Thursday, 12 June 2014

Stemming the Tide - Part 2

This post is a continuation of my report of the Warhammer display game played at Little Wars. If you missed the first part of the report, you can find it here. You can find the main page for the report here.

Turn 3
Archaon was displeased. It was still the opening phases of the battle, but already his incompetent allies were falling like flies to the enemy artillery. And now Galrauch was in peril, and with him the last of the powerful magic wielders in the Chaos host. He would have to do something; it was time to intervene. With a roar he urged Dorghar into a gallop, leaving his entourage of Nurgle Knights behind as he charged into the Flagellants alongside Galrauch. The large regiment of Nurgle Chosen followed suit, swinging around into the flank of the Flagellants whilst a party of Marauders who had been in their way hastily engaged the Griffon on the flank (getting out of the way was their primary motivation). The Nurgle Marauders on that flank charged headlong into the waiting ranks of Halberdiers, whilst the Nurgle Warriors continued their slow march behind them.
Archaon leads the rescue attempt for poor old Galrauch.
Charges all over the place. The Griffon finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time as the Marauders use him as an excuse to get out of the way of the Nurgle Chosen.
The  Nugle Marauders (slightly depleted from an earlier Mortar blast) charge the waiting Halberdiers.
In the centre of the field, the Khorne and Slaanesh Knights both charged toward the Stirland Halberdiers, however only the Khornate regiment was close enough to make the distance. The foot-slogging brethren were also successful in finally reaching the tower on the right side of the Chaos lines, though their charge left a Giant stomping his feet in petulant frustration at not being able to barge in himself.
The Chaos Knights of Khorne go in alone after their Slaanesh rivals rode too slowly.
Having taken the time to look over his shoulder whilst slicing up Marius Leitdorf (the no-look Elector Count decapitation move), the Slaanesh Daemon Prince had noted Galrauch's perilous situation and tried once more to cast Acquiescence upon the Flagellants in the hope of buying his comrades time to whittle the enemy down to size before they could strike. Unfortunately he was still unable to force the spell past the defences of the Empire wizards, and it seemed that Galrauch would have to take his chances.
Even as Archaon and the Nurgle Chosen rushed to assist him, Galrauch found himself set upon by a tide of crazed, doom-seeking lunatics. Flails swept about with supernatural swiftness, and without the protection of Fleshy Abundance, Galrauch was unable to resist the onslaught and gave a last futile roar as he fell. Half a dozen Chosen also perished as they arrived in the flank, however they did not go unavenged. Archaon unleashed the full daemonic fury of U'zuhl from within his enchanted blade, and laid about him in a rage. He paid for his lack of self-control when the blade bit into him as the imprisoned daemon struggled to get free. The Chosen swept great, bloody arcs with their halberds and no less than 29 Flagellants died with delighted screams, their dooms come at last. If this grisly spectacle had any impact upon the remainder, they gave little sign.
Archaon fights on, whilst the Chosen choose to reform to face fresh enemy rather than give the Flagellants their full attention.
It's OK, they're Flagellants. They'll all kill themselves, right? Actually, those Halberdiers came within about 1" of flanking the Chosen before the round of combat was fought and they then reformed. Could have made things interesting...
The Empire right flank is engaged as the Nurgle Marauders charge into the waiting Halberdiers.
Nearby, the Nurgle Marauders brought down 7 Halberdiers with their flails, but found themselves hopelessly outmatched by the large enemy regiment. With the hate-fuelled ranting of their Warrior Priest giving them strength, the Empire soldiers hacked down all but 2 of the Marauders. The standard bearer died trying to protect his banner, but the sole survivor eluded pursuit and headed for the relative safety of his own lines.
Alas poor Yorick! The sole survivor of the Nurgle Marauders turns and flees. He actually outpaced my unit and then managed not to make it off the table the next turn, at which point we decided it was stupid and removed him so the Chaos army could actually have some reinforcements. Think of it as a necessary mercy rule. Discourage the defenders from deliberately crippling a Core unit and leaving it lingering on the field (not that this case was my fault)...
The Griffon stands alone against a wave of angry Marauders.
The other Marauders fared better in their assault on the Empire Griffon. As they charged in, their Chieftain roared a challenge and was swiftly cut down. It mattered little however, as the Griffon staggered back under the weight of the enemy charge before scrambling about and fleeing the field.
The Marauders reform after scaring off the Griffon.
The Khorne Knights crash into the Stirland Halberdiers.
In the centre, if the Khorne Knights were at all concerned at assaulting the massed formation of Halberdiers alone, they didn't show it. The front ranks of the Empire regiment were devastated by the Chaos charge with the Warrior Priest, Witch Hunter, Captain and nearly a dozen others falling in the initial assault. So crushing was the impact that no Halberdier was able to land a telling blow in return, however the weight of numbers was in their favour and they held their ground grimly.
The Khorne Knights reform in anticipation of the enemy counter-attacks.
On the right flank, the Khorne Warriors poured into the tower as the hapless Stirland Crossbowmen made a futile effort at defence. Horrific screams and pleas for mercy were cut short as the Chaos Warriors made short work of the Empire defenders, and soon the bloodied banner of Khorne was flying over the objective.
The Chaos forces claim one of the defended objectives, at the expense of the unfortunate Stirland Crossbowmen.
Having dealt so summarily with the Elector Count of Averland, the Daemon Prince of Slaanesh scanned the enemy ranks for a more worthy opponent and found one in the Grand Master of the Knights before him. They eyed each other warily and neither party was wounded in the opening exchanges of their duel.
The Daemon Prince and Inner Circle Knights continue to bog one another.
The Empire forces counter-charge on the right flank. Poor Marauders.
On the Empire right flank, the Marauders had elected to restrain their pursuit of the Griffon as it fled the field, and now they paid the price. A regiment of Spearmen charged through the trees and into their front, whilst the Halberdiers wheeled about and engaged them in the flank. The Arch Lector moved his War Altar up behind them and unleashed the power of the Hammer of Sigmar, granting the Empire troops re-rolls to wound. The struggle was short and bloody, with 16 Marauders perishing before the rest turned to flee, only to be run down by the Halberdiers as they swept on into the front of the waiting Nurgle Warriors.
Another angle of the Marauders' unfortunate predicament.
Use of excessive force has been authorised.
The few survivors don't make it far.

The Khorne Knights find themselves on the receiving end of a significant flank charge from the White Wolf Knights.
Seeing the desperate situation of the Stirland Halberdiers, the Grand Master of the Knights of the White Wolf wheeled his regiment to the left and led them in a charge into the flank of the gore-soaked Khorne Knights. The Exalted Hero of Khorne brandished his weapon and bellowed a challenge as he moved his daemonic steed to meet the charge. His limbs filling with the righteous vigour of Sigmar and further bolstered by the Savage Beast of Horros, Luthor Huss rode to meet him. The exchange was short and brutal; the Chaos worshipper was no match for Warrior Priest's righteous fury and was smashed to a pulp by his hammer as it swept down with supernatural power, crushing both rider and unholy steed with an impact that resonated across the field like thunder. With the impetus of their charge gone, beset on two fronts and with the Celestial Wizard on the Hurricanum nearby hexing them with the Curse of the Midnight Wind, the Khorne Knights nevertheless fought ferociously. Two of their number fell to thrusts from the Halberdiers, however they reaped a terrible toll in return and were barely forced onto the back foot.

The challenge between the Daemon Prince and the Grand Master of the Inner Circle Knights continued, however the Empire regiment was bolstered when the Jade Wizard Lord in the central building cast Flesh to Stone upon it. With his skin hardening unnaturally under his already formidable armour, the Templar took only a shallow wound from the Daemon Prince. It was enough to throw off his own aim however, and he landed no telling blows in return. His steed was not so easily distracted however, and planted a hoof squarely in the Daemon Prince's tender regions, which elicited a cry of pain mixed with unnatural pleasure from the disturbingly kinky abomination.

Nearby one of the Giants was blown from his feet by the combination of a cannonball and fire from the Helblaster Volley Gun next to the central objective. The other was teetering dangerously, having been riddled with crossbow bolts by the Stirland Crossbowmen before they finally met their demise.

Having finally had their momentum arrested, the Flagellants got on with the serious business of dying. Archaon continued to cut through them like wheat, however he was wounded once more by his own blade as the daemon within it sought an opportunity to break free from its prison. The Chosen felled several more, however most of them had already turned to face other enemies, and so they failed to finish the job. Three Flagellants remained, whipping themselves frantically and screaming their anguish at being the only ones to miss out on all the fun that their fallen friends were clearly having.
What about us? What do you mean we're "in the way"? Kill us already!!
Turn 4
The Hellcannon finally made its presence felt when it landed a shot directly on top of the Steam Tank, denting the lid as the driver closed the hatch and dived for cover.

Archaon raged impotently as he raised his blade once more to carve his way free of the last Flagellants. They laughed at him in crazed glee as they sacrificed themselves in a frenzy of whipping, denying him the satisfaction of finishing the job himself.

On the Chaos left flank, reinforcements arrived in the form of two regiments of Marauders who were strangely reminiscent of those that had just been eliminated from the same place. Finding themselves a convenient niche in which they could not be charged by any of the nearby Empire units, they set about menacing the flank of the column of Spearmen and the Volley Gun lurking in the forest.
The Empire Halberdiers crash into the Nurgle Warriors...
And finally find their match.
The Halberdiers crashed enthusiastically into the Nurgle Chaos Warriors as their Warrior Priest whipped them into a holy fervour, however they found the huge, armoured Warriors to be made of far sterner stuff than the Marauders they had faced earlier. Four Chaos Warriors were killed, however they accounted for five Halberdiers in return, and the struggle ended in a stalemate.
A second wave of Chaos forces starts to make it into combat.
The Slaanesh Knights lowered their lances and charged into the flank of the White Wolves fighting the Knights of Khorne. The Grand Master of the regiment had moved across the ranks in anticipation of this, and he nearly paid for it with his life as two of the lances struck home, finding their way past his full plate armour. Four of his Knights were also felled by the charge, although the blows of their combined hammers brought down 3 of the enemy in return. Luthor Huss found himself once more in a challenge, and bludgeoned the champion of the Khorne Knights from his saddle. The remaining Khorne worshippers continued to hack into the Halberdiers, killing half a dozen of them. The arrival of the Knights of Slaanesh had given Chaos the upper hand in the struggle, however the Empire regiments still had the weight of numbers, and both units held their ground.
The Slaanesh Knights nearly accounted for the Grand Master of the White Wolves on the charge.
Luthor Huss, apparently the master of the duel, leading by example.
The Slaanesh Daemon Prince finally finds someone to fight alongside him.
The Daemon Prince of Slaanesh managed to cast Acquiescence upon the regiment he was fighting, as the Khorne Marauders charged in alongside him. His magical intervention was not enough, however. The flesh of the Empire Knights was still hardened by the magic of the Jade Wizard, and they shrugged off the worst of the Marauders' great weapon attacks whilst striking back savagely in return. The Daemon Prince himself was perhaps distracted by his spell-casting and he was run through in the challenge by the Knights' Grand Master. The rescue mission being mounted by the Marauders had turned to disaster, and they fled back the way they had come, with the Knights in hot pursuit.
The Daemon Prince falls, the Marauders leave as soon as they arrive, and the Inner Circle Knights push forward.
In the Empire turn, the Inner Circle Knights charge the hapless Tzeentch Knights, who find their situation worsened by Soulblight.
Though the Marauders had eluded them, the Empire Inner Circle Knights spotted a new target and charged into the Tzeentch Knights, who braced themselves for the charge. As the two walls of steel met however, a terrible weakness seeped into the limbs of the Chaos Knights as the Amethyst Wizard nearby unleashed a boosted Soulblight. Weakened as they suddenly were, they were no match for the ferocity of the Empire charge, and they were shattered, broken and run down as they tried to flee. This was too much for the large Chosen regiment nearby, which panicked and fled away from the carnage.
The Tzeentch Knights break and are ridden down mercilessly. A Chaos Chariot gets caught in the pursuit.
The demise of the Tzeentch Knights panics the Chosen, who fall all the way back to a unit of Khorne Warriors who I don't think were really there, because they were actually in the tower over to the left of picture. Sorry, I clearly wasn't managing the antics of the guys on the other side of the table properly.
The Steam Tank gave a great gout of steam and drove at best speed, aiming for the flank of the Khorne Ogres as they made their way toward the White Wolf Knights. Unfortunately the clanking, hissing metal behemoth couldn't quite make the distance, and had to settle for skimming a cannonball off the head of one of the Ogres instead.

In the centre of the field, the Khorne and Slaanesh Knights were fighting a losing battle. They too were weakened by the effects of Soulblight, and now they were outmatched. Luthor Huss decapitated the Slaaneshi champion in yet another duel, the Grand Master bludgeoned more of the Knights with his great weapon, and both regiments were destroyed. The sadly depleted remnant of the Stirland Halberdiers carried on into the Khorne Ogres, whilst the White Wolves headed nowhere fast.
The Chaos Knights are gone, but the White Wolves may be about to have a problem.
The Empire right flank.
On the Empire right, the momentum of the Halberdiers was well and truly spent, and they were comprehensively out-fought by the Nurgle Chaos Warriors. Numbers were still in their favour however, and they held their ground despite fighting in a seemingly losing cause. Behind them, the Spearmen reformed in an attempt to prepare for the sudden arrival of the Marauders in their flank. The War Altar and Demigryphs, faced by the threat of the now unengaged Chosen, backed off slightly.
The Spearmen reform in response to the newly arrived Chaos reinforcements.
The War Altar unleashed Banishment upon Archaon, who declined to even try to dispel it and instead sat tall in his saddle as it blasted toward him. In a display of extreme manliness, he shrugged off its power with no ill effects, and an apparent lack of care. Beside him, the Chaos battle standard bearer was targeted by the Empire Cannons and showed a similar disdain for their power. The first shot glanced harmlessly off his armoured chest as his enchanted talisman shone with a sudden burst of energy, protecting him from harm. The other two shots never even arrived – the Stirland Cannon misfired and the crew scrambled to clear the barrel, whilst the remaining machine exploded spectacularly, panicking the crew of the first Cannon nearby, who hid from the flying shrapnel behind their own machine rather than reloading it as they should have been.
The view across the line of battle after 4 turns.
At the end of turn 4, things were not going brilliantly for the Chaos invasion. It was time for Archaon to take charge...

You can read the remainder of the report here.

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