Home Forums Fantasy General Fantasy [ARGAD AAR] The road in the steppes

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    Avatar photoPatrice

    This med-fantasy game was played Sunday 19th February at “Ramène tes Jeux“ games festival in Theix-Noyalo (Brittany).

    There were four players and a GM. The scenario was loosely related to previous games, some of the player characters were already familiar with the background.

    – Thorgrim the Crooked, petty king of two Dwarven clans.
    – Karadog the Hairy, petty king of another Dwarven clan.
    – The Hoth Lithui, a mercenary unit in service of the king.
    – The Tribe of the Wolf, a small group of tribal merchants from the hills.
    There were a few NPCs run by the GM, who added mystery and negociation.

    This area is just outside the south-east limit of the large human kingdom of king Incon, and has no real master. Some of the player characters already know some parts of the kingdom, but not these borders.

    A trade road leads to warmer countries and seas – far in the east and south. The road has a commercial interest but is not so much used.

    …but …what a surprise! Many people travel in this valley today!

    The Dwarves of Thorgrim the Crooked. In the previous game he inherited a very small Dwarven kingdom (he already had one) and wants to look for more dwellings of Dwarves scattered farther in the hills, that could come under his juridiction.

    Karadog the Hairy, petty king of another Dwarven clan, related to one unfortunate (and dead) pretender of the kingdom inherited by Thorgrim and quite unhappy about it. He does not really want to fight Thorgrim but he is looking to seize what he could.

    A groupe of human tribal merchants, wearing wolf skins on their clothes, are camping near a small wood. Their camels and yaks are loaded with trade goods and a half-Goblin is with them. They are ready to continue their trip and they accept to talk with Karadog. Karadog says he hopes their half-Goblin is tamed.

    View from the other side:

    View from the mountain heights. This area is not yet renowned for tourism but certainly has potential.

    A statue remaining from a fallen kingdom of old times still guards a path. It probably had some magical power in the past.

    Something is happening in a small farm near the road. A few Orcqs are apparently mistreating a human!

    The Orcqs try to run away but are shot by Dwarven and tribal bows.

    The man explains that the Orcqs attacked him for no reason, but he does not seem very sincere. Karadog searches inside the huts. Thorgrim’s Dwarves come from the other side to see what’s going on.

    The chief of the clan of the Wolf and her warriors try to hunt wolves …without success.


    Avatar photoPatrice

    A lone female rider is following the road too. Apparently a fire magician or a cleric of a fire god, she tells the Dwarves that she comes from the nearest human valley where she is honourably known. She travels for her own reasons but prefers not to ride alone. Karadog accepts that she rides with them.

    The Dwarves of Karadog walk on the road, followed by the merchants of the Wolf tribe.

    Local vegetation is sparse and looks unusual. The water of the lake seems not so cold than in the mountains. This is not in a warm climate (although these roads lead to such places) but this part of the steppe seems quite warm, perhaps because of thermal springs.

    Big animals are sunbathing near the lake. They do not seem in a fighting mood …but nobody tries to come near them.

    On the other side of the lake walk a party of mercenaries in royal service, Elves, humans, and …some others, probably on a mission (?) follows the side of the mountain, unable to use the narrow paths with their cart.

    The Dwarves of Thorgrim walk far behind, and climb a mountain, they have noticed a broom made of broom displayed near the path as a sign, it could indicate a Dwarven workshop.

    On the path they see rats running on the mountain; they kill two with their crossbows for next supper. They see a statue of a Dwarven queen, and meet a small group of Dwarves who live there. These Dwarves first tell them that rat poaching is forbidden …and understand that they are talking to their new king! After more talking they swear fealty to Thorgrim, it probably does not mean much.

    The Dwarves of Karadog cross the ford on the river…

    …and see movements near a ruined tower … could be thieves.

    The Dwarves are more numerous than the robbers, and order them to recoil far from the road. The robbers accept if promised some coins, and take cover in a small wood.

    The robbers are a strange group of humans, a small giant (?), a half-Ogre, a half-Troll, a flesh golem on a leash, etc. They do not dare attack the Dwarves and say they’ll be happy with a small fee. The Dwarves also tell them not to attack the merchants who are just behind.

    The Dwarves of Thorgrim are still exploring the place. Strange creatures look at them from the heights with curiosity.

    Thorgrim and his Dwarves open a mountain path that was blocked by trees and boulders.


    Avatar photoPatrice

    The royal mercenaries enter the northern valley by a gap between the mountains. As soon as they set foot there, red Goblins sound alarm horns and beat drums. The mercenaries quickly take position on a small hill…

    …more and more Goblins appear, and a chariot drawn by a boar, and a Troll…

    Then strange noises are heard… Everyone is worried; some warriors remember that travellers said that these Goblins raise dragons!

    …and yes, in fact…

    …there is a huge beast!

    …sometimes encouraged by offers of plants (…at least it is probably not carnivorous).

    The beast is truly frightening, however the mercenaries accept the fight with the Goblins without waiting for the Dwarves of Thorgrim.

    The mercenaries suffer casualties, their healers run from a side to another.

    However, after the Goblin sitting on the dragon neck dies killed by arrows, and seing in their path a magical wall of fire conjured by a mage of the mercenary troop, the surviving Goblins retreat.

    Karadog and his Dwarves, and the group of tribal merchants, continue to walk in the steppe. They come near a ring of small hills, and see yellow ribbons tied on stakes…! Knowing that certainly no one would be waiting for them in this remote place they advance and they see a yellow tent.

    …and a cart loaded with yellow stones. Karadog shouts: “GOLD!? um, no“. A Goblin comes out of the tent and is killed by Dwarven arrows. Another Goblin comes out of a hole in the hill.

    The female magician or fire cleric, who had followed the group since the beginning, rides forward shouting horrible things and slang words apparently related to her magic. A man in a long yellow robe comes out of the tent. The two magic users throw fire at each other, still furiously shouting. The man in yellow falls down, hit by magical fires. The second Goblin tries to run away but is killed by the Dwarves.

    The Dwarves understand that the yellow stones are not gold, but contain sulphur. Karadog and the female magician search the tent and find documents that they share together; then the woman sets fire to the tent and burns the corpse of her opponent, reciting spells in a scornful tone.

    Although they were quite friendly since the beginning, an unexpected dissension suddenly appears between Karadog and the Wolf tribe. The Dwarves forbid the merchants to come near the sulphur mine; then having noticed that one of the merchants had talked with the retreating Goblins, the Dwarves advance, slightly menacing. The tribe quickly goes away with its pack animals.


    …The game ended as the festival was closing its doors, with a fulfilled scenario although some diplomacy was still possible but that can happen in a next game.
    Thorgrim has extended his small realm, and must now be ready for Goblin counter-attacks.
    Karadog is decided to keep the sulphur mine, which can lead to interesting developments in the future.
    The Wolf tribe merchants have earned commercial gains.
    The mercenary troop has well recognised the place to protect the interest of the human king (and the player has written a detailed report, and is currently drawing a project to build a small fortress between the mountains, which was not required from him …but he seems to believe that it could even be scratch-built for another game, I like these players).


    Avatar photoWouter Wolput

    I am curious about the goal and setup if the game.

    It feels like a roleplaying game with players having small companies instead of characters.

    The many small events must have been it so fun to explore the map.

    Thank you for all the photos and the report.

    Avatar photoPatrice

    It feels like a roleplaying game with players having small companies instead of characters.

    Thanks. Yes, that’s the point exactly. 🙂 Players could have fought each other if they wanted to, but in this scenario it was not necessary in their background. It would have been very different if another player had taken the Goblins (who were NPCs in this game).



    Good Show!

    Avatar photowillz

    A wonderful AAR, thanks for sharing.

    Avatar photoDarkest Star Games

    Patrice, you guys really have some great games.  And I do like the red goblins, a nice change from the grennskins you normally see.

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    Avatar photoPatrice

    Thanks. 🙂

    I do like the red goblins, a nice change from the grennskins you normally see.

    I first painted them a very long time ago with Humbrol and at the time I did what the AD&D Monster Manual suggested for Goblins: “ochre yellow to brick red“ if I recall correctly.

    Later when trying to improve them with some acrylics without removing the Humbrol I thought that a rather dark scarlet, with some different shades between them, suited them well.


    Avatar photoirishserb

    What a great game!  Thanks so much for sharing it.

    I struggle with the idea that every game has to just be a big battle, and really enjoy that there is more to the game than that.


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