Friday, August 23, 2013

The Fight at Athelric's Farm

Snorri's crew knew that it wasn't going to be an easy day. Somewhere in eastern Northumbria, they had lost track of the rest of the raiding force, and hadn't found anything worth lifting.
Things started looking up as they found and followed a track, which shortly led to a stream they could probably follow back to the shore. Moreover, ahead they could see the smoke rising from a small cluster of farm buildings...and cooking smoke, not the sort that would suggest that other Vikings had gotten here ahead of them.

Unfortunately, their arrival was heralded by the shouts of a local, who leaped up from a hiding place and dashed across the ford. A local herdsman quickly flung a rock, dropping one of Snorri's two bowmen in the waters of the stream. The other hastily shot the running local, before noting that it was just a boy.

The Saxons rapidly started to round up their flocks, and the men grabbed their weapons with the intention of making a stand, at least for long enough for the women and animals to flee.

As the Vikings crossed the ford, the farmers hastily formed up in the lane, between the hedges, where it would be difficult for the Vikings to get around them. Ragnar Eagle-Eye slew a sling-armed herdsman with an arrowshot. Ahead and off to his left, Snorri could hear a Saxon horn in the near distance. This was going to be tougher than he had hoped; apparently help for the farmers was nearby. The Viking raid must have the whole countryside abuzz.

As the Vikings came around a corner in the lane, they could see a group of frightened farmers trying to make a stand. Ragnar slew one with a hasty shot, and the rest of them fled. Meanwhile, Snorri waved one of his followers toward a slinger hiding behind the hedge to the right, but the man hesitated.

The farmers, except for one who didn't stop at all, did not run far. Thinking of their farms, and hearing the horn of the approching thane and his men, they turned to face the oncoming Vikings again. Pointing at the slinger, Snorri yelled, "Ragnar, slay this troublesome farmer!" Another shaft reached out, and the luckless farmer dropped where he stood.

A couple of Snorri's men crashed into the line of farmers at the gates in the lane. Two farmers fell and the third fled, but a lucky spearthrust slew a Viking. Ragnar, crossing a field to the right of the rest of the crewmen, saw a herdsman attempting to gather his cows to flee, and shot him before he could get them all moving.

Meanwhile, Godric the thane and his fyrdsman arrived on the scene. Hoping to take the Vikings by surprise, Godric led half of his men toward a low spot in the hedge, hoping to get into the land behind the raiders. He waved the rest of his men toward the gate by the farm's well. However, lacking their leader's drive, those men hesitated to attack the Vikings. Meanwhile, Godric himself was met by a Viking with a two-handed axe as he reached the hedge. While both fighters were hindered by the hedge, the Viking's longer axe gave him the advantage, and Godric fell beneath a mighty stroke.

Up at the gate, Snorri spurred his horse at the hesitant fyrdsmen, brandishing his spear. They promptly fled. Ragnar, finding himself alone in a field of cattle, started rounding them up, along with a woman and child he found at the house.

Snorri sneered at the Saxons, who ceased fleeing, but hesitated to face him. He was joined by two of his companions, as Axe Harald leaped after the followers of the slain thane, who took one look at the dripping axe and the Viking's grim visage and fled back down the lane toward the ford.

Snorri and his men found themselves in a sharp fight at the well. After an inconclusive series of exchanges of blows, Snorri and a follower suddenly cut down two of the six Saxons. The fighting was intense, and when it suddenly ended, all six of the Saxons were down, as was one of Snorri's crewmen, and Snorri himself had been the victim of a lucky Saxon spearthrust.

One farm family and their animals had fled, but Ragnar had rounded up the other. Only one fyrdsman remained, and he did not fancy his chances against four hale Vikings. As the action ended, Ragnar, Axe Harald, and the other two Vikings lifted their leader's limp body onto his horse, uncertain whether he would live or die, and rounded up the cattle and the two new thralls to resume their race to the ships, pausing only to torch the farm buildings in reprisal for the loss of their leader...

Overall, this was an exciting little game. I used Knights and Magick, without the "magick", using some of the optional rules for very small encounters. I had eight Vikings on foot (two with bows) and a mounted leader against about a dozen Saxon farmers and another dozen fyrdsman. In K&M terms, the Viking leader was the only A class warrior, with the thane and the rest of the Vikings as B class, the fyrdsman as C, and the farmers as D. I didn't add up the points but just eyeballed the balance. It ran ten turns and took me about two hours to play, including taking enough notes to do this battle report.


  1. Fun narrative. Who makes the rules?


    1. The rules are originally from Heritage, about 1980, but someone is selling them in pdf:

  2. A satisfying little encounter, for the Vikings at least.

  3. Beautiful tabetop, full of details, and a good story. I like your built details very much. Good eye with the camera, it is such apleasure to look at your pics!

  4. Thanks. I wish I was responsible for more of the scenery; there are several commercial resin pieces in there, and a friend built the large houses. The pictures were all taken with my phone, which was handy; it does a pretty good job for a multi-purpose tool. (I also used a phone app to edit the pictures into the narrative and upload the's a science fictional world we live in.)