RESCUE IN THE DESERT
The following is another episode in my Savage Worlds Pulp Adventure Serial. The game took place (Savage) Sunday, 4 February 2007. We mostly use the Showdown skirmish rules with some elements of the RPG added for flavor or fun.
Darren Morris as Oscar Carson, Private Investigator (and Cptn. Ralph Bagnold, Royal Corps of Signals, Cairo)
Curtis Tessmer as Montana Black, Two-Fisted Adventurer (and the British soldiers)
… And, of course, directed by and starring myself, Tim Brown, as the rest of the bad guys; Bandit Desert Nomads and their leader who calls himself “the Son of Rasouli”, as well as the Angry Native Villagers.
27 March 1922
The daughter of the renowned British aristocrat and Egyptologist, Sir Walter Smythe-Wagner, has been kidnapped by a ruthless band of ruffian nomads. The beautiful Emily was abducted from a dig site where she had been working with her father near Karnak. Demands have been made for her return in one piece. Gold, of course, but also the expulsion of all British Foreigners… not really possible…
Sir Walter has prevailed upon his friend, Montana Black, who worked with Sir Walter on a dig in Egypt before the Great War. Black has also brought along partner, Oscar Carson, and enlisted the help of a Captain Ralph Bagnold who is something of an expert at desert travel by motor cars and has done much surveying of North Africa for the Royal Geographic Society.
Carson’s excellent investigative skills, Black’s knowledge of the local languages and tracking ability, and Bagnold’s keen desert navigation, have brought them to a small and remote oasis on the edge of the Great Sand Sea by the Libyan border. Their trucks secreted behind a large rocky outcropping the party stole forward to observe the encampment during the day. Having successfully located Emily’s tent and ascertained the size of the hostile force they fell back to their own camp to formulate a plan of attack, leaving one of the soldiers to continue observing the camp.
The plan was simple. Black and the soldiers would cover Carson and Bagnold as they approached the camp from opposite ends. Carson would rescue Emily. Bagnold was to lay in wait at the other end of the oasis and if Carson was discovered he was to scatter the horses to cause a diversion as well as to keep the nomads from riding them down as they made their escape to the waiting trucks.
Midnight. The rescuers take up their positions.
(click on the pictures for a larger version)
In the top left is the Bandits encampment at the oasis. A few sentries can be seen sitting around a campfire (just imagine a campfire there!). Carson can be seen at the bottom of the picture and Bagnold is off to the right. Between the two are Montana Black and the four British soldiers.
Carson, left, Black, right, and the Soldiers between them observe the oasis
Yet another view of the oasis.
On the other side of the Jebel there was also a small, impoverished village quite hostile to foreigners. My plan was to have a daunting enough force, with possible reinforcements coming from the village that the players wouldn’t try to “kill ‘em all” but rather grab the girl and run for it and have to execute a fighting retreat while being chased across the desert to their get-away trucks… well… it nearly worked…
The first couple turns consisted mostly of Bagnold and Carson sneaking up on the oasis and the Nomad sentries trying to “spot” them. Carson was dealt three jokers in a row on turns two, three and four! The first netted him an extra benny, unfortunately with the second joker he rolled a two inciting a freak event… The Pharaohs Revenge! All that water from the water holes along the way finally caught up with Carson. All rolls for the rest of the game were at -2 due to a sudden acute case off Dysentery. (Let the poop jokes begin…!)
On turn four Carson, tried to stealthily cut the back of Emily’s tent open. Difficult to do while having to concentrate on keeping our butt cheeks clamped firmly shut lest a torrent of diarrhea be unleashed… Despite this the guard in the tent was completely oblivious to the tent tearing just behind him. Perhaps he was sleeping, he went bust on the notice check while Carson, with highly pressurized bowels ready to blow, scored a 15. I’d call that “getting the drop” – unfortunately he’d have to wait until next turn as he already preformed an action (cutting the tent)
Nomads go. The four sitting around the campfire were still completely oblivious to what is going on. The one in the tent, however, wised up to Carson’s presence. Perhaps Carson cut the cheese as he raised his knife to strike the guard or something, whatever the case the guards notice check beat Carson’s sneak test and the guard raised the alarm and spun around taking a swing at Oscar with the but of his rifle.
Bagnold, at this point, tried to spook the horses he had been untying. I decided this would be an intimidation check. He failed.
Carson finally took his first swing at the guard and missed. This happened a lot, what with the minus two for the bowel trouble and a further minus two for darkness…
Everyone was now dealt in; those that were sleeping started this turn shaken. To keep things fast and furious I gave all the nomads one card but treated them as a couple of little units for movement and coherency.
Oscar Carson went first, taking another swing at the guard in Emily’s tent. He missed. Again.
Emily woke up with a start, recovered with a raise, screamed, picked up the stool the guard had been sitting on and bashed him in the head with it. He was shaken. Not bad considering she was -2 for darkness, -2 for unskilled, and -1 for an improvised weapon and had just been fast asleep seconds before!
Seeing all the nomads stumbling out of their tents Montana Black decided to go off hold at this point and charged in toward the oasis. His signature twin bowie knives flashed in the moonlight.
Bagnold tried again to scare the horses off, shooting in the air this time (which I gave him a +2 for…). They wouldn’t budge. Very clam horses, they were. Must have been very accustomed to gunfire and such.
Three Nomads recovered from being shaken, the rest continued to stumble out of their tents and get their bearings. Two of the sentries that had been sitting by the fire leapt up to dash into their prisoner’s tent. They were interrupted by the soldiers, which had been on hold from the first turn. The soldiers fired but missed both. The Nomads continued into the tent, one tried to grab Emily while the other slashed at Oscar with his scimitar.
The “Son of Rasouli” recovered from his slumber but needed a turn to collect his wits.
Bagnold gave up on the horses and started taking shots at the nomads heading his way… winging…
The soldiers continued firing on he Nomads stumbling out of their tents, taking one down.
Black charged around the side of a tent and gave a pair of stumbling shaken nomads a couple of quick stabs with his bowie knives casing them to spend the rest of the game lying on the ground soaking the sand with their blood!
Montana Black standing over the two fresh corpses of his victims and the nomad shot by the soldiers. Luckily most of those Nomads opposite him were still shaken. “Son of Rasouli” is off to the right of the picture just having emerged from his private tent. Bagnold can be made out lurking by the trees in the top left.
“Son of Rasouli” charged Montana Black wilding slashing in the darkness with his scimitar but failing to find his mark. His followers continued to try and sort themselves out. Two ran for cover at the edge of the oasis returning the soldiers fire, hitting one (-2 for running, -2 for darkness, -4 for hard cover!)! Another entered the prisoner’s tent and helped his accomplice subdue the squirming Emily. The other two in the tent took wings at Carson tearing his hole (in the back of the tent….) wider still. Two others began to round up the horses.
Emily then squirmed her way free of her two captors…
Bagnold, with a Joker, shot down one of the nomads trying to gather up the horses.
The Soldiers couldn’t hit a thing!
Emily snatched up the stool once again and bashed on of her assailants in the head (again, -2 darkness, -2 unskilled, -1 improvised weapon...). Failed to cause damage on her first roll, figuring she wasn’t likely to hit often, Darrin, who was now controlling her, burned a benny. It paid off as she cracked his skull with a couple of raises! Someone said they thought they heard here say, “this is SOME rescue…” amid the chaos.
Carson, having drawn his pistol by this point, shot point blank at one of the nomads assaulting him. He must have been a very skinny nomad in large billowing garments as Carson was sure he hit him but the target didn’t even flinch.
Black and Rasouli continued taking swings at each other, missing in the darkness. The rest of the nomads did little of effect this turn, other than grappling Emily again and shaking Carson.
Carson recovered but wasn’t able to act. Emily slipped out of her attackers grasp once again. One of the soldiers shot a nomad through the head spraying brains about the sand of the oasis (four raises!)
Black finally scored two hits on Rasouli with his bowie knives. The first scored four wounds, but Rasouli soaked them. The second caused another wound, which was also soaked with another benny. Rasouli could do nothing this turn other than recover from the being shaken by the solid blows up on him.
The nomads, which couldn’t seen to get a card higher than six, shot at Bagnold and the soldiers missing. One grappled Emily again, this time with a raise, which caused her to be shaken. Carson, too, was returned to his shaken state with another close shave.
The soldiers started off this turn by painting a tent with the brains of another nomad (again with the four raises on a damage roll!).
Carson was unable to recover from being shaken – too busy concentrating on not spraying liquid feces inside his pants…
Black struck Rasouli with another two wild slashes of his bowie knives. The first on took his head right off (FIVE RAISES! GAH!). The second, we figured, skewered his head as if fell back to earth. He then flung it off in the general direction of the two bandits that were about to charge him. It must have been a good enough distraction as their blows failed to damage Black.
Three of the other nomads mounted up horses and began to lead them out of harms way, while another charged Bagnold. In the ensuing melee the bandit cut Bagnold good causing two wounds – one of which Bagnold soaked with a benny. He recovered later in the turn, but took no further action.
Emily recovered from being shaken, with a RAISE, and once again slipped out of the grasp of the bandit wrestling with her! That’s one slippery girl!
Bagnold tried to shoot his attacker point-blank but missed.
The bandit grappling with Emily once again got hold of her! Another continued his assault on Bagnold but could not hit him. The two attacking Montana both managed to land blows, but that tough bugger was merely shaken by the incident, which he burned a benny on so it would cause him no further worry. Carson was also playing tough-man, though he had to burn a benny to soak a wound landed on him.
Emily, for once, was unable to struggle free when her card came up.
The flashing steel of Black’s twin bowie knives took down the two bandits attacking him.
The bodies are piling up around Montana Black.
The soldiers, lacking any targets, went on hold.
Carson again fired wilding into the melee in the tent, missing everyone!
Oscar Carson and the very full tent!
The angry natives from the nearby village arrived… with a JOKER! They ran towards the oasis at top speed (12”!).
Native villagers angered about their sleep being disturbed!
Bagnold shoots and missed again but the bandit found his mark, shaking Bagnold.
Emily once again fails to struggle free and was dragged out of the tent.
Oscar finally put a bullet in one of his attackers taking him out of the action. The remaining nomad missed Carson.
Black charged at the nomad dragging Emily out of the tent. The nomad released Emily to try and defend himself but wasn’t quick enough. Black savagely dissected the brute causing him to spurt blood all over Emily’s white silk nightgown!
Carson shot and killed the remaining bandit then dashed through the tent to see where Emily had been dragged to only to find her in a passionate embrace with Montana Black.
Black broke off and dashed across the oasis to the aid of Bagnold, cutting down his attacker. Emily followed in the footsteps of her hero of the hour.
The Soldiers fired upon the charging villagers who carried on at an unearthly rate. Two were hit, but only one was shaken.
The natives are dealt another Joker…. This was bad news for our heroes. Oscar Carson was overtaken by the mob and hit three times. #1 – shaken, soaked. #2 - wounded, soaked. #3 - no damage. Carson shoots back missing with his wild shots.
Black turned to see his partner being swarmed by the mob of angry villagers. He turned back to Bagnold and shouted, “Take her and get to the trucks!” He then turned about again and charged into the melee to aid his friend. Striking one, the native was shaken.
Black charges in to the aid of his friend.
Emily and Bagnold ran, heading for the rendezvous with the trucks!
Emily and Captain Bagnold on the run.
The soldiers, not being able to see targets again, went on hold.
Black swinging wildly took down two of the natives. Carson still can’t find his mark. The soldiers, inspired by Black’s courage, get up and head for the oasis. Emily and Bagnold continue their dash across the desert.
The soldiers charging in to help the surrounded heroes.
The surrounded heroes.
The frenzied mob surrounded the two heroes and started hacking away. Five hits were scored on Montana Black. A wound, soaked, shaken, soaked, two fail to damage the colossus that is Montana Black and the final one wounds him, truly, as he is unable to soak it…. Oscar Carson is only hit twice, which net only one wound.
In a frenzy of his own, Montana Black recovers from the initial shock of his wound and hacks wildly back at the mob taking one down and shaking another. Carson was tiring and only able to recover slightly and defend himself….
Then the natives went. Four more hits on Montana Black each causing a single wound. Finally he is brought to the ground. Carson was again shaken and then wounded.
The soldiers fired on the crowd as they continued their advance dropping one.
Carson recovered well enough to act… shot, but missed.
Bagnold ran to the soldier that had been shot earlier in the game and began dragging him toward the trucks urging Emily to carry on and bring them back.
Bagnold stopping to check on the wounded soldier and Emily pressing on.
The soldiers charged into the melee, taking down two immediately and shaking another.
The natives retaliated shaking a soldier and Carson, again.
Over the next couple turns the melee continued. Slowly, one by one, the solders were taken down by the native’s superior numbers. Carson’s luck finally ran out too. Emily made her way to the trucks and persuaded the drivers to return with her, while Bagnold continued to drag his fallen soldier towards the trucks.
As the truck made it to Bagnold the natives could be seen pouring out of the village. Bagnold decided their comrades couldn’t be helped, at this point, loaded Emily and the wounded soldier into the trucks and sped off into the night….
When he got a safe distance away he stopped and set up the new long-range wireless and tapped out a message to Cairo requesting reinforcements….
What became of our heroic adventurers? Will Bagnold return with reinforcements in time? Find out next week in the next episode of my Savage Pulp Adventure Serial!