Rewards and Ravages Narrative Campaign (Complete)

When @ironmike and I found out we were going to be in the same area for a full two weeks last month, we felt that we needed to take the opportunity to play a campaign of interconnected battles, where the outcome of one impacted future fights. Given our love of lore and “forging the narrative”, it was obvious to us that this campaign needed a story to connect it. Thus, “Rewards and Ravages” was born, pitting the might of @ironmike 's Orc Marauders against my stout Dwarf Guilds. Part of the intention in playing these games was to test a series of narrative campaign rules that could be reused with any number of different army combinations. Once this campaign has been edited for content, we plan to release it to the One Page Rules community, so that you all can enjoy playing through similar games.

The battle reports themselves will at times be more photojournalism with stated outcomes, as we did not write down a play by play of each game. However, each battle report post will include the scenario and some commentary on how things went. Any feedback along the way is of course greatly appreciated.

Without further ado, I present our play-through of “Rewards and Ravages.”

Campaign Background

Roxon Prime is a hot, dry planet located in the Roxon System of the Uhulis Sector in the Segmentum Pacificus. Notable for the red crust of dirt and mineral deposits that covers its surface, Roxon Prime shows some value for mining, but the extreme high temperatures during the day are not supportive of human habitation. However, Roxon Prime is the homeworld of the Roxonians, a race of small but aggressive bi-pedal reptiles. Roxonians exhibit a high level of intelligence and are incredibly resourceful. They stand at one meter tall on average and live short lives of approximately sixty standard years.

While mostly undisturbed by outsiders, Roxon Prime has had a few visitors over the years, including various exploratory missions by the Machine Cult to ascertain any potential value to the Imperium and their ever-churning, endlessly resource-hungry war machine.

Recently, the mining-warship, Vein of Mithril, of the Bastard Sons of the Emperor guild of Dwarves, has entered the Roxon System with the intent to investigate the rumored riches of natural materials, suggested by the old Machine Cult reports. Commanded by the Dwarf lord, Skosdram Mountainthane, the Vein of Mithril is equipped to settle in orbit over a planet, deploy mining crews and equipment for months at a time, and process whatever metals and minerals can be found.

However, the Bastard Sons of the Emperor are not the only new visitors to the Roxon System. A week after the Vein of Mithril made orbit above Roxon Prime, an Orc ship full of Marauders entered the system. Easily identified as a pirate ship by the excessive and eclectic collection of weaponry adorning its garishly painted hull, The Gold Abandoned seemed to be following in the wake of the Archmaniac of Calverna’s Waaagh! that had cut through the Segmentum Pacificus toward the Segmentum Tempestus.

For now, The Gold Abandoned remains a week away from Roxon Prime, but the crew of the Vein of Mithril have spotted small Orc landing craft streaking toward the planet, their bright yellow hulls looking like fireflies on recaf against the darkness of space…


Game 1: I See You

As orc ships enter the vicinity of Roxon Prime, mining scouts from the Vein of Mithril prepare to explore the remnants of an outpost from an ancient research mission. The Dwarves are cautious, not knowing the origin of these ruins or what may have been left behind.

Mission Briefing:
This battle forms a prologue to the campaign, taking place before either side has deployed resources planetside and while both sides are only aware of the others’ presence. Objectives represent supplies and key information about the planet, left behind by the researchers. Capturing these objectives will provide the victor with important information about Roxon Prime.

This battle was a 250 point game of Grimdark Future: Firefight. An 8" diameter area in the middle of the map (the crater) represented a chemical spill and was dangerous terrain. We used special terrain rules for two buildings. The gothic looking building on the right side of the table gave a bonus to psychics and the tower on the back right of the table (with the two turrets) gave a negative bonus to morale checks.

Here you can see my Dwarf Guilds deployed. Left to right, I have a Berserker, a Sniper, a Support Dwarf with Heavy Machinegun, a Support Dwarf with Flamethrower, and a Rune Master (who really enjoyed the psychic bonus from the tower).

@ironmike 's deployment of Orc Marauders.

We did not get a lot of pictures of this battle. In general, the dwarves moved up slowly, shooting at whatever they could. The Rune Master managed to take out at least two units by himself. However, the orcs were sneaky and used the terrain to their advantage, finally putting the dwarves in a position where they could not manage to contest enough objectives.

The Space Elves-themed objective markers we were using. @wyloch has a great tutorial on his YouTube channel about making these.

My dwarven sniper attempting to spot a target.

An orc biker being sneaky.

Another objective glamour shot.

A jetpack orc getting the charge on my support dwarf. This jetpack orc would be cursed for the remainder of the campaign, as he managed to fall from the table several times, breaking into more and more pieces…

The winner of this battle, @ironmike , got to choose the table edge for deployment in game 2 and got to deploy first in game 2.

Game 2: Waaagh!

The Orcs and Dwarves have seen the perils of this planet…and its treasures. Both sides are landing troops and equipment in anticipation of an upcoming conflict. The Dwarves realize that the Orcs represent a serious impediment to a successful mining operation. The Orcs know that Dwarves mean mining, and mining means “moar teef” and advanced “teknologee.”

Mission Briefing:
This battle represents both the Orcs and Dwarves having gathered their forces on the surface of Roxon Prime and prepared to fight the other for supremacy in the region and the attainment of their goals.

This game was 4000 points of Grimdark Future, Orc Marauders versus Dwarf Guilds, using Wyloch’s Custom Objective Cards with six objectives. @ironmike deployed first, and then we rolled off for who activated first.

Deployment from the dwarf side.

Deployment from the orc side.

After round 1

After round 2

After round 2

Unfortunately, we only finished two rounds before needing to leave the game store for the evening, so we called this a draw for the sake of the campaign. The Victor of the Battle would have gained a strategic understanding of their opponent and thus may re-roll up to two dice at any point in any future campaign games, except:

  • The re-rolls must be used in separate games.[/li][li]The re-rolls cannot be used for Defense rolls, Morale tests, or spells targeting that player’s own units.

As the game was a draw, neither of us gained this benefit.

Game 3: No One Expects the Imperium Inquisition

In the midst of conflict, an unexpected foe appears. A force of Dark Brothers , led by a Human Inquisition strike team of the Alien Hunters, drop out of the warp and begin launching deep strikes onto Roxon Prime. Some technology, long left on the surface, has alerted them to the xenos presence. Now they have come to purge the alien, and there will be no distinction between greenskin and longbeard…

Mission Briefing:
For this battle, the Orc Marauders and the Dwarf Guilds must temporarily cease their quarrel in a fight for their lives. Only by banding together can they stand against those who wish to see them exterminated. And yet each faction has uncovered information that will aid them in the future, if they can just secure it.

This was the battle. In part, the whole campaign centered on this game, and this was the game that @ironmike and I had been most excited to play. 6000 points of Grimdark Future, Dark Brothers and Human Inquisition versus Orc Marauders and Dwarf Guilds. Standard Duel mission, but with Wyloch’s House Rules, after the end of round four, roll a D6 and on a 4+, the game continues to round five. The game ends after round five. The AI was treated as one army for the sake of spells, but our forces were treated separately for activations and spells. We knew this game was going to take a long time…and we did finish it…

After a delicious brunch and an hour of chatting and setting up the table, we started deployment, which took around an hour. The table was 3’ x 6’, so we shortened deployment zones to 6" deep. Everything on the wooden edges is ambushing or in transport:

The Human Inquisition had a squad of psychics (not a tough force), an assassin (quite a nasty hero), and two squads of inquisitor plus acolytes. One inquisitor squad was more ranged focus and the other was more melee focused.

Dwarf bikers and a walker, surrounded by hordes of orcs.

The zombies in the front were Human Inquisition daemonhosts. Kind of terrifying…

The battle gets underway! @ironmike engaged in a lot of melee combat during round one, thanks to his rush of Orc Truck and its passengers.

The carnage at the end of round 1.

Ambush at the beginning of round 2. This is where the table finally started to feel full. We did have to use some Havoc Brothers models to stand in for a few Dark Brothers units, in case you spot some units that do not seem to fit with any of these forces…

Fancy flier shots.

The end of round 2. We left dead units on the field for the effect.

Round 3

Round 3

A dwarf engineer surveys the battlefield.

The power of the dwarf walker.

The end of round four and a victory for the orc/dwarf coalition.

All together, the game took around nine hours. Round 1 took four hours, round 2 took two hours, round 3 took an hour, and round 4 took just under an hour. There was no round 5. We had special rules we were going to employ for the game that would affect future games, but we completely forgot about them in our eagerness to get started. Those will need to be tested at a future time. We did add a rule for doing push-ups and kettle bell swings, whenever one of our units took wounds. (@ironmike got more of a workout than I did, given his abundance of melee units.) We also “rewarded” ourselves with drinks for dealing wounds to the AI.

This was an absolutely amazing game, and I highly recommend a co-op game against an AI opponent. We had a ton of fun talking strategy and planning out how best to fight the Dark Brothers, and this was a battle that I will not quickly forget. We cannot wait until our next one! (10000 points per side, here we come!)

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Game 4: Recover and Regroup

With the battle against the Dark Brothers and the Inquisitorial strike force complete, the Orc Marauders and Dwarf Guilds fall back to more strategic positions…and fall back to their conflict. Survivors of the battle have once again taken up arms against each other.

Mission Briefing:
This battle represents both sides rushing to regroup their forces before the other can summon reinforcements.
We played a very standard game of Grimdark Future - 2000 points, Duel mission, no special rules…except that we used a chess clock. 45 minutes per person, 90 minutes total. This time included deployment but did not include placing objectives.

The Dwarf Guilds managed to win the day, but this fight was never-wracking. Both of us could feel the stress of being “on the clock”, and for the first couple of rounds, it felt as though we were definitely going to run out of time. We ended up both having a few minutes left over, but the game certainly went down to the wire. The sense of urgency was a neat “mechanic” and definitely got us into the mood for the game. Given that ironmike and I really like to chat during our games, I think this game was the most quiet and quickest game we have ever played.

Due to that same sense of urgency, I neglected to take any photos from this game, but more will be forthcoming as the campaign continues!

Game 5: How Few Remain

The Orc Marauders and the Dwarf Guilds have had a chance to reinforce their lines, but both sides are feeling the impact of their ongoing conflict. On each side, engineers have been working to make use of the findings from the battle against the Imperium. Some have been more successful than others. Yet there are still strategic resources to be gained from a foothold on Roxon Prime.

Mission Briefing:
This battle stages smaller forces against each other but with special rules for any boons that were gained from Game 3. Or rather…that was the intention. Due to our excitement about Game 3, we forgot to track the special objectives for the bonuses. However, we did play an enjoyable 2000 point match of Grimdark Future, using Wyloch’s Custom Objective Cards with six objectives.

Initial deployment. My Dwarf Power Suits are on the roof, waiting to ambush in round 2. The units on the far roof are Dwarf Snipers and Orc Commandos, both of whom had Scout…the snipers did not live long.

Deployment from the Dwarf side.

Deployment from the Orc side. The Space Elves Wraith Suit was a stand-in for another Orc walker.

Later in the game. The Orcs were devastating the Dwarves, moving from cover to cover, deny any clear shot and then charging.

The Orc Marauders were victorious. My Dwarf list was too elite/specialized, and with the tight terrain it was very difficult to get line of sight or non-covered shots on the Orcs. My Artillery probably did the best job, using Indirect to shell various Orc units.

Game 6: Fear! Fire! Foes! Awake!

As fighting on Roxon Prime comes to a peak, both Orcs and Dwarves aim to strike a definitive blow against the opposing forces. Under the cover of darkness, they stealthily make their way toward the other’s base of operations.

Mission Briefing:
Sneak in. Kill the king. Sneak out. Simple, right? This covert mission will be decisive in ending the ongoing conflict.

We were going to play this with a bunch of special rules that would impact visibility and weapon ranges, but we decided in the interest of time (and given that we had already been gaming for 15+ hours over the space of two days) that we would keep it as a 250 point game of Grimdark Future: Firefight. The only special rule was that each player designated one unit as their Warlord. Killing the opponent’s Warlord would count as one objective.
This was to be the final battle to the campaign… [ul type=“disc”][li]If the Orc Marauders are the victor, the Dwarves opt to cut their losses and leave Roxon Prime, taking their mining operation elsewhere.[/li][li]If the Dwarves are the victor, the Orcs decide this fight is no longer worth their time and leave Roxon Prime, continuing their piracy elsewhere.[/li][li]If this game ends in a draw, the Orcs and Dwarves both give up on gaining any benefit from Roxon Prime and depart the planet.[/li][/ul]

The setting for this fight was a split between some old ruins and a newer outpost nearby. Our initial deployment:

This campaign was not sponsored by Deschutes. Deschutes, if you would like to sponsor future campaigns, please reach out to me.

A corridor of death. One of the few open areas of line of sight, at ground level, on the table.

End of game.
The Orcs managed to slay the Dwarf Rune Master, who dished-out quite a few wounds on his own, thanks to psychic powers that targeted multiple units at a time. With that kill, the Orcs pushed on to victory, and the Dwarves packed-up their mining operation to depart for another system.

@ironmike and I had a lot of fun with this campaign, and we cannot wait to play another one. Once things have been edited and cleaned-up, we plan to release the games with their guidelines and special rules to the community, so that you all can give it a try. We ended up using this final game as the first game in a Firefight Campaign that we will be playing, so look forward to battle reports and funny dwarf names coming from that in the future!

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