"What Happened Next to Your Darkestorme Band"
Two Linked Darkestorme Scenarios by Anonymous Bosch
Did you ever find old miniatures for a loved campaign and wonder what happened next... Well that's exactly what happened to one Darkestorme fan so they at down and wrote a coupe of adventures to continue the story...
While looking through some old boxes, I came across my favorite DarkeStorme models. They were Iron Karl’s Lads and Yurk Kazan’s Yellow Hand Band. Blowing the dust off the box, I was reminded of lines from an Anglo Saxon poem, “The Wanderer”.
Alas for the mailed warrior!
Alas for the splendour of the prince!
How that time has passed away,
dark under the cover of night,
as if it had never been!
Oops. Please pardon that interruption from my feathered muse.
I wondered what might have happened next to Karl, Yurk, and their warbands. That lead to the following scenarios. These are generic, so with a little tinkering to the motivations, you can use them with your favorite warbands, whatever they might be.
Patience, feathered one, I am getting to your part of the story.
The Cast of Characters
These descriptions, except for the special guests, are excerpted from the first edition of Gavin Syme’s DarkeStorme rulebook.
Iron Karl’s Lads
This band of Mountain Dwarves is made up of the following:
This firebrand has risen to fame quickly in the chaos of the Maelstrome. Indeed a mere three seasons ago he was a simple shield bearer but now he leads his own Unit of Berserkers. Recently charged with the task of killing the foul chieftain Grarg Toesnap, Karl earned the nickname ‘Iron Karl’ after fighting his way through several ranks of Orc Lunatics before finally reaching the Chieftain. He was struck aside by the blade of Kazan but not before injuring the Chieftain of the Yellow Hand Tribe. Karl is a Dwarf armed with a Magicke ‘Wylde Sword’ and a ‘Large Shield’, he is wearing fine chain mail that counts as ‘Quality Armour’. Additionally he is blessed by the Dwarven Gods and is gifted the Magicke Spell ‘Minor Charming’ that he may use once per scenario. Karl is the Unit’s Leader and is immune to Morale checks.
A kind fellow would say that Heinrich is ‘unwell’ but a truthful one would say that he is crazy. A mad look in his eyes and teeth bared, he cares little for the perils of battle and will wade in up to his neck without a second thought. Heinrich is a Dwarf armed with a Spear and Dagger; he is wearing a leather cuirass that counts as ‘Acceptable Armour’. He is the Sub-Leader of the Unit and is immune to Morale tests.
Max ‘Itchy’ Stern
All the ‘Iron Lads’ stay well clear of Max; his personal hygiene is dubious at best. In fact his body odour is so bad that his clothes are always on the verge of falling apart. He has abandoned the idea of undergarments completely. For all this he is a worthy member of the Unit and a skilled warrior. Itchy is a Dwarf armed with a mace and wearing thick plaid counting as ‘Flimsy Armour’. His body odour is so bad that if any enemy comes within 3 inches of him they must roll 1D6 and score 3+ to approach any nearer during that Activation.
Turk is an old Dwarf and takes great delight in reminding all the other Dwarves in the Unit of that fact. He feels that Karl should not be the Sergeant of the Lads and he thinks that he would do a better job. This may once have been true but too much ale and bier have dimmed the wits of this once ferocious fighter. Turk is a Dwarf armed with an axe and is wearing rusty old plate that counts as ‘Acceptable Armour’. He carries a clay bottle that contains his ‘gut rot grog’, once per scenario he may drink this to gain a –1 to his ‘Resist Wound’ rating for two Activations, or it may be opened and thrown at an enemy, treat as a ‘Mist of Blindness’ Spell for effects.
The Brothers Grimm are the core of Karl’s Iron Lads and the bulk of its Melee power in a fight. The three brothers come from the Wylde Forest in the north of the Krautan League where many of the League’s beasts are captured for handling. Otto is the elder brother and has a real dislike of Burnheart the former Kandeltropen, thinking him reckless even for a berserker. Otto is a Dwarf armed with a two-handed sword, he wears no armour finding it too restrictive.
Kurt is an idealist and feels that true swordsmanship is the way for a perfect Dwarf Warrior to survive battle. He also thinks that to duck when needed is a good idea and that to listen to his brothers will help also. Kurt is a Dwarf armed with a two-handed sword and a buckler Shield, he wears no armour.
The youngest of the Brothers Grimm was dropped on his head as a child, and it shows! He is quick to anger and slow to calm and is easily led, a thing that Turk takes great delight in doing, after all what else are other Dwarves for? Russ is a Dwarf armed with a two-handed axe and wearing a studded jerkin that counts as ‘Acceptable Armour’. Once Russ is in Melee with an enemy he will not break off the combat until either he or the enemy is dead.
Burnhart used to mentor Karl, but since the recent event of Karl taking over the Lads from Captain Klockskill, Burnhart has felt out of place. He used to be a Guardian of the Palace Guard but was thrown out for blackmail. He keeps his beard long and bushy to hide his face. He even served a season in the Kandeltropen but fearing for his life when ordered to fight the Dracci in the south of Alevia, decided instead to disappear in the night. Now he bides his time. The skirmishes with the Yellow Hand have tested his nerve again, and he may yet decide to ‘dismiss’ himself from the Iron Lads. Burnhart is a Dwarf Kandeltropen armed with an axe and a club; he wears ‘Wylde Mail’ under his clothes, a treat bought with Palace Coin. Burnhart is a coward despite his skill and Armour, if he Attacks or is Attacked by more than one enemy at a time he must take a Morale test at a –1 and abide by the results.
The Yellow Hand Band
The personal bodyguard of Grarg Toesnap and a very experienced killer in his own right. The former Commander of many hundred Mountain Orcs in the service of the Yellow Hand. Some reckless Orcs have commented that his father was a Troll; this may be true, Yurk intends to ask his mother if he ever meets her. He is a massive creature, a Greater Mountain Orc, and is armed with a Great Sword. He is wearing light plate that counts as ‘Acceptable Armour’ and he possesses the skill ‘Nimble’ giving him an extra Action. Additionally he has Level 2 Talent. He has two Actions per Turn without special skills and three Wounds. Below are his unique Racial Stats:
RACIAL TYPE Greater Mountain Orc ***
WALK RATE (INCHES) 6
RUN RATE (INCHES) 9
CAUSE WOUND (2D6) 7
RESIST WOUND (2D6) 5
RESIST MAGICKE (2D6) 9
POINTS COST 63
The Shaman Ozzus
An able Magician but somewhat over enthusiastic in his work. Ozzus worships no known Orc Deity but one of his own mind. This God grants him Power in return for wearing black robes and spending the last day of each week in prayer nodding his head. Ozzus is a Mountain Orc Mage of the 4th Level and has the following Spells; ‘Shock Blast’, ‘Shimmer Shield’, ‘Minor Charming’, ‘Halt!’, ‘Lightening Fork’, ‘Rain Storm’ and ‘Increase Armour Mass’. Additionally Ozzus has a wooden pole, which counts as a Staff for combat.
This Undead lumbering pile of bones used to be Zed, the second in command of Yurk’s Orcs, but he came off the worst when tackling a Necromancer a few months ago. His brother Lenny now looks after Zed and makes sure the groaning Undead Orc continues to fight for the Yellow Hand. If asked what’s happened Lenny simply says ‘Zed’s Dead Baby’. Zed is an Undead Orc armed with a Dagger and chain mail counting as ‘Acceptable Armour’.
A former Beast Handler, Lenny now cares for his brother Zed as best he can, keeping him ‘together’ and preventing anyone from killing him again! Lenny uses a whip to get Zed’s attention. Lenny is an Orc and armed with a Sword and Whip (counts as a Flail), he is wearing good chain mail counting as ‘Quality Armour’.
Dross is a very happy Orc. He claims that he killed a Dragon singlehanded and he wears its ‘tooth’ in his helm as proof. Those who see Dross replacing his Dragon’s tooth every now and again with another piece of painted wood might think otherwise. He is the Unit’s subleader and sticks close to Yurk, ‘coz he’s well beefy!’ Dross is an Orc and is Sub-Leader he is armed with a two-handed axe and is wearing plate mail counting as ‘Quality Armour’, he has the skill ‘Inspired’ due to his Dragon story.
An archer of some skill, Gilburt sticks with Kazan for the chance of wealth. Always looking for corpses to loot and ruins to plunder he acts as the Unit’s scout, claiming his bow will strike from afar but mostly it stays on his back as he fills his pockets before the others arrive. Gilburt is an Orc armed with a Bow and 30 arrows; he also has a Sword and is wearing very shoddy leather skirts counting as ‘Flimsy Armour’.
All Orcs love a good feast but few are as thin as Skin. That’s not his real name, but he has given in trying not to use it. The oldest and slimmest member of the Unit, he is the newest member of Kazan’s Band. He proved his skill to Kazan by killing one of Iron Karl’s Dwarves with an amazing Spear throw. Skin is an Orc armed with a Spear and a Dagger, he has no armour.
Until recently, Fluffy was a happy and well fed cockatrice, who enjoyed visiting Alphonso because the odd Dwarf always gave him food. Over the past week, something has gone wrong. There are strange creatures in the woods, and there has been no sign of Alphonso in about a week. Fluffy had come out of the forest and has decided to guard his friend’s territory until Alphonso returns. Fluffy is a cockatrice who has gone amok.
Alphonso is a Mountain Dwarf herbalist who lives alone deep in the woods. Nearly a week ago he was captured by a group of Orcs. Presently he is bound and gagged in his own hut. Although his skills as an herbalist are nearly magical, he is not a mage. He needs time and ingredients to prepare a potion or poultice, and so his herbalist skills have no effect on the scenarios. On the other hand, his experiences in the forest and those with Fluffy have given him the ‘Handler to Stop Amok!’ skill. If freed by the Dwarves, Alphonso can arm himself with both a knife and his walking stick (treat as a staff) for one action before leaving his hut.
Scenario 1: Could that be Fluffy?
“What could be keeping my cousin Alphonso?” Sergeant Karl wondered out loud as he and his fellow Dwarf berserkers, the Iron Lads, made their way through the forest to the clearing where Alphonso lived.
Unlike other Dwarves, Alphonso lived alone deep in the woods. Even more unusual, Alphonso was a master of herbalism. His knowledge of healing potions was unrivaled in the lands of the Alevia. A week ago the elders of the Krautan village Mossback asked Alphonso to help with a strange fever that villagers were suffering from. Alphonso promised to deliver medicine for it in a couple days. After a week, Alphonso still had not returned, and now there were rumors that Orcs were back in the forest. The elders asked the Krautan army for help, and Karl volunteered to check on his famous cousin and deliver the medicine back to Mossback.
“Maybe Fluffy ate him,” Werner Turk, the oldest berserker, suggested. Everyone laughed except Russ Grimm, the youngest.
“Who is Fluffy?” asked Russ.
Karl answered, “After a few drinks in the tavern, Alphonso would invent tall tales about having a pet monster in his barn. He named it Fluffy, and he complained how hard it was to find enough food for the critter. Alphonso used to entertain us for hours with his Fluffy stories. Many say that Alphonso made it all up, but I would wager that there is a pebble of truth in his stories. Maybe he has a pet rooster in his barn.”
“No, it wasn’t Fluffy,” Werner said, “But maybe the Yellow Hand Orcs got him.”
“Do you suppose that monstrous Orc, the one whose eye you poked out, is still hunting for you?” asked Russ.
“Yurk Kazan. I suppose, you never really forget an eye-gouging grudge,” answered Karl.
Karl raised a hand for silence as they approached the clearing. Stopping at the edge of the woods, they could see Alphonso’s cabin and barn in the middle of the field, but there was no sign of Alphonso. No smoke from the chimney. Everything was still and quiet, like the stone statues of woodland creatures that littered the yard.
Then Karl saw it. The branches of a bush across the clearing were moving despite the lack of a breeze. Karl looked harder and then hissed quietly, “Orcs!”
An Orc scout with a yellow hand tattoo was sneaking towards the hut. The Orc spotted the Dwarves and pointed at them. A massive, nine foot tall, Mountain Orc moved out of the woods for a better look. Yurk Kazan stood and stared with his remaining eye, and then he recognized his archenemy and bellowed a growl that sounded halfway between rage and delight.
Before any Dwarf or Orc could move, a monstrous “SQUAWK!” erupted from the barn. Slowly a giant yellow bill came out of doorway, followed by a huge pair of crimson, avian eyes, and finally the bright green body of a large cockatrice. Tilting its head from side to side, as a rooster might to eye some bugs before eating them, the huge monster looked over the warriors. Then the creature took a deep breath and bellowed another, “SQUAWK!”
Karl and his Dwarves were sent to find Alphonso and to bring the medicine back to the village Mossback. They need to search the area around the house and barn to find Alphonso and the medicine. Once these have been located, the Dwarves need to bring these off the eastern edge of the board.
Yurk Kazan and his Orcs had heard of the famous herbalist, and they captured him intending to present him as a gift to their chieftain. However, Yurk had not been named a Kasan for nothing. He realized that sooner or later other Dwarves would wander into the clearing looking for Alphonso. So Yurk’s band kept their captive in his hut and waited in the surrounding woods like hunters using a decoy, hoping to capture more Dwarves for slaves. The Orcs would have been in position to ambush Karl’s Dwarves had it not been for the sudden appearance of a cockatrice this morning. The Orcs fled to the west and waited for monster to leave. Hours later, seeing that the creature was planning to stay, the Orcs were returning to chase it off or slay it. To their surprise, a group of Dwarves suddenly appeared, and these were none other than the Yellow Hand Band’s hated foes, Iron Karl and his lads.
The Orcs want to kill Karl and his lads before they can escape from the clearing. Their leader, Yurk, especially wants to kill Karl. The Orcs certainly don’t want the herbalist to escape. If the Dwarves free Alphonso, the Orcs will try to recapture him. They will not try to kill Alphonso.
The monster is indeed Alphonso’s pet, Fluffy. Without the guidance of his master, Fluffy has gone amok. Fluffy will stay in the area between the hut and the barn, which is where Alphonso feeds him, unless someone attacks him or moves too close to either structure.
Alphonso wants to get free from the Orcs and head to the nearest fortified settlement, Mossback. He will insist that they bring the medicine he prepared for the town, which is presently in two saddlebags that he left in the barn.
The game is designed for a three foot (North to South) by six foot (West to East) table. Place two small buildings in the middle of the table. These represent Alphonso’s hut and his barn. Each has only one door. The buildings should be placed six inches apart, with the doors of each facing the other structure’s door, as shown on the map. Place the cockatrice midway between the house and the barn. There should be two small hills on the eastern side and one large hill on the western side. There should be a few trees between the hills and the buildings, and a few more within a foot northern and southern edges.
The Dwarves are deployed first. They are placed within 12 inches of the center of the eastern edge. The Orcs deploy next, and they are placed anywhere within 12 inches of the western table edge. The cockatrice should already have been placed during terrain set up.
Finding Alphonso: Any Dwarf entering the hut will spot the bound and gagged Alphonso. It takes one action to free him. At that moment Alphonso becomes a member of the Dwarf warband, and can be activated in the same turn. For a cost of one action, Alphonso will grab his walking stick (staff) and a knife on the way out of the house. Alphonso can attempt to control Fluffy with his handler skill. Otherwise the cockatrice will continue to guard the yard between the two structures.
Finding the Medicine: Any Dwarf entering the barn will see a pair of saddle bags filled with what appears to be potions. These were of no interest to the Orcs or Fluffy. It cost an action for a Dwarf unit to pick the saddle bags up. They each count as one item for the purpose of determining how much a unit can carry.
Amok Cockatrice: If attacked, Fluffy will attack the last creature that attacked him. Otherwise, he will attack the nearest warrior that is within 4 inches of the barn or hut. If neither situation applies, Fluffy will move to and stay within the area between the barn and the hut. Fluffy’s avian eyes on either side of his head, and his frequent moving his head, means that Fluffy can see 360 degree no matter what direction the model is facing. Also keep in mind his height when determining what he can see.
Making Garden Gnomes: If Fluffy is going to attack, he might try to turn his opponent to stone. It’s up to the person controlling Fluffy, usually a referee or the opponent of the model being attacked. If playing solitaire, you can roll a d6, and on a result of five or six, Fluffy tries to petrify his opponent. Here is a summary of the rules for that. Fluffy can only try to petrify every other turn, and it costs two actions. If the target then fails its resist Magicke roll, roll a d6, and the target is turned to stone on a result of one or two. See the Level 10 spell, Petrify to Stone. Remember, Fluffy can only try to petrify on every other turn.
Capturing Alphonso: Any Orc that wounds Alphonso in melee combat can choose to capture him instead of wounding him, provided that neither the Orc nor Alphonso is in base to base contact with another Dwarf model. After being captured, Alphonso is forced to stay in base to base contact with his captor, moving only when the captor moves, and ending the move in base to base contact with his captor. The side controlling the captor moves him. If the captor is wounded, he will automatically release Alphonso, at which point the Dwarves control Alphonso’s movement, and can move them as if he was one of their warnband.
The Medicine Bags: A unit carrying the medicine bags can drop them as he could with any other item. Normally he will not drop them, but there are two situations where he is forced to drop them. If the unit is either wounded or captured, he will automatically drop the saddle bags. If that happens, place a token for each bag. Any model that is in base contact with a saddlebag token can pick the bag of medicine up and carry it as if it were an item of equipment.
The Dwarves win if they bring both Alphonso and his saddlebags of medicine off the eastern edge of the board. The Orcs win if they can prevent the Dwarves from bringing either Alphonso or the saddlebags off the eastern edge. If Yurk or Karl are eliminated, but not both, then the warband which lost its leader will suffer a +1 addition to morale rolls in next scenario.
Scenario 2: Under the Hunter’s Moon
The Yellow Hand Orcs stopped to look at the tree that their scout, Gilburt, was pointing to.
“Here it is, the shortcut I was telling you about. See the arrow shape carved into the bark of that tree, that’s me mark,” Gilburt said to Yurk Kasan, and then ducked in case his leader was going to hit him for taking so long to find it, or almost as bad, thump his back real hard in gratitude.
“With this path we can reach the swamp before the Dwarves do?” asked Dross, Yurk’s second in command, while struggling to re-attach his “dragon tooth” to his helm. It had gotten knocked off in an earlier scuffle with the same Dwarves and some horse sized chicken thing.
“Yes. I am sure of it,” answered Gilburt, the Yellow Hand band’s scout and archer.
“Well, what are you waiting for,” growled Yurk, the nine foot tall Mountain Orc. “Onwards! This time kill Karl and all his berserkers. Just don’t forget to leave the healer Dwarf alive for the chief.”
The Dwarves want to bring Alphonso and the medicine back to the village of Mossback. With the Orcs not far behind and closing, the Dwarves have chosen to continue traveling by night, even though that means crossing the Schwartzwasser swamp at night. Inconvenient to travel through in daylight, it becomes far more difficult to cross at night, even under a bright full Hunter’s Moon.
The Orcs hope to finish off the Karl and his berserkers before they can leave the forest. Their last chance to do this is the Schwartzwasser swamp. Gilburt, the Orc scout, knows of a shortcut that will allow the Yellow Hand Band to cut off the retreating Dwarves and force them into a final, pitched battle. The Orcs also want to capture Alphonso to give him to their chieftain as a slave. For this reason they will try to capture him alive.
If Fluffy survived the last scenario, he has gone back deep into the woods and does not appear in this scenario.
Alphonso is now carrying the medicine. He knows that he is close to the village of Mossback, and will try to go back even if the other Dwarves are eliminated. Given a choice, he will flee from the Orcs rather than attempt to fight them.
The terrain is a swamp in the woods under an autumn full moon. For the characters that the models represent, it is very hard to see where the land ends and the water begins. The water is not deep, but it covers a few inches of loose mud, and that is made even more slippery by a covering of slimy, rotting leaves. If they could travel very slowly, then they could avoid the water and the mud. Tonight they do not have time, and both sides have to travel faster than they should in such conditions.
The board should be three feet (North to South) and six feet long. Place a scattering of trees and other objects to indicate the swampy nature of the field. Small stones from your garden, sticks that you can place as logs, model aquarium plants and similar items can serve nicely to suggest the swampy nature of the ground.
The Dwarves are deployed first, within 12 inches of the center the western edge of the board. Alphonso is deployed with the rest of the Dwarves.
The Orcs are deployed next. They are placed within 12 inches of the center of the southern edge of the board.
Casualties from the previous scenario: It is up to you and your opponent to decide whether the models that were eliminated in the last scenario can take part in this one. You can imagine that a group of replacements unexpectedly turns up in time for the next scenario. Or you can leave the casualties out, though this might lead to an unbalanced scenario.
During the first turn, the Dwarves have initiative and move first.
The game lasts until the end of turn 10.
Night Fight: Because this is happening at night under moonlight, neither side can see well. This has three effects.
Ranged weapons receive a + 1 penalty to their ‘Cause Wound’ roll for every three inches (instead of the normal six inches) distance to the target.
Magicke and spell-like effects that have ranges or areas of effect will now have these halved.
Movement may be affected. Every time a character moves or runs, he must first roll a d6 to see if he can stay on land (move with his usual movement rate) or has wandered into the water and mud (and must treat the whole move as if it were across rough terrain, and so his movement is halved.) If the unit rolls a 1 or 2, he must treat the terrain as rough terrain. Otherwise he can treat it as plain terrain.
Capturing Aiphonso: Any Orc that wounds Alphonso in melee combat can choose to capture him instead of wounding him, provided that neither the Orc nor Alphonso is in base to base contact with another Dwarf model. After being captured, Alphonso is forced to stay in base to base contact with his captor, moving only when the captor moves, and ending the move in base to base contact with his captor. The side controlling the captor moves him. If the captor is wounded, he will automatically release Alphonso, at which point the Dwarves control Alphonso’s movement, and can move them as if he was one of their warnband.
The Medicine Bags: Alphonso can drop the medicine bags at any time, just as he may with any other item. Normally he will not drop them, but there are two situations where he is forced to. If Alphonso is either wounded or captured, he will drop the saddle bags. If that happens, place a token for each bag. Any model that is in base contact with a saddlebag token can pick the bag of medicine up and carry it as if it were an item of equipment.
The Dwarves win if Alphonso and the both saddle bags of medicine make it off the eastern edge of the board by the end of turn 10.
The Orcs win if neither Alphonso nor both saddle bags of medicine make it off the eastern side of the board.
Should Alphonso be captured, wounded or killed, then he will drop the saddle bags. the Dwarves can still tie the game by bringing both saddle bags of medicine off the board.
The above scenarios are an Orcs in the Webbe original and were first published on December 15th 2016 as part of the 2016 Advent Calendar.