Sunday, April 7, 2013


Dore knew what it was like.

Somwehere nearby recently there has been a battle. Whatever forces were involved is not particularly relevant, one army is much like another, whoever they begin as, in the conflagration of territorial aggression all principles are reduced to something absolutely mechanistic. The armies are beasts, bristling with armaments and hungry, trampling monsters welded together with hate and lies.

The actual battle happens offstage, the suffocating press and the arrowstorm, the desperate strangling and biting mercilessness of it all, voided bowels and proud warriors screaming for their mothers with their guts in their hands , these things are not the end of the story but a tumultuous prologue that sets events in motion. After the battle the concentration of killing force disperses into a headlong rout , the capacity and inclination for violence does not disappear but is distributed across the countryside.

This from when the killing force is still concentrated and also one of the reasons I don't care for miniatures

So here's how I might do this. Every turn in the area of the battle roll 1d12 on table 1 or Consult table 2, once you've doubled up on something from table 1 go on to table 2 or come up with your own stuff.

Table 1 - 1d12

1.An Auxiliary Quartermaster of the Indigo Pontificate and seventeen foragers with mules are busily slaughtering a Franklin's family and all of their livestock. Their waggons are piled with an assortment of carcasses, human and animal alike. They whistle as they work.

2. A dozen Levy Troops of the Margrave of Melmerswedge, naked to the waist and covered in dust, creep furtively down a hedgerow. They bear axes and war-knives and iron-shod cudgels but have discarded their tabards in desperate flight.

3. An outrider gallops past , maniacal and mail-clad, flaxen hair streaming in the wind . He skewers everyone he comes upon, unceremoniously and with a single ectatic whoop. He can't be more than sixteen years old.

4. Four fyrdmen vassals of the Ridder-Jarl are in the process of castrating an Armigerent Protodeacon prior to impalement. The Protodeacon's threatening imprecations are degenerating into desperate wails and the Fyrdmen seem guiltily aroused in their acquiescence to the practice of disproportionate vengeance.

5. A young mother is trying to stifle her infant's cries while squatting in a ditch beneath a bramble thicket, her three older children are mud-streaked and quivering with terror.

6. A victorious Knight of the Celestial Infirmary in full harness wipes the brains from his pollaxe after dispatching the last of twenty heretical nuns holed up in a windmill. His eyes gleam with righteous exultation and infinite goodwill.

7. Twelve camp followers are exercising the right of pillage on a couple of slaughtered petty-nobles - disembowelling them for swallowed gems and knife-fighting for dibs on spoils.

8. In a ferny clearing a complicated game is being conducted by a battered score of drunken arbalestiers involving knucklebones and blindfolded target practice on a captive hedgepriest tied to an injured donkey.

9. A granary burns on a terraced hillside, a pair of ragged soldiers throw the bodies of mutilated civilians into the blaze. A troubadour sings a lament for the heroic dead.

10. In the middle of a dandelion field sit seven bloodied Palatine Gonfaloniers in elaborate panoply weeping like children at the totality of their defeat.

11. At a swollen ford are eight injured Hundesmeisters bereft of dogs and struggling in their pain and exhaustion to cross. A score of Apostolic Under-Thralls with war-scythes and hunting-bows come a-jogging up behind them with yells of triumph.

12. Pushing barrows and carts laden with body parts and keening with grief come a hundred ragged women with a furiously ranting tonsured Saintling at their head. The sun grows hot and the stink is foul.

Table 2 - 3d6

1. Bodies

2. Fleeing Civilians

3. Fleeing combatants

4. Atrocities

5. Knots of resistance

6. Triumphant Bastards


1. Stuff on fire

2. Carrion creatures

3. War-beast(s) out of control - Oliphant, Camelopard, Destriers, Hacklehundes etc.

4. Hideous atrocities

5. Explosions

6. Witchery


1. Chevaliers of the Roseate Chasm

2. Scutiferous Chirurgeons

3. Doublesoldiers

4. Langbowmen of the Larksome Loch-Reeve

5. Pestilential Goatherds

6. Pauper-Knights of the Order of Pauper-Knights


  1. The ambiquity of goatherds that are merely annoying or troubleseome versus ones that are bringers of disease is one I quite like.

  2. Holy cow. This is some amazing writing. I have no idea why I've never read you before. Thank you.

    1. No, thank you. I'm relatively inexperienced with this writing caper and I appreciate such enthusiastic feedback.

  3. Lovely bit of story-based tablery. Something I'm fond of myself! :)

  4. man i went back and read this and it is so good. one of the more memorable charts of the OSR blog realm imo