The Catalucian village of Trampa Mortal is under threat from desperate bandits. Can the unlikely hero of Dag Nificent and his rapidly assembled group of even more unlikely heroes win the day...
Catalucia. Summer. The air hangs hot and sticky, heavy with the buzzing of flies and the stink of sweat, thick with the fear of violence and war.
The Ass’s Ass. A filthy pub in a filthy pueblo, a place that serves up foul liquor and self-pity in equal tepid measures. Dangerous mean drink in shadowy corners, avoiding the heat and the consequences of past actions.
Dagsworth ‘Dag’ Nificent. Killer. Drunkard. Deserter. Traitor. A man with a past he is desperately trying to forget and drown at the same time – something that isn’t working out for him. On the run from an old life, old faces, old enemies and friends alike. Trying to avoid trouble. Failing.
The scene is set….
Dag was playing dominos when the farmers came in. The gentle click of the dirty ivory tablets on the wooden table relaxed him greatly, almost helped him forget he was somewhere less hot and smelly. The drink helped of course. He gulped down another brandy and scowled at the pieces in front of him.
“You’re drunk.” Across the table from Dag, the dwarf Boris Decker –also a traitor, deserter and killer, but a lot more cheerful with it – slapped the table and directed Dag what was not the first and would be far from the last black look of the day. “At 10am. And you’re still winning.”
“Am I winning?” Dag slurred. “Am I? Because right now I feel like a great big loser.”
“You’re a great big idiot.” Boris jumped down from his chair and strolled over to the bar for another pitcher of water. When he returned Dag was deep in conversation with a wretched looking paleto, all skin and bone and rags under a large hat, whilst a handful of other bumpkins stood at a respectful distance behind them pretending not to listen.
“We don’t want to buy any” Boris said cheerfully as he sat down. The farmer shook his head.
“No senor. We wish for help. Your friend, we hope he can help us. He is great warrior, everybody say. Man of honour.”
Dag snarled and shook his head.
“You must help us” the farmer went on, stumbling over his words nervously. “Every year, robbers they come to our pueblo and steal our crops and women. Last week they come, but crop is bad. The chief, he is very angry! Says he will return in ten days, and then we must have many riches for him or he will destroy village, kill us all! We come, hope to find men who will help us, protect us. Good men. We bring this.”
He indicated to one of the other farmers who passed him a small and extremely grubby sack, which he dropped onto the table (ruining the domino setup, to Boris’s horror).
“What’s this?” Dag snarled, looking at the bundle on the table.
“Sir, it is….” The farmer paused dramatically. “It is EVERYTHING.”
“That’s plainly not true or it wouldn’t fit in one bag” muttered Boris, but Dag ignored him. His eyes were beginning to grow misty with tears, and a peculiar tightness gripped his chest.
“Everything… everything. I’ve drawn my blade for many things – honour, anger; revenge… the smile on a face of a pretty girl, or the sight of a flag, flapping proudly in the breeze. But never before have I fought for… for everything.”
“Don’t be an idiot” said Boris, leaning over the table and rifling through the sack. “There’s little more here than half a dozen pennies and some nasty looking cheese. Oh, here’s some socks! And some sticks and – ugh – I don’t even know what this is…” he peered up at the farmers in disgust.
“Si Senor. It is everything we have, everything the village owns. For you, for you to come and save us.”
Boris made to answer but Dag pushed him aside, his chest swelling with noblesse. Carefully he drew his sword, waved it heroically at the now-terrified farmers and then drove it into the table with all his might.
“You shame me, noble farmers, with your offer. I will join you – yes, and I will save you from these savages who blight your lives! We will stand together, fight together, maybe die together if fate will it, but for what better cause than this? For honour… for liberty… in defence of… EVERYTHING!” He turned. “You’re coming too Boris”.
Boris gave a heavy sigh.
“In that case we’re going to need a few other suckers to make this work….”
The battle is fought in and around the village of Trampa Mortal. Set up the village with any many buildings as you have available and feel is prudent in a rough circle – the more there are the greater benefit to the villager side, so bear this in mind. Surround the village with a small wall or other low level barricade - Rannochio has been hard at work getting the villagers to build this – with an opening of 10cm on opposite sides of the town.
The villager forces may begin play positioned anywhere within the village itself.
The bandit forces enter play from any edge of the table. They may be split and enter from several points if the bandit player so wishes – Bastardo has had time to consider the fortifications and decide on a possible plan of attack.
Through a combination of bluff honesty, drunken cajoling and outright lies Dag has assembled no less than seven brave souls – including himself – to defend Trampa Mortal. The village forces comprise of Dag and his six mercenaries, and the villagers themselves. Whilst the villagers must be organised into sections the mercenaries themselves may operate either singly or as section leaders as required, although this must be determined at the start of the battle and cannot be changed midway.
A deserter from the armies of Albion, Dag once had it all – rank, wealth, a loving family – before a terrible social miscalculation saw him humiliated at the hands of a rival. Full of anguish but with far too much stiff upper lip for his own good he sought an honourable death upon a foreign battlefield until another miscalculation saw his command slaughtered whilst he was branded a deserter and on the run for his life. He has drifted from town to town and job to job since then, wishing for redemption but looking for death. He figures this job is his best chance at one, the other or both. Dag is an Experienced Orc Regular and has the skill Improved Command (2).
Boris is also a deserter, this time from the Legion De Nain. Habitually dishonest but with an unnaturally sunny outlook, he cheated his way through life until he decided discretion the better part of valour in Diberia and ran away. Now also on the run he does not especially want to be at Trampa Mortal but Dag is his friend and he does not want to let him down. Boris is an Experienced Dwarf Regular. He has the skill Rapport (Dagsworth Nificent).
Saladh Bar hails from the Ottoman Empire. Once a simple and peace-loving otter, he swore terrible vengeance when he heard that his father had been brutally slain by the bandit known only as Hijo De Perra whilst on a trading visit to Catalucia. He has devoted many years to training in the arts of war and has tracked De Perra across Catalucia with a view to taking his revenge. He has joined Dag’s forces solely to kill De Perra and does not care who he has to go through to make it so. He is an Experienced Othari Irregular. Bah hates Hijo De Perra, treat this as having the flaw Dogman Antagonist (DITS, p.56) but with De Perra the target of the animosity.
Pinocchio is a huge Todoroni from Nepolise. Although he projects an aura of culture and politeness at all times he is actually a very dangerous toad indeed, for Pinocchio is a horrible lunatic and a cannibal to boot who is wanted in his homelands for multiple counts of murder. He has been killing (and eating) his way through Valon for some time and has recently embarked on a tour of Catalucia to sample the local ‘cuisine’. He views the battle as an excellent opportunity to cause some carnage and enjoy himself. A couple of villagers have already vanished since his arrival although Dag and the others think they have run away. Pinocchio is an Average Todoroni Irregular. He has the Ogre flaw Cannibal Crusher (DITS, p.55) despite being a Todoroni. Heavily wounded allies beware!
Finnan is a demented Bog-Orc from the Isle of Guinelia. He is haunted by the fear of a great bog-octopus that he fears is stalking him throughout the world of Valon and will one day drag him down to his watery doom with its terrible tentacles, and is constantly muttering about and eyeing bodies of water larger than a tin bath with great suspicion. Whilst most of the effects of this delusion (not washing, extreme paranoia, annoying to be around) have no game effect, Finnan is so convinced that he will meet his fate at the appendages of the bog-octopus he is not too worried about catching a bullet elsewhere and has taken on this job for a laugh. This means that Finnan benefits from the False Bravado trait with the slight difference that the negative values only take effect when he has any amount of water in his line of sight. Finnan is an Average Bog Orc Irregular.
Donatien Phillipe Loic De Cossard is a miserable fellow. Dishonourably discharged from his command after some terrible misunderstanding over some Schnapps and some running away, he squeaked a last minute reprieve from La Guillotine due to the favour of a wealthy lady of his acquaintance only to find said ladies husband enraged to find De Cossard hiding naked in his billiard room that same evening, forcing him to do a bunk and earn his living as a mercenary in grotty little dives like Trampa Mortal. His sole aim is to survive the battle and pick up some kind of financial reward with which he hopes to buy back his commission – he does not realise there is no money. He has lied heavily about his past heroism to the villagers and is followed everywhere by admirers (see special rules). De Cossard is and Experienced Ferach Elf Regular with the Coward flaw.
Due to his lying nature and dashing good looks De Cossard is followed everywhere by a small gaggle of admirers – mainly impressionable children and swooning maidens. Some of this fools will also follow him in battle thinking he will protect them from harm and wishing to see his exploits firsthand. They are represented by three models which must always be within 15cm of De Cossard. They may not attack but will encourage De Cossard at all times with encouraging shouts and the like, which has no tangible game effect – however their presence means that De Cossard may not withdraw from melee (he has his eye on one of the Catalucian girls and wants to impress her). If De Cossard is killed they will immediately go into a beserk frenzy and every turn will attack the nearest enemy model – they are all treated as Raw Catalucian Dark Elf Civilians. If they are killed beforehand De Cossard may withdraw as normal.
McVermin is a bold lowland Rat from the highlands of Joccia. Somewhat work shy to say the least and cursed with a streak of bad luck a mile wide (a consequence of his grandfather not buying any lucky heather from a gypsy many years ago) he was last employed as a sailor but jumped ship at Lisabone to avoid paying off a huge gambling debt. Since then he has naturally run up another huge gambling debt and is desperate for some work to pay it off. He is not much of a fighter but is quick and sharp-eyed and figures he can die here amongst friends or with a knife in his back in an alleyway somewhere so what the heck. McVermin is an Average Lowland Rat.
The Villagers of Trampa Mortal
These simple souls, inspired by Dag’s stirring words to fight and defend their homes and families. They can be organised into sections led by any of the mercenaries as the village player so desires.
There are 12 villagers in total. All are Average Catalucian Dark Elf Civilians and are armed with a variety of small improvised weapons.
The Bandit Forces
Malvado “El Bastardo” Muerte
The bandit known as ‘El Bastardo’ is exactly that – a right bastard. Little is known about his early life, but at an early age he was already part of a criminal gang, robbing and murdering traders and travellers on the lonely Catalucian roads. It wasn’t long before he had taken over the gang through his own strength and forceful personality. He prefers to keep his band moving throughout the hilly regions, preying on villages for food and amusement until the local milica gets wind of him and he can move on. Unfortunately for all concerned the crops this year have been bad, and as a result he does not have enough resources to feed his men, meaning he must succeed in his attack on Trampa Mortal or face likely subordination and perhaps even impeachment. He rules with an iron fist, is generally merciless, cruel and cunning – a stereotyped bandit basically. He is a Veteran Dwarf Irregular.
Hijo De Perra
Hijo De Perra is the nickname the local people have given to the much-feared Hunvarian bandit Gyilkos Orias. A convicted thief and a murderer in his own land, he escaped the gallows due to a clerical error and made good his escape into the wilds of Catalucia where his propensity for violence, together with a desire to take other peoples stuff, made him a natural fit for a bandit chief. He led his own band until he encountered that of El Bastardo, where he was given the offer to join up or die. Although he chose the former, it is a decision that still rankles with him. Because of this he is treated as having the flaw Thieving Scum. He is an Experienced Ogre Irregular.
Ladron is another deserter (there’s a lot of them in this battle, isn’t there?) but this time from the Catalucian army. The men whisper that he was a surgeon who went mad in the heat of battle one day and ran amok behind his own lines, purging his own people with scalpel and fire. Nobody knows for sure, but he definitely has a tenuous grasp on reality, a fondness for explosions and looks a bit… crispy. Ladron is an Experienced Catalucian Dark Elf Irregular.
El Bastardo’s bandit raiders are made up of 36 killers, rascals and rogues drawn from across the world of Valon. They can be represented by any models or races, although unless you fancy a lot of bookkeeping it is suggested you stat them all as Average Irregulars armed as per miniature weapon type. They are split into three units, each commanded by one of the three bandit leaders.
Either side achieves victory by either wiping out the opposition or by causing them to withdraw from the table. The losing side will not be seen Trampa Mortal again!
If the village player wins but all the villagers themselves have been slain the battle could however be considered a draw as their victory is pyrrhic at best. The real losers, as ever, are the simple people of the land itself. Awww.
The general idea of this one is to be fun – it could potentially however require a large number of models. Most of the battles I’ve seen for this system are skirmish ones, so you could easily reduce down the number of combatants on either side if you wish or add more named characters to the bandit side to lessen the number of rank and file they require. This is one of the reasons the bandit forces are mixed – it allows a player to use whatever miniatures he has to hand.
In regards to points balance the bandits should have a huge numeric advantage and need to use weight of numbers to swarm the village and Dag Nificent’s seven need a coordinated defence. It’s all a bit Roarkes Drift really.
Feel free to give some extra interesting rules, weapons and skills/traits/flaws to the characters and generally mess about as much as you like with this!
An Orcs in the Webbe Original! "Dag's Nificent Seven" was written exclusively for Orcs in the Webbe and published on Tuesday 11th December 2012 as part of the 2012 Advent Calendar.