LOTR Campaign

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LOTR Campaign

Postby Smeagol » Fri Mar 19, 2010 1:07 pm

[Written by BaronDeSade]

This is the first of a series of games fought between myself and Tim. The purpose of this campaign is to give Tim some experience using his Dunlendings, and some incentive for him and me to finish paining our respective armies.

We began out campaign with the scenario, “The Scouring of the Westfold” from the Two Towers book. In this setting, we are playing the year 2758-59, so it is a long time before the War of the Ring. The Dunlendings have infiltrated the Westfold region, and with winter coming, they plan to burn down two Rohirric houses and a grain storage silo, so that men and horses will be exposed to the elements. The village is well-garrisoned, and a party of riders is not far away, but the Dunlendings will be attacking from all four sides, and they do not need to slay the defenders to win, only burn their houses. Will the barbarians strike a blow against the horse-lords that stole “their” land, or will Freya, shieldmaiden of Rohan, trample this insurrection before it can begin? Read and see…

Balls of fire glided through the night, carried on the tips of torches by the Men of Rohan. They walked the perimeter of the outlying houses, hands on swords or holding spears. They spoke in muted voices. A fog was rolling in across the fields.

Grumbildug, Captain of Rohan, held an axe in one hand and an ale-horn in the other. “Come on,” he muttered, before taking a draught. “I know ye’re out there. I can smell ye. Just come on out and get it over with.” He wiped his bearded face on his sleeve. Some claimed that Dwarfish blood flowed in his veins. He merely claimed that the Dwarfs imitated his best attributes.

Then, through the fog, he saw a shape like a wolf, up on its hind legs, carrying a double-bladed axe. “Arr, there ye be, ye goat-lovin’ hill-dweller! Sound the alarm, lads!” Grumbildug dumped out his ale and hefted his shield.

Their cover blown, the Dunlendings all howled like wolves and charged in from all directions. The Rohirrim shouted in response and readied their weapons. One howling Dunlending fell immediately, shot down by a Rohirric archer. Another gasped as a throwing spear lodged in his chest. A Dunlending archer fired back, through the fog, striking one of the Men of Rohan.

In another moment, it was axe and shield against sword and throwing spear. The Rohirrim showed the benefits of their constant spear-throwing practice by downing three of the barbarians as they rushed forward. The Dunlending archer fired again, downing another defender, but then came the clash of steel on steel.

In a perfect study of contrasts, Grumbildug and the upstart bandit chieftain of Dunland each found themselves in deadly combat. Grumbildug found himself surrounded by Dunlendings, but with a skillful sweep of his shield, he sent them all tumbling back. The Dunlending chieftain in the wolf-pelt, on the other hand, attempted a mighty heroic combat against a Man of Rohan, only to miss the Man with his axe and forever drape himself in epic shame.

At that moment, Freya, the beautiful shieldmaiden of Meduseld, charged onto the battlefield, golden tresses flowing behind her helmet and throwing spear ready in her hand. Alongside her rode her royal guardsman, and two other of the Riders of Rohan. The Dunlendings scattered before her charge, preferring to pick up some of the fallen torches and try and set the houses alight.

Thusly distracted, the Dunlendings proved to be easy kills for the valiant Men of Rohan. One fell with a throwing spear in his back. Four more collapsed under the sword-stroke and axe-blows of the defenders. Grumbilding, laughing heartily, split another’s skull with his axe. The wolf-pelt clad Barbarian leader swung his axe at a Man of Rohan, but missed again, earning for himself the eternal nickname of “bat-blind” among the hill people.

One Dunlander thrust a torch into the nearby house and clapped in child-like, pyromanical glee as the thatch roof caught alight. A moment later, Freya’s throwing spear pierced his ribcage, permanently ending his joy.

The Dunlending chieftain may not have know how to read, but he could certainly tell when a battle was going against him. In his panic, he decided that the best way to inspire his troops would be another attempt at a heroic combat. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, his attempt ended in failure again, making his name forever a synonym for “one-with-whom-it-is-unwise-to-go-raiding-with” among the hill tribes. The rest of the melees were more in the favor of the Dunlendings, though, as they brought down three Rohirrim while only losing one of their own. Again, though, Grumbildug dispatched his Dunlending opponent with ease, earning another notch on his shield.

By this time, the Rohirrim outnumbered the Dunlendings so severely that there were plenty of warriors to fight off the invaders and put out the minor fire, too. The barbarian chieftain gave one final swing of his axe, but the head of the poorly-maintained weapon flew off, striking another barbarian in the back of the head and killing him. Freya drew her sword and hacked down a Dunlander from the back of her charger, while the Rohirrim dispatched two more of the barbarians.

His morale utterly crushed, the Dunlending chieftain and the rest of his ragged band fled the battlefield as fast as they could under the crushing burden of their epic shame.

“Huzzah!” shouted Freya, holding her sword high. “Let’s to the tavern and celebrate. Whiskey for the men, and beer for the horses!”

The Rohirrim cheered, and they all lived happily ever after…

….or did they?

What a great battle! Afterwards, I realized that I had not read the scenario rules correctly, and that I had set up my army incorrectly. According to the book, I was supposed to put “ a third of my force” into reserve, which I interpreted as “ a third of my points,” but HixonT mentioned, and I agreed, that the book actually meant “a third of my models,” so I ended up having many models guarding the town and only a few riding to their rescue. Oops!

On the other hand, in a small-scale skirmish game, there are fewer dice rolls, so each counts more. The utter incompetence of the Barbarian chieftain and the dismal performance of his minions doomed HixonT’s assault. The game only lasted five turns, but Thryden Wolfsbane missed four of four attacks against my normal warriors, not even against my heroes, which must have been some kind of karmic punishment.

I was initially intimidated by the number of Dunlendings vs. the number of my own warriors, but the throwing spears proved to be devastating weapons. I was generally lucky in getting priority, which gave me a chance to kill an extra enemy warrior every turn with my spears, and that was a big help.

Thanks for reading, and check in next time as Thryden (or rather, one of his inauspicious ancestors) gathers a new army and attempt to cross the Fords of Isen!


Baron DeSade
Last edited by Smeagol on Fri Mar 19, 2010 1:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Smeagol » Fri Mar 19, 2010 1:08 pm

Second Battle - Storm the Camp

Thrydan watched the Rohirrim sentries standing silent vigil over their camp. His men moved up behind him. The attempt to burn out the straw heads the week before had gone badly and now the horse lords were expecting trouble. The Rohirrim patrol was camped at a strategic location overlooking the easiest route into the Westfold without having to force the Fords of Isen. They would have to be driven off or killed if he was to have any chance to raid the outlying settlements and draw their strength from the fords. With a hand motion he began the attack.

“It’s gotten quiet, too quiet” whispered Feànor to his companion. They stared into the darkness and the mists that precedes the dawn along the river. They couldn’t discern movement, but the sound of metal scraping rock in the mist gave them reason to alarm.

“Awake the captain, something’s out there in the mists” Feànor urged. His warning was punctuated by a flight of arrows impacting amongst the sentries on the hill. One hit his companion through the chest and he fell dying. Horns were sounded and men quickly scrambled for their weapons and shields.

Thrydan lead his warriors through the fading mist towards the ruin of a wooden tower. There lay some protection from cavalry behind the crumbling low stone wall that remained around it. His archers were laying down a deadly fusillade of arrows and quickly decimated the enemy’s own archers. The sound of horses on his left alerted him to the danger of riders. The morning sun was burning off the mist and Thrydan could already see horsemen slowly moving off to his left.

“Horsemen!” he yelled back at his archers as he pointed off to his left. The horsemen wisely stayed out of bow range, but they were still a threat as they could easily overwhelm the archers and cut off his men’s escape if things went poorly. War shouts were soon followed by the sounds of axe upon shield and the cries of men pierced by spear or blade.

Lady Freya gathered her riders to her and watched her captain lead the counter attack against the barbaric Dunlendings on her left. Her archers were getting cut down by volley after volley of arrows. They would not last long and they were the last line of defense. The Dunlendings were moving through and around the old watchtower using it as a shield from her horsemen. Their left flank was undefended however.

“With me! “, she cried as she spurred her horse forward. Another volley of arrows which fell short of her horsemen warned her against closing too close to the woodlands without support from her infantry. Her horsemen were too few to weather the attention of that many enemy bowmen. She spied what she was looking for and turned her charge into the warriors attempting to force their way through the old fortification. Spears were thrown, but none found their mark and the barbarians held their ground. The tight terrain restricted the horses' ability to maneuver and protected the enemy’s flanks. The walls and ground of the old tower were being contested by men from both sides. She could see Thrydan holding back directing the battle from beyond the fortification as he tried to force the other flank. Her men were holding and her captain was bravely fighting off the unwashed axmen with practiced ease.

Thrydan saw that his men in the ruins of the tower were hard pressed from both sides, but there was little he could do to succor them. The straw heads were being stubborn and the fighting bitter. So tight were the lines that Thrydan couldn’t find a gap to exploit to get into the combat himself. Frustrated he bellowed out a challenge to the enemy.

“Who will fight me? Who amongst you is brave enough to face Thrydan Wolfsbane?” A spear answered his call and narrowly missed impaling him. It was quickly followed by a couple of straw heads. Thryden side stepped the first blow using the butt of his axe to send the warrior reeling backwards. He parried the second warriors axe with his own and with practiced ease removed his head with a sweep of his broad axe. His warriors weren’t doing so well as his lines were thin on his left and bending back in the middle.

“Sweep to their right you dogs! Get behind them! Follow me!” He yelled and then led the charge. The Dunlendings managed to get around the flank of the Rohirrim and trap their captain. The rest filled in for the dead and dying to shore up the remainder of the line. The tower grounds were not so friendly. With no captain to lead them the Dunlendings were fighting a desperate defensive action which suited Freya. Her horsemen rallied and recharged the defenders in the gap of the broken wall and were rewarded by butchering two of the defenders, but she lost a rider in the process. The fight on the other side of the wall was grim and she could see her men taking the worst of it now. Her captain was surrounded bleeding and limping a little. She watched him collapse to his knees from blood loss and exhaustion and then get struck down by Thryden’s broad axe; the blow cleaving him nearly in twain. The battle here being in hand she turned her horse to ride down the Dunlending Chieftain.

Thrydan turned to see the shield maiden charging towards him. With a grim smile he turned to meet the charge and signaled two of his warriors to come at her from the sides. He dodged the expect spear and dove under her sword stroke coming to his feet as she wheeled about. As she started her gallop again she was engaged by the two warriors who distracted her efforts and was then knocked from her horse with a blow from the side of Thrydan’s axe. Darkness engulfed her as a fist struck her full in the face.

“Finish the straw heads and burn their camp. Take this prize to camp. If the horsemen want her back they’ll have to pay handsomely for her.” He ordered the two nearest warriors.

Sensing the battle lost the Rohirrim started to abandon the field, but not so Freya’s loyal horsemen. They had seen her fall and were unable to gain purchase to her body while the archers commanded the open fields. Her bodyguards chose to safeguard their companions and get revenge for their losses instead. The horsemen rode through the ruins of the watchtower and intercepted the lead dunlending warriors as they pursued the fleeing warriors of Rohan. So fierce was their assault that many of the dunlendings were unnerved believing the battle had been lost.

Thrydan found himself in the thick of fighting and almost too late realized that his men were fleeing from the fight. Angrily he struck down the last of the Rohirrim within reach and ordered his men to stand fast. Those nearest to him stood their ground, but he could see the archers melting away to safety. He would deal with them later. Thrydan led the attack to the enemy’s camp, grabbing wavering warriors as he went. More terrified of his wrath than any horsemen they followed. The rear guard had done its best and they too retired. The camp was abandoned save for stragglers and was soon being pillaged by the few dunlending warriors that stayed the course.

Victory for the Dunlendings. What a difference average dice rolls can make on a game. Thrydan managed to survive another battle, though he nearly snatched a draw from the jaws of victory. The rohirrim horsemen refusing to flee caused me to lose warriors I could ill afford to lose late in the game. Thrydan has an extended Stand Fast, but it doesn’t work if he’s engaged and I couldn’t keep him unengaged thanks to a string of bad Priority rolls and being out of Might. Once he was clear of combat the archers were still out of his range as was the advance section of my force. The last couple of turns saw the Rohirrim flee faster than the dunlendings and lucky for me Thrydan had a Will point to keep him on the field. So with one warrior of Rohan left against three dunlending warriors and Thrydan, I managed to take and loot the Rohirrim’s camp.

So now Thrydan has a captive to ransom back to her people and the armour, weapons and some supplies for his rebels.
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