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 Scenario Reviews-An Irregular Commentary

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Von Kurst
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PostSubject: Re: Scenario Reviews-An Irregular Commentary   Sat 8 Aug 2015 - 11:55

Nuno M wrote:
However, making the lycanthropy happen *ever* so slightly more often would be quite cool...because with the bonus of possibly transforming into a Balewolf during battle (GOOD Very Happy ) is the risk of the transformation being permanent, he runs away and you lose a possibly well-leveled Hero (BAD Sad ). So it balances out gaining all that power because u can lose it just as easily.
If so, do you think one would run the risk of creating the situation where too many Heroes become balewolves too early in the campaign?

Truly in all the years, I only remember one were-creature being created by the scenario.  This includes games in Lustria, where I made the Balewolf a Were-vampirebat.  On the other hand, making it more likely might be a bit much.  There is a way to find out of course...

EDIT (12/20/15: So this year it was a skink were-vampirebat that never saw a game because the player moved out of town after the game that created the were-bat-skink.


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PostSubject: Re: Scenario Reviews-An Irregular Commentary   Fri 1 Jan 2016 - 13:33

The Bodyguards
Author: Kurtis Burdau
Published in Town Cryer #23, pp. 28-30
Original version appeared as "Now Keep Me Safe, You Hear?"
Published on the web with the Yahoo Mordheim eGroup.  Currently hosted at Mordheimer.

The plot of the scenario is that the highest rated warband is guarding a renegade merchant who has upset two powerful crime lords who have each hired a warband to act for them.  Each crime lord wants the merchant, but one is content with only his head, the other wants the man taken alive.  

The scenario therefore is written for three players or three teams, with the highest rated warband always acting as the bodyguards (a team of one).

Mordheimer wrote a commentary comparing the original scenario to the TC version.  He is of the opinion that the original version is better than the edited version published by GW.  As far as I can tell the difference between the two is mainly that the original included 3 possible rewards depending on which player won.  The merchant will reward his bodyguards if he evades death or capture; the boss who wants him alive offered another reward and the one who wanted the merchant's head offered a third.  The Town Cryer version only had two reward tables one for the merchant and one for the crime lords.  Thus if you served a crime lord it doesn't matter in the TC version of the scenario if you kill the merchant or capture him, your warband gains the same reward either way.

My group has been playing the scenario since it was published in TC.  I have tried adapting it as a two player game with the lowest rated warband defending the merchant, but the scenario works best as a three player game. We have never played it as a team game.

Generally the scenario is a loss for the poor highest rated warband as defending against two attackers is difficult.  My group has made a loss for the Defender more likely, however, by ignoring the scenario set up rules which state that the Defender gets to pick the building to be defended AND set up last. (We tend to set up a table and then roll for scenario after... A habit that seems impossible to break.)

I don't believe that any Attacker in our games has ever won by carrying a living merchant off the board, which is a result that seems very unlikely.  If you have gotten control of the merchant, then the Defender is guaranteed to be out of the game unless his strategy was giving up the merchant... Your rival warband is also likely to be breathing down your neck, much too close to allow an escape. Our most likely outcome is someone kills the merchant and then breaks the other warband, or is broken themselves.  

I like the scenario because it fits nicely into almost any urban setting that Mordheim can be played in.  We play it regularly in Araby, Sartosa and the Karribean.  I think the original does offer more nuance than the TC version, as the TC version offers no reason not to chose any option but kill the merchant for an Attacker.  I do think that the author missed an opportunity to spell out the possibility of a draw as both a Defender and an Attacker could fight on to deny an Attacker that has killed the merchant victory by breaking the murderer's warband. I also was surprised when I read the scenario for this review (which will be little surprise for you readers) and realized that there is no reason for an Attacker to declare which objective they are pursuing before the game as they can just decide by whether the merchant is alive or dead at the end of the game.  I had thought that declaring which crime lord you supported had more import.

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PostSubject: Re: Scenario Reviews-An Irregular Commentary   Mon 18 Jan 2016 - 18:35

The Watchtower
Published in Fanatic #4, The Province of Reikland by Nick Kyme, pp. 72-3.
Formerly hosted by Specialist Games although I am not sure where to find it nowadays.  I have a PDF copy if anyone is interested.

The premise of the scenario is that one warband has been hired to garrison a watchtower in a disputed area.  The other warband is attempting to capture the strong point.  The complication is that half of the garrison is goofing off when the attack begins and are not at their post...

I like a number of things about this scenario.  The setup gives a much better tactical situation than the popular Defend the Find template of the defender in the center surrounded by attackers.  The mechanic for the attackers attempt to approach unseen works really well as well.  

My group has had many a fun evening playing the scenario (which is for two players by the way).  The scenario offers a tactical challenge which is enhanced by the randomness of the defender spotting the attacker.

My quibble with the scenario is the defenders' extra equipment, which is appropriate to defending a tower, but there is no specific provision in the rules for how to handle warbands that may not USE the equipment normally.  Since there is already a scenario which allows a warband access to a long rifle even if they are not normally allowed one, it seems Mr. Kyme could have included similar rules here.  As written my group generally negotiates who can use what for the scenario on a game by game basis.

Winning the scenario as the Attacker is very popular with my group as the attacker may capture the weapons that the Defender did not use...  This makes the negotiations about who is allowed to use what somewhat tense you see.

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PostSubject: Re: Scenario Reviews-An Irregular Commentary   Tue 19 Jan 2016 - 13:03

The PDF is available in the files hosted on the Mordheim Yahoo group also but you need to sign up to get access.
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PostSubject: Re: Scenario Reviews-An Irregular Commentary   Wed 20 Jan 2016 - 20:23

Thanks RL.

I'm going to do a run of Fanatic scenarios for the next few installments:
______________________________________________________________________________
Brigands in the Pasturelands
Published in Fanatic #4, The Province of Reikland by Nick Kyme, pp. 70-71.

I get this scenario confused with Blood on the Pasturelands because of the similar titles and because Blood on the Pasturelands actually involves brigands or at least thieves.  The scenarios are nothing alike.  For one thing, Brigands is not set in a pastureland.  It is set in the Great Forest...  One warband is hiding out in the forest from the local Baron.  The other warband has been hired by the Baron to track down the criminals/rebels/whatever.

As a scenario I don't think much of this offering.  The title is missleading. The plot as presented has nothing to do with how the author recommends warbands be assigned the roles of Attacker or Defender.  The Defender is the warband with the lowest numbers.  So the important thing about outlaws is that there aren't many of them.  In our campaigns this meant that Skaven, orcs and Undead warbands frequently hunted for Witch Hunters, Dwarfs and the human mercenary warbands...

These 'good' warbands were allied with Highwaymen, warlocks and pit fighters while the Skaven, etc. were aided by Road Wardens (2!), a Freelancer and a Bounty Hunter.  I assume the scenario was written with mainly mercenary warbands in mind, but a campaign with only human warbands is fairly rare for us...

Moving on, my other issue with the scenario is that of balance.  A scenario does not HAVE to be balanced, but this one falls heavily to one side and stays there.  The warband with the highest body count gains 4 fairly competent killers and gains 3 free warhounds for the scenario.  That's  +7 models to a warband that already outnumbers its opponent...

The Defender gains 3 Hired Swords, two of whom may be of little use, aside from providing cannon fodder to speed up routing.  The Defender also gains three special rules.  Defenders are immune to All Alone tests for the scenario and start Hidden. The Attacker will not run until a Defender is spotted...

The special rules have no purpose unless the Defender is a shooting warband with sneaky rules like elfes got. Yes the defender can start hidden and the attacker moves slowly until he can spot the outlaws... well so what?  The game doesn't end until a warband is broken, so the Defender can not evade the Attacker and win.

Our Defenders rarely did well.  Players that got to be Attackers loved this scenario for the rewards, Defenders hated it to the point that most players would feed the Attacker the Brigand Hired Swords to speed up routing.  

When I see most players choosing to voluntary rout from a scenario, I know its time to stop bothering with playing it. I haven't included the scenario in our Empire In Flames outings for awhile because I don't find the scenario idea interesting enough to bother with a re-written version.

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PostSubject: Re: Scenario Reviews-An Irregular Commentary   Sat 23 Jan 2016 - 11:42

Blood on the Pasturelands
Published in Fanatic #3, The Province of Averland by Nick Kyme, pp. 72-73.
Now hosted online by the Yahoo Mordheim group (membership necessary for access).  You may also PM me to arrange a copy via e-mail.

This scenario is about stealing horses.  Even if a warband can not ride horses, it can gain income from selling the stolen mounts.  Thus, its is a favorite with our group when playing Empire in Flames games.  The scenario has simple rules for its NPC Outriders who are guarding the horses.  It also has simple mechanics for capturing horses.  If you add the rules for riding from the article Blazing Saddles, we have found it to be a fun game.  (It is probably still fun, but less lethal to horse thieves, if you do not add the Blazing Saddles rules.)

Quibbles I have withe the scenario are mainly do to the constraints of including NPCs in games without a Games Master.  The poor outriders are generally shot or stabbed to death before they can react, although we always hope to stun a rider so that we may steal his horse as well. The Outriders are rarely a threat past the first couple games of a campaign.

The other thing I don't like about the scenario is the 12"x 12" paddock that the horses are kept in.  The horses are supposed to mill about randomly inside the paddock.  Since the area is so small this is mainly a time waster as players roll for each horse, each turn to see if it moves.  The horse can not move through or over the fence, so the point of moving them at all is lost on me.  Usually we don't bother until warbands have entered the paddock, as then the horse can at least shy from a warrior trying to steal it. (Or amble over to see if a warrior has brought sugar...)

On the whole the group enjoys the mayhem.  We've had flying wizards zip past the guards to grab a horse, improbable escapes and murderous battles.  Good times.

We (and the author of the scenario) only allow warbands to capture horses that they have 'under their control' at the end of a game to encourage the combatants to at least attempt to follow the scenario plot rather than just fight around horses.  (Some early games featured warbands fighting beside the paddock in a winner take all version. I do not encourage 'winner take all' if it can be helped, nor do the rules of the scenario. As you know my group and I have issues with reading those...)

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PostSubject: Re: Scenario Reviews-An Irregular Commentary   Wed 3 Feb 2016 - 4:29

Von Kurst wrote:
The Bodyguards
Author: Kurtis Burdau
Published in Town Cryer #23, pp. 28-30
Original version appeared as "Now Keep Me Safe, You Hear?"
Published on the web with the Yahoo Mordheim eGroup.  Currently hosted at Mordheimer.
...
I also was surprised when I read the scenario for this review (which will be little surprise for you readers) and realized that there is no reason for an Attacker to declare which objective they are pursuing before the game as they can just decide by whether the merchant is alive or dead at the end of the game.  I had thought that declaring which crime lord you supported had more import.

I was just reading through the scenario on Mordheimer tonight. It does require the warband to pick their objective before the game (see below). I agree that the original version is much more interesting than the Town Cryer version due to the three different objectives.

Quote :
Setup
The player with the highest warband rating is automatically persuaded into protecting the merchant. The remaining players must randomly divvy themselves up into groups as evenly as possible. Both groups roll a D6 and the group with the highest number gets to pick whichever statesman they want to work for.
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PostSubject: Re: Scenario Reviews-An Irregular Commentary   Wed 3 Feb 2016 - 19:38

Yes, the scenario does mandate that you pick your objective, but there is no 'in game' effect for doing so (nor is there a rule that says you must honor your commitment), so my lads just ignore that part.

For example if the victory conditions specified that a player that supported Bernardo had lost if the merchant dies, then that player would have a reason to try to ensure his victory condition.  The TC version is so indifferent to the the plot that it doesn't even specify which crime boss wants the Merchant dead and which one wants him alive.


The Bodyguards, p.29 wrote:
It makes no difference which overlord a warband works for...

Shoddy writing, I say!

I love the premise of the scenario because it fits into so many plots. If the defenders are Witch Hunters,for example, the Merchant could be an important witness, or a heretic whose former compatriots fear may give them up.

If Witch Hunters are attackers, they can be rescuing the Merchant, trying to capture him or assassinate him.
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PostSubject: Re: Scenario Reviews-An Irregular Commentary   Sun 7 Feb 2016 - 12:04

Battle For The Farm
Published in Fanatic #1 The League of Ostermark by Nick Kyme, pp. 38-39.
Now hosted online by the Yahoo Mordheim group (membership necessary for access). You may also PM me to arrange a copy via e-mail.

This scenario is a variation of The Frenzied Mob scenario published in TC #27. The size of the settlement is increased from D3+1 buildings to "around five or six farm buildings". The terrain description is more focused on a settlement than the original. (The Frenzied Mob terrain description is a cut and paste from the earlier Empire in Flames scenarios.) There are more buildings, but fewer occupants (D3 instead of D3+1). Finally the occupants are weaker than those found in The Mob. (S2 and T2 instead of S3, T3)

The Battle for the Farm also adds arson to the crimes of armed robbery and murder that a warband may commit over the course of the scenario. The occupants of The Frenzied Mob settlement carry torches, in Battle... it is the warbands who have the torches. (The farmers are armed with 'counts as' spears in Battle..., so they have only one attack, rather than the 3 of the frenzied mob. These farmers are pushovers.) Starting a fire that destroys a building is worth +1 Experience to a hero or henchman arsonist.

This scenario was the one we played the most often during an Empire in Flames campaign I ran a few years ago. As a campaign organizer I kind of regretted that because it is an experience cow. The farmers are squishier than zombies, plus the experience gained from destroying buildings. Players, of course, loved it. (Most of them forgot all about burning buildings or even looting them as they gleefully pursued the poor farmers.)

Another difference from the original scenario is that the special rules for buildings published in the Empire in Flames supplement are not mentioned at all in Battle... (The Frenzied Mob lists the rules that apply to that scenario. According to the author of Mob, not all of them do...) I suppose one could infer that the rules for buildings from Empire in Flames obviously apply to Battle.... But out of sight, out of mind is my experience.

I think the perfect raid and loot scenario is found somewhere in a combination of Mob and Battle... I am not convinced that either of them alone is quite it. (I have grown a bit disillusioned with The Frenzied Mob since my review of it back at the beginning of this thread.)

Similar scenarios:
Defend the Village!, by Mark "Rinku" Dewis
http://www.mordheimer.com/scenarios/001-020/013-defend_the_village.htm

Slavers!, author unknown. This scenario was available as part of The Frenzied Mob collection of scenarios (scenarios that used the frenzied mob models). I have a copy if you are interested.

Raids, by Christian Ellegaard. This scenario used to be hosted by Archive Pestilens. Mordheimer's link is bad.

Home is Where the Heart is, by Tom Bell (?). This scenario is part of the Sylvania campaign.
https://onedrive.live.com/?authkey=%21AByFcnV1qMjZdzg&id=2B7C1D22EA7D959%21148&cid=02B7C1D22EA7D959

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PostSubject: Re: Scenario Reviews-An Irregular Commentary   Sun 28 Feb 2016 - 11:25

Hunt the Heretic
By Nick Kyme.  Published in Fanatic #9, p. 98.
Now hosted online by the Yahoo Mordheim group (membership necessary for access). You may also PM me to arrange a copy via e-mail.

This scenario has some similarities to Brigands in the Pasturelands since one warband is defending a heretic Warlock and the other has joined forces with a Witch Hunter to bring him to justice.  Like most 'hunt' scenarios there is no hunt as the quarry is known to be in the central building (a ruined tower).  However, more thought was put into this scenario than the awful Brigands.

Candidates for Attacker and Defender are more clearly (and logically, to my mind) defined. Obviously evil warbands should be the Defender and 'good' warbands the Attacker.  Witch Hunters are ALWAYS the Attacker.  'Good' warbands can be the Defender, if two 'good' warbands are fighting each other. But the author at least defines how and why this should happen (and again, Witch Hunters will NEVER be the Defender.)  

The Defender starts with only four warriors and the heretic in the central tower.  However the rest of the Defenders will arrive on a random table edge beginning on turn 2 on a roll of 4+, 3+ on turn 3, etc.  This mechanic effects a possible ambush by the Defender, so the balance of the game can shift rapidly.  

The scenario is written to be included in an Empire in Flames campaign, but I have used it in Araby (it seems custom written for Relics of the Crusades) and in the Karribean.  It makes a great achievement scenario for a Burn the Witch type campaign objective.   I highly recommend it.

This concludes my experiences with the Fanatic scenarios. Not sure where I will go next...

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PostSubject: Re: Scenario Reviews-An Irregular Commentary   Sat 7 May 2016 - 12:11

Finders Keepers
Written by Roger Latham. Published in Town Cryer #14, "Blazing Saddles" pp. 9-10. Also published in The 2002 Annual, pp. 71-72. In both cases the scenario is part of the "Blazing Saddles" article and is not included in the table of contents.

This scenario is one of those that I have been aware of for years, but had never bothered with trying to play. I have included in our current campaign, but I do not think we were missing anything for the years which we did not play it.

The idea behind the scenario is a gold rush in a sense. Warbands race to gather a stash of wyrdstone before others can claim it. So its kind of a race scenario right? In the scenario the warbands start in corners of the board. The stash is in the center of the opposite table edge. So the path of the race is like ^.

The scenario is written to showcase the new rules for mounts introduced by "Blazing Saddles" and Robert Latham is credited as an author of those rules. So why did he write a scenario which points up the weaknesses of those rules? My belief is that a shadowy 'whoever' did not want the Blazing Saddles rules to succeed, so they commissioned horrible rules and threw in a scenario which would make clear how bad they were right off the bat.

Now let me make clear that this scenario rewards the winner, so it is not very frustrating to play if you read the victory conditions. It is kind of frustrating if you just read to the part were the winner must get the stash off the table near the warband's starting corner, because that is not going to happen. I can not conceive of it ever happening unless the table was set up with impassible terrain separating the two warbands or something.

The other possible way to win is to break your opponent and make him rout. So this is a Skirmish with alternate setup and a D3 wyrdstone reward. The scenario works on that level.

There is no reason to move toward the treasure. There is every reason to just fight your opponent. Are mounts an advantage in this? They can be, but they are no advantage in the race for the stash. Why not? They are faster. BUT the wyrdstone is set up in a ruin. Mounts can not enter ruins or buildings (depending on how your group interpret the Not indoors rule or depending on how the ruin is constructed). So you can ride to the ruin and dismount right? Well dismounting takes a WHOLE TURN. Then remounting takes a WHOLE turn. So yes you can dismount, but...if you dismount your mount has to take a Ld test not to bolt if you are not adjacent to it...

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PostSubject: Re: Scenario Reviews-An Irregular Commentary   Sat 7 May 2016 - 13:09

I haven't commented so far because I haven't played most of the scenarios myself. But I definitely enjoy reading about them and will try out some you recommend. So please keep it up!
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PostSubject: Re: Scenario Reviews-An Irregular Commentary   Sun 8 May 2016 - 0:59

Pesky Portals
Written by Ross "Pancreas Boy" Franks, as appeared in Pancreas Boy's Wyrdstone Shards (no longer available). Transcribed by Sid Hale. Edited by The Mordheimer. Available in Mordheim's (once upon a time) Master Scenario List at The Mordheimer Information Centre.

This is a scenario that appeals to me a lot possibly because it is a little bit crazy. We've played it quite a few times over the years. Every time I play the scenario though I realise that there are some glaring deficiencies in the rules that prevent it from being played in the spirit of the scenario.

The idea behind the scenario is that under a wizard's mansion there is a secret chamber containing treasure beyond belief (a treasure chest containing D3 random magical items). This chamber can only be entered through magical portals (hence the "portal" part of the scenario's name) and there will be D3+2 portals on the board. Warriors cannot control where the portals will take them (hence the "pesky" part of the scenario's name) and every time a warrior enters a portal they will come out of a random portal, go no where or potentially activate an elemental who will attack the unfortunate warrior. The only victory condition is to make the other warband(s) rout.

Unfortunately the scenario as written greatly discourages players from sending warriors through the portals to retrieve the chest. Every time that I've played, one or more warbands ends up camping outside portals waiting for a trickle of enemy warriors who are unfortunate to be teleported to that portal. It is better to either ignore the treasure and rout the other warband or wait for a player to split up their warband to retrieve the chest and then pounce and take the chest.

I have recently adjusted the rules based on our experiences and these are the rules that we now use. The rules are as per the scenario unless stated otherwise below.

Quote :
Ending the GameWhen one warband gets the chest to safety, or a warband fails a Rout test, the game ends. The victorious warband then gains the treasure chest if it has been successfully retrieved from the chamber.

The Portals: Each portal in the battlefield has a corresponding portal in the chamber. This is easiest to represent by numbering the portals (e.g. portal 1 on the battlefield links to portal 1 in the chamber). Portals can only be entered once per turn for each warrior. Roll on the Portal Chart every time a warrior enters a portal on the battlefield.

Portal Chart
1 - Elemental appears
2 - Random portal
3 - Closest portal
4 - Furthest portal
5 - Same portal (e.g. no effect)
6 - Chamber portal

The Chamber: When a warrior successfully enters the chamber then they emerge from the chamber portal linked to the battlefield portal which they used. Warriors may choose to exit the chamber via the chamber portal of their choice giving the warrior the option of where on the battlefield to return. When attempting to use a chamber portal, a warrior must still roll on the Portal Chart. On a 1 an elemental appears and on a 5-6 the warriors fail to leave. If the warrior is leaving the chamber with the chest then subtract -1 from the roll on the Portal Chart (e.g. 1-2 will be an elemental and only a 6 will be no effect). All other results mean that the warrior successfully exits the chamber and arrives on the battlefield at chosen location.

The Chest: The chest follows the usual rules for carrying a chest (i.e. it can be carried by one or two warriors). Roll on the following table when a warband wins with the chest.
Item / D6 Result Needed
4D6 gc / Automatic
D3 Wyrdstone / 3+
D3 Lucky Charms / 4+
Venom Ring / 4+
Wyrdstone Pendulum / 5+
Dispel Spell / 5+
Tome of Magic / 6+
Magical Item / 6+

The objective of these updated rules is that a warrior in the chamber can choose where on the battlefield they can appear with the chest. This is done to encourage all warbands to use the portals rather than one warband trying the portals and the other warbands waiting for the lone warrior(s) with the chest to exit at a random portal. Essentially warbands must make haste once a warrior successfully enters the chamber as there is potential for the battle to be lost very quickly once a warrior enters the chamber to retrieve the chest.

The revised rules for the chamber Portal Chart is done to give a 50/50 chance (these odds also exists in the current rules) that a warrior can be trapped/delayed in the chamber. If the warrior has the chest then this delay can give the other warbands time to enter the chamber also or assault the other portals on the battlefield.

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PostSubject: Re: Scenario Reviews-An Irregular Commentary   Sun 8 May 2016 - 8:47

Woot! Thanks for the review RL! I haven't played Pesky Portals, but it seems like a good end of campaign scenario or as an alternate to the Wizard's Mansion (especially with your modifications).

Interestingly, Frostgrave has a similar scenario which I had read a battle report about a couple of weeks ago. At the time I thought well that's kind of cool...

@Grimscull--thank you for the feedback sir.

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PostSubject: Re: Scenario Reviews-An Irregular Commentary   Today at 12:56

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