Friday, 24 June 2011

Spring 990 - Planting in Alwinton

Ragnar spent a peaceful spring helping in the village to replant the ravaged fields and fettle the apple trees. His people also helped to rebuild the houses properly. The village was back to its old self, but with slightly fewer people. Still the future was looking better now and the local militia were back training each week. With the worst of the Goblin depredations dealt with some of the young men took to thinking about revenge and asked Ragnar if there were room in his group for more warriors. Edmund and Alfred were the names of the two archers that joined the group. Perhaps, thought Ragnar, he should head out in search of fame and fortune once more come the summer.

Spring 990 - Campaign Update

With the close of winter, the campaigning season begins again. The armies of Treyine and the Brethren emerge from their winter quarters and the Treyine army immediately takes the offensive, launching an assault into the heart of The Rock.

To the west Altengard has awoken. Seeing easy pickings their army enters Ekra with the intention of annexing it.

In Hykar civil war has broken out between Barbax Gutripper, former leader of all Hykari, and Hardecg Legbiter the emergent leader of the tribes of the south. The Mirish, possibly taking advantage of the chaos caused by a civil war, but also rumoured to be secretly allied with one or both of the Hykari factions have entered Hykari territory intent upon seizing it.

Numerous mercenaries, heroes and wizards have emerged to seek their fortunes amid the conflict and blood and gore of Talomir and it just remains to see which armies choose to recruit them. Full army lists may be found on the Campaign Army Lists page. The leaders of each nation are all detailed on the National Leaders page.

The situation in Spring 990:

Winter 989 - Oh Brother Cedric!

Dear Griselda,

Thank you for the bread you sent over. You are however going to have to be more careful while baking. There was a large piece of metal in the last loaf you sent. Fortunately one of the guards spotted it and removed it before any harm could be done.

It’s a strange place Treyine, with very bizarre customs. Last week the laundry woman came in and told me to strip her, tie her up and then put on her clothes. I immediately called for the guards and had the young lady thrown out. I know they say when in Tropilium and all that, but there is a limit.

The heads of the Brethren still seem to have a shortfall of money for my ransom. It has been a very expensive few years apparently. Still, they are hoping to hold a jumble sale in aid of my release later this month. It would have been earlier, but apparently Father Dugan’s donkey needs an expensive operation.

I am still being treated well by the Treyine. Although Lord Fondlegrew seems a little forgetful. Every time he sees me, he asks why I’m still here.

I was pleased to hear that the lads all got back safely after the battle. Although it must have chafed walking all that way naked.

Hope to see you again soon,
Brother Cedric

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Winter 989 - Putting their feet up

The winter passed uneventfully for Ragnar. He remained in Alwinton working with the villagers to rebuild their shattered homes. It was a tough winter with no harvest to rely on but Ragnar was able to buy in some food to help tide them over and his negotiations with the local lord enabled further aid for the villagers.

The casualties of the previous adventure had obviously brought home to the locals how dangerous Ragnar's life was and he was able to recruit only one archer to his band this winter. Edgar looked a worthy fellow though, a stout Treyine Yeoman brought up from early childhood to use a longbow and keen to make his mark in the world.

Winter 989 - Campaign Update

With the start of the Winter 989 turn we move to Rally Round The King as our battle rules, as mentioned previously.

Brother Cedric is currently languishing in a Treyine cell, awaiting either ransom or a daring escape. Ragnar has made his way to the former location of the village of Alwinton on the border of what is now Treyine territory. The villagers are pleased to be home and Ragnar may now mourn his dead.

The winter turn starts with Mirish ceasing to claim Brethren territory now that Treyine has captured the province and blocks all movement through to the Brethren. Treyine and the Brethren are still at war though.

The Brethren must promote yet another Brother to the fore as general. Life in the Brethren army is clearly short but glorious. In this case Brother Superior (WR 4) now commands the Brethren army in battle.
Zog Rot is now led by Grargh the Merciless (WR 2).
In Tropilium the emperor has died this winter and is replaced by his son Cesare Salato (WR 3).

Heroes and Wizards
Sir Gervaise de Fe has died of gout while serving in the Ekran army.
The wizard Edrech (L1) has also died in a nasty accident in his lab.

Magical Items, Artefacts and Holy Relics
Treyine has recovered The Spear of St Lindorf, when they captured Brother Cedric in battle.
The Drums of Doom have been found in The Rock and are now in the possession of The Brethren.
The Book of the Hungry Moon has surfaced in Zog-Rot in the hands of their new leader. Coincidence? I think not!

The current state of the world:

With the advent of the year 990, Altengard and the Orcs join our campaign.

Autumn 989 - Go to Jail, Go Directly to Jail

Dear Griselda,

First off apologies for the length of time it has taken me to write to you. I have been having to save paper to write this. Sorry about the size and thinness of the sheets, still at least they are quilted. Sorry also about the reddish ink. Again this is another of the reasons for the delay in writing, rats seem to have very little blood in them.

Well the battle didn’t go quite to plan, in fact not to plan at all. The invading Treyine greatly outnumbered us and the fiends were using magic. I did the only sane course of action and surrendered to them. This at least would save the men.

This means I am now a guest of the Treyine. Although their idea of hospitality does seem a little strange. Still the cell does remind me of my first room when I joined the order. If anything the food is slightly better than the priory.

It was hard also to see the spear of Saint Lindorf go back into enemy hands. Still while there’s life there’s hope. Speaking of which, they are talking about hanging me in a week's time. Something to do with murder, robbery and spoiling the sanctity of holy ground. Still as I said while there’s life etc …

One of Barbax’s messengers came to see me today. They are seconded to the Treyine army at the moment. She offered any help they could to the ‘Father of the Nation’. I didn’t quite understand that, but it seems I’m still a bit of a hero with the Hykar. Not sure what help they can give as apparently they are having quite a bit of trouble at home. Something about not recognising an illegitimate son as a prince, I think.

Any way I’ll have to finish now as the crow is getting restless and is starting to peck my hand. Sorry about the handwriting.

Yours in bondage,
Brother Cedric

The course of the battle
The armies deploy for battle. The Treyine anchor their left flank on the woods and deploy their archers in the usual hedgehog pattern designed to take advantage of Brother Cedric's known propensity for charging headlong into everything:

Brother Cedric charges as expected. The Treyine cavalry attempt to flank the Brethren infantry while their wizards cast a Stench of Weakness on the Brethren left flank:

Sir Alaric Fitzhugh rides out to meet Brother Cedric in single combat as is only proper between heroes, while the Brethren cavalry contacts the Treyine infantry but is driven off. The rest of the Brethren army fragments:

The Treyine sorceror summons a demon that frightens the Brethren cavalry's horses. They are last seen heading north at high speed. The Treyine archers move out to support their cavalry and cut Cedric down if he wins the single combat:

Brethren dart hither and thither and Brother Cedric finally decides to save the lives of his men by surrendering:

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Autumn 989 - Campaign Update

With the Hykar threat eliminated, the Treyine army is now free to deal with the Brethren and has marched northwards. The Brethren must make a decision. Will they hold off pursuing the Mirish army and deal with the Treyine threat, or will they split their army and try to punish the Mirish while holding the frontier against the Treyine incursion?

No other nations have chosen to go to war this season. Clearly they would rather gather harvests and stockpile food.

State of affairs at start of 989:

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Autumn 989 - Goblins, sah, fahsands of 'em

Summer had passed in an endless march through the Goblin lands but now Ragnar had trailed the Goblins that had raided Alwinton to their home, or so he thought. Certainly this is where King Rech had told him they would be. Unfortunately, as he approached the goblin settlement hordes of Goblins poured out of the place to form up in front of him and his company. Worse yet, they were led by not one but two Ogres and half the Goblins were mounted on Terror Birds. Things were going to get messy very quickly!

Ragnar deployed his crew in line among the boulders that dotted the area outside the Goblin village. They would provide good cover. The main Ogre had the majority of the Goblins around him, presumably to provide alternative targets. Ragnar could see over on his right flank that an Ogre and a Goblin Archer had emerged from the village onto the road directly opposite the vile King Rech and his chariot.

The battle began with missile fire. The desultory fire from the Goblins' side seemed designed to show only that they were doing what they were meant to. The shooting from Ragnar's crew told on the Goblins. The first Goblin fell to an arrow in his chest and pretty soon his compatriots were all fleeing. Ragnar laughed grimly as he nocked another arrow. These Goblins were spineless and the Ogre in command now stood on his own in the centre of the battlefield with only a couple of cowardly Goblins peeking out from behind his skirts. Ragnar did not know that a mounted force of Goblins was riding around on his flank at this point.

King Rech, on the flank was busily shooting at the Goblin Archer that was accompanying the Ogre. When he finally hit it, he killed it and the Ogre routed immediately, so he decided to advance up the road. After all, it was safe enough now!

With the Goblins in the centre scattered, Ragnar ordered his troops to concentrate their fire on the main Ogre but to little avail. It advanced amid the hail of arrows, apparently unconcerned by those that had impaled its hide. Then it paused, suddenly appearing unsure right at the moment when it was about to charge. Ragnar's crew fired everything they had at it and Barak finally managed to find a weak point, his arrow taking it in the eye and driving up into the Ogre's brain. It fell dead immediately and all the remaining Goblins fled. The village was Ragnar's. Time to search it.

This was a Pitched Battle scenario that I fought solo, because Steve could not make it through. I rolled that Ragnar had found the object of his quest but that he had to fight through to it, so Pitched Battle followed by a Raid if he won the first battle.

The Ogre was a particularly nasty Big Bad with Rep 6 and Hardiness 7. Yet, when Barak hit it, it managed to roll too many 6s to survive. No one is invulnerable in this game! Rather than allow Ragnar to choose all his reactions, I rolled for him on the Test of Wills and Charge tests. We have found that Free Will starts to break down in these tests once characters become as powerful as Ragnar and Brother Cedric. I still used it for other tests that he is allowed to choose. I treated the Big Bad Ogre as a character in the same way as Ragnar is.

Now that Ragnar has won this scenario, he moves to a Raid scenario to try to find the lost villagers. Let us hope that there are no more Big Bad Ogres in this village!

The Raid
As Ragnar congratulated himself on the bloodless victory; well, bloodless from his side of things, he saw a dust cloud approaching. What looked like a large Goblin war-party was returning to the village. Blast, he would have to fight his way through the village now. He quickly ordered the group to advance. No point in holding position when they could get into the village and start looking for the villagers from Alwinton. King Rech remained on the road in his chariot, shooting at the Goblins on the Terror Birds, while the others used their bows to try to whittle down the Goblins, but to little effect. Nothing for it but to charge.

Ragnar, Barak and Grim Redshirt all charged the Ogre. Suddenly Barak and Grim Redshirt were lying in pools of blood. The Ogre's giant axe had sliced both of them in two and Ragnar was backpedalling towards Armand, who had not made it into the fight. As he came level with Armand, this latter thrust at the Ogre and distracted it. Suddenly it was the Ogre that was backpedalling, before slipping in Barak's blood and getting cut down by Ragnar.

The others had charged the main body of the Goblins and were not faring too well. Although experienced warriors, they were outnumbered and it told. Although they held out as best they could, Hildigunn and Drogo were soon too badly wounded to fight on. Worse yet, Richard had been wounded by a Goblin arrow and was sitting by the altar staring at the hole in his side.

King Rech was firing arrows for all he was worth. He slew one Terror Bird and another routed. Then he charged the remaining one, only to find his chariot cut from under him by the Rider's fierce fire. Undaunted he charged on fought, only to be cut down and slain where he stood. The Rider turned and prepared to charge Ragnar's crew in the back.

Ragnar and Armand now charged the Goblins in the flank. In very short order the Goblins were soon cut down or routing, demoralised thoroughly by the grim efficiency with which Ragnar wielded his axe.

Enraged by the deaths of his comrades, Ragnar barged into the first hut and cut his way through the Goblins that were lurking in it. He repeated this process for the remaining huts and eventually found the target of his raid in a cellar beneath one of the stone huts. The villagers of Alwinton were all but saved. Now all they had to do was get home before the worst of the winter set in.

The raid was tough. Ragnar and his crew rolled poorly to start with and the ease with which the Ogre killed Barak and Grim was frightening. I really thought Ragnar had met his match here. Fortunately he was driven back next to Armand who was able to join the fight and help him to beat the Ogre.

After the battle I rolled for advancement. Ragnar lost one point of Hardiness. Drogo lost a point of Rep and is now Rep 2. I think he will stay with the villagers and not come on adventures any more. Richard also lost 1 Rep and is now Rep4. No one gained anything, except the villagers, who did not get eaten.