Adventures in Kaphornia 02 - The Island of the Piranha Men - Christian Lonsing - ebook

Adventures in Kaphornia 02 - The Island of the Piranha Men ebook

Christian Lonsing



Barbasco Roteon, the Blood Sucking Scourge of the Sea, has returned and kidnapped the daughter of the Kaphornian museum's curator. Will the heroes manage to gain the upper hand against zombies, pirates and other monsters and put a stop to the vampire captain's rule? The Island of the Piranha Men is a complete game providing 3 hours of humorous, adventurous entertainment for you and 3 or 4 friends for the price of two movie tickets. With simple rules, and all the preparation done for you, you can jump straight into the adventure. You will be playing within half an hour of opening the book.

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A Fantasy Movie for your Game table

Make yourself and your friends a nice evening for the price of one movie ticket!

based on the Ulisses Adventure Game Rules by Markus Plötz

Design, Text and Layout: Christian Lonsing

Editing: David Chart, Markus Plötz, Mario Truant, André Wiesler

Illustrations: Nadine Wewer

Muse: Keiko K.

Test Gamers:Mirko Billen , Reiner Heep, Flora Illenberger, Tobias Kaiser, Michael Mingers, Christian Palmer, Markus Plötz, Viola Plötz, Daniel Simon Richter, Alain Sarti, Carmen Schmidt, Sebastian Schmidt, Benjamin Schwentker, Heike Schwentker, Michael Schwentker, Raphael Schwentker, Mischa Rottländer

Copyright ©2013 by Christian Lonsing and Ulisses Spiele GmbH. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN 978-3-86889-865-1



Nazomi stopped for a moment to consider her chances. The situation was hairy, but not hopeless. Gragg and Holm had thrown themselves at the superior number of Vampire pirates with their usual fervor, clearing the way to the cage of all obstacles. The cage holding Karla Staubheimer. The cage dangling over a thirty-foot wide and endlessly deep abyss. The ability to fly would come in very handy by now! A quick look over her shoulder, however, showed Nazomi that Tamya was occupied in a fiery duel of words with one of the pirates. What’s more, Nazomi had the better skill set for opening the cage‘s lock. For a brief moment the thief cursed herself for not deciding on the Winged Boots back in Kaphornia when they were buying magic items, but it was too late now to have second thoughts. Well then! Mustering all her determination, she launched into a quick run towards the abyss.


“The Island of the Piranha Men” is a fantasy movie brought alive at your game table. Instead of leaning back into a cinema seat and watching passively, you now have the chance to be the hero yourself! You can crawl through moldy dungeons, fight terrifying monsters, and return from your adventures laden with precious gold. Only through your hero‘s eyes of course, but in the comfort of your game table, with some fantasy and a sprinkling of poetry, soon you will be immersed in the images, sounds, and smells of a strange world, and you will root for your hero as if you are going into the adventure by his or her side.

What kind of game is this? How does it work?

This is probably going to be the most important question you, as the one having bought the book and suggested it to your friends, are going to hear. And here is the answer you can give to your fellow players before the game begins:

“The Island of the Piranha Men” is a Fantasy movie reenacted at a game table. I am going to be the “Narrator”, so I will narrate a lot during the game. You are the “heroes”. Every one of you will choose one of the eight available heroes and then the game begins. I will explain everything else during the game.

Is it necessary to read the rules first?

The Narrator should have read the rules of the game through once before starting the game. The heroes may also read these rules if they want, but they don’t need to. They only have to choose a hero; everything else is best explained during the game. If you have never played a game like this, we also recommend reading or even reenacting the gameplay example at the end of this book.

Preparations for the game

Number of players

In order to play “The Island of the Piranha Men“, you need at least 3 participants. One of you will be the Narrator, the others will each take on the role of one hero. There are 8 different heroes to choose from. While you could have eight heroes, we recommend group sizes of about three to five heroes and one Narrator. If there are more than four heroes, the game will take about half an hour longer per additional hero. In a game with two players each of them plays with two heroes.

We recommend that each hero is only chosen once. If two players insist on playing the same hero, then they may do so, and in this case the two heroes are considered twins. Keep in mind, though, that the effects of special abilities like “Combat Blessing” or “Battle Song” are not added up, if used by two or more heroes at the same time.

Required materials

To play the game, you are also going to need...

… a game table. This should be a table at which the narrator and the heroes can all sit comfortably. All of the stuff not necessary to play the game should be removed from the table beforehand.

… a print out of each of the eight hero documents that can be downloaded from the website, so that every player can choose one.

… a pen for your heroes, to allow them to make changes to their hero documents. (This will be extremely rare.)

… a large number of dice. You need regular, six-sided dice. Around 15 dice per hero would be perfect, but you will also be okay with a much lower number if the heroes take turns at rolling the dice.

… stones or coins to use as game markers during the game. You can also look through your board game collection for suitable candidates. Ideally, you need two different types of marker, one for representing Stamina points, the other for representing Fate points.

... drinks and junk food. Or healthy food, if you’re that way inclined.

You can enhance the game by printing out the cards that can be downloaded from the website and handing them to the heroes at the relevant points of the adventure, thus allowing them to look up their opponents’ game stats at any time and keep track of the game effects that are currently in play.

And now?

Now the game begins. Go to the chapter "Welcome to Kaphornia" and take your heroes to a realm of fantasy!

Game rules

A hero‘s attributes

Apart from his background and personality, a hero is defined by his Attributes. With their help he is going to face the Challenges presented to him by the Narrator.

Attributes are…

... Skills. These stats show what the hero has learned in his youth, both his areas of expertise, and also his weaknesses. The higher a skill value, the more adept the hero is at this particular skill. A hero has twelve skills: Close Combat, Ranged Combat, Toughness, Reflexes, Charisma, Climbing, Knowledge, Perception, Running, Strength, Stealth, and Willpower.

... Special Abilities. These describe a hero’s special talents. Specific items in the hero’s possession as well the spells of magic users are also described as Special Abilities.

... Stamina points. These represent a hero’s tenacity. When the hero is hit by an enemy’s attack, those points keep him from going down.

... Fate points. These points measure a hero‘s mental and spiritual reserves, his luck, his karma and that certain something that made him a hero in the first place. Fate points allow a hero to tip the scales in his favor by providing him with additional dice or allowing him to activate Special Abilities.

The skills

The skills cover all areas of expertise in which a hero is tested as he faces the obstacles and adversities of an adventurous lifestyle. Obviously a hero cannot be perfect in all of these areas; there will always be skills in which he doesn‘t excel.

Heroes begin their careers with skill ratings between 8 and 13. A value of 8 means that the hero’s ability is below average for this skill. With a value of 11 he is considered talented or well trained, while a value of 13 represents an outstanding ability.

Close Combat

At short range, in the hands of a skilled close combat fighter every weapon becomes a deadly tool. Whether with sword, axe or barehanded, when he can see the white in his enemy’s eyes, the close combat fighter is in his element. Every hero has the ability to fight in close combat if he wants to, but some heroes are a lot more adept in it than others.

Ranged Combat

Some heroes specialize in attacking their enemies from a distance. Bows and crossbows are especially effective in this kind of combat. Every hero has the ability to fight in ranged combat if he wants to, but some heroes are a lot more adept in it than others.


In combat, Toughness is the counterpart of the Close Combat skill. With it the heroes defend themselves against their enemies’ close combat attacks, using blocks, parries or evasive maneuvers. Heroes with high toughness also find it easier to shrug off the damage caused by accidents or falling from great heights.


While Toughness is used against close combat attacks, a hero’s Reflexes help him defend against ranged combat attacks. Outside of combat Reflexes can save a hero by allowing him to get out of the way of traps, falling stones or other dangers. In some situations the Reflexes skill represents a hero’s sleight of hand when handling tiny objects.


If a hero wants to persuade, encourage or sound somebody out, or even wants to make a good impression, he uses this skill. And even when a silver tongue is not getting a hero anywhere and he has to intimidate an opponent with a threatening gesture, this also requires the Charisma skill.


Moving up or down, using either hands and feet or just the hands, and with or without the help of climbing gear, as quickly as possible while avoiding a fall. All of this makes a good climber.


The hero’s book learning and general education. Knowledge is required to analyze a situation or make a good decision. It also helps in searches for a specific information, because the hero already has an idea where to look. The Knowledge skill is also used when handling or repairing technical equipment.


Perception encompasses all of a hero’s senses including his intuition. With a high Perception score he not only notices more details but is also faster in recognizing what he is faced with and how to react to it. In the wilderness, Perception is essential in finding a safe passage to your destination.


Running represents not just a hero’s mobility and speed, but also his balance and endurance. The Running skill helps in keeping up with a fleeing opponent as well as getting away from all kinds of dangerous situations.


This skill allows a hero to remain undetected when necessary. Apart from moving silently the hero is able to find good hiding places and remain there for an amount of time without betraying his presence by sudden movement or an uncontrolled cough.


When faced with tasks that require nothing but pure brawn, this skill is called for. Bending bars, lifting heavy weights or arm wrestling an opponent into submission? No problem for a hero with a high level of Strength.


A strong-willed hero is not easily frightened nor controlled. He can hold the gaze of an enemy wizard as well as withstanding the manipulative charms of a beautiful nymph. This skills is used to defend against enemy spells and supernatural attacks. In frightening situations it enables the heroes to show their heroic courage.


Stamina points

Real heroes are distinguished not only by their talents, but also by the fact that they never quit. Where others give up or turn tail and flee, they just get their act together and continue onwards. This heroic level of endurance is represented by Stamina points.

During the game a hero’s Stamina points are subject to constant change, so they should be represented with game markers.

Losing stamina

Heroes lead a dangerous life. Vines are trying to strangle them, wild beasts are trying to tear them apart and there’s a constant treat of avalanches, floods and walls of flame. All these dangers may result in the loss of Stamina points. Should a hero’s stamina go down to 0, he falls down unconscious and can no longer take part in the action. There are three ways to get him back on his feet.

Adrenalin boost

Good old adrenalin! A unconscious hero may spend 1 Fate point (see below) at any time to raise his Stamina points from 0 to 1 and get back into the game. During combat an Adrenalin boost also requires an action, so the hero may take no other action during the same turn and counts as unconscious until the beginning of the next turn, when he wakes up with 1 Stamina point.

Healing spell / Healing potion

When a hero doesn’t want to or is unable to spend a Fate point, he has to cast himself into the trustworthy hands of a healer. Heroes with the special ability “Healing spell” or in possession of a healing potion are able to give Stamina points back to their fellow heroes, thus bringing them back onto their feet immediately—the hero regains consciousness at once and is allowed to act normally. During combat the application of healing requires an action. Healing is also able to raise Stamina points above 1, but never above the value noted on the hero document.

Time heals all wounds

If nobody is helping him, an unconscious hero wakes up at the end of an act with 1 Stamina point. As has already been mentioned, heroes are tough. However, should all the heroes of the group fall unconscious at the same time, then the adventure is over and the heroes have failed, unless the adventure text says something different.

At the end of an adventure Stamina points are returned to their original value, as noted on the hero document.

Fate points

The heroes have been chosen by fate to perform great heroic feats. This is represented by Fate points, which allow a hero to succeed even against insurmountable odds when necessary. However, a hero should use his Fate points sparingly and with caution, because he hasn’t got an unlimited supply of them available.

At the beginning of an adventure every hero starts with a specific number of Fate points noted on his hero document. As a hero’s number of Fate points is constantly changing, they too should be represented by game markers.

When a hero spends a Fate point, it is being used up and discarded.

At the end of each act each hero receives 3 additional Fate points, and their total number may surpass the starting value noted on the hero document.

At the end of an adventure Fate points are set back to the starting value noted on the hero document.

Fate points may be spent in one of the following ways:

Activating a special ability

Some special abilities (see below) can only be used when the hero invests one or more Fate points. The Fate point cost of an ability is given in its description.

Raise the ante

After a hero rolled for a challenge and is being told by the Narrator that he hasn’t achieved enough successes, he is allowed to spend 1 Fate point to immediately roll another 3 dice and add all successes from that roll to his previous result. Each hero is allowed to do this once per challenge.

Adrenalin boost

By spending 1 Fate point an unconscious hero may get back onto his feet.

Narrator Fate points

A real adventure distinguishes itself by the level of tension. Will the heroes be able to overcome the seemingly insurmountable challenges placed before them or will they fail miserably? When the heroes act smartly and have luck on their side, then their heroics come more easily to them than on other days. To enable the Narrator to maintain tension for highly successful heroes, he can make heroic tasks even more difficult and dangerous. In return, a higher reward waits for the heroes at the end of the adventure, if they get there. All of this is represented by Narrator Fate points.

Narrator Fate points work in a completely different fashion to hero Fate points. At the start of an adventure the Narrator has no Fate points. However, at specific points during the adventure he is allowed to take one ore more Fate points to activate special Narrator events which are aimed at making the game more difficult for the heroes. For every Fate point collected by the Narrator the heroes receive additional 5 experience points at the end of the adventure, so it is actually in the heroes interest to present themselves as being as fit and tough as possible in order to have the Narrator activate as many Narrator events as possible.

Special abilities

Special abilities allow a hero to stand out from his fellow adventurers. It may be a special talent, a specific training, access to mystical powers, or a special item in the hero’s possession—all these things are called special abilities. What special abilities a hero has available and how they work is noted on his hero document.