Friday, 20 May 2016

The Shadows Return: Game 7

The hours after the battle with the Dark Elves were a blur for Korhiel. He rode blindly through the swamps in the gathering darkness, trusting in his elven steed’s instincts to guide him safely. He gave little thought to the perils of the terrain; he was mainly trying to put as much distance as possible between himself and the battlefield. He needed to get away. Away from the enemy. Away from those lunatic Witches and the psychotic hatred in their eyes. Away from where Eldain had fallen.

It took him a long time to calm down enough to realize that the enemy had not pursued him. Perhaps they had realized that they would not overtake him on foot. Or perhaps they were content to let the deadly swamps do their work for them. This was entirely possible, Korhiel realized – by the time he stopped, he had no idea where he was and he realized he was very fortunate to have made it this far without accident. Tired and heartbroken, he eventually dismounted, dressed his wounds as best he could, and lay down to wait out the darkness.

He awoke from a fitful sleep in the dim light before dawn to discover that he was no longer alone. His trail through the swamps had been followed after all. A sorry band of battered High Elves was working its way toward him. Swordmasters, White Lions, Silver Helms on foot – the other survivors of the previous day’s battle. At their head was the banner bearer of the Sea Guard, however he no longer carried his regiment’s standard. Instead he carried the muddied and tattered banner of Lord Eldain – the very same banner that Korhiel had lost as he fled the field.

They looked to Korhiel to lead them, as the highest ranked survivor. This was embarrassing given his lack of experience and his panicked flight from his first battle, but he swallowed his doubts in the face of their need. He did refuse to take back the banner, however. “You saved it from the field, the honour is now yours,” he told him.

Together they made their way through the swamps, in the direction Korhiel best guessed might lead them back to their ships. There were only a score of them, but if they could reach the beaches they would be able to be reinforced. They were certainly in no condition to continue their campaign at they were. It was unfortunate then, that they stumbled straight into a band of Nurgle worshippers as they played in the foul mud of the swamps…


Lord Scroltch and his followers were frolicking in the mud when the High Elves came into view. The Chaos Warriors were absolutely coated in filth. The weapons were lying all over the place, and their shields had been left behind somewhere (nobody really seemed sure where). On the bright side, they had constructed a glorious array of mud castles, complete with moats, drawbridges made of rotting wood and flagpoles using leaves.

Upon sighting the Elves, Lord Scroltch gurgled delightedly. The Elves were muddy and disheveled. Clearly they liked playing in the swamps too. He splashed forward through the fens toward them, his warriors charging alongside enthusiastically, roaring in their excitement.


In the swamps not far away, a pair of giants were lumbering along behind a Truthsayer. The druid took care as he walked, making sure to find a safe path through the marshes. The giants were less concerned with where they stepped, sploshing through and trusting in their immense size to protect them from any potential hazards.

The three of them stopped suddenly when they heard the roaring of the Chaos Warriors. The Truthsayer’s eyes widened in alarm. It sounded like the enemy had found his target before he could. They would have to hurry.

Nick Gentile's High Elves had been soundly thrashed in their first game against the Dark Elves, so they were clearly on the back foot. It might seem unfair that they then have to face Owen's victorious Chaos Warriors, but these games are not as much about even battles as they are about telling a story.

This game was another unusual scenario. The High Elves started with a miserable 500 points or so of survivors, deployed first and got the second turn, however they then had 1500 points of reinforcements arrive in Turn 1. The Fen Beasts were permitted to deploy in any swamp, whilst the Giants and Truthsayer had to walk on from a table edge.

Game 7: With a Little Help From My Friends

500 points vs 2000. It's funny, but it doesn't look that uneven on the table. Stupid expensive Chaos characters.
Lord Scroltch rides/wriggles forward again! With bunny ears!
We decided to represent the High Elf survivors of the previous battle as a couple of units of Shadow Warriors. No, this was not a legal list. The guy on the left is a Sea Helm BSB. Not sure where he hides the banner.
Korhiel on his horse, and the rest of the "Shadow Warrior" survivors.
A couple of Chariots pulled by toads that the Nurgle worshippers probably recruited on the spot.
The army included 2 regiments of infantry, both of which are carrying hand weapons. And no shields. Owen's use of Quartermaster or Battle Scribe or whatever tool he employed clearly leaves something to be desired. He was mercilessly ribbed for this and reminded every time he failed an armour save by 1...
The High Elves had almost tripped over the Chaos Warriors in the marsh mists. They had been making their mud pies and palaces more quietly than one might imagine. By the time the Elves realized their error, it was too late to flee. The enemy was rushing toward them with lunatic glee, and if they were not caught, the swamps would more than likely claim them.  The Elves were outnumbered and already battered, but they had little choice. Readying their weapons, they took up a defensive position around a small hill and prepared to sell their lives dearly.

It was only as the Chaos Warriors were halfway toward their new playmates that they started to realize that the swamps around them were moving. The water began to heave and churn, and the Warriors slowed their advance as they evaluated this new development.

Onward! Slowly! It's almost like Owen knew that something was about to appear in the swamps.

He advanced so slowly. If he'd gone fast, Nick's reinforcements would have struggled to do anything before the Elves were mopped up...
The Elves also observed the suddenly seething swamp waters, however they had as little idea about what it meant as their enemies. As they looked about in confusion, a figure appeared in their midst. Korhiel turned to confront the new arrival, only to realize he was raising his blade at the Truthsayer who had accompanied them on their journey to Albion. 
To the rescue!
“It would seem you could use some assistance,” said the Truthsayer as he nodded toward the advancing Chaos Warriors.

Korhiel did his best to mask his confusion and disbelief, but nodded his head as graciously as he could manage. What did this mysterious hermit think he could possibly do that what in any way alter their predicament?

As if in answer to his unspoken question, a deep bellow suddenly erupted to the left of the advancing Chaos lines as two Giants emerged from the mists and began to chase a pair of Chaos Chariots. The Chariots visibly picked up their pace as they realized they were being pursued. The Truthsayer raised his staff overhead and groups of strange swamp monsters rose from the seething swamps all around the Chaos regiments. Korhiel had never seen nor heard of such creatures, however there was something about them that suggested they may have been formed of magic rather than anything that actually lived and breathed.
Not exactly what you want to see arriving in your flank. At least they can't charge. Not this turn.
Sneaky Fen Beasts arrive. These ones are -1 to WS when you attack them or something. Storm of Magic upgrade options.
Looks like some of the Fen Beasts walked on from the edge like the Giants. Good for them. Exercise is important. That unit has super duper 3+ Regeneration instead of the normal 4+.
The bigger unit in the swamp didn't get an upgrade. They got an extra Fen Beast instead.
The squid-like abomination that appeared to be leading the Nurgle forces emitted a strange gurgling, belching noise and the Chaos regiments turned to face the new arrivals, now distracted from their original targets. The Elves were heartened by this sudden change in circumstance, and advanced toward the enemy, firing arrows as they went. 
No sooner did the Truthsayer turn up and cast a spell than Owen turned him into a frog using the Hex Scroll. A really really ugly frog, by the looks of it. Some rescue, hey? It's OK, he got better.
Yes yes, this is how you deal with a threat. Drive past it and present your rear. Good contempt shown by the Chariots. But then they were entitled to feel confident. They (unlike the rest of the army) actually had halberds!
What... What are they doing? What about the unit in their flank? Maybe they expect to hold and then the Chosen up the back can rear charge that unit...
A regiment of Chaos Warriors with a pair of Sorcerers in their front rank turned and advanced towards the nearest of the Fen Beasts. This was rather reckless, as another pack of the monsters had appeared in their flank, which they either failed to notice or decided to ignore. The Fen Beasts wasted no time and charged them from both directions. Korhiel also urged his mount forward and charged into the regiment’s remaining flank. Many Nurgle Warriors fell to this initial charge, and it wasn't long before their formation buckled under the pressure. They turned and fled, moving surprisingly quickly through the swamps. Korhiel’s pursuit swept him past the shambling Fen Beasts, but even he was unable to pull down his fleeing foes. 
This gives me a tactical migraine. Why would you do this to yourself?
Well at least they rolled high and out-paced the pursuers. And had just enough models left to actually rally.
If the Chariots had hoped to leave the lumbering Giants behind them, they were sorely disappointed. Their long, loping strides quickly ate up the distance between them. One Giant bent down and roared in the faces of the Nurgle crewmen. As offensive as this was, they would have fought on but the horses pulling the Chariot had other ideas. They screamed at the deafening noise behind them and bolted, dragging the Chariot and its cursing crew behind. The Giant set off in pursuit, but was a little slower off the mark than the panicked horses.
This can only end well.
Woo, another escape well made!
The remaining Giant took a different approach to his assault, lowering his head and charging straight into the rear of the second Chariot. The crew flailed at him with their halberds, but then the crushing impact knocked them from their feet as parts of the Chariot were splintered off by the Giant’s rock-hard skull.
Such insolence, charging the best enemy unit and the Chaos Lord. Squiddums might not appreciate this.
Nearby, more Fen Beasts were attacking the Chaos Knights with the betentacled monstrosity at their fore. Battling the distraction of swarming flies and the nearly impenetrable armour that encased the Nurgle Knights, the Fen Beasts could make little headway. However, the particularly slimy mud that comprised these Beasts also made it difficult for the enemy to land a telling blow in return.  Eventually the squid-creature seized upon one of the Beasts with a foul mace held in one of its tentacles, and bludgeoned it repeatedly until it was nothing more than a heap of mud and sticks smashed on the ground. The remaining Fen Beasts fought on however, flailing at the enemy with their hammer-like fists.
Squiddums kills a Fen Beast and thereby activates the Filth Mace.
The fleeing Chaos Warriors realized that they had left most of their pursuers behind them, and regrouped in the knee-deep sludge of a swampy pond. The Sorcerers lashed out with their Nurgle magic, but their efforts were hindered by the counter-spells of the Truthsayer and the resilience of the Fen Beasts. 

A small regiment of Chosen Warriors had been lurking nearby and when they spotted the exposed flank of the Fen Beasts pursuing their allies, they charged. They did not get far however, as one of them tripped and promptly sank into the marsh and the rest of them staggered to a halt in the uncertain footing.
The High Elves arrogantly advance. They do everything arrogantly, don't you know. Especially when someone else is doing the fighting for them.
Korhiel wasted no time in charging once more into the rallied Chaos Warriors. One pack of Fen Beasts surged into the melee alongside him, whilst the other group turned to face the threat of the Chosen Warriors (if they ever disentangled themselves from the swamp they were trying to paddle through).
The Chaos Warriors cop a follow-up from the friends they met earlier. Korhiel is actually in the front, but the tree thing disagreed with this positioning.
As he charged through the marshes, Korhiel found himself being challenged by one of the enemy Sorcerers. He accepted wordlessly, and guided his steed toward his opponent before unleashing a flurry of blows. His enemy was an accomplished warrior for a spell caster, but he was no match for Korhiel’s training and reflexes. Before long the Sorcerer was falling to the ground, clutching at his throat. The Chaos Warriors around them also struggled against their Fen Beast assailants, and those few still standing were hard-pressed to hold their line.
Uh oh, the Chaos Knights are no longer engaged...
The balance shifted with the arrival of the Chaos Knights. Having eventually dealt with the Fen Beasts that had been delaying them, they now rode into the flank of the ones attacking the Chaos Warriors. The squid creature wriggled at the front, its sinister mace now glowing powerfully. The charge struck the Fen Beasts hard, but those facing the Knights were able to weather the storm for long enough for Korhiel and the remaining Fen Beasts to crush the last of the Chaos Warriors, including the remaining Sorcerer. 
Chaos Knights and Chosen both get in on the main action.
The Fen Beasts then turned their attention fully to the Chaos Knights. As they turned away, Korhiel was left free to scan for new targets and his gaze fell upon the nearest Chaos Chariot, which had rallied and whose crew was once more trying to fend off the attentions of the Giant. This time the Giant was bringing a club the size of a tree to bear, smashing it down with blows that the Chariot crew had somehow managed to avoid thus far. Korhiel charged into the side of the Chariot just as the Giant freed his club from the ground and brought it down again with thunderous force upon the Chariot. It exploded with a splintering crash; pieces of chariot, crewmen and armoured horses were flung in all directions. 
Korhiel arrives and takes credit as the Giant does the heavy lifting.
The remaining Chaos Chariot fared better – sort of. Its crew had managed to bring it about to face the Giant, and were now using their halberds to hack at his legs. It was a testament to the skill and strength of the Chaos Warriors that they were getting the better of their enormous assailant. Eventually one particularly savage blow shattered the Giant’s femur. He roared in pain and panic as he fell… directly onto the Chariot and its victorious crew, crushing them all beneath his massive bulk.
Such an accurate face-plant. Poor chariot, it deserved better.
The Fen Beasts turn to face the Chaos Knights, but without the Chaos Warriors for easy kills, they quickly start losing combat.
The Chosen Warriors eventually found their way free of the entangling terrain and charged into the Fen Beasts that were by now awaiting them. These Warriors proved a sterner test than their comrades, as their skills were even more prodigious and the huge green-black flies floating about them were even more distracting. The Fen Beasts flailed clumsily at them, but could not seem to land a blow. For their part the Chosen fought skilfully and frequently their swings struck home, but having left their more useful weaponry behind somewhere, they were left using their hand weapons and struggled to hurt the extremely tough Beasts. Eventually the Fen Beasts were worn down and destroyed, at which point the Chosen Warriors found themselves facing the waiting High Elves. A staggering volley of arrows followed, and the Chosen were scythed down as they went to hunker down behind their shields… only to remember that they had left those behind as well.

It was soon apparent that the Fen Beasts fighting the Chaos Knights were outmatched. The squid monster lashed about itself with its baleful mace, giggling hideous gurgles as it mashed Fen Beasts into mush. As the last of the Beasts fell, the Chaos Knights found themselves facing one more foe – the remaining Giant, already bleeding from several wounds, stepped towards them and raised his tree-club in a menacing challenge. The squid-thing gave a gurgling trumpet, and the Knights charged. 
Look, the Giant is half-dead already and should be toast. But fail to kill him at your peril...
This final confrontation was over before it had really begun. The Giant roared and raised his massive club overheard, ready to pulverize the puny enemy cavalry, but the squid monster was too fast. Its foul mace was a glowing blur as it struck its victim over and over with blows that landed with crunching sounds that echoed across the marshy battlefield along with the Giant’s howls of agony. By the time the horrid display was over, the Giant was little better than the mush that remained of the Fen Beasts.
Any hopes the Giant would fall onto the enemy again were soon dashed.
The survivors of both sides consider the situation.
At this point a hush came over the field as what remained of the two forces eyed each other off. The Elves’ rescuers were no more, apart from the Truthsayer himself, who wept silent tears for his fallen allies. On the other hand, all that remained of the Chaos host was a single regiment of Knights. It was a potent force on the battlefield, but it would struggle to pursue the Elves through the perils of the swamp. Both parties seemed to understand this. Realising there was little more to be done here, Korhiel and his companions backed away into the mists and disappeared, leaving the enemy Knights standing over the remains of the fallen Giant.
Squiddums tried to work out how "tea-bagging" is performed when you're covered in tentacles.
When the Elves were properly out of sight, the Knights of Nurgle hurriedly dismounted and went to the nearest muddy puddle to begin building a new mud castle.


  1. All hail Lord Scroltch! Even when his warriors forget 90% of their gear, he still finds a way to do nasty things in the name of Papa Nurgle! And all while looking so damn happy!