Saturday, November 3, 2018

Frostgrave: The Wishing Well


Happy to have got in a game of Frostgrave yesterday with a good friend. It illustrated all the things that make this game fun:

  • A low model count.
  • Flexibility (choosing your warband)
  • Speedy play
  • Fun spells
  • Memorable moments!

As usual, soldiers, thieves and wizards dropped like flies, but to whose advantage? Just remember, don't get too attached to your warband...


The winding city streets...what treasures here are hidden?



The Warbands.

After losing some loyal followers the last time I ventured in the city of Frostgrave, it was time for Melvin the Marvelous to dust off his gold pouch and bulk up his gang. After emptying his coins onto his laboratory workspace, it took but seconds to realize that there wasn't nearly enough there! To supplement his resources, he used "Write Grimoire" to create an Elemental Bolt Grimoire, promptly selling this for an additional 250 gold. With that, he has just enough to pay (convince) the following lads to sign up:
  • A ranger
  • A tracker
  • A barbarian
  • A templar
This gave me some ranged support (replacing the two unfortunate archers of the last excursion), as well as a strong infantry core who (along with my knight) would give me some good sword-swinging, magician-mangling muscle(s)! After calling in my apprentice Hafnar the Cack-Handed and raiding his supplies, the full warband looked like this:
  • Melvin the Marvelous - Elementalist Wizard (Fate Stone, Elemental Bolt Scroll)
    • Elemental Bolt, Elemental Ball, Elemental Shield, Summon Demon, Summon Imp, Grenade, Decay, Spell Eater, Combat Awareness, Banish (learned)
  • Hafnar the Cack-Handed - Apprentice
  • Knight
  • Infantryman
  • Templar
  • Barbarian
  • Tracker
  • Ranger
  • Thief
  • Thug
With plenty of warm (disposable!) bodies assembled, its off into the frozen city we go!

Melvin (at right) and Hafnar (left) before setting off into the city.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the city, another motley crew has assembled under the leadership of my old enemy "The Unnamed Soothsayer", with a LOT of ranged firepower...



  • Wizard - Soothsayer
    • Awareness, Combat Awareness, Will, Heal, Miraculous Cure, Fleet Feet, Glow, Leap, Enchant Weapon.
  • Apprentice
  • Treasure Hunter
  • Tracker
  • Archer
  • Archer
  • Archer
  • Thief
  • Thug
  • Ranger
That is a lot of guys with bows, eh!?
The two bands start by picking their way through the ruins, so let's take a look at the city...

The city center is dominated by a massive wizard's tower,
in turn surrounded by statues of the Old Kings.

Behind the tower is a graveyard and some burnt out town houses.

Melvin and Hafnar split into two bands, and move up from the South. They plan to head into the center of town and to the wishing well at the western edge of the plaza.

Hafnar and henchmen crouch behind the old tower (L), while Melvin,
accompanied by an infantryman and thief, head right.

On the far Western side of the board, the thug and barbarian take cover,
hoping to dash across the graveyard or use it as cover.
The Un-known's apprentice and band of merry archers occupy a ruin
overlooking the graveyard.

Unknown's thug and thief crouch behind another tower.


Turn 1

(Wizard phase) The Un-named soothsayer acts first and immediately casts awareness on himself. After this, he group activated the soldiers around him and moved forward towards cover. 

His sense of self-preservation swinging into action, Melvin casts Elemental Shield. This gives him 3 additional wounds that must be taken before his own health goes down. Melvin, his infantryman and the thief then move along the town house wall towards the wishing well and the treasure hidden inside it.

(Apprentice phase)
On the other side of town, the Un-known's apprentice failed to cast "Glow", but powered up the spell with his own blood, injuring himself (2 damage) but getting the spell off and hitting my Knight (who is now lit up like a mystical lantern...)





...this bodes ill for the knight when he is now targeted seconds later by all three archers. Three arrows are let fly. Two fail to find their target, but the third hits (a 20!) and kills him outright (an arrow to the head?) 


Three archers can see the knight. Moments later he is dead, deAD, DEAD!

Hafnar can only sigh as the knight crumples to the ground next to him. The master WILL be displeased by the knight's performance (again!). Realizing they need a more commanding position, Hafnar cajoles the ranger and tracker with him into action, and they make a run into the ruined tower and up to the second floor, taking up position near a window to cover the graveyard and western side of town. The Templar trails behind, staying on the first floor to rush or intercept any enemy who tries to head for the wizard's tower that dominates the center of town (and the treasure chest there).


Run for the tower (and leave the knight behind!)
Seeing Hafnar's group run into the tower, the un-known's Tracker steps out of cover near the wishing well on the Eastern side of town and looses a quick shot. With no cover to protect him, the ranger in the tower is badly hit! (losing 8 damage!).

(Soldier phase)  At this, the remaining bodies on both sides make a dash. Melvin's thug and barbarian run towards the graveyard, just making it to the edge. In between their mad dash, Un-known's ranger moves, but misses his shot.


Turn 2

(Wizard phase):
Once again the Un-Known is quick off the mark (wins initiative), and this time casts "Fleet feet" on his ranger, giving him a longer move. The ranger, being close to his master, also takes a move and shoots at the Templar in the tower, just missing.  His arrow clattering off the masonry almost convinces the Templar to move position though.

Melvin, mustering the courage to move forward (just a bit!) grabs a stone from the ground and casts "Grenade" on it. He lobs it at the enemy treasure hunter and tracker, who are near the wishing well. It explodes, and with both of them being in close proximity to the explosion, they both take a lot of damage. The tracker now only has 1 wound left. The treasure hunter comes off better, but is down to 6 HP. As their master does this, Melvin's infantryman and thief move into cover near the well. 








(Apprentice phase)
The Un-known's apprentice, apparently very happy with the results of his last attempt, tries to cast glow on the barbarian, but this time misses the incantation, injuring himself (2 damage).

Spotting the enemy archers bunched together, Hafnar sees his chance from the tower window and makes a move to cast Elemental Ball, only to also fail - injuring himself (for 2 damage). Both apprentices curse loudly! From their position on the tower, Hafnar's accompanying tracker and ranger both have a good view over the Eastern side of town. They spot the tracker near the wishing well, and both fire. Only the tracker hits, but the shot is true, and the Un-known's tracker slumps to the ground, injured and out of the battle.

(Soldier phase)
One of the merry men takes a shot at Melvin's barbarian, but he has some light cover (2+ on his roll) and dodges the shot. After this he decides better cover is in order, so dashes behind a coffin in the graveyard as he tries to make his way through the hail of arrows to get up close and personal!

Melvin's thief and infantryman had thought they were safe behind the wishing well, but they soon discover they are very wrong when a thief draws a strange looking potion from her belt and lobs it at them. A perfect throw! It explodes, killing Melvin's thief outright and covering the infantryman in blood and gore. He is unhurt, but unsurprisingly a little shaken by being coated in red mist...

Meanwhile at the graveyard, the thug from Hafnar's group regrets being left alone and sprints up to the coffin near the barbarian. both are tantalizing close to a treasure filled coffin, but with the archers nearby decide they will have to charge them later on.
The thief and thug (r) hunker down in the face of three archers (l)
They spy treasure, but it is too risky to get to it with those archers!


The archers try to take out the disposable duo, but two of them miss. Seeing his chance, them templar moves forward out of the ruined tower, trying to reach the enemy band and add his strength to the thug and barbarian. Finally, on the Eastern flank the treasure hunter sprints across the well, jumping from wall to wall and into combat with the infantryman. The fight is a stalemate. Both circle the other, hoping to finish their opponent off in the next turn.


Turn 3

(Wizard phase)
The Un-known wizard take the initiative yet again, and things start well as he easily casts Glow on his opponent Melvin. As so often before, this is quickly followed by a nearby archer aiming and loosing a shot, but this fails to hit.
Whereas his opponent is all about buffing his team, Melvin is an Elementalist. He falls back on his go-to offensive spell, Elemental Bolt, and casts it at the Unknown wizard. Great Scott, his incantation is strong (rolls a 20), and the bolt lands home, instantly killing his enemy!

(Apprentice phase)
Undeterred, (or perhaps angered!) the Un-known's apprentice moves forward and casts glow on the thug. Yet again, glow is cast, but this time, all three archers miss due to their intended victim being in hard cover and their movement costing them accuracy.

Hafnar, (not to be outdone at this magic casting business) looks down from the tower and spots the enemy ranger across the board. Like his master, he knows Elemental Bolt. However unlike his master he is simply not as adept with this spell. To make it go off he has to empower it with his own blood. The spell succeeds, but costs him 3 HP. The ranger has no defense, and is killed. Hafnar's ranger has a thief in his sights and lets fly, hitting and killing his target (rolls 18 +2)
NOTE: Some confusion here as to who was killed..

(Soldier phase)

...but the key thing is that Un-known's thug make it to a treasure chest, and drags it towards home.
Seeing his chance, Melvin's thug leaps out of cover in the graveyard and sprints across the broken ground. He manages to get into combat with one of the archers. Shouting "Sweet revenge" at the top of his lungs he swings his club, and misses completely.

Melvin's thug runs up to an archer, while the templar (R) tries to get to the fight.

At the wishing well, the treasure hunter attacks Melvin's infantryman. Despite his heavier armour he takes 9 damage, and is left barely alive (1 wound left.) He swings back, but is easily dispatched by the wily treasure hunter. Noting that he is face to face with an angry wizard, he decides to retreat out of the town to fight another day (Melvin exhales a sigh of relief - hand to hand combat isn't his strong suite).

At the well, the treasure hunter attacks the infantryman, avoiding his spear swings...

...and killing him! With both the thief and infantryman dead at his feet,
he decides to leave the field. A relieved Melvin looks on (L)

Meanwhile near the graveyard, Hafnar's supporting barbarian and templar both move toward the developing fight between the thug and the archers, hoping that their skill at arms and numbers will help them overpower the merry men.

The barbarian moves across the graveyard to the treasure, but decides
to head for the combat.

Turn 4

(Wizard phase)
With the Un-known wizard out of action, Melvin is free to make his move first. He slips out of cover from behind the town house and tries to snipe an archer with his Elemental Bolt. He misses, but grasping the Stone of Fate in his pocket he alters his luck (rerolls) and the archer is hit by a bolt of elemental power and knocked out.



(Apprentice phase)
With the melee developing out of his line of sight from his hidey-hole in the ruined tower Hafnar has no choice but to move downstairs to the first level of the building. Meanwhile his opponent apprentice successfully casts yet another glow, but this time on Melvin! Caught out in the open and aglow, it looks like he is likely to be full of holes when an archer looses his arrow, but the shot goes awry. Drama!

(Soldier phase)
The archer swings at the thug, cutting him up, but leaving him alive and still with plenty of fight (7 HP remaining). Seeing the thug needs help, the Templar finally arrives at the fray. Diving in headlong, he gets up close to the apprentice and another archer, forcing them into combat.


During the melee, the thug manages to haul his treasure to safety, This ensures that whatever happens, at least the Un-Known's warband will have some gold at the end of the day! 
Ho Ho! Treasure!
At last the barbarian joins in - wading into the closest archer he can find and supporting the combat effectiveness of the thug.


Turn 5

The Un-known wizard's team takes the initiative, but with him out of action, Melvin gets to go first, only to fail in his attempt to cast decay.

(Apprentice phase)
The archer (gaining confidence and ability thanks to the presence of the apprentice), shows he isn't only handy with a bow, slices the Templar (who is reduced to 8 HP). He then pushes the Templar away, thus allowing the apprentice to attempt to cast "Leap", which would allow him to reappear high up on the Wizard's tower that dominates the town center (and helpfully next to another pile of treasure.) This would have been an awesome move, but the magic spell failed (on a 1.)

Hafnar, determined to do better, dashes out of cover and throws a Grenade spell. It lands well, hitting the opposing archer AND apprentice, but does no damage, causing the half-handed to hang his head in shame.

(Soldier phase)
The thug runs in to the closest archer and is followed by the barbarian, who does 5 damage to the archer. The  Templar also gets into combat and manages to overpower the apprentice, cutting him down with his two-handed sword.



Turn 6

(Wizard phase)
With both Un-known and his apprentice down, Melvin immediately tries to cast decay, but fails again! The same is true for Hafnar, who also fails at this - badly, taking physical damage.

(Soldier phase)
The lone archer left on the field bravely strikes out at the thug, but fails to connect and is struck down in turn.

Melvin's infantry stand over their fallen enemies.


For a moment all is quiet as everyone looks around to see what fight is next - only to realize that the Un-known wizard and his team are dead or fled, leaving the field (and five treasure chests) to Melvin and Hafnar.

Melvin turns back towards the wishing well. His thoughts turn briefly to the happy memories children and others must once have had here as they threw coins into the water and prayed for a brighter future. Now however "no-one will be making wishes - or drinking water here - for quite some time..."

The wishing well, surrounded by bodies...don't be drinking the water chaps!

Postgame

Well Melvin came out on top this time, and with at least of his crew intact and still on the table. However the Un-known's Glow/ archer combo proved immediately devastating to the knight in the first turn, reminding me of just how important cover can be, even when heavily armoured. Mid-to-late game, I survived due to some very unlucky dice rolling on the part of my opponent. 

I'd take this list again, as it is fun to play. The team that has some archery, so can hit at range, but which still has plenty of front line muscle if necessary (although maneuvering is always going to be essential to keep them alive.) I was disappointed with the knight (again) but that Elf model is a favorite, so I'll likely keep him in for aesthetic reasons.
My magic works well enough offensively, but next time it would be fun to be a bit more diverse in my choice of spells to try and cast.

Casualties and Treasure

Melvin
  • Knight: recovered
  • Thief: recovered
  • Infantryman: recovered
Un-Known
  • Wizard, Tracker, Thief, Archer 1: recovered
  • Apprentice: close call and loses "Staff of Casting Leap"
  • Ranger: Wounded (out for 1 game)
  • Archer 2 & 3: Dead
Treasure Chest by Alan Dean CC 2.0
Unknown's haul:
  • 1 chest =60 GC + Magic item x1 "Boots of Speed"

Melvin's haul:
  • 5 chests = 180 GC (not great!) + 70 GC from my last excursion
  • x3 magic weapons (better!)
  • (Magic +1 two-handed sword, Amulet of Resistance, Gloves of Casting)
  • x3 scrolls (Elemental Hammer, Invisibility scroll x2)
Total experience of 520 (owning a laboratory gave me the extra 20 there) to play around with, and I can carry over a scroll of Elemental bolt (unused) and my Fate Stone.

Looking forward to adding these into the warband, and thinking about how to spend those experience points!

As always, a big thanks to my opponent for the game too. :-)

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