Battleshed Diaries

Friday, 15 January 2016

Slaughter in Felstad



Frostgrave - Slaughter in Felstad
A suitably wintry trudge down the hill this week for the first visit of the year to Sam Pate's new gaming den for a game of Frostgrave. I was soon unfastening the fleece jacket in the cosy environs of Samshed II and admiring his elaborate walled town set-up, ready for our game.


It was only our second visit to the icy ruins of Felstad, the last being back in October last year. My conclusions from that inaugural game proved to be prescient for this game too; you'd have to be totally broke or rip-snorting mad to sign on as a mercenary in the employ of a Wizard!

We played pretty much the same scenario to keep things simple again - our warbands tasked with searching for six treasures placed evenly throughout the ruins and the city walls. Both forces started the game on lowered drawbridges on opposite sides of the city.

I used the same Fire Elementalist wizard and apprentice - Bayaz, First of the Magi and Jezal dan Luthar, and four 'soldiers' from my First Law warband.

Sam had swapped his original Thaumaturge wizards for a Necromancer this time. Like me, it's still early days experimenting with the various schools of magic so they're pretty much generic warbands at this stage. I'll probably stick with Bayaz the Fire Elementalist in the future. Mostly because its saves me having to paint another wizard!

Shout out to Eric the Shed for his instructive blog post, Frostgrave - A Study on Wizards. He's done all the leg work to aid Wizard character creation!

Another tool I had to hand this time, which proved very useful, was the 'RPG type Frostgrave Warband sheet', a free download from Boardgamegeek.com. Everything I needed on a double sided sheet. 
'Ninety per cent of most magic merely consists of knowing one extra fact' Terry Pratchett, Night Watch
.


Battle highlights (or lowlights, depending on who you're cheering!)

With both warbands quickly entering the city from the drawbridges, fanning out to the areas suspected of concealing treasures, it was Sam's Necromancer who managed to successfully cast the first spell spell, after previously taking a minor wound after a failed attempt. 

With a particularly powerful casting of Bone Dart, the Infantryman Caul Shivers, leaning rather casually against a stack of crates, took the full force of the spell. There was only momentary look of stunned bewilderment from the muscular soldier before he crumpled to the icy ground. Good start for the Necromancer. Not so good for the Elementalist, Bayaz!

With Bayaz and his warband nearing the concentration of possible search areas at the centre of the city, the Necromancer was on a roll. Next up he summoned an Imp from his repertoire of Aligned magic. 

However, my wizard, Bayaz, had a cunning plan. Since I've been playing Sam for many years now, he has 'form'. He has a penchant for summoning extra creatures to his warbands, as I'm only to aware when campaigning with Songs of Blades. So this time Bayaz the Elementalist was prepared - rather smugly casting Banish, the Imp disappearing as quickly as it arrived!

The Apprentice Elementalist, Jezal, decides to impress his boss by successfully casting Telekinesis on the nearest treasure, moving it closer (6") towards their warband. Useful trick that!

By now, the Necromancer has one of his archers commanding a fine sniper position in a high tower (another one of Sam's specialities!). But Bayaz's bow-armed Ranger and Archer, Ferro Maljinn and The Dogman, were ready. The Dogman loosed off a shot but it pinged off the stonework. Ferro followed up, this time hitting the archer in the tower. Badly wounded (6 wounds) the archer still managed to return fire, narrowly missing Ferro as she ducked behind a low wall .

Meanwhile, Bayaz has positioned himself so he can clearly the face of a tower opposite the one with the archer. He casts Wizards Eye high up on the tower. Now he can use the Eye to draw line of site. With a grin, his looks back at the Dogman and gives him an crafty wink. 

Unfortunately, if the Dogman was impressed by his employer's skill, we'll never know as the Necromancer, now relishing his Bone Dart spell, casts another. This time it's a Critical Hit on the Dogman! That's Bayaz's soldiers down to half strength already! There is only Ferro and Logen Ninefingers, the Treasure Hunter, left. And he'd slunk off to explore the outer walls, looking for a treasure in the battlements!

It wasn't long before the Necromancer's apprentice had manoeuvred around the flank of the tower concealing his archer and was nearing a treasure. He tries yet another Bone Dart, this time cheekily directed at Bayaz but it fizzles out before it could cause any damage. However, he does reach the treasure.

Apprentice Jezal, now becoming increasingly worried about the sudden dark turn of events, casts an Elemental Bolt at his rival apprentice but it fails to connect. With a look of disdain for all things magic, the Ranger Ferro Maljinn confidently step out from behind the stone wall, takes aim, and fires an arrow. It thuds into the Necromancer's apprentice, killing him stone dead.

Whilst the wizards were showing off, Crom the Barbarian (that's what Bayaz called him anyway) had been remarkably stealthy for such a burly barbarian, approaching Bayaz's group from the flanks, using the cover of the jumbled ruins. 

Just as the muscle-man was about to pounce, Bayaz luckily spots him and steps out only a few feet in front of Crom and casts an Elemental Bolt at practically point blank range. It spectacularly fails, giving a bemused and slightly aggrieved Bayaz one wound in the process!

Coming to the aid of his master, or rather, seeing the imminent threat of being diced by the barbarian's huge broad sword, Jezal attempts the same, casting another Elemental Bolt. This time the spell is successful, badly wounding the barbarian. However, he's still standing. And now enraged.

Crom leaps over a low stone wall and charges the Elementalist wizard, his staff useless to defend against the powerful blows from the broadsword. It was soon over. Bayaz is sliced n' diced. Bayaz's remaining warband were stunned, only roused as another arrow from the Necromancer's archer in the tower whizzes past the head of Ferro Maljinn.

And the Necromancer had another devious trick up his long sleeves. Earlier, he'd cast Fast Move on Crom, who now was on a killing spree. With the spell giving him extra imitative, he soon stepped over Bayaz's limp body and charged Jezel, the young apprentice.

With Jezal facing a towering brute, hastily fumbling for his sword and unable to conjure any magic, the Necromancer turned his dark eyes to Logen Ninefingers still traversing the battlements. Once again the spell of the day, Bone Dart, was cast but it dissipated somewhere behind the unsuspecting treasure hunter, who'd finally found a treasure in one of the high, buttressed wall towers.

Suspecting Jezal the Apprentice was about to join his employer in a Crom casserole, the mercenary Ferro Maljinn instinctively takes the opportunity to grab the nearest treasure. At least one of Bayaz's crew will profit from this! With another close shot from the archer in the tower whizzing past, she headed back to the safety the drawbridge with her booty. 

Meanwhile, whilst Jezal is desperately fending off blows from Crom, the barbarian is joined by another of the Necromancer's Thugs. Poor old Jezal is now in a bit of a pickle. And most likely to be in one soon enough, quite literally.

The Necromancer insouciantly decides Logen Ninefingers is no longer a threat, even though he has a treasure. He's too far away from safety to get the treasure away any time soon. He'll deal with him later. Instead, he turns his attention to Ferro, who's closing in on the drawbridge. He has to stop her. 

He channels as much power as he can muster, wincing in pain as the pressure of magical forces causes him some wounds but his sacrifice guarantees the summoning of another Imp. This time the demon materialised right on the enemy drawbridge, blocking off Ferro's escape.

Jezal is by now rapidly tiring and with one last forlorn flurry and thrust from his sword, narrowly avoiding jabs from the Thug, he screams and charges Crom. 

The barbarian laughs cruelly as he easily sweeps Jezel's sword aside and brings down his own double-handed blade down upon the apprentice, killing him instantly.

Ferro, unaware of Jezal's demise, drops the treasure and pulls out her dagger. The monstrous Imp creature advances slowly. Just as Ferro is preparing to move against the creature, out of the corner of her eye she spots movement. 

With a quick glance back she sees the Thug baring down on her. She panics and spins around to counter the new threat, but the Imp reacts with otherworldly speed and slashes down on the Ranger, shredding her leather armour and felling her in one blow.

A malevolent cackle echoes around the ruins, the clash of weapons is replaced by the mournful whispers of the icy wind.  

The Necromancer watches as his remaining Thugs begin to casually search the ruins, now without any threat from any rival adventurers. Except one. The lonely treasure hunter up on the walls. The Necromancer drifts silently towards his prey...