Monday, 18 June 2012


Based on the 5150:NB rules...


Stuff is how we track what a character has, loses, acquires, etc. during their campaign. What is Stuff?
Stuff is anything that the character can use at any time during the game.
Here are examples of various items of Stuff.
  • Weapon.
  • Armour.
  • Backpack.
  • Rope.
  • Horse.
  • Lantern.
  • Wagon.
  • Mirror
  • Flask of Oil
  • Holy Symbol


Any list of Items included in Warrior Heroes would be incomplete. There are just too many Items in the world right now let alone in the future. Here's how you can create your Item for use in Warrior Heroes:
  • Decide what the Stuff is.
  • Decide how it works in real and apply it in game terms.
  • That's it.


You get Stuff in a variety of ways. They are:
  • At the start of the campaign each Star receives three items of Stuff per point of Social Standing.
  • When recruiting your first group you will receive one item of Stuff for each member you do not recruit.
  • Once a month a character gains one item of Stuff.
  • You can find them or take them from characters while on an Encounter
  • You can trade in one item of Stuff for one that can be saved.
  • You can receive Stuff as wages or gifts from other characters.
I'm sure by now some of you resourceful players are thinking of ways to bend the rules to your benefit. Good job! Because the life expectancy in Warrior Heroes is pretty short so enjoy it while you can. Hey, did we mention that the game play is the thing?


Easy come easy go, here's how you lose Items.
  • Someone takes them from you during an Encounter.
  • Someone robs your Home (page, 85) while you're gone or even there.
  • You get legal troubles and have to give away some of your Items.
  • You give them freely to another character.
  • Or the big one…you get killed.


How many Items can a character carry? That depends on the Item. Items are either used with one hand or two hands.
  • Items used with one hand count as one Item for carrying purposes.
  • Items used with two hands count as two Items for carrying purposes.
  • Characters can carry twice their Rep in Items with the following notes:
    • Clothing does not count against carrying limits (armour does!).
    • Packs or duffle bags can hold Items equal to twice the character's Rep. The pack or duffle bag will count as two Items.
    • A sack or belt pouch can carry Items equal to the character's Rep. The sack or pouch will count as one Item.
    • If the Item can carry you, such as a beast of burden, it does not count against the number of Items you can carry and can carry a lot of Items. How many is for you to decide. Just remember that if you lose your vehicle you lose the Items that were inside it.
Over time you can acquire as many Items as you want but you cannot carry them all so choose your Items wisely before each Encounter.

Ailech Harbour - Narrative

This scenario didn't go as well for the heroes!
Properly rolled PEF's (rather than the discretion I'd been using), PEF's set up appropriate distances from the good guy deployment (i.e. even though the table was set up as 6' x 4', I deployed the PEF's properly in a 3' x 3' grid).
There was more on the table than there should have been (I deployed more Black Moon Incarnate demons than I would in a three thousand point Warhammer game), but the heroes warbands together totalled 39 CV!
It didn't help that they effectively activated all the PEF's at once, rather than getting into the enemy and trying to eliminate one PEF before any others got the chance. It also didn't help that their reinforcements didn't turn up, but I got two (which I rolled at 20 CV, i.e. 50% effect rather than rolling). In retrospect I should have brought them on as PEF's and then rolled them up properly, rather than just put them on the table.
In all honesty, it was partly my fault for letting the parties get so powerful (i.e. not kicking ass and taking names earlier) so creating a situation where 130 CV of bad guys was randomly generated and partly the heroes' fault for not getting stuck in quickly enough to eliminate opposition before it got unmanageable.
Even in the aftermath, it's still likely that four or five players are still going to generate around 30 CV without including their stars (which is another 30 CV). I suppose we need to come up with a solution.
We could split the campaign again, but that would mean that scheduling games is harder. That said, if the Northern Group made capturing Menglad their aim, while the Southern Group maintained the objective of retaking Ailech. Anyone could run a Quest campaign, following the rules in the book exactly, and as the stats for the object of each quest are already made up...
We could reboot the campaign, with the current crop of heroes being lost in the Western Mountains and their warbands captured or killed in the city and a new crop of heroes created from the refugees in Fluchtdorf. Even with a reboot though, with 5 or 6 players, even though it is fun, the bad guys rapidly become unmanageable for the referee.
We could just carry on. If I enforce the rules about advancement and on table death properly and generate forces that match the good guy CV, warband and star attrition is going to cut into numbers eventually.
Finally, I could remove Free Will. Without Free Will, bad guys get the charge more often and good guys can't force bad guys to rout so easily. If I removed free will then I wouldn't roll for size of PEF. Each PEF would be 100%. That would mean that the heroes wouldn't be facing down 150% worth of PEF on occasion but also wouldn't be meeting 600% of PEF! As a guide, Sokol Keep (the first game I properly rolled PEF's) had a 200% - 1 CV PEF roll and the Harbour had a 250% PEF roll (both before reinforcements).
I suppose it's over to the other players...

Monday, 21 May 2012

Assault on Sokol Keep - Commentary

Good game, good game. It was alright. I have discovered that my random generation of PEFs does matter. I got a massive number of Petty Demons (5 or 6) having changed from the Demon cult list when I rolled a lot of possessed mages and thought that wouldn't be fair. The large number of actual demons rather than horde or winged men, worked both ways. If there had been no good guy casters there may have been problems with three blasts a turn tearing into them. With the casters though I lost control of one of my petty demons and my minor demon when he came on the board.
I also realised that while bad guys took their crisis tests, the good guys didn't. Not once, even though there were maybe half dozen OOFs and ODs. Oddly, the players always remember that bad guys need to take crisis tests but conveniently forget their own...
I also think I may have done the Banish Demon spell wrong. I'm fairly certain we used the result of the spell on the Test of Wills when we should have rolled separately. So the good guys were getting bonus dice by caballing the test of wills.
I've also worked out why it is so easy for the good guys. They're not facing anything like enough bad guys. I randomly generated the PEFs for four Raid scenarios. I randomly determined the Force Composition and How Many Of Them? using the tables on page 54. This assumed the eight stars (I forgot Danny) and the available force at the beginning of Sokol Keep (roughly 84 CV for the good guys). A couple of the random rolls were CCA and CCB. There was only one CBA. All assumed there were no reinforcement PEFs. The results were as follows:
Summary Raid 1 Raid 2 Raid 3 Raid 4
Archers 6 19 33 47
Goblins 6 10 17 27
Ogres 4 4 5 6
Riders 9 8 13 20
Black Moon Goblins 4 4 11 16
Chariot 5 8 10 11

I don't have any chariots and even at the best price would never have 11! Normally I would have around the forces available in Raid 2, but several of them would be tied up in reinforcements and so may never see the table. Patently though, I'm not putting enough bad guys on the table (that said for most encounter forces I don't have enough bad guys...)

Assault on Sokol Keep

The fight back begins here...
As the heroes try to locate the dwarven survivors in the ruins below the Western mountains, their brave warbands have been recruited by Baron von Zarovich to undertake a daring commando mission to the Keep. The Keep has been identified as the source of the vile magic that generates the insidious enchantment that infects the waters around Ailech harbour, preventing the Silver Elf fleet from retaking the harbour. Ensorcellments have been used to protect the small boats the warbands will use to approach the island, but these could wear off at any time so time is of the essence. If victory proves difficult then the warriors must make their way off the island before the magic fails.
Landing at several points along the western and southern coats of the island, the warbands make good use of the available cover to approach the walls of the Keep. There appears to be little in the way of guards and the gates of the Keep are wide open. Having opted to land at dawn, it is not long before the intrepid warriors are spotted by the two demons looking out across the mist shrouded shoreline and a brief exchange of missiles ensues. Several arrows clatter harmlessly from the walls of the Keep, while a massive fireball explodes, thankfully some distance from the nearest attackers.
Realising that magic could be a solution rather than a problem, the Black Moon Elf enchantress and the Borderer sorcerer combine forces to attempt to bind one of the demons to their combined mental might. The unholy alliance narrowly fails to bend the demon's will on the first attempt, but on the second succeeds and drives the controlled demon to attack the other demon on the wall. This proves to be a short affair and the controlled demon starts to rain fireballs into the Keep's courtyard scattering some of the defenders and forcing the leader of the demonic host into the cover of one of the buildings. Taking advantage several groups of warriors rushed to the gates of the Keep but across the bridge to the city came a hulking monstrosity, a minor demon of hideous visage, summoned from the deepest of the Pits. As it rushed across the bridge the valiant, but outclassed, defenders attempted to put up some sort of defence. Several fell before it's rampage and missile fire seemed to have little or no effect on it's blasphemous hide.
Once again the cabal of enchantress and sorcerer cast their diabolic glamour and once again managed to bend the will of another of the Pit's inhabitants to the devices of the attackers. Swiftly controlling the demon into attacking the Keep, the cabal managed to unearth the demonic host. A flurry of demonic fire took it's toll, killing a vile demonic beast, but also felling the controlled minor demon. The petty demon which had originally fallen to the power of the cabal's magic was sucked into the warp by the vagaries of the enchantments of the Black Moon. All turned on quickly dispatching the remaining demons in the Keep, locating and controlling the Orb of Diametric Fulmination and sealing the gates as rapidly as possible. A solid line of archers fired seemingly endlessly into the mass of demons, accomplishing the first task. Several warriors attempted to harness the power of the Orb, but only the pure nature of the Silver Elf was capable of stopping it's vile magic, thus achieving the second. Finally, a party of brave warriors secured the gate against an advancing party of demonic reinforcements thus achieving the last.
Victory is assured. The forces of the Red Sun can triumph and more importantly, the retaking of Ailech, surely the first step in containing the Black Moon insurrection that has gripped southern Altengard, can begin...

As an aside, Greencloak's frère d'armes has recovered the "Orb of Converse Execration". This item has the effect of adding +3 REP to a caster's attempts to cast either a Curse or Remove Curse spell.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Prelude... Additional commentary

The Prelude... encounters are over, the good guys from the south have met the good guys from the north and so the circle is complete.
The last game was good, still way too much stuff on the table though. Tne heroes are very reticent  still and don't seem keen to skirmish unless they have a unit of troops around them. I had a fair number of troops (but actually not as many as I should have had based on the dice rolls, but once I got to 70-odd CV...) and it got very untidy very quickly. I think I will roll up forces and then assign them to PEFs/Bodies rather than use the tables. In theory I could have had in excess of 140 CV which might work in Big Battles but would have been undoable in WHAA.
I need to take the initiative more often. In the last couple of encounters, when the good guys dithered and I just went hell for leather, much death and destruction ensued (on both sides). In the last encounter, when I let the good guys on the western side of the river go two knights decimated my warband. Bad guys have got to get stuck in.
Rules-wise, bad guys took more crisis tests, and more importantly correctly took crisis tests. Good guys less so (even though there were at least four OOFs/ODs). It's amazing how often the good guys remember that crisis test need to be taken when a bad guy gets hurt!
PEFs in line of sight aren't PEFs, they're bodies of troops, so they don't need to be hidden, and more importantly don't need to move randomly!
I've generated or lifted from the last encounter the personal warbands/comitatus of the main bad guys (the lich, the demon, the goblin, the wraith and the vampire) and from now on these will form the core of any encounters.
I've added the AC rule to the house rules page and updated some of the skills. See this post, House Rules, and this post, WHAA Skills, respectively.

Kronin's Lament

(Again lifted bodily from Dave's email and used with o permission whatsoever...)
Gurhin, King of the Grey Peak sat brooding. News had just reached him that Kronin the Barbarian had sung his deathsong just outside Ailech‏. The Trollhunter had been unbeatable in his trade but this had been a tale of woe from the beginning.
Kronin’s comrade, the healer, had sent word of his end. The band were part of a mixed band of warriors withdrawing from the ruins of Ailech. Kronin had lost most of his band in this adventure and was depressed about his loss of reputation. In the end he had stood as the rearguard before being buried under a tide of Undead warriors. This action allowed most of his comrades to fight their way to safety although both the Men & Elves were much reduced.
For the time being Dokk the healer and Throrin the berserker remained in the group though they would be hard pressed to rebuild their band in such a place, not many dwarves dwelt in that region.
Gurhin made his decision; he needed to know more of these far off events. He must send a team of his own to gather information in case the last 2 dwarves perished.
Working in her herb garden Gudrun though of Dokk and hoped the amulet she had given him continued to offer him the protection of her ancestors.

Prelude: Across the Redwake

After a cold night camped in what little cover was available, the refugees from Ailech have awoken in hostile territory close to the Erwach Bridge intending to break through the Goblin patrols to get to Fluchtdorf. The greatest fear is that the Undead will continue their pursuit and catch the fleeing refugees before they can cross the bridge. Meanwhile, word has reached Fluchtdorf and the local Baron, von Zarovich, has sent out a force to help the refugees across the Redwake River.  Belinus mac Gadeon and his Seniirans had headed north to find another crossing fearing that overnight the opposition guarding the bridge may have become overwhelming.
The heroes set out for the bridge but were noticed by a goblin patrol off to their left. Swift action by Bishop Guire's borderers and Greencloak's elves, dealt a critical blow to almost all of the patrol while the rest of the heroes forces pushed on. Critically a force that was suspected to be close to the bridge proved to be a false alarm and Altengard horns could be heard from the other side of the bridge. Hoping against hope the heroes realised that reinforcements had arrived. True enough, Altengard barony forces and some Borderers were marching eastward towards the bridge.
Hopes were quickly dashed though as from the east following the trail the heroes had taken the previous day another force of Undead (this time led by the Wraith, Azalin Ebonhaunter). A large force of infantry appeared hot on the heroes heels, while across the river a wraith scout found the flank of the Altengard reinforcements.
Again the heroes dithered and again the heroes were forced on to the defensive. With goblins ahead of them and skeletons behind things were looking grim and the fighting became more and more intense. After dealing with the wraith the Borderers and their Altengard allies pressed on towards the bridge, intercepting a large body of Goblin infantry along the way. The fighting became tense. A handful of elves and Throrin the berserk engaged the remaining goblins on the eastern side of the river. This patrol  led by Rug Longtooth himself also had an ogre and some Black Moon goblins. The ogre got lucky against Throrin and laid him low which immediately resulted in a panicky attempt to get him clear before he got trampled under the feet of the relentless tide of greenskins. Meanwhile on the eastern ridge the Undead came on without their wraith leader in a slow but purposeful march held up only by the weakened Kronin and some of Guire's light troops. Their fate was to be no less than that of the wounded berserk. Kronin was cruelly stabbed and hacked by the scythes and pole-arms of the vicious undead, while the last of Guire's borderers was left bleeding in the dust. On the western side of the river, the Altengard reinforcements were driving back both the goblin patrol and the force of ogres guarding the bridge. Looking up, the beleaguered heroes realised the path to the bridge was clear and gathering up what injured they could, they made a dash for the bridge and safety. Greencloak's elves and Lord Erkenfried were caught at the lip of the bridge, and the elven archer bravely gave his life to help Erkenfried escape.
Escape had come at a cost though. Kronin was dead, Greencloak's elven band was seriously depleted and only a handful of Guire's borderers still lived. Fluchtdorf lay over the next rise and perhaps Baron von Zarovich could assist with reinforcements...

Monday, 5 March 2012

Prelude: Pursuit to the Bridge

Kronin, Bishop Guire and Greencloak had considered themselves lucky. As they had fled the city with Lord Erkenfried, in the confusion of the rescue and the continued chaos across the city, the Westgeat had proved to be unguarded. That luck didn’t last long. Although fewer in numbers the hero’s party was still too large to sneak through the besieging lines, and several patrols of Undead were quickly on their trail. Over the three or four leagues to the bridge they managed to stay ahead of their pursuers, even though there were a significant number of mounted troops. Once again, though, their luck didn’t hold as within sight of the bridge the pursuers caught up with the hero’s party.Taking stock the heroes realised that they were not alone. Coming from the south along the river another party of refugees appeared to be making their way to the bridge and it also seemed to Siriel Greencloak’s keen eyes that there were also refugees already on the bridge. Forming a solid line on the nearside of a close by hill the humans and dwarves prepared for the worst, while the elves formed a skirmish line in a wood at the eastern end of the hill. Their trepidation appeared unfounded as the Undead proved ponderous in their pursuit now that the heroes were clearly in sight. Taking advantage of the initiative the heroes dashed across the open ground to the bridge while shooting from the elves and the Borderers caster pinned down the approaching Undead. A brief melee ensued as the chariots leading the Undead pursuit engaged the heroes but were quickly torn apart with deft strokes from dwarven axe and elven steel. Thus began the slow but inexorable advance on the bridge. Wary of the Undead force behind which could surge forward at any moment even without the guiding force of the Wight leading them, but still uncertain of the safety of the way ahead the heroes were tentative in their manoeuvring.
As they approached within a few hundred yards of the bridge the heroes joined up with the other party of refugees. They proved to be a Seniiran war crew cut off when the river and sea started to burn and their ship sank in the maelstrom. Their leader, Belinus mac Gadeon had brought his men along the river hoping to find a crossing. As greetings were exchanged, the worst fears of the heroes became evident. From a nearby copse, two large, and above all, angry ogres burst through the underbrush, knocking aside the smaller trees and trampling bushes underfoot.
Reacting quickly, the elven archers and the archers and marines of the Seniiran crew fired all they had at the bellowing brutes. After two volleys one monster had fallen but the other crashed across the open ground thundering a warning. Events were taking a decided turn for the worse. An enormously ugly black moon goblin rose from the undergrowth of the opposite copse of trees. Looking straight at the gathered heroes he gave some signal with his colossal halberd and summoned, seemingly from nowhere, a band of goblin archers with cruel looking bows and a howling, slavering pack of wolf riders. Taking up positions the goblins exchanged a volley with elven archers, causing the more nervous of them to run away! The audacity of the goblins proved ill-advised though, as having revealed themselves and the Seniirans having picked of the remaining ogre, a hail of arrows descended on the copse, picking off several of the goblins and forcing many of the others deeper into the cover of the trees. Meanwhile the sneakier wolf riders had headed round some cover in a flanking manoeuvre, which was driving the heroes towards cover.
As the wolf riders broke towards the heroes position, Kronin yelled a war-cry and stepped into the path of the oncoming raiders. At the same time the ugly goblin war-chief had been driven into a rampage by the hail of arrows and charged out across the open ground towards the source of his anger, the elves and marines in the heroes' group. Even though several arrows pierced his armour he still came on in a rage and it took several of the heroes including the berserker Throrin to finally bring him down. Kronin's brave leap into the fray had done him little good as he was cut down by the lead wolf riders and it took a concerted effort from Guire's depleted and overstretched force to hold them at bay, while suffering under the arrows of the still advancing skeleton archers.
Things were looking decidedly grim when the crude notes of a war horn echoed out across the valley and as suddenly as they had appeared the remaining goblins disappeared back into the woods and copses they had originally emerged from. The skeletons also seemed less animated and they marched off southward under the command of whatever fell force animated them. The heroes breathed a sigh of relief and took stock. The bridge was easily within reach but darkness was falling, which could only serve the evil forces arrayed against them, so setting a careful watch they camped in the nearby woods. The morning would hopefully bring some better opportunity or at least a concerted dash for the bridge and the relative safety of the far bank.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Prelude... Commentary

A new set of players join the campaign... sort of. These players are/were in the city of Ailech at the southern end of the Redwake River. As the story progresses it transpires that Psammon has already put in motion a diabolical plan to turn all of Southern Altengard into a bastion of Unlife in alliance with Black Moon Incarnate demons and malicious Goblin tribes from the Western Mountains. The (new) heroes have so far had to eliminate enemy artillery bombarding the city and then rescue the Lord of Ailech, Erkenfried, from the clutches of Black Moon Demon Cultists.
Things we have learned:
The games played well, although new players took some time to get used to the uncertainties of Test of Wills and Charge tests.
I've now realised that if a figure is forced to take a Control test and fails, the figures either side also have to take a Control test and so on... The rule was there all along I've just never noticed it!
After the disastrous magic from the possessed mages I either have to cabal my mages more wisely, learn the intricacies of the spell lists more carefully or go back to using Big Battle magic.
Some of the players were concerned about the way melee works when a nasty beast rolls against attackers. They were concerned that if the bad guy rolls well then all the opponents stand very little chance. I'm not sure this shouldn't be the way. If it was a Rep 6 star who rolled three successes and a shield die against a horde of Rep 3 Goblins, most of whom would be OOF  or OD then there would be no issue but because the bad guy had the "good" Rep some questions were asked. I suspect this is supposed to be the way. See Sauron at the beginning of TFotR. If you don't have the Hardiness for it don't tangle with the Lord of Darkness!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Prelude: The Rescue of Lord Erkenfried

The heroes had been taken by surprise by the scale of the explosion. Not only did it seem that the enemy had somehow managed to get inside Ailech, but they had also struck a blow from which the defense of the city could not possibly recover.
A handful of refugees fleeing from the Westgeat hysterically described the enemy as monstrous and infernal, interested in nothing except inflicting pain, suffering and death to every living creature they could find. "Black Moon Incarnate", Bishop Guire muttered almost to himself, "I have fought their like before. The people of this city will need help, and soon".
A fleeing soldier described how strange winged beasts of flesh and stone had dropped from the sky to attack the guards on the Keep walls while inside the buildings an insidious fog had formed across the floor which inexorably rose until it was at knee height. Before anyone could comprehend the foulness of the corrupt magicks already being wrought an enormous explosion of green and blue fire crashed from the bowels of the Keep and ripped through the whole building levelling walls and caving in roofs and doorways. Lord Erkenfried himself rallied the defenders but something reached out of the fog, dragged him to the floor and stole off with him to the Western quarter of the city.
Rescue did not seem possible to the heroes. Demons were prowling the streets, a matter of hours would see the forces of Unlife within the city walls and any defence had already been destroyed or neutralised by magical corruption. However, Kronin had not been paid, Siriel feared for the souls of any elves still alive within the walls and Bishop Guire knew that if the evil could not be contained and then stopped all of Talomir would fall to the Black Moon. As Throrin put it, "Certainty of death, small chance of success... What are we waiting for?"
The demi-human warriors turned quickly to the ropes that had been left for their return from the mission to the enemy siege lines. The bishop and his retinue turned eastward along the wall seeking out a postern that he was certain he had seen earlier as they left the city. Climbing into the city proved harder than expected without the aid of the guardsmen on the wall. Thali proved to be the first casualty of Kronin's expedition as he fell from the wall with a sickening crunch. With Thali's death the others climbing the wall were more careful. Consequently, both the elven and dwarven bands ended up parted by the high city walls.
Things were not going to plan, Kronin could see Black Moon horde moving towards him and the sharp eyed Siriel was certain that something large and winged was moving through the maze of damaged and ruined buildings. Still there was no sign of Bishop Guire.
Demons came forward through the rubble and a minor demon revealed himself as the leader of the horde closest to the Westgeat. Raising a great clawed fist and speaking in the guttural tongue of the Black Moon Cant it cast a bolt of infernal flame into the midst of the dwarven band. The warriors scattered but not before two more dwarfs were slain, their souls burned from their mortal forms.
Suddenly, the Bishop's men arrived from the eastern end of the quarter. He quickly moved to intercept those demons that could be seen. They seemed to be led by an abomination, part man, part demon. The freakish monstrosity cast a spell exhorting his horde to charge the Border Kingdoms retinue. The spell worked as the horde of brutish horrors let out a roar of defiance and rushed forward but only their possessed master made it to the line. The remaining humans reacted quickly and surrounded the possessed mage. The combat was short and resulted in the isolated mage being cut down. Before they could reorganise to meet the oncoming threat, an inhuman demon strode across the ruins and fired a ball of diabolical flame into the midst of the retinue. Several men fell, especially among the poorly armoured Borderers but nobody panicked. The Bishop let out a roar praising the power of the Red Sun and charged towards the demon. Sensing the righteous wrath within the Bishop the demon fled.
Back at the western end of the city quarter the dwarves and elves had prepared themselves to meet the demonic forces arrayed against them, even pre-empting the charge of the horde and bringing down several of them with axe and longbow. The minor demon screamed in rage and leapt into the fight cutting down another of Kronin's band and injuring one of the elves. Driving the demon off momentarily the elves used the respite to fire a volley of  arrows, one of which luckily found its mark. The demon screamed in pain and seemed to be consumed by the same green flame it had used only minutes before against the dwarves.
As the Bishop and his retinue finished cutting down the last of the horde, the warbands split up to search the buildings for the hopefully still living Lord Erkenfried.
The Bishop found the Lord held at dagger point by another of the possessed cultists. Attempting to cast his malevolent magic against the Bishop and his retinue, a misplaced word or gesture resulted in utter failure and the cursed mage paid the price as he was dragged screaming beyond the Veil into the Unlife.
The heroes worked their way back to the unguarded Westgeat and made their escape along the Fortrenn road. Hopefully the bridge would still be there...

Saturday, 28 January 2012

A Dwarfen Eye View from the Siege of Ailech

Written by Dave 'Kronin' McClumpha and used without any permission at all :-)

Gurhin, King of the Grey Peak dwarf realm, waved his visitor to a chair. “Greetings Kronin, you have news for me, Eh” Although Kronin and his band were frequent visitors it was rare for Kronin to seek out the King. Usually he collected his Troll bounty from the steward, did some minor business and went on his way.

“Aye Gurhin, news and none of it good”. Few called the King by his given name without any honourific. For Kronin this was a meeting of equals, he was chieftain of his band and Gurhin was chieftain of Grey Peak. The matter of size was not relevant. “We were hunting down South, they were having problems with hill trolls. We went to Ailech to collect the bounties and the city came under attack from an Undead army. This was 23 nights ago that we left, I expect the place has fallen by now.”

“My steward tells me you were in a raid there, what happened?”

“Boys work! The prince there asked us to join some men & elves in a night raid on the siege engines. We did the job with hardly a scratch on us. Once Throrin got into their earthworks it was all over”

“What about your allies?” asked the King.

“Ach, the manlings were brave enough, some even got into the trench with us after our healer patched them up. The rest tried to stand against cavalry, they died well.”

“And the elves?” prompted the King.

“Huh, elves are fine enough with a bow and some can use a sword neatly but they dance about in the open and go nowhere. Their lord was far too noble to duck when a catapult shot came his way, last we saw of him he was flying into the river.”

Other listeners may have felt that Kronin was bragging but Gurhin knew better. The Wild Kin were aggressive & proud but their word was Iron-true. If they told the steward they had killed 17 trolls then they were paid for 17 trolls. It had been generations since any dwarf had asked for proof.

“So you saved the city?”

“We did what we were bid to do, but the city was doomed anyway. As we returned to the ropes we used to come out some foul magic blasted their greatest tower apart. The few elves left returned to their kin inside. The manlings came with us for a while then turned away for their homes.”

“What do you plan to do Gurhin?” asked the Wild Kin chief. “If you stay here to wait they will come to you one night.”

“My mind is clear, we must send aid to the South while we prepare here. What about your folk, will you go South again with us,or join us here?”

“No offence Gurhin,but manning a rampart or standing in a line waiting for an attack isn't our style. Besides, the seasons roll on and it's time to hunt Ice Trolls. Just because the Undead are rising doesn't mean the trolls can wait.”

“True, well do you have all you need and has the steward paid the bounties?”

“All done and sworn, I just need to root out our healer, no doubt he's trading herbs and potions with the Lady Gudrun, she seems to like him.” Kronin stood up, “Farewell till our paths cross again Gurhin.”

With that Kronin left the chamber leaving the King to plan for war while he tried to rid his mind of the idea of Gudrun liking anyone.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Prelude: Into the siege lines

Ailech had been under siege for only four days but already the situation was becoming dire. The unnatural forces of the Undead had appeared as if from nowhere in enormous numbers and had been pounding the walls of the city with infernal catapults incessantly since the siege opened. Refugees were being taken out of the city by elven ships and those merchantmen able to sail but a strange,  pall had fallen over the river which had destroyed the boom within hour, burnt through the River gate and spreading along the shores and into the harbours damaging ships, docks and wharves and soon he remaining ships would have to leave or be left sitting in the silt of Ailech's harbours.
In an effort to buy time before the walls were breached Lord Erkenfried and the Silver Elf Admiral Tirieth Starbow hatched a desperate scheme. Small bands of warriors drawn from all the defenders would go out into siege lines under cover of nightfall and destroy the screaming skull catapults.
On the west wall, between the towers of the Watergeat and the Westgeat, three brave souls volunteered with their personal retinues; the self-styled Dwarf mercenary Kronin the Barbarian; Silver Elf woodsmaster Siriel Greencloak and the militant bishop Aisans Guire of the Border Kingdoms. Lowered from the walls the heroes headed towards the river  hoping to outflank the Undead artillery in the darkness. They had been warned of undead "patrols" but had no way to know how many or where these patrols would be.
Misfortune befell the heroic warriors quickly though. As they moved cautiously over some difficult ground by the river bank they met a large patrol of undead infantry and archers. The elves at the forefront of the group were taken by surprise and with uncharacteristic emotion let loose a swift hail of arrows and made an impetuous charge into the middle of the patrol. Some of the elves fell to a return volley from the skeletons but when melee was met the sorcerous power of undeath was little match for elven steel. The clash and clamour though drew more skeletons to the fray but as they moved towards the elves in an effort to overwhelm them with numbers they were distracted by movement on the hill above. Suddenly the clash had turned into a melee. Noticing the bishop's retinue a number of the skeleton infantry turned up the hill toward the shield line, but Kronin's dwarf band in their turn were not about to let tall-folk have all the fun and led by his cousins, the berserks Throrin and Thali, the dwarfs tore into the approaching undead tide. The fighting was swift and deadly with all the skeletons falling to axe, spear and sword with little injury in return. The bishop's wizard to cast a shielding spell but failed causing himself to be dazzled with his own enchantment.
After some healing and regathering of their forces the heroes resumed their flanking manoeuvre, this time being more lucky than before as a number of suspected patrols and ambushes turned out to be false alarms. on the final approaches to the catapult emplacements, the dwarfs, the lightly armed but effective borderers and a few of the elves were surprised as a large force of undead cavalry  came crashing across the empty fields of the abandoned village to the east of the undead lines. On the hill, scene of carnage only minutes ago, the retinue of the bishop himself and the remaining elven archers formed a line and prepared to sell their lives dearly to provide the main strike force by the catapults time to finish their task. In the confusion, as the catapults fired blind into the oncoming warbands, a stray screaming skull fell amongst the gatehering forces and felled three of the borderers while Greencloak was seemingly killed outright. Afterwards in the retreat back to the city though, no trace of his fallen form could be found...
Throrin the berserk leapt into the trenches of the undead lines, as the undead horsemen crashed up the hill towards the stalwart defenders and the fighting now became truly desperate. On the hill, the melee circled and wheeled back and forth. Sometimes the defenders were on top, other times their straits seemed dire indeed. Several of the retinue fell and the elven healer Moontouch was killed but ultimately the line held and several of the defenders aided by the remaining elven archers and infantry dispatched the last of the vile horsemen. Throrin meanwhile had been fighting a similarly back and forth fight against the wight leading the undead forces until eventually, as his dwarven comrades and the remaining borderers broke into the trenches, he struck the wight down with a truly mighty axe blow. The trench fighting was quickly over after the wight fell as dwarfs and humans frenziedly hacked, slashed and smashed skeletal bodies and infernal constructs to pieces.
The triumphant, though battered forces made their way back to the rendezvous but before the signal could be given and ropes dropped from the walls an almighty inward rush of air blasted over the walls into the city and an enormous crash heralded an explosion in Valjevo Castle, the inner keep and the head-quarters of the city defence. Rubble and ash fell to the ground all across the city and it was obvious from the growing, fey, green glow in the eastern quarter of the city that something truly evil had occurred.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

WHAA Skills

In line with the Skills house rule, this post will contain the list of skills and will be updated when new skills occur to me or are suggested.

Warrior - character is Elite Trained
Caster - character can use magic
Healer - character can use the healing rules
Thief - character can carry out thieving type skills (e.g. picking locks, checking for traps, hiding in shadows)

Alchemist - character can create potions as per the rules
Marksman - character can take two shots per activation as though he had fast moved (-2d6).
Blademaster - only elite trained characters can choose this skill. The character never suffers the outnumbered penalty.
Assassin - as long as the character approches from behind the target he may backstab the target with +1d6 and the opponent's armour cannot count as protected.
Sniper - Missile fire from beyond twice the target's movement rate will always count as Armour Pierced if it hits.
Cleric - Clerics are warrior priests of the Red Sun (and occasionally, but more rarely of the Black Moon). They have limited casting powers and can Turn Undead. Clerics can cast the following spells as though they were a caster of the same Rep: Air of Strength; Stench of Weakness; Resist Magic; Entrap Demon; Banish Demon.
Turn Undead - only cleric characters can Turn Undead.

Roll cleric's Rep d6 v. Rep d6 of Undead
-1d6 from the cleric if moved in same turn.

Number of SuccessesResult
Cleric scores more successesUndead in target group all take a hit on the Firing Damage Table as though Armour Pierced
Cleric scores same successesTurning attempt fails
Cleric scores fewer successesTurning attempt fails and all Undead in target group take a Control Test

Paladin - a Paladin is immune to the effects of terror and dread both for reaction tests and for melee.
Athlete - an Athlete rolls an additional 1d6 for Fast Move tests.
Agile - no shooting penalties for fast moving
Tactician - character can choose when to activate rather than activating in strict REP order.
Persuasive - Add a 1d6 bonus to the Talk the Talk test
Disciplined - Add a 1d6 bonus to the Crisis test
Scout - Add a 1d6 bonus to the Terrain Scouting table???
Inspire - once per game Pass 2d6 all characters in the group are fanatic for the rest of the game; pass 1d6 all characters in the group are fanatic for the turn; pass 0d6 No effect
Battle Cry - pass 2d6 all characters in the group are frenzy for the turn; pass 1d6 all characters in the group are frenzy for the player's activation; pass 0d6 all characters in the group must take a crisis test.

Thief type skills to follow

Underlined skills have been playtested or have limited implications on game-play and so are very unlikely to be changed. The effect of other skills hasn't been determined and so may be subject to change or removal.

House Rules

This post is growing out of the ongoing commentaries and reflections, alongside the way some things work in other THW rules or just other rulesets/milieus. I'll update this post with new rules and point to it from other posts if necessary.

Casting - first of all because of the unmitigated power of the Big Battle magic for a cabal with 20-odd REP it's going to have to be NPC spellcasters use spells normally. Big Battle magic only happens in Big Battles.

Stars don't count as part of a Group. This grows out of the nature of the game we play and a little bit of vagueness in the way the relationship between Stars and Grunts is explained. So, a star lives or dies by his own dice rolls just as the Grunts do. It makes the outcomes of reaction tests easier to interpret and it overcomes the issues where the Star chooses his reaction successes. To help mitigate the disaster for my PC's groups(!!!) I'm going to allow Stars to activate on any valid REP they want (i.e. instead of activating at 5 REP, they could go in any order on their side, thus allowing them to wait and see which groups or fellow stars need their help before having to weigh in).
On reflection this won't work, so I'll just have to find other ways to split stars from their followers. Admittedly with my lot of players that won't be easy 'cos basically the stars are frightened of being separated from their groups. I think only the Black Moon Elves have ever tried to be more tactically flexible.

Skills - I'm going to start a separate post with a list but the way we discussed it skills can be gained by giving up progression rolls. The tariff we thought might work would be to give up as many rolls as you have skills. Stars all have a skill already (Elite Trained, Healer, Caster, Thief) so to gain the first additional skill would cost two rolls, to gain a third skill would cost three rolls and so on.

Melee - not so much a house rule as a clarification. Melee should be broken down into as many individual one-to-one fights as possible, but where outnumbering exists everybody rolls the dice they are entitled to and compares the results with each opponents rolls in turn. So an elf outnumbered by two goblins would roll his dice (with the outnumbered modifier) and each of the goblins would roll their dice. The ONE set of dice rolled by the elf would be compared in turn to each of the goblins' rolls and results applied. This is how Bob says it works on the Yahoo Group and is the implication in Swordplay.
This differs considerably from Big Battle where both sides roll all their dice entitlement and the results are applied to the body.
Armour - AC 3 and 4 is practically worthless, so in order to make it worthwhile I am intending to impose additional penalties on characters wearing AC 5 and above. Foot movement for these characters will be reduced to 4" and Mounted movement reduced to 9" (effectively an additional quarter move penalty).