Dark Days of Qaarra, Session 2: Reinforcements and Dark Rituals
Last week saw the second session of our fantasy campaign, Dark Days of Qaarra. We gathered at Josh's house this time, and the first half of the evening was taken up by one of our favorite activities: miniatures commerce. Every few weeks someone will place an order with an online retailer, or do a big group trade, so we regularly arrive at club games to find someone with an armload of miniatures, terrain or supplies that just arrived in the mail for three or four other guys.
This game night was no exception! This time we were distributing Reaper Bones (a couple guys ordered Vampire-level sets for themselves, and a couple other guys split a Vampire pledge) as well as a big order from an online shop. Because of that, we had a rather truncated game night, with three games played among six players. No big deal -- the pregame table-talk and banter is what makes CSW such a fun game club to begin with.
Game 1 - Expedition to Hearthspire (Pat) vs. Fomorian Orcs (Jon)
In this scenario, the dwarves of the expedition were camped out in a ruined village in the hinterlands surrounding Vildeburg, the capital city of Qaarra. After their fierce battle near the village of Tallenwood last session, the dwarves had received a pledge of support from Hurskegr, a thane of Vildeburg, who promised to join up with them with one of his household knights.
As the dwarves awaited the arrival of Hurskegr the thane and Erland the knight, a band of vicious Fomorian Orcs gathered in the predawn gloom to assault their position.
What followed was a vicious battle in the ruins of the village. Only the timely arrival of Hurskegr and Erland -- and the death of an orcish champion -- helped the brave dwarves prevail. Honorable mention goes to Rolf the bear, a wise guardian of the wilderness who fought fiercely for the dwarves yet again in this skirmish.
Game 2 - Servants of the Black Crown (Karl) vs. Brotherhood of Three Primes (Tyler)
The servants of the Black Crown explored deep into the fertile farmlands of Brionbock Dale, but their purpose was nefarious -- they intended to draw upon the powers of chaos by performing a ritualistic sacrifice in the bucolic woodland. Here is the only photo we got from that game.
Only the timely arrival of the Brotherhood of Three Primes, and their contingent of fearless homonculi, prevented the Black Crown warriors from completing their dark ritual. Afterward, Karl's defeated chaos worshipers found an abandoned alehouse, which they were able to get up and running again.
Game 3 - Prince Roland's Company Raids the Desert Caravan
This last scenario was a special one that Karl had been prepping for several weeks. He painted up an entire Middle Eastern-themed desert caravan complete with pack camels and lizard riders, then set up a scenario set in the Agamin Boneyard (the big southern desert) that pitted player warbands against this third-party caravan. The objective was to steal the pack animals while fending off the guards -- before the caravan could reach the safety of the Dustcrag Oasis, near the western edge of the desert.
As this was our first play-through and no one knew what to expect, it was a little rough. Despite getting mauled on the highway, Josh's warband got a few lucky rolls on the casualty charts and didn't suffer very much long-term damage. It definitely taught him a thing or two about how to use his warband! It also taught the rest of us one very important lesson: when Karl gives you a scenario handout, read it!
It was an abbreviated game night, but still plenty fun. There were a handful of casualties, some permanent, but as with our previous campaign, many players embraced the idea of the noble retreat, to let their surviving warband members live and fight another day.
We hope to keep the narrative threads going in this campaign. How will the Black Crown warriors react now that their ritual has been disrupted? Can Prince Roland's company keep soldiering on even after its defeat in the Agamin desert? Stay tuned as we play out these storylines and more!
-- Patrick, Chicago Skirmish Wargames club member