Monday, 27 July 2015

McDeath: The Battle of Winwood Harbour Part 1

Hello once more and welcome back to the Realm of Chaos 80s. After blogging about how I made my super-quick to finish gaming board, I was rather keen to try it out with miniatures and run through the scenario we will be playing this weekend: Winwood Harbour as a solo game. This will give me some idea what to tweak and what to change. I have already altered the rule about the McArnos and the Greevants being unarmed. They all are armed with hand-weapons and have a saving throw of a 5 or 6+.

The narrative is a simple one. Winwood Harbour is the home of the Greevant clan and a rather quiet little place being more a hamlet than village. A couple of sod houses have sprung up around a rather rough looking inn by the beach and local traders and fishermen have all clubbed in to construct a brick warehouse by the water. The Greevants make their living from the sea but are vassals of McDeath and they occasionally form wild bands of warriors to help in his campaigns. 

In times of peace, they become restless and bicker with other local clans. Often these spats break out into clan based warfare with hall burnings and ambushes becoming a regular feature of life in the wilds. During more peaceful days, The Greevants invite local clans to the 'Highland Games' that are held in the hills above the harbour and there traditional games of caber tossing and shot putting are played out. 

Our story starts during one such Highland Games between the Greevants, lead by Richard, and the McArnos (a local, semi-allied clan) lead by their laird, Kit. The traditional games had started well, with much feasting, drinking and only two minor deaths from knife fighting. However, a quick tongue from the McArno clan accused their hosts of using shaved cabers. This was not an insult to brush away, and the Greevant clan retorted with accusations of their own - that the McArnos were wearing supportive garments under their kilts! 

The resulting brawl only came to an end when Richard and Kit agreed to don their traditional clothes and fight it out in the confines of the playing field to the north of the harbour. The clansmen, arrayed for war (just in case), squabbled to find good viewing places around the hedgerow that marked the playing ground. So eager where the McArnos and Greevants to see the fight, that they trooped enmass up the hill leaving their tiny, usually insignificant harbour deserted. 

However, events were soon to sweep both the McArnos and the Greevants into the pages of history and the harbour of Winwood, hardly remarked in the annuals, would become a place of the utmost importance. 

As we shall see...

Unknown to the squabbling clansmen, The McEwmans, lead by the magnificent Julia, had made landfall in the harbour and stormed up the beach expecting heavy resistance from the locals loyal to McDeath. It was well known in Albion that Julia had eyes on the throne itself and had long planned to topple the McDeath's from power. 

Her attempt at usurption had come. Fergus McEwman, her cousin, was the first to make landfall and he had orders to make a sweep north and clear the scrub land of enemy clansmen. With no foe to uncover, his advance was unchecked and he quickly cleared the scrubland that spread west from the harbour's hamlet. 

Juggo, Julia's bodyguard, lead his fighters through the hamlet itself a few minutes later. Like their compatriots, they were expecting a vicious fight and had come armed to the teeth. Julia's instructions had been clear. Check the buildings for forces loyal to McDeath and hold the hamlet in case of counter attack. 

To the east, Julia made landfall, and promptly marched her valkyries up the beach onto the scrubland. She had planned a brutal encircling move to crush any opposition to her landing but found no-one. In the distance, she could see her kinsmen making their way unopposed through the hamlet. The gusting wind brought with it the sounds of doors being booted open and wood being split open in the search for loot. 

Her bannerman, Sean, unfurled the warbanner in the breeze and Julia and her best troops advanced towards the distant hills. "Aiblins thes will be easier than ah thooght! Ur th' gods oan uir side durin' thes endeavoor?" Julia mused to her chief valkyrie, Aili.

Despite the distance, it wasn't long until the more sober (and keen-eyed) McArnos and Greevants noticed things were afoot on the harbourfront. After much gesturing and foaming at the lips, Richard and Kit realised that they must act if they were to save their reputations as fearsome protectors of the coastline. After all, they both knew that McDeath had only recently installed a brand new top-of-the-range torture chamber in his castle and neither of them relished risking their dangly bits displeasing him.

With a resounding cheer of 'salty porridge', the clansmen pelted down the trackway that led back to the harbour-front.

To the south, the offensive sodium based chant made its way towards Julia's ears. Appalled by the wanton disrule of all of the laws of the kitchen, she ordered her troops forwards to crush the sighted foe before their radical approach to breakfast spread unrest among her own troops.

To the east, Juggo was completing his sweep on the harbour buildings. With no Greevants to kill, he was forced (rather unhappily) to order his followers to the second part of their orders. To guard the harbour buildings from counter attack. Slowly, their feet dragging in the earth, the disappointed raiders formed a picket line around the edge of the settlement.

Sighting the enemy on the horizon, Fergus McEwman ordered his forces forwards. He has spotted an orchard on the hill to his front. If he could reach the trees before the enemy he would have strong defensive position to confront the marauding Greevants from.

Fergus had one problem. Richard Greevant had exactly the same idea, and knowing the land more intimately than the invaders, made better time than the blonde crested muscle man. Clutching the broken bottles of ginger beer in his hands, Richard made his way towards the undergrowth of the orchard.

As the Greevants reached the bushes, they noticed that the McArnos had broken off from their wild charge. The blue-tartaned wildmen were now headed straight back down the trackway towards the harbour. In the distance, the looming banner of the McEwmans stood like a stain on the skyline. No doubt Kit imagined the different ways he would soon be defacing the cloth once these feeble interlopers were beaten off.

With a caber wobbling in his grip, one of the McArno clansmen stuck out his bearded chin at the enemy on the hills. "Swatch thaur," he screamed defiantly, "at those sugar sprinklers. Ah will ne'er lit them abuse mah porridge!" Emboldened by this passionate claim, Andrew McArno (the chap with the huge axe) followed up his kinsman's roar with one of his own.

"We shaa kill them aw an' cut their rude bits aff wi' uir blunt cutlery!"

Meanwhile, both the Greevants and the McEwmans reached the orchard at the same time, though the red tartan wearing wildmen held the advantage of the higher ground. Alec Greevant let fly his shiny shotput as he reached the top of the hill. The weighty shot spin through the air and collided with an invading brute killing him instantly. With first blood to the defenders, Richard's clansmen roared into the orchard with their blades ready to avenge the defilement of their homeland (and breakfast favourite).

Richard is the first to step foot in the clearing. Raising his shattered bottle into the air he called out to the foe: "Ye lowpin' donkeys spend far tay much ay yer ain bunsens in th' inn. We clansmen will slice yer man's bits frae yer bodies!"

Enraged at this flagrant assault at McEwman hospitality, Fergus stormed forwards with his sword held aloft. Its sharp blade edge slicing through the branches that grew there, now heavy with apples. Responding in kind, he opened his mouth and let forth some thoughts of his own. "Ah heard ye aw wear kimers underclothes sae killin' ye aw will be nae trooble at aw!"

With the insults made and tempers boiling over like overcooked broth, the two sides clashed in the dance of daggers beneath the trees of the orchard. Alec let fly with a second shot put, but the heavy metal ball missed its target and bounced off towards the harbour.

With the advantage of the high-ground, the Greevants took the initiative from the start. Cutting down two McEwman fighters during the first charge. Blood splatters against the trunks of the surrounding trees. Though Fergus fights bravely, he is quickly surrounded by red tartan and struggles to fend off multiple attackers. Surely it is only a matter of time until he and his remaining clansmen are cut to the earth.

Their man bits no doubt dangling from some unsavoury place!

Look out for the second part of this battle report soon!



  1. Those clansmen are looking rather spiffing - great flesh tones - whatever their choice of culinary accompaniment!

    1. Thanks Rab! I spent quite a while earlier on this year agonising over how to get a good flesh tone so you appreciation is appreciated!

  2. Cracking - brings new meaning to the term fighting irons!

    1. I am glad you liked the report Steve - considering it was you Orc's Drift stuff that 1) inspired me to start this blog and 2) encouraged me to have a go at a scenario collection myself!

    2. Crikey - that all seems a long time ago! Perhaps we should add McDeath to the Orc's Drift coffee table book that was mooted many moons ago!

      We just need Gaj to get a move on with the Lichemaster and for me to pull my finger out with the Shrine of Rigg/Kremlo...

  3. Great stuff :)


  4. Brilliant! I notice you have the minis in a skirmish formation rather than base to base contact. Is that to make the game more workable with a smaller number of models?

    1. Not really, I would probably use skirmish order even if I had the full amount of troops. I think it just looks and feels better when playing these sorts of games. They are not drilled, professional armies of the Empire (or evil races who copy them) but wild hillmen that fight as individuals. I tend to view each individual model as a 'unit' when I play in this style.

  5. Fantastic to see this scenario getting played out!