"Schnapps by Moonlight"
A Flintloque Scenario by Luke Passingham
When a Ferach Elven force falls into confusion and exchanges friendly fire over the Haransebetsie bridge some Albion Orcs’ realise their chance to attack has come.
Donatien Phillipe Loic De Cossard leaned back on his chair (finest Otharian wood, carried here at great expense) and let out a sigh of dismay. It was gone – all of it. This was a disaster: a tragedy. How could he continue now? Surely the cause was lost!
“I should point out sir” said Jingles in his usual measure tones “that whilst the Rothschild is indeed all gone we do still have several fine bottles of Carruades that are still corked and unbroken. Perhaps sir would prefer one of those with his supper?”
De Cossard made a small noise of dismay but indicated his assent with a wave. Bowing low, Jingles withdrew to unpack the aforesaid wine.
“These eggs are too cold” Noisette was saying behind him “and too chewy. I don’t like them Donatien. I want to go to a restaurant. When can we do that again? Must we stay in this beastly tent much longer my darling? I hate it here.”
De Cossard scowled beneath his hat. Noisette was proving more and more irritating the longer the operation went on and he was beginning to regret picking her out from Madame L’amours stable before he embarked on this cursed jaunt and bringing her along in the first place. He had long given up explaining that they were hundreds of miles away from the nearest restaurant (he didn’t count the vile local ones of course: as if a gentleman of his standing would grace such a pigsty!) and that they would be in the field for the foreseeable future. Blasted campaign! De Cossard hated being in the field but sometimes a chap had to do what a chap had to do. Hopefully that oaf Bintz would by now have secured the village and he could at least spend the next night in a real bed, even if it was some appalling local one. If the village wasn’t in too bad a state, perhaps an extended stay would be in order. Orders to advance could always be lost, couldn’t they? Happy thoughts indeed.
De Cossard realised he should also probably tell Noisette that the eggs weren’t chicken eggs. They had run out three days ago and Jingles had instead brought in some rubbery eggs that he had found on the riverbank. Possibly waterbirds, he had said confidently, although De Cossard had seen the big reptiles that sometimes surfaced from the Haran’s waters, all teeth and scales, and had politely declined his helping.
Across the river, Lt. Bonsoir Bintz was drunk. Horribly drunk. Being dispatched by the buffoonish De Cossard to secure the village of Haranbetsie was one thing – his Hussars were the most mobile troops in the little advance force after all – but to be sent out in the dead of night for no other reason than that his commander didn’t fancy another night in his tent was idiotic. De Cossard’s tent was three times bigger and ten times heavier than any of the other tents the unit carried and that was without the assortment of furniture he insisted on carrying with him. Bintz and his troops had stumbled along the riverbank, wet and cold in the inky blackness of night, until the clouds had cleared and the moonlight had shown them the bridge. There however their fortunes had changed. Leading his men across Bintz had sighted what he first thought was the fires of the village – surprising, as he’d heard it’s inhabitants had long since fled – but had instead turned out to be a travelling group of Walachian gypsies, their bright wagons surrounding a small fire.
They eagerly welcomed the heavily armed Elves as befitted their status as a people who could have their wagons requisitioned at sword point at a moments notice and once the Hussars had warmed themselves around the fire the Walachians had offered them a drink from their barrel of Schnapps. One thing had led to another, and soon there was music and dancing and the Hussars were three sheets to the wind and all thoughts of their mission forgotten. Screw De Cossard, thought Bintz happily as he danced about the fire, a mug of Schnapps in one had and the arm of a Walachian beauty in another. Let him sit in his tent and rot!
On the bridge Lt. D’Anglais squinted through the darkness at the firelight. There were figures there, certainly, and the sound of fiddles and drums – gypsies most likely. But if so, where was that fool Bintz? He was three hours overdue and D’Angalis wouldn’t put it past the puffed up Hussar to have fallen in the river. Calling his men to shoulder arms he marched forward, full of his own importance. He would whip these gypsies away and secure the village himself.
The movement was noticed by one of Bitz’s men, sitting drunkenly on a wagon. “who goes” he cried, slurring his words in the cold night air.
“The Imperial army, you dogs! Lay down your arms!”
The army! The Orcs had come! Panic filled the hussars brain. An attack! Clumsily he stood, pointed his gun into the blackness and fired. At the sound of the musket shot the camp exploded into panic and the other hussars cried out in alarm and fumbled for their weapons.
On the bridge itself D’Anglais rocked backwards, his sword dropping from his hand, and plunged from the bridge into the river below.
“The Orcs are across the river! They’ve shot the Lieutenant!” one man cried. Alarm filled the soldiers as they dropped to their knees and began to return fire.
Half a mile away, Colonel McPonce heard the sounds of shots and glared into the darkness with his one remaining eye.
“That bastard De Cossard is ahead, I can smell him. Up, boys, up and on! We have him – at last we have him! We’ll hang his carcass on the Haranbetsie bridge before morning!”
In his tent, De Cossard had also heard the shots.
“Bloody hell.” He said, putting down his crystal glass. “What is it this time?”
The Elven forces, under De Cossard, have been advancing ahead of their main army in order to secure routes and have recently camped for the night but sent a unit across the river, by means of the bridge, to secure a local hamlet within which they hope to spend the night in more comfort.
However they are unaware that they are close to being intercepted by a much smaller force of Orc skirmishers, led by Colonel Horace McPonce, an old enemy of De Cossards who is obsessed with gaining his revenge after a deadly (and somewhat hilarious) encounter several years previously. When the Elven force falls into confusion and exchanges friendly fire on the bridge the Orcs’ chance to attack has come. Can De Cossard rally his troops or make good his escape? Or will McPonce have his vengeance?
Position the Haransebetsie bridge roughly in the middle of the gaming area. On the left hand side is the village of Haransebetsie – a miserable hamlet of a half dozen buildings. The river runs across the table and is unfordable. The Walachian camp may be represented by three carts or wagons, which should be arranged in a circular position with the barrel of schnapps placed at their centre. Set up the Walachian camp halfway between the bridge and the village.
Place the unit of drunken Elven Hussars on the village side of the bridge, within the wagon ‘circle’. Place D’anglais’ unit on the bridge itself, but remove D’anglais himself from the table as he has just been shot by the hussars and is now moving at speed down the Haran. Place De Cossard’s group and Vaillant’ section anywhere on the right side of the bridge but they should be at least 32cm from the bridge itself.
All Orc forces begin off-table and will enter from the right hand table edge at the start of turn 3.
The Walachian ‘forces’ begin play within the wagon circle.
The battle takes place by moonlight so should use the Low Light Skirmish rules from Grapeshotte, p.21.
The Elven hussars on the village side of the bridge begin the game completely intoxicated. They begin the game dismounted and may not mount their horses (if they do they will fall off) during the battle. They suffer the standard penalty for being drunk as per the “Sauce” flaw (no roll required, they are definitely drunk). In their drunken state they will defend the remaining schnapps barrels to the death, especially against invading enemies, who could be anyone and are probably Orcs. They will therefore fire on any model, aside from the Walachians, who are within 45cm of their position. This means they will begin the game in conflict with the Elven unit on the bridge. They should be controlled using the standard solo play rules using the Defensive column.
The Elven player may attempt to bring the hussars back under his control by moving an officer (any controlled section leader or section second) within 15cm and shouting orders at them. Shouting orders is a Special Action which costs a Command Point to use. The Elven player makes an activation roll for each Hussar as if they have hits on them (Case 2), the opposing roll is an unmodified D10 roll. Of course, this means exposing an officer to enemy fire.
D’Anglais’ unit, incensed by the loss of their officer, begin the game firing at the Hussars, who they also believe are probably Orcs. They should also be controlled using the standard solo play rules but use the Aggressive column. They may be brought under control by an Elven officer as above.
The Walachians are not under the control of any player. Believing themselves to be under attack and not especially caring whom by they will attack any unit other than the hussars within 15cm of their camp, or within the wagon cirlce, until the unit of hussars is wiped out or brought back under elven control. They will then attempt to leave the table by the shortest possible route (the Elves may if they wish fire on the wretched scoundrels who have caused such chaos – they will not return fire!)
With the Orcs fast approaching it is well within the Elven players interests to secure the village and hold it against the Orcs. However at what cost? If they fail to do so they can easily be trapped between the Orcs and their own drunken troops.
The river Haran is fast flowing and deep from the recent rains. Any model entering the river itself is washed away and may take no further part in the scenario.
Donatien Phillipe Loic De Cossard is an is an Experienced Ferach Elf armed with a Ferach Elf Duelling Pistol and an Exquisite sword. He does not but is accompanied everywhere by Jingles, his manservant, Ligneux, his standard bearer and Noisette, his ‘cousin’. They form his ‘section’ for which he is the ‘section leader’. None of his retinue can move more than 15cm away from him. De Cossard has the “Coward” flaw.
Jingles is a Veteran Irregular Ferach Elf armed with a pistol. He counts as the ‘section second’. Jingles has the Ferach Elf skill, “Astonishing Reactions”.
Ligneux is a Raw Regular Ferach Elf from the Regiment de Ligne Infantry carrying a sword and the personal standard of De Cossard.
Noisette is a Raw Ferach Elf Civilian but she may not attack. She will instead assist De Cossard by screaming loudly during the engagement, which is so distracting that it imposes a penalty of -1 to all activation rolls made by friendly units within 15cm.
Cederic Vaillant is an Elite Veteran Guard Infantry Ferach Elf. His unit consists of six Elven Elite Guard Infantry troops armed with Ferach Elf Muskets who should be created using the standard section creation rules. They are considered to be De Cossards bodyguard and as such they may not move further than 25cm from him for fear of reprimand. Vaillant is secretly in love with Noisette and if she is slain he will immediately develop a hatred for whoever killed her and will attempt to move into melee with that character every turn as he seeks to avenge her. Control of him will only return to the Elven player once Noisette’s killer is slain.
Bonsoir Bintz is an Experienced Regular Ferach Elf. His unit is comprised of ten Dragoons, all of whom are dismounted, armed with swords and Ferach Elf Carbines. The section should be created using the normal section creation rules. Bintz is the ‘section leader’.
Jean D’Anglais is an Experienced Ferach Elf armed with a sword and a Ferach Elf Duelling Pistol. His unit consists of ten Regular Ligne Infantry, armed with Ferach Elf Muskets. The section should be created using the normal section creation rules. D’Anglais is the ‘section leader’.
Horace McPonce is a Veteran Regualr Orc. McPonce’s unit consists of ten Orcish Veterans armed with Orc Bessie Muskets. McPonce himself has been driven a bit funny by his experiences and is obsessed with gaining his revenge on De Cossard, who he met in battle three years ago and was humiliated by. If De Cossard is on the battlefield McPonce must move directly towards him and engage him in melee at the earliest opportunity. The section should be created using the normal section creation rules. McPonce is the ‘section leader’.
‘Big’ Mick Anfries is an Expereinced Regular Orc. His unit consists of twelve Orcs armed with Orc Bessie Muskets. Anfries himself is armed with a sword and a Standard Pistol.
The Walachian troops consist of six militia of whatever race you have models available for. One of them has a Standard Musket, two have Standard Pistols and the remaining three have swords.
Game Length / Objectives
The game lasts until one force has been defeated or left the table.
For the Orcs to achieve victory they must achieve two of the following:
1. De Cossard killed
2. The village captured by Orc Forces
3. All Elven units driven off table
For the Elves to achieve victory they must achieve two of the following:
1. De Cossard survives (leaving the table without being killed counts as survival)
2. The village captured by Elven forces
3. McPonce killed
This means that the Elves can win by killing McPonce and then running away – De Cossard is not concerned with the loss of his troops or of the trouble he will get into for losing the village. However if this then leads to the remainder of his units being eliminated and the village falling into enemy hands the result counts as a draw.
This scenario is based (very loosely) on the real life ‘battle’ of Karansebes of 1788, where the Austrian army of Joseph II routed itself shortly before an encounter with the Turks. I hope any participants in this little skirmish fare better than Joseph did.
An Orcs in the Webbe Original! "Schnapps by Moonlight" was written exclusively for OITW's 2010 Countdown to Christmas Advent Calendar and was first published here on 13th December 2010.