Monday, 17 August 2015

The Battle of Blood Valley - Part 2

This is a continuation of the Battle of Blood Valley battle report. You can find the first part here.

Empire Turn 2
Empire Turn 2
The Empire general and army standard had fallen. They and the Knights escorting them had fallen prey to Reichardt's own hubris and needless aggression. Their skulls would be added to Khorne's collection, but the battle was not yet over.

Lost in the mindless stampede as they ran down the fleeing Empire commander, the Chaos Knights were oblivious to the charge of the Greatswords into their exposed flank until it was too late. The Skullcrushers were also unexpectedly flanked when the Chaos Hounds blocking the path of the Outriders decided to turn tail and flee when they charged. As the Hounds made their escape through their own lines (and ultimately from the field entirely) the Outriders altered their course and charged the monstrous Skullcrushers instead. What they thought about this sudden change of opponents is probably best not recorded.
The Chaos Knights ans Skullcrushers find themselves flanked mid-celebration. How unsporting. The Outriders were meant to be getting out of the way for the Steam Tank to charge the Skullcrushers, but compulsory movement occurring later meant the Outriders had already maximised and left no room.

Toward the west, the Flagellants obviously got excited by the sight of the Greatswords' charge and decided to ignore their orders to hold their ground as they tried looked to run headlong into the enemy Ogres. Their enthusiasm was not matched by their foot-speed however, and their efforts were in vain. Nearby the Halberdiers called for assistance as they looked to fend off the monstrous Daemon Prince, however their pleas fell on deaf as the Handgunners ignored them and fired upon the distant Chaos Warriors. A couple of Warriors were felled by the volley, but this would have been cold comfort to the struggling Halberdiers. Realising that no help would be forthcoming, the Wizard stepped forward and bravely issued a challenge to try to slow Fellrender's advance. The brute had been bearing down on him anyway; his fate was already sealed. He raised his dagger overheard in a token gesture of defiance and gave a resigned sigh as the daemon's enormous axe descended in a blurring arc. The backhanded swing hit him with the flat of the blade and what was left of the Wizard smashed a hole through the wall of the building nearby. He may have bought his terrified men some time, but it was not a lot.
The Flagellants fail their frenzy test and then fail to charge the 1 zillion inches they needed to reach the Ogres. Much to Aaron's relief, I think.
The Chaos BSB is about to make way to face the Greatswords.
The rapid approach of the Greatswords may have gone unheeded by the blood-crazed Chaos Knights, but the Exalted Hero at their head was more alert. He moved his daemonic mount in their direction, shouldering through to block the charge. He was not going to baulk at facing mere mortals, no matter how large their swords were. His confidence was shattered somewhat as the Empire Wizard Lord intervened once more, granting the Greatswords the Speed of Light just as he had the Knights before them. The blades of the regiment shone as they suddenly gripped them with unnatural skill, and when they reached their target they struck ferociously. The Chaos hero laid about him with his halberd, but there was little he could do to stop the storm of blows that followed. He was carved from the saddle even as his mount was hacked down and the rampage of the Knights quickly turned to flight. They wheeled away from their assailants and rushed past the Chariot as its crew struggled to bring it about to face the danger. Fortunately for them, the Empire soldiers had tired from their exertions and failed to reach either party with their weary pursuit.
Yeah, we got this! We are sooo good in close combat!
Like the Knights, the Skullcrushers were surprised to find themselves attacked in the flank. The fact that their opponents were a mere handful of Outriders mattered little. In the fumbling chaos that ensued, barely a telling blow was landed. The momentum of the light cavalry was enough to push the enemy back, however it was not enough to break them. Their earlier blood-lust forgotten, the Skullcrushers regained their composure and turned to face the threat.
Hey, we actually won! And now we lose...
The Chaos Knights didn't run very fast, but the Greatswords rolled much worse. They might live to regret that...
On the hill behind this fight, the driver of the Steam Tank was fuming as much as his machine. He had lined up the exposed flank of the Skullcrushers, but even as he had built up the steam to drive down the hill and over the top of them, the Outriders had failed to leave him a clear path. Seething in frustration, he heaved on the controls to pull his machine about toward the centre of the field, hoping to find another target. He didn't have to search for long. Looming in the distance was the enemy Sorcerer upon his Manticore. It was not as satisfying as grinding over the enemy juggernauts would have been, but it would serve. Having lined up the enemy monster, he quickly switched to the controls for the cannon and unleashed the shot with all the steam he could muster. He lost sight of his target for a moment as the air around the Steam Tank was filled with suddenly released water vapour, but as it cleared he could see that his aim had been good. The shot appeared to have glanced off the hide of the Manticore, but the rider was nowhere to be seen. Clearly he had taken the brunt of the shot and would not be taking any further part in the battle.
The Sorcerer Lord was removed shortly after this picture was taken. The same thing had happened with the Hellcannon. It was established that having your photo taken immediately before the shooting phase was the Kiss of Death!
The Manticore bellowed in rage at the loss of its rider (or perhaps excitement at being free), but its roars didn't last for long. The long barrel of Balance's Folly had also swivelled about to take aim at the monster, and its own roar followed close behind the whoosh of the Steam Tank's cannon. The shot struck the Manticore full in its chest as it reared up in the air, and the crushing sound of the impact could be heard from across the field. The beast let out a strangled gargle as it folded around the cannon ball, and it promptly collapsed in a heap. It didn't move again.

Chaos Turn 2
Chaos Turn 2
Khorne would shed no tears for the duplicitous Sorcerer amongst the Chaos ranks, even if he was claimed in such honour-less fashion by cowardly artillery. All that mattered was that his devoted warriors fought on, and that blood continued to flow in his name. And fight on they would; once they realised they had escaped pursuit, the fleeing Chaos Knights quickly regained their composure and wheeled about to face the enemy once more. Looking to shield them whilst they recovered, the Chariot driver brought his machine around in front of the approaching Greatswords (and given how doomed it was there, he may well have put the park break on and run for safety). The Skullcrushers sought to redeem their near humiliation at the hands of the Outriders, and hacked them apart with savage efficiency before regrouping to face the Greatswords.
I think I'll park this thing right here.
In the centre of the field, the Chaos Warriors made a grand show of moving toward the Greatswords with intent whilst carefully staying out of reach of the Flagellants. It was not that they did not wish to fight the Flagellants. It was simply that their comrades fighting the Greatswords needed their help urgently. Yes, that was it...
Ogres arrive to help the Daemon Prince with his Halberdier problem.
On the western flank the Ogres had no such hesitation. Fellrender had worked his way along the enemy lines in his pursuit of the enemy Wizard, and this left them room to join the engagement. They crashed home the charge in an impressive display of brute force. At the same time the Daemon Prince was finally able to turn his full attention to the rank-and-file soldiers in the regiment. The men of the Empire stood their ground bravely; one of the Ogres fell impaled on half a dozen halberd tips before he could bring his massive club to bear, but almost a score of men died as their assailants laid about them with crude double-handed blows and crushed victims with their sheer bulk. Almost half of the regiment was torn apart in the exchange, but the remainder held their position and fought on despite the inevitability of the result being plain for all to see. Perhaps they clung to hope that their comrades would come to their rescue...
...And after. In truth the Halberdiers striking first had a reasonable chance, especially since they kept passing their leadership tests for fear etc. They just didn't roll enough damage before the Ogres struck back. And there was nothing they could do about the Daemon Prince.

Empire Turn 3
Empire Turn 3
OK, let's deal with this inconvenient Chariot first.
The Greatswords' path was blocked by the inconveniently parked Chariot. They had little choice but to charge it and tear it apart before reforming their ranks to face the twin threats of the Chaos Knights and Skullcrushers. Seeing his path clear this time, the Steam Tank driver directed his machine toward the flank of the Skullcrushers once more. Unfortunately a clear path was not enough; the unreliable contraption hissed and wheezed as it laboured toward its target, travelling less than half as quickly as its driver knew it could. He cursed and struck out wildly with his wrench, accidentally knocking the cannon release. The Steam Tank rocked back on its wheels as it fired again, and one of the Skullcrushers directly in front was blown apart in a shower of broken metal. So busy was the driver cursing his unpredictable vehicle that he barely noticed the damage he had wrought.
The Steam Tank didn't have to go far. Maybe 10" with 3 steam points. Not even close. Shooting one was a consolation prize.
The mob of Flagellants hissed their frustration as the Ogres charged out of sight and the Chaos Warriors turned to avoid them. Shouts of impending doom and the ringing of bells echoed across the field as they chased after the retreating Warriors as quickly as they could. 
The Handgunners decide to stick to shooting things rather than charging in heroically (stupidly) to fail to save the Halberdiers.
As the struggling Halberdiers shouted desperately for aid from the other regiments nearby, the Handgunners wheeled their formation about to face the fight, but made no move to charge the massive Daemon Prince. Instead they readied their weapons and took aim, waiting. Their actions made it clear that there would be no help forthcoming for the beleaguered Halberdiers, and what fight they had left was crushed from them as the Ogres and Daemon Prince continued to press into their formation, hacking apart men by the handful. With a chorus of panicked cries the few survivors turned and fled. The Ogres were slow to chase them as they became tangled in the heaped victims about them, and they were quickly outpaced by the scattering soldiers. Fellrender ignored the fleeing enemy and turned to face the Flagellants, launching himself into the sky before the Handgunners had time to unleash their shots.
Run, lads! The Halberdiers' only chance was to kill an Ogre and regain steadfast. They failed and promptly fled.
Fellrender refuses to chase the shattered Halberdiers and looks for a new challenge.
The Empire centre advancing.

Chaos Turn 3
Chaos Turn 3
The Ogres pass their frenzy test and avoid having to chase the Halberdiers (who needed double 1s to rally).
Fellrender swept down like the shadow of doom upon the flank of the hurrying Flagellants. Any warnings that may have been cried were lost in the general doom-laden cacophony coming from the majority of the mob. Those on the end of the pack tried to fight back against the Daemon Prince, but their flails glanced harmlessly off his unnaturally resilient hide. Those Flagellants that were not swatted aside or trampled quickly tired as they threw themselves at the daemon, but the one-sided nature of the fight clearly didn't bother them as the mob shifted to face the new threat.
Fresh meat!
With the Daemon Prince having abandoned them, the Ogres resisted the temptation to chase after the fleeing Halberdiers and instead turned and slunk into the house nearby before the Handgunners could shift their aim to a new target. They shouldered their way into the building, slightly widening the main doorway and giving it a decidedly ogre-ish shape as they forced themselves through.
All da Ogres are in da house. Such courage. Khorne would be proud.
This could hurt. At least they're not frenzied any more. 
And just like that, the sun suddenly rose back above the horizon. Or I final,ly admitted defeat and turned on the flash on the camera. I forget which.
On the other flank, the Greatswords braced as the Chaos Knights and Skullcrushers spurred their massive armoured steeds forward and crashed into them. The Chaos Warriors would have joined the carnage, but their formation never got moving quickly enough and they ground to a disappointed halt atop the hill still some way distant. Around a dozen Greatswords fell to the thundering charge of the Chaos cavalry, but they fought back fiercely with a flurry of blows from their enormous swords. Unfortunately it was not enough as their assailants' armour knocked aside and absorbed most of the blows. One Knight fell and a Skullcrusher was wounded, but the struggle was still lop-sided. Famed for their courage, the Greatswords nearly held the line. In the end the lack of leadership in the Empire lines was their undoing; without a general, army standard or even a leader to rally around their defiance lacked focus and the line began to sag and crumble. Once the rot began it was all over quickly and they were scattered and run down as they turned and fled. 
Alas, they needed an 8 and rolled a 9. Stubborn avails them not.
The pursuers skid to a halt with a few things looking at them.
The Flagellants turn to face after the first round (and any chance of them doing damage is finished).
That's it for part 2. You can find the final part of the report here.

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