11 thoughts on “Trying out the mass combat rules with custom unit cards.”

  1. This was an enormous battle wrapping up  an arc in our Dungeon World game. I knew I wanted to do it and I knew Sage and Adam were working on battle rules, so I asked to playtest them (they work well). We rotate GM duties and my sessions have been about exploring the valleys west of Anchorhold (http://www.bullypulpitgames.com/downloads/index.php?file=/free_games/anchorhold.pdf). The PCs had previously plundered and destroyed the Cloud Bastion of the Dzanetume Peak Lords, which was the only thing blocking the western approaches to their homeland. So this session had them returning to the region. The fall of the Cloud Bastion above Umun Mamit, and the death of Lord Teor Tichechkin, had opened the ancient route into the western lands to the chaotic forces. The armies of the north are a mixed bag of powerful opportunists, all under the command of the Mother of Beasts. Their goal was to strike the western valley and besiege a fortress called The Knuckle, allowing their allies massed below Anchorhold to take the pass by sheer weight of numbers. Once the Anchorhold falls, it’s all over. Everything depended on the Mother of Beasts steam-rolling the western valley, and only the minor stronghold of Othá Áyani (and the PCs) stood in her way.

    So they had themselves, the Othá Áyani house guard, a screen of cavalry, and two peasant militias, with more help from the Knuckle promised but late in arriving. And the forces of chaos: Beastman hordes anchoring left and right flanks with Sonhu, an undead, headless giant in the center, screened by the Black Tusk men and their giant bat allies. A skeleton army raissed from an ancient Dwarven tomb was in reserve behind Sonhu and out of sight (and discouraging a beastman retreat). Gnolls waited in the mountains above on the southern slope, waiting for an opportunity to enfilade the defensive forces.

    They realized right away that they’d need to go for the leadership – the Mother of Beasts, a foe the PCs had fought before a number of times, rode the giant, having replaced his head with a Wyrdstone. They used a bunch of tricks and special stuff they’d stored up to get to her and her giant, eventually taking control of Sonhu away from her and slaying her while the chaos armies slaughtered everyone and seized the keep. But without command and  with the timely arrival of Duke Czumu’s White Swords from down-valley, they were repelled. It was a Phyrric victory but the line held. Baldric, exposed for a second time to direct chaos energy, was completely transformed and chose to depart this dimension with the phasic spiders who showed up to collect the Wyrdstone – a day after he fell in love. Veniak stopped a skeleton army from killing his best friends  at terrible cost – the cost of his faith. Elric, black metal priest, stood among the peasants and reveled in their demise before mounting a giant Black Tusk bat to take the fight to the Mother herself. It was pretty epic.

    To prep I made little cards for all the forces, with the moves and war stats on the player-controlled ones (the chaos army remained mysterious and I kept their stats on paper). I think the cards helped a lot, both in visualizing the battlespace but also by prompting players with the moves. One of the peasant militia moves was “die like heroes” which proved inspiring. The key to true awesomeness however was playing Corvus Corax in the background – their Live auf dem Wäscherschloß album is perfect medieval war music.

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