Friday, July 15, 2016

Bonefist's Revenge

The Crew:

Terry (Cap'n Beefheart), Jon Mark (Mr. Wang), Bill (Mr. Harrison), Ken (Mr. Stevens), Tommy (Isabella) and Tim (Bosun).  I had Tim stay on board The Skidmark and man the cannon.  The rest went ashore.

The Plot:

The crew, jubilant that they'd successfully defeated both the "squid cult" and the cannibals, sheltered in a protected cove far in the southeast corner of the Fingers. To their surprise, a small village was discovered atop a rocky plateau that jutted into the cove.  Captain Beefheart scanned the establishment with his spyglass.

"While th' huts be largely o' th' native grass variety, thar be a larger wooden buildin' as well as barrels and crates stacked about.  Me thinks this small bay offers more than simple refuge!

"Bosun! Can ye sight some of th' starboard guns on th' huts? We'll be off ashore 'n scout it out. Bin got a feelin' we're in fer a rough leave."

The Game:

The crew has finally located Captain Bonefist's lair.

The village from the front...
...and the back.
Who's this mysterious troubadour?
Captain Beefheart decided a couple of shots from the cannon would be a nice "howdy", so he ordered the Bosun to aerate the huts.  A few horribly graphic deaths of unsuspecting sailors later and the dinghy launched with the away team.

Fire!
Although the bay was placid, Mr. Harrison's head injury sometimes affects him in odd ways.  Vertigo is one and he had a rough time that required heaving over the gunwale (please forgive the unsightly dinghy.  I had just finished painting my 'real' one, but forgot to bring it home).


Then calamity struck.  The Bosun's crew fired a cannon, but the shot either wasn't packed correctly or their aim really was awful.  Regardless of the reason, canister shot ripped through the dinghy, making several of the away team dive for cover.  Luckily, nobody was incapacitated, but it set the tone for the rest of the evening.

Down, but not out!
Beefheart points an accusing finger at the Bosun.

With that nasty business sorted out, the crew made for shore.  They soon discovered that the village is armed and extremely dangerous!

Mr. Stevens, his blood up, rushed onto the beach before the dinghy was secured.  He bellowed his ire while his pistols belched fire and flame.  He melon balled one sailor's noggin before being beset by several of the unfortunate pirate's friends.  He fell under a mass of bludgeoning blows, his blood mixing with the surging tide.

Stevens is down.
The rest of the fight centered around the landing craft.  Captain Beefheart was sorely pressed by Bonefist's crewmen and struggled to stay out of the drink.  Slowly but surely the crew knocked the sailors out of action, but at what cost?

It's a scrum.

Wang noticed that "the bard" was directing the sailors' actions, so decided to handle the lout.  He closed in a most dramatic fashion that involved intricate flips and high-pitched war cries.  He met resistance from the minstrel, who then slipped behind a second line of waiting sailors.






At this point, the game turned south.  The bard began playing his lute, which distracted Wang with its haunting melody.  While he was daydreaming, one of Bonefist's crew snuck up and dispatched him.  With Wang down, the rest of the away team eventually fell as well.  The end of the scenario saw Beefheart and his crew being herded to the village and into the wooden building.

The rest was pure high adventure fiction...

Captain Bonefist lays on his cot, barely able to rise.  He looks at the crew with haunted eyes; his sallow expression one of almost...relief.

"Ye found me."  His voice is hardly audible and nowhere near the robust baritone Isabelle had described on numerous occasions.

"I be surprised we beat ye.  Ye've been pains in my arse since ye sailed into th' Fingers.  It doesn't matter, though...a hollow victory.  I suppose ye'll be wantin' th' map piece. 'Tis over thar...In th' chest. I kept it from Cook 'n th' Bosun when they left with th' Devil's Knot and most o' me crew, but I be pretty sure they didn't want it anyway. They fear 'tis cursed. It may well be. Th' whole damn ta hell thin' be cursed. Damn ta hell Haworth 'n his thrice-damned treasure!"  His words fade into a hacking cough.  When he moves to cover his mouth, his sleeve falls down his arm.  Bare bone, covered with dried muscles and sinew peek from under the cloth.

"Oh, aye. I be cursed alright. Don't worry, Beefheart. 'Twasn't Haworth's treasure that killed me. 'Twas Haworth himself! Oh, aye.  I met th' bastard.  I saw wi' me own two eyes his fortune and wanted it for meself."  Another coughing fit ensues.  Bonefist draws a battered breath and continues.  "His touch did it. We shook hands 'n his taint slowly started to rot me flesh. I be a-feared that his curse has made its way through me. I wondered why he cackled so...Now I be knowin'!

"If ye find that miserable bastard, be sure to stay away from his touch 'n send him back to th' pit he crawled from! Be tellin' him Reynard Duvalier sends his regards from Hell!"  Bonefist once again coughs copiously into his shriveled hand.  He flops back into his cot, gasping for air.

"The bard's name is Louis.  Lou Silvertone is what we be callin' him.  He and th' crew that beat ye remained loyal to me after Cook and Bosun left.  Take him with ye.  He and th' lads will help ye with Haworth, but will then part ways.  Call it a 'partin' gift'."  He chuckles phlegmatically.  "Now git out!"

So ended Captain Reynard "Bonefist" Duvalier's terrible reign over the Fingers.

--------

The final map piece.  The quest's end draws near.  On the back of the scrap is scrawled the following (translated from the original Dutch):

Into the maelstrom you must go, but beware
For all the map pieces you must possess.
A place of darkness and despair,
You'll find Haworth and your fate.


Ominous words.  What do they foreshadow?

--------

Story upkeep of the fallen crew:

  • Mr. Stevens recuperated just fine, but someone...stole...his pet bird.
  • Mr. Harrison survived, but has some temporary skittishness about his mortality and will be slightly harder to call to action next game.
  • Mr. Wang lived, but he suffered a blow to his confidence regarding his martial skills for the rest of his life.
  • Isabelle succumbed to her wounds and was buried in a beautiful, but remote spot on the island.
  • Captain Beefheart also survived, but also has some life-long doubts about his role in the world.

Monday, June 20, 2016

LEGO: Adventure camp

I have the honor of 'teaching' several LEGO camps during the summer.  The first camp was LEGO: Adventure.  I gave the kids several genre options to choose from, such as superheroes, western, gangsters, medieval and modern military, and then create games for them to play within the genre.  I use Minifigs for these scenarios, but often use third party accessories (weapons, armor, etc) to kit them out.  I've found that having a stock of generic Minifigs that I can outfit for whatever I need is essential.  I not only introduce many children to gaming, but they also get a chance for their imaginations to run wild!

Another thing I'll do is use collectible miniatures game maps for the scenarios' settings.  Basically, I have the kids build 3D versions of whatever is on the map.  Desks, chairs, walls...they and many other things are built and overlaid on the map.  I like to think they are 'LEGOfying' the game.  I then throw in my own home brew of rules and some custom dice and....Voila!  Instant action!

Below are some pics I took of games we played.  Essentially, the class chose superheroes and then a western shootout.  I didn't get too many pictures of the superhero slugfests, but I did manage one of Captain Marvel vs Superman (thanks Kenny).  

Superman blindsided Captain Marvel, dealing massive damage!
 The rest are shots of the shootout at LEGOville using the Fistful of Lead rules.  Enjoy!

This town ain't big enough for the two of us...

...so we built a bigger town!

Lining up the shot

High noon


Look at the guy in the sombrero!

The mayor and his wife protecting their property

Knock before you open the outhouse door!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Those cannibals were after our bones, but we marrowly escaped...

The Gang

Jon Mark (Mr. Wang), Kenny (Mr. Stevens), Tommy (Isabelle), Bill (Mr. Harrison), and me (all the cannibals).  I gave each player a crewmen, fully aware of the power of the Gang ability.

The Plot

Flush with knowing they'd stopped the weird cult from flourishing in the Fingers, Captain Beefheart and crew continued to sail to various islands in the Southeast quadrant of the archipelago in search of Bonefist and the all-important treasure map fragment.  They happened upon an island and yet again heard the tell-tale signals of native drums.  Knowing from the islanders that this meant cannibals, the away team was ready...or so they thought.  Captain Beefheart stayed on board The Skidmark, as his phobia-induced malaise was too powerful to be ignored.  He instead decided to sample some fine scotch he'd acquired from the distilleries of Scotland.

The Game

The team was confronted with quite the spectacle: An entire pygmy cannibal village!  Several huts were in a clearing, with men, women and children about.  Slightly apart from the village center was the expected sacrificial altar, cage and post.  Around this area were a majority of the male cannibals, being talked to (riled up?) by a larger pygmy, relatively speaking.  How would they approach the situation?  They needed to check for the map piece, but they also knew the cannibals weren't friendly or accommodating.  

Note - I didn't have any women or children models, so I used pennies for the kids and nickels for the females.  Not the best, but workable.

The party did what it always does:  Charge!  The idea was simply to put the crewmen (aka 'Redshirts') in the front, utilizing their Gang ability and letting the waves of cannibals break upon them.  The main characters would provide support.

In a nutshell, the action unfolded according to plan...for the first 2/3 of the fight.  The cannibals whittled away at the crewmen, eventually killing them all.  The witch doctors were successful mesmerizing crewmen  and characters alike, creating all sorts of ruckus.  The cannibal leader boldly strolled into the fray, only to be cut down like wheat before the scythe.  This gave the party a brief reprieve before heading back into the fight.

In the middle of all this, Mr. Harrison was struck down and was out of action.  The gang wondered if their brain-addled mate would survive the day.

The cannibals gather...

...talked to by their leader.

No worries!

Gun smoke filled the air...







That's the last of the blighters!


The fight ended with the women and children escaping and a solitary adult male running into the jungle.  The crew dragged Mr. Harrison back to the ship, where he was easily revived with a mug of rum.

The Fingers was now free of the cannibal scourge for a while, possibly forever, for Skittles the 'pet' lizard was left on the island.  The crew figured that women and children would help their pet grow big and strong (plus he was getting entirely too big for the ship)!


Friday, June 3, 2016

A Date with Chaos

The Crew

Terry (Cap'n Beefheart), Tommy (Isabelle) and Kenny (Mr. Stevens).  I supplemented the lack of higher level characters with a bevy of regular crewmen.  This proved pivotal, as their Gang ability carried the day.

The Plot

After making off with Bonefist's bribe money, The Skidmark sailed back to the isle of friendly islanders.  In a way, these people had it bad.  The cultists and cannibals, with Bonefist's blessings, raided the isle mercilessly for their various rituals and meals.  The effect was an island full of terrified people with no real way to defend themselves.

They obviously saw salvation in the form of Beefheart and crew and worked diligently to provide The Skidmark with provender and information.  However, the islands to the east were merely known to be 'bad'.  Unfortunately for The Skidmark, that was exactly the direction they were heading.

The Game

As with most of our sessions, island exploration was the au gout du jour.  In this case, the jungle opened to a clearing filled with low-slung hills, ruins and a large idol.  The party split up to investigate, but Captain Beefheart made sure nobody strayed too far.

The Cap'n and some crew explored a rock...


...while Isabelle and 'Tophat' viewed some ruins.

Mr. Stevens and some squaddies checked out the idol.

This writing means....something.
Mr. Stevens and a couple brave crewmen explored the idol.  There were strange heiroglyphs as well as large circular section.  The circle's top depicted a sun, while the bottom featured either waves or tentacles.


Get off, Stevens!
After Stevens got off the stone, he and his mates began trying to shift the slab.  Soon, the rest of the gang assisted.

All together now...
With a mighty heave, the stone slab shifted, revealing a set of worn stairs that spiraled into the darkness.  Without hesitation, the crew descended into the depths.

The party quickly experienced deja vu, as they found themselves in eerie catacombs similar to the cult they'd handled earlier in their exploits.  They quickly found an islander captured in a cell.  Their loud efforts aroused the suspicions of the the inhabitants and the fight was on!

Wake up!

I heard voices behind this door, Sir!

The fight is on!
In one area, the mess hall, a couple of acolytes were blazed down by Mr. Stevens and his stout mates.  Some dashing acrobatic feats using chairs and tables saw the end of one acolyte.


Isabelle and Tophat made quick work of some cultists loitering in the barracks.




The smoke literally and figuratively cleared, leaving one door.  What was behind it?

What is that?!
A trap!  Obviously the temple portion of the catacomb, the head acolyte and his cronies had been hard at work summoning a Chaos Beast!  The fight was on...


...while the cult's leader ran...again.




The crew fought the creature with pistols, as too often they were too afraid to rush it and attack in melee.  That is, everyone but Mr. Stevens!  Hearing gun fire, he rushed headlong down the hallway, through the accumulating gun smoke and literally leaped into the fray!  "Mad" Stevens is a spot-on nickname!

Eventually, the Beast was killed, but not before Captain Beefheart tripped and fell into the chaos sludge the Beast was born from (more on that later).  But what happened to the leader?  He ran out of an undiscovered secret passage, past Isabelle and up the stairs to the jungle above.  She in turn hiked her skirt and gave chase.  The leader almost made it to safety, but was hampered by his robe.  Isabelle caught him, swiped at him with her sword and then skewered him at the edge of the jungle.  Vengeance, indeed!

I'm sorry.  Were you going somewhere?

The Outcome

The crew ransacked the place, freed the islander and had an overall good island hop!  Alas, no map piece.  The adventure continues.

The captain, coated with chaos slime, was...changed.  Normally fearless regardless of the creature or circumstance, he developed a phobia...of tropical birds.  Mr. Stevens can't even have his pet in sight of the Captain without his cowering uncontrollably.  How will this affect him in the future?  Time will tell...

My Musings

A couple of things.  One, I'd hoped the crew would have found the secret passage, thereby bypassing a large portion of the scrum.  Having said that, Isabelle tracking down a fleeing leader was amusing as well.  Two, the Gang special ability can be powerful in large numbers!  It's a game-changer that I'll have to be aware of in the future.  Three, I had to get a little creative with the Captain's interaction with Chaos.  I could've made it a lot worse, but chose the cinematic route.