Friday, October 26, 2018

A Fantasy Adventure – Act 2.

This is a dungeon crawl using tiles from DMB Games and the Swords and Wizardry “Old School D&D” rules.

The party consists of 6 second-level adventurers: a dwarf fighter, a human paladin, a human female ranger, a half-elf magic-user, a human cleric, a hobbit thief and Fido the dog.

Having recovered the expensive silk cloth from the kobolds, the party continued onward towards their destination. However a problem occurred, their food was running out much faster than expected; the hobbit had been feeding all the beef jerky to his new friend the dog. When a farm came in sight, the party decided to uses some of their new found gold to replenish their stocks of food before the dog emptied their stores.

When they reached the farm building, they were met but the farmer, his wife, their older daughter and a farmhand. The daughter was armed with a kitchen knife and the other three with newly sharpened farm implements.

When they discovered that the party was no threat, they explain that while they had been working in the fields, their younger daughter had been kidnapped and stolen away. The kidnappers were seen and followed by their daughter; they disappeared off in the direction of the old ruined keep.
The party offered to return the daughter if the farmer would look after the donkey while they were doing it. The farmer of course agreed and promised a huge feast when they returned with his daughter.

The party rested the night and then left at sunrise. Pointed in the right direction, the Ranger could easily follow the trail.

They keep came in sight just after midday. As the party came nearer they could see the smoke from a camp fire in the ruins of what was once one of the keeps towers.

The hobbit and the ranger crept towards the ruined tower. They could see five kobolds cooking around an open fire. Deciding to break cover, the hobbit and ranger opened fire with long bow and sling. The kobolds returned fire. The kobolds were defeated, but the party was wounded.

The party occupied the ruined tower. They could see that it contained a stairway going down into an underground passage. They decided to camp the night in the ruins and recover. They posted guards in 3 watches.

In the second watch, a group of kobolds sneaked up from underground. Luckily Fido's nose gave warning, and the paladin when into action and attacked the intruders while Fido howled and woke up the rest of the party. Once awake, the party easily defeated the kobolds.

The next morning, the now recovered party went down the stairway into the dungeon.

The corridor was poorly lit by torches spaced along the walls. The hobbit and ranger were in the lead, followed by the dwarf and paladin, then the cleric and Fido, and finally the magic-user was hindmost.

The party came to a crossroads with doors visible down the passageways both right and left. They turned down the left passage. The hobbit listened at the door and then picked the lock.

The hobbit opened the door and looked in. Inside the room were 5 kobolds who had barricaded themselves behind storage crates and barrels. They had already been warned that the party had camped and was going to come down.

The hobbit slammed the door and the party retired.

Ignoring the door to the right, the party continued on into the dungeon. At the next door they repeated the procedure. The hobbit listened, but didn't hear anything. However he did detect a faint smell of manure. The door lock couldn't be picked, so the dwarf kicked it in.

The door flew open and the party rushed into the room, spreading out as they went. The middle of the room was a mushroom farm; full of mushrooms growing in deep manure. Two kobolds were among the mushrooms.

The party rushed forward to attack the kobolds; some of the party slipped on the manure and fell prone. But in the long run, two kobolds were no match for the party.

While the fight was going on in the mushroom farm, the kobolds from the two bypassed rooms came out and started following the party.

They caught up with the party in the mushroom farm, and shots were exchanged.

The party retired into the narrow passage behind the door and waited to be attacked.

While the fight was going on, one more kobold came out from the armoury behind the party. This kobold was easily dealt with by Fido the dog.

Having defeated the kobolds behind them, the party then checked first the room to their right which was the armoury (containing many assorted kobold weapons, targets etc.) and then they peered into the room to the right which was a dark unlit crypt. Perhaps wisely, the party decided not to enter the room so they never found out what coffins, sarcophagi, or religious relics it contained.

The party came to the final room. It contained 3 kobolds and a kobold shaman. Of to the left was an alcove, the entrance to which was covered by a drapery by which stood two beefy kobold guards.

The party rushed in and attacked. The kobolds responded and the kobold shaman fired off some magic missiles.

The kobold guards entered the fray, and an ogre (the leader of the kobolds) came out from the alcove.

The cleric healed the magic-user who had taken the brunt of the shaman's attack and the dwarf who was looking the worse for wear after defending the door to the mushroom farm.

Fido the dog took out the shaman, the dwarf took out the ogre with some supporting fire from the magic-user, and the rest of the party mopped up the remaining kobolds.

The kobold guards entered the fray. An ogre wielding a large club came out from the alcove; he was the leader of the kobolds. Fido the dog took out the shaman, the dwarf took out the ogre with some supporting fire from the magic-user, and the rest of the party mopped up the remaining kobolds.

The party then entered the alcove where they found the farmer's daughter. She had been playing her lute and entertaining her ogre captor.

The room contained the ogre's bed by the left wall, a locked chest by the right and a large chair (perhaps a throne) straight ahead.

On the wall behind the chair there hung a shield and 4 arrows. The shield was round, had a battle-axe motif, its edges bound with metal etched with dwarven runes. The arrows were of extreme fine quality, the fletching bright white eagle feathers and the metal tips glowed brilliantly even in the poor smokey torchlight.

The magic-user noticed the remains of an old spell book that the ogre had been using as toilet paper. He quickly put the book into his backpack. The book contains the spells: Hold Portal, Light, Magic Missile, Read Magic, Levitate, Mirror Image, Strength and Web.

The dwarf grabbed the shield which was obviously of dwarven origin, the ranger grabbed the four arrows which were a perfect fit for his long bow. The magic-user and the cleric picked up the chest between them. The paladin escorted the farmer's daughter. Fido followed behind, rather disgruntled that he hadn't found a new bone this adventure.

On returning the party examined their spoils. the shield and arrows were all magic. The chest contained a mixture of copper, silver and gold coins to a value of 200 gp.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

A Fantasy Adventure – Act 1.

Time for a dungeon crawl using tiles from DMB Games and the Swords and Wizardry “Old School D&D” rules.

The party consists of 6 second-level adventurers: a human cleric, a hobbit thief, a human paladin, a dwarf fighter, a human ranger and a half-elf magic-user.

The party was very low on funds and had been enlisted to transport some expensive silk cloth to another town. The cloth was loaded on a donkey. They were given enough money in advance to buy food and would be paid when they delivered the goods.

They journeyed by day and camped at night. One night, some kobolds sneaked in and stole the silk cloth while the party slept.

Luckily the ranger could track, a trail of goblin-like footprints were soon found. These were followed until the party came to a circle of standing stones. In the middle of the circle was a stone slab, up to which the tracks led.

The party pushed aside the stone slab and could see that underneath was a stone staircase leading downwards.

The whole dungeon

So they lit two torches and ventured down the stairs with the paladin and dwarf in the lead.

As they moved forward, small glowing lights could be seen down a passage to their left. The party went down to explore and discovered 3 fire beetles in their lair. These were killed. The hobbit thief searched the room which was mostly rubbish but one scroll had somehow survived. The scroll was examined by the cleric and the magic-user and found to be a Scroll of Invisibility. Very useful as the magic-user didn't have that spell.

The party retraced its steps and then went further into the dungeon. The hobbit listened at the first door, and goblin-like voices could be heard behind it.

The thief failed to pick the lock, so the dwarf and the paladin kicked the door in together and rushed in. The room was the living quarters of a group of kobolds, bedrolls and supplies littered the room. There was a second door opposite and a small side passage. Eight kobolds moved towards the two intruders.

Our two heroic adventurers hesitated, giving the kobolds a chance to attack. The rest of the party remain outside the room.

While the dwarf and the paladin fought the kobolds inside the room, three more kobolds had sneaked through a small passage and exited via a secret door behind the party. The hobbit and the magic-user fought them until the ranger turned and killed them.

Seeing their comrades being slaughtered by the dwarf and the paladin, the remaining two kobolds fled the room via the other door.

Only the kobolds' personal belongings and a few copper coins were found in the room, so the party then followed the fleeing kobolds. They traveled down a passageway to another door which was promptly kicked in. The whole party, except the magic-user, rushed in to be met by a group of eight warned kobolds; including a leader with a big axe and a shaman. The party slaughtered the kobolds, but not without taking damage, the leader's axe and the shaman's magic missiles both took their toll.

The room where the fight occurred contained nothing of great value, but the adjacent room was the chamber of the leader and the shaman. It contained their two beds plus two chests, stores and a grate in the floor.

The hobbit rushed to the chests, picked the lock and opened it. Unfortunately he forgot to check for traps and a poison needle went straight into his hand. Taking damage, the hobbit fell asleep. The cleric rushed forward and shook the hobbit until he woke up, whereupon he promptly picked the lock of the second chest, this time remembering to check for traps. The chests contained an number of small leather bags containing a mixture of all sorts of coins, which the hobbit quickly valued at 100gp total.

The party gathered round the grating as the hobbit peered in. In a pit under the grate was a dog. The hobbit threw in some of the party's beef jerky from their trail rations. This the dog seemed to appreciate, so the hobbit opened the grate and allowed the dog to jump out. The dog was happy and immediately started licking the hobbit and looking for more beef jerky.

The next door was barred from the outside. It was obvious that there was something behind it that the kobolds didn't want to get out.

So the party unbarred the door and went in. Behind was a chamber with 4 pillars and piles of bones along each wall. The hobbit went in first, accompanied by his dog close by his side. When they passed the first set of pillars, the bone piles started forming into 8 skeletons.

Just as the skeletons had formed, the cleric pulled out his holy symbol, held it above his head and shouted loud and clear "Flee Before the Power of Law, Foul Undead Things of Chaos!". This was, somewhat to the party's surprise successful, and all the skeletons fled.

The party pushed on through the dungeon without stopping to search the skeleton room. They arrived in the next room; ahead of them was a door flanked by two stone gargoyles and a pentagram inscribed on the floor in front of the door.

The party spent quite a long time, slinging stones and shooting arrows at these stone statues without much noticeable affect.

The party moved forward towards the door and as the clerics foot touched the pentagram the gargoyles came to life. Four party member attacked and two held back using distance weapons. The gargoyles were defeated.

The party now passed through the door and entered to room behind.

The room was empty except for a sarcophagus in the centre. The party surrounded it and discussed how to open it. The paladin sheathed his sword and pushed the heavy lid.

The lid opened and a skeleton flew up, clad in a flowing toga, wearing a glistening crown and wielding a vicious looking sword. It started by attacking the cleric and when the sword hit the cleric it flashed with green light.

Yet again the cleric pulled out his holy symbol, held it above his head and shouted loud and clear "Flee Before the Power of Law, Foul Undead Thing of Chaos!". Somewhat to the surpise of the party, nothing happened and the foul undead thing continued to attack.

The fight continued, but the foul undead thing was seriously outnumbered and had really no chance.

Having disposed of the sarcophagus’ occupant, the party searched the room.  The paladin picked up the sword which he determined to be magical and a good replacement for his own. The thief looked at the crown and decided it was made from metal and jewels worth 200gp, probably worth more if it could be sold in the right place to someone needing a crown.

It was however the dog who was the happiest of all, having picked up a very nice thigh bone from the skeleton.

The party headed back out of the dungeon, but before they came to the exit stairway the met a small party of kobolds carrying a newly captured sheep between them. Two kobolds were killed and the other two decided to run for it.

The party returned to their campsite and spent another night there before continuing on their way with their mission to deliver the silk. However this time they remembered to keep watch all through the night.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

River Stour (54 BC)

This is the second scenario that we have played with the Romans vs the Ancient British. We will use our simple campaign rules to link these scenarios. It was planned to use the three scenarios in Expansion 2 but it is beginning to look like we will add a fourth. We are "cheating" by combining both of Caesar's campaign in Britain in order to do so.

Previously we have been playing Commands & Colors Ancients with Baccus 6mm models. However we didn't have enough Ancient British models so we played these scenarios with paper cut-out flats by Peter Dennis and Helion Publishing.

Historical Background

In 54 BC, Julius Caesar launched a second invasion of Britain which was better planned and far more formidable than the first one. The invasion force consisted of five legions, auxiliaries, and 2000 cavalry, transported on 800 vessels. The Britons, awed by the size of the fleet, retired inland. This time the landing (near Sandwich) was unopposed. As Caesar moved inland, he encountered a delaying force of Briton charioteers and cavalry in front of the River Stour. The Romans found it difficult to come to grips with the elusive Britons at first, but in time they drove them back. The Roman cavalry played a key role in bringing the British chariots to battle. Post Battle: After retreating across the Stour, the tribal forces joined the rest of the Britons at an oppidum near Bigbury. Caesar promptly crossed the Stour, stormed, and captured, this fortified position.

The Setup

The British lined up with their chariots in the centre and cavalry on each wing; they had brought no infantry. The Romans lined up with their Legions in the centre and their Auxilia, light infantry and cavalry on each wing.

The British Left Flank

The British Right Flank

The Roman Left Flank
The Roman Right Flank

The Action

The British examined the Roman line advancing towards them, there didn't really appear to be any weak spots except perhaps the flanks.

So the British decided to charge with the chariots on their right flank at the Roman left. Perhaps those Roman light troops could be routed before the supporting legionary cohorts could intervene.

The Roman light infantry and half of the Auxilia were lost, but the British chariots lost heavily thanks to the intervention of the Roman general.

The Romans rallied their Auxillia and then counterattacked but the nimble British chariots evaded the slow infantry without loss.

Seeing no other option than the flanks, the British decided to attack with their remaining strong chariot unit supported by the right wing's cavalry. While at the same time attempting to withdraw their under-strength chariots to safety.

The chariots charged into the Auxillia; the Auxillia took losses but destroyed the chariots. The British cavalry then charged in and wiped out the Auxillia and then continued their charge into the Roman cavalry who also took casualties. However the British cavalry were now seriously reduced in numbers.

The Roman legionary cohort advanced on the British cavalry which immediately charged the Romans causing casualties before themselves being wiped out. Upon being charged by the Roman light cavalry, the British light horse evaded with few losses.

The British withdrew the remains of their right wing into safety, hoping still to be able to protect their army's flank.

The Romans then advanced their battle line, slowly towards the awaiting British.

The British light horse skirmished with the flank of the advancing Romans, but without great success.

Deciding that the battle on their right flank was now hopeless, the British attacked with their left flank against the Roman right.

While the British light horse skirmished with the Roman light infantry in the woods, the British cavalry and chariots attacked the Roman Auxillia cohort. Half the cohort was destroyed, but not without losses to the British.

For the second time in the battle, a Roman general rallied an Auxillia cohort and sent it back into the fray.

The Auxillia took losses but forced the British chariots and cavalry to retreat. The skirmish in the woods continued with both sides taking casualties.

The Romans advanced their main battle line again, throwing their pila at the remaining British chariots causing casualties and some of the British to retreat into the River Stour which luckily was fordable at this time of the year.

Seeing his chariots being destroyed around him, the British general decided on a desperate last attempt to swing the battle in his favour. He charged into the Roman centre with most of his remaining chariots and light horse.

He nearly got away with it. The Romans lost heavily, but not enough for their army to break.

The British were now exhausted and seriously depleted; they withdrew from the field. On foot, the Romans could not pursue. Caesar claimed a victory because he held the field of battle and because he had caused slightly more casualties on the enemy than his troops had lost.

Realizing that their makeshift army was no match for the Romans, the British had only left behind the charioteers to harass the Romans. This was never intended as major battle, merely to slow the Roman advance while the British moved the inhabitants from the invaders path along with the cattle. This prevented Britons being captured and used as slaves and denied the Romans food in the form of British livestock. It worked!

Julius Caesar was worried, he was in trouble, his army was running out of rations and the retreating British had left no food behind. What was he to do; the campaign would need to pause while the food problem was resolved.


Roman marginal victory (Rome: 6 victory banners - British: 5 victory banners)