League of Nil-ith Horn

The Men and Orcs of the League of Nil-ith Horn

The League of Nil-ith Horn is a merchant association formed by an alliance between the cities of Grunevald, Korvald and Kirkisvald, the major cities surrounding the Bay of Nil-ith Horn. Trade in these lands is a dangerous and risky business and the only way for merchants to protect themselves is by traveling together. The impetus for the formation of the League of Nil-ith Horn (LNH) was to protect its merchants involved in trading highly profitable Gautrian hemus potions (made from the healing swamp lotus only found in Gautia), and in the vast slave markets of the Vangen Orcs. While each city has its own merchant association (merchants’ guild) the alliance forms a loose Diet, or parliament, to govern inter-city trade and common policies. The trade between Grunevald, the only human city in the League, and the Valensian Empire (the dominant human empire) provide sea routes to all Imperial cities and the only legitimate port for the orcs of the League to ship any goods through. In most respects the policy of the merchants is protectionist and aimed at producing a Grunevaldian monopoly in the slave markets they supply.

The League of Nil-ith Horn and surrounding lands

The League of Nil-ith Horn Diet meets only infrequently and is filled with divisive politics based on differences in regional priorities. It is more frequent that the regional assemblies, known as ‘Thirds’, meet. There is a Grunevald ‘Third’ based on the internal and sea trades, a Korvald ‘Third’ based on slaves bought out of Kednvald, and a Kirkisvald ‘Third’ based on the hemus trade from Gautria and minerals from the Great Northern mountains. The predominant city in all dealings is Grunevald, which holds a central position as the only human port on the Nil-ith-Horn. The orc cities often complain that the merchants from Grunevald are given advantages over their own merchants.

The Grunevaldians, a race of seafaring men now under the rule of the Valesian Empire, claim the title of Masters of the League of Nil-ith Horn. From their capital city of Grunevald they dominate the other towns and cities of the League. Recently these men have raided and taken Gautrian lands on Lake Kisilev. Led by their famous conquering hero Boyar Gert Theovald the Grunevaldians have established a small kingdom of their own from the keep town of Berwik.

Boyar Gert Theovald and his Grunevaldian heavy infantry

LNH Orc Valdgrafs in the Grunevaldian market at Theovald Hall.

Kirkisvald is the more powerful of the two orc city states within the League of Nil-ith Horn. Its position on the northern most point of Nil-ith Horn bay makes it a wealthy and important trading port in the region. The political and financial interests of this LNH city-state are closely tied to that of their human “masters”, the men of Grunevald. As such many of their orc soldiers (called smerdi or “stinking ones” by the men of LNH) serve in the armies of Grunevald under human commanders. Some of Kirkisvald’s more wealthy and prominent clans have become belligerent recently, often acting autonomously in the LNH frontier regions.  

Graf Gozek and his LHN smerdi

Korvald is an orc city-state situated on the southwestern coast of Nil-ith Horn Bay. Not as important or wealthy as its sister city Kirkisvald, the orc sailors of Korvald are known to plunder the sea ways of Valensia’s great empire, and its greedy merchants are said to smuggle slaves through their own illegal routes. Korvald has suffered damaging reprisals and repudiation as a result. Recently some ambitious orcs of Korvald have devoted their energies to bring the LNH “Temple of The One God” to the neighboring Vangen orcs who have long harried their western borders.

Competing guilds, companies, and families belonging to every city of the League of Nil-ith Horn look for economic advantage and opportunity in neighboring Gautria.  From the lands rich in minerals and peoples, to the hemus lotus native only to its “troll swamps”, the kingdoms of Gautria posses vast and varied wealth to be exploited by the LNH. The League now is focused on control of Ondskap Mere, the great hemus swamp in the contested borderlands of the Vangen and Gautrian Kingdoms.

League of Nil-ith Horn Chronicles #5- Road to Dalthu

Eskander Toshe returned to Rostok Hold with victories from his first mission under Boyar Thonkrik’s command. He and his urog ally Vaak Akarya opened the Mines of Rostok (LNHC #3). Eskander then slew the Upplander hero Valgar Ottarson during Valgar’s failed ambush upon Eskander’s troops on the Silver Road (LNHC #4).

Boyar Thonkrik was pleased, and a bit surprised, at Eskander’s successes.

“Well done!” Thonkrik congratulated Eskander. “You’re the one I need to take our considerations to Hertog Torkag at his fortress of Dalthu.  We’ve got two towers on the road to Kisevald that need to be rebuilt and manned against Bothvar Helgeson and his miserable Upplanders. I need you to convince Torkag to send three units for our final push to rid our side of the river of these savages.

“I’ll have a wagon loaded with gifts of great expense: silver, weapons, wine! Let him know his urog Vaak can run the silver mines for us. Just bring back fighting bodies.

I can only trust a man of your background with this, Eskander. So, no other officers can go, instead take that orc Gazzi you like so much. His valgrafs and Vaak’s orcs will see you through to Dalthu.

And Eskander- leave your horse here.”

The next morning, crates, casks and goods were piled on the wagon for the northern journey to Dalthu. Eskander saw jugs of Grunevaldian wine among the offerings. Boyar Thonkrik was lavishing gifts on this Hertog Torkag.

As promised for Vaak Akarya’s service in slaying the renegade urog at Rostok Mines, a two-handed steel sword was waiting in the armory for her. Eskander gave her the sword, and the news that she would be the urog to hold the silver mines.

Gazzi and his valdgrafs took postition about the yak-drawn cart and the party left. The weather was bad and the roads were worse. The scouts could find no easy way through the swampy trail.

The supply-laden wagon made slow progress on the swampy road.

The supply-laden wagon made slow progress on the swampy road.


The wagon frequently bogged down in the mud and needed to be worked free.

The wagon frequently bogged down in the mud and needed to be worked free.

Shapes moved in the trees.

Vaak Akarya's orc captain spotted something amiss off the road.

Vaak Akarya’s orc captain spotted something amiss off the road.

Savage orc screeches were heard from the high rocks.


Several wild orcs appeared in the ruins on the cliffs above and hurled javelins at the stopped groups of orcs.

Several wild orcs appeared in the ruins on the cliffs above and hurled javelins at the stopped groups of orcs.

Vaak ordered her orcs to be ready for the ground attack while she went to the wagon.

Vaak ordered her orcs to be ready for the ground attack while she went to the wagon.

A giant urog dropped from the cliffs into the road in front of them.

Vaak closed with the savage urog.

Vaak closed with the savage urog.


Vaak's orcs intercepted the wild orcs on the ground.

Vaak’s orcs intercepted the wild orcs on the ground.


The steel weapons of the League forces were too mighty for the unarmored wild orcs.

The steel weapons of the League forces were too mighty for the unarmored wild orcs.

The wild urog smashed Vaak to the ground with his massive hammer. As she fell, Gazzi’s valdgrafs stepped into the battle and surrounded the urog. After trading many blows with him, the valdgrafs at last overcame the giant.

With the death of their leader, the remaining savage orcs scattered into the woods. The caravan regrouped and continued the march to Dalthu.


League of Nil-ith Horn Chronicles #3- Mines of Rostok

Eskander Toshe was sent on his first command by the League of Nil-ith Horn to re-establish control of their road to Rostok Hold. His caravan of troops and supplies was harried relentlessly by savage humans as they traveled north from the fortress of Kisevald to the wooden outpost of Rostok.


His elite orc captain, Gazzi-Ura, fended off the attacks with proficiency and the party at last reached Rostok Hold.


They were rudely greeted by Snog, the orc second-in-command.

“Boyar Thonkrik’s up above.” he said. Gazzi-Ura tried to follow Eskander into the tower. Snog shoved him. “The Boyar doesn’t need to see you, orc.”

“I go where Eskander goes,” responded Gazzi, and placed his hand on his sword.

Snog eyed the newcomer coldly. “Fine,” he said. “Thonkirk’ll set you straight. Then I’ll be here when you come down.”

Eskander and Gazzi entered the tower and climbed to the upper floor.


Boyar Thonkrik looked Eskander over disapprovingly. “You need to keep your orcs in line.” Thonkrik turned to Gazzi. “Get out.”

Eskander nodded to Gazzi, and the orc left.

“You’re another of Theovald’s bastards, aren’t you? Well, at least you got my troops here. Haven’t seen any relief in a long time now.”

Thonkrik went to a hutch in the corner of the room. There he opened a small chest and drew out an envelope. He tossed it on the table by Eskander.

“Your new orders, placing you here under my command. We need more men here of good calibre, Eskander. Show me yours and deal with these Drimgaard orcs. I had one of their local urog leaders in charge of working the mine.


“Now he’s stopped bringing the silver here. Fix this.”

Eskander nodded and left the tower. He paused outside the palisade and surveyed the compound.

The barracks for the humans were easy to pick out.


A group of Drimgaard orcs appeared from the forest.


They were led by a huge female urog wearing a huge iron sword.


She demanded audience with the man in charge and instead was met by Eskander. Gazzi-Ura spoke the urog woman’s tongue.


Vaak Akarya was here at Rostok on behalf of her urog king, Hertog Torkag. She pledged to lead the attack on the traitorous urog holding the mines.


In return, she asked for lands and a two-handed steel sword made for her. Eskander agreed, and they made plans to raid Rostok mines

Later that night, once the human soldiers had turned in to their barracks, Snog found excuse to challenge Gazzi.


The orcs gathered round, ready for the fight, but the human guards put a quick stop to the affair.

“Another time, orc,” threatened Snog.

The next day Eskander marched his units on the road for a frontal assault on the mines. But he, Gazzi, Vaak and a handful of picked orcs entered the mines from an entrance in the nearby woods.


They crept quietly through the mine tunnels, coming at last to a hall right below the hertog.

Vaak led the way, leaping with no difficulty to the floor above. By the time all the others had followed her up, the enemy orcs had responded to the noise.


Vaak hacked through the orc guard and engaged the hertog.


Vaak was the more determined of the urogs and with a mighty blow removed the traitor hertog’s head.

She held it aloft for all the orcs to see and commanded them to join her. Cowed by the defeat of their leader, and the presence of the League of Nil-ith Horn forces, the renegade orcs surrendered.

Vaak Akarya had fulfilled her oath and opened Rostok Mines. Would the Eskander honor his and deliver lands to the urog?

Birthday Battle

What a Saturday Night Wargame! Ten of us gathered around the gaming tables to celebrate my birthday with a 5 on 4 battle. All our players from 3 storylines, plus Bleddyn’s wife, came for the fun.

Birthday Battle

This battle was for control of the Hedemark, the penninsula to the east of Gautria. The Free Jarls, who swear to no king, call these lands theirs but the League of Nil-ith Horn orcs looked to firmly entrench themselves on this side of Lake Kisilev. King Magnus of South Gautria had camped the previous winter here with intent to crush the orcs early in the campaign season.


My husband set up the troops ahead of time. He assigned units and/or heroes, and primary and secondary objectives to each player. There were 3 points of intrinsic value: the circle of stones (nearest to the camera), the ford, (which is behind the ridge where the flags are) and the slave wagons (on the hill furthest away from the camera).


None of our player characters were actually present, but we played pieces with similar interests to our own.  Bleddyn’s wife debuted in her first wargame with several urog heroes on the hill guarding the slave wagons. The League of Nil-ith Horn Chronicles fellows played the orcs. Two players held the ford, one with units of Great Northern Orc mercenaries, and the other with League troops. Eskander had a mage with 2 units of valdgrafs, and a large unit of smerdi to hold the stone circle.


The humans had Bleddyn playing as ulfhednar who were tasked with freeing the slaves from the urogs. Aedelfrid played as Queen Inga and her cavalry unit, and 2 units of footmen. Melkor represented the Kildarians. Their cavalry and sargents had pledged to support the Queen as she took the ford. Kvig played his brother Hegg, commanding Hegg’s cavalry, a unit of bonders, and Kvig’s own heroic unit of thanes (left behind in SGK #43). And I played as Jevenkah, who is currently lording over the northern-most village on the Hedemark and brought with her a unit of berserks and a handful of heroes. Her primary objective was to gain the stone circle.


The units quickly moved to contact. The ulfhednar raced up the hill to engage the urogs.

The ulfhednar raced up the hill to engage the urogs.

The ulfhednar raced up the hill to engage the urogs.

Inga’s troops plus one unit of Kildarian knights crashed into the shield wall of the spear-wielding smerdi holding the ford.


But the other Kildarians were swayed by Hegg to lend their troops to the fight for the stone circle. The Kildarian knights galloped to get behind the enemy line.


Hegg lined his forces up against the orcs and attacked while Jevenkah sprinted up the left flank for the stone circle.


There was heard then a great clash of hard plastic in polished wood boxes as battle was joined.

BirthdayBattle_030.jpgThere were fights up and down the table, and figures came off the board rapidly.


The League of Nil-ith Horn at the stone circle were whittled down first by Hegg’s infantry, then by Jevenkah’s acid arrows.


Finally her berserk warriors came upon the rear of the smerdi and eliminated them.

Birthday Battle
The League mage with his valdgraf guards lasted a little longer, before being stamped out in the same manner by Hegg’s men and the Kildarian knights.


The urogs on the hill took few losses and dealt out major damage, but were overcome by the numbers of attacking ulfhednar.


The battle for the ford swung back and forth.


Once the left flank was won, Jevenkah, Hegg and the Kildarian Baron brought their units to the ford. They joined Inga and sent the remaining orc forces sprinting for the trees.


It was a great game and super birthday party!

Jevenkah Battles Teshub at Fantasy Warriors

We wanted to play-test some special abilities we’ve been researching/developing to bring mass combat Fantasy Warriors wargaming in line with the Conan D20 rules for RPGing, so we took to the table. We replayed the battle from Saturday night, with Teshub fighting as the League of Nil-ith horn (mostly) orc forces and myself as the Free Jarls of Gautria.

We each picked 2 special abilities (from a list of about 15 that Teshub will type up for me later). Teshub assigned “Last man standing” to his warlord, making the warlord the last figure removed in a unit, and “Bloodlust” which allowed him to put a unit into bloodlust. I chose “Diehard” for my leader, adding a +2 to his save, and  applied “Legendary Unit” to my berserkers which added +1 attack die for every 3 figures in the unit.


The League of Nil-ith Horn warlord arrayed his 3 units of heavy infantry in the open, with a unit of medium armored Vangen orc mercenaries on his left, and 4 orc heroes to his right.
The Gautrian Jarl attempted to use the terrain to the advantage of his more mobile light ulfhednar and berserk units on his flanks, while his 2 slower infantry units kept to the center. The men of Gautria were bolstered by 2 enormous sword thane heroes and one giant champion.

Both leaders looked to stir their troops to victory.


As the League forces began their steady march toward the Gautrian lines, the LNH Warlord drew his 2 Orc spear units together to fight in 2 ranks. The Gautrian Jarl moved his spearmen into like formation.


The ulfhednar spread out on his right, and the berserks with their giant hero snuck through the trees on his left.


When they emerged from the woods, they saw the opposing phalanxes about to clash.


The spear units closed for attack and the bloodshed began.


The heavy armor and mighty heroes at the center of the battle proved the difference for the LNH as the Gautrians crumbled.

Free_Jarls_Jev_Teshub_0100Unable to get his berserks into attack orders, the Jarl took his remaining heroes and plunged into the fray.  Seeing the fierce human berserks confused and holding their ground, the LNH Warlord refused battle there. The Ulfhednar moved in to strike so the Vangen mercenaries were thrown into Bloodlust by their unit leader.


Enraged, the orcs savaged the Ulfhednar and annihilated the men in a single round.  Now blood drunk, the crazed orcs slammed into the Gautrians finest unit, the Berserks! On both sides there was great carnage and loss of life as the two units annihilated each other in the flash of two handed weapons.


Alone and outnumbered the Gautrian had no choice but to surrender to the League of Nil-ith Horn Warlord.

Battle of Turlin


The men of North Gautria gathered outside the town of Turlin to meet the massed forces from the League of Nil-ith Horn.

For this battle, my husband did double duty as referee and bad guy. He joined the League’s side and played the Grunevaldians with their elite heavy cavalry, a unit of elite heavy infantry Gautrian Guardsmen, and a unit of orc heavy infantry. His compatriots kept their armies from their earlier encounters of the event; Graf Stukkin with his three units of heavy orc infantry, and Alarun with two units of heavy and one medium infantry. Each had two urog heroes as well.

Turlin_101Bleddyn and I shared command of the North Gautrian army. Bleddyn took the King’s elite cavalry and elite heavy infantry, a unit of light infantry, and a unit of light ulfhednar. I played 3 units of heavy cavalry, and one heavy and one light infantry.


The League of Nil-ith Horn carefully plotted their strategy, while Jarl Kvig provided a morale boost to the Gautrians.


On the hilltop against the forest wall, Jarl Skalla Grimmson’s light bondi eagerly closed with the League of Nil-ith Horn heavy infantry elite Gautrian Guardsmen.

The bondi took high casualties and routed in the first combat round, which allowed the Gautrian Guardsmen to rush forward and pin Skalla’s cavalry in the next round. Adjacent to them, the two heavy infantry units of blue and green clash.

Poor rolling prevented the cavalry from taking down many orcs, while the League of Nil-ith Horn forces were able to rout a second unit of Gautrian infantry, also in the first round.

turlin_013Gautrians fell on the field at every combat roll. King Gorm himself was lost to an urog’s sword. It seemed the gods were not with the Gautrians this day.

turlin_015Jarl Skalla’s heavy troops battled on, but the last orc units were closing on them.

With the odds overwhelmingly against him, Jarl Skalla took his cavalry and fled south to his keep in Jarlin. By days end the League of Nil-ith Horn army had won a decisive victory at Turlin and were later able to establish a winter camp and beachhead on the coast at Larbro.

Kingdom Under SiegeKingdom Under Siege

Skirmish on the Northern Plains

Plains_Battle_Map Some of the League of Nil-ith Horn troops crossed over the mouth of the Torgova river and marched overland in an attempt to link up with the landing parties. King Gorm’s outriders caught one such band as the orcs left the cover of the forest. Plains_Skirmish_02_003 Our second Fantasy Warriors battle of the day (now turned to evening) saw Bleddyn command the riders, supported by a unit of heavy  infantry, and a unit of ulfhednar: light infantry with fast movement.

Graf Stukkin led the Nil-ith Horn orcs with their own heavy unit, 2 units of Vangen orc heavy infantry and 2 urog heroes. Plains_Skirmish_02_004Bleddyn brought his ulfhednar across the field and through the trees, and engaged the League of Nil-ith Horn unit. Plains_Skirmish_02_006The urogs attacked the horsemen, while the battle leader Graf Stukkin joined with the heavy infantry of valdgraf and continued to close with the humans. Plains_Skirmish_02_005The fighting was fierce and bloody, as the valdgraf heavy infantry joined the 2 urogs in their slaughter of the cavalry.

Bleddyn’s ulfhednar routed the League orc unit and sprinted to attack the remaining orcs. Blows were dealt back and forth.

Only the orc leader and the human bannnerman remained. They each got a saving throw. Plains_Skirmish_02_012The bloodbath came down to the last dice roll. Would anyone walk away from this battlefield? Plains_Skirmish_02_014The lone bannerman would! Bleddyn made his save and assured the people of North Gautria would be safe from these wretched orcs. Plains_Skirmish_02_015

Kingdom Under SiegeKingdom Under Siege

Raid on Larbro


The first scenario featured our daughter as battle leader of the human village Larbro defending her people against the raiding orcs. She had to get a unit of women and children away from the sod huts, across the coast and into the woods.

Alarun rowed his forces in to quickly close with the warriors and attempt to capture the women.

This battle was to resolve what happened here in North Gautria while main characters were elsewhere on the map, and answer the age-old gaming question, “If a village is sacked and no player-character is there to witness it, does it really burn?”Larbro_Raid_01_002_4x6

Our daughter was an extremely good sport, as this was not a “fair” fight. She had 3 units of light infantry for the defense of Larbro and needed to hold for about 10 rounds to allow her civilians to escape. The orcs’ 3 units wore heavy armor and were outfitted for raiding, but one unit had to remain with the boats.


The orcs also had 2 urog heroes to Meav’s one bondi leader, who seemed a bit overwhelmed with his command.

Larbro_Raid_01_008She sent 2 units to the beach and kept her best unit back to screen the women and children, unwittingly leaving her battle leader unprotected after he issued the orders. (Mom’s bad! It was our daughter’s first Fantasy Warriors battle.)

Larbro_Raid_01_012The orcs disembarked while the urogs sprinted ahead to attack the human’s leader.

Larbro_Raid_01_011Alarun told my daughter all the bad things that would happen to that leader if she lost initiative next round.

Larbro_Raid_01_013And our youngest rolled lucky!

Larbro_Raid_01_014Meav moved her second bondi unit to intercept the charging urogs.

Larbro_Raid_01_015Her first unit engaged with the Nil-ith Horn (green & black) orcs took heavy losses and was destroyed. The veteran bondi stepped forward to confront the Valdgraf (red & black) unit and their ugly two-handed weapons, but the unruly Great Northern (brown) berserk orcs crashed through their line from behind, eager to fight the humans.


The women continued their fearful trek as the Nil-ith Horn soldiers marched on them. The human bondi and their battle leader fought the urogs with valor.

Larbro_Raid_01_017The bondi veterans faced an onslaught.

Larbro_Raid_01_018They slew many.

Larbro_Raid_01_019But the humans were overwhelmed, as both her remaining units routed.

Larbro_Raid_01_020The League of Nil-ith Horn orc forces secured plunder and a beachhead due to the success of the Raid on Larbro.

Kingdom Under SiegeKingdom Under Siege