Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Battle of the Eerie Hills

A 4000pt 8th Edition Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report between The Empire and Vampire Counts, by Greg Johnson and Ben Morrison


Prologue
An unseasonal chill wind caressed Cruella’s cold, pale face as she stood atop the hill. Below her spread a vista of gently undulating hills and lush green valleys. It was perfect farming country; however she knew there were no farms for leagues in any direction. The farmers shied away from this area, and for good reason. This place was cursed.

Cruella inhaled the unnatural wind deeply, despite her long-dead lungs having no need of the air to sustain her. She could smell the curse on the wind – the stale stench of the restless dead. A small part of that emanated from her own legion of the undead, waiting silently behind her in the valley below. However, the vast majority of it had nothing to do with her and her legion. At least, not yet.

She smiled and turned to look out over her forces, further up into the hills. There lay the cursed Tombs of the Ancients – a burial ground for the kings of old and their mightiest warriors. Even without her help, she knew that these long-dead warriors did not rest easily. They were the reason there were no settlements for miles around. Any who had tried had found their lands invaded by long-dead warriors in ancient, rusting armour, slaughtering the livestock and any farmers not quick enough to escape. The Old Kings did not suffer their lands to be invaded, even in death.

These warriors were precisely what she needed to bolster her already considerable forces. Although she had gathered a mighty army of skeletons, she needed something more formidable before she could properly announce her arrival to those she sought to destroy. She would enter the Tombs of the Ancients and bend the Old Kings to her will. With those in her service, she would be unstoppable.

“My lady, the wolves are almost upon us,” rasped a voice from behind her. She turned to regard Sarcogyps, one of the most recent arrivals amongst her followers. The ancient necromancer was not looking at her, however. His eyes were fixed upon the valley below, and with a sigh she turned and followed his gaze.

“It seems they are intent upon intercepting me before I reach the Tomb of the Ancients,” she replied, her strong, regal voice a stark contrast to his own. “It is almost as though they know what I plan.” She glanced back at Sarcogyps, however if he noticed her examination, he showed no sign of it. Instead, he turned to his brother, “Stop playing with that! You’ll go blind.”

Necrosyrtes stifled a giggle (an entirely unnatural noise coming from something so decrepit) and looked up from where he crouched, off to the side of the rest of them. “It speaks to me,” he gasped excitedly. His hands continuously caressed a slim black rod, which seemed to hum in response to his attentions. “I can feel its power! Let me use it upon those human cattle below, mistress. I…”

He was cut off as a gauntleted hand clamped down hard on his shoulder, eliciting a whimper from the old necromancer as he cowered from its owner. The hand belonged to Mortus, Cruella’s personal champion. A Wight of considerable power and particularly fearsome visage, he gave a dry hiss of disapproval at Necrosyrtes before looking at his mistress for instructions.

“It’s alright, Mortus. I know he is excited to be holding such a tool.” Mortus released some of the pressure on the necromancer’s shoulder, allowing him to straighten slightly. But he did not step away. “Calm yourself, Necrosyrtes,” she continued. “You know we need the power contained in that rod to force our will upon the Old Kings. It would not do to waste it upon the foolish mortals that try to interfere with our plans.”

She felt a presence step up behind her and turned to see her strongest ally, the Baron Encarmine. A lord of the undead like herself, his power was a valuable asset. “Nevertheless Sarcogyps is correct, Cruella,” he said. His deceptively deep voice and aristocratic bearing gave him an air of authority that the others lacked (not to mention being a powerful Vampire clad all in plate armour, decorated extensively in Dragons and scenes of heroic carnage), however he had chosen to throw his lot in with Cruella’s. She was not entirely sure why, however she suspected he thought it likely that her ambition would result in some grand battles – the very thing he “lived” for. “Those soldiers will be upon us before nightfall,” he continued. “Alas, it seems there is no way we can achieve our goal without them bringing us to battle.” He did not sound at all disappointed by the prospect.

She looked at him askance, “Perhaps I should be looking elsewhere for clues as to how they know of my plans. You don’t seem surprised to find them upon us so swiftly.”

“Believe what you will, Cruella,” he said with a slight shrug. “These followers of the Wolf seem to have a nose for a fight, and I am of a mind to give them one.” He settled his dragon-styled helm back onto his head, then turned and strode back down the hill to his waiting Abyssal Terror, a winged apparition that Cruella herself would never dream of climbing aboard, let alone riding it into battle. As powerful as the Baron was, he seemed a little reckless for her taste. Immortality was a thing to be savoured; not squandered.

With one last glance up into the waiting hills, she sighed. It seemed the decision had been made for her. Maybe she was not quite so in charge as she had assumed. “Very well. Prepare for battle.”

The Brotherhood of Ulric

The Empire Army
Greg:
I keep promising myself (and anyone who will listen) that I will put together more battle reports, however I just never seem to get around to it. However, having discovered Battle Chronicler fairly recently, I finally got the extra impetus I needed to do something about it.

As often happens when I go to arrange a game with Benji, we started with an agreed size of 3,000 points, then both realised that we wanted more. As it happened, I really only had about 3,500 points of Empire painted, so I had to scrape a bit in order to make the revised target of 4,000. What this means is that my army was not constructed so much with balance or strength in mind – it was more just a question of what I had and what I could get ready the night before.

It’s something of a running joke that I have painted a silly number of Knights of the White Wolf, however my needing to stretch my points resulted in me using all that I had painted – a horde of 30 of them. Led by my general, a Templar Grand Master, they make an impressive unit on the table and should be able to do a lot of damage. That’s the theory, anyway. They’re backed up by a unit of Inner Circle Knights with lances, which generally include my BSB and a Warrior Priest for extra hittiness.

Flagellants are pretty much a must-have for Empire armies, so obviously I have a painted unit of those. Greatswords are good fun too, and I have been using Teutogen Guard for those in keeping with the Ulric-theme in my army. 35 of them is maybe not enough, but I haven’t yet converted any more to round the unit out. They get a Warrior Priest too, which gets them a lot more respect. I’ve also got a large unit of Spearmen. They are the worst of the State Troops, however they were what I had painted, so they get to join the party. They make a decent bodyguard unit for my Light Wizard Lord.

My shooting is pretty token for a game of this size – I fielded the same amount up at Cancon, which was half the points level. I nearly painted up a Helblaster to keep the 2 Cannons and Mortar company, but decided it was not the best way to spend my painting time. 10 Crossbowmen, 10 Handgunners and 5 Pistoliers are all I have to back them up.

It was at this point where I needed to start madly painting things to round the points out, so I went for the single biggest win I could think of. I stole my High Elf Griffon and painted up a new rider for him. The Glorious Birdie would ride again! I then armed the guy to the teeth with silly hitty equipment in the interest of swallowing points and giving him some threat potential. I then painted an Engineer and a little Wizard, and I was done. Such a carefully chosen list could not help but put in a good showing. I hope…

Lords

  • WK Templar Grand Master, Wolfgang Krieger
    Barded Warhorse, Full Plate Armour, Shield Sword of Sigismund [45] Dragonhelm [10] Dawn Stone [25]
    225 points
  • WV General of the Empire, Baron Wahnsinn Vogelkopf
    Rides a Griffon Full Plate Armor Sword of Bloodshed [60] Potion of Strength [20] Enchanted Shield [15]
    387 points
  • HL Wizard Lord, Hans the Light
    Level 4 Magic User (Lore of Light) Holy Relic [45] Dispel Scroll [25]
    280 points
Heroes
  • FS Hero of the Empire, Friedrich Stark
    Battle Standard Bearer Barded Warhorse, Full Plate Armor Charmed Shield [5] Talisman of Preservation [45]
    147 points
  • GG Warrior Priest of Ulric, Gerhardt the Grim
    Barded Warhorse, Great Weapon Dawn Armour [35]
    143 points
  • AD Warrior Priest of Ulric, Adolphus the Dour
    Great Weapon Armour of Meteoric Iron [25]
    119 points
  • JL Master Engineer, Jonny Longshot
    65 points
  • GS Battle Wizard, Geldson the Short
    Level 1 Magic User, Lore of Metal
    65 points
Core
  • WW 29 Knights, Knights of the White Wolf
    Full Command, Great Weapons, Standard of Discipline [15]
    722 points
  • S 39 Spearmen, Company of the Snow Leopard
    Full Command, Spears, Light Armour
    215 points
  • FW 25 Flagellant Warband, Flagellant Warband
    250 points
  • C 10 Crossbowmen, Crossbowmen
    80 points
  • H 10 Handgunners, Handgunners
    80 points
Special
  • G 35 Greatswords, Brotherhood of the Wolf
    Full Command
    450 points
  • HD 14 Detachment (Halberdiers), Halberdier Detachment
    Attached to Greatswords
  • K 13 Knights of the Inner Circle, Knights of the Inner Circle
    Full Command Steel Standard [20]
    398 points
  • P 5 Pistoliers, Pistoliers
    Musician
    97 points
  • GC1 Great Cannon, Great Cannon 1
    100 points
  • GC2 Great Cannon, Great Cannon 2
    100 points
  • M Mortar, Mortar
    75 points
Total: 3998 points

Lady Cruella's Dark Cavalcade: Raising the Horde!
The Vampire Counts Army
Ben:
I had been wanting to use all of my gorgeous Vampire army (actually Weisern's old army that I had the good fortune to buy off him) in a large battle for a while now and as yet have not had the opportunity.  

With any list, usually I start with my Vampire Lord and go from there but I wanted to fit as much of my gorgeous army in as I could, so I made a list of what can I field.  After a few minutes of quick scribbling and addition I busted 4,000 points with units alone, this prompted a quick call to Greg to "suggest" he take as much as possible to allow me to do the same, which he agreed to.....mwuhahah!  With a new 4,000 pt limit I went back to the drawing board and started selecting units I wanted the most with a mind to try something different with the army as a whole and not just use what works the best (i.e Lots of Ghouls, Grave Guard with great weapons and Wraiths). 
   
This time I decided to focus on Skeletons as my main troops and build an infantry army around them.  That being said, I started with a unit of 30 and a unit of 40 skeletons both with spears, and a smaller unit of 20 to use a bunker or flanking unit.  I chose to get some ghouls too but stay away from massive units, so I got a unit of 25 and a unit of 30 to bolster my infantry. 
Of all the wonderful special and rare choices open to me I kept to my goal and ruled out the ethereal units, and chose a single unit of 25 Grave Guard without great weapons.  I gave the Grave Guard the Banner of the Barrows which gives the unit +1 to hit in close combat which will hopefully account for some more damage being inflicted once they're in melee. 

I had 2 gorgeous Black Coaches sitting in front of me that I couldn't ignore, so I chose to include one along with my Blood Knights! I had 7 awesome conversions (old chaos warriors on skeletal steeds) complete with a dragon banner - so in all 7 went and to keep them alive I gave them the Banner of Blood Keep (a 4+ ward save against ranged attacks).  Given they're so expensive and can do sooo much damage on a good charge, opponents tend to target them a lot with shooting and magic.


I rounded out the army with a couple of units of Vampire Bats to hunt artillery and a couple of units of Dire Wolves to screen and block enemy charges.


Now onto choosing the Characters - where the real fun begins as not only do they lead your glorious host but they give your army real... character (yea that's the best I got).
Anyway to lead my army of darkness I must have a suitably Evil Vampire, one who inspires terror in all that behold him, one who can crush any enemy with his bare hands, one who has an iron will and the magical might to raise and infuse his host with dark energies! Now before I describe the magnificent Baron Encarmine, i must say that in talking to Greg he hinted his army would include his Birdie (griffin) and I instantly realized I needed a suitable reply to this feathered fiend - that's when it hit me, I had an amazing Vampire on a Abyssal Nightmare I hadn't used in 8th yet.  A little voice in my head asked why I would do anything so stupid but thankfully a much louder voice drowned it out screaming "Cannons Do Not Concern Me Admiral!".  So Baron Encarmine mounted up on a Abyssal Nightmare and to make him a combat monster I gave him the Red Fury vampiric power to double his killing potential, and the magical might of Forbidden Lore allowing me full knowledge of the Vampire spell lore.  I equipped him with a Flayed Hauberk of manflesh, Talisman of Protection and a Sword of Swift Slaying. I hoped this kit would give me ample protection with the potential to do some slaughter when things got up close and personal. 


With Baron Encarmine  poncing about, I intended my Wight King Army Standard Bearer to lead my host from the front lines, so Mortus got a Great weapon and the Crown of the Damned.  I also chose a pair of Necromancers to bolster my magic offense and defense.  Sarcogyps was entrusted with a Dispel Scroll and to Necrosyrtes I gave the Forbidden Rod, a powerful magical artifact which could bolster the winds of magic for me in a turn I really need it, but also likely to do fatal damage to the bearer when used.  It was a sacrifice I was willing to make.  I toyed with having a couple of Wight Kings or Vampires  to lead other infantry or provide magical support but in the end a bit of sense and caution shone through.  As heroic as I deemed Baron Encarmine to be I thought it a reasonable possibility he would not survive more than a turn or two of artillery and magic.  To forestall us having to shake hands and restart the game early if the Baron turned out to be poor at dodging missiles I decided to recruit another Vampire Lord Cruella whom I made my General and intended to be a little more reserved with. As Cruella was to be kept largely away from the fighting, I made her a Level 4 with Dark Acolyte, Lord of the Dead to summon additional skeletons and Master of the Black Arts, providing some additional power to my magic phases to counteract the bonus dispel dice those pesky warrior priests were sure to provide and the power draining effect of my Black coach.  Cruella also got the Gem of Lahmia, Charmed Shield and most importantly the Carstein Ring allowing her to return to life on a 2+ if she were to be destroyed.


With my army chosen I hunkered back down in my coffin to await the coming battle!
Lords
  • CvC Vampire Lord, Cruella von Carstein
    Army General, Level 3 Magic User, Lore of Necromancy Dark Acolyte [30] Lord of the Undead [15] Crimson Gem of Lahmia [20] The Carstein Ring [75] Charmed Shield [5]
    400 points
  • TBE Vampire Lord, The Baron Encarmine
    Rides an Abyssal Terror, Level 3 Magic User, Lore of Necromancy Red Fury [50] Forbidden Lore [35] Summon Ghouls [15] Sword of Swift Slaying [25] Flayed Hauberk [25] Talisman of Preservation [45] Potion of Foolhardiness [5]
    590 points
Heroes
  • MI Wight King, Mortus Incisor
    Battle Standard Bearer Great Weapon, Heavy Armour Crown of the Damned [35] Ironcurse Icon [5]
    150 points
  • N Necromancer, Necrosytres
    Level 1 Magic User, Lore of Necromancy (Vanhel's Danse Macabre) Forbidden Rod [35]
    90 points
  • S Necromancer, Sarcogyps
    Level 1 Magic User, Lore of Necromancy (Vanhel's Danse Macabre) Dispel Scroll [25] Extra Spell - Invocation of Nehek [15]
    95 points
Core
  • CG1 30 Crypt Ghouls, Crypt Ghouls 1
    Ghast
    248 points
  • CG2 25 Crypt Ghouls, Crypt Ghouls 2
    Ghast
    208 points
  • SW1 40 Skeleton Warriors, Skeleton Warriors 1
    Full Command, Light Armour, Shields, Spears
    380 points
  • SW2 30 Skeleton Warriors, Skeleton Warriors 2
    Full Command, Light Armour, Shields, Spears
    290 points
  • SW3 22 Skeleton Warriors, Skeleton Warriors 3
    Full Command, Light Armour, Shields
    196 points
  • DW1 5 Dire Wolves, Dire Wolves 1
    40 points
  • DW2 5 Dire Wolves, Dire Wolves 2
    40 points
Special
  • GG 26 Grave Guard, Grave Guard
    Full Command. Heavy Armour, Shields Banner of the Barrows [45]
    387 points
  • FB1 4 Fell Bats, Fell Bats 1
    80 points
  • FB2 4 Fell Bats, Fell Bats 2
    80 points
Rare
  • BK 7 Blood Knights, Blood Knights
    Standard Bearer, Musician Barded Nightmares, Heavy Armour, Shields, Lances The Flag of Blood Keep [75]
    490 points
  • BC Black Coach, Black Coach
    200 points
Total: 3964 points*

* If the points spent on this army seems to be a bit of a mess, this is because Ben is a bit of a rookie, having probably played well over 1,000 games of Warhammer. Apart from having potentially gone overboard with his brief of "make a nice army", his list included Master of the Black Arts on the Vampire Lord on foot. However, this made his list cost 14 points too many overall, and blew his Lords allowance by 40 points. And he never used it in the game. We shall give him the benefit of the doubt, assume he had removed Master of the Black Arts, making his list perfectly legal, and being such a nice guy, he deliberately went into the battle 36 points short, just to give me a head-start... -Greg

Deployment
The battle lines are drawn
The armies deploy

Empire Turn 1
Empire Turn 1
With a brave “Huzzah” in the face of such ghastly adversaries, the Empire army advanced into battle. On the flank, the Baron Wahnsinn popped the cork of his bottle of Magical Might Juice and swigged the whole thing. His biceps bulging, he spurred his noble Griffon into the air, dropped to the ground directly in front of the enemy’s most fearsome warriors – the Blood Knights. Apparently the Baron had not read the fine print on the label of the bottle, which warned against side-effects such as dizziness and bouts of outright insanity. Drawing his enchanted blade with a flourish, he waved it ineffectually at the enemy knights, calling them unflattering names and insulting their long-dead parentage. His Griffon didn’t say anything – it may have been plotting its early escape.
The Empire line sweeps forward
Behind the unexpectedly courageous Baron, the Inner Circle Knights advanced and prepared to follow him into the teeth of the enemy cavalry. Beside them, with a huff and a groan at his under-length legs having to work so hard, the Wizard Geldson hitched up his skirts (he calls them robes of course) and trotted after the Knights. Seeing the target of their attentions and with a feeling of impending doom, he skidded to a halt and began an incantation – the only one he knew. With grand gesturing and pompous posturing, he summoned the Winds of Magic into himself… And lost control. With a howl of unleashed energies, a bolt of searing power exploded from his fingertips. The bolt scorched across the field, splitting as it went, and engulfed 3 of the Blood Knights in flame. Any satisfaction Geldson may have drawn from his unexpected success was lost as the Winds of Magic escaped his grasp and the little Wizard disappeared in a howling vortex of fire and noise. Remarkably he emerged from the other side, his robes in tatters and his singed beard half its original length. 
Cover is for wimps, y'all
The Flagellants struggled through the forest, although a few of them took some nasty scratches from a Venom Thicket and fell twitching. The rest of the line advanced in good order, with the Handgunners seeking to shorten the range to the enemy and the Pistoliers galloping forward on the left. Drawing their guns, they sportingly unleashed a warning shot over the heads of the nearby Dire Wolves, warning them of the doom which would soon be theirs. No Dire Wolves were harmed in the making of this volley.
The Pistoliers fire wildly into the sky. As you do.
Under the stern gaze of the Master Engineer Jonny Longshot, the Mortar Crew nevertheless managed to fire wildly off their intended target, eliminating a trio of Skeletons who were too slow to get out of the way. “We meant to do that,” claimed the crew. Even as the Jonny was muttering into his beard about finding replacement gunners, the Cannon right in front of him detonated with a thunderous roar. Bits of cannon and crewmen rained down all over the hillside as Jonny struggled back to his feet, cursing all gunners and vowing to find a new line of work.

On the far side of the battlefield, the other Great Cannon gave a pathetic cough and the cannonball trickled out of the barrel. Fortunately for the crew, Jonny’s attention was elsewhere and he didn’t notice.

Vampire Counts Turn 1
Vampire Counts Turn 1
Outraged at the loss of their comrades and goaded by the ludicrous taunts of the fool on his Griffon, the Blood Knights lost control of their wits and lowered their lances, charging directly into the Baron and his mount with a bloodcurdling roar. Alarmed by this unplanned turn of events, the Necromancer Sarcogyps dismissed his entourage of Ghouls and scrambled up the hill in order to get a better view of the swiftly departing Vampire cavalry. He also sent the Dire Wolves to harry the Knights supporting the Baron. Perhaps by his unholy powers, he might yet salvage something from this mess.
RAARGH! The Glorious Birdie and crazy Blood Knights clash
Sarcogyps moves to assist the left flank
On the far flank, the Wraith atop the Black Coach cracked its ghostly whip and drove straight at the Pistoliers with alarming speed. Panicked by this turn of events, the horsemen lost control of their mounts and got lost in a tangle of harness and screaming riders. With a ghoulish chuckle from its driver, the Black Coach drove straight through this mess, riding the Pistoliers down mercilessly.
Road Rage: The Black Coach deals with the Pistoliers
In the centre of the line, Mortus Incisor hissed through his impressive teeth and wordlessly led the elite of Cruella’s army, the Grave Guard, forward. Marching in time, with weapons at the ready, they strode directly toward the huge regiment of White Wolf Knights. They were supported in their advance by the hordes of Skeletons, although the regiment in the centre slowed as it altered its formation with martial precision and eerie silence. Behind this advance, Cruella turned to walk through the forest, followed silently by her bodyguard of Skeleton Warriors.

Inspired by the carnage inflicted upon the Pistoliers and hungry for a taste of battle, the Baron Encarmine launched his Abyssal Terror skyward, winging out in front of the lines and daring the Handgunners and Crossbowmen on the hill to do their worst.
The Baron Encarmine disrespects the Empire shooting
Seeking to speed her victory and swiftly dispatch the fools who defied her, Lady Cruella called upon the Winds of Magic. However, instead of a storm with which to sweep away her foes, she found only a trickle. That fool Dwarf had drained too much power and the Winds had not yet recovered! Before she could even thin k of a spell for herself, that fool Sarcogyps had seized what power there was, shaping it to strengthen the Blood Knights in their foolish charge. His attempt was blocked by the enemy and she could hear his curse from down the line. In desperation she grasped the Crimson Gem of Lahmia. Spending her own vitality, she drew power from within and leant strength to Mortus and his entourage. Magically invigorated, they hurtled forward, crashing into the startled White Wolves as they struggled to react.
The Grave Guard and the White Wolves clash
Drawing some satisfaction from her success, even as she reeled from the expended energies, Necrosytres suddenly held aloft the Forbidden Rod. With a mad cackle he summoned forth its powers, further bolstering the pitiful trickle of Magic. However, his cackle soon turned to shrieks as the power of the Rod did its terrible work, withering him from within and reducing him to little more than a pile of cinders. With a curt command Cruella held out her hand and received the spent Rod from her Skeleton lieutenant. She should have known better than to trust the old fool with such a powerful artefact.

Despite his sacrifice, the extra power summoned by Necrosyrtes’ folly proved insufficient. It was seized once again by his brother Sarcogyps, however the old Wizard in the enemy lined produced a Dispel Scroll and his efforts had no effect.

Mortus led his Grave Guard straight into the teeth of the White Wolf cavalry, and as they arrived he hissed his challenge. Grand Master Krieger urged his steed forward with a shout, and the two were locked in combat. Despite his magical weapon, the White Wolf could not land a telling blow on the Wight King, and took a nasty wound from his Wight Blade in return. Around them however, the Grave Guard found themselves overmatched, losing 5 of their number to only 2 Knights in return. Neither side gave an inch and the struggle continued.

On the left flank the Blood Knights crashed into Baron Wahnsinn and his Griffon, however the encounter did not go as planned. Faster than they thought possible, his blade scythed into their number, hacking down 3 of them with god-like force. Unexpectedly pleased by his master’s prowess, the Griffon made short work of the remaining Blood Knight, his fearsome beak tearing the Vampire asunder.

Empire Turn 2
Empire Turn 2
Flush with success despite the effects of his potion wearing off, Baron Wahnsinn spotted the skulking form of the Necromancer on the hill and swept toward him on his somewhat relieved Griffon. Behind them the Knights swept around to deal with the Dire Wolves, whilst the Flagellants lunged at the Ghouls before them, eager to tell them of the End of the World.

Seeing their brethren locked in a stalemate, the Brotherhood of the Wolf swept around the combat and crashed into the flank of the Grave Guard, hammers at the ready.
The Grave Guard find themselves surrounded
Seeing the menacing form of the Baron Encarmine sweep from the sky, Hans the Light summoned the power to eliminate the threat, however he found the power quickly dissipating between a scroll read by the doomed Sarcogyps (even as the Griffon descended upon him) and the strange Black Coach that was advancing on the other flank. Even as he felt the power dissipate, the glow of the Wraith’s eyes intensified and the Coach seemed to speed up.

Eager to show Jonny that they had learned from their earlier mistake, the Mortar crew took aim at the rapidly approaching Vampire. Once again however, their aim was appalling. This time the shot landed directly in the centre of the mass of Ghouls advancing behind him, killing 10. “We meant to do that.” The Handgunners fired at the Dire Wolves, but managed to drop only 2 of them, whilst the Crossbowmen fired at the Baron Encarmine and were rewarded for their efforts when one of the bolts penetrated his armour, drawing a cry of surprise and anger from their target. On the far flank the Cannon took aim at the Lady Cruella, however the ranks closed around her and all that they got was a few splintered Skeletons.

Baron Wahnsinn made short work of Sarcogyps, cutting him down with a flash of his blade. Likewise the Knight swept through the Dire Wolves as though they were not there, advancing toward the centre with the flank seemingly under control. With a cacophony of shrieks and bells, the Flagellants crashed into the Ghouls. In an orgy of bloodletting, 11 of the Flagellants and 15 of the Ghouls fell, with more of the creatures scurrying away in response to such carnage, with only 5 remaining to help the Flagellants find their dooms.
The Flagellants and Ghouls duke it out. yes, those movement trays were pretty well full, once...
In the centre, Templar Krieger managed to damage Wight King in their challenge, however it soon mattered little. The arrival of the Brotherhood of the Wolf ended the resistance of the Grave Guard. 15 of them were smashed to a paste by hammers from all sides, and the Lady Cruella’s hold over the remainder was broken under the onslaught. Mortus hissed his defiance, even as his body began to crumble and the battle standard fell. With a cheer, the Teutogen Guard regrouped swiftly, preparing to make another telling charge.

Vampire Counts Turn 2
Vampire Counts Turn 2
From his vantage point atop his Abyssal Terror, the Baron Encarmine saw the battle standard fall. He was wounded already. The odds were against him, the battle was slipping away. It was perfect. His sword singing from its sheath, he shouted a challenge and rode straight at the front of the Spearmen of the Company of the Snow Leopard. What odds? A mere 40 mortals against the might of a Vampire! “You are outmatched! Flee for your lives, petty cattle!” His laughter was lost in the clash of steel.
The Baron Encarmine crashes into the Company of the Snow Leopard
On the flank, with a ghostly shriek the Black Coach sped toward the flank of the Handgunners. Seeing their doom approaching, they turned and fled. The Dire Wolves scented easy prey and chased them, sending them screaming from the field. Nearby, the Mortar crew huddled beneath their machine, praying the Wolves did not come for them next, and avoiding meeting the gaze of an increasingly disgusted Jonny Longshot.
The Handgunners left the oven on and have to wash their hair. They leave the field.
The Fell Bats and Ghouls advanced on the right, whilst the other flock of Bats landed directly in front of the Teutogen Guard at the bidding of their mistress. Meanwhile, shielded by the bats, the regiment of Skeleton Warriors shouldered their spears and advanced onto the hill, the flank of the Company of the Snow Leopard in their sights.
Showing leadership qualities any Skaven would be proud of, Cruella skulks behind the lines amongst her poorly ranked up Skeletons.
The Winds of Magic had recovered from their earlier mismanagement by Geldson, despite the Black Coach drawing ever more power into itself, like a magical sponge. Cruella gathered her powers and cast Vanhel’s Danse Macabre upon the Skeleton Spearmen. Distracted by the arrival of the Baron Encarmine, Hans’ dispel attempt was clumsy and inadequate. The Skeletons lunged forward, crashing into the flank of the Company of the Snow Leopard and Hans himself, who would now regret his ham-fisted dispelling. Cruella then attempted to use the remaining power to regather her strength, however against expectations, Geldson the Short managed to fumble out a successful dispel. Cruella’s cry of outrage echoed across the battlefield.
Ah, it's all bad. The Skeletons arrive using magical propulsion...
The Baron Encarmine was less than pleased by the arrival of the Skeletal horde in the flank of his victims. “No! Damn you Cruella, these cattle are mine to slaughter!” So incensed was he by this blow to his honour that his shrivelled heart was no longer in the fight. He casually cut down a couple of Spearmen that got too close, one of whom managed to lodge a spear in the flank of his mount. This only served to enrage the Abyssal Terror, which ploughed into its foes with a bestial shriek, tearing them asunder and crushing them with its bulk. Caught between this horror and the mass of the living dead in their flank, the Company of the Snow Leopard dropped their weapons and fled, however they were slaughtered even as they turned to run. Hans the Light fared no better, lost in the midst of the carnage. Dissatisfied with the one-sided slaughter, the Baron wheeled his mount around, looking for a fresh challenge. He spotted the Crossbowmen on the hill and swept toward them, blade held aloft.
The Spearmen are scattered by the combined charge of the Undead

On the other side of the field, the gruesome struggle between the Flagellants and Ghouls continued. All but 5 of the humans were dragged to their deaths, whilst only of the Ghast was left standing on the other side. Around them writhed the wounded and dying, hands and talons at each other’s throats, biting and clawing even as the life ebbed from them.
The remaining Ghoul mocks the efforts of the (now rather tired) Flagellants

Empire Turn 3
Empire Turn 3
Seeing the defiance of the Ghast before him, the Baron Wahnsinn gave a shout of challenge and drove his Griffon into the fiend’s flank. He would save the foolish doom-sayers, even if they didn’t seem to want to be saved.
Glorious Birdie to the rescue!
In the centre, the Brotherhood of the Wolf and their detachment of Halberdiers crashed into the Fell Bats which sought to block their progress. Led by Templar Krieger, the Knights of the White Wolf wheeled their mounts about, seeking to avenge their fallen comrades of the Company of the Snow Leopard. They were joined by Gerhardt the Grim and Friedrich Stark, his banner snapping in the chill wind. They had left the Inner Circle Knights, who could only watch the struggle between the Ghouls and Flagellants and hope the intervention of Baron Wahnsinn would be enough.
Being a Fell Bat is a sucky job
Seeing the Baron Encarmine descending upon the Crossbowmen like a thing born of nightmare and fearing the worst, Jonny Longshot gestured for the Mortar crew to drag their machine out of sight behind the hill, whilst he himself dropped from sight. He was followed by the sounds of screaming men and snapping bones.

The Winds of Magic blew feebly, even as the Black Coach on the flank continued to grow in strength. It seemed to sprout black wings of smoke, its form shimmering and shifting out of focus to the eye. The ghoulish laughter of the Wraith drifted on the wind, echoing unnaturally across the battlefield. The Warrior Priest Gerhardt uttered a prayer to Ulric, however it seemingly went unanswered.

On the right, the Great Cannon crew attempted to fire again at Cruella’s entourage, however once again something went amiss and the shot did not fire. Perhaps there was something wrong with this Cannon. It would take some time to clear the barrel.

The Fell Bats were crushed between the Brotherhood of the Wolf and their Halberdier allies, however the two formations then tied each other in a knot in their efforts to get to the Skeletons waiting on the field below them. Weapons were tangled and curses were spat as Cruella watched on in grim amusement.

Baron Wahnsinn barely slowed on his way past the remaining Ghoul, sweeping its head from its shoulders as he flew on toward the centre of the field. On the left flank, the Baron Encarmine made short work of the Crossbowmen, leaving none alive to flee. Still displeased by the lack of sport, he turned back toward the centre of the field, seeking a new target.

Vampire Counts Turn 3
Vampire Counts Turn 3
Surveying the field, Lady Cruella von Carstein began to feel concern. Her left flank was gone, the centre was failing, and her strongest asset, the Baron Encarmine, was on the far side of the field, seemingly more intent on finding a worthy opponent than ensuring her army carried the day. Worse, those cursed Teutogen Guard and their henchmen were heading across the hill toward her position, that deranged lunatic on his Griffon was heading her way, and all that stood between them was a few feeble Skeletons. Unconsciously fidgeting with her ring, she ordered her Skeletons to hold their position, whilst she slunk out of the ranks and repositioned herself in a more advantageous location (away from the various enemies seeking her demise).

Despite their efforts to hide, the Mortar crew were spotted by the nearby Fell Bats. With a screech they took to the skies, however an unfavourable gust of wind hampered them and they fell short of their targets. Snorting in disgust at their lack of aerial prowess, the Baron Encarmine took to the sky upon his Abyssal Terror, sweeping down from the hill to land not far from the massive regiment of White Wolf Knights, who were threatening the flank of the large block of Skeleton Warriors. They stepped further from the Knights, however something needed to be done. Behind them, the forces on the right flank swept around to face the remaining enemies.

Realising the battle would be lost if the White Wolves reached the Skeletons, the Baron Encarmine drew upon the Winds of Magic and summoned zombies to waylay the White Wolves. However, he found his efforts stymied by the stubborn little Dwarf in singed wizard’s clothing. A battle of wills ensued, however with a final roar of frustration, the Baron managed to summon forth a handful of the freshly dead to do his bidding. Struggling up from the ground directly in front of the oncoming knights, they would hopefully delay them enough for the Skeletons to get into position.
The Baron Encarmine summons forth a handful of Zombies to delay the advance of the White Wolves

Empire Turn 4
Empire Turn 4
Seeing the flank of the Skeletons just ahead, Templar Krieger was not going to be denied this victory by a mere handful of Zombies. “Crush them!” he cried, “And onward to victory!” Spurred by his determination, the Knights of the White Wolf crashed into the newly arrived Zombies, which were still staggering in circles, unsure of their surrounds.

Nearby, Warrior Priest Adolphus the Dour cursed the Halberdiers that had entangled his regiment of Teutogen Guard. Seeing his target so close by, he gave a cry of “For Ulric!” and charged down the hill, leaving the Brotherhood of the Wolf behind. Seeing this display of zeal and embarrassed by their earlier efforts, the Halberdiers charged down the hill behind him, into the teeth of the waiting Skeletons. They were joined by Baron Wahnsinn, whose Griffon had carried him right into the heart of the battle. He laughed madly and flourished his sword as he hurtled toward the enemy.

Behind them, having finally untangled from their own detachment, the Brotherhood of the Wolf reformed their ranks and turned toward the left flank, where most of the remaining undead were to be found. Jonny Longshot stepped over to supervise the Mortar crew once more, despite the sight of a skeletal horde descending upon them. “Steady lads, one last shot.”

Seeing the Lady Cruella making an apparent bid for freedom, the Inner Circle Knights and Flagellants closed ranks, trying to prevent her escape. The wizard Geldson stepped around the forest, his eyes upon the Baron Encarmine and all that lovely, malleable armour…
Geldson finds a new target at which to waggle his fingers...

Gathering his concentration and drawing again upon the Winds of Magic, Geldson prepared to incinerate the foul abomination before him. However, just as he prepared to unleash the spell, he felt his gathered forces beginning to dissipate. Once again, that accursed Black Coach was absorbing all his power! A malevolent cackle seemed to hang in the air, mocking his feeble efforts.

The Mortar fired, this time landing with a direct hit under the close guidance of the Master Engineer. However, the shot must have been a dud, as only 4 Ghouls were felled. The crewmen cursed their luck, even as the Skeletons drew near.

Led by the flashing blade of Templar Krieger, the White Wolves made short work of the Zombies, however they had done their clumsy work. Having to slow to carve them up lost the cavalry too much of their momentum, and they fell well short of the flank of the Skeletons in front of them. Templar Krieger directed a string of angry curses toward the Baron Encarmine, whose smugness was apparent even when clad head-to-toe in his dragon-styled plate mail.

So many fighters converging on the Skeleton warriors deep in the undead lines proved too much for the power sustaining them, and they were crushed by the combined charge of Baron Wahnsinn, Adolphus and the Halberdiers. Adolphus barely slowed in his charge, his fury carrying him deep into the forest before he realised there was nobody left to fight. The Halberdiers, flushed with success, carried on into yet more Skeletons behind the ones they had just fought, however this time they would be doing it alone. Baron Wahnsinn spotted the skulking Vampire Lord and pulled his Griffon about. The glory of vanquishing the arch villain would be his!
Adolphus cools his heels in the forest...
...whilst Baron Wahnsinn finds a new, more tempting target

Vampire Counts Turn 4
Vampire Counts Turn 4
Having been saved from the predations of the White Wolves, the Skeleton regiment charged the Mortar directly in front of them. Deciding his work here was finished, the Baron Encarmine set off across the field, past the presumptuous Dwarf who was still waggling his fingers in a menacing fashion, to land directly in front of the Great Cannon.
The Baron Encarmine prepares to pick on someone else smaller than him.

The Black Coach continued its sweeping advance around the Empire flank, whilst the Fell Bats nearby found no pressing tasks and so withdrew to the vantage point of the crest of the hill. The Dire Wolves ran to stop directly in front of the Brotherhood of the Wolf, prepared to sacrifice themselves to please their mistress.

The Lady Cruella herself had found herself in a spot of bother. The Inner Circle Knights appeared to be lining her up, and that idiot on his overgrown bird was eyeing her off as well. Realising she may be in trouble, she glided around the flank, right next to the Flagellants. She would rather take her chances with them alone than face all her enemies at once.
Cruella does her best to elude the net closing around her.

Drawing deeply upon the Winds of Magic, Cruella unleashed the power to Summon the Undead Horde. Her own damaged form was somewhat replenished, whilst the Skeletons facing the onrushing Halberdier detachment were suddenly reinforced as the skeletal remains of a long-dead battlefield rose to the surface and joined their ranks.

With a strange groaning noise, the Blood Forest around the Skeletons exploded into activity, enraged by the loathsome energies being unleashed. The trees crushed one of the newly risen Skeletons, then lurched away, trying to distance themselves from the foul Necromantic powers. Warrior Priest Adolphus suddenly found himself standing in the open, whilst Baron Wahnsinn found himself and his Griffon in the midst of a newly arrived forest! Remaining still, the trees seemed to settle into their new location and resume their interrupted slumber.
Adolphus' forest abandons him, going to visit Baron Wahnsinn instead.
Where did all these trees come from?

Taking the lead from his ally, the Baron Encarmine drew upon his own powers and summoned a Wind of Undeath. The already chill winds turned bitter, the sky darkened and the keening of those long dead sounded in the ears of the Empire troops. All across the field, soldiers were struck dead by unseen powers. Adolphus and the Griffon were both struck, although they remained on their feet. As the wind reached a howling crescendo, a Spirit Host appeared behind the Flagellants and Inner Circle Knights, preparing to threaten their rear.
With a ghostly wail, a Spirit Host rises from the ground.

The Skeleton regiment made brief work on the Mortar crew, using their momentum to carry them from the field and out of the reach of the White Wolf Knights, much to the disgust of Templar Krieger. Seeing the last of his charges gone, Jonny Longshot decided his presence on the field was no longer required, and he departed to less dangerous surrounds.

The Halberdier detachment, so recently emboldened by their success in the previous combat, found their nerve faltering in the sight of their enemies being reinforced before their eyes. Even as they closed, they found themselves outnumbered nearly 3 to 1. Disheartened, they fought without the energy of before and were bested by their enemies. Turning tail, they fled from the Skeletons, flitting between their comrades in the Brotherhood of the Wolf and the White Wolf Knights, regathering only on the far side of the field.
The Halberdiers bite off more than they can chew.

Empire Turn 5
Empire Turn 5
Seeing their prey had eluded them, Baron Wahnsinn and the Inner Circle Knights turned their attentions to the Skeletons that had so summarily dismissed the Halberdiers. Charging through the newly replanted Blood Forest, they crashed ferociously into the front of their target. With their enemy right in front of them, the remaining handful of Flagellants rushed to face Lady Cruella.

In the centre of the field, the Brotherhood of the Wolf stepped forward to crush the Dire Wolves, determined to end the suffering of the once-noble creatures. The White Wolves advanced toward where the Skeleton regiment had departed the field, knowing they would soon return.

Having watched his target fly straight past him, Geldson the Short spun on his heel and turned to chase the Baron Encarmine. Drawing once again upon powers barely within his understanding, he lashed out at the back of the Baron, as he was preparing to dismember the crew of the Great Cannon. The Baron’s armour glowed searing hot, and his agonised screams echoed across the battlefield as he was roasted within. His body fell smoking from the back of his mount and crashed unceremoniously to the ground.
Caught in a deadly crossfire, the Baron Encarmine falls

Seeing their chances of survival dramatically improving, the Cannon crew turned their weapon upon the now unridden Abyssal Terror. The beast was shredded in a hail of grapeshot, returning to whatever hell had spawned it.

The Brotherhood of the Wolf dispatched the Dire Wolves without even slowing, running down the hill and onto the flats in front of the pack of waiting Ghouls. Baron Wahnsinn and the Inner Circle Knights smashed into the Skeletons, wiping them out and turning to look for new targets.

The few Flagellants fared poorly against the Lady Cruella, who showed she was not just a pretty pale face. 3 of them fell before they could strike, and the remaining 2 were unable to harm her.

Vampire Counts Turn 5
Vampire Counts Turn 5
Even as she carved her way through the pesky Flagellants, Lady Cruella knew that the battle was not going well. She had heard the screams of the Baron Encarmine, and if he had fallen, her chances of victory were slim.

The Skeleton regiment returned to the field in front of the White Wolf Knights, however the arrival of their prey was not the primary concern of the knights.

With an unearthly shriek and disembodied cackling, the ethereal form of the Black Coach descended upon the Knights of the White Wolf. No longer did it trundle along the ground like a mere mortal coach. It shot through the air with unnatural speed, its form wreathed in mist whilst the eyes of its driver glowed eerily and its wicked scythe shone with a light of its own.
The Black Coach smashes into Templar Krieger and his knights

In desperation, Cruella opened herself to the Winds of Magic and felt the power flow through her. With a vengeful scream, she unleashed another Wind of Undeath. The storm of foul magic raced across the field, consuming mortal life as it went. The hateful form of the Dwarf wizard Geldson was consumed, as was the Warrior Priest Adolphus. None were spared her wrath, and once again a Host of Spirits rose from the ground, shutting off any view the Great Cannon may have had of Cruella herself. However, she had drawn the power too greedily, and her body was wracked with escaping energies. The remaining Flagellants were consumed in the blast, and Cruella was left once again with a body barely clinging to unlife. She nervously caressed her ring, knowing she might need it soon. Feeling it there gave her a level of comfort she would otherwise have been lacking. Especially with those Knights bearing down upon her…

The Black Coach crashed into the Knights of the White Wolf to the screams of a thousand tortured souls. The force of its arrival crushed 5 of the knights to death, however try as it might, the hate-fuelled Wraith could not bring down Templar Krieger. Shouting for his men to have courage, the Templar fought back but was unable to damage the fiendish apparition before him. Beside him, his men swung their great hammers, only for the steel to pass straight through the Coach as though it was not really there. Of course, the screams of dying knights and horses and the maniacal cackling that filled the air suggested otherwise.

Empire Turn 6
Empire Turn 6
Lowering their lances, the Inner Circle Knights charged the lone form of the Lady Cruella. The Vampire general held her blade at the ready, however her gaze lingered upon the shining ring on her own left hand.

With a whoop of enthusiasm, Baron Wahnsinn kicked his half-dead Griffon into the air once more, straight into the flank of the remaining Ghoul regiment. Nearby, the Brotherhood of the Wolf ran towards the Fell Bats on the hill, however they were too distant and the charge ground to a halt.

Baron Wahnsinn and his mount tore into the flank of the Ghouls, who fought back but could only wound the Griffon – it yet lived, if barely. The carnage was too much for some of the Ghouls, who slunk away, leaving only 2 of their number still fighting.
Baron Wahnsinn and his Glorious Birdie continue their rampage

Templar Krieger lashed out once again at the Black Coach, his magical blade striking home where the hammers of his companions could not. However, it was too little, too late. In a shrieking arc, the glowing scythe descended from the mists, parting Krieger’s head from his shoulders. The general of the Empire army had fallen. Undeterred, the knights pressed on against their cursed opponent and his ghostly transportation.

On the other side of the field, the Inner Circle Knights closed rapidly upon Lady Cruella. Laughing madly, she slashed wildly with her sword, to no avail. As the preceptor’s sword descended upon her, she held aloft the Carstein Ring, confident in its powers of rebirth… Only to see the hand cut off at its wrist by the blow. Her eyes widened and her laughter died even as she herself perished.
The Empire Knights ride down Cruella von Carstein

With the death of their general, the undead army began to collapse. Skeletons crumbled , one of the Spirit Hosts dispersed, whilst the other weakened and halved in size. Much to the relief of the White Wolf Knights, the already ghostly Black Coach faded entirely from view, vanishing with a shriek.

Vampire Counts Turn 6
Vampire Counts Turn 6
The undead threat was almost ended. With a ghostly wail the remaining Spirit Host charged the Great Cannon, however in its weakened state it was unable to hurt the cowering crew, who huddled beneath their machine defiantly. More Skeletons and Fell Bats crumbled, however the Ghouls held firm. That is, they held firm until Baron Wahnsinn continued his assault, killing the last of them and carrying the day.
The Spirit Host emerges from the forest and terrorises the crew of the Great Cannon

Huzzah!
Greg:
Well, that was lucky! Never have I played a game against Benji where the luck went so much in my favour. The failed Carstein Ring roll was critical, as if Cruella had come back, she would have been in a position to threaten that entire regiment of White Wolves, including 3 characters! So even though the final results may not reflect it, the game was actually pretty tight.

I would love to tell you that it was tactical brilliance on my part to drink the Strength Potion and fly my Griffon into the teeth of the Blood Knights, however it really was not. Had I not killed 3 of them with the spell from Geldson, or had Benji rolled a reasonable number of power dice (instead of 3) in that first turn and been able to force Vanhel’s past my defences, it would all have gone horribly wrong. He probably would have killed both the Griffon and the Rider in a single round of combat! And it was very obliging of him to fail his Frenzy test like he did, even if he might have charged me anyway.

In hindsight I think Benji may have gone slightly overboard with his brief of making a “nice army”. The almost complete lack of Grave Guard made my huge unit of White Wolves slightly overwhelming, even if I was not able to properly bring them to bear. Otherwise the armies were probably reasonably well matched, so I take my hat off to Benji. I have never seen so many Skeletons used since the advent of 8th edition…

The nonsense with the Halberdier detachment blocking the Greatswords/Teutogen Guard was entirely my own fault. I got excited by the thought of charging with a detachment and failed to consider the ramifications for the overruns. As it happened it turned out OK, but that is probably because I was fighting blocks of Skeletons instead of something more serious.

The late additions to my army in terms of the Griffon and Dwarf wizard look inspired in hindsight. The Griffon was involved in most of the combats, fighting on no less than 6 occasions in a 6 turn game. The wizard probably saved the Griffon’s hide by reducing the Blood Knights, then killed the Vampire on the Abyssal Terror, when it seemed certain he would otherwise survive the game. Not bad for a 65 point model!

When all is said and done, it was a fun game to play, and it showed to both of us how easy it is to player larger games of Warhammer in a reasonable timeframe under the new rules. On to bigger and better things!

Why do I feel violated?
Ben:
I thought the game was hilarious and l had lots of fun, in fact I haven't played Warhammer for a while and this larger game has rekindled the excitement and interest i used to have for the game.  The game opened with Greg considering where to position his Birdy I jokingly suggested now was the time for him to glug his potion of Strength in anticipation of me charging him, knowing full well he would have to be mad to get any use out of it this turn.  Greg grinned and then declared he was using his potion and proceeded to fly his birdy as far forward as possible landing between his Knights and my Blood Knights, basically daring a large unit of the most fearsome cavalry in the game to man up and charge him.  We both laughed like crazy at this hyper-aggressive and not so sensible move but it really encapsulated the way he often likes to play - High risk for High reward (or as I see it: balls to the wall and pray for the best).  In a way this move set the tone of the game.  Unbelievably (to me at least) Greg's opening gambit worked perfectly as his lv 1 metal wizard managed to irresistibly cast a spell to destroy 3 of my Knights, and in my turn the remaining 4 failed their frenzy test and elected to charge the offending Birdy who held.  Ok I thought, with 4 left I can still destroy his Birdy and perhaps his knights too.  I ran my necromancer out to the flank to cast vanhels on the unit - repeatedly if necessary. If i managed to do this they would all strike before the Bird and it's rider with 3 attacks a piece and re-rolling to hit, plus mount attacks would spell doom for both and give me a nice overrun into his Inner Circle Knights. Despite the forbidden rod bolstering my poor phase i was denied casting it and they got cut down.  This opened the left flank of my army right up and left my other necromancer staring straight at the mad birdy wishing desperately he was somewhere else. Not the start I was looking for.....

Basically, I made many mistakes which ended up costing me too much.   Firstly in spreading out my army so much (the worst mistake a vampire player can make) and secondly not supporting my units better (blocking counter charges etc).  In hindsight I should have given Baron Encarmine a weapon to deal with armour or at least given my grave guard great weapons as i did need another unit capable of dealing with armour, and hand weapons don't cut it (even with killing blow).

In any case I definitely did have the tools to deal with Greg's army, he just played better.  I even got the units I wanted to engaged where I wanted them too - ie Blood knights vs Birdy with his knights to eat an overrun if I killed it, Grave Guard into Knights etc, i just made mistakes which allowed Greg to destroy these units before they did their job, leaving me with no real options on dealing with his scary units.

Things went from bad to worse when I charged Greg's main block of knights with my Grave Guard and Mortus and I completely forgot to jump my bats in front of the Teutogen guard with their warrior priest to stop them rather easily flanking my Grave Guard, which is what they did and unsurprisingly popped my unit without much trouble.  Without their interference Mortus and the unit could have delayed or even slowly ground through one of the biggest threats in his force.   With my 2 units capable of dealing with heavy armour destroyed in the second turn I had to think of a way to deal with his units fast!  Not with my skeletons :)   I couldn't even charge his Teutogen (great swords) in the flank for fear of what they would do to my unit.  I may have done it anyway had my left flank not caved so quickly.   

My new plan? Magic! I needed to neutralize Greg's wizard to give myself an edge i could exploit, so having moved Baron Encamine into range of his massive unit of spearmen led by the archmage I charged him in.  To seal the deal I reformed my largest block of skeletons and forced them into combat with the spearmen and by equaling their ranks i was able to negate their stubbornness, kill them and run them down and importantly get me away from his nasty units.  Having the magical advantage didnt help me as much as i'd hoped, only managing to kill a few troops.  However I had an opportunity to pull the game back from the brink in the last turn if .....   Ok, knowing my lord would die in combat in saved me killing her with my Gem of Lahmia as my plan was to reposition her in my big unit of Skeletons which had re-entered the board on Greg's table edge.  With her magic support I would have been able to charge his main Knight unit in the flank with a vanhels and have a good chance to run them down if they fled, as they were still engaged by my Black Coach in the front.  It would have been quite a turnaround had i had the chance to kill his largest unit with the General, BSB and warrior priest. The Coach managed to killing blow Greg's general in the last turn anyway, but surely another +5 combat res in the flank and knocking out his ranks may indeed have swung it for me? We'll never know because my General Cruella decided not come back to the battle on a 2+ with the Carstein Ring, but instead to delay her revenge on these fur-pelted meat-bags for another time......


What fun.  Half a week later and I'm in the process of writing a few words about my crushing defeat and Greg asks me if I didn't use Master of the Black arts all game (a 50 pt power on my General) because I was actually 40pts over my Lords allocation?  *Face-palm* I would have like to have said yes, I intentionally didn't use the power because I was over - but it's soooo not true. Yes, I would have dropped a few other items, but not that one!!!  I'm just going to put that one down to me getting old and my brain is leaking out all the good stuff!  I could recount many more highlights, amusing and sometimes dire moments from the game but it would take too long to go through them all.  Stay tuned for Cruella's Revenge, the sequel... where she gets revenge...I hope! Greg as yet knows nothing about my plans for a rematch but in time he will. Oh yes, in time! 

Epilogue
The solemn procession of Empire soldiers made their way back towards the city of Krugenheim. They were led by a procession of Brotherhood of the Wolf, bearing upon their shoulders a litter carrying their former master, the Grand Templar. His body had been arranged in such a way that the head remained seated on the shoulders, as it would have been unseemly to let it simply roll about. The Wraith had been thorough in its work.

Gerhardt the Grim, the sole remaining Priest of Ulric with the army, followed the litter. His mood was solemn, although it was his role to rouse the troops and keep up morale after such a battle. "Well done, soldiers of Ulric. We achieved our goal. We stopped the foul Vampire from reaching the cursed hills, and put an end to her foul existence. You can hold your heads high; it was a great victory today." What he didn't say was that the cost had been too high. The heart had been cut from the army with the loss of Templar Krieger and the city's most powerful wizard, Hans of the Light Order. They would be ill-prepared if another threat arose in the near future without these leaders in their midst.

"Aye," said one of the nearby soldiers. "And we managed to be rid of those damned Flagellants too. I'll sleep better without their caterwauling and doom-saying all the way home!" This was greeted with a couple of chuckles, but it was the best the men could manage under the circumstances.

"There will be plenty more when we get home, lad," assured the sergeant of the soldier's regiment. "In these dark times, there will always be those who seek an end to it all".

"Well can't they do it quietly? I needs me beauty sleep, damned if I don't," said the first soldier. He was indeed an unfortunate looking man with a wide nose and a nasty scar puckering one side of his face. Gerhardt figured the man needed more than sleep to cure those looks, but he didn't say anything. He had given up such levity upon joining the order of the Priests of Ulric.

Besides, he had other things on his mind. The ring that had been cut from the Vampire's hand had not been found. They had scoured the field for it after the battle, however no trace could be found of it. Nor, rather disturbingly, could they find the corpse of the other Vampire - the one who had been riding a flying monstrosity across the field, The bloody ruin of the beast itself had been plain to see, as was the area of scorched grass where they presumed the Vampire had fallen after being scorched by Geldson, rest his soul. But the Vampire himself was gone.

What bothered Gerhardt more was the knowledge of where the warning of the Lady Cruella's intentions had come from. A hooded stranger had appeared at the gates one night, his bearing proud, even if he would not show his face. His voice powerful, he had delivered his warning at the gates, although half of the city had heard his dire predictions. Then he had disappeared into the night, before the guards could open the gate and demand to know who he was. The guard atop the walls said the stranger vanished with unnatural speed, and had sworn that he heard wingbeats as of a great bird (or beast) shortly afterward. Gerhardt had a sinking suspicion that he knew were the ring had gone.

* * *

The Baron looked at the gently glowing ring on his hand. Already its regenerative powers were helping to ease the discomfort of the burns he had sustained all over his body. The ring hand itself had almost returned to normal. Truly this ring was a marvel. Maybe it really was the lost ring of Vlad von Carstein, as Cruella had assured him (and anyone else who would listen). If that were the case, she was not worthy of it.

Now he, on the other hand - he could do great things with such a valuable tool. The ring was not just a useful trinket. It was a status symbol. Whoever wore this ring could command the respect of many, and the fealty of some. He had great plans for this ring. He would have to see that his thrall amongst the knights received a reward for his efforts. The plan couldn't have gone better if he'd tried...

5 comments:

  1. Great report guys! Good to see a glorious victory for empire

    Dave

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  2. Ben's awesome. You need to do more stuff that features Ben.

    You need to do more stuff that features Ben at the expense of your stuff.

    Does he have a blog?

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  3. I should have stated the final Victory Points of the battle:

    Empire: 3904
    Vampire Counts: 1776

    Details, details...

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  4. Great battle report really enjoyed it, once we over at the 5th column have our armies painted we should challenge you guys to a game and do a joint report!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sounds like a great idea. The more reports, the better!

    ReplyDelete