Wednesday, June 18, 2014

75. A Return to KatManDog Part Deux

At long last I have returned from Real Life-imposed exile, to offer my report on the continuing exploration of KatManDog in Kellytopia.

Part 1 of this report can be found here.  You might want to read that first.

We begin with Turn 11.  After successfully (finally!) dispatching the dreaded carnivorous dinosaur, Our Heroes ... are unable to move due to the Activation Dice rolling a 6 for their side.  I guess they were all catching their breath, high-fiving each other, cleaning up their drawers, etc etc.  The Dinosaur-side PEF's, however, moved around some.
Two PEFs in the distance....
Turn 12 saw the Humans move their normal distance (8") into some nearby cover.

I count the "wheat fields" as blocking LOS.  So technically the characters cannot see the PEFs yet.
Side note "Inside-Baseball-style":  If you think this second report has taken a long time to appear, it took just as long for me to get back to the game.  I am fortunate in that I could leave it set up undisturbed for that length of time.  I would go in and look at it sometimes.  However when it actually came time to play again, I had sort of lost my train of thought.  What did I originally want to accomplish?  I couldn't recall.  So I decided that the hunters would try to explore as much of the table as possible, starting with the temple in the Northwest corner.  Later, when I re-read my first post, it turns out that was actually what I had intended to do.  How lucky was that?

Anyway, looking at the positions of the PEFs, it made a nice tactical problem of how to get to the temple without alerting/spotting/being-spotted-by the PEFs.  In Two Hour Wargames games, it's never a good idea to let PEFs sneak up on you; far better it is to sneak up on them, or avoid them entirely.

Naturally the hunters don't know the precise location of a PEF; it simply represents "something moving out there."  It may end up being nothing--just the wind in the trees.  Nevertheless, with my new-fangled PEF resolution tables all sorted out (see this post for my quandary), I didn't want to chance it being another almost-unkillable monstrosity, and me with no convenient building in which to run and hide.

So the hunters moved as you see here, and even though the PEF doesn't represent anything YET, it still is a see-or-not point, and I made darn sure my men couldn't see it at the end of their movement.
I sorta-kinda tried to see the PEF but the LOS crossed the edge of a terrain feature, so no soap.
Running away might be very necessary, and if they've already moved, well, then that becomes more difficult.  Meta-gaming, you say?  Probably.  The other PEFs moved around again.
Here, the PEFs have moved.  This changed the nature of the tactical situation.
Turn 13:  Nobody moved due to the Activation Dice.  Both sides held their collective breaths.

Turn 14:  The PEFs moved/not moved/moved depending on their dice rolls.

I did a little more meta-gaming.  I wanted to see where the group could Fast Move to.
The left arrow represents 16" worth of movement through difficult terrain.  The right arrow is 16" worth of movement around the field.  I wasn't sure I wanted to reveal the PEFs from the edge of the field so close to them, if they turned out to be Nasties.  The difficult terrain would make it ... difficult to retreat if retreat became necessary, as well as limiting the ability of the shooters to have any time to shoot at all.
In the end the hunters decided to fast-move as a group around the field, easily moving 16".

At the 15" mark, the Star (Sir Reginald Porpington Smith-Smythe-Smith) brought the PEF into view (thereby forcing it's resolution)...

...and then he backed up 1" into cover (out of sight).

This is a perfectly permitted maneuver specifically explained in the rules, so does it count as meta-gaming?  Probably.  I think of it more as, "Oh crud, what's that?  Let me duck back out of sight!"

I then, in breathless anticipation, rolled on my shiny new PEF Resolution tables, that I specifically constructed to accurately represent and relate my view of my gaming world.

How exciting!

I rolled 2d6 vs the current Encounter Rating of 4, and passed 1d6.  This, per my house rules, caused the ER to increase by 1 to 5.  The co-result is that the PEF in question is removed, "Nothing is there, just a case of nerves, but something is there somewhere.  The next PEF resolution will be something."  None of this is my own pure invention; it is heavily adapted from AitLL ("Adventures in the Lost Lands") and many other THW's rules.
"I could have sworn there was something there...."
How disappointing.

I am conflicted, because while I want to use my shiny new tables, I also don't want my characters to die.  My shiny new tables are specifically constructed to bring mayhem to the table.  Characters tend to die when there's mayhem about.
A top-down view of the tactical situation.  The temple ruins are in the far upper left corner beyond the river.
Turn 15 arrived.  The Activation Dice totaled 7, so that produced a new PEF, now with a Reputation of 5 (to equal the ER).  The Hunters still want to explore the ruins but feel there are too many PEF's too close and in the way for comfort.  The humans move only slightly, the better to see and react in case the PEFs should decide to approach.

The two old PEFs either move away or hold still.  I make up a house rule on the spot that a new PEF cannot move on the turn in which it is placed.
The closest remaining PEF moved away, after my men had arranged themselves to provide the maximum firepower if it had moved towards them (thereby "becoming" something).
Turn 16:  Once again the Activation Dice total 7, so another new PEF is placed on the table at Rep 5.  However the Dinosaur-side Activation Die was a 6, so even though their side "gets to go first" in point of fact they don't get to move at all.  The humans seize this opportunity (a pause in the action, so to speak) and Fast Move as a group for 16".

At the 14" mark, they can now see the nearest PEF and are allowed to move 2" more (two of whom go out of sight of the PEF).  But this is enough to force the In Sight Resolution of the PEF:  I roll 2d6 vs the ER 5 = Pass 2d6.  This lets me roll 2d6 vs the PEF's Rep 4 = 6, 6 = Pass 0.  I roll on the "Pass 0 Table" and score 9 = a Feeder type.  I have several different types of Feeders (other than dinosaurs) now on my new shiny list, so I roll again and get a Feeder Dinosaur.  Specifically 6 Protoceratops, small, Rep 3, Melee 2, with a 16" move.  I placed them all facing in the direction of the last move (by the PEF).
Hurray!  It's something, this time!
It seems like a lot of dice rolling but it goes really quickly, and I like the variety of results.

After the resolution, there were still two humans In Sight.  The In Sight test resulted in the Star with 2 successes, the Foreign Legionnaire with 3 successes and the Dinosaurs not able to see the humans.  Jeane-Claude Van Damme passed 0d6 so did not fire, and halted.  I had my Star finish his movement and not fire.

Turn 17:  The Activation Dice came up Dinos 3, Humans 1.  The Protoceratops had no reason to move, as per the rulebook, just feeding away.  One of the newer PEFs moved to be within sight of the Protoceratops.  2d6 vs ER 5 = Pass 2d6; 2d6 vs PEF Rep 5 = Pass 2d6 table; "Pass 2d6 Table" roll = 12 = Roll again = 2 = This PEF is nothing but something is out there next time; Also the ER goes up by 1 to 6!
This PEF turned out to be nothing.  Again.  "Nothing" is not that common on the tables.  It just seems to come up a lot.
The other PEFs move around a little.  The humans all move 8" into cover by the river.

Turn 18:  The Activation Dice yet again totaled 7, however since the ER was already at 6, it can't go any higher.  Theoretically, the higher the ER the more dangerous the area.  It automatically guarantees a Pass 2d6 result when rolling for PEF resolution.
This is where the newest PEF was placed--in the temple ruins across the river.
The Protoceratops continued to eat without moving; one of the PEFs moved closer, the other didn't move.

The hunters moved 8", which now put them In Sight by the Protoceratops.  Now we will see if the dinosaurs care if they see humans.  Paddywack the Askari triggered the In Sight at 6" into his move.
Paddywack risks life and limb for the good of the hunt.  And, probably, because he was told to.
The humans did not roll for In Sight since they already had.  The Protos were inactive and scored zero successes, so went last anyhow.  They rolled 2d6 vs Rep 3 = 5, 5 = Pass 0d6 = Ignore.  They just keep on eating.

The rest of the humans moved to the river.  I then recalled that, technically, each time someone new enters In Sight, the dinos would have to check again.  So I had all three move together.  The Protos only were able to Pass 1d6, which still equaled Ignore.

Turn 19:  The humans Activated first and crossed the river with a normal 8" move into cover.
I count the riverbank as partial cover.
The newer PEF (Rep 5) hiding nearby is now In Sight of the humans.  So 2d6 vs ER 6 = automatic Pass 2d6 = Contact!  2d6 vs PEF Rep 5 = 1, 6 = Pass 1d6.  Rolling 1d12 on the "Pass 1d6 Table" =  Men.  "Men" has three sub-categories in my tables; 1d6 = Cavemen!  How many?  Now we can use the tables in the AitLL book.  I find that the PEF translates into 1 Female Able-Bodied Villager, Rep 4, with the Brute characteristic, carrying a flint-tipped spear.  Another 1d6 shows her to be Hostile!  (And it just so happens that I have a female Cavewoman carrying a spear.  Pure luck!)

Obviously the modern men have violated the sanctity of the unholy sacrificial temple, and the chick who cleans up/guards it/was passing by is greatly incensed!
Here is a clearer view of the tactical situation.  "Tactical situation"--that's my favorite new phrase for this report!  That, and "meta-gaming."
We move immediately to the In Sight checks:
Star:  enemy concealed; rolling 4d6 = 3 successes.
FFL:  enemy concealed, Stone Cold; rolling 5d6 = 3 successes.
Askari:  enemy concealed; rolling 3d6 = 1 success.
Bearer:  enemy concealed; rolling 2d6 = 0 successes.
Cavewoman:  Inactive; rolling 3d6 = 1 success.

I allow the Foreign Legionnaire to resolve first.  2d6 vs Rep 5 = Pass 2 = Fire!  But he misses!
Sir Smith-Smythe-Smith chooses to fire ("Hey, ya Blighter, she was a hostile antagonistic muscular Cavewoman springing out of the shadows in a surprise flanking attack, with a big pointy stick!  You'd have done the same!").  Hit!  Impact 4, 1d6 vs 4 = 4 same as Impact = Cavewoman goes Out of the Fight!
Hmm.  Well, that was quick.  "Bows and arrows against the lightning, what?"
Turn 20:  For Activation, I rolled two sets of doubles, twice, so we just pretended nothing happened.  I guess everyone was stunned by the callous shooting of the beautiful savage woman.  When the Activation Dice finally decided not to roll doubles, the Dinosaur-side PEF moved a little closer.  Then the Hunters moved 8" in order to investigate the barbaric shrine.
"I say, is that dried blood?  Heathen savages!"  "Sir, it might just be their kitchen."  "Quiet, you!"
Sir Smith-Smythe-Smith, thinking how his reputation back at The Club will suffer if it becomes known he killed a helpless female, orders Knick Knack the Bearer to carry the unconscious Cavewoman.  In a judicious command decision, Sir S-S-S cuts the Expedition short, and decides to return to Base Camp in order to provide medical attention to the beautiful but deadly Cavewoman.

I could have simply said they make it off the table, but since it had been so uneventful getting here I decided to risk it.  It does still take a few turns to travel the physical distance, though.  Nine, actually.

Turn 21:  The Activation Dice total 7.  A new PEF is born.  The Hunters are not able to move, being busy desecrating the temple and looking up the Cavewomans skirt--er, that is, settling her comfortably on Knick Knack's shoulders.

Turn 22:  The Hunters begin their return to Base Camp, carrying the Cavegirl.  The old and newer PEFs moved around, one coming In Sight but resolving as "nothing this time, something next time."

Turn 23:  There is yet another new PEF from the Activation Dice.  One of the closer PEFs resolves In Sight of the current Protos and the Hunters.  It turns out to be...more Protoceratops!  Yes, the exact same result.  Perhaps I need new dice, or dice that roll other numbers.
I don't actually have enough models for 12 Protocertops-es, so I split the six I have to represent both groups.  The new group is on the upper left.
This resolution brought another PEF In Sight as well! (as you can see in the picture above)  This was resolved as a child Cro-Magnon (ie, Caveman by my tables), REP 2, Move 6", unarmed, "Skittish" trait.  I have no children models at all, much less a Caveman child, so I had to "borrow" something barely remotely similar.  I went through the In Sight process for the new dinos and the Cavekid, and neither side Acted or Reacted.  The Feeders don't really care, and the kid is either hiding or scared or really smart.

However, there is one of the Hunters who is In Sight of the new dinosaurs:  Paddywack the Askari.  His In Sight results of 2 successes end with him shooting at the dinosaurs and missing (I notice how he decides to shoot at the harmless Feeders, and not at the frothing meat-eating monster from last report).
The Proto's Reaction to being shot at was to move 16" away.
After that very eventful turn, the Hunters Fast Moved as a group (yes, the Bearer can still Fast Move while carrying someone, but only using the best single d6 of the test).  Everyone moved 1.5x their normal move, so 12".
This put them right up front with the "old" Protos, but they've stayed In Sight the whole time, so they're calm.  It's like a Prehistoric Petting Zoo!  Hmm, there might be a novel in that idea somewhere....
Turn 24:  Nothing on the Dinosaur side gets to move this turn, but Sir Reginald Porpington Smith-Smythe-Smith thinks that the kiddo might be related to the beautiful but dangerous Cavewoman, and would think himself terribly unchivalrous if he left him on his own to die, what with Sir Smith-Smythe-Smith being the one responsible for the kid's mother being gunned down and all.  So Sir "P" decides to bring the little tyke back to Base Camp with them, and appropriately orders everyone to hustle over to the boy before he can run away.  (Fast Move x1.5)
"Shhh.  There he is.  Don't spook him, lads."
Turn 25:  Activation = 7.  New PEF in the center of the table.  The Dinosaur side does not get to move at all.  The Star approaches the Caveboy.
"Spread out, men, in case he makes a run for it."
In Sight tests occur:

Star Rep 5 = 5d6 - 1d6 (boy in cover) = 4d6 = 1, 1, 3, 4 = 3 successes.
Caveboy Rep 2 = 2d6 = 2, 5 = 1 success.

Sir "P" holds his Action and waits to see how the boy will React.
The Caveboy rolls 1d6 = 5 (in the AitLL rulebook) = Hostile!  2d6 vs Rep 2 = 3, 6 = Pass 0 + Skittish trait = FLEE!

I ad libbed this next bit.  I decided to roll successes to see if anyone caught the Caveboy as he ran, or if he got away.
Star Rep 5 = 5d6 = 2, 2, 5, 5, 6 = 2 successes.
FFL Rep 5 = 5d6 = 1, 2, 3, 5, 5 = 3 successes.
Askari Rep 4 = 4d6 = 2, 2, 5, 6 = 2 successes.
Bearer had his hands full.
Caveboy Rep 2 = 2d6 = 4, 6 = 0 successes.

Jean Claude Van Damme catches the fleeing Caveboy!  Good job, JCVD!
Now we'll have to lug two dead weights around with us.
Turn 26:  The Activation Dice come up D 2, H 1.  Interestingly enough, the newest (last turn) PEF in the center of the table moves 8" towards the nearest group (which in this case is the original Protoceratops-es) and comes into contact and is resolved.

I get to use my shiny new tables.  I use the "Pass 2 Table" chart, roll 1d12 = 11 = Ferocious!  A further 1d6 = 4 = a Giant Spider!  Yay!  Something new!

My own created stats for the Spider (adapted from other THW publications) are Rep 3, Vicious, Terrifying, Poison, Climb, with 2 Wounds, and a couple of other small enhancements.

The Protos end up with 1 success for their In Sight test.  The Spider has 2 successes and I used the "new" melee method from THW, adapted as I have been doing.

The Spider begins with 2d6 - 1d6 for being outnumbered + 1d6 for being Vicious = 2d6 = 5, 6 vs its Rep 3 = Pass 0.

The Protos start with 2d6 - 1d6 for Fear - 1d6 for the Spider coming out of Cover = 0d6 = automatically Pass 0.

What's that coming out of the deep jungle?  Oooo, it's gross!
With the same "Pass" number, the Spider (with 2 successes on the In Sight test) goes first and charges into Melee.  The Dinos don't React.

For Melee, the Spider rolls Rep 3d6 + 2d6 (Vicious) = 5d6 = 1, 1, 3, 4, 6 = 3 successes.
For the Protos, only the targeted dinosaur rolls Rep 3d6 - 1d6 (Fear) = 2d6 = 4, 5 = 0 successes.  This is 3 vs 0, or '2 more than.'  This causes a Hit and the Spider Locks On.  The Spiders bites for damage, but does not do enough and the Proto Ignores it!  However the Spider also has Poison:  1d6 vs Impact of '2 more than' = 6 = No poison.

Meanwhile, the Hunters, sensing that things could easily go awry with a huge fight between them and their Base Camp, Fast Move x1.5 as best they are able, keeping out of sight of this new monster.
"Be vewwy vewwy quiet, I'm twying not to get hunted by a big hairy spider."
Turn 27:  This turn involved a lot of dice-rolling for melee between the Protos and the Spider.  I won't go into it in depth (although, then again, if you'd read THIS FAR without going mad, you might enjoy the details), but suffice it to say, after the Dinosaurs ganged up on the Spider, the Spider decided it had bitten off more than it could chew.  It was actually rather difficult to conduct the melee between six dinos and one spider; or rather, it was difficult to document it in such a way as to be legible to myself later.  Lots and lots of Locking On, and Enraging, and Ignoring, each of which affects the next melee roll.

The Spider did kill one poor Protoceratops (the first one it attacked).

Throughout this whole turn, the Hunters were stunned into non-motion by the ferocity of the battle (ie, they rolled a 6 on their Activation Die and couldn't move).

Turn 28:  The Dinosaur-side Activated first, with 2 vs 1.  I was really sweating it, as I wanted to get the Hunters away from this battle.  This turn also involved much meleeing and dice rolling.  More Wounds, more Enraging, more Ignoring.  This was the turn in which the Protos, in revenge for killing one of their own, eventually drove the Spider off.

Before that happened, though, I Activated the humans and attempted to Fast Move them out of harm's way.  However, on 3d6 I rolled 6, 6, and 6 (never a good combination, in more ways than one), so no one was able to Fast Move, and only a normal 8" move was made.  (I may have messed up, in that I rolled for the monsters' Reactions to their Wounds at the END of the turn, instead of at the end of their Activation.  To be perfectly honest, right now I can't recall the correct way, and at the time I really just wanted to finish the game and be done with it.)

One dino and the Spider both ended with a result of FLEE.
One Proto exits stage left (or is it right?, depends on your point of view, dunnit?) and the Spider retreats somewhat back the way it came...and in the general direction that the humans are taking!
Turn 29:  Activation Dice = D 3, H 2.  The leftover Protos don't move; the Fleeing Proto Flees some more; and the Spider Flees more too.
The Spider Flees into the wheat field, seeking cover...
...which is what this is supposed to represent.  The Spider has disappeared.  It's probably a good thing the humans didn't go in there before; who knows what sorts of things are hiding in there?
Finally, the humans Fast Move x1.5 to make it safely back to their campsite.
Home Sweet Home!

The end.

Thanks for reading.  Seriously.  If you made it this far, thank you.  These things take me far longer to write up than I think they will, but I also know they take a long time to read.  I really need to work on shorter games.

All in all, I enjoy these games.  I think I should play some without the detailed recording.  The games will play faster and I think I'll enjoy them more.  Or maybe a compromise:  just take pictures and summarize for my report, instead of details of all the dice rolls.

After all, there's still a lot of table left the Lost Lands of KatManDog in Kellytopia!