Saturday, 18 February 2012

Battle of Linden Way - Orc's Drift campaign

Well, first off, this blog just passed 20,000 page views this week. Thankyou to all who have supported it over the last year and a half since I started posting on it. Hopefully there will be more interesting insights and insane jibberings on various games in the months to come.

Secondly, if you're a regular visitor and wondering what happened to the conclusion of the Tatters of the King campaign, Kelvin has said all that really has to be said on the B&H Roleplayers blog. I can't really add more to what was said there.

Moving swiftly on, we come to the main event, namely the Battle of Linden Way. As you may know, Linden Way is the third battle in the old Bloodbath At Orc's Drift campaign pack, published by Games Workshop in 1985 and originally intended for use with the 2nd edition of Warhammer Fantasy Battle. We're currently playing through it using GW's newer Lord of the Rings rules. The premise is that three orc tribes are converging on a rendezvous point at Orc's Drift as part of an evil scheme to invade the kingdom of Ramalia and attack the army of the Grand League in the rear.

Thus far, the Vile Rune orcs have overwhelmed the elven garrison at Kachas Pass relatively easily. The Severed Hand have rumbled through Ashak Rise, slaying some dwarf prospectors and looting their gold nuggets. Here, however, they have lost their leader Hagar Sheol and over half the Severed Hand have been slain or fled. Now we come to Linden Way, where a small unit of militia from the town of Meledir have taken up position to defend the settlers there.

The sleepy and unsuspecting hamlet of Linden Way awaits the onslaught.

The Kwae Karr orcs had been reinforced with King F'yar's personal bodyguard of five elite orcs, although F'yar himself was not present. The orcs had two banners (one of them F'yar's personal standard), which helped immeasurably. As the alarm was raised by five sentries in the watch tower, sleepy militia and villagers stumbled out of their beds. The orcs now began volleying arrows down on Linden Way almost immediately, focusing on the old wise woman whol lived in a ruined shack on the edge of the village, as they were afraid of her magic.

The Kwae Karr orcs appear on the scene.

The witch was senile and confused, her actions determined by a random table. She only got a chance to cast one protective spell before stumbling off in the direction of the orcs and being pincushioned with arrows in short order.

Militia run to the barricades as sleepy villagers stumble out of their homes.

The militia meantime ran to defend the barricades while the villagers fled. The orcs split up into a number of groups, with two groups of archers keeping up a steady rain of arrows, two more groups sought to storm the hedge that surrounded Linden Way. Finally, another group, led by the orc shaman Bagrash, tried to get around to the southern exit of the village and break in there, while the leader of the Kwae Karr, Magyar Ironfist, led more orcs to cut off the retreat of the villagers towards Meledir.

Led by the inn keeper, the villagers flee from Linden Way.

A big battle developed around the southern exit, with Bagrash and the five elite uruks battling Leofwine, the captain of the militia. Four villagers escaped, while the inn keeper's wife fell to an orcish arrow. Then Magyar and his orcs cut off further retreat. Although Magyar was wounded in his fight with the village blacksmith, all the remaining civilians perished on the southern road.

Barracha (in purple) stumbles to her doom.

In a desperate attempt to get at Bagrash, and having cut down one of F'yar's bodyguards, Leofwine jumped over the hedge. He failed to kill the shaman, and was himself killed by the orcs along with a couple of militia.

As farm labourers flee (r), F'yar's guards lead the orc attack on the southern gate.

By this stage the original garrison of 25 militia was down to about 10. The orcs were into the village proper. After this, the remaining militia were surrounded and simply fought to the end in little knots. Five orcs died, including one elite. Overall, a successful day for Magyar, although four inhabitants escaped.

Militia seek to hold the hedge against the orcs as some orcs volley fire from the rear.

Having read other accounts of this battle, it seems as if Ben did well as the commander of the militia. With no King F'yar and his wyvern to contend with, some of the villagers managed to high tail it to raise the alarm in Meledir. What surprised me was that the orcs did not lose more of their number. Yes, they had the edge in numbers, and an extra personality, but some of the villagers were no pushover, equipped as they were with Fate and Might points. This made Magyar's ambush a more desperate fight than was perhaps first envisaged. Luckily Magyar himself blocked the exit to Meledir, preventing any more of the peasants from getting away.

It is hard to see how the militia player can win this one. I will be re-fighting the scenario in the near future a second time and then aggregating all the results for Orc's Drift.

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