Thursday, 19 September 2019

Cruel Seas Two Games Against the Japanese

Colin came over for a gaming day to fight through a mini-campaign I'd put together. The scenario is based around a Japanese invasion of a British colony. It was an opportunity for Colin to get all his various Japanese craft on the table. Unfortunately he forgot the box that had his little gunboats in!

Game 1: Dawn attack
Japanese small craft, with air support, launch a surprise attack on a British naval base.

The unsuspecting British base at dawn, 4 Fairmiles and a support ship are moored up, whilst a little Harbour Defence Motor Launch patrols up and down. The gunners of the two shore batteries are dozing by their guns, looking forward to their relief.

The view from the Japanese scout aircraft.

The sneaky Japanese boats approach the target undetected (despite appearances, it's actually 3 MTBs and two gunboats with 57mm guns). But where's the air support, there isn't a plane in the sky, apart from the scouting aircraft? Colin had rolled for when his 3 dive bombers would turn up, turns 5, 5 and 6!

AS the British sound the alarm the first MTB launches it'e torpedoes.

Just in time, as the first shot from one of the shore batteries hit's home. When a 3" shell hits one of these little boats there isn't much left by way of wreckage even!
The inexperienced shore battery crews were outstanding in this game (I mean I kept rolling 1's for their shooting!).

Some British vessels get underway, others are still waiting for their crews to show up.

Two more MTBs launch torps, to catch the British in a crossfire.

Meantime the Fairmile crews try desperately to get out of the way of the incoming steel fish.

The second shore battery fires it's first shot, who would have believed it!

And the first spread of torpedoes pass harmlessly between the Fairmiles. Relatively harmlessly, they are probably going to make a mess of the dock in a few moments!

Now things are looking dodgy for the British, in trying to get out of the path of the torpedoes the HDML is on the verge of colliding with the leading Fairmile.

 Two torpedoes hit................. misses, passing under the hull of the target, but the other hits. Boom, scratch one Fairmile!

Now the Japanese gunnery is improving and a second hit from a 57mm gun sinks the little HDML.

 The first two dive bombers turn up and target the escaping support ship (belatedly Colin realised that as I was trying to protect the ship, it might be worth sinking).
One bomb is a near miss, but the second hits!
A critical hit takes the rudder out, so it's just as well no-one has any torpedoes left.

As the last MTB heads for home, one of the covering gunboats takes a hit from a 3" gun and heads for the bottom.

The final blow, the last dive bomber hits the stricken support ship, but the damage isn't enough to sink it.

End result, not a shining success for the Japanese. They lost 3 boats and the British lost 2, but the support ship is still in play and that will help the British in the third scenario.

Game 2: Invasion.
A minesweeper, MTB and a gunboat are escorting two troopships and a tanker to the invasion beaches, when a cobbled together British task force (a Flower class corvette and 3 Vospers) try to intercept them. The Japanese objective is to get the troopships and tanker across the table.

As the British are sighted, the convoy scatters and the minesweeper moves forward to engage the enemy.

The last time I encountered Colin's minesweeper I lost three Vospers in two turns, so two of the MTBs launch torpedoes as soon as they can.

The first salvo from the minesweeper knocks out the runner on the corvette, then to add insult to injury a dive bomber turns up and scores a direct hit! The corvette is still in the game, but not looking healthy.

The first wave or torpedoes close in on the minesweeper. Can the Japanese ship outrun the fish?

The Japanese MTB has a worrying encounter with another torpedo, but it passes harmlessly underneath it's hull.

By increasing speed the minesweeper not only outruns the torpedoes, but pits itself in a position where the Vosper cannot avoid a collision. 

The Vosper takes a dive, barely scratching the minesweeper's paintwork.

A torpedo lines up on the tanker........

................Boom! It's a hit. The tanker is still afloat, but it's taking on water and it catches on fire!

The Japanese MTB launches it's torpedoes at the corvette, which was stationary, fixing it's rudder. Fortunately I got to activate first in the next turn and somehow maneuvered between the two torpedoes (I really don't know how). We had to resort to the laser pointers for this one, but they both missed me.

Can't say the same for one of the troopships, but the torpedo missed!

But the second torpedo did hit the other troopship. It took heavy damage and also started to take on water.

At this point the minesweeper took a lucky hit from the corvette (I rolled high dice!).....

....and with accumulated damage started to sink.

The tanker crew failed to put the fire out and it too started to disappear beneath the waves.

A second dive bomber hits the corvette, but it's still afloat!
Interestingly it would have sunk if I hadn't taken the time to make repairs. We don't normally take the time to repair damage in our games. I only did it this game because it's rudder was gone, but perhaps I'll have to think about repairs in future.

As the last Vosper tries to make it's escape the damaged troopship sinks. But a blast from the Japanese MTB, just out of shot, finishes the already damaged Vosper off before it can get away.

Game end. The corvette and two of the Vospers have escaped. The Japanese have lost the minesweeper, tanker and one of the troopships.

I think that was an outstanding win for the British.

We ran out of time at this point, so our third game will have to wait for a while.

The next scenario will be Japanese gunboats trying to protect barges moving supplies alone the coast to the invasion beaches, whilst a force of Vospers and Fairmiles are hunting them down in and out of islets and sandbanks (with a risk of the larger boats running aground!).
Any losses from the previous games will be replaced, but with inexperienced crews.
Because the British support ship survived, the Vospers will have been able to replace their torpedoes, but the lose of the tanker means that the Japanese will not have air support in the last game.

I'm looking forward to it!

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Emperor of Ice - Sellswords Campaign Chapter Six

Chapter 6 - The Tangled Forest.

The party sat listening to the sound of fighting, sheltered in the shadow of a ruined building.
“I’ve got a chest!”, “Now you DIE”, “Boss? Boss? I think he’s killed you again Boss”, “Run you idiots!”
Christos peeked round the corner.
“What’s happening,” asked Sir Robin.
“The wizard in blue is prone, one of the minions for the black wizard has a chest, chased by a golem, and there is magic fog and walls everywhere… and a giant spider has just crawled out of that collapsed temple.”
“Could be worse.”

Eldarondo nudged Robin and handed him a piece of parchment. “It is.”
“Wanted – for steeling from the Bandit King. Dead or Alive. Or Dismem… Discmim… Chopped Up. Reward gevon.”
Gunnar looked at the picture of the six of them printed underneath. “Is that supposed to be me? I’m not short!”
“You’re a dwarf, Gunnar. The clue’s in the name.”
“So, trapped between lunatic wizards fighting, local wildlife, and a gang of bandits with access to a printing press but no dictionary.” Eldarondo looked around. “Where’s Eddie?”
At that moment Eduardo came running down an alley, one hand holding a scroll of parchment, the other clamping his pointy hat to his head. He flopped next to the others, a big grin on his face, brandishing the scroll.

“Where the hells have you been! This is no time for a shopping trip.”
Eduardo unrolled the scroll and held it up. “I have found a map that shows how we can get out of here.”
Sintamo snatched it from his grasp, laying it on the floor and weighting down the corners with rubble. “So, north is out, west is suicidal, south is blocked, that leaves this place called ‘The Great Battle Pasture Gate’ over there somewhere,” he said gesturing vaguely east. “How do we find this gate though?”
Eduardo’s grin spread, and he pointed to an obelisk. Clearly marked on it was an arrow labelled ‘Gate of the Pasture of the Great Battle’.
“OK, clever clogs, shut up,” muttered Sintamo under his breath.

The group stood at the crumbling archway with the remains of the words ‘Pasture of the Great Battle’ still visible in the stone. Robin peered through it. “It’s a forest. How did they fight a Great Battle in a forest?”
Sintamo rolled his eyes. “How many times have you been hit on the helm? It’s been hundreds of years. Trees grow. Come on.” He strode confidently into the forest.
Sir Robin pulled a face at Sintamo’s retreating form “Go talk to a stoat, ranger.”

A path enters the forest in the middle of the west side – the party starts there.
The entire table is forested.
On the table are 8 ambush points, in this case cursed tree stumps.
To place them:
1. Divide the table into 9 12” squares (only for set up) there is a randomly placed ambush point in each square except the PC’s starting square.
2. Roll 2d6 (not d6 x d6) to give distance from west side of the mini square, and again for distance from southern side. Put the ambush point there.

Line of Sight:
On the path 12” maximum.
In woods 8”
Crossing from path to woods – 6”

When the AMBUSH! card is drawn a skeleton/zombie appears from the nearest spawning point

Movement on the path is as per normal. When the end of a path section is reached roll a d10 for left and right
1 Role twice*
2-4 Path 90’
5-5 Path 45’ from straight ahead
7-8 Path 45’ backward
9-0 No path (use the very short roads to show this is a dead end

*if the same result comes up on the second role then only use one – don’t reroll it again. If either of the second rolls are a Roll Twice then it is clearing 6” square with exits in all 4 directions.

Going off the path:
If a character tries to cut through the forest it is classes as broken ground.
PCs on broken ground must walk (maximum movement 2”, or 1” if their normal movement is 3” or less). If they use their full movement, they must perform a DL 10 Terrain roll halfway through their movement or fall prone.).
If a PC rolls a 1 for action roll, instead of drawing a card he becomes lost (move the PC 4” in a random direction).
If, at the end of movement, a PC is more than 6” from a path, roll a d20 (rangers add +2 if they wishe). On a 15+ they find another path. This should be at right angles to the PC's direction of travel, with them in the middle, unless an end would be within 6” of another character, in which case it is angled so it isn’t within 6”. This roll takes place after the end of each movement where he ends up 6”+ from a path, so they could check multiple times. You can’t find a road somebody else crossed without realising!

Traps:  Animated roots grab the PC's foot. They cannot move until the break free (DL10 strength roll). Replace the card in the deck, there are multiple traps.

4 single wolves
4 x hordes of 2 wolves
Place the wolves using the same system as the ambush points.

Reinforcements: 1d6 Skeletons which enter table  at a random spawning point.

They’re At Our Back: 1d6 bandits enter the table form the southern edge.
Roll 1d6 for each horde on 4+ they will have the leader from the last adventure (armoured guard) with 5 HP.

Wandering Monster: If a wandering monster card is drawn, roll a d6.
1-2 – d3 wolves
3-4 – d6 wolves
5-6 – A bear

Scenario Event:
The spirit of a long-dead hero is animated and erupts form the ground at a random spawning point (use a treeman, clay golem or similar).
DL10, HP 3, DAM 1, Armour 4+, Move 4"
The animated spirit acts as any other foe, but remains an ambush spawning point until it is killed.

If a wizard rolls a natural 20 on casting (ie the Magic roll) a fireball, it sets the woods on fire. This burns for the rest of the game. It is a patch 3” in diameter. Every subsequent time the wizard  activates (before their rolls)
1) All things in the fire take 1 HP. Anything with natural armour gets a save roll, but at -1.
2) Roll a d6. On a 1 it spreads d4" in a random direction

Victory Conditions: To get from the west side of the Forest to the exit from east side.

Other individual rewards: A PC carrying an out-of-action PC off the table gains 1 XP.

The PCs cautiously enter the wood, led by Eldarondo and Sintamo. Eduardo is sandwiched between the elf and Gunnar, to keep him out of trouble. Brother Christos is at the back as rear guard (to also keep him out of trouble).

As it starts to rain, Sintamo reaches a fork in the path. He pauses quietly for a moment, the gestured to the left.
"This is the right way."
"Did the Ranger just toss a coin?"
"Shut up!"

With Christos and Sir Robin close behind, Sintamo encounters another divide in the path. He raises his hand.
"We need to go right" he whispers, "but...."
"Oh, just get a move on!" Sir Robin exclaims, pushing past the ranger and rushing around the corner.
They hear the sound of snarling, then something large crashing through the undergrowth. Robin yells in pain, then there is a wet thud and a yelp.
".....there's a big wolf in the bushes next to the path" Sintamo finished.
"Thanks for the warning" Robin muttered as he wrapped a cloth around the bite on his arm.

As Sir Robin dispatches the wolf attacking him, two more beasts leap out of the undergrowth and attack Christos.  He crushes one's skull and Sintamo shoots the other through the throat.

"Wait a minute" Sintamo says, "where are the others?"
"Eddie's probably left his shoelaces untied again and need Gunnar to do them up for him!"
A succession of failed rolls has left Eddie, Eldarondo and Gunnar lagging behind.
Now things get interesting as a pair of wolves and an animated clay spirit close in.
"We could do with some help here guys!"

"Sorry" replies Eldarondo "we're a bit busy ourselves".
Two more wolves have jumped on Gunnar, just as 6 bandits have turned up and come charging down the path.

Eddie has moved further down the path to keep away from the combat, only to find more wolves racing towards him.

Gunnar and Eldarondo make short work of their various foes then turn, to see Eddie wildly flailing around with his sword, shouting "Gitoutofit! Leavemealone!". The bodies of two wolves lie nearby.
"How does he do that?"
"He's still got his eyes closed."
Eldarondo cautiously reaches forward and prods Eddie with the end his bow.
"Eddie, Eddie, you can open your eyes now."

Sintamo quickly deals with the wolves whilst Sir Robin and Christos attack the "mud thing".
Most of their blows are absorbed by the creature with no apparent harm, and a viscous blow knocks Christos to his feet. If he hadn't caught the blow with his shield his ribs would have been broken.
"Sintamo, shoot it!"
The first arrow bounces off, but the second sinks deep into the creature's face.
"Hang on lads, I can hear something else behind us."

It's a bear!

 Recovered from his frighting experienced with the wolves, Eddie rushes over and casts a flaming arrow into the mud creature. It screams and collapses, oozing back into the ground.

 Learning from previous mistakes, the party pause to heal and treat their wounds . Then Sir Robin moves on.
"The paths heading back the way we came now!"

Peering through the trees, Eldarondo, catches a glimpse of the path. He takes a shortcut through the undergrowth to find another turn in the track.
"It's alright, the path turns again."
As he calls out a skeleton erupts from the ground and cuts the elf across the leg with it's sword.
Limping, Eldarondo dispatches the foe with his sword.

The group follow the path until it once again turns back in the direction they originally came from.
"This is daft!" exclaimed Gunnar, "We're going around in circles. Ranger, which way should we be going?"
Sintamo paused, peering through the trees at the sun, then pointed.
"Come on then!" The dwarf said and set off through the trees in the direction Sintamo had indicated,
"Hang on, I've got a better sense of direction, I should lead."
He caught up with the dwarf.
"You can easily get lost if you're not carefulllll!"
Catching his foot in a path of entwining brambles, the ranger crashed to the ground, face first.
Gunnar peered down at him.
"Are you alright down there laddie? Have you found any clues?"
Sintamo shot Gunnar an evil look.
"Because, I'd appreciate your opinion, being no expert myself like, but I do think I might have found another path!"
The ranger climbed to his feet and looked in disbelief.
"Troll's bollocks!" he muttered.
"Alright Gunnar, you can stop laughing now!"

In the meantime, Christos was taking his role as rearguard to heart and had lagged some way behind the rest of the group, only to be charged by an angry bear.

"Look out!" Sir Robin called as a group of rotting corpses erupted out of the ground behind them.
"Mine!" called Eddie.

With a dramatic gesture he sent a ball of flame exploding in the middle of the group, burning them all to ashes.
"Tee hee hee!"
"Eddie, stop giggling"
"Every time he does one of those fireball things, it's not dignified."
"At least he's not dribbling this time."

 Christos knocked the bear backwards with a mighty blow from his mace, then staggered as he just caught a returning swipe from the beast's claw on his shield.
"Christos, come on!"
"Just a minute, I'm almost done"
With a final mace blow, the bear dropped to the ground.

Gunnar's new path made a sudden left turn, leading out of the trees and into a wide meadow, sloping gently down to a might river. There was a small sailing ship moored at the bank, flying the pennon of the Order of Teuton.
Eldarondo peered at the distant figure standing at the prow.
"Is that Father Brennon?"

Once they had returned to the monastery and handed over the sacred book, the party took a well earned rest in the monk's visitor's quarters.
"Were's Christos?"
"He's off getting his mace enchanted as a reward for his efforts."
"Lucky him, he's the only one getting a reward out of this."
"At least we are not paying for board and lodgings here." Sintamo, said.
"The amount Gunnar's been eating we'd be running out of money by now"
"I heard that!"
"How much have we got in the kitty now anyway?"
Sintamo started rummaging through his pack.
"What the...where's all the money gone?"

The door burst open and Eddie rushed in, brandishing a scroll, his mouth curved into a beaming smile.
"Guys! Guys!" he excitedly exclaimed.
"What have you done now you troll's arsehole?"
"Guys! How do you want to FLY?"