The Renegade Giant of Movun
Posted: 22. 04. 2021.
The other day we finished a three-chapter adventure, in which we tested new mechanics for our homebrew skirmish system Fabula. Primarily, we tried out the XP, injury and level progression system for player characters, special mechanics for huge monsters and bosses, and an assortment of special abilities and features. My rules expert brother Ivan designed the adventure (story inspired by the novel Veli Jože by Vladimir Nazor), and served as the GM in the playthrough. My boyfriend and I each ran their own warband. We were not given all the information in advance, and each scenario of the adventure held some suprises for us.
First, let's meet the two warbands.
BF's trio are a group of brigands who normally dwell in a forest and rob folk who pass through. Ivor, the brain of the operation, is a skilled bow hunter who took up a life of crime. Ogres Olaf and Sven are the muscle. Luckily, my guys didn't have to fight those behemoths, as they are powerful in combat and hard to take down.
My own warband was a group of mercenaries between jobs. The veteran Ostrik's military experience and charisma makes him a natural leader. The heavily armoured knight Agaton is cumbersome, but a hard hitter with his poleaxe. Pikeman Herman and crossbowman Ilija each have their tactical use. Last but not least, Katja the warhound is not just a fierce fighter but also a beloved pet and mascot.
The village Movun lost its giant. Around here, each place has one. They help the peasants in their work: building barns and walls, plowing fields, carrying logs, protecting the farms from other villages' giants. But Jozef, the giant of Movun, had enough of that life and decided to roam free and live his best life. Livestock is being taken, crops trampled, fruit trees uprooted, houses demolished, and folk maimed and killed.
This is where we come in. Movun is offering our warbands coin to get rid of Jozef and end all the mayhem he is causing. But before we could get our contract sorted, we had to rescue the village elders. They were captured by a pack of troglodytes while looking for their runaway giant. We decided to collaborate, and managed to track our quarry to an abandoned farm.
A nighttime battle ensued, where our warbands' vision was limited by the darkness. We managed to rescue all three captives, but my warband got quite banged up in the process. My mercs liberated a large gryph that was chained by the troglodytes, but the beast had no concept of gratitude and decided to attack its liberator first. It did move on to the enemy later, but Ilija will think twice before he gets near one of those again. There were more enemies to fight after we freed the elders, but we decided to tactically withdraw. The ogres did really well for themselves, despite the fact we all generally suffered from poor rolls in this game. Shit happens.
One of the three troglodyte campfires on the abandoned farm. Their shamans are capable of summoning fireballs to attack from a distance. We also heard they can revive their fallen, but we never witnessed any such sorcery. Probably just old wives tales...
Once we had the Movun elders back home, they offered us a reward to solve their problem. And they gave us more information on what we were dealing with. Ostrik and Ivor agreed to work together going further. Our next step was to go visit a giant's grave in the nearby ruined monastery, and steal one of their bones. According to some, an arrow made from bone of a monster will be a powerful weapon againts its kind. This is something that could give us an advantage against Jozef. An angry giant is not easy to defeat.
Herman was left in the village to recover from his injuries. Ostrik somewhat tamed that giant gryph from mission one, which gave us a temporary expendable ally.
We successfully located the monastery grounds and invaded with caution. As we would soon learn, the place was now home to hostile wildlife. At the very start our two parties had to split up. The Brigands discovered a harpy nest and had to deal with them, and the mercenaries ran into a cockatrice, no less. We had better luck this time, and managed to fight them off quickly. The monastery contained a bunch of interesting things to find. There were some accidents due to the building's state of disrepair, but nobody got seriously hurt.
That is, until we got to the crypts and attempted to peek inside. The monastery was not just infested with birds, but also seriously haunted. The restless spirits gave us much more trouble. Ivor's misplaced arrow wounded Katja quite badly, earning him much disapproval from Ostrik and company. In the end, we successfully located the giant's bones and got what we came for.
I snapped some delicious scenic photos after this game:
Mercenaries fighting the cockatrice. Ilija was more busy searching for loot. His carelesness and greed made him fall through decaying floorboards. Lesson learned; on level up I gave him a Reflex boost to represent his newly dicovered caution.
Brigands versus harpies. Olaf got creative and chucked rocks at them, which earned him a permanent ranged attack when he gained a level.
Fight with the ghosts.
Soon you'll be able to see photographs like these in print. I'm working with Dave Taylor Miniatures to have my work published in THE ART OF... Ana Polanšćak, which is Vol. 03 of their new series about Wonderful Miniatures Art! The book is coming on Kickstarter April 30th, and you can sign up to HERE be notified on launch, so you don’t miss it when it goes live. Click the link, tell your friends, see you all there next week!
Back to Movun.
Since we got the bone, we had our deadly arrow crafted. Jozef was known to return to his village every once in a while, probably just to see the the tiny humans soil their breeches in terror. We were advised to set up an ambush and wait for him there. And so it was. Before battle we were given an option by our GM to set up spiked barricades. We did. Ivor positioned himself on one of the roofs for better view, and he was the one with the special arrow due to his superior archery skill. Herman got better and was ready for action. Poor Katja was taken to another village to recover from her wound and did not participate in the final fight. The rest gathered around the well in the centre of the village, since we did not know from which direction to expect Jozef.
The giant was eventually spotted lumbering towards us.
Jozef's first order of business was to knock down the cottage where Ivor was perched. The resulting fall was quite brutal, but he survived. Ivor did manage to successfully shoot him in the gut a few times beforehand. Unfortunately, that special arrow missed the mark. Ilija made some crosbow shots as well. As the giant approached the nearest barricade, Herman engaged him with his pike, and the rest of the crew moved in to engage. We were at the same time approached by a handful of thieving troglodytes from the other side, but decided to mostly ignore that distraction. They were here to drag away the livestock, and we had a giant to murder.
After some well coordinated attacks under Ostrik's command, Jozef was on the ground. His skull caved in by Agaton's polaxe and many more wounds beside. Ivor was very unfortunate: before he was felled, the giant grabbed the bandit leader and threw him straight into the well. This second nasty plummet put Ivor out of action and resulted in a permanent leg injury. We don't yet know what that means for this character's future.The rest of our guys were alright, even managed to gut a few troglodytes for a good measure.
Movun and surrounding villages were rid of their problem. Well, most of it. They still needed to dig a very large grave for that massive carcass strewn across their yard. But that was hardly our problem...
Movun and its panicking inhabitants. Jozef looming in the background.
Shot taken during the actual game. It illustrates well why I prefer to take photos after the fact: I can take my time, set up a more photogenic backdrop with the scenery, and adjust the lighting.
The model is made mostly of GW Gargant parts. The torso was sculpted by me, since the original torso was used on another giant conversion. Got two from one kit, not bad. I posed Jozef differently from the original; he's more upright. I'm not a fan of how far Citadel Gargants lean forward, it makes them so much less imposing.
If you need a custom miniature or scenery made for your D&D or tabletop wargaming campaign, drop me an email - you can find it in the bottom of the page, together with the Gardens of Hecate Facebook, Instagram and RSS links.
That was a highly entertaining read.. Many thanks. Si looking forward to backing your book.
So great, as ever. Need more tutorials please Ana!!
Also, those rules…. when are we going to see a preview of them?
@Mike McGuinness - Thank you!
@Napwnleon - Thank you so much! There is a Facebook group for Fabula, where you can find the most recent public version ( at the moment that’s over a year old, though). Ivan and I can only work on the system in our spare time, so it’s going rather slowly.
As for tutorials, I have a few topics on my list, but this as well has to wait for its time. As you may guess, I currently have my hands full with writing and photography for the book.
The giant looks great! I was wondering why it looked better than I expeted… then read that you had sculpted the torso. Gorgeous work!
A very entertaining read. Having evocative scenery to go along with the miniatures really helps sell the narrative. Where the creatures encountered in the 2nd match random? Running into a cockatrice is exciting, though maybe not for the adventurers.
@Wonky Dog - Thanks!
@Gregory Wier - Agreed, scenery is of great importance.
The critters in game 2 were set up by the GM. The harpies nested in the ruined belltower. Had we thought of it, we could have made them scatter by hitting the bell with a rock. The cockatrice owned the courtyard. And the ghosts emerged when we started disturbing the crypts looking for our objective. The monsters were not revealed to us until we came close enough to perceive their presence.