“Well then, gentlemen, here we are…”
My warband: wizard, apprentice, thief, ranger, two archers and four thugs. I had also managed to brew up a demon in a bottle during the out-of-game spell phase.
Thaddeus surveyed the ruins of the frozen city, his experienced eye picking out the tell-tail aura wherever there lay an item of magical treasure – left abandoned for centuries and now ripe for the taking.
Down a narrow alleyway he saw others moving. A glint of s sword, a swish of scarlet robes.
“Another wizard…” He squinted, before sucking the cold air through his teeth. “A damned Sigilist! Men- forward!”
My gaming buddy Giles very kindly agreed to try his hand at Frostgrave with me, digging out some of his extensive fantasy collection and gamely creating a warband around them, despite not seeing the rules beforehand! We started off with a standard game – six treasure tokens scattered across the board.
My warband split up into two, headed by wizard and apprentice. They advanced, taking cover in the ruined houses. Giles’ Sigilist did likewise.
Oddleigh, half-tripping over the broken flagstones, froze as down the street a thug crept into view. They stared at each other for what seemed like an age, before the apprentice lifted his arm and pointed a trembling finger.
He couldn’t remember what happened next, but the thug lay dead, a sliver of bone protruding from his body. Oddleigh stared at his hands in horror.
“Hah!” The curt laugh of the archer, who was clambering up a pitted wall to get a better vantage point, was enough to snap him out of it. “Good shooting my lord!”
“There!” Thaddeus pointed at the chest, half-hidden in a dark corner of a ruined building. A thug immediately sprang forward and began dragging the booty out. His fellow tribesman, a swarthy archer, brushed past, looking for a way up onto the next storey, while Halfinch, skipping effortlessly over the rubble, ran ahead in search of more loot.
Oddleigh peered at where the prone thug still lay. To his right, the archer had scrambled up a ladder and was preparing to take pot shots at whatever target presented itself, while below him, three of the tribal thugs advanced, years of field craft learnt on the steppes being put to good use.
To Oddleigh’s left, a shower of loose bricks heralded Hakim the Ranger, climbing effortlessly up another ruin, towards the treasure chest secreted there.
“Faster – I want it all!” Thaddeus raged as his warband crept forward, archers exchanging shots with their adversaries. Skulking in a shadowy doorway he could make out the Sigilist’s men, dragging chests of treasure away from his grasp. Suddenly, he grinned. “This will slow you down…”
A few muttered words and a well-practised wave of the hand and ‘poof!’ a small red creature appeared in the midst of the enemy.
In advance of the apprentice, the thugs continued forward, until one of them suddenly flew backwards, as if pushed by a mighty invisible palm. A figure in red robes strode from behind a corner. “Halt knaves! I am Holbon Toddlebrew, wizard, and I claim this place and it’s treasures!”
“Oh aye?” drawled one of the thugs. “Well I’m Greybeard of the Black Hill tribe, and I claim your head!” As their winded comrade picked himself up, the thugs leapt forward, quickly striking down the Sigilist.
Thaddeus sensed the demise of his fellow wizard and grimaced, despite his hatred of such runesmiths. He ducked from out of the doorway, bone dart ready to cast at his rivals, but no target presented itself. The imp he had conjured was meanwhile in combat with a fierce war hound, but by the sound of it's squeals, was not to last for long. One of his thugs was surging forward; hoping to catch the Sigilist apprentice and his entourage as they frantically dragged away their share of the treasure.
By now Halfinch the Halfling thief, Hakim the ranger and one of the thugs were similarly dragging away treasure chests. Could Thaddeus snatch one more? He concentrated on the thug in front of him, who suddenly he leapt into the air, landing neatly a short distance from the retreating Sigilist warband. However it was too late – they were gone before the started tribesman could recover his wits.
Thaddeus grunted in disappointment. “Come, we are done here!”
A little while later and the band were nursing their aches in front of a roaring fire – with even the taciturn ranger Hakim swapping stories of what had occurred that day. The inn that they had discovered, and subsequently dubbed the Cloven Hoof, was comfortable enough, even if in dire need of restoration.
At the very least it suited Thaddeus. “Enough room for another warrior,” he mused, “and we will need a kennel for Fluffy."
Oddleigh shuddered at the thought of this half-demonic warhound. “It’s going to cost a lot to build a kennel strong enough to hold her!”
Thaddeus nodded, looking glumly at the meagre contents of the three treasure chests they had snagged. “Well we have some gold… and if we sell these magical weapons we will have enough for a kennel and another man – that knight, Sir Pierre de Bleu, see if he’s available.”
Oddleigh nodded, and left for The Market, while Thaddeus totted up the rest of the finds. “A potion of healing – add that to the demon potion we didn’t use today… scrolls… oh and a grimoire! Animate construct eh? Could be useful…”
Thus ends our first game of Frostgrave! Both spellcasters managed to get of a grand total of four spells each, and it was honours even with the treasure at three apiece. This gave us both enough experience to advance to level 1.
Giles did however do a lot better with his treasure rolls, and his wizard recovered fully from his battering at the hands of my thugs. His account of events can be found here.
Time then, for the second game, in which our wizards hear tell of a ruined museum, brimming with treasure… and strange statues…