Hunting the Man-Killers


The drum talk interrupted the usual night sounds of the crackling campfire and nocturnal creatures.  “Mukesh,” snarled Jack Gable standing in front of his tent buttoning his shirt, “what is so important to wake the jungle at this hour?”

“A village beyond the Napondi has been attacked, people ripped apart” replied Mukesh.

The country beyond the Napondi River, like much of Nobelongga, was unexplored.  Any creature capable of ripping a man apart would be quite a trophy – a trophy that would put him ahead of the competition.  In Jack Gable’s book, big game hunting was a competition and Americans thrived on competition.  He smiled and then barked “Break camp, we leave at first light.”


Welcome to Hunting the Man-Killers, an encounter for Two Hour Wargames’ Chain Reaction rule set.  The encounter takes place in the late 19th century or very early in the 20th century in the kingdom of Nobelongga, specifically the unexplored part of the country around the Napondi River.  The drums warn of great carnivorous apes who rip people apart and of something more sinister.  To further complicate things, the Watutu, who deem the apes as sacred, do not allow any outsiders into their lands.

Needed to Play

You will need the Chain Reaction rules, which are free on the Two Hour Wargames website. The current Chain Reaction 2020 is a bundle which includes:

  • Chain Reaction 2018 – rules using a battle board with miniatures or counters
  • Chain Reaction 2015 – rules using a tabletop with miniatures
  • Unlimited Rep – rules for playing a character with a Rep higher than 5

A link is provided on the right –>

In addition to the rules, you will need some six-sided dice, counters or miniatures to represent your character and the non-player characters (NPCs) and if playing Chain Reaction 2015, a measuring device. Chain Reaction 2018 is played on a 8″ by 10″ battle board and Chain Reaction 2015 is played on a 3′ by 3′ table surface.

Getting the word out – drum talk.

Building Your Group

Chain Reaction was written with an aim toward modern and near future settings – think World War I to 2080 Cyberpunk for example. So, we have to make a few changes in order for the game to work for the era of Colonial expansion. One of these changes you can make is to the group size. In the 19th century, expeditions sometimes numbered hundreds of men and women. One expedition even carried a large steel boat in sections through hundreds of miles on unexplored rainforest. Increasing the group size doesn’t affect the game mechanics, but it does make for a longer game.

For this encounter, I like to use a group of 10 (including the character), this is twice the normal group size. The encounter works with the normal group size – however, the jungle is brutal, so don’t count on all of your group to survive to the end.

Your character leads an expedition of European Adventurers. The expedition, or group, is composed of characters from different classes or troop types. You can choose the members of your group from the group’s list. Each class is presented with a minimum and a maximum number of characters. An entry with (0 – 4), for example means you can take from zero up to four characters of that class, whereas an entry of (1 – 3) means you must take at least one character from that class and as many as three.

European Adventurers Group

This is the expedition led by European Adventurers. The group is not composed entirely of European Adventures and the group contains members from other classes. The choices for this group are:

  • (1 – 3) European Adventurers
  • (0 – 2) Arab Traders
  • (0 – 4) Askari
  • (0 – 5) Tribal Natives
  • (0 – 4) Pygmies
  • (0 – 3) Bearers

Encounter Classes

This encounter is set in the jungles of Nobelongga, a fictional kingdom modeled on the Congo River basin. Your group will be made up of individuals from the following classes or troop types found in expeditions of the late 19th century.

European Adventurers

European Adventures are the explorers, big game hunters, scientists and thrill-seekers from Europe and the Americas. They are armed with the latest breech-loading rifles, repeating carbines, big-game shotguns and large caliber pistols.

Who Are They? – European Adventurers

1Leader5Breech-Loading Rifle, Pistol
2Adventurer5 (1-2), 4 (3-6)Breech-Loading Rifle, Pistol

Arab Traders

Arab Traders led expeditions in search of ivory, slaves and anything else that wasn’t nailed down. Baluchi were from the Indian subcontinent and were employed as caravan guards. They preferred to use outdated muskets and their skill as swordsmen.

Who Are They? – Arab Traders

2Arab Trader5 (1-2), 4 (3-6)Rifled Musket
3Arab Trader4Sword*
4Baluchi4Rifled Musket
5Baluchi3Rifled Musket
*May also have a shield


The Askari were the paid mercenaries employed by militaries and civilians alike. Some were uniformed, disciplined and well equipped, others, such as the Ruga-Ruga, were undisciplined and used whatever firearm was available.

Who Are They? – Askari

1Leader (NCO)5Breech-Loading Rifle
2Askari5Breech-Loading Rifle
3Askari4Breech-Loading Rifle
4Askari4Rifled Musket
5Ruga-Ruga4Rifled Musket
6Ruga-Ruga3Rifled Musket

Tribal Natives

Tribal Natives are the indigenous people of the area. Most are armed with spear and shield or with older muskets. There are a very few who still use the bow.

Who Are They? – Tribal Natives

1Leader5Spear & Shield or Rifled Musket
2Tribal Native5 (1-4), 4 (5-6)Spear & Shield
3Tribal Native4Spear & Shield
4Tribal Native4Rifled Musket
5Tribal Native3Spear & Shield
6Tribal Native3Rifled Musket or Bow


The forest people, or pygmies, make excellent guides and are noted for their deadly accuracy with poison tipped arrows and throwing spears. They are available for hire by any group, except for groups led by Belgians.

Who Are They? – Pygmies

1Leader4Throwing Spear or Bow
2Pygmy3Throwing Spear (1-3), Bow (4-6)
Pygmies add a +1 to Rep when shooting or throwing.


Not only is there a shortage of pack animals available for expeditions, but much of the terrain is near impassable for horses and mules. Therefore, almost everything is transported by human porters or bearers.

Having a bearer boosts a group’s confidence. A group with a bearer receives the Confidence Attribute – Roll 3d6 counting the lowest 2d6 on the Will to Fight table if using CR 2018 or the Man Down Reaction test if using CR 2015.

The Confidence Attribute doesn’t stack, taking more than one bearer just increases the odds you will have one when you need him.

Who Are They? – Bearers

1 – 3Bearer3Confidence Attribute

The Watutu Clan

The Watutu Clan are the adversaries in this encounter. They practice ritual cannibalism and do not like strangers trespassing in their lands. They are armed the same as other tribal natives – with spear and shield or with muskets.

Who Are They? – The Watutu Clan

1Leader (1-4), Witchdoctor (5-6)5Leader – Spear & Shield
Witchdoctor – Spells
2Tribal Native5 (1-4), 4 (5-6)Spear & Shield
3Tribal Native4Spear & Shield
4Tribal Native4Rifled Musket
5Tribal Native3Spear & Shield
6Tribal Native3Rifled Musket or Bow

The Man-Killers

The Man-Killers are a group of large carnivorous apes similar to gorillas. The apes which develop a taste for human flesh are deemed sacred by the Watutu.

Who Are They? – The Man-Killers

1Leader (1-5), Kong (6)*6Tooth and Nail
2Carnivorous Ape5 (1-4), 6 (5-6)Tooth and Nail
3Carnivorous Ape5Tooth and Nail
* If the result is Kong, ignore this table & use Kong’s table.


Though rarely seen, Kong is worshipped as a god among the Watutu. One of the strongest creatures on earth and the most fierce when angered.

Who Are They? – Kong

1Kong10 or 12*Tooth and Nail
*Kong’s Rep is either 10 or 12 – your choice!

Weapons and Spells

At the end of the 19th century, the bolt-action rifle made its debut in small numbers. The breech-loading rifles and repeating carbines still made up the bulk of inventories of the Colonial Powers and European Adventurers. They used smokeless powder in metal cartridges and were easy to load. Native populations had little access to these weapons. Instead, the bulk of their arsenals were rifled muskets and even some older smooth-bore muskets, all which were muzzle loaded and therefore provided a much slower rate of fire.

There were still many native societies which still favored spear and shield over the slower firearms. The bow had almost fallen out of use except among the pygmies.

Ranged Weapons

Breech-Loadng Rifles, Bolt-Action Rifles, Repeating CarbinesBreech-Loading Rifle48″2
Rifled Muskets, MusketsRifled Musket36″1
Pistols, ShotgunsPistol12″1
Throwing SpearsThrowing Spear6″1
* Range is used in Cr 2015

Melee Weapons

  • Characters armed with sword, knife, club, spear – add +1d6 on the Melee table
  • Characters armed with bayonet on rifle, sword and shield, spear and shield – add +2d6 on the Melee table
  • Large Creatures with Tooth and Nail – add +1d6 on the Melee table
A Nobelongga Medical Convention

Witchdoctor Spells

For simplicity, I’ve limited the Witchdoctors Spells to that of psychological warfare. The Witchdoctor casts his or her spell during shooting, by rolling 2d6 against his or her Rep. If successful the opposing force is stricken by varying degrees of fear.

Roll 2d6Witchdoctor Spell
Pass 2d6Terror – One in four of the enemy force immediately take a Will to Fight Test (CR 2018) or (CR 2015) roll 1d6 against Rep, if failed – leave the battlefield.
Pass 1d6Fear – One in four of the enemy force ducks back
Pass 0d6Spell failed.

The Encounter

Now that we have all of the necessary tables and you’ve built your group, we are ready to play the encounter. As you can see, when using Chain Reaction, it is up to you to construct the world setting and to populate it with both friendly and enemy NPCs. Now let’s pause for a cup of tea and then carry on.


  • Your objective is to resolve all PEFs and then eliminate the Man-Killers.

Special Instructions

  • There will be 2+1/2d6 PEFs in the Encounter. You may resolve as many of them as desired. When resolving all but the last PEF, use the Who Are They? – The Watutu Clan table.
  • Resolve the last PEF using the Who Are They? – The Man-Killers table.
  • Play continues until the player has accomplished the objective, been incapacitated, or leaves the Encounter.

In Conclusion

I hope you enjoy this encounter, and the foray into Colonial Era gaming. Many, many years ago, before cable TV and the internet, we could pick up two channels on the television if the weather was right. On Sunday mornings one of the stations broadcast the old Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movies. So at an early age I fell in love with the period. I hope you will too.

I haven’t thoroughly play tested this encounter, so if something doesn’t make sense or doesn’t quite work right, please let me know.

Please leave likes and comments, it’s the only way I can tell how to improve what I write. No Floozies were harmed in creating this post, though one of the voices in my head refuses to practice social distancing – it’s the whiney one and I just know she doesn’t wash her hands.

“Mark my words, dear, and no offense to your gender, but it is ‘man’ who is the king of the jungle.”

2 thoughts on “Hunting the Man-Killers

  1. This is great, I really like how you brought in real history and some information about everything. I’ll have to try it out, might have to play with some unpainted lead tho.

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