Saturday, 4 August 2018

Frostgrave - First Blood

On the outskirts of the ruined city of Frostgrave, Glurk and three of his minions - the human soldiers Snow and Brian, and the crossbow-wielding gnome Nobby - had embarked on a morning of light pillaging, interspersed with some minor theft. But they had not reckoned with the mighty metal beast that guarded the ruins, and the goblins who dwelt below...

Fig 1: The monster lurks in the ruins

Prior to the battle, Glurk called up a powerful ally for the group. Partly by casting Summon Animal Companion, and partly by leaving some old meat outdoors, he obtained the assistance of the mighty ogre Gutlag Executioner. I used the rules for a bear, which seemed to represent the massive, dim, smelly Gutlag pretty well.

Turn 1.

The explorers hung back, afraid to draw the attention of the terrible monster. Glurk attempted to cast Leap on Brian the Soldier. He failed so badly that he wounded himself when the spell backfired and leaped on him. First blood to Glurk - on himself.

Meanwhile, Nobby failed miserably to hit the monster with his crossbow. The terrible fiend was vaguely disgusted with this wretched display and wandered five inches in the wrong direction.

Fig 2: The battlefield rages with inertia and apathy

Turn 2.

More high drama as Glurk tried to cast leap again, and made such a dismal attempt that he fell on his face, losing another wound. Magic is powerful stuff.

Nobby loaded his crossbow, took aim down the sights - and missed. The monster decided that it might as well put these idiots out of their collective misery, and strolled towards them.

Turn 3.

In an exciting change of pace, Snow the Swordswoman rushed up the field and grabbed a treasure chest. Somehow hauling it onto her back, she prepared to make off with the goods and get mad coinage! Deeply impressed by this display of larceny, Glurk cast Enchant Armour on Snow and by some weird miracle actually did something constructive, toughening Snow's hide.

And then, in a shocking display of competence, Nobby fired his crossbow and hit the monster right in its delicate mechanism, dishing out a brutal seven points of damage! Go Nobby! Encouraged by the spilling of blood (well, motor oil) that wasn't Glurk's, Gutlag lumbered up the field, hungry for fight.

Turn 4.

Turn Four was a whirlwind of crazy action. It's still a blur, but my scribbled notes tell me that Snow, wild with greed, charged off and snatched another treasure chest. Somehow still moving under the weight of two massive chests, she headed towards the exit.

The monster rushed toward Gutlag. Brian ran to help his ogre "friend". Glurk, sensing danger, cast Enchant Armour on Gutlag, whose warty hide suddenly became a little more unwholesome.

Fig 2: Brian rushes to the rescue as the monster charges Gutlag

Brutal combat commenced. Whirling his mighty axe, Gutlag struck deep into the mad machine's vitals, dishing out a horrendous eight points of damage! Ouch! The blow must have hurt, because the monster missed Gutlag entirely.

Turn 5.

Doom was closing in for the monster like a big fat shark. Glurk failed to cast Leap on Nobby but nobody cared. His sword flashing, Brian did three points of damage to the monster. The metal beast whirled and backhanded Brian with a savage slap, knocking off half his hit points.

The sight of Brian being bashed around enraged Gutlag, especially as he'd been planning to eat Brian later and didn't want him spoiled. The ogre chopped once with his axe, and his aim was true. The monster collapsed in a spray of sparks and dubious-looking robot blood, never to boot up again.

Fig 4: Twilight of the thunder god - the monster falls over

But the battle was not done. In the centre of the field, two more titans clashed in mortal combat. As Nobby approached the well, who should leap out but a goblin on a pogo stick! Nobby was surprised - this hadn't been in the training manuscript. Undeterred, the brave dwarf promptly clocked the goblin, and the greenskin would pogo no more.

Fig 5(a): Nobby challenged
Fig 5(b): Nobby triumphant

The battle was at an end. The heroes had been lucky (apart from Glurk, the alleged wizard). They thanked Gutlag, who was surely the man-like thing of the match. Unimpressed, Gutlag wandered off to find some villagers to eat.

Snow's greedy rampage had served them well. They had found a ring of teleportation in one of her chests, and twenty gold crowns, which they could blow on some magic lessons for Glurk.


 So, overall, what did I think? Well, Frostgrave is a lot of fun. The rules flow really well and, after the first couple of turns, felt pretty intuitive. Random movement and bizarre luck aside, it felt like a pretty convincing and intuitive battle. To my mind, the biggest problem in Frostgrave is choosing all the spells at the beginning: once your warband is ready to go, it seems to work pretty well. I must admit that I was a little disappointed that so few goblins showed up and that Glurk's magic was so pitiful, but that's the dice's fault, not mine...

(On the subject of fault, the reason why the pictures in this post are so blurry is that the battlefield was a whirling maelstrom of carnage. OK?)

So I'll be trying the next mission. We shall see how well Glurk's apprentice fares against the undead menace of Flavius Flavor and the Infelix Legion.


SpacecowSmith said...

A most amusing battle report! I must admit that I picked up Frostgrave when it first came out but have never tried it out but maybe I should!

I do love the stompy robot monster too!

Toby said...

Thanks - it's definitely worth a look. I felt that the rules worked really well. It doesn't take long to get the hang of how it works. The most awkward thing is choosing all the spells at the start. I'm going to try something similar with Necromunda.