Sunday, 26 February 2017

Treasures Of A Fallen Empire

The wildmen of the northern mountains had entered the campaign late, and I was feeling a little nervous at facing some seriously experienced Wizards and warbands. Nonetheless, the band was painted up and ready for a scrap! I had never played Frostgrave at this point, so it would be a steep learning curve.

The warband would begin with four Thugs, a Barbarian, two Archers and a Warhound, along with the Necromancer and his Apprentice. Their starting spells were as follows...

Bone Dart - a nice shooting spell, this should prove useful when I need to be aggressive.
Spell Eater - dispelling enemy spells should be important, such as Fog, Wall or Beauty.
Raise Zombie - every Necromancer should have this spell.
Reveal Secret - Dave had spoken to me about this spell, and it seemed like a great way to guarantee something after each game.
Telekinesis - another fantastic spell for securing the treasure.
Leap - great for late game escapes, or facilitating the fast exit of treasure.
Fog - my warband was created thinking that others would be using more aggressive ranged tactics - this will help defend them.
Decay - this spell can destroy the equipment of an enemy - I love the idea of leaving an enemy
helpless, should they prove too hard to cut down with Bone Dart or arrows.

Game One - Genie In The Bottle
Damrahl the Soul-Thief and his band entered the city of Felstad from the north, quietly observing a large number of warbands travelling through the city towards a pair of ancient towers. A fine place to begin their slaughter, and steal as much treasure as they could carry... rumours of ancient eldritch horrors be damned!

My first foray into the Frozen City saw six warbands converge in the shadow of two tall towers - a hoard of treasure had been revealed, and rumours spoke of a lamp containing a Genie hidden there. In fact, there were two - we upped the ante due to the number of players.  I tried to avoid the treasure until the Genies had been revealed, as my lack of magical weapons would leave me at a severe disadvantage against them.

This game saw my nominally inexperienced and outclassed warband take out their frustrations on Jack and his Enchanter's warband - an under-strength force that had taken some damage in a previous game and were only running six or seven figures. The majority of the game saw the two of us ripping each other to shreds in the middle of a ruined courtyard.

Initially my force was split, with two Thugs and the Warhound ranging forward towards Jack while the Apprentice and two Archers supported, as the Wizard, Barbarian and two Thugs headed east toward a different foe. The Apprentice soon realised she was outclassed as multiple Grenades shattered her force, and though she was lucky with a Bone Dart and slew the enemy Wizard, the Apprentice Enchanter obliterated her with a well-placed Grenade. Dead in the first game! The Archers held their own, managing to bring down an enemy Knight, Infantryman and Man-at-Arms, but they needed support.

The Wizard and his bodyguard realised they were headed in the wrong direction, turning back and taking a shortcut through a tower to outflank and overwhelm Jack's warband just as they had dealt with my Apprentice and her half of the warband. Just in time, the Barbarian cut down the enemy Apprentice and they secured the treasure, a Thug secured another piece and the Wizard used the last act of the game to grab a third.

A bloody match left me with 310 Gold Coins (after selling a Ring of Will) and two Grimoires for the Steal Health and Transpose spells. The money was used to replace the Apprentice and the badly injured Thug was replaced with a second Barbarian. I used my experience to add +1 to the Wizard's Fight value and improve his ability to cast Bone Dart. Solid result! I would have enjoyed some more coins to spend elsewhere, but am glad the band is at full strength. Choosing a base, I settled on the Tower to improve my Reveal Secret spell - a tactic learned from Dave. Next time I had a cunning plan to secure more treasure...

Spending Experience - 
  • +1 to cast Bone Dart
  • +1 to Fight Value
Spending Gold
  • Replace Dead Apprentice (200gc)
  • Replaced Badly Wounded Thug with Barbarian (100gc)
  • 10 Gold Coins in the Vault, added to the 10 already there
The warband had returned to their lair under the cover of darkness, some still nursing their wounds while others hauled several great chests of gold and precious coins. The brutish warriors were silent save for the moans of Nekhor, whose grievous wounds refused to heal. 

The Soul-Thief carried the bloody skull of his Apprentice, Feylhin. She had been struck by the full force of the red-clad sorceror's explosive stones, pieces of her scattered to the wind... nonetheless, his was power over Death itself, and her soul still lingered close to the Frozen City - with a suitable host and the correct rituals she could be drawn back into this world. 

He gave instructions to his least-aggressive servants - a list of items and ingredients to be bought from the bartertowns outside Felstad, and the request for a slave-girl, young and strong. Finally, he needed blood. A great deal of blood. His eyes fell on the wounded Nekhor, and a smile twisted across his hideous visage.

Game Two - The Living Museum
Five warbands converged on the workshop of a long-dead madman - a ruined structure with six mysterious clockwork statues and piles of treasure revealed by the thawing ice. The greed of the adventurers had quickly overcome their suspicion of the contraptions within...

The northmen approached from the south, tracking the Enchanter and his red-clad band of Men-at-Arms they had so cruelly ravaged in the past week. The took up positions in a ruined tower overlooking the museum, the Soul-Thief and two Archers climbing to the very top while his reborn Apprentice and the rest of the wildmen ran forward to explore the ruins. Interrogating the dead for their secrets, another piece of treasure was revealed beneath them - his risen corpse-servant would return this to their base while the band attacked.

To the west, a large band of dwarves lead by a fur-clad human advanced through a cloying fog - Damrahl recognised them as the Dwarves of Helgar, led by the witch BoƵ Kelda and his apprentice Rana. They would prove formidable foes...

This game got very brutal, very quickly. We set up with Jacob and his Fire Elementalist alongside Winner Dave and his Gnolls on the northern board edge, while Jack with his Enchanter and Alex with his Witch were on the southern corners, myself in-between them on the southern edge. Alex and his force was a lot closer than Jack's, so I decided my band would concentrate on this enemy to my west. 

Alex and his band of dwarves were initially easy opponents, as my firebase of the Wizard and two Archers put down his Bear (Animal Companion) and Apprentice in short order. My main force of Thugs and Barbarians was initially protected by Fog, but as soon as it cleared the dwarves attacked with Elemental magic and an amazingly accurate crossbow - soon enough the Thugs and Barbarians had been cut down, while my Apprentice Leapt to safety. 

My advancing force in disarray, the chances of entering the museum and stealing treasure were reduced to nil - so I spent the rest of the game cutting down as many enemy warriors as I could, trying to weaken them so the animated Constructs would finish them off inside the museum. I escaped with no lasting injuries except for my poor Warhound (who would miss next game, if I did not replace him...), one piece of treasure from Reveal Secret and a lot of experience from casting so many spells and taking out so many enemy soldiers (all hail Bone Dart!). Nonetheless I came nowhere close to entering the Museum, and others would claim the treasure within. 

Alex and I spent most of the game antagonising each other - he took out my Thugs, Warhound and both Barbarians with bolts (both magical and normal!) but in turn my Wizard was incredible with his Bone Dart - I think between him, the two Archers and the Apprentice they cut down Alex's Apprentice, Archer, Infantryman, Apothecary, Bear and Warhound, then later finishing off a wounded Construct and sniping two Archers from Jack's warband. Jack's Wizard also suffered thirteen points of damage from a single Bone Dart - putting him effectively out of the game! 

Jack and Dave were ruined, my own force was unable to reach the Museum, leaving Jacob and Alex to fight over the treasure and bring down the Constructs (I did assist in bringing one down for the additional experience with a long-range Bone Dart!). My force retired and I left the game after seven turns, so I am not sure how they split the treasure - I think evenly, though Jacob's warband was in a better state at the end of the game. 

Overall a lot of fun sniping from the high tower, but not enough close-action for my liking - Alex's warband was very effective at destroying my advance force, and though they could not touch my Wizard and his pair of Archers, I was out of position to even think about recovering the treasure. 

I will satisfy myself with 435 Experience Points, 40 Gold Coins and a Grimoire containing the spell Animal Companion... time to paint up a Bear of my own I think! 

The extra four levels will be spend learning Animal Companion from the Grimoire, improving my Fight and Health value by +1,  and enhancing Bone Dart with a further +1 to cast. This should help the Apprentice defend my Barbarians and warriors while the Wizard becomes an even more efficient killing machine! The gold I will store for future games.

Spending Experience - 
  • +1 to Fight Value (+2 total so far)
  • +1 to Health
  • +1 to cast Bone Dart (+2 total so far)
  • Learn Animal Companion from the Grimoire
Spending Gold - none this time, but I plan to replace the Badly Wounded Warhound with an Animal Companion Bear if successfully cast. 60 Gold Coins have been stored in the Vault.

Damrahl felt his wasted form alive with dark energy. The city was coming alive, and he felt its power stirring. The whispers of the dead crawled into the periphery of his vision, filling his thoughts and revealing their secrets.

His warriors laid their warhound Scaff before him. He was badly wounded, breathing in shallow gasps. As with Nekhor, his loyal corpse-servant, and the slave-girl acting as vessel for the soul of Feylhin, Scaff would serve him in death. The strange scratchings in the book recovered near the madman's workshop would mould him into a monstrous beast, a great hunter to ravage the depths of the city alongside his masters. Damrahl began to work...

Game Three - The Worm Hunts
The warband moved through the ruins at a steady pace, always hunting, searching for enemies to slay and treasure to steal. The Soul-Thief was accompanied by his great beast, the once-loyal warhound now twisted by fell magic into a monster. It sniffed the ground constantly, eyes wild with bloodlust. The Dead had spoken to him, speaking of great treasures in this area of the city, but they also warned of foul, blind beasts that slithered beneath the surface. Could the Hound sense them already? Or perhaps it sensed the presence of three rival warbands, all converging on this area. 

Damrahl bared his teeth as he saw them cautiously scouting the ruins ahead of them - time for battle! 

This time only four warbands prowled the ruins - Ethan and his Witch, Gareth and his Witch, Alex and his Witch... you get the idea. We scattered a large amount of treasure across the board, and set up in the four corners.

This was a great game, starting in a very gentlemanly fashion with the warbands concentrating on stealing treasure. Nobody wanted to be the first to open fire on the other. Early Telekinesis, Reveal Secret and Leap spells saw my warband secure four pieces of treasure quickly, and a Worm reared out of the ground near Ethan's warband. A mad scramble to fight the beast saw my Wizard wound it with Bone Dart and the arrows of the Archers, but Ethan scored the final blow with his Wizard. The worm did manage to gulp down his Warhound in the process!

As this drama was unfolding, a second Worm appeared between myself and Alex's dwarves. My Barbarians charged forward with their Bear companion, and began chopping it apart as an Invisible dwarf treasure hunter slyly headed toward the treasure. Alex's witch unleashed a Scattershot spell, badly wounding one of my Barbarians, and in turn my Apprentice cut down one of his Archers with a Bone Dart. They soon ducked behind the cover of ruins and Fog.

Unlike last week's bloodbath, this week Alex and I were far more interested in securing the treasure and fighting the monsters - a Worm had appeared in the middle of his warband, as a Vampire and two Zombie minions appeared behind them, as the sounds of battle had also lured a Bear and Snow Leopard behind mine!

On the other side of the ruins, Gareth's warband was stealing treasure with Telekinesis spells and fought their own Worm, while Ethan was withdrawing quickly as he suffered casualties.

The fifth worm appeared near my forces and once again my Bear and pair of Barbarians attacked but as they had suffered wounds earlier in the game they were less successful - the Bear and one Barbarian were taken out by the beast before the last warrior killed it, with assistance from the Wizard and his Apprentice. Alex's Treasure Hunter was spirited away with the treasure using a Transpose spell, and I was left to fight Alex's Bear and the wild animals attacking from behind.

The Archers killed the Snow Leopard before the wild Bear ripped one of them apart, while the last, wounded Barbarian was similarly dispatched by Alex's Bear - two permanent deaths! Following these brutal losses, and with no treasure left to fight over, the warbands withdrew from this Worm-infested nightmare.

The game ended with my Wizard gaining 590 Experience, which added to the existing 45 gained him six Levels! Nice. The four treasure tokens also netted me an awesome 650 Gold Coins - enough to replace the losses and buy a Grimoire! After seeing the power of Brew Potion I was thinking it was time to invest. I also found three Grimoires - Glow, Slow and Fast Act. These I will need to read up on, but only Glow is looking particularly attractive at this point.

In terms of replacing soldiers I am still thinking about the benefits of a Treasure Hunter, but think I want to try something with a little more armour, such as a Templar or Knight. A replacement Archer is a given, as I am not ready to sacrifice firepower just yet.

Spending  Experience - 
  • +1 to Fight value (+3 total so far)
  • +1 to Health (+2 total so far)
  • +1 to cast Bone Dart (+3 total so far)
  • +1 to cast Reveal Secret
  • +1 to cast Telekinesis 
  • Learn Brew Potion from the Grimoire
Spending Gold - 
  • Replace Dead Archer with a new Archer (50gc)
  • Replace Dead Barbarian with Templar (100gc)
  • Buy Grimoire of Brew Potion (500gc)
  • 60 Gold Coins left in the Vault
So there we are! Three games in and ready for some more painting and modelling! Next time, I think we are aiming for The Well of Dreams and Sorrows...

Thanks for reading,



  1. Thanks for detailing how post-game session works.
    Still not sure about this game. I like the "bring figures that you want" spirit in the game but not so about the d20 system and the fact that only two member of your warband can get XP

  2. Great write-up! Thanks. Major - one of the expansions adds 'captains' which is a soldier that gains experience.