Warhammer Quest, The Castle Cellar Caper
As folks are aware, I’ve been on a massive Warhammer Quest drive this year. All sorts of goodies from heroes to boardgame tiles themselves. This time, I went all out. Wholly new miniatures and an entire scenario pack of gaming tiles. I bring you : The Castle Cellar Caper : A Junior Knight’s Bretonnian Adventure.
I finally printed out the tiles (though the printer shop set one page too dark) mounted them and got my man Nick around to have a game. We’ve worked out most of the rules to balance fun and survivability with some tension. Without further adieu, the game >
The Castle Cellar Caper
Jean edged forward into the gloom, his sister and younger brother just behind and their father’s faithful war hound ‘Duc alongside. The latter had been snuffling about the main door to the cellars all morning, largely ignored by the servants and guards, except Jean and Armand. They knew only something serious would hold the furry chaperone’s attention for that long.
“Perhaps tilt your helmet up you toad”
Jean snarled under his kettle helm, pushing it upward at the rim without change. His annoyance at Eloise was swamped by a growing caution. Armand bumped into him from behind,
“Sorry, juss’ can’t see either. This rots,” even in the gloom Jean could see an ‘Armand Pout’ ten leagues away.
“He’s right, if you’ve dragged me into some stupid rodent hunt, I’ll push the both of you down the long drop”
She was being a right damsel Jean thought; first she hauled them up for skulking about with their practice swords, figured their idea was more interesting than her tapestry lesson, then had them dress up in their custom made ceremonial armour. If you want to play Knights, you’ve got to look the part, she said. Girls, always playing dress ups.
Duc snorted loudly, then began to growl, the bass warble causing them to gather closer together.
The war hound ignored Eloise, lowering his massive head, eyes fixed at a point in the shadows. Something scuttled beyond.
Nodding ahead, Eloise brought her bow up. Jean followed her line of sight and saw them too, little men with spears. The figures were looking into the gloom just as confused as the siblings.
“You need to pay attention when Master Raston teaches, they’re little greenlings.”
“Really small ones” Armand added, agreeing by way of apparent knowledge.
They trio exchanged like glances. That part of the adventure had been unexpected. No doubt the cook or any number of duty guards had noted the door ajar and latched it merely out of routine. The siblings had been too far down the corridor to call out, so they chose to continue on and make a scene later.
“I agree, lets kick them in the shins” Jean grinned.
“Can I ride Duc?”
Jean and Eloise looked at their little brother, Duc turned about also, glowering.
Drawing his two handed short sword, Jean edged forwards, Duc padded alongside. Eloise notched an arrow and Armand hefted his ‘Kitten’ kite shield, stomping behind in a mood.
At that moment, the figures lowered their small pikes, squealed something unintelligible and charged.
Duc lunged at his attacker, grabbing the small creature in his mouth and shaking it violently. Jean dodge the other’s pike, hitting the greenling hard with the flat of his blade. It yelped and rolled over, unmoving.
“The third one!” Eloise shouted over him, but it was too late.
Everyone rushed forward without a thought. Until they swung open the door to the rightmost wine cellar room.
“That’s a goblin!” remarked Eloise, notching her bow again. But before she could fire the group was upon them.
“Gerroff!” grunted Jean, dodging hits. Duc bodily blocked a couple more, trying to get at the big goblin that was aiming to stab Jean. The first real scrap was on in earnest.
Jean fought quickly, not even thinking about the steps his father’s swordmaster had taught him. Blocking wooden clubs and smacking the green rotters with his blade easily knocked out the little ones. Suddenly he blocked a metal sword, now confronted by the goblin leering at him. Deftly he twisted the sword away and cut inward, his two hand short sword dug under the goblins armor, jarred then slid inward fast. The goblin gargled something and fell away.
“We got more!” Eloise replied, trying to sound calm, but her voice broke as a wave of snarling creatures came up behind them.
“Ow, stop it!” snapped Army, head butting his nearest opponent, who crumpled to the floor eyes rolling backward.
Another put up it’s fists and took a swipe at the youngest human.
Even more appeared, rushing past Eloise and Army toward Duc and Jean. A fistful of needles flew into the face of one, a shout of disgust from Eloise following behind. Jean cut another down while Army hid behind his shield as blows were deflected by both his ‘Kitten Shield’ and custom armour.
Eloise punched one rotter on the nose with a sick crunch, it too fell away. Everyone blocked fists and small wood sticks; then suddenly, they had beaten up everything coming out of the dark.
Duc sneezed, rolled an unconscious body over with his snout, then resumed sniffing the gloomy air. Eloise gave her brother a look;
Jean resisted at first, spiteful for being called out, then relented,
His smiled matched hers, Army grabbed one and shoved it in Duc’s face, then grabbed another but Duc licked that too.
Duc licked Army with raspberry crumbs and slobber, giving up when Army kept fending him off.
“We had best make sure,” reviewing the unconscious and unmoving greenlings she added, “we did okay here”
The next room had much the same, a nasty goblin surrounded by sneering little greenlings.
Everyone followed in with a shout, startling once snarling faces.
Duc chomped down hard on another that grabbed his collar. Then suddenly everyone was in the thick of it.
Jean dispatched a goblin to his delight, whilst Army’s custom armour warded several hits again. Before it even started, they were alone once more.
Something moved behind them.
Quickly they turned about, punches, shin kicks, arrows, pikes and all. One of the rotters stabbed Jean in his bum;
“Bum for a head eh Jean?” Eloise shouted, whacking her attacker on the head with the short bow.
Suddenly another pike stabbed out at Army, who hadn’t even seen the greenling sneak up on him..
..but Duc leapt between the little rotter and Armand, the blow glancing his flank. A bite later and the little greenling fell. Army fended off another attacker until an arrow flit past and sent his opponent into a stack of barrels.
A moment after the last attacker squealed and all was quiet in the dark cellar. Somewhat over their initial fear, the group quickly gathered together. Jean ate another muffin, giving some to Duc. Eloise gave Army a big hug and a kiss. His once quibbling lip steadied and he seemed a lot more cheery after the rumble they had just had.
Everyone nodded, the Duc snorted with his ears perking up. Quickly they filed out, opened the next door and discovered much the same. Duc took an instant dislike to the goblin task master inside.
Even a wall of minions didn’t stop the wily war hound fixing upon biting the nasty goblin, who spat out filthy verse and tried it’s best to intimidate everyone. Army tried to mimic the greenskin, but he couldn’t say such bad words. So began bashing a little rotter with his shield instead.
Duc finally got his goblin, the snarly nasty grouching even as he expired.
“He’s really naughty, father would smack his bottom too” added Army, surveying the bashed up cellar.
Suddenly everyone went quiet. They were all in for it and if they got really hurt, well that would be an epic telling off on top.
“Right, if they got in, we can probably get out that way too”
“True, good thinking sis”
Eloise smiled, gave Army a hug and followed out after Duc.
They made it back to the middle room where the goblin with it’s sack still lay unmoving, alongside an even smaller greenling had a heap of mushrooms stashed in another bag too.
They split up and looked about, Duc surprised a couple more greenlings, bit one and kept the other at bay. Just as he tossed the second, ragged and limp, down the corridor. Army shouted out;
Eloise came over, sniffed the air like Duc, the hound looking to her as if in agreement,
Hefting it aside, a ragged grubby hole was revealed. Voices in the gloomy tunnel escaped as did the smell of cured hams, corn and other foods.
“And out” added Eloise.
Duc quickly shimmied his big self through, coming up next to Jean on the other side of a musty, grubby tunnel. It was hand dug from the clay earth under their castle, the work was functional and just ahead a mob of greenlings and three goblin rotters, turned about.
Duc even whimpered, but snorted away his surprise and growled.
The green mob rushed them all, swarming about the group whilst the goblins moved on Jean and Duc. The torch owner thrust the flaming stick at Jean, who’s parrying blows sent sparks everywhere. The kids got hit by small punches and hard wooden sticks. It hurt and suddenly everyone began to shout and voices wavered. Army came out swinging, pricking rotters with his dagger. His fear made him throw the biggest hissy fit ever.
Jean kicked the torch bearer in the shins, causing him to drop the flaming stick and hop around hugging a smarting leg shouting;
Jean swung a wide arc, “Here then!” and lopped off the goblin’s leg.
Suddenly Duc found himself confronted by the biggest, hardest goblin they had seen yet. Whilst Jean had to contend with the barrel taker, barging about with the massive cask, he failed to see Duc struggling with the goblin leader, the rotter slashing Duc several times. Loyal as ever despite the danger, Duc kept the goblin away from the kids, leaping atop of him and biting hard on rotter’s bucket head.
Spinning about Eloise saw Duc yelp as another nasty stab hurt the war hound. But Duc remained between the goblin and his master’s pups.
Eloise, free of opponents thanks to Army’s shouting and stabbing, notched an arrow and aimed at the goblin,
A perfect shot, it perforated the rotter’s breastplate, straight into his little black heart. With a jerk it stopped fighting, glared at the little red haired girl and keeled over. Stone dead.
Duc was hurt, he whimpered and limped about, but before Eloise could hug him, or Jean could give the hound a muffin treat.. another mob of greenlings came up behind them, snarling and sneaking up on Army and Elle.
“You okay Jean?” Eloise hid her own bruises and cuts.
“No, one cut my leg, my arms really sore too..father’s going to kill us after this”
Suddenly the other end of the tunnel filled with silhouetted figures, the shadows rushing down from the tunnel entrance light.
“More ahead! I’m so sorry Army!” Jean cried out, fending blows from another lil’rotter.
“For D’Ardain! To the Children!” the shadows shouted.
Bursting upon the rumble, Hermie, Mousson and other watchmen chopped up greenlings with big axes and swords. The kids screamed in delight and relief as arrows whisked by, shafts pinioning small rotters like skewers. They were safe!
“My loves! Why!?” he squeezed hard, terrified and relieved at once.
They hugged him back, crying and chatting excitedly, forgetting a dozen smarting cuts and bruises.
In moments it had ended, the children were rushed up out of the tunnel leaving their father behind with his men at arms.
“Mousson?” Benoit turned from watching his children rushed to safety.
“There’s several dozen dead snotlings back there, even a few goblins. Your sons certainly have the makings for knighthood”
“Yet you seem perplexed?”
Shifting under his Lord’s gaze, Mousson answered uneasily,
Benoit eyed the nearly rounded tip, covered in goblin gore. The man was right, this was more than luck or even skill.
“Like Lady D’Ardain, rest her soul”
Benoit moved toward Duc, the tough war hound nursing a dozen wounds.
A big lick splashed across the Lord’s face, causing him to push the big friendly brute down.
Standing up he motioned for a couple of men to gather up the Duc,
“My Lord!” they both replied, eager to help the de facto mascot of the castle.
Looking about, Benoit eyed the dead greenskins. His children were lucky, if not for his scouts spying a trail that led to the tunnel, his distracting day’s hunt would have led him beyond chance to save his own children. Thankfully, and truthfully, the bond forged between the kids here would last longer than any wound they received. With a sigh of relief, he began to leave, making for the forest beyond and the last light of a long day.
The Players :
Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed the first adventure of my knight, Jean D’Ardain. Here are a few group shots of this stories main players :
The Meddling Kids :
The nasty rotters’
So, how did Nick and I play this out?
We aimed for fun and enough boosters to keep the kids going, whilst lack of skill and low wounds kept tension high. As for the rotters? Well we mixed it up a little. Treating them as individual monsters, but allowing the snotlings a chance to swarm about the kids; yet roll for whichever they targeted.
If they ganged up as usual, they would have killed one of the children quickly. We figure this more thematic, as the children are the same size, so the snotlings would be more willing to take them on individually. As it is, the kids got roughed up, Duc was on 1 wound at the end with Army, Elle and Jean only a couple each also. This wasn’t uncommon.
Additionally we made the snotling ‘Ambush’ into a roll off, either the snotlings got the drop on the kids or the kids surprised the snotlings and goblins while looting the cellar. Turned out to add an element of tension as to who gets to charge into the other?
The goblins were tough, but curiously Jean and the kids dispatched them more easily. However in this game Power Phase 1 rolls nearly ended in group kill. All the same, the odd shin kick, kitten shield block, muffins and flying pins helped carry the day. It was a fun scenario and we’re already cooking up another.
Best Game moments? Army’s slaying fest in the final turns, Jean shin kicking the torch goblin successfully. Eloise won best shot, scoring six then six to wound, bringing the goblin leader down in a single shot. Lady be blessed indeed! Duc’s timely intercept, also was perfect.
Thanks all! Tile set available for download soon!