Running A Flint & Feather Narrative Campaign – Part Two

January 28, 2019 by crew

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Against the wishes of the tribal council Red Bear, the Great Warrior had announced his leadership of a hunting expedition down the Ottawa River into the lands of the Algonquin. The council didn’t think it wise to hunt on Algonquin lands when to the south the Iroquois tribes were stirring this season. However, Red Bear felt justified in his convictions that the Algonquin needed to be reminded of the power of the Huron before the Iroquois had to be dealt with. Other warriors believed in his strategy, many had joined him in his mission including Black Squirrel a respected veteran warrior which inspired other Warbearers to follow along on the trip. Now as they stalked a deer deep in the woods on the opposite banks of the river Red Bear kept an eye out for any indication of enemy warriors.

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Read Part One Here

Cloud Elk was a Great Warrior among the peoples of the Algonquin. In the past, he had led a hunting expedition to capture the bear of willow wicket. He had also scored the final goal at the recent lacrosse celebration and now the council felt him worthy enough to take a party out hunting. It was not to be a long or dangerous expedition. Just a short ten day out hunting trip to try to forage some fresh meat for the tribe. Dancing Turtle, an older warrior in the tribe, had agreed to go with him, to steady Cloud Elk's leadership and to help keep Little Bird, his companion, in line. With him, Dancing Turtle brought a group of Warbearers eager to walk the forest trails and hopefully collect some fresh meat for their fires. Wasn't it a surprise then when they came across a group of Huron warriors hunting in the forests around the Algonquin village? This was Cloud Elk's chance to add to his glory by turning back these enemy warriors. Quickly and quietly they had set up an ambush along the trail leading back towards the river where the Huron canoes would have been pulled ashore. Their trap had worked and now they were in hiding behind the interloping warriors, ready to pounce on their unsuspecting prey.

The above two paragraphs were extrapolated from the first turn of a recent campaign of Flint And Feather played at the Hamilton Tabletop Gaming Society game nights. It serves to show what can happen in a successful Flint And Feather narrative campaign.

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A group of warriors stand in cover (-2 modifier for Shooting) while in Ambush mode. Models are a mix of 66001 Huron War Party and 66002 Iroquois War Party box sets.

Here we will explain how the rules affected the player's strategies and interestingly how they brought our campaign to life as a narrative story.

The War! Phase

After the creation of your starting Warband, the campaign turn starts with the War! Phase. The most important aspect of the War! Phase is the calculation of the number of War! Dice that you as a Great Warrior get for your Warband to use on the current campaign turn. Each Great Warrior starts with a number of War! Dice equal to his Combat Value (CV). The Combat Value in Flint and Feather is the one overarching dominant characteristic in the game. It determines the number you need to roll in order to hit, it is the number of wounds that your figure can absorb before being put out of commission and it is used for this calculation in the campaign game as well. So this means that on any given campaign turn a Great Warrior will start with 5d6 worth of War! Dice as this is their usual CV. This number can be modified if the Great Warrior is wounded.

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Two groups of warriors embroiled in a melee. Notice the figure in the centre of the fight has received a -2CV Wound and has been Knocked Down. This is an important aspect of the game as it allows figures to then be captured if the close combat is lost.

On the first turn of a campaign game this number of War! Dice are usually not modified. However, it can be raised by the number of Furs Markers collected in the previous turn’s tabletop battle, any enemy warriors captured or killed, the type of order taken and even some special abilities. As stated though on the first turn the number of War! Dice are usually equal to the CV of the Great Warrior. In our example above both Cloud Elk and Red Bear had the same number of War! Dice that being 5d6 each.

The next step in the campaign game is to choose your Order for the current campaign turn. There are two types of Orders in the campaign game turn, Forage or Rest. A Forage order allows you to challenge other players to a Tabletop game, a Rest order does not. That is the biggest difference between the two orders. Obviously, a Forage order is the more aggressive strategy and if chosen you can challenge another player but you may also be challenged. The maximum number of tabletop games you are allowed in one campaign turn in two. If you are under a Rest order you can only be challenged once in the current turn.

In our current campaign, there are actually three players and Red Bear and Cloud Elk both took a Forage Order while Grey Wolf took a Rest Order. There were teaching reasons for this but it actually worked out quite well. The next step in the campaign turn is called Persuade The Council. Just because you as the Great Warrior want to go out and Forage doesn’t mean that the tribal council will let you. Historically these people operated in this manner, with the council weighing all the pros and cons of a matter and coming to a consensus decision about the actions taken by the tribe or its members. We have tried to reflect this in the campaign rules with the Persuading The Council rules.

Persuading The Council

In order to Persuade The Council, a player must roll less than or equal to his Great Warriors modified CV to get permission to go on a Forage Order. Great Warriors performing a Rest Order do not have to make this die roll, they are given permission automatically. This die roll can be modified by how well the Great Warrior performed in his last tabletop battle if he was wounded, if he lost Striplings or other Key Characters, if he rested the last turn or if he is foraging too often...basically anything that can affect his tribe. You can also spend some War! Dice to help persuade the council if you need to convince them.

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White Feather, the Huron Companion is pictured with some Striplings. White Feather is in the 66002 Iroquois War Party box set but has been modified with a shield added to the figure to give it more equipment. The Accessory pack is 67014 and is available HERE.

In our example above, Red Bear and Cloud Elk both rolled 1d6 to successfully Persuade the Council that they should be allowed to Forage this turn. Red Bear actually rolled a six and failed his Persuade the Council check. Remember he needed to roll his CV or less which was a five. Red Bear still decided to go out and Forage, against the council's wishes. This is legal in the game but it has its consequences. Cloud Elk successfully Persuaded the Council with a roll of two. The next step in the Campaign Turn is to issue challenges.

An initiative roll is made with the low roller getting to issue challenges first. Flint And Feather is a low rolling game so we always try to low roll in our tests. Red Bear won the initiative and challenged Cloud Elk to a game. Now it was Cloud Elks turn to issue a challenge. He could have issued a challenge to Grey Wolf, who was using a Rest Order but that would have meant he would be attacking him after fighting a tabletop battle against Red Bear (Tabletop Battles are also fought in initiative order if need be). Cloud Elk and Red Bear were both new players, having played one game apiece at previous times, so it was decided that the greater part of valour was to just have Cloud Elk return the challenge to Red Bear and leave this tabletop battle as the only one for the first turn of the campaign. Now that the challenges were complete the next step in the Campaign Turn is to Address the Tribe.

Addressing The Tribe

I have referred to this issue in my previous article but as a reminder, historically if a Great Warrior decided to perform a legendary deed he would stand up before the tribe, outline his plan, the reasons why and invite others to join him on his quest. This might have also included some quiet back room meetings as well which would include negotiation of the splitting of goods in terms of payment for warriors to join him. In our game, we represent this facet of the period with the Addressing the Tribe rules.

Flint & Feather Starter Set

The Flint and Feather Starter Set comes with everything you need to play as well as three additional scenarios and painting instructions and it is a great value as well, available HERE.

You can commit as many of your remaining War! Dice to the Warband Size Table roll as you desire, but typically a player would use up his remaining War! Dice at this time. Red Bear actually did not have the permission of his Council to go on his Forage mission so in the modifiers chart, this means he lost 1d6 due to operating without permission. Red Bear rolled a 19 and Cloud Elk rolled a 21. This meant that both players actually had the same amount of “extra” warriors join them for the tabletop battle. Both players received five Warbearers and one Veteran Warrior to join them for the fight.

In a campaign game, we do not keep track of these “extra” warriors. They are just friends or family from the tribe that agreed to go along with the crazy plan of the Great Warrior and joined up for the fight. They belong to an abstract and infinite pool of warriors that the tribe can supply to our Great Warrior. Depending on what is rolled, or if a player saves War! Dice he can also have some Special or Key Characters added to his Warband. In other words, you can spend War! Dice on bringing your favourite figures with you if you want. However, at this point in the game, it being the first turn, neither player had any Special or Key Characters available to them.

Bringing It All To Life, Narrative Style

You can see in the narrative above that I have taken the liberty when looking to “bring to life” each of the Great Warriors by providing history and story that each used during the Addressing the Tribe part of the turn. This is not at all required but does help to bring excitement to the narrative part of the campaign. I also added names for the Veteran Warriors that joined the young Great Warriors on their separate expeditions.

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This brings the War! Phase of the first Campaign Turn to a close and moves us into the Battle Phase. In this phase, the scenario type is chosen for each tabletop battle and they are fought. This is the more intimate and involved part of the game with players matching off, head to head, and fighting during the campaign turn. First, however, scenarios must be chosen and tabletop playing boards set up.

Each Flint And Feather game is set up on a 3’ x 3’ area. Players then agree on the terrain and placement of Furs Markers for the game. A dice roll is made on the appropriate chart, in this case on the Forage vs Forage Chart as both players have their Warband under a Forage Order. The player controlling Red Bear makes the dice roll as he is the (first) challenging player. He rolled a one which is the worst roll you can make on that chart because the scenario is Challenger Ambushed. This means that Cloud Elk has caught Red Bear and his Warband on their hunting grounds and has set up an Ambush, as per the scenario in the rulebook on page 109. As you can see in our narrative above we have worked this scenario into the story of the struggle between Red Bear and Cloud Elk.

The tabletop battle is now set up and played. This part of the campaign turn of course provides us with lots of fodder for the narrative campaign. There will be winners and losers, epic combats; some shooting and even some weird events that we like to call the Medicine Roll. All this will be the topic of our next installment of Playing A Flint And Feather Narrative Campaign

With these steps of the Campaign lain out, we're seeing plenty of depth in Flint And Feather which could be fascinating to explore. Have you taken on the role of a First Nation tribe, looking to battle through their rise and fall on the tabletop?

By Lee VanSchaik

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