Thursday, January 28, 2016

Cruor et Caedis Chapter VII

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

- - -

"Mister Jack... are you, well, reading?"

Jack quickly tried to hide the tome somewhere, but since he was reading in his coffin bed, there wasn't all that much space available. "Kind of" he muttered.

"Surely not for the plot?" Ennu enquired in an innocent tone.

"It is very good indeed."

"The plot?"

"Yes. It tells about a ringmaster who lashes out at his far too nosy subordinates."


"The one in pink clothes has arms and legs torn from the body and made into a hula hoop. What's left is cut in four pieces, and the dancing bear juggles with them, all the while she runs the hula hoop."

Laughter came a little too late, and was a little too nervous. But perhaps Jack would've needed to use some other way to express his point - the aforementioned number had really been performed on two separate occasions during Cruor et Caedis' lengthy existence. First time had been when Jack was about four years of age. How curious that Jack remembered Ennu being around that time, too - all big and adult and such. It had been at least forty years.

The one turned into a hula hoop was one of the circus freaks that were on display. A troll-looking fellow with a very large nose, in fact. Jack didn't remember how the freak had displeased his father. Though it was possible that it had been a prototype of a new stage number, but it had gone horribly wrong. Who knows.

Second time had been at least fifteen years later, when one of the elderly servants had complained to Jack how much better his father had been at running a circus.

Despite having strong distaste for the written word, Jack had eventually taken a look at one of the many thick grimoires the circus had found during their search. This had happened mostly because one of them failed to catch fire even when Jack had aided the burning process by calling a demonic fire from the underworld. He had never seen such writing and it was difficult to decipher. It felt like the writing was embedding itself inside of Jack's skull, symbol by symbol, rather than him consciously studying the text.

Jack wasn't alarmed, though. He had fair amount of experience about various otherworldly powers invading people's body or psyche, and sometimes both. This was nothing like it. The actual intent and practical purpose of the arcane writing was a mystery, but the more he read more keenly he was able to sense magic auras inside inanimate objects. They were calling to him.

Fortunately they were calling to him in a discreet, silent manner. He didn't need any additional voices inside of his head. After he had been overusing his mystical powers in stressful and life threatening situations, his mind felt like a sieve. Demons and other spiritual entities were visiting him constantly. Sometimes they were talking, sometimes he only felt an oppressive and menacing presence. And then there was Ís. Her monotonous high pitched scream had slowly changed. Sometimes it was louder, sometimes it was slightly more quiet. Earlier the sound could not have been produced by human throat, but now it resembled a non-stop "e" or "i".

But all of this was of no importance while he was inside his metal coffin. It had been fitted with wheels to allow for transportation to Frostgrave and back to the "Roadside Inn Welcome".

Inside of it all was quiet... all except for the dogs.

On their spare time Rophy and Mesant, the acrobat brothers, had lured a pack of wild dogs into a trap. Originally they probably wanted a more robust meal, but then someone got this great idea about a new lineage of circus dogs. There was now a sort of animal shelter in the lower story of the inn, and the dogs were barking and whining a lot. The brothers had brutal, yet inefficient training methods. The fools were wasting their time, and Jack almost felt sorry that they had eaten their animal trainer. But there had already been some merit in this whole damnable affair - a tormented physical shell was always easier for darker powers to inhabit. As proven by the recent killing on that frozen river.

Come to think of it... they really could use a new dancing bear.

"Where are we heading, mister?" the question woke up Jack from his thoughts.

"Nowhere!" Jack snapped.

"Nowhere? But earlier you said..."

"Yes! I sense a place that's nowhere, and there is nothing there. We're going there."

"Well, alright, sir... but can you be a little more specific about, for example, our direction?"

"We're going there where there is a whole lot of nothing. Nothing at all."

- - -

Jack felt drawn to the majestic tower. He had known there was nothing in here, and he was right! All the nothing was inside that tower. He didn't know how he knew this, but it was probably indigestion, or maybe the weird texts he had been kind of reading.

"Wonderful. So beautiful. Cruor et Caedis, let me represent you... our new home" Jack was speaking to his performers. Everyone else only gave a blank stare to the tower, well, except for Ennu (whose eyes were behind a mask, maybe Ennu was also staring the building, hard to tell) and Berethra, the vocalist. She was rolling her eyes.

"Of course it is only a temporary home. Our true home is on the stage. But we need to find my ring. And this will be our base of operations" Jack continued to explain.

There was some movement in the vicinity. Someone pointed in that direction, but Jack didn't notice. Someone gently tapped Jack on the shoulder, so he noticed the pointy finger.

"WHAT?" Jack shout, enraged.

"Someone is already living in here? They got no right! Dirty hobos! Burn them, burn them all! And their filthy beards, too! Wait, don't burn those. I want to do that. Otherwise, don't spare any of them. Cleanse this place."

Soon violence started all over the outskirts of the tower. Figures were not homeless people, though. They were spellcasters very capable of defending themselves from Jack's wild and unpredictable power. But Jack had already made up his mind, and refused to see them as anything else.

One by one his fellow actors were struck down or shot with crossbow bolts. Groldo, the mighty strongman, was knocked unconscious right before Jack's very own eyes when a powerful enemy wizard appeared out of thin air.

"Groldo you fool! He didn't even hit you that hard. Rise up. Damn you! Okay, then. Let's kill that urchin!" Jack said and dragged the sharpshooter of Cruor Caedis, who was able to shoot an apple from the head of a person one hundred yards away, while blindfolded and Berethra, the vocalist who could shatter glass with her voice alone, and attacked the newly appeared foe. They managed to put him down, but Jack failed to recognise the magic in foe's weaponry. Jack got a nasty slash to his belly. It was probably lethal in the long run, but for now it only lit demonic fire in Jack's eyes. His sisters in arms had also been badly injured, and it was probably due to sheer luck that all of them didn't meet their fate there and then.

"Curses! Why won't they just leave? They're nothing! They're even less nothing than this tower! Our new home, our destiny..." Jack was rambling, when a ghostly apparition rose from the corpse of their recently slain enemy.

"You again? Go away! Why won't you go away? To hell with you, to hell with everyone!" Jack yelled in frenzy, and punched the ghost with a sword he had found from Frostgrave. The sword gleamed in hues of red and blue, and somehow it looked like the ghost froze in place and shattered into dust. Again, Jack didn't even notice the danger he was in.

Bleeding he ran closer to the entrance of the tower, and was shouting: "You imbeciles! Die! Run! I'm coming to get you! Come to daddy! I'm going to show the only thing you're good for! Ahhahhraarghaahhah, yes, just like that, you waste of flesh! Yes, cry more! Grahhahhgrlahaahh."

Jack's incoherent outburst was interrupted by his eyes flaring up and literally giving off tendrils of flame - which also appeared from his ears, mouth and nostrils. The wound he had suffered in earlier fight was burning, too.

- - -

Next thing Jack knew was him standing inside the tower of nothing. Everything was silent. Battle was still raging outside of the tower, but he could hear nothing. Ís was as silent as when Jack was lying in his coffin. His mind was also empty from dissonant voices and whispers from beyond. Then panic struck him. His genius was also silent. He knew none of the fabulous tricks that had made his circus such a success. Maniacally he looked back and forth from the entrance to his dying circus. He scratched his belly, and was surprised to find an itching burn mark there.

This was a silence he could not bear. Afraid, he took flight from the tower.

Outside he stumbled upon Ennu.

"Mister! Oh, this is a blessing! We thought we lost you. Many of us has fallen... almost everyone... Brother of yours has escaped and everyone is injured, maybe dying, I know not! But your wish has been fulfilled, the enemy is retreating! 'Twas a a high cost indeed, but we are victorious! The tower is ours!" Ennu was crying and sobbing hysterically.

"Oh, this tower? Ah, yes. I exchanged my thoughts. We're not staying. Let's leave this place."

Next chapter.

Frostgrave campaign game six

(Updated with pictures!)

Today I played a Frostgrave campaign game. We were missing one player, so we didn't continue Thaw of the Lich Lord.

So, instead we played a three player game with the scenario Tower of Silence.

(It's possible I'll get some pictures a little later that will illustrate the board better.) Okay, I add a couple of pictures retroactively. First picture is again showing the treasure locations.

Necromancer team was directly opposite of my deployment, and the sigilists were on my right. In a way sigilists had to fight a war on two fronts.

My troops and sigilists were having a big fight over a treasure token #2 that was inside of the Tower, but on ground level beneath a stairway. My treasure hunter went to pick it, but then enemy treasure hunter came to contest. Magic doesn't work inside the tower, so picking treasure up and casting Leap on the soldier was out of question. I had tried to screen some key areas with Fog to protect my models from shooting.

My wizard had cast Possess on a war hound that tried to bite some flankers. My apprentice used Eye of Amoto to cast Fleet Feet through Jack Saturn on barbarian. Adon rolls "1", but the spell is empowered to succeed. Adon the Apprentice had one hit point remaining after that. Well, at least there were quite a few fog walls blocking Line of Sight to the apprentice...

Then a sigilist war hound tried to bite the treasure hunter who had picked up treasure. War hound came so close that barbarian could have easily enter combat even without the Fleet Feet spell... oh well.

Another barbarian vs war hound combat happened, and to no-ones surprise war hound won and dealt seven points of damage to barbarian.

Next turn things were escalating. Sigilist wizard personally enter the general area of that fight. He has Invisibility cast upon him, though. Jack replies by walking next to him and drinking Potion of Invulnerability. The picture is remarkably confusing. I thought I'd include a picture from the Necromancer side too which shows how uncontested they were able to ascend the tower. The crude black arrow tries to align the perspective.

Adon drank healing potion to make up for his last casting.

It was probably my bard who killed the war hound engaging barbarian - but not before barbarian fell to four hit points. It's also possible that the war hound and barbarian rolled equal scores, which killed the hound and injured barbarian. However it happened, the invisible sigilist wizard forced combat with barbarian, who was trying to go and help treasure hunter in fight. Wizard beat the barbarian easily. Nasty, but now the wizard was in plain sight. Next initiative roll would matter a lot.

I got to act before the sigilists, so Jack, bard and marksman ganged up on the enemy wizard. First to move was bard, and the sigilist forced combat with her. And bard won by a large margin.

Next Jack and marksman enter the combat. Marksman attacks first, and is beaten to three hit points remaining. I get worried that I'd lose the bard, so Jack attacks next. Bam. Jack is down to four hit points remaining.

Well, there's still the bard left. The heroic bard. Bam. Bard is down to four hit boxes remaining, though she and the sigilist roll a tie, so both deal damage. This puts the wizard out of action. What a fight, and what a bard.

Necromancer warband shoots down my treasure hunter who tried to escape with a treasure on the far left. They also shoot a thug that had been screening Adon, so there was no other option than to pick the treasure with apprentice. I was afraid of their ranged weaponry, so I wanted to cast fog to hide Adon. Obviously roll fails, and he goes hiding behind some stairs.

A random sigilist thug came to harass the wounded gathering of wizard slayers. I wasn't all that afraid. I thought he was going after treasure hunter, who was carrying a treasure token. Nope. He was after Jack! He lobbed a wraith bottle right next to Jack, and a spectre appeared. I tried to distract the spectre by making it force combat with a war hound, but the spectre one-shot the puppy, and was after Jack again. Apothecary had made Jack drink the healing potion, but nine hit points isn't all that much against an enemy that deals double damage.

Jack was carrying Sword of Undead Slaying, so I had pretty decent chance of surviving the attack. And after I roll 15, I'm sitting safely at attack score of 23. However, the spectre rolls 20. I was so relieved when I learned that spectre had Fight score of only +2... Well, then everyone dead or fleeing, Jack casts Possess upon himself and starts chasing the Necromancers. You know, to keep in character.

Soon after Jack cast the smoke screen for Adon to go and secure the treasure. Jack failed to catch the necromancers and even cast Elemental Ball on a nice tight group of four enemy soldiers. Bummer. So instead Jack ascended the Tower of Silence to get a little extra experience from scenario.

Necromancers won this scenario big time, as they got the mega treasure from the tower, as well as one regular. I got two treasures and sigilists one. Those were all treasure tokens available in this particular scenario.

Jack got two levels. Treasure rolls were a little underwhelming, as I got only 160 gold and a magical bow with +2 to damage. At least I didn't lose any warband members - but still, if I count together the used potions by their sell price, I didn't break even in this game. Unless I would sell the bow that nobody is able to use at the moment.

Well, I didn't do that. I kicked one war hound out of the roster and replaced it with Rangifer. I got a very sweet rangifer model coming up...

Jack raised Fight by +1 and consumed the grimoire of Plague of Insects.

Story section that relates to events in this game can be found just above, or here.

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

Jack Saturn is level 18 with 1835 experience.
He has levelled fight by +3 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 Plague of Insect
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), Sword of Undead Slaying, Magical bow (+2 damage modifier)
Book of Rangifer
Eyes of Amoto
Grimoire: Poison Dart, Control Construct, Willpower, Furious Quill
Scroll of Planar Tear.

Total gold that has been collected is 1630, unspent gold is 160.

Warband roster is worth 1340 gold (level 18 apprentice is 380) and includes:
Barbarian (with the two handed weapon from vault)
2x Treasure Hunter
War Hound

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Stubbornness vs Blind chance

Today I played one more game of Warmachine without the camera.

Fortunately main points of this story are easy to sum up. There is also a lesson/reminder there.

It was a 50 point game and my list was:

Lord Arbiter Hexeris
- Basilisk Krea
- Cyclops Shaman
- Bronzeback Titan
- Tiberion

Minimum unit of Beast Handlers
Minimum unit of Venator Reivers + Unit Attachment
Venator Flayer Cannon
Maximum unit of Praetorian Swordsmen + Unit Attachment
Mortitheurge Willbreaker

Opponent had:

- Lancer

Maximum unit of Horgenhold Forge Guard + Murdoch
Maximum unit of Stormguards
Maximum unit of Storm Lances
Stormsmith Stormcaller
+ probably something I've forgotten already.

Scenario was Outflank and Skorne started.

Second turn I got a chance to shoot at Haley prime with Venator Reivers aided by Puppet Master and +2" movement from Tyrant Commander. The attack dealt ten points of damage.

I got completely fixated on getting those few damage points in. There's the lesson/reminder, really. Adjust your game as needed. You know, baskets and eggs and things like that. I got many opportunities to try a lucky shot with Cyclops Shaman, plus I threw both Tiberion and Bronzeback Titan for nothing. Poor Tiberion didn't even get within melee range, despite Bronzeback's animus. I didn't score that many infantry kills at all, though Praetorian Swordsmen did okayish job at dealing some damage to Stormguard. Tyrant Commander and what was left of Venators were trying to remove Storm Lances from the board.

My best chance to kill Haley Prime was when she didn't cast Temporal Flux on one turn and I got Cyclops Shaman to aim a shot at her, requiring 11+ to hit and 13+ to kill, coupled with two hit boosted Hellfire attacks that would hit on 13+ and kill with 11+, on other turns the final few points would have been more difficult, but if I'd only get that one good roll... One good roll... Okay, one more try... (there is a reason why I don't play slot machines or roulette and what else)

But no, not today. And by then I had lost the attrition overwhelmingly and opponent was already scoring points from one of the zones.

Too greedy, me.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

A quick rundown of Skorne vs Convergence

Yay! I have received a word that my camera is alive and well and not, for example, lying in a nameless bank of snow somewhere in southern Finland.

But this game was played without the camera, so I'm writing it up as soon as possible before it escapes my memory.

So, it was a 50 point game of Warmachine and my list was:

Void Seer Mordikaar
- Tiberion
- Archidon
- Basilisk Krea

Maximum unit of Cataphract Cetrati
Minimum unit of Beasthandlers
Maximum unit of Praetorian Swordsmen + Unit Attachment
Tyrant Commander & Standard Bearer
Aptimus Marketh
Mortitheurge Willbreaker
Void Spirit

Objective: Bunker

Opponent had:

Iron Mother Directrix
- Corollary
- Cipher
- Inverter

Maximum unit of Obstructors
Maximum unit of Reductors + Tranverse Enumerator
Optifex Directive
2x Algorithmic Dispersion Optifex
2x Enigma Foundry
Reflex Servitors
Attunement Servitors
Steelsoul Protector

Objective: Bunker

Scenario was Incoming and Skorne started game. Hollow was kept on Praetorian Swordsmen throughout the whole game either by Aptimus Marketh re-casting it or Mordikaar upkeeping it.

Mordikaar used his feat on turn two. Cetrati secured Skorne friendly zone rather nicely. The spray unit from Convergence (Reductors, I think) was facing them, so I wasn't too afraid of that flank.

On the other side of the board (the left side, Skorne enemy zone) was Praetorian Swordsmen versus Obstructors.

Five Swordsmen and one Cetrati die, though they all have +3 def. Iron Mother didn't even have to use her feat to accomplish that. Five dead Hollowed warrior models start to feel like a casualty even if it fills Mordikaar way above his limit with fury points.

Skorne turn three enraged Tiberion with Lightning Strike and Puppet Master charges Mitigator that was behind a wall. Bronzeback couldn't have done that because of the lack of reach. I'm continuously comparing Tiberion's performance to that of a Bronzeback's... probably because I've been using Bronzeback for so long. Four inch retreat didn't feel that great, but Convergence four legged warjacks aren't the epitome of a rapid response force either.

Skorne friendly zone is cleared of Convergence models and Mordikaar sets in.

On the left I make a gambit to try to remove whole unit of Obstructors with Praetorian Swordsmen and their minifeat, aided a little by Archidon. Gambit fails and I don't even clear the enemy zone.

Luckily opponent doesn't press too hard to Skorne friendly zone and Mordikaar is able to snatch one sneaky point during Convergence turn.

Agonizer had denied focus allocation, which caused Archidon to survive one extra turn in the middle of enemy lines. Swordsmen weren't that lucky and took heavy casualties.

Skorne turn four Skorne went to three control points, and Tiberion was able to wreck Inverter and back up 4" with Lightning Strike.

Since killing the Obstructors and Reductors was pointless now due to lack of my attack numbers, I tried to kill some other random models instead, like Algorithmic Dispersion Optifexes, servitors and Transverse Enumerator. Void Spirit was handy in denying soul tokens from Enigma Foundry that was backing up Reductors.

Iron Mother uses her feat now, but doesn't get much mileage out of it as she only has one warjack remaining. She shoots Agonizer down personally and juggles enough focus points to Cipher so that it slaps Archidon dead with only one attack. Well, the flying lizard had been softened up a little by Obstructors. Who were almost back to full unit strength.

I don't think anyone entered to contest Skorne friendly zone, so I did a little miscalculation when I thought I needed to just kill objective next turn and dominate one point from Skorne friendly zone. Looks like dominating would've been enough.

Anyway. It was a scenario victory for Mordikaar.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Prequel to Pictureless Tournament

Damn it. The loss of my camera haunts the details of even this one game that was played a few days prior to the Warmachine tournament. At least I wrote up the lists in advance to a draft. So this is rather brief document.

Anyway. This game was a practice game for the tournament.

Lists were:

Mohsar the Desertwalker
- Gorax
- Riphorn Satyr
- Warpwolf Stalker

Druids of Orboros + Overseer
Shifting Stones + Stone Keeper
Tharn Bloodweavers
Minimum unit of Tharn Ravagers + Chieftain + Shaman
Blackclad Wayfarer
Gallows Grove
Reeve Hunter

Opponent had:

Vayl, Disciple of Everblight
- 2x Scythean
- Typhon
- Seraph

Maximum unit of Hex Hunters
Swamp Gobbers
Spawning Vessel
2x Forsaken
Either 2x Spell Martyr & 1 Shepherd
2x Shepherd & 1 Spell Martyr

Scenario was Recon and Circle started game.

I remember Hex Hunters with Chiller ruining my game and dragging one of the Scytheans to die to Riphorn Satyr and a random Ravager.

Game was a tough one, where eventually the legion started gaining upper hand in attrition, though it was very even.

I took my chances at an assassination when Vayl had only one fury point left for transfers and she had already taken some damage. Mohsar teleported close to her and tried to use spray attack, but missed. Unboosted Crevasse hit her, and the damage was enough to kill her. But it was transfered.

Mohsar cast another unboosted Crevasse and hit Vayl. Rolling 11+ on three dice would've won me the game. Rolling 1,1,2 lost me the game.

A Pictureless Warmachine Tournament

I still haven't received any word about my camera, so I guess I'll have to write these down as soon as possible now.

So, last weekend I took part in a 50 point Warmachine tournament. Fortunately all of the games were memorable in their own way.

My lists were:

Morvahna the Dawnshadow
- Gorax
- Pureblood Warpwolf
- Woldguardian

Shifting Stones + Stone keeper
Maximum unit of Tharn Ravagers + Chieftain + Shaman
Maximum unit of Wolves of Orboros + Unit Attachment
Blackclad Wayfarer
Gallows Grove
Gatorman Witch Doctor
Tharn Ravager White Mane

Objective: Arcane Wonder

Mohsar the Desertwalker
- Gorax
- Riphorn Satyr
- Warpwolf Stalker
Druids of Orboros + Overseer2
Shifting Stones + Stone keeper
Tharn Bloodweavers
Minimum unit of Ravagers + Chieftain + Shaman
Blackclad Wayfarer
Gallows Grove
Reeve Hunter

Objective: Bunker

First game was against Retribution of Scyrah, and Issyria.

Issyria had Hyperion, Mage Hunter Strike Force and both Sentinels and Invictors.

I had picked Morvahna the Dawnshadow as my list. Scenario was Incursion.

I started playing scenario game after the full unit of Ravagers tied up Mage Hunter Strike Force and, to some extent, Hyperion. Issyria's feat took down Pureblood Warpwolf (plus tons of infantry, but they would just be coming back). Game looked pretty good, especially when I was looking at the scenario points. I would go to four points at the end of my turn, and opponent had got only two.

That was the extent of my strategic thinking, though.

Opponent also scored third point as I got my fourth. Now opponent would only need to get two points on Retribution turn, which was easy as I hadn't been dedicating too much contestants to the middle flag. Not that I even had that many contestants left any more.

But still. Game ended in 4-5 scenario victory for Retribution.

Game 2:

Second game was against Khador. Warcaster was Sorscha2, and there was the full nightmare of Winter Guards in the list, as well as Beast-09 and Iron Fang pikemen. I was playing Morvahna again. I think the scenario was Incoming.

Opponent rolled tough really well at the beginning of the game, and Ravagers weren't able to make much of a dent to the Winterguard detachment. I don't have any right to complain about those tough rolls. My Wolves of Orboros were passing tough rolls quite well also.

I started grinding scenario points again, as enemy was clogged down with Ravagers and even Wolves of Orboros to some extent. Shatterstorm and Freezing Grip were scary spells, though, but opponent wasn't able to completely devastate my game with them. At one point opponent forgot to cast Boundless Charge on Beast-09, and so it didn't come to wreck Woldguardian.

It was a bloody game and most of the infantry from both sides was either dead or frozen. Opponent still had Great Bears of Gallowswood and Greylord Ternion going on for him.

I'm at three scenario points when Beast-09 charges in to the zone I had been dominating. Beast failed to kill Pureblood Warpwolf, but the Spirit was broken.

If I would've paid closer attention to things, I would've probably been able to take a scenario victory. But as it happened, I wanted to heal Pureblood's spirit. That meant Morvahna had to activate first. And, well... though her damage output is pretty decent, she wasn't able to drop uninjured Beast in one round. Thanks to Sorscha's bond Morvahna froze in place. Nice.

Well, Pureblood did kill the Beast and I was at four scenario points.

Morvahna had a couple of Fury left for transfers, but she was DEF 5 and had something like two or three damage points left.

I was a little bummed that I had lost two games at four control points.

Game 3:

Then I was against Skorne, Mordikaar more specifically. Mordikaar had Aradus Sentinel, Cyclops Raider, a unit of Nihilators and a full set of Immortals. There was also a minimum unit of Incindiarii. Scenario was Outflank.

I took Mohsar as my list. Opponent used feat a turn too early, so the effects of +3 defense were mitigated quite a bit. My own feat usage was a little underwhelming, too, as I only got the Aradus with four fury under my feat. I almost had the Cyclops Raider under too, who had two or three. Aradus failed threshold check, and the distraction bought me time to start playing scenario game once more.

I pretty much gave the left side of the table to Skorne. There were only the remnants of Ravagers duking it out with Immortals. This gave me quite good presence on the right side, and I dominated four points relatively easy. The last point was the tough one yet again, when tons of Skorne started pouring into the zone to deny me that precious last point.

If I would've lost Riphorn Satyr to all the attacks opponent threw against it, the last turn would've been a lot more difficult. But now I had Riphorn Satyr and Warpwolf Stalker removing the enemy infantry. I felt so secure that I played a little bit of foolishly and trampled through my own models to get to the remaining Nihilators. Soon enough there was only Gatorman Witch Doctor remaining, and I charged the croc with Mohsar himself.

Game 4:

Last game was againt epic Lylyth with three Ravagores and Zuriel, and two Deathstalkers. I took Mohsar and the scenario was probably Recon.

This was kind of an annoying game. But sometimes you need such humbling experiences so that you won't become overconfident about eye gauging (gouging?) distances.

Opponent had zero fury points on Lylyth, and to me it looked like I'd be able to get her under Mohsar's feat. I decided to try a wacky approach, and run a Druid of Orboros within reach of Lylyth, and then deny transfers for Lylyth for two complete rounds. With Sands of Fate I would've tried to come and tickle her a little and then be off. Next turn hopefully at least a couple of Legion beasts would fail their THR check.

I did get Lylyth under Mohsar's feat, but the Druid of Orboros was less than two millimetres away. Damn. Also, only Naga Nightlurker failed THR next turn. If only one of the Ravagores or perhaps Zuriel had failed, my Riphorn Satyr could have survived. But not like this. Lylyth obviously tried to play safe and went deeper into the forest she was hiding in.

Next turn is depressing. I figured out that I'd be able to kill Zuriel and a Ravagore easily, plus with some good rolls another Ravagore would go down.

My plan was to shoot Hunter's Mark on a Ravagore in the woods near Lylyth and then charge in with Warpwolf Stalker with Primal. Blackclad Wayfarer advanced to cast the spell, but there was less than a millimetre in between Stealth range. Great. Well, at least I'd kill Zuriel and a Ravagore.

Druids would need to pull Zuriel just a little, one or two inches, so that at least three, possibly four Bloodweavers would be able to charge Zuriel. Obviously the druid pulled the full 3" so that a scather template made it impossible for one flank of Bloodweavers to even attempt a charge.

A couple of other Druids tried to come and pull the Ravagore that had been my original target from the woods. That was a miss, so a second druid would be way out of stealth range.

Two Bloodweavers that charge Zuriel don't really do much damage there, so instead of charging one Ravagore with four Ravagers, I charge the Ravagore with three and get one of the Ravagers to soften up Zuriel so that I wouldn't need to use Primal on Warpwolf Stalker.

Two millimetres attack again, and one of the three Ravagers didn't get within reach. And even with good rolls two Ravagers just aren't enough to kill a Ravagore.

To smear some salt into the many mental injuries, Warpwolf Stalker fails to kill Zuriel. I forget what model I used to finally kill it, probably Mohsar.

Damn it. I had wonderful opportunity to play a scenario game once more, but I threw it away in pursuit of greater glory. It was too late now, and being out of range by just a couple of millimetres on many different critical points in the game cost me everything.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Harbinger is OP, no matter the game system

I kind of dislike writing these things down not in chronological order, but I happened to lose my camera during Warmachine tournament in Turku. I'm trying to ask around if there has been any sightings of it.

So instead of Warmachine games here are two Talisman games that were played in Salo.

And they were rather... different.

First game we played with City and Dungeon and the Deep Realms expansions - as well as Harbinger.

Harbinger is a real game changer. We randomised Shattered World to be the prophecy during this game.

Characters we got were the Warlord, Dragon Rider and Chivalric Knight. When the game ended, none of these characters were on board any longer.

We did have quite a bit of bad luck, as well as being completely unprepared for the Harbinger.

The Warlord was the first character to draw Harbinger cards. And she drew Gates of Hell, or whatever the event is that spawns three additional Harbinger cards. One of the three additional Harbinger cards was another Gates of Hell. So she had to, in essence, draw five lethal Harbinger cards on one of the first three or four turns. One of them was no other than Strength/Craft 18 The Beast.

She was left reeling with one life point remaining. In the end she decided to suicide herself and pick a fresh character, as it was very early game.

New character was Spider Queen.

Dragon Rider and Chivalric Knight also died rather early in the game and were replaced with the Possessed and Gypsy.

Spider Queen got one of the new cursed items, Keys of Hades or something like that. The item gives +2 Life value for each other player. Every time another player loses a life, the keybearer also loses a life. Every time another player heals or gains a life, well, you get the picture.

Possessed was kind of a nice combination with that item because of the constant healing.

Harbinger, however, was a major pain for all of the characters. Gypsy was relatively safe from the many effects of Harbinger events, but even she had to suffer from different Omens. Nobody wanted to lose characters any more and everyone wanted to see the game progress somehow, and this caused something to happen that was never heard of in the world of Talisman: players kind of actively helped each other if it wasn't too big of a sacrifice of resources. Though of course Spider Queen had a pretty big incentive on not getting other characters to suffer damage.

Bad luck caused Possessed and Spider Queen to limp with just a few lives for a long time, and eventually their characters expired once more.

This happened quite late in the game, so Magus and Spy really didn't have that much of a chance at winning. Gypsy was a clear winner, who now boasts impressive track record of 100% victories. Out of four games, though. But 100% is 100%

Ending was Battle Royale, but nobody else had a Talisman when Gypsy revealed the ending.

From now on I will be marking down to the statistics if some character has been a last draw with no real chance of winning any more.

Game 2:

First game had taught us that the more regions there are for Harbinger, the easier he is to navigate. So we got all of the expansion boards into play. Prophecy was The Rising Dead.

Characters were Ancient Oak, Dragon Hunter and Tinkerer. All of them pretty good.

And all of the first few omens were almost more a boon to the player than a penalty! This time beginning of the game was far more merciful. But I guess that served only to lower our guards...

Tinkerer and Dragon Hunter got a really strong start. Tinkerer got the Everfull Purse and Bow, for example. Dragon Hunter started grinding through the Dungeon right from the start and scored a lot of lucky Deathblows. His stats began to soar, and once he found Banesword and Book of Diablerie even the Craft monsters weren't that big of a problem.

Ancient Oak suffered most from the Harbinger this time around, and was the first character to die. Oak was replaced with the Grave Robber.

I fail to remember how it happened, but bad luck eventually caught the Dragon Hunter when he slowly lost lives and was unable to heal them back easily. Dragon Hunter was the second character to die, and this death lengthened the game approximately by one and a half hours, as he had looked like the best candidate for winning at that point. Oh, now I remember what began the downfall - Vengeance Hex that turned Dragon Hunter into a toad. Dragon Hunter began anew as Rogue.

Grave Robber had a decent enough start, but omens were slowly stacking. And when the Tinkerer died, and Grave Robber soon after and also the Rogue, the game looked hopeless. The board was littered with too strong enemies for us to fight, and zombie apocalypse had already began - due to the omen, all Strangers and Followers were Strength 3 (effectively 5) undead zombies instead.

So everybody had died twice during this game. Final players were Totem Warrior, Knight and Philosopher. Philosopher might have had the best chance of winning here as he had the ability to switch face up adventure cards... but there was no time.

But the final omen somehow was sticking around excruciatingly long. Eventually Knight used the Altar of Wrath to put every character out of their misery - last Omen was discarded. Every character lost the game.

First time ever when this has happened. Though, to be honest, there has been only a couple of alternate endings where that was even possible.

I'm not entirely sure how I feel about the Harbinger expansion. It does change the game a lot, which can be a good thing. But if there is a dedicated party pooper in the game, making everybody to suffer and eventually lose seems relatively easy with this expansion. But otherwise it can also be a lot of fun - especially in the first game it was a refreshing change of pace when players, while trying to win the game, also had to make amends and help other players at least a little.


Monday, January 18, 2016

Late Night with Compromised Morality

Last Saturday went from bad to worse to hell.

Oh, I'm not talking about missing buses and being late from just about everything that day.

I'm talking about having to play Cards Against Humanity.

There was a little bit of alcohol involved. Still, what I do remember from the game is almost too much to bear.

Well, I guess thinking about Auschwitz when I have sex really turns me on... or something...

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Tournament Practice

I'm going to a tournament this month, and these are two practice games against the same opponent.

It's a 50 point tournament, and this was my list for the first game:

Mohsar the Desertwalker
- Gorax
- Riphorn Satyr
- Warpwolf Stalker

Maximum unit of Tharn Ravagers + Chieftain
Druids of Orboros + Overseer
Shifting Stones + Stone Keeper
Blackclad Wayfarer

Objective: Bunker

Opponent had:

High Exemplar Kreoss
- 2x Reckoner

Minimum unit of Choir of Menoth
Maximum unit of Temple Flameguard + Unit Attachment
Maximum unit of Holy Zealots + Monolith
Initiate Tristan Durant
- Redeemer
2x Vassal of Menoth
Vassal Mechanik
Epic Eiryss
Covenant of Menoth

Scenario was Destruction and Protectorate started game.

Mirage is on Ravagers and Defender's Ward on Temple Flameguard. In the first picture Holy Zealots are under Greater Destiny. Way too many Druids died to blast damage, but they were the only casualties that turn. Lucky deviations could also have landed on Mohsar, who didn't have a single Fury point left for transfers.

Circle turn 2 Mohsar was empty on the inside again. He upkept Mirage and cast four salt pillars. Ravagers charged Temple Flameguard just to open up the game somehow.

Somehow the game felt really oppressive and I started to figure out any desperate moves. And a plan emerged when opponent had only Holy Zealots to contest the scenario zone. I'd destroy enemy objective and dominate zone for two turns somehow. First three points would be easy, just advance Mohsar to the zone and cast salt pillars after the Zealots and objective is removed. If he somehow survived, Rip Horn and Mohsar himself with Bulldoze might be able to empty the zone and bring scenario victory.

Well, the plan didn't have all that great chances of success, but it was the best I could do.


There was one "but" I didn't take into consideration. The Covenant of Menoth had said "no spellcasting within 10" of me", and that was where Mohsar found himself. With eight or nine fury points, unable to use them in any other way than to boost spray attack.

It was pretty much game over there, unless...

Riphorn Satyr made a double handed throw on Mohsar and threw him within Shifting Stones. Shifting Stones then teleported Mohsar to safety. Wow. Pro moves.

And Riphorn did save Mohsar - the game continued for one full round. Mohsar did lose all of his warbeasts, though. As a final act of defiance Mohsar charges a Reckoner, dragging at least one of the warjacks to grave with him. Except Mohsar missed quite a few attacks and didn't score that great damage rolls even with four dice. To Kreoss it probably looked more like an angry old man jumped to Reckoner and poked it a couple of times with a walking stick.

Game 2:

Opponent had the same list, while I took:

Morvahna the Dawnshadow
- Gorax
- Pureblood Warpwolf
- Wold guardian

Maximum unit of Wolves of Orboros + Unit attachment
MAximum unit of Tharn Ravagers + Chieftain + Shaman
Shifting Stones + Stone Keeper
Blackclad Wayfarer
Gallows Grove
Tharn Ravager White Mane
Gatorman Witch Doctor

Objective: Arcane Wonder

Scenario was Two Fronts and Circle started game. First picture is from the end of Circle turn two, I think. Finally I remembered to keep one of the Tharn Ravagers a bit behind not to make removing entire unit that easy. I didn't get the Ravager A that far because they only advanced. I wanted to kill two Zealots with Shaman's lighting stick, but failed the attack roll even with a re-roll.

Morvahna has Fog of War on and Carnivore is on Wolves of Orboros. Wolves are also zombified. Defender's Ward is on Temple Flameguard.

Protectorate turn 2 the Temple Flameguard charge a little, but only three get into contact with Wolves. Kreoss uses his feat and the rest of the army kills all but the one Ravager I had hidden behind Gorax.

That obviously meant Morvahna had to use her feat on turn 3 right away. Closest Reckoner had had Enliven cast upon it. I used the newly risen Ravagers to envelop it from all sides. Morvahna cast Purification to get rid of Defender's Ward and Fortify from Tristan's Redeemer. She cast Wold Guardian's animus on herself and called it a day. She had two fury points left for transfers.

Shifting Stones teleported Wold Guardian to the Enlivened Reckoner. Guardian didn't quite manage to destroy it, but fortunately the only Ravager who was able to charge dealt enough damage to wreck it. Ravager made it that far thanks to Hunter's Mark that had been cast on the Reckoner earlier.

White Mane failed a MAT 10 charge attack once more. He could have relatively easily eaten all three Flameguards and open up charge lanes for Wolves, but no. Not today. Not ever.

So the Wolves just advance and do a couple of Combined Melee Attacks to kill two Flameguards.

Game looked good enough, though I was afraid I'd lose all the Ravagers again, plus the Wold Guardian. But what I actually needed to be afraid of was the loss of Morvahna. She was not the only caster on board who had Purification on spell list. She lost the Wold Guardian animus, and then Reckoner and Redeemer attempted to assassinate her. Scary stuff.

But the key shot missed - Reckoner didn't get Morvahna under -2 Def Flare. Redeemer hit only with a maximum of one attack, and the damage rolls didn't raise concerns.

Covenant was reciting the "no knockdown or stationary" verse. I really wanted to knock Kreoss down with Wold Guardian. Opponent also ran Eiryss in between Kreoss and Wold Guardian, so there was an annoying Def 16 model that needed to go down somehow for a secure assassination.

This time the dice were rolling like a dream. The Covenant did break down, and Blackclad Wayfarer scored a hit against Kreoss. Pureblood Warpwolf killed Eiryss and dealt astonishing damage to Kreoss. Wold Guardian punched the protectorate warcaster in the belly.