The Fall of Gondolin

unofficial supplement for the GW's LOTR BSG

The Duel on the Peak

In celebration of my supplement being released I decided to play a single scenario from the 12- my favorite and most famous in the tales of Gondolin, the Duel on the Peak. This is where the Lord Glorfindel famously slays a balrog on the mountainside with the cost of his own life! The scenario featured is iin Act 4 of the supplement on pages 48 and 49.

The story in a nutshell;

The elven city of Gondolin has fallen to the dark enemy Morgoth despite a long and desperate battle. The people of Gondolin, the Gondolindrim, flee into the mountains with the burning city behind their backs. On the perilous road of Cirith Thoronath a small band of orcs and a balrog block the advance. Glorfindel of the Golden Haired steps forward and prepares for the battle that could ultimately be his last- in this age anyway…


Andy (me): I originally wrote the rules for the Elves of the Golden Flower with this scenario in mind! They’re hardy courageous folk only failing a courage test on a roll of two 1’s, and Glorfindel is effectively fearless. This will make charging the balrog a breeze- but one concern remains, how to win a fight against him. Provided I chuck everything at him and hope he doesn’t roll a 6 in combat and as long as I keep him near the unstable cliff edge I should win this day. But what for those goblin pests? I suppose I’ll give it my best shot with my archers



Dave: even with toned down stats I reckon I can mop the floor of these pointy-eared freaks with the balrog alone. However tempting this may sound, I intend to stick to the objective to try and force my balrog through the enemy lines using the goblins to what they do best and get in the way of the elves delaying them as long as possible. I’ll rewrite this famous tale yet!

Deployment;

 

The set up on our mountainside board.


The Forces;

4 Elves of the Heavenly Arch, 4 Elves of the Golden Flower and Glorfindel

6 goblins with spears, 6 goblins with orc bows and a balrog!

The Battle;

Turn 1; Glorfindel  and his elves march towards the goblins whilst the archers of the Heavenly Arch huddle together inching forward in the hope to dwindle the goblin numbers with bow fire. The goblins themselves also inch forward and are peppered with arrows but none fall. Exchanging fire the goblins manage to take out two elves from the two hits scored from the deadly volley! Despite the odds, the fate looked grim for the elves of Gondolin.

 

Turn 2; the evil side wins priority and Dave rubs his hands with glee as he places the balrog on the end of the table. Andy ; “ If two orc arrows can take out about an 10th of my force I dread to see what the balrog is capable of!” The two sides inch closer still. This time the orc volley claims no lives, nor does the exchange in elven fire, much to the annoyance of Andy.

 

Turn 3; for the second turn the evil player gains priority and moves all warriors at full pace. Andy charges his three remaining elves of the Golden Flower into the line of spears with Glorfindel to support. Dave remembers at a crucial moment the special rule for whips- (as he invented them) forcing the remaining goblins to surround the oncoming elves with the sacrifice of a goblin warrior! Two shots from the remaining three archers manage to slay two goblins in combat, reducing the suffocating impact that the goblins have outnumbering the elves.

 

Despite being hopelessly overwhelmed, an elf manages to shield away 5 attacks forcing several goblins dangerously close the cliff edge. The ‘almighty’ Glorfindel looses a fight to two goblins and looses a single wound! They didn’t sing about that years after…

Turn 4; Good win priority for a change, Glorfindel charges into the goblins using a might point for some heroic fighting in the hope of cutting a path to the balrog. Despite this act of bravery only one goblin fell. In response the goblins swarm around one elf and just to take the biscuit Dave charges the balrog into the same combat. Managing to shield away all other attacks from the goblins the heat of the balrog, it seems, proved too much for that warrior.

Turn 5; Good win priority again. Unable to reach the balrog Glorfindel and his two remaining men attack the goblins once more. Dave sneakily moves the balrog around the combat that takes place, moving ever so close to the cliff edge. The elven archers manage to claim two more lives which is more than can be said for Glorfindel who again struggles to win a fight against a single goblin! This time, however, no wounds are inflicted.

Turn 6; For the 3rd time the good side win priority. Andy manages to delay the remaining goblins with his surviving two warriors- (Daves plan backfired!) Glorfindel charges into the balrog without a hint of fear. He is accompanied by two archers of the remaining three, the third stood frozen on the spot in fear of the almighty beast. Rolling for the balrog first (preying for a 6) Dave rolls a 4, 3 and two 1’s. In desperation Andy rolls his dice only to find that he looses- but adjusting Glorfindels 3 to a 5 sees the balrog forced backwards. The cliff face crushes beneath his weight sending the Balrog screaming into the chasm below…

Conclusions;

Dave; Although it lasted 6 turns this was a tense and exciting game! I was unlucky no to receive priority for turn 6, but I suppose I used up my luck in the first turn by slaying those two elves with arrows! I think I lost the battle because I got too cocky- having charged my balrog into a fight where the elf was surrounded by goblins. Had I not done this I may have been able to hold back and pick off the elves one by one keeping closer to the center of the board rather than sneaking round the combats edging towards certain death! Ah well- I’m sure he would have dragged Glorfindel down with him as he fell!

 Andy; What a game! It took abit of thinking (boy did that hurt!) and some tactical maneuvers along with some risky decisions but I suppose that sums up the risk of fighting on the edge of a mountain side! An enjoyable game that lasted about forty minutes, it was tense throughout once the combat had started. It could have easily gone either way if luck went Daves way. I deserve some luck though having lost a city, a king but more importantly having been wounded by a single goblin- that doesn’t happen every day!