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September 2021

Forces of Law

Apart from the Throrgrmir Civilization, Aeskrvald is the largest power center within the realms of law. Though a venerable and well-loved king still sits on the throne, the city is effectively ruled by a prince. The Prince of Aeskrvald coordinates the Forces of Law, but the armies remain independent.

Each Throrgrmir regiment represents one clan. At this point in Throrgrmir’s Renaissance, eight clans comprise the dwarven civilization. Each dwarf clan recruits a regiment. Regiment commanders are Dwarf-Heroes.

Ambush at Eckselon Pass
Ambush at Eckselon Pass.
Mordred leads the Gyrhawk army along the mountain trail. Oberon’s orcs, hiding in woods, await the moment.

Law Strengths

  • Many Hero and Super-hero types.
  • Many Wizards.
  • Many enchanted items.

Law Weaknesses

  • Fewest total points.
  • Few fantasy creatures.

Orders of Battle: Forces of Law

See General Notes on the Tables in “Chaos Armies.”

Throrgrmir (Dwarves) — 8 Regiments Budget 400
Figures Points
Type Cost Available Current Subtotal Total
Command Element
Harbard (Dwarf-Superhero) 50 1 1   50
Dwarf Boar Riders† 12 2 0   0
Dwarf Crossbows‡ 3.5 6 6   21
Enchanted Arrows 10 0 0   0
Magic Swords 10 1 1   10
Magic Armor 10 1 1   10
Subtotal   9 7   91
Typical Regiment Army
Dwarf-Heroes 20 12 1 20 160
Dwarves 2 39 9 18 144
Subtotal   51 10 38 304
Total   60 17   395
† Creature type not defined in Chainmail.
‡ Range 18″.
Aeskrvald — 5 Regiments Budget 450
Figures Points
Type Cost Available Current Subtotal Total
Command Element
The Prince (Super-hero) 50 1 1   50
Heroes 20 15 0   0
Wizards 80 5 0   0
Enchanted Arrows 10 6 0   0
Magic Swords 10 6 1   10
Magic Armor 10 6 2   20
Subtotal   21 1   80
Typical Regiment Army
Armored Foot 2.5 50 23 57.5 287.5
Archers 4 8 4 16 80
Subtotal   80 27 69.5 367.5
Total   101 28   447.5
.
Grallune — 4 Regiments Budget 400
Figures Points
Type Cost Available Current Subtotal Total
Command Element
Ingegerd (Super-hero) 50 1 1   50
Heroes 20 15 0   0
Wizards 80 5 1   80
Enchanted Arrows 10 6 0   0
Magic Swords 10 6 1   10
Magic Armor 10 6 1   10
Subtotal   21 2   150
Typical Regiment Army
Heavy Foot 2 9 5 10 40
Armored Foot 2.5 50 13 32.5 130
Longbows 5 8 4 20 80
Subtotal   80 22 58.5 250
Total   101 24   400
.
Lanze — 3 Regiments Budget 200
Figures Points
Type Cost Available Current Subtotal Total
Command Element
Arn (Hero) 20 1 1   20
Heroes 20 15 0   0
Wizards 80 5 0   0
Enchanted Arrows 10 6 0   0
Magic Swords 10 6 0   0
Magic Armor 10 6 1   10
Subtotal   21 1   30
Typical Regiment Army
Armored Foot 2.5 50 8 20 60
Longbows 5 8 4 20 60
Subtotal   80 12 36 120
Total   101 13   150
.
Gyrhawk — 3 Regiments Budget 200
Figures Points
Type Cost Available Current Subtotal Total
Command Element
Mordred (Hero) 20 1 1   20
Heroes 20 15 0   0
Wizards 80 5 0   0
Enchanted Arrows 10 6 0   0
Magic Swords 10 6 1   10
Magic Armor 10 6 1   10
Subtotal   21 1   40
Typical Regiment Army
Heavy Foot 2 9 5 10 30
Armored Foot 2.5 50 9 22.5 67.5
Archers 4 8 4 16 48
Subtotal   80 18 44.5 145.5
Total   101 19   185.5
.
The Heagh (Highlanders) — 2 Regiments Budget 60
Figures Points
Type Cost Available Current Subtotal Total
Command Element
(Hero) 20 1 1   20
Heroes 20 2 0   0
Enchanted Arrows 10 6 0   0
Magic Swords 10 6 0   0
Magic Armor 10 6 0   0
Subtotal   3 1   20
Typical Regiment Army
Heavy Foot 2 8 8 16 32
Subtotal   8 8 16 32
Total   11 9   52
.
Noerdenheim (Northmen) — 3 Regiments Budget 80
Figures Points
Type Cost Available Current Subtotal Total
Command Element
Warsgar (Super-hero) 50 1 1   50
Heroes 20 1 0   0
Enchanted Arrows 10 6 0   0
Magic Swords 10 6 0   0
Magic Armor 10 6 0   0
Subtotal   2 1   50
Typical Regiment Army
Heavy Foot 2 6 5 10 30
Subtotal   6 5 10 30
Total   8 6   80
.
Arbenshire (Halfolk) — 3 Regiments Budget 150
Figures Points
Type Cost Available Current Subtotal Total
Command Element
(Halfolk-Super-hero) 50 1 1   50
Halfolk-Heroes 20 3 0   0
Enchanted Arrows 10 0 0   0
Magic Swords 10 3 0   0
Magic Armor 10 3 0   0
Subtotal   4 1   50
Typical Regiment Army
Halfolk-Heroes 20 7 1 20 60
Halfolk 0 18 18 0 0
Subtotal   25 19 20 60
Total   29 20   110
.
Eglidain Burrows (Gnomes) — 2 Regiments Budget 60
Figures Points
Type Cost Available Current Subtotal Total
Command Element
(Gnome-Hero) 20 1 1   20
Gnome-Heroes 20 3 0   0
Gnome Bows‡ 5 5 0   0
Giant Weasels† 5 3 0   0
Enchanted Arrows 10 6 0   0
Magic Swords 10 3 0   0
Magic Armor 10 3 0   0
Subtotal   12 1   20
Typical Regiment Army
Gnomes 2 8 8 16 32
Subtotal   8 8 16 32
Total   20 9   52
† Creature type not defined in Chainmail.
‡ Range 15″.

 


Terrain Selection Modified by Local Terrain

Four hills, two woods, a marsh, and a river runs through it. Using Chainmail’s Terrain Selection method, a battle is fought over similar ground, regardless of the larger terrain in which the engagement takes place.

This is more true in my experiments playing the whole terrain-card deck. But even when limiting the draws to four per player (as the rules suggest), a forest battlefield could be barren of trees. Opposing forces in swampland might fight on a battlefield with a couple hills and no marsh. Conversely, in hill country, a commander might have to maneuver around a swamp. There is no intrinsic difference between battlefield terrain in different biomes.

The following modification simulates more varying terrain. It exchanges terrain cards based on the terrain types occupied by opposing forces on the strategic map.

Mordred and Oberon at Eckselon Pass
Mordred and Oberon at Eckselon Pass.
The Thane of Gyrhawk, travels through mountains on a trail. The Orc King intercepts. Both forces occupy mountain hexes on the strategic map. Ending experiments, I laid this terrain with four draws per side. See the terrain card placements in the photo below.

One or More Terrain Types

Depending on your strategic-level rules, you might fight a battle within a single biome, say forest or hills. Or, outside a campaign, you might be fighting a battle in which the scenario dictates the general terrain. In those cases, you have only one terrain type as input to the following card exchange.

Using the Valormr strategic rules, however, when two or more forces meet on the strategic map, each force occupies one hex. Each occupied hex may have terrain different from the others. We assume the engagement takes place somewhere near hex borders. So, we encounter a mix of biomes.

Replacement Cards

This method requires making additional terrain cards. As an alternative, a pencil mark, erased afterward, on the cards which these replace may suffice.

  • 4 woods
  • 2 marsh
  • 1 river
  • 2 hills
  • 4 wooded hills
  • 4 low hills
  • 4 high hills
  • 1 impassable terrain

Marsh, Pond, Gully, and Rough Ground ★

With this method, we group marsh, pond, gully, and rough ground into a category, designated by a star (★). In some terrain types, we replace one or more of these four cards, which we may choose randomly or by preference.

Simulating Maneuver for Suitable Terrain

A battle does not necessarily take place in a random spot between two armies. Commanders maneuver forces to fight on advantageous terrain. This is modeled in the strategic rules by the contact dice. The commander with the higher throw draws and places, in his or her first turn, a number of terrain cards equal to the number by which the throw was won. In this way we simulate the commander’s advantage gained by outmaneuvering the opponent.

Hills and Lines of Sight

A rise of seven feet or more over a hundred horizontal feet (7% grade) slows movement.1 This becomes the definition of a hill in a tactical wargame. All hills slow movement, but not all hills block lines of sight. At a scale of 1″:10 yards, a hill rises at least two feet over one inch on the table. At 1″:20 yards, the hill is four feet or higher. I round to five.

Class Height Blocks Lines of Sight for Creatures
Low 5′ Smaller than man-sized
Medium 10′ Man-sized to ogre- and troll-sized
High 15′ Up to giant-sized2

I represent hills of different heights with layers of cardboard, from which the contour is cut (photo above). A low hill is one layer. I add another smaller layer, cut to a similar contour, to make a medium hill. For a high hill, I add a third—larger—layer beneath the first. Thus, a high hill is also broader.

Terrain Card Replacements

We take the terrain types given in Chainmail’s Terrain Selection (10) as clear terrain. That is, when all engaging forces occupy clear hexes, we use the terrain cards in the numbers given.

For each non-clear terrain hex occupied by an engaging force, exchange cards as follows. When three or more forces meet, no more than two of the same terrain type should be considered.

Players may agree, prior to the draw, to substitute any card that makes sense in the battlefield scenario.

Clear: No change.

Forest: Exchange one hill and one ★ for one wood card each.

Hills: Exchange one ★ for one hill card. If a second force also occupies hill country, one ★ exchanged should be the marsh.

Forested Hills: As hills, plus exchange two hills for two wooded hills.

Swamp: Exchange one hill for one marsh; two hills become low hills. When a second force is in swampland, also exchange the gully for one river; all hills are low.

Mountains: Exchange the marsh for impassable terrain—a peak, an escarpment, or the like; two hills are high. With a second force in mountains, exchange one ★ for one hill; two more hills, now four out of five, are high.

Rivers and Coastlines: Apply the predominant terrain type as above. River cards define one or more tributaries or inlets.

Terrain Reconnaissance
Terrain Reconnaissance at Eckselon Pass.
A dowel, placed before the terrain-card draw, represents the general line of the mountain trail. Two hills (fore- and background) are high, and the pond is a mountain lake. The previous photo is the finished model. The lone hill opposite the stream is embellishment.

Positioning Rivers, Coastlines, Trails, and Roads

When forces occupy hexes containing linear features, these may be transposed to the wargames table prior to terrain card draws. The position of a river, coastline, trail, or road depends on the relative positions of the forces involved.

Careful placement lends to or limits tactical possibilities for one or more sides without depriving all forces of portions of the table. If all forces are on the same side, for example, the river edges the battlefield. If one force is on the opposite bank, or if one or more forces travel on water to enter the battlefield, the river may well run through it.


Notes

1 Foot Marches, ATP 3-21.18 (Field Manual 21-18), Department of the Army, April 2017, paragraph 1-28.

2 Relating the Chainmail giant’s stone-throwing ability to B/X, I get a stone giant, which is 14′ tall. Bigger giants could see over a high hill.


Pits and Pendulums and Other Means to Retire an Adventurer: OED Traps Digest

Searching for traps? Find them in the OED Traps Digest from OED Games.

After using it in his games for eight years, Dan “Delta” Collins of Delta’s D&D Hotspot and Wandering DMs finally, in this Hotspot post, opened the cover on the pit where he cached this six-page booklet chock-full of traps.

Search for Traps at OED Games

One Table, Myriad Dooms

On the first page, Dan explains in one paragraph how to generate a trap for your dungeon stocking needs. He tells you how often a trap is present, your chance to find it, and failing that, your chance to trigger it.

If you’re old school, you might consult the Monster Determination and Level of Monster Matrix from OD&D’s Underworld and Wilderness Adventures to determine the trap’s level. I adore the “Lost Matrix,”1 and I’m excited to have another reason to use it. On the matrix, you might find a 3rd-level trap anywhere from dungeon level one through five.

Let’s take pit traps, for example. On upper levels, you got your standard covered-pit traps for neophyte adventurers. For more experienced delvers, you got pits with spikes, pits with monsters, locking pits, and pits that crush you in your plate mail like a tin can.

The rest of the digest-sized page is a single table of d12 traps for each level, one through six. That’s 72 traps at the end of a dice roll.

Table entries are brief and descriptive. Dan suggests the text may be copied straight into your digital dungeon room notes.

Five Pages of Descriptions

Dan doesn’t leave you gazing at the approaching edge of the swinging pendulum. In remaining pages, he describes each trap, divided by type. There are eight types, including crushing, confining, and magic/energy traps, plus my favorite pit traps. Some have variations, like a poison’s strength or a missile’s accuracy. Each description provides how much damage, what save if any applies, and how to escape the trap should you survive its immediate effects.

Furthering our pit-trap example: At the deepest levels, you might find, if you’re lucky, a covered pit. Lifting the cover, you see spikes poking up from the bottom. The points are covered in poison. When you don’t find the cover, you fall through it, it locks, and the pit floods. Don’t worry. Dan tells you how to get out of it. Spoiler: It’s a job for friends topside. They should have an axe. Hold your breath while they work.

The OED Traps Digest is a free download for the Original Edition Delta fantasy rules system. Go to OED Games and search for Traps.

Working Traps on Wandering DMs, Sunday

For a live trap-stocking demonstration from the author of the OED Traps Digest, catch up with the Wandering DMs on YouTube today at 1 p.m. Eastern US. In “Dungeon Design Dash 2,” Dan and fellow DM Paul Siegel continue their work from a previous episode. Earlier, they stocked monsters and treasures in a one-page dungeon. They intend to finish this week with puzzles, tricks, and traps.

Don’t forget your ten-foot pole. I’ll bring the axe.


Notes

1 I call it the “Lost Matrix,” because, after an abbreviated appearance in the Holmes Bluebook and a more extensive rendition in the 1979 AD&D Dungeon Master’s Guide, it isn’t reproduced in later editions—the beginning of the end of the old school, so saith the grognard.


Dragon Assault on Throrgrmir

Anax Archontas Atop the Central Donjon  Throrgrmir Burns
Anax Archontas Atop the Central Donjon, Throrgrmir Burns.

The red dragon Anax Archontas begins his campaign to subdue or destroy the dwarven civilization with a predawn assault on the Throrgrmir Citadel, entryway to the subterranean domain.

The dwarves, through regular communication with their elven neighbors, are aware of the massing of troops on the north edge of the Ellriendi Forest and increased orc and gnoll activity to the east.

Each dwarf regiment consists of nine dwarves led by a Dwarf-Hero. Two regiments defend the citadel’s ramparts at all times accompanied by a unit of six crossbows. A third regiment is stationed in a nearby barracks. When called, it arrives through the door of the central donjon at the end of the first turn. King and army commander Harbard, always close by, arrives at the end of the second turn.

Two Regiments Defend the Ramparts
Two Regiments Defend the Ramparts.

I imagined the encounter quickly over but more complex. The details of the assault, however, come down to who gets the first go.

The dragon breathes at the end of his move from 90 yards (270 feet or 54 scaled inches) above the plateau ground level directly over the center of the central donjon. His breath’s cone shape terminates in a circle 30 yards or 90 feet in diameter, nearly the citadel’s length and breadth.

If the dragon wins initiative, the breath touches 15 dwarves and 1 dwarf crossbow. The remainder of the two regiments: 3 dwarves, 5 dwarf crossbows, and 2 regiment commanders, make for the donjon door. The last slips through the closing door before the end of their move.

If the dwarves have the initiative, or if movement is simultaneous, all the dwarves enter the donjon by the end of the dragon’s move, when he breathes on empty courtyards. The Greensward goes up in flames.

Regimental Commanders Usher the Last Troops Into the Donjon
Regimental Commanders Usher the Last Troops Into the Donjon.
In my play of the encounter, the dwarves won the initiative.

Either way, the raid is over in a minute. Anax Archontas alights atop the donjon amid the conflagration. He makes brief sorties over the surrounding terrain, setting the countryside aflame. By the time the sun rises over the eastern mountains, the entire valley is aware of a dragon in residence at Throrgrmir.

Given that the dragon breathes at the end of his move—therefore prior to missile fire, the only way the dwarves might defeat the dragon and end the campaign before it starts, is for either or both of the regiment commanders, who are Dwarf-Heroes, to give pass-through fire in the dragon’s first move, shooting the dragon with a crossbow.

He who gives pass-through fire gives up the move phase. A hero needs a two-dice roll of 10 to kill. The halls below are filled with monuments to fallen heroes.


Terrain Reconnaissance and Modeling Example

As the red dragon winged across a starry sky toward the citadel, Arkthark marched the goblinoid horde toward the northwest edge of the Ellriendi Forest. The Elding Regiment North Battalion awaited him.

Using the method outlined in Terrain Reconnaissance, the elven commander drew and placed four terrain cards—based on the difference in the contact dice—on the table in her first turn. Along with a few lucky draws afterward,1 she blocked Arkthark behind obstacles.

The hobgoblin commander had little choice. His orders were to push into the forest before dawn, when the human armies would take up the advance. The orders came from Hadewych the Arbiter, who worked for Anax Archontas. The red dragon brooked no excuse for failure.

Terrain Reconnaissance
Terrain Reconnaissance.

In addition to unfavorable terrain, a two with no modifiers on the contact dice made Arkthark only aware of an elven force before him. He had no idea of its size or composition. The engagement would be fought in the 14th hour of the day, around eight o’clock in the evening. All that is determined from one opposed dice roll. See “Map Contact.”

Modeled Terrain
Modeled Terrain.
Replacing the cards with hand-crafted models gave us the terrain upon which the battle took place.

Hills are cardboard cutouts. Two layers indicate a ten-foot height, which slows movement over one inch per layer going up and obstructs lines of sight through the top layer.

The gully is shown by two strips of cardboard either side it. A gully is considered to be around six feet deep, hiding creatures moving along its length. To cross the width of a gully, a unit must halt on the near side and spend half its move rate to descend into the gully and, if it doesn’t move along it, another half to scramble up the other side.

Woods, clipped from kitchen sponges, are traversed by paths, which are considered wooded for purposes of movement, cover, and concealment, as is a one-inch border surrounding them.

Pebbles simulate a patch of rough ground.

River, pond, and marsh are scissored from cloth rags. The small pebbles lining the water are not rough ground. They only look nice and help to weigh down the cloth in case of a strong wind that blows through the apartment to keep a summertime wargamer cool.

Note the river (which I take for a stream) runs into but not out of the marsh. I suspect subterranean tunnels in the area—perhaps a dungeon.


Notes

1 I’m still experimenting with playing the whole deck of terrain cards. On my square table, two-thirds the scale size of a regular wargames table, the terrain appears crowded. I might reduce the number of terrain cards proportionally for future battles.


Ellriendi Elves

The river Grunnthraesir divides the Ellriendi Forest into two halves: the Groennendr (east) and the Elding (west).

The elves must protect the forest, maintaining a perimeter guard at all times.

The Elf King may lead a contingent outside the forest in extreme circumstances—say, to fight in a climactic battle against Chaos.

The Elf Queen’s Court does not move. The Elf Queen and the Court defend the Groennendr’s center hex, where they guard a secret, with their lives.

On the strategic map, the three Elf Regiments are divided into two battalions, 17 elves each, identified by their regiments and the “North” or “South” designator.

The Elding Regiment North Defends the Forest Against a Regiment of Arkthark’s Goblin Horde
The Elding Regiment North Battalion (foreground) Defends the Forest Against a Regiment of Arkthark’s Goblin Horde.
Arkthark’s regiment consists of goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears augmented by an ogre and three flyers—wyvern, griffon, and hippogrif (roc types). The elves are led by an elf-hero-wizard accompanied by two elf-wizards.

Elf Strengths

  • Many Heroes and Super-heroes.
  • Many Wizards.
  • Many enchanted items.

Elf Weaknesses

  • Must remain within the forest.
  • Few fantasy creatures.
  • No mercenaries.

Orders of Battle: Ellriendi Elves

See General Notes on the Tables in “Chaos Armies.”

Elf Queen’s Court Budget 450
Figures Points
Type Cost Available Current Subtotal Total
Command Element
(Elf-Hero-Wizard) 120 1 1   120
Elf-Heroes 20 3 0   0
Elf-Wizards 80 3 0   0
Elf-Hero-Wizards 100 3 3   300
Treant* 15 1 0   0
Enchanted Arrows 10 21 0   0
Magic Swords 10 7 2   20
Magic Armor 10 7 1   10
Total   49 4   450
* May be replaced one per week.
Elf King’s Company Budget 400
Figures Points
Type Cost Available Current Subtotal Total
Command Element
(Elf-Wizard) 100 1 1   100
Elf-Heroes 20 3 2   40
Elf-Wizards 80 3 2   160
Elf-Hero-Wizards 100 0 0   0
Treant* 15 1 0   0
Enchanted Arrows 10 9 3   30
Magic Swords 10 3 2   20
Magic Armor 10 3 2   20
Subtotal   8 5   370
Typical Regiment Army
Elves 4 34 5 20 20
Sprites 4 4 0 0 0
Subtotal   38 5 20 20
Total   46 10   390
* May be replaced one per week.
Groennendr Regiment Budget 600
Figures Points
Type Cost Available Current Subtotal Total
Command Element
(Elf-Hero-Wizard) 100 1 1   100
Elf-Heroes 20 3 0   0
Elf-Wizards 80 2 2   160
Elf-Hero-Wizards 100 1 1   100
Enchanted Arrows 10 15 0   0
Magic Swords 10 5 2   20
Magic Armor 10 5 2   20
Subtotal   7 4   400
Typical Regiment Army
Elves 4 34 34 136 136
Sprites 4 4 4 16 16
Subtotal   38 38 152 152
Total   45 42   552
.
Grunnthraesir Regiment Budget 400
Figures Points
Type Cost Available Current Subtotal Total
Command Element
(Elf-Hero) 20 1 1   20
Elf-Heroes 20 3 2   40
Elf-Wizards 80 2 1   80
Elf-Hero-Wizards 100 1 0   0
Enchanted Arrows 10 15 3   30
Magic Swords 10 5 3   30
Magic Armor 10 5 2   20
Subtotal   7 4   220
Typical Regiment Army
Elves 4 34 34 136 136
Sprites 4 4 4 16 16
Subtotal   38 38 152 152
Total   45 42   372
.
Elding Regiment Budget 550
Figures Points
Type Cost Available Current Subtotal Total
Command Element
(Elf-Hero-Wizard) 100 1 1   100
Elf-Heroes 20 3 1   20
Elf-Wizards 80 2 2   160
Elf-Hero-Wizards 100 1 0   0
Enchanted Arrows 10 15 0   0
Magic Swords 10 5 2   20
Magic Armor 10 5 2   20
Subtotal   7 4   320
Typical Regiment Army
Elves 4 34 34 136 136
Sprites 4 4 4 16 16
Subtotal   38 38 152 152
Total   45 42   472
 

Chaos Armies

Anax Archontas is the prime mover of the Chaos Armies. He appointed Hadewych the Arbiter Commander General of the Chaos Armies. With her, Archontas plans the campaign and, to her, delegates all operations. Solon Theros is Lieutenant Commander General.

Hadewych Marches Into Throrgrmir
Hadewych’s Army Marches Into Throrgrmir.
Anax Archontas watches from his lair atop the donjon. Hadewych the Arbiter, Commander General of the Chaos Armies, mounts the entry stair to the Throrgrmir Citadel. The door is open to her. The dragon’s champions follow.

Chaos Strengths

  • Most total points.
  • Access to most fantasy creatures.

Chaos Weaknesses

  • Few Hero and Super-hero types.
  • Few Wizards.
  • Few enchanted items.

General Notes on the Tables

Army Points: Budget, allowance, and figure cost are counted in army points, often referred to as points.

Budget, Total, and Remainder: An army’s initial budget is in the upper right of its table, its initial total, lower right. Any remainder is added to the first month’s allowance.

Monthly Allowance: At the beginning of each month, an army gains an allowance equal to 10% of its initial budget. This allowance (not shown), plus any remainder from the previous month, may be spent on “Specials,” which include fantastic creatures and mercenaries.

Available: Maximum number of the figure type (or enchanted item) that the army may have at any time. Losses can be replaced by spending points.

Command Element: Includes the commander and any figures which march with him or her.

Typical Regiment: Starting composition of one regiment within the army. Each army consists of one or more regiments, noted in the table header with the army name.

Regiment or Command Element: Note that adding a number of figures to a typical regiment adds to an army as many times the number as the army has regiments. To add a number independent of the number of regiments, add figures to the command element.

Wizards: Unless its power is predetermined, a Wizard costs 80 points. Dice for its number of spells.

Enchanted Items: Magic swords and armor and enchanted arrows cannot be replaced. When its wearer or wielder does not survive, the victor, assuming the vanquished is pushed from the field, may find enchanted items. An enemy victor finds the dropped item on a 1 or 2 on the dice. A friendly recovers it on a 1 to 4. Otherwise, the item is lost for future generations to discover. Available and current figure counts do not include enchanted items.

Peasants: Chaos Armies pull peasants from the fields to fight as they may.

Undefined Creature Types: I threw in a few creatures that are not in Chainmail. I cross reference the miniatures rules and B/X to divine game stats for them. I mean “divine,” like finding water with a stick.

Orders of Battle: Chaos Armies

Anax Archontas (Dragon) Budget 200
Figures Points
Type Cost Available Current Subtotal Total
Command Element
Anax Archontas Pyrgos Pyrkagias (Red Dragon) 100 1 1   100
Champions of Chaos* 100 1 1   100
Heroes* 0 6 6   0
Wizards 80 1 0   0
Enchanted Arrows 10 0 0   0
Magic Swords 10 0 0   0
Magic Armor 10 0 0   0
Total   9 8   200
* For 100 points Anax Archontas got 6 heroes in Champions of Chaos. These he may use as a personal guard or attach to the command element of an army or whatever else the cunning wyrm might devise.
Hadewych — 5 Regiments Budget 480
Figures Points
Type Cost Available Current Subtotal Total
Command Element
Hadewych the Arbiter (Super-hero) 50 1 1   50
Wizards 80 1 0   0
Enchanted Arrows 10 0 0   0
Magic Swords 10 1 1   10
Magic Armor 10 1 1   10
Subtotal   2 1   70
Typical Regiment Army
Peasants 0 6 0 0 0
Armored Foot 2.5 18 18 45 225
Longbows 5 8 4 20 100
War Apes† 5 4 0 0 0
Subtotal   36 32 80 325
Total   39 35   395
† Creature type not defined in Chainmail.
Solon Theros — 2 Regiments Budget 120
Figures Points
Type Cost Available Current Subtotal Total
Command Element
Solon Theros (Super-hero) 50 1 1   50
Enchanted Arrows 10 0 0   0
Magic Swords 10 1 1   10
Magic Armor 10 0 0   0
Subtotal   1 1   60
Typical Regiment Army
Peasants 0 6 0 0 0
Light Foot 1 5 5 5 10
Heavy Foot 2 4 4 8 16
Archers 4 8 4 16 32
Subtotal   23 19 28 58
Total   25 21   118
.
Annemie Tacx — 3 Regiments Budget 330
Figures Points
Type Cost Available Current Subtotal Total
Command Element
Annemie Tacx (Hero) 20 1 1   20
Wizards 80 1 1   80
Enchanted Arrows 10 0 0   0
Magic Swords 10 0 0   0
Magic Armor 10 0 0   0
Subtotal   2 2   100
Typical Regiment Army
Peasants 0 6 0 0 0
Light Foot 1 5 5 5 15
Heavy Foot 2 4 4 8 24
Armored Foot 2.5 8 8 20 60
Longbows 5 8 8 40 120
Subtotal   31 31 68 219
Total   32 32   319
.
Minke Meine — 3 Regiments Budget 300
Figures Points
Type Cost Available Current Subtotal Total
Command Element
Minke Meine (Hero) 20 1 1   20
Wizards 80 1 1   80
Enchanted Arrows 10 0 0   0
Magic Swords 10 0 0   0
Magic Armor 10 0 0   0
Subtotal   2 2   100
Typical Regiment Army
Peasants 0 6 0 0 0
Light Foot 1 5 5 5 15
Heavy Foot 2 4 4 8 24
Armored Foot 2.5 8 8 20 60
Archers 4 8 8 32 96
Subtotal   31 31 60 195
Total   32 32   295
.
Arkthark (Goblin Horde) — 4 Regiments Budget 700
Figures Points
Type Cost Available Current Subtotal Total
Command Element
Arkthark (Hobgoblin-Hero) 20 1 1   20
Dire Wolves† 5 2 2   10
Goblin Worg Riders† 6 1 1   6
Giant Wolves† 15 2 1   15
Giant Stag Beetle† 10 1 1   10
Enchanted Arrows 10 0 0   0
Magic Swords 10 0 0   0
Magic Armor 10 0 0   0
Subtotal   7 6   61
Typical Regiment Army
Goblins 1.5 14 14 21 84
Goblin Bows‡ 4.5 4 4 18 72
Hobgoblins 2.5 22 22 55 220
Hobgoblin Bows‡ 5.5 4 4 22 88
Bugbears† 3 12 12 36 144
Subtotal   56 56 152 608
Total   63 62   669
† Creature type not defined in Chainmail.
‡ Range 15″.
(Kobolds) — 2 Regiments Budget 80
Figures Points
Type Cost Available Current Subtotal Total
Command Element
Leader (2 Men)**† 10 1 1   10
Enchanted Arrows 10 0 0   0
Magic Swords 10 0 0   0
Magic Armor 10 0 0   0
Subtotal   1 1   10
Typical Regiment Army
Kobolds 1.5 7 7 10.5 21
Kobold Bows‡ 4.5 4 4 18 36
Giant Centipedes† 1 4 4 4 8
Subtotal   15 15 32.5 65
Total   16 16   75
** Fights as 2 of its class.
† Creature type not defined in Chainmail.
‡ Range 15″.
Oberon (Orcs) — 3 Regiments Budget 320
Figures Points
Type Cost Available Current Subtotal Total
Command Element
Oberon (Orc-Hero) 20 1 1   20
Orc Wardrummers† 10 1 1   10
Orc Rhino Riders† 20 1 1   20
Orc Archers*‡ 5 1 0   0
Ogres 15 2 2   30
True Trolls 75 1 1   75
Enchanted Arrows 10 0 0   0
Magic Swords 10 0 0   0
Magic Armor 10 0 0   0
Subtotal   7 6   155
Typical Regiment Army
Orcs 2 27 27 54 162
Subtotal   27 27 54 162
Total   34 33   317
* A single orc archer may be useful in man-to-man engagements.
† Creature type not defined in Chainmail.
‡ Range 15″.
The Laugher (Gnolls) — 2 Regiments Budget 180
Figures Points
Type Cost Available Current Subtotal Total
Command Element
The Laugher (3 Men)**† 15 1 1   15
Enchanted Arrows 10 0 0   0
Magic Swords 10 0 0   0
Magic Armor 10 0 0   0
Subtotal   1 1   15
Typical Regiment Army
Gnolls† 2.5 21 21 52.5 105
Gnoll Archers†‡ 5.5 4 4 22 44
Subtotal   25 25 74.5 149
Total   26 26   164
** Fights as 3 of its class.
† Creature type not defined in Chainmail.
‡ Range 15″.
(Lizard Men) — 2 Regiments Budget 90
Figures Points
Type Cost Available Current Subtotal Total
Command Element
Leader (2 Men)**† 10 1 1   10
Enchanted Arrows 10 0 0   0
Magic Swords 10 0 0   0
Magic Armor 10 0 0   0
Subtotal   1 1   10
Typical Regiment Army
Lizard Men† 2.5 9 9 22.5 45
Subtotal   9 9 22.5 45
Total   10 10   55
** Fights as 2 of its class.
† Creature type not defined in Chainmail.

 


A Tour of the Throrgrmir Citadel

As it is the dragon’s ingress to the subterranean domain he wishes to subjugate, the Throrgrmir Citadel is the focus of the Valormr Campaign. The campaign begins with the dragon’s raid on the citadel’s ramparts. The Chaos Armies invest its upper works throughout the war, which reaches a climax when the Forces of Law arrive to besiege the besiegers.

An autumn breeze at our backs, we climb a steady slope to the top of a rocky plateau. The noonday sun hovers above crenellations, like a crown before the moment of coronation. We approach the Throrgrmir Citadel from the south. Its forward parapets, 20 feet high, stretch between 25-foot corner towers, anchored into rock either side of the plateau. Bearing a stone marked by the rune of welcome, which serves as our invitation, we mount the entry stair, stepping east then north again before facing west at a massive gate carved from a granite block.

Approaching the Throrgrmir Citadel
Approaching the Throrgrmir Citadel.

Showing the invitation and speaking the name Fjoldi Funderburk, for he is to be our host, the gate opens to us. We pass between drystone walls, mosaics of stones. Each stone is defined by a thin seem without mortar. We are greeted by a dwarf with a broad smile of large teeth like ivory squares. Fjoldi is our old friend and adventuring companion. His beard has a few more gray whiskers than the last time we saw him, and in place of a battle axe, he now carries the amulet of an administrator. But his green eyes flash at us when he makes short jokes about dwarven stature and human life spans.

After warm embraces, Fjoldi offers a tour of the citadel, which we readily accept. From the entry yard, we turn north, descending a few steps into a garden courtyard. We walk on stone paths through lush grasses amid wildflowers and fruit trees, bosquets of hydrangea, pink and blue, and round alyssum shrubs, snowy white. Their honey fragrance fills our nostrils.

On our right, the central donjon rises into a clear cerulean sky. Reaching into a low branch, Fjoldi pulls fruit and puts apples into our hands. “Crunch on that,” he says, “to take the edge off your journey’s hunger. Soon, you will feast at Harbard’s table,1 but first you must gird your strength for climbing stairs.” Here he raises an arm toward the donjon’s height, “For the tour ends with a view of the valley.”

“The tower’s base is twenty-five feet square,” he continues, “and it’s fifty feet high. Men build no higher. They say it won’t stand. But I’ll show you different in the city below. In Throrgardr, you will stand atop a tower that is in height three times its base width.”2

At the far end of the Greensward, as Fjoldi names it, we ascend another stair to the Stonesward. There, in the donjon’s north wall is set a great door of granite, like the gate, and even more massive. Etched upon its face, runes welcome friends and warn enemies.

Our host halts at the stair top. Between us and the door, set among floor stones, is a thick plate of blue glass. It gleams in the sunlight. Made from a large chunk of crystal discovered in caverns far below our feet, Fjoldi explains, it is the Throrgrmir Stone. “Dwarves kneel to kiss it when returning from a long journey. The stone brings blessings upon us, and it bestows curses upon enemies who step beyond it.”

Farther along, we come to a fountain set in the northeast corner. Water spouts from the mouth of a boar’s head. The sculpted stone is painted the same blue as the gleaming glass. Sapphire eyes look through a silver mask. Unless we hail from the world’s distant ends, we know that Throrgrmir means “masked boar,” and only the incurious are ignorant of the dwarven civilization’s founding by a forefather of that name.

As we progress now south, ever the donjon towering above, we pass along a wide, flat stone pavement between turrets and parapets. Fjoldi informs us that the unused fountain water drains into a cistern below the citadel. We are then encouraged to examine the smooth floor upon which we stand. Our human eyes cannot discern the Stonesward’s gentle slope from south to north and from east to west. Rainwater, he tells us, drains from tower tops and parapets and from interior courtyards into the cistern.

We now approach the Stonesward’s south end. Turning west, we find ourselves on a balcony, overlooking the broad stair by which we arrived. Fjoldi leaps to the balustrade and, in a few words, paints a picture. Dwarf maidens and children gather here to welcome foreign dignitaries, he tells us. The maids wear white silk dresses and crowns of pink flowers. “They dance with long blue sashes,” he says, twirling around his raised arm. “The children toss alyssum flowers at the guests’ feet, and the air is filled with their sweet aroma.” Fjoldi stops dancing. “And enemies are welcomed by dwarf crossbows.”

Finally, we climb the interior stairs to the donjon’s battlements. The view extends for miles and miles in all directions. The sun warms our cheeks, the breeze blows into our faces as we gaze across the forested valley. The autumn woods are a blanket of orange and gold.

“Look to the sky, my friends,” says Fjoldi. “Twice this year, we’ve seen a dragon.”

Overhead View of the Throrgrmir Citadel
Overhead View of the Throrgrmir Citadel.

Width 21″, length 25″, height 10″.3 The structure is made entirely from beach stones. The “Throrgrmir Stone” is a piece of glass worn smooth by sand and waves. The plateau is a table, 22½″ × 35½″, upon which I spread a sheet—we say “magenta”—to protect it and a green T-shirt, seems cut out, to simulate ground cover.


Notes

1 Our host refers to Dwarf King Harbard V. Our visit to the citadel is a few weeks prior to events of the Valormr Campaign.

2 Fjoldi speaks no dwarven cockalorum. Exploring the ruins of that legendary city, adventurers in the time of Wyrmwyrd may discover a tower, 70 feet high on a 20-foot base. The “Impossible Tower,” as it is called, yet stands after thousands of years. As Throrgardr was the subject of my first beach stone tabletop construction, I have pictures.

3 The Throrgrmir Citadel’s size is comparable to that of the model Bodenburg Castle. Henry Bodenstedt’s rules for “Siege of Bodenburg” (1967) show the castle on a 20-by-20-inch plate. I don’t see reference in the rules, but by rough measurements made from photographs, I estimate the keep’s height at about 12 inches. Throrgrmir, though, is less portable.


Valormr: Rules for Strategic Map Campaigns

When I set out, at the beginning of the summer, to describe strategic-level play in the Valormr Campaign, I hadn’t the idea to write a set of rules. Tony Bath’s prose is completely coherent, and the rules he outlines in Setting Up a Wargames Campaign entirely playable as is. But much of Bath’s text discusses options and different ways the author ran the game, and the rules are more complex in some ways than I want for a simple campaign and don’t do enough in others.

So, I drew many ideas from the venerated text and adapted them to fit my own purposes. This, we might think, was Bath’s intent.

These strategic rules touch the tactical battlefield only at its entry and exit points: deployment and withdraw. I use Chainmail, but another wargames campaigner may use their choice of tactical combat rules. And while the Valormr Campaign is medieval fantasy, the strategic rules may be used in any ancient or medieval setting, fantasy or no.

These rules have not yet been tested in play. I embark, tomorrow, on a campaign that begins with a dragon’s predawn raid on a dwarven citadel and the encroachment of the Chaos Armies into an elven forest. With less than three weeks till summer’s end, this will be more a play-through than a play-test.

Valormr: Rules for Strategic Map Campaigns

For convenience I link the pertinent articles that comprise the rules. Entries marked by an asterisk (*) are not so much rules for the topic as examples from which to draw your own ideas.

Valormr Strategic Map (100 dpi)
The Valormr Campaign Strategic Movement Map, Showing Eastern Darkmeer, the Throrgrmir Valley, and Lands Beyond.
Available in higher resolutions from the Downloads page.