Adventure 5 – Encounters In Hostile Lands
Campaign Journal compiled by Alan, of Tring Wargames Club
“The men are not their usual selves. They are in the grip of fear; all singing has died out and they look nervously around them, expecting an attack at any minute. We are in Fang territory. Hardly anything is known of this people; they have no contact whatsoever with the outside world. Some claim they are cannibals. Despite the danger, we must push on, as this is the only means to attain our final destination.
With every passing minute, our African friends are increasingly nervous. I can only hope that they do not run off and leave us, as without them we are doomed. I have high hopes they will not, as after all they forgave me the mistake I committed yesterday. I had chosen to set up my tent close to the most enormous tree I have ever seen; this was not to the liking of some, as they held the tree to be sacred, the very domain of the gods.
They are such strange folk, but their proximity to Nature and to the Earth is touching. I hope that one day I will come to understand them better.” – Mary Kingsley
“There is no more dangerous place than that through which Mary is now advancing. The Fangs, with their reputation as aggressive warriors and flesh eaters, dwell here. If she had another choice, she would have opted for it.”
Travelling to the Next Adventure
As the winner of the last adventure, Mary got first pick (yet again!) of the travel routes to the next one, and she again chose to travel “Village To Village” to this penultimate adventure of the expedition. This is a slow route, but offers her the best chance to recruit new followers.
Again, this was not as good a choice as she has made previously; she rolled to make the journey in 5 months, and once again her bearers were unable to help her complete the journey any quicker. However, her roll on the Encounter table allows her to recruit another group of Archers, for this adventure only.
Mary has now earned a total of four domains of knowledge, so her character uses her 3-star card, which makes her very effective at rallying her troops. No further upgrades are possible for her.
Once again, Ujuwa elected to travel “Through Thriving Jungle”, and again this proved to be a good choice for him. He made his success roll, so the journey only costs him one of his Spiritual Link points, and his roll on the Encounter table allowed him to locate two new specimens of medicinal plants.
Ujuwa has earned a total of two domains of knowledge, so his character will now use his 2-star card, which makes him more effective at rallying his troops.
As before, Mary is accompanied on this adventure by her Kirangozi guide Kiva and the reporter JJ, and her party has the same make-up as the previous adventure, including Explorers, Soldiers, Askaris, Ruga-Ruga, and Young Warriors. She also has an additional group of Archers, recruited from one of the villages she passed through on her journey.
Her Askaris are accompanied by their pet leopard which they acquired in the last adventure. It provides the group with an additional 1D8 combat value.
Mary has retained her three Bearers, which she places with her Askaris, her Archers, and her Adventurers. Mary herself accompanies her Young Warriors, while she sends JJ with the Askaris, and Kiva with the Archer unit.
Her opponent Ujuwa is again accompanied by his allies, the outcast Fang chieftain M’Otowanfa, and the Werda-Fakawi Pygmy King O’Mi’Lordi. His party also has the same make-up as the last adventure, consisting of Warriors, Young Warriors, Bundukis, Archers, Pygmy Archers, and some Scouts.
Ujuwa decided to accompany his Archers this time. The Fang chief will go with the Warriors instead, and the Pygmy King will accompany his Young Warriors this time. Ujuwa has no Auxiliaries to assign.
This adventure once again called for jungle terrain, although the leopard-infested thickets are now also behind them; the scenario rules dictate that all terrain not otherwise marked is considered dense terrain here, which will increase its cover value to D8. This low, dense cover is elephant country!
“We were about to descend into a ravine when we noticed five elephants taking a mud bath. If an elephant charges at you, the only way to escape is to hide downwind behind a tree, so that they can neither see you, nor smell you.” – Mary Kingsley
As before, we used Martin’s dining-room table for the game, with his battle mat defining the standard Congo 4’x3’ playing area. His trees were used to mark out the areas of Dangerous and Blocking terrain called for by the scenario.
The scenario calls for a “barrier” of High Dangerous Terrain running diagonally across the table. This is D10 cover, and is divided somewhat arbitrarily into six areas for the purpose of placing the Discovery tokens – see below. The two sides begin at opposite diagonal corners, and must exit at their opponent’s starting point, which means that they must negotiate the barrier as well as fight their way through the enemy forces.
The barrier of course, is where the Fang will be inclined to attack. Their modus operandi is very similar to that of Pygmy Archers, with their poison arrows. The scenario rules do not allow for the targeting of the Fang, and not even Scouts appear to be able to avoid the attacks, so there is no way to evade or eliminate them.
“The Fang are a highly aggressive tribe, and they hate intruders unless they are serving them up for dinner. Their favourite tactic is to hide up amongst the branches, and kill you with a poisoned dart before you even know they are there.”
The areas of High Dangerous Terrain also contain Discovery tokens. When collected by a group entering the terrain (and surviving the inevitable attack by the Fang), the group makes a roll on an Encounter table which is part of the scenario, to determine what type of Discovery is made. Some results come in the form of useful discoveries, while some are really bad news, up to and including a boiling cauldron of human body parts!
Naturally, the areas of High Dangerous Terrain also trigger Jungle Encounters, per the standard rules, which are then rolled for on the Encounter tables provided in the Mungo Mah Lobeh campaign pack. These may turn out to be good or bad, but if past experience is anything to go by, they are usually interesting.
This scenario calls for the two factions to deploy in opposite diagonal corners of the table, with the barrier of High Dangerous Terrain bisecting it along the other diagonal. Units which cannot be deployed on-table will enter via their respective corner.
For reference purposes, Mary will start in the NW corner, and Ujuwa in the SE corner.
The first picture is a full table shot from the southern end, with Mary’s deployment area in the top left corner and Ujuwa’s in the bottom right. For now, the elephants are just for show.
Ujuwa started with the Initiative token for this adventure, because he lost the last one. His plan is to send Ujuwa himself with one of his units around the edge avoiding Mary’s troops, then quickly cross the Fang barrier and make a beeline for the target corner of the board. Meanwhile, the rest of his units will delay Mary as much as possible, hopefully bogging her down in the Fang barrier, while also protecting any Loot or Discovery tokens they have acquired. However, as all wargamers and military leaders know, no plan of action quite survives contact with the enemy.
On turn 1, Mary moves her Young Warriors with their leopard pet, her Adventurers, and her newly-recruited Archers towards the middle of the table.
2 – Mary’s forces advance in the centre
Meanwhile Ujuwa sends his Scouts and Young Warriors, accompanied by their Pygmy King, racing west across the table, clearly intent on grabbing the southernmost of the Discovery tokens.
3 – Ujuwa’s Scouts and the Young Warriors with the Pygmy King head west
Meanwhile Ujuwa himself, with his Archers and their blowpipes, move more sedately northwards.
4 – Ujuwa and his Archers head north
At the end of the turn, Ujuwa seeks to put some juju on Mary’s forces to slow them down, and he succeeds in drawing an Animal Encounter; this randomly places an Elephant on the northern edge of the table.
On turn 2, most units from both sides continue to advance pell-mell in the centre, and it becomes clear that some sort of confrontation there is only a matter of time.
5 – Mary with her Young Warriors and their pet leopard also head to the centre
Ujuwa’s Scouts enter the southernmost Dangerous terrain area, and grab Discovery token #1. They move so silently that they obviously catch the Fang ambushers napping, because they avoid taking any casualties.
They also encounter an old man who begs them for a drink of water. Taking pity on him, they give him some, whereupon he revives enough to perform a Mandrill’s Dance ritual, which earns the Scouts an additional totem card.
The Elephant wanders at random near the northern edge of the table, far enough away from both sides forces that, for now, it does not display any signs of becoming panicky or aggressive.
On turn 3, Mary’s Askaris and the reporter JJ grab Discovery token #5. Unfortunately for them, this is cursed, and they are pinned to the spot for the duration of the turn. The Fang ambush them with their poison arrows, hitting one, but his uniform prevents the arrow from breaking the skin and he survives.
The Askaris don’t have much luck with their roll on the Jungle Encounter table either. They are attacked by a large cloud of biting insects, forcing the group to flee back the way they came until they clear the Dangerous Terrain area.
Mary’s Adventurers are able to find Discovery token #4, and this time it is a useful one. Furthermore, the Fang ambush fails to score any hits, and they roll a No Effect on the Jungle Encounter table.
Mary’s Archer unit is able to grab Discovery token #2, which is another good one. They do lose a casualty to the Fang arrows, but at least their Jungle Encounter has no adverse effect.
The Elephant now starts to meander generally southwards, gradually bringing it closer to both sides’ forces.
Ujuwa’s Young Warriors now decide to take a chance and charge into the Dangerous Terrain, intent on getting to grips with Mary’s Archers. It proves to be an expensive decision. The Fang kill one of them, and they also disturb a lurking panther, which kills two more. The Pygmy King is forced to face the first Terrifying Death Rolls of the game, but he survives.
However, the Young Warriors do kill two of the Archers, and force them to retreat clear of the Dangerous Terrain; they carry their precious Discovery token with them. Kiva survives his Terrifying Death Roll.
Mary’s Soldiers and Ruga-Ruga now penetrate the Dangerous Terrain in the centre of the table. The Fang unleash their ambush upon them, claiming one of the Ruga-Ruga. However, they find a fetish, thereby earning a Loot token.
The Elephant continues to meander southwards.
Ujuwa’s Pygmy Archers now move into into the south-central Dangerous Terrain, which under the rules of the scenario, trigger Fang ambushes on all units in the area or within S of it. Much to her disgust, this means that only one of Ujuwa’s units is targeted, but three of Mary’s!
6 – Ujuwa’s Pygmy Archers
Ujuwa’s Pygmy Archers lose 1 casualty, but Mary’s Soldiers lose two to the Fangs’ poison arrows. The Fang also score hits on the Adventurers and the Ruga-Ruga, but Mary is able to save them.
On the Pygmy Archers’ Jungle Encounter roll, they find some tasty berries, which earn them two Loot tokens. Unfortunately they also lose another casualty finding out that the berries are actually poisonous!
On turn 4, Mary’s remaining Soldiers shoot at the Pygmy Archers, but fail to cause any damage. Her Ruga-Ruga target Ujuwa’s Bunduki, who are now within range, killing one. The Adventurers fire at Ujuwa and his Archers, but also fail to do any damage.
Ujuwa decides to cut his losses in the face of overwhelming odds. His Pygmy Archers retreat carrying one of their Loot tokens; they are forced to drop one, as otherwise they would be too encumbered to move at all. It is at times like these that Ujuwa really envies Mary her Bearers, which enable her units to avoid the penalty for carrying bulky objects.
All this shooting on Mary’s part achieves what is probably the effect she desires, considering that Ujuwa brought the Fang down on her forces in the last turn. The Elephant panics, and true to its capricious nature, it charges the nearest visible unit regardless of who is firing at who. This happens to be Ujuwa and his Archers, who suffer 1 man trampled to death, forcing them to retreat. Ujuwa is forced to make a Terrifying Death Roll, but he survives.
7 – The Elephant rampages through the jungle, blinded by panic
Ujuwa now steals the Initiative, enabling him to move first. He plays an Extra Move totem card, and he treks almost all the way to the eastern edge of the board, but it has the desired effect - his unit is now far enough away that they will not be charged again by the Elephant.
Ujuwa’s Bunduki return the fire of Mary’s Adventurers, with no effect. His Warriors then charge Mary’s Ruga-Ruga, who are still holed up in the Dangerous Terrain. The Fang perhaps take one look at the Warriors’ ferocious demeanour and decide not to interfere, and the Warriors then get a No Effect on the Jungle Encounter table, but they do just enough to the Ruga-Ruga to force them to retreat and draw a Stress token. However, the melee result means the Warriors have to take one too, which becomes two since they already have a Terror token. With the rampaging Elephant drawing ever closer, this is really not a good time to draw two Panic Stress tokens, but they are now firmly pinned in place for the rest of the turn!
Mary is not slow to take advantage. Her Adventurers kill two of the Warriors, and the Soldiers account for another. Ujuwa’s renegade Fang chieftain M’Otowanfa is forced to make two Terrifying Death Rolls, but survives – just!
The Elephant now transfers its attention to the Bundukis, trampling one, and forcing them to retreat.
The Soldiers continue to pour fire on Ujuwa’s Warriors, killing another one. M’Otowanfa survives yet another Terrifying Death Roll, but the unit is forced to flee as they are on the four-token Stress limit.
8 - M’Otowanfa and his remaining Warrior are feeling the Stress
Mary’s Askaris now move into the south-central Dangerous Terrain area, perhaps intending to pick up the Loot token dropped earlier by Ujuwa’s heavily-laden Pygmy Archers. The Fang fire on them, but without effect.
Desperate to win an adventure for once, Ujuwa now moves northeast with his Archers, trying to get around Mary’s flank and give himself a clear run to the northwest corner.
Meanwhile, his Bundukis move into the south-central Dangerous terrain area, and grab the dropped Loot token from under the noses of the Askaris. Once again, under the rules of the scenario, the Fang shoot at all units in the area or within S of it. The Bundukis are hit but manage to save it, as do Mary’s Soldiers, but her Adventurers lose one casualty, and two of her Askaris succumb to the Fang’s poison arrows! It is JJ’s turn to face the Terrifying Death Roll, which she survives.
This time, the Elephant charges Mary’s Adventurers; they narrowly avoid being trampled, but they do have to retreat, taking them out of the Dangerous Terrain again.
On turn 5, Ujuwa and the Archers reaches the Dangerous Terrain up in the northeast corner and finds Discovery token #3. His men take two hits from the Fang, but are able to save them. However, their roll on the Jungle Encounter table sees them beset by swarms of giant mosquitoes; they are forced to flee. By bad luck, the random direction thrown sends them into the adjacent Dangerous Terrain area, where a second Fang ambush costs them a casualty. To add insult to injury, this time their roll on the Jungle Encounter table requires them to face a Terror test, which they promptly fail - once again, Ujuwa’s luck seems to be running true to form!
However, the mossies are not finished yet. Driven temporarily mad by their biting, all the other units currently in Dangerous Terrain areas must open fire on the nearest unit, friend or foe. The Soldiers kill one Bunduki, while the Bunduki and Mary’s Young Warriors trade shots ineffectually. The Askaris kill two Adventurers, which wipes them out and suddenly Discovery token #4 is lying on the ground unclaimed.
Desperate to end the elephant’s attacks on her forces, Mary orders her Ruga-Ruga to try and bring it down with their muskets, but they can only achieve one uncancelled hit, and three are needed.
Her Archers also kill another of Ujuwa’s Young Warriors, forcing the Pygmy King to make another Terrifying Death Roll, which he survives.
Mary uses an extra Action totem card to move south with her Young Warriors, intent on heading for her exit point in the southeast corner.
The Elephant charges Mary’s Askaris; they narrowly avoid being trampled, but they are forced to retreat.
Ujuwa and his Warriors now exit the Dangerous Terrain near the northern end of the table. Encumbered as they are, and without a Bearer, they are unable to pick up the pace, but they do have some Movement Action totem cards in reserve, so with a little luck they should be able to make it to their exit point. Ujuwa triumphantly casts a Bulls Breath ritual, succeeds, and piles a Stress token on Mary’s Askaris, the only unit which is in any position to stop him.
The Bundukis fall back away from Mary’s forces, carrying their precious Loot token with them.
9 – Ujuwa’s surviving Bundukis fall back to guard their Loot token
The Elephant charges Mary’s Soldiers; they manage to avoid being trampled, but are forced to retreat.
Both sides’ Young Warriors duel ineffectually with their assegais. However, Mary’s Soldiers then charge Ujuwa’s Young Warriors and win the resulting melee. The Young Warriors fall back, but now need to collect no less than five Stress tokens, because they already have two Terror tokens! This far exceeds the four-token Stress limit, so they flee once, and then lose their last figure. With three tokens still to draw, we decide that the only logical outcome must be that the accompanying Pygmy King dies, with no chance of avoiding the Terrifying Death Roll! Ouch!!
On turn 6, the scenario rules require the holder of the Initiative marker, which at this point is Ujuwa, to roll before each Action Phase to determine if the game is over.
The first Action Phase is played normally, and much to Ujuwa’s surprise, Mary’s forces make no attempt to pick up Discovery token #4, dropped when the Adventurers were wiped out. In fairness to them, it IS practically under the Elephant’s feet!
Instead, Mary puts juju on Ujuwa and his Archers, trying to slow them down. He draws a Panic Stress, so he cannot move for the rest of the turn. This is precisely NOT what he wanted and could cost him the game, as the two sides are fairly even in terms of acquisitions at this point.
Mary and her Young Warriors advance into the south-central Dangerous Terrain area, triggering a Fang attack on themselves, and also on her Archers, and Ujuwa’s Bunduki. Clearly the Fang are getting tired, as they fail to cause any casualties at all. However, the Young Warriors do run into a large anthill, which earns them a Stress token.
Ujuwa puts juju on Mary and her young Warriors, desperately seeking to slow down their advance. He also casts a Bull’s Breath ritual on the Askaris, and sends his remaining Warriors to block Mary’s path.
The Elephant charges the Ruga-Ruga, killing four and wiping them out, which leaves a Loot token lying on the ground.
10 – The Elephant wipes out the Ruga-Ruga
The second Action Phase is played normally, and Mary and her Young Warriors run round Ujuwa’s Warriors, now very obviously trying to get to their objective, the southeast corner.
Rather than trying to pick up the dropped Discovery and Loot tokens, the Askaris shoot ineffectually at Ujuwa and his Archers. As it turned out, this cost Mary the game.
11 – JJ and the Askaris ignore the tokens lying on the ground
As an extra Action, Kiva and the Archers move into the Dangerous Terrain in order to evade the still-rampaging Elephant. The Fang have gone quiet at this point, maybe they have run out of poison arrows?
However, the Archers do get an Animal Encounter, which places a leopard in the centre of the Dangerous Terrain, and they also run into quicksand; when they try to escape, the random direction thrown sends them smack into Ujuwa’s Warriors and their Chief. In the ensuing melee, Ujuwa rolls so poorly that the only realistic conclusion is that the last Warrior and the Chief are killed!
As a last-minute sweetener, the two surviving Pygmy Archers open fire on Kiva and his Archers, causing two casualties with their poison arrows, but Kiva survives his terrifying Death Roll. The Bundukis fall further back, putting their Loot token safely beyond Mary’s reach.
Ujuwa then rolls a third time to see of the game is over, and it ends before the third Action Phase.
Tallying the Adventure
Because neither side attained its main objective of exiting the table, not many Victory Points were earned in this adventure, and so once again the tally was very close.
Mary has retained only a single Discovery token, in Flora, for a total of 4 VP.
She also collected one Loot token; the scenario rules call for them to roll 3D6 for each token, with only successes earning VP’s. After the dust has settled, she has earned 1 VP.
Mary’s reporter JJ let her down by failing to meet the deadline for publication of the trip report in this month’s bulletin of the Société Géographique; clearly they are now too far from civilisation to despatch them reliably, so she earned no VP’s.
However, Mary’s forces were able to account for both the Pygmy King and M’Otowanfa, the renegade Fang chief. These “kills” earn Mary 2 VP each, and we will discover what actually happens to them at the start of the next adventure.
Ujuwa managed to find and hold on to two Discovery tokens, in Remains and Sacred Stones, for a total of 8 VP.
He also collected two Loot tokens, and after rolling for each, he had earned 2 VP.
That means Ujuwa earned a total of 10 VP, and Mary earned 9 VP, so Ujuwa has finally won an adventure.
Ujuwa was still feeling rather Poorly at the start of this adventure. However, he suffered no additional ill effects, so he retains his Poorly status and that will carry over to the next adventure.
No additional domains of Knowledge were earned by either side. Ujuwa will therefore retain his 2-star status for the next adventure, and Mary will retain her 3-star status.
No Hunting trophies were earned this time by either side.
Ujuwa cast two successful Sacred Rituals in this adventure, earning him two Spiritual Link points. With no surviving Sacred Warriors, he is unable to roll for bonus Link points.
As usual, travelling to the next adventure will be resolved prior to playing that adventure.