Today, I continue with the Battle of Gaudin’s Ford. Things begin to get ugly for both sides.
The orcs are marching, the halflings are ready … let’s see what happens.
The halfling commander is now going to order all of his missile troops to concentrate fire on the central company of orc yobbos. Everyone else is going to close ranks (i.e. go into a tight formation) and prepare for the onslaught. The halfling cleric is going to strike, though, this round. If the orcs get close enough, he’s going to unleash his 2nd level spell, sound burst, on them.
The orc commander is going to charge his yobbos at the enemy, even though they’re in a loose formation. He mostly wants them to screen his elite troops. Units G and H are going to plunge into the river and swim for the other side – it will be slow going, but he wants to nail those other halfling units down and keep them from harassing his elite troops. The crossbowmen are going to spend the round reloading their crossbows. The elites are going to march forward and prepare to charge!
No need for initiative here, as the orcs are reloading this round.
The elves don’t score a hit this round, but the halfling slingers and archers do score some damage – 11 points in all. Yort has to make three saves and fails two, so he’s eliminated as well. That means Unit F has to make a Will save or flee, as they’ve now lost half their original hit points and their commander. The orcs roll a 9 and fail the save, so during the movement phase they will begin fleeing around those elite units.
Again – no need for initiative, since the orcs are the only one’s moving. Unit F starts off by fleeing.
No melee yet – next round for sure
Orc Unit G is close enough, so the halfling cleric throws sound burst. Since it’s an area effect spell, it does normal (i.e. 1d8) damage to that unit, and it must save or be stunned. As it is, the unit suffers 3 points of damage, but is not stunned. Unfortunately, its commander, Fang, fails his save and suffers damage along with the unit – and that kills him. Fortunately for the orcs, the unit does not break (they never like him anyhow).
The halflings are pretty pleased – they’ve eliminated one unit of orcs and a couple orc leaders. Unit I is now going to attack Orc Unit G and try to send them off the board as well. Units H and G are going to attack Orc Unit H. Unit F is going to send their stone sailing over head into Orc Unit D, and the elves are going to make that unit their target as well. With any luck, few halflings will fall this day. The cleric will cast bless on his unit, giving them a +1 bonus to hit and save vs. fear for the remainder of the battle.
The orcs, on the other hand, are having some problems. The orc commander had planned on sending his yobbos against the billmen, to allow his ogres and blackguards to form up in a tight formation before attacking. Now he’s worried that spending a round forming up will cause undo casualties from missile fire. Still, he decides to do it right – Units D, A and E will take a tight formation and charge next round. Meanwhile, Units G and H will begin swimming the river to harass the halflings on the other side. The crossbowmen will pour their shot into Halfling Unit A, to soften them up a bit. Orc Unit F, the one fleeing, has no commander, so they cannot rally – they’re out of the battle.
Initiative: Halflings (5), Orcs (3)
The halfling player attacks with Unit I first. They score 3 points of damage on the orcs, not enough to cause them to flee. Lousy dice rolls!
The orc commander responds with Unit B, sending his black-fletched bolts into the billmen for 7 points of damage. The halfling commander has to make two saves, and fails one of them. He takes 3 points of damage and has 8 left. Integrating him with a unit might have been a terrible miscalculation in the long run. But the billmen have a bigger problem – they’ve been whittled down to under half their original hit points, which means it’s time for a moral check (i.e. Will save). Fortunately, they ace it with a ‘20’ and will stand and fight – for now.
[Here’s a quick aside. I might remove the moral check when a leader is killed. Leaders improve a unit’s morale checks and enable them to rally if they flee, but a leaderless unit has a weird advantage over them in that they have no leader to lose and force a morale check. I’ll have to think about this.]
The halfling commander is next, so he has Unit B – the elves – send their arrows into the ogres, scoring 4 points of damage. First blood on the ogres!
The second orc crossbow unit now let’s fly at the billmen … and fails to score any damage.
The rest of the halfling units can now go at it. Units G and H have no success against the orcs crossing the river. Unit F, on the hill, scores 1 point of damage against the ogres.
Again, no need for initiative when the halflings aren’t moving.
The central orc units use the turn to form into a tight formation. They’ll charge next round. The other orc units begin swimming – they can move 10 feet per round swimming. Unit F finally quits the field. No plunder for them.
Next round, for sure!
Godwin now casts bless on Unit I.
Time for melee.
The halflings stick to the script, duplicating their orders from last time. Godwin, the cleric, will cast guidance on himself this round.
The orc crossbowmen are reloading this round. Units G and H are continuing their swim. Unit D, the ogres, is going to crash headlong into the billmen this round. Unit A and E will follow along, charging in the ogres stead if they are eliminated.
The orcs are reloading again, so it’s all halflings this round.
The elves and hill slingers combine for 5 points of damage, forcing a morale check. The ogres say “screw this!” and are ready to quit the battle. They aren’t getting paid enough for this crap.
Meanwhile, Orc Unit G suffers 2 more points of damage. They’re still standing strong. The halfling slingers fail to do any damage to Orc Unit H.
First and foremost, the ogres beat it. That leaves it up to the blackguards, who charge into the billmen. The other orcs continue swimming – they’re just about ready to mix it up!
Finally, we have some melee in this battle.
In melee, both sides exchange blows. Only squadrons within a unit that can attack get to roll the dice. The orcs are using pole axes, so both squadrons (front and back) are able to attack. Likewise for the halflings, who are using bills. Two of the five halfling squadrons can attack. There’s no initiative here – all attacks are treated as simultaneous.
So, the orcs tear into the halflings, and their attack is devastating – 17 points of damage! Chief Thundergut scores 6 points of damage against the halfling sheriff, who makes his saving throws to avoid the rest of the damage – he alone survives, with only 2 hit points. Meanwhile, his troops fail to score any damage on the orcs in return! And Sheriff Brando scores no damage against Thundergut. A devastating blow to the halflings, to be sure.
Godwin now casts guidance on himself.
ROUND FIVE … This Weekend!