In this whip cracking Tale of Albion we find some prisoners on a chain gang serving out their sentence.
Can the wardens keep order or will the gangs fulfill their secret objectives.
A prisoner’s lot was not a happy one. The guilty are condemned to an inevitably brief and loathsome existence aboard a rotting hulk, or back-breaking hard labour quarrying in the mountains to the west of the realm. Those mountains has produced orcs famed for their robust sized, intimate love of grazing livestock, and close harmony singing. The hills alive with the sound of music soften the heart of even the hardest criminal, and inspired many to take voice. Chain-gang choirs brought relief to travellers travelling through that rain drenched land.
Except from "Londinium Calling: From chain gang to wax cylinder, a brief history of the convict folk movement."
The game requires three or more (preferably more) players.
The play area should be a wilderness area, roughly two foot square with some rocky outcrops for the prisoners to work on and a clearly defined path leading off one table edge.
One player controls the prison wardens, receiving 1 warden per convict player. Wardens are regular Orc militia, armed with a whips (1-3) or bludgeons (4-6), and 1 blunderbuss per 4 wardens (round fractions up, so there is always 1 blunderbuss). The warden’s objective is to prevent any of the chain gangs from achieving their objectives.
Each other player beings the game begins the game with a chain-gang of six prisoners. To create your chain gangs just have a look through the miniatures you have available. They could be loyal troops of your favoured nation wrongly accused upon returning home from war or a collection of miscreants who have escaped the hangman’s noose. You can use stats from other scenarios or follow the standard unit creation rules found in any of the three Flintloque Core Rulebooks. Each prisoners has the normal stats for it’s race and is armed with a sledgehammer (for breakin’ rocks in the er…hot sun). Unfortunately the hammers are rather unwieldy and count only as an improvised weapons.
All convict figures in the same chain-gang begin the game in base to base contact with the other prisoners in that gang.
Each chain gang has a separate objective which is determined secretly before play begins. You can create your own cards to draw from or use a standard deck of cards. Simply take the Ten, Jack, Queen, King and Ace of the same suit (one per player). Each player then draws one card, keeping it secret, and refers to the table below. If you have more than four players you’ll need more than one deck of cards, or use proxies from the unused cards.
Ten: Break Out
At least four of your gang must escape via the path.
You must kill three prisoners from a rival chain gang. You win the game if three characters from a rival gang leave play. This can be by any means including them failing a morale check as well as a result of wounds received, however, you must have engaged each figure at least once for it to count. You do not have to have struck the finishing blow.
Queen: Stool Pigeons
Sing continuously for four turns without interruption. Four of your chain gang must perform the special action detailed below for four turns without interruption. Place a token after each successful turn. Remove them if interrupted.
Deliver a rant about the injustices of prison life. One of your chain gang must perform the special action detailed below for four turns without interruption. Place a token after each successful turn. Remove them if interrupted.
Take out two of the wardens. You win the game if two wardens leave play. This can be by any means including them failing a morale check as well as a result of wounds received.
The first group to complete its objective wins the game. As soon as an objective is reached the player reveals their card and wins the game.
The wardens are declared winners if no other player achieves their objective by the end of turn ten when the armoured wagon arrives to take everyone back to the hulk the sleep in.
All standard Flintloque rules are in play (initiative etc) except where overruled by the special rules below.
Chain Gang Special Actions
Chain gangs actions are more restricted than those of normal figures, due to the fact they are all chained together. All figures in a chain gang must perform one (and only one) of the following actions each turn:
Working on the Chain Gang: Break rocks in the… continuous drizzle. This has the effect of pacifying the wardens. Any gang using this action will not be targeted by the wardens this turn (unless they have attacked a warden on a previous turn).
Folsom Prison Blues: All of your connected chain gang prisoners engage in close harmony singing.
Move on Down the Line: Your gang attempt to move as a group. Roll 1d6 for each prisoner in the chain gang. You can move the character that rolled the lowest number rolled that number of inches. Once moved place the other members of the chain gang back in the same sequence in base-to-base contact.
I Want to Break Free: Roll 1D6. On a roll of 5 or 6, one randomly determined prisoner has managed to break free of their chains. Prisoners who are free from the chain gag may perform actions as normal. The rest of the chain gang is still connected and are restricted as per these rules.
Fight the Power: All figures in your chain gang can attempt to fight another figure in close combat. They must all be in base to base contact as normal. Chain gangs fighting receive -2 penalty in addition to any other penalty. As per the normal melee rules the prisoner(s) being attacked fights back.
Shoplifters of the World Unite: One member of your chain gang engages in ineffectual and self-serving rant. The other members of the attached chain listen dutifully.
This article was written exclusively for Orcs in the Webbe and was first published on the 1st December 2012 as part of it's 2012 Advent Calendar.
Matthew Hartley created the Tales of Albion series focusing on the Orc's homeland of Albion for the Orcs in the Hills magazine back in 1995. You can see all the Tales of Albion currently published on Orcs in the Webbe here.