A New Beginning…

Tinkering with Artwork and Ideas!

The more complex the mind, the more the need for the simplicity of play.

— James T. Kirk
Let‘s go on an adventure!

This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.

“Seize Ground!”… A Dwarven Battle Report

Rori decided that the day would be their last in the outskirts of Annuminas. Their searching of the ruins had failed to turn up any more Barrow Wights or treasure. In fact Rori had the souring feeling that they had delayed too long. Perhaps he has been over confident that their knowledge of hidden paths in the Blue Mountains would allow the Dwarves to find the lair of the Cave Drake before either the Elves or the strange Men and Orcs following them.

The weather looked to be fair and the sun up soon, so Rori set his company to searching the last few ruins when they were surprised to see the Outlaws from Old Oak in the distance. They must be here to steal the treasure from the Dwarves!

The Dwarves move quickly, having the initiative. They secure the South East ruins. The Outlaws the seize first the North East ruins and then the North West ruins…. but they are surprised when a terrible apparition rises from the ruin, a Barrow Wight!

Five of the Outlaw archers loose at the Wight, which has failed to paralyze William Wipperwill and then rushed into melee with him, but four of them miss both William and the Wight. One Outlaw strikes the Wight but fails to injure it. William manages to defend himself.

The Wight tries to cast its spell but fails again. It charges towards William but when the Outlaw archers loose again Fancy Jack hits William in the leg, causing to fall to the ground screaming in agony.

The Wight casts its spell again, this time paralyzing Braga Big Axe. Oswald tries to transfix the Wight but fails to cast. The Outlaw archers loose again but only manage to hit Braga, who somehow survives the two arrows that hit him. The Orc, Wigduf moves up to support the paralyzed Braga with his spear, hitting the Wight but failing to wound it.

Both the Wight and Oswald fail to cast their spells. The Wight charges the helpless Brags but Oswald charges the Wight, striking it a mighty blow. It appears to be finally injured and Filibur “Firebug” takes courage from this. He uses his torch to hit the Wight and sets it alight! It bursts into flames, screams then disappears!

The Dwarves have not been idle whilst the Outlaws were distracted by the Wight. Omar has taken up a defensive position, securing the South East ruins. Brimir has secured the South West ruins. The rest of the Dwarves head to the central ruins, currently held by some of the Outlaws.

Brimir looses an arrow and hits Oswald but fate saves the Sorcerer. Bili cuts down both Bald Pete and Korg. Snorri cuts down One-Eye.

More Outlaws rush into the melee, which becomes a maelstrom of flashing blades. In the crush, Snorri gets trapped. Fancy Jack strikes Snorri a mighty blow (with one of the three underdog rerolls) and incapacitates him! Rori shouts in rage and cuts down Oswald, while Bili cuts down Victor.

The Outlaws are Broken! The Dwarves seize the initiative and Einar Lightfingers flees. Rori charges at Wigduf, throws an axe and Drops the Orc. Rori then changes direction and charges Filibur, cutting down the fire loving Outlaw with a single blow. Hanar cuts down two of the Outlaws thanks to inspiration from the Raven, Oren.

The melee continues back and forth. Rori drops Braga. The Dwarves and Outlaws push each other back in turn. Axes are thrown but fail to find their marks (three 1’s rolled in a row!) Bili cuts Edgar but fate saves the Outlaw. Rori finally drops Fancy Jack.

Still the fight continues. The fury of the fighting keeps the Outlaws from fleeing. Rori throws again, hitting Dolf but fate saves the Hillman. Bili drops Edgar. And finally Hanar cuts down Dolf… it is over for the Outlaws. Victory to the Dwarves!

The Dwarves finish their search of the ruins and still find only trinkets of marginal value. Snorri, the only Dwarven casualty of the fighting seems Blessed by the Valar, making a full recovery and getting +1 Fate. Rori and Hanar leveled, giving Rori +1 Attack and Hanar +1 Defense. For reinforcements the Dwarves got an Iron Guard… I have one made, just need to paint it up.

The Outlaws were underdogs with three rerolls. My wife quite enjoyed the reroll mechanic…. but we both forgot about it when she accidentally shot William. When she remembered she was quite frustrated with that. We set special dice aside to remember the rerolls but even with that trick they are easy to forget.

The Outlaws did well in their injury recovery rolling. All got full recovery except for three non-heroes that will miss the next fight. Their strength is made up though by three new recruits. Two more Ruffians and a Hillman.

We have been debating giving the Outlaws a 50% bow limit to help them out a bit more. But soon they will be at full strength and spending influence on creatures, equipment and most likely a mercenary. For equipment I am thinking poison arrows at the very least.

Also, inspired by the Johnathan Baker house rules we are thinking of giving bonus xp to an underdog company that actually wins.

This scenario was always going to be tough for me given my low model count but the next one plays to my strengths… the aptly named “Show of Strength”, where the company leader who gets the most kills wins the scenario. With the help of Dwarven steel and inspiration from our Raven, Oren, I am feeling rather confident….

I took the time to make some minor improvements to some of my Dwarves. Inspired by Robert Adams’ Horseclans series, I decided to use the color of the Boars on the heroes’ helmets to reflect rank. Gold for the lieutenant, silver for sergeant and bronze for heroes in the making. I added a greenstuff beard to Hanar to look more Dwarf and less short, Human barbarian. And I finished Oren the Raven.

My wife and I are not keen on how flying creatures work in BC and SBG. Having to land every turn means they long distance hop rather than fly. We are debating some house rules on that because it just makes no sense for Oren to keep landing just outside a big melee rather than circling overhead.

Speaking of the Horseclans my mother recently sent a belated birthday package for me, including some Horseclans books. I am currently rereading the series. I loved them as a teen but I think I ignored a lot of the books and just focused on the armor and fighting. There are several problematic elements of the story and characterizations that reflect values out of step with contemporary views. Some of the passages and views expressed make me down right uncomfortable. But I do like the attention to detail on the armor, tactics, strategy and politics. The mix of fantasy and post apoc sci-fi is neat too. I would like to wargame the Horseclans world but one, I do not need another distraction from Middle Earth and two, my wife is not a fan of the Horseclans world at all. Quite the opposite. A shame really as I would like to try to make some appropriately aged ruins and kit bashing minis to match his description of Freefighters, Confederation troopers, Kindred and Witchmen Broomtowners.

I used to love this image of Bili “the Axe” Morghun as a teen. Now, after years of research, gaming and historical re-enacting I know how problematic this image is. Still… it looks cool…

“Ruins of Annuminas, Part 3!”

A few days after the passing of Fingaerion’s Spear and the Taken of Minas Morgul, the Dwarves of The Golden Boar and Old Ozzy’s Outlaws come upon the outskirts of the Ruins of Annuminas. Angmar Orcs drawn into the service of various Barrow Wights haunting the ruins go about their nefarious tasks.

Deciding to camp for the night not that far from each other both are confronted with different Orcs and Barrow Wights…. with differing results!

Rori and his Dwarves are ready for a fight and feeling confident… at least in killing Orcs. Wights however be another matter! The plan is, kill the Orcs then find and destroy the Barrow Wight that they feel is in one of the nearby ruins… and all before the sunsets!

The Raven, Oren, takes flight from Brimir’s arm. Arrows are exchanged but all fail to find their mark. Bili fights two Orcs and kills one.

The Dwarves continue with their initiative and press home their attacks. Rori throws an axe and kills an Orc. Bili goes after the Orc Tracker on the rocks nearby, easily climbing the stone ruins but missing his axe throw. An Orc archer looses and its arrow wounds Brimir, despite his new Dwarven armor. Only fate keeps the wound from being sever enough to incapacitate the Dwarf sergeant. Bili kills the Orc Tracker with a swift blow with his axe.

The Orcs seize the initiative but it does them little good. Hanar manages to win his fight thanks to the inspiration from Oren the Raven and kills an Orc. Brimir kills an Orc with his staff. Onar loses his fight but the Orc is unable to penetrate his Dwarven armor. Bili kills another Orc.

The Dwarves seize the initiative back, Rori and Hanar both throw axes and kill an Orc each. An Orc Archer looses and hits Bili but again Dwarven steel saves the day as the arrow narrowly misses a chink in his heavy Dwarven armor. (My wife rolled 6 to hit, six to wound, figured Bili was out but did not count on the 7 defense, so needed to roll another d6 and get 4+… she rolled a 3!) The Orcs are Broken and the Dwarves are glad they decided to get better armor rather than buy Dwarven Ale!

The Orcs have the initiative but their morale falters. Four Orcs lose their courage and flee. Two fall back towards the North West. Onar and Brimir loose arrows but miss. The Dwarves pursue the two Orcs.

Despite having the initiative still, this is all too much for the two Orcs as their withdrawal turns into a rout. They leave a lone Orc Tracker remaining in the North East ruins.

The Dwarves move towards the North East ruins but before they can get there the sun sets and the last Orc flees as well. All that is left now is to search the five sets of ruins in order to locate the Barrow Wight.

Each time Rori takes the time to surround each set of ruins, with his archers in excellent vantage positions before he personally approaches.

First…. the center one. Nothing.

Then the second. Nothing.

Then the third. Nothing.

Then the fourth. Nothing.

Finally… the fifth…

The Wight appears and uses magic to Paralyze Rori! The Wight then rushes down to attack Rori in melee before any of the Dwarves can loose arrows or throw axes. Fear grips the Dwarves, causing some to lose their nerve. However, Brimir and Hanar find the courage to charge the Wight and try to save Rori.

Hanar wants to throw an axe as he rushes in but decides he can not for fear of hitting Rori by accident. Given their numerous skilled attacks they are confident they can best the undead creature… but were it not for inspiration from Oren they would have failed! Yet again the Raven has proven his worth to the Dwarves. Brimir wounds the Wight twice, slaying the foul creature. Victory to the Dwarves!

Disappointingly though, a search of the ruins turns up just some trinkets rather than any great treasure (1 Influence point, with yet another roll of a 1 on the Ruins of Annuminas loot chart! Argh!).

An interesting game. It did not go as either my wife or I expected. Yet again the sense of randomness was strong, with appearing to shrug off most things then a lucky roll resulting in near tragedy more than once. Heavy Dwarven armor and the Raven really saved the day.

Both my wife and I are confused about the rules on using throwing weapons when joining multicombatant melee. Does anyone have a clear ruling on that? We went with a fluff based decision for this game but we would like a more rules based decision in the future.

Edit: I forgot to mention what happened to the Outlaws… we did not play their game out, just rolled for random results. They lost, the heroes got the bulk of the experience and influence was used to recruit some new troops. We adjusted the recruitment list to have the result of a single Ruffian with no special equipment to be two such poorly equipped villains. Edgar and Fancy Jack became heroes in the making, with Edgar on the Path of the Adventurer (+1 Attack) and Fancy Jack on the Path of the Ranger (+1 Might) Oswald is on the Path of the Sorcerer with a Staff of Power. Dolf is on the Path of the Scout and got some throwing daggers from that. Victor is on the Path of the General and got +1 Attack. They also recruited a number of new Outlaws after their last fight with the Dwarves, but before going into the Ruins of Annuminas. The Ruffians Einar “Lightfingers” and Filibur “Firebug” and the Hillman Feodor “Wolfkiller”. They gave Wolfkiller a bow so they would be at their max of 5 bows with a company 15 strong to take against the Dwarves in their next fight.

Old Ozzy’s Outlaws

Upgrades… and more!

In between games the painting, converting, kitbashing and building continues. A few things are finished thanks to good weather for Matt clear coating today.

Most important for the weekend, my “upgraded” Dwarves with fancy armor, weapons and helmets. And not necessarily for this weekend but some flaming objective markers for one of the Battle Companies scenarios where you have to set things on fire.

Inside the cotton is a small LED tea light. The photo does not capture the nicely atmospheric flicking but you can see a big difference between the ones that are on and the ones that are turned off.

If you want to know how I made them, just go on YouTube and you will find some tutorials. They are inexpensive and easy to make.

So five of my six Dwarves needed upgrades due to progression in Battle Companies.

I may have gotten a little carried away. The head is the leader head from the Oathmark infantry box set but with horns added and a faceplate from GW Fantasy Dwarves. I broke off one horn tip like the Nord in the Elder Scrolls Online promo videos. The shield is intentionally battered and worn looking. He has his main axe and a there is a throwing axe tucked into the straps for his belt pouch. That is a piece from the Victrix Vikings sprues.

Bili is on the Path of the Warrior and has heavy Dwarven armor. My bits box provided the little conversion parts… many of them from GW.

So Brimir was made as a conversion of the metal Oathmark Dwarf Wizard. I see him as a grizzled old mountaineer who finds a quarterstaff a more practical tool to lug around than a two handed axe. A Raven has recently befriended him. I need to come up with a name for the Raven… and a mini to represent the Raven when it is on Brimir’s arm. I used greenstuff to turn his cloth sleeves into maille but it is far from my best work. The result of working when tired.

Next up is Hanar, who was promoted to Iron Guard then became a Hero in the Making (On the Path of the Warrior). Two attacks and Strength 5! I added the boar to the top of his helmet to reflect his hero status. It came from a Celtic warriors sprue, Victrix I think. I may greenstuff him a longer beard so he will look more Dwarf and less Human barbarian. The big GW pauldrons help give the armor a really heavy look.

Snorri recently became a Hero in the Making and I chose Path of the Adventurer. I upgraded his armor to heavy Dwarven armor and added the boar on his helmet. That boar head was cut down from a Celtic boar standard and with some greenstuff work added to the helmet. It looked somehow awkward until I decided to add the over the top horns. Not practical, I know… but I like the look!

These two are not in my company yet… but I am allowed one Vault Warden team, so eventually they will be. They are specialized in killing monsters, which should help with Trolls, Giant Spiders and especially the Cave Drake in the final scenario of our first campaign!

In addition to the usual metal GW Black Numenorean… I also made a converted GW Dark Elf as a Black Numenorean proxy.

In addition to these models for our Middle Earth Gaming I finished a few pieces for EBay or gifting to friends.

In other news I have been watching the Netflix series Snowpiercer and really enjoying it. I notice it is not getting great reviews but I think it is great, in fact better than the movie. Admittedly I have not read the graphic novel. The production values of the show are great, cast, costuming, special effects are all brilliant. The morality questions posed by the show are very thought provoking and I look forward to each episode. Have you been watching it? What do you think of it?

“Rescue!” A Battle Report

In the predawn gloom Rori, the leader of the Company of the Golden Boar, grumbles to his two companions, “Cursed fog! Thick as pea soup. Either of you see the blasted road?” Before either can answer the noise of snapping branches and rustling leaves announces the arrival of shadowy figures ahead of them. Mannish voices…. the Outlaws!

Rori, Snorri and Hanar call out to the rest of the company whilst moving towards a rocky outcropping that should make a good defensive position. With so many Outlaws the risk of being swarmed and overwhelmed is real.

Brimir and Bili follow the sound of Rori’s voice. The Raven that had recently befriended Brimir takes off from his arm and speeds off towards Rori.

Cursing the Dwarves and their love of rocks the Outlaws approach Rori, ignoring his two companions. Oswald wants the Dwarf leader dead at all costs. But the first entry on the butcher’s bill comes quickly. Rori recognizes William due to his trademark whip and drops him with a thrown axe. Hanar hits one of the Outlaws but fails to wound him.

The fog makes long range archery impossible but as the groups converge arrows and axes fly. All fail to find their targets. The Outlaws are forced to attack Rori one at a time due to the large rocks he has climbed. First Rori cuts down Braga, then Korg but fails to wound Dolf. The Outlaws are unable to land a single blow on the new heavy Dwarven armor that Rori wears.

However, the Outlaws seize the initiative at this point. One-Eye shoots Brimir but fate saves the Dwarf sergeant. No other arrow or thrown axe finds its mark and a melee ensues.

Their new Raven inspiring them in the combat, the Dwarves proceed to add to the butcher’s bill. First Hanar cuts down Dolf. Snorri incapacitates Victor when fate fails to intervene. Bili, in his new heavy Dwarven armor, fells Edgar. The Outlaws are exceedingly frustrated at this point. Between the Raven, the throwing axes and the Dwarven armor, it seems the Outlaws are doomed. Oswald realizes it all depends on killing the Dwarf leader. However, Rori has other plans and first cuts down the Orc, Wigduf that had only recently joined the Outlaws. Finally Rori strikes down the ill fated Outlaw leader.

This is too much for the remaining Outlaws, Rori is “rescued” and victory goes to the Dwarves. All before the rise of the sun.

A quick but challenging game. Very different from how it went with the Taken and the Elves. My wife was frustrated with how rubbish the Outlaws are but I think she has been a bit spoiled with how good her elite Lothlorien Elves are. The Outlaws are a horde company with disposable troops. Nearly incapacitating my sergeant Brimir with a couple good rolls helped her see that it was a matter of just rolling enough dice. I have gambled heavily on a handful of elite troops rather than recruiting more troops. This may turn around and bite me but there is a method to my madness.

As it stands, Rori is on the Path of the General (+1 courage, +1 fight). Bili is on the Path of the Warrior (+1 attack) as my champion with added throwing axes. Brimir is on the Path of the Scout (+1 attack) with an added quarterstaff, Raven and after this rescue scenario where he almost fell… Dwarven armor.

Hanar had already been recognized and made an Iron Guard but after this scenario he leveled again and was determined to be a hero in the making! I chose Path of the Warrior for him (+1 strength)… making him 5 Strength. With a two handed axe. Tasty!

Snorri also leveled and was recognized…. as a hero in the making as well! I chose Path of the Adventurer (+1 attack).

As you can see I got very lucky with my level up promotions and skills so far. All those extra attacks! It makes the points value of my company pretty high, especially as I want to invest to protect those heroes. I chose to add heavy Dwarven armor to Hanar and Snorri so they are back on my workbench to have some conversion work done. Photos in the next blog entry.

The foggy weather dropped the missile range down to 8″ and I am sure that was to my benefit as I had only one archer versus the Outlaws having three.

I reminded my wife about the manacles of the Ruffians in the Outlaw company but the Raven and Dwarven fight values helped ensure I won the duels. That and the advantage of fighting from an elevated defensive position. I will admit that I was relieved to roll and get the defense on the scenario… I did not look forward to having to track down her Move 7″ Oswald with my Move 5″ Dwarves…. part of our armor house rules.

After the game we did the results for the Outlaws for this scenario as well as an abbreviated version of the narrative Ruins of Annuminas for them…which sadly for them they lost (1-2 lose, 3-4 draw, 5-6 win), so not much experience or influence. But some leveling, some heroes in the making and some new recruits! More detailed information to come in a future blog entry.

I hope folks are enjoying reading these. If anyone has any questions, suggestions or recommendations please leave a comment!

“Take the Gate!” A Battle Report

The Company of the Golden Boar is on the old road North but Ozzy’s Outlaws have gotten to a chokepoint In some old fortifications before them. Now the Dwarves will have to fight their way through the Men in order to continue their journey home.

It is a foggy day and the Dwarves advance in close order while the Outlaws hold in a defensive line. Step by step the advance continues through the thick fog. Finally the range closes and the two groups see each other. Arrows are exchanged but fail to cause any casualties.

Finally Brimir hits Fancy Jack and and the Ruffian collapses. More arrows are exchanged without effect.

Then Dolf Greymane takes a mighty shot at Onar, felling the Dwarf archer. But at the same time Brimir hits the Ruffian archer “One Eye”.

The Dwarves have slowly advanced to get close enough to throw axes. Rori throws an axe and drops William. Bili throws and hits Dolf but fate saves the Hillman sergeant from injury.

The Outlaws decide to charge! Two hold to protect the gate but the others rush forward. A melee ensues as some of the Dwarves advance towards the gate and others move to help their friends.

Bili incapacitates Braga. Brimir then cuts down Dolf and Snorri cuts down Korg. This is too much for the Outlaws. The Dwarves are victorious.

Not a terribly complicated game. The fog reduced range to 8″ so that impacted the archery strategy to some degree. However there were a few turns of shooting to no effect. This made the game feel longer than what it was.

My wife was has been getting a bit frustrated with playing the Outlaws as they struggle to wound the Dwarves. Part of the issue with playing cheap horde types versus elite troops.

I broke one of my own rules (to only use finished minis) and used the minis I have been working on for upgraded Rori and Bili. I chose to give them heavy Dwarven armor rather thonged the Rallying Horn or get any reinforcements. It is a gamble but I think it will pay off later.

Onar was injured, so will sit out a game.

Hanar leveled and was promoted to an Iron Guard. I spent the influence to have him keep his two handed axe… so I do not need to change the mini.

Bili leveled and is on the Path of the Champion (warrior).

Brimir leveled… I decided in the end to go with Path of the Scout rather than Path of the Sorcerer, and converted the Oathmark Dwarven Wizard to suit. I spent the influence to give him a quarterstaff and Raven (acts as a banner).

All of the Outlaw casualties had a full recovery. They spent some influence on a reinforcement and got an Orc.

We will see more of this in the next battle report…. “Rescue!”

Edit: You May have noticed some name changes on the Dwarves. I decided to replace the Welsh names with more canon sounding Dwarf names.

More odds and ends…

This week I managed to finish a few things.

I put a lot of time into this terrain piece. My wife cut the wooden board that is the base a bit differently shaped than I was expecting and I was a bit over optimistic in putting heavy pieces on both ends. There is a bit of flex. in the narrow Middle that I should have anticipated. I think my failure to do so made me reluctant to really invest much time and effort in the piece. But every time I thought I was finished with it I had an idea to improve it and eventually I got it to look better than I expected.

I particularly like how the little cave with the skull and snake came out. Whilst I am not a fan of skulls everywhere, like GW seems to favor… but I do like the occasional reminder of the frailty of humanity near old ruins.

Next up are some small terrain scatter pieces or objective markers.

The big totem in the center was won in an auction, already painted to a decent standard as… well… a broken standard. So I rebased it, tidied up the paint, did some washes and presto it is now a piece to add some creepiness to an Orc camp. The other two were from scratch out of my bits box.

Next a few minis… the pony is probably going to end up in my Dwarven Battle Company.

The rangery looking fellow was planned to join my Dwarven company but I decided against greenstuffing a longer beard and he will be a local scout or ranger (Man). The Rohan warrior was won in auction already painted well. Gripping Beast plastic Saxon I think. I removed the sword he had in his left hand, added the Rohan shield, changed his cross pendant to a generic disk, did some washes and painted his eyes. Something for my wife’s Rohan army.

I also finished a few pieces that will either be given away as gifts or go for sale on eBay.

Some works in progress that are causing me some uncertainty….

On the left I a metal Dwarf Wizard from Oathmark. It is such a great sculpt that I want to add it to my Battle Company but I do not think it is canon to have a Dwarf Sorcerer.

On the right is a version of my Battle Company leader I have been working on. The plan being to put him in heavy Dwarven armor. But I think I may have gotten away with myself…. he is starting to look as over the top as the usual GW Dwarf. I took a lot of inspiration from the Nord in the Elder Scrolls Online promo videos. What do you think? Too much?

In other news, my wife and I watched season 1 of Space Force.

We quite enjoyed it…. which to be honest surprised me. Have you seen it? Did you enjoy it?

A chance encounter… with Old Ozzy’s Outlaws

Oswald Thistlemoss figured it was time to carry on with the next step in his plan to recover the treasure that he felt was his by rights. Now with three groups to clear the path of obstacles he just needed to gather some minions to deal with any remaining survivors and help carry his treasure home.

He had approached the unofficial leader of the more unsavory elements in Old Oak, Victor Briarthorn. Despite a childhood injury, or perhaps because of, he had a bullying nature that somehow commanded respect of rougher sorts. They called him Victor the Lame but his cruelty kept them in line…. until he told them they would be joining Old Ozzy in heading North to get a bit of payback on the three groups of strangers that they had tangled with of late. Viktor particularly hated the Dwarves and intended to get his vengeance.

But not all of the Ruffians of Old Oak were up for it. Especially if it meant following Victor, who no longer looked so invulnerable after the Dwarf had so easily incapacitated him.

Old Ozzy, as Oswald was called by many, had connections with many strange outcasts, misfits and outlaws… including Ruffians, Hillmen and Wildmen from far and wide. He called on some to join his venture. It came as quite a surprise when several of the Ruffians in Old Oak turned on him and Victor. They fought them off with the help of some Hillmen but were forced to flee the village.

In addition to Oswald and Victor there was the Hillman sergeant Dolf Greymane. With him were the Hillmen Braga Big Axe and Pyotr, called “Bald Pete” by the men of Old Oak. Those men included William Whipperwill, known for his use of a bullwhip. “Fancy Jack” who was actually Belamir, a wanted murderer from Minas Tirith. The archer Alfred “One-Eye” Rosebush. And finally Edgar Dogwood.

Heading North towards the Blue Mountains, in footsteps of the Dwarves, they were again surprised. This time by those same Dwarves, who had noticed they were being followed by a group of Men.

Rori suspected the Men were the same that had caused trouble for them in Old Oak. He had little patience for a delay but it would not do to have the Men ambush them later so best to teach them a lesson now. He split his company into two parts and sent them into defensive positions in the rocks. There was a clear sky but the sun would be setting soon.

Ozzy’s Outlaws were confused by the actions of the Dwarves. Once they had been spotted they expected the belligerent Dwarves to furiously charge them. It looked like they would have to dig them out of their rocky positions.

The Dwarf sergeant Brimir looses an arrow and hits Dolf Greymane but fate saves him from being incapacitated. More arrows are exchanged as the Outlaws continue to advance. Brimir looses and incapacitates Edgar with a grey fletched arrow. Then Onar looses and hits Fancy Jack, removing an Outlaw archer.

The Outlaws now are almost on the first group of Dwarves, who have climbed to the top of the rocky outcrop they have chosen to defend. Rori throws an ax and hits Victor. Only fate prevents the Ruffian sergeant from being incapacitated. In exchange William uses his whip and hits Rori. Fate yet again steps in though and mightily prevents Rorik from being knocked out.

The Dwarves have placed themselves in the rocks in such a way that the Outlaws can only approach them one at a time. Victor charges Rori and is cut down by the Dwarf for his effort. William however has better luck and incapacitates Rori!

The Dwarves have the initiative now. Archers exchange arrows but fail to find their mark. Ozzy uses his club and knocks out Snorri. Bili however manages to cut down William, Bald Pete and finally Braga Big Axe.

The sun has set, the Outlaws are Broken and Oswald’s Courage fails him. The Outlaws decide discretion is the better part of valor and the Outlaws withdraw. Victory to the Company of the Golden Boar!

Quite an interesting game. My wife was surprised by my use of rocky terrain to nullify her numerical advantage. In hindsight perhaps I should have put my archers into cover rather than just on top of the hill but I was intending to use my better armor to allow better fields of fire. As it was my wife kept her archers alive largely because I struggled with the “In the Way” rolls of her cover.

The Outlaws only had on injury, Edgar Dogwood will miss the next fight. Due to how our house rules on experience work William Whipperwill leveled twice and was recognized for promotion each time… however the stats for Sharkey’s Rogues has no promotion for Ruffians. So we used a house rule from Johnathan Baker, granting D3 Influence for each. The Outlaws got 4, giving them a total of 6 (the 2 they got from their first narrative scenario went to get a bow and two handed axe)…. 4 of which they spent on a reinforcement. The Hillman, Korg.

For the Hillmen we are using the Dunland Wildmen… but we changed their Hatred rule from Rohan to Dunedain. The Ruffians had two rule changes to make them this Hobbit specific… First they all have manacles. My wife chose not to use them in this fight. And we gave them +1 Fight if they are in a duel where they outnumber their opponent…. hence why I was quick to get elevated positions for my Dwarves!

For the Dwarves, the casualties all had full recovery. Rori leveled and chose the Path of the General. I rolled +1 Courage. I have not settled yet on how I want to spend the 7 Influence points I have. Better kit for my heroes or a Rallying Horn… hmmm….

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.

Wildmen and Dwarves!

In order for us to pick up on how our Battle Companies “Journey to the Blue Mountains” campaign is branching out this weekend I needed to finish a few things… including my new Dwarven Battle Company!

First off are some Frostgrave Barbarians that we won in auction already painted to a decent standard. They only needed some minor adjustments, particularly in repainting the skin, hair and eyes, some washes and rebasing to be table ready for us. With them is an old metal figure, no idea of maker, that I repainted as the mysterious “not-Gandalf” in the village of Old Oak that I mentioned in previous battle reports.

My thinking is that following my company doing the starter scenario the ruffians of Old Oak will have had their fill of watching others venture off for treasure in the Blue Mountains and will form their own (NPC) Battle Company based on the profiles for Sharkey’s Rogues but with some house rules to make them a bit more challenging for non-Hobbit opponents.

As the campaign, and future campaigns, progress we will introduce other new Evil Battle Companies as NPCs.

Now to my new Oathmark Dwarves. I used both the regular infantry and the newer heavy infantry sprues plus bits from my bits box to create my vision of Dwarves. They are a bit big compared to other Dwarf models, especially the official GW LOTR Dwarf figures, which my wife is not keen on but I like them and they are fun to paint at this size.

First up my lieutenant (leader), Rori. I took some inspiration from some of my larp kit on the design and colors. At some point his equipment will change so no idea how long I will use this figure to represent him. He is a Dwarf Ranger with throwing axes and I plan on taking him down the Path of the General.

Next up is one of my sergeants. Bili the Dwarf Ranger with two handed axe. The blue grey beard is a nod to Dwalin. I plan on taking him down the Path of the Warrior to become the Champion of the Company. On that note, I hate that they used “path of the warrior” instead of say “path of the champion” as it current causes some confusion with the being a hero or warrior in classification, ie when you say he is a Warrior… is he a warrior model or is he a hero on the warrior path?

Brimir is a Dwarf Ranger and my other Sergeant. I wanted him to become my Loremaster ans so maybe go down the Path of the Sorcerer but I decided against this. This figure is just a place holder for now as I intend to give him a raven and staff as soon as I have spare influence. A conversion of the metal Oathmark Dwarf Wizard figure is high on my “to do” list.

Hanar is a Dwarf Warrior (a third different application of the warrior term, argh!) with a two handed axe. My wife is not a fan of horned helmets but I like the Boris Vallejo Deathdealer look of lowered, forward facing horns. Not practical for fighting I realize but the look is particularly good on the fantasy Vikings in Pathfinder and similar to the cool horned helmet of the Nord hero in the Elder Scrolls Online promo videos.

Then we have the Dwarf Warrior, Onar. I am particularly pleased how the blue wash on the scales of his armor contrasts with the maille. I created a system with the Oathmark bodies to reflect the three levels of armor you see in MESBG and BC. Maille (commonly called chain mail) alone is armor, these are the Dwarf Infantry bodies. The Dwarf armor and Dwarf heavy armor uses the Dwarf Heavy Infantry bodies, with the arms of the Heavy Infantry for the Dwarf heavy armor…. and where possible GW Fantasy Dwarf pauldrons. You will see what I mean later in the blog entry…

Snorri is a Dwarf Warrior, with as you can see axe and shield. The shield decal is one of the Oathmark Dwarven shield transfers from LBM studios. For clothing on the Dwarves I went with a more colorful palette than Jackson went with in the Hobbit but hopefully it is still subdued enough to be Low Fantasy in flavor. Feedback on the color choices very welcome!

Next up some WIP shots…

Some more Dwarves… for reinforcements and promotions. A GW Dark Elf converted to be a Black Numenorean. A Haradrim Captain made from Gripping Beast Arab Heavy Cavalry and GW Fantasy High Elf bits. A Wildman made from various bits in my bits box and a Conquest Norman body.

I am particularly pleased with how I managed to replicate a Dwarven Vault Warden Team from the bits I have. For the special iron shield I will be converting a large Persian square shield. I think the GW pauldrons work ok on the Oathmark models which surprises me as I am not normally a fan of the GW ever present football pads looking pauldrons.

I won an auction for a bunch of Gripping Beast incomplete Arab Heavy Cavalry. Lots of bits but no horses and no legs. So I tried matching up a body with GW High Elf legs… I think it works. My wife likes it. What do you think? Right now he does not have a shield. I made him with the plan to give him a shield but I forgot about the penalty for having a bow and shield so may not do that now. Also, I made his scabbard from a cut off spare bow limb. Do you think it looks ok? Maybe it will look different when painted.

So there we go… a lot done the last couple of weeks in preparation for gaming this weekend. Not to mention all the efforts I have made to sell off spare figures we will not be using. My wife and I went through quite a few to decide what to keep and what to sell but we have even more to go through. It seems smaller skirmishes suit us more than the gigantic battles I imagined at the start of this project.

Pause for the Cause…

Following our last game, the rescue of Cailon the Galadhrim sergeant, my wife and I decided to take a break from the gaming to get some painting and terrain work done as well as consider if we are on the right track with our current gaming plan.

Above you can see some things that I had on the go and finally finished. More details to come…

I am not sure who sculpted this metal model. We got it as part of a larger bulk auction and it had damaged paint work. I rebased it and repainted it completely. My wife did not like it, the pose put her off as she did not like how he appears to be looking down. But once I painted it, she came around and whilst still disliking the pose she likes the paintwork enough to keep it now. I am thinking it will be a fine proxy for Thranduil or a random Elven Captain.

A couple of plastic GW LOTR Wood Elves. These were won in auction part painted, with thick paint. I did not strip them, thinking to save time. The result shows. OK I suppose if we need a big group.

Some animals for atmosphere more than anything else really. The horses are cheap 1/72nd scale plastic, probably for a train set. I tried to make them acceptable young horses. The bear is a soft plastic kids toys that painted up better than I expected. The rat is a metal GW Fantasy giant rat. There are some unofficial rules for giant rats in Middle Earth in Battles of Wilderland that we will be trying at some point.

I have gone back and forth on how to model Black Numenoreans and Dead Marsh Spectres. I find myself struggling with GW and Peter Jackson implying the Black Numenoreans may be a kind of undead and the Dead Marsh Spectres not being spectral. Not to mention Dead Marsh Spectres being places other than just the Dead Marshes, ie Angmar and Minas Morgul.

My wife and I debated this at length. She does not see Black Numenoreans as undead in any way. Just long lived Men, like the Dunedain. And she sees the Dead Marsh Spectres as corpses rather than spectral ghosts. So our Army of the Dead models will be Dead Marsh Spectres, we will use various different models for Black Numenoreans but striving for a Gothic appearance as per the Nazgul and GW Fantasy Chainrasps for the spectral Army of the Dead. To that end I repainted a mini and painted three new ones, all to be Dead Marsh Spectres….

I repainted the above from a more spectral appearance to be more inline with the corpse appearance on the rest of our repurposed Army of the Dead models.

And quite fun to make were these…

The new undead from Fireforge, with an obvious Game of Thrones vibe to them. Quite fun, a bit on the large side but I like them.

Originally I had thought to use skeletons somehow in our Middle Earth Gaming but I am not so sure any more. Either way, these Rune Wars skeleton models are a bit to World of Warcraft for my taste. I painted over a pretty thick original paintjob and the result is obvious.

These will likely go the same route as the old GW Wood Elf… even my painting could not convince my wife to like the cartoonish 80’s sculpt. Looks like a number of our older GW sculpts are destined for eBay….

As for our thoughts on the future of our gaming campaign… we found that we were not keen on the direct, competitively adversarial nature of Good (My wife) versus Evil (me). Not to mention I find role playing Evil all the time exhausting. So seeing how some folks are doing things on YouTube we are going to make the Taken of Minas Morgul an NPC company and I will be starting a company of Dwarves! We have some fun twists and turns to enhance the narrative nature of our gaming, which we will elaborate on in a future blog entry.

Our house rules seem to be settling in ok. We do have a couple things we would love to have your input on.

  1. Range at night. Battle Companies night scenario says 6″, SBG night scenario says 12″. Which do you think we should use, and why?
  2. SBG rules say that forces do not check Courage when Broken in Narrative Scenarios. Battle Companies does not say one way or the other. We have been following the SBG rule but we see folks on YouTube having troops check Courage when Broken, which does have a big impact on the starting scenarios when you have high Courage troops versus low Courage troops. Which do you use? Which is correct?

If you are curious who I have been watching play Battle Companies on YouTube lately….

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