Sunday 29 January 2023

Orcs / Dusklings for Five Leagues from the Borderlands

 Having finished all the Orcs I intend to paint for my Five Leagues from the Borderlands campaign, I thought I would catalogue them here. The figures are all from the Ral Partha Europe Demonworld range. Most of my 15mm fantasy figures are from the Demonworld ranges although I am adding figures from other ranges, and, indeed, other scales to fit the needs of this campaign.

The Orcs are the major threat in my campaign, so I focused on painting them all first. I now have enough to field any faction from the Duskling list, and some of these will do double duty as unique foes, members of other factions, or could even become party members at some point. I also have in mind the idea that I could run a campaign from the Orc perspective, where the Orcs are defending their homeland from the invading Humans and Elves, but that will have to wait until the current campaign is over.

The basic principle behind my collecting and painting for the current campaign is genericness (is that a word? It is now). I'm not collecting figures for each enemy type. I am collecting figures whose traits fit a bunch of different enemy types. So, this is how the Orcish roster looks.

Unarmoured Orcs with spears
Unarmoured Orcs

My unarmoured Orcs will fit any army list that requires cannon fodder with no armour and a basic melee weapon. This means they could be brigands, poorer members of a proper army or anything else. Only one entry on the Duskling list requires unarmoured troops, so I do not have many of them, but they can be mixed with other troops as I wish.

Orcs with shields and spears
Light armoured Orcs

I have opted to use figures with shields for Orcs in light armour. Dusklings in light armour are the most numerous enemy type in the list. I painted the standard bearer and the horn blower on a whim, not because I needed them, and I'm planning to go back and add a design to the banner but have not been inspired yet. Like their unarmoured brethren, they can stand in for a variety of troops from other lists.

Armoured Orcs
Orcs in Partial Armour

I'm counting chain as partial armour in my campaign although some of these could well count as wearing heavier armour if I felt like it. Like all the others, these guys can stand in for a variety of other troop types.

Orc archers

These guys provide the missile support for all of the other Orcs. I don't actually need this many for Five Leagues from the Borderlands but I am sure they will come in handy for other games.

Heavily armed and armoured Orcs
Orc characters, leaders and heroes

I have a few different Orc leaders and heroes. They get fielded when I need leader figures as part of the Orc warband, and will also appear as unique foes, heroes, or other character figures from other enemy tables, as and when I need them.

Orc shamans and wizards
Orc shamans and wizards

Five Leagues from the Borderlands has Dusklings who hate magic. One of their special traits is that they will pick on your spellcasters even when your warriors are a better target. Generally, this means that my Orc warbands will not feature spellcasters, but it can happen and these guys will then appear. They can also be evil necromancers and other nefarious spellcasting types from other enemy tables.

So, that is the major threat that my party must defeat. These Orcs will also come in for other games I play. They will be Gnolls in my Rangers of Shadow Deep games, and the spellcasters among them can lead warbands into Frostgrave. I also now realise that I have the basics of a Dragon Rampant warband here, so I am going to have to explore that idea more. I do like flexible figures!

Turn 9: The Thrappled Lemmings Go Camping (Five Leagues from the Borderlands)

Local Events

The Inn of the Merry Moggy is a great place for the Thrappled Lemmings to hang out. They have made it their home in Haitabu. Thanks to their success against the giant, the innkeeper decides that it will be worth it to feed the party for free. Her plan works and the inn is full of people coming to gawk at the brave adventurers and hear their tale of how they fought the giant and helped make the land safer for the settlers. She sits back counting her gold after closing with a little smirk but also a frown when she realises just how much the Thrappled Lemmings have eaten and drunk in such a short time.

Hard Times

Thanks to the innkeeper's sponsorship, the party does not have to spend anything on upkeep this turn.

Campaign Activities

Lysanthir spends time rehearsing his spells and gains 1 XP.

Wido spends time practising his spear skills and earns 1 XP.


The party decides to save its money for beer.


With plenty to do, Lysanthir decides that another mug of ale is in order instead of a trip to the local bookseller or library.


"Hey, that place we found the mayor's hat had stairs heading into the crypts below it," announced Lysanthir as he waved a breakfast sausage over his morning mug of ale. "And there were signs of a forerunner settlement nearby. I bet both of those would be good sources of treasure. We know the forerunners buried their dead with treasure. What say we investigate them?"

"Well, we are running short of beer tokens," declared Sir Thiebault, "so I endorse this idea."

The party pack up their gear and head off to the southwest of Haitabu once more. Their goal is the unexplored area first. Thanks to the efforts of the local militia, their journey is uneventful and they soon arrive at their destination.

As they approach the old forerunner settlement, they realise that it is still occupied. Orcs bustle in and out of the camp, clearly up to no good.

"Orcs! Why did it have to be Orcs," muttered Wido.

"Give it a rest!" replied Onesipe.

"Shut the fork up, you two," ordered Sir Thiebault, "Right, we're going to raid this Orc camp and rescue whatever abandoned treasure we find afterwards. Drogo, you'll scout ahead for us. Now, here's the plan ..."

Drogo worms his way forward through the brush and trees. He sees a small group of 5 Orcs around a camp fire, and a line of 4 sentries on the other side of it. The party is approaching from behind the Orcs' guard, which can only be a good thing. Drogo identifies the Orcs as an Aspiring War Party led by a Sergeant and a Lieutenant. This would be a tough fight, he muses, but his axe is ready and so was he. He swigged down the Bear Draught that he had 'borrowed' from the party's stash and moved out. The rest of the party followed up quickly and quietly. Onesipe, Fulrad and Lysanthir took up station on the edge of some woods with a good view to the camp. They would provide support while the others advanced to engage the enemy.

Drogo was practically in the camp when the Orcs spotted him. Sir Thiebault and Wido were close behind him.

With a yell, Sir Thiebault led the charge. There was a tinny sound as he engaged an Orc warrior and he collapsed to the ground, felled by the Orc. His magical harness had failed him. Drogo advanced to engage another Orc warrior and felled him easily as he roared like a bear, spittle spraying everywhere.  The Orcish archers let fly their arrows but missed. The Orcish lieutenant moved in to attack Drogo and was sliced in two with no obvious effort on Drogo's part. Drogo drove off the other warrior while the rest of the Orcs moved up to attack the group. Lysanthir spotted a sneaky Orc moving in on his flank and raced in to attack, his confidence buoyed by Drogo's performance. The Orc hit him on the head and he fell senseless. It then charged Onesipe who brained it in turn. Onesipe then shot another Orc warrior while Fulrad tried to work out how to load his bow.

The deaths of their comrades had no effect on the remaining Orcs who were all intent on attacking. Drogo preempted them by racing in to assault an Orc archer. It fell to the ground cleft in twain. Wido moved up to join Drogo and support him. The remaining Orc archer missed a shot at Wido and then its morale failed as it looked at what remained of its war party. The Orc sergeant and another warrior moved up to attack Drogo but were not quick enough to engage him yet. meanwhile, Onesipe and Fulrad moved into position to get a clearer shot at the orcs. Drogo's mad charge was making it difficult for them and they did not want to shoot him.

With Wido in position, Drogo renewed his assault. The Orc sergeant put up a fight but Drogo's maddened charge was too much for it. The remaining Orc tried to exact revenge, but Drogo's axe decided that this was not to be. Apart from the Orc that had fled, the entire war party was sprawled lifeless on the ground. Drogo howled his delight at this carnage.

The party searched the camp and found a bag of Crafting Materials beside the fire, a set of Knight's Armour and a pile of Tapestries worth 6 Marks. They also found some Vital Information and 6 Marks in gold.

Checking their fallen comrades, the party find that Lysanthir is wounded once more, and that Sir Thiebault has just bashed his head and was knocked out.

Lysanthir goes up a level and gains another Casting increase. He is now at maximum casting bonus.

News Travels

As they camp, the party is joined by a travelling skald who informs them that Jarl Boggvir near Elsfjord Kloster has a quest for anyone willing to take it on. The skald knows no more than this, other than that the Lemmings will need to hurry there if they wish to take it on (go to hex 1510 before end of Turn 11).

Sunday 22 January 2023

Turn 8: The Thrappled Lemmings in Search of the Unknown (Five Leagues from the Borderlands)

Halldor the Voluminous had seemed like a credible source, so Sir Thiebault decided to take this information back to Lysanthir and see what they could make of it.

Turn 8

Local Events

"Whaddya mean the market is out of weapons?" shrieked Sir Thiebault.

The trader responded sarcastically, "Whaddya think I mean? You cannot buy weapons here. The trade caravan got hit by Orcs and now there is a shortage.

Sir Thiebault stumped off despondently, his plans for some window shopping thwarted.

Hard Times

The party eats up 2 Marks' worth of food and beer.

Campaign Activities

Lysanthir visits the town healer and is very quickly healed. He and Drogo are now fit to to adventure again.

Despondent about the lack of weapons, Sir Thiebault heads to the nearest dive bar and enters a high stakes game of cards. He leaves the tavern later that night 3 Marks richer!


Having learnt from their recent experiences, Lysanthir heads to market and buys bandages for the party. He also buys torches and a bottle of tonic for himself, just in case he needs it again.


Feeling much better, Lysanthir decides to spend some time researching the temple he came here to find. His research pays off, but only when the librarian shows him that he is looking at the map he is studying upside down (4 adventure points and 1 story point used to pass an adventure milestone). He locates a monster lair near Fikaby in this way. It is not the temple he was after, but it is definitely a chance for treasure.


Sir Thiebault and the others return to Haitabu and impart the information they learned in Utstein Marknad to Lysanthir. On the way, they encounter a beggar called Sigrid, whom they feed and send on her way. She becomes their Friend.

News Travels

The local militia has been patrolling rigorously of late. Travel has temporarily become safer and there will be no need to roll for travel encounters next turn.

Thursday 12 January 2023

Turns 6-7: The Thrappled Lemmings Learn Something Useful (Five Leagues from the Borderland)

  With the giant dead, the Thrappled Lemmings are minor heroes in Haitabu and they let lots of people buy them drinks. Lysanthir and Drogo are so, so pleased for their comrades as they lie in bed drinkless, recovering from the giant's tender ministrations.

Turn 6

Local Events

Seeing how the Thrappled Lemmings are being feted, a young woman approaches them and asks to join the party. In the face of her parents' ire, the Thrappled Lemmings quickly state that they are not taking new recruits on at this time, although they do promise her that she may be able to join later. They point to the injuries that Lysanthir and Drogo received and suggest that she train more first.

Hard Times

The Thrappled Lemmings feast on their rations, rather than spend hard-earned drinks money on something as ephemeral as food. 1 Ration used to cover upkeep costs.

Campaign Activities

Wido goes to the local blacksmith and has his armour repaired for 3 Marks.

Lysanthir visits the town healer in a bid to get back on his feet again in a hurry.


The party sells its loot and gains 9 Marks.


With Lysanthir laid up, no one in the party wants to waste valuable drinking time with their nose in a book.


The party chooses to rest up this turn, so nothing but carousing happens.

News Travels

Travellers have seen something odd in the forests to the north-east, adding a new unexplored region to the map. Clearly there is loot to be had and the Lemmings are just the people to explore this opportunity.

Turn 7

Local Events

Onesipe was upset when one of the locals barged past him and his beer got spilt. The resulting recriminations cost the party 2 Marks in compensation to the fellow that did the barging and repairs to the tavern where it happened.

Hard Times

The Thrappled Lemmings eat the last of their rations. 1 Ration used to cover upkeep costs.

Campaign Activities

Lysanthir visits the town healer again to speed up his recovery.

Sir Thiebault finds a local swordmaster to help him train and gains 1 XP.


The party chooses to save its money for beer instead of equipment.


Lysanthir is still under the weather, so no research is done.


Sir Thiebault decides that a trip to Utstein Marknad is in order to find out what that fellow they heard rumours about is like. The four party unhurt party members set out on the trail. Part way to Utstein Marknad, they encounter a wretched man with sores on his face and bleeding feet. He begs to join the party and work for them, but it looks like he would drink too much beer, so the party ignores him and marches on their way.

Upon reaching Utstein Marknad, they seek out the man they had been told about. Halldor the Voluminous is a merchant with information of use to the Lemmings. For the price of a pint or three, he spills the beans and tells the party about his travels and the things he has seen along the way. Sir Thiebault is convinced that there lies a clue to great wealth in these tales and plans to share them with Lysanthir upon his return to Haitabu.

News Travels

Halldor also tells of tales of a monster that has ravaged the region, but he is not sure where it lies. A Hidden Monster Lair is added to the map.

Wednesday 11 January 2023

Turn 5: The Thrappled Lemmings Face a Giant Problem (Five Leagues from the Borderlands)

 After a good night in town, the whole party wake up with hangovers. They had celebrated their newfound wealth in style, and now it was time to make use of the good will they had generated by recovering the mayor's hat.

Local Events

It's market day in town and the traders have rare and exciting goods on display. 1 extra Rare item is available to buy.

Hard Times

The Thrappled Lemmings donated some of the meat Sir Thiebault had hunted to the local inn who prepared it and fed the group. 1 Ration used to cover upkeep costs.

Campaign Activities

With full bellies, the party were in a good position to make best use of their time in town. Naturally, this meant that they chose to Meet the Locals in the tavern and to Gamble some of their wealth. They met plenty of people, but discovered nothing of interest. Their attempts at engaging in games of chance were equally unsuccessful and they walked away from the card table 2 Marks poorer.


Lysanthir recouped the party's gambling losses by selling off the spare gear they had. The price was not great, but Marks in the pocket are better than potential Marks tied up in gear in the stash.


Discussions with a local noble result in the offer of a contract. He wants the party to slay a Giant that has been terrorising people in the area and will pay 4 Marks upon receiving proof that the monster is dead. Lysanthir immediately accepts, despite the misgivings of the rest of the party.

"This thing is bigger than all of us! Can we really handle it?" they chorus.

"Of course we can," announces Lysanthir, "We just need to cut it down to size, like eating an elephant. We'll merely eat one bite at a time."

The mixed metaphor and the reference to eating a mythical creature confuses the rest of the Lemmings enough that they shut up while they think about what Lysanthir had actually said. This gives him enough time to get directions to the likely site of the monster's lair just a half day's travel from Haitabu. 


Before the rest of the Lemmings can gather their scattered wits, Lysanthir sets off in the direction of the monster's lair with the party's savings in his purse. This leaves the rest of them little choice but to follow him in case he ducks into a nearby tavern and spends it all. There is much grumbling and muttering against their leader, but it is water off a roc's back to Lysanthir, who is now thinking of all the gold the merry band will gain from this adventure.

Before long, they are marching through scrub and light woods towards an old burial area. grave mounds are scattered all over, and there are signs that the giant is in this area. The huge footprints are a dead giveaway!

"Fulrad, you are our scout. Scout the area for the giant."

Fulrad grumbled about being only arrow fodder for the party, but moved out quickly enough. As stealthily as he could, he advanced through the scrub to check out the open doorways to the mounds. Reaching the first of the mounds, he peered into the mound, straight into the face of the giant. It was awake and it was angry. He ran back to the rest of the party, pursued by the giant.

The others advanced to the edge of a copse of light trees, and the giant changed direction to deal with them. Reaching Sir Thiebault first, it swung its huge sword at him. He blocked the blow with his shield but was thrown backwards through the air twenty feet. Rising quickly, Sir Thiebault charged back into the fray.

"SCRAG THE GIANT!" he yelled as his battle cry.

His sword carved a grievous wound in the giant's leg. Drogo, using Sir Thiebault as cover rushed in and his axe cut deeply into the giant's flesh. Emboldened by the others' success, Wido charged in, aiming to gain the name of giant-killer. The giant dodged his blow and hit him backhanded with its sword. Wido flew thirty feet through the air and did not move again. Lysanthir then charged in with his sword and caused another wound to the giant. It was bleeding badly now, but seemed unimpeded by its wounds.

Sir Thiebault followed up his earlier success, only to be cast thirty feet through the air by the giant's counterattack. Fortunately, his armour held and was unharmed, unlike Drogo who was thrown ten feet back into a tree by the giant and lay senseless thereafter. Onesipe moved into position to shoot while Fulrad unleashed a volley of arrows that bounced off the giant's thick hide.

Sir Thiebault attacked once more but the giant thrust him backwards once more and he found himself picking leaves off his armour yet again. Lysanthir fended off the giant's initial attack, only to be thrown through the air as he attacked in turn. He lay in a swoon and did not stir again. Meanwhile the missiles fired by Onesipe and Fulrad did not seem to even bother the giant at all.

Onesipe fell next to the giant's attack, and Sir Thiebault found himself flying through the air once more, while Fulrad's arrows did nothing. Sir Thiebault picked himself up and launched himself into the fray once more, only to find himself launched out of it again. He blessed the armour he was wearing for protecting him through all this.

Fulrad closed in on the giant to support Sir Thiebault, who charged yet again. This time, his sword found its way past the giant's defences and he carved another large hole in the aberration. The giant paused and gazed stupidly at the blood that fountained from this new wound before staggering two steps and crashing to the ground dead. Sir Thiebault and Fulrad cheered and then went to check on their comrades and to check the giant's lair.

Looting the lair, the party found two warhammers, 1 Potion of Bear Draught and 4 doses of Misty Water Flower. Not a great haul, but all treasure is useful. Returning to Haitabu, the party collected 4 Marks for slaying the monster and learned that there was a mysterious stranger at Utstein Marknad. Rumour had it that this stranger was worth meeting for various, not quite fully explained, reasons, but that he would be moving on shortly (After Turn 7 of the campaign).

I cannot believe how many attacks I made where the giant won as defender. It all started so well with fantastic rolls to defeat the giant's Toughness, but then the rest of the game was characterised by my party's attack rolls all being terrible, until the very end.


  • Lysanthir is wounded and will be out of action for 6 turns.
  • Drogo is wounded and will be out of action for 3 turns.
  • Onesipe was only knocked out and is better now, although his ears are still ringing.
  • Wido was unhurt but his armour was damaged.
  • Drogo and Onesipe both went up a level and gained +1 Combat Skill.

Monday 2 January 2023

2022 Retrospective

Happy New Year to my reader. Last year was a year of two halves. It started well but finished very badly on a personal level. We're still dealing with the fallout of that second part and it definitely affected life generally, although I still found time to game. I hope this year goes better and that you have a good year too.

Last Year

As is traditional now, it is time to take stock of my gaming over the past year, and to consider what the next year may bring. As is also traditional, the latter will be wrong and I shall do something completely different and unexpected purely on a whim.

So, here is the list of all the games I have played over 2022, listed from most plays to fewest. To make the table easier to read, I have deleted the entries for the expansion packs to games so that only the core set shows.



Warfighter: The Tactical Special Forces Card Game


Dungeons & Dragons: Temple of Elemental Evil Board Game


Thunderbolt Apache Leader


Five Leagues From The Borderlands: 3rd Edition


Warfighter: The WWII Tactical Combat Card Game








Command Decision: Test of Battle


Firefly: The Game






Scarlet Heroes


Warriors of the Four Circles


Fistful of Lead: Core Rulebook


Warfighter Shadow War: The Modern Night Combat Card Game



As you will quickly notice, Warfighter has the most plays with the modern version scoring 33 games and the WWII version scoring 7, while the Shadow War version only saw 1 play. Still, that is 41 plays for the whole system. Not bad. I have really enjoyed playing Warfighter, and found it even more appealing once I had bought hardcopy of it rather than playing on VASSAL. VASSAL is great for a quick fix of gaming but I work on a computer screen all day and need to give my eyes a break when away from work. You can read AARs and my thoughts about the game on the blog.

Temple of Elemental Evil scored the second largest number of plays. I played the campaign all the way through and enjoyed it. There were parts of the game that irked me a bit but overall it was a fun way to play D&D. Unfortunately, I did not write it up. One of the reasons I got this game was for the tiles and figures. I already have the tiles and figures from Gloomhaven and I thought I could combine the two to make up some dungeon-crawling figure games. I still could, but I think that plan has gone by the wayside now. I note that in last year's retrospective, I stated this intention and I really have to laugh at my optimism and ability to stay focused on my goals.

Thunderbolt/Apache Leader
had a few more outings. 10 this year versus 11 last year. It's a good game and is likely to see the table again next year when the mood takes me, but it is not really a game for sustained play. I am more likely to pick a campaign, play it and then put the game away again for another year.

Five Leagues from the Borderlands
is doing well so far thanks to me getting my 15mm figures out to join me in Norway. This is the main reason that the figures and tiles from Gloomhaven and Temple of Elemental Evil have not been brought into play. The 15mm figures are quicker to paint and cheaper so my 15mm fantasy set is expanding at a rate that a 28mm fantasy collection would not, unless I opted for paper figures, as I did with Warriors of the Four Circles. I may start using paper miniatures for some of the rarer monsters in Five Leagues, but I plan to use normal figures for the whole game in the end.

Related to my 15mm fantasy gaming, the entry in the table for Fistful of Lead actually represents Fistful of Lead Fantasy, not the Core Rulebook, but the former does not exist on BGG yet. FFoL Fantasy is the only wargame I have played against an opponent this year. The poor, long-suffering Steve met up with me to meet his doom twice this year and both times we played FFoL Fantasy. The game really suits our style and fits well with the time and space we usually have to spare for a game on my rare trips back to the UK. I find that playing it at 2/3 scale on a 2'x2' board is perfect for us.

Along with 2 solo games of Command Decision, one of which got written up, that covers it for wargaming this year.

On the miscellaneous other boardgames front, I feel that I have forgotten or not bothered to record all the games of Root and Wingspan that I have played using the Steam app. One of my colleagues has both and is especially keen on Root, so we got her partner involved and played a few asynchronous (effectively PBEM) games. Good fun was had all round, and I have played a lot of games of both agains the AI on Steam too in addition to playing Scythe solo several times.

was a surprise hit with my wife. She is not a gamer, but the theme and the pattern matching attracted her, so it got a few outings. She was also keen to try Hnefatafl which she bought me for Christmas last year, but that did not engage her as much.

On the roleplaying front, the solo adventures of Broneslav Torenescu have continued and are massively underrepresented on the table. I just never logged all the plays, but you can catch up on his adventures on the blog. I got stuck trying to map the next part of his adventure in Campaign Cartographer 3 back about the time he created a whirlpool of death in the streets and need to return to it. Once I have worked out how best to do the thing, he will return.

Looking Back at Last Year's Retrospective

Yeah, I never achieved what I said I was going to do. No matter. I got lots of good games in just the same.

Actually, it is not all bad. As noted last year, I made the decision to be less fussy with my terrain, and I have managed to transition to 2D printed terrain quite well thanks to really engaging with Five Leagues from the Borderlands. I have plans for more, easy terrain to expand my gaming options there, and hope to continue the Five Leagues campaign while it still has impetus. This has also encouraged me to return to painting figures, so that is pretty good.

I successfully continued Broneslav's adventures for two thirds of 2022, which is pretty good going by my standards. I'll take that as achieving the stated goal too.

With 103 logged game plays, and several more not logger, 2022 was a good year for gaming.

Looking Forward to 2023

For 2023, I would just like to maintain the impetus I have built up. That means carrying on the Five Leagues campaign, and returning to Broneslav's Basic D&D adventures to finish the B-series modules that I have been working on. Taking a break after the B-Series before starting the X-series would be ok. I could spend a bit of  time working on the maps during that break before starting the new adventures.

I would still like to get The Dark Valley and/or War Without Mercy onto the games table, despite failing in 2022. I would also like to play more Warfighter: Shadow War to really get to grips with it. These can be ongoing goals.

Finally, I hope to take more figures back to Norway to paint and get them painted. I'm going to focus on the 15mm fantasy for this because they are easy enough to paint and can be used with various rules sets. The focus will definitely be on Five Leagues from the Borderlands, but it would be great if I could play Rangers of Shadow Deep more too. I guess that will depend upon when the Five Leagues campaign reaches a natural conclusion rather than swapping between the two.

There are other aspects of my gaming that I would really like to do, but I am not sure it is realistic to plan to do anything with them this year. I simply do not have the time for everything, and being split between two countries makes it harder to chop and change between projects. This last is actually a Good Thing(tm) but is still frustrating. That said, the extension of my role for another five years does mean that I have a better excuse to ship more things out, providing that my wife does not think this means I am permanently moving out!

So, here's hoping I achieve at least some of this and that you manage to achieve your own goals for the year, and, hey ...