Monday, January 10, 2011

Chapter 48: Escape Still In Doubt

Date: November 18, 1899
Location: Village Of Kota Ki-Bandahar
Situation: The Rescue Attempt Part 2
It's Elementary. Double-Clicked Images Are Best
Continuing narration of prisoner, Lt. Colonel James Lawford, 9th Bengal Lancers.

"Chapter 47, "The Rescue Attempt Part 1, previously related how the hand of fate suddenly passed through the village carrying everyone toward new destinies. Would my cruel captivity continue or end with me unhurt or shockingly disabled? No matter. I seized the hand extended to me as...."
"Gill's men pounded up the stairs arriving at the floor below in my Watch Tower prison. Enraged guards charged with drawn swords. The sowars barely had time to snap fire."

"The three fell - riddled by the fire. Of course I did not know this at the time. I only knew when fire ceased that heavy footsteps resumed the ascent to my floor. Whose would they be?"

 "Bracing myself I opened the door - careful to keep my manuscript in hand."

Lawford: "Gill! How..."
Gill: "No time Sir. Let's get out of here. Now Sir, if you please."

"An open window during  our descent allowed me to observe a troop of 10th Hussars cross the stream; smoke still drifting from earlier explosions."

 "The enemy saw and opened fire upon them from the distant bridge."

"The hussars ascended the bank moving in an arc toward the Watch Tower when...."

 "A third explosion occurred. This was the reason for the arc. Lt. Caddy had planted a third charge intending to draw attention away from my escape. When the charge failed to explode on time, he elected to cross the river to get on with the rescue operation. He arrived at the Watch Tower as we emerged."

Caddy: "Good to see you Sir!"
Gill: "Horses around the side, Sir."
Caddy: "Quite right Colonel. Time to dash away."

"We formed up to leave regrettably having lost Pvt. Jones (10th Hussars), one sowar also dead with two others wounded (9th Bengal Lancers)."

 "We broke into a fast trot increasing to a gallop to avoid enemy fire."

"We raced pell mell away from Kota Ki-Bandahar. There was no pursuit. Odd. The rescue operation had been a success - so far. "

"The next day we passed into an arid region seeing ancient ruins along the way.  Was one of them Alexandra's lost city? There was no time to stop." [From left to right: Gill, Lawford and Caddy.]

"The Column rode on."

"Several hours later a range of forested hills came more closely into view."
"We entered a vast pine forest on a small trail. The rest of our march was uneventful. A week later we arrived at Fort Grant and I reported to Major General Pettygree. He congratulated Gill and Caddy for a successful mission. I told him everything I knew. He seemed troubled by the party of Romanovs."

"What I did not know was the fate of my acquaintance Alexandra, her Uncle Villainovich and their quest to find the plundered treasure of Alexander The Great they believed is buried underneath the ruins of Alexandrapour. Was it true? Would I see her again?"

Lt. Colonel Lawford could not then know the answers to his inquiries. Luckily I know something of their next circumstances below.

Soon after Lawford's escape, The Supreme Leader, Muljadhi, hosted another private durbar. Colonel Villainovich and Alexandra arrived dressed to the nines.

I could not hear more than a little of their conversation but....

From past experience we know Villainovich promised delivery of an object before the next campaign season to the Tug leader. Also known unless it was a ruse to fool Lt. Col. Lawford was the matter of finding and exploring Alexandrapour.

The intensity of the Guru and the demeanor of the Romanovs indicate serious matters.

We may imagine Alexandra and her Uncle conferring before departure.

Two days later they arrived at ancient ruins. Do they believe this is Alexandrapour?

"I was looking forward to this game for some time. Seeing as I was the cause of Col Lawford's imprisonment, I was anxious to see how the next chapter would unfold. Bill and I had been bouncing ideas off each other about how to handle the game. I suggested trying a couple of "pulp" rulesets I've had for awhile as a bit of a diversion. We tried .45 Adventure and Where Heroes Dare. Bill liked the special attributes and flavor of the rules and suggested we use one for the rescue scenario. I agreed and chose to use Where Heroes Dare. I really enjoy .45 Adventure but didn't think it would be able to handle the number of figures Bill had in mind for this game."

"I had a few things to consider when making up forces for the game. First, Bill wanted the British to win. It didn't have to be easy for them but they were still supposed to make it off with Lawford. Second, the British were going to be heavily outnumbered. To aid the British cause, I made all the British officers "leads". In the rules this gives them three wounds, access to better abilities and 3 attacks in hand to hand. I also gave them armor. I know there weren't bulletproof vests on the Northwest Frontier so I told Bill to think of them as being extra lucky. I made all the British troopers "companions" giving them two wounds and two hand to hand attacks. I kept things pretty simple when it came to special abilities. I didn't want to slow things down with so many characters on the table."

"For the Tugs, I gave them only a couple of lead figures and two or three companions. The rest were made up of single wound supporters. The Iron Ivan yahoo group did the heavy lifting figuring out Tug stats. They already had a list of generic colonial characters and stats. It was very helpful."

"This game also allowed me to break out my new dynamite deck from the Virtual Armchair General. One of the ideas I had was for the British to set up some dynamite explosions as diversions to draw some of the guards away from the tower holding Lawford. The dynamite deck is a special deck of cards representing the fuse on a bundle of dynamite. The more cards the longer the fuse. It really added some uncertainty to the game. Ill definitely use it again."

"I was happy how the rules worked in this game. [Me too! Bill] I did forget one rule about checking for suppression whenever a group is shot at. I don't think it would have changed much. I look forward to breaking out Where Heroes Dare again. I have some freshly painted rocket troopers looking for a scrap."
1. Thank you Chuck for your involvement in everything! Mighty glad about it, I say.
2. This concludes the first person narration of Lt. Col. Lawford.
3. I'm looking forward to -- well -- let's just wait and see.
4. Your remarks are welcome as always at the word comments below.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Chapter 47: Rescuers Arrive To Save Me!

Date: November 18, 1899
Location: Village Of Kota Ki-Bandahar
Situation: The Rescue Attempt Part 1
Sir, You May Prefer Double-Clicked Images
Continuing narration of prisoner, Lt. Colonel James Lawford, 9th Bengal Lancers.

"May I suggest readers kindly repair to Chapter 46, "Explosion" where as Alexandra and I conversed, a tremendous explosion extraordinarily changed everything."

"This is the nearby building exploding, soaring upwards and disintegrating - pieces cascading down a slope to a stream below."

"As we stared in bewilderment, loud voices, gunshots, horses and running footsteps added to the din. Amidst it all I strained recognizing an improbable voice at the watch tower entrance below."

Gill: " Colonel Lawford! Are you here?
Lawford: "YES! -- Upstairs. -- Gill?
Gill: "Yes Sir. Time to leave Sir!"

"Indeed it was time to go. Native voices above us shouted angrily arguing their next move. Alexandra put on her coat and hat whilst I grabbed my manuscript.

Lawford: "Alexandra! Let's go."
Alexandra: "I can't abandon my Uncle!"
Lawford: "This is your only chance....Gill will be here and....
Alexandra: "James. NO!"

"In a flash she pushed me backwards. I fell. She opened the door, slammed it shut and vanished before I could recover."

"The tempest above and below grew in intensity. My jailers above began to descend, no doubt to restrain or kill me. Footsteps below pounded up a flight of stairs followed by gun shots and bellows. Outside a whirlwind of combats swept through the area."

"I thought my life could end, my cruel captivity continue or I might escape. Maimed or intact? Vainly - stupidly - I hoped at least my manuscript could somehow get out so those who cared would learn my fate and discover something about this notorious cult."

"However, before you learn my fate and that of my rescuers, read on. I shall explain the singular events of this day as best I can - to the end - commencing with...."

"Yesterday my rescuers reconnoitered approaches to Kota Ki-Bandahar from the east and west."

"Lt. Caddy RE commanding a troop of 10th Hussars arrived before sun up hiding in the brush waiting for the moment to start the battle east of the village. The honour to do so was theirs. They placed and detonated explosives in the building mentioned earlier just across the stream."

"Whilst a mile to the west Captain Gill descended into a swale secretly posting a troop of 9th Bengal Lancers facing east within a copse. Following the explosion...."

"Gill led his troop quietly forward. Preceding him in a cunning ruse two allied natives pretending to be Tugs, rode into the village inquiring about the explosion. Almost every Tug eye still observed the destruction at the other end of the village. To enhance their curiosity, Lt. Caddy ordered the hussars to open fire with carbines there. [Not shown.] The battle was on."

"Gill's troop increased speed to a gallop detaching...."

"Four sowars to successfully engage the foe coming from the left whilst...."

"He and two other sowars dismounted taking revenge on the foe who had just dispatched his native allied horsemen. It was after this combat he shouted up to me and entered the Watch Tower. He pounded up the stairs and...."

"His party was rushed by maddened swordsmen...."
1. The amazing conclusion will be posted soon.
2. Meanwhile, please allow your imaginations to wander.
3. Remarks welcome below at the word "Comments" as always. Thank you.