The next installment in our nascent Frostgrave campaign was a classic scenario from the main rulebook: The Mausoleum! The setup called for a crypt in the center of the table, which would spawn skeletons each turn as the warbands advanced through the ruins.
Mark provided an excellent terrain setup for our mausoleum. We plopped it onto the center of our modular terrain tile setup, tossed on some scatter terrain to clutter up the board, and then set about deploying our warbands.
We had Mark’s chronomancer, who was leading a new warband made up of various versions of herself recruited from different timelines. (Cool concept!)
We had my dwarves, who were battle hardened from the last game and ready for more, led by Vauldric the Metalworker (front row, with staff; he’s an enchanter).
And lastly, we had the scrappy disciples of Elder Futhark, aka John’s sigilist warband from the first session.
With just three players, we found that the game moved along quite nicely. The warbands crept through the ruined city, casting various spells to buff their members and trying to steer clear of the skeletons that were shambling around the mausoleum.
John’s first act of the game was to cast a wall spell to provide a convenient buffer between his warband and Mark’s warband. They agreed to an uneasy truce, as the wall removed the most direct route to confrontation.
Over in the dwarves’ side of the board, things were progressing nicely. I had won the high roll and selected the most advantageous deployment area for my warband. I was close to a couple treasure tokens and also had a fairly clear route to get to the central mausoleum. Valdric the Metalworker used telekinesis to lasso a couple treasure tokens and drag them closer to my minions.
Eventually, the skeletons took notice of our intrusion and began advancing on the warbands. As monsters go, these guys were weak — just 1 hit point each! A stiff breeze would blow them over!
But, we quickly learned that in Frostgrave, with its rather swing d20-based combat system, even the lowliest enemy could prove dangerous. This burden fell most heavily upon John’s warband, which crossed swords with a pair of skeletons that combined to deal more than 10 points of damage to various members of his warband — killing a thug outright, as I recall, and wounding several others.
Here’s a look at the “folly on the wharf” as this bitter blunder became known. Elder Futhark is righteously pissed that his warband’s advance has been slowed!
Elsewhere, the dwarves were within sight of the central mausoleum. Skeletons kept popping out, and since the dwarves were now the closest target, they began a deadly dance with the undead warriors.
By this point, Mark had found a strategy that worked well for him. He lined the periphery of the battlefield with spellcasters and warriors armed with crossbows, then began taking potshots at any target that presented itself — skeleton or warband alike!
While this was happening, the rest of Mark’s warriors were snatching treasure and fleeing from pursuing skeletons, in true Frostgrave fashion. There were some, ah, casualties, but you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, right?
I’m pleased to report that Elder Futhark rallied his rabble and pushed past the skeletal guardsmen who were blocking his path. John’s crossbow-armed warrior picked up a few more scars and probably earned some hazard pay for singlehandedly dispatching a skeleton despite being armed with a long-ranged weapon totally unsuited for close combat.
Here’s a look at the battlefield as we entered the final turns of the game. Everybody’s warband was in decent shape and most had already secured a treasure token (or two). However, the skeletons had mostly been dispatched. Now, the only enemies that remained were the opposing warbands. We had entered the endgame!
The dwarves took the initiative, breaking from cover and scampering toward the mausoleum and the treasure contained therein. A lone skeleton dared to stand in there way, and he got a sword to the ribcage for his trouble.
John and Mark found themselves toe-to-toe as their thugs and thieves approached the mausoleum from the other side. Battle was a foregone conclusion, and they clashed in the rubble-strewn streets of Felstad.
Their skirmish drew the attention of my dwarf armed with a crossbow (represented here by a pair of black powder pistols, for flavor reasons). The dwarf was ensconced high up in a ruined building, with an excellent line of sight to the melee. He was only too happy to contribute to the chaotic fight by shooting a few crossbow bolts into the swirling scrum.
This was to be the last substantive clash on the battlefield. By the end of this turn, we were nearing our time limit, and the warbands had each secured some loot without suffering horrendous casualties. By Felstad standards, that’s a great day in the office. As a final act of mediation (and to farm some XP) John again cast his wall spell, providing cover for his retreat, and then we all retired back to our hideouts to count our gold and lick our wounds.
With this being our second game of the current campaign, I was pretty impressed with our collective grasp of the rules and the relative speed of our gameplay. The game flowed really well and we tossed those dice with godlike confidence.
As in previous games, the post-game campaign step was an absolute joy. This is where you find out the extent of your warband’s injuries, and you roll randomly to determine what cool treasure you hauled out of the frozen city. This step was the source of plenty of whooping and hollering on the part of the players, as it should be.
All in all, this campaign is really humming along. Our next game is coming up in late March. Stay tuned for more!