I decided on another "offshoot" scenario to tie it in with Orc's Drift - this time an isolated Dwarf mining expedition encounters an Orc raiding party foraging for food.
The rules were brilliant - simple elegant and definitely playable after a few bevvies! The dice rolls felt right and characters behaved as you would expect. It even played well as a solo game - again I switched sides each turn and put myself in the mindset of each leader in turn.
A Miner Engagement
Nevertheless, Piewright Sourdough and his brother, Feldspar, pressed on. The small band of miners and Dwarf strongarms they had gathered had nought else in their minds but the mineral riches lying up in that mountain fastness. Indeed, once they had found a promising spot at the head of Dedaend Cwm their initial diggings had looked promising. A rich vein of quartz had pulses racing, but only 40m into the rock face it became clear that it was barren of gold.
Then they heard the hunting horns...
Norbert Quarrletips raises his trusty crossbow, taking aim at a particularly nasty looking Orc archer he fires, dowing his target. Cheerfully whistling, he reloads his weapon. Just outside the mine entrance, Deadeye Magrew calls to his subterranean companinons before snapping off a shot at one of the gangs of Snotlings seething across the landscape. Failing to hit any of the miserable creatures, his shot gives them a scare and they dive for cover. Along the ridge Cranequin and Gaffleson also join in the volley of fire, although both shots are ineffective at this long range.
Orc Turn 1
The Orcs are off - following the direction of the fire that had been directed at them. The hounds sprint forward towards the mine - two of them, catching the scent of fresh stunties, race ahead. Garstric Upzet the Hill Troll dumbly follows the cackling mass of snotties towards the low hill that commands a good view of the Dwarf position.
Spurred on by Logdobs guttural cries, one of the archers runs forward to loose a cruelly barbed arrow at Deadeye. Luckily for the Dwarf he manages to duck aside just in time. The rest of the archers dash into the cover of the wood with a plan to sneak forward and bushwack the Dwarfs later on...
Dwarf Turn 2
Knowing that to be trapped in the relatively shallow mine workings would mean certain death, the Dwarf miners sally forth to create a defensive perimeter at the valley head. Alfryd Tinnyson and Nipper Shortshanks start work on a makeshift barricade, using sacks and rubble from the slag heap.
Graywracke, Widelode and Longpockets move to block the bottlenck between the hill and the ruins, hoping to buy the others time enough to prepare their defenses...
Taking advantage of this the miners complete another section of wall.
Orc Turn 3
The Orc archer finally cuccumbs to his wounds ( returning the dredskull counter back to then Orc's active pile to be put to use in a more critical situation.).
The warhounds throw themselves into the fray with the Dwarf advance guard in a blind rage. Nasha bowls into Widelode and throws his considerable bulk back with the ferocity of its attack. Graywracke manages to absorb the impact of Bad Mintun's attack and the combat between thm is a draw. Whipit, however, manages to pull Longpockets to the ground and, ganging up, Fidon't finishes the job, savaging the unfortunate Dwarf.
The Snotz pour over the hilltop like a green tide of... well, er, best not to mention. Garstrik follows demurely behind.
Shortshanks and Long Tom busy themselves with a few hasty additions to the barricade, while the others grimly tighten their grips on their weapons and ready themselves for the imminent melee.
Orc Turn 4
Whipit, enraged by his near miss with a crossbow bolt, turns and launches himself at Graywracke. The beleagured Dwarf is pulled down and turned to dogmeat (killed outright so no Skulldred to save him!).
Now unengaged, Bad Mintun whirls round and charges Widelode, but the doughty Dwarf fends him off with the blunt end of his great hammer! Fidon't now goes for the jugular but instead gets a face full of said hammer! The dog crumples to the ground with a pathetic whimper.
Deefer, with a shake from his head, finally recovers (sacrificing a dredskull) and charges the flagging Widelode, forcing him to retreat.
Despite the calls from his companions behind the barricade, Widelode fights on. Forcing a draw with Bad Mintun again, he doesn't fare so well against Deefer and is once again forced to give ground.
Nobby and Deadeye dust themselves off (sacrificing two Dredskulls!) and begin reloading their weapons.
Piewright, yelling brusk commands, organises a volley on the lumbering bulk of the Hill Troll. Deadeye, Cranequin and Gaffleson all fire at once, felling the foul creature like a rotten tree. However, a low groan confirms their worst fears - the malodorous behemoth is only down and not out!
Meanwhile, Nobby, now reloaded, succeeds in downing one of the Orc archers swarming the hill (running low on Dredskulls the poor fella is left to die of his wounds).
Once again the miners sit tight behind their barricade, watching helplessly on at Widelodes's plight.
Orc Turn 5
Trading another Dredskull, Fidon't is revived and immediately charges into the ruckus with Widelode. The red mist once more descending, Bad Mintun follows like a good little warhound. Tiring from his efforts at fending off the multitude of snapping jaws, Widelode's hammer slips from his grasp and he is savagely savaged by the rabid pack! (Again killed outright so no Skulldred miracles here!)
At this bloody turn of events Whipit is sent into a frenzy and, as he is the nearest, turns on the downed Garstic! Coming too just at the right moment (God bless those Skulldred counters!) Garstric easily squashes the mad dog! Feeling rather put out by this unprovoked attack, the troll decides to take it out on the Dwarfs guffawing loudly at him from their mountain ridge...
Buoyed up by their large numbers and not wanting to be shown up by the other rival gang, the Snotz charge once more into the breech. The Dripping Nose gang once more throw themselves over the barricade at Feldspar, who, quite calmly, squashes them one by one with the flat of his shovel!
The Bogey Boyz fare marginally better, being fought off to a standstill by Alfyd Tinnyson.
Dogbreff encourages his hounds to come to heel with a well placed boot, ready to send them against barricade.
The archers open up with a rain of arrows in an attempt to dislodge the Dwarf crossbows from their vantage points. Gaffleson is forced to duck aside but survives the volley.
Dwarf Turn 6
Once again Piewright orders a volley on the looming Hill Troll. Again, the troll staggers under the hail of crossbow bolts, and again the Dwarfs chew their beards with despair as the brute dusts itself down (last Skulldred counter for the Orcs!), plucking the missiles from its flanks to use as a toothpick in dislodging an irritating bit of gristle (last night's donkey) from his festering teeth.
Seeing the danger posed by the now pretty irritated Troll, Piewright calls for the miners to form a hunting party of their own, to leave the safety of the wall and kill the creature. Long Tom, ever the impetuous youngset at 87, leaps to attack Garstic on his own - amazingly pushing him back! Nipper and Kanaeri follow behind to lend a hand and Piewright, himself, descends the mountain ready to sell his life dearly.
At the other end of the barricade Feldspar joins Tinnyson - fending the vicious Snotz off and forcing them back.
Nobby draws a bead on the now unengaged hounds, although the bolt whistles by harmlessly.
Orc Turn 6
Logdob again orders his archers to fire on Nobby. They loose a volley off and cackle as the plucky Dwarf falls, doing a great impressio of a pin cushion as he goes!
Another archer joins the band on the hill as they let another volley off which brings down Cranequin (the Dwarfs only have one Skulldred counter left and opt to sacrifice these two brave souls in order to have some backup for the melee at the bottom of the mountain.).
Garstic lashes back at Long Tom in a blind fury, smashing him to the ground and killing him outright.
Dogbreff barks a command at his hounds but they don't need much telling! Shortshanks is set upon and torn to shreds!
The Bogey Boyz, having had a conflab, have come up with a plan. Realising that the barricade is nigh on impregnable to them they try a new tactic - get sneaky! To this end they turn and scramble off towards the end of the barricade in a brave flanking maneuvre - once the hounds have cleared the way...!
Dwarf Turn 7
Piewright's words echo across the valley -
To the mine! Death may await us there, yet it will be a richer end than will be had here in the daylight!
With that the Dwarfs make their fighting retreat.
Gaffleson levels his crossbow one more time at the nearest hound, ending its brutish life. The deed done, he turns and heads for the mine entrance.
Deadeye follows suit- his shot sends another hound scurrying for cover, buying his companions in the valley bottom some much needed space!
The remaining Dwarfs, keeping a beady eye on the enemy and a tight grip on their weapons, beat a retreat back to the mine.
Orc Turn 7
Seeing their quarry in full retreat all Orc forces press forward, the scent of victory, and dinner, in their noses.
Garstic limps forwards but isn't fast enough to catch the fleeing Dwarfs. The Bogey Boyz, however, have had enough and, realising that they will be next on the menu once the Dwarf meat is gone, they run off in a panic!
The remaining hounds, still hungry for Dwarf flesh, leap the barricade but are fended off by Kanaeri as he backs up the mountain path. Dogbreff follows, hefting his mace in anticipation.
As the Dwarfs disaapear into the mountain, Logdob bellows another command at the archers. Despite the volume of arrows skittering amongst the rocks none find a softer target.
Couting up their kills, Logdob was pretty satisfied with the days work - there might even be a few scrap for the ladz back at the camp by the time they got back. With what passed for a smile on his brutish face he began scratching crude letters across the stone the surviving Dwarfs had blocked the mine entrance with...
"Ere, Klopps - Ow do yoo spell Larder?"