Sunday, February 12, 2023

Perilous Tales: The Werewolf of Rat River

I attended my first gaming convention since February 2020 this weekend - a return to my beloved Running GAGG, hosted annually by the students and alumni of the Geneseo Area Gaming Group at SUNY Geneseo. Attending college at Geneseo and joining the gaming club literally the first week of my freshman year was a formative experience for me, and made me the tabletop gamer I am today, and Running GAGG is to me the single best gaming con out there. I've missed it only twice since 2005, and while I wasn't in a position to run or play games this year, it was really good seeing friends I hadn't seen in person in three years being able to donate copies of RPG books I'd worked on for the charity auction meant a lot to me. 

Feeling energized by the experience, when I got home I set up another game of Perilous Tales for myself - set in an Arctic Camp Site, with Werewolves as the antagonists. With that settled, it was a simple matter to get out some Pulp Figures' Canadian adventurers and get going!

Our heroes:

  • Lefty LaRue (Leader), with Tough and Eagle-Eyed
  • Quinn the Eskimo (Teammate), with Hair-Trigger
  • Frenchie Sinclair (Teammate), with Medic
  • Sgt. Burke of the RCMP (Teammate), with Marksman
  • Sasha the Sled-Dog (Teammate), with Brute

Our objectives:

  • Kill the Master
  • Hunt the Fiends
  • Call for Rescue

So our stalwart heroes needed to get in, kill the master werewolf, kill at least three of its minions, and activate the radio in the cabin to call for rescue.  

Our heroes began moving up the board cautiously, keeping close together and using Eyes Peeled actions in case a threat marker triggered; Lefty used his Eagle-Eyed trait to start scouting threat markers. It wasn't long, however, before they started activating threat markers, with Quinn being attacked by a wolf.



 And Sasha finding herself snout to snout with a Young Werewolf!

At this point the party somewhat broke cohesion, and Sgt. Burke made a dash for the cabin to activate the radio, though activating one of the environmental perils in the process - no one was getting into the cabin without risking a case of frostbite!

Sasha managed to take down the Young Werewolf herself, though was wounded in the process and getting Marked - if she rolled a misfortune on a skill check at any point later in the game, she'd turn into a Young Werewolf herself. Frenchie healed her injuries, but the taint of lycanthropy wasn't coming off that easily.

Quinn and Lefty take down a number of wolves that spawn near the bridge, and advance to check out the furthest threat marker; at a glance (using the Eagle-Eyed trait), I thought it was a "1," which would have been the Master Werewolf. When Quinn activated it, I realized it was a "7," and he was caught in a snow-drift. 

Sgt. Burke activated the radio, calling for help, which spawned two more wolves placed randomly - and one of them was in the cabin with him!

At long last, the Master Werewolf revealed itself - and in so doing, bumped the Threat Level to 9! At 10, it's game over. The heroes had one activation phase to beat the Master Werewolf. Fortunately Lefty and Frenchie had their Eyes Peeled, and put a few bullets into the Master Werewolf the instant it appeared.

Sasha lunged for the werewolf's throat, biting and then dancing out of the way of its savage claws, leaving room for Frenchie and Lefty to fire everything they had into the hulking brute - and managed to put the beast down! Between the three of them they managed to put 13 wounds on the werewolf, more than its maximum health of 12. The werewolf's death brought the Threat Level down from 9 to 7.

A few more wolves popped up after this, tangling with Quinn and Sgt. Burke. While Burke managed to escape the wolf, he did succumb to frostbite trying to leave the area; the only casualty suffered by the heroes this game.

So tallying up my victory points:

  • +3 for killing the Master Werewolf
  • +3 for killing at least three Minions
  • +3 for at least three heroes still alive when rescue arrives following the radio call
  • +1 for the Leader surviving

For a score of 10, "a truly heroic performance!"

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Perilous Tales: Blast the Blasphemous Bog!

Last night I returned to Planet Smasher Games' Perilous Tales after far too long a hiatus; seeing Mr. Martin taking the game for a spin and having some filmed games show up in my YouTube recommendations again got me inspired to give it another whirl. 

This time around, General "Cappy" Boyd and his mercenaries delved deep into the sinister swamp, haunted by the spectre of - VOODOO! Their objectives were to 1) Retrieve the MacGuffin, 2) Kill the Master, and 3) Set the Explosives. So they had to get across into the villain's side of the table, search the terrain pieces for the MacGuffin, plant explosives on three of the terrain pieces (so the cabin, the hangman's tree, and the standing stones) and kill Murder Legendre, the Voodoo Master.

It ended up not going that well for Cappy and his boys - although some of that is due to mistakes on my part as I refamiliarized myself with the rules. I goofed on the first Threat Check of the game, rolling more dice (and thus getting more successes) than I should have, escalating the threat level faster than should have occurred and hampering the heroes with a series of horror checks that they shouldn't have had to make. 

The way things panned out with villain deployment didn't help either - a pair of lingering environmental threats popped up right in front of the cabin and the standing stones, causing anyone who approached to either risk falling down, or being hit by a Skill 3 attack, respectively. The third environmental horror was also right up front, hitting one of the heroes with a devastating Skill 7 attack right before a zombie shambled into him. 

Once the villains started being revealed things started to get real messy. Murder Legendre appears with a giggling, animated voodoo doll that prances around terrorizing heroes (and being incredibly difficult to kill) while Murder holds back in the shadows, and the villains just kept rolling absurdly well while the heroes just didn't. As long as Murder held back near an unrevealed threat marker, zombies kept popping up to threaten heroes, and these zombies were attacking with Skill 5 versus the heroes' Skill 2. Hero after hero went down under the pounding fists and gnawing teeth of the walking dead, though one did run into Murder's assistant - who immediately clubbed him down with a human femur!

The game ended with Cappy trying to plant the dynamite at the standing stones but having two zombies spawn directly in front of him while Murder Legendre watched and chuckled. It didn't go well for Cappy.

I may re-run this one again later this weekend and see if I have better luck with a different arrangement of threat tokens.