LOST IN A LOST LAND: An interdimensional Dance of Blades and Heroes


A campaign for everyone

By Joe Fonseca

Zora the elven Wayfinder, peered out from between the giant leaves of the jungle underbrush. The stones that ringed this clearing seemed out of place amidst the twisting trees and choking vines that surrounded them. No sooner had the curious explorer and her companions entered the ring than the unfamiliar runes scratched into each stone began to glow with an eerie blue light. A bright flash, and elves and stones both were gone. The clearing empty save for the rustle of wind and the sounds of the jungle.

Sgt. Hill of the US 101 Airborne Division stumbled through the dark. He had barely landed alive, and nowhere near his objective. He had to gather men and get in position. They only had a few hours before their boys hit the beaches. He stumbled upon four of his soldiers transfixed in a back garden, staring at blue glowing rocks. “What in the hell are you doing?” He managed to whisper before the flash took them all.

Somewhere above the turbulent atmosphere of a gas giant, Inspector Huro of the Interior Investigation Unit examined the cultist’s runes etched onto the stone in his hand. The symbols were like nothing he had seen before, and totally different from the chaotic carvings that covered the metal walls of this ruined hulk. One of his great armored bodyguards came closer to take a look. The blue glow came quickly, and they were gone.

A dimension away and an eternity later, the bloody and bruised form of Inspector Huro stood among the ruined armor of his dead bodyguards. His right arm extended a handgun towards the crouched figure of Sgt. Hill. Huro gestured at the runestone in Hill’s hand with the pistol, a smile curling on his face. Hill dropped the rock, staring defiantly up at his tormentor. A twang followed by an arrow embedding itself in the ground between the two brought them both spinning. “I’ll take that” said a tall elf surrounded by companions with bows drawn. Zora needed only one more, and she wasn’t about to lose it to these humans.

A CAMPAIGN FOR EVERYONE

Interdimensional Dance of Blades and Heroes is an unofficial fan campaign setting for use with the revised edition of Song of Blades and Heroes from Ganesha Games. The purpose of these rules is to allow groups of players with wildly diverse schedules, miniatures, and tabletop resources the ability to play together over a long period of time without any drag or delay. The only constant is miniature scale, and you really can bend that rule too (The Editor takes a sharp intake of breath... Ed.)

Each participant will construct their own Adventurer Warband using whatever miniatures (of any setting) they wish and follow that warband as it proceeds through a series of linked scenarios. Each victory will add a runestone to an Adventurer Warband’s Adventure path Card. The 5th and 10th runes are special anchor runes, and to acquire them Adventurer Warbands fight against boss monsters in order to acquire them. Collect 8 runes and 2 anchor runes and your warband will be able to return to their own dimension, thereby winning their campaign. Each player will achieve this in their own time, other players using their warbands or neutral horde and boss monsters to oppose them. 

 

GETTING STARTED: CRAFTING A WARBAND

You, the leader of a group of warriors from any historical, fantasy, or sci-fi setting, have found yourself trapped in the collision of worlds and times that locals call Terminus. Mysterious runestones, when collected and arrayed in a particular fashion, have the power to transport living beings across dimensions. These stones, at the behest of some greater power, have been collecting peoples from across different universes and depositing them in the harsh realms of Terminus. Some of these unfortunates choose to settle in place, not risking the roving marauders and monsters that inhabit Terminus’s diverse landscapes. Others, including you and your warband, want to return home, and so set out to reclaim enough rune stones, plus two critical anchor runes, to build a circle and leave Terminus forever. There is fierce competition though, as all manner of heroes and villains have been deposited by the runestones into this vicious wild. Tread lightly, you have no idea what could be waiting around the corner.

Each player must create a single Adventurer Warband. If they have additional models, they are encouraged to create as many additional Neutral, Horde, and Boss Warbands as they like. Refer to Song of Blades and Heroes for warband creation restrictions, point values, and special rules, noting the specifics of each type of warband below:

ADVENTURER WARBANDS:

These warbands are the primary units in Interdimensional Dance of Blades and Heroes. Each Warband must be 300 points and contain at least one model with Leader. Each player should have one Adventurer Warband.

NEUTRAL WARBANDS:

These warbands are constructed with the same parameters as Adventurer Warbands though they are restricted to a single Personality and never gain experience or victory points. These warbands are meant to represent other ‘heroic’ bands out in the wilderness.

HORDE WARBANDS:

Horde Warbands have a value of 400 points. At least half of the models in Horde Warbands must have the Rabble special rule. These warbands are meant to represent the orcs, stormtroopers, bandit mobs and the like that fill the wastes of Terminus.

BOSS WARBAND:

Boss monsters are made of a single model, or perhaps a single model surrounded by lackeys. This warband is built to 300 points but all the usual restrictions are lifted. These warbands represent the great beasts, terrifying demons, hulking war machines, and powerful sorcerers who claim dominion over parts of Terminus. At least two must be overcome and surrender their anchor runestones before an Adventurer Warband can succeed in their quest. 

The only boundaries for warband construction are the figures at hand. In our campaigns of Interdimensional Dance we’ve had a warband consisting of three Predators from the films of the same name, Wood-Elf Hunting parties, Napoleonic British riflemen, Halflings corralling an unwilling Giant, Space Marines, a Necromancer and his undead followers, and terracotta warriors animated by the vengeful ghost of the Qin Emperor of China. Song of Blades and Heroes, with its uncomplicated and elegant special rules, meant each of these warbands had the opportunity to play with little issue. Some performed better than others, but the interwoven narratives of the campaign structure meant that no warband was singled out and beaten down. Everyone was able to complete the campaign in their own time.

THE CAMPAIGN STRUCTURE

Each Adventurer Warband creates an Adventure Path Card like the one below:


Whenever players are able to meet up for one or more games of Interdimensional Dance, they should determine what kind of scenario they will play and what forces they will use. One player must use their Adventurer Warband. The other may use their own Adventurer Warband or any Neutral, Horde, or Boss Warband available. Players who are much farther along their own Adventure Path may wish abstain from using their Adventurer Warband to make a more sporting game for their opponent. It can be surprisingly fun to play the ‘bad guys’! Consult the chart below to determine what type of scenario to play. 

 

 

A note on cooperation: Adventurer Warbands can cooperate against an equal number of Adventurer Warbands or an equal number of Horde or Boss Warbands. If one Warband requires a Boss fight to proceed, but the other does not, the victory spoils go to the warband requiring the fight. The other receives equal experience and victory points.

A note on permadeath: Players can play with the potential for permanent death if they wish, following the rules found in Song of Blades and Heroes, but it is not required or even encouraged. The wacky nature of interdimensional forces coming together means that some might have an unfair advantage that permadeath would accentuate. 

VICTORY, DEFEAT, & PROGRESSION

After completing a game, any participating Adventurer Warbands should record the results of the game, any earned experience and victory points, and any acquired runestones on their Adventure Path Card. They are then free to purchase upgrades, additional units, and special Terminus items from the list below. Refer to Song of Blades and Heroes “Improving your Models”, “Expanding your Warband” and “Warband Advances” sections for normal upgrades. 

Specific Items and Upgrades for battles in Terminus (Apply to a single Warrior)

 

 

SPECIAL SCENARIOS

These six scenarios are used whenever an Adventurer Warband faces off against a Boss Warband or a Horde Warband. Roll a D6 and consult the appropriate result.

BOSS ENCOUNTER: 

Slay the Beast (D6 roll 1-2)

You see the glittering blue of an Anchor Rune on the Beast’s person. There is only one way forward then. You must retrieve the runestone!

This is a simple Boss Encounter. The Boss will begin in the center of the table. The warband can deploy members within one short movement of any table edge. The Warband wins if it is able to kill the Boss Monster and control the field. The Boss Monster player should be aggressive. It will win if the Warband is forced to retreat or is killed to a man. The game ends only when one of the two above conditions are met.

Victory: Warband receives 1 anchor rune and 20 Victory Points. Each surviving model on the table receives 2 experience points.

Defeat: The warband must complete another game before tackling a Boss again.

 

BOSS ENCOUNTER: 

Raid the Lair (3-4)

Your Warband stumbles upon some terrible nesting ground. Perhaps you can escape without a fight?

The Boss player places three markers on the table to represent potential rune locations. They note the correct one somewhere. The warband player then deploys their units anywhere within a short move of any table edge. The Warband player has the initiative. The Boss player deploys his model on a random table edge after the Warband player takes their first turn. When a warband model approaches within a short move of the correct rune location, the Boss player must tell them. That model is now in possession of the rune. If it manages to exit the table, it is a victory. The rune may be dropped or picked up as an action. If the model carrying it is killed, it is dropped in place. The Boss may never pick up the rune.

Victory: Warband receives 1 anchor rune and 20 Victory Points. Each surviving model on the table receives 2 experience points. The model that escaped with the rune receives 3 experience points.

Defeat: The warband must complete another game before tackling a Boss again.

 

BOSS ENCOUNTER:

Destroy the Power Source (5-6)

Whatever this thing is, its invulnerable unless we can separate it from the power of those crystals!

The Boss player places 4 power source tokens on the table in addition to terrain. They must be at least one long move apart. The boss monster cannot be attacked by the adventurers, but can certainly attack them. The markers have a combat value of 1, but only for the purposes of being attacked. If an adventurer beats the marker’s combat it is destroyed, as with a transfixed opponent. Once all markers are destroyed, the boss is defeated.

Victory: Warband receives 1 anchor rune and 20 Victory Points. Each surviving model on the table receives 2 experience points.

Defeat: The warband must complete another game before tackling a Boss again.

HORDE ENCOUNTER: 

Pitched Battle (1-2)

The only way forward is through! This rabble will learn to fear our names!

This scenario operates as “All-Out Battle” found in Song of Blades and Heroes with the Horde Warband always operating as the defender.

Victory: As “All-Out Battle” in Song of Blades and Heroes. Acquire a Rune

Defeat: As “All-Out Battle” in Song of Blades and Heroes 

 

HORDE ENCOUNTER: 

Sneak Attack (3-4)

There’s a rune hidden somewhere in this bandit camp. It’d be best if you could retrieve it quietly. There’s no guarantees in life though.

Night lighting means Line of Sight is restricted to 2 long moves. The Horde Warband player lays out suitable terrain to act as a camp. This can vary with the imagination of the player and the warband they’re using. The Horde warband units are then deployed within the camp. A token representing a rune must be placed within the center of the camp. The Player Warband then deploys within 1 short move of any table edge. The Player warband will be the only player taking turns until one of the following happens: The player fails an activation; a miniature enters line of sight of a horde warband player, a Horde Warband miniature is attacked. Play then proceeds as normal. If the Player Warband can retrieve the rune by moving within a short move of it and then escape by moving off of a board edge, the player wins.

Victory: Adventurer Warband and 1 Victory Point per 20 points of enemy killed or 2 Victory Points per 20 points killed during a surprise attack. Each surviving model on the table receives 1 experience points. The model that escaped with the rune receives 2 experience points. Acquire a Rune.

Defeat: The sting of defeat is enough!

 

HORDE ENCOUNTER: 

Escape!(5-6)

There’s too many of them! Run for the Safety of the Pass!

The Adventurer Warband deploys no more than 1 small move away from a narrow table edge. The warband itself must remain within 1 small move of each other for this scenario. The horde warband may deploy however it wishes within 1 small move of the long edges of the table. The Adventurer Warband must exit as many members as possible off of the opposing table edge. Any defeated Horde miniatures roll to activate as normal, reentering the battle along either long table edge.

Victory: If at least half of the Adventurer Warband miniatures exit the table they are victorious. Receive 10 Victory Points. Each surviving Adventurer Warband miniature receives 2 experience points and the warband itself receives 2 victory points per survivor. Acquire a Rune

Defeat: Surviving Adventurer Warband miniatures receive 1 experience point. 


This article originally appeared in issue 450 of Miniature Wargames. You can pick up your issue of the magazine here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.

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