What are the best and worst experiences you’ve had on the battlefield? What did you learn from those experiences?
Had an amazing duel with a herald of elionaris in the woods one battle. It’s not normally encoraged but we both found ourselves cut off from the rest of the battle so single combat it was. Very cinematic, good RP throughout. Managed to feel badass when I told him when he got back to the summer realm, give elionaris my regards… and then as I was walking away someone else looted him and got a fistful if mana crystals . So lessons learned. Always loot the elite monsters.
The worst experience I had on the battlefield was my previous character as part of the doughnut of death at e4 2018. I survived, but a lot of characters that needn’t have died did so, due to the adoption of a conceptually faulty set of tactics. From this I learnt that when fighting the Druj (I mean this applies to any foe, but especially them), passivity and yielding control of space and time to a fluidly manoeuvring enemy is death, attack attack attack impose yourself on the enemy, keep them reacting to you, gain momentum and don’t relinquish it. Individuals fight better and more confidently when the higher level organisation and tactics are correct, and vice versa.
My best battlefield experience was battling the Jotun in the woods of Kharaman at e3 2019. Urizen fought really well, used the combined arms force of heavy and battlemage troops cleverly, fought with focused aggression, brains and cooperation with other nations in a really effective and on-brief way. Two moments that stick in the mind are using our shattermage squad to thin out a line of Yegarra to the point the heavy Spear Sentinels could bust through and slaughter them, and an awesome split manoeuvre in conjunction with a Varushkan assault column. Arete!
Some years ago, during that really hot summer… which was IC the Mournwold campaign. A lovely critical point in a campaign coming down to a few minutes…
Campaign map: We had to retake the Mournwold… so much had been put into it already… five Jotun armies in were retreat, desperate for supply and reinforcement…
Battle map: We hold these 3 stones, we cut them off. And five enemy armies wither and die…
Skirmish level: Dawn had gone for the furthest stone. After an hour of fighting, we were pushed back. Exhausted, we slumped at the edge of the clearing, outnumbered by the Jotun propping each other up by the stone. Temperature 25 degrees+ in the shade. Heavy armour, masks, helms… both sides were knackered. Panting, steaming with our own sweat, our limbs heavy and heads low. The commanders talking behind me:
“We don’t have the numbers to retake the stone…”
“We don’t need the numbers. DAWN! On your feet and prepare to CHARGE!”
And with fire in our eyes and a last burst of crazed adrenaline, we swept across the clearing (while the Jotun muttered “f***ing Dawn again…”), and knocked them back, siezing the objective.
Lesson learnt: Bold aggressive action, especially when your enemy thinks you beaten, can be decisive.
Here’s another from the monstering side:
I was playing a Grendel skirmisher (sword, buckler, light scale armour). On the edge of the field, a bunch of (heavily armed) Marchers had downed some other Grendel, and were finishing them off. I ran in, got in a couple of blows in passing on a guy in plate, down on one knee, as I ran past… only for him to turn and rise and spin and extend his greatsword in a great sweeping arc and catch me solidly across the ribs with an IMPALE. Only in medium armour, I screamed and threw myself into the air in a spin, coming down in a crumpled heap. (Orc dead before he hit the floor).
After time-out, I passed through the Marches camp and saw him, and congratulated him on his move. He remembered me and thanked me for my monstering.
Lesson: While monstering, don’t play as disposable orc spod N#427. But if you do get killed by the PCs, and you have time, make it dramatic. If they’ve earned that kill, make them feel it was worth it
The first event of 2018. The battlefield was an inch deep in water. The woods were pretty much completely unusable.
My take away was that some of our players and monsters honestly don’t care and will happily get soaked, whilst many people were very understanding and appreciative that we ran a battle at all!
E4 2019 and the Sunday battle to hold a fort against a Jotun onslaught. Watching an amazingly dynamic battle play out from my eyrie as the various forces pushed or held ground.
My takeaway here was that the Jotun as designed can work amazingly well but are not always going to be able to play to their strengths.
Worst? Another doughnut of death experience. Being doughnutted when you’re meant to be a skirmisher sucks as you lose all your manoeuvrability. That said, we were able to stay alive thanks to maintaining space, making short aggressive pushes to clear room behind and between us so we didn’t collapse on each other as I’ve seen, and had, happen on other occasions. It was bad, but it could have been much worse.
Best: First solo command on a reasonably large multi-nation skirmish. Two pronged attack on a fort using a combination of deception and raw-aggression. I went down multiple times in that fight and burned through a small mountain of potions and hero points and even then it was a close thing until the end. We came out of it without losing anyone and that was a great feeling, especially with such a disparate force.
- If you make a decision, commit to it until another decision is made. If you need to attack then you do so. Don’t stand off and exchange taps. Attack, hold or disengage, but don’t do one when you mean to be doing the other.
- Aggression and smarts win fights.
- Be aggressive, even when on the defensive.
- Stay nimble. If you can’t move, you’re dead.
OC: You will make mistakes. Own them, learn from them and move on. This may involve misunderstanding a rule, getting carried away and putting too much weight behind a blow, giving a bad order. Just learn from them. And if you get pulled up by a player or a ref, don’t be a tool about it. Acknowledge the feedback and own it.
I remember getting on the battlefield being a relief and an improvement in ground solidity compared to Anvil at e1 2018!
Worst experience for me isn’t from any particular battle, more a general understanding that you may well go onto the field with only a vague understanding of the objectives, stand around for an hour or so and then walk off an hour later without really making contact with the enemy.
No real issue, just something to keep in mind depending on your nation, battlefield role, the mission and just that particular day.
The best fights were in the forests at tournament stud. The limited visibility and groups getting turned around meant the battles always felt dynamic, and like you could be cut off at any moment.
A fun moment was early in when the orcs captured the banner of another group in our nation and were slowly walking it off field. Seeing a gap in their lines we challenged one of our newest members to go and get the banner back so we could ransom it ourselves. Heroically he charged forwards, weaving between the scattered orcs, while we put on hers as to whether he’d make it, until mere inches from the banner bearer a stray arrow caught him and down he went.
I think we eventually rescued him…
Best? Being nominated the head of the family unit during the fight to retake Reikos. Being properly second line, directing fighters, and at one point extracting my unit from the front so we could run into a fort to help stop the Highborn forces be ground into a pulp and being part of the wave who turned the tide. While high on a Courage anointing.
Second best? Malachi’s death. Trying to protect a sibling, being rescued moments after my death count ran out, playing terminal through the rest of the battle and for half an hour afterwards.
Up there was Renata challenging a Jotun line to take her on in order to distract them from what was going on somewhere else.
Worst? There have been a few where it’s been line fight after line fight with no real clue why we’ve been sent to where we are. ‘Hurry up an wait’ times where we’ve been sent to somewhere and then nothing happened and we have to sprint somewhere else.
Also the time I properly twisted my ankle in a rabbit hole but honestly that was my fault for going out when I’d already sprained it.
Learning points are really: listen to your body: when you are OC broken, don’t push your luck.
Honestly, when I’m monstering and players put some flair into executing me, it really makes the fight shine. Gloat at me, do some last rites, hack at me with a knife, rip at my throat with your teeth, whatever’s cool. It’s only a few moments of RP, but it can be so, so cool and when players go that little extra distance, I notice and its appreciated.
Running out of HP when it is very wet and muddy, and having to put my torso - that I had hoped to keep dry and mud-free - on the floor. That’s nobody’s fault, though, and sometimes larp happens in the rain.
To get the first worst out of the way, My first time ever monstering I was absolutely hammered by one guy not pulling his punches, I didn’t even lose all my hp before I hit the ground so the guy would stop, and then he stepped on my hand. So all in all… Not great! I guess I learned that when you hit the ground take up as little space as possible, don’t sprawl your limbs.
The best time though is tough to say~ Once me and a random Yeoman from dawn were behind the enemy line, we shook hands and ran down eachothers skills and made a break for it… two Joton got wise, took out one then the last one we captured and held at knife point as we demanded passage past the group upahead before we both turned and ran like mad for Imperial forces!
From this I learned you shouldn’t always stick with your mates~ get lost… meet some people and who knows what will happen! Also get creative- most players will let your mad plans happen.