Nov 022011

One of my collecting bugs is the Regiments of Renown range Citadel released in the 80s. 28 sets of different miniatures were released, in different waves. I think they’re great, though I do know most people shun the early ones as the troopers are all identical. Not a problem for me, as the main reason I’m collecting them is to have pick up and play warbands for SBH. Having identical troopers with identical stats help new players not mix things up. As there’s no book keeping in Song of Blades and Heroes, there’s no need to have unique models unless the stats differ.

The first Regiment of Renown ever released is Bugman’s Dwarf Rangers. Great models, I must say! I haven’t been able to determine who sculpted them, but there’s a definite Perry Twins air to the chaps. Due to a severe lack of hobby time (and motivation for the minis) I had them sent off to Arjen “Pil” Pilon, who did a very good comission job on them for me (so I did NOT paint these myself). I asked to do the bases though, to keep them coherent with my existing collection.

Unfortunately, this is not a complete set. I have not been able to get the original pre-slotta musician separately, and the champion from that set goes for silly money on eBay. Thus, I settled for less (not really, as the minis are great) and got the second edition Bugman’s musician and champ. Job’s a good ‘un!

A trooper, the 2nd edition musician and the first incarnation of Joseph Bugman!

Another trooper, the standard bearer and the 2nd edition Jorj Ruddle. I’m sure there’s a pun in there but I can’t figure it out for the life of me!

I must say, I’m really impressed with the quality of the paint jobs. Especially considering the low price and quick turnaround time. Hat’s off to you, mr Pilon! Talk about polishing turds here! I wasn’t very keen on the models at all, until I had seen them painted up!

With 16 troopers painted and 4 command models, I have more than I can ever need for Song of Blades. Here’s the 500 point warband list I’m planning on using with some of these chaps.

Bugman’s Dwarf Rangers – 498 points
1 x Joseph Bugman – Quality 3+, Combat 4. Leader, Shooter: Medium, Short Move. (72 pts)
1 x Jorj Ruddle – Quality 3+, Combat 4. Hero, Shooter: Medium, Short Move. (72 pts)
1 x Dwarf Musician – Quality 3+, Combat 3. Champion, Short Move. (42 pts)
1 x Dwarf Standard Bearer – Quality 3+, Combat 3. Short Move, Standard Bearer. (24 pts)
9 x Dwarf Warrior – Quality 3+, Combat 3. Shooter: Medium, Short Move. (32 pts)

They all have crossbows latched to their backs, hence the Medium Shooter skill. I wanted them to have the ranger characteristics reflected in their stats, and didn’t really feel like giving them all Forester. The musician was a bit of a challenge too, until I remembered the Champion skill from Song of Deeds. The standard bearer and the musician don’t have Shooter, as they’re too busy waving flags and tooting horns to be bothered with the shooty stuff.

Let’s hope I’ll be able to arrange a game for them soon. I had the foresight to ship another regiment with these guys, and have them painted and done up too. Next time, Mengil Manhide’s dark elf company!

Jul 202010

In The Riding, a small backwater province in The Old World, lies a small town named Stillburg. Situated north of Averridge and surrounded by dark forests, life has never been easy nor much fun in Stillburg. Recently, this has taken a turn for the worse. Livestock have been found mutilated and torn asunder, and several supply convoys from the south have gone missing.

At first people blamed the wolves in the region, and wanted to organize a hunt. However, when a full pack of wolves was found torn to pieces the towns-folk started to get scared. Nobody talked about organizing any hunts after that. Instead, fortifications were made on the town borders and mercenaries were recruited to bolster the town’s small militia.

Among these mercenaries, we find Raab the Barbarian and his old friend and partner Aldor Berlepsch.

SCENARIO 1 – Stirrings in the burial grounds
A few uneventful days after their enlistment, Raab and Aldor were spending the afternoon listening to yet another speech by the mayor. A sudden commotion in the north end of the square brought a premature (and appreciated) end to the speech. It was old farmer Crabcock, screaming at the top of his lungs that ”they got him”.

The mayor and a cleric from the priory of Gadd rushed to the old man’s side, and after a short but lively discussion mayor Boismann once again addressed the crowd. The farmer’s son had been assaulted and dragged off by walking corpses, into the woods to the north west of town. The mayor, seeing an opportunity to raise the generally low opinion of him and his bravery, proclaimed that he and the cleric would venture out to recover the young farmboy. At their side, they have three men from the militia and a heavily armed paladin of Gadd. They could however use some help…

Aldor and Raab decide to join, to make some quick coin and then get on with their travels north to Norsca where they plan to rejoin Raab’s brethren. How dangerous can a few reanimated skeletons be?

Woods and stone mounds, with one or two village houses near one corner of the board. The heroes are deployed within a short distance from the buildings. On the diagonally opposite quarter of the table, the (still living) body of Billy Crabcock is placed. The undead are deployed within a medium radius around him.

Reach Billy Crabcock with any character before he bleeds out (6 turns). (+2/-2 VP)
Slay the undead. (+1 VP for each 100 points)
Keep mayor Boismann alive. (+1/-1 VP)

The heroes, from left to right:
Brother Wendel, human cleric (50 pts): Q3+, C2. Cleric.
Duncan Sandels, human paladin (46 pts): Q3+, C4. Steadfast.
Raab, norse barbarian (39 pts): Q4+, C4. Fearless, Savage.
Aldor Berlepsch, human ranger (50 pts): Q3+, C3. Forester, Shooter: Long.
3x Town militia (Sven, Hans, Bo – 23 pts): Q4+, C3.
Mayor Boismann, human mayor (44 pts): Q3+, C1. Leader, Shooter: Short.

The undead force:
8x Skeleton Warrior (26 pts): Q3+, C3. Slow, Undead.
3x Skeleton Archer (24 pts): Q3+, C2. Slow, Undead, Shooter: Medium.
3x Zombie (8 pts): Q4+, C2. Slow, Undead, Short Move.

The heroes win initiative and activate first. They all move up the centre, with Raab and Aldor on point and the mayor with militia bravely protecting the rear. The undead breaks up in two groups; one larger group advancing towards the heroes while a small group of two skeletons and the three zombies advance on the right flank in cover of the woods. The three skeleton archers each take a shot at Raab, but at three times the distance it has no effect.

Aldor and Raab then move into the woods on the right flank, while brother Wendel and Duncan enters the woods on the left flank. The mayor, in a rare display of bravado, moves up the centre with only one militiaman as a shield to act as bait. All but one skeleton move up and form a line in front of the skeleton archers. All three archers shoot at Sven, the closest militia man, who falls on the last (aimed) shot. On the right flank, the zombies and two skeletons slowly advance.

Sven recovers from the archers’ attack and stands up. Aldor is running unhindered through the woods with the goal to reach Billy as quick as possible. In a coordinated ambush the heroes break cover from the woods and attack! Duncan and brother Wendel leap out of the woods on the left side and attack two skeletons. Duncan manage to hit, but his opponent is only pushed back. Wendel on the other hand, scores a solid hit and destroys the vile skeleton with divine aid. In blind frenzy, Raab rushes out from the woods on the right, straight into a surrounding circle of skeletons with no actions left for attacks. The militia moves up to shield the mayor, who fires with his pistol over their shoulders but miss.

The trailing skeleton rushes up past Duncan to attack brother Wendel, but the attack is parried with ease and the cleric repays the attacker with a crushing (and quite holy) blow to the skull. Two skeletons near Raab gather around him and the barbarian realize his folly. Outnumbered three to one, a fourth skeleton moves in and with a precise blow the mighty barbarian is overpowered and falls. A fifth skeleton approaches the fallen warrior and finishes him off. The archers fire at brother Wendel, who falls when dodging the fussilade.
On the right flank, the skeletons rush through the woods while the zombies continue circling around it.

The militia men move in and engage the archer skeletons, with no effect. Brother Wendel stands up and attacks one of the archers, but loses his balance and stumbles back. Duncan does a powerful attack on one of the skeleton warriors and scores a gruesome kill. The three skeleton warriors in range are transfixed, while the three archers are unaffected. Aldor emerge from the woods to ambush the rear skeleton archer, who is killed. The mayor fails to activate.

One of the skeleton warriors shrugs off the transfix, and moves to engage Aldor. The two remaining archers take turns attacking Sven, the militiaman. The first attack brings him to his knees and the other archer finish him off. One of the skeletons in the right flank woods run out ambushing mayor Boismann, who is pushed back but otherwise unharmed by the assault.

Bo attacks a skeleton archer and pushes it towards Duncan, who finishes the archer off with a powerful attack. Hans moves into contact with one of the transfixed skeletons while brother Wendel rushes to aid Billy but doesn’t quite reach him. In an unusual display of bravery, mayor Boismann moves to assist Aldor in the fight with a skeleton warrior. The ranger fails his attack and is pushed back by the foul undead.

Another skeleton warrior recovers from the transfix, while the two farthest skeletons move in behind Hans and Bo. The archer does a powerful attack on Bo and scores a gruesome kill. Seeing his last comrade fall, Hans flees. Duncan stands alone, facing five skeletons! The skeleton warrior engaged with the mayor activates with three dice, causing a turn over but one action is available. The mayor is attacked and falls.

Brother Wendel reaches Billy in the nick of time and is able to stop the bleeding on the young man. Mayor Boismann recovers from the attack, and with Boismann’s aid Aldor rushes the skeleton only to once again push it back. Duncan charges the same skeleton warrior, who is very resilient and is only pushed back. Hans recovers from routing.

The remaining skeleton archer fires an arrow at the mayor, who suffers a gruesome death. Covered in the mayor’s brains, Aldor flees. While Hans and Duncan stand firm, brother Wendel decides he’s done his part of the deal in rescuing the boy and flees. Two skeleton warriors move in on Duncan, and one engages Hans. The transfixed skeleton causes a turn over when trying to activate.

Wendel flees off the board, but Aldor recovers. Duncan attacks a skeleton but is pushed back himself. At this point, the heroes decide they’ve gotten what they came for and quickly leave the battle field together with the severely wounded Raab and a very pale farmer boy.

The mayor’s body is left to an horrible end in the fields, where the zombies feast on his carccass before returning into the woods.

Back in town, the healers can do nothing for Raab who dies an agonizing death. Aldor is devastated, but swears to avenge his friend. He will forever hate undead, and will not rest until he finds the person or persons responsible for bringing the dead back to life. Also, there might just be a small chance for him to revive his lost friend…

Rescuing Billy Crabcock: +2 vp
Killing 126 pts of Undead: +1 vp
Mayor Boismann died: -1 vp

We thoroughly enjoyed the game, and I’m very eager to paint up the few minis we need for the next scenario.

Jul 192010

I’ve finally finished and photographed the Stillburg heroes. Here’s the full ensemble description. I’ve posted Raab before, but I include him here for completeness.

Raab – Human Barbarian. 39 pts. Q4+, C4. Fearless, Berserk.
Professional sword for hire. Long time friend and companion of Aldor Berlepsch. Not the brightest, but fiercly loyal to Aldor and will protect him at any cost.

Aldor Berlepsch – Human Ranger. 50 pts. Q3+, C3. Forester, Shooter (Long).
A veteran tracker and marksman, most of his life has been spent in the wilderness. Relocated to the north with Raab, after some ”recent unpleasantries in Nuln” where the two have worked several years as ”problem solvers and handy-men”. While the two aren’t exactly law abiding citizens, they have a strong moral code and would not harm innocent or defenseless people. Underworld crime lords, on the other hand…

Brother Wendel – Human Cleric. 50 pts. Q3+, C2. Cleric.
Friar at the priory of Gadd, just outside Stillburg. Together with Duncan Sandels, tasked by Mayor Boismann to investigate the recent disturbances. While a drunkard and a man of little courage, he’s a good natured and kind pragmatist with a great love for all his companions – except the Mayor.

Duncan Sandels – Human Paladin. 46 pts. Q3+, C4. Steadfast.
Part of the (very small) knight templar order of Gadd, Duncan is the muscles behind brother Wendel. Driven by a very strong sense of duty and honour, his mind is foremost on the task at hand. Very pious and devout. Completely devoid of a sense of humour.

Finally, here’s a group shot of the lads. Next to his mates, Raab’s eyes look a bit funky. I should probably re-do his base too. Oh well…

Coming up next, a few shots of the Mayor and his boys. I’m also finishing up the session report of the first scenario in the Stillburg campaign.

Jul 182010

First of all, sorry for the slow pace here – but it’s summer time (and crazy hot!) as well as vacation time (three weeks done, one to go) so I haven’t spent much time writing for the blog. We have played some games though, most recently me and my cousin Fredrik played the first game in the Songs of Stillburg campaign! A full battle report is coming soon, but first a little post on our house rules and the philosophy behind them.

Song of Blades and Heroes (SBH) isn’t designed for adventure gaming. By adventure gaming, I mean a table top game played out similar to role playing games. Every roll of dice should count, but the outcome of the game should not hang on every roll. With standard SBH, the latter is often the case. Troops will fail to activate and cause turn overs, throngs of undead will vanish in thin air when a gruesome kill is scored on a zombie, fleeing heroes will be automatically killed as they pass a snotling by a short distance. All in all, it’s mayhem and frustration and hilarious fun. But it’s also very unpredictable. In order to remedy this, to make sure scenarios don’t end prematurely and to reduce frustration and enhance the fun, we have made the following changes. They are not “fixes” or anything. I don’t think SBH needs fixing, as long as it’s played the way it was designed – fantasy free for all versus all comers.

When rolling for activation, a complete turn over is only caused when a 1 is rolled on two or more dice.

If a model fails two or more dice on an activation roll, the model may not be activated at all, regardless of the third die’s result.

With this change, a warband of only goblins (and no leader) will stand a chance when facing elves, for example. There’s still a risk, but usually most troops will get atleast one activation per turn.

Undead failing their morale checks are transfixed instead of instantly destroyed.

With this change, the scenarios won’t end prematurely due to a single gruesome kill on an 8 point zombie taking out 100 points worth of troops.

When a model fails a morale check, it enters a state called routed. A routed model may do nothing, except attempt to rally (with a standard morale check) at the start of its controller’s turn. It remains routed until successfully rallied. A model that successfully rallied may not activate during the turn it rallied.

Models are not instantly destroyed when moving past enemy models, instead they suffer a free hack.

Models are not instantly destroyed when rolling three morale failures, instead they flee three distances.

Models unable to flee (transfixed or no free path) are removed from play as casualties and must roll on the injury table after the game.

Models fleeing off the table are removed from play, but suffer no ill effects.

A model fleeing must flee away from it’s enemies, towards the nearest table edge to wich it has a free path. If there’s no free path to the nearest table edge, check if there’s a free path to the second nearest edge and so forth.

With this change, the morale rules are a little bit less digital and models stay on the table longer.

That’s it for now, I expect more will be added at a later date when I remember them.

Mar 182010

(Originally posted 100318)

I’ve been ill with a cold for the last week or so, hence the complete and utter lack of updates on my Song of Blades game more than a week ago. Now I’m recovering though and tomorrow I’m heading back to work. This will be celebrated by a report of my less than stellar performance in…

Pyramid Campaign – Scenario 3
Miss Catherine and her band of warriors have now acquired the old talisman they need to access the riches hidden in the pyramid of Sankar. They reach their final destination at dawn, and with their blades at the ready emerge into the clearing in which the pyramid is located. Automated metal guardians stir to life as ancient seals of warding are broken by the talisman’s presence.

Scenario specific rules: The pyramid is located in the centre of the battle field. The defender (that’s me, playing the guardians of Sankar’s pyramid) deploys his forces either in base contact with the pyramid or on the first level of the pyramid’s steps. The attacker then assigns the values 2,3,4 and 5 to each table edge and rolls a D6 to determine which side he’s deploying on: 1; Defender’s choice, 2-5; the assigned side, 6; Attacker’s choice.
As you can see above, Fredrik deployed miss Catherine and her trusty companions on the “western” edge, while my automaton guardians are spread around the pyramid.

The goal of the attacker is to reach the top tier of the pyramid with the talisman bearer (assigned pre-game) and spend 3 actions in one turn with that character to activate the powers of the talisman. The objective of the defenders is simply to stop the attackers from reaching their win condition.

Fredrik’s warband consisted of Catherine (human leader), Creed (human berserker), Summer (human magic-user), Blink (elf archer), Tora (dwarf warrior) and Ana-Marie (human thief).

My guys were a bunch of Q4 heavy hitters: Sergeant (Q4, C4, Champion), Magic-user (Q3, C1, Magic-user), Fighter (Q4, C4), 2 x Hammerer (Q4, C4, Short move), 2x Sneaks (Q4, C3, Stealth), Golem (Q4, C5, Big). All had “artificial” trait as well.

I started with initiative, and managed to move my guys around a bit before failing two activations. As always, click the image below for a larger version.

Fredrik’s first turn was a bit more eventful, as he managed to move forward and Blink took a shot at my Magic-user which actually got him to fall.

Turn two was very inactive for both. I moved one of my sneaks, and then when I actived my magic user with two dice to stand him up I failed both! Fredrik was even worse off though, and failed with two on his first activation (Creed, the berserker).

I then had a pretty decent turn, as I activated all of my characters. I tried positioning defensively around the first tier on the pyramid as that would give my guys some bonus. I put the hammerers (tough but slow) as some sort of bait on the ground.

Fredrik’s troops were not late to go for the hammerers. First his magic user Summer attempted to transfix my Golem, which failed as I passed the two-dice Quality test. Blink missed an aimed shot at the nearest hammerer and then Tora and Creed moved up on it, failing to cause any damage though.

I started my next turn with a successful transfix of Creed. With a golden opportunity, my fighter failed to activate and the turn passed to Fredrik. Fredrik broke the transfix on Creed and went on to take out my hammerer but failed to do much else.

I tried to respond in force. My golem moved down from the ledge and attacked Tora, the dwarf warrior. She was merely pushed back though. My magic-user attempted to transfix Creed, which also failed. My other characters moved about a little, and then I did the mistake which would cost me the game. My champion moved forward and attacked Creed, but failed and was pushed back. One of my sneaks tried to squeeze in and attacked Creed too, but failed and fell!

Creed smashed the sneak to smithereens with a powerful attack, and Summer transfixed my champion. Tora rushed forward and aimed a powerful attack at my champion, but I lucked out and we rolled a draw! Blink took an aimed shot at my fighter, but missed. Catherine and Ana-Marie had not been participating in the battle so far, but now Catherine moved up while Ana-Marie stayed at the edge of a woods section (not in the image).

My champion managed to break the transfix spell, and boosted by this I decided to gamble on my golem. I activated with three dice and all succeeded! He dashed forward, and attacked Fredrik’s leader Catherine with a powerful attack… which resulted in a push-back of Catherine! =( My magic-user then attempted to transfix Catherine, but failed to activate.

Summer started Fredrik’s sixth turn by transfixing my champion. Tora, who was in base contact already did a powerful attack but once again I lucked out and rolled a draw! I was all out of luck though, as Creed circled around and with the assistance of Tora managed to kill my champion. All 5 of my remaining models failed their morale tests with at least one dice, and none of them could flee towards the nearest table edge without passing any enemies within a short distance. They were all wiped out and Catherine’s gang could without suffering a single casualty pillage the treasury of the pyramid!

I was pretty let down by this abrupt end, and so was Fredrik. I did make a misstake when I moved my champion to the front-lines, I admit that. We still don’t think the ending was fair – or more importantly; it wasn’t fun! The main problem here was the way my remaining models were forced to flee into the arms of the enemies.

In conclusion, a neat little campaign – with a surprisingly abrupt ending. A pity that, especially as I had built the pyramid especially for this scenario and painted a few D&D Warforged for the occasion!

Coming up; I’ll post a short tutorial on how I did the pyramid. Also, a close-up on the painted Automatons!