Saturday, 1 August 2015

Rumble in the Jungle

In a small jungle town somewhere south of Mexico and north of Brazil, the rumours going around were that Indy, the famous rugged archaeologist, was out in the wilderness and had discovered some important clues to ancient artefacts, but that he was trapped and alone, his local guides and bearers having deserted him. Attentive ears listened to this talk, and brought stealthy reports back, one to the best rooming house in the town (not saying much) and the other to a dark and obscure shack on the outskirts.
The terrain from the south
And so it was that not far away two groups converged on a spot in the jungle – Diana’s Team came from the south and the Hooded Villains from the north. In between them was a broken pillar, and on top they could see not Indy, but Sindy Jones, a much less rugged archaeologist. He was trapped on the column by a vicious hairy spider, half an inch across at least, and his screams for help rang through the trees. They could see now that his guides and porters had abandoned him in embarrassment, but he had discovered several important leads.
Apart from Sindy himself, the major plot point, four other clues were close by. To the south west a pile of crates and baggage, dropped by the porters, included notes on his finds so far. To the south east a graveyard contained a pillar with arcane carvings. In a grove of trees to the north east Raquel the wild woman could be found – she knew something important. And in swampy jungle to the north west a dog was sitting, wearing a collar that had once been a belt for a mummy.
Diana had used her Wealth to recruit a backup for the team – a level 1 Shooter. The random events gave the Master a Friendly Local, a level 1 brawler, while Diana was Well Prepared with an extra Fortune card at the start.
From the east
First to move was Bud, who set off towards the pile of luggage, but almost immediately he tripped over a hidden root, fell onto a rock and knocked himself out for the count. In game terms the Master played a Hidden Peril card, Bud failed the peril and then failed his health check, so as a Follower he was down and out.
In the thick jungle to the north west the brawler and Suit both moved forward towards the dog holding Plot Point 5. To do so they had to move through a stream – all the streams on the board were Perilous, those fish might be carp, or they might not. In both cases Diana played a card, but both characters passed the challenges. All the other characters in both leagues moved forward without much excitement, no more perils and the two groups were not yet in line of sight.
In the next turn the Blonde moved forward through the trees to try to use her Finesse to persuade the Wild Woman to join her. Passing a peril, and then the plot point challenge, she succeeded; the reward gave her an extra Finesse die. In the swamp the brawler tried to catch the dog, but was not cunning enough – however Suit, coming along after him, managed the task and took the plot point. His reward was the scenario extension card.
The Blonde meets the Wild Woman in the grove of trees
Yvette and the Backup shooter had both moved up the road and across the bridge. The red-cloaked Minions came around the west edge of the wood and opened fire on the shooter. He fired back and both sides got one hit, but the Minions saved and the shooter failed his health check, and he went down and out. Failing health and recovery checks would be a theme for Diana’s people today – perhaps they had not taken their vitamin pills. The Acolytes came out of the wood to the east and fired at Yvette, and the results were a repeat – one hit each, the hooded gang passed but Yvette failed her health check, so she too went down and out. Diana now crossed the river and searched the pile of crates – her cunning helped her find the notes that made up the plot point. Gulab also crossed the river, moving toward the shrieking Sindy on his refuge, and Wally moved through the perilous graveyard. He passed a challenge, before searching the pillar and finding the inscription that made up the plot point. The Master on his travelling chair and Braces both moved forward up the road, but things were looking quite balanced at this point.
Diana searches the baggage as Gulab moves towards Sindy on the pillar
Diana had the initiative, and Gulab moved forward to Sindy’s location, using his Cunning to help the petrified explorer down, and taking the major plot point. Diana moved forward and fired at the Master, but she took a wound and he did not. The villains were not going to let Sindy escape easily, and Braces rushed Gulab, but the Sikh was too fast and Braces went Down. The minions also rushed Gulab, but neither side could score a hit. The Master now fired at Diana, and each took a wound. Suit and the brawler both came across the river towards the key central fight – both were hit with perils, Suit went down but the brawler passed his health check. Over in the graveyard the Acolytes advanced and fired at Wally – he took one of them out but he also took a wound and went down. In the recovery phase Suit gets back on his feet, Diana and the master stay wounded, and Wally fails his roll so he is now Out and his plot point lies there for the taking.
Wally finds a clue on the gravestone
The fight was now boiling down to a melee in the centre, around the broken column. Gulab attacked the minions, and knocked one out. Diana used a Fortune card to allow him to attack again, but this time he caused no casualties. Diana fired at the brawler and got two hits, but both were saved. The Master shot at Diana, and both were injured, which meant Diana was down. The brawler attacked Gulab, but only got hit himself. Over in the graveyard the acolytes picked up the engraving from the unconscious Wally. Both Diana and Braces recovered and got up, and the Master used his Rally power to persuade a minion to rejoin the fight with kindly words (“Get back in there or I will toast your skin on a brazier”).
The villains were piling up on their two remaining foes now. Gulab attacked the brawler and knocked him down and out. The minions then attacked him, one more of the gang went down, but Gulab also took a wound. Now Braces shot at Diana – she saved two hits, while he took a wound and fell. Diana ran back across the river, passing the peril, but the Master shot at her – both of them saving a hit. Unlike Gulab, Diana does not have the Hardened Veteran ability, and each successive fight made her weaker. Now The acolytes ran to the bridge and fired at her, she took another wound and went down. Both Gulab and Braces recovered, but Diana did not and she was Down, with the plot point free to be picked up.
It was now turn six. The minions attacked Gulab, but only lost another themselves. Suit and Braces both attacked him, and Suit went down. This was a problem, because he was carrying the plot point which could extend the fight for one more turn. If he failed his recovery roll, not only would they miss out on another chance to put Gulab down, but they would also fail to score the plot point. There was much tension as the die rolled, but Suit recovered and the fight continued. This time he stood back, not making the same mistake twice, and only the minions and Braces attacked. However once again they failed to make an impact, and Braces went down, then failing his recovery he was out. He was the only one of the Hooded Villains to end the fight out, while on Diana’s side only Gulab was still standing when darkness fell.
The end - Gulab fights on in the centre as Diana lies unconscious
So Gulab slipped away in the darkness with Sindy in tow, and the Master took the other four plot points, meaning that he had won, but narrowly by 4 VP to 3 VP. With more plot points the Villains did gain more resources – one point each for Backup, Tips and Contacts and one XP. Diana only gained a single Gear point. One member of each gang had a Harrowing Escape – Braces got Retreat and Regroup and passed the random challenge, so their league will shift the Initiative Die up one in the next scenario. Diana took the Harrowing Escape for her league, but in a fitting end to the day her dice failed her one more time in the Challenge and so she ended Bloodied and Bruised and will join the next scenario one turn late.
This was a good fun fight, nothing subtle and full of clich├ęs, just what a Pulp game should be. I need to put a bit more thought on the terrain – I had several Extremely Perilous areas which played no real part, the characters simply went around them – though the Perilous rivers worked well. Which part of the wide world will see the next meeting of Diana and the Master?