Friday, 17 May 2013

The Eye of Morrslieb Narrative Campaign: Part 1 - Introduction


Greetings once more fellow wargamers, and welcome to my war room.


This time, I bring you part one of what will be a multi-part part series all about the narrative campaign I will (hopefully) be running. I have decided to post as the campaign goes along rather than wait till it's over and then post it all at once, to give an honest account of how things go. I haven't run any kind of campaign in an awfully long time, so I am not sure how it will pan out, but if I encounter problems along the way and can get around them, maybe others can learn from my misfortune. Here goes...

The Eye of Morrslieb

~~~


For twelve nights, the Eye of Morrsleib glared down on the land as it forged a shimmering path across the heavens, like the emerald spear of a god. It's luminescence lent the countryside below an eerie and unnatural hue, sickly and pallid. In it's wake, there did fall a rain of glittering dust which glimmered and sparkled with the pure stuff of Chaos.

In every place where the dust fell upon the land, it brought with it the power of change, unfettered and uncontrollable. It's taint permeated all: flesh, stone, earth and water. Living things were twisted into diabolical new forms, or rent assunder, mewling and ravaged. Dead things found their withered limbs, though creaking and splintered, imbued with terrible new life.

On the thirteenth night, the Eye opened and became one with the earth, and every creature attuned to the raging winds of magic turned their faces towards it's resting place, sensing its power...

~~~

The Eye of Morrslieb is a three battle linked campaign I am planning to run at my local club, in an effort to get enthusiastic but inexperienced Warhammer Fantasy players playing the game, and to allow grizzled old veterans like myself to get their teeth into something with a back story while hammering home the nuances of 8th edition. Also, it will make a welcome change from the slew of 40K battles that have been fought recently as part of our Club Warhammer 40,000 League. This is intended as a warm up before we go for either a Club Warhammer Fantasy League, or into a more involved map based campaign.

I have to admit, despite a barrow load of resources to refer to, planning a linked campaign for multiple players is much more complicated than planning one for just two armies. The campaign narrative breaks down into three plot stages, each represented by an appropriate battle. I am planning on using pre-made scenarios from various sources with as little tweaking as possible, just to keep things simple for this first campaign.

Now I stress, there are two things I would like this campaign to emphasise: Making a narrative work and be exciting, and to help people along with the rules and getting to grips with gameplay and how their army works. Although there will be an eventual winner, this is not intended as a competitive campaign.

Stage 1 - Investigation

The representatives of each of the participating armies, leading small scouting or vanguard forces who happen to be the closest to the impact area of the Eye of Morrslieb all rush to ascertain the nature of the object that has fallen from the heavens. It is clear to all that it is of significance and may be of value to their masters.

As the armies hurry to do their masters bidding, they unexpectedly run into rival forces, intent on reaching the Eye first in the name of their own masters.

This first battle will be played out using the Meeting Engagement scenario, representing the hurried nature of the forces, and their focus on getting to the prize first, rather than who else might be about. We have eight armies taking part, and each game will involve two armies. The results of this first game will determine which armies reach the crash site first.

The armies taking part are as follows:

Vampire Counts (me)
Skaven
Skaven
Warriors of Chaos
Lizardmen
Lizardmen
Empire
Orcs & Goblins

There will be restrictions on list selection, and as the first two games revolve around the smaller forces rushing to reach the crash site and what happens when they get there, the players will use the same list for both of the first two games.

The restrictions are intended to ensure that the forces that are selected are not going to unbalance these low point games, and to try and pruduce armies that are representative of the kind of force that is more of a garrison/scouting/vanguard type of force, rather than a main army force with all the big characters and support. That comes later...

Here are the restriction on the lists for the first and second game:

Maximum of 750 points in total

No Lord Choices - Your Lord is with his army, this is just a peripheral force

No Battle Standard Bearer - The Battle Standard is with your Lord and the main army

Maximum of one War Machine - this is a small force mobile force, not an artillery train

No Monsters - Again, this is a small force, not the Altdorf Zoo. The force is not equipped to deal with a monster

No Magic Items with an individual value of more than 25 points - Any characters with this force are not important enough to be able to afford anything more spangly

In addition, to avoid any situations where a single lucky spell wipes someones army off the table, spells are generated by rolling a D3 rather than a D6, ensuring that in the first couple of games we don't see any of the really big spells, and to allow the players to concentrate more on maneouvering and combat rather than sparkly sticks that go Whizz Bang!

I am hoping that non of these restrictions will have too adverse an effect on any of the armies, but being as I am using Vampire Counts (who aren't famed for their prowess in low point games), if the restrictions bite anyone in the ass it will probably be me! I haven't run a campaign like this before, which is another reason for starting small, so this is a learning curve for me in that respect as well.

Which armies run into each other will be determined at random using marked pieces of parchment marked with the symbol of an army. Once the Meeting Engagements have been played out, the results will affect who reaches the crash site first as follows:

Each army will roll a D6 with the following modifiers:

Fought and drew or lost = +0
Fought and won a Minor Victory = +1
Fought and Massacred the enemy = +2

The resulting scores will be used to determine the order in which the armies arrive at the site and discover the Eye of Morrslieb. Any players that draw scores will roll off to determine a final order between them. Obviously armies that achieve the best result in the first game will stand the best chance of reaching the crash site first, which comes with certain benefits in later games.

So, next comes the games themselves, who won, and what order they arrive at the crash site of the Eye...watch this space!

Thanks for reading.