On Monday, as a bit of a change the Ripon RPG group came round for a miniatures based fantasy skirmish game. We normally play 'Fate' set in a Harn setting as a narrative game without the distraction of miniatures or other props. I've been playing Pulp Alley for the last five years in the 'Pulp Era' setting but also for a huge variety of other periods and genres including WW2, Pirates, Western, Judge Dredd, Star Wars, HP Lovecroft themed Horror, Post Apocalypse, Zombies, Scooby Doo, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and many more. One of the genres that I had not tried to date was Swords & Sorcery themed fantasy.
Over the last couple of months I have been busily working away converting a wide range of miniatures from Frostgrave, Perry Miniatures, Wargames Foundry and many more manufacturers to anthropomorphic fantasy miniatures using the heads and tails Critter Conversion Kits from Albedo Miniatures. I created enought characters for four leagues using the Pulp Fantasy rules from the Pulp Alley Rulebook and some renaming of abilities to make them fit better with the genre, so for example the 4th level ability 'Inspiring' became the 'Bless' spell and the 2nd level 'Burst Fire' ability became 'Fireball'.
The scenario that we played was 'The Four Faces of Dr Fang'. I've played it a couple of time now in different settings and it is always fun. The city, Kingsport is being plauged by a run of gruesome murders and the adventuers, being outsiders are under suspicion. There mission is to solve the plot to uncover who or what is behind the murders to clear there names.
The investigation is represented by solving the first four plot points. Each plot points gives the league a clue token (The Means, The Suspect, The Connection and the Motive). The investigation is hampered by the attentions of the City Watch'. These were represented by 5 spear armed rat soldiers in blue and white quatered livery. Until the suspect was revealed these acted as semi-randomly moving perilous areas.
If a character activated within three inches of a City Watchmen they had to overcome a 'Peril', if they failed they could not act that turn. If they took a wound and went 'Down' they were arrested by the WAtch and taken off the table into custody.
Unlike many scenarios for Pulp Alley a plot point stayed in play once it had been resolved to allow other leagues to attempt it. The first league to resolve it got the reward and a clue token but every league that subsequently resolved it also got a clue token. Once a league had solved four clues the last plot point became 'The Catch'.
As the adventuring leagues were under suspicion and the city watch were patrolling and paying particular attention to them blatent acts of aggression on other leagues such as combat were not allowed, how ever we allowed leagues to use other less tracable means such as playing Fortune cards to hinder the competitions progress or even the odd 'Spell' that was not tracable!
As this was the first time that the playres had tried Pulp Alley, there was a learning curve around considerations for plot point placement and subsequent league deployment. Some plot points were placed in difficult and perilous areas which made them very difficult to reach.
In fact, one player decided that looking for clues was going to be difficult so elected for his league to surround the last plot point, that was going to be the catch and to then link arms to prevent anyone else getting into contact with it.
Once a challenge had been revealed for a plot point, it remained the challenge for the whole game, but the peril that had to be overcome first was revealed by a card draw from the Fortune Deck and was a new threat for every attempt.
On the top of the ruins surrounding the sorcerors tower, the last clue is solved and the culprit is revealed. From the sewer grate in front of the ancient shrine a green vapour formed and took shape, revealing a foul many tentacled beast from the abyss.
This was a little disturbing for the characters who had linked arms around the shrine. The horror rules came into play, so any character of level 3 or below needed to take a horror check before activating. Many allies & followers fled screaming. However, in the end it was not as difficult as expected to dispatch the beast. Although tough in melee, a few well placed 'Fireballs' were played, The creature failed the associated peril and subsequent health checks. This weakened it, reducing it's health to D6. A number of Fortune cards were then played to add complications to the wound before it was finished off by a volley of bow fire.
It was an exciting game. I think everyone enjoyed it and are looking forward to playing another scenario with the same leagues in April.
The terrain boards were constructed from Terra-Former modular terrain tile kits.
The rules used were Pulp Alley