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Sunday, 18 January 2015

Revenge is Sweet: A Narrative Battle Report

The small boat was lucky to still be afloat; a vicious storm had pummelled the island for the past week, but the news the crew carried was too urgent to wait for the tempest to abate. Scarcely had the boat been lashed to the jetty before the Sea Helm was making his way up the steps carved into the cliff face, up to the outpost's entrance.



Prince Mantor winced as he put his chalice on the table. The wounds he had suffered from his battle with Jimzan the Everliving had never properly healed. A malevolent magic was surely woven into the Ghoul King's blade. "My Lord! News from the mainland!" The Sea Helm's armour was wet from the storm, his robes soaked, yet still he knelt before his prince, waiting for the order to relay his message. "Speak, Altarion, and in the name of Asuryan, warm yourself by the fire."
"The town of Tiefenwald has been emptied, Lord. Our scouts report the scene of a battle, but there are no bodies to be found."
"Survivors?"
"None, my Prince. And..." Altarion struggled with the next words, "The cemetery, it is empty."
"Muster your Sea Guard, we sail at dawn."



Deployment

Altarion stood amidst his Sea Guard, the finest of Ulthuan's defenders. Trained soldiers, masters of spear and bow, the Sea Guard stood straight and proud. The banner of the ancient house of Mantor hung limp from the standard's cross-bar; the dusk as still as it was cold. To his left the proud Knights of Caledor, the Dragon Princes sat atop their pure-white steeds. Alongside them a chariot of Tiranoc stood ready to swiftly meet the enemy in combat. Behind the abandoned watch tower, Altarion knew the Ellyrian Reavers were scouting ahead of the main force to harry the flanks and destroy the Corpse Cart that would inevitably follow the shambling horde of Undead, compelling them forward. On the hill behind him, Altarion was comforted by the presence of two Eagle Claw bolt throwers. Surely they would be enough to fell any monsters the Ghoul King had with him. 

Looking to his right, the Sea Helm saw the Silver Helm knights, a Lion Chariot of Chrace and the immaculate warriors of Saphery, the Swordmasters of Hoeth. Two lines of archers stood behind the right side of the force, ready to rain arrows into the ranks of the enemy. Altarion was grateful too that Prince Mantor had seen fit to bring two Mages to provide some much needed defence from the onslaught of hateful Necromancers. A vast shadow was cast over the battle field as Pinky, Prince Mantor's fierce Moon Dragon swooped to join the fray.


A groan in the distance. From the mist beyond the trees the dead walked. Ranks of Skeletons and shambling masses of rotten Zombies advanced toward the High Elf lines. A pack of baying Dire Wolves ran through the centre of the Undead lines. The malicious Morathi, a Necromancer, led a horde of Zombies, a Cairn Wraith by her side. Claus Toodle-pops, the powerful Master Necromancer and Jimzan's chief servant led a block of Skeleton Warriors. To his side Saruman, his lackey, stood amid another mass of decayed villagers, enslaved to the will of the Vampire. 

Jimzan the Everliving led his own retinue of Skeleton Warriors, a Banshee screamed her pain and hatred into the night alongside the Ghoul King. To the Vampire's right Altarion made out a unit of swift Black Knights, supported by a gang of feral Vargheists. Stalking from the darkness, a hulking Varghulf, with it's rending claws and dripping maw, filled with razor-sharp teeth, hungered for Elf flesh. 

There was a thud like the felling of the oldest of trees. A wave of terror washed over the High Elf Noble: a Terrorgheist landed on the flanks of the Ghoul King's host. Jimzan's pride and joy: vicious, voracious and deadly, this beast's screams stopped the hearts of the bravest warriors, slaying them without so much as a swipe of its claws. The field was set, there was no objective, save to destroy the Undead Legions before they swept across the Old World, their ranks swelling with those who would stop them...

Turn One: The Dead Walk
En masse, the Undead lurched forward toward the High Elves. As the Winds of Magic swirled amongst the dead, Morathi uttered a wicked Invocation. Freshly slain townsfolk tore themselves free of the damp mud and shambled towards the Reavers, blocking their advance. Claus, the Master Necromancer waved his gnarled staff, and pointed it directly at the Lothern Sea Guard. One of the High Elf Mages swiftly read the arcane scroll in his hand to dispel the wicked spell that shot from the staff's tip. The Monsters moved around the rear of the burnt-out farm house, heading for the Elven flank.

The Tiranoc Chariot surged forth in response. Overcoming their fear of the Zombies, the Charioteers smash into the front ranks of the newly created mob. The Zombies were unable to withstand the impetus of the charge, clawing and biting, even as they were trampled under the horses' hooves. Wounded, but alive, the Chariot charged onward towards Morathi and her horde. 

The Dragon Princes cautiously advance, waiting for the opportune moment to launch their charge at their foes. Altarion ordered his troops forward, launching a hail of arrows towards Saruman and his zombies. Although the reanimated villagers were pelted with arrows, most of them ignored their wounds, immune to the pain. The Bolt Throwers launched great, spear-sized arrows at the Terrorghiest, it flinched as one penetrated it's rotten hide. As the High Elf army maneuvered, preparing to charge the Ghoul King's army, one of the Mages fired off a spell at the Vampire Lord with irresistible force. He let out a great howl as his amulet of protection burst into a thousand, useless fragments. The mage fell to his knee as the force of the spell coursing through his body took its toll. The Swordmasters bravely turned to face down the terrifying monsters behind the farm house.


Turn 2: Destiny!
The foul Necromancers chanted their invocations. The slain rose from death to swell the ranks of the Undead. Dire Wolves leapt forth down the hill alongside their King. He and his unit surged forward with unnatural vigour as Claus urged them to Danse! Claus then turned his dread attention to the Lothern Sea Guard. A wave of baleful magic crashed against the Elves. Altarion was amazed to see that only one of his men had succumbed to the curse. Surely Isha smiled upon her people this day. The Black Knights' ethereal steeds glided forwards into the farm yard as the Vargheists flew to support their monstrous kin.

Morathi gave a cry of rage, compelling her Zombies forward into the Chariot. Robbed of its momentum, the Chariot withstood the Zombie advance, but was unable to cause any major damage to the horde. The Cairn Wraith reached out a cold, spectral hand, but was unable to connect with the agile Elves.

The Mage with the Archers blessed the Swordmasters, guiding their blades in their coming fight. The warrior scholars knew their foes and chose to dodge the Terrorgheist in favour of charging the Varghulf. The supreme skill of the Swordmasters proved too much for the beast as it was cut down in short order but not without taking its toll. The Lion Chariot, emboldened by the success of the Swordmasters, charged into the Black Knights. The knights' armour proved too much for the great axes of the Chracian woodsmen. In response, the ancient noblemen slashed at the Elves with their cursed blades, wounding the charioteers.

Across the battlefield, the Lothern Sea Guard and Dragon Princes bided their time, moving up to charge the Undead. Nearby the Tiranoc Chariot, swamped by Zombies, fought their way clear and fled. "Ha! Typical," thought Altarion, "They breed them cowardly in Tiranoc."

Altarion's attention was taken in that moment as Pinky gave a mighty roar. Jimzan was relishing the charge of the Silver Helms. He loved nothing more than to shred soft, Elven bodies with his poisonous claws. He was enraged when they turned at the last moment and charged the Dire Wolves. He snarled wordless loathing at the Silver Helms as they charged past him. The Dragon's roar drew his attention upwards. In the overcast, night sky Jimzan could see the great wyrm as it circled its prey, ready to strike at the heart of the Undead army.

"Rrrar!"

"You did not kill me last time, Jimzan!" Prince Mantor shouted from atop his steed. "I will have my vengeance, you foul, accursed creature!" He tilted his Lance as Pinky dipped into a charge. Jimzan leapt out to meet Mantor in the air. The elf's enchanted Starlance plunged into the Ghoul King's right shoulder. Twisting his immense weight, Jimzan the Everliving snapped the lance, splintering the shaft. Prince Mantor, not expecting the Vampire to react so quickly, was dismounted. His heavily armoured body slammed into the mud. Getting to his knees, Prince Manton drew his shortsword, he had no time to react to the blow to his head, a vicious back hand from Jimzan. The Ghoul King leapt at Mantor, slashing his claws across the elf's face, he dropped his sword as he was driven back into the mud by a crushing blow from the vampiric sword, Jimzan's speed was more than even an elf could comprehend. Within a second, Jimzan was in the air, the point of his blade angled down at the prince's chest for a final, piercing strike. Mantor grabbed at the ground. At the last moment, he pulled a splinter from the Starlance across his body. The splinter plunged into Jimzan's heart as he landed with his full weight behind The Sword of Bloodshed.

The battlefield was silent. Both armies stood still as the Ghoul King dissipated with a tortured scream. The Elven Prince lay pinned to the ground by the cursed blade. The reverie was shattered by Pinky's great roar as the Skeletons fought on to finish what their lord could not. The Vampire's magical presence faded with his death and the Corpse Cart collapsed with it.

Not everything went well for the elves

Turns 3 & 4: Counter Attack
The Elves were stunned by the death of their Prince. The Undead, however, were quick to direct their rage towards their foes, seizing the opportunity to stall the High Elf advance.

Jimzan's death caused a surge of fierce hatred through Morathi's body as she compelled her zombie horde into the flank of the Dragon Princes. Saruman took his chance and urged his own zombies directly into the Dragon Princes. The knights were swamped on all sides by the foul creatures, but cut them down with consummate ease.

Pinky spewed flames into the Skeletons, before he proceeded to bite and stomp the cursed regiment. Claus sent his Skeletons into the Silver Helms, hell bent on vengeance for his fallen master. The skeletons' shear numbers proved too much for the Silver Helms. Three noble elves fell, their minds melting from the orifices of their heads. The Banshee's scream had cooked their brains within their skulls.

The Black Knights slaughtered the white lions and the charioteers, fiercely avenging their slain Lord, the Seneschal sliced the head from the Chracian charioteer, and ploughed on toward the archers and the Mage. The Elves stood firm and fired their bows; the ancient knight's armour was pierced by seven arrows, banishing him back to the spirit realm. The Swordmasters found the Vargheists much more difficult to manage as the monsters cut down all of the Mage's body guard, the Blade Master was the last standing to protect the wizard from the Vargheists who had been cut down to one last beast.

The Elves near the watch tower quickly rallied. The Tiranoc Chariot turned in a wide arc as the Ellyrian Reavers charged into the rear of Morathi's zombies. At the same time, Altarion charged his Sea Guard into Saruman's flank, giving the Princes of Caledor some much needed assistance. The elves' countercharge proved too much for the Necromancers, their rage replacing their fighting skills. They were cut down and their enslaved minions dropped once more to the ground from whence they came. The Cairn Wraith was unable to claim any souls and dissipated as the fading magic of the necromancers released it back to the ether.

Seeing that the tide had turned against him, the sun rising in the East; Claus called the Terrorgheist to him. The fell beast gave a fearsome screech at Pinky. The Moon Dragon was overcome by the force of the horror's hatred and fell atop Mantor, surely the Prince was dead. Toodle-pops, the Master Necromancer climbed onto the Terrorgheist and escaped.


Victory to the Elves
What victory? Prince Mantor is well and truly dead! And as long as Claus Toodle-pops, Master Necromancer is alive and free to roam the Old World, he's a few short ritual sacrifices from having his master back up and about, and I'm sure he won't have any trouble replacing those lackeys. Though, the world is safe for another day as the tide of Undead is pushed back by the valour of the Elves. 

This was a really fun game to play! Jimzan put up a really good fight and honestly, it could have gone either way. Uncharacteristically, the dice were in my favour and I was able to get away with it. I think next time, I might try to swap my Swordmasters for some Phoenix Guard. They're a very tough unit that will prove pretty useful against undead, I think. 

Needless to say, the challenge between Prince Mantor and Jimzan the Everliving was short, but no less epic for it. Two insanely powerful characters coming at one another and stopping each other dead in their tracks! You can't make this stuff up. 

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed the battle report.
Any thoughts or questions are welcome.

1 comment:

  1. Nice write up man, good to see it in the narrative. Well played too, you gone done good.

    but don't get too comfy, the rituals have begun. Jimzan will return.........

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