Awfully Cheerful Engine Nice to Meet You, Dr Drones!

We’ve been talking about our lightweight and entertaining Awfully Cheerful Engine! quite a bit recently. After dipping our toes into the ruleset, we previewed the first adventure in the episodic series that are designed to parody much loved settings: Spirits of Manhattan. This week, we take a look at the next issue in the run. Just like Spirits, this issue will instantly appeal to readers who love the action adventures of the 80’s. Introducing Montana Drones and the Raiders of the Cutty Sark.


At its heart, Montana is a rip roaring, globetrotting, relic hunting adventure that promises plenty of action and fun. The Heroes will need to keep their wits about them as they delve into ancient tombs, face off against otherworldly entities and put themselves against the Nazi regime. That’s right, in this adventure, you get to punch Nazis in the face!

For ease of use and continuity, all of our issues follow a similar format, which means that Montana opens with an introduction and overview of the book. Then we delve into new options for the Heroes. So that you can get playing straight away, we’ve created a free set of pregenerated characters for this adventure once again. You can play as Montana herself and her supporting crew: the socialite Lou Doble, librarian Jonah Henry Jr, or groundskeeper Johnnie Cobbler. Otherwise, all of the options for Heroes in the ACE! core rules are still available for character creation, with some new Roles provided here. Players can now also pick from the Botanist, Double-Agent, Socialite, and Witch. Wait... Witch? Why is that offered as an option we hear you ask. Well, take a look at the title. At some point, the characters will be on the trail of the Cutty Sark, that legendary blouse from a certain famous poem called Tam o’Shanter. So yes, witches!


The Heroes section also offers advice on gear, technology, and costs. As the adventure is set in the 1930’s, the type of gear on offer and availability of items is a little different than usual. Plus, aeroplanes fly across the map using red dashed lines don’t y’know.

Then it’s straight into the adventure. As we expect that you’ll be planning to play through the scenes yourself, we won’t provide any spoilers here. As an overview, in a similar fashion to all of our ACE! installments, the adventure is split down into three acts. Act 1 throws the Heroes straight into the action and onto the trail of the Corselet of Mégês. They’ll need to delve into the ancient tombs of Petra and hope they beat Montana’s greatest rival to the punch.


With the action at Petra out of the way, it’s time to head back to Montana’s school for a little rest and some teaching time. She earned the name Drones for a good reason you know! Act 2 isn’t just a case of taking a little bit of downtime, however, as an ancient and otherworldly horror begins to infest Halcyon Hall and smother it in a crushing grip. Will the team be able to track the danger to its source and free the students in time?

With Halcyon Hall saved from destruction (hopefully), Army Intelligence ask for Montana’s help in frustrating the Nazi regime. It’s become apparent that they are on the trail of the Cutty Sark, which is rumoured to have powerful mystical properties. It’s time to head across the globe once again, this time to Europe and the U.K., as the Heroes search for clues about the stole’s whereabouts. Can they beat the Nazis to the punch? Or will the hounds of hell send them running for their lives?


Phew, that’s it for this exciting ACE! Installment! Look forward to next week as we take a look at Strange Science, an eerie adventure straight from the hands of Dave Chapman. And stay tuned for more info on the game's launch.
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


... the Cutty-sark has mystical properties? Isn't it supposed to be famous for what it doesn't do, rather than for doing things?

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