Friday, March 18, 2011

Giglamps at Fugitive's Drift: Save the Colours!

Lt. Giglamps of the Dragoons
We last left Giglamps amidst the chaos of the Albion defeat at Isandlwana. Although only attached to the regiment as a supernumerary, as one of the only mounted officers left, Lt. Col. Lugdush entrusted the Kyng's Colour of the 21st "Eyes in Gourds" Regiment of Foot to Giggers for safe keeping as Lugdush and his remaining Orcs steeled themselves for the final onslaught of the Halfling amabutho.

The road to Orc's Drift had already been cut by the advanced elements of the uNodproudfoot Corps so Lt. Giglamps was forced to take a more southerly route over broken country to a somewhat more treacherous crossing of the Buffalo River, now, and forever, known as Fugitive's Drift.

This is his story.

Feel free to skip over the bit between the dotted lines if you want to skip the background and get right to how events unfolded.

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With the impending release of the "Muskets and Mohawks 2" rules from Two Hour Wargames, I decided to use these rules for what could just as easily have been a Flintloque scenario.

The core system of M&M2 was actually written to cover the entire spectrum of what is commonly called "the Horse and Musket" period of military history. When Ed asked me to collaborate on  a re-write of his Muskets and Mohawks and Black Powder Battles, I was only too happy to oblige. The system already covered all the required troop types and weapons as well as some rules for things like volley fire and taking trophies off of the fallen so it was an easy fit. Ed added in some great canoe and artillery rules and while I have not seen the final product I expect those of you who are fans of Two Hour Wargames and Horse and Musket gaming will be well pleased with the result.

Now clearly the adventures of Giglamps are not only not set in the French and Indian wars but are indeed not even set on Earth. Giglamps inhabits the world of Valon, the setting of Alternative Armies  Flintloque and Slaughterloo games. Valon is populated by the usual suspect races and a few others. However what sets Valon apart is that due to the machinations of Mordred the Usurper, Emperor of the Ferach Elves, Magyke has been relegated to the wilder places of the world and cold steel and black powder are the rule rather than the exception. The technology is currently about the same of that of the Napoleonic Wars here on Earth, the Elves locked in an unending series of wars with their neighbors, perhaps foremost among them the Orcs of Albion led by Good Kyng Gorge.

Our story takes place in a remote corner of Valon, the Naal, at the very tip of Afri.The events of the clash between Albion's forces and the rebellious Halflings of Shaka Sackville-Baggins are recounted elsewhere on this blog.

For our purposes it need only be stated that that move rates were taken from Flintloque by quartering the fastest move in that game, given in cm and using the result as the normal move in inches in M&M2.

Orcs have the attribute Brawler. Halflings, being the tough little blighters they are, also receive the Brawling attribute but this is canceled out by their other attribute; Runt. Hobgoblins and Goblins receive no attributes and play as standard grunts with the exception of their differing move rates.

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The Table:
View of the table at start. Giglamps is in the far center, just entering  play. 
Terrain was set out on a 4'x8' surface representing the the broken terrain leading to the Drift. I wanted this to break down easily after play so didn't go all out with brush and boulders. However the far half of the table where Giggers enters is a plateau with very steep sides that extends about halfway down the play area.

In order to descend from the plateau a figure must first find a practicable path. In order to do this a figure moves to the edge of the plateau where they wish to descend and throw a single d6. The result of the roll is the value for a path test. The figure then rolls 2d6 compared against the path value. If both dice "pass" the figure may descend at half speed. If only one dice is passed, the figure may descend only to the bottom of the slope and must give up it's mount if any and proceed on foot. If no dice are passed this part of the slope is impassable and the figure must move at least three inches further along the slope in either direction and try again.

Six "Possible Enemy Forces" or PEF's were placed on the table at the start of play, each one in the approximate center of  1/6th of the table surface and out of sight of Giglamp's entry point. As these PEF's come into Giglamp's Line of Sight a die is rolled to reveal what figures are place on the table in their stead:

1: 1 mounted Goblin or Hobgoblin also fleeing the Halflings.
2: 2 dismounted Goblin's or Hobgoblins also fleeing the Halflings.
3-6: That number of Halfling Warriors are placed on the table and will endeavor to attack the nearest Orc, Goblin or Hobgobin for the remainder of the game.
Giglamps enters the table.
Giglamps is a Rep 5 character armed with pistol, carbine, sword, and standard.
Any Goblin or Hobgoblin will be Rep 4 and armed with a carbine and big knife.
When any Halfling  has the opportunity to throw a spear a dice will be rolled and on a 5 or 6 a spear may be thrown.

With any luck Giggers will recruit a few friends along the way to ease his passage,. In any event the PEF's make the scenario endlessly re-playable.
First two PEF's resolved.
Giggers came on the table at the gallop and quickly rode abreast of the first two PEF's. These were resolved as 4 Halfling and 3 Halflings. Not a good start. Naturally the warriors started out in pursuit. Their furry little feet cannot hope to keep up with a horse on the level, however Giggers may be slowed at the slope down to the Buffalo River Gorge.
Two more PEF's revealed
As Giggers approaches the slope, two more PEF's are resolved. Each is replaced by 5 more Halflings. Seventeen to one are long odds but Giggers is made of stern stuff indeed!
In a stroke of good luck, Lt. Giglamps finds an easy passage down the slope and puts all the Halflings behind him.
Down in the valley
How long will his luck hold? PEF 5 is revealed as 5 more Halflings near the river bank. Things are looking grim for our hero.
Attacked!
Two of the fastest warriors managed to attack as Giglamps rode by. A throwing spear missed and one warrior was killed outright, while the second, attacking from the rear was kicked out of the fight.
Ride Giglamps Ride!
Things are starting to look up! Giggers has almost reached the river...
Almost Home.

...and is soon crashing through the shallows. The final PEF is resolved as...SIX Halflings.
What little luck the Lieutenant has been able to count on finally deserted him as the Halflings activated first in the following turn.
The noose tightens.
Swarming onto the banks the Halflings behind Giggers loose a hail of throwing spears, while those to his front race to meet him on their side of the river.
Unhorsed, Alone, and Unafraid...

The Lieutenant's trusty steed was skewered by a long blade. Giggers managed to dismount rather than be dragged down the raging river with his dying mount. He even managed to retain the standard. Giggers took advantage of the Star attribute; "Shot Out from Under Him", to survive the loss of his mount and manged to pass a simple challenge test to hold on to the flag.
The far shore offers no respite.
Dragging himself, and the weighty standard, from the current a bedraggled Giglamps was met by a welcoming committee of six warriors. He raised his pistol to fire, only to have the flint fail to ignite his damp powder.

The warriors charged home, some throwing spears as they came.

Weakened by his ordeal and sporting a fair array of throwing spears where their ought not to be any, Giglamps was overcome at the last.
The spoils of war.
The whooping warriors trod on him with their furry feet and carried off the banner. One warrior carried out the ritual disemboweling of the foe...Giggers was fortunate indeed to have been carrying a stock of sausages in his coat, saved from the camp during his hurried flight. He would live to fight again : )

Well that certainly could have gone better. Figured I would at least get some help rather than the 28 Halflings that turned up. Still might have made it had the throwing spears not killed the horse, or had activations gone differently.


Oh well. You rolls your dice and you takes your chances as my Daddy always said (he never really said that).


The scenario worked out well and was very exciting right up to the end. With a little tweaking this could be used for a number of similar situations; fugitives from Braddock's defeat must escape pursuing Indians, or a century later fugitives from Custer's defeat must do the same. Put the moccasin on the other foot and warriors must flee Bad Hand's men in the Palo Duro. This kind of "run the gauntlet" scenario has many uses.


The rules worked great although the way this played out some aspects of play played no role. In Muskets and Mohawks 2, I've introduced a number of new concepts to THW. One is the difference between volley fire and independent fire. Figures firing independently fire pretty much as in previous offerings, however as the force commander the player can never be sure they will be loaded and ready when you need them to be. Firing by volley allows you to rely on their being able to fire although with less accuracy, and all of this is determined by player choice and figure placement. No extra bookkeeping is involved.


The other major introduction is that of the Universal Charge table. Rather than one side testing to see if they charge, and the other to see if they stand, both sides roll opposing dice in a manner familiar to players of WHAA. However the results are tuned to Horse and Musket warfare and result move often in one side or the other baulking at the last moment rather than closing in with cold steel.


Well as always, thanks for stopping by,
and until next time, keep your powder dry!

BTW Terrain is from the Terrain Guy and Warzone GTS. Giglamps is an Alternative Armies figure and I don't know who made the Zulu.