Friday, March 24, 2017

The Pikeman’s Lament Dramatis Personae: Robert MacRame

One of the really fun things about The Pikeman’s Lament is the little narrative campaign system for your company commanders. With Lion Rampant and Dragon Rampant your commander gets to roll for some sort of special trait (that isn’t always good!) – and in The Men Who Would Be Kings the leader in EVERY single unit rolls for some sort of trait! But in Pikeman’s Lament, in addition to rolling for a background for your officer (each of which confers an associated trait that affects the officer in the game), as your officer survives games and gains Honour (victory points, essentially) he can gain new, additional traits! There is a topping out element, however: once your commander gains a certain amount of Honour, they are promoted to higher command and no longer lead a company, and you start anew with rolling up a background for his replacement...

So I got very excited thinking of all the possibilities for my commanders. I’ll have five at some point; a Scottish Highlander, an Irish Catholic Mercenary, a Scots Covenanter, and English Royalist and Parliamentarian. But I thought I’d start with The Scottish Highlander… and rolled a 4… “You are a weasel of a  man with little Honour, much to the regret of your rich merchant father who paid for your officer’s rank”… The Basic trait is – Sly: May refuse challenges without incurring the usual Morale Test…

Okay… not totally what I was initially imagining, but I can work with that…

Giving it a little thought I decided that rather than a rich merchant, his father could be the head of a minor clan: The MacRames of Glen Dunny!

Our Hero: Robert MacRame – Third son of Angus MacRame of Glenn Dunny

He does cut a dashing figure, does he not? Unfortunately, he’s a bit of an unscrupulous cad.

Being the third son, Robert is not likely to inherit. All will go to his older bother James. His father and brother have very high ideals about honour and family and expect that Robert should always stand by his brother’s side. Robert bristles under leadership of his eldest brother James and is determined to make his own way – he is always scheming and looking for a way to make a great deal of money with very little effort on his part - much to the chagrin of his father. His father says his shady deals bring dishonour to the family name, but Robert cares not. He is determined to set himself up as a self-made laird.

As for the troubles in the south, Robert couldn’t give a fig whose arse polishes the throne of England, or what prayer books are read from down at the kirk, as long as there is money to be made… and he is sure there IS money to be made selling provisions and other supplies to the government for the army being sent south – if only he could corner the marker on SOMETHING the army desperately needed...

Robert has gathered around him a gang of loyal toadies and thugs. There are his two younger brothers; Jock and Willy, who also despise their eldest brother. Also he has in his employ a couple of well paid hard men who had no compulsions whatsoever about perpetrating a bit of brutal violence at their masters behest; Hamish Graham “The Cracker” (known for cracking skulls!) and Archibald McPhee (a bit of a practical jokester!). And, of course, every good Scots leader needs a piper to announce his entrance!

For game purposes Robert and his crew will be fielded as a Forlorn Hope. With them will be a number of units of clansmen – a few of his FATHER’S men that had been put at his disposal. I might add in a unit of shot or commanded shot…?

Two units of clansmen (so far….)

With the two units of clansmen and the Forlorn Hope I have 12 points worth of units – halfway to a standard 24 point force. Seems like a good place to start though, and add units as the force progresses through the campaign and Robert (hopefully) gains Honour!

I could simply field the Forlorn Hope and SIX units of Clansmen. Unfortunately I only really have enough figures for four…. Unless I pilfer a few I had set aside to make a Scots Royalist DBA force… I might do that… otherwise I’m not sure how I’ll come up with 24…? I do have some Irish I could add, but I had thought I’d field them as their OWN force… We shall see – young Robert needs to survive his first action, then perhaps we’ll start worrying about what to add to his force!

(Those of you who have been following the blog a LONG time may remember visiting Glen Dunny before - an action during the 1988 Soviet invasion of Great Britain - and two further actions at the Village of Dunny - as the Soviet VDV tried to establish a crossing on the Black Dunny Water - and Dunnymuir

Coming soon on Tim’s Miniature Wargaming Blog:

Possibly a report of Robert MacRame’s first engagement against the government forces (what could possibly turn this fine capitalist, wannabe war profiteer against the potential cash cow of the government!?)…?

Or perhaps an introduction to Robert’s soon-to-be nemesis Evan “Holy” McErrol – a dour Covenanter Commander and son of an even dourer martyred Calvinist Presbyterian preacher – with a hatred for the English and anyone who would support their king…?


  1. Not really my period, but interesting to see where this goes. I've still only managed a couple of games of Lion Ramant, so I'm way behind with this stable of rules, but interested in the little developments each new set brings.

  2. Great stuff. I was just saying on someone else's blog that coming up with backgrounds and histories for the characters and scenarios is one of my favourite things about wargaming and rpgs!

    1. Thanks Gordon! One of my favourite bits as well!

  3. Ditto what Gordon said.

    Brilliant figures and characterizations. Let's hope the MacRame clan doesn't get too tied up.

    1. Well they are a knotty bunch of lads....

  4. Nice /nasty bunch of clansmen, they look great.
    Best Iain