Monday, 21 January 2013

Fight At The Crossroads!

It is 1944. The villainous Oberst Scharlach has been instrumental in delaying the Allied advance from the beachheads. American Eagle, alongside elements of the valiant 101st Airborne led by Sergeants Stone and Black, has come to kidnap him from the farmhouse he is staying at.

Little do they know that the farmhouse is in fact occupied by a squad of the fearsome Heldjager, and that Oberst Scharlach is waiting to close the trap with some of his blasphemously animated zombies...

As the Airborne approach from the south...
...Hauptmann Schengel checks the back door.
The Allies seized the initiative to begin with. Sergeant Black moved his troops up to the drystone wall opposite the ominously silent farmhouse, and Sergeant Stone moved his squad out of the treeline to take a commanding view of both roads. Disdaining such caution, American Eagle marched straight up the road, determined to take Scharlach into custody with his own gloved hands.

American Eagle hides from no man.

As he louched his way past a window, one of the Heldjager saw his crimson cloak flying in the wind, and with a cry of Achtung!, they leapt to their defence.

They reached the windows and a storm of fire came from the Airborne, shattering glass and bone alike as it tore through the first two to take positions. The Nazi return fire was ineffective, but they were undaunted by their casualties and settled in for a brutal firefight.

Using his amazing super strength, American Eagle leapt over the farmhouse, ready to smash in the back door and seize the Oberst. The Airborne, vulnerable as mortal men are, stayed in position to rake the Heldjager with fire. Things were heating up now, and though the Airborne's fire was surprisingly erratic, they were accounting for more and more of the enemy – who were giving as good as they got.

Hauptmann Schengel put down the radio receiver with smug satisfaction and then flinched as the back door to the farmhouse was kicked into a shower of splinters, the battered doorframe silhouetting the dramatic form of American Eagle. With a snarl, the two men leapt at each other as a muted howl came from outside.

The first zombies arrive.

The zombies were coming from two ends of the T-junction. The Airborne were torn – did they save their skins or the mission!? Sergeant Stone knew what to do! Leaving his men to cover the house, he ran down the field towards the zombies firing his Thompson from the hip. Ignoring the single man, the Heldjagers fired on his squad, routing them – but not before Johnson's 1919 unknowingly tore through the remnants of their first fire team.

Stone draws the zombies' attention, in cover from the Heldjagers.
Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, the Eagles fall back.

Black's men were too close for subtlety. They turned their weapons on the newcomers as one, destroying half the horde in a blaze of fire as the Heldjager kept up the pressure.

American Eagle and Schengel were tearing at each other like animals, wrecking the kitchen as they brawled. Neither man could quite get the upper hand, until the last three bloodied Heldjager scrambled down the stairs to observe the scene.

Stone's gambit now became apparent – familiar with the mindless, shambling bloodlust of Scharlach's minions, he was drawing them away to give his fellows time to act. Little did he realise that his squad was at that moment fleeing for their lives.

The zombies chase Sergeant Stone.

Seeing Scharlach on the hill, Sergeant Black made a desperate run across the road – only to be caught by the zombies! Unable to fire on them for fear of hitting their leader, his squad sought a new target and found it – the arch-nemesis himself, smirking on the hilltop! A rain of lead put paid to his wicked machinations... for now.

Sergeant Black is in trouble!

Busy smashing Schengel in the face, American Eagle did not notice the Heldjagers creeping up behind him. They were equipped with all sorts of evil weapons to deal with the Ami's “Heroes” - but some instinct warned him and their first shots went wide, only hitting him in the leg.

Sergeant Stone thought himself a goner when he first saw the zombies lurch at him, but their shambling lack of proprioception saved him as the lead monstrosity broke its leg in the field's furrows and he shot it in the head.

Black's men jumped over the wall and beat the zombies threatening their NCO to death with entrenching tools and rifle butts, as American Eagle's body came flying out of the farmhouse window to lie limp and bloodied in the road – the Heldjager's foul weaponry had done its work well. Whatever this “depleted uranium” was, high command would have to hear about it.

Enraged, the parachutists stormed the house. Schengel got a shot off with his pistol (which embedded itself in Black's lucky bible), but it was no use. Full of righteous rage the Americans killed the Heldjagers around him, and Black shot the captain in the back as he attempted to flee.

As they congratulated themselves, they heard gunshots and swearing from the east. Stone was still running through the ploughed fields, leading the zombies a merry dance. Steadying their weapons on casements they potted all but two, who leapt on the sergeant with unholy bloodlust. Luckily, the sergeant was a brawler from way back when, and with two quick swipes of his entrenching tool, the field was America's.

American Eagle coughed weakly in the road, bloody sputum running from his mouth – he was alive, but barely. But when Black and Stone checked the hilltop for Oberst Scharlach's body, no such relic was to be found...

Until next time, folks!

Butcher's Bill
Uncle Sam's Boys: 8 Airborne, American Eagle
Horrors of the SS: Oberst Scharlach, 10 Heldjager, 21 zombies, Captain Schengel

This is the first playtest of my WWII superhero game that I've put up here, and it was good fun. The battle seemed squarely the Allies' until the Heldjager did their job and put down American Eagle by bypassing all his special defensive rules. Of course, the fact that Black's squad overcame their previously shoddy die-rolling and slaughtered the Nazis in their turn is neither here nor there. In our last game, American Eagle fell under the spell of the wicked Count, and butchered his former Ami comrades – he's not doing well outside the comics!

Man of the Match: Sergeant Stone, for disposing of the greater part of a squad of zombies on his own.