Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Warmachine in Kuhmo

This game was played a little after Christmas eve.

It was a traditional 35 point game versus Protectorate of Menoth.

I had:

Mohsar the Desertwalker
- Riphorn Satyr
- Gorax
- Rotterhorn Griffon
- Woldwyrd

Minimum unit of Wolves of Orboros + Unit Attachment
Druids of Orboros
2x Gallows Grove
Totem Hunter

Objective: Fuel cache

Opponent played:

Grand Exemplar Kreoss
- Fire of Salvation
- Dervish

Minimum unit of Choir of Menoth
Maximum unit of Exemplar Bastions
Knights Exemplar
Daughters of Flame
Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord

Objective: Arcane Wonder

Scenario was Fire Support and Circle started game. First picture is from the end of Circle turn 2 I think. I've skipped quite a few pictures as the images are of poor quality.

White AoE's are Pillar of Salt spells. Official AoE's are Vortexes on Druids. Mohsar has already used his feat.

Circle had Mirage on Wolves of Orboros and Sunhammer just for kicks. Inviolable Resolve is on Bastions and Sacrosanct on Daughters of the Flame.

Turn 2 Bastions wrecked two salt pillars, which just opened a charge lane for Fire of Salvation to Woldwyrd. It was so really damn close that had I placed the pillar just a few millimetres to the left, the charge would have failed.

Turn 3 I'm not sure if I should use Primal on Riphorn Satyr. I decide not to, and instead charge it with one Wolf of Orboros, Riphorn Satyr and Totem Hunter. Wolves used Power Swell, as I didn't believe Wolves officer would live to see another turn.

I chose not to use Primal, and as a consequence the heavy protectorate warjack was left alive with one box remaining. I had to use Totem Hunter to finish it off. Mohsar spammed pillars to eat enemy activations and used his feat again with a permission from the opponent.

Protectorate made Kreoss use his feat. Results could have been devastating if there wouldn't have been salt pillars around. Well, actually they didn't help. Results were game breaking devastation anyway. Who would have guessed that Dervish would kill an Arm 19 heavy warbeast all by itself? Well sure, it was one P+S 15 +3d6 and four P+S 15 +2d6 damage rolls, so it wasn't that egregious.

Turn 4 I wondered what to do, as I had lost the only real damage dealer in my army. To be on the safe side, I used Mohsar's feat again with a permission. I saw some sort of a possibility in playing scenario at least for a little while, but there were at least four Daughters of the Flame contesting the flag.

Wolves of Orboros officer charged one and killed her. Sacrosanct knocked him down. Something, probably Totem Hunter, killed another. Rotterhorn Griffon placed it's own animus on itself and went within 2" of two Daughters. Fun fact: POW 8 just isn't enough to kill an ARM 12 model even with two attempts. This sucks.

Originally I wanted to advance a Druid of Orboros to the flag and then use Sands of Fate to start scoring points. I had already used most of my activations, so the Druid who was going to sacrifice himself couldn't reach the flag as he wasn't able to walk directly towards it. One of the Druids did score the killing blow with a Force Bolt, however.

Mohsar then uses his ranged attack on Dervish and casts Primal on Gorax. He shifts away with Sands of Fate and puts one Pillar up. Gorax wrecks Dervish.

Vortex cloud saved Gorax from the Bastions. Knights in shining armour started to look quite scary when I pretty much had only POW 10's at my disposal.

To make things interesting Kreoss camps all focus and runs forward closer to my friendly flag. Yes! This was my moment. One assassination coming right up.

This required quite a lot of shuffling around with Druids of Orboros. They had to pull a couple of Bastions away so they wouldn't get free strikes against Rotterhorn Griffon. Druids succeeded in that - as well as bringing in a major bonus in knocking down Kreoss himself.

I charged Rotterhorn Griffon to Kreoss, but didn't do that much damage. But now the beast had Fury, so Mohsar could use maltreatment on it. So, Mohsar with nine focus charged Kreoss. First he cast Curse of Shadows on him.

In total I did nine points of damage in. Seems like yelling "get off my lawn" doesn't work on Kreoss.

After the game I thought out an alternative way to try the assassination - to activate Mohsar first, cast Curse of Shadows on Kreoss and Primal on Rotterhorn Griffon. Though the number of attacks would have been reduced greatly, I guess damage potential might have been higher thanks to effectively getting the Griffon to P+S 15.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Crushing Christmas Spirit

I'm on my bi-annual trip to visit Kuhmo. This time I brought A Touch of Evil with me, as I knew I would be seeing only this friend of mine with whom we're playing Touch of Evil campaign.

And there's really only one Villain you can play against on 23th of December... the Volgovian Nutcracker. Though nowadays you can also play against Krampus, but I haven't printed him yet.

Heroes we had were Inspector Cooke and Isabella von Took. Ah, this Christmas would be a child's play, then, with such an overpowered character as Isabella.

Except Isabella spent two first rounds beaten to the ground with zero investigation points, which are essentially her extra wounds. First culprit was a Stuffed Bear who appeared from Ye Olde Woods and second time it was Toy Soldier. Toy soldier was especially depressing to fight against - Isabella got it to one wound remaining twice during the fight. And yet the combat ended with the toy soldier being at full health.

Inspector Cooke was much more efficient, and was quickly rolling in investigation. But no matter how many investigation points there was - all he could see (though very, very clearly) was their impending doom.

Isabella, by the way, got Devil's Mark mystery card (-1 Honor), which made her rather depraved at her grand total of Honor 1. Cooke bought a Crossbow for himself, but he also got a Devil's Mark (-1 Combat).

None of these setbacks were insurmountable. Biggest problem was the huge map size. Shadowbrook + Echo lake + the Coast had so many corner locations, that a few unfortunate spawnings of Toy Cannons at the Tidewater village caused Shadow Track to fall way too rapidly - and our heroes did not have reliable ways of killing four wound minions, not to mention the difficulty of reaching the Tidewater village in the first place.

Cooke and Isabella tried to trigger Showdown with the Nutcracker, but they didn't even reach that far. Because one evil elder had the "Shadow's Puppet" secret and the Shadow Track was at "1" when we had our chance of starting Showdown. We'd have to kill the 16+ wounded villain with about eight dice worth of attacks in one round or lose. So we didn't start the showdown and hoped for events that raised Shadow Track.

No such events happened, and game was over. Volgovian Nutcracker was victorious. Cooke's and Isabella's corpses were half-chewed and the parts littered all over Ye Olde Woods where villain's lair was.

Game 2:

Well, we took another match against Volgovian Nutcracker right away.

This time heroes were Abigail Sturn and the Scarlet Shadow.

Very early in the game this Mystery card "Ominous overture" was drawn, which is one of the better mystery cards for heroes. It gives a 100% certain investigation point at the start of every Mystery phase. The drawback is that every time a hero rolls "1" for movement, the hero draws a mystery card instead of an event card. But rolling one is not guaranteed.

This game was characterised by the Volgovian Nutcracker developing a growing hunger for human flesh after grinding Cooke and Isabella into bits. At least every other mystery card was the villain killing a town elder. Luckily not every murder attempt was successful or the Shadow Track would have plummeted again uncontrollably.

These unfortunate accidents were pretty much the only occasions that were reducing Shadow Track in this game. When compared to the last game, the Shadow Track was almost as quick as thick maple syrup. This, the ominous overture and a couple of relatively profitable encounters with toy soldiers and cannons gave a pretty good start. Abigail exchanged Book of Town History with Scarlet Shadow's Book of the Occult.

Scarlet Shadow made an early purchase of a Duelling Pistol from Tidewater Village. With seven Fight Dice none of the Nutcracker's heinous villains were much of a threat, though one of the Toy Soldiers fought Scarlet Shadow to a draw. Toy cannons became ridiculously easy after Scarlet Shadow found the Fisherman's net (-1 Fight dice for enemies) - toy cannons were shooting with just one Fight dice from then on. This toy butchering gave the outlaw such amounts of investigation points that he went and bought Silver Bullets for the Duelling Pistol. Eventually he dumped the Book of Town History away and bought an Old Map.

Abigail built up an amazing amount of hit points. She had six or seven. She was also carrying all book items from town items, including the one that gave re-rolls for cunning tests.

Now, I said the Shadow Track was almost immobilised. This means that a nasty amount of Remains-in-Play mystery cards had been drawn. There were a few Orders's Influences and a grand total of +3 Fight dice for the Volgovian Nutcracker. The continual Town Elder killing spree drained all the "I think not!" cards we had, and after that the Shadow Track put up a new dial. We thought we had pretty much already won the game, and we were intentionally stalling a little, trying to get the perfect build-up to start Showdown. This was almost our demise.

Both heroes didn't have any suspicions who was behind the holiday killings - both had so much investigation points that neither would have had any problems at convincing Stephen Hawkings that a malicious toy was slaughtering local people all alone by itself.

But still the Shadow Track somehow fell to space number five and showdown hadn't even started, and we knew there was at least one Shadow's Puppet elder again.

Big fight started at Manor. It must have been some sort of a record that there were only two evil elders. One was +3 wounds, +1 Fight die Darkest Secret villain, and the other one was the Shadow's Puppet.

First round of combat was mildly interesting. Our hunting party was Scarlet Shadow with Sophie and Abigail with Doctor Manning. Sophie would have died right away and Scarlet Shadow would have lost his Fisherman's Net on the first round if it wasn't for the "ignore all wounds dealt in one round with a roll of 3+. Abigail, Scarlet Shadow and Sophie all succeeded in the roll and Doctor Manning didn't even have to roll.

Eight fight dice with each roll of six inflicting two wounds came up as two wounds inflicted on the Volgovian Nutcracker. Two of those dice had been dedicated to the Shadow's Puppet, which wasn't enough even with one re-roll that came from an event card.

Oh well. There was always Abigail's turn. She had nine dice total with re-rolls available to every failed roll. She dedicated two dice for the Shadow's Puppet and the rest to Nutcracker itself. She dealt only something like two damage to the villain, but killed the Puppet.

Second round was a little anti-climatic. Scarlet Shadow dealt nine points of damage and all of Nutcracker's damage was prevented with Knocked Away. Abigail did the last two or three damage points in, and that's it. The clockwork mechanics had fallen silent in the big fight. Nobody had reloaded the Volgovian Nutcracker despite it having eaten around ten persons (town elders and heroes) in both games combined.

Both games were quite random this time around. They had their exciting moments, especially the last one. Still it feels like the first game was a complete facerolling of heroes, while the second run was a peaceful little strolling on a meadow where you accidentally step on a poo, and notice the poo was a sinister and powerful ancient evil that you just happened to squash under your feet.

Campaign statistics:

Villains defeated: Spectral Horseman, Vampire, Siren, Bog Fiend, Volgovian Nutcracker
Villains still to be defeated: 13

Heroes dead: Argot Blackwell, Inspector Cooke, Isabella von Took & Liliana, Lost Soul
Heroes remaining: 20

Stashed investigation: 5

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Frostgrave campaign game five

Last Monday I played a fifth campaign game of Frostgrave.

It was the second scenario from campaign book Thaw of the Lich Lord.

Second scenario, where there is a frozen river flowing through two of the board edges, was problematic to modify to a multi-player scenario so we just played it as 1v1 game. My opponent was the necromancer team.

A non-player controlled wizard would appear from the shipwreck on the creature phase of turn three.

There were only two treasure tokens per player. The NPC wizard would be carrying a special treasure that's worth two rolls on the Thaw of the Lich Lord treasure table.

The four regular treasure tokens were placed in a loose square, so it looked pretty much 2-2 situation. At least treasures #3 and #4 were pretty much out of my reach. Treasure #1 was a slight race. Struggle would have been real if my Treasure Hunter, who had had Fleet Feet cast upon him, would have been taken out of game by stray arrows shot by enemy archers. Luckily this was not the case - he was taken down to five hit points instead. But, as it happened, the archer did not kill or injure him and I won the initiative on round three. Treasure Hunter had picked up the treasure on soldier phase of round two. A costly Leap was cast upon the Treasure Hunter, and the treasure was all but secured.

I returned the favour around treasure #4 when my marksman was able to shoot some kind of enemy warrior down to injured status while he was carrying the treasure - but killing shot never came.

Honourable mention goes to the slippery ice itself that caused enough damage to actually kill a model, had they been inflicted only one soldier.

But now the challenge was pretty much all about the NPC wizard, who emerged from the left side of the shipwreck. A well timed accidental finger is pointing pretty much directly to the NPC wizard. That guy put up a pretty good fight, surviving multiple crossbow bolts and rounds of melee combat. Who knows... perhaps he could have escaped the scene with Lich Lord's precious treasure if the most notorious killer of all engaged him. I'm not talking about the Possessed barbarian who was scaring off the enemy knight. I'm talking about the war hound.

Once the enemy infantryman was dead, opponent thought it to be of his best interest to retreat. He only had his wizard there and a knight with only one hit point plus some ranged weaponry in the distance. I had quite a few models piling in, but I'd like to think it was the war hound who scared the enemy necromancer. Since both of us had been casting Leap for quite many times, the special treasure token was last token on board. Crossbowman picked it up and he Leaped away from the closest table edge, ending in favour of Cruor et Caedis.

I rolled Book of Rangifer and Eyes of Amoto from the Lich Lord treasure table, and a little money and potions from regular treasures. Total experience acquired was 305, which translated into three levels. Jack improved his knowledge on Reveal Secret, Fleet feet and Imp spells.

I wanted to take my first step towards achieving Ascendence, so I sold one of the more interesting potions I had got: Demon in the Bottle. It was worth one hundred gold coins when sold back to the market, and I didn't want Jack to end up without any pocket money in his coffers.

So. I bought a grimoire of Plague of Insects as well as kennels to the headquarters.

So here's the more detailed roster I try to keep updated as accurately as possible:

Jack Saturn is level 16 with 1615 experience.
He has levelled fight by +2 and health by +2.
Fleet Feet spell has been improved by +4, Elemental Ball by +1, Leap by +1, Possess by +1, Imp by +1 and Fog by +2.
He has learned the Reveal Secret spell, which has been improved by +1.

Home base is Inn with Sarcophagus of Healing and Kennels

Vault has Magical two handed weapon (+1 damage modifier) and Sword of Undead Slaying
Book of Rangifer
Eyes of Amoto
Grimoire: Poison Dart, Control Construct, Willpower, Furious Quill
Bought Grimoire: Plague of Insects
Scroll of Planar Tear.
Potions of Invulnerability, Teleport and Healing

Total gold that has been collected is 1470, unspent gold is 100.

Warband roster is worth 1230 gold (level 16 apprentice is 360) and includes:
Barbarian (with the two handed weapon from vault)
2x Treasure Hunter
2x War Hound

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Debut of Captain Orange

Ages ago on Tuesday I played a 50 point game of Warmachine.

I played with Circle of Orboros with following list:

Cassius the Oathkeeper
- Riphorn Satyr
- Warpwolf Stalker
- Woldwatcher
- Gorax

Minimum unit of Tharn Ravagers + Chieftain
Maximum unit of Wolves of Orboros + Unit Attachment
Shifting Stones + Stone Keeper
Minimum unit of Farrow Bone Grinders
Swamp Gobber Bellows Crew
2x Gallows Grove
Druid Wilder
Lanyssa Ryssyll

Opponent had:

- Stormwall
- Centurion
- Ol' Rowdy

Black 13th
2x Stormsmith Stormcaller
Journeyman Warcaster
Gorman diWulfe
Sylys Wyshnalyrr
Epic Eiryss

Scenario was Close Quarters and Cygnar started game. There are a couple of important proxies in the pictures - huge base is obviously Stormwall. Orange medium base on the other hand represents Darius. Gobbers are storm pods.

First picture is from the end of Circle turn 1. On the other hand I tried to stay far from the Stormwall AoE's, and yet I wanted to present some sort of a threat. But I was sorely suffering from the symptom that's being called a "clustercoitus" in the internets. Well, technically that's not true. The actual term is far less... clinical. Anyway. Everyone was in the way of everyone.

Turn 2 Cygnar advanced a little bit and laid down a curtain of damaging AoE's. Stormwall had Arcane Shield.

I decided to charge with Ravagers anyway, and lost one in the process. Only one got to make any attacks, and those were against Black 13th. The Ravager killed two of the gun mages. Repair those, Darius!

The rest of my forces just gathered into a huge blob of meat and soul, and Cassius used his feat. He also cast Stranglehold on Ol' Rowdy.

I had intuitively thought that Lanyssa's Winter storm does not affect colossals, because, well, nothing affects colossals. But Winter storm does. Damn it. That would have made the game to look very different if I would have advanced more with Lanyssa and use the spell in question... but alas, I didn't.

Turn 3 Stormwall tramples right next to my heavy warbeasts. After that Darius spams Jackhammer with all of his focus points, which results in dead Riphorn Satyr. What kept me somewhat in the game was the fact that defence 14 made Warpwolf Stalker survive the onslaught.

The situation is a bit tricky now. And I guess my greatest failing as a competitive player is not making up my mind with different plans, and stick to it. I had two options: try to assassinate Darius now. There might not be another chance to do that even if I would be able to bring Stormwall down. Another one was try to beat Stormwall dead.

I made a compromise: I'd beat Stormwall with everything I got, and then decide what to do with 11 fury points Cassius would have. What happened was that Primaled Stalker, Woldwatcher, Wolves of Orboros with Power Swell and Tharn Ravager chieftain charged it. They did okay-ish... but did not destroy the colossal Arm 22 warjack. It had only a few damage points left, so I was torn between trying to assassinate Darius and finish the colossal off with Cassius.

I chose to attack the colossal. Now. If I had originally planned just to kill the colossal and bother with Darius later, I could have activated Cassius first and cast Curse of Shadows on it. This way I might have had some resources to attacks something else.

Turn 4 Darius starts scoring points from his own flag, and his warjacks just shuffled around - because they could. My warpwolf would be frenzying next turn.

I had a clear charge lane to Darius with Cassius. He was camping something like five focus points, though. So instead Cassius charged either him or Ol' Rowdy, I forget which. He casts Curse of Shadows on Darius, and jumps back to safety with Unseen path. Woldwatcher advances to contest the enemy flag. Wolves of Orboros tried to kill Gorman and perhaps tickle Centurion.

Turn 5 Gorman survives a free strike from Wolf of Orboros, and he lobs Black Oil on Warpwolf Stalker. Centurion then butchers the warbeast. I don't remember how Darius spent the rest of his focus, but an educated guess would be on Jackhammer to Ol' Rowdy. There must have been some pretty awful dice rolls involved, because Woldwatcher didn't die. However, Journeyman Warcaster cast Arcane Shield on Darius.

So now I needed to kill the orange medium base. I did have the tools for it, I just used them a little bit foolishly. First I tried to shoot Darius with everything I got - that included Arcane Bolt from the remaining Bonegrinders and Ice Bolt from Lanyssa. Lanyssa was hoping for a lucky critical hit. After the game it was pointed out that had they killed Journeyman Warcaster instead, that would have meant Arm 16 Darius for me to handle. Well. Killing the journeyman would have required at least 7+ hit from both, and 8+ to instantly kill with Ice Bolt, and 9+ with Arcane Bolt. But perhaps combined...

I see one more desperate chance to aid Cassius in his endeavour. First Woldwatcher advances so it quite doesn't leave Ol' Rowdy's melee range. Gorax then performs a two handed throw on it, and tries to throw the wold on Sylys Wyshnalyrr, who had ran to protect Darius. Initially I estimated that perhaps Gorax would clip Darius on a direct hit and if Gorax would miss, deviation still had a chance to knock Darius over. But a direct hit it was, and Darius did not get knocked down. Even Sylys had the insolence not to die to the collateral damage roll.

Well, that was all I could do.

Next Cassius and Wurmwood used cool party tricks and shenanigans to get next to Darius, and started beating. I would roll damage with -7 and Darius did have twenty two damage boxes. I decided to roll without attack boosts, because I had enough fury points for either two fully boosted attacks (and perhaps one completely unboosted), or three or four damage boosted attacks if I skipped the attack boost and rolled 7+ to hit.

Two attacks hit and made Darius go somewhere around eight hit boxes left or something. So at least the six additional damage points it would have meant for me wouldn't have made a difference... if that's of any consolation.

But it was all a phantasm, really. There was only some orange glow on the ground where Darius was supposed to be.

You can't kill what does not exist.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Lich Lord vs Void Lord

A few Sundays ago I played a 35 point game of Warmachine.

I played with Skorne with following list:

Void Seer Mordikaar
- Tiberion
- Archidon

Minimum unit of Beast Handlers
Maximum unit of Praetorian Swordsmen + Unit Attachment
Minimum unit of Cataphract Cetrati
Void Spirit

Objective: Arcane wonder

Opponent had:

Lich Lord Asphyxious
- Desecrator
- Nightwretch

Maximum unit of Bane Knights
Minimum unit of Bile Thralls
Withershadow Combine
Bane Lord Tartarus
Warwitch Siren

Objective: Arcane wonder

Scenario was Destruction, and Skorne started game. Hollow was cast on Praetorian Swordsmen and the rest of Mordikaar's fury were dumped into Agonizer. The bigger template in the picture is Scather from Desecrator, and smaller ones are Caustic mists.

Skorne turn 2 the swordsmen went and offered themselves on a plate to the Cryxians. Mordikaar cast Ghost walk on himself so he could enter the forest and cast Banishing Ward on Cataphract Cetrati.

Cryx charges forward with Bane Knights and kills a few Praetorian Swordsmen. The Bane Knights weren't the problem, but the caustic mist and scather templates were. Praetorian Swordsmen who entered the play via Revive wouldn't be walzing through the knights... at least not that easily. One big consideration was also the presence of Admonia. If I did pop a couple of swordsmen to the back of the enemy, Admonia would be able to disbind Hollow with leisure.

So, turn 3 I started clearing charge lane for Archidon. I couldn't figure out any way to kill the Bile Thrall in front of Admonia other than exposing Hollow to her. That... uh, that didn't sound right.

Anyway, Mordikaar was one of the first models to activate, and he cast Lightning Strike on Archidon, used his feat to give +3 def for just about every model except maybe Void Spirit. Then he brought a couple of Praetorian Swordsmen back.

Cetrati advanced in shield wall, and took a few swings at the enemy objective. They also killed the Bane Knight who was engaging Archidon.

Both warbeasts had been enraged by the Beast Handlers.

Swordsmen succeeded in taking out the Bile Thrall, plus others of their kin.

Archidon charged Admonia and killed her. Attacks against Nightwretch failed miserably. Killing Admonia triggered Sprint, so the beast backed a little.

Tiberion charged a Bane Knight and then proceeded to buy attacks against three other knights. Something like three Bane Knights survived the turn.

Cryx turn 3 Asphyxious casts Parasite on Tiberion and hit the titan despite it having Def 16 from feat and elevation. The brown terrain in the middle is nothing but a hill. Then Tartarus and his remaining buddies charge Tiberion and already put it in pretty bad shape.

In the middle Praetorian Swordsmen die, but who cares about Praetorian Swordsmen.

Skorne turn 4 I think I broke the objective, Bane Lord Tartarus, remaining Bane Knights and Maelovus. I was too afraid to commit Archidon to do anything useful, because Tiberion was most likely dying rather sooner than later.

As Asphxious had not used his feat yet, I was also afraid to come and dominate the middle zone. So Skorne went to two scenario points.

Cryx turn 4 Asphyxious uses feat and makes barbecue out of Tiberion. The delicious smell of freshly slain Tiberion distracted the rest of Bane Knights that had entered play with Spectral Legion - out of six or seven Bane Knights only two hit Archidon and scored low damage.

Opponent conceded after this turn. If Bane Knights would have killed the Archidon I think Cryx could have had a fair chance of winning, though they were desperately outnumbered. In fact most likely I wouldn't have been able to keep an assassination threat going on. No, I should have killed every other model instead and control the zone. Hellbound made Asphyxious impossible to charge, and what would I have had left? Well, Cetrati at least for a little while. But P+S 11 + 3d6 still needs relatively high rolls to deal any damage to Arm 22.

But, yeah. It was not to be. Fury 4 beast would keep Mordikaar from starving for a long time.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Frostgrave campaign game 4

Last Thursday we played a four player game of Frostgrave. Scenario was Total Eclipse from Thaw of the Lich Lord. In the scenario visibility is reduced to just sixteen inches, and only drops from there. Well, technically it starts to rise up again on turn five, but usually game's very much nearing the end by that time.

Pictures are rather poor quality yet again. The first two were so dark I had to lighten them up with a photo editor.

So. Yet again I've placed approximate locations of treasure tokens right into the picture. I can't remember where one token was, but somewhere there on the opposite side of the table between sigilist and summoner.

There were (in my estimation) too many treasure tokens close to the necromancer, so I put most of my aggression in that direction. By far this game saw the most useless imp yet. Jack summoned it and empowered the spell with four health points. Then in the creature phase the imp died right away. In matter of fact the only thing it gave was 1" of additional movement for the warrior who forced combat with it.

I had been planning on taking treasure #0 and #2, plus one from #1, 3 and 4. Treasure number five might also be within realms of possibility.

The treasure #0 disappeared into thin air when a zombie picked it up and necromancer cast Leap on the zombie. Treasure #2 was an easy grab, but after that I didn't know what to do. All three treasures I was considering looked like they'd be hard to get. Random sigilist war hounds and whatnot teased troops that were going to grab #3, and one fast sigilist treasure hunter was already climbing to get #4. Tons of necromancer warriors were there at #2.

So my choices looked like either mass everything I had left to one treasure and get only two fairly certain treasures, or spread my forces all over the place and possibly end up with only one.

But then Jack did what Jack does best.

He went insane.

There at treasure number #1 he blasted two necromancer warriors with an Elemental Ball. This amount of pyrotechnics in the eclipse did not satisfy him - he scored yet another kill the very next turn. Then a thug or something came to punish him in melee, but things ended up Jack bathing in the thug's blood.


Things didn't go too badly on the sigilist side either. One real angry dog bit my marksman down to one hit box remaining, but other than that there wasn't too much aggression. I'm not sure how much my vague promise of not coming to interfere with treasure #4 helped my thug to carry treasure #3. Adon had cast Fleet Feet on the thug, though. Lot's of g's and h's there. Thug, though. Uh... now I digress.

The astonishing performance of my wizard gave me the treasure #1, but somehow I didn't manage to get to treasure token #5. I'm not sure why is that. After all, the only warband members that actually were put down by enemy attacks were both of the war hounds. It's possible my spellcasters and various soldiers were in such a bad shape that I didn't want to risk their deaths.

Apothecary carried off #1 and thug #3. Both got off the board before game ended.

Post-game one of the war hounds had to miss next game. I disbanded it and got a bard instead. There's one sweet Eden miniature clown with a music box...

Jack got an amazing amount of 420 experience points. The scenario had a special condition of giving +50xp for every wizard who are on board during turn 5. This gave Jack five levels. I missed sixty point of experience from our set of house rules. That wouldn't have given me an extra level, but considering I also lost 75xp from earlier game, I have now effectively lost one level to house rules. And I don't regret for a second. Missing one level from a course of four games doesn't seem much, but my wizard has pretty much just been lucky - he isn't geared towards spelly destruction.

A story post that relates to happenings in this game is just below or here.


Jack Saturn is level 13 with 1310 experience.
He has levelled fight by +2 and health by +2.
Fleet Feet spell has been improved by +3, Elemental Ball by +1, Leap by +1, Possess by +1 and Fog by +2.
He has learned the Reveal Secret spell.

Home base is Inn with Sarcophagus of Healing

Vault has Magical two handed weapon (+1 damage modifier) and Sword of Undead Slaying
Grimoire: Poison Dart, Control Construct, Willpower, Furious Quill
Scroll of Planar Tear.
Potions of Invulnerability and Teleport

Total gold that has been collected is 1170, unspent gold is 560.

Warband roster is worth 1190 gold (level 13 apprentice is 330) and includes:
Barbarian (with the two handed weapon from vault)
2x Treasure Hunter
War Hound

Cruor et Caedis Chapter VI

Earlier chapters:
Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V


"Books! Books! All these books are useless. And they won't even burn! What was this city about, anyway? Was it one big library or something? What did the people eat? Letters? Were they fighting with pens and building houses with ink? There is nothing in Frostgrave. We're out!"

"I do not think you should judge so hastily. The books contain more than you should think of. Mayhaps you could study just one of the volumes? And you have found artefacts of power, no reason to deny that. You have even found a respite from this... affliction of yours."

"No! I have sacrificed everything. I sacrificed everything, and I gained nothing from it! Frostgrave... bah. I'll drown the city in sea of flames, and what's left I will burn with rain!"

"What a spectacle that would be, I must agree. But such a grand show requires a bewildered crowd."

"Yes! A crowd! There are people there, I know! We have ran into them many times now. We will capture them, we will shackle them and we will offer them a show they shall never forget right in the middle of this stupid city and its false riches!"

"If that is your wish, mister, then we will proceed. But we don't have enough food to feed Groldo. I hope you consider how Groldo can be when hungry."

Ennu was right. Still Jack felt strangely attracted to the city, despite his expression of frustration. Being overly dramatic was, so to say, an illness that came with the profession. Something was happening. The dimming of light felt like it was in direct relation to the mysterious power he felt coursing throughout the city. Jack could sense these sort of things.

Circus had been camping on the outskirts of the Frostgrave area. They didn't have too many supplies left as Ennu had commented, so they'd have to pay a visit to the inn soon enough. If not for anything else, they'd have to do it because of Groldo. Cruor et Caedis couldn't afford to lose any additional clowns. But time wasn't right, not just yet. The atmosphere was exciting... almost thrilling. There was no clear reason for that, but it felt just like it had felt in his childhood when a new set of performances were about to get revealed to the audience. You'd have to be crazy to miss the chance to watch how things would act out... That moment was one of the few happy memories Jack harboured until this very day. The moment didn't usually last very long, as the crowd started to slowly realise the somewhat more... experimental nature of many of the numbers. So it goes.

Now it looked like Jack wasn't the only one who sensed the surge of magical power. Various travellers had started gathering on the scene.

"Alright! We have our crowd!" Jack told nearby members.

"Dim the lights! Take positions! We're going to offer this rabble our greatest show right here, right now" Jack was raising his volume as he spoke. "Ladies and gentlemen... welcome to Cruor et Caedis! Tonight's show is called Total Eclipse of the Heart... we hope you enjoy what you shall see!"

The "rabble" was groups of multiple rival wizards, but this tiny detail escaped Jack's attention. He was no longer present. Deep inside his own mind he was re-living some smashing success of a show. In that show there had been a debut of a new stage number: the Human Torch.

The fire had been supposed to be magical in nature, then, and wouldn't burn the performer. Thirteen year old Jack disliked such illusion and tried to manipulate the performer's clothes with flammable oils. He had been stopped, though...

But tonight there would be no-one to stop him.

Next chapter.

Monday, November 30, 2015

There's a muton under my bacon!

Today Deadzone campaign came to an end. Originally we had planned a ten mission campaign, but since Deadzone second edition rules are going to drop to kickstarters any moment now, we just played an improvised 100 point game. Well it was the ninth game, so we didn't miss the mark that much.

As Plague had had terrible start in the campaign, we decided to triple the victory points gained from the game to give Plague an actual chance to win.

First half of the board was alien battleship. We placed the control zone accordingly. That was homebrew on the fly. Is this what I have become? Ahem...

It was time to pick missions. I had two choices, Close In and Fight Another Day. Considering the placement of control zones I couldn't bring myself to pick Fight Another Day. Gaining two victory points per turn until Enforcers would be even close to objectives on a 16x8 board, and then continuing to gain two more as long as I had over 50% of my troops remaining looked like an anti-climatic ending.

So, my old beloved Infiltrate missions it was, with a little bit of killy objectives, too.

My strike team was:

Ethereal Stage 3A General (Slow mutation, one veteran die and jump pack)
4x Stage 3A trooper mutons with various handicaps and disabilities. Hello, 7+ Shoot and 6+ Fight troopers, for example)
3x Fresh Recruits (They actually looked like they might do better than older troops...)
HMG Heavy Plasma muton
Celatid Swarm
2x Plague Hound & Silacoid
Stage 2A Chryssalid with Agile mutation. That was almost as scary as Chryssalids in the '94 X-Com.
Chovaar Sectoids with Mind Probe

Opponent had just seven models in their 100 point list.

1x Strider (which explains extremely low model count I guess)
Enforcer with Thermal Rifle
Enforcer Medic
... possibly the rest were regular Enforcer troopers?

Their mission was Zulu.

First picture is the deployment from within my battleship. It's a shame the humanoid figures in greenish vats don't show too well. They were pretty awesome. A miniature was put inside a small tube and then filled with some kind of shower gel. Brilliant.

Second picture is from the end of round one. Nothing really happened yet, but it shows the absurd threat range with Plague models plus... shenanigans.

I found a smoke grenade from inside my ship, and went into offence with that. I thought the LoS blocking would be enough, but how wrong I was... An Enforcer, probably the one with thermal rifle, just huddled a little closer and lobbed a grenade over my stack of three mutons adjacent to another space with two. Wound were caused. Reducements in aggression were made. It had a major psychological impact on me. It gave too painful flashbacks from missions 1-5...

Another Enforcer secured position one the metal barrels in the middle of eastern map. So. Chovaar psychic is awesome. Ethereal used command action to move Stage 2A one cube. Then it used Sprint and Move actions. Then Chovaar psychic took away the activation marker, and Stage 2A activated again. I intuitively played it so that I wouldn't be able to use Agile twice in a turn even if there were two separate activations. Without even using battle cards the Stage 2A moved six cubes, possibly seven with battle card or potentially eight cubes if I played the Agile wrong...!

Attack in itself wasn't too shabby. Only one wound was caused to the Enforcer.

Then another Enforcer enters the same combat to help his friend, but no damage is done to anyone.

Next turn a muton with Reinforced Spines (Tough) mutation comes to help the outnumbered Stage 2A. And I guess it does that, in a way... It fails the combat so miserably that the target gains a free escape. Now Stage 2A was able to finish what it began. Attack roll was doubled or tripled, so Stage 2A got to move one cube. Then Chovaar removed the activation marker again. Stage 2A used Sprint and then Move to enter combat with Enforcer who had thermal rifle. It was a bloody slaughter, and doubles or triples again. Another move. That's five cubes of advancement, and combat in two different cubes not next to each other. Damn it. That Chryssalid truly was living up to its name!

Though all was not that fuzzy and cute on Plague side of the board. Original non-fresh mutons started dying left and right. It's possible that the muton in the middle is the only trooper muton still alive. Oh, the little sectoids are my fresh recruits, by the way.

I was worried about the Strider, though. I boosted Celatid swarm with everything I got and launched it against the hulking behemoth - and no damage. At all. I thought that cost me the game, but Enforcer shooting was extremely inefficient that turn.

The Stage 2A Chryssalid entered the middle once more to cry havoc on a bold, yet foolish Enforcer who had entered to contest the barrels once more. But then Stage 2A failed everything. Everything!

A plague hound, the silacoid there, had to come and help the melee beast. Yay, one injury in.

Two Enforcers were in the second story of the building behind the melee. They shot the Chryssalid down. Well. That's the way you need to kill them anyway. Somewhere high with no entryway, possibly because you shot the stairs yourself to prevent the Chryssalid from climbing...

But that was a serious blow to me. One of my two killers that were worth something was dead now - and the other one was tied down to melee with Strider.

Or so I thought.

Plague Hounds charged to the Enforcer that had been in melee with Chryssalid. Bam. Dead Enforcer.

The second one went to help Celatid swarm in melee with Strider. Bam. Two wounds in.

Jealous of the performance of pesky Silacoid, Celatid wanted to show what it was made of. It managed to cause two additional wounds. But this is no Plague strider, no. This one has five wounds. So it was not over yet.

A hail of continuous bullets rain down from the building that was occupied by two Enforcers. But as far as I remember, only Silaoid actually died, though Celatid became injured and lost enraged status. Losing enraged status only made the Celatid real pissed off, and it wrecked the Strider. Things started to look pretty good, then. I started to move all of my remaining troops so that they might possibly get to infiltrate. A plague hound and one fresh recruit had already done that.

Enforcers lobbed a grenade on top of Celatid, but now the Celatid was really pissed off, and totally flipped out and killed everybody.

I'm not even exaggerating. Grenade pushed it one cube to exactly wrong direction... to the Enforcers, that is. I had Get Mean card in my hand. I played it on the Celatid, who then moved one cube and used Agile to make short Climb action to Enforcer on the highest floor of the building. It killed the Enforcer and doubled or tripled the result, and moved down to last remaining true Enforcer. There was also one some sort of support drone.

Now Chovaar psychic is moved with Move -card, and yet again it succeed to rouse passion in the... uhh... whatever can be considered a heart deep inside of the Celatid. It activated again, killed the Enforcer with doubles or triples, takes a move to the drone and wrecks that also.

I don't know how all of this was possiible, but I know that the Chovaar was far more influential in this game than my actual strike force general.

In the end I received exactly forty points . 13 times three, plus four for completing core mission minus three for using a mercenary. This brought me to 81 points.

Opponent had 78 total reputation.

Well... of course this wouldn't have been possible without the tweaks in the reputation rules for this grande finale. But hey, AI cheats.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Frostgrave campaign game 3

Last Thursday I played a campaign game of Frostgrave against a rival Summoner warband.

Scenario was The Complex Temple.

We were playing at my home instead of the usual cellar, so terrain is a bit on the low side at least vertically. Temple also looks highly advanced - perhaps it had become a place of worship because it had been standing in this place long before the frozen city had been built?

Anyway. Scenario is pretty standard scenario, except that treasures are inside pillars that you have to fight to get hold of them. Every treasure is worth additional 20 gold coins.

I've numbered the treasures in most of the pictures for easier orientation.

Treasures one and two looked like they'd fall to my pockets easily. Opponent had only one just as easy treasure, the number six.

Jack possessed the barbarian and Adon the Apprentice cast fog to screen my main body from lethal missile fire from the opposing side. Those rolls were quite something. My own archer and the crossbowman who tried to take good vantage points were single shotted by archers and elemental bolts. Or crossbowman might have taken one hit first to the stomach muscles, but that's beyond the point.

Barbarian wrecked the treasure pillar, as did treasure hunter at pillar number two. Those were fine rolls, but otherwise I seemed to be unable to cause damage to enemy soldiers and to protect myself from enemy attacks. Most of my spells failed also. If it weren't for the empowering, I think I'd have failed way over 50% of my spells.

But that's enough complaining about my luck. Enemy didn't have it too easy, either, from about the middle of the game forwards.

Once enemy wizard had reached pillar #4, the pillar beat him to two hit points remaining. My wizard had already taken so much damage that Ennu the Apothecary made Jack drink the healing potion. Barbarian had picked up the treasure and leaped close to the boards edge, but I didn't want him to move out of the game just yet. I'd rather switch the treasure to the apothecary and get barbarian back in action.

In my mind the game played so that I'd get treasures 1-3 and opponent would get 4-6. As I was relocating my troops from treasure #2 to #3, they started dying one by one. Contesting treasure #3 started to look very difficult.

But as I said, luck started to swing in my favour. I started finally to get in some kills. Most notable one was Jack shooting enemy wizard dead with Elemental Ball. I was a bit too greedy with Adon the Apprentice and empowered a spell that brought him down to three damage boxes. The Elemental Ball cast by him killed something also, but in turn Adon died to missile fire. So enemy had lost his wizard and I had lost my apprentice.

By now I had recovered treasures one and two and opponent treasures four and six. Enemy apprentice was closing in to treasure five, and my lone Treasure Hunter with Fleet Feet cast upon him was faring well enough against three enemy warriors. Well enough in this case means that he didn't die to just a couple of hits - he wanted some more.

I try to bring a thug that I had forgotten completely and the possessed barbarian to treasure in the middle. Enemy apprentice gets scared of them and decides to fall back. A possessed thief enters combat with Jack, but Jack knew this trick all too well and killed the thief with one punch.

My treasure hunter falls and enemy starts to walk off with treasure #3. Barbarian manages to take the treasure from the pillar in the middle, and Jack succeeds to cast Fleet Feet on him.

An enemy archer jumps to the very same tower where my own archer had died. The archer tried to shoot a couple of shots against the barbarian and Jack, but they didn't do much. This game ended with the victory condition of all treasure counters exiting the board.

I take a moment to reflect the results with our set of house rules.

Routing was not used, though both teams were eligible to use it.

My wizard was lucky enough to kill enemy wizard with a spell attack. With main rules this would have yielded him 150 experience points, but now he got only 75. He did beat another enemy warband member in melee, so that was +115 experience for me from kills by wizard. That's one level outright. Normally it'd been +190 experience.

Since my apprentice went out of game by enemy attack, I was left with only two "actions" in between the games. However, I only needed one - to recruit additional warband members.

To me this looks good. House rules are serving their intended purposes.


None of my warband members died, but Adon rolled "close call" and lost Imp scroll I had given him for the battle.

I found 260 or so gold, two grimoires and two potions.

One treasure hunter and the archer rolled close calls also and I decided to disband Archer and get Marksman it his/her place.

Jack got 150 experience from treasures, 115 from kills and only 80 or something from spells. This was enough to get three levels. With main rules that would have been four levels, which would have felt rather unfair.

Detailed roster below. I might exchange one war hound for a thug if I find a proper extra figure, though.

Jack Saturn is level 8 with 890 experience.
He has leveled fight by +2 and health by +1.
Fleet Feet spell has been improved by +3, Elemental Ball by +1 and Fog by +1.

Home base is Inn with Sarcophagus of Healing

Vault has Magical two handed weapon (+1 damage modifier),
Grimoire: Reveal Secret, Poison Dart, Control Construct
Scroll of Planar Tear.
Potions of Invulnerability and Teleport

Total gold that has been collected is 930, unspent gold is 420.

Warband roster is worth 1050 gold (level 8 apprentice is 280) and includes:
Barbarian (with the two handed weapon from vault)
2x Treasure Hunter (Miss next game)
2x War Hound

Part of the background story that relates to events in this game can be found just below, or here.

Cruor et Caedis chapter V

Earlier chapters:
Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV

- - - -

The inn was a roadside inn relatively close to Frostgrave. It's name was "Roadside Inn Welcome", which told everything there is to know about the imagination of the innkeeper.

Regardless their ragged band of performers had shambled there after a recent encounter in Frostgrave.

Their poor looks made the innkeeper suspicious... or perhaps it was the tainted, demonic aura that by now emanated from every member of Cruor et Caedis? Were the two even separable?

In the end innkeeper let Cruor et Caedis stay for free. It had taken a little bit of... convincing. Not in the way Jack had anticipated, though. First he let Groldo, the world's strongest man, express his dissatisfaction after a hard day... week... few months of fighting the wilderness, law, monsters and eating old friends. Now Jack owed a new, well... half of the inn for the innkeeper. Somehow the innkeeper did not appear frightened at all - in fact looked like he'd put up a fight at any given moment.

But then Adon and Ís had entered hall that was still fairly intact. They had somehow managed to cast the enchantment of unbearable beauty upon themselves. The innkeeper was transfixed. He could not get his eyes away from the sight. Equal measures of terror and awe were painted all over his face, plain for everyone to see. And also a slight hint of... lust.

So they got a permanent, free attachment for their remainder of world renown circus. At a half-broken inn in middle of nowhere close to the very edge of known world. Had they really sunken that deep? Where was their class, their dignity?

You have betrayed the legacy. You're useless. Worthless. One day I will gut you and read the future of Cruor et Caedis for the world to know - crap, nothing but crap. Crap with small bits of undigested morsels of world renown artists. You're nothing. You're...

"Have you never wanted to slice through that throat?"

Ennu froze in place and the sudden stop of movement caused a nasty cut to appear on Jack's throat. Jack did not flinch. This was their personal tradition; a solace and a small escape from hectic circus life. Not the slicing of Jack's throat, no. Rather this beard shaving ritual.

"Mister... why do you ask? Have you gone insane?"

"I've ruined this circus. This is no art we're doing here. What am I without an audience? What are we? Fighting for survival against the dead and the scribes. Pathetic." Jack spat on the floor and Ennu had to dodge the projectile. Floor started to slowly hiss and dissolve beneath the saliva.

"Mister is only testing us. Do no talk such sad things. It does not suit you, my dear... boss. Lead us to new glory if that is your wish. Do not talk of death. At least your own death. I have no other desire than to see these crumbs of beard fall off."



"I hit you and made your mask fall off."

Another sudden cut appeared on Jack's face. Ennu said: "Now look at what you made me do!" and Jack could hear the strain in the voice.

"It won't happen again. You're the only one I trust. It was a terrible thing for me to do." Jack said awkwardly and hesitantly. Apologies didn't come naturally from him - unless they were part of the show.

There was a silence, followed by nearly whispered: "Mister is only testing us."

"You're right. We can all use this as inspiration. And I still haven't found my ring. We're going back for more."

It took a few days to re-supply their party, take care of the wounds (both physical and psychological... and magical) and to fit the strange sarcophagus they had found with wheels, so that Jack could be dragged to places without going insane and violent over Ís. Jack had trusted the navigation of the expedition to Ennu, who had some sort of mysterious relation to this place.

But the journeys felt rather long inside the metal box. Jack had a lot of time to think. He wasn't actually claustrophobic, no. He wasn't even that afraid of being buried alive. All of this had happened many times already during his training. Yet... he was terrified. Why was he terrified? Perhaps being terrified was his way of life. The only thing you could trust in this world was sheer, absolute horror. Dread is all there is. Fright is all there was. And terror is everything there ever will be.

This metal sarcophagus reminded him of things. Bad things. Like being buried inside a box with his father and a volunteer from the audience. Jack didn't know what the trick had been, but he knew he was the one who suffered. His father had lousy numbers. He had been a selfish and terrible man. Though now that Jack was thinking about it... there had been that one good performance where the volunteer would be sawed in half, the steaming guts exposed to the crowd and then being melded back together with some aides from beyond. Why did they ever remove than number from their repertoire? Was it because of that one time when aides refused to graft the flesh and instead possessed the two halves, and started doing acrobatic tricks? Jack had thought it had been genius.

The sarcophagus came to a halt. The lid was raised. Before the silhouette took the shape of Ennu, Jack couldn't help but feel the primordial fear that his father was reaching for him.

"We're at the temple" Ennu said. "Somebody lives here now I think."

"What?" Jack shouted and sprang up from the coffin-turned-into-a-carriage. He could hear the shriek coming from Ís right away.

"I don't care. I... I don't care. If they come our way, kill them. I can't stand that noise any more than I have to" Jack ordered.

"What noise, mister? The hum coming from the sacred pillars?" Ennu enquired but received no answer. Jack no longer paid attention to the conversation. His eyes were fixed on a strange and exotic figure in the distance. A figure that Jack could sense wielded a power not unlike his own. Was he a rival? An ally? An usurper? A teacher?

Jack left the rest of Cruor et Caedis to their own devices and started to pay close attention to every move of that stranger. Jack summoned some unclean spirits to inhabit Groldo and Wanny the Juggler just to see how the stranger would react. But the stranger did not react. He closed in and neared a pillar that was giving off an aura of great power. He touched the pillar, but Jack could not fathom why.

Since the stranger was not openly aggressive, though everybody else was fighting, Jack felt interested. He might actually invite this individual to Cruor et Caedis, if he could only talk to him... He started imagining the great wonders they could do together. A new rise for the circus. A show unlike any other. Until now, the only person Jack had ever felt such a connection had been...

Suddenly all Jack could see standing next to the pillar of power was his father.

The things they had done together. A great anger arose in him. A hatred unlike any other.

Calling forth all pyrotechnical prowess he had at his disposal, he blasted his father dead with a ball of fire.

Next chapter

Friday, November 20, 2015

Warmachine Demo

Last Wednesday I did a small demo game of Warmachine for a starting Protectorate player.

Demo forces were:

Iron Lich Asphyxious
- Leviathan
- Stalker
- Nightwretch


Warwitch Deneghra
- Slayer
- Defiler
- Ripjaw

Which makes a total of 11 points per side.

I tried to make the demo forces fairly balanced against each other, and I think I succeeded at least somewhat. Leviathan would be able to dish out damage from afar, but not end the game right away by getting lucky shots against Deneghra. Stalker would be relatively safe from Crippling Grasp and Parasite. Deneghra on the other hand had enough arc nodes to afford to lose one by accident. And even if Slayer would die to just about anything, Ripjaw would be able to deal damage in this small game size.

Opponent took Asphyxious.

Since it was a demo game I chose not to play too safely, and pushed on aggressively instead. Opponent probably got good taste of the combo mechanics of Warmachine, when Ripjaw dealt charge damage to Nightwretch with dice + 7...

Slayer fell to Leviathan shots and I charged Leviathan with Deneghra. Damage rolls were excessively poor, so that was a little bit of an anti climatic moment. Leviathan on the other hand shook off Shadow Bind and hit Deneghra once, bringing her to two damage boxes remaining. Asphyxious made short work of her. In fact there was a chance that Deneghra might have died to the POW 5 damage roll from Asphyxious' feat... now, even if I wasn't playing WAAC in this demo game, that would have been embarrassing.

Gambles of Fate

Last Monday I played a 50 point game of Warmachine.

My list was:

Morvahna the Dawnshadow
- Pureblood Warpwolf
- Woldguardian
- Gorax

Maximum unit of Tharn Ravagers + Chieftain + Shaman
Shifting Stones + Stone Keeper
Sentry Stone & Manikins
Blackclad Wayfarer
Gallows Grove
Ravager White Mane
Reeve Hunter
War Wolf

Objective: Arcane Wonder

Opponent had:

Feora, Protector of Flame
- 2x Reckoner
- Vanquisher
- Redeemer

Maximum unit of Choir of Menoth
Maximum unit of Temple Flameguard + Unit Attachment
Aiyana & Holt
2x Vassal of Menoth
Gorman diWulfe
Saxon Orrik
Epic Eiryss

Objective: Fuel Cache

Scenario was Recon, and Circle started game. First picture is from the end of Circle turn 2.

It's been a while since I played Morvahna the Dawnshadow, looks like. I don't know why I didn't leave one Ravager lagging far behind. Earlier some Ravagers and a few Bloodweavers have died to Redeemer shots. The two AoE's about there in the middle are forests from manikins.

Turn 2 Protectorate makes a massive dent in my forces. My only saving grace was that two combined melee attacking Temple Flameguards somehow missed the last Ravager who had charged Eiryss. Def 15 from treewalker special ability sure still kept me in this game.

Turn 3 I had to use Morvahna's feat. She brought all the Ravagers and Bloodweavers back as well as War Wolf. Morvahna was at two hit boxes remaining or something. I had been thinking of going to a nice little killing spree with White Mane and heal Morvahna with Carnivore, but that didn't quite work out. Carnivore removes from play and White Mane needs corpse tokens to do that...

Pureblood Warpwolf advances to use its spray to get rid of Saxon Orrik, Gorman diWulfe, a Vassal of Menoth and a choir grunt.

Shifting Stones teleport Woldguardian right next to Reckoner. Reckoner had Enliven on, but Woldguardian knocks stuff down with its bare fists. Damage rolls were only so-and-so. I'm not sure if any of the systems actually broke.

Bloodweavers dispelled Ignite from Temple Flameguard.

Turn 3 Protectorate killed off Woldguardian and a whole lot of Ravagers die, because that's what they do best. I think Feora used her feat this turn, but it was a little bit of a lacklustre. Def 14 miraculously saved Pureblood Warpwolf, which still kept me in the game. Though Pureblood was on fire and had, what, four or five damage boxes left? Death by fire was well within realms of possibility here.

Now, Warpwolf didn't die. Turn 4 Morvahna healed it and cast Primal on it. It then proceeded to slaughter absolutely everything! Yet it failed and killed none. The Reckoner who had already been beaten by Woldguardian was so badly injured after one attack that I relied on other models to bring it down. It crippled the other Reckoner well enough also, but not completely. This performance took quite a toll on Morvahna's life track.

Last remaining Ravager and even charging Reeve Hunter tried to score the few remaining points in to Reckoner, but it was all for naught. At least the Bloodweavers mopped up Eiryss and Temple Flameguards.

It started to look bad. Reckoners both were pretty useless by now, but I'd lose Pureblood now and there was still unscratched Redeemer and Vanquisher to deal with.

Except. Well.

Protectorate turn 4, and Pureblood defied all odds and stayed alive. One of the Reckoners killed last remaining Tharn Ravager. The other Reckoner and the Redeemer... uh. The dice rolls must have been really skewed.

Turn 5 Bloodweavers kill Holt, a choir grunt and the Reckoner. Pureblood Warpwolf frenzies and wrecks the other Reckoner. I don't remember where and why I did it, but I do remember that I did a re-roll gamble twice with Morvahna during this game.

I got no idea why there is a Ravager in the zone in the picture. It's dead anyway. Can't you smell the rotting flesh?

Protectorate then finally punches the Pureblood in the nose and it dies. Feora advances close by and casts Fire Step, which takes four Bloodweavers down. They fail their massive casualties check.

Vanquisher probably set Morvahna on fire somehow. I definitely remember rolling some fire checks for Morvahna. Perhaps that happened a turn earlier, since there is no longer a Reeve Hunter in the last picture. Maybe Vanquisher smacked him. Anyway, for the track record - only one fire continuous effect got naturally extinguished. Even from the many models that hadn't been in Feora's control area.

Feora had come closer to hug a wreck marker for cover.

This proved to be Feora's undoing.

Turn 6 Gorax destroys my friendly objective from the way of Morvahna, and shifting stones teleport themselves elsewhere, too.

Morvahna then charges Feora. I thought this would be an easy kill thanks to Morvahna's unsporting Life Trade sword. But this was before I learned Feora was at Arm 21 thanks to two focus being used to overboost power field, and Escort.

It was far from easy, and Morvahna was also far from her maximum health. It took all of Morvahna's life (except for one or two) and all of Morvahna's fury to kill Feora.

Tough game that I probably should have lost. Giving whole Ravager unit on a plate shouldn't have went unpunished - especially when opponent lost because of one small mis- (or fire?) step.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A bash in the middle

Last Saturday I played a 35 point warmachine game.

My list was:

Krueger the Stormlord
- Riphorn Satyr
- Scarsfell Griffon
- Gorax

Druids of Orboros
Maximum unit of Wolves of Orboros + Unit Attachment
Shifting Stones + Stone Keeper
Blackclad Wayfarer
2x Gallows Grove

Opponent had:

Lich Lord Asphyxious
- Desecrator
- Nightwretch

Maximum unit of Bane Knights
Minimum unit of Bile Thralls
Withershadow Combine
Bane Lord Tartarus
Warwitch Siren

Scenario was Recon. Circle started and first picture is from the end of Circle turn 2. Looking back now at the pictures makes it easy to see one of my greatest mistakes during game.

Instead of moving in one big blob of dissolving fleshy tissue, I should have split up my troops. Now it was all too easy for opponent to block the advance of pretty much all of my one wound infantry. By splitting up I would still have had one major part of my troops blocked off, but perhaps not 100% of them. Oh well.

Counter Magic was blocking any nasty Excarnate tricks. Perhaps that was one of the reasons I chose to advance in one giant ball of meat - I didn't want any extra Bile Thralls on the board.

Turn 2 Desecrator landed a direct hit against Blackclad Wayfarer. Nightwretch also walked close by to shoot at things, but I forget where the shot landed. All in all Cryx just advanced behind the clouds.

Turn 3 Nightwretch was mauled into a wreck by Riphorn Satyr. Next Krueger advances to middle of the board, shoots a couple of Lightning Storms and a lightning bolt from his stick, and uses feat. Using Krueger's feat this cinematically is always a great pleasure, though there are some risks involved if enemy has units with Vengeance and ranged weaponry available. Of course I could have negated threat from Desecrator with Storm wall (spell, mind you) but wasting three Fury just for one pesky AoE shot seemed like a waste...

Anyway. So far so good.

Cryx turn 3 thralls struggle to get within striking distance. Desecrator scores a lucky hit against Scarsfell Griffon, and one of the Bane Knights also take a swing against it. Mind and Spirit branches break down. That was just about all.

Circle turn 4 I feel like I got strong enough position to throw the game. Sorry, I mean to take carefully weighed and meticulously balanced risks. Initially I had wanted to teleport Riphorn Satyr to place I've marked with a red star, but there wasn't enough space. I opted to take out Tartarus and Maelovus instead, then.

Then Gorax dislodged Scarsfell Griffon from melee and forced Primal on it. The rest of Circle tried to remove Bane Knights as much as possible, and did respectable job in doing that. Only three (3) remained.

Then I completely forgot that Scarsfell Griffon had lost two branches. Without healing (druids could have also done that, by the way...) the Griffon charged to Desecrator. Charge was free because my objective was Fuel Cache. I had kind of relied that Griffon would have broken at least something from the helljack, but without Mind and Spirit that proved to be too much of a challenge.

Cryx turn 4 Asphyxious and Withershadow Combine kill Riphorn Satyr, and Scarsfell Griffon fell like a lousy duck to deep fryer. Those were to be expected, all things considered. But I did not account for two Bane Knights to kill Gorax with a couple of swings. So I just all of my warbeasts. That just happened.

Circle turn 5 I just tried to scramble some sort of an unorganised assassination. Asphyxious was in Caustic Mist template, but he had no focus. I tried to score a critical knockdown with everything I got (even Stone Keeper!) but the only model that actually hit Asphyxious was Krueger himself, and that was with second attempt.

Druids of Orboros had over-enthusiastically even blocked lane for one or two Wolves of Orboros to charge Asphyxious, so the game was pretty much done.

Krueger was put out of his misery like a disfigured puppy with fatal heart condition. Two Bane Knights and a Bile Thrall purge was all that was needed. Poor Asphyxious didn't even get a chance to use Spectral Legion.

Though I wonder what kind of a monster euthanasises a puppy with corrosive fluids and ghostly halberds.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Frostgrave Campaign game 2

Second game in an ongoing Frostgrave campaign was against Sigilist warband.

I almost forgot to take pictures in this game, and first one is where enemy Treasure Hunter is closing in on my apprentice Adon. Adon has already suffered damage so he's at five health left. One more, and he'd get injured penalties.

Well, more likely the treasure hunter was after treasure token being carried by my thief.

To the second picture I have placed the vague locations of all treasure tokens.

Since I have such a speedy warband, I thought I might be able to get all four treasure tokens I've numbered. One and two were almost too easy (though not as easy as one token in the Sigilist deployment side) to get. The thief in the first picture is carrying #3, so there was some contesting there.

Treasure token number four was high there on top of the ruin. I thought that using Leap snatching it would prove to be no problem. It would take quite a many turn for Sigilists to get their (relatively) slow troops there. But I had been rejoicing too early - a random arrow or bone dart dealt enough damage to my thug who had leaped up to cause injury.

Crossbowman might have leaped to the treasure next, but I needed him elsewhere. The treasure hunter had injured the only thug I had protecting Adon. To get a more equal standing, the crossbowman rushed in to help and support. Adon summoned an imp to tie up enemy archer.

While the barbarian, Jack and a war hound were able to dispatch warriors who had been sent against them, a bone dart dealt killing blow to the barbarian. Now I only had a possessed war hound, who would not be able to carry treasure. Enemy had already brought a treasure hunter up to treasure #4. If Jack would not have already empowered so many spells, I might have been crazy enough to try and re-take the treasure with my wizard. But he had too little health left, and my possessed war hound also died somewhere, somehow.

Adon had leaped to safety from the scary treasure huntes, and suddenly Jack was absolutely all alone on the field.

He danced a little and leaped 20 additional experience points. I could have used routing house rule, but I chose not to as in this situation it felt almost like abusing it - opponent would get less experience points from treasures his models were carrying.

In the end the result was the same, since Jack could escape before any of the treasure carriers from Sigilists had walked off the board.

So this time I'll write the complete warband roster here, as I don't have to try to remember things. I can just check my sheets.

By now Jack is level 5 with 545 experience.
He has leveled fight by +1 and health by +1.
Fleet Feet spell has been improved by +2 and Fog by +1.

Home base is Inn with Sarcophagus of Healing

Vault has Magical two handed weapon (+1 damage modifier), Grimoire: Reveal Secret and scrolls of Imp and Planar Tear.

Total gold that has been collected is 670, unspent gold is 160.

Warband roster is worth 750 gold (level 5 apprentice is 250) and includes:
Barbarian (with the two handed weapon from vault)
2x Treasure Hunter
2x War Hound

In my background story for this warband, the chapter that relates to events in this game is just below, or here.

Cruor et Caedis chapter IV

Earlier chapters:
Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III

- - -

Chapter IV

Jack was thinking about his father. He had to, since his father was looking down to him from the big, yellow and green sky that had small purple spirals here and there. His father smiled. He smiled in that one certain way Jack knew all too well. Jack tried to hide, but he knew it would be futile. He called for great billows of fog to appear in front of him, to screen him.

There were scary, shadowy creatures moving around him. Sometimes he thought he knew them. That one looked like his strongman, but something was wrong with him. He was talking to Jack, tried to warn him of something, but Jack could not make any sense out of the echoing blabber he heard.

"QUIET!" he shouted. "Quiet quiet quiet quiet quiet QUIET!"

Leering, unfamiliar faces appeared in the fog and they were repeating "quiet" mockingly. Strongman and a dog were fighting them, it looked like. But Ís was not quiet. This was perhaps sixth day with no sleep.

He wanted to sit down, so he sat. All of this was not so different from his youth, the days in the glass tub. His father had deemed Jack old enough to perform in the main show. He was supposed to become a mermaid. Jack was being kept in the glass tub for many days. There were some fishes for him to eat if he only could catch them. Eventually he could. In the end he was even able to catch fish with his bare hands in pitch black darkness, and could feel which creatures he touched were fish and which were... something else. Something more sinister, that were inhabiting the physical vessel of a fish.

Finally there were nothing else left than the possessed fish. There was nothing else to eat. So he ate the possessed fish. And became a mermaid. And suddenly he could see...

... he could see the great fists of his father raining down from the sky. His wrathful bellow almost drowned the monotonous shriek of Ís. Celestial father was apparently trying to hit Adon and Ís, he was not after Jack! ... yet. That part would come next. And indeed, he could already see fingers of his father, single digits only, flying towards him from the ruins. They were sharp and cruel, like arrows from a bow.

Jack was alone. All alone.

So he left. Jumped off a cliff, and he fell, he fell for a long time. He smiled. There at the bottom was a coffin. He knew he would hit the coffin, and get some sleep at last. He hit the coffin, and Ís was silent.


When Jack opened his eyes, he was dizzy and couldn't see anything. He was tightly confined somewhere... it was some sort of a metal box. Box, and not a crawlspace. But the box was in motion, so Jack assumed he had not been buried alive. He knocked on what he thought was the lid. Motion stopped and the lid was being lifted.

Grim face of the strongman and the mask of Ennu were looking at him.

"Jack! You're awake! How do you feel?" Ennu asked.

"Silly you. I feel fine. Can somebody explain why I am this... what this box is, anyway?" Jack said as he arose from his confinement. But just as he was stepping out of the box, the shriek of Ís pierced his skull, and Jack fell back to the box.

"I... uh, I think I'll be here for a while. Now, explain."

"Well, mister... you haven't been alright for a while. You were quite out of you mind. Sleep had escaped beyond your reach. For a week or so. We tried to follow your orders as best as we could, but, forgive me for saying this, but they were rather insensible. We were going to escape the city when we encountered some resistance. We could not fight them, for your condition was our primary concern. In the middle of the fight we found this curious artefact and thought it best to keep it with us. You were following it with great interest, and once we were sure we were not being pursued, we began to inspect it. When we opened the lid, you climbed there before we could even remove the desiccated corpse. I'm afraid your cloak might be a little filthy, for we could not move you."

"Oh. Oh. I'll get to that later. I just don't feel like getting up just yet."

"You've been sleeping for over two full days, sire. You could not give us orders, so we left Frostgrave."

"Good, good. Find an inn or something. We need some supplies anyway. Wake me when we're there."

Next chapter.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

On a campaign (Frostgrave)

Last Thursday was the beginning of a campaign of Frostgrave.

The rules are slightly modified version from the actual rulebook. Some folks at Bad Karma dot net (for some reason the site gives me database error at the moment of writing) had already compiled a set of house rules for their enjoyment, and they had raised some good points about where campaign system was lacking. They were not incorporated as is, but were great inspiration for many rules of this campaign.

So here's a summary of our set of rules:

- Victory condition is Transcendence
- Injured rule is used, but critical hits are not

Actual house rules:

- Rout: If half of the treasure has been carried off the board and 50% of the warband has been put out of game by damage, a player may declare rout in wizard phase. At the start of next round all the remaining models from routing warband are removed from board. If they were carrying a treasure token, the token falls to the ground. If the models were in melee combat, other participants may force combat if they wish. Routing models cannot gain supporting melee bonus from other routing models. Note: the models still escape whether forced into combat or not. This just ensures that routing is not used just to escape freely from melee just to save that injured apprentice or high cost warrior with no threat whatsoever.

- Recovering treasure: Only treasures that are actually carried off the board are considered "recovered" for experience gain purposes. Treasures that are left on board when game ends are recovered by no-one, but every wizard who took part in battle gain 25xp. If a tresure token is being carried by a warband member when game ends, wizard gains only 25 experience from that. This is to encourage treasure hunt instead of head hunt.

- Wizard experience: Wizard gains only half of the listed experience from kills made by spells. In melee combat wizard still gains full experience from kills, since wizard is actually risking something (his life) in melee combat. Wizards gain 25 experience from using non-offensive scrolls.

- In-between the games: You have four options when spending treasures.
1. Purchase one item and/or sell as many items as you want.
2. Recruit new soldiers and/or sell one item.
3. Buy a base upgrade and/or sell one item.
4. Scour the ruins for treasure: If warband was unlucky enough not to get any treasure tokens at all during game, one option can be used to gain one treasure and 25 experience point.

You always get one action. You get two actions if either wizard or apprentice survived the game without being removed from game by damage. If both wizard and apprentice survive, you get three options.

This is to limit what you can do between the games even a little, because it feels a bit goofy that if you got the cash, you can do pretty much anything. This doesn't seem to limit early stages of the campaign at all, but hopefully it will stop instant and absolute power boost if one player gets lucky and gain ridiculous amount of gold in one game.

- Death of a wizard: If wizard dies completely before reaching level ten your new wizard is assumed to find the base of your earlier wizard. You don't lose any items or base upgrades, but you lose your warband and all gold.

This is to keep the threat of death always present, but only few things suck more than losing all of your progress especially in a campaign.

So. I played two games, but I'm writing only the first one here because of reasons.

My wizard was almost the same as it was in test games. Let's still list important statistics for completeness' sake.

Warband World Renown Circus Cruor et Caedis

Ringmaster Jack Saturn, summoner with hand weapon and dagger. Apprentice named Adon is carrying a staff.
Summoner: Leap, Imp, Possess
Necromancer: Spell eater
Illusionist: Beauty
Elementalist: Elemental ball
Chronomancer: Fleet feet

2x Thug
2x Thief
War hound

Leftover gold: 5

Again I've crudely photoshopped the approximate treasure locations into the first picture. Opponent was playing Necromancer who had at least Bone Dart, Leap and Raise Zombie.

Initially I thought treasures from locations 1-4 would be fairly easy snatch for me. The treasure from location #1 was a first turn grab, when wizard cast Fleet Feet on thief, and thief then advanced 9" to the treasure and picked it up. Apprentice cast Leap on the same thief. Simply beautiful.

But no plan survives contact with the enemy. After I had taken the treasure #1, opponent scored a couple of brutal hits against all soldiers I was going to bring to location #4. Namely that was just my crossbowman. But I had had great plans for that crossbowman. Reinforcements redirected their course to the location #2. The yellow star in the picture is inaccurately placed to wrong place. But some kind of enemy soldier has leaped there, but barbarian counter-leaped to block.

I had thief there at location #2 who was supposed to pick up the treasure, but he was shot down to injured status by a stray arrow. Thug had to do the job, then.

From the Necromancer side a flying zombie (well, technically a leaping one) went to pick up treasure from behind the white building on top. Some turns later the zombie jumped off the building, dying again in the process, but at least it got the treasure token to the ground.

Location #3 was a fierce battleground. Kind of fierce, at least. Well actually there was very little fighting being actually done - my apprentice, Adon, had cast Possess on my thug, who managed to kill opposing warrior.

I had earlier cast Imp to harass the two warriors up there, but since the other died to possessed thug and another warrior ran out of sight, the imp had no other target than my own model, the thug who had picked up treasure. Nooo!

Luckily no damage to either side was done by the pesky little demon (or aide, as Jack calls them) and later I patched up my mistake by summoning a new imp to location #4. Which was a new mistake. There was a duel between enemy war hound and my own war hound, and when imp finally activated, my dog was closer. Noooo!

When opponent had carried off two treasures and had lost five members of his warband he decided to declare rout. Situation was fairly bad for the necromancers, because I had fast troops and more of them. It seemed likely I'd be able to swarm the treasure #4.

That campaign evening three games were played, and this was first time our set of house rules had some real impact in the outcome. So let's discuss.

With regular set of rules I would have been the clear winner with four treasures and 200 experience points from them. Opponent would have gotten two treasures and 100 experience points.

With our set I got three treasures and 150 experience from them and opponent got two treasures and 125 experience from them. At least this time the house rules seemed to give more balanced ending.

I really didn't want to, but I had to choose the Inn as my base of operations. No other base made any sense for my little circus.

I'm writing up some kind of a disgusting story about this particular warband. Events that relate to this game being played are just below this post, or here.