"The Isle of Shadows"
A Panzerfäuste Adventure by Craig Andrews
Image taken from a Matte Painting by the Amazing Albert Whitlock - Google him!
Under pressure from his generals to bolster the war effort in any way he can, the Orc Warlord Chûrg-ill has instigated a risky plan involving a small team of commandos and an ancient prophecy on a magikal island near Branzhûm. Little does he know that Alberlich's technik-priests, the Braumeisterwache, have not only found out about the plan but have sent thier own team in to make sure things don't go according to plan.
The Orcs are in need of more Brutes to use in the battlefields of The Land as the war with the Dwarves escalates. The usual methods are proving to be too slow as the determined march of Alberich’s Dwarfs is getting closer and closer to Branzhûm. However a team of Enigma Boffins believe they have found a solution. Years in the past, before the advancement of technology flooded the Land, great magick practitioners used sites of great power, situated on ley lines throughout the world, to enhance their spells. One such site, the Isle of Luke a few miles off the coast of Branzhûm, was used exclusively to summon powerful creatures from other worlds to do the bidding of those that summoned them, giving it a name found only in esoteric texts, the Isle of Shadows. The island has recently been excavated by a Branzhûm archaeological team and the Boffins believe they can use a heavily customised Enigma Machine to tap into the power there and summon creatures for use in the war effort. Chûrg-ill has authorised a small but highly skilled group to escort the Boffins there and see what they can bring to the table.
However, the Dwarven technick-priests of the Braumeisterwache, Alberich’s secret police, have spies and informants everywhere and they have learnt of the Orc plan. They too have dispatched a section of soldiers to head to the Isle of Luke to prevent the Orcs from gaining anything of use.
For this Panzerfäuste adventure I used the excellent Heroic Maps The Chaining Stones. It’s a print and play product available on Wargame Vault. It can be printed out or used in your favourite virtual tabletop software.
Both the Orc and Dwarf Forces should be created using the rules found in Panzerfäuste Skirmish.
You can agree on a points value (total GUTS value) or let fate decide (D6+6) for Section Size either rolling randomly for experience for each or again using GUTS values.
All characters, regardless of experience, should have Elite unit status.
There is a small chance each character has managed to bring some cuisine with them (on a roll of doubles on 2D6). If they have, roll randomly for it (1d4 on that nation’s cuisine table).
Characters should be armed by weapon type (i.e. they are carrying the weapons the model has) as well as a knife (which may be concealed i.e. not shown on the model).
This scenario takes place at night and as such is subject to the normal -2 GUTS modifier for shooting. The weather in Branzhûm is known for it’s unpredictability and the small islands that lay off it’s coast line are even worse. Each turn roll 1D6.
1-2 – Torrential Rain & Poor Weather
3-4 – No Special Weather
5-6 – Howling Gale (As Torrential Rain & Poor Weather but penalties doubled for shooting and moving)
The Orcs are tasked with summoning something to aid the war effort and bring it back to Branzhûm. The Dwarves have to prevent this from happening.
More Haste, Less…
Both forces have a certain amount of control over how quickly they arrive at the isle of Luke. However, due to the terrifying nature of the Branzhûm weather the quicker they attempt to get there the more chance there is that not all of them will arrive safely. Each side makes an opposed roll, the winner having an amount of turns equal to the difference to deploy on the island before the other side arrive. However, such haste comes at a cost. Both sides randomly select a number of characters equal to the difference mentioned above and they start the scenario wounded representing their haste and lack of care during travel (-4 to the figures starting GUTS). A player can risk even more by giving specific characters -1 GUTS before rolling in exchange for +1 on the roll.
Each force arrives in two small launches suitd to their armies’ background. Tokens or models should be placed to represent these should escape be necessary...
Laying In Wait
The side which arrives first can setup any or all of their miniatures as snipers (being specialists they are trained in such things). They hide themselves and lie in wait. However both sides are equally trained at spotting snipers and the places they may hide.
In game terms for each Sniper you take three tokens. One should be marked in secret as the actual sniper and the other two represent outcroppings/foliage that *could* have been a sniper. If an enemy moves within 15cm of a token and has Line of Sight it is revealed. At any time, during their own or their opponents turn, a sniper token’s controlling player may reveal it as a sniper and immediately take a shot.
Silent & Deadly
To sneak up on an unsuspecting character and slit their throat the attacker must start the turn out of the target’s LOS as well as the LOS of any of the target’s allies and declare a Silent & Deadly Action, naming the target. It must then be moved into base-to-base contact with the target. It may not enter into the LOS of any opposed piece during the move, if it does a ‘warning cry’ is given and the sneaking character is stopped in place. It may then make a 2nd action if it has one remaining. (Note that in this scenario this can be from starting the turn as a Sniper token).
If it manages to get into base-to-base contact it can make a Close Combat action with +2 GUTS for Target Surprised and the standard GUTS modifier for the weapon used.
A character may attempt to render its opponents unconscious during a close combat attack. They make an opposed Close Combat GUTS roll. The winner (with the highest result) then compares his result to the normal Close Combat GUTS table. If the attacker Succeeds the character is unconscious for D6 rounds (rolled in secret and written down, placed under the unconscious character) or 2D6 if a Critical Success. If the Defender wins they may choose to inflict normal damage or use these unconscious rules.
Each Orc can carry one unconscious Dwarf, two Dwarves working together can carry one unconscious Orc. Whilst carrying they cannot have any other weapon readied. Unconscious characters can be dropped/thrown down their base width away as an action (into ritual magic, off cliffs etc).
As with all ancient magick, blood is required. All the characters on both sides have been fully briefed about the ritual and can add power into the circle by spending one action in base to base contact with the altar and use their own blood to power the ritual (-1 to GUTS) each turn. Alternatively they can use the blood of any character in base-to-base contact with them (conscious or unconscious, see below).
Sadly neither side has the full knowledge required to control the summoning site as it was originally intended. To represent this when they power up the square they then place one power marker (use any suitable marker) on a randomly determined square between the pillars (use a D8, do not re-roll doubles, place an additional token). Any character on (or thrown onto) a magic powered square is instantly killed and another D6 tokens are added to the ritual square (again, roll a D8).
Each turn roll 1D10. If you roll under the current power level then something has come through the veil from another realm. If the practitioners have managed to complete the square of power between all four stones the character who completed the summoning gains complete control of that creature.
However if there are any gaps when it is summoned it is uncontrolled and will wreak havoc…
Roll 1D6 to see what has come through…
*Note that all the creatures below use Matthew Hartley’s Wilde Thinges rules found here on Orcs in the Webbe.
D6 / Creature
1-3 / Deep One
“I think their predominant color was a greyish-green, though they had white bellies. They were mostly shiny and slippery, but the ridges of their backs were scaly. Their forms vaguely suggested the anthropoid, while their heads were the heads of fish, with prodigious bulging eyes that never closed. At the sides of their necks were palpitating gills, and their long paws were webbed. They hopped irregularly, sometimes on two legs and sometimes on four. I was somehow glad that they had no more than four limbs. Their croaking, baying voices, clearly used for articulate speech, held all the dark shades of expression which their staring faces lacked ... They were the blasphemous fish-frogs of the nameless design - living and horrible.” - H. P. Lovecraft, The Shadow Over Innsmouth
Close Combat Modifier +4
A deep one attacking or charging will always attempt a Silent & Deadly Attack (see above). If over half their move is in water they automatically get a critical success on the Close Combat Chart.
4-5 / Shoggoth
“It was a terrible, indescribable thing vaster than any subway train—a shapeless congeries of protoplasmic bubbles, faintly self-luminous, and with myriads of temporary eyes forming and un-forming as pustules of greenish light all over the tunnel-filling front that bore down upon us, crushing the frantic penguins and slithering over the glistening floor that it and its kind had swept so evilly free of all litter.” - H. P. Lovecraft, At The Mountains of Madness
Close Combat Modifier +6
The Shoggoth entirely engulfs it’s victim hence it’s high close combat modifier. Regardless of the outcome of any attack it makes the figure is stunned the next round and cannot move.
6 / An Elder Thing
“A monster of vaguely anthropoid outline, but with an octopus-like head whose face was a mass of feelers, a scaly, rubbery-looking body, prodigious claws on hind and fore feet, and long, narrow wings behind.” - H. P. Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu
Things have gone somewhat awry. The creature that has been summoned cannot be controlled nor can it be easily defeated. Each turn an expanding circle of darkness expands D6 cms out from the stones. Anything caught inside the circle is devoured. Run. That is your only hope.
An Orcs in the Webbe Original! This scenario was written exclusively for Orcs in the Webbe and was first published on the 15th December 2015 as part of it's 2015 Advent Calendar.