Thursday, September 22, 2011

46. Shhh, Be Vewy Vewy Quiet, I'm Hunting Dinosaurs....

I recently played a game of Two Hour Wargames' "Adventures in the Lost Lands" (AitLL) with a friend.  We were a bit rushed, and I was a bit rusty with the rules, but it was fun.  We encountered two herds of plant-eaters, I shot one of them, saved the carcass and was in the process of leaving the table when a couple of vicious predators showed up.  My friend was closer to them than I was so I high-tailed it out of there, while Tom got charged and eventually eaten (serves him right for abandoning me, long, long ago [scroll to the very end for the grisly story]).

Nevertheless this left me wanting more, so the next day I dug out my brand new copy of Saurian Safari.  I'd read through it once, and after only a second quick skim I was ready to play.  This time I was solo, but the game is perfectly suited to solo play.  Since this was a first-time test of the rules for me, I took a single Victorian-era Hunter, wielding a Martini-Henry bolt-action rifle, and went a-huntin'.  I played the first scenario, the very basic Jurassic Park hunt.  (I started to take the fabled Dinosaur Gun, but the chance of it knocking me down scared me away from it.)

First I rolled up my Hunter's stats.  Believe it or not, and I swear it's true, the dice were very good to me.  I gave them a very thorough shake before rolling.  Sometimes I get lucky.  Sometimes.

My Hunter:
Shooting:  100
Awareness:  100
Agility:  7
Strength:  6

Martini-Henry rifle:  1 shot/turn.  Misfire chance 3%.  Black powder.  Penetration:  5.  Damage Factor:  8.

Turn 1.  I roll for my Movement on 1d6 = 6".  Dinosaur encounter roll = 50%.  No dinosaurs are encountered.
A view of the general table layout, largely unchanged from the "Adventures in the Lost Lands" game.  I decided on a veldt terrain rather than a jungle terrain but it does make my other terrain pieces stand out.  Then again, I guess a river bank would be green even in an arid land.
Turn 2.  I roll for my Movement on 1d6 = 6".  Dinosaur encounter roll = 51%.  No dinosaurs are encountered.
I decide heading for the safety of cover is a good idea.
Turn 3.  I roll for my Movement on 1d6 = 3".  Dinosaur encounter roll = 35%.  No dinosaurs are encountered.
I manage to enter the depths of the cover.  From here I should have a good view of the whole table.
Turn 4.  I choose not to move.  Dinosaur encounter roll = 62%.  A dinosaur is encountered!  It is a Stegosaurus (Move 4", Toughness 7, Damage 12).  It comes on the table at coordinates 7 x 3 (long [left to right], by side [top to bottom]), facing 4 o'clock.  On my 6' x 4' table, this puts it roughly 49" x 14" in.  It is in the open and I self-rule that it did not emerge from cover (what cover?).
What luck!  I swear it was randomized with the dice, but you'd think I just put him there, right in my line of sight.
I decide I would like to shoot at said dinosaur.
Steady.  Steaaady.  Fire!
The Stegosaurus is more than 12" away, but not more than 24" so I take one -10% modifier to my Awareness of 100 = 90.  I roll percentage dice (d100) = 43%.  I am aware of the six ton monster.  I roll to see if my gun misfires; I roll 82%, far more than the 3% chance.  It does not misfire.  I shoot:  I take the same -10% penalty to my Shooting score (100), no other factors apply; I roll d100 = 37.  I hit!  But did I do damage?  I roll 1d6 + the gun's penetration value = 1 + 5 = 6.  I compare this to the Toughness of the dinosaur, 6 vs 7.  It bounces off his scaly hide!  Drat!

According to the rules, Stegosauruses (Stegosauri?) are not very bright, but they will charge anyone shooting at them.  I am in his front facing, so he can see me, even though I have a cloud of black powder smoke around me, and I am in cover.  Nevertheless, he will charge me at his fearsome 4" per turn!

Turn 5.  I choose not to move.  Dinosaur encounter roll = 11%.  No other dinosaurs are encountered.  The Stegosaurus moves 4" closer to me.
He may be big and slow, but he won't stop.  Keep shooting!
I decide to shoot again.  The same modifiers apply.  My Awareness roll = 61 vs 90.  I am aware.  My misfire roll = 48 vs 3.  No misfire.  My Shooting roll = 78 vs 90.  I hit!  Damage = 2 + 5 = 7 compared to Toughness of 7.  No effect!

Uh oh.

I decide to stand my ground.

Turn 6.  I choose not to move.  Dinosaur encounter roll = 54%.  No other dinosaurs are encountered.  The Stegosaurus moves 4" closer to me.
He's getting closer....
I decide to shoot again.  I will take down this dinosaur, or run at the last second!  The same modifiers no longer apply.  The Stegosaurus is now closer than 12" from me!  My Awareness roll = 97 vs 99 (100 is always a miss).  I am aware.  (I actually had to re-roll this, as the first time I rolled 97 vs 90, not realizing the dinosaur was now only 10" away.  After I re-rolled, I rationalized it as the clouds of powder smoke clearing....)  My misfire roll = 54 vs 3.  No misfire.  My Shooting roll = 97(!) vs 99.  I hit!  Penetration = 5 + 5 = 10 compared to Toughness of 7.  A hit!  Was it a critical?  I roll d100 = 76, no critical, so I deduct the rifle's Damage Factor from the Stegosaurus's Damage Value; 12 - 8 = 4.

According to the rules, if one shot removes more than half its remaining Damage Value, it is stunned.

The Stegosaurus is stunned!  It falls over.  Huzzah!  That's good, because he was getting pretty close.

The ground trembles as the multi-ton monster falls over.
Turn 7I choose not to move.  Dinosaur encounter roll = 38%.  No other dinosaurs are encountered (which is probably a good thing, since I'm having so much trouble with just one).  The Stegosaurus has fallen over and does not rise (I forgot until just now that it should have had a chance to stand, 4+ on 1d6.  Oops.  Oh well).  

I decide to shoot yet again.  My Awareness roll = 54 vs 99 (seems a little silly to roll for Awareness of a downed, motionless dinosaur at which I've been shooting continuously for 3 turns, but them's the rules).  I am aware.  My misfire roll = 35 vs 3, no misfire.  My Shooting roll = 3 vs 99.  I hit!  Penetration = 3 + 5 = 8 vs Toughness 7 = I hit!  Was it a critical?  I roll d100 = 77, no critical.  I deduct the rifle's Damage rating from the Stegosaurus's Damage Value; (now)4 - 8 = -4.  It's dead!

Turn 8.  I decide to run off the table.  I roll 2d6 = 7".  Dinosaur encounter roll = 55%.  No other dinosaurs are encountered.

Turn 9I decide to run off the table.  I roll 2d6 = 4".  Dinosaur encounter roll = 43%.  No other dinosaurs are encountered, which is good since it's taking me longer to RUN off the table than it did to WALK on at the start.

Turn 10.  I finally run off the table, 2d6 = 7".  Dinosaur encounter roll = 68%.  A dinosaur is encountered!  It is another Stegosaurus, but since I have now left the table I don't go any further with the results.  (This was partly because I was time-crunched in real life, too).

Verdict:  A successful dinosaur-hunting expedition.  I bagged a dinosaur and survived.  I may have acted somewhat overly-cautious and dare-I-say-it cowardly, but my only other experience is with AitLL, where the ferocious dinos are ferocious indeed!  Plus, I didn't have a lot a time to play as thoroughly as I would have liked, but the mere fact that I was able to play A GAME in 30 minutes, at all, is a "good thing" in my opinion.

I will definitely be returning to these rules sooner rather than later.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

45. Familiar Beginnings

I've recently taken an interest in dinosaur hunting.  You may recall I did some a year or so ago (here and here), using Two Hour Wargames' "Adventures in the Lost Lands" rules.  While those were perfectly satisfactory, I am an inveterate rules-buyer.  I really enjoy reading different rulesets, and seeing the different mechanisms authors use to achieve basically the same end results.  For example, d6 vs d10 vs d20 vs 2d6; staggered turn sequences; written orders; solo options; and so on.  All of it is absolutely fascinating to me.

So I've been on a dinosaur-hunting-ruleset hunt.  I've just read through "Saurian Safari" and have "Tooth and Claw" on order.  I've also found several free rulesets, too.  I might go into more detail after I've had a chance to read through them.

One of the natural by-products of gaming, for me, is feeding that fascination with a particular topic through reading regular books.  For Colonialism, I've read more historical accounts of the British in the Sudan, the Zulu war, and Afghanistan in the last three years then I had my whole life previously.

I tend to get really interested in a subject, sometimes with only the slightest impetus, and it absolutely consumes me.  Right now, that subject is Lost World-type stories.  It all started with "Adventures in the Lost Lands," but it simmered below the surface for the last year, and it only really ignited with my last post about my Cavemen and Cavewomen.  While I was tracking down images of Raquel Welch in "One Million Years B.C." I was reminded of the great old movies that I had watched in my youth, and not again since then:  the aforementioned Raquel Welch film, but also "The Land That Time Forgot" from 1975 and its sequel "The People That Time Forgot."  (Interesting footnote:  Michael Moorcock is co-credited as screenwriter in "The Land....")

Reminiscing about the movies got me thinking about the books from which they originated.  I didn't recall that I had ever read them, so mere moments later I had Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Lost World," Edgar Rice Burroughs's "The Land That Time Forgot," and Jules Verne's "A Journey to the Centre of the Earth" all downloaded for FREE on my Kindle.  (I also then discovered that "A Journey to the Centre of the Earth" is not a translation so much as it is a rewrite.  A truer original translation is to be found in the version called, "A Journey into the Interior of the Earth."  I've been reading both, side by side, one chapter at a time, and it's fascinating how the story is the same and yet different.  Alas, that's a topic for a whole 'nother time...)

The thing that struck me first, though, as I perused the beginnings of each book, were their similarities.  "Duh," I hear you say, "they're all about lost worlds."  True, but I mean something much more specific.
To wit:

"The Lost World," Chapter 1:  "But who--who in all this wide world could ever have imagined the incredible shape which that deed was to take, or the strange steps by which I was led to the doing of it?"

"The Land That Time Forgot," Chapter 1:  "It seems incredible that all that I have passed through--all those weird and terrifying experiences--should have been encompassed within so short a span as three brief months.  Rather might I have experienced a cosmic cycle, with all its changes and evolutions for that which I have seen with my own eyes in this brief interval of time--things that no other mortal eye had seen before, glimpses of a world past, a world dead, a world so long dead that even in the lowest Cambrian stratum no trace of it remains."

"A Journey to the Centre of the Earth," Chapter 1:  "Looking back to all that has occurred to me since that eventful day, I am scarcely able to believe in the reality of my adventures.  They were truly so wonderful that even now I am bewildered when I think of them."

"At the Earth's Core," Preface:  "In the first place please bear in mind that I do not expect you to believe this story."

Hm, well, they seemed more similar before I copied them all here.  It seemed to me they all began in the same way:  "I've had an amazing trip, and seen things no one will believe, and how could it only have taken X months?"

Memory is a funny thing.  The actual beginnings are sort of similar but not as much as I believed.

Oh well, they're still great fun to read!