My friends Dave and Patrick stopped by Thursday evening to try out Song of Shadows and Dust. It’s been a busy few days and my memory of exactly how things went down, turn to turn, is fading quickly… but I’ll do my best to relay the highlights of the action!
Iskedumdrum, 69 BCE
Quintus Malus Legatus was the bright shining star of the Iskedumdrum Militia when he joined 15 years ago – rising quickly and gaining a reputation as a steady, dependable, man who could get things done. Many still remember him thusly, and turn a blind eye or refuse to believe some of his more recent activities. Over a decade and a half of dealing with the worst elements of society, seeing many of the guilty get away with the worst sorts of crime due to political connections has had a telling effect on Malus Legatus. First he became hard and jaded and disaffected, and then became utterly corrupt – taking bribes, extorting “protection taxes”, and more recently taking a more active hand in the criminal underworld – using his position as an officer of the militia to remove his rivals…
Publius Vindicus Consultus is a young magistrate in Iskedumdrum. He is determined to root out corruption within the militia. He wants to make an example of Malus Legatus!
Mad with power, Malus Legatus has become brazen and believes himself untouchable – he is at the point where he is even willing to risk open confrontation with the magistrates men in the streets..
The magistrate needs hard evidence and has decided to try and capture one of Legatus’ men to be tortured and interrogated. They score 1 Victory Point for every 50 points of opponents defeated and a bonus 5 Victory Points if they can capture and drag one of Legatus’ men off their own table edge.
Malus Legatus is out to teach the neighborhood why you don’t mess with Malus Legatus. They only score 1 Victory Point for every 100 points of enemies defeated, but score 10 Victory Points if they can retrieve a bee hive and deposit it in the building of a businessman that’s been a little behind in paying his “protection tax”.
The scenario takes place in the scorching heat of midday – only 12 civilians are in the street.
Qunitus Malus Legatus - Grizzled Militia Officer
Q 3+, C 3, 96 points
Armed, Dogged, Leader, Threatening
Q 3+, C 3, 50 points
Armed, Bludgeon, Determined
Q 4+, C 3, 45 points
Agile, Bow, Steadfast
Q 4+, C 3, 39 points each
Armed, Bludgeon, Steadfast
Q 4+, C 3, 27 points
Publius Vindicus Consultus - Magistrate
Q 2+, C 2, 100
Demagogue, Determined, Tribune
Frantix – Foreign Bodyguard
Q 4+, C 4, 42 points
Armed, Barbarous, Heavy Drinker, Protect Leader
Q 4+, C 3, 36 points
Q 4+, C 3, 27 points each
Q 2, C 0, 8 points
Clumsy, Distracting, Short Move, Slow
Rolling for his Heavy Drinking Body Guard – Patrick found his drinking today had made him a Combat Master!!
(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)
The setting for the action. The behive is tucked in the carner behind the irritable mule and the target building is the one at the bottom right of the picture (with the chests stacked against it). The magistrate’s men can be seen entering from the top right. A few of Malus Legatus’ men can be seen at the top left.
Malus Legatus spots that meddling Vindicus Consultus and his men approaching.
Innocent civilians standing about the square unaware of the confrontation about to take place.
Legatus’ militiamen march past Mad Abdul’s carpet stall…
The standoff in the street.
Legatus’ men rushed in trying to block the magistrate and his men from advancing further so the militia archer could get to the beehive in the corner.
I can’t quite remember who struck the first blows… I think it may have been the Magistrate’s men. The civilians – that Patrick had hoped might join his cause – scattered.
The Veteran Militiamen was the first of them to go down – clonked on his head and knocked out cold. This Patrick decided would be his target for capture – Legatus’ Right Hand Man. Frantix, the Foreign Bodyguard of the magistrate, also took down the Milita Archer before he could get to the hive.
There was a little confusion about the details of how capturing someone worked… in the rules is explains that at any point during the player with the Abduction objective could choose to change a kill result to a fall, it then took two action to bind and lift a captured enemy… it also said that if the carrier was attacked that a captured enemy would be dropped and should be placed lying down on the table and could then get up…?!
So we weren’t sure if ANY fallen opponent (beaten, even roll on dice) could be captured – as long as there was a standing rival in contact with him that could spend two actions to bind and lift them? Or did they HAVE to get a “kill” – which would then be considered “knocked out” who could be bound and carried off at the player’s leisure.
If a captured person was dropped an did manage to stand up were they automatically unbound and able to fight again normally? How would they have gotten their weapons back?
To keep things simple for the evenings scenario, I said that the abducting player had to score a “kill” result (doubled) – but not “gruesome kill” (tripled) – to “knock out” someone. One action was required to bind them, a second action was required to pick them up or grab them to drag away. If they were then contacted they would drop the captured opponent, but once captured the opponent was essentially just a marker (as in the Rescue objective) that either side could “pick up” for an action and drag or lead away as they see fit.
The scrap continues – Legatus’ men were constantly hindered by the presence of the extremely distracting Blind Prophet…
For some reason Vindicus Consultus decided to push through the melee into the square – perhaps he wasn’t feeling much use loafing about in the back – and so decided to march into the square and try to rouse the citizens against the corrupt militiamen.
Sadly he was cut down by Malus Legatus himself – not close enough for any of the civilians to join in…
But close enough to his own men to cause most of them to flee!
Things were looking pretty bad for the Magistrates men.
But then Dave choked on an activation roll and someone rallied the magistrates men: “Lads! Lads! We can’t leave the magistrate lying in the street there! We can’t let Malus Legatus get away with this!! Let’s go back there and get ‘em!!”
Frantix the Foreign Bodyguard, mad with rage, took on TWO militiamen!
Frantix was recoiled from the Militiamen. One of the Magistrate’s henchmen beat down Malus Legatus’ henchman who had just picked up the bee hive…
Which unleashed a swarm of angry bees… Malus Legatus and one of his militamen were knocked down by this – rolling about on the ground trying to get angry stinging bees out of their segmented armour!
Frantix took down another militiamen. The magistrates henchmen just could not get ther veteran militiaman bound and lifted… so many failed quality rolls… the Militia still hampered by the Blind Prophet’s presence…
Malus Legatus took to scaring off the Magistrates henchmen by bellowing threats to put out the eyes of their families and sell their daughters into Syrian brothels and such…
The game eventually ended due to the death toll… I think Frantix took down this last Militiaman he was fighting…
In the end, three of the magistrates men had fled the table and one henchman had been cut down along with the magistrate himself. Just over 200 points worth of troops defeated or fled netted Malus Legatus 2 victory points… Checking afterwards, the Henchman died of his wounds, but Magistrate Publius Vindicus Consultus luckily escaped serious injury and apparently the Fortunes smile upon him because he gained the “Lucky” special rule!
Malus Legatus had lost two militamen, the archer and his henchman (the one we decided was an “informer”). Enough to give the magistrate 3 victory points! The archer, the hemchman and one of the militiamen all died. The remaining militiaman was seriously injured and would suffer a permanent -1C.
Coming soon on Tim’s Miniature Wargaming Blog:
The kids are asking to play a Song of Shadows and Dust game today – perhaps there’ll be a second game report posted later this evening!