Thursday, October 20, 2016

Bloody Pohansko: When Strongholds Go Bad

One of the great pleasures of an eight-year campaign mostly driven by so-called bottom-up world building (really like gender more of a fluid spectrum thing) is that there is a periodic filling in of the blank spots on the map.

I had really intended the War Bear march on Pohansko as a set up for some solo matrix wargaming on my end, but some of the long time players jumped in with wanting their characters to march along. I do love every once in a while posing open-ended grand scenarios in which I have no idea exactly how the players are going to tackle it or what the outcome will be, so ka-blamo a simple map and battle roster becomes a whole new campaign area.

Here are the particulars for you folks at home:

What's Happening?
Pinc the Petulant, king-let and spiritual head of the Insufferable Path of Disproportionate Grievance has imprisoned a company of 20 war-bear cadets in lieu of paying back wages (and into their woefully underfunded dental fund). The war-bears sit polearm-deprived and deeply despondent in the dungeons of Pohansko, a tiny micro-kingdom and fortified trade town in the wilds south east from the Cantons.

Medved, master of Slumbering Ursine Dunes and all things bear, has called the general muster for all warbears. In solidarity (and applied needling from the Guild of Condotierre, Linkboys, Roustabouts, and Stevedores) the Rada of Marlinko Canton has sanctioned the formation of a volunteer company complete with battle-wagon train.
What are the Forces Involved?
Three uncoordinated columns of war-bears are converging on Pohansko. The columns are all led by stubborn het-bears and that fact coupled with Medved's utter disdain for details means that there is no real strategy other than “angrily march there and fuck shit up.”

The fast-moving Vanguard Column of 90 young war-bears is led by the magnificently gruff and spirited Commodore (purely an honorific and ironic title) Chlupatý Hýždě. Second Column of 120 seasoned bears and a small number of allies is led by the cautious master of dogged defense Ald-Hetbear Stary Bote and is lagging 1-3 days behind the van. The Third Column composed of 180 warbears and the bulk of the human allies (and battle wagons) and of is led by the up and coming star in war-bear soldiery Snout-Captain Nová Lák and is averaging roughly a week behind the vanguard.

Stranding against them are the faux-barbarian war-bands of Pohansko. Exact numbers are unknown (but likely to run anywhere from 500-1,000 strong) but well-known to all is their bizarre martial adornment in exaggareted Bronze-Age-ish war gear (complete with cow-hide shields and engorged, impractical bronze shoulder pads) and division into doctrinally -incoherent warrior societies handed down by the first adventurer king Pohan. Pinc himself is said to have fell arcane powers that can send even the most placid and content of hruz heads into a snarling rage over the most wee of issues.

What Are Operational Conditions Like?
The weather has finally turned autumn nippy in the southern Hill Cantons. Periodic chilly thunderstorms roll in from Stormchild's breath over the Persimmon Sea.

The road east past the incestuous backhills shithole Bad Rajetz is barely a road, more a high place made up of the shattered backbone of an old stone Hyperborean highway surrounded by a sea of mud.
The road runs through terrain much akin to Pohansko proper: craggy rocky ridgelines punctuated by cedar-breaks and vine brambles (and the occasional old beech and gnome-pine stand).

What Do We Know about Pohansko?
Well I will tell you all about that benighted place and its public secrets tomorrow, champ.

But now a song from the solidarizing citizens of Marlinko
The Wagons of Ursine Emancipation
With the battle wagons, and greater,
Speeds the hairy liberators,
Onward cheered by hosannas,
And the waving of yellow banners.
Roll it along! Roll it along!
Spread your banners,
While bearlings shout hosannas.

Ursine eman-cip-ation
Cannot rest on human foundations
And the fields of Pohan's magician
Bears but a crop of perdition
Pull up the fields! Pull up the fields!
Ursine eman-cip-ation
Cannot rest on human foundations.


  1. Replies
    1. How are your warband leading skills?

    2. Personally? Pretty poor.

      From an armchair? I like to flatter myself I have an above-par tactical and strategic mind.

      Whether or not that's true, I haven't devoted enough of my time to wargames to find out for sure, but I have my share of stories about the one time I did that cool thing.

      (Also, just to be clear, the spirit of the above comment was more in a 'that sounds cool' vein than a demand for inclusion. Though I'd happily take any invite you offer to do anything HC-related.)

  2. Medved seems to have hit upon a well loved strategy down the ages. What could possibly go wrong?

    1. A plan with no failure modes as a wise player in the campaign likes to say.

  3. Shouldn't that line in the second verse be Ursine e-bear-cip-ation?

    1. Hmm yes hahaha, the version sung by the war bears proper corrects the humano-centric perspective.