Wednesday 20 November 2013

St Oswalds Tongue - A Tale of Shedwood

As mentioned in my earlier post last Monday saw the first adventure in the Tales of Shedwood. This was very much a playtest of the rules and if I say so myself they went rather well. A few tweaks are required but we are getting there.

A big thank you to Matt (Robin Hood) and Mark (Guy of Guisbourne) for their support and advice.

I'll start with the scenario and as I work through the simplified AAR I'll drop in snippets from the rules...

The Small chapel of St Oswald lies on the edge of Sherwood Forest, a days ride from Nottingham. It is a famous pilgrimage in this part of the country as it is the resting place of the old martyr known as St Oswald. Oswald was beatified when he single handedly talked the marauding Viking war party to turn back from the evil ways and embrace the spirit of God.

Immortalised in tales and legend his tongue has become a powerful relic and is said to inspire leadership and oratory.

It has long been known that the Sheriff of Nottingham covets this relic and wishes to add this to his collection. He has instructed his henchmen, Sir Guy de Guisbourne and Black Hugo to recover the relic and bring back to Nottingham.

Fortunately for the locals the Sheriffs intentions have not gone unnoticed and a message has been sent to Robin Hood. Said Robin has decided such a theft should not take place and has such determined to thwart the Sheriffs plans.

The Village and Monastery of St Oswalds
As can be seen in the above picturethe forces of the Sheriff of Nottingham lead by Guy are entering the table from the bottom right. They have to enter the monastery and sieze the relic. Once captured they must exit the board from their entry point.
Guy of Guisborne

Each player has a number of order tokens equal plus one to the total number of units he is commanding. Guy was commanding seven units so therefore he received 8 tokens.

At the beginning of each turn the player then places these tokens on his Battle Order Board (BOB). BOB is a grid with the Unit forces described across the top and the order types listed down the side.

The unit will perform the listed action as and when the player wishes.

Battle Order Board: The Commander writes in the name of the unit in the Top Boxes

In addition he receives an additional number of tokens equal to his command rating. Once used these are then disposed of and cannot play a further part in the game. These should be a different colour to the standard tokens.

These command tokens can be used as follows:

1.       As an additional order. Placed in the usual way.
2.    Or used to modifier set of die rolls by +1/-1 

The Unit may move up to its full distance – if it closes within 1 inch of an enemy unit go to combat
The unit if missile armed may shoot at any single unit within range
If the unit is crossbow armed the unit may reload
Defensive Formation eg Shield Wall
The unit may form a defensive posture – thereby receiving a +1 save in melee combat = the unit remains in this position until it moves. Units defending cover may not receive this order.
The unit may attempt to improve it morale
Cost of two tokens – unit may perform any of the above tasks in its sides turn

 No unit may perform more than two actions in one turn – these maybe the same actions

Order of play. The players roll a dice the highest begins first by actioning one of his orders on the board. Once this has been completed play switches to the next player and then back again. In multiple player games the players on joined sides may agree the order they play.
The turn ends when all tokens are in play. Clearly if one side has more tokens than the other he will play out the rest of his turn once the tokens are spent.

Guy's Mounted retinue
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Guy started to move his troops through the village past the smithy and towards the monastery. The mounted unit leading the way.
The Village of St Oswalds Cross
The Smithy
Robin Hood meanwhile was leading his men through the Forest to the wood edge where ghe was hoping to ambush Guys forces 
The Merry Men enter from the Forest

Robin, as a leader, not only can fight but he can also lead his men into battle. He can also use his Luck and extra command tokens to affect the battle.
All of the commander have a score for Luck and Treachery. These numbers denote the number of times that they can use these skills in a battle.
These skills can be used to enact the following:
1.     Cancel the play of a Leaders command token – the Leader may still place another command token on the board after the luck treachery skill has been played ie it helps to burn them up
2.       Luck points may allow the player to:
a.       Reroll all the dice of a given set (to see if his luck fares better)
b.      Add +1 to any dice rolls before they are made
3.       Treachery points may allow the player to
a.       force the opponent to reroll any hits or saves that they have made in combat
b.      Subtract -1 to any die rolls before they are made
His merry men act as Knights - Little JOHN, Friar Tuck etc These guys can bolster the morale of an attached unit, add extra attacks etc.

Robin 'the Hood'


Little John & friends

As the Sheriff's forces advanced Robin's men let fly with their longbows

Take Aim

Archery (and all missile fire) is quite simple and deadly
Missile Weapons have two ranges effective & long – A missile requires a 4+ to hit at effective range and 5+ to hit at long rage
Weapon type
Effective Range
Long Range
Armour Pen
Other Missiles
To Hit Modifiers
+1 if target mounted
-1 if light cover *includes large shields
-2 if hard cover * includes pavisses
Because they are so deadly - the Sheriffs forces just kept getting mown down we have since decided to reduce the ranges by 25% (now longbows have range of 9" and 18". I am also thinking that the to hit score will be modified to 5 at effective and 6+ at long range.
A duel opened up between the xbows and the archers. With their slower reloads the crossbows came croppers in both games.

Exiting the Village with crossbow men taking cover in the wattled garden

Crossbowmen taking cover in the vegetable garden

Meanwhile several horsemen had ridden up to the Monastery - they can be quite fast.
Depending upon how many tokens are on the unit (max of two) a cavalry unit could move 24" in one turn !

Outside the Monastery

The burst into the monastery to be confronted by a number of fanatical Templars intent on keeping the relic safe.

A violent encounter

Melee combat is driven by the type of unit (attacks and armour) and again is very simple.
The Unit will have the following characteristics
Calibre – the level of training = number of attacks per stand
Armour – how much armour the unit has (will denote movement speed)
Weaponry – Types of weapons inc missiles
Morale – How pumped up they are for battle
A Unit is designated by the number of troops – typically units will be based in multiples of 6

Unit Size
4 *ignore mounted reduction
6 max
Men At Arms
6 (12 max)
Trained Band
6 (12 max)
6 (18 max)
+1 Attack if Mounted -
- the points score is still to be determined so please ignore this column.
Needless to say that the mounted men at arms did not fare well against the Templars and were sent back in retreat

Retreating from the Monastery

Elsewhere the Sheriffs forces advanced on Robins forces in the woods

The Retinue Advance


Forward boys
Although they managed to eventually reacjh the edge of the woods their morale was shot to pieces as were a number of stands.
In both games the relics stayed safe in the sanctuary of St Oswalds. 
1. The Warbows are just too powerful when used by lots of figures, by reducing the size of units (from eight to six) and reducing their hit potential (dice and range) we have created a more balanced effect. Initially I had given Robin and his key men two shots per phase this is now reduced to one but they get hit benefits.
2. Combat is brutal, simple and neat. Knights are the best unit in hand to hand as they should be with a degree of good protection.
3. The battleboards allow for fast play with orders effectively designated in advance.
4. Luck and treachery rerolls do create a sense of delight & frustration !
More to come very soon...








  1. Sounds interesting. I look forward to seeing more.

  2. Fantastic looking figures and set up.

    Rules look very interesting.

    You say the bows are deadly, I assume there is some sort of save versus the hit?

    And for melee do you make a defence role against hits? I was trying to work out if that is what the stat was for?

    I like the battle board system you have set up, looks good. I assume to shoot twice you must have a counter in shoot and two counters in vigilance?

    More questions will come I guess, but it is because it looks a good little system being developed (that I may have to get permission to borrow some of for a pirates game I am thinking of developing)

  3. This system sounds quite good !

    I hope you'll be soon able to propose it on beta-testing for us (your loyal readers ;) )

    The precedent note and this one makes me wanna play that game.

  4. Beautiful pictures! Love the knights and crossbowmen...and nice looking game!