Forbidden Psalm Game 5: Mortsafe
Posted: 05. 01. 2023.
Happy New Year! We are returning for the fifth encounter in our campaign of Forbidden Psalm: a tabletop miniature wargame by Kevin Rahman, based on TTRPG Mörk Borg.
We’re still following two rival warbands: the Cannibals led by Artanaro the Sly (after the original boss Janos met a grisly end in the last game), and the Undeadites - still with the warrior queen Heldu. Both warbands are working for Vriprix, a mysterious mad wizard who lives in a twisted castle in the woods. If you missed the previous battle reports, you can get up to date here:
In this newest scenario, the mad wizard once again sends his contractors to a cemetery. Each warband receives a mortsafe: a cage-like device used to make sure the dead cannot rise and leave their grave, and needs to install it on a particular burial spot. Fun fact: mortsafes/mortcages were a real thing in 19th century Britain, but their purpose was not to prevent the dead from rising. They served to stop resurrectionists from stealing freshly deceased bodies and illegally selling them to medical schools. Truth is no less morbid than fiction.
Anyway, the board contains two rows of four graves, and each has potential to contain either a treasure or a reanimated skeleton. Once the mortsafes are in place, a Corpse Collector appears - a tanky monster with the ability to impale player characters on its back to add to its rotting collection. One of its previous victims had a relic on them, so that’s the prize for whoever manages to slay the Collector.
MODELING FOR THIS GAME
This time there were no model updates for existing warband members, but each had to hire an entirely new member. I got a few suggestions in the comments, thank you for participating!
For the Cannibals, Shubboth The Magnanimous suggested “a cunning member- a knife to cut the gristle”. It would fit Artanaro’s character to seek out a dodgy bugger like himself. He wouldn’t want to intorduce someone more physically powerful, who might threaten his newly gained leadership. So here comes Niduk the Assassin, a slippery undead weirdo armed with a Graven-Tosk Dagger. The dagger is our homebrewed weapon: 1D10 damage, cruel, Agility- based, costs 10 gold. We used a model I already had from my Silver Tower project; a conversion made of a GW Chainrasp combined with a few bits from the first Warcry starter kit.
Queen Heldu’s crew lost muscle when Corpse Paint got torn apart by vampires, and decided to simply to hire new muscle. Welcome Grittr, Fanged Deserter - the first living member of the Undeadites. This character is based on one of the player classes from the original Mork Borg rulebook. He is armed with a great axe, but also has his built-in 1d6 bite attack in case he gets disarmed. The bite attack is a homebrew addition, appropriated from the Mork Borg Fanged Deserter class. The mini used is from Rotten Factory (not 100% sure, but I think it’s no longer in print).
Most monsters in this game will be skeletons, which you have seen previously in the third scenario. There is also a big dangerous one: the Corpse Collector. I modelled mine using a Rotten Factory Treeman, and adding Warhammer bits for the skull face and the branches and corpses on the back.
We decided not to have special weather conditions this game. The encounter took place on my 2’x2’ stone tile board, with crypts as terrain to represent the cemetery environment. The scenario demands eight graves on the table, which need to be searched for loot and are objectives for mortsafes.
Both warbands deployed with plans to reach their half of the graves as soon as possible. This game is played on very small board, and usually action starts right away from turn one. Grittr carried the mortsafe for the Undeadites, and Maag for the Cannibals. They were placed in position closest to their designated mortsafe-needing graves.
The first turn was mostly mortsafe placing and digging graves for treasure.
Grittr deploys his mortsafe. Maag does the same, but he had to use the Confidence omen because he failed the Strength test. Winter searches the nearest grave for treasure, and finds a clean scroll: Will of the Optimistic. Artanaro attempts a treasure search, but finds a skeleton instead. Queen Heldu finds a live snake in her grave. Dugnutt searches twice thanks to his Scavenger feat, and one of the results is a 20, meaning he actually rolls three times. Finds 2 gold, a bloody dagger, a live snake, and a relic: Ring of the Mighty. This is what Dugnutt does best. Filth tries for treasure, gets a skeleton, as does Niduk on the other side. Waltz finds a treasure: another spell scroll. Sick of those, he uses the Greed omen to reroll - and ends up with a sentence of the Forbidden Psalm instead. Not exactly an improvement. Abathur attacks the skeleton archer Niduk’s search had raised. Knocks off two thirds of its HP and receives a single point of damage in return.
In the monster phase, skeletons start attacking. Abathur and Filth do no damage with their skeleton opponents, and Maag exchanges mild blows with his. Since both mortsafes are in place, the Corpse Collector spawns! It immediately finds the nearest enemy, which happens to be Niduk, and attacks. The attack and counterattack do little damage, but Niduk fails to evade the monster’s grasp and ends up impaled on its back with the other grim trophies. Not done yet, there will be chance to get free from this predicament next turn.
Cannibals win initiative. Having found a dagger, Dugnutt feels brave and attacks a weakened skeleton. A bit of damage on both sides, but insufficient for the damaged skelly to crumble and free Abathur to go fight with the Collector. Oh well... Winter sees an opportunity to rob a grave on the Cannibals’ side of the board. Fumbles the search roll and gets a skeleton in her face. Niduk manages to cut themself loose from the Collector’s back, and immediately attacks the monster. Both miss, Niduk uses an omen to reroll, but it ends in a fumble. Tough luck.
The rest of the characters all spend the turn fighting skeletons with varying degrees of success. Most notably, Abathur kills a skeleton and Maag gets downed by a skeleton. In the monster phase the skellies retaliate, and Winter ends up downed. The Collector deals a bit of damage to Niduk, and this time impalement is successfully avoided.
Cannibals win initiative. Artanaro absolutely annihilates a skeleton. Grittr sees this as a challenge, and totally obliterates another skeleton. Lots of broken bones in the first two activations.
Dugnutt understands he’s not a fighter, and scampers off the table with precious loot. Filth and Waltz fight their skeleton, and Waltz manages to destroy it. That was the last one. Abathur attacks the Corpse Collector, but misses and gets impaled. Niduk picks up the dropped dagger from the ground. Queen Heldu joins the fight with the Collector, but both miss.
In the monster phase, the Collector fights Niduk, dealing no damage and receiving a whopping ten in return!
Undeadites win initiative. Waltz and Artanaro both join the Collector dog-pile, shaving a few more HP from the monster. Filth attempts to make some money for his warband by harvesting marrow from a dead skeleton, but gets revolted and flees the board screaming...
Abathur frees himself from the Collector’s back. Covered in blood and fuelled by rage, he unleashes an attack and both roll crit! This is not enough to kill the Collector, but is more than enough to down Abathur. The warband decides to use Grace omen to remove him from the board and give him a free death save pass for his trouble. Grittr runs towards the fight, but it will take more than one turn to get there. Niduk tries to shank the Collector again, but gets downed and impaled. In the end, Queen Heldu delivers the final blow to the hideous creature, and it topples over with a big thud.
Artanaro looks around and it dawns on him he’s the only cannibal left standing, and he’s almost surrounded by Heldu’s goons. Tactical retreat is the only way. Luckily, he wins initiative and gets to flee unopposed. The Undeadites are left alone in the final turn, and they use it to shake down the unconscious enemies and collect the relic from the dead boss. The relic turns out to be the Vampiric Tongue Shortsword, which will make a useful sidearm for the Queen. Finally, the Grace omen is used to save Winter from a death save risk.
The Undeadites had a good game. They earned 8 XP, 22 gold, and a few items. Winter got the Saddened injury, which reduces her presence by one. Not a big disaster, it’s not like she was too successful at casting spells anyway. Filth will now be riding with better armour, and with the looted Graven-Tosk dagger for more hitting power.
The Cannibals almost got wiped from the board, but the consequences are not too severe. They collected 9 XP and 24 gold. But they had to spend 5XP to reattach Abathur’s lost arm, and 40 gold to buy new equipment for Maag and Niduk, who got robbed by the Undeadites. Maag lost an eye. Since Artanaro survived the encounter, his feat Swindler gave him a free roll on the treasure table. He found another sentence of the Forbidden Psalm. Dugnutt kept the Ring of the Mighty, making him stronger and able to carry even more loot.
How do you like the new warband members?
If you play, what did you use to build your Corpse Collector?
Should the Undeadites open a library with all the scrolls they’ve accumulated?
Let me know in the comments.
Big thanks to all of Gardens of Hecate’s patrons! Your support is sincerely appreciated. If you’re not a member, you can join here anytime: PATREON. The extra coin allows me to experiment with new ideas, tools, materials and techniques - and produce quality content for everyone to enjoy.
Great battle report! Looking forward to the next one and to start building my own warband
Thanks for the battle report, very nice how just a few specifing building indicates that the warbands are fighting in a cemetery.
For me a Corpse Collector would be the Eldritch creature from Darkest Dungeon
Looks fantastic! Well done.
Thanks @MajorTheRed and @Warburton!
Nice report and superb setting as usual. What kind of mat do you use ?
Thanks Frank! It’s a plastic board from a Games&Gears; Kickstarter a while back (I repainted it):
Nice game with minimal scenery. I always put as much as I have! Lovely work on your figures, a pleasure to see.
I’m using the Resurected Goliath from Bestiarum Miniatures as my corpse collector, or as I call him, my head collector.
Thank you Igor!