An Additional Scenario For Cold Iron By Simon
The civil war is all but over, with only a few isolated skirmishes and sieges remaining to be concluded. The Rebel Barons have succeeded in beating the Royalist armies and taken effective control of the kingdom. But it is a kingdom blasted and ruined by war, with a devastated infrastructure, a ravaged economy and widespread and heavy casualties and displacement among the population.
In their weakened state the victorious Rebels can do little more than consolidate and begin the long and difficult process of rebuilding. And of course, settle scores and remove any potential opposition.
The Rebels unfortunately do not have the luxury of a period of peace in which to begin their reconstruction. From a neighbouring Elven Kingdom the civil war has been watched with immense interest, and the Elves have seized the opportunity to both remove the potential threat of Dwarves on their borders and expand their own territory. They drew their plans with care, waiting for the conclusion of the conflict before launching an assault of their own on the weakened Kingdom. Gambling on a quick victory against a demoralised and weakened enemy, the Elves began their invasion with fast and lightly-equipped spearheads of rangers and light infantry. They quickly swept aside the Dwarf border defences, already weakened by a lengthy war, and thrust towards the heart of the Kingdom. They were followed up by the main invasion forces, but things quickly began to go wrong. The Elves had made the fatal miscalculation that, whatever state Dwarves nay be in, nothing unites them quicker than an external threat. Within days the Rebels had issued a proclamation granting pardon to all remaining Royalist troops under arms and calling on them to unite with the new government to meet and defeat the common enemy, To a Dwarf they answered the call and resistance began to stiffen, victorious Rebel and beaten Royalist fighting side by side against the Elves, their differences forgotten – for the time being.
One such joining of forces against the Elves occurred at the siege lines of Great Tawringtonne, a town in the west of the Kingdom, and staunchly Royalist throughout the civil war. Invested by a Rebel force late in the fighting, the town had thrown up earthworks and stubbornly resisted all attempts to force its surrender. The Rebels had brought with then a siege train of heavy guns, but even constant bombardment did not weaken the garrison’s resolve. Then, with the siege bogging down into a protracted operation the Elves staged their invasion. One of their spearheads assaulted across the estuary of the River Sabrina and marched inland from the west, heading in a direction that would take then to Great Tawringtonne.
Foraging parties brought the shocking news to the besieger’s camp, and within hours a parley had been arranged and the erstwhile foes were busy planning a joint defence against the Elves. Given the speed of the Elvish advance, less than a day was available for preparations, and it was decided to pull both forces into the town and re-fortify, at the same time sending such mounted troops as were available out into the surrounding country to rally support and harass the approaching Elves. The Black Horse Inn became joint HQ for the defenders and all munitions and powder for the cannon and other firearms were stored in the strongest available building the town church. With preparations still in hand the sound of skirmishing began to be heard, and remnants of the covering forces began to trickle in with stories of arrow storms and hard-eyed rangers ghostlike in the woodland, The town defenders were stood-to and waited for the enemy as the shadows lengthened and dusk began to fall.
- Four Rebel Infantry Regiments
- Two Royalist Infantry Regiments (one also equipped with missile weapons)
- One Rebel Missile Regiments
- One Rebel Field Police Detachment (Mounted, equipped with missile weapons)
- One Rebel Engineer Detachment
- One Royalist Engineer Detachment
- Four Rebel Heavy Cannon
- Up to forty Town Militia (see Special Rules)
Royalist Infantry Regiments must not exceed 20 figures.
Rebel Infantry Regiments must not exceed 25 figures.
Rebel Missile Regiment must not exceed 20 figures.
Rebel Field Police Detachment must not exceed 12 figures.
Both sides’ Engineer Detachments must not exceed 12 figures each. Each cannon must have at least 4 crew.
Engineer Detachments may set up anywhere on the Eastern half of the board, Field Police may set up anywhere on the board, all other forces must set up inside the earthworks and town.
- Six Missile Regiments
- Two Cavalry Regiments
- Two Ranger Regiments
Missile Regiments must not exceed 30 figures.
Cavalry Regiments must not exceed 20 figures.
Ranger Regiments must not exceed 25 figures.
Ranger Regiments may set up on the Western half of the board no more than 18″ from the friendly edge. All other Regiments enter the board from the Eastern edge two at a tine every other move from move one.
The Elves must take the town by storm.
The Dwarves must stop the Elves from taking the town.
- The Dwarf cannon only have three rounds each available to them. All the ammunition and the powder is in the church and must be carried to the gun positions before each shot.
- Each tine a gun crew enters the church to collect powder, the Dwarf commander must roll a D100. On a score of 100 a careless gunner drops a match and the church and its contents are destroyed in a catastrophic explosion. Every figure within 12″ and in line of sight must take a damage roll as if they had just lost a round of hand to hand combat, and the Dwarves must also take a morale test.
- If the Dwarf player deploys Town Militia they must be armed only with hand weapons and/or improvised weapons, no missile weapons. Only 50% of them may have armour. They must not fight outside the earthworks. Militia must be organised into squads of ten or more and must have a designated leader from the regular Dwarf units.
- Dwarf units fighting in the town itself do not need to maintain base-to-base contact and suffer no penalties for being split up or disorganised.
- Elf units fighting in the town itself suffer a minus 50% modifier an their missile weapons and an overall minus 25% modifier to all other scores and movement.
- There is enough furniture, old newspapers etc in each building to construct 4″ of barricades which will count as hard cover. It takes four figures one move to build 2″ of barricade, or two figures if they are engineers.
- All buildings count as hard cover and all count as inflammable. No buildings except the church nay contain more than fifteen figures. The church may hold up to forty.
- The battle commences at dusk, At the start of the Same visibility is good enough to allow firing at the maximum range allowed by the rules in use. Every other move visibility diminishes by one range increment until all missile weapons may only fire half their maximum range because the firer cannot see any further.
- Once the Dwarf player has placed his cannon they may not be moved from their positions. At least two of them must be positioned an the earthworks.
- Optional rule. There is an Elven sympathiser among the townspeople, and he/she has been paid to sabotage the defence. The sympathiser is able to enter the church and sets fire to the gunpowder with effects as detailed in rule one. This rule is best played if the game has an umpire as they can decide on a secret dice roll whether or not the traitor will do the dastardly deed.
This battle is a bit of an indulgence for me, including as it does three of my wargaming obsessions (artillery, earthworks and built-up areas). The earthworks look very impressive when in place, but can be quite complicated to prepare. They can be obtained as resin or polyurethane castings and these will look great but are usually very expensive. Making them yourself is much cheaper and also allows you to tailor them to the scenario you are fighting, and is quite simple using card, balsa wood, Polyfilla or similar, Plasticene and other bits and pieces. They should be high enough to provide cover for a figure, perhaps including a firing step, and ideally need to be laid out with ravelins. Look at the map for a visual representation of this, if you can’t face the thought of building earthworks piles of twigs and small sticks or toy farm walls or fences work just as well.
The ground in front of the earthworks doesn’t need to be very cluttered. Placing a few one and two-contour hills here and there and a couple of clumps of trees will do fine, but make sure these are at least twelve inches from the earthworks, A hedge or a wall adds interest and can form a useful rallying/forming up point for the Elves.
The town buildings need to include two specific ones; the inn and the church. Beyond that there can be as many or as few as you wish or have available. For me a game like this needs to be played out with as much of the town as possible to allow plenty of opportunity for street fighting if the Elves breach the earthworks; the town for the playtest had over twenty buildings. For this reason I would recommend an 8′ x 6′ playing area to give sufficient room for town, earthworks and open ground for the Elf approach.
The objectives are simple. It is up to the individual commanders to know when they have had enough. The Elves for instance have to carry on with their invasion so it’s no good successfully carrying the town but only having twenty figures left at the end. Likewise the Dwarves need to keep in mind that in this particular situation the maxim ‘he who fights and runs away lives to fight another day’, might be worth taking heed of.
The Dwarves need to place their artillery with care to ensure good fields of fire, and conserve their ammunition for close range work. Likewise the Elves must make sure they don’t waste their arrows shooting at hard cover, they need to get close and accept casualties in order to inflict then in their turn. The more Dwarves they take out before storming the town, the easier the assault will be. The Dwarf player may even want to consider abandoning the earthworks early on to draw the Elves into a messy street fight which will negate their superiority in missile weapons. In the playtest this is what happened, and the result was a virtual bloodbath which ended with the Dwarves pulling out a tattered remnant of troops and torching the town, leaving a battered and reduced Elf force in possession of a very large bonfire. Whether or not you play with morale rules will have a big effect on the game, as will the use of artillery. I know a lot of Fantasy gamers don’t like having black powder weapons, so substitute bolt throwers or catapults for the cannon and ignore the exploding church rule. However you play it though, this can be a challenging and enjoyable game with lots of opportunity for victory on both sides.