Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Frostgrave Campaign '17, Game 11: The Final Battle

     This past Saturday we played the 11th game of this year's Frostgrave Campaign, and the last scenario of the "Thaw of he Lich Lord" supplement book: The Final Battle.    Next month, we will be playing a special Christmas themed scenario, called Red Sled Down, for our annual Frostgrave Game Christmas Party.
     We had 6 of our regular players in attendance for Saturday's outing to face the Lich Lord in a final showdown.   The scenario has the Lich Lord using his powerful magic to lift a whole section of the city, including a fortified manor, high up into the air; where it sits suspended by huge chains above the ruins of Feldstad.  The Wizards and their warbands must climb these chains to get to the Lich Lord.  This required a different set-up then our usual long table, and because we had 6 players, we modified the more linear set up that is described in the Lich Lord scenario book.  So, I arranged the tables into a 6' x 7.5' surface, and on this I laid out a somewhat six-sided gaming area.  I then marked an entry point in each of the 6 corners, representing where the chains were attached and the players would ascend to the battlefield.
     There was also a host of the Lich Lord's minions waiting to face us that needed to be preset on the table.  This included 6 Wraith Knights, 18 Death Cultists, and 36 Armored Skeletons (plus one extra Armored Skeleton that the Lich Lord personally raises pre-game), and the Lich Lord himself.   We placed 3 Treasures each; either in, or adjacent to, the manor house ruins in the center of the table.  Also placed there was Lich Lord, with the spells Elemental Shield and Time Store, already in place.
     I got last set-up choice again, but with the 6-sided play area, it didn't make make much difference to me where I set up, as all roads led to a whole bunch of enemies.  I ended up with the Necromancer, Missy, on my left, and the Soothsayer, Gru, on my right.

For an account of last months game, see: The Bones Wheels
A look at the table at the start of the game.
The Report

     The Sigilist Quailelyn sat at the long table in her tower's great hall and sipped quietly at a cup of tea.  Though she looked the picture of peace and serenity, her active mind whirred frenetically as she puzzled and fretted over the growing Evil which lurked just a couple miles away in the ruined city of Felstad.  It had been months now since the Evil had revealed itself, and she seemed no closer to discovering what exactly It was, and where It dwelt.  There were rumors, of course; a great Necromancer, a Foul Demon,  some unknown Thing that the wizards of the old city had created and then laid waste to their city trying to destroy.  Surely, Quail and her fellow Wizards had been able to defeat the Evil's many efforts to gain more power, but the face of Evil itself had never shown itself.  
    Bailisette, the Sigilist's Apprentice walked slowly into the room, saw her Mistress was deep in thought, yawned quietly, and headed towards the fire to see if there was still any tea left.   She had not gone more than two paces into the hall when the morning sun outside suddenly darkened, then a bright flash of green light lit the room, followed by a loud BOOM in the distance. Quail's head shot up, and she glared at Bailey as if she caused the disturbance.  Bailey looked back at the Wizard with surprise, and made a gesture indicating she had no idea what just happened. 
     Without a word, Quail shot up, and headed for the nearest window. There were two more bright flashes in quick succession followed by another tower-shaking , BOOM and then a loud CRACK, like metal striking rock, only amplified several times over. 
    "With me." the Siglist barked, and headed for the stairs leading up the tower to the parapet.  Quail stepped out into the cold morning air, followed closely by her Apprentice, and stopped suddenly in shock.  Bailey almost ran into her.    TheWizard looked out over the ruins of the city and saw black clouds roiling out towards them.  The green flashes cut through the darkness almost continuously now, and the thunder-like sounds came in quick succession, as if the very city was being torn apart. Something hit Quail's cheek and she instinctively looked up as her hand went to her face.  It was an ice crystal.   Then another.  Fine snow-like ice crystals were falling, and the Wizards nose now detected the smell of rock dust in the air.  The two Spell-casters could do nothing but stand there in awe, and watch in disbelief.   Quail silently prayed that the world was not ending. 
Quail's warband enters in a ruined building and takes a moment to get its bearings.
     Then, as suddenly as it started, the sounds and lights stopped.  The dark clouds, and the ice and dust falling from them, began to pull back towards the city as if being sucked towards some central point; like water flowing down a drain.  It was then that Quail first saw it, in the distance:  a great hunk of rock floated in the air just a few dozen yards over the tallest spires of the old city. She estimated it was the size of a full city block.  As the Sigilist peered into the distance, trying to see details, she realized the top of the huge rock was flat, and she  saw ruins up on top of the rock.  It was as if a whole section of the city had been torn up and now sailed in the air. Bailey, her youthful eyes a little better, said in disbelief, "There are chains coming off of it;  holding it to the ground." 
     Quail turned to her, said with fierce determination,  "We must find out what this means."
The Sigilist had read about many magical events in her years, had seen some bizarre things herself,  but nothing compared to this.  She felt lost, a feeling she was not used to.   Pacing on the parapet, the Wizard tried to form a conclusion.  Then, Bailey suddenly drew Quail's attention. "Look", said the young woman, and she pointed up in the sky where a small bird flew in a haphazard course directly at them.  It landed at Quails feet, and as the two women gazed at it. They saw it wasn't a bird at all, but an intricately folded parchment.   Quail snatched it up.  Hurriedly, she unfolded the bird.  "It's a letter." Her eyes went down to the bottom first. "From Bemis".  Her eyes danced back and forth across the page.  "There's going to be a meeting of Wizards, at least those of us who aren't heading for the hills already,  in the tavern. In an hour.  To discus what this..." and she flourished a hand towards the city, "...is all about."   The Sigilist looked up at Bailey, "Good.  We'll get some answers."

     There were six Wizards and their Apprentices who were brave, or foolhardey, enough to stay and attend the meeting.  Quail and Bailey, and of course their fellow Sigilists, Bemis and Agarn; also the Elementalist Alfred the Unready and his boy Apprentice, and Gru the Soothsayer and Agnes, and the Summoner Challara and his Apprentice.    As they pooled their information, Quail learned that, sure enough, it was the Great Evil that had done this; and the belief amongst those of them that had more information, was that it was an immensely powerful Lich.    The consensus between all six of them was that tearing the city apart like had been done, must have taken an immense amount of magical power; and no matter how powerful the Lich might be, he was surely drained and weaker after such a feat.  If they were going to have a chance and strike against the Evil, now was the opportunity.
    Back at their tower, there was no time for Quail or Bailey to look at the their Magical Atlas to detect any hidden treasures in the raised section of city, (Both fail Reveal Secret), and certainly no time to get involved with brewing any potions (Both fail Brew Potion).  Everyone gathered their things as quickly as possible and headed for the rendezvous point.  Quail, however, did take the time to grab the scroll of Illusionary Soldier out of the vault, and she read it quickly when they reached the base of the chain they were assigned to ascend.
Quail and Bailey Fog their flanks as a group of Ghouls climbs up over the edge of the floating rock. 
     The climb up the large chain was arduous at best.  Her months in the frozen city had certainly made Quail leaner and more muscular, but she was quite winded when the group finally reached the top.  The Sigilist quickly surveyed the area they had come up in; it looked to be the middle of a mostly ruined building.  She immediately detected they were flanked by two groups of Armored Skeletons  milling about along the edge of the rocky ledge not far off, both to their left and right.  "Fog" she said to Bailey, still huffing and puffing from the climb, and pointed over to their right.  Quail then proceeded to cast a wall of white mist on their left, effectively blocking the skeletons' view of them. Her Apprentice did likewise on the right.
         Through the crumbling window frames to their front, Luc Demic, the Marksman, spotted a Death Cultist in the distance and fired his crossbow, hitting the man, but only wounding him.  Then, Sir Cardidil the Knight spotted three Ghouls climb up from below the ledge, not far from where they all stood. (Treasure generated Random Encounter.), and shouted out a warning.  Cirvid, the Warhound, lumbered forward and fiercely leapt at the nearest; sinking his teeth into the creature and killing it.  Unfortunately, this allowed a second Ghoul to fall upon the distracted dog, cutting a deep gash in the animal's flank with his ghastly claw like hands.  The poor beast fell to the snow and lay motionless.  The third Ghoul advanced at the Illusionary Soldier, who had obediently moved towards the danger.
         Seeing Cirvid fall, Quail extended her right arm with her hand palm outwards, and recited the Push spell.  The Ghoul, turning from the downed Warhound, was suddenly hurled a few dozen yards off the edge of the floating rock.   Then gravity took effect, and it fell down towards to the city below, disappearing from view.  With so many undead creatures lurking about, Bailey quickly tried to cast Awareness on herself, but she had little to no experience working the spell, and only ended up giving herself a splitting headache (Takes 2 HP damage).  Meanwhile, Barc, the Man-at-Arms, ran up, and before the Ghoul could strike at the Illusionary Soldier, the Man at Arms, ran the creature through with his sword.  Luc took a second shot at the Death Cultist, who had started advancing towards them despite his wound, and killed the man.   Sallisee, the Ranger, was surprised to see one of the Armored Skeletons come round Bailey's fog wall, and took a hasty shot, missing it.   As she curse her aim, Clol the Barbarian bounded by her, and with one swoop of his mighty Club of Battering, he smashed the skeleton into a pile of broken bones.   In the far distance Quail could make out the Lich Lord himself standing up in the middle of the main floor of a ruined manor house.  He was all dressed in cursed red armor, and his head was nothing more than a skull with glowing eyes.   As she watched he turned and fired an Elemental Bolt at some unseen target towards the distant left.  The Sigilist tried to remember who had come up the chain in that direction, and recalled it was Alfred the Unready.  (Lich Lord hit, but did no damage.) 
A lone Armored Skeleton approaches around Bailey's fog wall.
             Quail and the rest of the warband slowly and hesitantly advanced.  The Sigilist knew they were here to do a job, and they couldn't just wait forever on the edge of the rocky ledge.   Bailey paused to extend her Fog wall with another section of the white mist. She didn't want anymore surprises to see them and come in their direction.   And, she knew Gru the Soothsayer was over there; and even though she knew they all had agreed to be on peaceful terms for this encounter, she didn't trust him and the strange yellow creatures that he used as his minions.   Quail watched as the Lich Lord turned to his right rear now, and fired another Elemental Bolt in that direction.  Bemis' area, she thought.  (Hit Bemis, doing about 8 HP of damage.) 
          As Quail moved forward, she saw the bright green words of a Drain Word spell for Telekinesis appear in the air.  As Drain Word was one of Bemis' calling cards, she figured he must not have been wounded too badly by the Lich Lord.  Looking towards the Lich Lord again, the Siglist spotted a promising chest just inside an arch of the manor house, and despite the Draining Word in effect,  she successfully casting Telekinesis and watched as the chest slowly drifted towards them, and dropped gently to the the snow.   Then, the Wizard's jaw dropped as the chest started moving again, but this time towards where Gru was located.  Quail was infuriated, and called to Bailey, "That Soothsayer is stealing our chest! Block his view!"   Bailey didn't want to question Quail's order, but all the young Apprentice could see from her position was the two Fog walls she had already made,  she had no idea where Gru was located. So, despite her better judgement the young woman stepped forward and passed through the Fog walls she had made to the far side, just at the juncture between the two.  She spotted Gru's location, and easily threw up a wall of Fog blocking his sight from the chest.  As Bailey finished the spell, she felt a stab of excruciating fire in her side, and she cried out in shock and pain.   Looking down she saw the spike of a Bone Dart protruding from just under her ribcage on the right side. (Thrown by Gru's Apprentice, Agnes.)  Bailey felt faint, and the ground beneath her feet seemed to roll and pitch. (Bailey reduced to only 2 HP.) As she tried to stay conscious,  a second stab of pain shot through her left shoulder, and through blurry eyes, she turned her head to see a crossbow bolt from one of Gru's Marksmen sticking at an angle into her arm.  Her eyes lost focus, the world gave a last roll beneath her feet, and her body pitched  backwards into her Fog wall as all went black.
Bailey fatefully moves through the fog to cast a blocking wall to prevent Gru from stealing their treasure.
     Quail heard her Apprentice's cry, and had to fight every instinct to run to find out what was wrong, but there were eight other people depending on her at that moment.  In the back of her mind the Sigilist told herself over and over, "Bailey has the Crystal Rose, she has the Crystal Rose...", as a way to sooth her anguished thoughts.  She calmed herself enough to cast Telekinesis on a second chest in the Manor House; this one on the grand staircase leading up to the main floor.  But the Wizard's mind was still distracted, and she had to force herself to complete the spell correctly, causing a spasm of pain in her brain. (Pushed for -2 HP)
      Meanwhile, the Treasure Hunter, Innis Flynn, followed by the Illusionary Soldier rushed forward to retrieve the chest Gru was trying to steal.   Quail saw them advance, then watched in horror as the new Fog wall Bailey had made melted away. (Gru used an Ivory Scroll of Dispel Magic.)  With the wall gone Innis was exposed to all of Gru's force, and he too felt the stab of one of Agnes' Bone Darts, followed in quick succession by a bolt form a crossbow.  His momentum caused him to pitch a few feet forward, as he came crashing down to the snowy pavement, where he lay motionless.  Quail could see a trio of Gru's soldiers running forward now. They reached the chest, and the Sigilist cursed under he breath.   Sallisee tried to fire at one, but missed.    Dorchesman ran forward to retrieve the second chest, and Clol, and the little halfling Treasure Hunter, Kinny, ran towards the steps of the ruined manor house.
Kinny and Clol ascend the stairs of the manor house as nearby Dorchesman carries off his chest.  Over on the right, Gru's troops reach the disputed chest and start hauling it away.   
    As the big Barbarian and little Halfling headed up the steps of the manor house, they could see that soldiers from Alfred the Unready's group, as well as Missy the Necromancer's, and Bemis contingent, with Bemis himself,  were also approaching the Lich Lord.  Kinny also spied a couple other treasures upon the floor, not far from where the Lich Lord stood.  Maybe...in all the confusion... 
     Outside the ruined manor house, a skirmish was developing between Gru's warband and Quail's.  Quail tried to send a Furious Quill at Gru's Treasure Hunter, but the yellow creature successfully batted it away.  Luc, however, fired at the creature with his crossbow and killed it.  Gru launched a Bone Dart at Barc as he approached, hitting him; but the tough Man-at-Arms kept advancing.  The Soothsayer's Marksman fired at the Imaginary Soldier, hitting it.  The magic dissolved and the soldier slowly turned to a fine mist and floated away. 
The noose closes around the Lich Lord.
     Meanwhile, up in the Manor House,  the various groups of soldiers quickly looked at each other, and with no word spoken, charged at the Lich Lord.  Alfred's men hung back, but Missy's Treasure Hunter was first there, brandishing her sword.   Clol charged in next with his magic club held high, and he was soon joined by one of Bemis' Treasure Hunters.  Kinny, unnoticed by the rest, scooted forward and grabbed the treasure directly in front of her.  The Lich Lord, in his weakened state, seemed momentarily confused by all the attackers charging him; and that moment of confusion was his undoing.  Bemis' Captain, Nigel, ran up behind the foul creature, and raising his sword high, brought it down with a furious power.  There was a crack of energy that knocked them all a bit back as the sword cleaved halfway down the Lich Lord's body, nearly splitting him in two. The Lich fell with an agonizing shriek and his body quickly turned to black ash as if he was being consumed by an unseen fire.   (Bemis will surely give the details in his report, but as I remember Nigel went into the attack, with all his Captain benefits, the 4 additional attackers, and his magic weapons, having a +19 Attack.  He then rolled very well. )
     They all nearly fell as a shock wave went through the ground, and they felt the entire floating rock drop a couple inches in  a single lurch.  It didn't stop dropping either.  The floating city block slowly continued descending.   As everyone scrambled to leave the house,  Clol turned towards the second treasure, only to see one of Gru's soldiers coming up the far steps and snatch up the prize.  Infuriated, the Barbarian ran forward to strike this thief, but the strange yellow creature was quicker than the big human, and stabbed at him with his sword, cutting a deep gash.  Clol stumbled backwards, bleeding and shocked. (reduced to 3 HP)  Thinking better of pursuing, the Barbarian turned and joined those fleeing from the ruined manor house. 
The final battle, while Kinny uses the distraction to sneak forward and grab the nearby treasure. 
          Back outside the manor house, Quail once again cast Fog to try and block her people from Gru's soldiers.  She needed this fight to end soon, as she could tell the floating rock was sinking.  Sally finally had an arrow go true and hit another of Gru's Treasure Hunters, killing it.  The rest of Gru's soldiers seemed disinclined to press the issue further, and joined their master in retreating.   Quail, too, gave the fall back call, and raced over to check on Bailey. She ordered Barc to check on Innis.  She reached Bailey and let out a gasp when she saw her there laying in the fog.   She knelt down and was relieved to discover that the Apprentice seemed to still be alive, though barely.  Quail called to Sir Cardidil, one of the few of her warband not wounded,  to help get the girl down.   They all made their way to the chain where they had come up.  Kinny dragging her heavy chest, being the last to descend.
Those who left the battle under their own power, along with their two treasures.
     Back at the their tower base. Quail had Sir Cardidil carry Bailey to her bed.  And Innis was taken to his.  The Sigilist sat on a chair near her Apprentice and tended her wounds with Healing spells and magical ointments.  Bailey's eyes fluttered open, and she looked at Quail with sadness and pain. "I'm sorry", she whispered weakly.
   "There, there, my child" Quail said soothingly.  "There's no need.  We succeeded.  The Evil is gone. Rest now."
     Later that night, when the Sigilist had time to look at the chests that had been retrieved, she found one held a pair of Boots of Leaping, and the other had a Grimoire of Forget Spell.  There was also 160 gold coins.  As she sat and leafed through the Grimoire, she was surprised to hear a familiar barking at the main door; and sure enough there was Cirvid, his fur bloody and matted, who somehow had survived and returned home.
    Returning home was a good thing, she thought to herself.  Her mind turned to her library back at the University.  While a year ago she had been desperate to escape it's dark cold halls, she now longed for its comforting familiarity, and its quiet security.

Game Epilogue

    It was a frustrating game from start to finish.  I should have known when I failed both my Reveal Secret rolls, and both my Brew Potion rolls, that it was going to be one of those days, and it was.  I couldn't roll to save myself.  I feel extremely thankful that I even managed to get two treasures, and that no one died. 
     The Lich Lord himself proved to  be a bit of a disappointment.    I can see where having a player actually play the Lich Lord himself (as is recommended in the book) is much better than using the programed actions like we did.  It didn't help that all but one of his Elemental Bolts did no damage.   The programed actions also allowed me to easily evade the skeletons with my Fog.
   The final battle proved interesting, though very anti-climatic.  It really showed the value of an experienced Captain in Frostgrave.   And gave me a brief glimpse of what playing with a Heritor in Ghost Archipelago will be like. 
   And on a final note, last game Quail matched Kodak's achievement by reaching level 29; this time she rose past him to level 33.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Fall-In Saturday in the HAWKs Room

     I was only able to get up to Fall in for Saturday and Sunday this year, so only have shots of some of the Saturday games we ran in the HAWKs room.  Sunday, I sold in the flea market.   I had a great time at the con, and the crowd and energy seemed at a higher level than I have seen in a while.  All the HAWKs games had players enough to run, even the hard-to-fill Saturday night sessions; and the newly-redesigned Dealers' Hall seemed to be humming with activity when I was there.
    There were very few visible improvements to the Lancaster Host still, other than the Dealer's Hall, and the new white plastic tables everywhere, that replaced the old wooden splinter-and-staple infested ones.  But signs like the absent boiler truck, and no more roof tarps, are indicators steps are being taken in the right direction down a very long road.   On the down side, most of the reports I heard of the food quality were poor; and the water dispenser, moved from the hallway into the HAWKs room itself, never seemed to be refilled after it's initial reserves were exhausted on Friday.  The flea market was humming; and at the Sunday session that I did, every table was filled with a seller, and some folks even had to drag some of the tournament tables over into a new ad-hoc sellers' row to make more space .

   For the report on the linked, 2-part special episode, Doctor Who games Greg Priebe and I ran, please see: Doctor Who and the Pirates of the Cyberiad Main.

  On the the photos!

Eric Schlegel's "Action on the Pratzen" 15mm Napoleonic game using "Le Feu et Fureur" modified Fire and Fury rules. 

Geoff Graff's Lego Pirate game is always a favorite with the kids, using Plastic Pirates rules. 

Rob Dean running his Chaos Wars fantasy game with 25mm figures.

Patrick Byrne's "Hold the Fort" 28mm modern game using Force on Force rules

Kevin and Mike Fischer's "Welcome to the Jungle" 12mm Mobile Suit Gundam game.

Chris Johnson's "Gorilla My Dreams I Need You" 54mm Pulp kids game using Valley of the Ape rules.

A close up of some of Chris' beautiful big figures.

Bill Molyneaux's "Zulu Morning Patrol" game using home rules.

A closer shot of some of Bill's brave British preparing to meet the Zulus.  

Kurt Schlegel's reprisal of the "Action on the Pratzen" scneario, this time using his Fast and Fun Napoleonics rules.

Don Hogge's "All or Nothing" WWII game featuring Greek's vs Italians, and using Battleground WWII rules. 

A close up of some defending Italians in Don's game

Jim McWilliams "Saga of Lower Uncton Continues" game, using SAGA rules. 

A close up of some of the Dark Age forces battling in Jim's game. 
   A big thank you goes out from all the HAWKs Gamemasters to all the great players who came by our room to take part in our games!  We hope to see you all at Cold Wars!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Fall-In Doctor Who Game Reports: "Pirates of the Cyberiad Main", and "Dead Men's Chests"

     At last weekend's Fall-In convention in Lancaster, PA, Greg Priebe and I ran a special 2-part-episode pair of linked Doctor Who games, entitled "Pirates of the Cyberiad Main" and "Dead Men's Chests".    The idea for this originated in the plan our club had to set up a single Caribbean themed table for the HAWKs gamemasters to use all weekend for different games. So Greg and I took this opportunity to devise two linked Doctor Who games.
   We ran my game, entitled "Doctor Who and the Pirates of the Cyberiad Main" first, on Saturday morning, and Greg's follow-up game, "Doctor Who and the Dead Men's Chests" we ran on Saturday night.
     Here's the description of my game from the convention program;   Can't the Doctor enjoy a nice restful trip to a sunny Caribbean island in the early 1700's without something going wrong? It seems that Pirates have arrived to plunder the town, and they've brought some unusual stowaways: a group of Cyberman have hitched a ride after their spacecraft crashed in the ocean; and they're looking for new recruits amongst the local population! 
     So, the premise was a Cyberman spaceship had crashed somewhere in the ocean, and the survivors had made a deal with a passing pirate ship, that they would help them plunder a nearby town, if the Pirates would help them gather some captives to be "upgraded"; and then return them to their damaged ship, where they could then start making more Cybermen.  On the island there was a garrison of British Marines, and some hastily assembled townsfolk to offer defense.  There was, of course, also the 11th Doctor and Amy Pond.  The Doctor had in tow the island's Governor as well as the Governor's Daughter.
    I used the "To Be Continued...by GASLIGHT" rules, slightly modified to allow disengagement from combat.
A look at the table at the start of the game
   The Pirate/Cyberman players' objective was to capture 6 humans (either garrison or townsfolk) and carry them back to their landing boats.    The townsfolk's objective was to prevent this. And, to help them, the Doctor had to make some special gold plated ammunition for the muskets and pistols of the populace.  (Cybermen are vulnerable to gold) Without the special ammunition, the Cyberman were nearly invulnerable with a Save number of 20. With the special ammunition the Cybermen's Save became just a 10.  To make the ammunition, the Doctor needed to travel and gather components from  three different buildings on the island, and then spend a turn in his Tardis creating the  ammo.  He would then have to physically deliver it, by moving into contact with any figure carrying a firearm.
Cybermen and Pirates come ashore.
     The game started off with the Doctor whizzing off in his Tardis to get the first objective, a chest of gold coins in the warehouse; while the townsfolk both exited the buildings where they had initially gathered.    Over in the barracks outpost down by the beach,  here was some disagreement amongst the commander and the sergeant, as the commander thought it was prudent to fall back into the town, while the sergeant thought they should take the case of ammunition that was stored in the armory with them so it would be easier for the Doctor to get later.
   The Cybermen and Pirate teams advanced up the beach with two Cybermen/Pirate groups heading right, towards the warehouse where the Doctor was, and the third group heading left towards the barracks. 
Half the Garrison gets trapped in the barracks outpost and is overrun
     Like the half of the garrison led by the commander, the townsfolk decided to adopt a plan of slowly falling back before the advance of their enemies, with the pair of musketmen in their ranks stopping to fire a discouraging shot at the attackers when they could.
  Meanwhile the Doctor was able to grab the first objective right as the initial Pirates and Cybermen reached the warehouse.  He then flew off  in the Tardis to the center building where the second objective was, and the pursuing enemies attempted to follow.
   As a Gamemaster I started to worry at that point, as the Pirates and Cybermen weren't going to succeed if they remained one step behind the doctor all they way.  They knew where the items he needed were, so at least at one of the buildings they needed to cut him off before he got there if they were to succeed.  Likewise, if all the defenders just ran to the back of the table, it would be next to impossible for the Cybermen/Pirate groups to get to them and  carry captives all the way back to the boat before the Doctor achieved his mission. 
On the other side of the town, a real furball of a battle develops as Townsfolk, Pirates, and Cybermen clash.
         I didn't need to worry though, as things soon started to unravel for the defenders.   Back in the barracks outpost, the sergeant realized the heavy chest would probably slow his men down too much in the face of the onrushing attackers, so he formed his troops into a line behind a low wall, and fired at the oncoming Cybermen in an effort to do some damage to them.   The time it took to enter and exit the armory, and then form up and fire from behind the wall, was this troop's undoing, as it allowed the Pirates to get around behind them, and they were trapped in their outpost. 
    Likewise, with the lone musketmen stopping to fire and reload while the rest of the townsfolk moved, their units soon became strung out and they needed to pause to regroup.  This allowed the speediest pirates to make contact.
    It didn't take long for the combined power of the leftmost Cybermen and Pirates to overwhelm the Sergeant and his men.  In some tense moments, the last of the defenders fell just as the Doctor got to the armory.  A Cyberman and Pirate where able to dash in to try and stop him, but he was able to grab the chest, (which was the third item he needed) and with the help of the Governor, was able to disengage and make his way back into the Tardis
In the armory, a short skirmish develops between a Cyberman, Pirate and the Doctor!.
     The Doctor then went to work concocting the special ammunition.  When this was done, he flew off to there the Garrison Commander was with his half of the troops.  The Doctor took them all aboard the Tardis and started handing out ammunition. 
      By this time, with the overrun of half the Garrison and a long and bloody skirmish with the townsfolk, the Cybermen had more than enough volunteers for "upgrading".   The highlight of the Townsfolk battle was the ninja-trained "Grandma Sam", (who was one of the leaders of the townsfolk), who lasted nearly the whole game, taking out many an enemy with her Broom of Death, before she was eventually taken down by a Cyberman.)
Last stand on the beach.  The surviving Garrison troops get off one good shot, but the special bullets miss their targets, as the Cybermen and Pirates rush from the woods with their captives.
     As the Cybermen and Pirates headed for their boats with their booty,  the Doctor tried to cut them off at the pass by flying his Tardis right down on the beach with the Garrison troops inside for the ride.  He then deployed them  in a line blocking the passage of one of the enemy groups.  Even the Governor and Governor's Daughter joined in to help.    The other Cybermen and Pirates  made their way to the beach, dogged by the few surviving Townsfolk. 
    The final turns were a real exciting nail-biter, as the Cybermen and Pirates on the left decided to rush the defenders in a last ditch effort to get to their  boats.   This worked, as the Garrison was only able to get off one good shot with their special ammo, before the Cybermen were upon them.  Likewise,  the Cybermen facing the Governor and his Daughter soon realized that rushing the defenders was the best way to avoid being shot.   In the end, the Governor's Daughter was the only one to take out a Cyberman; but it was too little too late.
     Even the Doctor succumbed to a Cyberman blast, and Amy had to drag his unconscious body back into the Tardis in the closing moments of the episode game.   With the defenses crumbled,  I declared the game a Cyberman victory. 
In the final moments, the Doctor is knocked unconscious and falls into the surf.  Amy has to drag him to the Tardis.   The Governor and his Daughter can be seen defending the low wall near the center of the photo , just before they are overrun by the two Cybermen there.
    It was an exciting game, and really went down to the last turns.  In the end the defenders just weren't able to disable enough Cybermen in the battle.  Even with a Save of 20, in playtest games the Cybermen lost a third to a half of their strength, just from the fact if they roll a lot of Saves, the 5% chance of rolling a 20 will eventually catch up with them. And then the defenders should get a couple shots off with the special ammo.  But in this game, only one Cyberman fell.  The garrison formed up so close to the woods along the beach, the Cybermen were bale to be on top of them in one turn, so they only got one shot.  And it didn't help that two of the Cybermen players were kids.  Kid luck will always carry the day!  :) 

Part 2

     That evening Greg ran his half of the 2-part battle.  His game picked up the action a short time after where mine ended.  This is the description for the Convention program:  Pirates and Cybermen have already plundered the town and been dealt with, and the Doctor's tropical vacation has gone horribly awry. He can finally relax; or can he? As now, a cache of mysterious crates have washed ashore. Do they bring untold riches or unknown peril?
The East India Company arrives in their spiffy boat.
      In this game a couple new factions were added.  First, Marines from the East India Company had just arrived at the dock to collect taxes from the town.  Secondly, as the description indicates, strange chests of valuable antiquities have been washing ashore.  While a few have just washed up at the start of the game,  this had apparently been going on for while, and some more of these strange chests had been stored in various buildings in the town.  These chests it turns out, were from some ancient Silurian vessel wrecked for eons on the ocean floor,  some seismic shift on the ocean floor had freed them and they were now coming to the surface.  Once on shore, their mere presence had called out to their original owners; and so a group of Silurians had tunneled their way to the surface in one of the buildings at the back of the town to recover the chests. 
     Also, joining the fight were more Townsfolk, just now returning from working in the fields.   There were also some of the Pirates left from the earlier battle, and the Cybermen were bringing back some of the newly upgraded citizens in the form of a few more Cybermen.   
Amy and Rory direct some members of the East India Company to secure a crate for the Doctor.  At first the men seemed happy to be taking orders from the redheaded lass.  Later though, when they realized she might be a Jacobite, they took some potshots at her! 
    This was more of an everybody for himself kind of game, with the Silurian crates and the chests of Tax Money, the objectives of most of the teams.  The Cybermen, of course, were also after more volunteers for upgrading.   The Doctor was just trying to get everyone to get along with each other.
    For this battle Greg used the old Doctor Who Miniatures Game rules.
More troops from the East India Company and some Pirates battle for control of a crate.
      It's hard for me to say exactly what happened in this game as it was so joyfully chaotic!   Early on, the Doctor met with he Silurians and formed a truce with them in exchange for helping them get back their rightfully owned crates.  He was just as happy to commandeer the chests of Tax Money gold as well.  (Presumably so everyone would stop fighting over them.)    And of course the Cyberman enjoyed just cutting a merry path of destruction through everyone!
Cybermen, Silurains, and Towsfolk clash. 
     One of the highlights of this game was the Cyberman player who asked if he could repair one of his downed Cyberman by doing an expedient "field upgrade" using one of the Townsfolk he had captured.    He then decided that the upgrade wasn't quite successful and so the Cyberman could only walk backwards, and at half speed.  Everyone christened the Cyberman "Abbie Normal", and much laughter was had at this poor Cyberman's antics. 
A view of the table from the landward side.
     In the end, Greg declared it a three way tie for victory, between the Doctor, the Silurians and the Cybermen. 
A poor citizen receives a "field upgrade"  to revive a fallen Cyberman.  
   
     Both games were a ton of fun to run, thanks mainly to a great bunch of players.  Everyone got into the spirit of the Doctor Who, and much hilarity and fun was had.   As Gamemasters, both Greg and I had a great time.   

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Frostgrave Campaign '17, Game 10: The Bone Wheels

     This past Saturday we played the 10th game of this year's Frostgrave Campaign, and the next to last scenario of the "Thaw of he Lich Lord" supplement book.  Next month we will be finishing up the book with the final showdown with the Lich Lord himself!  Then, in December we will be playing a special Christmas themed scenario for our annual Frostgrave Game Christmas Party.
     We had 6 of our regular players in attendance for Saturday's outing, which once again featured one of the Lich Lord's devious schemes to gain magical control the city.  Placed at regular intervals around the city, the Lich Lord had erected large circular wheels made of bones, lashed together, and then mounted on tall wooden pedestals so that the wheels could freely turn.  Hanging from the spoke of each wheel was a victim bound up tightly, unconscious, with a magic bejeweled bag tied around its neck.  These bags contained various objects needed for whatever bizarre ritual the Lich Lord was trying to enact.
    To read the report from last month's game, click here:  The Dark Cauldrons

     Unfortunately, I got the next to last choice of set-up zones, so was stuck in the center spot of one side.  This positioned my Sigilist, Quail, and her warband, with Bemis the other Sigilist on her left, and the Summoner, Challara, on her right.  Directly across was the Elementalist, Alfred the Unready, and to my diagonal left front was Gru the Soothsayer, and on my diagonal right front was the Necromancer, Missy.
A view of the table at the start of the game.
     The Report

     "Join me in a tale of cold-hearted betrayal...", Quailelyn began in her spookiest voice, as she leaned forward in her chair and looked out over the eager faces of her warband members.  They were seated around her, on various chairs, stools, or the floor, in the great hall.  A fire crackled in the large fireplace as a cold wind blew around the tower, making a low moaning sound.   The Sigilist leaned back again and smiled to herself as she continued her story; they were hooked.  There wasn't much to do in the cold nights on the outskirts of the frozen city, so the Wizard was often called upon to use her skill as a trained Storyteller to provide some entertainment for the assembled soldiers of her party. 
     She hadn't gotten far into the tale when the door of the tower creaked open, making everyone jump a little, and the one absent member, Sir Cardidil the Knight, came in and stood for a minute stamping his feet and rubbing his hands together to warm up.  He looked up when he felt all the eyes upon him.  "Ah, good, you're all here!", he said, oblivious to the fact he had just interrupted the story. "I have news from the tavern.  It seems our evil friend in the city is up to some new tricks." And with that, he told them all about the strange gigantic wheels, made of bones, that explorers returning from  the city that day had seen being built by teams of Death Cultists.
     Quail frowned, and tried to wrack her brain to think of what these wheels, that the Knight had described, could possibly be. The Maga Librarian of the Wizards' University library knew a lot of arcane magics, but these baffled her. She knew they would need to check them out for themselves, so story-time was cancelled, with some grumbling from the audience, and she gave the order to prepare for an expedition into the city first thing in the morning.
     And the morning came quickly.  There was much hustle and bustle in the tower as preparations were made.  Quail was pleasantly surprised when her Apprentice, Bailisette, came down in the morning and reported that she had taken the liberty to research the Magical Atlas at first light, and had made an interesting discovery near where they were heading that morning. Apparently there was a rare Archangel Blade that was kept in a place called the Giant's Rest.  It would be a great prize to find one of these swords; in effect exactly like a Vampire Blade, but it's nature was more aligned to Good than Evil.  The Sigilist was glad that her Apprentice had taken the initiative on this, as she had had no time herself to even think about looking at the atlas that morning.  (Quail fails Reveal Secret roll, and Bailey passes her's)
     The pair then got to work preparing potions for the day's trip, but with all the commotion in the main hall that morning, Clol the Barbarian, accidentally knocked into their work table, and both little cauldrons toppled off their stands just as the Wizard and her Apprentice were adding the last ingredients. (Both Spellcasters fail Brew Potion.)
Quail's deployment at the start of the game, and showing their proximity to the Banshee and Bone Wheel 
          As the party approached the area of the city where the giant Bone Wheels had been reported, they heard a high, piercing, shriek in the distance that went on for a full quarter minute, undulating up and down.  Everyone froze in their tracks, icy shivers went down their spines, and their ears rang for a couple minutes afterwards.  "Banshee." Quail said in a hushed voice.  She thought quickly of what to do, and consulted with Sir Cardidil as to their best course of action.  They knew that as they got closer to the creature the inhuman wail would become more devastating, and life threatening.
    The group crept forward to find a position where they could get a better look at the situation, but not risk their lives.  As they advanced, they spotted the Giant's Rest, or the ruins of it anyway.  It appeared to have been a massive house or inn, with windows and doors all sized and located for Giant-sized inhabitants.  But they couldn't concern themselves with recovering the treasure that was there just yet. In the distance they could see the source of their problem; a ghostly form of a woman sat upon a rock wringing a red cloth over and over again in her hands. As they watched the thing tilted it's head back and let loose with another extended cry.  Everyone immediately clapped their hands over their ears.  Some fell to their knees in pain.  Their blood turned to ice and their heads throbbed.  Quail's eyes watered as she closed them tightly and tried to block the sound and the pain.  Then as quickly as it started, it was over.  Everyone felt a little dizzy and nauseous, and, like before, their ears were ringing.
     "We have to go now!", the Knight urged in a loud whisper.  Quail nodded as she blinked tears from her eyes, and reached over and touched Clol on the arm.  Being the two soldiers with magic weapons, Sir C., and the Barbarian had been elected to join the Sigilist in a single mad dash at the immaterial creature, hoping they could surprise it and overwhelm it before it could let loose with another shriek.  At the distance they would be, it could be fatal.   The three ran as fast as they could at the ghostly woman.  She looked up with empty eyes, shocked at the sudden appearance of intruders.  Luckily for the attackers, her first reaction was to stand and face them her clawed hands raised in defiance. Just as they reached her she lashed out at the Barbarian with a clawed hand, but he swerved and escaped the claws.  The Banshee's mouth opened wide to wail, but only a short single note came out before Quail was there with her magic blade, and rammed it into the creature's chest killing it in a single blow (Quail rolls 13 + Fight 8 = 21) . The note was cut off almost before it started, and the ghostly woman looked at the Sigilsit with sad pleading eyes as it slowly vaporized into mist.
    The Maga Librarian reached over and put her hand on Clol's shoulder beside her, and bending over, resting her sword hand on her knee, gulped large breaths of the chilly air.  Quail was not use to sprinting like that, and she found herself winded by the exertion.   The Wizard, however, was brought back to the  immediate situation by Sir Cardidil who said merely, "M'lady."  to get her attention.  She sensed the urgency in the Knight's voice, and looked up to see him pointing to behind where the Banshee had been.
Quail, Sir Cardidil and Clol rush the Banshee.
       Quail now took a moment to quickly take in their surroundings. In the distance was one of the large Bone Wheels as had been reported.  What she wasn't prepared for was the six victims hanging, chained and unconscious, from it's spokes.   "What foul magic is this?" she thought to herself.  The Sigilist then spotted what had caused Sir C to gain her attention; there was a large warehouse just past the Bone Wheel and another Banshee just under one of it's windows.  As she looked and considered the sight,  she was suddenly shocked to see some of the strange Duckmen that the Elementalist, Alfred the Unready, used as his soldiers.  The faint quack-like sound of their calls could be heard as they fell upon the Banshee by the warehouse.  Quail then spotted Alfred himself in one of the warehouse windows. That could be trouble.  Elementalists could be deadly when provoked.  The Sigilsit called back behind her, "Bailey! Warehouse! Window!"
    As Quail watched a bank of fog appeared blocking the whole side of the building. (Bailey cast's Fog.)  The Sigilist would need all her wits now, so quickly she began reciting the words of the Awareness spell.  Casting it effortlessly, she felt her mind open to possibilities before her.  Quickly she ducked behind a nearby wall to consider her options.  Sir Cardidil caught a glimpse of a shadowy movement behind where the warband had entered, and taking his leave of the Wizard, went to investigate.  He didn't get far before the Elementalist Apprentice, Aardvark the Unsteady,  appeared from behind a wall on their left, and unleashed an Elemental Bolt at the Knight. Luckily the lad only managed the weakest of spells, and the Knight felt little more than a strange electric tingle.    Meanwhile, Clol, seeing the Duckmen who had entered on their right, charged directly at them, his huge Club of Battering waving above his head.
     Luc Demic, the Marksman, seeing the Barbarian's wild charge tried to provide some covering fire, and spotting a Duckman archer behind a low wall,  fired at him; but his shot went wide.   Bailey took the matter into her hands and quickly recited Fog again, though she stumbled a bit in her haste, and felt a painful pressure build up behind her temple. (Pushes spell for 2 HP)  Recovering herself, she completed the spell, and produced another wall of white mist blocking the view of the Duckman Archer and some other Duckmen as well. The Apprentice then turned to Kinny, the Halfling Treasure Hunter, and pointed to the Bone Wheel and the poor souls hanging from it.  "See if they are still alive and if you can help some of them."
   Kinny was off like a shot toward the wheel.  She reached it, and her Treasure Hunting eyes lit up as she saw a large bag, speckled all over with ornately mounted gems, tied around each victims neck.  Each bag was the size of a knapsack.  and they were obviously full of something.  The Halfling called out to her fellow Treasure Hunters, "Innis! Dorch!", and then jumped up onto the nearest victim and clutching the chains with one hand, grabbed a limp hand and sensed a weak pulse.  Quickly she picked the lock holding the chains and the limp body fell to the ground.  The Halfling  quickly relieved the body of the jeweled bag, as the poor soul slowly woke up from whatever trance it had been under.  He was a scruffy looking man, and rising slowly, he looked around himself with wide fearful eyes, then bolted off into the ruins.  Kinny watched the man flee, then realized the weird quack-talk of the Duckmen was getting louder; and she turned to see a number of them now swarming all over the wheel, seemingly oblivious to her.
    As Sir Cardidil ran back, he spotted the shadowy figure he had seen: a Frost Wraith.  Drawing his sword, empowered by his Ring of Life, he prepared to meet the creature.  It came at him, it's own ancient blade drawn, and both of them struck simultaneous blows. (Both rolled the exact same Attack totals) Sir C's thrust was enough to shatter the icy form of the Wraith and the frozen particles rained on the pavement a the Knight's feet.  Unfortunately, though, the Frost Wraiths blade had hit Sir Cardidil in the shoulder and it's icy effect shot though his body, chilling him to the bone. (Sir C. takes 7 HP damage.)
Opening advance.  On the left Cirvid the warhound can be seen in his ill-fated attack against the Elementalist's Apprentice. The Apprentice laid the dog low with a single blow. 
     Back at the Bone Wheel Dorchesman and Innis Flyn, the two other Treasure Hunters, as well as Barc the Man-at-Arms had arrived.  Dorchesman immediately went to free the closest victim and relieve them of their jeweled bag, while the other two ran around to engage two of the Duckmen who were working on some of the other victims.   However, before  Clol could strike at his opponent, the opposing Wizard cast Leap upon the Duckman, and snatching the jeweled bag, the strange feathered creature jumped high into the air and landed back by the warehouse, out of the Man-at-Arms reach.  Quail saw this from her vantage point back by the wall, and quickly turned to prevent the Elementalist's Apprentice from doing the same trick.  The Sigilist quickly took a quill from her pouch, and cast Furious Quill upon it.  It sped off towards the young lad, but he was able to bat it away.  He then turned and with his magic wand raised, he cast Leap upon the Duckman that Innis  was tangling with, sending it half leaping-half flying back to the warehouse.  It seemed there were feathers, and that incessant quacking everywhere, and before Quail's soldiers realized it,  the four other treasure were all stripped away from the wheel!
    With all the Duckmen involved with grabbing the jeweled bags, Quail took the opportunity to move up and inspect the Bone Wheel.  She reached a hand high up and tentatively touched one of the bones, and felt a strange and uncomfortable tingle.  Quickly she withdrew her hand.  Her mind considered the meaning of it all. (20 Experience for Wizard in contact with Bone Wheel.)
    Meanwhile, Clol and Barc saw the old Elementalist hiding behind a pile of rotting barrels and ran at him. They both prepared to swing, but the Wizard struck at Clol first, giving him a nasty gash.  Then out of nowhere a crossbow bolt hit the big Barbarian in the back and he toppled over into the snow.  Both Barc and the Elementalist were equally shocked at this, and they simultaneously turned to see a pair of Missy the Necromancer's Marksman along a nearby wall. What's more, some of the Necromancer's soldiers were approaching as well.   Alfred the Unready called out to his Duckmen, "On the Flank!"  Barc took the opportunity to give the wizard an ungracious jab with his spear to push him away, and then tried to extricate himself from the direct line of fire from the enemy Marksmen.
Clol and Barc charge Alfred the Unready.  Some wandering zombies can be seen in the background. 
   Soon another call of "Flank!" rang out from Sir Cardidl who was coming up from his fight with the Frost Wraith.  He had spotted members of the Summoner Challara's band creeping around from the rear of Quail's position.   The Knight also was suddenly hit by a bolt, this one from one of the Summoner's solders, and was knocked to the snow.  Weakly he stood back up, and limping forward tried to find Quail.  Bailey heard his call as well, and turning she saw the threat and immediately masked it with a wall of Fog.
     Quail had been alerted by Alfred the Unready's and Sir C's calls, but she hadn't noticed the Summoner's or the Necromancer's men; she was alarmed to see a pair of the wizard Gru's strange yellow minion creatures pass from under a viaduct off to her left, and head towards the warehouse.  Likewise, a Warhound she recognized as being Bemis appeared charging up from behind.  And there was one of the other Sigilist's soldiers rushing forward as well!  Quail realized if they didn't act fast they could be cut off and surrounded.   Urgently, she shouted, "Fall back!"  as loudly as she could.  Then before the hound could reach her, she cast Teleport upon herself, and in a flash was back near where the Giant's Rest was. She saw Bailey and called to her, "The Sword!"
   Bailey, hearing her mistress' call, recited the spell of Teleport herself, and soon materialized back in the ruins of the Giant's building.  Sallisee the Ranger had moved there as well in an effort to cover the retreat, and had spotted a promising looking chest.  She pointed it out to the Apprentice.
The flanking attacks begin!  On the left one of Gru's minions, as well as Bemis' warhound and one of Bemis' soldiers can be seen moving to intercept our unsuspecting warbands.
     Everyone was withdrawing now, and it became a race to get away from the four warbands moving in from the sides.    Kinny and Dorchesman were frantically dragging their heavy bejeweled bags back to safety, but it was slow going.   Quail stood there frantically encouraging the others as she slowly moved back to a safer position. Bailey breathed a sigh of relief as she saw Dorchesman and Kinny make it within the ruined walls of the Giant's Rest, but then Bemis' dog appeared in a gap in the wall, and leapt at Dorchesman.  The beast only caught his cape but the Treasure Hunter was pulled up short.  Bailey pointed to the chest that held the Archangel Sword, and said to Sally, "Take that out of here! Now!"  The Ranger obeyed, and hefting up the long sword case onto her powerful shoulders, turned and headed back towards the tower.  Bailey, however turned, and drawing her weapons, launched herself at the enemy Warhound.  In one devastating blow she brought the beast down, and Dorchesman gave her a grim smile and a nod of the head, and continued on, desperate to get his prize to safety.  Bailey followed him, and the rest of the band made their way back through the runs as quickly as possible.
The desperate attempt to flee.  Bemis' hound catches Dorchesman by his cape,  as even more of the other Sigilist's soldiers come charging in from the left.
     Back in the tower, everyone sat around exhausted and stunned.  They had never found themselves in such a situation before, and they felt lucky to have made it back home safely.    Well, most of them anyway.   The warhound Cirvid had recovered from an ill-fated attack on the young Elementalist Apprentice early in the engagement; but Clol the Barbarian was badly wounded from the bolt in his back.  Quail would have to seek out a costly healing potion to get him back on his feet for the next expedition (Buy replacement Barbarian for 100GC.) 
     They looked over the two bags they had recovered.  Then gems themselves would be worth about 40 GC for each bag.  When they opened them, one held a Grimore of Furious Quill, a spell Quail and Bailey already knew, but a valuable tome nonetheless that they could sell for a nice sum.  The other contained a pair of Gloves of Casting.  Quail held them up in the candle light and admired the fine stitching.   Though they seemed large and bulky, when she slipped them on, they shaped themselves smoothly to her delicate hands. She could feel the magical energy against her skin.  Taking them off again she turned her attention to the case with the Archangel Sword.  Opening it, they all gasped at the beautiful glowing blade inside and the fine carving on the untarnished silver hilt.   It hardly looked like it had sat unattended for a thousand years.   She would have to think about who in the party warranted such a prize.
End result: three treasures recovered, Cirvid and Clol fall during the game.
    Later that night, as Quaileyln sat alone in the main hall sipping some tea before bed, she contemplated the fact that her time here in the city would soon be over.  Only two more months.  The University had only granted her, Sir Cardidil, and Bailisette a year away, and that year was almost up.  How quickly the time had passed.  She considered all that had happened to her and her small group.    How much she had learned.   Then the Sigilist's mind turned to the growing evil that lurked in the ruins.  She was not comfortable knowing it was still out there.  How could she leave knowing it still grew stronger?  Quail hoped the menace would show itself soon, so she could help end whatever hold it had over the frozen city.

Game Epilogue:
     An exciting game!  I knew this game was going to be tough because the set up requires that all the treasures are in one concentrated location.  However, I had no idea the players on each side of me (and the Elementalist player) would silently decide amongst themselves to simply divide up the treasure on their Bones Wheels 50/50 and then come after ours!   In the end, all of them doing it turned out to be the failure of their plan, as I might have tried to hold my ground against one or two of them.  In the end there was no choice for either of us in the center but to hightail it and run.  My only regret was that I was only able to recover two of the Bone Wheel treasures and not my equal share of three.  How those dastardly ducks were able to strip four treasures off that thing so quickly still escapes me.  I'd love to see the video replay! :) 
     It was a very average game otherwise, with the 3 treasures recovered and 8 spells cast.  Quail also earned 20 EP for contacting the Bone Wheel, and 20 EP for killing the Banshee.  Also the rushed retreat of the Elementalist's and my warbands made for a short 5 turn game.
     And a note about the Vampire Blade/Archangel Sword.  When I rolled the Vampire Blade after the game it seemed like a pretty neat magical weapon to have, but I knew, given Quail's strong dislike for Necromancy and Undead things, that she probably wouldn't be too keen on keeping such a vile weapon. So, using literary license, and a gamer's prerogative to tinker, I simply decided to rename the weapon to something with more of a Good alignment; drawing strength from the wicked to heal the just.
     We're all looking forward to next month now.  The big showdown with the Lich Lord should be quite the battle.  Be sure to stay tuned!

To read Bemis' account of the battle, see: The Bone Wheel Goes Round and Round

Monday, October 9, 2017

HAWKs Host First invitational Gaming Day

    This past Saturday the HAWKs hosted their first ever Invitational Gaming Day.  This came about after some regular attendees of the HAWKs BARRAGE convention, from New Jersey, asked the club if it would be possible to get together on a more informal basis this October for a friendly day of gaming, after this year's BARRAGE had to be rescheduled to January '18 due to a mess-up with the venue's scheduler.  We ended up with a nice crowd of over 30 gamers from the HAWKs, New Jersey, and some from Western, MD and Pennsylvania.
     We used the meeting hall in the church where we run our regular meetings, and set up six full sized 8' x10' tables, and scheduled for two blocks of games; the first from 9:00AM- 1:00PM, and the second from 2:00PM to 6:00PM.    The games offered spanned many historical periods, as well as both the Fantasy and Sci-Fi genres. It was big success, with everyone having a great time, and there's already talk of doing it again!
Don Manser's beautiful Pickett's Charge game using Fire & Fury.

John Mitchell's Operation Barbarossa game using Bolt Action.

Sam Fuson's Sherlock Holmes puzzle solving game using G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T.

Heated pile on pile action in Jamie Davis' Magic Carpet Racing game using a Future Race and Blood & Swash hybrid.

Eric Schlegel's Sméagol's Ferry game using modified Blood & Swash

Don Hogge's Rumble in the Jungle game using Congo.

Greg Priebe's Clone Wars game using the new Star Wars supplement for  Combat Patrol.

Cliff Brunken's Battle of Germantown 1777 game using Black Powder.

John Hollier's 15mm Napoleonic game using Shako 2.

Zeb Cook's 1939 Winter War game using Combat Patrol.
     Thanks to the GM's and gamers for making this such a success.  From the onset we decided we wanted to keep it simple, so there was no food service (we ordered some 3' subs from a nearby Subway for lunch), and no flea market.  It really was a great low key and informal chance for gamers to get together for an excellent day of gaming.