Monday, 15 February 2016

Battesworn, Knights & Knaves One of our dinosaurs stolen by vampires, by ecki

The next time, honoured reader, you promenade along Horse-guards look carefully and you will see a range of stout doors set back from a street level long departed. Some open onto ancient halls guarded by strong yeomen whose attire does not disguise their military bearing and service revolvers.

Through such doors and other routes, more diverse enter an assortment of such fellows as the Empire relies. Some are famous but most are not. There is an air of expectation, something is afoot.

While they wait an Inspector of Constabulary addresses the assembly upon a related manner:
“here, just below the great Frank Muir nestles the market town of Much Binding Upon The Marsh. The attack came upon the eve of the livestock market. In the depth of the night some horror came from the moor, gained unlawful entry contrary to law and slaughtered all that it found within, including the night watchman.” An embarrassed pause, looks at the younger brother of the man who sits at the table-head”. A deep breath. “Besides this poor soul and amongst the slain stock were found the prints of (a plaster cast and other evidence is revealed) a monstrous chicken.”

An Officer enters, his face ashen with grief. “Sirs, I regret to inform you that we failed. I beg leave to report that the Gurkha were true to the salt and Torchwood lost two fine young ladies and a fine chap who died valiantly.” With a nod from M he sits and a brandy is pressed to his hand. “The assailants were strange, pale fellows dressed in black, but in the attire of each (killed) we found these.” Four large flat caps were placed on the table. The tall, hansom man approaches and with the aid of a large magnifying glass observes: “ note the quality of these garments, showing little sign of use, yet bearing signs of an agricultural environment.” He gestures to the Inspector of Police. “Note the distinctive tartan, this was originally sold by Yorkshire weavers to the Scottish highlanders in the 14th century.” Puffs on pipe and looks around room. “Such a garment displaying today this tartan points in only one direction (pause, puff) each of those you battled tonight were adepts of the ancient martial art of Eckie Thump, as is only practised amongst the secret boxer societies deep in the county of --------- Yorkshire.
This game was a variant of one I'd planned. As it happens it probably turned out as good as it could get. I think the next game will be in Flying Lead, unless Harder Than Steel (for which it was intended as the VSF trial) suddenly appears.

The setup is a large warehouse in Whitechapel where dinosaurs and similar are prepared for transportation. One such is prepared and ready to go. This is the objective, the bad guys to steal, the good guys to prevent. The walls were a snap-x set Tony picked up ½ hour before from a charity shop. I love it when a plot comes together.

At time of writing I have just invested heavily (In what-the-hell mode) in VSF, Old Glory will provide the great Detective, more vampires and Victorian civvies. Mars has not been forgotten. I have some other surprises I hope you enjoy.

The Bad Guys (All 8 of Odzaial Osmy's excellent vampires via Fighting 15's)
4 fighters (swords) inc 1 fighter/leader (figure with sword&pistol) 5
3 Pistoleer/Acrobat 6 (this is perfect for the leather/PVC clad gun toting vampire, although I'd be tempted to waive the reload rule)
Assassin 1 (2 knives)
The Law
5 Gurkha fighters inc Fighter/Leader 6 (All Irregular colonials)
3 Shooters (security service, Old Glory darkest Africa)
3 Pistoleers (Torchwood Institute, Rebels steampunks)
We both started by building our forces, I built a strong wall of Ghurkas and a line of pistoleers to protect my flank/rear.

Then we had our first draw, and Tony sends his leader straight at Memsab (that purdy, took down a T Rex, one shot) but was intercepted by a gallant Gurkha. This leads to a real dog fight, one Gurkha goes down to be replaced by another, support arrives for both sides and Memsab vainly looks for a target.

One of the shootists takes the opportunity to wriggle into a pile of bones, from where she launches a series of pop-up attacks.

On the other flank the assassin sneaks under the vehicles and lauches an attack on the Tourchwood trio, killing one, then another. A shootout between pistoleers develops, outclassed the Torchwood man goes down.

On the other flank the baddies leader is down and Memsaab is winged while the enemy fighters are downed. Again the pistoleer hits Memsaab, grievously wounding her. Another shooter tries for a shot, while a figure sneaks under then into the cab of the lorry--! After a couple of false starts, the lorry and its precious cargo is away!

Not only did I lose the dinosaur, but I also suffered (inc 3 reds) 8 losses to Tony's 7.

Now why would strange people from Yorkshire risk all for a dinosaur skeleton?

The game is afoot.

Gurkhas & Officer
Torchwood holds the line
True to their salt, as ever
Fiendish Assassin

Gun duel
The marker underneath the last Torshwood girl shows the foul assassins poison.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Battlesworn's Kights & Knaves first trial games

How no to

I'm going to do this one a little different. Rather than a straight AAR I'm going to look at how the new “types” in Knights & Knaves play out. I'm going to presume that you are familiar with the rules. If not, stop here and have a wander through some of my earlier posts.

We played 2 games, one Greek myths the other Japanese – no surprise there!

The new Tie Bids Escalation. We tried out this optional rule and liked it. It promotes combat and gives you yet another reason to plan ahead. Why? Well if your magic user is the only one with LOS it's him/her who’s going ballistic. Game 1) we had 2, game 2, 3. First I chose the beasts and berserker as the most likely to go silly, Tony took his as a countercharge with a bandit. The second time I did a “long run” with a monk into another bandit and Tony sent his heaviest unit – the cavalry into my now triumphant beast. Game 2 it was beast vs rogue – then everyone piled into the beast. Skeleton vs archer and cyclops vs skeleton.

I'd try it, if you're running a campaign I'd suggest limiting it to either the first or last game. Don't try until you're familiar with the rules, plus you need a cooperative opponent, the majority end up as charge and countercharge. We didn't run into the “there's no LOS” dilemma but I think we'd resolve it by someone charging the enemy baseline until countercharged. If you have an objective I'd suggest charging that as “king of the castle” IF no other option presents.

I've listed spells etc. for ease of play.

The Greeks.
4 Cyclops clubmen (fighters) (cost 4)
Satyre Archer (1)

Centaur Shaman (cavalry Druid 3) May retire from melee, not stop at change terrain.
No Steel Weapons: A Druid may not bid 6 in melee.
A good combination, less vulnerable than a normal magic user.
Summon Animal (min. bid 2, Druid spell) bear, bull or boar deployed LoS. When brought to Yellow, or caster dies, or another Summon Animal is cast, disappears. Treat as a Fighter, Cavalry or Beast.

Air Shield (2, Druid) miniature tornado a -1 die modifier to any incoming ranged attack, including spells. Ends if wounded. May cast spells normally.

Frost (3, Druid) ranged as Shooter. Hit one damage and encased in ice. The Friendly figure one Action in base-to-base contact with the block of ice, or mage hits with Fireball or a Fire Jet spell (no damage). Encased figure ignores the first 2 points of damage inflicted.

Water Jet (1, Druid) melee or ranged attack like a Shooter. Melee, 1 action. If wins the melee does not take place, if it fails (opponent strikes first), the melee takes place (mage striking second). The target moved away in a straight line from caster until meets an obstacle, terrain change, figure or table’s edge.

Water Walk (1, Druid) Turns water into normal terrain until the end of the turn. This benefits only his friends - enemies still count that terrain as a body of water
I actually got to use first 3 spells. The summon beast is very powerful, the others useful.

Centaur Ranger 3 Retire from melee, not stop change terrain
Back of My Hand: ignore one terrain type, not water terrain.
Preferred Target: A Ranger adds +1 die fighting a preferred target class.
I had intended as an anti-berserker, but didn't work. Disengage was useful. I can see archer/ranger wood elf type being handy.

Beast Wild: MUST move to engage the closest enemy, ignore engaged. Forced to counter-charge with a reaction.
Blood scent: If attacking wounded (Yellow or Red) enemy gains +1 die in melee.
Rash: NEVER bid 1 in melee. Fury: at Yellow,+1 die. When Red +2 dice.
See below

Side 2
4 Skeleton warriors (fighters 4)

Amazon rogues (2) ranged against count 2 as 1, friends overlap +1D no bid higher 4

Skeleton rabble from Pendraken
6 Rabble skeleton sword (3) killed first hit

Witch Leader & familiar (2) Friend in LOS once turn bid up nor down by 1
Witch may cast Curse and Paralysis.

Familiar: counts as Rabble/Flyer not bid higher than 3 in melee. If it is killed, the Witch takes one point of damage. Deployed in base-to-base contact. When casting spells, Witch may draw LOS to target from the Familiar.  See below

Berserker (1) Fury:must charge the closest foe if initiative, ignore already engaged enemies. NOT forced to counter-charge if not initiative.

A (White) Berserker fights normally. Green +1 die.Yellow,+2 dice. Red, +3.

One-Track Mind: Green or worse is immune to Charm and Mind Control spells.
Another fun addition. Similar to the beast until gets injured! First use poor Cohen was taken out by 2 cyclops (fighters) killing one. Ideal escalation bid participant.

Start - my apologies for table, I set up a bit quick, 2 foamcore boards works well

My beast got bundled-

On the flank Cohen battles cylops

Then the Witch gets taken out by the raised beast
That allowed a solitary cyclops to wampage through the wabble
The job finished off by the ranger

This allowed a skeleton to attack my Shaman

Game 2, Japanese side 1
5 Bandit (fighters 5)

Cavalry/Brute (3) Retire from melee, not stop change terrain hit 4,5,6

Miko Witch & familiar (1) Witch may cast Curse and Paralysis.
Familiar: counts as Rabble/Flyer not bid higher than 3 in melee. If it is killed, the Witch takes one point of damage. Deployed in base-to-base contact. When casting spells, Witch may draw LOS to target from the Familiar.

The ability to do “pop-up” magical attacks while hidden away is interesting, certainly gets the familiar targeted. It seemed reasonable to us that the familiar can be in close LOS. I've used a multi-figure base to help distinguish. Tony used her to Curse my leader before being attacked by a bandit, forcing me to divert support and attack the familiar. Tony moved the Bard to support, which kept her alive.
Curse (3) any figure, until rolls 2 6's only hits on 6
Paralysis, 4 damage=paralysed until spends 1 action, can still spell.

Monk(1) Deflect Missiles: results 2 as a 1, not Arquebusiers, Pistoleers, or spells.

Meditation: Once per game, flip his bid die in melee/performing/defending ranged attack, turning a 6 into a 1, or a 5 into a 2, etc.
Unconquerable Will: A Monk adds +3 dice when rolling to resist the
Charm, Paralysis, and Mind Control spells.Resilient: immune to Poison.
Evade: move out of a melee unless he is engaged by another Monk.
Another good anti- magician. The “flip” ability, Tony didn't use it, but “it was always there”. Makes me think of the old Kung Fu series with David Caradine.

Bard (1) Encourage: one Action to encourage a friend in his LOS, not in contact.
+2 dice next melee or missile attack except Arquebusiers or spells.

Taunt: one Action to taunt the closest opponent in LOS, must charge Bard. Taunted not use a Reaction to move away or out of LOS. End once the taunted in base-to-base contact with enemy. A Bard cannot Taunt again untilany previous Taunt of his is ended.

Not a Fighter: A Bard may not bid 6 in melee.
I included a bard but didn't read it properly, thinking of the OGAM version. Take a good look, partnered with the right team this is a very powerful member. The 2 extra dice may allow a weaker to take out a stronger. The ability to compel an opponent, then beef up the countercharger-. You can think of the bard as a hedge witch/wizard able to do a few simple spells well. I used as a wandering monk, but could be another Shinto priest.

Ghost (1) Construct Impervious: no bid limitation when Yellow or Red.
Unemotional: immune to the Bard’s Encourage and Taunt abilities.

Resilient: immune to Poison. No Healing: A Construct may not be healed.

Soulless: immune to Curse, Leprechaun’s Curse, Charm and Mind Control spells.
This the ideal anti-magician guided missile. That's how Tony played it, forcing me to divert a fighter for protection. In play worked well as a ghost.

Game 2 side 2.

Shugenja, Boar & Priest/tan
Fighting monks (fighters) (6)

Brute/leader (2) hit 4,5,6 Friend in LOS once turn bid up nor down by 1. Standard Samurai.

Priest/Tank (2) Ignore first damage any combat, may not bid 1 Not quite human cleric.
Sanctuary: Once per game, free action, force opponent to reroll one/all dice rolled for a melee, spell, or ranged attack performed against the Priest.

Blessing: Once per game, as a free action, a Priest may remove the effect of a Curse spell or bestow a +1 die on a friend’s next attack. Be in LOS.
I had hoped to use the blessing to take the curse of my leader, but Tony kept him engaged. The one-off options are tricky to decide when to use. Use it or lose it.
A good combination ideal for this non-human - Bakemomo or Oni converted to Buddhism.

Beast (1) Wild: MUST move to engage the closest enemy, ignore engaged. Forced to counter-charge with a reaction.

Blood scent: If attacking wounded (Yellow or Red) enemy gains +1 die in melee.

Rash: NEVER bid 1 in melee. Fury: at Yellow,+1 die. When Red +2 dice.
I like beasts! Particularly the add-dice when wounded. Kept the cavalry/brute busy.

Shugenja (1) magic user, hits to him +1dice
Switcheroo (4) ANY Two figures in LoS switch places, may include in melee, may be self.

Mind Control (3) ranged attack in LoS, not have immune. If hit,the mage & target bid. If the target wins, rolls one die per bid, 6 causes point of damage mage, may not be soaked. If the mage wins, rolls one die per bid and a 6, the mage controls target. Until the end of the game, or until either killed. Player activating the mage OR controlled figure.

Charm (2) target in LoS not immunity. Mage and target bid, target wins, roll die per bid,any 6, is immune to Charm attempts. If the mage wins, roll a die per bid, 6 the figure is charmed, no attack against mage. Disappear if mage is wounded.

Leprechaun’s Curse (1)choose and curse. LoS not needed. When activated Action or Reaction, roll die. On 5 or 6, the figure is moved by the spellcaster’s player. Not off table. Ends when caster dies or a Leader, Bard or Healer spend one Action next to character. Spellcaster may not cast another Curse until the first one broken.

Swarming Critters (3, Druid) bugs around a target in LoS. Destroyed if hit by Fireball, Fire Jet, Water Jet or Frost, or if the target moves into a body of water. The figure has -1 die on all melee attacks,-2 dice ranged attacks, spells have their minimum bid increased by 1, until the Critters are destroyed. The Swarming Critters disappear if the caster dies. May try to disperse by spending one Action or Reaction, rolling a single die. On a 6, dispersed. Dispersal may be attempted by a friend in base-to-base contact, but if the attempt fails, the friend will be affected! Spell cannot be cast until the existing critters are dispersed. 
I tried this one, the only one that would work, on the Ghost. Failed twice!

By coincidence all of side 1 came from the second batch of Sengoku from The Priest/Tank is an Tofan Longstrider from the SHM Range. The boar-beast is an AlternativeArmies Grinning Skull range Oggum Piglet. (See above, I bought others from this range, patience, it'll be worth it). All other Japanese figures are from Eureka via Fighting 15's.

Boar and bandit clash, cavalry/brute
Monk madly charges bandits

Big crunch, Priest/tank vs cav, cursed (2p under base) Brute/leader vs bandit
The fight spreads, everyone was kung fu fighting, it was a little bit frightening
The Witch has just lost her familiar, being protected by the Monk

A good size comparison
Bard giving moral support

Monk fights, um, monks, familiar in background giving Witch "pop up" ability from behind wall