The siege of Ostenhofen pt1

A Savage Worlds Warhammer Fantasy Battles mashup.

In this game, I want to try my To the Battlements! hex flower game engine as a roleplaying and wargaming aid.

We continue back from where we left our group from Night of the blood. Bianka, Evie, Gustav and Rudiger have been arrested by the roadwardens (8 of them) and are being escorted to Ostenhofen, to be interrogated regarding what happened at the Hooded Man.

Brew! Brew! Stir the pot!

Here I go with another custom homebrew, I will be doing something quite radical for my end. I will be using the Warhammer Fantasy Battle 4ed rules to run this game, mixed with Savage Worlds for the roleplaying aspect.
I will re-design my characters to savage worlds and use the following live conversion of WHFB to SW whenever I need to scale in or out.

WS Fighting
BS Shooting
S Strength
T Vigor
1 d4-2
2 d4
3 d6
4 d8
5 d10
6 d12
6+ d12+

I will be using a homebrew Wild Card rule from SW. Wild Card characters get to roll a Wild Die in WHFB with every roll and can choose to use the best result.
Double 1s are critical failure though, and something bad happens.

I decide that the Orcs will have 10000 warhammer points, while the Empire a mere 3000.
I roll that the supplies of the defenders will last them 3d6 weeks: 6. That’s tough.

The forested countryside slowly gives in to small farms and barn houses. In the distance, the tall walls of Ostenhofen are visible.

Q: Is the party tied up?
A: No
Q: Do they have their weapons? (Unlikely)
A: Yes

Despite the road warden’s initial suspicions, Evie has managed to convince them that they had nothing to do with the massacre and that since the roads are dangerous, they should get to keep their sidearms just in case they are attacked.
The road wardens finally gave in to her threats of notifying her father and the prince if they wouldn’t do as she said. Nevertheless they would take them to Ostenhofen for a proper debrief.
A short while later they are in the inquisitor’s office. That’s when they hear the distant sound of horns blowing. The party exchanges looks with the warden and the inquisitor, in an effort to find out if they heard correctly. Then they hear it again, and again. The horns were blown three times. It’s an assault! The temple bells start ringing in the city. Slowly they head outside.

Q: Is it the orcs?
A: Yes

People are running in all directions. “It’s the orcs! The orcs are coming!!!” The crier is shouting at the square, ringing his bell. “Man the battlements. Bring your families inside!”.
The inquisitor turns to Evie. “Right now we need every man -or woman- capable of yielding a sword.” He looks at the wardens. “You are free to go. We will speak again after the greenskins are defeated.”

Battlefield roll: 2,2=4 -> 4, Plains.
Event triggered: 3,6=9 -> 6, Deserters. I roll, 60 Halberdiers will flee.
Bianka: Notice (d8): 6: Success.

As the town crier keeps warning people, Bianka notices a large group of able bodied men making their way silently out of the square, towards the gates, that are flooding with people coming inside.
“Rudiger, you were a soldier, correct?”
Rudiger grunts and nods, Bianka continues. “What are the odds these men are soldiers leaving their posts?”.
Evie catches wind of their conversation. “These men need to do their duty, like the rest of us!” She steps next the the crier, and yells.

Evie: Persuasion (d10+4): 8: Success with a Raise. Uncooperative -> Friendly. 45 out of 60 men will stay and fight.

“You there. You have families. What do you think will happen to them when the Orcs reach us? You think you can outrun their Wolf riders? Our and your only chance is if we stand and fight them together! But maybe I am wrong and you don’t care about the others, maybe you are just afraid! Do you care to challenge that a woman wears the pants better than you do?!”
The crowd around the group of deserters has dispersed and people are staring, mumbling “cowards”. Humiliated, most of the deserters, bow their heads and head back towards the barracks. A few, unmotivated, blend in the crowd and flee.

Q: Did her speech make her stand out to the command? (Likely)
A: Yes

A weary man wearing a breastplate, with a sword and a pistol around his belt shows up. He wears a cape with the colors of Ostenhofen.
“Excellent speech out there. May I ask your name?” He asks her.
Gustav intervenes. “She is lady Evie Vogel. We have an invitation by Prince Ingmar.”
Evie smiles. “And who you may be?” She asks.
“I am Captain Volkmar Goldfarb. The prince is otherwise disposed, but I can see that you are in dire need of some lodgings and clean water. You will need it, we’re going to be in here for some time.” The captain says, and orders his ensign to get the party taken care of.

Evie is with Captain Volkmar at the battlements. In the far distance they can barely see the orc camp. They have advanced and taken hold of a large position in front of the city.
“The scouts have given us an estimation of their numbers. Their force is more than three times ours, but we have heavy walls. The orcs are impatient. If the siege holds out for long, they will disperse. We must do our best to hold the line. Unfortunately, Ostenhofen is a large city, and I can’t see how our supplies will last without rationing.” The captain confesses his troubles to Evie.

Battlefield roll: 10 -> 1, Camp. 5 Weeks of supplies.
Battlefield roll: 10 -> 1, Camp. 4 Weeks of supplies.

A couple weeks pass with the orcs in place. Are they scouting? Are they gathering more forces for the attack? The Ostenhofeners can do nothing but wait, while their stocks are dwindling.

Battlefield roll: 8 -> 16, Granary.

Evie wakes up to the sound of orcs yelling Waaaagh! As the bells sound the alarm. She finds Captain Volkmar sending men to the north part of the city.
“They found a side entrance to the outer city and entered by stealth! Our granary stores are there! We must defend it!”

50 orcs in 5 ranks of 10 are trying to win ground in the Main Street in front of the granary. They are wearing chain armor and are armed with curved swords and shields.
Holding them off are 24 halberdiers in 3 ranks of 8.
The rear street is threatened by 70 goblins with spear and shield, held off by 24 crossbowmen. The crossbowmen have taken a strategic point of stairs so that more than one rank can shoot at the goblins.
Civilians are carrying the supplies from the granary back to the inner wall.
The granary needs 6 turns to empty if both entrances are secured. If one steet is lost, then the entrance must be blocked to ensure the intruders don’t kill the civilians who carry the supplies. If one entrance is lost, double the remaining time.

Captain Volkmar is commanding the halberdiers. Besides him is his standard bearer, bearing the flag with the Red Wolf.
Evie and her entourage are inside the granary, to protect the civilians from any orc strugglers who break off combat to wreak havoc inside.

Empire point count:
Captain Volkmar (Champion, Pistol, Heavy Armor): 35
24 Halberdiers (Halberd, Light Armor): 9 X 24 = 216
Unit Standard: 10 points
24 Crossbowmen: 10 X 24 = 240 points
Total: 501 points

Orcs Point Count:
They will start with more than 500 points and more will join on two waves in reserve up to 1500 total.
70 Goblin Spearmen: 3,5 X 70 = 245
50 Orc Warriors: 8,5 X 50 = 425
Total: 670

Turn 1:
Initiative: Empire A♥️, Orcs A♣️.

Empire turn:
Crossbowmen: 10 Hits: 8 Wounded: No save. 62 Goblins remain.
Halberdiers: 4 Hits: 1 Wounded: No save.
Captain Volkmar: 1 Hit, 1 Pistol Hit: Wounded, Wounded: 2 Saves.
Orcs: 5 Hits: 1 Wounded: 1 Save.
Orcs have lost the combat by 1. Roll break test: 9: Fail. The orcs are broken!
They flee: 2d6″: 4″
The halberdiers pursuit: 2d6″: 5″
They slaughter the Orcs.

Q: Do any Orcs or Goblins out of formation manage to enter the granary? (Unlikely)
A: False Presupposition
There are no orcs or goblins out of formation except the broken troops.

The crossbowmen release a volley of bolts towards the small greenskins that approach their higher ground. Some little goblin shields are shattered, others are pierced through, and in the end 8 of the greenskins lie dead, trampled under their brethren feet who push forward despite the losses.
On the other side of the granary, Captain Volkmar and his halberdiers despite being severely outnumbered, hold fast against the orcs. The two sides are locked in combat, exchanging blows. The city street doesn’t help for much maneuver.
Only one orc falls under the halberdiers, but the greenskins falter under their enemies resolve. Feeling there is no chance to break through the ranks, they turn and flee.
They don’t make it far. Squished in the narrows of the city, the halberdiers reach them and finish them off one by one. Their cries echo in the alleys.

Orc turn:
Animosity: 5, No effect
The Goblin’s move 8″ closer, to 17″.

Q: Do the orcs receive reinforcements? (Likely)
A: Yes
Q: Has the halberdiers defensive position been compromised by their pursuit?
A: No, and they are in a better position now. The civilians can transfer the grain in more safety.
Q: How many points Orcs will join?
A: 200-600: 300 points
Q: What distance?
A: 3d6: 11″
9 Orc War Boar Riders join the fray. They wear light armor and carry spears and shields.
Orc Boar Rider: 27 X 10 = 243 points.
It’s led by a Black Orc Boss.
Black Orc Boss: 54 Points
Total Points: 297

Turn 2:
Initiative: Empire J♥️, Orcs: 7♦️.

Empire Turn:
Crossbowmen: 10 Hits: 7 Wounded. No save. 55 Goblins remain.
The Halberdiers hold position.
Bianka climbs to the top of the granary to get a shot at the goblins.

Orc Turn:
Animosity: Goblins: 4, No animosity, The Orcs are led by a Black Orc and don’t suffer from animosity.
The Goblins move another 8″ to a distance of 9″ from the crossbowmen.
The Orcs charge at the halberdiers.
Distance: 11″, Charge max at 14″, they make contact.
Orcs: 6 Hits: 3 Wounded. No Save.
War Boars: 8 Hits: 6 Wounded. 1 Save.
The Black Orc Boss attacks Captain Volkmar: 2 Hits: 1 Wound. No save.
The entire front rank of the Halberdiers is decimated. They can’t fight back. The Red Wolf standard is captured by the Orcs.
17 Halberdiers remain.
7 Halberdiers fallen, and Captain Volkmar. Break Test: Automatic Fail. The flee 2d6″: 9″. The Orcs pursuit at 3d6: 6″! They fail to catch up.

With another volley of fire, the Goblin ranks are further reduced, but they move on still certain they can win the fight.
On the Main Street, Captain Volkmar and his men are enjoying their victory, as 20 sets of eyes glitter in the dark ahead. They hear a loud growl and they feel the ground tremble underneath. “Waaaagh!” The orcish warcry resounds.
Orcs, riding war boats charge at them. Leading their line is a tougher, larger orc, with skin black as the night.
The halberdiers look at each other. “Hold the line!” Captain Volkmar yells as the riders lower their spears aiming for them. “Brace for Impact!” Comes the Captain’s second order.
Within seconds everything turns into a bloodbath. The Black Orc has sent his spear through the skull of the captain. Next to him the halberdiers are crushed under the charge. Several are sent into the air by the war boars. A few others are skewered by the tips of the orcish spears.
Through the charge, an orc rider manages to get hold of the Red Wolf banner and carries it, taunting the troops.
The halberdiers falter. They turn their backs and run back, the Orcs pursuing them fast. The bodies of the fallen provide an obstacle to the boar riders who fail to reach the broken unit.

Turn 3:
Initiative: Empire 9♥️, Orcs K♠️

Orc Turn:
Animosity: Goblins: 3: No animosity.
Goblins move a further 8″ towards the crossbowmen to a distance of 1″.
Orcs charge at the halberdiers. Halberdiers: Flee: 2d6″: 6″+3″ from previous round: 9″ distance. The charge is 14″. They are caught and slaughtered.

Empire turn:
Crossbowmen: 15 Hits: 11 Wounded. No saves. 44 goblins remain.
Evie, Gustav and Rudiger try to bar the main gate from the inside.
Group roll to lift the heavy wooden beam to bar the gate, with Rudiger as lead.
Evie: Strength (d4): 2: Fail
Gustav: Strength (d6): 3: Fail
Rudiger: Strength (d8): 6: Success
They manage to bar the gate.
Bianka shoots at the Orcs with her sling.
Shoots twice: 2 Hits: No wounded.
So we had 2/6 Turns of full grain transfer and it will need 8-1: 7 more turns now to complete, at Turn #10.

With a second charge, the orc boar riders sweep through the remaining halberdiers, trampling, hacking and crushing them.
On the other side of the street, the goblins advance dangerously close to the crossbowmen, under a continuous volley of fire.
In the granary, Rudiger, assisted by Evie and Gustav, bar the heavy granary gates. Rudiger feels as if he carried the entire beam by himself. Bianka hits twice at an orc boar rider with her sling, but the bullet doesn’t manage to hurt the tough greenskin.

Turn 4:
Initiative: Empire 9♣️, Orcs 9♦️

Orc Turn:
Animosity: Goblins: 1: Animosity: 6! “We’ll Show ’em”. They charge at the Crossbowmen.
Goblins: 6 Hits: 3 Wounded: No Saves.
Crossbowmen: 3 Hits: 2 Wounded: No Saves.
Goblins battle score: 3+3 = 6.
Crossbowmen battle score: 2+2 = 4.
Crossbowmen break test: 9 + (6 – 4) = 11 > 7. The Crossbowmen are broken and flee!
Crossbowmen glee: 2d6″: 4″.
Goblins pursuit: 2d6″: 8″. The crossbowmen are destroyed.
The Orc riders try to destroy the barred gate.
It will have 5 damage points and a Toughness of 6.
Orcs: 2 Damage. Black Orc: 1 Damage. Boars: 3 Damage. The door is destroyed.

Empire Turn:
The party, realizing all is lost, tries to make a run for it and leaves through the side street of the building, while Bianka will try to hide from the rooftops.

The goblins start to squabble, when suddenly they realize that the best way to prove who is the best, is by crushing their enemy. They charge so quickly that the crossbowmen have no chance to react with another volley. The men draw their swords and close combat ensues. The goblins fight fiercely though, and even though a couple of them fall under the sword, they cause more casualties, and supported by the sheer wave of numbers, they push through. The crossbowmen break, and try to run, but the sneaky creatures catch up to them and pierce and thrust with their spears, until noone is left alive.
On the other side of the granary, the orcs bash and hack at the barred gate with all their might. It tries to hold, but the sheer weight of the war boars is enough to break the wooden beams, and the orcs rush inside.
Rudiger grabs Evie and Gustav and they retreat quickly from the other entrance, while Bianka shifts in the shadows, trying to find an opening from the rooftop.

Battle resolution:
Remaining Empire Points: 3000 – 501 = 2499
Remaining Orc Points: 10000 – 523 = 9477
Only half of the granary stores were saved. 1 week of supplies lost, for 2 remaining weeks.

Since there are no units left anymore, I’m switching to SW rules now to run a chase. I will be using SWEX rules for the chase as it accommodates theater of the mind better, and my space is limited at the time.
A 5-turn chase makes sense, since the orcs are willing to hunt the team, but not go to deep into enemy lines.

Turn 1:
Evie: Agility (d6): 3: No card
Gustav: Agility (d4): 5: 8♠️ Long range, no attack
Rudiger: Agility (d8): 5: 5♣️: Complication Major Obstacle: Agility (d8-2): 7: Success. Long range, no attack
Orcs: Riding (d6+2): 7: 7♠️. Long range, no attack
Goblins: Agility (d6): 1: No card

Turn 2:
Evie: Agility (d6): 5: K♦️ Melee range
Gustav: Agility (d4): 5: 10♣️: Complication Major Obstacle: Agility (d4-2): 3: Fail, Benny: 1: Fail, Benny: 1: Fail. He gains on fatigue level. Long range, no attack
Rudiger: Agility (d8): 3: No card
Orcs: Riding (d6+2): 6: Q♠️, Medium range, no attack
Goblins: Agility (d6): 2: No card
Evie attacks an orc: Fighting (d8): 4: Miss

Turn 3:
Evie: Agility (d6): 5: Joker, Melee range
Gustav: Agility (d4-1): 2: No action
Rudiger: Agility (d8): 5: J♦️, Medium range, no attack
Orcs: Riding (d6+2): 10: 6♦️ Long range, no attack
Goblins: Agility (d6): 3: No card
Evie attacks an orc: Fighting (d8+2): 11: Hit with Raise. Damage: 11: Shaken

Turn 4:
Evie: Agility (d6): 9: Joker, Melee range
Gustav: Agility (d4-1): 2: No action
Rudiger: Agility (d8): 6: J♠️, Medium range, no attack
Orcs: Riding (d6+2): 7: 5♠️ Long range, no attack
Goblins: Agility (d6): 11: 10♦️Long range, no attack
Evie attacks an orc: Fighting (d8+2): 7: Hit. Damage: 9: Shaken again, Wounded.

Turn 5:
Evie: Agility (d6): 5: K♣️, Melee range. Complication: Distraction: Can’t attack.
Gustav: Agility (d4-1): 1: No action
Rudiger: Agility (d8): 7: 4♥️ Long range, no attack
Orcs: Riding (d6+2): 6: 8♥️ Long range, no attack
Goblins: Agility (d6): 2: No action
The chase ends.

As the party flees in the city, the black orc boss points his spear towards them and three boar rides charge after them. A handful of the goblins break off their slaughter of the broken unit and join in the pursuit.
The team has a distinct advantage, having covered some distance already, and the rear alley streets don’t help the pursuers. Gustav, being the less fit of the three, sprains his foot a bit, and he makes double the effort to catch up. Seeing as an orc boar rider has come close to him, Evie, lies in wait behind a corner and lunges at him with her short sword, performing a couple slashes that are enough to leave him down, blood dripping.
Seeing that they can’t cover the distance in time, and they have already lost sight of their main group, the orcs and goblins take pause. The inner city walls are visible already and they don’t want to become target practice. They break off and return to their army.
Evie, Rudiger and Gustav all breathe a sigh of relief.

Back to Bianka now. Since out of combat the rules state that she moves 5 times the normal distance, again I will require 5 total successful rolls. The first one will be to escape the granary, and the 4 last ones will be to reach safe distance.
Bianka: Stealth (d6+2): 7: Success, she flees in the darkness and avoids the goblins.
Bianka: Stealth (d6+2): 11: Success with raise, she finds an opening in the gutter and flees from the undercity.
Bianka: Stealth (d6+4): 9: Success with raise, she finds an opening far away from the battle, and gets back on the street.
Bianka: Stealth (d6+4): 8: Success with raise, she moves completely unnoticed.
Bianka: Stealth (d6+4): 9: Success with raise, she moves completely unnoticed.

Bianka makes no sound as the goblins enter the granary. A few are holding torches, ready to burn the place down, but a big bad black orc doesn’t let them and kicks the tiny greenskins away. He seems to want to keep the supplies for the orc troops.
Taking advantage of the fuss, and of the pursuit of her teammates, Bianka slips away in the back alley behind the granary. Quickly she finds the entrance to the sewers. A big city like Ostenhofen has a huge network running underneath. She knows that the inner city shouldn’t connect there directly, since that would be a defense flaw. The stench doesn’t bother her, and she enters the sewers, taking care to close the grate behind her. Like an experienced rat catcher, she finds her way, and makes it back to the surface a couple of blocks away from the inner city walls. The battle is away from her, and she makes her way to the gate.

Session Background: I know that this wasn’t pure Solo Roleplaying, since it had serious aspects of Solo Wargaming, but I think it fits the bill.
It took me a while to make this work, and this is the final working result. At first I was trying to create a homebrew WHFB rpg system and convert my characters to that. It didn’t work. In the end I decided to go ahead with the SW/WHFB Focus In/Focus Out aspect, and I think it worked out pretty well.
Another mistake I did was trying to scale up the combat to more realistic numbers, like 500 Orcs instead of 50, in a single unit. Warhammer isn’t meant to run this type of battle and it quickly got out of hand, so I rerun the initial turns of combat into a less abstract and more tactical battle.
Also initially I used a body count to compare the armies, but switching to Warhammer unit points was the right thing to do, as this gives me a direct idea of the unit strength.
Overall I loved how the game runs so far, and it was really nice to dust off my old Warhammer books.