Monday, 16 May 2022

The Battle of Osterwald - Part 6

This is the final part of our battle report. You can find the previous part here, or go back to the start here.

Orcs Final Turn

Across the battlefield, the Orc and Goblin was simultaneously in disarray and on the attack. The general route near the centre of the line continued, with 2 mobs of night goblins fleeing from the field and the trolls following in that direction.

The flagellants and orcs continued to hack and flay each other, with several falling on either side and neither giving an inch.

At this point the flagellants still had Speed of Light affecting them, but without Frenzy or flails, there was little they could really do.

The few remaining crossbowmen find themselves sandwiched between a chariot and a wyvern. Seems a little gratuitous...

The wyvern swept down from the hill behind the Empire lines and into the tattered remnant of the crossbowmen, but they barely noticed as they were already watching a boar chariot careen toward them from the front. They had already fought bravely, but there would be no heroics from the crossbowmen this time. Their demise was so spectacularly one-sided that the Teutogen Guard nearby lost their nerve and fled away from the slaughter. They might have held their ground under the stern gaze of their emperor, however Karl Franz was not looking in their direction. Around the corner of the ruin, he heard the tramp of many feet followed by some evil giggling and a horrible, ominous whirling noise. He was not overly surprised when a pair of fanatics appeared around the bend, but that did not save him from a terrible fate.

As the crossbowmen die, the Teutogen Guard panic and flee past the hill, where their beloved emperor had just been bludgeoned to death by a pair of night goblin fanatics. Poor Karl - none of his own troops really even witnessed his demise.

Seeing the demigryph knights turn to face them, the black orcs gave hoots of enthusiasm and prepared to charge, but the warboss tripped on the bits of dead swordsman lying all about him, and they staggered to a halt (Pete rolled double 1s).

The Reiksguard were still congratulating themselves upon finally having engaged and disposed of some of the enemy when they were set upon in the flank by the ogre bruiser and the pack of squig hoppers bounded into their rear. Hurried orders were shouted as men struggled to turn their mounts in order to meet this new threat.

Well this is a bit grim. Ludwig Schwartzhelm on the end with a single wound remaining, and Kurt Helborg also engaged, and in no better shape...

Kurt Helborg bellowed a challenge as he wheeled about, but if he thought the ogre would accept, he was mistaken. One of the goblin big bosses on a particularly large and unsightly squig moved to meet him instead. Helborg, generally held to be the greatest swordsman in the Empire, completely missed his opponent as the fiend bounced around wildly on his uncontrollable mount. The goblin likewise was unable to land a telling blow, but the squig itself had no such issues, and tore the Rieksmarshall from his saddle before thrashing him about a bit and then spitting him out as not worth trying to digest.

Ludwig Schwartzhelm had seen the ogre bruiser coming and was ready for him when he arrived. His enchanted sword slashed wickedly across the already-wounded ogre's chest, but he simply shrugged it off. An enormous stone hammer descended upon the emperor's champion, driving him, his horse, and the irreplaceable standard into the ground with outrageous force.

The sound of very large teeth grinding on finest steel filled the air as the wave of squigs bit and gnawed upon the plate armour and barding of their victims. Two of the knights fell to their attentions, but twice that many squigs were cut down in return. 

With their leaders dead and beset on two sides, most warriors would have fled. The Reiksguard were made of sterner stuff however, and grimly held their ground to fight on. 

Meanwhile the greatswords nearby showed much the same resolve, hammering away at the rogue idol with all the strength they could muster and refusing to give an inch.

Greatswords are more dangerous than halberdiers, even when you're ridiculously tough and armoured. The rogue idol took 2 wounds in a single round for the first time in the battle. Pete was actually starting to get nervous at this point. I think the big guy might have been down to 3 wounds, and was worth 600 points.

Scribe's notes:

Trollz don't rally and two units of Gobbos depart.  Night Gobs move up and deploy Fanatics into Karl Franz who is killed. Rock Lobber fails, Doom Diver shoots at Knights Panther as does Bolt Thrower.  Other end of table, Doom Diver fails to hit Steam Tank as does a Bolt Thrower.

Kurt Helborg issues challenge & misses the squig rider that accepts. The rider misses but the squig eats him.  The BSB is taken out by the Ogre Bruiser who has charged the flank of the Reiksguard and taken a wound. Squig riders do 7 wounds and Reiksguard lose 2 casualties. The squig riders suffer 4 wounds  Wyvern and Chariot clean up the crossbowmen and the Teutogen Guard then flee from the resulting Ldrshp test.  Flagellants take out 4 Orks and lose 3, both sides stand.  The Dark Giant inflicts 5 wounds (4 casualties) and takes 2 wounds. Thunderstomp afterthought takes another 5 Great Swords out. Great Swords stand.

Empire Final Turn

The greenskins had taken a terrible toll upon the great personages. The emperor himself had fallen, and there were rumours that the Grand Theogonist, Reiksmarshall and even the emperor's champion had been laid low. Who now was in command?

The Teutogen Guard regained their composure and stopped fleeing. Not that they were ever fleeing on my maps. It's not that I missed it. Clearly you heard wrong, and they never ran in the first place... <shifty sideways glances>

In the centre of the field, the Tuetogen Guard finally heeded the orders being screamed by their warrior priest and ceased their retreat, reforming hastily and unable to look each other in the eye. The spearmen charged at the boar chariot, but the crew saw them coming and drove rapidly in the opposite direction. The wizard had to content himself with casting Birona's Timewarp on the flagellants instead. 

The wyvern that had been snacking on the corpses of the crossbowmen nearby was suddenly consumed in an explosion of earth and metal as one of the steam tank drivers managed to hold enough steam in his engine to turn and fire the steam cannon. When the mess had cleared, the beast was a ruined heap with its slain rider sprawled atop it.

The flagellants and orcs continued to bludgeon each other, and once again the flagellants moved with strange, unnatural speed as they were energised by the strange Light magic. An entire rank of orcs fell to their lightning-fast flailing, but the orcs killed almost as many in return, and the struggle remained in a stalemate.

The snotlings had elected not to engage the Knights Panther so that the remaining artillery could try to wipe them out. Here, at the end, we see a single Knight Panther (worth over 1000 victory points) and his wounded grand master. They managed to account for all but the last spear chukka on the hill, whilst the spearmen on the lower ground eventually got to grips with the last that had been down there.

The bedraggled remnant of the Knights Panther had continued to doggedly hack through the artillery on the hill, but even as they had done so, more bolts and deranged goblins had been flying through the air at them. The toll on the once vast regiment of them had been terrible. Who knew if the order would ever recover from the losses they had sustained.

The greatswords continued to doggedly hack at the vast rock monster looming over them. It swayed now as it had not done before, but that did not mean it was about to fall. Still it shrugged off their efforts and pummeled more of them into the ground, and still they held their position, refusing to give up.

Too lazy to swap out their unit filler at the end of the game, the greatswords have taken a terrible beating and their formation is a shambles.

The Reiksguard had lost their leaders, but they were still beset on multiple sides. Desperately they hacked at the squigs, even as they continued to lose more knights to gnashing teeth and the thundering swings of the ogre's hammer. They remained on the back foot, but more importantly they remained where they were.

A single squig remains, all of the characters are wounded (most on a single remaining wound), but the Reiksguard lose combat again and have to rely on being Stubborn to hold their ground.

The black orcs were still wallowing in their misery at having missed the opportunity to charge the demigryphs when one of them looked up and, lo and behold, the enemy were coming to them! They roared with excitement and prepared to obliterate their foolish foes.

It would be a shame to include a unit of 10 wolfygryphs and not get them into a single combat, wouldn't it? Hey, they've got a hurricanum next to them. Why not? What's the worst thing that could happen?

The demigryphs launched themselves at the waiting black orcs, tearing into their victims with wanton savagery that was only enhanced by the presence of the celestial hurricanum nearby. More than a rank of orcs were torn to shreds by the beasts, and the weapons of the riders claimed almost as many again. But the black orcs were not to be dissuaded, and swung their great weapons with renewed fury. No less than four demigryphs were hacked down in an orgy of chopping, but still the orcs were being pressed back...

Time seemed to slow as the leader of the demigryphs challenged and then faced off with the black orc warboss with his murderous axe. Still his eyes glowed in time with his axe, but some of the horrifying intensity seemed to have faded. They leapt at each other simultaneously, axes blurring, fangs bared. And, incredibly, the warboss fell, whilst the demigryph landed intact, with the orc's snarling, decapitated head in its mouth.

The knight champion (well actually, just his demigryph mount) won the challenge, killing the warboss outright. Having rolled a 6 and a 5 for the Battleaxe of the Last Waaagh previously, this time he rolled a 1, and apparently the demigryph had his number. It was a slightly shocking outcome, and it meant that the demigryphs had won the combat.

If the black orcs were dismayed to lose their leader and be beaten soundly, they gave no sign. They steadfastly held their position, ready for another round. Alas, there would be no more rounds. The battle was over.

Scribe's notes:

Demigryphs charge Black Orks,  

Steam Tank shoots at Wyvern and kills it, the Bolt Thrower on the second Steam Tank shoots with a bolt thrower and misses.  

Dark Giant kills 4 great swords but they stand after failing to inflict a wound back. Squig riders and Bruiser inflict 3 casualties on Reiksguard who lose combat even though the kill 3 squiggies, then stand!

The Flagellants with Time Warp on them inflict 10 casualties on the Orks who inflict 8 back.  The Demigryphs attack and the Warboss is killed outright (3 wounds)  while the Champion and 6 others are also killed by the animals and 7 more are killed by the riders.  The horde do for 4 Demigryphs and then stand.


Final Scores

Empire: 10164
Orcs and Goblins: 8544

A very marginal Empire victory!


Well, that was a mess. The game had been thrown together in a bit of a hurry, and some things didn't really work out the way I had hoped. First and foremost, the scenario didn't work as I had intended. The main reason for this was the terrain - we ended up just grabbing a few "tall" things to use as the objectives, and 2 of them were buildings. This was not really what I had in mind, (I really would have liked something close to the top of a tall, pointed hill) and it meant we kind of tweaked the control rules. If you just make it "be in the building", it's too hard to dislodge a regiment of 60 orcs (or God forbid, flagellants). So we said you only needed to be within 3" of the building to control or contest, but that in itself caused issues. It's partly a symptom of the size of units in play, but I do think the terrain didn't help matters. 

Anyway, in the end only 2 Orc flyers and 1 Empire one made it onto the field. What that meant was that there was a whole lot of muscle floating above the clouds that never got used...

There they are, floating around in the sky, not a care in the world... What a waste.

Of course, this means Balthasar Gelt is about the only important person in the Empire who is left alive, so I guess that makes him emperor, right? Right? Bah, nobody likes him. We know what you did, Gelt!

Everyone hates you Balthasar. Fly away home!

Anyway, the other main issues revolved around the Goblin contingent, and how delicate their leadership is without a general nearby. I should maybe have jammed a few more warbosses in the bigger units to hold them together more, or perhaps we should have chopped the lists up properly and given them more than a single general and BSB each (especially with the generals flying high at the start). It didn't get much thought in the haste to cobble together a couple of relatively equivalent lists. So I guess that's on me too.

So. It really sucks to be a named character in this battle, hey! Azhag got reversed over by a driverless war altar. The altar had no driver because Volkmar got hacked apart with a rear charge before he ever got to swing. Karl Franz's birdie got doom-divered before he himself got flattened by a fanatic. Ludwig Schwartzhelm got wounded by a friendly wizard before getting flattened by an ogre hammer. Kurt Helborg copped the wizard explosion, got shanked a bit by a goblin wannabe assassin, and then eaten by a squig... Some of these fates are more shameful than others, but the main message is: don't turn up as a special character and expect to have a good time here. It was carnage.

In terms of the result, it was extremely close. I made a mistake in not chasing the trolls with Karl Franz. I was torn about trying to keep him alive and contest the objective, but the trolls were worth 800 points and never got off the table. Pete was a bit aggrieved to have failed to kill the last Knight Panther. That would have been 1030 points, which would have made things an undeniable draw. In the end the difference was less than 10% of the game total, so it being declared an Empire win was debatable anyway. Fair to say if the giant hadn't face-planted into those squigs next to him, that flank would have gone the other way and the result would have been very different.

Anyway, the whole thing was a bit of a laugh, and it turned out OK overall. Thanks again to everyone who was involved, and thanks for reading!


The sun was finally breaking through the low clouds as a breeze started to disperse the unnatural weather. Balthasar Gelt stepped cautiously across the field of battle, working his way around fallen men and horses. The Supreme Patriarch's colour-shifting robes rippled about him in the gentle winds. Everywhere he looked, it was carnage.

Gelt knew that the tally of dead and wounded included several important members of the imperial court, including the emperor himself. He had not gone and paid them a visit himself - he was no physician. He would leave those mundane tasks to the priests of Shallya. He had more important concerns.

He stepped past the great war altar, untethered now from the warhorses that had drawn it in battle. The contraption sat forgotten now, as a concerned group of priests and soldiers gathered around the form of the fallen Grand Theogonist himself. Gelt didn't get too close. He didn't much care if Volkmar lived or died - they had never really seen eye to eye.

His path carried him onward, toward and around the ruined form of a huge wyvern. It looked as though it had been crushed with great force, and looking at the now-cold, rather battered-looking steam tank nearby, Gelt had little trouble guess the culprit. A pair of engineers stood next to the tank, tapping uselessly at some of the great rents and dents in its hull, scratching their heads and clearly having no idea how to actually repair the damage to the ancient machine.

Finally working his way past the corpse of the wyvern, Gelt came abruptly to a halt. There lay the fallen form off the mighty orc warlord who had caused them all so much trouble. His face bore a frozen expression of what might have been confusion. His body lay as though it had been crushed down into the ground, and what might have been a wheel rut ran right across his torso. The whole thing was a bit comical, but Gelt didn't even notice. He stepped past the fallen orc and picked up the strange crown that lay nearby, having fallen from his brow.

Even though he wore gloves, a strange thrill passed through his fingertips where he held the crown. It glinted in the emerging sunlight, and a voice seemed to whisper in his head.

Finally. A mind worth speaking to!

The End


  1. This has been a great read - nice to see you back in action!

    1. Cheers. Glad it's done though - I had forgotten how long these things take to write! Or maybe I've just gotten older and slower...

  2. Epic write-up, lovely to read these again.