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The halflings decide to do the following … the surviving sheriff will retreat back to the safety of Halfling C. Those companies will stay put. The elves would really like to fire their bows at those orcs, but instead they’re going to wheel back a bit. The other halflings are going to hold their ground. All of the halfling’s with missile weapons, except Halfling I and Halfling G, are going to concentrate fire on Orc A. Halfling I is going to fire on Orc G and Halfling G is going to fire on Orc H.
The orcs decide, in true orky fashion, to charge. Orc A is going to charge in to Halfling D – if Halfling B gets in the way, they’ll hack down the elves first. This will, they hope, free up Orc E to slam into the side of Halfling I, along with Orc G. Orc H is going to attack Halfling G. Orc B is going to fire at Halfling F and Orc C at Halfling E.
So, how does it play out?
Since the last report, I’ve modified the rules a bit to use normal side vs. side initiative which has to be re-rolled for each phase. For this missile phase, the orcs roll a ‘6’ and the halflings a ‘5’.
The orc crossbows let fly their bolts. Orc B scores no damage on Halfling F. Orc C inflicts 7 points of damage on Halfling E, whose leader, Merlyn, rolls his save and suffers no damage.
Orc A suffers 7 points of damage. Thundergut saves and suffers no damage. They’re battered, but they didn’t break! Halfling G scores 2 points of damage on Orc H, and sub-chief Nardo saves, so no damage. Halfling I is pretty ineffective against Orc G, scoring 5 points of damage. On the plus side, this is enough to force a moral check! The orcs, without their leader, fail the check and will begin moving away next round. The worg riders, who have been ordered to attack Halfling I, might be in trouble.
Orcs roll “1” and Halflings roll “1” – they re-roll initiative and this time the halflings win.
The elves move back, and everyone else holds. The orcs now have two forced moves. The Orc G swims for their own side of the river, while the fleeing ogres in Orc D run off the battlefield. Orc A charges into Halfling D, Orc E wheels into the flank of Halfling I and Orc H rushes up the river bank to attack Halfling G. Plenty of melee combat this round!
Orcs gain initiative this round, and they’re going to need it with three units already having fled or being in retreat.
Orc E plunges into Halfling I and scores 6 points of damage. Because they’re hitting the far flank, I’m going to rule that Father Godwin doesn’t have to save to avoid damage this round.
Orc A works their magic again … 14 points of damage on Halfling D. Finn, the leader of Halfling D, fails his save and is killed in the onslaught. The halflings now have to roll a morale check – they fail, and turn to flee. Because they’re in melee combat, they expose themselves to pursuit and an extra attack. The orcs score another hit, this one for 2 points of damage, reducing Halfling D’s hit points to 4.
Orc H, scrambling from the river fail to score any damage on Halfling G, who responds by scoring 3 points of damage on the yobbos.
Halfling I now counterattacks Orc E. They fail to score any damage.
No magic this round, so we go to …
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The halflings know they have to destroy Orc A to break the orc army. To that end, Halfling C is going to wheel and attack their flank while Halfling E does the same from the other direction. Halfling B is going to wheel back and wait for an opening. Halfling H is going to join battle with Orc H. Halfling F sling their stones at Orc B. Halfling I is going to maneuver while in melee – essentially, they’re going to change formation this round into a square.
Orc B and C are not going to reload this round, but rather hustle towards the lines. The orc chief needs orcs on the line to hold the bank and claim victory. Orc E and H are going to continue to attack, and Orc A is going to wheel and hit Halfling C in its flank. Clearly, initiative will be important this round.
No initiative this round, since only the halflings are shooting. Halfling F scores 5 points of damage on Orc B. Sub-chief Gruk fails his save and suffers the same – he’s a tough old bird, though, and keeps on breathing.
Big initiative roll this round, and the orcs win it! Orc B and C move forward. They might end up being too late to do any good. Orc A wheels and moves into Halfling C’s flank. Orc G makes it out of the water on their way to flee the field.
Meanwhile, Halfling D continues to flee and Halfling E wheels and charges into the rear of Orc A. Halfling B wheels and moves back. Halfling H moves to attack Orc H.
Orcs lose initiative this time to the halflings. The plucky Halfling C, flanked by the orcs, manages to score 2 points of damage on the blackguards. Halfling E, despite a rear attack and charge, score no damage. The orcs still have 11 hit points, so they don’t have to check morale yet. But the halfling leaders do some damage as well. Samwinn and Merlyn inflicts another 2 hit points of damage on Orc A – now they have to make a morale check and fail badly. This is probably it for the orcs. They immediately flee back for the river ford, and Halfling E pursues (C choose not to), but fails to score any more damage. Thundergut failed his save, and suffered 4 points of damage as well.
Halfling I continues to fight at a disadvantage against Orc E, and scores no damage.
Halfling G and H attack Orc H, combining for 4 points of damage (tough little buggers, those halfling slingers). Sub-chief Nardo fails his save this time, and takes a shiv to the ribs. He’s dead, but I’ve rewritten the rules so that the loss of a leader does not necessitate a morale check.
The orcs (what’s left of them) counterattack. Orc E scores 8 points of damage on Halfling I. They’re one point away from a morale check. Orc H scores 2 points of damage against Halfling G. Muriel fails her save and suffers 2 points of damage. Halfling G is down by at least 50% of their hit points, so they roll a morale check and pass. They stand and fight.
No magic again, so the end of round six!
At the end of Round Six, the battlefield is a bit chaotic, but the halflings seem to have the upper hand. Even if Thundergut rallies his blackguards, they’re going to have trouble turning the tide. We’ll give this day to the halflings. I learned quite a bit from this little demonstration, and I’m now ready to apply what I learned to the final mass combat rules in Blood & Treasure.