Saturday, 31 August 2013

The Tower of Whitewall Watch

Broken Men of the garrison troop out, covered by crossbows from the towers; a man with a lantern tends the ready set bonfire - careful there! 

 A close up of the patrol as it leaves the keep.

The map was found on rpgnow and was about usd2.99, though it cost £12 to print and annoyingly is in several bits. Still, it's just what I wanted to be the base for my adventurers and rangers.

A close look at it makes me think of the semi Norse world of Skyrim. Food for thought.



Saturday, 17 August 2013

In which divers monsters are slain

Following the brief foray underground, Ael the Ready receives a handful of the usual scum and villains fresh from the condemned cells and is told to hie himself and his men into the woods to hunt win the evil beasts that are terrorising the goats and eating people.....

And lo, as the Broken Men blunder through the thickets.....

                        Ambushed, by Gygax! By the Seven Hells! Bugbears!

The Bugbears rush forwards and a bloody melee breaks out, all finesse gone.

The Bugbear chief is the last to go, taking several hits in one turn, 

So, of 8 men and a leader, 3 men were killed and couple more were lucky.

Again a brief scrap to test my theory that OD&D / Holmes will work at 1HD / level equates to 1 wound and  1 hit inflicts a wound. It means kobolds are as easily killed as say Hobgoblins but you can allow a hobgoblin to have one final attack and the be considered as killed. That's what I did with the Bugbears here, not that it helped them much.....

So, yes OD&D / Holmes looks like a good large scale skirmish rule set. No surprise really but I wanted to proof test it.....



Wednesday, 14 August 2013

The Forgotten Dungeon of Doom

Ael the Ready and his band of Broken Men were sleeping off a hard night on the local cider when a Messenger at Arms found them and gave them sheriff's orders to "proceed to the village of Netherend and put an end to divers heathen monsters believed to be molesting the populace". 

A swift march later found the Broken Men at the Rampant Griffin inn, sleeping off another night on the cider and blearily preparing for combat. Following a trail of trampled undergrowth, vegetable plots and pieces of discarded goat (and perhaps....villager?) they reach an old tree stump with a deep hole beneath it. Uncertain noises came from the inky darkness......

Clambering down via a rope, they find themselves in a dimly lit....DUNGEON!

The dungeon in all its gloominess, the Broken Men to the left and a pack of kobolds dead ahead....

The scout lurked ahead, right into a pack of kobolds, a savage fight followed in which the scout was cut down before his fellows could support him. The broken men charged in, hacking the kobolds but not without injury....the kobolds fled.....

And a small band of foam flecked berserkers appeared around the corner....the fight is grim and another broken man is killed and another wounded before the berserkers are defeated. 

The kobolds flee but seem to activate some undead in the far distance...Jorphil of the Blue Cloak spots a staircase down the corridor, but with losses mounting, Ael the Ready decides to call it a day any leads his men out of the depths....

This was a fast little adventure fought out using Holmes basic D&D rules.
The Broken Men were level 0, AC5 htk 8, armed with a variety of swords, axes and a couple of crossbows; Ael was level 2, 14 htk, AC5. Treasure taken was minimal and 100 expts awarded overall!
The Broken Men are not rangers as such, more like the Nightswatch in GOT. I dont intend to detail each of the Broken Men, apart from Ael the Ready, treating them instead as a gaggle of henchmen, a sort of 6 headed NPC. They will however gradually increase in experience.



Monday, 12 August 2013

The Broken Men

The Broken Men are felons, landless shamed knights and retainers of attainted traitors who really have little to expect apart from the rope, the axe or the brand (and in some cases, all three......).

Instead they are given the chance to redeem themselves defending the realm from the things that dwell in the wilder lands.

Firestorm feudal servants painted by Matt Slade, await an uncertain creeping doom.....



Monday, 1 July 2013

The Bloody Canal

The Tunnocks of Grantly, a Minor House loyal to Riddick Craven, Warden of the Riding, were in the Royal Capital having escorted the Riding's tax levy for the quarter. They were billeted in the House of the Cravens - while some of them are dispersed in local taverns.

A large force of armsmen of House Casterly, led by Lord Tarquil Casterly, march on the Craven House, attacking any Tunnocks they meet. A running street battle ensued as the Tunnocks hack their way through the Casterlys towards the Great Canal Gate....

Some isolated Tunnocks are attacked at the Sword of Brass - a particularly seedy dive. Lord Tarquil can be seen in the midst of the fray.

More Tunnocks arrive,finding their fellows cut down, they realise they have to get past the Casterlys to get out of the City. Some head off on a different route to flank the Casterlys....

A lone Tunnock makes his stand, cut off from his cousins. A common fate today for the sons of the North...

The Tunnocks leap a canal to escape, Murdo son of Mungo turns and buys time for the rest.....

Casterlys close in from all directions, dashing through the Great Bazaar and along the side of the Floating Market (where a few Tunnock weapons are already being sold, one err careful owner?)

The Great Bridge is in sight but the Blackcloaks have been bought off and turn on the Tunnocks....

The last axe swinging Tunnock is engulfed by a horde of Casterlys and Blackcloaks.....


This was a nasty little game, inspired by the narco ambush in the backstreets in "Clear & Present Danger", played out purely to see if GW LOTR figures could look Game Of Thrones eneough or at least sufficiently non LOTR for my purposes. I think the answer is YES.

I used "IN HER MAJESTY'S NAME" - whch is a Victorian set of rules but has axes, chainmail, plate, all the stuff my figures had and I rather think it worked. I decided that as more Tunnocks were cut down, the "Pluck" of the survivors would increase - reflecting desperation and a hint of northern stroppiness. In fact, Murdo Tunnock was actually still standing at the end of the game - he proved unkillable. He is now a Named Man of the North and a bitter foe of the southern jessies of House Casterly.

Just why has Lord Tarquil committed such a heinous act? Is it just because he has a goatee?

And will the North Remember? All this will be answered, probably quicker than we'll find out if Jon Snow if really alive, dead or turned into a wolf.


Sunday, 30 June 2013

A Wilderland of Thrones?

I don't know why but every autumn I get all nostalgic over D&D. It's probably linked to the start of the  school year in some way and memories of walking to my friends house on a autumn morning to play D&D. What I do know is that I have never really stopped dabbling in fantasy wargaming (with a strong dash of RPG influence). The fact that I am mainly a solo gamer makes it both interesting and difficult. My last attempt was to fight through Tegel Manor one room at a time......

The question is this - what bits of fantasy geography influences my fantasy wargaming world? In no particular order:

Mirkwood from Tolkien

Bits of Newhon / Llankhmar

City state of the Invincible Overlord

Wilderlands of High Fantasy

Against the Giants




Early Warhammer - Thorgrim Branedim and Air Dressair for example And more recently...... Game of Thrones

Any attempt to gather all this into one world, while entertaining, foundered due to conflicting styles and moods of the originals. A map incorporating it all seemed impossible.

My first reaction was to just have a rough map - this in the north, that wherever for example, but that too got stuck probably because I was quite fixated still on the originals in all their contradictions.

Recently though, watching Game of Thrones, I thought how Minas Tirith figures from the GW LOTR range looked like a sort of Westeros infantryman. The Gondor fiefdom figures also looked quite "northern".

Here, men at arms of House Casterly realise why property prices have slumped in the North.
 Minas Tirith soldiers simply painted red and gold.

This seemed to marry the look of the figures I liked with a bit of a background but keeping the human forces as quite generic. So,  my human fantasy forces are now settled as, in the north, Gondor fiefdom figures will feature as the Tunnocks and Garstangs, with a few rangers as hunters of the tumbledown tower. Their leader is Lord Riddick Craven, Warden of the Riding. In the south, the minas tirith figures (in red kit) became the Casterlys of Rosemount under Lord Tarquil Casterly. The original black painted minas tirith figures are the Kingsmen (though their shield device is the Casterly tree) whose role is uncertain; my dullendings are the wildmen of the howling hills and my ex citadel feudals are the retinue of sir Hubert of Haghill (now a royal messenger at arms). That combines Tolkien, GoT and Judges Guild references into one set of semi coherent human forces. The original City State could be seen as a plot riven backdrop for the north-south feud and also a point of entry for the more D&D element (eg the orcs of the purple claw).

I have some mordheim adventurers who look very piratical so they easily become the pirates of the Roglaroon, led by Strombanni - marrying in a hyboria reference but also reinforcing the judges guild Wilderlands theme. And so to the awkward bit. How to fit in the D&D elements of monsters - orcs, goblins, trolls, giants ?

In a typical D&D setting you could encounter monsters remarkably close to a human settlement - in the City State of the Invincible Overlord, they were a major and active (and accepted) part of the population . That did not quite gel with some of the other settings such as Hyboria which are less monster based and GOT in which humans are the most common monsters in all senses..

My tentative idea here is to think of concentric rings of increasing fantasticality. The further away you are from "the capital" the more D&D it gets. I had thought of CSIO as the capital; perhaps it isn't? Perhaps that is some fantastical city out on the edge of (ahem) the Wilderlands?
Food for thought all round and a small sense of achievement in terms of vision.

Now, to actually convert all this to a game. An AAR, musings on rules and some pictures to follow in due course.