Friday, April 29, 2016

Dark Continent Redux: The Mine, The Keep, Afterward

Dark Continent Redux
A Fantasy Core Adventure
© Jerry Harris 2016
(This link will take you to the Fantasy Core Playtest Rules.)

The Mine
Award 1 XP if the Characters recruit the native workers by themselves.

There is a short path up the bluff to the Keep which goes right past the Mine.  The entrance to the iron mine was buried by a landslide, created by the attackers, just after many of the workers had gone in for the day.  As the Characters go up to the Keep to investigate the dragon, a group of miners has finally made their way out of the cave-in.  Emerging are 2 Colonial Overseers (Militia Sergeants armed with swords) and 10 Native Workers (Native Warriors armed with pick axes, 1d6 damage).  Most of the other workers are dead, but there are several wounded inside.  The senior Overseer is Mr. Tindal, part of the local militia, and after seeing the damage in town, he and the other Overseer volunteer to face the threat when it’s described to them. 

If Seeker is with the Characters, he’ll talk the natives into joining them.  Otherwise, they might be enticed to fight.  Their families are not in town, so there’s nothing for them to fight for, except their jobs.  By the same token, they’re only working here to get paid, so their services could be purchased.  One of the natives will know about the dragon from experience.  His name is Hellion.  He comes to his home village to collect a human sacrifice once a year.  He is powerful and fearsome and possibly immortal, according to the tales.  But even when taking his due, he is cordial and friendly.  There are no stories of him engaging in this sort of destruction.  The Colonials didn’t even know there was a dragon in Africannes.  He’s never shown himself to them.  

The Keep
1 XP for running off the dragon.  2 XP for killing the dragon. 

It seems very quiet.  The fire has gone out in the Keep and it is now just smoldering.  The buildings are charred ruins.  There are breaks in the wall, and all of the towers have had their tops broken.  There’s no human life left inside. 

If the group coming to the Keep is not actively trying to be quiet and stealthy, the dragon will be alerted to their presence.  If alerted, Hellion will cast Disguise Self and pretend to be corpse (until disturbed) or a lone survivor.  Otherwise he’ll be lying in the courtyard, sleeping, and clearly badly wounded amongst a pile of dead bodies.  His current stats are Hp 30, no breath weapon left for the day, but he does have his spells.  (This makes the assumption that he’s had at least 1 turn of rest since his attack.  Yes, his hp includes a rest healing.  His full stats are in the ***following post***.) 

What happens next may be more determined by the Players’ disposition and whether this encounter is ending a gaming session or beginning it.  If the Players are itching for a fight, give it to them.  Assuming they’ve got surprise and several (expendable) allies, it should be a stiff fight they can win.  Hellion will try to fly off and escape if reduced below 10 hp.  Ref, don’t worry if they kill him here in this weakened state, this wasn’t meant to be a big fight, and (spoilers) Hellion is going to reincarnate, so they’ll meet him again. 

If this encounter is perhaps taking place at the end of a session and the Players seem the slightest bit sick of fighting, Hellion will address them without appearing to wake up, “You come here for a fight or to talk?  Because talking would certainly be a refreshing change.”  He’ll invite them into the courtyard under a truce.  All of the NPC’s are going to stay away, at least under the pretext of keeping the Characters covered. 

“I’m guessing Kurtz’s attack on the town has failed,” he’ll say, “Are you responsible?”  He’ll laugh if they say “Yes.”  “Well, good for you, heroes.  You know, he told me there wasn’t going to be any serious resistance to someone like me, but you people surprised me.  After meeting Kurtz, I shouldn’t have been surprised about that.  I also shouldn’t have been surprised that he lied to me about the strength of the garrison here.”  Hellion may be willing to divulge some of his story with Kurtz here, if the Characters are nice and attentive.  He might make the connection for them about the attack on the Intended’s townhouse to get the dragon bones back.  It should fairly apparent that Hellion is not really an ally of Kurtz, especially now.

If the Characters have mentioned that they’re out to kill Kurtz, Hellion will say “I think I’ve had enough of Kurtz, too.  It seems unlikely we’ll meet again, but if we do, maybe we’ll have something more. . . substantive to discuss.”  Hellion will rouse finally himself, “I’m gonna leave now.  You wanna call this a truce between me and you people, or do you wanna fight?”  It’s totally up to the Players here.  If they want to fight, I’d suggest having Hellion puke on the Characters while attempting to use his expended breath weapon.  (DC 18 Fort Sv or sickened 1 turn.)  Hellion’s going to attempt to escape if he takes even 10 hp of damage.  And if he doesn’t escape, that’s fine, too.  If the Characters let him leave, they can report that they’ve negotiated truce with the dragon.  The townspeople aren’t to be entirely happy, but given how their day’s gone, they’ll take it. 

Award 3 XP for clearing the town of invaders.  Nice job.  The people here will sing songs about the Characters. 

It’s not unthinkable that the Characters might be the most capable people left alive in town, unless there’s a military officer present.  All of the other accepted community leaders are dead.  The survivors are going to be frightened, if not hysterical.  If the Characters are in charge, they should have some difficult moments as the townspeople will be looking to them for leadership.  Have people asking them questions about what to do, how to organize, are the Possessed Natives coming back, what about the dragon, what do we do with the dead, etc. etc.?  Go ahead and make things uncomfortable and overwhelming for the Players.  Hopefully, they’ll immediately start delegating to anybody left with some leadership skills. 

In the meantime, they’ll get some rest and get fed, though not very well given the state of Inner Station.  The bar owners will be fighting to take care of them and get their endorsement, but make sure that the Characters notice how many other people are in worse shape around them.  Give them a chance to be gallant. 

At the end of the day, a flotilla of reinforcements arrives from Central Station and the surrounding communities.  They are lead by a clearly borderline insane, gung ho commander, Colonel Killgore.  Thankfully, his capable and more practical subordinates will quickly start getting things organized in town, distributing medical aid and food.  Killgore will be led to the heroes of the day, the Characters.  He will be convinced that they were special reinforcements sent by Kurtz, regardless of anything the Characters say.  Killgore will immediately give them commendation medals and field commissions as lieutenants.  In other words, he’s just drafted them.  The Colonel is going to be leading an expedition to relieve the forts at the Falls up river.  “And you hero boys are comin’ with me.”    

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Dark Continent Redux: The Banana Bar, The Port Town Inn, The Temple

Dark Continent Redux
A Fantasy Core Adventure
© Jerry Harris 2016
(This link will take you to the Fantasy Core Playtest Rules.)

The Banana Bar, The Port Town Inn
2 XP for liberating the area.

Normally, the most heated conflict at Inner Station is the ongoing competition for customers between the Banana Bar, the Golden Horde, and the Port Town Inn.  Given the large number of traders, agents, and military in town, it’s a fierce battle for customers between these three establishments.  The Inn has actual hotel rooms in addition to an upscale bar.  The Banana Bar features the best food in town and the best-looking waitresses.  The Horde has the cheapest drinks and gambling at their bar (it’s also the roughest).

That’s all academic for the moment.  The Golden Horde, in spite of its usual crowd of mercenaries, was not a defensible structure and its patrons have fled to the other bars, including the owner, Hurley.  The Banana Bar was originally a two-story armored blockhouse used while the Keep was being constructed.  While Mr. Merryman, the owner, had done everything possible to the building to make it not look and feel like a fortification, but he’s damn glad to have it at the moment.  Having his bitter rival, Hurley, forced to seek shelter from him, would be a bonus were it not for the circumstances.  5 Colonial Mercenaries (equivalent to Militia Sergeants) are holding the bar with 8 Civilians. 

[If any of the Eldorado Exploration Company somehow survived their encounter with the Characters, have them show up here as some of the Mercenaries.  They will have NO remorse for their previous actions.  “Hey, that was just business.  Today we’re fighting for the colony.”  Feel free to fan the fire and let the sparks fly.]

Mrs. Emily Salon’s Port Town Inn has had the advantage of being a three-story structure and thus the high ground, and has been doubly lucky to have the Marine Lt. Granger set up his troops there.  The Marine unit got split up between the Docks and the Inn when the attack hit.  Besides the Marine Lt, there’s 4 Marine Shieldmen and 2 Sharpshooters inside the Inn with 12 Civilians.    

A macabre smorgasbord of Possessed Native bodies cover an extensive kill-zone between the bar and Inn.  Both Colonial groups had a good arsenal with them and have shot at any enemy passing by.  The Possessed troops are making a final rush at the bars.  10 Giant Possessed Natives lead by 4 Witch Doctors are attacking the Banana Bar, while 10 Pygmy Possessed Natives are keeping the Marines busy.  As usual, none of the Possessed will be expecting an attack from the rear and will not respond in force to it.  If you’re not looking to roll everything out, assume 1 Mercenary, 1 Giant, and 2 Pygmies are killed every rd.           

After combat, the bar owners, patrons, mercenaries, and soldiers come out to thank the group.  The Temple bell ominously stops ringing.  Any mercenaries left will stay with the civilians, but the soldiers will immediately want to go to relieve the Temple.  The Players will probably want to rest their Characters, but there’s no time for it.

The Temple
2 XP for liberating this area.

This would seem like an odd area for a religious structure.  It was built after the bars, probably placed to service the nearby troops and encamped natives.  Perhaps it was also meant to be a small warning to the notorious debauchery in the area.  (The Temple also took the place of a proposed dedicated “companionship” facility.) 

It’s also a large, sturdy structure.  Soldiers, retreating from the Keep, immediately took the Temple as the most defensible position.  Several colonists and natives took refuge, praying and hoping for the best.  Unfortunately, all these occupants have made the Temple a target for the Possessed.  It has been under heavy, repeated attacks.  The colonists have been ringing the bell, trying to draw help.     

The last of the defenders have finally fallen as the Temple bell stops ringing.  25 Colonists and natives are left inside and, unable to effectively fight, are being rounded up by 10 Possessed Natives and 1 Witch Doctor, and are being taken out of the building.  The main problem here will be the civilians, as they are essentially hostages and in the way of any area spells.  Called Shot rules may also be in effect.  As Possessed troops are killed, the civilians will be able to get away. 

Finally, whatever Colonial troops are there will want to go to the Keep and see about the dragon.  Let everyone get a 1 turn rest. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Dark Continent Redux: The Military Pier and The Estates

Dark Continent Redux
A Fantasy Core Adventure
© Jerry Harris 2016
(This link will take you to the Fantasy Core Playtest Rules.)

The Military Pier and The Estates
2 XP for liberating the area.

Many of the local Militia were out drilling with some regular Commonwealth troops when the attack came.  They were caught out in the open by a massive ambush.  Those that stood and fought were massacred.  The ones that ran to the Military Blockhouse and to the Estates were able to survive.  They were joined by the private mercenary guards at the Estates.  Together, this relatively fortified area has been able to hold out.  At the Military Pier, the war galley there was set ablaze and sunk by the Watchtower Witch Doctors.  That shot kept the other ships from even trying to run that blockade.  Being a low value target for captives, Kurtz’s orders have been to simply put the area under siege.  After everywhere else has been pacified, they’ll overrun them later.

The cordon is a loose skirmish line to just keep the troops pinned down.  Though they are in easy bow range, the defenders are saving their arrows for a rush.  There are 20 Possessed Natives, 2 Possessed Witch Doctors, and 5 Giant Possessed Natives.  They are not expecting an attack from the rear, so they will easily be caught by surprise.  The Giants will be moved to engage the Characters, the rest won’t break ranks until the Characters attack them.

The small Blockhouse by the pier is used by the military.  It is a minor fortification.  Currently, the military galley tied to the dock is sunk, and there are  
dead soldiers propped up on the parapets to make it look better defended.  Inside, 4 Enlisted Soldiers, 1 Sergeant, and 1 Divine Specialist are holding the position. 

The Estates are two-story fortified homes with small courtyards.  Their occupants are as follows. 

a)     1 Lieutenant, 1 Arcane Specialist, 2 Native Warriors (Mercenaries), 6 Civilians.
c)      4 Native Warriors (Mercenaries), 1 Militia Sergeant, 2 Civilians.

The Archers and the Wizard will aid the Characters with ranged attacks.  If the group can kill off about half of the besieging troops, the Lt. will call out for a charge (with a bugle), and the defending troops will come out mop up the rest of the Possessed Natives.  After the battle, Lt. Hayden and the Estate owners will thank the Characters.  The Lieutenant, after a 1 turn rest, will want to take his Paladin and the Wizard up the road to the Temple area (the bell is still ringing), with the remaining troops guarding the Civilians.  He’ll want the Characters to join him.  (The Paladin will give 1 full healing to a wounded Character.)

Things have been pretty hectic, but surely one of the Players will remember that they were supposed to meet with the Captain Verity on a military galley.  Hopefully, their Characters will ask about her, putting two and two together with the galley and the military facility.  Alas, the soldiers in the blockhouse saw the captain and crew go down with the ship.  That feeling the Players will be experiencing when you tell them this should be anxiety along with some symptomatic confusion and nervousness.  But, they’ll have to live with it until things are settled in town.  

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

NMSU Aggies vs Bakersfield Roadrunners Softball 4-23-16 Game 2

The stands cleared out after Game 1.  I’m still not sure where these people are going.  They weren’t at the bathrooms or the concession stand where I was.  This time, the fans mostly came back, along with some more additions.  Members of the volleyball, basketball, and football teams were present. 

I turned off my little radio between games this time.  Good move.  The charge ran out just after Game 2 ended, so I was able to stay with Adam Young’s commentary until the post-game.  Ron had bought a new pair of stadium cushions for the double-header.  It was pretty comfortable for Game 1, but by the second game I was getting uncomfortable again.  Ron agreed and may be looking into more serious options for the football season (which also has metal bench seating).  I was heartened during the radio broadcast when the Athletic Director was a guest.  He said that the University is looking at upgrading the softball facility with seats and shade (which it definitely also needs). 

While still pretty warm, a strong breeze kicked up.  It was blowing in and going right to left.  The wind cooled things off in two ways.  It cooled off the crowd and kept the ball from flying out over the fence.  This produced a much closer game.    In the 2nd, the Aggies took a 3-0 lead after three straight hits to start the inning.  In the 3rd, the wind seemed to start affecting the game.  #24 Corrin Green had an epic at-bat, likely going over 10 pitches.  Most of them were foul balls flying out past left field (including hitting the groundskeeper’s utility vehicle).  She ended up working a walk, but was no doubt frustrated because she clearly had home run on her mind.     

#11 Makayla McAdams, Friday’s starter, was in for Game 2 and looked sharp early.  She gave up one run in the 3rd, but her other three full innings went 1-2-3.  If there was a pivotal moment in the game, it was probably in the 4th.  Up 3-1, #23 Aggie senior, Fiana Finau, came up with the bases loaded.  She hit a powerful blast to center field that would have easily cleared the stadium.  Again, the wind knocked it down.  #4 Sydney Raeber made a great catch over the wall to end the inning.  The crowd literally buzzed after that hit and catch. 

#14 Kayla Green came in in relief in the 5th.  She’d pitched out in the rain to finish the game on Friday.  Kayla’s offspeed looked killer here.  She’s definitely not the same girl I saw earlier in the season against UTEP getting hit around.  It seems like pitching motion has evolved since the last time I saw her too.  Good defense helps as well.  #7 Brennalyn Nakamura made an awesome play from second to end the 5th, diving to her right and throwing from her knees to get the runner at first.  The Aggies would tack on another run in the bottom of the frame thanks to pinch hitter #32 Nue Sivia (Newy See-v-a, I love that name).  Ron began a good-natured heckling of the ump this inning, as nobody else was giving him any trouble. 

In the 6th, the crowd gave Fiana a big cheer for her final home at-bat.  At the end of the inning, friends and family of the seniors were asked to go to the left field bullpen, but we weren’t done yet.  Kayla got the first two batters of the final inning out.  The second one was impressive, as she went from a 3-0 count to striking the batter out looking.  Ron started humming the Aggie fight song.  Unfortunately that last at-bat may have gassed Kayla and she became hittable.  A single and a triple later, the score was 4-2.  #21 Karysta Donisthrope came in for her final home pitching appearance to get the save with the final out.  Aggies win 4-2. 
My player of the game is hands-down #18 Rachel Rodriguez at shortstop.  She was part of 9 put-outs in the game without an error.  She’d hit a rough patch earlier in the season and has really improved since.  (She also seems to get her picture in the paper a lot, a definite advantage of playing an action-oriented position.)  Of course first base #17 Kelsey Horton was also part of 14 ground ball put-outs.  Let’s not forget Aggie pitching inducing 13 grounders. 

For the Roadrunners, #11 Amber Mills really battled out in the circle for the complete game.  She scattered 8 hits, 6 walks, worked through some long at-bats, and kept the Aggies having a knock out inning.  The team still had a chance in the 7th thanks to the score being close.  I hate to say this, but were it not for the wind and a couple of great defensive plays (#30 Julea Cavazos in Game 1 and Raeber in Game 2 both went over the wall to pull back home runs), the scores could have been worse for them.
After the game, the seniors were honored.  Surprisingly, the Roadrunner senior players were first given recognition.  The girls lined up on the foul line and received flowers.  I wasn’t expecting that much sportsmanship.  Unfortunately, the girls long evening would continue.  When we left the stadium, the team was still standing around the parking lot waiting for their bus to show up.      

For their ceremony, the Aggie seniors came out with their friends and family members through a double line of their teammates as the PA read off their career accomplishments.  The girls got flowers, a large portrait, and a framed jersey.  A ladder was brought out and the girls stood by their numbers in the outfield for an overhead picture (which I’m still hoping somebody will post online, because I’d like to see it).  The girls all looked pretty happy during the ceremony.  #9 Catcher Tatum Reedy still had on her shin guards the whole time.  I think she wanted to keep playing.  I’ll miss Tatum.  She’s a gamer.         

While getting pizza afterward, I pronounced Ron’s shirt “lucky,” and that he needed to wear it to the baseball game this weekend.  He reminded me that the Aggies have also lost when he’s worn the shirt.  “It must be your underwear then.  Don’t change your underwear this week.”  Ron still doesn’t understand the softball substitution rules (neither do I), but he’s looking forward to next season (as am I).

It’s hard to sum all this up.  I’m glad I decided to give softball a chance, I’ve certainly enjoyed it.  While I still prefer baseball, I have more affection for the girls.  Beyond the obvious, the intimate nature of the field brings you closer to the players, perhaps forming more of an attachment.  They show a lot of spirit during the game that is pretty contagious.  They are gritty on the field, while still often maintaining a lady-like quality, and then acting like a bunch of rambunctious little girls at other times.  I’ve mentioned Kayla and Karysta as my favorites.  I find their gracefulness while executing their violent pitching motion fascinating.  Good luck to the graduating seniors and to the team for the rest of their season.  And, I hope to see more of you guys next year.


Dark Continent Redux: Warehouses, Tent City, Alleys, Sherriff's Tower

Dark Continent Redux
A Fantasy Core Adventure
© Jerry Harris 2016
(This link will take you to the Fantasy Core Playtest Rules.)

The Warehouses
1 XP for not pointlessly engaging in combat.

The warehouses were hit just before the workday started.  Possessed natives came over the tributary river in makeshift rafts and quickly overran the warehouse district.  The large number of native workers in the tent city were encircled as the Possessed attempted to corral them for capture.  The natives hysterically panicked at the appearance of these near-men creatures and instead scattered in all directions.  The Possessed have been scattered as well, rounding up as many natives as they can.  

If the Characters are in the warehouse district, they’ll see groups of Possessed Natives taking captives and goods over the river on their rafts and disappearing into the jungle.  Currently, there are only 3 squads of 4 Giant Possessed Natives each still searching the warehouses for stragglers and valuables.  They are not attentive nor being quiet.  The Characters will have no trouble seeing them first and avoiding them if they’re smart.  Otherwise, attacking one group will probably bring the other groups within 2 rds.  

The Tent City
1 XP for freeing the captured natives.

The mass of native tent housing near the warehouses is deserted.  The natives there have either been captured or have run into the jungle (and will likely be captured later).  Characters in the tent area will witness several of the natives been captured and dragged off onto rafts by Possessed Natives.  The Characters, should they attempt any pursuit or investigation, will be able to catch a group of 20 natives bound together and guarded by 5 Giant Possessed Natives.  There are just by the river, awaiting transit.  Anyone already taken over the river is gone, effectively disappeared into the jungle.  If the natives are freed, they’ll flee into the jungle anyway.

The Alleys
1 XP for saving Seeker.

The Porters’, Market, and Traders’ Alleys are all long series of business stalls where agents hawk their products.  The Porters’ Alley is for buying the services native laborers of various sorts.  In the Traders’ Alleys, agents and traders are bartering various commodities (though most of the major deals are made at the bars).  The Market Alleys sell the various goods and food items for the town.  It’s the hub of business at Inner Station.  Virtually everyone in town passes through here at least once a day.

These are currently deserted except for a looting troop of another 3 Giant Possessed Natives.  (Pick which ever Alley the Characters are near.)  Again, they are not paying attention to their surroundings.   A single native, named Seeker, (typical native warrior type, but with a distinctive long scar across his chest) is hiding from them, but also obviously making sure that they’re following after him.  If rescued, he will happily thank the Characters.  He’ll stand up and wave his arms.  Suddenly, a six other hiding natives will pop up out of the Alley, wave back, and run into the jungle.  “You have helped me save my family.  I am in your debt.”  Perhaps the party might want to give him a weapon and ask for his help, which he’ll do.  Seeker will really want to go help his relatives though.  The Party may meet him again later.   

The Sheriff’s Tower
1 XP for clearing the tower (which kind of generous given the opposition).

The three-storied Tower’s main door is wide open.  The first floor is an office, empty, but has a weapons locker with a couple of longswords, a couple of bows, and 40 arrows.  There are also 4 full healing potions inside.  Up a set of spiral stairs, the second floor is a lounge and bunks.  There are 3 dead bodies in the bunks, poisoned with their throats slit.  2 Possessed Native Pygmies attack from above from the stairwell with blowguns.  Continuing up the stairs are the jail cells.  Uniformed Sheriff Marcus is slumped over dead next to the cells with half a dozen poisoned needles in him and his throat cut.  The cells are open and 2 more Pygmies attack from the open trapdoor in the ceiling.  There is a ladder going up to the trapdoor and the roof.  It is armored with parapets and gives good view of the town, particularly the situation at the bars and temple area.

Monday, April 25, 2016

NMSU Aggies vs Bakersfield Roadrunners Softball 4-23-16 Game 1

At the baseball stadium last weekend, they announced that they were giving away free t-shirts at the softball game on the following Friday.  This was the only mention of the promotion I heard.  It was the same thing with the cozy I got at the baseball game.  They need to get the word out a little better.  People will show up for freebies. 

Regardless, threatening weather may have kept away any crowd from the softball field on Friday.  Since I work at night, I wasn’t able to go, but I did get to see the game on TV while at work.  I did not envy the people who were there as there was an hour and half lightning delay early, and it rained in the final inning.  I really pity the Aggievision camera operators though.  They’re up on totally exposed platforms next to the walls.  It was a sloppy game with the Aggies and the CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners committing a combined seven errors, though it was also a tight, exciting game with Aggies coming out on top 6 to 5.        

Saturday’s weather was much more agreeable.  The temperature was in the 80’s with scattered clouds and a bright, warm sun.  Ron and I were both looking forward to this double-header, the final homestand for the Aggie softball team.  Since they had announced that they were giving out 300 t-shirts for the Friday game and the announced attendance was 200, I’d hoped they might be handing out the leftovers, but such was not the case.  The Friday fans certainly earned their day-glo yellow shirts and a few were wearing them Saturday.    

No promotion was needed to get a crowd out for the weekend as six seniors on the team were making their last home start.  (In fact, Ron noticed that they weren’t doing their usual hot, fresh pizza giveaway or throwing towels into the crowd during the games.)  Friends and family were in abundance.  #7 Brennalyn Nakamura’s family actually had t-shirts on with her name on them.  Some of them had signs, including a gag sign for #21 Karysta Donisthrope with a picture of her not looking her best.  The grounds crew had put down the numbers of the retiring players in the outfield around the Aggie logo.  More on that later. 

The announced crowd was 378, but I’d say the stadium was well over half capacity, which would put it at 500+.  (I’m still doubtful of the official 1,000 person stadium capacity.)  There were the usual group of senior citizens there, but this time there were plenty young men and women students in the crowd.  For the second game, some kids came out, with one group sitting behind us and the little girl with the big cheer sitting down in front (I’m afraid she’s become famous).  The crowd was loud altogether and into both games.  It was a good group to be with.  Of note in team gear news, I saw an Albuquerque Isotopes hat amongst the fans.         

I have to give the opposition credit.  From what I’ve seen so far, the Aggies (baseball and softball) have always won the fashion show with the uniforms.  (I hope Under Armor doesn’t screw this up next semester with the new uniforms.)  The CSU-Bakerfield Roadrunners, however, looked good.  They wore bright blue tops with yellow trim, sort of reminiscent of the throwback Brewers’ look.  They also had on white pants, which might have been a faux pas for a visiting team, but they went so well with tops.  Ron noticed that the Aggies all had the same style of glove, while the Roadrunner players all had different styles.  I’m thinking this is due to the Aggies’ Mizuno sponsorship.  The visiting team got in a lot of cheering from their dugout for both games, so they’re a spirited bunch.  I noticed between innings entire team came out to play catch with the outfielders in front of dugout.  All these softball teams seem to have different routines and traditions. 

The Aggies had plenty of motivation to win this weekend beyond just being competitive.  They’re in a close race for winning the conference, but more than that, coach Kathy Rudolph was going for win #400 with the program.  This being the case, Aggie took care of that business in Game 1, winning 12-1 in a 5 inning run-rule game.   They started off fired up.  The girls were loud enough cheering and singing from their dugout in the 1st, that I couldn’t hear the radio call in my earpiece.  The game recap is simply that the Aggie bats pounded the Roadrunner pitching, while Aggie pitching kept them down.  I can tell you that 5 of the 12 runs came from runners who didn’t hit their way on base, but I’m not sure that entirely mattered.  Once the Aggies got the merry-go-round going in the third with 8 runs, it was over.  That’s when Ron started singing the Aggie fight song.

The home plate ump seemed to be squeezing the strike zone, but the Aggies were winning big enough that the fans didn’t bother with their usual cat calls.  I will mention two plays here during the game.  #9 Tatum Reedy, senior catcher, made a great catch of a sky-high popup behind home plate in the third, right next to the screen.  In the fifth with the game well in hand, freshman #2 Alexis Maynez came into catch.  She’s the girlfriend of a former co-worker.  Sitting behind Tatum, he doubted she’d get much playing time, so he must have happy to see her in.  Being a local girl, hopefully her family was there.  Once again, the first batter hit another popup behind the plate.  It came out of her glove briefly, but Alexis managed to stay with it and hold on for the out.  If she can hit, the Aggies may be set for catcher next season.         

Players of the game?  With three players hitting 3-run home runs (#34 Corrin Green, #12 Kennedy Johnson, and #9 Tatum Reedy), let’s just call them all winners.  #21 Karysta Donisthrope did not disappoint in her final home start in five innings with 4 strikeouts and 1 unearned run.  For the Roadrunners, not to be patronizing, but I felt like giving #25 Lyndsay Klimenko and #8 Alyssa Stockton hugs and ice cream after the game.  They did not have a good day in the circle.  The only comfort I can offer them is that the Aggies are a really good hitting team. 

On to Game 2.


Dark Continent Redux: The Docks

Dark Continent Redux
A Fantasy Core Adventure
© Jerry Harris 2016
(This link will take you to the Fantasy Core Playtest Rules.)

The Docks
2 XP for rescuing the civilians.

There are many civilians huddled at the docks, hiding behind the various makeshift cargo barricades.  There was only so much room on the available on the escaping ships.  (If the Light Watchtower hasn’t been taken out, then there’s five ships full of civilians still there.)  There are about 20 men, women, and children left on the main “T-shaped” dock.  None of them are warriors.  They’re not even armed.  (Civilians: AC 10, Hp 4, All Saves +0, no attacks.)  What has saved them to this point is a squad of Marines holding the position.  They’ve held off several charges, but are badly diminished.  Currently there are 5 Shieldmen, 2 Grenadiers, and 2 Sharpshooters.  They are low enough on arrows to have to hold their fire until a charge.               
The native attack here has been restrained because of their orders to take as many of the inhabitants alive as possible.  With the departure of the ships, that restraint is now over.  (Kurtz curses himself.  He’d wanted those ships left intact to make a surprise attack on Central Station with them.  Of course this is assuming the ships have left.)  There are 30 Possessed Natives lead by 3 Possessed Witch Doctors gathering at the end of the dock. 

[And here it is.  If Gunpowder, Snake Woman, and/or Immortal broke out of Central Station, replace the Witch Doctors with them instead, on a one for one basis.  Don’t let the Characters see them initially.  Let them make an entrance, taunting them before the fight begins.  They will fight to the death here.  The rest of this description assumes that they are not present, so you’ll have to improvise a bit.]

The good news is that the natives are not paying attention to what is going on behind them.  Further, their main goal is eliminating the Marine resistance on the dock.  When the Characters make a threat of themselves, only 10 warriors and 1 Witch Doctor will face them.  The rest will only engage the Characters if forced to.  The bad news is that these are fanatics.  They will all fight to the death, so they’re all going to have to be killed. 

Meanwhile, assume that for each rd of combat, 1 Marine Shieldman and 3 Natives are killed (or roll out it out if you’re running a tactical skirmish).  Once all the Shieldmen are killed, the rest of the Marines fall the next rd (taking 1 of the Witch Doctors with them).  Thereafter, the Possessed Natives will be taking captives amongst the civilians.  Hostages will make the fighting harder for the Characters (Called Shots and such).           

Assuming the Characters are successful, the civilians are going to be very grateful, though still frightened out of their wits.  They saw a dragon earlier attack the Keep and are scared to death.  They haven’t seen him exit the Keep though.  They’ve noticed that the natives that attacked them are clearly not natural.  The citizens want the Sheriff Marcus found.  They’ve sent people over to his tower, but they haven’t come back.  “Did Kurtz send you?” one of the people will ask.  This will lead to a round of people expressing their hope that  
Kurtz brings swift retribution to these savages for what they’ve done. 

Just bombard the Players with all with information at once and see if they can sort it out for themselves (and hopefully disturbing the hell out of them, realizing how much the people idolize Kurtz here).  If there are any Marines left, they will want to link with their commander, Lt. Granger.  He and some of the troops were going to the Inn when the attack hit.  The Temple bell is still ringing, indicating somebody up there is still resisting. 

The civilians will have to be lead to some kind of safety.  They’ll insist on it.  Perhaps any Marines left could lead them to the blockhouse at the Military Pier or the Estates.  Or escort them all to the Temple.  Let the Players think up something.  The Characters shouldn’t be allowed to rest for more than a turn.  Prod them back into action if necessary.  It’s a warzone, damn it!