Well I finally got some time to sit down and play my first game in the Windy River test campaign featuring the Drylands Expedition (PDF).
The posse entered the map in the top left corner, simulating them continuing their south-east journey from Hope to the remote corner of Wyoming that contains Windy River. The scale of the map was 1 hex = 3 miles. Quidel had the slowest Movement of 3, which put them at 3mph overland speed, so 18 miles per day (or 6 hexes). Quite a range! Normally a larger map would have a scale of 1 hex = 1 mile, but for convenience sake (since Quidel has 3 MV) the 1 to 3 ratio was used for this campaign.
They walked along the broken and cracked pavement, stopping for a brief lunch outside of the town of Watterson. The flat plains around them didn’t affect movement at all, so the Drylands Expedition reached Watterson in the afternoon.
Quidel planned to head to the only saloon in town called The Dusty Claw. Gibson was in charge of Dwaal, so he went to the stables with the dinosaur. Crazy Rhodes took out a bottle of whiskey from his seemingly endless supply and headed to the jungle at the edge of town to drink. Eager to be “rebellious”, Amp also went with him.
Here is how the town of Watterson looks:
Most townsfolk were still out hunting, patrolling the roads, gathering supplies, wrangling dinosaurs, etc. so the town was fairly empty. The barkeep (and part owner) Ortiz was available to talk to Quidel about the area. A stablehand helped Gibson with Dwaal. And a few rough looking characters were around town.
One named Pickaxe Pete was helping load barrels at the Warehouse. Although unknown to the Drylands Expedition, his friend and ally The Smecker was busy harassing a girl in the small house directly north of the stables. And the leader of their little gang was Ruth Storm, who had been drinking all day in The Dusty Claw after losing a new recruit to a rampaging Horned dinosaur.
You can imagine how this will go.
Campaign Variant Rules: Last Man Standing, Dual Wield
Local Variant Rules and Features: Clear Day, Town, Road, Out of Supplies (represents a loose no weapon policy in the town)
Pictured above are the Etchglen Hunters, a local posse that poach dinosaurs in the jungle south of the town. Download their PDF posse roster
Turn 1 – A Fight Breaks Out
Inside The Dusty Claw, Ruth misinterprets a comment Quidel makes to Ortiz, which she reasons out to be an insult to the town. Smashing her half empty glass on the table, she starts yelling at Quidel. The debate turns heated, and unknown to the two posses outside, Ruth takes a swing at Quidel with the remnants of her glass.
The Etchglen leader misses the Drylands leader. Quidel is quick to react, but doesn’t want a big issue with the town, so he opts for a Brawl attack called Trip (which would apply Stop to Ruth). However he misses, and settles for moving out the front door of the saloon.
Here are the positions of everyone outside:
Left to Right: Jungle Fang, the Raptor of Etchglen, is just returning from hunting food outside of town (since the posse are too cheap to pay stable fees). Gibson talks to the stablehand with Dwaal nearby. Amp and Rhodes drink in the thin jungle near the edge of town. The Smecker in the house north of the stables, unknown to Gibson.
As Quidel emerges from the saloon, his brow furrowed in anger, Gibson notices from across the road and calls out to him. “Just a crazy drunk woman in there. Better round up everyone, she might have friends,” Quidel shouts back. His complaint is loud enough that Pickaxe Pete, at the nearby warehouse, hears the pair. The man is desperately defensive of Ruth Storm, and instantly drops the heavy barrel he was loading and tries a long 6″ Charge at Quidel. Unfortunately he didn’t roll high enough on the distance so is left aggressively posturing a few inches away.
Gibson sees the man approaching, and even though he isn’t too enamored with Quidel, he at least doesn’t want to see some local drive a pickaxe into the Duster Leader. Luckily the “Out of Supplies” Feature doesn’t affect Gibson since his Laserbow never has to be Reloaded. So he pulls back on the charging string and lets a blast of energy fly at Pickaxe Pete. Perhaps subconsciously wanting to avoid a lethal confrontation, Gibson misses his shot.
Following his friend’s lead, Dwaal snaps free of the stable harness and tries to Charge at Pickaxe Pete, but also fails his distance roll.
Hearing the laser blast, The Smecker drops the girl he’s harassing and slams out the front door, loading charges into his double barrel shotgun as he approaches.
Meanwhile, stirred by a dinosaur aggressively moving towards it’s master, Jungle Fang boldly strides up the road and easily succeeds at Charging the unsuspecting Quidel. The Raptor lunges and lands on top of Quidel, clawing and tearing wildly. Quidel takes 7 damage from the attack and fails his Bravery Test!
Seeing a commotion further down the road, Rhodes and Amp put away the bottle of booze and advance across the pavement. Along the way both unholster and Reload their weapons in preparation for trouble. Meanwhile the stablehand dives for cover, and Ortiz hastily tries to kick the angry Ruth Storm out of his saloon.
That’s the end of turn 1. At this point I should mention the Objective, which is Strike Fear. Although this was a random roll the Objective seemed well suited since neither posse wants a bloodbath on their hands, and are really just trying to route and shoo away the other gang.
The first Posse to cause 4 Bravery Tests against the enemy wins. Note that taking an enemy out of action counts towards this goal. So you could cause three Bravery Tests then kill one of the people that took it, and that’d be enough to win.
Turn 2 – Conflict Escalation
Pressured by Rhodes, Amp lines up a long distance shot (possible thanks to the “Clear Day” Feature) at Pickaxe Pete, who is clearly in line to attack Quidel. Amparo’s steady hand lets him land the impressive shot, hitting for 7 damage (2 hits, one of which was a Critical). Suddenly awash in searing pain from an unknown direction, Pickaxe Pete fails his Bravery Test and will Flee.
Still growling and viciously snapping at Quidel, Jungle Fang continues his relentless assault. The dinosaur hits again for another 7 (that 1A-6D on RMC 6 is brutal!). Before Quidel can even react, he is taken out of action. Can you imagine leaving a saloon and having a Raptor leap on you and claw you nearly to death? Jungle Fang finishes his impressive Activation by moving towards his next victim: Gibson.
Since Quidel was the Leader and was taken out of action, every other character in the Posse needs to take a Bravery Test. And guess what? They ALL fail! Luckily Bravery Tests incurred by a Leader dying don’t count towards the number needed to win.
Hearing Quidel’s pained yells and seeing the blast of energy from Amp’s shot, The Smecker moves closer to the unsuspecting Gibson and unloads a single barrel of super heated plasma. The attack benefited from the “Shot in the Back” rule (10+ would Critical instead of just 12), but unfortunately the shot misses.
As he’s Fleeing away, Gibson sees the blast of energy from The Smecker fly over his shoulder. Quickly the man turns and fires his Laserbow at The Smecker, hitting with a Critical for 7 total damage, which causes the coward to Flee.
Furious at seeing his friend hurt, Dwaal screeches and Charges at Pickaxe Pete, who was already marked Fleeing. Unfortunately the flailing, small dinosaur fails to connect with any claws.
Pickaxe Pete, disorientated and still Fleeing, heads his Movement of 6″ directly away from Dwaal. Desperately the man tries to Charge back in, but fails the distance roll and stays where he is.
Rhodes completes his mandatory Fleeing movement down the road, then reverses and Runs back towards the fight. Ruth Storm drops the rest of her glass and stumbles outside to see what the fuss is about. She nearly trips on the prone, bloodied body of Quidel. Shaking her head to try to sober up, the Etchglen Leader reloads massive batteries into her Handcannon.
At this point Quidel had failed a Bravery Test and was taken out, so Etchglen has a score of 2. Pickaxe Pete and The Smecker failed Bravery Tests so Drylands also has a score of 2.
Turn 3 – Blood in the Streets
Ruth Storm edges behind her loyal dinosaur Jungle Fang, using his tail both as cover and as support for her shot. Aiming she fires at Dwaal, who is exposed after Pickaxe Pete fled. The shot connects and wounds the dinosaur for 9 damage, which adds a Panic token.
Further up the road Amparo, still Fleeing from Quidel being taken out, completes his mandatory movement then does an extreme distance shot at The Smecker, who is busy menacing Gibson. The shot hits for 8 damage and takes the man out of action. Amp has been consistently impressive so far this battle. Drylands now has a score of 3.
Having calmed slightly at having Ruth so close, Jungle Fang still knows what it must do. Moving forward from being The Dusty Claw, the carnivorous Raptor Charges Dwaal, hitting once for 7 damage which takes the smaller herbivore out of action. Now Etchglen also has a score of 3.
Gibson edges forward, keeping close behind a crater in the old pavement. Thanks to the “Clear Day” (+5″ Long range to any weapon) his Laserbow is able to reach Pickaxe Pete at long range. Steadying himself with two calm breaths, the Neotechnoist charges the bow and lets fly at Pickaxe Pete. The blast of energy hits the main square in the chest for 6 damage, which takes him out of action. This brings the Drylands Expedition score to 4, and wins the battle!
The remnants of Etchglen slink off into the fading light, hoping to avoid any further abuse.
End of Encounter Process
Since this is a campaign, tracking IP, ND, and injuries is very important. The first step is to determine if any of the Drylands members suffered Wounds from being taken out of action. Quidel and Dwaal are the only two affected, so they have to roll 1D12. Luckily Leader’s get +2 to the roll and Dinosaurs get +1, and if they get 8+ on the roll they are unharmed. With crazy luck I rolled a 12+2 for Quidel and 11+1 for Dwaal, so there are no lasting effects from being mauled by a Raptor.
Next the posse receives rewards based on the encounter. In this case they took two enemies out of action (Pickaxe Pete and The Smecker) which gives +6 IP and +$60 ND. They also won the encounter so they receive an extra +$30 for a total of +$90. Since they had some leftover IP (3) they have 9 IP and $90 to use if they wish.
I considered getting 2x100kW Six-Shooters for Rhodes, since he’s leveraging the “Dual Wield” Variant Rule, but I think I’ll wait to upgrade him until I can go dual Handcannons (because that would be awesome) for 3A-6D. Instead $60 will be spent on a 200kW Six-Shooter for Gibson. His Laserbow is nice with never having to Reload, and against low armor targets the single attack isn’t too bad. But I got lucky with some rolls, like against The Smecker (who had AR 2) where Gibson needed 10+ to hit. In those cases I’d rather have a backup weapon, so a 4A-2D six-shooter sounds like a perfect alternative. Plus it’s technically similar damage to the Laserbow (1A-5D) so he can interchange them without any loss.
The remaining $30 will be saved.
As for the Improvement Points, all 9 will be saved for the time being. If I can get 10 IP then Quidel could have +1 MV, or I could give +1 AR to Amp.
So after their first victory, the Drylands Expedition looks like this (Saloon link).
Even though I’m only one game into the campaign, I’m already excited to see the growth and evolution of the posse. Hopefully I can get another game in this week (Wednesday), and then maybe next week. Not sure if I’ll be able to keep doing such fleshed out battle reports since they take close to 3 hours to write up :)
Changes and Notes From Play
– Change Saloon PDF export to not use decimal places for Neodollars
– Make “Strike Fear” objective not include Bravery Tests due to Leader death, since otherwise it becomes “Assassination”
– Note only 1 Panic token can be added per single attack (currently confusing with “multiple” wording)
February 27, 2013 at 6:24 PM
Just curious, are you running these solo or are you playing local with someone else? Do you have a dedicated group of local playtesters?
February 28, 2013 at 9:25 AM
I’m running the campaign solo to give it a solid test before trying with people. I’ve gotten friends to play the actual game half a dozen times so far which helps get some different perspectives.