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The Homeless Fire Giants

New pal Zach came over Saturday night to skirmish across the dining room table. I've known Zach's wife Kerry for a few years now, as she and I are working on a Lost Art Books volume together. Saturday was the first time Zach and I got to hang out, despite corresponding for a while now, usually about cool bands (Superchunk, Guided by Voices) or the excellent scholarly work he produces on his blog devoted to Holmes-era (1977-80) Dungeons & Dragons, Zenopus Archives. I gave him a quick run through on the basic rules for our game of Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes, and then we dove into the scenario I prepared (below).

The battlefield. The fire giants start on the far side of the field from the stronghold's gate.

The Homeless Fire Giants

A mysterious earthquake leveled the fire giants' keep at the base of the stony spine of the Barrier Peaks, killing all inside its halls except for Frinn, his mistress Brina, and three of their pet dire wolves. These newly homeless fire giants have been forced to tramp across the mountains to seek shelter in the stronghold of the giantess’s brother-in-law.

A nearby dwarven colony had been debating for months over ways to drive these fire giants from the area, and when they heard from a returning scouting party that the recent earthquake had decimated the giants' keep, the dwarves leapt at the opportunity to rid the land of their hereditary enemy. Correctly deducing that the fire giants would make for their kin’s stronghold on the other side of the Barrier Peaks, the dwarves—led by Klanin, a veteran giant fighter from the Thunder Hills campaign—set out to intercept the refugees while they were vulnerable in the open wilds. Unfortunately, the mountain routes the dwarves hoped to travel by had themselves been choked by rockslides set in motion by the earthquake. By the time the dwarves finally catch up to their quarry, the sun’s light is waning and the fire giants have almost made it to the south gate of their in-laws' stronghold. The dwarves hurriedly set an ambush to prevent the fire giants from making it through the gate and to the refuge that awaits within.

(Note: The following is not a fully fleshed out battle report, but rather a broad-stroke impression of the game. My wife enjoys popping into our games and snapping some pics of the miniatures, terrain, and us having a general good time. This can happen at any point in the proceedings, so the following photos aren't meant to be a blow-by-blow reconstruction of the game's skirmish, as might be expected from a more traditional "After-Action Report." Hopefully you enjoy the glimpse they provide into our game regardless!)

Brina, Fire Giant Mistress

Frinn, fire giant refugee on the run...

These dwarf crossbowmen hiding in the woods managed to kill a dire wold early on, but its siblings race forward for revenge.
If the fire giants could just make it to the stronghold's gate...

"So, that's +1 for the giant's 'Huge' trait, but disregard that because your leader has the 'Giant Slayer' trait...however I've got you outnumbered, so that's a -1 on your Combat roll...." Okay, get the idea.
It was probably thematic to stand their ground and try to kill off all of the dwarves, but if I had been thinking, I would have just kept running with the giants for the gate and safety/victory.

Brina was the first of the fire giants felled by the dwarven hunting party.

Zach deciding how many activation dice to throw.
It took too long for these dire wolves to finally start mauling the dwarf sneaks taking pot shots from the woods.

Alas, Brina doesn't get back up...

With Brina gone, dwarves start hurling themselves at Frinn.

If the giants could have eliminated this dwarven "giant slayer," the battle would have likely swung the other way. His "Leader" trait ensured a lot of activations and group movements for the dwarves.

Why won't this dwarf just die?!? 

Homeless giants become dead giants.

Thrush's eye view of the action.

This is the bastard I needed to kill!

With their owners' demise, the wolves will now break for the woods and make their way in the world without masters.

Warband Profiles

The Fleeing Fire Giants

Frinn, Fire Giant Master (pts. 110)
Quality: 3+  / Combat: 5
Traits: • Heavily Armored • Huge • Huge Weapon • Leader • Lumbering

Brina, Fire Giant Mistress (pts. 76)
Quality: 3+ / Combat: 5
Traits: • Heavily Armored • Huge • Long Reach • Piercing Weapon • Lumbering

Dire Wolves (pts. 32 each) x3
Quality: 4+  /  Combat: 3
Traits: AnimalBonded Danger Sense Dashing

The Dwarven Giant Hunters

Klanin, Dwarven Giant Slayer (pts. 84)
Quality: 3+  / Combat: 4
Traits: Giant slayer Heavily Armored Leader Melee Block Short Move

Dwarf Warriors (pts. 32) x3
Quality: 4+  / Combat: 3
Traits: Block Bludgeon Short Move

Dwarf Crossbowmen (pts. 29) x4
Quality: 4+  /  Combat: 3
Traits: Crossbow Short Move

Special Rules for the Scenario

(1) Starting Positions
Dwarves: Anywhere in the middle third of the map, including within the woods.
Fire Giants and Dire Wolves: Anywhere within 1x Long of the map edge on the far side from the brother-in-law’s stronghold.
(2) Dire Wolves

Will flee the battlefield if both of their masters die or flee the scene.
(3) Surprise
As long as all of the dwarves start out of the Line of Sight of the beleaguered fire giants, they will receive the benefit of Surprise on their first attack. As per usual, though, if a unit cannot make an attack within the same turn in which it reveals itself (i.e., enters LoS), then it loses the surprise bonus.
(4) The Stronghold

The dwarves will not risk entering the stronghold or scaling its walls out of fear of drawing the attention and wrath of its inhabitants. This dwarven party was sent to try to pick off the vulnerable two fire giants, not engage in an assault against an entire stronghold of giant folk and their servants.
(5) Optional

If the dwarves cannot kill or drive off the fire giants within eight (8) turns, the stronghold’s guards take notice of some commotion in the dark and loosen three more dire wolves out the front gate to investigate and drive off any trespassers (the fire giant player gets to control these new units).

Victory Conditions

Fire Giants: If they make it through the front gate of the stronghold, they survive and win.
Dwarves: If they manage to kill or drive off the fire giants, they win. 


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