Dark Days of Qaarra, Session 6: The Dead Rise

We met up last week at Games Plus for the sixth session of our Song of Blades & Heroes fantasy campaign. It was an abbreviated session, as we spent the first portion of the evening wheeling and dealing at our annual swap meet. This is a casual event where everyone brings unwanted and surplus miniatures, bits, kits and junk, then swaps it for more of the same! It was a fun, social prelude to the game night.

For the actual game, Josh and I had come up with a cool multiplayer scenario where the warbands -- quite advanced now that the campaign is nearing its endgame -- met up to explore an ancient battlefield within a grim, silent forest. Here is the fluff I wrote to situate the game in our campaign world:

Drawn by rumors, led by portents, driven by greed, bands of
adventurers have journeyed through the doom-wracked lands of Qaarra to
arrive at Findrel's Retreat, a silent wooded glade that hides a dark
secret. In centuries past, the forest was the site of an ancient battle,
when Lord Kalessin's undead legions rallied to crush the remnants of an
elven expeditionary force. Relics of that age-old clash remain buried
in the soft loam of the forest. But Lord Kalessin himself seeks
something else in Findrel's Retreat -- he seeks those same undead
warriors who served him years ago, who even now rest uneasily beneath the forest floor. Will they answer his call to serve once more ... ?

So the stage was set -- powerful relics were hidden in the benighted forest, but danger lurked inside every copse of trees. With this in mind, the warbands mobilized and began investigating the gloomy reaches of Findrel's Retreat. Here Karl's chaos raiders roll up on a huge mound of skulls -- wonder what's in there?

Josh and I had a random exploration table that we used to determine 1) what, if any, loot the players found in each terrain piece and 2) how many undead warriors would rise from the loamy earth to confront the interlopers. What follows is a narrative photo dump showing the warbands fighting their way through the waves of undead that poured out of the forest. We gave the undead the "Rabble" special rule, which made them much less deadly (but still threatening in big groups). As a result (and by design) the players were able to just mow through the undead. Which is good, because they were appearing in clumps of 5 and 6 figures at a time!


Ah, the dreaded Honest Tea statue. Avoid it at all costs!

At the end of turn 3, Josh and I sprang our trap -- the dim smog that enveloped the battlefield blew away, revealing a full moon! And a host of werewolves arrived, sent by Lord Kalessin to 'recruit' some more warriors for his undead legions. They arrived in several small groups in different areas of the board, and began rampaging toward the warbands that were literally knee-deep in the dead at that very moment.

Ultimately the four players prevailed, metaphorically standing astride a huge heap of dismembered bones and dead werewolves by the end of the game. The scenario gave each player a bonus in the post-game exploration roll based on how many baddies he had killed in the scenario. Using this very generous bonus, all players managed to score some sweet loot, either in the game by poking around in the forest, or in the post-game exploration phase.

At this point we're looking at one, maybe two sessions remaining in this campaign, including (hopefully) some sort of assault on Lord Kalessin's desert stronghold. Stay tuned for more!

-- Patrick, Chicago Skirmish Wargames club member

7 responses to “Dark Days of Qaarra, Session 6: The Dead Rise

  1. What a great game. I'm just getting into SoBH and this is just what I need to spur me on!

  2. It's a great system, well suited to custom scenarios. I always enjoy reading CSW's creations.

  3. Nice scenario idea. You guys are on a roll.

  4. Thanks for the compliments, guys!

    Simon: Welcome to SBH! It is a great starting point for all sorts of game and scenario ideas. We've modified it quite a bit for our games, and it's served us well for many years.

  5. That's a great scenario! We tried something similar where specific regions of the map triggered random terrain and monsters. But the players simply avoided all terrain that had a potential to trigger a random monster. When the monsters were successfully triggered, the players would simply evade them. Your method may work better for us.

  6. Holdfast: I found that putting a strong incentive (loot, magic items, etc) alongside the monster threat really works to motivate the players.

  7. Nice looking game with wonderful figures!

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