Friday 19 April 2024

Five Leagues From the Borderlands (part 2) – FINAL PREP

As I mentioned in my last post, for my first campaign of 5 Leagues, I’m going scale things down a bit… not the scale of the models (I’ll be using regular 28/32mm stuff)… but rather the number of models I’ll be using (for both my heroes and their opponents).

In addition to that, there’s the whole ‘evil campaign taking place almost entirely in a dungeon’ thing that I’ll be attempting – but looking through the book, I think I’ll be able to flavour most things to fit… but it will be interesting (and hopefully fun) to see how I can reinterpret some of the situations that arise.

So with that in mind, here’s a few changes that I’m starting out with...


1. For the most part, switching things over to an ‘evil’ campaign will be pretty cosmetic. I don’t think there is any need to crate new races for example - as the ones provided in the book are vague enough to be open to interpretation. So, if you take a look at the roster you will see that Muzlug (my black orc of Mordor) is actually a duskling. And since dusklings can’t have spells cast on them, and have the ‘brute charge’ ability (plus he also got a +2 speed bonus during character generation) – all of that simply influenced his description (see the previous post). Another example would be changing ‘gold marks’ to a pool of ‘loot, reputation, and favours that can be called in’ ...but it’s the same thing - I’m just describing it differently to better suit the narrative.

2. As I mentioned above, I’m halving the number of heroes I get (so 2 instead of 4) – though I am giving them both ‘avatar’ status to help a little bit with that (as I don’t want to end the game if one of them dies prematurely – plus I think it will be interesting to see how things progress if one or the other is taken out of action). To compensate for this, I’ll also halve the number of enemies encountered… and maybe halve the monster points for the creatures that have them (rounding up) – but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. However, if it goes well, I might add in a couple more heroes later on, and play things with the correct number of models.

3. Thirdly, since I want to start off small, I’ve only put two ‘threats’ on the map (one foe within, and one foe without – though I’ll assign them both a threat level of six), and I’m only adding one unexplored location to the map (i.e. I’m leaving off the first delve). The foes within (gnawling hordes) will represent rival orc bands that were pushed deeper into Moria when the dwarves first arrived, and the foes without (duskling warbands) will be the dwarves of Balin’s company. My play space is also a bit limited, so I’ll be using either 60cm x 90xm magnetic blackboard (in conjunction with some of my dungeon tiles) or a Paizo flipmat for my battles.

4. I’ve watched a few ‘bat-rep’ style videos on YouTube to give me a bit of a feel for things – and in most of those that I’ve seen, folks seem to dislike the ‘limited ammunition’ rule (I wasn’t sure about it myself either). So, as a bit of a test, I’m going to modify that rule to something like this: When rolling to hit, if the result is a natural 1, roll the die again. If this also results in a 1, the model has run out of ammunition (this does not apply for the first shot of the game).

5. Due to the nature of the game I’m trying to run, I’ll be playing things fast and loose, and not worrying too much if I have to alter things to better suit the narrative. For example, if the enemy list provides something that doesn’t fit the setting, I’ll just choose something suitable from another list (the ‘ruin within’ has some good options I feel).


One of the cool things about 5 Leagues is the way you generate the campaign map.

If I were doing this for a regular game, I’d probably use something like this generator HERE to get the basic layout… but since I seem determined to make things harder on myself, I’ve had to put together a rather abstract version of Moria myself… or at least, I’ve attempted to.

So, with that in mind, this is what I’ve come up with (note that you can find a better pdf version of it HERE):

And, as you can see, I’ve tried to use a multi-level hex map to cover the seven levels and seven deeps of Moria - adding in some of the key areas mentioned in the Fellowship of the Ring (alongside most of the points of interest that 5 Leagues prompts you to add). It’s far from perfect – but I think it will do the job well enough :)

And with that, I think I’m about ready to get started!

Though, saying that… as I mentioned in the last installment, I am using this as an excuse to get some of my (Oathmark) dwarf models assembled and painted… so there might be a brief pause every now and again while I splash some colour on any models I might need for a given scenario.

But yeah… I think it’s time to make my first travel roll… and see if my little band of miscreants make it through the East Gate without incident...

...wish me luck!

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