Sunday, November 30, 2008

Kill the menacing Chieftain - SBH game

“Brave Men and Women – we are in desperate need of heroes to find Or’lath and his band of murderers. He is wanted by the crown for multiple attacks of the surrounding farms. A reward of 65 silver pennies will be given to the band that can kill Or’lath and 38 silver pennies for the death of Murlk, his Shaman. Others in service of Or’lath will be worth a nominal amount”

That is the posting that got Jareth into this mess three days ago. All of dirt, grime and crappy rations were worth it if they could get the drop on the huge bugbear Or’lath. Even after finding the trail, it was still mid-day before Jareth and his friends finally found the Chieftain and his minions that were running amok in the nearby countryside. The stage was set near a burnt out husk of a farm building…

This is the first battle for Jareth and his (self- proclaimed) Saviors of the Savage Lands (see earlier post). The mission is simple; kill Or’lath the Bugbear leader and/or his Shaman Murlk to save the nearby farms. This game was played with the Song of Blades and Heroes rule set. I decided that it would be easiest if I just played against a normal 300 pt warband to get myself re-acquainted with the rules before I made a large campaign out of the thing (I played a quick game at Origins – I split a force with a very cool gent who let me kill both of his savage orcs in two combats. Yep, I can sure roll 1s with the best of them). Both the Chieftain and the Shaman would be rewarded for cost in money if they were killed during the scenario but other models would be worth 25% their cost (not sure what the money is going to be used for just yet). The total amount in money would also be the amount of fame points (used to buy followers) that the characters would receive. Experience will be determined on the models killed in cost/10 with surviving characters getting a full share and OOA (out of action) models receiving one half share rounding all fractions normally at the end (not sure how I’ll handle XP yet either). Yep, I’m making these rules up as I go…

All Models from the ‘evil’ band were taken straight from the rulebooks. There were:
1 Bugbear Chieftain @ 65 pts
1 Orc Shaman @ 38 pts
3 Hobgoblin Bowman (used crossbowman stats) @ 38 pts
3 Savage Orc Warrios @ 27 pts
Total cost: 298 pts.

Here is the board layout. I didn't have a 3' square felt so I made do with what I had.

Turn 1: Heroes are considered the attackers and go first. I activate Erdan with 2 dice and roll snake eyes. Play passes to the Villains (or as I called them, baddies). Have played this game before, the quality 4+ figures all stay close to the leader to help them with their activation dice (now to be called AD). The three archers get an impressive group move that gets them close to the defensive hill in the middle.

Turn 2: Most heroes move up, but Xaria fails both AD dice and play passes with Flashfire getting a chance. The evil band continues to move up. Two archers attempt to shoot Jareth (one even aims) but both fail to do anything

Turn 3: All the heroes actually get to move forward and are taking command of the hill. Durgon get surrounded by three attackers and is unable to stave off the incoming attacks and is killed [6 + 3 vs. 3 +1 (die rolls in bold)].

The situation right before Durgon is slain. Notice how far up he and Pip are.

Turn 4: Erdan shoots at an archer making it ‘fall’, but Jareth fails 2 AD and the turn passes to the Baddies. The chieftain moves up to Pip with a buddy and slays him [6 +5 vs. 3 + 2].

Turn 5: Heroes seeing their chances dwindling conducts an all out advance towards the chieftain but Flashfire gets only a single success and can’t press the attack. Jareth recoils from an attack which allows Flashfire to be surrounded by enemies and is killed by the chieftain [5 + 4 vs. 4 + 1]. Heroes must make a morale check due to being at 50%. All heroes flee one or two movements but none off the board.

After the heroes fled from the loss of Flashfire. Perhaps it was just a strategic retreat?

Turn 6: (The turning point for the heroes. I was so ‘inspired’ by the action; I had to go tell my wife!) Erdan moves forward ignoring the closest savage orc (Erdan is worth 60 pts so he can ignore a model that is 27) and shoots the chieftain [6 + 5 vs. 1 + 4] slaying him! One bowman flees the board. The elf moves forward with grace and determination shooting his bow and manages to catch the chieftain square between the eyes felling him. All the evil models move to get close to the shaman.

The lone elf makes ready his bow...

Turn 7: There is an ineffective shot from Erdan, but Jareth knocks a bowman down. The bowman stands just as a buddy helps knock Jareth down.

Things don't look good for the Jareth (who can barely be seen).

Turn 8: Jareth stands and Erdan shoots killing an orc warrior [4 + 4 vs. 1 + 3]. Jareth gets surrounded by three attackers and is gruesomely killed [6 + 3 vs. 2 + 1]. The remaining heroes must take two morale checks which doesn’t make either run off the board.

Turn 9: Erdan moves, performs a powerful attack and gruesomely kills an orc warrior [6 + 4 vs. 1 + 2]. This forces two morale checks (the kill and @ 50%) and most flee at least one movement. The shaman flees off the board. Interestingly, the now lead model made 6 successes @ 4+! The Orcs try to consolidate, but with 4+ quality, it’s slow going.

Turn 10: Xaria moves to cast a level 1 transfix spell on an archer behind cover who fails the check [3]. Erdan aims at the transfixed model killing it [5 + 5 vs. 2 + 2]. The remaining archer gets 3 successes, moves and aims at Erdan pushing him back [3 + 3 vs. 1 + 3].

Turn 11: Erdan shoots archer knocking him down [4 + 4 vs. 3 + 2]. Xaria seeing an opening moves and casts a power 1 spell at fallen archer, but it resists [2 +3 vs. 4 + 3]! The archer only gets a single success and stands.

Xaria in the forefront trying to slay the knocked down archer!

Turn 12: Erdan fails on 2 AD [2, 1] and play passes. Archer moves up to attack Xaria and they exchange blows with no real victor [1 + 3 vs. 2 + 2].

Turn 13: Erdan moves and attacks archer but merely pushes him off the hill [5 + 4 vs. 5 + 2]. Xaria casts a power 2 transfix spell at the archer and it fails [4, 1]. The final warrior moves to engage Xaria, but the archer is still transfixed [4, 2, 1].

Turn 14: Erdan again fails on 2 AD and play passes. Warrior attacks Xaria and the Mage manages to push it back [2 + 3 vs. 5 + 2]. The archer still transfixed [5, 3, 1].

Turn 15: Erdan shoots at transfixed archer and kills him [3 + 6 vs. 5 + 3]. Xaria fails to activate. The final warrior rolls 3 AD, but only gets a single success. Move to engage Xaria.

Turn 16: Erdan gets 3 successes and performs a powerful attack with Xaria by his side gruesomely kills the final warrior [4 + 4 vs. 1 + 1].

Post game report: The heroes gained 98 silver pennies, gained 98 fame points and also gained 195 exp. With only 4 shares that gives 5 exp (195 / 10 / 4 = 4.8 rounds to 5) to both surviving members (namely Erdan and Xaria) and 2 exp (195 / 10 / 4 / 2 = 2.4 rounds to 2) to the rest. Both Flashfire and Durgon received grievous wounds and will miss the next scenario. Jareth and Pip were wounded and be a -1 combat for the next game. It looks like I’ll need some reinforcements if I plan on winning the next one!

Final analysis: This game rocked. I was on the ‘edge of my seat’ the entire time. It played quick and the action was awesome (you can see the measuring sticks I made in the pictures which helped a ton. I definitely need to make range sticks for shooters). After the heroes lost 3 of their numbers, I thought I was going to have to follow Or’lath and his band in a campaign considering how awesome they were doing (and it looked like the heroes were going to be wiped out)! The tide turned when Erdan shot and killed the leader since I had just reread the rules that morning and could skip the closest warrior. Like I said, I had visions of Lord of the Rings during that and had to explain my excitement to my wife (much to her chagrin). Actually, if you think about it, Erdan did almost all the work himself (Xaria transfixed the archer that allowed Erdan to finish him off).

The only issue with this game is that I played it to the last model. Once both personalities of Or’lath’s warband were dead or had fled the table, the rest should have dissolved away (they didn’t have any reason to continue really) and I maybe I should have stated that in my pregame decisions. Another sore spot I had is once the heroes had been taken to 50% and no casualties on the other side, it felt dirty of me to continue the game (none of their personalities were gone at that time however), but I don’t have the answer on how to fix that one. Of course, that would have ended it in turn 5 and I’d not have had the joy of the Erdan shot! Perhaps some self preservation check or some such.

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