Every now and then we have a special seasonal game. So, with a little pride, I present you with a battle report of this year’s Halloween game.
One of the thing about these special seasonal games of course is special terrain pieces. For a while now I’ve been working on a set of 28mm graveyard modules for just that.
The big central piece was the first one I did. Basically the impetus to do it was that I’d just finished playing a video game which ‘inspired’ me to do this and I wanted to try out some new terrain building things.
…and things kinda got out of hand from that point on. At least I kept that much of a sense that I made the terrain pieces as generic as possible. Most of the pieces would work for Fantasy/Horror stuff, for historical gaming from high medieval/renaissance times up to contemporary and even futuristic games.
Our game was scheduled for the 31st of October. Towards the end of the deadline I ran out of time a bit and had to make some concessions. That’s okay, as wargamers we’re used to that, right?
For the rules we chose Ganesha Games’ Sellswords and Spellslingers, an excellent cooperative fantasy adventure game. Cpt. Shandy is well familiar with the rules and thus in charge of the scenario and running the game.
This is a completely cooperative game. In this scenario we played a party of six characters on a very large table (4′ by 6′). At least large in S&S terms. We set up the table, waited for the rest of the players to return from trick & treating and off we went.
The plan was as genius as it was simple, so Filuil assured his company who had gathered around the table. The air in “The Broken Lute”‘s taproom was heavy with smoke at this late hour, and limbs were heavy after several rounds of drinks.
Filuil though was wide awake, as he explained the plan he had worked out over the past months: It was Geheimnisnacht, the one night of the year at which both moons were at their full. At this night of mystery the veil between the worlds waned, as the dead raised from their graves to haunt the living. The only way to resist the wrath of these restless revenants was to make them an offer of sweet delicacies. Upon receiving the goods, they would retire to their graves to feast.
“This is where we swoop in!”, the elf continued with a sly grin. “We storm the old graveyard, grab the sweet, and are back here for drinks before the undead even notice.” . In their inebriated state of mind, everybody around the table was convinced that this was the best plan ever. Soon the sound of heavy boots, stilettos and hooves filled the room as our heroes shuffled towards the door and out into the night.
“Tonight we’ll dine on caramel!”
Here we got an overview of the table layout:
The characters enter the table from the bottom centre, as indicated by the blue arrow. Purple dots indicate large stashes of sweets. The characters just have to go there, grab the sweets, and run off with them. In addition to this each slain enemy drops a single piece of candy which our characters may pick up, but of course that costs time.
At the beginning there are just a few enemies on the table – a ghost in front of each of the two crypts, plus the Queen of the Undead, starting at the gates of the old chapel on the hill.
As everything was set up, it was time to roll for the order in which the players would activate and the game officially started.
In the tradition of all great adventure parties, we decide to split up right away – Filuil (green cape, big sword, bow, leader), our inspired leader, Lyria (green cape, strong bow, sharpshooter), his daughter, and Koma the Barbarian (great axe, horde fighter, cleave) advance straight ahead to the first stash at the centre. Roythos “handsome Roy” Damasco (very yellow cape, greedy), Eqilana (centaur, strong bow, fast) and Nikala / “Niki” (Dark Elven sorceress) move left to the other one.
We advance swiftly in this phase of the game. Due to her extra speed, Equilana secures the first sweets stash quickly, as Roy and Niki try to keep up.
At the centre Lyria sprints to her designated stash of sweets.
Filuil and Koma the Barbarian pass her on their way to the central statue to get a better overview.
Behind them, barely noticeably, muffled voices and squeaks, as well as the sounds of paws on cobblestone fill the night. Seems like our heroes drew the attention of several bands of Skaven on their way to the graveyard.
Close to ten Skaven (including some stray goblins and even a graveyard daemon) pop up behind us over the course of the first few phases, same as two more tiny daemons way at the other end of the table. Nothing to worry about though. Lyria sticks back and starts peppering them with arrows.
Since he can’t find anything to loot or drink, Koma the Barbarian charges forward and into a small group of night goblins who are about to celebrate Geheimnisnacht with a sing-song.
Nikala starts several attempts at pelting the opposition with magic darts, but the winds of magic are fickle that night, and, much to her chagrin, her spells fizzle out before they do any damage.
A tooth-shattering wail is heard across the graveyard, as the Queen of the Undead sets in motion towards the intruders.
As the game progresses, our activation rolls get worse, and eventually the various baddies start catching up to us.
Eqilana moves up to a group of ratmen who snuck up through the cornfield. The centaur opens fire at point blank range, killing one…
However, the Skaven eventually charge into close combat.
Meanwhile, in front of the gravedigger’s house, a strange band of musicians ask for shelter by means of a song.
This attracts yet another large group of Skaven. The musicians flee the scene as the ratmen chase them down the cobblestone path to the centre of the table.
All this kerfuffle right in front of his house makes the gravedigger come out of his house. With him the man, who is built like an anvil, carries his coffin to collect some sweets.
In gameplay terms he activates when the monsters do, but won’t attack us. However, he will move towards candy on the ground and pick it up.
Upon having arrived at the centre, our leader is faced with two small, but nasty goblins.
The first he shoots down with a well-placed arrow. (The gravedigger immediately picks up the dropped candy.) The other (really tiny) goblin charges at the elf, swinging a metal lantern.
The lantern carrier proves to be surprisingly resilient in combat, and knocks Filuil down to one hit point before he is finally slain by the elf.
After a few turns of her fighting retreat against Skaven and goblins, Lyria arrives to help her wounded father in case more baddies show up. Back to back they’re ready to face any adversary.
Koma at this point has gone full barbarian. After having slain goblins and a ghost, he charges at the (technically peaceful) gravedigger, lusting for the candy he stored in the coffin.
After a quick back and forth, the gravedigger plonks Koma on the head, and stuffs him into the coffin!
In case you’re wondering what Roy and Niki are up to while everybody’s doing more or less useful things…
Well, the former is concerned with grabbing loot from shot-down skaven, and in return is chased off by two hordes…
In the mean time Niki charges forward toward the first crypt to grab some sweet, sweet candy, but is hampered by repeated stiletto shoe malfunctions and monster ambushes.
Once more she reaches for the skies to conjure up dark magic to throw into the face of the graveyard daemon. Again – nothing. With a frustrated shriek, she draws a tiny dagger (the big green sword is just for show), as the daemon laughs in her face.
An overview of this phase of the game:
In the left you can see the skaven driving the musicians before them and towards us, as the Queen of the Undead slowly moves towards us.
At the right Eqilana took care of all the monsters on her side and loots a well-deserved piece of candy. Lyria shoots down the gravedigger. His coffin, like a piñata, explodes in a torrent of candy and a disheveled barbarian. He quickly grabs all the goods and starts moving off the table. Once he’s safe, Lyria turns toward the skaven warriors and slays several of them to help out Roy in his predicament.
Filuil orders the retreat, but Nikala insists in searching the crypt for the last attainable sweets stash. She even finds a big bag of chocolate (just before that thieving magpie grabs it!), but is ambushed and downed by two nasty goblins!
Heroically, the yellow-clad Roy runs to help her up. This rescue operation hampers our general retreat, and so the Queen of the Undead actually arrives at our lines (for lack of a better word).
Lyria, along with Eqilana so far clearly the most effective character in our warband, open fire at the spooky spectre, but she’s a toughie.
The centaur keeps the flanks of our path of retreat safe. She finds an unobstructed firing lane between the graves, and turns it into a death zone for all sorts of goblins and skaven.
Due to the graphic nature of the following photo viewer’s discretion is advised.
Just before the Queen of the Undead gets close enough to Roy and Niki (who quarrel over whether to retreat or go back into the crypt for more loot), Lyria destroys the uber-ghost with another well-placed arrow. With another hair-raising wail the spook fades away, leaving behind another great pile of sweets (as indicated by a lovely seasonal chocolate lolly).
…which the wounded Nikala grabs. Things are looking nice. Now we can finally walk away, bags full of sweets…
Nope, another nasty guerilla goblin ambushes poor Filuil and knocks his last hit point off him. Luckily his daughter (once more) is right at his side, helping him up, and dragging him off table and into safety.
Time to return to the tavern and fight over who gets what share of the loot pile.
Our heroes are serenaded by the oddball band. The genius plan worked. Not quite to perfection, but in the end our band of warriors walk away with a lot of candy.
I hope you enjoyed this battle report. Thanks to everybody for participating and for making this once more an unforgettable ‘special seasonal game’. Also, of course, thanks to you for reading. If you have any comments, questions, etc. just drop them in the comments section below.
For more photos of my paintwork/modelling visit the Battle Brush Studios website, Facebook Page and/or follow me on Twitter @SigurSquirrel.