Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Drujistan Campaign

From the Histories of Letterman the Scribe:

It is with great sadness that I am writing about the failure of our campaign into Drujistan. Even though we were able to defeat the enemy in battle our forces were so worn and exhausted, they were unable to pursue them and destroy the survivors. Also, both Governor Mondyar and General Herodotos had been wounded during the battle and needed to be brought back to the provincial capital to recover.

The campaign had started on a high note with a rousing speech by Governor Mondyar to the assembled troops prior to setting out on the road to the ruined city of Yanaidar on the twentyfifth day of the month. For six days we had marched along the road encountering no resistance. The soldiers had begun to discount the tales of demons and other monsters that inhabited the hills and mountains of this forsaken land. Then on the night of the sixth day strange howling sounds were heard throughout the night.

Many of the men were unable to sleep though one of them, a mighty warrior from Cimmeria, seemed to take no notice. Named Conan, he served in one of the light infantry units, and had been given the title "O'Bryan" by the Ilyurz hill-men for his strength and prowess with weapons.

The strange noises ceased shortly before dawn and the army had its morning meal, broke camp and set out upon the road again. We had been on the march for about two-and-a-half hours, following the road along a river valley, when our scouts reported that we were approaching a village and that a large horde of the enemy's troops was approaching from over the hills to our left. According to the old map we were using the village was named Rabid Rabbits Rapids.

General Herodotos was somewhat stunned at first when the scouts reported that there were at least three of the enemy for every two of us, but recovered quickly and ordered the cavalry to form up off the road in order to allow the rest of the army to move up and deploy to face the enemy. The account of the battle follows further in this document.

One thing that should be noted is the strange behavior of Governor Mondyar prior to the battle. As governor of Sushan Province he had always taken great care of the responsibility that he had. Our people follow many faiths and he had always been respectful to them. His loyalty to the Kingdom of Iranistan and never been questioned and he had always been a good and efficient governor. Today, however, he was saying things that were totally out of character. These included, "I am opposed to the government of Iranistan", "The water god who's temple was destroyed was not of my faith and its destruction does not concern me", "I will quit my job as governor and move to Vendhya", "I do not want our forces to be known as the Army of Iranistan" and similar sayings. It was though he had been cursed by some spell of the enemy, yet when battle commenced he fought bravely at the head of the infantry, leading them in a charge against the loathsome man-apes of the enemy.

After the battle, while he was recovering, the priests examined him hoping to find any trace of a spell that would have caused him to speak in such a bizarre manner. Sadly, no trace of any such spell could be found. Governor Mondyar was arrested and charged with treason against the Shah, betraying the honor of the soldiers under his command, attempting to desert his duties as governor of the Province of Sushan, failure to bring retribution to the defilers of a temple of a god vital to agriculture of the people, and demeaning said god and his followers. His trial is due to take place on the eleventh day of this month.

General Herodotos was able to recover from his wounds. For his valiant actions during the Battle of Rabid Rabbits Rapids he was awarded the title of Weapons and Warfare Master by the Shah.


The club game was held at the Atwater Library on Saturday October 31. The battle was set in Robert E. Howard's Hyborian Age of Conan.

Commanding the Iranistani forces were Ray Jackson (Governor Mondyar) and Harold Windell (General Herodotos). Their army in order of march was 5000 regular cavalry, 1000 Auxiliary Cavalry, 2000 light infantry, 3000 auxiliary infantry, 6000 heavy infantry, and 10 elephants. Herodotos commanded the van and had the two priests with him. Governor Mondyar commanded the elephants, heavy infantry and the auxiliary infantry.  Their objective was the destruction of the village of Rabid Rabbits Rapids.

Ken Mackie commanded the Drujistani hordes. He placed the 3000 light cavalry wolf riders on his right, the Giants near his center, the Dahrkinshtorme Knights and their foot companions near the village, the 3000 archers were placed next to the village, and the 15000 warriors were scattered across the remainder of his battle line. Ken also had two magic users that he deployed near the center of his line. He placed his hero and army commander on the left at the village and his other general with the wolf riders.

We had expected several additional players to participate, but illness and last minute family affairs prevented them from arriving.

The Iranistani forces entered the table in road column in the order listed above and took four turns to get all units on table. Meanwhile the Drujistan forces advanced from their table edge.
Their two magic users did not fair well during the battle. One was lost during the first use of magic when Ken rolled a double three on two ten-sided dice and then failed to roll higher than a three on one ten-sided die. The other one blew up in spectacular fashion and set fire to the woods he was in by rolling a double ten a couple of turns later. For these rules magic works on the difference of two ten-sided dice with doubles causing that many hits against the caster. Failure to score higher than the number of hits results in the death of the magic user.

Ken's wolves attacked the elephants and a unit of heavy infantry on the Iranistani left while his giants moved up and hurled some boulders into a unit of Iranistani heavy infantry. Both sides exchanged some bow fire prior to the main battle lines engaging each other.

The Drujistani foot were armed with light spears and swords, except for the archers who were armed with bows and swords, the wolf riders had bows and light spears, the knights had lances and their companions had an assortment of heavy weapons. The Iranistani army had heavy infantry (the equivalent of late imperial Roman legions) with throwing weapons and some archers, light infantry with bows and light spears, auxiliary infantry of half spear and half bow, elephants with bow armed crews, and all their cavalry equipped with light spears and bows.

The Iranistani priests fared much better than their opposites. After the last of their opposites had gone up in a ball of fire they ganged up on the giants and caused enough damage to make them flee. The giants flight took them through one of the warrior units and they ended up routing also. Towards the end of the game the priests were able to target the Drujistan hero and slay him also.

The engagement of the two battle lines lasted a couple of turns. Finally enough of the Drujistan warriors broke that their army morale collapsed. Prior to this the auxiliary unit that Conan was with broke and Conan was last seen cursing at them in a vain effort to stop their flight. However, he ended up getting swept up into the rout. The Dahrkinshtorme Knights and their companions shrugged off almost every attack that the Iranistanis made against them. (Most of the units in the game were classed as five or six for their defense value - based on their armor and shields. The knights and their companions were classed as eight due to being completely armored with shields). The Iranistani elephants were finally routed also and fled off the table with no one in their path.

Both Governor Mondyar and General Herodotos were wounded in combat and removed from the battle as they led their troops in melee. The Drujistan general commanding the wolf riders also fell fighting the elephants.

At the end of the battle 1000 wolf riders, 9000 warriors and archers, and the giants were routed on the Drujistan side. On the Iranistan side 1000 heavy infantry, 1000 light infantry and the elephants had been lost. The Iranistanis were declared the winners, but due to the loss of Governor Mondyar and General Herodotos along with the shaken state of many of the remaining units they had to end the campaign into Drujistan.

Thanks to Ray for providing the hills, woods, roads, and stream for the game. The skeleton archers were painted by Steve Montgomery. Due to my forgetting to bring the box with the orc archers they were pressed into service for the game. Also, I thought that I had taken a picture with Ray in it, but it appears that I did not do so.

Positions at the end of the first four turns looking towards the village of Rabid Rabbits Rapids.

Positions at the other end of the road after the first four turns.

Ken, in the background surveying the battle field. The Dahrkinshtorme Knights and their foot companions are in the forground.

The Snot's Grays engage the heavy infantry next to the elephants while their fellows attack the elephants. The Auxillary horse are getting clobbered by the giants, Skintag and Goodtime near the center of the picture. Meanwhile the infantry battle lines of both sides are preparing to engage in hand-to-hand combat with their opposites.

Hal makes some adjustments.

The two battle lines contact.

The aftermath of the contact. The markers have a number on them and indicate how much damage each unit has taken.
Another view. This one shows the Iranistani cavalry taking punishment from the Dahrkinshtorme Knights and friends, while Conan and his auxillary unit are running for the rear just above them.

View of the other end of the battle line at the end of the game.