Friday, 24 January 2020

The Chronicles of Kermit the Hermit - 'The Relief of Adhogg' scenario

Edited: 28:01:2020

This is a scenario for the Crusades using To the Strongest rules. It's been a while since figures from my (possibly) best painted collection saw action - here goes!

The Chroncles of Kermit the Hermit detail many lesser known military encounters in the Holy Land during the First Crusade and early years of The Kingdom of Jerusalem. One such entry relates to the Seljuk siege of Adhogg and its proposed relief by the Franks; the relevant part of the chronicle is as follows:

“….In the Year of Our Lord 1108 the Seljuk dehquan Toohdix laid siege to the Town of Adhogg. This place boasts impregnable fortifications which can only be overcome by a very long blockade or deception; the latter being how it fell to us in 1105.

The Franks felt secure behind their walls and trusted that the Seljuks would, as was their want, go home when winter arrived. The Seljuk Toohdix, by force of his will, kept the blockade intact through the winter and, with victuals running desperately short, the Franks were forced to call for succour. Oxo de Bouillon answered the call. He collected men and supplies together with great speed and set off on the road to Adhogg.

Toohdix, learning of the approach of Oxo, and leaving a trusted lieutenant in charge of the siege, detached himself with the best of his cavalry and set forth to intercept the relief column before it got near. He met the Franks, from ambush, at The Fork of Bisto…..”

So, our scene is set. The Franks are seeking to relieve the siege; the Seljuks will seek to ambush the Franks, where the road to Adhogg forks to go around Mount Bisto, and prevent them from reaching the town.


The terrain is pictured on the map above. The To The Strongest grid is 12 x 9 boxes. The table is 8' x 6'. Hills are yellow, rough ground is green. Roads and villages are brown. Red and blue lines show the limit of each side's initial deployment zones (see below).
  • Hills are low and gentle; they are high enough to overlook scrubby woodland and the three villages but, not other hills. 
  • Woody scrubland is difficult terrain and blocks LoS. 
  • Villages are difficult terrain to infantry and impassable to cavalry, they block LoS.
  • The road to Adhogg forks here to go around Mount Bisto (a little off table). The roads to Adhogg are equally long and easy to traverse so the Franks can choose to use either road or cut across country to reach the opposite table edge (see Victory Conditions). Units following a road do not need to activate to change face when they enter a box containing a bend providing they turn immediately to show their new direction – they are simply following the road. The roads provide the easiest routes for the Frank’s supply wagons to successfully egress the table. Supply wagons treat all off-road movement as one level more difficult than usual – they are heavily laden and the ground is generally unsuitable for them.

Otherwise all terrain is as described in To the Strongest rules.

Deployment Areas: The Franks can deploy in any boxes enclosed by the blue line; the Frank's three supply wagons units must deploy in the three road boxes as shown; the baggage guards must deploy with one of the supply wagons. 

The Seljuks can deploy in any of the boxes behind the red line (bottom two rows plus the two outermost side columns). Several of these boxes provide ambush positions (see below).

The Seljuks can secretly deploy troops in any box marked ‘A’ (ambush position) by marking their position on the map (see codes as detailed in OOB below). They can remain concealed (in ambush position) until they move, shoot, or the enemy enters an adjacent box. Troops not in boxes marked ‘A’ deploy normally.

Seljuks deploy first, Franks second. Franks move first.

Gaming Note: It might be an idea to put some kind of counter in each of the possible ambush boxes to remind the players that the ambush boxes can be 'scouted' from any adjacent box regardless of cover - the Seljuk player should always disclose if something, or nothing, is in a 'scouted' box.

Order of Battle:

  • Oxo de Bouillon, senior, heroic, attached general with a unit of veteran knights (Knights lance).
  • Two heroic, attached generals, each with a unit of knights (Knights, lance).
  • Three heroes.
  • Six units of foot sergeants (Shieldwall, spearmen, crossbow / bow).
  • One unit of foot sergeants detailed as baggage guards (Shieldwall, spearmen), with the option to split into two small units.
  • Two units of Turcopoles (Light cavalry, lance, bow).
  • Three supply wagons units with 4 extra missile chits each (see special rules below).
The Franks have '28 VPs' of troops.

  • Toohdix, senior, heroic, attached general with a unit of veteran Ghulams (Cavalry lance, bow) - ambush code TG.
  • Two heroic, attached generals, each with a unit of Ghulams (Cavalry lance, bow) - ambush code G.
  • Five heroes - ambush code H.
  • Three units of Seljuk veteran cavalry (Cavalry, bow) - ambush code S.
  • Nine units of Turcomans (Light cavalry, bow) - ambush code T.
  • Two pack camel units with 12 extra missile chits each - ambush code C.
The Seljuks have '25 VPs' of troops.

Victory Conditions: To obtain a victory, the Franks must exit the Seljuk's baseline with a supply wagon and 50% of their VPs. Exiting with 50% of their VPs will give them a draw. Anything else is a Seljuk victory. (Note: At present this scenario is untested and these conditions may change).

Due to the nature of the conflict, the break point for both armies is 50% of its 'VPs' rather than the usual 33%.

Scenario Special Rules: Apart from the road and ambush rules, detailed above, three special rules are in effect:
  • Supply wagons / camels: Initially I thought to classify supply wagons and camels as 'mob' but then decided to make them none combatant. Consequently, supply wagons cannot attack, they have two 'hits' and only save on 9+; camels are the same but are small units with one 'hit' each.
  • Supply wagon protection: Where a unit of foot soldiers is in the same box as supply wagons the Franks can declare the soldiers as the recipient of any attack (melee or missile), regardless of the direction of the attack. This represents them being among the wagons rather than 'forming up' in one direction or another; when doing so they strike on 8s rather than 6s and, because of their 'dispersal', they cannot shoot.
  • Extra missile chits: Extra missile chits can only be obtained if the activating unit is in the same box, or orthogonally adjacent box, to the supply element (friendly wagons or camels). However, success indicates that the unit may be replenished up to its maximum level of supply. Missile chits, in this game, can also be used as 'lance chits'.
Crossbows / Bows Rules Clarification: At this time the crossbow was not the windlass drawn arbalest of the 12th century. Consequently, I will class it as having a similar performance to composite bows. Because it has a slower rate of fire I will give crossbows four ammunition chits. Having classed the crossbow and composite bow as similar, it remains to downgrade the performance of the simple light European bows (non-composite) used by the early crusading Franks (later, they probably either adopted better locally produced composite bows or dropped them completely in favour of crossbows). Simple bows will have less hitting power than their heavier cousins and all saves will be modified +1. All bows have a two box range.

Historical outcome (From the Chronicle of Kermit the Hermit):

“….Toohdix met the Franks with unspeakable ferocity. Many Franks did not even know from what direction the enemy came. Almost all the Franks were butchered, Oxo de Bouillon among them. When the few that survived the slaughter reached Adhogg, the Franks there decided to sue for terms and give up the place. This they did, and the terms were honourably met by both sides. Toohdix entered the city to great rejoicing and there followed feasting that lasted fifteen days. Word of his success, and the celebration feast, spread far and wide: It was commonly heard in the market places of Damascus and Cairo that ‘Nothing can be as happy as Adhogg with Toohdix’….”

Note: For those unfamiliar with 'The Chronicles of Kermit the Hermit', Kermit is, of course, about as factual as Biggles and the Boogeyman.


Steve J. said...

Those are beautifully painted and enhanced by the basing.

Phil said...

What a great looking game James! Splendid armies, terrain...and baggages!

Der Alte Fritz said...

What a beautiful army on display. Your Italian Wars armies are very special too.

BTW, in my experience, I have never had a "get units off the opposite table edge" victory condition ever work. Usually the wagon train gets nowhere near the table edge because the ambushers will always block the exit point on the table.

There has to be some kind of mechanism (I don't know what it would be though) that gives the wagon train a chance to meet the victory conditions.



Hi DAF, I know what you mean but, there are so few units in the Seljuk army of doing that, that I'm hopeful for this scenario.

The Seljuk light cavalry are all hitting on 8+, saving on 8+ Vs infantry hitting on 6+, saving on 6+ / 7+, and the Seljuk lights only have one hit (per unit) and dead; all of the Franks are 2 hit units. The other Seljuks are stronger but still basically reliant on their bows. For the Srljuks to simply stand would be suicidal.

This game should play more like a wagon train defended by solid US infantry and cavalry busting through Native Americans that are using skirmish tactics to win- should be a tactically interesting, asymmetric scenario.

Friends Of General Haig said...

Very nice looking forces and an entertaining scenario

Yarkshire Gamer said...

Top game as usual James 👍

Eric the Shed said...

looks great

Happy Wanderer said...

Fanstistic as usual -great stuff!

On a wholly unrelated note...

YOU SAID (2014)
"I am currently in the early planning stages of my next but one project. I want to fight battles (not skirmishes) set during Sengoku Jidai and my aim is to collect and paint somewhere between a thousand and fifteen hundred 28mm figures to be able to do so – this is not a pipe dream, this is the usual scale of my projects."

Did this project ever get off the ground? If not, why not if you don't mind me asking? It would have been great to see the Olicanalad treatment on Sengoku Jidai!


Happy Wnaderer

Racing Games Top Free Games said...

Thanks for sharing this here. Please let me know when you will update it. Beautiful work. Best of luck From team Drift Escape Police & Cop Chase


Life came up.

I'm struggling to get the Naps project finished as it is; I'll probably do the Sudan next; the thought of all that black armour is not appealing, though they are very colourful otherwise, and I can't decide on figures - though, due to the sharp sculpts and oversize details, Dixon are top pick so far.

I painted some Perry minis some time ago and the true scale detail of the armour doesn't suit my painting style. I wasn't a happy camper because until then I'd really had my eye on them.