I was able to get another campaign game in recently, and am hoping to keep up a pretty steady pace going forward here (my schedule is a bit more clear now). So as you might remember I’ve been starting the Windy River test campaign featuring the Drylands Expedition (PDF).
Previously they had visited Watterson and fought an escalated battle with the Etchglen Hunters, due to the drunk leader attacking Quidel in the bar after she misinterpreted a comment. The fight started in The Dusty Claw, a saloon owned by the Warner family. After victoriously overtaking their enemies, the Drylands Expedition was summarily kicked from the saloon for causing trouble, and found there way to the Eight of Diamonds hotel. The hotel is owned by Conrad and Ortiz, two brothers who don’t look kindly on the Warner family taking their business. After hearing about the bar fight the brothers offered a free room for the night.
The next day Quidel and friends happened to cross paths with a man named Grogan, who owned and operated the hunting outfit “Intrepid Expeditions”. Unfortunately he had fallen ill with malaria, and was confined to the hotel. Grogan was desperate to find a replacement crew that could take his most recent customers on a safari in the small patch of jungle south of Watterson. The two customers were aiming to depart the following morning.
Gibson wanted to continue to the mountains to the east and explore them, as surveying was still his primary goal. But Quidel, Amp, and Rhodes all voted for the easy payday taking some tourists on a safari would be. So they spent the day equipping the caravan and planning a route. After another restful night in the Eight of Diamonds they gathered everyone and headed south into the jungle (day 3).
The Hunting Safari
The guests were Gordon Glenbrook and his wife Cecilia Glenbrook. The young couple were fresh from The Wall and had taken a Flapper to the larger city of Cheyenne to the south east. Now they were flush with excitement at the thought of hunting a dinosaur. You might remember Gordon Glenbrook from The Great T-Rex Hunt, which was near the end of his impressive life. I thought I’d have the campaign be before those events, when him and his wife were just married and starting to hunt. Their stats, totally off the cuff, are:
DEF 1, RTN 6, CTN 8, BTN 7, SPD 4, HP 13
DEF 1, RTN 7, CTN 7, BTN 8, SPD 5, HP 12
DEF 0, RTN 10, CTN 10, BTN 9, SPD 4, HP 10
Bolt Action Rifle, Blunderbuss, Bola
DEF 0, RTN 10, CTN 10, BTN 9, SPD 4, HP 10
Double Barrel Shotgun, 100kW Six-Shooter, Riot Grenades
You’ll notice throughout this report that I used a lot of off the cuff rules made up on the spot. Well, the porters were no exception. The both act under a single Activation, and cannot attack in any way. Their Action can be used to Reload weapons, or transfer equipment to or from an adjacent ally. The idea was Gordon or Cecilia would reach a porter and take the necessary rifles and other weapons from them, and hand them back when they needed to be Reloaded. This ended up working really well in the game, and gave a great thematic feel.
In terms of Overland Travel everyone headed south through the jungle. I missed my Light Jungle terrain roll so they could only go 2 hexes south from Watterson, as shown on the map. As they travelled riotous hooting and hollering were eventually heard to their eastern flank. Some kind of Savage bandits or raiders had found the caravan.
The Target Dinosaurs
Now for more seat-of-my-pants rules. I decided to use the Line Deployment to represent the safari being spread out in typical caravan style. I also randomly placed two dinosaurs (Horned and Terror), both weakened versions of their archetype to represent younger, less experienced beasts. Their stats are:
Horned Dinosaur (Young)
DEF 1, DIS 6, CTN 6, PANIC D4, SPD 4, HP 16, 4A-1D close
Terror Dinosaur (Young)
DEF 1, DIS 5, CTN 5, PANIC D6, SPD 5, HP 14, 1A-5D close
For the two “non-player” dinosaurs, I created a simple chart and set of rules to randomize their behaviour:
Passive Dinosaur Behaviour Table (D6, add +2 to the roll if the dinosaur was attacked in the last Turn)
1: Add 1 Panic Token
2: Do nothing (pass Activation)
3-4: Random Standard Move followed by random Hustle. If they come into contact with an enemy, attack.
5-6: Move to attack the nearest enemy.
- Passive Dinosaurs Activate at the end of the Turn, after everyone else
The Savage Horde
For the enemies I figured I’d use the lore of the Windy River area I created before, specifically the mystery surrounding the lone hut and brothel called Matron’s Den. I figured a Savage raiding party sent to capture female prisoners wasn’t outside the realm of possibilities. I wanted to follow in the Victorian theme I was going with so far, so I had a bunch of poorly armed, aggressive Savages attacking the caravan in waves. There were two types: Clubbers and Tomahawkers.
DEF 1, RTN 8, CTN 6, BTN 8, SPD 5, HP 8, Club (3A-3D close)
DEF 0, RTN 7, CTN 8, BTN 7, SPD 3, HP 8, Tomahawk (3A-2D, 1-6/7-10/11-13, 1x1R)
I went for a gentler implementation of the Tomahawk so the Savages didn’t have to Reload every throw. There would be 7 barbarians to start with (4 close, 3 ranged) and as they died there was a chance more Savages would enter the board.
At the start of each Turn, roll 1D12 for each dead Savage. If the result is 8+, redeploy the Savage (with full HP) in their original deployment zone
This would continue forever, so basically a massive wave of endless Savages.
Deployment, Objectives, Features
In terms of deployment the Savages ended up getting the left side of my kitchen table, which was from the East (which made even more sense in relation to Matron’s Den). I used a modified Objective that combined Defend and Escort. The Drylands posse had to keep Cecilia alive for 6 Turns, but they didn’t know that (as you’ll see when she aggressively engages the enemy), while the Savages either had to capture Cecilia or take her out of action. The reason for this goal will be evident later.
For the entire campaign I’ve been using two Variant Rules: Last Man Standing and Dual Wield.
For this specific battle I thought some bad weather was in order. There would be Gusting Winds (2″ Knockback from all ranged attacks) and a Light Fog (no Long Range attacks). So visualize a windswept jungle with fog blocking out the looming trees. The caravan quietly picks their way through the undergrowth while exotic birds chirp and squawk at their presence. The porters curse and mumble at their heavy loads, and Gordon often breaks the silence to talk to his wife or other members of the expedition. Then they hear drums, beating and pulsing in the mist. Just as Quidel is about to speak loud yelling echoes from the trees to the east, and a wave of rushing forms approach.
Some Initial Pictures
SO! After alllllll that I had an interesting and unique battle setup to play. This was also probably one of the larger and more complex matches of Dinosaur Cowboys I had played.
And finally a smattering of deployment pictures to give you an idea of how the scene was set:
Quidel leading the caravan, the Line deployment, the Savages approach, Horned between the caravan and the Savages, Terror to the west in sight of Gordon
The Line deployment order was Quidel, Gibson, Amparo, Gordon, Cecilia (riding Dwaal), Tendaji, Kwabena, Crazy Rhodes. The Savages deployed from the top down with Gladiator, Pike, Bones, Hench, Redbeard, Purple, Pirate.
And with that we are off to the races!
Turn 1/6 – Barbarians in the Mist
Gordon had desired Cecilia was a comfortable as possible on the expedition, so she was riding Dwaal. Upon hearing the shouts and seeing enemies approach she spun the dinosaur towards Tendaji and ordered the porter to hand over the Blunderbuss (Note: I actually got the porters confused right off the bat, and accidentally mixed up the weapons each was carrying. That’s what I get for using similar looking Skaven figures!). Rhodes tried to draw a bead to the Pirate, but couldn’t quite line up the shot in the Light Fog (ie: target was at Long Range). Gibson had more success, swinging his weapon around to bear on Pike. After a flurry of shots the Savage was Fleeing. Quidel continued the solid shooting by hitting Gladiator. The lead members of the caravan, experienced from many days on the road, instantly reacted in unison and basically swung their line to face the oncoming horde. Amparo followed suit and fired at Hench, who was now also Fleeing from the pain. Gordon called to Kwabena, and the two moved towards one another so the man could arm himself.
The Savages yelled various bloodcurdling cries and moved forward as far as possible. With the fog and distance their Tomahawks were useless, so no return fire happened initially.
The Horned dinosaur, hearing the commotion and seeing the rapidly moving shapes, roll a 5 and would attack the nearest target (who was the Savage named Purple). Unfortunately he failed his Charge and couldn’t reach the target. The Terror also attacked nearest, which meant he Hustled towards Gordon but couldn’t quite reach the man.
Cecilia moves quickly on Dwaal to grab the Blunderbuss from Tendaji, the Horned dinosaur fails to Charge Purple, already the Savage lines are breaking, Tendaji and Gordon try to meet up, another angle of the Turn
Turn 2/6 – The Whites of Their Eyes!
Cecilia again lead the Drylands turn by trying to fire at Pirate, but the massive Blunderbuss was unable to connect. Nearby Rhodes hit Purple with his dual pistols. The withering hail of fire continued at the head of the caravan, with Pike, Gladiator, and Hench all dying to the combined fire of Quidel, Amp, and Gibson. Unfortunately Gibson emptied his 200kW Six-Shooter in the process and would need to Reload. Luckily he had his backup Laserbow.
The return fire was somewhat feeble, however Amparo did take a Tomahawk to the face and is marked Fleeing. In the middle of the convoy the porters continued to distribute weapons. Kwabena gave the Bola to Rhodes, while Tendaji met up with Gordon and passed him all the weapons (Double Barrel Shotgun, 100kW Six-Shooter, Riot Grenades).
Seeing the mighty Terror looming in, Gordon hurled a Riot Grenade at the young dinosaur. With a lucky roll he hit and pushed the Terror back 4″ (2″ Knockback from Gusting Winds and a further 2″ from the 1D6 Riot Grenade hit).
The dinosaurs responded eagerly. The Horned dinosaur randomly moved directly into Purple! Confused and angry, the young dinosaurs trampled the hapless Savage to death! Terror had a bad Panic Speed roll of 2, so ended up Hustling towards the nearest porter.
Cecilia lining up her shot at Pirate from the back of Dwaal, Rhodes incredible all-hit roll on Purple, Gibson and Pike face off, the Savages move in, the battle lines are drawn, Gibson needing a Reload on his pistol, the Horned randomly attacking and killing Purple
Turn 3/6 – More Are Drawn In
Of the dead Savages only Gladiator made his roll to return, and deployed opposite the end of the caravan and as close as possible to Cecilia
Running across the uneven jungle ground, Bones steadied himself for a throw at Amp. The Tomahawk sailed true and took the Drylands member out of action. Nearby Redbeard was inspired and moved forward to throw a far Tomahawk at Gordon’s back as the hunter busied himself shooting the Terror. The sailing weapon, using the Shot in the Back bonus, managed to hit for five damage.
Meanwhile Cecilia, noticing the leering faces of the Savages, spun Dwaal around and moved west, away from the advancing horde. The rest of the Drylands posse was generally ineffectual, and settled for adjusting their positions.
Focused in his own world Gordon drew his revolver and fired at the approaching Terror, hitting enough times that the dinosaur was already down to 5 Hitpoints. The man quickly holstered the weapon and instead shouldered the powerful Double Barrel Shotgun, although he was hesitant to shoot in the fog (really hard to get that weapon into Medium Range).
The Horned dinosaur stomped over the already dead body of Purple (table result was Do Nothing). The Terror moved forward and tried to Charge the porter Tendaji but failed to reach him!
Another Savage (who looks exactly like Gladiator) returns to the table, Gibson preparing to miss his Laserbow shot on Bones, Gibson in the jungle, the mighty Tomahawk throw that took Amp out of action, the narrowing distance between hunter and hunted
Turn 4/6 – My Wife!
Of the dead Purple came back on the board, redeploying in a similar spot to Gladiator last Turn
The Savages seized the initiative and Gladiator moved and heroically (for a villain!) Charged 6″ to reach Cecilia! She had already been wounded by a Tomahawk, so Gladiator was able to hit for 1+3 and take her out of action. The Drylands posse had failed their objective of keeping Cecilia alive. Now to see if they could hold out for two more Turns.
A hill had blocked Gordon from seeing his wife fall, so he continued to focus on the Terror. He edged behind a nearby cliff covered in overhanging vines, and lined up his Double Barrel Shotgun. The Terror slavered and almost looked to be grinning as Gordon squeezed both triggers (using Both Barrels). The massive attack hit for 9 damage which brought down the dinosaur!
To the front of the convoy Gibson was nearly killed by another Tomahawk from Redbeard. Safely behind a tree Quidel took his time to line up his Heavy Pistol, and managed to kill Redbeard in response.
To the opposite end the Pirate ducked behind a hill and lined up a devastating shot against Rhodes. In response, having retrieved the Bolt Action Rifle from Kwabena, Rhodes fired and killed the Pirate.
Quidel hangs out behind Cover to use the superior range of his Heavy Pistol, Gladiator before his Charge and the scene at the end of the caravan, Pirate lining up his attack, the phenomenal Tomahawk throw, Redbeard harassing Gibson, Redbeard being killed by Quidel
Turn 5/6 – Savagery Grows
Of the dead both Redbeard and Pirate come back, redeploying in the middle near Gibson
Seeing more Savages pour from the jungle fog, Gibson fires a bolt of energy at Redbeard, missing his shot. From behind the tree Quidel lets out an inspiring Yeehaw!, and the re-roll is a hit on Redbeard. Unfortunately the fresh Savage could withstand the 6 damage, and moves forward to throw a Tomahawk and Gibson. The weapon hits the wounded man and he crumples to the ground, not even the sturdy cover of the hill preventing his defeat. Quidel tries to finish off Redbeard but fails to hit from behind the tree.
Dwaal, now unsaddled, hits and kills Gladiator in a lucky roll against the fierce Savage. Then Dwaal moves towards the head of the convoy to try to lend a claw. Meanwhile Rhodes manages a kill, this time bringing the deadly Bolt Action Rifle to bear on Redbeard, who doesn’t seem the attack coming and dies.
The Horned dinosaur randomly moves again, and with another stroke of luck for the Drylands posse ends up in close combat with Bones. The fierce dinosaur hits the man for 3 damage, while Bones returns the favor with his Club doing 4 damage to the dinosaur.
Pirate and Redbeard join the fight again, Gibson falls to a Tomahawk from Redbeard, Dwaal moves down the convoy with his bounding speed, Rhodes lines up a sniper shot on Pirate, Horned dinosaur and Bones locked in deadly combat
Turn 6/6 – Back Into the Mist
No Savages return to the board due to some incredibly bad rolling
Sensing that the Savages morale is about to break, the Drylands posse tries to push the advantage. Rhodes begins by firing his dual pistols at the Horned dinosaur, but only manages a single point of damage. He didn’t want to risk missing with the Bolt Action Rifle which is why he reverted to the pistols. Running high with adrenaline from his last dinosaur kill, Gordon tries to hit the Horned dinosaur with a Riot Grenade and knock it out of close combat (plus his Double Barrel Shotgun needed to be Reloaded). Unfortunately the grenade sailed wide without effect.
With deadly efficiency Quidel kills another Savage, this time downing the Pirate. Now the only living Savage left is Bones.
Dwaal swings around and easily Charges the Horned dinosaur, scratching desperately for 3 damage. In response the Horned dinosaur (randomly choosing a close combat target) stays on Bones and his for 4 more damage.
With a muffled scream Bones breaks from combat and runs into the jungle. Having lost interest in the battle, the Horned dinosaur also shambles off.
At the end Bones had 1 Hitpoint remaining while the Horned dinosaur had 5.
Remember how at the start I mentioned the Savages goal was to capture or take Cecilia out of action? Well, they achieved it. And in the hustle and bustle of the battle no one noticed that her fallen body had been dragged off into the jungle…
For what purpose? Well, given the reputation of Matron’s Den one can guess at the grisly reason.
After recovering and recuperating the Drylands posse and rest of the caravan manage to find Savage tracks heading south. Among them is a bloody trail that Gordon swears is from Cecilia. As the Drylands posse are still in his employ, they agree to help the man track down his wife. Besides, everyone liked Cecilia and wouldn’t wish her possible fate on anyone.
End of Encounter Process
First of all are Wounds and Injuries. Both Amparo and Gibson were Taken Out of Action, unfortunately. I rolled 1D12 each, with a result of 7 for Amparo and 9 for Gibson. So Gibson is safe but Amparo will suffer a Wound! I rolled 3D12 next with a result of 8+7+1=16. Consulting the Taken Out of Action Effect I see that Amparo’s “Arm” location will be injured with a “Broken Elbow”. So he cannot get Critical Hits while the Wound lasts. Hopefully he can survive the next encounter and the Wound will heal up. At least it wasn’t too bad of a result though. If it does get upgraded to an Injury I could always return to Watterson and fix him up (after getting paid by Grogan for escorting Gordon, of course).
Next up are the rewards for taking enemies out of action and completing objectives. The Drylands Expedition and friends managed to kill 9 Savages and 1 Dinosaur. I didn’t feel that each Savage was worth +3 IP, so I settled for half. So 9 kills = 24/2 = 12 IP, +3 IP for the dinosaur. This +15 IP also worked out to +$150, and an additional +$30 for surviving the 6 Turns (unfortunately no additional Neodollars as Cecilia was taken out of action).
With the posse’s previous IP and ND and these new spoils they now have 24 IP (121 IP Total) and $210 ($1270 total).
As I mentioned last game I wanted to wait until I could buy really nice guns to re-equip Rhodes. Now was that time! So he got 2 new 300kW Six-Shooters ($80 each, $160 total). He gave one of his old 80kW Six-Shooters to Quidel (always good to have a backup weapon) and the other to Amparo (since he previously had nothing to do if someone got inside his minimum range).
This left the posse with $50, which they spent to buy Amparo (who had no Defense) a suit of Quilted Armor ($50, +1 DEF).
Quidel received an improvement using the 24 IP. By spending 15 IP his RTN was upgrading from 7 to 6.
The posse is left with 9 IP and $0. At the end of day three they look like this: Saloon Link.
So all in all that was a super fun game of Dinosaur Cowboys. Everything worked out really well in terms of the new rules and various mechanics I tried. Having a couple of Features really added to the feel of the game, and the Line Deployment fit in perfectly for what I visualized. Losing Cecilia was definitely a downside, but it does provide me with a good chance to continue the story (and probably end up raiding Matron’s Den).
The Drylands Expedition posse have worked well so far, and I’ve been happy with my choices. I’m glad I went for a fast dinosaur instead of a meatier one, since mobility matters a lot when you don’t know what the objective will be like. I could use a few more HP on everyone, but that might come after a bit more IP. In terms of equipment everyone is doing very well, and all I could see doing would be getting more versatility (maybe Grenades?).
Anyways you probably noticed I failed at doing a smaller write up :) This was still a lengthy process unfortunately. I’m going to hopefully play a game later tonight, or this weekend, and I might work on writing that one up smaller. Anyway, lots of fun with the v1.9 rules and still getting to see the posse grow. I should have enough IP next time to grant me a 4th Trait, and maybe +1 DEF to Amparo (and then I can shift his armor off to someone else). We’ll see though!