Song of Blades & Heroes Campaign, Session 2 – Of Watchtowers and Haunted Forests

The second session of our Song of Blades & Heroes fantasy campaign opened with clashes in two disparate areas of our campaign map - the Yellowroot Uplands and the Velathys Marsh. We had four players show up for the game, so we were able to play four games in total, with each player playing each other player. As before, we stuck to the campaign rules outlined in Song of Deeds & Glory. Here's the map again for reference.

Karl's forces, reeling from the defeat of their elven patrol last week, retreated to the Yellowroot Uplands, a forested area in the northwest quadrant of the Iron Isle. He was pursued by Tim's tribesmen - fearsome warriors astride huge bird-beasts. They clashed deep in the hilly woodlands. Here are some photos showing the charge of the light(er than air) brigade.

 

That humongous figure is Melietir, Lady of the Upper Forest. She's a salvaged Warhammer Wood Elf character that Karl pieced together from a bits box.

After the battle, Karl's forces rolled on the random exploration table. He found a haunted forest, which was fitting since nestled deep within the Yellowroot Uplands (on the map, anyway) stood a mysterious grove known only as The Heartwood. His fearless elves faced down whatever menace lurked in The Heartwood, though, and the discovery had no adverse effect on his warband.


On a separate table, I had prepared a scenario to introduce my undead faction (Baron Karvarst's Shambling Horde) to the campaign. Remember, I didn't play in the last game session, so I was a game behind where most of the other players were.
For my scenario, I set up a sulfurous swamp full of bubbling muck pools and gnarled trees. My goal was to advance across the table and exit my undead guys off Mike's table edge. He was allowed to deploy in the middle of the battlefield in an attempt to intercept me. Here's his group, led by Godric the Wise.

My warband consisted of Harcuul Lagosh, an undead knight, and his retinue of zombies, skeletons and ghouls. I easily outnumbered Mike's men-at-arms, and as the game began it looked like I might be able to walk a few guys off the table quickly. But when the swords started swinging, my fragile undead guys fell all too easily. Here Mike's giant owl swoops in to harry my shuffling zombies.

 

Eventually I was forced to take a rout check, at which point I wisely decided to quit the field having taken a sizable number of casualties. Verdict: Undead don't perform very well in games where they're required to be highly mobile for the win.

After the game, though, we rolled on the injury and recovery tables to see what became of our guys. Thankfully my dice were very hot, and all but one of my casualties returned to active duty. Ultimately I lost one guy (a ghoul) and Mike lost one guy (a serpent). So we were basically even after that game.

During the exploration phase, my undead forces discovered an abandoned watchtower rising out of the muck and mire of the Velathys Swamp. We set about renovating it to better garrison our borders (for I have come to see the swamp as "my" territory, even though we aren't using any rules for holding and conquering territory). I even have a watchtower in my terrain bin, so look for it to make an appearance soon!

With two games under our collective belts, we swapped opponents, mixed up the terrain, rolled up a couple scenarios and started two new game. I played against Karl this time, in a game set in the Grey Heath, a wasteland of ash, tar pits and stunted trees just east of the huge volcano that dominates the Iron Isle.

We rolled up a treasure hunt scenario, which proved to be a quick, bloodless affair. Once again my undead were caught in a scenario that valued movement over fighting prowess, so once again we were outmaneuvered by Karl's woodland critter warband. Luckily none of my guys died, so I was able to garner experience for my whole squad.

As before, we rolled to explore. Karl found a watchtower (continuing this evening's theme of defensive fortifications) and I found a keg of ale. I ruled on the spot that undead would not be able to use the ale, so I cashed it in for 5 gold coins to add to my rather impressive war chest. Now that I've got a couple battles under my belt (and some disposable income) I'm eager to try out the shopping rules from Song of Deeds & Glory!

Here's a close-up of Harcuul Lagosh, the undead knight, facing off against Taildodger, the coney swordsman, during the treasure hunt.

Check back in two weeks for the third installment!

— Patrick, Chicago Skirmish Wargames member


2 responses to “Song of Blades & Heroes Campaign, Session 2 – Of Watchtowers and Haunted Forests

  1. Another fun report!

    I'll have you know that because of these I formally pulled the trigger on the SBH rules, and they're printing as I type this!

  2. Nice, this is an exciting campaign to read about. And the rusted armor on your undead knight really caught my eye in that last picture, you achieved a really nice effect there.

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