Song of Blades & Heroes Campaign, Session 7 – Escape the Iron Isle!
After seven campaign sessions and many, many individual games, we had reached the end. Our Song of Blades & Heroes fantasy campaign wrapped up Nov. 7 after an impressive run at our game table. As this was our first time running a narrative, map-based campaign, we were looking for an opportunity to go out in style. Luckily Karl had an idea brewing in his head for an epic, no-holds-barred final game using some of our most exciting terrain pieces. Here's his concept:
The Dark Elves, one of many factions competing for territory on The Iron Isle, began a powerful occult ritual on a lonely mountain peak. Unfortunately they misjudged the grim powers they were attempting to harness, causing the dormant volcano at the center of The Iron Isle to tremble and erupt! The Dark Elves were consumed in a fiery pyroclasm. As earthquakes and lava flows wrack the small island, two warbands found themselves trapped on the coast near a desolate village. On the other side of the village is the Dark Elf galley -- and the promise of rescue. But the town is not as deserted as it first appeared. Which group will be the first to fight its way to the ship and sail to freedom?
With the background established, we set about building our battlefield. The key component was going to be Jon's scratchbuilt Dark Elf War Galley. It's a fantastic model and we're grateful for Jon for letting us borrow it for the evening (he couldn't make it to the game).
Maybe a video would be a better way to show you the battlefield. Check out the 45-second clip below for a real-time tour of our battlefield. You'll see lots of players' legs, as well as my dog Rupert (glimpsed briefly).
We used a spare green mat to hang behind the battlefield for these photos -- that's explains the split pea soup-colored sky. Beyond the rocky coastline, we put together two medieval villages, each with its own collection of buildings and trees. Each warband would start in the village, fight their way through the horrors that no doubt lurked within, and then the two surviving warbands would fight for the chance to escape in the boat.
Here's a closer look at the staging area near the Dark Elf galley. There are bridges and a broad, flat area on the shore. We used a translucent blue mat to create the water, then placed Karl's foam rocks around the perimeter to make a craggy coastline. Several bridges created multiple routes to reach the galley.
We all agreed that this is by far the most impressive battlefield we've ever assembled for any game. We almost felt sheepish by putting only about 25 miniatures on the table (divided into 4 warbands). It seems like this table should have been crawling with figures! There are so many places to go and things to explore!
Anyway, with our battlefield established (and photographed ad nauseum) we began the game. Tim and Mike played their two campaign-battered warbands (actually, they had pretty potent stats and equipment at this point), while Karl and I played two undead warbands that were stationed in the eerie abandoned villages.
Here's Jack the Pumpkin King galloping through the back alleys to assail Mike's stalwart warriors.
Here's a skirmish line of archers, backed up by Harcuul Lagosh the Death Knight, attempting to stymie the advance of Tim's werewolves and mutants.
Tim managed to outflank Harcuul Lagosh's forces, though. In this pic, you can see his terror bird cavalry riding around behind the death knight to assault his rear. In the foreground, more undead skeletons muster to assault Tim's warband.
Alas, the undead were dispatched in due course. We had designed these guys to be a bit of a "speed bump" as Tim and Mike sent their warbands rushing toward the docked boat, and they did their job with aplomb. With no minis left, Karl and I sat back to watch while Tim and Mike's warbands surged over the bridges and onto the deck of the Dark Elf galley.
Fighting spilled from the dock onto the deck. It was a vicious brawl, but Mike's young dragon used its assassin special ability to turn the tide and capture the galley. Tim's last few figures surrendered peacefully.
As lava cascaded down the mountains and swept through the deserted
village, Mike's warband guided the galley out of the harbor and onto the
open ocean, thus bidding farewell to The Iron Isle. Its secrets would remain a mystery ... for now ...
And thus ended our Song of Blades & Heroes campaign! We met for seven sessions, with multiple games played at each session. Though we didn't make an official tally, I'd say that we played at least 20 individual games over the course of this campaign.
This campaign served as a FANTASTIC inspiration for everyone involved. We painted, modeled and crafted terrain as the campaign unfolded. Personally, I doubled the number of painted undead models in my collection over the course of the last five months.
We doff our collective cap here at Chicago Skirmish Wargames to everyone everyone who came out and participated in one way or another. Here they are:
We're taking a brief break, but you can expect more campaign battle reports as our post-apocalyptic game gets off the ground later this winter. We're hoping to have the first game scheduled by late December or early January.
-- Patrick, Chicago Skirmish Wargames club member