Upon returning to the village, the party was greeted by Max. The Enginer had sent word of the group’s mission and Max wanted to help. He was joined by Mikael, a lizard-like mutant human who offered his services as a substitute for his missing cousin, Jeb. The party gladly accepted Max and were willing to let Mikael prove himself.
The village was a hive of activity. Villagers were being equipped with weapons and armor and instructed in their use by the more experienced. A group of senior Guardians were discussing battle plans with Vizor Toom and Enginer Rorke.
The group reported to the Enginer that all was ready at the Environmental Control Center and were asked to join in planning the village attack. Vizor Toom wanted their input since they had combat experience against a wolfoid pack. Vizor Toom explained that the man-wolf camp was roughly circular, comprised of large pointed tents (much like tepees) and protected by a thick makeshift hedge of tree limbs and thorn bushes. Two entrances to the north and east allowed access to the camp. The village would field roughly 50 fighters against the wolfoids’ estimated 35 adults. Considering the ferocity and mutations of the man-wolves, the forces were roughly equal. The plan of attack was fairly simple; after all, the villagers were not trained soldiers. Toom would lead the villagers as close as possible to the east entrance and then attack. The north entrance would be watched to prevent a wolfoid force from attacking the villagers’ flank unexpectedly, but it would be left unthreatened to allow the wolfoids an escape route. The Vizor did not want to corner a wolf in its den; he wanted to drive the man-wolves back to their own territory. While the wolfoids were distracted by the village attack, the party would hack their way through the south camp wall and kill the pack leader.
Whoo grew bored as the party discussed various options with the Vizor. He was a bird of action! He offered to scout the wolfoid camp and the group agreed. He flew high and fast, reaching the camp after roughly 45 minutes. Whoo was able to circle the camp without being noticed by the few beast-man sentries. The owl could see a man and a woman leashed to a tree within the camp. They were lying on the ground and he wasn’t certain they were alive.
On his return trip to Habitat, Whoo was chased by a large woodpecker with a shiny metal beak and wings. He managed to stay just ahead of the predator until it was shot down by the village guards. A few of the men identified it as a stabber, a dangerous bird that could run a man through with its sharp beak.
Whoo told the rest of the group what he had seen and they explained the final battle plan, which basically followed the plan laid out by Vizor Toom. Instead of normal arrows, many of the villagers would be firing incendiary arrows. These arrows should set the wolfoid tents on fire, leaving the beasts with nothing to hold them to the camp. The smoke produced should also obscure the movements of the party. Whoo would fly above the camp during battle. If he spotted the pack leader, he would circle the area as a beacon to the others.
A short time later, the village marched to war. Everything was proceeding according to plan and the party had just gotten into position south of the camp when cries of alarm broke out from the wolfoids! The surprise ruined, the villagers launched a rain of arrows and the attack began. The man-wolves quickly organized and attacked with their own arrows. However, with so many trees between the two forces, few fell to the attacks. After a few minutes, a vast melee was joined just outside the camp’s east entrance.
When the hail of arrows slowed, the party moved up to the makeshift hedge of the camp and Whoo began his over-watch. No wolfoid sentries could be seen in the area so the group started hacking their way through the wall. Working together, the party managed to create a hole through the barrier after only a minute of hard and fast work.
Flying overhead, Whoo saw a large wolfoid giving orders to others. The man-wolf was wearing metal armor and armed with a glaive. A large red crystal was mounted near the head of the weapon. The mutant owl also noticed that a strange winged snake lay curled at the wolfoid’s feet. Whoo hoped his friends would arrive soon as he started circling the pack leader.
The party now knew where to find their target. Max suggested the group hang back and he would sneak close enough to the pack leader to call upon his sonic abilities. After hearing his scream, the party would then come running. The group agreed to his plan and Max slipped away through the tents.
Mikael had not really been listening to the plan. Instead, he had been slowly cutting a slit in the back of a nearby wolfoid tent. Looking inside, he saw various tools and supplies but no man-wolves so he slid through his new hole into the tent. He peeked out the door flap and seeing no one around, moved to the back of the next tent in line.
Max‘s path led him near the leashed humans Whoo had spotted earlier. He recognized them as Jord and Kenda from Habitat. Jord’s arms had been crudely amputated and then cauterized, but he had died from the shock. Kenda was missing her left arm and the pinky finger on her right hand but was still alive. However, she was unconscious. From his hiding place behind the tree, Max could see the pack leader and knew the beast-man was within range of his sonic scream, but he also knew that the destructive sound would kill Kenda. Max moved off at an angle to the north; he hoped to reach a location safely away from the prisoners yet still in range of the pack leader.
Meanwhile Mikael was using his dagger once again to gain entrance to a tent. Fortunately, like the last one, this tent had no inhabitants. However, Mikael‘s luck ran out as he peeked out of this tent’s door flap. He was noticed by the pack leader’s pet snake. The snake reared its head, hissing loudly and flapping its wings. A pair of wolfoid arrows narrowly missed Mikael as he telekinetically grabbed the pack leader’s glaive. He swung the weapon at the beast and missed. Although the strike did not land true, the pack leader was greatly angered that his own weapon had been turned against him. He pulled an ancient weapon from his shoulder bag and fired a red beam at Mikael. The beam hit the mutant human in the shoulder, burning through his armor, clothing, and flesh. Mikael had never felt such pain! He screamed and stumbled away from the tent opening, but managed to maintain enough concentration to fly the glaive to his hand.
Max had finally moved far enough away not to harm the prisoners and saw the pack leader fire his weapon. He called upon his altered vocal cords and voiced his terrible scream. Howls answered him from all around as he saw blood leaking from the ears of the pack leader and his nearby followers. The head of the leader’s pet snake exploded as the sound waves bounced within its skull.
One wolfoid went to finish off Mikael as the pack leader and another follower moved to engage Max. The pack leader fired his deadly relic but fared no better than his follower’s arrow in striking the mutant. Max was simply too agile to hit.
Mikael staggered back through the tents toward his allies. He felt weak and could barely move his arm. The wolfoid was closing in when Jim came around the edge of a tent and put the beast down with a round from his slug projector. He was joined by Zandor who quickly hacked off the man-wolf’s head. (You can never be too careful about mutants with regeneration.)
Having dodged an attack from the pack leader’s ancient weapon, Max was determined not to let the wolfoid get another shot. He raced forward, activating his vibroblade, and slashed at the beast-man’s chest. The pack leader tried to block the blow, but the glowing blade simply cut through his arm before being embedded in his chest. The beast died with a snarl on his lips.
The nearby wolfoid‘s eyes were huge as he watched the pack leader’s body slide off Max‘s vibroblade. He backed away and voiced a mournful howl that was picked up by the other man-wolves. The beast then rushed past Max in full flight to the north exit. Although he was the first, he was not the last wolfoid to break and run from the battle. Max picked up the pack leader’s laser pistol and tried to fire it at the fleeing man-wolf, but nothing happened. The weapon may have been damaged in the fall or simply had no more power.
As for the play-test, I think the camp encounter is currently just a tad easy. There were two wolfoids, the pack leader, and the chance of a wolfoid encounter in the camp (which the luck of the dice avoided). I think the number of wolfoids with the pack leader should equal half the party plus one for a more interesting battle. Of course, odds are pretty good that at least one player character will be killed by that pistol. (Hey, if you don’t want risk, why play Metamorphosis Alpha?)
Tune in next session for the battle mop-up and dealing with Churr!