Monday, October 21, 2013

Eylau: The Morning, redux

Josh and I played this scenario a couple of months ago, and decided to revisit it; I took the French again, hoping to do better than last time.

Josh commented "Clearly the cards know what they want me to do, and they don't care in the slightest what I want to do." I was in the same boat, with plenty of "Attack Left" and "Attack Right", but nothing for the center. In fact, we played for two hours before I even got a "Scout Center" card. But once they started coming....[cue ominous, foreshadowing music].

In the beginning of the game, though, I was stuck with Left and Right. On the left, I moved the Lights into the windmill hex and discouraged anyone from getting too close. The Russian artillery eventually whittled the Lights down to half strength, whereupon it withdrew. I kept the pressure up (and burned some of my plethora of Attack Left cards) by pushing a Line regiment over the hill and into the woods, where it broke the Russian's right Cossacks and generally tried to look menacing. Meanwhile my artillery took long range shots when it could. All told, nothing much happened on the left.

I didn't really want to do much on the French right, but when you have three Attack Right and an Assault Right in your hand, well, there you are. I reluctantly advanced, and then decided that I might as well see if I could take that pesky artillery battery on the hill. Unfortunately, Josh had First Strike, and my assaulting battalion was decimated. He then threw his cavalry at me, and my Lights and mangled Line formed square. This wasn't as bad as it usually is because the cards he picked were Attack Left and Attack Right, and it's not like I didn't have plenty; however, it did lock those two units in place. Over a turn or two, the cuirassiers, guns and an infantry unit destroyed my Line regiment.

The situation at this point was the left was stalemated, the right was ineffective, and the center was immobile. I was down 4:1 in victory banners. And then the cards smiled....I drew Forced March, Bayonet Charge, and Assault Center.

Masses of French infantry surged forward with Forced March. With Bayonet Charge, the Old Guard charged up the slope, shattering a Russian regiment and taking the hill. On the center-right, a brigade pushed forward, less dramatic than the Guard but still effective; another Russian unit was destroyed. The Russians attempted to counterattack. The Guard took heavy casualties, and an ordinary regiment would have fled (from two Flag results)--but the Guard never retreats, and the battle-backs took a toll on the Russians! I played Assault Center and decided to polish off wounded Infantry units instead of destroying the Artillery, trusting to the French skill with the bayonet ("French OP", Josh muttered) and the gamble paid off. All three attacks destroyed their targets. And the Old Guard had started their turn on the Russian ridge, which brought me to seven Victory Banners.

My lesson is that I should stop trying to take a couple of regiments against artillery on a hilltop; Josh invariably has First Strike, and it never goes well.  I'd like to claim credit for the win, but I have to say that my main merit was persevering until I finally got the hand I needed. The rest of it was all the cards.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Chamber of Eyes

This is the story of Kephalades muKhao, a warrior of the Runehorn kindred of the Bone Stele clan, and his passage through the Maze of Years.

In accordance with the word of the seer, I journeyed west, seeking the son of Bahamut whom the seer promised. At Thunderspire Mountain I came to the Halfmoon Inn, wherein I took council of those there, who bade me to the Seven Pillared Hall. And thus did I, and awaited to take whatever adventure Kord should send. Scarce had I entered when a half elf came crying for aid, saying that his friends were captured of slavers, they being a half orc, a human healer, and a dragonborn, and him being verily a champion of the Golden Dragon. So I offered my blade in service, as did two of the lesser folk there.

The four of us went into the Chamber of Eyes, which seemed an evil temple with heavy chains set across the floor, and some great carven Frog god at the altar. We fought there two hobgoblins, one an archer, the other a warcaster. Once the blood cooled, we heard sounds of struggle, and followed a hall to to cells, wherein the dragonborn and the others, though naked and unarmed, fought their jailers, who were dwarves of a type I had not seen before. They had power over fire. We slew them, in a fight that was harder than it should have been, for the narrow hall did not give room to maneuver, and, more importantly, the rescuers and rescuees had no experience in how to fight together. I will need to teach them.

I found two doors, which a hobgoblin would have thought hidden. One lead from a priest's chamber to the altar; the other was a trap door, on the other side of the altar. From the sound, its ladder led to a barracks kitchen, with hoblins below.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Kephalades muKhao

Once Josh and Gwen moved away and things settled down a bit, I started looking for another RPG campaign. That mostly meant a choice of DnD, or DnD, or DnD. But at least some of them were 4th Edition instead of 3.5, so I contacted a DM and set up a character. My very first roll of the campaign was a Natural 20, which I thought boded well.

And so we have Kephalades muKhao:

Minotaur Warlord
Warlord Option: Combat Leader
Commanding Presence Option: Tactical Presence
Geography (Mountain) background, Dungeoneering skill
Theme: Guardian

 STR 21, CON 18, DEX 14, INT 19, WIS 13, CHA 16

AC: 19 Fort: 17 Ref: 15 Will: 15  HP: 40 Surges: 12 Surge Value: 10

Athletics +10, Dungeoneering +7, Endurance +8, History +10

Acrobatics +2, Arcana +5, Bluff +4, Diplomacy +4, Heal +3, Insight +3, Intimidate +4, Nature +5, Perception +5, Religion +5, Stealth +2, Streetwise +4, Thievery +2

Guardian Attack: Guardian's Counter
Minotaur Racial Power: Goring Charge
Warlord Feature: Inspiring Word
Warlord Attack 1: Commander's Strike
Warlord Attack 1: Intuitive Strike
Warlord Attack 1: Warlord's Favor
Warlord Attack 1: Lead the Attack
Warlord Utility 2: Adaptive Stratagem
Warlord Attack 3: Devastating Offensive

Tactical Assault
Level 2: Heavy Blade Expertise