Wednesday, 22 April 2015

HEROHAMMER BATTLE REPORT: The Fields of Deception

Today vaqueros, we're going to turn the clocks back to a strange era, a time know as the mid 90's. Amidst all the grunge, techno and greasy long hair emerged an edition of Warhammer that is much maligned by those who see it as the antithesis of a proper wargame with it's overpowered characters, simplified rules and magic system that relies on a veritable avalanche of spell and power cards to work - and it is much loved by some for those self-same reasons. Come now on a journey that is laden with guilty pleasure, like a battered, deep-fried Adriano Zumbo pieburger dipped in chocolate. See what happens when three good friends, with three nicely painted armies, come together for one big battle. Come and witness the might of...



THE FIELDS OF DECEPTION


It didn't take a diviner of great power to determine that a storm was brewing, but since Tuor Farendiil, High Mage Lord of Caledor, was in fact a diviner of great power, he used his powers anyway, despite the obvious clouds gathering in the distance. As he closed his eyes and concentrated, there was a knock on the crude wooden door to his chamber.

"Enter," bade Tuor, knowing full well who it was. A tall, slender figure slid into the room, his fine and tasteful appearance at odds with the crude stonework and eye-hurting tapestries that surrounded them in dank cloaks of claustrophobia. Prince Dinendal Leralonde, Lord of the Eagle Peaks of the Anulii, stood easily in the abodes of Men, but then, that elf was used to hanging around smelly eagle aeries so who knows what depths he would plumb? Tuor frowned inwardly, but maintained his sagely look of concentration for the sake of appearances.

"Something troubles you?" Dinendal's voice was like summer music playing across open fields of flowers. Tuor hated the sound. "A storm is brewing," the mage replied solemnly.

"I know this, for my great eagle Surion told me as much. He tells me many things..."

"I'm sure he has many interesting facts about wind velocity, thermal lift capacities and power-to-weight ratios, but this is hardly the time. Are we ready to move out?"

"Yes, all is in readiness for our departure."

The glorious hosts of Ulthuan issue forth from the cheap plastic castle.

They had to hire a special janitor just to cope with all the bird shit. Giant bird shit.

The keen eyed elvish bowmen are the backbone of Ulthuan's military. The spear regiments are more of a spleen.


It had been several months since the small force from the Elvish Isles had set forth for the so-called 'Old World'. A missive from the Dwarven hold of Karak-a-Karunch had arrived, bearing an offer of friendship and mutually beneficent trade that had not been known for generations, and which could not be ignored, despite the fact that dwarves were nasty, hairy little lumps with barely any appreciation for the finer elements of culture. A proclamation from the office of the Phoenix King himself had declared that a party comprised of elements from across the city/states of Ulthuan should be assembled to meet with the dwarves in distant lands, as a show of respect, as well as might. And so it was that Tuor of Caledor had met Dinendal of Cothique, as well as Findecano Pallanen, champion of Chrace, Gelmir Calmcacil, leader of the Silver Helm cavalry from Eataine, Fingon Saralonde, the army banner bearer, and Gwindor Nenharma, leader of a stout unit of Spear elves from Saphery. Apart from Gwindor, the majority of them were insufferable - the champion of spears was merely a simpleton, whom was at least polite and well spoken. Politeness got you a long way in Tuor's books. Not much else did.

Tuor had dreaded getting back on the road. The going had been tough since they had made landfall, town after town of smelly human semi-barbarians with their crude buildings and disgusting victuals. He was running low on his personal supply of wine and crackers too, which didn't help. At first the way had been clear cut, with dwarven messengers at each waypoint assuring them that they were making good progress towards the mountains, and that grand ceremonies and feasts awaited. They had arrived at this last castle several days prior - the final point of civilisation before the mountain home of the dwarves, a little stronghold belonging to a minor Imperial noble. The reaver scouts from Ellyrion had ridden ahead to rediscover the cold trail that would lead them to their final destination. They had finally returned with a letter and a crude map that would take them to a farmhouse close to their destination, to presumably await their hosts and begin the tedious process of bargaining for a decent trade arrangement. Dwarves thrived on this sort of thing, and they were bloody good at it.

"Let's just get this over with," muttered Tuor to noone at all. It was going to be a long few days...

Some folks make riding giant birds of prey look so easy.


Two days later, weary with the dust of the rode, Tuor was watching the sky, where the proud eagle lord and his mount soared and dipped through clear skies. The mage contemplated summoning a magical tempest to down the blasted bird and it's rider but thought better of it. They had been lucky to avoid the storm of several days ago, and he'd hate to add mud to his list of current grievances.

"Show me that letter again Gwindor," Tuor demanded of the Sapherian. The champion of the spear regiment handed him the scrap of parchment.

Messages written in blood should always be trusted. Always.

"I say, I knew dwarves were crude, but his parchment actually looks like it's been written in blood," frowned Tuor. Gwindor cleared his throat. "I'm sure it's just some odd dwarven ink, my lord. They have strange ways, the bearded ones."

Tuor nodded absent mindedly. He could really go for a hot cup of tea right about now. A sudden horn blast from up ahead startled him. "Ah!" exclaimed Gwindor, "the Ellyrians have found the farmhouse!"

It's about bloody time, thought Tuor.

__________________________________

Warlord Scabbrow sniggered to himself and nudged Gakskat the shaman who was hunkered down next to him. The two goblins were leaders of an unruly mob of cave-dwelling night-goblins, but they had aspirations of grandeur.
From their vantage point in a dank tunnel exiting a rocky outcrop, they could see the approaching elves, who remained completely unaware they were walking into a trap, albeit one of fairly low cunning. The dwarves had given up all the information needed under the tender ministrations of his part-time torturer and full-time standard-bearer, Ogzig. Goblins are not fond of elves, and usually avoid them at all cost, but Scabbrow had plans... BIG plans. And they involved killing lots of pointy-ears. But greedy as he was, Scabbrow knew he didn't have the goblin-power to take on the elves himself. So he had made a pact, one he really, REALLY hoped wouldn't backfire on him. He had made a deal with the Skaven...


Warlord Scabbrow (extreme right) and his retinue. 

__________________________________

The King of All Elves looked up at the magnificent figure of Gnawdoom the Mighty and grovelled. "Just what are you, oh great and powerful warrior-magician?"
"From twixt the nether realms of Hell and the blasted sun-baked lands above, we gnaw, we undermine, we burrow deep through the rotten heart of this weak and overripe world. The lands of men and elves and dwarves will soon collapse upon themselves, and the children of the Horned Rat will grasp at them with talon and tooth and feast upon them as they scream their piteous screams, and when they beg for the sweet release of death, I will look down upon them and say -"

"Greyseer Gnawdoom!"

Startled, the old rat slammed shut the book he had been writing in and looked up. The interruption had come from the young Warlord Malis Manwrack, self-styled ruler of the recently vacated fortress of Karak-a-Karunch. The upstart had already renamed the place Castle Skulldread and had been swanning about the ancient halls for days, proclaiming this and ordering that. Gnawdoom had little patience for such nonsense, but the lad was a strong fighter and had talents that the Greyseer needed...for now. He glared at the upstart anyway, because appearances were important.

"What do you want, Malis? Can't you see i'm busy?"

"What are you writing there Gnawdoom? More fan-fiction about yourself?"

"INSOLENCE!" the seer squeaked with rage. 

"The goblins have sent word - the elven force has been sighted and will be at the farmhouse by noon." The young warlord was almost chittering with glee at the prospect of their clever little plan. Gnawdoom had balked at the idea of allying themselves with greenskins, but the goblins had proven their worth in helping storm the dwarven stronghold, filling the corridors with strange, violent orange beasts that devoured anything they came into contact with.
Greyseer Gnawdoom rides the mighty Screaming Bell, flanked by Warlord Malis Manwrack and his retinue.

"Very well then, I shall come. Prepare the BELL!"

__________________________________

Tuor frowned at the mountains beyond the small farmhouse that lay innocuously in the centre of a flat and grassy plain. Something seemed off - an ill wind was blowing. "Have the reavers reported anything of note, Gelmir?" muttered the mage.

"Nothing, sir. One of them thought he saw a dwarf but it turned out to be an old tussock. There's noone around, the farmhouse lies empty."

"This feels wrong..."

They gushed forth from cracks and crags in the mountains, hidden tunnels disgorging rank after smelly rank of goblins and ratmen, flowing over the green land like a flood of poisonous ichor, In the distance a mighty carriage rolled out of the dark ruins of the entrance to the dwarven stronghold, and atop it was a black and fearsome looking bell, hauled along by chittering ranks of skaven. Even as it rumbled over the uneven terrain, a hideous rat creature raised aloft a glowing green hammer and struck the cursed iron of the bell, sending a wave of dark, evil energy across the fields and urging the rats pushing it into a fever of excitement. On the leftmost side of the horde, a massive giant burst from the cover of the wooded mountainside, trampling the grassy slope into mud. The trap had been sprung, and the elves had mere moments to form up into a battle-line before the dark tide was upon them...

The elves deployed in a classic 'Oblique Line' formation, straight from the pages of Olde Weirde's Tacticus.

We'll soon see who wears the big hat around here.

THE ELVEN TRADE EXPEDITION: Powered by Captain Crooks (Windex 95)

Prince Dinendal Leralonde, High Elf general riding the Great Eagle Surion.
Equipment: Bow of Loren, Potion of Strength, Shield of Ptolos

Battle Standard Bearer.
Equipment: Armour of Protection

Tuor Farendiil, Mage Lord of Caledor.
Equipment: War Crown of Saphery, Spell Familiar, Dispel Scroll

5 Dragon Prince Cavalry
Equipment: Heavy Armour, Lance, Shield, Barding, Valorous Standard

10 Silver Helm Cavalry
Equipment: Heavy Armour, Lance, Shield, Barding, Battle Banner

5 Ellyrian Reavers
Equipment: Light Armour, Spear, Bow

5 Ellyrian Reavers
Equipment: Light Armour, Spear, Bow

20 Spear Elves
Equipment: Heavy Armour, Shield, Spear, Standard of Shielding

15 White Lions of Chrace
Equipment: Heavy Armour, Two-handed axe, Lion cloak, Standard of Sorcery

10 Archers
Equipment: Longbows

10 Archers
Equipment: Longbows

1 Eagle Claw repeater bolt thrower




The goblins chose a heavily weighted flank in the form of a giant. Heavily weighted... heh heh heh.





This is actually Grey Seer Gnawdoom, but he looks cool so yeah. Check out Archaeopteryx's blog for loads more awesome skaven figures and more besides!

MALIS MANWRACK'S MANSKINNERS: Powered by Archaeopteryx (v.2.00001)

Warlord Malis Manwrack
Equipment: Sword, Halberd, Armour of Meteoric Iron

Battle Standard Bearer
Equipment: Sword, Light Armour, Dread Banner

Greyseer Gnawdoom mounted on Screaming Bell
Equipment: Sword, Warpstone Armour, warpstone charm

31 Clanrats 
Equipment: Hand weapon, shield, light armour

1 Warpfire Thrower
Equipment: Hand weapon, heavy armour

1 Assassin
Equipment: Weeping blades, light armour

2 Poison Wind Globadiers

19 Plague Monks
Equipment: Two hand weapons, light armour

5 Censor Bearers
Equipment: Plague censor

20 Slaves 
Equipment: Hand weapons


Scabbrow hides his scabby brow under his skull hat. For more goblin-related shenanigans visit Count von Bruno's blog!

WARLORD SCABBROW'S MIDNIGHT RUNNERS: Powered by Count von Bruno (abacus)

Warlord Scabbrow
Equipment: Great axe, Silver Sigil Sword, light armour

Ogzig, Battle Standard bearer
Equipment: Hand weapon, shield

Shaman Gakskat
Equipment: Magic mushrooms, dispel scrolls.

40 Night Goblin spears 
Equipment: Spears, shields

40 Night Goblin spears 
Equipment: Spears, shields

20 Night Goblin archers
Equipment: Short bows

6 Night goblin fanatics
Equipment: Ball and chain, insanity

1 Unit of Squig Hunters
Equipment: 6 Squigs, 4 hunters, heavy spears

1 Hilltop Harry the Giant
Equipment: A great big club


'Harry and the Squigs' were huge back in the 70's.

The alliance of goblins and skaven won the initiative and took the first turn. They advanced as one, save for the goblin archers who hung back in the rear to 'guard the backfield'. Their tiny bows did not have the range to send a volley towards the enemy at this point, despite their vantage point on the hill.

The centre field was dominated by the screaming bell and the plague monks, who were preceded by a small group of censor bearers, wafting fumes that made seeing them, let alone hitting them with arrows, a tricky prospect at range. Warlord Scabbrow ordered his retinue of goblins to match the skaven step for step in the advance, but the great tolling bell was giving the ratmen supernatural vigor and they began to outpace the short-legged greenskins. 

Don't ask for whom the bell tolls. Just... don't.

Censorship is terrible, and don't let anyone convince you otherwise.
The brave Ellyrian reaver knights had used their special pre-game march move to intercept the large mobs of goblins on the right flank. As the greenskins closed, their ranks erupted with a trio of spinning fanatics, one of whom plowed into the unit of reavers, tearing two from their saddles with the enormous heavy ball and chain. The remaining three reavers grimly maintained their composure - theirs was a dangerous but very, very vital task - they couldn't fail!


'Go hold up the flanks' they said. 'You'll have a ball', they said.
On the left flank the other unit of reavers fell afoul of the deadly warpfire thrower, taking two elves screaming out of their saddles. This unit also maintained their composure under pressure, but they were in for worse before the battle was through.

The Grey seer prepared to unleash magical doom upon his foes, but was upstaged by the goblin shaman, who gobbled up some strange looking mushroom and started pulsating with Waaagh! power. Throwing two bits to the wind, the little crazed goblin called upon the power of Gork (or Mork's) giant foot, which appeared in the sky above Mage Lord Tuor and the Eagle Claw bolt thrower he was standing next to,

"Oh hell no..." muttered Tuor, as the clouds above him parted and a giant, glowing green foot began to decend at speed. As the shadow of the foot darkened the ground around him, Tuor clutched his dragon-themed staff tightly and closed his eyes, summoning the power of the winds of magic. He reached out and felt the energies from the goblin's crude sorcery, began to manipulate them and bind them to his ancient and powerful will. The great foot halted in mid-air and began to shimmer, before vanishing in a green mist which began to circle lazily around the head of the mage. Tuor opened his eyes and they glowed a fearsome white. 'I summon the power of... TEMPEST!"

Playing the 'Rebound Spell' card, the goblin's spell was not only dispelled, but the power used to cast it was put to use casting a high magic spell right back at the oncoming armies. The tempest spell effects movement, but more importantly, damages warmachines like chariots and Screaming Bells... 

No way is Gnawdoom going down like that, man.

Summoning nearly all his powers to undo the near-disaster wrought by the goblin shaman, Grey seer Gnawdoom managed to dispel the gathering Tempest spell before it could wreak mutually assured destruction on all parties. The Screaming Bell was safe, for now...

Gnawdoom wasn't quite done yet, casting a powerful Poison wind spell that felled two of the burly White Lions. Despite the hideous way their comrades died, they held their nerve and didn't flee...

It's a well known fact that elves are allergic to pizza.
The elves did not do much in the way of maneuvering in the early stages of the battle, choosing to let the horde come close so as to maximise the effect of their shooting. Several sharp volleys from the elven archers saw most of the Censor bearers dead - in fact there was just one left, but he was not impressed and continued his foggy advance.
The high elf general atop his eagle swooped into position to take several shots at the Screaming Bell with his magical Bow of Loren, and managed to slay the bell striker, effectively silencing the contraption... or so we thought. He was also conveniently placed to ensure that if the goblin regiment in front of him unleashed their fanatics, they would be cleaned up by all the hedges and fences lying about, before they could harm any more elves.
The reaver knights positioned themselves on the right flank out of charge arc of the block of goblin spears, but close enough to prevent the greenskins marching, and took pot-shots at the spinning fanatics, killing two. The other unit of reavers positioned themselves to block the charge paths of the giant that was emerging from behind the farmhouse, and to stop him marching also. Theirs was the most deadly task, for the giant's long legs could easily catch their horses if they had to flee, and fleeing was their only real option if it came to a charge.

Finally, in the magic phase, Tuor managed to cast the Glamour of Teclis on the clanrats pushing the Screaming Bell. This subtle spell requires a leadership test to be taken whenever the unit wishes to move, and if failed, the unit will be moved by the caster...

Noone is more glamorous than Teclis.
At the start of the next allied evil turn, the giant charged at the depleted reavers, and they elected to flee, narrowly avoiding getting stomped on. Their flee move brought them into position right in front of the entirety of the skaven forces, not the most naturally tenable of positions, especially with a giant in hot pursuit!

"Come here delicious horsies. Me just want to talk!"
Meanwhile, on the other flank, Scabbrow and his retinue try to squeeze past the frothing frenzied plague monks, only to find a dirty big eagle sitting behind a hedge. Unable to contain them any longer, the three fanatics within the unit were launched at the juicy bird, only for two of them to die instantly, tangled up in the undergrowth, a sad end indeed. The third didn't quite have the momentum to make it all the way up to the bush, and so remained spinning about, a worrying presence so close to the large goblin unit...

The cheese spins alone. 


Frustratingly for the unit pushing the screaming bell, the reavers were now blocking their forward motion, causing a halt to their sweeping advance. They made up for it by dousing the unfortunate reavers in warpflame from the arcane thrower, killing two more, and making it impossible for the remaining rider to rally -  he would continue his flight until death or the table edge claimed him.

Moments before the big horse BBQ, everything seemed to be going so well...
The remaining Censer Bearer, alone in no-man's-land between the skaven line and the elven forces, decided to charge at the big block of spears. This caused a few chuckles around the table, but for the elves, the mirth was short lived.

The elven spearmen squinted through the billowing green mists that shrouded the field before them. In the distance was a horde of frothing lunatic ratmen, but in front of them, emerging from the fog was a single, psychotic individual who was determined to plough on in spite of the losses his unit had taken to bowfire. One single rat vs a regiment of Ulthuan's finest. A few of the elves chuckled, one even cheered the rat on. Fingon Saralonde, the army standard bearer, stepped up, sword in hand. 
"I'll take care of this," he said nobly, his high helm gleaming in the sun, reflecting the light of his burnished armour that had been cunningly wrought with protective spells. The regiment cheered as one as the elf prepared to meet the charge of the lone rat.
A deadly miasma flowed from the skaven's censer as he brought it around with wild swings, like some kind of reeking, pestilent flail. The fumes were turned back by the strong enchantments of Fingon's armour. "You'll have to do better than such vile sorceries to overcome me!" boasted the banner bearer. The grotesque creature frothed and chittered and did better with his flail, caving in the elf's skull and sending his lifeless body sprawling, the magnificent banner fluttering to the ground. The elves of the spear regiment looked at each other, then looked at the rat, who was sniffing at the carcass. With a great cry, numerous shining spearheads plunged into the skaven, killing it instantly, but the damage to their morale had already been done...

It's one vs 20, what's the worst that could happen? As a matter of fact this one combat cost the elves dearly...
The magic phase was somewhat uneventful, with the high mage's superiority with all things magic allowing him to dispel almost everything that came his way, save for another orkish deity's foot, which came thundering down out of the skies to crunch a wound off the Eagle Claw bolt thrower, and land on a single, solitary spearman, who miraculously survived by getting caught between the toes briefly.

The Elves were still intent on holding their position, but the proximity of the marauding giant to the White Lions and Silver Helms was cause for some concern. The high elf general made the decision to press home the attack, ordering the White Lions forward to use their deadly axes to chop down Hilltop Harry.

Findecano Pallanen, captain of the regiment of White Lions, fifth in line to be the personal bodyguard to the Phoenix King himself, gulped a little as he looked over at the army standard lying in the dirt. He looked up at the fearsome vision of the giant bounding across the field after the fleet-footed reaver knights. He looked into the distance at the figure of Prince Dinendal whom was flapping up over the regiment of goblins and taking up position to fire his magical bow at the sinister skaven bell. The elf prince looked right at the White Lion champion, and gave him the unmistakable battle-sign for 'charge the giant'.

Gripping his axe-haft ever tighter, Findecano stared directly ahead at the massive creature, it's huge sandals, the frayed, sail-cloth clothes, and tried to choke back the overwhelming fear that was filling him up. He looked again at the banner lying on the ground, it's fabric flapping feebly in a light breeze that carried with it the stench of alchemical flame and burnt horse-meat.

"Shall we charge?" asked the standard bearer at his side. Findecano's grip was now slippery on his well-polished axe haft.

"N...no. No, we won't charge...n..not yet. Not a good time."

The standard bearer frowned. The eagle prince gave the signal to charge once more, frantically. The huge giant had begun slowing it's pace, lumbering more with momentum than any real energy expenditure. Findecano stared at the ground and shook his head repeatedly. "Nope, nope, nope, nope..."

Dinendal, exasperated, signalled instead to the Silver Helms, who had been waiting patiently for their time to shine. However, the behaviour of the White Lions had them spooked.

"We're not charging if they don't," signed Gelmir, the champion of the Silver Helm cavalry. His noble, some might say entitled and spoilt upbringing, seemed to have given him the chutzpah to talk back to his own general. Dinendal signed back furiously.

CHARGE. THE. GIANT.

"But he looks so filthy," Gelmir signed back, and then, "What if we can't get the smell off our lances?"

The Silver Helms raised their lances and refused to budge.

With both the White Lions and the Silver Helms failing their leadership tests to overcome their fear of the giant (and with no army standard for them to reroll their failed attempt) there was a serious problem on the left flank. That giant would soon notice all the juicy elf snacks close by and when he did, things would get really ugly.

The eagle prince downed his potion of strength in one gulp, and aimed his bow carefully at the Screaming Bell - not that he could miss at this range, but he wanted to try and disable the carriage before it could roll over any of his troops (even though they were disobedient in the extreme). His shots struck true but the machine was too solid - he failed to do any significant damage.

The reavers on the far right flank continued working their way around the back of the goblin formation, ensuring they stayed close enough to prevent their marching. They took some more shots at the whirling flagellant that was spinning around a copse of trees, and managed to stop it's whirling for good.

Mage Lord Tuor summoned mystical powers of ancient origin and used them to try and BBQ some rats with a Fiery Conflagration spell, but it was nullified by the Grey Seer, who managed to drain all magic from the area temporarily, causing himself and Tuor to forget a spell each. Tuor muttered sour nothings to himself, then watched with horror as the horde of rats broke into a sprint - they were charging!

As the brown hordes crashed into the glittering elven lines, the giant turned ponderously about and regarded the gleaming Silver Helm knights with a greed bordering on the indecent. He licked his lips. Nice horseys. Tasty horseys. The warpfire thrower sent a deadly burst of flame roiling over the Silver Helms, but the knights were saved by their elegant and functional armour and stout shields.

Hilltop Harry orders his meal to go.

The clanrats hauled their deadly Screaming Bell into the midst of the White Lions, screeching and gnashing their teeth. The carriage crushed several of the noble woodsmen beneath it's churning wheels, and the skaven fell about themselves with murderous abandon, relishing in the carnage. The Warlord Malis hacked and thrust left and right, and the deadly assassin Ashish the Black slit many a throat with his wicked blades. Snapping out of his reverie, Findecano waded through the melee to where the Grey Seer was perched atop the bell carriage and raised his axe high. The old rat leapt nimbly aside as the axe struck the bell, causing it to ring out ominously. The shockwave from the tolling caused a huge crack to appear in the body of the Eagle Claw bolt thrower, and in the distance the farmhouse shook and plaster trickled from the ceiling.

The frenzied plague monks flung themselves at the solid line of spearmen, clutching cruel, spiked clubs and dirty, rusty long knives in each of their grimy paws. They hacked and bashed at the shields and scales of the High Elven armour but were unable to bring down more than a couple of them thanks to the expert craftselfship of the armour and the potent protection of their banner. In return the spear elves thrust gleaming points of silvered steel into the abominations again and again, piercing their crude armour and cleaving their black hearts in twain. Scores of the ratmen fell, and the light of frenzy died from their eyes.


The oblique line is put to the test - will it bend, will it break?

The balance of the battle hung by a thread. The White Lions, horrified by the carnage taking place and under the spell of fear emanating from the skaven battle standard, turned to flee and were cut down to an elf. The plague monks, seeing doom in the almond-shaped eyes of the elves and their gleaming weapons, began to stagger and fall back before them. The spears gave chase with a rousing roar and ran the foul creatures down, plunging their gleaming spears into their fleeing backs. The Silver Helms gave one last 'Sod this!' and turned tail, literally, and galloped off the board immediately. The left flank of the elven line had crumbled in one foul swoop, and things were looking grim for the expeditionary force...

The answer was b) break.


"Tally-ho chaps! Last one to the mess tent is a bounder and a cad!"

The skaven weren't done ruining the elves' day just yet. Grey Seer Gnawdoom focused his power on the most potent magic known to Skavenkind - with a flourish of his staff, he called down the Curse of the Horned One upon the victorious spear elves. Sensing something was very amiss, Mage Lord Tuor tried to turn the dark magic aside but was unable to stop it. Even as the spear unit was reforming and congratulating itself on a job well done, a strange, unnatural shadow formed over them, partially obscuring them from sight...

Gwindor looked about him, still breathing heavily after their pursuit of the skaven. Around them the bleeding carcasses of the dead abominations fouled the earth with their tainted blood. The strange shadows around them were growing thicker, and the fine hairs on his arms were standing on end. He heard moans of pain coming from somewhere in the back ranks of his unit. Something very evil was transpiring, he could feel it! 
"Hold firm there chaps!" called out the champion. An elf fell to the floor, writhing in pain, a tail sprouting from his back end. "No..." murmered Gwindor, turning and looking into the face of a rat protruding from a shining elven helm. "No!" he yelled, pushing the hideous thing away, "Stand firm, stand firm!"

All around Gwindor, the transforming elves wriggled and chittered, claws appearing where once deft and skilled hands had been, and the cackling of the Grey Seer echoed across the battlefield...

Are those hideous brown blobs the result of ghastly sorceries, or last night's vindaloo?

The freshly minted skaven formed their own little unit behind the stricken spear elves, who had been justly punished for their annihilation of the plague monks - but the elves held firm!

Realising that some swift action needed to be taken in order to regain control of the battle, Prince Dinendal raised his fist and gave the signal for all the remaining units to charge. The spear elves, still shaken from their ordeal, nonetheless heeded the call, charging the side of the large block of night goblins containing their shaman, general and battle standard. On the opposite side, the Dragon Princes lowered their long lances and charged full-tilt into the other goblin flank. The leftmost archer unit saw their chance for glory and cast aside their bows, pulling out elegant swords and charging the front ranks boldly. Finally, Prince Dinedal himself flew down out of the sky like an avenging silver thunderbolt, his lance leveled at the filthy little greenskins, singing aloud the warcry of the Anulli mountain folk, whom he had spent many months discovering himself with on the magic-swept slopes of the eponymous peaks.

Ever been the meat in an elf pieburger? These gobboes can tell you aaaaall about it.
The repeater bolt thrower, damaged though it was, sent a volley of deadly shafts into the clanrat regiment, killing several as the long spear-like bolts penetrated through a number of ranks. The elven archers who didn't charge sent volley after volley of arrows into the unit of newly created skaven, but were unable to destroy the abominations whom had once been their comrades... 

Warboss Scabbrow was pleased with how the battle had gone so far. The skaven had proven quite adept at killing lots of elves, while he had yet to commit more than a handful of frothing loonies to the fight so far - his forces were intact and ready to mop up whatever was left of the elves (and possibly even the skaven, depending on how things went). He was feeling bold and brassy, and so ordered his goblins to make a general advance, ready to pounce on the weakest, least threatening looking target they could spot. There were two soft-looking units of elven archers dead ahead that looked like they could do with a kicking...

Suddenly Scabbrow heard the clarion sound of horns and a unit of elven spears broke formation and ran down some fleeing skaven - the nasty ones that always foamed at the mouth, a bit like his own fanatics. His eyes widened in horror and awe as the spear elves began mutating into more skaven right before him. What were these things they had allied with?! His eyes opened up ever wider when that self-same unit of spears shrugged off the horror, wheeled formation and began to charge at his flank! Looking forward, he saw the unit of archers break formation too, running at them with swords raised. And then, he heard the galloping of hooves, and a large winged shadow blocked out the sun...

"Bollocks..." muttered Scabbrow, and turned to look at Gakskat, the shaman. They both nodded in silent agreement - it was time to scarper.

With a thunderous crash of hooves and armour and the wet sound of goblin bodies being torn asunder, the units met in a perfectly timed mass charge. Amidst the carnage, Scabbrow and Gakskat hacked and clawed and stabbed about them, killing several of the unarmoured archers in the confusion. Goblin after goblin perished around them, and the remainder broke and fled, with the goblin boss and his cronies doing their best to blend in and not be singled out. The great eagle and it's rider gave chase, plucking goblins left and right with beak and talon and hurling their broken forms about. The shining lance of Dinedal pierced body after stinking body, till the whole unit was scattered. Of the warboss and his shaman, no trace was to be seen...

"Shoo! Shoo you rotten goblins!"
When news of the demise of their leader began to spread, the goblins, being of fairly low character already, proved their worth by booking it towards the nearest table edge as quickly as they could. The second block of spears, and the unit of archers, both halted just before the board edge - if they couldn't be rallied in the last turn, all was lost for the gobboes!

The cronut queue was always objectionably long, even if you got there super early.
The elven Mage Lord cast his glamour spell on the clanrats once again, then followed it up with the deadly Fiery Conflagration on the same unit - this time the Grey Seer could not dispel it, and the magical fire leapt up around the feet of the unit, burning several to death. The spell remained in play, growing stronger with each passing magic phase...


Grey Seer Gnawdoom gnashed his large ratty teeth with anger. The night goblins had fled almost to a goblin, save for the giant and the weird goblins poking the orange beasts with their large spears - they were working their way around the farmhouse, but all the elven targets were on the other side of the battlefield now! The balance of the battle was in danger of shifting badly against him - it was time to take back the initiative!

"My children!" he bellowed from his platform on the bell to his newly created ratmen, "My children, charge them, take them!" The old rat pointed a long, dirty claw at the spear elves which had so insolently survived his potent magics. "KILL THEM!"

From his place in the front rank, Warlord Malis threw an angry glare in the direction of the seer. HE was meant to be giving the orders around here...

The newborn skaven threw themselves at the backs of the elven spear unit, which was depleted to half it's original numbers, but still a potent fighting force. The skaven slaves and squig hunters moved ever closer to the new battleline that had formed in an attempt to bring all their force to bear.
The two night goblin units fled off the table, abandoning the skaven, giant and squigs to their fate and potentially ending the alliance. It would take a whole lot of cheese to fix this, lads...

The pair of skaven poison wind globadiers finally found themselves in range of a worthy target - with a lob and a squeak, they hurled their deadly grenades at the repeater bolt thrower, enveloping it in a deadly vapour that choked it's crew members to death. The warpfire thrower, seeing the open flank of the archer unit, carefully aimed it's nozzle and let fly with a long burning gush that enveloped the archers with alchemical flames that seared away flesh and blackened bone. Of the whole unit, only one elf survived, in addition to the High Mage who had managed to keep his tall hat down. The lone elf was close to panic but the reassuring presence of the powerful magic user kept him steady. In the distance, a single Dragon Prince fell burning from his saddle, also claimed by the unnatural fire. The skaven weapon had certainly demonstrated it's worth this day...


The evil pizza strikes again!

The skaven who had charged the spear elves did their best to try and bring down the heavily armoured and enchanted unit but were unable to kill a single one. In return the elves leveled their spears in glittering rows and slew enough to send them scampering. With a shout, the elves pursued and tried to run them down, but were unable to catch the fleeing rats. Looking up, they saw the skaven slaves tantalisingly close by, ripe for a charge next turn...

The magical cleansing flame licking about the clanrats grew in intensity, claiming several more skaven lives. Gnawdoom waved his claws, causing the fumes from his warpflame brazier to whip about, sending magical energy flowing through him. He attempted once again to cast the Curse, but this time the High Mage was ready, delivering a blast of anti-magical power so strong it not only prevented the casting of the Curse, but erased the spell entirely from the seer's mind. Cursing in another, less potent form, Gnawdoom concentrated the rest of his powers on dispelling the flames that were surrounding them, and also the glamour that lay upon them, subtly, in the background. His forces sorely depleted, the old rat was contemplating calling for a retreat...

The elves gathered themselves for one last assault, having realigned themselves to create a new battleline on the right flank, facing across to the left flank, where the approaching skaven slaves were trying their best to look menacing. The spear elves, deciding for now to let their former comrades-turned-ratmen go and instead, charged headlong into the unit of slaves. The Dragon Princes spurred on their horses and charged at the newborn skaven, catching them with ease and running them down. Prince Dinendal flew across the battlefield to a vantage point that presented the clanrat unit in range of his magical bow. His shots were joined by the remaining archers, and the clanrats fell as white-fletched arrows pierced their armour and split their shields. 

The spear elves battled the skaven slaves briefly, but it soon turned into a rout as the thin and poorly equipped rats proved no match for the superior armaments and skills of the elves. The spears once again found themselves pursuing a stricken enemy but their heavy armour prevented them from catching their quarry once more. It hardly mattered though - with the last rays of the setting sun stretching out from the horizon, the battle was almost at a close, and the elves had managed to climb back out of the pit of defeat with bold actions and noble deeds.


The giant was looking in the wrong direction, and so missed all the fun.

Tuor, Mage Lord of Caledor, had one more card to play before the game was done - and that card was TOTAL POWER. With a flourish, he began to cast the spell of ultimate destruction once again - THE TEMPEST. And this time his spell would be unstoppable!

Read 'em and weep.

The sky darkened and winds of unknown origin began to howl and circle about the combatants. Grey Seer Gnawdoom hung onto the carriage of the Screaming Bell and howled with fury as the titanic spell took hold. The great bell swung on it's mount as the winds buffeting it grew stronger and stronger - and then it began to toll.

"No, noooo!" cried Gnawdoom as he stared in horror at the magical bell, the tolling growing louder and louder as the magical power within it grew to a fever pitch. Warlord Malis screamed at his clanrats but his words were torn from his snout and whisked away unheard. The bell tolled for the last time and a mighty crack echoed across the battlefield, followed by a detonation so loud that it killed all who were unable to cover their ears in time, and burst the eardrums of many others besides, as the great bell exploded. Gnawdoom was thrown from the carriage, stunned, as all around him clanrats landed, some unconscious, some dead. The assassin Ashish the Black lay motionlessly nearby, blood leaking freely from his ears. The battlestandard lay in the mud, it's bearer slumped over it. Rats staggered about everywhere, Warlord Malis among them, clutching at their heads and moaning. They were defeated, the battle was lost. Malis roused the Grey seer roughly, urging him to scramble to his feet, and the pair vanished into the dusk, a pair of shadows soon one with the night.


"Dang, who farted? Gnawdoom?!"

The elves had won the field, but at a great cost in life. The proud White Lions, personal bodyguards to the Phoenix King himself, had been cut down like golden wheat at harvest, and many archers had been burnt to death, not to mention the spear elves who had been hideously turned into rats. The remaining force consolidated around the farmhouse and struck camp, keeping a steady watch for any more would-be attackers. It would be a long night indeed on those cursed fields of deception...

______________________________________

The moon hung high in the sky, casting cold white light upon the piles of dead strewn across the battlefield. One pile was higher than most - the scene of the great goblin rout, where the little black-cloaked bodies lay thick and grisly. One pile began to twitch, almost as if something were underneath, trying hard to claw it's way up. In fact, it was two things.

"Oi, Gakskat, I fink the coast is clear..." Warboss Scabbrow whispered loudly into the dark pit of corpses. There was a muffled grunt, and the face of Gakskat appeared, smeared with mud and blood and other unmentionables. The two huffed and puffed and pulled each other out of the tangle of limbs until they lay, exhausted, staring up into the moonlit night.

"Dat could 'ave gone better," mused Scabbrow. Gakskat nodded solemnly. "Still, we ain't dead, so that's a plus." More nods.

"Hey lissen, I gotta plan, see?" Scabbrow sat up, suddenly excited again. "Wanna hear it?"

The two little figures scurried off into the night, back to their caves, already planning their next big scheme...

To be continued...

20 comments:

  1. Must have had as many laughs as there were casualties in this battle... it hurts but feels so good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually it was an intense and harrowing experience for us all. Archie vomited under the table, CvB kept throwing tape measures and I kicked a small child when my cavalry ran away.

      Delete
  2. ahhhh 5th edition, that's my edition, the one I grew up with! Fantastic Battle Report, brings all the happy memories flooding back, and almost dispels the bad ones I have from gaming of that era.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can only clearly remember one battle that I played from that era, and that game was also won by me playing Tempest using Total Power. It's possible my elves are a one-trick-pony...

      Delete
  3. Really excellent report on this detailed and well written AAR! thanks for sharing it with us...lets hope it is the first of many great games you guys have together.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Blue :) I don't know what AAR stands for but will assume you are giving me a piratey sound of approval. Aar! to you too :D ;)

      Delete
    2. Haha...pirates it is...but it is also After Action Repot. A little U.S. Military euphemism for "you just got your ass shot off...let's review what you did wrong"!! :)

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. This game was about 10% nostalgia, 10% strategy and 80% fumbling with all the cards.

      Delete
  5. This sounds amazing - everything I wish I'd gotten out of gaming in 5th edition, but so rarely got!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We were all tantrum throwing kids back then, and this was probably the worst edition for encouraging cheese-coated beard festivals if left unchecked. We had a soft ceiling of about 50pts for individual magic items in this game, but the lure of the ludicrous is always there in 5th... always there...

      Delete
  6. Fantastic write up Crooksie, what a great read.
    Rumour has it that Scabbrow and Gakskat have both just about finished licking their wounds and are planning their vengeance as I type.
    That's just a rumour though...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. EEEEEWWwww, I suspect someone's going to have trouble sleeping on his 2 pointy ears ;)

      Delete
    2. I object to your racist comments. You are a bad man. Why don't you come down under and say that huh? Huh?? Yeah that's what I thought. But you're always welcome.

      Delete
  7. That looks and reads like an old WD report, but its funnier and has more swearing, both things that I approve of. All of the armies look great, good stuff all round guys :)

    The couple of Fantasy games that I played over the years also featured a lot of people showing up, hearing a loud noise and immediately fleeing, so I can relate to the goblins experience in particular.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The mechanics of fear and terror are quite powerful in 5th ed - for example the elite White Lions fled because the clanrat unit that beat them in melee outnumbered them while causing a 'fear' effect from their banner. A large unit of skeletons can do that with no banner at all. In other, unrelated news I may be painting some skeletons soon...

      Delete
  8. Great job Crooksie, your battle reports are always a pleasure to read. You had me laughing out loud! It certainly was a battle full of absurd and improbable events, and definitely illustrated well the statement that "no battle plan survives contact with the enemy". Thanks for the fun game Count von Bruno and Captain Crooks. Looking forward to revenge against the elf-things!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was my pleasure of course, and since a game is more funner in direct proportion to the awesomeness of the guys playing it I owe you both my thanks too (since i seem to have forgotten to do so in the body of the blog :s ).

      Delete
  9. Just read this; brilliant stuff. If I was ever going to play Warhammer again (last time was 1998.....) this is how I would do it. Cost me enough to get all the cards again for 40K 2nd edition, so not going to do it for fantasy too though...

    Warburton

    ReplyDelete
  10. Just read this as well AWESOME loved it well done.

    ReplyDelete