Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Leap Day Extravaganza Part 2: Out of Time

Once every four years, a leap year occurs and there is another day in the calender. Felstead is no different, but has the added complexity that the Chronomancers carried out many of their experiments on that day; some of which are still in operation even now and the thawing ice have uncovered them.

Your wizards and entourages are searching the area of ruins, colloquially known as Tindalos, on just such a day and stumble across one that is a work in progress, huge Time Crystals have thrust up through the ruins, complete with the mysterious beasts known as Chronohounds.

So read the introduction to Giles’ homebrew scenario for the second session of the Leap Day festivities. Unless the wizards could destroy the crystals, the vicious and relentless Chronohounds would just keep on coming.

As if this wasn’t incentive enough, with just one treasure each on the table, the crystals would also yield up two treasures each if destroyed. My Sigilist, Sister Sans-Serif, took to the field on the ‘purple table’ against Giles’ Chronomancer Rassilon and Gavin’s Elementalist.

Meanwhile, my former opponents Alan and Glyn faced another Chronomancer in the form of Rob’s wizard on the ‘yellow table’. With each crystal boasting an impressive armour value of 16, who would prevail?

Each Chronohound started off next to a particular time crystal. Soon they would leap into action, hunting down anyone within range, their special affinity with time allowing them to see their prey through any terrain. If they were defeated, they would simply reappear at a random corner until their parent crystal was smashed, causing them to disappear completely.

Unlike the previous game, we opted to deploy on a table edge as per usual. Perhaps it was the swirling eddies of time, or perhaps it was just the fact that I couldn’t be arsed to move to another table edge after the first game, but I found myself flanked on both sides by my opponents.

Undaunted, my warband moved forward. Once again my laziness was my undoing, for my warband placement meant that the nearest uncontested crystal was at the opposite side of the table. On my right flank, my soldiers were beset by a Chronohound, which appeared behind them after being defeated by Giles’ band.

The rest of the Chronomancer’s men converged on a crystal and began to chip away with it. On my part, I tried to plough through the opposition using the old Wizard Eye/Grenade combo once again (my Sigilist really must learn to try out some different spells).

On my left flank, Gavin’s warriors also advanced towards a crystal, attracting the attention of a nearby Chronohound. It leapt towards them, slavering and howling. Oh, I forgot to mention that each phase was timed, giving each player three minutes to declare their actions, lest they lose them!

Back to the right flank and my soldiers were still battling the Chronohound (stats for this creature can be found in the 'Perilous Dark' supplement by the way) while, a little ahead, Giles’ team chipped away at the crystal.

Gavin’s soldiers found such crystal-bashing hard going; the eldritch eddies of time emanating from the thing causing his warriors to fall withering to the ground (each crystal had a fight of +1).

Meanwhile, the Dice Gods smiled on Giles and a crystal was shattered into pieces. Luckily this also released my men nearby from the threat of the attacking Chronohound as it vanished into the time vortex.

With my own rolls being somewhat lacklustre, it was looking increasingly unlikely that I would reach any crystals, let alone destroy them. Cutting my losses my thief made a run for it with a treasure token he had managed to dig out. Alas, an Elemental Ball up the jacksie put paid to his thievery.

Freed from the Chronohound menace, the thugs on my right flank moved up to engage Giles’ warriors, cutting one his treasure hunter with a timely critical hit.

However the tide soon turned and the counterattack began to overwhelm the team. During all of this, my wizard (and apprentice, when she rolled well enough) stuck to the unimaginative tactic of hiding away and lobbing grenades through their Wizard Eye spells.

Once again my warband was being whittled down. Outflanked and with little to be gained by hanging around with all those Chronohounds, it was time to limp away with my single treasure and allow Gavin and Giles to share the rest of the spoils between them. With Giles being the only player to smash a crystal, he was the overall winner on our table (bizarrely, on the other table the crystals were all smashed in short order!)

Giles’ scenario was a challenging one, but great fun. In hindsight I should have paid more attention to warband and crystal placement. Fighting the opposing warbands was also a bad idea as I should have mobbed the crystals instead, but hey-ho; all-in-all it was a cracking day’s gaming with some good chums. Thanks Giles for organising it!

Monday, 2 March 2020

Leap Day Extravaganza Part 1: The Silent Tower

My old pal Giles organised a Frostgrave gaming day last Saturday, which of course was February 29th -  Leap Day. And so, with the laws of time in flux (and me running late due to car issues), let us jump into the first game without further ado!

Most of the guys had already given their warbands a run out or two, so I brought my level 3 Sigilist warband (last seen here). Thus, Sister Sans-Serif found herself pondering the Mysteries of the Silent Tower. After placing two treasure tokens each and plonking another on top of the central tower (worth two rolls on the treasure table) we kicked off.

With three players per table, we (Alan, Glyn and I) agreed to deploy in a Y-shape – in other words Alan and Glyn deploying in a triangle formation at adjacent corners with me deploying in a small rectangular formation at the centre of the opposite side. Note I have 12 figures, thanks to having an inn as a base and an illusory soldier in the ranks.

My Sigilist (and barbarian bodyguard) edged forward, casting Wizard Eye on the nearest flat surface. Through this she cast Explosive Rune in an attempt to mine the approaches to the mysterious towers. However a little later on I realised that this was a touch spell, so I sheepishly moved the MDF marker to the base of the eye.

Alan’s wizard, using a combination of Telekinesis and Raise Zombie, snagged a treasure early on in the game. I can’t remember what school his wizard belonged to I’m afraid.

Glyn’s warband also pushed onwards. Again, I can’t remember what type of wizard he was fielding – sorry! (Edit: it was an Elementalist - cheers Glyn!) All the terrain was Giles’ by the way – saved me having to lug all my stuff around!

One of my thugs and an archer moved up into position, only for the warrior to get himself shot. My other archer had taken up position on the upper floor of a ruined building, overlooking the towers and connecting walkways.

Seeing his comrade fall, the archer drew a bead on Alan’s captain and fired, scoring a critical hit! Thus the mighty captain was killed, much to Alan’s chagrin.

Here’s a quick photo of the other table, where the here other players (Giles, Gareth Gavin and Rob) fought spooky wraiths in the Haunted Houses scenario. Apparently Giles had the **** beaten out of him!

As our warbands exchanged blows and shots, we each eyed up the special treasure atop the central tower. Two if my soldiers reached the towers first, causing Alan to send across his bear, which had previously been menacing my wizard on my left flank.

The avenging archer went down; bad news, for the only shooty ranged attack spell my Sigilist had was Grenade, which she would lob through her Wizard Eye. Consequently I relied on my archers quite a lot.

Alan’s wizard and his retinue contended with Glyn’s warhound. Things followed the standard pattern, resulting in one dead dog.

Alan’s bear lumbered towards the tower wherein my soldiers and clambering. Thankfully the old Wizard Eye/Grenade combo splatted the beast into a rug, allowing them to scamper across the walkway to the central structure.

A bird’s eye view of the action. Note my archer at the bottom centre-left, enjoying an unrivalled view of the towers. The pencils lying on the table are not us being messy, but were actually stand-ins for Wall spells (we’d all forgotten to bring walls with us).

Alas, as the other players’ warriors set foot in the towers, my soldiers were soon ejected (one, luckily the illusory one, falling from a gantry thanks to Alan’s horn of destruction). Alan’s archer got treasure first, with Glyn’s men-at-arms in close pursuit.

For most of the game, Alan and Glyn had a gentleman’s agreement not to attack each other’s wizards. This didn’t stop Alan wresting a treasure from Glyn’s warband or, as the game edged to a close, shooting Glyn’s wizard as he unwisely poked his head around a pencil wall.

Deciding to redress the balance, my remaining archer took a pot-shot at Alan’s would-be treasure-nabber atop the tower. The shot struck home, allowing Glyn’s men to grab the fabled loot.

But could I now grab the treasure for myself? I was worryingly low on soldiers, but sent my somewhat battered treasure hunter forward to intercept Glyn’s soldiers as they descended the tower. However Alan’s men got their before him and mugged them first.

With casualties mounting and all treasures claimed, it was time to limp away from the silent tower. Alan was the clear victor with four treasures; giving him five rolls on the treasure table (albeit, unfortunately for him, all low ones. I'm afraid to say I felt more than a little schadenfreude at this). I could boast a respectable two, while Glyn had to content himself with one.

Time for a quick level-up and then on to the second scenario of the day. It being a leap day, Giles had written a scenario especially for the occasion. Would Sister Sans-Serif survive the dreaded time crystals or would she run ‘Out of Time’?

Monday, 24 February 2020

Hacked Off!

I'm sure you know the feeling: you have the house to yourself, a copy of the new solo supplement Perilous Dark on the shelf and a small case full of miniatures in the car. Happy days! But oh no - no terrain! That really hacks me off!

But wait, wasn't there a mini game in the last edition of Spellcaster Magazine? Don't you have the board printed out and taped together somewhere? Oh yes, it's time for Barbarian Hack!

This seemingly simple game puts a hero figure in the centre of the board (where an innocent victim is tied to an altar). At each corner is a bad guy (Gnolls in this case). The hero moves as dictated by 2 D6, while the bad guys move diagonally towards the altar one square at a time.

If the hero's moves take him past a bad guy, that bad guy dies. If the bad guy's move takes him past the hero or the altar, the hero or innocent victim dies and the game is over.

We start with our hero as he tries to undo the chains that bind the imperilled maiden to the bloody altar. But suddenly, the sound of guttural snarling can be heard from all sides...

The first rolls are low and our hero can do little more than edge towards one of the Gnolls as they slink forward, slathering in anticipation.

The second round and the rolls are better. Our hero moves 4 spaces across and 6 spaces down, taking out two bad guys. The other two still survive however and warily scuttle on.

Round three and another couple of low rolls. Our hero lumbers back towards the altar, but the Gnolls are closing in. Who will get there first?

The fourth round and the rolls are a mixed bag, but they're enough. Our hero moves 3 spaces diagonally, taking out one Gnoll, before racing horizontally 6 spaces, slaying the final Gnoll along the way. Our hero prevails!

A fun little game to while away a few minutes, which can be found in Spellcaster Magazine issue 5 - check it out!

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Unsuspecting Victims (I mean, New Players)

A change of job means that I no longer have time for painting and model making. However I can still fit in the occasional game!

After indoctrinating Brendan into the mysteries of Frostgrave, he and a handful of others expressed an interest in having another bash. An afternoon was arranged and, after roping in Giles, we were able to knock up a couple of tables.

Giles treated Keith and Rob (playing Chronomancer, Elementalist and I can't remember the other one) to his amazing Mordheim scenery and, borrowing my statues, played the Mausoleum scenario.

Brendan and I faced off once more (Beagoo the Orc Witch and Sister Sans-Serif the Sigilist respectively); this time joined by Glyn and his Elementalist Gerant the Magnificent. I thought it'd be fun to have us battle over the Well of Dreams and Sorrows.

Newbie lesson number one: when a wandering monster turns up, it is invariably behind you. Thankfully my warband was able to mob the ghoul (my apprentice having failed to control it).

Newbie lesson number two: group activation is very useful, as Gerant discovers. Having all started off with level zero wizards, we had great fun watching them completely fail to cast spells.

Beagoo the Witch skulks behind cover. Newbie lesson number three: don't get shot! Sans-Serif didn't have this problem after successfully casting Wizard Eye (about the only time she managed to cast a spell!)

On the other table, similar lessons were being learned as statues sprang to life, spells were fluffed and blows were struck.

We were a little more restrained, content to exchange the occasional shot as we cautiously advanced. Beagoo slowed down my warband with a Mud spell.

However this did not deter Sans-Serif from reaching the well and taking a sip. This left her very exposed, but thankfully the arrows thudded harmlessly into the icy ground.

Newbie lesson number four: placing your archers in high-up positions can bring them very close to shooting your opponent's wizard when they spend time faffing about near magical pools.

Gerant continued to look for treasure, having killed a lurking wolf (see lesson one). Would he be the next wizard to reach the fabled well?

The carnage continues on the other table, with at least one warband losing both spellcasters and nearly being wiped out.

Time to teach these newbies lesson number five: even the lowliest thug can be deadly. My warband brings the fight to the Greenskins.

Although this doesn't stop Beagoo from having a wee dram of magical water. At this stage my apprentice had nearly killed herself by failing to cast spells, and my wizard was faring only slightly better.

Combat continued between Sigilist and Witch warbands as the Elementalist band lurked nearby. Three-way games can be carnage! Here endeth newbie lesson number six.

Newbie lesson number seven: don't put your apprentices in harm's way - replacing them is both expensive and annoying. Gerant's apprentice is punctured by an Orcish arrow.

Despite this setback, Gerant reached the well, having seen off my warhound. However one of my thugs wanted to earn his spurs - what better way than to kill a wizard?

Yup, that'll do it. From henceforth you shall be known as Brian the Wizard-Slayer! Alas Brian the Wizard-Slayer quickly became Brian the Dead, after an Elementalist man-at-arms repaid the compliment.

Time for the Greenskins to lose a spellcaster. The Witch apprentice, having being rashly moved into view by a Leap spell, gets shot by an Elementalist archer.

Time for the survivors to limp back with whatever treasure they could carry. Sans-Serif got four, Beagoo got three and Gerant bagged a brace. Thankfully all spellcasters who went down survived their survival rolls, and so live to fight another day.

A very enjoyable day was had by all (on the other table they even had time to fit in another basic head-to-head while we finished off, but I didn't take any photos of that) and we're looking forward to next time!