Monday, 26 February 2007

Moorish Battle Report

This is a report of a battle that took place slightly after Xmas at Glasgow Gaming Group (G3 to it's friends). Ive been meaning to put it up for some time as it has been sitting on my hard drive at home. However, with no home internet access and no disk drives in the PCs at work, it has taken me this long to publich it. Thankfully, the happy day when my broadband was installed has come and gone. Regular blog service will resume immediately. Arn't you pleased?


Prince Eduardo d’Rolas, Counte de Toledo set his stallion prancing merrily back and forth amidst the rank of his grinning men, knowing that in all the mounted host around them, not one man could be happier than he. He rode at the head of the finest band of mounted warriors his city could produce, Cabbelero Hidalgoes, with their bright lance points and pennants jutting into the breeze, mounted Jinites, farmers too poor for armour but rich enough to own a fine horse waved javelins in the air. Lance armed serjeants, the Cabelleros Villainous, rich merchants son and poorer knights, thumped leather-gloved hands against chests and thrust lances skyward. While more conservative knights, still favouring the hit and run tactics of javelin and throwing spear, clanged the hafts of their weapons against their shields.

Finally, after one bloody defeat and an even bloodier stalemate against the armies of the dreaded Berber El-Julian, Eduardo could taste the victory in the air. He, the young prince, had out-manouvred the wily old general. The African had concentrated his heavy forces of Berber spear-men and mercenary Christian Knights ("Traitors!" spat Eduardo) in the centre, leaving only a thin line of skirmishing archers and cross-bowmen to defend his left. A left against which Eduardo had carefully moved his entire wing of massed cavalry. Soon, his Cabelleros Villainous and Cabelleros would crash through the skirmish line, threaten the enemy rear and eventually join in the slaughter as the shock cavalry charged home.
Victory was inevitable. Only a fool could lose this battle.


This was indeed, the third battle between Julians Almohad Army and my own. In the first two, I had used my Norman list. The first battle was a total rout for the Christian forces due to some bad positioning on my part. The second battle was a bloody stalemate (with two equal strength, quality units battling it out on each side at the end of the game) that could have gone either way but in the end tipped in Julians favour. This one would be different. For one thing, I was using an "in-book" army, Spanish Christians, to fight Julians Berbers. For another, I now had a larger selection of troops types. In the first two games, I had been forced to pit the same army I used against Colin’s vikings against an Army crawling with spearmen and archers. That’s right, my army, a third of whose points were tied up in a single shock cavalry unit, with only twelve archers in the whole host, went up against an army which historically tore cavalry based forces apart with missile fire until they had no choice but to charge the spearmen head on and be torn up some more.

* Sigh * I was so hoping he’d be fielding Andalusians.

Now though, I had invested in ten Cabelleros Villainous (handily usable as Serjents in my Norman army), Seven Jinites (also usable as Javilin and Throwing spear armed Serjents) and Seven Cabelleros (Knights on horseback with Javelins and usable as Breton knights in my Norman army). This gave me more options, as well as the ability to draw his spearmen units of out position with my two units of fire and flee skirmishing cavalry. I was much more confident about this battle. And after set-up was over, I knew from a glance I would win. Whats more, from the expression on Julians face when he remembered light cavalry could skirmish through rough terrain, my opponent knew it too. Bwahahahahah! Sweet revenge was to be mine!

Photo’s: Alas, my camera packed in on the way to the club. No big loss really, since most of our stuff was still naked and I wont be able to upload the images anyway on account of my broadband still not having been installed. Next time though, I promise.

From left to right: On my side of the table sat a patch of rocky ground we would treat as rough terrain. Almost directly opposite (but slightly to my right) on Julians side of the board sat a high hill. To the left of this, in the centre of the table, sat a field of standing crops (central to my plan, and placed by me:, something that drew some very curious looks from Julian). Just to the left of this on my side was a small ruin (also placed by me, restricting charge lanes in the centre and confusing Julian even more) and finally, also on my side of the table, a small wood.

Armies & Deployment:

The Christians.

Despite knowing full well that Juliens army would be chock full of spearmen and archers I had deliberately gone for 2000 points dominated by mounted troops, strange as that may seem. The plan was to concentrate these mounted troops on one flank opposite Juliens archers, concentrate against that point of the line and break through, then roll up the sides. Consequently, I deliberately deployed my foot archers (aquelleros) and two units of spearmen towards the centre, drawing in Julians own heavy forces.

My Army (2000pts) (from left to right):

Left Flank

7 Cabelleros (Skirmishing Knights) Light Armour, Shield, Horse, Javelins and Throwing Spears. Leader, SB, Musician
Positioned just behind the rough patch of rocks on my left. Skirmish formation.

7 Jinites (Light Cavalry), Shield, Horse, Javelin, Throwing Spears, Leader. These were positioned just to the right of the Cabelleros and were also in skirmish formation with the crop-field on their right.

10 Cabelleros Villainous (Light Shock Cavalry), Shield,Horse, Lance, Leader, SB and Musician. PLUS the unit was led by a Cantador who came up with nothing on the Song Effects table. These were positioned directly behind the Jinetes.

10 Cabelleros Hidalgos (Heavy Shock Cavalry) Shield, Warhorse, Lance, Heavy Armour, Leader etc plus two characters: Unit Commander Prince Eduardo (actually using the Rey statline) and the Army Standard Bearer.

These were positioned just to the right of the Villainos. Yes, that’s right, directly behind the crop-field. Strange eh?


21 Peones (Light Spearmen) Shield, Spear, Javelins. Leader etc. These were positioned into the narrow gap between the crop-field on their left and the ruins on their right.

21 Mercenary Spearmen (heavy Spearmen). Large Shield, Spear, Javelins, Leader etc. These troops were stubborn and deployed directly behind the Peones.


The ruins were held by 11 Skirmishing Artelleros, or archers, armed with bows.

10 Skirmishing Artelleros, armed with bows, positioned in the woods.


This isn’t very exact in terms of troop numbers and equipment as I’m operating from memory once again. Check the comments at the bottom of the post. Maybe Julian will give a fuller breakdown later. Julian really played into my hands with his deployment, something he realised himself very early on the game.

From my Left to my Right:

12 Skirmishing Archers: Positioned directly opposite the rough ground and to the left of Juliens hill. Facing my Cabelleros.

12 Skirmishing Archers: Placed directly in front of the hill, facing my Jinites.

12 Skirmishing Crossbowmen: Directly behind the Archers and on the crest of the hill.

20 Berber Spearmen and five archers led by Army General and Standard Bearer. Just to the right of the hill.

20 Berber Spearmen and five archers. To the right of the previous unit.

24 Black Guard Spearmen with large shields, light armour and javelins (NOT, as I incorrectly assumed, armed with spears- I would suffer for this assumption later).

All three o the units stood opposite the crop field, though the Black Guard stood opposite my Spear units.

12 Christian Knights. Traitors (Yahboo!) Complete with lances and ferocious Charge. Exactly to the right of the Black Guard.


12 Javelin and Shield armed skirmishers.


Julian had played right into my hands. Broadly, I had deliberately denied my right (as had Julian) and lured Julien into my lightly held centre by offering a nice juicy target. I must admit to being surprised that he stood by and watched as I placed as those Horsemen on my left, but by then he couldn’t place his Spearmen on the left even if he wanted to, as that flank was already pretty much crawling with skirmishers by this point. The plan was to hold the right flank with my archers and to cautiously move my spears alongside the crop-field. I was hoping Julien would forget in the heat of the moment that the leading Peones were light infantry. This would enable me to spring a nasty surprise on him if it worked.

Meanwhile, on the left, the Jinites would make towards the Archers at the base of the hill as if to charge them, only to veer off suddenly and distract the spearmen to the right of the hill with javelins fire. I must admit that I was a bit worried about this tactic when I saw all those archers at the back of those units, but as I was willing to write of my Jinetes as an expendable unit anyway this was no great concern. Meanwhile, the Villainos, having sneaked into charge range of the corssbowmen BEHIND the archers, would charge. If I was lucky, they would hit the crossbowmen after wiping out the archers and if the archers fell back voluntarily, I’d have the crossbowman as a starter.

The Cabelleros meanwhile, were to destroy the archer unit operating before them. With the left flank gone, I would then have skirmishing cavalry behind Juliens spearmen, Shock Cavalry in front, and Spearmen threatening his centre.

It all seemed so nice and simple, I could practically see it as if it had already happened.


The game opened with the traditional missile barrage after all the skirmishers on my side of the table (save those in the ruins) took their free skirmish move. I lost a pair of Jinites to this fire, but the more heavily armed Cabelleros were able to shrug off the few arrows that hit. Julien made a mistake here (in my opinion) by firing his crossbows as the Jinites instead of the Cabelleros. After all, he already had a good chance of killing the Jinites with the bows but the crossbows would have reduced the Cabelleros saving throws by from 4 to 5. And as the Cabelleros posed the greater threat I would have gone for them. Still, Julien WAS trying to break those Jinites in the first turn (he knew fine well what my plan was) and in the end it may well have paid off.

The only other movement was from the right, where the javelin men ran towards my archers in the woods. Meanwhile, the mercenary knights began a long wheel that would take them across the front of the spear unit and towards my left flank. The Black Guard marched forward towards my Peones.

On my side, my Left Flank thundered forward, the Jinites and Cabelleros moving into Javelin range with the Villains behind them. Meanwhile, the Hidalgo’s executed a lovely little manouvre that slotted them in directly behind the Villanos. My javelin throwing was pretty poor, killing only a single archer despite a total of nine hit’s. My Peones also managed a particularly fine set of throws against the Mercenary knights now riding parrallel to the crop field towards the left of the battlefield. The knights were hit in the back by 6 of the seven missiles but only two managed to wound the heavily armoured warriors . Both these tough knights shrugged their injuries off.


Julians forces opened fire again. The combined fire of 21 archers proved too much for the Jinites. Reduced to just two warriors, they turned tail and fled. Earlier than I had hoped true, but this was a minor setback which did not alter my plans at all.

The crossbowmen had an unusually lucky day, bringing down FOUR of the dangerous Cabelleros Villanous. The two units of Berber spearmen rotated to face my left at an oblique angle while the Black Guard guard continued to advance. The mercenary knights positioned themselves so they would be able to charge my own knights in the flank if they advanced any further, this took some manouvreing to set up the correct angle and in the end they did not travel a great distance.

Meanwhile, the javelin men closed to missile range but failed to injure any of the skirmishers in the woods.

With a great and rousing yell, the cavalry charge on the left began. The left most unit of Berber Archers unwisely chose to stand and shoot (not that they had anywhere to run too) and faced the terrifying sighte of 5 of Toledoo’s finest knights thundering towards them. However, despite scoring several hits, only one of the knights wounded their opponent and the stubborn archers refused to run before the bewildered mounted warriors.

On the right, the Villainos and their musical leader were equally bewildered. The archers had broken and run before them as expected, but the thunderous charge of the six remaining lance armed Villanous into the scattered ranks of Crossbows had an extremely un-nerving effect – on the Villainos. Despite hitting four of the crossbowmen with their lances, no less than three of them had the affront to pick themselves up and carry on! What was going on, were their weapons made of wood (well, yes, the lance shafts were but...). Had some villain replaced their steel points with candlewax fakes? Whats more, the seemingly immortal crossbowmen managed to slay yet another of the mounted Spaniards as he stared in tearful bewilderment at the shaft of his ineffective lance. The combat was a draw!!!

Not only that, the crossbowmen also had a musician, forcing a roll off and ensuring that it was the ViILLAINOS who lost the combat!!!!! What on earth was going on? Luckily, the Cantador managed to steady the nerves of his men with a rousing song and the remaining five warriors fought on.

(Yup, I failed to wound a str 3, nearly armorless target three times with a STR 5 attack!!!! Needing just threes to wound!)

Meanwhile, as every other Christian unit on the battlefield looked on with feelings ranging from confusion (for the Spaniards) to amused laughter (from the Christian mercenaries who’d swapped out the Spanish war-lances for tourney lances the knight before), the Peones crept steadily through the crops to creep within charge range of the Mercenary rear. Grinning at the thought of again loosening their missiles upon the traitors, they became confused in the mire and could not quite reach as close as they had hoped.

(I gleefully spotted an opportunity to take advantage of my light infantry. Julian had moved the Mercenary knights seemingly out of javelin range leaving their backs exposed to the Peoni. I tried to march move my javelins within eight inches of them, preventing the knights from marching away or charging (or counter-charging for that matter!). This would leave own knights (the Hidalgos) in a perfect position to charge the Mercenaries across the corner of the field the next turn without having to worry about a counter-charge from their opposite numbers on the Berber side of the battlefield. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! I laughed the most bestest, most maniacal "I`m an evil genius and your screwed" laugh I ever laughed only to choke on it when Julien pointed out that my peoni were only 7 and ¾ inches away from his knights to begin with. Meaning that I couldn’t march my Peoni up to Juliens rear because Juliens knights were a formed unit within 8" of ME!!!!! GAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!

And what was worse, with my failure to march, my poor old Peoni were now right slap bang in the charge range of Julians elite Black Guard infantry. DOUBLE GAAAAHHHHHH! I mean, what’s an evil genius to do? I’d ended up trapping myself! The Peoni manouvre was supposed to clear the way for my own elite mercenary spearmen to move forward and engage the enemy elite. Now all they could do was shuggle off slightly to one side and watch the impending slaughter.

Thats what I get for forgetting the first rule of warfare (real and tabletop) KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID!!!


As might be expected, the Black Guard charge hit home. Half-in-the-field, half-out, most of the troops barely able to see the enemy through the crops or even catch a glimpse of their own banner, a full third went of the unit went down to Black Guard (led by their hate inspiring Imam) before the remainder turned and ran. They had put up a brave struggle, with three of the black guard being struck by spears or javelins which failed to wound (again!). But, alas, Julian was not sharing my dice troubles this day. Soon not only had the remainder of the unit been chased down, but they ran smack into my merc infantry as well before they could even fire off a single javelin. Ah well. Ah hell!

Just as obviously, the skirmishers on my right charged the archers in the wood. A hilarious combat ensued, in which not one of my archers was even hit. On the other hand not one of the four African hit by arrows suffered a wound although THANKFULLY one at least succumbed to an archers dagger across the throat. If anything, this wretched incident probably increased my woeful "wounds to hit" average for the night. Even Julien couldn’t believe it.

He could believe it even less when not one of my Cabelleros failed to hit a Berber archer and yet I still only managed to kill one of the little buggers! Then the cheeky little bowmen turned round and killed two of my knights!!! I couldn’t believe it. What was going wrong? The plan, the plan.

Eduardo’s bowels turned to jelly. How could those measly little archers have held out against those knights for so long, with their swords, javelins and throwing spears.

"Hold on", thought Eduardo. "Throwing Spears"? The young prince slapped his hand against his face and shouted across the battlefield at his cavalry caommanders. "You idiots, you forgot to launch your throwing spears when you charged!". Across the battlefield (and across the table) El-Julian (and his real-life counterpart) began giggling girlishly.

As if that were not bad enough, the Villainos again failed to wound a single crossbow-man. To add misery to the situation, the crossbow-men hit back, dropping all but the standard bearer, the musician and the warrior-minstrel, the Cantador. These three worthies all promptly turned their "tales" (pun intended, sorry) and fled (as was the Python reference), right past the general and army banner bearer. Indeed, Eduardos cries were not enough to steel the blood of his finest warriors, the Cabelleros Hidalgo’s, and only the presence of Toledo’s great banner kept these proud men from running off themselves.

What a disaster! Could things get any worse?

They did, in the very first turn of the combat, the charging Black Guard managed to win the combat by a large margin, killing three of my spearmen for no losses. After such a horrendous start, only their stubborn ability saved them. And now, in the first round of combat, it was gone already. I didn’t even have anyone left who could strike back. (Does that mean I had my first 100% hit to wound ratio of the game? You know, given that I didn’t actually fail any wound rolls?)

The farce on the right continued, with not a single combatant killed, or even wounded, despite the fact I had charged my second archer unit (the one in the ruins) into the fray at the beginning of the turn. Again, it was a drawn combat, with the javelin men and archers chasing each other with daggers through the woods like elves and goblins playing a game of hide and seek.

Only on the left was there eventually some success, as the Cabelleros FINALLY drove of the last of their opponents, catching them just before the edge of the table. The cheering knights suddenly felt the party atmosphere drain away when the leader tapped one of them on the shoulder and pointed at the 22 very nasty looking crossbowmen and archers on hill to their left. All of whom appeared to be leering in their general direction.

And worst of all, the most embaressing incident of all befell poor Eduardo and his knights. Seeing that all was lost and knowing decisive action was needed to save the day, the brave youth led his knights charging across the corner-field towards their treacherous brethren (say, wasn’t that the fellow in front the chap who so kindly donated those extra lances the other night?) only to fall a short by a HUGE distance.

Yeah, like a whole ¼ inch. At this point Eduardo began to realise that this was not going to be his day. However, it was only seven thirty and we had a whole evening to kill so we kept on playing.

TURN 4 and Juliens turn FIVE

On turn four, Julien, not wanting to risk a counter-charge from my knights, marched them back the way they had came and proceeded to pelt the Hidalgos with crossbow bolts (as it happened, it only took the archers to finish off the last three Cabelleros. This they did by charging them. Despite hitting with every single attack and actually wounding twice (Hurrah!) only one archer was killed (the other saved by his light armour). Since one of my own knights perished, this would ordinarily have been a drawn combat. Alas, both units had musicians this time, and the Cabelleros lost the roll. So, in total, a loss of 22 mounted figures (including one character) in return for the loss of just over a dozen skirmishers. Not a bad return on his investment for Julian.

An investment that grew after the crossbowmen slew one of the Hidalgos. "Sod this for a lark" said Eduardo, and the Hidalgos duplicated the manouvre of their Mercenary companions, heading back to their own edge of the field and towards the centre.

Meanwhile, on the far right, the archers finally managed to make their wounds rolls and slew three of the Berber Javelin-men. The remainder broke. Typically, both archer units failed their leadership tests and set off in pursuit. Only five inches though, placing both in a rather useful position to charge the flank of the Black Guards in the next few turns – hopefully breaking them before those mercenary knights arrived!

The fight on the centre was quickly developing into a stalemate. Unable to wound a bloody thing I was at least proving to be successful with my armour saves for a change. Thankfully, I had decided to buy mercenary spearmen who could be equipped with a large shield rather than the Guard Spearmen who had an extra point of BS because without this extra point the whole unit would have broken long before.

However, despite the next 3 rounds of combat (Juliens turn 4 and 5 and my turn 4) being technical draw’s, I had to make break tests each time because of Juliens African Drums.
I lost my round of combat on turn 4 despite the fact I had charged the black guard in the flank with one unit of skirmishers, who actually succeeded in killing more black guard than the spearmen had in the last two turns. Alas, these chaps did NOT pass the break test and ran away.

In the meantime, the crossbows continued to play merry havoc on my Hidalgos, despite a march-move, killing two more.


"AT LAST" screamed Eduardo as he led his surviving mounted troops into a charge against the Black Guard. Clearly eager to make up for his previous arrogance, Eduardo fought like the demon he (as a good Christian) certainly was not. All three of his lance attacks hit, all three wounded (needing only twos) and all three actually killed! Hurrah! Eduardo screamed to the heavens as his blood boiled. Victory was not lost! Around him, his knights accounted for two more of the Black Guard and another pair fell beneath the hooves of their horses.

The Mercenaries, cheered by the presence of the man who was paying their pay-checks (and wishing to ensure he lived to deliver their wages) found new life in their exhausted limbs and brought down two more. The slaughter would have been far greater had the second unit of archers been able to partake of it, but their path to the slaughter was blocked by their fleeing comrades, who had suddenly stopped to watch was going on with great interest. (Raising the question: why can’t skirmishers charge through skrimishers? That rule makes no sense).

Only a single Spanish warrior (a spearman) was killed in return. This would truly have been a great victory, but despite the ferocious charge the Black Guard had thus far been victorious and so while they wavered, they stubbornly held their ground.


The last two units of spearmen (who up to know had done nothing except for the archers in their back ranks) moved to take up killing positions running north to south in a line perpendicular to line of the Black Guards anticipated retreat. This line consisted of the remaining archer skirmishers to the north, spearmen led by the general just to the south and the last unit of spearmen practically in the crop field. Meanwhile, the mercenary knights charged the unit of archers which had just rallied and drove them off again .

My luck had truly turned by this point. All the knights managed to do was kill one archer. My own archers managed to kill a knight but as they had a standard and ferocious charge the archers broke regardless of their feat. Alas, the pursuing knights crashed straight into the second Spanish archer unit, who had already watched in terror as their companions and neighbours fell beneath the hooves of these heathens!

With the arrival of the Spanish Knights, the Black Guard were clearly in danger of routing. Miraculously however, they held on for a another round thanks to the presence of their hatred inspiring Imam and the African drums, though by the end of Turn 6 less than a dozen were still in the fight. However, on my turn 6 the Mercenary Knights again won their combat (again, with one casualty on either side – go archers!) and ran the fleeing Spaniards down.

Turn 7

With a mighty shout, Eduardo strikes down the Imam and the remaining Black Guard break into a panic and flee. Despite the bellowing of their Prince and Army Standard Bearer, the 5 Hidalgoes and the remaining Spearmen pursue the four fleeing Berbers into the gauntlet of death and slay them all. Their glory is short lived however, for the Spearmen, charged in the flank, panic with the loss of yet one more comrade and flee despite the fall of a traitor knight to another spearman’s sword. The hero is the first to fall, as his comrades flee around him and the mercenary leader closes in for the kill....

Eduardo and his knights have no time to mourn this latest loss however. In that same instant they are charged by the skirmishing archers, the Berber general and his spearmen. Though no knights fall and a single archer does, with the flank attack bonus, their many ranks and their standard, the Berbers win the combat (one last humiliation for Eduardo). Despite their horses, blown from a long day of charging about the battlefield, the Knights are caught and killed to a man. Eduardo himself is the last to fall, unable to pry himself loose from the stirrup of his panicking horse he is dragged a god twenty feet before coming to rest. The last thing he see’s is the grinning face of El-Julian before an African Spear pierces his broken heart.

Meanwhile, atop a ridge, the last three survivors of Eduardo’s army, three cowardly Villianos, watch their masters death... and remember.

What was that saying about eggs and chickens? I really believed I had the game in the bag. What’s more, so did Julien. Who (very gleefully, I might add) assured me more than once that "my dice are killing you." That’s what I get for using my opponents dice. The battle was incredibly bloody. In fact, from my entire army, only three models survived the battle – and that’s only because they ran of the battlefield after the crossbowmen didn’t pursue them in turn X!!!! For all that, Julian lost an Imam, his best spear unit and two units of skirmishers. Not a bad days work for a war-gamer. Certainly a game to remember, filled with moments of gore, bloodshed and riddled with moments of gratuitous laughter (universally at my expense). But how could I have lost?

Well, mostly it was luck. That, and my own supreme arrogance and smugness. I have to learn to keep my plans and my ploys simple. Too complicated just means too much that can go wrong. Secondly I need to stop forming up columns. Sure their good for deception purposes and for screening more valuable troops, but they often just get in the way –even when you have (or especially even when you have) a nifty manouvre planned. Remember Brian, these arn’t trained soldiers your working with, they’re little lead figures with no minds of their own. Oh, and distance, Distance, DISTANCE! When I am ever going to learn to judge distances. Twice I was let down by my ability to estimate an inch at a glance, and it hurt me both times.

Other things to remember:

7 Mounted Skirmishers in a unit is not enough. They reach the automatic break point far too quickly. Ten is better.

I need crossbows. (On order since before Xmas)

Sticking archers into a spear unit works very wel defensively. It will up my rank bonuses while keeping that seven long frontage I like so much for aesthetic reasons (lets you have the leader in the middle and 3 on each side. Five miniatures across just doesn’t look right) and will discourage folk from charging or sending in skirmishers.

REMEMBER the rules! You didn’t spend all those points on throwing spears for nothing.

Buy a Crusader Bishop for next game. Hidalgos rock! Hidalgos with HATRED (and who therefore re-roll failed attacks) are rock harder!

Bring a rulebook next time!
And oh yeah,

Saturday, 3 February 2007


After a quick trip to town, the party return to the mines (Otter still hasn't seen fit to share his name with the rest of the party and so will forever after be known as "that elf!"). This time, the party manages to get the drop on the inevitable sentries/scouts and a brief slaughter ensues.

As a result, when the party enters the secret complex just off the mining tunnel, there is no twenty strong party of Goblin Legionaries. "Thank the Light for that", mutters Edgar before setting about the four unfortunates in the guard room. These four dead goblins are quickly joined by another four in the dormitory. With this, the party sneaks further into the complex, retracing the route taken on their earlier expedition, but avoid the dark room full of dire rats. The party quickly find the loot room, wherein the stolen silver shipment can be found (In four crates which have been nailed shut). We try to open them only to have Bill gleefully announce theirs no way we can take the lid off with bare hands. To which I crowingly holdup my character sheet with "crowbar" underlined several times. Bill acknowledges that even we five incompetents should be able to open a locked crate with a crowbar and lets us get on with it.

"We're rich!" Announce the others, "We're giving it back!" announces Edgar. "Can we at least claim a finders fee?" asks an exasperated (and disappointed) Worrick. Edgar thinks for a moment and concedes, "Sure, that sounds legal", but in any case it quickly proves to be a moot point as Bill explains that as a job lot the haul weighs about 15,000 lbs. Well, we HAD been thinking of coming back with a wagon or too, so that revelation was not exactly disappointing.

(15,000lbs worth of silver!!!!! Now that's what I call a finders fee!")

Alas, the noise of the lid being hammered shut (remember that hammer I bought huh?) brought unwanted attention in the form of two dire rats. We all suddenly realise just how much harder we are now we've reached second level when both expire without so much as scratching our armour.

We progress to the next room, which turns out to be a kitchen. With moving bags of flour. Oh okay. Hold on, what did Bill just say? Two seconds later, a particularly ratty squeak sounds out as Edgar shoots a flour bag with his newly acquired crossbow (traded in for the longbow when he became a cleric). A second dire rat shoots out of a second bag only to fall to an expert shot courtesy of good old Otter.


Not long after, the party finds a secret room, its door protected by a poison needle trap. Worrick makes short work of the trap and soon the party enters a long thin room with a chest at the far end. Worrick carefully seeks out any traps. There are none, immediately making the party suspicious. Their suspicions only grow when the chest is opened to reveal: absolutely nothing.

Not having any of this, Edgar suggests there must be a false bottom. He's not TOO far wrong when Worrick announces he's found a secret button. When pressed, the chest recedes into a small alcove revealing a shining silvery bladed sword in a small niche beneath the chest.

Edgar is extremely chuffed and, as the parties second best melee type and the only one who uses a sword with any frequency, is immediately chuffed when the rest of the party allow him to claim the blade for himself. He is less chuffed, when he notes the blood-scribbled note attached to the blade. Especially when he realises it was left by a dying warrior who fell at the hands of the foul "demoness" who rules the mine!!!

At last, Edgar thinks, a challenge worthy of a knightly member of his Order. There could be some glory to be had from this foul little escapade after all! The remaining party members are not so optimistic. Sealing the secret door behind them, they mull over this new revelation as they rest.