Thursday, 7 April 2016

The Shadows Return: Game 1

Every campaign needs to start somewhere. In our case, our story starts on the shores of Albion, where the Empire army has arrived only to be immediately confronted by a Chaos army. The Chaos worshipers had arrived first and wasted no time in heading off the Empire forces. It was almost as if they knew where they were going to land…

We don’t actually have any terrain that really represents a beach at the club, so I figure the action takes place marginally inland from where the sands and ships can be found. We put together a rough new scenario to represent the situation. The game was fought using the Foothold scenario, found here.

Game 1: Fight Them on the Beaches

Dahvit the Really Really Dark Grey, brother of Stefan the Black and second-in-command of the Murder of Crows, shouted orders rapidly at his men as they scrambled for their gear and set off inland toward the sound of the enemy horns. They had been expecting a fight, but this had been even sooner than they were prepared for. Most of their strength had not yet had not yet disembarked from the ships. And now they were out of time, and would have to meet the enemy with whatever was ready.

The beach was no place to try to maneuver an army, and they did not want the enemy within arm’s reach of their vulnerable ships. In fact, the ships had ceased disembarking troops the moment the horns had started. If their foes reached the ships, there would be no way home for any of them. The ships were preparing to withdraw. They were merchant vessels that had been hired for the voyage; they lacked the means to support the men already on the beach and so they were better off steering clear. The men already under Dahvit’s command would be on their own. If they successfully defended the beach, the ships could return and safely unload the rest of their company.


Char’Drex, Despoiler of Balance, bellowed a challenge as he strode forth from the stunted trees and spotted the Empire forces hurriedly taking up a position above the beach. The grass nearby withered and hissed where his cloven hooves drove themselves into the soft earth, and everything around him shimmered as though the air itself was rebelling against his presence. He was an agent of the Dark Gods, an unnatural being that had no place in the natural world. But he was here anyway, and he was going to kill everyone else who was there too. He was nice like that.

Behind him clattered a cacophony of steel and brass as his minions hurried to keep up with his monstrous stride. Warriors of all four Chaos Gods were presented in his retinue. As the Despoiler of Balance, it amused Char’Drex to use balance to despoil things. He knew at a glance that the pitiful mortal force before him stood no chance against the army that followed him. He paid no heed to the noises that had started to filter through the trees further behind him – almost like the sounds of battle. Most likely his warriors were having another disagreement. He also disregarded the fact that less than half of his army actually emerged from the trees behind him. What difference did it make? He could handle these foolish mortals all by himself. The warriors behind him were little more than an audience…

A chorus of dismay went up from the Empire lines as the mighty Daemon Prince emerged from the trees. Men were already cursing this forsaken island, and they had only just arrived! Dahvit bellowed orders and tried to restore order, even though his own heart sank at the sight of the enemy monstrosity. Ranks of heavily armoured Chaos Warriors appeared behind the daemon. Dahvit knew how tough an opponent a Chaos Warrior was, and yet their presence barely registered in the shadow of their leader. He really didn’t pay much attention to the later arrivals, until the Hellcannon rolled forth. The daemonic war engine writhed in its chains and snapped at its attendants, a baleful glow emitting from its toothed maw. Dahvit sighed. This day was not getting any better.

He forced himself from the thought pattern that was rapidly taking a downward spiral into despair. His men needed leadership, and that was what he would give them. He ordered the Cannon to prepare and aim for the Daemon Prince. If it couldn’t take down the brute, Sigmar alone knew how they were going to stop it.
Next time I am bringing a better light with me. It's so dark for photos in the hall.
The Chaos "defenders". Yeah right, that's a new one.
Aaron's list contained a number of quirks. No magic, lances on the Knights, Nurgle's Rot on the BSB (which rolled about 40 times for not a single wound inflicted. Points well spent).
The Murder of Crows, who wear black and then fight in dark places. Like the club. Sigh. The Knights with lances are actually Reiksguard, so they're Stubborn. There is a Warrior Priest in each Knight regiment, and the ones with great weapons also contain a Wizard Lord using Lore of Life. You know what the army doesn't have? A BSB. Ballsy, right?
The entire Empire line.
Chaos gets the first turn and advances.
These guys are actually Nurgle. Sneaky Nurgle, wearing red. We shall call the the Brothers of Insidious Filth.
By the time the Cannon took its first shot, the Chaos forces were already advancing toward them. The Daemon Prince swooped up toward the left flank, settling to ground with an impact that shook all around him despite the softness of the damp soil that swallowed his hooves up past his ankles. He bellowed a deafening challenge at the pitiful mortals opposing him. The Cannon replied with an equally loud roar, disappearing in a cloud of smoke as it sent its shot straight at the fiend’s chest. Unfortunately the daemon bore an enormous shield, which he raised to meet the blast. The cannonball tore a huge hole in the shield; however it bore some manner of enchantment upon it that robbed the shot of all its strength. The Daemon Prince himself was unharmed. 

The Volley Gun had also tracked the flight of the daemon and opened fire, however no sooner had it started to fire than it jammed with a worrying grinding noise and a lot of foul-smelling smoke. The crew busily set about trying to address the problem as the Daemon Prince turned toward the stricken machine and leered menacingly. All around them the Empire lines erupted in volleys of crossbow bolts and gunshot, but their best shots were shrugged off inconsequentially by the heavy armour of the Skullcrushers following their leader toward the foe.

The Chaos Knights on the far flank slowed their advance as they saw the ranks of heavy Empire cavalry waiting for them to stray too close. Char’Drex shared none of their wariness and launched himself into the middle of the Empire lines. Warning shouts reached the Volley Gun crew as they were working desperately to clear the jammed components of their malfunctioning  machine, and a looming shadow told them the cries were meant for them. One man was crushed as the daemon landed hard upon him, but the other two managed to dive for cover behind their gun and avoided the blows from the monstrous axe of their assailant.
So it begins. The Volley Gun misfired and then cops a Daemon Prince as a reward.
He toyed with the crew at first, just killing one and allowing the rest to hide (ie they did not break on Ld 5), which meant he couldn't be shot at next turn.
The Chaos Knights had been cautious in their approach, but it availed them not. With an urgency born of desperation, Dahvit thrust his sword toward them and the charge was sounded. The heavy Empire Knights made surprisingly easy work of the heavy ground and crashed into the Chaos Knights. “As if you rolled a 12,” gurgled Joe the Putrid, champion of Nurgle and banner-bearer of the Chaos army. Most of the Chaos Knights around him looked at him blankly, but one of them knocked him across the back of the head for not staying in character.
OK, so they didn't need a 12. They needed an 11. But rolled a 12 anyway. Bet they wish they had brought ensorcelled weapons now, hey?
The Chaos BSB challenges the Empire General to single combat.
As the Empire Knights closed with the enemy, Dahvit saw the enemy standard bearer moving to intercept him and he wordlessly accepted the challenge, waving his sword around ineffectually as he tried to swat the thousands of flies that suddenly engulfed him as he reached his foe. Joe gurgled in amusement and started hacking and the Empire general with his rust-encrusted halberd, but his own efforts fared little better against his victim’s heavy steel plate and the white fur cloak that seemed to shimmer and deflect his blows as they landed. Around them a number of Chaos Knights were pierced by the lowered lances of the Empire Knights, however they too were struggling with the unpleasant and Nurgly nature of their enemies. The regiment’s Warrior Priest bellowed encouragement until he found his mouth filled with bloated, nasty-tasting flies. He spat them out and focused upon trying to hit the enemy, having clean forgotten to do so on the way into combat.

The Chaos Knights were pressed back by the force of the Empire charge, but they would not be humiliated quite so easily. They fought on, though a number of them wondered why they had to do so with mundane hand weapons when fancy ensorcelled blades would have made the work so much easier. In fact they found the armour of the Empire Knights exceedingly difficult to penetrate. They rained blow after blow upon their attackers, but each time the blade would glance off harmlessly. A chariot wheeled about and crashed into the flank of the regiment, but even this had little impact upon proceedings.
Chariot to the flank. That's not ideal...
Hellcannons can be disagreeable beasts at the best of times, and the one Char’Drex had brought with him was being particularly so. The Chaos Dwarf attendants tried to goad the daemon into firing upon the enemy, but it roared and snapped at them before rolling off down the hill whilst they chased after it vainly, their stumpy little legs pumping. One of the attendants failed to make it down the hill as the Empire Cannon fired again at the Hellcannon. Clearly they were not expecting the thing to be moving so quickly as their shot fell behind it and instead smeared the frantically waddling crewman into the hillside.

By the time the Chaos Dwarfs had caught up with the Hellcannon it was out of position and dangerously close to the Empire Knights as they struggled against their Chaos counterparts. The remaining Chaos Dwarfs sighed and gave up trying to control their charge, following after it as it crashed into the Empire cavalry and set about trying to devour the Warrior Priest.
Oh look, and a Hellcannon joins the party!
The Hellcannon had barely started to crew upon the Warrior Priest’s arm (it was still attached, and he was howling something to Sigmar about pain and bad breath) when it was itself charged by yet more Empire Knights. These ones brandished huge double-handed blades which they whirled about alarmingly before crashing them into the daemonic iron hide of the Hellcannon. If the beast even noticed, it gave no indication. It was still trying to get a proper taste of the Warrior Priest. The Chaos Dwarf crew were less fortunate. They had finally caught up with their charge, and as they scampered up with weapons drawn, they were hacked down unceremoniously by their enemies. 
More Empire Knights arrive to assist their brethren.
Things look grim in the main Empire line.
As the battle raged on that flank, the other flank had settled into a slightly different dynamic. Char’Drex was working his way steadily through the Empire lines. The Volley Gun was destroyed, then the Handgunners were slaughtered by the Skullcrushers who carried on and assisted the Daemon Prince in the butchery of the Cannon crew. Char’Drex carried on into the flank of the remaining regiment of Handgunners, whilst the Skullcrushers regrouped, their bloodlust temporarily sated.
The Skullcrushers reform, having already used their overrun that turn.
In fact the reprieve was very temporary indeed. As they turned about the Skullcrushers saw the ongoing melee which now involved two Empire regiments as well as their own Knights and a chariot and even the Hellcannon. Realising there was more slaughter to be had, they began to make their way toward the flank of Dahvit’s personal retinue. They picked up their pace when they realized that the Tzeentch Warriors were also heading for this gap. The race was on, and at their urging the Juggernauts beneath them picked up their pace and soon were careening headlong for the Empire Knights. Realizing that getting in front of the Skullcrushers would be a terrible mistake, the Warriors aborted their own charge and allowed the thundering steamroller of brass and skulls to take their place.
This combat is getting out of hand.
Under normal circumstances, the arrival of a regiment of Skullcrushers that has picked up a full head of steam is not unlike a strike in tenpin bowling. Skittles (err, I mean enemies) fly about all over the place (or at least pieces of them do), and the Chaos player does the victory fist-pump that accompanies bowling a strike. However, Dahvit’s regiment was all but invincible. This was partly because they refused to fail armour rolls. At this point the spell Flesh to Stone was also a factor. The Wizard Lord in the second regiment of Knights had cast it, immediately before drawing the attention of the Hellcannon and becoming its next snack. The third and final contributor to the invincible Knights was that Aaron forgot to attack with the Juggernauts – just with the riders. On the turn they charge with Strength 6. Duh!

Anyway, by this point the whole world was attacking Dahvit and his Knights. They did not seem to care however, and happily continued to chop away at the Chaos Knights, felling them steadily thanks to a series of lucky strikes and their inability to put their armour on correctly (I think they forgot the breastplates). Dahvit himself even managed to land a wound upon Joe the Putrid as their epic duel of ineptitude continued. Dahvit gave a shout of triumph as his opponent cried out, then coughed and spat out a mouthful of flies. He could not actually see his enemy, but it was gratifying to know that his efforts to swat away all the flies had achieved something. Unfortunately he had sustained injuries of his own, and knew that he could not continue in this manner indefinitely.

Dahvit’s retinue consisted of some of the strongest and bravest warriors in the Murder of Crows, and their tenacity was never in doubt. They could not be killed and they could not be broken. They were invincible! Unfortunately the Knights next to them did not share their aura of invulnerability. Witnessing the arrival of the Skullcrushers and realizing things were turning against them, they abandoned their efforts to hack apart the Hellcannon, turned their mounts about and fled the field. Dahvit would have cursed them or perhaps tried to rally them, but all he could see was flies. So he had no idea what was going on.
Dahvit's men fight on alone, but they are finally starting to dwindle in numbers.
All good things must come to an end, and eventually the luck of Dahvit’s retinue had run its course. With the enemy pressing in all around, the Knights started to fall. Eventually Dahvit was dealt a mortal blow by Joe the Putrid, who finished him off and then discarded his halberd as a worthless piece of scrap upon seeing how blunted and ruined it was from repeatedly bludgeoning the Empire general’s heavy armour.
The last survivors. But not for long...
Char’Drex stomped the final survivor of the Crossbowmen into the ground as he tried to flee, and looked around the field. There were no more victims. The slaughter was over. For now.


  1. Replies
    1. No! Team Chaos are bad guys! They are naughty!

    2. God damned MoN...still OP as all hell....

    3. Are you kidding me? CHAOS FOR THE WIN!!

  2. Fun battle, Chaos really got a foothold there. Can't wait to see how the campaign develops!

    1. Yes, I'd say Chaos got a pretty firm foothold. Or at least, they certainly ensured that the Empire did not...

  3. Reading a proper 8th ed battle report again after so long is a balm to my tormented mind. Cracking read, Hoodling! Nice to see you in action again.

    1. Cheers Kraken, although I would have thought reading my reports would be more likely to exacerbate such a mental condition rather than soothe it!

  4. Wow that daemon prince model is monstrous