Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Frostgrave: The Mausoleum + The Eclipse

I've jumped on the Frostgrave bandwagon and my weekly gaming group has run three games so far. We've enjoyed it quite a bit, very simple mechanics but with a lot of variety of action.  We usually play with three or more Wizard bands and that creates a very different dynamic than just going head-to-head.  The first game we played was a test run of The Worm scenario and the second was the Living Museum.  Sadly, I didn't take pictures.  
For our third outing,  I set up a combined scenario of The Mausoleum combined with The Eclipse from my recently received Thaw of the Lich Lord book.  I GM'ed what I thought would be a cooperative adventures with the three bands working together against an increased horde of zombies and other creatures.  In the end, that proved not to be the case....
I haven't made any dedicated Frostgrave terrain.  The table above is made up mostly of the boards from my Retreat from Moscow games with various ruins that I had placed on them.

Here's what served as the Mausoleum

The Illusionist and Apprentice with two archers, a treasure hunter, a thief, and two thugs.

The Elementalist and Apprentice with infantryman, crossbowman, barbarian, two thieves and three thugs

Finally, the Chronomancer, Apprentice, ranger, barbarian, two musketeers (treated as crossbowmen), two thieves and a thug plus the fearsome killer Basset warhound.  My son Nick and I created the Chronomancer et al on our first game and we decided on a sort of steampunk/time traveller vibe for it.  A further use of my retreat from Moscow figures.

The game itself progress rather smoothly with the three bands entering from the same table edge and moving toward the Mausoleum as increasing numbers of the undead were roused. The bands were able to handle without too much trouble.  The Illusionist, who had the raise zombie spell, brought on a slow-speed zombie vs. zombie fight that went on for several turns with no appreciable damage to either creature. 
Shall we dance?

 The illusionist had some difficulties dispatching the zombies attacking his band.  Although he suffered no losses, it slowed his band considerably.  Towards the end of the game, most of his band was halted on the bridge over a frozen stream.  

The temptation proved too great for Nick's Chronomancer  who Crumbled the bridge in the icy waters below.

The Elementalist's barbarian and a thug were killed.

The Chronomancer receive a fire ball in revenge.

 Pays are a bitch - a tower is crumbled onto the Elementalist

The survivors

The table at the end of the game.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Lion Rampant; Elizabethan English vs. Irish

We played a game of Lion Rampant this week using the Elizabethan Army Lists available on the Dux Rampant forum, pitting the English vs the Irish. 

We played a slightly modified version of "The Convoy." We used a couple of house rules, allowing friendly units to be within 3 inches of each other and not ending a player's turn when they failed an activation test.  The former was to keep the English player from getting too spread out, he already had a pretty tough job as it was. The latter was to speed up the play a bit.  The Irish won by a wide margin but the English did bloody them quite a bit.  We also let the English wagons leap-frog each other to keep from getting them bottle-necked when the first in line failed activation.

Here's the table:

6" x 4" about half of it counted as rough terrain and the stone walls were obstacles.  The object was for the English to get three wagons of their convoy across the long axis of the board, primarily along the road.  I used one of the Cigar Box mats as the base for this set-up.

The English retinue, one unit each of demi-lancers, longbowmen, calivermen, billmen, sword-and-buckler-men, and militia.  Mostly Foundry and Sergeant Major miniatures with Old Glory cavalry.

The Irish retinue: armored light cavalry, gallowglasses, calivermen, two units of kerns (fierce foot), one unit of "boys" (bidowers). Mostly Sergeant Major miniatures with a few figures from Old Glory's WOR Kerns.

The English convoy tried to move out swiftly but the third wagon kept lagging far behind.

The English swordsmen provided security to one flank.

The Irish set up in ambush amidst the rough terrain.

Irish calivermen rush through some light woods.

The laggardly third wagon falls prey to a sudden rush early in the game.  The surviving longbowmen were badly battered and only rallied with difficulty, removing them effectively from the game.

The first cart, protected by calivermen hold off repeated Irish attacks.

The demi-lancers, lead by the English commander make the mistake of trying to charge across and open field against the Irish calivermen.

The result is not surprising.

The furthest the English get is about mid-board.  The Irish had them boxed in and the only hope was to break through.

In a very hard-fought action, the English swordsmen take on the gallowglasses but fail but are forced to retreat.

This exposes the English commander to an attack.  He is killed but heroically takes a gallowglass with him.  Surprisingly the only unit to break is the swordsmen.  The second wagon, guarded by the militia men hold off the Irish for a long time in the big field where the demi-lancers died but are finally broken by Irish caliver fire and javelins.

The English billmen were the last intact English unit.  They too failed to break through, the Irish cavalry holding them off.  With only one cart left and half of their units gone, the English surrendered.  It had not been an easy fight for the Irish.  With the exception of the calivermen, all of the Irish units were depleted, most to less than half strength and one of the kern units had been shot down by the English militia.  Even though the English started in a bad tactical situation and lost their most powerful unit, the demi-lancers, they still came close to break the Irish - if just one or two of the combats had gone a little different, they would fight won.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Fall In 2015

I attended the HMGS Fall In convention in Lancaster, PA, last week.  Had a good time as usual.  Attendance on Friday afternoon seemed very sparse but did pick up considerably by Friday evening and things seemed pretty active on Saturday afternoon.  Friday night, I played in Temple of the Snake Priestess, run by Howard Whitehouse, using his Chainmail Bikini rules.  The game involved four teams of adventurers entering a ruined Maya-ish city with the goal of getting their astrologer to the top of one of several temples to obtain some sort of Important Sign from the Heavens.  Each team had three players, and the four teams were Arabian Nights adventures, Barbarians, Evil Cultists, and the Sisterhood of the Amazons who ended up being played as a sorority from a Southern University.  I played the Snake Priestess and her various monsters and minions.  All of the parties did manage to achieve their goal, the evil cultists perhaps too well - they summoned a Cthulhu-like Elder God that ate their astrologer and whose weight collapsed the temple killing remainder of the cultists. 

 The city of the lost temples

Dodo birds are not as fearsome an encounter as one would have thought.  There's some much better pcitures from the game found at this Flickr album:


Saturday I ran my Solomon Kane game.  I had seven players running individual good guys and two running the bad guys/creatures.  In addition to SK and his African witch doctor side-kick N'Longa, there was the English soldier John Silent, and Baldric, the scrofulous servant from Bladderadder.  I also included Robert Howard's somewhat psychotic swordswoman heroine, Dark Agnes de Chatillon and her sidekick Etienne - it's a shame Howard only wrote a couple of stories about Dark Agnes, she is definitely one his most interesting characters.  These were all assisting Jack Hollinster whose fiance Mary had been kidnapped by the evil Sir George Banway.  

The game took place in three scenes, each on a separate board.  The first was the hero's raid on Sir George's Cornwall estate.  It was defended but a couple of troops of Irish mercenaries lead by two big gallowglass.  There were also a few pirates and witch who could summon skeletons and a small demon.  This proved a difficult board, for the players, who each went their own ways and several ended up in very tight spots.  In particular, Etiene took on the demon whom he couldn't harm, Solomon Kane was surprised by one of the gallowglasses when he stormed the manor house single handedly and John Silent in what became the recurring theme of the game, was beat upon by everyone and drastically wounded.  Ultimately, they did defeat all the enemies and captured Sir George who told them he had sold Mary to the Venetian sorcerer for some dark purpose.

The second scene was Venice and the heroes stormed the palazzo of the evil sorcerer before he could escape.  I think the players had a better handle on the rules at this point since they succeeded here much more quickly.  Things started with Baldric disguising himself as the filthiest and most-non-Italian-speaking gondolier in Venice.  It was less than successful.  Fortunately, Solomon Kane rampaged through a host of mercenaries while the rest of the part stormed into the building.  N'Longa, who had a spell that allowed him to possession NPC, eventually took control of a weakened Costrano which more or less ended this scene.
Fortunately, Costrano was captured before he could completely summon all of the tentacles of the canal leviathan.  Which proved to be fairly easy to avoid if not kill.

From Costrano, they learned that he had sent Mary, by means of the notorious pirate The Fishhawk, to the evil vampiress Nekari who dwelt in a ruined city in the heart of the African jungle.  The party arrived shortly after the Fishawk.  N''longa possessed on the gunners on the pirate ship who opened fire with a swivel gun on the local tribesman, thus starting a very useful diversion for our  heroes to try and rescue Mary.

Ultimately, Solomon Kane personally killed The Fishhawk, N'Longa torched Nekari with multiple fireballs and Gulka the native apekiller was beaten to death by a homing gorilla  Mary was nearly freed but then captured by one of Nekari's giant bats.  Baldric shot the bat but was unable to catch the girl as she fell from its clutches.  Mary was severely injured but was now free to escape.  However, they were not able to escape before the dying Nekari was able to summon the huge demon Apep. Without Mary being sacrificed, the creature was out of control and attacked the largest target it could find, the pirate ship.  This gave the party enough time to beat a hasty retreat back to the coast.

Here's some pictures from additional games that caught my eye:

This is the massive gangster game in the lobby, very impressive.


Pete Panzari's Waterloo game


Very nice Frostgrave board

And here's a few more