Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Lockdown Catch Up - 1

It's been a few weeks since I last posted, so thought I should catch up on what's been going on.

I'm fortunate enough to be able to work from home during all of this.  It's weird trying to do my work and manage the team remotely, and I do miss my most excellent colleagues, but it's a far better position to be in than many have.  Of course lockdown also means having the little miniature at home as well (she was just getting to the end of her Reception year, how time flies!).  In that respect I'm also fortunate that my other half is not currently working, having left the primary teaching profession about 18 months ago! So she's (mostly) enjoying the challenge of picking up the home schooling, which leaves me able to work.  Nonetheless, I'm not finding that I have any more time for hobbies, if anything I have less.  Previously I might use a lunchtime at work to prepare for or write up a game, read a book on the bus to work or, when working from home around one day a week, sneak in a quick half hour of painting at lunch.  Now any spare time is used preparing meals, or just to give Mel a break from the Miniature!

That said, I've still been sneaking in a bit of progress here and there!

1. Found a Lockdown Opponent!

The Little Miniature (not so little any more) kept asking about the 'knights and ghosts' that Daddy was painting (those GW Sigmarines and Chainrasps) and asked what the board that came with them was for.  The explanation led to a request to have a game, so off we duly went!

She took the 'knights'.  We managed a whole game before she got bored and just wanted to play, but she did enjoy it, probably because she won ;-)

It did remind me of some of the reasons I drifted away from Warhammer following the great fluff mess up though.  I accept that this is a simplified version of a simplified game, but in terms of actual tactics there weren't any.  It's pretty much down to luck of the dice.

She's asked me to paint a mounted knight for her and I have plans for a jousting game.  Which brings me on to...

2. Youtube

I've been watching a lot of videos on Youtube recently, particularly whilst cooking tea (anyone remember the mother's cooking in the old BBC sitcom 'Butterflies'?  Mel's is like that, only with more lentils... so cooking is mostly my thing).  Particular favourites have included:

Modern History TV  Presented by Jason Kingsley (and his wonderful horses), co-founder of Rebel Software and jouster (I've seen him joust at Bolsover and Leeds).  I'm no longer allowed to watch these without the Miniature present, as she enjoys them too!  He's got a knack of being just as interesting about jousting techniques as he is about ink from the Middle Ages, and the ones on food are fascinating.

Todd's Workshop makes historical weapons and move props.  The videos testing bows and crossbows are excellent, and he also explains in a really nice, genuine way why movie swords and props aren't always historically accurate.

The Chieftain's Hatch Get's up close with all kinds of tanks.  A former tanker on Abrams, so he knows his stuff.  Plus his collaboration with LindyBeige on the Churchill is hilariously fun and informative.

Plus anything from the Tank Museum at Bovington (not a million miles from where I grew up.  Boy has that museum got its Social Media Strategy sorted!

And while we're on the subject of tanks...

3. Reading!

Yes, I actually managed to read a book!  'Tank Action' by David Render.  He was a Troop commander with the Sherwood Foresters (the same unit as Stuart Hills, who wrote the excellent 'By Tank into Normandy').  As well as being an excellent, and often moving, account of his time as a commander, it's also fertile ground for wargamers, with some great descriptions of Troop level actions (along with some nice, clear diagrams).  Food for thought as well about how well our rules represent reality - his experience of working with infantry is often not good, but our troops are usually perfectly co-ordinated.  Plus how many rule sets could cope with recreating his commander's successful(!) one-on-one, head-on duel with a Tiger, in a 75mm equipped Sherman! It was interesting to note that they preferred to use HE against Tigers rather than the armour piercing rounds, to smash as much equipment on them as they could and effectively beat them into submission!

The only thing that bugged me was frequent descriptions of panzers being grey, whereas I'd always thought in Normandy they would be in that Dunkelgelb base.  Whether this reflects the impression they left, what they actually looked like after weeks of dust and dirt collecting, or just an overzealous editor who'd watched 'Battle of the Bulge' too often I'm not sure!

Whilst still on tanks...

4. Tiny Tanks!

I hoisted some GHQ Churchills out of storage as something to work on whilst waiting for my work laptop to restart after crashing (an alarmingly frequent occurrence for what felt a very long week), as I could work on them in a very small space with only a couple of paints, and they didn't take long for each one.

I've now found the Cromwells, Jagpanthers and infantry I had lying around too.  Post Market Garden game anyone?

Next Time...

Orcs and Fantasy Warriors!

Saturday, 2 May 2020

Five Leagues Turn 5 - Darkmere

Winterbourne seemed to sit under an oppressive miasma since the clash with the cultists.  The old men in the inn muttered about 'The Lady' taking revenge for her followers.  Milk turned quickly and wounds seemed to fester longer than they should.  Geoffrey sat at a bench in the Inn, attempting, with little success, to study the few books and scrolls he had found in the town.  Even his patience was tested when two figures came up and stood before him.  His frustration however, was overcome by his curiosity when he looked up to realise that it was Thomas, accompanied by another man with the clothes and staff of a pilgrim.

Thomas leaned forwards.  "This fellow has a most interesting story to tell.  It seems he narrowly escaped becoming the victim of brigands on the forest road".

"It seems your devotion was well rewarded then" said Geoffrey.

"Most certainly" agreed the pilgrim "I had been walking for half the day, when nature's call came, as it were.  'Twas then I heard other voices ahead of me. Plotting how they would steal from the next traveller they saw!  Not wanting to be that poor soul I confess I hid myself there and then.  I daren't move until they had given up and left, and then it was sometime before I did feel safe enough to hurry on along the road, I can say!"

"Tell us again what you told me." said Thomas.

"Well, thing is I grew up around these parts, and from where I was hiding I could hear pretty much every word they says.  So when they talks of returning to their camp, well, I says to myself, I'm pretty sure I know where they're going."...

This turn's Village Event was "Infected Wounds", luckily, with none of the party injured this had no effect.  Geoffrey studied but did not gain any new skills.  The party met another pilgrim, gaining a 'special' interaction, the pilgrim wanted a favour.
The party then rolled up a 'lair' encounter.  This was looking like it made sense.  I decide that the Pilgrim had information that would allow the party to track down the brigands to their hideout.  With a chance to chase the brigands down to their lair, the party tooled up and went adventuring,

Facing them would be seven brigands, including a Captain, Lieutenant, a guard (+1 toughness) and a Heavy Hitter (+1 when rolling against armour and toughness). One of the brigands was also ‘Craven’ - normally traits are only applied to non-archers, but I decided that in this case it would be the archer, who is the same one that was the only survivor of the party’s first encounter after running away. An odd situation also applied, ‘Choosers of the slain’ - wounded characters would get up again on a D6 roll of 6 (although none did in the end).

The brigands camp turned out to be deep hidden in a marsh deep within the woods. With dense woodland behind, and surrounded on two sides by a bog and a deep pool, reinforced with rocks and sharpened stakes, the only firm approach was on one side. As an extra bit of character, I decided that any of the ‘good guys’ that dashed over open ground risked getting caught up in an unexpectedly boggy bit of ground and moving at half speed for that move. This wouldn’t apply to the brigands, who were more familiar with the territory.

 The Brigand's camp

While the party managed to get pretty close before the alarm was raised, they didn’t manage complete surprise (the sides would start 15” apart). Will and Jocelyn deployed on the left, aiming to use the pool to protect them as they shot arrows into the brigand’s camp, while Robert and Geoffery led the rest across the land bridge into the camp.

Finan stuck in the mud

The party’s first volley of arrows was dismal, with no hits (this would turn out to be a theme). The brigands rushed up to form a shield wall blocking the advancing heroes from the entrance to their camp, while their archer took cover and ineffectually loosed some arrows, only to run short after the first turn (exactly what happened to him last time), clearly having left most of his supply in his tent in panic!

Our hero's archery continued to be appalling, while the rest charged in, all except Finan, who fell foul of the boggy ground and lagged behind, leaving his companions uncomfortably outnumbered in the melee, before being put out of action by a counter-attacking brigand. Robert first wounded, then cut down the brigands captain with his bastard sword, the brigand guard attempted to gain revenge for his fallen leader, but was wounded for his troubles, and then expired from loss of blood at the end of the combat! Geoffrey in the meantime wounded the Brigand's lieutenant twice and killed another brigand, leading to one of the remaining footsoldiers deciding to leg it to live another day!


Finan's down!

Robert's last stand

Have we met before?

Sadly, this brief success could not last. Will and Jocelyn still couldn’t make their arrows count, as first Robert, then Guy, and finally Geoffrey fell beneath the brigand’s sustained attacks! To top it off, Will then found himself out of arrows! However the villains didn’t quite have it all their own way, as their lieutenant finally slumped to the ground, overcome by the wounds that Geoffrey had already inflicted on him.

Geoffrey's down!

With the situation looking desperate, Jocelyn finally found his mark, felling one of the remaining enemy, which was enough to persuade the brigand archer to flee (again!). Thomas engaged the remaining brigand in one on one combat, only to be wounded and stunned for his trouble. Although stunned and bleeding, Thomas managed to muster enough strength to fend off the next round of attacks and push his opponent back, where he was promptly shot by Jocelyn, bringing the whole sorry saga to an end!

Jocelyn eyes up the distance...

Fearing the worst, the survivors and walking wounded checked on the rest of the party, only to find that, by some miracle, Robert, Geoffrey and Guy were only knocked out (Geoffrey originally rolled ‘light’ wounds, but rerolled successfully using his luck points). Finan had taken a light wound and would need some time to rest (1 campaign turn) but was not seriously hurt.

Searching the camp, the party found plenty of evidence of the brigands crimes to put before the local leaders (an additional -1 to the highest threat - which was Outlaws), along with 13 marks, a tonic, helmet, and some enchanted armour (Harness of Vengeance).

Experience points saw Robert increase his combat skill again. The followers did particularly well, with Jocelyn and Guy both advancing to Hero status (particularly well deserved for Jocelyn, who’s been a bit of a star so far), While Finan and Oswald both gained stat increases (+1T and +1 combat skill respectively. Finan is obviously getting used to being hit over the head with assorted blunt and sharp objects!).
The Outlaw threat to the town was reduced by 2 bringing it down to only 1.

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Chainrasp test

Test piece for those Age of Sigmar Chainrasps I picked up.

Rather than the GW ethereal/grim reaper colour scheme, I went for a more earthy look - a bit more decaying cadaver in its burial shroud.  Partly preference, partly because I hate painting large areas of black and white!

Quite pleased with the result.  Deliberately chose to drybrush highlights onto the cloak so I got a rough texture and quite dramatic changes in tone.

The rust came out pretty well too.  I didn't want it too over the top.

The rest of the horde are near complete now.   A few have a greener skin tone, not sure if I like it or not.  I'll post when they're complete.

When they say these are easy to construct, they're not kidding!  They practically snap together.  The downside though is that they're pretty hollow, it' almost impossible to get 100% coverage if you glued them together (as I did).  It won't show from most angles you might see the miniature, but I know it's there!

Monday, 30 March 2020

Rubbish scenery for the blasted heath

"When shall we three meet again? In thunder, lightning, or in rain?"

"When the hurly-burly’s done, When the battle’s lost and won."

"That will be ere the set of sun."

A combination of virus quarantine and an energetic five year old in the house (now that schools have closed) forced me into the garden to attempt to reclaim it from brambles (I like to think of it as a wildlife garden).  Inevitably, the gamer in me looked at the rubbish created and thought, "I could do something with that".

I'd been thinking for a bit that the trees in my scenery collection in particular look a bit too neat and manicured and I'd been wondering how to create a more 'blasted heath' feel.

These were made using some twigs from cutting back some dead plants, mounted in milliput on two pence coins, covered in PVA and sand before painting.  Really quick and I'm far more pleased with the result than I probably should be!

They'll be rubbish as cover, but I think will look pretty good on the tabletop.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Five Leagues 2 & 3 - Too Late to Turn Back

With most able bodied man in the town either working to till the now safer fields, or guarding the pilgrims and merchants passing through, it would be slim pickings for the party to recruit [village event: “Not even the Dregs”, the party can’t recruit hangers on], although having all escaped their first encounter unscathed, this didn’t look like a problem.

Robert, frustrated at failing to even best some common brigand, went to work practising his sword skills again in the Inn’s yard [William gained +1XP, enough to raise his Combat Skill by +1]. The rest spent time seeking information from the villagers but, other than a polite conversation with a Pilgrim [Town Action: “Interact”], all was quiet, even when they ventured out in the countryside around the town.

Bored, Robert sought out the a card game, winning against a wandering player [Village Event: “Wandering Card Player”] and gaining 3 Marks. Meanwhile a conversation with one of the peasant’s that Geoffrey had helped on their first day, hinted at suspicions about a nearby hamlet that something was ‘not quite right’. Whether this was a sign of some vile corruption, or just the natural rivalry of rural folk, the party set out to investigate.

After a brief, polite encounter with a travelling entertainer, the party reached the small hamlet of Westerham. A collection of barely half a dozen buildings and fields, all was unnaturally quiet. Occasionally a face would peer from a window, only to pull back out of sight when noticed.

“Not the friendliest of places is it?” observed Will.

“People of Westerham!” Geoffrey boomed, “We have come to help, come forth from your homes!”

If anything, the silence deepened.

“Damn this for a waste of time” cursed William, “If they don’t want our help, we should head back”. Turning on his heel, the knight started to stride back along the track towards Winterbourne.

A robed figure stepped out, blocking their path, a huge two handed hammer held aloft. “Halt strangers! You dare to defile the land of the Lady with your presence, the holy scriptures decree that you must be punished for your insolence in treading on her holy soil!”. Half a dozen other dishevelled figures in ragged white robes, armed with assorted axes, clubs and flails rushed to take position either side of their spokesman.

"You shall not pass!"

“I don’t think they like us”, Will muttered.

“This is the only way back to Winterbourne before nightfall” observed Thomas.

“Such Heresy cannot go unanswered” said Geoffrey.

As the ragged cultists let out blood curdling screams and surged forwards, William drew his long sword from its scabbard, “It seems we’re settled then. We must go through them.”

[The party rolled up a ‘Dark Secrets’ encounter, with them being attacked by 8 cultists led by a ‘sergeant’ (+1 toughness), starting 12” apart. I rolled up ‘village outskirts’ as the location and ‘Bitter Fight’ as the conditions. This is where the rules threw up one of those odd circumstances I really like in Ivan’s games, with two of the cultists rolling ‘Wimp’ and ‘Cautious’ as traits. This might look at odds with ‘bitter fight’, but I rather liked the idea that some of the cultists might be less ‘enthusiastic’ than their comrades, present under pressure rather than conviction].

William led the counter charge against the wild villagers, while Will and Jocelyn shot arrows into them from behind the shelter of a dry stone wall. The cult leader’s massive hammer, no doubt a fine ritual object and wonderful for intimidating villagers, proved an unwieldy liability against a real swordsman, and Robert cut him down with a single blow, just as Geoffrey laid another cultist low with his own, more practical weapon. 

Robert and Geoffery push through the cultists

Making the most of their momentum, Robert and Geoffrey pushed forward, another ragged worshipper falling to the monk’s hammer as Robert drove another pair back, one of whom then refused to re-engage [that was the one with the ‘cautious trait’, who would not fight anyone with a higher combat skill’]. The party’s followers now joined the fray, at first making little headway until Guy cut another cultist down.

Guy takes another one down

At that, the tide turned definitively against the cultists, as first Will put an arrow through one, then Robert effortlessly felled another that had the temerity to counterattack. Thomas finished the last one, although not before he had overcome Finan.

Finan is down, but Thomas gets vengeance

Robert surrounded by the fallen

Surveying the carnage around them, the party found 3 Marks and some medicinal herbs on the corpses. Thomas checked on Finan, finding that he was out cold, but otherwise unharmed. Slowly, the villagers emerged from their homes, some came up to the party, expressing their gratitude, while others wept over the bodies of husbands and brothers.

“Sort of takes the fun out of it doesn’t it” said Will.

Thomas looked pitying at the weeping villagers, “They made their choice Will. If only they had given more thought to the consequences, but that’s how evil works once it has its claws into you”.

On returning to Winterbourne, it turned out that there had been a Bounty of 4 Marks on the head of the Cult leader. The Dark Shadows Threat level dropped by 1.

All the heroes gained an extra experience point [Bitter Fight], resulting in Geoffrey gaining +1 Will, Thomas +1 Combat Skill, and Will +1 Agility. In addition, Jocelyn gained the ‘Scrounging’ skill (hanging around Will too much…) and Oswald the ‘Scouting’ skill.

Thursday, 12 March 2020

Five Leagues Turns 1 & 2 - "A Strange Land"

The town of Winterborne came into view as the party came over the hilltop. A decent enough size for the borderlands - around three to four score houses and hovels clustered around a market square, church and an Inn. In places the town was protected by a ditch and palisade fence, and outside stretched fields and pasture, at least as far as a dense forest on the far horizon. Down the track a pair of labourers stopped trying to lever rocks out of the field and watched the newcomers.

“Well, that doesn’t look too bad” said Will.

“You’re more of a fool than I took you for then” sneered Robert “Ditch isn’t deep enough and there are so many gaps in that fence you could march a decent sized army straight in”.

“Lets hope it doesn’t come to that then” said Thomas. “Look at the fields beyond. See how they’re overgrown? No one’s tending anything within bow shot of those woods. There’s trouble here”.

Geoffrey meanwhile, had already started strolling towards the labourers in the fields, “Looks like hard work lads, need a hand?”, taking in the former monk’s stocky build, and the ease with which he shouldered his hammer, they welcomed him over.

Thomas sighed, “We’ll not see him for a while now. We should head into town and see about some lodgings. And maybe find out what’s ailing this place…”.

Our story starts in the town of Winterborne with the following threats:

Outlaws 6
Border Troubles 2
Dark Secrets 4

As expected, Geoffrey did spend the day labouring - clearing fields, fixing fences and delivering at least one lamb. All of which helped to ingratiate the band to the locals [Village Event: Supportive Locals] as well as securing a coin or two [+3 Marks due to Geoffrey’s Farming skill]. While Thomas foraged for Healing Herbs, Robert Fitzwilliam quickly found a card game, gaining another two Marks.

Settled into the Town’s small Inn, the band went exploring beyond the town’s pallisade, but came across nothing but a disinterested pilgrim on their way to the shrine of the lady, in the hills.

Returning to town, Geoffrey and Thomas paid a courtesy visit to the Town’s priest, but found only an old man of somewhat addled wits. While Robert practised his sword skills in the Inn’s courtyard, Will sought to engage a passing Merchant in conversation, to find out what he could tell them, but the merchant wasn’t interested in talking [Village event was ‘Supportive Locals’ again, so I had three town actions, not that it did much good].

Getting nowhere in Town, the band explored the road north, following rumours of Brigands harassing travellers…

The band trudged along the path on the edge of the woods, little more than a worn track across the thin grass. Robert was complaining about it being a fool’s errand, and while Will was wondering if the Inn would have run out of pies by the time they returned, when Thomas shouted a warning “In the woods to the right! Half a dozen or more men!”. The band barely had time to draw weapons and string their bows before seven armed men emerged from the shadows of the woods.

“Form a line!” bellowed Robert, “Archers to the right!, Wait for them to come to us!”
[The party were being attacked by 7 Brigands, led by a Sergeant and with one archer].

The Archers (dum de dum de dum de dum...)

The leader is in the middle, with the big chopper and the feathered hat

Used to facing poorly armed farmer and pilgrims, the Brigand’s confidence was high and they charged straight at the party’s ragged line, their archer loosing a couple of arrows but to no effect before running out [rolled a 1 on his first turn]. One Brigand immediately dropped, felled by a well placed bolt from Jocelyn, “Beginner’s Luck” grumbled Will, who’s first arrow went wide. His second found its mark though, putting another outlaw out of the fight.

"wait for it..." 

"wait for it..."

“Now!” yelled Robert, as he, Geoffrey, Thomas, Oswald, Finan and Guy counter charged. With a clash of steel on steel and wood, the two sides met. Robert crossed swords repeatedly with the Brigand’s leader, stunning him and pushing him back, but could not land a telling blow even when Geoffrey came to join him. Thomas had no greater luck, being pushed back by his opponent’s blows, but Guy and Oswald both managed to overcome their opponents.

The dice show the characters acting in the 'quick' phase

As Robert and Geoffrey struggled with the leader, Jocelyn put a bolt into another Brigand. This proved too much for the enemy archer, who fled.

Outnumbered and alone, the Brigand leader decided that retreat looked the best option. Turning to hurl one final insult, but it was not to be, instead falling to the ground, gurgling around the arrow that Will had put through his throat. “What?” he said, looking at the others “it was just going to be something about how we’d ‘not heard the last of him’ or something”.

Will makes it clear what he thinks of the Brigand's leader

Searching the bodies afterwards, it was Thomas who made the grisly discovery just inside the edge of the woods. The butchered bodies of a group of pilgrims [this explained why their archer had run out of arrows so quickly]. “Poor souls” said Geoffrey, before whispering a blessing over the bodies. “Unarmed” said Thomas “and barely a coin between them. This was poorly done.”

Unable to carry the bodies with them, Geoffrey oversaw a hasty burial, marking the graves so that they could later be found. Recalling the tale back in town, the town Aldermen decided to start providing makeshift armed escorts to the pilgrims passing through [rolled ‘Victims’ and ‘Evidence’ for the loot rolls, resulting in the Outlaw threat being reduced by three]

The party escape unscathed from their first encounter, and with +2XP each. For his stellar performance, Jocelyn gained a skill, ‘Deft’(+1” to ‘dash’ moves and reduced penalties for obstacles).

I like the combat system in Five Leagues.  Combats are played out in a series of exchanges, which gives a nice feel of the fight going backwards and forwards.  I'm less sure about fighting multiple opponents - it feels like a rule designed for a slightly different activation system.  By moving one model at a time it resulted in the bizarre spectacle of the Brigand leader gradually retreating as one character after another ran up to him, until he'd moved too far away for anyone to reach him.  Next time I might move everyone into combat first, then play them out.

Sometimes the random tables really come up trumps as well.  During the game it seemed a bit random that the Brigand Archer ran out of arrows right at the start, but then came the Loot rolls.  'Victims' provided a perfect reason, he'd run out because he'd already used them in an earlier raid.  Then the next loot roll being 'evidence' fitted perfectly - the victims then became the evidence that led to the authorities taking the threat more seriously.

I've already played out the next encounter, and will get it written up soon.

Sunday, 8 March 2020

Five Leagues Warband

I've finally started on the Five Leagues from the Borderland Campaign - the write up of the first couple of turns will follow shortly.  Before I get to that though, lets meet the players in our little story: the former Monk Gregory, mysterious ranger Thomas, the somewhat arrogant knight Robert, and Will the probably not-so-former outlaw ...

Gregory of Fincott

As a youth, Geoffrey was quick to anger and handy with his fists. Most would have expected to see him at the end of the hangman’s noose before his 20’s. However the Abbot of Fincott persuaded the magistrate to hand him to the church instead. Against all expectations, Gregory thrived on the discipline and hard work in the fields of the monastic life. This changed when the monastery was sacked in a border raid . Gregory took up the mattock that had previously driven in fence posts and turned it on the attackers, then swore to bring brigands and thieves to justice - whether before the laws or God wouldn’t matter.

When not exacting divine retribution, Gregory is good natured and tends to see the best in everyone, and gets on well with the rest of the party. He trusts Thomas’ advice, and Robert’s sword. He sees something of himself in will, a lost soul to be encouraged and saved.

Background: Religious Order
Character Class: Monk
Motivation: Revenge
Skills: Farming, medicine

Thomas the Walker

Whilst able to get along with pretty much anyone, he avoids giving away much about himself or his background. He is clearly educated (he can even read!) but seems able to get along with lords and ladies or the lowest labourer.

Thomas was the first to join Geoffrey's crusade, recognising that without help Geoffrey would likely come to an ignoble end. He occasionally finds himself on the role of peace maker between will and Robert.

Background: Drifter
Character Class: Traveller
Motivation: Adventure
Skills: Tracking

Robert Fitzwilliam

Robert is the youngest son of a well-connected baron. With little hope of inheriting, he trained in the martial skills from a young age, and sought to make his name and fortune in tourneys and on the battlefield. Unfortunately a combination of gambling debts and women led to him being ‘advised’ to put some distance between himself and his family and the court for a while.

He joined group in the hope that doing good alongside a man of the church might help to restore his good name, and increase his renown.

Robert respects Geoffrey as a man of the church, regardless of his lowly origins. He is contemptuous of will, viewing him as little more than a common thief. Thomas confuses him, a man who at times acts and dresses like commoner, but whose education and demeanour suggest nobility.

Background: Military Brat
Character Class: Soldier
Motivation: Glory
Skills: Gambling


Brought up in poverty, his father was a poacher and taught him the longbow from a young age. A brief conscription in the King in the South’s army persuaded him that he would prefer his fate in his own hands. For a brief time he ran with a group of outlaws, but a disagreement over splitting the loot led to a parting of the ways, and Will heading for the anonymity of the borderlands. He joined Gregory’s crusade on the assumption he would be safer in a group than on his own, but his focus is definitely on his own survival.

Generally easygoing, he gets along fine with Thomas, and likes Gregory, albeit he is somewhat bemused by his attempts to 'save' his soul. He is well aware of Robert’s contempt for him, but finds it quite amusing and takes great delight in winding him up.

Background: Gang
Character Class: Petty Criminal
Motivation: Survival
Skills: Scrounging


Rounding out the band, we have our four followers (Five Leagues bands start as four 'heroes' and four 'followers', who have a chance to advance to hero status, if they survive).

Oswald - a militia man from south of the borderlands looking for a more exciting life
Finan - a wanderer
Guy - a former soldier who followed Robert into exile
Jocelyn - a hopeful youth looking for adventure (armed with a light crossbow, which I'm counting as a 'self-bow' under the rules)

One thing that 'Five Leagues' doesn't have, but 'Five Parsecs' does, is detailed tables to roll on for your heroes backgrounds. As a bit of inspiration I decided to use the Five Parsec's ones and just apply something suitably mediaeval-ish equivalent (so 'Religious Cult' and 'Agitator' became a Monk from a Holy Order) . Rather than roll for each character, I made enough rolls for all and then assembled them into characters that inspired choices on models and theme of the campaign.

First couple of turns will be written up shortly. Plus, I have at least one more 'Five Parsecs' campaign turn to play out some time soon.