Return of the King: The Pellanor Fields

How much damage can two Nazgul on Fell Beasts do? Quite a lot, as it turns out. But is it enough?

This scenario features a powerful force of Easterlings, Orcs, Trolls, and two Nazgul surrounded by a large contingent of Gondorians led by Gandalf the White, a smaller but dangerous group of Riders of Rohan led by Eomer, and finally the always extremely-dangerous Aragorn (finally with Anduril), Gimli, Legolas, and some Army of the Dead. Yeah, I know, no Southrons or Elephants yet, maybe this Fall. The goal for both sides: obliterate the enemy. Or, more specifically, reduce him to 25% of his starting forces.

Rich and I were the bad guys. The question for the bad guys is not whether or not to strike first, but where to strike. The largest contingent is the Gondorians, so we decided to send the bulk of our forces that way. The Rohirrim, however, would have to be delayed, so of the various heavies available to us (two Mordor Trolls and two Flying Nazgul), we decided to send the two Flying Nazgul figuring that they both wouldn’t be easily by passed due to their speed, and could return to the main engagement at their discretion. The Mordor Trolls would plow into the Gondorians, on the theory that Gandalf couldn’t immobilize more than one per turn.

The Fell Beast part of the plan worked out pretty well. The eliminated no fewer than 5 Riders (out of 16) on the turn of impact, and proceeded to essentially nullify the entire contingent as they engaged in a swirling melee as the Riders attempted to take them down. In the end, the Nazgul virtually obliterated the Rohirrim without getting themselves banished, although it burned off all of their Might and most of their Will.

The main assault on the Gondorians didn’t go quite so well. Gandalf could of course neutralize one Troll per turn, but even so the Trolls were a huge bust. I believe between them they were responsible for eliminating only two Gondorians, and both went down in the end. Their ineffectiveness was a major contributor to the difficulties the bad guys had. The Easterling Captain nonetheless managed to rip a hole in the center of the Gondorian line fairly early with a heroic fight, doing a panzer-style breakthrough. These Gondorians fought heroically, however, and their sturdy armor (defense 6, meaning all the Orcs need to roll a 6 to wound them) kept them alive even when outnumbered and surrounded. Kim managed to repeatedly fall back and reform the battle line, just barely intact, while the Orcs and Trolls simply couldn’t get enough critical mass on the right flank to turn it.

Things then turned irreversibly against us when Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas finally slammed into the left flank. The first thing Legolas did was finish off one wounded Troll, which allowed Gimli and Aragorn to tear into the Orcs, backed up by the Army of the Dead. It wasn’t pretty. After that, the Orcs had only a few moments to swing things our way before Aragorn simply destroyed too many of them; but it wasn’t to be. The only units in the Evil arsenal that could have dealt with Aragorn at any point were the Nazgul, and they were too depleted from their battle with the Rohirrim to slow him down. We pondered if we had ever seen Aragorn go down in any scenario, and I think the answer was ‘no’. The Uruk-Hai might have a chance, or maybe a Troll. But not these orcs.

So it was bad, in the end. Both Nazgul eventually went down, and when the Orc’s morale collapsed and both Trolls got taken out, it was all over.

I liked this scenario. It was good for a lot of players, as there are a huge number of figures. It’s got three very different good guy forces, which is fun and gives the bad guys a number of really tough choices in dealing with them (like, where to commit the Nazgul? Do you try to isolate and kill Aragorn, or go for the 75% casualties). In the end it wasn’t quite as over-the-top fun as the Helm’s Deep scenarios, but that’s asking a lot. I’d definitely play it again.

I thought it might be fun to add some Knights to the Gondorians sallying out of Minas Tirith (representing the Knights of Dol Amroth who came out to link up with the Rohirrim), and then some Warg riders and maybe a Shaman to the surrounded Orcs. This might open things up even more, and I’ll be tempted to make this small alteration next time we play.

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