Saturday, 27 July 2013

Battle Report: Standing Firm at Mourning Glory

If you are a consumer of British non-commercial digital writing - say, like this blog, or any number of related oldhammer blogs, you might have found yourself troubled by the sudden and alarming drop in output for the month of July.

Now, rest assured, dear reader - there is good reason.

July started with wild panic, really. We, in England, all woke up with a new and terrifying entity issuing forth from the heavens proclaiming the end of the world. A large and horrific ball of fire had appeared out of nowhere and seemed intent on burning our insignificant carcasses from the planet. After frantic phone calls to the army, the church and my local MP, I was given to understand that the burning orb of terror was in fact the sun and, furthermore, was supposed to be there.

Rumour has it that this thing appears on a regular basis in other parts of the world. In fact, many assert that a certain amount of exposure to it is actually good for you. As a result, I found the sudden warmth and light quite refreshing - liberating, if you will.

So I, and no doubt every blogger on this island, including our peculiar breed of oldhammerers, have spent day upon day absorbing these health rays from heaven. Absorbing is a busy old task, which unfortunately interrupts the otherwise necessary activity of blogging, you see. We have to look after the health, after all.

Today, however, the sun has elected to shine elsewhere, whilst the more comfortable and familiar blanket of greyness has returned. Happy that the world was back in its right form, what with England being grey and wet, I have settled into the evening with a nice bit of blogging and a cup of Yorkshire tea.

Onto the purpose of the post. It did say Battle Report, after all. You were not mistaken.

So a strange thing happened to me yesterday. The Minister of the Interior declared that she was going to go out and visit some people. And she was going to take the apple of my eye, the heir to my kingdom and the centre of my universe with her. They were to be gone all day.

Now I confess, dear reader - I've had dark fantasies about this exact moment. The time when my wife and child were happily amused elsewhere and I was left alone at home - alone with my wild thoughts and desperate urges.

So I did it.

I, uh, well...I played with myself.

As soon as the good lady had driven out of sight, I rushed into the house, frantic fingers clutching at well thumbed pages, hunting for satisfaction.

It was glorious. It was everything I hoped it would be. And you, good reader, can live vicariously through my experience, because I took pictures of the whole thing...

This is the first time that I've ever played any (non-video) game solo. I know there are many clever ways to implement artificial intelligence and introduce scripts to your 'opponent'. I didn't think I had the time to investigate, so I just played both sides. My rule was simple: when in the mind of each 'player', always take the most tactically advantageous route available. This included awareness of rules, so it sat outside of pure roleplaying and factored in a little meta-gaming. I thought this was the fairest way to challenge each side.

I'm lucky in that I'm either (a) an idiot, (b) a genius or (c) have multiple personalities, because I am able to cut off my predictive planning mind and allow it to explore only the here-and-now, so I wasn't too concerned about self sabotage.

Finally, I promised myself that I would abide by every dice roll - I would not respect the narrative that I hoped for, but rather, find a narrative for the events that transpired. It should be no surprise, then, that the story turned out exactly as it should have. Because I wasn't involved.

My first stage was to print out some old school army rosters. Too late I realised my error: I printed them in colour. What I should have done is printed one in black and white and then photo copied it to get the same look as they would have had back in 1990. Next time.



Second stage was to select a range of painted figures that would do. This was done based on what I knew was easily accessible. I only had a day, so I needed to keep it small. I didn't care about points (I still have no idea how many points the things I chose cost) - I tried to create something that just looked right. And, of course, the soldiers I had available were a natural limiter - you know, like real war.

Just so you know, I randomly determined the presence of characters, their equipment and their levels. The only place I intervened (as GM) was with Grommbo and Victoria Seacrette - I set their levels at the start.

The battle centres around the small farming village of Mourning Glory. The village is an isolated community about two days ride from the nearest fort, so it doesn't enjoy much protection from its liege lord, Count Tuten. As luck would have it, when the goblin horde of the Brothers Gromm attacked, a small patrol of the Count's men had just arrived. They helped to evacuate the village before taking position at the entrance of the village. Fortune showed more favour to the residents of Mourning Glory: two hardy adventurers were also staying there, recovering from their latest dungeon exploration. Being brave and forthright, they agreed to help defend the village.

These, then, are the defenders of Mourning Glory:

The defenders of Mourning Glory
They are:

Victoria Seacrette - Level 15 Human Hero

Equipment:

Light Armour
Shield
Hand Weapon (magic - Parasitic Blade)

Dumbel Doore - Level 15 Dwarf Wizard

Equipment:

Hand Weapon

Spells:

Level 1: Immunity From Poison, Aura of Resistance, Cause Animosity, Leg Breaking, Wind Blast, Cure Light Injury
Level 2: Aura of Protection, Rally, Cause Frenzy

15 x Human Halberdiers 

Equipment:

Light Armour
Shield
Hand Weapon
Halberd

The Goblin Horde of the Brothers Gromm uses the term 'horde' fairly loosely. That said, what self respecting goblin general would refer to his force as a gang or a club? Headed up by the curiously cooperative Brothers Gromm - Grommble and Grommbo, the tribe have found themselves on hard times. Many weeks ago, the brothers directed an attack against what they thought was a small and helpless trading post on the coast. What they had encountered, however, was a shipping outpost established by the Sea Elves. It is a well known fact that goblins find the mere presence of elves quite disturbing and suffice it to say that the attack was repulsed.

But the brothers had not factored in the vengeful nature of the elves. Shortly after the attack, Grommble and Grommbo realised they were being tracked by contingent of Sea Elf marines - fast, motivated and well equipped.

The goblins, having already lost most of their resources in the defeat, were desperate for supplies - they could neither evade nor stand against the elves in their present state. Thus, the brothers Gromm elected to attack the first village they encountered - Mourning Glory as it happened. Hopefully, they would be able to resupply and establish a solid defence - enough to deter the elves from an attack.

The Goblin Horde of the Brothers Gromm
Grommbo - Level 20 Goblin Hero

Equipment:

Heavy Chariot (3 Wolves)
Light Armour (magic - Blinding Glare)
Two Handed Weapon

Bunner - Level 5 Goblin Hero (Battle Standard Bearer) - Bunner rides in the chariot with Grommbo:

Equipment:

Light Armour
Hand Weapon
Battle Standard (counts as a lance)

Grommble - Level 25 Goblin Hero

Equipment:

Light Armour
Hand Weapon
Two Handed Weapon

3 x Trolls - led by Grommble

20 x Gobbos (19 regulars + 1 level 5 goblin hero - Bigge 'Red' Testeese)

Equipment:

Banner
Musician
Light Armour
Shield
Hand Weapon
Javelin

15 x Stickas

Equipment:

Shield
Hand Weapon
Short Bow

16 x Stickas

Equipment:

Shield
Hand Weapon
Short Bow

Lead Belcher - four barrel organ gun with 3 crew

The Marines of Toylette Duc have been in hot pursuit of the goblin menace for just over a week now. They had only been stationed at the outpost for three days and it was evident to Commander Bhondd that the knowledge the goblins had of the local terrain was the real enemy - the elves were close, but never close enough to engage.

Commander Bhondd suspected that the goblins were pressed for resources, for despite the mess they left behind each camp, it was nowhere near as much as he had experienced with other greenskins - a breed especially wasteful and careless. They must be desperate if they were eating what they themselves would normally throw away.

The Marines gambled that the goblins would therefore head for some sort of supply base - their charts indicated that the nearest obvious point would be the human hovel of Mourning Glory. That's the place, thought Commander Bhondd. This ends there.

The Marines of Toylette Duc


Commander Bhondd - Level 25 Elf Hero

Equipment:

Light Armour (magic - Arcane Armour)
Shield
Hand Weapon
Longbow

9 x Merchant Company - led by Commander Bhonnd

Equipment:

Banner
Musician
Light Armour
Hand Weapons
50% Longbows
50% Spears

6 x Silver Helms (5 regulars + 1 level 10 elf hero - Captain Namerica)

Equipment:

Banner
Warhorses
Barding
Heavy Armour
Shields
Hand Weapons
Lances

20 Guard (19 regulars + 1 level 10 elf hero - Commodore Sixtifor)

Equipment:

Banner
Musician
Heavy Armour
Shields
Hand Weapons
Spears

Of course, you will notice that the figures employed for the elves are not the beautiful classic elves of the period that I have secreted around my house. Rather, these are the painted 6th edition elves I had from my previous life as an immature gamer. Painted, I reasoned, was better than unpainted, and present better than not-present. If it makes you feel better, I have enough classic elves to replicate this force - they're just not painted (yet).

In the next post, we'll see who stands firm at Mourning Glory!

Battle Navigator
Forces Involved (you are here)
Deployment and Turn 1
Turns 2 & 3
Turns 4 & 5
Turns 6 & 7

20 comments:

  1. Bravo sir - this all looks very exciting! Well done for taking advantage of this break in the current inclement weather ;)

    I found playing that way with myself (did I just type that...) was the best. You do kind of cut off from other side's interests when playing their opponents and it avoids all kinds of complicated ways of introducing AI.

    The Elves look very smart by the way!

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    1. Thanks very much - as you say, an opportunity like this was not to be missed - I know my responsibilities.

      The elves were my pet project until I found Oldhammer. The whole reason I have the Grom that I have is that I was busy building goblin and elf armies to replicate the Grom/Elf narrative from the earlier editions. I've sold off the unpainted ones and frankly, haven't yet moved these ones one because they're painted and I quite like them.

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  2. A fantastic set up sir. And an excellent narrative too! Bring on the gobbos!

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    1. Thank you kindly. Unfortunately, the report will not carry the same level of work as previous reports, but I'm still hoping to inject as much story as I can. Let's see how those poor, cold, hungry gobbo's fare, shall we?

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  3. Good job, of course i have never played with myself.. but after seeing you do it, i may give it ago :O lol

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    1. I trust you will not be disappointed ;)

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  4. I heard that playing with yourself is not very good for you .........apparently it can effect your eyesight. Dont know why that would happen but it seems playing with some else is more fun.......

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    1. Oh dear! I've got an eye appointment booked...

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  5. Alright, Gaj!! Nice looking pics! Love the opening shot with the bridge in the background! And nice to see a Goblin archer wedge! Also those Elves look especially glorious. And they look like they have pikes! Did you customize them or is that a true sixth ed. set? I don't remember them having spears like that, but I love them and want them!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Private Weird! The elves are customised, yes. In fact, only the Silver Helms are straight out of the box. The Merchant Company is a mix of archer and spearmen componnents, and the spearmen are a mix of speramen and silver heml components. They have the arms and heads of Silver Hemls (so they have armoured shoulders, gloves and helmets that don't make them look stupid. The spears are copper rods with the spear heads reattached.

      As mentioned in earlier comments, these were part of an elf army that would be lead by Eltharion in the epic defence of Ulthuan against Grom (hence my fascination with that fat goblin), These spearmen were to be the 'first amongst equals', which was a special rule elves had at the time. I have retained enough plastic parts to produce another 4 of these.

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  6. What a great sounding battle! Kudos to you for having an interesting write up and great sounding commanders, etc. it makes all the difference.

    I agree on your choice of Elves. Painted always beats non painted. I come from and older generation when using non painted figures was like insulting the Queen in public.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Chuck. Its amazing how much more you care about the characters when they have names!

      I understand when people don't have painted figures and they're making an effort to get them painted - then its okay. The other scenario, when people just don't care - you're right. Its an insult and we should not suffer these people on the internet! Even if they're just done in base colours - its better than 20 painted, 10 undercoated and 31 just bare metal...

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  7. I do hope Commodore Sixtifor does well. I like him.

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    Replies
    1. Well - he ain't no two-commander, you know...

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    2. Trust me to screw that up. I'll try again, although I guess the impact is now lost:

      Well - he ain't no two-bit commander, you know...

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  8. So much to enjoy and comment on in this post!

    1. The Sun: do not trust it. It will kill you given the chance. My folks used to make me endure the seashore every summer when I was a kid and now I do not dare leave the house without a hat. Avoid the sun.

    2. Wife and child out of the house: I well recall those days. A salute to you for actually doing something. I would have grandiose plans and then half way through realize how very tired I was from when they were home and just go to sleep! Yes, missed them awfully but oh the joy of silence.

    3. Solo play: Well done and great advice for those starting out with that aspect of the hobby. Children and solo play went hand in hand for me. Actually getting the timing right to play with a mate who also had wee ones was nigh impossible. As the children got older changes in jobs and locations cemented the rift. Still a family and solo gaming is much preferred to no family and face to face play :)

    4.The Set Up: Splendid! Always love your character names and narratives. ABSOLUTELY adore goblins without orc support and especially the Lead Belcher. Best artillery piece and crew ever sculpted.

    Looking forward to the battle and keep up the good works!

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    Replies
    1. Mr MonkeyDew - you are too kind :)

      Of course, you are very much an inspiration with this sort of thing. And ultimately, you're right - the family justcome out marginally ahead in the wargaming vs. family debate.

      Finally, I'm with you regarding goblins - always been a goblin man through and through...

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  9. Great fun!
    As usual I'm rooting for the greenskins.
    That dwarf wizard's head will look good on a banner pole.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks. I was hoping to get posting on this today, but circumstances (see comment above regarding family...) seems to have prevented that so far. How someone can be nasty to the dwarf when there are 36 elves on the table I will never know!

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  10. Yes, most of us are walking around in adult bodies, but that doesn't make us adults. Add to that the fact that it is very difficult to become an adult. BDSM toys

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