Sunday, October 21, 2012

Battle of Havana, 1748

Albert Parker hosted a Close Action game portraying the the Battle of Havana, which took place in 1748. This was a hypothetical scenario, with the 36 gun Galga replaced by the formidable Fenix, 80, to make a more balanced game. Each side has seven ships; the Spanish vessels are larger and tougher, the British have better crews. Players included (Spanish) Dave Cross (admiral), Richard, Al Cook, Andrew, Pete and Ashlee; British player were me (admiral), Josh, Will, Albert, Heather, and Shawn.

The wind is from the southeast. Both fleets start in line ahead, with the wind on the port bow; the British start to the northeast of the Spanish line, with a weather gauge advantage over the last few Spanish ships. As the British, we expected the Spanish van to wear and come back towards us while the Spanish rear kept running away; our plan was to cut off the closest two Spanish ships and defeat them. This is pretty much exactly what happened.

 It was a bit more difficult than I expected--partly because the gamemaster rolled a lot more 6's for the Spanish than he did for us, even though he was playing on our side....Another factor was that the two Spaniards we cut off were the two biggest and toughest ones; as we approached, these two ran into each other and fouled, which made them easy for us to catch, but not easier to pound into submission. The other reason it was tough was because the starting situation meant that the British were strung out and had to arrive piecemeal, one ship every turn or two rather than en masse; with the Spanish continually moving away from us, our rearmost two ships never got into the action at all.

Fortunately the Spanish divided their own forces as well, and and rather than ganging up on us as we trickled into the action, most of the Spanish fleet milled around in circles away from the action. Our lead two ships, Stafford and Tilbury, took a lot of hits as they sailed into the midst of the enemy, but then the rest of our fleet started arriving and most of the Spanish started leaving, and it quickly became five of us against three of them; shortly Fenix withdrew and it was five to two. A lucky hit set Africa on fire, demoralizing her crew; a few turns (and a few volleys of chainshot) later, she surrendered. That left Invencible isolated; all we had to do was knock off one of her masts so she couldn't escape. In fact, the rest of the Spanish had the wind gauge and could have succored her if they'd tried, but Invencible's player was told "we British are the wolves, the Spanish are the elk, and you are the baby elk at the back of the herd", and that was pretty much the way it went.

Afterwards most of us adjourned to Five Guys for the "debriefing, recriminations and courts martial" phase before the drive home.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Savage Worlds action

First playthrough of the Savage Worlds: Deluxe rules.

Dramatis Personae
  • Axel Mann: d6 fighting, d8 strength, axe and pistol
  • Marcus Mann: d8 agility, d8 shooting, two pistols and knife
  • Father Mann: d4 vigor, pump shotgun
  • Jack (pistol) and Jill (knife)
  • Bonnie (pistol) and Clyde (knife)
  • Ken (knife) and Barbie (knife, wildcard, d8 smarts)
  • also appearing: Molly McGuffin as The Captive
  • All skills and traits are d6 unless otherwise specified. Good guys each have two bennies left unused. Cultists other than Barbie are Extras, and are in pairs for initiative.
    Our team bursts through a door and finds they're at the top of a stairway that leads down to a large vaulted cellar. Molly is chained to a wall and the cultists are preparing to do Unspeakable Things (tm) to her. Flickering torches, bodies of previous victims against the wall, the usual props. 

    Round 1: the Mann team lucks out and gets high cards for initiative.
    • Axel: bound down the stairs and chop at Ken. He rolls a d6 = 6 and wild die d6 = 3; the Ace roll for the d6 is a 6, with another ace roll of 5 for a total of 17. Against Ken's parry of 5, that's a hit with a raise, which give 1d6 extra damage (extra raises beyond the first don't add anything). Damage is strength d8 = 4 plus weapon d6 = 3 plus 1d6 for getting a raise on the to-hit roll = 2, total 9. Ken's Toughness is 5 so this is a success and a raise. Ken is Shaken and Wounded, which takes him out of the fight.
    • Marcus: tries two gun mojo, firing at Bonnie and Jack. His right hand attack rolls Shooting d8 = 3 and Wild d6 =1, and his left hand rolls d8= 2 and d6= 4. Both attacks are at -2 for taking two actions, and the left handed shot is at an additional -2 for offhand, so Marcus realizes that two-fisting gunning isn't for everyone.
    • Father: leans down and fires his shotgun at Jack, rolling d6 = 1 and Wild d6 =1. Even with the shotgun's +2. these are misses. Clearly the Mann team's luck was all in the initiative.
    • Jack fires at Axel as the most obvious threat, and hits with a d6=6 + ace roll d6=3 for a total 9. This is a raise and adds 1d6 to damage, in addition to the pistol's normal 2d6, for a total of 2+1+5 damage = 8 damage. Compared to Axel's 5 Toughness, this is not a raise, so Axel is Shaken. 
    • Jill charges Axel and slashes. Her d6= 2 isn't enough to beat his Parry of 5.
    • Bonnie fires at Marcus, and misses with a 2.
    • Clyde goes in and hacks at Axel, and predictably misses with a 2.  
    • Ken bleeds.
    • Barbie takes partial cover behind Molly and chants.
    Round 2:
    • Axel: rolls a Spirit d6 of 1 to fail to remove his Shaken status. He sighs and spends a Benny, which means he can act normally. He hacks at Jill with a d6 = 5 and a Wild d6 of 5. That's a normal hit. He rolls Strength d8 = 6 and weapon d6 = 4 for a total of 10 damage. Jill is Shaken, Wounded, and out.
    • Father: consults the initiative sequence and fires at Jack. He rolls his Shooting d6 = 4, his Wild d6 = 6, plus an Ace roll of 2, plus the shotgun's +2, for a total 10. That's a hit and a raise. The shotgun does 3d6 damage plus 1d6 for the raise, which works out to 5+4+1+1 = 11. Jack is Shaken, Wounded and down.
    • Barbie: chants
    • Jack & Jill: both down
    • Marcus: fires at Bonnie with a d8 = 5 and a Wild d6 = 6+3 = 9, which is a raise. His shot does 2d6 +1d6 = 4+2+1 = 7 damage, which makes her Shaken but not Wounded.
    • Bonnie & Clyde: Bonnie rolls her d6 Spirit to recover from being Shaken, and gets 6+1, enough to pass but not enough for a raise. She can only take "free actions", so she moves to a spot behind a pillar, to gain Cover. Clyde slashes at Axel but misses with a 3.
    Round 3:  Bonnie & Clyde’s Jack of Spades beats Axel’s Jack of Clubs to win initiative.
    • B&C: Bonnie aims (+2 to hit) and shoots at Father, who had partial (-1) cover, and hits with a 4. Her pistol does 2d6=4+5=9; Father Mann is Shaken and Wounded. Father decides not to try a Soak roll.
    • Clyde tries to knife Axel, gets a d6=6+ ace 2= 8, which is a hit but not a raise on Axel’s Parry 5. He does damage of Strength d6=5 and weapon d4=3 for a total 8, against Axel’s Toughness 5; Axel is Shaken again.
    • Axel tries a Spirit roll d6=4 (Wild d6=2) to recover from being Shaken, and succeeds. He could take a free action but doesn't see anything useful to do, and decides to Hold his action.
    • Father Mann rolls Spirit d6=6+5=11 to easily recover from being Shaken. He blasts Bonnie, firing d6=2, wild d6=3. Add 2 for shotgun, subtract 1 for cover, and the 3 is a hit. He does 3d6 damage = 6+3+6 plus ace 6+3 plus re-ace 2 for a total 26 damage, which is a hit with 5 raises (5 is a hit, 9, 13, 17, 21 and 25 are raises). Bonnie is so dead, she’s not even eligible to be a zombie.
    • Ken, however, is. He rises to his feet; Axel uses his Hold action to move to the other end of the room, denying Ken the chance to bite. However, this gives Clyde another chance to attack as Axel moves out of melee. It's a regular attack; he rolls d6=2, which misses.
    • Barbie, seeing which way things are going, stabs Molly out of spite, and then flees, exiting through the small door towards the back of the room.
    • Marcus, whose card was a 2 of Hearts, fails to get a shot off in time to stop Barbie. Instead he aims (+2) with a Called Shot (-4 for the Head), and shoots Ken, rolling d8=6 +2-4, which is barely hits. Damage is 2d6 = 5+4, +4 for the head shot =13.
    At this point, Clyde realizes his leader has abandoned him, the rest of the cultists are dead, and if he's killed now, he's likely to become a zombie. He decides that surrendering might be worth considering.

    Sunday, October 7, 2012

    Shore Party at Llewellyn

    Reported to Captain Garrity who, being much pleas'd with my having safely brought back Inae, Grayson and the sailors, and also myself (and twas clear that was the order of preference, which amused me). I turned in my written account of the confounding of Moffrey and the events of Seawarder's Cove, and chose to cast Light--my first spell weaving--upon the parchment, to be sure the Captain fully understood that I had been changed by the Moonwell.* The Captain, having a vacancy of senior midshipmen and, presumably, being desperate, offered to promote me thereto. I weighed the offer with some misgivings, for being responsible for aught save Kestrel is not much to my liking, being often a care and a burden, but accepted nonetheless.

    The next morning Prosperity, having rounded the cape while I slept, made Llewellyn port, wherein we found the Silver Rose and many another ship and boat, sheltering from the weather. I was assigned to command a shore Party of ten men, at once shewing that my Misgivings on promotion were well founded. 'Tis fortunate that the town is small and I well liked by the men, for in the first furlong, only two of my chicks wandered off, and those we found at the Feckless Firbolg, a tavern popular with seamen, although in truth the Port was so swelled with sailors, that any House with food, drink or girls had a share of custom. The shipping Office was even depleted of coin, making it impossible to exchange our Writ of credit for gold. This troubled me somewhat, the Captain having ordered me to purchase a jolly boat to replace that taken by Moffrey, but through judicious inquiry and much walking, we found a fisherman, named Dovon. This man having been wounded in the hand by a poisonous Fish, was unable to row or cast nets, and much troubled by want of money, whereupon my offer, to buy his boat for the Ship, was gladly received. This sum I paid out of my own pocket, although I despair of wringing specie from the purser in a timely fashion.

    After making said purchase, being aided by Lannel, captain of the maintop, we shepherded the Men back to the Feckless Firbolg, wherein they had merriment, and I did not. The Women of the tavern being neither sophisticate nor adventurous, I found no interesting Companionship, which vexed me, although it was perhaps as well, for I was able to keep my Party under my eye, and return with them to Prosperity at the allotted hour. As we came to the Mole, a lad gave me a Message, namely, that a certain Woman, of the Silver Rose, desired to speak with me. This woman I had indeed met at the Feckless Firbolg, she being strong featured and with a warrior's scars, and had spoken to her somewhat, and saw that our Grayson had spoken yet more; but I thought it unlikely that this message was in good Faith; and if it were thought that dancing attendance to her call not likely to win her; and in any wise I had no Time to pursue the matter before nightfall, when I must by order return to the Ship.

    My vexations in the Tavern were somewhat repaid in other means, for Silver Rose invited the Captain to dine, and I accompanied him, and her Master, Harret Govan, sets a very fine table indeed. Captain Garrity and I were the only guests, although Govan's shadow, that selfsame scarred woman, stood behind him. We might have been merry with more seats filled; yet the fewer Guests, the more Food to each, so I regretted it not in the slightest. A sharp liqueur, followed by a delightful cheese of triple cream, toasted with soft bread and porter; a cream of barley soup, very good; a rich Goose roast with white wine, Almonds, basil and a giblet onion gravy; raspberries and apples to clear the Palate; crusted rare roast of Beef, with mushrooms and pudding and a red wine reduction; a mix of root vegetables, viz, parsnips, new potatoes, carrots, sweet beets, onions. and something crisp and sweet which I did not recognize; watercress and cucumber vinaigrette; most excellent Pastries of duck foie gras and bacon; a rapturous smoked cheddar, taken with much good port; suet pudding and spotted dick, with a hot custard for sauce; and to finish, walnuts and hazelnuts and ratafia biscuits and more wine.

    I had very nearly eaten my Fill, almost, when it came time to leave, and take boat back to the Prosperity. No rest yet, though, for Captain Garrity has charged me with a secret Mission, and I must plan it now, for tis to be put into Execution tomorrow night.

    *It was a glowing report.