IHMN 5: Death at their Heels

The Explorer's Club hereby disassociates itself entirely from all association with Sir Rupert Utterley-Barkinge of Aethelweard Hall.  The Club most strenuously denies any involvement in his actions both to date and in the future.  We have publicly decried the plausibility of his missives most strenuously.  Despite publicly condemning his earlier memoirs "With Steamboat and Rifle in the Mesozoic" we have since been further horrified by the information contained in his latest communications.  We would suggest that publishers everywhere refuse to print his spurious tales.  We have never heard of the Dragon Tong. We deny the existence of Yetis and Sasquatches.  We furthermore suggest that tales of the Undead be kept within the confines of the pages of a Bram Stoker novel where such nonsense clearly belongs.
19th April 1895

Sir Rupert Utterley-Barkinge had spent the best part of two days looking at the clockwork Pigeon, trying to figure out what to do with it.  Even more frustrating to him was the nagging worry about what had happened to Dirk Beauregard at the hands of the Dragon Lady.  What did he have that the Black Dragon Tong wanted so badly?  What had made Dirk contact Sir Rupert in the first place?  What had he done that had attracted the interest of the Secret Service?  And why did everything suddenly become completely focus on an oversized mechanical bird?
It was Count Otto who noticed that all four mechanisms seemed to fit together.  Where two had made the clockwork pigeon fly about in an erratic fashion, they wondered if it might work properly with all four pieces.  No sooner had they got them all to fit inside the body of the bird than it burst into life and flew to perch on some nearby snake rail fencing. It sat there eyeing them.  Every now and then it would turn and look away in the same direction before turning back to gaze quizzically at them.

""Ere, I reckon it want's us to follow it," said Sergeant Reynolds.

With nothing else to lose, they decided to see where the Clockwork Pigeon would take them...

To be perfectly honest, this report recounts the events of our second attempt at this scenario.  The first one was hampered by bad dice rolling and an inactive pigeon which resulted in a bloodbath in the centre of the board.  This gave us a complete stalemate that did nothing to advance our campaign. We tweaked the rules a little and decided to run it again.  This second game was more successful, albeit still hoist by its own petard. Here's what happened anyway...

We were playing Scenario 9.1.7 Death at their Heels with a few tweaks.  The obvious one was in relation to the Clockwork Pigeon.  This was set up 10" into the table from Sir Rupert's deployment point.  At the start of each turn, it would move 1D10" across the table towards the Barn.  Sir Rupert's and his men could move ahead of it but must defend the pigeon at all costs.  Although we knew where it was heading, the two gangs didn't.  They could not go to the barn until the pigeon had gotten there first.

As per the scenario rules, the area of devastation would appear on the table edge at the start of the second turn.  Each subsequent turn it would advance 1D10-2" diagonally across the table.
Our gangs had to survive the devastation and be led by the Clockwork Pigeon to the Barn.  Of course, they didn't know either of these facts when the game began and we needed to play in this spirit for the entire game.  Here's how it happened. The second time...
Both the Black Dragon Tong and Sir Rupert set up on different roads equidistant from the Barn that they didn't at that point know was their destination.
Both gangs chose to maximise their movement potential in the first turn, which was much more active than the pigeon itself which only shuffled 2" forwards.  Sir Rupert saw the advancing Black dragon Tong and ordered his companions to protect the pigeon...
Shots began to ring out, but we soon realised that uncanny Pluck rolls were going to rule the evening's entertainment.

Combat was soon clearly going to be the order of the day.  It might have been different, but that pesky pigeon was only moving 4" forward at this point.  Still, it was more than it managed in the first game...

Unsure of where the pigeon was leading them, It looked as if once again everything would bog down in a nasty melee in the middle of the board.  It wasn't looking good for either side at this point.

The two Boxers were able to lay down some fire at last and take out one of the Secret Agents.
Goonda and Sergeant Reynolds were very aware of the Yeti's presence.
Master Wu-Jen successfully envenomed his blade and struck down the Secret Agent who was trying to keep him away from the pigeon.
At which point something strange began to happen.  From the corner of the board, a group of shambling forms began to appear.  Sir Rupert looked at them, but couldn't determine what they were.  They looked like soldiers, but there was nothing of military precision about their irregular movement.  Nor did he have any idea what nation they were from.  He didn't recognise their uniform at all.
By now the fighting was becoming desperate.  Sir Rupert and his men were stuck with a pigeon that wasn't moving forwards more than a few inches each turn.
Private Gathering had joined the fray to help the Secret Agents, but things were not looking good for both sides.  Count Otto went down.  Tong members were going down.  Secret Agents were going down...

Ultimately Private Gathering was overwhelmed and went down.
The Yeti scared off a Secret Agent and charged into Sir Rupert.  Ever a stalwart, Sir Rupert snarled in defiance, drew his Bowie knife and gave the Yeti a taste of his won medicine.
Suddenly the lumbering forms of the Undead seemed to get awfully close to the combat.  Is it me, or do those Zeds look an awful lot like German troops from the Second World War..?
Sir Rupert and the Yeti were locked in mortal combat.  Many hits landed, but Pluck rolls were successful every time.
Those Nazi Zeds were getting perilously close...
At which point the pigeon moved 4" again and the Dragon Lady charged Sergeant Reynolds.  Her Dragon Talons reached for the Sergeant but he successfully defended himself.  In return, he gave her the taste of cold British steel and killed her!
Meanwhile, the two Boxers with muskets drew a line of sight on Goonda.
And the Zeds continued their inexorable advance.  They reached the fighting Agent, Tong Lieutenant, Tong members and Master Wu-Jen.  They tried to defend themselves but with death at their heels (literally) they were taken out of the game.

Goonda was knocked down by the Boxer's fire.  
And although a Tong member decided to join in and help the Yeti, Sir Rupert continued to stand his ground.
With a sudden burst of movement, the Clockwork Pigeon dashed to the Barn and came to rest on its front.  With the Zombies getting close, the Yeti turned and ran from the table, the remaining Tong members dashing after it.
Now all that stood between the Clockwork Pigeon at the barn and Sir Rupert and his men were a bunch of undead WWII Nazis from the future.

Can someone please tell me what's going on?!?!?!?!?!

Don't miss the next thrilling instalment of Sir Rupert Utterley-Barkinge's New World Disorder coming first to our gaming table and then to this blog in about a fortnight!


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