Thursday, 12 February 2015

The Battle of Heffengen - Part 6

This post is the final part of the report on the Battle of Heffengen. You can read part 5 here.

Chaos Turn 6
Chaos Final Turn
The Empire army had been pushed back. It was time for the Chaos forces to land a decisive blow.
The steam tank finds itself fighting both skullcrushers and blood knights

On the western flank, the skullcrushers ran headlong into the steam tank whilst a group of blood knights lowered their lances and charged into its flank. Such was the force of this combined charge and the machine was rocked back on its rear wheels for a moment as the solid mass of brass and steel crashed into it. Using sheer brute strength, lances and sharpened horns were driven into the armour of the steam tank which began hissing steam and clanking in an alarming fashion.
Steam tanks are tough nuts to crack, but this was nearly enough brute force to do the job. They took off 7 of its 10 wounds.
Minotaurs in the flank with 10 attacks each! Bad things!
Mecke’s knight regiment had fought long and hard to hold their position against the onslaught of Akkorak and his Chaos knights. This resistance ended when the rabid band of minotaurs charged their flank, whilst a chariot hit them in the front. More than a dozen knights were there to see this final assault, but only the captain bearing Mecke’s standard survived the butchery that followed. The minotaurs were a force of unspeakable destruction, their huge, crude weapons hacking men and horses to pieces. At the sight of the terrible slaughter of his comrades, the captain’s nerve failed him. There would be no escape from the enemies pressing in, and he instead threw himself upon the blades of his foes, choosing death at the hands of the Chaos knights over the tender mercies of the minotaurs who were already starting to feast upon the remains of the fallen.
Mmm, fresh meat! Nom nom nom.
Having waited impatiently for a chance to engage the enemy, the knights of Khorne finally found a target in the halberdiers milling about on the hill after their failed attempt to aid their knightly allies. The charge of the Chaos knights was brutal, tearing through multiple ranks of the hapless Empire state troops. They fought back as best they could and managed to bring down a single knight, but they were hopelessly outclassed. Realising their plight, they failed to trust in their numerical advantage and turned to run but were cut down before they had made it more than a few steps. 
The Khorne knights find a charge at last, sweeping the halberdiers from the field.
The Reiksguard finally prevailed in their struggle with the remaining Chaos chariots, destroying one and pursuing the other. It escaped them and they instead found themselves charging into a row of beasts of Nurgle. Had they consulted their brethren in the centre of the field, they would have realised that this was going to spell the end of their fun for the day. Nearby a large regiment of plaguebearers set their cycloptic sights on a halberdier regiment, however the distance was too great and their attempted charge faltered. 

The deadlock continued in the struggles in the centre of the Empire lines, but that didn’t mean that forces behind the battle line were safe. Deathclaw was once again targeted by Bolt of Change, and would surely have been slain were it not for the strange restorative after-effects of the previous time the spell had struck it. Pavane of Slaanesh was also aimed at the griffon, but was dispelled. A hellcannon then fired at it but missed, and just as it seemed that the emperor’s noble mount might survive, a skullcannon very accurately fired a shot over the heads of the other intervening griffons and Deathclaw fell at last. This was a traumatic experience for the nearest griffon rider, who realised that he had failed to protect his charge and panicked, departing the field to a chorus of jeering from the enemy (and some bystanders). The other skullcannon took aim at the single White Wolf fleeing for his own lines and blasted him from his saddle, ensuring nothing remained of the once grand regiment of knights. 

Whilst the huge pack of bloodletters had managed to damage the steam tank they were swarming over, they were struggling to finish it off. This problem was resolved when one of the trio of terrorgheists turned its attention in that direction and unleashed a mind-shattering shriek. A brief, agonised scream came from somewhere inside the steel behemoth as the driver was slain by the assault.
Yay, the steam tank is dead!
Plague drones charge to support the terrorgheist.
The demigryph knights about to attack one of the other terrorgheists found themselves similarly bombarded. Several of their number fell, with both beast and rider unable to withstand the head-splitting agony. What had been shaping as a promising charge fell apart as a swarm of plague drones swept in to assist the undead monstrosity, and the terrorgheist set about feeding upon the remains of the once proud Empire regiment, despite its undead frame requiring no such sustenance.
This combat might have gone OK before the terrible singing started. Poor wolfygryphs.
A group of trolls set out to try to charge Grub Kineater’s ironguts, however their efforts were shambolic and their efforts failed. A regiment Tzeentch warriors was much closer however, and they engaged the ogres alone. Without the trolls for support, the Chaos warriors found the ogres to be difficult opponents, especially with the tyrant at their head. Neither side could gain a clear advantage and the struggle continued.
Valten and his friends pursue into Crom's unit, but the big pigs in the background are about to join in the fun.
As Valten and his knights charged into Crom and his waiting bodyguard, a pair of razorgor saw an opening and flung themselves into the side of the unit, tusks flailing madly. They didn’t enjoy much success however, as the captain bearing Gotfrei Talb’s battle standard was there to meet them. He fended off the worst of the damage and trusted in his armour and that of his mount to protect them from the rest. Then he lashed out, dealing a couple of savage blows to the beasts. Blows were rapidly exchanged on all sides of the combat. Two chosen fell with lances punched through their Chaos armour, and three knights were cut from their saddles in return. 
Epic music blares out of nowhere as Crom (or rather, Crom's stand-in since the Crom model got left behind) challenges Valten.
Valten and Vardek Crom both pushed their way through the melee, each knowing that felling the other would be the decisive blow in the struggle. After squaring off for a moment, they came together in a whirlwind of glittering blades and shining hammer. Crom was the faster of the two; he landed multiple blows as the already wounded Valten tried to fend them off. One strike bit deeply into the hero’s side, but Crom’s eyes widened behind the visor of his helmet as the blow aimed for his opponent’s neck was deflected by some unseen force. Perhaps Sigmar himself intervened to protect his anointed champion. Not wasting the opportunity given him, Valten struck back with savage force, the shining Hammer of Sigmar thundering down upon Crom’s shoulder and driving down into his chest with a deafening crash.
Knights fall, but not enough - there are 5 left. 1 more and the chosen would have had steadfast instead of needing snake eyes.
The damage dealt to their leader proved too much for the remaining chosen and they turned to run, but were ridden down by the remaining handful of Empire riders. The razorgor likewise fled, however they escaped in a different direction through their own lines.
Victory!
A terrorgheist joins the party as Rhys and Chris throw everything at Vlad's unit to try to crumble it before help can arrive.
Having failed to fortify his minions with magic, Vlad von Carstein found himself in a precarious position. He had dared not face Walach Harkon and his undead dragon in direct combat, but his legions of ghouls were dying by the dozen. There was still one opportunity for him to salvage the situation, but it would require engaging the Blood Dragon directly to prevent him from culling more ghouls. He considered this option for but a moment before dismissing it as unacceptable. He cheered himself up a bit by hacking apart a couple of chosen, but it was not enough to make a difference. Walach drove his zombie dragon deep into the mass of ghouls, his blade a constant shining blur of motion as he lopped off limbs and heads with every expert flick of his wrist. The dragon used its claws and jaws to tear them asunder, crushing more of them beneath its rotting bulk. The chosen also continued to press forward, wielding their axes with the skill of warriors who had been fighting for untold generations of mortal men. A terrorgheist also dropped into the melee, crushing yet more ghouls underfoot. It was a relentless assault and too much for the remaining ghouls to bear. The magic binding them to life collapsed, and Vlad had but a moment to contemplate the results of his cowardice before he too was swept aside - his ring powerless to preserve him again so soon after his previous demise.
I'm meeeeeelting!!
Gelt and the other reinforcements watch on helplessly as Vlad is overwhelmed. Maybe he should have manned up and tried to face down Walach himself. That's what ward saves are for!

Empire Turn 6
Empire Final Turn
Vlad von Carstein had fallen, but the Empire position on the eastern flank was relatively strong. Baltasar Gelt had lost sight of his master, but it mattered little to the progress of the battle as he himself held the reins of the undead army. Holding the line here was more important than the fate of the vampire lord. Seeing an opportunity brought about by the collapse of Vlad’s own unit, he spurred his pegasus into the terrorgheist as be willed hexwraiths in alongside him. Next to them charged a rabid pack of flagellants, either uncaring or completely unheeding of the fact that they were plunging into combat next to the living dead.
The Empire and their allies throw everything they have into the Chaos forces. Gelt was blocking charges, which is why he went in.
The flagellants threw themselves at the chosen, however even their frenzied assault could make little headway against the wall of steel presented by the disciplined warriors. The hexwraiths likewise struggled to have much impact on the terrorgheist, which snapped rather clumsily at Gelt, who easily evaded its efforts on his pegasus. Any attempts to magically bolster his forces were stymied by the remaining Chaos sorcerers, and the charge ground to a halt.

Valten and his companions, apparently drunk on their heady successes thus far, threw themselves into the flank of a massive formation of Nurgle Chaos warriors. They fought well and pressed their foes back, but the Chaos warriors showed no inclination to retreat in the face of so small a force of assailants.

Grub Kineater continued to wield his great hammer to good effect, smashing Tzeentch Chaos warriors to a mangled pulp and flinging them back into their comrades, but he and his ogres were still unable to make any real progress against the orderly formation of armoured warriors.
Grub Kineater's ironguts are the sole remaining Empire unit still standing near the centre line.
Those Empire regiments toward the centre of the field that were not already engaged seemed to feel that there was little to be gained from a charge against the targets that were available to them, and instead held their position. The Jade wizard decided to take a hand in proceedings for the first time by casting the Dwellers Below upon the large regiment of plaguebearers that had helped dispose of the Teutogen guard. Twenty of the droning daemons were dragged down into the ground by unseen hands, but the true target of the spell, the herald bearing the daemon battle standard, shook off the grasping claws with little apparent effort.

As had been the case for much of the battle, tired Reiksguard and other knights continued to push away the playful attentions of the disgusting beasts of Nurgle and the spearmen and marauders flailed feebly at each other with barely contained exhaustion. The centre had been pushed back and matters looked grim, but still they held the line.
We've been at this forever. Can we go home now?
Bogged! These beasts of Nurgle are the worst!
The situation was more grim on the Empire western flank, where the defence was all but collapsing. The heart had been torn out of the battle line with the demise of the knight regiment, and nothing but handgunners, crossbowmen and artillery remained. There would be no real counter-charge, but there would still be a reckoning.
With the Empire knights out of the way, there is a clear line of fire on the Chaos units.
With their lines of fire cleared and their choice of targets awaiting them, the Empire lines opened fire with everything at their disposal. Small arms fire mowed down the remaining minotaurs with only the gorebull hardy enough to shrug them off (although it was still wounded). Its defiance ended when a mortar shot landed directly on its head, removing it with a deafening explosion. More handgunners picked off the last of the flesh hounds, banishing it back to the warp with an angry whimper.

Cannons roared to life as they fired into the Slaanesh knights, culling the regiment and knocking the sorcerer lord from his steed. They were not content there however, and turned their attention to Akkorak the Crow, who now sat exposed on his daemonic mount. His otherworldly magical protection deflected the first pair of cannonballs to strike him, but then in their zeal to finish the job and avenge their general, the Empire artillery crew grew a little hasty with their temperamental machines and paid the price. 

Two of the Empire great cannons detonated spectacularly as their shots went badly wrong, and confusion took hold in the regiments around them. No less than four regiments lost their nerve, as nearly a hundred crossbowmen and handgunners abandoned their positions and fled from the field. With them they took any chance of salvaging the flank.
Our cannons are not automatically winning the game! Ragequit!
A second steam tank arrives to rescue the first.
Ignoring the cowardice of the infantry, the one unengaged steam tank turned and crashed into the blood knights attacking its twin, crushing the blood-crazed vampires and helping to keep the second steam tank barely operational as the skullcrushers found it too tough a nut to crack on their own. As belligerent as the machines were however, they were all alone in a sea of enemies and they would have a hard time making it home intact.
Those hills had been teeming with missile troops right up until the end...

Results
How it looked at the end.
As stated in the scenario rules, the game was divided into 3 control areas. Here are the final results:

West Flank:
Chaos: 8182
Empire: 7127
Winner: Chaos

Centre:
Chaos: 9517
Empire: 3820
Winner: Chaos

East Flank:
Chaos: 7372
Empire: 9137
Winner: Empire

Final Result: Chaos wins 2-1

A whole lot of victory points were claimed toward the end, although somewhat amusingly it would appear that those cannon misfires on the western flank at the end cost the Empire a draw. The loss of the machines themselves and the 90-odd missile troops that panicked totalled a bit over 1,000 victory points. If those machines had not exploded, the game would have ended a 1-1 draw. Of course, we realised at the end that Sam had failed to remove a cannon that had exploded in about turn 2 (he was presumably too busy removing the crossbowmen that panicked as a result that time around). So maybe this was karma...

Two of the main characters of the game were decidedly uninspiring. Gurug’ath was with us for a particularly short time, although it could be said that at least he did more than Karl Franz. I changed the ruling on shooting him part way through because it was becoming apparent that he was not going to move all game and that seemed rather lame, and it also meant that no Empire units would ever break in his area because of his ridiculous stubborn leadership for the game (hence why Nick didn’t want to commit him foolishly to die). 

The whole game was played in great spirits by everyone, and there were a few instances of people specifically doing the right thing for the game rather than what they might have been tempted to do in a competitive battle (like the rocket battery that chose not to simply step in front of the minotaurs and block their charge).

Anyway, that is all. Thanks to everyone who took part, and thank you for reading!

Epilogue

The city of Heffengen was burning. With the battle lost, there had been hardly any defenders left to man the crumbling walls, and the remnants of the Chaos host had swept over them with barely a pause. Akkorak the Crow sat in his saddle on a hilltop overlooking the city. Flames rose from numerous quarters, and the constant chorus of screaming from the citizens within had quieted down to the occasional shriek as his underlings rooted out the last of those that were hiding. By the morning the city would be little more than a smoking memory.

As satisfying as victory was, the Chaos lord knew that the battle had been costly. Two-thirds of the horde that had engaged the human emperor's army lay dead in the field, and far too many of those that remained were daemons. Without Gurug'ath's presence and with fewer mortal worshipers in tow, some of those daemons would be unable to retain their grip on the mortal realm. His army might well be celebrating tonight, but come morning they would be left to face reality - the horde's strength had been broken. There was still mischief that could be achieved here in the heart of the Empire, but the major cities were now safe from their anticipated rampage.

Akkorak turned and rode away from the city, toward his own tent. With Gurug'ath and Vardek Crom gone, the army was now his to command. He needed time to plot his next move.

*****
Baltasar Gelt looked down at the lifeless form of his fallen master - Vlad von Carstein, first and greatest of the vampire counts of Sylvania. The battle had not gone as planned. With the human emperor felled, Vlad overwhelmed and the hero Valten lost somewhere in the midst of the Chaos legions, Baltasar had made the difficult decision to withdraw. The human survivors had done the same, led now by the Reiksmarshall Hurt Helborg in Karl Franz's absence. Taking the body of their beloved leader, they had departed hastily to the south-west, leaving the city of Heffengen to the enemy.

Baltasar had ordered his lifeless minions to retrieve Vlad's corpse from under the piles of fallen ghouls and Chaos warriors once the blood-crazed fool Harkon had tired of the one-sided slaughter of mindless undead and flown off in search of more interesting prey. Now they hid in cave nearby, surrounded by rank upon rank of skeletons and grave guard, waiting patiently for their next order.

Baltasar looked down at the vampire and noted that none of his many wounds appeared to have bled much. Vampires were strange creatures. Powerful, but strange. He looked at the ring upon Vlad's finger - the stone set within it a deep, blood red. He could feel the power of the trinket, although it seemed dormant right at the moment. He knew from the stories that the ring was tied to the vampire's unnatural ability to escape death, but it seemed to have failed this time. Perhaps its power was finally spent.

Reaching down and picking up Vlad's cold, lifeless hand, he began to work the ring off the vampire's finger. With his mastery of magic and alchemy, perhaps he could find a way to recharge it. Such a charm would doubtless prove useful in his struggle against the ruinous powers - the power to escape death was promise indeed.

The ring was more difficult to remove than he had anticipated, and he focused all of his efforts on twisting it and working it past the knuckles. How had Vlad even got this thing on in the first place? Maybe it would be easiest to simply remove the whole finger. 

As he looked behind him to reach for a knife, a voice suddenly echoed in the chamber from behind him and the fingers of the lifeless hand closed around his own with crushing force. "What are you doing, Gelt? You didn't think it would be that easy, did you?" 

Turn 6 Original Notes

Turn 6 Chaos
Movement
Shooty

  • skullcrushers and blood knights charge steam tank, can’t fail
  • minotaurs flank charge mencke’s knights, chariot and vargheists also charge in; vargheists fail, others make it
  • khorne knights charge halberdiers, make it
  • gorbeast chariot flees off the table, other chariots rallies

Middle

  • large tzeentch unit into ogres.
  • plague bearers do not reach halbardists.
  • pumbas go into knight flank.
  • trolls charge ogres. and make it. clever trolls. leopold questions this, and they do not make it. apparently. much discussion.

Valten

  • some of that stuff was technically on this flank.
  • Wallach is bogged, but having a wallaching good time according to greg.

Magic
Power: 23 (channels: 2)
Dispel: 16 (channels: 0)
Shooty

  • Nick does not need anything apparently. He thinks differently. He is persuaded. By dave’s Persuad-o-tron. 

Middle

  • 6 dice bolt of change on deathclaw, wounds, deathclaw saves due to 6+ regen from previous tzeentch lore wound
  • pavane on deathclaw, dispelled

Valten

  • Helish vigour bubble from wallach on a 28. Dispell? Does anyone care? Going once… going twice… CAST BY THE MAN IN TATTERED RAGS WITH A BONE MOTIF!!

Shooting
Shooty



Middle

  • shooting you say?  DROP THE ROCK!! deathclaw seems to ignore this. (hellcannon, scatters off)
  • skillcannon kills deathclaw, panics another griffon off the table
  • terrorgheist screams kill steam tank, many wolfygryphs

Valten

  • helcannon shoots… not balthazar.

Combat
Shooty

  • blood knights and skullcrushers do 7 wounds to steam tank
  • akkorak’s unit kills many knights. empire BSB stabs tzeentch sorc lord.  33 minotaur attacks kill rest of the knights, BSB dies defending the standard
  • khorne knights do bad things to halberdiers. one knight dies, halberdiers fail steadfast, flee and get run down

Middle



Valten

  • Valten/Crom face/off:
    • books consulted at length.
    • crom is well dead.
    • valten took a wound.
    • crom has been ended.
    • for you herr krom, der end times IZ OVER!!
  • vlad may die again. zombie dragon takes… a wound.
  • vlad crumbled. like a stale biscuit.
  • bsb vs pumbas. two wounds. 
  • two of crom’s chums killed.
  • crom’s chums… almost get double ones. but do not. exuent stage left, with pumbagors. chosen chased down.this causes other chaps behind to bugger off with startling rapidity. valten and friends look smug.
  • pumbagors flee several kilometers and appears on the shooty flank. twas 79 inches. A manly flee move. Or pigly really.


Turn 6 Empire
Movement
Shooty

  • 3-wound steam tank attempts to initiate the Dino Protocol with 5 steam points, manages to not explode. grinds off one skullcrusher.
  • this causes a day of national mourning.
  • other steam tank flanks the blood knights with 4 steam points

Middle

  • nothing of great import occurs.

Valten

  • spirits fail to charge nurgle warriors. valten and chums get in the flank.

Magic
Power: 26 (channels: 1)
Dispel: 21 (channels: 4)
Shooty



Middle

  • banish flaming men. 3 die. no panic among those left.
  • dwellers attempted on bsb of nurgle. 20 plaguebearers die

Valten

  • undead summon/healage dispelled. 

Shooting
Shooty

  • most handgunners and crossbowmen kill all but the gorebull. cannons try to kill gorebull, one blows up and panics two handgunner units off the table. cannons are too good for the gorebull, killed by direct mortar shot
  • cannon kills slaanesh sorc lord
  • canons try to kill akkorak. walks off two hits, 2 more handgunner units run off the table.

Middle

  • hollow laugh of derision.

Valten

  • you must be joking.

Combat
Shooty

  • AVAST! attempts to update and is told no.
  • Owen’s cursor is going mad again.
  • khorne knights kill handgunners
  • 10 impact hits on blood knights, 10 wounds, save 7 on 5s. blood knights crumble.

Middle

  • nothing happened. All game.

Valten

  • big fight involving dragons, wraiths, geists and flagellants: chaos win by 1. 
  • nurgle warriors lose to valten, hold.


19 comments:

  1. Absolutely amazing. I have been following this battle (and Hel Fenn actually) with much interest. I know big games can be tough to play through, but thank you to all involved for going through the effort for the benefit of folks like me who LOVE to see massive armies beating the snot out of each other. So well-painted too. Well done, and much appreciated!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheers Timothy, glad you enjoyed it.

      Delete
  2. Can't do nothing except applause.
    Men from the Hoddling's Hole, I salute you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great as always, you really did justice to the epic confrontation.

    Thanks for taking the time to write these battle reports - there's not much on the interwebs that can compare with them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's all youtube nowadays. Kids these days - they can't be bothered reading...

      Delete
  4. Inspirational. I'm interested - how long did the game actually take?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actual play time was about 11 hours, but it took 2 hours to get everything set up and an hour to pack up at the end.

      Delete
  5. Can't wait to see the next big battle :D.

    Great stuff, thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can definitely wait. I need some time to recover...

      Delete
  6. Wonderful report in every sense. A thoroughly enjoyable read and I only wish there were more written reports of this class out there. Definitely something to aspire to. Bravo!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheers. Nowadays most reporters use Youtube - written reports are a dying breed, I think.

      Delete
  7. Yes, but written repports are always wellcome! Anyway, you can combine both, video and written repports.
    And now, let me present you our blog, where you, men of the Hoodling's hole, are all invited to visit. This is http://thefallofaltdorf.blogspot.com.es/
    And here you have the video presentation of the upcoming battle between 20,000 points of Warrios of Chaos (Glottkin forces) and the defenders of the Empire (a mighty combination of Empire, Bretonia and some asur -last of them!-):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bm8byJSVtWM

    Hope you will enjoy it!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Excellent report. That was truly inspirational!

    ReplyDelete
  9. there is only one word to describe this battle report and it is ... wait for it.... EPIC. Despite invisible mage on disc this raport is very clear. I can clearly see was hepend in every turn. Must have spend lote of time to make it. Really appreciate all the work. Must say I was little disappointed with comet making so little (and killing lot of poor flagelants. Greate idea to add orginal notes (cleare some minor things for me). Big question is how the hell flagelants menage to brake 2 units of khorn ate one in turn 4? I didn't finde any buffing spells on them. Seeams they where really lucky.
    I am not 100% sure but I belive BSB is like normal standar bearer dies when unit is fleeing (he is defending standar to the end). Crom's BSB should have died earlyer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think the Flagellants were augmented, but I think they did roll up re-rolls to hit and wound. They'll put a fair dent in anything once they have that.

      A standard bearer only dies when it breaks from combat. Crom's BSB fled from a charge, so he was still alive until near the end.

      Delete