Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Starstones Campaign Chapter Three

 CHAPTER THREE

Analysing the evidence previously collected, it appears that some of the Ottoman experiments that escaped from the secret facility are living in the sewers beneath Sibenik. They seem to be controlled by some sort of organising intelligence (presumably one of the more successful Ottoman “experiments”).  It would also appear that the experimental facility was using a Starstone as its energy source, which the escapees have taken with them.

The sewer system empties into the old 16th century water cisterns beneath the old citadel and it seems that the creatures have made their base there. It can be assumed that the Ottomans have made the same deductions, so it is imperative that the ARSS team find the creatures’ lair first. The team’s priority is to gather intelligence on the Ottoman’s experiments and to retrieve the Starstone. 

The Ottomans will be sending in their own operatives to retrieve the Starstone and destroy whatever evidence exists concerning the activities of the experimental facility. Assume any Ottoman operatives encountered will be hostile.

Set Up: The sewer system and old water cisterns beneath the streets of Old Sibenik.

Deployment: Deploy all PCs in any tunnel along the southern edge, then deploy foes randomly but not closer than 8” to any PC (if a foe appears closer than 8” from a PC, place it 8” away). From the outset the PCs are aware of a sensation of undefined dread – All must take a DL10 Horror check.

Foes:

2 x Hordes of 3 Giant Lizards

3 x hordes of 3 Giant Frogs

Trap: The PC has stepped on a sticky substance produced by one of the giant frogs DL12 strength test to break free. If caught a giant frog emerges from the nearest cover and attacks the trapped PC.

Ambush: A giant lizard emerges out from the nearest cover and attacks the closest PC. If the PC is in the water the ambusher is a crocodile.

Reinforcements: 3 giant lizards (1-3) or 3 giant frogs (4-6) enter from a random table edge.

At Our Back: 2-5 Ottoman Militia enter along the southern edge.

Complications: Mr Needle enters from a random table edge.

Game Event: An Ottoman Officer and 3-6 Ottoman soldiers enter from the Southern edge.

Wandering Monster

1 to 2: 1 Dervish Assassin

2 to 4: Sewer Scavenger*

5 to 6: Hybrid*

*only each of these available. If already in play a crocodile enters instead.


That Will Come in Useful: A leather case is found.

Lair: A bizarre collection of items stolen from the city with a Starstone at it’s centre. If Mr Needle has not appeared by the time a PC reaches the lair, he will be in it!

Victory: The game ends if Mr Needle is killed and the Starstone is retreived, or if all PCs are off table or dead.


The table layout. The PCs will be entering from the sewer tunnels at the bottom of the picture.

Waiting for them are some of the bizzare experiements escaped from the Ottoman research facility. Giant frogs that exude a sticky gel to snare their prey....

.... and fast moving giant lizards.

Not a brilliant start, Singh moved forward and shot an approaching lizard, but Lady Amelia failed to activate. She succeed in generating more lizards and a band of Ottoman militia, all of whom entered down the sewer system, fortunatly in different tunnels to the PCs. Then, at Singh's second activation, he was ambushed by a giant lizard but swiftly despatched the beast.

Further along Jack and Maisie moved forward at speed but the Professor fell behind. 
 
Hearing the voices of the Ottoman militia comming up behind him must of startled the professor, because he carelessly steped into a sticky trap left by one of the giant frogs. The creature leapt up from it's hiding place, but the Professor swiftly killed it. The Ottomans were in sight now and bullets were whistling around him. He couldn't move his feet....

...but he could still use his arms. An exploding globe took out most of the troop, Maisie rushed back to help her uncle and shot down the last Turk. 

Now a strange, meancing creature slunk out from the shadows.

"What on Earth is that, Singh?"
"I don't know my lady, but I suggest we shoot first and examine the body afterwards!"

Yet more Ottomans ermerged from the sewer tunnels, but a second exploding glode dealt with them. With Maisie's aid the Professor managed to extract himself from the sticky trap.

The bizzare Mr Needle also enered the table.

A succession of poor actiavtion rolls and unlucky cards was bringing all manner of creatures out of the dark. The ferocious hybrid enered by the lair, flanked by two crocodiles!

Jack was wounded by a lizard before he managed to kill it. But he recovered from a combination of the Professor's healing skills and a draught of Mrs Pinkman's Restorative Compound. The Professor healed his own wound with a second draught of the Compond.

Two Ottoman militia came out of the sewers behind Lady Amelia, who turned and blasted them away with both barrels of her shotgun.

That's a lot of creatures heading towards the PCs.

As Lady Amelia started reducing their numbers, Singh was ambushed by a viscious lizard.

The Hybrid advanced across the bridge.

Preceeded by the two crocidiles that slipped into the water. The blue marker is an interesting old leather case that the Professor had just spotted.

As the Professor rushed off to grab the case, Maisie and Jack covered the rear against a plethora of different targets.
Lady Amelia slowly cleared their way using a textbook example of fire and movement tactics.

Jack wasn't having much luck with his revolver today. Not only was his aim off, the weapon jammed just as a crocodile reared up out of the water besides him! He took a nasty gash on the leg before he had despatched it with his sword.

As the trio regrouped the Professor was ambushed by a giant lizard but managed to fight it off. 

Maisie was otherwise occupied, putting bullets into the large ugly thing with multiple mouths which was rushing towards them. Unfortunately some of her shots just ricocheted of the creature's tough hide.

Fortunately her uncle had one exploding globe left and used it to excellent effect, not only blowing the Hybrid to atoms, but also taking out the crocodiles just behind him (it?). Joined by Lady Amelia and Singh, the party now caught the bizzare Mr Needle in a crossfire and killed the creature, filling it with lead before it could act.

The party pressed on, but a crocodile started clambering up out of the water. It's appearance obviously put the party off their aim a touch as it took a hail of lead and buckshot to kill the beast. 

In the meantime Singh, pressing ahead of the rest, discovered the worst moment for your rifle to jam!

It was for just such an eventuality that Singh had started carrying a revolver and he put a bullet into the croc. Maisie was able to finish it off with a well-placed shot to the head!

With the way forward clear, they party rushed into the lair and Singh grabbed the Starstone and thrust it into his pack.

Maisie found herself caught in a sticky trap and suffered a bite from the lurking frog (fortunatly she was poisoned by the creature this time. Jack rushed back to her aid and killed the frog, then pulled Maisie out of the sticky mess.

The party now made a swift exit, which is just as well when you consider what was coming up behind them!


CREATURE STATS

Mr Needle DL 14 HP 4 DMG 1 MOVE 5”
Not slowed by terrain, can climb walls. 
POISON: If bitten PC makes DL10 CON roll or be poisoned. A poisoned PC falls prone every time they fail an activation roll. A successful Heal roll will negate the effect. Horror 4” +2

Sewer Scavenger DL 13 HP 5 DMG 1 MOVE 4”
Fast attack, If foe scores a hit in melee in it’s activation, it can make a second attack at any PC in contact DL10.
Dodge, roll 1d6 for each missile hit, 5+ dodge out of way. Horror 4” +2

Hybrid DL 14 HP 4 DMG 2 MOVE 4”
Tough skin, roll 1d6 for each hit, 5+ bounces off.
Horror 4” +3

GIANT LIZARD DL 10 HP 1 DMG 1 MOVE 6”
FAST: Move 6”, not slowed by terrain, can climb walls
Animal, Horde

GIANT FROG DL 5 HP 1 DMG 1 MOVE 4”
POISON: If bitten PC makes DL10 CON roll or -2 to activate for rest of game. STICKY TRAP
Small target: DL 7 vs Ranged Attacks, Animal, Horde

CROCODILE DL 12 HP 2 DMG 2 MOVE 5”

Aquatic: DL14 in water, Animal

Wednesday, 3 February 2021

Starstones Campaign Chapter Two

 CHAPTER TWO

Recently there have been a series of bizarre disappearances and gruesome murders in the town of Sibenik. Intelligence suggests that the Ottomans had been running some sort of experimental facility in the town. Four weeks ago, the agent tasked with observing the facility reported hearing gunfire and blood curdling screams coming from the building. It was after this time that the strange deaths and disappearances started to occur. Since then, a number of Ottoman agents and military have arrived in Sibenik, presumably to tidy up their mess and remove any evidence of their activities. Due to the peculiar nature of the situation ARSS have been tasked with investigating the situation. 

Set Up: Streets in Old Sibenik, with 8 randomly scattered crime scenes. PCs must obtain 4 items of evidence from the crime scenes, it takes one action to search a crime scene. 

To search, roll 1d6.

If it is the first crime scene searched, 6+ finds evidence. 2nd crime scene 5+, 3rd crime scene 4+, 4th crime scene 3+, 5th or more automatically find evidence.

Deployment: Deploy all PCs along the southern edge, then deploy foes randomly but not closer than 8” to any PC (if a foe appears closer than 8” from a PC, place it 8” away). From the outset the PCs are aware of a sensation of undefined dread – All must take a DL10 Horror check.

Foes:

2 x Ottoman Dervish Swordsmen

3 x hordes of 3 Ottoman Soldiers.

Trap: There are no Traps.

Ambush: An Ottoman swordsman leaps out from the nearest cover and attacks the closest PC.

Reinforcements: 3 Ottoman Militia enter from a random table edge.

At Our Back: 3 Ottoman Militia.

Complications: An Ottoman Iron Man enters from a random table edge. Leave the card in the deck, the Iron Man acts as a normal foe for drawn cards, except it also activates if the Complication card is drawn. 

Game Event: A bizarre creature enters in the middle of the Eastern table edge and will attempt to exit from the NW corner.  Leave the card in the deck, the creature acts as a normal foe for drawn cards, except it also activates if the Game Event card is drawn. It will ignore PCs unless they are within 5”, if it moves into contact with any Ottomans it will automatically kill them. A PC that begins  a turn within 4” of the creature must take a DL12 Horror check (once passes they do not need to repeat).

Wandering Monster

1 to 3: 1 Dervish Assassin

4 to 6: 3 Ottoman Soldiers

Victory

The game ends if 4 pieces of evidence are found or if all PCs are off table or dead.


Shooting

After the previous game's bloodbath I am trying to tone down the effect of foes shooting (especially minions).

Foes will attempt to close into melee unless they have the "Shooter" tag.

Shooters will move to within 8" and then stand and shoot using their gun DL (normally 8 or 10).

All other foes have a gun DL 2 and will move 2" and shoot if they start, or can end their move, within 8". If they are within 4" they will charge.
So a non-shooter foe with a gun will move 2" and shoot if they start their move between 10" and 4.1" of a PC, or charge if within 4".



The table layout, the six crime scenes are marked with sewer manhole covers. The PCs entered the table from the left, just behind the centre building and just out of camera shot.

A group of Ottoman soldiers lay in wait on the other side of that building, just by one of the craft scenes. Jack seemed more interested in the delivery cart in the foreground.

Maisie immediately spots a starstone and move up to investigate - a good start! A swordsman is lurking in the arcade of the purple building ahead.

The swordsman charges Jack but is cut down.

As Jack and Maisie move forward another swordsman springs an ambush on the Professor, who takes a wound before dispatching his attacker.

Now thing start to go badly as an Iron Man appears, immediately behind Lady Amelia.

Some bad poor dice and even poorer cards mean that soldiers rush onto the table, lots of soldiers (again)!
Lady Amelia unloads both barrels into the mechanical monstrosity, damaging it but is overrun and falls to the ground.

The Professor thows one of his exploding globes....

...which eliminates the soldiers and damages the Iron Man.

Whilst Maisie moves around the other side of the building and puts a high-powered round through it's metal skull, causing a permanent malfunction. The Proferssor rushes forward and uses his healing skills to administer to Lady Amelia, who recovers, albeit still badly hurt. A dose of Mrs Pinkman's Restorative Compound completes her recovery.

Maisie moves to the first crime scene, but finds no evidence, then is ambushed from the balcony above. She takes a wound before overcoming her attacker. Singh and Jack check another crime scene each but tfail to discover anything useful.

Maisie is wounded in a fusillade of shots from a group of soldiers, who are rapidly dispatched by her and Lady Amelia, then yet another ambusher fells Maisie. Her uncle cuts the rascal down and Lady Amelia utilses her considerable medical knowledge on Maisie, who is fortunately only slightly injured.

At this point Jack sees a truly bizzare creature scaling the walls of a nearby building. He moves forward but is distracted by an Ottoman swordsman and loses sight of the creature as it rushes away down a side street.
Singh finds himself set upon by no fewer than 6 Ottoman soldiers, but is only hit once in their volley of fire. The Professor thows another exploding globe....

....and then there was one!

The party move forward and successfully manage to scout all the remaining crime scenes, when the Professor is shot down by a group of militia. Jack and Maisie blast them away and Lady Amelia helps the badly injured Professor to his feet. He can barely walk but fortunately he has one draft of Restorative Compound left and swiftly drinks it.

A mass of foes are closing in, temporarily kept at bay by Jack and Maisie's shooting.

As the Professor is helped up they find a Dervish Assassin bars the escape route, but Singh swiftly deals with him!

Not such a blood bath as the last chapter, only three wounds were inflicted by all the shooting this time, but still a dangerous time for the party. Three party members put out of action but all successfully healed enough to leave under their own steam.


Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Starstones Campaign Chapter One

 We got to play the first game in my new Starstones VSF campaign. Once again my ARSS team have been joined by a team from the Home Office, Lord Farquhar Bufton-Tufton with is wife Lady Amelia and faithful servant Singh. Ian has decided that Singh will be an immortal character in this campaign. If he is killed, rather than create a new character, he will re-introduce Singh with his original stats. By some mysterious means he will always illude death at the last moment !

CHAPTER ONE 

It was been reported that Kartal Nuri Pasha, a senior agent of the Ottoman Sultan’s court, has located a Starstone fall site after “interviewing” a local shepherd who witnessed the event. The Pasha is accompanied by the prominent Ottoman scientist, Professor Erman Gukay, together with a bodyguard of Ottoman soldiers.

HM government have intercepted Ottoman communications which pinpoint the location of the site, so your team have been tasked with assisting in the retrieval of the Starstone.

Set Up: Rural countryside with an area of rough ground/scrub in the centre of the Northern edge (where the Starstone is located), about 8” in from the table edge.

Deployment: Deploy all PCs along the southern edge, then deploy foes randomly but not closer than 8” to any PC (if a foe appears closer than 8” from a PC, place it 8” away).

Foes:

3 x Ottoman Dervish Swordsmen

4 x hordes of 3 Ottoman Soldiers.

Searching the scrub:

Hartal Nuri Pasha

Professor Gukay

1 x Bodyguard (Dervish Assassin)


Trap: There are no Traps.


Ambush: An Ottoman swordsman leaps out from the nearest cover and attacks the closest PC.


Reinforcements: 3 Ottoman Militia enter from a random table edge.


At Our Back: 3 Ottoman Militia.


Things Could Get Worse/Complications: An Ottoman Iron Man enters from a random table edge. Leave the card in the deck, the Iron Man acts as a normal foe for drawn cards, except it also activates if the Complication card is drawn. 


Game Event: Kartal Nuri Pasha and Professor Gukay have finished gathering the Starstone and will attempt to escape from either the E or W edge.

NOTE: Nuri will use his gas bombs if any PC comes within 9” (12” once trying to escape). 

Wandering Monster

1 or 2: 1 Dervish Assassin

3 to 6: 3 Ottoman Soldiers


Victory

The game ends if the Starstone is carried off of the table, or if Nuri, Gukay and the Bodyguard are dead; or if all PCs are off table or dead.


Game Report

It started off well enough, the teams moved onto the table and took up a firing position and took out 3 soldiers and a couple of swordsmen with their superior firepower,

As the group moved forward, a failed activation brought another 3 soldiers onto the table behind them (Wandering Monster).

But the Professor spun round and threw one of his exploding globes, which killed them all. Maisie sprang an ambush and took a wound from the crazed swordsman before she put him down and Lord Bufton-Tufton took and early wound from another ambush.

Bufton-Tufton rushed forward leaving his wife and Singh to finish off the enemies on their side of the table. Apart from the last 3 soldiers, he had a clear run at Nuri Pasha and his group, things looked good for our heroes....
...which is where things started to go wrong! Obviously some warning had been sounded because more foes started turning up by the bucket-load.
(We went through 3 or 4 turns with every PC failing at least two activations and drawing a Wandering Monster card almost every time!).
A Dervish assassin turned up on the group's flank, quickly followed by 3 more soldiers. Jack rushed up to meet the threat, gunning down the assassin and 2 of the soldiers. Maisie moved up to support him but took a lucky shot from the last soldier before she shot him.

Disaster struck as another ambusher leapt on Maisie and she fell to the ground. Jack swiftly dealt with the rogue and Lady Amelia rushed over to use her medical knowledge to deal with Maisie's wounds. She she knelt next to Maisie's body another ambusher rushed out, but Lady Amelia managed to parry his blow. Jack turned back to she Lady Amelia struggling with her attacker and 3 Militia closing in on the fight. 
What to do, shoot the militia and charge in to help Amelia? Of course, he's a hero so he did both (3 passed activations!). Jack gunned down 2 of the militia, then drew his blade and charged forward, stabbing the ambusher through the heart.

The Professor stepped up and shot the last militiaman with his trusty revolver.
Fortunately Maisie's wounds were minor (back in the fight with 2 HPs) and her uncle gave her a shot of Mrs Pinkman's Restorative Compound, which brought her back to full health.
 
More soldiers and assassins arrived on the northern edge and on a monster frenzy card the soldiers moved together to form a formidable horde of 6.
To make things even worse for the PCs, an iron man turned up and moved towards Bufton-Tufton, who put a bullet into the machine.
The rest of the party moved forward to support his lordship but a hail of shots from the nearby soldiers riddle Bufton-Tufton and he dropped to the ground.

As the iron man passes over Bufton-Tufton's inert form and crosses the rise, the rest of the party pour fire into the creation, but with no effect. Despite being hit by an Ottoman marksman, the Professor throws his last exploding globes, one to wipe out another group of soldiers moving up behind the party and the other to blast the iron man, which causes damage, but the monstrosity keeps moving.
 
Singh bravely draws the iron man away allowing Lady Amelia to move to help her husband as even more soldiers arrive on the table.
"They said an escort of soldiers, not a whole bloody regiment!"

With a cry of triumph Professor Gukay holds aloft the Starstone and Nuri Pasha leads his group away. Our heroes can do nothing to stop them, they are too far away and too many foes are between them.
A group of militia appear behind Singh and he takes a hit from the volley they aim at him. then the iron man closes in....
 
Valiantly, Singh battles the killing machine and somehow disables it so it crashes to the ground (but Singh has just one hit point left).
Lady Amelia reaches her husband's side, but it's too late, Lord Bufton-Tufton is dead! reluctant to abandon her husband's body, Lady Amelia starts to drag him towards the table edge. Professor Hodgeson joins her and takes up the burden, but then a group of soldier emerge from the nearby trees. The Professor shoots one, then takes a bullet in the chest and collapses. Lady Amelia empties both barrels of her shotgun into the last soldiers, then checks the Professor. He is still alive, but badly wounded. She helps him to his feet, them they continue slowly forward, dragging Bufton-Tufton's body between them.
 
As Singh rushes to join the party another volley from the militia drop him to the ground. Enraged, Jack runs up and blasts the rascals with is revolver, then scoops up Singh's body over his shoulder.

The party escape without further loss, Lady Amelia is the last to leave the table. As soon as they are safe, Jack lowers Singh to the ground and examines him.
"Bugger it Maisie, he's croaked!"
"Are you sure, Jack?"
Jack rises to his feet.
"See for yourself, he's not breathing and there's no pulse."
Maisie bends over Singh's form.
"Oh God! You are right Jack, he's dead!"
Singh opens one eye and weakly gasps "I think you are mistaken, Miss!"

Well that could have gone better!
Our dice rolling was dreadful, frequently Jack seemed to be the only character able to pass more than one activation roll! We were also unlucky with the cards, if felt like half the deck was Ambush and Wandering Monster cards. Had we got more single sword-armed assassins turn up instead of groups of rifle-armed soldiers, it might of helped a bit.
The amount of fire power the bad guys had was a problem as well. I had given all gun armed foes a "poor shot" trait, which reduced their DL, but the sheer number of them meant that it didn't really help. I will need to re-think how to handle guns for the next game. Despite all that, we had fun and are looking forward to the next adventure.