The Great 2022 Dragon Hunt

Andy reports on a multiplayer Dragon Rampant game he ran on the April 23rd meeting, with contributions from the players.

We recently had a Society meeting on St Georges Day, there’s only one option for such an occurrence, a multiplayer Dragon Hunt game using Dragon Rampant (DR) rules.

Players were given the following briefing:

You have been drawn to this valley by tales of a Dragon terrorising the locals. Your objective is to gain fame, renown, and maybe even Sainthood, by killing the Dragon.

Then again, Dragons often have huge treasure hoards, picking up any loose gold or gems that might be lying around while you’re at it sounds like a good idea; unless you choose to be a Paladin, as Paladins are above such worldly things as wealth.

The Dragon hunters were asked to put together an 18 point warband, normal DR rules apply, with a couple of scenario specific modifications. Warbands had to contain a minimum of 3 units, and there were a couple of additional upgrades available:

    1. Paladin, essentially the Slayer special rule with enhanced Courage, but not eligible to collect treasure.
    2. Pack animals, which would allow a unit to carry an extra treasure token.

The Dragon itself was not limited to the 10 point unit maximum, it was a Greater Warbeast with Flame / Spore, Cunning, Fear and Flying and it had a modified failed courage test response.

The full scenario rules can be found here.

Six players took part, order of play was determined by the draw of a card on each turn, one card for each of the players and a Joker for the Dragon and other fauna. The player’s army lists and game reports follow:

Swamp Army – Kim

    • Swamp Dragon (Elite Foot, 6 points). Leader.
    • Lizard Warriors (Heavy Foot, 4 points)
    • Small Lizards (Light Missile, 4 points)
    • Skeletons (Light Missile, 4 points)

First move kicked off with a random encounter consisting of a pack of wolves to the rear, lizard heavy foot turned to engage with Swamp Dragon. Casualties to both sides. Swamp Dragon engaged in subsequent turn and activated a swarm of poisonous spiders. Wolves eventually destroyed but the spiders succeeded in destroying Lizard Heavy Foot. Lizard light missiles failed to score any hits. Spiders finally destroyed by Swamp Dragon. Gained 2 treasure tokens.

Failed several activation attempts and got left behind other armies. Finally managed activation with a couple of units and headed to stream which was finally crossed just in time to see demise of the Dragon by Steve’s dwarves. Obtained a further treasure token, and as the army was isolated from any other units headed off table.

Final score 10 treasure and loss of 4 points.

Final position was more by default than any strategy due to failed activation attempts.

Thorin’s Company – Tony F

    • Thorin (Elite Foot, 6 points). Leader.
    • Dwarf unit #1 (Offensive Light Foot, 5 points)
      • Fili, Kili, Dwalin, Balin, Oin, Gloin
    • Dwarf unit #2 (Light Foot with Mixed Weapons, 5 points)
      • Ori, Nori, Dori, Bifur, Bombur, Bofur
    • Bilbo (Scout, 2 points)

“Thorin looked at the map, looked up, studied the landscape ahead and then went back to the grubby piece of parchment again. The wizard that sold it to him in the Hungry Ogre tavern – well, he said he was a wizard, he had the pointy hat and everything – had sworn that it showed him the way to Erebor and his long lost kingdom. But now they were here, something didn’t seem right. This really didn’t look as he’d expected – the city of Dale should be over there, the lake over there and as for the mountain – well, that hill over there just didn’t seem big enough.

The rest of the dwarves resumed their grumblings behind him. They were all hungry and fed up with their month-long diet of Cram, and the apparent lack of progress in their quest was beginning to test even the patience of the normally placid Balin.

So Thorin decided to lead. If in doubt, bark some orders and at least sound like you know what you’re doing. The hobbit was getting on his nerves – he’d had an ‘I told you so’ look on his smug, mousey features for the last two days – so Thorin sent him off ahead. ‘Burglar, time to earn your share. See that ruined chapel over there, on the other side of the stream? Use your skills and see if there’s anything in there we can use’. With a bit of luck he might get eaten by a giant spider – that would wipe the grin off his face…”

Tony F’s Bilbo investigates a treasure token.

I drew one of the better deployments on the table, on the far right flank. It turned out to be even better, since the hunting party to my left (Kim) kept managing to fail his activation rolls so left me alone. I sent Bilbo ahead to do his scouting job – he triggered a couple of random events which turned out to be nothing, and grabbed the first treasure token. Pushing on, he was the first unit of any party to cross the stream, but in doing so he unearthed a nest of venomous spiders in a wood. The giant arachnids charged the first group of Dwarves, threw a bunch of sixes for double hits and battered them, a state from which they never recovered. Thorin had to step in and dispatch the six legged freaks, along with a few well aimed stones from Ori’s catapult.

Bilbo kept up his covert advance, living a charmed life as he uncovered not one but two packs of wolves – the first didn’t see him and just wandered off table, the second also failed to see him and instead fell to Thorin’s rage-fuelled onslaught as the remaining dwarves followed on behind.

By this time the surprisingly wimpy dragon had fallen under the weight of Stephen’s axes, so the main prize had gone. I had three reasonable treasure tokens, so I should have cut and run at this point. Instead, like a true dwarf I got greedy and made a big mistake. Some of Jeremey’s rockmen were in the ruins sitting on a bunch of treasure tokens, so I sent Thorin in – who promptly got his backside handed to him and withdrew, bloodied and battered. The other dwarves had more success and sent the rockmen back, but the damage was done. Tony G saw a chance and send in his giant to finish off the injured dwarf. This ploy failed as the rest of the dwarves came to the rescue, but the delay, along with two successive turns of failing my first activation roll, allowed Tony’s goblin archers to move up. They finished off the second dwarf unit with a hail of black arrows, so in the end only Thorin and Bilbo made their escape.

Instead of getting off the table with three intact units each with a reasonable treasure token (and a total of +8 glory, which would have given me second place), the Dwarvish love of treasure ended up in a negative total and several dead members of the party.

And Thorin still didn’t know where Erebor was…

Wulfric the Wanderer – Eric

      • Wulfric and bodyguard (Bellicose Foot, 4 points). Leader.
      • Heavy Foot, Spellcaster, 8 points
      • Light Riders, 4 points
      • Scouts, 2 points
Wulfric’s Warband advance through a swamp, Stephen’s Axe Thanes in the background
Wulfric led his bodyguard in a wild charge sweeping Stephen’s Dwarvish scouts from the field; only for them to be routed in turn by Stephen’s Axe Thanes. The rest of Wulfric’s warband passed their courage test following his departure from the field, but soon after the scouts were annihilated by Stephen’s Axe Thanes.
Eric’s Riders searching a rocky outcrop for treasure.
Eric’s riders in search of better treasure, Tony G’s Goblins trying to keep up with them

Wulfric’s Light Riders and Heavy foot pressed forward, only for the Riders to be wiped out by Tree Giants. The only survivors were the Heavy Foot and Spell caster who escaped with 5 points of treasure.

The Goblin Horde – Tony G
    • Ettin (Heavy cavalry, 4 points). Leader
    • Fanatics (Bellicose foot with shiny armour, 6 points)
    • 3 x Goblin bowmen (Scouts, 2 points each)
      • One of the Goblin Bowmen units was given a Pack Animal upgrade, in the form of a pack  spider!, at 2 points)

My troops managed to deploy well, with my fanatics attacking a nearby bat unit. The following turn they then decided to attack one of Jeremys units instead which semi backfired when the bats attacked me. In the meantime, rest of the troops bogged down and couldn’t move out of the woods.
The next turn my leader charged the bats and wiped them out, and with Jeremy’s troops moving towards the stream my fanatics were luckily isolated (no wild charge!!)

Tony G’s Goblin Scouts sneak up on Eric’s Light Riders

Over the next couple of turns my dice rolling was appalling and only one scout unit managed to do anything resembling an advance.
Finally my troops did get going but again bogged down with several turns ending with an initial roll of double 1!!

Following the very quick demise of the dragon to the dwarves, the only way I was going to get anywhere was to grab as much treasure as possible and with that my fanatics attacked one of Eric’s units and whilst I wiped him out, my courage roll failed spectacularly and the fanatics fled the field.
By this time there were not many warbands left on the table so my Ettin with a unit of scouts went seeking part of Thorins company after the scouts softened them up, my Ettin charged and subsequently fled when the resulting melee was a draw (which pretty much summed up my day!!)

The Force of Nature – Jeremey
    • Heavy Rockmen (Heavy Foot, Spellcaster, 8 points). Leader.
    • Tree Giants (Heavy Foot, 4 points).
    • 2 x Rockmen (Light Foot, 3 points each).
The forces of nature were on the march once more. I had a very simple army for this game but went for a full blow spellcaster to help cope with what this unusual game might throw up. My army came under attack from Tony G’s goblins from the start and soon saw one of my Rockmen units destroyed outright. With a crowded battlefield and coming under attack I made for the river and a chance to collect up some treasure.
Jeremey’s Force of Nature hold off a wolf pack. Tony G’s goblins hide in a wood.
Jeremey’s Treemen get their feet wet
One of Jeremey’s Treemen units, some what depleted.
Despite making some distance two constants of the game soon presented themselves. The treasure tokens each had a value with 1 being the lowest and yes you’ve guessed it the first three tokens I collected were all worth just 1 point each. The other aspect was each token collected had the potential to summon some random unit to deal with. In the end I spent more time fighting the random units than the other players.
But a quick dash to collect some more treasure after the Dragon had been killed at least provided some reward for having to fight across every inch of the field.

The Dwarves of the Grimwold Hills –  Stephen

    • Kergen Sourtooth (Elite Foot, Spellcaster, 10 points). Leader.
    • Axe Thanes (Heavy Foot, Offensive, 6 points)
    • Scouts (2 points)

Kergen Sourtooth is a well known dwarven sorcerer amongst the dwarves of the Grimwold Hills. He had learnt of the location of a dragon, and dragons are known for their gold and also for the knowledge they possess. Two things that any sorcerer, and a dwarven sorcerer at that, would prize.
He had with him his two two bears – Doombear and Brawnbear. In addition he had his familiar, a colourful Jay called Orvar As well as these companions, a band of axe-thanes and scouts also signed up for this adventure. Together they would raid the dragon’s lands.

They hadn’t been the only ones with this idea. Other parties were also in the dragon’s valley, obviously after the same thing. A right motley bunch they were as well – another band of dwarves with a halfling thief, goblins, lizardmen, human barbarians, and a party of rockmen.
Kergen and his team used the cover of some woods to make their advance. But their cover was blown by a band of human berserkers. These savages charged the scouts and cut them down to a dwarf. Not content with that, they turned on Kergen, Doombear, and Brawnbear. This didn’t go quite so well for them – they’d underestimated the aged dwarven sorcerer! The human barbarians were pushed back with many casualties, but Brawnbear had fallen. Such sorrow.

Stephen’s Kergen and Doombear

But such anger as well! Kergen would have none of this and as the humans licked their wounds he summoned his powers and with the elements behind him he cast a mighty power bolt at the murderers who were all slaughtered. Let that be a lesson to them.

Kergen led the rest of his treasure-seekers along the edge of the woods, between some scrubland, and looking toward a river crossing.

Stephen’s Axe Thanes approach the river, with Kergen Sourtooth and his surviving bear bringing up the rear.

To his right he could see the lizardmen, but they seemed occupied with some menace of the valley. To his left were more of the human barbarians – he dithered here, the anger at losing Brawnbear still with him, but the humans were being waylaid by a pack of wolves and to make Brawnbear’s sacrifice mean something it would be best to achieve the aims they set out to complete.
Kergen led his troops across the ford. And there, ahead of them, they could see in the distance the dragon’s ruins and low and behold the dragon itself was abroad!

The Dragon leaves his lair (a ruined chapel). Jeremey’s Treemen have beaten back some Giant Spiders as Eric and Stephen’s warbands cross the river.

Kergen drew his axe-thanes into ranks. He turned to them and said:

“Well met, my fine fellows! Let us see off this dragon once and for all. Here is my plan – I will use my magic to hide you in a cloud of mist. The dragon will think it is aught but morning dew, and this will allow you to get close. Then, just as you reach the dragon, I will lance him with another of my power bolts, and then you can put this dragon to an end and his treasure will be ours! What say you, worthy dwarven thanes?”

“Aye”, they cried. A joyous, “AYE!”.

And that is what they did. The thanes approached under cover of the mist, then Kergen struck the dragon with a power bolt.

The Dragon faces off against Stephen’s Axe Thanes

At that, the thanes charged from out the mist with their axes ready, and they slew the dragon!

The end of the Dragon

Knowing the jealousy of those who were also seeking the dragon’s treasure, Kergen then led his dwarves, laden with dragon gold, out of the valley and back to the safety of the Grimwold Hills.
And such was the glory and renown he earned from this escapade that he was henceforth known as Kergen Dragonsbane!

Outcome
The players received, and lost, Glory points as follows:
    • The value of any Treasure tokens removed from the table.
    • Loss of glory equal to the points value of each unit wiped out or routed
    • 24 Glory for killing the Dragon.

Here’s the final results:

Player Warband Treasure Unit Losses Killing the Dragon Total
Stephen The Dwarves of the Grimwold Hills 8 -2 24 30
Kim Swamp Army 10 -4 6
Jeremey The Force of Nature 8 -6 2
Tony G The Goblin Horde 11 -10 1
Tony F Thorin’s Company 8 -10 -2
Eric Wulfric the Wanderer 5 -14 -9
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