3:10 to Yharma

A Song of Blades and Heroes Bat Rep

***

“That’s a ‘4’!” Brynar insisted. 

“No you thick Northman, that’s a ‘3’,” the grizzled cleric replied. “It says the caravan leaves at 3:10. The caravan we were paid to escort.” 

The barbarian shrugged his massive shoulders. “It’s not my fault the attendant scribbles. You’re the educated one in this crew. You should have deciphered the note sooner.”

Lazarus Stern bit his tongue. He looked into the faces of the rest of the party – Hrodor the Druid, the two Rangers, Quinn and Terryn, his own comrade, the Paladin Jorgen. 

“Nothing to do for it now except get a move on, he sighed. “They’re only a half hour down the Yharma road.  We hurry now, we’ll catch up before supper. I mean, what can go wrong in a half hour?”

***

A new player joined us for this week’s gaming session, bringing the total to five. He’s an old hand at DnD, so I opted for a quick ASOBH scenario. We all enjoy the rules, are very familiar with them, they’re easy for a first-timer, and we have plenty of terrain and a variety of miniatures.

We split up, 3 v 2. John and I would play the Baddies while Derek, Matt and Anti-Patrick each controlled two members of the adventuring party.

The game area was split into two sections. The first was the now looted caravan at the turn in the road. The second section was the ruined abbey. Each would trigger attacks by hostiles (Me and John)

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While Matt took his Rangers strolling through the woods toward the Abbey on the right, the other four gathered near the first wagon. This kicked off the first attack, with a small Gnoll warband coming in from either side of the table.

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While fast, ugly, and very smelly, the Gnolls failed to do any serious damage to the party.  The older Ranger (that Matt insisted on calling ‘Grandpa’) took down three attackers by his lonesome in the woods on the left, while the other Ranger watched from the hilltop. Meanwhile, the other Canines were easily dispatched near the wagon. A quick search showed signs of a struggle, as well as a trail leading to the old Abbey.  Oh and a couple of recharges for the members’ Healing amulets.

Supremely confident, the party hurried down the Abbey Road to rescue the survivors.

The second set of Hostiles rushed out from the ruins the moment the the first Adventurer neared the stone gate: a Death Priest, two Warriors of Chaos, two packs of ghouls, and a giant Were-Rat.

“Oh look, they have a Were-Rat.”

 

The battle was quickly joined. The Death Priest sent one pack of Ghouls to swarm Grandpa while the rest of the Tainted surged out of the gates and attacked in a head-long frenzy.

 

Fierce combat raged back and forth inside and outside the Abbey. The air rang with clashing steel, savage howls, and ferocious battle cries. Both Rangers died under the filthy, blood-soaked claws of the Ghouls, selling their lives dearly and buying precious time for their comrades.

Barbarian met Barbarian. Mage fought Mage. Blinded by a murderous frenzy, the monstrous Were-Rat launched itself tooth and claw at anyone in it’s line of sight.

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Slowly, surely, the Adventurers’ skill and discipline drove the forces of Darkness back, first slaying the evil barbarian. Then the Chaos Champion Gurn Gravehand fell under Jorgen’s the Paladin’s flashing coldsilver blade. Victory teetered on a razor’s edge. But it was the Druid’s Gruesome Kill of the foul Death Priest that sealed evil’s fate. The wretch’s death-scream shook the remaining forces of Darkness to their withered, blackened souls and they fled the field of battle.

Victory.

***

There’s a reason why Song of Blades and Heroes is our go-to fantasy skirmish game: fast, versatile, robust, easily learned, fun… Anti-Pat picked it up by turn three and jumped right into the flow of the game. His Druid and Barbarian were brawling it out alongside veteran players figs in no time. It was a good fun with good people. We’re all looking forward to doing it again soon.

If you’re in the market for a fast and fun fantasy skirmish game, pick up a copy of Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes. You won’t be disappointed.

Thanks and have a good week.

 

 

The Summoning – Chapter 3

  1. Black Smoke, Red Sky.

Safely across the bridge, the Adventurers head to the border town of Jarl’s Knot to purchase supplies and confront the man named in the letter found on the Ork warchief. Following the river path, they exit the forest in the late afternoon and find themselves on a well-traveled road passing through cultivated farmlands and orchards.

As they near the town, they spy black smoke billowing into the sky. The sound of battle rings from over the next rise. Back at the homestead, the Duke’s men had mentioned a surge in raids. Jarl’s Knot is under attack.

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The Road to Jarl’s Knot
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Plot Point 1 – the Abandoned Wagon
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Not abandoned after all! A Gnoll raider surprises Brekr.

The party advanced down the first stretch of road to find an abandoned wagon, signs of a struggle and traces of blood. Whoever was driving it is long gone or dead nearby.

The Barbarian mercenary was the first to reach it. He was no more than five paces away when a Gnoll raider leaped out and attacked. The Skald immediately charged forward, Gnolls being his mortal enemy, but Brekr swiftly dispatched the beast.

Alert, the party moved to the first turn. There they found a fighter beset by two vicious raiders. He is holding his own but yips and barks in the underbrush mean more enemies are fast approaching. Iobus the Mage – now Leader of the party –  decided they would come to his assistance.

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Putting the hurt on the rabid puppies.

Figuring the Barbarian and Skald could help the fighter with a few Gnolls, Iobus and the Ranger head to the third Plot Point further down the road near the split. Bad move: more Gnolls emerge from the trees, accompanied by an Ogre.

Iobus calls back to his comrades. “If you’re done cleaning up that dog mess, I could use a hand here.”

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The Ranger fires at the Gnolls with deadly accuracy as the fighters advance.

A nasty brawl see-sawed back and forth between the Ogre and the Mage, with the Mage taking two brutal hits. Only his Healing Amulet saved him. Shoved back a third time and about to be hit by that massive club again, the Barbarian rushed to Iobus’ rescue. It was a tough fight but Brekr finally takes the Ogre down.

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The Mage did better than expected but some enemies are better left to the brawlers.

Finally, all enemies were either dead or fleeing. The Skald put his Horn to good use this game. (Deamir’s Horn: Character may spend 1, 2, or 3 Actions to blow the Horn. All enemy models in applicable range must test for Morale, 1 die per Action Spent. Failure = Retreat S/M/L depending on Actions Spent. Enemies currently in Melee may be subject to Free Hack.)

The party agreed to hire the Fighter for 10 GP. He now joins their quest to rescue the Duke’s  niece.

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The Adventurers

Another good game: supplies replenished. the party reinforced, Advances gained for enemies killed, but what awaits them in Jarl’s Knot?

***

Two new fighters from Bronze Age Miniatures, shown here with Reaper Barbarian for scale. The dynamic and detail is great. I’ve got a couple dogs in the painting queue and I’ll put them with the guy on the left and make a Tracker. I’m thinking they’ll make an appearance in the near future.

Thanks for looking.

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The Summoning – Chapter One

  1. A STILLNESS TO THE TREES

The Duke of Lorica has requested that you and your companions investigate a simple family matter.

His niece, Aolynn, summers at the farmstead of a retired member of the Royal Guard near the frontier town of Dunnhaven. The dispatch rider bearing the weekly correspondence from her is two days overdue and the Duke is concerned. He has ordered a troop of Border Guards to the area but your party is nearby and he wants assurances sooner rather than later.

The Duke is offering a respectable sum of Gold Crowns, but only after the party secures evidence of the niece’s safety. To sweeten the deal, he has sent additional supplies with the messenger bearing this offer.

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The Frontier Homestead.
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Plot Point: The Barn
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Plot Point: The Outbuilding
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Plot Point: The Field
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Plot Point: The Main House

Time constraints require we continue with a familiar rule set for our weekly sessions, so Matt, John, and Derek elected to continue with ASOBH. They are beginning this campaign with a single character each. Matt elected to play as the Journeyman Mage, Iobus Graymorn. John went with Barbarian Mercenary Brekr of Icehelm, while Derek decided to play the Skald, Alrick Tenloch.

The Party arrived at the farm early in the morning to find it seemingly deserted. There are no signs of life, human or livestock. The area is eerily silent and a strange fog is lingering over the place that seems unaffected by the rising Sun.

GAME EFFECT: ALL LOS is Limited to LONG. You detect Noise/Movement but Identity of enemies is not revealed until models are within LONG range.

Each PLOT POINT location contains a Risk and a Reward, i.e. an enemy that is triggered when a model elects to check the area, and an item reward and critical game information once that enemy is defeated.

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Our Heroes

Of course they ignored the first Plot Point location (The Barn) just outside their deployment area and headed straight to the Outbuilding instead. Brekr triggered a swarm of Giant Locusts and he and the Mage were forced to fight them off while the Skald took his sweet time getting down the road. (New boots?)

Eventually they killed the last  locust, searched the area for salvage and information, then headed straight to the Main House.

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The Mage, still queasy about the bugs, peeled off to the Field Plot Point, shouting words of encouragement to the Barbarian and the Skald. He was confident the two of them would make quick work of any threat that appeared.

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Ghouls lope in from a nearby copse of trees while a Raider busts out of the Main House shouting a blood-curdling war cry.
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This is my Angry Face!
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May the Gods grant you a good death.

Meanwhile, the third Ghoul hopped the hedge and sprinted toward Graymorn, who was mixing it up with a Giant Spider.

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Combat was short and fierce, but our Heroes prevailed. All the Plot points were Searched, the meager loot gathered, and the crucial information discovered.

***

Inside the house you find the body of an Older Man surrounded by the bodies of three dead Raiders. In the back pantry you find the body of an Older Woman and one dead Raider. A SEARCH yields

1 Healing Scroll, 1 Weapon Boost, 1Fire Bomb. AND a hastily scrawled note that reads:

“They have taken her. Warn the Duke the Black Hand has returned.”

***

Duke’s niece kidnapped, her guardian and his family brutally slain, all carried out by a mysterious enemy called the ‘Black Hand’. Who is this shadowy foe from the Duke’s past come to haunt him anew? Tragic as it is, could it be that more than the life of one young girl is at stake?

Tune in next week.

Demise of the Liche King

From the first confrontation with Gnoll raiders at the Seer’s Farmstead, to Orc warbands on deep forest trails, swarms of mutated vermin, a Giant’s lair, vampires, werewolves, ruthless mercenaries, waves of hideous rotting minions spawned by the evil magics of Necromancers, our heroes have waded through carnage, sorrow, and trials to finally confront Dal’Kosh the Undying.

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Skeletons, Barrow Knights, Undead Lords, a reanimated Giant, the Liche King’s force stood ready to destroy any who opposed him.

The two original parties were reinforced in the final portion of the quest by a third band of valiant warriors led by Thaumaturge, Malik ‘D’Orr.

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The party prepares for battle.
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Latecomers but vital to the campaigns’s triumph.
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Tried, tested, battle-scarred, yet resolute, these clerics carried the day against the Undying Triumvirate.
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This warband hacked and hewed a way through the relentless tide of skeleton warriors, carving the path to victory.

Though  every one of the adventurers persevered against great odds and prevailed over the most dreadful, unholy creatures, standing when any other mortal would fall, let it be known that one name will echo in the halls of royal power for decades. One name will be on the lips of kings, priests, lords, and ladies for generations. It shall ring in the streets, hailed by grateful crowds. This man –  a first among equals –  will be woven as the golden thread in the epic tales of seers and hallowed throughout history, immortalized in statue, the historian’s tome, and in the songs of bards for generations to come. That man is…

NORBERT THE NOVICE! 

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Norbert brings the pain down on the Liche King

Occasionally a plan does survive contact with the enemy.

Our intrepid heroes squared off against the Liche King, advancing cautiously in the face of a rushing tide of death. Skirmishes broke out on the left and right as clerics and fighters battled skeleton warriors, Barrow Knights, and the Skeleton Giant. The Liche King’s lieutenants advanced their army across a broad front, supremely confident they would soon hoist the corpses of the meddlers as trophies before their liege lord. But alas…

Steeled by a holy fury, aflame with righteous indignation, guided by the hand of his God, Norbert sprinted across the battlefield on the path cleared by his fellow warriors. He shrugged off multiple attacks from the left and right, and climbed onto the Dias of the Black Moon.

Seeing this impudent mortal approach, the Liche King’s cruel, mocking laughter sounded over the din of battle. He stood and loosed a powerful blast of foul magic. But to his astonishment, Norbert stood steadfast.

Battle swirled all around. Friends fell under the wicked blades of the undead horde. Resolute in the face of ancient and arcane terror, Norbert raised his blessed mace, charged the Corpse Throne, and swung with every fiber of his being.

Ever hear a 300-year old skull shatter?

Sounds like a clay beer jug hitting the floor; an oddly homey noise to signal the end of a centuries-long reign of evil.

And thus did the Liche King fall.

***

Turns out Derek had been saving up every ward, holy anointing oil, potion, amulet, and talisman he looted in treasure caches for the past three sessions and  put them all on Norbert. All his eggs were in the Norbert Basket. 

+ 11 against Undead. WHACK! Gruesome Kill. Game over. 

 

Nal-Rog of the Nine Hills

We had a new guy with us last Tuesday night, so we did a quick one-of scenario for ASOBH. John is an old hand at RPGs but fairly new to TTGs. One of the many things I appreciate about the ASOBH system is how easy it is to teach newcomers.

Matt, Derek, and John each had a pair of heroes, all of whom banded together to chase the Iron Jaw Orcs and the infamous giant, Nal-Rog of the Nine Hills from the ruins of Gray Maarten’s Tower, near the rune stones locally called the Four Sisters.

Real slugfest. Heroes for the win. No AAR but here are some pictures.

Painted up two new Shadowrun-type crews, so ‘Song of Mirrorshades and Shadows’ on the docket for tomorrow night.

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Gray Maarten’s Tower and the Four Sisters – the field of battle.
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Chain Fighter Piotr Nevsky faces Nal-Rog. Bold move. 
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Cleric Lazarus Sturn goes to meet the Orc Warchief. 
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Barda, War-Priest of Numor faces the Orc Brutes. His faith is strong, his sword sharp and fast. 
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Brawl around Gray Maarten’s Tower
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Quinn of Montfort grabs the treasure. 
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Hrodor and Brynar at the Four Sisters.
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Iron Jaws advance!

 

Terror in Tendale Wood

Derek was called into work, furiously cooking gluten-free alternatives for customers’ Thanksgiving celebrations, but Matt and I got together over a quick ‘one-of’ ASOBH game last night.

***

Hrodor the Druid and his nephew Brynar have been tracking the evil necromancer Heinrich Klutch for months. Following him to the quiet hamlet of Tendale, the Northmen hire two sturdy rangers to reinforce their party and follow the sorcerer into the woods. Little do they know the wretched man plans on desecrating the ancient Shrine of the Skystone with dire incantations and foul majiks.

After an hour in the woods, the rangers suddenly report the old man has stopped in the shrine’s clearing a quarter mile on and seems to be preparing to enact some kind of ritual. Worse, he has been joined by unnatural allies: two cursed spirits, a gibbering ghoul, a brawny ghast, and a large, ugly warrior armed with a heavy battle ax and a deadly hand scythe. Six against four – they’re outnumbered.

“No matter,” Hrodor said. “We will stop this desecration, cut Klutch’s black heart from his body, and finally put an end to his vile schemes.”

Brynar hefts his sword and ax. “Ja. And I’ll cut down anyone or anything that gets in my way.”

Reluctant at first, the rangers pluck up their courage, unlimber their bows, and stalk into the woods.

***

The battle began well for Hrodor. The Rangers crept forward on the right as he and his nephew went left. The Ghoul was the first to spot the intruders and raced to confront Brynar. Garn Gravehand, the large pestilent warrior, and the unnamed Ghast followed after, leaving Klutch and the Cursed spirits to finish the ritual.

Brynar cleaved the Ghoul in half, spraying ichor and black blood among the trees. The Ghast attacked one of the rangers but was forced back. Gravehand’s bulk slowed him down and he lumbered through the underbrush toward the fighting.

Eventually Gravehand and the Ghast reached the Druid’s warband and began slugging it out. The battle was evenly matched with neither side gaining an advantage – until the Cursed spirits showed up.

Aura of Terror. That’s what cinched it for the forces of Darkness. A simple spell but so effective.

Frustrated at the interruption, Klutch sent the spirits to help Gravehand. The spirits floated swiftly on dire winds toward the fighting. Before they landed a single blow, their eerie, forlorn wailing and unearthly glow forced Hrodor’s compatriots to make morale checks. First one Ranger panicked, then Brynar flinched. Next, the Northern warrior was forced back by the Ghast. Another ghostly wail, and he fled off the nearest board edge. That left the Druid and the second Ranger, who fired ineffectively at the creatures advancing on them before retreating themselves. A rather ignominious conclusion to noble intentions.

Like the old Northern adage goes: Run, run, run away. Live to fight another day.

Hrodor’s vengeance was thwarted but not quenched.

*Notice if you will, the fallen rune stone on the right edge of the board. If Matt had bothered checking it, (it was marked with an objective stone) he would have found Piotor, a former mercenary come on hard times. Not above rolling the occasional drunk or lone traveler for a few extra coins, Piotor had followed Klutch into the woods thinking him an easy mark. Once the uglies showed up however, he wisely decided to back off. Some assistance and the promise of a a share in the spoils/reward, Piotor would have gladly have given Hrodor and crew a hand. But did Matt check? Nooooooooooo. 

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Skystone Shrine in the Tendale Woods

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Apparently, the old man brought some friends.
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Desecrating the shrine. Is nothing sacred these days?
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Druid and his party.
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“Take your nephew on a quest. It builds character!”
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“We ain’t getting paid enough to face a necromancer.”
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“And here I thought the old man was an easy mark…”
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Bad Guy Backup
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No wonder they widdled their knickers.

The White Monk’s Tower

“on we went, with every step a voice

whispering in our ears that this

was all folly…”

 

Our Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes campaign continued last week with our intrepid adventurers hiking into the foothills to locate the White Monk’s Tower. Rumors of treasure helped pull them on but a scroll hidden beneath the feet of the White Monk’s statue reveals the hidden passes to Storm Crag Keep – the lair of the Liche King.

Here’s some shots

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table with new terrain  piece- a nice Hirst Arts kit from an eBay seller
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Close up of the kit. My first time with one, so I’m grateful I picked ruins. 
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Lazarus Stern faced Jorek the Red. 
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Elf Death-seeker trying to ambush enemy.  Didn’t work out. 
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Elf Mage and Rogue watching the Death-Seeker run away with the scroll after almost having his death-wish granted. 
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Rogue tried for the treasure, but with three barbarian marauders on his heels, he decided he didn’t need the GP THAT bad. 
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“Stop chewing that gospel of Saint Udolf!”
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It’s been a long, hard road. Norbert the Novice is no longer a noob.