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Tuesday, 29 November 2022

Frostgrave - Dark Alchemy - Alchemical Monstrocity

It had all been going so well…. until the explosion rocked the factory. When the dust cleared they were no longer in it. The factory that is….

“We must have been blown through a worm hole in space or time” Rufina remarked conversationally to her 3 companions. She was a Wizards Apprentice and knew about these things.

“Right…. is that so….. well you can get us back through this damned hole of yours…… and do it now”, remarked Red Sonia, in a not so conversational tone.

Sonia was not known for her patience, so Rufina, thinking swiftly said “of course I can, just follow me”. That's when they heard the strangulated roar of an Alchemical Monster.

“And be careful” concluded Rufina.

‘Where the hell are we’ Rufina thought as she looked behind her at some sort of metal fence, ‘bugger that’ she concluded ‘I have to get us out of here before Sonia loses her temper. That might be an Alchemical Monster I can hear but it’s nor half as scary as Red Sonia losing her temper. She knew this from experience, -- bad experience.

They were in some sort of futuristic compound and you might be forgiven for thinking this is because I don’t have any Frostgrave scenery but you’d be wrong.

It’s because in 2017 I met Doug not EM4 and The Mad Lord Snapcase for the first time, Doug umpired a couple of Frostgrave games which I won convincingly. Well I was pretty convinced but it was late and we’d been to the Pub and sometimes we have selective memories and mine was that I won convincingly.

Be that as it may, I thoroughly enjoyed the games and recently Doug started to talk about Frostgrave again and we’ve been discussing how to expand the Frostgrave Universe into different time periods and well; yes…. you’re right I have no Frostgrave scenery but that’s not going to stop me.

He’d become enthusiastic about doing a 3 part campaign; Dark Alchemy and I’m tagging along in his footsteps.

This scenario has the adventurers trying to reach the far side of the factory and exiting through one of two doors in the far corners. You might be forgiven for thinking that the doors look suspiciously like a pair of wooden outhouses or Dunnies if you’re Australian but you should have your eyes tested because they are doors into the strange and wonderful world of Scungrave.

I can’t tell you any more than that because I haven’t read the 2nd scenario and I made such a mess of reading the conditions of the first that I just may re-play it. One final caveat is that this is my first solo game of Frostgrave and as mentioned, the previous game was 5 years ago so don’t expect my rules interpretations to be anything like correct.

The lass in the hat is my Apprentice Wizard, Rufina Grey Eye, Rufina has been apprenticed to the Sorceress Thanda the Grim for many years. Thanda chose Rufina because, whilst normally she has a pair of blue eyes, when she’s angry or crossed, one of them turns grey, this is a portent of a great Elementalist apparently and hence the sobriquet Grey Eye. Rufina is waiting patiently for this portent to become anything like a reality.

She is though, famed for her Commanding Right Hand, this has been known to subdue dogs, cats and small vermin and she’s hoping to extend this to larger animals and maybe even humans, at least the slow witted ones.

Red Sonia, in the red tunic is Thanda’s trusted Lieutenant, Warrior and Treasure Hunter, she has fought in many battles and has many scars but few enemies. They are all dead; some are even buried.

Her extraordinary strength allows her to use ‘Damage’ her famous axe either 1 or 2 handed with devastating results and she’s very adept with the throwing knife ‘Surprise’ that she keeps in a sheath strapped to her left leg.

Thanda sends Sonia on these missions to make sure that all the time she’s invested in training Rufina is not wasted by her being killed in some lonely, desolate, out of the way place. A little like the one she is in now.

The strangulated roar of the Alchemical Monster recedes a little as it makes its way towards one of the exit doorways.

As a Gollum rat appears from the open doorway of the Dunnie of Redemption, covered in slime, it lick’s itself clean before moving on towards the same doorway as the Monster.

Sonia ever the impetuous one, having given her orders to Ashara and Tina, rushes forward. Tending left to avoid the direction the Monster appeared to be heading she feels nothing as Rufina casts a strength spell on her, Rufina though does feel something, as a sharp jolt of negative energy flows up her arm and momentarily blinds her, damn, the spell failed.

Tina the Swift didn’t earn her nickname by being slow. She reaches a blue barrel and pushing it over, she’s happy to discover it’s full of gold, silver and gem’s, there’s a particularly nice Blue Sapphire that she quickly secretes in the lower half of her skimpy outfit.

Tina is small and exquisite; she makes you want to keep her safe, to hold her close, to protect her. Only later when your purse is missing do you wonder if maybe she could have taken it, but no, that couldn’t be – she is too fragile, too helpless and you are too much of a fool.

She is one of the greatest thieves of her age. Swift as a striking Cobra, daring as a Mongoose, bold as a Tiger she is a truly dangerous adversary. Armed only with a small but wickedly sharp knife, lock picks and feminine guile she should not be underestimated, or you might not see the sunset…. ever.

Sonia finds the barrel nearest to her is also full of treasure, her anger at their predicament dissolves a little. Thanda will be pleased if they return with something to show for their misadventure in the exploding factory.

Sonia isn’t sure how, or why but she’s fairly certain the Apprentice had something to do with the disaster and Thanda will look to Sonia as her trusted Lieutenant to explain it and to resolve the situation. She sighs with the inequity of it all before bending to collect the bounty at her feet.

The Alchemical Monster and the Gollem Rat get closer to their objective as a second Gollem emerges from the inky gloom of the dunnie and spots Rufina in the distance.

Rufina tried a second Enhance Strength spell on Sonia, and she felt the warm glow of a successful cast, wondered for a minute if she might be getting the hang of the spell then spotted the Gollem leave the Dunnie. As it cleaned itself she successfully cast a Mind Control spell on it, the poor creature could not resist and fell under her influence.

This was to be the last successful spell she cast, life is sometimes unfair or then again maybe she should spend less time in the public bar at the Frog and Parrot and more time studying her spell books.

Tina lost a little time collecting the treasure from her barrel, and so Ashara makes it to the next one first.

Ashara is the only Archer in Thanda’s Household, and she comes from the exotic hot plains of the southlands.

Learning to fire a bow before she could walk the Elders considered her proficient when she could bring down a running Gazelle at 100 paces.

Her father was famous for his armour piercing arrows but he also produced specialised howling arrows, ones that would put the fear of God into her enemies, and best of all, her Uncle made slightly bent arrows. They could, reputedly, shoot round corners. This just might be late night campfire talk, stories told after a few jars of Raki, that fiery southern drink, beloved of poets, skalds and other tall tale tellers or it might be because he wasn’t a very proficient Fletcher. Truth and myth are interchangeable in the Annals of Time but I prefer the former story.

Ashara discovers this barrel is also full of stones as Tina leapfrogs forward, encumbered by the big blue Sapphire.

At this point you will realise if you played this Frostgrave scenario that she shouldn’t be encumbered and slowed down, also that she could fight without dropping the treasure without a penalty. This mistake of mine was to have serious repercussions later.

The Gollem under Rufina’s influence attacks the one guarding the doorway and dies quickly.

Guard Gollem rolls 12, Influenced Gollem rolls 2, he dies.

An overall shot just to show Sonia on the left is close to one of the door’s, Rufina has discovered the last treasure but Tina and Ashara both encumbered by loot are making slow work of getting there.

The Alchemical Monstrosity and the victorious Gollem rat are off to the right of the picture.

Of course when Sonia tried the door it proved to be the wrong one and they have set off towards the other one. The door that’s guarded by the Monster and Gollem, they have seen the Adventurers and are moving in their direction.

Rufina has been trying to cast a Shield Spell on Sonia and failed twice taking damage each time, was the Demented Demon Best Bitter at the Frog and Duck worth it she thinks to herself.


Ashara is out on a limb; facing both opponents and because she can’t put the treasure down as well as fire her bow in the same turn she’s up S**t Creek.

She did the only thing a sensible archer could do….. she ran away. Then climbed onto the building and now has a commanding view of the enemy. They have rushed forward to attack our gallant band of adventurers but even though the Golem is in contact with Sonia it can’t initiate a fight.

Putting their loot on the ground and drawing their weapons, Rufina’s crew awaited the onslaught.

This is now the end of Turn 7

The Alchemical Monstrosity, a large, plant type monster with tendrils who will be called Planty in future, is attacking Rufina rather than Tina.

At the same time the Gollem attacks Sonia, which turned out to be the last thing it did and a new Gollem appears by the s**t house.

At this point if there’s anyone reading this and understands the rules I’d appreciate them looking over the fight stats and letting me know if I made any mistakes. Or just skip this bit ;)

Planty Rolls 4 Fight +4 = 8 Planty wins.

Rufina Rolls 4 Fight 0 + Tina Support + 2 = 6 Loses. Armour 10 – 8 No damage. Whooo.

Planty wins and remains in combat.

Gollem Rolls 20 Fight +0 = 20 Loses. Armour 6 – 24 = 18 Damage - Health 1 = Dead.

Sonia Rolls 18 Fight +4 Attack spell +2 = 24 Wins

The Girls go next and Sonia moves forward and attacks Planty

Sonia Rolls 3 Fight +4 Attack spell +2 Tina and Rufina in support +4 = 13 Loses. Armour 11 – 20 takes 9 damage.

Planty Rolls 16 Fight +4 = 20 Wins

Ashara shoots at Gollem.

Ashara Rolls 4 Shoot +2 = 6

Gollem Rolls 7 Fight +0 = 7 Wins = No Damage

Ashara decides that in spite of her famed archer skills she is better off climbing down and knocking seven bells out of the Gollem.

Which she does quite successfully.

Sonia continues to attack Planty.

She has some sucess but eventually Planty prevails…Oh NO not Sonia!!

Another Gollem erupts from the dark dank recesses of the spawning bog and attacks Ashara, she deals with it without compunction and it dies.

Planty now attacks Rufina, and if Sonia can’t beat it then this is going to end badly for Rufina, is she going to be an ex Apprentice!

Planty Rolls 19 Fight +4 = 23 Wins

Rufina Rolls 4 Fight 0 + Tina Support + 2 = 6 Loses. Armour 10 – 23 =-13 dead. WHAT!

Don’t you just hate it when you’re right.

With Rufina and Sonia down things are looking bleak and I was feeling quite disgruntled with the combat rules.

It seems that D20’s give far too wide a variable for my taste but let’s continue and see how it pans out.

Ashara turns and attacks Planty from behind as Tina supports her from the opposite side.

Ashara Rolls 14 Fight +2 Tina +2 = 18 wins

Planty Rolls 6 Fight +4 Loses. Armour 13 – 18 = - 5 hurt.

Ashara attacks again…. and Planty is dead.

Tina and Ashara pick up the treasure and rush to the exit door.

But only Tina made it.

Gollem rats kept up a constant flow from the Dunnie and Ashara was defeated in the fighting around that hell hole. Tina made a break for it and has won through. Somewhere along the way she has lost the big blue sapphire and gained an even larger white crystal.

Again, anyone who’s played the scenario will by shouting “you fool, she can carry any number of treasures in this game”

Well if you are, just hold your horses.

As Tina looked back on the mayhem around the Dunnie a strange thought occurred to her.

Bugger Joseph A. McCullough and his scenario, I’m one of the greatest thieves of my age. Swift as a striking Cobra, daring as a Mongoose, bold as a Tiger, I didn’t get that reputation by running off and leaving a mountain of treasure behind for some thief to take what’s rightfully mine, so she went back.

Three times she went back and collected all the gems, gold, silver and in fact anything that looked valuable, including some bits of parchment and phials of strange looking liquid and piled it up by the doorway ready to escape the place.

On her last trip she decided to check on her fallen companions and discovered that they were all hurt but not dead as she had supposed and indeed after rolling a few dice Rufina and Ashara recovered quite well but Sonia who had taken the brunt of the fighting with Planty was quite badly hurt and would need at least some time to recover her full strength. (One game apparently)

Tina also recovered what she considered her personal blue sapphire.

So they were all able to exit the futuristic compound through the doorway and into an unknown future.

Unknown because I haven’t read the next scenario yet and don’t know what I’ll have to do to fudge the landscape. I also need to re-roll on the treasure table 3 more times now that I know Tina should have carried all 4 tokens off the table.

You may feel Tina should have checked on her companions first before collecting the treasure but I did tell you that she’s one of the greatest Thieves of her age and that reputation is earned by Thievery not Nursery.

I’m going to try and do all 3 scenarios using the rules as written but will treat all characters the same as Wizards and they will gain experience etc as they go along, or not, if they don’t. Perhaps. Maybe.

My apology to any purists who may be aghast that I didn’t spend weeks building the perfect terrain for the scenario but I’m afraid life is too short for that at Vagabond Manor. C’est la vie.


Rufina and her sorry band of miscreants are only novices using the Frostgrave rules, they’ve appeared in a few adventures using my version of Frostgrave earlier on this Blog if you’re interested. Look for the tag that might read Sword and Sorcery or something similar.

If you got this far – Cheers.

Sunday, 20 November 2022

Argonor’s Saga – The Beekeepers Revenge.

THE VIKINGS ARE COMING – well to be specific it’s actually a mixed force of Danes and West Saxons are coming and they’re raiding Swedes in Uppsala but it’s not quite as catchy as THE VIKINGS ARE COMING.

A few years ago I played a game, The Honey Trap or the start of Argonors Saga. In the Saga, a ship load of Swedes under the command of Rolf were returning home to Uppsala after unsuccessfully raiding along the coast of Anglia and Northumbria. Rolf was desperate to recover his bad fortune, his men had taken to calling him Rolf the Unlucky, (behind his back of course), but he knew this would bring shame and disrespect to his name.

He made the decision to raid the farmstead of Argonor, a famous Danish warrior and a most successful Viking.

In Dane-Mark where ever men gathered they talked of Argonor the Mead Maker, the Mead Drinker, Argonor the Story Teller, the Weaver of Tales, the Man of many Threads.

Argonor was famous for his wealth which came from brewing Mead a fine potent drink, which came from his bees, which were a rare commodity in 9th and 10th century Dane Mark.

Rolf had not heeded Argonor’s warning “Raiding the bee-keeper's homestead for mead is an obvious thing to do - but I should probably warn you, that this brewer has swords, shield, mail tunic, and a Gjermundbu-helmet (and a well-sized beard to show his status as an old warrior)”

Rolf’s decision was a decision, but it turned out to be a bad decision and he was lucky to escape with his life and some small quantity of Argonor’s wealth.

The story grew with the passing of time into the epic tale of Argonor almost single-handedly defeating the Swedish raiding party. Their numbers grew from 1 shipload of 50 men (half of whom guarded the ship) into a small fleet and he had killed countless men that day, all the rest had fled back to their ships to escape his wrath.

Argonor knew better; he knew the truth, it had been a close call, he had nearly been killed or captured himself but he reasoned there was no need to dispel these stories. No one would risk raiding his farmstead now that his reputation as a fearsome warrior was so well established but even so the raid made him uneasy. He felt the insult from that raid and it still rankled with him, he was determined to settle the score one day.

That raid occurred 5 years ago and he wasn’t getting any younger. Autumn was on the land and with another winter in prospect he knew time was no longer on his side, this year he must exact his revenge.

The perfect opportunity arose when he was visited by two old friend’s Eorl Uthred Snappison and the adventurer Vagabond Skallagrimson.

Snappison was a West Saxon and had landholdings in Defenascír, he was a seasoned warrior, prepared to stand all day in the Shield Wall, 2nd or 3rd rank preferred, unless there was a 4th, but was new to the idea of sailing to a strange land and taking what he wanted when he arrived.

Skallagrimson however was a far more seasoned sailor and raider; if it wasn’t nailed down he would take it. If it was nailed down, he would use a crowbar to release it and then take it. You may have heard of a famous Viking warrior and poet – Egill Skallagrimson and if not your education is sorely lacking and you will need to read his Saga. I’m not saying Egill and Vagabond were related but they had the same attitude and father’s name.

When Argonor proposed the raid, both men just smiled, nodded, and asked – when do we leave?

Should you be so bored as to read the account of The Honey Trap you might be confused when you see some of the same figures appearing in this account but having decidedly different names to the previous account. You will have to put this down to your inaccurate eyesight and the fact that Saga accounts are sometimes a little unreliable, historically speaking.

The previous pictures show Rolf’s village, he was a Christian and had built a church in the Anglo-Saxon style, probably because he had an Anglo-Saxon Priest but we’ll never know the true reason. His Long House was typical of the time and reflected his status as a man of substance.

Taking his lead from Argonor he’d tried to amass wealth and prestige by building hives for his bees and then taking their honey to make Mead. Sadly he was stung repeatedly the damp weather didn’t suit the bees and his mead turned sour. Then he passed the bee keeping on to Harrald, Harrald was a 7ft tall warrior, not a bee keeper and felt insulted by this demeaning task, he left Rolf s service and went to seek another Lord.

He travelled far to serve the only man he considered worthy of his loyalty. He went to Dane-Mark. He went to Argonor.

Here, he is returning to Uppsala to take revenge on the worthless worm Rolf. Harrald Horned Helmet is the man with the horned helmet, but you probably guessed that.

Vagabond Skallagrimson is the chap in the green tunic with the long flowing grey hair. (He wishes) and the prancing horse banner belongs to Argonor, who is in the distance with the double handed axe. Argonor is a canny warrior and has left a large force to guard his Dragon ship – Wave Dancer. His men forge forward but there are only 9 warriors, maybe he has become a little cautious as he’s grown older. (Or maybe it was just poor dice rolling)

Uthred Snappison in his purple tunic is related to royalty. Well he says it is so and it’s a brave man who will dispute the claim. The semi naked chap next to him is his faithful servant and Skáld, Fyrndagas Sweota, Old Scrotum to those who don’t read Old English.

Steapa and Leofric his trusted lieutenants accompany him. (I’m not sure which is which but I think the man with 2 heads is Steapa, he’s 2nd from the right in the front line).

Snappison had a better dice roll and has 15 men with him, although I thought it was 18. Snappison with only 10 fingers and thumbs has trouble once it goes above that number.

My men see the church and quicken their pace. They are here to exact revenge; Rape, Burn and Pillage are their maxims but not necessarily in that order. Today the first is going to take too much time, the third is going to be profitable and the second will be spectacular as well as roasting their chestnuts. Either of the last two items on the agenda will gain points towards a win, the first will just get you killed when more of the enemy arrive.

We are playing co-operatively against the Swedes but are in competition with each other to see who gets the most fame and wealth from the raid. (Fame is burning things and wealth is obvious)

Snappison leads his men along the lane into the heart of Rolf’s village. This lane is working like a funnel and we all know what happens at the end of a funnel.

There are only 5 men in the homestead, Rolf is somewhere about, but I believe he was asleep in his long house.

These men are seasoned warriors; they take one look at the number of Saxons coming down the lane and….

Charge forward, blocking the funnel.

They hold the line between 2 daub and wattle dwellings, the fight is long and tough. The shield walls push back and forth but no one gains the advantage. Rolf heard the clash of steel and rushing from his slumber hasn’t had time to don his shirt and so fights Berserk, swinging his large club one handed.

Snappison caught by surprise, fights in the front rank, his long bushy beard swaying left to right as he flails about him with his long sword, Serpent Breath. He tries to reach Rolf but the press of men is too great and he concentrates on staying alive and killing the man in front of him.

Steapa waves his 2nd head in the face of one of Jarl Rolf’s men; this doesn’t ingratiate him with the man.

With their eye on the prize, they are here to loot and burn not fight, Argonor’s small force climbs over the fence beside the church and prepare to enter.

Will the door be locked and barred – they won’t know until they try it.

The press of men between the houses is so tight that it might appear as if nothing has happened but Steapa is down, split in two by the man who didn’t like a 2nd head waved in his direction and one of Rolf’s men has also fallen as the fight continues.

As Argonor’s men exit the church some of them are carrying small but valuable items of loot. There’s no sign of Harrald Horned Helmet, who must be busy gnawing on some poor priests bones or maybe collecting some larger treasure from within the church.

Vagabond Skallagrimson looks on in disbelief, how can 6 Swedes hold up 15 Saxons. Then he realises, “how can they not”. Swedes are Northerners, forged in Ice and Fire, they’re a force to be reckoned with; the Saxons from Wessex are just softie southerners.

The reality is that the Vikings are veterans of countless fights, skirmishes and battles, even harking back as far as WRG 4th edition but the West Saxons are in their first fight, the paint on their shields is barely dry. It’s no wonder they are looking a little shaky and unsure how this form of warfare should be played, besides, we are using my rules.

Snappison was so busy fighting in the front rank that he lost control of the action. Eventually; pushing his opponent back he realised that most of his men in reserve are just shouting encouragement to the front rank fighters.

Get round the back of these turnip eaters he shouted at them and reluctantly his 2nd 3rd rank moved to outflank the Swedes. Climbing two fences slowed them down a little and they still haven’t got into place yet.

Before the men of Wessex can reach the action there’s a roar of “With me” from Argonor and the four of them crash into the rear of the Swedish line, the men of Uppsala stand no chance and those that are not slain surrender. “Good to see you at last” puffs Snappison as some of his men disappear into a small hut looking for loot but the main body can be seen in the distance about to enter the Long House.

I think they finally realized that this is a raid for loot and glory, not a long hard slog against determined foes.

Harrald Horned Helmet finally leaves the church following the men with the loot. He leaves it burning fiercely, he’s obviously read the scenario conditions and a burned out church is worth a lot of points, also he’s a devout Pagan.

Two of Snappison’s men are carrying sacks of grain from the hut, the 3rd chap wasn’t strong enough to lift his sack or barrel and was left behind, grunting and sweating to try again.

The largest group of Saxon’s are now in the Long House and totally lose control.

Not shown for those of a sensitive disposition or who are easily offended but the women of the house prove more enticing than the wealth all around them. Snappison’s men are going to spend a long time before they can get on with the main job of looting and burning.

Unknown to them, the men of the Homestead are starting to return from the fields, in dribs and drabs at first but once Rolf’s neighbours arrive this small stream of men would become an unstoppable river.

Argonor and Snappison’s men are scattered throughout the settlement, the ones in the Long House out of control and the lad who has gone into the hut on the right also starts making eyes and some poor Uppsala maiden and will be a while before he can get on with looting properly.

In the hut on the left the weakling has still not managed to lift the barrel of beer onto his shoulder. Maybe he should have drunk some of it to lighten the load.

Middle left Snappison himself emerges from a hut carrying a small barrel of mead, lighter and more valuable than beer.

The various looters are slowly making their way to the ship but are dismayed to see in the distance, the banner of Red Orm, the first of Rolf’s neighbours to arrive in force.

The raider’s initial advantage in numbers is slowly eroding, have the men of Wessex lost too much time fighting and now womanising? The scales of fate are starting to balance on a knife edge.

Rolf (Lime green shield) has surrendered and is under guard. Harrald Horned Helmet has gone into the Long House, a man of ice he is not swayed by the debauchery going on in there and immediately starts to light a fire. His intention is obviously to burn the place down.

I did say he’d read the scenario rules and a burning Long House is almost worth as many points as a burning church.

Seeing Orm in the distance has galvanised Snappison (Purple cloak, Black plume) and he dropped his barrel of mead to join with his men. The chaps with the barrel and sack are Argornor’s men and they know better than to drop loot until it’s time to RUN.

Argonor’s Long Ship, Wave Dancer pulls into the beach. Those of you with poor eyesight might think that is Snappison’s glasses case but you would be wrong, it is indeed a shapely 44 oared long ship the scourge of the North Sea and Argonor’s delight. Well one of his delights!

Unconcerned by Orm’s arrival Argonor leads some of his men into the homesteads storehouse. There should be plenty to steal in there or is the word liberate, I’m not sure.

Harrald has managed to get a small fire going but not enough to set the damp thatch ablaze. The chaps making eyes at the maidens have run out of steam and are ready to obey their Lord’s angry shouts to “get the hell out of there”. Red Orm has arrived and charged straight at Snappison’s hastily drawn up shield wall.

Not able to carry the sacks and barrels from the Storehouse in time, Olaf has been ordered to set the rest on fire.

He’s also read the scenario notes.

He’s also luckier than Harrald and the thatch catches fire immediately.

Meanwhile more neighbours arrive and make their way through the drying hayricks nearest us.

If they’re quick they will cut off the raiders from their ship.

Just as worrying is another small group advancing from the far right, out of sight in this picture but they’re forming the classic pincer movement, that knife edge is getting sharper.

The fight by the Long House is fierce but the lines fall back to reform and taunt each other; the dead and wounded have been pushed aside to create room for the fighting men.

Snappison is wondering if he should have gone on holiday to Weston Supermare rather than visit his friend in Dane-Mark.

Harrald is having no luck with his fire but the raiders in the house are making their way out, empty handed but thankful not to be caught in the firestorm that Harrald will undoubtedly cause – eventually.

The Skáld Fyrndagas Sweota is among the fallen in the shield wall, who will sing songs of Snappison’s great deed’s if there’s no Skáld?

Probably no-one the way things are going. All of the West Saxons have dropped their loot so they can move faster and fight harder, the Danes aren’t giving up theirs so easily, there’s no points for dead Swedes.

The warriors coming through the hayfield have cut off two of Argonor’s men, these two are still carrying loot from the church but it looks as if they will have to fight for their lives in a minute. The other small warband is approaching from our right.

Just a dramatic shot of the same action. Sorry – we had a surfeit of pictures.

There are many more of the Uppsala men arriving, drawn no doubt by the smoke from the burning buildings.

They are still a long way from the raiders but closing fast.

Finally the fire actually has smoke, and we all know - there’s no smoke without fire, and the rush for the door becomes a stampede.

The Uppsala lads have cut off the retreat to the sea, Argonor has led 3 of his warband through the gap between the field and the hut and attacked the Swedes from the rear, I’m told this is a legitimate tactic to use, but what do I know.

The other group, the ones who have been out of sight so far, have finally come in to sight and attack the two chaps carrying the loot from the church. Are you still with me, I hope you’re not as confused by all this as I am.

Snappison is trying to make a fighting retreat and has pulled his men back a little as Harrald watches his handiwork in the Long House. He likes fire, and flames and the crackle of burning things, I imagine he’s a bit of a worry if you’re sharing a berth with him.

Rolf is being hurried towards the ship by a small band of West Saxons (on the left) who unlike their Jarl have also read the scenario notes and realise Rolf is worth points.

Red Orm shouts in exultation as his men surge forward, pushing the West Saxons backwards, they are taking a beating. Jarl Snappison is down, defeated by a blonde haired warrior and things are getting very sticky for the raiders. Snappison thinks to himself, “we should have run sooner, bugger this fighting lark” as blood seeps into his boots and makes a mess of his new cloak.

Ketil Trout has arrived and leads his men forward past the church. The raiders are now completely outnumbered and will have to either be very fast on their toes or very cunning indeed to get out of this.

The crucial fight is now between the men from Uppsala and the Danes of Argonor. Northman against Northman. If the Danes can defeat the Swedes they will open the way for what’s left of the West Saxons to escape. Of course they will leave behind their Jarl Uthred Snappison, his Skáld Fyrndagas Sweota, and Steapa or Leofric or maybe both, I’m still not sure which is which but I’m sure I’ll be told later.

The fight on the far side is between the two Church robbers fighting to retain their loot and their lives and four Swedes. Closest to us are the Danes, a Wolfshead, Vagabond Skallagrimson, a man with a budgie on his shield and on the far right Argonor himself. Argonor as befits a hero is fighting 2 opponents.

The fighting is hard and good men are hurt and incapacitated, Argonor was defeated, so was Skallagrimson but on the right the Church robbers pushed back two of their enemy and held the other two at bay, some small consolation in a rapidly declining situation.

With a roar that could be heard above the tumult of the battle Harrald seeing his new Lord fall, rushed to his aid, the Argonor’s Prancing Horse banner flying high beside him as the Bannerman waved it menacingly in the direction of the Swedes.

Rolf’s homestead is ablaze, mostly thanks to one man, Harrald, but the Danes and West Saxons are surrounded by the more numerous Uppsala men.

The fight had been long and hard but as daylight closed it looked like the end for our raiders, all the heroic leaders were injured and unable to carry on the fight, all except for Harrald Horned Helmet. A man tall in stature and long on cunning, he shouts for a truce, Red Orm and Ketil Trout agree.

“We have Jarl Rolf and will trade him for our lives” Harrald began. Neither Orm or Ketil like Rolf but when Harrald added the sweetener “and we’ll leave the booty behind as well. You can share it as you wish” - they both agreed.

So the men of Dane-Mark and the men of Wessex sailed back to Argonor’s Long House not richer in booty but proud in their destruction of Rolf’s Farmstead.

The Skáld Fyrndagas Sweota, made a swift recovery and by the time Wave Dancer made port he was half way through a long verse, mainly about the prowess of Jarl Uthred Snappison but the men of Dane-Mark knew who the real heroes were and they were all Danish.

So Argonors Saga continues, it would be nice to write another chapter of it sooner than in another five years time but who knows how the Norns will spin their web and change the fate of men, not I for sure.

This was the first of five games we played when the Mad Lord Snapcase journeyed northwards from his home in the hills of Devon to visit me in the wild fastness of the Derbyshire Dales. My Vikings have rarely been out of their comfortable storage in the last 30 or so years and it was a treat to get a few of them running round and creating mayhem after all this time. The inspiration was of course that Snappers has decided for no discernable reason to paint a few West Saxons and it would have been churlish not to have them carouse with seasoned veterans from the 70’s.

Hopefully you made it to the end, it’s a long story but after all – it is a Saga.

PS It's also my 100th post.