"Dolmens and Dragons"
A Panzerfäuste Scenario from a time before The War by Luke Passingham
Back before Aberlich's Dwarves stormed across The Land and Chûrg-ill rallied his loyal Orcs, comes a tale of the heroic inventor Entwickler and his stalwart allies, the Heroes of The Lancet, as they battle the last true Dragon and the feared Dragon-Master, Belric...
The ancient NCO spat into the fire and wiped his greasy fingers on the front of his uniform.
“Gather round lads” he growled “A-feared, are ye, of what might happen tomorrow? Aye, and right that you are, for when the bullets start flying and the ground shakes with the tread of our tanks, and your ears are ringing with the howl of their artillery and the cries of the dying then only a real Verruckte dwarf doesn’t feel the icy fingers of terror” he drew the word out and paused dramatically before continuing “gripping his stout heart. Oh aye. But remember who will lead you over the top tomorrow – a true hero of the Ausdenkerkorps. Ye all have your frogs?”
The recruits nodded as one, turning their eyes to where their helmets, complete with amphibious cargo, had been stacked with typical Dwarven precision. A faint but reassuring croaking came from the pile.
“’Tis like a charm, those frogs of his. I’ve never seen a soldier carrying one receive so much of a scratch” lied the NCO.
Around him the crowd of off-duty Dwarves crowded closer, clutching their beer steins and steaming plates of bratwurst in their brawny hands, faces gleaming in the firelight. They were a raw lot but doughty and confident now, hanging on their NCO’s every word – all except one, a chipper looking dwarf in glasses at the back of the back. He had declined his standard issue Beer-and-wurst rations and instead asked for a plate tofu and a glass of water… something funny about that one alright. He spoke up now.
“I can’t help but wonder, venerable ancestor” he said chirpily “what use a night vision frog is on this mission… given the assault will be made at lunchtime… and that we Dwarves can see in the dark anyway.”
There was a muttering at this amongst the crowd. Heartened, the recruit continued.
“All of Khallazdurin knows that Kapitan Entwickler is a true hero of the Confederacy, a dwarf undefeated in battle and of great cunning and ingenuity, the inventor of both the automatisch kartoffel hammer and the clockwork-driven hubschrauber-hut. But there are whispers than Entwickler was involved in the catastrophic eruption of Glompeii, the disaster in Umbongodwongoland and the incident with the undead on the Mon-Gerahnt line* – all disasters that have had considerable impact on our war effort. Any truth to any of this sir?” he finished innocently.
“None at all”, lied the NCO for the second time. “Ye all know the tales of Entwickler and his many triumphs, so for those of ye who still have misplaced doubts” he glared at the bespectacled recruit sharply “perhaps a new tale is needed – an ancient tale, from the olden days, before any of ye were even birthed and our Kapitan was but a beardling – in the days of high adventure, in the days of Dolmens and Dragons….”
The tale told by the Dwarf is thus.
In times long past there existed a group of heroes, strong of heart and eager for loot. It so came to pass that, on their troubles, they became aware of legends that told of a dragon, a great lizard now thought extinct, that once dwelt amongst a necropolis on a mysterious, mist covered island in the South. Naturally they set out at once to find this rare and wonderous creature, kill it and take all its stuff.
But they did not know all, for another ancient being lived amongst the tombs and ruins of this long-dead race: Belric, the eternal, dragon lord, drug addict and massive sulk.
This is the tale of Entwickler and the last true dragon.
As this scenario is set in pre-Panzerfäuste times it doesn’t actually use any Panzerfäuste models. Hopefully players will have a good selection of other models knocking about that they can use for the various participants.
Set up the playing area to represent the battlefield. Ideally the battlefield should be peppered with four or five structures to represent the dolmens, cromlechs and menhirs that make up the field of crumbling ancient tombs – the larger the better. For the more ambitious of you these are quite easy to make out of lumps of polystyrene, sprayed grey, glued together (or balanced on one another) and tarted up with a little flock, or you could use small boxes or any old junk you have lying about. As the battle will be mainly fought with hand to hand weapons plenty of cover will make for a better game. Don’t space things too far apart!
Belric starts off smack in the middle of the table, waving his sword about and yelling. His minions should be positioned around him, each a safe distance away from his sword (15cm).
The heroes have performed a cunning reconnoitre of the dolmen-site and may be set up anywhere they wish at least 25cm way from the minions, as far apart as they wish.
The dragon begins the battle off-table, dozing fitfully beneath one of the dolmens – it will emerge from one at random later in the battle.
The Dragon, Gorbish, begins the battle slumbering within one of the cairns. He is extremely old now and easily confused, but the clash of swords and the smell of blood will surely stir him from his slumber and onto the field of battle, sadly though his eyes are not what they once were.
Each round of battle after the first roll 1D6: if the number rolled is equal to the number of turns passed then Gorbish emerges from one of the dolmens, determined at random. When not under the influence of Belric or Entwickler (see below), Gorbish takes his turn after all other models have completed theirs. Gorbish reacts as follows:
• Models within 10cm – Gorbish moves into base to base contact with the closest figure and makes a Close Combat attack.
• Model within 20cm – Gorbish moves 10cm towards the closest figure and unleashes his breath weapon at them. Whilst not as hot as it once was, it can still devastate the general well being of any Dwarf caught in its path. Treat as per a Flamethrower attack.
• No model within 20cm – moves in a randomly determined direction. If this option is taken (or Gorbish is controlled by one side or the other) he moves 10cm.
Gorbish has a starting Guts value of 11 and gets a rather significant +6 against Infantry. For this scenario he is treated as a large character, not a vehicle, for ease of play.
Heroes of The Lancet
A loose configuration of heroes from across The Land. Their friendship forged of many an adventure and daring escape together. They are sometimes referred to as the Heroes of the Lancet, from the time they together stole a huge and valuable stained glass arched window from under the nose of an evil necromancer and dragged it away over miles of dangerous terrain whilst being pursued by his minions (also known as the tale of the Draggin’ Lancet)
All the heroes are independent and do not require section leaders, however, due to years of adventuring alongside each other they receive the Section Leader bonus (Panzerfäuste, p. 22) when within 8cm of another Hero of the Lancet. The flipside of this is that if any of the heroes are killed (or have their Guts reduced to below 2) every other Hero of the Lancet must make a Section leader Lost Guts check (Panzerfäuste, p. 22).
A youthful Dwarven engineer with progressive ideas and little respect for tradition, Entiwckler long ago left his home to wander the world and expand his knowledge in the hope that one day he might return and dazzle the old fools who rule Khallazdurin with exciting new discoveries and take his rightful place at the head of guild… and perhaps more, who knows? Right now he is head of the Heroes of the Lancet (although they all take orders from Roger, he is the real brains behind things despite what they might say) and this whole dragon expedition is his idea (sort of). Who knows what ancient treasures and forbidden knowledge may be found within the dragon’s lair? Entwickler hopes that soon he will find out.
A great artificer, in preparation for the expedition Entwickler has equipped himself out with a number of devices of his own invention: spring loaded murder-cufflinks, clockwork cheese, gold divining daggers and his helmet dwelling night vision frog (prototype version: keeps falling off) and the like – none of which have any effect on the game. He has however brought along two devices which may be of some use.
The first of which is based on an early design of Halbritter (the possibly Dwarven artificer of legend). Entwickler's glove dagger is rather ingeniously both a glove and… yes, a dagger – combined into one deadly and pleasingly warm accessory. It gives Entwickler +2 in Close Combat.
The second is his patented Dragon Whistle, a sort of small flute which enables him to imitate various Dragon calls and so, he hopes, control the Dragon's behaviour. However, because Entwickler has in fact never heard a Dragon before today the effects of this may not be as he hoped. Instead of making a standard attack, and if not in combat himself, Entwickler may use the whistle by rolling on the table below:
1: Entwickler foolishly imitates the mating call of a young female dragon. Next round, and all further rounds, Gorbish must move via the most direct route towards Entwickler. Should he make base to base contact the resultant mess may be simulated using Gorbish’s normal attacks. This result can only be countered by a roll of 6 on this table on a subsequent turn or from Belric using his innate power.
2- 5: The whistle emits a sad sort of noise. Nothing happens.
6: Entwickler cunningly imitates the call of a dragon brood lord, issuing instruction that the ancient Gorbish, in its confused state, cannot ignore. Next turn, and all further turns, take control of the Gorbish and move it as one of your own models during your round. This effect may only be countered by Belric’s use of his innate power, or should Entwickler be removed as a casualty.
Because using the whistle takes a lot of puff, and Entwickler is a bit out of shape, he may only use it every second turn.
Because the story is about Entwickler he has been pretty beefed up by the storyteller and is an Experienced Dwarf Regular with a slightly higher than normal starting Guts value of 11.
Sir Roger the Just
A brave Orc of noble birth from the Isle of Branzhûm, Sir Roger is a firm believer in the noble tradition of chivalry, which he lives every day by always being polite and respectful, opening doors for ladies, oppressing the peasantry and generally being a good egg.
Because Roger is so just, the first time he gets within 6cm of an enemy model he must stop and politely explain who he is and offer them the chance to back down and leave the field of combat with their honour intact. This ends his turn immediately. Because he is just and not stupid, this only happens once per battle.
Roger is an Experienced Orc Regular and has a starting Guts value of 9 and is armed with a just and true sword (+2 in Close Combat).
Whimsy is an Elf ranger, never happier than when she is skipping through the fields or forests, enjoying the smell of blossoms and the birdsong of her feathered friends. An avid vegetarian and confirmed luddite, Entwickler hates her and the feeling is mutual. She is a Normal Regular Light Elf with a starting Guts value of 7 and is armed with a Bow (treat as per the standard Panzerfäuste rifle rules).
Whimsy is accompanied at all times by Bill, her loyal badger. Bill may never be more than 10cm away from Whimsy and will flee the battlefield if Whimsy is slain, returning later to eat her. He has a starting Guts value of 4 and has a walk value of 9cm and a run value of 16cm.
A large and aggressive Ogre monk from the lost order of St. Titus of Smitus, Gorn is a strong believer in organised religion so long as he is the one doing the organising. Gorn’s main skills are shouting and smiting, both of which he visits upon all those who violate the complicated and mysterious tenements of his religion with great zeal and often fatal consequences. He is unpopular with the other heroes due to his constant yelling, but his effectiveness when pointed at a group of sinners cannot be understated. His unfaltering faith in a higher power means that Gorn cannot become Supressed for any reason.
Gorn is a Normal Regular Ogre with a starting Guts value of 9 and is armed with a bloody big hammer (+2 in Close Combat). Gorn’s faith gives him magickal like abilities. He can ‘cast spells’ as per the Enigma Machine rules (Panzerfäuste, p. 31).
Sharna, The She-Chupacabra
A terrifying insectoid-like creature, the likes of which is no longer found in The Land. Sharna is stronger (and a head taller) than Roger, a deadlier shot than Whimsy, scarier than Gorn and can drink even Scoffins under the table. In battle she is a fearsome and deadly fighter, unwilling to retreat from danger, and the necklace of skulls of myriad races she wears bears testament to the impressive number of foes she has defeated.
Sharna is has a starting Guts value of 11 and is armed with a variety of weapons. She can use the attack of any of her fellow Heroes of the Lancet.
Scoffins is the group’s Halfelin thief. Light fingered, cowardly, greedy and idle, he usually contributes as little as possible to any adventure that takes place away from the buffet table and this battle is no exception as his much vaunted stealth skills will not be much help in a pitched battle . Bumbo must succeed in a Guts check to attack anyone that can see him (see LOS rules, Panzerfäuste, p.26).
He is a Normal Regular Halfelin with a starting Guts value of 7, and is armed with a sling (treat as per the standard Pistol rules).
Full rules for Halflings in Panzerfäuste can be found here on Orcs in the Webbe.
Tom The Pony
A simple pony who is carrying most of the groups gear, including Entwicklers tools, Whimsy’s scrolls of twee poetry and Scoffins emergency cake supplies. Tom cannot attack and may only move at walking speed due to his heavy load – he ignores the battle around him as he is appallingly stupid. He may, however, prove useful in terms of distracting the dragon…
The Minions of Belric
There are many who have come to pay homage to Belric, last of the dragon-kings, drawn by the last vestiges of his ancient power. Despite his melancholy ways and occasional tendency to kill them by accident some of them remain by his side. All hail Belric!
Belric, Eternal Champion
Belric represents the very last of a dying race – an exiled prince, pallid of skin, with long silvery hair and crimson, baleful eyes. His kind once ruled the world with their mighty dragon mounts, but now they are long dead and only he remains, an isolated soul who spends his time getting high on herbal concoctions and mooning about being depressed. The great dragon, Gorbish, once carried him into battle and the beast is still in thrall to his glamour, as are a number of other creatures of the lower races, but these days he pays them little heed, instead spending his time staring into space.
Belric is also the wielder of the legendary sword Squidbringer. The secrets of this weapon have been lost in time, but it exudes an unhealthy influence over the Dragon Prince, and when he draws it from his scabbard he has a tendency to kill his friends and allies as much as his enemies. The arrival of the Heroes has brought a change over the brooding Belric, filling him with bloodthirsty rage that can only be sated with death. Raargh!
As the last of the dragon-masters of Melnybony Belric still wields some control over the dragon, Gorbish. At the start of each of his rounds Belric may roll 1d6: on a roll of 5 – 6 he may control the Dragon this turn.
The sword, Squidbringer, does indeed seem to possess Belric with a terrible bloodlust. When drawn (and he has already drawn it at the start of this battle) Belric must, if possible, move adjacent to and attack a model every single turn, regardless of their allegiance: if there are no models within his range loses 1 Guts. Once Belric has killed five models his bloodlust is sated, and this rule no longer takes effect.
Belric is of an ancient and unknown race, but he is best represented in this game as an Elite Veteran Light Elf with a starting Guts value of 11. Squidbringer gives him +2 in Close Combat.
Dennis the Monster
Dennis is a monster, drawn from his gloomy and glum cave by, and in thrall to, the strange glamour of Belric of Melnybony. He is in general a friendly monster, who hardly ever hides under beds or eats people. Like all the minions he is loyal to Belric and will fight to the death to defend him.
Dennis is an Experienced Regular Troglodyte with a starting Guts value of 8 and is armed with a club (+1 in Close Combat).
Minions of Belric
There are twelve of these – weak minded fools of various races or strange beasts of the wilds who live amongst the dolmens, giving homage to Belric. They can be represented by a variety of models, but have a single statline – Each start with a Guts value of 6. They should be armed by weapon type on the figure.
The Heroes win if they defeat Belric, and the dragon is either slain or leaves the battlefield. They can then pillage the secrets of the tomb to their hearts content.
If for some reason they are able to defeat all of Belric’s forces before waking the dragon, allow the hero player to reposition his models and randomly place it at one of the cairns as per the dragon special rules, then fight it out – they have to kill it to win.
Belric wins if all the heroes are slain. More brooding awaits for him!
* See previous Panzerfäuste scenarios, available on right here on Orcs in the Webbe!
An Orcs in the Webbe Original! The above scenario was written exclusively for Orcs in the Webbe's 2015 thematicaly linked Saints Day adventures and was first published on St George's Day, the 23rd April, 2015.
The 2015 Saints Day Scenarios Theme - Before the Rise of Technology...
The Saints Day scenarios are specially commissioned exclusive Orcs in the Webbe original adventures that are in some way linked to the Saint's Days observed in Wales, Ireland, England and Scotland.
This year each of the author’s writing the adventures is from the Saints Day’s country in question.
For the theme I thought it would be good to see where various characters we read about on OITW come from and that in turn led me to think about what they were doing in the time before technology turned them into the worlds as they are in the rulebooks. Panzerfäuste's world of mechanised warfare is a long way from that of standard fantasy but that's where it's origins lie.
These adventures are from those times, when magick, monsters and treasure filled the land. I hope you enjoy reading this years Saints Day tales as much as I have.
Panzerfäuste and its mechanised warfare in a mythical has been part of Orcs in the Webbe since its creation back in 2004, to find out more about it click on the Panzerfäuste maroon link below and to the left.