After a very long period of planning, prepping, painting and pandemicking, I was finally able to get my War in Rohan campaign off the ground.
I'm hoping to weave this campaign into my Quest of the Ringbearer, so that when the Fellowship reach Amon Hen, I can continue to follow all of their stories.
The first scenario, The Burning of the Westfold, features Saruman's initial forays into Rohan. Although technically this doesn't happen until much later than the hobbits reaching Bree, it's not ridiculously out of sequence (purists may have to grit their teeth if I decide to throw in the Wizards Duel mini-game soon).
We played this game as a four player scenario, as without too many troop types or heroes, it was a good way to get us all back into the game.
Pete and Wes controlled the defenders of Rohan:
Petothain - Captain of Rohan
Wesling- Captain of Rohan
8 Warriors of Rohan with shields
8 Warriors of Rohan with bows
8 Warriors of Rohan with throwing spears and shields.
Meanwhile, Matt and I commanded the forces of evil. As a barely literate bearded peasant, I felt drawn to the Dunlendings, whilst Matt (who was also bred for war) led the fighting Uruk-Hai.
Mattluk - Uruk-Hai Scout Captain
Lillurtz - Uruk-Hai Scout Captain
6 Uruk-Hai Scouts
6 Uruk-Hai Scouts with shields
6 Uruk-Hai Scouts with bows
Gorulf Ironskin - Dunlending Hero
6 Wildmen of Dunland with swords6 Wildmen of Dunland with two-handed axes
As a quick aside, I adjusted the forces from the book from Dunlendings to the same points value of Uruk-Hai for three reasons:
- I don't have any Dunlendings other than the Wildmen,
- I don't like the GW Dunlendings as they don't fit the aesthetic of the LotR films,
- In The Two Towers, you can clearly see that the Burning of the Westfold of done by a combination of Uruk-Hai and Wildmen.
The scenario would last for 10 turns. The aim of the forces of Isengard was to set fire to more than half of the seven buildings. The forces of Rohan had to stop them.
The Wildmen of Dunland would start the attack, with the Uruk-Hai arriving later from multiple directions. If the Rohan force was reduced below 50%, they could salvage a draw by getting one of their Captains off any board edge to warn Edoras.
The Rohirrim deployed first, spreading out around the village to respond to attacks which could come from any direction.
Gorulf Ironskin a5tacked from the north and led the main body of his force into the western half of the village, aiming for the pigsty first.
The shouts of the Dunlendings announced that the attack had begun, shortly followed by the mouthwatering smell of roast pork as the pigsty was set on fire.
Smoke rose over the Westfold as another homestead was set ablaze before the defenders could intervene.
Meanwhile, the loping shapes of the Uruk-Hai appeared over the hills to the south.
A fierce battle erupted near the pigsty, and despite the intimidating presence of Gorulf Ironskin, the Wildmen struggled.
In the light of the blazing warning beacon, the Uruks rushed up the hill. Some dropped from arrow fire, but they pushed on unfazed.
The Wildmen in the east discovered that their oath to "die for Saruman" was not figurative.
More arrows whistled out from the hill-top, but the Uruk-Hai continued to advance relentlessly.
Wesling took advantage of a Heroic Combat to surround Gorulf Ironskin, who helpfully failed his Fate roll, an wounded him.
Mattluk advanced his was up the hill, cutting down men as he went. More Uruks moved up in support.
Despite the Dunlendings being pushed back, two of them slipped away to set fire to another homestead.
A new front was opened by Uruks arriving from the west, setting the forge ablaze and charging into the scattered defenders.
The Battle of the Pigsty continued to go badly for the Dunlendings, who finally remembered that they hated the strawheads.
Spurred on by bitterness, Gorulf Ironskin began the fightback and cut through the men of Rohan with brutal efficiency.
Mattluk roared as the last man on the hill fell and the Uruks were free to burn the hut.
However, without more support, the Uruks near the forge struggled to break through the valiant defenders.
More smoke filled the sky. The watchtower was burning. More Uruks had struck from the east.
Forced to leave the tower by the flames, the archers descended the ladder into the waiting arms of the Uruk-Hai.
After trying and failing to prevent a homestead burning to the ground, Petothain saw the Uruk leader, Lillurtz, finally arrive on the scene and realised that the fight was lost and he needed to warn Edoras.
Wesling also saw the sense in retreat as Gorulf Ironskin continued to cut his bloody way towards him.
Petothain turned his back on the flames and screaming.
But he was suddenly confronted with a late arriving Uruk archer.
Wesling outright fled from the mighty Dunlending Chieftain.
With only one building not on fire or destroyed, the only hope for Rohan was if one of their Captains could escape to warn the King.
All they needed was the initiative...
A black hand was guiding events, allowing the Uruk archer to hold up Petothain's escape, giving Lillurtz time to close the gap.
Gorulf Ironskin leapt in front of Wesling and batted his shield aside, wounding the captain of Rohan.
Meanwhile, Uruk-Hai loved through the burning village, hunting down the remaining men, woul were destined to die alone.
Surrounded and trapped, Petothain bravely stood his ground, beating back all attacks.
Wesling was not so fortunate, and was cut down by the fearsome Gorulf Ironskin.
At this bleak moment, Petothain suddenly saw a gap and darted through to where he had left his horse.
Mounting quickly, he galloped off into the night. Edoras would be warned and a proper defence of the fords of Isen could be mounted.
And so the first game of the campaign ended as a draw. However, it was a good reminder of how the game works in more conventional battles compared to the smaller story scenarios of Quest of the Ringbearer.
In terms of the campaign, a draw means that there is no effect on the next battle, but I think I have a few Warg Riders to paint before we can play again, so attention might switch back to Bree and the journey to Rivendell.
In other news, seeing Pete for the first time in about a month meant that I could get my hands on something he's 3D printed for me for my LotR campaigns. It's only one model...but it's a big one!