Battleshed Diaries

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Caravan of Forlorn Hope



Happy New Year!

It's been a few weeks since my last post, what with all the annual holiday festivity malarkey creating the usual distractions. Now normal service is slowly resuming, with the long, dark wintry Scottish winter well into its stride and limiting me to mostly indoor activities, I can look forward to embarking on my hugely over-ambitious gaming projects for 2015. Some of which will no doubt be encouraged by my first trade convention visit of the year to York (Vapnartak), down in Englandshire, at the end of this month.

The first After Action Report of 2015 is actually from the last tabletop rumble of the old year - battle 10 of our long running Songs of Blades and Heroes campaign between my 'First Law' humans and Arabianknight's Guardian elves. This scenario, The Lost Caravan, was taken from Hour11's excellent scenario conversions  The scoring was 1VP for killing an Ogre and 1 VP for every 20 points of the opposing warband taken out. Most VPs wins...

The warbands encounter a destructive trail. Countless caravans obliterated! A procession of caravans have lost their way upon entering The Wilds, seeking a short-cut to their destination. One of the few survivors is a grand looking wagon belonging to a renowned merchant, Frederik dan Ferengis. Standing amongst the corpses of their fellows, his last remaining guards are desperately defending the merchant against a rampaging party of Ogre raiders. Since they are out-sized and out-numbered it will not be long before his wagon, his crew and - as he is immensely aware - he is decimated!

After Galan's band of pointy-eared ones had yet again deviously stolen the prize in Ostenlet, the First Law crew despondently returned to the Blue Oyster Bar, much to the amusement of their host, Fat Eddy.
"Back so soon lads? Hope you managed to hold onto enough coin for your ale and board? Or did Galan's leafeaters relieve you of that as well as your wits!"  Fat Eddy waddled off chuckling away, seemingly oblivious to the murderous looks from the crew.

Unfortunately, the expeditions coin purse had stopped jingling  weeks ago. Ostenlet had been a high risk endeavour with an equally high investment - namely to Grendel from the Dishonourable Guild of Thieves . True, Grendel had delivered his side of the arrangement, so the crew's now seething ire was firmly focused at the elf leader, Galan, and his band of twiggers. The expedition was close to a depressingly unprofitable conclusion, but that ire had the effect of only firming the First Laws' resolve for one more chance to score a success - preferably in coin and hopefully with a bonus necklace of elf ears.

This time the remaining crew reluctantly pooled the last of their personal coin and Curden Craw was nominated to contact Grendel once again to procure information on a suitable new mark. So it was, a few weeks later, that the  First Law lads found themselves in the cold and notorious region known as The Wilds, watching from a concealed vantage point as a procession of merchant caravans were being attacked by a gang of marauding Ogres.

Ferro was even convinced she recognised one of the Ogres as the erstwhile bouncer previously employed by Fat Eddy. How Ferro could recognise an individual Ogre led to some bawdy comments from her compatriots and a retaliatory female 'stare' from her, however Bayaz had other thoughts on this mind. Why the merchants had risked this particular trail in the first place was beyond him. He also concluded it wasn't worth pondering how Grendel had known, apparently, the exact time and location of the Ogre attack. Some things are just best left alone. Especially where the Dishonourable Guild of Thieves was concerned.

Grendels information had listed the caravans of note, one of which, apparently owned by one ' Frederik dan Ferengis', a notable merchant out of Dagoska. It was this caravan that the crew watched as Frederik's guards grimly attempted to fend off some of the Ogres. Frederik himself could clearly be seen, due to his garishly ostentatious garments, standing atop the wagon beseeching his men to hold firm.

With the guards distracted by the Ogres, Bayaz, encouraged by Black Dow, ordered his crew to take the advantage and attack, hoping to highjack the caravan themselves amongst all the confusion. Bayaz's strategy was for the lads to take out the biggest threat first - that being the Ogres -concluding the guards will probably think they were being rescued. Roaring their new battle cry, "Bayaz the Bust!" , Black Dow, Red Hat, Logen Ninefingers, Ferro Maljinn, Curnden Craw and a limping Rudd Threetrees quickly joined the melee.

Black Dow made a ferocious attack on one of the unsuspecting Ogres, forcing it to the ground. But just as Dow was preparing to execute the downed Ogre, he was brushed aside by the sudden appearance of a horse mounted by...no! The Gods were surely taking things too far? A bloody elf was astride the horse and about despatch the Ogre itself. But before the elf could apply the coup de grace the Ogre lashed out with its powerful legs and brutally kicked the horse, bringing it down along with the elf.

Unknown to Bayaz and his lads, Galan's scouts had been following them for days and planned to ensure the final humiliation of this impertinent human warband permanently. But now the opportunity to do just that and purloin yet more loot presented itself! First kill to the First Law.

With the elf thrown and the Ogre still struggling to stand up, Black Dow efficiently ended the Ogre with a couple of thrusts of his long blade. Curnden Craw joins in and follows up by ruthlessly taking out the dazed elf, known as Ailuin. Meanwhile, Red Hat's fortune wasn't so good as he took on an Ogre still in the throes of battle rage, desperately trying to find an opening for his sword whilst dodging the wild swings of the Ogres Great Hammer. He miss-timed once. That's all it took. Red Hat was out of the fight.

It was plainly apparent to Bayaz that Galan was organising his elves to overwhelm the melee with his greater numbers, which appeared to have been bolstered by the unnerving presence of a Great Eagle. Threetree's booming voice could be heard above the melee, "Ware lads! The pointys have a bloody huge budgie with em!"

With the few remaining caravan guards at the verge of breaking and the Ogre threat still foremost both the elves and humans fought a confused and vicious melee. Logen Ninefingers, the Red Mist focusing his rage at an unfortunate Ogre, wasn't aware of Galan himself bearing down on him.

Ninefingers put up a heroic defence, roaring battle cries, twisting and turning, simultaneously clashing and parrying the elf's blade and the Ogres brutal club. But Galan's superior dexterity enabled him to cut through Ninefinger's defenceless sending him to join Red Hat, back to the mud.

Curden Craw was also in a desperate position, now surrounded by elves. One of which, Lavathor, sent in his new Great Eagle charge, Soar, to swoop down and finish off the impudent human. Curden had no chance. Bayaz once again found himself forced to take direct action, forlornly attempting to remedy the First Laws rapidly deteriorating situation. He managed to hobble an out-numbered Ogre, forcing it to the ground, however Galan wisely employed the tactic recently successful against Ninefingers and engaged Bayaz, now deprived of an Ogre kill and out-numbered by elves. Galan took out Bayaz, First of the Magi. 


The 9th Campaign Point was in the bag for Arabainknight's Wooland Guardian elves. He needs 10 to win the campaign!