Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Dead in the Water (Part 3) - A Man O War Session Report from KublaCon 2006

(The following is PART 3 of a session report of my Man O War game run at KublaCon 2006 over Memorial Day weekend. I took notes throughout the game and have converted those notes into a narrative to tell the tale of the battle. Individual turns are marked with the **** and I’ve tried to keep events chronological for the most part. This report is expected to be spread out over several parts and I will attempt to complete it all as soon as possible. Each paragraph is basically ONE ship's/squadrons battle phase and after all ships have gone the turn is over. Magic attempts occur at the beginning of each turn. I've tried to write it so it makes sense yet be chronological as this is the way the game played out. I hope you enjoy it!)

The 1st two parts previously posted should be read before this one:

By this time I could again see our Wizard standing on the bow of the Royal Scepter, which was now listing to starboard slightly as she struggled to stay afloat. She had several fires on the ship and the black smoke was thick and pungent as the mighty ship was slowing falling to the relentless attacks of the Thunderfire Battlebarge. I was still pondering that thought when suddenly the entire sky darkened across the sea. Great storm clouds rolled in suddenly from nowhere and the air felt heavy and wet. With a great clash of thunder the heavens opened up and a torrential rain fell from the sky. I could still see our Wizard on the Greatship, his arms stretched to the heavens as he continued his incantation. All 3 fires on the Greatship went out one by one. Far to stern, the Ironclad that had also been burning from the flame attacks of the Sea Dragon also went out. The rain continued unabated for several minutes and then suddenly the clouds quickly parted and vanished, leaving the bright sunshine to begin its task of drying out man and vessel.

The successful casting of a magic spell by our wizard must have infuriated the enemy Necromancer as the foul words of an evil incantation could be suddenly be discerned far across the waves, impossible as it should have been to hear them. Whatever spell he attempted was not successful in harnessing the winds of magic and again a brilliant flash of light signaled its failure.

Seizing the initiative, two of our Hell-hammers fired at the flagship of the Chaos Dwarfs, the Thunderfire Battlebarge. Hoping to cripple the powerful ship before it could attack the Royal Scepter again, they ultimately fired in vain as one shot missed completely and the other failed to do any damage.

As the men’s hopes of sinking the deadly ship were dashed, we could see the Black Ark move ominously towards one of the High Elf Hawkships and let loose with 3 Reaper Batteries. The little ship exploded in a splinter of wood shards and debris as the shots tore into her midships and aft castle, where she lost one of her Eagle Claws. With its broadside reaper batteries also in range of a Dwarf Monitor, the Black Ark again seemed destined to destroy the much smaller vessel. Luck was on the Dwarves side as again the Reapers jammed and the opportunity passed.

With part of her crew aboard from the Dragonship, the Elves on the Eagleship quickly sprang into action and pushed off from the other ships. They shot around the enemy ships and closed the distance on the Black Ark. Firing her three broadside Eagle Claws at the immense ship, two hit their targets but were unable to cause any significant damage.

To starboard, we heard a horrific screech, and we turned to see the terrible Sea Dragon again launch gout of flame point blank at the Ironclad. Even locked inside their metal casing, the screams of agony could still be heard across the waves. Time was running out for those brave sailors and quicker than they realized as another fire started from the beast’s attack.

I could see another Thunder-roller ahead and to starboard and I turned the ship to bring it into the range of our fore cannons. Not wanting there to be any chance of their survival I steered the Endeavor directly into the path of the Thunder-roller, bumping her askew as we collided. “FIRE!” I yelled and our cannons let loose at both her and another Thunder-Roller to port. The Thunder-roller to port took some superficial damage, but it was the one ahead I wanted. The fore Thunder-roller took two direct hits causing extensive damage, but that was no matter. I drew my sword and shouted to the men “HAVE AT HER!” and swung across a mizzen line onto the decks of the Chaos ship. Within seconds, my entire crew was aboard and we outnumbered her easily. No quarter was asked and none was given and in just a few minutes, the boarding action was over and the ship was ours. “Knock some holes in the bilge and let’s get out of here!” I ordered and the men quickly set at the task of scuttling the foul ship. Back on board the Endeavor, we only had the briefest of moments to watch the ship began to list to one side as the water poured in.

It was then that the sky again had two suns momentarily and I shielded my eyes from the furnace that was the Great Leveller. Up until now, our luck had held as every attack from this awesome weapon had deviated away from the fleet.
Not this time.

We were the targets – the Endeavor, the Justice and the Alliance. Luckily I had veered away from the other two Wolfships to take out the Thunder-roller or else we would have been caught under that horrific blast. Both Captain Hooker and Midden’s ships took structural damage and one of the main masts of the Alliance had been snapped clean in two. With both Wolfships still afloat, I considered the men lucky and thought no more of it. Unfortunately, one of the Hell-hammers had also been caught in the blast radius and their captain was instantly killed in the inferno.

Recovering from the Black Ark’s movement moments before, the two Monitors that had been caught up in the swell of its wake as the Ark had moved, finally managed to get themselves free of the quagmire that was the ocean surrounding the Ark. They then attempted to fire upon the massive ship. You would think that it would be impossible to miss such a vessel at such close range, but such is the magic that the Dark Elves control that even looking upon the foul ship can cause men to turn away in dread and avoid making any attack. One of the Dwarf Monitors did just that, failing to take the fight back to the demons before them. The 2nd Monitor was much more determined as its crew managed to gather the courage they needed and fire the Monitor’s cannon at the fore Reaper Battery, destroying it completely!

[b]Fate was against us on this dreadful day[/b] as both the Thunderfire and Great Leveller had fired numerous times and not once had there been a misfire. The next few moments seemed to occur in slow motion and I’ll never forget the brave command team and crew of the Royal Scepter. As the battle had raged on around us, the Thunderfire once again pivoted in place to line up her sights on the badly wounded Greatship of the Imperial fleet. We only counted 4 rockets this time, but it was all that was needed. Two hits simply caused minor structural damage, but the other two caused serious critical damage and the Greatship’s bow exploded and suddenly there was a hole large enough for 10 men to climb through. She started going down bow first and quickly her stern was out of the water as the ocean sucked her under. Admiral Sigmar and our Wizard were nowhere to be seen in the wreckage and I immediately raised the fleet command flag on the Endeavor’s main mast.

The Royal Scepter had sustained twenty-two direct hits from the Thunderfire Battlebarge over just 3 attacks. No ship could have survived that kind of onslaught and Admiral Sigmar should be commended for fighting on as long as he had. Even in it’s last moments afloat, the Admiral had been seen giving the order to close and board, especially courageous as all of the Greatship’s cannon’s had already been lost.

To the east, the ultra fast Hawkships skipped across the seas and quickly closed the gap on the Black Ark. Each had direct hits on the mammoth ship but none failed to cause any damage.
The Undead Deathships finally got into the fray at this point as well as they advanced on the 3 Monitors but either failed to hit their targets or cause any damage if they did. The sound of the Screaming Skull’s still haunts my mind late at night.

Seeing an opportunity to strike at the towering Black Ark to starboard, the Dwarf Dreadnought turned in place, its front turrets lining up on the bow of the immense vessel. Her crew was able to see past the maze of spells protecting it, but again, no damage was caused to the damned ship of the Dark Elves. To the rear of the Dreadnought was the terrible battle of the Sea Dragon and Ironclad, both locked in a struggle to the death. Taking a chance of hitting their comrades, the captain of the Dreadnought fired at the Sea Dragon in a desperate hope to end the battle before they lost another ship. Two shots tore in the great beast, one a killing blow to the back of its immense neck. With a final cry of agony, the huge creature quickly sank into the sea and was gone forever.

As if to strike back for the loss of one of it’s own, the Sea Dragon with the Dark Elf Death Fortress on it’s back, moved directly towards the Eagleship, which had just re-crewed the Dragonship. The Reaper Batteries high in the tower struck hard at the lithe Elf Ship, and it sustained damage from all five bolts, losing two of it’s broadside Eagle Claw batteries.

The last of the Doomreavers then moved in towards the nearest Hawkship, moving in direct contact as its masters attempted to whip it into a Frenzy. Whatever they tried did not work at all as the foul creature went completely berserk and turned away from the small Elf vessel. Much to my surprise, it moved directly towards the nearby Ark and lashed out with all its fury. A big chunk of the hull tore away and it was obvious the ship had taken some below the waterline damage.

The forces of evil continued to attack, the Necropolis maneuvered so it could launch screaming skulls at two different targets to port and starboard, a Hell-hammer and a Monitor. I watched in amazement as 3 skulls screeched though the air only to all miss the Hell-hammer as it bounced on the waves. I swear I could still hear those skulls as they sank to the bottom of the sea bed. The Monitor was not as lucky however, as the other 2 skulls all hit the doomed ship, 2 in the same location and went straight through the hull, sinking it.

With a brief lull in the battle, I looked around to see many crews attempting to put out the fires, but it looked like a losing battle to me.

End of Part 3 (The 4th and final part to be posted soon).

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