Isle of Dread, Chapter 2: To the rescue

Last week we played the second chapter in our Isle of Dread campaign, which I have been telling you about in previous posts. Those of you who have followed the posts will know that our group of adventurers, led by the fighter Malcon deWitt, has entered into the jungles of the Isle of Dread in search for a fabled black pearl invested with magical powers.

In the first chapter Malcon and his party were ambushed on a northbound trail through the jungle. They were attacked by zombies animated by a wicked pygmy shaman. After the fight we rolled for random encounters and the dice determined that Malcom would encounter more pygmies. We thus decided to build the next scenario around Malcon and his party discovering a small settlement belonging to the same tribe as the shaman who had attacked them. Being a revengeful and greedy chap, Malcom persuaded his party to attack the settlement and grab what plunder might be found.

Instigating the attack would give Malcon an advantage and we decided to replicate a similar scene from Island of the Lizard King (a source from where we have pulled several of the encounters for this campaign), where the nameless hero also stumbles upon a small settlement in the jungle. A soon by tribesmen to be sacrificed man is here discovered. In the Fighting Fantasy book the hero has the option of setting fire to some of the huts in the settlement in order to create a decoy, allowing him to sneak into the village and free the prisoner.

Paperback, Puffin Books 1984, with the tremendously cool cover by Ian McCaig

This we transferred to our scenario. Looking in on the pygmy village, Malcon and his men saw a prisoner bound to a pole in the centre of what looked like some sort of shrine. They soon agreed to free the man and at the same time to plunder the place. Malcon’s three henchmen, armed with crossbows, thus fired burning arrows into the huts and then the charge began. The objective for Malcon was clear: Free the prisoner and transport him safely off the table. The defending pygmies had the objective to prevent this.

Some quickly defined rules concerning the sight of burning huts determined that pygmies had to take a Cool-test in order to move freely at the sight of a burning hut. If failed, the pygmy would either stop in his tracks or run towards the burning hut. However, if enemies were in sight, this rule was cancelled. Malcon only succeeded in lighting one hut, but this certainly was enough create a fair amount of chaos in the village.

As it turned out the combat proved to be an almost massacre. Rasmus, who played the pygmies, had an incredible unlucky streak, making most of his actions futile and rendering Malcon’s attack on the village a rather one-sided and very bloody affair. The scenario was fun to play, but lacked the tension our first combat in this campaign had.

Three of Malcon’s men were downed during the combat, but none of them died, and he is thus back at full strength in the next chapter. Oh, and the prisoner his group freed, is a barbarian named Ghimar, who a few weeks ago shipwrecked off the coast of the island and swam to shore with his beloved Iola. Sadly they were separated by the reefs and Ghimar is now searching for Iola. He agreed to join Malcon’s party if he in turn agreed to help find and perhaps free Iola, if this should be needed. Ghimar thus joined Malcon’s group.

If interested, this is Malcon’s roster (Malcon deWitt.docx) and this is the pygmy roster (Tonki-To Tribe_roster).

And this is what the game looked like.

The set-up of the 4″x4″ table.

Having surrounded the village Malcon and his men approach the village carefully. One hut is burning and the village is slowly realizing that they are under attack.

Peter the Melancholic, priest of Manann, and a henchmen appraoch the village

Huza-Ki, a giant pet hyena of the villagers, is gnawing bones peacefully but suddenly senses trouble

Malcon’s war hound Kenza and Huza-Ki see each other and immediately charge into a fierce dogfight

Young Ricco di Leonora enters the village and is met be poison arrows from a blowgun

Malcon, the halfling Jolly and one of his soldiers prepare to attack a pygmy defending his village from the invaders

Jolly, the halfling thief, makes for the temple area in order to attempt to rescue the bound man hanging from the large effigy

Rather surprisingly Kenza managed to chase the much more powerful Huza-KJi off the table!

Poison arrows from blowguns rain down on Jolly as he runs for the temple.

The temple area where the divine white apeman Offa is resting and guarding the soon to be sacrificed prisoner.

Malcon’s men are slowly closing in on the temple while fighting off the defending pygmies.

Proud pygmy warriors prepare to charge one of the men-at-arms.

The temple with the grand effigy where the barbarian Ghimar is held prisoner.

Kenza, in blood rage, really had a feast during this attack on the village. He charged from pygmy to pygmy and did serious damage to his victims.

One of Malcon’s men surviving a charge with a little help from crossbow support from behind the pygmies.

A view from the slowly approaching crossbow men who proved to be killing machines in this combat.

Malcon leads the attack on the temple, fighting Offa the white ape. Jolly climbed the palisade, planning to run rescue the prisoner, but a pygmy intervenes.

Kenza continues his wild rampage through the village.

All action is gradually centered around the temple area.

The last action. The pygmies have all but lost their village to the invading Malcon.

The conclusion – Malcon succeeded in dispersing the villagers with very few loses and freeing Ghimar from the sacrificial pole.