Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hewers of wood, fetchers of water...

I decided my Daftest Africa campaign world would benefit from the presence of a few working stiffs - those guys and gals who do the countless tasks that make up everyday life. The figures shown below were bought on eBay and come from a variety of sources. The little donkey is a venerable survivor on the lead mountain, being thirty-some years old and finally, finally painted and based! It's been so long since I bought her I can't remember which manufacturer she came from, although a vague memory suggests Hinchcliffe.

Master 'Gyppo' (British army slang for Chief Cook) O'Brien samples his wares as civilian scout Kansas Pete Carter (who's a lo-o-ong way from home...) tends the fire. Around them the hewers of wood and fetchers of water do their thing.

Civilian contractor Willoughby Pond looks on as his train of bearers demonstrate the vitality of commerce in Daftest Africa. The termite mounds are fashioned from air-dry modelling clay and spackle.

Some more thoughts on Sharp Practise - Colonial style. I previously listed some bonus card ideas. Today I'm going to explain my idea for a Wildlife blind. The firing event chart in Sharp Practise lists an "escaped livestock" incident, but in Africa the local wildlife is inclined to do more than simply stampede.

A Wildlife blind could represent a few scouts, skirmishers, etc as normal - or it could mean there's a group of tawny bewhiskered faces peering out from the midst of that elephant grass.

Encounters will have to vary depending on the terrain. Those on the savanna can range from frightened antelope who want nothing more than to escape being somebody's lunch, to lions who want to set their own menu! Gorillas lurk in the jungle, ready to turn decidedly medieval on trespassers. Fire ants are notoriously nasty beasts: They and African bees can be deadly, and can't be shot. One battle in WW1 saw the hasty retreat of a British force from a swarm of bees, much to the relief of their German opponents! The great rivers are home to crocodile and hippopotamus. Not only does the hippo kill more people per year than the crocodile, its breath is supposedly the most awful in the world.

So, I'm thinking in terms of including an animal blind with the other normal versions. If a player's force ventures close enough to trip the blind's activation a die is thrown. A score of 1-4, say, will mean the disturbed animal is harmless and will flee. A 5-6 requires a roll on an encounter chart, with the beast(s) encountered being determined according to the prevailing terrain. I'll work something up and post it here soon.

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