A Cataclysmic Clash at the Convent

Posted in Convent of Our Most Aquaeous Lady, Glarsnot Bloodcurdle II, Glint Stonewarden, Sir Perficial, The Large Wooden Rabbit of Genocidal Intent on September 28, 2008 by the scribe

The arrival of the Large Wooden Rabbit of Genocidal Intent at the Convent of Our Most Aqueous Lady was greeted with much celebration by the nuns, monks, and local villagers of the parish. As Bretonnian lords, bishops and border princes met to discuss strategy, a village fête was held, complete with all the traditional games: whack-an-orc, pin-the-spear-on-the-goblin, and even a festive witch-burning or two.

The celebrations were short-lived, however. Indeed, no sooner had the villagers finished a game of musical leeches when a mounted yeoman rode up at great speed. He dismounted, and kneeled before the local lord, Perficial the Inbetween.

“My liege, two hostile armies approach… through the woods to to the west, a horde of greenskins… from the hills to the east, a phalanx of dwarves!”

“What! Greenskins and Dwarves working together! This is indeed a portent of evil!” Sir Perficial reached for his helm, as he signaled to his paladins to mount their steeds. “Assemble the knights and peasantry, for tomorrow we do battle in the name of our beloved Lady, and this great big wooden rabbit thing that doth signify her most blessed blessing!”

This three-way battle would pit 2,000 points of Bretonnians (deployed in the centre of the table) against 1,500 points each of Orcs and Dwarves, starting from the west and east table edges respectively. The victory conditions were rather complicated:

  • Whichever party possessed the rabbit at the end of the battle would secure, at minimum, a marginal victory—and more if they also won on points.
  • If the rabbit was destroyed, the Bretonnians would suffer, at minimum, a marginal defeat. The winner between the Dwarves and Orcs would then be determined by points.
  • If no one controlled the rabbit at the end of the battle, the victor would be determined on points.

In addition, the Bretonnians received +1 on all combat resolutions while their forces controlled the rabbit.

DEPLOYMENT

To the west, the Orc and Goblin army deployed spiders to its flanks (together with all three heroes), with a large unit of Orc Big Boyz and a fanatic-equipped unit of Night Goblin bows in the centre. Two Spear Chukkas and a Doom Diva rounded out the force. The primary concern of the Orc general, Glarsnot Bloodcurdle II, was that the Bretonnian Green Knight would appear in the woods, destroying the war engines and taking the infantry units from the rear. He intended, therefore, to move forward as quickly if possible with his main force. The mounted troops were intended to envelope the flanks of a Bretonnian cavalry thrust, either slowing it or taking advantage of opportune flank and rear charges (especially those Spider-rider units bolstered by the presence of heroes).

The Dwarven deployment was straight-forward: four small units of Thunderers across the front, to quickly bring their enemies under withering handgun fire. Behind them marched the redoubtable Ironbreakers, led personally by Thane Glint Stonewarden and his battle standrad bearer. The latter was equipped with Strollaz Rune, which would allow the Dwarven army to advance with greater haste towards their objective. Uncharacteristically for the Dwarves, they fielded no artillery. Instead, a Gyrocopter clattered overhead, prepared to swoop down on any vulnerable foe and pepper it with steam-driven hot lead.

For their part, the Bretonnians decided to attempt to delay the slower Dwarves while dealing a fatal blow to the Orcs and Goblins. Accordingly, the Knights of the Realm, Knights Errant, Peasant bow—together with Sir Perficial and his paladins—were all deployed to the west, while the Pegasus Knights were held back to harass any threat from the east. The Green Kinight would appear wherever he seemed to be needed most, and a single Prophetess stood guard over the Rabbit from outside the Convent.

TURN 1

“Get em, boyz…. everyone stomp dem pinksins!” Glarsnot Bloodcurdle II waved his troops forward as he spurred his mechanical warboar Petunia to advance. The Silentweb, Venomsting, and Deathsilk Goblin Spider-riders all skittered forward. The Night Goblin bows also advanced with high pitched squeaks of excitement. The Orc Big Boyz, however, got into a squabble about whose choppa was bigger, however, and hung back much to their leader’s annoyance.

As the greenskins advanced, the Goblin war machine crew clambered over their contraptions, to send flying death towards the enemy. First the Doom Diva released its suicidal charge towards the Knights of the Realm—the goblin flyer crashing into the Knights and felling three of them. The Spear Chukkas then fired, killing one more. Despite Sir Perceival’s angry commands to the contrary, this proved too unnerving for the Bretonnian riders, who broke and fled in panic away from the Greenskin lines—directly towards the Dwarves.

Glint Stonewarden chuckled as he saw the initial deployment of the Bretonnian forces—clearly they had underestimated the speed and guile of a Dwarven army! He signalled his standard-bearer to unfurl the Strollaz Rune, and the Dwarves surged forward.

With the eyes of the realms upon him, Sir Perficial initial moments of battle had been one of abject humiliation. As his Knights flight from the Goblin artillery fire, he shouted at them angrily not in the measured tones of a noble, but in the more colourful language of a peasant. “By our blessed Lady’s Aunt Agnes, what in the sheep-dip  do you think you wine-addled noble pillocks think you are doing? Stop right this moment, or as the Lady is my witness I’ll sever your manhoods with a rusty pair of shearing scissors!” While this served in the mind of some to confirm the long-standing rumours about Sir Perficial’s actual parentage, it did bring the flight of the Knights of the Realm to a halt. As they reformed in embarrassment, the Peasant Bow and Knights Errant advanced towards greenskins, while the Pegasus Knights attempted to slip through a narrow gap in the Dwarven lines to file behind them. The Green Knight attempted to materialize in the woods behind the Orc lines, but failed to do so. The Prophetess cast one of her arcane magicks—but instead her head exploded somewhat, sending her reeling and causing her to forget the incantation forever.

TURN 2

The Orc Boyz finally rose above their squabbling, and advanced, as did the rest of the Greenskin Army, as Gobbo artillery fire continued to wreak havoc in the Bretonnian lines.

The Knights of the Realm, having rallied from their ignominious start, wheeled back to face the hated Greenskin foe, as the rest of the Bretonnian Army advanced in that direction. The Green Knight—scourge of all under-races—materialized in the Greenskin rear. The Pegasus Knights tried to slip through a narrow gap between the Dwarven front line…

…but didn’t quite make it. A straggler was charged by a unit of Dwarven Thunderers, forcing the unfortunate Knights to evade out of charge range. The rest of the Dwarven Army advanced… slowly, as Dwarves tend to do.

TURN 3

The Orc Boyz, somewhat to the rear of the rest of their forces due to earlier squabbling, charged into the Green Knight… and bested him despite their complete lack of magical weapons (hooray CR ranks bonuses!) The unfortunate Knight began to go a little whispy as the Orcs jeered and made rude noises. The Deathsilk Spiders charged the Peasant Bow, slaughtering them, while the remaining Spider-riders harassed the flanks of the Knights Errant.

At this point, the Bretonnians and Dwarves entered into a parley. Thane Glint Stonewarden promised Sir Perficial that he would not fire upon, or otherwise attack, the Bretonnians until they had jointly disposed of the growing Greenskin menace. While Sir Perficial had enough country commonsense to know that the Dwarves hoped that the humans and Orcs would slaughter each other and leave the Rabbit vulnerable for the taking, he had little other option. He agreed.

TURN 4

It rather looked as if the renewed Bretonnian-Dwarven Alliance had come just in time. The Orc Boyz—in a victory that would later become feted as “Da Day Wezz Chopped Up Da Green Ghoosty” finished off the Green Knight be sheer press of numbers. The Spider Riders and Orc Heroes descended on the Knights Errant, slaughtering them too. The Greenskin artillery began to find the range of the Dwarves.

There was little left by now of the shattered human army but a unit of Knights of the Realm and the embarrassed and thus-far ineffectual Pegasus Knights.

TURN 5

The Greenskins surged forward. In a desperate effort to stop them, the Pegasus Knights flew into combat, destroying one unit of Spiders. Worried about the continued Dwarven advance towards the Rabbit, the Knights of the Realm broke the short-lived alliance, and charged the short bearded types, breaking a nearby unit of Thunderers. The Green Knight reappeared at the pond.

TURN 6

The Greenskins were maddeningly close to the Rabbit, but the Pegasus Knights and the Green Knight stopped them from dashing forward to seize it. The Dwarves defeated the Knights of the Realm, but at the cost of halting their advance too.

An the Prophetess of the Convent of Our Most Aquaeous Lady? Still reeling from her arcane self-inflicted injury, she (under the rules of the scenario) secured the Rabbit—and a last-minute Bretonnian victory.

The Battles of the Rabbit

Posted in Glarsnot Bloodcurdle, The Large Wooden Rabbit of Genocidal Intent on September 27, 2008 by the scribe

The theme of the Large Wooden Rabbit of genocidal Intent formed the basis for the next several battles of the Gilt War campaign. I was too busy at the time to write them up in detail, but they essentially transpired something like this:

The Battle of Bleeding Brass

Aided by the divinations of the shamans, and a large green Gork-like finger that hovered above them pointing the way, the Greenskin army hurried to the site of the ancient Battle of the Eleven Armies. There, near the ruins of an old village on the Portlystout River, they found the Rabbit. They also found a Dwarven army approaching, also hoping to seize the relic before the Bretonnians (or anyone else) could do so.

Battle swirled around the relic for hours, until disaster struck: Glarsnot Bloodcurdle was critically wounded by a mighty axe blow from the Dwarven Lord Greybeard Revengeseeker. He fell to the ground, battered and bleeding. Asis life drained from him, he remembered once more the dark prophecy of the goblin hag…

The dwarf lord had little time to enjoy his apparent victory, however. He himself was mortally wounded when he was charged in the flank by an angry band of Yellowmoon night goblins.

Moments later, trumpets could be heard in the distance: the Bretonnians had arrived.

Result: Marginal victory to the Dwarves, who narrowly won on casualties and terrain but who failed to remove the rabbit before the game expired. Glarsnot Bloodcurdle was dead! 

The Slaughter of the Slayers

The next day, the Bretonnians formed up on the battlefield, as fresh Dwarven reinforcements arrived: a slayer army, led by the redoubtable fanatic Lord Zarak Frenziedaxe. Inspired by the sight of the Rabbit, and enraged at the thought of it in dwarven hands, the heavily armoured Bretonnian knights charged headlong into the unarmoured dwarves.

Result: Massacre. The slayers fell quickly before the Bretonnian lances, leaving almost no survivors. The Rabbit was now in human hands.

The Battle of Flashy Lights

Before the Bretonnians could remove the Rabbit to a safer location, greenskin reinforcements arrived: a shaman-heavy army under the mysterious Kastalot Kilzzalot. While magic inflicted heavy casualties on the Bretonnian peasants and men-at-arms, routing them both, the battle turned when the Bretonnian paladins led their knights into a charge against the main body of orc boyz. The orcs broke, and the greenskin army was shattered. This battle was notable too as the first appearance of the incredibly annoying, and very hard to kill, Green Knight.

Result: Substantial Bretonnian victory.

With the rabbit now firmly in Bretonnian hands, it was transported some seventy miles to the west, to the venerated Convent of Our Most Aqueous Lady. There the nobles and bishops would meet, to plan their next steps…

The Return of the Rabbit

Posted in Glarsnot Bloodcurdle, The Large Wooden Rabbit of Genocidal Intent on September 27, 2008 by the scribe

“Beware! Beware! The tree-born rodent of death shall be your end!”

The old nightgoblin seer cackled once more as she held aloft the entrails from which she interpreted the mystic portents. A few of the assembled greenskins sniggered—this was something to fear? Why, they has slain pinkskins and stunties in this Waaagh… a rodent certainly seemed little to worry about. Most went back to their fermented fungusbrew, or continued their mud-wrestling with little heed to the crazed gobbo and her disemboweled chicken parts.

Glarsnot Bloodcurdle, however, had a very different reaction. He, unlike most of his illiterate throng, had read the Ancient Texts of Peverse Wikkiality, and perused the dog-eared scrolls of the ancient sage Miscreant Blogger. The old goblins warning sounded eerily like the legend of the Large Wooden Rabbit of Genocidal Intent…

And so it was, in the time of the noble confederecy of King Betrand, that the high bishops of the Kingdoms did cause to have built a rabbit of wood, and did pray upon its construction saying “Verily, by the mercy of our beloved Lady, we do consecrate this rabbit unto the power of Her most beneficent grace and love, so that those that accompany it shall bloodily slaughter our foes and generally people who don’t look like us, being shorter or greener or having ears of pointyness, for they are but an abomination upon the face of creation….”

Bloodcurdle shuddered as he remembered the ancient tales—how the wooden contraption had sparked the Great War of Extermination, whereby the Bretonnians and their human allies had sought to cleanse the realms of orc, goblin, dwarf, and elf alike. Few knew of it today, for the later need of the human kingdoms for non-human allies had led them to purge what records there were of those ancient times from the history books, and indeed to dismiss it all as mere propaganda. Others had done so too—neither the Orcs nor Dwarves wanted to remember a time where they had fought together as allies.

Still, if it were all true…

And so, as the Eleven Armies did achieve a bitter and bloody victory over the humans, felling King Bertrand and his cohorts. The Rabbit, however, was taken by the priests, to a location unknown, and concealed by powerful magicks—to vanish from the eyes of creatures and the pages of history for a millenia or more, until its powers had recharged and it could once more summon the hearts and swords of men in the service of its great crusade…

The Orcish General turned to his aides. “Prepare da army now.. weez gunna march at once!” He also turned to his most trusted scout, the famed goblin agent Germz-Beyund. “Germz, yuz gunna take this to da stunties.. yes, da stunties.. dey must be warned.”

With this, he handed the dusrprised goblin a piece of paper, bearing both his writing and his waxen seal. It contained but four mysterious words: “Da rabbit is back…”

Our next several battles were all inspired by a Monty Python-inspired wooden rabbit, which my daughter had crafted many years ago for her local Cub Kar (pinewood derby) competition. (Despite its complete and utter lack of even the faintest semblance of aerodynamic elegance, it had done very well too!)

Da Battle of Whaddalottaxes

Posted in Curator Thesmith Son-of-Ian, Glarsnot Bloodcurdle, Globule's Guide to Hurling, Grevious Rustyblade, Karak Kadrin, Karbon Ironsmelter, Slarkfug Boarmuncher, Yepme Goboom on May 9, 2008 by the scribe

Following the crushing defeat of the allied army, and the retreat of the devastated Bretonnian Army to Castle Calhew, Glarsnot Bloodcurdle found more and more greenskin tribes rallying to his bloody and victorious banner. What had started as a dispute over gold mining rights, and escalated into a clash with Karak Kadrin, had now become a fullscale Waaagh, stretching from the the northern Badlands, through the Border Princedoms and Black Mountains, and north to the World’s Edge.

While this presented new opportunities for loot and conquest, it also presented new challenges. Finally, after many entreaties, the reluctant Border Princes finally began to provide substantial material support to the embattled Calhews. Elsewhere, previously unengaged Dwarven holds mobilized their forces to confront the growing Greenskin challenge.

Indeed, soon enough, news soon reached the Orcish commander of a Dwarven force marching towards Mad Dog Pass–possibly to besiege the Orcish garrison at Black Crag, or possibly even to seize the pass itself. Perhaps more ominous still was the news that the army carried with it an ancient Dwarven device: one of the fearsome Goblin Hewers constructed decades ago by the famed (if rather deranged) Malakai Makaisson. Obtained years earlier as scrap parts by Master Engineer Ironthighs Ian of Karaz-a-Karak, it had been loving restored by his son, Curator Thesmith of the of the Dwarven Museum of Rocks, Technology, and Still More Rocks. With a band of specially recruited crew of graduate student Slayers, Curator Thesmith Son-of-Ian clearly hoped the museum piece would turn the tide against the Greenskin invasion…

DEPLOYMENT

The Goblin Hewer is indeed a fearsome device: 48″ range, usually hits, never misfires, and does D3 S4 hits per rank. It is, in my view, a seriously overpowered item…

Nonetheless, my opponent had a brand new (and newly-painted) one, so we wanted to use it. I had no intention of going up against it frontally. Instead, I would snipe at it with war-engines, and envelop from the flanks. My Black Orcs, supported by Night Goblin Spears and two small units of Spider-Riders, would take the west flank. The Orc Boys, supported by Spiders and a Troll, would take the east flank. Snotlings would advance through up the centre to draw fire.

TURN 1

Seeing the greenskin deployment, Dwarf-Lord Grevious Rustyblade immediately ordered the deployment of his reserves to the flanks, the reinforce them against the expected double envelopment. Elsewhere, the Rangers advanced to the edge of woods–much to the surprise of the advancing greenskins, who had not expected to find them there.

Meanwhile, Curator Thesmith Son-of-Ian, looking oddly out of place in a tweed jacket and pipe, removed the dustcover from the reconditioned Goblin-hewer, and gave the signal to start up its engine. Furiously, his graduate students started to pedal.

The nearby Dwarven cannoneers looked on with some bemusement: surely this ramshackle device belonged back in the museum, and not here on the battlefield!

The Goblin-Hewer clattered and hummed (and the furiously pedaling slayer/graduate students huffed and puffed) as the machine spun up to speed. The gunners guffawed one last time, turned to their own tried-and-tested weapons, and sighted the cannons upon the foe.

“Fire one!” With crash, a huge iron ball flew across the field, narrowly missing the Night Goblins.

“Fire two!” With an even larger crash, Dwarven cannoners flew in the air as the weapon exploded in a catastrophic misfire.

The Curator paid little attention as bits of iron, wood, and dwarven beard fell around him. Instead he leaned forward, and pressed the large red button marked “Press Me.” With a clatter, axes were hurled into the distance–and, his graduate students cheered as three of the Night Goblins fell dead. He could hardly wait to tell his fellow scholars back the the Museum’s Department of Arcane Devices (and Rocks) of his success.

Curators Thesmith’s fearsome demonstration did little to deter the brave Snotlings of the 787th and 788th Snotling Regiment, however, as they advanced towards the guns. A few wondered why there were so many Snotling Regiments, and why they were rarely heard of after their first battle. However, most of the Snotlings–being Snotlings–were more focused on making squeaky noises, picking their noses, and rushing towards their foe (a major reason, of course, why the life expectancy of Snotling Regiments is so regrettably short.) On the flanks, the bulk of the Army advanced too, urged on by an early waagh by Glarsnot Bloodcurdle that resulted in all of three units advancing an extra 1″ each…

Meanwhile, Mork (or, possibly, Gork) looked on from a distance, his oddly husky-like eyes glowing green with the lust of impending battle (or, possibly, dropped popcorn).

TURN 2

The Dwarves continued to march Warriors to their flanks as reinforcements, as their warmachines and shooters fired into the advancing Greenskins. For their part, Orcish shock troops advanced on each flank, supported by their Goblin allies.

Yepme Goboom, the wolf-mounted Goblin hero, clutched his Brimstone Bauble in his hand and spurred his mount along the edge of Cutting Copse, until he was just in sight of that infernal axe-throwing machine. If he could just get a clear charge at it…

TURN 3

Curator Thesmith Son-of-Ian looked up from his well-thumbed library copy of Globule’s Guide to Hurling long enough to see a lone Goblin near Cutting Copse. He calmly twirled a dial, prodded a graduate student to pedal faster, and pulled some lever. In the distance, the gobbo fell to the ground, three axes impaled in his little green head. The Curator puffed contently on his pipe: By Jove, this was a lovely device!

In the centre of the battlefield, the Thunderers and Quarrelers poured fire into the advancing Snotlings. Soon the once-proud (if unsurprisingly short-lived) 787th and 788th regiments were no more. Somewhere, a greenskin recruiter sighed, and accosted young, naive snotlings with tales of the exiting life one could lead in the soon-to-be-established 789th regiment.

Seeing the weakness in the greenskin centre, the Ironbreakers began to advance, hoping to either engage the Yella Moonz Night Goblins, or to outflank the flanking Black Orcs by circling around the now spider-infested Cutting Copse.

On the east flank of the battle, Glarsnot Bloodcurdle drew his Akrit Axe, and charged straight towards the Longbeard Rangers, his standard-bearer at his side. As he did so, Slarkfug Boarmuncher (astride, as usual, his Ironback Boar) led the Silentdeath Spiders through the woods and into the flank of the Dwarves. The fighting was fierce, but brief: the Longbeards lost the combat, turned, and were cut down.

TURN 4

Dwarf-Lord Grevious Rustyblade raised his hand to halt the column of Dwarven Warriors that had been steadily marching to strengthen his army’s eastern flank. With the Rangers gone, and the Orc Boyz advancing on the Quarellers, there was a real risk that he would simply be reinforcing failure. With a heavy heart, he signaled the Dwarves to turn around, and head back to the main body of the army. The eastern flank was on its own.

Indeed, as the Dwarven General feared, guttural war-cries could soon be heard as Glarsnot Bloodcurdle, Biggaboots Sicklifta, the Orc Boyz and the Dreadspinner Spiders all slammed into the Quarellers and both Grudge Throwers. Although they fought valiantly, the Dwarves were overcome. Only young Thane Karbon Ironsmelter, the battle standard bearer, survived the melee, and immediately rushed after the departing warriors as fast as his short little Dwarf legs would carry him.

On the west flank something of a standoff had developed. Neither the Blue Moonz Night Goblins nor the Greyweb Spiders were willing to charge into the Warriors, fearing they might either lose the fray or be subsequently shot to pieces by the Goblin Hewer. The Black Orcs too were reluctant to exit from behind the shelter of Cutting Copse, for fear of being cut down by the Curator’s contraption. Perhaps it was safer to just hold in position, and hope that the Goblin artillery–which had thus far done very little damage–might destroy the war-machine.

TURN 5

The standoff continued, as the two sides made minor adjustments to their line. Most significant of all, the Ironbreakers continued to circle around the woods, and the Black Orcs turned to face them, while the Darkvenom Spiders readied to charge the Ironbreaker’s flank.

The uncharacteristic Greenskin caution seemed fully vindicated when Curator Thesmith Son-of-Ian once more turned his weapon at the Yella Moonz Night Goblins, killing five of the double-ranked speargobbos in a single flurry of deadly axes.

TURN 6

The Ironbreakers continued to advance, their movement slowed by the need to negotiate around the woods, and their ranks thinned by several hits from the Spear Chukkas. The Black Orcs, with a Banner of Butchery and Spider allies waiting to pounce, stood luring the Dwarves deeper into a trap..

It was not to be, however. Night fell before the incredibly slow stunties could reach the Orcs. The battle had ended, with two Dwarven banners captured, and a marginal victory to the greenskins

EPILOGUE

This was one very odd game. My army crushed the Dwarves on my right, but once having achieved this victory I was unwilling to risk throwing it away by pressing on in the face of massed Dwarven gunfire and endless numbers of hurled axes. Indeed, the entire battle had been shaped by that cursed device: the Dwarves defending it, and me avoiding it.

Had the game gone on, the Ironbreakers were one turn away from being crushed–probably. Although they would have been flanked, and outnumbered, their gromril armour always makes them annoyingly difficult to kill.

Stompin’ Da Pinkies and Da Stunties

Posted in Biggaboots Sticklifta, Blackfang Foestomper, Convent of Our Most Aquaeous Lady, Cuddles, Glarsnot Bloodcurdle, Karak Kadrin, Liam Calhew, Mayhem Calhew, Savagewing Gutripper, Sir N'Dippity, Sir Perfluos, Sir Tandeath, Slarkfug Boarmuncher, Stefan Calhew, Thane Rozak Keenblade, Uddaguy Goboom on April 25, 2008 by the scribe

“Dey did WAT?!” Glarsnot Bloodcurdle’s voice roared with anger as the greenskin general learned of the slaughter at Glork’s Pond, sending several nearby snotlings diving for cover. “Da pinkskinz did WAT?” He brought his fist down heavily on the skull of one snotling who moved too slowly, underlining his fury. “Deyz gunna pay for DIS! Tell da boyz.. wez gunna go down deyr, and stomp dem shiny pinkies into da mud!”

Turning to his commanders, Bloodcurdle barked out a rapid series of orders. A small holding force would be kept here in the north, to keep the main Dwarven force bottled up in Karak Kadrin. The rest of the army would march south, cross the mountains at Mad Dog Pass, and crush the border princes. Accompanying him would be some of his most trusted warriors: Biggaboots Sticklifta, his standard bearer and veteran of many battles; Slarkfug Boarmuncher, whose bloodthirsty heroism had turned the tide of previous encounters; the Orc Shaman Blackfang Foestomper; and his Goblin Shaman colleague, Uddaguy Goboom. Last, but certainly not least, was the greatly feared the Black Orc warlord Savagewing Gutripper and his huge, terrifying Wyvern, Cuddles. The objective was simple: to destroy the murderous Clan of Calhew Spore-killer and their local Dwarven allies before their could rouse the Bretonnian border princes to another one of their genocidal campaigns.

* * *

Sir Tandeath beamed with pride as he heard from Sir Liam Calhew, the Baron’s brother and trusted vice-commander, of the honour that would be bestowed upon him in the forthcoming battle. The young Knight had been chosen to carry the legendary Calhew banner, painstakingly fashioned some seven hundred years ago by the Nuns of the Convent of Our Most Aquaeous Lady from the bloodied undergarments of Baron Stefan Calhew himself. What is more, he wouldn’t have to bear it on foot, or on horse, but astride a magnificent Royal Pegasus!

“Yes, Knights of Clan Calhew,” Sir Liam continued, “while your liege–my brother–continues his parleys among the border princes, he sends these first benefits of his diplomatic efforts: mighty winged steeds donated from the stables of our friend, Baron de Maisonneuve.”

Sir Perfluous spoke up: “What, no knights, and bowmen, and men-at arms?” “Err, no…” replied Sir Liam somewhat evasively, “but in addition to these magnificent beasts, we have also been sent these finely-tooled leather pegasus saddles by Baron d’Urfé.” Sir Tandeath settled himself in the saddle, happily–it certainly was fine! “And no yeomen, or warmachines, from our brave Bretonnian allies?” asked Sir N’Dippity. “Not exactly,” sighed Sir Liam, “but we are indeed fortunate to have this very handsome good-luck card, signed by several of the other barons, plus someone whose name looks like “Arghhhhh.”

“It matters not,” sneered Sir Tan Death, with a dismissive wave of his hand. “With our forces, and those of our Dwarven allies, we shall crush these green scum. Victory is certain!” Sir Liam and the other paladins grinned at the infectious enthusiasm of the impetuous young knight. After their last stunning victory, this much was clear: none of the foul greenskins could long withstand Bretonnian hooves, swords, and lances.

* * *

The combination of Dwarven shooters and Bretonnian cavalry made this a particularly daunting battle. In deploying, my intention was to hold back any assault in the centre until a strong force of Goblin Spider-riders on the left, together with my heroes (and especially Savagewing Gutripper and his fearsome Wyvern) could turn the enemy flank. Magic and artillery would be used to target the high-value and high-threat units, especially cavalry, pegasus knights, and war engines. My Goblins were well-endowed with fanatics, to deter the Bretonnian cavalry.

TURN 1

As the Bretonnians knelt in prayer, the Dwarves put their faith in a more tangible asset: gunpowder. The battle started with the roar of Dwarven cannon and the sound of shattered wood, as the first salvo of the battle killed several Orcs and destroyed the Orc chariot. The Quarrelers cheered at the sight, as Thane Keenblade led them into a commanding position on top of Rocky Rise.

Glarsnot Bloodcurdle cursed under his breath–he should have known better to have brought one of the wooden contraptions in a campaign against stunties. With a shout, he signaled the flanks to advance, while the centre held its position. The spiders scuttled forward, while overhead Gutripper and Cuddles moved into position behind the Hillock Woods, out of sight of the Dwarven artillery but visible to the Bretonnian Knights. The Orc Boyz edged forward too, despite their orders, such was their enthusiasm for battle.

TURN 2

Now blessed with the most noble and pure grace of the Lady, the Bretonnians moved forward to slaughter and kill. The Knights Errant and Paladins advanced on the western flank, while the Knights of the Realm crossed Rocky Rise in the east. The Thunderers poured lead into the approaching Snotlings, trimming their numbers significantly. More important, the Dwarven artillery pounded the Black Orcs, causing multiple casualties and narrowly missing Glarsnot Bloodcurdle himself. Clearly they had his range.

“We can’t stay ‘ere, ladz,” bellowed the Orcish General. “Letz go pound ‘em… WAAAAAAAGH!”

The cry was taken up by the entire Greenskin horde, as they rushed forward. To the east, Gutripper and Cuddles slammed head-first into the advancing Knights Errant, while the Darkvenom Spiders fell upon their left flank. Soon the air was filled by the frantic screams of men, and sounds of panicked horses. The Knights Errant were slaughtered.

In the centre, the main body of the Orc and Goblin army marched towards their enemies. While they blocked the sight-lines of some of the war engines, this was offset by a powerful Brain Bursta cast by shaman Uddaguy Goboom, which inflicted a half dozen causalities on the hapless peasant longbows.

On the east flank, the Silentdeath Spiders moved clear of the Quarrelers’ arc of fire to threaten their flank. The Night Goblin bows advanced into Spooky Woods just far enough to launch several fanatics at the oncoming Knights of the Realm (a few goblins having been left jutting clear of the woods for just this purpose). While none moved into contact, they soon formed a formidable barrier of fungus-induced whirling insanity between the Goblins and the Bretonnian cavalry.

* * *

The Goblin Doom Diva crew watched battle unfold—and watched too, as the other greenskin artillery failed to inflict significant damage on the enemy. Skulnug Thunkskull shook his head.. if you wanted damage done, you had to be prepared to take the damage. He put on his crash helmet, climbed into the oddly-constructed home-built apparatus, and signaled to the others. “OK, ladz… get da stretchy-thinger ready, and letz show ‘em wat a Diva can do…”

SPROINGGGG… with a crash and a mighty reverberation, the gobbo was hurled into the big blue sky.

* * *

Standing behind the peasants with the Calhew banner clutched in his mailed fist, Sir Tandeath remained confident of victory. Why, even now he could hear their cries of fear and terror growing! Soon they would be crushed, with their dead, wounded, children, and small pets thrown on huge flaming pyres to cleanse their land of their foul green presence. Truly, there was no beauty greater than the grace of Our Lady.

Beneath the Knight, Gwenovyr—his newly-acquired Royal Pegasus—trotted anxiously, her virgin white coat emblematic of the pure nobility of this latest War of Errantry. Sir Tandeath chuckled. Even the beast wanted to crush greenskin skulls.

* * *

Thunkskull cursed as he glided aloft over the battlefield.. he had aimed at the Dwarven artillery, but was clearly was off-course. There was, however, that odd fluttering flag there, behind the archers and somewhat removed from the enemy army. That looked like a good landing spot….

* * *

The Pegasus shifted position a little, as the goblin screams grew still louder. “Tis odd,” thought Sir Tandeath, “how the hills around here carry an echo..” Suddenly, Gwenovyr reared violently, dumping the unprepared Paladin onto the ground before trotting a few paces away. “By the cursed elbow of Saint Nutocks, what has gotten into you?” The angry knight glared at his erstwhile mount as he brushed the dirt and grass from his armour and banner. “It is almost as if…”

aaaaaiiiieeeEEEE…SPLAT! The thought went uncompleted. Thunkskull dove headlong into the Bretonnian battle standard-bearer, killing him instantly and ripping the Calhew banner to shreds. Across the field of battlefield, the Doom Diva crew cheered, and held high-pitched squeaky arguments over who got to fly next.

TURN 3

The deadly Dwarven cannon, having destroyed a chariot and gravely injured the Black Orcs, now turned their attentions to the Orc Boyz and Snotlings. The former took some casualties from cannonball, while in a single mighty crash the organ gun wiped out the latter. The Dwarven Quarrelers turned to face the Spiders on their flank, while the Knights of the Realm maneuvered to avoid the Gobbo fanatics now closing on their position.

The Paladins looked on with dismay as the Wyvern dismembered the proud Errantry Knights one-by-one, and the Forest Spiders crawled dragged off the few wounded survivors in silken tombs. “Tis a an awkward turn of events,” commented Sir Perfluous, “for verily yonder Knights have met a most unseemly fate.” Sir N’Dippity nodded grimly. “Forsooth, what you say is true. Yet I know, with the strength of right and our Lady’s blessing we can vanquish yonder winged beast.” With this, he brandished his glowing sword. His knightly companion did the same. The Wyvern would soon taste the bite of blessed Bretonnian steel.! With a cry of faith and honor, the two formidable knights spurred their royal pegasii and charged their foe. “Onwards! To Victory!”

* * *

The pegasii looked on with dismay as the Wyvern dismembered the proud Bretonnian ground-horses one-by-one, and the forest spiders dragged off those few mounts still alive to wrap them in silken tombs. For generations, the de Maisonneuve pegusii had been bred for their intelligence. For generations, they had fought foes large and small on the battlefield.

They felt their riders draw their swords. They heard their battle cries, and felt the knights’ sharp spurs in their flanks. The two magestic mounts took to their air, their white wings flapping powerfully and magnificently. Their riders’ cries encouraged them on: “No, dammit… the other way!” and “Towards the Wyvern, not away from it!”

There was a reason why the de Maisonneuve Royal Pegasus bloodline had flourished through all those generations. They weren’t stupid: that was one large, and very terrifying, Wyvern. Both fled the battlefield, taking their riders with them.

With this, Savagewing Gutripper laughed, and directed Cuddles towards the Bretonnian bowmen. As Cuddles glared menacingly, the Peasants fled in terror.

* * *

Even as the paladins were fleeing, Sir Liam Calhew was taking to the air on his own Royal Pegasus, the ancient Wyrm Lance held at the ready under his arm. For too long he had languished under the shadow of his elder brother and lord, Baron Mayhem Calhew. Today he would show such heroism that princesses would swoon, knights would bow, and bards would compose ballads of his exploits for years to come!

He guided his flying steed to the flank of the advancing orcs, pointed his magical lance, and spoke the  command word. Almost instantly, a huge tongue of flame engulfed the greenskins. Oily smoke obscured the battlefield as guttural screams could be heard. When the thick smoke finally cleared, a smoldering mound of dead greenskins could be seen on the battlefield.

Well, not so much a mound as a small pile, perhaps. Or, still more accurately, a bump. The fearsome lance of flame had killed one rather elderly and overweight orcish warrior. The others seemed very much alive. Glarsnot Bloodcurdle quickly galloped up to join join his troops, and the Orc Boyz turned with a roar to face the Bretonnian general. The Blue Moonz gobbos also set up a cry–rather more high pitched and squeaky in tone–and advanced on Sir Liam, launching two fanatics in his direction. The first fell short. The second, however, slammed into his mount with a scream, and a whirlwind of horsefeathers. The Royal Pegasus expired, and the Bretonnian commander fell to the ground with a thump. His heroic foray had left him alone in the middle of the battlefield, his enemies closing in.

High up on Rocky Rise, the Silentdeath Spider-Riders looked out on to the battlefield, and saw the tide apparently turn in the greenskins’ favour. This was no time for squabbling, or for inaction.. this was a time for impetuosity! With a war cry and spears raised, the Forest Goblins slammed into the Quarrelers. Both sides fought tenaciously, with neither breaking.

TURN 4

With hordes of gobbos, Orcs, and whirling fanatics bearing down on his position, Sir Liam Calhew did what any brave Bretonnian knight would do: clutching his sword in his hand and his shield on his arm, he uttered an unquotable stream of curses, and ran like a fearful scullery maid for the cover of the woods. Knightly courage has its limits when faced with that many spears and choppas, and most especially when legendary general-slayer Glarsnot Bloodcurdle is among them.

Elsewhere, however, there were signs that the battle might tip back towards the Alliance. On Rocky Rise, Thane Keenblade and the Dwarven Quarrelers broke the Silentdeath Spider-Riders, who routed from the field. Just to the south, the Bretonnian Knights of charged the Night Goblin Bows, slaughtering them with lance and sword. The Organ Gun opened fire on the Doomskitter Spiders, wiping them out too, while the Thunderers and the two cannons fired with deadly effect on the Orc Boyz. Finally, the Peasant Longbow miraculously rallied, despite the flight of all their knightly commanders from the field.

In response, Blackfang Foestomper, the Orcish shaman, called upon Gork to inflict havoc and revenge among the spore-killers. Making up for past inaction, a giant green foot appeared on the battlefield, stomping in turn the Peasants, Knights, Quarrelers, and one of the organ gun crew. Thus encouraged, the Orc and Gobbo foot-sloggers continued their grim march towards the enemy lines, ignoring the hail of fire before them. The Yella Moonz reserves were also brought forward to add still more weight. Most important of all, Savagewing Gutripper led Cuddles and the Darkvenom Spiders into a flanking positions behind the rallied Peasants, while the Greyweb Spiders, together with the shaman and hero accompanying them, moved to their front. While the longbowmen did not again flee from terror, they were now surrounded on three sides.

TURN 5

Seeing the threat to their rear, the Dwarven Quarrelers and Bretonnian Knights turned and headed back to their lines. As they did so, the Dwarven gunnery sergeant looked with amazement at the Wyvern approaching the rear of his position. It was huge! What was more, the dumb beast and its Orcish rider had apparently forgotten that artillery could swivel before firing. Idiots! He quickly barked an order, and both cannons and the organ gun were quickly sighted on the approaching foe.

“Wait fer it… wait fer it… now, Organ Gun…. FIRE!” No sooner had the order been given than the contraption belched an enormous plume of flame and smoke. It did not, however, belch much else: the weapon had misfired.

The gunnery sergeant, while disappointed, was far from panicked. Not only was he a most stolid and stubborn Dwarf, but he also knew from experience how much damage ordinary cannon could unleash at such a short distance–and he had two of them. he gave the command: “Gunners, load grape!”

The well-trained Dwarven crews leapt to action, loading the ammunition into the muzzles of the huge bronze weapons.

“Steady… steady… FIRE!” The two cannon roared at the rapidly-approaching Wyvern at point-blank range. Cuddles, however, seemed oddly unaffected–indeed, much more irritated than wounded, and covered now in an odd purple slime.

The gunnery sergeant knew immediately what had happened.

“By my grandmother’s long grey beard, you IDIOTS!.. GrapeSHOT, dammit, grape SHOT!” he shouted angrily, as only an angry gunnery sergeant can. The crews immediately dropped the small fruit they had been carrying, and instead turned to the boxes of steel balls piled next to their weapons. It was too late, however. With a mighty roar, Savagewing Gutripper urged Cuddles forward, and the pair charged the Organ Gun crew. The Darkvenom Spider-Riders followed, charging a cannon crew. Finally, and after surving a hail of longbow arrows that devastated and nearly broke the Greyweb Spiders, Slarkfug Boarmuncher and Blackfang Foestomper broke ranks to charge the third remaining cannon. Within a few short minutes, all three Dwarven artillery had been destroyed.

(Yes, really: the cannon all missed.)

As all this was happening, the Gobbo artillery was enjoying much more success than the Dwarves had experienced. Both the Rock Lobba and Doom Diva scored costly hits on the Quarrelers on the hill, killing more than a quarter of the unit but failing to break them. For its part, the Spear Chukka dropped one of the Knights as they too came into sight atop Rocky Rise.

TURN 6

The destruction of the Dwarven artillery was too much for the Bretonnian Peasants who, in a rather understandable gesture of self preservation, began to retreat from the battle. The Thunderers were less able to do so: surrounded on three sides by greenskins, they had nowhere to go. Grimly they would pour volleys into the approaching Orc Boyz, until they were overcome in a final charge by no less than three greenskin units.

On Rocky Rise, what was left of the Knights of the Realm turned to face the enemy to their western flank. This heroic move would ultimately render them heavily armoured snacks for Cuddles the Wyvern, but won the precious time the Dwarven Quarrelers needed to retire.

The battle was over. As the greenskin troops looted the bodies for war trophies, Glarsnot Bloodcurdle gathered his commanders together to congratulated them—and to share several large vats of captured Dwarven ale.

* * *

Good, it was finally dark. Sir Liam Calhew–Bretonnian Knight, hero of the Battle of A Couple of Brigands, famed for his cavalry charge at the Battle of the Stolen Donkey Cart, noble scion of the Clan Calhew, younger brother of Baron Mayhem Calhew, descendant of the renowned Baron Stefan Calhew–shook the leaves and millipedes from his expensive armour, and crept to the edge of the woods. Looking carefully about, he made sure that no greenskin sentries were to be seen. He then slunk home, wondering what he was going to tell his brother about the now-missing Calhew army…

EPILOGUE

My last encounter with the Bretonnians had gone very badly. This time–despite the fact that they had swapped out weak Bretonian men-at-arms for excellent Dwarven artillery and shooters–I expected things to go worse. Why then the victory?

Part of it was, to be honest, good luck: the failed Paladin charge, the ineffective flame lance, an excellent Gork’s Warpath, and the incredible chance of an organ gun and two cannons all misfiring or missing a Wyvern at point-blank range. Had the latter not happened (my own stupid fault.. I had meant to place the Wyvern where it was shielded by the archers) my opponent might well have seized victory from the jaws of defeat.

Credit also has to go the Savagewing Gutripper and Cuddles, who almost single-handedly turned the Bretonnian west flank. However, while a Wyvern can work well against Bretonnians (with low-strength, low-morale bowman and difficult-to-aim war engines), I can’t see ever deploying them against a (high-morale, artillery and shooter-rich) fully Dwarven army. I’m not sure I would ever want to risk an army general mounted on one either–they are simply too exposed. Glarsnot Bloodcurdle will be sticking to his boar, thank you.

The Doom Diva did well–the first time I had used one (and yes, it is a homebuilt one). I love Spiders too. While slower than wolf-riders, their ability to skitter across blocking terrain is extremely valuable.

The key, I think, was placing almost all my fast hitting power on one flank: a Lord, a hero, a Shaman, a Wyvern, and two units of Spiders. The Bretonnian cavalry, on the other hand, was split between two flanks.

a few house rules

Posted in house rules on March 30, 2008 by the scribe

Over time, we’ve adopted a few house rules in the campaign which we feel enhances the excitement and uncertainty of each game in the series.

The first concerns scenery. We play on a large 4×8′ table. Depending on where the battle is taking place, the choice of scenery (and maximum of each item) varies:

  • plains: 4 items, drawn from woods or scrub (2), small hills (2), ruins or building (1), pond (1), small rocky outcrop (2), nothing (4)
  • standard: 6 items, drawn from woods or scrub (4), small hills (4), ruins or building (1), pond (1), marsh or bog (1), small rocky outcrop (2)
  • populated: 2 buildings, plus 6 other items drawn from buildings (2), hedges or walls (2), roads (2), stream with bridge (1), pond (1) forest or orchard (2), small hills (2), small construction (1), field (2)
  • forest: 4 woods, plus 4 other items, drawn from woods or thick woods (4), small hills (4), ruins or building (1), pond (1), stream (1), brush, marsh or bog (1)
  • hills: 2 large hills, plus 4 other items, drawn from woods or brush (2), small hills (2), large and/or high hills (2), ruins or building (1), pond or stream (1), small rocky outcrop (3)
  • swamp: 4 marsh or bog, plus 4 other items, drawn from marsh or bog (2), woods or scrub (2), small hills (2), , ruins or building (1), pond (1), stream (2)

Each of these has the following characteristics:

  • thick woods: very difficult terrain, blocks all line of sight (including from hills, and of large targets)
  • woods: difficult terrain, blocks all line of sight
  • brush or field: difficult terrain, blocks regular sight (can be overlooked from hills and large targets)
  • small hills: single contour, single section hills that overlook terrain that would otherwise block regular line of sight. Towers count as the same height as hills.
  • large hills: single contour, multiple section hills that overlook terrain that would otherwise block regular line of sight
  • tall hills: double contour hills, can see over and be seen over any other terrain piece. Towers on hills count as the same height as tall hills.
  • marsh: difficult terrain, blocks regular line of sight
  • bog: difficult terrain, does not block line of sight
  • pond: may be difficult (1-2), very difficult (3-4), or impassable (5-6)—dice after placement.
  • stream: up to 5′ in length, difficult terrain, does not block line of sight
  • rocky outcrop or constructions: very difficult terrain, blocks regular line of sight
  • nothing: the player may refrain from placing a terrain item

The standard Warhammer rules scenery deployment rules can easily become an exercise in the carefully-calculated precision deployment of terrain for future tactical advantage–an option that the real commander rarely has. Consequently, we use the following modification:

  • After all scenery has been place by the players (as per the existing rules), each player in turn chooses a terrain item, throws scatter dice for it, and moves the scenery the appropriate amount in the appropriate direction. If a “hit” is rolled, the scenery is not moved. If a “misfire” is rolled, the item is replaced with another item of a different type chosen by the player who rolled the misfire (this must be completely different–for example, a small hill cannot be replaced with a large hill). If an item would shift to within 12″ of the table centre, it is not moved. If an item would shift off the table, it is removed from play. This is done until all items have been diced for.

We also find that games ending at exactly 6 turns to lead to some rather artificial play at the very end of the game. Consequently, we use the following rule instead:

  • At the end of turn 6, roll one die. On a 4+, the battle ends. Otherwise, it continues through turn 7, another die is thrown, and a 3+ will end the battle. If it continues to turn 8, a 2+ will end the battle. Otherwise, the battle ends at the end of turn 9 (representing the fall of night).

Da Slaughta at Glorg’s Pond

Posted in Mayhem Calhew, Rottingbones Waaghcasta, Sir Comfrence, Sir N'Dippity, Sir Perfluos, Sir Tandeath on March 8, 2008 by the scribe

Rottingbones Waaghcasta stood before the Goblin army, and looked at their annoying green faces. Oh, to have some proper Orc Boyz! Still, its was his first command, and he was confident of victory (sort of). “Yella Moonz, Bluu Moonz? Yuz gonna form da middle wiv da trollz. We gunna charge up da center and stomp dem der peasants before dey can pick der nosez! Keep yer spinnin-loonies-o-death ready.. yer gunna needs dem. Spideys? Take da flanks, and slow down dem horseys. Arra gobbos? You and da snotlings on der right. Shamans to da front…”

slide1.jpgAs the greenskin mob took their positions, the Orc Shaman nervously surveyed the battlefield. The heavily armoured Bretonnian cavalry was positioned to sweep down upon his east flank. If he was lucky, these would take too long to move around Glorg’s Pond, or would be devastated by the Rock Lobba and Spear Chucka he had deployed on Big Lumpy Hill. The Pegasus Knights were clearly hoping to to make a run at the war machines, but perhaps the Spideys on the flank would slow or divert them, or his shamans might inflict enough spell-damage on their rather small unit to make it break. As for the village itself… well, it was a Gobbo village, and he didn’t much care… plus his hope was to break the Bretonnian foot-soldiers in the centre as fast as possible, rather than battle for position against a mobile enemy.

* *

Sir Cumfrence called his fellow Paladins together. “It is a pity that our beloved Liege, Baroninitial.jpg Calhew, cannot be here –as you know, he has gone to rally more support from his fellow Border Princes for this campaign against the Greenskin horde. However, with Our Lady’s Blessing, and the sharp steel of our lances and swords, I am sure we will do him proud this day.

Sir Perfluous–You and Sir N’Dippity are to take the Knights Errant and the Knights of the Realm, and circle around ye foul greenskin huts that you see in yonder distance. Having done so, strike their flanks, and strike them hard. Remember your Knightly vows… and show no mercy to these aberrations!”

The Paladins nodded, as behind them the Errantry Knights pranced and galloped their warhorses, eager for battle.

“Pegasus riders? You are to take your noble winged steeds, and sweep around on the west. Try to remove those evil contraptions of war from that yonder hill, so that we may triumph this day unharassed by large spears or heavy rocks falling on us from above.

The Pegasus Knights leapt into the air and twirled around some, clearly showing off.

“Sir Tandeath and I will hold the centre with the Men-at-Arms and Peasant Bow…” At this, Sir Tandeath snorted a little in derision.. clearly he would have preferred to have been slaughtering goblins at the head of a cavalry charge than minding an unwashed array of villains and serfs. His attitude brought a glare and a sharp rebuke from his commander. “Fear not, Sir Tandeath your time will come in today’s battle will come. And have ye no low opinion of the soldiers of foot, for while they wash little and cannot read nor write and live in unheated huts and tend pigs… but verily they are the salt of the earth, and the charges and chattel of our wise Baron. I know he would want you to bring as many of them back with us as possible after the campaign, so that they may once more tend our Liege’s fields in the backbreaking daily labour that gives their simple hearts such joy.” The chastened Paladin nodded in reluctant agreement.

“There is one final thing before battle, my fellow Knights…” Sir Cumfrence took out his sword and lowered himself to one knee, in prayer. His fellow Paladins and the assembled Knights solemnly followed suit. “By your Grace, Our Most Noble Lady, give us this day victory against the greenskin abominations, so that we may cleanse this land by the sword and bring to it peace and beauty. Let us cleave them and despoil their villages and raze their fungus and slaughter their snotlings and trample their broken bodies, and other such noble knightly deeds as do bring honour upon we your humble Knightly servants, upon Clan Calhew, and upon the Bretonnian lands of our birth.” And with this, a heavenly light did shine upon the Knights, and thus they did feel protected.

And so the battle was joined…

TURN 1

slide2.jpgAs the Bretonnian army stopped to pray, the greenskins artillery let fly–with little effect: the Spear Chucka missed and Rock Lobba both missed . However Shaman Waaghcasta envoked Gork’s Warpath, bringing a huge green foot thumping down on the Pegasus Knights (killing one, and forcing a panic test–which they only just passed) before treading on the Knights Errant (and doing no damage.. damn ward saves).

Encouraged by at least the semblance of competent shamans, the rest of the greenskin army moved forward to do battle, with the Night Goblin Archers showing particular enthusiasm and surging forward a little more than the others. On the west and east flanks, Spider Riders skittered forward too, hoping to harass the approaching Knights.

The Snotlings maneuvered a bit, and whined. No one ever took them seriously, dammit! Why were they deployed here, on a flank, next to a woods, with no foes to fight? How would they ever prove their martial skills, and finally earn some respect?

As expected, the Bretonnians responded by holding their centre and advancing the cavalry on bothvillage.jpg flanks. The Pegasus Knights (who, had they spent less time charming the ladies of the court, and more time carefully reading the rules, would have stopped short of the woods and charged in next turn on the ground) pounced upon the Spider Riders in Slugworry Woods, routing them quickly and pursuing.

TURN 2

slide3.jpgAs the Spider-Riders on the west fled the battlefield, the Goblin Spear and Bow in the centre continued to advance. The other Spider Riders positioned themselves to flank the approaching Knights, while the Snotlings bravely moved to block (and possibly distract) the rapidly approaching Knights. Magic did little, while the Rock Lobba misfired.

Flush with success from vanquishing the Forest Goblins, the Pegasus Knights charged the Spear Chucka on Big Lumpy Hill. In a flash of steel the crew was cut down, and the victorious Bretonnians pressed on to assault the Rock Lobba crew. In the centre, the Peasant Skirmishers advanced against the approaching Night Goblins, hoping to draw out any fanatics that might be lurking in their ranks. This they did, with no fewer than six mushroom-crazed gobbos whirling launching themselves forward. At least two smashed into the Skirmishers, panicking them. Confident words from Sir Cumfrence, however, reassured the Men-at-Arms and their morale held despite the sight of bloodied and fearful bowmen streaming past them.

To the east, smoke rose from the Gobbo village as the Knights Errant torched it before pressing on. The Knights of the Realm advanced too, although their pace was slowed by the presence of the Spider Riders on their flanks.

The Snotlings readied themselves. Their moment would come soon! They would show these Knights! Why, they were just as good as Orcs and Goblins!

TURN 3

slide4.jpgRottingbones Waaghcasta looked with dismay at the carnage on Big Lumpy. His Forest Goblins had routed, his Spear Chukka crew had been slaughtered, and the damned Pegasus Knights, although somewhat reduced in their already small number, were about to destroy the Rock Lobba. Soon after that they would no doubt come swooping down on the rear of the Goblin Army.

In an attempt to avert this, he ordered the Yellow Moon Regiment to turn about face, and move to confront the flying horsemen. Perhaps a lucky spell or two, or the sharp end of massed Night Goblin spears, would drive back the foe. Sadly, bereft of his wise leadership, the Trolls reverted to their usual stupid form, and lumbered forward only slowly. The Blue Moon Regiment advanced on the Peasant Bowmen, while the Night Goblin Bow traded arrows with them . Various Fanatics twirled around dangerously on the battlefield, but did little damage. Finally, on the east flank, the Spider-Riders decided to fall upon the rear of the Knights of the Realm, hoping that a victory here might slow Bretonnian’s flanking maneuver.

Sadly it wasn’t to be so. The Spiders had little success piercing the thick armour (and lucky ward saves) of the Knights, and were quickly routed.

As expected, the haughty Pegasus Knights made short work of the Gobbos cowering behind the Rock Lobba. Sir Comference and Sir Tandeath, somewhat worried by the sight of the broken Peasant Skirmishers continuing to flee past them, shifted position slightly so as to better support the Archers should they too be charged. The general also signaled the Knights Errant, who despite their normal impetuosity had not charged the Snotlings, to turn around and move to reinforce the Bretonnian centre. The Knights of the Realm chose to ignore the fleeing Spiders, and instead pressed on through the gap between the Snotlings and Glorg’s Pond to threaten the mass of remaining Night Goblins.

The Snotlings knew that any moment now, combat would begin… that the fate of the greenskin army might rest in their tiny little hands…
TURN 4

slide5.jpgClearly the Greenskin battleplan was unravelling. While nothing seemed able to stop the Bretonnian Knights, a success against the remaining Peasant Bow and Men-at-Arms at the centre might go some way to redressing the balance. With this, the Blue Moon Regiment charged the former, scrambling through their defensive stakes to engage them in fierce hand to hand combat. The Peasants, unused to this, soon broke and turned to flee–only to be cut down to a man. Grimly, Sir Tandeath drew his sword to face the onrushing Night Goblins, who overran into him.

Suddenly, the cries of the Knights Errant could be heard rounding the smoldering village. One fell to the arrows of the Night Goblin Bow, and a single fanatic was launched in their direction to no effect. With a crash, the Knights smashed into the Blue Moon Regiment, breaking and slaughtering it.

To the west, as expected, the small but heroic contingent of Pegasus Knights charged the Yellow Moon Regiment. Although the Night Goblin Spears proved a tougher enemy than the war machines and spiders had been, the Knights made ward saves against every hit. They thus narrowly won the combat–but failed to break the Gobbos.

Finally, the Knights of the Realm continued their flanking maneuver, ignoring the Snotlings and galloping towards the greenskin rear.snotlings.jpg

For the Snotlings, this was the ultimate insult! Abused and derided by their Orc and Gobbo cousins, they were now treated by the enemy as unworthy of even killing. They could only jeer and make off-colour comments about the Bretonnians’ parentage as the enemy cavalry galloped past.

TURN 5

slide6.jpgThe three trolls, having suffered stupidity in the last two turns, finally realized that they were supposed to hurt the pinkskins. With a roar, they charged into the halberd-wielding Men-at-Arms… and did very little. Defeated in combat, they broke and were killed.

The Yellow Moon Regiment continued its fight against the Pegasus Knights. During their desperate struggle, a stray fanatic released earlier bounded through both units,theend.jpg killing a few Goblins and one Pegasus, but changing nothing. Rather more effect was had by the Knights of the Realm, who charged headlong into the Goblin flank. The result, as might be expected, was a slaughter, with the head of Shaman Waaaghcasta last seen being paraded proudly on the point of Sir Perfluous’ lance.

With this, the Snotlings decided they didn’t want to be Goblins or Orcs or even Trolls after all. Noooo, being small, ignored, but still-alive Snotlings was juuuust fine. Yes indeedy. As the victorious Bretonnians prepared to slaughter the now surrounded Night Goblin Bows, the little guys quietly slunk from the battlefield…

EPILOGUE

Ouch.. we didn’t even play the full six turns, since the complete slaughter of the Goblin Army was fully evident by the end of Turn 5 (Snotlings excluded, of course).

It was our first time using Bretonnians. My opponent handled them well, holding in the centre while sweeping around the flank. He had done an excellent job sacrificing his peasants to draw out my fanatics, leaving my units vulnerable to his Knights. The Pegasus Knights had performed well, and had some lucky rolls.. had they broken under magical assault I might have been left with war engines intact, which in turn (had I been lucky) might have done some real damage against his cavalry. As it was, the Rock Lobba got only one shot off, missed, misfired, and then was destroyed.

I’m going to have to work out how to deal with a highly mobile enemy with high armour saves, and a ward save to top it off (for his Knights, at least). Was it a mistake to go after his centre–should I have used the weight of my foot gobbos on one flank or the other? Are war engines too vulnerable to flyers, or do I simply need to protect them better? How useful are shamans (I rarely use them, since I usually fight magic-resistant Dwarves)? Would a Giant (which I don’t have) or a Wyvern (which I do) be useful, and how to I stop it from being shot down by longbows? Should I swap in a Chariot for the Trolls?

Much to ponder.

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