28 Months Later – Encounter 2

Meanwhile, back in the House of Weird Games (as the children’s friends have christened Chez Slack)…

I think Encounter makes more sense than Episode for these little vignettes, so I’ll switch to that.

Let’s try something smaller. It’s February 2015, and our multicoloured heroes (now dubbed respectively Reed, Blaauw, Green, and Yale) decide to raid an isolated rural settlement for supplies, in the hope of meeting fewer zombies and/or trigger-happy survivors. That’ll be a “loot raid”, then.

The tables on p. 30 tell me there are 5 buildings and two vehicles on hand. Again, I run into a problem of how to determine what buildings are, which is important for deciding which ones are worth the risk of entry; I really must check the Yahoo group for that.

To show why this is an issue, let’s look at building #1. I roll 2d6 for each possible outcome, and work my way down the list in order. Is it a church (needs a 2 on 2d6)? I roll 8, so no. Is it a house (2-7)? Another 8, so no. Is it a military base (2)? 7, so no. Is it a restaurant (2-7)? A 5, so yes. OK, so I got an answer that time, but for episode 1 I went through the entire list and got nothing for half-a-dozen buildings. What were they, then? Ruins? So thoroughly looted that it doesn’t matter? Whatever the equivalent of Obviously Dead is for a house? It also seems such a clunky way of determining building purpose that I’m sure I’m doing it wrong.

By the same process, building #2 is a house, #3 is a house, #4 isn’t any of the listed items, and #5 is another restaurant. One ruin out of five seems reasonable so we’ll let #4 be a ruin, too badly damaged to be sure what it was originally. Two restaurants and two houses; that would make sense to me as a large road, with one restaurant on each side, each with a house for the former owners.

A similar process for the vehicles shows that we have a pickup truck and a semi with a trailer.

The tables on pp. 32-33 show me that the houses would be a good place to search for weapons and ammo, but likely to have zombies, and the restaurants are likely to have medical supplies, and likely to have survivors. Hey, there’s only four of ‘em; let’s just do them all and see what happens.

The Activity Level for Zombies in a rural area in phase one of the campaign is 1, so we have 1d6+1 = 2 zombies on the board at the start of the game, one 12″ to the group’s front and one 12″ to our left rear.

Unlike Warrior Heroes, it’s necessary to set the table up for each encounter. My plan was to use my Zombies boxed game, with the box halves representing the restaurants and DVD cases for the houses, and some sheets of blank paper to be the road; but my dining room table is otherwise engaged tonight, so I’m fighting on graph paper, as you can see below. I decide that the group is moving along the road, to give them the best chance of spotting zombies early on. And we’re ready to go, having spent about half an hour setting up.

Turn 1: Zombies roll 5 for activation, party rolls 2. Zombies don’t activate as they have Rep 4. Party opts to fast move, all of them pass 1d6 and so move 12” towards the nearest building, a house, hoping to get inside before the zeds turn around and see them.

Turn 2: Zombies roll 5, party rolls 6; neither side activates. Reed and his friends have stopped a couple of inches short of the building and are checking their weapons before they go in, glancing at the nearby car and wondering whether to examine that also. I decide to save that for the way out.

Turn 3: Zombies roll 4 and activate, party rolls 3 and activates (Reed’s Rep is 5). Zombies go first as they rolled higher. The closest zombie is 15” from the party (I’m using a ruler and graph paper with a scale of 5mm to the inch, if that makes sense). The zombies should now move towards the nearest human, but the party is not making noise and is not close enough to see (zeds can only see 12”). So they’re not sure which way to go. There is a wind direction table on p. 12 so I decide to use that for each zed; one moves east and one west, 6” in each case. The one moving east gets to the edge of the “table” so I decide he stops there.

Turn 4: Zombies roll 6 vs 4 and don’t activate; party rolls 3 vs 5 and does. Into the first house then; Reed and Green move in through the door, now an inch or so away, and Blaauw and Yale flatten themselves next to the door in support, watching the nearest zed, which is now close enough to see them, but there are buildings in the way so it has no line of sight. I now roll 2d6 against the Zombie Activity Level of 1 (for a rural area in phase 1 of the campaign); 3, 6 passes no dice, so although the rules don’t actually say so, I decide we meet no zombies. Then likewise against the Survivor Activity Level of 1; 2, 6 and again pass 0d6 – the building is empty. This would be a good time to loot the house; the loot table on p. 33 looks like I should roll 1d6 vs 3 for weapons (basic number of 2 in phase 1, +1 for it being a house) and 1d6 vs 2 for surplus ammo. I roll 5 and 4, and get nothing.

The zeds now move, and continue moving in the same direction as before (p. 26). This means one moves off the table completely, so I decide he will treat it as an obstable and turn right (left also takes him off the table). The other moves forward until he bumps into a restaurant, then turns (randomly) right, which moves him closer to the party.

Turn 5: Zeds roll 3 and activate; party rolls 6 and doesn’t. Oops. Their attention is obviously distracted by looting. The zeds carry on moving as before, one bumbling up the west edge of the table and one staggering towards Blaauw. The zombie staggers partway past the car parked outside the first house before I realise it should’ve seen the party earlier; never mind, we’ll go from where it is now. There seems to be no option for zombies to charge – these are obviously the shambling kind from 1950s B movies rather than the faster and more aggressive versions recently seen on our screens.

Turn 6: Zeds roll 3, party rolls 6 – same as before. The closer zombie gets into base contact with Blaauw. I realise I should have done an In Sight test earlier, as Blaauw and Yale would have seen the zombie in the middle of last turn, but press on regardless; let’s assume they were looking into the house. It seems reasonable that Blaauw takes a “Being Charged” check, though; this results in passing 2d6 so Blaauw can fire, then prepare for melee. This is no time for subtlety, and Blaauw fires twice. Rolls of 1 and 3 on the dice give results of 6 and 8; the 6 misses, the 8 hits. Rolling 1d6 against the weapon impact (2) gives a 2 – the zombie is “Obviously Dead”. Huzzah. However, shotguns are noisy, so at the end of the turn I roll two dice per shot for the number of zombies attracted; it’s a rural area, so each 6 will bring one. I roll 2, 3, 4, 6 and get one reinforcement zombie, which is placed to the party’s left rear, 12” away, by a die roll. Zombies are attracted from anywhere on the table to gunfire, so it’s time to move!

Turn 7: Both sides roll a 5 for activation, and Reed’s group moves. We’ll duck through a side door in the house and fast move over to the first restaurant. Everyone passes 1d6 on their fast move check except Green, who passes 2d6. This gives Green 16” of movement and everyone else 12”, which is enough to get them to the restaurant, though again I have everyone pause just outside the door. The zombies meanwhile march 6” towards the sound of the guns; this means one of them turns around and moves south along the wall of a building, as they are not smart enough to open doors and move through. This is the position shown in the photograph.

Left side door breach, stack up!

Left side door breach, stack up!

Turn 8: Both sides roll 3, so a tie; neither activates. Again, Reed and friends are checking their weapons before entering.

Turn 9: Zombies 3, Reed 5; both activate and Reed goes first, into the house; only one  person can enter this turn as it’s only a single door. I roll 1, 3 for zombies and 1, 1 for survivors, so we have survivors inside. I now roll 1d6 per Survivor Activity Level, with a 4-6 meaning a survivor is placed; I roll 5, so there is one in sight. A roll of 4 shows a location of 4” away from the wall Reed entered from, and a roll of 2 shows he is 2” from the wall to Reed’s left, putting him against the opposite wall – looking out of a window, no doubt, at the passing zombies.

Dice and cards reveal this survivor is Ambidextrous, with Rep 3 and a machine pistol. I now roll an Awareness Check on the table on p. 35, and even with the extra die for recent gunfire, the survivor passes 0d6 and is completely surprised. The survivor can’t roll an In Sight test, therefore, but Reed can; I roll 5, 6 and pass 1d6; Reed is the Star, so I use the Free Will rule to change this to passing 2d6 so I can hold fire. Reed can now “Talk the Talk” and does so. Reed’s group outnumbers the survivor by more than 2:1, and he has the drop on the survivor, so his effective Rep is 7. Since no die can roll higher than 6, he must pass 2d6. The survivor rolls 4, 6 vs 3 and passes 0d6. Reed passed two more dice, so strictly speaking should open fire because his group outnumbers the survivor; I decide to use Free Will again go to the Cooperation Table. Reed now rolls 1d6 vs Rep5, passing 1d6 (as he still has +2 on the roll); the groups join, and because the player side won, this is permanent. We have a new recruit; I have brown and black pawns left, so we’ll call this one Brown.

The zombies now move 6” towards the site of the last gunshots.

Turn 10: Largely because it still takes me a lot of flipping back and forth in the rulebook to figure things out, I’ve now been playing about 90 minutes and it’s getting late, so I call it a night.

“Come with me if you want to live,” says Reed. He and his four colleagues fast move off the board to the east.

Reed gets another experience point; I decide not to bother tracking experience for the others. Reed is already Rep 5, so needs 10 points to advance to Rep 6. I also decide to roll for gender of my little band; 1d6 per member, with odd numbers being male and even ones female. This tells me that Green, Yale and Brown are female, and the others male; so be it.

Savage Dungeons 0 – Setup

The last of the solo games I plan to try in this current exercise; solo dungeon crawls, using the Savage Worlds rules for characters and combat, because there are many such games and I don’t fancy coming to grips with a new basic system eachtime. My aims are to stay current with Savage Worlds between face to face sessions, and explore which of the various solo dungeon generators is the most fun.

I shall start with the dungeon and scenario generator from Warhammer Quest; the monsters for this are covered in Savage Worlds already, except skaven, for which I shall use the Soldier and Experienced Soldier ally templates with a “trapping” of “look like giant humanoid rats”.

(Trappings are one of the key features of Savage Worlds; essentially what something looks like in play is decoupled from the underlying game rules. So, for example, the various types of missile spell in D&D – magic missile, lightning bolt, finger of death, scorching ray, etc – would all be represented in Savage Worlds as the Bolt power, with different trappings. Some people like that approach, including me; and some don’t.)

It’s easy enough to convert the basic heroes to Savage Worlds, and here they are… I used an amalgam of the Heroquest, Advanced Heroquest, and Warhammer Quest versions of these iconic characters as a basis.

Barbarian

A savage warrior from the snow clad realm of Norsca whose love of battle and plunder has led him to the World’s Edge Mountains.

  • Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d8, Vigor d6
  • Skills: Fighting d6, Guts d6, Notice d6, Shooting d6, Survival d8, Tracking d8
  • Charisma 0, Pace 6, Parry 5, Toughness 6.
  • Hindrances: Greedy, Overconfident.
  • Edges: Berserk.
  • Gear: Longsword: Str+d8, Leather Armor: +1, Lantern.

Dwarf

The Dwarf seeks not only gold and adventure, but the opportunity to deal out retribution to the dark minions who now inhabit his ancestors’strongholds and mines.

  • Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d8
  • Skills: Fighting d8, Guts d6, Lockpicking d8, Notice d6, Repair d4, Shooting d6
  • Charisma 0, Pace 5, Parry 5, Toughness 9
  • Hindrances: Slow, Greedy, Vengeful.
  • Edges: Low Light Vision, Tough, Brawny.
  • Gear: Great Axe: Str+d10, Chain Hauberk: +2, Rope (10″).

Note that because the dwarf only has Strength d6, his damage with the greataxe is actually 2d6, because the weapon damage die can’t be bigger than his own Strength die. Clearly he will want to advance Strength early and often.

Elf

A nimble wood elf from the forest of Loren, whose passion for gems and jewels, along with his hatred for Orcs, Goblins and other evil races, has brought him to the dungeons of the World’s Edge Mountains.

  • Attributes: Agility d12, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
  • Skills: Fighting d8, Guts d6, Notice d6, Shooting d8, Stealth d4, Survival d6, Tracking d6
  • Charisma  -2, Pace 6, Parry 6, Toughness 5
  • Hindrances: All Thumbs, Enemy: Orcs and Goblins, Greedy, Outsider.
  • Edges: Low Light Vision, Agile.
  • Gear: Bow: 2d6, Potion of Healing.

Wizard

Although not skilled in physical combat, the Wizard is a master of magic, and a powerful ally when exploring the dungeons of the World’s Edge Mountains.

  • Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
  • Skills: Fighting d4, Guts d6, Healing d6, Knowledge (Arcana) d6, Notice d6, Shooting d4, Spellcasting d8
  • Charisma 0, Pace 6, Parry 4, Toughness 5, Power Points 10
  • Edges: Arcane Background (Magic).
  • Powers: Armor, Bolt, Healing.
  • Gear: Longsword: Str+d8, Scroll of Bolt.

I now roll randomly for the Objective Chamber (the place where the McGuffin will be), selecting the Idol Chamber, and for the quest, getting number 4, “Daemon Summoning”. This tells me that the group’s mission is to seek out an ancient temple, where a skaven warlord and his minions are trying to summon a daemon and bind it to their will, and read aloud a Scroll of Banishment (provided by whoever sent the party on this quest) to prevent this happening. So when next I have time and inclination to pursue this thread, that is what they will do.

The Arioniad – Scene 2

I roll 1d10 vs Chaos Factor (5), and discover that the scene proceeds as planned.

So, who is this guy? Clearly he is the Patron in Traveller terms, so I roll on that game’s Patron Table and get a result of 3, 4: Spy. Interesting.

  • Does he work for Arion’s bloc? (50:50) Yes. Good, that will save some work, though I can see I will need to flesh out the political situation soon.
  • Can he prove it? (Likely) Yes.

I make a mental note that just because he says he is a spy, and on the same side as Arion, that doesn’t necessarily make it either one so; and at this stage neither Arion nor I know if it is true – one of the strengths of Mythic.

  • What’s going on here? This isn’t a question with a yes/no answer, so rather than split it into many yes/no questions, I roll percentile dice three times to get an event, which is composed of a focus (34, introduce a new NPC – let’s say that’s Dmitri), an action (52, “Adjourn”) and a subject (73, “Opulence”). The first explanation that comes to mind is that Dmitri is on leave and has been attacked.
  • Does he know who has attacked him? (50:50) No.
  • Does he need to grab anything before they leave? (Unlikely – he probably didn’t take anything too important on holiday, and if he did he will have grabbed it on the way.) No.

Arion leads his new acquaintance aboard ship – I shall use the standard Classic Traveller Type S scoutship to save work. They enter the empty payload bay and Arion closes the door. The maintenance unit on Arion’s shoulder decamps to do something useful and probably oily.

“Have a seat,” he says. “Now, who are you, and what’s going on, exactly?”

“Call me Dmitri,” says the man. “I work for the same people you used to work for.”

“Really. Can you prove that?” The newcomer looks up and says: “Computer: Authentication code Alpha Gamma Niner Three Two Kappa.”

“Voiceprint and authentication code confirmed,” the ship’s computer purrs.

“Hmm. OK, I’ll accept that for the moment. And the situation?”

“I’m here on leave – no, really, even spies get time off occasionally. I’m in the hotel restaurant eating breakfast, and those two turn up and try to drag me away. I run towards the starport, because I know there’s a friendly ship in port. I see you through the cafe window, in what’s left of a scout service uniform, and I figure you’re the pilot. The rest you know.”

“These thugs: Any idea who they are, or why they want you?”

“You know, in all the excitement I forgot to ask them,” Dmitri grins. “How soon can you lift?”

“As soon as I get clearance. Come on.” Arion leads the way to the ship’s bridge. “Anything you need to get before we go? Because if there is, learn to live without it.”

“No, I’m fine, thanks.”

I like to think of these adventures as movies, and in a movie we would now cut to Dmitri’s pursuers and see what they are up to. So another complex question: What are they doing? We get focus 36 (move towards a thread), action 80 (Trust) and subject 14 (Peace). There are only a couple of threads open, and I randomly determine that the event relates to Arion’s need for money. So…

Cut to an office somewhere. The two goons are reporting to a figure hidden from us by shadows.

“So, you lost him?” It is patrician voice, tinged with arrogance. The owner may be stroking a white cat in the shadows, who can tell?

“Yes, boss.”

“Either he has a safe house somewhere nearby, or he will try to get offplanet. If you had thought to check the ships currently in port, you would notice a detached duty scoutship called the ‘Dolphin’ which is owned by the same government to which he reports. I trust a peaceful solution will be possible; detached duty scouts are either spies, and thus by nature duplicitous; or poor; or both. Go there and offer him a large amount of money to hand over the target.”

The goons look at each other in surprise. The figure in the shadows laughs.

“Gentlemen, I said offer him a large amount of money. I said nothing about actually giving him a large amount of money. I trust you can fill in the gaps? Good. Be about it.”

List updates:

  • NPCs: Add mysterious figure in the shadows (and possibly cat).
  • Threads: No change.
  • Chaos Factor: No change, still 5.

Solo Wargaming Warhammer

A lot of hits on the site recently from people with that search term.

Assuming you mean Warhammer Fantasy Battles, I’d refer you to Two Hour Wargames and their games Warrior Heroes ($25) and Swordplay (free), where you’ll feel right at home; very similar setting, same troop types (and the figures are the expensive part). Different rules though; the primary difference besides being solo is that the normal game turn sequence is replaced with something driven by reaction tests.

If you were looking for Warhammer 40,000 solo, you probably found my earlier post on that. I can’t be bothered to link to it, sorry, so short version: get yourself THW’s 5150 ($25) or Chain Reaction 3.0 (free) and the fan-created plug-in CR4104-v03.pdf (Google, and ye shall find).

The Arioniad, Scene 1

“Scene” makes more sense than “episode” for Mythic, so let’s go with that.

Since the original setup, I’ve had a couple of thoughts; firstly that with $25 in his pockets and monthly operating expenses of many thousands, even with the Scout Service fronting fuel and maintenance, Arion needs a lot of cash, fast. That’s a classic trope of the genre so we’ll let it be. Secondly, that Arion needs someone or something to do all that grungy maintenance aboard ship, and something is more science-fictional; so we’ll have a robot about the size of a large tarantula on his shoulder, part of a maintenance swarm that does the minor repairs and cleaning aboard ship, which acts as a commlink to the ship. Otherwise, realistically, he’d be spending 24 hours a day just fixing broken bits. Goodness only knows a house is bad enough for that, and it doesn’t have to fly or be airtight. Should it become necessary, say in a boarding action, the maintenance swarm will be treated as a Savage Worlds swarm, but it won’t leave the ship as that would jeopardise its primary objectives; so outside, Arion needs to fend for himself.

Before I begin, I must set up three lists: Important NPCs, plot threads, and Chaos Factor, which measures how much in control of the situation Arion is.

  • NPCs: Scout Service (they must be important to Arion because they have lent him a multi-million Credit starship). No-one else at the moment.
  • Plot threads: Make enough money to keep flying. 
  • Chaos Factor: Starts at the default of 5. Normally one would roll against the Chaos Factor at the start of a scene to see if the story dives off in an unexpected direction, but since there is no expected direction at the moment I won’t bother.

So, Arion is sitting in a starport café when a man bursts through the door with a gun. In Mythic, the scenario is driven forward by asking yes/no questions, setting a likelihood of the answer being “yes”, and then cross-referencing a percentile dice roll with that likelihood and the current Chaos Factor on the Fate Chart, which is the core of the system.

The first question on Arion’s mind is most likely “Does this guy want to shoot me?” I have no basis for deciding that currently, so I assign a probability of “50/50” and roll the dice, for a score of 69 – “no”. OK, that’s a good start. (A roll in the lower range would mean “yes”, the upper range “no” – really low or high rolls are extreme yes or no answers, respectively.)

  • Does Arion know this person? (Unlikely, I decide; that gives a 35% chance of a “yes” answer.) I roll 71, no.
  • Is this person running away from someone else? (50/50). Roll 36, “yes”.
  • Is he scared? (50/50) Yes.
  • Is he wounded? (50/50) No.
  • Does he ask for help? (50/50). Yes.

The door crashes back on its hinges and a wild-eyed fellow steps into the café.

“Help me!” he cries. “They’re after me!” (Arion has the Heroic hindrance, so he can’t restrain himself; he has to help people who look like they’re in trouble.)

“Ray,” he calls to the bartender (“Ray, the guy that sells me beer” from the Simpsons version of “Do Re Mi”), “You got a back door to this place?”

  • Does he? (Very Likely – most of them do) Yes.
  • Will he let them use it? (Very Likely – a gunfight in his café would be bad for business) Yes.

Ray nods and points to one corner. Turning to the newcomer, Arion says: “Come with me if you want to live.” (Another genre trope, those of you playing trope bingo may now drink a beer.)

  • Will the fugitive follow Arion (Very Likely) Yes.
  • Are the pursuers close on their heels? (Likely) Here I roll 13%, which since it is in the lower fifth of the “yes” range means “extreme yes”; they’re bursting in right now.
  • Do they come in shooting? (50/50) No.
  • Do Arion and the fugitive get out of the back door before the pursuers see them? (Unlikely, because they’re in hot pursuit) Yes.

Arion and the stranger run for the back door and dive through it. While it’s still swinging shut, two hard-looking men in formal dress burst in through the front door and scan the café.

“Anyone just come in?” they want to know.

Ray shrugs. “Nobody here, is there? What can I get you?”

  • Do they follow through the back door? (50/50) No.

“Must’ve kept running,” says one to the other. “That way!” And with that, they take off out of the café and down the street.

Meanwhile, walking down the back alley and trying to look inconspicuous, Arion says: “My ship’s over there. Let’s get you out of sight, and then I want to know what this is about.”

That sounds like as good a point as any to end the scene. I now update the lists and Chaos Factor:

  • NPCs: Scout Service; add Dmitri, the bloke with a gun (he’ll need a name soon, and that’s the first one that came to mind); add people chasing him; add Ray the bartender.
  • Plot threads: Make enough money to keep flying. Find out who is chasing Dmitri and why. 
  • Chaos Factor: 5. Arion is no more or less in control than before, so no change.

Lessons learned: I think Mythic will be the most portable of these solo games, since as long as I have the Fate Chart, the Savage Worlds Test Drive, and some way to generate random numbers, I can play pretty much anywhere. The weapon of choice for trains and hotels, then.

Talomir Nights, Encounter 5

In which Johann learns that not even Ekraen knights are invincible.

I think Encounter makes more sense than Episode for these little vignettes, so I’ll switch to that.

It’s September 986, and Johann and Gottfried have decided upon a quest for vengeance, namely hunting down the knights who killed Alexa in Episode 2. That absolves me of any need to roll on the quest table, as I have effectively selected “destroy someone”.

“Alexa must be avenged and our honour restored!” declaims Johann, over the latest in what is probably a long series of ales. 

“Let it lie,” counsels Gottfried. “There’s nothing we can do against mounted chivalry with supporting troops, not just the two of us.”

“Vengeance!”

“At least let’s try to recruit some more party members. We need more people, especially another healer and some archers.”

Johann is persuaded of the wisdom of this approach, so our heroes start recruiting, having declared the current pub their Base for the moment. Page 12 says I must declare the party as not moving this strategic turn (easy, considering how much Johann has drunk) and roll 2d6 on the recruits available table; I pass 1d6 against the area Encounter Rating so will count a maximum of passes 2d6 on the Recruits and Replacements Table. I would normally roll 2d6; the modifiers look like they cancel out, namely -1d6 for being a foreigner and +1d6 for having recovered more casualties (Johann and Gottfried) than were left behind (Alexa). Johann rolls 5, 3 and passes 1d6, so he can recruit his CV worth of local ne’er-do-wells; that’s 6 CV of recruits diced up from the Ekran army list. This gets us two knights(!) and two crossbowmen, and I replace one of the knights with a healer, as is my right. Must try not to get this one killed. As Johann can’t recruit anyone with a higher Rep than himself, the other knight has his Rep dropped to 4.

I name the new characters as Sir Charles Atain, knight errant with a grudge against the de Plastique brothers; Beatrice the healer, whose motivations are currently unknown; and Gervaise and Jean-Paul the crossbowmen, thugs for hire.

By October, the troupe of six is ready to take on their sworn foes. I roll an 8 on the Is It Here? table (p. 50), showing that the dreaded Ekraen knights and their retinue are indeed in the area, and a roll of 2 shows they are in this very settlement, which I now dub Carcassone, because I expect it to be full of carcasses shortly. We now go to a pitched battle encounter. The How Many Enemies? table on p. 70 says the opposition has one more CV than me, which would make them 17 to my 16; close enough to even.

No need to check whether they are locals or intruders, because Johann is hunting Ekraens. I roll 2d6 many times on the Ekraen army list and discover the opposition consists of five knights, three infantry, one crossbowman, one peasant foot, and three peasant archers. Slightly out of sequence, I also check their alertness using the table on p. 46; they pass 2d6 against the knights’ Rep, and so are fully alert and activate first. This is going to sting a bit, I fear.

Terrain? Well, we haven’t moved, so we’re still in mountainous terrain. Carcassone is probably bigger than the one clear tile from encounter 4, though, so I’ll regenerate terrain assuming we’re in a different part of town. I decide rather than doing the dice terrain, place terrain, shuffle terrain dance, I’ll just roll 2d6 for each square in a 3×3 grid on the terrain table on p. 18. Much faster, and gives me a mostly clear board, with a road in the southwest corner, impassable terrain in the northeast and east, and a patch of rough terrain in the centre (half speed through this and visibility limited), which sounds like it should be the town dump. One for the Rackham terrain tiles I think, which are very pretty for 2D terrain and full of buildings. Must get some more of these for a bit of variety.

Both sides now roll 2d6 vs Rep on the Deployment table on p. 70; Johann passes 1d6, and the de Plastique brothers pass 2d6; being the larger force and having passed 1d6 more than Johann, the de Plastiques are the attackers. Obviously they got wind of our recruiting and come looking for us. Johann’s company sets up in the middle of the clear terrain at the north of the board, hoping the opposition will be slowed down in the rough terrain and buildings, and the knights set up 18″ away in another clear area. Set up so far about an hour, but I was interrupted by ‘phone calls a couple of times, so probably less than that in reality.

Turn 1: The knights and their entourage wend their way through the buildings for 6” (so that the infantry don’t get left behind). Johann’s Company don’t activate as their activation roll is more than Johann’s Rep. Neither side has line of sight to the other through the buildings.

Turn 2: Johann rolls 4, the de Plastiques 6; only Johann activates this turn. The Company take cover inside a house; with the possible exception of Sir Charles, nobody is going outside against knights on horseback.

“Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes,” cautions Johann.

“Zey are weareeng ‘elmets,” Gervaise points out. “Ah weel not see ze whites of zeir eyes.”

Turns 3 and 4: Activation repeats turn 2; Johann is tempted to send the crossbowmen out after the knights, but decides against it.

Turn 5: Knights roll 4, Johann rolls 2; both sides activate, but the knights roll higher so go first. They advance another 6” in a zigzag pattern through the streets. They have no line of sight to the Company, so although they are now within 12”, I decide nobody takes a Test of Wills, because it seems to replace the In Sight Test of other THW games, which is triggered when one group sees another for the first time. (Yes, I know Johann knows they’re coming; he is the Star, after all. No doubt he has bribed local urchins to bring warning.)

Turn 6: Both sides roll 5, so nobody activates – this happens on doubles. Perhaps the knights are asking directions.

Turn 7: Johann rolls 2, Sir Bertrand de Plastique rolls 3. Both activate, knights go first. The knights continue their cautious advance another 4”, at which point the groups sight each other. They are already within 12” so we go to a Test of Wills.

Bertrand rolls 5d6 (Rep 5) vs a target score of 3: 1, 2, 2, 4, 5 – he passes 3d6. Johann rolls 4d6 vs 3: 1, 2, 3, 3 and passes 4d6, one more than the knights. This would normally mean the impetuous Company would charge the knights on foot, but since they are defending a wall (of the house they are in) they won’t. If they tried it, as a Star, Johann would choose to pass 3d6 as well, forcing a draw. He’s been ridden down once this year, and it’s no fun. Both sides halt in place and do nothing except exchange insults in Ekraen, most of which Johann doesn’t understand.

Turn 8: Johann rolls 2, Bertrand 4; both sides activate, knights first. The knights split their party into a Rep 5 group lead by Bertrand, and a mixed Rep group led by the crossbowman, who at Rep 4 is the best trooper they have. I now roll on the NPC Action Tables on p. 48 to see what they will do. The knights, unsurprisingly, roll 2, 4 vs Rep (5) and pass 2d6. Since they are mounted melee troops and the enemy is holed up in cover, they will dismount and then test again as if melee troops; they roll 1, 5, and pass 2d6, which means they will close on foot, firing if possible (no, they have no missile weapons) and charging if possible (it is).

The knights now take a Charge Test; 5d6 vs 3, rolling 3, 4, 5, 6, 6 and passing 1d6. Johann’s group also takes the test and can choose the number of successes since he is the Star; oh, I can’t resist this – he chooses to pass 4d6, three more than the knights, so everyone in the Company charges out of the house screaming vile war-cries, and the knights rout! They are removed from the table. All figures on the knights’ side immediately take a Leader Lost test, rolling 2d6 vs Rep. The crossbowman (Rep 4) passes 2d6; he can continue to fight normally. The three infantrymen, the peasant footman, and two of the peasant archers pass 1d6; they break off the battle and retire from the field unless Johann & Co try to stop them, which seems unwise. The remaining peasant archer passes 0d6 and routs off the table.

As I’ve been playing about an hour and am running out of time, the crossbowman decides he doesn’t fancy his chances against a group of six, and legs it after the others.

“Let the cowards run,” crows Johann. “That will hurt them more than any physical pain.” Although he fully intends to inflict that as well, in due course.

I now roll for advancement. For simplicity, I’m not going to bother doing that for the new joiners, but I will keep on for Gottfried since I’ve already started. Johann gets nothing; Gottfried’s social standing drops to 2. So we now have:

  • Johann: Warrior, Star, Rep 4, AC 4, Hardiness 3, SS 4; Halberd.
  • Gottfried: Thief, Rep 5, AC 2, Hardiness 3, SS 2; Dagger.
  • Assorted ne’e’er-do-wells to the number of four.

Lessons learned: Working from the PDF of the rules rather than a printed copy is faster, because I can search for specific terms. It wasn’t actually necessary to lay out the table for this one; that seems to be the norm for Warrior Heroes so far, which is a little strange for a set of tabletop miniatures rules, but so long as I’m enjoying the game I won’t worry about it.

For further study: It looks like the Star’s Rep, Hardiness and SS should stabilise at 5 over time, because once it reaches 5, the chances of an increase and a decrease are equal.