Thursday, 31 October 2019

The Harrowmark Twisted Oak - part 1, A Warcry Campaign

The Tale of the Twisted Oak

The forests of the Harrowmark are endless, though the touch of human change can be seen here and there. The woods are pockmarked with villages and levelled where meagre farms scratch out a living. Evil and monstrous creatures thrive in such a place, lurking underneath the forest’s canopy. Wolves, ghouls, bandits, and worse. There is a sense of horror there, or more accurately, a sense of encroaching dreadful melancholy, an all-consuming sense of loneliness. A perpetual Autumn settled across the region, so long ago that not even the Graveroot Sylvaneth could remember when the woods were young. For time immemorial, the trees stood not growing nor dying and not a single sapling could be seen by those brave or foolish enough to venture deep in the woods.

But then, the Necroquake came and in its wake the raging wild magic of the Arcanum Optimar. Weather- and battle-worn Spellhunters came, hunting for rogue Endless Spells. Few returned from the deepest woods. But those that did, reported things unheard-of in the Shyishian underworld of the Harrowmark.

They claimed that somewhere deep in the abyssal woodland of dead trees and tangled undergrowth, a Tree is born and growing, feeding on a knot of sorcerous energy seeping up from the soil below. On flying ships and through Realmgates, the rumour is spreading and both the learned and the fool, from far and wide, speculate on the origin of such energy.

Some say it leaks from the hundreds of graves that permeate the Shyishian soil, thousands of souls flowing into the Tree’s heartwood.

Others claim it comes from a hidden Stormvault, long forgotten beneath the dead forests.

Yet others claim the Tree is twisted and corrupted by Chaos magic and is attracting all manner of dark creatures, who venerate and worship it as an altar to the Dark Gods.

Some even theorise that the energy of the Necroquake itself is trapped forever in the dead wood.

The servants of Nurgle whisper the Tree is one of Horticulus Slimux’s dreaded Black Oaks. When it will bear fruit, they say, Rotigus Rainfather will come back to aid Nurgle’s favoured Gardener in his feud with the Lord of Death.

Then there are those telling that the Tree grows over the burial site of a great Spellhunter, his weapons and arcane devices poking out of the twisted wood.

For others, a powerful sorceress was cursed and turned into the Tree, her soul-stuff raging to be free.

As the rumours spread, the mad and the brave once again dare sailing the stormy skies above the Harrowmark and tread its abyssal gloom. Who can say what they want and what they will find? How many of them will be lost forever?

~ 🕱 ~

We are planning to embark on a new adventure in the Harrowmark early in the New Year. Warbands will venture into the unknown, yet familiar, dark of the endless forests. We will be using Warcry this time, with a few house rules - mostly around Campaign Quests that will be tailored for warbands exploring the Harrowmark, instead of the Bloodwind Spoil.

Update 2022(!)

After a long Coronavirus hiatus we continued this campaign with a new structure (based of the narrative campaigns in the Tome of Champions 2021:

Getting started

Each player muster a warband under the following guidelines:
  • Each player musters a warband of 1,200 points from any faction of their choice.
  • Each player can include 1 Hero or Ally in their warband.
  • Each player can include one Monster in their warband.

Fighting campaign battles

Once the above steps are completed, the campaign is ready to begin. Play the first three battles in the order given below. After the third battle, the player with the lower Campaign Score (see below under ‘The Aftermath Sequence’) can choose to play an optional battle to secure additional resources to rebalance the fight. Whether the optional battle is played or not, the remaining two battles are then fought in the order given below. Victory or defeat in each battle (except the optional one) will determine whether the players are the attacker or defender and which deployment points they will use in the following battle.

The aftermath sequence

The players use a different aftermath sequence as follow:
  1. Rather than earning glory, each player records the number of victories they earn. This is their Campaign Score.
  2. The players make injury rolls and destiny rolls as normal.
  3. The player who won the battle makes 2 search rolls on the lesser artefacts table - the other player makes 1 search roll.
  4. No other steps are taken, including adding and removing fighters from a player’s warband. If a fighter is slain the player must continue without them - there is no time to muster reinforcements!

Monday, 21 October 2019

Shadows of Commorragh - part 24, game 4

Agents of the Enemy?

"Oh little one, can you not sleep?

Let me tell you the next part of my tale of cruelty and malice, to sooth your dreams.

Both the Lady Anielyn and Daisan Verkosian were displeased about the spiralling conflict in Low Commorragh. No no, they were not happy at all.

They angrily reined-in their underlings and ordered them to quietly gather information so they could plan their next moves. Lady Anielyn was furious that Daisan already knew about Hurrikhaine, she suspected the Hex of selling it to others, who could not keep secrets, but she could not accuse the Hex for fear of offending them. She was not one to cut off her own nose to spite her face. It is not so, nor was it ever so."

~ 🜩 ~

Mission: Recover Intelligence

With "civilian" Drukhari as moving and fighting objectives, as the gangs try to get hold of possible drug users. The civilians were represented by Wych profiles, but with none of their special rules in play.

Dramatis Personae

The Bleaksouls:
Morghdrax Bleaksoul: Hekatrix, Leader
Ravneth: Wytch Fighter, Combat
Lakbyrn the Parched: Wych Fighter, Scout
Bahreneq: Wytch Fighter, Hydra Gauntlets, Zealot
Jaenis: Wytch
Yariaq: Wytch
Combat drugs: Grave Lotus

The Shards of the Splintered Heart:
Kaerathir: Hekatrix, Leader
Mazrayth: Kabilite Gunner, Dark Lance, Sniper
Derash: Wytch fighter, Hydra Gauntlets, Combat
Thresyn: Syrabite, Agoniser and splinter pistol
Mardre: Scourge
Tagashys: Kabilite Warrior
Combat drugs: Grave Lotus

The Void Phoenixes:
Lann of the Unyielding Fire: Dire Avenger Exarch, Power Glaive, Shimmershield, Leader
Fachean: Storm Guardian
Jair: Guardian Defender, Comms
Dis’ar: Dire Avenger
Barahir: Dire Avenger
Inghfar the Wanderer: Ranger, Sniper

"Morghdrax and the Bleaksouls bit their tongues and set out to find the likely source of the rumours."

[L to R: Bahreneq (Wych Fighter, Hydra Gauntlets, Zealot). Morghdrax Bleaksoul (Hekatrix, Leader). Jaenis (Wych). Ravneth (Wych Fighter, Combat). Lakbyrn the Parched (Wych Fighter, Scout). Yariaq (Wych).]

"Their suspects were identified. [L to R: Luhzatae, Dhargeth, Araren, Baesheque, Meriseth], and found wandering the streets of the Sprawls, the war-torn ruins around Port Carmine. They were the Parched; cadaverous Drukhari that have fallen from grace and wound up on the fringes of our deliciously violent society.

The Bleaksouls needed to capture the denizens relatively unharmed, so the servants of Lady Anielyn could question them... sharply.

The Shards wanted to take them for profit, to sell them to the Haemonculi Covens. they cared not what would happen to them once they were handed over.

The Bleaksouls marked their prey and moved swiftly to intercept them.

The Void Phoenixes wanted the denizens to hand over to Daisan Verkosian. A pang of guilt may have troubled some of them, knowing what Daisan would do to them, but they did not let it show.

Meriseth waited near the Cauldron of Souls, nervously twitching and looking about her surroundings, as if any shadow contained a predator. To be fair to her, this night, most did.

Baesheque stood on the Venomport landing pad.

Luhzatae lurked on the desecrated Shrine of Khaine.

Dhargeth looked down from on Voidfall Tower.

Araren wondered near the Fellwrath Dais.

Yariaq and Bahreneq leapt onto the Venomport and approached Baesheque, who knew they were not friendly and fled from them.

Lakbyrn hid below the Voidfall, listening to the footsteps overhead.

Inghfar the Wanderer, the Ranger, the Sniper, stepped through a webway portal onto the Voidfall, unaware of Lakbyrn below them.

Morghdrax and Ravneth levelled their splinter pistols and fired on the enemy fighters nearby.

Tagashys appeared though the webway portal - Yariaq shouted a warning and fired. Tagashys fell!

The Shards gathered around the Cauldron of Souls and pounced on Meriseth.

Lann pitched a plasma grenade at Mardre, the Scourge, who was knocked off her feet by the blast.

Meriseth showed the Shards she was not to be trifled-with.

With the Shards out of the way...

Bahreneq and Yariaq closed in on Baesheque.

Lann and his kin chased Luhzatae.

Baesheque fought for her life as Syrabite Thresyn was felled by distant fire from Barahir, the Dire Avenger.

Meriseth, cornered and hard pressed, drove her needle-like hektari blade into Derash the Wych!

Lakbyrn charged the Ranger, who fled through the Webway Portal on top of the Voidfall Tower.

Araren fled from Morghdrax...

They both ran full speed through the clawing branches of the barbed venomgorse.

Dhargeth watched Araren's flight, all jumpy and jittery, fearful that he would be the next target.

Yariaq and Ravneth captured Baesheque the Parched.

But they were so close to Kaerathir, the leader of the Shards, they had to get her away as soon as possible.

Luhzatae the Parched was cornered by Dire Avengers of the Void Phoenixes.

Mazrayth the sniper aimed at the Dire Avengers and tried once again to thin the enemy's numbers but the darkness, energy shields and the speed of hit targets movements meant that confirmed kills eluded him.

In his flight from Lakbyrn, Inghfar the Wanderer stepped through the webway portal on the Venomport. He found himself confronted by Jaenis and Bahreneq.

The Wanderer shot Bahreneq down and Jaenis raged! She drew her knife and tensed...

Ravneth subdued Baesheque...

... and Yariaq moved off to intercept Luhzatae as she fled from the Dire Avengers.

As Fachean moved toward Dhargeth the Parched at the edge of the venomgorse...

... Morghdrax interceded.

After taking out Bahreneq, the Wanderer fled through the webway portal...

... To the Voidfall Tower.

 Jaenis pursued him, screaming bloody murder!

Lakbyrn the Parched misjudged the twisting skeins of the webway and found himself in an unexpectedly distant location, but he was not alone.

Lann spotted the Morghdrax was entangled with Fachean and raced to the Storm Guardian's aid.

Jair, Guardian Defender and the Phoenixes' Comms specialist tried to stop Yariaq capturing Luhzatae.

But the Bleaksoul Wych was not to be distracted.

Jaenis leapt, blade flashing in the cerulean twilight, the Wanderer fell.

Rage spent, Jaenis took stock of her surroundings and spotted Dhargeth, half hidden in the darkness. With a flick of her wrist she shook the ranger's blood from her blade and slowly walked towards the shivering Parched.

Araren knifed her erstwhile captor and disappeared into the night.

Ravneth still had Baesheque in his custody and he scanned the myrtle darkness.

When Meriseth thought she was safe and clear of the danger, she paused momentarily to catch her breath.

And I, Lakbyrn the Once-Parched, quietly stepped out from the shadows, my needle teeth glinting brighter than my blade, and captured her. I chuckled to myself with glee at the sight of my former compatriot at my feet.

I am not one to be satisfied with scraps and dregs when there is a feast at the table of my, so called, betters.

It is not so, nor was it ever so."

~ 🝁 ~

Another fast and brutal game! The webway portals all seemed to like me (other than Lakbyrn's misstep) and that allowed me to move around Low Commorragh as I wished. On the other hand, David's dice once more let him down though - I don't think he got a single successful to-wound roll in the entire game.

Victory Points (for this game):
The Bleaksouls (Saul) 4
The Void Phoenixes (Viktor) 0
The Shards (David) 0

Soul Points (for the campaign):
The Bleaksouls 14
The Void Phoenixes 4
The Shards 1

Viktor's version of this tale is here.