Monday, 27 February 2017

Thaddeus Daemoncall’s Field Trip

“Y’know, it’s just like the old days at the College…”

Johannes Oddleigh looked sideways at his master – it was the first time Thaddeus Daemoncall had mentioned the College of Magicke since his exile from those hallowed halls.

“Er, how d’you mean master?”

“Going on a field trip like this – proper research as opposed to rooting around for spell books and such.”

“Aye, I suppose it is…” the apprentice sighed. Field trips at the College never involved hunting down a massive slab of living granite that could pummel you into a bloody mist with it’s huge fists within seconds…

They had followed the trail of destruction to what was once an extensive pleasure garden of some sort. Crushed masonry lay scattered around the frozen ground amongst thick stone walls with massive holes punched through them. Pieces of smashed statues were strewn around in a grim mockery of the once-living examples they had recently had to sift through.

Suddenly a grating roar tore through the air. Past the ruined stonework they could just make out something large, noisily bashing it’s way along a random path of devastation.

“I hope you have your notebook boy,” chuckled the Summoner, before taking a swig from a small bottle and promptly disappearing…

On to part two of the Hunt for the Golem mini-campaign: the Field Research scenario. Thaddeus and his rival Lady Katherine must get close enough to study the Granite Golem, but avoid it’s tremendous wrath and leave it intact for future use.

I spread my warband along the board (well, mat) edge, with Oddleigh and chums on the right flank, his master Thaddeus in the centre with the bulk of the force and the slower, more heavily armoured warriors on the left.

Both warbands move forward cautiously, taking whatever cover they can find among the low walls and statues of the former garden. Halfinch the thief reaches a treasure chest and reaches out to grab it.

But it disappears! “Damn fool’s gold!” The Hobbit grumbles. Thaddeus, spying the monster up ahead, readies himself to get closer by drinking an invisibility potion. Hopefully the beast will vent it’s fury on Lady Katherine’s band rather than his.

Using a wall as cover, Lady Katherine’s apprentice moves forward on the right, accompanied by a warhound. Oddleigh sends Fluffy up to meet them before leaping up the barbarian in support.

Behind Lady Katherine’s lines an imp appears, attracted by the noise. Her Captain is on hand to splatter the critter back from whence it came.

The Granite Golem looks up from it’s destruction and roars angrily at the warbands. Who will it attack? Both bands had soldiers equidistant from the monster, so we rolled for it. Luckily for me it was an opposing ranger (carrying treasure to boot) that would feel the beast’s fury.

I knew that the leapt barbarian wouldn’t regain his composure in time to stop the opposing apprentice casting a spell, so Oddleigh decided to try mind controlling the enemy pooch. It worked, and before his opposite number could make a swift exit, Oddleigh had the controlled beast intercept her.

The barbarian looked on, confused as the warhound attacked it’s mistress. Unfortunately for her I rolled a 20. She goes down to the critical hit.

This left Fluffy to move towards the enemy, who were already moving back after wounding Halfinch and beating him to a treasure token. Fluffy also gets wounded but continues to advance.

Captain, knight and marksmen clank slowly up the left flank. With Lady Katherine’s band pulling back, it’s unlikely that they’ll make contact, but at least it keeps the pressure on.

Wounded Fluffy sees off an enemy soldier (another crit). By now an invisible Thaddeus has been able to study the Golem and only needs to cast a non-harmful spell on it to gain some more experience. However, before he can do that, disaster strikes…

The enemy ranger kills the Golem! The hulking brute had been swatting ineffectively at the ranger for some time, but it was the smaller fighter that got in the killer blow. Under the rules of this scenario, if the Golem is killed then both wizards earn no experience whatsoever!

With the primary objective being to study the now destroyed Golem, all that’s left to do is grab as much treasure as possible. This is made harder by the arrival of two wolves behind Lady Katherine’s lines...

...and a snow leopard on my left flank. The marksman is duly dispatched to deal with the creature. By now my opponent has four treasures in their possession whilst I have three.

Time to alter the score a little. While the enemy captain is putting down the wolves, Thaddeus breaks out another mind control spell and, once again empowering it to an unbeatable score, causes the enemy treasure hunter to do a u-turn and bring his treasure to his temporary new master.

The snow leopard gets the better of the marksman, but by now Lady Katherine and co. are quitting the field, leaving to shattered and now worthless remains of the Golem to Thaddeus. The secret runes inscribed on it’s massive body are now lost forever.

Another great game (with some admittedly fluky dice rolling on my part)! Despite gaining no experience due to the Golem’s demise (no doubt Lady Katherine will be having stern words with her ranger), Thaddeus gained the upper hand with four treasures to her three. Treasure rolls were not too bad either. FYI Giles' report is up on his blog here.

So the Hunt for the Golem mini-campaign comes to a premature halt and we look toward the next game, whenever that may be. Neither wizard can rest on their laurels, for something is stirring in the dark and the undead are restless…

CSI: Felstat Starring Thaddeus Daemoncall

The devastation was complete – ripped and twisted bodies lay scattered among the ruins. Limbs, offal and bones festooned the frozen buildings like some grisly red bunting for some snowy winter festival.

Thaddeus Daemoncall frowned. He had followed his nemesis, Lady Katherine, to this place – being able to flit between planes can be useful for spying on your rivals – but the sheer savagery of the attack that had taken place here surprised even this grizzled old Summoner. All instincts told him to flee this noisome scene, yet the desire for knowledge pushed him on.

“We must find out what has transpired here,” he declared, choking back the urge to vomit. “It will not be pleasant – you may need to wear gloves…”


Time for another head-to-head between my main warband, led by Summoner Thaddeus Daemoncall, and Giles’ Enchanter Lady Katherine. I wanted to try out the Hunt for the Golem mini campaign (if only to buy some time to get more Lich Lord terrain sorted), so it’s time for the Attack Site scenario.

You may recall my last two games with this warband didn’t go too well, but Thaddeus has a few extra spells under his belt now that he’s keen to try out…

My warband heads out to investigate the carnage. Pre game a couple of potions were brewed, a zombie raised and an imp summoned. The band split into three, with the zombie, imp and some soldiers moving up on the left.

In the centre, Oddleigh the apprentice leads another group, making good use of cover. Thaddeus, accompanied by a crossbowman, climbs up onto a ruined building on the far right, giving them a reasonable field of fire whilst providing good cover.

Lady Katherine and her warband face us on the opposite side, also intent on rummaging through the gore. In this scenario, ten corpse markers are placed. Six of these contain treasure, two are actually zombies, one a wounded thug and one an important set of notes, detailing what has transpired.

Thaddeus espies the enemy through the ruins. He’s learned a few new spells, but on this occasion an old-fashioned bone dart is called for. Scratch one warhound.

Lady Katherine has also learned new magic, and teleports to the nearest corpse. Giles rolls on the table and alas, a zombie rises from the pile of body parts.

Thaddeus’ own zombie also has a rummage, and discovers a survivor. Disappointed that it cannot feast, it is compelled to leave the wounded thug alone and shamble onwards. To the zombie’s left, the imp has managed to snag some real treasure.

Lady Katherine’s treasure hunter climbs up a pillar, atop which more body parts hang. Suddenly these body parts snap together and another zombie rises.

Thankfully the zombie is beaten in combat and pushed off the pillar. It survives the fall however and is free to shuffle towards the nearest member of Lady Katherine’s band.

The erstwhile Enchantress defeats the zombie and is free to teleport elsewhere. Meanwhile both warbands are eyeing up the remaining corpses. With the survivor and zombies revealed, all that’s left is treasure and the notes.

A bear! Where? There! Thaddeus’ captain Red Sandra and knight Sir Pierre are clanking forward along the right flank when a bear suddenly charges at them. Note the nearby treasure, which turned out to be illusionary fool’s gold.

Nifty Halfinch the thief glugs down his invisibility potion before shinning up a gorily decorated pillar. Being invisible means he won’t be such an obvious target when he reaches the top.

Oddleigh reaches the survivor and heals him, thus bringing him temporarily into the team. The thug is sent forward to join the infantrymen, warhound and newly-hired marksman to shore up the centre. In the bottom left if the photo, the summoned imp is dragging a treasure chest towards the board edge.

Halfinch waits a turn for an opportune moment to investigate, nabs the treasure and climbs back down the pillar before anyone realises he’s become visible again. By now most of the treasure is accounted for, leaving just the notes, which Thaddeus’ barbarian is soon stuffing into his loincloth.

Lady Katherine’s captain is as tanky as ever (albeit less orange), and leads his men in an attack. Warhound and infantryman go down as they try to keep the opposition from stealing the notes from the barbarian behind them.

Red Sandra the captain goes down under the weight of the bear’s claws. Sir Pierre the knight readies himself to face the ursine onslaught, but Thaddeus has other ideas.

A mind control spell, empowered with extra health, causes the bear to cease it’s attack and join the ranks of Thaddeus’ band. It lumbers forward towards Lady Katherine’s men followed by the surprised knight.

As the newly recruited thug races to assist, the last infantryman is bested by the captain. To make matters worse, Lady Katherine’s apprentice casts a wall spell behind the barbarian, cutting off any line of retreat.

The enemy close in on the barbarian. He readies his weapon and prepares to face the oncoming battle with a savage relish typical of his kind. He swings his mighty sword…

One assailant is slain! The other evades the barbarian’s blows but is pushed back, giving the defender a little breathing space. With one hand gripping his mighty sword he thrusts the other down his loincloth. Secreted within is a little something in case of emergency…

Meanwhile Thaddeus’ treasure hunter Goldtooth is lugging off treasure. He nearly makes it to safety when an angry wild boar trots into view and charges.

On the other flank the mind controlled bear joins the rogue zombie in attacking an enemy soldier. Those of Lady Katherine’s band that are not fighting the barbarian or the zombie are beginning to pull back.

‘POOF!’ the barbarian takes a swig from the potion hidden in his loincloth and disappears! Thanks to a little breathing space and a teleport potion he is free from harm and able to stroll off the board with the notes.

Bear and zombie dispatch the treasure hunter. The zombie turns on a supporting ranger, allowing the bear to press forward against the withdrawing opponents. Thaddeus leaps his knight further forward to keep up the pressure.

The treasure hunter vs. boar encounter is not going well, with the treasure hunter getting wounded. Thankfully Oddleigh is racing to the scene with a leap spell to get his comrade out of trouble. The boar is then finished off by the crossbowman.

Lady Katherine teleports to another treasure, attracting the attention of two wolves. Before they can get up to her level, she promptly teleports away, leaving them to catch the scent of more prey.

The bear catches up with a wounded, treasure-laden archer. Behind the archer, Lady Katherine has appeared next to her apprentice. In his eyrie, Thaddeus can just about make out the flash of orange robes and, guessing the pair are together, sends an elemental ball in their direction. Both catch the blast, but their robes are flameproof and no damage is done.

The zombie and marksman, who were moving along the left flank to put more pressure on the opposing warband, stop to engage the wolves.

The zombie, acting as a (rotting) meat shield, is savaged by tooth and claw, leaving the marksman to fend off the attack.

Lady Katherine’s men race to rescue their stricken comrade and dispatch the mind controlled bear. This frees up Thaddeus to cast it once again on the captain, again empowering it to unshakeable levels by using up his precious orb of power.

Will the thus controlled captain carve a trail through his former comrades? No. Lady Katherine dispels the effect, allowing said captain to return to the fold and batter Thaddeus’ knight.

Marksman and rescued thug see off the wolves. Like is fellow crossbowman, the marksman’s fire is causing little damage throughout the game, but he is suitably useful in close combat.

The opposing ranger finally manages to beat the zombie – a creature that's tenaciously hung on throughout the game and has tied up Lady Katherine’s soldiers for several turns.

And so the game ended with Thaddeus in possession of the field, and more importantly three treasure tokens and the mysterious notes. Lady Katherine took four treasures (including a revealed secret) so honours were pretty much even.

Reading them it became apparent that the creature that had caused this devastation was a sentient granite golem: a giant stone creature seething with rage. Thaddeus knew that he could not suffer such a dangerous beast to live, but perhaps it could be studied  a little before it was killed…?

Another great game with my mate! The Dice Gods were kinder to me this time around, and I was lucky to have given my barbarian that teleportation potion before the game, else he would have been cut off and destroyed. Most of the warband survived their post-game injury rolls, but the couple that did not were easily replaced thanks to the treasure I earned (though no replacement power orb sadly).

Giles' batrep is in two parts - here and here. He has a great blog, so please check it out!