Talk of the successes of the Crump Troubadours and the Order of the Wild Wood were much celebrated; their small victories told and retold. The poor and feckless Marrow Raiders, their purses filled with more fluff than coin, had to nurse their drinks and swallow the jibes and slings that barbed them for their general uselessness in the cattle raid that had become so much the toast of the bar.
They took it like a quiet wound, a hurt that cut them, but they wouldn't stoop to mumble about. Well, all of them except for Willy the Fist; it's ironic that the smallest of a bunch is often the most belligerent. Willy ‘The Fist’ had the quick eyes and restless hands of a troublemaker. While the Wrecking Machine had hands that could make short work of skulls and likely even coconuts, Willy ‘The Fist’ was not so naturally gifted with strength or size. He was diminutive, smaller than average, but quick. He also suffered from Small Person Syndrome, a regularly near terminal case of it. He liked a challenge, he was the sort of rogue that pick pocketed pick pockets and started fights with people in groups. In short he was a bastard.
If it hadn't been for the timely recollections of the barman, who was overcome with a sudden desire to lean into the limelight and procure as much attention as the lack of sobriety would allow him to filch, it could have gone very badly at the Tepid Cup. Luckily, as it was, Ralph was a man who much liked thieve attention. He was the sort of thief that liked to wait till the flames of whatever blaze had gathered everyones attention had died to nought but glowing embers before stepping in. That perfectly timed coup, where those besotted with one thing find themselves suddenly overtalked on that subject and are just starting to cast about for something else to discuss - that is when Ralph the barman would strike.
Finding a silent pause loud enough to fill with your own distinct noise is hard enough in a bar, but Ralph was the sort who managed it every time. After a last telling of the Rustling had died away, and the bar was full of sniffs, shrugs and staring into near empty mugs, as Willy the Fist had begun to cast about for someone big enough to pick a fight with, Ralph leaned in...
"Course, there's still the silver they managed to got."
The Badger shuddered at the sentence; for grammar was a sore point.
"They been stealing and selling cattle for what, a couple'a month or more. Talk says there's still bags o' coin buried away up there, awaiting them come back."
And that started it. A day of excited chatter, hurried preparations and rushed plans. The Crump Troubadours and Order of the Wild Wood left that afternoon, making their way toward the Blackwood along the roads, quiet and confident.
Willy the Fist had stayed in drinking, and with a bastards eye had watched them go. He grinned a thugs grin, roused himself from his seat, sniffed, and with the Marrow Raiders in tow, headed by thieves trails into the woods. They'd be damned if they'd be the laughing stock this time, anyone who was going to laugh at them was going to do so through a mouth filled with missing teeth...
|To each their own... the Order of the Wild Wood are in the foreground, while the Crump Troubadours are far left, and the Marrow Raiders far right.|
After finding again the base of operations, the three bands set-up and prepare to get in and get what they can. Some early luck on the part of the Order of the Wild Wood put some of their members far forward, within searching distance of the rumours...
|The gems were rumours, while the chests were treasures... the Order of the Wild Wood managed to get first pick of both...|
|A Ring of Flying? Were Badgers ever meant to wield such powers?|
The Order of the Wild Wood seemed poised to take the day...
|Ahh, but the Marrow Raiders wouldn't be so easily dismissed...|
|Some quick arrows loosed... while little damage was caused the poor Hedgehog was knocked down. It was a warning shot of what might be to come...|
|Never tangle with a mouse in a fine orange cloak!|
While the photos stop there they fail to catalogue the imminent arrival of a flying badger on the left wing. The general failure of all the Crump Troubadours bar their new wolf - which was most effective. And the resurgence of the Marrow Raiders, who after a tussle on the hill managed to steal away with more gold and glory than the either of the other bands.
Every dog has it's day...
The second of the three scenarios I had planned. We never managed to get their third played - so hopefully that one is still to be fought.
The starting zones were the points of a triangle, while all the treasures were positioned equally between all the forces - so treasures roughly half way along each of the sides of the imagined triangle - as well as some in the middle. There were four treasures, and a bunch of gems that represented rumours - moving into contact with those meant a roll of the dice - on a 5 or 6 they yielded some treasure, otherwise nothing. Teams that found nothing took the gem, and would receive a +1 on their next rumour roll.
There was less combat than we expected, again the game was driven by positional play, with all of those figures forward earning treasure, and becoming too valuable to potentially throw away in combat. Had any of us had a good quality long range archer it could have been very different.
This game was a lot of fun, though the luck of the dice turned this time against the Crump Troubadours, they still managed to end the game with more than they started.
If I set this up again I would have one change to how it worked. The rumours quickly disappeared - so I would have made the rule that any rumour that was not treasure could be replaced into any empty terrain feature of the players choosing - I think that could have added a fun twist to the game.
In any case - the game was fun! Here's looking forward to the next engagement!