Sunday, 29 March 2009

Summer 986 - Campaign Progress

The summer months began with a wave of assassinations that led to the Brethren being asked to govern the Border Kingdoms. No other news of worth had happened since the previous year. Rumours of a Goblin Khan uniting the Goblins of Zog-Rot were disturbing but nothing had been proven yet.

Campaign Map at start of Summer 986


Magic Items
The locations of the following magic items are known:
Spear of Lindorf - Treyine
Crystal Light of Yaqub - Demeskeen (non-campaign nation)
Book of the Hungry Moon - Naz-Goth (non-campaign nation)

Armies
Each has a fixed core and rolls for additional units based on how many provinces it controls and its technology level. The current status of the armies is as follows.

Border Kingdoms/Brethren
1 Brother Knights
1 Brother Sergeants
2 Heavy Spearmen
1 Peasant Foot
2 Crossbows
1 Peasant Archer
+4 rolls

Ekra
3 Knights
4 Infantry
2 Crossbows
2 Mercenary Arquebusiers
1 Peasant Archers

Treyine
1 Foot Knight
2 Retinue Foot
9 Longbowmen
1 Mercenary Handgunners

Zog-Rot
3 Archers
7 Goblins
1 Black Moon Goblins
1 Wolf Riders

No Wizards, Heroes or Mercenaries are available this campaign year. They may become available in the next campaign year.

On checking to see if anyone has gone to war, we find that all is peaceful for the time being. Well, at least at a national level it is. Brother Cedric is finding things rather hotter than expected!

Saturday, 28 March 2009

The Border Kingdom

The Border Kingdoms are just that, a group of allied kingdoms on the border between humanity and the humanoid hordes. It was once a part of Zog-Rot, the Goblin lands, but the Brethren led a crusade northwards to drive the goblins back from the borders of humanity. Now it is a wild kingdom on the frontier where any adventurer with nerves of steel and a strong sword arm can carve small kingdom of his own from the land. The Border Kingdoms' nobility is largely composed of adventurers, who have braved the dangers of this lawless frontier to establish a new kingdom. Naturally, the Ekrans with their long family lineages look down on the Borderers as common upstarts. The Treyine have a more pragmatic view and recognise the toughness of the Borderers, occasionally recruiting units of them into their own army. The Borderers are indeed a tough breed. They need to be, because they are constantly being raided by the Goblins of Zog-Rot over the border. Of course, the Borderers also regularly raid the Goblins too. After all, fair's fair!

The Border Kingdoms function like a city state, with all collective decisions being made by a council of the leading nobles in the country. Without the agreement of the majority of the ruling council, no laws can be enacted and the country may not go to war. However, due to national emergency brought about by the assassination of many of the ruling council, the Brethren have been asked to govern on behalf of the Border Lords until the Lords' children achieve their majority.

Most common Borderers favour the spear as their weapon of choice. The nobility are not rich here, so they do not have the same armour as their cousins in Ekra and Treyine. Likewise, they cannot afford to maintain similar numbers of retinue troops. They tend to wear older armour and wield halberds alongside their subjects. What little cavalry the Borderers have is not as heavy or as well barded as the Ekran or Treyine cavalry, but it is more than a match for the Goblin cavalry that they usually fight.

No pictures of the 6mm Borderers at the moment. The main (non-game) reason the Border Kingdoms are being governed by the Brethren is that I have not yet painted the Border Kingdoms army. The rulers of the Border Kingdom will come of age when I finally paint it. I do have some 6mm figures to use for this army, but I wanted to model it on the Norman army of the 11th century rather than a later army. This is why the 28mm figures I have for it are Normans.

Warrior Heroes - Campaign Outline

The War Ratings and Morale statuses of the four nations involved in the basic campaign are listed in the top right of the blog. War Rating determines how aggressive a nation is. Morale determines how long a nation is likely to stay at war and how long the ensuing peace is likely to be.

The campaign is fought in seasons, unlike the Warrior Heroes: Armies and Adventures campaign which is fought in months. In Talomir, Spring lasts from January to March. Summer is from April to June. Autumn is from July to September and Winter lasts from October to December. That keeps things simple and easy to track.

Each season except for Winter, a check is made to see if a nation goes to war. If it goes to war then it's target must be determined. The War Rating and Alignment of the various nations, among other things, affects how often and with whom nations will make war. Other factors also affect this, but you will have to read the rules for those. If a nation goes to war with another nation, then a target province is nominated, a battle is fought and the winner gets the province. Checks are then made to see if the war ends or if it will continue for another season. Meanwhile the other nations are still testing to see if they will go to war too.

The campaign ends when all participants get bored, one person clearly dominates the nations involved or one person controls the Amulet of Sorbrowane, the Brazier of Durmun and the War Horn of Naz-Goth. If these artefacts are brought together at hte same time on the Peaks of Gorath, the final battle between the Red Sun and the Black Moon will begin and all existence will be destroyed. Or maybe the person that gathered them on the Peaks of Gorath will be granted dominion over all Talomir. Who knows? Well, if it ever actually happens then we shall find out.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Escape!

April 986
Prelude

Uggrash was annoyed. The woman from the Borders was seducing his fellows with sugary confections. This would not do. It had taken him years to learn how to boil a human into edible submission and now this human was stealing his thunder. He was the cook in this den, and he would remain the cook. Well, he would show them. The question was, how large would the pie have to be if he were to fit the weapons of all of the captured humans into it? How else could he smuggle their weapons into their cell so that they could make a break for it and get killed escaping? Yes, he really needed to fix them once and for all. Then he would regain his former status as clan cook. After all, he was old by goblin standards and toothless now. If he did not remain useful to his clansmen then they would throw him into the pot, and he did not want that.

The ugly old Goblin approached the cells carefully. He had made sure to lace the guards' evening drink with madroot, which would ensure they slept through the night. Perhaps they would be caught in the morning still asleep at their posts. Uggrash licked his lips in anticipation of the potential feast. The weapons in the roll on his back were heavy for one of his years. He had not been able to manage the armour too, but that was alright. He did not want the humans to survive the escape attempt. They were too delicious for that. He had reached the door of the cell and the guards were asleep as expected. Opening the door, he threw the roll with the weapons into the cell. It made a loud thump, which roused the sleeping prisoners. Groggily they sat up to work out what had just happened. Uggrash left the door ajar so that they could see the light through it. Stepping away from the door he was about to leave when he had a sudden thought. Turning back he quickly slit the guards' throats. Yes, he was taking no chances now. These two would definitely be for the pot tomorrow. Uggrash hurried away. Behind him he could hear a low conversation in the cell. He giggled to himself as he considered how everything would be alright now.

Of Cedric and Griselda


Time passed slowly in the Goblin King's dungeon. Brother Cedric, Brother Konrad and Griselda shared the same cramped cell. This had caused problems to begin with, especially in the toiletry department. Both Cedric and Konrad had been kept in all male company since an early age. Most Brethren are sent to the monastery/castles at the age of 6 to begin their martial and religious training. Griselda however was used to male company having been raised with six brothers. They soon relaxed into a monotonous routine.

They had been there about two months when that routine was broken. Instead of the usual shouting and grunting outside the door at meal time, they heard gurgling and thumps against the floor. The door then opened and a package was thrown in which clanked as it hit the floor. The door then remained ajar. Cedric walked to the package and opening it found his sword, Konrad’s Axe and an axe he could only imagine belonged to Griselda. They quickly gathered up their weapons and headed for the door.

Outside the door lay the two goblin guards, both with their throats slit. Quickly Brother Cedric and Griselda stooped to take the shields from the goblin's bodies. They then headed for the door to the next room. This they opened and Brother Cedric and Brother Konrad quickly stepped through.


Meanwhile outside the entrance of the goblin lair Herman the Spearman arrived with Brother Siegfried and Brother Wilfhelm. He had returned to the Brethren castle and recruited the two to help rescue his liege Brother Cedric. They entered the caverns and quickly made their way into the first cave. Here four goblins were waiting for any unwary guests, but the trio were anything but unwary. The goblin’s arrows bounced off their shields and in a few moments the goblins were dead or running. The crept onward into the goblin nest.



Deeper and deeper into the caves. It was quiet, too quiet, but nary a goblin did they see …


Both Brother Cedric and Brother Konrad let out a gasp as they entered the room. There, facing them, was a rather large ogre, as well as another goblin. Brother Konrad made short work of the goblin, but Brother Cedric was hard pressed by the ogre. Griselda rushed in to aid the brethren, but the ogre backhanded her and she crumpled to the ground. Both Brethren now attacked the ogre, but this seemed to have no effect. Twice it looked as if Brother Cedric was about to be killed, but each time he shrugged off the blow. Finally Brother Konrad got the break and the ogre crumpled to the ground.

As Brother Cedric lead the way Brother Konrad carried the injured Griselda. They heard a door open behind them and wheeled to face their opponents. The Goblin leader and two followers. The sight of the fallen ogre must have made them think twice for Brothers Cedric and Konrad made short work of them. Just as Brother Cedric pulled his blade from the black heart of the Goblin Leader, the door behind them burst open …


Through the caverns the trio rushed, would they be too late to get to save their Brothers and Griselda. Even in their haste, Brother Wilfhelm, the engineer, spotted and disarmed a trap. They could hear fighting up ahead and burst through the door only to see Brother Cedric dispatching the Goblin Leader.
Brother Siegfried rushed to Griselda and with his healing abilities soon had her on her feet again. They quickly found the rest of Cedric, Konrad and Griselda’s possessions, but little else in the caverns.

Mounting the horses that had been brought for them the party headed back towards the border ...

Epilogue
Uggrash looked at the carnage around him. Well, that could have gone better but at least he would not starve while waiting for the hunting parties to return. Hmm, and he had full run of the lair. There only remained women and children at the moment. That was a bonus. As the only adult male, he was in charge now too. Maybe it was not all that bad after all.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Ragnar's Saga - Prelude

Ragnar and his brave comrades travelled east in their old fishing boat. Ragnar was the third son of an impoverished yeoman, Ketil the son of Grim. Like many third sons before him, he had chosen to pursue glory and wealth abroad rather than remaining on the farm to moulder and grow old. Of course, the sagas were only ever told about those third sons that had become wealthy and returned home. No one spoke of the rest, who died in foreign lands or were enslaved on their travels. Runestones across Mirholme attested the number of bodies that never returned. Ragnar felt sure, with all the cockiness and confidence of youth that he would return home wealthy and covered in glory.

To make sure that he left, his father gifted him with a worn out old fishing boat that he could no longer be bothered repairing, weapons and armour. These were the sum total of Ragnar’s inheritance. Ragnar then announced his intention of going a-viking and recruited to his banner a handful of local youths, who shared Ragnar’s dreams of wealth and glory. Filled with the skalds’ songs, Ragnar and his crew sailed eastwards, ready to pillage and burn their way into the sagas. Only the Norns knew what their fate would be …




I began Ragnar's Saga a while back and I did not take any photos of my solo games for it, but I plan to stage a few recreations and post the original battle reports here. It does mean that it will be a while before Ragnar does anything new, but that gives me time to sort things out and still post regularly. Brother Cedric will also get a chance to catch up in the meantime. Ragnar is the Gripping Beast "Egill Skallagrimsson". I put down some of his attitude to male pattern baldness!

Monday, 23 March 2009

The Army of Treyine

Treyine is a small nation of shopkeepers. It's inhabitants believe in fair play and are reputed to play strange games with bats and balls. No foreigner has ever stayed awake long enough at one of these games to report what actually goes on.

The people of Treyine are strong and bold. The strength of their army lies in the sturdy yeomen that form its backbone, because the country is not rich enough to support the large numbers of knights that its wealthier neighbour, Ekra does. Nevertheless, this reliance on the yeomen of the country to defend it has led to a fairer society and greater willingness to defend the land on the part of the yeomanry. Unlike a typical Ekran army, the Treyine army only has a small contingent of knights, who mostly fight on foot. Most of the army is armed with the dreaded Treyine longbow, a weapon that requires training from birth to use effectively, but when used by experienced archers, it is deadly. The Treyine army lofts thousands of arrows in every volley, which is enough to discourage most enemies.

Despite the emphasis on the archers in the Treyine army, these soldiers are backed up by billmen, whose main function is to protect the archers and close with the enemy. Occasionally, spearmen from the Treyine Marches are recruited to the army, and some lords have been known to recruit mercenary handgunners too. The people of Treyine are forward-thinking and recognise that developments in technology may well supersede the effectiveness of the bow one day.

The country is currently ruled by King Edward IV, a brave and noble warrior king, who is often seen fighting at the head of his army. His brother, Richard, is also a doughty warrior and usually stands loyally beside Edward in battle.

The Treyine army:


Edward IV and his brother, Richard:


Foot knights:


Retinue billmen:


Retinue archers:


Marcher spearmen:


Mercenary handgunners:


These figures are all 6mm Baccus Wars of the Roses figures. Although the Treyine army is based on an English Hundred Years War army, I have chosen to use Wars of the Roses figures to represent it because I like the Baccus figures and am also engaged in a long-term Wars of the Roses project. This army is painted in Yorkist colours from the Wars of the Roses.

The Army of Ekra

The Ekran army marches to war.


The Ekran army relies on the strength and ferocity of its nobles in the charge. Ekra is a rich nation and has a long tradition of crushing the peasants under foot for the greater glory of the nobility. Ekran knights are renowned all over Talomir for their ferocity and total disregard for the welfare of their foot soldiers. It is certainly not unknown for Ekran knights to ride down their own crossbowmen because those soldiers failed to get out of the way in time, when the knights decided that the time was ripe to charge the enemy.

Ekran knights are also renowned for their curteisie and chevallerie, terms that are meant to indicate that said knights have a softer side. The concept of courtly love was invented in Ekra and exported to many other countries by means of long chansons de gestes about their legendary forebears. These tales emphasise the chivalry and valour of the nobles described in them and often feature weepy, red-headed women pining away and dying of unrequited love. They also emphasise the superiority of the breeding of the knights, thus reinforcing the social order within Ekra. Surprisingly, these tales are popular with the Ekran peasantry too. Perhaps this is because the tales depict knights of a type that do not seem to exist in reality.

The Duc de Zummzet, current general of the Ekran army. The role of commander-in-chief of the Ekran army is hereditary and has lain with the de Zummzets for many years.

Here we see a skirmish line of Ekran crossbowmen and peasant archers in a rather perilous position:

The function of Ekran foot-soldiers is to enable the knights to get into a position where an overwhelming cavalry charge will win the day, and then to capture enemy knights for ransom after the battle. Needless to say, these foot-soldiers know their place in life and are more than happy to get revenge for this by knifing the enemy nobility when their own nobles are not looking. The only difference between the retinue infantry and the peasant infantry in the Ekran army is the quality of their armour and clothes. Both are equally unenthusiastic about helping their noble masters to win the day.

Ekran retinue infantry


Ekran peasant infantry

While Ekran nobility despises modern handgonnes and cannon, they still find the occasional need for them. Some more forward-thinking nobles have gone as far as recruiting mercenary handgunners into their own forces.


The Ekran army is based on the French armies of the Hundred Years War, but the figures I have used are from the Baccus Wars of the Roses range. These figures are painted as Lancastrians of the Wars of the Roses, because I plan to use them for an ongoing Wars of the Roses project too.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Mercenaries of Talomir

Warrior Heroes is an element-based game of fantasy warfare. It has recently been superseded by Warrior Heroes: Armies and Adventures, and is no longer available. However, I am still fond of it and have been painting up a number of armies for games using the rules. I would love to be able to field all 44 armies listed in the rules, and especially to use them in the grand campaign game that comes with the rules.

One facet of the campaign is mercenaries that you can recruit. There are two named companies of mercenaries in the rules. Both hate each other with a fury and they will not accept a contract if it means fighting on the same side as the other company.

The Black Company

The Black Company is led by Alfred Badenhorst, a one-time resident of Altengard. Badenhorst is a notoriously poor loser at cards. It is rumoured that his rivalry with Sir Geoffrey Chambers of the White Company stems from a game of Brag that he lost.

The White Company

Sir Geoffrey Chambers is the Captain of the White Company. He was born in Treyine and still holds some affection for that land. Many of his contracts are in service with the Treyine army. He is said to be a poor woodcutter's daughter, as was his father before him. He also appears to enjoy Morris dancing and real ale.

All figures are 6mm and by Baccus Miniatures.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Desperately Seeking Griselda

Chapter 3 March 986

Brother Cedric led the advance from the rear. Sigismund and Konrad followed him from in front. They had pursued the fleeing goblin to a cave in the nearby hills of Zog-Rot. The three knights were tired, but their mission demanded that they smite the evil followers of the Black Moon. The Red Sun must shine everywhere, even in the underground lairs of the vile goblins. Brother Cedric ordered the advance. The three stalwart men entered a cave, where the light from outside still filtered in and shone from the green crystals that filled the walls. The beauty of the cave was lost on the three. They had a mission and would not be diverted from that mission by idle sight-seeing. Stealthily they moved to the door at the back of the cave. Nothing could be heard through the thick wooden door, so they wrested it open and advanced into the large room beyond. A single door led from the opposite side of the room into a corridor beyond. The brave knights advanced further into the cave complex. It appeared to be deserted. The next room they entered was also deserted but the door out of this room was locked.

"Stand back," said Cedric as he took a run at the door. He staggered into the corridor beyond as the hinges of the door gave way to his great strength and the door thumped to the floor with a resounding thud that echoed through the chambers.

"Our vile foes will be ready for us now," said Sigismund.
"No matter," said Cedric, "We are a match for twice our number in goblins. Nay, thrice our number. I relish the opportunity to blood my blade this day with the foul spawn of evil."

As they advanced, the floor suddenly gave way under Sigismund's feet. A gaping pit filled with spikes yawned below him. He twisted his body in a desperate effort to avoid his fate and managed to grab the edge of the pit. His arms felt like they had been dragged from their sockets but he was safe. The others pulled him up and they leapt across the pit without further incident.

Beyond the pit, there was a door and the corridor also turned to their right. Cedric took a guarding position in the corridor while Konrad and Sigismund opened the door. The room was filled with angry, armed goblins.

"Aha," shouted Sigismund, "We outnumber them three to seven. Chaaaarge!"

The goblins were ready for the knights, having been alerted by the rather loud entrance through the previous door, but the ferocity of the knights' charge still took them aback. Nevertheless, with nowhere to run they were forced to fight. The goblins desperately defended their home and managed to drive the knights back for a bit. Soon the knights rallied and re-entered the fray. Goblins started to die in quick succession until their numbers were halved and gore encrusted all in the room. But then it got nasty. Konrad took a blow to the head and fell senseless to the floor. The vile goblins swarmed Sigismund and he fell under a pile of goblins, never to move again. Cedric looked at the odds and his nerve wavered for a moment, but then he charged in. He had to recover his friends' bodies or die trying. Suddenly it was all over. A swarm of goblins pounded and beat Cedric to his knees. His last sight was of their evil leering faces standing over him as they pounded and beat him until everything went black.

Cedric stirred. His body ached all over. He remembered the fight and was surprised to still be alive. A hand supported his head and fed him some acrid water. Opening his bruised eyes, he saw Griselda, the baker's daughter, tending his wounds. He sat up painfully and his natural ebullience came to the fore as he saw that Konrad was with him too. They were in a small room, clearly still in the cave complex. They had been stripped of all their armour and weapons, but they were still alive.

"See, Konrad, my plan worked. I told you that the best way to find Griselda would be to get captured and let the goblins take us to her!"

This game was rather shorter than expected and I believe that Steve's failure to rescue Griselda rests with his forgetting to bring the proper figures to the game. Instead he had to borrow some of my DDM stuff to make up his group, which clearly affected his dice rolling. The next scenario will be an escape scenario, which we hope to run next week. The terrain is my WorldWorksGames Caveworks build, which I plan to expand a lot more at some point. Unfortunately, Sigismund is OD but the other two survived. I suspect that Cedric will have to recruit some more troops next time he returns home.