Last Saturday Lewis and I got together (over Zoom) to play Discworld themed Pulp Alley.
Deep beneath the Unseen University, the Chair of Grotesque Biologies had accidently opened up a portal to the Dungeon Dimension. Demons were now flooding through the Portal. The Faculty needed to dispatch the demons back to their own dimension and close the portal before some escaped into town.
We played the game co-operatively with two player leagues facing off against two leagues worth of greater and lesser demons. We felt that the Wizards of the Unseen University should be Leaders and Sidekicks, so this let us field more on the table. The player leagues consisted of Ridcully, Rincewind, Sybil and Err the baby dragon, controlled by Lewis. They approached the basement though and earthen secret tunnel that ended in a secret door in the Chair of Grotesque Biologies bedroom.
The second Faculty league, played by me, consisted off the Bursar, The Librarian, Farbul Wuther the Chair of Grotesque Biology and Igor. Both leagues used The Company of Heroes perk to take a second sidekick. The four basement doors had been 'wizard locked' automatically, as a precaution when the portal had been opened. The doors formed the minor plot points for the scenario. The major plot point was closing the portal to the dungeon dimension. The whole of the dungeon counted as a 'difficult area', so moving over 6" would require a peril to be overcome. Both Lewis and I rolled up a perilous area as our pre-game events. These were placed D8 inches in a random direction from the centre of the table. These were represented by the patches of crystals. Opening the portal had obviously triggered other chaos such as these icy crystal patches.
Ridcully’s team moves up to the secret door, and manage to overcome the challenge and open the door with ease.
Rincewind is sent running across the bedroom to be in position to attempt the next wizard locked door next turn. He manages to avoid the perils of running across the dungeon floor.
Meanwhile the greater demon has managed to break through the enchantments on the study door at the same time as the Bursar and his team burst into the main hall.
After some initial setbacks, Ridcully and Rincewind have the connecting door between the bedroom and the main hall opened.
Rincewind takes up position using the banquet table as cover and starts to hurl fireballs in the direction of the emerging demons. We renamed many of the standard Pulp Alley abilities to make them more in keeping with swords and sorcery gaming.. Long Burst for example became Fireblast!
'Err', the baby dragon also hid behind the table and used his fiery breath (Long burst) to hose down the demons. The combination of these two fire attacks left the first Greater Demon in a weakened state allowing 'The Librarian' to charge and rip it to pieces... 'Go Ape!'
A couple of turns later and a second greater demon enters the fray and is subject to the same treatment. We started with One Greater Demon and two Lesser Demons in play. Each turn a fortune card was turned and if the next demon reinforcement could pass the challenge based on its stats it was placed on the portal pool.
The second Greater Demon had suffered two wounds from fireball blasts and an attack from The Librarian. I only had Igor left to activate. In a scenario where the adversaries were all Greater and Lesser Demons, we did not expect that our 'Allies' such as Igor would achieve much.
I said jokingly to Lewis, “I wonder if Igor can finish off that Demon? All he needs to do is pass a Horror check, without taking an adverse effect, pass a cunning check to overcome the Demon's 'Intimidating' ability and then inflict a wound!”... and that is exactly what he did, we could not believe it. He was helped by the fact that he had previously failed a Horror Check, but the result had been 'Rage' that added a dice to his brawl ability. Brawling was already what Igor did best, his 3D6 was raised to 4D6. The demon had two wounds and had already been in combat so his 3D10 brawl had been reduced to 2D6. In the end both Igor and the Demon scored hits and both failed health checks to go down... however at the end of the turn Igor passed his recovery check to get back on his feet and the Demon failed and was banished back to the Dungeon Dimension.
Igor was rightfully awarded the 'Man of the Match' award for his efforts.
Meanwhile, Ridcully has made it into the study / workshop where another Lesser Demon was emerging from the Portal.
Back on his feet Igor to is attacked by another Lesser Demon, he inflicts a wound, but eventually goes down.
Riduclly is joined by The Bursar and the Chair of Grotesque Biology.
We were running out of time, but on the last turn Ridcully manages to overcome the last plot point challenge and seal the portal.
The University and town are safe for another day!
This was an excellent game, exciting and in the balance right down to the last few rolls of the last turn.
I'd played Pulp Alley as co-operative play once before, with Dave Phipps when we went up against 'The Thing' Lewis had not played it this way, but we both agreed that it had been a lot of fun, a different gaming experience, and that we would do it again, sometime soon.
The fantasy miniatures 'inspired by fantasy literature' are all available as part of the Guards Guard Kickstarter campaign. Click here for details.
The terrain is 3D printed using mainly files from Printable Scenery.
Click here to take a look at what is available for Pulp Alley.