Cecilia’s Rescue at Matron’s Den – Windy River Day 3-6

After the exciting conclusion to the hunting safari the lead man Gordon Glenbrook realized his wife had been kidnapped in the chaos of battle. Luckily the group were able to find a set of tracks leading south across the grassland. Unnervingly they also found traces of blood which they assumed to be from Cecilia.
This setup gave me a chance to use the Forced March rules. As the posse wanted to travel for another 2 hours (6 miles in this case) they would suffer -2 Initiative for the next encounter. The trail lead to Matron’s Den, a known brothel with questionable hiring practices.
Just in case you haven’t been following along, this session is for the Windy River test campaign (although at this point it’s pretty much just playing for fun and not testing).

windy-river-daynight3I wanted to play a shorter game this time, so I didn’t write any notes and only took a few (only 50) pictures. The upside is I can actually play the game instead of focusing on recording the details for a battle report. This cut down how long the match took and also, hopefully, means I won’t have to write this post for 3 hours.

I decided that during the night the porter Tendaji had enough of dinosaurs, savages, and forced marches and slipped away in the night. This was a common problem to early African explorers in the Victorian era so I figured it made sense here. Kwabena (who had stayed by Gordon’s side during the last fight) decided to remain with the group. Gordon armed the porter as well as himself, as this next hunt was not for sport but for the love of his life.

As a reminder their stats (and weapons they now carried) are:

Kwabena (Porter)
DEF 0, RTN 8, CTN 9, BTN 9, SPD 4, HP 10, Blunderbuss.

Gordon Glenbrook
DEF 1, RTN 6, CTN 8, BTN 7, SPD 4, HP 13, Double Barrel Shotgun, 100kW Six-Shooter.

DC-WR-Day4-Den-11Anyway upon arriving at Matron’s Den the expedition was confronted by a dingy, half ruined shack. They also saw the glow of tunnel entrances and heard the sounds of debauchery. I built a posse equal to the current Drylands Expedition stats (121 IP, 1270 ND, 3 Traits) called Matron’s Den Guards (PDF). I went for descriptive names instead of flavorful ones to help me keep track of the gang. Anyway each member is a bit of a glass cannon with a lot of offensive (and very impressive weaponry) but little in the way of survivability. I also had two Savages from the last game make a return (to help balance the Drylands addition of Gordon and Kwabena).

Features, Deployment, Objective, Terrain
I used the “Hidden Tunnel” Feature by scattering Space Hulk doors across the board. Any character could enter a tunnel and instantly exit at the other side (which would end their Movement Phase). I used colored dice to track which tunnel lead to which.

The deployment was “Center”, with the Matron’s Guards deploying within 12″ of the middle of the table, which also happened to be the Matron’s Den building, which ALSO happened to have Cecilia in the middle. She was locked in a cage while the guards (and unplaced patrons) jeered and yelled at her. The idea here was Matron Francince was not home, and so the newest working girl was being held until Francince returned.

Obviously the Objective for the Drylands posse was “Smash and Grab”. I went for this one because it meant having to move Cecilia off the table. However with the Center deployment the battle was likely to end up in a kill-em-all-and-rescue-later.

You might also notice the table is looking nice and jungle-y. This is thanks to a bunch of aquarium plants I recently purchased. Originally I had bought three of them, but the vegetation parts were way, way too tall and would flop all over the place. I found a happy solution of cutting the plants down so they are stable, and also have a more varied look to them. I was so happy with this result that I bought a couple more (including a purple one for that “neato jungle!” look). The best part is the trees are basically $2-3 each, so MUCH cheaper than similar terrain alternatives.

Anyway here is the table setup:

Also another angle, and a closeup of my new jungle trees. Also note all the cool looking doors representing tunnels. As you can tell the door with the red die leads to the matching red die door. This creating a criss crossing network of tunnels that would mean everyone could quickly move around the battlefield.

The Matron’s Guards deployed first in the actual den building. In the middle you can see Cecilia, trapped and confused. Her fate wouldn’t be the cannibal’s pot (featured as an awesome figure above – I wish I owned that!) but instead forced prostitution. How ugly. But the dark swamps of Windy River are sometimes savage and vicious.

And the Drylands posse (and friends) deployed to the east within 8″ of the edge.

Crazy Rhodes, Gordon Glenbrook, and Kwabena all started right beside a tunnel entrance. They would leverage these access points to get in close to the Den building and hopefully rush Cecilia out.

The Rescue Begins!
After an awesome dual pistol kill by Crazy Rhodes on Night Sniper (who only had 6 HP to begin with, but a 500kW Lever-Action Rifle – glass cannon like I said!) the man dove into the tunnel and appeared across the board. I had managed two Critical Hits on his pistol attack, which was as good of a start as I could hope for. Here is Crazy Rhodes after he emerges from the tunnel:

Gordon recklessly went through his tunnel entrance. However the tunnel spewed him out right by the Den. The man only cared about getting Cecilia back and not how many enemy guns were waiting for him (the answer is “a lot”). Plus he lead the way from the tunnel with Both Barrels of his Double Barrel Shotgun.

The loud sounds of gunfire stirred everyone to action. The Matron’s Den Guards figured they were dealing with rowdy customers instead of a dedicated raiding force.

The fight intensified near the Den as Kwabena also came through the tunnel. Carefully he aimed the deadly Blunderbuss at the purple hooded figure of a Savage, and fired.

As you can see by the single D12 roll of 9, his daring attack had hit. The Blunderbuss has a special property of called 2″ Explosion, which meant everything within 2″ of the attack takes the Damage (5) of the weapon. So with one lucky shot Kwabena was able to wound three of the Guards!

In retaliation the purple hooded Savage moved into combat with Gordon, eager to stab and smash the enemy.

Meanwhile across the board to the east a less close, but equally vicious shootout was taking place. Quidel and Gibson were trying to get into the fray, while Amp was pressured by the approaching menace of a Savage. Dwaal, although wounded, rushed in to stall the enemy.

Eventually though Dwaal, after having been shot by Indigo Armor (one of the Guards), was pummeled to death by the Savage dubbed Gladiator. This left Amp exposed to his assault.

Back at the Den the combat continued. The purple hooded Savage was dispatched before he could kill Gordon. Then Gordon, heedless of the enemies around him, rushed towards Cecilia.

To try to stop the wounded maniac from stealing their latest prize, Green Armor moved in to block Gordon’s frantic advance.

Before Gordon could be overwhelmed Quidel and Gibson (who had been badly deployed too far from a tunnel) arrived as reinforcements. Gibson fanned his six-shooter, emptying it into the armored Stormtroooper above him. Quidel managed to kill Green Armor. Suddenly the board looked a lot emptier. More importantly, Gordon had a clear path to Cecilia.

Finally husband Glenbrook reached wife Glenbrook, and quickly shattered her cage and started to lead her to safety (heading south off the table).

The defenders of Matron’s Den were down to a few wounded survivors. One of those was Gladiator, the Savage. After a great 5″ Charge (he seems to roll really well for those!) he reached Amparo and was able to take the man out of action.

But the final, defiant kill was an act of futility in terms of victory. Gordon was able to Hustle his wife Cecilia off the southern table edge and claim victory for the Drylands posse.

End of Encounter Process
As you can see the report isn’t as detailed as usual, but took half the time to write up and even less time to play.

Anyway after the encounter the kill tally was figured out. The Drylands Expedition posse had killed ALL 5 of the Matron’s Den Guards, plus 1 Savage henchman. This resulted in +16 IP and +160 ND. They also won the encounter, so a further $30 was awarded.
In terms of losses the posse had Amparo and Dwaal taken out of action. This is the second match Amparo was taken out, so hopefully his Broken Elbow doesn’t become a permanent Injury.

Both Amp and Dwaal failed their Wound Test and needed to roll for the Wound Effect. Funnily enough they both got 19 on 3D12, which for Amparo was a Torso Wound called “Feeling Weak” which would give him -1 Total HP. Luckily it wasn’t in the Arm location, since a second Wound in a single location means Injury! Anyway Dwaal was luckier and got “Soft Spot” which gave him -1 DEF (minimum 1). He was already at 0 DEF so this basically has no effect.

Before making any new purchases here are the totals for the Drylands posse: 25/137 IP, 194/1460 ND, 3/4 Traits.

Yes, that’s right, they had accumulated enough Improvement Points to warrant another Trait! Woo hoo.

This match showed that the Drylands Expedition has some solid offense. But it also demonstrated how going full glass cannon (as the Matron’s Den Guards did) can mean you don’t even get a chance to use the deadly weaponry. So for this round of upgrades and advancements I decided to go fully defensive.

Everyone who didn’t have Armor got a new suit of it! Quidel took Cloth (to match his robes on the figure), Gibson got Quilted, and Rhodes got Padded (he seems like the type of person to need a padded jacket). I also spent $10×4 to give everyone a Small IRP. Healing only 1D6 HP for the use of an Action isn’t the greatest option, but could be useful to save someone from being taken out of action. Or maybe they kill an enemy and have some time before engaging the next one. Either way, more defense!
Getting everyone to +2 DEF is great and will really help them avoid the pain and keep the pressure off their relatively small HP pools.

For IP changes I spent 10 IP to finally give +1 DEF to Amparo. Then a further 12 IP (6×2) on Gibson for +2 HP, bringing him to 10 HP.

I gave Crazy Rhodes the “Skilled Shooter” trait which would let him use a -2 RTN bonus for a single attack. Since he’s attacking at 5A-3D with his dual 300kW Six-Shooters I figured this was a good call. I had thought about giving the Trait to Amparo, but considering he was taken out the last two battles I’d rather spread the Trait wealth around a bit.

At the end of all these purchases the Drylands Expedition has 3 IP left and no money. They now look like this Drylands Expedition night 3 roster PDF.

Continued Travels
After rescuing Cecilia, the grateful couple decided they had enough of the jungle for now and wanted to head back to Watterson. Since the Drylands posse wanted to get paid from Grogan for leading the safari in his stead, they also headed back.

So Day 4 was spent travelling (uneventfully) to Watterson. Grogan had recovered from his malaria sickness, and much to Quidel’s dismay, had headed off on another expedition. Gordon was able to pay the posse a marginal sum for their efforts though. So another $60 was added to the Drylands coffers, which they immediately spent on training Dwaal to be tougher ($50 for +1 HP for a dinosaur, which brought him to 15 HP), leaving them with $10.

Feeling that their time and tasks in Watterson were complete, the posse cut east across the open grassland towards the imposing foothills and mountains around Hyran Mine. They travelled for a day (making it Day 5). They weren’t quite at the mine yet so they took another day (now Day 6) to get there.
I didn’t roll the Encounter Chance yet, but if that doesn’t result in a combat then the next report will be their time at the Hyran Mine. I’m going to use the black terrain cloth, more rocks, less trees, and lots of hills to represent any combat in the area.

Changes and Updates
The main change I want to make is to the Taken Out of Action Effect tables. Right now 3D12 is used, however that results in pretty average rolls in the center of the chart. What I want to do instead, to make the injuries more random, is switch to D6 + D12. You basically roll D6 and look on the table to see what the D12 result did. So the same range of numbers and effects will be available, except now the fringe cases will be seen more often.

Otherwise just a few editing and grammar fixes: Siege in Features needs a RTN, note about Knockback and hitting a solid surface, add water to Difficult Terrain list, note about transferring weapons after an encounter within a posse.

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