Monday, 17 February 2020

The Gob-Off: Chapter 3 - Part 1

This is the continuation of our all-Goblin 8th edition campaign. You can find the previous segment here, or go back to the start here.

Mush, night goblin shaman extraordinaire and Chosen of Mork (self-proclaimed), stomped along confidently at the head of his army. From behind him came a constant cacophony of snarls and shouts, with the occasional blood-curdling scream followed by the sound of splintering bone. Mush tried not to think about how many squig handlers they had left. It was fewer than they had started with, but they were nearly at their destination. It would be enough.

Movement flitted through the trees beside the path they were following. They were enemy scouts on wolves. There was no point in trying to chase them. They were too quick. And by now the alarm would already have been raised. 

Mush smirked evilly to himself. His foe knew he was coming, but that would not save him.


Skuzzbutt tried to sit calmly atop his spider as his warriors scurried about around him in a frenzy of activity. His legions of spear-armed goblins stood at the ready in relatively tidy ranks, the occasional non-rusty bit of armour shining in the weak sunlight. Chariots rolled into position with remarkably few parts falling off as they went. Atop the towers nearby,
voices could be heard arguing about what they would skewer first with their spear chukkas. Skuzzbutt felt his heart swell with pride at the sight of such martial prowess. 

Nearby, a gaggle of tiny snotlings milled about, crashing into each other haphazardly. They were a motley group, equipped with old rusted saucepans, broken weapons and the odd rock. Skuzzbutt knew that they also figured they were ranking up and preparing for battle, but he also knew that their enthusiasm for outweighed their potential. He tried not to think about it. Hopefully they would trip up the enemy more than his own forces.

Scouts reported that the enemy were bringing a lot more squigs with them this time. Well, Skuzzbutt was ready. Let them come.

Chapter 3: The attack on the Forgotten Fort 

Skuzzbutt and his allies had set up their headquarters in an old, long-abandoned human fort. The walls were mostly rubble, however a few structures had been salvaged in a semi-permanent manner using the questionable wonders of goblin engineering. The mostly intact ancient Sigmarite temple had been defaced and "updated" to reflect the leanings of the new tenants. All in all, the settlement was an indefensible abomination. And now it was under attack.

The Armies
Skuzzbutt's Home Guard
  • Skuzzbutt - Goblin Warboss on Gigantic Spider with Gambler's Armour, Sword of Might, Shield
  • Idjit - Goblin Big Boss with Battle Standard, Charmed Shield, Sword of Battle, Light Armour
  • The Mad Gik - Goblin Shaman (Level 2)
  • Razzie - Goblin Big Boss with 2 Hand Weapons, Light Armour
  • Groucho's Ladz - 30 Goblins with Spears, Shields, Light Armour, Full Command, 1 Nasty Skulker
  • Grumpo's Ladz - 30 Goblins with Spears, Shields, Light Armour, Full Command, 1 Nasty Skulker
  • Lumpo's Legion - 30 Goblins with Hand Weapons, Shields, Light Armour, Full Command, 1 Nasty Skulker
  • 10 Goblin Wolf Riders with Spears, Shields, Light Armour, Full Command
  • 5 Goblin Wolf Riders with Short Bows, Light Armour, Musician
  • 5 Goblin Wolf Riders with Short Bows, Light Armour, Musician
  • Goblin Wolf Chariot
  • Goblin Wolf Chariot
  • Snotling Pump Wagon
  • Snotling Pump Wagon
  • Snotlings (2 Bases)
  • Snotlings (2 Bases)
  • Spear Chukka
  • Spear Chukka
True to Skuzzbutt's plans, I basically stuffed as many spearmen as possible into the army. However, unlike Skuzzbut, I knew that the spears were unlikely to help in the face of lots of squigs. So I added a couple of extra elements that would hopefully give the game some semblance of balance - a pair each of Goblin Chariots and Snotling Pump Wagons. And some Snotling bases to fill out the list a bit. Why not?

Mush's Home Wreckers
  • Mush - Night Goblin Great Shaman (Level 3) with Earthing Rod
  • Room - Night Goblin Big Boss with Battle Standard, Shrieking Blade, Light Armour
  • Max Club - Night Goblin Big Boss with Berserker Sword (Club), Light Armour
  • Hoppo - Night Goblin Big Boss on Great Cave Squig with Spear, Light Armour, Shield
  • Parry's ladz - Night Goblins with Hand Weapons, Shields, Full Command, Netters, 1 Fanatic
  • Stabba's ladz - Night Goblins with Spears, Shields, Full Command, 1 Fanatic
  • Jabba's ladz - Night Goblins with Spears, Shields, Full Command, 1 Fanatic
  • Robbing Hood's Arrer Boyz - Night Goblins with Short Bows, Boss, Musician, 1 Fanatic
  • Squig Herd with 12 Squigs, 6 Handlers
  • Squig Herd with 12 Squigs, 6 Handlers
  • 8 Squig Hoppers
  • 8 Squig Hoppers
  • 3 Stone Trolls
  • Mangler Squig
Tim was relatively restrained in terms of how many Squigs he stuffed into the list. I mean, there are plenty of them there, but he could have had even more. He also continued to keep a lid on the number of Fanatics he was putting in his units. The whole thing was an exercise in restraint, really.

Given this was an attacker/defender scenario, we decided that the Skuzzbutt's forces should completely set up first, but would get the first turn automatically. We also decided in the end to ban vanguard moves, as it would have been too easy for me to drag out fanatics before the enemy could even move.

Skuzzbutt's defenders form up around the ruins of the fort as the Mush and Room's attackers emerge from the trees.

Mush and Room line up front and centre, demonstrating that they perhaps still don't understand how Goblins are meant to lead...
Something stirs in the forest.
Most of the Squigs piled up on the flank, where there was an open approach to the enemy lines.
The other flank was sparsely populated, with a single unit of Night Goblins with bows lurking in the forest (that's Robbing Hood and his merry gobbos) and the second pack of Squig Hoppers keeping them company.
Spear Chukkas perched on the top of both towers. Wolf Riders prowled on the flanks.
Skuzzbutt supervised the arrival of a Pump Wagon and Chariot. Idjit had been entrusted with the army standard, and waved it enthusiastically from Lumpo's regiment at the rear. Groucho's ladz took the front line with their spears at the ready.
The Mad Gik led Grumpo's spear regiment on the other side of the temple. Another Pump Wagon and Chariot sat nearby, with Wolf Riders again holding the flank. Oh, and there were Snotlings. But we don't talk about those.
Across the field, they faced a great many Squigs...
The approach on the other flank was slightly more obstructed.
From their vantage points atop the towers, the Spear Chukkas had a commanding view of the field.

Turn 1
Forewarned by their wolf rider scouts, Skuzzbutt's forces were ready when the enemy arrived. As the night goblin army was forming up in preparation for its assault, the defenders were already moving...
The right flank advanced, moving into position in order to intercept the enemy squigs. The pump wagon bounced along at good speed with the snotling crew pumping away enthusiastically.
The only real question here was, what would the squig hoppers do?
A squabble broke out amongst Grumpo's ladz, causing a delay in proceedings as taunts and spears were flung about chaotically. The Mad Gik could do little beyond shake his head and try to dodge the flying debris.
Animosity proved no problem under Skuzzbutt's watchful eye (he couldn't see what was going on over on the other side of the temple), and the left flank advanced in good order.
The snotlings galloped along enthusiastically, resisting the urge to reach over and pat the nice doggies. They remembered what had happened to the last of their member to try. But they were so fluffy..!
Those damn kiwi fruit shorts again... Wait, what were we talking about?
Seeing the enemy already moving, Mush frantically waved his staff around, shouting at his own forces to advance. He was attacking, damn it! Not his opponent! With admirable enthusiasm, the nearest squig hoppers immediately bounded toward the approaching wolf riders, their riders hooting and hollering as they struggled to remain aboard their mounts.
Truth be told, they were perhaps a little too enthusiastic... They were getting themselves into trouble. To make matters worse, Robbing Hood's night goblins in the forest failed utterly to offer any support. They were too busy arguing about the spooky looking trees, and who was going to go first.
The mangler squig crashed out of the trees, heading toward the main bulk of the enemy army.
The other flank advanced with impressive discipline. The squig hoppers bounced along, but without the wild enthusiasm of their friends on the other flank. Hoppo, being a supreme bounder upon his great cave squig, actually managed to keep them more or less under control. 

Turn 2
The enemy were fast approaching. Skuzzbutt knew well the dangers that lurked concealed within the ranks of the night goblins. But he was not heading that way. He was going the other direction. So he bravely shouted at his minions to advance, and then tried not to listen to what followed...
With Groucho obediently parroting some of Skuzzbutt's nonsense about showing no fear, the ladz charge toward the trolls. Sure enough, as they draw near, fanatics burst from the night goblin, spinning madly in the general direction of the charging enemy...
Groucho bravely closed his eyes as he shrieked at his ladz to continue the charge. Crashes, screams and flying bodies filled the air. Groucho opened his eyes right as he was about to reach the waiting trolls, and he couldn't help but glance around him. It was carnage. The charge had failed, and already most of what remained of the regiment had turned and was now charging in the other direction. Groucho was goblin enough to see the writing on the wall, and also turned in fled, wailing something approaching a battle cry as he went.
Phew, we escaped! Well, some of us did...
The pump wagon lurched to the right and careened toward the massive mangler squig, however there was perhaps not as much energy in their pumping as there might normally have been. The wagon lost speed, and failed to reach the designated target. It almost looked deliberate. But surely not. Snotlings know no fear! Which is a good thing, given the pack of snotlings nearby that had wandered too close to Jabba's night goblins now had a fanatic spinning right in their faces. This might have concerned smarter warriors, but the snotlings slowed, gazing in wonder and admiration at the maniacal twirling before them. Some of them did their best to join in, lurching about in circles and crashing into one another in their enthusiasm. But wait, what is that circle?
With Grumpo having restored order in the ranks, the regiment was now advancing. Freed from his earlier distractions, the Mad Gik summoned upon the power of Da Waaagh, unleashing the power of the Curse of Da Bad Moon toward the foe. The swirling vortex of doom surged from his outstretched arm, caressing the mangler squig and the night goblin command regiment before completely engulfing Stabba's night goblins behind them...
Truth be told, the Mad Gik had not entirely controlled the spell the way he had intended. There was something on an explosion, and several of Grumpo's ladz fell smoking to the ground. But then, that night goblin regiment was no longer where it had been either...
"Wot woz dat? Zog dis, we iz leaving!"
On the left flank, the wolf riders had drawn close enough that the night goblins could no longer restrain their fanatic, and he lurched out on the far side of the trees, in the best direction his comrades could steer him.
On the right flank, a surgical strike was conducted upon the nearest squig herd. The chariot crashed into them, followed closely by the pump wagon.
Skuzzbutt would never admit it, but the chariots and pump wagons had been Idjit's idea. He kept banging on about "inishutive", and Skuzzbutt eventually gave him permission to get some chariots ready, just to shut him up. Turns out Idjit might have been onto something. With laser-like precision, the crashing impact landed almost entirely on the squigs, obliterating the front two ranks of the mob. Only a handful of night goblin herders remained, and they were disinclined to hold their position as the scythes and spikes of the enemy wagons bore down upon them...
In fact, they ran so fast that the chariot couldn't keep up.
The pump wagon didn't even try. In fact, the snotlings had lost control of the contraption, and it lurched in almost the opposite direction, right in front of the enemy lines. Oops.
Over on the left, Skuzzbutt set about punishing the enemy squig hoppers for their excessively enthusiastic bouncing, sending Fuzzbutt scampering into their exposed flank and laying about him with his shiny magical blade.
The assault was too much for the squig hoppers, and those that survived turned and bounced madly from the field. They never really slowed down - they just changed course.
Things were looking promising on the right flank, although the wolf rider scouts were less than keen with their current "blocking" assignment.
The centre felt like it was holding its breath, about to explode into action. The mangler squig was down to a single wound, having survived the Curse of Da Bad Moon and being impaled by a shot from a spear chukka. Unfortunately, one wound was all it would need...
And from the left, snotling reinforcements were on their way. Clearly they would be the difference!

Things had not started well. Mush couldn't believe that a few of his mobs had already been obliterated. He didn't know what that horrific vortex the enemy shaman had unleashed was, but he was certainly going to ask Mork about it later. In the meantime, he demanded action from his minions. He waved his staff in the general direction of the enemy and shrieked something approximating an order. They would figure it out...

The mangler squig spun and launched itself at Grumpo's ladz with a roar, tearing into the regiment with unbelievable savagery. In a chorus of sobs and squeals, the survivors ran...
...straight toward the rest of the enemy lines. Anything to get away from that monstrous killing machine!
Mush and Room led the charge in the centre, ignoring the panicked stampede of the enemy. The night goblins threw themselves at the now-stricken pump wagon, whose crew scrambled desperately to get onto the top platform, away from their assailants.
Inspired by Mush's strong leadership, the trolls moved to charge the fleeing remnants of Grumpo's ladz. They immediately tried to get away (although not very far, as it turns out. I think they rolled a 3), so the trolls looked elsewhere and instead lumbered toward the chariot. Its crew decided this was a highly undesirable outcome, and quickly spun the vehicle around and drove away in a hurry.
Without the distraction of trying to control their fanatic, Robbing Hood's band managed to focus on the task at hand. They charged from the forest into the small pack of wolf riders, right under Skuzzbutt's nose.
Neither side covered itself in glory, but weight of numbers was just enough to break the surviving wolf riders, who scurried from the field with tails between their legs.
On the other flank, the squig herd was happy to set upon the unfortunate pump wagon, and the squig hoppers decided that going through the wolf riders was the most sensible (and tasty) course of action.
The gnashing teeth of the squigs were too much for both units, which were wiped out. The screaming apparently upset the waiting regiment of wolf riders, who decided that they had other places to be. They turned and rode from the field in a chorus of wails and howls. The cowards. The fools!
Being charged apparently disagreed with the pump wagons. Even after an impressively underwhelming display of martial prowess by Mush, Room, Parry and the ladz, someone accidentally cut the key piece of string holding the whole contraption together and it slowly toppled over and fell to pieces in an avalanche of planks and snotlings.
The night goblins now controlled this flank, although the fleeing survivors of the shattered squig herd continued their flight from the field (they would not come back), and the fanatic veered away from the snotlings right at the point of impact.
On the other flank, what remained of Stabba's ladz actually did rally at a safe distance, and prepared to re-enter the fray. Remarkably brave by night goblin standards, really.

Turn 3
Things were not going entirely according to plan, however they could have been worse. If only most of his army were not running away, Skuzzbutt would have been very confident. Unfortunately he was busy elsewhere, so rallying the troops would have to be left to Idjit... He tried not to think about that.

Deciding that the squig herders were not coming back, the chariot wheeled about behind Max Club and his friends. The snotlings gave up trying to imitate the fanatic, and advanced instead.
Grumpo's ladz rallied, however they did so in a less than ideal situation. The enemy were all around them. Now would be a good time for the Mad Gik to unleash some more of his crazy powers...
Groucho's ladz also rallied, and less than enthusiastically turned to face the enemy lines once more. Looking to buy them a little respite, the snotlings scurried up right in front of the trolls and then did their best to imitate their idiot expressions and terrible posture.
As well as most of the lines were rallying, the chariot decided that courage was overrated and continued to head for safety.
Upset at having witnessed the demise of the wolf riders right in front on him, Skuzzbutt attacked the flank of the Robbing Hood's previously merry gobbos...
He laid about him with a vengeance and Fuzzbutt was similarly vicious. It proved too much for the hapless night goblins, and they tripped over themselves in their haste to escape the field.
The Mad Gik and Mush stand just a few feet from each other, eyeball to eyeball...

Mush glared at the enemy shaman right in front of him. The enemy was desperately trying to find a means of avoiding the trap he and his friends had just run into. Mush caught his eye and stared. Without looking away, he reached up and snapped his fingers, dissipating the power of the vortex that had still been raging behind him. The shaman's eyes widened and he reached for more power, only to have his efforts cut short as Mush strangled the magical energies around him by sheer force of will. The shaman quavered and staggered, realising he was outmatched... And then the moment was over as Room shrieked a warcry and charged into the enemy, dragging the regiment (and Mush) along with him. 

Grumpo's ladz brace themselves for the inevitable as they are attacked from the front and flank simultaneously. However, just as their doom seemed assured, a ferocious rear shook the ground and a crazed mass of claws and teeth slammed into the flank of Jabba's ladz. Broken bodies and shattered spears flew everywhere as the mangler squig ploughed back through its own lines, having completely lost its sense of direction.
As Max Club shouted something wildly about getting back up, there were enemy forces waiting in the wings. They could not afford to waste time getting rid of the enemy spearmen.
The night goblins also had reinforcements on their way, however the squig herd found their own fanatic twirling about erratically in their path. This was very helpful.
With the flank secure, the squig hoppers set about dealing with the spear chukka perched on the nearest tower. The dreadful echoing sound of them clattering up the stairs was enough to cause the goblin crew to leap off the top...
The trolls stopped and stared at the tiny snotlings in front of them, who were by now doing a passable (if under-sized) impression of trolls themselves, and promptly forgot what they were doing. Stupidity is a burden. Snotling distractions are just a bit too much...
They would want to snap out of it at some point before Skuzzbutt returned to show them who was boss.
In the centre, Max Club was about to set upon his hapless victims when a challenger emerged from the pack. Razzie waved his blades around wildly, shouting random unintelligible words. Max looked upon him, seeing a kindred idiot spirit. And then they started whacking each other. Both were wounded, but both remained on their feet.
The story was similar for the struggle as a whole. Parry's ladz were struggling to land a telling blow, on account of being tangled up in their own nets. Room shouted rude words at his alleged allies as he tried to free himself, whilst Mush just put his head in his hand. Jabba's ladz struggled to land a telling blow, disorganised as they were after being mauled by their own squig. Grumpo and his ladz hunkered down behind their shields, defending like their lives depended on it. Which of course they did. So defensive were they that they completely forgot to reveal their nasty skulker... (my bad).
At the end of it all, Grumpo and co had to take a break test on about Leadership 3, with a re-roll. Incredibly, they passed... Which meant this view of the general area became increasingly important. That was a really good improbable roll to pass. Goblin heroics ftw!!

End of Turn 3...

Man, this report is taking an excessively long time to write, and has far too many pictures. I'm going to break it up.

You can find the second half here.

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