Sunday 26 March 2023

Turn 16: The Thrappled Lemmings and the Ogre's Stash (Five Leagues from the Borderlands)

 The healer strode into town. They had heard that the Thrappled Lemmings were here, and that meant money. They knew that wherever the Thrappled Lemmings roamed, either the Lemmings or those around them would need tending. The owner of the Cloak and Dagger tavern was patching up windows from last night's festivities, as the healer walked past. Across the way, tents were being set back up again.  Business looked good right now. 

The Thrappled Lemmings were keeping their heads down after the latest night out drinking, so they only spent 1 Mark on their upkeep. They were fairly sure that they would have to spend a lot more to be allowed back into the Cloak and Dagger. Still, it had been a good night, even if it did end in shenanigans. They had met the locals and found out more about the area to the north-east (+1 Story Point). Woodsmen who were now tending bruises and bad heads had reported the presence of an ogre up there. Now might well be a good time to go and investigate this rumour. It would give the locals a chance to cool off.

While the others packed, Drogo prayed. He was fed up of getting hurt and hoped that a bit of time spent sacrificing to the gods might help him come unscathed from the next fight. Drogo gains the Blessed trait for this campaign turn.

With time and distance of the essence, the Thrappled Lemmings set off. Half a day out of town, the skies opened and the rain came down is a solid sheet of water. Sir Thiebault confidently led the party onwards, slipping and sliding through the mud. For once, his sense of direction worked, and they were soon standing in the area where the ogre was rumoured to live.

As usual, Fulrad was delegated to scout ahead. The area was wooded, with a small number of low rises. A ramshackle and dilapidated woodsman's hut lay in a small clearing ahead. The heavy rain had turned part of the area to boggy marsh, and there were a couple of rocky areas that might make good hiding places for an ogre. As he neared the cottage to check it out, he fell over his own feet and landed face first in a muddy patch. Forgetting himself, he cursed loudly.

"Grargh!" said the ogre as it emerged from the cottage, and then, "Graargh!"

"Darn pesky kids knocking on my door again!"

It had heard Fulrad, was wide awake and was charging towards him. He sprinted back towards the rest of the party, yelling, "It's an ogre and it's here!"

As the party caught up with Fulrad, Onesipe fired a crossbow bolt that went straight into the beast's shoulder but left it totally unaffected. The ogre charged Sir Thiebault who fought it to a standstill, but was pushed back. Fulrad took this opportunity to put an arrow in the beast's chest.

"Graaargh!" howled the ogre as the arrow hit something vital.

Drogo charged in to support Sir Thiebault. The ogre swiped him backhanded and he dropped like a stone, unconscious. Sir Thiebault charged in to avenge Drogo and was also left unconscious in the mud. The other Lemmings grouped together for mutual support. As missiles flew at the ogre to no effect, Wido soon joined the other two in unconsciousness, and it looked like Onesipe would be next, but he quickly turned the tables on his foe. It was the ogre that retreated, blood streaming from its leg. Lysanthir then stepped in to administer the coup de grace, and to claim all the credit, of course. The ogre slumped to the ground with Lysanthir's sword in its chest.

"Graaaaaargh!" it gurgled as it expired.

Meat shields not really doing their job the right way!

Checking their comrades first, the party found that both Sir Thiebault and Drogo were merely knocked unconscious, but Wido was badly hurt. He had hit his head hard on a rock. At first it looked like he was dead, but a little checking showed that he was still breathing, but only just (-1 Story Point to reroll).

With the casualties taken care of, the serious business happened. The ogre had a stash of battered weapons (a self bow and a war spear), a bag of tools, two bottles of tonic and a decent set of chain armour in its hut, all probably looted from less fortunate adventurers. There was also a small pile of gold coins (2 Marks) This would all come in handy. The Lemmings grabbed the lot and settled in to camp there.

While camping, they encountered a group of woodsmen who thanked them profusely for dealing with this threat, but also informed them that there was another monster threatening their livelihood somewhere else in the area. No one was sure quite where though, because it had only been seen roaming in the fog.

After the battle, Fulrad goes up a level, gaining a Speed increase. Onesipe goes up a level, gaining an Agility increase. I'm glad I had a story point to save Wido or he would have been my first dead party member. I'm fairly free with my use of story points in this campaign. As the whole thing is about the narrative, story points are there to keep it going. In this case, I rerolled, rather than choosing an outcome, because there needs to be a bit of drama, but I see no issue with choosing a result. I would do that for Lysanthir as my avatar, but do not intend to do so for the other party members. They get rerolls and must live or die with the results of that.

The ogre is a Gloomhaven Cragheart figure. I am using 28mm figures for my Aberrations because they are meant to be imposing and tough looking. Also because I happened to have it and it looked about right for this role. Might as well save money where I can!

Sunday 19 March 2023

Turn 15: The Thrappled Lemmings Get Bogged Down (Five Leagues from the Borderlands)

The Thrappled Lemmings sat around their campfire and chewed the cud. The fight in the crypts had been hard, The crypt itself had been dangerous with pools of all kinds of noxious substances and toxic gases everywhere. As they discussed the dungeon, it became even deadlier and their opponents tougher. This would surely be a tale to dine out on (+1 Story Point).

The day dawned clear, and Sir Thiebault headed out to hunt. Lysanthir headed off towards the ruins to search too. By the end of their respective hunts, Sir Thiebault had killed several beavers and had pelts to sell when they returned to Haitabu. Lysanthir had found a small box containing a Congealed Strand.

Then it was time to set off back to Haitabu. Sir Thiebault led the way.

"Trust me, I'm a knight," he announced when the others queried the direction they were taking. "We are trained leaders and I am leading you in the right direction."

It was then up to Fulrad to navigate the way through the marshlands that Sir Thiebault had led them into. They emerged the other side smellier, muddier and much more in need of a bath, but it was clear that Fulrad had a better sense of direction than Sir Thiebault.

Upon returning to the town, the Thrappled Lemmings were able to sell Sir Thiebaults pelts for 4 Marks, and sold the spare equipment they had for 2 Marks more.

Wido enquired about the name on the bracelet they had found. Griselda was not a usual name and he soon found his way to the door of Griselda the baker's daughter, a woman who was famed for her floury baps.

"Oh my goodness!" she exclaimed. "I lost that bracelet ages ago and was so distraught because it was my mother's. I wonder how it got all the way over to that Delve. Thank you so much."

She gave Wido a big, floury hug and returned to making dough (+1 Story Point, and a new Friend).

Later, in the tavern, Onesipe heard some newly arrived merchants talking about an old ruin near Utstein Marknad. Apparently it had been taken over by some strange creatures that were making life difficult for the village (new delve added to map).

Monday 6 March 2023

Operation Catch that Pigeon (Warfighter: Shadow War)

 Freundel was on his own for this one. It was a small mission where too many soldiers would be obvious. His mission was to sneak through to a small airbase on the edge of the small Eastern European town of Tristness, where he was to hijack a helicopter and get it back to base. He needed to move silently and quickly. With any luck, he would not make contact with the enemy at all, but he was geared up for bear just in case. A hunting knife at his side and his MP7 were all he really needed, but he also had his night goggles, the best boots money could buy and a selection of ammunition and grenades in case the proverbial fecal matter hit the whirling blades.

The chopper touched down. There was a road block ahead. He moved into position only to realise that there was a sentry right beside him. Fortunately, the sentry was more interested in his Gauloise than in keeping look out. A single shot from the suppressed MP7 downed the sentry, and Freundel pulled the poor sod into cover.

"Hah, I did that one left-handed," he muttered to himself.

Just as well he had concealed the body, because a Hind was hovering over the street. It circled a couple of times before flying off. Lucky break.

Moving past the road block, Freundel wormed through the drainage ditches of a busy highway. Properly busy. Did everyone in this damned country drive BMPs? It sure seemed like it. BMPs, just the job for the school run. He ducked a couple of times as the BMP drove past, followed by a GAZ jeep. The vehicles roared off into the distance as several Gauloise-smoking civilians wandered down the street. They never even say Freundel, cloaked in the shadows as he was.

A suspected enemy soldier resolved itself into a rotary clothesline. Freundel mentally kicked himself for getting jumpy as he approached a checkpoint ahead just as a T72 passed through. It drove on, but paused as Freundel shot another guard who got to close. The commander got out his binos and scanned around but did not see Freundel. Moments later the T72 moved on and was soon lost from sight.

As he approached the airfield, Freundel heard another helicopter taking off, but it headed off in the opposite direction. He took out the guard at the airfield and began breaking into the helicopter. It did not take him long and very soon he was flying along in the nap of the earth towards his base. Mission complete.

I had a yen to play Warfighter: Shadow War this evening, so I dug it out and set up a solo mission. I was allowed one soldier and as much equipment as he could carry. Well, as much as I could afford for the fairly generous points allowance anyway. What has put me off playing this more so far are the extra rules for night actions. These cover noise, unaware enemies and what happens the balloon goes up and they all suddenly realise you are there. Luckily, in this game I did not need to worry about this last. It could have gone very differently if all the heavy machinery that I encountered had hung around.

Warfighter: Shadow War is a game of sneaking. You try not to make noise and look for ways to mitigate any noise you do make. If you make too much noise or hang around in areas where there are too many enemies, you will get spotted and then you will have to shoot your way out. I suppose with a full team, that might not be so bad, but I was playing with a single soldier, and would not have the firepower to do any more than take out individuals. So, sneaky was the watchword.

One potential problem for the player in this game is that the unaware enemies move randomly. I got lucky and many moved off out of the combat area, but I could easily have wound up with tanks and combat choppers hanging around in my location making life difficult for me if the dice had been a bit different.

All this makes it quite a different game from the daytime version of the game where blowing things up is de rigueur. This is a good thing. Shadow War is the scenes from the start of the movie where the heroes are stealing into the enemy compound to rain all-out thermonuclear heck down on the bad guys. Warfighter is the climactic scene at the end where everything gets blown up. There is room for both in my world.

Saturday 4 March 2023

Turn 14: The Thrappled Lemmings Rely on Crypt-o (Five Leagues from the Borderlands)

Local Events

A kindly old person in Haitabu, grateful for the delivery of the supplies, packs up lunch for the Thrappled Lemmings. The party gains 1 Rations.

Hard Times

Thanks to their success in bringing in supplies, The Thrappled Lemmings are the heroes du jour. They are feted, celebrated and fed by the locals instead of having to pay their bar tab themselves. The plentiful food helps Drogo recover.

Campaign Activities

Drogo goes to see the local healer and reduces his healing time by 1 turn.

Sir Thiebault trains and gains 1 XP. He goes up a level and gains +1 Combat Skill.


The party sells tapestries for 4 Marks and spices for 3 Marks. They also sell  two sets of light armour for 1 Mark.

They buy Tonic for Drogo and feed it to him immediately thus reducing his healing time. A set of Fine Full Armour for Drogo sets them back another 25 Marks, while a Scout's Cloak for Fulrad costs them 8 Marks, and Shields for Wido and Drogo set them back a further 8 Marks. With just 1 Mark in their purse, they decide to stop spending money.

Onesipe gets Drogo's old Partial Armour and Fulrad gets the Partial Armour they found in the encounter with the Roving Fiends. Onesipe also claims the helmet they found. The bump on his head is still sore and he does not want it getting worse!


Lysanthir undertakes research to see if he can find anything more out about the temple he is looking for but finds nothing.


With a nearly empty purse, the party decides to return to Mayor's Hat Delve even though Drogo is still wounded. They leave him behind in Haitabu to recover and retun to the Delve. Their journey is uneventful, although fording the river on the way proves slightly tricky, but they manage it without mishap.

Arriving at the Delve, they make their way down through the crypts to face whatever lies below. The third level of the Delve is even more forbidding than the previous levels. Worse than that, there is an odour of patchouli oil and sandalwood detectable in the air. Fulrad scouts ahead and whispers back to the others, "Cultists!" as he hears gibbering chanting from up ahead and recognises the telltale signs of Decrepit Worshippers. The smells were sign enough of these depraved cultists but the gibbering chanting to unnamed gods from beyond the veil of sanity confirmed it.

The whole dungeon

Sir Thiebault instructed Onesipe and Wido to scout to the left, while he, Lysanthir and Fulrad headed towards the sound of the chanting. 

As Sir Thiebault and his team advanced, the sound of the chanting got louder. Two cultists came around the corner. One looked less decrepit than the other, so Fulrad shot him in the head. The other cultist ran away immediately. They then moved warily into the room the cultists had come from and found a toxic pool of something nasty that they chose to avoid, and headed off down the long corridor towards where more chanting could be heard.

Meanwhile, Wido and Onesipe had found their way to a cache of treasure. Unfortunately, it was well guarded. No sooner had they disposed of the guards than another group of cultists found them. They disposed of those too, and plundered the treasure horde, finding a Bottle of Red Duck, a Balanced Light Weapon and a Ranger's Cloak. Nice haul.

While Onesipe and Wido were fighting against the odds, Sir Thiebault and his crew had found another pool of something toxic and a pocket of a hazardous gas that left Fulrad choking. A group of cultists found them. Fulrad went to shoot the lead cultist and realised he had only brought one arrow with him. Sir Thiebault rolled his eyes, stepped into the fray and realised that these cultists were actually quite skilled. The fight rolled back and forth with Lysanthir shouting advice from the sidelines. Suddenly, Sir Thiebault found his groove and slew each cultist in turn as they advanced on him. As the last cultist died, the party marvelled at how silent this crypt was without any cultists in it. It still smelled bad though.

Exploring further, the Thrappled Lemmings found a tunnel from the crypt to somewhere on the surface, but no further means of heading deeper into the earth. They looted the place as fast as they could and got out. The loot consisted of a bracelet with a name on it (Personal Item) and a well Balanced Staff.

News Travels

As the party camps, the weather closes in. They shelter as best they can and have to wait quite a while before it clears up enough to do anything more. This delay gives Drogo extra time to heal.