Inquisitor/Pulp Alley: Lost in Translation

2014-10-18 14.39.58

Another Pulp Alley battle report, set in another of the Warhammer 40,000 universes musty armpits…


The Story

L to R:  Cha'lee, L'Oreal Wangst, Rustle

L to R: Conker, Cha’lee, L’Oreal Wangst, Rustle, Brambles

The short version:

Evil, genetically modified, toxic human cyborgs have landed on a lush planet full of hostile space elves and bio-tech equipped tree-people.  Conflict is inevitable.

The Purgator, L to R:

The Purgators, led by Captain Freeman

The less short version:

Following his injury at the hands of the Purgators on the Anvil 359 orbital station above Krellborn IX, L’Oreal Wangst has returned to the planet Foaksphere to recouperate.

Previously on =][=nquisitor… note wounded space elf.

Although home to L’Oreal and his kin for millennia, Foaksphere was “discovered” by Rogue Trader Gardener approximately fifty three terran solar cycles ago.  For reasons unknown the planet does not currently appear on Imperial starcharts.  Only a very few humans know the planets exact location, with inconsistent rumours and scuttlebutt about “Gardeners World” being common in watering holes across the sector.

With connections to both the Exodites and the Iacon Craftworld, the Foaksphere Eldar culture is divergent, with highly developed symbiotic bonds connecting them with both their surroundings and native creatures of the planet.  The space elves of Foaksphere are also closely allied with the sentient, tree-like race that they share the planet with, known simply as the Foaks.

My Foaks, hanging out in a slum.

My Foaks, hanging out in a slum.

The symbiotic bio-technology prevalent on the planet is not fully understood by the Imperium (and beyond), although the knowledge to be gained from it is coveted by many, including the Purgator mercenary force.

Interested in the bio-tech for their own gain, the Purgators have deliberately wounded L’Oreal with a toxic attack on Anvil 359, forcing him to return to Foaksphere for the cure.  Having shadowed the Eldar on his voyage home, the Purgators have located Foaksphere, landed and begun to clumsily and violently seize the bio-tech that they require.  Filled with melodramatic rage as only a guilt ridden Eldar can be, L’Oreal has abandoned his sick bed to lead a force to intercept the Purgators in the Whining Gardens of Stryq.


The Scenario

The battlefield, a holy place in the jungle depths.

The Whining Gardens of Stryq: battle soils a sacred place in the jungle depths.

The scenario played was “At Deaths Door” from the Perilous Island rulebook, but with a theme change.  Instead of a warehouse its a jungle, instead of security guards patrolling its a wandering Ambull and Cudbear, instead of keys and crates its mystic symbols and bio-technology so advanced as to appear to be magic to primitive mon’keigh like you and I.  Mechanically the scenario was identical to the one printed.

The Cudbear guardian of the ancient biotech shrine.

The Cudbear, guardian of the ancient biotech shrine.

The obelisk, which functions as a control mechanism for the bio-tech AI.

The obelisk, which functions as a contact mechanism for the “Zephyr” bio-tech AI.

The shrines second guardian, the Ambull

The shrines second guardian, the Ambull

The local forest sprite, with intricate knowledge and understanding of the shrine.

A jingle sprite, with useful local knowledge.

Somewhere between science and magic exists the Zephyr bio-tech AI.

Somewhere between forest sprite and I-Mac exists the Zephyr bio-tech AI.

Once one of the league members who has overcome at least one of the of the challenges associated with the Minor Plot Points enters the shrine (the centre of the the battlefield) The “Zephyr” bio-tech AI (the Major Plot Point) will be revealed .


The Game

L'Oreals allied ??? force spreads out, with Rustle proceeding to the monolith...

The Foaks spread out, with Rustle proceeding to the monolith…

...while Cha'lee keeps a healthy distance from the Ambull shrine guardian.

…while Cha’lee advances…


…while still keeping a healthy distance from the Ambull guardian.

The Purgators efficient deployment is badly disrupted by a Catachan Devil ambush.  This bodes well for the local forces.

The Purgators efficient deployment is badly disrupted by an unexpected Catachan Devil ambush (used to denote the effect of the “Bad to Worse” card).  This confusion bodes well for the local forces.


Hearing the commotion, the Ambull (top, centre) proceeds towards the ruckus, directly away from Cha’lee the treebeast.


Retreating from the hostile fauna, Buzzkill uses her woodshop skills to “persuade” the Sprite to help her out.


Obviously still suffering from ill health, L’Oreal finds encoding the ancient obelisk beyond him.  His state of mind is not helped by the sudden decapitation of Conkers by a hostile plant.  The Foaksphere force has lost its early advantage.


The Purgator chain gunner attempts to prune Rustle but comes off worse from the exchange.  Lesson learned: your woodcraft is not better than the woodcraft of a creature composed of wood.


Meanwhile the thrashing Devil accounts for the Purgator stealth specialist as the aptly named “Bull” proceeds in a North Westerly direction…


…where the cyborg industrialist unexpectedly manages to bulldoze an exotic and endangered species through the lush undergrowth.  A brief scan of the Ambulls corpse generates enough encoded data to triangulate the position of the Zephyr AI for the Purgators.


Another toxin fuelled cyborg falls to the Foaks fusillade, yet despite the casualties and gigantic insect-lizard related disruption, the Purgators are making more headway than the natives.


L’Oreal finally manages to focus on the translation and activation ritual for long enough to locate the Zephyr.  With the Purgators spread throughout the jungle it may be too late however.


Rustle watches as Bull rushes towards central shrine area (where the AI is concealed) and tunes in using the resonant harmonic data drawn from the Ambulls corpse, causing the Zephyr to materialise.


The Purgators are dropping like flies to the jungle hazards and the occasional pot shot from the Foaks, but it doesnt matter.  “Plenty more where they came from” mutters Captain Freeman indifferently…


…before nonchalantly swaggering out from behind a bush and uprooting Brambles with considerable explosive force.

Where has Cha'lee been through all of this?  As occasionally befits the Gig Guy trope, he has been held up by more nimble types and has been forced to detour, his sap rising as he sees his colleagues defeated one by one.

Where has Cha’lee been through all of this? As regularly befits the Big Guy trope, he has been held up by more nimble types and has been forced to detour, his sap rising as he sees his colleagues defeated one by one.


The native beast guardians of the shrine are not willing to give up just yet, although the mighty Cudbears charge is in vain.  Captain Freeman considers the feng shui implications of a new purple rug in his cabin as the beast collapses to the ground…

...and the relentless tide of Purgators takes out Brambles by an ancient statue, leaving the defiant L'Oreal to be flushed out of the jungle by heavy fire.

…and the relentless tide of Purgators blasts Brambles into an ancient statue, leaving only the defiant L’Oreal to be flushed out of the jungle by heavy fire.


The Eldar finally engages with the foe, more from a sense of petty spite than with any hope of holding back the landslide…

All sound effects are removed from the scene as L'Oreals tearstained, rage-filled face is accompanied by a sorrowful string composition...

All sound effects are removed from the scene as L’Oreals tear-stained, rage-filled face is accompanied by a sorrowful string composition.  He takes wound after wound, but remains standing, lashing out at the interlopers…


…bleeding noble, inhuman blood from multiple injuries, L’Oreal gives his all, but it is too late.


Swamped by the foe L’Oreal finally falls.  The last thing he hears as darkness descends is the cruel laughter of Captain Freeman as he leaves with his prize.


Of the games of PA that I have played to date, this one was one of the first to end in a landslide victory.  PB is a canny player and made plenty of good decisions in the face of some awkward problems (like the Catachan Devil showing up in the middle of his deployment), while I made a couple of crucial errors at important points (good ol’ hindsight).  Luck was a bit extreme too, with almost nothing working out dice wise for me for most of the game, but y’know, thems the breaks.

“Luckily” despite the grim image at the end of the game, L’Oreal and co managed to escape with their lives and take part in a follow up game after this one.  Tune in next time to see if the Foaks got their revenge.

Edit: the follow up scenario to this one can be seen HERE.


12 Responses

  1. Great batrep again! Looks like a lot of fun was had by all.

    Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really enjoy your battle reports & your terrain & models are so cool even the pictures would be enough to keep me happy.


  3. Oh, splendid as always. I love your teams in this scenario and the backstory is wonderful. Thank you. Sorry to see Wangst and the Foaks down, but I guess they have a way out. Looking forward to the next issue.


    • Thanks David. The Purgators are my buddies miniatures and he is enjoying getting them on the table and generating a bit of history and narrative for them.

      As for the degree of mortality in the stories, like most pulp characters they rarely get taken care of permanently: there is always a way out.

      Thanks for the feedback.


  4. Wow, spectacular as always, you really have a sense of awesomeness for these things! 🙂


    • Thanks Suber. I am getting a lot of fun out of Pulp Alley, which in turn means that I am getting more miniatures painted and games played. Enthusiasm breeds enthusiasm 🙂

      Thanks for the feedback.


  5. Hey, Paul. Tell me about Pulp Alley. It’s new to me and you seem to be having a lot of fun.


    • Hi Andrew, I hope that things are well down your way 🙂

      Pulp Alley is a generic skirmish rule set with a model count of ~5-10 per side with a recommended play area of 3 x 3′.

      It is generic in terms of setting and in terms of what the various skills and abilities are supposed to represent (“Blast” might be psychic powers, a spray of bullets from a tommy gun, a summoned swarm of rats, a repulsor blast…whatever). It is extremely well suited to simulating the unlikely sort of cliffhanger shenanigans seen in things like Flash Gordon/James Bond/The Shadow/action movies/action TV shows/anything melodramatic. Its that sort of Pulp rather than 1920s Pulp, even if most of the games visual stylings are the twenties sort.

      It is a tight ruleset that fractionally favours shooting over close combat. Fighting is important, but the pursuit of objectives (Plot Points) is what both drives the narrative and determines the victor. While the mechanisms are good for sketching out stories that player imagination can easily add meat to, it is not an “RPG lite” affair. When playing I dont feel that I should be making sub-optimal move in order to make the narrative/character feel more authentic or anything like that. That said, I have found it excellent for telling group tales in a fun, competitive environment.

      The dice mechanics are refined and fun, as are the card and initiative mechanics. There is minimal flicking through rulebooks involved after the first game or so. Each time that my regular opponents and I have have come across an apparent loophole that requires plugging, we have found that we have overlooked something or that the super combination isnt quite as super as we thought. Its very tight and very lean. Its as close to problem free as I have found in a tabletop ruleset.

      I can sometimes gush about the game a bit, but Pulp Alley is one of the rare cases that I think gushing is justified: its great. It also very much suits my inclination to paint small numbers of models from a variety of sources, rather than large numbers of models for a specific faction: those size projects make ideal Pulp Alley “Leagues”. The game also encourages the use of some of the various non-combatant miniatures that look cool, but have little use in many games (scientists, comms officers, bystanders etc), which also appeals to me a lot. I have painted very many toy soldiers with guns over the years, so encouragement to paint some guys doing other things is a good thing.

      I wont expand here on the game mechanics other than to point out that its possible to get a free trial version of the rules form Wargame Vault. That version doesnt feature the card aspect of the game, which is itself integrated into the Plot Points which drive the scoring system (and in turn character design) and so the trial version isnt truly representative of the game. The sample does explain how the rest of the game functions.

      Alternatively the basic rules PDF is very low cost anyway and that has more than enough material to fuel thirty or forty games before having to dip into the various great and thoroughly recommended, but mechanically unessential expansions.

      I hope that helps 🙂


  6. […] follow up to the Lost in Translation game that I documented a little while ago, this installment features swarms of motile plant […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: