Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A WIN - Napoleonic Monday Game

After a drought of decades I can shout, err sorry, whinge about a win.  I confess that I whinged constantly throughout this game about my exceedingly good luck, the die were on the whole working well for once.

Andrews comments are in italics.

For this game I went with my 1814 ‘Fall of France’ list. Infantry and artillery is good but not spectacular, with about one third Garde but very little cavalry (one regiment of dragoons and one of chasseurs) and what there is of poor quality. Unfortunately the Garde is Garde Nationale: four battalions of raw with one trained battalion of naval infantry. The terrain was uninspiring with built up areas at both flanks. Out-scouted again by numerous Prussian cavalry, so I deploy first giving the Prussians a look at the layout. I went with infantry forward backed up by my cavalry. The Garde Nationale was on my right stiffened by about two thirds of my artillery.

1: My Prussians end of 1st bound.  Advance was the word.
My opponent went with a typically symmetrical deployment. His guns opposite mine with infantry racked up behind a row of hills and some cavalry opposite my Garde Nationale. The built up area started looking a lot more attractive for them.

2: French response, deploy skirmishers.
As his infantry roll forward abandoning the cover of the hills the French start to close the gap, deploying skirmishers.

3: French occupy large stone building.
There are some Prussian cavalry loitering around their right flank (out of shot) so anchoring on the building should discourage them. The French send their poor quality Chasseurs to a blocking position, just in case the Prussians get a sudden urge to chance a gallop past the building garrison.

4: After a stunning counter battery exchange of shells, one French
battery was removed from play.  The Prussian cavalry prepare to
threaten the French columns.
A couple of salvos from the Prussians destroy most of the French artillery backing up the Garde Nationale. And the Prussian cavalry move forward to exploit the sudden gap in the French line. Time to form squares to stabilise the flank.

5. Prussian cavalry seeing the French adopt squares re-position
themselves to threaten other French sections.
The Prussian cavalry ride off to look for better opportunities. Don’t think I need these squares any more – not one of my better calls as it turns out.

6. Cunning Prussian tactics, pretend we are moving away.
A quick reverse march by the Prussian Hussars puts them in charge range of my naval infantry column. They are still far enough away for the infantry to reform square before contact.

7: Prussian dragoons ready themselves for engagement.
Prussian right continue to advance.
Meanwhile on the other flank the Prussians grind forward and deploy into line. Wouldn’t normally present a problem for my French infantry columns, but advancing Prussian cavalry could spoil our advance.

8: Prussians keeping it together and dishing out stalling casualties
to the advancing French, taking away some of their momentum.
The Prussian infantry push forward with close cavalry support cramping my style. No room to manoeuvre is making it difficult to get a tactical advantage.

9: The French in deployment (out of sequence to shots)
The intermission shot! The French uniforms add a little style and elegance to what would otherwise be a shabby Prussian affair. Might be heading for defeat, but at least we are well dressed.

10: Prussian right flank initial deployment.
More Prussians.

11: Prussian left flank initial deployment.
 And still more.

12: The Prussian Hussars prior to hitting the French naval battalion.
The naval battalion is backed up by what’s left of the artillery and two flanking battalions. Just have to hold firm and I should be able to score a few hits on the Prussian Hussars as they are repulsed. They decline, deciding instead to bolt for the base line (must be a harbour or a brothel in that direction, perhaps both). The Garde Nationale commander decides to accompany them.

13: Right flank.  Prussian dragoons prior to engaging French column
a dash between French in square.  Another good round of shooting.
Meanwhile, on the other flank the Prussian line grows as more of their friends arrive. Supporting cavalry ensure any chance of a coordinated French advance quickly evaporate as we form squares to cover flanks. Looking a bit sad for my lead battalion.

14: Engagements actually happen!  Prussians learn to only charge
when the French loose their momentum and become shaken/disordered.
Meanwhile, back where the naval battalion used to be the Prussians decide to go after the residual artillery. They decline to hang around, following their naval colleges to the baseline brothel. The French commit their Dragoons to try and shore up the huge gap which is opening up while the Prussian infantry maintain pressure.

15: The battle starting to break up into smaller knots of engagements.
This is just a mess! The French manage to punch holes in the Prussians lines but elsewhere the superior numbers of muskets brought to bear begin to wear the French away. Just unable to stem the Prussian advance this time around.

16: The view of the dodgy French thinking whether to weather the hail
of cannon rounds.
A gloating shot of the battery that started the problem by cleaning up the opposing French artillery in two rounds.

So I find myself in an up beat mood as I think I played a better game this time.  I was initially concerned with the terrain setup on my side of the table, but in the end it didn't harm me too much.  My luck with die rolling was most unusual, with me making an effective impact on the French artillery, with one battery destroyed by the second round of engagement.  Two 6's for what was hit following a 6 in the previous round.  I managed to neutralize two of the French batteries, which I think helped reduce the casualty count on my battalions.

Not a bad game all up. Thoroughly got what I deserved. No terrain to take advantage of, out-scouted and out-shot from the out-set. Never was allowed to get the going in the face of the Prussian steamroller. I read somewhere if you fight someone often enough you teach them how to beat you. Some lucky dice helped at the start, but this time they were able to convert an advantage into a win by playing a smart game to keep the initiative. Maybe next week I will make life more difficult. Or at least maintain our advantage in the elegant uniform stakes!

So at this stage I seem to be happy with this organisation of my Prussians.  Another game next week, where I will see if it was luck or whether I have perhaps become a better player!  (The earth has shifted orbit at this statement.)

Monday, October 19, 2015

Eaters of Carrion - Tekumel Part 3

Eaters of Carrion

Upon returning to our boarding house we found a secluded part of the communal living quarters and sat down to distribute the treasure.  All up we each got roughly 11K each with the scroll tube being elected group property until such time as it could be determined what it was.  Upon opening it we found it empty and it was only with the persistent investigation by Qarras that it was discovered the inner lining was false and pulled out leaving only the coloured glass exterior.  No amount of looking through the tube, placing the tube over the eyes or such manner illicted any understanding of the object.  With all avenues exhausted for the moment, sleep called.

The next night we resumed our job and for the next few days life was routine.  Then one night when we came in for our shift we were greeted with the sight of Captain Visan commander of third district.  He informed us that it was the deadly mating season of the Kurgha and that patrols were to be issued with Amulets of Granted Entrance, which he explained would open the doors of any tomb in the necropolis.  Mridoch asked how we would know where the Kurgha would be?  The withering look Visan gave Mridoch made him no friends, until the Captain realised that the group were new guards and had never been involved in a Kurgha infestation.  Visan explained that the smell a group of Kurghan expelled from their body was strong enough to be smelt fifty feet away, even through doors.  The smell was that of rotting meat or corpses left too long in the sun.  The guards were all then reminded that the Amulets were City property, loss of the device would cost the individual 100K and a trip to the interrogators, oh and immediate loss of employment assuming you survived the interrogation.  Seems the City takes an ill view on those who decided to pilfer government property.

That night we encountered no Kurgha, though we could hear clash of arms elsewhere in the normally quiet necropolis.  Two night later we were involved in our first clash.  It was at one of the low clan communal burial bits, simply a very deep hole in the ground that would be set alight and the bodies burnt once the corpses reached a certain height.  How we could tell the stench to be different from the smell of the Kurgha was simple, corpse mounds generally don't move.  It was a lively fight, rather one sided as the pit allowed us to throw oil in and light it, allowing the fire to claim the Kurgha.  We only needed to pick of the half dead creatures that made it to the lip of the charnel pit.  Our first glimpse of the Kurgha revealed they were six-limbed furry beasts ranging up to four feet in length and three feet height for the mature adults.  They had sharp, horny beaks and three eyes.  They smelt like an open charnel pit, which was where we were. An easy nights work we thought, the next day we received the thanks of the Red Moon Clan for cleansing the pit of Kurgha and for sparing them the expense of cremating the dead.  Thanks was good, but it didn't pay the bills.  Gamalu reminded us that a debt of honour was ours to call upon from this Clan should the need arise, so it wasn't a waste as Ashane thought.

The following night found us engaged with another outbreak.  This time we used our Amulet of Granted Entrance to open the tomb doors of the Granite Lintel Clan.  Inside was a swarm of twenty off Kurgha, these were dispatched but we all were left with new scares and blood loss from the encounter.  The Clan sent the watch a bill for damages inflicted by the defence of their dead.  Qarras expected the Clans claims were spurious and that they were milking the system for coin.  Yet another example of how rotten and corrupt certain sections of Jakalla were.  Money could be made from any source as long as it appeared as a noble action, none could question the modus operandi. 

The next three nights were uneventful however on the fourth night, just before the start of our watch a wandering entertainer caught our attention.  The man had a magic lantern which he used to tell the story which he was entertaining the crowd with.  It was a lamp shade with images of coloured glass, that cast coloured lights against the wall.  Mridoch has excited as he explained he now understood what needed to be done with the scroll tube we had.  However, work called and the excitement of our discovery had to wait until our shift finished.

That night puny Gamalu almost died.  It was at the tomb of Clan Glory to the Worm that disaster occured.  The infestation this time has great there being some thirty of these ghastly creatures.  The ensuing fight was brutal and we had to use every trick in our limited book of experience to deal with the creatures, it was at the height of this engagement that a large group of people burst into the tomb, went straight to a wall niche, smashed the stone marker and an object was taken by one who appeared to be a priest.  The Kurgha had us pinned, and it was at this time that Gamalu fell beneath the weight of numbers, distracted by his cry for help the invaders ignored us and promptly left the tomb and us to the fate of the Kurgha. With blood dripping from our exposed flesh the three of us fought on to rescue Gamalu and eventually defeat the Kurgha.

Gamalu was near death when we pulled his inert body from under the fallen Kurgha.  Thankfully the gods had blessed Qarras with the ability to heal and his ministrations were enough to bring Gamalu back from the brink of death.  Supporting each other we reported back to the guard post, explaining the intruders and that they had taken something from the tomb.  Old Nelel made a note in the giant ledger, then summoned a slave and dispatched him and a note to the central command post. 

It was while we cleaned ourselves up and prepared to return to duty that a well armed and armoured group arrived at the post.  The senior officer his plumes of fiery red displayed proudly announced himself as Shemek and then promptly interrogated us as to what occurred.  Indifferent to our wounds and discomfort we returned to the tomb and acted out the encounter.

The leader of the intruders appeared to be a priest of some god, most likely Gruganu due to his black and purple robes, tall black felt hat and the symbol of a splayed silver hand.  The others appeared to be guards subservient to the priest.  We of course had no idea of what had been taken, even after the tenth asking of that question which could only answer in the negative.  Clearly our superiors thought we knew something that we clearly didn't.  Typical middle management, wanting as many answers as they could before reporting to the next level of management in what was clearly a very long chain of command.  In the end dawn finally came, the questioning ended and we were allowed to go off duty.

All we could do was return to our quarters and rest.  The night had been our most gruelling to date. What would we learn from the scroll tube once we had rested and regained enough wit to remember it.  Would the appearance of a messenger from the Glory to the Worm clan mean a demand for damages of an invitation to adventure.  

Stay tuned for the next installment....

Kurgha "Eaters of Carrion" (page 64)

These scuttling six-limbed furry beasts rang up to some four feet in length and three feet tall.  They have sharp, horny beaks and three eyes.  They live on refuse and carrion and will attack only when they outnumber a party.  If the party enters a room in which there are dead bodies, a 6-sided die is rolled: 1-2 = Kurgha are there eating it. Their terrible stench warns a party of their presence at a istance of 50 feet - even through doors!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The City of the Dead Guard Duty - Tekumel Part 2

The City of the Dead Guard Duty

Each of us had visited the administrative offices of the City for the Dead and been interviewed for the job, then based on our skill sets we negotiated a monthly salary.  Ashane thought that the officials were skimming off the top but couldn’t prove anything, but then where would it have gotten her if she had complained?  No work is what would have been the outcome, and at the moment, no work, no matter the source could be knocked back.

Mridock complained the most when we compared notes afterwards, he received 36K a month,  Ashane with her beauty no doubts 80K, Gamalu 71 and bent old Qarras a staggering 93K.  None of know how he pulled that one off and he is certainly not telling anyone how he did it either.

On our first night we were issued a medallion on chain which had to be worn at all times, Zagar (m) our supervisor told us they possessed a charm which warded the evil powers of death away from us.  He also said if we lost the medallion it would cost us 10K to obtain a replacement.  Lose more than one and it was instant dismissal and a trip to the interrogators to ensure that we weren’t selling them to would be tomb robbers.  After our induction speech Zagar took us on our rounds, gave us a map (which he charged us 10 qirgal or coppers for) and then left us at dawn telling us to be on duty as soon as the sun set.

If we chanced upon intruders we were to challenge them.  We were forbidden to attack them without provocation, if they failed to respond then they were fair game, though the policy was to leg it to the guard house and sound the alarm.  That way if it were some secret Clan or Religious activity it would be all over by the time any official response was made, thus saving embarrassment for all parties concerned.
After a week on the job we had a brief and unsatisfying encounter with an intruder.  By the time we had navigated our way to the suspected spot, the intruder was gone.  A search of the site revealed nothing, which made the more superstitious of us think ghost, and the morning sun was greeted more warmly than at any other time.  When we returned to the guard room, we told old Nelel (f) about the encounter.  She looked bored and disinterested; she opened the huge ledger on her desk, made an appropriate entry and said nothing.  We guessed that this sort of thing was routine and didn’t sound exciting except to the new recruits.

Our first clash with the forces of disorder occurred after our second week.  While patrolling along a waist level wall sectioned tomb a flurry of activity startled us.  A roughly two foot long creature with six limbs scrambled adroitly up the wall, snatched Ashane’s medallion from her neck breaking the cheap chain that held it there.  It then leapt off the wall and giggling insanely scampered off into the surrounding tombs.  Needless to say we took off in hot pursuit, for Ashane the loss of wages was enough to motivate her to catch the thief.

With torches aloft we chased the shadow for what seemed ages, stopping every now and then to search when we lost sight of the creature. Eventually we saw its shadow climb a tomb wall and enter through the domed roof.  Now we had a dilemma!  We were not allowed to enter the tombs under any circumstances, they were private property of the clan and anyone not clan affiliated would suffer dire consequences if found out.  Ashane did not care as she advanced up the stairs and approached the door.  It was then that another patrol happened by.  What would have happened had Ashane entered the tomb with witnesses we don’t know?  Challenged by the other patrol we checked each others credentials though Ashane had to do some fancy talking to avoid being detained by the others.  We guessed those stunning looks can smooth most issues in her favour.

Once the other patrol had moved on and out of sight and sound Ashane was back at the door.  Prudence then took over as we each ensured there were no traps or alarms, as well as seeing if the other patrol were returning.  The door was locked though and attempts to force the door amounted to nothing but sore shoulders.  In the end it was decided that the roof was the only way to enter.  This did not prove to be a problem as this particular tomb had many extending pieces of brickwork that housed various potted plants that added beauty to the area when it was day light.  Once we were on the roof we could see for some distance and spotted the torch glare of the other patrols in the area, which gave us some pause as we thought what they would think of a torch above man height.  With this in mind we searched the domed roof for the entry way the creature had taken, it was found and with a little more application of force a hole was made sufficient to allow a person to crawl through.  That was fine; it was the twenty foot drop to the floor that was more concerning.  No one had rope of any sort of material to make into a rope, so the minutes ticked by until it was noticed there was a statue like pillar within swinging distance of the opening. One by one we entered and made out way down the pillar, all but Mridock navigated the structure and managed to fall the final ten feet, only managing to rip his clothes and drawing a little blood.  His curses though stirred up the inhabitants.  The two foot version we had seen clearly was the smaller of the species, three foot was the average with one individual reaching four foot.  (All this was ascertained during the mopping up exercise).  The creatures were Kuruku also known as the Small Giggler a noise they make when fleeing.  They were making this noise now.  We had stumbled on their nest, and the creatures felt threatened and launched an attack.  We fought for our lives, the spell casters added to the confusion, with mystical chanting and prismatic lights issuing forth, what anyone outside would hear or see we did not know.  In the end we dispatched the noisome creatures some twelve in all, a couple of mated pairs and their offspring.  Not that we got off without a scratch, Ashane had taken a deep belly wound that needed magical healing from Qarras who took the advantage to fondle Ashane, but she was too fatigued to do much in protest. 

Bearing in mind the time that had passed we did a quick search of the nest to locate Ashanes medallion, which was found.  Along with that we found a number of shiny objects, coins, cheap gems and a scroll tube which was covered in bright pieces of glass.  Gathering these objects together we tried the door, finding a latch (though we wondered why there would be one on the inside of a tomb) which allowed us to leave.  Before we did so we collected as many of the corpses of the Kuruku as we could carry to bring with us to the guard room when the shift was finished.  This allowed us to explain away the wounds we had taken during out shift.  Old Nelel was indeed surprised out of her bored duty when we reported back.  We gave her one tenth of the shines we had, nothing like bribery to quash any curiosity of the encounter.  We hid the scroll tube in Ashanes cleavage with every intention to check it out when we returned to our rooms.  (The tube of course you dirty minded readers!)

Next entry, the Mystery of the Glass Scroll Tube

Kuruku "the Small Giggler"  (page 55)
NA: 1-12
HD: 1-1
AC: 9
T: nil
M: 15"
L: 40:10-100
T in L: A: 20
These little creatures have six legs, like so many of Tekumel's fauna, and they also have a pair of small hands just beneath their blunt, anthropoidal snouts.  The never attack humans and always flee if approached.  The do try to snatch bright objects from passing travelers, running off with it and giggling in a very human fashion.  There is a 50 percent chance of their attempting to snatch something, and if so, there is a 60 percentage chance of success.  The victim is chosen randomly from those nearest the Kuruku, and the referee rolls randomly to determine the item snatched.  There is a 20 percent chance that the item will be thrown down as the little beast runs away; otherwise it is lost forever - unless the Kuruku can be cornered, a difficult task in open forest.  because of the agility of the Kuruku, hitting them with a missile requires +1 to be added to the hit die throw.

A Cast of Strangers - Adventuring in Tekumel Part 1

A cast of Strangers

A role playing game set in the fantasy world of Tekumel, the Empire of the Petal Throne.

Mridok hiTigal (male) 
Iron Helm Clan (High Clan) 
Clan affiliation - Ksarul
Class - Warrior
Alignment –Change
Mridock has come from one of the clans interests in Salarvya and was born and raised in the clan enclave, as such he more a stranger to his own nation than a Tsloyani citizen.  Upon leaving his clan enclave he has ended up in the foreigners section of Jakalla seeking employment while waiting for his citizenship irregularity to be cleared up.  This clarification is in the form of an administrative fee that is currently out of the range of his meagre funds.
Strength (87) Powerful
Intelligence (67) Smart
Constitution (59) Average
Psychic Ability (09) Non-Psychic
Dexterity (43) Average
Comeliness (27) Average

Ashane hiZhanyu (female) 
Jade Diadem Clan  (Very High Clan) 
Clan affiliation - Dlamelish
Class - Aridani Warrior
Alignment - Order
Destined due to her beauty to follow in the clans devotion of Dlamelish, Ashane chose the route of Aridani and thus has stripped herself of all the benefits that would have come from her clans high position in society.  She has escaped to the foreigner’s quarters to hide from over zealous suitors and priests wishing to induct her into the deeper mysteries of the temple, which she knows as being code for sacrifice, something she does not wish to undertake. 
Strength (67) Strong
Intelligence (55) Average
Constitution (90) Very Healthy
Psychic Ability (29) Barely Psychic
Dexterity (71) Clever
Comeliness (100) Gloriously Lovely

Qarras hiMriyen (male) 
Green Pyramid Clan (Very Low Clan)
Clan affiliation – Dlamelish
Priest of Hihayal
Alignment - Change
Qarras is as corrupt as they come, and well known for his lecherous ways.  The worship of Hihayal seemed the bettor course, and his seeking of power by the shortest route necessary failed spectacularly and he now hides in the foreigner’s quarters waiting for the fracas to die down and for him to accumulate the funds necessary to cover up his mistake, bribe in other words.
Strength (43) Average
Intelligence (81) Brilliant
Constitution (33) Puny
Psychic Ability (57) Average Psychic
Dexterity (73) Clever
Comeliness (12) Ugly

Gamalu hiArusa (male) 
Sapphire Bird Clan (Low Clan) 
Clan affiliation - Avanthe
Native of Salarvya
Magic User
Alignment - Order
Gamalu is the only real foreigner in the group, hailing from Salarvya and was on the same boat that Mridock arrived in.  Speaking very poor Tsolyani and dressed appallingly like a country bumpkin (which he is) life is difficult, finding employment even worse.
Strength (55) Average
Intelligence (79) Smart
Constitution (05) Weakling
Psychic Ability (98) Highly Psychic
Dexterity (63) Clever 
Comeliness (66) Good looking

The group have met in the foreigner’s quarters through a recruitment poster for night guards at the City of the Dead.  What easy money can be made guarding the dearly departed, after all the dead can’t hurt you?  Can they?

Friday, October 16, 2015

Another loss

Last night I decided to run my British this time.  They aren't a numerous lot and I had to go for quality to get the 1600 points we were going to battle for.  Here's the list.

British Brigade


General Staff1 Command Element100100
Brigade Commander1 British Staff5050

British Brigade

Commander1 British Staff5050
Foot Battery10 Trained Gunners550

4 Light Medium Guns25100
Musketeer Battalion #110 Veteran Line Infantry660

2 Skirmish714
Musketeer Battalion #210 Veteran Line Infantry660

2 Skirmish714
Musketeer Battalion #310 Veteran Line Infantry660

2 Skirmish714
Musketeer Battalion #410 Trained Line Infantry660

2 Skirmish714

British Brigade

Commander1 Prussian Staff5050
Foot Battery10 Trained Gunners550

4 Light Medium Guns25100
Musketeer Battalion #718 Veteran Line Infantry6108

2 Skirmish714
Musketeer Battalion #818 Veteran Line Infantry6108

2 Skirmish714
Musketeer Battalion #918 Veteran Line Infantry6108

2 Skirmish714
Musketeer Battalion #1018 Trained Line Infantry6108



British Cavalry Brigade

Commander1 Prussian staff5050
Hussars9 Veteran Hussars12108
Dragoons9 Veteran heavy cavalry12108


Points Spent

Scouting Value

This is how the game played out.
British gun line failed to halt the french advance.

Got caught on a few rules issues.  Was not aware that if my cavalry does not make contact with a unit on the battlefield and pursues the enemy from the field then they may not return.  Scots retired shaken, moved back into line formation to dress the ranks, did not realise that they had to spend the turn rallying.  French then charged with no test to do so and that was the end of the Scots.

I do like this game system but I am frustrated that the rules are the most unfriendly written ones that are out there, but that applies to virtually all of the WRG rule sets.  Wanting to read the rules is not high on my agenda, so I rely on the good manners and sportsmanship of my opponent to remind me.... maybe.

The British are now retired.  Working on 1600 points of Prussians and see how things go for next week.