Thursday, November 13, 2014

Cops, Crooks and Cthulhu!

It was the day after Halloween. The moon was right (although not in evidence), the candy was ready, and Bob had set up another community game for us to play. There might be, at some point, a time at which I'm not surprised and delighted by one of Bob's scenarios. Luckily, this wasn't that time.

Really getting into the spirit of the season, the scenario was an apocalyptic clash between the Forces of Law & Order (both corrupt and stick-up-the-bum straight), several gangs who suddenly found their illegal stashes of booze in serious danger, and a motley assortment of cultists, monsters, gypsies and, worse of all, clowns who had their own nefarious plans. There would be plenty of trouble and effluvial grime for all! 

Above is the map of a section of Pinchburg, both above and below ground.

I haven't really covered Bob's rules in my posts about his games, and they do deserve special mention. The rules are usually rather simple which is a great boon when there are 10 players in a game who have varying levels of experience with miniature games. The complexity comes from Bob's role as Gamemaster. There are always a plentiful amount of NPC's in the game - whom Bob plays as - whose actions can either help or hinder players. Bob also makes great use of various action cards from RPGs and other sources. These cards can have rather dramatic results in a game, like forcing allies to suddenly attack one another or perhaps save a character from certain doom.

I took, as my group, the Albion Knights. Over the course of the game these characters involved into a bunch of endearing buffoons whose esoteric dabblings resulted more often in tomfoolery than any sort of effective battling of evil and the infinite writhing madness that lurks in the dark corners of the cosmos. 

Other factions included a group of G-Men and Pinchburg's Finest, two local gangs, two cultist groups (the Orders of St. Cosmos and St. Damian), a group of the Esoteric Order of Dagon looking to spread their influence out from Innsmouth and band of Gypsies with bloodthirsty intentions. Oh, and the Konfederacy of Klowns. Insane clowns. I bet even Nyarlathotep shudders at the thought.

The Knights started with a quick round in the Pincher's Pub, a venerable if somewhat run-down local establishment. The Order of St. Damien started outside at the front, with the G-Men arriving at the docks at this late hour. 

Guidry, seeing a flash of white robes outside, decided to investigate. Imagine his surprise to see the Knight's hated enemy, the Damienites, just outside! With a noise that was rather more of a shrill yelp than a battlecry, Guidry charged into combat with his spear! The rest of the Knights rushed outside to his aid. The Damienites surprised the Knights with the careful application of 12-gauge buckshot, and the shillelagh-wielding Mullally died with a good portion of him splattered against the outside wall of Pincher's. 

The G-Men, suddenly alerted by the booming report of a shotgun, rushed through the tavern, ignoring the pints of bitter on the table and the taps on the wall. One of the feds was stopped, however, by the strange sounding music emanating from the violin of a Gypsy hidden in shadow. The Gypsy managed to slow the operative and his boss (who was dragging the hapless dancing man by the collar) for a couple of turns before slipping out the back door and into the night.   

Meanwhile, in the sewers, one of the gangs managed to summon a Banshee to do their bidding (i.e., find a secure a large stash of booze). The Klowns had also summoned in a relatively new spirit for the age - the Doughboy! The being the 1920's and all. The Order of St. Cosmos advanced into the sewers, intent on summoning their own master's minions into the world. Looks like the Knights were going to have their hands full!

The G-Men, emerging from Pincher's, sight their guns on the retreating shapes of the Damienites and open fire. They manage to fell the shotgun wielding cultist, but not before the rest managed to slip into the ever-crowding sewers. With no time to explain, the Knights shout for the other forces of Order to follow them. Pinchburg's police do so, while the G-Men take an alternate route...

And while the skirmishes raged in the street above, dark magicks were being practiced in the sewers below. The Cosmosites managed to reach a Place of Power and, intoning inhuman verses, tear open a rip in reality. What stepped forth was an abomination, an eldritch beast - an offspring of Shub-Niggurath, the Black Goat with a Thousand Young!

Not to be outdone, the Innsmouth folk also completed their ritual, and the smell of rotting fish and worse things began to overpower the already potent stench of the sewers as Father Hydra slithered out of the depths.

Not wanting to be left out of the monster mash, the Damienites (having given the Knights the slip) reach another Place of Power within the sewers and summon a facet of their own deity - the toad god, Tsathoggua. And the Gypsies managed to summon a winged demon even before that!

The Knights were in a lot of trouble if they were planning to banish all of these horrors from Pinchburg. At least they had some backup...

The sewers quickly descended into a horrific melee, with tentacles flailing, teeth gnashing, and sane men screaming their minds away into oblivion. Alliances were made (and broken) as factions attempted to complete their own objections while foiling those of the other players. 

In a stroke of bad luck, the Banshee managed to sneak up on the coppers and, with a single shriek, killed three of them with fear-induced heart attacks. The other two, going insane, killed each other in a blaze of gunfire. 

More confused were the Knights, who turned around after an explosive moment of sound and heat to discover that their erstwhile allies had suddenly died!

Seeking help, the leader of the Knights sprang headfirst through the cultists and garbled out a spell of summoning from his August Tome of Reckoning. What came forth was a spirit of flame and vengeance - a Champion of law and order!

Things weren't going quite so well for the rest of the Knights, however. Arlo was stuck in a life-and-death struggle with a knife-wielding Damienite, and Waldo was devoured by Tsathoggua! Poor Guidry, armed with only a spear, hoped to keep the brute at bay while an unlucky group of gangsters stumbled across the summoned god and opened fire!

Meanwhile, the Cosmosites and Deep One hybrids skirmished near a sewer whirlpool. The offspring of Shub-Niggurath, hungry after its summoning, ate one of the Cosmosites in its blind need to feed. The other cultists made sure to watch their back even as they were attack by the frog-men. 

Father Hydra turned his attention to the Doughboy, but the new spirit's slam attacks and the Klown Ringleader's megaphone kept the slithering horror at bay.

While every other player was duking it out down in the sewers, the Gypsies had free reign in the streets above. They took advantage of the relative quiet to slink around and attack the semi-innocent citizens of Pinchburg, and soon the streets ran red with blood. 

Kept at a stalemate, the Ringleader called in the rest of the Klowns, who began a conga-line-of-death down the tunnel. 

The last two pictures are from the last turn in the game. You can see that the Klowns and Father Hydra were still locked in combat. The two gangs started fighting with each other over the booze stockpile. The Hybrids and Cosmosites were still going at it, while most of the Damienites and the Knights were dead. The G-Men had finally entered the sewers and were steadily plinking away away at Tsathoggua, but the eldritch monster was steadily advancing towards them.

We decided to end the game there, and it was starting to get on in the afternoon. Once again, Bob put on a great game, and all involved expressed their gratitude for the fun time.

No comments:

Post a Comment