Tuesday 27 December 2011

Thomas Howard - Hunter/Trapper - Long Rifle AAR

Long Rifle is the black powder period immersion game where players take on one of six different roles. Set during the French and Indian War , 1754, players try to gain experience, fame and fortune in the wilds of North America, while staying alive. This is the first installment of my Star, Thomas Howard, hunter/trapper extraordinaire!

 "It's a big world out there Thomas, and you're only a small part of it." - Mrs. Howard, 1735.

Thomas Howard found himself a failure at business and even more so as a husband. Perhaps because he was a bit too young or perhaps because he was a bit too foolish Thomas left his home in Massachusetts and set out for the West. Some said he was an adventurous man, others, his bankers, said he was a no good dead beat, but no matter how or why, Thomas found himself working for an old Indian named Blue Shirt. Blue Shirt wasn't his real name and although Thomas knew a bit of French in addition to his native English, foreign languages were not his strong suit. In fact, Thomas had yet to find his strong suit. but Thomas worked cheap and he was a fast learner. Blue Shirt had seen what was coming down the pike, a war between the two white men tribes and he figured it might come in handy to have one of them as a friend. In return, he offered to teach Thomas how to shoot, hunt and trap. Thomas realized it would be a rough life but the thought of a fresh start and someday working on his own made him embrace the challenge.
After his first full year, 1753, Thomas returned to the East but not his old haunts. No those days were long gone. Thomas had made enough in his first year to make it through the winter and now it was March. He headed west back up the river to rendezvous with Blue Shirt near Potter's Ford. And this is where our story begins…
Thomas is a Star, hunter/trapper, Rep 4, and has the Hawkeye and Lucky Bastard Attributes. The first he chose. This allows him to roll an extra d6 when firing and also on the damage table, choosing the best results. Lucky Bastard would allow him to change an Obviously Dead result to a Miss but only once in his life. This Attribute was rolled at random.
Thomas is armed with a musket and a tomahawk.
Periodically I will post game mechanic comments for clarity but as the campaign progresses they may be less needed. My objective is to get Thomas to Rep 5 and finish a complete campaign year. Hunting and Trapping is allowed from March to September with a chance to visit a trading post in October to trade your furs and gain Fame Points (used to increase your Rep and Personal Loyalty value). The Territory Investment Level would be 3. This is used to determine how much activity that can be expected while moving in the territory. Almost none is 1 while high activity is 5 so 3 would be a happy medium. The previous picture shows the first table that Thomas would move over. This would be the rendezvous where Thomas would meet up with Blue Shirt.The objective was simple, cross the table to the ford then over to the other side where hopefully Blue Shirt would meet him.
The terrain was mostly wooded with the river and Potter's Ford in the upper right hand corner. Coincidentally all three Possible Enemy Force markers (PEFs) started there as well. PEF represent potential enemies, friends, neutrals, animals or absolutely nothing at all. The first two turns Thomas did not activate and two of the PEFs moved directly towards him. On the third turn the PEF entered the woods and…
Thomas heard him before he saw him. It was a French Irregular and not a fellow hunter. The scalp hanging from his belt told him as much. Thomas raised his musket as he came into view and got the drop on the Frenchman. Click! The Frenchman stopped in place realizing too late what had happened. Thomas wasn't a murderer and didn't hold no grudge against the French but he wasn't taking any chances. The Frenchman was quick to surrender. Between the little English of the Frenchman and the even less French from Thomas the Frenchman understood. Thomas shoved the Frenchman's musket into the soft dirt clogging the barrel and took away his tomahawk as well. Then he told him to start walking and count to ten before he turned around and if he didn't he'd shoot him, simple as that. As Thomas watched the Frenchman walk away he hurried off towards Potter's Ford.
The first PEF moved into the woods and into LOS of Thomas. Resolving the PEF resulted in "Enemies".
A few quick die rolls saw that it was a Rep 4 Irregular but only one. As Thomas was in British/Allied Indian Territory that made the enemy French.  Both took the In Sight Test versus their Rep and while Thomas passed 3 the Frenchman passed 0. My first instinct was to shoot but that could cause problems later on. So I took a Challenge Test with the success being the Frenchman surrendering and the failure being he could attempt to shoot. Luckily I was successful. The rest was just figuring out what to do in real life. I couldn't take his weapon but I couldn’t have him shoot me either. So I figured just clog the barrel and be off.
Thomas leaves the Frenchman none too worse for wear and perhaps a little wiser. That'll teach the Frenchman to be on the lookout when moving through the woods!

Thomas was looking backward when he should have been looking forward. He heard the blast before he saw the shooter. The ball embedded itself in a tree trunk about waist high. Thomas charged the Indian warrior but was knocked backwards to the ground. As the Indian drew his tomahawk Thomas sat up and fired his musket. The Indian fell to the ground hit in the chest. Thomas drew his own tomahawk and cautiously moved towards the downed Indian who was bleeding badly. The Frenchman had surrendered, this was different. Thomas took the Indian warrior's powder and ball, tomahawk and food. He left him some water and that was about it. "He's in God's hands now," he thought as he headed away. He wondered what the French and French Allied Indians were doing so far south in the valley.
The smoke from the Indian's musket hadn't even cleared away before Thomas was upon him. Just as quickly Thomas was knocked to the ground.  
The 2nd PEF was resolved as "Neutrals" and again it was one figure, a Rep 4 Indian. With neutrals there's a chance that if you take a successful Challenge they will be friendly. I failed, we went to In Sights and he scored higher. He fired but lucky for me hit the tree instead of my gut. My action was to charge him (go figure). He whipped my butt in melee and scored a knock down result. I rolled and passed 2d6, Stunned, but used my Star Power to make it a Carry On result. But I also lost 2 Star Power dice doing it. No choice but to fire and I did. I hit him in the chest Out of the Fight. The other PEF still remained in place.
Thomas left the Indian and continued on. He would be leaving the woods and could see Potter's Ford in the distance and a figure crossing the ford heading towards him. They saw each other at the same time. Thomas was out of range so he decided to duck back into the woods. When he peered out he couldn't see the other guy and guessed that he had did the same. Now what?
Both sides could see each other so both took the In Sight and scored the same result so would act at the same time. They could fire but were out of range so both ducked back. Lucky for Thomas as he had forgotten to reload! Okay, so I had forgotten to reload. Activation dice were rolled and…
Thomas began to reload still ducked back behind a tree. When he was ready he peered around the tree and saw the enemy crossing the ford. As soon as he saw Thomas he dove for cover on the bank of the river. Thomas sprinted forward and dove into some bushes closer to the river. It was another French Irregular, he just knew it. He cocked the musket and waited. He didn’t have to wait very long as the Frenchman rose up and made a mad dash towards where he thought Thomas was. His mistake, as Thomas fired and struck him square in the chest, the Frenchman dropped like a rag doll.
Game wise the Frenchman started to cross the ford as Thomas was reloading. The Frenchman activated first on the next turn and reached the edge of the river. Thomas popped out into sight and the Frenchman won the In Sight. As he went first and was still out of range he dove to cover to duck back behind the river bank. Thomas's action, now that there wasn't a target, was to fast move as far as possible. He completed his move by going prone in the bushes. Going prone he still could see and be seen. The next turn Thomas activated first and waited. When the Frenchman popped up from the bank Thomas won the In Sight and fired first, lucky enough to hit him in the chest.
As the Frenchman came in to view Thomas fired and down he went.
Thomas took the weapons from the dying Frenchman as well as his powder, water and food. He then proceeded to bury the extra muskets and tomahawks on this side of the ford. He'd come back and hopefully retrieve them at the end of the season. As soon as he finished he crossed over to the other side of the river. Once there he met Blue Shirt and another hunter/trapper, a young boy named Joshua Sims. As they headed up river Blue Shirt told Thomas of how war had been declared between the Whites. He told the Indian about the two Frenchmen and their Indian Ally. "I heard the shots," Blue Shirt said. "That was you?" Thomas nodded and kept pace as the trio headed towards their first stop. A day or two march and they'd be at a point of the river that would be good to set their traps. It was getting dark…
Thomas meets up with Blue Shirt and the new guy, Joshua Sims.

So ends the first encounter for Thomas. Thomas picked up 2 Fame Points for the two enemies he took out. This time period takes some getting used to what with reloading and melee being a very real possibility. Well, I learned lesson one. Stop and take the time to reload! Make that two. Know what your attributes are and use them! I forgot to use the Hawkeye benefits BOTH times. Well, like I said, Thomas is still pretty new at this.


  1. Nice batrep. This sounds like it is going to be an excellent game.

  2. When will this game be out? I already got the figs for it :D

  3. Looking at the proofs from the printer today, Saturday maybe?

  4. Always been a favouroie of minem this pereiod. Very jolly Batrep.

  5. Cool Batrep. really looking forward to this.