Thursday, August 27, 2015

Halflings, Horsemen, Covanenteers, and an Ice Troll


Another odd assortment of items rolling of the paint table – just to keep you on your toes and guessing at what the hell I am up to!

(or perhaps you’ve all stopped bothering with the guessing and have embraced the random and are ready for and expect just about anything at this point!)

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version):


Halfling elements for Hordes of the Things.

I know… you’re wondering “what the hell? Is he suddenly back into Hordes of the Things!?” Not so much… Well… Actually, I did pick up DBA 3.0 recently and that’s got me thinking about all things DBA and HOTT-ish… but really the reason for painting these was of the “low hanging fruit” variety. I had startlingly few Halflings to finish up to say “These are all DONE!” and I like saying (or typing) “These are all DONE!” (“These are all DONE!” – see!).

The figures above are from Games Workshop. They are © and ™ Games Workshop and painted by myself and posted here entirely without their permission.


The Last Two Halflings… now these are all DONE! The figures are from Reaper Miniatures. The one on the left is an odd one – he’s got a musket over his shoulder and looks a little inbred-hick-ish…? And he stands nearly as tall as some of the shorter human figures I have!

And now that all the Halflings are DONE, I’ve updated the 28mm Medieval and Medieval Fantasy Gallery


Troll painted with blue skin = Ice Troll!

Figure from Ral Partha


Dismounted ECW Cavalryman from Dixon Miniatures


Dismounted Scots Cavalrymen from Dixon Miniatures.

I don’t know what brought these on… We’re heading into the rennaisance with our history readings, so I got thinking about the English Civil War – which I have many figures for – and Flashing Steel – which I have yet to try out…


Coming soon on Tim’s Miniature Wargaming Blog:

Planning a game of Frostgrave on Saturday. Hopefully have a report up on Sunday. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Frostgrave Again!


Thursday was a busy day! First my old friend Mike stopped by earlier in the day to play some Song of Blades and Heroes (a report on the ensuing shenanigans can be found HERE!. Then in the evening Other Tim stopped by to play another game of Frostgrave!

Despite putting a rush on to finish up his Cheesecake Warband,
John was unable to make it… something about a wedding anniversary… excuses, excuses…

Amanda WAS available to play this week so I quickly helped her make a Wizard and hire and adventuring party and then set up a game for everyone. As there was four other players I sat out of this one. My hope is by our next game (hopefully next week) I’ll have the BIG table in the hobby room cleared off so we can set up multiple (smaller!) games – that will hopefully go a bit quicker (as it was, once again, a very late night!).


FORCES

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)


Amanda’s Elfie Warband: Thaumaturge, Apprentice (who used to moonlight as a pole dancer before scoring the apprentice gig!), Ranger, there Archers, two Thugs, and a war dog.

Other Tim also started over with a brand new warband – they weren’t painted – which proved costly to him… so if he uses it again I’ll post a profile of them next game…

The Kids used the same warbands from the previous game - except that The Girl’s Thief and one of The Boy’s Men-at-Arms had to sit out the game due to injuries. The Boy added and Infantryman to his warband and gave the +2 (Fight) Magic Sword to his Knight (+6 Fight! Ouch!). The Girl also hired a new Knight for her adventuring party.


THE GAME

I had read about someone playing a co-op game on the Lead Adventure Forum Frostgrave Board and thought that was a great idea, but I didn’t end up having enough time to sort something out so we went with the standard throw-down-some-treasure-and-fight-each-other-for-it scenario…

My policy has always been: if it ain’t painted, it don’t go on my table… Other Tim seemed to have forgotten that and showed up with his new warband almost entirely unpainted (mostly just primed white…). For some reason I let it go… so all the white little orc/goblin/kobold-ish dudes running around – those are Other Tim’s frozen minions. For what it’s worth, showing up with an unpainted warband sort of didn’t work out for Other Tim… I don’t think he was able to roll anything higher than a 10 all game… and I saw at least five 20s rolled in combat against him! PAINT YOUR FIGURES – it’s super bad luck otherwise!


Initial set up.

The funny thing was that Amanda and the Boy were opposite each other – Amanda has a Thaumaturge and The Boy had a Necromancer – which are opposing schools of Magic… AND Other Tim and The Girl ended up opposite each other, and THEY have opposing schools of magic (Summoner and Sigilist).


The Girl’s Sigilist and party all set up in one place.


Amanda’s Thaumaturge started things off, sending one Thug to quickly grab… um… a magical potted plant? I guess so…? One of her archers leapt up on top of some rubble and loosed an arrow at some of Other Tim’s frosty looking goblins. It bounced off the frozen skull of the Knight.


Action Pose!


The Boy and his necromancer…


The Girls’ gang snatched up three chests rather quickly – these two in the picture and a third in the building behind them.


Amanda wasn’t going to stand for that and so her archers pin-cushioned the poor thug that had picked up the chest and her Apprentice successfully cast Push on the knight- shoving him back several inches on the tabletop.


The Necromancer and his minions spread out quickly grabbing a lot of loot! Unfortunately the Necromancer had the worst time casting spells. I’m not sure if he successfully cast a single spell the whole game. His Apprentice had a bit more luck – which he constantly gloated about to the old wizard!


Mayhem!


The Girl’s Knight rushed the Elves Apprentice, but this didn’t turn out well – the Ranger rushed in to the Apprentice’s aid and the two of them took down the knight in short order!


Other Tim was having the WORST time – as I mentioned before he pretty much lost every combat he was in and at least half of them he lost a guy outright. By the end of the game he’d lost SIX of his warband and countless imps and zombies!? He decided to call it a day and slunk of the board with just two treasures casting Imps into the mess as they fell back.

Amanda realized The Girl was going to successfully make off with four chests and she only had one.. the boy had already taken three off, so her only chance was to rush clear across to the other side of the board and try and prevent The Boy from dragging off the last two! 


In the ensuing fray The Boy’s necromancer took and arrow from one of the Elf archer which took him down to ONE HEALTH (he’d also lost a lot due to failed spells earlier) so he decided to scarper. The Necromancer’s Apprentice stuck around - and gloated a bit – only to be TAKEN OUT by one of the Elves!


Despite these setbacks, The elves were slowed by a number of Imps the Orc Summoner cast into the mess from the table edge and that sufficiently slowed them up enough that they were unable to catch up with any of the Undead hauling away the final two treasures.

THE END GAME

After the dust settled the various adventuring parties checked on their wounded and looked over the various loot they’d made off with…

The Girl’s War Dog and Knight will be missing a game due to grievous injuries, but the Thug was only lightly wounded and will be back at it next game (along with the Thief that had to sit out this game). Looking over the treasure in the four chest she made off with, she found she’d collected 250 gold, a Robe of Arrow Turning, a Grimoire containing instructions to learn the Push spell, 3 Scrolls (Illusionary Soldier, Control Undead, and Decay), and 2 Potions (Healing and Strength). She also gained 240 experience, which gained her two new levels and brought her to 390 total XP – so she should have little trouble gaining at least one more level next game!

The Boy’s Necromancer really hauled in the loot – FIVE chests containing 590 gold, 2 Grimoires (Mirraculous Cure and Mud), a Fate Stone, and 3 Potions (Invisibility, Invulnerability, and Demon in a Bottle!). The Apprentice – his only tabletop loss- turned out to be just fine. He gained 290 experience which brought him to a total of 430XP and three new levels!

Amanda’s War Dog died. She only managed to get one treasure (the potted plant!?) But hidden in its roots were 150 gold and a grimoire containing the spell Crumble. She ended up with 160 experience – and a level – mostly from successfully casting a lot of spells and taking out a demon with one of those Banish spells.

Other Tim had lost SIX guys – a knight and five thieves! Luckily only one of the thieves actually died and the rest were totally fine (ashamed of their lack of paint they just scarpered at the first sight of combat!) … I forget what he got for experience and in his two treasure chests…? He assured me they’d be back next time – with more paint on them!


Coming soon on Tim’s Miniature Wargaming Blog:

Halflings…? I’ve (mostly) finished up a few elements for Hordes of the Things – just need to get them on bases. Might get in another game or two over the weekend…? So perhaps some more game reports! 

Orc Raiding Party on a Rampage!


One of my oldest and bestest friends and wargaming buddies – who I see far too infrequently – was in town this week for a visit with family and a cousin’s wedding in Edmonton. We got together to catch up and then again to chuck some dice and move little men around a tabletop. Just like old times… I’d told him about A Song of Blades and Heroes and he seemed interested to have a go at it so I set up this little scenario…

SITUATION

An Orc Rading Party has crossed over into Halfling lands and is headed towards a Halfling village. A small group of Halflings (along with a few sturdier, goodly adventurers that happened to be passing through) prepare to defend their lands!

SCENARIO

Basically just a standard “there they are – get ‘em!” scenario…

FORCES

Orcs

Orc Boss
Q 3+, C 3, 60 points
Leader

6x Orc Warriors
Q 4+, C 3, @23 points ea.

Ogre Warrior
Q 4+, C 4, 50 points
Long Move, Big

2x Goblin Archers
Q 4+, C 2, @21 points ea.
Shooter (Medium)


Good Folk

Human Cavlary Leader
Q 3+, C 4, 92 points
Leader, Mounted, Long Move

Elf Elite Archer
Q 2+, C 3, 70 points
Shooter (Long), Good Shot, Unerring Aim

2x Dwarf Warriors
Q 3+, C4, @24 Points ea.
Short Move

4x Halfling Spearmen
Q 4+, C 2, @17 points ea.
Short Move

Halfling Archer
Q 4+, C 2, 11 points
Shooter (Medium) Short Move

Halfling Villager
Q 4+, C 1, 6 points
Short Move



THE GAME

As I was introducing the game to Mike I tried to have a fairly diverse mix of troops – with a smattering of the most common special rules (though I left out magic-users…?) – but trying to fit within a theme…

Despite the recent SoBH RPG campaign I recently started, it’s been a long time since I played a straight up, head-to-head/Warband-vs-Warband skirmish game of Song of Blades and Heroes. Too long. This game really reminded me why I fell in love with the system – and got me thinking about getting a campaign going in the fall!


(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)


Mike took the goodies, I took the baddies. 

The river we said was bad going at the ford (reduced movement) and anyone defending the ford got a height advantage. Crossing the river elsewhere was perilous; it reduced movement, but also any model moving in it had to pass a quality roll on a single die or they would fall over.


Ogres can really cover some distance in an activation with that Long Move ability!

On the Goodies next bound the Elf archer knocked down my Ogre – and then that rotten little Halfling archer took him out!!


Orcs make it to the ford and are ready to cross!


Orcs storm across the ford and the real battle begins!


There was much slipping and sliding about on the muddy banks – both sides falling over constantly!

One of the Dwarves was famale and she seriously laid the smack down on the orcs – she scored gruesome kills one TWO of them – the second broke the warband (it was also the tipping point for group morale – so forcing TWO morale tests on those close enough) the leader broke and ran and everyone decided this Halfling village just wasn’t worth it!!

It was a quick enough game that Mike suggested we try another – and switched sides…

GAME TWO


Mike setting out with his Orcs.

Mike tried a sneaky plan to send his ogre towards the ford, but then try and cross elsewhere with his orcs – forcing me to split up my forces.

It might have worked if Mike hadn’t some to abysmally bad dice-rolling!


The Ogre cross the ford and tried to thump on the Halflings – but I galloped my Human Infantry leader and he was able to rally the Halfling militiamen and surround the ogre and knock him down!


The Orcs were actually pretty successful at getting across the river… well the first few…

The Dwarves did manage to hold their ground and force a few back into the river.

What brought it all to a sudden and spectacular conclusion was the Elf Archer took out the Orc Boss – who was just kind of standing in the open – the Ogre was down and failed morale and couldn’t get up and away in time and so was lost… With the loss of the leader and the Ogre and the Orcs floundering in the river Mike sensibly decided the situation was untenable and decided to call it a day.

What a great afternoon it was. Good to see Mike again – and get in a fun couple games. Good to play a Song of Blades and Heroes skirmish again…


Coming soon on Tim’s Miniature Wargaming Blog:

Later in the evening Other Tim dropped by for a second game of Frostgrave – stay tuned for that report shortly! 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Frostgrave Cheescake Warband

I got my friend John (not to be confused with my friend John) excited about playing Frostgrave. So much so that when he was in our Friendly Local Game Store - Dragon’s Den - He picked himself up a boxed set of Barbarian Women from Reaper Miniatures and brought them by for me to paint for him…

Well… I don’t know, but I think they might be a tad underdressed for adventuring in the frozen city of Frostgrave… they might find it a bit nipple… er... I mean… NIPPY!

… and that armour

I had thought of busting out the green stuff and adding a bit more fur to the lot of them… but then that seemed a little too much like work – and it would take too long – I’d like to get a campaign of this up and running soonish! 

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version):


The bulk of these are from the Savage Beauty boxed set from Reaper Miniatures - it only had nine and only one spell caster so I’ve added an additional one to act as an apprentice – a figure from RAFM I happened to have in my lead mountain…


Magician and Apprentice. The Magician (with the staff) is from the Reaper Miniatures boxed set, the apprentice is the figure I added from RAFM.

The rest are from the Reaper Miniatures boxed set.


The Archer could be an Archer, Tracker or Ranger. The Warrior with the two swords I figure could be passed off as a Barbarian - they’re supposed to have a two-handed weapon… but two hand weapons could be pretty much the same…


Warriors with single hand weapons could be Thugs?


Warriors with sword and shield could be (wo)men-at-arms…?



Detail of two of the shields facing away in the above pictures.

Hopefully we’ll get to see these on the table in the not to distant future.


Coming soon on Tim’s Miniature Wargaming Blog:

Game reports hopefully! 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Fantasy Adventuring


The last two weekends I’ve been running a new role-playing campaign for the family and a friend and his two boys. It was a LOT of fun and I hope we’ll get to continue on a regular (or at least semi-regular basis)…


The System

I wanted to use something insanely simple – something that focused more on character and role-playing than on stats and rules. Some of my most memorable role-playing hijinks were using Teenagers From Outer Space (anyone remember that one?) or Toon - both games where there was hardly any actual rules – and those that were there were highly flexible. I was also inspired by the series of Dead Simple Role-Playing one page role-playing games. But rather than create something entirely from scratch, I thought I’d just bolt on a simple skill system to a great tabletop miniature battle system - A Song of Blades and Heroes (which I will be using as the combat resolution system).

(Yes I know there’s A Tale of Blades and Heroes and, while it’s not overly complex, it was a bit much for what I wanted and I just don’t quite grok the magic system well enough…)

Skill tests are basically done by making Quality checks and looking for a number of successes (much like A Tale of Blades and Heroes) except there’s no exploding dice or dice roll modifiers and things that characters are skilled in simply add dice to the roll. So someone who is rather skilled at something would have a skill at +1 (meaning they could add one extra die to the basic three they could otherwise use). An Expert would get two and a Master would get three. (Just had a thought – I could rename the skill levels Apprentice, Journeyman, and Master…?!).

Anyway, we’ll see how it goes.


The Setting

The Campaign starts off in Blythold, the capitol of the small-ish island country of Londras. The Island lies off the east coast of a larger continent and they are fairly isolated from affairs on the mainland. There have been no major foreign invasions for centuries – though there have been plenty of civil wars (on every generation or so) – usually wars of succession or against the small Dwarven population in the north (to remind them that they ARE part of this country and subject to their ruler!)

King Tofburt sits the throne and is in his 53rd year. His son, Prince Endwyn (25 years), is next in the line of succession.

The island is mostly populated by humans. There are dwarves that live on the island – mostly in their own communities in the rugged, hilly north.  Every generation or so the King has to march an army up north to give the Dwarves a good thumping to remind them who is king and that they are subject to him! There are a few Elves as well, they live in two forest regions on the east coast, north and south of Blythold. There is also a small population of Halflings that live in small communities in the southwest. Generally the human population is very racist – there is a lot of animosity and mistrust of non-humans or humans from other lands.

Many centuries ago there was more cooperation between the different races – especially between the humans and elves. Elves even married into a number of the noble households and so most nobles were Half-Elves. Today a number of the noble households are very long-lived, due to the remaining trace elements of Elvish blood in their line. Half-Elves and intermarriage between Humans and Elves is unheard of these days. Elves rarely leave their woodland domain and humans rarely attempt to enter it – those humans foolhardy enough to try are almost never heard from again.

The land is polytheistic with a large pantheon.

Wizards are fairly rare and tend to spend most of their time in solitude – locking themselves away in towers to study books and occasionally experiment with magical powers.


The Characters

I wanted character generation to be more about making a character than collating statistics. So I had a bunch of questions that I asked them all to answer about their characters and then, based on that, I quickly wrote out a few stats on a card that would be their character.

The Questions I asked:
Where are you from? (now, because I haven’t drawn out detailed maps of the world and named all the towns, I was not looking for the name of a specific region, but more generally from Londras or a Foreign Land? From a City, Town, Village or Rural area?)
If you are not from around here, how did you end up here?

Who are (or were!) your parents? What did they do? Do you have siblings? If so, who are they and what did they do?

Who is your FRIEND (someone outside the group)? How do you know them? Where do they live?

Who is your ENEMY? What did you do to make them so angry? Where are they?

What is your secret? (something you might not want people – even members of the group – to know about)?

What secret do you know about another member of the group – that they don’t know and don’t know you know…? (subject to GM approval)

What is your Short Term Goal?
What is your Long Term Goal?

How do you all know each other?


Here's what they came up with...




Pitor Brownleaf – Halfling Ranger
Q 4+, C2, Shooter (Medium), Unerring Aim, Forest Walk, Short Move
Tracking +2, Survival +1, Notice +1, Stealth +1
Pitor Brownleaf hails from the Halfling lands in the southwest. Originally a shepherd, Pitor set out to see more of the island. He met and old ranger who took him in and they traveled the woodlands together.



Arwin – Elf
Q 3+, C 3, Shooter (Long), Unerring Aim, Good Shot, Forest Walk, Leafsight,
Knowledge: Nature +2, Notice +1, Stealth +1
Arwin is 130 years old. She spent her first 100 years living among her people and was always told the humans outside the wood were dangerous and unpredictable. Later she loved exploring the woods and found there were humans that lived at the edges of the woods. When she met them they didn’t seem so bad so Arwin decided to travel beyond the woods and meet more people.



Wilda - Human Druidic Wizard
Q 4+, C 1, Magic User, Alter Terrain, Entangle
Knowledge: Nature +2, Knowledge: Animals +1, Stealth +1
Wilda was the daughter of a merchant. After her father went missing her mother had a hard time taking care of her children. When a wizard came into town and said Wilda had the makings of a good wizard and offered her a place at a school for wizard’s on the continent she said good-bye to her family and friends and was off on an adventure. When things didn’t work out at the wizard school , Wilda fell in with a bunch of Druids and learned their craft. Eventually she made her way back to Londras and while traveling in the woods met a woodsman that lived at the edge of the Elf lands north of Blythold and stayed with him a bit. The woodsman knew many other forest folk – elves and rangers and introduced Wilda to Arwin and Pitor.

(forgot to take pictures of the rest…)

The Sunken Emerald - Human Ex-Wizard’s Apprentice
Q 4+, C1, Magic User, Lightning
Knowledge: Arcana +2, Research +1, Alchemy +1
Before becoming a Wizard’s apprentice The Sunken Emerald’s family was in the circus – his father was a stage magician who performed his tricks using slieght of hand. The Sunken Emeral always wanted to leard REAL magic, so when the opportunity to apprentice to a real wizard came up, The Sunken Emeral jumped a the opportunity. Until recently the Sunken Emerald was apprenticed to said wizard. He went out one day to fetch some ingredients and returned to find the top half of his wizard’s tower blown away and the rest a smoking ruin! The Sunken Emerald was blamed by the wizarding community and no other wizard would take him on as an apprentice. The Sunken Emerald knew the disaster was caused by the Fire Orb that his wizard was experimenting with. So he has set out to make his own way. Short Term Goal – two acquire magical knowledge. Long Term Goals to become a real wizard and seek vengence for the loss of his wizard by tracking down the inventor of the Fire Orb.


Anton Desloingne - Human Ne’er-do-well
Q 4+, C 3, Streetfighter
Persuade +2, Appraise +1, Streetwise +1
Anton is from a small farming town just outside Blythold. His mother died in childbirth (for which his brother never really forgave him). His father is a crooked grain merchant who has been in and out of the stocks and/or jail. A distant cousin, Capstan Desloigne, is head of a large merchant cartel. Anton’s father has constantly stolen from the cartel, using family connections for social engineering scams and fraud. Capstan has sworn to see the whole branch of the family jailed or hung! Anton’s brother, Eric, has gone straight and found god (Wick: the Eternal Flame) and believes one day Anton will be a good man, but Anton constantly disappoints him. Anton has no real long term plan but lives in the moment and just wants to make lots of money (preferably at the expense of the Desloigne Cartel) with as little effort as possible.


Chaaaaarge - Human Barbarian Mounted Warrior
Q 4+, C4, Heavy Armour, Reckless, Savage
Knowledge: Animals +1
Chaaaaarge’s name is a rough translation of his name from his native tongue (as it wasn’t really pronounceable in Londras). It is a noble and honourable name in Dleblack, where Chaaaaarge hails from. Chaaaaarge never new his father, and his mother Lacoocak didn’thave much to do with him beyond his earliest years. He traveled with his lifelong friend Thrud to Londras to fight as mercenaries in the most recent Dwarf Wars. Chaaaaarge doesn’t like spiders and is happiest when he is in combat and thus only seeks opportunities for battle.


First Session

The first session was mostly making up characters and then we played a short, introductory encounter. The characters started with looking for work. There wasn’t much work to be found in Blythold, but through a connection they found that there was a merchant caravan leaving for Yond that was looking for some new guards. They met with the Merchant – a surly, penny-pinching Halfling by the name of Balinar. Sensing they were desperate for work Balinar offered insultingly low wages, but Anton was able to negotiate considerably better, though still substandard, wages and free food during the journey.

The next day they set out from Blythold on a journey that should take about 5-6 days. The first day was quiet as the area around Blythold is fairly heavily populated with small towns or villages every few miles along the road. The second day was pretty quiet too, the area being mostly farmland and the occasional village. The third day was moving out of the populated area into relative wilderness – large wooded areas with the rare remote farmstead.

In the late afternoon while rolling down a narrow track in a thickly forested area the Elf announced that she could hear the tell-tale sounds of battle coming from up ahead. Balinar called for the caravan to halt. He figured it was some other merchant caravan being attacked by bandits!  It had nothing to do with his caravan (and better them than us!) so they’d just wait it out and when they could no longer hear the sounds of fighting they would then proceed.

Then they heard the sound of hoof beats approaching. Around the corner rode a grievously wounded knight in the royal livery. His horse (also wounded) collapsed just ahead of them. When they rushed to his aid, the knight =pleaded to them to help his prince and then promptly passed on.

Balinar was out-voted and the group charged forth to the aid of their prince!


They arrived to find a scene of utter carnage: the bodies of  knights and bandits alike littered the area a final desperate battle was being fought between the prince and his last two knights and a half dozen or so bandits! Chaaaaarge quickly joined the fray! The others advanced and engaged some of the outlying bandit archers. Wilda was struck by and arrow and seriously wounded. The Sunken Emerald managed to burn a tree with lightning. Anton tried to ride one of the carts into the battle, but the stubborn oxen just wouldn’t go. he eventually leapt down and chased down one of the bandits with the aid of Pitor.


Second Session

The second session picked up where we left off the previous week – cleaning up after the battle in the woods. Most of the Prince’s men were dead or seriousl wounded and he asked if the players would help him bring them back to Blythold (and provide some protection against further attacks!). Balinar was eventually convinced this would be a good idea once the Prince offered a considerable reward for doing so.

While searching the bodies of the dead bandits Anton noted that they were equipped considerable better than your average bandits – brand new swords that looked like they could have some straight out of a royal armoury… very expensive, dwarf-crafted armour-piercing arrows…

On the journey back the Prince spoke with each of them in turn to get a measure of these disparate outsiders that selflessly came to his aid. Upon returning to the Palace in Blythold the Prince offered them all jobs as “personal aids” (and additional guards) as he felt he couldn’t really trust his own current guards.
During the evening  Anton tried to make friendly with some of the kitchen staff and see what rumours he could get from them. Though they were initially suspicious of this low-born newcomer, he made a few fast friends and found that they were all shocked at this attack and couldn’t think of anyone who would want to do such a thing as the prince was much loved and on good terms with all of the nobility in the kingdom.

In the morning they were awoken early as there had been a messenger in the night saying that the dead were walking in the small village of Quend (two days ride from the capitol) The Prince tasked them all with accompanying Sir Galbor to see what was happening.

They gathered their things and headed out to the courtyard to meet Sir Galbor who ignored them completely and rode off with a handful of men-at-arms before horses could be readied for the characters.

The Group eventually caught up with Sir Galbor’s party at a roadside inn at the end of a long day’s ride. In the morning they made sure to be up and ready to go before Sir Galbor. When Sir Galbor finally was ready to go he was obviously surprised to see them waiting, but then rode off without saying a word to them on the ride.

During the days ride, Anton made friends with the men-at-arms. They also noticed a procession of a few carts full of hastily packed things and family perched on top. While Sir Galbor simply shouted at them to clear the road and trotted on, the characters wondered if these might be refugees from Quend. It turned out that they were.  While talking to them most blamed the dead walking to the anger of one god or another, though one suggested it might be the local wizard’s doing. Most disagreed, saying the wizard had always been a kindly old fellow.

As they neared the village late in the day things mostly seemed normal, there were people out in the fields…. Though those with keener eyesight noted something unnatural about the people they saw out in the fields! They were clearly walking dead, shambling about aimlessly. Beyond the town they noted a wizards tower which had a mass of swirling black clouds above it and occasional bolts of purplish arcane energy arching from the tower, scorching the nearby land and causing strange, unnatural growths or  dead to rise from the ground where the bolts struck.

They party headed into town to find a barricade built up around a few of the buildings and some weary townfolk defending it with pitchorks and scythes and the occasional old rusty sword, pole arm, or spear. The found that the dead had attacked the village the first time four nights ago – taking the villagers buy surprise. Many were killed. Some of the survivors fled, the rest built the barricade and have been attacked every night since.

 As it was evening they decided it best to check out the wizard’s tower in the morning.

During the evening a small group of undead attacked the town.


The party aided in the defense of the barricade. In the end all the undead where smashed. A few villagers were injured (and one died). Chaaaarge, who had leapt outside the barricade to get into the thick of it went to smash skeleton that had been knocked down, but it grabbed his ankle and he lost his footing a fell over and smashed his head on a rock and was rendered unconscious for the rest of the battle. Pitor, while battling zombies at the barricade also lost his footing and fell between two crate and was wedged in there and unable to move – only after the battle were his pleas for help heard…


Next Week (hopefully!): The Wizard’s Tower!

So far I think things are going pretty well. Everyone seems to be having fun! I think the zombies I used were a little to powerful – which drew out the battle in the village a bit longer than I’d hoped… I’ll have to adjust that for the next session! Otherwise I think the simple system is working well…


Coming soon on Tim’s Miniature Wargaming Blog:

I’m hoping to get in another game (or two) of Frostgrave in this week. Perhaps a painting update…? (though I haven’t been getting all that much painting done this last week)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Frostgrave - First Game


We had our first crack at Frostgrave last night. My friend Other Tim came over and threw down with me and the kidz.

For any that aren’t aware, Frostgrave is a new set of fantasy miniature skirmish rules by Joseph McCullough with a strong campaign element set in an ancient ruined magical city. Players take on the role of wizards leading expeditions into the ruins to collect relics of the ancient magical land. Unfortunately there are other wizards trying to do the same and wizards are a pretty comptetative lot and sometimes it comes to blows… well… pretty much all the time it comes to blows (or blasts of magical energy!)

The game went a little longer than I expected… Despite Other Tim coming over around 7pm we didn’t finish up until after midnight!? I’m quite certain future games won’t take nearly so long – the main factors contributing to the games length were that three of us had to make warbands - two of whom hadn’t even read the rules and one of which needed a lot of help with creating hers AND we only had one book between us (though I did print off extra copies of the spell cards!) – and we were playing our first game (with people who had not even read the rules) AND we were playing a four player game! I expect future games won’t take much more than an hour for two players (maybe two for more players…)

One thing that was really interesting was this was the first time in a LONG time that I’ve played a game where everyone supplied their own warband – and not only that – everyone’ warband was completely painted and was painted by themselves! This may not seem like it should be such an odd thing, but for years I’ve played with a group of people that, for the most part, weren’t miniature gamers – in that they had no interest in buying and painting their own miniatures, but they were willing enough to show up to game nights and play with whatever I happened to have going on…

I had thought this might be a one-off game to try out the rules and then we could make some new campaign warbands based on what we learned in the first game, but everyone seems keen to carry on with what we’ve got.

SCENARIO

We played the “standard” scenario – everyone placed three treasures then we diced to see who would pick the first side. Whoever got the most treasures at the end of the game was the “winner” (though I don’t really get what the value of “winning” is – other than you are the person with the most treasure at the end… everyone else gets to keep any treasure they managed to get off the table during the game…?)

FORCES


My party consisted of Felkazaar the Magnificent (an elementalist) and his apprentice Trevor, steady old Rob the Ranger, Colin and Bertram - two Infantrymen with intimidating large chopping devices, a thief named Giselle, and a handful of thugs (Big Joe, Fats McPhee, Mad Marvin, and Crouchy Fred)

Spells: Call Storm, Destructive Sphere, Elemental Ball, Elemental Bolt, Elemental Hammer, Fast Act, Bind Daemon, Telekinesis.


The Girl’s party consisted of Liessa Starhlem (Sigilist) and her apprentice Raveena Stetione, Dingo the Warhound, Lahira the Thief, Suzanna the Ranger, Aravon the Treasure Hunter, and four thugs (Fred, George, Robert, and Jermian)

Spells: Explosive Rune, Furious Quill, Power Word, Write Scroll, Push, Telekinesis, Transpose, Heal


The Boy’s party consisted of Akzar Kallesel the Necromancer and his apprentice Nitrom Kristan, a Knight, a Man-at-Arms, an Archer and three Thugs.

The game kind of assumes everyone is playing humans – to add a little flavour (and because The Boy didn’t HAVE any human adventurers) we let him use skeleton figures for the members of his warband because it kind of made sense, thematically – they still counted as regular thugs, archers, etc…

Spells: Bone Dart, Bones of the Earth, Raise Zombie, Spell Eater, Steal Health, Summon Daemon, Curse, Decay.


The Boy also had on hand an incredible selection of Daemons of assorted sizes – just in case he was able to summon one (though he really only needed four different sizes; Imp, small, medium, large…) and a zombie in case he raised one of those as well…


Other Tim’s party consisted of an Enchanter and Apprentice, a Barbarian, two Gunners (Crossbowen), and five thugs

I’m not entirely sure what spells he took… pretty sure they included Telekinesis, Embed Enchantment, Enchant Weapon, Strength, Absorb Knowledge(?)…? Animate construct….? I’ll find out for next game…

THE GAME

Each of us set up three treasure throughout the ruined area we would be battling over and then diced to see who got to pick which side we’d set up on first.


(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)


Other Tim and the Kids setting up.


Initial set up (or part way into turn one…?) Most of the treasures were set up around the edges, which I think lead to not as much interaction between the parites as there could have been…. (Mental note: place more in the CENTER of the table!)

I didn’t take quite as many pictures or notes as I might have liked to make a first game report as I was the only one with a copy of the rules and the only one that had read them through – so I have – for the first part of the game doing a lot of explaining and looking things up that I couldn’t remember. It is a pretty simple game, though, so once we got going it played fairly quick and there wasn’t much to look up… but I was still having to keep track of what three other people were doing…


I think I had the highest initiative on the first turn (not always the best thing to go first… especially when there are three others that are going to go before you get to react!). Here Felkazaar the Magnificent and Giselle the thief make the first tentative movements into the ruins. Giselle grabbed one of the treasures and I’m pretty sure Felkazaar the Magnificent successfully cast Telekinesis to move another a bit closer!


The Boys shambling mob shambles forward and steals a fountain of blood (bloody vandals!).


I think Trevor the Apprentice also cast Telekinesis to move the shelf full of books a little closer… there was a lot of casting of Telekinesis the first couple rounds.


Liessa Starhlem, The Girl’s Sigilist, Aravon the Treasure Hunter, and… one of her thugs. Aravon made it TO the Treasure he’s standing beside, but didn’t have another action to pick it up, so on Other Tim’s phase one of his spell casters whisked it away with Telekinesis.

Aravon the Treasure Hunter was quite severely wounded, later in the game, I think by one of Other Tim’s “gunners” (though it may have been a spell…?) luckily Liessa Starhlem has the power of healing and was able to restore enough health to him to keep him going and he was, eventually, able to snag another treasure and make off with it!


Again with The Boy’s necromancer and undead (but not really undead) mob. He is a cautious player and not one to charge headlong into a fray.


I, on the other hand, rarely shy away from a (miniature) fight… Bertram (the Infantryman) and Mad Marvin the Thug charged off to my left to try and beat back the boys Man-at-arms, Apprentice, and freshly raised Zombie (hiding around the corner). I think Big Jow had inititally been with them, but he peeled off to grab the shelving unit full of books to try and drag off. 


On my other flank, Colin led Fats McPhee and Crouchy Fred off into a building in search of other treasure and ran into some of The Girl’s Thugs.


Big Joe and Giselle are dragging off some loot while Rob the Ranger has sprinted out into the open to grab some more (I didn’t really want Rob to be a treasure hauler – he’s better than that… but he was the only one handy…) My spell casters desperately trying to cast spells (Elemental spells are kind of hard to cast… They’re pretty BAD-ASS when they go off! But pretty hard to make them work – both Wizard and spell caster were down below half health by the end other game and all of it was due to burning health to empower spells!)


I’d initially had Bertram and Mad Marvin try to quickly gank the Man-at-Arms but he wouldn’t go down so quickly – and actually caused Bertam a rather nasty injury! I was torn by leaving Bertram out there to hold off the tide of undeadness (to allow my other guys to drag off their goodies) – and potentially lose him – or retreat him off the table so he might fight another day (this is exactly what I LOVE about campaigns – in a one off game it doesn’t matter if you leave guys out to die… not so much in a campaign!)

One striking thing about Frostgrave is there is not morale system – oh, there’s Will tests when someone casts a spell to frighten people and such – but there’s no morale tests when a certain percentage of your warband is lost. I think because the campaign is so much a part of the system, players will retreat their guys of their own accord when they need to save them – or leave them out to fight it out and die if the situation is considered desperate.


The Boy’s Knight was locked in combat with a pair of Other Tim’s Dwarven Thugs for a good chunk of the game. His imp (which he successfully summoned early in the game) and a thug went chasing after a bit of Treasure – which Other Tim’s spell casters kept using telekinesis to whisk away from them.

Though he tried to cast it a number of times, I don't think the Necromancer was ever successful at casting Steal Health... 


After Bertram had scarpered, trying to hold his innards in, Mad Marvin singlehandedly held off The Boys Apprentice, Man-at-Arms and zombie – taking out the zombie TWICE (“Ah said STAY down!”) as the Apprentice kept raising him again…

Well… maybe it wasn’t ENTIRELY single-handedly… The wizard did eventually help out blasting first the Man-at-Arms and then the Apprentice with Elemental Bolts


Over on my other flank things weren’t going to well. Crouchy Fred had originally knocked back one of The Girl’s thugs he met at the doorway, but the thug charged back in and beat down Crouchy Fred – taking him out! Another Thug rushed in to join them and were later joined by Lahira the Thief. Fats McPhee took an arrow in the back from Suzanna the Ranger – who shot him through the window as he tried to pick up the treasure…. Yeah, things were looking bad for Colin… but Colin is a hard, HARD mofo…. He single-handedly (for reals) took down two thugs and the Thief, dodged arrows from the ranger and made off with the treasure (while dragging Fats McPhee to safety)!


Other Tim checking Line of Sight near the end of the game…


POST GAME

Fats McPhee, as it turns out, recovered from the arrow wound rather quickly. Crouchy Fred wasn’t so lucky. He died out there in the ruins of that forsaken city… Everyone else’s injuries will heal by our next game. Among the four piles of treasure I managed to haul off I collected up 450 gold crowns FIVE scrolls (Control Animal, Furious Quill, Call Storm, Mind Control, and Absorb Knowledge) and a Grimoire containing Elemental Bolt (which I already know, so I’ll sell it for another 250 gold…).

My Wizard gained a whopping 410 Experience points (50 for successfully cast spells,  200 for treasure hauled off 80 for personally taking out The Boy’s Apprentice and another 80 for personally taking out two other soldiers – all with Elemental Bolt!). that gained me four levels which I used to raise my strength and health and improved my Elemental Bolt and Telekinesis spells.

The Boy lost two in the game – both to my Wizard. The Man-at-arms will miss his next game (The Boy said it was due to him missing a few of his bones and they’d have to find some replacements…) and the Apprentice ended up with a permanent injury (Never Quite As Strong – permanent -1 to health). He gathered up two treasures and netterd 140 gold, a grimoire containing Scatter Shot, and a +2 (Fighting) Magic Sword!

The Necromancer gained 140 experience and improved his ability to cast Steal Health.

Two of the Girl’s Thugs had been severely injured along with Lahira the Thief, and Dingo the Dog – all recovered, though, except for Robert the Thug who succumbed to his wounds (and Lahira the Thief will have to sit the next game out as she recovers from her wounds). Among the two treasures she collected was found 130 gold, two scrolls (Grenade and Furious Quill) and a Grimoire containing Imp.

The Girl’s Sigilist gained 150 experience and one level, but has yet to decide what to do with her new level.

Other Tim had a couple of thugs taken out by The Boy’s Knight… I can’t remember if they lived or not (he took his record sheet home with him). He dragged off a tonne of treasure there was hundreds of gold pieces, 6 potions, and armful of scrolls and two grimoires… I can’t remember what all of them were I know there was a potion of invisibility and a few explosive concoctions and the grimoires were for spells he already knew (and so would be selling them).

I can’t remember how much Experience the Enchanter got either… but I’m pretty sure he was at level three…

Though it was a late night everyone had a LOT of fun and are anxious to get more games in! Hopefully we’ll be able to recruit a few more players for our campaign. I know John is interested and I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to talk Amanda into joining…

Overall I like the system – it has a fast simple combat resolution system – I thought the keeping track of Health/Hit Points for individuals might be a bit clunky, but it turned out to be not so burdensome at all. The spells (that we’ve used so far) seem fun – and the Elemental spells seem pretty harsh (though hard to cast!). I really like the setting and campaign system and am looking forward to some extensive campaigning! The way phases of each turn is set up really lends itself to multiplayer games as no one is waiting long for their turn to move some of their guys. 

The game is somewhat limited in scope – as it is very tied into the campaign in the one setting and kind of assumes that everyone plays humans– perhaps expansions will add some variety and further options (Thaw of the Lich Lord is due out in November). For the foreseeable future I think Song of Blades and heroes will remain my “Go To” game for fantasy skirmishing (outside of the Frostgrave city limits!).


Coming soon on Tim’s Miniature Wargaming Blog:

Oh… probably more medieval/fantasy stuff (for Frostgrave!).