Thursday, July 5, 2012

Something is Rotting in Kuhldorf

A recent question on TMP about the usefulness of the "Mythic Variations" source book in terms of miniature wargaming reminded me of this report. This blast from the past was a test game of the then "Legendary Heroes" rules that finally were published as "Warrior Heroes: Armies and Adventures". 

The name change was due to another fantasy game having been released during development with  a name similar to "Legendary Heroes", just as we changed the name of "Black Powder Battles 2" to "Muskets and Mohawks" to avoid confusion with that other "Black Powder" : ) that had appeared after THW's "Black Powder Battles". Go figure.

In any event below is a fairly florid account of the game and below that are notes on the rules used and how "Mythic Variations" influenced play.

How much more darkness must I endure? What of the dawn? Will it be enough?

          The peddler had been pleased to find members of our order in Tilsit. Although he was quite agitated at first. Travelling his usual circuit he discovered that the settlement of Kuhldorf was in ruins. Burned to the ground he said. Hadn’t the nerve to enter the ruins himself and set out post haste to get help.

          As senior member of the order present, it fell to me to investigate. Eleven of us there were set out for Kuhldorf the next day.
Myself, (Rep 5, LA, 2x Pistols with silver bullets, Stake, HW),
Brother Getz (Rep 5, LA, Pistol with silver bullets, Stake, HW),
Brother Getz and the Narrator.

Friar Karl (Rep 4 magic user, Staff, LA, Holy Text),
My man Bruno (Rep 4, LA, Crossbow with Stake, HW), a base fellow who nevertheless has his uses,
Friar Karl and Bruno

And a detachment of the local watch,
Sgt. Shumann, (Rep 4, LA, Halberd),
Four Halberdiers (Rep 3, LA, Halberd),
And two Archers (Rep 3, LA, Longbow and HW).

          It took most of the day to reach Kuhldorf, and the village had indeed been destroyed as reported.

          I lead the way into the first building we encountered; a rather large building for a village of this type that straddled the road. There was a near palpable air of dread about the place. Everything had been touched by fire. No piece of furniture remained in tact. There were no signs of life. Nor of death for that matter. No sign of anyone at all.

          Judging from the layout of the structure, it must have been the town hall. Two spacious rooms flanked the road with the remains of a tower, above the road, joining them.  
          Signaling the archers to follow I made my way up the tower. The stairs were largely missing in places and we had to make shift. From the tallest accessible floor of the tower we could look out over the ruined hamlet in the gathering dusk.

          Eight or nine buildings there were arranged more or less haphazardly around a village square. Every structure showed signs of fire.

A low stone wall filled the gaps between the houses and nearly enclosed the whole. If built for defense it was never finished. More like the wall merely served to keep livestock out of town.

Beyond the village to the right lay a graveyard. A low wall surrounded the whole. In the right corner a higher wall separated a part from the rest. Perhaps that area was for the well to do, exclusive even in death. More like this was simply the mark of the village’s prosperity. Over time, the original cemetery had filled, and new land outside its bounds required. In the left corner a large tomb. An unmistakable sign of wealth, that.

Beyond the village to the left, a dark wood stretched to the horizon. Not far beyond the town’s wall, there appeared to be a clearing.

We made camp at the town hall and prepared to expand our investigation. I set the archers to keep watch from the tower, and detailed Sgt. Schumann and two of his men to hold the ground floor and the road out of town.

With the rest of the expedition in trail, I set out to explore the next building to the left. Although suffering from a level of destruction similar to that afflicting the town hall, it was plain to see that this had once been an apothecary. Sifting through the rubble yielded no clues to the fate of neither the town nor its inhabitants. It did, however produce a vial containing a healing elixir. That would prove a boon in short order.

The apothecary had a partial second floor. A causeway linked the building from thence to the building across the lane. The causeway looked to be in poor shape. On closer investigation it appeared able to hold our wait and with a Prayer on my lips I lead the way forward.

Stepping in on to the floor of the next building I was immediately rushed by three figures out of the shadow.

I managed to fire off a shot to no avail and the fight was on. Fetid smelling brutes armed with weapons made of bone, or no weapon at all other than their foul clawed hands rushed in, the light of madness in their eyes. Ghouls! I quickly dispatched one and then lost my footing and was pulled down. I was falling into blackness. Through the haze I could hear Brother Getz discharging his pistol and then heard nothing at all.

I awoke, sputtering, as Friar Karl poured the last of the elixir down my throat. As I came back to full consciousness, the good Friar told me how Brother Getz had rushed the villains, slaying the two that remained. My head was clear just in time to fend off an attack by three more Ghouls. Brother Getz accounted for one. The other two fell to my blade.

Ghouls. Had the precipitated the destruction of the town, or were they just scavenging the ruins?

A horrifying scream from the direction of the town hall cut short any further discussion. We grabbed our weapons and ran back to camp….

Only there was no one there. Actually Sgt. Schumann was there, or at least parts of him were.

A thorough search of the area turned up the tracks of the rest of the detachment. Running. Away from Kuhldorf back along the road. Nothing else. No tracks, no traces of what had torn a burley man apart and set the others running. What Devilment was this?

Whatever it was, with ghouls in the area, re-consecrating the graveyard would be in order. Perhaps we would pick up more clues there as well.

The remaining militiamen looked ready to jump out of their skin at the slightest shock. Such horrors are to be expected in His Service. Even so I strengthened the men’s resolve by pointing out that whatever the killer was, running away wasn’t an option. At night, in this country, it would have us sure.

And so at length we set out.

We had barely started, when the sound of fighting broke out down along the column. It seems that Friar Karl had heard some moaning coming from a nearby ruin. Unaccompanied, he set out to find the source…and intruded upon three ghouls feasting on the still living form of one of the missing militiamen.

The ghouls charged as is their wont. The good Friar was able to hold them off until we came to his aid. In the end all the ghouls were killed, while one of our militiamen was severely wounded.

Friar Karl was able to call down Divine healing on the freshly wounded man. Sadly the militiaman who set this chain of events in motion slipped away before any aid could be rendered. He will be Avenged!

As we neared the graveyard, sounds of a Diabolical ceremony reached our ears. Creeping nearer we found a group of ghouls dancing in the high walled graveyard. In the middle of their circle, crouched upon a tomb, was a very large ghoul indeed.

I took position at the main gate. Brother Getz crept up to a break in the wall to my right and Bruno, Bless his Soul, scaled the wall to my left and took position on the roof of a tomb.

On my signal we all fired at the large ghoul. Bruno and I missed the beast. Brother Getz’s aim was true and his ball struck home. This only seemed to enrage the creature and with blinding speed it turned on Brother Getz, charged him, and separated his head from his body. May he rest in Peace.

In a moment the rest of the ghouls were on us. A rather large specimen charged, and we were locked in combat in the gateway. Bruno was fending off three of the beasts, swinging wildly with his axe.

On the left a couple of militia men did a surprisingly good job of holding back the tide…until the beast that Brother Getz had shot, tore in to them.

I was steadily forced back, allowing more ghouls out, and now fighting off three of them myself. I could see Bruno down one or two of the fiends but always, more took their places.

The militia on the left fell and the large beast rushed Friar Karl and the last halberdier that stood at his side. Praying for Deliverance the good Friar held off the beast for a while although the halberdier fell.

I brought down one or two the beasts when a third beat me down. I could see it readying to spring on me to finish the job and me, to weak to even raise an arm in my defense.

Just then Bruno sprang off the wall and landed behind the beast that was to finish me off. The beast was quick and turned, in a flurry of blows Bruno was down!

Suddenly a wall of fire erupted between the ghouls and myself. I could hear Friar Karl calling on the Forces of Light to preserve us.

The ghouls were taken aback by the sudden gouts of flame and retreated to the walled enclosure…dragging poor Bruno with them.

Before they were able to renew their assault, Friar Karl dragged me clear of the graveyard. We could hear the ghouls arguing behind us.

It seems that most of them wanted to follow us and finish us off, but the large ghoul dissuaded them saying that “the Master told us to drive them out of the graveyard and we have. Now we feast!”

Finding a deserted room, Friar Karl dragged me in and attended to my wounds. I beseeched the Friar to call on Divine aid to heal me that I might get back into the fight. He admonished me saying “The Light is strong, but here the Darkness is stronger. I fear that without rest and meditation I can be of no more help in that quarter.”

We determined to lie low until dawn and then to try and make our way back to Tilsit.

At some point we heard a growing tumult heading down the lane past our hiding spot. It was a procession of ghouls led by the large one. Among the shambling forms we could make out Bruno being dragged along behind!

As the procession drew even with our vantage point the large ghoul called a halt. “Take this one to the Portal as the Master commands. I have some unfinished business to attend to.”

With that he gestured the procession onward and, sniffing the air like a hound seeking a scent he slowly made his way towards us!

Friar Karl quickly dragged me to a corner and covered me with debris as best he could. “Be still and perhaps the fiend will not notice you there. With Faith in my Heart I will put down this Abomination.”

The Friar leapt out of our hideaway and charged the monster. The sound of combat reached my ears and lasted for a good while. Finally there was only the sound of a body being dragged away and after that only silence.

And so here I lay. Praying for daylight and for Deliverance. Perhaps the militiamen who fled early on will report back to the Order in Tilsit and a rescue will be mounted? What if those men are never seen again? How long until it is thought we are over due and a patrol sent to find us? Perhaps I can crawl back to Tilsit on my own? Lying here waiting through another day and night is not a prospect that holds much appeal…

The preceding was an account of a solitaire Warrior Heroes: Armies and  Adventures play test game with a twist. The Mythic RPG was used to drive the story and encounters.


I was using a variation on the big battles doc. The variation is mainly in melee resolution.

1.     Each figure rolls Rep-d6 (+/- mods). 1-3 is a pass, 4-6 is a fail. Also a result of Pass 1d6 more resulted in the enemy losing 1d6 and immediately re-fighting the round. Anyone reduced to 0d6 this way is OOF.
2.     Went back and forth on multi figure melees. Mostly I rolled dice for each figure. Other times I rolled one set of dice for each side and prorated any results based on the numbers involved. Still not sure which approach I liked best.
3.     Added in a Fear characteristic from Warrior Heroes…but botched how to apply it. Also used the Supernatural Dread rules from my WHAA.

All in all the game was fast playing and fun. Melees were a blast with passing 1d6 more resulting in the enemy losing 1d6 and immediately re-fighting the round. Very exciting indeed. Even a mismatched fight could be suspenseful and the underdog could eke out a win although not very often.


The notion of warrior monks cum Vampire Hunters in Altengard is an entertaining one. It’s easy to imagine Brothers Johann and Getz, and Friar Karl as Brethren pursuing their mission to wipe out all traces of Black Sun worship on their beat.

Thing is, I realized that I’ve no clear conception of religion in Telumar. 

Red Sun is good, and akin to Christianity in that it has religious orders of knighthood and Saints (the Spear of St. Lindorf is a Holy Relic).

          Black Moon is bad and akin to Demonology in the Moorcock/Lovecraft vein. Summonings and Gates can unleash unworldly horrors on the world. Black Moon aligned Nations may even end up home to an army of demonic beings.

So far so good.

When writing the fluff some blank spots became apparent. To whom do Talomirians pray? Is Red Sun monotheistic or polytheistic?  Does Black Moon have a hierarchy of demons or is it chaotic?

For “practical” purposes, in world that has magic it would seem that faith based belief systems would have to come up with the goods. Does prayer help? Can holy men perform miracles? And if so do they differ from Magic Users and in what ways?

In practice I had Friar Karl use the standard magic lists but added a spell to allow returning an OOF figure to full health. I prohibited him from raising skeletons or summoning demons as that seemed bad form for a man fighting Black Moon. Is it?

Should there be a religion based magic user at all, or should the Brethren shun magic altogether, as did the Puritans?


The base scenario was a Vampire Hunt written for Warhammer Skirmish, which appeared in the Warhammer Annual 2002. Building on this, I increased the forces of the Vampire Hunter side and left the number, appearance, and nature of the baddies to Mythic.

With that in mind my concept for the game was that a feral Vampire and his following of ghouls had destroyed Kuhldorf. However that original vision was/is subject to change based on events.
For example when Sgt. Schumann was attacked, I assumed it was by the Vampire and the photo reflects that. Consider however that;
·        The PC was unable to speak with anyone who witnessed the attack
·        The body was not drained of blood (doesn’t rule out a vampire but does not point to one either).
·        There were no tracks or other clues at the scene.

In fact throughout the encounter no one saw a vampire.

Other plot questions that have turned up:
·        What happened to the inhabitants of Kuhldorf?
·        What enhanced the lead ghoul’s Rep and is it permanent?
·        What is the portal? To and from where? Extant? Being created/shut down?
·        Both Bruno and Friar Karl were OOF and captured. Are they still alive?

All of which can be explored in future games.

Now, I blundered badly in one respect. In the original scenario, the militia is roughly equivalent to the ghouls. Somehow I got confused and used Rep 3, 2HW militia against Rep 4, HW ghouls with FAN/FRE and sometimes FEAR.
          As if that didn’t result in imbalance enough, random elements from Mythic had me facing more of them than I would have liked (10) and upped one of their leaders from Rep 5 to Rep 6. So there I was with two Rep 5’s, two Rep4’s and three Rep 3’s facing off against 10x Rep 4, 1xRep 5, and 1x Rep 6 FAN/FREN/sometime FEAR ghouls. It’s a wonder anyone got out alive.

Finally perhaps the most interesting development from the mixing of the two games was in the physical manner in which the game played out. The town, woods, and graveyard were all set up on a 4’ x 4’ section of the games table. However as play commenced I found it unnecessary to slog figures from one location to another.

Instead, the action was split up into scenes.
·        Scene one was the exploration of the initial buildings with the aim of finding out what had happened here.
·        Then a brief cut scene gamed out the monster’s attack on Sgt., Schumann.
·        Scene two had us investigating the murder scene and coming up empty.
·        Scene three was Friar Karl being attacked en route to the graveyard.
·        Scene four was the rumble at the graveyard.
·        Scene five A found Friar Karl unable to use his powers further
·        Scene five B saw the discovery of our hiding place by the enhanced ghoul. While this scene was the defacto end of the table top game, it also served to set the premise of the next game. Mention of the Portal makes it seem as if there is more to worry about here than a Vampiric infestation.

I look forward to continuing this campaign when I can find the time.


Well here it is five years later and I have not. Never say never however!

Hope you enjoyed this blast from the past and have taken away some ideas on how Mythic can be used to drive a story line for your miniatures games.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Very nice to see WHAA and Mythic together. I am trying to drive my campaign with Mythic but use WHAA to game each encounter. Need to look at regular scenes etc. I also liked the figures a lot, the rat swarm was one I had not seen before.

    1. Thanks Sean.

      This was before I came up with the Possible Enemy Force and NPC action rules so Mythic helped fill that gap.

      More importantly though Mythic can give you hints about an enemy's overall scheme, filling in the gaps in the basic story created by the arrival and actions of enemy forces.

      A very useful add on for any game.

      The rat swarm, was well as Getz, Bruno, one pose of ghoul, and the big dog thing are all from the D&D collectible miniatures game.

      The rest of the heroes, and the vampire are from GW (well Citadel for the militia, they are that old), and the rest of the ghouls are Reaper IIRC.

  2. I really have to read Mythic! Great AAR!

  3. I've pretty much seen Red Sun as Islam in my version of the setting, with the Brethren and such using the Japanese flag as their symbol.

    Overall, "Red Sun" is (for me) an expanded version of the people of the book, so most other religions that pop up won't be a problem - if they're not Black Moon they're more or less accepted, just not prone to producing Brethren.

  4. And no, it's not remotely accurate to real Islam, of course. It just made a nice change from the usual pseudoChristianity in fantasy settings. Also, djinn.

    1. Very interesting.

      One of the strengths of the setting Ed developed is its flexibility. Not having spelled out every detail allows players to fill in the blank spots and make the setting their own.

      Glad I resisted the temptation to add too many such details to the setting having concentrated on mechanics instead.