It was a balmy hot morning, 1 January 1900, when the sloop H.M.S. New Hope arrived in the harbor of Mission St. Mary, the Lemurian treaty port located in the kingdom of Nobelongaa. She didn’t arrive alone, for the New Hope’s mission had been to escort Lord Hamilton’s schooner, the Leaping Hart. Since Lady Hamilton was a royal cousin, it was deemed a military escort for their safari was prudent considering the war with the Boers and other tensions throughout the empire.
With men needed in South Africa, India and it’s frontiers, the escort for Lady and Lord Hamilton’s party was an experimental group of female sailors. It had long been the practice to encourage young men with no prospect other than prison to enlist in the services. Here was a social experiment to do the same for young women. The women would have female officers, but all of the senior positions of the ship were assigned to men.
Lieutenant Caroline Matthews commanded the detail guarding the gangplanks of both ships as equipment and supplies for the safari were being unloaded. The docks were filled with onlookers who had come to see the ships. Being a treaty port, there were trade legations from the major nations in Mission St. Mary – in addition to fellow British, there were French, Germans and Belgians. The Spanish had left the port and word was the Americans would soon arrive.
There are screams from the crowd as two women are seized by a group of slavers after killing their escorts. Lt. Matthews quickly puts together a party and gives pursuit.
When Lt. Matthews catches up to the slavers in the market outside of the city gates, the slavers turn setting up a confrontation encounter. In newer rules, confrontations are non-lethal with a chance of becoming lethal – in Mission St. Mary, it is almost guaranteed a confrontation will be lethal.
The objective of the confrontation encounter is to defeat your enemy and escape unharmed. You can use any number of your group or the whole group.
My group consists of Lieutenant Caroline Matthews, Rep 5, armed with saber and service revolver; Petty Officer Emma Tuttle, Rep 4, armed with bolt action rifle and bayonet; three Seamen: Yates, Reynolds, and Connelly all Rep 3 and armed with bolt action rifle and bayonet. I won’t go into their attributes here, except one – the soldier class has the “crack shot” attribute, that means whenever a soldier fires a weapon, you roll 3d6 and use the best 2 as the score to hit. I decided the rank and file sailors should all be Rep 3 to represent the fact they are green troops.
The Slaver force is determined by resolving a PEF, this means the number of slavers could vary from being 3 figures less than the size of my group to being 3 figures larger than my group. In this case, the group of slavers will outnumber my group by one.
The slavers consist of a Rep 5 leader with melee weapon, a Rep 4 warrior with melee weapon, two Rep 4 warriors with rifled muskets or black powder rifles, one Rep 3 warrior with rifled musket and one Rep 3 warrior with melee weapon.
For this encounter, the two groups are deployed six inches apart from highest Rep to lowest Rep opposite one another.
This is where the encounter become lethal, when the two groups Walk the Walk, they take an in-sight test. For the group that wins insight, figures armed with ranged weapons fire and figures with melee weapons charge.
The slavers win the in-sight and the leader charges Lt. Matthews, she fires knocking the leader down and he goes Out of the Fight.
The next slaver charges Petty Officer Tuttle, she fires, hits, but fails to do any damage. They fight a round of melee to a draw. (I know I should resolve the melee to its conclusion, but I like to resolve some of the other actions in-between rounds of melee.)
A Rep 4 slaver steps out from behind the two women hostages and fires at Yates – she’s knocked down and obviously dead.
Emboldened by his fellow, another Rep 4 slaver steps forward and fires at Reynolds, forcing her to Duck Back. Meanwhile the melee round between Petty Officer Tuttle and the slaver ends in another draw.
Gleefully, a Rep 3 slaver steps up and fires at Seaman Connelly, but misses. The remaining Rep 3 slaver charges Connelly. She fires and he drops to the ground obviously dead.
Meanwhile, Petty Officer Tuttle finally gains the upper hand in melee, the slaver goes down Out of the Fight.
Lt. Matthews fires at the highest Rep slaver and he goes down out of the fight. This causes the remaining slavers to leave the board.
As the remaining slavers flee, a new problem has arisen, a diplomatic problem – armed foreign women have killed men in Mission St. Mary’s marketplace. The king’s first minister and chamberlain is finally satisfied when the British minister explains the Queen’s troops are obliged to protect British citizens regardless of their gender – it also helped a great deal when it was confirmed the slavers were not citizens of Nobelongaa.
For the last seven years I’ve been wanting to write a story called In Search of a Rare Flower. This encounter is a small part of that story. Someday I hope I’ll get to sit down and write the whole thing.