System: Warammer Fantasy Battle
Publisher: Games Workshop
The Battle of Sleepy Hollow
(the Revenge of Ichabod Crane - Necromancer)
a Fantasy Mini-Campaign by Steve Blease
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow:
In 1820 American author Washington Irving published a book called The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayton, Gent, comprising of a series of sketches and short stories he had written over the previous few years. Within this collection was the chilling story of the unfortunate scholar Ichabod Crane who encountered the Headless Horsemen in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
In the story, set around 1790, Ichabod Crane, the new schoolmaster of the small village of Sleepy Hollow woos the hand of the fair maiden Katrina Van Tassel, only to be spurned in favour of the roguish local lad Brom Van Brunt (more commonly known as Brom Bones). On the night of his rejected advances Crane retired from the Van Tassel farm back to his abode at Hans Van Ripper's farm, only to encounter the infamous Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow.
This foul denizen of the night was rumoured to be the ghost of a Hessian cavalryman killed in the Revolutionary War when a cannonball shot his head from his shoulders. Since then he has ridden the region looking for a fresh head to replace the one he carries on the pommel of his saddle. Irving recounts how Ichabod Crane falls afoul of the Horseman, attempting to reach the safety of the church bridge, which if crossed, stories tell, means safety. By the skin of his teeth, Ichabod reaches the bridge and thinking himself safe turns to check on his foe. Whilst the Horseman does not cross the bridge, he hurls his decapitated head at Crane, striking him on the cranium and from his mount. All that is found the next day is Ichabod Crane's hat and a smashed pumpkin...
Washington Irving rounds off his story by noting that some stories tell that Crane merely fled the area and later resided in a distant part of the country, that Brom Bones always burst into laughter whenever the pumpkin was mentioned, but that the old country wives maintain that Ichabod Crane was spirited away by supernatural means...
The Return of Ichabod Crane - Necromancer:
The old country wives were the nearest to the truth, though what actually occurred was even more diabolical than they realised. Enraged by the spurning of his advances (and the subsequent lost opportunity to inherit the Van Tassel farm), Ichabod Crane did in fact encounter the Headless Horseman on that fateful night not long after reaching the region known as Wiley's Swamp. However, whilst Brom Bones always regarded the schoolmaster as some sort of joke, he (and none of the other inhabitants of Sleepy Hollow) realised that the spindly Crane was in fact a dabbler in the black arts.
He had for many years studied forces beyond the imagination and amongst his favourite tomes was to be found a copy of Cotton Mather's History of New England Witchcraft. Upon encountering the spirit, Crane cast a hex that bound the Horseman to his power and then staged his own disappearance, whilst he planned his revenge on Katrina Van Tassel, Brom Bones and the inhabitants of Sleepy Hollow.
A year later, wiser in the arts of necromancy and with the spirits and reanimated corpses of dead soldiers of the recent Revolutionary War bound to his control, Ichabod Crane returned to Sleepy Hollow to wreak his horror...
The following mini-campaign comprises of three battles, details of which should only be read by the GM. Anyone intending to play this scenario should read no further. If the GM feels that a player is in receipt of information gained from reading the details provided below, he should change the campaign as he sees fit.
The way the campaign pans out depends on how successful players are in particular battles and the outcome of one battle will directly impact on the next and the overall strategic position.
I have utilised GW's Warhammer Fantasy Battle here as it handles the number of troops involved easily, allows for character figures and is quick and easy to play. All characters operate as such, other troop types operate as skirmishers.
The Attack on Van Tassel's Farm:
The first object of Ichabod Crane's vengeance is the farm he had hoped one day would be his and the beautiful maiden he had hoped to marry. Once she has died and then been reanimated, the fair Katrina be his, and his alone.
Baltus Van Tassel's farm stands by a cove on the River Hudson. It comprises in the main of two buildings, the farmhouse and the large Dutch Barn. There is a small jetty on the river with a three man dingy moored there. The eastward running road leads to the main Sleepy Hollow to Greensburgh (Tarry Town) road. There is a small creek running alongside the road for part of the way.
Ichabod Crane has twelve skeletons under his control for this attack, all reanimated soldiers from the Revolutionary War. All are armed with muskets, fitted with bayonets. Crane himself is mounted and carries a sword and pistol, though he is not proficient in their use. Ichabod Crane's aim is to capture the farm and kill all the inhabitants.
The farm is occupied by Baltus Van Tassel, an elderly farmer armed with a fowl gun, Merr Van Tassel his wife who is armed with a selection of heavy kitchen implements and has the ability to use them if the Undead enter the farmhouse, Katrina Van Brunt (recently married) with a pistol and a Negro servant also armed with a pistol.
Katrina's husband, Brom and three of his friends are returning to the farm from a drink at the local Schnappes Shoppe in Sleepy Hollow. They are all mounted and armed with swords and hunting rifles. They enter the board 3 + D4 turns from the start.
Exactly what the Van Tassel player does in this scenario is up to him and it is up to the GM to decide what impact this will have on the next two scenarios. Any character that successfully unmoors the dingy and gets onto the Hudson, will be carried downstrem to the nearby town of Greensburgh (Tarry Town). Any character that exits to board on the road to Sleepy Hollow has a base 25% chance of reaching the village and telling the inhabitants about Crane's attack.
The Blocking of the Church Bridge:
To ensure that the attack on Sleepy Hollow is successful and proceeds unimpeded, Crane realises that he must prevent the militia from the nearby town of Greensburgh (Tarry Town) reaching Sleepy Hollow. He decides to send a small force under the command of the Headless Horseman to block the church bridge where Ichabod Crane was alleged to have met his fate.
The Horseman's force consists of himself mounted armed with a sword and pistol and eight skeleton infantry armed with muskets. This force can be stationed anywhere along the road to Tarry Town and is tasked with preventing anyone crossing the bridge and thus reaching Sleepy Hollow.
The Greensburgh Militia are a unit of mounted dragoons stationed in Tarry Town. They are mainly tasked with guarding townsfolk against river pirates and various bandits that occasionally plague the reason. Exactly what force the Militia player has at his disposal depends on the outcome of the attack on the Van Tassel farm.
If any character from the farm reached Tarry Town by way of the dingy, then the full militia complement is raised of eighteen mounted dragoons. All are armed with muskets and swords and have varying degrees of experience.
If the story of the attack on Van Tassel's farm has not reached Tarry Town, then only a standard patrol of six mounted dragoons will start the game. If this is the case then the Militia player can at his option (once attacked) retreat back to Tarry Town and raise the rest of the Militia, before attempting to cross the bridge. However by doing so, Sleepy Hollow will not be forewarned of the Necromancer's attack.
If this version of the scenario is the one played then the GM should make careful note of what turn any of the Militia cross the bridge to Sleepy Hollow.
The Battle of Sleepy Hollow:
If the alarm was raised by either a survivor of the Van Tassel attack or any of the Dragoons that successfully cross the bridge (excluding any game where the standard Militia patrol retreated and raised their companions), then the folk of Sleepy Hollow will be alert and waiting Ichabod Crane's attack just outside town. Fully raised there are twenty able men and women armed with a selection of muskets, hunting rifles, fowl guns and pistols. They will be supplemented by any Militia that made it across the bridge.
Should the alarm not have been raised, the townsfolk will only be raised when the Necromancer's force reach the old schoolhouse which Ichabod Crane sets alight in a fit of pique. Townsfolk emerge from the houses D6 at a time until all twenty have emerged.
If the alarm was not raised by the Militia, any successful Militiaman who crosses the bridge will arrive late after Crane's attack has started. In the second scenario with the delayed bridge attack scenario the GM noted on what move any Militiaman crossed the bridge. This figure is the move on which the particular Militia man arrives at Sleepy Hollow in the third scenario.
Troop and Character Profiles:
|Baltus Van Tassel||4||3||4||3||3||1||4||2||7|
|Brom Van Brunt||4||5||5||4||4||2||5||3||8|
|Katrina Van Tassel||4||1||2||2||2||1||2||1||6|
|Merr Van Tassel||4||1||3||2||3||1||3||1||6|
* 8 when mounted.
Ichabod Crane has two Necromantic spells - Summon Skeletons and Danse Macabre.
|Weapon||Maximum Range||Weapon Strength|
Most of the miniatures required can easily be found in Seven Years War and American War of Independence lines. The skeletal infantry are simple conversions - just decapitate a SYW/AWI infantryman and replace with a plastic GW skull or zombie head (you can fashion a tricorne from putty if you wish) and paint in subdued shades. A perfect Headless Horseman can be found in RAFM's excellent Scarecrows line.
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