Friday, 15 December 2017

A Few More Frostgrave Bits: Ulterior Motives

Ulterior Motives
No sooner had I finished my terrain and figures when a new addition to the game, that requires a few more terrain items, came out. The extra elements described here were made in anticipation of the arrival of my set of cards for the Ulterior Motives expansion, which looks like an excellent addition to the game. All these terrain items have been made so that they can be used free-standing on my basecloth or on top of any suitably-sized terrain item (except the gateway, which is really designed to stand on its own).

Of course, any or all of the items here can be used as dressing in any game of Frostgrave whether or not using the Ulterior Motives cards.

I should note that when I had finished making these, my copy of Ulterior Motives arrived, and I realised that duplicate items might be useful to have in case opposing players have the option of both placing the same item. So I made duplicates of each item as well.

Arcane Disc
Arcane Disc
This magic circle type thing was made from a pre-cut 50mm MDF disc to which I added a thin skin of milliput in a circle around the edge. Lines and runes were scribed into this with an old pen. The inside of the disc was textured with PVA/filler mix, sand and chinchilla dust and finally decorated with snow flock in layers.

Don't open that Trapdoor!
I made a door from cut wooden coffee stirrers (only one in fact) and some bits of card and tiny scraps of balsa. The door was slightly inset into a hole cut in an MDF base. I resisted the urge to make the trapdoor hinged so that it could be opened.

The Pit
The Pit: not a hole in the table
This was made from another 50mm MDF disc. I cut a circular hole about 30mm wide from its centre, and glued the disc to a piece of card cut to shape so as to be able to paint the inside of the pit. The edges of the hole were then slightly raised with Milliput, inscribed to look like brickwork edging the hole. The inside of the pit was painted black to give the impression of a deep hole.

The Gateway
I made this in the same way as my walls, from balsa wood scored with a pen to look like stonework, based on MDF. This gateway is larger than the other ones I made, and I added a small buttress to the whole just for fun. The piece was painted grey and washed black. This one was slightly harder work than most of the other pieces here but I think worth it in the end.

Sarcophagus - two of them in fact
This one was very simple. I took a cut-down small cardboard box (formerly containing medicine) which I sandwiched between two cut pieces of foamboard, toppped with a piece of card and based on MDF. I filled some gaps with Milliput to tidy it up, but otherwise that's it.

Runic Stone
Runic Stone: with added runes
This is described as a pillar with runes on. Very easy to buy a resin cast one, and because a resin-cast one would be a waste of time to imitate, mine is a lot more rustic - and easier. It is a suitably-shaped piece of broken roof tile, based on MDF. I added a skin of milliput to both flat sides and etched runes into it using an old pen.

Statue: with removable top, just in case it comes to life
I haven't actually got a figure I like for this statue yet - I intend to find a figure in a static pose, possibly a souvenir rather than a figure proper - so for the moment all I have is a plinth for it. I'll use a figure on top for the time being. The plinth is made from mounting board and more card from that medicine box, again based on MDF. The sides of the plinth were painted with PVA textured with chinchilla dust.

Constructs: small to large (L-R, obviously)
This was a frivolous idea that worked out well. I don't have any construct-type figures, so rather than buy some I made some by sticking balsa wood offcuts together into fragile-looking, rather haphazard and vaguely humanoid shapes, in appropriate sizes. I wanted them to look like they had been made from the stonework and rubble of the city itself, so they're painted like my Frostgrave terrain. They'll do!

And now for some Frostgrave games using Ulterior Motives

Thursday, 14 December 2017

29, Let's Go! - Turn 5: Cardonville

Author's Note: Apologies all for the lack of photos here. I did take some, they are somewhere, but I just can't find them. As soon as I do, they will be added here. I hope you enjoy the article anyway.
"Nein! Nein!"
The Oberst was shouting down the field telephone again. It should have been easier than this for subordinates to report, even if it seemed to always be bad news, the adjutant thought, as he approached his commander's desk and set down the tray. As a Prussian, the senior officer was supposed to be a professional - but then as a Prussian he wasn't used to being told about his troops retreating in disarray. As he began to pour the coffee, the bone china cups clattered on their saucers as the Oberst abruptly slammed the receiver down, fuming with frustration.
"More bad news, sir?" the adjutant casually asked, his question stating the obvious.
The Oberst sighed. "It seems these days there is nothing but bad news, Manfred," he resigned, leaning back into the leather chair. "Those fools left behind from 352 Panzerjager failed to even slow the American advance. We need to gain time to have any chance of regrouping, and I only have one full strength Company left in the vicinity. And I cannot contact them to make them aware of the urgency of the situation because the telephone lines have failed again. This is not how it was supposed to be."
The adjutant did not feel qualified to comment, so kept silent. He finished pouring the coffee as the general brooded in silence.
"I apologise, Manfred," the Oberst resumed. "This is simply the way things are now. The enemy has the upper hand, and it is up to us to respond. If we are to survive, that is. I must trust to German ingenuity that my junior officers take the initiative to counterattack. And thank you for the coffee." The Oberst waved the adjutant away, and picked up the receiver again, to try to get through to Hauptmann Krauss in Isigny.
Though troubled, Colonel Goode was steadily becoming more reassured. The German positions to the left of the main line of advance had now been cleared, and he had just been about to order the general advance along the Isigny road to recommence when news arrived of another enemy position ahead. One mile along the road, just to the right of the causeway, a depleted company of German infantry had been spotted in the farmland around Cardonville, almost certainly originally deployed there to defend a small radar station. Now a flanking manoeuvre was required to clear this position before the advance could continue, and he had already given the order.
D+4, 10th June 1944
Around midday the Americans become aware of the German position at Cardonville, and the order is given for a flanking attack. The main American advance remains halted in position for the time being. The position at the radar station centres on two farm buildings within an area of open fields and scattered orchards. 

The patrol phase works well for the Germans, with jump-off points placed in strong positions to rapidly occupy the buildings, while the Americans will need to advance quickly from closer to the table edge. The Germans comprise a fresh infantry platoon supported by one MMG team and an off-table 81mm mortar battery. The attacking American platoon is supported by its own off-table mortars and a Sherman tank. The Germans initially lack co-ordination and begin the game disorganised, having to make an additional roll to deploy.
It had been barely two hours since the message confirming the enemy's continued advance along the causeway towards Isigny. All communication lines had remained broken for the last 24 hours and it was fortunate that the commanding officer at St Germain had thought to send word by other means. Arriving on a bad-tempered farm horse, the infantryman who had served as messenger hadn't stayed for long, keen to continue his progress to a safer position further behind the lines. The Americans were approaching rapidly now, and were expected at the outskirts of Cardonville within the hour.
Oberleutnant Ziegler's platoon had seen no action for months, stationed around the small village of Cardonville here to garrison the radar station. They had enjoyed the peace and sunshine of the early summer, while for them the war happened elsewhere. But in the last few days everything had changed. Gathering his junior commanders, he gave instructions. Three squads would take up defensive positions in the village, close to the approach the Americans were most likely to take. They would take the tripod MG42 and a Panzerfaust with them, just in case. Mortar support would be made available should it be required.
Turn 1, Phases 1-4
The Germans position their MMG team in the central building with a field of fire towards all American jump-off points. The Americans enter the table with two squads of infantry supported by the Sherman, which rapidly advances along the road. The Germans fail to deploy two of their squads, but are able to bring on their mortar observer beside the MMG team. The MG42 opens fire, killing two Americans and causing one point of shock.
Despite the best of intentions, Ziegler's squads were slow to organise and although the MG42 was set up in a good spot with plenty of time to spare, the Americans could be seen in the distance approaching before the main body of the platoon was anywhere near being in position. Two squads of the enemy were advancing slowly, crouching along distant hedge line, and announced by the unmistakable sound of its approach a Sherman tank came into view, steadily advancing along the main road into the village. The MG42 was swung around, a clear field of fire opening towards the American troops behind a distant hedge. They opened fire, and the enemy duly halted as their men hit the dirt.

Turn 1, Phases 5-9; Turn 2, Phase 1
The Sherman opens fires, missing, while the US infantry squads advance cautiously. The Germans deploy one infantry squad at the central road junction, but fail to bring on further troops. The Americans deploy their mortar observer and a sniper. The Sherman fires again, this time killing one man and causing one shock on the MMG team while their second squad advances through woodland.

A shell whistled overhead, landing unseen somewhere distant. The enemy tank, now aware of the defender's  presence, had reacted, its aim wayward. In the distance the Germans could see khaki soldiers shifting, repositioning and advancing cautiously toward safer positions. As one squad closely followed a hedgerow ditch, the other ran to the right, its men taking turns to clamber and leap across a gate to the comparative safety of a broad block of woodland beyond, their progress too rapid for the MG42 to respond, unable tio catch them in the small patch of open ground immediately beside the gate. Urging his men to hurry, Ziegler ordered one German infantry squad into position near the house at the main junction in the centre of the village, beside the road edge, as American troops continued steadily to arrive and advance through the wood.

At the edge of the tree line, scanning the village ahead through the sight of his sniper rifle, Corporal Guthrie allowed his mind to relax, cutting out all sounds other than the calm words of his observer.
"Grey house to the right. Top left window, with the broken shutters."
He had already seen the movement, but it could have just been a curtain shifting in the breeze beside the broken window. No sign of the enemy. And then it suddenly disappeared from view.
"Sherman got there first," Private Barrington smirked. "Dust will clear in a moment."
Guthrie, who had maintained his view at the same spot, began to make out the window again as the smoke dissipated. Only one shutter remained attached, but the building seemed intact. There was still movement inside. Alert, he took aim and waited for his moment.

Turn 2, Phases 2-7
The sniper opens fire on the MMG team, missing, while the US lieutenant commands the first squad to open fire on the German infantry, killing one. The Germans deploy a second infantry squad to meet the threat of the US advance through the wood, and return fire on the Americans with unexpected success. Four Americans are killed along with three points of shock. Despite their losses they return fire, killing two more of the enemy, as the third US squad is deployed. The Germans respond in kind, concentrating their fire this time. Three Americans die and the first US squad becomes pinned. The German senior leader is deployed, and a mortar barrage successfully called as the Americans continue to advance, their second squad occupying the house at the edge of the wood.

In the house, men were coughing, scrambling. The second shell from the Sherman tank had hit the roof above their heads, and at least one man was wounded too badly to continue. Plaster dust from the broken ceiling was everywhere, turning uniforms light grey and leaving a grey-white layer over everything. Men were reminded of snow, but nothing like some had witnessed in Russia. As ears recovered, they could hear gunfire from outside, and they rushed to reorganise and reposition the machine gun. Outside, a firefight had begun between American infantry crouching behind a hedge on one side of a field, and Germans along a roadside ditch on the other. Men on both sides were falling, but the Americans, whose position was just that bit more vulnerable, were taking the worst of it, pinned behind the thin cover of the hedge, their advance halted.

At the edge of the wood, Guthrie could make out the helmet of a German through the broken glass and squeezed the trigger gently.
"No good," the observer confirmed what the sniper already knew. "Wide left and slightly down. "
"Sight must be damaged," Guthrie mumbled angrily, rolling back and examining, adjusting the rifle. He could hear more American infantry now, advancing through the wood beside him to take up better, safer positions. Ahead of them, men had reached the forward edge of the woodland and entered a house at the lower end of the street, under fire from a second group of German infantry on the opposite side of the road.

Turn 2, Phases 8-10
As the Germans deploy their third infantry squad, their mortar barrage begins, killing two men and causing shock on both US squads in the open. The sniper shoots and misses again, but shooting from the second squad in the house is more effective on the Germans opposite, killing three men. The German mortar barrage continues, shifting slightly, and the US forward observer is killed. They deploy their Panzershreck team in the house. German shooting continues to be extremely effective, removing US teams and wounding one US junior leader, and the US force morale drops rapidly to 2.

In the house, Oberleutnant Ziegler was organising his men, who were responding well under the pressure. Above, on the top floor, the MG42 had opened fire again, and he could hear the dull popping of German mortar shells outside. He smiled. Not only would the mortars cause the enemy problems directly, their smoke would protect his men from enemy fire and give them the time they needed to become organised.

Outside, the barrage was taking its toll on the American troops. In the field, the pinned squad was suffering. Few men remained active, medics were fussing over the sergeant who had taken a bad one to the chest, and their forward observer had been killed outright as he tried to find a safe place to take cover.

From the wood, Guthrie blocked out the screams of the wounded and fired again.
"Better," Barrington stated. "Hit on the window frame, about a foot from the sill on the left."
Swearing under his breath, the corporal rolled back again, repositioning the sight carefully. A thick smoke from the mortar barrage had risen, but the light breeze was keeping it away from his line of sight for the time being. Guthrie hurriedly finished the adjustment and rolled back into position for another shot.

While Americans in the building were exchanging fire with Germans outside, at the rear of the village, the mortar barrage shifted, and the first American squad, vulnerable and damaged, pinned beside the field hedge, came under the raking fire of German infantry and the MG42. Three more GIs dropped to the ground. The Americans were beginning to lose heart. Their commander, beginning to realise their progress had been halted, hesitated. There was still a chance if that Sherman could make its mark.

On the left flank, as the Sherman moved through the mortar barrage, Ziegler understood the situation in the same way.
"You two," he shouted at the men with the Panzershreck, "With me now". He pointed through the kitchen window where the tank, too close for comfort, was clearing the smoke, its turret rotating towards them, and the Panzershreck fired, its explosion and a flash of flame momentarily obscuring its effect.

Outside, the charge detonated on the front armour of the tank. There was a burst of earth, dust and a flash, and a groan of metal twisting unnaturally in anger. There was no explosion, no flame, but as the Germans recovered they could see the turret jammed to one side, the tank leaning away from vertical, its hatch open as its crew abandoned, hands held high.

Guthrie and Barrington heard the calls. The Lieutenant had ordered the withdrawal. Rolling back again, they disappeared into the safety of the woods and made their way back to safety. A few hours respite, perhaps, but they would be back soon, he knew.

Turn 2, Phases 11-13
The Americans, their options significantly reduced, shoot to no effect, while The Germans continue to inflict casualties. The Sherman tank, in an effort to redress the balance, emerges from the mortar smoke to a shooting position, but before it can fire it is hit by a shot from the Panzershreck and knocked out. US force morale is reduced to 0 and the Americans retreat.

Ever since that morning Colonel Goode had had the feeling their progress had been too good to be true. With his troops held back at Cardonville he knew the line was overstretched. Worried now, he knew they needed artillery support to advance, and was even more concerned about a counterattack from the Germans. Muttering to himself, he considered his options once again.

Closer to the action, Oberleutnant Ziegler was also considering the options. The enemy had been driven back, albeit temporarily, and he had no choice but to hold position, but there was nothing to stop other platoons in the company from making a localised counterattack. As the line were down he had sent a messenger with words to that effect for the attention of the Major at headquarters. And assuming there still was a headquarters, and a Major, someone ought to be able to do something about it.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

A Scenario for Frostgrave: The Pit

There's a pit full of treasure in a hidden corner of the Frozen city
As promised, here is my scenario for use of the grille that I made when putting my Frostgrave terrain together. This scenario was originally created for a multi-player introductory game to Frostgrave, in which four different warbands fought over a small part of the frozen city. I've since simplified the scenario a bit based on lessons learned during that original game and offer it here for everyone's enjoyment. Feel free to use and adapt as you see fit for your own use.

Scenario: The Pit


As the ice sheet covering the frozen city melts, it exposes an open shaft in the ground that leads to an ancient treasure-filled mass grave. The residual magic of the city has, however, infused the vault and animated its former occupants, out for revenge upon those who would violate their last resting place.


Place a large underground entrance in the centre of the table, and fill the remaining area of the table with city ruins. Put one special treasure token in the centre of the hole.

Place four treasure items each 6" away from each side of the vault entrance with a clear path from the vault to them. Place one skeleton on each side of the vault entrance against the vault edge.

Special Rules

The grille covering the entrance to the tomb counts as rough going. Each turn any figure of a warband ends their move on the grille they must roll a die. The surface of the grille is fragile. On a 14+ they fall in and are considered dead for this scenario. Thieves and treasure hunters may reroll this die once. Wizards and apprentices may adjust their own die score in the normal way.

At the start of each creature phase more skeletons will emerge from the pit. Roll on the following table to see how many, and where they appear. Identify each table edge as north, south, east and west and place one skeleton on that side of the pit if that compass direction is indicated below.

1-4 no skeletons come out of the pit this turn
5 one skeleton (north)
6 one skeleton (west)
7 one skeleton (south)
8 one skeleton (east)
9 two skeletons (north, west)
10 two skeletons (north, south)
11 two skeletons (north, east)
12 two skeletons (west, south)
13 two skeletons (west, east)
14 two skeletons (south, east)
15 three skeletons (north, west, south)
16 three skeletons (north, west, east)
17 three skeletons (north, south, east)
18 three skeletons (west, south, east)
19-20 four skeletons (north, west, south, east)

These monsters behave normally unless any figure is within 6" of the central treasure, in which case they will always move towards and attack the closest such figure.

Treasure and Experience

The four normal treasure tokens are only worth 20 xp each while the central special token is worth 100 xp.

The central treasure is substantial. When the central token is recovered, roll twice on the treasure table and add both results together.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

The Time Tunnel

I wasn't going to do this, honest, but a post on the 7TV Action! group on FaceBook was just too good to overlook. It was for a scenario for the second game of a 7TV2 worldwide campaign, leading up to a 7TV event to be held in June 2018. The scenario sets two time-travelling teams against each other in the hunt to recover an atom bomb lost in a real air crash in 1950

It's a great premise for an episode, and just the sort of motivation I need to get some figures painted and some terrain made. Even better, the description of one of the sides is that they are from the Time Tunnel. The intent of this is not to be the same The Time Tunnel as the classic TV show, but as I am a big fan of that, how could I resist?

So here's the report, with some images. Enjoy.

Lost scenes from an unreleased episode of The Time Tunnel
Episode: Broken Arrow

Cue music. Two smart-casual dressed physicists writhe in front of swirling kaleidoscope of colours as the narrator speaks, in a deep, dramatic voice…

Two American scientists are lost in the swirling maze of past and future ages, during the first experiments on America's greatest and most secret project, the Time Tunnel. Tony Newman and Doug Phillips now tumble helplessly toward a new fantastic adventure, somewhere along the infinite corridors of time.

In the depths of a concrete bunker somewhere in 1968 Arizona, Dr MacGregor and Dr Swain sit at their monitors, carefully turning sensitive dials, while Lt General Kirk watches anxiously over their shoulders as an image forms on the screen before them of Tony and Doug. The scientists are openly relieved, for Tony and Doug look to be in good health. Their last-minute escape from the dinosaurs had happened without a moment to spare, and now the challenge was to determine where, and when, they had arrived. 

Computer registers slowly settle, and Dr MacGregor can make out some details. North America, the very recent past. In slow-motion, Tony and Doug half-jump, half fall, and then land safely on icy ground. They stand, and dust themselves off, surveying the scene as the scientists watch. They are at the snow-line of a barren mountainside, in a landscape of sparse stands of conifers and icy rocks, covered with a light dusting of snow. In the distance, smoke rises from scattered piles of debris, its cause for the moment unclear.

An icy scene, smoke rising from scattered piles of aircraft wreckage
"Sergeant, there's two here," someone calls, and a group of smartly-dressed Mounties appear from off-stage. They seem disappointed, and not a little surprised to find that Tony and Doug are in need of no medical assistance whatsoever. After a short conversation it is clarified that the Mounties saw a large aircraft crash in this part of the mountains, and they have hurried to the scene to rescue any survivors. It is clearly a miracle that Tony and Doug are totally unscathed - even their hair remaining perfectly coiffed.

As the Mounties rush off in search of survivors to help, Doug, who has an uncanny knowledge of history, reviews the evidence. "We're obviously in the Canadian mountains, Tony. Based on the accents of the Mounties, most probably British Columbia".
Tony nods. Doug's uncanny knowledge of history is almost always correct. "Yes," he replies, dramatically, "But when?"
"From the map of Canada on the Sergeant's RCMP tie-pin, it must be after March 1949, when Newfoundland became part of Canada… and no later than 1954 because of the old design service badge and the style of his long-shank spurs… - but Tony," Doug continues, his mind racing, "This is incredible. There was only one significant air crash in British Columbia within that time period, and that was in February 1950 when a Convair B-36B of the US 7th Bomb Wing from Carswell Air Force base went down during a training exercise - carrying the first nuclear weapon to be lost in history. This can only be that crash!"
"But Doug", Tony responds enthusiastically, "Surely the first loss of a plane carrying a nuclear weapon happened during the Korean War?"
"You're thinking about the Fairfield-Suisun Boeing B-29 crash, Tony," Doug corrects. "An easy mistake to make. This crash was six months earlier before Canada joined the Korean War."
Tony nods, sulking inside. Damn, he thinks, I should have known that. Even with PhDs in particle physics and temporal engineering he remains in his partner's shadow; Douglas Phillips, the man whose draft undergraduate thesis had been submitted for a Nobel prize.
Doug continues thinking aloud, utterly oblivious to Tony's sense of inadequacy. "If memory serves, the Convair flight lost a Mark IV nuclear bomb. A composite-core uranium and plutonium weapon reliant on a levitated-pit implosion procedure, with an explosive yield of between 1 and 31 kilotons!"

The director allows for a short pause as Tony and Doug stare meaningfully at each other, allowing the TV audience to take in the evident seriousness of the situation.

"But Doug," Tony says, breaking the silence, "If they find..."
"You're right," Doug concurs, interrupting, "We must recover the bomb, or its uranium-plutonium core, first, and return it through the Time Tunnel to safety. Otherwise, who knows what disaster might happen!"


The scene changes. A gloved hand in a lavishly decorated silk sleeve presses a red button, and a monitor screen flickers into black-and-white life. A view forms of a chamber dominated by a large and mysterious stone apparatus -  a vertically-standing circular ring etched around its edge with bold characters in an arcane script. Its new home in this concrete-walled former bunker is not so different to the dank, ancient tomb beneath the overgrown temple deep in the Cambodian jungle, from which it was recovered by SHIVA less than a year ago. A ramp from the floor of the chamber leads up to the broad aperture in the centre of the ring.

As lab-coated technicians with clipboards fuss over minor details, instructions are called by an off-screen operator as the outer edge of the ring rotates, clicking into sequential positions, dialling co-ordinates like an alien bakolite telephone. The air trembles within the Stargate, like water rippling vertically.

The camera view shifts and the face of a dark-skinned girl in an orange jump suit, her hair tied back in a neat pony tail, appears on the monitor.
"Report, Agent 13," the Guru's dark and sinister voice commands.
"Master," the Daughter of SHIVA known as Agent 13, obediently acknowledges. "Everything is in order and my team is prepared. Equipment has been checked and blades have been sharpened. We are ready for the jump and await your command."
"Proceed," the Guru replies, with authority. "You have the honour of being the first SHIVA mission to travel through the TimeGate. The Disruptors are counting on us, and our reputation is at stake. You know what to do. Bring the device back. Kill anyone who gets in your way." He gives an evil grimace, then pointedly adds, "Do not disappoint me, Manasa."
Agent 13 tries to hide her nervousness. "I obey, Master, as always" she confirms, and gives the SHIVA salute as the last of her team steps into the rippling wall that is the gateway across time. Swiftly, she turns and follows them through.

The Guru watches them leaves, then turns the monitor off.
"Mwahaha!" He laughs, rubbing his hands together. "Nothing can stop us now!"

The Casts

The Time Tunnel cast
The Time Tunnel
Dr Doug Phillips, physicist (co-star, 5 points)
Dr Tony Newman, physicist (co-star, 6 points)
Mountie sergeant (extra, 3 points)
4 x Mounties (extras, 6 points altogether)

Cast created for 7TV2 using the Open Casting rules

The SHIVA cast
SHIVA (acting on behalf of the Disruptors)
2 x Daughters of SHIVA (co-stars, 6 points each)
Minion commander (extra, 3 points)
3 x Minions (extras, 5 points altogether)

Yes, entirely unintentionally, it's boys vs girls.

A snowy scene. I may re-use this for On Her Majesty's Secret Santa
Act I

They arrive in a snowy landscape, smoking piles of wreckage all around. Manasa sends her sister Johi off to inspect wreckage on the right, and her minions towards more wreckage on the left, while she keeps watch, surveying the scene and watching out for activity. There must be no trace of their having been here, after all.

In the distance she makes out a group of men dressed in red - Mounties - walking slowly their way, rifles slung over their shoulders. To the left a pair of civilians, their smart-casual clothes suggesting they are either physicists, or have prepared badly for the weather, or both, are making better progress upslope toward them, keeping close to the tree line.

Manasa and Johi lead the way
The Mounties stop, and appear to be having a team briefing (Cutting Room Floor). SHIVA take advantage of their indecision and advance for a closer inspection of the debris.

"Don't you find it cold in these short skirts?"
Meanwhile, Tony And Doug have also reached a pile of smoking wreckage.

Doug contemplates the smoking wreckage
"There's nothing here, Doug," Tony says. "Just pieces of broken fuselage and some old in-flight meals."
As Tony considers the situation, they unexpectedly spot a group of smartly-dressed women ahead, wearing orange uniforms and armed with sub-machine guns. Keeping their heads down, they watch the women search more of the aircraft wreckage in the area.

Manasa, in the centre of the open area, advances toward the Mounties, her sword sheathed for the moment.

"I think it might be a bomb"
The leader of the group of women moves a piece of broken metal to one side to reveal the a large, bright yellow object - obviously the bomb. Tony, stretching to see more clearly, slips over some of the icy debris covering a pile of broken aeroplane parts nearby, and the sound of metal scraping on metal causes one of the minions to look in his direction. Seeing movement, she does not hesitate to open fire. Machine gun bullets spray the area, wildly missing Tony and Doug.

Act II

"We can't let them get that bomb, whoever they are," Doug shouts to Tony, and, also unhappy to be the target of gunfire, seizes the moment and charges. She may be a girl, but today that doesn't stop him punching her and taking her out. Tony moves in alongside Doug to give him support, charging into contact with another minion.

Doug and Tony charge in
The sound of gunfire distracts Manasa for a moment, and she loses her footing, momentarily weakened.

The Mounties open fire
The Mounties, realising they and their new-found companions are in danger, open fire with their rifles, and Manasa drops before she can draw her sword. They turn their fire on the remaining minions, and the commander drops to the ground as well. Job done, they cautiously advance.

Johi, the remaining Daughter of SHIVA, has seen her sister fall, and is intent on vengeance. She advances towards them in the cover of the trees. One of the last two minions opens fire on Doug and Tony, but the shot is risky. Both physicists are unscathed, but the unfortunate other minion is gunned down beneath her companion's raking hail of bullets.

With only two of their cast left, the girls of SHIVA make a spirit test to continue, and succeed.


The director calls for an impromptu action sequence, and the last minion falls in a blast of gunfire. Doug and Tony, now left alone, attempt to dismantle the bomb.

"Did you by any chance bring a screwdriver?"
"Tony," Doug asks, "You know how to remove the core out of one of these, don't you?"
"Of course," Tony replies, "I've done it many times".
But they don't have the tools to open the bomb up, and can't find anything that they can use as a screwdriver, and so they make no progress.
"There's only one thing for it, Doug," Tony announces, "If only they can hear us in Arizona. If they can get an accurate co-ordinate fix they can bring the bomb back through the Time Tunnel now and dismantle it there!"

While the audience are left wondering if the Time Tunnel scientists do have the co-ordinates for the bomb, the Mounties advance, shooting to no effect as Johi crouches in cover.

The director, who considers that now is the time for some serious action, decides this is the time to blow the budget. The camera focuses on Johi, who leaps in slow-motion out of the woodland. For a moment, it is as cool as The Matrix. But then, in mid-scene, there is a power cut, everything goes dark, and the moment is lost. 

The lost camera shot: Johi attacks the Mountie sergeant during a power cut
The scene resumes immediately finding Johi victorious over the Mountie sergeant, surrounded by the remaining Mounties in a massive brawl. Again, she makes the spirit test at the end of the turn, the SHIVA cast is not axed, and the show continues.

In Arizona, frantic action is happening. Lt General Kirk has already given the order, over-riding all reasonable health and safety concerns to increase the power level dangerously and bring the bomb to their time. Minor pyrotechnics occur in the tunnel and the bomb duly appears there, instantly vanishing from Doug and Tony's side. Two expendable technicians rush into the tunnel to open the bomb and make safe its uranium-plutonium core.

But they are not fast enough. The pyrotechnics immediately commence again, and the bomb disappears, along with the technicians, as the Time Tunnel scientists exchange glances and wonder what went wrong. The bomb returns to Doug and Tony's side. The technicians are not so lucky, sent somewhere else along the infinite corridors of time. Knowing their luck, probably where there are dinosaurs.

And as time runs out, the episode ends on a Cliffhanger, as the words


appear on the screen.

But now it's time for the evening news, and not even a Mark IV nuclear bomb can stop that.


SHIVA and female minions from Crooked Dice Game Design Studio
Mounties from Pulp Figures
Tony and Doug converted from Spectre Miniatures
Clear bases from Sally 4th
7TV2 cards for Tony and Doug made up by me and printed using the brilliant 7TV2 Studios Casting Agency app by Jorge Robles
Terrain, base mat and aircraft debris scratch-built by the author

Special thanks to Wayne Peter Bollands for the original scenario. Keep 'em coming!

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Scooby-Doo and the Halloween Horror

This is the narrative of a game played for Halloween at Wycombe Warband as an introduction to 7TV2 for multiple players. The game was played with the 7TV2 rules from Crooked Dice using the Scooby-Doo Programme Guide for Mystery Inc and open casting rules for the villains.

Tonight's TV listings
It’s Halloween and mysterious things are happening as usual at Crystal Cove. Sheriff Stone has been plagued by calls about ghosts and evil spirits, and has asked Mystery Inc to help so as to get rid of some of his less likely cases and reduce his workload. He’s more concerned about the farmer’s daughter, who has been reported missing, and he intends to get down to Abner’s pumpkin farm to search for her as soon as he can.

Mystery Inc are interested in Abner’s farm as well. Fred knew Abner’s daughter from junior school, and he recalls her telling the tale that the farm is haunted by a giant pumpkin monster at this time of year. It’s probably just a publicity stunt so that they can sell more Halloween pumpkins, but it’s fair to say that stranger things have happened in Crystal Cove.

The Casts
Fred (Co-Star, 5)
Daphne (Co-Star, 4)
Velma (Co-Star, 4)
Shaggy (Co-Star, 4)
Scooby (Co-Star, 4)
Mystery Machine (Vehicle, 4)
Sheriff Stone (Extra, 3)
4 x Deputies (Extra, 2)
Police Patrol Car (Vehicle, 3)
Cameraman (Extra, 1)
TOTAL 39 points

The Scarecrow Witch (Co-star, 6)
Jack O'Lantern (Co-Star, 4)
The Reaper (Co-Star, 5)
The PumpKing (Co-Star, 7)
8 x Pumpkin-Headed Scarecrows (Extra, 1)
5 x Corn Dolls (Extra, 1)
Farm Truck (Vehicle, counts as Land Rover, 4)
TOTAL 43 points (but the truck is part of the scenario and I would let it be driven by either cast)

And… Action!
Cue music… Scooby-dooby-doo, where are you…

All is quiet on Abner's pumpkin farm
It is night time and apart from the sound of occasional vehicles moving along Highway 432 and the creaking of the windmill in the light of the full moon, all seems quiet on Abner’s farm.

"Are you sure we can park the cars like this, Sheriff?"
The police, accompanied by Mystery Inc, arrive at the entrance to the farm.

"Daphne, these aren't yours are they?"
Leaving the Mystery Machine parked at the edge of the highway, keeping close together, they all cautiously advance along the farm track.

“Whatever you do, don’t split up”, Fred advises. “You know what happens to us every time we do that”.

The police are wary of something ahead of them in the fields, but it turns out just to be an old scarecrow. Nothing to be worried about, surely.

Fred’s eyes are drawn to something on the ground at the side of the track – a clue! As he bends down to pick it up with a stick, the gang gather round to look. Fred appears slightly embarrassed.

“Er… It appears to be a pair of ladies’ underpants,” he stammers. “I wonder how they got here?”

Velma cleans her glasses to get a closer look, and takes the stick from Fred, who is very happy to hand it over.

“Size 8, 60% cotton, off-white with well-worn elastic. Pumpkin-stained, with traces of straw caught in the fabric, some from quite long ago. They’ve been on and off a lot and from the smell I’d say they haven’t been here more than 14 hours.”

“Definitely the Farmer’s daughter”, Fred nodded. “I remember her from Junior School”.

The cameraman begins to wonder if he is in the right place
As the cameraman films a long-distance shot of the gang, the villains make their entrance.

There's something coming through the corn...
What’s that coming through the fields? Is it a monster?

Er, no – it’s two monsters.

The Scarecrow Witch advances slowly through the corn.

"Whoops! This mud is really slippery!"
Yes, there is definitely something moving in the corn, and it’s not a scarecrow, or at least not a normal one. The police are having some difficulty though. One of the officers has trodden in something unpleasant, slipped and fallen to the ground, while the others are trying very hard to make out what it is approaching them.

“Freeze, or we’ll shoot”, shouts Sheriff Stone. There is no response, and so the police open fire, while the gang hang back, all but Fred still examining the clue.

All ready for a quick getaway... almost.
At about the same time, as Act 2 starts, the farm truck is finally fully- loaded with pumpkins.
“Well done, men”, the villain currently known as Jack O’Lantern says, rubbing his hands together. “No-one will guess the goods are stuffed inside those pumpkins. Surely nothing can stop us now!”

There is the sound of timely gunfire from outside.

“You”, Jack snarls, pointing at one of the pumpkin-headed scarecrows in the barn, “Get that truck on the move. The rest of you come with me – we’re going to find out what’s going on outside.” And as they leave the building, they see the police car appear around the corner of the farm track, and realise they must act fast.

"I tell you it's an old woman! Who else would wear a hat like that?"
Meanwhile, back in the cornfield, the Scarecrow Witch unexpectedly puts his handy disguise kit to use.

“Hold your fire, men”, Sheriff Stone calls, suddenly becoming aware that their target is actually an innocent old lady out for a stroll under the full moon on Halloween, and nothing at all suspicious. “It appears to be an innocent old lady out for a stroll under the full moon on Halloween, and nothing at all suspicious”. His men lower their weapons, but don’t look particularly convinced.

Seeing a different sinister figure moving through the corn on the other side of the track, Sheriff Stone orders his men to shoot at this new target instead, and The Reaper is mercilessly gunned down before he can even wave his scythe in their direction. Then, as the attention moves back, the Scarecrow Witch has a sudden attack of stage fright and finds himself temporarily unable to act, much to the director's annoyance.

"Sheriff, we appear to be on fire."
Undeterred, and ignoring the hammy acting of the Scarecrow Witch, Fred moves towards another clue he has spotted in the middle of the cornfield.

But before the police can open fire again, there is a minor technical mishap with the special effects as a pyrotechnics canister malfunctions. Sheriff Stone and his men find themselves unexpectedly on fire.

"Ouch! Fire! Hurts!"
The cameraman is perfectly positioned for a great shot of the burning policemen, though it only lasts a short while before one of them has to seek medical assistance off-camera.

Vegetables on the attack
The villains, realising that time is running out, and that they are likely to be a lot more effective attacking in numbers, go on the attack. Not before time, flanked by more pumpkin-headed scarecrows, the PumpKing makes its appearance.

“Raaarrrgh!” it growls, as only giant vegetable monsters can.

Thinks... Whatever you do, don't split up...
Sheriff Stone and two of his remaining deputies, having put out their burning clothes, face the threat of the giant vegetable.

Fred, meanwhile, investigates the second clue, relieved to find it is not another item of ladies’ underwear.
“Hmmm,” he ponders. “A gas station receipt for diesel fuel. Enough to fill the tank of a large farm truck for a long journey with a full load of pumpkins. I wonder what that can mean?”

And while Daphne, with an uncanny sense of what needs to be done, runs back to the Mystery Machine, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby ponder why Fred might have been so concerned earlier about the party not splitting up.

Scarecrows in attack formation
It doesn’t take too much pondering. Five corn doll scarecrows appear in the field on the other side of the track to the PumpKing.

“Oh-oh”, says Velma
“Roh-oh”, says Scooby
“Zoinks”, says Shaggy

[In vegetable voice] "We have them now!"
The PumpKing looks threatening as it momentarily poses for the shot before the action.

"Who do you think you are, Starsky & Hutch?"
The deputy driving the patrol car grasps the urgency of the moment, and in a Dukes of Hazzard-like manoeuvre, screeches the vehicle to a halt immediately in front of the farm truck.

Unfortunately the farm truck is bigger and tougher than the police car. Its pumpkin-headed driver stamps on the gas. For a moment, the wheels of the truck spin wildly, and then the truck rockets through the police car, which is written off and knocked aside, its driver thrown clear as the damaged truck barges past.

In moments, the unfortunate driver is surrounded by Jack O’Lantern and his henchman.

"Yikes! I'm sure I had some nerve gas somewhere..."
Meanwhile, the corn dolls close in on Velma, Shaggy and Scooby from one side as pumpkin-heads attack from the other, and a chaotic punch-up ensues. In the confusion Shaggy searches his pockets desperately for something useful.

“Hey, Scoobs, what’s this?” he says, pulling a cylindrical object from his pocket in a scatter of Scooby snacks. “Your old flea powder. Hold your breath!” The flea powder canister explodes in a cloud of foul-smelling noxious gas. The scarecrows falter as the vapour weakens their resolve.

But Shaggy is now in big trouble, attacked on all sides by spooky scarecrows with blunt agricultural implements.

"Take aim carefully, now..."
Sheriff Stone orders his men to help.

“It’s a risky shot, men, so be very careful” he announces, and they all open fire in an explosion of lead. Missing the scarecrows completely, their first shot hits Shaggy in the backside.

“Oops”, says the deputy

“ZOINKS! That hurt!” cries Shaggy.

“I told you to be careful!”, said Sheriff Stone. “Let me show you how it’s done.” And so Sheriff Stone takes the risky shot instead, and Shaggy is hit in the backside a second time.

“Oops” says Sheriff Stone.

“ZZOOIINNKKSS!” says Shaggy, and falls to the ground.

“Rrraaagggy!” howls Scooby.

And the bad guys all sieze the moment and pounce in, and a massive punch-up develops again. Things are not looking good for Scooby-Doo, who disappears beneath a flurry of pounding farm implements, and like Shaggy is taken out of the game. Velma is lucky to get away without even losing her glasses.

Hissss..... Boing! Hisss....
The PumpKing, which is evidently not really a pumpkin at all but in fact some sort of large inflatable construction filled with pressurised gas and operated by several villains inside, has evidently sprung a leak, perhaps caused by a stray bullet that actually hit the correct target. The sudden release of gas allows the giant vegetable monster to leap into the fray, and it bounds into the surprised policeman with enthusiasm.

Enthusiasm, that is, rather than effectiveness. The police stand their ground as another big punch-up develops.

Woman driver
Meanwhile, somehow overlooked by the director and the TV cameraman, Daphne has managed to drive the Mystery Machine into the farm where she stops the escape of the farm truck by carefully crashing into it. She jumps out, but is not quick enough to grab the clue, so promptly jumps back into the dented van and drives off to comparative safety.

"Wha... How did that happen?"
As the dust settles on the massive punch-up on the farm track, the scarecrows look around for signs of Scooby-Doo, who was definitely taken out of the game but has somehow managed to get back in to it. It seems that in the confusion of the fight, in typical cartoon-fashion, Scooby-Doo must have crawled out of the bottom of the melee to make an unlikely escape into the field nearby, where he runs away to safety.

"Put your tendrils in the air!"
The police back away from the ineffective attacks of the PumpKing as the episode draws to a close.

“Freeze!” shouts one of the deputies, brandishing his gun at the rapidly-deflating giant vegetable, and, realising the game is up, a group of villains slowly make their way out, their hands in the air.

“Abner!” cries Sheriff Stone. “I never would have thought it was you!”

“Yes, Sheriff”, admits Abner the Pumpkin Farmer. “And I nearly got away with it despite those pesky kids!”

Later, in hospital, the gang visit Shaggy, who is recovering from his unfortunate bullet wounds. Shaggy is trying to understand Velma’s explanation of what happened.

“So what you’re saying is Abner dresses his men up as spooky scarecrows to scare people at Halloween because people will pay more for a pumpkin grown on a genuinely haunted pumpkin farm than they will for just any old pumpkin? And because of that he’s been arrested on minor charges of fraud and conspiracy to scare small children? And it turns out his daughter wasn’t missing at all but had simply shacked up for a few days with one of the farm hands she fancied who didn’t work over Halloween because he refused to wear a pumpkin on his head?”

“Yes” says Velma
“Yes” says Fred
“Res” says Scooby
“Er… are you sure we didn’t miss anything?” says Daphne.

And they all laugh. Daphne always found solving mysteries challenging and rarely understood the obvious explanations. Everyone knew she was only in Mystery Inc because of her good looks and impeccable fashion sense.


Closing music

End Credits

7TV2 cards for the villains created by the author and produced using Jorge Robles' excellent 7TV2 Studios Casting Agency 
Mystery Inc from Hasslefree Miniatures 
Pumpkin-headed scarecrows from Rapier Miniatures 
Corn Dolls from Crooked Dice 
Scarecrow Co-Stars from Conquest Games
PumpKing scratch-built from DAS clay, Milliput and Green Stuff by the author.
Clear bases from Sally 4th 
Scarecrows standing in fields from Bad Squiddo Games 
Pumpkins scattered in fields are painted putkha pods (used in flower decorations), purchased from Hobbycraft 
All terrain scratch-built by the author.

Thanks to all my players for their excellent senses of humour and original ideas and contributions to the screnplay. Which was, by the way, a minor victory to Mystery Inc.

No pumpkins were harmed in this production.