The One Ring

Scenario: Battle of the Five Armies (Book version)
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Author:  daersalon [ Thu Dec 11, 2014 11:42 am ]
Post subject:  Scenario: Battle of the Five Armies (Book version)

Hi all. In anticipation of the imminent public release of the final installment of The Hobbit movies we have developed a scenario to simulate the epic battle. This scenario is based on the book version, in which barely 1 700 men, dwarves and elves desperately try to trap 15 000 goblins, and wargs and their bat 'cloud cover'.

This does not attempt to recreate the battle from the movie (as at this point it hasn't been released yet!) so there are no 'trollapaults' or war-pig riding dwarven leaders, let alone elk-straddling Elvenkings. But its a reasonable sized version of the battle which should be fun and playable and both sides have a 'desperation' and uncertainty so the outcome is always on the edge of a knife.

We had a great time playtesting this and the forces of good were outnumbered on the ground almost 2:1 in terms of companies so it did feel like overwhelming odds.

Battle of the Five Armies (Book version - small scale)

Forces of Good:
200 points of Laketown - Northmen (use Rohirrim oathsworn profile)
Possible leaders: Bard (use Faramir's profile), Captain of Lake Town (use Deorwine's profile)

300 points Dwarves (Dwarven kinband, rangers, Khazad Guard, or Kings Champion)
Possible leaders: Dain (who else?)
Thorin's company (free): 2 companies of dwarven kinband with 2-handed weapons, with banner and captain (Thorin)

900 points Woodelves (woodelves or Mirkwood sentinels, no legendary formations)
Possible leaders: Thranduil, Legolas.

Forces of Evil:
Bolg (free) (see profile below)
1700 points and must include:
at least 4 companies of Bats (use 30 points/Co)
at least 4 companies Bolg's Bodyguard (Gundabad Blackshields)
The rest of the army is comprised of: goblins, prowlers, wargs, bats, cave trolls, and warg riders (warg riders count as a common Misty Faction). No spiders, drakes, dragons, balrogs, giants.
Other heroes: Druzhag the beastcaller.
(evil may take either Misty Mountains battlehost, but replace 'Durburz' with 'Bolg' in the 'Goblin Host of Moria' if taken)


The forces of good have set the trap, so must set up first. The evil forces set up second. Any evil forces unable to fit into the deployment zone (quite likely) must come on as reinforcements. The Evil forces are on the move and swirling into the trap between the arms of the mountain and therefore get the choice of priority on the first turn.

The scenario is played on a 6' x 4' area and the deployments are as shown below.

Victory Conditions.
Good wins if they still hold the River Gate when the Eagles arrive (see below)
Evil wins if they take the River Gate before the Eagles arrive

Special Rules:
The River Gate: This is defensible terrain, defence bonus +3, Capacity 2. Thorin’s Company are deployed here. Only two companies of infantry or cavalry, or 3 trolls can attack the gate at a time, similarly 2 companies can defend the wall. If the Defenders ever lose a fight and are not steadfast then the Gate is breached, Thorin’s Company are overwhelmed, and the Goblin sieze the treasure! Of course Thorin's Company can risk everything and come out in a desperate charge, as in the book. If they do, and tear down the walls the defensive bonus of the River Gate decreases to 0, but Thorin's Co. get an additional +d6 attacks per company on any successful charge they make.
The River Running: River should be 2-3" wide only and counts as difficult terrain for Everybody (even those with pathfinder). For those formations without Pathfinder (master) or Pathfinder (mountain) and partly in the river get a -2 Defence penalty in melee.
The Spurs: Are elevated terrain, and where the Good forces deploy and try to use the high ground to their advantage. The spurs are a long continous 'hill' that should be about 8-9" wide near the mountain and 5-6" wide at their tip. The spurs grant a +1 defence to any unit which is clearly closer to the board edge and/or the Lonely mountain (higher position than the enemy) in melee, which would usually favour the forces of Good.
The Lonely Mountain the 'western' 3-4 inches is mountainous and impassible apart from the River Gate itself.
A Dearth of Magic The only possible spellcasters in this scenario are Thranduil and Druzhag. The goblins may take no shamans, and Gandalf, although present at the battle, in the book he played no active part, merely advising the Elvenking.
They're scaling the Heights! A sneaky second wave of goblins were sent to scale the mountain and attack from behind and above. From turn 2 onwards, after both players have moved, roll a dice, to see if these reinforcements arrive. On turn 2 they arrive on a 6, on turn 3 a 5-6, on turn 4: 4-6, turn 5+: 3-6. When they arrive, place 4 companies of goblins on each spur, in a long line along the board edge and right next to the mountain. Make space for these, pushing other formations down the spur. These goblin reinforcements are only lightly equipped and do not have shields or bows.
The Eagles are Coming! The Eagles do things in their own time. The scenario ends with their arrival. From the end of movement phase on Turn 7 roll a dice. On on turn 7 they arrive on a 6, turn 8: 5-6, turn 9: 4-6, turn 10: 3-6, turn 11+: 2-6.
The Desolation of Smaug Natures Wrath spell does not work against the River Gate defensible terrain. (would be a game breaker).

Bolg. Goblin. F6, R3, C5, M4.
Epic Actions: Epic Strike, Epic Defence
Special Rules: Inspiring leader (goblins), Iron Fist (as Durburz)
For My Father! When in combat with a formation containing a Dwarven hero he may call a Heroic Duel against the Dwarven Hero for free.

Other Rules:
This scenario was play balanced using the following house rules, based on the Wessex Codex:
Glaives: Count as 2-Handed weapons, but do not lower fight.
Courage/Terror Tests: Are made on an 11+ (not 10+)
Cavalry costs: all cavalry cost 5 points cheaper
Elven costs: We have repriced the elves and the relevant unit costs we use are:
Wood elf warband 30/company. Glaives/longbows +5/co
Mirkwood sentinels 40/company.
Upgrades costs: Banner: 20 points, Musician 10 points, taskmaster 15 Points, Goblin Drum 45 points.

If you don't wish to use these rules or prices then consider increasing the Elf points to 1000 and allow them to take Galadhrim instead of Wood elves.

Author:  Hurin_it [ Fri Jul 31, 2015 6:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Scenario: Battle of the Five Armies (Book version)

daersalon wrote:
Hi all. In anticipation of the imminent public release of the final installment of The Hobbit movies we have developed a scenario to simulate the epic battle. This scenario ...

Hi Daersalon. This is really interesting a scenaro, and I'm going to try it (hoping to have enough orc figurines, if not goblin ones...).

Is the Eagles cost enclosed in the 1400 pts of men, dwarves and elves? If not, how many eaglesare available?

Furthermore, what about Beorn?

Author:  daersalon [ Thu Aug 06, 2015 5:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Scenario: Battle of the Five Armies (Book version)

Hi There.

1. Eagles. The eagles aren't costed. Their arrival marks the end of the game. They would come it such numbers to completely demoralise and destroy the goblins.

2. Beorn. We were creating a small scale version of the battle to be played out in 2-3 hours on a 6x4 board. Beorn would definitely be part of a larger scale game (and not being air-dropped as in the movie!)

But as an optional rule, I guess: roll similarly as for the eagles, from turn 5 in the priority phase roll a D6, Beorn arrives on a 6. Turn 7: 5+, Turn 8, 4+, Turn 9 3+. (So he might not arrive at all).
Beorn would arrive and be deployed in the priority phase. He can be deployed anywhere on the battlefield. [I believe in the book he seems to suddenly appear in the thick of battle and pulls down Bolg after Bolg slays Thorin].

Beorn (bear form) (free for scenario) Monster
M8 F7 S7 D7 A4 R2 C7 (as he is in his beserk bear form) M2
Armed with great claws (hand weapons)
Very Hard to Kill!, Terror, Goblinbane, Orcbane
They will perish and I shall go back! - Beorn has beserk against formations of goblins or wargs (or orcs), ignore results of a '1' on the beserk table.
Headlong Fury: On a successful charge beorn gets +D6 hits instead of +1.

Author:  a Hobbit [ Fri Aug 07, 2015 3:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Scenario: Battle of the Five Armies (Book version)

nice scenario

Author:  Hurin_it [ Sun Oct 18, 2015 4:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Scenario: Battle of the Five Armies (Book version)

Very well, I'm going to try it very soon then.
Thank you very much, Daersalon.

Author:  Hurin_it [ Sat Oct 24, 2015 7:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Scenario: Battle of the Five Armies (Book version)

Anoter question: those 4+4 Goblin companies that appear as reinforcements, are to be computed within the 1700 pts, or are they extra and for free?

Author:  Hurin_it [ Tue Nov 03, 2015 9:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Scenario: Battle of the Five Armies (Book version)

:D I played the scenario in the last week-end. :D
Very nice in my opinion; less in that of the other players - but note that I'm adult and all of them were boys.
I played alone with the evil forces, against them leading each a good faction (one against three).

My massive army entered the narrow and long valley and was immediately stopped in the middle of it:
( the devil should one manage as to have an image posted here?!? :x )

A large, bloody frontal clash began, that lasted until turn five:

In the end my right wing was repulsed, but my left one broke across the elves on turn six and runned towards the Gate; the river and my last forces to the right prevented dwarves from cutting their path. But on turn eight eagles arrived, before my trolls could reach the gate :sad: :
(the strange figure in front of my bats is Beorn)

As I said, I found it very nice, and balanced with respect of deployed strengths. Also, I like very much your Courage house rule (courage tests 11+). :yay:

What I found unbalanced is the random end of the game. As the only scenario objective is the Gate, the good side starts victorious, being in possession of it, and it must just endure as long as it can. Thus a game lasting but 7-9 turns is strongly to their advantage.
While, if it lasts 10 or more turns, it becomes a matter of skill and luck. So I strongly suggest you to make the eagles arriving on turn 10 and not upon a random basis.
Also, we all found Beorn to be really funny - overall in a battle where there is so few room for maneuvring the units (at least for the first four turns or so - not talking about that damned river in the middle...). So i think he should be officially enclosed in the game.
And, I noticed that Dain is so expensive in front of those 200 available points of Dwarves, that it is better to give his name to a dwarf captain - just like altready it is true for Thorin.

Author:  Hurin_it [ Fri Mar 09, 2018 3:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Scenario: Battle of the Five Armies (Book version)

Daersalon, I inform you that we have chosen this Scenario as one of the three public WotR matches that will be played in Rome in the next Tokien Day of March 24th.
Thank you for having shared it.

Author:  daersalon [ Mon Mar 19, 2018 3:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Scenario: Battle of the Five Armies (Book version)

Hi Hurin_it

Wonderful! Good luck and don't forget to post some pics here and details about how it all played out and was recieved :)

Author:  Hurin_it [ Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Scenario: Battle of the Five Armies (Book version)

Certainly I'll do it, Daersalon.

I'm thinking about giving a precise duration to the game, rather than dicing for the eagles; this because, as I reported above, I felt this random event to be a little unbalancing. What do you think about this: is it better to leave things as in scenario rules, or giving to the game a precise duration (9, or 10 turns), or to reduce the random range to 3 turns rather than 5?

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