Sunday, September 19, 2010
Book of War at Paul's - The Battle of Restenford.
So this week's weekly game was a bit different. While our party was off goofing around in a haunted castle, the hobgoblin army invaded the sleepy little fish town of Restenford, where we'd sort of had our home base.
As you can see, Paul went all out, creating a little model village for us to keep from being pillaged.
We were using Delta's Book of War rule set to adjudicate the battle, and overall it went well.
Well, it went well in terms of the rules worked. It was a savage pummeling for the home team. Paul brought in our old friend Scott K. to take the part of the enemy, as he has often done before when our rpg campaigns go all wargamy. He's a veteran wargamer, and likes to crush players' dreams.
Here was our initial setup. Each figure represents 10 guys, with the exception of the wizard, who's a solo. Our forces consisted 80 peasant levy, 20 peasant archers, the Archmage Pelltar, and a potential 50 paladins riding to the rescue who'd arrive on a cumulative 6 on a d6. Our wizard had Summon Earth Elemental, Wall of Fire, Dimension Door, and three Lightning Bolt spells at his disposal.
We decided to set up with the wizard under heavy cover on the hilltop with the archers as a screen. We put 40 guys on the hilltop by the castle, and 40 in the center of town. We weren't entirely sure what we'd do with the foot guys, so we just played 'em sorta loose. If things went well, we could hopefully channel the hobs into the valley there and rain destruction down on 'em.
Things didn't go well.
Our first and biggest mistake, in my opinion, was being too hasty with the earth elemental, and pitting it against the worst possible foe for it to face. The earth elemental hit hard, and had a tough armor value, but only had 1 Hit, so if they did manage to hit him he'd go down like a punk. So of course we set him up against the ogres, who outnumbered him and had the best chance to hit him. I dunno what Sun Tzu said about pitting strength vs. strength, but this time it didn't pay off. Probably our most powerful spell largely wasted as the ogres played quarrymen on our rock jock...
Well, seeing how that was going, we decided to consolidate our peasants to give 'em a chance to take on whatever might attack 'em. We moved 'em down into the center of town.
A couple rounds in we rolled our lucky number and the Paladins of Palinthor came thundering up the road from Bridgefair. Unfortunately, there was that ogre problem to deal with. We tried to think of ways to get around the big bastards, but we needed to get these guys into town asap. So we just ended up charging 'em head on.
Meanwhile, the other dividend of mis-applying the elemental was that it left a bunch of hob archers free to fire on our stand of archers and the wizard. We lost 10 guys, so we had Pelltar and the surviving archers fall back thru the streets toward the center of town
As we dithered in town, the hobs moved in in several columns. A force of them climbed the hill, which caused the Baron to seal off the tower, leaving it inaccessable to the men on the ground. As you can see, we had a lot of frikkin' hobs to deal with.
In an effort to stem their advance while we waited for the paladins to get clear of the ogres, we had Pelltar cast his Wall of Fire. This also shielded our peasant levy from the bows of the hobgoblin archers.
It also set a stand of timber at the center of town ablaze. Things were getting serious!
While the humans dealt with all h-e-double swizzlesticks breaking loose in the center of town, the hobs achieved their primary objective, seizing the docks of Restenford as a naval beach head for something I don't wanna think about...
While all this was going on, a column of hob troops came marching at our surviving archers and Pelltar, who had to concentrate to keep the Wall of Fire burning. The brave yeomen lined up across the street and stood fast, firing at the approaching mob of hobs.
Since the Wall of Fire was our big defensive position, we reformed the peasant levy into a column, and sent 'em in to surround Pelltar, weaving through the narrow spaces between the huts.
Meanwhile, the ogres were fulfilling their role marvelously, holding up our heavy horsemen in a drawn out slugfest. It was probably going to be too late to help any of the peasants.
We had our brave Restenfordians form up two lines, guarding Pelltar's position, with hobgoblins closing in from all sides. The Inn of the West Wind, the swankiest joint in town, was soon to catch fire from all the expensive booze stored inside.
The hobs charged up and battle was joined. I was actually impressed by how long the peasants held out without failing their rout check and running like little chickens...
Thing, however, were getting too hot for Pelltar, so we had him drop the Wall of Fire and Dimension Door outta there. I'm sure the peasants were NOT happy about that, but an archmage doesn't get to be an archmage by sticking around to take one on the chin...
Finally, the pallys smacked down the last of the ogres. Here we came to a bit of a discussion between the players. Do we fish or cut bait? We could turn the paladins around and get them out of there, to fight another day. Or we could go in with lances blazing and go down fighting.
Speaking of going down fighting, things were getting rough for the home team. The left flank finally sustained enough losses and broke, running toward the crossroads in a panic. The right flank got whittled down, but still the irascible bastards held their ground.
Of course, it's easy to hold your ground when you're surrounded by brutal subhumans with no place to go but down. So Pointy Pete there bought it under a hail of cheap maces.
The fleeing Restenfordies got run down and reduced by half, before fleeing again. This time, the last remnant outran the pursuing hobs and got away. These ten brave, but prudent, guys will hopefully form the core of a resistance movement.
Or move in with relatives a few villages down and forget this all ever happened.
So what did we decide to do with the paladins?
What do you think!? They're paladins! They don't turn tail when there's hobgoblins to stomp! Nay verily, sayest the mighty Palinthor!
Furthermore, that rat soup eatin' bastard of a hobgoblin general was standing right next to Palinthor House, doing a little tapdance on the grave of the brave paladin Yøgund Früdje. (We miss you, Yøgund...)
This would not stand!
So into the fishing village of death rode the forty paladins, and slammed into the hobgoblin general's face, stomping him and his bodyguard into a thin, ape scented paste...
Yeah, that's right, pal. Nobody stands next to a building in our town!
Anyway, this charge left the paladins kind of boxed in to a small square, and the hobgoblin subchief and his archers moved in on 'em.
The pallys managed to stomp the subchief, mixing his component molecules with his former boss, but kept sustaining losses from the rank and file hobs, and were soon whittled down to one.
Then none. Alas.
And that's how the battle of Restenford wrapped up. Actually, a very interesting situation for the Labyrinth Lord campaign.
The town is overrun with hobgoblins, but they're leaderless, and also ogreless. (A nice plus in any situation.) The Baron and his people are holed up in the tower under siege, and the archmage Pelltar is out and on the loose.
So yeah, we lost, but things just got a whole lot more interesting, which is a win for the main goal, which is having fun with this crazy campaign. I look forward to seeing what develops.
Thanks to Paul for setting up this incredible diorama of doom and arranging for our celebrity guest stars. Thanks to Scott K. for trouncing us. (Sorry there were no PC's in town for you to kill.) And thanks, as always, to the 10d gamers for a fine outing.
Upon consideration, this session definitely deserves a Kudosaurus.