Sunday, January 7, 2007

The Lost Temple of Bo-Nong (SW-Pulp)

The Lost Temple of Bo-Nong

Yet another exciting episode in my Savage Worlds – Pulp Adventure Serial!

Darren Morris as Oscar Carson, Private Investigator,
Joe Westfield as Harold Green, Eccentric Inventor.
Curtis Tessmer as Montana Black, Two-fisted Adventurer.

… and, of course, myself, Tim Brown, as the bad guys; Mason R. Roberts, Collector of Antiquities, Jacques Benoit, Ex-Legionnaire/Tomb Robber, and an assortment of locally hired mercenaries, porters and diggers.

The Golden Idol of Bo-Nong, besides being solid gold and jeweled eyes and the like, is said to have mystical powers that, perhaps, give the owner the ability to raise the dead. Our adventurers have learned that Mason R Robertson, the ruthless and highly-connected American Millionaire and Collector of Antiquities, has come across a map that supposedly leads to the Lost Temple of Bo-Nong (where the golden Idol is said to be hidden – convenient, that…). Robertson, they suspect, is interested in more than it’s value as a collectible and must be stopped!

In their adventures so far they snuck onto the tramp steamer Robertson had hired hoping to find the map or some other clue as to his destination. They did find the map, but were caught in the process. They were bound and left in the hold until the ship was out to sea where Robertson planned to dispose of them. Luckily the clumsy crew missed the Swiss army knife in Montana Black’s back pocket when they were searched and he was able to free himself and the others and they all jumped ship and swam safely to shore.

They didn’t have the map, but they did have a good look at it and so knew the destination; the Island of… uh… Bo-Nong …. (sorry, it was pretty late at night when I thought this one up…). Now all they had to do was get in touch with their friend Captian Joe Blackwell of the S.S. Persephone.

This game was set up as a race to find the Golden Idol. The players started at one end of the table, my antagonists at the other. There were 16 searchable locations marked on the table, in the ruins of the temple and the surrounding jungle, with a yellowish (goldish?) bead. Twelve of those also had a green “encounter marker” bead.

When anyone got within 8” of an encounter marker they would draw a chit out of a cup. Five of those chits said “nothing”. The rest (nine of them) named a creature or other potential foe that was lurking in the area. If it was a foe, they were considered to be on hold and opposed notice and stealth rolls were to be made to see if either side surprised the other. Creatures would be run by the opposing players (because it would be really boring for the players to watch me eat my own guys with critters they encountered…)…. unless one of their own got too close. The critters were, on their action, to simply charge toward the nearest human/intruder/critter of a different species, that they were aware of. So a clever player that could run fast enough, that was near other critters or opponents, could run past them and potentially lure the critter to them. The old “I don’t have to run faster than the monster, I just have to run faster than YOU” trick.

A lot of the critters were solitary big nasties and therefore wildcards. Because there were so many, and quite a few were very, very nasty I decided that none of the Wildcard critters would get bennies.

Anyone (or group) within 2” of a searchable location marker could spend an entire action searching for the idol. On a raise they get to draw a penny from another jar. There was one penny in there for each location. One was marked with an “X”. Draw the x and you found the idol. Draw anything else and the searchable location marker would be removed.

Once the Idol was found it would, of course, be trapped (though I wasn’t about to mention that to the players….). IF looking for traps, the searcher would have to pass a notice and get a raise to notice it and figure out how it worked, then raise on a repair or lock pick test to disarm it. Failure, as well as simply removing the idol, meant the trap was sprung. A cloud of small poisonous darts would fire from hundreds of concealed holes surrounding the area. All models within a large burst template centered on the location marker would take 3d6 damage. Anyone that was shaken or wounded would also have to make a vigor roll at -2 or die from the poison within 2d6 turns…. (BWA-HA-HA-HA!)

Here’s how it played out….

Set up

I set up Mason Robertson, Jacques Benoit, a unit of 6 mercenaries and a unit of 5 diggers in the jungle on the east side of the table, Harold Green, Oscar Carson, Montana Black and four crew members from the S.S. Persephone that were accompanying them set up on the west side of the table.

I also informed Joe that it was particularly rainy and wet in the jungle today and that if he wanted to take his G.N.O.M. he should know that if he went bust on a weird science or shooting roll with it (rolled a one on either) it would short out and give him a shock in d6 damage dice equal to the number of power points it had remaining… and… if there was anyone nearby (within 2”) it would arc and shock them for one less die of damage and do the same to anyone else standing near them and so on… Despite this Harold bought along the G.N.O.M. “That’s what bennnies are for” said Joe….. Is this sounding like famous last words to anyone…?

Turn One

Oscar Carson went first, striding into the jungle and triggering the first encounter location marker. He drew “Fire Lizards”. There was four of them. Doing opposed Notice and Stelth rolls, Oscar raised on his stealth totaling 12. The Fire Lizards aced TWICE scoring 14! No sneaking up (or away from!) the Fire Lizards for Oscar! As they were on hold they also did an opposed Agility check to see who got to go first. Oscar did and he shot one dead! POW! Nice quick start to the game.

Then the Fire Lizards went. Of the remaining three two first tried to belch flame at Oscar (and Montana, who was standing close behind). The two heroes either dodged or were only slightly singed. The third Fire Lizard trompled in close to bite Oscar. Oscar ducked.

Then it was Harold’s turn. He sparked up the G.N.O.M. – passed his weird science roll – so far so good. Aimed the blaster end at a Fire Lizard and ZZZZAaaaaap! Rolled a one (on his d10 shooting die…) potentially electrocuting himself. “That’s what bennnies are for” said Joe again, burnt one and promptly re-rolled his shooting. He rolled another one.

Well… 8d6 damage roasted Harold causing five wounds. He soaked, of course. That removed two of them. So that left Harold in the game with three wounds (-3 to everything he tries to do…). The 7d6, 6d6, 5d6, and 4d6 that the crew got zapped with, them not being wildcards and all, finished them off in a quick and crispy sort of way. The 3d6 that Montana got zapped with caused two wounds, which he successfully soaked. Joe got just a tad sulky for a bit at this point.

Things were not looking so good for our adventurers. Three activations into the game and over half their number were gone and on of the three wildcards was severely wounded. Considering the critters I knew to be lurking out in the jungle I figured they were pretty much effed at this point.

Robertson strode forth into the Jungle triggering an encounter of his own, drawing a Giant Constrictor! We gave the constrictor to Joe to play. Again with the opposed Notice, stealth, and agility tests… Robertson went first and shot the Constrictor shaking it. The snake went next but was unable to recover.

Jacques Benoit then charged in stabbing and shooting the snake (Two-fisted!) wounding it!

The mercenaries and diggers moved through the jungle towards the temple avoiding encounter markers.

Montana Black charged in to fight one of the Fire Lizards with his two bowie knives flashing in the occasional shaft of sunlight that pierced the jungle canopy. He only managed to shake the Lizard, which shocked Curtis as he was getting quite used to watching black “Turbo-Ginsu” all opponents.

The Heroes just after Harold Green's G.N.O.M. backfired! Harold (in the lab coat) and the crew (lying down) should look a little more blackened at this point... You can also see Montana Black at the top left and Oscar Carson fighting the Fire Lizards off to the right.

Same thing taken from the othe direction

Mason R. Robertson fighting the Giant Constrictor.

Turn Two

In some one-two tag-team action Benoit wounded the snake again and Robertson finished it off. Joe looked a little more disappointed and mumbled something about being cursed.

Oscar “grim-reaper-with- a-.38” Carson shot and killed another fire Lizard. Those buggers have a 12 toughness. I thought they were doomed when those brutes were the first to be drawn and Harold roasted over half the team. Darrin just kept acing every time he shot one.

The mercenaries moved up top the edge of the temple. The diggers moved into the area where the snake was to help search for the idol next turn.

The Lizard fighting black recovered but was unable to act. The other tried to chomp on Carson but had a salad of ferny underbrush instead.

Harold recovered from being shaken, miraculously, and began gathering up weapons from the crispy crew members.

Montana Black finished off another Fire Lizard.

Turn Three

Harold surged forward with suicidal fervor. He triggered the next encounter location revealing a giant scorpion. Harold let fly with a burst from the tommy-gun he picked up and managed to score a hit causing the scorpion to be shaken! The scorpion recovered, but not well enough to react.

The Scorpion.

Carson took another shot at a Fire Lizard hoping to go three for three, but failed. Black joined in stabbing it twice but not wounding. The Fire Lizard, in turn, munched on some more ferns.

Robertson searched the area raising on his notice check and so got to draw a chit. No Idol.

Benoit then ran forward into the temple (triggering the next encounter marker) finding it inhabited by Cannibal Natives! Unfortunately he wasn’t in a position to shoot at them where he ended up and so just awaited their arrival.

We handed the Natives card to Joe. The natives charged!

The mercenaries, which were on hold, tried to interrupt at this point , but failed. The natives surrounded Benoit and clashed with the mercenaries.

The natives charge Benoit and the Mercenaries!

The big melee begins!

Joe decided to do wild swings with everyone. Of the four that ganged up on Benoit, three hit! Number one wounded, unable to soak! Number two also wounded, again, no soak. Things were looking bad for Benoit at this point. They got worse. Number three caused FOUR wounds and that was if for Jacques Benoit!

The natives also took down one of the mercenaries.

Joe perked up a bit at this point.

The mercenaries got to react but most were involved in close combat now and had to use their rifles as clubs. One did get to shoot one of the natives that had been fighting Benoit. Despite having lower parry scores due to the wild swings only one native was successfully clubbed by a mercenary.

Turn Four

Robertson moved up to the Temple to see what the commotion was about and shot one of the natives.

Black finished off the last of the Fire Lizards.

Spending all that time loading his dice really paid off for Joe as Harold just kept acing on his shooting rolls (trying to make up for going bust in round one, perhaps). 13 & 18 to hit, even with -7 (-3 for wounds, -2 for full auto, -2 for cover…) is still a hit and a hit with a raise! Equally lucky damage rolls finished off a rather tough scorpion.

Carson searched the area for the idol without success.

Back at the other end of the table the Natives killed three more Mercenaries. The mercenaries shot another native. The diggers then joined in the melee killing one and shaking two.

Turn Five

Carson and Black both spent their turns searching without success. Harold carried on to the temple and watched the melee at the other end.

In th melee the tide began to turn as the Diggers bashed another native with their shovels and Robertson shot another.

Turn Six

Black continued his search and concluded there was nothing to be found there (raised and drew a blank chit). Carson moved on to the next search location where the scorpion had been. Harold went on hold.

The melee started to wind down. Robertson shot another native. The natives killed a digger. The enraged diggers exacted their revenge on two natives in a most brutal way involving a pick and the flat of a spade. The remaining native (of 10) failed a motivation test and was duly shaken.

The end of the big melee! Bodies everywhere! Diggers ganging up on the remaining native.

Turn Seven

Black ran through the jungle towards the Temple. Carson searched without success. Harold remained on hold.

Robertson moved into the Temple dashing from cover to cover amid the ruins.

The diggers ganged up on the last of the natives and beat him to a messy pulp.

Robertson taking cover in the Templt. Harold and Montana can be seen in the bacground.

Turn Eight

Black ran into the Temple ducking into one of the ruined structures.

The diggers tried to flank around the north and of the Temple. This brought them within 8” of, not one, but TWO encounter locations. One was happily one of the “nothing” shits in the bag. The other, however, was the DIPLODOCUS!!!

Oh dear...

The Diplodocus!

The Diplodocus I decided to handle a little differently. Being very nearly impossible for any one on the table to kill I had decided he would charge in the direction of the first intruder it noticed and simply trample on in the same direction until he left the table.

Everyone suddenly got very, very quiet.

The Diplodocus and the diggers did their opposed stealth/notice checks and the diggers turned out to be sneaky like ninja (aced a couple times totaling 18!).

Carson joined Harold at the edge of the temple while Robertson searched the ruin he was in.

The next couple Turns Robertson and black searched their respective ruins and determined there was no Idol in either. The both ended up on hold and hiding behind cover.

The diggers tried to look very, very small and tried to crawl away from the Diplodocus.

The remaining mercenary tried to flank around in the Jungle to the south of the Temple. He, too, triggered an encounter location. It was a swarm of Vampire Bats. They ate him and remained lurking in the jungle until something else attracted their attention.

Bats eat Mercenary.

Carson and Harold remained on hold watching for Robertson to move yet hoping he wouldn’t as shooting at him would surely attract the attention of the Diplodocus.

Harold decided to break the stalemate. He charged out from cover around the corner of the Temple and let fly with a volley of hot lead at the diggers who were still crawling through the jungle trying to look very, very small. Despite having a -9 to hit (-3 for wounds, -2 multi-action penalty for running, -2 for cover, and – 2 for full auto) he hit and killed two of them.

The Diplodocus noticed.

On the next turn the diplodocus went before Harold. He charged in his direction and trampled him. Scored a hit with a raise. D12+d6+12. He did five more wounds that Joe couldn’t soak so Harold Green, Eccentric Inventor, ended up as a grease stain on the bottom of the Diplodocus’ foot.

Diplodocus steps on Harold.

Everyone else, more or less stayed on hold for the next couple turns as the Diplodocus trampled off the table.

Turn Thirteen(ish…)

And so we were left at a stand off. Everyone was on hold hiding in cover.

Curtis decided to end the stand off. Montana Black leapt out from behind cover and charged towards the ruins Robertson was hiding behind. Robertson decided to interrupt, so he could shoot at black while he was out in the open. They did an opposed agility roll. Tied! Carson then tried to interrupt Robertson prompting another opposed agility test. Robertson aces, twice, totaling a score of 13. Carson then does the same thing, only coming up 12.

So… Robertson and Black shoot at each other simultaneously. Black misses. Robertson hits Montana causing two wounds but they’re both soaked! Carson then shoots at Robertson and misses. Darrin decides to burn a benny, re-rolls, and hits causing two wounds. Robertson can only soak one.

The Bats take note….

Turn Fourteen

These bats, I should mention, I figured were a bit bigger than regular creatures you’d come across in a swarm so I allowed attacks against them but said damage from anything but area effect weapons was halved.

The Bats attacked Robertson and black severely wounding both. The diggers get up and decide to come to the aid of their boss and start to make their way across the Temple. Black and Robertson both miraculously recover from being shaken and make wild swings at the swarm. Black caused them to be shaken, Robertson caused one wound.

Turn Fifteen

Montana can’t recover from being shaken and retires from the combat.

Carson shoots one of the diggers!

The bats recover from being shaken. I decide to have pity on all I decided to have them return to cover in the jungle to feed on the piles of fresh corpses. Killing off everyone with bats just wouldn’t have been fun!

Turn Sixteen

Carson starts moving up from cover to cover and shouts at Robertson; “If yez gonna leave, I’ll let yez…!”

Robertson can’t recover. He remains in cover to try and pull himself together.

The remaining digger, shaken by the loss of his last comrade can’t recover either and so seeks cover.

Montana continues to reel backward, still shaken…

Turn Seventeen

The Digger recovers his wits.

Montana reaches cover but remains shaken.

Carson continues to move up from cover to cover, finally gets line of sight on Robertson, and says; “Grab some sky, fella!”

Robertson recovers.

Turn Eighteen

Robertson gets a Joker. He must have the Idol. It’s now or never. Do or die. He gets up and charges Carson firing his pistol as he runs in. He misses.

Carson takes a swing at Robertson. He misses.

Black finally recovers.

The Digger joins in the melee between Carson and Robertson.

The last stand in the Temple.

Turn Nineteen!

Carson misses again!

Robertson misses again (no real surprise there being -3 on everything now…).

Black hobbles over to the melee and makes a wild attack at Robertson stabbing him in the back. Twice. For four wounds.

The digger surrenders.

That wrapped up combat with all the know foes out there so Oscar Carson, Montana Black and their prisoner spent some time hanging out in the ruined Temple patching themselves up and searching for the Idol. Luckily the found it within the Temple (and thus didn’t have to worry about trying to search for it outside the Temple where there was still potential nasties lurking about).

I just realized that I forgot about the trap… Ah well they’re pulp heroes, they would have figured it out, or dodged the hundreds of little poison darts…

Searching the pile of bodies where the melee between the natives and the mercenaries took place they couldn’t find the body of Jacques Benoit (DA-da-dun!) nor could they find any remains of Harold Green, other than the charred remains of one of his shoes (with no foot in it) and his very singed lab coat…. !

The Figures

Harold Green is from Pulp Figures..

Oscar Carson, and Mason Robertson are also from Coppelstone Castings.

Montana Black, Jacques Benoi and the Diggers are all from Westwind

The “Mercenaries” and the “Natives” are some old Minifigs.

The Fire Lizards are from Reaper Miniatures

The crew of the S.S. Persephone was a mix of Foundry and Westwind WW2 French Resistance.

The Bat Swarm was, I believe, from Chariot Miniatures….?

The Snake, the Diplodicus, and the Giant scorpion are all Dollar Store junk toys that I stole from my son.


  1. Thanks for the write-up, Tim! entertaining as always!

  2. Smashing! Very nice, the terrain looks great.