Isle of Dread, Chapter 5: Grave robbing

Just before Christmas we managed to get in another session in our Isle of Dread campaign. This time the scenario had the character of an encounter, leaving it up to Malcom and his party for how long they wanted to stick around. The story went something like this:

Malcon and his group are still trekking northwards trough the steamy jungle, heading for what they suppose is an ancient temple ruin in the heart of the island. While some riches and much experience has been gained so far, the trip has also begun to take its toll on the party, and two members of the group have died so far.

While scouting ahead the little halfling thief Jolly Drake discovered what he believed to be some sort of old burial ground. He also found a cave in the rocky hills leading into a tunnel. Hurrying back with this message, it did not take long for Malcon to decide that it might be a worthwhile little detour. He thus decided to leave the barbarian Ghimar and two men-at-arms outside the cave, guarding the pack mules and Azza, an amazon the party has taken as a prisoner during the last encounter, and now bringing along as a potential information source or leverage.

In and down underground they went and things soon proved difficult, as the place was guarded by undead creatures. The group succeeded and plundering some treasure, but a host of walking skeletons caused problems and when a huge, undead creature all of a sudden awoke from its slumber, things looked dire. Nevertheless, Malcon and his group succeed in dissolving the undead giant in what only can be characterized as a very close shave. They had collected some gems, a scroll with some spells and a magic cloak, which they decided was enough. The group left the crypt, only to discover that another fight had taken place outside the cave opening, where small kobold-like creatures, armed with slings and clubs, had attacked the men guarding the entrance to the cave. Also here things went in favour of the group, but the pesky little creatures killed one of the men-at-arms, making it a bitter victory for the group, who now could continue their journey northwards. spelunking

So, this was the story in this session. A fun game, which took place at two different tables. This made things slights chaotic, but also fun, as the situations were very different.

As you can see, the “dungeon” was very primitive. It was really just pieces of painted cloth with some dirt here and their. Nothing fancy, but it worked, and may not win any prices for ingenuity, but it was an easy way to get the party below ground, without spending too much time prepping for the scenario. If you fancy sending your minis below ground, I would certainly recommend this type of dungeon, as it gives slightly more than merely painting the thing on paper, but only requires a minimum of extra effort.

This is how It all looked.

The table with the entrance to the cave

The “dungeon”

Malcon and his party going spelunking in the ancient crypt

Ghimar standing guard

Plundering an old grave

Kobold-like creatures sneak up on Ghimar and the two other guards

Ghimar defending the their equipment

More action in front of the cave

The restless dead rise

The dead are coming for the intruders

Peter the Melancholic looking for treasure

The dead are closing in

Still fighting outside the cave

The skeletons are putting the pressure on Malcon and his men

Something ancient stirs in the crypt

Ricco, Peter and Kenza run out to get Ghimar down underground but soon decide that there is no time and return to the cave

Malcon has no choice but to face the giant creature

The final battle in the crypt

Isle of Dread, Chapter 4: Camp raid

In this fourth chapter of our Isle of Dread-campaign the camp of Malcon deWitt and his group was attacked by a mysterious patrol of amazons and tribesmen. The attacking patrol was on its way back to the heart of the island, where their stronghold is placed within an ancient, ruined temple. On their way they discovered Malcon’s camp. Curious as to the origin and plans of these strangers the amazons decided to kidnap a member of Malcon’s group in order to interrogate their victim at a later stage.

When the amazons attacked the camp Malcon and most of his men were out hunting and collecting fresh water. There was only four members of the party back in the camp, facing the attackers. However, their fellow travelers heard their cries for help and rushed back to the camp, attempting to get there in time. What no one from the hunting party knew was that a giant constrictor snake pursued them back through the jungle. While the returning hunters thus rushed to the rescue they were at the same time attacked from the rear by the giant monster.

In the end Malcon and his party succeeded in fighting off the attackers. They also managed to capture a tribesman and an amazon and thus had the opportunity to question them as to what was waiting for them in the heart of the island. more about this in the next chapter.    

The rules for the scenario were quite simple. Beforehand we rolled which four models from Malcon’s group would be left in the camp during the attack. Rasmus, playing the camp group, luckily rolled all characters, which certainly made it difficult for the attackers. Malcon and the rest of the hunting party would return on a 5+ (rolled on a D6), tested at the start of each turn.

The giant snake would enter the table the turn after the hunting party came onto the table. Again, Malcon was lucky, and entered the table in the second turn of the combat, which all in all made it rather difficult for the tribesmen and amazons as their momentum more or less was nonexistent. As a side note I can mention that all the amazons were each equipped with one dose of magic Koka Powder. The powder could be imbibed during the Magic Phase and give the model one extra action that turn.

The aim of the attackers was, as said, to kidnap a victim and drag a model off the table. We thus established that when fighting you could roll to knock unconscious or to wound as normal. When hitting to knock unconscious the opponent would count as having double wounds; hence you will note some small red dice on the table.  

This is what the game looked like. We were playing in a slightly underlit basement, which shows in the pictures.  

The 6×4 table we played on

The peaceful camp just prior to the attack

Jolly and Ricco hear something approaching the camp and prepare themselves for trouble

The patrol of amazons approaching the camp through the underbrush

Malcon, Peter and the men-at-arms rushing back towards the camp

The camp. One of the soldiers is moving the two pack mules away from the action

Amazons approaching

Bringing the mules into safety

Tribesmen advancing together with the amazons

The giant snake following the trail of Malcon and his men

Ricco hiding in the bushes in order to sneak around the approaching enemies

Jolly Drake shouting the alarm

The hunters rushing back to the camp

amazons and tribesmen entering the clearing where the camp is located

Tribesmen charging forward

The giant snake

Ricco all of the sudden found himself in deep water

Jolly face to face with a fierce amazon

Ricco fighting off tribesmen

The hunters returned in time to protect the camp. Malcon’s hound Kenza was the first to charge the enemy

Ricco slays the last tribesman

Jolly having downed an amazon with two lucky shots from his sling

Kenza, the hound, suddenly was surrounded by enemies

Peter the Melancholic was the first to discover the giant snake hot on their heels

One of Malcon’s loyal fighters face to face with a tribesman

The enemy pushes into the camp

Ghimar, the barbarian, and Malcon charge into the tribesmen and amazons

The situation was looking dire

Amazons attacking

Peter joins the struggle to help

The enemies proved no true hallenge to Malcon and Ghimar

The snake killed creeps forward into the camp

Fighting all over the camp

The snake takes on its second victim

Ricco and one of the fighters did what they could to hold back the tribesmen

Malcon started to chase off the last of the attackers

The snake was inside the camp now

Mopping up the rest. Malcon attacked the snake and sent it back into the jungle

Isle of Dread, Chapter 3: Big trouble, small bridge

After having raided the pygmy village Malcon and his party continued in a northbound direction, following the trail which ultimately should lead them to a large lake of tar called Kukos by the natives in Tanaroa. The dense jungle surrounding the party was gradually beginning to change character, becoming more open and giving way to some hills and cliffs, however, no tar lake in sight. Continuing northward the group suddenly could hear the sound of running water, followed shortly after by some very odd bird calls. Clearly something was amiss and when the travelers beheld a stream of muddy water running through the jungle, across which someone had put a cloven bole, Malcom and his fellow knew they were approaching a trap.

Slowly they started approaching the stream and as soon as Daff, one of the henchmen, began walking across the water on the toppled tree, foul reptile men charged.

Malcon’s travel route and position (the X) after three sessions of play

In this third chapter of our Isle of Dread-campaign Malcon and his party are being attacked by a mixed warband of lizardmen and troglodytes led by the nefarious snakeman Zzifth. Three lizardmen guards were hiding by the tree bridge while the remainder of the attackers entered the table from the flank. The scenario was a classic bottleneck situation made extra difficult by the fact that the two packmules had next to no inclination to cross the stream.

The rules for the scenario were simple; the main part of Zzifth’s warband, including Ziffth himself, would arrive on the table edge at a 6+ roll – the target number being lowered by one each turn. Malcon and his party would thus have some time to attempt to cross the water and get off the table before the majority of the reptile warband arrived on the scene. Fighting from the bridge was difficult (-1 to hit) and if hit, the model should make an Initiative-test or be pushed into the stream.

Moving through the stream was difficult, reducing movement to 1”. This applied for everyone except the small lizardmen, who could move freely in the muddy water. To get the packmules across the improvised bridge a Leadership-roll was needed. Something which worked fine for the first mule, but the second mule absolutely refused to move and blocked the bridge for several turns. Moving the mules trough the muddy stream would demand a Leadership-test for each 1” and the bridge was accordingly the preferred way across. The aim of the two forces was fairly simple; Malcon had to cross the table with as many men alive as possible, while Ziffth had to prevent this and kill as many as possible.

The game was great fun and ended in a big, bloody fight around the bridge. Two of Malcon’s henchmen succeeded in holding of the lizards for a while and thereby giving the rest of the party time to come across the stream. Sadly this heroic sacrifice led to the death of Henk, who did not make his recovery roll after the game. May he rest in peace.

It is funny to note how the crossbows really were a major force in the previous game, while they did absolutely nothing this game. Then again, our halfling thief Jolly Drake, suddenly did surprisingly well with his sling, killing several lizardmen in a series of surprisingly lucky dice rolls. Good times! Our next game in the campaign is schedules to mid-September.

This is what the game looked like.

The 4×4 table lay-out.

Malcon’s party enters the table edge carefully scouting for enemies

Malcon’s party of jungle explorers

Kenza, the warhound, was the first to run across the cloven bole

Once Daff stepped out on the bridge lizardmen came forth from their hiding place and attacked

Daff was quickly downed due to the restrictions imposed on him for fighting from the bridge. The rest of the reptile warband was now entering the table

More of the party began to cross the bridge while being attacked by the small, fast lizaardmen

In the last scenario the party rescued the barbarian Ghimar and he was now leading the party across the bridge. Sadly Ghimar proved completely worthless in this scenario where he went down facing the first lizardman he faced

Lizardmen and troglodytes approaching

Kenza bravely started chasing the advancing reptile creatures

Charging enemies

The first mule across thanks to the efforts of Peter the Melancholic. The rest still had to cross, while the reptiles came closer and closer

Without much help on his side of the river, Peter was soon charged by a fast lizard warrior

Enemies getting still closer

The champion of the reptile warband, the vile Zzifth, was now out in the open

Henk charged down to hold off the lizards while Malcon attempted to drag a stubborn mule across the bridge

Henk outnumbered

Ricco coming to Peter’s rescue. In the two previous games Ricco has been fairly incompetent and this game proved nu different!

Finally Malcon got the mule across the bridge

Fighting was going on at both sides of the bridge now

Jolly Drake fired his sling from the bridge with great effect

Zzifth leaving his men for greater prey

Malcon joins the fight on the other side of the bridge

Malcon’s party prepares for another lizard charge

A lumbering troglodyte approaching through the underbrush

Killing all around

A brave trog trying his dexterity on the bridge

Foolish Panna charged Zzifth but was quickly downed by the hideous snake creature

Peter the Melancholic succeeded in gathering his magic and wounding Zzifth with a fireball. The snakeman was now angry

The party was slowly backing away in order to leave the table with the precious mules carrying all the supplies

Zzifth by the bridge

Zzifth succeeded in using his hypnotic gaze on Ricco, paralyzing him on the spot. Malcon thus had to run back and rescue his friend from the approaching lizards

Fierce Mulio killing a lizard

Malcon fighting the last troglodyte

Finally Malcon reaches the paralyzed Ricco and shakes him free from the hypnotic spell of Zzifth

Malcon and his party leave the table, effectively winning the combat and leaving the very angry Zzifth behind. “We will meet again,” he shouted in his dark, reptile tongue

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.

 

 

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)

 

Things to come and entering the jungle

When I stopped posting images of my minis on the blog a while ago it was largely because I was busy with writing other stuff and at the same time began to question the whole point with the blog. Having had some time to think it all over, I thought that one thing which actually would make things a bit more interesting for me would be to write more about the actual games we play and not solely focus on the minis. There is an abundance of great, great blogs showing minis and serving as inspiration; you gotta love sites like Magpie and Old Lead, Leadplague and Belched from the Depths, to mention but a few.

However, at least when it comes to the so-called Oldhammer scene, the emphasis seems first and foremost to rest on the minis and not the games as such. This, I think, is a shame. Thus I will in the future attempt to write about the scenarios we play in my little gaming group and give as much information about those games as possible in order for others to potentially be inspired. Not because what we do is terrible cool or innovative, but because it often is these small glimpses into game situations and scenarios which sparks fresh ideas; this is at least what I often experience. The downside is, of course, that you will have to live with my shoddy English, but this is how it has to be.

 

The call of the wild

As I have written in my last post, we have launched a new fantasy campaign using Warhammer 3rd ed. rules scaled down to skirmish level. This means no units, no wheeling and all that other stuff. We have furthermore implemented an experience system more or less similar to what you would find in 1ed. Necromunda and the post-game casualty and injury tables from Rogue Trader. All of this is to give the campaign a sense of progress on character level as well as a sense of continuity to the story we tell through our games.

The 1ed of the Isle of Dread Module, here with fun cover art by Jeff Dee.

What is more interesting is what it is all about. The campaign we are playing is basically the old D&D module The Isle of Dread, written by David “Zeb” Cook and Tom Moldvay. We are thus here talking some proper old school stuff. As most of you probably will know, the scenario was the first real outdoors adventure for D&D when published back in 1981, and it was later re-released in 1983 as part of the classic blue box D&D Expert set. The copy of the scenario we are using is actually from my old version of the box bought back in 1991, I would guess. I actually never played the scenario in my D&D days and this little venture is accordingly my first use of the scenario, but it is cool finally to use something I have had in my collection for such a long time.

My old battered copy of the blue Expert box set and the not so battered Isle of Dread module with cover art by the great Timothy Truman.

If not familiar with the module, you might wonder how this would work as a miniature based game. Of course we cannot use the scenario straight from the text, but the thing is that the whole module is very open and in essence a long list of random encounter, a few fixed encounters and a climax taking place at the centre of the Isle of Dread mentioned in the module title. The island itself is, by the way, a riff on the island of King Kong including giant creatures, dinosaurs, fierce tribesmen etc.

What you see here is the super-secret DM map provided in the scenario for the players to explore. The player version looks like the second map below and is mostly blank, as the players are to explore and fill in the white as they travel land inward. When, in our campaign, following a path the party can travel up to three hexes pr. session, when forcing their way through wilderness they only travel two hexes pr. session.

The super-secret DM map

The Isle of Dread player map.

What we basically are doing in our campaign is to record the travels of our group of protagonists as they travel inwards on the Isle of Dread and experience encounters as they move along. We operate with two types of encounters. Each of our sessions has one main encounter or battle, functioning as a little scenario. As part of the post-game we then decide where our protagonists travel next and if they come across a random encounter. For this we roll a D6: On a 1-2 the party are confronted with what probably is a hostile encounter. When this encounter happens we also decide by roll: 1-2 pre-scenario, 3-4 during scenario or 5-6 after scenario. The random encounter therefore serves as a little prelude or aftermath to the scenario proper, or it can be integrated into the scenario as such. The slightly altered random encounter lists we use looks like this:

The random encounter tables we use. A () indicates the no. of appearing if there is a possibility of more than one

To add further details to the campaign, we decided to keep track of food rations, equipment, gold etc. and give our party with two packmules, all of which might serve as the inspiration for potential future scenarios and encounters.

So what is it all about then? The background is as follows.

 

The Black Pearl of Dread

Malcon deWitt, a former citizen of Marienburg, has spent a few years adventuring in the Empire after deserting from his unit of mercenaries. Never fit to follow orders his ambitions and taste for the good life drew him to follow his own course. Through many encounters he drifted southwards into Tilea and finally he entered the great city of Remas, which became his new home and base of operations. From here Malcon explored the ancient ruins of the region and sold the art objects and treasures he salvaged. Along the way he met Ricco di Leonora, who became his close friend and collaborator, and they in turn were joined by Jolly Drake – a renegade halfling thief whose nimble fingers soon became crucial to their operations in the tilean ruins.

The trio has one thing in common: They all share a huge appetite for wine, gambling and exuberant spending. The opportunities for such is great in sunny Remas and the trio are thus broke more often than not. This fact has gradually begun to take its toll on their spirits and the three friends started to have serious conversations about the future. They somehow needed to find a quest with a worthwhile payoff, enabling them to withdraw from active life and enjoy the fruits of their efforts. This opportunity came half a year ago.

Here the priests of Manaan come into the story. Malcon had previously done business with the order, whose cult is prominent in Marienburg and gives Malcon sweet memories of childhood. The temples of Manaan is sought by many merchants and travelers. In Remas a sailor ravaged by jungle rot and the liberal imbibing of lotus juice has delivered a strange tale to the priests of Manaan in exchange for a bed in the hospice of the order. The sailor told how an ancient ruined city exists on a plateau in the centre of the Isle of Dread, found south of Sartosa. In this ruined city a huge black pearl, called the ‘Pearl of the Gods’, is resting. This pearl is supposedly vested with eldritch magical powers and just waiting to be grasped by anyone bold enough to transverse the fever plagued jungles which surrounds the plateau.

The Warhammer World with the Isle of Dread marked with a red circle

 

This tale was alluring, but the basis for the story was also resting on the words of a fever ridden, half drug-crazy sailor. The priests of Manaan therefore decided to offer Malcon and his friends a proposition; they were to travel to the Isle of Dread and claim the fabled black pearl.

The deal is that the priests of Manaan finance the journey for Malcon and his party as well a number of henchmen to accompany the group. If they find the pearl, and it turns out to be what it is said to be, the priests will pay the party a huge sum of gold. Furthermore, the group may claim whatever treasure they find on the island; the priests are solely interested in the pearl. This proposal Malcon discussed intensely with Ricco and Drake over a couple of days and finally they agreed to take the job despite all the problems with a long sea journey and the dangers on the island itself.

Malcon, Ricco and Drake, accompanied by Malcon’s loyal hound Kenza, ten men-at-arms and a representative of the order of Manaan named Peter the Melancholic thus left Remas by ship and headed south. Talking to the sailors onboard of their vessel they soon learned that there is at least one inhabited settlement on the Isle of Dread, called Tanaroa, on the southern tip of the island. This little settlement is inhabited by a mixture of the indigenous people of the island, pirates, smugglers and adventurers passing through. Tanaroa is located on a slim peninsula which is cut-off from the rest of the island by a giant wall of ashlars build by the gods. This, at least, is what the natives claim and they only rarely travel into the jungles to the north, saying that the heart of the island is taboo because this is where the gods sleep.

During the voyage to the island two of the men-at-arms died. One fell overboard, the other was stabbed to death by a drunken sailor. However, despite these small setbacks Malcon and his group has now arrived in the hot, humid village of Tanaroa where they plan to stay awhile to gather food, equipment, mules and perhaps further information about the island.

The first chapter in our campaign will follow soon.