Wednesday, April 12, 2017

HAWKs Hold Second "Armies for Kids" Painting Session

  This past Saturday a group of the HAWKs got together to have a second painting bee for this year's Franco-Prussian War themed "Armies for Kids" project.   The group met last February to begin the project, painting almost 500 15mm French figures; and this time the plan was to paint the Prussians.  Since many of the Prussians that had been donated were already painted, we only had 250 Prussians to complete.
     With all the infantry done, the plan now is to schedule a third session to work on the cavalry for both armies.  
    Once completed, the armies will be presented to six lucky kids who take part in a specially designated game at this year's Historicon.  Each kid who participates in the game will get a set of opposing armies, terrain, rules, and game aids.

Monday, April 3, 2017

A Pair of Quick and Easy Homer Simpson Idols, Just for Fun

    Recently I saw a thread where someone made a fun little terrain piece that was an idol made from a Homer Simpson figure.  Then, the other day when I was in my local Dollar Tree store, I saw these Homer figures, and thought they might be good fodder for some Homer Idols of my own.

     The figures easily popped off their bases.  I then cut some simple rock pedestals out of some scrap insulation foam.  Next, I glued the pedestals to some round MDF bases, and then glued the Homer figures to the top of the pedestals.  I sprinkled a little sand around the bottom of the pedestals where the glue oozed out.
     When the glue was dry, I sprayed the pieces with some Krylon with Fusion Camouflage Ultra-Flat Black.  When the black undercoat was dry, I sprayed the pieces with a faux stone-textured spray paint.
   When the stone texture was dry, I repainted the pieces black again.
   I then gave them an initial grey drybrushing.
  I let the initial drybrushing dry, and then gave the lefthand one (which I plan for use in warm weather/jungle setting) some staining with a little green ink and some Agrax Earthshade wash.  I gave the one on the right (which I plan to use for Frostgrave) a little wash with a little blue ink.
   When the inks were dry, I gave each idol a final light grey drybrushing.   I then added some foliage to the greenish one.   I let them sit overnight, and then the next day gave them a spray varnish protective coat.

     I'm happy with how these turned out; not great masterpieces, but just right for a quick fun project. They will be fun to put on the table and see who notices. :)

Monday, March 27, 2017

Frostgrave Campaign '17, Game 3: Loot the Caravan

     This past Saturday we got together to play the third game of our new 2017 Frostgrave Campaign. This year our goal is to play a game each month and work our way through the "Thaw of the Lich Lord" (TotLL) supplement book.   Last month we played the book's second scenario, (To read the account of last month's game see: Battle on the River), and this month we moved on to the third scenario, "Loot the Cart", or as we modified it, "Loot the Caravan".
     We had 6 of our 8 regular players, and one guest player, available for Saturday's game; so we used the full 12' x 3' table set-up.
     Since there were 7 of us, we increased the number of carts to 12, and then each took turns placing two of our treasures in the carts.  We didn't make any rules as to which carts these treasures had to be placed, so technically players could have piled them all in one; but no one was willing to risk making a big pile of treasure, and then not getting to start in the area in which the overloaded cart was located.  So we ended up with 10 of the carts containing one treasure, and two of the carts containing 2 treasures.  We then placed one Death Cultist with each treasure, so most carts had one Cultist, and the double-treasure carts had a pair of Cultists.  Next, we placed our third treasure as per the normal treasure placing rules.  We determined that the entry locations for the Ghoul reinforcements that arrive on turn three would be determined randomly with a d30 dice roll, just like we do for wandering beasts; and there would be 14 of them (2 x 7 players).
     We then established our initial set-up positions and first turn order using our usual numbered-poker-chips-in-a-paper-bag method.  My Sigilist, Quailelyn, and her Apprentice, Bailisette, with their party, started in the center of the side with three players, exactly where I didn't want her to be; as this meant that I had two warbands to my front, and one on each side.  To my warband's left was the warband of a Summoner called Chaffarn to the left front was the Sigilist, Bemis.  To the right front was Basil the Elementalist, and  directly on their right was an unknown Soothsayer.
A view of the table before the game began.  Quails entry position marked with the red oval.  
      As Maga Librarian Quailelyn picked her way through the rubble, she became increasing aware of the presence of other wizards nearby in the city.  Apparently, they were not the only ones who had heard the rumors of the upstart Necromancer now residing in Frostgrave and his caravan of supplies and treasure that was currently stuck in the city due to several of the  wagons breaking down in the rubble and ice filled streets.  She turned to her Apprentice, Bailisette, and said, "Can you feel them? The other wizards?"  The young girl concentrated a moment and then nodded.
 "We must be careful and cautious" Quail whispered; for the elder Librarian knew, if she could sense that the others where here, they would most likely know that her party was present as well.   Quail was also still haunted by the memory of her last outing down to the harbor, where over half her warband had fallen during the battle; and only through the grace of the heavens had none been killed or seriously wounded.
        Quail had been up early this morning, and she and Bailey had stood out on the parapet of her tower base with the old magical Felstad Atlas that the Maga Librarian had liberated from her university library's Antiquities section, and the magic crystal magnifier that was needed to read it.  The pair stood in the frigid morning air, and attempted to discern a good place to look for treasure that day.
A look at the caravan, strung out and vulnerable, on the main thoroughfare leading up the center of the table.
        It was up on this perch that Sir Cardidill the knight had found them, as he came huffing up the long staircase and burst through the tower door leading to the parapet; his breath huffing hard in the cold air.  The two women turned in shock, as they were not used to being disturbed up on the tower's top floor; as few in the party fancied the long climb.  Sir Cardidil opened his mouth as if preparing to speak, then bent over and putting his hands on his knees took a moment to catch his breath.   He rose again, and collecting himself, reported the news that he had heard that morning in the tavern where he had gone to break his fast: that there was a treasure caravan, belonging to an evil necromancer, stranded in the city on the Avenue of Eternals, by the old Outer Viaduct.
   Quail turned back to the Atlas, and flipped quickly through the pages.   Stopping on a page near the middle, she peered through the crystal as her finger traced across the aged parchment.  "Here." she said as she studied where the two routes that the Knight had indicated intersected on the map.  Then her eye wandered to some writing on the map near to where she pointed: Fountain of the Ring of Life.  She looked up and stared out across to the far ruins, thinking.  Where had she heard that name before...
      Then it came to her, the old tales of the Ring of Life, a powerful magic ring that gave the wearer protection from the undead; rumored to be hidden near a ring shaped pool of water.  The name was so similar to the landmark, she wondered if it could be the same.   If they were to be facing a Necromancer and his minions, it might not be a bad object to obtain.   Perhaps they could locate the ruins of the fountain on their way to find the caravan.  (Successful pre-game casting of Reveal Secret.)  Quailelyn heaved the old book shut, and turned to Sir Cardidil.  "Prepare the party.", she commanded.
The starting positions for Quail and her warband. The two target carts can  be seen in the distance.
     As they approached the location of the caravan, Quail could hear the rough shouts of the Death Cultist guards along the length of the strung out carts and wagons.  They seemed to be quite aggravated with their stranded situation, and tempers were apparently running high.  Quail came up behind the ruin of the Fountain of the Ring of Life, right where the map said it would be, and in the distance she could now see a pair of the carts, and two cultists guarding them, barking commands at each other.  The Sigilist studied the circular fountain and the runes upon it, and then noticed a few feet away that there was a strange ice spire emerging from the snow.
     She turned to Bailey, "See that spire of ice over there?" The Apprentice turned and looked. " You sometimes find those naturally occurring in frozen climes over the sites of powerful magic relics.   Something to do with the magical energy they emit resonating with the ice crystals in the air. I bet if you search beneath the spire you will find the magic ring we seek. "   She then directed her Apprentice, Clol the Infantryman, Sallisee the Archer, and Kinny the Thief to go over and investigate the spire and then capture the cart to their front on the right.  With herself she took Sir Cardidil the Knight, Luc Demic the Crossbowman, and Dorchesman the Treasure Hunter.  She left Innis Flin the Thief, and Barc the Man-At-Arms to help out where needed.
     Quailelyn  hadn't advanced far when she saw one of the Sigilist Bemis' calling cards appear in the sky: A Draining Word for Bone Dart.  That's not a bad idea she thought, and she raised her hand and with a slender finger began tracing letters skyward, producing a Draining Word of Elemental Bolt.  That will help, she thought.  She then took a moment to survey the surrounding ruins, and found they were very boxed in by a large ruined tower on her left, and the old viaduct on her right, and she realized that might not be a bad thing as far as guarding from encroaching warbands on their flanks went.  She was however very exposed to her front, so the wizard called to Bailey a single word, "Fog!"  Obediently, the young girl began casting a Fog wall by the ruined tower on the left, and then she turned and produced a second Fog over on the far side of a gap in the viaduct.   Meanwhile Bemis' Apprentice added a Draining Word: Leap, to the sky, which now burned with fiery glowing words in several spots, casting green and red glow on the taller ruins.
Opening moves.  
      Once the fog was in place,  Quail took a moment to look up at the ruined tower. And as she did the sky clouded over, and the breeze picked up,  as snowflakes began to fall hitting her in the face.  That would be Chaffarn Calling a Storm she concluded.   Turning her thoughts from the weather,  Quail thought again about the tower and  felt it looked very promising.  She instructed Dorchesman to check it out.  The Treasure Hunter gave her a smile and a wink, and immediately began scaling the crumbling stone wall to get inside.
   Over on the right, Sallisee put an arrow in the Cultist by the cart to their right front, and before the wounded man could find a place to hide, Luc Demic finished him off with a crossbow bolt. On the left, Sir Cardidil and Barc made their way forward to the lefthand cart.  The swirling snow intensified as Carffarn's Apprentice, Aina, added her own Call Storm spell to the squall.
Sir Cardidil and Barc raid the left cart.
     Barc and Sir C engaged with the Cultist guarding the second cart, and brought him down; but not before he gave the Man-at-Arms a nasty wound. The Knight quickly rummaged through the cart and found a promising  chest.  He looked up and could see the blood dripping down Barc's  left pants leg, and the gash in his leather jerkin.  "Can you take this and get back to the tower?" he asked the wounded soldier? Barc nodded sternly and clutching the chest with one hand and his side with the other, began dragging the prize back through the snow.   Over at the other cart, the small Thief, Kinny, was hefting a large chest, almost as big as her, out of the back; then letting it drop out onto the ground, she hopped down beside it, and with a strength above what one would expect from her size, she began dragging it through the snow.
    Quail's eyes were caught by some movement behind them , and she turned to see a trio of Zombies shuffling through the storm towards Bailey; who was herself busy searching beneath the ice spire for the ring.  The snow was surprisingly fluffy despite the weight of ice on top of it, and she didn't have to dig far before she found a strange large flat box.  She snapped the clasp open and there in a large expanse of blue satin, was a small circular indentation holding  a gold ring.  Snapping the lid closed again, she looked up, startled at Quail's call, and stumbled backwards at the three gruesome figures making their way towards her.   She called for help as she ran from the threat, clutching the oversized ring box.
   The Maga Librarian peered through the swirling storm (Now intensified to a third level) to try and see what was happening to her Apprentice.  Nearby, Luc Demic called out, "Watch out Ma'am!" as he raised his crossbow to fire at her. Quickly she realized it wasn't her he was aiming at, but instead it was a Large Rat, nearly the size of a big dog,  that had crawled out of a pile of nearby rubble and was almost upon her.  She had been so distracted by the Zombies falling upon Bailey she hadn't even noticed it.  Luckily, despite the raging weather, Luc's shot was true, and the rat dropped dead, just a little over a foot from the Sigilist.
Bailey, recovering the Reveal Secret produced treasure, is surprised by a trio of Zombies.
     Bailisette's cries for help, did not go unheeded, and Sallisee, Innis Flin and Clol were soon there to help.  Sallisee fired a couple arrows, but with the raging storm her shots were ineffective. It was up to Innis and Clol to take care of the undead intruders.  Clol gave one a might blow with his new Club of Battering, severely wounding it and sending it reeling back 3 inches.  The other two Zombies attacked Innis, and while the Thief was able to fend of one without doing any damage, the second gave him a nasty slice across the arm with its long filthy claw-like fingernails.  Clol, came to help his friend, and with the help of the magic club the pair made short work of the other two, and then finished off the third.
     Quail found herself facing another problem as Ghouls sent by the Necromancer to help the Cultists guarding the caravan, now appeared near where she stood.   She had wandered a little away from the group, searching for any likely spots to which she could teleport to search for treasure, and now she was alone facing two Ghouls.  Quickly she pulled a quill from her pouch, and rubbing the tip between her two hands, she spoke the words of Furious Quill, and tossed the feather into the air.  It immediately shot through the storm and began stabbing at the head of one of the Ghouls like an angry bird. The Ghoul swatted at it confusedly, but wasn't quick enough to catch it.  "Bailey! Some help, please!",  she called out to her Apprentice, "Now!"
Over on the other side of the area, Quail, who wandered off on her own,  is set upon by a Ghoul duet.
     Bailey was too far away to be much immediate help, but she could see what an unfortunate position her master was in.   Quickly raising one hand as if she was trying to hold up a wall, the young girl chanted the words of a Push spell with all her concentration and might.   It hit one of the Ghouls with such force it sent him flying backwards (Rolled an 18 attack + 10) where only it's hitting the wall of a distant ruin, with a loud thud, stopped it.
     Sir C and Luc rushed to help the Librarian.   Quail attempted to Teleport to a position of safety, but she rushed the spell, and a spike of pain shot up through her head from behind her right eye. (Rolled a 3 and took 1 HP damage) Reeling, she stumbled back, and ran around the ruined tower out of view of the Ghouls.  Bailey, let loose with  another Push spell and sent the second Ghoul sliding backwards through the snow, Furuous Quill and all, until it too hit the ruin the first one had hit and came to a halt.  Clol, having just dispatched the third Zombie, now ran over to help as well.
Kinny, in the left foreground, carries away her treasure, as Bailey (left) moves to help Quail.  On the right Sallisee,  Innnis, and Clol deal with the Zombies.
     Quailelyn tried her own Push spell on Sir Cardidil to get him to the Ghouls faster, but he was so heavy in his armor, he hardly moved. Instead he ran forward on his own power.   Bailey launched a third Push spell, this time on Clol, to get him to a position to help faster.      Luc tried to fire his crossbow as fast he could but in the fierce storm, his shots were all going wild.
     Quail caught her breath and analyzed the situation.  As the Maga Librarian tried to come up with a plan, she was shocked when she suddenly heard whistling coming from above her, drifting down with the swirling flakes; and turning to look up she saw Dorchesman, the Treasure Hunter, scaling down the ruined tower wall.  He had a big chest strapped to his back, and a happy tune was coming from his pursed lips. He stopped whistling long enough to call down, "Wait until you see what I have, Ma'am!", and he resumed his merry song. Quail tried to place the tune, and thought it sounded similar to a bawdy one she had heard once or twice at the university when students thought she was out of earshot. But surely not here, now, from Dorchesman, she thought.
As Quail recovers herself out of view around the tower, and Luc Demic and Sir Cardidil prepare to handle the Ghouls, Dorchesmen comes climbing down the tower with a large chest.
     She didn't think about it long, as her attention was quickly drawn back to the matters at hand.  She had four treasures and no one had fallen so far during the foray.   It was definitely time to call it a day she thought.  She called to the Knight, " Sir Cardidil, can you safely buy us some time?!"
    "Yes, Ma'am. It would be my pleasure!" the Knight responded, and raising his sword he advanced towards the Ghouls.  The rest of the party began the trek back to the tower.
The end shot.  Four treasures recovered.  Nobody dead.  (For some reason Luc Demic, over by the tower, was too busy looking for a dropped crossbow bolt, and forgot to join the others for the group shot.) :)
     Sir Cardidil arrived back at the tower about an half hour after the rest, a bad gash in one shoulder; but none the worse for wear.  Quail couldn't believe her good fortune: four treasures recovered, and no one killed, nor even that badly wounded.    She could get used to this kind of outcome, but knew she was just experiencing a run of good luck.  The Sigilist was always weary of good fortune as she knew there was only one way it could turn.
    They spent that evening taking stock of what they had recovered.  Careful inspection revealed the ring Bailey had found was indeed, the Ring of Life (+1 Fight & +1 Armor vs Undead, plus weapon counts as magical)  Dorchesman was happy to reveal his chest was full to the top with gold coins! (A roll of 2 on the Treasure table, d20 x 20 GC, was followed by a miraculous roll of 20!) There were 400 coins when they took the time to count later.    Barc had dragged back a chest that held 30 gold coins and three carefully wrapped potion bottles: Toughness, Chameleon, and Preservation).  The chest Kinny  had retrieved was in fact a shield case, holding a Magic Shield (+1 Armor) and 20 gold coins.
    Quail had never seen so much gold at one time in her life.  It was more wealth than she made in a year at the university.  She would have to do some careful thinking about how to spend it, and certainly some of the party had earned promotions.   But for the moment she found her thoughts turning to the Necromancer who's caravan they had raided.  There was a great deal of power and planning behind an effort so large, and supplies of such quantity belied a large operation.  Something was afoot in the city, and it troubled the Maga Librarian.

Epilogue: It was a really fun game!  Despite my initial trepidation about where I was starting, terrain and situation conspired to draw everyone's attention away from Quail and her band; and I decided not to go looking for trouble, especially when I started getting a lot of monsters appearing in my zone.   There was a double treasure cart just to my front left and the other to my front right, but I would have to have taken on the bulk of Bemis' and Basil's warbands to get them.  And the memory of battling two warbands was too fresh in my mind from the last game.  I saw no reason to risk it, especially when there was more than enough treasure within my easy reach.   
     It was another game where nobody died, which worries me as much as it pleases me.  Having just played a year with Kodak, who lost key figures almost every game, I'm not use to this, and I know the game is going to come soon where I'm hit hard.    Quail hasn't had to face the realities of loosing a member of her band yet, and that may be a hard wake-up call when it happens.

 For Bemis' report on the game, see: Wagons, Ho!

For a few paragraphs on the game from the player controlling Basil the Elementalist: See Saturday Games

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Cold Wars '17: Friday Photos

   This past weekend was the Cold Wars gaming convention at the Lancaster Host in Lancaster, PA.  I arrived Friday midday with the plan of running two Frostgrave games, one Friday night, and the other Saturday morning. Unfortunately, I was hit with a really bad stomach bug Friday night, so had to cancel my Saturday morning game, and having nothing else on my schedule, I decided to head home to recover.  My apologies to anyone who was signed-up for the cancelled game.
   My photos therefore are only from Friday.

My Friday Night Frostgrave Game







Duncan Adams' "The Church at St. Boes; February 1814" Game



Greg Priebe's "Combat Patrol: The Clone Wars" Game



David Schlegel's "Hanov; 1943" Double Blind WWII Game



Zeb Cook's "Raid on Korad: A Battle on Barsoom" Game


Geoff Graff's  "Talk Like a Pirate Day at Schlegel's Ferry" Game


Monday, March 13, 2017

Dollar Tree Mermaid Ghost Archipelago Terrain, Part 2

   After completing my mermaid tail arch from a air of mermaid dolls from the local Dollar Tree store, last month, a lot fof olks asked what I planned to do with the left over mermaid top-halves.  I considered this as something of a challenge, and so set about thinking about possible terrain projects to make from partially naked plastic doll halves.
   Inspired by the cover of the Ghost Archipelago cover, featuring a band of heroes facing off against a band of snakemen natives, I got the idea to make one of the doll halves into some sort of snake-man goddess idol.
 
     The first thing I needed to find was a suitable snakeman head, so I made another trip to the local Dollar Tree to see what I could find.  I wasn't able to find a plastic snake I could use, but I did find a suitable plastic lizard that had just the right head and neck pose to go atop a human torso.
   With lizard in hand, I began to construct my snakeman goddess idol.  I began by cutting down an old CD, and hot-gluing a piece of pine bark mulch to it to serve as a base.  I then cut the head of the lizard, and pulled the head off the doll.  I had to cut the neck of the doll down a little to fit the lizard head, but once things looked good I glued the lizard head in place with a liberal amount of hot-glue to help fill any gaps and blend the shape to the body.    I then hot-glued the torso to the hunk of mulch and glued the arms into a satisfactory position.
     Next, I  drilled couple holes in the top jaw to insert a couple toothpick fangs, and then used some Milliput to help blend all the joints and blend the mulch to the base.  I also sculpted a little sacrifice basin at the base of the idol, and glued some small rocks on the base. 
      When all the Milliput was dry, I gave the piece a spray with Krylon Camouflage with Fusion "Flat Black" spray paint to act as a primer.  And when that was dry, I sprayed the idol with some stone textured spray paint.
     When the stone texture was dry, I painted the idol with some Folk Art "Grey Green" craft paint, and then applied some washes of Citadel "Nuln Oil", and "Green" ink.  After that I glued some course sand to the base.  When the sand was dry, I painted that, and then drybrushed highlights on to the statue and base.  When the paint was dry, I glued some various foliage all over the base.  Then, when the weather warms up, I will give the piece a spray of Dullcote to seal it. 


    I'm really happy with how she turned out considering she was a spur of the moment make-use-of-a-leftover inspired construction. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Dollar Tree Mermaid Tail Ghost Archipelago Arch

       While on a trip to the local Dollar Tree a couple weeks  ago, I noticed some Barbie-like Mermaid Dolls in the toy section, and was struck by the intricate molded detail on their tails.  Having had recently read about the upcoming Frostgrave rulebook, Ghost Archipelago , I thought that these tails might make some sort of neat sculpture or totem of an ancient nautical themed civilization for use with the new rules.  And, so I began my first Ghost Archipelago terrain project.
        I started by removing the tails from the upper torso.  They are just held in by a plastic button, so easily pull apart.  I then created a base out of an old CD and a couple 1.5 inch washers.  Next, I cut the tails down so they would sit, and cross, at just the right angle.  After that, I cut off part of one fin to help give that ancient crumbling look.  I then glued the tails to the base, and also glued a pattern of plaster hexes into the center to help hide the hole in the CD.  I then filled the broken fin piece and the part of the tail where I cut it from with a bit of cork, and then covered the cork over with hot glue.  Lastly, I glued the broken fin down, and then covered the hot glue on the broken pieces with some white glue, and sprinkled a little fine sand on it to help the broken stone appearance.
     I then coated the base with white glue and then covered it with a coarse sand mix.  When everything was dry, I sprayed a base coat on the piece with some dark brown camo spray paint.
    It was then just a matter of giving everything a drybrushing of progressively lighter shades of tan.  Afterwards, I glued some foliage to the base, and bit of vine to the top of the arch.  I then sprayed the piece with some matte varnish.



   I'm really happy with how this turned out, and look forward to next Fall when the rules are released and I will get a chance to use it in a game!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Frostgrave Campaign '17, Game 2: Battle on the River

      This past Saturday we got together to play the second game of our new 2017 Frostgrave Campaign.  This year our goal is to play a game each month and work our way through the "Thaw of the Lich Lord" (TotLL) supplement book.   Last month we played the book's first scenario, (To read the account of last month's game see: The Eclipse), and this month we moved on to the second scenario, "Battle on the River."
     We had 7 of our 8 regular players available for Saturday's game, so we used the full 12' x 3' table set-up.  As already mentioned, we ran the second scenario from the TotLL book, "Battle on the River," which features, as the title implies, a river running the length of the entire table, with only 6 inches of riverbank on each side.  On the river is a treasure ship from which, on turn 3, a Mage servant of the Lich Lord, will emerge carrying a special treasure.  The goal is to kill the Mage and recover the treasure they are carrying.  Also, the river is considered to be ice, so if any figure attempts to make a second move it must pass a die roll first or fall and take damage.
   Since there were 7 of us, we increased the number of treasure ships to 3, and the number of Mages to 4.  We also determined that after the game we would randomly determine one of the Mages to be carrying a "fake" treasure that was worth nothing.  The treasure ship in the center would be the one from which the two Mages came from, while the ships on each end would just generate a single Mage.
A look at the table before the game began.  Quail's start zone was about two feet down from the upper right corner of the table.

     We placed the regular treasure, as well as determined set-up positions and turn order, normally using our numbered-poker-chips-in-a-paper-bag method.  My Sigilist, Quailelyn, and her Apprentice, Bailisette, with their party, started on one corner of one table. To their left was the warband of  a Soothsayer named Gru, while across from them was both a Summoner called Chaffarn to the left front, and  a Soothsayer called the Doctor to the right front.


    Earlier that day Quail and her Apprentice had stood on the parapet atop their new tower home, the cold morning wind stinging their faces.  The Maga Librarian, Quailelyn, however, seemed unaffected by the cold as she intently studied a large Atlas laid open on the low wall before her; while her Apprentice, Bailey, hopped from foot to foot with her hands tucked under her shoulders, in an attempt to stay warm.
     Without turning her head, Quail said, "Not much longer, child."  She pulled a disk-shaped crystal from a pocket in her robes, and held it over the map before her peering through it. She looked up at the distant city just visible in the light of the rising sun, then back at the book.  With her other hand she traced some letters on the page before her and spoke an incantation softly to herself. As she spoke and her fingers spelled the proper words, she continued to scan the page through the crystal.  Slowly, as she peered through the polished disk of clear rock, the squiggly lines on the map began to organize themselves into distinct features, landmarks, and words."
     "It's a river!" she called out.  "It's near a river. "  She looked up quickly at the city in the distance and back at the map.  I think I know where we need to go.  (Successfully cast Reveal Secret pregame.)
Starting deployment.  Quail (Wizard), Sir Cardidil (Knight), Luc Demic (Crossbow), and Dorchesman (Treas. Hunt.) on the left.  Bailey (Apprentice),  Sallisee (Archer),  Kinny (Thief), and Innis Flin (Thief) on the right.  Barc (Man-at-Arms) and Clol (Thug) in the center rear.
  Later that morning, as the the Sigilist, her Apprentice, and the rest of their party approached the city,  Quail related the story that she had read a few days before in "Lough's History of Felstad"; of the famed wizard Zenopil and the monument that had been erected in his memory. Legend held that many of his belongings were sealed up in the base of his monument; and thanks to the magical Atlas of Felstad, the Maga Librarian had been able to find just where that monument was located.
     Sure enough, as they approached the riverbank, there stood the monument to Zenophil, showing the wizard seated in a large chair.  But what stuck the party even more than the crumbling old monument was the spectacle of the frozen river beyond it, crammed as it was with ships and boats of every size and description; all in various stages of decay.  Masts and rigging toppled here and there; and half-sunk boats sticking out of the ice at all angles.  None had seen such a sight, both mesmerizing and horrifying.  Quail pondered the magnitude of the destruction that had caused such chaos.
     The Sigilist regained herself quickly though, and seeing a rotting old crate half buried in the ice a few yards away, her mind turned to the ships' cargo.  What wondrous things might be hidden in those old hulks? She didn't have long to consider that thought, for as she gazed across the frozen expanse of the once great Meregile River, her eye was caught by movement on the far bank.  Sure enough, she saw soldiers from two other wizards' warbands moving on the far side, while to their left Quail thought she he heard the strange jabbering of the odd yellow creatures that the Soothsayer Gru counted as his followers.
While Quail tries to Telekinetically move the treasure, and Bailey and Luc Demic provide covering support,  Dorchesman and Clol move out to retrieve the treasure.  the Summoner's men can be seen advancing from the far side of the river, and Sir Cardidil can be seen climbing the fallen mast on the upper right. 
           The treasure of Zenophil could wait Quailelyn decided, as she quickly divided her warband into three groups.  With herself she took Sir Cardidil the Knight, Luc Demic the Crossbowman, and Dorchesman the Treasure Hunter. She assigned Sallisee the Archer, and the two thieves Kinny and Innis Flin to go with her Apprentice, Bailistte.  She told Barc the Man-at-Arms, and Clol the Thug to stand by and fill in where needed.  The Sigilist then stepped over a low wall lining the riverbank and stepped tentatively out onto the ice.  She spotted a promising looking chest lying on the ice a couple dozen yards away and spoke the words of a Telekinesis spell.  Immediately the chest began to slowly drag along the ice towards her.  Dorchesman crossed over the low wall along the bank and headed towards the chest, but he didn't go far before he slipped and fell on the river ice, injuring himself.
   Bailisette with her group were on the other side of a small stone hut from the rest of their party, and seeing several of the Doctor's archers moving out across the ice, she chanted the words of a Fog spell, and a billowy mist rose from the river 30 or so yards away to her forward right.  Kinny, and Innis Flin crossed over the low riverbank wall, and they too didn't get far before slipping on the ice and falling. (Every fall on the ice does 1 HP of damage.)  Sallisee spotted a strange lizard creature the size of a War Hound crossing the ice from the direction of the Doctor's party.  It moved just clear of  Bailey's Fog bank that the archer was able to get off a true shot that hit the beast.  The small dinosaur faltered but didn't stop.  Quickly Sally notched another arrow.
     Then, suddenly above them in the skies they saw two Draining Word spells appear, one after the other: first Telekinesis, then Bone Dart.   Quail knew immediately that the other Sigilist, Bemis, must be somewhere along the river.
The Lich Lord's Mage emerges from belowdecks and bolts (seen standing on the ship's rail) as Sir Cardidil prepares to give chase. Barc has already moved up on to the deck, and Kinny is preparing to climb up the side.  
     Despite the Draining Word spell against Telekinesis burning in the sky, Quail tried to continue her Telekinesis spell on the chest in the river; but her counter measures failed miserably and she felt a searing pain corkscrew in her head (Rolled 2 and took 2 HP damage).  Seeing the Sigilist reel in pain, her Apprentice came running over to her to see if she was okay.  As Quail blinked through watery eyes, and not yet collected enough to speak, the Sigilist pointed out onto the river; and looking up, Bailey her Apprentice could see Chaffarn the Summoner's Zombie shambling toward the now unmoving chest.   Quickly, Bailisette raised her right hand, palm facing outwards towards the river and spoke the spell of Push.  The Zombie slid backwards several yards, and looked around baffled, as Luc Demic got a bead on him with his crossbow, and shot a bolt through his left eye.  The Zombie didn't fall however, and continued to shamble forward again towards the chest.  As they watched the walking corpse, the sky clouded over with unnatural speed, and a light flurry of snow began to fall. (Summoner cast Call Storm) Through the swirling flakes, they saw the undead terror only went a few steps further before he lost his footing and slipped on the ice.  Falling like a sack of potatoes,  the Zombie landed at such an angle the it pushed the arrow sticking out of his eye socket up into his brain, killing him instantly.(He only had 1 HP left, and the fall damage killed him.)  Down on the other side of the hut, Sallisee the Archer launched another arrow and killed the Doctor's small dinosaur.
     Quailelyn recovered herself, and tried to overcome the Draining Word spell again to cast Telekinesis.   She could feel the spell's power slipping away from her again so she gritted her teeth and concentrated all her energy on making it work.  A painful hot flash flickered behind her eyes, but she pushed through it and successfully cast the spell. (Pushed spell for 3 HP damage) The chest began to once again slowly slide across the ice towards Quail's side of the river.  Dorchesman ran out to grab it, but could see two of the Summoner's soldiers fast approaching.  "A little help here!" he called out as he lifted the heavy load and turned to move back to the rest of his party.  Quail, seeing the chest safe in Dorchesman's hands and knowing Bailey, Luc Demic, and Clol were there to assist him, felt it was time to retrieve the Zenophil's treasure that she had discovered that morning with her Reveal Secret spell.  She wasn't sure where Gru's yellow minions were, and she didn't want to risk one of them happening upon it by accident.  So she turned from the river bank and moved back toward the monument to Zenophil.  Meanwhile, as Clol the Thug moved to help Dorchesman, Bailey pulled one of her writing quills from her pouch, and rolling the point between her hands spoke the words of the Furious Quill spell.  She tossed the quill up into the air, and it went shooting off like an arrow towards the Summoner's Treasure Hunter.  It must have gotten damp from the falling snow though, as the enemy soldier was easily able to snatch it from the air and snap it in two.
A view from the other end of the table. Quail's forces are around the center and center-left of the photo.
     Nearby, Sir Cardidil had made his way onto a large hulk of a ship that lay towards the middle of the river.  As he made his way up the fallen mast on one side though, soldiers of the Doctor's were climbing up the other side.  He could see he was outnumbered, so called to Innis Flin, Kinny, and Barc to help.  They all ran to help, but the  Thief, Innis Flin,  was felled by one of the Doctors' archers before he reached the boat.  Then out of nowhere, an evil looking Mage came bolting up from below deck and burst through the cargo hatch; clutching a bundle under her arm, she ran for the edge of the deck.    Sir Cardidil ran after her but an arrow from one of the Doctor's archers caught him in the shoulder. He winced in pain, his shield arm all but useless, but continued his pursuit.  He met up with the Mage, who turned and with a force fueled by pure evil, slashed at the knight with her sword.  Taken off guard, and with his shield hanging limply at his side, the Mage's blade struck him in  his already wounded shoulder and sent him reeling backward.  He stumbled on a loose plank, and fell hard upon the deck where he lay motionless.
    While this was going on, Quail had climbed back over the wall and handed the treasure off to Luc Demic, the Crossbowman, for safe keeping.   They watched in horror as the Summoner's war hound came bounding over a half submerged  boat and lunged at Clol, the Thug.  Clol was knocked back by the dog's force and landed heavily on the ice where his head hit with sharp whack,  so loud that Quail could hear from over on the river bank, and the Thug lay there motionless.
   At the same time, Bailey was speaking the words of a Push spell, and sent the Summoner's Treasure Hunter sliding 20 yards back across the ice.  It was of little help though, as the enemy Treasure Hunter and another one of the Summoner's soldiers were quickly able to overtake Dorchesman anyway, slowed as he was by his heavy load.  Outnumbered and with help now out of reach,  Dorchesman fell quickly to the enemies' blades, dropping the treasure on the ice.
     As this was happening, over on the other side of the stone hut, Sally put an arrow cleanly through one of the Doctor's archers, dropping the soldier like a stone.
Quail teleports to the top of the crows nest. Good thing she's not afraid of heights! 
     Quail was now beginning to worry.  One treasure had just fallen from within her reach; and with Sir Cardidil down, and the Doctor having four archers, well three now thanks to Sally,  as well as the rest of his warband trained in on Kinny, and Barc, she didn't see much hope for retrieving any treasure off of the ships on that part of the river.  As she studied the river frantically and considered her options, her eye was caught by a large crows nest high above the ice up on a once mighty dragon ship a ways down the river.  "I might be able to get a better view of the situation from up there", the Sigilist thought to herself.  Without hesitation, she turned to Bailey and, pointing,  said, "I'm going up there to get a better look at the river", and then began to speak the words of a Teleport spell. She had restudied this spell since her dismal attempt at it durning her last foray into the city, and she was able to cast it without mistake.  In a blink she was up on the rail of the crows nest. She wobbled a bit, but was able to reach out and extend an arm to grab the mast.  The Apprentice looking up at her superior realized  how terribly exposed Quailelyn was up there, and quickly started  to chant the words of a Fog spell.  The Apprentice watched with satisfaction as the mist began to billow around Quail hiding her perfectly in it's white tendrils.
     Back on the hulk in the river, Kinny, and Barc moved against the Doctor's troops as they tried to remove a large chest from the ship.  As Kinny moved to contact though, she felt her mind suddenly cloud as the Doctor's Apprentice cast Mind Control on her.  Barc was caught off guard as the Halfling thief turned and sliced at hum with her dagger, cutting a large gash in his arm.  He didn't have long to consider this turn of events, for he was soon after struck in the back by an arrow from one of the Doctor's archers, and fell with a thud to the deck.  Seeing Barc fall snapped Kinny out of her spell (rolled 20 for Will roll), but she didn't last long on a ship full of the Doctor's solders surrounded by his archers...
   Up in the crow's nest,  Quail hopped down inside, and felt something like a log under her foot.  She reached down and was shocked to find a large club laying on the floor.  As she touched it, she felt a tingle of energy in her fingers...it was enchanted!.  The Sigilist hefted the large weapon up as best she could over her shoulder, and looked for safe spot to teleport down. She saw a graveyard along the river bank far down from where she had entered the city, but it seemed quiet and no one else seemed to be near it.  Speaking the words of Teleport again, in a blink she was down standing next to a large Mausoleum.  She repositioned the club on her shoulder and headed back for their tower base. As the storm on the river was picking up (at this point the Summoner cast Call Storm for the third time), she prayed that Bailey would have the sense to gather the rest of the party... whoever still survived, Quail thought with regret and discouragement... and head back to their base.
The end results.  Quail and Luc Demic retrieve treasures, and 6 of the warband are struck down during the game.
     Quail reached the tower first and spent a frantic hour up on the parapet waiting for anyone else to return.  Bailey, who had got in to a short, and ultimately futile, Telekinesis battle with the Soothsayer Gru over one of the other Lich Lord's Mage's treasures shortly after Quail left, was first to return along with Luc Demic and Sallisee; all of who were unharmed. Quail then paced nervously in the parapet for the rest of the afternoon waiting for any more of her party to return. When it got too dark to see she moved down into the main entrance to wait.  One by one they started to shuffle in, battered, bloody and bruised.  Sir Cardidil was the last to return, and Quail was overjoyed and stunned at her good fortune that every member of her group returned; and despite some deep gashes and broken bones, none were seriously wounded.  The Maga Librarian, Bailey, Sallisee and Luc all set about tending to, and bandaging, the wounded.   Quail was utterly exhausted when she finally crawled into bed early the next morning.
     It wasn't until she awoke later that day that she had the strength to look at the treasure they had recovered.  It wasn't much; the contents of the chest they had recovered from the monument to Zenopil had mostly succumbed to the elements and they had to dig through a lot of moldy damp books and rotting clothes to find a salvageable Grimorie of Slow, and in a moldy crumbling leather pouch in the very bottom there was 150 Gold Coins.
     And then there was the large magic club.  It was in rough shape, but after studying its markings and construction, and a little research in one of the books she had brought from the University library, Quail was able to determine it was a magic Club of Battering.  She would let Clol use it, since he preferred to use a club anyway, but it would cost about 50 gold coins to have it restored (Cost 50 GC to promote Clol to Infantryman so he can use the magic 2-handed weapon.)
   Quailelyn was shaken by the experience of this latest expedition.  If it wasn't for the luck of the gods she could have lost almost her entire party.   Was she too inexperienced in the ways of the world she wondered?  What was she doing out on this folly anyway?  Should she seek more experienced help?  Hire a Captain perhaps?  She would need more gold for that, and the only way to get the gold was to venture once again into the city.  She was discouraged and full of doubt and had much to think about in the weeks ahead.


Epilogue:  What a desperate fight!   Through the flukes of starting position, terrain, treasure placement, and the flow of the battle, Quail and her party ended up facing the Doctor's entire warband, and most of the Summoner's.  It was only the good fortune that Gru had his own fish to fry in his sector that for the most part he kept away from where Quail's group was maneuvering.    It didn't help that I lived up to my reputation for poor dice rolling.  By a miracle though, after the game my luck changed and the gods of dice rolling smiled on me as I successfully rolled 9 or more for every soldier that had fallen!
   I was also struck by the similarity to last game,  in that it was only a Hail-Mary Teleport to an out of the way location as the game was winding down, that got me that much needed extra treasure!  I hope this doesn't become SOP for Quail and Bailey, as it is very nerve-wracking for me as a player. :)  Finally tally: 8 turns played, 13 spells cast, 2 treasures retrieved,  and 25 Experience Points for Quail stepping out onto the river.

To read the Doctor's account of the battle, see On a Frozen River
To read Bemis, the Sigilist's report, see: Icecapades

To continue following the Campaign with Game 3, see: Loot the Caravan!