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Actual play - In Harm's Way: Pigboats Playtest 
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Post Re: Actual play - In Harm's Way: Pigboats Playtest
Session 11

Before the encounter with the convoy off the Korean coast, with the Coelocanth in the middle of the sea and seeing nothing, the Skipper had overheard Tokyo Rose mention the Coelocanth by name on her broadcast, saying that the boat was currently in the Yellow Sea. Being Commander Mardukas, he decided to play with her mind. He sent out a message to her - broadcast in the clear - saying he didn't care that she knew where he was, send along whatever she had and he'd handle it. Then he went to Korea, and sank the entire convoy.

Fresh off that, the Skipper broadcast again to Tokyo Rose, saying "Hey Rose! We just sank one of your convoys off the south coast of Chosen. Every single ship, including a big monster that was carrying enough oil to light japan for a month. Well? I'm waiting..."

With that, of course, he didn't hang around. At a conference with his officers, He proposed they head up the west coast of Chosen (Korea) a bit and hit the harbor of Mokpo - He had rolled a successful Strategy check, but with a poor quality. Lieutenant Wiggins, who had an excellent Strategy quality roll, said "Why don't we go over here to this big bay (puts finger on Qingdao on the chart) on the Shantung peninsula? This looks like it would be a great place to group together convoys." The Skipper said "That's a terrible idea, Wiggins..." He stroked his beard. "I've been thinking, we really ought to check out his big bay here on the Shantung Peninsula (puts finger on Qingdao on the chart) 'cause it looks like the perfect place to organize convoys."

After checking with his officers, he decided to send the XO, Lt. Cmdr Bullock, off on a special mission to climb Mt. Laoshan from the south, and spy out what was in Qingdao. Mr. Bullock took two seamen - informally played by other players - in with a rubber raft, while the boat stayed quiet and monitored traffic in and out of the port.

After landing at night on the shore to the east of Qingdao, Mr. Bullock and his men began the trek up the mountain when they came to a road, just as four Japanese trucks filled with soldiers roared around a curve right at them. The three men huddled in the brush at the side of the road as the trucks ran by, but one man on the last truck caught a glimpse of one of the men's faces and stopped just ahead. The soldiers piled out of the truck and began searching the brush. Mr. Bullock and one of the men pulled deeper into the brush, but the other climbed a tree. One of the soldiers spotted mud on a low branch of the tree and began shouting for assistance. The sailor in the tree began making hooting noises and threw mud from his shoes at them, then leaped from his tree to another. One of the soldiers said "That's a big fucking monkey!" and they climbed back into the truck and drove off.

They continued up the mountain, finding a lone stone hut at the top as it started to rain. They crashed in, guns in hand, but it turned out to be the hut of an ancient Chinese hermit. Mr. Bullock made friends with him with chocolate, and they were invited to stay in the hut out of the rain. Mt Laoshan is 1100+ meters high, so they were well up in the cloud, and couldn't see a thing of Qingdao until the rain stopped. one of the men - the one who pretended to be a monkey - was convinced the hermit was a secret martial arts master, but Mr. Bullock didn't buy it.

The rain burned off the next day, and Mr. Bullock - a master at observation - made a remarkably thorough and detailed chart of the big bay, showing gun emplacements, ships at anchor - the big bay was choked with ships, some of them huge, and the escorts - two fast frigates, and armed yacht, and two corvettes. he also charted the minefield at the bay's entrance by observing and logging the path taken by the patrol boats through it.

After leaving some chocolate with the hermit, they headed off down the mountain. They had just reached the secluded beach they had landed in, and were digging up the rubber raft, when they heard a Japanese patrol scrambling over the path above them. They dove doe the brush as six soldiers and an officer came down from the path. They had obviously heard the digging, adn could now see the partially uncovered raft. The officer detailed four men to search the brush, while two fixed their bayonets to slash up the raft. Mr. Bullock couldn't allow that, so a short but very intense firefight erupted. Afterward, mr. Bullock killed the wounded Japanese with his knife as the two men finished digging up the raft. Lamarr saved the officer, though he was badly wounded, and they met up with the Coelocanth at the rendezvous.

The Skipper went in to interview the Japanese officer, who was really bad off and being tended by the pharmacist's mate, Doc, and got him to talk some about the defenses around the harbor by telling him he would let him suicide if he talked. The Skipper set a knife down beside the man's bunk. He grabbed it and lunged at the skipper, and failing to hit, took his own life. The captain had originally planned to take the battery of eight inch guns at the mouth of the harbor, and use them to pop off the ships like fish in a barrel, but he realized there were too few men on the Coelocanth to do that based on the Japanese officer's information.

The Coelocanth snuck into the bay the next day submerged, ghosting past the corvette in the safe lane through the minefield by laying over next to the mines. The lane dog-legged several times before coming into the clear. The Coelocanth surveyed the mass of anchored ships in the bay, selecting the juiciest targets. The sub had ten mark 14Cs loaded - six forward and four aft, and four more reloads forward. The Skipper selected the two fast frigates to receive two fish each from the forward tubes, with one more each at a huge, 16,000 ton tanker, and a big troopship.The leftmost frigate was hit with one torpedo, damaging it, and the rightmost frigate was hit with to, sinking it.

The single torpedoes were not enough to sink the tanker or the troopship, and the Coelocanth swung about to shoot it's stern fish while Mr. Montgomery made an awesome combat reload check, reloading tubes 1-4 almost as soon as they were fired. The sub fired three torpedoes from the aft tubes, holding one in reserve, at the huge tanker and troopship. The tanker was hit with one torpedo, while a second missed - running erratically, and managed to hit and almost sink a small 3000 ton tanker by pure chance. The troopship was hit and sunk, while chaos erupted in the harbor.

While the Coelocanth was swinging around again to present her forward tubes to the enemy, Mr. Bullock, who was Attack Officer on the periscope - the Skipper sat this one out, watching his men get some experience in new roles - saw two torpedoes coming from the wounded frigate and managed to thread the needle between them. He fired one more torpedo at the frigate, one more at the big tanker, and two at a big cargo ship. All three sank as the slow corvette and converted yacht finally came up on the boat. The Coelocanth swung back into the minefield and tried to escape.

The corvette made its run first, shattering the water around the Coelocanth with six ashcans, which caused some fair damage before the sub made it past the first turn. After that the converted yacht made a run, inflicting more damage, but the Coelocanth was able to slip away around the next turn. There was the corvette they has slipped past to get into the harbor, this time alert and ready.

This corvettte played a different game. Getting a firm lock on the sub, she made run after run on the Coelocanth, dropping only a couple of depth charges on each run, and dinging the sub more and more. Finally, the skipper ordered her to run straight at the next turn, then rurn to starboard at the last second. The pursuing corvette overshot, and blew up in her own minefield. the sub surfaced and manned the guns, as she was down to one torpedo, with the other corvette and the converted yacht pursuing. Surfaced, she was faster than either, and could outrun them while fending off attacks with her 5 inch guns.

Once she was on the surface, though, the three shore batteries could get a much better shot at her. In a running gun battle, the Coelocanth sank the pursuing corvette with gunfire, while the yacht returned to the harbor to protect its charges. The Coelocanth, though, was hit by an eight inch shell. This normally would have sunk her, but the quality of success was terrible, and the boat got away minus both its periscopes.

After a tough journey back - they couldn't use the periscopes when surfacing to see if anything was up there - they got back to Pearl. The Skipper was promoted to Captain - thus out of command of the boats and onto Admiral Lockwood's staff - while Mr. Bullock and Mr. Montgomery were given their own boats. Captain Mardukas also was awarded the Medal of Honor for the U-boat incident at Chichi-jima.

Next week Mr. Montgomery and Mr. Bullock join old friend Mr. Jerkin and another new commanding officer - played by the Skipper's player - in a four sub wolf pack. Each will also play the XO of another boat in a troupe style move. Lt. Commander Jerkin will be in command.

-clash

_________________
Flying Mice Games/Better Mousetrap Games: http://jalan.flyingmice.com/flyingmice.html
Designing: Lowell Was Right!
Last Release: IHW: Pigboats, Volant - Kingdoms of Air and Stone
I FLY BY NIGHT Blog: http://iflybynight.blogspot.com/


Wed Jan 11, 2012 3:06 am
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Post Re: Actual play - In Harm's Way: Pigboats Playtest
Playtest Session 12 - The Wolfpack

So the group decided to play the two-player subs version of the wolfpack rules, each player running two characters, troupe style. The Subs were USS Clownfish, CO Cmdr. Chris Jerkin (Wolfpack Commander, Jerkin's Juggernauts) and XO Lt. Nicholas Vanderbilt, ; USS Remora, CO Cmdr. Jason Hunt (Wolfpack Second in Command) and XO Lt. Edward "Red" Howard; USS Seahorse, CO Cmdr. Lamarr Bullock and XO Lt. Joe Lewis; and USS Barracuda, CO Cmdr. Will Montgomery and XO Lt. Tom Wiggins. All subs are Gato Class, with Clownfish and Seahorse carrying 22 Mark 18s and 2 Mark 27s each, and Remora and barracuda carrying 24 Mark 14Cs each. The pack is sailing out of Pearl, with refueling in Saipan. Time is February 1945.

The orders for the pack - from Squadron Captain Leonard Mardukas, are to investigate the Naval/Civilian ports of Yokohama near Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagasaki on Kyushu, and to do as much damage as possible. A week out of Garapan on Saipan, they surfaced at night into the teeth of a mounting gale. Weather checks by Bullock, Jerkin, and Hunt all concurred that it was a taiphoon, and estimated 5 days duration, during which they would be in danger of weather damage from the wind and waves. they stayed off the coast at first, but on the second night, the Clownfish was swacked with a monster wave while surfacing, jamming the bow planes in a hard rise position.

The weather was too dangerous to even attempt a repair, so Jerkin left the pack and tried to find an island to shelter behind. Penetrating the minefield between Shikoku and Honshu, he found Ishima island, where he could get in the lee of the island, protected from the storm. Even there the wind was fierce and the waves rough, so when the Engineer went out to fix the planes, he was swept overboard, and hauled out injured. The Engine Room Chief went out next, succeeding in repairing the bow planes, but on his way back, he was swept off the deck and killed instantly when his head struck the bilge.

Jerkin ordered the rest of the pack to retire behind Ishima, but Seahorse was damaged when a mine went off nearby. LUCKily, she wasn't sunk. The next night, with all four subs on the surface behind Ishima, Red Howard on the Remora - furthest out of the subs - heard diesels in the night. Cmdr. Hunt ordered the Remora down, and radioed the others, who also submerged. It turned out to be a destroyer, nosing around. Jerkin almost fired on her, but luckily decided not to, in case he got a radio message out before sinking. I say luckily because any torpedo in those seas would have exploded prematurely for sure, hitting the face of a wave.

After five days, the storm calmed down, and the Pack laid off Osaka harbor for two days, watching the traffic and charting their route through the minefield. For this attack, Jerkin ordered Barracuda to stay outside the minefield to protect the rear, while the others came in on the surface in a hard, driving rain.

Clownfish stayed near the entrance to the minefield, while Remora went after the civilian harbor, and Seahorse attacked the Naval harbor. Clownfish sent 2 fish at each of three frigates patrolling near the mouth of the harbor, sinking two and damaging the other. Seahorse fired four at a Heavy Cruiser and two at a Light cruiser, sinking the heavy and heavily damaging the light. The five inch gun fired twice and finished him off. Remora fired three fish each at a huge cargo ship and a big troopship. Both were hit with two torpedoes, sinking both.

The damaged frigate got two torpedoes in the water at Clownfish, who shot one with her AA and avoided the other. She then sank the frigate and a corvette with gunfire. Seahorse swung around, heading for the minefield, sending two torpedoes each at a pair of destroyers, sinking both. Meanwhile, her Quad Heavy AA tore two corvettes apart, but the Combat Reload in the front tubes completely failed. Remora likewise swung around and skedaddled, firing two torpedoes at the next biggest cargo ship, which sank, and one each at a small tanker and a troopship. The tanker's fish missed completely, but the troopship exploded in a Lucky Hit. The rear four inch and the Dual Lights raked the tanker, but she stayed afloat, and the rear four inch sank a close by corvette. The front 5 inch deck gun hammered the western harbor gun emplacement with supressive fire. Outside the harbor, Barracuda laid on a perfect suppressive fire on the eastern harbor guns with her five in gun, completely silencing them while the subs exited the harbor.

At the end of the session, everyone really liked the Wolfpack, but felt a bit disenfranchised by the fact that they could not affect the torpedo or gun hits beyond using the subs' traits. We decided to try a three-PC-per-sub next time, with the players playing a Weapons Officer on each sub.

-clash

_________________
Flying Mice Games/Better Mousetrap Games: http://jalan.flyingmice.com/flyingmice.html
Designing: Lowell Was Right!
Last Release: IHW: Pigboats, Volant - Kingdoms of Air and Stone
I FLY BY NIGHT Blog: http://iflybynight.blogspot.com/


Sun Jan 15, 2012 5:59 pm
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Post Re: Actual play - In Harm's Way: Pigboats Playtest
Session 13 - The Clusterf*ck!

Sometimes something so wrong will be soooo right!

The session started with the four boats of the wolfpack beating feet out of Osaka harbor. Commander Jerkin radioed all boats to head south around Shikoku and Kyushu to get to Nagasaki. It would be a three day journey.

The next night, as they were on the surface, all four boats picked up a plane flying at the edge of the SD RADAR's range, about 6-7 miles out, dogging the pack. The commanders of the four subs were discussing this over the radio, when Cmdr. Hunt of the Remora figured they were probably eavesdropping on the sub's radio chatter. He said to Jerkin "Well the target is Oita, up to the left of the passage into the inland sea, right Commander Jerkin? Right sir?" Silence from Jerkin. "Isn't that totally correct, sir?"

Jerkin replied "Oh, uh, right! All boats, turn to starboard and head up towards Oita."

Now Hunt had meant for the Japanese plane to overhear that - which it did - and assumed Jerkin would go the other way. Jerkin didn't know how he could communicate this to the other subs without using the radio. He could have sent Morse code over the SONAR, but he decided instead to go up to the minefield across the strait and all a bullhorn conference.The subs headed into the strait and he called for the subs to gather together in front of the minefield. As they started to form a close square, the Signals officer of the Barracuda told Cmdr Montgomery that he thought he saw something fleeting and small on the scope, but couldn't tell what it was. unfortunately, Cmdr Montgomery didn't tell the others.

As they gathered and began shouting to each other in a square, the commander of the Japanese 2-man midget sub patrolling the minefield - the fleeting and small contact - couldn't believe his fortune. Here were four American subs, two overlapping two, in the most perfect close range shot he could dream of. He fired both his torpedoes, one at the leftmost sub, the other at the rightmost, and if they missed, they should definitely hit the ones behind.

The Commanders were interrupted by screams from their Signals Officers below - "Fish in the water! From starboard!" The men at the AA guns of the Seahorse and Remora, on the right hand side of the huddle, fired at the torpedoes lancing toward them, and blew both just before they hit. The explosion rocked all four subs severely to the left, throwing the XO Joe Lewis from the Seahorse's bridge; all three officers, Cmdr Montgomery, XO Tom Wiggins, and Weapons Officer Alan Peterson along with three of the four lookouts from the Barracuda's bridge; Cmdr Hunt, XO Howard, and all four lookouts from the Remora's bridge; and Cmdr Jerkin and three lookouts from the Clownfish's bridge.

In a flash, Cmdr Bullock on the Seahorse, whipped out the rope he always carried with him and lassoed Mr. Lewis, who had broken an arm and a leg in his fall, handing the line off the two of the lookouts. He ordered the other two into the rubber raft while he accelerated to starboard.

On the Barracuda, the only one left in the bridge was one lookout. He screamed "Man overboard! MEN Overboard! Hell! Everyone's overboard!" The Signals Officer called for the Engineering Officer to take command and for the ship to go forward full. He began running forward as the boat accelerated forward. Cmdr Montgomery LUCKily landed on a nearby dolphin, who allowed him to latch on. Wiggins was totally prepared for this - he was always prepared for everything - and splashed cleanly into the water, inflating his Mae West. Mr. Peterson had a rougher time, breaking his left arm and leg in the landing, but he managed to surface and dog paddle with one hand and leg.

Commander Hunt LUCKily latched onto the horns of a floating mine, as he couldn't swim a stroke, and shouted for rescue. On the Remora, XO Red Howard caught the rope rail broken off from the cigarette deck as he flew through the air, and climbed back aboard.

Cmdr Jerkin landed well and began swimming, looking for his men, but he could see nothing in the night.

All four Signals Officers informed their bridges - although no-one but a solitary lookout was on the Barracuda's bridge - that a large group of surface ships were coming up fast behind them. They had walked into the trap they had set themselves.

Red Howard ordered a shot strait back with the stern tubes, two each at two of the four old destroyers he saw speeding towards them in the aft TBT. He then ordered a right hand turn to follow the Seahorse. Two of the four torpedoes hit, sinking one ship, the other two going through the wreckage. Behind the four destroyers, a light cruiser opened fire with its six inch guns.

Bullock on the Seahorse ordered a difficult 90 degree shot from the stern tubes, sinking one destroyer and damaging another as they swerved to fire torpedoes at the American subs. Meanwhile the Quad Heavy AAs slammed into the midget sub, which sunk in a trail of bubbles, though no one was sure just what it was.

On the Clownfish, Mr. Vanderbilt ordered the deck gun to fire, sinking the damaged destroyer.

Cmdr Montgomery's Dolphin LUCKily went after the Barracuda, and caught up with her as she entered the minefield, dolphins being very fast. Cmdr Montgomery clawed his way up to the deck, panting with exertion as the Barracuda plowed into the minefield, not hitting ANYTHING through pure random chance.

Shots from the cruiser began splashing all around the Barracuda. LUCKily one banged off her hull, deflecting into the ocean. LUCKily another had a defect and curved past over the periscope shears. LUCKily, a third shot missed the Remora ahead, as the exploding destroyer under it knocked it upwards a bit. The PCs were just about out of LUCK...

The Seahorse was curving around, and loosed a salvo from its bow tubes at the last destroyer, which sank. The quad heavies shot two torpedoes out of the water. The five inch deck gun began shooting the cruiser, damaging it. The Remora also shot up torpedoes with its AA guns, and fired the front 5 inch deck gun and the rear 4 inch gun at the cruiser, hammering it and sinking it.

The Barracuda's Engineer finally got to the bridge, and panicked. He did manange to order some men aft to man the AA gun, but could not get any situational awareness of where the barracuda was and what she was doing. Cmdr Montgomery got to his feet, shouting "STOP THE BOAT! WE'RE IN A MINEFIELD!", then ran forward to the bridge. With incredible good fortune, the Barracuda still had not hit a mine. Cmdr Montgomery got to the bridge and ordered all full reverse, just in time to stop them from finally hitting one directly in their path.

The rubber boat had meanwhile picked up Hunt and Jerkin along with two lookouts. The Barracuda backed slowly the way she had come through the minefield and out. She picked up the rubber boat, and all left the area to go far out to sea, where the commanders finally got back to their boats.

This was a crazy, confusing clusterf*ck, and everyone enjoyed the hell out of it. It was one of our best gaming nights ever! the action set in right away, and never slacked off right to the end. Sometimes a screwup is the best thing that could have happened in a game!

-clash

_________________
Flying Mice Games/Better Mousetrap Games: http://jalan.flyingmice.com/flyingmice.html
Designing: Lowell Was Right!
Last Release: IHW: Pigboats, Volant - Kingdoms of Air and Stone
I FLY BY NIGHT Blog: http://iflybynight.blogspot.com/


Sun Jan 22, 2012 2:10 am
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