Sunday, 11 March 2012
Turn 3 - High Elves vs Beastmen
The shamen howled, a shrieking bray of pain. Grosque stumbled back in shock, tripping on a root and falling to the floor himself. The Beastlord quickly got to his hooves and brought his axe above his head, ready to deliver a killing downswing. Before his axe could fall, Mhurk put a clawed hand to chest. The death worshipper came from seemingly nowhere, appearing out of the night. His skeletal mask shook slowly, signalling to his liege to hold his strike.
Wyrdeye stopped howling, gasping air in, taking stock of his surroundings. His eyes had returned to their normal mismatched hues. He looked up at the Beastlord, and wiped his snout, seeing blood on his grubby hand.
“My lord,” Wyrdeye stuttered between breaths, “the elves camp less than two hundred strides to our fore. They have a dragon. Lots of foot. I believe a giant eagle was aware of my presence and it consumed me...it. The owl. They know we’re coming.”
Grosque grunted, and turned his head. The elves had camped outside their fortress, making no move to attack. He knew that they waited for numbers to march northwards to help mount an assault, and until then they were craven enough the sit and cut off supplies heading to the badlands from the barren north. Only this morning a herd of human cattle and their ungor shepards had been ran down by these lanky robe wearers and their horribly pristine weapons. Grosque knew they had no taste for flesh, or the milk of human females, so there was no doubt over a hundred naked human females and children running free in the badlands. Such a waste of fine livestock.
No, he wanted to end this siege swiftly. He quickly got together a raiding force to go into the woods surrounding the fort. Slipping out during the dead of night and moving fleetly through the woodland on the hunt– what Beastmen thrive on. The herd had no time to get into better positions for the assault before the element of suprise was totally lost. Getting this close was a feat of skill and luck. Now was the time, or not at all.
Grosque shifted his bulk towards Blackleg, who squatted behind a large tree with his standard rolled up. He hit his adjutant’s chest with the blunt of his axe and pointed towards the Elven position. Grosque was away from his Pestigor retinue, but they had to move now. Grosque gave a blood curdling howl, which Blackleg joined him in, lifting his banner into the air. Throughout the wood, bestial howling returned, variously arrayed herds and individuals showing the order had been received. It was a simple order.
Leave none alive.
So, I played against High Elves today in a rejigged old mission from Tears Of Isha. It involved the entire Elf force being deployed in a 16in wide circle, whilst I deployed on three flanks within 8 inches of the board edge. It was my idea to play an interesting scenario, and my opponant George was struggling to fit all of his force within the circle (a mage on dragon and chariot does that...) and I'd suggested random deployment for my force, as I was just going to line the flanks and charge.
Well, the path to heck is lined with good intentions. All my force ended up lining up on one flank due to rolls, then my first turn charge failed spectacularly and my 40 strong gor hoard, my general (who I'd put in there to keep centrally) and death mage all got run down before my opponant's first turn!
Terrible luck carried on throughout, with my inability to pass a panic or rally check meaning many of my units bolted off the board. A highlight was two raorgor eating a unit of dragon knights, but other than that there was little positive! My opponant George was a great guy and a good sport to take the obtuse mission of being surrounded on 3 sides head on, and a very competant general who gave me quite a few tips.
So, game 3 was another mullering of my beastmen! Are we spotting a pattern here?
Luckily, my post game rolling for wounded characters could have been worse - Grosque suffering -1 Toughness for the next game, Mhurk my death mage suffering -1 Movement, with my banner waver Blackleg gaining +1 movement permenantly! Greeeeat! Better than snuffing it. I can see a unit with both those to in walking in circles. My level 1 beast mage was captured by the Elves, I imagine he's being waterboarded right this second. I dont intend to get him back.
Mhurk licked to large gouge in his thigh with his abnormally long tongue, attempting to clean the wound. A futile gesture, he knew, for the very nature of marching with The Manculler’s herd meant plague and infection was rife. The wound would no doubt get infected, so he had to hope he’d earnt the favour of the plague father not to contract a particular virulent strain of The Rot.
He sat within the fortress, managing to hobble back from the disastrous assault. He’d been with Grosque’s unit in the initial assault, which had been repelled irresitably by the Elven lines. Their speed had been blinding and their lines organised and disciplined compared to the hastily pushed charge from the Beastmen. The beast lines folded, and after seeing his magic has almost no affect on the morale of the elven troops, Mhurk had ran. He’d taken the tip of a fallen elf’s spear to his thigh, its initial cut barely registering through the surge of adrenaline. On his way to the fort however, the wound bled, refusing to heal. Still it bled, and it was three days since the raid.
A Gor strode up the steps on which Mhurk sat. It was Hrokk, a gougehorn and spokesman for the Gor’s of the tribe. “Mhurk,” he said, his eyes stone through the holes in his ill fitting helmet. More a trophy than an actual useable item of wargear, “It’s been days. The Manculler isn’t returning. You’re in charge now. What are your orders?”
Mhurk shook his head. “Don’t under estimate Nurgleth’s chosen. Disciples of the plague father do not fall to the earth so easily. Death hold’s no fear for them. He will return. Your orders are to hold.”
With that, the horns on the walls sounded, a dirge like drone. An ungor ran down the stairs beside Mhurk. “Survivors!” It hissed, “The Manculler returns!”
Mhurk nodded, getting to his hooves with the aid of his braystaff. “Faith, Hrokk, faith. Grosque is chosen, his story does not end yet. I have the feeling this Beastlord will play an important role in the fate of everyone in the Badlands.” He hobbled up the the Gors ear, “Whether it be good or ill.”
Grosque stumbled through the gate, holding a wound on his left flank. He was almost literally holding in the contents of his stomach. Under his right shoulder was Blackleg, still firmly gripping the banner of the army. A large number of Pestigors remained behind them.
“Mhurk!” Blackleg called. “Mhurk where are you.”
“Here.” Mhurk hobbled into the court foreyard. “You are the last of our host to return. Well, of note. I believe the ungor on our flank were killed to a one.”
Grosque was in a bad way, and stumbled to the ground, waving away any help. His head lolled to the side. His hand still gripped hold of the rusted axe, even in unconsciousness.
“Where’s that wretch Wyrdeye!” Blackleg snarled, “I’ll end him!”
“He was the luckiest out of all of us, Master Blackleg.” Mhurk chuckled. “Captured whilst fleeing. Even now I’m sure the Elves are cutting out his tongue and plucking his eyes out.”
Blackleg threw the banner to the ground, not appreciating the death mage’s sarcasm. “That’s good. For if I am tempted to fight my way through that army just to find him, and cut the hide from his back and wear it as my own! I should make a banner from his skin, as a reminder of all those who fail The Manculler!”
“Quite.” Mhurk agreed. “His incompetence cost us dear.”
“I swear!” Blackleg spat, “Should I ever lay my eyes on him, I will cut his beasthood from his body, with the rustiest blade the pestigors have, show them to him, and feed them into his rotten face – shamen or not!”
In the corner of the courtyard, a pink eyed mouse squeeked mournfully, and scurried off into the nearest dark hole.