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"Raiders of the Lost Casket"

A Panzerfäuste Scenario by Luke Passingham

casket-frame

Entwickler's superiors have found the legendary Casket of Souls and are planning to open it to reap its dark rewards. Luckily the brave Orc Captain Pipsy Pipworthy is there to stop him. Will the deserter Chaka Took help or hinder the Orcs as the fight to stop the Dwarves.

~

Deep beneath the sand of Umbongodwongoland, plastered with horrific murals gruesome statutes and boasting non-Euclidian geometry aplenty, lies the fabled temple of EVIL. Buried for a reason, long forgotten by Dwarf and Orc alike, save for whispered legends of the horrors and wonders it contained. Chief of these was the Lost Casket of Souls, a vast stone sepulchre containing the power of EVIL itself (or loads of treasure, depending on which whispered legend you hear. Those ancient EVIL types did like a bit of treasure.)

If someone were to, against all the odds, find the location of the temple… excavate it under fire in a continent gripped by war and ravaged by hostile powers… negotiate the ancient death traps that line its dusty, blood-streaked halls… overcome its awful guardians of stone and dead flesh… and then finally survive a massive gun battle with two other desperate factions, both equally eager to get their hands on said fabled treasure... then the Casket would be theirs. Unless, of course, some kind of sinister power-hungry lunatic were to open it first.

Nothing bad could result from opening it, right?

Right?

~

Setup

Set up the playing area to represent the interior of the Temple of EVIL in a nice skirmish sized 3 foot by 3 foot area. The Casket should be located at one end, preferably on a dais or other very small hill, so everyone can clearly see it. Tod and his cultists should be set up in a rough circle around the dais. The end directly opposite the Casket is designated the exit.

The rest of the temple should be littered with scenery to represent pillars, statues, rubble and anything else full of antiquity and therefore perfect for catching a bullet whilst being used as cover. Because of the confined nature of the combat plenty of cover is needed to stop everyone killing each other on turn one. This will also prove useful for disrupting the cultists plans – see below for details.

Kapitan Entwickler and his Dwarven forces should then be set up in front of the Casket and the cultists, protecting them. The Orcs, under Major Pipworthy and Chaka Tooks Halfelins enter at the opposite end of the table but on the far left and right sides, facing each other.

Special Rules

A Game of Two Halves

The battle will likely be split into two distinct parts – before and after (should it comes to pass) the Casket is opened.

Until the Casket of souls is opened the skirmish should proceed as normal, with all three sides trying to fulfil their listed victory conditions. Should the cultists be successful in opening the Casket of souls the victory conditions for all players immediately change.

The Casket of Souls

Opening the Casket

The aim of the cultists is top open the Casket of souls, whereby they believe they will be able to seize eternal power, crush all enemies like insects, rule the universe etc etc. However they are but fools and dabblers in a realm they do not understand and opening the Casket will have dire (and exciting) consequences for all concerned.

Each round after the first the cultists will attempt to open the Casket. Roll 1D6 and add the number of the current turn (ie on your first roll, in turn 2, the roll should be 1D6+2). If the total rolled is 8 or more then they succeed and the Casket opens with a burst of brilliant light. If all the cultists are killed before this happens then the Casket will remain closed for the duration of the battle.

What happens next of course is that the angry and tortured souls within burst free and begin melting and otherwise horrifically killing all who look upon them. Identify the nearest model to the Casket – the tormented souls leap from the Casket into him, immeadiwlty illing them unless they can pass a GUTS check with a critical success (doubles) as they draw his spirit back into the Casket. Then identify the nearest model to him and roll 2D6 – if you roll more than the distance between them in cms the souls leap from their first victim to him, with the same effect. Then identify the nearest model to the second victim who has not yet been attacked, and continue as above until you fail to roll over the distance. Repeat this effect at the start of each of the cultists turns going forward (even if they as a faction have been eliminated) until everybody is dead, or the Casket has been closed. An unlucky series of rolls and some closely grouped troops could potentially see the whole table scythed clean of models in a single turn. Ouch!

Closing The Casket

Closing the Casket is a lot simpler than opening it – you just need a stout lad or two to pick up the massive stone lid and drop it over it. However anyone doing so will of course likely be melted by the power of the Casket. Oh dear.

To close the Casket a model must spend an entire round in base to base contact with the Casket itself. This is INCREDIBLY risky.

Getting Word to Entwickler

At the start of the scenario Entwickler and his men are blissfully unaware of the evil plans of Tod to open the Casket and seize control of the powers of EVIL contained within: this ignorance will almost certainly lead to their deaths, and it will be a lot harder for the other forces to get at the Casket and prevent a mini-armageddon with his forces defending Tod.

Any Allied model may attempt to convince Entwickler of the cultist’s evil. This is actually a lot easier than it sounds: the Kapitan is no fool, and he is getting pretty suspicious of all the evil muttering and suchlike going on behind him and is starting to have serious misgivings about the whole affair. If an enemy model can move within 2 cms of Entwickler and use their combat action explaining (therefore exposing themselves to enemy fire) then make an opposed GUTS check verses Entwickler. Officers get +2 to the roll. If Entwickler has previously been killed then it is not possible to get the Dwarves to switch sides – Dummkopf is too unimaginative to consider disobeying his orders.

Animosity

Smart players may well think the best bet is for the Orc and Halfelin players to suspend hostilities, brave the Dwarves gunfire until Entwickler wises up and then fight it out without the Casket getting involved at all. This is actually the simplest way to resolve the scenario, however it is also the most boring: therefore because of the high stakes involved (not to mention the bloody history between Pipworthy and Halfelins all troops on all sides must pass a GUTS check NOT to fire upon any enemy model if they are able, unless they are speaking to Entwickler as above. This should encourage a bit of gunplay! Once the Casket is opened everyone has trickier things to worry about and this rule no longer takes effect.

Orc Forces

Major Boggins ‘Pipsy’ Pipworthy

Son of the mighty Viscount Pipworthy, Boggins ‘Pipsy’ Pipworthy is a young and heroic orc destined for great things. Handsome, rich, dashing, loyal to his king and utterly stupid, he is in many ways the perfect soldier. Initially assigned to capture the nefarious Entwickler, he soon became embroiled in an exciting adventure involving castle escapes, giant rolling boulders, exploding sausages and clockwork tigers which led him here. He is determined to recover the Casket or be damned and take down those bounders Bellorc and Entwickler into the bargain. Those little chaps who just showed up also seem familiar!

Pipsy is an Experienced Orc Regular and the leader of the section, giving him a starting GUTS value of 10. He is armed with a pistol. However, unbeknownst to him, some wag has glued his gun into his holster, meaning he will not be able to draw it during the battle. He can recover a weapon from any dead model he moves into base to base contact with, but will not take a weapon from the living – a chap might need that, after all – this action takes half his movement. Pipsy was trained by his loyal butler Gareth Jacks to be a master of all weapons ever, so can use enemy weapons without any penalty, and can pick up new weapons if he wishes and is by the appropriate casualty.

Lt Fuggleston ‘Yampy’ Yampington

An old school chum of Pipworthy, ‘Yampy’ enlisted at the same time as, and has risen through the ranks with, his good friend. A boyhood spent bunking over walls and escaping from scrapes after yet another jolly prank or tuck-shop raid made them natural fits for the commandos. Yampy is having a great time with all these commando larks and corking adventures and this is the best one yet!

Yampy is especially fond of a jape and his latest wizard wheeze has been to glue his chum Pipsy’s revolver into its holster. He cannot wait to see the look on his face when he finds out!

Yampy is also an Experienced Orc Regular and has a starting GUTS value of 9. He is armed with a pistol and a swagger stick (+1 in Close Combat).
Privates Wessex, Cheshire, Kent, Dorset, Durham, Cornwall & Berks

The cream of the Branzhûm commando division, the first four of these redoubtable souls are all Normal Orc Regulars with a starting GUTS of 8, the rest are Green Orc Regulars with a startings GUTS of 6. They should be armed by miniature weapon type, if using PZF406 and PZF407, 4 with rifles, 2 with SMGs and one with an LMG.

Dwarven Forces

Kapitan Entwickler

The infamous Kapitan Entwickler, pride of the Ausdenkerkorps, is second in command of the Dwarven forces assigned to the recovery of the Casket. Working under the inferior mind and suspicious orders of Major Kinky has wounded his pride, but Entwickler has been a loyal soldier as their troops have endured all sorts of dangers both ridiculous and sublime in their quest to recover the Casket and now their moment of glory is at hand, yet Entwickler cannot shake the feeling that something terrible is about to happen. However his misgivings can be temporarily suspended with the appearance of two of his arch enemies – the cursed Orc Pipsy Pipworthy, who evidently survived his exploding bratwurst plot after all (damn him!) and that tricky little Halfelin, Took.

As befits his unique skills as a master craftsman Entwickler has equipped himself with a number of cunning devices to aid the missions success including scorpion-proof-unterhose, the steam-powered megapencil, and his favoured helmet-dwelling night vision frog, all of which have no game effect. However he is also armed with an impressive flugabwehrmaschinengewehr of his own invention, which he has recently used to shoot down the Orc's airship along with several other aircraft that were passing overhead (most of which were not Khâllazdurin). This impressive weapon counts as an Anti-Tank Weapon, however, its unpredictable nature means after rolling to hit you make a second roll to see if further malfunctions occur. Roll 2D6 and if you get doubles immediately roll on the weapon malfunction table. Entwickler is an Experienced Dwarf Regular and as the leader of his section has a starting GUTS value of 10.

Corporal Dummkopf

Dummkopf is a complete idiot. However he is also huge (for a Dwarf) and brave to the point of suicide. This has endeared him to his superior officers, many of whom have earned promotions off the back of some act of demented heroism from Dummkopf, who himself is none the wiser.
Dummkopf just wants to do his duty. He isn’t sure where they are or what is going on – the last few days have been a bit of a whirlwind and he hasn’t understood any of it, only that there have been a lot of fights and some running away, plus he also punched some tigers. His new boss has a weird looking frog on his hat and keeps shouting, and now some men are trying to open a box. What the hell is going on?

Dummkopf is an Experienced Dwarf Regular armed with a rifle. Due to his bravery and stupidity Dummkopf cannot under any circumstances retreat or otherwise leave the table until enemy models have been removed from play, if Dummkopf is reduced to below 2 GUTS roll 1D6 and add that to his GUTS value. He may not move or act until the following turn.

Privates Kase, Biskuit, Hund, Katze, Polizist, Rauber and Banane.

Stout members of the Ausdenkerkorps, the first five of these brave dwarves are Normal Dwarf Regulars with a starting GUTS of 8. The remaining two of these are Green Dwarf Regulars with a starting GUTS of 6. They should be armed as per weapon type, so if using PZF201 and PZF202 - five are armed with rifles, one with an LMG, one with an SMG and one with an Anti-Tank Weapon.

Halfelin Forces

Sergeant-Chef Chaka Took

Until recently Took has was serving as an officer in the Les Troupes Coloniales Halfelins, attached to the Gnomish forces in Umbongodwongoland. Six weeks ago he and a selection of handpicked Halfelins simply ‘vanished’ whilst out on patrol one day, and they are now being actively hunted as deserters.

Took does not care – he has his sights set on a bigger goal. Eight weeks ago he ‘accidently’ overheard a heated exchange between his superior officer and Major Pipworthy, during which there were a number of references to a Casket and some great treasure. It didn’t take long for Took, who has some tomb-robbing experience of his own, to realise that the Orcs were hunting for the fabled temple of EVIL (whose name is surely a misnomer) which, it has been whispered, is stuffed full of gold coins, huge rubies and is the final resting place of the Eye of Bore-us, most tedious of all ancient gods, who boringly viewed the world through a pair of fist sized diamonds. Took and his Halfelins, who were getting sick of all this war business anyway, promptly did a bunk and ambushed the Orcs en-route, only to be foiled when they ended up trapped in an underground room full of snakes. Luckily the Orc's airship was shot down soon after and Took, now much angrier than before despite a belly full of snake, was able to track the survivors to the temple itself where he is poised to make the biggest score of his life.

Busted down to Sergent-Chef for the third time in his career after another series of unfortunate misunderstandings, this time about a gooseberry pie and some valuable stolen rings that got ‘dropped in a volcano’ before they could be returned to their rightful owner, Chaka likes to think of himself as a lovable rogue whilst his comrades think of him as a world-class kleptomaniac. He is a Veteran Halfelin Regular, the leader of his section, with a starting GUTS of 10 and is armed with a pistol.

Sergent Mpinkulu ‘Brandybuck’ Gwazi

Sgt.Gwazi, known as ‘Brandybuck’ for his party trick of drinking a barrel of cognac and then eating an entire male antelope, is a hunter extraordinaire. He has stalked, killed, skinned and eaten beasts of all shapes and sizes across the plains of Northern Umbongodwongoland from the frumious Bandersnatch to the elusive blood drinking Tetrap. A most effective scout and skirmisher for Les Troupes Coloniales, he is now hunting the redoubtable Lt. Yampington, a man upon whom he has sworn revenge after, apparently as some kind of ‘wizard prank’, attacked Gwazi with some kind of explosive sausage and then catapulted him and his companions into a pit of snakes. Gwazi is also a Veteran Halfelin Regular with a starting GUTS of 9. He is armed with a rifle with attached bayonet. Because he has sworn to kill, skin and eat Yampington he must declare an attack against him if able during his turn, unless the Casket has been opened.

Chasseurs Ulwazi, Musa, Kosan, Geza, Dabuka, Bongani, Chipo and Fozaki

Tough and dangerous, these Halfelins know the Casket contains great riches and are prepared to kill anyone and everyone to get at them. They are all Normal Halfelin Regulars with starting GUTS of 7 armed with rifles with attached bayonets. If you have the miniatures two of them can form an LMG team or three of them could form a HMG team.

Cultist Forces

Oberst Ernst Tod

A member of Kaiser Aberlich's Braumeisterwache, Tod is an expert in occultism and antiquities, dedicated to researching the supernatural in order to further the advance of the Khâllazdurin empire. A sinister and creepy Dwarf with a penchant for giggling and strange stares, it is commonly acknowledged that he taken his role a little too seriously and has ‘seen too much’. Despite his half-lunacy and a vicious streak that would shame a rabid ferret he is also a cunning devil and has at last recovered the Casket of Lost Souls after years of research and effort. Being a nasty and ambitious sort however he has vowed to seize power of the Casket for himself, and has carefully manipulated a number of likeminded idiots into assisting him under the guise of a bogus ‘cult’.

Tod is a Veteran Dwarf Regular who is the leader of his section, giving him a starting GUTS of 11. At the start of the scenario he will be engaged in the Casket opening ritual with the rest of his compatriots and can take no action. If his cultists come under fire he will begin to defend them by firing upon the nearest hostile model (this may exclude the Dwarves) although he will not move from his position by the Casket as he does not wish to miss the moment of glory when it opens.

Sebastian Bellorc

Bellorc is an archaeologist from Albion and an adventurer of some renown. However he is an evil archaeologist who, when finding lost treasures that belong in museums, habitually keeps them for himself or sells them off to the highest bidder. Boo!

To compound his villainy Bellorc is also a member of the Cult of the Casket. Using his expertise the cultists have evaded a number of cunning traps and fiendish riddles, which has brought them to this point, and now he gloatingly awaits the glories and treasures he is sure he will find within the Casket once opened. Bellorc is a Veteran Orc Elite with a starting GUTS of 11. He counts as a Boffin and is equipped with an Enigma machine and a pistol. He follows the same rules for combat as Oberst Tod.

Major Kinky

As an officer in the Khâllazdurin army, Kinky is a strict disciplinarian who rules his men with a rod of iron. Unhappy with the rise of Kaiser Aberlich's Die Eisenschützen has signed on as a low ranking member of Tod’s Cult of evil cultists in a bid for more power. It is he who, under orders from Tod, has allowed military resources to be used in the recovery of the Casket, supposedly for the war effort. At this final moment of triumph he has left Entwickler in command of his men and joined his fellows in unlocking the Caskets mysteries.

Major Kinky is Entwickler’s superior officer, hence the good Kapitan will not attack the cultist forces initially (as per special rules). If / once the cultists do come under fire Kinky will defend them as per the special rules for Ernst Tod. He is a Veteran Dwarf Regular and is armed with a pistol.

Cultists

Tod and Kinky have five like-minded bad sorts working with them to open the Casket. A group of occultists, archaeologists and academics, all of them are secretly members of the cult of the lost Casket! They are all Green Regular Civilians (treated as militia) with a starting GUTS of 4 and are not armed – for the purpose of this scenario they cannot attack. If the Casket is opened they will run about randomly until they are killed in some way, simply roll 1D8 for direction and make a movement action as normal moving the maximum allowed by the result.

Victory Conditions

There are two separate sets of victory conditions, depending entirely on what happens with regards Ernst Tod and his nefarious plans.
If the Casket is not opened:

Either the Orcs or the Halfelins will score a decisive victory if the Casket is removed from the table, i.e. it must be carried off the far table edge (as described above) by two of their models. The Casket will then be loaded into a truck and driven to a secret location where it will be investigated and doubtless opened – more carnage ensues (masochistic players may like to run an alternate ending scenario where the survivors of the battle open the Casket in a small confined area, like the back of a truck, and see how long they can last). If one side can eliminate all other models from the table but is left with just one man alive this also counts as a win.

The Dwarves score a decisive victory if they eliminate the Orc and Halfelin commando squads from the table.

Once the Casket has been opened:

Any side scores a decisive victory if they are able to remove the Casket from the table as above, or wipe out both the other forces (them running away does not count towards this condition). Removing the Casket will of course require first closing it: not easy! All cultist forces should also be eliminated, but this will probably be a moot point at this stage.

Alternately if one side can evacuate the table whilst ensuring no other side does so, they score a lesser victory. This may be easier. They can then blow up the entrance to the temple and worry about what happens next.

If two or more sides flee the table this counts as a draw, but where’s the fun in that?

If all three forces are wiped out then nobody wins and the end of the world may well be nigh.

~

Miniature Recommendations (by Craig Andrews)

Most of the Dwarves and Orcs can (and should) be represented by Wessex Games' own Panzerfäuste range you can see here.

The rules and background for the Halfelins was written by Steve Blease based on Black Hat Miniatures WW1 Halflings. You can see the rules on Orcs in the Webbe here.

Scibor's Dwarf 'sci-fi' range has some nice looking miniatures for Panzerfäuste although I'm not sure on the scale, they might be a bit large. This Stormgrenadier miniature looks like it would an excellent Major but given how close he is to the Casket, €8 might be a bit much to spend for just this scenario. It is a great mini though...

Likewise this Stormgrenadier could make a good Dummkopf, especially as he's meant to be quite big.

~

Webmaster's Notes

"Raiders of the Lost Casket", an Orcs in the Webbe Original article, was written exclusively for Orcs in the Webbe's 2013 Advent Calendar and was first published on Thursday 19th December 2013.

For anyone not familiar with the game, the free 'lite' version of the Panzerfäuste rules are available here on Wargames Vault.