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!
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.