They stank. They were dirty, grimy – and they stank. They sat down directly across from Rena Blackanvil. One had long matted blonde hair with icy blue eyes. She propped a formidable crossbow against her chair. The other had dark blondish looking hair done in two greasy braids. She had leaned a nondescript shield against the wall and settled into her seat with two throwing axes on her lap. They must have been rangers for neither wore any armor, rangers seldom did. Rena understood that rangers spent long periods of time in the wild and had need to disguise their scent. However, when one is summoned to a meeting with high command, one would think a little soap and water would be in order, especially since the commanding general was Prince Ulof.
The door of the windowless anteroom opened and the guards ushered in another female dwarf. Rena’s attention was drawn to the large leather apron worn by the new arrival. She wore the apron over a blue dress. Small ingots of copper and bronze hung along the bottom of the apron with runes carved deep into the metal. A good-sized hammer rested in a belt loop on her right hip. She was a runesmith, a magic user. Runesmiths carved spells into items and then used words of power to activate the spells when needed. She hovered near the door. Rena thought it is was so the runesmith could make a quick exit if the smell became too overwhelming.
Rena wrinkled her nose in disgust. Her gesture did not go unnoticed, the blonde grunted something under her breath. The one with braids giggled and thrust a finger into her nose. After a few moments of wriggling, she removed her finger to examine what she had caught. She moved her hand closer to her face. Rena’s stomach began to turn, she just knew what was about to happen at that moment – the exact moment the door to the office opened.
“Ah, good! You are all here,” said an older dwarf. He still had some dark hair, but most of his hair and beard was gray. “I am Erik Bronzetrail, aide de camp to Prince Ulof. Please, ladies, come in.” As she rose from her seat, Rena watched the ranger wipe her finger on the chair’s upholstery.
While they were filing into the room, Erik Bronzetrail opened windows. Prince Ulof rose and stepped in front of his desk. “Are these the ones, Bronzetrail?” asked the Prince.
“Yes, sire, may I present Alainna Greystorm, runesmith, the rangers Clara Stronghammer and Mercy Stoneberry, and Rena Blackanvil, captain of Thorsen’s Pinks.”
“Ladies,” began the Prince, “I’m in a hard place. Our force was sent here to aid the Mirish in securing the borders of their Northern province with the agreement that we also watch the border of those Black Moon worshiping dwarf bastards of Balator. Well, the King of Mirish has made a mess of things. He started a war on two fronts, with Hykar to the West and Stygustan to the East. Now, something is happening in the North, there are so many refugees and marauders flowing from Gorath into this province, the King of Mirish is considering pulling all of his forces out of the province – give it up until times are better.
“If we pull back, we can’t keep an eye on Balator. To secure the border we need to know what is going on in Gorath. We caught one of their spies and that spy has agreed to guide a reconnaissance party into Gorath to find out what the Dark Elves are up to. Normally, I’d send my best men. Truthfully, I’d send any man before I’d send a stubborn hard-headed female dwarf. But I have no choice – Bronzetrail!”
On queue, Erik Bronzetrail opened a door and two guards entered the room with their prisoner.
“A witchling!” shouted Clara Stronghammer. All hands went to the hilts of their weapons.
“Yes, a witchling,” continued the Prince. “Stay your weapons. As long as she is gagged and bound, she’ll not be starting any ruckus. You all know witchlings possess innate magical abilities to temporarily befuddle men allowing them to strike first. That’s why I have to use female dwarfs for this mission. Her name is Shandella and she has agreed, somewhat reluctantly, to guide a small band into Gorath to find out what is going on. If Elves are killing Elves, then more power to them, but if they are planning something more sinister, we need to know about it.
“I’m putting you in charge, Rena Blackanvil. You’ve got two fortnights to get in and get out with as much information as possible. Alainna Greystorm, you’re in charge of the prisoner to make sure there are no magical hijinks. Clara and Mercy, you need to help the others live off of the land and bring them safely back. You four have no choice, so gather your things, draw rations, and leave camp with Shandella within the hour.”
When Rena reached the rendezvous point at the edge of camp, the two Rangers, Clara and Mercy, were waiting for her. Clara grunted and pointed at Rena’s pack. “Bet you don’t need half of what’s in there.” Mercy giggled. As Rena considered a “mind your own business” reply, Alainna arrived with the dark elf at the end of a rope, hands tied and mouth gagged.
“Everyone ready?” Rena asked. Alainna and Mercy nodded, Clara grunted. Rena untied Shadella’s hands and removed the gag.
Shandella spat. “Free at last!” she exclaimed rubbing her wrists.
“Not quite, free. You have to lead us into Gorath, first” said Rena.
She looked at each of the four dwarfs as if sizing them up for a fight. “Fine,” she said, “I’ll take you to Gorath. Now, where’s my swords?”
“You’ll get a weapon if and when you need one,” answered Rena.
“That will be soon, my little friend.”
“I’m glad we understand one another. We have several hours of daylight left, let’s get started, shall we?”
“Humpfh! Have it your way. Try to keep up with those short stubby legs.”
Sisterhood of the Stench is a solo campaign using the Warrior Heroes – Legends set of rules from Two Hour Wargames. The premise of the campaign is a small band of Dwarves sneak into Gorath, homeland of the Dark Elves in Talomir, to determine if the Dark Elves pose a threat to the kingdom of Mirish.
I’ll be using the blog posts not only to tell the story developed by playing the campaign, but also to describe how the games are actually played. I’ve only played one game of Warrior Heroes – Legends in 5 years & it is time to give the rules some serious play time. A side benefit is that the campaign will force me to paint and finish painting many of the fantasy figures languishing in shoe boxes scattered through the house.
The story in Part One represents all of the tasks to create a band of adventurers. The rulebook is 124 pages long and the first 24 pages deal with creating characters. But why dwarves? Well, many many years ago my brothers were into Warhammer and Warhammer 40K. They got my son, who was 10 at the time, hooked on the game. My brothers lived and still live in my home town, Big Spring. I and my family lived in Midland at the time, about 45 miles away. We were close enough that we visited my parents & brothers about once a month. It wasn’t long before my son asked me to help him paint his space marines and he wanted me to play with him. Of all of the 40K races available at the time, I found the Squats to have the most character. It was a natural progression from Squats in 40K to Dwarves in Warhammer. I still enjoy collecting and playing Dwarves, in fact, if you are a World of Warcraft player, there is a female dwarf warrior running across Azeroth named “Atomic Floozy.”
Rena Blackanvil is my star character and has all of the star advantages. Her race is Dwarf and her nationality is Drum, the land of the Red Sun Dwarves. Dwarves are “M-” in size, which means they are slightly smaller than man-sized. Her alignment is “RS” for Red Sun. She is a “M” for mature adult on the age spectrum. Her gender of course is female. Being the star, I have given her a Reputation of 5 or Rep 5. I wrestled with the Class. Being an army officer and the leader of the group, I was tempted to place her in the Noble class, but she is not of noble birth, she commands a small band of soldiers in an army that has little respect or esteem for female soldiers. In the end, I placed her in the Soldier class. In skills, I gave her a People skill of 5 and a Savvy skill of 4. After applying the Racial Modifiers for skills, she ended up with a People skill of 4 and Savvy skill of 4.
The next task is to assign attributes. Attributes are modifiers to dice rolls to model a character’s behavior. You can choose not to use them, but using them adds depth to your characters, however, they do slow down game play. Rena’s class attribute is Resolute and her racial attributes include Exceptional Vision, Magic Resistant, Slow, Stout, Strong, and Strong Willed. In Warrior Heroes – Legends, only humans get randomly assigned attributes all other races receive a package of attributes. In other words, Rena, Clara, Mercy and Alainna all have the same racial attributes. Their class attributes are different, however. Clara, being of the Missile class receives no class attribute at all. Mercy, Warrior class, has the Resilient attribute and Alainna has Arcane Knowledge.
There is no difference in Warrior Heroes – Legends between Elves, Dark Elves, Wood Elves, Sea Elves or any other kind of elf when it comes to attributes. They all have the same attributes – Exceptional Vision, Magic Resistant, Marksman, Quick Reflexes, and Slippery. Shandella also has the Warrior class attribute Resilient.
The last task is to assign her armament. Rena has a one handed melee weapon, battle axe, has a shield and is wearing AC-4 armor (mail armor with a small amount of plate armor – greaves and shoulder armor).
The process is repeated for each remaining member of the group. I decided to make the rest of the group Co-Stars instead of grunts. This means I have given them Star Power dice, but none of the other Star advantages. This is just so the initial group can hang around a bit longer than if they were grunts. Here is a table of group’s stats:
Next post I will cover setting up the parameters for the campaign and then I’ll be ready to start playing encounters.
The Painting Table
This week saw the completion of a unit of Greek hoplites, a unit of Greek skirmishers, and two casualty markers for a total of 14 figures.