Sunday, January 6, 2019

Rangers of Shadow Deep : Building Tor Varden

Tor Varden is one of three beacon watchtowers mentioned in “Mission 2: The Beacon Tower “contained in the Rangers of Shadow Deep rulebook.  In scenario 2 you must assault the tower and take it back from the Shadow Deep  invaders that are using  the captured the watchtower ‘s alight with green fire as the front line of its creeping dominion.  A forboding signal to the people of the Kingdom of Allladore that the Shadow Deep , now fully in control  of the neighboring Lorenthia , is coming for them- next.  Breaking the line and taking back Tor Varden will return it as a key stronghold to Keep the forces of Shadow Deep at bay , for now.

So one of the many things I really like about this game is get to break out a bunch of stuff I haven’t used in years or use stuff  I built that’s on display on my table as background scenery but haven’t really got to use yet And of course motivate myself to paint more miniatures this year  and shrink the great unpainted pile.

The plan wasn’t ever to buy or build a bunch of “new stuff” . When I read the scenario for The Beacon Tower and say the artwork  ( add picture here), I was like “well cool I have two really great towers already built!”. Then I read the scenario. 

Firstly the watchtower isn’t very tower like . Its large lower level made up of three rooms, (and I am assuming and am designing it  “L” shaped)  with stairs at the end of the Third room the go up into the tower of unspecified height where you battle it out on top level which has an exterior walkway.
The  upper section of the tower is a square watchtower more the  late Roman/ early Saxon era and much less like we envision a standard fantasy medieval type “tower”

A late Roman era watchtower similar in appearance to what described in the scenario abet about 10 times smaller

Secondly the rooms are huge.. Described as 1.5”  x 1.5 each or 18”x 18” is game scale that’s  90 feet each side  of 8100 square feet per room all the rooms and the tower itself are this dimension. The 4 areas mentioned  adding up to 32,400 Square feet are the size of a small Keep  not a Watchtower..but regardless , .

I built this over 2016-2017 its roughly 2 x its about 15,000 SF..125 frontage with 30 foot battlements..
I get why Mr McCullough does this- the players need space to move around. He’s trying to keep the scenarios on a 3x3 -2.5 x2.5  playing area.  I probably would have shrank the interior spaces and added an encounter in the outdoor space to fill up the area of the game setup because  at certain point  playability and reality need to intersect when the rooms you encounter at that huge size are a Storeroom, and Armory, a Torture Chamber and a Workshop.

This is just a minor critique.  This is a great double blind scenario where you have no clue what the next room is until you play the card. I am very excited to play it but the bottom line for me , My main point and the idea for this post was I really didn’t have any terrain,( and if you read this blog at all in the past , you know I have the proverbial “shit-ton”)That worked for this.

 I thought about rewriting it a bit making the tower a small keep as above and the lower section a dungeon. with the final battle in the keep courtyard with archers on the castle walls .but my dungeon isn’t  modular and the room are very dungeon like. (i.e small) and that just didn’t have the right vibe
One way to go about it , thou it kind of defeats the purpose of building war gaming terrain since 06'
So , lets build it then.  I recently watched Ash at GMG play this scenario and he downsized it considerably using some Laser cut dungeon walls and it played out great.  I figure I split the difference and go modular dungeon as it’s the one thing missing for my collection that does come up form time  I don’t have,  and I know I’ll use it and don’t I always do a Hirst Arts project in January??

 The self-convincing was easy. I decided on a 12 x 12 room for the 1st room of the lower level and that will also double as the tower upper section /roof  for scenario 3 by just adding the wooden walkway, the other rooms will be  8 x 8 Most of its cast up already, half of its painted, Store room , check, Torture Chamber, check Workshop, yeah sure , Armory, (wishes he saved those empire weapon racks) I’m pretty slammed this week hopefully I can get the game in this coming  weekend.

My Tor Varden the lower level 1st room what ever it may this WIP is the first model up after all the pieces dried and base can see my wooden walk way to the right are the GW pieces from Goblin Town I sliced up..they've never been used till now. 

Monday, December 31, 2018

Rangers of Shadow Deep, The Beacon Tower Episode 1, The Bridge Guards Play-through.

Rangers of Shadow Deep, Mission 2: The Beacon Tower. Ep 1: The Bridge Guards

The following is my 3rd Rangers of Shadow Deep complete play- through

Pre-game notes

Didn’t have to a lot for this one either other than paint up my “Terrain Crate” Camp site, the Vulture and one more Frostgrave Soldier for a potential Tor Varden Man at Arms.

The mission specifies  Gnolls as the adversary . I don’t own any Gnolls, but I could not think of better use for my horde of Lord of the Rings  Orcs and primary agents of Shadow Deep in my games , the Orcs have the exact same stats as the Gnolls presented in the mission or the RoSD bestiary.

All die rolls are shown as (X) all combat rolls are (x,x) The first number always being the heroes.

There is no Target Point in this scenario but the Orcs will never randomly move into the river.
This scenario lasts a maximum of ten turns. During the event phase of each odd- numbered turn (so turns 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9)  I will draw one Event Card

Mission 2: The Beacon Tower

“Only hours after you arrived back from destroying the nest of spiders, you received a message from your commanding officer. Contact has been lost with the beacon tower of Tor Varden, and it is presumed to have been overrun. You are commanded to round up what men you can and proceed with all swiftness to Tor Varden to ascertain the truth. If the tower has fallen, learn what enemy forces now occupy it and harass or eliminate them as opportunity presents.”

Episode 1: The Bridge Guards

“As you make your way towards Tor Varden, the gentle, rolling hills slowly give way to rocky plains, and finally into the boulder-filled maze known locally as ‘the Scree’. It is a barren, unnerving place – a perfect site for an ambush as the large rocks cut lines of sight down to just a few yards in most places. Proceeding cautiously, you eventually hear the Enthel River, which you must cross to reach Tor Varden. As you approach, however, you hear other noises as well, nearly drowned out by the river. Voices, of some inhuman type, a language filled with whines and barks.
Climbing to the top of a large boulder, you get a clear view down to the river. There, standing astride the old stone bridge is a patrol of Orcs. Judging by the large cooking pot they have set up over the fire, these Orcs are camped here, likely to guard the bridge. The only other place to cross the Enthel River is a ford, in sight of the bridge, otherwise, it will take a least half a day to reach another crossing. There is nothing for it, the Orcs will have to be eliminated, as quickly and quietly as possible.”


 Ranger Blackwulf and his Companions



“Before the scenario begins, the players should select one figure to make a Navigation Roll (TN12). If successful, they may move any three heroes up to 6” in any direction. “

Blackwulf  checks at Navigation +5 rolls (14)

Blackwulf orders Skuti, Gord and Guthrum to sneak further ahead


“At the start of each turn, the players should select one hero on the table to make a Stealth Roll (TN8). If successful, the players may move one gnoll figure up to 6” in any direction. This lasts until the alarm is raised.

We have Gord make the check  at + 5 vs TN 8 Roll (6) +5 = 11!  We move the eastern most Orc Archer (A4) behind some trees near Archer 3 (A3)  this will obscure his line of sight to the rangers and to Archer 3 .

after the successful stealth move.


Blackwulf group activates both Sigurd and Thorvald with him this turn
They see Archer A3 who will have Line of Sight to them on his turn unless they either hide or kill him, I choose the later

“The rangers have the element of surprise in this scenario. Whenever they make an attack (of any kind) against a gnoll they receive +4 bonus to their roll. This lasts until the alarm is raised.
If a gnoll ever activates with a hero in line of sight, or a gnoll takes damage within line of sight of another gnoll, the alarm is raised. The players no longer get to make Stealth checks or receive the attack bonus.”

Blackwulf moves 6 inches climbing a small hill , he has a clear shot to archer but we must kill him  armor 11, health 10 meaning we need at least a 21 on the dice.

Blackwulf decides to use his Steady Aim Heroic Ability right out of the gate here so the shoot is +2 for his shoot, +4 for Surprise and +5 for Steady Aim…a total of +11 so I am looking for a 10> here

He shoots (11,12) the archers shoot is +2  with a +1 since Blackwulf moved making the final 22 vs 15 Blackwulf succeeds 22 vs 11 armor , the Orc Takes the Arrow in skull and falls dead.  One Down.

Thorvald and Sigurd  creep forward trying to remain out of sight as long as possible


The Orcs current do not have line of sight to any ranger so have no reason to move
I do have Archer A4 move back to his original position we are assuming hes patrolling.


Skuti leaves cover going after Orc Archer 4, he moves 6 inches has clear shot and fires (10, 11) wish he had that farlight leaf from last game  hes +6 with the Surprise vs +2 for the Archer the archer also gets +1 because Skuti took a hurried shot.
The final is 16 to 14 he wins but only does 5 damage. The Orc is still alive.

Gord quickly moves up 6 inches and throws his Knife…(20,12)  well luck is sure with the Rangers so far and the throwing knife even with -1 to damage easily kills the Orc…Two Down.

The Crit with the Throwing Knife


RED 5 –

“Booby Trap. Pick one random hero. That figure must make either a Traps Roll (TN7) or Perception Roll (TN7). If the figure fails, make an immediate +1 attack against the figure. If this attack does any damage, the alarm is raised. “

I roll a D6 going in order left to right across the board…roll (5)  Skuti! Oh No he steps on the booby trap- he has no traps or perception skill..and even roll but rolls (11)  Their Luck remains.


Gord makes the Stealth Check again roll (10) or 15 vs TN 8 ..we have Orc Archer B move towards the Rangers out into the open..patrolling looking for the other guards..


Well its was fun while it lasted there is just no way we can take any more guard without raising the alarm we Orc Archer B out in the open for Both Blackwulf and Skuti’s arrows but The Guards on the bridge have line of sight to killing raises the alarm..not killing raises the Alarm..we could have left him where he was or moved him the other way..but its seems removing another enemy for the table is most prudent before the front assault…as Events can bring 2 more Orcs to the party.

Blackwulf Group Activates both Sigurd and Thorvald

Blackwulf  Fires his bow from where he is still getting the Surprise Bonus (17, 10) or 23 to 12  again his arrow strikes home the 23 vs 11 armor is 12 damage enough to take him out However the bridge guard see him killed and the ALARM IS RAISED.  Three down.

Alarm raising 3rd Orc Kill

Blackwulf then moves three inches over some rough ground

Thorvald and Sigurd both move the road to charge the bridge head out Sigurd in the front with the Brightness Shield moving across the same rough ground as Blackwulf they get a bit further but not much.

Charging the Bridge , after the Alarm is raised


The Orcs charge there max move off the Bridge of 9 inches..the don’t reach the Rangers yet..
The last remaining Orc Archer see the Rangers, its shoots at the Closest Hero, Sigurd!
Sigurd uses the Brightness Shield trying to blind him (5,3 ) or 10 vs 5…the Arrow misses!
I check the shield charges from 5 to 4

The Orcs in the Camp move their max move to reinforce the Bridge.


Guthrum moves 9 inches towards the Oncoming Orcs

Skuti moves 6 inches stops and fires an Arrow at one the Camp guards at the crest of the Bridge the bridge more than half covers him so the Orc is +2 for shoot, +4 for cover and +1 since it was a hurried shot  Roll (10,7)  or 12 to 14 the Orc win the arrow knicks the bridge wall and breaks.

Skuti tries to take out Orc Fighter 2 coming over the bridge

Gord makes a double move just reaching the river ford..not much of a fighter (other than the Critical hit knife throw) Gord is making a beeline around the back way heading for the camp while the others are fighting.

Guthrum and Skuti move to Aid, Gord in the background reaches the river ford.


None this turn


Alarm is raised , no stealth rolls


Blackwulf Group activates both Sigurd and Thorvald

Blackwulf  shoots an arrow at the Orc Sergeant.  (5,20) Oof the Orc Catches it and snaps it half
Undaunted he moves 6 inches and engages him but cant fight this phase

Started so well with a clean beheading on the Orc Sgt1

Sigurd moves 6 inches into combat with the eastern most Orc Fighter (F4), Thorvald cant reach the other Orc Fighter (F3) but can block him from getting into support the combat with Blackwulf.


The last Orc Archer fires an arrow at Thorvald as he advances..(18,11) there are two intervening pieces of terrain making it big miss 20 to 13 in Thorvalds favor.

Orc Fighter 3 moves and is pulled into combat with Thorvald, down comes the hammer
(14,,1)  or 17 to 3 Thorvald connects for 6 +2 for the Hammer..8 damage the Orc is takes a brutal hit but keeps fighting Thorvald keeps fighting

Orc Sergeant versus Blackwulf (19, 6)  Finally we are calling our Deadly Strike here our first chance in 3 games to use the Heroic ability..Blackwulf wins 22 to 9 and it’s a critical so 27 against armor 11 ..16 damage the Orc Sgt has 12 health so Blackwulf beheaded him in single combat!..the Rangers are inspired!

Orc Fighter 4 fights Sigurd  (8,6)  Sigurd wins 11 to 8 but the attack does no damage they stay locked.

Orc Fighter 2 comes down from the bridge with a double move engages Blackwulf but they don’t fight this turn

Orc Fighter 1 comes up the rear looking to get into the fight but is just out of melee.


Guthrum moves around a tree it takes a double move and is now the flanking Orc fighter 4 who is fighting Sigurd

Thing were really looking good here

Skuti moves twice as well past the rear of the huge melee hoping to get a eye the last archer.

Gord double moves across the river ford and into the woods toward the Orc Camp



”Place a large vulture on the table, anywhere along the heroes’ starting table edge. During the creature phase each turn, this vulture will move 6” directly across the table. It will not force combat or otherwise willingly deviate from this course. Only heroes that can fly can move into combat with the vulture. It this vulture takes damage within line of sight of the Orcs it raises the alarm. Make a note if the vulture manages to exit the other side of the table before the end of the   scenario. “

The Vulture is on the Table.

The this guy shows up and the dice turn against us hardcore.



Blackwulf group activates with Sigurd and Thorvald

Blackwulf finds himself facing another Orc (F2) (10,17)  or 13 to 19 the Orcs Blade catches Blackwulf off guard and he bleeds taking 8 damage!

Things start looking really grim for the Rangers

Thorvald swings his Hammer on the wounded Orc Fighter 3 (7,19) he fumbles and the Orc bests him 10 to 21..its bad wound doing 10 damage…Thorvald stays locked in combat with 2 Health remaining!

Sigurd is locked in Combat with Orc Fighter 4 , but now Guthrum is supporting  (3,17) aghhh
The Orcs have come back strong Sigurd is best 19 to 8 with the support and takes 7 damage!


Following the who has the highest Health

Well roll for Orc Archer, the Vulture, and Orc Fighters 1,2 and 4 and get the Following Order

Orc Fighter 1
Orc Fighter 4
Orc Fighter 2
Orc Fighter 3 (2 health)

Orc Archer moves slightly to get a clear shot at Skuti. Skuti gets +2 for the move and Intervening terrain (6,9) or 10 vs 11  the Arrow hits Skuti but his armor deflects it…

The Vulture Flies 6 inches
Harbinger of Doom

Orc Fighter 1 has pulled Guthrum off the flank of Orc Fighter 4 fighting Sigurd. They fight!
(2,18)  its seems the dice have finally turned against the Rangers.. Guthrum loses 20 to 5 and takes 9 damage! Hes at 3 health!

Thought we had him here but Guthrum falls too!

Orc Fighter 4 goes for kill versus Sigurd! (19,16) Sigurd gets the better of him this and wins 22 to 18…22 minus 11 is 11 damage the Orc falls Sigurd prevails!   The first Orc Fighter falls

Orc Fighter 2 Battles the Blackwulf  (10,17)  this Orc Has Blackwulfs number he loses 19 to 13 for another 8 damage…Blackwulf is staggering with a 3 health remaining!

Orc Fighter 3 is bloody fight with Thorvald its continues..(13,14 ) argh they tie!  Both taking Damage!  Final is 16 to 16  Thorvald takes 5 damage he falls unconscious…the Orc takes 7 damage hes fall dead…


With Thorvald down Skuti decides to attack the Orc fighting Blackwulf , Skuti draws his knife and enters the fight aided by Blackwulf hes +4  (18,16) close but Skuti prevails with a big wound
22 to 18 its 11 damage and Blackwulf is saved by his trusted companion as Orc 2 Falls dead

Guthrum is locked in battle with Orc Fighter 1 and bleeding badly the fight continues.(11,3 ) Guthrum wins this timje 14 to 5 + 2 damage vs 11 armor means 5 damage to the Orc this Time Guthrum pushes back out of combat!

Gord Moves 9 more inches toward the camp.

No Event this turn



Blackwulf group activates, Skuti and Sigurd.

Blackwulf casts his Heal spell on himself and gains 5 health up to 8 total
He moves slightly toward Orc Fighter 1

Sigurd double moves toward the last Orc Archer Brightness Shield out.

The last Orc Archer

Skuti takes point blank shot at wounded Orc Fighter 1 standing in front of him
He shoots (10,2) he hits winning 12 to 2 but only does 1 damage against 11 armor
The Orc has 4 health Remaining..


Orc Archer 1 shoots at Sigurd..Sigurd uses the bright shield so its +5 vs +2 (4,4) again the Bright Sheild causes a miss although this time the arrow wouldn’t have done any damage.

The Vulture flies 6 more inches

Orc Fighter 1 is closest to Guthrum by some fraction so he moves into combat with him
Things brings him within 1 inch of Blackwulf so it pulls him into support (which I why I inched him last phase after the Heal
They Fight (11,14 ) argh another time +5 vs +2 or 16 to 16 both figures take damage each figure takes has 11 armor meaning each takes 5 damage which kills the Orc but Guthrum also falls in battle as well.  Two companions down!


Gord  double moves into the camp but cant reach the clue marker or treasure token until next turn.




“Soldier. A soldier that has escaped the attack on Tor Varden appears on the table. Place him anywhere you wish on the small side of the table. This soldier has the same Stats as a man-at-arms companion. Treat this soldier as a companion for the rest of the mission, even if that takes your ranger above his normally allowed number of companions. This soldier may not be the first hero to exit the table. “

Soldier emerges from the brush. “I was waiting for the Orcs to clear out, let me join you and get out of here together”, they could of used you like 10 minutes ago, Gord replies..
I gave him a beacon type shield icon for the Tower of Tor Varden



Blackwulf group activates Skuti

Blackwulf  moves 2 inches turns and fires his bow at the Orc Archer ..archer gets +2 for Intervening terrain and the hurried shot. (6,13)  He misses

Skuti turn and fires a clean shot (13, 18) he misses as well


Orc Archer fires again at Sigurd again Sigurd uses the Bright Shield  13,7 wasted this time but the arrow misses. The Shield has 2 uses left.

The Vulture Flies 6” toward the table edge


Sigurd moves into combat with Orc Archer 1 they fight. (10,3) Sigurd wins 13 to 4, but only does 2 damage

These Orc are way harder to kill than Spiders!

Soldier of Tor Varden, kindly grabs the clue marker for us. Roll (18) it’s the Book of Poems

Gord moves and grabs the treasure token.





Blackwulf group activates Skuti

Blackwulf moves to the top of the bridge , takes out his bow and fires at the Vulture.
(10,6) Blackwulf wins (hits) 12 to 6 but with 14 armor the arrow doesn’t damage the flying scavenger

Skuti moves 6 and joins the combat with Sigurd against the last Orc Archer, they fight
(19,13) with the bonus from Sigurd its 22 to 13 and 10 damage (-1 for dagger) but with 8 health the Orc falls!

2 vs 1 finally took him down, Skuti had 2 kills with the Dagger!


The Vulture flys 6 more inches it off the board next turn.


Sigurd and  the Soldier from Tor Varden move toward Blackwulf on the Bridge

Gord makes a double move toward the far board edge with the Treasure Token


So much for shooting down that Vulture

Rain. A heavy rain starts to fall. All line of sight is reduced to 12” and all shooting attacks are at -2.



Blackwulf group activates  Sigurd and Soldier from Tor Varden

Blackwulf  shoots a hail mary from his Bow which is 11” away  (16,12) -2 to hit he still hits it again  winning 16 to 12…vs 14 armor its 2 damage, not enough to kill it.. it has 2 health left

Damn this wont die!

Sigurd and Soldier from Tor Varden have no missle weapons and stay put for the moment.


Vulture Leaves the Board, wounded but alive..


Skuti join his companions on the bridge

Gord exits the board with the Treasure Token

I have one job and I do it well


NO event this turn



Blackwulf  group activates both Skuti and Sigurd

All Three move toward the far side of the bridge and the camp

Regrouping across the river.


No Creatures on the board


 Soldier from Tor Varden follows the group.



“Orc. Place one Orc fighter at the centre point of the table, then roll a random direction and move the Orc 8” in that direction”.

I roll south as his direction which puts the new Orc very far from where the heroes are.



Blackwulf  group activates both Skuti and Sigurd

All Three move past the camp and off the board.
"We are done here", "On to the Tower!"


Lone Orc moves 9 inches toward the bridge.

Lone Orc Survivor, We couldnt have reached him last turn if we wanted to


 Soldier from Tor Varden follows the group, and exits the board.


No event this turn.


Well that got pretty hairy there for moment during that huge melee at the foot of the bridge during turn 4. Acouple more bad die rolls and it all could have went down TPK style , but in end the Rangers prevailed again, lets see what happened to our fallen companions Thorvald and Guthrum.

Thorvald roll (6) ugh

The figure has suffered a grievous wound. It will heal, but it is going to take time. If the figure is a ranger, it must start the next game at -5 Health. If the figure is a companion, it either starts the next game at -5 Health or it may choose to sit out the rest of the mission.

Guthrum roll (15)  Full Recovery . Hoorah,


3xp for each Orc Kiled – we Killed 9 Orcs.. 27 XP
15 Xp for recovering the Book of Poems
15Xp for having a solider leave the opposite (camp ) board edge.
57 XP

Which brings Ranger Blackwulf to level 2 and he will add + 1 to his Shooting Stat

Sigurd, Skuti and Gord , all get a progression point

Treasure Recovered. Roll (8) Herb or Potion.

Fireheart Green, Interesting definitely will come in handy, gives you an one time extra activation. We will take it!

Next up, the men lick their wounds and proceed to the Tower of Tor Varden

Good news is well  get to use our extra new companion for the rest of this mission so we will have to give him a name.

Bad news is the Vulture got away, that cant be good.

Not sure how I am going to set up the next one I’m sure ill use my dungeon pieces for the lower levels..lots to figure out here.. Happy New Year!


blogger templates | Make Money Online