Saturday, July 16, 2016

Egil's Saga ends in Valhalla, and so begins the Saga of Lars the Bold. Being a first game with the Blood Eagle skirmish rules.

The warning rang through the hills, "The Danes have arrived!"  As Egil's Viking raiding party moves in from the coast, Saxon Thegn Aelfgar calls for the Fyrd to gather at his stead.  The women and children take what valuables they can carry and take refuge in the stone hall, whilst Aelfgar prepares the defense.

Lord Aelfgar gathers the defenders about the hall to protect the women and children.  His Fyrd consists of the renown priest Athelwan, a few stout Huscarle from his household, and several farmers who arrived with sling or spear.  Not knowing where this crafty Egil will arrive from, the defenders spread out around the hall.

The Vikings split their forces and assault from both the East and the West.  On the West, a Fyrd spearman calls the alarm, "Danes!"  Lars, a veteran of many Viking raids, leads two warriors towards the defenders.

On the East, Egil leads Thorgrim his Skald, a Berserker and Halfdan a veteran warrior.  They reach the outskirts of the settlement before the defenders can respond.  Aelfgar himself defends this approach along with 2 Fyrd spearman, a Skirmisher with a sling and the hearty Priest Aethelwan, who mutters a prayer as they move to intercept the raiders.

The signs do not bode well for the Christians, however, as Halfdan kills a Skirmisher before the two forces clash arms.  The Viking Berserker rushes forward and flings himself into the defenders, with no regard to the odds.  Thorgrim calls upon the power of the gods to shatter the sword of the Christian priest, but the gods do not listen (he used Pagan magic, but the target made the Fate roll to save versus the spell).  As the battle ensues, Egil and Aelfgar eye each other with menace.

On the West, a brave Saxon spearman rushes to intercept the raiders to buy time for the approaching Huscarle.  The Viking warriors, however, gang up the unfortunate farmer, while Lars the veteran raider throws and axe at the approaching Huscarle.

The fighting intensifies on each flank as more combatants join the fray.

Egil charges the Christian Priest and Aelfgar moves in to defend the holy man.  The Priest calls upon god to Bless Aelfgar for his faith and courage (he used Christian magic to cast a blessing, which allows the target to roll 2 d10 and take the best roll).  A brilliant stroke fells the Viking leader, who lays dying in the dust, a look of surprise on his face.  Aethelwan the Priest rejoices, "We have won, we defeated their leader, surely they will now leave.  Praise be to god!"  Yet, as Egil enters Valhalla, the raiders fight on.  (Egil missed a Fate test needing a 2+ on a d10 roll.  He then used a Hero point to re-roll but failed yet again.  The gods fated his demise.) 

On the West, Lars and the Viking warriors engage Osric and Harold, the Saxon Huscarle, largely ignoring the Fyrdmen.

Halfdan the Viking veteran sees his chance at glory and rushes the Saxon Lord.  Aethelwan the Priest is perplexed by the savage disregard for death exhibited by the Vikings.  Yet again, he mutters a prayer under his breath.

Death indeed continues to conquer both sides of the conflict.  A well placed thrown axe kills Osric the Huscarle, while Halfdan is denied the glory he seeks.  The Viking Berserker finally slays a Saxon spearman with his powerful two handed axe.  (one handed missiles like axes and spears can be thrown even when figures are in melee, and this does not sacrifice their melee attack).

Harold the Huscarle desperately tries to slay Lars the veteran Viking raider, but as his fellow  Saxon defenders drop the Vikings converge upon him.

The Viking Berserker turns to attack the Priest, and yet again Aelfgar steps in to defend him.  The Priest continues to call Blessings upon the defenders.  The Saxon spearman, inspired by the Blessing, slays the Viking Skald.

But Harold, the last Saxon Huscarle, is mercilessly hacked to death.  The path open to the hall, the Viking raiders run towards their goal.  A single dazed Saxon Skirmisher recovers enough to attempt to block their path, but is cut down as the raiders rush past.

Aethelwan the Priest leads a Fyrdman to the Hall in a desperate attempt to stop the raiders from reaching the vulnerable women and children.  But 2 Viking warriors are already in the Hall.  The Berserker breaks off from fighting Aelfgar and rushes to join his fellow raiders in the Hall.  Not burdened by armor, he rushes past the Christian Priest. (In the Raid scenario, the Vikings win if they have 3 figures inside the Hall at the end of a turn.  The Vikings are then assumed to use the women and children as hostages to force the Saxons to break off the defense)

A Saxon Fyrdman attempts to fight his way into the Hall, but the Viking warrior at the door holds fast and cuts the farmer down.  Lars the Bold tells the Priest and Saxon Thegn to call off the defense or his kinsmen will begin to slay the hostages.  With no other choice, the Saxons concede to the Viking's demands, paying a sizable ransom for the raiders to leave his stead.  Aelfgar laments knowing the Vikings will only return in greater strength next spring.

In the meantime, the Halls of Valhalla and the Christian Heaven welcome many new arrivals to their respective afterlife.

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