Monday 17 June 2024

Five Leagues From the Borderlands (part 6) – Delving the Dungeon!

OK, so in my last 5 Leagues update I did all the preparation for the next campaign turn, and got the table ready for the next battle… so here’s how it went:

TURN 1

Advancing down the steps, Lagashi began chanting words of power… words that summoned a swarm of fell bats in front of her – thus screening her from any danger that might lie ahead.

Soon after, the patter of tiny clawed feet echoed throughout the dungeon, as the rat-like denizens that had made this place their home began moving around… alerting the orc band to their presence.


Hearing this, Muzlug commanded the rest of his lads to gather at the foot of the stairs – and to ready their weapons.


 TURN 2

After his previous experience with the wargs, Golb was not too keen about being up front with the possibility of foes drawing nearer – so he stepped to one side and opened the creaky iron gate to his left – to ‘free up more space’ ...or so he claimed.

No sooner as he did that, a pair of giant rats burst through the holes in the wooden door to the right, and got caught up in Lagashi’s bats. One was killed almost instantly, while the other was sorely wounded… but that too was swiftly dispatched as Muzlug stepped forward, spear in hand.

However, off in the distance, similar scratching/squeaking noises continued to echo...

TURN 3

 
(the ‘king rat’ reaches point 3 and begins moving towards point 6)

With no enemies in sight Muzlug kicked open the door, showering the room beyond in splinters – but revealing no foes. Regardless, he ordered the rest to form up around him.

TURN 4

At the far end of the passage the wall between it and the well room had collapsed… but through it their remained little cracks and tunnels through which the rats could move – and they put them to use now, and appeared without warning upon the orc flank.

NOTE: I had to step away from the table here… and when I got back I forgot where I was, and started turn 5 without activating the rest of my guys. So I’ll rationalise that by saying that they were all taken completely by surprise by this turn of events.

TURN 5

Spotting the rat-like beasts out of the corner of his eye, Snagluk loosed his bow, and stuck an arrow in the lead creature. But this was a huge beast (easily twice the size of the ones encountered previously), and it seemed to hardly notice the arrow embedded in its side (i.e. being a ‘captain’ it cannot be stunned).

Acting quickly, Lagashi stepped in front of him, and with an outstretched hand and a commanding voice, ordered the beasts to halt (i.e. she attempts to cast ‘bind’ – but fails).

Unperturbed, the lead rat closed the distance with incredible speed, and charged headlong into the swarm of bats. However, the bats quickly gained the upper hand – wounding and pushing the feral beast back.

Then on came the smaller creature… rushing headlong towards Lagashi – but neither rat nor orc could gain the upper hand in that brief duel (i.e. it was a draw).

NOTE: Once again, I got distracted… and forgot to activate my last two guys in the slow phase… so, once again I’ll justify that by saying…

Meanwhile, Muzlug and Golb (thinking that Lagashi’s spell had done its job) had continued to survey the room beyond the broken door; taking their time to make sure that there were no further threats lurking in the darkness. But something had gone awry… the rat-like beasts in the passage behind them were still coming… indeed they were upon them!

TURN 6

Snagluk hurriedly fitted another arrow to his bow and let it fly… but even then, was too late in loosing it.

In came the smaller rat, swiftly ducking beneath the wayward arrow, but was thankfully repelled by the summoned bats that (once again) formed a defensive barrier between it and Lagashi.

Then came the rat king (for so it was), tearing bats from the air as it came.

That’s when Golb (thought he) saw an opening, and engaged the beast while it finished tearing the remaining bats to ribbons. However, he quickly regretted his decision, and was forced to hide behind his shield as he was repeatedly beaten back.

Not liking the way things were going, Muzlug stepped up and forced the thing to retreat (though he did not follow up himself… as he deemed it unwise to be caught out in the open, and risk being attacked on two sides).

And, while all of this was happening, Lagashi had planted her feet and began chanting again… this time taking care to utter the words slowly and precisely, and lacing them with all of her malice.

As such, this time when she commanded the beasts to halt, the larger one at least had no choice but to obey!


 
 
(note that during the past two turns the final pack of rats had reached point 2, and were now headed towards point 1 – which would lead them right past the ongoing battle in the passage)

TURN 7

With the main threat temporarily bound in place, Snagluk took his time with his next shot, and slew the smaller creature where it stood.

Similarly, Muzlug weighed up his options, and drove his spear at king rat… hitting it with a blow that would have, at the very least, stunned a lesser foe… but the beast (despite being forced back) seemed unfazed (though still unable to break free of Lagashi’s spell).

Meanwhile, seeing things were improving in the passage (and not knowing that more rats were en route) Golb and Lagashi entered the hall to their right… and began making their way over to something that had caught their eye (i.e. exploration marker 1).

 

NOTE THAT, IT’S AT THIS POINT THAT I DECIDED TO USE THE ‘What about old friends?” CARD TO BRING IN AN EXTRA HERO (as I was getting a little bit tired of being tied up in the same passage). So:

Back towards the way they had came, Muzlug and Snagluk thought they heard the sound of booted feet echoing down the stone steps.

“‘Ere, Muzlug… I thought that was you. Looks like you’ve landed yerself in a spot of bovva’!” came an evil sounding voice… one that both orcs were familiar with. It was Pushdug.

Any questions as to why and how he was here would have to wait – for now Muzlug simply barked “Get stuck in you lazy slug!”

TURN 8 

Snagluk cursed loudly as he did little more than distract king rat with another ineffectual arrow – though, seeing this, Muzlug thrust his heavy spear into the creatures face – wounding it deeply and beating it back temporarily.

The beast then struck back wildly, its teeth thwarted by the large orc’s armour, and was then quickly silenced by Muzlug’s counter attack.

Though any hope of respite was quickly shattered, as two more giant rats burst through the second rusty gate.

The first of the pair fared poorly against Muzlug – and was cut down after failing to land a blow.

The second followed close on the heels of the first… but neither it nor Muzlug could do anything other than fend off each others attacks.

Meanwhile, Pushdug slowly advanced down the passage, and was greeted by Lagashi (who had come to see who it was, and to make sure that this interloper meant them no harm). However, seeing the lone rat near to the rusty gate, she let loose a stone from her sling… temporarily stunning the creature.

And while all of this was going on, Golb began rummaging through the rubble piled up behind the pillar in the room he had entered, and uncovered a dwarvish looking hammer. He wasn’t sure if it was something he’d want to use – but it might be something he could trade back in camp.

TURN 9

In a desperate final attempt, the last rat threw itself at Muzlug, but was cut down – leaving Muzlug and Snagluk free to move towards point 6, while Pushdug and Lagashi headed off towards point 5.


Golb also began to make/sneak his way back towards the passage.

TURN 10

Upon reaching the site of the cave in (i.e. exploration marker 6) Muzlug did a bit of digging around – but clumsily caused more of the wall to collapse… making a tremendous amount of noise in the process (i.e. he sets off an alarm trap that generates two more enemies on the opposite side of the board).

Meanwhile, the rest of the group gather in the chamber off to the left of the main passage.

TURN 11

Pushdug made his way over to a pile of broken and rotting crates, and began to rummage through them. And, while he couldn’t be certain, he was fairly sure something had been stashed there recently – and so he called back to Golb to take over the search… as he himself had seen hurried movement off in the distance… that of two more rats moving directly towards them.

At the same time Snagluk moved into the chamber, took up a defensive position near the stone arches, and loosed an arrow in the rough direction of the advancing rats.

TURN 12

Fitting yet another arrow to his bow, Snagluk gritted his teeth and fired again… but accomplished little more than losing another arrow to the darkness.

Seeing this, Muzlug charged into the room and slew the nearest rat – while Lagashi simultaneously stunned the other with a carefully placed sling shot.

TURN 13

While the others dealt with the remaining rat (this time Snagluk finally managed to take care of one with his bow) and advanced further into the ‘dungeon,’ Golb gathered a few bits and bobs from the rubbish pile that would serve as ‘camp gear’ in a pinch.

FROM HERE ON, SINCE THERE WERE NO ENEMIES PRESENT, I JUST MOVED MY WARBAND TO THE RELEVANT SPOTS ON THE BOARD THAT I WANTED TO INVESTIGATE…

At marker 2 Muzlug thought he saw something hidden… but it turned out to be nothing.


At marker 3 Golb found a (guarded) stash containing bandages (or things that could pass as such), jars of spices (I’m going to judge that the jars themselves are decorative, and worth the associated 2 gold), and a talisman (this last one he concealed from the others).

However, while the party filled their waterskins and rummaged through the detritus, three more rats came scurrying up the steps (from a deeper level) and rushed Muzlug… taking him by surprise again, and wounding him grievously (taking him out of the game).

In the melee that followed, the rats were quickly dispatched (the last one was slain by the newly arrived Pushdug) – and though there were still a few areas yet to be explored, the group decided that they would go no further that day, and tend to Muzlug’s wounds…

...that is...

...assuming he’s still alive!

Tuesday 11 June 2024

Five Leagues From the Borderlands (part 5) – The adventure continues…

OK then, it’s been nearly a month since I last played – but before I begin I need to make a quick edit:

 


I originally had area ‘A’ as a hamlet… but last turn I performed an action there that can only be done in a village. So, as a quick fix I’ll simply swap ‘A’ and ‘B’ around ...and justify that by saying that goblin soldiers have been moving between the two – increasing their strength in ‘A’ (and therefore lessening their numbers in ‘B’).

(NOTE: you can find a pdf of the full map HERE).

SUMMARY OF ROLLS FOR THIS CAMPAIGN TURN:

1. Local Events – aggravated wound (not applicable – so one character is a little bit sore)

2. Hard Times – 2 upkeep

3. Campaign Activities – hard work (I fail the roll for extra payment) & help the town guard (to offset my upkeep).

4. Trade – none

5. Research – no result

I decide to explore (and thus travel to) a location (i.e. the delve)

Travel Roll - uneventful

INTERPRETATION OF ROLLS:

The next week or so was somewhat uneventful, and relatively quiet – save for Golb’s constant complaints about the mauling he received from one of the wargs. As such, he weaselled his way out of guard duty for the first few days (a feat he seemed especially smug about) – but his mirth was short lived, as Dugmush (the camp’s second in command) put him to some heavy labour when he noticed that Golb seemed to have more spare time on his hands than the others.

Speaking of which, Muzlug and Co. took their turn guarding a couple of low risk passages that were deemed of little strategic importance (most likely due to the fact that the party isn’t fully trusted/tested yet), and Lagashi spent some time attempting to gather information/rumours/allies – but found that most of the orcs appeared to care for her little more than Muzlug did.

However, there had been no ‘dwarf mischief’ for a while now (or so some of the ‘locals’ put it)… and the group’s guard duties had begun to lessen slightly – so Muzlug proposed that they volunteer for the next patrol… and use that as a pretence for investigating the unexplored area that they had discovered during their last outing (in the hope that they might chance upon something that might improve their current situation, and maybe even raise their status within the camp).

* * *

So, with an uneventful travel roll, here’s how I have the table set up for this mission (note that I have made ‘the first move’ to determine the ‘reaction’ - which resulted in three more exploration markers).

The enemies are 5 giant rats and a ‘captain’ (which is represented by the bigger model at ‘4’). And because I’m playing with fewer ‘heroes’ than normal, I’m going to split them into three groups of two (rather than two groups of three).

And with that, I think I’m about ready to start...

 



Tuesday 4 June 2024

Dwarven Doors

For my next foray into Five Leagues from the Borderlands, my party of ‘brave heroes’ will be venturing into their first ‘delve’ (in this game, a delve is essentially a multi-level dungeon scenario).

As such, I’ve continued with the dwarven/Moria theme in my latest terrain project - and, as you can see, this time I’ve added some doors/doorways/arches.

As always, there is a pay-what-you-want file available over on DriveThruRPG if you want to have a go at making some yourself, and an accompanying video (showing how everything goes together) posted below.

So, here’s hoping you like this one!

Sunday 2 June 2024

Miniatures Painted This Year (May)

OK then, it’s that time when I look back on what I managed to paint (and what I bought) last month… and see if I’m actually lessening my pile of shame.

So starting with the painted stuff:

Above are pictured two more batches of dwarves from the various Oathmark sprues that I have – though, this time, I’ve mixed and matched pieces from the various dwarf sprues to kitbash a few unique(ish) models.

(the only real conversion work I had to do was change the bow arms of the ‘light’ dwarves to shield arms)

Anyway, continuing with the conversion/kitbash theme – next up are a few more orcs/goblins...

...and like some of my previous orcs, the one on the left is made from Mantic zombie legs, and a Warlord orc torso and head – but this time I’ve used some Frostgrave gnoll arms to give him a two-handed weapon. And for the little guy on the right, this was an old GW gnoblar model (which I had cut the hands off for something else) – and I just added some Oathmark goblin hands and head to make the model you see above.

(note that the orc on the left took a lot more greenstuff work than the last two – due to the fact that there was more undead flesh to cover up this time around)

And finally, I dug out a couple of old metal models that I’ve had lying around for years:

The one on the left is from an old Lord of the Rings range – I can’t remember who originally sold them (as the moulds have changed hands a couple of times I believe), but you can currently get them from Scotia Grendel.

The one on the right is an old Thunderbolt Mountain model – which, similarly, you can’t get any more from the original producers – but they are still available in a few different places.

* * *

OK – moving on to new acquisitions.

So at the beginning of the month, I bought a few random models from a (not so) local games store (as they break down various board games and sell the models off individually).


Now, I’m not sure where these first ones (above) are from – but the detail is pretty good for boardgame pieces:

Plus… I also picked up a few of the newer HeroQuest models (all of these were £1 each – so it’s not exactly breaking the bank).

I’ve also picked up some classic metal orcs from Reaper…

...and some cheap LotR style trolls from the 1:72 scale ‘Dark Alliance’ range (I’ll talk a bit more about these next month – as I’m currently in the process of painting them).

In addition to those I’ve picked up some more reaper bones skeletons as well…

...and the reason for this is that I’m thinking of trying to do a quick painting video – as I have a couple of miniatures related videos on the channel (which cover buying your first, or cheap mini’s), and a few folks have asked how I paint them. So, since I mentioned in one of those episodes that 'a good first mini to try painting is a simple skeleton' – I thought I’d put my money where my mouth is and do just that (i.e. paint a skeleton model with as little fuss as possible :) ).

I’ll also use this as an excuse to try out some of the new Army Painter ‘fanatic’ paints that have just been released.

And finally…

 ...last Friday I went to the UK Games Expo with a few friends. Now, I didn’t pick up much while I was there (is was super busy – even on this ‘quieter’ day)…

 

...but I did come away with a few models in that ‘local legends’ encounter box that you can see in the above picture.


 Note that this is my first purchase of anything from Steamforged Games, so I’m looking forward to diving into this one (though I have to say, even though it’s supposed to be a dark/nighttime encounter - the battlemat is a bit too dark for my liking, and I’m going to have to re-base the giant bats – as they keep falling over).

* * *

So to sum up – I think that’s 10 models painted this month (which isn’t so bad)… and 18 bought (which isn’t so great – considering that I’m actually trying to lessen my pile of shame).

However, the overall totals for this year are: 

75 PAINTED 

39 BOUGHT

So, I’ve still painted nearly twice as many as I’ve bought in 2024 - which is good going for me (even if this was the first month where I bought more than I painted).

Wednesday 15 May 2024

Five Leagues From the Borderlands (part 4) - Skirmish on the Stairs

OK then… in my last post I managed to get everything set up for my first battle… so here’s how it went (note that I’ll explain a few things about how ‘5 leagues’ works to begin with – but it will be a very basic overview):

ROUND 1

So, in this (and other Nordic Weasel games), the round usually starts by rolling a number of six sided dice equal to the number of models in your warband…

...and what you’re hoping for is low numbers.

You then compare these to the ‘Agility’ skill of your characters… and if any of the dice are equal or lower than that score, you can assign that die to a corresponding character – which means that that particular model can then activate in the ‘quick phase’ of the round (i.e. it gets to activate before the enemies).

So, since all of my ‘heroes’ have an agility score of one… and since I only rolled a single one in the above example… that means I can only activate one of my characters before the enemies (though I’m free to choose which). So…

As the company made their way down the stairs into the vast chamber, the quiet echoes of their own footfalls were met by the clamour of many clawed feet rushing towards them out of the darkness.

(Quick Actions Phase)

Lagashi was the first to act – whispering fell words from cracked lips, and holding her staff aloft. Within mere seconds a whole host of bats had flocked to her side… and with words of command she sent them out into the centre of the room to form a screen between her and whatever it was that approached.

(Enemy Actions Phase)

From out of the gloom the outline of several wargs could be seen advancing towards them – howling and gnashing their teeth as they came. Though just how many there were was unclear.

(Slow Actions Phase)

Muzlug and Golb followed along behind the bats – this being a tactic that they had put to use on several previous occasions – while Snagluk moved off to one side and readied his bow.

(No Tracking Phase)

ROUND 2

(No Quick Actions)

(Enemy Actions Phase)

The first of the haggard beasts bore down upon the swarm… tearing bats from the air with tooth and claw (first stunning it, then wounding it).

The second warg then joined the fray but could do little more (the exchange ended in a draw).

And finally another of the ravenous creatures came into view – but luckily this seemed to be the last of them (i.e. the unknown enemy roll resulted in just one extra creature).

(Slow Actions Phase)

Moving up to get a better shot - Snagluk loosed an arrow and wounded one of the lead creatures.

Muzlug followed that up with a charge of his own… but was beaten back by the beast (i.e. a draw).


Lagashi then began to make her way back up the entrance steps – thinking that it would give her a better vantage point for weaving more of her dark magic. Looking back, she turned around just in time to see her bat swarm eviscerate one of the fell wolves.

Emboldened by this, Golb dashed in… his sword swinging wildly. However, he soon regretted his decision… as he himself was wounded after a brief back and forth.

 

(Tracking Phase)

Seeing it’s companion torn to ribbons, the rearmost warg decided that it had seen enough, and fled back the way it came.

(Technically, the last warg should have fled at this point to – due to a ‘not worth the risk’ special rule for this scenario – but because I’m using a reduced number of models to begin with, I simply gave it a second morale roll instead… which it passed).

ROUND 3

(No Quick Actions)

(Enemy Actions Phase)

The last warg clawed at Golb – forcing the injured orc to his knees and leaving him somewhat stunned.

With the stairs fully occupied, Snagluk clambered up the rubble beside them, and let loose another arrow. However, the uneven footing caused him to slip as he did so… and the arrow sailed off into the darkness (note, as I mentioned previously, I’m using a slightly modified ‘out of ammo rule’ – so if I roll a one on the die, I then roll it again to see if I run out of ammo).

With Muzlug behind him (ordering him forward) Golb reluctantly advanced… but after a brief back and forth… he managed to finish off the last of the hungry beasts.

With the immediate thread dealt with, Muzlug then rushed up the stairs… eager for this patrol to be over. Meanwhile, Lagashi watched on from afar – urging her bat servants forward to guard the far side of the great stairway.

ROUND 4

(no activation rolls needed)

The great uruk cautiously peered through the doorway and examined the floor – looking for signs of recent movement. Finding nothing himself, he ordered Golb and Snagluk to join him.

ROUND 5

(no activation rolls needed)

With the aid of his ‘trusty lads,’ Muzlug and company ventured a short way down the passage and conducted a more thorough search. Finding little evidence of dwarven activity, they made ready to leave – but at the last moment something caught Muzlug’s attention from the corner of his eye.

Something about one of the walls didn’t look quite right; when tapping on it, it didn't sound quite right either. Could their be an adjoining room on the other side – the entrance to which had been blocked up? Or was this some kind of secret entrance that warranted further investigation?

Whatever the case may be, Muzlug swore the rest of the group to secrecy – as this could be something they might not want other orcs to know about… at least not yet – as there might be some ‘good looting to be done’ ...loot that they might not want to share with the rest of the camp.

(i.e. the party made a successful roll to complete the mission in the allotted time frame – and as a result discovered a ‘delve’).

RESOLUTION 

With the mission being a success the group gained:

1 adventure point.

Muzlug leveled up and got an extra point of luck.

Golb gained the crafting skill.

The party found a damaged standard weapon & damaged bastard sword amongst the debris in the room.

They also found an ‘essence crystal’ (which allows a Mystic to cast a spell for free without any rolls). For this I’m going to say that while the other members of the group were searching the battlefield, Lagashi conducted a foul ritual (involving the removal of the heart of one of the dead wargs) that allows her to use its spirit/essence as fuel for a future spell.

Returning to camp, Lagashi and company made their report (being careful not to mention their actual discovery), and found an unoccupied corner to rest in. Within the camp all was still rather tense and quiet (i.e. the ‘news travels’ roll didn’t result in anything again), and so they decided to keep their heads down for the moment… and wait to see what tomorrow brings.