Isle of Dread, Chapter 1: The power of Voodoo (Who do?) You do!

The set-up

Malcon deWitt and his party have spent the better part of a week in the shitty little village of Tanaroa, where they have been drinking rum and bad wine and prepared themselves for the expedition into the heart of the Isle of Dread. The heat and the humidity is choking, but the group of northern travelers have slowly gotten used to the local conditions and despite the fact that no one is overly eager to enter the jungle, it does seem like a relief to get moving. Thus the day finally comes when Malcon and his party are striding up towards the gigantic wall, shielding both the village of Tanaroa and the whole peninsula from the jungle and wilderness.

The party arrives at the large gate, guarded by local tribesmen who only reluctantly open the portal to let the group of travelers through, but soon after Malcon and his troop are surrounded by dense, green tropical forest. Strange animal noises, odd bird cries and eerie growls a heard from deep within the jungle and the northerners now more than ever feel themselves far from home. A small path runs north, travelled by the tribesmen who every now and then use it to reach a large tar pit roughly a two-day journey into the jungle. Malcon and his friends agree that they will follow the path as far north as possible.

Sweaty hours go by and the shadows lengthen, but then suddenly something happens. One by one the members of the party note how the jungle has grown silent. The animal sounds have disappeared and the birds have stopped singing. Scouting up ahead the halfling Jolly Drake sees something which looks like corpses on the path, but strangely enough no carrion birds seem to flock over the bodies, which indeed is a bad sign. Nevertheless, Malcon orders his men to examine the matter more closely; perhaps they may find something useful. The party draw their weapons and approach carefully.

 

The scenario background

An outcast pygmy medicine man has set up a trap along the path leading to the tar pit. From a little hole in the ground, hidden in the bushes next to the trail, he is able to call up the dead and make them walk and attack. By luring travelers on the path into ambush he kills and plunders the unlucky victim with his zombies. Tu-Tu Tonk, as the medicine man is called, is no mighty sorcerer, but he is specialized in animating the dead and thus quite dangerous. When travelers are occupied with the examination of the corpses on the path of previous victims, Tu-Tu orders the attack from his hiding place, and this is exactly what happens to Malcon and his party.  When entering the combat Tu-Tu is to place three groups of six zombies on the table, entering from the left, right and front of Malcons and his group.

 Tu-Tu Tonk (10th level wicked pygmy medicine man)

M WS BS S T W I A LD INT CL WP
4 3 3 2 2 2 4 1 7 8 7 7

Equipment                                                                        Magic Points: 25

Bone club (S2)

Spells (2 1st level)

1 Animate Zombie (3 MP) Range: Zombies have to enter at the table edges / Summon D6 zombies

2 Aura of resistance (1 MP) /6+ AS

 

Zombies

M WS BS S T W I A LD INT CL WP
4 2 3 3 1 1 1 8 4 4 4

Equipment

Hand weapon (S3)

Special

Causes fear

 

Malcon’s goal: Examine the corpses on the road and pick-up anything useful. Exp. awards: +d6 to all survivors, +1 point pr. wound caused, +5 points to the model who discovers the secret hiding place of Tu-Tu Tonk.

Tu-Tu Tonk’s goal: The aim of the wicked medicine man is to kill as many of ambushed travelers and steal their food as well as their equipment.     

 

Special rules

Deployment and first game turn. Malcon and friends, who have the first turn alone on the table, deploy at on the path at the edge chosen as his entrance point. The Tu-Tu player can hold back the zombies for as many turns as wished.

Corpses. Place a number of markers in the middle of the table representing the corpses used by Tu-Tu to lure travelers.

Surprise attack. One of the corpses lying on the path is actually a zombie. If the player examines the zombie it attacks and the models are immediately engaged in HtH combat. The zombie attacks first in the first round of combat. Afterwards the combat goas by Initiative as normal. Mark beforehand which corpse is the zombie.

Tu-Tu’s hiding place. The concealed pit where Tu-Tu is hiding is defined prior to game start. Choose a spot, a bush or any other terrain feature, within the proximity of the table centre. Tu-Tu is hiding in his pit with a small zombie familiar who follows and medicine man around and protects him. The familiar has normal zombie stats.

Discovering Tu-Tu’s hiding place and fighting him. Tu-Tu is completely hidden away, but there is a chance of hearing his chanting. All miniatures within 10 inches of his hiding place must roll a 2d6 against I when he uses his magic. If successful they hear his low chanting and know that something or someone is hiding there. For each new roll against I the following turns the miniatures gains a +1 pr. attempted roll (+1, +2, +3 etc.). If moving a miniature into base contact with the spot where Tu-Tu is hiding, the medicine man and his pet zombie are discovered and engaged in HtH combat. If Tu-Tu dies all zombies on the table collapse.

Animate the dead. Tu-Tu calls the dead to come. They thus don’t rise from the ground but enter from the table edges, though not from the edge which Malcon and the group used as their entrance point.

 

How it went down

The general layout of the 4’x4’ table

Casualty markers serving as corpses on the path. The sitting mini is of course the zombie mentioned in the text

Rasmus leading Malcon and company to examine the scattered bodies on the path

Malcon deWitt and his party advances into the jungle

The party is closing in on the corpses

Panna and Jolly Drake take the rear and guard the mules

All of a sudden zombies start crawling out of the underbrush from the front and flanks of the party. Yes, I know it is ghoul minis, but here they serve as zombies

Malcon, Ricco and Peter watch as the zombies advance

More zombies advancing on the party at the behest of medicine mand Tu-Tu Tonk

The loyal hound Kenza charges the nearest zombies while Malcon’s men clash with the living dead around him

Kenza in combat while his owner and friends watch

More and more zombies are closing in on the party

An overview of the battle. “Fresh” zombies are slowly approaching down the path

Malcon deWitt to the right, Ricco di Leonora in the middle and Peter the Melancholic on the left

The zombies are slowly engaging all members of the party in combat

The zombies are gradually taking down members of the Malcon’s party – even his loyal hound Kenza is floored

Jolly Drake runs for cover and fires his sling at zombies while a henchmen struggles for his life next to him

Another overview of the battle

The zombies have discovered Jolly in the bushes and come for him now

A zombie has taken down Peter the Melancholic while his friends still struggle on

More zombies are still approaching

… And still more zombies advance

Jolly is in serious trouble now

Surrounded by foes Ricco is finally taken down by the living dead

A crucial turn of events. After having fled and return to the combat Jolly discovers Tu-Tu working his magic from his hiding place. Jolly and a warrior search the bush and drag out the medicine man. A fierce struggle thus began (of which I took no good picture…)

Malcon fights for his life while Jolly and the warrior fight the medicine man working his necromancy

The final moment of the battle – more zombies are closing in on Malcon, but Tu-Tu was stabbed to death by Jolly and all remaining zombies dissolved.

Postgame notes

We had a blast with this little scenario. The zombies kept rolling in from the edges of the table giving the combat the desperate feel of “zombie horror”. It also worked well with Tu-Tu hiding and being discovered just in time to avoid total catastrophe for Malcon and his party. After the combat we rolled for recovery and all the fallen turned out to be only lightly wounded and thus back in the next game. The only exception was the warrior Panna, who injured his leg and for the two next combats suffers from halved movement. On the experience front Malcon killed enough zombies to make a character development roll and gained a +1 on Leadership, Jolly Drake was allowed the same and gained a +1 on Initiative. We then rolled for Random encounters and first learned that yes, next session will have a random encounter, and the second role determined that it was going to be… more pygmies. Thus, instead of using them as a random encounter, we decided to make the pygmies the main scenario for our next game which sadly first is to be played on 17 June.

Finally, for those interested, these are the stats of Malcon and his party after the first game:

 

Malcon deWitt (10th level human hero)                                                       EXP: 91

M WS BS S T W I A LD INT CL WP
4 4 3 4/5 4 2 5/4 2 9 7 7 7

Equipment

Two-handed sword (-1 I/+1 S/-1 to AS)

Heavy armour (5+ AS)

 

Ricco di Leonora (5th level human hero)                                                      EXP: 27

M WS BS S T W I A LD INT CL WP
4 4 3 4 3 3 4 1 7 7 7 7

Equipment

Sword (S4)

Light armour and shield (+5 AS)

 

Jolly Drake (5th level halfling thief)                                                           EXP: 33

M WS BS S T W I A LD INT CL WP
3 4 4 3 3 2 6 1 6 7 6 8

Equipment

Short sword (S3)

Sling (S3/Range 18”/may fire twice within 9”)

 

Peter the Melancholic (5th level priest of Manann / Magic Level 1)                            EXP: 26

M WS BS S T W I A LD INT CL WP
4 3 4 3 3 2 3 1 7 8 8 8

Equipment                                                                        MP: 13

Sword (S3)

Spells (3 1st level)

Fire Ball (1 MP cost, 24“range, D3 S3 hits)

Ward of Arrows (2 MP cost, -1 to hit, magic missiles dam -1)

Bewilder Foe (4 MP cost)

 

Kenza (Warhound)                                                                           EXP: 1

M WS BS S T W I A LD INT CL WP
6 3 3 3 1 4 1 6 4 6 6

Equipment

Bite attack (S3)

 

Daff (human guard)                                                                          EXP: 0

M WS BS S T W I A LD INT CL WP
4 3 3 3 3 1 3 1 7 7 7 7

Equipment

Sword (S3)

Crossbow (S4/Range 30”/-1 to AS)

 

Mullio (human guard)                                                                        EXP: 4

M WS BS S T W I A LD INT CL WP
4 3 3 3 3 1 3 1 7 7 7 7

Equipment

Sword (S3)

Crossbow (S4/Range 30”/-1 to AS)

 

Nixi (human guard)                                                                          EXP: 2

M WS BS S T W I A LD INT CL WP
4 3 3 3 3 1 3 1 7 7 7 7

Equipment

Sword (S3)

Crossbow (S4/Range 30”/-1 to AS)

 

Krigle (human guard)                                                                        EXP: 3

M WS BS S T W I A LD INT CL WP
4 3 3 3 3 1 3 1 7 7 7 7

Equipment

Axe (S3)

Light armour and shield (5+ AS)

 

Henk

(human guard)                                                                EXP: 1

M WS BS S T W I A LD INT CL WP
4 3 3 3 3 1 3 1 7 7 7 7

Equipment

Spear (S3)

Light armour and shield (5+ AS)

 

Panna (human guard)                                                                         EXP: 0

M WS BS S T W I A LD INT CL WP
2 3 3 3 3 1 3 1 7 7 7 7

Equipment                                             Injury: Severe leg wound (half M for 1 more game)

Spear (S3)

Light armour and shield (5+ AS)

 

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