Friday, 11 November 2011

Pig Wars in Gloucester - 8th November 2011

In an effort to spark off a narrative campaign, I set three warbands the task of raiding a nice peaceful stretch of English coastline. Rumour had it that the English were fighting among themselves and so the strongest of their men would be off at the wars leaving their farms lightly defended. The three bands were each 20 men strong including a grade 3 leader and 3 grade 2 heavy armoured bodyguard, a grade 2 standard bearer, 2 grade 1 unarmoured bowmen and 13 grade 1 partially armoured men with spears, swords, axes etc. One of these would be classed as a berserker.

The three leaders are 4th and 5th sons of various Viking nobles who, having little chance of inheritance, decide to pool their resources, buy a boat and mount a raid. Although arriving in England together, they are in competition and the leader who recovers the most booty would be the winner.

This idea was based on a previous narrative campaign run by my good friend Paul back in my North Dorset days that had started in the same way. From an umpiring point of view, I was hoping that the three leaders would start to fall out which will then set up future games based on the result of their scheming and machinations.

As you will see, it worked...

The peaceful hamlet of Dulham. Word has reached them that raiders have been sighted on the beach just to the west. They begin to draw their animals in from the fields.

A few of Julians band are picked off by arrows as they storm forward eagerly. They manage to catch the farmers herding there cattle back towards to Dulham.

The locals arm themselves with farm implements and prepare to defend their homes.

Julian's band have rushed ahead of their rivals. they can be seen on the bridge and attacking into the wood from where the bow armed English hunters have been harassing them. In the foreground is a ruined Roman fort. Nothing seems to stirring there at the moment...

Mark's band are on the road before the bridge with Gary's alongside in the ploughed field. The stream is currently unfordable so the bands have to use the bridge causing some congestion.

Julian's leader "bravely" leads from rear as his lighter armed and faster troops rush forward.

The archers do not survive long and are cut down vengefully by Julian's warriors.

The local peasants get their animals into the palisade but are not quick enough to close the gates before Julian's men cut down the stragglers and rush in to the hamlet.

Mark's band stand on the road in the background and look on as Gary surges across the stream forming a shield wall to render the English arrows almost harmless. Gary has his eye on the Roman ruin.

As Gary approaches the ruined watch tower, soldiers emerge and form a small shield wall.

Julian's men ransack Dulham and discover Frigid, daughter of the local Lord Aethelstan . Biting and scratching like a wild cat, she is taken as a valuable hostage. Further searches reveal a number of slaves, bots of cloth and leather. They also grab a cart onto which they throw their booty. Several head of cattle are herded out of the village. Julian begins to lead his men back towards the east and the safety of their longship.

At the ruin, Gary's men clash with the shield wall. The defenders are well armed but are elderly and are unable to resist the force of the Viking attack.

The English are out numbered and out matched and are quickly overwhelmed.

Meanwhile, back at the bridge, Mark, now nicknamed "Hindmost" intriguingly sets up shield walls at both ends. The sound of war horns being blown, suddenly reaches the field from further down the coast. Someone is coming...

Gary's men begin to lead away some captured cattle. Surely a task too lowly for a standard bearer? Not in this warband.

Whilst searching the ruins Gary discovers some monks. The cowering Christians are dispatched and caskets containing gold and silver are found along with some saintly relics. In the centre, Mark fires an arrow which strikes Julian's leader in the chest, fortunately it does not get through the armour. Mark demands a parley as he controls the bridge and the one way back to the ship. He and Julian meet for a conference while to the South, marching feet and English warcries are heard...

The local Lord Aethelstan has returned. His well armoured band of huscarls arrive on the coast road and deploy in shield wall. Mark sends an archer to give word that he wishes to negotiate. Mis-understanding a two fingered gesture, the English shoot him down before he gets a chance. Mark persists and manages to get word to Aethelstan that they have captured his favourite daughter. Mark offers terms of a safe return of the hostage if he and Julian are allowed passage back to their boat. They are prepared to leave Gary to his fate.

Desperate for the safe return of his daughter and seeing that Gary has captured a fair amount of treasure from the monks, Aethelstan retires to allow the escape of Julian and Mark's warbands.

Just to make clear his intentions, Mark launches an attack on Gary. The attack is blunted and then destroyed by Gary's angry counter attack. Mark is forced to check morale and fails his test horribly, causing his whole warband to break and run back to the ship.

Unable to get past the Aethelstan's huscarl warband which comes forward again to see what has gone on, Julian and Gary can only watch as the Hindmost sails away without them.

The situation at the end of the game is that Mark has left with the warship. Gary and Julian have captured the Dulham and are in possession of substantial treasure and an important hostage.

Sagas will be written and ballads sung about the outrageous behaviour of the Hindmost.

1 comment:

  1. Great AAR. Sounds like your campaign is off to a rip-roaring start. I look forward to more.