Attack on the Hamlet of Hamlingden

Scenario two from the A Case of Mistaken Identity Narrative Campaign for Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game.

PDF Download: Attack on the Hamlet of Hamlingden

Attack on the Hamlet of Hamlingden 

The Orcs thinking they have tracked down the location of a Baggins send a larger party of Orcs to attack the hamlet of Hamlingden where they believe a Baggins to live – in fact it is a distant relative of Bilbo, Lobelia Sackville-Baggins.   

Forewarned Aragorn is waiting with a group of militia and has sent word to Gandalf for help. Gandalf arrives part way through the battle. 

LAYOUT 

Lobelia’s house is a hobbit hole in the hamlet of Hamlingden. The hamlet consists of one hobbit hole and a couple of cottages above ground. There are a number of vegetable gardens bordered by low fences and hedges around the hamlet that form defensive barriers. A few copses of trees can be placed around the board as well. The board is 4’ x 4’. 

Attack on Hamlingden Map

STARTING POSITIONS 

Lobelia starts just outside her hobbit hole. Aragorn and the Hobbit Militia and Hobbit Archers start anywhere within the area of the hamlet and its gardens. 

The Orcs then deploy on any board edge up to three inches in. They have had time to plan their attack and surround the hamlet.  

OBJECTIVES 

The Good player’s objective is to survive until Gandalf can get to the hamlet and cast a spell to aid their escape. Once Gandalf arrives he should make his way to the hamlet and ensure that at least Aragorn, Lobelia and half the remaining hobbits are within 6 inches of him. He can then cast an enhanced version of his Blinding Light spell, casting on 4+. If successful all Orcs on the board are blinded long enough for the Good forces to make their escape. Alternatively the Good player wins if the Evil force is defeated in the normal way, i.e. reduced to 25% plus Lobelia, Aragorn and Gandalf are all still alive. 

The Evil player’s objective is to take Lobelia captive. To do this they must reduce her Wounds to zero, but instead of killing her this renders her unconscious. She then needs to be carried to the edge of the board by the Orcs. This can be done by a single Orc carrying her. See the rules for carrying on page 109 of the Rules Manual. Lobelia is a Light Object for the Orcs to carry, a Heavy Object for the Goblins.  

SPECIAL RULES 

Gandalf will arrive part way through the battle. Starting on turn three he arrives from the Eastern board edge on a roll of 4+. 

PARTICIPANTS 

Good 

  • Lobelia Sackville-Baggins 
  • Aragorn 
  • Gandalf 
  • 8 Hobbit Militia 
  • 4 Hobbit Archers 

Evil 

  • Hunter Orc Captain on Fell Warg 
  • 6 Hunter Orcs on Fell Warg 
  • 12 Angmar Orcs 
  • 24 Moria Goblins 

PDF Download: Attack on the Hamlet of Hamlingden

A Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game Narrative Campaign: A Case of Mistaken Identity

I have been working on a narrative campaign recently for Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game. It’s a fun series of linked scenarios set in and around the Shire. The scenarios start with a small number of models building up to larger battles and ending with a siege against the forces of Angmar! Can Gandalf and Aragorn protect the Hobbits from the evil Orcs and their master?

I am going to post an overview of the campaign below and also each scenario in a separate post. PDFs also available for download.

A Case of Mistaken Identity
A Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game Narrative Campaign

It is some years since Bilbo Baggins has returned to the Shire and settled down to his old life. The shadow in the East has stirred again and has been looking for news and rumours of the ring. It has heard a rumour of the ring being in the north and its spies say that the ring is with someone called Bagginses.

The campaign is a series of small linked battles.

The forces for each battle are detailed in each scenario description —it is assumed that any injuries are healed etc. However, if any heroes are killed then they return to the next battle they’re in but with 1 less Wound. If they survive the next scenario they are then returned to full Wounds.

Lost in the Old Forest

A Shire militia patrol is ambushed while beating the bounds by a party of Hunter Orcs on Fell Wargs. Only the quick actions of Aragorn can save them.

Aragorn finds a scribbled note on one of the Orcs written in the Black Tongue – they are looking for Bagginses!

Attack on the Hamlet of Hamlingden

The Orcs believe they have tracked down the location of a Baggins, so send a larger party of Orcs to attack the hamlet of Hamlingden where they believe a Baggins to live – in fact it is a distant relative of Bilbo, Lobelia Sackville-Baggins

Forewarned Aragorn is waiting with a group of militia and has sent word to Gandalf for help. Gandalf arrives part way through the battle.

Escape Across the River

The Shire is too dangerous for anyone called Baggins. While Gandalf goes to make sure Bilbo is safe, Aragorn leads Lobelia Sackville-Baggins and the surviving militia across the river to try to reach the old Arnor fort of Edding Moor. They are pursued by a new Orc warband sent to finish the job the other Orcs failed.

Searching the fort of Edding Moor

Gandalf is alarmed to hear where Aragorn has taken the hobbits – he believes it is a trap and that forces of evil live in the fort. He goes in first to clear it out.

Within the ruins Gandalf must battle Barrow Wights, Spiders and Bats!

Attack on the fort of Edding Moor

Once Gandalf has attempted to clear the interior of the Fort Aragorn and the hobbits enter to seek refuge. They are joined by a group of Dúnedain to aid in their defence. But the Enemy has sent one of his lieutenants with a large army of Orcs and Trolls to seize the hobbit and destroy Aragorn and Gandalf.

A Case of Mistaken Identity Campaign Overview PDF Download

Lost in the Old Forest

Scenario one from the A Case of Mistaken Identity Narrative Campaign for Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game.

PDF Download: Lost in the Old Forest

Lost in the Old Forest

A group of Hobbit archers and militia are beating the bounds of the shire, a mysterious fog descends, and they become lost in the woods.

Unbeknownst to them a pack of Warg Riders has been tracking them – hoping to take a Hobbit prisoner so that they can gain information as to the whereabouts of a certain Bilbo Baggins.

LAYOUT

There is an old ruin near the centre of the board consisting of a ruined house and bushes.

Woods, bushes and rocks are placed around the rest of the board.

STARTING POSITIONS

The Good player deploys the hobbits within 6 inches of centre of the board near the old ruin.

The Evil player may then deploy the Warg Riders anywhere on the long edges of the board up to two inches from the board edge.

Alternatively, if you have a square board then the Warg Riders start from North and South.

OBJECTIVES

The Hobbits’ objective is to escape off the board and avoid capture. They can escape can be off either of the East or West board edges. Half the Hobbits must escape.

The Warg Riders’ objective is to capture one hobbit and remove him from the North of South board edges (see special rules).

SPECIAL RULES

A Ranger of the North – Aragorn has been tracking the Orc Warg Riders and although on foot has now caught up with. He comes to the aid of the hobbits.

Every turn after the first there is a chance that Aragorn will appear. On a roll of 4+ at the start of the Good player’s turn Aragorn appears on either the North or South board edge.

Capture a Hobbit

The Warg Riders’ task is to capture at least one Hobbit. They will do this by reducing one Hobbit to zero wounds and then carrying them as a Heavy Object away to either the North or the South board edge.

Hobbits count as a Heavy Object and maybe carried by Warg Riders (an exception to the normal rules). Warg Rider’s movement is halved. The Good Player may not shoot at a Warg Rider carrying a Hobbit as this may risk injury, but melee combat is allowed. The prisoner is freed if the Warg Rider is slain. The prisoner remains prone for the rest of the game and cannot move.

PARTICIPANTS

Good
4 Hobbit Archers
8 Hobbit Militia
Aragorn

Evil
6 Warg Riders on Wild Wargs

Bird Talk: A Tale of Medieval Magic – now free on Amazon.com

My short story, Bird Talk, is currently free on Amazon.com. It’s not free on Amazon.co.uk – you have to pay the princely sum of 99p for it there, but might be worth picking up if you have some spare cash or even zero cash in the US! It’s one of my earliest short stories, but I’m still proud of it. It gave rise to the two protagonists from my novel Hell has its Demons.

What do you do when you have accused the woman you love of necromancy?

Roger Draper suspects that a necromancer is at work in a small medieval English town. But rather than uncovering foul magical deeds he manages to implicate the women he desires in accusations of witchcraft. With only the town drunk to help him, Roger must untangle the mess he has created.

Be prepared for a heady concoction of gritty medieval life, humour and magic.

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Combat (WFRP) – Advantage from non-combat skills

As I have discussed in a previous post on Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay combat one of the most important aspects is the gaining of points of Advantage. Each point of Advantage confers +10 on the Opposed Roll in combat and can directly lead to causing more damage. But in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay combat Advantage isn’t gained by just winning opposed combat roles with melee skill, you can also gain it by other skills that might seem to have nothing to do with combat. I think Cubicle 7 have done this to encourage players to think about more than just combat skills – to have more well-rounded characters, and also to make combat more interesting. However, it can be difficult sometimes to remember which skills can be used to gain Advantage in combat. I thought it might be a good idea to summarize them in this post.

Non-Combat Skills that gain combat Advantage

This is not meant to provide a comprehensive coverage of all the rules related to these skills, but just to give an idea of what can be used in Combat instead of standard melee, ranged and dodge skills.

Most involve opposed tests which also grand +1 Advantage if successful.

Animal Training – can intimidate an enemy animal causing fear through an Opposed test vs Willpower and from then on can use that as a combat skill – a successful attack causes the animal to flee! Also if win the opposed test can +1 Advantage.

Charm – opposed Charm/Cool Test – causes enemies not to attack and gains +1 Advantage.

Charm Animal – like Charm but used against Animals!

Intimidate – opposed Intimidate/Cool test – causes Fear and can be used to defend or attack.

Intuition – not an opposed test, but used to build up Advantage during combat if not attacked to a maximum of your Intelligence Bonus.

Leadership – a successful test can be used to provide a bonus of +10 on Psychology tests to subordinates in combat. Also can be used to transfer Advantage to allies.

Lore – if appropriate a successful test can confer +1 Advantage if appropriate – for example Lore (Geology) would help if the fight is in a rocky cavern.

Outdoor Survival – if the combat is in the wilderness then a successful test can give a +1 Advantage in a similar way to Intuition.

Perform – a bit of a stretch perhaps, but perform skill could be used in combat to distract an opponent and therefore gain +1 Advantage – or even a weapon if you have Perform (Firebreathing).

Pray – can be used to gain +1 Advantage by meditating and focusing your mind. Not clear but I would assume you’re not attacking during this time? Perhaps up the GM to determine?

Sleight of Hand – up to the GM on whether they allow a possible gain of Advantage for this skill – maybe if the character makes a dagger appear from a hidden place they can get +1 Advantage?

A Note on Talents

It’s worth mentioning as well that a number of Talents are combat related and that they may be used in relation to advantage – however they’re not about making specific tests to gain Advantage in combat in the same way as Skills. As characters have few Talents it’s usually easier to keep track of what they have and what can help them in combat.

If you’re interested in getting into Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay then you can buy the current edition from Cubicle 7 or the PDF from DriveThruRPG.

Wargaming Operation Epsom – Creating a Map – Project ’44

The next step on my project to wargame Operation Epsom involves creating a map. You can view previous (and future) posts about this project by going to the Operation Epsom tag.

During my research I found some 1944 road maps that were quite detailed and which have also been used in books on the subject. However, there’s almost too much detail to get your head around in these and they lack useful info such as where were the front lines and forces.

Project 44 map - Operation EpsomBut recently I came across an amazing website called Project ’44 created by the Canadian Research and Mapping Association. Their aim is to recreate specifically the location of Canadian forces during the Normandy campaign, but they have also added other Allied and Axis units as well. The maps they have created include filters for units, front lines and different types of maps – including modern satellite images and original reconnaissance photos. I think this is going to be a real godsend for me when I start putting a map together. I am really looking forward to getting on with the next stage of that process now.

For anyone interested in the history of the Normandy campaign I would really recommend a visit to Project ’44.

Warhammer 40k Only War Mission – Read Carefully!

I played the Warhammer 40k Only War Mission but found out that my lack of care when reading the Mission briefing lead to a very skewed gaming experience!

I’m a newbie where Warhammer 40k is concerned, but this weekend I decided to give the rules a spin as a solo game. I played an army of old Space Marines vs Orks. They were mostly old models – beaky marines and metal Space Ork Raiders, and mostly unpainted so I won’t share any photos here. Points were low – about 430 per side, so this was a Combat Patrol game fitting on a small 44″ x 30″ board on the kitchen table (I really like the new recommended table sizes – makes having a game at home feel a lot more doable!).

rogue trader space marines

The Only War mission is the first mission described after the Core Rules in the 40k 9th Edition rulebook. The mission is obviously intended as a “play this first” mission for those new to the game, or as a standard game without too many complications. The main aim of the game is not to destroy the other army – although that may well help. But to capture Objective Markers. You get a Victory Point every turn you hold an Objective Marker – and there are 4 Objective Markers on the table in the mission. The game lasts until one side is destroyed or 5 rounds. So in theory the max Victory Points could be 21 (there’s one Victory Point up for grabs for killing the enemy’s Warlord).

space ork raidersThe Mission is carefully worded. Probably too carefully worded for my little brain. As I was playing solo I perhaps glossed over the details of rolling off to determine who went first and choosing the table side. As a result I looked at the bit about placing objective markers and decided the most logical option for each army was to place the objective markers in their own deployment zone and then to try and capture the enemies once the battle got going. My way of playing solo games is to usually just play each side as logically as possible. Come up with a core strategy perhaps and play each army according to that.

So each army started with two objective markers in their deployment zones and were able to lay claim to them on the first turn and then accrue victory points at a rate of 2 per turn for the rest of the game. Although there was some movement on this later. The Space Marines left their Warlord to hold an objective, while a squad went an captured one from the Orks. The other squad tried the same in the last turn – but failed. So the victory points ended up being even and the game was a draw.

It was fun, but I was left wondering why the Only War Mission was written to encourage such defensive play. I read the briefing again. There was no rule against placing objectives in deployment zones. But then I realised that my solo gamer head had missed something very important in the sequence of placing objectives and choosing deployment zones. Each player took it in turns to place objectives and THEN rolled off for a deployment zone.

So you would have to be very confident in your dice throwing to place any objectives in a deployment zone. As you might well give your enemy an advantage. I am sure there is a clever method of placing objective markers strategically – I don’t know what it is though. But for a newbie like me it’s clear that objectives should be fairly central on the board so that either army has a chance to get them no matter which side of the of the table you deploy.

I felt pretty stupid after reading that and realising my error. I will give the Warhammer 40k Only War Mission another go soon to see how it plays when it’s run properly. But I do wonder if things like this shouldn’t be highlighted a bit more in the Mission briefing? Things can get easily missed or mixed up with so many pre game roll offs!!

Short Story published in The Society of Misfit Stories

The Society of Misfit Stories Presents... (September 2021) I am very excited to announce that I have a fantasy short story published in the September issue of The Society of Misfit Stories.

The story is Helix Intercalculator – and it’s a story about a wizard and a priestess who come across some unsettling truths about the nature of their world.

If you would like to read a copy then it’s available via Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, and I think from the publisher’s website as well.

Some more about this publication:

The Society of Misfit Stories is a home for those wonderful stories that are too long for most magazines but too short for stand-alone print books. Whether you call them short stories, novelettes, or novellas, these stories are all of a length that often struggles to find publication traditionally. Each issue offers a substantial volume of amazing speculative fiction for readers who enjoy spending time with a good tale.

 

Four Against Darkness Graph Paper 20 squares by 28 squares

Four Against Darkness coverI have been playing and enjoying a bit of Four Against Darkness – the solo dungeon delving game from Ganesha Games recently. It is quite a bit of fun. The idea is you have four adventures and then randomly generate a dungeon for them to explore, enemies to fight and treasure to loot. You do this by drawing the dungeon on a sheet of graph paper. In the Four Against Darkness book the recommended size of paper is 20 squares by 28 squares. However, the free download available from Ganesha Games is only 15 by 24 squares. I am not sure why this is, but I have created my own graph paper using Word. You can download a copy of the version I have created in PDF format by clicking the link below.

Four Against Darkness 20×28 Graph Paper

I hope that it provides a useful resource for the game. I really recommend Four Against Darkness – you can also play it as a co-op game too.

Wargaming Operation Epsom – How Big are the Forces?

In this second post on Wargaming Operation Epsom, I decided to explore the basics of what forces would be required to wargame the battle on a single wargames table. As discussed previously this is a battle that could fit onto a 6 foot wide table at a scale of 100m = 1”, the same scale as Fistful of Tows and some other WW2 rules. The frontage of the attack was 4.5 miles, just over 7 km.

My initial findings were that the British were attacking with 3 divisions. Now this seemed to be a lot fit into one battle on one table. However, having read further I realised that these three divisions weren’t all involved at the same time. In fact, the initial assault was by two brigades of the 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division, with support from independent Armoured Brigades and elements of the 11th Armoured Division. In effect therefore the battle would start with the British attacking with 6 infantry battalions plus supporting units and tank battalions. That feels much more doable on a six foot table – with each battalion having a foot of table as their frontage. At 6mm or 1/300 scale that would work really well I think. I am planning to use “platoon level” rules, where a stand or infantry represents a platoon. So that means an infantry company would be 3 stands, and a British infantry battalion would be 12 infantry stands plus other bits and bobs.

So slightly relieved by that time to press on and do some more research and start planning out what to do next for Wargaming Operation Epsom. I think that will involve looking at the layout of the terrain – how much of the battlefield will be included on the table and what features will be included – for instance would all the villages and roads be needed at this scale?