Thursday, 9 June 2016

The Shadows Return: Game 10

And now for something a little different, we found an excuse to use one of the original scenarios from the Dark Shadows campaign book. It was another Ambush using the rules from the 6th edition rulebook (yes I know, this should be ringing alarm bells already given our previous ambush attempts). The difference here was that the defending army is trying to force its way through the narrow passage past the mountains to the north of the island, and they are set upon by a pack of monsters. 

We had great fun digging through my pile of available monsters the evening before, picking things that seemed reasonable from the Storm of Magic book and giving them various upgrades. We tried not to take anything that seemed unreasonably powerful, and ended up with something like the following:
  • Giant
  • Giant
  • Giant
  • Griffon (with ASF and Devastating Charge)
  • Wyvern (with Killing Blow)
  • Wyvern (with Tail Attack)
  • Wyvern (with Impact Hits)
  • Young Dragon
  • Arachnarok
  • Pack of 3 Sabretusks
  • Pack of 3 Sabretusks
  • Troll
Somehow we got carried away explaining why such an eclectic band of monsters would be banded together in this way, and it seems that Owen took them to heart as he wrote up the account that follows:

Game 10: The Giants' Causeway

It was mid afternoon when Edna the troll saw him. The most handsome, most ripped, most utterly adorable thing she’d ever seen. He was dressed in ragged trousers, and was striding across the stony ground effortlessly carrying a great ogham stone above his head, following the big shiny red men with a look of intense concentration. Just one look was all it took, and Edna was in love, but how could she make this handsome and virile adonis notice her? She looked about her blankly, her gaze falling on a crumbling stone idol, which lay fallen on the ground. Picking this up and raising it above her head in imitation of her beloved, she set out after him, drooling quietly, the world around her much fuzzier and pinker than usual.
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? Edna follows her dreamboat into battle.
Kragan the Destroyer arrives on the Giants' Causeway
Kragan the Destroyer, champion of Khorne could not remember how he’d gotten here. He remembered being in the swamps of eternal stench with that scabrous pulsating mass of filth and foolishness, Lord Scrotch the Deliriously Pustulent. He remembered spotting a bunny. He remembered chasing the bunny. He remembered his followers joining in. Then it was a confused mass of chasing, roaring, axe waving, more roaring, and more chasing. He was pretty sure the sun had set at least once, and he had a vague recollection of more of Khorne’s followers joining the chase at some point, but everything was tinted red and when he thought back, all he got was chasing, roaring, axe waving and more roaring. Now here he was, on this rocky causeway with the eviscerated remains of a small, finally exhausted fluffy bunny at his feet, surrounded by a great army of Khornate warriors, and the red mist had lifted and he had no idea how he’d gotten here.
Days on end of roaring, running and brandishing weapons would have taken its toll on lesser lunatics, but not the devoted followers of Khorne!
Then he spotted movement from the corner of his eye. “WYVERNS!” He bellowed. Then the red mist was back and he was charging again and he had no idea how he’d gotten here.
New victims for Kragan to chase and threaten!
The wyverns flapped out of the ever present fog, swerving cautiously away from the very, very large and angry mass of chaos knights. Dave the Dragon, his vestigial for-legs quivering with excitement followed.
Dave the Dragon (second from right) who has an identity crisis and is convinced that he must be a Wyvern. And wonders why the dumb beasts refuse to talk to him. Poor Dave.
“This is fun!” he shouted to the wyvern in front. “Hey, wait for me! Where are we going? Who are those guys? Wait for me guys! Guys? Guys?” But the wyverns were ignoring him. Dave sighed a resigned sigh. They always ignored him, even though he looked JUST like them. He was sure they could be friends.
A few things appear behind the Chaos column (this was the game where we realised that all the defending army is meant to be facing the same direction) 
Behind the Chaos Army, Barry and Humphrey, the mighty Giants of Albion strode forth, their baying pack of sabertusks ranging ahead of them, barking and yapping with the joy of the hunt, before suddenly realising they were feline beasts, and starting to meow instead. Barry glanced at Humphrey, carrying his mighty ogham stone o’er head in anticipation of delivering a crushing blow to the foul interlopers. Beyond his brother, their favourite pet, the spider of surprising size, skittered along. If something the size of a house could be said to skitter. Their ‘cosmopolitan’ cousin, Rolf, fresh back from serving as a mercenary for the Baron of Krakenberg marched towards the forest, his hunting bird flapping along near by. Barry nodded to his brother, and increased his pace.
Rolf the Giant returned from his stint in the Empire with a splendid pet "bird".
The Monsters move first, and they close in fairly quickly, trying to avoid enemy charge arcs.
Dave and one of the Wyverns fly around one side.
The other Wyverns move around from the other side.
We decided the Wyvern with the red talons had Killing Blow and the fat cow Wyvern got impact hits. Gut charge and all that.
Up the other end, less caution was required about enemy charges.
They're behind you!
Khorne disapproves of this evasive behaviour.
Sir Timothy Booth-Wilkinson of the Extremely Blood Crazed Shropshire Booth-Wilkinsons was marching stoically along at the back of the chaos column, thinking about where his next meal would come from, and how a spot of the old ultra-violence would go down a treat just now, when he heard something behind him. He glanced over his broad and beefy shoulder, and one of his shaggy eye-brows shot heavenward. 
Gad and zooks! Also, Owen clearly wishes he could write everything from the perspective of a posh English gentleman.
‘“I say you Ogres,” he said, ‘There’s a deuced large spider behind us. What say we quickly about face and stand by for wanton bloodshed in honour of our lord Khorne?”
The first Chaos turn is largely dedicated to turning to face the many approaching threats
Sir Timothy's warning was just in time, really.
Lord Kravark wheels his regiment about to chase the Wyverns.
It was at about this point that things suddenly become interesting. Various of the mighty monsters facing the great khornate horde took it upon themselves to charge. The spider of rather startling dimensions slammed into Sir TImothy’s ogres, along with that noted stud-muffin, Humphrey. Cousin Rolf bellowed incoherent orders to his glorious birdy in very, very bad Reikspiel, sending it ogrewards, and a pack of baying hounds, suddenly remembering they were sabretusks, and starting to meow very loudly, slammed into the ogres as well. Sir Timothy smiled a feral smile. This was more like it, plenty of very large things to beat up, and all the time in the world to do it. 
A judicious application of force as 3 Sabretusks, a Giant, a Griffon and an Arachnarok all charge the Ogres at once.
A frenzied melee ensued, the spider rending ogres limb from limb, while the sabretusks brought their fangs to bear. Humphrey, at a loss for a reasonable target to hurl his mighty stone at yelled at the ogres and headbutted one. This did not help much - the ogres, fired with furious rage, bloodlust and an unquenchable thirst for both violence and tea, unleashed a furious flurry of blows on the spider, opening great gaping rents on its carapace. The Hon Freddy Splattergoat, on the corner turned to the sabretusks.

“I say, damn impertinent cats they have in these parts,” he said, bringing his axe around in a sweeping arc, rending one great cat in twain and sending the others scampering for the hills.
The combat was a bit of a mess. The charging monsters did 10 wounds between them. Unfortunately Khorne Ogres are made of sterner stuff, and did 11 wounds back. They killed the Griffon outright, half-killed the Arachnarok, wounded the Giant, killed a Sabretusk and fought on with the Frenzy intact as the Sabretusks fled due to the musician (Ogres are tone-deaf and play really, really bad music).
Meanwhile, Lord Kravark, Bloodyhanded leviathan of Slaughter sawed at the rains of Kar’dellz the Doom Puppy, his mighty three-headed juggernaut, and wildly tried to bring it’s heads round so he could cause a highly satisfying axe/wyvern conjunction. His potent horde of knights wheeled and frothed at the mouth in anticipation of the fray.
2 Wyverns drop onto the Warriors and proceed to Thunderstomp a great many of them into oblivion.
Shrark Draak the Very Slightly Irritable had no such worries. He was well and truly engaged with the wyverns, and rather pleased about it. Even if they were making rather a mess of his followers. And him, come to think of it, he mused as his left arm fell off. The Skull-taker brotherhood brought their halberds to bear on the wyverns, raining blows upon them and turning one of the great beasts into a rather squelchy red mess.
Only 1 Wyvern left, half the Chaos Warriors and dead and the Exalted Hero leading them (presumably Shrark Draak) has taken a wound. Apparently he had the Featherfoe Torc. As if anyone takes that. Outrageous!
A rather startled ‘arf’ sounded from near the ogres as the second pack of sabrertusks slammed into the chaos hounds, smiting them hip and thigh. The dogs were clearly not happy about the situation, but were powerless to do much about it. Calling upon the ageless primordial hatred of cats which was bred into their kind since the very birth of the Old World, they refused to back down.
Kragarn the destroyer prepares to destroy. 
Kragarn the bloody-handed destroyer of rabbits was in a red fog of rage, destruction, axe waving and roaring. He was dimly aware that his unit was fighting both a giant and a wyvern, and he was rather happy about this since it gave him some very large things to hit. There was an interestingly squelchy ‘pop’ noise from the side of his unit as the wyvern burst apart in a shower of glorious gore, but the giant fought on. Loudly.
The mighty duel between the Sabretusks and Chaos Hounds.
The other Chaos Hounds had fought bravely against Dave...
...But ended up very eaten.
Edna shambled forwards in her own world of hearts and flowers and puppies. She was dimly aware that her stud muffin was involved in some sort of fracas with some red hoodlums, but she was confident he would put them to flight.

Lord Kravark managed to wrench his unit around just in time to see the Skull-Takers, down to their last four men, and now sans-hero, shred their last wyvern, rumble forwards into some sabre tusks, and completely block him from charging anything. He gnashed mighty teeth in mighty rage.
The few remaining Chaos Warriors finish off the remaining Wyvern. It had been a bloody fight.
No, you're in the way!
Kragarn the bloody-handed bunny destroyer became dimly aware that the giant he was beating up was now an ex-giant. He bellowed fearsomely at his unit to turn round and get ready to beat up on the OTHER wyvern behind him. The blood-drenched Khorne warriors wheeled, waving various sharp objects and shouting loudly.
No, Barry!
Cousin Rolf finds himself unexpectedly flanked as the Chaos Warriors break and pursue the Sabretusks
Cousin Rolf raised his mighty club to mercilessly pummel the ogres before him. He was keen to have revenge for the death of his glorious birdy, but as he brought down his mighty weapon on the heads of his foes, he was assailed by the flashing blades of the frenzied ogres, and fell slowly backwards like a felled tree. 

“Ach, mein abdomen!” he gurgled with his last breath…

Sir Timothy Booth-Wilkinson was surprised to realise that although the house-sized chunk of spider had been reduced to bite-sized chunks, the furious shouting of the Giants had such an unnerving effect upon his men that they were wavering. Before he could deliver a brilliantly dry speech about stiff-upper lips, they turned and fled, with the great giant Humphrey galloping along behind...
Despite the loss of Cousin Rolf (or maybe because of it), Humphrey Yells and Bawls to win the combat, but fails to catch the Ogres when they break.
Dave the Dragon was dismayed to see all his friends were now dead. He was even more dismayed to find a large number of very large and angry men attempting to insert sharp things in various portions of his anatomy. 
Dave discovers that Chaos Warriors are a match for very little Dragons who think they are Wyverns.
“Hey! That’s my spleen!” he shouted, flailing about him with tooth and claw and ripping a few of the red-armoured fiends apart. But it was to no avail, the Bloody Handed Destroyers of Bunnies were dead set on upgrading their name to the Bloody handed Destroyers of Dragons Who Think They Are Wyverns. They fell upon the hapless wyrm with flashing blades and cut him down as he turned to flee from their wrath.
Run Dave, run!
Sir Timothy Booth-Wilkinson, galloping along behind his fleeing unit launched into the stirring ‘once more unto the breach’ monologue from Wilhelm Von Shakenpike’s Henrik IV, and the combination of his fine delivery, the rousing words, and hitting his ogres over the head with the blunt end of his great axe brought them to their senses. They turned around, girded their loins, and prepared to take on the giant once more.
The Ogres rally and brace for another charge from Humphrey.
Edna watched with love in her heart and a crumbling rock held over her head as her beloved once more became entangled with the nasty red hoodlums. “Be brave my beloved!” she cried, “I am coming to your aid!” But she was momentarily distracted by a rather pretty butterfly.
Humphrey finds that a second encounter with the Ogres is beyond him.
“Watch out below!” cried Sir Timothy as the giant described a graceful arc, it’s legs severed just below the knee by his frenzied chopping blade. It was clearly a good day to be a large, very angry, blood drenched Ogre and a Gentleman.

It was at about this point that Lord Kravark realised he was not going to get to kill anything today. He ground his mighty teeth in mighty rage, and surveyed the foggy field of battle. There was nothing left to kill - his army had laid waste utterly to the ambushing monsters and left him without a skull to his name. He roared in mighty fury, his voice joined by his retinue of knights and faithful lieutenant, Zabran. 

It was at this point that he saw the bunny. It was a happy, fluffy little bunny, and had just popped out of its burrow to see what all the noise was about. Kravark gave a blood curdling battle cry, and set off in pursuit of the fleeing rodent. His army gave tongue and joined the chase. It was clearly a good day for the followers' bloody god of mindless slaughter.

Edna wandered on into the night. She’d lost sight of that great hunk of spunk she’d fallen head over heels in love with, but she was sure that if she just kept walking, she’d find him at last. Her thoughts were full of love and plans for the future – settling down with her beau, building a lovely little cottage with a white-picket fence, the pitter-patter of huge feet, the cooing of doves… until she walked over a cliff. Lying at the base of the cliff, the crumbling stone idol she’d intended as a wedding present for that ravishing creature she’d fallen for broken over her head, Edna reflected on what her mother had told her when she was a tiny troll sprog. Love really did hurt, she thought. The fog rolled back in to hide her mangled remains as in the far distance, a fluffy bunny fled into the night pursued by the mightiest warriors ever to plague the old world.


  1. The message seems clear......

    If you find yourself on the Isle of Albion, DON'T ambush people. You're just asking for trouble....

    1. Or if you simply have to do so, refuse to do it with a force 2/3rds the size of the army you are ambushing, as seems to be the (unwise) tradition!

    2. Yeah, its just too much of a difference to make up.

      I love the concept of trying to break through to a table edge, but the Chaos Warriors didn't seem too concerned with that knowing they had the superior force and could win a straight-up fight.

      What if the ambushing army could rely on re-inforcements arriving each turn? It would kind of force them to focus on just fighting their way out instead of winning the battle.

    3. Actually, I think the message is 'don't be a bunny on Albion - you will be chased by whole Khorne armies.'
      Maybe Australia should look into this as a solution to the rabbit plague?

    4. Yes, because introduced species such as Cane Toads have never caused problems. What could possibly go wrong with importing blood-crazed lunatics with axes?

    5. As for the ambushes, I think the scenario was constructed on the flawed assumption that it's a great advantage to deploy your army split around the enemy. I'm not sure it's much of an advantage at all. Things might work better with the armies using equal (or almost equal) points values.

    6. Yeah, especially when you take the general's leadership bubble etc into account, it actually hurts more than it helps.

      I like the Chaos ogres. Are they conversions/scratch built?

    7. Those are heavily converted.

  2. Sorry for offtop: what about the 9th age? have you tried it?

    1. No, I haven't. I expect to spend a bit more time playing Kings of War, but right now this campaign has been absorbing most of my efforts.

    2. Yes Porw... I always say the same to Hoodling... you have to try it! jejeje

  3. Ah, Edna and Humphrey, a love so fatal to both and so star crossed that is became the subject of Wilhelm Von Shakenpike's 'The Great and Tragical Story of Edna and Humphrey' with that noted Tilean giant impersonator Leonardo Del Caputio playing Humphrey...
    It should also be pointed out that the Ogre musician was playing 'Land of Hope and Gory'.

    1. Look, I'm sure the musician *believed* he was playing that. Whether it sounded that way to other parties is debatable at least.

  4. Came close to laughing out loud with this one, thanks guys, you just brightened my day.

    1. Clearly this is a goal for the future. Promise you will be reading it somewhere public where the results will be embarrassing...

  5. Different funny game! And curious to see!