Friday, October 21, 2016

Sun, Sand, and Savage Creatures from Another Dimension - a Pulp Alley Game

With our Pulp Alley sci fi campaign done, we're pressing on with new things at the club. Rhys volunteered to run a Cthulhu campaign for us. This game was quite the novelty for me: I think it was the first time I've played a game of Pulp Alley that I wasn't running. It made a nice change!

An ancient evil is rising and we need to stop it. A set of seals are crucial to that task. We're all here in the village of Ash-Shatt to find the seals. I ran the tramp steamer crew, Mark took the mad scientist and Andrew ran his rocket troopers. Rhys was in charge of the nasties (which he did a lovely job painting).
Doctor Veruckthaar, mad scientist, grabs the first seal.
As he does, an unearthly piping begins. Ever character must pass a challenge when they activate, or all they can do is move towards the piper!
My league, the tramp steamer crew, decide they quite like the sound of pipes!
When the next seal is grabbed, a snakeman and his cultists appear!
While we're still trying to deal with snakemen and cultists, the next seal unleashes a hideous tentacle.
Amidst the chaos, Dr Veruckthaar manages to grab the major plot point, unleashing an unspeakable terror!
By the end of the game we were still dealing with cultists and tentacles and squishy things, but we had only managed to grab four out of five seals. Mark won, with the major and a minor plot point to his name. Andrew and I snagged a minor plot point each. Rhys was a bit bewildered at our enthusiasm for killing each other rather than the horrors from another dimension. Are we not gamers and friends, I say?! What else would we do?
The game was lots of fun. By the end of it we were on tenterhooks every time a plot point was passed: waiting to see what fresh horrors Rhys would unleash on us.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Minders - a Pulp Alley Game

These meetings never happen. Ask anyone who goes to them. They will tell you there is no such thing. With good reason: if people could see this, they would be beyond appalled. The Governor's right hand man, a trader, a gang patriarch, a psyker and some creepy cultist. There's no way you should find those people in one room. And so you won't. You won't, because it's my job to see that you don't.
The Dark Coterie meets in out of the way places, places you wouldn't normally go. But, just in case, Petro Bolt and his three offsiders have been employed to make sure no one stumbles on them.
The problem is, a secret this big doesn't stay a secret forever. Today, it's not accidental visitors Bolt has to worry about. Two other gangs of mercenaries have gotten wind of this meeting, and they're keen to lay hands on Bolt's precious charges.

Scrooner, mercenary gunslinger, moves in with his cyberhound.
The other gang rushes Bolt, and carnage ensues.
(The boys made up these gangs themselves and this one had a curious combination of figures!)

The members of the Dark Coterie scatter in panic.
Bolt is back up (and down), as the judge moves in to grab the cultist.
To no avail!
Scrooner looks to join in the fun.
Bolt goes down and stays down. The Coterie are looking vulnerable!
But a combination of inept rolling...
...distraction from the main targets...
...and spoiling moves from Bolt's men...
...mean that none of the Coterie are taken!

I played this game with the two boys. As the defender, I expected to be meat in their sandwich. However, they got a little distracted beating each other up (week 2 of school holidays brings all the sibling rivalries to the surface!)

This was the first game where both boys designed their own leagues, something they really enjoyed doing.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Sinastrian Candidate - a Pulp Alley Game

The glorious day has arrived. A glittering ceremony where the Governor will proclaim one of our heroes as 'in viro in imperium', Hero of the Imperium. (If you haven't followed the campaign through, you can start here.)
But our heroes have uncovered a dark and shattering secret. During their captivity at the hands of the chaos cultists, one of them has been mentally reprogrammed to assassinate the governor. At the start of the game, each player receives an envelope with a playing card. The player who sees the Queen of Hearts is the assassin!
The ceremony begins with the heroes proceeding to meet the Governor. At the same time, the heroes retinues gently jockey for a better position once things get interesting.
The beginning of turn three and nothing untoward has occurred. At least not until the marine scout suddenly opens fire on the commissar!
At the same time, one of his men hurls a grenade at the mechanicus retinue.
The other retinues are stunned by the sudden violence of the scouts (the scout player played a Parley card, meaning no combat or running for the remainder of the turn).

The civilian onlookers scatter.
Another scout grenade, as the rest of the teams head towards the podium.
At this point, the scout player pointed out that if he was in fact the assassin, he surely would have been taking potshots at the Governor by now. His action was designed to draw out the assassin. He suspects that the mechanicus player is in fact the killer.
The commissar is all too happy to act on these suspicions!
The scouts move up to protect the Governor.
At this point, a small robot appears.
It has no effect on the battle raging around it...for all but one man. For him, the robot triggers buried memories. A jolt of pain fills his head. A grim apparition fills his vision.
He lurches up the stairs and fires at the governor!
The other players scramble to respond to this sudden treachery. The scouts hurl grenades at the Commissar's men.
Commissar Burns moves in for the kill.
But the other players are desperate to stop him. His laspistol fizzes rather than firing, and he narrowly avoids a chunk of falling statue dislodged by stray gunfire.
The other players rush to prevent the Commissar closing in on the Governor. But while they are still scrambling up the stairs a shot rings out. The Governor is down and dead!
A tragedy for the heroes, a triumph for the minions of chaos!

This played out beautifully as a game. I had told the players that one of them was the traitor, but then gave them all non-traitor cards at the start of the game. I wasn't sure how the guys would interact, but it didn't take long for the paranoia and gunfire to kick in. Then, at the start of turn five, a random player was shown the Queen of Hearts. Mark was quite devastated to discover that he was the assassin, but he carried out his new mission with ruthless purpose. I think it would have been nice to see the governor survive, but that was out of my control!

My first extended Pulp Alley campaign. Heaps of fun! This felt like a fine finish.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Raid - A Pulp Alley Game

It is just days away from the ceremony where one of our heroes will be honoured as  'in viro in imperium', Hero of the Imperium. As they wait though, they receive an urgent communication. The hive city of Sinastras IV is surrounded by sparsely populated wastelands, dotted with abandoned dwellings. Local security forces on a training mission spotted intense activity at one of these buildings. Observation suggested a chaos cult may be involved. Given their ongoing 'interest' in cult activities, the heroes have been called in to clean up!

The suspect building. Heat sensors suggest the building is a hive of activity (green counters).
Sure enough, those are chaos cultists lurking in the doorways.
Go! The teams move in.
The players get a little panicky as they discover a flamethrower in their path. A quick grenade puts him down before he is able to wreak havoc.
One of the fun benefits of GMing games that aren't just straight up fights: your players get nervous about all manner of inconsequential extras: here the scouts go rat hunting.
The mechanicus move in.
That flamethrower is up again, with a very enticing field of fire. However,he went down again before he could get off a shot.
The teams move further in: only two chaos cultists still lurking.
Wait a second, that doesn't look like a cultist!
Chaos marine!
The players rush to engage the marine. As they do so, the last chaos character is revealed: the psyker who has plagued them since the very first battle!
Over the next three turns, the chaos marine took more than thirty shots from the heroes! He was an absolute tank!
Finally he goes down! And with him, the psyker.
The psyker is down but not dead and the heroes rush to interrogate him. With an enthusiastic application of good old fashioned 21st century intimidation and torture, they uncover a shocking truth!
He has been masterminding a plot to kill the Governor of Sinastras IV.
The assassination attempt will take place during the upcoming ceremony to honour our heroes.
The assassin will be a traitor.
The traitor is one of the heroes!
The traitor is...urgh...gasp...ack...
The psyker is no more...

To be continued!