Thursday, 14 March 2019

While the Great Wyrm's away - planning a skirmish session (part three)

Some wandering monsters are worse than others ...

Following on from parts one and two, this is a bit more thinking out loud about how to set up a multi-player skirmish game for the weekend. In seeking to regain their ancient treasures from the Great Wyrm, the dwarfs of Zarak-Zigil have recruited a motley band of adventurers and some lizardmen of the Long Jaw Tribe, promising them shares in the treasure and - in the latter case - orc-flesh to eat. Here's the lizardman warband:

The Long Jaw Tribe (380 points)
Lizardman archer: Q3, C4, Amphibious, Long Bow, Tailslap @66
Lizardman with sword and shield: Q3, C4, Amphibious, Block, Tailslap @60
Lizardman with spear and shield: Q3, C4, Amphibious, Block, Long Reach, Tailslap @66
Lizardman with huge mace: Q3, C4, Amphibious, Huge Weapon, Tailslap @66
Lizardman with club: Q3, C4, Amphibious, Bludgeon, Tailslap @62
Lizardman with two-handed sword: Q3, C4, Amphibious, Heavy Weapon, Tailslap @60

This warband has no leader - but the low Q (i.e. high quality) and high C are a potent combination, as I know from years of losing skirmishes to my son's lizardmen. The Q3, C4, Amphibious, Tailslap profile is the classic lizardman from the original Song of Blades. The band has only one shooter, but the high C and long bow make him fairly potent.

But what do these lizardmen want that might cause some interesting conflict with the dwarfs and adventurers? They doubtless like shiny things, which could cause conflict with the dwarfs if the reptiles get to the Arkenstone (or whatever I end up calling it) first. So that's one potential clash. Perhaps the Arkenstone is worth three times as many victory points to each warband as any other treasure item.

We can add a grislier area of conflict, though. Perhaps dwarfs are a particular delicacy for the Long Jaws. And perhaps their chief is hoping that the band will bring back some dwarven corpses. Surviving dwarfs wouldn't be happy with that, though. So the best outcome for the lizardmen is if all the dwarfs are killed or routed in the course of a victory. And the next best would be if the surviving lizardmen outnumber the surviving dwarfs. The lizardmen are quite a bit tougher than all but one of the dwarfs, so if there are (say) four surviving lizardmen and three surviving dwarfs, the dwarfs will probably have to abandon their comrades to the Long Jaw chefs.

And what about the adventurers? Well, for these, I've decided to go with an all-personality mix: a powerful fighter, a wizard and two, um, ninjas. These are all pretty powerful individually, but there are only four of them. In Song of Blades, numbers are generally very telling; even the mightiest warrior can be brought down fairly easily when he's surrounded. And if the orc leaders get organised, some concentrated fire could take them down fairly quickly.

Ragnar's Raiders (370 points)
Ragnar the Red: Q3, C3, Dashing, Expert Block, Flail, Heavily Armoured, Hero, Opportunity Flail Strike @104
Josephus White: Q3, C2, Spell-caster, Lightning, Mist, Transfix @88
Tomohiko: Q3, C3, Assassin, Difficult Target, Free Disengage, Javelin, Stealth @82
Kenji: Q3, C3, Assassin, Flail, Free Disengage, Javelin, Opportunity Flail Strike, Stealth @96
NB: 'Javelin' represents shuriken.

As for goals, I think their aim will simply be to amass as much treasure as possible while defeating the orcs. The Arkenstone-equivalent will be an obvious target. But they might also be looking to earn a bounty for lizardmen hides. Then again, the lizardman chief might have a taste for humans as well as dwarfs. I doubt the Raiders would care much what happened to their fallen comrades (they're too ruthless for that), so perhaps the lizardmen just gain a victory point for each slain human. They've got to taste better than orcs ...

Note that for the lizardmen, the orcs have to be defeated for dead dwarfs and humans to count towards victory points. If the orcs hold the field, then the lizardmen gain nothing. That should incentivise the lizards to do the job they've been hired for, even if they're a little unscrupulous about what happens in the heat of the fray.

Next up: 'reserve' warbands (at c. 200 points), wandering monsters, formal victory conditions and the lie of the land.


  1. This sounds like it will be a blast. Small warbands, painted minis, actual motivations for the conflict. I hope you're planning to make a battle report afterwards. :)

  2. Thanks, Ana! There will indeed be a battle report, but the game was postponed for a few weeks (only four out of the six players could make it the other week, so I ran a simpler game instead).