Battleshed Diaries

Thursday 14 April 2016

The Complex Temple

Hard on his luck and desperate to stem the flow of misfortune mostly caused by his bane, the Necromancer, Magi Bayaz and his warband once again venture into the frigid ruins of Felstad. This time with a new face amongst his retinue.

Weirdly, this was the first game of Frostgrave played in the Battleshed. All the others up to now been played down the hill at Pate Mansion. Therefore, I concluded, I needed a new terrain board to help transport the Battleshed to the frozen city of Felstad. 

Moreover, I had the perfect solution to hand! Finally, a chance to use one of two sets of Citadel Realm of Battle game boards that have been languishing unused for quite a while. These are excellent (if pricey) sets of 2'x2' modular plastic boards from Games Workshop. I used four sections - two hill and two flat areas (one with cracked ice, the other with 'skull pits'). The best bit was that I could easily  - and relatively quickly - spruce these up for Frostgrave in no time; a few coats of matt white combined acrylic/primer, a touch of titanium white spray paint here and there, a coat of matt varnish and I'm mostly done.  

The cracks in the ice were painted with a water/pva wash of 'ice blue' and then tidied up, once dry, with more white. The skull pits painted using initially the ice blue wash, then dry brushing a suitable three-shade combo and finally a dab of black/brown wash. I've still to tidy up this area, so the skull pits have been left without varnish for now. I think it's worked out OK. Can't really go wrong with a snow terrain! I've a few more boards remaining from this modular set so I can swap-out sections or expand as needed. 

As mentioned, I have a second set, which I plan to use as a generic spring/summer board at some point (yes, after the IHMN and Faustus Furius projects). This set will obviously will require more work as flocking and other foul language will be involved. I'm thinking games like Dragon Rampant would particularly suit the more fantasy orientated modules. At least this first attempt at painting these Citadel boards has proved useful for testing out how easy they are to prep and paint. 

So, back to the game. You can relax, I'll spare you a short novella this time! Just a quick-ish overview of the six game turns. As usual, a totally biased viewpoint from Magi Bayaz. The truth is out there, or rather, likely to be found over at Wee Blokes in the near future.

Lancrix the Tall 
After the run of near disasters and only a measly haul of treasure barely enough to keep his mercenaries in cheap ale, Magi Bayaz felt obliged to make changes. Warband restructuring as he called it, with his subordinates taking all the blame. Jezal the apprentice was fired.

In his stead, a new young novice by the name of Lancrix the Tall is initiated into the Fire Elementalist faculty. With a change of personnel comes a change in Bayaz's magical arsenal, with new spells from his primary, aligned and neutral schools - Wall, Bind Demon, Decay and Forget Spell...

(Lancrix the tall miniature - Young Travelling Mage from Dark Sword Miniatures, sculpted by Jeff Grace )

The Scenario: The Complex Temple (pg.107 Frostgrave rulebook), [modified version]

Overview/Special rules: The warbands are searching for, um, you guessed it - treasure. This time they are searching near a temple for a long-forgotten god. The official scenario has six magical 'columns' the adventures have to fight to relieve them of any treasures; if the 'column' wins it deals normal damage. If the character wins it immediately gains possession of a treasure. We decided to swap the magical columns for inanimate skeletal warriors - if the skeletal warrior wins after being attacked no treasure is found and the undead becomes animated during the Creature Stage, otherwise it crumbles to reveal the goods.

The Warbands: 

  • The Necromancer: Bone Dart, Raise Zombie, Steal Health, Fast Act, Enchant Armour, Imp, Wizard Eye, Poison Dart. Barbarian, Max the Treasure Hunter, one archer and three thugs to keep company with the Necromancer and his apprentice.
  • Bayaz, Fire Elementalist: Wall, Telekinesis, Decay, Elemental Shield, Elemental Bolt, Bind Demon, Banish, Forget Spell. Ranger (Ferro), Archer (The Dogman), Infantryman (Caul Shivers) and five thugs (Logen Ninefingers, Curnden Craw, Red Hat, Black Dow and Nicomo Cosca) escorting Magi Bayaz and his new apprentice, Lancrix the Tall.

Turn 1 (Initiative: Magi Bayaz, Lancrix the Tall, Bayaz' soldiers)

Magi Bayaz goes for a Magical Shield spell as an opener, not wanting to be distracted by any awkward wounds whilst he directs his new young apprentice. The Necromancer, true to form, Raises a Zombie - the Big Bandaged One from the previous engagement. Must be his favourite. Lancrix the Tall and Bayaz' soldiers head out with Curnden Craw feeling particularly spritely this fine Felstad morning, immediately engaging the nearest inert skeletal warrior with Black Dow and Nicomo Cosca close on his heels. 

Skeletal Warriors guard the temple complex
Turn 2 (Initiative: Magi Bayaz, Lancrix the Tall, Bayaz' soldiers)

Bayaz zaps off a powerful Elemental Bolt at the zombie and with a rather haughty glance to Lancrix, blasts it apart. Meanwhile, the Necromancer casts Wizard's Eye on broken stonework behind Bayaz and his retinue. A great spell, pity the Necromancer pretty much forgets about it for the rest of the encounter! Lancrix the Tall, trying to impress his new boss, casts Forget Spell at the Necromancer, forcing it through with 3 wounds. However, the wily old Dark One easily wills it away. Yet another bandaged zombie is raised by the Necromancer's apprentice, (is it the same one? Who can tell?). 

Zombie Kill!
Now its Bayaz' soldiers time to do their stuff. Nicomo, with support from Black Dow and Curnden Craw, easily wake the skeletal warrior from its unnatural slumber by bashing it about the head with various sharp implements. Its brief moments of consciousness in this realm are soon curtailed when it loses its head and crumbles into dust, revealing glittering pile of treasures! The archers join in the fun, Ferro targeting the Necromancer and the Dogman shooting Max the Treasure Hunter. They both miss, blaming the early morning cold loosening bow strings.

Dow, Craw and Cosca tormenting a skeletal warrior
One of the Necromancer's mercs launches a rather blasé attack on the nearest skeletal warrior, only to stagger back wounded when the bony-one reanimates in a flurry of rusty blades. The ever-sneaky crossbowman, crouching behind a wall, puts a bolt into the Dogman's armour, wounding the unsuspecting archer. Whilst the archers are twanging, Max the Treasure Hunter joins his embattled comrade and defeats the skeletal warrior, revealing another pile of treasure.

Turn 3 (Initiative: The Necromancer, Necromancer's Apprentice, Bayaz' soldiers)

Young apprentice Lancrix is the unlucky recipient of one of the Necromancer's signature Bone Darts,  taking four wounds. Magi Bayaz successfully casts one of his latest spells - Decay - at the sly crossbowman. The merc's favourite crossbow suddenly crumbles to dust in his arms. Looks like he'll be shredding a few coins at the weapon dealers after this venture. The Necromancer's Apprentice fires off yet another Bone Dart at Nicomo, (surely the Dark Ones know more spells?), but the apprentice only gets a wound for his trouble. Lancrix the Tall, starting to get a tad nervous, what with all these ranged magical attacks flying about, decides to copy his master and casts his very own Elemental Shield.

Nicomo scoops up the little pile of treasure and heads off to the nearest exit. Black Dow and Curnden Craw, at a loss what to do next and still under the influence of a heavy night in the local tavern, bullishly agree it'll be fun to charge a group of the Necromancer's thugs busy with a skeletal warrior. Meanwhile, Ferro takes a shot at the advancing zombie mark II. She misses. Her curses would embarrass demons. Luckily for the Ranger, the Dogman does not witness his colleagues misfortune as he's slunk off around a corner to chance a shot at the Necromancer's apprentice lurking partially hidden by a corner ruin. Another miss. Logen Ninefingers finds himself alone all of a sudden so ambles over to one of the inert skeletal warriors and goes to work. A few seconds' later he's embroiled with an enraged undead, no treasure and an outrageously bandaged zombie thumping closer.

Nicomo (left) scoops up treasure, whilst Lancrix (rear) looks on. Bayaz and Ferro (right)
The zombie joins the skeleton fighting Logen. Whether or not the two undead are aware of each others presence is debatable but the result is the same, Logen's morning isn't going too well. And he was in such a good mood earlier. Meanwhile, one of the Necromancer's thugs in the melee manages to fell a skeletal warrior and more treasure revealed. However, with Dow and Craw bearing down on him he shouts for support. And support he gets. Whilst the thug and Curden clash swords, Crom the Barbarian finally puts in an unwelcome appearance, hulking into the melee waving his huge chopper at Black Dow. Unperturbed, Dow hits back and manages a mighty seven wounds on the dazed barbarian.
Crom the Barbarian makes his entrance
Turn 4 (Initiative: The Necromancer, Necromancer's Apprentice, Bayaz' Soldiers)

Not satisfied with trying to summon a hoard of zombies, the Necromancer tries to raise an Imp. However, the spell fails and backfires, causing a wound. Magi Bayaz is rather concerned with the melee close by and sees one of the thugs trying to break away with treasure whilst the other combatants are distracted. Another spell backfires as Bayaz attempts an Elemental Bolt. He unfortunately takes self-inflicted wounds even though his Elemental Shield is still intact. Drat. 

The Necromancer's apprentice unleashes yet another Bone Dart at the Dogman but the archer escapes injury as it strikes the stonework nearby. Lancrix the Tall, already badly wounded despite his own Elemental Shield, rushes to cast an Elemental Bolt at Max the Treasure Hunter. It spectacularly fails taking his wound count up to his limit. One more and he'll be benched.

The Dogman (bottom, left), Caul and Red Hat (top, left), Logen facing a skeletal warrior and the approaching zombie (right)
Back in the melee, Curnden and a thug continue to rain blows on each other. Crom hits back at Black Dow causing wounds. Ferro snatches another shot at the Treasure Hunter with an almost predictably disappointing miss. Logen takes as swipe at the battling zombie and misses.

The Necromancer's crossbowman, missing his favourite weapon and feeling rather foolish brandishing his emergency kitchen knife, forms a cunning plan. Soon he's organised a kind of 'treasure-relay' with one of his colleagues. One runs with the heavy haul, dropping it when his lungs are about to burst, whilst the other picks it up and continues. Devious buggers! Not far away, Logen's bad day gets even worse. He's knocked unconscious by an errant blow from the flailing skeletal warrior. Max the Treasure Hunter takes on Red Hat but the lithe soldier manages to strike back causing a wound. 

Turn 5 (Initiative: Magi Bayaz, Lancrix the Tall, Bayaz' soldiers)

Magi Bayaz is desperate to stop the nearest Necromancer thug making off with his treasure. He casts an Elemental Bolt (far more elegant than his enemies Bone Darts) but the weaving thug escapes the blast. The Necromancer tries again to summon an Imp and this time is rewarded for his efforts. 

A small, squat creature that appears to be mostly body attached to a brace of huge teeth pops into existence and immediately races off after the unsuspecting Nicomo and his treasure haul. Lancrix quickly reacts, successfully casting Banish. However, the ball of teeth somehow manages to resist the spell. The Necromancer's apprentice chances a Bone Dart (what else?!) at his counterpart but luckily it fails to cause Lancrix any more wounds. That would be bad.

Nicomo being chased by the toothy Imp
Ferro the Ranger finally proves her skill just in the nick of time. She makes a critically good hit on the speedy Imp and kills it stone dead! Meanwhile, the Infantryman, Caul Shivers, is badly wounded by the surprisingly skilful Treasure Hunter. Red Hat tries to support Caul but only receives wounds for his effort. Max the Treasure Hunter must have had a particularly energising breakfast cereal that morning. The Dogman is still off his aim as he fails to hit the bumbling skeletal warrior previously engaged with Logen.

By now two of the Necromancer's thugs, one aided by the crossbowman's relay tactics, are making off with treasure. The Treasure Hunter has another go at poor Red Hat but mercifully fails to connect, whilst over in the melee Dow and Crom the Barbarian are still at it. The Zombie, casting around for another prize since Logen is down, spots Bayaz's' turned back. It quickly trudges over to the unsuspecting mage and attacks. Fortunately, Bayaz's Elemental Shield is still active. 

Final turn (Initiative: Magi Bayaz, Necromancer's apprentice, Bayaz' soldiers)

Bayaz is forced to use his wizard's staff like some common soldiers as the zombie batters powerful blows. The mage, badly wounded and shaken, is only saved from an absurd defeat by his Elemental Shield. The Necromancer tries to thwart the treasure wielding Nicomo with a Bone Dart but it's ineffective. Similarly, the Necromancer's apprentice Bone Darts the ailing Lancrix but again the Elemental Shield saves the day. Lancrix heroically attempts to stop the nearest treasure carrying thug. Unable to boost his powers due to his critical health he somehow manages to cast an Elemental Bolt. It strikes the thug square in his back. The treasure spills to the ground. Hurrah!

The Necromancer casting his favourite Bone Dart spell
Heart pounding and lungs bursting, Nicomo finally turns a corner and leaves the battlefield with his treasure. Ferro, hot from killing the Imp, aims a shot at the animated skeletal warrior. Another direct hit. The bones collapse to the ground with the unmistakable chime of gold. More treasure, but alas, she has no time to collect it! Caul receives another beating from Max but is still standing. Red Hat counter-attacks but again the treasure hunter is too quick. Red Hat falls to the ground. In the melee, Black Dow swings a hefty undercut at the barbarian and catches the brute. Crom is down! Got the bugger! Meanwhile Curden is still battling with his relentless opponent. He is badly wounded and tiring but he's still in the fight. 

Crom the Barbarian is down!
The Necromancer's treasure relay team successfully manage to get away, equalling the score, whilst the zombie successfully defends a clumsy staff-swipe from the wheezing Bayaz. With pretty much all the combatants beaten and bruised the battle ebbs away. The zombie suddenly goes inert as the warbands warily retreat on both sides. 

Result: draw - one warband treasure recovered each.

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