Wednesday, March 05, 2014

The Grey Pilgrim and the Black Riders - LOTR/Hobbit AAR

Onward to game 6 of our Fellowship of the Ring campaign... The Grey Pilgrim and the Black Riders.

This is another of those scenarios inspired more from the book than the film, and sees Gandalf trying to catch up with the hobbits, and deal with the Ringwraiths, in part, if he can.

Gandalf finds himself surrounded and assaulted by the wraiths at the ancient ruin of Amon Sûl, upon the hill known as Weathertop , just before Aragorn leads the hobbits there. The book tells of them seeing flashes of light from that direction, on the night before they get there...

Amon Sûl, ancient tower harking back to the glory days of the northern Kingdom of Arnor...



The tower of Amon Sûl, long since destroyed in battle with forces led then by the Witch King of Angmar... Interesting then to see him return to this place once more...


The model I made some years ago, following the guide in the FotR Journey book, with a few extra embellishments of my own. The central floor area gives a 12" diameter circle playing area, as required for this scenario...


The scenario sees Gandalf facing off against all nine Nazgûl, but luckily for Gandlaf they don't all arrive at once, but enter the game slowly over the course of the game...


... if they all jumped him at once, Gandalf would be history! This scenario is set up such that Gandalf has time to deal with the threat as it develops...

Gandalf starts in the centre of the floor area, with two Ringwraiths about to enter.

Special rules for this scenario:
Gandalf starts with Terrifying Aura, and Blinding Light already in effect, and still has full stats and his staff at the ready.
Gandalf will auto-pass any any courage tests, and is immune to Sap Will.
The wraiths must pass a courage test each move they start within the playing area and flee if they fail this roll.
At the end of each evil move phase another wraith enters the game on a roll of 5+.
The ruined playing area counts as difficult ground so all movement is halved.
If the Wraiths lose a fight against Gandalf they are repelled d6"

Victory:
For Gandalf to win he must slay/banish/repel 4 wraiths.
For the wraiths to win they must kill Gandalf.

Key:
Red dots number each of the wraiths, to track their Will points.
Yellow dots indicate Transfix/Immobilize


Gandalf has prepared himself for the onslaught of the wraiths, knowing this confrontation will test him sorely... Raising himself to his full wrath, he lets forth a blazing light, the power of the Valar filling this ancient ruin...

The wraiths are not detered, and enter the ruined circle, loosing their own dark magic at the threatened wizard...


Another wraith enters the fray... but Gandalf Commands one out of this sacred place...


The other two close in...


...but Gandalf manages to cut one down...


More energies leap from the wizards staff, Immobilizing the last wraith, but Gandalf cannot yet strike this vile creature down...


It circles away from the dominant Istari, waiting for more of its kind to arrive, when greater numbers may deal with to the wizard...


The cat and mouse game continues...


... until, Gandalf Commands this wraith away as well...


... though not a moment too soon as another wraith descends into the dell...


... and another...


The two wraiths now close in on Gandalf, hoping to deal with him once and for all...


Not to be overwhelmed, Gandalf strikes down one more wraith. With four wraiths dispatched, the Witch King calls off their attack. They will regroup and catch Gandalf at another time and place when he is less prepared and more vulnerable...


The exhausted Wizard catches his breath, slumping to the ground briefly, resting to recover his strength, in time for the next confrontation...

The four stricken wraiths - the Witch King is not pleased!
 Now, where is Strider and the Hobbits?....

-----o0o-----

We played this scenario several times as it was quick to play and there were a few tactics either side could attempt...

Our initial game saw Gandalf whacked by two Black Darts in quick succession... Chris fluffed all the fate rolls and suddenly Gandalf had lost all his fate AND two wounds, with only one remaining and not a wraith yet dispatched... things looked grim... but then a chance re-read of Gandalfs stats, we noted a couple of things we had forgotten; Gandalfs Ring Narya, allows him to re-roll his fate points and Glamdring increases his Str to 5...

We decided to reset the game and start again, and that's the game above...

I didn't get as lucky again with Black Darts or getting wraiths on quickly, and Chris was rampant with Gandalf, using Commands to simply push the wraiths out of the circle, out of the playing area and thus out of the game...

We played twice more, and rather than openly attacking Gandalf from the start I tried waiting for more wraiths to appear and then be able to overwhelm Gandlaf, but it just didn't happen, wraiths were ejected from the circle or even failed courage checks and fled, or were struck down in combat once immobilized and a Might point or two was added to the wound roll.

Gandalf would not go down...

But again, that's as it should be if the game is to match the events of the story...

Its a tough game for evil to win, and a fair bit of luck would be needed to overwhelm Gandalf in this set up. Perhaps if I had thought of bringing the Witch King on sooner it may have made a difference? We'll have to try it again sometime...
-----o0o-----

So Gandalf has defeated the wraiths this time, now he must once again brave the wilds to try and find Strider and the Hobbits... and the wraiths are still out there... and this time, he's tired and wont have the protection of the scared ancient walls of Amon Sûl to protect him...

22 comments:

  1. Love your Weathertop model , looks great.

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    1. Thanks Mark, it was a bit of a labour of love a couple of years back...

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  2. Fun looking game although it seems weighted towards Gandalf in this case. Good for him! Great terrain as well!

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    1. I wouldn't mind another go, and bring the Witch King on as soon as possible and see if that make sit any closer! Thanks! :-)

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  3. Another great write up.
    cheers

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  4. Another great looking game Scott. Is the Amon Sûl model a kit or bespoke? Either way it's pretty darn cool.

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    1. Thanks Millsy. The Amon Sul model, is made from templates that are in the FotR Journey book. You photocopy enlarge them to size, then use them to cut out your foamcard layers... But I went a bit further, cladding it in filler and etching in the stonework pattern, and making the ruined walls a little more elaborate... so yeah, its kinda bespoke.

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  5. That's a cool looking piece of terrain, Scott. Would work in many scenarios, I should think. Best, Dean

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  6. That is a fantastic centrepiece there Scott! I'm really enjoying these reports

    Keep up the great work.

    Craig

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  7. Great report Scott! Love the terrain too!

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    1. Thanks Rodger, its a fair eye catcher :-)

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  8. Great AAR Scott, sound like a tricky one for the Evil side to win. Your Weathertop is lovely and nicer (IMHO) than the hard to find Forgeworld one.

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    1. It's a tough one , Gandalf's on full power alright! The conditions of the ruin make a difference too, that half pace movement means you can get at him quickly either...
      Thank you very much!

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  9. Another cracking game, fast paced and exciting. I am also very envious of your terrain too - lovely job Sir.

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    1. Thank you very much Michael, glad you are enjoying the reports!

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  10. Nice version of Weathertop and great game report.

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  11. I'm loving these battle reports, and seeing your amazing scenery! Thanks for continuing to post these.

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  12. Just came across your blog via the LAF. Beautiful table and really nice model of the Weathertop. The scenario looks very interesting and it seems Gandalf can stand his ground.

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