temple

Sefu and Davis in cover, with Pratt and the Baluchis in their sights.

The report of a high powered hunting rifle and the exploding chest of a Baluchi that was investigating the temple ruins ahead of Davis and Daventhorpe announced the arrival of Richter on the scene.

Konrad Richter, Explorer and Hunter.

Over the sounds of the intermittent gunfire the clashing of steel could be heard followed by a shout with a thick Scottish accent, muffled by the dense foliage: “Ah’ve go’ et! Ah’ve go’ et!” then more clashing of steel.

Davis turned his attention on the advancing Askaris, as Pratt and the Indians had disappeared around the other side of the ruins and, presumably were engaging the Scotsman and his Zanaibaris in close combat. He dashed out from cove, heading for the ruins, and shot down an Askari at a dead run. There was no time to waste if the Scotsman had indeed found the legendary sword.

McDuff and Pratt fighting over the Sword.

Another shot of the melee and the Askaris climbing over the roof of the ruins.

Sefu, having reloaded, followed along darting from bush to tree moving like a shadow. He sniped another Askari who was climbing up on the roof of the ruined temple above Davis.

Meanwhile, Daventhorpe had marshaled the bearers and gave them a stirring speech. When the “doing their bit for God, King, and Empire” didn’t seem to be getting much response, Daventhorpe promised to double their wage if they helped recover the sword and the Bearers drew their knives and tore off into the jungle without even waiting for him!

Daventhorpe delivering his stirring speech.

Maneuvering carefully through the shadows of the temple Davis found his way to where he could see the melee. The machete wielding Scotsman was now engaged in combat with Pratt thrusting with his sword, a Sikh poking with his bayonet, and a Baluchi slashing with his scimitar.

Aiming for Pratt, Davis missed in confused shifting melee and instead hit the Sikh. His turban exploded in a messy shower of fabric, brains and skull fragments. The combatants were temporarily confused and startled, but when another Sikh charged in they resumed their melee.

The Native Bearers charged ahead of Daventhorpe and charged Richter and one of his Askaris. They cut down the Askari and chopped him to pieces. Richter, however, was made of sterner stuff and held his own ducking and dodging the wild slashes of the natives knives (4 hits, no wounds!). He drew a pistol and shot at one of them grazing his ear. The wounded native reeled out of the frenzied mob only to be replaced by three others.

Native bearers attacking Richter and the Askari.

Daventhorpe called on him to surrender and his natives to stop.

There was a sudden pause as they awaited the Germans reply

“Nein!” shouted Richter and took aim at one of the natives but before he could fire the natives mobbed him. They forced him to the ground and stripped him of his weapons.

The Sikh that had just joined the melee in the temple lunged and stabbed Logan McDuff in the side with his bayonet. Then Lt. Pratt ran him through with his sword. The Scotsman fell to the stone floor of the ruined temple in a heap.

Leaving the German to be dealt with by the porters, Daventhorpe rounded the south side of the ruins just in time to see McDuff fall. He leveled his shotgun at Lt. Pratt and called upon him to surrender. Pratt made some ungentlemanly references to Daventhorpe's mother and Daventhorpe shot him down.

The Balushistani that had been standing beside him seized the sword and tried to dash off into the jungle. The Sikh who had jabbed McDuff followed him.

Sefu had been reloading and working his way around the north side of the ruins. As he finally rounded the last corner bringing him to the side opposite the one they had initially approached he saw the Baluchistani dash out carrying a jeweled sword. Sefu leveled his musket at the mercenary, but before he could fire the Sikh following the Baluchi spotted Sefu and charged with his bayonet. Sefu dodged his first wild lunge and sharp blow to the face with the butt end of his musket and knocked him out cold.

Davis aimed and shot down the fleeing Baluchi. He and Daventhorpe then, looking over the carnage, took a moment to reload. One of the two Askaris that had been cowering on the roof of the ruins seized the opportunity. He leapt down, snatched up the sword and also tried to make off with it into the jungle. Davis was too quick and the Askari pitched forward as a blast of shot tore though him from behind.

Daventhorpe recovered the sword from the dead Askari. It was stunning. It was all the legends had described and more! The hilt and pommel encrusted with gold and jewels like Daventhorpe had never seen before. The Blade was clean and sharp as a razor. Truly there was something magical about it.

They bundled up the treasure and packed it safely among their possessions. They then proceeded to gather up the weapons and patch up the survivors of the battle. Most they would take back with them to Kampala as prisoners and be turned over to the authorities. A few, who seemed unlikely to cause trouble were disarmed and set free.

The return trip was equally long and arduous. The sword would make a fine addition to the collection in the British Museum…. If it make it there….!?

Next up: Savage Worlds Double Header Weekend Part Two – a continuation of last weeks Rescue in the Desert where the rescuers themselves are in need of rescuing…?!

If you’ve made it this far please post a comment below just to let me know you’ve been here. I don’t want to keep writing these if no ones actually reading them. Thanks!

….maybe also let me know:
a) Do you play savage worlds?
b) Comparing this to the previous SW game reports… Do you like this more narrative approach to game reports or do you like the turn-by-turn breakdowns?