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vrijdag 18 november 2011

Game Night! - Invasion Narrative Campaign

Adapted from this
Welcome to Game Night!

I like campaigns. I think linking battles and connecting a story to those battles is a very rewarding way of playing Warhammer. While I enjoy playing one-off battles as much as the next guy, and those are usually the kind of games I play, there is just nothing that beats playing in a narrative campaign and seeing my Order of the Moon Chaos Warriors, led by the great Master Borazel, trying to kick my mate's Dwarfs out of their Hold in the northern mountains. Or something to that effect. If Balephon is reading this, I'm sure he remembers mighty Master Borazel!

As I was flicking through the big rulebook looking for the rules for the Battle Royale, I noticed all these other scenarios I never play. Two weekends ago I had a chance to sit down and read through them, and I was inspired to link a few scenarios up and make a narrative campaign. At first I thought about making it specific for two armies to use. Maybe my Skaven would attempt to attack a High Elf colony in the east, or my Ogres would come across a band of Chaos Warriors as they both sought access to an ancient ruin. But then, as is most often the case, I couldn't decide which armies would be the best to include. All of them are cool! So I decided to just make a more abstract storyline and allow anyone to use whichever armies they want. Aren't I nice?

The first step would be to think of an actual story to link the different battles. I decided early on that I wanted to include certain types of scenarios (battles 2 and 3, below), and I just thought up my story from there. It would simply be one warlord invading the territory of another warlord, launching a strike in an attempt to take control of said territory. This was specific enough to give me an idea of what to do for each step in the campaign, yet vague enough to let players fill in all the details themselves and make the campaign their own. Perfect!

Now I needed to decide what type of narrative campaign I would do. I could choose a tree campaign, where the outcome of one battle would determine the type of the next battle, or I could just do a series of linked battles. In the end I opted for the linked battles. This way there are less scenarios to include in the campaign and all of them will get played. A disadvantage of a tree campaign, I find, is that over half the scenarios you include won't get played. Invariably that leads to wasted preparation time and I prefer to use all the cool ideas I have. So linked battles it would be!

Finally all that remained was to decide how long the campaign would be. In the end I decided on 5 battles in total. That would give you roughly two game nights to play the first four battles and one final game night to play the grand finale. This allows enough time for the players to get in the spirit of the campaign as well as make sure it's still short enough to keep them interested. Also, five battles meant that, if you really wanted to, you could play through the whole campaign in one Warhammer-filled weekend! You know, if the Mrs let's you...

Alright, enough babbling, here's the end result. I give you:

The Invasion of <insert witty territory name here>! 
A two player narrative campaign for Warhammer Fantasy. 

Players should decide on which armies to use as well as who is the Attacker and who is the Defender. Make up names and background as you see fit. The more, the better, I've always found! Also, really none of these battles should end in a draw, because that's no fun right? So for those battles that use Victory Points to determine the winner, just assume that whoever has the most victory points wins!

Battle 1: The First Strike.

The attacking warlord has decided on a route to invade his rival's lands. Deciding the element of suprise is vital to his assault's success, the first attack will be launched against one of the enemy's Watchtowers. Should the attacker manage to capture this tower, the defending warlord won't know about the invasion until it is well underway! 
Scenario: The Watchtower, p. 150. 
Points: 1500 per side Special rules: Obviously, the Defender in the campaign is the defender here. Results: If the Defender wins, they will be expecting the next attack. They are allowed to deploy up to 75% of their forces in their half of the table in Battle 2, instead of the normal 50%.
If the Attacker wins, the Defenders are caught by complete suprise in Battle 2. All defending units, excluding those joined by a character, have -1 Ld for the first Game Turn in Battle 2. Additionally, no Defending unit is allowed to use either the General's Inspiring Presence, nor the BSB's Hold Your Ground! in the first Game Turn. 

Battle 2: Making a Statement.

After starting the invasion, the attacking warlord has decided to launch a strike against a vital supply post of his enemy. Should the attack succeed, more forces can be brought to bear by the attacker without the defender being able to match these forces. However, the supply post is well defended, and fighting this battle could delay a significant part of the attacking force for a long while. 
Scenario: Raze and Ruin, p398
Points: Attacker 2400, Defender 1800
Special Rules: Dependent on result of Battle 1.
Results: If the Defender wins he manages to delay a significant portion of the Attacker's force. In Battle 5, after deployment is finished, the Defender can place D3 random enemy units, including accompanying characters, in Reserve. This gives those units the Ambusher special rule, but they can only move on from a board edge in the controlling player's Deployment Zone. This overrides the unit's normal Ambusher special rule, should they have it. Units that have been chosen as part of the reward for winning either Battle 3 or 4 cannot be chosen with this result. Units are chosen at the end of deployment, after Scouts have been placed.
If the Attacker wins, he has an extra 1150 points to spend in Battles 3 and 4, as opposed to an extra 1000. 

Battle 3: Encircling the Foe.

In an attempt to get units behind the Defender's main line, the attacking Warlord has sent a part of his force through the nearby mountains. Foreseeing this tactic, the defending Warlord has sent part of his forces to defend the main pass through the mountains. The question is, has he sent enough? 
Scenario: Battle for the Pass, p 146
Points: 2000 + x (see Special Rules)
Special Rules: For this battle and battle 4, both players have an additional 1000 points to spend on their armies, on top of the 2000 pts that are standard. Players can divide these points between the armies for these battles as they see fit. So a player could decide to make two 2500 pts armies, or one 3000 pts army and one 2000 pts army, or any other possible combination. Obviously, armylists for both Battle 3 and 4 need to be finished before playing Battle 3. Note that the Attacker could have an additional 150 pts to spend due to winning Battle 2.
Results: Whoever wins this battle can use the Skulking Ambushers Special Rule in Battle 5. See p 423. 
Loser gets nothing! 

Battle 4: Through the Marshes.

 The attacking Warlord has sent another part of his force through the treacherous marshlands, trying to outflank the Defender. The defending Warlord, however, has anticipated this move as well, and has sent a force to stop the invaders at a narrow river crossing. Will it be enough to stop this tendril of the invasion? 
Scenario: River of Death, p 388
Points: 2000 + x (see Special Rules)
Special Rules: See Battle 3.
Results: Whoever wins this battle is allowed to give any one of his units in Battle 5 the Ambushers special rule. This unit can include a maximum of one hero level character who is legally allowed to join that unit.
Additionally, the winner of this battle can choose to be joined in Battle 5 by either 6 River Trolls or 3 Fen Beasts for free, without any further upgrades. See Storm of Magic for rules. This unit will start off counting as Trusted Allies who are Bound by Blood, but also are a Fragile Alliance (p137-138). These represent marshland monsters bound against their will to fight.
The loser gets nothing. 

Battle 5: All out, all in!

This is the campaign's final battle. The opposing warlords have finally met on the field of battle, each supported by their entire force. No quarter will be asked and none shall be given. The attackers are one major victory away from conquering these lands and will not stop now. The defenders are fighting for home and hearth. If they lose, they lose everything. The great battle draws all manner of scavengers to the field, all anticipating a very good meal. 
Scenario: Roll a D6 right before deployment. 1-3 Battleline, p144; 4-6 Dawn Attack, p145
Points: 3500 Special Rules: Interlopers, p 423.
Results: Whoever wins this battle wins the Campaign. Killing the opposing player's Warlod (ie. the General) nets you double victory points for him. May the best Warlord win! 

And that's it! Now all I need is to persuade someone to play this with me...