Alrunielle watched as the Seaguard struggled to unload the heavy Repeater Bolt Throwers from the majestic ship that had brought them to this ugly forsaken shore. Her divinations had shown that some humans were going to try one of their crude rituals using the one of Vaul’s Anvils, mighty relics of the Smithing God, so huge as to be like hills to those not versed in Lore. She smirked as she thought of their primitive magic trying to unlock such power. The might of her personal guard would be more than enough to thwart any such tampering with the magical bindings.
As the mists began to part and dawn began to show the light of the sky, there was an urgency among the soldiers. Alrunielle saw them forming up into their companies as though arraying for battle. But how could that be? The humans would not come until nightfall, the portents were clear. Suddenly, silently, her personal body guard stalked out of the mist, their halberds ever ready. And then she saw the shapes of nearly-men coming at them from the woods in land. Braying and whooping, the Beastmen hurled themselves at the unprepared High Elves even as they struggled to load the mechanisms of the Repeater Bolt Throwers. This day, the Children of Asur would have to fight even before their purpose could be revealed…
I managed to get in another game of Warhammer with Forkbanger a couple of nights ago. Not a campaign, not a special scenario or anything like that, just a good old opportunity to push our plastic dudes around the table. I was going for a variation on the herd I used in our previous game.
Great Bray Shaman, Level 4, Steel Claws, Talisman of Preservation, Jagged Dagger, Lore of Shadow (GBS)
Wargor, BSB, Gnarled Hide, Heavy Armour, Shield (BSB)
Bray Shaman, Level 2, Dispel Scroll, additional hand weapon, Lore of Beasts (BS)
24 Bestigors, full command, Standard of Discipline (B)
5 Harpies, scouts (H)
25 Gors, additional hand weapons, full command (G)
30 Ungors, full command (U)
8 Ungor raiders, musician (UR)
2 Tuskgor Chariots (TC1 and TC2)
Basically, the Minotaurs are out again, and are replaced with Harpies and a couple of upgrades here and there (notably increased wizard levels on both the Great Bray Shaman and the Bray Shaman). I wanted to try out Harpies since I haven’t done so yet, and also because they are so highly recommended by Khorne53. Forkbanger kept the things he liked from out previous game (i.e. just the Seaguard), took a BSB on my recommendation and then went for a bunch of units he hadn’t previously tried much.
Archmage, level 4, Annulian Crystal, Guardian Phoenix, High Magic (AM)
Noble, BSB, Dragon Armour, Reaver bow, great weapon (BSB)
10 Sword Master of Hoeth, full command (SM)
9 Phoenix Guard, full command (PG)
23 Lothern Seaguard, full command (SG)
2 x 10 Archers, full command (A1 and A2)
2 Repeater Bolt Throwers (RBT1 and RBT2)
The Archmage rolled for his huge number of spells, ending up with Drain Magic, Shield of Saphery, Curse of Arrow Attraction, Fury of Khaine and Vaul’s Unmaking. The Great Bray Shaman took Melkoth’s Mystifying Miasma, Enfeebling Foe, The Withering and Pit of Shades, while the Bray Shaman got Amber Spear to go with the obligatory Wyssan’s Wildform. We randomised Dawn Attack as the scenario, and then generated a load of terrain using the charts in the book (then added in a couple of bits to allow us to use the excellent terrain that Forkbanger has just been creating). The hill in the North is Vaul’s Anvil, the swamp in the South West is Khemrian Quicksand (although it looks like water…), the Altar in the North East is an Altar of Khaine, and the statue in the South East is a Magic Circle (I couldn’t find a good Battle Chronicler picture for that). The Beastmen deployed first, and this is how it all looked when we were done.
The High Elves failed to seize the initiative so the game begins with a tide of bipedal goats marching across the table as fast as their hairy legs will carry them. Most of the blocks move together slightly to try to get in range of the BSB. The Harpies move in position for a charge on one of the Bolt Throwers, hoping to get somewhere out of short range for bow fire. The winds of magic blow very strong at 6,5 so the Great Bray Shaman begins by dropping the Seaguard to BS1 with Miasma. The Archmage is up to the task from then on, dispelling first a cheeky Pit of Shades on the Bolt Thrower on the hill and then an Amber Spear down the flank of the Sea Guard.
The Sword Master are keen to get into the action, declaring a slightly optimistic charge on the Bestigors, but roll 7 when they need 8 to make contact. The Archers in the West wheel slightly to bring the Harpies into view, and everyone else stays still, either to improve their shooting chances or to hold the line. The Archmage puts Curse of Arrow Attraction on the Bestigors (what is it about High Elves and re-rolls?), but Fury of Khaine on one of the chariots is dispelled. A casting of Vaul’s Unmaking on the Bestigors unit works with Irresistable Force, breaking the Steel Claws on the Great Bray Shaman and toasting a couple of Phoenix Guard with the Miscast. The Archers in the West fail to kill any Harpies, and the Bolt Thrower next to them skewers a few Ungors, but not enough to matter. Everyone else with a missile weapon targets the Bestigors, killing 7 in total even with the Seaguard at BS1 – ouch! They pass their panic check though.
Beastmen decide they’ve had enough of being shot at so they rush into close combat where they get to fight back. The Harpies charge the Bolt Thrower on the hill, the Bestigors charge the Seaguard, and both chariots attempt outrageous charges into the Phoenix Guard; one of them even makes it. The Gors fail their charge into the Sword Masters and shamble forward a bit instead. Once again, the winds of magic blow very strong, with another 6,5. The upgraded Miasma goes on the Seaguard (but only -2 to their stats, so still re-rolls to hit all round), Wildform is let through on the Gors in anticipation of a good Sword Mastering next turn. Amber Spear on the unengaged Bolt Thrower is dispelled, and then Enfeebling Foe reduces the strength of the Seaguard by 3 since the High Elves are out of dispel dice. In hand to hand combat, the Harpies and Bolt Thrower crew slap each other with handbags for no effect, while the chariot causes enough mayhem in the Phoenix Guard to keep them pinned down for a turn, taking a couple of wounds in the process. Seaguard with two hexes on them find it very tough going against the Bestigors, who probably have them outclassed anyway. They poke a couple of the elite Beastmen with their spears before being cut down like wheat. The handful of survivors flee off the table leaving their standard bearer and the Noble BSB to their fates. The Bestigors restrain pursuit but I’m stupid and forget to reform them so they are destined to spend next turn changing direction to somewhere useful.
The Sword Masters charge the Gors since it is either that or get charged next turn, and everyone else stands still readying their bowstrings. The Archmage uses Vaul’s Unmaking to destroy the Great Bray Shaman’s Talisman of Preservation, but Curse of Arrow Attraction on the Raiders is dispelled (after I saw what it did to the shooting at the Bestigors, I didn’t fancy it much on the squishy raiders). Using the remaining power dice, the Archmage Drains Magic to make it harder for me to hex everything in sight next turn. The High Elf shooting is lacklustre, killing a few Ungors here and there, but nothing important enough to cause a panic check. The Harpies finally remember that they have claws and scratch the Bolt Thrower crew to death, and the Phoenix Guard also wake up and chop the chariot into matchwood with their halberds. They reform to accept charges from wherever they come, preparing to sell their lives dearly to protect the Archmage. The Sword Masters cut down 7 Gors on the charge, but are wiped out by the return attacks. This is probably mostly due to Wildform on the Gors from the previous turn – strength 4 and toughness 5 is not to be sneezed at.
The Harpies and surviving chariot both charge the rather sorry-looking remnants of the Phoenix Guard. Meanwhile, in the West, the Ungors hit the Archers, losing a few more of their number to Stand and Shoot. Magic is much less effective this turn with a low roll for the winds of magic and Drain Magic in play. Amber Spear fails to cast, and Miasma on the Phoenix Guard is dispelled. The Ungors kill the Archers down to the last one, but fail to restrain themselves and run off the board in their excitement (they narrowly avoid clipping the Bolt Thrower). Over on the other side of the table, the Phoenix Guard make an unbelievable mess of their attacks, managing not a single wound between them. The Harpies kill all but the champion and the charioteers focus their attacks on the Archmage, with the Bestigor delivering the final blow. Not surprisingly, the Keeper of the Flame flees, and equally unsurprisingly Forkbanger calls it a day so we shake hands. Victory for the Beastmen!
Wow. That was one of those games where it felt like everything went right. The only down side is that it is hard to learn many lessons from that sort of game. I think that the main difference between the armies was that I was able to get my hexes and augment spells off where and when I needed them which ensured that every combat was stacked in my favour. One thing I did differently from normal was not allocating attacks against the Noble with BSB in the Seaguard. Normally I’d have as many attacks on him as possible to get rid of that pesky re-roll of leadership checks, but this time the Seaguard had so many hexes on them I was confident that I could get more mileage by killing rank and file and then letting the BSB die when they fled.
Carindel watched impassively from the prow of his Eagle Ship as the sounds of battle faded and were replaced by the sounds of butchery. Already a few battered Sea Guard were retreating down the beach, occasionally turning to put a well placed arrow into some mist-shrouded pursuer. He had seen this before. Soon, there would be a bonfire fit for a whole army to drink around, and those who could not flee would be food for the herd. He knew that he and his crew must wait as long as they could for stragglers, but there was no possibility of rescue for any Elf unfortunate enough to be captured by these Beastmen. All he could do was hope and pray that the Lady Alrunielle was not among them…