Wednesday, October 27, 2010

AP: Space 1889 - Date Night - Pt. 2 Alexander's Mark

By Neville Duck
Spoiler Alert! - Alexander's Mark is the first Savage Tale in the Space 1889: Red Sands. If you plan to play it, don't read this. Just enjoy part 1 for now until you do get a chance to play.

The Cast

Nicolette LeBrun. (Main Player Character) - Junior Society member, budding archaeologist, linguist, and tutor to the social elite.

Sir Chester, Lord of Windon, patron of the London Museum of Antiquities, and member of the Explorer's Society noticed Nicolette during his son's tutoring session. Her mastery of language and history was apparent.

Lord Windon decided to test Nicolette's knowledge of antiquities whereupon he discovered, much to his dismay, his 300 pound sterling vase was a forgery. It seems modern Greek syntax wasn't used during the early stoic period despite the clever pun written upon his prize vase. Lord Windon insisted the Society induct Nicolette with the task of reviewing the Society's ever-growing collections from India, Syria, of course, Greece.

Ian House - Junior Society member, ex-military pugilist with impressive fighting and gunnery skills.

Ian intervened when a group of ruffians attacked barrister Morton Glasswort on his way to the courts. Noting his rescuer needed employment, the grateful barrister introduced Ian to Lord Windon who hired Ian as an armed escort for important "packages" destined for the London Museum of Antiquities.

Captain Edward Littlefield, Retired army officer and junior Society member.

The Captain faithfully served her majesty in India and Africa as an officer in the army. His recent retirement was short lived as his knowledge of India and excellent soldiering skills would again be needed to serve Queen and country. The Society watches Her Majesty's armed forces for devoted and talented soldiers and sailors who would make good members. Captain Littlefield joined the Society immediately upon his retirement.

Private Desmond Fezziton. Junior Society member.

Young Private Fezziton distinguished himself as a fearless fighter and gunner. He served under Captain Littlefield in an India campaign where he saved the Captian's life by foiling a Thugee night raid meant to dispatch the Queen's regimental commander. Young Fezziton was up late dutifully organizing the supplies for the next day's march. He spotted the Thugees and shouted an alarm as he dove into melee. The society arranged for Fezziton to follow Captain Littlefield into "retirement."

First Evening's Adventure

The Market

Nicolette LeBrun was off on her own wandering the markets and stalls of London. She searched for that fascinating, unexpected antiquity that would provide hours of enjoyable research. Her fascination with languages allowed her to spot an old piece of pottery that was quite out of place and obviously undervalued. Ancient Sanskrit in a London market? Hmm. 10 bob quick as you like (10s) and on her way back to the Society's London library to figure out the reference to the Conqueror's Stone.

Nicolette used the extensive research resources at the Explorer's Society HQ to discover the legend of the Conquer's Stone as well as the map on the ancient vase. Arrangements were made by the Section X planners for passage to the Afghanistan Mountains. The party set off to the Hindukush with hand written map taken from the vase.

First Encounter

Nicolette, Ian, the Captain, and Private Fezziton made good progress as they approached the Hindukush. When the explorers stopped to confirm their location with some local tribesmen, Nicolette noticed a gorge that seemed to match the map.  During the moment of distraction, the fanatical tribesmen unexpectedly raised their black powder muskets and fired. Luckily, all the shots missed. The explorers returned fire but missed as well. 

The fanatics dropped their muskets drawing long, wicked knives as they charged into battle. The 3 men stepped forward to protect the lady of the party. The fanatics swung wildly with their knives and the British adventurers fought back with superior weaponry. Private Fezziton had his rifle with a bayonet, Captain Littlefield had his cutlass, and Ian House, being a pugilist, decided to bravely duke it out.

To everyone's surprise it took 3 rounds to defeat the fanatics. A parry and toughness of 6 seemed to be enough to fend off the Brits longer than was expected. Miss Nicolette LeBrun made the decision to fire into melee and thankfully hit with a raise to finish off the last fanatic. This didn't bode well given what lay ahead.

I noticed my wife a bit despondent that she didn't immediately thrash the poorly armed locals. I reminded her that none of her party was even scratched. "Remember in 'The Mummy' and 'The Mummy Returns' how the parry and riposte went on and on and several of the bad guys got away?"

Her determination returned and "On to the cave!" she said.

The Cave

After some searching and comparing to the map, a cave was discovered. The party entered to explore. The men all failed their notice rolls. Nicolette made hers and a old carving was spotted at the back of the cave. She pointed it out to the party and young Fezziton examined it. He poked and prodded then realized the eyelid on the carving moved. Naturally he opened the lid and poked the eye. The stone door opened and all hell broke loose.

The Bronze Beast's fighting of d10 and toughness of 12 seemed unbeatable. While all our British heroes were armed and ready, the first round of combat did absolutely nothing to the beast. Bennies came to the rescue countered, of course, by GM bennies. My wife is not a combat oriented person, yet there she was, frantically trying to figure out how to stop the creature from goring and stomping her party to pieces.

The Captain was a step back from the beast's attack. He held back a round to help his aim (marksman) leaving poor Private Fezziton face to face with the terrifying behemoth. Fezziton's attack bounced off the bronze menace and Fezziton was dealt a stunning blow. Shots from the back row by Ian and Nicolette both missed the beast (and Fezziton). The next round made for a better showing.

With the heroes getting initiative all around, and poor stunned Fezziton getting a Joker, things were looking up. Even better, Fezziton rolled high and was unshaken and once again able to act. His attack was parried but he wasn't down. The Captain, having held a round now fired and hit. His damage was high and would have shaken the beast if not for a GM bennie.  Before the game started I decided to use only 2 GM bennies. One down, one to go.

Ian fired and hit with a pistol. The beastie shrugged it off. Nicolette fired into combat and was the last to go before the monster could act. She fired and missed. "A Bennie!" she shouted, and she quickly picked up the dice and rolled again. Her wild die rolled a 6.

"Roll again", I said. She rolled again and ...another 6, and then a 3. A 15 to hit! Very nice raise. "Don't forget to roll your extra d6 for damage due to the raise." I said. She liked that. Her pistol was 2d6 and the extra d6 brought a smile to her face. She said a little prayer and threw the dice. 6, 5, 3. Roll the 6 again getting a 5 for a total of 19 points of damage. Shaken and wound. Nice going!

Well, sorry babe, gotta soak that with a Bennie. Roll...1 (+2 to shaken rolls for the Construct's ability). Crap. Ok, I break my 2 GM Bennies rule. I roll again. 1..failure. And as simple as that, it's over. It was a monster (Automaton) after all and bad rolls are par for the course. The seemingly indestructible bronze monster was down.

 Without missing a beat, Nicolette stepped forward and said "I wonder if I can fix it? What a great toy that would make!," she said.

They climbed over the beastie and discovered the stone spiral stairs leading down. Still largely unscathed, and with increasing self confidence, the party headed down into the unknown.

At this point we decided to call it an evening as we still wanted to fit food and a movie into the evening.

Also, the wife decided that her notice was crap and wanted to rework her character. She realized that shooting was a bit more important than she originally thought. While the party was still largely unscathed, what would happen if they encountered a wild card. A long discussion on the merits of earning your skills and improving your traits ensued. She poured over Nicolette to see where she could tweak. It's a great exercise for a beginning character and one I encourage.

"Do I really need lock-picking?" she asked.

"You...might." I said.

She looked at me sideways trying to glean if I was trying to say something with out outright saying. "Lets pick this up this Tuesday and finish." she said.

"So, you like Savage Worlds?" I asked.

"Yes, but too much combat. Can we do more like Dr. Who?" she asked.

"I'll work on that." I said.

Next: Lock Picking, Pits, and my wife's first encounter with a Wild Card.

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