We talk shop about RPGs ’round these parts. It’s where my academic research and my design credits collide. It’s also where the vast majority of my hobby hours go. But even though I usually like to keep wargaming separate from Handbook-World, I think today might mark an exception. That’s because my poor band of adventurers just got steamrolled down in the depths of Mordheim.

It was a multiplayer scenario called “Ambush!” Because I was campaign leader at the time, I was the “lucky” sod who started play carrying all the scenario’s treasure. So in addition to the natural incentive to leader bash, my opponents were further incentivized to target my dudes thanks to the call of cold hard cash.

By the end of the game, no less than nine of my guys had gone out of action. Six of them were permanently killed. Considering the game’s 33.3% mortality rate, there was only a 4.2% chance for such gruesome casualties. So now, for your schadenfreude enjoyment, I present the post-session write-up.


Their coffers were bursting, and their camp was silent.

The Holy Gnoman Empire had pulled no less than 16 shards of precious wyrdstone from The Rock. The holy sisters who dwelled there — beg as they might — could not even afford to buy them all. And though the exhausted warband now numbered among the richest men in Mordheim, no one who stared into the fire that night felt like a fortunate soul.

Gunthard Rühl, the bowman, was dead. So were the elder of the Lobe brothers. So was every last one of the Bergmanns, from old Isenbert down to his young nephew.

“At least they got a decent burial,” said Dardrik. “That’s more than most these days.”

No one answered him. All thought in private of the Bergmanns’ red scarves. Those bright family colors now hung like rivulets of blood pouring from flinty cairns. It was as if Mordheim had birthed a charnel springs to help fill the River Stir.

“Does your leg feel any better?” Bridgen’s voice was tremulous and small, hoping for good news but expecting none. And when the mage Noro and the dwarf Bodill both answered, “No,” the pair could only glare at one another. There had been some argument between the two since they’d been recovered, wounded and limping both, but miraculously alive.

“You would make slayers of us all,” he’d accused.

“If ye dinna like my tactics, why not fly away?” she’d answered.

It might have come to blows then if either could walk on their own. As it stood now, only the motley dregs of Cutthroat’s Den seemed happy. These new recruits had been gleaned from the gutter outside the Inn of the Red Moon, pleased to take their first gold crowns from the ‘famously successful’ adventurers. Still half-drunk, they’d taken to calling themselves “the irregulars,” and chatted merrily of the land they’d buy or the inns they’d own when at last they returned to the Reik or Ostland or whatever country they called home. But the veterans knew one and all what they truly were.

Before, when the leaders of the Holy Gnoman Empire had called their hirelings ‘cannon fodder,’ it had been in jest. Now they knew better. And each could hear the screams of ghosts out beyond the fire, or in the darkness of their heads.

TLDR: The dwarf sacrificed herself to act as a speedbump. The mage, so shaken by the sight, failed his flight spell three friggin’ turns in a row before getting arrowed to death. I managed to win the scenario by speeding away with the goods before my opponents could coordinate a zone defense. But by opting for the strategic victory, I strung out my forces and left them vulnerable. My opponents nearly tabled me, and the post-game casualties turned a marginally profitable venture into the most pyrrhic of victories. Suffice it to say that I now know how the perpetually unlucky Thief must feel. One can only hope that Ranger is carrying her towards happier environs, but I somehow doubt it.

Question of the day, then! What is the most exceptional string of bad luck you’ve encountered? Can you beat the ever-popular 1/400 odds of a crit-fail with advantage? Tell us all about your own run-ins with Murphy’s Law down in the comments!


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