The Cardinal Palantine sallies forth once more. This time the guise is the 9th Age wargame rules. This is a fan-based successor to WHFB and since a. I'm all about the homebrew rules and b. I'm not so much about deciding my own rules are finished, these are what we'll be using for now. Jason then immediately complicated things all over again by saying we should do a campaign. And that campaign should incorporate a skirmish element via Frostgrave. Well I am on holiday so I wrote up the following draft campaign structure/background. Feedback welcome. We have already played game one of the skirmish. My Wizard is uses the Lore of Heavens, ie lighting bolts, so obviously a Frostgrave Elementalist. I also have laser sighted crossbow (Amirite Andy?) so actually all but eliminated Jason's entire band, Wizard, apprentice and all but one or two soldiers. But it turns out they survived their injuries and the risk was worth it as he got more objectives, more experience and a ring of magic resistance. We basically both got about the same amount of gold/extra army points: 190 for Jason, 200 for me. That's on top of 1000pts. Jason is (High) Elves and I am Imperial Humans. Now we just need to fight battle one, at the Sorrowfords. That was the short version - long version after the break:
Before the coming of humanity, and thus time, the Elves of the Forest gave tribute to the Giantfolk of the Highlands beyond. After their uprising, the Fae took the Yfirwald, and made their place in its sunlit valleys. Hearts swelled by vainglory and vengeance, they raised high towers, to gaze forever on the Cyclopean ruins of their erstwhile masters.
With the arrival of humanity, the Fair folk retreated from the Yfirwald to hidden mounds and shadowed woodlands. All but one. In time, the Chaldeans of the north sea negotiated a trade route through the valleys. All the Elves asked was that their silent ruins remain unmolested. Time wore on, a Bright and terrible Empire rose to the west, the Winter King's talons reached evermore southward, and the traders came no more.
Today, undead slip southward through the unwatched Dimlit Vale. Now walking corpses stalk farmsteads within the very Electorates, and even the venal, bickering, princes must take notice. Some small measure of their arrears to the Imperial treasury has been paid, and accordingly, a Cardinal Palantine dispatched at the head of a punitive force. His column of pike, cavalry, and Celestine artillery has just finished the March to Sorrowford.
Their arrival was known to the Elves instantly . At camp beneath the eaves of the Great Green Heart, an Elven Prince paces. Angry voices are raised in his council. All are infuriated that human thieves might meddle about beneath the forbidding gaze of the fortress. Some fear the undead may be driven west, toward their lands, others decry what precious heirlooms of their people may stolen. The wisest of the Court fear what man might unleash, in their ignorance. For the last of the fair folk to remain in the Yfirwald was an imprisoned Vampire.....
Mini campaign rules
The campaign consists of three main battles, using the 9th Age rules. Before each battle, and at the climax of the campaign, there will be skirmishes using the Frostgrave rules. These represent human treasure hunters, led by the army's wizards, seeking wealth and magical secrets in the ruins of the Yfirwald. An Elven party seeks to stop them and bear away what they find for safekeeping elsewhere. Players should have their Skirmish Wizard reflect their Battle Wizard. This might be obvious, eg an Elementalist representing the Path of Heavens. Alternatively certain favourite spells, rather than the School, could reflect this.
In the skirmish game, warbands progress as per the Frostgrave rules. We use the following house rules: No permanent death for Wizards, instead the worst outcome is no experience for that scenario. Only one type (item table) of shop may be visited per campaign round per Wizard, and that shop only ever has four random items to purchase. If there is an apprentice, then he or she can also visit a shop.
In the campaign game, the starting army is 1000pts. In addition, you get the Wizard as a free Lvl 2 caster and his apprentice as a free Lvl 1, as long as your warband has one. These are the only magic lore using spell casters that may be taken. The player may then choose additional Lords or Heroes based on the points level. The Wizard may be the general.
Treasure and experience from skirmish games carry over to the battle games. Each gold piece gathered, or generated through sale of a grimoire (not any other item) gives one point to the army. This gold may still also be spent on the warband for the next skirmish game. Every 300xp gain by the Wizard increases his or her level by one for the battle games. The apprentice is always one level lower than the Wizard.
Additionally, magic items gained from skirmish games may be used in battles. They will be the closest analogue in terms of the 9th Age rules but some new items will be created. For example, a ring of Will +1 from Frostgrave becomes a ring of Magic Resistance 1 in 9th Age. Grimoires gained have the effect of allowing Wizards to choose one of the spells they take into the next battle. Doing this consumes the grimoire, rendering it otherwise useless.
Magic items found during treasure hunting may be awarded to any hero or unit. However, if they are awarded to anyone other than a member of the warband, they may not be used in future treasure hunting forays. For these purposes, command models like standard bearers, champions or captains may be assumed to be represented by Templars, soldiers or Knights at the skirmish level. Thugs and thieves would be rank and file troops and so do not get to use magic items in battle.
S1 "Well of Dreams" (Ruined Llancastle): Eager to unearth what magical secrets they can, the Human Wizard and his apprentice take some bodyguards to investigate an ancient Elven pool of pure mana. The Elven Prince counsels patience as he has laid a trap for the Human army but his chief Wizard is not willing to just allow their magical secrets to fall enemy hands.
B1 "The Sorrowfords": Alerted that Elves are active in this valley once more, the Imperial Vanguard prepares to break the Elven encirclement. The battle is fought using the 'Classic' deployment. To represent the Humans trying to break a gap, the "Breakthrough" secondary condition is in effect. For the elves the represents their successful encirclement. If the Humans succeed, the next battle is B2, at the Sentinels. The S2 skirmish will take place at Tel Ursus, using the "Living Museum" scenario. If they fail, the next battle is B3, at Dimlit Vale. The S2 skirmish take place at the northern end of Deogol Fen, and uses the "Worm Hunts" scenario.
B2 "Beneath the Sentinels Gaze": The Imperial force has fought free, has the initiative and is bolstered by fresh reinforcements. If they secured a major win in B1, they automatically go first and choose deployment. If they only secured a minor win, they choose deployment. Fortress Bran looms above and the Human Wizards now understand who lies there, due to their exploits at the living museum. The Humans fear the Elves will employ the Vampiress as an Ally, the Elves fear the Humans will be ensnared by her and dominated to her service. The Sentinels are actually keys to the Fortress gates securing the main entrance below. The army that does not secure them will be forced to approach from a more circuitous route. The "Secure Target" secondary objective is in effect.
B3 "Race through Shadows": Unable the breakthrough at the Sorrowfords, the Human army withdrew and reinforced. The Paladin studied the reports of his outriders and determined that the Dimlit Vale would be their next marching route. Due to the Elven grip on the Yfirwald, the woods have eyes, and the fields have ears. However, undead coming from the North render it hazardous scouting parties of all kinds, blinding the enemy to his movements. The plan nearly worked, only his artillery train bogging on the trails through Deogol Fen slowed them enough for the Elves to catch them. The Elves hold the initiative. The Diagonal table layout used. If they secured a major win in B1, they automatically go first and choose deployment. If they only secured a minor win, they choose deployment. Both sides are conscious of the need to keep close as stragglers may fall prey to the restless dead. The "Hold Ground" secondary objective is in effect.
S3. "The Keep": This skirmish either occurs in the wake of a battle at the Dimlit Vale or following the major engagement at the Sentinels. In either case, the Human Wizards have spied the unmistakeable aura of an enchanted keep at the Grey Towers. If they took the route via the Dimlit Vale, the Humans will still be unaware of what lies at Fortress Bran. When they discover the knowledge here, they will curse their decision to take the delayed route as it has eliminated any chance to gain advantage over the Elves at the only battle that matters.
B4 "Fortress Bran": It has come to this, the two armies having now clashed twice. The Human expedition was once focused to the North of the Yfirwald, now it is clearly directed to the South. The She-Vampire is too great a danger for either side to neglect.
At best, she may be turned against them by allying with their opponent, or worse, she might pledge herself a Herald of the Winter King. Mired in internal squabbles, all have been too tardy in launching a crusade on the Undead incursion south of Chaldis. Were a new undead Lady to arise and lead them, the tenuous finger-hold would at once be turned into a dagger: aimed at the heart of Men and Elves both. This battle uses "Classic" deployment and "Secure Target" secondary objective. Either side might have the clear advantage here, through having won both prior battles. If one side has the advantage, then their head-start (either the Humans gain the benefit of the Sentinels or the Elves benefit from the Humans realising the true objective at the 11th hour) means they already have on of the three objectives and it cannot be taken from them.
S4 "Throne of the Twiceborn Queen": This is the climactic battle between the two Warbands. It is also the only Skirmish to be impacted on by Battle results. Whatever happens, the victor of the Battle outside has gained the ability to lay siege and entrap their opponent, if they are victorious within. Likewise, victory outside means victory within is more sure, as they may add a single extra Knight, Ranger, Marksman or Templar if they score a minor Victory. If they score a Major Victory, they may add two. In either case, they may only exceed the normal warband limit by one and this does not stack with the effect of an Inn.
There, some light holiday reading.