Saturday, June 30, 2012

[Auld Lang 'Zine] Switching to Guns, Issue 31

Issue 31, Switching to Guns
Issue 31 is all about a magic fish and the PCs that encounter it. This is the final Ashford town adventure.

Is that fish cooked?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

[Duty & Honour] Session 8: The Battle of the Bridge

"Hold the line! Dammit! HOLD THE LINE!"
Session 8: June 1, 2012
April 1809, Portugal

The final battle began on a fine morning with the 30th Northumberland prepared behind their lines, with the stolen French cannon offering steady support. Two lines of infantry faced off at the bridge, the French attempting to take it and the English steadfastly refusing to yield.

Volley after volley was fired into the enemy and yet the French still advanced and fired. The cannon boomed across the distance, killing many, and yet the French still advanced and fired.

Lt. Hardrick stood ready with the 13th Light Dragoons to attack. Cornet Wyle ready to give the French a proper drubbing. Sgt. Finkauf looking to improve his station with a feat of excellence. Corporal Limekiller salivating at the thought of stealing a French lieutenant's horse, parading it around before returning it, painted with the Union Jack. Private Greenleaf, nursing the one remaining bottle of cognac of his ruined treasure, hoping to simply survive. Private Crossley seeking death or glory by taking the French Eagle in battle. All stood prepared to do their duty to King and Country!

Soon the withering fire of the 30th Northumberland took it's toll on the advancing French infantry and, with the cannon's steady boom, routed the other force. The 13th Light Dragoon's sprang into action, charging across the bridge to harry the retreating forces and come face to face with the French cavalry.

The battle continued on, this time cavalry vs. cavalry. Sabres flashed in the sun, heroic charges and valiant last stands were made and the French, sans their Eagle and the French lieutenant's horse, were forced to retreat. Though wounded in battle, Lt. Hardrick and his men managed to win the day and gain a new reputation with the French, a reputation built upon their defeat at the hands of the 13th Light Dragoons.

After the battle, the main column arrived and secured the bridge. Promotions all around: Lt. Hardrick was promoted to Captain, Cornet Wyle received his Lieutenancy. Sgt. Finkauf gained a Cornet rank, while Corporal Limekiller became the new Sergeant. And the privates, Greenleaf and Crossley, were awarded with corporal badges.

Bex stole the French horse from Limekiller but he managed to get it back and fulfill his personal mission, gaining a reputation with the French lieutenant - a character that will come back for REVENGE!

(This was the first session we used the extended skirmish rules and they worked quite well. The skirmish was divided into infantry attack and cavalry attack and I had the players take the roles of the 30th Northumberland of Foot officers and men, using their PC's as the template, to fight out the infantry attack. Then we switched to cavalry and they played their own PCs for that. The fight went back and forth, and it looked like the cannon gave them a distinct advantage but it was hard fought, nonetheless.

As for the promotions, they were very lucky with their draws and everyone managed to win a battlefield promotion.

This was also the end of the Duty & Honour sessions and only the future can say whether we will return to the exploits of the 13th Light Dragoons! Hurrah!)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

[Duty & Honour] Session 7: The Cannon

Session 7:  May 18, 2012
April 1809, Portugal

The next morning, the pickets reported that they had heard cannon moving in the distance. If the French attacked with cannon support, the 30th Northumberland may not hold the line.

Lt. Hardrick, having breakfast with Lady McFaine (wearing one of his shirts and looking noble and very attractive yet distinctly sad at the loss of her luggage and quarters), called Sgt Finkauf to gather a patrol to either destroy the French cannon or capture them for the 13th Light Dragoon.

Sgt. Finkauf, Cornet Wyle, Corporal Limekiller and Privates Crossley and Habib mounted up and stole out of camp, across the bridge and into French-held territory. The Sgt turned to the 30th Northumberland pickets on the bridge and said that he planned to return with a cannon and the French in hot pursuit and wanted them to vent their hate of him on their common enemy.

Into the wild, the patrol knew that if they were sneaky, they might make it to where the cannon were but they risked being cut-off, overwhelmed and killed.

Sneaking through the French lines and dodging cavalry patrols, the riders of the 13th Light Dragoons managed to find the French cannon. From the trees, they watched as the French artillerists fussed over their two cannon - one a heavy and the other a horse-cannon.

Cornet Wyle ordered sabres or lances only in the attack - firearms would alert nearby French cavalry to their location - and they charged down the hill towards the cannon.

The fight was brief and bloody, with the French totally defeated. The few captured soldiers were disarmed and their and their dead companion's weapons and powder were thrown into a nearby stream.

Sgt. Finkauf spiked the heavy cannon while the others smashed the wheels and monkey-wrenched the bore. They left the broken cannon in a fire and ran off the French soldiers. Then they hooked up the horse cannon and set up a bomb with the heavy cannon powder, lighting it as they rode away.

As they snuck back through enemy lines, the powder exploded, sending French patrols towards the ruined heavy cannon and managed to get ahead of any French cavalry on their tail.

Riding at full gallop, with the horse cannon, they broke for the bridge. French cavalry quickly picked them up and gave chase, but not fast enough. They made the safety of the 30th Northumberland pickets and the men of the 30th gave the French pursuers several volleys, forcing them to retreat.

A horse cannon now in their possession, the 13th Light Dragoons and the 30th Northumberlands were well prepared for the main French attack! And the hate the 30th felt for Sgt. Finkauf was changed to that of muted respect.

Monday, June 18, 2012

[Duty & Honour] Session 6: The French Spy Durand!

Session 6: May 4, 2012
April 1809, Portugal

Private Greenleaf was in a bind. The rest of the company was soon to arrive and his quest to find the cognac was in peril. What would happen if he didn't find it?

Lt. Hardrick was also in a bind - the French spy Durand was in his camp, with Wellington's battle plans. If he was allowed to escape, the tide would turn against the English and defeat, and the disgrace that comes with it, was more than possible.

Once the patrol returned with the lion pelts, the Lt. was determined to find the spy. He noticed, during Sgt. Finkauf's failure to rouse the 30th Northumberland, that several of the Spanish nobles were missing from sight. He quickly put the clues together and raced off to find them, realizing that the best place to hide the plans were probably Lady McFaine's quarters (she had so much luggage, one new piece would be lost among them).

Meanwhile, Greenleaf had managed to decipher his own clues to the whereabouts of the cognac and realized that they were hidden below Lady McFaine's quarters. The 13th Light Dragoons had set up Lady McFaine in the only ruins near the bridge, laying boards and stretching tarps for a roof, while the old wooden floor was still strong - the booze must be beneath the wooden floor!

Both Greenleaf and Lt. Hardrick reached the lady's quarters at the same time and burst in, disturbing Durand! Durand smiles at them and drew his sword and the wounded Greenleaf, the champion swordsman of the 13th Light Dragoon, drew his sabre in response - finally, to fight a skilled opponent!

A terrific fight ensued! Durand's skill was equal to the wounded Greenleaf and neither gained any advantage, no matter how much both tried. In the midst of the fight, Durand's sword caught a lit lamp and Greenleaf's sword flicked it onto the floor, where it smashed and soon the whole room was in flames.

Realizing that his booze was lost to him and the fire was out of control, Greenleaf grabbed Lt. Hardrick and leapt out of the inferno as Durand grabbed the plans and made his escape. The explosion of the hidden cognac (and gunpowder) completely destroyed Lady McFaine's quarters as the flames leaped a hundred feet into the sky!

The light from the explosion silhouetted the mounted Durand's escape from the camp and the chase was on! Hardrick, followed hard by Greenleaf, Crossley and Sgt. Finkauf quickly mounted and pursued the fleeing Durand in the darkness. Shots fired and a pass or two of sabres soon parted the battle plans from Durand.

As Lt. Hardrick dismounted to collect the plans, the heroes of the 13th Light Dragoons saw Durand in the distance. He pulled up his horse, shook his fist at them while swearing eternal enmity with the 13th Light Dragoon, and disappeared into the darkness.

The French spy Durand defeated, but not vanquished, the patrol returned to the camp and the fire that had engulfed Lady McFaine's quarters.

Greenleaf noted that the cache of cognac was ruined but found an empty bottle intact, figuring that he could fake the booze and sell it to some unsuspecting rube. However, Volunteer William York found himself in possession of an undamaged full bottle, salvaged by an enterprising dragoon who didn't pursue Durand! Greenleaf must have that bottle!

Volunteer York decided to use the sole-surviving bottle of fine cognac to influence the regimental purser's agent to gain a commission as a cornet in the 13th Light Dragoons but he suddenly found that he had a possible rival for that rank - Sgt Finkauf also wanted to raise his rank and tried to influence the agent by appearing as a model soldier.

Greenleaf used his skulduggery to switch the bottles during the meeting between Volunteer York, Sgt Finkauf and the agent, but neither Volunteer York nor Sgt. Finkauf suffer from any problems with handing off a fake because the agent dropped the bottle and it shattered. Feeling badly, the agent gave a good report to the regimental purser on behalf of York and Greenleaf took the real bottle of fine 1697 cognac away!

(The fire in Lady McFaine's quarters was all my fault. I told Greenleaf's player that if he failed at fighting Durand, the place would burn and so would his beloved - and as yet unseen - cognac!

The influencing of the regimental purser's agent lead to a three-way PC vs. PC duel - Volunteer York vs. Greenleaf vs. Sgt. Finkauf, with other PCs aiding in the process and it worked out pretty well.)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

[Duty & Honour] The Lions!

When I started the D&H campaign, I wrote to D&H author Neil Gow about stats for lions. He kindly returned my email and provided a very good lion. I just tweaked it a little bit by adding the Blend into Nature trait.

Here are the stats for those two dangerous boys: "Fantasma" and "Oscuridad." The 13th Light Dragoon and the 30th Northumberland will never forget them.

"Fantasma" aka The Ghost
Lion (African, Meat-eater, Lion, Lion)

Guts 6

Skills: Awareness 4, Intimidate 5, Scavenge 4, Skulduggery 4

Traits: Bestial Endurance (one extra INJ damage box), Great Hunter (+2 cards if surprises foe), Tear & Rend (+3 cards for ferocious attack), Blend into Nature (+3 cards to Skulduggery when in natural setting)

Claw/Claw/Bite 7 (Tear & Rend included)

"Oscuridad" aka The Darkness
Lion (African, Meat-eater, Lion, Lion)

Guts 6

Skills: Awareness 4, Intimidate 5, Scavenge 4, Skulduggery 3

Traits: Bestial Endurance (one extra INJ damage box), Great Hunter (+2 cards if surprises foe), Tear & Rend (+3 cards for ferocious attack), Blend into Nature (+3 cards to Skulduggery when in natural setting)

Claw/Claw/Bite 7 (Tear & Rend included)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

[Duty & Honour] Session 5: Goin' on a Lion Hunt, I Ain't Scared!

Session 5: April 6, 2012
April 1809, Portugal

The chaos caused by the lion attack soon was reduced to cries of pain and the burying of the dead. The Spanish refugees streamed across the bridge and re-set up their camp farther towards Portugal. The 13th Light Dragoon and the 30th Northumberland were stretched to the extreme, at least until the wounded were treated.

Lt. Hardrick realized the lions would come back and cause more trouble, so he ordered Sgt. Finkauf, Corporal Limekiller and Privates Crossley, Pennymore and Habib to hunt the lions down and bring their hides back to the 13th Light Dragoons. Private Greenleaf, while in great pain, wanted payback on the lions, even at the expense of missing out on finding the cognac! So he joined in the patrol.

Once across the bridge, Crossley attempted to track the lions but led the group into a French patrol. Private Crossley managed to grab the French Eagle in the fight but he lost it in the crush of the fight. Right in the midst of the melee, the lions attacked both French and English, but Sgt. Finkauf managed to wound one of them and they ran off.

Private Pennymore took a French sabre meant for Corporal Limekiller and, though the 13th Light Dragoon won the battle against both the French and the lions, his loss was a sorry blow. Strapping him to the back of his horse, Private Habib led Pennymore's horse as the patrol continued the lion hunt.

Following the wounded lion's blood trail, they found the lair. The patrol split into two pairs, Limekiller and Greenleaf and the Sgt and Crossley. One of each pair would act as the bait, while the other would swoop in and stab the hell out of the beast. At least that was the plan.

The lair turned out to be a series of caves and the pairs soon split up, with each pair taking a different path. Sgt. Finkauf and Private Crossley fought and took down "Fantasma" while Corporal Limekiller and Greenleaf defeated "Oscuridad."

With the lions defeated, the patrol returned with the corpses to camp.

There, wrapped in one of the lion's hides, Sgt. Finkauf tried to rally the 30th Northumberland to act like true soldiers for the King! Unfortunately, his rousing speach did nothing but sour the men of the 30th towards him and earned him a reputation with them, a reputation born of the hate fueled by 10,000 suns.