Dark Days of Qaarra, Session 1: Searching for Clues

The sun dims in the skies over Qaarra. Across the land, bands of adventurers, ruffians, villains and scavengers gear up and take to the high roads, determined to make their own destiny amid the tumult of the coming chaos.

We played the first session of our summer fantasy campaign, Dark Days of Qaarra, at Jon's house last week.  Six of us showed up. We're using Song of Blades & Heroes as our primary ruleset, so we were able to get in 6 different games on the three tabletop layouts that we set up. As with last summer's campaign, we used the warband advancement system from Song of Deeds & Glory.

Here's a brief writeup of the games, along with photography by Josh. You'll notice that both the photos and the battle report details get a little thin as the night goes on. What can we say -- we were so engrossed in the games that we forgot to take notes and pictures!

Round 1 - Servants of the Black Crown (Karl) vs. Fomorian Orcs (Jon)

Rolling randomly for scenario and battlefield, Karl and Jon played out an attack on an inn near the borders of the Moaning Marsh. Karl's forward group of chaos knights (scouts for the main bulk of his Black Crown marauders) crumbled before an onslaught by Jon's orcs. With Karl's leader in jeopardy, he wisely fled the battlefield before seizing the inn.

After the game, Karl's warband found a roadside shrine that unfortunately yielded no booty, and Jon's orcs sacked a caravan of refugees moving through the wilderness, making off with a small pile of gold.

Round 1 - Prince Roland's Company (Josh) vs. Expedition to Hearthspire (Pat)

At our desert-themed table, Josh and Pat set up a scenario in the Sunderstone Badlands. Both warbands were exploring a destroyed village, attempting to gather information on what evil befell the town by questioning the terrified survivors. This was one of those weird scenarios where we could have (and almost did) complete the whole game without ever coming into conflict with each other.

Josh's adventurers managed to gather more information by the end of the scenario, making him the winner. Afterward, Josh's warband stumbled across an empty cave, and Pat's dwarves found a corpse stuffed with gold.

Round 1 - Brotherhood of Three Primes (Tyler) vs. Peak's Top Kobolds (Tim)

In the steaming jungles of Drakespear Grove, Tyler's homonculi warband, led by a potent elementalist, tried to stop the advance of a horde of chittering kobolds, which were escorting a huge undead giant through the jungle. Check out therse photos -- the undead giant is an action figure, of course, but it looks great with all those kobolds swarming around its feet.

Tyler's warriors met the kobolds on the bridge and stymied the advance, winning the game. Afterward Tyler's warband encountered a group of refugees fleeing Drakespear Grove and "relieved" them of their gold and belongings. Tim's exploration roll resulted in him acquiring an alehouse! In game terms, owning an alehouse means he can generate ale each game to either use for his warband or sell for gold. Not bad!

After Round 1, we did all the post-game campaign paperwork (roll for casualties, income and exploration), then we switched up the players and rolled new scenarios for the next batch of games.

Round 2 - Servants of the Black Crown (Karl) vs. Peak's Top Kobolds (Tim)

Tim and Karl played out a surprise-attack scenario in the Agamin Boneyard, the huge desert that dominates the southern portion of our campaign map. As the game opened, Tim's kobolds advanced toward Karl's chaos guys, who were scattered in some ruins. However, before the kobolds could liquidate their enemies, some surprise reinforcements appeared to their rear. After the kobolds' standard was captured, the diminutive little scavengers were quickly driven off -- but not before they encountered a group of refugees on the high road and did a little more thieving.

Round 2 - Fomorian Orcs (Jon) vs. Prince Roland's Company (Josh)

In the Woodlands of Vitu-Daru, Prince Roland's adventuring company had stumbled across a valuable cache of treasure and supplies amid some mossy ruins. They were tasked with defending this find from the marauding orcs. After an abbreviated game, Josh emerged victorious.

Round 2 - Expedition to Hearthspire (Pat) vs. Brotherhood of the Three Primes (Tyler)

In the final game of the night, Tyler and Pat squared off in a scenario featuring a bridge spanning a swampy morass in the Village of Tallenwood. The bridge was guarded, however, by a savage winged ape-troll, who wanted nothing to do with these invaders! In game terms, the ape would randomly attack characters that got too close to his bridge lair. It was a lot of fun and made for some careful maneuvering for Pat and Tyler as they tried to close with each other while avoiding the foul beast that lurked under the bridge. We called this game a draw, as it was getting late and we needed to pack up and give Jon his basement back.

All in all, it was a great kick-off session for our campaign. Karl did a bang-up job as campaign scribe, taking notes on each game played so that we could craft a proper blog post. Josh delivered fantastic photography as always.

Stay tuned for more games soon!

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