Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fracas at Finn Elva

A River Runs Through It...

The settlement of Finn Elva lies where the Livwald River meets the mountain range. It is a place of idyllic beauty and although the weather ranges from cool summers and much colder winters, it maintains a healthy population. A Vargr expedition into a series of ruins in the mountains turned up many forgotten treasures, most of which made their way back to other settlements. Some of the items were hidden away in caches throughout the Livwald. One such item, a pair of magical gloves, the Amazing Technicolor Dreamgloves, was sealed in a chest and placed in a sacred Tuskgaarde shrine on the outskirts. Tragically, the Dawnrunner patrol that had stashed the item away was intercepted by a vile Duergar band. Although their resolve was strong, they eventually broke under the wicked blades of their torturous captors. The Duergar learned of the magic gloves and gathered their brothers to make for the shrine. A Vargr Dawnrunner had escaped the Duergar camp, mortally wounded, she made for the mountains. As luck would have it, she stumbled into a Dwarf camp. They made her comfortable, but could not fully heal her. She told them of her fallen friends and of the Duergar en route to the shrine to recover the gloves. Dwarven relations had been a budding prospect with those of Hjorvard's lineage. That, coupled with the racial hatred the Dwarves have for their former kin, prompted the proud warriors to beat the Duergar to the shrine and retrieve the gloves for the Vargr. His presence unknown to anyone, the Lich Kaphiri gazed into his reflecting pool as all of these events unfolded. Knowing the recovery of these gloves would bring great favor to him from his god, Nesut Ammon, he began scheming. He would raise his own undead minions to accompany him through a Djedetian portal to recover this artifact.

This is the second battle report from the other night of gaming with the Song of Blades and Heroes (SBH) rules. Not just the rules, but we're also using the collaborative world we put together using the excellent (and free!) Dawn of Worlds system.

I gotta hand it to the SBH rules yet again, they're very easy, but not dumbed down, they just facilitate quick play. You focus less on the rules being used and more on the narrative taking place, and since your turns aren't guaranteed to go according to plan from one phase to the next, there's enough of a unknown element to keep things interesting. As with the last SBH batrep, I took a lot of pics, so I'll make this mostly a visual report with some narrative. We went all out with the terrain this time around, and it really shows!

A Druidic Circle of Power made of ancient black, basalt stone...

A hearty mushroom grove on the banks of the Livwald River...

The Dwarf captain, veteran Gromhammer was the first to reach a treasure chest, buried in the silt beneath the cold waters. He pried it open, but found it empty! There were two other chests in the area, but Duergar forces were already on the march.

The Duergar leader stands in awe at the threshold of the Tuskgaarde shrine. A place of power such as this impresses even his evil nature. Within, at the foot of the statue, lies another of the chests. He smashed the chest to splinters, and howled in frustration as he found it empty as well, everyone within earshot knew then that the third remaining chest must contain the magic gloves. All eyes turned to the horizon just then as Lich Kaphiri and his undead minions emerged from the edge of the woods, advaning on the last chest.

Two Duergar Painseekers cross the stone bridge...

All pretense of recovering the last chance were lost when both Dwarf (good and evil) locked eyes across from one another. As fate would deem it, their titanic clash would take forth in the center of the Circle of Power. Challenges were bellowed from both sides, and their loyal troops rushed to watch. The undead sought to use this distraction to make for the last chest. A cunning plan, but would it hold? The two Dwarves charged in...

Hammer and axe collided with a thunderous roar that shook the earth itself. Centuries of anger and hatred poured out of each of the stout warriors and they rang blow after blow against one another. As many swings hit as did not, and the ground was covered in their blood. Defeat was not an option for either, only one would walk away.

Gromhammer struck the mortal blow, felling the Duergar leader. As he looked up, he saw the shriveled husk of Lich Kaphiri bearing down on him with a skeletal guard. There would be no respite for the Dwarf captain, and he engaged the undead.

You know it's funny, I had no idea this picture was taken of me until I uploaded the photos to my computer. I've got to hand it to Andy, he was quick on the draw here. Anyway, what you're witnessing is my utter lament (and subsequent laughter) of miserably failing a very important roll. We have a houserule regarding die rolls, and that's if any die falls off the table while rolling, it's an automatic miss/failure/fumble/etc. This had happened a couple of times during the night, thus my little dice rolling basket you can see on the corner. As my captain was rolling for a crucial attack I missed the basket entirely!

The errant die roll, curses!

Seeing Gromhammer, umm, flounder, the Duergar Painseekers charged in to finish him off, avenging their own. Gromhammer wasn't without his own troops, who counter-charged their twisted cousins. This allowed the Dwarf captain to regain his composure and focus on the Lich Kaphiri, who was no match for the martial prowess of Gromhammer.

Dwarven troops lay waste to the animated skeletons...

In the end the honor duel between the Dwarves and Duergar in the Circle of Power proved to be the very distraction the undead needed. Although their Lich Kaphiri fell in battle, his phylactery located back in Djedet was not destroyed, he would one day rise again. The third chest contained the magic gloves the Vargr sought to hide away, and the last skeleton took flight with it. Gromhammer made an unprecedented pursuit, but it wasn't enough in the end, and he watched helplessly as the skeleton fled the field.


  1. Dude! That could totally be the actual Livwald River!

    The Djedetians may not be smart, but they're 2/2 in the Livwald...

  2. This is a really interesting and entertaining fantasy setting you have created for your games.

    What system are you using?


  3. @Andy: Wait a second, are you saying the river on the table can be the actual river on the map?!?!?!?!?! Actually!??!?!?!?! That's crazy talk, but you know, it might just work. You're right, the Djedetians are rocking the Livwald!

    @Eli: The system we used to create the setting, actually the whole world from the geography to the races to the Gods is called Dawn of Worlds, and it's a free .pdf.

    Here's the link to the world we built collaboratively:

    For the tabletop we are using a set of very inexpensive skirmish rules called Song of Blades and Heroes.

    Both are great on their own, but apparently complement each other quite well.

  4. Great looking game Mik. Keep the reports coming.

    I saw on TMP that they have a new supplement out for SBH (Songs od Deeds and Glory) that allows you to play campaign style, complete with lasting wounds, skill developement, even owing your own lands.

  5. Yep, already bought it...I'm not really partial to fantasy, but I enjoy this system. Easy, small figure count, pretty fun to play...

  6. @Brian: Adding a little more depth to SBH could go a long way. The game is a lot of fun, we'll try to give you plenty of notice next time and get you out for it!

    @Andy: I don't really have anything to say, I just didn't want to leave you out!

  7. That's a very charming terrain set-up! When I started reading the post I was hoping you were going to say you used SBH. I love those rules!

  8. Thanks Andrew! Yeah, I'm finding the SBH rules *very* fun indeed. We pulled out all the stops for terrain, but sadly, it looks like a lot of my stuff is in dire need of repair! Thanks again...

  9. I should add I enjoyed your battle report too. I played two SBH games, taking pictures and detailed notes for a battle report... but I never put it together. I kind of lost my place and gave up. I should try again using your narrative approach. It seems easier AND it's fun to read.