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Miniatures Adventure => Old West => Topic started by: Oberstleutnant Koenig on January 17, 2020, 09:18:33 PM

Title: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: Oberstleutnant Koenig on January 17, 2020, 09:18:33 PM
In early 2015, I ran a Mountain man game for two of my friends. The terrain was splendid and the game worked well enough, but to me it lacked depth.

I thought about that game for years, how does one create depth in a mountain man game?

In early 2019, I sat down with my wife and watched “The Revenant” with Leonardo De Carpio and Tom Hardy. An excellent movie and I highly recommend it.
 
As I watched, my mind began to whirl.

The movie had depth, a story and believable characters. They had a mission, to get back to the fort and avoid the Indians who were hunting them. They had to survive their environment across countless miles of wilderness.

No table top game board could capture the need for endless miles of forest and mountains. Only a map and using map movement could do that. The Players had to manage their small parties across a fictional wilderness back to safety.

The use of a map would allow the Players to utilize email to submit their moves, I would act as Umpire for the game. Email would provide some sense of order in the management of the game. When there was an encounter, it could be played out with figures and terrain which I had already. I could even make elaborate scenery pieces to meet the need of the game if it was called for by the map.

Players were not to share their movement with other players offline as this would ruin the atmosphere of being all alone in the wilderness. To the best of my knowledge all of the player followed this rule to the letter.

By throwing in random events the players also had challenges to overcome or to help them. This I hoped would breathe life into the game, further adding the right atmosphere.

The mountain men were to traverse a fictional wilderness to the safety of a trading fort which was located in the southeast corner of the map. All the players knew roughly where the fort was, but no-one had any knowledge of the intervening terrain.

Background for the story was that a fur trapping expedition had travelled up the Green River (fictional name) on keel boats and canoes.  Arriving at the Peaquin village, a previously friendly Indian village. Then things would spin out of hand and a massacre occurs. The player are survivors of that massacre and are now on their own.

I didn’t provide much information to the players on the river that they had used in their journey to the Peaquin village. I wanted this to be a memory more or less. All they knew was if they followed the river, they would arrive back at the fort. Not the most direct route, but it was an option.

The information that I provided the mountain men about the river was very vague – basically, the river flows as an inverted capital “L” The fort is at one end of the “L” and the Peaquin village at the other. The angle of the “L” is in the northeast. The fort located in the southeast, the village is in the northwest.  I hope that gives you the picture?

Once the mountain men came within five hexes (about 12 miles) of the fort, they would be presented with a small map. The map would show them all the hexes surrounding the fort, representing their familiarity with that area.

Over the next few days, I typed up some basic rules to cover movement, tracking, hunting, sighting, fishing, an alike. I also creating a hexagon wilderness map which looked the part of the American Rockies of the 1820’s of thereabouts.

I enlisted two mountain men (the same two players from my earlier game from 2015) and a third who would take on the role as the Peaquin War Chief – Black Eagle. I took on the role as umpire as I have said before. A huge responsibility with a massive workload, but I was not to find out how massive until I had done at least 50 odd turns first.

Now before I go any further, I understand most of you are here on Lead Adventure Forum to see nicely painted figures and magnificent terrain boards – I can’t offer you that. At least not at first. I can offer you a gaming story, a campaign if you like about a mountain man game. A story of brave men who are being hunted by a determine enemy. The decisions they make and the outcomes of those decisions. Some are good, some were bad, but they all added to the adventure.

If you want to know more please read on.

Before the game started, I set the scene for the two mountain men by sending them separate briefs. I have included those briefs for your enjoyment.

Marcus Templeton Setup Brief

No-one really knows how the massacre started.

The brigade had arrived at the Peaquin village by mid-morning. Arriving in two keel boats and half a dozen canoes, the Indians had greeted us friendly enough. Smoke Wolf, their chief greeted Captain Morrow with a warm embrace, inviting the Captain to the centre of the village where the Indians had laid out hundreds of beaver pelts for trade.

Mitchell and I had been tasked with carrying wooden chest full of trade goods from the keel boats to the centre of the village. We had delivered one of the chests and were heading back with a second chest when we heard excited Indian hoops and howls. I looked back to see a hunting party emerge from the forest on the other side of the lodges.

Collecting the second chest of trade goods from Breckett, the boat master, Mitchell and I began the trip back to the captain. As we struggled with the chest, Jack Bennett and Charles Bulfinch, joined us with bolts of red trade cloth on their shoulders.

As we struggled with the chest and across the meadow, I could see Shane, Jim Moore, and Phillip Gibbons along with an Indian walking slowly towards a small herd of 12 Indian ponies. The Captain had mentioned earlier that he wanted to buy four of the ponies to allow our hunters a wider field to hunt in. The ponies would allow this. Shane and the others must have been sent to trade for the best ponies.

Our party had just reached the edge of the tepees when we saw Black Eagle, Smoke Wolf’s brother and Bloody Bear, Black Eagle’s son push through the other Indians who had gathered around the Captain and Chief to watch the trade talks. 

There was a furious exchange of words between Black Eagle and Captain Morrow. Smoke Wolf attempted to rise and put himself between Morrow and Black Eagle, but Black Eagle pushed his brother down and continued his verbal attack on Morrow.

Suddenly, Bloody Bear jumped forward and grabbing the collar of the captain’s tunic with his left hand and drove his flint knife directly into Morrow’s stomach.

That’s when all hell broke out!

In the blink of an eye, armed warriors from Black Eagle’s hunting party had overpowered Collins, Armstrong and Whittaker, all three stood in close proximity to Captain Morrow. Nicolet, the Frenchman had just managed to clear his pistol from his belt when a hatchet bit deeply into his shoulder. His pistol discharged, sending the bullet harmlessly into the ground at Bloody Bear’s feet before he fell.

I was shocked at what had just occurred, these were supposed to be friendly Indians.

I was spurred into action when Mitchell dropped his side of the chest we were carrying. I still held the handle on my side, up ending the chest so that it spilled it’s contents out onto the muddy ground.  Both Bennett and Bulfinch dropped the bolts of cloth and started to unsling their muskets. Mitchell, Bennett, Bulfinch and I hesitated on where our salvation was to be.
 
It was already too late; a strong band of warriors had crept around the village gathering and were already half way to the boats, cutting us off from our comrades.
 
Breckett, La Roche, Mason and Finnegan were already franticly poling one of the keel boats away from the shore. It was slow work and the warriors reached the water’s edge before they could put enough distance between them and their adversaries. Firing arrows, the Peaquin braves managed to put an arrow through Mason’s fore arm, making him loose his grip on the pole he was using.
 
Seeing we had a clear path between us and the tree line, I called to Mitchell and the others, and we all ran for our lives!

Shane’s Setup Brief

No-one really knows how the massacre started.

The brigade had arrived at the Peaquin village by mid-morning. Arriving in two keel boats and half a dozen canoes, the Indians had greeted us friendly enough. Smoke Wolf, their chief greeted Captain Morrow with a warm embrace, inviting the Captain to the centre of the village where the Indians had laid out hundreds of beaver pelts for trade.

The Captain Morrow had tasked Jim Moore, Phillip Gibbons and myself (Shane) to check out some of the Peaquin horses. We saw a small herd close to the village as we came up the river that morning. The Captain had wanted to purchase the best of the horses for use as pack animals. He also hoped to issue them to our hunters to allow them to range deeper into the mountains in their search for game.

As the rest of the brigade unloaded trade goods from the boats and canoes, I took my small group along with an Indian who had greeted us at the river’s edge, down towards the horses. The Indian was happy to chaperone us to the horses and perhaps hoodwink us into selecting the sick and oldest horses the herd had to offer.

We all carried out firearms, it was standard practise when away from the fort. The pistols, knives and hatchets almost grow out of our bodies after so many months in the wilderness. I knew the Peaquin would strike a hard bargain for their horses, but I was determine to get the best deal I could. We needed good horses if our expedition was to be a success.
 
We had just reached the herd when the party heard a pistol shot. Turning towards the village, I could see a scuffle had broken out and the Indians were letting out war whoops.

I could see other Peaquin warriors running down towards the beached boats. On the boats I could see Breckett and a few others pushing on barge poles, frantically trying to dislodge the keel boats away from the shore and back into the flow of the river. The Peaquin warriors began to pepper the boatmen with arrows and I saw one of our comrades go down with an arrow through his forearm.

Thinking quickly, I could see that the way back to the keel boats was now swarming with hostiles. The Indian guide who had been with us was already in flight, running across the meadow back towards the village.

Moore and Gibbons were frozen in place, both in disbelieve at what was occurring. Then in a split second, they started running for the distance forest. Scattering the horse herd as they went. Without thinking, I turned and followed my companions, purposely scattering the horses as I went.


At this point I’ll stop and wait for your feedback.

If there is a general desire for me to continue with telling you how the game played out, I shall continue to post. Remember I can only offer screenshots of the maps and the narration of the events that occurred related to those screenshots. That is the only visual stimulus I can offer.

As I progress I share with you some of the game mechanics and the player's thoughts on the game.
Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: FifteensAway on January 18, 2020, 02:16:23 AM
My experience is that without pictures not many people will read through, some, not many.  This is a visual hobby, after all.
Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: von Lucky on January 18, 2020, 03:31:20 AM
Ah, I'm half way through the post - it sounds like a lot of fun (and the work was worth it).

The 2015 game is here:
http://leadadventureforum.com/index.php?topic=75759.0

Reading on now.
Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: von Lucky on January 18, 2020, 04:08:47 AM
Happy for you to continue.

I think the action seems a little confusing (as is appropriate). Screen shots are more than fine, along with any feedback from the players as this progressed.
Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: Vagabond on January 19, 2020, 08:05:31 AM
Sounds very promising, I would be interested in the mechanics of the campaign.
Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: Sunjester on January 19, 2020, 08:48:04 AM
Well, I've read so far! ;)

Please go ahead, I'm interested to see how the campaign progressed.
Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: Oberstleutnant Koenig on April 14, 2020, 06:39:39 AM
Hello All,

I have been thinking about what I has proposing a few weeks ago, when I first posted this thread.

Every campaign has paperwork and map movement. They create the need of purpose and drama for any tabletop game.

I decided I would post the first day of the campaign and judge from the feedback whether it is valued or not. Besides, I have quite a lot of time to kill, seeing most of the World is in lockdown.

The map below shows the start position for the Mountain men and Indians. All the Indians were still in the village, celebrating their quick victory over the trappers.

The two mountain men parties consist of Marcus Templeton (leader), Tom Mitchell, Jack Bennett and Charles Bulfinch. Shane’s party consisted of Shane (leader), Jim Moore and Phillip Gibbons.

All of the characters have randomly generated Stamina. This reflects their individual endurance, run out of Stamina and you could no longer move and had to rest.
Think of the character sitting on a rock, grasping for breath and saying, “That’s it, Boss. I’m can’t run anymore. I need a rest!”

Within the two parties, Jack Bennett and Phillip Gibbons had the lowest Stamina reflecting their age or previous mishaps in their lives that would reduce their fitness. The older you are, the slower you become.  Both of these men would control the overall pace of their parties. Of course, the leader of the party could cut them away and leave them behind, but what kind of man would do that? Well, we shall see how things unfolds.

Marcus headed south from the village in his mad dash for freedom, moving two hexes.
 
Each hex being 2.4 miles.
 
The red foot prints indicates he has left trail by running. A party moving Fast/Running always leaves trail. Trail is a method that the Indian Player can use to track the Mountain men. It will tell him the direction and the number of men in the party.

The Indian Player doesn’t get to see the trail, unless he tracks them. Tracking restricts the Indian to a Walk, but walking doesn’t use up as much Stamina as running does.

After the massacre at the village, Shane and his party ran two hexes to the south east.

None of the players knew where the other players were. All map movement being controlled by email and by me as the Umpire. I would monitor  the health and stamina of all the characters in the game and provide feedback to the Players on how that turn/hour went.
Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: bulldogger2000 on April 14, 2020, 12:55:22 PM
I have wanted to do a mountain man game/campaign for years and struggled with developing a concept of movement, objectives, etc.  You just answered a lot of those questions for me.  Thank you.

May I ask what you used for map creation?
Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: Flinty on April 14, 2020, 01:51:37 PM
Scenario and gaming ideas don't need pictures - try your imagination.

Your thought in developing a narrative game shows through to me; the confusion at the village and the uncertaintiy and fear the massacre produces is palpable in your writing. I really like the fog produced by the 'memory' of the journey - open country isn't full of hugely memorable features, and stands of pine are, just like the other stands of pine.

The differing stamina help to develop interst in the characters and I can see lots of dcision points, this way/that way, stop, rest, run, give up... I admit this would be difficult as a pure tabletop/minatures set up, but I can see that gaming the points of potential contact (where they spotted, did running down that creek throw off the Braves?) turns this into a pretty standard campaign game.

Excellent - lets hear more please.

 
Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: Keith on April 14, 2020, 02:26:29 PM
Really like this (and your narrative is very cool).
Looking forward to see how it progresses.
Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: Oberstleutnant Koenig on April 15, 2020, 12:40:18 AM
I totally agree with you, a game can be more that just pictures. Don't get me wrong, I love pictures of nice terrain and miniatures, but I need depth to a games purpose. Stand alone tabletop games have never really done it for me, that is why I focus on campaign development. Most of my games stem from a campaign.

To answer your question bulldogger2000 - I use HEXDRAW as my map making tool.

Here is the link:  https://www.hexdraw.com/Word/

Hexdraw is a program developed to support such board games as Advanced Squad Leader (ASL) and BattleTech.

There is a free trial version you can download, but I would recommend the paid version to have a better experience. Textures and alike can be downloaded from numerous sites on the web. I use GIMP to modify the image where needed. Its a very simple program and the learning curve is very, very easy. You would be a Master within 30 mins of downloading the program.

Thank you all again for your interest and kind words. I'll post the first game turn sometime today, I hope.
Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: Belisarius on April 15, 2020, 07:07:56 AM
Fabulous storytelling, I’m hooked . I’ll follow this thread with great interest.👍
Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: tin shed gamer on April 15, 2020, 09:22:54 AM
An Interesting Idea .
I do think your background depth gives a good feel for the mood of the game.
There's a few ways you can spice things up.
As it reads at the moment.Your hunter force doesn't need to slow to a walking pace to cast for spore. As you've given both direction of travel for 2 1/2 miles through forest, as a group running leaves a pretty clear trail even to the inexperienced.
Tracking isn't simply a case of long distance 'tig' . You don't need to chase them down if you know the destination and direction of travel. In fact that's half the battle trying to figure out where they're trying to get too.
Once you have that information you plan to get a force a head and plan for a capture at a choke point.Whilst Appling preasure and direction in pursuit.
You've already supplied direction and destination. There's no reason for your hunter force to doing anything but get a head and ambush.
I'd recommend you give multiple possible destinations.As information for the hunter force and a  single destination too the men running.
I'd recommend you also look at how the terrain impacts on movement .As this will force decisions on direction and pace.creating natural bottlenecks and choke points.
You could also give the home field advantage to the indians by giving them more knowledge of the terrain ahead.
and acknowledge your mountain men's skills by allowing each party a one off false trail option. Also an option for counter ambush and traps to slow pursuit.

It'll impact on the hunter forces confidence and counter balance their superior knowledge of the location.

I think you'll find by upping the 'cat and mouse ' aspects of your paper campaign with a. Near 'battleships' element. It'll be a much more rewarding game for you as an umpire.As you can add to the narrative as force close or fooled by false trails , weather ,and the hunter becoming thehunted.As




Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: Blackwolf on April 15, 2020, 09:45:05 AM
Great stuff herr Koenig :)
Where are you in Oz? I’m in Goulburn,NSW.
Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: Oberstleutnant Koenig on April 15, 2020, 04:48:08 PM
Hello all again,

Blackwolf - I live in the Mount Macedon area, which is close enough to Melbourne to spit.

Thanks tin shed gamer for your thoughts, I'll explain some more concepts of the campaign.

The Indian Player had a huge advantage over the mountain men as he did have access to a full map of the area. The map he was given showed every bit of terrain from the Peaquin village all the way to the trade fort. He could easily see the choke points and the lay of the land.

I guess the big thing for the Indian Player was that he was behind the trappers, they had a head start on him and everyone was on foot - at least until he could regroup his scattered horse herd. They could run in the attempt to over take the mountain men, but constant running will exhaust your force much faster than walking does. You travel further by walking in a day, than if you try to run it - we aren't talking about Zulus here.

The mountain men didn't have a map, they had to feel their way through the forest. Any big terrain features were simply explained to them.

For example: "You can see a mountain to your west and south west. Its crest is about 18-20 miles away (8 hexes). The mountain runs from north to south. Any movement in  westly direction you will have to climb it."

This information was also only provided to them only if they asked for it. I wasn't going to offer them any information unless they asked. Having no situational awareness can be a very bad thing at anytime!

They weren't provided with the intervening hexes between their location and the mountain, you can't see much in a forest except for trees and then more trees.

All they received was a small map showing the, the hex they had started in, the hexes they had travelled over during the previous turn and their end hex. The surrounding hexes along their path were shown as also given, but only as partial hexes - not a full hex.

Nothing was pre planned in the game. The progress of the mountain men and the Indians was fully of their own making. I was fully aware that there was a chance that there may not be an encounter between the mountain men and Indians. The focus of the game was actually about the mountain men surviving. The Indians were there as clear and present danger, but not the sole antagonist. They were simply the cream on top. 

I'll post this as its 2.40 AM here at present.



Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: marianas_gamer on April 15, 2020, 08:22:23 PM
Love the story telling and discussion on how you ran the campaign. Although we usually emphasize the Lead in LAF, this forum is above all else about Adventure and this is a great example!
LB
Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: Oberstleutnant Koenig on April 15, 2020, 11:22:22 PM
Turn 1 – 11 AM

Templeton’s party had run for almost 5 miles south from the village. Here they took stock on what had occurred and planned their next move.

Marcus determines their order of march as follows: Templeton leading, followed by Bennett, then Bulfinch. Tail end Charlie being Mitchell.

Templeton and Mitchell had served together during the War of 1812 – on the British side.

Marcus Templeton began his adult life as an officer in the British Army, his father having purchased him a lieutenants' commission in the 41st Regiment of Foot. During the war, as the officer commanding the light company of that regiment, he participated in the success night attack and capture of Fort Niagara on 18 December 1813.
 
Gaining much of his fighting and woodsmen skills during that war, Templeton fell in love with the North American wilderness. Determined to find his fortune in the pursuit of beaver fur, he resigned his commission as a Captain and with Mitchell in tow. Headed off west to trap the elusive beaver.

Tom Mitchell was a sergeant within that same regiment, serving throughout the war with Templeton. Mitchell was a good soldier and Marcus and Tom built on their mutual respect for each other during the course of that conflict – think Sharpe and Harper type of camaraderie. Mitchell followed his commanding officer and friend into the West; the thought of being demobilized and returning to his wife in England was too much for him.
 
Marcus determined that their best chance was to outwit the Indians. This would be risky as they only had an hour (1 turn) head start of the Red Devils. His plan was to follow the creek they had come across back to the river – Green River. Hopefully there would be a chance of finding some aid there.
 
Moving at a walking pace (1 hex), Templeton’s party crossed the creek to their south east ending their turn in hex 05.07. As they had walked, they had only a 50% chance of leaving trail; luckily this didn’t occur.

Shane and his party on the other hand, wanted to put as much distance between them and the Peaquin village as possible.

They continue moving at a Fast/Running, he turned his party south and crossed a small creek. This place them in hex 06.07, they resumed their travels in a south eastly direction.  Here the ground started to rise, adding to their exhaustion.

Climbing uphill (the darker the hex colour the higher the elevation), means additional Stamina cost. This was added to their elected movement mode and any other terrain features they had to deal with - crossing a creek.

By the end of the hour, Shane’s party was in hex 07.07 and overlooking the Green River. No sign of the keel boats. Yes, he asked if he could see the keel boat that had escaped the Peaquin village. I wasn't actually tracking the movement of the escaped boat, they were fluff for the story and I could add them in later if I needed too. This decision is still haunting me a year later, I should have been tracking their location on the river as they moved down the river. I wanted the game to be as self generating as possible, which only adds to the realism.

Because Shane and his companions had decided to move Fast/Run, they automatically left trail behind them.

Meanwhile, back at the Indian village...

The success of the attack on the trappers was still being celebrated. Black Eagle and his brother Smoke Wolf had exchanged fierce words over what had happened, with Smoke Wolf withdrawing to his tepee. It was clear that most of the tribe was extremely happy with the turn of events. The Hairy Ones had been defeated and all their trade goods and weapons were now theirs.

It was at this point it was discovered, that some of the Hairy Ones had got away. Those on the keel boat and two smaller parties that had avoided the massacre and had fled into the woods.

Black Eagle was now more or less the new leader of the tribe, having supplanted his brother Smoke Wolf as tribal chief. He was determined that none of the Hair Ones would live to tell the tale of what had occurred. Dividing his 60 warriors amongst the notable warriors of the tribe. This gave him six groups of ten warriors led by himself (Black Eagle), his son Bloody Bear, his brother Smoke Wolf, Deaf Buffalo, Grey Deer and Red Knife.

Whilst the option of tracking the mountain men was open to him, Black Eagle knew they had an hour head start on him. Fearing that as time past, the wider the search area would become. This would diminish their chances of finding the mountain men.  He decided to cast out his warriors in an arc as fast as possible, hoping to catch the Hairy Ones early - Run them down, so to speak.

Thus ignoring the use of tracking, he ordered his warriors out and into the woods. Smoke Wolf was still sulking in his tepee and Deaf Buffalo started to recapture the tribes scattered horse herd. Black Eagle hoped that once the horses are collected, he could use them with mounted warriors as a mobile reserve/quick reaction force once the trappers had been found.

Sadly, this plan didn't bare any fruit. None of Black Eagles' warriors were able to discover any of the mountain men that turn. Empty handed, the pursuit would have to continue. Luckily for me, this was the case. No Umpire wanted their game to come to a premature end so early in the piece.
 
The map below shows the locations of all the groups at the end of Turn 1 – 11 AM.
Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: von Lucky on April 18, 2020, 09:35:07 AM
Gripping stuff - I am enjoying reading this and imaging the situation for all characters.

And "this decision is still haunting me a year later" so it should. So it should... lol
Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: BillK on April 18, 2020, 01:34:59 PM
You have a great endeavor underway, thanks for sharing it, it is really a wonderful thread.
Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: Vagabond on April 19, 2020, 08:51:05 AM
Excellent and thought provoking stuff.

Did you draw up a list of possible encounters and if so how did you decide when to test for them?
Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: Oberstleutnant Koenig on April 20, 2020, 06:11:15 AM
Thank you so much for such wonderful comments.

To answer your question Vagabond, I drew up an encounter chart and assigned each event a random number. There is currently 100 possible events, everything from encountering a bear and her cubs (thank you, Revenant), the mauled skeleton of a dead trapper with his .50 Cal Hawken rifle (thank you, Jerimiah Johnson), and so on...  anything that would give flavour to the game. Hunting opportunities would also come from the encounter chart.

I wanted the game to have a little of my input as possible, relying on the die rolls and the choices the players made.

The game was truly in, "The Lap of the Gods!"

I simply monitored it and provided feedback to the players. I never rerolled die result because of an unfavourable event or an outcome that was inopportune. What was to be, was to be.

I only threw for random encounters for the mountain men parties, they were the main focus of the game.

The trigger for consulting the encounter table was when a party walked or were stationary. I figured that a group that was moving at a Fast/Running pace would scare all wild life away.
Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: Brummie Thug on April 20, 2020, 07:48:10 AM
Great read!
Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: Oberstleutnant Koenig on April 21, 2020, 08:04:53 AM
Turn 2 – 12 PM

This turn was the most critical for Templeton. Funny it came so early in the game.

As you are aware, none of the players knew where the other parties were, they were running blind.  This created an unnerving effect on the Mountain Men Players when it came to writing their orders.

Was I running from danger or running towards it?

Each Run/Fast move, drained away Stamina and the last thing any player wanted was to have nothing in the tank when you really needed it.

 A quote from Marcus’s orders:
“My boys are getting a bit anxious and are keen to get some distance between us and the hunting parties” and “I’m concerned is for Bennett. He is not holding up to the challenge! There is a lot of daylight left and we need distance in order to hold up, eat and rest. Tomorrow we will need to move quickly in the direction of the fort and our salvation.”

Bennett had the lowest stamina level in the Templeton party and you see this was already having an effect on Marcus plans.

Another Templeton quote:
“I keep these thoughts to myself, but if anyone can’t keep up... I will leave them behind to their certain death!” What a mercenary bastard, Templeton is! Had to get that in, just so that the whole world can see it... Yes he is going to read this post… hehehe.

Marcus elected to put his plan into action to outwit the Indian player. Breaking into a Fast/Run pace, he moved two hexes to the north west, keeping the creek on his left. This move had his party leave hex 05.07, moving into 06.07 and then finally into 07.06. He was totally unaware that Grey Deer and Red Knife were searching the forest on the other side of the creek.

Shane continued to moving in a south eastly direction. Moving at a Fast/Run pace and he climbed another elevation in his journey up the mountain side. Both running and climbing was draining away his stamina fast. Gibbons was quickly approaching exhaustion, but Shane had a feeling a war party was on his tail. After all, he was leaving a trail all the way back to the Peaquin village. Surely, the Indians would be tracking him? His only chance was to keep ahead of them. How right he was!

Little did Shane know, but Red Knife and his warriors were hot on his heels, but this was sheer luck on their part. They weren't employing their tracking skills as you would expect from native Americans. Red Knife and his warriors were simply dashing into the forest, hoping to out run the mountain men, luckily for him and his war party they were going in the right direction. 

Red Knife crossed the creek and entered hex 07.06, then turned south and started to climb uphill into hex 07.07.
   
Umpire note: If he had used his tracking ability (80% chance of being successful), he would have seen Shane’s trail leading south into hex 06.07, the hex Templeton was currently moving into. If Red Knife had tracked Shane’s trail south, it would have led him straight into Marcus.

Black Eagle, Bloody Bear and Grey Deer were working together to conducted a fast sweep of the valley in a southernly direction. They were intent on finding the mountain man party that had ran south from the village after the massacre – Templeton’s party.

Black Eagle and Bloody Bear ran south searching the forest as they went.

Grey Deer as part of this sweep moved from hex 05.06, across the creek and entering hex 05.07. It was a close call for Templeton, he was just leaving that same hex.
Because you can't see the forest because of the trees, there was no contact for  Grey Deer.

Having not discovered Marcus, Grey Deer head south into 05.08, climbing the elevation as he did so.

Marcus was again to miss contact with Red Knife as he moved from hex 06.07 to 07.06 just as the Indians were leaving that hex. Luck was clearly with Templeton, as he had threaded the needle this turn.

Smoke Wolf and Deaf Buffalo continued gathering their scattered horse herd at the village.

You can see from this; all movement was simultaneous. Advantage was not given to either side for sighting/encounters – remember you can’t see the forest for the trees. Encounters only occurred when players occupied the same hex at the same time.

The Indian player had expected contact with the Hairy Ones this turn, he was greatly disappointed he hadn’t. Where had they got to? They must be still running and they were just keeping ahead of him.

Maps below shows the movement of the parties as pulses so it may help you understand what has occurred.

Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: Belisarius on April 21, 2020, 04:39:58 PM
Nail bitingly good ........ :D
Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: Vagabond on April 23, 2020, 10:24:17 PM
Really enjoying this, Templeton has to be the luckyest trapper around, to move across the front of the following warparties sounds a desperate move.
Shane certainly seems to have the right idea going fast and wide.

From the sounds of it your encounter table could be a help or hinderence but if they moved fast and noisily enough they would encounter little. I'm in the process of putting a similar game but in reverse. It will be a search and rescue mission in Vietnam and if the party move fast and noisy they will die.

Horses for courses. Keep it up and I'll be back to see how it pans out. By the way Templeton is right, your slow man could get them all killed.
Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: von Lucky on April 28, 2020, 10:40:31 AM
My gawd! As someone that's playing one of your cat and mouse games, I fully get the fog of war feeling. You couldn't plan this - unless it was a Hitchcock film or something.
Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: Oberstleutnant Koenig on May 02, 2020, 03:15:43 AM
Turn 3 – 1 PM

Hemmed in by a cliff to his north and an escarpment to his south and south east, Shanes path was determined by the terrain about him. He hoped that he had put enough distance between his party and his pursuers, but he was concerned about the trail he had left in his mad dash for safety.

The Indian Player was deeply perplexed as to why he hadn’t found the mountain men in the last two moves. He decided to switch his strategy to tracking.  This would slow his pace, but he needed something to go on.

Bloody Bear, Black Eagle and Grey Deer continued searching south, moving an additional one hex in that direction. Little did he know, the mountain men had not gone that way, so of course his tracking effort came up with nothing. He was really convinced that one of the mountain men parties had gone south, but where were they? What had he missed? They must be up ahead; still running like the animals they were?

Switching to tracking, Red Knife was rewarded with, “Three men, heading southeast, moving fast.” Clearly the mountain men were ahead of him, and they were running scared. By using tracking, you were restricted to a walk for that turn, as your trackers continued to focus on finding more trail for your party to follow. Red Knife continued to climb the mountain in the same direction as his prey, moving from hex 07.07 to hex 08.08.
 
Back at the village, Smoke Wolf and Deaf Buffalo had finally collected all 12 of the scattered pony herd.  Now mounted, well at least 12 of them were, they would quickly catchup to the other warriors of the tribe.

Having outwitted his Indian pursuers last turn, Templeton and his party were more or less home free.

Marcus and his men were behind the Indians now. The Peaquin warriors of Red Knife’s warband were the closest to them, but they were heading in the other direction. Eagerly pursuing Shane and his companions. The only real danger was now the mounted Smoke Wolf and Deaf Buffalo warbands, who were still at the village. They would have to be lucky to stumbled upon Marcus’s party.

Of course, Marcus didn’t know any of this. He felt sure that the woods surrounding them contained numerous bands of blood thirsty savages. He decided to risk a river crossing to put his men and himself out of the path of the Indians and into new territory.

Feeling that time was short, Marcus moved his party down to the shoreline to check the speed of the river water. It looked moderate, but rivers can be deceitful. Mitchell suggested that they should move upriver to find a slower moving stretch, but Marcus cut that option short, “Those red devils are all around us, we cross now!”

Searching about for some buoyant flotsam on the river bank, this would aid them in their attempt to cross, they all slung their weapons and made them fast. Then together, they walked into the river, trusting their fate to the Gods of Luck.

Extract from Marcus’s turn debrief:

All four of you entered the waters of the river. At first it was easy, but as you moved towards the centre of the river, the water drew deeper with a fast under current. Your party separated.
   
Tom Mitchell was the first to go. He struggled to keep his grip on the log he was using to give him some buoyancy, but it didn’t help. He didn’t scream as the river claimed him, he simply slipped away. 

Bennett yelped as the water swelled around him. A tree branch which was flowing down the river ensnared him and pulled him from his log. He cried for help, but you and Bulfinch were both struggling to keep afloat yourselves. Bennett disappeared out of sight and you thought the river had claimed him as well. 

Struggling to gain the other bank of the river, Bulfinch and Templeton pulled themselves from the waters. Bulfinch found Bennett 15 minutes later. He was laying half in and half out of the water; his leg was broken. The branch which had caused his dilemma had also saved his life, having carried him entwined in its branches to the shore.


Turn three was a bad turn of events for the Templeton party. One man lost, presumed drowned and one with a busted leg. What will happened next?


Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: von Lucky on May 03, 2020, 04:11:21 AM
Note to self: don't follow a man like Templeton!
Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: Belisarius on May 04, 2020, 01:50:29 AM
Lying soaked through  on the river bank with a broken leg and your powder wet . Why do the strains of the old song keep reverberating  , “ There may be trouble, ahead “ ........... :-I
Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: von Lucky on May 04, 2020, 10:11:23 AM
Not "I see skies of blue..?" lol
Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: marianas_gamer on August 18, 2020, 07:49:51 PM
I would love to her more of this adventure!
Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: Florida Tory on September 05, 2020, 01:27:27 PM
I will second that wish!

Rick
Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: Oberstleutnant Koenig on September 05, 2020, 10:05:35 PM
Sorry for leaving you Gentlemen, hanging...

I have been sidetracked over the past few months into umpiring a Dark Age campaign. Almost two months in and things are getting interesting.

Rustling five Romano-British Warlords has consumed much of my spare time.

I will endeavor to post something on Marcus and Shane in this coming week. 

Thank you for following this thread.
Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: Oberstleutnant Koenig on September 08, 2020, 11:37:36 PM
Gents, as promised.

Game turn 4 – 2 PM

Templeton and Bulfinch untangled Bennett from the tree branch and make him comfortable after hauling him into the cover of the nearby forest. Bulfinch collects two stout sticks and started to splinting Bennett’s leg. There were a few curse words as he straightened his companion’s leg, ready for splinting. Templeton gathered two saplings to act as poles for a litter he was fashioning. 

Meanwhile, Shane knew he couldn’t continue running as he had been since the village. Deciding to move more slowly, he and his party broke into a walk. Hemmed in by cliff and escarpment, his parties path already predetermined. Shane moves from hex 10.07 to 11.06.

The slower pace bares them fruit, almost immediately.

Gibbson sights a wild turkey in a nearby ticket.

He freezes in place and looks back at Shane, slowly conducting hand signals and indicating the ticket. Mouthing the words, “Shall we have forest chicken, tonight?”
Gibbson raises his musket, ready to put an ounce of lead into the bird.

“No!” Shane responds, casting noise discipline aside in the attempt  to check Gibbson's shot. “You’ll bring those bloody heathens down on our necks, You blasted fool!”
Slowly Gibbson lowers his firearm, to which Shane adds, “we will camp soon. Hopefully we can get down to the river and get some fish.”

This was a lucky call on Shane’s part.

With only three miles separating Red Knife and his war party from the Mountain men, they would have heard the shot - Firing a firearm can be heard five hexes away for game purposes.

Saved from a possible costly error, the three mountain men continue their journey east. Unluckily, they continue leaving trail as they do so – 50% of this when walking, 100% if moving fast.

Smoke Wolf now mounted on Indian ponies, leads 11 braves east, following Red Knife and intent on catching up to him. Horses moved two hexes per turn when moving normally, ending his move in hex 06.06.

Deaf Buffalo takes the remaining nine braves on foot south. Following Templeton’s initial trail, he ends his turn in hex 04.06.

Bloody Bear, Black Eagle and Grey Deer, continue chasing phantoms in the south.
Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: Belisarius on September 09, 2020, 08:58:53 AM
Nail bitingly good story , well told . 🤭 The basis for a good board game here .
Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: Oberstleutnant Koenig on September 30, 2020, 04:17:08 AM
Game turn 5 – 3 PM

With Bennett’s broken leg, the situation was now dire. The only way to move Bennett was now to carry him. This would reduce the party’s movement to a walk. Templeton knew their chances of survival was now, cut in half.

Night was fast approaching, so Marcus decided it was best to remain in place and regain some of their strength. Marcus scouted the local area, hoping to bag something for them to eat. He was out of luck and came back to camp empty handed.

Meanwhile, Bulfinch went down to the river and tried his hand at a spot of fishing. He doesn’t have any luck either.

On the other side of the river, Shane and his party continue following the cliff face. They had just reached a rock fall when Moore shouts out, “Cougar!”

Perched high on one of the house sized boulders was a tan mountain loin. The big cat snarls at the intruders, showing his fangs. Luckily  the cat isn’t interested in tangling with three men in a life or death struggle, he turns and fades into the scattered rocks.

There was a 50% chance a predator will attack a party, otherwise they will flee. Bears having a much higher chance of aggressive behavior.

Gibbon lets out a sigh, “Phew, that was close. When do we make camp? I’m just about done!”

Gibbon’s Stamina was only one point away from being totally exhausted.

“Soon,” Shane replies. “As soon as we get over this rock slide, we will make camp.” Gibbon nods and silently they press on.

Red knife having now found trail, indicating direction of Shane’s party. He again presses his war-party into a fast pace pursuit. Shane’s lead was being eroded quickly.
 
Smoke Wolf and his mounted war-party continued to follow Red Knife and his braves.

Deaf Buffalo raced south.

Bloody Bear, Black Eagle and Grey Deer picked up the pace, but continued looking in the wrong direction.
Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: von Lucky on February 21, 2021, 03:20:11 AM
Only catching up now - but yes, still gripping.
Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: Vagabond on April 04, 2021, 09:56:31 AM
Only catching up now - but yes, still gripping.

Me too and even slower than Von Lucky, looks like the trail has gone cold as your last post is last year but surely you can't leave it hanging there?

I've enjoyed this as much as anything I've read on the forum for a long time. Thanks

I have a question that will probably remain unanswered but were the Indian groups coordinating their search and if so how did you rationalize that comunication as each was miles away from the other?

Anyway thanks again this has been most stimulating.
Cheers
Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: Oberstleutnant Koenig on April 30, 2021, 06:42:47 AM
Hello Vagabond,

My war-gaming eye has ventured away from the Wilderness of the Rockies and Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane. The story lays locked away in my war-gaming archive. I rarely throw anything war-gaming out. It is only with the spark of interest from other Lead Adventurers that it moves me to continue the narrative.

To answer your question about communications between Indian bands.

This question perplexed me for sometime. Then I finally settled on fleet footed Indian boys and girls, darting through the forest in a constant pall mell. Carrying messages between the various Indian parties.

Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: Oberstleutnant Koenig on April 30, 2021, 09:24:15 AM
Game turn 6 - 4 PM

Templeton and his party remains in their current location and continue trying their hand at trying to catch fish. Bulfinch brings in a good haul of 9 lbs of fish, Marcus catches nothing.

With 9 lbs of fish caught, their food needs for the day are met.

Each man consumes 3 lbs of food each day or they lose Stamina and reducing their overall Stamina Level. Overtime, the lack of food erodes their Stamina Level and thus reducing their daily efforts to a crawl.

Fishing or resting for an hour will recover half a point of Stamina. Hunting, gathering resources etc. being equal to walking for an hour - 1 Stamina Point.
All of the Templeton’s party recovers half a Stamina Point each.

Bulfinch enquires if they should risk building a fire. Marcus says no, feeling they are still too close the Indian village which is just up river. They eat the fish raw.
A fire and its smoke can be seen by friends or foes if they are located in an adjacent hex to the fire, both day and night. Having a fire gives the characters using it a Stamina boost during the night.

In Shane’s party, Gibbon’s Stamina finally gives out (reaching zero Stamina), he stops and must rest in Hex 11.05.

With Gibbons unable to move any further, Shane and Moore leave him to rest and push on to the river. They hope they can catch some fish for the group to meet their food requirements for that day - they move to Hex 11.04.

Red Knife returns to tracking and moves slowly towards Gibbons’ location in Hex 11.05. He is aware the mountain men are ahead of him, but he has no clue as to how close.
Black Eagle, Bloody Bear and Grey Deer continue their search in the south, whilst Deaf Buffalo hastens south to join them.

Strangely at this point in time, Smoke Wolf galloped his band of mounted warriors southwards. Clearly the Indian Player felt he needs more braves to search the woods in that direction.
Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: Florida Tory on May 09, 2021, 01:37:16 AM
This story is as gripping as ever; I am sure that I am not the only reader looking forward to more.

Rick
Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: marianas_gamer on May 09, 2021, 01:45:46 AM
I am always happy to see this story go forward.
Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: Oberstleutnant Koenig on May 13, 2021, 09:00:57 PM
Game Turn 7 - 5 PM

Night is only one hour away and most of the Peaquin warbands were also coming close to exhaustion. Their constant running over the previous six hours had depleted their Stamina level to zero in some cases.

Only Bloody Knife was close enough to Gibbons to have any chance of catching him, but the War leader and his bands Stamina was at zero. They rested for that turn.

Gibbons didn’t know how close he had come to facing 11 Indians by himself. He continued to rest for the hour, regaining half a Stamina point. With night fast approaching, he knew his two companions weren’t going to be returning. He drew himself up into a ball and tried to get some sleep as best he could.

Gibbons having not eaten for the day, he had two penalties placed on him. He loses one point off his Stamina Rating (the character’s overall fitness) and he loses one Stamina point off his current Stamina level (his current level of exhaustion) – the last two hours of resting was for nothing. His Stamina level returns to zero.

Down by the river, Moore has had some luck. He manages to haul in 13 lbs of Channel Catfish – a nice catch. Shane didn’t catch anything, but greedily shared the fish with Moore in its uncooked state.

Having spent the hour fishing, both Shane and Moore knew they wouldn’t get back to Gibbons, so they too cuddled up on the river bank and slept.

On the other side of the river, Marcus Templeton, Jack Bennett and Charles Bulfinch all settled in for the night. Without a fire or shelter built, they were in for a hard night.

A game mechanic required characters to eat, have shelter and fire to maximize their Stamina recovery of two points per hour that they slept. Failure to have all three of these perquisites means they only recover one Stamina point per hour. Standing guard, recovers only half a point of Stamina.

Marcus organised a rotating picquet for the three men, but then Bennett suggested that he would stand guard all night. Bennett's logic being he was broken and needed to be carried. It was best that he stood guard and allowed the two fit men to sleep all night and maximize their Stamina recovery. Being a logical option, they went with Bennett’s plan.

In the south, with night closing in. Black Eagle, Bloody Bear, Grey Deer, Deaf Buffalo slowed their search to a walk or they made camp for the night. Only Smoke Wolf and his war band of mounted Peaquin warriors rapidly searched the north side of a creek to find nothing.
Title: Re: The Tale of Marcus Templeton and Shane - (A Mountain man story)
Post by: Florida Tory on May 19, 2021, 12:00:12 AM
Great stuff!

Rick