Monday, 25 January 2016

Thaddeus Daemoncall: Tomb Raider!

An eerie, fell mist swirled around the feet of the warband as their master led them through the gates of the necropolis; ghostly tendrils curling around their legs like the tentacles of some long-dead phantom creature.

Thaddeus squinted at the faded parchment clutched in his hand.
“If this if correct, then the spell I seek lies buried in that mausoleum yonder…”

Oddleigh shuddered.
“Must we go in? I-I feel as if we’re being watched… or maybe stalked…”

Thaddeus nodded towards the crumbling tombs, gravestone and statues ahead of them, about which strange figures appeared to stagger in unnaturally disjointed movements.
“Oh we are by no means alone boy… The treasures we seek will be guarded…”

He turned to Sir Pierre the knight as an animated skeleton began to jerk towards them.
“You – take Fluffy and deal with that.”

The knight nodded and, clanking forward with the demonic hyena alongside him, reduced the skeleton into shards of bone with a single cleave of his sword.

“Master, there’s another one over there!” Oddleigh cried.

Thaddeus calmly raised a finger and flicked. The skeleton at the far end of the graveyard collapsed into a heap. The wizard grunted with satisfaction.

“Now we can contin-“

Suddenly the sepulchral silence was shattered by a yelp of agony as Fluffy somersaulted to the ground, an arrow thudding into her flank. There was a clatter of stone as another warband began to manoeuvre around the graves and an all-too familiar voice calls out orders.

“You again…” growled the wizard.

Another game of Frostgrave last week – this time the Mausoleum scenario. Once again Thaddeus Daemoncall squares up against Sigilist Holbon Toddlebrew.

With the two guardians destroyed, both parties quickly advance towards the treasures – Thaddeus’ thief and ranger aiming for the more valuable ‘special’ treasures in the central mausoleum, leaving the ‘normal’ treasure to one of the thugs.

Leaving a wounded Fluffy to limp back to her master for healing, Sir Pierre strides forward to engage the enemy, whilst the two archers clamber up the ruins to gain good vantage points.

While Halfinch the thief quickly secures a special treasure, Hakim the ranger is not so lucky, being pushed back by one of Toddlebrew’s spells. One of the thugs gamely moves forward to take his place. Meanwhile a pair of thugs sneaks along the graveyard fence, ignoring the treasures in an attempt to outflank the enemy. However they are soon spotted and the Sigilist sends an archer to deal with them.

Having grabbed an ordinary treasure, Toddlebrew’s henchmen move up to snatch some special treasure.

One of Thaddeus’ thugs, lugging an ordinary treasure back to base, is hit by an arrow and falls to the ground. Thaddeus, Oddleigh and their archers return fire with bone darts and arrows, but fail to do any damage.

Sir Pierre dispatches an enemy warhound, while Hakim the ranger clashes with an enemy thug and treasure hunter over a special treasure.

As Toddlebrew’s men haul away a special treasure, fighting around the central mausoleum intensifies. Sir Pierre, striding to the aid of Hakim, is delayed as another skeleton crawls from out of the tomb.

It is easily dealt with, but the delay is not good news for a weakening Hakim.

Bereft of support, Hakim falls.

The enemy treasure hunter leaves his comrade in order to shore up Toddlebrew’s flank. However another skeleton erupts from the soil to deny the thug his prize.

One of Toddlebrew’s troublesome archers is finally eliminated.

Thaddeus’ flank attack is met by the enemy treasure hunter and archer. A thug goes down, leaving his fellow tribesman to fight both defenders.

The skeletons converge on Toddlebrew’s unfortunate hireling, while Sir Pierre, his sword now glowing with magical energy thanks to a timely spell, hangs back to engage the victor.

Although outnumbered, the flanking thug holds his own, despite the fact that his opponents are now magically shielded.

The enemy thug falls beneath the bony tide. Can Sir Pierre nab the treasure? By now Toddlebrew was beginning to cut his losses, but before he can do much else, a bone dart from Thaddeus sends him sprawling!

An enemy archer is knocked out of the fray! Perhaps this flanking move will work after all… The Sigilist apprentice orders a general withdrawal. He is just about to leave the field when a lucky bone dart shot from Oddleigh zips through the ruins and brings him down!

Yet another skeleton arrives to defend the last treasure.

Sir Pierre smashes one back into the grave, but cannot prevail against the others.

A wounded treasure hunter finally deals with the flanking thug…

…while a recovered Fluffy, having raced along the other flank and into the Sigilist’s rear, is put down by a retreating archer.

With the Sigilists leaving the table carrying one ordinary and one special treasure, the field, and the remaining special treasure, should belong to Thaddeus. However the warband is sorely depleted and more skeletons are rising from the grave. Discretion is the better part of valour and the band withdraws with the other ordinary treasure and two special ones.

The mood was sombre at the inn that night, as the warband, battered and bruised, gathered around the funeral pyre. One of the tribal thugs that had accompanied the spellcasters all the way from the Steppes lay dead upon it, while two of his comrades lay wounded nearby.

“Our first death…” Oddleigh mused as the tribesmen began a guttural lament.

“And not the last,” grunted Thaddeus. “See that the two wounded ones are paid off and get me someone else. That treasure hunter we met on the way here, and maybe one of those barbarians. Also ensure that there's nothing left of the body - we don't want to attract blood crows, or ghouls. Now... I have work to do…”

His eyes gleamed in the glow of the pyre as he prised open the mouldering treasure chest. He had already found a pleasing amount of gold, some scrolls and  potions, but this was his most eagerly-awaited prize…

“Yes…” he hissed, easing out the fragile grimoire.

Another great game of Frostgrave! Giles initially held the upper hand, with his archers far outmatching my own and his spellcasting going flawlessly while I had to empower most spells. The first two skeletons were easily removed, but once they began to appear in greater numbers, all plans had to be put on hold while they were dealt with. When I eventually managed to batter Giles’ warband out of the ring, the skeletons were still growing in number, and it wouldn't have been feasible for what was left of my warband to claim the final treasure.

It was also a very bloody game, with a significant proportion of both warbands going down. I had one thug die, and another two wounded, but luckily gained enough gold to replace and upgrade them. Thaddeus, skulking under cover at the back as usual, emerged without a scratch, but his bone dart wounded Toddlebrew, who had to spend gold on treatment.

Good fun! Here’s to the next game…