Saturday, June 27, 2020

Perilous Tales Episode 2: Dead Men Walk!"

I've done quite a bit of painting in the last week, and tonight managed to put aside time and get the dining room table cleared off enough to enjoy a solo game of "Perilous Tales," Mike Hutchinson's two-fisted game of solo pulp adventure. 

I rolled up "Voodoo Cult" for my villains, and had recently acquired some figures from Brigade Games' Caribbean Empires line that fit the bill; in the 1930s, Romero-style gutmuncher zombies weren't a thing yet, just Haitian "dead men walking," and Brigade Games offers a couple packs of traditional voodoo zombies as well as a pack of bokors and sorcerers.  That one of these voodoo priests was sculpted to look like Bela Lugosi's character in the 1932 film White Zombie was a plus. 

Location was Hangman's Swamp; I chose "Mired," "Raging Storm" and "Disaster Strikes," which I decided in this instance would take the form of a sudden alligator attack.

Objectives were rolled and came up with "Rescue the Prisoner," "Disrupt the Ritual," and "Forbidden Knowledge." So the heroes had to go in, rescue a hostage, tamper with a sinister idol, and walk away with the knowledge of how to raise the dead.  Tall order!

So who would be the heroes to accomplish all this?

L to R: Monique Marmelstein, Carl Kolchak, Green Hornet, Kato, Von Dostmann
I decided on the masked vigilante known as the Green Hornet for my Leader, giving him the traits Tough and Crack Shot, with Kato as the first Teammmate (equipped with Brute to simulate his martial arts expertise).  Next on the team was investigative reporter (and occasional monster hunter) Carl Kolchak, with Eagle-Eyed as his trait; he was paired (over his objections) with junior reporter Monique Marmelstein, whose uncle owns a controlling share in the news service Kolchak works for.  She got the trait Discretion to be able to nope out of danger.  Rounding out the team was Dr. Otto von Dostmann, adjunct professor of archaeology at Miskatonic University (Crazed, and thus immune to horror checks).

Putting everything together, I decided that Susan Carlisle, heiress to the Carlisle Railway fortune, had disappeared under suspicious circumstances; Carl and Monique, covering the story for INS, determined that the trail led to Hangman's Swamp.  The Green Hornet and Kato, investigating independently, came to the same conclusion, while von Dostmann was himself following up on rumors of strange lights and drumming coming from the depths of the swamp.  Encountering each other on the edge of Hangman's Swamp, the five decided they'd have better luck working together. 

Entering the swamp, Kolchak immediately noticed a heavy thunderstorm rolling in; pushing forward, the Green Hornet was suddenly savaged by a vicious and hungry alligator, taking a staggering six wounds before the reptile broke off its attack.  The noise of the fight brought a dead-eyed, shambling zombie to investigate. 

Kolchak and Monique took shelter under the dead, twisted hangman's tree as the skies opened up in a torrential downpour.  Von Dostmann dashed forward towards the strange, half-octopus, half-dragon, half-humanoid statue looming out of the darkness, and a second zombie arose from the muck to menace Kato. 

Soaked to the skin and running his hands curiously over the slick, cold stone of the idol, von Dostmann almost didn't notice the figure suddenly illuminated by a flash of lightning; the voodoo master, Murder Legendre, had arrived to deal with these interlopers!

The Hornet and Kato dealt with their respective zombies, though Kato took a significant beating from the dead man he faced; however, no sooner had he caught his breath than the Hornet found himself facing a ghoulish little imp that sprung from the slime, capering and mocking him. Von Dostmann, muttering "Ach du liebes bisschen" squeezed a shot off at Legendre and went back to examining the statue.  Hornet kicked the little imp away and sent it scampering into the half-sunken ruins.  Monique ran up to examine the idol as well, and another zombie rose up behind the Hornet.

The group concentrated fire on Legendre, killing him swiftly; then rifling through the dead man's pockets, von Dostmann came away with a well-worn notebook - the secrets of life and death were his! Von Dostmann resumed studying the statue, joined by Carl Kolchak, while Monique and Kato rushed to untie Susan Carlisle.  A final zombie rose from the swamp but was swiftly dealt with.  With the heiress free and newfound knowledge, the group left Hangman's Swamp behind...

When the Green Hornet got mauled by an alligator in the first turn, I was sure that this game would end badly for the heroes.  Instead, I scored 11 victory points and turned it around for a basically flawless victory.  I'm not sure I ran Murder Legendre correctly, though; I think I confused myself with some of his special rules and the flow-chart of actions that "Lurker" type villains take.  I'll run it by Mike Hutchinson in the Facebook group to straighten myself out and probably rerun this scenario. 

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