Having spent a couple of months planning a campaign back-story and painting figures and terrain pieces I thought it was time to actually get out the dice and play a game, if for no other reason than I start to become familiar with the rules.
|The ruined fort had palisades added before the action started|
The scenario I decided on involves a Company of Romanov troops, supported by feudal retainers raiding a town in Transylvania rumoured to be a base for the Dacian nationalist movement. The dual aim of the Romanovs is to capture a Dacian for interrogation, and to destroy the base. The retainers are also looking for loot. They are armed with sabres and a mixture of firearms including muzzle loading rifles.
The Dacian Company includes three acolytes of Count Alucard, and a small force of his family retainers based in a partially ruined fortress on the edge of the town. The acolytes each have mystical powers which were decided by the role of a dice, 1 power score of 1or2 2 powers 3 or 4, 3 powers 5 or 6.
|The town with police post top centre|
The town itself and the outlying farms house a number of civilians who are in the main poorly armed and unwilling to fight on behalf of the Dacians. They will however fight to protect their homes and those of their neighbours. There is also a small police/customs office in the town centre. The townspeople’s movements and action are controlled by dice or reacting to what happens in the game and testing such matters of pluck.
The game was played solo, mainly so I could get a grip of the game system and consider the relative strengths of the units and characters engaged.
The Romanovs left their horses some way from the town in exchange for dicing for a free movement turn indicating surprising the defenders, in which they were successful. At the given signal they rushed forward towards the ruined fortress the retainers slowed by the ploughed field while the troopers headed for the cover of the standing corn. Two of the Cossacks failed pluck tests ignored their orders and headed for the nearest farmhouses in search of loot. The first was unlucky enough to burst through the door to be met by the blast of a blunderbuss which drove him writhing to the ground. The second looter was luckier, farmer Karl failed his pluck test and ran into the town warning his neighbours of the raid. As the looter tried to break in the door the farmer’s son armed with an old pistol and a sickle stepped round the corner, placed the muzzle to the Cossack’s temple and pulled the trigger...dice roll of 1... misfire, leaving both men staring at each other in shock. The Romanov marksman quickly brought down one of the Dacian guards at the castle as they rushed to their posts.
Taking station in the corn field the Romanovs peppered the Dacian guard posts but without dropping any of the enemy. The unit marksman suffered a sudden and agonising headache as he fought the urge to turn and shoot his own officer and his shooting suffered accordingly. Father Theodore hurried to the side of the wounded Cossack to provide aid, but turned to see an enraged peasant armed with a scythe running toward him having passed his pluck roll. The other looter amazed to be alive ran back to join his colleagues, while the farmer’s son clubbed his pistol and wielding his razor sharp sickle attacked the nearest Cossack just as he drew a bead on three Dacian retainers rushing back from the tavern. Meanwhile, inside the police post sergeant Milovich struggled to decide whether to face the invaders, suddenly deciding his duty lay in holding the Customs post, and ordered his men to pile furniture against the doors. Farmer Karl realised that his son was facing the enemy alone and rushed back towards his farm, and calling Vulovic the woodsman to join him.
The farmer’s son hacked down with the sickle blade to see it deflected by a sabre swinging towards his head, stepping back he stumbled and almost fell as he backed away from the grinning Cossack. In the next field Father Theodore ducked beneath the glittering scythe blade and thrust his razor sharp kinjal at the peasant’s stomach, and was rewarded by a growing red stain appearing on his opponent’s shirt. The Cossack hetman burning for revenge burst into the farmhouse and hacked his sabre into the neck of the farmer struggling to reload his blunderbuss; a second Cossack drove his dagger into the man’s chest as he fell against his table.
|The farmers fight back|
Firing erupts all along the battleline, but amazingly all the hits are flesh wounds and they are few as the Dacians seem to be shrouded in a dark moving mist. The Romanov marksman falls to his knees holding his head as his comrades charge into contact with the enemy. Count Zhukov thrusts his sabre at a cloaked figure who charges into him unarmed but using his powerful clawed hand to grip the nobleman as he bites at his throat. Zhukov’s companions drive their weapons at the Dacian forcing him back but seeming to leave him uninjured. Andrei Petrovich pressed into the surrounding mists to confront a Dacian rifleman lurking behind a fallen pillar, he glimpsed a woman, pale and beautiful staring at him intently as a movement at his side warned him of the falling blade of a Dacian officer charging in at him. Deftly he dodged the rifleman’s thrust and parried the officer’s blade throwing a rapid riposte that was deflected by his opponents padded coat. Taking a step backwards he realised he was trapped by fallen masonry.
|Andrei in trouble|
Reinforcements running from the town caused the Cossack flank guard to break off the fight with the farmer’s son and seek to rejoin their Hetman, while father Theodore and his sword wielding colleague struggle to contain the scythe swinging peasant. It the cornfield a trooper drags away the bound figure of the Dacian guard felled in the first volley of shots.
Father Theodore, speaks quietly to the desperate scythe wielding peasant, and suggests he leaves now with the priests blessing. The peasant rolls a 2 failing his pluck test and dashes back into his cottage bolting the door. The father returns to tending to the wounded man at his feet whilst his companion moves to join the flank guard who are stood recharging their rifles watching the wary Dacians and townspeople approaching around the Customs post, from which offizier Mihailovic has slipped to join the few courageous souls willing to protect their town.
|The townsfolk look for leadership|
Count Zhukov, and his troopers continue their desperate fight in the ruined fort. Three times he sees the monstrous creature seeking to tear at his throat hit by sabres, but with no effect, Petrovich is edging back to join them though the shifting black mist but he can see no sign of their Cossack retainers, no doubt he believes looting farmhouses and raping anything that moves. The unit marksman, Gregori Bronowski, despite the voices in his head dashes forward to take post at the rickety palisade from where he hopes to find a target, as he takes position he hunts for his shot. He sees Dacians moving through a dark mist but still his eyes seek a target, suddenly he sees and fires, and 50 yards away Andrei Petrovich winces as his cheek is seared by the kiss of a passing bullet.
|Zhukov in a desperate engagement|
The flank guard, their muskets reloaded, prepared to face the townsfolk. The Hetman ordered half his warriors into the attack while the others laid down covering fire. The Dacian sergeant stepped forward and levelled his pistol at the advancing Cossacks only to fall to the ground pierced three times by Romanov lead.
The remaining two Dacians fired at the attackers, with both muskets misfiring. In shock the Dacians rose to their feet, the first looking on in horror as his colleague was brought to combat by three Cossacks, and watched the mob of townsfolk take to their heels in face of the Cossack charge. Father Theodore was unable to revive the Cossack peppered with blunderbuss shot and so dragged the man towards the waiting horses to be tied to the saddle as with the Dacian prisoner.
|Cossacks ready to attack|
In the fortress the hand to hand combat continued with renewed fury. Zhukov in growing disbelief watched the slash wounds on his opponent’s body seem to heal themselves as no blood flowed from the pierced flesh. Andrei hacked at his two opponents in despair, knowing he was tiring, when the Dacian Hetman sabre snapped off at the hilt allowing Andrei to disengage and slide backwards to join Zhukov and his companions, but his relief was short lived a razor sharp blade slipped beneath his guard and deep into his body. Dazed and confused marksman Bronowski tried to make sense of what seemed to him to be a dream in which he tried to kill one of his own comrades, but suddenly a horrific creature, like a man, but with the red eyes and tormented face of a mad creature complete with drooling fangs leapt at him over the palisade. Desperately he drove his rifle butt into the creature’s face as its hooked talons tore at his thick military coat and he staggered back from the wooden wall.
|Marksman in big trouble|
Dmitri Lavarov saw Andrei fall to the ground and rushed to his aid, a Dacian rifleman fired at close range but his musket ball flew wide and Dmitri drove his sabre into the throat of the Dacian lunging at the prostrate Andrei. Father Theodore rushed back to the melee and on seeing the marksman struggling with a monstrous creature raised the Icon of the Holy Blood and spoke a Blessing on the warriors fighting such evil. The Dacian Vampyres, Vlad and Kronos screamed in agony as the Blessing was made and the Romanovs redoubled their attack. Kronos was battered to the ground by Zhukov and his two companions. Vlad, unable to defeat the sturdy marksman saw Theodore approaching holding high the Holy Icon and his cross, his nerve broke at this point and with a snarl of defiance he leapt over the palisade and into the ruins of the fort.
The pale woman steps from the shadows her arms weaving patterns in the cold air, and tendrils of dark smoke issued from her fingertips, creating the drifting black mist that makes shooting impossible. The woman with the few remaining Dacian guards slip away from Zhukov’s party into the cover of the darkness.
While his auxiliaries looted the bodies of the dead, and his troopers secured the Dacian prisoners and documents found in the keep, Zhukov pondered the discoveries of the day. The Dacians fought hard enough and seem to lack only modern weaponry to pose a real military threat. As for the mysterious madman captured in the fortress perhaps the legends of the Vampires have substance after all, may God protect us.
|Zhukov and Theodore|
The game itself went ok, once I got used to the play sequence and factors. I used pluck roles to decide what characters may do, so for example the farmer ran at the first appearance of the enemy, but rolled again when he realised his son was in danger adding +2 to his dice score. He was right next to the woodsman so I threw for him joining the farmer, which he did. As it happens the son retreated towards them so when they met up they stopped and retired to join the other townsfolk. All decided by dice and perfectly reasonable.
|How many 1s can you throw?|
The mystical powers worked ok with the Romanov marksman struggling to not shoot his own comrades, and the dark mist aiding the Dacian escape.
I did seem to throw quite a lot of 1s which caused problems for my characters, and not a sign of things to come I hope. I will be playing another action this time based in London as soon as I have painted the required figures.