Monday, May 12, 2014

Encounter in the Valley of Mud

What follows is a report for a solo game of Song of Blades and Heroes that I played a few months ago. The weather was cold, the tea was hot, and the battlemat was dry, so I thought what the heck. 

I set up some scenery, took my deck of characters, and randomly dealt out eight per side.

Laird Bilebroke and his banditry, having heard rumor of an incursion of Dwimmer-beasts into his haunts in the surrounding regions of Skeldkryk, hear a distant wailing chant that alert them to their foes. They prepare for battle. 

The Warder of the Wyrd approaches from the west with a number of hunchymen mercenaries accompanying his foul twilight kinder. He aims to befoul the waters of Skeldkryk and to carry off all of the children born upon the seventh day. The Shivering King has also chosen to ride with the Warder, for dark purposes of his own.

The Dwimmer-folk take up positions on the west side of the valley of mud. The hunchymen Clodgy Fern and Gorish the Gaveler secret themselves with Indoomiel in the marshy copse, hoping to cover the advance of the rest of the band with Indoomiel's bow.

The others take up position on the ridge line overlooking the sordid vale. On the other side, Bilebroke orders his main contingent into a defensive posture around the ruined stead on the hill, while the Lord of the Lichens leads a vangaurd along the North flank, through the forest of pillars.

Sighting his hated adversary, the Shivering King spurs his horse at the Chewer of Knees, whispering vile curses as he hefts his sword. The rest of the line advances slowly down the hill, watching with growing hunger to see the outcome of the King's fearsome charge.

Bilebroke takes up behind the wall to watch the fight. He is tempted to abandon the ruins and commit his men to battle, but Crutchkerl, noticing movement in the dank spinneys to the southwest, wisely counsels caution. Falsneer the Perjurer prepares to blast any who approach with cursed fire.

Aelfnir and the Lord of the Lichens leap upon the Shivering King, but he throws them back and knocks the Chewer of knees into the mud.

Seeing the abundance of vulnerable flesh, the Keeper of Livers charges down the hill and batters Aelfnir back. The Shivering King prepares to finish the Chewer of Knees as the hated demon struggles in the mud. He weeps in anticipation.

Bilebroke's advanced gaurd struggles to defend itself against the powerful Dwimmer-beasts. If they do not manage to turn the spearhead attack of the Keeper and the Shivering King, then they are likely to perish and cede the valley. In desperation, Crutchkerl attempts to bolster them with puckish majicks, but only succeeds in making Aelfnir violently ill.

(Games of SoBH are often determined in such crucial moments. Attempting to buff Aelfnir so that he could take down the Keeper of Livers, Crutchkerl rolled snake-eyes to activate, causing a turnover and giving the rest of the Warder's troops time to engage and overwhelm the vangaurd.)

Yea, it was the Warder who turned the fickle tide of enchantment and paralyzed Aelfnir with flux. He has, after all, to honor his contract with the Keeper of Livers; the demon sinks his axe into the unfortunate madman, and then with his talons seeks out that loveliest of organs...

Gorish and Clodgy advance up the hill under cover of Indoomiel's bow. Meanwhile, the terror of churning mud continues. The only chance Bilebroke's men have of arresting the slavering advance is to kill the Warder of Wyrd himself. In vain, the Chewer of Knees tries to force through the Warder's guard. They stand fast, but Squamous Filch falls and is nearly suffocated by the Chewer's demoniac breath. Seeing his frightful advance, the Warder tries to bind him with majick and Bale Grimly holds aloft the Comely Visage, attempting to subdue the Chewer's will, but to no avail.

At last Bilebroke deigns to enter the field. He vaults the wall and  with dread aura assails the Warder of the Wyrd.

The Warder scorns the Hunchy-Lord and stands to meet him, drawing his wicked curved blade. However, the Laird's wrath is not to be stayed, and the Warder receives a maul to the face as payment for his impudence.

There is a crack as of a tree struck by lightening, and a smell as of bog-rose and camphor and the Warder is gone. Without his will to direct them, the Dwimmer-beasts begin to scatter. The Chewer of Knees tears the legs from Squamous Filch as he tries to crawl away; the Lord of the Lichens catches Bale Grimly upon his heels and decapitates him in a shower of blood (or so it seems - in the aftermath of the battle, his body is nowhere to be found, and neither is the Comely Visage). Dismayed, the Shivering King and the Keeper of Livers withdraw into the forest of pillars.

The hunchymen on the other flank finally make good their assault. Gorish splinters with his gavel the bony face of the Creeping Scyther. Clodgy Fern roars as he tries to carry the wall, but he is unprepared for the determination of Skjorn Boarkind, who knocks the over-eager hunchyman off balance.

Meanwhile, the Shivering King, goaded by the Chewer's jeering howls, turns his steed and once again charges his hated foe, but the demon nimbly avoids the dread knight's sword and strikes him a blow that would have unseamed him, were it not for his jeweled cuirass.

The remainder of the vanguard once more rally around the Chewer of Knees. Bilebroke's ire is now palpable and his remaining adversaries fly before his terrible aspect. The Lord of the Lichens cuts the Keeper of Livers down in the mud as he tries to escape.Hearing the cries of their earstwhile compatriots, the hunchymen on the southern flank are un(hunchy)manned and turn to flee as well.

(Laird Bilebroke has the Terrror special rule, which proved to be highly effective in this situation. As he charged the Shivering King for the first time, the SK had to pass a morale roll. When he failed, the Terror rule stipulates that Bilebroke could then shift his charge to the Keeper of Livers and force another morale roll. The KoL also failed and was cut down, bringing his warband under 50% and forcing another general morale roll, which pretty much meant the end of the fight. It's a good example of how the morale mechanics and certain special rules can combine to overcome high combat-score adversaries.)

Seeing the hunchymen butchered atop the hill, Indoomiel turns to run, occasionally loosing an arrow to try and discourage pursuit.  Unfortunately, the Lord of the Lichens, heedless of the barbs, rides down Drendolfin Indoomiel and carries his head on his sword.


  1. Not sure what is going on but I like the looks of it!!

    Totally unrelated to this post but I have given your blog a Liebster award.

    Feel free to change the questions as you see fit if you choose to participate. Thanks and keep up the great work!