Sunday, 24 November 2013

[Ronin] Who's Got the Buddha?

In getting ready for our semi-regular Saturday night game, the discussion turned to playing Ronin - the Skirmish game from Osprey set in the Age of the Samurai. Jonathan and Chris expressed a preference for playing a Samurai Buntai and I mentioned that I had only painted a couple of samurai and monks, but that I had completed four Dixon bakemono. As Malcolm has a tengu Buntai he converted from Games Workshop Lord of the Rings Goblins and Wargames Factory Samurai bits, John suddenly had a cunning idea for a Ronin game with a twist. This is the email I received:

You and Malcolm are the Goblins! see the last tab [of the excell spreadsheet buntai-maker], and feel free to play with the numbers to a total of <400pts. Tengu have light armour so they can fly, other gobbos have warty-skin armour. The Tengu have Fly (in their case long wing-assisted hops), which gives the movement of a horse. They can cross high things like palisades and houses at half speed. Those circumstances that would lead to falling from a horse are crashing... The Goblins have possession of a gold-coated Buddha statue which they have concealed in a deserted village. They have heard a party of humans is coming to retrieve it..... Victory goes to the possessor of the statue at the end of the game. Getting the statue off the board is victory for the humans. The goblins cannot touch the statue (they got the peasants to hide it, before eating them). The human party think that bandits have taken the statue. Once the terrain is set up, the goblins can conceal themselves anywhere on the table (where there is cover, of course) or programme to come on any side on a set turn.
Happy Buddha is happy
Now, we've been playing Bushido and Land of the Rising Sun - two fine Roleplaying games - together, off and on, for years and the set-up was just like one of those games. As it happened, my wife gave me a little resin buddha she just happened to have and so, with a quick paint job, the object of the game was prepared.

John has given some thought to how magical creatures might be represented in Ronin and here is his thoughts on Tengu and Bakemono.


ClassRankCPInitiativeFightShootArmourBase ptsWeaponsOptionsOption ptsAttributesAttribute ptsTotal pointsQtyLine total
Bakemono-sho
1
2
2
2
1
Medium
18
Katana
weapon @3
Tough
18
2
36
Dai-Bakemono
3
3
3
3
2
Heavy
27
Katana + wakizashi
weapon @3
3
Tough Budo@3
3
33
2
66
Tengu
3
3
3
3
2
Light
37
Katana + wakizashi
Yari @3
3
Acrobatic, Kenjutsu, fly, acrobatic
40
6
240
O-dengu
5
5
4
5
3
Light
52
Katana + wakizashi
Yari @3
Commander, Acrobatic, Inexorable, intuition, kenjutsu, fly
52
1
52
394
South-East-Happy-Village-47 - a deserted village.
Chris and Jonathan had charge of a Samurai buntai. The Local Magistrate informed them that a Golden Statue of the Buddha had been abducted from a religious procession by some impious bandits. Chris and Jonathan's buntai were to investigate South-East-Happy-Village-47 (an abandoned farming village) to see if the Bandits had hidden the statue of the Buddha in its environs.

South-East-Happy-Village-47 has hills to the west and north, an old orchard to the east, a swamp to the south and an abandoned paddy field to the south-east. The orchard, swamp and paddy field count as light cover while the peasant huts are heavy cover.

The four bakemono had been left in the large house by the tengu. The tengu, themselves, were roosting in the northern end of the orchard, where they had stashed the Buddha, while digesting their meal of peasant. The stage was set, and the trap was baited.

The Samurai enter from the west and from the east
Chris' buntai approached the village from the north-west, while Jonathan's group approached from the west. Meanwhile, John's buntai approached from the east. Much to our surprise, and amusement, part of his buntai came on at the middle of of the orchard. Unfortunately for him, he couldn't see through to the northern end of the orchard, where the tengu were.

"What's that strange noise .... <gak>?"
With a flutter of wings, strange shapes dropped out of the trees around John's men.

"Tengu!"


Hearing the ruckus, Chris and Jonathan's buntai rushed towards the village. Chris' ashigaru archers pass by the north of the red house while Jonathan's men check the small, south-western house. One poor ashigaru is sent to check the old paddy field for hidden buddhas.

"Hey, guys? Guys? What's happening in there?"
Two of John's ashigaru archers cautiously approached the southern end of the wood, just as everything went strangely quiet.

"Hah! Those Samurai weren't much chop!"
At about this time, just as Jonathan's samurai were approaching the large house, four horrific figures burst out of a side door.


Two bakemono with yari and tetsuebo.


And two Dai-bakemono with naginata and katana.


Throwing themselves at the approaching samurai, the battle was vicious, and short.


Meanwhile, the tengu began to cautiously emerge from the orchard.


Realizing that the stupid bakemono had got themselves into trouble, two tengu were dispatched to assist them.


The tengu were too late, the hatamoto and his boys had already dealt with the impetuous, and hapless, bakemono.

"I have a bad feeling about this."

"Eat Otherworld Yari, humi ... ow!
One tengu was swiftly overcome, the other used his acrobatics to avoid being double-teamed by the samurai but was eventually caught and slain.

"Dagnammit! I knew we should have studied kyujutsu."
The tengu in the orchard now found themselves a little bit trapped. With archers firing at them whenever they came near the edge of the orchard, they eventually charged the archers and the leader of the buntai on the slopes of the northern hill - hoping to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat by taking him out.


Which goes to show that even the best laid plans of goblins and men can often go awry. Victory to the humans.

All in all, a fun scenario and a fun game.