Pulp Alley campaign in Darkest Africa – Part 2

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This is the second post about our Pulp Alley campaign in Darkest Africa. If you missed the first post, grab a coffee and read that post first, before returning here. I promise it is worth the read!

Scenario III – The Temple of Skulls

After some days in the hostile jungle, the leagues finally locate the infamous Temple of Skulls. There is no information about this place available because no one has ever returned from there.

The third scenario was Smash & Grab. The scenario was played mostly inside the temple. The major plot point was Prof Finley or his daughter, depending on the information the leagues revealed. The minor plot points in this scenario were a skull, two piles of treasures and a voodoo idol. The minor plot points were all placed on higher ground.

 Pulp Alley campaign - scene 3 aPulp Alley campaign - scene 3 b

In this scenario I introduced some special rules and surprises to the players:

1.) The major plot point was neither Prof Finley, nor his lovely daughter. After entering the cells deep inside the temple, there was only one person: Bernie Bernosky. A dressed-up guy. As slippery as an eel. He claimed to have information about the whereabouts of the Finleys, but his whole appearance is rather shady.

2.) After Bernie Bernosky is freed, but still inside the temple, one tribal warrior or tribal archer appears every round on the gaming table. We rolled a D6 (1-3 warrior, 4-6 archer) and rolled another die to randomly place the NPC on the gaming table. So there was a constant thread for the leagues.

Random events

This was the first scenario in which I used the symbols on the Fortune cards to trigger specific effects

The flame and the lightning

When the flame or the lightning appeared on a Fortune card, one new tribal warrior was randomly placed on the table. The easiest way to do that is to divide the table into 8 parts and then roll a D8. After that, roll a scatter die and a D6. Well, now place the tribal warrior and you are ready to go.

The rules for the NPC were rather simple. They attacked the nearest character by brawl or shoot using the following stats:

Level 1 tribal warrior d6 health, 2d6 brawl, all other skills d6

Level 2 tribal warrior d6 health, 3d6 brawl, 2d6 dodge, all other skills d6

Level 1 tribal archer d6 health, 2d6 shoot, all other skills d6

Level 2 tribal archer d6 health, 3d6 shoot, 2d6 dodge, all other skills d6

The level of the NPC was determined by the number on the Fortune card.

The gear-wheel

If the gear-wheel appeared on a fortune card, a character was clumsy and activated a trap. Immediately he had to face the following challenge:

DODGE X successes (X hits if the character fails)

X was again determined by the number on the fortune card.

The magnifying glass

This one was some kind of goodie for the leagues. When the magnifying glass appeared, the character had to face a challenge and maybe gain another treasure!

Challenge: FINESSE X successes (X hits if failed)

The X was again determined by the number on the fortune card. If the character passed the challenge, 1 additional minor plot point was placed randomly on the gaming table, using the same mechanic as mentioned above for placing the tribal warriors.

Pulp Alley campaign - scene 3 c Pulp Alley campaign - scene 3 d

Aftermath

The scenario and all the mechanics worked smoothly. It was a great game. The only downside was the size of the gaming table. It was too big. While creating the scenario, I totally ignored the fact, that all the climbing and walking inside the temple took its toll. Therefore the game ended before any character could reach the major plot point. Looking back, I can’t understand why we not simply played one or two additional rounds. But nonetheless, we had a great time!

Scenario IV – The Cave

After the leagues managed to escape the temple, they discovered a secret entrance to a cave. Hunted by a pack of cannibals, they had to try their luck inside the pitch black cave.

The fourth scenario was once again dangerous delivery. The major plot point was Miss Abigail Finley. She was located on a pile right in the middle of the gaming table. There, a crazy witch doctor planned to sacrifice her to the evil gods. The room beneath the pile was crowded with fanatic tribal warriors. Well, one could say the whole area was pretty hostile!

If any character would approach the room too close or approach the major plot point, he would trigger an attack by the tribal warriors. To prevent this from happening, the leagues could try to close the two entrances to the room using dynamite. But the leagues had to collect these two crates of dynamite (minor plot points) first.

For the tribal warriors, we used the stats below.

Level 2 tribal warrior d6 Health, 3d6 brawl, 2d6 dodge, Rest d6

The goal of the scenario was to rescue Miss Finley (major plot point) and remove her from the gaming table. So the leagues had to fight each other and the fanatic cult. Heavily outnumbered, some form of cooperation against the cult seems to be reasonable. Especially, due to the time limit of 6 rounds for this scenario. But of course, both leagues knew, that the cooperation would last only a short time.

The crawling Death

To spice things even more up, I added some cave spiders.

Level 1 cave spider d6 Health, 2d6 brawl, Rest d6 Special rules: horrific, mobile

Level 2 giant cave spider d8 Health, 3d8 brawl, 2d8 dodge, Rest d8 Special rules: horrific, mobile

The cave spiders are attracted through noise. Because of that, every shot or explosion generates 1 noise marker.

The cave spiders will enter the gaming table using the following mechanic:

  1. The gaming table is divided into 4 areas
  2. For each area, one d12 is rolled. The number of noise markers in this area is subtracted from the dice roll. If this result is 2 or below, one cave spider appears in this area.
  3. Now the quality of the cave spider is determined: one D12 is rolled: 1-4 giant cave spider; 5-12 cave spider.

This mechanic works great. Of course, there weren’t many cave spiders in the game. But let alone the possibility of their appearance, let the leagues consider their level of noise. So, going in all guns blazing, wasn’t an option.

   Pulp Alley campaign - scene 4 aPulp Alley campaign - scene 4 b Pulp Alley campaign - scene 4 c

Aftermath

We had a lot of fun with this scenario. The game was a nail-biter, but finally, the Thule Society managed to win the game.  The mechanics worked all pretty well. Especially the cave spiders were a nice addition and add some extra flavor to the game.

Scenario V – Last flight to Paris

The final scenario of our campaign was pretty straightforward: reach the plane and fly back to Paris. But of course, we are playing Pulp. So things are not as easy as they seem to be.

The plane was the major plot point and its pitch elevator was damaged. To repair the aircraft, the leader of the defending league has to pass three random perils. Due to their victory in the previous game, the Thule Society was the defending league. So Stahlmaske as their leader would need at least three rounds to gain control of the MPP. This would give the League of Adventurers the chance to rush in and save Miss Finley.

To make the scenario easier, some minor plot points gave benefits for acquiring the MPP.

  1. There was a tool box next to the meerkat manor, which gave a single reroll von the MPP.
  2. The well-known cannibals from the previous games hold a dancer hostage, next to a big cooking pot. Rescuing the girl would give the league the chance to change one challenge on the MPP. So this plot point was interesting for the attackers too, because there was the opportunity to make things even harder for the defenders.

The last two minor plot points had no effect on the MPP. They were just an idol and some luggage. Also, the NPCs on the table had no other function as to add fluff to the game.

Pulp Alley campaign - scene 5 a Pulp Alley campaign - scene 5 b   Pulp Alley campaign - scene 5 cPulp Alley campaign - scene 5 d   Pulp Alley campaign - scene 5 e Pulp Alley campaign - scene 5 fPulp Alley campaign - scene 5 g

Aftermath

The final game of the campaign was extremely close. Finally, Stahlmaske and his fanatics managed to repair the plane and fly away. Rumors spread of a great reception at the Institut für Arische Kultur in Berlin. But until now, the fate of Miss Abigail Finley is unknown.

Last words

The campaign was a blast. Of course, stuff like that is also a lot of work, but it was worth the effort. We had a great time and this won’t be our last campaign. Gaming wise, Pulp Alley proves itself as a great choice for this kind of projects. I hope you enjoyed this after action report. I know it is rather patchy, but I hope you got an impression of the campaign. There are a lot of terrain pieces on the images, which I didn’t cover on the blog until now. I am working on that. So stay tuned. And as always, comments are highly appreciated. Happy wargaming.

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