The final chapter of the trilogy of the Middling’s first A Fistful of Kung Fu trilogy, “Episode Three: Secrets” was played upon the comfortable and well-lit tables of Endgame in Oakland, CA, where many witnessed the culmination of the battles between Master Bruce Li’s martial artist heroes and Dr. Leise ‘uplifted’ cyber-apes. In the previous scenario, Episode Two: Sabotage! Master Li’s forces saw to the destruction of Leise’s arcane technologies used to produce the intelligent super-apes, after driving her forces, first, from the forest, and then later the peasant village, that the apes were reported to have terrorized. Below we see the standard photographs of Master Li’s martial artists and Dr. Leise’s apes:
“Episode Three: Secrets,” the final scenario, pitted 300 point forces in a Discover A Secret scenario with an artifact complication, where the defending gang could search any scenery piece with a small chance of discovering a hidden, but booby-trapped objective. As with episode one, no random V.I.P. appeared. The narrative of the scenario seemed a fitting culmination as the Martial Artists victories in the early battles crippled Dr. Leise’s forces and her capability to produce gentle forest apes in to cybernetic killing machines. A dark secret, though, hid behind Master Li’s actions, as the martial artists intentions and actions – the brutality and ferocity of their attack on the ape’s was suspect (and perhaps malevolent!). With only a thin hope to save her people, Dr. Leise would have to ‘coerce’ the truth behind Master Li’s actions by grappling and interrogating martial artists to learn the secret. She knew Master Li would be searching ruins for a missing artifact, and set her trap.
A brief transcription of the first scenario follows:
Above we see the setting: an empty battlefield before deployment with an abundance of scenery items and props that can be used to for in-game mischief and mayhem.
As the martial artist’s scouting party searches the ruins…
Master Li, sensing the immediate threat and filled with an irrational hatred leaps and dispatches an ape.
…only to be bull-ape-rushed by Dr. Leise in her monstrous ape guise!
The apes surge forward looking for martial artists to grapple and interrogate. The secret must be uncovered if the ape’s are to avenge themselves and regain a foothold. Master Li uses his “crane balance” ability to leap up before he can be pummeled in a compromised, prone position.
An ape fumble gives Master Li several reactions (free out of turn maneuvers), which he uses to dance away from Leise, surge across the table and dispatch another ape. If no ape interogators remain, then the secret will remain hidden! But his victory is short-lived as Dr. Leise uses her follow up actions to leap after and grapple the master of Dim Mak.
…but an emboldened, fury-driving (shirtless) Master Li turns Dr. Leise’s blow aside, and using his way of the intercepting fist technique squarly kicks the ape in her abdomen, recoiling the woman-ape into a nearby group of martial artists who were in the process of [unsuccessfully] searching some barrels for the hidden artifact. (A note on game mechanics: depending on whose turn it is, the controlling player gets to determine not only the effects of an outcome of a melee (regardless of whether they win or lose or draw), but also directs any recoil movement effects, in this case to the advantage of the apes, as they had control).
With a such a fortuitous turn, Dr. Leise grapples the Martial Arts champion, and chi leaps away.
…and leaps away again, to take her quarry to a secluded location to be interrogated (a full turn spent performing no other actions)
…but Master Li leaps to his student’s defense and charges an ape, sending her sprawling to the ruins of the city floor.
…but he is too late, as Dr. Leise is able to glean a poriton of the secret (4 of 8 required points). Off screen, a hiding ninja is accosted, beaten, and forced to expose still more of the secret (6 of 8).
…an unfortunate immediate martial art fumble gives control back to the apes, as Leise chi-leaps forward (amusingly with the champion still under her arm like a sack of potatoes). Master Li watches helpless as the tide begins to turn against him, and the Ape’s hopes of discovering the dark truth behind their persecution nears exposure.
Dr. Leise leaps again, tosses the limp body of the champion aside, and using her eagle claw technique grapples a the shaolin monk, and leaps away once more to begin the interrogation process anew (Amusingly, again, Ted P. found this tactic of swooping in and grabbing martial artists for interrogation, like an eagle does mice from the field, quite successful, cinematic, and fitting to the frequently used technique he employed)
…but before Dr. Leise could pump another weak (hu)man for information, Master Li regained the initiative and joined the fray, coming to the monk’s defense.
…meanwhile, the martial arts students were able to find the hidden artifact (a complication successfully achieved for a bonus chi-level boost).
Meanwhile, in the ruins, the monk now dispatched after giving up only the smallest parcel of the secret (7 of 8), one of Master Li’s students joins in with a flying kick to the ape’s face – but to little effect! (Hey, have you ever tried to kick an ape? Not easy…) Mere steps away, Leise and Li battle, but the ape, sensing that the whole of the secret will soon be exposed, bounds away, keeping her focus on the goals of the scenario….
…and lands at the feet of Li’s last conscious student, knocks him to the ground. Master Li chases after but arrives too late, as Dr. Leise is able to interrogate the student and learn the final piece of the dark secret that saw to the expulsion of the apes from the forest village, the destruction of the ape’s laboratory, and would soon seen to their eradication… but now with the secret revealed!
…Dr. Leise , knowing the truths, as as the last of its dastardly nefariousness secret is revealed in whispers (just beyond the audiences ability to hear, of course!), the camera focuses in on Dr. Lesei’s simian features contorting in a swelling rage, as she plans her revenge– CUT TO BLACK. Roll credits).
(…To be continued in future kung fu adventures!)
Game Notes: Despite the sizable chi imbalance (MA: 6, Apes 3) victory went to the cyber apes and their gangs Chi level increased by one (for the scenario goal). The Martial Artists increased their own chi level by a further one for completing the artifact complication, in spite of losing the scenario. Should a follow up campaign be played with these gangs, the chi will be flying fast and furious!