Monday, February 29, 2016

Cruor et Caedis Chapter VIII

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


---


"Bravo! Bravo!" Jack applauded when the acrobat brothers showed him what they had been able to teach to the dogs in their improvised kennel. Sure, it was nothing when compared to their earlier animal whisperer, but considering the circumstances, Jack was proud of their accomplishments. The dogs had been left slightly more aggressive than what Jack had been used to, but this didn't bother him. He liked a little bit of ferociousness and passion in his crew. And dogs were part of his crew now. And the bear.

Bear had appeared some time ago, scavenging on the outskirts of their inn. Once Jack knew of the beast, he ordered everyone to catch the bear and shackle it. It was to become their new dancing bear. It was not a cub any more, so it would be quite a challenge. But challenge wasn't something Jack was afraid of. Once caught, the bear was put to rigorous training. The bear and the dogs were often trained together at the same time, which had a toll on their supply of wild dogs.

Sometimes the bear would become enraged and attacked the dogs, and any member of the circus that was too close. Mighty blows tossed dogs around like rubber chickens. This gave Jack an amazing idea. As the bear looked like it had a tendency of throwing living things, perhaps it could be taught to juggle the dogs?

That proved to be a mistake in the end. They had too few dogs available. But perhaps in time it would work out, somehow... When they would make it big on the stage, once more...

"Have they drugged the bear?" Ennu asked from behind of Jack.

"I don't know. Maybe. Whatever they did, it looks like it's balancing quite well on the barrel. Or perhaps it is afraid of the flames around the barrel?" Jack was wondering aloud, not directing his word exactly at Ennu.

"Reminds me of the old times. Not exactly the same... but I feel warm inside."

Jack turned to face Ennu, and said: "Oh, I know what you mean! Every circus needs animals. They're as important as everybody else, if not even more so. In circus they are ascending from their animal state to higher beings. That's more than any of us has done." Except, of course, when Jack's summonings became permanent.

"I think we should expand our repertoire of animals" Jack continued.

"Oh? What do you have in mind, mister? Please keep in mind the capabilities of our current trainers..."

"Yes, yes... I don't think they can handle anything more. And once we get back to the civilization, we need to recruit some real animal trainers. Meanwhile I don't think we can find elephants or parrots here. It's too cold. But I remember a funny little flea circus that played some tunes in a music box. There should be all kinds of insects everywhere. I might take responsibility of transcending them personally to perform wonders beyond human comprehension."

Ennu didn't say anything.

"I know, it isn't very grandiose... but I miss the real show. This is all just practice here while we wait... I'm growing slightly bored."

"It's yours to decide what to do. Yourself, and us as a whole. We could leave."

"No! I haven't found my ring yet. And I don't think the southern lands have settled yet, the uproar was nothing like we've seen before. We need to stay."

"As you wish, but others are also missing the stage."

"I know! I know!"

"Also, this morning an outrider entered this inn. Apparently some patrolling king's men are approaching the inn with the intent of holding up the law of the land and chasing off brigands. Surely we are not brigands, but I'm not entirely sure how the law feels about our circus, at least right now."

"Is that so. Sounds like a perfect time for a little tour. Nothing too fancy, not yet. Perhaps we should go and take our meagre menagerie with us. Just to see if they react well to people they don't know yet. And if they remember any of the new tricks they've been taught when they are in unfamiliar surroundings. Yes, I like this idea. We'll go tonight."

"As you wish."

---

"Ennu, please tell me. Do the good folk there, who have crashed with their cart, look like they'd enjoy a show while they're waiting for repairs?" Jack asked politely. He was genuinely interested.

"Hmm. Perhaps. Should we send someone to ask?"

"Oh, why bother. Let's surprise them! I'm sure they will love it! I think I might even d├ębut my flea circus..."

"An armed group seems to be closing in from the west. Are they coming to rescue the cart?"

Jack started to cackle maniacally: "But why would they need rescuing? It's only a show, you know! I already began. See that man in robes? I ordered my flea circus to entertain him a little!"

"Jack... they look like giant spiders. And I think they're trying to eat him."

Jack smiled and said with an unearthly voice: "Yes. The show is on." He raised his hand and saw thick streaks of blue liquid running up and down his flesh almost as if it was alive. Where the streaks had travelled, Jack vanished from sight. Eyes wide from surprise told Ennu that this had not been a part of their show tonight.

"Jack has gone missing" Ennu whispered. Oh, great. The bear had forgotten absolutely everything it had been taught, and was already attacking the supposed caravan retinue. Chances for a peaceful retreat had vanished as surely as Jack had done.

"Jack has gone missing! Our master is missing!" Ennu started shouting and running around, trying to gather everyone together. There was fighting in the distance there where the broken cart laid. Perhaps the approaching armed men were actually just filthy, plain robbers only? And now they thought Cruor et Caedis was coming to help the cart haulers? The fools!

"I don't know. We should go. Everyone retreat! Shoot the bear with sleep dart or something. We can't handle this without Jack" was the message Ennu wanted to tell, but there was no proof everyone got it the right way. Eventually Ennu just decided to take a run, orderly retreat wasn't one of their strengths. During escape, Ennu noticed Adon just standing idly. In fact, Adon had his eyes closed. The other... face... thing? had her eyes open, and they were looking sternly to the distance. Ennu poked Adon multiple times and tried to make him understand to run away. Eventually Adon opened his eyes, and Ennu took running off running again. Perhaps they followed. Or maybe not.

---

Few hours later almost everyone had found themselves together hiding in one of the ruined manors of that particular district where they happened to be. Curious thing, that instinct of theirs. Truly the bond between members of Cruor et Caedis was deeper than that of a close family. Nobody had really ever gotten lost from others during any of their many, many escapes and retreats. Come to think of it, none had ever really been able to escape Cruor et Caedis, either.

But here they were. Their dancing bear had been sedated and brought in the coffinmobile (that's what Jack called his sarcophagus with wheels). A few of their dogs had either died, or weren't here yet. First possibility was more likely by now. And here they were. Injured, bleeding, clobbered and insane. And... without Jack.

Adon had fallen asleep, but the other face was still looking somewhere that was beyond the sight of anyone else. The face refused to look anywhere else. If Adon was turned around by force, the face would turn back right away.

Soon they would need to get going. As there might be a connection between Jack's location and Adon's other face's direction, remains of Cruor et Caedis let it guide them. It only lead deeper into the ruins of Frostgrave. Their medical supplies were exhausted, but there was no reason to go back without Jack. There was hardly any reason to live without Jack.

After travelling for a day or so a snowstorm had started hampering their advance. The reasonable thing to do would have been to start falling back to their inn - visibility had been hampered so that it would be next to impossible to spot Jack, even if they reached his general whereabouts.

Then they came across an eerie opening, where the air itself was rippling with unknown power. Adon's other face seemed to pay special attention to this place, so Ennu ordered a more thorough searching. Soon it became clear that they were not alone.

"Curses. We must retreat. There are so many of them. Clearly we haven't been the only ones who've been drawn to this place! We will never find Jack this way" Ennu was lamenting, even if nobody was listening.

"Well, you don't really even need to", said a familiar voice nearby.

"Jack! Everyone, Jack is back! Jack is right here!" Ennu tried to inform their camp.

"Be quiet. Here lies a great power. Do not disturb it. I will capture it and harness it. See that stonework? Some sort of pillars, but they're not supporting anything. I don't know what will happen, but it will happen soon", Jack said and put his index finger in front of his lips with a soft "shh."

"Jack! Where were you? And have you... my apologies if I'm being too inquisitive, but have you found your ring? Can we leave Frostgrave?"

"Oh, this" Jack snorted scornfully and raised his hand in front of him for a better view of his own fingers. "This is trash. I thought it was the ring that would make a ringmaster, but this thing must be a crude joke. It is not my ring, but I will keep it as it has some minor... powers. Where I was if of no concern. It was freak accident, I believe. A vial had shattered in my pocket. It somehow... placed me. Somewhere. Somewhere where I could see this place and it's power. It should not happen again, I assure you, my loyal minion."

Ennu was about to say something, but suddenly Jack look alerted.

"Now! It starts now! Everyone, let's get moving! Kill everyone in sight, this wonderful secret shall be mine alone!" Jack ordered. Then he muttered to himself: "A glimpse... I can almost see it... the veil is so thin. Tear it down..."

Truly something was happening in here. Mighty beings out of this world were moving in the maximum reach of their vicinity. The living dead were walking towards the opening lead by a dark figure. A demonic entity was approaching the area from another direction along with its diabolic master. An invisible, terrifying presence could also be felt closing in.

Jack was fixated in observing the pillars when their group was attacked from within the snowstorm. It would be a fight unlike any before. Jack didn't care, but their group was injured, undernourished and exhausted.

"Jack. This is not natural. And we are outnumbered. We can't do this. Please, reconsider!" Ennu begged.

"Hah! For sure it is not natural! This is the most important event we have ever witnessed. We won't fall back, you coward. And look, they're fighting among themselves. There are more sides than two here today."

Ennu shook head, but submitted.

Until a green explosion of energy filled the clearing, and ghastly creatures rose from beneath the banks of snow and piles of rubble. It was pure hell on earth.

For a moment Ennu was sure that this was the end of them all. Cruor et Caedis would be no more. Everyone would die here today.

- - -

Next chapter.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Adventures of Failhorn Sat... oh, wait, wrong faction

Today I played a 50 point Warmachine game.

My list was:
Master Necrotech Mortenebra
- Harrower
- Malice
- Helldiver
- Ripjaw
- Deathripper
- Stalker

Maximum unit of Black Ogruns
Withershadow Combine
Warwitch Siren
Ragman
2x Necrotech & Scrap Thrall
Scrap Thralls
Soul Trappers

Objective: Arcane Wonder

Opponent had:

Saeryn & Rhyas
- Zuriel
- Scythean
- Seraph

Maximum unit of Hex Hunters
Blackfrost Shard
Maximum unit of Croak Raiders
Spawning Vessel

Objective: Effigy of Valor

Scenario was Fire Support and Legion started game. Everything pretty much ran forwards. Rhyas gave Croaks Occultation.

And then it was my turn to get stressed over Croak Raiders. Range 14" threat with the damage buff, and 16" threat with the darts that caused continuous fire. I had planned on running Mortenebra close to my objective with full camp, but that would've opened up the possibility of POW 12 + 3d6 damage rolls at the start of Mortenebra's turn, regardless of stacked focus! Making a screening out of Black Ogruns was also bad idea, because Croaks would've only caught 2-3 of them under the oil gourd, which meant 2-3 dead Black Ogruns...

In the end I just advanced cautiously so that no frog was within oil gourd range of Mortenebra. But I did the mistake of moving my heavy warjacks out of my deployment zone. Harrower had Spectral Steel on. I placed Malice and Harrower base-to-base contact to block Line of Sight to a Soul Trapper, Necrotech and whatnot.

Turn 2 the Croaks activated first. They set one Black Ogrun on fire (who died to the continuous effect next turn), and then, uh... Uh huh.

A Croak throws oil gourd on Malice. One frog misses the dart attack. Another one hits and rolls 6,6,4 for damage. That troubled me slightly. Hopefully next damage rolls would be at slightly more manageable levels. Well, they weren't. Next one was 6,6,6. Gah.

Third one also hit. And the damage roll was 6,6,6. WHAT IS HAPPENING IN HERE?

The rest of activations were mostly just positioning. But my morale and combat effectiveness had suffered a heavy blow.

But do not fret! There is always a way! Game is not lost until it's lost. I figured I might be able to make some overrun shenanigans to get Harrower to kill Scythean and any other nearby models. Mortenebra allocates three to Harrower and one to Stalker. Deryliss casts Overrun on Stalker, who advances into contact with two Croaks and kills them. The spawning vessel takes the corpse, and my Soul Trapper takes the soul. Efficient recycling. Overrun triggers and Harrower advances closer to Scythean.

Black Ogruns attempt to scare the Croaks, but they pass their command checks. Soul Trappers give two souls for Harrower and Tremulus casts Puppet Master upon it. Then it advances so that thresher special attack reaches one from the Blackfrost Shard, one Croak and the Scythean. Harrower uses souls for attack roll boosts against the infantry models, and kills them both. Now it would be six attacks against Scythean, hitting with 5+ and dealing damage at dice -2! Fun time.

Fun.

Time.

Out of the six attacks, two missed. I used Puppet Master to re-roll one of those into a hit. So, out of the five attacks that scored a hit, there were three rolls of 1,2 for damage. The two other attacks both rolled five or four damage points in.

One of these games, it seems.

Well, Helldiver who got focus point from Warwitch Siren attempted to do something to the Scythean, but the heavy warbeast wasn't even close to being finished off!

There was a glimmer of hope, though, when somebody killed fifth Croak Raider, which made them roll for massive casualties and they failed. This gave me a little bit more confidence with Mortenebra, who tried to advance so that she'd be able to cast Void Gate on the Scythean to hopefully protect Harrower to some extent. Luckily I measured her control area and noticed Zuriel was easily within slipstream + charge range to Mortenebra... abort the plan! The Void Gate was cast on a Black Ogrun instead. Reasoning: you can't force warbeasts inside the AoE effect.


Turn 3 Legion breaks my objective with Hex Hunters. Croaks get within 4" of the effigy and rally themselves.

Blackfrost Shard gives Kiss of Lyliss on Harrower, and then Rhyas charges it and spends all of her fury on Flashing Blade attacks. She doesn't score any critical rolls, but wrecks Helldiver and leaves Harrower alive with about six boxes remaining. Last Flashing Blade attack had missed Harrower.

Next Scythean activates and proceeds to wreck Harrower. It must have been love at first sight between those large based targets, because it really looked like neither wanted to kill the other! One initial attack missed, and twice it scored also 1,2 on damage rolls. Last attack it was able to make dealt the killing blow, though. "Nooo I don't want to kill you, dear Harrower! Noo!" "Well... stop hitting me?" "I caaaaaan't..."

Zuriel destroyed Stalker. Spawning Vessel made a Shredder, who went rabid and killed Ragman, my only source of Remove from Play effect. Legion got two control points.

Then it's my turn. Mortenebra allocates three focus points for Deathripper. Deryliss casts Spectral Steel on it, and then it goes to tear furyless Rhyas into shreds! And succeeds! Ahhahhah. At least I did something. Now, of course I knew that she'd be back next turn, but still... it was a sort of achievement. Black Ogruns also managed to scare the Croaks again, but after the roll was made we noticed at some point that they were indeed 4" from Effigy. Blackfrost Shard got failed their massive casualties test, though.

Rest of my activations were useless shuffling around. I didn't realise that by killing Rhyas I indirectly caused a ton of threshold checks for the enemy beasts next turn. All of them except Zuriel frenzied.

But, as I said, I was afraid of the enemy beasts with Mortenebra. She tried to cast Void Gate on Maelovus (missing because of stealth), hoping for a good, safe spot where she could travel to. The AoE drifted away from Mortenebra, though, so I tried to enter the next safest spot: behind Admonia and Soul Trapper. Neither of the warbeasts within charge distance had reach.

The spot I had chosen to hide in was just out of Killbox, though. So Legion went to four scenario points, and next turn Legion had only to clear either one of the flags and take a point. This was no problem for them.

Losing Malice so early in the game to disturbing damage rolls made it a difficult game, and the astonishing performance of Harrower against Scythean didn't help the least. If Harrower had succeeded, opponent would have needed to take care of Harrower with something else. That would always have been less attacks directed to, say, Stalker. Or the very least my objective would still have been standing, as Seraph was the one who dealt the killing blow to it. Maybe I wouldn't have chickened out then and hand over two scenario points for the opponent. Who knows.



Thursday, February 25, 2016

Dropzone Commander

I just came back from playing Dropzone Commander. It was a demo game of sorts, though no-one had extensive experience about the game.

We played with the two player box starter armies, Scourge vs UCM. I was playing Scourge.

Game beginning brought me horrid flashbacks about shooting with lascannon in games of Warhammer 40k. I was rolling dice so terribly that at one point it became hilarious. I didn't roll even a single 3+ until second round!

Second round wasn't all that much better. UCM had already found an objective from the building in the middle and had embarked back to APC. What does it take to kill one APC? Well, something more than three anti-tank skimmers, three dropships and two anti-aircraft skimmers. Exactly one (1) damage point was caused to the APC, and to really rub it in, that damage point had been caused by anti-aircraft vehicle!

This was amazing, as Scourge starter set looked like it was designed on having high speed, low range, decent skill and heavy damage. And now all of my combat units were clumped there in the middle.

UCM tanks shot my anti-tank skimmers, only one remained. Enemy anti-aircraft weaponry disembarked that turn, which gave me a little bit more survivability.

One of my infantry squads entered the building on left and started searching for the objective.

Turn three I was surprised how slow the enemy APC was after all. I did score the last damage point in, and the whole thing exploded along with the middle objective. UCM was closing in on the right side objective building, but was probably a little afraid by my anti-aircraft power.

It wasn't for long until all of my dropships had been shot down. Nonetheless, there was some kind of a turning point in the game now. Skimmer bonuses against shooting attacks caused enemy to miss a lot of attacks, and though their last infantry had entered objective building on right, they had not found it yet. My second infantry unit were speeding to the building on right. They needed to survive three enemy tanks, though.

Squad on the left found objective and started hauling it to my table edge. The other transport disembarked my second squad (though now when I think of it, I think I moved 6" and disembarked instead of the half move) which entered building on right. UCM decided to leave the building before close combat ensued. My troops found the objective and disembarked to my transport.

Late in the game I had two anti-aircrafts still moving about, and both infantry units and their transports. I had managed to shoot down one dropship, one APC with squad inside and one enemy tank. For comparison, I had lost three dropships, three anti-tank skimmers and one anti-aircraft skimmer.

Both of my transports with a squad inside with an objective managed to escape the board, and the other transport had even suffered a damage point. We probably played around eight or nine rounds, though, as nobody remembered the turn limit.

Anyway. It was a victory, but a pyrrhic one at best. I hope Scourge officers higher up in the hierarchy won't punish underlings, that manage to lose three dropships, too harshly. Probably they do, as their aesthetics give a bad guy impression.


So. What to say about the game itself? Well, I went in completely unprepared and still managed to grasp the rules well enough that we actually got to play a game. I'm not sure how long the game would have taken if we hadn't got a third player checking for rules. Anyway, I'm sure the system itself is simplified enough that games play relatively quick once both players know what they're doing.

In a way the rules felt familiar with 40k background. Attack rolls are made with a d6, and you got accuracy value that you have to beat, pretty much exactly like Ballistic Skill without any unnecessary extra tables. Ability to damage things was done by comparing weapon strength against target armour value and finding out the required score from a table.

Activations, on the other hand, played entirely different. You have battlegroups of multiple models that activate in I-go-you-go fashion. Starting player is determined each round by rolling initiative, like in Battletech. This created interesting "I have to win initiative now or all is lost" situations, though I think I won, like, two initiatives during whole game.

My verdict is that the rules didn't feel bad, and there's probably extra depth hidden in command card mechanics that weren't used in this demo game. Gameplay didn't spark a "wow I must get play more" reaction, but it's difficult to judge if that was because of the rules, or was it just because I'm not a big fan of small scale games, nor science fiction games.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Krueger the Stormlord vs Intercessor Kreoss

With this game I'm introducing a new tag to this blog: failhorn_satyr.

That warbeast, Gnarlhorn Satyr, has a long history of failing at just about everything it tries or is designated to do. It's becoming more and more hilarious each time it happens. So, today I checked all of my games played with Circle and tagged the most egregious examples of what it means to be a Failhorn Satyr. I didn't tag too obscure games where it was quite likely that Gnarlhorn Satyr failed somehow, so the actual number of Failhorn Satyr sightings are higher than those documented.

Now, joking aside and a little bit of honest speaking, too. Some of the Failhorn taggings are actually my very own blunders and poor choices. But the thing here is that Failhorn Satyr either fails personally, or I make foolish mistakes with it myself. Sometimes both.

So. Today I played a 50 point warmachine game. My list was:

Krueger the Stormlord
- Riphorn Satyr
- Gnarlhorn Satyr
- Gorax

Maximum unit of Bog Trog Ambushers
Druids of Orboros
Minimum unit of Tharn Ravagers + Chieftain
Shifting Stones + Stone Keeper
Lord of the Feast
Blackclad Wayfarer
2x Gallows Grove

Opponent had:

Intercessor Kreoss
- 2x Reckoner
- 2x Vanquisher

Maximum unit of Choir of Menoth
Maximum unit of Temple Flameguard + Unit Attachment
2x Vassal of Menoth
Wracks
Vassal Mechanik
Rhupert Carvolo

Scenario was Two Fronts and Protectorate started game. First picture is from the end of Circle turn 1. Holy Ward is on Temple Flameguard, and Krueger has put up Stormwall.

Turn 2 Protectorate pretty much ran again, which makes me terribly worried. Their warjacks were continuously shielded from magic, so there was no pushing or pulling them. And now there were Reckoner deep in my friendly zone and Vanquisher about there also. One Reckoner was a couple of inches deep in my enemy zone surrounded with two Temple Flameguards, Vassal of Menoth and Vassal Mechanik. And Vanquisher right there in the neighbourhood. My friendly zone was lost, but it looked like there was an opening in trying to win by scenario.

Bog Trogs enter play and kill Rhupert, that's all.

Gnarlhorn Satyr charges the objective. Destroying it would ease getting a charge lane to Reckoner with Riphorn Satyr. Buuuut... Gnarlhorn Satyr does what Gnarlhorn Satyr seems to do best. I even put the dice for the final damage roll to the picture. Objective had three damage boxes left. It was two fury points down (or up?) though, as it had used Bounding on Riphorn Satyr.

Next Krueger uses Telekinesis on Riphorn Satyr and then he charges the objective. He needed 9+ to destroy it. Failing that, he'd be on fire. This time Krueger finishes objective. Then he uses feat, but pushes and pulls so that Reckoner in the zone doesn't move. Sadly one Temple Flameguard still remains in the zone. Last he casts Stormwall and hopes for the best.

Riphorn Satyr then charges Reckoner. In the picture Riphorn is the orange proxy base. Charge attack hits. It uses boosted horns to strike that Flameguard, but rolls 10 when it needed 11 to hit. Looking back now, I should've left the horns last. Second initial claw hits Reckoner and Riphorn performs double handed throw against a Temple Flameguard nearby. I had already lost at least five minutes in figuring out what the heck to do to the Flameguard grunt in my enemy zone. But then, while performing the throw, I realised that larger targets fly over smaller ones.

The answer to my problems came kind of by accident. As enemy warjacks had been shielded from spells, they were free prey to Lord of the Feast. He threw his bird at a Vanquisher and teleported so that he had a choir member within reach, a couple of Flameguards along with their officer, and as an added extra bonus, a Vassal of Menoth. The "kind of" accident here was that I had wanted to mess up with enemy formation somehow, though I was unsure if that particular model was regular unit leader or the officer. Of course one could have asked...

With a few extra attacks generated from the menite corpses, the officer died. This, in turn, placed exactly that Temple Flameguard out-of-formation that I had stressed over for nearly ten minutes.

Ravagers screen Krueger, and that's all. One Druid under Vortex cloud was contesting my friendly zone along with a Gallows Grove.

Turn 3 Protectorate attempts shenanigans, but this is apparently foiled by a Flameguard who had not moved. Trying his best he tried to contest my enemy zone, but only got Reckoner, Vassal of Menoth and three Temple Flameguards there.

If dice would screw me over hard enough, I guess I could have failed to remove the infantry models from there somehow. But this was not the case, when Ravagers did exemplary job at clearing them.

But let's not get too far ahead. Before any of this happened, there was start of turn with all the things you associate to that. Namely, threshold checks.

Gnarlhorn Satyr had been pushed back two inches, though now I suspect that I forgot about anti-magic field. However, closest target was now Krueger.

It was a relief when Gnarlhorn Satyr missed, despite needing 9+ to hit. So thank you, Gnarlhorn Satyr, for being consistent, at least!

Game ended in scenario victory for Circle, when Riphorn Satyr forced animus and pushed the Reckoner away from zone.

Frostgrave campaign game eight

edit: Oh, whoopsie. Forgot the pictures.

Last Thursday I played in a Frostgrave campaign game. It was the fourth scenario of Thaw of the Lich Lord, Storm of Undeath.

Since it was a four player game, the number of skeletons inside the pillars was doubled. There were also twelve treasure tokens on board. Well, actually thirteen, since Jack succeeded in Reveal Secrets. That's second time in a row. Let's make this a tradition, shall we?

The crude yellow stars mark locations for treasures that weren't in the middle. I forget where the last one was, but somewhere between Necromancer and Sigilist would be my guess.

I sent a treasure hunter, a war hound and a thug to get treasure number two, and hoped to get the treasure number one with the use of Leap spell. Sigilist had cast Draining Word on Leap, though.

Since scenario special rules were quite hostile for shooting attacks, a crossbowman walked off the board with reveal secrets treasure.

Sigilists sent a treasure hunter with boots of leaping to treasure #2, and along with blood crow from crow master they killed my treasure hunter. Shoo, bird! Shoo! Oh well. Jack the Wizard was right under the building close to treasure #2, so I didn't worry about it too much. War hound and Thug were supposed to keep Sigilist troops in check so that Jack could come to help after making apothecary leap to treasure #1.

But then, alas... Adon the Apprentice failed to cast fog to screen the movement of the main body of the warband. This wasn't so bad in itself, but it made me cautious. Summoner had his apprentice there on top of the little bride section. Elemental Bolt would still be Shoot +4 attack even in the snowstorm. The summoner had also succeeded in calling a major demon to the field. I had envisioned that I'd scare off summoners from treasure #4, and with some luck escape with four treasure tokens from the game. And now there was a big question marks on #2 and #4.

So, I tried to continue with the original plan and went to contest #4 with my rangibear before opponent would have the opportunity to snatch that treasure with leap spell. Too bad that the enemy punched the bear down to one hit point remaining. That only made the bear angry, though - once major demon came in for the kill, the bear dealt some five damage in or so.

On turn three the skeletons arose in the middle, and my apothecary had finally been able to pick up the treasure #1. Thug and the war hound that were trying to get #2 had failed in their attempt, and necromancers and the summoner had been cleaning up the middle from treasure tokens. Things started to look rather bad, and I became over-protective of my apothecary. Jack cast leap on apothecary, but rolled exactly one. By expending Ring of Power and all but one hit point Jack was able to leap apothecary to relative safety. I didn't like the word "relative", so Adon the Apprentice also cast leap on the apothecary. He also failed to cast it and empowered the spell so that he got three hit points remaining.

Invisible sigilist wizard had collected easy 50 experience points from the scenario. And now the wizard was after Jack! And that particular wizard was a monster in melee combat. I think he's +7 or something, where Jack is only +6, plus he was wounded. Hmm. Now I remembered that at some point Jack had beaten a war hound in melee. That was probably the soldier phase of turn 2. Anyway. The point here was that everybody around Jack had suddenly died, both friends and enemies alike. It was between Jack and the enemy wizard now. Adon and his buddies closer to the middle were unavailable to help, too, as there was a more pressing huge fight going on with knights and major demons and what else.

Jack lives for unreasonable risks, but not that unlikely rewards. So, instead he cast leap on himself. He needed 12+ to succeed thanks to being injured and suffering from draining word. If he rolled below 8, he'd die. Roll was exactly 12.

But then sigilist wizard uses scroll of time walk or whatever the spell is that lets you activate again on soldier phase. Nooo! Even after his gambit he was not safe!

In the apprentice phase my bloodthirsty bard clears the fight, dealing killing blow to knight. This freed Adon to open Eye of Amoto on Jack and cast leap on him. He effectively needed 14 to succeed. Roll was 11. Eh. Choices, choices...

But losing an apprentice isn't as punishing as losing a wizard, so Adon spent his last three hitpoints on empowering the leap. Both spellcasters disappeared from the board.

After that it was pretty much all-out rout for me.

I had managed to bring only two treasure tokens in for me. The other one was a little bit of gold and a grimoire (Elemental Ball) and another was Club of Battering. Total experience was 240, which wasn't too bad when I only got two treasures.

Rangifer died from roster and a thug would need to miss next game. I sold the grimoire, bought a new rangifer and dismissed the thug.

Thug was replaced with a captain from Sellsword mini-expansion. To go with the circus theme, I gave my captain speed 7 and Sprint as a Trick of the Trade. She's equipped with leather armour, hand weapon, dagger and bow.

Story piece for last game and this game can be found here.

Roster details:

Jack Saturn is level 23 with 2305 experience.
He has levelled fight by +3, Will by +1, and health by +3*.
Fleet Feet spell has been improved by +4, Elemental Ball by +2*, Leap by +1, Possess by +1, Imp by +1 and Fog by +3*.
He has learned Plague of Insect, which has been improved by +1.
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), 2x Sword of Undead Slaying, Magical bow (+2 damage modifier), Club of Battering
Book of Rangifer
Ring of Power (1)
Eyes of Amoto
Grimoire: Poison Dart, Control Construct, Willpower, Furious Quill
Scroll of Planar Tear.

Total gold that has been collected is 2150, unspent gold is 470.

Warband roster is worth 1360 gold (level 20 apprentice is 400) and includes:
Barbarian (with the two handed weapon from vault)
Marksman
Crossbowman
2x Treasure Hunter
Apothecary
Bard
War Hound
Rangifer
Captain: +1 Move and Sprint trick.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

I made a good decision once...

... though it wasn't in this game.

Last Monday I played a 50 point game of Warmachine.

My list was:

Dominar Rasheth
- Tiberion
- Rhinodon
- Basilisk Krea

Minimum unit of Beast Handlers
Maximum unit of Venator Reivers + Unit Attachment
Maximum unit of Bog Trog Ambushers
Swamp Gobbers
Agonizer
Wrong Eye & Snapjaw

Opponent had:

Hierarch Severius
- Judicator (bonded)
- Reckoner
- Blessing of Vengeance

Minimum unit of Choir of Menoth
Maximum unit of Temple Flameguard + Unit Attachment
Visgoth Rhoven & Honor Guard
Ayiana & Holt
Vassal Mechanik
2x Vassal of Menoth

Scenario was Fire Support and Protectorate started game. Holy Ward was cast upon Temple Flameguard. I didn't bother with Carnivore just yet, instead Rasheth filled Agonizer with four fury and put up Castigate. Krea did that too and charged Judicator, bringing it nicely to contact with Tiberion. Wrong Eye and Snapjaw were advancing under Snapjaw's animus.

Turn 2 Protectorate didn't get to make any meaningful damage just yet. Only one Beast Handler died to Judicator's blasts and Tiberion was set on fire.

Then. If I had been secretly happy about such a poor performance, I was about to receive a harsh punishment for that fleeting moment of joy.

A full unit of Venator Reivers with unit attachment, combined ranged attacks and aiming bonuses were able to kill exactly one (1) Temple Flameguard, who had shield wall order, but not Iron Zeal just yet. Quite a feat for 11 point investment!

Tiberion killed another one, which was also remarkable performance from an eleven point beast. Though that one was entirely my own mistake, as I had placed Tiberion around two or three millimetres too far from a second member of the unit. Rhinodon walked next to to block line of sight to Rasheth. Krea advanced under its animus to provide bonuses for Rhinodon and Tiberion. Rasheth advances a little and casts Breath of Corruption on Gius or Cassian. My intention was to provide a sure charge block for Temple Flameguard against Rhinodon and hopefully even to Tiberion.

Well. The first template scattered nowhere. Second went to a little better place, protecting at least Rhinodon. Then Rasheth had two fury left, and I hadn't cast Castigate. The only way that might possibly save Rasheth's greasy behind that I could figure out was to charge a Temple Flameguard with Snapjaw and engaging Judicator in the process.

I think Snapjaw dealt around four points of damage to Judicator, and failed to kill the Flameguard grunt.

That move probably prolonged the game, as opponent didn't try to go in for the assassination. And why should he, Wrong Eye was on a plate there, and I wouldn't be able to threat his valuable pieces in any meaningful way.

All things considered, Protectorate turn 3 wasn't too horrifying. Both of us had had their share of low rolls during this game. Though Gius' or Cassian's damage roll against Wrong Eye wasn't low - the voodoo croc was instantly slain the moment the Exemplar started to look his way. That took down Snapjaw, who had witnessed some of the poor rolls Aiyana & Holt had thrown in its general direction.

Judicator tried to shoot Agonizer down, but the blast damage caused only a couple points of damage. Swamp Gobbers died to scattering templates, and one additional Beast Handler, too. Admonisher attack that was channeled through Blessing of Vengeance missed it's target entirely.

So, I had my warlock still standing (or, technically I had the agonizers that were carrying my warlock still standing) and net losses had been only around eleven points.

Bog Trogs entered the game and charged to kill Aiyana & Holt, and tied up Rhoven.

Venators had much better results this turn in whittling down the Flameguard. Rhinodon and perhaps Tiberion also beat a couple of them in an attempt to open up room for Agonizer to run through. And then Agonizer ran. I wanted to catch all of the Protectorate warjacks to the "no focus allocation" agony, but that needed Agonizer to run to Blessing of Vengeance's melee range, and even then getting Judicator within 9" was uncertain.

Perfect moment to forget about things like Defensive Strike... really. Need to try to read some of the opponents cards other than the warcaster before the game begins, too. Ah well. There went the Agonizer.

Instead of trying to escape somehow, Rasheth advances forwards. I wanted to bring some of the Bog Trogs within Rasheth's control area to cast Blood Mark on Severius, but it started to look too risky, so I ended his movement behind Krea. Gius or Cassian looked too threatening. This time I remembered to cast Castigate. Rasheth was just a wee bit out of 8" to Blessing of Menoth, so he used a Venator to channel boosted Blood Mark on Blessing of Vengeance.

EXCEPT. That Venator was also out of range, even more than Rasheth. It looked like it was slightly closer... perspective is a precarious thing.

I left three fury left for transfers, brought Beast Handlers to block charges, and bit the pillow.

Then goes Protectorate. Rhoven takes a free strike from Bog Trog, but apparently free attacks against key pieces don't work both ways. Rhoven survived and took a fury point away from Rasheth, so he only had two transfers now.

Reckoner, however, somehow missed the flare shot against Rasheth. This caused one of the Judicator rockets miss Rasheth, and another one was shield guarded by Tiberion. Ancillary attacks caused a few stray points in to Rasheth. Now Blessing of Vengeance had free charge lane to Rasheth. Two transfers and whatever the latter attacks did left Rasheth at six hit boxes.

Two Temple Flameguards get a charge in to Rasheth. The first one misses.

Opponent had no more models to activate, except maybe perhaps Vassal Mechanik. Severius had spent his activation on clearing Bog Trogs with his feat, and moving Beast Handlers out of the way.

This was literally the last possible attack opponent would be able to make.

It's a hit, and Rasheth is on fire.

Damage roll is...

... something like 4,5,5.

Ah well. Though my positioning was terrible in this game and I played way too aggressively with Rasheth against Protectorate of Menoth that had powerful enough ranged weaponry to be a threat to Rasheth, I had some moments where I at least feel I could have turned the train to safer tracks. Agonizer would really have definitely kept me playing for at least one more round if I would have sufficed for the two Protectorate warjacks. I did have good tools against Severius2, as the fire stick Severius can channel wouldn't become a problem, and Carnivore definitely helps in dealing against Holy Ward. Wrong Eye and Snapjaw were also protected from most of the tricks in Protectorate's arsenal.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

"If I just... could... reach!"

Last Wednesday I played a 35 point game of Warmachine.

My list was:

Kaya the Wildborne
- Warpwolf Stalker
- Riphorn Satyr
- Scarsfell Griffon
- Rotterhorn Griffon

Minimum unit of Bog Trog Ambushers
Shifting Stones
Swamp Gobbers
Blackclad Wayfarer
Druid Wilder
Feralgeist

Enemy had:

Iron Lich Asphyxious
- 2x Deathripper

Maximum unit of Bane Thralls + Unit Attachment
Maximum unit of Mechanithralls + Skarlock Commander... I think opponent forgot to put Brute on table, since list is one point short.
Necrosurgeon
Withershadow Combine
Bane Lord Tartarus
Skarlock
Warwitch Siren

Scenario was Recon. Cryx probably started, and first picture is from the end of Circle turn 1.

Cryx turn 2 the disturbing horde lurches forward. Asphyxious comes to take pot shots with Hellfire against Kaya. If dice started rolling well, Asphyxious might have used feat and score an assassination. Kaya had only two Fury for transfers. But if that was opponent's plan, he ditched it after first Hellfire missed and Breath of Corruption didn't land on her.

On my turn I was fairly intimidated for obvious reasons. I was outnumbered three to one if we don't count my models that had no attacks at all. I decided to use Kaya's feat this turn and call in the Bog Trogs. Their most important target, Necrosurgeon, was slightly too far away. At least one Trog killed the Warwitch Siren, and one took down a stitch thrall.

Warpwolf Stalker warped for berserk and charged stitch thrall in the middle. This triggered a berserk chain that accomplished nothing. Stalker starts to buy attacks against the Deathripper, managing to miss some attacks even with Kaya's Pack Hunter ability. Finally one attack hit, and Stalker had capacity for one more attack. I decided to go a risky route, and attacked Bane Thrall. Berserk carried through the two Bane Thralls back to Deathripper. I think the attack hit but didn't wreck.

Riphorn Satyr finishes the bonejack and kills one Mechanithrall. Yay. Rotterhorn then uses its own animus and charges forward. My plan with the bird was mostly wishful thinking, but I tried to take three Mechanithralls down by charging the unit leader. This provoked a free strike from Mechanithrall, which hits and breaks Spirit branch. And it appeared my wishful thinking had been way too optimistic - the Griffon could only reach its charge target, and 2" from Shrill Shriek didn't even carry to anybody!

Well. At least Rotterhorn Griffon missed both of it's initial attacks, and the Shriek killed that Mechanithrall. Shrill Shriek success. That was a pretty costly unit leader, though.

Scarsfell Griffon charges the other arc node, and with its flurry of low-powered attacks it managed to drop the bonejack to only movement system remaining.

I had been too eager with the Rotterhorn Griffon anyway. I was supposed to use it's animus on Blackclad Wayfarer before it charges off to its doom, but in the heat of things I forgot. Saxon Orrik had last turn nearly killed Druid Wilder, so I wanted to kill him. That military rifle could become problematic. Blackclad Wayfarer tried to spray Saxon down, but 8+ was beyond my dice roll skills.

Finally Kaya activates, uses all fury to bring both heavies to safety, advances and uses feat to call Rotterhorn back and heal it with one fury point. I had only the objective and a swamp gobber contesting the zone.

Turn 3 Cryx starts playing for scenario. Tartarus curses Scarsfell Griffon, and Bane Thralls charge. Two get to objective and break it. Astonishing combination of misses and low damage rolls kept Scarsfell Griffon still in game. One Swamp Gobber died to the Bane Thralls, and it wasn't the one who was contesting. A hero gobber! Last turn it had caused a Tough check for a Bane Thrall.

But then Asphyxious comes around and ruins everything by shooting a Hellfire to the melee. Of course it missed, but Bane's stealth surprised the opponent. I guess he attempted to kill the Bane Thrall and free Gobber from melee, and kill it with a second shot. So he opted for a 33% kill chance by attacking with Breath of Corruption. The cloud lands on the gobber, and Cryx went to three scenario points.

Circle turn 3 I try to figure out what to do. Exposing both of my heavy warbeasts wasn't an idea I liked too much, and exactly that I needed to do if I'd try to prolong the game somehow. I didn't have enough attacks to whittle down the infantry, even with Berserk from the Warpwolf Stalker. Moreover, Riphorn had been placed poorly, so it's contribution to game at this point would be minimal. Unless...

Riphorn pushes Kaya. Then Rotterhorn Griffon pushes Kaya. I wanted to align Kaya so that she'd be able to get within 5" of Maelovus with a charge attack against whatever. This succeeded, and she tried to shoot Maelovus down with one fully boosted Spirit Fang. That's 8+ to hit with three dice and 9+ to kill with three dice.

To really rub it in, damage roll was exactly 8. Curses.

Had Maelovus died, I think I could have shifted a Warpwolf Stalker who warps for strength within reach of Asphyxious, who had only one focus point boosting the armor.

Well. There was not much left to do. Blackclad Wayfarer took a free strike from Saxon Orrik in an attempt to perhaps clear a different teleport lane for Warpwolf Stalker. He survived, but either spray was too short or attack didn't hit to the main target - a Bane Thrall next to Maelovus.

Scarsfell Griffon takes three free strikes from Bane Thralls and one from Deathripper to just see how far it might go. I don't know what I tried to accomplish with that, as it couldn't reach to any location where it might be of use. Maybe I wanted to kill Tartarus. I don't know.

Well, there still was one hope - that 8" from Warpwolf Stalker would be enough to place it right behind of the Bane Thrall, or perhaps base-to-base to Maelovus and Bane Thrall.

Turns out it isn't enough to do that.

Bummer, bummer, bummer. It was game over for Circle now.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Frostgrave campaign game seven

Last Thursday we continued Frostgrave campaign with all four players. We played Thaw of the Lich Lord campaign scenario three, Loot the Cart.

We tinkered the scenario rules a little - instead of four cultists in the middle, there were eight. And instead of four ghouls from one random table edge, we'd have two ghouls from the middle of every table edge. These modifications were made because we had four players, when the scenario had been written for two.

My circus was lucky to succeed in 15+ Reveal Treasure spell, so I'd get at least one treasure from this game. Especially when we played this spell wrong - Within 6" of deployment zone means actually the 0-6" zone area beyond deployment zone. Spell description was a little confusing.

Again first picture shows treasure locations. There are four treasures inside the cart in the middle.

There is a paper slip close to the bear, and that one is a fog template. It blocked line of sight to a treasure hunter who went and picked the closest treasure from the building, so that treasure was an easy grab.

Second picture attempts to show that there was indeed a fourth team on the table. The building corner on the left is the same building where my closest treasure was. Jack had cast Plague of Insects on the necromancer's apprentice, because I was a little worried about his maxed out Bone Dart. Necromancer himself was shooting death cultists there at the fallen cart.

So, a huge brawl starts to form up between me and necromancer. That one fight must have been the biggest I've seen yet, and it was thanks to all models refusing to die even when they were injured. Now, let's see... There were my rangifer, war hound, bard, apothecary and barbarian from my side, and opponent got a knight, infantryman, zombie and something else there when the fight was at it's biggest.

Sigilists and Summoners were mostly fighting between themselves with Summoners slowly gaining the upper hand. Of course I don't know the difficulty levels Sigilist wizard needed to pass for a successful cast, but still at one point it wasn't even comical any more how many spells completely failed for them.

Necromancer warband reached the cart. I think there were only three or two cultists remaining there at that moment. Ghouls showed up and caused a slight distraction. I wanted to bait the ghouls with my sharpshooter who was on the building, but during later turns I realised that once the ghouls were standing on the bottom floor, the marksman was no longer in their line of sight! One ghouls sprang to my treasure hunter, who was still carrying a treasure. It didn't get to combat, but it did get within 1" of the treasure hunter, so it would force combat if he moved.

Another one made it into contact with Adon the Apprentice with double move. Adon had tried to blast them with Elemental Ball earlier, drawing Line of Sight from a window.

I had to send Jack to deal with the ghoul who was going to harass my precious treasure. My forces finally won the fight between me and the necromancers, but it had stalled me from coming to the party in the middle. Unless...

A streak of really bad luck had devastated Sigilist warband, and the final nail on the coffin was a cheap shot by Summoner warband that killed uninjured soldier who was carrying a treasure for the Sigilists. Sigilists were unable to get it back, and Summoners were carrying astonishing number of five treasure tokens. Necromancers were falling back. There weren't that many of them even alive any more.

There was only one way I could make a meaningful move within the game that would have any impact on the big picture.

Jack used his potion of teleportation and hopped to the other side of the table. He didn't get killed, so right next he casts Possess on himself. That's +8 Fight wizard right there. Jack had only around nine hit points left or so. Well, Jack surely was pretty intimidating there, but I didn't want to risk it. I strongly implied that my level of aggression would drop dramatically, if one treasure token would be left on the ground by the retreating summoners.

A deal was struck, but I still tried to cast Plague of Insects around. Perfect disarmament spell, that doesn't damage any models. Well, it's a shame that Jack repeatedly failed the spell and was taking a little bit of damage from the miscasts.

But in the end my rangifer (who had been healed by apothecary) ran to get the treasure token. Sigilists continued to harass my retreat throughout what was left of the endgame, but no additional damage was done to any side.

From the three treasures I found yet one more Sword of Undead Slaying (yay...) a Ring of Power (1) and nothing but gold. I didn't take any extra experience from my Reveal Secrets treasure, as I wanted to balance it out somehow that it was even easier grab than it normally would be. Spells and treasures gave Jack two levels this time.

Sigilists had been so unfortunate that they didn't get even one treasure token. But I'm not too surprised that it eventually happened (I think this was first game I've witnessed zero treasures for anyone?) in this scenario - the amount of treasure tokens was very limited, and most of them were tied to one location. All it required was a cheap shot and another failed melee at another treasure token early in the game.

I had almost started to think that the section of our house rules that limited post-game sequence a little bit was nearly redundant, but this game showed at least that it's good to have some sort of safety net if D20 decides to really screw somebody over.


Roster details:

Jack Saturn is level 20 with 2065 experience.
He has levelled fight by +3, Will by +1*, 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, which has been improved by +1.*
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), 2x Sword of Undead Slaying, Magical bow (+2 damage modifier)
Book of Rangifer
Ring of Power (1)
Eyes of Amoto
Grimoire: Poison Dart, Control Construct, Willpower, Furious Quill
Scroll of Planar Tear.

Total gold that has been collected is 1880, unspent gold is 410.

Warband roster is worth 1360 gold (level 20 apprentice is 400) and includes:
Barbarian (with the two handed weapon from vault)
Marksman
Crossbowman
Thug
2x Treasure Hunter
Apothecary
Bard
War Hound
Rangifer

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Meet the Circus

To celebrate me getting my camera back, I'll put up the whole lot of my circus, Cruor et Caedis, here.

Latest reinforcements were the animals: two war hounds and a "rangifer" that is, in this case, a bear balancing on a barrel. All of them are from Warlord games.

Bluish grey blobs are spider swarms, which aren't showing very well in the picture (and neither to the plain eye). I was a bit lazy with them. I guess it would be easy to revisit them, but... uh. That's not going to be very high on the list of painting priorities.

Also the middle section is fairly recent. There's a bard, an archer and "something" there. I don't know what the juggler is going to represent. Last game she was a thug. They're all from Reaper minis.

Remaining models are from my earlier Carnival of Chaos warband project for Mordheim. Two acrobats with shields and blunt instruments are from Carnevale, as well as the masked Pulcinella figure.

Two headed freak is the apprentice and is a little converted model from Avatars of War. Plague summoner it was, I think.

I have no idea what company has produced the carnival master, but the model in itself was Jack the Ripper.