Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Bash-up in the Balkans 1912

I dug the 1912 Balkans War armies out again for a game using The Men Who Would Be Kings today. It was a straight forward encounter scenario using 36 point armies and a lot of fun.

1 unit elite regular inf (Evzones)
3 units regular inf (Greek inf and Italian Legion)

1 unit poor regular infantry (Cypriot gendarmes)
1 unit irregular inf 
1 unit field gun (poorly served)

3 units regular infantry (1 mounted)
1 unit poor regular infantry (Militia)
1 unit irregular infantry
1 unit machineguns (well served)
1 unit field gun (poorly served)

The Turkish gunners were superb, showing unusual accuracy. Together with the machineguns they dominated their side of the battlefield, catching several units in a murderous crossfire. The Greek gunners were less impressive, failing to activate on numerous occasions. To be fair, their initial deployment wasn't good, off on the opposite flank to the Turk's gun, the central hills blocked a lot of their potential targets.

 The two forces eye each other up, viewed from the Greek side of the battlefield.

 Greek infantry advance across the hills.

 Cypriot gendarmes take cover in scrub to try and avoid the Turkish shells, only to be raked by the machineguns.
 The Italian Legion advance through the shelter of the woods.

 The Greek artillery attempts to redeploy whilst the irregular volunteers move up to screen the gun from the Turkish mounted infantry.

 The Turkish infantry in the centre of the line take some fire from the Greek infantry.

 Turkish militia in the central woods snipe at the Greeks advancing across the hill in front of them.

 The Turkish artillery scan for their next target.

 The mounted Turkish infantry move up, cutting down the Greek irregulars with accurate rifle fire.

 The Greek's last throw falters as the Italian Legion are pinned by the Turkish artillery fire.... be finished off by the Turkish machineguns.

A clear win for the Turks! After lunch and a nice beer, we swapped sides and played it all over again, this time it was much closer, with the Greeks winning this time.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

New Scenarios for Sellswords and Spellslingers

Here are the two scenarios we used in the previous post. The play as two linked games, taking place on consecutive days. The PCs will heal any wounds from the first game overnight, but cannot carry out any other campaign activities before the second game.

I have made a few changes after our initial games. There are no traps, the villagers were not expecting the orc attack and the orcs have not had sufficient time to set any of their own for the second game. I have given the orc chieftain bodyguards as it was a little too easy to kill him in the second scenario.

Save the Villagers
Basic Scenario: 4 XP per player plus individual XP rewards
Orcs are raiding nearby farms and villages. You have been hired to protect a rich village and when the orcs attack your first task is to get the villagers into safety.

Terrain: A village with animal pens a small fields. At one end is a fortified refuge.  Fences and houses block LOS. Houses do not count as spawning points for purposes of the Ambush! Card.
Randomly place 6 villagers within 10” of the centre of the table.
To move a villager a PC must move into contact with the villager. They will then activate and move with the PC.
If instructed when the PC activates, they will move towards the refuge, so long as it remains in their LOS. They will move each time the PC activate for this turn. If it is out of LOS the villager will run 4” in a random direction. This instruction does NOT count as an action when the PC activates.
If a PC is attacked any accompanying villager will panic and run 4” in a random direction.

● 1 randomly deployed Orc Brute per player.
● 1 randomly deployed horde of 3 Orcs per player. A single horde is armed with short bows. If there is just 1 player, there is 1 horde armed with short bows.
● 1 randomly-deployed Orc warrior per player.
Foes must be at least 8” away from any villager. If an orc's deployment puts it within 8” of a villager, move it towards the closest table edge until it is at least 8” away from the nearest villager.

Traps: There are no traps.

PC Deployment: PCs are deployed on any point of the table edge opposite the refuge AFTER all foes have been deployed.

Wandering Monsters: Roll d6. The wandering monsters arrives on a random table edge, d6 x d6” away from a random corner:
1-4 d3 Orcs (deploy as horde if 2-3 Orcs appear)
5 1 Orc brute
6 1 Troll (if the Troll is already on the table, ignore further 6’s).

Victory Conditions: The mission is completed as soon all the villagers are safely in to refuge (or killed by the orcs). Every player with at least 1 surviving PC (including a resurrected PC) gains 4 XP, plus any individual XP rewards. Each villager that gains safety the responsible PC gains 1XP.

 Recovery: Players may rest overnight between scenarios and regain any lost HP.

Clear the Village
Basic Scenario: 4 XP per player plus individual XP rewards
Now you have got the villagers into safety you must eject the invaders.

Terrain: A village with animal pens a small fields. At one end is a fortified refuge.  Fences and houses block LOS. In this scenario houses do count as spawning points for purposes of the Ambush! Card.

● 1 randomly deployed Orc Chieftain with a horde of 3 orc warriors (bodyguards).
● 1 randomly deployed Orc Brute per player.
● 1 randomly deployed horde of 3 Orcs per player. A single horde is armed with short bows. If there is just 1 player, there is 1 horde armed with short bows.
● 1 randomly-deployed Orc warrior per player.

Traps: There are no traps.

PC Deployment: PCs are deployed at the entrance of the refuge AFTER all foes have been deployed.

Morale: If the Orc Chieftain is killed, or if at any moment PCs outnumber the total number of Orcs on the table, all orcs instantly run away and quit the game.

Wandering Monsters: Roll d6. The wandering monsters arrives on a random table edge, d6 x d6” away from a random corner:
1-4 d3 Orcs (deploy as horde if 2-3 Orcs appear)
5 1 Orc brute
6 1 Troll (if the Troll is already on the table, ignore further 6’s).

Victory Conditions: The mission is completed as soon there are no foes left on the table. Every player with at least 1 surviving PC (including a resurrected PC) gains 4 XP, plus any individual XP rewards. A  PC that kills the Orc Chieftain or the Troll gains 1XP.
Rewards: In addition to their treasure, the weapons carried by the foes can be sold for ½ price, and the village pays a bounty of 10 SP per orc slain and 40 SP for the Orc Chieftain.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Another Evening of Sellswords - Two New Scenarios

We had another evening of playing Sellswords and Spellslingers, with two new scenarios I'd been working on. Orcs have been raiding farms and villages around the region and our party of heroes had been employed to protect one of the villages. Whilst out patrolling the party had come across a lot of orcs tracks and realised they were heading for the village. Rushing back to raise the alarm, the PCs arrive just as the first orcs are emerging from the forest surrounding the village. In the first scenario the objective is to gather up stray villagers and get them into the safety of a fortified refuge at the far end of the village. The second scenario takes place the following morning when the PCs have the task of clearing the invading orcs from the village. The PCs would heal lost HPs overnight, but not be able to carry out any other between game activities.

The party consisted of Eduard "Eddie" Wizzard the wizard, Eldayondo the elf, Brother Christos the cleric, Bravely Bold Sir Robin the fighter, Ranger Sintamo and the dwarf who shall be as yet unnamed.
 The table layout, the PCs are just entering on the road by the ford.
An orc brute sneaks up on the unsuspecting villagers.

The scenario started well with only a single orc blocking the PCs route into the village. He was swiftly dispatched and the party crossed the ford into the village. We had a plan (again), the shooty types would round up the villagers and provide long range fire support and the cutty/choppy types would act as blockers and get stuck into any orcs who came too close. We would not stop to loot bodies until we had achieved the objective.

Now the orcs started moving closer so Eldayondo rushed ahead, but some bad dice meant that the closest orc grabbed one of the villagers and cut him down just before help could arrive. The orc was shot down and as the rest of the party moved into the village the dwarf cut a swath through the orcs. Sir Robin took a couple of wounds fighting one of the Brutes before finishing him off. Eddie zapped a couple from a distance and Ranger Sintamo (smarter then the average elf) scoped up a couple of villagers, pausing to shoot down the odd orc who was getting too close. Eldayondo also grabbed two villagers and the two of them hustled their charges down the road and into safety.
Four of the villagers make the safety of the refuge.

Brother Christos had set off after the last villager but unfortunately triggered the nearest horde to advance, which was the three orcs with short bows. Once in range they sent a volley of arrows at the cleric, two hit and Christos only caught one of the on his shield. Rather than take the role of pincushion, Christos charged into the orcs cutting one down. In the ensuing melee he killed another but was himself cut down. Sir Robin boldly rushed to his aid but was in turn knocked to the ground. As the victorious orc raised his sword a final time, Ranger Sintamo rushed around the corner of the house and stuck an arrow in his head.
 More orcs rush towards the ford.
Eldayondo and the dwarf "neutralising the threat" (the red counter represent unlooted bodies).

By now a lot more orcs had turned up so things were looking a little dodgy. Eldayondo and the dwarf had dispatched all the orcs that had reached the village so far, which gave us a small window of escape. Eddie grabbed the last villager and between them they carried Brother Christos towards the refuge. Sintamo slung Sir Robin over his shoulder and followed them.
Threat neutralised!
It may not be dignified, but Sintamo gets Sir Robin to safety.

With the dwarf and Eldayondo acting as rearguard all the party made it to safety. The Out-of-Action rolls, aided by Eldayondo's healer trait, showed both injuries to be minor  and they would be fit for action the following day.

When we moved on to the next scenario, the random deployment really worked in our favour. There were no orcs in the village at all (although the houses were still a potential point for ambushes), we only had two solo orcs close to the refuge and most of the orcs were on the far side of the river! The orc chieftain was actually the one closest to the ford. We decided our best hope for victory would be to take the chieftain out, so his followers would lose heart. Bravely Bold Sir Robin charged off after the nearest orcs, we wanted to take them out asap. That would make the orc chieftain the nearest orc and with luck we could lure him forward and shoot/magic him to death without having to risk getting into melee with him. A good plan that almost worked!

Sir Robin did his job, also dealing with an ambush, but was tempted to break the "no looting" rule when he noticed one orc was wearing a rather nice piece of jewellery. Now a couple of failed activations got the orc chieftain advancing towards our ambush. Unfortunatly, as a leader he also activated the nearest orc/horde, which meant three orc archers were tagging along close behind. As soon as the orcs got into effective range Eldayondo, Sintamo and Eddie let fly scoring 2 wounds on the big beastie.
The chieftain and his archers advance into the arrow storm. The number counter indicates how many HPs the chieftain has left.

Now everything starting to go wrong. Eddie Wizzard set off a gas trap (or had he just eaten too much cabbage soup the night before?) Fortunately everyone survived.
Then the orc archers moved forward past the orc chieftain, effectively screening him. They were also in archery range themselves so a firefight ensued, which left two orcs dead but several PCs with nasty wounds.
The orc archers advance.

We decided to take shelter behind the buildings and force the orcs to come to us. Now a bunch of orcs had come on the table behind the PCs and Eldayondo, Sintamo and the dwarf soon had their hands full dealing with an orc horde. At the same time the orcs on the far side of the river started to advance (2 Monster Frenzy cards in quick succession!). The bottleneck of the ford meant that they all joined together into one big horde as they started to cross into the village.
That's a lot of orcs!

With yet mores turning up at our backs and now a troll wandering onto the table, Sir Robin decided it was time for direct action. Nudging Brother Christos, the pair raced around the back of the buildings to try and flank the orc chieftain.
TROLL! We decided that there must be a bridge just off the table edge.

As the ran between two buildings the orc archer took a shot at Christos, but he caught it on this shield. Aware of the threat, the orc chieftain moved off the road towards Sir Robin. Passing 3 activations, Brother Christos overtook Sir Robin and jumped into combat with the chieftain, only to take a wound for his trouble.
 Launching the flank attack.


Brother Christos takes a battering.

Now Bravely Bold Sir Robin charged into the fray and cut the orc down. With their leader dead the rest of the orcs fled in terror, shrieking! Victory for the PCs and nobody died (this time).
Sir Robin deals the fatal blow.

On reflection we felt that the scenarios were reasonably balanced for lower level PCs. The second scenario had been a lot easier for us, but that was the nature of random deployment for the orcs. If the bulk of the orcs had been closer and between us and the chieftain, it would have been a very different battle.
I need to tidy the scenarios up a little and make a couple of minor adjustments, then I will publish them on the blog for anyone who wants to try them out.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

An Evening of Sellswords and Spellslingers

We managed to get several games of Sellswords and Spellslingers in over the past couple of evenings, and we finally managed to survive the encounters! We should probably give the PC's names now (except the wizard who is already named, Ian stated dramatically that he was going to "Activate the WIZZARD!" so I just started calling him "Eddie"). Here is a few photos from the first couple of our games. We used the same basic table layout for both scenarios.

The set up for the first scenario before the PCs enter the table.

The first scenario was Of Wine and Brambles. We decided to start with a plan (lack of which could have been the cause of the lack of survival in our first two games), we were not going to stop to loot bodies, but keep our eyes on the objective, The good fighters would act as guards and block off any dangers whilst the shooty-types would act as searchers and provide long range fire support as required. This was quite a quick game, we killed a few goblins and found jugs of wine in the first two clumps of brambles we searched. The Ranger excelled himself by finding a jug, treasure chest and a set of lockpicks in the first bramble clump. With no immediate danger we did loot a couple of goblins but left most of the bodies alone and headed off the table as quickly as possible with everyone in the party still pretty healthy. We had been very lucky rolling a lot of "1"s when more goblins turned up, rather than hordes of 5 or 6 at a time.
 The Ranger is very pleased with himself having found a treasure chest, a wine jug (yellow counter) and a mystery object (blue counter) which turned out to be a set of lockpicks. In the background the  Fighter is examining the dwarf's handiwork (the red counters represent dead goblins so far unpillaged).

 Eddie heads towards another clump of brambles to search, guarded by the Fighter and the Dwarf. Note the trail of dead goblins (red counters) which mark their path.

Yet another single goblin enters the table behind us. We were very lucky with rolls for wandering monsters and reinforcements.

In the post adventure lull the party varied in their achievements. The Cleric and Fighter decided to play safe and joined the Town Militia, which was uneventful. The Ranger went hunting and was quite successful netting a tidy profit. Eddie Wizzard was a bit of a damp squib as a street entertainer (the rest of the party commented that it was a bit like his performance on the battlefield!), the Elf made a tiny profit gambling and the Dwarf managed to lose money trying his hand at mining!

The second game was In Search of Rare Herbs. This started off OK but didn't go so well, we had a lot of goblins turning up and quite a few bigger ones with 2 HP. There was a lot of fighting and just about everyone took hits. At one point the Cleric, who had gone to assist S the wood elf, found himself surrounded. The pair battled on back to back and at one point had a dozen goblin bodies piled up around them. With even more closing in they decided discretion was the better part of valour and got off the table. The situation wasn't helped by the Fighter putting his foot in a snare just as an angry bear emerged from the bushes just in front of him. The Ranger went to his aid but was killed by the bear, before the Fighter could free himself and finish the beast off. Again, with goblins closing in he decided to grab the ranger's corpse and get out of there. Elsewhere the Dwarf and Elf had provided effective cover to the Eddie Wizzard, who had managed to find 3 bunches of rare herbs. As they tried to escape the Dwarf was ambushed by one last goblin, who manged to kill him! Fortunately they were close to the table edge and Eddie took the goblin out and managed to drag the Dwarf off at the last minute. On the Out of Action check, both the characters were just stunned and made a full recovery.
Oh Crap! An angry bear just makes the PC's day! The Fighter is trapped in a snare and the Pinned counters represent the number of actions required to cut him free (he had already spent 1 action hacking at the bindings).

More games tonight, I'll try to remember to take more photos this time.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Fantasy Urban Encounters and Onlookers

I am really excited about Sellswords and Spellcasters and planning to run two campaigns. With my buddy Ian we will be playing in a generic Fantasy world, very reminiscent of the D&D games we both remember from our youth. I am also going to play a solo campaign set in Middle Earth in the mid-Third Age, around the collapse of the Kingdom of Arnor. I am already thinking of ideas for additional scenarios beyond those in the rulebook and want to include some games in an urban setting.

Of course any game set in a town needs bystanders and NPCs to potentially help (or hinder) the adventurers. So I have been rooting around in the loft, digging out figures that haven't seen the light of day for 15 to 20 years. Looking at this lot, they are going to be a fruitful source of inspiration for our future encounters.

A group of travelling merchants who may be in need of protection, may have useful information, or may be in possession of something that doesn't belong to them and needs to be recovered.

High life and low life, a good-time girl and musician, a successful local burgher and his wastrel son, watch out for the cutpurse/assassin/spy!

The "Good Folk" of the town, a town wife and children, the innkeeper (a good source of local gossip), the grave digger, a better class of musician and dancing girl (or is she a sorceress?).

Patrons of the inn, one of the "regulars", a soldier/guardsman (possibly works for one of the merchants), the barmaid and a rich boy. He might need rescuing from robbers, or might be in here to start a fight for a laugh.

More patrons, possibly adventurers stopping for a well-earned pint of two, a hooded warrior (possibly a ranger), a veteran dwarf and an experienced warrior.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Two Gaming Mats for the Price of One!

I've got some nice 3x3 and 4x3 gaming mats for skirmish gaming and a 6x4 Cigar Box mat for 10mm, so I felt it was high time to dump the old dark green felt for 6x4 games with the larger scales.

I was quite pleased with the effect I got with white fleece for snow, so I thought I'd look at that material for grass. Looking around Evilbay I found someone selling a sort of sage green for the princely sum of £5.85 per metre. It was 60 inches wide so I ordered 2 metres for the total of £15 including postage. My table is actually slightly under 5 feet in width, so this would cover the table with a slight overhang on either side.

Of course the advantage of fleece is that it is double sided, which means a reversible gaming mat! I left one side alone, so I have summer pasture/grassland when I want that. In reality it is slightly less yellow that it appears in this photo.

With the current sunny weather I pegged the cloth against the garden fence and attacked the other side with spray paints. I had a part-used can of brown and another of sand paint in my paints box, so I randomly applied then to the fleece. For a first time I was quite pleased with the effect, but i think I might go back to it, either with more of the brown, or else get an even darker spray, if I can find one.

And here is the painted side with my jungle set up, ready for a game later today.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

A Confederate Army for the War of the Spanish Succession 7

Two more Imperialist infantry regiments finished. These might be the last units I need before the next big game, I just need to finalise the OOB and check. It will be a very rushed paint job if i do need something else for just a couple of weeks time! But why make it easy when I can push myself to the last minute?

The Imperialist gentlemen.

Whilst taking the pictures for this post, I've just spotted an unfinished Palatine regiment I had forgotten all about!