Wednesday, 10 December 2014

The Woes of Ivar Sveinson the Coward

Ivar Sveinson is seldom mentioned in the epic sagas, and for good reason. Cast out by his family with nought but a single ship and crew to his name, he sailed over the seas, to a strange island the locals named Mann, said to be home to fairies in the enchanted dells, and roamed by three-legged men. Ivar set these tales aside and established camp, the kingdom of Rheged lay but a day's sailing over the waves. Though rugged, windswept and rain -lashed, it offered rich pickings from the surly locals, or so Ivar thought.........

I would much rather have been able to start my tale with a more stirring title, such as the Saga of Ragnar the Brave, or Erik Bloodaxe, but it seems my story is going to be a little less heroic. Having rolled up my Dux Britanniarum characters, I had a poverty-stricken, cowardly Lord leading my force, with a bodyguard fond of riding horses (not much use to a seafaring adventurer). I also had a lustful noble in my retinue, dragging down the loyalty of my troops. Only my second noble had any decent characteristics, being big and strong and with the constitution of an ox. In terms of  troops available at the start of the campaign there are 2 units of elite, 3 units of warriors and a small band of bowmen.

Ivar and his men spied an easy target and fell upon a village, scattering the few farmers and making off with the cattle. But their trespass had not gone unseen, and Saxon warriors rushed to wreak their vengeance on the luckless invaders......


Right lads, let's get these three groups on to the ship
- hey, where are the sheep?
The scenario we rolled was a cattle raid. The vikings started on the north edge of the board and had to escort cattle down the length of the board to the southern end. They got a random head start, which turned out to be just one move. The Saxons arrived at a random point, the middle of the western edge, with a random number of units in their vanguard, for which of course Matt rolled a 5. As the viking player I would be victorious if I could get 2 of 3 "cattle" off  the board. If I failed to achieve this, the Saxons would be the victors. Each group of cattle required an escort, one group of men. I allocated my missile troops and two units of warriors, plus one noble, to this task. I would send these around a wood, away from the enemy troops and on to the waiting ship. The rest of my force (just 3 units) was to engage and delay the enemy. That was the hastily conceived plan.

Baa, Baa, Ha, Ha the vikings are taking a beating
Loki the Trickster God had his fun that day. In the form of a ram he lead the sheep into mischief, and a merry dance for the viking herders. He blunted their axes and steadied the shield arms of the Saxons.....

The cattle moved 2d6 per turn, the herders with them can move up to 3d6 so it should have been reasonably straight forward to keep the dumb animals in check. The accompanying noble, with his ability to activate a unit twice, would gee up any stragglers. Of course, straight away the sheep flock broke away from their captors and headed in the wrong direction. And the fighting troops bounced off the Saxons, with the champion taking a spear in the belly, to save his cowardly Lord. It went downhill from that point. The main combat became a stalemate, the sheep got away and the remaining herders were waylaid and defeated by a single group of Saxons. To add to the vikings woe, their finest noble was killed in a combat with levy troops (having the constitution of an ox did not help as I forgot to roll to see if he escaped the fatal blow). I decided to withdraw, the Saxons did not attempt to stop me, fearing more casualties.

Vanquished vikings trudge back to the ship
The jeers of the Saxons and bleating of sheep ring in the distance
And so the Woes of Ivar Sveinson began. While his men nursed their wounds and lamented the loss of the best among them, his foes named him the Coward, the viking bested by sheep. The saxons retired to their mead hall, feeling they had seen off the inept invader.......

The result of the raid was a four point victory to the Saxons. Just one more victory point and they would have been rolling to gain renown for the Lord. As it was, they recovered from their wounds in just one month, gained a bit more cash and gained a couple more warriors to their cause. The vikings gained nothing at all and would need two months to recover from their losses. They would also have to roll up a new noble and champion to try to bolster the pathetic Ivar Sveinson. Surely things could only get better?

3 comments:

Gordon Richards said...

I shall look forward to hearing more of 'The Woes of Ivar Sveinson the Coward'! Excellent AAR and great table and figs!

Stuart Bannister said...

What fun narrative scenarios are, the unpredictability is great. Love the fact that your Vikings struggled to herd the cattle! Sounds like a lot of fun with lovely minis and scenery, thanks for sharing.

Old Fogey said...

Thanks guys! Let's see how Ivar gets on in the coming weeks, I'm looking forward to more games, see if he sinks even further or has a change of fortune.

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