Fall-In Doctor Who Game Reports: “Pirates of the Cyberiad Main”, and “Dead Men’s Chests”

Chris Palmer      At last weekend’s Fall-In convention in Lancaster, PA, Greg Priebe and I ran a special 2-part-episode pair of linked Doctor Who games, entitled “Pirates of the Cyberiad Main” and “Dead Men’s Chests”.    The idea for this originated in the plan our club had to set up a single Caribbean themed table for the HAWKs gamemasters to use all weekend for different games. So Greg and I took this opportunity to devise two linked Doctor Who games.
   We ran my game, entitled “Doctor Who and the Pirates of the Cyberiad Main” first, on Saturday morning, and Greg’s follow-up game, “Doctor Who and the Dead Men’s Chests” we ran on Saturday night.
     Here’s the description of my game from the convention program;   Can’t the Doctor enjoy a nice restful trip to a sunny Caribbean island in the early 1700’s without something going wrong? It seems that Pirates have arrived to plunder the town, and they’ve brought some unusual stowaways: a group of Cyberman have hitched a ride after their spacecraft crashed in the ocean; and they’re looking for new recruits amongst the local population! 
     So, the premise was a Cyberman spaceship had crashed somewhere in the ocean, and the survivors had made a deal with a passing pirate ship, that they would help them plunder a nearby town, if the Pirates would help them gather some captives to be “upgraded”; and then return them to their damaged ship, where they could then start making more Cybermen.  On the island there was a garrison of British Marines, and some hastily assembled townsfolk to offer defense.  There was, of course, also the 11th Doctor and Amy Pond.  The Doctor had in tow the island’s Governor as well as the Governor’s Daughter.
    I used the “To Be Continued…by GASLIGHT” rules, slightly modified to allow disengagement from combat.

A look at the table at the start of the game

   The Pirate/Cyberman players’ objective was to capture 6 humans (either garrison or townsfolk) and carry them back to their landing boats.    The townsfolk’s objective was to prevent this. And, to help them, the Doctor had to make some special gold plated ammunition for the muskets and pistols of the populace.  (Cybermen are vulnerable to gold) Without the special ammunition, the Cyberman were nearly invulnerable with a Save number of 20. With the special ammunition the Cybermen’s Save became just a 10.  To make the ammunition, the Doctor needed to travel and gather components from  three different buildings on the island, and then spend a turn in his Tardis creating the  ammo.  He would then have to physically deliver it, by moving into contact with any figure carrying a firearm.

Cybermen and Pirates come ashore.

     The game started off with the Doctor whizzing off in his Tardis to get the first objective, a chest of gold coins in the warehouse; while the townsfolk both exited the buildings where they had initially gathered.    Over in the barracks outpost down by the beach,  here was some disagreement amongst the commander and the sergeant, as the commander thought it was prudent to fall back into the town, while the sergeant thought they should take the case of ammunition that was stored in the armory with them so it would be easier for the Doctor to get later.
   The Cybermen and Pirate teams advanced up the beach with two Cybermen/Pirate groups heading right, towards the warehouse where the Doctor was, and the third group heading left towards the barracks. 

Half the Garrison gets trapped in the barracks outpost and is overrun

     Like the half of the garrison led by the commander, the townsfolk decided to adopt a plan of slowly falling back before the advance of their enemies, with the pair of musketmen in their ranks stopping to fire a discouraging shot at the attackers when they could.
  Meanwhile the Doctor was able to grab the first objective right as the initial Pirates and Cybermen reached the warehouse.  He then flew off  in the Tardis to the center building where the second objective was, and the pursuing enemies attempted to follow.
   As a Gamemaster I started to worry at that point, as the Pirates and Cybermen weren’t going to succeed if they remained one step behind the doctor all they way.  They knew where the items he needed were, so at least at one of the buildings they needed to cut him off before he got there if they were to succeed.  Likewise, if all the defenders just ran to the back of the table, it would be next to impossible for the Cybermen/Pirate groups to get to them and  carry captives all the way back to the boat before the Doctor achieved his mission. 

On the other side of the town, a real furball of a battle develops as Townsfolk, Pirates, and Cybermen clash.

         I didn’t need to worry though, as things soon started to unravel for the defenders.   Back in the barracks outpost, the sergeant realized the heavy chest would probably slow his men down too much in the face of the onrushing attackers, so he formed his troops into a line behind a low wall, and fired at the oncoming Cybermen in an effort to do some damage to them.   The time it took to enter and exit the armory, and then form up and fire from behind the wall, was this troop’s undoing, as it allowed the Pirates to get around behind them, and they were trapped in their outpost. 
    Likewise, with the lone musketmen stopping to fire and reload while the rest of the townsfolk moved, their units soon became strung out and they needed to pause to regroup.  This allowed the speediest pirates to make contact.
    It didn’t take long for the combined power of the leftmost Cybermen and Pirates to overwhelm the Sergeant and his men.  In some tense moments, the last of the defenders fell just as the Doctor got to the armory.  A Cyberman and Pirate where able to dash in to try and stop him, but he was able to grab the chest, (which was the third item he needed) and with the help of the Governor, was able to disengage and make his way back into the Tardis

In the armory, a short skirmish develops between a Cyberman, Pirate and the Doctor!.

     The Doctor then went to work concocting the special ammunition.  When this was done, he flew off to there the Garrison Commander was with his half of the troops.  The Doctor took them all aboard the Tardis and started handing out ammunition. 
      By this time, with the overrun of half the Garrison and a long and bloody skirmish with the townsfolk, the Cybermen had more than enough volunteers for “upgrading”.   The highlight of the Townsfolk battle was the ninja-trained “Grandma Sam”, (who was one of the leaders of the townsfolk), who lasted nearly the whole game, taking out many an enemy with her Broom of Death, before she was eventually taken down by a Cyberman.)

Last stand on the beach.  The surviving Garrison troops get off one good shot, but the special bullets miss their targets, as the Cybermen and Pirates rush from the woods with their captives.

     As the Cybermen and Pirates headed for their boats with their booty,  the Doctor tried to cut them off at the pass by flying his Tardis right down on the beach with the Garrison troops inside for the ride.  He then deployed them  in a line blocking the passage of one of the enemy groups.  Even the Governor and Governor’s Daughter joined in to help.    The other Cybermen and Pirates  made their way to the beach, dogged by the few surviving Townsfolk. 
    The final turns were a real exciting nail-biter, as the Cybermen and Pirates on the left decided to rush the defenders in a last ditch effort to get to their  boats.   This worked, as the Garrison was only able to get off one good shot with their special ammo, before the Cybermen were upon them.  Likewise,  the Cybermen facing the Governor and his Daughter soon realized that rushing the defenders was the best way to avoid being shot.   In the end, the Governor’s Daughter was the only one to take out a Cyberman; but it was too little too late.
     Even the Doctor succumbed to a Cyberman blast, and Amy had to drag his unconscious body back into the Tardis in the closing moments of the episode game.   With the defenses crumbled,  I declared the game a Cyberman victory. 

In the final moments, the Doctor is knocked unconscious and falls into the surf.  Amy has to drag him to the Tardis.   The Governor and his Daughter can be seen defending the low wall near the center of the photo , just before they are overrun by the two Cybermen there.

    It was an exciting game, and really went down to the last turns.  In the end the defenders just weren’t able to disable enough Cybermen in the battle.  Even with a Save of 20, in playtest games the Cybermen lost a third to a half of their strength, just from the fact if they roll a lot of Saves, the 5% chance of rolling a 20 will eventually catch up with them. And then the defenders should get a couple shots off with the special ammo.  But in this game, only one Cyberman fell.  The garrison formed up so close to the woods along the beach, the Cybermen were bale to be on top of them in one turn, so they only got one shot.  And it didn’t help that two of the Cybermen players were kids.  Kid luck will always carry the day!  🙂 

Part 2

     That evening Greg ran his half of the 2-part battle.  His game picked up the action a short time after where mine ended.  This is the description for the Convention program:  Pirates and Cybermen have already plundered the town and been dealt with, and the Doctor’s tropical vacation has gone horribly awry. He can finally relax; or can he? As now, a cache of mysterious crates have washed ashore. Do they bring untold riches or unknown peril?

The East India Company arrives in their spiffy boat.

      In this game a couple new factions were added.  First, Marines from the East India Company had just arrived at the dock to collect taxes from the town.  Secondly, as the description indicates, strange chests of valuable antiquities have been washing ashore.  While a few have just washed up at the start of the game,  this had apparently been going on for while, and some more of these strange chests had been stored in various buildings in the town.  These chests it turns out, were from some ancient Silurian vessel wrecked for eons on the ocean floor,  some seismic shift on the ocean floor had freed them and they were now coming to the surface.  Once on shore, their mere presence had called out to their original owners; and so a group of Silurians had tunneled their way to the surface in one of the buildings at the back of the town to recover the chests. 
     Also, joining the fight were more Townsfolk, just now returning from working in the fields.   There were also some of the Pirates left from the earlier battle, and the Cybermen were bringing back some of the newly upgraded citizens in the form of a few more Cybermen.   

Amy and Rory direct some members of the East India Company to secure a crate for the Doctor.  At first the men seemed happy to be taking orders from the redheaded lass.  Later though, when they realized she might be a Jacobite, they took some potshots at her! 

    This was more of an everybody for himself kind of game, with the Silurian crates and the chests of Tax Money, the objectives of most of the teams.  The Cybermen, of course, were also after more volunteers for upgrading.   The Doctor was just trying to get everyone to get along with each other.
    For this battle Greg used the old Doctor Who Miniatures Game rules.

More troops from the East India Company and some Pirates battle for control of a crate.

      It’s hard for me to say exactly what happened in this game as it was so joyfully chaotic!   Early on, the Doctor met with he Silurians and formed a truce with them in exchange for helping them get back their rightfully owned crates.  He was just as happy to commandeer the chests of Tax Money gold as well.  (Presumably so everyone would stop fighting over them.)    And of course the Cyberman enjoyed just cutting a merry path of destruction through everyone!

Cybermen, Silurains, and Towsfolk clash. 

     One of the highlights of this game was the Cyberman player who asked if he could repair one of his downed Cyberman by doing an expedient “field upgrade” using one of the Townsfolk he had captured.    He then decided that the upgrade wasn’t quite successful and so the Cyberman could only walk backwards, and at half speed.  Everyone christened the Cyberman “Abbie Normal”, and much laughter was had at this poor Cyberman’s antics. 

A view of the table from the landward side.

     In the end, Greg declared it a three way tie for victory, between the Doctor, the Silurians and the Cybermen. 

A poor citizen receives a “field upgrade"  to revive a fallen Cyberman.  

   
     Both games were a ton of fun to run, thanks mainly to a great bunch of players.  Everyone got into the spirit of the Doctor Who, and much hilarity and fun was had.   As Gamemasters, both Greg and I had a great time.   

via One More Gaming Project http://onemoregamingproject.blogspot.com/2017/11/fall-in-doctor-who-game-reports-pirates.html
from Tumblr http://tumblr.hawks-club.org/post/167211667308
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One thought on “Fall-In Doctor Who Game Reports: “Pirates of the Cyberiad Main”, and “Dead Men’s Chests”

  1. Nice write up Chris, wish I could have been there.

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