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?


  1. Well, Tim you have out done your self again.
    I see that Dylan and Jeff, such just as bad as anybody else that I've played with in the savage worlds.

  2. Hey Tim! Great write-up and great camera shots! I think I actually prefer the narrative style. TUO suggested a side-by-side narrative and turn mechanics format, but I think she thinks you have too much time on your hands.