Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Golem Hunt at Alan’s: Part 2 – Field Research

Perched high on the exposed top of the wizard’s blasted tower, Illusionist Extraordinaire Miss Mazement once again gazed into her crystal ball. Something had been responsible for the devastation she had witnessed and she knew she had to find it…

…ah, there it was… Interesting...

Unlike the other wizards that roamed the frozen ruins, her magical education had been informal at best. Perhaps it was time to remedy that and do some proper studying…

Time for our second game at Alan’s grotto of wonders . There’s a mad golem on the loose and some field research was in order!

The rogue granite golem raged in the centre of the board as all three warbands (Miss Mazement, Giles’ summoner the King in Yellow and Alan’s wizard Hashpot Dribbleweed) cautiously advanced towards it. We needed to get close enough to study it, interact (i.e. fight) it and experiment by casting spells on it, without actually destroying the thing.

Protected by an invisibility spell, Miss Mazement calmly walked towards the golem, sending her warhound ahead while she took notes. The rest of the warband, having recovered from their injuries and reinforced with a zombie, began to search for treasure whilst avoiding the other two bands.

With no targets in line of sight, the golem moved in a random direction, thumping right into the path of the KIY and his crew! The band of cultists scrambled to snatch whatever treasures they could.

On the left flank my apprentice and Dribbleweed played telekinesis tug-of-war with a treasure chest until Dribbleweed’s archers dissuaded my thugs from claiming it, sending a zombie forward for good measure.

My apprentice evened the score a little by bone-darting one of the archers, while my wounded thug continued to advance menacingly (or as menacingly as you can when you’ve got an arrow sticking out of you).

The thug managed to dispatch the zombie, in stark contrast to the last game when it took the combined efforts of three heavy-hitters to down one!

On the right flank my archers attempted to hold back the KIY’s men while the captain and man-at-arms advanced towards some nearby treasure. Alas the archers were soon out-shot by return fire.

While the KIY scurried away from the golem, letting his apothecary face it’s fury, his troubles were compounded by the arrival of a hungry bear.

Ever the helpful wizard, Miss Mazement sent her warhound forward to attack the golem, furiously scribbling notes as the granite monstrosity stepped back and trod on the unfortunate hound, barely registering it’s presence.

My captain went down in a hail of arrows as he tried to shield the remaining archer while he fished a treasure chest out of the rubble. Unsupported, my man-at-arms decided to pull back and nab an unclaimed treasure hidden behind him.

On the left, my wounded thug took one chance too many as he engaged an archer in combat and was defeated. In the centre, an invisible Miss Mazement got close enough to the golem to make a detailed study. So far I’d managed 3 out of the 4 extra experience criteria.

With a paltry haul of treasure, the KIY began to pull back from the enraged golem, spraying out imps and demons in an effort to cover his retreat. This backfired somewhat as one of the imps intended for me turned on them when the original target got out of sight.

Dribbleweed’s men are also pulling back, having gained a reasonable amount of treasure. To help them along my mystic warrior charged forward, shrugging off a steal health spell to attack and defeat the pesky archer.

It only remained for my now invisible apprentice to get within line of sight to use his mud scroll on the golem, thus completing the four experiments. Much experience was gained by these studies (somewhat offset by the lack of spells cast whilst invisible) and a nice haul of treasure was taken, enabling me to replace any wounded or killed soldiers and buy another, extremely useful, grimoire…

A joint win for me an Alan by my reckoning, but more importantly a cracking day’s gaming at his place – thanks to him and his good lady wife for being great hosts!

Giles' version of the tale is on his blog, starting here.

Golem Hunt at Alan’s: Part 1 - The Attack Site

Miss Mazement, illusionist extraordinaire, climbed to the top of the ruined tower and with the stars aligning around her, gazed into the crystal ball and saw…

The Orc warlord ducked as another dismembered limb flew over his head. Cursing the day he had decided that plundering the frozen ruins would be a good idea, he snarled.

“No bugga gets the better of Skazog Skull-Stompah, not mattah how big ‘e is!”

He gripped his cutlass and, yelling a blood-curdling battle-cry, hurled himself at the hulking brute as it disembowelled a screaming Goblin. The thing turned and, roaring a roar like a rockfall, swung a massive fist.

Miss Mazement blinked as green blood splattered the inside of the orb, before the vision swirled into nothingness. Strange things were afoot, but then again, in this place, wasn’t that always the case? Time to ready the men for another expedition…

Time for another game of Frostgrave at my chum Alan’s man-cave. Having recently bought the Frostgrave Folio, he was keen to try out the Hunt for the Golem mini-campaign, so duly sent an invite to me and Giles.

First off the Attack Site scenario. Lacking corpse markers, we used some of Alan’s Orc minis instead – quite a crowded table considering all three of us had to place five corpses in addition to the extra treasures placed due to us all having the Reveal Secret spell.

Being a three-player game we deployed in a Y-shape, with me on one edge and Alan (playing Rinsesoap the Enchanter) and Glies (with summoner the King in Yellow – who is slightly more evil than my own summoner and must therefore be destroyed even more) taking the opposite corners.

Soon treasures were being picked up and corpses searched, with most of them revealing themselves to be shambling zombies! The start of the game looked more like a game of Zombicide than Frostgrave as each warband battled these undead creatures.

Most of the zombies were quickly dispatched, but on the right flank my thief was having difficulty defeating the one that'd been awakened by his investigations. Looting corpses can be bad for your health!

No matter, my captain, group-activating with the man-at-arms and newly-hired mystic warrior, would see off the rotting cadaver! To help out the poor thief, Miss Mazement dropped the captain into his place with a transpose spell.

In the meantime my apprentice, nicely protected from attack by a high-value beauty spell, casually climbed the ruins to get to a treasure (the zombie rolls now all used up, searching the corpses was a low-risk business).

The captain was finding the zombie hard work, and things were made worse by two imps, courtesy of the King in Yellow, skittering into view. By now I was even using my archers to carry treasure and was being outnumbered.

Another imp, attracted by the sounds of battle, appeared behind my lines and made it’s way towards my thug and warhound, who were closing in on another treasure. 

The warhound was sent back to deter this creature, but soon fell under it’s claws. Wherever these imps were being summoned from, they breed ‘em tough! The KIY now had the advantage in numbers, being able to summon demons and raise zombies, whereas Alan and I were using up soldiers to carry off treasure.

Another wandering monster, in the shape of an ice spider, crawled in behind Rinsesoap and headed for the nearest members of his band – a treasure carrying soldier and a more gamey-tasting zombie.

My man-at-arms was felled by the zombie as the two imps also approach. These two pests notwithstanding, the other two wizards seemed more intent on battling each other than disrupting my illusionist’s treasure grab.

The mystic warrior and captain finally managed to destroy the zombie, earning my captain some rare experience. This is further boosted by slaying the imps. This allowed the warband to probe the right flank, which is mistaken by the KIY for a flanking manoeuvre. In reality, with my band depleted by casualties and carried-off treasure, I was more interested in nabbing as much loot as I could before weight of numbers turned against me.

On the left flank, imps and spiders made treasure hunting difficult. My apprentice surveyed all from his elevated position on the far left, but failed to spot the Rinsesoap’s bear ambling towards him on the ground.

In response to my supposed flank attack, the KIY summoned more imps to bother Miss Mazement as she moved forward, protected by both beauty and invisibility spells. They made short work of my captain and thief, leaving my flank exposed.

On my left, my mystic warrior raced to assist as my treasure-laden apprentice and thug withdrew in the face of an angry bear. Thankfully the KIY intervened by summoning more imps, causing those on my right flank to disappear. Would the bear pounce on my men, or could I turn the situation to my advantage?

As for Rinsesoap, well he was next on the ice spider’s to-eat list, after defeating two of his soldiers. The enchanter faced the arachnid in combat, and prevailed! All of the treasure had been accounted for, save the golem notes, which fell to the KIY, despite him sustaining losses in retrieving them.

My mystic warrior was felled by an imp, leaving the apprentice and thug unsupported. Enemy critters from the other two warbands thus converged on the unfortunate thug. By this stage, both wizards had noticed my treasure haul and were determined that it didn’t increase.

But a quick transpose spell from my apprentice changed the situation. The thug swapped places with an imp who being an uncontrolled creature, joined it’s mate in attacking the bear!

Frantic transpose spells from both wizard and apprentice kept the imps in contact with the bear. Eventually the bear was slain! Very tough imps these! This quick re-jostling of positions allowed the remainder of my warband to withdraw with a grand total of 5 treasures – not a bad haul. However the King in Yellow, summoning imps with wild abandon, probably came out on top by finding the golem notes. (Check out Giles' version of events, starting here).

Thankfully all casualties survived the injury rolls and I rolled rather well on the treasure table, giving Miss Mazement enough gold to buy a new grimoire, raise zombie, in an attempt to reduce the disparity in numbers. And she’d need to too, for now it was time to find, and study, the cause of all this destruction…

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

The Demon Hunter

She did not fear the dark; years as an orphan beggar child saw to that. So when the demon came screaming into the Hunjab delta and tore apart the great temple, it was no worse a monster than the men who came to the struggling villages from the city, looking for young girls like her to… well, it was no use dwelling on it any more.

And yet she still dreamed of that day, peeking through the filthy mangrove roots as the creature sent the temple guards flying in a bloody swathe. She remembered watching entranced as a magnificent figure strode into the fray, unafraid as she whirled her greatsword above her head and brought it down through the demon’s wing.

The thing howled and lashed out with it’s tail, catching the fighter’s legs and sending her sprawling into the mud. It reared above her and grinned.

She knew that grin. Many a man had grinned at her like that. She clenched a small fist, grabbed a piece of broken stone and ran at the demon, screaming like a banshee.

She saved the demon hunter’s life that day and had been taken in by her order. She had trained, studied, fought and hunted. She had earned the right to carry the great halberd Fiend-Eater and learn the secrets of the special powders that brought forth fire from metal tubes without the aid of magic.

She had hunted alone, dragging two-headed demons from the sands of the Great Thirst. She had hunted in a team, facing down the rogue monster of Ulfenhalle University. And now she had reached the Frozen City, standing proud before the strange tentacled floating thing. It’s feelers reached out as it sped towards her.

Grinning, she raised her fire-stick and pulled the trigger.

When I saw this Warmachine Taryn di la Rovissi Gun Mage figure for sale on the LAF I knew that she’d make a great demon hunter - the dual pistol wielding mercenary is a very nice figure IMHO. Taken from the Forgotten Pacts expansion, Demon hunters are armed with a crossbow and two-handed weapon. I decided that one pistol would stand in for the former, and did a quick arm-swap to give her a halberd for the latter. All in all a nice bit of work.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Fee Fi Fo Fum…

Last Saturday Giles and I represented the Hereford WargamesClub at the Herefordshire Boardgamers charity games day; putting on a game of Frostgrave for anyone who wanted to give the game a try.

We both knocked up an entry level warband, with Giles going for an enchanter, whilst I randomly selected a witch (one Polda Nils and his lovely assistant Daybee Magii). My witch warband consisted of a knight, two archers, a thief and four thugs. In addition to our bands, Giles brought along a selection of wandering monsters which we could roll for on a D20 if required.

I decided on the Worm Hunt scenario from the main rulebook, but replaced the worm with a giant (mainly as an excuse to field my giant model). We brought enough scenery that we could comfortably carry from the carpark to the venue – a mix of scratchbuilt stuff and some of Giles’ Warhammer scenery to showcase the various options available to a newbie wargamer when it comes to terrain.

In the first game, Giles and I played against each other, but were prepared to step aside of any of the casual observers during the day decided to have a try. Both warbands deployed and advanced, with my wizard and archers forming a firing line atop a ruin, temporarily joined by a treasure-collecting thug.

This attracted the attention of an ice spider, which scuttled on the table edge to my left, perilously close to a couple of my thugs that were moving towards a treasure chest on a nearby ruin adorned with dragons.

In the centre, Giles’ purple-clad enchanter urged his band forward towards the treasure, only for his templar to be brought down by combined bone dart and arrow fire.

Alas the sound of battle attracted a wandering greater demon, which flew into the field directly behind my warband! My thug managed to push it away, despite being treasure-laden, allowing my apprentice to leap him off the board to safety.

In the centre my knight clobbered an enemy archer. With my firing line established I decided to whittle down any chance of my opposite number replying in kind.

The enchanter was nabbing more than his fair share of treasure by judicious use of the telekinesis spell, so I sent my fastest soldier, the thief, forward to disrupt his plans by attacking his apprentice.

Meanwhile the thugs on my left finally reached the treasure on the dragon ruin, only for it to pop out of existence – damn fool’s gold!

They vented their frustrations on the ice spider, which had been wandering around aimlessly while everyone tried to keep out of it’s line of sight.

By now all of the treasure had been claimed – Giles had four while I a paltry two. Time for the giant to stomp onto the field! After rolling to decide what free table edge to come in on, the giant lumbered towards it’s nearest target, a treasure-carrying thug from the enchanter’s warband (who’s apprentice was still locked in a struggle with my thief).

Meanwhile the wandering demon behind my lines lurched up to attack my firing line, wounding one of the archers. Hopefully they would be able to defeat it before it got to my wizard!

The giant squished an enemy warhound as both sides came to terms with this new threat. The area became a swirling melee as the enchanter’s apprentice was reinforced in his battle with my thief while the giant swatted it’s way through the soldiers.

My thief was vanquished, but so was anyone who had the misfortune to be targeted by the giant. The enchanter decided to cut his losses and began to withdraw with his treasures. But one was dropped by a squashed thug. Could I claim it from under the giant’s nose and even the score?

The giant blatted the enemy apprentice and then turned towards my knight and the enemy treasure hunter, who were by now locked in combat. He stopped and scratched his head in puzzlement as both combatants promptly killed the other!

By now the errant demon had clawed it’s way past my archers and was slavering after my wizard. He raised his staff but was unable to withstand the creature’s attack!

Now wizardless, the two thugs that had worked their way along the flank from the dragon ruin came up with a plan. After drawing lots, one of them distracted the giant so that the other could run up and grab the last treasure.

But it was not to be! The retreating enchanter cast one last spell and blocked off the treasure with a wall spell. The final chest was out of reach and the giant quickly dispatched the thug. Thus the game ended with a win for Giles – three treasure to my two, though the real winner was the giant, who would dine well that evening!

Time for lunch and a quick wander around to check out what other people were playing. Next to us was an X-Wing game that drew many admiring onlookers, whilst in the main room, much intrigue was in evidence at a Game of Thrones game. Check out Giles’ blog for a more in-depth look at the proceedings.

On to game two, where we badgered an innocent passer-by into trying out the game. He took over Giles’ enchanter while I played again with my witch.

Both warbands advanced and took some early treasures, which brought on the giant much sooner than the last game.

Alas the enchanter was a little absent-minded this time around, picking up a treasure which was in fact the fool’s gold he had cast beforehand!

On my left flank, his warhound menaced my archer that was covering that side of the field from a ruin. A lucky shot through the doorway felled the hound. My other archer took up residence in the high tower to my right, giving him unrivalled views over the area.

An enemy thug in the giant’s path wisely made himself scarce, leaving my apprentice to be the next on the monster’s to-eat list. The poor girl desperately swung her weapon and… I rolled a 20! A critical hit! It wasn’t enough to kill the giant, but it bought me some time.

I sent the nearest thug to assist the apprentice. Dodging the giant’s blows he lunged… Another 20!!! This comfortably felled the giant, which now only posed a threat if it’s corpse landed on anyone when it fell.

In the centre, the enchanter watched as his templar moved up to protect him from my advancing knight. As they slugged it out, both fighters became wounded, but it was the knight who fell first, despite being reinforced by my thief.

On my left, things were relatively quiet, but this changed when an armoured skeleton wandered into the fray. A fog spell kept my troops out of sight, but the wounded enemy templar found himself facing the creature after a push spell sent him flying into it’s path.

A push spell, I might add, cast by his boss (being in essence a shooting attack, we randomised the target, as the templar and thief were in combat). This left the wizard to face the thief alone.

Another push spell from the enchanter’s apprentice saw the skeleton scudding through the fog to attack one of my archers, who had left his position on my left to protect his master. My wizard also cast another fog spell just in case.

Despite taking wounds from enemy archers, my warband was now closing in on their opponent. The thief earned much kudos by slaying the enchanter, before teaming up with a thug to steal a treasure from their opposite number.

They didn’t have it all their own way however, as the opposing warband fought back, downing a thug and wounding my apprentice with point-blank shooting.

They even nearly managed to kill my wizard, who, having avoided the armoured skeleton, was taking cover when he got hit by an arrow. Luckily his (recently healed) apprentice was on hand to provide cover with a fog spell.

With the last stolen treasure off the board the game was over – 4-2 to me but more importantly fun and enjoyment on both sides (I think we made at least one convert,). Unfortunately we couldn’t stay longer, as more people trickled in while we were packing up, but it was an interesting experience hosting my first demo/participation game in a public setting. Well done to the organisers of the day and here’s to the next one!