Category Archives: Pulp Adventures

More on Mad Maximillian 1934, an ongoing project


Part 2 of 2.  In which I greatly expand on the Mad Maximillian 1934 material…

BRUMM Bentley Le Mans 30 Touring Car, an Ebay Purchase modified with a twin Vickers MG and two drivers from Sloppy Jalopy.

Mad Maximillian 1934 (MadMax34) is a very small scale skirmish game set in a dystopic past– that’s right, the past, during the Depression.  The publisher, Mana Press, doesn’t flesh out the back story very much, as I indicated in the previous post.   Just take it as a given that some form of world wide calamity has occurred some time after WWI, roughly corresponding with our Depression.  The setting has a decidedly English focus, which I like (although the publisher and the miniatures manufacturer are resolutely Australian).  I just don’t associate English country roads with Dystopia, which lends a little charm to the idea.  The theme of the game is car combat– on a much lower end technologically than comparable games from the past– such as Car Wars or games of that ilk.  The Interwar years are a favorite period for me, and MadMax34 is definitely positioned “in there somewhere.”  The rulebook, from Mana Press, is about 56 pages, with photographs on many pages and blueprints for cars and a turning template in the back part of the book.  As far as I know, there isn’t a printed copy of the rulebook available at this time, but I could be wrong.  I got mine as a watermarked PDF from Wargame Vault.  I don’t regret the purchase.  I can read the rules on my tablet, which is maybe slightly less handy than paper but that’s fine by me in the long run.

One of the two Eureka kits I purchased for this game. I modeled this on the GREEN MACHINE example in the book. Two rocket pods on a sliding sheet metal rack, and fixed forward facing MGs.

Mechanics:

In terms of game mechanics I don’t think MadMax34 is going to give anyone a serious headache.  They are dirt simple and “bucket of sixes” based.  I like that– not every game has to be about gun calibers and armor thicknesses and firing aspects.  The key mechanic is to roll a FATE roll and a FORTUNE roll.  The outcome determines if you pull off your slick maneuver, or flip your tin lizzy into a scrapheap.  Simply put, FATE = “bad things” FORTUNE = “good things”.

1936 Shelsley Walsh Hillclimb, Auto Union 5.3L C-Type. I fudged the year, as I liked the diecast model. Diecast conversions are a lot of fun– this one has two Lewis MG firing forward and either a couple of oil slick generators or paint sprayers (see red cans).

Taking an example right out of the rulebook, During the Movement Phase, Player A wants to make a tight turn.  Her vehicle is already damaged, which adds FATE dice (everything is 1D6 based, but Fate should be red and Fortune white for ease of play).  So she rolls a 3,4,5,6,2 & 6.  Like a lot of games using buckets of six siders, you count 5 and 6 results.  Player A counts 3 Fate here. 
Player A then responds with a Fortune roll of Vehicle Handling plus Driver Skill, which sorts out as: 3,6,4,1 & 6.  She scores two Fortunes.   THEN, subtract Fate from Fortune, and that’s the modifier of -1.  Yikes.  Go to Skidding test. 

“Old Number 3” Another fine diecast conversion, this from some Pacific Rim diecast manufacturer. Ford 32 basic black pickup, with Rocket tubes (2), Vickers mounted on hood, and some welded on extra armor here and there. I added a harpoon guy from Pulp Figures to give the vehicle a little verisimilitude.

Activation and Initiative, Turn Order, blah blah blah

In my  mind, there are only so many ways you can design a game that involves vehicles shooting at each other, in motion, even at lower speeds.  You have to take into account current acceleration, shooting, defending, maneuvering safely and at high risk, and what happens when you take damage or don’t make a turn.  That is the core of it.  I’ve played around at this myself– see: White Line Fever.  They are all equally valid, great ways of simulating these factors.  MadMax34 does a very good job of factoring in these elements in a straightforward fashion.  Initiative is easy.  The player moving at the highest Speed (at start of turn) Activates, or goes first.  If tied, the smaller vehicle goes first.  If tied, roll a danged dice, won’t you?  Activation leads to performing each of the three actions in any order the driver chooses: Move, Attack and Special.

A Brumm Bugatti type 30 (diecast, found on Ebay) with a Lewis MG up top and an improvised anti-tank rifle bolted on the left plays chicken with an oncoming Green Machine. I’m sanguine about this chances.

There are several nuances to movement and honestly I’m not going to go in depth with each one– a thumbnail would be: You can adjust speed up or down by one, with no problems.  You can STOMP on the brakes but these vehicles are ramshackle and you may need to check the car to see if it skids or not.  You can FANG IT (accelerate as fast as you can) but that also might cause the rather battered engine, which is likely running on corn squeezings these days, to explode or some other dramatic response.  Really, my favorite bit of these rules is the turning template, which is design elegance.

This is a PDF template in the rules, but you can order a laser cut version from THINGS IN THE BASEMENT (whose picture this is). I just ordered two of them. Click on the picture to visit their store.

Simply place the incoming (up facing) arrow aligned with the front of the vehicle, and twist the the adjustable (top) arrow in the direction you need to go. The farther you turn it, the more FATE DICE you have to throw to make the turn. I like this. It might be difficult to use in tight terrain but I’ll figure it out. There are special rules for special maneuvers like the bootlegger’s turn, and what happens when you skid or flip, but I won’t describe them in detail. Crashing is pretty bad in a MadMax34 vehicle, you basically roll to see how severe it is.. the consequences are rather tough on these (well used, poorly constructed) vehicles.

Click Me

The first model I bought from Eureka. This is a sport racing vehicle (generic “Flyer”) with a pintle mounted AAMG in the back. I love the figures– they are very dynamic. These kits are designed with a high degree of customization in mind; I went very basic with this one. Click on the picture to see the customization kit and other vehicle kits at Eureka.

Winning is a rather loose concept, and usually involves pounding the snot out of your opponents. There are scenario goals that determine victory conditions. There are about 4 scenarios in the rules (I think).

Vehicle Construction/Availability

MadMax34 comes with design-your-vehicle modules, just like the old CAR WARS game did. You have about four chassis sizes and each of them has a number of hard points assigned. The more hard points, the more creative you can be with what you strap on to the car to create mayhem with. Most of the vehicles I created had very few hard points– 5 or lower (five being average). I may have stretched the concept of “hard points” by including hand weapons, which I don’t agree would take up a mounting on your vehicle. I also add additional armor here and there and that technically is using a hard point as well– how many, I’m not sure. One of the reasons I hesitated jumping into this project was my perception that vehicles and drivers would be hard to find. That has NOT proven to be the case. A typical browse through Ebay will provide auctions for diecast vehicles that are perfectly within period. I have fielded a Bugatti Type 30, a Bentley Touring Car, a shabby 1932 Ford Pickup, and an odd “Shelby Walsh Hillclimber” that looks suspiciously futuristic but was historically built in 1936. Close enough.

Bentley Touring Car (1930), a diecast model, chasing a generic 3 Wheeler Cyclecar from 1st Corps (resin kit with metal bits). I’ll probably add more weapons to these or improvised armor, as both have hard points to spare. The Bentley is a BRUMM Diecast vehicle, easy to find on auction sites.

In addition, I highly recommend 1stCorps in the UK for period armor vehicles (if you want to build the largest vehicles in the game), they also have a section for pulp style vehicles (not many) with a lot of style. I picked up a generic 3 wheeler Cycle Car and put a dual Vickers on it, along with a gunner that is armed with a side arm. In addition, I picked up a WWI era dispatch motorcyle with a Maxim machine gun installed, and added some civilian touches.

WWI era BEF Dispatch motorcycle from 1stCorps.  I added a passenger figure Sloppy Jalopy, and painted the driver and gunner in a non specific “uniform”

Of course, you can also get miniatures from Eureka Australia or USA, under their small (but hopefully growing) Mad Maximillian line. The twist is you can always use the same kits to make more than one radically different vehicle. I’ve only touched the surface of customization, I want to build a flame thrower car next. The real difficulty is obtaining vehicle weapons (which I found from a number of sources) and especially drivers. The scaling between Eureka and 1stCorp isn’t a perfect match by a long shot, but when the drivers are sitting down, it’s hardly noticable. Stan Johansen (of Road Warrior 20mm fame, I’ve mentioned him on here before), also makes some 28mm driver and gunner figures– pretty rudimentary but it does the job nicely– and a paintjob hides a lot of things. He also has a ton of add on hand weapons like ATRs, shotguns and the like, so their figures are customizable, more so than Eureka or 1stCorps. In addition to THAT, Sloppy Jalopy has some very spirited and thematic looking drivers and passengers (the Tommy gunner on the back of the Motorcycle is one). You need to check those out!

Another look at 1st Corps three wheeler touring car, decked out for mayhem. I may add some more armor.

I don’t see terrain being a big obstacle. This game plays well on a 4 x 6 and even smaller space– I don’t recommend having more than 10 players due to the scale. Ground scale isn’t specified anywhere, but the models are large, and I forsee problems with table geometry. So maybe some craters, maybe some rubbled buildings.. a dirt road, some hills, dead trees, barbed wire.. I have all those already!

In conclusion

As I’ve alluded to, this has been a fun project to work on, especially the part about customizing and creating vehicles out of kits and diecast. I haven’t tested it yet but I plan to as soon as I move back in to my house. The vehicles were variably priced (the resin kits actually more expensive than the diecasts I found on Ebay, but more militant looking).  The rules are very straight forward and almost expendable, really.  You could play this with a game of your choice as long as you track the basic elements of road combat games– speed, shooting, protection, damage.. etc.  My only disappointment (and it is very minor) is that the period fluff is almost absent.  There is a long wheedling narrative at the front of the document but it isn’t a very conclusive or convincing depiction of the setting (can’t help kvetching, this is a favorite historical period of mine).  Other than that, I would recommend it highly.

STUFF:

Slideshow of all my conversions and kit vehicles built so far on flickr

Some Youtube “Project Videos”

From the rulebook, Mana Press. A collection of the Eureka Miniatures custom cars— except white lightning (second from bottom), which doesn’t seem to be a kit you can buy.

SOURCES MENTIONED in both posts

  • 1st Corps (WWI range and 20th Century Follies. Also some good individual standing figures)
  • Eureka Miniatures USA (and of course, Australia) The basic customizable car kits are produced by Nic Robson’s Eureka miniatures and Eureka USA for us Yanks. I highly recommend the custom parts kit you can purchase as an extra. You can also buy drivers and gunners (3 types) individually.
  • Company B is a company that sells period authentic vehicle mount machine guns– mostly twin mount Vickers and Lewis. I can’t recommend them highly enough.
  • Sloppy Jalopy sells a great line of 28mm drivers and passengers, right inside the period..
  • For individual pedestrian figures, try Pulp Figures. In scale and totally in period.
  • Copplestone’s gangster figures also work as pedestrians.
  • Hexxy Shop sells all kinds of interesting bits for vehicle conversion and customization, although their SF stuff is pretty futuristic.
  • Stan Johansen makes a Road Warrior line which is very futuristic but features drivers and gunners in 28mm that are dressed with minimal detail, so they work in the 1930s.
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Playtest Rules for BOOM! ZAP! a pulp SF skirmish game


Here is a playtest version of BOOM! ZAP! a very light hearted attempt at creating a set of workable 28mm PULP Science Fiction skirmish rules for tabletop games.

I’ve been looking for a very light set of rules for running a sort of “Space Port Bar” or “Cantina” game akin to the Blood and Plunder Tavern brawls but in a pulpier era for a while now, at least 2009. I’ve tried a few out but have been disappointed with a lot of them.  What you see here is a very, very high end look at the subject as I’m finding “Pulp” to be a much broader subject than people give it credit for. Do we mean Flash Gordon and Emperor Ming? Crash Corrigan and the Undersea Empire? Buck Rogers and Killer Kane? Do we mean John Carter and Planetary Romance? Do we mean the Skylark of Space? Do we mean the Rocket Man? Commander Cody? There’s a lot of subgenres that are evident, and ONE set of rules just might not cut it. So in an attempt to make a one size fits all approach to a very broad picture, I’m starting with a decent set of Western Skirmish rules, the old RULES WITH NO NAME that appeared in an old MWAN magazine way back in the day. This version has been Science Fictioned up a bit, and I’ve added a very broad brush attempt at Gunfire, Melee, Robots, Rocket Packs and Aliens. There’s so much I can do with this idea, don’t even think this is the final.. I’m adding to it as we go, consider this 1.0. I need to add explosions, malfunctions, space ships, beserk robots, planetary romance, more swordplay, anti-grav travel, and a host of other appropriate topics. This will be enough to get me started in a low key way.

If you want to get in touch with me with suggestions or questions, try me at misternizz@gmail.com

In the meantime, you can download BOOM! ZAP! here.

Pulp Science Fiction Miniatures 2/2


And here’s some more of the same series.

My Pulp Science Fiction Project: Draco’s Tavern


As I’ve mentioned in the past, I love pulp Science Fiction as a genre and have always wanted to run a pulp SF game, given time and a decent set of rules. Or I’d write my own, no matter. There have been some decent figures now and then over the years but nothing in sufficient depth to float my boat, until recently. I discovered Killer B Games’ GAFDOZ series back in 2009 and started buying individual figures. There’s about 40 of them out in the series as a whole, more or less, although some of them are in groups of figures– like the Lost Legion, Kappa Drones, and Murphidian Miners. I have resisted buying multiples of groups of Gafdoz types, not just because they are very pricey but also I don’t intend to create military units with this stuff.. it’s going to be a man to man game with these figures or nothing at all. Too much variation, not enough depth to do anything but that for the time being. That’s okay. I love the whimsical look and feel of GAFDOZ, and a man to man level game should be a blast in a real corny “space bar” setting. I will be naming this DRACO’S TAVERN after the collection of short stories by Larry Niven which feature the action that takes place at Draco’s Tavern, a location where people of all races congregate and (sometime) come to blows. I think this will be a lot of fun.

At the recent Cold Wars, I picked up some of my GAFDOZ figures from a guy who paints for me on occasion, Mr. John Montrie.  I think he did a fantastic job on them and it’s time to show them off.

Pulp SF figures

"The Good Guys", mostly..

Pulp SF figures

The "Bad Guys", mostly

This is only a start.. I think there will be more Gafdoz and other retro-looking pulp figures in my future.

Fall-In! 2007 Travelogue


My Fall-In! 2007 Vacation!

(Belated, I know.. and as always, all commentary is my own)


(crack Events staff Pat Shields, Cleo Hanlon, and a somewhat blase Mike Hillsgrove)

I had a pretty good convention overall. I showed up a little early to work the con, and I schlepped a few things here and there, and fetched wood and carried water Thursday.


(Convention Director McWee and Gruppenfuhrer Mattes)

Friday, my friend Ed came down from central PA and we did a battlefield walk and had lunch, then I did the staff thing on the afternoon shift. I worked the Flea Market, briefly, and also spelling the guys at the front desk of the Vendor Area. More work than I thought it would be!


(Dan Muraski, the only flea market guy in HMGS history who got a VENDOR table to sell on)

There were tons of games put on at this convention and lots of activity, to judge by the impossibility of getting a parking spot in the lot. That’s a GOOD thing.. I was struck by the influx of boardgaming in various nooks and crannies of the con, here and there, and sometimes right out on the main tables as bona fide events!

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(Hal Dyson, running perennial favorite AERODROME)


(DBA competitors in the New Ballroom, Friday)


(that Featherstone Cup you’ve heard about…)


(.. and some folks who japed that it was rightfully theirs..)


(and MORE games)


(and even MORE…)


(son of MORE games..)

I did very little shopping, but got a pretty nifty game of Pulp Adventures! in late in the evening, run by Chris Vaughn.

F-174 On The Shoulders Of Giants
Pulp; 7 PM;
Length: 4;
Hosted by: Chris Vaughn;
Scale: 25mm;
Sponsored by: Rattrap Productions;
Rules: .45
Adventure/Super Science Tales;
No. of Players: 4.
A dense, low-lying fog blankets The City, reducing familiar objects to menacing shadows, when you feel a low rumbling in the pit of your stomach. It gradually becomes an earth-shaking tremble as out of the swirling mists appear monstrous mechanical creations – robots taller than many of the surrounding buildings! The diabolical Dr. Kroon is at it again and it’s up to you and your fellow pulp heroes to stop him on the rooftops high above the city! Rules taught. Beginners welcome.

Alas, no pictures of this game were taken, but it was a hoot. Chris, who has a great sense of humor and creativity, was running a sort of micro-scenario of giant robots invading New York City. We only got to see the tops of them, see, as the rest of the robots are hidden below fleecy white clouds. The idea was to leap from robot to rooftop as the robots march by, searching for the mcguffins that would turn off the robots. Of course, it’s never quite that easy. There were different groups in New York together, trying to turn off giant robots, and some of them were bad and some of them were good. I played a baddie.. the Purple hood, an overarrogant intellectual genius with followers that looked like klansmen in red robes. I played the guy with a Boston Brahmin accent, looking down my nose at my evil minions. Unfortunately the clean cut hero of the story had homicidal followers that decided it was best to shoot first, ask questions later– so instead of working for the common good, they attacked my poor minions (and myself), changing what could have been a historic alliance of major proportions into bloody internicine warfare. Typical goody two shoes stuff. and they’ll blame it on ME in the papers. Sniff! It was a fun little game, very well done visually. I particularly liked the robot heads, which were simple plastic bowls balanced on white plastic powdered laxitive jars. I was concerned.. not only was there enought to balance a robot head on, but enough to run SEVERAL robots on.. I mentioned the benefits of more salad to Mr. Vaughn but he didn’t see the humor in it. Seriously, great game, sir! (Update: Chris has since contacted me and provided details of how to view pictures of this game. His Fall In! 2007 album is viewable HERE).

People, places and games…

Saturday I worked the Flea Market thing and did some front desk work for the vendor hall. Then I ran my own game, Return to Lilliput, from 2-6, when we got kicked out. I’m going to take another pass at the mechanics. I got a complaint that they were too fiddly and slow to look up everything. (if anyone wants to take a look at them, let me know, I’d be happy to have a second opinion).

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I opted to eat in.. not great… chicken and mashed potatoes. At least it wasn’t incredibly greasy. Then I played in Ed Watts’ Pulp Action game Saturday night, as Professor Rick Ruthless and his fleet of giant walking metal men. Pretty danged funny game. A tad chaotic.. Ed probably could have used some assistance.

S-182 Sand Seared Rugged Adventures, North Africa, 1930s.
Inter-War;
8 PM;
Length: 4;
Hosted by: Edward Watts;
Scale: 25mm;
Sponsored by: Monday Night Adventurers;
Rules: Rugged Adventures;
No. of Players: 8.
Enigmatic characters, steel visaged Nazis, square jawed heroes and plucky heroines in pursuit of McGuffins mysterious and arcane midst dune and palm tree.
Teens and adults preferred.

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There were some great games run Saturday night. HMGS President Panzeri was running a multi-table, Lewis and Clark thing that I personally found very intriguing. The design was run off a series of random event tables. Here you see some of them being set up.

Some other games being held Saturday:

I then went to the MST3K event hidden in one of the far rooms. I missed the first movie but caught the second.. “Crippled Masters”. Hilarious! A guy with no arms joins up with a guy with no legs to become kung fu masters! And they used two memorable actors– one who was a thalyidomide baby and one who had withered legs as a result of birth defects. They started the movie with prop (real) arms and had the props “chopped off” or “burned away with acid” during the course of the movie. It was pretty over the top funny and perfect faire for MST3K. COuldn’t stay awake for anything more, so hit the hay.

Sunday, I was up early and attended the TriaDCon planning meeting. Not much was accomplished, as we only had Mike, Otto and myself attending. One thing we seemed to agree on was that we wouldn’t be eager to put on another con without more volunteers stepping forward. The same six guys have done most of the work for the last two, and that is getting old.

So, with that inconclusive note, I nosed my car into traffic heading south, and fall in! was done for another year.

Slaves of the Elephant God: A True Story


Slaves of the Elephant God

A True Story..

As Relayed by one Howard Whitehouse

Contained herein is Howard Whitehouse’s recounting of running SLAVES OF THE ELEPHANT GOD, run Saturday afternoon at HISTORICON. Thank you, Howard, for allowing me to play along, and I thought it was a fantastic game. Such annotations as I have to make are noted in RED font. The notes are at the bottom of the post. My version, such as it is, is contained in the Saturday reporting for HISTORICON 2007, in this post.

Here’s a short, incomplete and confused version of what happened. I am hoping that Walt, Nigel and Bruce can add their own impressions, as I know bugger all about what they were doing —

It’s been a tradition since 2002 (I think) that a group of us– myself plus a varying cast of Table Directors, of whom Bruce Pettipas, Nigel Clarke and Walt O’Hara have been present at most– to run a pulp mega-game at Historicon. The set up has been four tables, each showing a different location, running at the same time. These serve for the first two scenes (possibly with a bit of moving scenery between scenes). The director is free to run his table any way he sees fit, and with any changes or omissions to the rules he likes. In fact, I don’t think Walt knows the rules. 1 It doesn’t matter at all. Each scene lasts 30-45 minutes, so it has to be run at lightning speed, and turn sequence is often ignored by players shouting, pushing in, and doing whatever they like whenever they like. Indeed, I take the chairs away, so nobody can sit and relax during “the take”.

At the end of each scene, the director recounts to all what has happened at his table. Then we resume, some players going to different tables (because they have a plane, or, like Wooster, they are lost), some continuing where they are.

Bruce took the marketplace at Chunderpore, since I’d just built the city for him (cash was involved). Things blew up, elephants ran amok, and Kimball O’Hara’s 2 intelligence agents hunted cultists and vice versa. Was Fu Manchu there? I don’t know.

Nigel is an old jungle hand, so he took a rain forest (where? Malaya? Burma? Burbank?) location. There were local caveman-type aboriginals, a crashed plane and a zombie Amelia Earhart (Nigel just made her up on the spot), and a jungle lord character called, er, Tarzam. Most of the loud fun I heard was the interaction between legendary film-maker Erich Von Schnitzel (Hoochie Coochie Girls of 1935) and his star, the always glamorous Roxy Smothers, filming an “art film” called Naked She-Devil: Temptress of the South Seas. There were lots of shower scenes involved this pair are largely responsible for bringing in the Hayes Code. Nayland Smith of the Burma police was there as well, and possibly LA PI Phillip Marlowe, in trench coat and parked car. And Biggles flew in, because he likes to land his plane in dense jungle.

Walt’s scene involved a lamasery in Tibet. It was loud, and Fu Manchu was definitely present. Indiana Jones, as well. I don’t know what happened. Walt’s GMing philosophy is to get caffeinated and make things up at 100 mph. He’s a genius, actually. 3

There were several sets of Nazis, as is so often the case. I don’t know where they were, mostly. 4

My own scene was on the North-west frontier, where King of the Khyber Rifles, now a Colonel , was played by the same gamer who had portrayed him as a young subaltern the night before in my “Science versus Pluck” game. He came up the same valley to face his old adversary Mahmud Khan, and knocked in the door of the Pathan’s tower just as he had in 1897. They joined forces, however, to face the Nazi menace, and drove off the Hun with excellent shooting and sharp steel. Jeeves and Wooster asked directions, and found there was no BP station anywhere in the vicinity. 5

Okay, so if I’d listened more carefully, I’d know what happened in everyone else’s scene.

In my second scene the Khyber Rifles and those damned Jerries (now reinforced by Zeppelintruppen) went with Mahmud Khan (not a bad chap for a lifelong enemy) to a frontier hillfort where evil, ungodly goings on were offending the decency of the Pathan tribes. A lot of people knew of it, since Phil Marlowe was parked outside, inconspicuous in his 1932 Ford (I can’t find a model for a Plymouth). Well, not as inconspicuous as in LA, but there ya go. I think Roxy Smothers must have had a beef with him, since she immediately ran her Rolls Royce into his parked car. Von Schnitzel started filming. Soviet agents and Nazis began fighting, just because. Nayland Smith arrived in a van, with the eastern dancing girl Karamanieh strapped to the roof. Nobody seemed to think this was odd.

The tribesmen in the fort watched (some taking photos) as the crazy westerners chase done another about, and tried to commit vehicular homicide all over the place. However, the no-nonsense King rammed down the gates (as he seems to, a lot) and the Khyber Rifles stormed in. As did Nayland Smith and his pals, and those sneaky Soviets. But, when the bayoneting was finished and the Zeppelintruppen had rappelled (curses!) into the tower where the cultists weren’t meeting (Ach Du Lieber! Too late again!) it was Zelda the script girl/US treasury agent who was able to drag the cult priest out. Using her chief weapon (her flat and tedious monotone voice) she forced him to tell of a great gathering at the island of Rikki-Tikki where .. under the belching volcano … the cult would bring forth the great Elephant God himself, to wreak destruction (etc etc … the usual stuff).

After a break (in which Hercule Poirot apparently became distracted by something shiny and forgot to come back, for which he later apologized) we had a grand finale under the volcano. All the cultists and Nazis (who had gone beyond a mere anthropological interest by this time) were arraigned at the base of the volcano, with a human sacrifice. A beautiful maiden? Well, no. It was Biggles, the ace British pilot. I have no idea what they were thinking (although, since there is no sex in the Biggles stories, who knows?) 6

Anyway, we ran this at even more breakneck speed than usual, with Nigel running one side of the board, Walt the other and myself taking the middle. People ran about and crashed things. Zeppelintruppen landed on the crater rim. There was fist-fighting up there, with Phil Marlowe. Miss Wonderley tried out for a screen role. The Khyber Rifles shot holes in the zeppelin (imaginary, but hovering over the volcano. Roxy ran off in Biggles plane with Dr Petrie (Nayland Smith’s cohort), giving her a chance to marry a doctor. Lots of cultists were killed. The volcano gave every sign of erupting (which gave warning to players to finish up now or die). Most of the players had the sense to escape as the volcano boomed and the Elephant God itself appeared.

End movie as heroes run for safety and the screen is covered in lava and smoke.

I always end the story by having the players tell what they were trying to do, and how it worked out for them. Mr Guttman (from The Maltese Falcon) reported that, although he was trapped on an island which must sink beneath the waves and cause a tsunami, he still felt there was an opportunity for profitable business here.

The Oscar went to young Michael, a regular these last three or four years, whose heroic portrayal of Short Round (bravely surviving a personal combat with Fu Manchu) was worthy of the award. 7

Notes from the Tibetan Director:

1) Just enough to get by.. I believe you call this the “frantic version” for convention play.
2) No relation.
3) Aw Shucks… just doing muh bit. BTW, the phrase is “Drink a lot of coffee and wait for the magic to happen”
4) The S.S. Expedition to Tibet started at the Lamasery and stayed there in Act 2. The Gestapo started in Tibet and were replaced by Biggles when it became clear I was having a Nazi pile up in tibet. The Bolsheviks, as well, started in Tibet and were sent to Jalallabad. To be replaced by a very confused Jeeves and Bertie.
5) In fact, Bertie drove Algy’s beloved Bentley into a coolie pack full of Nitro Glycerin, which made a very stunning impact on the car’s front end. They debated the moral concept of boosting a handy Ford Model T truck for a solid turn or two before heading out at high speed.
6) Biggles, by the by was sporting a spot-on Gary Cooper accent… which caused for some uninentional hilarity for those who are in the know. Imagine John Wayne playing Raffles, and you get the idea.
7) Michael won this award because of Short Round’s incredible luck in resisisting Fu’s hypnotism (twice) and then having the presence of mind to act hypnotized so he could free Marian from a fate worse than death! Yeah, Michael!!