Sunday, 20 September 2015

IHMN Campaign: An encounter in Debrecen



The fourth battle of our continuing In Her Majesty's Name campaign.





It has been two months since the long voyage across the Atlantic. Upon arrival at the port of Lisbon, Lord Curr's company continued their journey by steam train and stage-coach to Lord Curr's remote headquarters in the Swiss mountains. Their overland journey unfortunately entailed a long, convoluted route in attempt to throw off Queen Victoria's spies and allies, not to mention potential unwelcome interventions from the various government agencies as they travelled across Western Europe.

Lord Curr sat in his study ruminating over the letter on his desk. It was from Csongor Bolyai, the Hungarian inventor and mathematician whose resources and friendship he'd relied upon during his company's recent escapades in the United States of America. The letter had preceded his arrival.

In the letter, Bolyai seemingly wished to bolster his alliance with Lord Curr by revealing some intriguing information that had somehow come his way. Although the Hungarian was rather circumspect with his sources, the letter described the possible location of some technical documents that had been secreted within the grounds of Anne’s Cathedral in Debrecen, Hungary.

Allegedly, these documents may contain formulae that could potentially be of assistance to Lord Curr - or rather, his employee professor Belfry-Chuffnell - and his company's quest to develop a super-weapon. How or why these documents had got there was not revealed, but the letter did come with a rough sketch of the areas to search...


For the complete campaign back story and to find out the story between battles I recommend you visit my campaign page before continuing.
But if you wish to just get straight to the battle report then read on...





Landscape:  The Cathedral: Benefits - plenty of good cover, hazards - the Collateral Damage rule applies

Scenario: Treasure Hunt - 3 locations are identified before the start of the game - a grave in the cemetery, the apse inside the cathedral and a statue inside the crypt - where each company can have their character(s) search for hidden documents. Access to the crypt is from the mausoleum in the cemetery or a distinctive flagstone within the Cathedral.   

The characters(s) must be in base-to-base contact with the objective and spend one full turn to complete a search. They cannot engage in any other activity (fighting, shooting etc) whilst searching. If they do, then the search must restart from the next turn. At the end of the game, on a roll of a 5 or 6 on a D6, any recovered documents will contain useful information.

Scenario Complication: Collateral Damage [modified]. There will be worshippers and priests within the Cathedral. If any company shoots inside the cathedral and misses, they have to roll the attack again and on a modified score of 10 or more, they have injured or killed a civilian. If the company kills 3 or more, they will have lost the game regardless of any VPs acquired. The civilians move 6" in a random direction each turn.

Victory Points:

2 VPs for each enemy figure taken out of the game
5 VPs per enemy Leader taken out of the game
20 VPs for any recovered documents that prove to be useful (5-6 on a D6)

Game length: 2 hours



Turn one - Lord Curr's Company (LCC) has the Initiative

Lord Curr's Company approached the graveyard
Lord Curr was feeling quite confident.  With him were his veterans from all the recent adventuring in the United States - Murray Straw, Burton Cartwright and Captain Smyth. Mohan Syng was fully recovered from his wounds and back wielding his machine gun, and best of all, Lord Curr had his faithful wolf dog, Dakota, at his side. The only member of the American adventure not present was Doctor Remington Newel, who was still recuperating from his gunshot wound. Joining them for this task is Lady Felicity. Sometimes known as 'Two Gun Tess'.  But never to her face.

The Company entered the grounds of the Cathedral in the early evening. There were only a handful of worshippers about, mostly going about their devotions inside the great stone cathedral .Lord Curr's Company quickly headed to their first objective, a ledger stone in the cemetery bordering the west wing of the Cathedral. Lord Curr held back with Murray Straw to provide cover if required, whilst the rest approached the ornate metal railings bordering the cemetery.

Unknown to Lord Curr and his Company, Queen Victoria had received detailed intelligence of Lord Curr's mission via their agent, Elvira Syng. Although she was now fully in the employ of the British monarch, it was on the understanding that Elvira's sources remained strictly anonymous. However, The Queen could not resist another opportunity to eradicate the threat posed by Lord Curr's rebellious organisation and so she now led a mixed party of nine experienced operatives around the less frequented northern aspect of the Cathedral, keeping out of sight.

Turn two - Lord Curr's Company (LCC) has the Initiative

Elvira Syng leads a section of Redcoats
Elvira Syng leads a small section, comprising  of two Grenadier Guardsmen, a Rifleman and sergeant Blake, surreptitiously moving along the northern side of the cemetery wall hoping to get sight of Lord Curr's men - and more importantly - their disposition. Peeping through the railings she soon identifies familiar faces heading from the opposite side, an unbidden feeling of regret as she spots the red-jacketed Captain Smyth following the burly northerner, Burton Cartwright, towards the south gate. She suppresses the emotion as she could feel the eyes of Mr. Bridges watching her from behind the Cathedral. 

With some well-practised hand gestures, she passes the disposition of Lord Curr's party to sergeant Blake who similarly relays the information to Mr Bridges. The senior House servant then quickly consults with Her Majesty and then returns a set of commands. Elvira and the Guardsmen are to intercept Lord Curr's group immediately.

Satisfied that Elvira's section were enough to delay Lord Curr, Queen Victoria, Mr Bridges, groundskeeper William and Sir James Reid run unseen along the east side of the Cathedral. With Lord Curr's men tied up in the cemetery, they could enter the Cathedral via the main door and conduct  a search for one of the hidden books.

Queen Victoria and her Household sneak into the Cathedral
By now Lord Curr's company were aware of the British Grenadier Guards positioning behind the cemetery wall, their distinct red coats provided little cover by the iron railings. Lord Curr quickly raised his Hunting rifle and ranged down Monocular Targeting Array. He could just see the fleeting red coat s, crouched behind the cemetery railings, but he decided any shot would be extremely lucky to find a target. He disappointingly lowered his rifle.

Turn three - Lord Curr's Company (LCC) has the Initiative

With Lord Curr's Company distracted by the activity in the cemetery, Captain Paton and Queen Victoria move quickly from the cover of the east wing and enter the Cathedral through the main entrance. Elvira's intelligence indicated there could be one of the books hidden in the Apse. If that proved to be unsuccessful then there was at least access of the crypt below, another possible search location.

However, the sudden arrival of armed civilians in the tranquil confines of the Cathedral caused the worshippers and priests to panic, their echoing shouts of alarm amplified within extensive stone interior as they scrambled to escape.

Out in the cemetery, Burton Cartwright had managed to run to the ledger stone to start his search, using the cover of the regimented rows of headstones and a mausoleum for cover.

Lad Felicity peered around the corner of the cemetery wall to check the flank, when she let out a infuriated hiss. She ducked back drawing both her pistols. She gestured for Mohan Singh to join her. She had spotted Elvira Syng.
"Mohan, cover me. That bitch Elvira is heading this way. Let me deal with her. Keep those redcoats busy. Don't spare any bullets," she commanded with a look of ruthless efficiency. Two-Gun Tess checked her pistols and moved to confront her quarry.

With Burton now partially exposed, the redcoats take the opportunity to take a shot - not wanting to risk their notoriously unpredictable grenades in such close confines. Led by Sergeant Blake, a Guardsman and a Rifleman they burst through the cemetery's north gate, quickly finding cover behind the nearest gravestones. One Guardsman holds back, hoping to get a clear shot from behind the railings.

Sergeant Blake takes a quick shot, conscious that Captain Smyth is lurking somewhere between the headstones. The shot goes wide, thudding into the turf next to Burton. Following their sergeant's example, two grenadier guardsmen both fire off a round, but again the shots go wide, one ricocheting off a stone in a spray of fine dust and stone shards. However, the solid Incorrigible bullishly continues his search unperturbed.


Turn Four - The Victoria Palace Company (VPC) has the Initiative

Whilst Burton is urgently probing around the ledger stone with a knife, one of the redcoats darts from cover and charges the Incorrigible with his bayonet. Captain Smyth calls out a warning just in time for Burton to spin round and, grabbing his rifle, parry a bayonet thrust. Burton is now desperately trying to fend off the redcoat using his rifle as a improvised shield - he's too close to the redcoat to risk opening his guard to attempt a shot.

With the Sergeant Blake and the Rifleman either obviously contemplating a shot into the melee or joining in, Lord Curr unleashes Dakota. The wolf dog springs away from the leash, swiftly closing the distance and bounding clear over the cemetery railings. A couple of seconds later the snarling beast is now flanking the redcoat, who now is shocked - in a sudden reversal of roles - to find himself on the defencive, trying to fend off both Burton Cartwright and a frenzied wolf!

Seeing the redcoat in trouble, Sergeant Blake orders the Rifleman to support his comrade, the redcoat charging to threaten Dakota. However, Captain Smyth already has beaten the redcoat to it, breaking cover to join in the fight to help make swift work of the other forlorn redcoat.

The frantic redcoat catches Burton with a viscous sweep of his bayonet. Burton falls onto the ledger stone heavily bleeding with a jagged gash across his right arm. The Rifleman now thrusts at Captain Smyth but the bayonet is parried with the butt of Smyth's rifle. Dakota makes to lunge at the Guardsman that downed Burton, but the redcoat's instinctive Bayonet Drill saves him from Dakota's powerful jaws with a protective jab of his deadly long blade.

Whilst the furious melee ensues inside the cemetery, outside Lady Felicity has Elvira Syng in her sights. She charges at her target, snapping off two pistol shots as she closes, but the wily agent has already spotted the danger and with practised ease performs side flat fall as the shots buzz past her, missing by a fractions of an inch. The two women clatter into each other knees, elbows and fists flaying as both scream a torrent of graceless invective. Lady felicity ruthlessly pistol-whips Elvira who falls to the ground. Lady Felicity then aims a vicious high-heeled kick to Elvira's head but once again the lithe fighter manages to roll away into a crouching position and readying her garrote.

Lady Felicity engages Elvira Syng in a brutal fight whilst Mohan heads into the cemetery

Turn five - Lord Curr's Company (LCC) has the Initiative

Lord Curr takes up a position simultaneously trying to cover the clash in the cemetery and the entrance to the cathedral. With a quick exchange with Murray, the young Incorrigible sprints through the open cemetery gates and takes the place of the wounded Burton Cartwright, to support Dakota still ducking the thrusts of the redcoat's bayonet.

Back inside the cathedral, Captain Paton has finished his search of the Apse to no avail. Queen Victoria orders the rest of her men - groundskeeper William and Sir James Reid to stay put and guard the entrance whilst she and Mr. Bridges head down into the shadowy confines of the Crypt.

Captain Paton completing his search
Lady Felicity charges a second time, just as Elvira scrambles to her feet, snapping off two more pistol shots - again both miraculously going wide - the Lady letting her rage uncharacteristically overwhelm her accuracy. She kicks at Elvira catching her in the thigh, the agent stumbling back as she again falls.

Mohan, not daring to chance machine gun fire into the women's viscous hand-to hand fighting, and confident that The Lady will deal with Elvira, he runs into the cemetery to support the others instead. Sergeant Blake and the redcoat still on over-watch spot the machine gun wielding strongman and both volley fire at Mohan. Luckily the shots go wide.

Ferocious hand-to-hand combat in the cemetery
Lord Curr, watching the combat in the cemetery through his scope finally sees an opportunity as the Dakota forces back the bayoneted Guardsman with a rapid succession of snarling feints. Lord Curr squeezes the trigger of his Hunting Rifle, the round grazing the shoulder of the redcoat, knocking him to the ground. Almost immediately, Dakota falls on the prone redcoat in a frenzy of snapping jaws, razor-teeth and spraying mucus.

The redcoat Rifleman now realising he is outnumbered attempts one last thrust with his bayonet at Captain Smyth, the blade slicing a ragged hole in the captain's tailcoat as it barely misses.

Sergeant Blake roars the command to fall back. Elvira, moments from yet another brutal clash with Lady Felicity hears the order and with a curse jumps out of reach just in time. She turns and sprints away, with Lady Felicity left standing, frustratingly sending her assailant away with another tirade of verbal abuse.

By the time the melee in the cemetery had run its course, Queen Victoria and Mr. Bridges had successfully concluded their search of the crypt. They had recovered a hidden book that looked as though it contained some valuable information. They both joined their party in the Cathedral and swiftly moved out, leaving the terrified worshippers hiding and sobbing behind the pews.

Queen Victoria and Mr.Bridges search the Crypt

Conclusion - win for the Victoria Palace Company

With the redcoats finally withdrawing and his party battered and exhausted form the violent gunfight and melee in the cemetery, not to mention Lady Felicity raging from her fight with Elvira Syng,  Lord Curr called a retreat. From his position, he could see Queen Victoria and the rest of her company in the distance, rushing away from the cathedral.

Once again, the royalists had ruined Lord Curr's plans to recover valuable information to support his ultimate plan. This time though, the question foremost on his mind was how they had known his company were to be here at all?