It was a dry summer and autumn, with a small harvest. Now winter approaches, and everyone knows it will be long, bitter, and hungry. A week ago, wandering samurai came to the village looking for somewhere they could hole up and live in comfort until the spring. Their efforts to dominate the peasants, however, were opposed by monks of the local temple, and ended with the samurai being driven away in humiliation. Now the local lord must take steps to quell these uppity monks before the idea of self-determination can spread. Rather than risk the loss -- and potential embarrassment -- of his own retainers, the daimyo hires powerful mercenaries to do the dirty work. Surely no pack of monastic rabble will stand up to such mighty bushi as these!
Number of Players
Factions are ignored in this scenario. The two sides are Samurai and Monks.
The avenging samurai are chosen from the following:
Copper Samurai (DE, 32 pts)
Gold Champion (DE, 51 pts)
Red Samurai (DE, 40 pts)
Dragon Samurai (Ab, 60 pts)
The samurai player gets to choose any three of these figures that he wants.
The monk player than adds up the cost of the three samurai figures and selects his warband, of equal or lesser point cost, from these models:
Dark Moon Monk (AF, 15 pts)
Drunken Master (DE, 20 pts)
Ember, Human Monk (Har, 18 pts)
Half-Elf Sorcerer (DE, 14 pts)
Half-Orc Monk (Har, 17 pts)
Hound Archon (Har, 31 pts)
Lion Falcon Monk (DE, 36 pts)
Scarlet Brotherhood Monk (GoL, 20 pts)
Sun Soul Initiate (Har, 8 pts)
Young Master (GoL, 44 pts)
Players choose terrain tiles and lay out the battle grid as usual.
Samurai Strike works best as a Quick Strike scenario (eliminate 70% of the opposing warband, or all but one of its figures). It can also be played as a standard, to-the-death scenario.
Be careful to give yourself a commander (Copper Samurai or Young Master), especially if you're the monks. The samurai can function without a commander to some extent, but the monks need to make full use of careful maneuvering. The monks' speed is one of their best assets. Being faster than the enemy lets them decide when and where to engage. If the monks don't get the first melee attacks, they're doing something wrong. The Copper and Red Samurai, with their high speeds, can keep the monks off balance. The extreme ACs of the Dragon Samurai and Gold Champion will give the monks fits -- but careful use of the Young Master's Commander Effect can overcome even that thick armor.
Samurai Strike is a good scenario for mismatched players. A rookie player can grasp the samurai strategy fairly easily, while it takes some experience and finesse to do well with the monks.
About the Author
Steve Winter is a writer, game designer, and web producer living in the Seattle area. He's been involved with publishing D&D in one form or another since 1981. Tiny people and monsters made of plastic and lead are among his favorite obsessions.