A Flintloque Scenario from a time before blackpowder by Gavin Syme.
Home to visit his aged mother on the coldest night of the Joccian year a young Davvie McBaird, future general of the Army of Albion, comes upon some deserters who will with his aide see off an ancient evil. An evil that gave its own name to Horcmanay, the legendary first footer Horc, who has arrived on this chilliest of eves....
Back before Mordred stole his mother’s power ring and annulled Wylde Magicke, Valon was a diverse high fantasy realm rich with monsters, magic and treasure. Whilst there were no flintloques, blackpowder or uniforms, the heroes of Valon we've come to know and love still existed. This year’s Saint’s Day adventures tell tales from that era, shedding new light on old faces. Craig Andrews, OITW Editor
With a rasping scrape Captain McBaird began to draw out the four feet of steel that topped the jewel encrusted hilt of his sword. Taken from a dead noble in Injji and brought back to Joccia the sword was meant to be wielded two handed or atop a riding beast but to Davvie it was comfortable in just one of his massive hands. He had come straight back to the small house near the town of Murderburrow where he and his brothers had grown up. It was Horcmany night and his two brothers should have already been here. As it was he could see his beloved mother busying herself in the kitchen of the house through a thick glass window. What had caught his attention was a shadow lurking just out of view behind the garden wall.
“Oot ye come laddie. State yur name and yul come tay nay harm this nicht. Otherwise I micht well be puncturing ye in short order.”
From behind the wall an Orc slowly stood up. His army uniform was tattered and torn and his face and tusks dirty. His expression was one of misery and guilt. A deserter. Davvie gripped the sword tightly. Desertion was a crime most serious but then the Orc looked half starved and it was Horcmanay after all.
“Ach yer a sight are you no. Come away in wi me an ma kin. A meal and some water and in the morn we will see aboot getting ye back tay the Army. I'm sure ye just got lost and want to get back tay yer battalion eh.”
A look of surprise crossed the face of the Orc and he stood straighter. This was no murdering officer and no rebel either. He was being offered a chance to get out of the hangorc's noose. Stuck in Joccia he would get no better offer. It was then he remembered his fellow deserters and opened his mouth to voice a warning but it was too late.
From behind Davvie McBaird and out of the gloom three more shadows rose and made from the officers back. Two had bayonets in their hands and the last one a musket. McBaird began to turn as he saw the Orc open his mouth to speak, his eyes flickering past the towering Ratman.
“That ill be quite enough ya bams. Drop the gougers and pit up yer haunds.”
Davvie smiled as his two younger brothers aimed crossbows at the deserters from just outside the door of the house. Bullie and Frude McBaird were soldiers too and evidently had been watching out for him. The first Orc that Davvie had spoken to shouted out to drop their weapons and that the officer was offering them food and a chance to rejoin the battalion with no harm to come to them. It was evident from the looks of relief that they now wore they wanted to take up the offer. They put down the bayonets and the musket and raised their hands.
“Well chosen laddies. Noo lets git indoors and see aboot some grub eh. Its nay nicht to be abroad, its Horcmanay and the deeil stalks us oah the noo.”
Just as his brothers lowered their crossbows and the tension began to ease there was a shriek of pure anger and evil off in the distance from the direction of the stream. Davvie swore under his breath and then told everyone to recover and prime their firelocks and crossbows. He raised the long sword and gathered his brothers and all of the deserters to him.
“Seems we micht have tay da a little soldiering afore we get oor supper. Horc is upon us and only way all a us working taygether will be survice whit comes next.
A dozen a us and a dozen a him. Let's see if Greate Britorcn mettle is a match fur magike and legend.”
He turned to the house and bellowed in the open door.
“Maither shut the door. Horc's here and he's gonna try an first foot us. Me and the laddies will gie him bessie and steel.”
As the door swung shut a female voice spoke out.
“Nay bother ma sons. Sentinal help the deeil that takes on oor Davvie.”
The Scenario and Objectives
This is a scenario nominally for two players; though it can be played solo as well using the bolt on mechanics in your game book. The first player takes the part of Davvie McBaird with his brothers Bullie and Frude plus a handful of Orc and Ratman deserters. These characters must defend Davvie's Maithers Hoose (Mothers House) from the legion Horc who are intent on getting across its threshold. The second player takes the place of the ancient magicke evil that is Horc the first footer. If playing solo its recommended that the solo play engine takes the part of Horc's legion who wish to enter the house.
Davvie Baird and the Deserters (Grand Alliance)
Use 5025 War in Catalucia to generate a section of twelve characters with Davvie McBaird as section leader. Davvie, Bullie and Frude are all Highland Rats who are Regular / Average except for Davvie who is Experienced. There are two more Raw Highland Rats and seven Albion Orcs who are all Regular / Raw except for three who are Average. Davvie carries a Sword while his two brothers have Crossbows and knifes. The Deserters are armed with three Bessie Muskets while the others have a Crossbow each. Assign skills, traits and flaws as per the rules. Please note the Davvie McBaird in this scenario is not the fearsome older version from War in Catalucia but a younger less experienced version.
Horc the Legion (Darke Age)
A creature from the Darke Ages of Valon. From a dim and dangerous past and with the collapse of Wylde Magicke in danger of winking out of existence Horc exists in the wild places of Joccia and always has. No one is quite sure what Horc is but he is well known, after all Horcmanay marks his annual night of terror. Gaining entrance to homes and draining the water of life from those inside he has a unique ability. Horc can become legion. He can divide himself into twelve parts after using the 'saining' or mystic water from any nearby stream or river. Each part has the same abilities as the others and any one can restore the rest. Create a section of twelve characters using 5025 War in Catalucia giving each an identical part of Horc with the statistics of a Lowland Rat that is Average /Militia. Each Horc has a sling which throws pieces of coal to fire from it. They also have a spear or a sword. There are no special skills, traits or flaws. Designate one character of Horc as section leader.
Scenario & Map Set Up
You will need a standard playing area of six feet by four feet (east to west is six feet length of the table) for this scenario along with terrain as outlined here. Lay out the playing area as per the instructions and add the forces as per the set up areas having your section rosters, dice and measuring tape and so forth ready to use. The playing area is flat with a small house in the middle of the table which has a low wall around it (15cm away) with a gate and a small outdoor privy building. There is a stream winding its way across the eastern edge of the table which is shallow and 5cm wide. There are ten scattered clumps of bushes and trees. There is a small furrowed field to the north of the house outside the wall. There is no other terrain.
Davvie Baird and his motley group begin within the walled area of the house and 5cm of each other. Horc as a legion of twelve begins within 5cm of each other and next to the eastern edge stream Play begins as normal with attention paid to the special rules for the scenario.
Scenario Objectives and Victory Conditions
This scenario has no turn limit. The game continues until the victory objectives of one side are met, or play can no longer continue due to casualties on both sides. At the end of a turn in which a victory condition is met, cease play and announce the winner of the scenario. Here are the objectives for all sides in the scenario:
Davvie McBaird Section
Defend your Mother! Do not let any of Horc inside the house and prevent more than two of the Deserters from fleeing the table.
Horc Legion Section
Get to the house and gain entry. As long as one of your twelve parts gets in the door you win!
Special Rules for This Scenario
This scenario has a few unique conditions and rules which you should read and make use of in play. Horc the Legion: This is a unique creature that can split into twelve identical parts. Control this section as if it were Militia in play but if the section leader is killed simply elect another and continue until you win or lose all the dozen characters. Horc may use slings or a fallen crossbow, knife or sword but cannot touch a musket or other Power Ring infused weapon of black powder. Known as 'Hoguman' in the old times this creature usually lives in the seas and feeds but once a year at the coldest time. It feeds by 'first footing' into a property of love, where people live and love has existed (Maither does so love her Davvie!). This is easy once any part of it enters a building that is suitable. Davvies mothers house has one front door and can only be entered through it. It must just be moved into beyond 1cm and the game ends with Horc the winner.
Crossbows and Slings: These primitive Darke Age weapons are still in common use as the Joccian 45 Rebellion is a near memory. Treat these as normal ranged weapons except for the following differences. Here are two statistics blocks for a Crossbow and a Sling. A Sling may be 'fired' once per turn and a Crossbow takes two turns to reload just like a Bakur Rifle. Critical Hits are still possible with both however misfires are doubled with the 'double roll' result D10 roll being 1-8 Misfire and 9-10 a Critical Hit rather han the normal roll.
Misfires on Crossbows are cleared as normal but a sling is considered destroyed or lost if misfired.
Deserting: Though the deserters are nominally under the control of Davvie McBaird and they fear him (he is a big lad!) they may well still run if they get the chance. After all if Horc is defeated what is to stop the army from stretching their necks afterwards? As a result if Davvie is killed or if they are successfully attacked in melee or at range roll 1D10. On a result of 1-3 they make a run for it heading north. Only Davvie can stop them by either ordering them shot down or killed in close combat or by shouting at them. This normally works for him rolling 1D10 after a turn has passed and on any result but a 1 the deserter comes skulking back to within 10cm of Davvie and will not run away again.
Maithers Singing of 'Auld Layng Syme': Davvie's mother is a fearsome Joccian woman who is used to slaughtering cows with her bare hands and making endless streak pies. She knows Horc of old. As a young lassie her own grandmother Rat sang the song that Horc fears more than anything. If and when the first part of Horc enters the garden of the house that is within 15cm of the front door the mother begins to sing. The song lasts three turns and no part of Horc may enter the house (they can remain within the wall) while it lasts.
Solo Playing the Scenario
This scenario can be played solo with the player taking the part of the Horc the Legion section. In this case they are treated as Aggressive and will focus on reaching the wall and entering the house with no other concern.
In order to use this scenario you will need some normal wargame equipment such as a playing area, terrain, dice and miniatures along with rosters, tokens and so on. In more precise terms the central needs for the scenario, once the playing area is set up, re as follows:
5025 Flintloque 3rd Edition – War in Catalucia game book
56117 Davvie McBaird
56535 Joccian Command (Alternative Armies will supply free crossbows for figure conversions if you ask)
58503 Orc Deserter Infantry (Alternative Armies will supply free crossbows for figure conversions if you ask)
ER11 Fomorian Warriors (We used these for Horc but any miniatures you have will do the job)
These miniatures provide all the characters needed for playing the scenario, and of course they can be almost endlessly re-used for other adventures. All the above miniatures and packs are available now from Alternative Armies webstore.
Flintloque has had a quiet time in 2015 in terms of new fiction being written for it (Alternative Armies has released more than a dozen new codes of miniatures for the game however and a whole new army too) as I have been focusing on other parts of the company and on personal matters too. I was really happy to be asked to write a St Andrews Day scenario for Orcs in the Webbe and since I had free rein in the subject I decided that while Cryptmass is well covered for Valon the Joccian annual Horcmany has not been explained before.
From the Darke Age before Flintloque and with a hint of Scotland's celtic roots and old ways it seems that Horc is a special creature that can only be put off with steak pie and song before he gets his foot in the door. New Years Eve is a big thing in Scotland and indeed the whole world knows we go party mad that night. As for the scenario its a challenging one that makes use of one of my favourite characters from Joccia. As a player used to Army of Albion clockwork musketry the idea of crossbows and deserters as looming doom.
We played three times and as Davvie I lost twice. All I can say is use your ranged weapons well and protect Maither and that front door.
I was at home in Wales visiting my Mum when I was trying to come up with a theme for this years Saints Day scenarios. I thought it would be good to see where various characters came from and that in turn led me to think about what they were doing in the time before Blackpowder. I loved the original Flintloque 'prequel', Dresda, and was also a great fan of it's successor, Darkestorme. Both look at what Valon was like as a fantasy realm. Whilst each is at it's core a high fantasy ruleset, there's anough of Valon in there to make them feel different to other fantasy games. I hope you enjoy reading this years Saints Day tales as much as I have.
You can find out more about Horcmanay by clicking on maroon Horcmanay link below