There has been a lot of discussion lately about pulp fiction style games and I thought I`d have a go at combining two of my interests in an experimental game- the Seven Years War and werewolves. The description below is of a game played on Friday night with two players controlling the forces of "good" and myself running the forces of evil. The game went pretty much according to plan but I could do with some advice regarding certain aspects of this style of game so that I can develop it beyond the experimental. Below the description I have posed a number of questions. I would like to get feedback on from anyone with suggestions to make.
The general idea is inspired by the true-life story of Countess(?) Eleanora Schwartzenberg who lived in a castle not far from Prague, kept wolves and was widely thought to be a vampire. Upon her death, the peasants went about digging up graves and decapitating corpses until the Empress told them to cut it out- or else!
In my version, the Countess has passed over as a vampire and dominates the creepy little walled town below her old castle whose inhabitants have all been converted to werewolves. The town is in a basin protected by mountain passes that are often missed in the mist and so the townsfolk get few incoming visitors and even fewer outbound travellers!
Place- A walled village in Bohemia, a land at the mercy of marauding Prussian columns and counter marauding groups of Austrian regulars and light troops.
The Prussian hussars started in occupation of the creepy town where they were seeking refuge from Pandours, having been cut off from their main body. The detachment consisted of 16 troopers (Eureka dismounted Saxon hussar figures in colbacks) , a sergeant (one player) , a Leutnant ( the other player ) and a random Freikorps officer. The Leutnant and sergeant each had 8 troopers under command.
The sergeant character was told her character`s aim was to acquire plunder. So, one of her troopers broke into a house and there was a commotion resulting in a dead householder. The noise attracted other citizens who broke curfew and rushed in. Soon there was almost a riot with about 8 citizens battling four hussars. The hussars resorted to firearms and restored order but at the risk of instigating a general uprising-which didn`t occur on the die-roll.
Things settled down for the night. Half the hussars slept in the church while the other half patrolled or manned vital points. One man only was allocated to guarding the horses which were in the stable attached to the inn, but a long walk from the church.
Things got weird when it got dark- 3 wolves appeared within the town and ran up stairs to get onto the wall walkway. The wolves sprinted around the walls towards the front end of the town where some sentries were posted looking back along the road which was thought to be the most likely danger point (ie from Pandours). The wolves could not yet be seen and so the sentries could not react. Also, a bat flew in from a nearby watch tower and landed on the walkway between two sentries.
A wolf suddenly lunged out of the darkness at a sentry who panicked and ran. His companion, however, not being the immediate target of the charging wolf took aim with his carbine and fired, stopping the wolf cold for a turn. His fleeing companion, meantime, did more poorly, running straight into the embrace of a diaphanously dressed vampire who stood where only moments before, the aforementioned bat had landed (funnily enough, the bat hadn`t been dressed at all- they never explain this in movies).Seeing this, the hussar who had just fired his carbine scrambled down the wall and ran towards the church calling out to his comrades as he went.
In the cemetary outside the town, a ghostly figure wearing medieval costume arose from a grave and glided towards the town.
Although perhaps not completely understanding everything that was happening, the other sentries at least realised that something was happening and that it had nothing to do with Pandours. Two hussars dropped off the wall and just avoided snapping jaws to lock themselves in the stables with the one man on duty there, to bring the stables garrison up to three. The other men in the streets all managed to get into the church and barricade themselves in. Inside the church the Leutnant and the sergeant conferenced at length ( and I do mean at bloody great length). Finally, it was agreed that they were under siege by werewolves supported by a vampire and that in order to survive, they would have to arm themselves appropriately. Fortuitously, the Leutnant had elected to use the church as his HQ and it was amply garrisoned with the bulk of his detachment. Here they could make the necessary weapons to fight back- wooden pews and furniture to make staves for the vampire and silver candelabra etc to melt down for silver bullets.
The ghost glided into the town.
Outside, the streets were now filled with prowling wolves.
The Leutnant was concerned about the horses and how long they would stay safe. Without them, he and his men would be trapped whatever the outcome of this night. It would take time to get a fire going inside the church of sufficient intensity to melt silver. So, the Freikorps officer and half of the men were sent out on a foray to the stables whilst the remainder attended to weapon preparation. The sallying group looked like they were headed for disaster as they hadn`t been equipped with stakes, the silver bullets hadn`t been made yet and they were heading right into the vampire and 4 or 5 of her wolf friends. Just at this moment there was a fortuitous intervention by the renowned Dutch vampire hunter, Van Helsing and his side kick who had been travelling for a long time to get to this town to knock off the vampire countess. The Prussians and Van Helsing were all very lucky and managed to hold off the charging wolves- the troopers could only temporarily halt the beasts with their lead bullets but Van Helsing had come prepared. So, after defeating that group of beasties and killing the vampire in hand to hand combat, the group got to the safety of the stables. There a number of them mounted and came galloping out towards the church just as the Leutnant and his remaining men burst out of the doors firing silver bullets in every direction.
The werewolves waiting for them at the church were all gunned down which, when added to the pile of wolf pelts near the stable and the dead vampire- meant the Prussians had won a decisive victory against the forces of darkness (unless you were an Austrian in which case you`d say the Prussians were the forces of darkness).
Meanwhile, the ghost that had glided into the town and kept the players somewhat in suspense, just glided back on out again- it had been a harmless apparition- nothing more.
So, maybe some ideas on;
1. terrain- what do others do for buildings- should all buildings have detachable roofs or is there some other mechanism that will work for indoors action for those of us not having such luxuries?
2. use of event cards?
3. mechanism for movement/firing/morale rules/
4. I`d like to be able to develop this into a game for 6 or more players- will that work and if so, how?
5. what` is a good max. no. of figures per player for this sort of game?
6. do you let figures accumulate wounds and suffer effects or just kill off with a hit? If the former, is it a pain to record,or not?
7. anything anyone cares to bring up?"