At the local club I attend, a few of us have started a Fantasy Raiders campaign, which is like Viking Raiders, but with Fantasy Races :)

We're using the Songs of Blades and Heroes rules from Ganesha Games. We're also using 1/72 minis, as they're cheap and available and, frankly, most of us have piles of things lying around that can be put to use!

First game I played this last week was as the human defenders against Peter's rather tooled up and efficient Undead force. My lesson learned was that I really must figure out how Tom M is using his activations to gang up in melee! The humans would still have lost, but would probably have done a little better. To be frank, my humans defenders in this game got a sound beating and the undead got all of the loot, but that isn't really the best way of describing the encounter, now, is it?

With apologies for the photographs, as I had forgotten my proper camera and only had my BlackBerry with me.

The Time of Reaping : Human Defenders 1

It was a time of rebirth and renewal; of clearing out the dead wood for use as firewood; for the turning of last year's used soil to breathe life into the new season's crops; of pruning the Sacred Orchards to bring forth the late season fruits in greatest abundance. All of this we knew well.

We did not know that it was a time when abominations would turn over our village for their own foul ends; that our very lives would be pruned away for unnatural beasts to make a foul harvest of their own; that the bones of our menfolk would be used as fuel on the fires of evil damnation.

Those few of us who survived can only consider ourselves the most fortunate of souls; doubly blessed that we escaped the horrors and that with us still are most of our village womenfolk - saved only by the chance that they were out tending the Sacred Orchards when that vile cancerous ruin of a once mighty vessel of war hove into view up the river. Just us few ... so few ... survived the ruinous assault on our fair village by the spawn of demonkind.

That ruinous vessel that brought the damned to us was a horror to behold as it appeared downstream of our village. Clearly once built by human hands, it had been distorted by whatever foul magics animated the monsters so that the very boat itself seemed to shriek with the pain of trapped and tortured souls.

As the ship of the damned made its way up to the bank to disgorge its foul cargo, chance intervened immediately since our warriors, few in number as they were, had been practising their skills with sword and bow on the field outside the village at exactly the time that the monsters chose to attack. They quickly formed up to take the fight as the rest of the village ran to pick spears or axes or anything else they could find to repel the invaders!

Watching the monsters disembark from their foul vessel gave us heart, at first, as they did so in an utter shambles - no ladders or planks were lowered and the beasts simply climbed the edge of the boat, hesitated for a long time and then they just threw themselves onto the field below.

Our village chief had joined our warriors by the time that the horrors had finally and fully made landfall and he began to advance against them with the support of our warriors and archers and the rest of the village moving up in support. That is when the hell really began.

From the back of the ranks of evil, the monsters with bows notched up wicked looking, long, black arrows that squirmed in their boney grip. As they released these unholy arrows they began to wail in a completely alien and unearthly fashion as though in indescribable pain, until they found a mark in the chest of one of our brave menfolk, leaving a horrid patch of black pestilence around where the arrow entered, killing each man in an instant. And even after carrying out this foul marshall service, each arrow of death continued to writhe and squirm within the body of the man they had killed.

These vollies of foul ammunition quickly thinned out the meagre ranks of our warriors and took the life of our village chief as well. As the first ranks still alive finally closed to start hewing at the monsters, the last ranks turned to try and get the cattle and the beer, our most prized possessions, to safety away from the unnatural raiders.

But it was not to be, the horrors abilities with ax and sword was nearly the equal of their abilities with their horrific bows and more men were quickly felled. It is without an atom of shame that I say that it was then that I ran for my life, leaving the cow I had been attempting to wrangle, to its hellish fate.

When we found courage to return a few hours later, there was no sign of our cattle, our beer, or of our dead - and equally no sign of the raiders, save for the trails of dead vegetation, both on the land and in the river which marked their foul passing.

We are woeful and unhappy for many reasons, but what perplexes us the most is the question of why in the name of the seven hells that spawned them, do creatures made from nothing but the bones of the dead want so much beer?