Back in Old Oak…a NEW Battle Report

A few weeks ago… just after the strangers from Lothlorien and Minas Morgul passed through the village of Old Oak, a group of Dwarves are on the road not that far from Bree. They are heading North, back towards their home in Ered Luin, more commonly called the Blue Mountains. Passing Old Oak the Dwarves decide to spend the night at the crossroads village. A evening spent in the village inn, called the Four Coins, has had them observed by a local man in blue robes. It is he that informs them of the Elves heading North in search of treasure….

With the approach of dawn the party, known as the Company of the Golden Boar by all who cared to listen to the boisterous Dwarves the night before, sets out from the inn. They are keen to follow up on the rumors told to them by the strange Man at the inn…. to get to the treasure before the pointy eared Elves! 

In the gloom outside the inn the Dwarves can make out shadowy figures heading towards them. Rori, their leader, orders the Dwarves to head South to confuse the Men. 

The look of ill intent on the faces of the approaching Ruffians, as well as their number, convinces Rori to take them seriously and he orders his archers to draw and loose. Unfortunately their arrows fail to find their marks and the Ruffians continue to close in. 

Before long it comes down to blows and a melee ensues.

Bili cuts down a Ruffian with ease. However Rori requires a mighty effort to subdue his opponent. Still, the Men appear no match for Dwarven steel.

More of the Men move to engage the Dwarves in melee. Snorri uses his shield to push back three of them. Rori and Hanar each incapacitate a Ruffian. The Ruffians struggle to wound the heavily armored Dwarves. Hanar cuts down another Ruffian. Snorri again uses his shield to push back his opponents. But tragically both Rori and Onar are knocked out!

With their leader down the best the Dwarves can hope for now is to escape in good order. They form a defensive line and continue edging South, hoping the cowardly Ruffians will withdraw.

The Dwarves slowly head South, pushing the advancing Ruffians back but failing to wound any of them until finally Snorri drops one of them with a lucky blow. 

Then Brimir strikes a Ruffian down.

It is too much for the Ruffians. They are Broken. Two of them lose their nerve and flee. The Dwarves get over confident though and Snorri is knocked out!

Finally Bili and Hanar cut down the remaining Ruffians. Helping their injured and incapacitated friends, the group heads South just as the sun rises. With their leader Rori unconscious the fight is considered by them to be a disappointing draw. 

The mysterious figure in blue robes watches them leave, nodding to himself as if he has made a decision of some importance.

A conjuror of cheap tricks?

So, a fun game. We decided to change our original rule interpretation on Breaking and Courage in Narrative Scenarios. We had originally gone with the rule from SBG but on doing more research and consulting with folks we went with have companies use the normal rules unless the scenario says otherwise, like the Cave Drake on for example. As you can see it had some impact. 

We had rolled for a lightning storm for the random weather but the strength 8 hit every turn on the roll of a 6 seemed a bit over the top. So we just ran it as clear weather. The pre-dawn darkness had no real impact on the archery given the close ranges of the game, other than to convince me to move South rather than try to use my archers to stand still and whittle them down. 

Our house rules for armor, with the Dwarven special exception, meant the Dwarves were moving 5″ and the Ruffians 7″ so they were always going to catch me rather quickly.

That said, the play style of the Dwarves better suited my taste than the Taken of the Minas Morgul. I dislike disposable troops and prefer small elite groups, heavy on the defense and courage. I am something of a slow, plodding player… hardly a dashing cavalry officer by nature. 

That said I was shockingly upset when one guy managed to drop my leader. Until that point I was confident of winning the scenario. My wife got lucky and rolled two six’s, the duel and wound, then I failed my fate roll. 

My level of irritation at that point surprised, and even disappointed, me. I had to keep telling myself it is just a game. My wife felt bad but I told her not to worry about it, that I was not upset at her but rather my own over confidence and the unlikely probability of that outcome. 

I was then rather numb when Onar immediately fell next. Then was shocked When the heavily armored Snorri, who had survived so much earlier in the game, later fell to one of the last Ruffians.

In hindsight it was good gaming, my tactics had been sound but sometimes luck is just against you when it comes to rolling dice.

In the next blog entry we will find out more about the mysterious Man in blue and the Dwarves of the Golden Boar.

EDIT: This is a “NEW” battle report as I had to delete the first version of this report due to me somehow screwing up the html.


  1. I really like the narrative you’ve started in this game. I’m very curious to see who the man in blue is! That is tough luck on your end with all of the casualties. In some scenarios and styles of game, casualties don’t matter too much if you achieve other goals so you might shrug them off but I would think in Battle Companies they are quite a bit more upsetting! I’m looking forward to the next report 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is interesting how the narrative takes on a life of its own rather quickly. A simple one liner in the scenario description has grown into something much more involved.

    I just realized that the way I have written the report it may come across that Rorik died. Thankfully that is not the case. The three wounded Dwarves fully recovered but the scenario states that if the group leader is incapacitated in the fight the most you can do is draw. I got 50% of my company off the table so would have won if one of them had been Rorik. Normally I do not mind a draw compared to a victory per es but the narrative missions have a victory reward chart and some of those rewards help generate narrative ideas and group personality.

    We rolled to see what I would have gotten if I won… to be honest it is just as well I lost. If I had won, one of the Ruffians would have joined my company!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Also, I see I missed a paragraph from when I had to rewrite the blog entry… thanks WordPress, sigh… but it should be written correctly now to reflect the Broken Courage checks and subsequent failures… as well as the third Dwarf casualty.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I forgot to mention that I liked the inclusion of the break test. I think it is fun to have that rule in the game and it adds some tension as well since casualties mean more if your whole force could end up fleeing. No worries on the missed paragraph as well. WordPress does that to me and it often doesn’t alert me to when you respond to one of my comments so I’m occasionally slow to spot them unfortunately.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. WordPress can be very problematic. I am not sure how much of it is down to using a tablet rather than a PC. However, no PC means no temptation to be distracted from painting by PC games like Bannerlord, Fallout and Stellaris.

    Liked by 1 person

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