Saturday, July 16, 2011

Big Game Hunters' Safari on Venus: Battle Report

If you didn't see the game rules and hunting party construction guide, you might want to read that post first.

Motivated by the potential publicity, and the prize purse, offered by the Zoological Institute of Progressive International Taxonomists, four notable Big Game Hunters set out to claim the prize.

A Cytherian Parrotman hunter and his faithful companion, accompanied by a menagerie of fighting men from various tribes and races. These two have names unpronounceable, due to the fact they have a kinetic language, so to learn their language you'd have better luck signing up for a modern dance class than a language class. 

Allan Quartermaine and his followers, bolstered by a semi-submergable clank.  
To not scare off any camera shy natives, his camera was cleverly hidden in a tusk. 

The Swedish Hunter, two assistants, homeguard troops and offworld warriors. 
Svanhilla won several awards for photography in Oslo, and is determined to give viewers back home 
'a woman's perspective' of Venus. 

A companion of Kneemo's expedition, it wasn't surprising to see a clank among this hunting party. 

Venus awaits, but will not yield her secrets willingly. 
The entire table is considered dense vegetation, with visibility no greater than 20" unless looking down the river or if a clearing is discovered. 

The safaris begin as the parties head toward Thunder Valley.

Quartermaine is one of the first to spot some natives, partially obscured in the jungle: the fierce Draniki. 
His clank takes point, thrashing through the foliage, flailing his arms...wildly.

The Draniki take aim and fire, but to little effect. 

More Draniki on the move. 

Meanwhile the swedes are alerted by a piercing shriek, but the steely-nerved hunter brings the beast down. 

Quartermaine spots the strangest creature they have seen yet, looking like a big brain and tentacles. Not taking any chances, they fire. He finds his vision unaccountably blurred, but the creature's mind tricks are no match for his skill and a mess now decorates the underbrush.  A photo is taken, titled 'Linguine & Leaves' but it is not to be well received.  
Kneemo's men find trouble as well. Investigating an eerie blue glow, they find it's source. And open fire.

The Parrotman's expedition makes its way inland, following the river.

Approaching the remains of the brain, Quartermaine's men are attacked by walking trees!
A prolonged combat ensues with the treacherous trees.

The Cytherian company's rear-guard is attacked by a fair sized predator.  Soon after a larger one of the species comes to its aid, and when it is gunned down, this young one fights all the more fiercely, bringing down several of the diminutive warriors.

Meanwhile, their native primate allies move up to investigate a sinister looking cave.

Who's that knocking at my door?

The enormous quadrupedal hunter comes out for a meal, but while distracted, is hit by several well aimed shots.

Another brain creature emerges from the murky swamp. The primate warriors are on their own for now.

They manage to finish the beast off!  
Enjoy it while you can lads, because your employer is sure to take the credit for himself.

After dispatching the tree-people, the noise has attracted a hunting pack of Grishak: small, fast & hardy. 

Not content like Quartermaine to fuss with small prey, Kneemo's man spots a gigantic beast.  
Could this finally be the mythical Thunder Lord?

The Swedes run into an even larger brain creature, which is soon joined by two more small ones! 
Wounding the big one, it responded by inserting a tentacle into a man, draining him of life and the rest of the men watched in horror as the creature's wounds began to heal. Poor Svanhilla would not survive this day.

A thunderous roar erupted, accompanied by the ground shaking.  The true Thunder Lord entered his valley to meet his unwelcome guests. 

Few were not terrified at the sight and sound of this nightmare.

Brave or foolish, the little Grool, those who had defeated the cave-dweller charged forward in blind courage.

Grateful for the larger carnivore being distracted, the smaller, but nevertheless formidable Alice charged the shiny creature before her as the men opened fire. In an amazing display of skill (6 goals out of 7, with a couple 6's in there which count double) she ripped the clank's head from it's body with her jaws as her slashing toe claws ripped the metal of it's chest, to settle her weight on the clank, crushing it.  
Two myths were dispelled this day: Dinosaurs are not extinct, and there is no such thing as canned food. 
She will finish off the soldiers, who die in defense of their employers. She is mightily wounded, yet the hunters are close to her jaws. Their story remains unfinished, perhaps someday their tale will emerge from the jungle. 

Quite proud of his trophy of tree-creature, much to the amusement of his men, with their muffled remarks of the 'Brave Bushwhacker', Quartermaine sees the great Thunder Lord itself, and readies his rifle for a kill shot. 

His clank will be no help in this fight with the mighty dinosaur, for it has been ambushed by a Draniki hunting party. 

With his inadequate eyesight, the mighty lord peers into the jungle to spot his foes.  He can not see them, but their scent is strong: smells like chicken.
The great beast is wounded by several shots and spear-thrusts from the foolhardy Grool.  
Quartermaine is readying his rifle to steal the kill shot, but the notable Parrotman hunter, 'hippy-hippy-shake' (or something to that effect) was just a moment faster and brought the great beast down.

A victory celebration ensued for the native expedition. Many photos were taken.  
The photos will be studied by earth scientists, though reports in newspapers in every country seem to have omitted this last part. 
But the parrotmen know the real story and for them, it is enough. 


Each player got 1 point per vitality loss it inflicted, and for beasts of 3 vitality or more, they got the full vitality points for the killing blow, since for hunters who gets the actual kill is where much of the bragging rights are. 
Players also got 1 point for a photo, and 2 points for photos of formidable creatures.
For physical specimens, players got 1 point per porter carrying 1 vitality creatures, 3 for each carrying parts from 3 vitality creatures and 4 points for each porter carrying parts from vitality 4+ creatures.  So it taking 2 porters to carry the rex skull, would be worth 8 additional points.  It didn't take precise math to see the parrotmen had the lion's share of the points. 

If there was one thing I'd change about this, it would be to make the initial encounters stronger. I imagined this like designing an RPG dungeon crawl: it's a balance of attrition: you want to weaken a party as it goes along, but not so much they have no chance against the final encounter.  There wasn't enough attrition, but still the big beasts were tough nuts to crack. Also, the rules we used have close combat only allowing 1target in a henchman group to die from one attack. Some of these beasts should be able to kill more than one so for the biggest I modified those rules on the fly to allow them to kill up to 2. Only taking down 1 henchman in a group at a time put the medium threats: devanu hunters, brains, will-o-wisps, etc at a real disadvantage compared to the parties' numbers,which limited the attrition they took. Still, it was a fun game, the players seemed to enjoy it and I know I did. 

Thanks to the players and you can see Mike 'shimey-shimey-shake' Parrotman's write up and excellent pictures (some of which I used here) at his site  Rot and Drivel.  Vegetation provided by Alfrik, with many tutorials on how to make them on his site Armored Ink.


Porky said...

That's one of the best mash-ups I've seen in a good while - it must have been a heck of a lot of fun! Top work on every level, from the concept and rules to the mix of models, and the presentation here.

Laughing Ferret said...

Thanks Porky! It was a lot of fun. I was very happy with how it all went together and the overall look of the gaming table.

Dunc said...

A late comment, but I only chanced across this last night. Absolutely awesome mash-up of miniatures and concepts. Something I'm going to replicate for my 18mm Splintered Lands warbands, just for giggles.

What rules did you use? I'm almost certainly going to use Song of Blades & Heroes, as it's so inherently flexible.

Just need to find some decent 15mm Dinosaurs now... or steal a couple of my kid's plastic ones and drybrush/ink them up to standard.

For certain it'll introduce a bit of variety on my blog

Laughing Ferret said...

Thanks Dunc!

We used the Rules from 'Chaos in Cairo'. They're the rules we've been modifying for the Weird WWII gaming we're going to be doing, so it seemed a good time to practice them and test their flexibility. All of the dinos and other creatures I created stats for. They're good flexible rules and not too difficult to modify for new creatures and troop types. They also have some very characterful skills that made the Big game hunters and assistants very useful without making them godlings in combat.

Khurusan have some good 15mm dinos, but they have limited selection until their webstore is relaunched (maybe in Sept?) reaper have some 28mm dinos, which would probably make more imposing in an 18mm environment.

But toy dinos are a great way to go.

Paul O'G said...

Brilliant! Reminds me of some of the Dino Hunt games we have played.

I posted a link to your report at my "Yours in a White Wine Sauce" blog here:

The Haggis said...

Fantastic report! I've really enjoyed the feast for the eyes. I have some fledglnig Victorian stuff I'm working on so this is great inspiration.

Can I ask what figures those pygmies are? They look fantastic painted like that!

Laughing Ferret said...

Thanks for featuring this in your update Paul!
It really was a fun game. I enjoyed designing & running it.

Haggis: Aren't those pygmies fun? I can't take credit for them, those were painted & are owned by one of the guys who played it.. can find them on his site linked above on Rot & Drivel.
-- The miniatures are old Citadel Pygmies from Games Workshop. Never very common, at least in the US, and now long OOP.

Phil Curran said...

Can you please tel me who makes the Quartermain figure in the second photograph. i'm afraid my Google-Fu is weak !

Laughing Ferret said...

I don't know Phil, that one is Alan's, who was playing- I'll ask him and get back to you here with what he says.

Laughing Ferret said...

Hi Phil, the owner said:

I got them at some con. The character is supposed to be Quatermain from the league of extrodinary gentlemen. They were supposed to be a limited set. 500 painted and 500 unpainted. Sorry I don't remember any more, except they were 15 dollars each

another said he thought it was RLBPS
but I don't see it on the site- could be no more available now

Phil Curran said...

Thank you very much for trying

Dylan Peter said...

What game system are you using for this game? I've been drooling over these pictures and imagining my own campaign set in such a place.

Laughing Ferret said...

Dylan, we were experimenting with Goal System, a skirmish game with a few different genre versions out there. Once you have the basic concept down it was pretty easy to write up stats for the various characters, creatures and big dinos. Modified it to suit the needs & adjusted or made different skills for some of the odder creatures.

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