Well, like many things this year, my plans for 2022 Gaming have largely failed so far. I haven’t run any of the stuff I said I was going to. There’s still time to run some of them (maybe); but I have decided I am definitely going to run a game of my own design next week, on Sunday, August 14th. I just need 3-5 players.
My game is called The Hub, and it is a street-crime roleplaying game set in the city of Boston, Massachusetts in the mid-1970’s. Boston in the 1970’s was a particularly deep cesspool of crime and corruption. The Winter Hill gang ran the underworld under Howie Winter, setting the stage for James “Whitey” Bulger to take over by the end of the decade and unleash hell on the streets of South Boston. The Boston Police, the FBI and the Department of Justice all shielded and protected Bulger, allowing him to benefit from his status as an informant while running a criminal empire of drugs, racketeering, extortion and murder.`
This is that city. Kinda. Rather, it’s a fictionalized Boston of the time. All the crime and corruption are there; but you won’t run into Whitey Bulger or any real-life people. What you will do is take on the role of a street-level criminal. If you like movies like Mean Streets, The Departed, Black Mass, Super Fly, Death Wish, Carlito’s Way and Taxi Driver; this could be right up your trash-strewn and rat-infested alley.
As far as content warnings go, take a look at that list of movies. That gives a pretty good idea what to expect in my game. There will be bad language. There will be drug use. There will be copious amounts of violence and gritty and realistic depictions of street life and organized crime. You will be playing a character who is not very nice, and you will be interacting with not-nice people.
What you won’t find are any racial slurs or depictions/descriptions of sexual violence. Everyone has a line, and that’s mine.
Combat will be realistic and dangerous, because when people get shot in real life, they tend to die. You won’t be able to go to sleep for 8 hours and wake up good as new. There are no saving throws here; and certainly no potions of healing. Your characters are not superheroes and there is the very real possibility of character death.
My goal with the game next week is to test out the system I’m using to see if it fits the theme. I assume the game will run about 3-4 hours or so, including character creation. (You can create your character in about 5 minutes.) It’s a straightforward scenario to see if I want to go further with it.
I said this on the gaming page, but it bears repeating here: Please note: I live in the Eastern United States, very close to Boston, where this game is set, which is the EST time zone. I don’t care where you live, but you need to keep that in mind as to when the games will be played. For example, California is 3 hours behind me, England is 5 hours ahead of me and Australia is 16!! So, if I start a four hour session on Sunday at noon my time, someone in California will start at 9 am; England at 5 pm, and most of Australia will be at 4 am on Monday! Once I have a group of players I will schedule a time that is best suited for the majority.
This game will be run on Discord, with a die-rolling app or site. It doesn’t require much.
I am also planning on running Slasher Flick on the 30th of October this year. I already have one player from Canada (assuming he’s still interested), but I’m always looking for more so drop me a line if interested in that or any of the other games I intended to run. Who knows? I might get to another one before the end of the year!
As many of you know, I am an avid roleplaying gamer; by which I mean I have played many, many roleplaying games over the last forty years of my life. When I run games, I tend to run my own adventures and campaigns rather than published modules and/or scenarios; but there are some notable exceptions, and I own many hundreds of published adventures for dozens of different game systems. While some are exceptional and fit to be run as-is or with little modifications (I’ll do posts about them, too), others are useful sources of ideas; providing inspiration for new scenarios. Failing that, one can often find characters, monsters, traps, story elements and the like to unabashedly steal for your own games.
Some, though, are just bad.
Please note that this isn’t meant to tear apart published adventures or shit on someone else’s work. Many of these adventures were written in the early years of rpgs, many were written by inexperienced writers, and some just haven’t aged well. Even the most poorly-written adventure might be salvageable; or at least may contain good elements that can be used elsewhere.
In this series of posts, I will focus on some of these bad adventures; providing a summary of the adventure as-written, why I think it sucks, and what I would do (or in some cases, have already done) to fix it. I will be highlighting adventures that have been published in hardcopy by a gaming company as opposed to the current trend of community-created content available in electronic PDF form; not because I have anything against that stuff, but because I don’t own as much of it. What you will find here mostly are classic adventures for a variety of game systems, most likely published during the 80’s, 90’s or the first ten years of the new millennium.
It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: I will be spoiling the shit out of these adventures, so don’t read my post if you’re going to play in one of them or want to read it yourself.
Let’s kick things off with a pretty bad adventure for one of my favorite games: Call of Cthulhu.
Trail of the Loathsome Slime (1985); by Marcus L. Rowland, published by Games Workshop
Synopsis: The year is 1983, and the investigators are contacted by “their good friend” and occultist, Walter Corey, who says he’s found something that will blow their minds; but of course won’t tell them what it is over the phone. The investigators show up at Corey’s house to find him murdered.
The previous year an ornithological expedition ship disappeared somewhere near the Falklands and it was assumed it was a casualty of the British-Argentinian Falklands conflict. Corey started dreaming about the ship and its crazed crew and published articles on his dreams. Then he bought a diary at an auction; a diary of a cultist who was executed back in 1927, who buried a chest on an island somewhere in the south Atlantic. Apparently, the mere purchasing of a diary is a newsworthy item, because news of the purchase appears in the papers and is seen by Arnold Rothman, the grandson of a fellow cult member from way back. Rothman had been serving aboard the missing ship for years, looking for that chest every chance he got. Last time, though, he broke his leg and couldn’t make the voyage where the ship was lost, so now he’s going to join another ship. He thinks that diary might hold the clues to finding the chest once and for all, so he broke into Corey’s house and killed him for it.
The investigators are supposed to discover Corey’s notes on the deciphered diary, drop everything and immediately book passage on a new ornithological survey ship to the Falklands. This new survey ship is a replacement for the old ship, because birders gotta bird. The PCs have to interview for the positions, either as scientists or crew, and there’s a decent chance they won’t be accepted. Oh yeah; this happens to be the same ship that Arnold Rothman is now serving on as second mate, too; although the investigators have no idea he’s the murderer of their “good friend”.
On the way down to the Falklands, there is an outbreak of ergot poisoning that drives most of the crew into a homicidal rage. The science team (presumably including most of the investigators) is unaffected, but they have to fend off seven crazed and murderous crew members. There are a couple of rifles and shotguns aboard, but not much else; and many of the crazed crew will try for those. Since this is for the original version of Call of Cthulhu, there’s a pretty good chance that some investigators will die before they reach the island. Whatever the case, Rothman isn’t affected either; and he runs the ship aground on Griffon Island, the site of the lost chest. Once there, the investigators and any surviving, non-crazy NPCs soon find that someone smashed the emergency radio and all their food supplies were stolen somewhere along the journey. The island is deathly quiet and mostly deserted. The reportedly huge penguin population has been decimated, and slime trails crisscross the island.
Seems like their “good friend” Corey wasn’t dreaming about the past…he was having visions of the future!
The investigators can go exploring, either on foot or using the ship’s unarmed helicopter; but it only has a range of 160 miles. (Griffon Island is 600 miles away from the nearest land, which is the Falkland Islands, so they can’t just fly away to safety.) They can also follow Rothman, who leaves the ship on his own to go looking for the chest. Either way, they soon discover a series of caverns beneath the island that were used by the former cultists. The chest is here; it contains a blasphemous mythos tome and a couple of magic swords, not the treasure Rothman was hoping for. The caverns are filled with loathsome slime (hence the name of the module), which is a by-product of the guardians of the chest: two shoggoths.
Yes, that’s correct. Two.
The investigators are now free to leave the island. assuming they can deal with a stove boat, a crazed second mate, a mostly-dead crew, no way to radio for help, a helicopter that won’t make the flight, no food and two–yes, two– shoggoths.
Commentary (why I think it’s bad): Ok, let’s start at the beginning. There’s no reason for their “good friend” Walter Corey to be in this adventure at all. He’s there to get killed and vaguely point the way to the island. That’s it. The big reveal that his dreams are precognitive and not dreams of the past doesn’t add anything to the story.
Second, the outbreak of ergot, at least as written, carries the very real possibility of a total party kill (TPK) outcome before they even reach the island. Since it’s Call of Cthulhu, most of the investigators are likely to be academic types with poor combat skills (if any); going up against manic crewmen with limited (or no) weapons is likely to result in multiple PC deaths.
Third: Speaking of the investigators, if, in keeping with early Call of Cthulhu, they are predominantly academics and “regular people”, they really have no opportunity to use their academic skills other than the beginning of the adventure to track down clues in Corey’s apartment and find out a bit about the cult. Once they’re on the boat, there’s not much to do except get killed by the crew, or get to the island and get eaten by the shoggoths.
Finally: TWO shoggoths?! It’s official: no one is supposed to survive this. It’s just not possible. There is very little on the boat or on the island that could even significantly harm a shoggoth, never mind kill it; and once again, there are TWO of the monsters on the island.
Sandy Petersen himself did a phenomenal YouTube video on why shoggoths are so dangerous. It’s well worth a watch. To summarize: they’re fast, massive, indescribably strong, almost indestructible and they’re as smart as the average human. They’re also very capable of one-shot killing any player character (or group of investigators) with ease. Some of them even know spells. In this adventure, there are a few drums of helicopter fuel that the investigators can use to make Molotovs (or detonate the drums). Those are probably their best bet, but hardly guaranteed to work. What guns they have are effectively useless, and the magic swords, while capable of causing damage, would require someone to get close enough to a shoggoth to hit it with a sword. (Good luck with that.) Unless the players are using established investigators with access to damaging spells, they might as well just let the shoggoth roll over them and get it over with.
How I’d fix it: There are some modification suggestions included at the end of the adventure. I’ll cover them at the end.
What would I do?
I’d use pregenerated characters with relevant skills, or make sure my PCs had them if they were using their own investigators.
Forget the whole Corey character. He’s a useless plot device. Why not just make the investigators start on the boat, perhaps on an unrelated expedition of their own? This means no auditioning for berths aboard the ship, which is a process they can fail, grinding the adventure to a halt before it starts. One of the NPC crew (Rothman) then steers the boat off-course in pursuit of his own treasure hunt; or perhaps the rest of the crew is in on it, too. They just needed a boat, and now they have one thanks to the academic expedition they signed on as crew. “Stay out of the way, eggheads; and you won’t get hurt.”
If you want to keep the ergot poisoning (I wouldn’t, but YMMV), then give the PCs a fighting chance against the crew by giving them weapons; or at least an opportunity to reverse the effects of the poison. (Yes, I know real ergot poisoning has no antidote, but real ergot poisoning doesn’t happen overnight and turn you into a crazed murderer, either.) To continue the above example, maybe the PCs can try to regain control of the ship somehow, which may result in them running aground on the island; or maybe convince the crew they can help find the treasure; maybe by reading a manuscript or map in a language none of the crew can understand.
Either use a different threat entirely or lose at least one of the shoggoths. One shoggoth is more than enough challenge for ANY group of investigators, never mind a group that has poor weapons and is probably already missing a few members because they fell victim to a homicidal boat crew. I can’t imagine any group of investigators in similar circumstances who could survive an encounter with two, so unless going for the almost-certain TPK is your intent, give your players a chance.
The suggestion given at the end of the adventure is to include a crashed Argentinian fighter jet that the investigators could conceivably repair and fly, or strip for missiles to combat the shoggoths. Dumb.
Another suggestion: in the event the party is exceptionally strong and has no problem defeating the shoggoths (!), have another outbreak of ergot on the return trip, assuming they can refloat the boat, or they get rescued somehow. This seems unfairly harsh in a series of unfairly harsh events. In other words, it doesn’t sound like much fun.
Trail of the Loathsome Slime isn’t a horrible adventure; it just needs a bit of streamlining and balance. It’s worth noting that this was published in the very early years of Call of Cthulhu; and would have been seen as something of a novelty as it was a modern adventure (for the time) and not set in the 1920’s. Making it a Pulp Cthulhu adventure would increase PC survivability (by a lot); it would also be interesting to update it to the modern 21st century.
At the ops station, Commander Riker leaned on one leg, rested his elbow on his knee, and gazed at the main viewer. Enterprise had followed the quantum drive signatures to a dense asteroid field, the remains of a planetary collision eons ago. “Great,” he said. “If the Romulans are in there, we’ll never find them.”
Data glanced over his shoulder. “Not necessarily, Commander. I believe I may have a method. Are you familiar with Newton’s Third Law of Motion?”
Riker straightened uncomfortably. “It’s…uh…been a while since my academy physics classes.”
“I see.” Data frowned. He didn’t, really, He could never understand why humans thought answering a question with irrelevant information was a valid answer; but he recognized Riker’s response was meant as a negative. He continued: “Put simply, every object in space exerts gravity on every other object. I propose that we could find the cloaked vessel by tracing the patterns of gravimetric force and finding the void where the ship should be, based on the force it exerts on the other surrounding objects; namely, the asteroids.”
“If that works, why aren’t we using that method to find cloaked ships all the time?” asked Riker.
“It would not work in open space, Commander; the distances between objects and the miniscule forces exerted would make measurement functionally impossible. However, this is a unique situation. The cloaked vessel has taken refuge in the asteroid field, no doubt for the extra camouflage it offers; however such close proximity to other bodies may, paradoxically, make it easier to trace the gravimetric force patterns and pinpoint the vessel’s location.”
“That’s still a staggering number of variables to account for, Data,” said Picard, joining them. “Is the Enterprise computer even capable of that many calculations?”
“I believe so, sir; if I interface my positronic matrix to assist with the calculations.”
“Make it so,” said Picard.
Enterprise glided silently through the asteroid field, trusting in its navigational deflectors to keep the massive rocks at bay. The bridge was quiet, all eyes on Data; who sat at the operations console staring straight ahead, unblinking. Although it seemed like hours, only about ten minutes passed before the android spoke. “I believe I have located the ship, Captain.”
The viewscreen focused on an unremarkable asteroid, one among millions. “I believe the cloaked vessel is maintaining a position within 5000 km of this asteroid, sir; but I cannot be more specific than that.”
“He could hide there forever,” said Riker. “All he has to do is stay cloaked.”
“Indeed,” Picard sighed. “Suggestions?”
From the tactical station, Dresa spoke up. “Captain, I believe I have a way to reveal the Romulan vessel, but we must act quickly.”
“Explain,” said Picard.
“There’s no time,” said Dresa. “It has to be now, or we’ll lose our chance.”
Picard looked at Worf and nodded. “Proceed, Commander Dresa.”
Worf stepped back from tactical, and Dresa took his place. She glanced at the controls for a moment, then tapped a few buttons in rapid sequence. Before anyone could react, Enterprise fired at salvo of photon torpedoes at the asteroid, blowing it into chunks of space dust.
Worf sprang forward and flung Dresa away from the consoleas Riker shot to his feet and whirled around. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?!”
The Klingon woman said nothing, but gestured to the viewscreen, where the unmistakable outline of a Romulan Scout Vessel was flickering in and out of visibility as thousands of asteroid fragments impacted the vessel’s hull. After a moment, the cloak failed completely.
“Report!” ordered Picard.
“Captain,” said Data, “the Romulan vessel’s shields were dowin order n to engage the cloak. I am reading multiple impacts across all decks, resulting in severe damage to the Romulan ship. It is currently unable to raise shields or employ it’s cloaking device.”
“Good,” said Dresa. “They should be willing to talk now.”
Picard stared at her. “Mr. Worf. Get her the hell off my bridge.”
Worf, seething, barely gestured towards the turbolift. “Move,” he said. After a moment, Dresa complied, casting a final look at the viewscreen, where the Romulan vessel began sporadically venting plasma.
“Captain, the Romulan vessel is hailing us,” said Data.
“On screen.” On the main viewer, the image of the damaged ship was replaced by the face of an angry-looking Romulan.
“My name is Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Federation starship Enterprise,” said Picard.
“I know who you are!” spat the Romulan. “You dare attack a vessel of the Romulan Star Empire? This is an act of war!”
“To whom am I speaking?”
“Sub-commander Mirak!” sputtered the Romulan.
“We regret the damage caused to your vessel, Sub-commander Mirak; and will certainly assist in any way we can,” said Picard. “Although you have no cause to believe me, it was accidental. We have been tracking a saboteur responsible for the destruction of a Klingon vessel. The trail led us here.”
“You’re right. I don’t believe you,” said Mirak. “I find it strange that the Federation should concern itself so deeply with Klingon affairs.”
“The Klingons are our allies, Sub-commander. Perhaps you can explain your own presence here in the Neutral Zone?”
“We were dispatched to investigate reports of a rogue Federation starship–your starship– crossing the Neutral Zone,” said Mirak. “Your presence here and your unprovoked attack is a clear violation of the treaty. As you can see, there is no saboteur here. Therefore, you should leave. Now.”
Picard turned and gestured to Lieutenant Bailey, who had taken Worf’s place at tactical. She muted communications. He turned a questioning look to Counselor Troi.
She shrugged. “I don’t need to tell you he’s angry, Captain. Very angry, most likely at being discovered. He’s vulnerable and he knows it.”
Picard nodded and signaled communications should resume. “What I find odd, Sub-commander, is that we crossed the Neutral Zone less than one hour ago, and yet here you are, far closer to the Federation side of the border than you should be able to reach in that amount of time. Unless, of course, you were already here in the Zone, or perhaps even in Federation space. That would, as you say, be in clear violation of the treaty. Perhaps we should discuss this matter further in an environment that is less hazardous.”
“There is nothing to discuss. I have already told you we had nothing to do with the destruction of the Mok’tagh.”
Picard exchanged a glance with Riker before replying. “I do not recall giving you the name of the Klingon ship that was destroyed, Sub-commander Mirak.”
“Sir,” Data warned, “I am detecting two Romulan Warbirds crossing the border to the Neutral Zone from Romulan space, headed in this direction at maximum warp. They will be within weapons range in seventeen minutes, four seconds.”
“I think this conversation is over, Captain Picard,” Mirak said with a triumphant smile. “I suggest you take my advice and leave while you still can. I will not advise you again.”
“Your vessel is severely damaged, Sub-commander. Since you have no shields,” said Picard. “we could easily transport you and every one of your crew to Enterprise, where we will ensure your comfort and safety while we continue our discussion.”
“You wouldn’t dare,” said Mirak, uncertain.
Picard let the question linger a moment. “No,” he said. “As a show of good faith, and to prove the damage to your vessel was indeed an accident, we will let things stand as they are; for now. But you have told me all I need to know, Mirak; and the Klingons will be most interested in what I have learned.”
“Some Klingons, perhaps.” Mirak smiled. The viewscreen went blank as the Romulan Sub-commander cut communication.
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” asked Riker.
Picard frowned. “I have a feeling we have been led on a snipe hunt, Number One. Ensign McKnight, set course for Varuna three. warp seven.”
Finally! I got to play a game! Unfortunately, it wasn’t very exciting, and recording it fully here wouldn’t do much; but it was a scenario where the outcome would shape the coming story, so a review is in order.
This scenario was simple. Can the USS Enterprise-D find the cloaked Romulan vessel in the asteroid field before it can slip away?
I have a bunch of Heroclix and Deep Cuts Star Trek ships I’ve been dying to use, so I decided to use Star Trek: Attack Wing as my rules set (mainly because I sold my A Call to Arms: Starfleet rules long ago, and I don’t really own any other space combat rules other than War Rocket, which isn’t suitable). I encountered a problem quickly: Attack Wing is by nature a combat simulation and has almost no rules that aren’t combat rules. That will be fine later on in the story if the Enterprise needs to slug it out with some other ships (fingers crossed), but for now, all I needed was some way to play cat-and-mouse with the Romulan vessel.
Not knowing how your opponent will move and what actions he will take is a big part of the challenge of Attack Wing. Since I was playing both sides, how could I work around this? The answer was random movement for the Romulans, to be determined after Enterprise moved each turn. I copied all the allowable movement options for a Romulan Scout ship and assigned them a number, then rolled a die to see what they would do. The Romulans would obviously not fly into an asteroid or the Enterprise herself; but otherwise their movement was determined by a roll on a random table.
In Star Trek: Attack Wing, cloaked ships are given an extra 4 Defense dice while cloaked to represent how hard it is to target them. The Romulan scout ship normally has a Agility of 3, so adding the cloaking device brings it to 7 Defense dice. Not too shabby.
The USS Enterprise-D has an Attack value of 4. I decided Data’s clever idea would give an additional +1, for a total of 5. This represents the Enterprise’s ability to scan for the cloaked vessel.
Each turn, after movement was determined, I would check the range between the ships. Assuming the ships were within firing range, I would make a scanning (attack) roll for the Enterprise-D, resisted by the Romulan defense. If the ships were ever not in range of each other, that counted as a win for the Romulan side. The first side to win three rounds would win the scenario; meaning if Enterprise wins, they detect the Romulan vessel, and if the Romulans win, they manage to slip away and avoid detection.
Well, you can see how it ultimately went. Enterprise basically chased the Romulans around an asteroid for four turns. Not even worth the setup! Even with two fewer dice, the Enterprise managed to detect the Romulan ship 3-1, with the Romulans only scoring one round. Pretty bad rolling for the Romulans, considering the advantage they had! There wasn’t any combat this time around; but you never know what can happen. I might have to break out the Attack Wing rules in earnest soon…but anyway, here’s an excuse to show off my painted Enterprise-D. (That’s a factory job on the Romulan Heroclix ship.)
Meanwhile, what’s happening on Varuna three? We’ll find out Barclay’s fate in the next AAR, which will definitely be more detailed as it will be a return to Fantastic Worlds Trek skirmishing!
Note: for the first part, including the scenario rules and character builds, check the previous post here!
The Crimson Hound crept stealthily along the wall to the old courtyard. He could hear the sounds of strange activity from within. He knew that Santa Claus had likely already made use of the stolen blasphemous tome known as the Malificarium Infernus to summon some otherworldly horror to Glumengrad, but nothing could prepare him for what he saw when he rounded the wall and gazed fully upon the hideous, writhing form of Savirax the Unclean.
“The promised sacrifice has arrived,” said Savirax the Unclean, in a voice like screeching fingernails on a hellish chalkboard. So much for stealth, thought The Crimson Hound.
“HO HO HO!” laughed Santa. “Right on time!” Santa stood, surrounded by some rough-looking men, all of whom were casting nervous glances at the undulating, viscous thing that was Savirax the Unclean. “I knew you’d show up,” said Santa. “Counted on it, in fact! Now, I can sacrifice you like I promised, and get my reward!”
The Crimson Hound’s eyes narrowed. Something didn’t make sense. This sounded personal, and The Crimson Hound couldn’t recall ever running afoul of Santa Claus before. He was pretty sure he would have remembered.
“Why me?” asked The Crimson Hound.
“Because,” answered Santa, “I promised Savirax the Unclean the soul of a supernatural creature in exchange for my heart’s desire. Isn’t that right, Savirax the Unclean?”
“Yes,” said Savirax the Unclean, because it would have been rude not to answer.
“And what’s that?” asked The Crimson Hound. “Your heart’s desire, I mean.” He was genuinely curious.
“Finally, someone asks!” yelled Santa, opening his arms theatrically wide. He glared at his henchmen. “Not one of you assholes ever gave a shit enough to even ask. This guy,” Santa pointed at The Crimson Hound, “THIS GUY asks, and he’s the one who’s going to die!” One by one, Santa’s henchmen muttered and looked at the ground sheepishly. “Fine!” Santa bellowed. “I’ll tell you. I want to live out the rest of my days on a tropical island in the sun, some place like Tahiti!”
“That’s it?” The Crimson Hound blinked in confusion. “That’s all you want? Why not just go to Tahiti? You have a flying sleigh!”
“Fuck you!” yelled Santa. “It’s not about Tahiti! I want to have a new island full of naked, voluptuous women, all for me! My island is gonna look like a fucking never-ending Russ Meyer movie! That’s what I want! And I’ve earned it, damn it!”
The Crimson Hound thought that Santa’s heart’s desire lacked imagination and was kind of sexist, but he didn’t say anything. He just stared at Santa Claus while Savirax the Unclean writhed and twisted nearby.
“Screw this,” yelled Santa, pointing at The Crimson Hound with a green-mittened hand. “Get him!”
Turn 1: Cue the Wilhelm scream!! The first henchman, Bob, is grabbed by the slimy tentacles of Savirax the Unclean and swallowed whole! (In fact, this AAR may be best enjoyed by playing the Wilhelm scream effect at the start of every round. You can find it here.)
Poor Bob. He was a henchman by necessity, not choice. Until recently, he was the manager at a national auto parts chain store; but he was the victim of corporate layoffs. Although he’d laugh to hear anyone say so, Bob apparently made too much money for the company’s bean counters. The company was looking to hire some millennial at half the salary. You try to do what’s best for your kids, but you’re not made of money, you know? Bob had saved and saved to send his daughter Candace to college, and he had enough for the tuition and room and board. But it’s the books, man. The cost of books fucking kill you. Bob was only working for Santa for the book money for Candace to go to school and realize her lifelong dream of becoming a marine biologist; something she vowed to do at the age of six, when one of her pet goldfish met an untimely end due to incorrect fishbowl ph.
Anyway, Bob’s dead now; which makes Candace’s marine biologist aspirations a bit unrealistic to say the least.
On the first turn, nothing much happens. The Crimson Hound wins initiative and bolts over to the stack of presents on the lower right, using his action to hide. The henchmen group closest to him (minus poor Bob) fails to spot him; but the other henchmen group and Santa both see him and open fire! The henchmen shoot like henchmen and fail to hit, but Santa’s big shotgun blows a hole in the presents, clipping the Crimson Hound for 1 damage!
Turn 2: (Wilhelm scream) Savirax the Unclean helps itself to another henchman. This time it’s poor Moe! Moe ran a successful insurance business; but then had a mid-life crisis, bought a motorcycle, got an earring and decided he missed his calling as a tough guy, so he joined Santa’s crew for kicks. Bet he regrets it now!
The Crimson Hound wins initiative again, and he wastes no time. He leaps atop the stack of presents, bares his fangs and charges into the group of four henchmen, dealing swift death!
The Hound drops in their midst, landing atop one thug with a sickening crunch as his rib cage shatters beneath the Hound’s weight! Another goes down fountaining blood as the Hound swiftly drags his razor-sharp, magical shortsword across his throat in a vicious backhanded slash!
The remaining two thugs attack the Hound, but they are severely outclassed! The Hound snatches a baseball bat from one and breaks it over the man’s head, splintering the wood; then drives the splintered end through the remaining goon’s throat for good measure. Don’t fuck with the Crimson Hound!
(In game terms, the Hound dealt two damage on the charge, dropping two henchmen. The remaining two thugs responded but failed to do any damage, which activated the Hound’s “Reflection” power. As part of his “Scrapper” major power, the Hound has a chance to inflict 2 damage on any attacker who misses a melee attack against him. He succeeded, and did two more damage, dropping the remaining henchmen!)
Unfortunately, this leaves the Crimson Hound out in the open. In response to his brutal assault, both Santa and the remaining henchmen group open fire! The henchmen, perhaps distracted by the amorphous, otherworldly thing that just devoured two of them, miss horribly. But Santa’s shotgun nails the Crimson Hound squarely in the chest for a whopping 4 damage! This drops the Crimson Hound’s Body to 2! The Hound is hurt!
“YEEEARRRGH!”, screamed the Crimson Hound as he took the full blast of Santa’s shotgun. He ducked behind the stack of presents, gasping for air. “HO HO HO!” laughed Santa. “Hurts,doesn’t it? Remember, I’m Saint Nick, bitch! All my weapons are holy! HO HO HO!”
“I’m coming for you, asshole,” cursed the Crimson Hound through gritted teeth.But he received only more mocking, jolly laughter in return.
Turn 3: (Wilhelm scream) Say goodbye to Linus. Savirax the Unclean devours him, and he seems oddly resigned to it. That’s because four years ago Linus decided to do something about his perpetual loneliness by procuring a mail-order bride from Belarus. She looked nothing like her picture, gave him chlamydia on their wedding night, immediately started cheating on him and then proceeded to bankrupt him through her frivolous spending and terrible gambling habit. Linus has been working as a goon just to make money to keep the loan sharks at bay. He’s better off this way. Trust me.
The Crimson Hound retains initiative, and it’s a good thing. He runs away, trying to gain enough ground to put some cover between him and that cannon Santa is wielding. He ducks behind a cement planter and hopes for the best. The henchman group and Santa pursue him, opening fire on his position; but the hard cover afforded by the concrete manages to save the Crimson Hound from any further damage!
Turn 4: (Wilhelm scream) Savirax the Unclean snatches up Phil in its slimy pseudopods and drags him screaming into its mouth. Phil has managed to lead a life completely devoid of anything even remotely significant; getting devoured by Savirax the Unclean is the single noteworthy thing that Phil has ever had happen to him in all his 43 years. Rest in peace, Phil.
The bad guys get initiative, and the henchmen group sends another ineffectual volley of fire at the Crimson Hound. The Hound vaults the planter and charges the group, shredding them like tissue paper on Christmas morning (or so he’s heard; no one has ever given the Crimson Hound a Christmas present to open). He rams his sword through the first goon’s sternum and slices downward, slitting him open like an envelope; then grabs the second and, using his dreadful fangs, tears the man’s throat out in a bloody, tattered mess. Then, the Crimson Hound does what he does best (and what he does best isn’t very nice). In a few seconds, both men are completely drained of blood. The Crimson Hound feels invigorated as his wounds began to knit together!
In game terms, the Crimson Hound scored a whopping 9 goals on his attack, which was impossible for the remaining two henchmen to ever resist. He effectively obliterated them. Then he rolled his vampiric healing power, and this is what he got:
That’s six goals, enough to heal 3 boxes of damage. The Crimson Hound is back up to 5 Body. He’s still in the fight!
Santa moves into position and opens fire. Although he scores 3 goals of damage, The Crimson Hound resists it all! His mouth still dripping the blood of his victims, the Crimson Hound smiles and prepares to charge…
Turn 5: There are no more henchmen left! Savirax the Unclean turns his attention to his promised sacrifice, The Crimson Hound! It attacks with a snaky tentacle, attempting to grapple the Crimson Hound; but the Hound easily evades it. He gains initiative, and charges Santa Claus, moving too fast for Santa to bring his shotgun to bear. The two men crash together and the Crimson Hound deals a savage blow to jolly old St. Nick, slicing through red suit, skin and fat into the muscle beneath! Despite his natural armor, Santa is hurt badly; but he’s not helpless! Santa swings his shotgun like a club, intent on crushing the Crimson Hound’s skull like an egg; but the Hound ducks at the last second and it smashes against his shoulder. The Hound, still enjoying the euphoric effects of the blood he drank, barely feels a thing!
In game terms, The Crimson Hound dealt a respectable 4 goals of damage to Santa, and Santa rolled like absolute shit and failed to resist any damage. HIs Armor power lets him soak 1 box of damage, though, which means he only took 3. That’s still enough to drop Santa to half his Body in one shot. The Crimson Hound could have knocked Santa back 3″, too; but he wanted to keep him close. That would have given Santa the opportunity to fire his shotgun or to make a return charge, and that doesn’t make tactical sense! Santa attacked back, but the Crimson Hound was able to resist the damage.
Turn 6: Savirax the Unclean is officially hangry! It attacks the Crimson Hound again, trying to grab him and hold him so that Santa can make good on his sacrifice. The Crimson Hound is once again able to avoid the tentacles of the monstrous entity!
Santa seizes the initiative and attacks the Crimson Hound once again. This time, he misses horribly, but manages to avoid the Hound’s reflexive counterattack. The Crimson Hound scores a hit, and although Santa shrugs some of it off, he manages to inflict 1 more box of damage on the jolly old elf! This drops Santa down to 2 Body!
Turn 7: Savirax the Unclean has decided it’s going to try one more time; then fuck it, it’s just going to destroy the world. It attacks the Crimson Hound again, trying to flatten him against the ground. The Crimson Hound tries to roll out of the way, but gets clipped for another box of damage, dropping him to 4!
The Crimson Hound gets initiative. It’s all or nothing! The Hound leaps on Santa and buries his fangs into Santa’s shoulder, doing a net 1 goal of damage! Not enough to put down Santa for good! Santa still has 1 Body left!
Santa attacks back, but fails to do any damage. The Crimson Hound desperately ripostes with a flurry of bites, causing 2 goals of damage! Santa manages to soak one, but the last bite drops Santa to the ground as his blood sprays skyward!
In game terms, Santa fell to the Hound’s Reflection ability! After failing to damage the Hound in melee, the Crimson Hound was able to make his roll to reflect, causing 2 damage. Although Santa’s Armor reduced it to 1, that was all he had left! Santa failed his KO roll and was out; just in time to stop Savirax the Unclean from destroying the world!
The Crimson Hound lifted Santa by the fluffy, white trim of his red suit, grinning at him through bloodstained teeth. “You know what?” asked the Crimson Hound. “I just realized something. You visit every kid in the world in one night. You can make reindeer fly. And, fat as you are, you can squeeze up and down chimneys with no problem. If that’s not supernatural, I don’t know what is.” And with that, the Crimson Hound lifted Santa over his head and hurled him straight at the gaping, ravenous maw of Savirax the Unclean.With a mighty gulp and a horrid (Wilhelm) scream, his offering was accepted. Santa Claus was no more!
Savirax the Unclean spit out a shiny, black boot. The Crimson Hound wondered if there was still a foot in it. “You have earned your heart’s desire,” said Savirax the Unclean. “Do you want the same thing?”
The Crimson Hound considered the offer. Sexism aside, there wasn’t much not to like about it. An island paradise surrounded by women of generous proportions was definitely not the worst place to spend some time. He had to admit that as retirement plans went, it was pretty fucking sweet.
But no. He had responsibilities here. Besides, if he accepted, nothing was stopping Savirax the Unclean from sticking around and eating everyone in Glumengrad, then destroying the world. Demons were dicks like that.
“I don’t like the sun much,” saidThe Crimson Hound, “so how about for my heart’s desire, you just fuck off back to wherever you came from, and take that book with you so no one else can use it again?”
Savirax the Unclean looked disappointed, inasmuch as it is possible for amorphous, squamous, blasphemous, unholy entities to look disappointed. “Very well,” it said, coiling one pseudopod around the Maleficarium Infernus. “I’ll leave, I guess.” It hesitated for a moment.
“Well?” asked the Crimson Hound. “Forget something?”
“Uh…Merry Christmas, ” said Savirax the Unclean. Then it disappeared, taking the book with it.
The Crimson Hound smiled. He was touched. No one had ever wished him a Merry Christmas before. “Merry Christmas to you, too, Savirax the Unclean,” he said. Then he turned and disappeared into the night.
God bless us, every one!
Analysis: This AAR reminded me how much I love Super Mission Force. It’s such an easy and fun rules system and I can’t recommend it enough. Not sure if Scott Pyle still drops by the Tavern; but if so, Scott, thanks again for creating such a fun game! This was an absolute treat to play, and it really flew by. The game took only 15 minutes from the first roll to the last; and it really DID come down to the wire. Technically, if Santa hadn’t attacked the Hound at the end, he wouldn’t have gotten killed by the Hound’s Reflection ability; but then again, Savirax the Unclean would have destroyed the world at the start of the next turn, so Santa didn’t have a choice. He had to take the shot if he wanted his heart’s desire!
The Crimson Hound’s Fear power didn’t really come into play because things happened too quickly and too far away from any of the other models. Santa’s Super Strength likewise never saw any use, mainly because Santa never did any damage to the Hound in melee. If he had, the Crimson Hound would have gone flying!
At the end of the game I had the idea that rather than just defeating Santa and saving the day, why not have the Hound sacrifice Santa instead? So, I went back and re-wrote the prose accordingly. Hope you liked it!
To Bruno (the Crimson Hound himself) and to all the readers and visitors to Dead Dick’s Tavern, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! (And if you don’t celebrate those holidays, then just have a nice couple of weeks.)
Up next…can I get my December Character of the Month up by the end of the year? guess we’ll see!
From a gargoyle-encrusted rooftop, The Crimson Hound looked out over the neon, gothic city of Glumengrad. At his feet, facing the short wall that ran the length of the roof’s edge, knelt three diminutive forms dressed in bright green, hands bound behind their backs. The Crimson Hound stood behind them, his heavy pistol in one hand, his magical blade in the other. The rooftop was freezing, but the three small men quaked more from fear than cold.
The Crimson Hound took a deep breath, watching as it clouded in the freezing air. “I’m only going to ask this once,” he said, his gravelly voice cutting through the sound of the wind, “and the only thing I want to hear back from you is an answer to my question. Why did Santa steal the book?”
The first elf, for that is what the three men were, began to giggle. “You’ll see! Hee hee hee! Oh, you’ll see! You’re going to die, Hound! Santa has plans for you…urrrghhhh!!” The elf’s voice choked off as The Crimson Hound casually inserted the magical blade into his back, slicing through the elf’s ribcage and bisecting his heart with ease. HIs lifeless body slid off the point of the sword to flop unceremoniously onto the cold rooftop.
The Crimson Hound sighed, stepping behind the second elf. “Please follow my instructions,” he said.
“Wait!” begged the elf, “Don’t kill me! I…” The gun kicked in the Crimson Hound’s fist. Blood and brain matter exploded onto the roof like a Pollock painting, adding to the already-considerable pool still leaving the corpse of the first elf. Blue blood, the Hound noticed with curiosity. Perhaps that was why he had no desire to taste it. Interesting.
The Hound moved behind the final elf. “I’m sorry,” he said. “It seems I have been unclear. Please respond only to the question that was askedof you.”
The third elf straightened up as much as he could, staring directly ahead and trying to ignore the bloody mess his friends had recently become. “Santa wants to destroy the world,” he said.
The Crimson Hound did not expect this answer. He raised the barrel of his gun, aiming it away from the back of the elf’s head. “Explain,” he said.
“I don’t know, man,” the elf said. “Santa just fucking lost it a couple of weeks back. We were all working our asses off in the workshop, as usual, and he was sitting in his big chair, reading a pile of letters. You know, the ones kids send him telling him what they want for Christmas.”
The Crimson Hound nodded. He did not understand children overmuch; but he had heard of this custom. “And?”
“And I guess Santa read something he didn’t like. Some kid bitching that he didn’t get what he wanted last year, telling Santa to get it right this time. Santa just folded up the letter, took off his glasses, and said, ‘Fuck these ungrateful little shitbags! I quit! I’m done with this entitled, piece-of-shit world! I think I’ll destroy it! Christmas is cancelled, assholes!’ Well, we were all pretty shocked, but we weren’t exactly sad about it. Our job sucks, you know.”
“Hmm,” The Crimson Hound said. It is unlikely that anyone could mistake it for a sound of sympathy.
“One thing’s for sure: there’s gonna be a lot of kids on the nice list who will be disappointed this year,” said the elf.
Never in his entire life had The Crimson Hound ever been on a “nice list” of any kind. The Crimson Hound considered that. He realized he didn’t care.One thing was certain, though. If Santa stole the Maleficarium Infernus, he wasn’t doing it to spread holiday cheer. Whatever Santa was planning, he had to be stopped. He had to know The Crimson Hound would come looking for him, though…so what was his game?
“So, uh…can I go now?” asked the elf.
“Hmm? Oh, yeah. Sure,” said The Crimson Hound. He sheathed his weapons, picked up the elf, and tossed him over the side of the roof. The elf screamed all the way down.
It was a long way.
It’s been a long time since I played some Super Mission Force, and I thought that Christmas is the perfect occasion for a Battle Report. Longtime visitors to Dead Dick’s Tavern may recall The Terror of the Toyman a few years back, in which Superman was beset by diabolical toys. It was a lot of fun, so go check it out if you are so inclined.
This time, though; I wanted to do something different. I converted and painted the Crimson Hound for Forgotten Heroes, back in June, and I thought he’d be perfect for a quick game using my favorite Supers rules. The Crimson Hound is, of course, the eponymous star character of the Chronicles of the Crimson Hound YouTube Channel, and the creation of my friend Bruno. You should absolutely check out the Crimson Hound’s adventures if you get a chance.
That being said, I hold no legal rights to the Crimson Hound and I haven’t told Bruno I’m doing this; so I sincerely hope he receives this AAR in the spirit it was intended: written in fun, with good-natured bonhomie and strictly platonic affection. (Please don’t sue me, Bruno.) It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, that this particular Crimson Hound adventure is certainly not canon; you should check out the Crimson Hound’s adventures on YouTube and on The Chronicles of the Crimson Hound Blog for that. This is just my (somewhat twisted) interpretation of Bruno’s character, and it is almost certainly different in many ways from the character as “officially” written so far.
So, without further ado: The Crimson Hound in…Dreaming of a RED Christmas!
Scenario: Santa Claus is coming to town…and he wants to sacrifice the Crimson Hound to an antediluvian, bilious, chaotic, dreadful, effusive, festering, gibbous, hellish, incongruous, jellified, Kafkaesque, loathsome, membranous, non-Euclidean, odious, pseudopodal, querulous, rugose, sepulchral, tentacled, unspeakable, vaporous, wailing, xenophobic, yammering and zymotic monstrosity called Savirax the Unclean.
Why? Because if he does so, Savirax the Unclean has promised Santa his heart’s desire. Santa has lured the Crimson Hound to this very spot, where he has summoned Savirax the Unclean in preparation for the sacrifice!
What is Santa’s heart’s desire? Who the hell knows? No one, including you, has ever bothered to ask Santa what HE wants for Christmas; and he’s fed up with your selfish entitlement!
Victory Conditions: Santa must defeat the Crimson Hound and sacrifice him to Savirax the Unclean in order to claim his reward: his heart’s desire! The Crimson Hound must defeat Santa and banish Savirax the Unclean before he is sacrificed. If time runs out before either Santa or the Crimson Hound can achieve their goals, then Savirax the Unclean destroys the world in a horrid, blasphemous, squamous orgy of Lovecraftian adjectives, and they both lose!
Forces: The Hero player controls The Crimson Hound, vampiric vigilante and stalker of the night! The villain player controls Santa Claus and two groups of five street-level henchmen each.
Setup: Play is on a 24”x24” surface, representing a courtyard in Glumengrad that some poor, deluded soul has taken the time to decorate for the Christmas holiday. It would normally be a pale light in the darkness of despair that is Glumengrad; but Santa has seized it and corrupted it for his summoning ritual. There is a large Christmas tree in the courtyard, surrounded by Christmas decorations. There are stacks of containers stacked around the yard, painted and decorated as Christmas presents, providing cover and spots to hide.
Savirax the Unclean is deployed in the center of the courtyard, having just been summoned by the evil Santa Claus. Santa is deployed on one side of the courtyard; the Crimson Hound on the other. Scattered loosely throughout the courtyard are ten henchmen models forming two groups of five each.
The Endless Hunger: Savirax the Unclean is not known for its patience. While waiting for its promised sacrifice, Savirax the Unclean will help itself to one hapless henchman at the start of each turn. Simply remove the model as Savirax the Unclean snatches the closest henchman model with one of its snaking pseudopods and deposits the screaming henchman in its stinking hole of a gullet. Over time, this will thin the herd a bit for the Crimson Hound, but it will also hasten the end of the game. If Savirax the unclean has no henchmen left at the start of the a turn, it starts attacking the Crimson Hound directly, instead (see below).
The Thing that Should Not Be: Savirax the Unclean cannot be attacked and/or damaged. Thus it has no statistics. It can (and will), however, attack the Crimson Hound if it has no henchmen left to devour. Savirax the Unclean attacks with a 6D attack at the start of each round if there are no henchmen left. It’s pseudopods can reach anywhere on the board and are unaffected by cover. (There is no hiding from Savirax the Unclean!) Note that Savirax the Unclean will not wait for its promised sacrifice forever. It will only attack the Crimson Hound for three rounds before it gets annoyed and destroys the world.
The Red Thirst: Although he’s a “good guy”, the Crimson Hound is, at heart, a bloodsucking vampire. If he defeats a model in melee combat, the Hound may take his next action to feed on the blood of his opponent. This allows him to roll 4D, and for every 2 goals scored, he heals one box of Body box damage as he sucks the poor soul dry. It also has the additional effect of causing fear to any enemy model within 6″, as they look on in horror at the Hound’s monstrous predations. On the following turn, any affected model must win an opposed Psyche roll or be unable to attack the Crimson Hound for one turn. (Note: this is a variation on both the Parasite and Healing minor powers.)
Here are my Super Mission Force builds for the characters:
The Crimson Hound (Brawler) Major: Scrapper Minor: Melee Specialist, Resistance (Special: Vampire, Cause Fear); Move 7, Body 7, Psyche 6
Santa Claus (Wild Card) Minor: Armor, Power Blasts, Super Strength, Resistance; Move 6 Body 6 Psyche 6
Henchmen (10) Firearms, Close Combat Weapons; Move 6
Be here in a couple of days, when I post the full After Action Report!
The Green Hornet returned to consciousness, the back of his head throbbing. He tried to reach up to massage it only to find he was bound, his hands tied behind his back around a thick support column. The smells of exotic spices assailed him as he suddenly remembered where he was: The “Happy Pepper” Spice Company, a warehouse in Chinatown, the domain of ruthless gang boss “Wise Uncle” Wei. It all came rushing back. He had been attacked from behind; surprised. He was used to having Kato there to watch his back, but not tonight.
He was alone. He could feel the cold floor on the back of his legs. He had been here a while. His head was bare. He had lost his hat. He peered around in the dim light. There it was, a few feet away on the floor. Alarm gave way to relief as he realized his domino mask still concealed his features. A small comfort, but he’d take what he could get.
A soft scuffle, and Kato was suddenly there, flowing like ink out of the darkness. The Hornet breathed a sigh of relief as his friend began to work away at the knots that bound his hands. “I told you to stay in bed,” the Green Hornet said.
“Right. I can see you obviously had everything under control here,” said Kato.
“I did, and you’re terrible at following orders.”
“I don’t work for you,” said Kato.
“Yes, you do.”
“Not when the masks are on. What happened?”
“I got jumped from behind,” said the Hornet. “Big guy. Uncle Wei’s enforcer. What’s his name?”
“Why are you asking me?” asked Kato. “Because I’m Asian? We don’t all know each other, you know.”
The Green Hornet flushed scarlet. “I didn’t mean–” he stammered, then chuckled softly as he caught sight of Kato’s grin in the dim light. “OK, very funny. You got me.”
“Iron-Skin Liu,” Kato said, as the bonds fell free. “You’re lucky he didn’t take your head off.”
“Sure feels like he did,” said the Hornet, rubbing his wrists and standing up. He bent to retrieve his fedora as the lights suddenly blazed, illuminating the warehouse.
They were in an open, circular area, surrounded on all sides by stacks and pallets of shipping crates and containers filled with spicesand other imported goods.“Wise Uncle” Wei sat upon a small platform a few meters distant, flanked by his bodyguard, the massive, scowling “Iron-Skin” Liu; and his lieutenant, “Clean-Head” Chang. Several rough-looking Tong gangsters began to move from between the stacks of crates and barrels, surrounding the heroes on all sides.
“You see, Chang?” asked Wei. “It is as I predicted. Where there is one, the other cannot be far behind. It was only a matter of patience.”
“You are wise, Uncle Wei,” said “Clean-Head” Chang, smiling wickedly.
“Thank you, Chang; but I know my own name, ” said Wei. Chang stopped smiling and looked confused. Wei continued. “Now, we have them both: the Green Hornet AND his sidekick.”
“Sidekick,” the Hornet said softly, smirking. “You hear that, old friend?”
“I heard it. Remind me to show you a “side kick” when we get out of this,” murmured Kato, watching as more gangsters surrounded them.
“Clean Head” Chang told me how you broke up the meeting last night at the storage yard,” said Wei. “No doubt you are seeking the mysterious man behind it all. Who could it be? What does he want? Well, you will not find him here. You might check the Waterfront District, if you survive. Donnelly seemed to be the only one interested in the mystery man’s proposal.”
“What proposal? Why are you telling us this, Wei?” asked the Green Hornet.“You’re being very helpful.”
“Why not? It matters nothing to me, my friend. In a short time you will both likely be dead; and if not, then you will come into conflict with another of my enemies, “Big Eddie” Donnelly, as you seek to thwart their alliance. Yes, an alliance is what they intend. Either way, I cannot lose.”
“Depends. You can lose a lot of men in the meantime,” said Kato, moving back-to-back with the Hornet and taking a ready stance. “All of them, maybe.” He flashed a wicked smile. The Tong shifted uneasily, looking to each other for reassurance.
“My men are expendable until they prove otherwise,” said “Wise Uncle” Wei. “None of these men have so proven themselves. Now, enough talk!”
The full scenario was detailed in the last post! Check it out if you missed it!
Turn 1: The first card drawn is a three, so two more Tong thugs come out to play and join their fellows on the perimeter of the circle. The Tong get initiative, and “Clean-Head” Chang wastes no time, knowing that his every move is being watched by “Wise Uncle” Wei. Waving his cleaver menacingly he rushes towards Kato, but doesn’t have enough movement to reach him. This does put himself within Kato’s range, however. With a loud Kiai, Kato leaps into combat, easily outclassing Chang, who falls beneath a flurry of blows from the black-masked vigilante! So much for Chang!
The remaining Tong rush into the circle; but, like Chang, they lack the movement necessary to reach the heroes. The Green Hornet counter-charges the closest Tong gangster; and with his patented one-two punch, he drops the goon like a sack of cement!
Turn 2: Another card is drawn…it’s a Two! Three more Tong surround the circle, ready to fight! The heroes seize the initiative this turn, though; and the Green Hornet moves swiftly to engage another opponent, knowing that letting up for an instant could mean that he and Kato will be overwhelmed! The gangster is no match for his emerald-clad fists, and falls just as another Tong charges the Hornet from behind. Once again, the Green Hornet prevails, punching the Tong so hard he leaves his feet! Kato takes one gangster out before he is mobbed by three more, who act in concert to try and bring him down. One manages to wound Kato! Finally, the remaining Tong thug charges the Green Hornet and meets the same fate as his friends. The Hornet now has made a small pile of three unconscious thugs; while Kato is surrounded by three very angry and very conscious opponents!
Turn 3: The card drawn is a Five: Look Out Below! A barrel of peanut oil shatters on the ground, turning the entire area into a slippery mess! Everyone scrambles to get out of the way. Kato and two of the goons he’s fighting manage to avoid it, but the barrel lands squarely on the remaining goon, knocking him unconscious. The Green Hornet is also hit. He takes a wound and is knocked prone, covered in peanut oil!
The villains gain initiative and immediately attack Kato, but even with two-to-one odds, they don’t stand a chance. Kato leaps into the air, lashing out with both legs in a corkscrew kick that sends them both flying, their senseless bodies sliding away on a sheen of oil. (Kato beat them on their turn, taking one out; then attacked on his own activation, taking out another.) The Green Hornet manages to stand up. Looking around, it seems that for the time being, at least, there are no Tong to threaten them!
Turn 4: The card drawn is a Nine. Nothing happens! With no events, no Tong to defend against and still no way out, this lull in the action seems like a good time for some dramatic dialogue, especially since…
Turn 5: The card drawn is the King!
“Wise Uncle” Wei clapped softly, gazing at Kato with undisguised admiration. “Your skill is quite impressive, ah…mmm…what IS your name? A thousand apologies, but I don’t seem to know.” Kato scowled. The Green Hornet tried and failed to cover a smile.
“You seem to be out of soldiers, Wei,” said the Green Hornet.
“There are always more soldiers,” Wei replied irritably, waving his hand in dismissal. He continued to address Kato. “You must know your talents are wasted with this green fool.”
“Hey!” protested the Green Hornet.” There’s no need for name-calling.”
“You should join me, instead,” Wei continued smoothly. “Such skill as you possess would be well-compensated in my organization.”
“No chance,” said Kato, “the green fool needs me.”
“Really?!” exclaimed the Hornet, “You, too? I’m standing right here!”
“As you wish, then,” said Wei. “I grow weary of this entertainment.” He stood up. “See to it they do not leave this warehouse alive, Liu.”
“Iron-Skin” Liu nodded, hopping down from the platform as more thugs entered the circle. The Green Hornet and Kato found themselves back-to-back again, waiting…
Turn 6: I drew the Ace. Three more Tong show up! I deployed these three as a squad rather than scattering them around the circle. They will move and act together, because this one-at-a-time crap isn’t working out for the Tong! Close up on the faces of the Tong, all scowls and menace; cut to the Green Hornet, brow furrowed in determination; quick zoom on Kato’s mask, where his eyes can be seen, narrowed; while the final shot shows a slow, evil grin spreading across the brutal visage of “Iron-Skin” Liu…
Greetings. I am “Wise Uncle” Wei. I cannot help but notice you admiring my Dragon Bell. An exquisite piece, wouldn’t you agree? It must have cost a fortune, you must think. But no, this is not so.
You may ask, why am I called wise? The answer is simple. It is because I get all my Dragon Bells at Wargames Terrain Workshop. After all, I may be the head of a very lucrative criminal enterprise; but just because I can afford expensive bell decor doesn’t mean I frivolously throw money away. That would be foolish, and I am not known as “Foolish Uncle” Wei.
This is my associate, “Iron-Skin” Liu. He is a man of few words; but when he does speak, it is often of Wargames Terrain Workshop, and of the unparalleled product quality and customer service they offer. Liu suggests most strongly that you shop there. If you do not, then “Iron-Skin” Liu will become unsettled, and that would be most unfortunate.
Turn 6, Continued: The heroes gain initiative. Seeing the group of thugs and “Iron-Skin” Liu about to close on Kato, The Hornet charges the group of thugs, hoping to cut them off. With a quick haymaker he drops one of the Tong; while “Iron-Skin’ Liu, bellowing in challenge, charges Kato and knocks him clear off his feet! Kato is wounded again and knocked back a full 3”! Liu isn’t far behind and immediately closes the gap; but he’s a bit overzealous and underestimates his opponent. With a natural 10, Kato slugs Liu right in the breadbasket, knocking the wind out of the giant and stopping him in his tracks! “Iron-Skin” Liu is wounded and staggered! The remaining two thugs attack the Green Hornet, hoping to overpower him, but the Emerald Avenger easily puts them both down in the dirt with two well-placed socks in the jaw!
Turn 7: A Ten is drawn. Nothing happens! Initiative goes to the heroes. Kato fends Liu off with a lightning-fast flurry of strikes to Liu’s face, but he’s not called “Iron-Skin” Liu for nothing! Liu smiles at Kato, completely unhurt! Kato looks at his fists in disbelief and betrayal as the Green Hornet barrels into Liu from behind! He bounces off the giant’s back, but doesn’t get too far before Liu lashes out in a mighty sweeping attack that barely misses Kato but swats the Hornet down like his namesake! The Green Hornet is knocked flying and is KO’ed!
Turn 8: A Seven is drawn. Back off! Kato grabs a rope and pulley from the ground and swings it around, clearing some space. “Iron-Skin” Liu retreats warily as the Green Hornet makes his roll to recover. He stands up slowly, shaking his head, trying to remember if he’s ever been hit that hard before. Initiative goes to the heroes again. Kato charges at Liu, but rolls poorly and Liu gets the better of him; grabbing Kato by the back of the neck and slamming his elbow into the hero’s face! Kato staggers back 3″ and collapses, unconscious!
Liu lunges at the Green Hornet next, but once again, he underestimates his opponent. The Green Hornet meets his charge with green-gloved fists of fury, striking Liu twice hard enough to hurt. Hard enough, in fact, to drop the giant in his tracks! “Iron-Skin” Liu is KO’ed!
Turn 9: A Queen is drawn! The Green Hornet spies an opening as Kato makes his Will roll to recover. Bloodied and exhausted, both heroes beat feet to escape before more goons show up!
Turn 10: Success! Victory for the Heroes!
The Green Hornet and Kato staggered back to the Black Beauty, secreted about a block distant from the Happy Pepper Warehouse. Both men were seriously injured, but they would recover. Kato slid behind the wheel while the Hornet climbed in the back, wincing in pain.
In the rear-view mirror, the two men stared at each other in silence.“So,” said the Hornet, finally, “Looks like “Big Eddie” Donnelly’s getting a visit from the Green Hornet next.”
“Sure, Kato replied. “But maybe tomorrow. Or the day after.”
“Kato…thanks. Thanks for coming after me.”
“Of course.” Kato grinned. “Green fool.”
The two men laughed as the Black Beauty roared off into the night.
IN TWO DAYS!!! Another challenge for the Green Hornet; his aide, Kato; and their rolling arsenal the Black Beauty! If you missed the first scenario of this campaign, you can find it here! Once again, I’m using the .45 Adventure rules by Rattrap Productions, with a few modifications I have made myself. You can find out all about the changes I made here!
Scenario: The Green Hornet has been captured by “Wise Uncle” Wei’s men. Kato has managed to free him, but now both men have been caught at one of the Tong gangster’s warehouses. They must survive wave after wave of Tong until they can somehow find a way to escape!
Victory Conditions: The Green Hornet and Kato must run out the clock and survive against hordes of mooks until they can make their escape. If they escape, they win; if not, the villains win, and they are captured again!
Forces: The Hero player controls the Green Hornet (Grade 3 Crimefighter) and Kato (Grade 3 Crimefighter). The Criminal Player starts with Clean-Head Chang, a Tong Enforcer (Grade 2) armed with a cleaver; and 3 Tong thugs (Grade 1), who are unarmed. In addition, “Wise Uncle” Wei has left his right-hand man and bodyguard, “Iron-Skin” Liu (Grade 2 Heroic Warrior), to make sure the heroes don’t leave the warehouse. Liu will watch from the sidelines until he takes a more active role (see below); also, more and more goons will continue to show up until the heroes either escape or get overwhelmed.
Setup: Play is on a 24”x24” surface, representing one of Wise Uncle Wei’s warehouses. There is a raised platform on one end of the board. In addition, there are shipping containers, crates, barrels and oil drums liberally scattered about the warehouse around a central, circular area free of debris. The Green Hornet and Kato start in the middle of this circle. “Clean-Head” Chang and the three Tong are deployed around the perimeter of the circle, at least 6” away from any of the heroes. They should be deployed such that they block egress from the circle. “Iron-Skin” Liu and Wise Uncle Wei are deployed on the platform, watching the fight. During the course of the combat, reinforcements may be deployed anywhere around the perimeter of the circle as they arrive.
Event Deck: At the start of every turn, draw a card from the 13 card event deck and resolve it before rolling for intiative.
Ace-Two: Reinforcements! The villain player may add three Grade 1 Tong (unarmed) to the board. They must be deployed around the perimeter of the circle, at least 3” away from any of the heroes. They may move and attack this turn.
Three-Four: Reinforcements! The villain player may add two Grade 1 Tong (unarmed) to the board. They must be deployed around the perimeter of the circle, at least 3” away from any of the heroes. They may move and attack this turn.
Five-Six: Look out below! An unseen goon pulls a lever, dropping a suspended crate from above, which crashes down into the circle! All models in the circle must pass a Dodge test or take a STR 6 hit. If a model is wounded but not KO’ed, he is buried under the crate and Knocked Down. Models that are Knocked Down have their Heater and Shiv skills halved. On a subsequent activation they must pass a Brawn test to extricate themselves and stand up. In addition, roll a die to see what the crate contains on the table below.
Seven: Back off! Someone left a weighted rope and pulley laying around. The Green Hornet or Kato (hero player’s choice) snatches it up and whirls it around, clearing some space. All enemy models in hand-to-hand with the hero get pushed back 2” in a 360° arc.
Eight: Back off! The Green Hornet or Kato (hero player’s choice) topples a stack of crates, clearing some space. All enemy models in hand-to-hand with the hero get pushed back 2” in a 360° arc. In addition, roll a die to see what the crates contain on the table below.
Nine-Ten: Nothing happens.
Jack-Queen: A way out! (If this card is drawn during the first three turns, ignore it and shuffle it back into the deck.) The Green Hornet and Kato spot a way out of the warehouse that coincidentally takes them right past the Green Hornet’s gear. The heroes have an opportunity to disengage and flee combat without suffering any attacks (no test necessary). They may leave the circle in whichever direction they choose. The goons will pursue and attempt to stop them; but if the heroes can reach the edge of the board, they escape! If he hasn’t already joined the fight, “Iron-Skin” Liu hops off the platform and enters the fray, while Wise Uncle Wei makes his escape.
King: Wise Uncle Wei has seen enough. He leaves, telling “Iron-Skin” Liu to make certain the Green Hornet and Kato don’t leave the warehouse. Liu hops down from the platform and will join the Tong this round. (If this has already happened, then ignore this result.)
No Escape!: The Green Hornet and Kato may not leave the circle until either a Jack or Queen is drawn from the Event Deck. This symbolizes the constant threat of the circling Tong; until an opening presents itself, the heroes must tough it out!
Hordes of Mooks: The board has the potential to fill up with goons pretty quickly. If there are 3 or more Tong thugs within 3″ of each other at any time, they immediately form a squad; rolling once for combat at +3d10 rather than rolling individually.
“Do not disappoint me”: As long as Wise Uncle Wei is on the board, all the Tong (including “Clean-Head” Chang) are considered to have Undying Loyalty, and do not need to make Guts checks no matter how many of their fellows fall in combat.
Falling Crates: If a card result indicates that a crate explodes, roll a d10 and consult the following table to determine what happens:
1-3: Pepper! A barrel of hot pepper flakes explodes into the air. Every model in the circle must make a BRAWN test or have their Shiv and Dodge scores halved and their Move score reduced to zero for two rounds as they uncontrollably cough and sneeze.
4-6: Peanut oil! A cask of peanut oil bursts on the ground, making the entire circle slippery terrain for the rest of the scenario. If a model attempts to move more than half its speed it must pass a DODGE test or be Knocked Down. If it attempts to run, it must pass a DODGE test twice or be Knocked Down.
7-8: Flour! The crate contained sacks of rice flour, which burst, producing clouds of powder that obscure vision. Every model in the circle has their Heater and Shiv scores halved for two turns until the flour settles.
9-10: Fish Sauce! A barrel of smelly fish sauce crashes into the circle. If a hero is hit, he is covered in fish sauce in addition to taking a wound and being Knocked Down; but he smells so bad that any goons in hand-to-hand immediately break away 1” and won’t attack again for two rounds.
The Green Hornet (Grade 3): DR 5 Brains 4 Will 3 Brawn 3 Guts 10 Heater 5 Shiv 5 Dodge 4 Speed 5 Brawler +1d10, Pugilist +1, One-Two Punch, Sharpshooter +1, Quick +1, Nerves of Steel +2, Observant, Quick Recovery, Heroic Action
Through the rear-view mirror, Kato regarded the Green Hornet as he checked his equipment.
“Hornet Gun: check,” said the Green Hornet. “Hornet Sting: check. Let’s roll, Kato.”
A few minutes later, Kato steered the Black Beauty up to MaClane’s Shipping Yard. The car was set for silent running. In the darkness, it made no more noise than the faintest whisper as it pulled up to the curb. The Green Hornet and Kato exchanged a quick glance in the mirror. Both men nodded, then quietly exited the car on opposite sides.
Time to go to work.
Turn 1: From their concealed positions, the Green Hornet and Kato split up, each making his way to one side of the shipping yard. Being Observant, the Green Hornet comes close enough to an encounter marker to possibly trigger it; but he fails his Brains test. He’ll have to get closer! Kato, meanwhile, sprints to another container. This gives the guard atop the container a chance to spot him; but Kato keeps to the shadows and the guard fails to do so. This brings Kato in contact with another encounter marker. Unfortunately, it’s bad luck for him! Kato startles a stray cat, which yowls loudly. This gives the guard another chance to spot Kato, but the guard fails miserably and doesn’t react at all. Since the alarm hasn’t been raised, only one guard gets to move. The guard stationed atop a shipping container overlooking the meeting moves to his right, along a makeshift bridge.
Turns 2-3: The Green Hornet begins to climb up the side of the shipping container, trying to get a better vantage point. Once atop it, he activates the encounter marker. He takes a moment to angle a long-range microphone towards the meeting. He lucks out! One of the lieutenants coughs loudly, which is enough to identify him as Louie the Lunger, enforcer for “Lemonface” Bucco, boss of the Bowery district! Meanwhile, Kato moves around his container, while the guard atop it ambles down its length, failing yet again to spot Kato, who begins his own climb up the side of the container. Finally, Another guard heads out towards the center of the yard, halfheartedly scanning the darkness.
Turn 4: The guard atop the container Kato is climbing does an about-face and returns to his original position, which means he walks right by Kato for a second time. The guard is oblivious; once again failing to spot the black-clad Kato clinging to the side of the container. Kato quickly climbs up and attacks the guard from behind, delivering a silent but highly-effective kung-fu chop to the guard’s neck. Down he goes! The Green Hornet drops silently from the top of his container, coming into contact with another encounter marker. It’s a restless guard. One of the guards gets the urge to stretch his legs, so he gets to move out of turn. The guard on the bridge continues in the same direction, scanning the darkness, seeing nothing.
Turn 5: The Green Hornet moves quietly around the side of a nearby car, taking aim at the driver with the Hornet gun. He fires off a gas canister and the driver quickly succumbs to the narcotic effects of the knockout gas! A nearby guard fails to see the driver slump to the ground, unconscious! (These guards are really terrible.)
Meanwhile, from his vantage point atop his own shipping container, Kato has a clear shot at another driver. Not one to miss an opportunity, Kato hurls one of his drugged Hornet-darts at the unsuspecting driver; who is quickly overcome by the knockout venom! The Green Hornet and Kato are like the two pieces of bread in a SANDWICH OF JUSTICE! The guard in the middle of the yard moves back to his position atop the metal platform overlooking the meeting. So far, the Green Hornet and Kato have avoided detection!
Turn 6: The guards seem to realize they’re too close together, so they separate to better keep watch over the yard.
Like flowing water, Kato slips down the side of the shipping container. No longer worried about attracting the driver’s attention, he moves closer to the car, trying to get a better look at the mob lieutenants. The Green Hornet makes a break from cover towards another encounter marker. For a brief moment, he is all too visible to the guard atop the metal platform; but the guard is distracted by something on his shoe, and fails to notice the Emerald Avenger as he gets close enough to note the identity of another mob lieutenant! It’s “Clean-Head Chang”, enforcer for the notorious Chinatown crime boss, Wise Uncle Wei!
Turn 7: The Green Hornet backtracks to his original position. Through his powers of Observation, he activates the encounter marker atop the shipping containers; but it’s a dud. Nothing happens. Kato moves closer to the meeting, for a brief moment fully exposed to two of the guards. Both fail their tests to spot him. (These guards are the WORST.)
Turn 8: One of the guards shifts his facing, giving him another chance to spot Kato. He does not. Kato moves towards another encounter marker, desperately trying to identify the last mob lieutenant; or even catch a glimpse of the mystery man. But before that can happen, the Green Hornet, trying to remain out of sight, moves around the back of the shipping container stack.
He activates an encounter marker. It’s the cops, led to the scene by crusading reporter Mike Axford!
Immediately, the mob lieutenants make a break for their cars, while the Mystery Man slinks away into the shadows. MEETING ADJOURNED!
Turn 9: Although Mike Axford is scanning the yard for the elusive Green Hornet, “Clean-Head” Chang runs out into the open in full view of the cops while making a break for his car, not knowing that his driver has been KO’ed by the Green Hornet’s gas gun. The cops fire, but fail to hit the Tong gangster. Meanwhile, Louie the Lunger runs for his car, also unaware that his driver is down for the count because of Kato’s dart. He comes face-to-face with Kato, and wastes no time pulling his gun and taking his shot. He hits! Kato takes a grazing shot along his rib cage!
In response, Kato screams his Battle Cry, leaping into hand-to-hand combat with Louie the Lunger. To his credit, the mobster doesn’t panic; but he does drop to the ground senseless on the receiving end of Kato’s vicious flying kick!
The Green Hornet tries to head off “Clean-Head” Chang, even going so far as to attack Chang’s car with the Hornet Sting in an attempt to disable it. Unfortunately, the device fails, and Chang’s car is unaffected. Chang reaches his car and speeds away, leaving behind his enforcer. The identity of the third mob lieutenant must remain a mystery, as he manages to reach his car and speed away, leaving his enforcer behind as well!
Turn 10: There are only two criminal models left on the table; these are the two goons left behind by the lieutenants as they made their escape. Mike Axford is obsessed with the Green Hornet and doesn’t care about these small fish. He’s desperately scanning the darkness, looking for the Hornet; but finds Kato instead. He hastily points him out the police, who open fire! Although most of the cops miss, Kato is struck again! He’s down to one wound! This serves to highlight his position to the goon atop the shipping container, who also opens fire at Kato with his tommy gun! Despite leaking like a sieve, Kato manages to leap and roll to safety, easily avoiding the hail of bullets! (Kato rolled two natural 10’s, which are Heroic Saves. The bullets never even came close.) The remaining mobster fires upon the Green Hornet, but only sprays the air as our hero vanishes into the concealing darkness!
Turn 11: Kato needs to get out of here, and fast. He sprints to the edge of the board to join the Green Hornet, spending Hero Points to gain extra movement. The heroes flee the scene with the identity of two of the three mob lieutenants, as the cops collar the remaining gangsters and Mike Axford wrings his hat in frustration. But questions persist: who was the third lieutenant, and who was the mystery man? What did they want?
Analysis: This game was a lot of fun, and it flew by pretty quickly. With two Grade 3 models, you would think the odds were stacked in favor of the heroes; and for a while, that was the case. Once the alarm sounded, though, all bets were off. The fact that the guards couldn’t spot snow in a blizzard helped; but Kato survived by sheer luck alone. I fully expected him to go down in a hail of gunfire from the cops, but they rolled like shit. Then, he pulled off a miraculous dodge when one of the gat men opened up with his tommy gun. Lucky!
I was really pleased with how the two heroes methodically took out the sentries while trying to discover as many clues as possible. The encounter markers weren’t going their way; but they did get seven full turns before the cops showed up, and the identities of 2 of the 3 lieutenants. The final VP tally: Heroes: 7, Gangsters: 1. A pretty decisive (though by no means complete) victory for the heroes!
Epilogue: The Next Day
Britt Reid paced the room, pounding his fist into his palm in frustration. “Blast it, Kato, why does Mike Axford have to be so darn good at his job?”
“Isn’t that what you pay him for?” asked Kato. He was propped up in bed, his ribs bandaged. Despite the pain, he was feeling fortunate that mobsters were such lousy shots.
“The Daily Sentinel is lucky to have a reporter so tenacious. The Green Hornet, not so much. Axford brought the cops down on us before we could find out what was really going on in that storage yard.”
“We know the identities of two of the lieutenants,” said Kato, ” Louie the Lunger and Clean-Head Chang. That’s something.”
“It would have been nice to be able to interrogate at least one of them, and find out the identitiy of the third,” said Reid, “not to mention the mystery man, and what they were doing in the first place. Chang got away, and Louie is cooling his heels in a cell downtown.” Reid sighed in exasperation. “D.A. Scanlon says he isn’t talking.”
“Sorry I got shot, boss,” said Kato.
“That’s ok, my friend,” deadpanned Reid. “Just try to do better next time.” The two men exchanged smiles. “So, what now?” asked Kato.
“Clean-Head Chang is top enforcer for Wise Uncle Wei,” said Reid. “I think it’s time Wei got a visit from the Green Hornet.”
Kato nodded, sliding out of bed; but Reid stopped him. “You need to stay here and rest up, Kato. I’ll handle this one alone.”
Kato shook his head. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
“You worry too much, Kato. I have done this before, you know.” Reid smiled. “I’ll tell you all about it when I get back.”
Kato sat back and watched as Britt Reid left. A few minutes later, he slid out of bed, wincing in pain. The Green Hornet needed Kato, and there was no way he wasn’t going to be there.
Scenario: At midnight, three of the most powerful mob lieutenants in the city are meeting with a mysterious figure. Who do these lieutenants work for and what are they discussing? Who is this mystery man? And why wasn’t the Green Hornet invited? The Green Hornet and Kato plan on finding out the answers to these questions; but there’s another problem: Ace Reporter Mike Axford has also learned of the meeting and tipped off the police. It’s only a matter of time before they arrive…can the Green Hornet find his answers before then?
Victory Conditions: The Green Hornet must discover three clues (the identities of the enforcers) and escape the board. The criminals must prevent him from learning everything before the cops arrive and they are forced to make their escape. Victory points are awarded for clues. Each clue discovered by the Green Hornet is worth 1 VP, each clue that goes undiscovered is worth 1 VP for the criminals. In addition, each model that is eliminated is worth one VP equal to his grade (i.e. a Grade 3 model is worth 3 VP, etc.), and each Mob Lieutenant (not including the mystery man) that is able to escape is worth 1VP to the criminals. Whoever has the most VP at the end wins.
Forces: The Hero player controls the Green Hornet (Grade 3 Crimefighter) and Kato (Grade 3 Crimefighter). The Criminal Player starts with 3 Enforcers (Grade 2) and 6 Gat Men (Grade 1). (Each lieutenant brought a driver and a goon.) The lieutenants and the drivers are armed with pistols; the goons are armed with submachine guns. The Police (3 Grade 1 Officers) and Mike Axford (Grade 1 Reporter) are controlled by either player, subject to the conditions below.
Setup: Play is on a 24”x24” surface, representing the yard of MacLane’s Storage Yard. There are shipping containers stacked around the yard, forming a central clearing of sorts. Crates, barrels and oil drums are liberally scattered about the yard, providing cover and spots to hide. There are three cars each facing an unobstructed path through the containers in roughly a Y-shaped pattern. In the center of these cars, the three Mob Lieutenants are deployed, along with the Mystery Man. One Gat Man is deployed next to each car; these are the lieutenants’ drivers and they don’t usually take part in any of the action unless the shooting starts. The remaining 3 Gat Men are deployed on Guard Duty. The guards can be placed among or atop the shipping containers. The Green Hornet and Kato start on one board edge, in cover but at least 8” away from any enemy model.
Stealthy: A hero can attempt to take out a guard in melee without alerting any of the others. If a hero attacks a guard in melee and KO’s him, he does so silently. If the guard doesn’t go down, he immediately sounds the alarm. If a hero attacks a guard with line of sight to another guard, any attempts to spot him are made at +1.
Sounding the Alarm: Any guard who spots a hero model or who survives a round of melee can sound the alarm. This instantly alerts all the guards on the table, who can activate and act normally in subsequent turns. The bosses make a break for it as if The Police Arrive (see below).
The Police Arrive: When this happens (or when the alarm is sounded), all the bosses immediately make a break for their cars, and will reach them in one turn. The drivers can shoot at any of the heroes or the police they can see for one turn, then they speed away with their boss on the following turn. Any of the bosses who get off the board escape. As for the mystery man, he cannot be captured. He vanishes without a trace!
The police choose their targets as follows: first, they fire at any model that fired upon them, otherwise they fire at the closest hero or criminal they can see. Whichever model is the target, the opposing player rolls for the cop’s attacks. The Green Hornet and Kato will not enter combat with the police or with Mike Axford (no matter how much they want to), the one exception being the Green Hornet can use his gas gun if needed.
Pesky Mike Axford: Mike Axford is obsessed with unmasking the Green Hornet, and is constantly pointing out his whereabouts to the cops. By spending a Hero point, the player controlling the mob enforcers can force the police to fire upon either of the heroes, even if there is a closer criminal target. The criminal player cannot do this if any criminals fired upon the police earlier this turn, however. Axford cannot be the target of attacks, nor can he attack any other model.
The Green Hornet (Grade 3): DR 5 Brains 4 Will 3 Brawn 3 Guts 10 Heater 5 Shiv 5 Dodge 4 Speed 5 Brawler +1d10, Pugilist +1, One-Two Punch, Sharpshooter +1, Quick +1, Nerves of Steel +2, Observant, Quick Recovery, Heroic Action
Another challenge for the Green Hornet; his aide, Kato; and their rolling arsenal, the Black Beauty!
Britt Reid, publisher of the Daily Sentinel, sat in his home office, uneasily drumming his fingers on the desk. “Very interesting, Kato.”
“What’s that?” Kato asked, setting a glass in front of his boss and friend. With a flourish,he held aside the sleeve of his white valet jacket and began to fill the glass with orange juice, raising the decanter impossibly high before lowering it at just the right moment to avoid an overflow.
Reid smiled at Kato’s theatrics.“Three of the city’s biggest mob lieutenants have a meeting tonight, Kato– a secret meeting with a mysterious fourth party…and it seems the Green Hornet wasn’t invited!”
“Maybe our invitation got lost in the mail,” Kato said dryly. “What do you think it’s about?”
“I don’t know, my friend. But one thing I do know: this is one soiree the Green Hornet isn’t about to miss!”
Kato nodded. “I’ll get the car ready.”
It’s long past time I played some Pulp. Although my Star Trek skirmishes last year scratched an itch for adventures in spaaaaaace; I wanted to get back to some good old-fashioned two-fisted Pulp action. And who better for that than the Green Hornet and Kato?
I used .45 Adventure 2nd Edition, my favorite rules for Pulp gaming. You can get the PDF here for a measly 10 bucks, and it’s well worth it. That being said, I made a few changes; the same changes I used when playing the Star Trek games using Fantastic Worlds. I’ll repeat them here: .45 Adventure has a detailed combat system that involves wound location and deteriorating statistics based on damage received. For example, you get shot in the arm, your shooting and brawling abilities go down; you get shot in the legs, your movement speed decreases, etc. The better your character, the higher his stats and the more wound boxes he has; therefore wounds have less of an effect on heroic characters and a greater effect on scrubs.
For my taste, this was a bit more bookkeeping than I wanted to deal with. I decided a model has a number of wounds equal to its rank and damage resistance (DR) commensurate with their abilities, and that wound location doesn’t matter. If a character is wounded, he loses a wound. Rank 3 and Rank 2 characters are KOed when they lose their last wound; Rank 1 scrubs aren’t so lucky: they’re dead (unless they are supposed to be KOed). This makes combat a lot faster and more deadly, but requires a lot less effort to keep track of a character round-to-round. Heroic characters (like the Green Hornet) may have access to abilities that allow them to shrug off and/or heal wounds, or to act regardless of them, but goons go down fast. As it should be!
The tradeoff is that a lot of special abilities in .45 Adventure are based around wound location, such as Supreme Effort, which allows a model to use his starting stats for a wound location for a turn (regardless of how badly damaged that location is); or Dead Shot, which improves your chances of hitting a specific location. Since I scrapped wound location, none of the models could use these; which somewhat limited the selection of skills I had access to. Each location also has its own Damage Resistance value. It’s generally easier to wound someone if you hit them in the head as opposed to hitting their arm, for example. I scrapped that too, and just assigned a blanket DR to an entire model. The more important or tough the model is, the more DR it has. This makes the game move a lot faster at the expense of some of the detail of the system; I like it, but YMMV.
That about covers the rules. But, what about the scenario?
It’s simple: At midnight, three of the most powerful mob lieutenants in the city are meeting with a mysterious figure. Who do these lieutenants work for and what are they discussing? Who is this mystery man? And why wasn’t the Green Hornet invited? The Green Hornet and Kato plan on finding out the answers to these questions; but there’s another problem: Ace Reporter Mike Axford has also learned of the meeting, and tipped off the police. It’s only a matter of time before they arrive…can the Green Hornet find his answers before then?