Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Hammerhead 2020


The first wargames show of the year for me was Hammerhead at Lincolnshire showground. It is a great show as all of the games are participation games. I went by myself this year, It was just before the UK virus lockdown, so it was a bit of a subdued atmosphere, and although it was great to see all the games set up, and all the effort everyone had put in, I didn't hang around all day like I normally would. I visited the stalls and checked out all the games. I stocked up on hobby supplies, and washed my hands a lot. Then I was off back home again... The highlight for me was seeing Peter Dennis and his paper soldiers in action! Absolutely fantastic!


I picked up the show deal from West Wind games for EMPIRE OF THE DEAD... a Victorian Horror skirmish game.. it was £60 for two factions, the rulebook and a set of tokens. The miniatures are metal, and are really nice. I picked Vampires and Holy Orders.... Looks like a fun game, and another project to add to my list!
All other games shows this year have either been cancelled or postponed until after the summer... so that's it now until optimistically October??... maybe...

Here are a few pictures I took whilst I was there:









Peter Dennis and his paper miniatures...

Rangers of Shadow Deep - Blinding Light - Part VII

For the seventh part of the "Burning Light" campaign mission for Rangers of Shadow Deep... we have decided to have a look in the Library building of the Convent of St.Emilia...

(There are some spoilers here - so if you are planning to play through this mission yourself, maybe don't read this until after you've had your own game experience...)
   
Our current lineup of Heroes:

Alfie's Team:
Arthur - Ranger (level 7)
Malvolio - Conjuror
Fern - Guardswoman
Hattie - Recruit
Brutus - Hound (rescued in the first scenario)

My Team:
Jennifer - Ranger (level 7)
Archibald - Archer
Seb - (a character from the Bloodmoon mission who is now a companion)
Geoffrey - Warhound
St.Doneera - Ghostly Warrior Priestess (who joined us in the third scenario)

The Library map set up on the table at the start of the game...
 As our intrepid heroes entered the ruined building that was previously the Convent Library, they found that the ground floor had mostly collapsed and been filled with murky water. There were two remaining bits of floor that were "Islands" in the room... one in the center, and one in the far corner that looked like it had some interesting bookcases still intact. A walkway of flooring ran around one edge of the room, leading to a staircase going up to the first floor of the Library. Two giant snakes had made a nest on the island in the center. They sensed our teams as soon as they entered...

Our heroes enter the flooded lower floor... Giant snakes lurk on an island in the center of the room...
 We had a brief tactical discussion. Jennifer my ranger has more points in the swimming skill than anyone else, so we decided that she would try and swim to the bookcases in the corner. Geoffrey the Warhound would go with her as backup just in case they had to team up and do any fighting... Meanwhile everyone else would go along the walkway towards the stairs and those that could would try and shoot at the snakes...

Jennifer used her once per game Smoke Spell to hide behind as she and Geoffrey entered the water... Archibald shot well, reducing one of the snakes to half its health with one shot... Arthur and everyone else started to move around the walkway. Jennifer and Geoffrey were nearest to the snakes, but because they were hidden by the smoke, the snakes started to swim towards Arthur as he was the nearest visible person... Fern noticed a strange rune on the wall, luckily she passed a perception roll and realised that it was some kind of magical trap.. she warned everyone and they all managed to avoid it...
Under cover of a Smoke Spell, two heroes start to swim....

Here come the snakes!
 Whilst Jennifer and Geoffrey were slowly swimming across the room (luckily managing to pass their swim rolls every time!).. a fight with the snakes ensued... It didn't go particularily well for our heroes.. Brutus the dog who was weakened from the previous scenario in the ruined chapel, was knocked out before both snakes could be ganged up on and finished off... just when we thought that was all over, Malvolio passed a perception roll and noticed another previously unseen giant water snake trying to creep up on him out of the water! Seb rushed over to help... between them they killed it: They managed to push it back, and Malvolio blasted it with a Magic Bolt!... but Seb was very badly wounded... only one health point left!

In the distance another snake attacks Malvolio... whilst the swimmers approach the bookcases in the corner...
 We decided that Seb would make a hasty retreat to the entrance, as we didn't want to risk losing him to whatever might be waiting for us upstairs. Jennifer finally made it to the bookcase on the island... she passed a navigation roll, and found an interesting item that will be worth some xp if it survives to the end of the mission. She didn't find anything that might be interpreted as a clue...
Meanwhile Arthur, Fern, Malvolio and Hattie had started to climb the stairs in the corner...

Blood Bats!
 As Arthur and his remaining team ascended the steps, they saw that they were coming up into a large room... there were bookcases along two of the walls, two closed doors were in the opposite wall, and in the center of the room was a large desk. Disturbed by the footsteps on the stairs, four Bloodbats rose up from the desk and started to move towards the heroes... Bloodbats move fast. Suddenly there was a deep rumbling sound and the stairs collapsed! Arthur and his crew all fell back down to the lower level. Malvolio was slightly hurt, but everyone else was ok.

Aargh!!
 Alfie's guys all passed climb rolls to get back up the fallen stairs, of course they were then mobbed by the Bloodbats! Although Bloodbats are fast and annoying, Alfie's guys rolled well, and worked as a team to dispatch them. But what was that?... Oh... two Gnoll archers were hanging out behind some broken bits of furniture between the doors on the far wall...

Where did those Gnolls come from?!
 Downstairs Seb had left the building, Jennifer and Geoffrey although they passed all their rolls successfully - were still swimming back across the flooded groundfloor...
Archibald and St.Doneera managed to climb up to the first floor, and started moving across the room...


 Arthur, Fern and Hattie moved towards the big desk in the middle of the room, whilst the Gnolls took potshots at them... Malvolio made for the left hand of the two shut doors... and St.Doneera went off to the nearest bookcases on the right hand side... this was when two skeletons jerked up out of a gloomy recess near the top of the broken stairs...

...and now skeletons also!!
 Malvolio managed to force open the locked door of the left hand room... revealing an empty plinth...something on the floor that may be a treasure? And three blood bats! Whilst this was happening, Archibald was attacked by both skeletons, despite being outnumbered, he managed to kill one of them, and was only slightly injured by the other. Arthur found the body of a middle-aged woman on the floor behind the desk with a quill still clutched in her dead hand. He found a half-completed scroll on the desk, and succeeding a Read Runes roll, he manged to understand the hastily written note... we're pretty sure we know the location of the decanter now! St.Doneera found another interesting book on the shelves... more xp at the end of the mission if we've still got it to hand over to the authorities back in Alladore....



Malvolio suddenly found an inner strength he didn't know he had... He was inspired to act immediately, and not only that, he could do three actions instead of two! He used his first action to move away from the room with the bloodbats (he didn't fancy taking them all on by himself!), his second action to blast one of the gnoll archers to bits with his final magic bolt spell... and his third action to make a half move further across the room towards the other shut door...


The Bloodbats flew out of the opened door straight at Arthur, Hattie and Fern... they worked as a team to fight them off. Hattie was knocked out!... Archibald killed the final skeleton... St.Doneera moved towards the other bookcases...The last Gnoll Archer tried to shoot Malvolio again, but missed... Malvolio made it to the other door and kicked it open.. there was an over-turned desk, and a frightened figure was huddling behind it... There was a sudden flash, and a smell of ozone... Fern stood there looking shocked... a bolt of lightening had struck down through a hole in the roof missing her by inches!

And so it was the final turn. Jennifer and Geoffrey were back out of the water, and were making for the exit... St.Doneera searched the final bookcase, she detected a trap amongst the shelves, narrowly missing injury... but she failed to find anything else of use... Arthur made it to the room with Malvolio. They both failed leadership roles to try and persuade the frightened person to come out from behind the desk... and then that was it - we had run out of time..

Brutus and Hattie were ok - they will return at half health for the next part of the mission... Jennifer used her Healing spell on Seb to help him out... we found some good stuff in this scenario - but three of our heroes are going to be pretty battered going into the next one.

We have enough XP now for our Rangers to go up to level 8. This meant that we could choose another spell or heroic ability each. Alfie chose "Focus" which means he now has a once per game ability to add 8 to any one skill roll. I decided to take the Burning Light spell for Jennifer, so she can now do a once per game special attack on any undead creatures within 8" and line of sight...

We're 99% sure we know where the Decanter is hidden now. We could go straight to the final part of the mission... but there is still one bit of the Convent we haven't explored yet... we're going to go and check out the Gatehouse before we make our final search for the holy relic.. maybe there will be something there that can help us with the final part of the mission?
...


I created all the floorplans for this campaign using the fantastic free resources available from

Monday, 30 March 2020

Frostgrave - Lair of the Ghoul Queen


The Lair of the Ghoul Queen is the seventh scenario in the Thaw of The Lich Lord campaign for Frostgrave.. Our warbands are investigating rumours of a treasure horde hidden in an underground vault, when they find themselves trapped in the subterranian domain of the Queen of the Ghouls... 

At the start of the game there is no way to exit the board. The Ghoul Queen lurks in the center of the table. There are 4 trap doors and 4 treasures around the middle area, and one treasure with the Ghoul Queen. At the start of every creature phase, a ghoul will crawl up out of a random trapdoor unless someone is standing on top of it. The players also have two ghouls each that they can place once each per turn to ambush their opponent. At the center of the board is a lever that will open one of the 4 exits from the table. There is no way off the board until the lever has been pulled.. 

As well as the five treasures on the table, if anyone kills the Ghoul Queen, they can search her body to retrieve the special "Amulet of the Ghoul Queen"...  There is XP to be had for killing the Queen, pulling the lever in the center of he board, killing Ghouls, and getting our wizards off the table...

In addition to all that, we decided to use Ulterior Motives this time. Lizzy had "Soul Drain"... which meant that she placed a trap door on my side of the table, and if she activated it, it could potentially suck anyone near it out of the game if they failed a Will roll... but would then reveal a very special treasure... I had "The Money Pit" which meant that I had to place a pit within Lizzy's side of the board. If the game ended with at least one member of my warband on the table and none of Lizzy's dudes had come into contact with the pit at any point in the game, I would get a load of  extra gold and some XP....

The table set up at the start of the game.

The Ghoul Queen lurks on her throne in the center of her underground lair.


It's a few weeks since we played this game, so a lot of the details of the action has gone out of my mind... here are some of the more memorable moments in pictures...

Lizzy's construct approaches a treasure and a trapdoor.

My Wizard summons an Imp.

Lizzy's guys have got a treasure...

My Rangifer and thief take on the Ghoul Queen..




My Apprentice and crossbowmen are fighting a Ghoul...





Who will get the treasure from the center of the table?


The Minor Demon of my Apprentice tries to stop Lizzy's guys from sneaking off with the treasure...


The Minor Demon struggles on... but not for much longer!

Just as Lizzy's groups try and exit the table with two treasures... a gang of Armoured skeletons appear!

Monday, 9 March 2020

Rangers of Shadow Deep - Blinding Light - Part VI

For the sixth part of the "Burning Light" campaign mission for Rangers of Shadow Deep... we have moved back across the courtyard of the Convent to search a ruined chapel...

(There are some spoilers here - so if you are planning to play through this mission yourself, maybe don't read this until after you've had your own game experience...)
   
Our current lineup of Heroes:

Alfie's Team:
Arthur - Ranger (level 7)
Malvolio - Conjuror
Fern - Guardswoman
Hattie - Recruit
Brutus - Hound (rescued in the first scenario)

My Team:
Jennifer - Ranger (level 7)
Archibald - Archer
Seb - (a character from the Bloodmoon mission who is now a companion)
Geoffrey - Warhound
St.Doneera - Ghostly Warrior Priestess (who joined us in the third scenario)


The Ruined Chapel
 
Ghouls!
As our Rangers and companions entered the ruined Chapel, they had a scan of their new surroundings... There was a big pile of rubble in the center of the room, the remnants of an upper floor were still in one corner, in the opposite corner was a small room with a shut door... and on the far wall was a grimy stained glass window... immediately it became clear that our heroes were not alone... Ghouls were lurking in the broken remains of the former holy building...

A Ghoul Rotter approaches...
As our intrepid teams moved into the room, they managed to take out a couple of ghouls with some fancy archery, a diseased Ghoul Rotter lunged out of the darkness at Malvolio - he turned and blasted it to bubbling slime with a magic bolt!

Ghouls attack!
Our Rangers split up and started to move up opposite sides of the room, taking their companions with them ... as Seb, Geoffrey and St.Doneera moved to intercept a pair of particularly nasty looking ghouls, Jennifer my Ranger noticed a constellation of bright stars shining down through the broken roof of the chapel... she thought that the shape of the constellation was very interesting... maybe a clue? The ghouls attacked, and knocked Geoffrey out straight away...

Geoffrey the dog is knocked out!

 
St,Doneera smashes up a Ghoul with her holy sword!
St.Doneera came to the rescue with help from Seb and took out both of the ghouls.. meanwhile Alfie's team were heading for the small room in the opposite corner... just as they were nearing the door we all heard a loud cracking sound as three large stones fell from the crumbling ruins above... unfortunately Fern was hit by one of the bits of falling masonry, and she was reduced to half of her health!

Oh great... three ghoul rotters are lurking in this room!
Alfie's team opened the door to the small room, it wasn't locked, but inside were three ghoul rotters... Alfie arranged his heroes tactically into a position so that they could take on the ghouls as a group...they managed to take them all out without taking any hits, and therefore avoiding any disease from the infected creatures... In the corner of the room was a chest. Arthur inspected it and passing a Traps roll, managed to open the chest to reveal a treasure....

St.Doneera finds a treasure..
Whilst Jennifer searched the mound of rubbish in the center of the room, St.Doneera climbed up to the ledge in the corner... they both found interesting things... a treasure for StDoneera, and a book for Jennifer - which will be worth some experience points if she still has it at the end of this mission...

A cloud of stinging insects descended on our heroes - they all had to make a health roll or become diseased. Brutus, Jennifer and Seb all failed their rolls... this means they will be at minus 3 health in the next part of the mission, and they will be -1 on all dice rolls too...

These Ghouls keep throwing stuff at us!
Two Ghoul Slingers had moved in front of the stained glass window at the far wall, and were waiting for our heroes to get into range so they could start throwing bones and stuff at them... Archibald and Jennifer managed to hit them with some arrows, but didn't do much damage... A Ghoul Snake slithered out of the rubbish pile directly behind Jennifer... she turned and used her special "Steady Aim" ability which she can use once per game, she almost finished it off with one shot...but not quite... Malvolio, Seb and Arthur moved to take it on as a group, and it was soon one dead Ghoul snake!

Brutus was knocked out by one of the slingers - both our dogs were now out of action! Malvolio used his 2nd and last Magic bolt to blast one of the slingers, and Hattie and Fern finished off the other one. Jennifer had a good look at the stained glass window - the last point of interest to investigate in the chapel... she rolled very high and what she saw in the window was very enlightening... with the other clues we have managed to find, we now have a pretty good idea where we might find the Decanter of St.Emelia...


Jennifer the ranger takes a good look at the final clue...
St.Doneera descended from the ledge and started to move towards the corner where our heroes had entered the building... behind her two more Ghouls appeared out of the gloomy corner under the ledge and caught up with her... We were planning to get all our other remaining characters off the board in the far corner... but with St.Doneera under attack, Jennifer, Seb and Archibald turned and started to move back towards her to help..

Arthur, Hattie and Fern exited the room... two Gnolls jumped out from behind a bit of broken wall and started running at Malvolio... Luckily he was quite near the hole in the corner, and he ran out before they could get to him.

Some Gnolls are after Malvolio....
St.Doneera killed both Ghouls by herself before anyone could get near her to help... another Ghoul appeared on the ledge... but it was too far away from everyone to do any damage as they all made for the exit...
In the final turn everyone heads for the exit...
We got a couple of really good clues in this scenario, and we managed to get two treasures  - Arthur found a "Spell Shield Pendant" which he can discard to negate the effects of a spell that is cast against him... and St.Doneera found some gold and jewels which are worth some XP. Brutus and Geoffrey both recovered from being knocked out, but Brutus, Jennifer and Seb will all be suffering from disease in the next scenario...

We think we know where the Decanter is hidden, but we have decided we will carry on our investigation to see if we can find anything else that will help us in our mission by moving on to search the Library next...


...


I created all the floorplans for this campaign using the fantastic free resources available from