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"Beach Head II: Entwickler and The Crustacean Frustration"

A Panzerfäuste Scenario by Luke Passingham

entwickler rob alderman
Miniature painted and based by Rob Alderman

Hauptmann Entwickler - pride of the Ausdenkerkorps - bolstered by the success of the Zinn-Mann project has been granted unlimited funding (and a choice of secret locales in which to design something) and is about to unleash his next great invention on The Land.

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A dark night on the coast of Dûn-Nomin. Shrouded in mist the Dwarven battleship Kaiser Bruenor drifts at anchor several miles offshore, hidden from the eyes of the Gnomish outposts by dint of a considerable amount of camouflage netting and matte black paint.

On the bridge Korvettenkapitan Kartoffelpuffer of the Kriegsmarine gazes out into the icy waters, scowling beneath his cap and chewing an unlit cigar with ill-disguised unease. Two hours ago, against his better judgement and in what was certainly not the highlight of his naval career he had assisted the celebrated Hauptmann Entwickler in deploying a 200 ton giant mechanical crab directly onto the seabed. Entwickler, who had regarded the Korvettenkapitan with barely concealed contempt throughout the entire voyage, had formulated a plan whereby said crab would storm the beach, assisted by a small unit of hand picked idiots loyal Dwarven marines, smash the small fortress there under the cover of darkness and then signal back to him, whereby he would launch a small invasion force of even more idiots loyal Dwarven marines straight into the Gnomish heartland, dealing a mortal blow to their enemies and earning Entwickler plaudits and medals in abundance.

Or, potentially, the stupid crab could sink or the Gnomes might blow it up, and Korvettenkapitan Kartoffelpuffer might never have to deal with crab-tain Entwickler or any of his dispi-crab-le schemes again. A setback for the Fatherland, but one that Korvettenkapitan Kartoffelpuffer could probably accept, in the circumstances. Although something he’d never admit to.

If he did he’d face crab-ital punishment.

Setup

The battlefield setup depends on your table size, but should be set up roughly as follows:

The table needs to be split between the sea and the beach. I suggest measuring off a short distance – around one fifth of your tables edge – along one of the shorter sides (if using an oblong battlefield) to represent the sea and marking it somehow. The Dwarves will deploy here (see below)

The rest of the table will represent the beach. Most of it is sand but you will need a handful of areas of rocky ground – the exact number and dimensions will need to be decided by the players (more will make the game easier for the Dwarves, but only slightly so don’t worry too much about this) which should be placed either alternately by each player or randomly if you cannot agree.

The Chateau can be represented by anything suitable you have in your collection but works best if you can build some small walls out of whatever you have lying about, forming a square with each side around 40cm in length (again this depends on the size of your playing area!) with one wall being a short distance from one edge and roughly equidistant from the other two table edges, so it sits centrally between them.

The Gnomish forces must begin the game with at least 75% of their forces within the Chateau. The remainder may be deployed inside it or within a 3cm from its walls. 

The Dwarf deployment is split, with Unterwassersoldat troops and the Mecha Crab beginning at the edge of the beach. The Grenadiers, Punishment and either Schmitt or Entwickler (whoever is not piloting the Crab) begin the game piled into a couple of dinghies, paddling frantically towards the beach. You can start with them on or off the table, but it will take them two full rounds to make land: at the beginning of the Dwarves third turn they disembark and can join the battle as normal.  Der Stabimator, who has been dropped off by the Crab and walking steadily underwater, arrives in a similar way at the start of the second turn.

Special Rules

Castle Mania - The Chateau de Sable

The Chateau is of typical gnomish construction and as such is not very resilient to the weapons of The Land. It uses the standard building rules (Panzerfäuste, p. 31) so has a nominal starting Guts total of 7 and is classed as Light Armour.

It also has a single Anti-Tank Weapon mounted on a single wall of the Gnome players choice. It can be moved once the game has started but takes 1 complete turn to demount and another to remount.

Unleash The Mecha-Crab

This battle sees the unleashing of Hauptmann Entwickler’s newest and most fearsome invention: the Mecha-Crab. Based on the Zinn-Man design, but far larger and controlled by a single operator sitting within a small sealed control section within the chassis and its workings contained within an armour plated, watertight exoskeleton, the Mecha-Crab has been designed with underwater warfare in mind. It is Entwickler’s hope that, when in full production, an army of these creations could move silently across sea-beds and rivers alike, mounting lightning ambushes to throw the enemies of the Fatherland into disarray and finally winning the great war. The Mecha-Crab has performed mainly admirably in testing (a few accidents notwithstanding) and after a final ‘debugging’ (removal of a waterflea infestation from the right eye periscope) it is being used to spearhead the attack on Chateau de Sable as a final field test. Attempts to fit the crab with any kind of projectile weapon has failed badly as they have consistently become waterlogged, full of angry squid, or both: however Entwickler has fitted it with two massive rending claws of which he is extremely excited and proud of, each capable of tearing through steel plate like paper and making a considerable mess of any humanoid opponent who may have the misfortune to encounter it

The Mecha Crab is a Heavy Tank (as per the standard rules, Panzerfäuste, p.22) with a starting Guts of 10 but with the following special rules:

  • The Mecha Crab is equipped with two massive hydraulics and clockwork claws. These count as standard close combat weapons gaining +4 against infantry  and +0 against vehicles/buildings.  They may only attack directly in front of the crab, in a 180 degree arc in front of the model, with a range of 6cm.
  • Due to a design oversight the Mecha-Crab is only capable of moving sideways. Each round it may move standard Heavy Vehicle distances in a perfectly straight line to its left or right, or spend its entire movement turning itself about: pivot the Crab about its centre in any direction the owning general chooses. If the Mecha-Crab pivots it may still attack. Models moved over by the Mecha-Crab are crushed beneath its many legs and are killed unless they can make a successful Guts check to dodge out of its way, if a Critical Success is scored they can make a free immediate attack against the crab.
  • The Mecha-Crab may be piloted by either Entwickler or Schmitt – no other models on either side have the expertise to drive such a contraption. Because Schmitt is a bit of a giant death machine newbie, if he is controlling the crab is suffers a penalty of -10cm to movement and -2 to attack rolls. The operator may, should they wish, disembark from the Mecha-Crab at any point during the battle by means of a large spring contained within the pilot seat. This takes a full action, replacing the actions of the Crab and the operator themselves: place the ex-pilot within 5cm of the Crab, in any facing and facing any direction, and they may take their turn as normal in following rounds. The crab may not move or attack whilst it has no pilot but should be left in play and may still be targeted and take damage. When disembarking the pilot may, if they wish, engage a self destruct which will cause the crab to explode at the end of the following Dwarven turn (hence the pilot will need to move sharpish) with the same effect as per the damage table below. Schmitt, who is worried about what Entwickler might say if the crab is destroyed, must pass a GUTS check to activate the self destruct: failure and he dithers, meaning he may not eject at all but may try again the following round. Should Entwickler or Schmitt wish to take control of an unpiloted Crab they may do so at the cost of a full action, as per disembarking.
  • The Crab is not as watertight as Entwickler thinks and sadly is a bit unstable. Should the Mecha Crab fall below 5 GUTS during the battle, instead of applying normal damage instead roll on the damage table below and apply the effects. The Crab need only make one roll per round, regardless of the amount of damage sustained.

CRABULOUS DISASTER DAMAGE TABLE - roll 1D6:

1: Tireur D'élite  The shot penetrates the control pod and hits the pilot, incapacitating them. The crab grinds to a halt as though it were uncrewed. If there is another character available to pilot the crab they may take control of it as per the rules above.

2:  CRAB-OOM! The crab explodes in a ball of superheated metal and flaming destruction. The pilot is immediately removed as a casualty and the crab is destroyed: all models within 30cm are damaged as though struck by a standard Grenade Burst attack.

3: Clawful Carnage One of the crab claws falls off. Randomise which one – the crab may not longer attack on that side (reduce its arc of attack by 90 degrees). If this effect is rolled twice the crab overbalances and falls over: it may no longer move, but the pilot may disembark as normal.

4: Scuttlemageddon The crab immediately pivots to face a random direction and makes its normal move backwards followed by a double move forwards. Look out!

5: Shellfish Behaviour The crab moves into a defensive stance, protecting its vulnerable chassis with its claws and ignoring the rest of the battle so its pilot may activate repair systems. The crab must miss its next activation: however it regains 1 GUTS, up to its starting value.

6: Huzzah! Due to the skill of the pilot the crab shrugs off the damage. No additional effect.

Cest le Graboids!

There is a reason the Gnomish outpost is built on a large, flat rock: beneath the sand on the beach dwells a large and hungry worm-like monster, dubbed a “Graboid” by the noted Gnome zoologist Walter Changduc. Far larger than a Gnome, this creature tunnels beneath the sand and hunts its prey by the vibration of their footsteps before popping out and dragging them into its gruesome maw to be devoured. The Gnomes keep it at bay by using ‘thumpers’ – small cages containing rabbit-driven engines that generate a constant vibration to draw the creature away from any area where they might be and keep it disorientated – but these were implausibly all destroyed during the Dwarves initial volley of fire and the creature is now loose. If the troops move carefully they can avoid its attention, but stamping about firing guns and the like is sure to draw its terrible attention.

Each round that at least one model moves on the sandy area of the battlefield there is a chance the Graboid will strike. At the end of each turn roll 1D6 for each infantry model (the Graboid will not attack the Mecha-Crab, it is too big) that moved over half its Walk speed, and is a viable target (ie any model of that faction currently on the sand – models on rock, in the fortress, or in the sea do not count )applying the following modifier:

Fired weapon this round: -1

Wounded on preceding enemy round: -1

On a total of 1 or less that model is immediately removed as a casualty as they are dragged beneath the sand and devoured. Der Stabinator is a special case in that his impenetrable armour makes him an indigestible meal for the Graboid. Should Der Stabinator be chosen as the victim of a Graboid attack he is first slowly pulled under the sand until only his hand remains, a single thumb sticking skywards. At the beginning of the next Dwarven round the Graboid expels him violently from its gullet – scatter him 2D6cm in a random direction, after which Der Stabinator may take his turn as normal.

The Graboid has an endless appetite but it takes a moment to digest its prey: if the Graboid claims a victim it will not claim another that round, and do not roll for its attack the following round.

Dwarven Forces

Hauptmann Entwickler

Pride of the Ausdenkerkorps, the fiendish Hauptmann Entwickler has, by dint of a mixture of cunning political manoeuvring, cashing in of favours and a carefully placed exploding pair of lederhosen, seized command of the operation in order to field test his latest invention: the Mecha-Crab. As devious as he is brilliant, Entwickler knows should the Mecha Crab score a decisive victory here he could both deal a vicious blow to Gnome morale as well as further elevating himself in the eyes of his superiors, who are beginning to grow suspicious of the stories they keep hearing about exploding jetpacks / volcanoes / robots etc. If the crab fails he has other things in mind… although it could be time to circulate a few more pairs of those lederhosen, just in case…

Entwickler is well equipped for this mission, having been plotting it for many months in meticulous detail, and has kitted himself out with a number of devices of his own invention in order to better aid him in the assault. These include an underwater cheeseboard complete with concealed brie grenades, shark-proof swimming trunks, greaseproof grappling hooks, a large can of Silurian repellent spray and of course his infamous helmet-dwelling night vision frog. All of these have no game effect although the frog is happier than usual with all this underwater mucking about. He is also armed with a small portable panzerkancker. The Panzerkancker is an experimental high velocity rifle that fires rocket propelled bullets that increase in speed the further they travel. The stats are as per the normal Dwarf rifle but with a +1 GUTS modifier at short range, +2 at medium range and +3 at Long Range. Entwickler is an Experienced Dwarf Regular and as the leader of his section has a starting Guts value of 10. He is also carrying a pistol.

Guy N Schmitt

A junior member of the Ausdenkerkorps and an expert on crabs, Schmitt is the only surviving member of the development team who began work with Entwickler on the Mecha-Crab. A brilliant if quiet and reserved Dwarf, Schmitt has only one interest outside of building giant robot crustaceans: a complex game played with brightly coloured cards simulating a battle between two mathematicians attempting to confound each other with problems. Known as Logic: the Bothering, it is popular with a certain type of younger Dwarf but Entwickler considers it stupid and as such he thinks Schmitt to be a bit of an idiot.

Schmitt is a Regular Green Dwarf  giving him a starting Guts of 6 and is armed with a pistol and a clipboard with a very sharp pencil attached, which counts as an improvised weapon (+1) in close combat. He may drive the Mecha-Crab, as per special rules above.

Der Stabinator II (Trudgement Day)

Der Stabinator returns! Despite his (or her) apparent death in the snowy peaks of Dûn-Nomin, the silent, unstoppable, implacable force known as Der Stabinator has once again appeared at Entwickler’s side ready to be thrown into the assault. A remorseless, unyielding and unstoppable stabbing machine, clad from head to toe in (sort of) impenetrable armour than leaves not even a single beard-hair uncovered, can anyone stop Der Stabinator, or will everyone simply be stabbed trying?

Der Stabinator is a Veteran Elite Dwarf with a starting GUTS of 11. He (or she, nobody knows) is clad in heavy steel armour designed by Entwickler, based on his Zinn Man concept giving him a save on all damage on a roll of 5 or 6. However, this armour also makes it impossible for him to break out of a slow trudge, restricting his movement to 3cm per round. He is armed with a large stabbing sword, which gives him +2 in Close Combat. Due to his special heavy armour Der Stabinator ignores any penalty for moving within water, treating it as normal terrain (useful, as he begins the battle underwater) and also uses special rules if attacked by the Graboids (as per special rules section above)

Korporal Punishment

Korporal Punishment is the officer assigned to lead the Dwarven Grenadiers in the boat assault. Unlike the rest of his team, who all volunteered for this battle and have been supplied with extra Bratwurst and waterproof socks in recognition of their bravery, Punishment was shanghaied into the mission after annoying his superiors by making numerous terrible wordplay jokes in the officers mess. He is woefully underprepared and underequipped for the battle and also suffers from seasickness, meaning he is in a very sorry state indeed.

Korporal Punishment is a Regular Experienced Dawrf with a starting Guts of 9 and is equipped with a sub-machine gun and a knife. His queasiness at the start of the battle leaves him suffering a penalty of -1 to all rolls: he will suffer this for the entire battle unless he takes a moment to calm down by removing his shoes and socks (this counts as a full action, and can only happen once the Korporal is on dry land) and walking around making fists with his toes. Whilst calming this is far from ideal on a shingly beach – if the Korporal does take this action his sickness penalty is removed but he must suffer a -50% penalty to movement as he has to walk about very carefully from then on to avoid stepping on anything sharp.

Das Unterwassersoldat

A special squadron of elite Dwarves trained for stealthy underwater assaults, who wear special rubbery suits and large floppy flat shoes to enable them to move submerged and silently, the troopers of the Unterwassersoldat have a reputation for coldness and strange behaviour, even amongst those who often operate with the Ausdenkerkorps on special missions. Despite their fearsome standing Dwarves naturally are not strong swimmers and the troops of the Unterwassersoldat are prone to heavy casualties on any mission, having a tendency to sink, get tangled up in seaweed, attacked by otters or eaten by a kraken, and as such their ranks are rapidly thinning. Of the squad that commenced the assault only four have managed to reach the beach.

Unterwassersoldat troops are Elite Experienced Dwarves with Starting Guts of 11 and are equipped with wetsuits and harpoon guns. These fire as per the normal rules for rifles but use the Close Combat table for results. Their flippers mean they may only move at Walk rate on land.

Additional note: the Dwarves are not the only one of the great races to experiment with submersible troops. The Orcs of Albion also trained up a crack team of underwater commandos, or ‘Bog Men’ (so named for their usual place of training to hold their breath). Unfortunately the entire squad mysteriously vanished during a mission to explore a vast undersea ruin discovered just off the treacherous Devil Reef. Orc high command shrugged off any rumours of some kind of hostile bipedal fish-creatures in the area, with Admiral Marsh, when pressed on the whereabouts of the team, simply saying “Dey Gone”.

Dwarven Grenadiers

These solid fellows make up the body of the attack via the boats. They are solid fellows all ready to die for the Kaiser should the mission demand it, although several of them, having been thrown up on by Korporal Punishment, are rethinking things. There are 12 grenadiers in all generate them using the following tables:

1-3: Elite
4-6: Regular

1-3: Green
4-5: Normal
6: Experienced

They should be armed by miniature weapon type.

Gnome Forces

Chef De Batallion Charlie LeBronson

The man who led the charge at Orcs Drift and defeated the legendary G’Mork in the Swamps of Sadness, Charlie LeBronson is one of the toughest Gnomes to have ever lived. It is said that, in times of peace, instead of a mushroom he makes his home in a hollowed out boulder, where he broods and dreams of times of war. His troops whisper that he has some kind of death wish, but he has proved a wily commander and a hard but fair commanding officer. He chafes at his appointment here at Chateau de Sable, wasting his time guarding sand and sea, and was overjoyed to see the Mecha-Crab emerging from the waves to finally bring him some action.

LeBronson is a Regular Veteran Gnome and is the section leader so has a starting Guts of 9  and is armed with a pistol. He is also accompanied by a great bird of prey that he has raised from a hatchling, the obscure Chesney Hawk – a bird so rare it is said there is but one and only in the whole of Dûn-Nomin – which he employs as a scout and in combat uses to harry his enemies from the sky. In battle the hawk functions as a close combat attack but with unlimited range – it can be assumed it is too quick to the Dwarves to shoot it down. If LeBronson is killed the Hawk will return to his body and immediately begin eating him, playing no further part in the battle.

LeBronson does in fact have some kind of death wish. In battle he is not affected by Suppression and loses 1 less Guts whenever instructed to lose some.

Andre Le Gigantesque

So named for his impressive stature, Andre le Gigantesque cuts an impressive figure, towering over his fellow gnomes (indeed, standing almost as tall as a large Dwarf), broad shouldered and covered in bulging muscles that strain against his uniform with every movement. Outwardly bluff and aggressive, his tough demeanour hides a puzzling past: real name Pierre Andre, his mother was a mysterious girl who abandoned him at an orphanage one perfect night, and his true background is hidden behind closed doors and it drives him crazy. He just can’t get down on it, but one day he is sure he’ll get down on it and discover a perfect world – that’s where he belongs.

Andre is massive for a Gnome and as such is Regular Experienced but has starting Guts equal to that of a similary experienced Dwarf  (9) and is armed with his gun, Flava, an LMG. In close combat he may execute a devastating chokeslam instead of a normal attack so he actually rolls twice in Close Combat and keeps the better result.

Jean-Paul Daniels

The noted Gnome magician Jean-Paul Daniels was swift to join the war effort following the Dwarven invasion of Dûn-Nomin and has proved an asset on the battlefield wherever has appeared, bringing with him a keen mind sharpened by years of guessing the right cards and a dazzling array of tricks, glittery costumes and pointy hats. He has divined from his crystal ball that Entwickler would lead the assault on Chateau de Sable, and joined the garrison there eager to match his wits with the infamous Dwarven inventor. He is confident that, when they clash, Entwickler will NOT like it.

Daniels is a Regular Experienced Gnome with a starting Guts of 7 and is armed only with his magic wand. Instead of attacking he may use a mysterious magic trick each round by rolling 1D6 on the table below:

ABRA-CRAB-ABRA!

1 -2:  Jean-Paul Daniels pulls some flowers out of his sleeve. No effect (looks nice though)

3: Jean-Paul Daniels pulls some rabbits out of his hat and sends them charging towards the enemy. Choose an infantry model within 20cm and roll a further D6. On a roll of 1-5 these harmless bunnies simply serve to get underfoot, causing the enemy model to move (as though in difficult terrain) next round. On a 6 these are in fact vicious piranha rabbits, who swarm over the model with their sharp pointy teeth +2 in a standard Close Combat attack.

4: Jean-Paul Daniels launches a magic missile at his enemies. Counts as rifle for Range but with a Burst attack.

5: Climbing into a box, Jean-Paul Daniels makes himself disappear in a puff of smoke and glitter. He may appear at the beginning of his next round, up to 36cm away from his point of disappearance.

6: Jean-Paul Daniels summons a giant illusionary saw, with which he attempts to saw an enemy in half. Counts as a +2 close combat attack with unlimited range within Line of Sight.

Daniels is assisted by his glamorous assistant, Laurel. Laurel may not fight in any way, but she does assist by shouting ‘Ta-Daa!!’ whenever Daniels takes an action, something the controlling player may like to emulate until his opponent becomes enraged.

Gnome Voltigeurs

These bold Gnomes make up the garrison of Chateau de Sable. There are twelve of them, generate them using the following tables:

1-3: Elite
4-6: Regular

1-3: Green
4-5: Normal
6: Experienced

They should be armed as per miniature type.

The Voltiguers also have their regimental chef, Auguste Scoffier.

Auguste is a Regular Normal Gnome Chef with a starting Guts of 6. As a Gnome Chef he may spend a turn creating D6 amuse-bouche. In game terms this is treated as per the standard rules for an Orc/Dwarf using the Enigma Machine. Only roll on the table to determine success and effects AFTER the have been passed to troops and eaten. A separate roll must be made for soldier eating the amuse-bouche based on Auguste’s Guts at the time of creation (use numbered markers to show this).

Victory Conditions

Victory conditions for this scenario are as follows:

The Dwarves win if they are able to eliminate all Gnomish forces within the Chateau. Entwickler will take control of the Chateau whilst his troops mop up the survivors and signal the Kaiser Bruenor that a beach head has been made and that they may launch a full invasion.

The Gnomes win if they can delay the above for a full ten turns, after which they will be reinforced by two brigades of voltigeurs and a full battalion of snail tanks which will blast the Mecha-Crab to scrap and well and truly put the brakes on the landing attempt. La Victoire!

Webmaster's Notes

An Orcs in the Webbe Original! This scenario was written exclusively for Orcs in the Webbe and was first published on the 9th December 2016 as part of it's 2016 Advent Calendar.

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