Song of Blades & Heroes Campaign, Session 5 – Fortress Besieged

Last week saw five players gathering in my basement for the latest session of our Song of Blades & Heroes fantasy campaign. When the dust cleared at 11 p.m., we had played 5 (five!) games, shuffling players and terrain accordingly to get a diverse series of battles in our campaign world. 
We had a couple of scenarios in mind, including a two-pronged assault on Mike's fort, located in Olaster Province, a region of agricultural farmlands and one medium-sized village on the southwestern coast of The Iron Isle. Here's the campaign map again for those who might want to see where everything is on the island.
Jon and I joined forces to attack Mike's fort from two directions. We set the turn limit to 8 turns, although in retrospect we probably should have let the game go a little longer. My slow-moving undead warband hadn't even reached the timber walls after 8 turns. Here's how Mike's fort looked at the outset of the game.

His weary defenders had to divide their attention between Jon's dark elves and my undead, which were carrying an array of seige equipment to assault the walls. Here they are:

And here's the leader of Jon's warband: a dark elf warrior mounted on a huge, beautifully painted manticore!

The game began, and Jon and I mobilized our forces to assault the walls. With 9 models on the board, my warband was more of a horde, whereas Jon -- with just 4 models in his team -- was more of an elite squad. In addition to his manticore rider, he had a dark elf sneak, a dark elf chariot and a minotaur berserker.

After a few turns of moving and some shooting from the walls of the fort, Mike decided to sally forth and confront the undead invaders. It helped that he had a cleric on his team, which was lethal vs. undead, so his few guys were able to really break up my advancing siege troops. Here's how it looked when his guys came out to confront my zombies.

Across the table, Jon managed to position his guys for an all-out charge into the fort's main gate. With a crash and a roar, the gates splintered and his forces smashed into the stout armored defenders of the fort.

Yes, we totally quoted Gandalf from Lord of the Rings: Return of the King at this moment: "You are soldiers of Gondor! No matter what comes through that gate, you will stand your ground!"

The battle turned into a bloody stalemate as Mike's footmen stymied the advance of the dark elf chariot. Seeking to turn the tide, Jon sent his manticore rider swooping over the walls to engage the enemy leader. Mike committed two more figures (a giant owl and a young dragon) to the fray as the manticore attacked.

Alas, shortly thereafter we reached 8 turns and ended the game. We called it a minor victory for Mike's defenders because they had managed to keep most of the invaders out of the keep. It wasn't a major victory for him, though, because Jon's bold manticore rider took the fight to the enemy inside the fort.

On my side of the battlefield, Mike's warriors scattered my zombies and set fire to the siege equipment, effectively ending any plans I had for battering down the walls. Here my liche lord hisses in rage as his battering ram goes up in smoke.

While this was occurring, Tim and Karl squared off in a battle set in the haunted ruins beside The Iron Fortress, a sprawling castle nestled into the Oberyn Mountains to the south. The village seemed deserted, but as the fighters crept slowly into the ruins, they found them inhabited by foul, malevolent beings that hurled rocks (and insults) whenever a warrior ventured too close to the haunted buildings. 
In game terms, Tim and Karl were playing a variant of the "On Difficult Ground" scenario. Basically, terrain features are dangerous to figures, so players must play around the various scenic items on the tabletop. Tim and Karl took this a step further by having figures that moved too close to the buildings get pelted with rocks from the geists within. Here's a pic of their haunted village setup.

By this point we had played just two games. Before the night was over, however, we ultimately played five games. And it's here that my notes get a bit fuzzy. I know Tim and I set up a game in the Mistfallow Steppe, which saw his terror birds storming across the map to assault my undead. One of those pics is at the very top of the post, and another is right here.

The last couple of photos I have are from a game pitting Jon's dark elves against Karl's wood elves. As I recall, this was the last game we played that night. Jon's elves were few in number, but damn they looked good when they smashed into Karl's elves!

Oh yeah, that's one pissed-off minotaur!

The final photo of the night was from the same game -- Karl's wood elf queen, Lady Meliter of the Upper Forest, flew up to the top of a medieval building. It looked cool, so we snapped a photo.

We've been pleased to read all of the comments and questions that readers have submitted about our campaign. If you have a question about our scenarios or the miniatures we use, just post a comment and we'll get back to you. Also, if you want to say hello at GenCon, leave a comment and I'll try to coordinate something!

-- Patrick, Chicago Skirmish Wargames club member


8 responses to “Song of Blades & Heroes Campaign, Session 5 – Fortress Besieged

  1. Nice report and it's great that you update so quickly. Always fun to have a steady stream of SBH content. I'm really jealous of how often you get to play…I can never seem to organize more than two friends every month.

  2. The game designer is officially jealous of your terrain and dedication. Thanks guys, seems like I should move to the Windy City.

  3. I apologize if you have answered this before but where did you get the buildings for the town? (brand and such)

  4. Dinocowboys: Glad you're inspired! We're lucky to have a critical mass of players who are open to playing non-commercial games.

    Andrea: Thank you for the compliment! That is really the highest praise we can hope for.

    Phil: The buildings are mostly porcelain Christmas buildings. You can read about how Karl converted them in this post: http://chicagoskirmish.blogspot.com/2012/03/28mm-on-cheap-fast-and-cheap-fantasy.html

  5. I grew up in Chicago, awesome city and I miss it terribly. Great for gaming as well.

  6. Glad you folks are enjoying our campaign. I hope you all stay tuned for the next installment. I just delivered a pair of just-finished, never-before-seen terrain projects to Tim and Pat for scenarios for next weeks games. The other members of the club haven't seen them yet so it should be a nice surprise!


  7. J. Dale "Bronco_6" Himebaugh says:

    Following your campaign from San Antonio. Love your Roadrunner Riders! Keep up the warcooreondemce

  8. What a fantastic set of bat reps. Very well done. Old school rules!

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