Plumes of smoke and faint cries from the village were carried on the wind. Grim faced, Rufus nodded a command and his warriors fanned out and covered the tracks leading away from the horror that was Lundby. The bulk of his forces had struck at dawn and like beaters in the boar hunts that he enjoyed so much drove the shocked peasants and the escorting infantry out of their hiding places in the forest.
He had kept his best warriors for the bloody business of tackling the Fyrd, determined to protect the valuable livestock that would keep them and their families fed in the depths of winter. Kill the animals, end the resistance.
No pleasure would be found in seeing this carnage. Let it be swift Lord. Let the Saxons come to their senses.
The Harrying of the North 1070 - Turn Two
Last Thursday saw the second round in our Harrying of the North campaign for Saga, and the scenario selected was The Escort from the original rulebook. The scene was set that after successfully raiding and burning a Saxon village, the Normans would attempt to capture the fleeing survivors and their winter provisions.
This was the first time I had played this scenario as it took a while to get some painted civilians and animals on the table. We didn’t bother rolling for terrain this time but rather placed a river just off centre, a few trees and a small burnt ruin offering scant cover.
Phil placed a unit of warriors on his left flank (Hearthguard being too noble to lower themselves guarding a few pigs) somewhat protected by the river and I took the bait and countered them with a couple of units of my own.
As usual I placed my archers to the front with the idea that with Gallop I could charge through and strike an unsuspecting target.
Preliminary archery was bloody for me with cavalry being particularly vulnerable to arrows. The livestock on my right was very exposed and more importantly unable to pass off any wounds using the Resilience rule available to the baggage in this scenario. Sending a complete unit of 8 warriors into combat seemed a pretty risk free strategy and so it proved as the cattle protected by old men and boys were driven off for the loss of a few gored horses. One baggage down and I needed to remove one more for the game.
However, both were well protected by strong units. The Saxons had hoodwinked me by deploying near a ford and used it to bring baggage over, leaving some Knights and Warriors on the wrong side.
The central herd was moving forward surrounded by a ring of spears but the pigs hadn’t gone far enough and assaulted by Knights were forced to retreat straight into a speedily advanced unit of my warriors and away from a protective screen. I don’t remember having used the ability Crush before which doubles the number of wounds received if the attacker lands twice as many hits as the defender. Against a bunch of swine this seemed good odds especially as not enough potential sacrifices were available. The ability lived up to its name – bacon for dinner!
Game over and decided in short order.
“Gather the animals, leave the Saxons!” There was no point in continuing the slaughter. Pigs, sheep and cattle were loot and his men needed to eat too. The fleeing warriors were mostly farmers and farmers would be needed in the Spring. Now if any of the Thegns had dared show themselves Rufus would have had no restraint in ordering a pursuit. Those fearsome axemen would only trouble the Kings order and the fewer left breathing the better.
That the meddlesome Priest had once again escaped vexed him and combined with the missing elite served to convince the Norman warlord that the coming battles would not be so easy.