Friday, 28 August 2009

Winter 987 - Brother Cedric Lies Around A Lot

Brother Cedric had been lucky. The arrows had caused serious but not fatal injuries. His followers carried him to the nearest preceptory, where he lay in a fever for weeks. The Brothers at the preceptory were scandalised by his ravings about Griselda's baps and buns but they put it down to the wound-fever. Slowly he responded to their treatment and slowly he recovered. As he did so, he ranted and raved much less and eventually, towards the end of winter, his rational self returned. He began to exercise and recover his strength and, by spring, he was ready to resume his quest.

Winter 987 - Campaign Progress

Following the battles of the autumn, Treyine and Ekra have concluded a peace treaty. The Treyine empire is expanding rapidly but their progress will be hindered now by all the nations around them, with whom they have made treaties.

The Situation during Winter 987 (click for a larger version)

In other news, The Goblin general, Graash the Unflinching, died this winter. It is unclear whether he was poisoned or not, but Gargash Gutripper, the new Goblin leader, swears blind that there was only a natural succession within the Goblin tribes. A spell going awry also seems to have done for the wizard Callifraxia Glories-in-the-Sun. The Treyine army will certainly miss her.

No new heroes have stood up to be counted this winter. Perhaps they fear the Treyine arrows as much as Brother Cedric does now!

With the disappearance of Callifraxia, a number of other wizards have shown their hands. It looks like the Border Kingdoms, Ekra and Tropilium will all be hiring wizards for their armies. Unfortunately for the Goblins of Zog-Rot, they get no recruitment rolls this year, which is a shame because they could have had three wizards!

No new artefacts or magic items have been discovered within the campaign area this winter.

The campaign map now includes the Border Kingdoms as a separate nation from the Brethren, and adds Hykar and Tropilium. Steve is supplying the Tropilium Legionaries. Will they be able to stop Treyine expansion?

Hykar - Horsewomen of the central steppes

Every girl wants a pony for her birthday. It's a given. So what happens when all the small girls that were refused ponies band together and take them? The nation of Hykar is born, that is what.

The nation of Hykar is a confederation of steppe tribes ruled by women. Women rule the society and run everything. Men in Hykar society have no rights or say in what happens. Tribal councils strictly forbid men from taking part in any decision-making process. For this reason, the Hykari look down upon their neighbours, who are ruled by men. This makes diplomacy very difficult. The Hykari's primary interests in life are ponies and bling and they believe that it is their right to take either or both of these from the inferior peoples around them, or even from each other.

The Hykari army (click all pictures for larger versions)

The Hykari army comprises huge numbers of light horse supported by a smaller number of wealthy noble Hykari. Women that have not proven their worth yet (Jurgen in the Hykari tongue) are sometimes permitted along on the raids. The wealthier of these Jurgen will ride horses, but most will be on foot. Jurgen are forbidden by Hykari law from wearing pretty clothes or jewellery. Women prove their worth in Hykari society by killing in battle and stealing horses. Once a woman has stolen her first horse and killed her first enemy she may wear the pretty things that she aspires to. This is a badge of her social status and is important to getting along in Hykari society. The women of Hykar mark their status by their clothes and jewellery, and also by twining ribbons in their ponies' manes and tails. The more ribbons a pony has, the more bloodthirsty and vicious its rider is likely to be.

Hykari Heroines and Leaders

Hykari Nobles

Hykari Warriors

Jurgen (left to right: Nobles, Spearwomen, Skirmishers)

Note: Warrior Heroes states that the Hykari army list is based on Huns. I had Amazons, with a preponderance of light horse, in the lead pile and wanted to use them rather than buying new figures, so I have based my Hykari army around the Amazons instead.

Winter 987 - The Raid on Gruumsh

After months of searching for an opportunity, Ragnar’s band finally found the village of Gruumsh. This sleepy goblin hamlet looked ripe for the assault. Its inhabitants were no doubt ready for their Yuletide dinner and Ragnar intended to take it from them. The group sneaked close to the village. With a ferocious yell, they all charged into the village. The goblins were stunned and did not react until it was too late. Half a dozen goblins had spilt their guts on the floor before the others started to get organised. However, by then it was too late. Most of them were dead or had fled. Those that remained hiding in the buildings were quickly despatched and the serious business of looting could get under way. None of Ragnar’s group were even injured in this attack! With the loot that he had gained Ragnar’s reputation also improved massively. There would be much to sing about when he returned home.

Finally Ragnar finds something to fight! This was a standard raid scenario that went spectacularly well for our heroes.

Autumn 987 - Bloody Meadows

Brother Cedric had caught up with the object of his quest. He knew exactly where the Spear of Lindorf was and he knew who had it. Unfortunately, it was surrounded by thousands of Treyine soldiers. Sneaking into the Treyine camp was not really Brother Cedric's forte, so he needed another way to get to the Spear. The means was all around him. The battered Ekran army had rallied and was ready to try stopping the Treyine army once more. The soldiers in the army looked half-defeated already, but that did not stop them lining up ready to sell their homeland's soil dearly. Brother Cedric had a place as a captain in their midst. The Ekran general had been grateful to see even Cedric's small band willing to support his own forces. Half of the Treyine archers had set up stakes in front of their positions. The other half had refused the Treyine right flank. The Spear was with the Treyine general in the centre of their line. On the Ekran left flank, the mercenary captain Alfred Badenhorst had deployed his Black Company opposite the White Company of Sir Geoffrey Chambers. Both commanders were ready to settle an old score. Sir Geoffrey was particularly keen after the rout of his knights in the last battle. Trumpets blew and drums rolled as the advance was ordered.

Brother Cedric had rolled a result of find the object of his quest but he had to fight a battle before going to the raid scenario. Rather than do this in WHAA, we chose to combine the two campaigns and fight the battle in WH because there was going to be a WH battle anyway and we knew the object of the quest would be at that battle. Brother Cedric's task was to get to the stand carrying the Spear and rout them. If he did that then the next scenario, regardless of the outcome of the WH battle would be a raid on the routers' camp to recover the Spear.

The Treyine army had rolled low enough to be the defender in this battle, even though they were invading. Terrain was set up with two light woods on each flank. I worked out Brother Cedrics stats under WH and he was then fielded as a hero stand. Steve does not have a suitable 6mm version so we used the actual Brother Cedric figure. I think that gives him his proper heroic status!

Click the pictures for larger versions

As the Ekran army advanced, the witch Callifraxia made her presence known. The ground opened up under the Ekran right flank and all of the troops to Brother Cedric's right were swallowed up by a yawning Abyss, never to be seen again. The flower of Ekran chivalry was lost. More importantly, the Ekran general was lost. Brother Cedric rallied quickly and took charge. Even though the troops were shaken, Brother Cedric managed to stop them fleeing the field. He reformed the lines and marched on.

A level 3 wizard with an Abyss spell is a hugely powerful weapon in this game. In this instance, the spell destroyed three stands of knights and one of crossbows. I had not realised that one of those stands was the general. The conversation then went something like this.
"Right, Steve, do you want to make the remaining knight your general, since you had not told me which was your general? No? Ok, then you had better roll a die to see if your general survives. He will survive on anything but a 6. Ok? What did you get? A 6? Oh dear. Right, the general is lost forever."
We also decided that since Brother Cedric is a Star as well as a hero that he could take charge of the army so it would not be so limited by like of leadership. That's the heroic thing to do after all. WH does not actually have Stars, but it felt right porting over some of their attributes from WHAA.

As the remnant of the Ekran army advanced, Sir Geoffrey Chambers' hot-headedness took over again and he charged Alfred Badenhorst's pikemen, only to be repulsed. Badenhorst hooted insults at Sir Geoffrey as his knights withdrew from the pike block, leaving several of their number lying wounded and dying on the floor. Meanwhile, the Treyine archers on the right flank started firing, initially with little effect. On the left flank, the archers advanced from behind their stakes, wheeling to fire into the flank of the Ekran army.

Sir Geoffrey, smarting from the insults hurled at him charged again, only for his knights to be cut down around him. The remaining knights fled the field ignominiously defeated. Honour was restored, however, when Sir Geoffrey's archers opened up on Badenhorst's pikes, wounding many and causing Badenhorst to flee the field too. Honours were about even now. The archers fired once more, driving off the Ekran peasant infantry, and then the Ekran knights charged. A bloody and drawn out melee ensued as they were engaged by the Treyine infantry and men-at-arms. Meanwhile, the archers on the left flank had moved into range and began shooting. Brother Cedric's small band were soon wounded and it did not take long for Cedric himself to be grievously wounded. Seeing their leader fall, the small band of brothers retreated from the field with his body, leaving only the knights and Badenhorst's arquebusiers standing. They called for parley and were permitted to leave the field as the Treyine army once more drove all before it. Their casualties had been light and they could afford to be magnanimous in victory.

"Steve, the archers have scored a hit on Brother Cedric. He only becomes a casualty if you roll a 6. What's that? A 6?"
"Right, Steve, you need to roll for the severity of the wound. 1 or 2 is good. What did you get? Another 6? Right that means Cedric is dead."
But wait, can Cedric really be dead? Well, no, not really. He is a Star. As I mentioned earlier, we were porting over some rules from WHAA for this game. Because Brother Cedric is a star, he cannot be killed by anyone with a lesser Rep than him. CV in WH is basically the same as Rep, and the archers have a lower CV than Brother Cedric, so, even though the result called for a dead result, it became an out of the fight result instead. Brother Cedric is badly wounded, but not dead yet and he will forfeit his next Social Advancement roll instead.