'The Wicker Orc'
A Panzerfäuste Scenario by Matthew Hartley
Branzhûm's occult experts, S.O.(P). Investigators Ohms and Wisden take on an Orc Vampire in the ruins of Manncunn Abbey.
On a few small islands in the sea between [Ireland] and Branzhûm live a dour and brooding tribe of Highlanders. Legends abound of the reasons for the exiling of this tribe to the barren fastness of the isles. Dark tales are told of darker deeds.
Yet in these times of war, even desolate waste cannot escape cannot the covetous eyes of His Majesties Revenue Service (colloquially known as "The Coppers", for obvious reasons). Back taxes are due, and the debt is huge, so a team of The Coppers finest were dispatched to ring from the Highlanders every last brass starling owed. The Coppers have not been heard of for several months, and in view of the islands black reputation agents Ohms and Wisden of the S.O. (P) have been called in to investigate.
Evidence of strange goings on, mysterious lights at night, a sullen and silent population, and no sign of the Coppers alerted the agents that all was not well. Summoning assistance from the mainland, the agents where unfortunate only to receive a half section of Beaters - the Highland equivalent of “Old Nick”, and so-called because of their notoriously poor discipline and their general grousing.
This heroic band stumble across the residents, who, in keeping with their dark rituals, have constructed from wood a ten-foot-high figure of an Orc. Incarcerated in the body of the figure are the three Coppers. The clan is dressed for war and many carry burning torches.
Ohms, Wisden and the Beaters
Agents Ohms and Wisden are, at this stage in their careers, both Experienced. Ohms & Wisden form a Partisan unit of two models. Both have a GUTS value of 10. Wisden’s famous bat is a close combat weapon; used to “launch” grenades it works as an Orc Anti-tank weapon (SS (A)). Ohms is armed with a violin, which due to his legendary improficiency, acts in exactly the same manner as a Light Elf Madhatter machine. Both are Orcs.
The Beaters are 9 in number. The unit is of Militia status. They have a Normal leader armed with a club (a +1 weapon) and pistol, and three Normal and five Green constables armed with old pistols (-1 GUTS to shoot) and clubs. They are all Orcs.
The Beaters are totally unreliable and extremely unwilling to fight the exiled clansmen. In game terms, they suffer an additional - 1 penalty on their starting GUTS scores.
The Coppers, if rescued, form a unit of militia status. One is average and the other two are raw. they begin the game unarmed. They are all normal Orcs
The Coppers set up in the Wicker Orc, the remaining figures can enter from any table edge, but all figures in the same unit must enter from the same edge. Their aim is to free the Coppers and escape the table with minimum loss.
The fighting part of the Exiles are twenty in number, in two equal sized units. The unit status is Partisan. Of the twenty, four are Experienced, six Normal and ten Green. All carry swords or axes and 5 have rifles. 3 more carry burning touches, which are treated as improvised weapons in close combat.
The Exiles set up anywhere within 12cm of the Wicker Orc. Their aim is to finish the ceremony and kill the Agents and the Beaters.
The Wicker Orc and The Area
The Coppers can escape the Wicker Orc if they can cause a cumulative total of five wounds to it. The Wicker Orc has a hand to hand combat value of 4, plus 1 d10 as normal. The Wicker Orc cannot inflict wounds and any negative results to its attackers should be ignored. The Wicker Orc cannot be attacked if the attacker is himself in hand to hand combat with an Exile. Whilst still in the Orc, the Coppers may not voluntarily attack an Exile outside the Orc, although can fight as normal if an Exile chooses to attack them.
The Wicker Orc can be ignited (with terminal effects for its inhabitants) if Exiles with burning brands have a total of 12 successful "burning" GUTS rolls (critical successes count as three “burnings”, critical failures increase the total needed by 3). To perform the action the Exile must be within 2cm of the Orc. Whilst performing the action the figure may not move or fight in any way.
This action is fought at dusk, and all land on the table should be considered scrubland.
The scenario was first published on Orcs in the Webbe on the 22nd February 2008. It was absent for several years due to a prior regeneration of the website not transferring everything over correctly. That wrong has now been righted and it returned in it's original form on the 19th December 2023 as the eighteenth entry in that year's Advent Calendar and, of course, as part of Orcs in the Webbe's ongoing Panzerfäuste Archive Project.
Any comments in maroon in the article above have been added by me either to provide additional information or clarity. I may also have made small changes to grammar and layout but may not have marked those.