Tuesday, 8 January 2013

The Battle of Hel Fenn, Part 5

This post is a continuation of the 20,000pt Hel Fenn battle report. You can find the parent page containing links to each turn here.

Vampire Counts, Turn 5: Here Comes the Sun

Vampire Counts, Turn 5
A more detailed map can be found here.

The Empire centre was in disarray with the loss of its commander and battle standard, and the bulk of the undead forces were finally within reach of the enemy. Mannfred smiled with satisfaction. The cattle could only resist for so long. When he displayed his full powers, the fear festering in their hearts would get the better of them and it would all be over. In fact, perhaps the time for direct action was upon him...

On the Vampire Counts' right flank, the Zombies fighting the Longbeards and Kallad's Hammerers were finally starting to dwindle in number as the grim-faced Dwarfs reaped a terrible toll with their great weapons. The Thunderers held the Black Coach in place as planned, trying to avoid the flailing hooves of the unnaturally invigorated skeletal horses and the deadly sweeps of the Wraith's scythe. Next to them, the stalemate between the Hammerers and the Spirit Hosts continued, however the last Dwarf in the smaller regiment finally succumbed to the ghostly talons of the enemy.

The Daemonslayer was about to finish off the Banshee when his unit was assaulted by a vast column of Skeletons, who finally had room to engage now that so many of the Wraiths had fallen. After waiting so long however, they found an enemy that was more than ready for them. The Troll Slayers had been locked in a fearsome and futile struggle with the Wraiths, forced to fend off the enemy when they wanted to attack. In the Skeletons they saw their release, and set about them with axes flying. For all their numbers the Skeletons were utterly outclassed and were pushed back. The Banshee felt itself torn asunder by the enemy surge, and vanished with a pitiful wail of frustration.
The Vampire Count right flank finally brings its force to bear as the chaff clears. 
The Longbeards who had advanced to support the human Swordsmen found themselves charged simultaneously by another column of Skeletons, and the vast horde of Ghouls with the Strigoi Ghoul King at their fore. They readied their weapons, but their resistance was meaningless as they were torn apart and utterly destroyed by the overhelming assault. The undead forces rushed on, with the Skeletons ploughing into the waiting ranks of the Dwarf Warriors, whilst the Ghouls swept into combat with the Swordsmen who had just finished off the last Fell Bat.
The Swordsmen finish the last Fell Bat, only to cop an overrun from over 100 Ghouls. Sucks to be them. 
The Dwarf lines sag under pressure from the overrunning undead
Toward the centre, the Slayers fought on against the Wraiths, enjoying less success than their fellow Slayers had in the face of ghostly opposition. The Daemonslayer cut down another Wraith, however the scythes of the enemy flashed and fell, and his resistance was ended. The Slayers now had no means of harming the remaining Wraiths, save through strength of numbers. Meanwhile a small regiment of Grave Guard was advancing on the Slayers' flank, preparing to take advantage of their predicament (note that the map doesn't adequately convey this – I missed moving them forward to where they should have been. GG5 should be menacing the Slayers' flank...)

With an eerie, echoing cackle, the Hexwraiths rode forward once more, halting upon the hill in the midst of the enemy lines, right in front of the vulnerable artillery. Their path took them directly through the Krakenberg Handgunners, scything down 5 of them. The screams of the fallen were unnerving, but they courageously held their position in the face of such unnatural horrors.
The Volley Gun is charged by the Fell Bats
Behind the Hexwraiths, the remaining Fell Bats spotted the poorly protected crew of the Helblaster Volley Gun and flew over the struggle between the Wraiths and Slayers to make their assault. The crew bravely held their ground, but there was to be no hand-to-hand combat. Mannfred had something else in mind. Stepping out of his Skeleton bodyguard, the Vampire Lord repositioned himself at the head of the vast regiment of Zombies lurking beside them. At his behest the Skeletons stepped forward, continuing their advance until their position was perfect...

Throwing his arms in the air and screaming his sorcerous incantation to the skies, Mannfred Von Carstein summoned forth the Purple Sun of Xereus. The enemy could only stand helplessly and watch the terrible display of power as the spell was irresistibly unleashed upon them. A baleful ball of amethyst light appeared in front of the Vampire, and with a hurling gesture he sent it spearing through the lines. The first to feel his wrath were his own Skeletons, who had guarded him so loyally until now. 23 of them were torn asunder by the unnatural power of the spell as it surged onward. Next in its path were the Knights of Martin's guard, and 11 of them fell to the spell's searing touch. Men and horses screamed, and the strength of their formation was all but shattered. The spell passed onward, tearing apart 4 of the Fell Bats as they flew in to fight the Volley Gun, and obliterating the machine's crew at the same time. Finally it came to rest in the centre of the poor Krakenberg Handgunners, who lost 7 of their number to its effects. This was too much for the remainder of the regiment, and they turned and fled away from the dire power of Mannfred, rushing through the lines of their Dwarf comrades in their haste. The violent destruction of the Volley Gun was too much for the Krakenberg Spearmen, who turned and fled back up the hill.
Here Comes the Sun: See that big stone arch at the back? That's where Mannfred is. Benji rolled a 10 on the artillery dice and the templated travelled from there to where you can see it here, on the heads of the poor unfortunate Handgunners. Oh, the horror!
Sunburnt: Yep, that's what he killed. 52 wounds, which generated 16 power dice for what had been an empty power pool...
Sun damaged: the path of the spell after casualties were removed. The Handgunners were about to panic... 
As terrible as the carnage was, Mannfred's true purpose was revealed as he gathered all of the harvested life forces to himself, and his eyes glowed brilliantly with new-found power. Unfortunately however, his wild use of power had its side-effects and he felt his something twist inside him. His powers diminished and his mastery of magic slipped somewhat as he struggled for control. The power he had gathered he was no longer able to properly use, so he sent it out amongst his minions. The first to make use of it was the Necromancer on the left flank, who cast Invocation of Nehek to resurrect 6 fallen Grave Guard. More importantly, its effects crept over the Corpse Cart nearby and triggered its latent powers, invigorating those regiments nearby.

The remaining power was hoarded by Adolphus Krieger himself. Using Van Hels Danse Macabre, he fortified his own regiment of Skeletons as they swept through the Dwarf resistance. But he had still more power thanks to the carelessness of Mannfred. Not content that the Ghouls had made contact with the enemy at last, he used his foul magic to ensure that their fallen would not remain dead. Assisted by the rudimentary efforts of the Ghoul King, he threw all of his strength at the spell the Invocation of Nehek, spreading its effects over a vast area. The spell raised back more than a dozen of the Ghouls that had been laid low by the combined fire of the enemy. Skeletons that had been lost were reconstructed too, and Spirit Hosts, Bats and Wraiths nearby were also fortified. It was not without its cost, however as the Necromancer lost control of the spell at its completion and left himself drained and confused like Mannfred. His influence would be limited from that point onward, and his befuddlement came just as he had charged into a legion of Dwarf Warriors...

The devastation of Mannfred's magical assault was palpable. Martin's Knights failed to recover, and Axelbrand was cut down in his challenge with the Wight King. 8 more Knights perished to the killing blades of the Grave Guard, and the Knights were broken. They turned and fled, but the enemy did not to pursue – they simply reformed the ranks silently and watched the Knights flee with empty eye sockets.
The sad remnant of Martin's once-proud Knights turn and flee, the and the Grave Guard just stand there and wave their bony hands goodbye.
The resistance in Empire centre all but collapses.
The heart of the Empire army was thoroughly cut out when the Teutogen Guard were mopped up by the combined attacks of the Black Knights and the Grave Guard. They had fought to the last, stalwartly waiting for help that had never come. Nearby the Free Company managed to cut down all but one of the Black Knights, battering their opponents with blows until some finally made it through their armour. Around the corner of the fort, the Averland Greatswords continued to cut down the Bat Swarms, of whom there were now far fewer.
The Black Knights and Grave Guard reform after disposing of the last of the Teutogen Guard (Greatswords)
The Averland Greatswords finally getting the better of the Bat Swarms.
Gothard's Knights in a bitter fight with Jaeger's men.
Gothard's Knights crashed into Jaeger's command with lances lowered, and 9 of them were lifted from their saddles before they could strike with their double-handed weapons. When their attacks did land however, they were just as telling. 9 Black Knights fell to match the 9 Empire Knights that had fallen. Gothard and Jaeger faced each other in an unspoken duel and their magical blades flashed and collided in a shower of unearthly sparks, but neither was harmed nor could either gain the upper hand. They remained locked in combat.

The Steam Tank driver was finally put out of his misery when one of the Wraiths burst through the walls of his steel prison of fear and scythed him down. The ghostly forms then reformed toward the Empire lines once more, prepared to sow yet more terror and destruction. The remaining Freelance Knight's attempted rescue of the other Steam Tank ended in failure as he was pulled from his saddle by the Zombies, just as his comrades had been. The driver of the Tank remained huddled inside the machine, oblivious to the failed heroics nearby.

The damage the Knights of the Divine Sword had dealt to the Grave Guard on the charge had been convincing, however their lances were now useless and the enemy had been bolstered by the foul magic of the Corpse Cart as it charged in alongside them. The Knights cut down some more of their opponents, but in return they wielded their great weapons with unnatural speed. The battle standard bearer of the Grand Theogonist was summarily cut down, and a number of Knights fell with him. Their lances useless and their confidence battered, the glorious Knights of the Divine Sword turned in heroic flight, all but knocking the Knights of the Blazing Sun from their mounts as they rushed to get past them. Once more the Blazing Sun Knights were left thanking Mymidia that they alone were not cowards like all the other knightly orders on that flank...
The Blazing Sun Knights disdain the cowardly flight of the Divine Sword as they pass by. 
Another angle on the Knight-off.
Hexwraiths threaten the allied artillery.

Empire and Dwarf Alliance, Turn 5

Empire and Dwarf Alliance, Turn 5
A more detailed map can be found here.

The battle was not going well for the Empire and their Dwarf allies. If it was to be a victory here, it would be an inglorious one with no army standards flying boldly, and with the heroic leader cut down. The foul magic of the Vampires had done its work, striking the heart of the Empire lines and leaving both flanks weakened too. There was work to be done if the day was to be salvaged.
Things looking grim in the Empire centre.
The Zombies on the Dwarf left flank were finally wiped out by the Longbeards and Hammerers, who were by now somewhat tired from their endless hacking. However, there was to be no respite. Kallad's bodyguard turned away from the terrible ruin of the Zombies just in time to see the remnant of the Thunderer regiment flee past them, with the ghostly, flying Black Coach at their heels. The Hammerers braced for impact as the Coach slammed into them.

The Hammerers fighting the Spirit Hosts were still unable to make any headway, but nor would they be moved. Similarly, after their initial enthusiasm in finding something their weapons could actually hurt, the Slayers fighting the Skeleton regiment slowed their assault and could not make any progress in the face of such vast enemy numbers.

Adolphus' Skeleton unit rushed through the butchered remains of the Longbeards and into the waiting Dwarf Warriors, who hefted their weapons, raised their shields, and prepared to exact vengeance upon them for the harm done to their kinsmen. The Skeletons fought in a frenzy, bolstered as they still were by Adolphus' earlier spell-casting. The undead did far more harm than would normally be expected, with the Necromancer's personal banner bearer leading the way. Shockingly, the Dwarfs found themselves over-matched by the tide of dead rushing toward them. Feeling their line start to break, those Dwarfs nearest Adolphus instead surged the other direction, throwing themselves at the Master Necromancer. Adolphus raised his arms as if you shield himself, and his champion moved to intervene, but it was too late. The axes of the Dwarfs buried themselves deep in his shrivelled heart, and he fell beneath the stampeding bony feet of his regiment as they chased down the fleeing Warriors. Their mometum carried them into yet another regiment, this time the newly rallied Krakenberg Handgunners, who could barely believe their eyes. They were not having a good day.

The Krakenberg Swordsmen did their best to brace for impact as the tidal wave of Ghouls washed over them, but it was futility of the highest order. The Ghoul King himself tore most of a rank to shreds, and his minions followed suit. Some few Swordsmen lived long enough to turn to flee, but they didn't get far, and were pulled down from behind my filthy, taloned hands.

The Slayers held their ground stubbornly in the face of the Wraiths, no longer trying to swing back and singing their deathsongs in deep, rumbling voices. A number of them fell to the ghostly Scythes, but still more remained and continued their song. Behind them, the Fell Bats had swept on past the remains of the Volley Gun and into the Engineer who had been supervising them. He fell quickly, still overcome by the horror of the magic that he had witnessed before. His scream as he fell upset the Averland Spearmen and they turned to run across the lines, even as the Krakenberg Spearmen regained their courage and halted their own flight. The sad remnant of Martin's Knights continued their flight, their spirits broken.
The Krakenberg Halberdiers charge down the hill, into the waiting Black Knights. 
The Krakenberg Halberdiers stood on the hill, watching the lines of undead approach. The earlier lines of resistance had fallen – it was up to them now. With a shout from their Captain, they charged down the slope and into the Black Knights as they reformed after the defeat of the Teutogen Guard. The Halberdiers cut them down efficiently, however their momentum was lost and they found themselves in danger from multiple directions. Nearby, the Free Company finished off the last of the Black Knights they had been fighting and looked instead to the Zombies ahead. Likewise, the Averland Greatswords finally dealt with the last of the bats attacking them, and reformed to face the Zombies. One of their number moaned, “What can we hope to do against so many?”
The Black Knights are dealt with, but without being allowed to overrun, there are enemies all around... 
The last Black Knight is dragged from his saddle by the Free Company
The merry-go-round of the fort continued as the Averland Swordsmen moved out the back gate and made room for the Stirland Crossbowmen to enter. They hoped to make a path for the Halberdiers behind them, who were now being led by Lord Gerhardt, who had somehow slipped into the front rank unnoticed (probably a result of them trying to pretend he wasn't there, as the eccentric uncle was frankly something of an embarrassment to their fallen Count Martin).
The War Altar flanks Gothard's Knights, whilst the Wraiths watch on hungrily. Wraiths are always hungry. 
On the right flank, the Grand Theogonist Kurt III decided to ignore the Wraiths in front of him and instead to charge the flank of Gothard's Knights. Perhaps his arrival would tip the balance. However, the impact of his War Altar did little to the enemy formation and neither side fought decisively, so the stalemate continued. Perhaps Kurt would regret leaving the Wraiths to their own devices...
The Knight clash continues, as Kurt III fails to break the deadlock.
Safely behind the front lines once more, the Knights of the Divine Sword rallied and tried to laugh off their cowardice from moments before. Perhaps nobody had noticed, although the sidelong glances from the regiments nearby suggested otherwise.
The Knights of the Blazing Sun (with Crossbowman support) crush the Grave Guard. 

The Captain of the Knights of the Blazing Sun held his sword aloft as he led his men into the Grave Guard that had been pursuing the Divine Sword, “Let's show them how it's done, lads!” The Averland Crossbowmen on the hill also joined in the charge, hitting the Grave Guard in the flank. They lost a couple of their number to the enemy blades, but the courage of their charge was decisive. Between them, the regiments destroyed the Grave Guard and regrouped on the edge of the hill. Nearby, the Outriders continued to struggle against the Fell Bats, but they were losing the contest and there were few of them left. Sadly their comrades seemed oblivious to their plight and reformed facing the rest of the field...
What Grave Guard? The Blazing Sun Knights and Crossbowmen wonder what all the fuss from the Divine Sword Knights was about.
The Fell Bats eye off a juicy target - close to 1000 points of fleeing Knights... 

End of Turn 5

Battle Points:
Vampire Counts: 11
Empire/Dwarfs: 10

You can continue by reading Turn 6 the battle report here.
Alternately, you can go to the Battle of Hel Fenn main page.


  1. Great report guys, I'm still awed by the amount of models involved.

  2. This is a great battle report. How do you do the maps?

    1. Thanks John.

      The maps are done using an tool called Battle Chronicler. It's free to download, and makes the job a lot easier (although it's still time-consuming for something like this). Google it.

      Oh, but if you use it much, make sure you save and restart it regularly. It starts to chug after a while and hogs memory. Might have a memory leak or something. Still worth it, though.