Binky and the Staring Skulls of sakati
into The Riezpudden Swamp
The Riezpudden Swamp lies at the southern end of Lake Albert where a river empties from the lake - the locals call it the Rillimuddi though the map makers will re-name it when they eventually get here. The swamp, at this time of the year is more water than mud and so Binky hired six native canoes to traverse the swamp. He chose to travel by night to avoid prying eyes and the evil humours of the midday sun on the rotting vegetation in the swamp. Piet, using his navigation skills, would keep the canoes on course. Fighting men and loads were distributed throughout the canoes and the intention was to cross the swamp as quickly as possible.
Modeller's note: The swamp was made from various bits of painted card, carved polystyrene hills, pieces of cloth, lichen, moss, twigs and aquarium plants. All of this was laid out on our 8x6 foot table. The table is covered in strips of silver wrapping paper (picked up last year in the post Christmas sales). Since the players are moving from right to left as you look at it above the strips were laid so that as they progressed the strip on the right can be removed the others slid to replace it in succession allowing the canoes to continue their journey one strip at a time.
Binky, as always, lead from the front. Accompanied by the princess, a couple of her followers and his redoubtable Askari Sergeant his canoe paddled on through the dark and mists of the swamp. Many of the natives cast fearful looks left and right. They knew the stories of the demons and goblins of the dark not to mention the evil creatures that lived beneath the surface just waiting to snatch the unwary.
However, the example of the fearless Binky who was ignoring the wound to his left arm standing in the lead canoe with the Princess did much to calm their fears. Watched by a crocodile they continued upon their way until Piet's canoe comes under attack from hippopotami with the inevitable crocodiles swimming nearby on the lookout for a meal.
The bull hippo tore a chunk from the side of the canoe and despite the efforts to clear them off with hand weapons, Piet had to order "Jager" to open fire with his heavy air rifle (to keep the noise down). And with a single shot he wounded the bull hippo. The crocodiles, sensing the blood in the water surged to the attack and the hippos disappeared in blood coloured water ac a frenzied melee broke out between hippos and crocodiles. Piet urged his paddlers forward though they needed little encouragement!
Within moments of the attack the canoes came under bombardment from a group of monkeys. The first hard fruit took Jager right between the eyes as he recharged the air cylinder and he fell overboard. Fortunately the crocodiles were too busy with the hippos to attack. Spike, Piet's huge hound leapt ashore to chase the monkeys off.
Meanwhile the Sqalliwaq tribes men broke from the mist showering Piet's boat with arrows.
Modeller's Note: The canoes are made up from a thick card base with thin card sides and bow/stern "decks". They take 8 figures comfortably in the well with another on the bow and stern. They are simple to construct and afternoon should see a small fleet constructed without too much difficulty. When you make them for yourself design the base to fit your figures and leave a bit of space down each side. The space under the bow and stern platforms is hollow.
The attack was driven off and Jager rescued from the clinging mud. But not before the natives wounded two of the party. Unfortunately Piet's party had to open fire to preserve their lives. It did not seem to attract any further attention. The whole party maintained an even higher state of alertness. The native bearers called in hushed voices that they could see monsters and other creatures in the mist.
On another Island a great grey hippo loomed from the mist - a statue. Gerald and Hassan hopped nimbly ashore to investigate. It was a statue to Tawaret, the Ancient Egyptian god. Four ancient plaques adorned it and they hastily transcribed them onto their note pads. A cold campfire was found behind the statue and the refuse associated with a frequently used fisherman's rest place.
The natives, now fearful of the dark, demons, goblins, monsters and other unnamed denizens of the night demanded a ritual of protection before they continued.
A suitable island was found and cleared - a strange red plant was found and a sample taken. The ritual was performed with much chanting and slow rhythmic dancing. The Princess and Maiti presided.
While the ritual progressed the Beluchis took the opportunity to brew tea and eat. Those not taking part in the ritual joined them.
Soon, the ritual ended and the canoes made their way forward again. It was approaching midnight and the mist swirled and flowed like a thing alive.
After an hour or so the way was barred by tangled vegetation, small islands and mud barriers. Binky ordered that the canoes be portered across the solid looking island in front of them.
Off to the left through the gloom it was barely possible to make out a glow.
Was it a campfire?
Was it a decoy?
Binky decided to ignore it and press on with the mission. Suddenly the mist lifted for a short while revealing a larger island with some impressive standing stones. The glow was more distinct now and seemed to coming from the far side of the island. Binky urged haste and kept a watchful eye out as the slow process of carrying the canoes was completed.
The large rocky outcrop was examined through binoculars and looked like it had an old rotten canoe tied up at its base.
Binky decided to ignore both despite Gerald's requests for a short delay to examine the standing stones. The closest Binky would come was to say that they could be examined later once the mission was completed.
Modeller's note: The standing stones are precisely that. Bits of stone picked up on hill or beach walks.
No sooner had the canoes reformed and sailed on when a shadow appeared in the water. It was bout the size of a canoe. A giant crocodile! It attacked without hesitation and a fusillade of shots had no effect on the monster at all. Until Adrian (in the bow of the canoe on the right) steadied his aim and took a careful shot that pierced the creature's eye and entering the tiny brain behind killing the monster outright.
Modeller's note: The Giant Crocodile came from a "Pyrate" set picked up for 1 GB Pound. The box also had a large bird a 75mm tall toy pirate and a plastic palm tree. A similar pack has an equally large spider. So I got that too!
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