Age of Unreason – Indian Summer – the AAR

Sergeant Hull looked at the three members of the Virginia State Militia he had chosen for the mission assigned by Captain Hunt – troopers Albany, Bowers and Casco – and pursed his lips thoughtfully. Bowers and Casco he had worked with before and knew they could be trusted, but Albany was relatively new and therefore an unknown quantity. Their mission had taken them to the woods just outside of Deerfield and Hull had deliberately led his men towards the Walton homestead, as he knew that John would be out hunting, which left his teenaged daughter Beccy all alone.

Hull felt that she might appreciate some male company, what with there potentially being a madman loose in the woods, and he was prepared to give her some…

After the introduction of my revised part of Steve and I’s Age of Unreason project, I’ve been busy beavering away to get enough terrain, fauna and figures ready to enable me to play a game. I realised that I had reached a point where I could actually do so and was blessed with some rare free time to actually play the game.

And here it is…

Sergeant Hull and the three members of the Virginia State Militia can be seen in the bottom left of the above picture. There are three clue tokens (the same as I used in my Scooby Doo game way back when) which reveal various information about what is stalking the woods. One is hidden in the bushes at the bottom right of the picture, one is placed on the Walton homestead in the top right, as Beccy will be able to provide some information, and the final one is hidden amongst the rocky hills in the top left.

As soon as one of the clues is discovered, the antagonist will appear a random number of hexes from the clue token, generated by the roll of a d10. The rules being used are Way of the Crow, but I won’t be boring you with a full breakdown of exactly what was rolled, etc. Hopefully, it will all make sense as it goes along.

As only the State Militia are on the table at present, there was no need to roll for Inititative. Hull used his first Action and his Leadership ability of 3 to activate all three trropers, sending Bowers and Casco off towards the rocky promontory and Albany towards the cabin. All troopers used both their Actions for movement, moving a total of 6 hexes. Hull used his second Action to follow Albany, but only moved a total of 3 hexes, as he only had one Action left.

Realising that there was no real need for Hull to use his Leadership skill, as there were no opponents on the table, each figure moved separately in Turn 2. Albany and Hull used their first Action to move closer towards the cabin, and as they were passing the first clue, an Awareness roll was made for both characters. Hull failed, but Albany noticed something in the bushes and used his second Action to push through them and discover the first clue – a headless corpse. He called Hull over, who used his second Action to join Albany at the body.

Meanwhile, Bowers and Casco had used both their actions to advance towards the rocky ground.

Of course, having discovered the first clue, this meant that the antagonist appeared and on a roll of 8, this put it 8 hexes away from the first clue. Nowhere near Albany and Hull, but only 4 hexes away from from Casco.

However, as it was concealed, it was represented on the table top by a clear plastic hexagon.

The thing could immediately take Actions, of which it had 3 and chose to shoot at the nearest victim, trooper Casco. An Agility of 5, with Marksman +3 and a roll of 10(!) meant that the thing’s attack was 18, versus a dodge roll of Casco’s Agility of 3 and a roll of 2, totalling 5. 13 points difference, added to the Vigour of the attack of 6, meant that even taking into account Casco’s Vigour of 3, he still took 16 points of damage…and he only had 6! In a burst of bright light, Casco went down, a hole burned through his chest.

The thing used it’s second action to move adjacent to Casco’s body, but as it has a Stealth of 3, Invisibility of +5 and rolled a 1, Bowers would need a roll of 7 or higher to add to his Awareness of 3 to see it…and rolled a 6.

The thing used its final Action to shoot at Bowers, and managed to hit him with an additional two points added to the strength of its weapon, totalling 8. 3 of these were soaked by his Vigour, but he still took 5 points of damage. Having 6 points, he was still alive, if barely.

Turn 3 saw the first Initiative roll off, with the Militia winning. Hull and Albany, having heard the shooting, moved towards the noise, using their first Action to move closer. As they were now in Line of Sight of the thing, they made their Awareness rolls versus its Stealth and Invisibility and both succeeded, seeing a shimmering form in the distance. Naturally, both fired their muskets at it. Albany just missed, but Hull got a solid hit, managing to circumvent its natural Vigour and its armour, reducing its overall health by 2 and shorting out its invisibility field.

The creature was revealed!

Unfortunately, as this creature has the ability Fear +6, all those within 6 hexes of the creature must make a Will roll to not run away. This only affected Bowers, who managed to make his roll. As he had not acted this turn, he used his first Action to shoot at the creature, and watched as his musket ball bounced off its armour. He chose to use his second Action to reload his musket – which was a mistake, as it was now the creature’s turn.

The creature used its first Action to move into melee combat and its second Action to attack him. It easily beat his feeble attempts to fend it off and gutted him like a pig. It then used its final Action to cut off his head.

Turn 4 saw the creature win Initiative, and it returned to Casco’s body, cut off his head and then made off into the rocky terrain to its left.

Meanwhile, Albany and Hull ran through the woods towards the scene of the fight.

Turn 5 saw the creature win Initiative again and it retreated further into the rocky terrain, returning to its lair and adding the heads to an existing pile of skulls.

Hull and Albany finally reached the bodies of their comrades and the sight was so grisly, they both had to roll against their Will to remain active, which they did. They used their final Actions to Stealthily move forwards (reduces move by half, but opposing player must make a successful Awareness roll to see them.)

Turn 6 saw the creature lose the Initiative roll. Hull and Albany stealthily moved forwards through the bushes and suddenly see the creature on the ledge above them!

As they are now within range of its Fear ability, they both make an opposed roll versus its Fear against their Will…and fail! As both men are terrified, their final Action is to turn and run away, bursting through the bushes back out into the woods.

The Creature uses its first Action to leap to the top of the promontory and its second Action to fire its Plasma Caster at the retreating form of Albany. However, he stumbles on a root and the beam of energy flashes past him, narrowly missing him.

With a hiss of frustration, the creature turns its weapon on the tubby form of Sergeant Hull, catching him dead centre and torching him.

Turn 7 sees the creature lose the initiative again, and Albany uses his full allocation of Actions to run. Luckily, this takes him out of Line of Sight of the creature, as he ducks between the trees.

The creature uses its first Action to leap from the cliff-top to the ground, but fails an Agility roll, landing on its face!

Whilst it takes no damage, it does have to spend its next Action clambering to its feet. And now it can see the fleeing form of its final victim! Readying its weapon, it is dismayed to find that the fall has damaged the plasma caster and it will not fire! (it rolled a 1).

Turn 8 and it all hinges on who wins the Initiative. If the creature wins, its Agility is high enough that it can catch Albany and cut him down. If Albany wins, he only needs to move 5 hexes and he’s off the table and safe.

The creature rolls a total of 10 for its Initiative. Albany rolls…

an 11! Yay!

Trooper Albany fled through the woods, branches whipping at his face and tearing at his clothes. He now knew what had been taking heads in the woods around Deerfield, what had killed his colleagues and had almost killed him…a demon, spewed forth from the bowels of hell, casting lighting from its fingertips and with evil burning in its eyes.

He would tell Captain Hunt what he had seen, and whether he was believed or not, there was no way he was going back into those woods.

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26 thoughts on “Age of Unreason – Indian Summer – the AAR

  1. Great AAR Jez, enjoyed seeing the predator stomping through the woods taking trophy’s, think the local militia may be in some serious trouble, best they could hope for is winter coming early, LOL

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    • Predator? It’s a DEMON, I tell thee! Lol

      There were hints in the introduction as to what was in the woods, but I felt that it was such an unexpected antagonist, given the era, that it was safe to drop them.

      As for the VSM, they DO have a cannon (once I’ve built it), so they might be okay…maybe

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  2. Great fun! (to read not so much for the militia!), though I imagine Beccy must have rolled high on her luck roll.

    Where’s Arnie when you need him eh! (probably telling someone to claim their PPI).

    Cheers Roger.

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  3. I love it I love it I love it I love it I love it I love it Iove it I love it….. I love it I love it I love it I love it I love it I love it Iove it I love it.

    Second the light lit up the trees and a light hit yer man, I was like PREDATORRRRRR… and my smiles was ear to ear. One of my FAVOURITE bad guys had just hit the scene and I could not have been ore delighted. Mixing horse and musket with sci fi in this way is a stroke of genius I was not expecting. Completely unexpected and yet… strangely right.

    Love the way you did the photography, again it fits the theme in a way that.. well, simply is spot on.

    {{In a burst of bright light, Casco went down, a hole burned through his chest.}}

    Oh man, thematic or what, and took me right back to the movies, and the graphic novels, and yet… seamlessly fitted into a late 18th century setting as well.

    Way of the Crow shows itself once again to be completely versatile and proves my point: you DONT need a flashy set of rules, you DONT need to spend a small fortune on buying a commercially available set: not when you can either make your own, or even go to a site like Pete Jones Free Wargames Rules and find hundreds of sets for free. Besides the key is very simple, jut bloody PLAY instead of paint paint paint.

    Ten out of ten Jez.

    Nice start to the campaign.

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    • Thank you Steve. Due to the shift from Maine to Virginia, I had to come up with a different plot, but one that would utilise what I had in my collection. I knew there was something ‘orrible in the woods, but didn’t want to be too predictable about what it was. I’m glad that it came as a nice surprise.

      And the rules worked well (as usual…lol) and threw up a few interesting twists.

      Glad you enjoyed it.

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  4. Ok now were actually talking and getting somewhere *winks*

    An actual game Heaven and praise above… a rare commodity nowadays for a hobby that’s meant to be about playing games (Now there`s an unusual notion *grins*). Nicely executed and fun to read, now we just want more and lots of them. Once you START playing it gets easier and easier. What is it Samwise says to Frodo: “Best we make a start Mr Frodo Sir: as my old Gaffer used to say to me when I was a lad, its the job never gets starter is the longest to see to the end.”

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    • Never satisfied, are ya? I go to all the trouble of playing a game, taking notes and photographs, typing it up and posting it and what’s the response? “Where’s the next one?” Some people…

      There WILL be a higher proportion of AARs compared to my previous output (what was it? One, maybe two in 12 months?), but it will be when I get the time to do it. Setting everything up took a while, as did packing it all away again, so might have to look at alternative ‘fast play’ alternatives. And my woods looked a little spartan, so I think I might need some more trees.

      Like

  5. this is why I blog, and what I always hope to see, games being played and shared with us the readers, so we can enjoy and be inspired for our own hobby time. what hils says is right it is becoming more rare to see nowadays as bloggers tend to follow what each other are doing all the time, and if that’s showcasing figures (that will probably never end up even seeing the table) then this becomes the norm that everyone follows. other groups of friends play lots and if you look on the favourites list of these types of more serious sites you will find the people who tend to follow also play lots as well,

    like finds like as my mum always says, and I think it is probably true.

    a nice start to what I hope will be lots more to come.

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    • Ah, but did you enjoy it Luke? Anyone with the time can post an AAR. However, they’re not all of the same quality. I read one recently which had very nice terrain, but was predictable and dull, almost as if the person playing it had already worked out beforehand what he wanted the outcome to be and just went through the motions. Not particularly entertaining.

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  6. All the above. I can get behind a site that has real play time exposure as a regular feature in its posts, and tend rather quickly to lose interest otherwise. Too many posts go the other route and they just make me yawn I am afraid.

    This is a good start to what I hope is lots more to come. Combining the story with the AAR in one post is probably a smoother way to go as well. Nice start and worth waiting for. Let it be a start and not an exception – that’s my vote LOL>

    Dave G

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    • Thanks Dave. The only reason they were separate on this occasion was that I had ‘on the go’ time to enable me to do the story part without having to worry about moving figures about and that my ‘gaming window’ was relatively short – I had a fence to fix – so had to ensure that everything got done in the time I had available. I’ve now developed a ‘gaming shorthand’, which means the notes don’t take as long to do.

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  7. This was so much fun to read, Jeremy. Took me back to the “source material”, when most of the team was wiped out all at once…Muskets are about as useful as rubber bands, it seems.

    I love how the creature landed on its face. Unplanned moments like these really add humor to a game.

    Well done, sir!

    Like

    • Thanks Keith. Both sides were actually evenly matched points-wise. I designed “Way of the Crow” specifically so that there is always a chance, no matter how slim, that ‘big bads’ can be taken down, as it always annoyed me that in certain rules you could create characters that were effectively unstoppable. Had the VSM been more fortunate in their dice rolls, things could have turned out differently. But the dice don’t always go your way, as the Predator discovered near the end of the game.

      Like

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