Battleshed Diaries

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

IHMN Campaign: A town called Obsession



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

After the retreat from Scorpion Hollow, Lord Curr's Company are next planning a desperate attempt to rescue the wolf-dog Dakota who's being restrained in a small south-western US river-side town by the name of Obsession. The Company also plan to foil a plan by one of the local deputies to trade a copy of the coded plans found attached to Dakota's collar.

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: A small western town



Scenario: Bring him back alive!


Scenario Complication:


    Armed Civilians (Pluck 6, FV+0,SV+1, Speed +0): Many of the locals carry weapons. 12 armed civilians are randomly placed throughout Obsession at the start of the game. If fire from either company hits or passes within 1" of an armed civilian they will immediately return fire, using the type of weapon on the miniature. If they do not have a weapon they will respond with Improvised weapons or fists. They wear civilian clothes 

    The Authorities (variant): By the end of turn 4, the local Sheriff and his deputies (x7) have arrived back in town at a random table edge and, moving towards the centre of town, will attempt to arrest the nearest figures. They will continue until the game ends or no figures remain. The Sheriff has the Fearless talent and the deputies the Tough talent for the rest. Any figures they take down will be considered to be unconscious, not dead, and handcuffed.


    Campaign Complication: Lord Curr's Company have an optional secondary objective to rescue Dakota, Lord Curr's pet wolf-dog. Dakota is being held in the town Sherriff's office. If any of Lord Curr's Company enters the office, they can spend 1 turn 'doing the paperwork' for the canine's release.

    If Dakota is not rescued by the end of the game, then Dakota can only join the next battle if Lord Curr's Company pay £10 for a contractor to arrange release and transport for the beast on the company's behalf. 

    If successful Dakota is activated again as a member of the current company and can continue taking turns as normal.


    Victory Points: 2VPs per enemy figure taken out of the game, 5 VPs per enemy Leader taken out of the game, 20 VPs if the Deputy with the stolen plans is recovered by LCC and safely removed from the table, 10 VPs if the Deputy is taken out of the game if in enemy hands.

    Game length: 2 hours maximum


    The story continues...

    It was a bright, still morning as Lords Curr stepped from the little office of Albert & Miller Livery and Stables on the outskirts of a small river-side town called Obsession after arranging temporary boarding for their horses. His small coterie now consisted of seven mercenaries, as Mohan Singh was still recuperating from his injuries received in the Badlands. 

    Today's objectives were simple. Captain Smyth had been 'volunteered' to head to the Sheriff's office where their guide, Coughin' Pat Vermillion, had informed them that Dakota was being 'restrained' in one of the cells - for the townsfolk's safety.

    They also learnt that one of the town's deputies was doing a bit of moonlighting by arranging to meet with an 'interested party' who wanted to buy the copy of the encoded plans found attached to Dakota's collar. The meeting was scheduled around midday, near the town's gallows. The rest of Lord Curr's company simply had to identify and discreetly kidnap the deputy.  In the centre of town. In broad day light.

    Unbeknownst to Lord Curr's Company, there was another party recently arrived in town. A rather irregular British 'trade' mission were very keen to meet with the captain of a steam-barge that had docked a couple of days earlier. Queen Victoria was rather optimistic for the ambush her household were about to spring on the traitorous Lord Curr and his band of mercenaries. In the early hours of the morning, Mr. Bridges had rendezvoused with a contact at a pre-arranged spot just outside town. Subsequently they knew roughly when Lord Curr's company were to be in town and what their objectives were...

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

    Lord Curr issues instructions for this company to split up, as he's concerned his small group of strangers will attract undue attention from the locals. Unfortunately, with Colonel Burns in his newfangled electro-chair - his Congreve Rocket gun crudely covered with a tartan blanket - and Captain Smyth in his crimson officer's jacket,  that would prove difficult. So the Colonel is sent directly into town as a distraction whilst Smyth heads towards the Sheriff's office, hoping to use a back alley between the undertakers and a construction site. The rest angle towards the centre of town, with Lord Curr ascending a rough track leading to a high, rocky bluff overlooking the town to act as over-watch. He can see the suspect deputy up on the gallows level, evidently making an effort to look like he's on a maintenance inspection.
    Lord Curr's Company heading into town

    After confirming the whereabouts of the wolf-dog, Dakota, with the steamer captain - and arranging berths for her party's onward transport -  The Victoria Palace Company head from the quayside into town to take their pre-planned positions.  Some of the Grenadier guardsmen casually move up the street towards the Sheriff's office, doing their utmost to act as though they were only off-duty soldiers, exchanging quips and pleasantries with the amused locals. The rest of her household headed up the opposite side of the street with groundskeeper William aiming to gain access to the upper floor of a grain suppliers which he noted had a window overlooking the centre of the town.

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

    Lord Curr's Company continue to push forward, with Captain Smyth now heading behind the undertakers, whilst Colonel Burns steadily drives his electro-chair down the street passing the town gallows and cemetery. The streets have become notably less busy as the sharper locals, sensing trouble with so many strangers about - some of whom are openly armed.

    Queen Victoria and groundskeeper William are now ensconced in the suppliers, with the groundskeeper scanning for a target from his fine vantage point. With the locals quickly finding someplace rather more urgent to be, he quickly spots Lord Curr's medic, Newel, approaching the centre of town. He's in a prime sniping position, having commandeered a cushioned chair and supporting his Military Rifle on the open window sill.
    "Have Curr's doctor in plain view, m'ham. Permission to take the shot?" he asks, squinting down the sights.
    "Is it a clear shot, no locals in danger William?"
    "Clear shot m'ham."
    "Then you have my permission to open proceedings William."
    "Yes m'ham." A second later the rifle kicks with what seemed a incredibly loud crack in the close confines of the room. There was a short delay then the Queen sees the maverick doctors stumble forward to the ground, his long, blue overcoat falling unevenly over his head as his top-hat spins off into the dust nearby.
    "One down, m'ham."
    Dr. Angus Remington Newel is gunned down

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

    The shot from the suppliers definitely opened proceedings, with the remaining locals scattering and the two companies now openly readying half-concealed weapons. One of the locals runs to the Sheriff's office to alert the deputies that a gun-fight is about to kick off. Unfortunately, the Sheriff and most of his key men are out of town, so a messenger is quickly dispatched to ride out and find him. The messenger is all too pleased to have an excuse to get out of town and also away from the malevolent howling from the beast in the cells.
    HRH Queen Victoria and groundskeeper William enter the top floor of the General Suppliers building

    At the edge of the cemetery, ringed by an old wooden fence, a stage-coach had been hurriedly abandoned by its driver and occupants, which one of the Grenadier Guardsmen now uses as cover after running across the street, with whilst two of his comrades enter the cemetery under the concealment of the tall gallows. All with the mildly reassuring knowledge that groundskeeper William has their backs.

    Lord Curr, from his elevated vantage point, watches the unfolding melee whilst he readies his Hunting Rifle. Through the Monocular Targeting Array he sees Doctor Newel fall. He urgently plots the relative positions of his remaining company and their adversaries, with Elvira Syng seemingly aware of the skulking Guardsman behind the Stage-Coach. With cool discipline, suppressing the rising anger at seeing Newel shot, Lord Curr now brings the cross hairs into focus on a British Guardsman approaching from an alleyway directly opposite his position. The Guardsman probably thinks he's concealed from any of Lord Curr's people in the immediate vicinity, with Colonel Burns being the most likely target for his ambush. 

    Lord Curr sees the danger and re-focuses this Hunting Rifle and re-sights again. He holds a half-breath and expertly squeezes the trigger. The rifle kicks and the unsuspecting Guardsman drops to the ground, the bullet passing through the underside of the gallows, impressively missing the maze of wooden supports underneath.

    Incorrigible Quincy Purser, with Burton Cartwright hot on his heels, both quickly scale the cemetery's wooden fence looking to intercept the two Guardsmen behind the gallows, the irony of their location not lost as they hear the distinctive fizz of a primed grenade about to be thrown.

    Sergeant Blake, partially concealed around the corner of the gallows, lobs the grenade in a high trajectory, over the floor of the gallows, the hissing bomb dropping accurately at the feet of Quincy who didn't see it coming. The young Incorrigible stairs at the rapidly dwindling fuse and only has time to mutter, "Oh my!" when the explosive erupts. Quincy's body is smashed like a rag-doll into the solid gallows support beams in a cloud of acrid black smoke, the blast also knocking Cartwright to the ground.

    Groundskeeper William, meanwhile, has found another target and confidently looses another round from his Military Rifle. From across the street, there is a metallic clang, a flash and puff of white smoke followed by a muffled yelp. Colonel Burn's electro-chair erratically comes to a halt, his Congreve Rocket Gun clatters to the ground and the Colonel slumps, unmoving, in the chair.
    Colonel Burns and a local fighter just before groundskeeper William takes his shot.

    The round from groundskeeper William narrowly misses a rather mean looking local fighter, who is convinced the bullet was from him. The fighter expertly levels his own rifle at the open upper window of the suppliers and rapidly shoots into the shadows beyond. The round ricochets off the window sill and hits the barrel of his rifle, knocking it and Groundskeeper William to the floor, Queen Victoria barley suppressing the instinct to dive un-seemingly for cover herself.

    Elvira Syng is now facing the long, razor-sharp bayonet of the Grenadier Guardsman who has stepped out from behind the carriage to hesitantly level his rifle at her. She doesn't move, her wire garrote hanging impotently from her belt. Then, the impeccably dressed Mr. Bridges from Queen Victoria's household steps out of the shadows of the gallows, confidently easing between the two hesitant adversaries. Leaning closer to Elvira, he locks eye contact and smoothly says,  
    "The tea from India travels furthest to the lips."  Elvira, with an almost imperceptible nod of acknowledgement, replies to Mr. Butler,
    "Brew me a cup for a winter's night. For the wind howls loud, and the furies fight."
    There is a momentary pause and then Mr. Bridges orders the Guardsman to lower his weapon. He then turns back to Elvira, and with a slight bow and a gesture back towards the suppliers says,
    "Shall we?"
    Elvira Syng meets Mr.Bridges

    Turn four - The Victoria Palace Company have the initiative

    With the resulting mayhem, even the most obstinate local fighters, including the stranded deputy at the gallows, have taken what cover they can find, agitatedly pointing their assorted weapons in all directions in the confusion of gunfire and explosions.

    Burton Cartwright is still too dazed by the grenade explosion to get to his feet. He simply rolls over with a semi-conscious moan, starring up at the dust veiled sky. With cold belligerence, the Royalist Captain Paton moves to within a dozen feet of the prone incorrigible, aims his softly humming Arc pistol at him and pulls the trigger. There is the usual crackle of static and a flash but the pistol malfunctions, discharging its beam harmlessly into a nearby headstone. With a curse the Captain ducks back into the cover of the gallows to check his weapon.

    Queen Victoria relays as message to her most recent appointment, Sir James Reid MD, who quickly reaches the aid of the fallen Guardsman felled by Lord Curr and goes to work on him, applying his knowledge and skills of Modern Medicine as best he could.

    Captain Smyth, losing all discipline as he see his paramour, Elvira, evidently taken prisoner, abandons his orders to release Dakota and instead rushes out of the alley and tries to find a Royalist target. The inexperienced Incorrigible Murray Straw witnessing his fellow Incorrigibles go down with the grenade and Colonel Burns slumped in his electro-chair, now panics with Royalists seemingly everywhere. He turns and flees backs towards the road leading out of town past the stables.

    Groundskeeper William quickly recovers from his close call from the near miss, regains his rifle and seat and re-positions back at the window, just in time to cover the retreat of Mr. Bridges and Elvira Syng, with the Guardsman as rearguard. As the Guardsman swings round into a kneeling position in a well drilled fighting retreat he spots Captain Smyth in his red coat foolhardily brandishing his weapon in the open. The Guardsman quickly takes aim and attempts the long range shot, which ricochets off the ground close to the Captain and hits the butt of his rifle sending the Captain spinning and knocked to the ground with the impact.

    Sergeant Blake, relishing the desperate attempts of Captain Paton to fix the newfangled Arc pistol, takes the chance to outdo the officer. He ranges in on the still prone Burton Cartwright to finish what the Captain couldn't. He pulls the trigger of his Military Rifle but instead of the expected snap and kick, there is just a weak solitary click as the round jams.
    Murray Straw makes his escape from the mayhem

    By now it was a rout, with Lord Curr impulsively descending the bluff to follow Murray Straw. Queen Victoria, considering Curr's retreat from the other window signals to groundskeeper William to order their own exit back to the steamer waiting at the quay. The groundskeeper leans out of the window and gives two sharp whistles, signalling to Sir Reid to relay the message. The Queen is conscious that the arrival of the local law enforcement is imminent now the short, frantic melee was over and she was keen to remove her company from any potential political incidents. There was no time to finish off the hound or to find the deputy with the stolen plans, who'd managed to disappear in all the confusion anyway.

    But her mission was a success this time. Lord Curr's Company had been thwarted and his retinue devastated.