Sunday, 12 April 2015

Song of Blades & Heroes - The Arkand Road.

Another game of Song of Blades & Heroes played at the club. Andrew followed up last weeks game with a scenario tracking the progress of the Band of Heroes as they try to get the surviving villagers from the village of Hock back to the safety of the closest town. Robafett and Neil took on the mantle of the good guys whilst I continued with the opposing forces harassing them.

The Heroes -

Lord Sevran      (Human Warrior)
Brother Nathan (Human Cleric)
Thanon              (Human Wizard)
Stantharg           (Human Barbarian)
Ceolord             (Elven Archer)
Helmgrim         (Dwarf Warrior)
Brakgrun           (Dwarf Warrior)

Rob & Neil discuss tactics as Andrew oversees.
Following the merciless destruction of Hock and the majority of the villagers either killed or turned into more of the undead army of Oliver, the heroes were able to gather the survivors and flee the ruins. Lord Sevran and his band of brothers undertake to return the survivors to a safer place and warn of the evil rising in the land.

We join the action as the Brave Heroes carefully lead the terrified villagers (and what could be salvaged of their belongings) along the Arkand Road. Stretched out along the road with high bushes either side of them, things seem too quiet for the parties liking...

Hearing the moans of the undead in the far distance behind them, Lord Sevran orders the group to reorganise and provide more protection for the villagers. Old Man Jonti takes control of the pony train and the others split into two groups of women and children at the front and the menfolk at the rear. The Dwarves Helmgrim and Brakgrun stay at the head of the groups.

Leading from the front, Lord Sevran and Stantharg (the Barbarian) scout forward along the road. As Stantharg ambles onwards, Sevran is suddenly aware of movement from behind a nearby tree. He breifly pauses to look through into the treeline...

...and before he can react a huge Minotaur bellows at them and comes crashing through the foliage!

Lord Sevran and Stantharg join combat but this is truly a fearsome beast and the two warriors are hard pressed.

Spotting the commotion ahead, the two Dwarves begin to trot forward to help their stricken comrades. Ceolord (the Elven Archer) slips through the bushes back onto the road from the grass land, hoping to get a shot on the creature.

With another roar the giant beast raises its axe with both hands and brings it down heavily on poor Stantharg...literally splitting the Barbarian in two! Covered in a shower of blood, this is too much even for Lord Sevran and he beats a hasty retreat. Witnessing this gruesome kill, the villagers descend into blind panic...Old Man Jonti cannot hold the pack ponies and is dragged screaming back down the road (no doubt to his inevitable demise at the hands of the pursuing undead), the rest of the Heroes are also in shock and flee back down the road.

Gathering his courage, Brother Nathan boldly steps up and calls to the villagers to "have faith" and follow him. He spots a path through the treeline and leads the group through.

They avoid the Minotaur as it waves its axe around in bloody joy.

Lord Sevran rallies the others and orders Ceolord to steady himself and take a shot at the Minotaur whilst it is distracted. He duly steps up, takes aim, then deftly shoots the beast through the eye!

With the immediate danger gone, Sevran sends the two Dwarves to protect the flank as he joins Brother Nathan with the rest of the villagers.

The group make haste past the old shrine. Ceolord can be seen in the treeline protecting the rear as he waits for Thanon (the Wizard) who is trailing some way behind them.

No further danger seems to present itself as the group of weary villagers continues to run across the grassland.

As Thanon and Ceolord try to catch up, a screech fills the air and two Bugbears leap from the trees, charging into Helmgrim and Brakgrun.

Helmgrim is almost caught by surprise as the two ugly things run towards him...

...and without warning, another three Bugbears appear through a gap, charging full pelt at the group of villagers. Ceolord spots them and runs forward, notching another arrow. Brakgrun joins his Dwarf friend and knocks one of the two attacking Bugbears to the ground, giving Helmgrim time to prepare to fight.

Meanwhile, Brother Nathan and Lord Sevran encourage the villagers to keep moving - they think they can outrun these assailants...

...and despite their fatigue, they are indeed able to do so, rejoining the easier route of the road and running for their lives!

Helmgrim and Brakgrun find themselves struggling against these two attackers and much to the horror of Brakgrun he watches as his friend is cut down in front of him.

Thanon has a moment of sheer terror as the three Bugbears give up on chasing the villagers and turn to face him! They appear better armed than the first two and one looks like the leader.

The first two Bugbears now round on poor old Brakgrun. He doesn't have a chance and is soon hacked down. Bugbears like Dwarf meat. Things are looking bad...

...but Thanon is at least able to outwit the three beasts bearing down on him as he flits past them! Ceolord has an opportunity to escape but the brave Elf opts to help the fleeing wizard. He shoots the Bugbear leader (Nerte) three times but his arrows have little effect against the well armoured creature.

The Bugbear leader, Nerte, decides he really likes the wizards 'purple dress' and endeavours to obtain it. His two guards rush the Elf who puts up a solid fight but is unable to stop their onslaught. He too falls to the ground unconscious.

Try as he might, Thanon is no match against three giant Bugbears. He lets out a quiet "oh..." as Nerte cracks him across the head with the flat of his axe...

Nerte and his vile band celebrate a good days hunting!
 ...and it is here we leave this sorry tale. Lord Sevran and Brother Nathan soon realise the threat has passed and allow the villagers to rest awhile. They wait as long as it feels safe but it is soon clear none of the other heroes will be joining them. He could only assume the worst and that all his companions were now dead. With sad resignation, he orders the party to pack up and continue their journey to Blackmarsh. He would re-equip, gather new followers and take the fight back to these foul creatures!

The Cast.
Another good game! The shock result of the gruesome kill by the Minotaur against the Barbarian almost threw the good guys into chaos a few turns in. They rallied and some nice shooting by the Elf removed the threat. It really got tense at the end as I realised I couldn't catch up with the villagers (my first objective) and Rob and Neil cleverly outmaneuvered my slow moving troops. The rear guard put up a brave fight but had a hard time of it and the big Bugbears gradually picked them off.

We deemed it a 'moral' victory for the Heroes as the majority of villagers were saved, other than poor Old Man Jonti and the ponies. As far as the battle went it was otherwise a resounding victory for the Bugbears, killing / capturing Thanon, Ceolord, Helmgrim, Brakgrun and Stantharg, for the loss of the Minotaur.

Stantharg is clearly dead but who knows the fate of the others. Are Thanon and Ceolord still alive? Did the Dwarves end up in the cooking pot? Will Lord Sevran and Brother Nathan have their revenge? And of course, what of the undead menace of Oliver's Army?

All these questions will hopefully be answered in following tales!

All figures from Andrew, with terrain from him and the club, apart from the ruined shrine.

Monday, 6 April 2015

7th Voyage - Lair of the Scorpion.

Played a large 4 player game of 7th Voyage over the Bank Holiday. Gary and John (who had not played before) joined Robafett and I in a big 3 sided bash in a large temple type piece of terrain Gary is working on. Really it was just an excuse to explore and learn the rules a little more, especially for Gary, who owns the rules but has not played (and really wanted to!) and John who was along for the ride.

After a quick set up with Gary's stuff, plus a few useful aquarium bits of mine, we sorted out the forces for each side. Rob fielded his Sinbad crew, John used my Jason (Greeks) figures whilst Gary and I joined forces as the evil minions of the lair with a mix of a sorcerer, a Gorgon, an animated idol, a giant scorpion and a handful of skeleton warriors.

The Cast:

Sinbad & His Crew - 

br - Akbar, Abdul, Kharim, Omar, Kassim
fr - Zhazza, Sinbad, Hassan

Sinbad (Star - adventurer, sailor, pirate)
Zhazza (Guest Star - enchanting beauty)
Hassan (Co-Star - Brother in Arms)
Kassim (Veteran)
Akbar (Veteran)
Abdul (Veteran)
Kharim (Veteran)
Omar (Veteran)
'The Djinn'

Following the sad demise of Rachid, Sinbad opted to bring along a few different crew members for this adventure, namely Akbar, Abdul and Kharim, three veterans. They were joined by Omar, Kassim, Sinbads Brother in Arms Hassan and the beautiful Zhazza (with her Magic Lamp).

Jason & the Argonauts - 

br - Lynceus, Areius, Canthus, Talaus
mr - Phalerus, Leodocus, Erytus
fr - Peleus, Lykos

Jason (Star - hero and adventurer)
Lykos (Co-Star - a wise elder)
Peleus (Co-Star - Brother in Arms)
Talaus (Veteran Companion)
Lynceus (Veteran Archer)
Canthus (Veteran)
Erytus (Veteran)
Phalerus (Veteran)
Areius (Veteran)
Leodocus (Veteran)

Jason brings a strong group with him including Peleus, his consul and several veteran crew from the Argo. Also with them is Lykos, a mysterious elder, magician and Seer. It is he who has 'hired' Jason and his men to acquire the riches that lay in the Scorpions Lair.

Koura and the Followers of the Scorpion - 

Stheno & Koura with his pet giant scorpion

Koura (Star - Evil Prince and Magician)
Stheno (Co-Star - a Gorgon)
Giant Scorpion (monstrous pet of Koura)
Living Idol (the immense animated stone statue of a scorpion)
Skeleton Warriors (four animated skeletons)

Koura is an exiled Prince from a far off land. Filled with bitterness and regret he has put in his lot with an inhuman race who follow a Scorpion God. A Seer and great sorcerer, he is already aware of the unwelcome invaders, those who seek to steal the treasures of the Scorpion. He has recruited a hideous Gorgon, Stheno, to assist him in protecting the Temple. He had little time to gather any forces and is relying on his magics to summon fallen warriors to fight off the foe. He has with him his 'pet', a large scorpion, plus the ability to animate the huge statue of the Scorpion God.

Location / Setting - 

The Lair of the Scorpion. A giant cavernous and ancient temple interior.

The Game - 

 Jason is the first to enter the Lair. Lynceus, the archer, spots movement in the darkness and lets of an arrow. Something slithers away into the shadows (fortunately for him...)

On the other side of the temple, brave Sinbad leads his crew forwards.

Suddenly the ground rumbles in the dark recesses of the lair...Kouras has already begun his foul sorcery and has animated fallen warriors and a gigantic stone statue of a scorpion - Snip, Snap!

Leading the crew through some lower catacombs, Sinbad emerges from a small entrance to the main temple. A grotesque creature screeches as them from their left freezing them in their tracks...

Meanwhile, on the other side of the cavern, the inspirational Jason and his men bravely move forward towards the slow moving stone beast.

Talaus leads Lynceus and Leodocus through the middle of the temple...a much quieter route it seems?

Omar, buoyed by his friends last successes at 'monster slaying', foolishly charges forward into the dark to kill the creature that was shrieking at them...only to find it is Stheno the Gorgon! A quick thinking Zhazza uses the Magic of the lamp to leave the Gorgon 'confused', saving the stricken Omar from a stony fate.

Sinbad and Hassan rush forward and join the fight, keenly aware not to look at the thrashing, snake haired thing that greets them. Kassim is not so fortunate...he gazes directly into the eyes of the horror..and promptly turns into stone before he can scream!

Sinbad yells at his men to shield their eyes. Surrounding the Gorgon they act quickly, stabbing it many times over...but the beast will just not die. Akbar, Abdul and Kharim continue to move forward to the dias and the awaiting treasures.

Across the giant cavern they spot the hulking, living, stone scorpion, as it moves towards some armour clad warriors. Suddenly an old, bedraggled looking man steps up and shouts 'begone'. The stone colossus fades from view and promptly re-appears, solid and unmoving on its stone base!

Worrying themselves no further with this, Kharim urges Akbar and Abdul to follow him to the great stairs ahead. Zhazza is not far behind them...

The epic battle with the Gorgon continues but still she will not fall.

On seeing the massive giant scorpion return to its unmoving state, Jason, Peleus and the others quickly run forward. Maybe they can scale that wall ahead?

Despite the shock of his animated beast immediately being returned to its natural state (clearly there is another powerful wizard nearby) Koura has not been idle. He orders his summoned skeleton warriors to attack the invaders...

As he tries to re-animate the idol, he sends his scorpion pet to protect the stairs. Two skeletons charge into the oncoming Kharim, Akbar and Abdul.

The gigantic stone idol begins to move again! Koura turns to face his enemies and unleashes a devastating pillar of flame into the bunched group of Argonauts. Quick thinking allows three men to leap clear and Jason shrugs off the flames under his shield.

As the others scatter, poor Areius and Peleus are not fast enough and are caught in flames, setting both on fire! Peleus holds his ground, concentrating on putting out the flames. Areius is not so calm...covered in flames and seeing the stone scorpion moving towards them he flees as fast as he can!

Jason and his men are not disheartened and rally themselves, ready for the onslaught of the stone titan.

Fighting continues at the bottom of the great stairs. Zhazza spots more skeleton warriors approaching and a mean looking giant scorpion at the top.

The epic combat with the Gorgon continues. She is certainly a tough nut to crack this one, thinks Sinbad. Hassan and Omar fight bravely (with their eyes shut) but despite her injuries, finally the creature knocks Hassan to the floor, unconscious...

Spotting Koura exposed, Lykos returns the favour and sends another Pillar of Wrath directly onto the head of the 'dark Prince'...setting him alight too! The magical flames spread and the stone idol is also caught in the fire.

At last, Sinbad and Omar are victorious against the Gorgon. With a piercing shriek she flops to the ground and withers away into nothing. The Captain looks to Hassan on the floor, pleased to see he still breaths but pauses in sorrow when he spots the stone form of Kassim.

Fighting rages all around the temple and the clash of metal echoes around the chamber. Jason charges into attack the living idol. Peleus and Erytus are inspired by their leader but Phalerus is frozen to the spot in fear. Canthus, with a rush of blood to the head, runs forward to the great staircase alone. Talaus and Leodocus move cautiously onwards with Lynceus trailing behind. Sadly, Areius is nowhere to be found, having run off into the darkness, still in flames.

Kharim, Akbar and Abdul defeat the skeletons...

...leaving the path clear for Zhazza to run up and summon the Djinn of the Lamp. She yells out "destroy the giant scorpion" and with a puff of smoke the Djinn appears directly in front of the arachnida and begins its task. Zhazza slips back into the darkness before anyone spots her.

With a hearty cheer the three salty sea dogs clamber up the wall by the stairs - the prize is almost in sight!

Jason and Peleus bravely tackle the massive stone idol but their blows seem to be unable to penetrate the monsters stone hide. Canthus holds his ground and is soon joined by Talaus and the other Argonauts. Lykos, though a little unnerved by the beast is close behind them. He chuckles to himself as he spots Koura still vainly battling against his flaming clothes...

Canthus and Talaus scale the small wall. Erytus realises he doesn't like heights...Phalerus regains his composure as Leodocus and the wizard walk up beside him. In the background, Kharim and his companions sneak towards the Purple Altar.

With the enemy distracted around them, Kharim, Abdul and Akbar gaze upon the great reward before them - what is held within??

As the ruffians try to prize open the altar, Sinbad, with the revived Hassan and Zhazza in tow, quietly move towards the crew at the altar. Omar struggles to climb the wall and waits at the bottom.

Fearing that these dirty pirates will steal the gifts from the altar (that he believes are destined to be his alone) Lykos unleashes another of his great spells "Unchain the Titans" - the ground rumbles and shakes as if in an earthquake and all of those present in the temple (other than Lykos) fall to the floor!

Dusting themselves off first, Sinbad and his crew act quickly. Before anyone else can act, they attempt to secure the Purple Altar. They just need a little more time to open it...

Having been spooked by nearby skeletons (likely former companions) Canthus, Erytus and Talaus are next to get up. They rush toward the pirate crew to attempt to stop them

Zhazza sees the approaching wizard Lykos and decides she can 'reason' with (aka seduce) the decrepit old man before he can cast any more of his powerful magics.

It is a brave and bold move on her part but Lykos is not motivated by such things and brushes her aside. Phalerus, having gained his courage back courtesy of the old wizard, rushes up to protect him and rather unchivralously bashes Zhazza to the ground knocking her unconscious!

At this point the epic struggle devolved into complete chaos as the increasingly crazed Lykos let the power go to his head. Unleashing several Pillars of Wrath into the middle of Sinbad and his men, the fighting grew vicious. Koura was unable to put out the flames on himself and died in agony as he burnt to death. Jason and Peleus were finally able to defeat the (still burning) scorpion idol with a little luck of the Gods.

Still being harassed by a remaining skeleton and several of his adversaries men, Sinbad ordered the retreat of his crew, dragging the unconscious Zhazza and 'stone' Kassim with them.

Zhazza had dropped the Magic Lantern without casting the spell to 'free' the Djinn - Lykos's eyes lit up when he found this prize laying on the great steps. He calmly walked up to the Purple Altar and removed the riches from within - ancient texts that provide the means to raise the dead and animate idols. Walking across the dias to the charred remains of Koura, Lykos picked up another gift from among them, the Crown of the Serpent.

Surveying the carnage around them, Jason shook his head and was appalled at the behaviour of Lykos and indeed, himself. This was not how heroes behaved.

Of course, Lykos cared little for what Jason thought. These 'Argonauts' were just pawns in his game to achieve great power and he would soon dispose of them when they were of no further use...but that would be another story...


Another good game of 7th Voyage, quite an 'epic' one. With over 700 points on the large table, a couple of new players and lots of extra magic and Gifts of the Gods this was never going to be a short game and if I am honest we were all tiring a bit by the end of it! I took less pictures of the end of the game as it all got a tad out of control with the supposed Greek Heroes brutally trying to dispatch Sinbad and his crew.

On the plus side, story-wise this has given us a new villain of the piece as much of the butchery and violence was down to the insane Lykos. I like adding a bit of story fluff to our games and have essentially retconned the background to this to fit with our ever increasing 7th Voyage 'world'. 

Although not entirely intentional on Johns part he created a great character and played Lykos to the hilt and he unwittingly created a twisted baddie straight out of the movies, banishing the just animated stone scorpion idol, torching the main bad guy, causing a minor earthquake and fooling the normally honourable Jason into assisting him his vile plan.

Poor Sinbad had to creep away to nurse his injured crew and the less said about losing the Magic Lamp the better. The crew will be back! 

Lastly, the original villain of the scene, Koura, died a horrible, flaming death at the hands of Lykos. Though Gary and I had less points overall we realised we should have bought more minion types, with a couple of leaders as the lack of activations severely hindered us. Too many expensive models in our cast. Though Stheno was really hard to beat, once surrounded it was inevitable she was going to loose against so many hero types hacking away at her. The stone idol was equally tough but was easily held back by Jason and Peleus. The giant scorpion fared well but there just not enough skeleton warriors to really make a difference.

I am sure at some point we will be meeting the 'inhuman' race that Koura was working for...

Figures are a mix of makes (Harwood, Foundry, Black Tree, Reaper, Wargames Factory) with the Gorgon, Koura, Sinbad and crew from Rob and my Greek heroes. Gary supplied the skeletons and giant and massive scorpions!