Defend the Coaching Inn

Rip-snorting fantasy adventure wherein players lead the defence of an isolated Inn against the attack of a cannibalistic horde.

Couldn’t be bothered with a long wilderness trek to reach a dungeon? Need to satisfy your players with a bit of gratuitous violence that doesn’t involve random monsters waiting in rooms? Want a quick, ready to go scenario for players in between dungeon crawls? Fancy a small scale siege where it makes sense for the Player Characters to be in charge?

Well look no further. Whilst many an RPG adventure starts at a tavern, this adventure is IN THE TAVERN. The standard gaming trope of a colourful Inn (with numerous squabbling patrons) is smashed together with the “hold your ground” cliche (shades of Rorke’s Drift) in “Defend the Coaching Inn.”

The players meet one evening at a lonely tavern on a forested back-road. Normally they’d be rolling for rumours, buying iron rats, harassing the bar-staff with 10′ poles, and picking fights. This time the PCs skip the ‘information’ and ‘wilderness trek’ phases and jump straight into the action as they help defend the inn from a horde of cannibalistic humanoids.

This stand-alone adventure can easily be slotted into a long standing campaign as a one off, ding dong battle. Or the scenario can be expanded into several sessions as the action dictates and the players follow up different plot threads. The inventive GM can also weave a murder mystery sub-plot into the narrative for added flavour.

Whilst designed for the World of Warhammer, this adventure is written in the style of no stat gaming and can easily be used with Dungeons & Dragons, GURPS, Fate and many other fantasy rules & settings.

So clickety-click on Defend the Coaching Inn and see if you can hold your ground; shield the gentlefolk; slay the invaders; defend the Inn and most importantly… protect the beer!

Min/maxing the Fellowship of the Ring

Optimising the Fellowship of the Ring: the Nine Walkers – a strategic revision.

The Fellowship of the Ring is the world’s most renowned, literary adventuring party. This is the archetype which lurks in the collective unconscious of all gaming groups, from paper and pencil D&D, to byte and bitmap WoW.

An Istarii Wizard and a Dunedain Ranger lead a Dwarf Warrior, a Sindar Archer, a Gondorian Fighter and four Halfling burglars on an epic wilderness adventure and the mother of all dungeon crawls.

FotR

But anyone with an ounce of cunning and a desire to maximise the chances of success has probably asked themselves…

Why take four hobbits?”

What about bringing some more ranged weapons and healing potions?”

Elves are awesome. Why only bring one?”

These questions and more have bugged me for years. Why abandon Frodo and Sam to chase after Merry and Pippin? What was Gandalf actually planning on doing to get into Mordor?! Most importantly, if I was Elrond, who would I include in the Fellowship?

The strategy behind the Fellowship and some alternative possibilities are examined in the article “Min/maxing the Fellowship of the Ring” … so clickety-click, or go to the menu at the top of the page.

Concluding the Awakening of the Wyrms!

Awakening of the Wyrms: an alternate history of early Fourth Age Middle Earth.

Aelindur eyes

Extrapolating the Queen of Shadows Campaign

To misquote Peter Jackson and the infamous Boromir meme…

“One does not simply awaken the Dragons of the Withered Heath.”

Some people just crave a resolution: so please find herein the epic conclusion to the Awakening of the Wyrms, an alt history of the 4th Age of Tolkien’s Middle Earth.

Thrills, spills, and canon busting bitter pills are guaranteed, not to mention some brain melting coordination of armies, wizards and assorted entities into a coherent timeline of  4th age possibilities.

Southrons Attack 1The ideas of J.R.R Tolkien, Iron Crown Enterprises’ Middle Earth Role Playing game, and Anders Blixt (https://gondica.wordpress.com/) have been smashed together to re-invent the early history of the Fourth Age. Aligning famous names versus each other, whilst riffing-off Greek mythology and recent world events, and developing (or destroying) various corners of Middle Earth proved challenging and a little inhuman. Hence the incorporation of a Spy Game sub-plot, using the ubiquitous fantasy trope of the ‘adventuring party’, enabling a more on-the -ground view and a role-players perspective on the action.

Feedback welcome – this story is not set in stone. I am happy to adjust to correct major errors herein.

Click here to see how it all pans out… Awakening of the Wyrms – Conclusion

Winning at Mohi, Falkirk and Poiters

Counterfactual re-fight of the battles of Mohi, Falkirk and Poiters

If you could go back in time and whisper in a general’s ear (and not get executed for impertinence or witchcraft) you could change the course of history. One could also point out their silly clothes and poor personal hygiene and casually mention that the fleas on the rats carry the plague, and that there is another continent across the western sea, and that mouldy bread can cure infections, and the formula for dynamite might come in handy too…

But sticking to counterfactual battles, apart from berating King Bela IV of Hungary on his hubris, William Wallace on his shoddy deployment, and King John II of France on the abysmal plan, you could actually help these chaps to win pivotal encounters. Mohi is a classic East vs West showdown of the Mongols vs a European (Hungarian) Army. Falkirk is probably best known as the battle in ‘Braveheart’ where William Wallace’s Scottish army is defeated. Poiters is the second major land battle of the Hundred Years War – another English versus French arse-whuppin’.

These three battles are unrelated other than that they tickled my fancy, weren’t overly complex engagements, and presented a not completely hopeless chance of reversal. So clicketty-click right here ( 20/20 Hindsight Re-fight #4 Mohi, Falkirk, Poiters) and find out how the losers screwed up and how I would unscrew ‘em!

Reversing Alesia, Crécy and the Boyne

How to win Alesia, Crécy, & the Battle of the Boyne

Turning that frown upside down for the Gauls at Alesia, the French at Crécy, and the Irish at the Battle of the Boyne.

The Armchair Corporal reverses the outcome of some of history’s famous battles by pointing out the bleeding obvious! Amazing battlefield insights are all too easy with Wikipedia, Osprey military books, BBC documentaries, fog-o-war penetrating goggles™, a dollop of arrogance, a comfy chair, common sense, and of course 20/20 Hindsight.

So sit back and marvel as I give Julius Caesar the run-around, scold yet more silly French kniggits, and rectify another Jacobite shemozzle.

Check it out at 20/20 Hindsight Re-fight #3 Alesia, Crécy, Boyne

Uthrael Beoac and the Wind Thrones

Wilderness RPG adventure in the Grey Mountains of Tolkien’s Middle Earth

Filling in one of the blanks of Middle Earth Role Playing.

Way back in the nineties Iron Crown Enterprises wrote the awesome ‘Northern Mirkwood’ campaign supplement for Middle Earth Role Playing. The book detailed all sorts of locations, not just in Mirkwood, but across northern Rhovanion. There was lots of info on cool locations from the Hobbit, as well as the Grey Mountains, the Withered Heath et al. As usual the MERP maps were very detailed…

My eye was caught by a specific locale. High up in the Grey Mountains there was a large hidden valley called Uthrael Beoac. There were a couple of intriguing paragraphs about this valley in the text but nothing more. My interest was piqued.

Years passed and no details, let alone adventure books, about it emerged. Finally ICE released their Grey Mountains campaign book but alas- no further detail on Uthrael Beoac! And then ICE lost the rights to Middle Earth –arghh!!!

Add a few years and long comes teh interwebz, and the groovy Middle Earth Role Playing wiki / the Notion Club archive (http://merp.wikia.com) with some intriguing little hints about fan modules. The Uthrael Beoac page (http://merp.wikia.com/wiki/Uthrael_Beoac) has a map that seems to indicate that at one point someone had written an adventure that TheWindThroneclosely matched the Wind Thrones illustration from Middle Earth: The Card Game. However I could find nothing else online other than a cool French website (http://crepusculesuranduin.over-blog.com/) ‘Twilight on the Anduin’ with another illustration and some more ideas about what the valley could contain.

At that point I decided to stop searching for what someone else had created and instead, detail the mysterious mountain valley the way I imagined it. Using the background hints provided by MERP, plus ideas from the Middle Earth Role Playing Wiki et al, I have outlined the history (and prehistory) of the valley, general adventuring locations, and some adventure plot-lines all in a rough imitation of the MERP format.

Check out my version of this wilderness adventure at…

Page 1:  Uthrael Beoac: Introduction, Overview & Getting There

or cut to the chase and find out where the treasure is…

Page 2: Uthrael Beoac: Valley Locations, About the Wind Thrones

and what you can kill/torment the players with…

Page 3: Uthrael Beoac: Inhabitants, Adventures, Timeline, & GM’s Notes

 

Uthrael Beoac overview
Uthrael Beoac:  topographic overview

Reversing Agincourt, Naseby and Culloden

How the losers could have won at Agincourt, Naseby and Culloden

Bite sized historical rematches with 20/20 Hindsight

The Armchair Corporal turns the tables in another three famous battles. Talking about himself in third person hasn’t reduced AC’s amazing insights into how losers would have won, if only they were as brilliant as he!

Charles I of England, Bonnie Prince Charlie and some more ‘Medieval Dickheads’ all get a slap upside the head and some serious schooling in what they should have done if only they had 20/20 Hindsight and a dash of omniscience.

Chock full of fake retreats, superbly disciplined militia, and the obligatory flank march, check out these amateur military historian’s pipe dreams laid out in all their glory at 20/20 Hindsight Re-fight #2 Agincourt, Naseby, Culloden