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.
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.