Tom (the designer) took the photo's but here is my first battle report for Moonstone- a fantasy skirmish game with a brilliant bluffing mechanism and some of my favourite combat mechanics ever! (you can find some videos explaining it all here)
anyway- here's the first report I've written afetr a few playtest games, I played goblins against Tom with faeries...
The moon shone brightly through the scattered clouds onto the tiny village of Frestow. I say village but perhaps that is too grand a term, perhaps hamlet? Though even that is probably a little generous for three houses and a small pig sty. I digress, and it makes little difference to this tale as to the actual nature of the community of Frestow, save to say that the one tavern had ale that wasn't too watered down and the local bacon was good (so I have been reliably informed by the vicious midget, who makes it a point to know these things).
Where was I? Ah yes, moon, clouds, buildings etc. quite a stereotypical scene and one which I regret to be repeating, but as so often the stereotype is there because it is true. As well as the light of the moon and stars from above however, this particular slice of rural idyll is also lit by the glow of moonstones, emanating from beneath the ground, deep in the river and between the tightly packed cobbles of the square.
Into this scene of mystical peace comes a handful of stomping squabbling figures who's nasal and confrontational tones reveal them to be goblins, and on closer inspection a scholar of the local goblin communities would recognise the off colour shanties of Seasick Stu, the hunched armour of the Vicious Midget, the distinctive silhouette of Beakie Bobbie and the slightly singed stench of Boom-boom McBoom. From the shadows behind the orchard they emerge, as disciplined and organised as only goblins can be. A few steps beyond them comes GOTCHGUT THE GIANT, (not being the strongest reader GOTCHGUT insists I place his name as large as possible in my reports, and as I am neither giant nor troll I tend to appease him) sniffing the air and swapping genial insults with the Midget up ahead.
The peaceful night air is interrupted further by the heavy footsteps across the square of Boulder, who seems as surprised to find his sometimes companions across the square as they are to see him. Skittering over his head the delicate forms of Wasp, The Fencer and Freya flit past, circling the Troll and looking warily across at the clustered Goblins.
'Ours! Be Off greenskins before the Queen hears of this!' (If you never heard Wasp speak it's somewhere between the soft tinkle of silver bells and a screeching off-key Violin. He’s an object of adoration amongst younger faeries for both his physique and singing voice)
The Faeries spread out, Silvertongue appearing from behind the northern most house and snatching up the closest Moonstone, shallowly buried beneath its windowsill. Wasp's faerie magic swept out, bestowing a jealous rage on Freya who cast aside cobbles to reach another. The Fencer skimmed across the river surface and plunged down as swift as a kingfisher, emerging with a third stone in hand.
The two monstrous figures of Boulder and GOTCHGUT (egged on by his diminutive friend) approached each other in the centre of the square, another moonstone in their shadow. Boulder was forced to retreat a few steps by the rather horrific noise emanating from Seasick Stu, allowing GOTCHGUT to throw the first punch of what was destined to become a long and rather half-hearted combat on their part (neither of them having any particular animosity for each other, and the two of them had developed somewhat of a kinship in the past). Boulders retreat was stemmed by a barrage of magical bolts from Freya into the pair of them, forcing them both back toward the Moonstone.
Over on the flank Boom-Boom weighed up his chances of taking on the Fencer in a fair fight, and then decided he didn't like fair fights and ran off to join his mates in the square. The Midget ceased his tireless abuse of both big guys to snatch up a nearby stone, aided by the musical stylings of Stu, who gave a boost to his allies with a faultless rendition of 'Lady Fancyhat's Knickers are blue'. Beakie Bobbie nimbly nipped up into the midst of his allies, using his mystic arts to heal a few minor wounds on GOTCHGUT in the process.
The only faerie without a stone, Wasp advanced toward the bulk of the goblins on his own, casting a spear at Beakie Bobbie that the cackling goblin deftly avoided. The Fencer fluttered towards another stone by the southern house only to have Boom-Boom snatch it out before she reached it, though he exposed himself to her wrath in doing so, not making things better by firing off an ineffectual blunderbuss shot at her that succeeded only in deforesting a small spruce nearby.
Goblins mothers have a saying 'Don't go being a hero now!' which is generally understood to be sound advice, but come the moment, come the Goblin, and this moment was undoubtedly Stu's. As Boom-Boom raced to get away from the Charging Fencer Stu used his own arcane arts, and the Faerie fighter found itself suddenly violently ill, flying off course and crashing into the house wall in a rather sad state (the local butcher, who has yet to find a way to clean fairy sick from his paintwork). Not satisfied with this vomitus victory Stu then cast his harpoon over GOTCHGUT's massive shoulder (who was reeling from a rather vicious blow from boulder and reconsidering his relationship with the Troll), The harpoon sailed beautifully straight and stabbed between two of Boulders hard plates, punching deep into the troll and causing a massive amount of damage, almost felling the beast. Having never been quite so successful at anything before Stu then started miming bowing to an invisible audience, until Beaky reminded him this wasn't really the time.
Seeing the skirmish hanging in the balance, Freya drew upon all her power and flooded healing magic into Boulder, with some nasty trickery and a little underhanded fairy mischief she not only fully healed boulder, the harpoon falling from his arm, but managed to throw another magical blast into GOTCHGUT in the process.
Beaky Bobbie may not have the soundest grasp of tactics, but even he could see that with GOTCHGUT stuck into an endless pugilism match and Boom-Boom and Stu in retreat from the now recovered Fencer, it was going to take some skill to recover the situation. Jogging behind the midget he gave him a shove forward and gestured towards either Silvertongue or Freya, both of which carried valuable stones.
Seeing Silvertongue was the more exposed the Midget sprung his ambush! Leaping towards the fragile Faerie and disappearing in a puff of smoke, only to re-appear in the orchard several yards behind his starting position. This is probably about the time it all started to really go wrong for the goblins...
Silvertongue, emboldened by his luck summoned up as much magic and mischief as he could muster and dumped a bucket load of revitalising energy into Wasp, almost doubling his effectiveness on the spot! Wasp then headed straight for Beakie, who was standing in the open after the Midget's rather poor ambush attempt. The fight should have been short and painful for Beaky, but a combination of skill, luck and dirty tricks allowed him to keep the Wasp busy until he was completely exhausted, only falling to the very last blow.
The Goblins were in full rout by this point, Boom-Boom taking a few stabs from the fencer before leaping away into the darkness leaving Stu to face the angry faeries wrath, the Midget 'accidentally' teleported himself to the far side of the orchard, safe from the Wasps attentions whilst Stu and the fencer battled to the Seasick fisherman's unfortunate end.
As a magically strengthened Silvertongue picked up the last free Moonstone, the two behemoths in the centre decided to call it a day. GOTCHGUT shrugged and gave Boulder a friendly pat on the shoulder before turning away and gathering up the unconscious forms of Beaky and Stu and heading back into the shadows, Leaving the Faeries to their decisive victory and the hamlet of Frestow to try and return to sleep after the raucous invasion of their peaceful (if somewhat boring) little community.
My thoughts: Tom's Good use of Boulder to protect the centre stone and drain energy helped a lot, Wasp's buffs were very useful for grabbing those stones too. I think I rely on Midgets teleport too much, especially against evade 2. Need to just get him in faeries faces the old fashioned way. I also deployed too far back, too wary of a slightly punchier faerie crew.
Tom's thoughts: Yeah, it's a tough one to pull off against fairies. You could perhaps try using Shabaroon to teleport the Midget. Because in that case the Midget is the target, you don't have to deal with any pesky Evade stats. I think this Faerie line up of Fencer, Wasp, Fraya, Silvertongue and Boulder is really solid actually, it presents a lot more threats and is more durable than the Dianna centric builds I've been messing with lately.