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The Intrigues of Bab-el-AssadBab-el-Assad is the port of registry of the Company of Ambers, led by Dahlia Ibn Malikh. For several cycles, the main shareholders of the company, including Dahlia herself, have been competing in a race for power. Those shareholders are trying to increase their influence on the company by buying out shares from lesser shareholders at all costs. The latter are pressured to sell on a regular basis. These intimidations are often exerted by other small shareholders who want to buy their safety by winning the favor of the powers that be.
“Pretending submission to the powerful does not prevent us from frying bigger fish." Hwari Ibn Khalid argued to his associates, Fuad Ibn Khalid and Adiba Ibn Malikh.”
He and his acolytes were going to the plenary meeting of the shareholders of the Company of Ambers. They were walking through the narrow streets of the district, confident in the future, as much from their new power as the presence of their bodyguards. During this cycle, they had increased their influence within the company by convincing extremely minor shareholders to entrust them with their shares. Convince and entrust were the words which the three used, but the point of view of the ones ‘convinced’ might have been different.
The three fellows planned to act as one to support the one who would prevail in the struggle between the main shareholders, whoever he might be. Beyond the company, Hwari had even managed to draw the interest of a sheik, who was currently accompanying them.
Greedy and thirsting for power, Hwari now advocated tackling more important shareholders. As he was about to convince his allies with his piercing rhetoric, fate seemed to assist him with the appearance of a new character. At the end of the street, the three accomplices recognized a big fish, the wealthy and voluminous Ghani Ibn Malikh. Ghani was only accompanied by some humans in black robes armed with simple spears, conversing with a man dressed in red. He seemed to have been placed in the three partners' path by fortune herself: near defenseless, some hundred yards away from the plenary meeting, a few minutes before its opening. In the business domain, the three associates fiercely believed in signs of providence - a belief which had often led them out of the narrow confines of morality. In a moment, without exchanging a word, they agreed.
The big fish saw them and greeted them with a calm and respectful gesture of his hand. They answered with the same gesture tainted with nearly ridiculous hypocrisy. Ghani disappeared behind a house.
Hwari addressed the sheik: “Noble Araoui, you, whose oratory talents are praised, would you please do me the honor of convincing our friend Ghani Ibn Malikh to entrust us with the management of his shares in the Company of Ambers? They will be precious for the support you require from us.”
Araoui Ibn Khalid hated Hwari, but hoped to use his influence to allow Aurloks into the Company of Ambers. Until now, it had seemed to him that he was wasting his time, if not sullying his own reputation. Nevertheless, the fact that Ghani Ibn Malikh was no more reputable than Hwari spared his conscience. He set off towards the big fish, accompanied by two ghulams as extra arguments, but intending to settle the matter without bloodshed.
Hwari was having some difficulty containing his joy in anticipation of the upcoming acquisition, but he was suddenly assisted in doing so by poor Fuad who collapsed dead at that moment, killed by two missiles. Before he could wonder where the shooters were, he noticed two of Ghani's men in black approaching. They visibly had the firm intention of convincing him. Already, Adiba had honored the Malikhs' reputation for swiftness by disappearing noiselessly.
“Hold them back!” ordered Hwari to the two jarayas who had remained near him.
The men in black's initial onslaught on the unprepared bodyguards was brutal. As the jarayas position deteriorated, Hwari retreated while watching the fight. Walking backwards, he collided with someone.
As he turned round, he faced something so far beyond his understanding that it took him a moment to identify it. It was the most hideous thing he had ever seen (but only because he had never visited the Kingdom of Avalon). He needed some time to determine that it was a face; the face of a man pierced by enormous roots and that face was alive, unless it was an enormous root grown in mockery of a face. It took him another second to realize that parody of a face was looking him straight in the eye and smiling. It was more of a fixed grin, on second thought.
But Hwari had no time for second thoughts. He felt a searing pain through his abdomen and did not need to look down to know that a blade was stuck in his belly. Swaying from the pain, he fell to his knees. He started to cry, as much from the pain as the fact that he could now see the creature entirely.
Much of its body was plant-like. What contributed most to identify it as human after all, were its armor suit and apparel: a tabard displaying its coat of arms - Or, a key sable fesswise.
Despite the pain which clouded his sight, Hwari perceived that the creature, using the one of its hands which was still human, was holding something out for him: parchment and a quill.
Only minutes after dreaming of bigger fish, Hwari Ibn Khalid had entrusted someone more convincing with all of his shares in the Company of Ambers.
Setting up the Battlefield
1) This scenario is intended to be played on a 48”x36” table.
2) The players then define the gaming areas:
The table is split in two, lengthwise.
Deployment areas stretch between the median line and up to 10 inches away from it.
3) The players must place at least 8 scenery elements, according to the following rules:
- Scenery elements cannot be placed less than 3 inches from any table edge or other scenery element.
- The players alternate placing the scenery elements. Randomly determine which player places the first scenery element.
4) The players then place their component tokens, according to the following rules:
- The tokens must be placed on scenery elements, at least 5 inches from any other token.
- The players place 2 tokens on their table half and 2 on their opponent’s table half (alternating between each player and starting with the one who did not start placing the scenery elements).
- Players MUST be able to place all their tokens (if that is not possible, alter the number and position of the scenery elements).
Players alternate deploying all the miniatures from one card, starting with the one who has more cards. Their warband includes a card with three shareholders, which are deployed like the rest of the warband. If both players have the same number of cards, the winner of an opposed Spirit roll decides who starts.
No miniature may be deployed in base contact with an enemy miniature.
At the end of each turn, Victory Points are accumulated as follows:
- 3 VP for each of the opponent's shareholders intimidated and still in play
- 1 VP per shareholder of the opponent killed during the turn
- 1 VP per allied shareholder not intimidated
That point scale is doubled, as soon as there are only two shareholders in play .
At the end of any turn, a player achieves victory if he or she has 10 VP or more.
If no player has reached 10 VP within the time allowed, or if both players achieve 10 VP or more in the same turn, or the last shareholder of any player is removed from play, the game is a draw.
Maximum number of VP to win: 16
The shareholders are miniatures which are considered to be part of the player's faction. They are played like any miniature of the player's warband, even during deployment.
No miniature (including the shareholders) may attempt an action of which the success would result in an allied shareholder's death (including himself). For instance, a shareholder with 1 life point left may not charge a miniature protected by the Avalonian formula Litany of Brambles. It would force the shareholder to play an attack combat card and the success of that attack would result in his death because of the formula.
A shareholder in the Critically Wounded health state may not declare a disengagement action.
Intimidating a shareholder:
Shareholders start the game with the "Not Intimidated" status.
At the end of a turn, a miniature which is "On Watch" and within 3 inches of one of the opponent's shareholders may make an opposed Spirit roll with it. If the former succeeds, the shareholder is "Intimidated". An intimidated shareholder keeps that status for the rest of the game. If a miniature is within 3 inches of several of the opponent's shareholders, the player must decide which shareholder it tries to intimidate.
Wild beasts may not intimidate shareholders but may earn the point for killing a shareholder.
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