Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Dead in the Water (Part 4 - Final) - A Man O War Session Report from KublaCon 2006

(The following is PART 4 - the final part, 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. 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!)


I looked to the skies above the Black Ark as they suddenly grew ominously black and ice blue. The wind whipped my hair and I knew that foul magic was afoot. I dreaded what was most surely about to unfold, not for the sake of the evil spell itself, but for our lack of stopping it. Again, fate was kind to us as I watched the ominous portents in the sky suddenly dissipate harmlessly from my sight.

Sensing the battle would be decided soon, the captain of the Hellhammer flagship ordered all three ships to attack the Thunderfire Battlebarge in an attempt to finally sink the accursed ship. With a mighty roar the 1st Hammer hit home and tore 2 large chunks from below the waterline of the large ship. It almost immediately began to list to one side and I watched the 2nd Hellhammer close and fire. A great gout of water burst into the air and for a moment I thought they had succeeded in striking into the heart of the dark vessel, but the great cannon shot had gone wide and had just barely missed the aft of the barge. Unable to get a clear, shot, the 3rd Hellhammer skirted around the Wolfship blocking its line of fire and would have to wait for the right opportunity to catch its prey.

Throughout the battle, there had been a small, strange ship staying close to the rest of the Undead fleet. Being mostly a small barge with a few small towers on it, it appeared to have no weaponry, and had pretty much been ignored throughout the fray. As the ship began to pulsate in an eerie green glow, I feared that our inaction was going to be regretted – and soon. The green glow increased in intensity and it began to coalesce into a large upright image that towered over the seas. Each passing moment made the image clearer and clearer until suddenly we were looking at an immense skull that was as tall as the masts of my very own Wolfship. Even though I was far from the terrifying sight, it took every ounce of my courage to stand my ground and continue to fight. The green grinning skull seemed to be looking directly at ME and followed my every move with its black, empty eye sockets. This was dark magic at its worst and I knew that any closer ships in its line of sight would be hard pressed to do anything but cower in fear.

Ordering the Wolfship squadron into action, I quickly devised a plan to take advantage of our situation. With the Wolfship Alliance without any cannons left to fire, I ordered her to close on the Undead Specter, getting in as close as possible. Captain Midden rallied his crew and they were unaffected by the monstrous apparition, and moved into position. With the Alliance blocking our view of the Undead Specter, my crew jumped into action as its effect of fear and terror only seemed to work if you could actually see the hideous thing. We headed straight for the Alliance, using her to shield us until the last possible moment. With a hard turn to port, our fore cannons found a more tempting target in their sights – the Thunderfire Battlebarge!

We were at close range and I prayed that our shots would hit home. I heard the cannons roar and saw the shots tear into the main rocket tower of the black ship. With a huge explosion, the ship tore in two and lifted out of the water! Explosions continued to pulverize the ship and I knew that we had hit its magazine room where all the highly volatile fuel and warheads were kept. We didn’t even bother to look for survivors as the largest piece of debris was no larger than a powder keg. The crew cheered as we gained the upper hand.

Off to starboard, the Wolfship Justice dealt out pain and misery to not one, but two Thunder-rollers! Her fore cannons splintered the top decks of the first and the crew nearly mutinied before regaining their senses and returned to their posts. Then, her broadside cannons blew two large holes in the hull of the other Thunder-roller and within seconds, it slipped under the waves and went straight to hell.

Further behind the still flaming wreckage of the Thunderfire sat the Great Leveller and it slowly rotated until its immense gun was again aimed directly at us. Something inside told me that we were for this world for merely moments more. I saw the muzzle flash and a split second later I heard the deafening roar, but instead of striking the Royal Endeavor, the wreckage of the Thunderfire was reduced to even smaller bits as the shot deviated off our bow, missing us completely! I grinned in amusement as I pictured the fury that their captain must be feeling as he watched his crew attack us with such obvious impotence.

Our Dwarf allies quickly got off another round of cannon fire at the Black Ark from the Monitors, destroying a large tower filled with the ship’s rum stash and knocking some crew into the sea as well.

In an unusual lapse of judgment, the Necropolis moved too close towards our Elven and Dwarf friends and all the shots from the screaming skulls arced harmlessly over the Dragonship and Dreadnought.

Quickly taking advantage of that error, the Mighty Dreadnought turned in place and lurched forward as it massive ram crashed into the Undead monstrosity ripping at least 3 huge holes in the area below the waterline. Somehow the ship stayed afloat as the crew of the Dreadnought could only watch in disbelief.

Goaded by its Dark Elf masters high in the tower perched on his massive back, the Sea Dragon carrying the Death Fortress closed on the High Elf Eagle ship, its reaper batteries primed and ready to fire. Something was amiss however as the reapers remained silent even though they had the Eagleship dead in their sights. The Dragon unleashed it’s fury at the Elf crew, as it engaged in a deadly attack to try and kill the crew on deck. Several brave Elves were snatched by the beasts gaping jaw but the Elf crew beat the beast back and pushed the Eagle ship away from the foul creature.

Retaliating with the Hawkships, the Elf commander order the squadron to attack the Black Ark again and hit home with several direct hits as the crews did not flinch from the protection spell surrounding the hideous ship. A fire broke out from the attack and the mammoth ship began to burn heavily.In another surprising maneuver, the Undead Ghostship faded in and out of reality as it moved across the sea, but like the Necropolis, it moved too close to its targets and again the shots sailed over the relieved crews of the Dwarf fleet.

The small Nautilus silently slipped below the sea and headed at the Necropolis to try and put the cursed ship at the bottom of the Sea of Claws. Armed with a clockwork torpedo, it moved to nearly point blank range and fired the small projectile into the hull of the Undead ship. The torpedo hit the ship but was only a glancing blow, knocking the Undead Captain into the sea and the Necropolis had to make a quick turn to pick up the shaken commander.

The battle was winding down at this point and many ships were already heading away from the fray to head to safe waters, assess the damage and start repairs. In a final act of desperation, the other Death Fortress moved in close to one of the Dwarf Monitors, and was forced into making an attack from its cruel masters high in the tower. Apparently the beast had had enough however and it suddenly turned and sped to the nearby Deathship as it went out of control from the Dark Elves! It killed the lone crew and then suddenly plunged under the waves as it pulled the helpless Dark Elves down with it, never to be seen again.

With both sides retreating, I finally had time to assess the damage. Many ships had been lost on both sides and determining a victor would be left to the historians and politicians. All I can say is that we fought bravely and without quarter, for none was given to us. As this had been my first encounter with the Undead fleet, it was a victory of sorts for us, for valuable information was gained about the strengths and weaknesses of the strange, unearthly fleet.

We shall be prepared for revenge when we meet again.


This game came down to the wire and the final Battle Honor tally was 24 for the Good side and 23 for the Evil, hardly a major victory, but a win none-the-less. Everyone had a blast playing and it was a big crowd pleaser with all the ships on the table.

Another GREAT game of Man O War into the log books!

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