Play! A First Departure into the Terrifying Depths of Strange Aeons (Campaign episode 1 of 3)

On a fair Saturday (many week’s back), Ian C. and the Middling set out to playtest the skirmish game, Strange Aeons, by Uncle Mike’s worldwide at Endgame in Oakland, CA. The game is a narrative skirmish game and pits secret government occult investigators, Threshold, against the forces of H.P. Lovecraft’s cthulhu mythos, Lurkers. The game is fast playing and designed to be used in a campaign, via linked scenarios, which emphasize character/model advancement, injuries, and developing insanity!

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The first scenario (of three played) was a “Fight” scenario, which logically featured a fight. . Strange Aeons has three different levels for Threshold agents, Characters (leaders), Agents (trained, second tier), and Civilians (untrained types).

The party of bold Threshold investigators here seen in front of their Vintage model-T (only the <oldest> transports for the government’s finest). From left to right we have: Sister Peter Marie, gun-toting nun (a civilian), Father Seamus, Exorcist (a civilian), H. Webly Miner, an occult investigator (and the only character), Drake Jackson, Private Dick (an agent), reporter Walcott Johnson (a civilian), and Armitage Powers, adventurer (an agent).

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Threshold agents are sent in to deal with a lurker threat, which can change from scenario to scenario.

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For this scenario the Lurkers consisted of a Cult Leader and mess-load of cultists, seen below:

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A birds-eye view of the battlefield pre-conflict, pre-deployment, and with a handy car for scale:

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Threshold dismounts their model-T and readies to investigate the cultist’s headquarters.

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The cultists advance and take up positions behind the barricades, readying for the oncoming Threshold attack, with a lone cultist charging forward crazed and hungry to prove his loyalty to his dark god. IMG_3184

He is met by a brave nun – and she with ruler, and he with knife, set to melee…

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…and old Sister Peter Marie is no match for the dark servant and is knocked out, her fate unknown…IMG_3186

Threshold is quick to respond, taking up around the assailant, laying into him with pistol fire, and ending his life. IMG_3188

But the moment of victory is brief as another knife wielding cultist bursts through the treeline… IMG_3189

…And kill the priest, Father Seamus, his heavy bible (club) no match for the cultist’s ferocity! The religious and pious are not faring well thus far – perhaps Threshold needs to put its faith in good old fashion science, ingenuity, and technology…

And worse, another rampaging cultist has emerged from the tree-line to harass Threshold.

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Meanwhile, the Lurker forces advance, sensing weakness in the government agent’s ranks:IMG_3194

Yet, Threshold has true purpose and aim, dispatching one cultist with gunfire, and knocking down a second with still more skilled gunfire.

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Still more cultists charge forward – setting upon ace-reporter, Walcott Johnson, whose inexperience with anything other than his Polaroid doesn’t stop him from holding off the violence of the cult. IMG_3196

Walcott’s heroics keep him alive, only to be set upon by another cultist, and another a few feet behind…IMG_3198

The Cult Leader and his trusted bodyguard look on, pleased with the sacrifices to their eldritch god…IMG_3201

H. Webly Miner, occult investigator and Drake Armitage, explorer are able to dispatch a cultist, while Walcott manages to hold off TWO cultist through more furious melee.

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…Even going so far as dispatching one of the cultist – smashing his camera across the evil henchmen’s face. IMG_3203

…and things begin to turn in Threshold’s favor, as H. Webly Miner and Walcott Johson gang up and kill outright the second cultist.

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Seeing his compatriots killed so effortlessly by Threshold, one of the cultists breaks from combat and runs back to join his leader and hope that courage (as well as stength) comes in numbers.  IMG_3208

…the cultist runs frantically as Miner fires .45 shells after the fleeing Lurker. IMG_3208

But the cultist is crafty and makes it to cover and apparent safety…

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…only to be gundown by Drake Jackson, P.I.

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Armitage Powers continues the Threshold onslaught felling the Cult Leader’s first bodyguard with expert pistoleering – and then the second with a rapid second shot!

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Finally, seeing that a measured approach will not satisfy his Dark God’s desires, the Cult Leader, a horribly mutated spawn of a man and  some eldrich evil, launches forward and besets H. Webly Miner.

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Their combat is fierce and terrifying – Miner is injured by a cruel swing of the Cult Leader’s staff; Threshold has lost its leader! And the Lurker then turns on Armitage Powers… pitting his arcane staff against the explorer’s torch, in deadly hand-to-hand….

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…and dispatches him too! Threshold seems to need to improve their hand to hand training….

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Is Threshold defeated? Can the Lurker’s not be stopped?

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They can! A skilled or (lucky) shot drops the cultist boss…dead.

Threshold has proven victorious, but at terrible cost! All but one of their rank, Drake Jackson, PI, has survived the scenario. Below we can see the casualties of the battle: all of the Lurkers and 5/6 Threshold operatives have been either injured or killed.

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After rolls on the injury table, Father Seamus dies of his wounds, H. Webly Miner recovers fully, and Armitage Powers recieved a physical injury: Powers loses a point of dexterity (making him a poor shot – not that he hit much with a superior dexterity this scenario.)

Threshold is victorious, but they are in poor shape, and they need to retire to lick their wounds and recover before setting out again to pit themselves against the forces of the cthulhu mythos.

[Stay tuned for Episode 2, coming sometime in the…future!]

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