This Tuesday evening saw one of our usual games of "In Her Majesties Name" erupt. I had been working on the backstory and scenario's for this one for some time. This week would be a do or die event for the British Empire. Either they could fight their way through one of the time gates ... or all London would remain in the hellish grip of Cthulhu.
(Please note I will post the backstory I wrote to begin each of the scenario's on my blog ... if interested please have a read under "The Esoteric Extravavganza."
The mission for the gallant lads of Albion was simple. Gather the occultist Dr. Dias from his home and convey him across the table to one of the ancient Egyptian time gates. After the Esoteric Extravaganza (a species of World Fair for the Occult) had gone horribly wrong for the Empire, these damn gates had been springing up all over the countryside. The gates belched forth the worst imaginable creatures from the entire accumulated history of the Earth. To combat this vile situation both Sherlock Holmes and Spring-heel Jack (aka 'Prince Bertie') had hatched a cunning plan to return the Empire to glory through the very devilish machinations that had damned it in the first place.
Great Cthulhu himself stands immobile in the centre of the battlefield. He seems to be resting after a hard days despoiling. Woe betide he who wakes Great Cthulhu!
Dr. Dias awaits his attendee's to being his harrowing dash to the time gate. As you can see the loyal sons of the Empire far gathered from far and wide to answer the call. Pictured here are the African Rifles fresh from battles on the M'Bopo river.
London's Finest set out on the right flank. Holmes and Jack are in the lead. Just whether their tenuous alliance would hold throughout this battle and the next was far from certain. If the current plan was a success, there was still the matter of manipulating a 'Grandfather paradox' to see that the architect of all this destruction would never be born ... in short they seek a permanent end to that arch-enemy of the British Empire ... Filthy Abdullah the Slaving Bastard!
Here the forces of Abdullah set out toward their foe. Abdullah stands, with monkey on his shoulder, near the right column of the time gate. His second in command, Al-Hurun the Arabic superhero, stands with scimitar and buckler in the bottom left of the image. Al-Hurun has tasted defeat only rarely but the blood of his enemies many times.
The heretic pharaoh, Akhenaton, and his cultist await the onslaught of the British forces. Without ranged weapons they were ill equipped to match the African Rifles firepower or the moderate ballistic aggression of Scotland Yard. Please note "The Plunger" ... the most dastardly of the cult ... an individual who certainly "punches above his weight" in most battles.
On the far left flank of the British forces were the brave men of the Transvaal. They formed firing line before the oncoming cultists of Cthulhu led by a Deep One magus. However, the South Africans were not without their heroes as well ... Rudi of the Transvaal (who had twice killed Cthulhu with naught but a combat knife) relished the thought of sending more cultist to Hell.
The Great One has awoken! Cthulhu lumbers forward and a bobby is lucky to dive out of his path just in time. The African Rifles, Sherlock and Jack form a protective barrier around Dr. Dias. They shuffle over to let Cthulhu stomp by. As his movement was random, no-one was too confident in avoiding the behemoth.
The forces of evil amass behind a ruined home. The Slaving bastards began to move around the side to try and gain flanking shots on the South Africans. They had to be careful as far down the table a British officer with a hunting rifle strafed the open ground.
Back on the left all Hell had broken loose. The cultists did not falter under the hail of fire from the South Africans (their pluck rolls were quite extraordinary throughout the evening ... matched only by the London bobbies) and soon had engaged. The ferocious fangs and dark arts of the cult were hastily driving the enemy back. Would Rudi with the Holy Knife of the Transvaal (kind of like an African 'Spear of Longinus') be able to turn the day?
The Great One ... perhaps attracted by the smell of blood ... suddenly turned and waded back toward the centre of the field. Suddenly the British scrum around the good doctor was beginning to look like a horrible idea. Abdullah and several cultists had sprang onto the ruins and battled it out, truncheon against scimitar, for this commanding spot. From here Abdullah hoped to rain down grenades ... but the London bobbies were tenacious.
And then the time gates suddenly activated ... each player had been rolling dice to determine if they had triggered these devices by close movement ... but ill fortune two had opened a mystical portal to the past. To the horror of Holmes the mighty Kong lumbered through the gateway. The officers and men of the African Rifles were directly in his path. Dias was in deadly peril! Would the greatest Empire fall this day? Was the sun to set on Victoria's dominions?
But Abdullah was not to have things all his own way ... A second gate activated transporting a horror from antedeluvian past ... a Tyrannosaurus! Only one man smiled ... the slaving bastard known as 'Azim the Lech.' He was probably the most depraved and defiled creature currently stalking the planet and he looked up in wonder at the scaled tackle of the beast. Just to the right of the beast can be seen the growing melee atop the ruined house. Even Akhenaton joined the fray ... from this position he tried to use his powers of mesmerism to prompt an attack on Dr. Dias ... but the minds of the British forces were too set on their goal to be so easily manipulated.
Great Cthulhu took another abrupt turn and collided directly with the king of the dinosaurs. Azim had now reached fever pitch and narrowly escaped what seemed like certain death but the same could not be said for the saurian. With a terrific snapping sound Cthulhu broke the neck of the monster.
Although on a smaller scale the hand to hand combat that had broken out now across the field was no less dramatic than the recent battle of the titans. Here Sherlock Holmes battles desperately against Al-Hurun (the Arabic superhero) and two slaving bastards. This fight would continue unresolved until the conclusion of the game. Sherlock kept several of the Slaving Bastards engaged that could have been useful elsewhere.
By this time the scrum around Dr. Dias had almost reach the mystical gateway. In the background a knot of men from the yard covered their advance with the lively fire from their military rifles.
Another fierce knot of warriors strive to deal death to each other. Sairah the assassin and Akhenaton stand against Springheel Jack, Baraka (the extremely violent manservant) and a London bobby. Jack was soon to fall as was the femme fatale.
With a final rush Dr.Dias reached the mystical destination. There were just too many of the British troops to engage at the end. A notable effort was almost completed by 'Fuad the Slow' who had lain unconscious for 6 turns. He suddenly sprang to his feet and attacked Dr. Dias. Stabbing at the Doctor's heart his blade, he was only turned aside by the voluminous copy of the 'Cultes des Ghoules' which the occultist never relinquishes. Fuad was then swamped and murdered. The brave "Boy" can be seen just to the left of the column engaged in combat with a swarthy balucchi. 'Boy' had already smashed his one weapon, a champagne bottle, trying to kill Fuad.
But this minutiae was all moot as the doctor strode through the portal guaranteeing victory for the forces of Victoria. God Save the Queen! Who knows what befell the brave men and women who still toiled and fought on the field that day. If Dr. Dias is successful no-one will ever be aware of the many gallant and devious deeds performed.
Next stop ... the birth place of Filthy Abdullah. Dias will have to co-opt any soldiers he can to aid him complete his mission once he arrives. But there will also forces to oppose him as the headwaters of the M'Bopo river is one of the most dangerous places on Earth. If the conception of one of the most evil men in history can be prevented London and the Empire might be saved. To do this he will have to ensure that all amorous stimuli are stilled in the vicinity ... or burning down the hovel in which he once lived will probably do just as well.