Here is the second battle involving my Beastmen from turn 11 of the Border Princes campaign, this time facing Furycat‘s rampant Empire forces. In a rare event (for our campaign) I accurately predicted the attack on my territory and in an equally rare event actually did something about it; specifically, fortifying the army to give me a 10 % points bonus. Since we’re increasing the points value we play at I decided to experiment with an extra Bray Shaman wielding the Lore of Shadow. I’m wondering if the ability to reduce enemy movement (using Melkoth’s Mystifying Miasma) might improve my ability to dictate the combats I want to get into.
Almar Short Horn – Great Bray Shaman, level 4, Steel Claws, Jagged Dagger, Talisman of Preservation, Lore of Beasts (GBS)
Messine the Bloodhungry– Wargor, BSB, Beast Banner, Gnarled Hide, heavy armour, shield, (BSB)
Kazzin Blue Cloud – Bray Shaman, level 2, Chalice of Dark Rain, additional hand weapon, Lore of Shadow (BS1)
Lorik of Dragon Rock – Bray Shaman, level 2, Dispel Scroll, additional hand weapon, Lore of Shadow (BS2)
39 Gors, additional hand weapons, full command (G1)
20 Gors, additional hand weapons, full command (G2)
8 Ungor Raiders, musician (UR1)
7 Ungor Raiders, musician (UR2)
2 x 5 Harpies, scouts (H1 and H2)
2 x 2 Razorgors (R1 and R2)
29 Bestigors, full command, Banner of Discipline (B)
Furycat has previously mentioned his disdain for BS-based (i.e. non-artillery) shooting, and took that to the next level here. The Pegasus-riding Captain had evidently shown his worth in a previous outing and got a run out again. Finally, and perhaps most significantly, some Wizards made it into the order of battle; replacing the Warrior Priests who have done the Empire so proud this far into the campaign.
General of the Empire, Sword of Sigismund, Armour of Meteoric Iron, Dawnstone, shield (GE)
Wizard Lord, level 4, Armour of Tarnus, Rod of Power, Lore of Life (WL)
Battle Wizard, level 2, Seal of Destruction, Lore of Light (BW)
Captain of the Empire, BSB, full plate armour, Talisman of Preservation (BSB)
Captain of the Empire, Pegasus, Aldred’s Casket of Sorcery, Pigeon Plucker Pendant, lance, full plate armour, shield (P)
23 Greatswords, full command (G)
30 Halberdiers, full command, Banner of Eternal Flame (H1)
30 Halberdiers, full command (H2)
30 Swordsmen, full command (S)
2 Helstorm Rocket Batteries (HRB1 and HRB2)
The mission came up as Dawn Attack with the full 10 pieces of terrain. In the centre was a Dwarven Brewhouse with a wall running South East to some Khemrian Quicksand and a Mist-Wreathed Swamp in the East. In the North West were some Flaming Barricades with a Grail Chapel to the South and Wyrding Well (cunningly disguised as a statue in the maps) even further toward the bottom of the map. Finally, we have a suspiciously clean-looking Charnel Pit in the North East and two mysterious forests lie in wait for us.
The Wizard Lord takes Throne of Vines, Regrowth, Shield of Thorns and Lifeblood (somewhat surprising me since he could have had Dwellers Below, which I found very annoying in a previous battle against Aramoro) and the Battle Wizard has Net of Amyntok and Speed of Light. In the Beastmen camp, the Great Bray Shaman has Wyssan’s Wildform, Flock of Doom, Savage Beast of Horros and Transformation of Kadon. One of the Bray Shamans has Enfeebling Foe and the other has Withering; both take Miasma of course since it’s the reason they’re in the army in the first place.
I win the roll off to pick sides and select the ‘South’ since I happen to be on that side of the table at the start. All our games are based on such high strategy. Furycat is most displeased at the random nature of deployment for this scenario, though I have never had a problem with it. On the other hand, I don’t have a bunch of artillery to screen from Harpies and ambushers, so I suppose that is to be expected. Anyway, I also get to decide who goes first and not surprisingly choose that it should be me.
The game begins in the best possible fashion (for me) with the ambushing unit of Gors showing up right next to the Helstorm in the West, and the Harpies move into positions where they can attack the rest of the artillery. Everyone else just moves up at top speed as usual, aiming for the gap between the buildings (note that this also has the not-coincidental effect of bring much of my army into range of both my general and BSB). Finally, the Razorgors isolated in the East move up to try to tempt the Pegasus rider into keeping his Casket of Sorcery well away from my Shamans. In the magic phase I get 4,3 dice, and start off with a rare magic missile spell killing a couple of Halberdiers in the centre with Flock of Doom. I try a couple of cheeky single-die casting of the basic form of Miasma on the same unit of Halberdiers; one fails and the other is easily dispelled. Finally, Withering on the same unit again is dispelled and destroyed using the Seal of Destruction. Oh well, I only cast it to try to suck up a few of Furycat’s power dice next turn.
The Captain charges his Pegasus into the Razorgors right in front of him. The Wizard Lord notices the Razorgors sniffing hungrily at him and decides to abandon the Halberdiers to their fate, joining the Greatswords instead. Otherwise there isn’t much more than shuffling to clear the battle lines. The magic phase only generates 2,2 dice, and successive rolls of 2,1 mean that Speed of Light on the Pegasus rider and Shield of Thorns on the Helstorm fail. I thought that the idea of casting Shield of Thorns was quite a clever way of dissuading the Harpies from charging the artillery, so it was handy for me that it didn’t work. For a change I remember to use the Chalice of Dark Rain which shuts down both Helstorms; the mortar shot scatters off the big Gor unit, killing a couple at the edge. In the combat, the Captain turns one of the Razorgors into a giant pork kebab on his lance, and although the other one manages a wound back it is sent packing… straight into the Khemrian Quicksand where it fails its dangerous terrain test and is sucked down to an unpleasant fate, taking all three of its wounds with it. Hilarious.
The ambushing Gors and both units of Harpies charge into the artillery in front of them – I’ve gotten away losing only 2 Gors from the lot so I’m happy for that to continue. The surviving Razorgor herd crash through what turns out to be a Wild Wood into the Halberdiers so recently vacated by the Wizard Lord. Both Bray Shamans leave their units of Raiders who move to direct any potential charges into awkward directions, and the big herd of Gors continues to march round the building in the middle. With 5,5 power dice I start off again with a Flock of Doom on the unengaged Halberdiers killing a couple (but probably not enough to make a difference), then reduce the Swordsmen’s move by 3 with Miasma. A casting of Enfeebling Foe on the Halberdiers fighting the Razorgors is dispelled so I put Wildform on them instead – I’m not bothered about the strength but an increase in toughness puts them up to 6s to wound the giant pigs. The Mortar and Western Helstorm battery are both spiked straight away, but the central one puts up more of a fight and a single surviving crewman refuses to flee from his winged assailants. The Razorgors kill off a bunch of Halberdiers without taking any wounds back, but the State Troops easily hold steadfast.
After some deliberation, the unengaged Halberdiers charge into the baiting Ungor Raiders, who flee… a mighty 2″ and are duly run down by the onrushing State Troops. The Halberdiers have only a little while to savour their victory before they notice the Bestigors right in front of them, licking their goaty lips in anticipation. The Pegasus charges the Harpies, who hold (they would have fled off the table and I’m hoping that any pursuit takes the Captain out of the game for a turn too). Furycat rolls 2,2 for magic dice again. Throne of Vines is let through (the Lore attribute heals one of the Helstorm crewmen back to fight the Harpies) but yet another low roll means that Regrowth on the Halberdiers fails to cast. It seems that they could have used the help as another rank of them are crushed by the Razorgors. In the far East, the Captain and his Pegasus predictably kills most of the Harpies but obligingly fails to restrain his hotheadedness and follows them off the table.
The Bestigors crash into the hapless Halberdiers, intent on showing them that beating up Ungors is a privilege, not a right. Meanwhile, the Gor units move to get closer to the tasty humans waiting behind the building and the surviving Harpies move to get in the way of the Greatswords. I begin the magic phase (6,3 dice) by trying to put Miasma on the Swordsmen in case they decide to try helping out against the Razorgors, but it is dispelled. I do manage to get Enfeebling Foe off on Halberdiers fighting the Razorgors, but Wildform on the Bestigors is also dispelled. They turn out not to need it, wiping the floor with the Halberdiers and running the rest of them down when they break. The Razorgors fare less well, as a poor round of combat means that they lose on static combat resolution to the Halberdiers’ musician and flee from the fight (annoyingly,the Bestigors’ pursuit had taken the Great Bray Shaman out of inspiring presence-range). The Halberdiers reform to face the (suddenly much more) nervous Harpies.
And indeed, the Halberdiers charge the Harpies, who hold (I was tempted to have them flee, but thought they’d serve me better by dying for the cause). The Battle Wizard puts an Irresistable Net of Amyntok on the BSB’s Gors; the miscast is a calamitous detonation which blows up 7 of his Swordsmen bodyguards (but I roll a 1 to wound the Wizard). In an epic display of fumbling, the Halberdiers only manage to cut down a single Harpy, but the rest of the flighty beasts flee anyway, losing no-one to the Greatswords as they go through them; apparently none of the elite soldiers was quick enough to swing his mighty weapon at them as they went through.
Sensing blood, both units of Gors declare charges; the ambushers on the remains of the Halberdiers and the big unit on the Swordsmen. I duly fail both, including a roll of 1,1 for the BSB’s Gors which was the only roll low enough not to make contact (admittedly, they don’t take any damage from the Net of Amyntok so it’s not all bad). Both fleeing units rally, though the Razorgors are a long way from doing anything useful. The Wild Wood goes berserk, killing a few from both Gor herds and the Bestigors. Dang terrain. After rolling 6,3 magic dice I try again with single-die casting of the basic form of Miasma on the Swordsmen; once again one fails and the other is easily dispelled. I do get through a critical Wildform on the big Gor herd. Finally, the Wizard Lord remembers his Rod of Power (he must have been distracted by all the huge weapons on display in the Greatsword unit) and stores a couple of dice for next turn.
The Captain spurs his Pegasus to charge the Harpies, who flee but are caught and cut down anyway; this does have the handy side effect of leaving the Pegasus directly in front of the ambushing Gors for next turn. Meanwhile, all three combat blocks declare charges on the BSB’s Gor herd, but due to the vagaries of unit placement, Furycat finds that the Greatswords are blocked by the Halberdiers. Both the Swordsmen and the Halberdiers make contact though. Yet another poor roll for the winds of magic gives the Empire only 4,1 dice to play with, but with 2 extra from the Rod of Power it seems that they could make something good from this one. Speed of Light is let through on the Swordsmen, but Throne of Vines is dispelled. Shield of Thorns is let through on the Halberdiers (killing a Gor at the end of the magic phase) and finally Enfeebling Foe is dispelled from a few turns ago. Sadly, Speed of Light doesn’t help the Swordsmen much against T5 Gors, and the Halberdiers don’t fare much better. In return, the S5 (Wildform plus Beast Banner equals don’t mess with these guys) Gors wreak havoc across both Empire units including killing off the Battle Wizard. Needing 1,1 to hang around (for both units), Furycat is unable to muster the necessary dice rolls, apparently having used all his low dice rolling on his magic phases, and they both duly flee. Note: we forgot that the building was a Dwarven Brewhouse at the time, so they should all have been stubborn. Oh well, at least we both played it the same. Anyway, Furycat has seen enough at this point and offers me his hand in surrender. Victory for the Beastmen!
From my point of view, this was a very satisfactory game. However, I know that Furycat was not happy with the random deployment required of the scenario, so that did sour our enjoyment a little. Everything went swimmingly for the Beastmen, though of course with a 200 point advantage I would be expected to win.
I was impressed enough with the extra Bray Shaman that I will try it again. One possibility is to use the Shard of the Herdstone on one of them to try to get a few more dice out of the magic phase. Overall, I wonder if I might be better using Lore of Shadow on the Great Bray Shaman and Lore of Beasts on the Bray Shamans though. It comes down to the choice of which is preferable out of Wildform and Miasma, and I am a big fan of both. More games are definitely needed to see which gives me the best results.
The other major lesson is that, as good as Wildform is, having the Beast Banner is just so much more amazing. Gors with S5 and T5 are ridiculous, and even if one can’t rely on magic (and Furycat can attest to that after this game), having S4 and T4 is pretty fine. It took 4 turns to get them into combat, but the big unit of Gors annihilated the Swordsmen and Halberdiers in short order once they got started.